A while back…I reckon it was about a year ago, I think (I am not one for keeping up with what happened when, and if it was more than 2 weeks ago, I just say ‘a while back’) my kidneys crashed. 15 years of super-high doses of lithium then 3 years of super-high doses of motrin on top of the lithium made the kidneys simply give up. I was diagnosed with medication-induced nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. I clearly remember a phone call and and email from The Good Dr. H, my psychiatrist, just a few days after I’d seen him for an appointment. All my appointments included lab work checking for kidney, liver and thyroid function. He actually YELLED at me, both on the phone and in all caps in the email. GET OFF THE LITHIUM NOW! CALL ME ASAP. So I did, and he explained that my kidney function was WAY down and I asked if it was really necessary to get off the lithium and he got kind of snarky and said no, not really, but go ahead and get on the kidney transplant list and find a local dialysis clinic if I wanted to. Oh. That bad, eh. Ok.
Then I made an appointment with Dr. Courage, a local nephrologist, and he did a whole kidney workup and said (imagine a Nigerian accent)”Ooo Mam, you kidneys Not So Good, but I can help. No more salt, Mam, not ever. Cut down on the potassium too.”
Wot…no salt? Never? Ok then, you’re the one with the fancy training, I’ll do what you say.
So for the past year I have been very, very good. No salt, low potassium (which was actually harder than the no salt edict, as potassium in high in leafy greens, whole grains and potatoes. 3 of my favorite things). After about 5 months, Dr. Courage lifted the low potassium order, and I was able to return to my beloved green salads and organic whole grains. But still no (and he meant NO) salt.
So, a couple of months ago I was able to stop taking the medication I was on, and the kidney function had returned to about 50% (from a low of 20%). Everyone was pleased. Perhaps I could start eating some salt now, I was thinking.
So gradually I started eating a bit more salt. Potato chips with my no-salt sandwich. Maybe if I had the soup instead of a salad at a restaurant, and just drank a whole lot of water with it. Maybe if I knew we were going to Longhorn and if I ate absolutely NO salt for 2 days before and 2 days after, I could have one of their highly seasoned steaks…yeah I can justify anything!
Well, last Tuesday we went to Savannah. Lunch was at Panera Bread, and I had a turkey sandwich (with salt!) and a bowl of broccoli cheese soup (very salty!) and whatever we ate the next day (don’t remember) was also salty and the kidneys…they kinda went NO MORE. Talk about water retention- everything bloated, stuff started to hurt, and all the water drinking in the world didn’t help. Did I call Dr. Courage? Of course not! I could handle this! And so I have. I have an appointment to see him anyway later in the month, and I will see The Good Dr. H on Monday. I’ll report all of this to both of them, and have resolved to be more careful about the salt intake. I was getting complacent. Like, oh I am fine now! The kidneys are fine, I feel great, I can eat like a normal person! Only…I can’t.
I don’t think people realize just how much salt is in everything. Canned soups, restaurant food (all of it!!), pre-mixed seasonings…my word, salt is in every singe thing normal people eat. It’s frustrating to know that I can’t go to Olive Garden and get a bowl of their chicken gnocchi soup and simply enjoy it. If I want a steak, I have to fix it myself. The only eat-out foods that are safe (get this!) are the tacos from El Sombrero, because they don’t season the meat. Even the advertised low-salt Healthy Choice things have too much in them.
It’s a good thing I love to cook.
It hasn’t been that difficult to change cooking habits. I simply don’t add salt to anything. There is a shaker on the table, and an oft-repeated statement to anyone who complains “it’s alot easier for you to add salt than it is for me to remove it” and also “it may be inconvenient for you to add salt, but not as inconvenient as it would be if I we in the hospital getting a kidney transplant” which often results in “oh Mom, you’re so dramatic”
I’ve learned flavor-enhancing techniques. Now, I make my own stock, a rich, herbal chicken, beef or pork stock and I’ll use that for cooking grains (rice, barley, wheat, quinoa) instead of water. Sometimes a splash of vinegar or lemon juice will substitute for salt. Searing meat with garlic oil and black pepper is flavor-making, when concocting stews…there are ways around salt, and while none of those are absolute substitutes, they go a long way in the flavor department.
The one real exception is in making bread. Bread of any sort- be it biscuits or yeast or flat- requires salt. So, I simply don’t eat that much of it.
I have had to completely eliminate anything from a package. Soups from a can, boxed dinners like Mac and Cheese or Zatarain’s Red Beans and Rice or even ramen. Nothing from a package is allowed. No packaged or deli meats, nothing pre-made at all. Not even my beloved Hebrew National Hot Dogs. Sigh. Mustard and ketchup are high in salt. Premade sausage…nope. Bacon…forgeddaboutit. I admit to fudging where the bacon is concerned. 2 strips a week, followed by a day of green salads with oil and vinegar. because honestly, bacon? Yeah. I am NOT giving up bacon.
It makes for a difficult time come lunch. Greek yogurt and homemade (no salt) granola is the current favorite. It’s convenient and pretty tasty. It is not, however, an adequate substitute for the time honored favorite of canned tomato soup and grilled (american, too salty) cheese.
Sigh. Yes, this is a culinary pity-party. I remind myself that the alternative was to not take the lithium for 15 years, and probably be dead from suicide, or not take the motrin (because the first 4 orthopedists I went to didn’t believe me when I said I was hurting) and be bedridden and miserable from the pain. All that salt isn’t good for a body anyway…
I was sitting in Sunday School the other day, and the teacher called out a bunch of verses, asking us to look them up and someone read them. So most of us (older people) are flipping thtough our Bibles, looking for this Psalm and that Galatians and whatever, and there’s the one lone college student who appears to be messing with his cellphone. I was thinking “Dude, not the time or place, y’know” then he up and says “I’ve got the Psalms one” and starts reading…off his phone. Wot? How are you supposed to show off your verse-hunting prowess by being the first one to flip to a verse because you know *exactly* where in the Bible that book is located? Part of me thinks having the Bible app on your iPhone is cheating. Part of me thinks it’s kind of awesome because you don’t have to carry around this big thick book anymore. Part of me wonders what’s going to happen in 25 years on the streetcorner at Walmart…is the dude in the black pants and white shirt going to yell and wave his iPhone at you? Somehow it won’t be quite the same as now, when he has a King James Bible the size of an encyclopedia
Not long ago someone asked if I had or wanted a Kindle- you know, those electronic book things. I think it’s a cool piece of technology, and if you travel alot and don’t want to schlep a 12 pound copy of Stephen King’s latest, sure. but there is something satisfying abour holding a heavy book, turning the pages, finding that stain from the jelly toast you were eating the last time you read it (or if it’s a library book wonder what that stain might be).
What will libraries be like, if electronic readers take over and books go the way of VHS cassettes? You wouldn’t even have to go…you’d just download it. I would hate that. I enjoy chatting with the librarian, or being nosy and judgemental about the Jackie Collins trash the person ahead of me is checking out. We have already lost the experience of going to the Video rental store, slapping our hands over the children’s eyes as we have to go through the adult section to get to the children’s videos in the back (who’s bright idea was that anyway, to put the kids stuff in the back and the “Bimbo Babes of Berkely U” in the front?) It’s a whole part (wot? who’s your editor, Rootie?) of the Human Experience being removed.
I suppose it will somehow be made up for in other ways. I heard a thing on the radio a while back about Car Clubs in China. Apparently people there are so wrapped up in their work and such, and everyone rides a bike and doesn’t get OUT that now there are Car Clubs where a group of you rent several cars and go driving in the countryside.
Perhaps the modern Coffee Shop is filling the void created by Technology. I like the Coffee Shop thing, squishy couches and bottomless cups of hot brew.
I suppose I could sound like my mother and bang on about how the world is going to hell and soon, what with all this stuff…but I think we are more adaptable than that. People will always find a way to socialize, somehow. And it really is easier to have a little phone smaller than a deck of cards that carries the entire Bible in it, plus all your songs and phone numbers and restaurant coupons. How cool is it that you can put an entire bookcase’s worth of lofty tomes on a thing the size of a small notebook that fits in your purse? Will was telling me about this thing that is (sorta) like a Kindle- a flat screen with a memory chip (the kind in my camera) and you can write on it, take notes in class, and they’re all saved on the memory chip, so you don’t have to carry around notebooks full of paper for each class, and I reckon if you have your textbooks as an app on your iPhone, then holy cow, you don’t need a 40 pound backpack, you can stick everything you need in your pocket.
Now if they could just make a Subway turkey on wheat app.
Filed under: Uncategorized
Gratitude, that is. It’s supposed to be a 30 day gratitude challenge, but I missed yesterday. So, it’s a 29 day challenge.
In 29 days it will be Thanksgiving. Well, here in the USA it will be. So, I challenge you, every day for the next 29 days, to find something to be grateful for. Write it down on a bit of paper and put it in a jar. Or alternatively, run to The Pottery Barn and drop $70 on a felt tree with numbered leaf pockets and stick a little card with your thing on it in a leaf. Personally, I am going for the jar option.
It is my intention this Fall/Winter to whine less and be grateful more.
I wish I still had little kids who still get into this kind of thing. #4 still likes it. He adores his cheesy little felt Advent thing where you stick an animal or person on a background banner, so that by December 24, all the characters are on it- sheep, angels, etc and you have the Jesus’s birth story. I am looking forward to grandkids, and hope I can make them a gratitude tree…because I am SO not dropping $70 at Pottery Barn for one, even tho it will probably cost me $90 to make one.
Gratitude#1: My children are healthy
Filed under: Dewicate feewings
Sometimes Terry says I am Eeyore, in person. Occasionally accused of being a pessimist, I prefer to think of it as realism. Eeyore had many wise things to say. Here are a few of my favorite:
“Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it is a good morning,” he said. “Which I doubt,” said he.
“Why, what’s the matter?”
“Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”
“Can’t all what?” said Pooh, rubbing his nose.
“Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush.”
“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.
“So it is.”
“Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”
Eeyore walked all round Tigger one way, and then turned and walked round him the other way.
“What did you say it was?” he asked.
“Ah!” said Eeyore.
“He’s just come,” explained Piglet.
“Ah!” said Eeyore again.
He thought for a long time and then said: “When is he going?”
Eeyore is my kinda guy. We went to Savannah today. Carmina needed some tending from the dealer service department, so Terry took the day and the 2 of us wandered around Savannah, malling and eating and generally piddling the day away. He found a coffee cup with Eeyore’s image on it, and the quote “good morning, if it is a good morning, which I doubt.” Now I have a new cup!
When I was 4 or 5, my aunt gave me a stuffed Eeyore, which I loved with all my heart and still have. I even still have the button-on tail, which considering all things, is pretty remarkable.
Is there a cartoon character who resembles you?
CJ got all (ok mostly) moved out yesterday. is stuff is minimal- a bed, a small couch, a bunch of clothes and one box of assorted other stuff. His new apartment posses a peculiar odor, reminiscent of old food and urine (nice.), and his room is tiny, but he managed to fit everything into it, and since he didn’t call in a panic last night (well, hard to, since he lost his cell phone a while back) I reckon everything is fine.
Except he left his 2 dressers (cheap, goodwill) and will need to find a way to get them out of here. Perhaps since Terry is off tomorrow (YAY!) we’ll load them on the truck and donate them back to Goodwill.
There’s no noisy alarms going off all morning, to get smacked on the snooze button and repeat performance for the next hour. There’s no one taking an extremely long, use-all-the-hot-water shower, and drop-4 towels-on-the-wet-floor, gripe and curse morning performance…gosh it’s actually peaceful and I am not sitting around anticipating an altercation over how come I didn’t bake him any biscuits! Nice!
Nope, I don’t have to be concerned over his whims, inconsistencies, unreasonable demands. I don’t have to wonder when/if he’s coming in, when/if he’s leaving, whether or not I have to cook enough to feed someone who might/might not be there. The laundry is his problem. So is the food.
I did, because I did this for his older brothers, take him to the grocery store and get him set up with about $50 worth of food. Enough to feed him for a week or so until he gets his next paycheck and is ready. Easy fix stuff like ramens, and sausage dogs. It’s up to him to get to the dollar store for some dishes, and Big Lots for cookware. Maybe his roommates will be nice enough to let him use their pots until then. I have no idea. He has this week off from school, so it’s not like he won’t have time to deal with it all. I am not bothering myself about it.
He was worried last week, wondering if he’ll be ok on his own. He really is kind of a homebody Mama’s Boy for all his adult posturing and bluster. He wants my help with all of it, how to buy food, going to the apartment office to sign up, all that stuff. His brothers never wanted that kind of hand-holding. I reckon it doesn’t bother me much, but I would like to see him do this stuff on his own, without me standing there like a 5th wheel.
Anyway, I am looking forward to some peace now. I am happy he’s out on his own. Happy for him *and* the rest of us.
Busy day ahead. Church from 10 to 2-ish, then moving CJ into his apartment! It’s 4th Sunday at church, which means a tasty potluck lunch after the service and I was called and asked to give my testimony which makes me a little bit nervous, tho speaking in front of a crowd doesn’t bother me, it’s just I tend to ramble sometimes and Terry will be at work so he can’t give me subtle cues like flapping his hands or throwing a balled up napkin at my head. Anyway, the testimony thing- no big deal. Sometimes i wish I had a Huge Thing to tell like how I used to be a prostitute or a member of the Mafia then Found God and now I’m a housewife with 4 kids and some cats. and dogs…but then again maybe it’s best that *isn’t* my history because there’s this strange competiton amongst some factions of the Christian Church that is all about “well my sins were bigger than yours so I am more Saved than you are” and that’s totally not my case. Oh sure there’s a big of grubbiness in my history, who doesn’t have that? But it’s low grade-grubbiness, like the kind where you have to take off your shoes so you don’t walk poo onto the carpet, not the kind where you really ought to spend a couple of months in a decontamination unit to make sure you don’t infect the rest of the town with Ebola.
It’s funny (funny-peculiar, not funny ha-ha, unless you’re me then it’s totally funny ha-ha but that’s because things I think are funny aren’t what the rest of the world thinks funny) to get in a group of Christians who then start in on how they were Saved. There’s this whole one-upmanship thing with sin.
“I was a terrible sinner!” Christian 1 will say, “I drank too much and slept with my boyfriend one night BEFORE we were married!”
Ooh ahh the rest of us would say.
“Oh I slept with THREE men before I got married!” Christian 2 replies.
OOH AAH the rest of us would sayl
“Oh that’s nothing! (insert long account of the 6 months as a BDSM tourist)” Third one says.
etc, and each account is apparently a little more heinous than the last. Y’know, the more God has to forgive you for, the more forgiven you are, apparently.
Forgetting entirely that PRIDE is the thing Jesus got the most pissed at. And these accounts feel like PRIDE to me. Tho I am not Jesus and I am mighty glad they have repented and been forgiven, this whole “More Forgiven Than Thou” attitude kind of grates on my nerves.
And so, my boring and not very dramatic conversion experience and testimony about how it changed my life will be short and sweet. And boring like a bowl full of cornflakes, but there it is. I am glad that it happened, that my world view has changed because of it, and that it totally threw up there that PRIDE was my biggest flaw, pride in my Good Girl life, pride in my heritage (what does that matter, anyway?) pride in my abilities (gifts I did not earn to begin with), and in the process of the recognition of my salvation, the PRIDE was removed. I still have many flaws,and yes, pride is still there, but now I can recognize it for what it is, and smack it down. Humility is where it’s at, and I’m not so good at that, but there’s an example of humility I can look to and emulate…when I can get past the pride, that is.
Filed under: *whinge*
You know what really cheeses me? When I get emails or facebook posts that say things like "If u luv Jesus then ul post this. If u don’t luv Jesus ul ignor it. post this so i no u luv Jesus." Or this one, just a few minutes ago:
Filed under: crafty!
So after I wrote, a pad of paper and a pencil was located, and I got to sketching. Then I remembered this incredibly old, soft amazing white tablecloth I picked up at an estate sale for like…a nickel. And it’s huge. Lotda fabric in there, cotton jaquard sort of thing and got to thinking…overalls. Loose, and gathered with funky pockets and knots at the shoulders instead of buttons…or maybe really big pearl buttons but I like the knots idea. And ruffles made of something else lighter weight, gauze, maybe or even tulle, perhaps. At the cuffs on the legs and maybe little bitty ruffles on the pockets. So I drew. #4 peeked over my shoulder and said “oh that’s cute! I wouldn’t wear it but I can totally see (girly girl X in the first grade) wearing that.
I was planning on taking that tablecloth and cutting it down into shams, but a set of overalls, maybe in a size 6 or so, and they’ll be loose enough someone smaller or bigger could wear them…hmmmm gonna run this by Peaches and see what she thinks. With a t-shirt underneath, maybe embellish the shirt with a ribbon or two….
Gonna hafta hit some flea markets and estate sales for fabrics….hmmmmm
So! I have this friend who makes these incredible amazing childrens dresses…you know, the french hand sewn Victorian gorgeous things that…welll…you know…gorgeous. She’s also the Preacher’s Wife. Anyway. We had prayer group today and she says to me “Peg, I need to talk to you afterward if you can stay a bit.” so I go “ooookay…am I in trouble? do I pray wrong? what have I done?” and she says “you are such a Methodist…”
So then she says “come here and look at this.” and shows me this website full of the craziest, most feminine Bohemian Meets Edwardian clothes you could possibly imagine.
“It’s like Victorian on crack!” she tells me.
“Roland hates this stuff!” she says (that’s her husband the Preacher)
“Don’t you think this stuff would translate beautifully into childrens clothes?”
and I’m thinking
“that would make amazing childrens clothes.”
so we start churning out ideas.
“What’s that fabric?”
“That looks like cotton gauze”
“That looks like pillow ticking.”
“That looks like tulle, you’d want to use silk tho, not nylon.”
“I could do that.”
“Oh I know a fabric store in Augusta…”
“Oh I bet you could take this pattern from Folkwear and adapt it…”
Filed under: Uncategorized
Today’s the day of the Facebook (etc) event where you wear a purple shirt to show you…I don’t know how to word it…how you feel about all the gay kids in the news committing suicide because of bullying in school.
Y’know what? I’m wearing a purple shirt today. In the 7th grade, someone started the rumor that I was a lesbian. I was picked on relentlessly for it. For 5 years, every day, this one group of girls and a few of the guys would harass me, call me gay-girl, ask me if I liked kissing girls…so on. I was told I wasn’t wanted at school, why didn’t I just stay home, why didn’t I wear a bag over my head so people wouldn’t have to look at a gay-girl.
The irony is that I wasn’t gay. Not even close. There was a guy I had a bit of a crush on. He told me he wasn’t interested in gay-girls. (What?? I still haven’t figured that one out.)
Anyway, I know what it feels like to be picked on. It’s miserable. It’s like getting dripped on day after day after year after year and it finally wears you down. I know why these kids felt like killing themselves. I’ve been there. I’ve been so nervous and upset about going to school that I threw up every morning before getting on the bus. I’ve carried a knife in my purse (this was before such things were illegal) with fantasies of harming someone.
I KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE.
I wish I could tell these kids that it gets better. You leave high school. You leave those awful, awful people and go off and meet people who share your interests and values. You meet people who like you for who you are, not for how you dress, where you live, or whatever nebulous criterium they require for acceptance.
It gets better. You will be stronger and wiser for having gone through this awful time. You’ll understand better, be kinder and gentler to people who are marginalized. It. Gets. Better.