Apr 13, 2009

"Cholesterol is at 172, good," the doctor says.
"And your HDL is 85, great," the doctor says.
"But your liver enzymes are ten times normal, bad," the doctor says. "What kind of medications are you on?" Apparently the anti-liver ones. This means I'm either an alcoholic or I have hepatitis, neither of which seems very likely since I don't mingle blood much and drink less now than ever. In fact, as my cholesterol count is so much better than four years ago, I think the one-a-day wine has been helpful.

"We're cutting you off of all wine and all ibuprofen until we figure this out," doc says. I'm going to get so crabby.

Oddly, all this follows on starting with a wholistic practitioner. And I know it isn't her treatment that is driving this. All the bloodwork was taken before then. I already wasn't sure I was believing in this new approach to living, but I thought I would close my eyes and trust in the East. Now the Western MD's are going to step in and get aggressive. Maybe the best rule is to simply avoid the doctors. Any kind.

Apr 8, 2009

I went to see my new age doctor. She has studied six different medical systems, including Western. I figured there were, at most, two. They hooked me up to two electrodes that in the span of 4 seconds reported that at a rest, my body burns 1600 calories a day. Pretty good, the doc says to me. I would have been happier with 3000. I told her that I have been fatigued and angry a lot, but when I mentioned menopause to my girlfriend, she told me to shut my face and get on a fast track to this doctor, that it was probably some other gland or body process that was beating me down. "You know, life isn't always our ovaries," my BFF insisted.

"It's your adrenal glands, I suspect," the doctor said to me at the end of a two hour session. I thought she was going to pin it on my thyroid, a popular diagnosis here where thyroids wear out faster than winter tires. So I was pleased she had something unique for me. What's an adrenal I wanted to know. But instead of a lot of info she gave me a laundry list of supplements, including licorice for the adrenal gland. I tried to look up information about faulty adrenal glands. I was three quarters down my first hit read before noticing the term "Veterinarian."

Mar 30, 2009

Kevin W. Sharer became the CEO of Amgen in 2000. He was featured in yesterday's Times, explaining that when he came on board, he spent 150 hours with the top 150 people of the company, interviewing them, getting to know them, doing what sounds like a real Six Sigma, touchy feely series of individual feedback sessions.

And then he fired most of them.

Lesson learned? I don't know. Never let down your guard?

Cleaning Crew

I sat around last Saturday night with a handful of women of substantial means. When the conversation turned to notifying other parents of children and potential internet abuse, the women focused on an acquaintance who refused to believe her children could ever do anything wrong (unlike the rest of us, uh hunh) and that her control freak ways had spilled over to an insistence that she clean her own home. "She has money," the group said. "And a full time job. Why not get some help?"

"Oh," I understand that, maybe. "I feel awkward not cleaning up after myself, myself. It's not like I do it - I don't have the time and the house shows it, but there is something inside me that prefers mess, I guess, to having someone come in and mop up around my feet. Or else I'm just too cheap."

The ladies stared at me with that look of processing information. I had no idea what they were all thinking, except that I could tell they were all thinking something, like never eat anything she brings to a gathering. So I decided to give in, to cave, to hire a semi-monthly cleaning team and try to gain back at least one day a weekend for writing, photography, or maybe the kids. It started this morning. The two women came in, gave a treat to the family pet, and then split up rooms between them. As I was gathering my things to get to the office, one of the women asked, "Do you rent?"

I have no idea what that means. What is it about my house that suggests I rent?
Working on a piece on prom dresses, I found a Faviana long gown in a print that reminded me of Midsummer Night's Dream, with spirits of yellow and celedon, and hints of blue and orange, whisping about against a white background. I loved it. The other adults - male and female - in the office thought it was lovely. The 19 year old who was helping me with the image layout labeled the dress image "crazyassdress".

Mar 24, 2009

I may be the only person to distrust antioxidants. I read this article, figured that everybody else was marketing anti-oxidants for the fear factor that opens pocketbooks, and simply stayed off the band wagon. The Science Times today didn't report any benefit in the heart or cancer arena. I'm more curious to see if it is actually dangerous to load up.

Edit has taken to pomegranate juice and seeds, but I don't know why. Some other influential 8 year old must have convinced her because that it was for her own good because I don't think she likes it. She drinks the juice with the same reservation that one drinks wine. She doesn't guzzle.

Jan 29, 2009

Spanx Me

I've avoided the Spanx line. I have a problem with girdles and other binding and life cinching things outside an S&M fantasy. Either be comfortable with your shape, or get in shape. Constricting wear is as 21st Century woman as button boots and pre-suffrage. But out looking for a black bra one day, some store woman insisted I try a Spanx Bra. I did, and it was great. Its big promo is that it helps avoid back fat marks, but honestly, if I can't see it, then it is a problem that I don't know I have. If I don't know I have a problem, then there is no problem. But still, the bra felt great on, more gentle actually than most other bras, and certainly less involved than anything Victoria Secrets. I recommend that every woman, large or small, try one. It's less a fix it piece than a tremendously comfortable piece.

Go figure.

Dec 10, 2008

Naughty and Nice and Goo

Edit made out a naughty and nice list. Her oldest sister, Mona, and Mona's guy got posted to the bad side. The three had spent days bellylaughing together during Mona's Thanksgiving visit, so I asked Edit to explain. Edit looked at me and uttered only, "Piercings." "But Mona was nice too," Edit added later. "I overheard Mona say to Lex, 'You ask Mom about getting our nails done. Mom just spoiled me at the store and I don't want to ask for more.'" I'm not sure Edit has a handle on how "not asking for more" is supposed to work. Maybe people like me is why religion was invented. Some of us need more than the Annual Santa to help lay the ground work for a functioning morality in our offspring.

When asked by her music teacher whether any of her big sisters had special talents, Edit answered, "Well, yes. Mona has her piercing and Lex likes to listen to music." There are days you cannot crawl deep enough to escape.

Tired of thinking about Mona's viper piercing ("It's for lesbians," a pierced and tattooed bartender told me the other night as I was practicing my routine), I pulled a switch. "What did you think of her wig?" I asked Edit and Lex, refering to the hairpiece that Mona bought after getting a Rhianna cut that made her call me from outside the salon and cry. "Goo," said Lex, using a soundbyte for "ick" that has that idiot "Word" expression beat to hell. "A WIG? SHE HAS A WIG?" Edit said, with an intensity consistent with finding a polar bear in the kitchen. Edit went on, but not by asking "Why?", or "What did her hair look like and how long before it grows out?", or "How does one make a wig, exactly, Mother?" No, Edit continued with, "Why didn't you tell me? I could have teased her about it!" "It's hard to tease her about it," I said, finally smartening up and keeping to myself my spiel on what Mona had said of the wig in defense: "It's human hair." Oh, right. Like a human skin suit. Or a scab jacket. Goo, goo, goo. Ick, ick, ick.

Except that except for the free association issues I have with the "human" part, I think that wearing a wig is kind of neat and Mona is easy with it. When she scratches her head, if she catches me staring, she wiggles the wig and winks. And you might not be able to tell it's a wig unless your eyes are used to the concept of hairline and scalp and both staying in place. Or it gets tossed on Cher. "Save that for me," I say to her, repeating the phrase she used as a little girl whenever she liked what I was wearing and wanted me to keep it for her to grow into. "I'm gonna need it when cancer strikes, " I start to say, but manage to garble into obscurity.

See what I mean? Good moms don't instigate, no matter the material. They don't stir things up for a reaction. That's what clever aunts and uncles are for. Good moms are equipped with vocal filters designed to encourage sibling peace and respect. On the other hand, I am always listed on the Nice side.

Goo. Pass it on.

Dec 7, 2008

Push Button Emotional Regulation

NYTimes reporter Kate Zernike tells me I can cultivate a calm temperament.

I experienced it once. Someone was yelling at me. Then I realized that someone was having a fit directed at the world and only consequently directed at me, and for once in my life I did not take it personally. Instead of spending most of his tirade preparing my yell-back, I stopped myself, dropped my shoulders, and relaxed my face to watchful. As my face went, so did my insides. I was inspired. It was like a drug. I'm going to try to do this for a week, starting now. I'm tired of worshiping at the altar of free assocation and whippity swift. As much as I admire rapid fire, it should not have full control over me. For help, Zernike directs us to Professor Gross's five methods of emotional regulation: situation avoidance; situation modification; attention deployment; and repression. All of these seems strange, kind of chicken. But if I employ #1 and don't get out of bed for a week, I'll have this licked. Except for the hiding under the sheets part.

As if a prequel, two weeks ago while traveling about in the car, I suggested to Edit that I needed a button. That if Edit could buzz me when I talked too much or to myself, then I could get conditioned to be more retrospective. Twenty minutes later, at the conclusion of some chatter of mine, Edit said simply, "I wish I had that buzzer now."
"Why don't you color your hair, Mom," Lex asked. "In fact, you can use my box of L'Oreal. Really. You use it." Another walk by shooting.
"I'm okay with my hair," I say. "I hate the bleached out blond frizz mid-life look."
"You've succeeded. It's green," she said.
As I worked the automatic checkout line at Ikea, a man came up to the woman who was helping me at self-serve and asked, "I'm getting a Christmas tree from the front lot. Where do I pay?" "You can pay here," the Ikea Elf replied. "How many trees do you want?"
From RS 1067:
Hirsute: shaggy, course, bristly. mnemomic: Her course suit should have felt better for something bespoke.
Is it just me, or does Rivers Cuomo singing "Don't Worry Baby" sound like someone's playing Brian Wilson on warped vinyl, but so yes to Lily Allen. Oh, gosh. Rolling Stone magazine. I have avoided it as if it were cocaine. I was the worst disc jockey of all times, and had the shortest career track. Worth every second of hell.
It's a shame one has to travel across so many pages of CN advertising to get to the Editor's Letter. I almost didn't make it. I got to the Carlisle collection ads and began to think about the economic impact on suit lines - how hardly out of the depression early 40's they looked, followed by an ad for another crappy age defying hahaha cream foundation that made me wonder if I was reading Allure. Then Rolex. Then Revlon. Then Ford. Yikes. (Can't. Whatever. Won't.) Distracted as I get, I could barely refocus on font size 10, but I did.
"So here we are in the waning days of his [Bush's] presidency, and he's still at it. Bush and Cheny have been working feverishly to write as many as, by one count, 130 new regulations undermining federal laws protection not just our environment but also our civil liberties and personal safety. And with the nation's attention ping-ponging between Obama-mania and Dow-phobia, the White House is hoping we won't notice. It's the environmental equivalent of stuffing the china and silverware intor your suitcase before clearing out of the guest room. The New York Times and The Washington Post have been particularly diligent in shedding light on these final, grapsing acts of an administration[.]" Graydon Carter

So I guess what the Chicago Tribune needed was more Rolex and Louis Vitton ads, or maybe what it lacked was enough of a backbone to do actual investigative reporting to earn the circulation numbers to get those accounts. Wish I knew - but I hate that it filed.


Dec 5, 2008

Just Shoot Me. No, Really.

"Edit is taking after you," Lex said in reference to Edit's habit of leaving things where they fall from attention span. This from a girl who throws Q-Tips on the floor if the wastebasket is full and then blames me for buying such a small receptacle. "She takes after the three of us," I said, menacingly. Lex opened her mouth to say something then changed her mind. She's growing up, I thought. But not fast enough. "Why do you care what you look like anymore," she shot at me the other day, as I sat innocently at my computer completely unprepared for a roaming age attack.

Tonight I walked the dog through the center of the Ring Road golf course, away from the traffic and the lights. "I should take a flashlight and keep an eye out for stranger danger," I joked to Lex. "Don't do that. You'll draw attention to yourself," she replied, concerned for my safety. "White dog, white parka; I'm not thinking we're so discreet," I said. Still, I left the flashlight at home. Halfway through the park I figured I was worth more dead than alive and made a note to stuff my parka with flares and party laterns the next time I go out. I have to fund their college eduation somehow. Except maybe not so much with Mona. I'm not so focused on continuing her educational experiience. I got a series of texts from her yesterday and today, including a phone call at ten last night as I stood at the local printer shop runniing proofs on a print job. Life was good in the City, it seemed. This afternoon I got, "Let me know when you can schedule me in for extensions" quickly followed by a "Oops. I didn't mean to send that to you!" This isn't starving-student in NYC language. This is different language, the kind where somebody erroneously believes that I'm earning Penthouse wages. Either kind. I haven't made the call yet. I can already hear myself and I hate the sound and I shouldn't have to make the call.

I'm going back out to the park. It's almost midnight.