Thursday, December 20, 2012

Rule #2 Better in the Garbage than On My Hips

In August 2011 my weight was down to 146.  I wanted to find out how low I could go, so I joined and started keeping track of what I ate and how much I exercised.  I chose because I'd heard of it, but there are other sites MyFitnessPal, etc.

Using a database taught me that walnuts (my go-to snack) were a lot more fattening that almonds (my new go-to snack.)  Also cheese, which I love, is more fattening than hummus for an afternoon pick me up.  I like hummus, too, but I still eat cheese, maybe not so much.

Since I could only eat a limited amount of food, I decided I could to be picky.  Very picky.  Now, if something is not up to my gourmet standards, into the garbage it goes. Things I threw away: cookies with only one bite out of them, inferior chocolate candy, frozen pasta, mushy apples.  In our land of plenty: throwing away food is no longer a sin it's a necessity, no matter what your mama told you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How to Lose Weight without Suffering #1

RULE #1 Eat whatever the hell you want…
Just not everything you want.

I lost ten percent of my body weight and have kept it off for over a year without pain, without “dieting,” without combining stupid foods. Southern Belles don’t suffer on purpose.

It all started on June 15, 2011, but I didn’t know it, I thought I was just going to spend a month in Europe.  At the time I said I weighed 150.  It was more often 152, 153, but I didn’t want to be petty. I also said, my weight fluctuated between 152 and 147.  (The only time I hit 147 was when I had the flu.)  But I thought I looked OK and at 5’4”, I wasn’t unhealthy.  Five pounds overweight, according to the CDC, but what’s 5 pounds? 

In London I joined my cousin who was going through a divorce and had lost 60 pounds on the misery diet. Misery aside, she looked great and was determined not to stay that way.  We walked everywhere.  She ran and swam.  I just walked.  She cut out sugars, starches, and breakfast. I ate breakfast and bread, but I wasn’t going to pig out on cookies around her.  Still we ate in restaurants almost every night and sometimes at lunch. She counted calories, I was just aware that I didn't want to overeat. "I didn't eat everything I wanted."

When I got home on July 15, 2011 I weighed 148.  A month later, I weighed 146 without suffering. That’s when I decided to get serious and see how much I could lose while living my life.  My goal was 130.  

In my next posts I’ll let you know how I did it and some easy rules that I follow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Dallas Decoder Asked Me How Should J.R. Die

So sorry to hear about Larry Hagman's passing.  He was a lovely guy, funny and generous and JR, the character David Jacobs created which Larry so ably brought to life, will go down in the annuals of pop culture history.  He became the archtypal villain you loved to hate.

A few days ago The Dallas Decoder contacted me and asked:  How should J.R. die?  I said he should die as he lived, shot by a jealous husband.

Friday, April 06, 2012


Thursday night Carl’s mother fell and broke two bones in her wrist.  She spent six and a half hours in the ER.  Friday morning we call the orthopedic surgeon the hospital recommended.  The person answering the phone said we could have an appointment.  In three days.  THREE DAYS!  

Now my mother-in-law is in pain with only a soft cast and we don’t know what to do, we don't know how to bath her, we know nothing about physical therapy, and if she falls on the soft cast, she may break the bone again.    
Something positive: the doctors at this hospital are able to access the hospital x-rays on their computers.  Half an hour later the receptionist called back and said, “Ouch,” and gave us an appointment for that afternoon.  The orthopedist reset her arm and created a hard cast in half an hour instead of the six and a half hours in the ER. 

I asked the nurse for referral to a service to help her get back in her home.  The orthopedic nurse claimed she’d never been asked for that before, but found three brochures.  The surgeon didn’t like any of these agencies and scribbled a note for one he liked, but neither he nor the agency told me how to access their services. Now it's Friday evening.

We took my mother-in-law back into our cramped guest room.  Her hand was turning blue.  The doctor had said it would swell and become blue, but how blue?  Should we worry?  And if so where do we take her?  It’s Friday night.  Do we go back for another 61/2 hours in the ER?  The possibility brought her to tears. We applied ice to the cast and the swelling went down a bit.

Saturday:  We spent the day trying to navigate the system. This is what we learned.
Check insurance coverage.  She has Medicare and AARP.  AARP said she had the “best policy” and would cover what Medicare didn’t but didn’t tell us how to get any medicare services.   
Find a doctor.  It’s Saturday.   Her private doctor was out of his office.  At three o'clock the wonderful doctor covering for him called back and said the magic words, “I’ll write a prescription for a service and if they don’t call within three hours, call me back.”  At six o'clock Saturday evening we had a service.

Sunday morning a nurse came to the house, ordered a physical therapist, and said she could go back to her own apartment.  Monday morning, we were there along with the housekeeper she loves, who offered to spend the night with her for the next week. 

Everything was perfect until the physical therapist arrived, took one look at her blue, swollen hand and said he couldn’t do anything.  She needed immediate medical care and we found ourselves in of health care hell once again.


Sunday, April 01, 2012

America.  The Best Healthcare?
Thursday night my elderly mother-in-law fell and broke her wrist.  She called 911 and the paramedics took her to one of the major hospitals in Los Angeles.  We were at the theater.
Fortunately a friend in her building happened by and saw her on the floor and called our house.  Fortunately, we had a houseguest staying in our guest room.  Fortunately the friend was home. Fortunately we saw the message at intermission and sped to the hospital. 

Otherwise, they might well have sent her home in a taxi, drugged, confused, and very unsteady on her feet, with no support at all.

When we arrived around 8:30, she had been there for two hours, confused and in pain.  They had x-rayed the arm, wrapped it in a soft cast, hung her fingers unwrapped in wire hangers to let the arm set and pumped her full of pain medication.  Six hours later, around 12:30 they took some more x-rays and said we could take her home with a prescription for pain pills she was to take every 6 hours and a referral to an orthopedist. 

I asked for a social worker or case manager so we could get home health services.  “Don’t have anything like that,” the nurse told me.  “No discharge planner?”

 “No.”(The hospital actually has a home health department with an emergency number.  We found that out two days later from their website.)

I asked the ER doctor, “What do we do with her?”
Her answer did not include “I’ll write you a prescription for a visiting nurse to evaluate her.”  Her answer was, “She’ll have to go home with one of you.”
(Note: they did not even give us one extra pain pill that she could take at 6am.  Instead, my husband had to drive from 1:30am to 2:15 in search of an all night pharmacy.  Fortunately I was at the house and could take care of her, while he was gone.)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

WriteGirl Creates Music

 You can't write all the time.  One of my other favorite activities is acting as a mentor for a beautiful high school girl, Cree Nixon.  There's a photo of her at the Grammy Museum.

I met her through WriteGirl, a nonprofit which links high school girls with professional writers.  Although almost half the students in the Los Angeles Public Schools drop out,  100% of the girls in WriteGirl go to college, most of them with scholarships.  Their slogan: Never underestimate the power of a girl and her pen.

Every month WriteGirl holds workshops in different genres.  Yesterday we went to the Grammy Museum where the girls learned the basics of writing lyrics.  At the end of the day, a group of professional songwriters put each of the lyrics to music.

So much fun.
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Friday, March 02, 2012

Rush Limbaugh and His Prurient Interest in Sex Videos

Mr. Limbaugh has long called any woman who disagrees with him a feminazi.  This logic impaired spokesman for the ridiculous right recently said: “So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here’s the deal, if we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

Mr. Limbaugh, two questions:  Do you have a prurient desire to watch sex videos?  And who's this "we" you're speaking for?  Are you speaking for men?  

Because here's the deal Mr. Limbaugh,  women don't need contraceptives to have safe sex. We only need them when we have sex with men.  

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Valentine's Tips from the Southern Belle

As liberated women we want to think of men as extensions of ourselves, but with more body hair.  This unfortunately is not the case.

Men are exotic creatures with great upper body strength and a poor self-image that continually needs feeding and stoking.  They have this strange blind spot when it comes to women, probably because they don’t pay attention when we talk.  Even Freud asked, “What do women want?”  And he had all those women on his couch telling him.  So if he didn’t know, how can we expect the average man to figure out what we want. 
You’ll find these rules work for all men, whether they’re lovers, colleagues, or bosses.  So don’t limit yourself.

Rule Number 11. Men find themselves the most fascinating subject of any conversation.  Let him talk about himself, and he’ll think you’re a brilliant conversationalist.
Rule Number 13. Laugh at his wit, and he’ll admire your sense of humor.
Rule Number 15. Let him know you think he’s intelligent and he’ll be awed by your perspicacity, even if he can’t pronounce the word.

Rule Number 71. There are two kinds of men: the ones who are interested in you and the rest.  The second kind are so misguided they’re not worth your time, because if a man doesn’t have the sense to appreciate you, he obviously doesn’t have any sense at all.

Rule Number 24. A girl has to look her best while she’s still young enough to look real good.
Rule Number 80. Men have always drooled over beautiful women, but there’s no point obsessing.  There are plenty of women who starve themselves to perfection, work out every day and sit home every night, while at any supermarket you will find lots of women who are fat, feisty and married.  You’ve got to keep things in perspective.

Rule Number 33. Forget his stomach.  The surest way to keep a man happy is to become his cheerleader.