Sunday, June 01, 2008
There was some discussion of karma lately, and what it is exactly.
It’s not tens of thousands of people killed in a natural disaster because the government, of which they individually may or may not approve, forcefully annexes and treats badly a sovereign country and culture, a process of which they individually may or may not approve.
Karma is when you tell your brother’s wife that he’s old and fat, and therefore will never land another job in his life, and shortly thereafter lose your own job, facing the possibility of having to change fields, accept even lower pay, or both.
That’s the way karma works outside of activist celebrity fantasies.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Jay: Hey, Didn’t This Used to Be a Blog?
We’re kind of busy and distracted, so even with the modest availability things that I can still blog about without an oppressive sense of self-censorship, I just haven’t gotten to it lately. Lack of birthdays has thus meant lack of posts, and the birthday posts are meant to be spice, not meat. There are a couple others I may get to, one imperative and one landmark, despite over a week having passed since it came to mind.
That said, it’s relatively easy and of some interest to post about the baby and where he stands on the food front. It seems these days the biggest problems are unidentified airborne or other environmental, with maybe a low grade effect from even some foods that are “safe.” To the degree we’re dealing with a salicylate sensitivity, almost everything is a source, and it’s difficult not to include a certain amount of high and moderate sources, even if you avoid the very high completely and the next ones down as much as possible. There are also ambiguities, whereby a given item can be higher or lower depending on growing conditions. At any rate, the chart we’ve found most useful notes that each level is ten times the prior. Thus very high is 10x high is 10x moderate is 10x low.
There are two things that have been clear. Three, if you count the big $2600 we can never afford to pay incident and the most probable cause. Two, if you count dairy as singular.
He can’t have milk. Period. He breaks out in a rash almost instantly. Not sure, but he may have gotten his hands on some during the Lactaid experiment, and reacted less badly, whatever that means - maybe ultrapasteurization breaking down proteins more being helpful.
The emergency room incident was almost certainly cheese. It was also topical, never a breathing issue, but more a matter of looking so bad because of where it swelled. The thing is, I seemed to react to that cheese, and as noted, cheddar particularly can apparently generate its own histamines.
Of the other candidates that night, well, he has put egg in his mouth and not reacted, and Deb’s test of eating eggs has shown she is free to have eggs and, by extension, mayonnaise again. He can eat corn. We’re skeptical of wheat being a problem, certainly not at that level. The only thing that leaves from that night might be ham, which would have been a bit player and would mean an awfully extreme reaction to my having handled it. Cheese is likely, especially given the milk thing and the histamine thing.
Of course, his own drool makes him rashy, and I believe he has a bit of a reflux problem, which may be recursion. That is, stuff affects sinuses, sinuses encourage reflux, reflux makes sinuses worse and makes drool acidic. Maybe stuff affects skin worse on contact due to the damage, for that matter.
Anyway, it’s not an item of concern for salicylates, but he had an extreme reaction to banana. Now, that may have been interaction with other stuff, and may not have been as bad as it seemed, but he can wait to try again.
What I was planning to cover mainly is what he can eat. With Valerie confirmed to be unable to have milk, even Lactaid, without losing bladder control, it’s made him less likely to have accidental drinks of it. It makes him so happy, but the result isn’t fun. We’ve been able to speed up trying new things. It’s challenging to be operating on the cheap, but hey.
The only meat of concern might be cured, spiced kinds of things, so I haven’t given him hot dogs when we’ve had them. I thought he might be reacting mildly to pork at times, and when I did a series of “rub things on his skin” tests one day, grease that had primarily rendered from pork during frying was the only thing there might have been a reaction to, but it was ambiguous. My antiperspirant, Irish Spring, some stuff like that all passed. He gets plenty of meat.
Rice (including puffs, cakes)
Some tastes of things that technically contained wheat.
Corn, as a vegetable.
Corn, in tortilla chips soaked in water or chicken broth to soften them.
White potato in any form, though I’d avoid giving him skin even if he could chew it.
White sugar, avoid brown sugar as it charts and he may have reacted to it.
Parsnip, probably - some ambiguity and small sample
Chemicals that qualify to be called lemonade when mixed with water (seemed to react a little to the fruit punch mix).
Canned pears in heavy syrup. Light syrup is pear juice, which is processed in a way that involves the skin.
I swear I’m forgetting something.
Soy seems not to bother him. Usually that’s in the form of oil for cooking. He’s also had stuff fried in Crisco, which would mean exposure to cottonseed oil.
He’ll get to try peas soon. He had a too small to harm him taste of strawberry jello and seemed to be unaffected.
As far as seasonings or veggies used mainly for that purpose, he seems fine with onion and garlic. Black pepper I avoid especially for him. Red pepper and the like, and some of the other things I use routinely, all high, but the quantities in food can be minute. We use caution, but he has or might have eaten food with red pepper, cumin, oregano, garlic, onion, ginger, celery, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, sage, savory, rosemary, or whatever having participated in the making. Not sure exactly which. If it’s, say, chicken, it’s in the oil and on the outside of the meat, but I’ll emphasize giving him bits from the inside with minimal outer layer.
Cauliflower. He tried cauliflower and that went fine. We love that when it’s on sale.
Fruit is the biggest problem. Especially in juice or uncooked. Pear is the lowest of the fruits and he clearly reacted to pear juice. Essentially he needs a caveman diet.
Overall he’s doing well. A lot of the itching he does is emotional, a reaction of habit. Getting sleepy equals uncomfortable. Discomfort equals itchy. Ithchy equals scratch yourself bloody. He is helped a lot by pre-emptive doses of gas drops and Tylenol, assuming he doesn’t decide he does not need one or both, as he did today. Absolutely refused gas drops, period. Refused Tylenol one time, accepted it later. As I always say, he’s little, not stupid. In fact, he’s scary.
Now if he wants to eat he starts dragging his high chair across the kitchen. He also seems to have learned that if food is left in the seat, he can shake the chair to get it where he can reach it. He was mad at me for cleaning up right after he pigged out for supper, because after his bath he was foraging for more. For supper he had chicken, a tiny bit of beef, potato, about 2/3 of a good sized sweet potato, corn, and plain pinto beans. When I found him foraging, I gave him part of a rice cake, but that just wasn’t the same.
Looking at this decent food list, which I need to review in detail again to figure where we are going with trying other things, I was reminded that he seemed to react heavily to sucking on raisins the girls left on the floor for his benefit. Ditto for a couple of the cranberry whatever juice combos. We’ve gone almost exclusively into powdered drink mixes, mainly lemonade, but also fruit punch and - though the girls haven’t warmed to it - iced tea. Lack of juice may also be helping Valerie, though if that was a factor, it was still at least 90% the milk.
I’m barely staying awake, so this is probably rambling and incoherent, and likely incomplete. Oh well. I had some pictures to post, and will have some stunning ones after the camera is next downloaded. He really put on a show today.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Jay: Betrayed By Weather!
Oh wait. I mean, what a wonderful day it appears to be, and how nice it got for a large chunk of yesterday. Hooray for sun and warmth, and their power to dry previously soaked grass. Yeah, that’s it. Assuming the 50% chance of precipitation, focused in the afternoon and beyond, is worth the risk.
Which means it’s looking sadly, I mean happily, like the family gathering Easter egg hunt thing will happen today. That means getting a ride, which appears to be all set. That means preparing and bringing something the baby can eat. That means getting cash I can’t afford to contribute to the purchase of pizza, which means dairy, which means “hey, what’s Deb going to eat?” That means sitting here trying to remember what lyrics my brother wanted me to locate online and print for him, so I don’t have to be like “oops, forgot” or whatever.
But hey, it’ll make my brother and the other kids happy, so it must be worth it.
If it’s happening, and we have no idea for sure yet. As of yesterday it was completely up in the air. Not only does it depend on the lack of rain long enough for the grass to be dry, it also matters whether the grass was cut recently enough, or couldn’t be because mumble mower fixed mumble come do the lawn mumble, or it was too wet at the wrong time.
We also have no idea what time it is scheduled, since nobody in the family who schedules these things ever announces a time for them. Apparently naming the date is considered sufficient.
Oh well. Guess I’d better start frantically scrambling to be ready to go, rather than taking advantage of what for me is a work day with someone else to help redirect the kids.
I relaxed when my look at the weather told me it’s likely to be raining again by 2:00, but I’m told we should show between 12:30 and 1:30, so I really do have to scramble.
Monday, March 24, 2008
My grandmother would have been 97, had she not done the actuarially correct thing for social security and died just after turning 65, as so many once did when social security and 65 as a retirement age were conceived. That used to be ancient. Now it’s still relatively prime for many, who will increasingly go on to collect for 20, 30 years and beyond, expecting that not merely to be supplemental, but to be primary and in some kind of style. Meanwhile, if you take the logic behind it to be the children supporting parents in retirement - since remember, what you pay in goes to support current retirees, not into a fund, not into an investment vehicle that garners market-based returns - then it all falls apart when you have retirees and their children both over retirement age, collecting from the grandchildren and great grandchildren of the original generation. Historically, there will have been almost a century of fiscal pig-in-snake, with an explosion coming on the far end. None of which means I don’t appreciate having my grandmother and parents around, but the whole thing is alarming on the larger scale.
I had a crazy dream in which Fred Thompson had died. He had been dating some obscure cousin of ours, a fictitious person for the sake of the dream, and she was annoyed that being merely his girlfriend, she would get no inheritance. Apparently, my grandmother had died as well, so the obscure cousin instead maneuvered to take control of my grandmother’s estate instead, trying to steal it out from under the proper heirs. This created quite the sense of alarm.
Also in the same dream sequence I had returned to college for some classes. The parts I recall are my worry that I wouldn’t be able to handle how different it was using computers for accounting classes, and riding a bicycle to get to school. I was with a bunch of other students and a professor, all on bikes, riding down route 106 in an area of Halifax I can’t specify. As we rode along, the professor or whoever it was lectured on political matters and sent away anyone who disagreed. It was far worse than anything that was happening back when I was in college.
Anyway, I guess today I have to continue the close and office cleaning and organizing I started over the weekend, which will be useful in that it makes things more efficient. It’s distracting to go and discover things I forgot existed, pausing to be excited or amused in the process. That and all the time it takes to relocate or repack things. The closet space was not being used efficiently.
The problem was it’s where toys go away on vacation, and the kids are hard to keep out of the office, even with the door closed. It’s also where toys they haven’t been given yet live. Thus there are a couple of magnetized doodle pads, a couple bottles of bubble stuff, three little cars, a couple packs of modeling clay, some crayons, and whatever else.
We were thinking of putting a bookcase in there, against the window. Yes, there’s a window in the closet. It’s smaller than a true walk-in, but large as closets go. In fact, apart from the ceiling being stair-shaped in one of them, it’s about the dimensions of two closets in the cellar, where our bedrooms were in the house where I grew up. One was under the stairs, along a hallway front to back, and the other was back to back with it, opening into what was originally the master bedroom. In fact, as I recall, you could go through one closet and come out the other, hidden passage style, subject to the amount of stuff in the way. Trouble is, the bookcase would eliminate, it appears, the large shelving unit. But it would make way for hanging shelves and some other flexibility.
I also need to run to the store today. I’d say I was trying to figure out how to make $5 buy peanut butter, bear jelly, yeast, sugar, apples, some veggies, a few pounds or so of meat of some kind, some baby food, and whatever else I’m forgetting, but we’re expecting my nephew to stop by and give me $20 for a spare power supply. That puts it closer to reality.
I was probably going to say something else, but can’t remember, so off to the shower and on with the day…
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Going out of the house with printouts and paper and clipboard to continue working on the resume without the lure of the internet handy. Even if I have to watch what kind of nothing I post about, the temptation to post is strong, and that’s nothing compared to the urge to poke around elsewhere.
At this point I’m thinking about making the next CotC a giant double issue, as if that was my intention all along doncha know, and making it a fundraiser. Trouble is, that would work better if people were still reading and caring, which they weren’t long before I took it in-house and increased the work it requires of me less than I suspect most people would expect.
That would have worked better if it weren’t “how odd that it’s raining rather than snowing” cold out there.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Jay: Just to Be Clear
I didn’t write about something that didn’t happen that made nobody unhappy, so nobody should keep searching for the topic and coming here expecting to learn anything that they shouldn’t know about nothing at all. I can’t control the speed at which the search sites that are figments of your imagination might clear what I never said about what didn’t happen from their results you’re not seeing and their invisible cache that’s not at all annoying in its tenacity.