Family: State of the union

>> Friday, November 16, 2007

In general, our Daughter seems to be fussier than she did before our Son was born, still, becoming upset whenever she is required to to anything.  This may just be part of being a child, of course, but I rather doubt it.

Meanwhile our son's behavior has taken a more active stance lately, and he seems to want to feed practically every hour, which of course is heavy burden on my wife.  I don't know what I can do about it; perhaps there's some book that will shed some light on the subject.

I'm still for all practicality no closer to shoving off and moving the family onto a boat than at any time before, sadly.  However I have been using To successfully remind myself to keep the goal actively in mind, and I have begun to contact organizations to find out how I might actually learn to sail.  I'm sure a boat is hardly a place for two small children, but I'm equally or more certain that its been done before.

Besides, American society on the average is not really somewhere I long to be - no offense to any of my friends, who I do in fact enjoy being with.  I go into "the public" and, judging books by their covers, I don't see anyone with whom I'd like my children hanging out with - and that goes doubly so for public, private, and church schools.

{started this on the bus - haven't had a chance to completely finish it yet.  More to come...}


Health: Better Eyesight

When I was a child, our parents told my older brother and I that we should eat our carrots because it would improve our vision.  He and I somehow wound up carrying this idea to the extreme view that eating carrots somehow bestowed a magical power to the eyes, going so far as to enable us with night vision.  So that night there we were, two small boys in a dark room, armed with fresh carrots, happily munching away to kickstart our new superpowers.

Yeah, that didn't work.

However carrots HAVE been proven to aid one's eyesight, that much is true as long as you understand that one carrot stick just isn't  going to do the trick.  But try this recipe, from the Encyclopedia, for a delicious vision tonic:

Wash but don't peel two medium carrots (if you can get differing varieties get one each of the Chanteney and Nantes types).  Juice these, and then wash-don't-peel and juice one small beet (eating the greens later).  Blend these together with a half cup of unwhipped cream, half a teaspoon vanilla and half a teaspoon maple syrup.


Health: A grapefruit note

My wife has a habit acquired from her mother or grandmother: When eating a grapefruit she will peel it completely to the point where only the prime, juicy contents of each slice are left for heavenly consumption.  It really is the most delicious way to enjoy a grapefruit, made even better only by chilling the fruit prior to eating.

Prior to our marriage I would only eat grapefruit sliced in half, removing the contents of each slice with a grapefruit spoon.  This method takes a little less time, regardless of whether you use your knife to free the flesh from the bitter skin before diving in with the spoon or not.  On the other hand, it seems a bit messier and a little more wasteful as you're always left with but a little of the flesh stuck inside.

Both of these methods, however, fail to truly capture the benefits of this fruit in their entirety, because grapefruit have a layer of bioflavonoids such as hesperidin and rutin stored within the bitter white rind just under the outer skin.  These bioflavonoids help maintain the body's small blood capillaries, and set the body's "fat thermostat" a little higher, making them especially useful in chemically "burning off" excess stored fat.

A great way to capture these elements is to peel the grapefruit lightly, leaving as much rind on as possible, and sending it through a juicer.


Health: Thyroid Notes

>> Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My mother-in-law takes thyroid medicine and any kind of doctor-prescribed drugs (or any drugs for that matter - they're all the same) makes me sick to think about it.  In a recent juice book that I'm reading, The Encyclopedia of Healing Juices, I've found a few notes about the thyroid:

Extended consumption of cabbage can deplete iodine within the body, which will weaken the thyroid gland.  Kelp can offset this iodine loss.

Cranberry juice may help an underactive thyroid, again because of the iodine levels in the berry.  Don't go buying Cran-whatever juice and expect miracles, though - processed juices usually contain added sugars, are often diluted with water and/or other juices, and have usually been pasteurized, which kills the nutritional value of the juice.

Radishes are amazing in their effects on the thyroid.  They contain a sulfur component called Raphanin that regulates the thyroid gland - it both speeds up and slows down its hormone production.  A *very small* amount of radish juice is well-recommended wherever a thyroid condition is concerned.


Health: Juicing and Exercise

>> Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I started reading another juicing book that (apparently!) we've had in our possession for some time, called the Encyclopedia of Healing Juices, by John Heinerman.  I find it amazing that I've had it for quite some time now and never opened it up before, because despite having the word "encyclopedia" in the title, it's an incredibly interesting book to read.  It steps through a plethora of vegetables and fruits, listing the contents (vitamins & minerals) of each, telling what they're good for - and giving case examples occasionally, and describing how best to prepare each one.  I'm currently testing out the asparagus juice; it's supposed to keep your skin healthy and mine has been too dry for - well, ever since I can remember, regardless of whether or not I drink enough water.  I'm optimistic that it'll help, but then, I'm also ramping up on all other sorts of juicing, so it's not a controlled experiment.  In the future, I DO plan to get a vita-mix; I'm absolutely convinced those are the best blender-type juicers possible - I just haven't gotten one because they're so terribly expensive.  I should just go ahead and buy one as I'm sure I'd be happy with it.  There are some expensive purchases that make me feel really good months and years after I've bought them.  (Like my teapot; it's a zojirushi vacuum boiler/heater thing.  It was about $179 for a TEAPOT but it's been absolutely 100% worth it.)

I haven't done any bodyweight-only exercises for a while.  I did change things up a bit last night, though - my wife had brought down the mini-trampoline and put it in the basement for our daughter.  I remembered reading that bouncing on one of those is actually one of the best cardio exercises you can do, so I grabbed some handweights - some easy 2-pounders - and jumped through a large portion of a movie (Arthur and the Incredibles - thumbs up!).  It really did get the heartrate pumping FAST.  I'll keep this up, definitely. :)


Family: My how they grow! Work: Cookies

>> Monday, November 12, 2007

It seems in general that the Daughter has become fussier since the Son was born.  She whines and cries when it's bed time, she complains when we have to leave the house - and complains when we have to go back home.  It's probably classic toddler reaction to a newborn, but it's so horribly OLD already.

Our son now fills the infant bathtub to a point where he can sit on his own (not that we let him) without falling over.  This is only weeks after his first bath.  If you want numbers, he's at 10.5 lbs, I believe, which is about 3 more than when he was born.  He fits rather nicely into the newborn outfit that was way too big just a couple of weeks ago, too.  No wonder they sleep so much - all that growing just wears them out!

We pushed our cookies application live just the other day.  It's actually just an update from a previous version, but it really does make a significant difference.  Feel free to send cookies around with - it's soft-launch for a few days so perhaps there'll be a bug or two, but it is publicly-accessible.


Stressing Out

>> Friday, November 09, 2007

Well, stress got to me from all sides yesterday.  First off, I'm reading a couple of health books that have really opened my eyes to just how truly bad the food is that we eat, here.  And I'm not talking just Oversize Me here - it's about genetically modified foods, radiated foods, pesticide-laden foods, foods harvested too early and forced to ripen in storage via chemicals... Well, frankly that alone is enough to freak ME out. 

But then I came to the chapters about the medical industry, and how doctors and hospitals really don't exist to make people healthy, but only to treat the symptoms of their diseases.  Thus, they stay sick, continue buying medicines (DRUGS), and eventually die having given far too much money to the "health cartel".  This made me think of all the times I've been to the doctor. Most of the time, they've been USELESS: They use guilt and fear to convince patients they need such-and-such a test, and when the test is run it doesn't really tell the doctor anything they really needed to know. 

For example, ultrasounds.  Our son had two of them, and while I can see a little validation to give one time to prepare if the baby has a birth defect such as Downs Syndrome or a cleft palate, frankly, ultrasounds are POINTLESS and an easy way for the hospital to make a buck.  So what if they tell you how much the baby weighs or how long it is?  If one is a smart person and eats healthily, exercises moderately, and takes quality supplements, the odds of one's baby not being healthy are very low.  I gave in on the second ultrasound, for our son; it was done only about 2.5 weeks before he was born, and I absolutely regret it because it did, like I said, absolutely nothing to help him and everything to remove more money from our wallet.  Yay.

On top of all that, work was hectic-crazy yesterday with bugs popping up in the software, unexpectedly and at the last minute...


Politics: A Response from Norm Coleman on Health Care

>> Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The government of America really upsets me.  If it weren't for the existence of Ron Paul, I'd probably be gone already.  I wrote to Norm Coleman, one of my Senators, complaining about how the federal government should not be involved in managing health care in this country.  This is something that according to the Constitution should be left to each individual state to manage.  The federal level shouldn't enter into the picture at all because it does not deal with inter-state commerce.

I've summarized what his letter says to me, and will post his response in full thereafter.


Thank you for writing to me.  I feel your pain.

Yes, our health care system is screwed up.  The government should do something, but I believe individuals should own and manage their own health insurance.

Government programs are still needed, and through these, we will redistribute wealth from those who have to those who need.  The federal government will be in charge, mandating the states' actions in "fixing" health insurance plans. 

In essence, I am working to put the government in control of all your options, but you can choose from these options.


Thank you for contacting me regarding the rising cost of healthcare in our nation and how it has impacted you and your family. I strongly share your concerns and I agree every American should have access to affordable, quality healthcare.

I believe significant changes are needed to make our health care system work. It is important to recognize that some of the best medical innovations and breakthroughs in the world come out of the US . However, I believe it is unacceptable that nearly 47 million Americans currently lack health insurance and for those who have it, continue to struggle with healthcare costs. I believe the federal government has a role in helping all Americans gain access to affordable, quality health insurance. That said , I believe individuals should own and manage their own health insurance.

Government should continue to care for the neediest through Medicare, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Programs. For the rest of us, government should provide a health insurance tax credit and help folks buy into quality, affordable private health insurance plans - plans you and your family can keep even if your job changes.  The federal government should give tools to states to create a one-stop-shop to help people understand all of their insurance options and make good choices for their families.  States should also be given incentives to reorganize the private insurance market to create efficiencies and make sure no one is turned away.  The goal should be coverage for all without creating another federal government bureaucracy. I am currently working on a proposal to reach this goal

Please know that I am committed to work towards a healthcare system that will be more affordable and accessible to all.

Thank you once again for contacting me. I cannot express how important it is for me to listen to and find solutions for Minnesota families and individuals. I am grateful for your advice and I look forward to hearing from you in the future on this important issue.

Norm Coleman
United States Senate


Ron Paul is the ONLY common sense candidate

>> Thursday, November 01, 2007

Well, I see I missed my reminder to post this last night, but better late than never. I've gotten a couple of replies to my "Do you know who Ron Paul is" question on Facebook -- all NO's, which really surprised me. He's a Republican candidate who is taking the internet by storm. Any time I've watched a conversation between candidates, he is the ONLY one who answers the question asked, and he does it in a straightforward, easy-to-understand manner.

ANYWAY, two nights ago he was even on the Tonight Show. You just really have to watch this. I truly CANNOT understand why someone wouldn't like him.

From Wikipedia: Paul claims the most YouTube views of all presidential candidates, over 4.4 million, [147] and the most subscriptions of all candidates, having surpassed Barack Obama on May 20, 2007.


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