Monthly Archives: January 2011

Something is Seriously Whacked

The cheaper seats.

Okay. I know people get into the game. I don’t get it. I can see maybe watching it on television and as an excuse to hang out for a day of free-for-all chip and beer drinking. I saw someone post something on facebook about the superbowl coming up, and I thought, “Oh, I wonder when the superbowl is. Sometime in January or February? Must be soonish.”

After a quick google search I found links to ticket sales, so I clicked on it knowing the date would be there. What I saw was more than a little shocking. Seriously? Thousands of dollars for a seat to a game? I know that I have different priorities than a lot of people. All I could think of when I saw the prices on the tickets was “Why?”

The box seats.

Then, I checked out the prices for some of the boxes. The 25 seat box called the Owner’s Club sells for a whopping $663,425! That’s $26,527 per person. Even where I live 600K can buy you a half way decent house. The single ticket price takes care of a modest car. I’m feeling very judgmental about this, but I’m having a very hard time finding any logic behind spending that kind of money to sit in a box and watch a football game. I wouldn’t spend that kind of money for a private performance with anyone. (No, really. I searched through my mind just now of all the people that I might consider spending that kind of money on and no one or no thing came up as a positive ethical hit for me.) I just think there’s something seriously wrong with the whole thing.


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2/3 Vegan

In my previous post about Lizard Spit, I give the general history of my diabetes and a look at the latest treatment I am using. Months later, I was finding my blood sugar manageable and under control. Even so, in November my eye was drawn to the book at the left as I perused the aisles of my Whole Foods Market. People in the Vegan world usually recognize Neal Barnard. He’s been on the “pro-vegan” scene for more than twenty years, and he’s written a bunch of books on why eating vegan is healthy.

I bought it out of curiosity and on a whim, buffered a little by hope. Frankly, as much as I am relieved that the Lizard Spit and Metformin combo I’m taken seem to be doing their job, I’d be more than happy to not have to carry the medicine around in a cooled packet or inject myself twice a day. In fact, if I could, by diet and exercise alone, actually maintain decent blood sugars, I would.

While reading Barnard’s Reversing Diabetes, almost everything I had been taught about how to eat with diabetes was turned on its head. I was completely and totally skeptical, even in the face of clinical studies that clearly show patients with reduced Ha1Cs after following a vegan diet. Add to it that he’s someone that Oprah has given a thumbs up to and my skeptometer was beeping wildly.

Teriyaki Tofu on Toast with Goddess Dressing and Arugula...Mmmmmm...

The idea of being vegan is one that I’ve found…distasteful. Literally. I LIKE the flavor of meat. I love ribs. BBQ. Ham. Turkey. Chicken. Give me a burger with bacon and cheese and my mouth is a happy mouth. Eggs? Yes! Ice Cream? Love it. Cheese? Puhllllleeeeease, yes.

Still. He’s done three studies with a statistically significant number of patients. And, the numbers are impressive. Can you hear my longing sigh? The one that says, “I wish I could just ignore all of this and continue to just…the things I like!”

I had to see what would happen if I actually started eating the kind of diet that Dr. Barnard recommends. So I started with going Vegan…sort of. Here’s what I mean by that. I’ve gotten it 2/3 of the way there–my breakfasts and lunches have been vegan since the end of November. I’d say fully a half of my dinners have been as well. The youngest is less than thrilled with this arrangement, but everyone else seems to be okay with it so far. Almost everything I’ve tried has been really, really good.

Oh…and my blood sugars have plummeted. Like. A. Rock.


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Slicing Cake

Every year for New Year’s Day for the last, oh 15 years or so, we’ve had dinner with the same set of close friends. We incorporated a southern tradition of making sure we have black-eyed peas in the form of Hoppin’ John. If you can tell me how the name came about, let me know. The following is about as close as I could come to any ‘evidence.’

While the name’s origin is still the subject of some debate — some scholars asserting that it’s a corruption of “pois a pigeon,” a Carribean dish enjoyed by Southern slaves while still in their native land, and others claiming it’s derived from a 13th century Iraqi dish called “bhat kachang” — the dish’s fans maintain that eating it ensures good luck for the coming year.

At any rate, the menu has always included Hoppin’ John, and, for a number of years, we served ham with it. We switched the menu up later as our friends decided to stop eating pork to barbecued chicken. Add greens and a couple of other side dishes, and you have a pretty good tradition. Oh…don’t forget dessert. This year, I made the dessert, a red-velvet cake with cream-cheese frosting.

It turned out more like a ‘mocha’ color because I tried a natural food coloring that was more brown than red. It didn’t change the taste much and the cake looked pretty enough before slicing.

It wasn’t until the cake was gone and a few days later that I washed the cake plate I had used this year. I have two plates–both of which I inherited. This year’s plate is the one that my mother got as a wedding gift. I know this because in about 1990 I accidentally broke the matching serving platter that went with it. She looked at the pieces of crystal in my hands and practically broke into tears saying, “Oh…I got that as a wedding gift!”

Each Scratch is A Slice Served

When she died, I took the cake plate and have used it ever since. She only used it a few times a year—for birthday cake. I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days now, and I really can’t remember her baking a cake unless it was for a birthday. On holidays, she only made pies or the occasional “carrot” or “plum” pudding.

As I was putting away the plate, I noticed, for the first time, the scratches on the surface of the plate. I looked at them closely, my fingers running along the lines for a while imagining all the cakes that it took to make all those little marks over fifty years, the hundreds of cakes and slices made over time. Not every knife left it’s mark, just enough to make a record of shared celebrations. I have no grand conclusion here, but it just made me sort of…think.

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Comfort Foods

Tuna a la Sunday

When I was growing up, my mom had a rule about church; You had to attend until you were confirmed. This pretty much meant that we dropped out of the Sunday ritual one by one–first my brothers and then me. Once we were confirmed in the Lutheran church, each and every one of us pretty much stopped going. Well, I hung on a little longer than the boys did, but not by much.

When we lived in Pensacola, Florida, we drove to a place I thought was “way across town” but probably wasn’t so far as it seemed. On the way home, we would stop at the 7-11 for treats. We usually were allowed one comic book and one candy bar. I can’t remember if we had rules around when we were allowed to eat the candy, though I seem to think it was after lunch.

Once we got home, she would make lunch. This would entail either tuna fish sandwiches or grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato and rice soup. Campbell’s of course. Occasionally, the soup would be bean with bacon or split pea, but I liked the tomato with rice the best. She made it with water, not milk, too. She would make an entire tray of grilled cheese in the broiler–which makes it easy to make a whole bunch of sandwiches. She’d pile the sandwiches on a plate and serve them to the whole family. And we were allowed to dunk our sandwiches into the soup. (My daughter was at a friend’s house when she was little and was admonished by the mother who had served her, “that’s a nasty habit!” Oopsie…)

While my religious views have veered into another realm, I find it interesting that my after church rituals are not entirely unlike the ones I had growing up. I sometimes stop at PCC (Puget Consumer’s Co-op) to pick up food, though no candy bars or comic books are part of that little errand. And, I’ve taken to making sandwiches for lunch. Of course, that’s a bit different too. Since the daughter doesn’t eat dairy or wheat, I tend to make tuna. And I put olive oil and capers in mine. There’s something comforting about coming home and making (a much smaller) pile of tuna sandwiches.

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