Sunday, May 31, 2009

AllergyKids.com

I have no idea how I never found this site before, but it is wonderful. It has a lot of information and products, which I will be getting soon to help G when she goes to school. I saw the founder, Robyn O'Brien on the Today Show a few weeks ago. I just got her book "The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick-and What We Can Do About It." The one thing that has been frustrating for us is that our children do not have a risk of anaphylaxis (that we know). So, some doctors, teachers, or other people don't want to consider them allergic. The other terms used to define people who have less life-threatening allergies are "food sensitive" or "food intolerant." However, the oxidative stress that occurs from eating problem foods over a lifetime can lead to life-threatening problems such as cancer. This book helps demonstrate how serious allergies and food intolerances can be.

*Also, there is a lot of information for parents whose children do NOT have allergies (that they know about, as symptoms may not be recognized) about the health of our food in America. Things like Kraft Mac n' Cheese or Gold Fish seem like healthier alternatives, but read this book and you may think differently.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Revolutionary Road Love

I'm not quite halfway through the book and I'm in love with it. It was originally published in 1961 and it's absolutely still applicable today. The characters are my age, married with kids and not quite sure what they want out of life. What they do know is their present existence is not what they expected (whose is?). They have ideas of what they may have missed out on, but are trying not to regret their decisions because of the positive aspects of those decisions (a spouse who has stuck with them, kids). The conversations they have, the ideas of where they fit into society, their philosophies on life and politics and humanity, the friends they have... it all translates to my existence today.

Richard Yates' character development through flashes of the past and realistic conversation is superb.

I am in love with Revolutionary Road.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Waiting for my kids

I'm back from a second weekend in a row in NC cleaning out our previous house. I'm back at my parents house and waiting for my in-laws to deliver our kids to us. I've missed them. I'm curious to see how much marker remains on S. Apparently G drew on her with maker, probably regular non-washable marker. I don't know if S was sleeping or stupidly just let her do it knowing G would be the one in trouble. G, having once drawn on her sleeping bag and her own legs with permanent marker, probably thought that since the marker was on her sister, S would be the one to be in trouble. That's my theory. Anyway, I'm not looking forward to their tiredness and expected whinniness. I'm also concerned important things, like S's reading log, will have been left at my in-laws. Oh they are HERE!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I did it my way

I resisted pizza. Just now. I did that. It was easier to do because it was pepperoni and I've never cared for that stuff. However, in my mind I could see myself just pulling them off to have a slice, or two or three! See why I resisted? If I give in and have crappy food, it turns into more of a binge. I don't feel too guilty afterwards or beat myself up about it. Usually I just think I'll have to be stronger next time. But then I'm not. Or as in today, I am! So, I rejoice and pat myself on the back. What helped was that when the pizza came into the house, I had already had a big salad less than two hours prior, so I wasn't very hungry. Also, I had planned on having goats cheese and crackers after playing outside with my youngest for a while. So, while my grandfather, husband and mother sat down and had pizza and left-over soup, I had a small cup of soup and my soft goats cheese. That CHEESE, though not raw, is my lifeline. I can't be vegan at this time. I won't say I'll never get there, but for now I'm eating cheese.

Goats cheese has been known to keep me from getting a big ole cheese burger! Yep, I used to be a sucker for fast food when I wanted food fast, like getting off work or running lots of errands around town. But after I made the change last July, I had my first craving for fast food about 3 months into it and instead swung into the local organic market not sure what I was going to get. What I came out with was soft goats cheese and flat spelt crackers. As the weather got colder and I craved more comfort food, raw cheddar style goats cheese became my solution. I took a few slices for lunch during student teaching and it worked. I felt satisfied! The other teachers may have thought I was weird, but whatever.

When watching my grandfather eat his pizza and drink his Coke, I wanted pizza so badly I even told myself: What's so bad about his condition? He gets to enjoy food and he IS 86! But I answered myself with: Yeah, that's ALL he enjoys. He doesn't take walks outdoors, doesn't visit new places, doesn't go swimming, doesn't go to the beach... none of the things I want to be able to do up until my last days. I don't want each meal to be the highlight of my day.

On another note, I took G out on her tricycle. Back in NC she pretty much only rode it in the driveway and hadn't gotten the hang of steering, yet. But today we went up and down sidewalks and out in cul de sacs and she finally got steering. She got going so fast she had a tumble, so she needs to work on control before moving onto the little bicycle with training wheels. I'm proud of her.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

More on my grandparents

When I was a child, the way my grandfather ate was comforting. It was predictable. It was the foods I loved. It included a lot of fresh fruit. And he appeared to be in good health. My grandmother was a different story. She died when I was 18 due to emphysema. She was in her early 70s. She had been a long term smoker and drinker, she was overweight, never went out, developed diabetes, never cut out the sugar. Not great last years. She wrote me a letter my first semester of college in which she stated, "Whoever called these the 'golden years' must have had rocks in their head!" What a life changing statement. The way she lived has REALLY affected me. This is the first time I've put that into words. I had no idea she drank until after she died and my mother told us. I remembered her smoking when I was young, but she successfully quite that when she got sick. I had a very close relationship with her. Being from Canada she grew up speaking French and helped me with my French homework through high school. Of course we'd get to talking about other things when I'd go over there and I found she had liberal tendencies. I was just developing my own outlook on life and politics, so I'd bounce ideas off her and then she'd share with me how her own views had changed through her life. I remember one conversation about homosexuality and she seemed completely tolerant. She said she knew of a gay man in her extended family who simply married and hid it, though unsuccessfully, and she thought it was terrible he felt he had to do that. It was the type of conversation I couldn't have with my mother at that age. I was very upset when she died and felt our adult relationship had really just begun. She never met my husband, though she saw our first picture taken together before a college dance. She said he was handsome. He looked like a man and I imagine it must have been interesting to her to think of me as being old enough to be with a man.

I'm muttering on now, but these are some of my last encounters with the woman who so impacted my opinions on health and good living. Obviously, I don't want to have the health problems my grandmother did. Neither does my mother, who also swore she'd never end up like her own mother: lonely and in complete poor health. And she won't. She's on a good path. She moved almost three years ago and has gotten involved in different things here and has new friends and new routines with these friends, works at two dental offices part time and has found a wonderful naturopath doctor.

Back to my grandfather. As I've said, he wants hot meals three times a day. He loves fresh berries with cream (not whipped from a can, the stuff in the carton) and probably sugar on top. He eats bread just about every meal, lots of toast with butter. Lots of sugar on his cereal. Meat at least twice a day. He has a cigar (some of it) every afternoon. He has tea and desert every night at 9pm on the dot. As a kid, I would ask my grandmother to go to the basement fridge and get some of my grandfather's chocolate. He always had a huge stash of chocolate bars... all sorts. My grandmother made pies and donuts from scratch often. She won awards at country fairs for her pies... that was in the early years of my grandfather's retirement (at which time they moved from New Jersey to MD to be near us) before she got very sick. Though my grandfather has made it to 86, and has no big health issues, except for cataract surgery in one eye, he has a difficult time getting around and is very stiff. He's on the usual arsenal of medications for cholesterol and blood pressure. He hasn't been able to garden for the last five years, something he really loved to do, because he can't bend down any longer. It happened quite suddenly to him at about 81. One autumn he's on his knees planting bulbs and the next he has to use a curtain rod to pick up the morning paper because he can't bend to reach it. If I'm going to keep on living for a decade or more after turning 80, I want to do it with flexibility and freedom of movement. So, now that I'm watching my grandfather live through the last years of his life I am again influenced to live a life of health NOW.

(This will tie back in, bare with me.) My sister found the PERFECT wedding dress. It's a Monique Lhulliere. You may have heard of her. She has designed gowns for tons of celebrities. She got a gown from an older collection for 1/4 of the original price. Very awesome. Also, it fits her PERFECTLY, except for needing to be hemmed. It's full ivory lace... so elegant. Anyway, having found the dress she's interested in getting a little sleeker in her body. She is a very healthy weight for her height and has a good BMI reading. But the dress is sexy and form fitting and so she'd just like to slim down a little bit. She got a Wii fit and has been doing that, but she knew she needed to change her diet some. I have, of course, been writing about and telling her about Natalia Rose's detox diet and finally she asked me to give her the short version. Her fiance took the book home to read, because my sis says she just doesn't have time to read it. I have her the basic info on combining meals and how foods digest and she took notes on what I said. Today she called excitedly to tell me about the food she got to begin eating more raw. When I first told her about raw vegan eating, she said she loved food too much to even consider changing her diet that way. Then she saw what it did for me and continues to do for me, when I follow it. So, she's giving it some effort. What helped convince her is my mother was given so much of the same information from her doctor and supported what I was telling my sister about detoxing to lose weight and stay healthy. I'm excited to have finally gotten another comrade. I hope I can meet some people who are living the raw lifestyle who haven't gotten cancer to force them to change.

Generations

Living in a multi generational house has its issues and we're all fresh on this journey. To recap, there's my grandfather, my parents, myself and my husband, our two little girls and my brother (some of the time since he works a lot and goes out to play when he's not working). We all share one bathroom, except my parents who have the master bedroom/bath. My brother has an unfinished bathroom in his basement suite, but, even when he gets around to finishing it, won't have a shower.

The first, most prominent issue we're having is food. My mother is the main cook/shopper. I've taken over dinners on days she works since I'm not working yet. When we're all working we'll be planning dinners much differently, I'm sure. For now, mom and I sit down and plan out what we're having and who is making what. The difficult thing is to make things that everyone might tolerate. First, we have to consider G's allergies. Everyone has their favorites and their preferences. My preference is for healthy and mostly vegetarian. My mom agrees and thus far we've made some excellent dinners. My grandfather eats a certain way, every day. He wants hot meals for all three meals each day. After the first week here I think he's gotten the clue that either my mother and/or I (depending on if she's working) need to be in the kitchen at 7:30 getting lunches prepared (she makes hers, I make S's for school) and getting breakfast for the girls. He has taken to eating a bowl of cereal first until we've cleared out. Then he makes his eggs and some meat product. One night I made bean minestrone (very tasty and vegan, though I'm not a big soup fan) but my grandfather doesn't eat beans, so he had a frozen dinner. Something that makes it difficult for my mother and I is that my grandfather wants crusty white bread, like french or Italian, EVERY night at dinner. That stuff isn't easy to resist! So, we made a deal that we'll just cut two slices and put them at his place then get him more if he wants. It was also bad to have out a bread basket because my girls wanted more than one slice and even with just one given, G pretty much just ate that bread for dinner a couple nights.

Yesterday we had grilled shrimp skewers, green salad, couscous and a broccoli salad. My sister and her fiance were eating with us (after we took our cat to her place to stay while we're living here at my parents) and she said to me "I feel like we're eating this way because you're here and they don't usually eat this way." She couldn't put her finger on what they most always eat, but it's been winter and that means a meat and potatoes kind of meal on Sundays, which is the day she usually visits for dinner. My mom started seeing a naturopathic doctor last year and the dr. told her to have some vegetarian dinners each week. So, really, though it may have changed some during the winter, she has followed that drs. order.

What I need to do is to stay out of the kitchen when other people are eating. I need to come up to my room and now that Will has brought up the computer that will be easier to do. Also, I need to get into another book, so I can come up and read instead of sitting down in the family room.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Not so angry, but definitely stressed

So, now that time has passed I'm much better. G went to bed by 8:30 last night and, though she stayed up playing quietly, she let her sister get to sleep before 8pm. For that I was thankful. Will gets in tomorrow. All will be good.

I went to a Teachers Fair for one of the counties here and so many of the schools had no upcoming openings, though tenured teachers have until mid July to say they're not coming back. I gave my resume out to whomever had a possible opening. What was annoying was that many of the schools did not have a sign on their table stating their openings or that they had no openings. Usually when they didn't and I asked they said they had no openings. So, I didn't ask if others were waiting in line and there was no sign. Then I overheard someone ask one elementary school and the guy said they had an art opening! WHY NOT POST IT?! Geeze! So, there are about 4-5 possible openings/interviews I could get from that county. I've seen other openings in the county in which I live... half part time and half full time. I really kind of need a full time if we're gonna get out into our own house this year, but I've said I'll take a part time, especially if it's more than half time, like 0.6 or more. It's weird how they do that. There is also the possibility of taking two schools at once to work full time. I'd be fine with that, too. Will is still skeptical I'll get a teaching position. He says that's his gut instinct. Well, I think he just needs to think that way so he's pleasantly surprised when I do. I need to think that I will get a position. My "worst case scenario" is getting only a part time position with no possibility for full time at that school. So, I hope my best case happens because I really need to support this family and that means providing medical/dental care. I'm really looking forward to having real insurance again.

I got my Prevacid refilled at the pharmacy here (still waiting to get approved for Medicaid) and the pharmacist asked "You don't have an insurance card?" Well, no, I would give you it if I did. It's going to take some effort to even get Prevacid through Medicaid as they have Rx steps to take and it starts with Prilosec OTC, for like two months! If I don't take Prevacid every night and at least every third morning (best every other morning) I get reflux and lose my voice. Simple as that. There's no alternative for me at this time. If I don't have a voice, I can't do my job well. I need to be able to speak so all my students can hear me! Also, if I'm having reflux at night, I don't sleep well (or at all) and then I can't do my job well because of not sleeping. Who knew reflux would be so life-altering?