just water

I used to be a big iced tea fanatic. Between the two of us Terry and I would go through a gallon a day. No longer.

ice water glassSome months back my doctor noticed that some of my bloodwork numbers were outside the normal range. That started an investigation. At one point it appeared that the issue was kidney-related. Eventually it turned out that the problem was elsewhere.

In the meantime, however, I cut way back on iced tea. When I am working at the computer or reading or watching television I drink ice water. I drink iced tea at home for dinner or when I’m eating out. In fact, not even that. Our iced tea at home has taken on a metalilc taste for me, perhaps because of my medication. So now it’s water at dinner as well as the rest of the day.

It’s better for me and I don’t get iced tea burnout. Those are Good Things.


not so sweet

blackcurrant travel sweetsI used to have quite the sweet tooth. I would keep a bag of snickers in the drawer in the bedroom for munching in the evening. But some months back I didn’t replace the bag when I finished it. That tin of blackcurrant travel sweets on the kitchen counter? I hardly ever touch it.

At a recent Access Control Committee meeting the owner of our security service brought pastry. I declined, until the meeting dragged on and I needed something to eat. It was a chocolate-covered, cream-filled pastry, not really an éclair, and I didn’t enjoy it all that month.

Seems my body is making some good decisions.


pharmacist knows best

There seems to be, or at least there once was, a perception among some doctors that patients are more likely to take their medication if they only need to do so once a day, and at bedtime. Author Susie Bright discussed this when explaining why doctors preferred to prescribe a certain brand name medication that required one dose a day, as opposed to its generic counterpart that required two.

rx symbolMy doctor in Silicon Valley seemed to have that perception. When I first started seeing him I wasn’t taking any medication, but eventually I was taking both blood pressure and cholesterol medication. The blood pressure medication evolved to include a diuretic, but my doctor continued to reiterate the “once a day at bedtime” regimen. At one point my pharmacist in Gilroy raised his eyebrows when I said I was taking everything at night, but I didn’t change my routine.

When we switched to Kaiser this year we had to do consultations with the pharmacists on our medications as we were new in their system. Again, the pharmacist mentioned taking the diuretic combo pill in the morning. I decided that maybe I should pay attention.

I switched all of my medications to the morning. Big difference. Fewer bathroom trips at night and longer blocks of continuous sleep. My daytime routine is hardly altered at all.

It pays to listen to the pharmacist.

image credit: clipartfest.com


on worry and getting past worry

I’ve always been a worrier. It drove my parents crazy. It has driven me crazy at times. In recent years I have done better, but it’s easy to lapse back into worry. Of course the things I worry about are generally things I can do nothing about. Like Congress trying to destroy the U.S. economy because the Republicans hate Obama and the Democrats hate the Republicans. Or the lack of rain in Northern California. Or being hit by the next wave of workforce reduction at my job. It’s helpful for me to remember the Zen proverb (which I frequently fail to do):

quote If the problem has a solution, worrying is pointless, in the end the problem will be solved. If the problem has no solution, there is no reason to worry, because it can’t be solved.

I came across this on Facebook from the good folks at Weavings Journal:

quote Do not look forward to what might happen tomorrow. The same everlasting Father who cared for you today will care for you tomorrow and every day. Either he will shield you from suffering or he will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.
—St. Francis de Sales

That helps too. And it reminds me of the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, as recorded by Matthew.

quote Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

We’ve seen these words so many times that it’s often easy not to really hear them.

Staying in the present moment is so important, but not always easy to do. Sometimes, though, I can get there. The Matthew passage reminds me this:

Yes, I know I’ve posted this more than once before, but I like it a lot and it helps put things in perspective for me.

Here’s to letting go of worry.


giving thanks for knees

Good wishes for Advent joy and expectation!

Growing up a Methodist, and having spent many adult years unchurched and then in New Thought in the form of Unity and Religious Science, kneeling was not part of my religious experience. Even in my Lutheran days, during my exile from the Episcopal Church, the worship book did not incorporate kneeling into the liturgy.

I first encountered kneeling at All Saints’ Palo Alto, and I took to it quickly as I did to the liturgical tradition in general. I was happy to come back to it when the prodigal returned to the Episcopal Church at St. John the Divine in Morgan Hill.

In the Episcopal Rite II liturgy we kneel for the confession, and in the Eucharist we after we sing (or say) the Sanctus, the rubric says “The people stand or kneel.” I prefer to kneel. I kneel when I return to my seat from Communion, and many people kneel, as do I, for the post-Communion prayer.

Still, there are many people who don’t kneel. Many people can’t kneel. I can relate. Terry had knee surgery five years ago and currently has been undergoing a series of injections to provide lubrication where most of the cartilage is gone.

I am grateful for my healthy knees that allow me to go out walking whenever the weather permits, and which allow me to kneel comfortably in worship.


diet choices

We have a new bakery in Gilroy called Patti’s Perfect Pantry. Patti bakes gluten-free products exclusively. Terry and I have not made the gluten-free move, but we love eating there because Patti serves incredibly delicious food. Interestingly, while they bake only gluten-free products, the ingredients in their sandwiches include not only chicken, but ham and bacon. No beef, though. Not sure if that’s deliberate.

This has made me think about all of the various diet philosophies people adhere to. Many vegetarians eat fish, milk, and cheese. Strict vegans eat no animal products at all, of course.

The clean eating movement generally believes in locally sourced food raised without chemicals, but they cook with both chicken and beef.

Of course you can find a study to support just about whatever direction you want to take. It can get very confusing.

I have had my vegetarian phases, but right now I feel like I need meat in my diet. Perhaps the best approach is to eat whatever it is that your body tells you is best for it.


what do you mean “of a certain age”?

The blog theKitchn is a nice resource if you don’t mind getting about twenty posts each weekday. There’s posts on recipes and posts about real-world kitchens, some of them very, very cool. Last week they published a review of Mollie Katzen’s new cookbook, The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation.

That’s all well and good, of course. But what rankled me was how the review started:

For people of a certain age, Mollie Katzen’s 1970s hand-drawn and lettered cookbooks were the first place they discovered vegetarian cooking…

“Of a certain age?” I beg your pardon.

To be fair, the review actually continued, “…whether as cooks and parents in the kitchen or as children who were raised on food cooked from [Katzen’s early cookbooks].”

But still.

Actually, Molly’s work did not introduce me to vegetarian cooking. That honor fell to the first edition of Frances Moore Lappe’s Diet for a Small Planet, which was first published in 1971, and which I bought probably in the fall of 1974. The original Moosewood Cookbook didn’t come out until 1977. (I know because I went downstairs and checked. Somehow I’ve managed to hang on to my originals of both of those.)

So I guess I’m even older than those “of a certain age” referenced in the review. Well, no matter. I’m happy to be sixty and feel good about it.

But I’m not sure that I like being referred to as being of a certain age.