Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

My older daughter is currently grappling with the fact that this person is also Hannah Montana.

Her explanation: “Its just such a shame that she has turned bad.”

When pressed about what’s so bad about Miley Cyrus, all I get is a blush and “You know!”

I tried explaining that both of them are just projections for an audience, but she’s not ready for that yet.

The worst part is that, at some point, she’s going to realize that I prefer Miley to Hannah. She is definitely not ready for that!

Her little sister, on the other hand, is totally ready. Z’s choice for music in the car today?

Meanwhile, her “big” sister wanted to hear this:


Jonah for President!!

Jonah for President!!

Six months ago, I checked myself into Fletcher Allen Urgent Care and had a Blood Sugar Level of 408. For comparison, according to WebMD, the normal level is considered to be below 100. A reading of 200 is enough for a doctor to diagnose a person with Diabetes Melitus. My entire world was thrown upside down.

Six days ago, I reached my goal of 180 lbs. I haven’t been this skinny since 1996. My blood sugar has been below normal for the last five months. Last month, my doctor told me, “the only bd news is that I won’t be seeing you as much.”

I’ll try to write more another day about how I got from there to here. It has been mostly because of the support of my family, who have made great allowances for me as I focused almost entirely on my health last Spring. I also think about how long I must have had diabetes to have a reading like 408. Coming back to America last year was a tough decision, but it may literally have saved my life.

For now, I’m still not out of the woods. Long term weight loss success is about 20%. Not as bad as the 5% that most people talk about, but still not the rosiest of pictures.
As the new school year begins, I’ve been trying to find an exercise regime that I can follow while still being an active member of my family, and trying to set a more realistic calorie level. I feel that if I make it through the upcoming holiday season, there is hope that my recovery may be long term.

Something’s Fishy Here

I heard this story on the way home this evening.

Mageau and his crew built floor-to-ceiling racks made of PVC pipe, an idea they got online and spent six months refining. Each rack looks sort of like a ladder. On the horizontal pipes, they drill holes in the top and stick a plant in each hole. Then they run nutrient-rich water from the fish tanks through the pipes, bathing the roots of the plants.

I love this idea of creating symbiosis in an agricultural system. There is a lot of this philosophy in the permaculture practices that the Dirtless Hippy likes to talk about.

Universities and private businesses across the country are experimenting with aquaponics.
“It’s kind of fun,” Mageau says. “It’s like the electric car. It’s almost a race to come up with the method or the model that really works well.”

It is also the project that my cousin, Arieh, was working on in Israel until recently. I suspect you’ll be hearing a lot more about this in the future. It kinda makes me wish I ate fish.

Parish is to Megachurch as Localvore is to ???

My cousin, Pete Armstrong (and newly-minted proud papa) asks, “can the parish-based church and pastor make a comeback?”

I am instinctually wary of churches and other modes of organized religion, but Pete’s vision of a parish mission seems pretty good to me:

“We join with our neighbors, other churches, people of other faiths or no faith. We bring a hot meal to the homeless and hurting. We make awkward conversation with those who are vastly different from us. We gather around the Word and communion every Sunday. We fight for widows and orphans ravaged by horrific housing practices.”

What’s not to like? I’m looking forward to watching him wrestle with more questions.

It is Worth it

I disagree with almost everything about this article

In recent years, the home-cooked meal has increasingly been offered up as the solution to our country’s burgeoning nutrition-related health problems of heart disease and diabetes. But while home-cooked meals are typically healthier than restaurant food, sociologists Sarah Bowen, Sinikka Elliott, and Joslyn Brenton from North Carolina State University argue that the stress that cooking puts on people, particularly women, may not be worth the trade-off.

Yes cooking does take a huge amount of time, effort, and (initially) money. But the payoff, in terms of health, and especially socialization and family unity are huge.

My children are 7 and 9, and for most of the last decade I have hated eating with them. Its always a struggle to get them to eat what’s in front of them, not fight with each other, and get (at least most of) the food from the plate to their mouth without leaving it all on the floor and table. Also, my younger daughter often falls off of her chair. No, really.

But I am starting to see the end of the tunnel. They are learning to have interesting conversations during dinner. They are becoming more tolerant of new foods (at least relatively speaking), and someday they might stop pinching, kicking and screaming at each other. Until then, we put them on opposite ends of the table.

Its called parenting. It mostly sucks, but then we have those moments, like last night, when your children start to look and behave like humans. And then its awesome.

I found this sentence from the article particularly shortsighted:

The women interviewed faced not just children but grown adults who are whiny, picky, and ungrateful for their efforts.

Well, duh! It wasn’t so long ago that they were also shitting in their pants. I suppose this means that modern parenting is over-emphasizing indoor plumbing? I mean, it takes a lot of money, time, and effort to set up a functional bathroom. No, parenting requires slogging through that crap so that the adults we produce are healthy, functional members of society.

This article is right on point about how damaging poverty is to the family unit. Erratic schedules, poor facilities and lack of knowledge about health and cooking are definitely obstacles in far too many people’s lives. But I’m pretty sure McDonalds Big Macs are not the solution here.

Hopes and Dreams

“Dear Parents please fill in this cloud for your child with your hopes and dreams for their second grade school year.”

I’m not sure they had any idea what they were asking of us, but this is what J created:

Yes, that’s construction paper grass at the bottom she cut out.

We were surprised to find this returned in Z’s bag (and slightly crumpled) at the end of the day.

Me: “Why didn’t your teacher accept it?”
Z: “I didn’t have it in my work folder.”

Oh yeah, THAT’S why I hated school.