Friday, May 30, 2008
…Freckles. HA’s dad had red hair, so she and her kid have some freckles.
…Rebecca Mead writes about the fetching spots in Allure. Anne of Green Gables, though fictional, apparently had a passel of them setting her apart.
…Usually, freckles are not as welcome as, say, a cleft chin, or dimples.
…Because these melanin-rich spots are kind of “tan,” people think you are of "lower" stature, at best, lacking in the parasol dept.
…Yet, Katharine Hepburn was once described as a collection of fine bones held together by freckles. People thought she was cool, right?
…Yet, Julianne Moore doesn’t love hers. Too much time in the makeup chair, probably.
…Medically, freckles are called ephelides. All races can get them, but the light-skinned tend to be most favored.
…Freckles are not precursors to cancer, like a mole can be. But, as one source in this story said, they are a sign that this is the best the skin can do to darken itself and protect you—a spotty effort. The skin between may be getting damaged.
…So wear sunblock. And realize the spots may attack even the highest. Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, as treated with some disdain. One source said it was because of her freckles.
…Personally, HA thinks a duchess should not flack for a diet outfit. But what does HA know. That’s probably those sarcastic freckles talking.
…They are sassy.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
…According to Laura Landro, WSJ, May 28, 2008, doctors called nocturnalists are being hired to man the night shift in hospitals and ICUs, where sparse coverage tends to result in that death thing in way too many cases.
…Nocturnalist? HA loves the name and the puns.
…Half to 70% of patients are admitted at night—to what? Who pays attention to them in these critical first hours? Heart attack patients who arrive at night are 66% less likely to get an artery-clearing angioplasty when it could do the most good (the first 90 minutes). Strokes also need to be treated within 2 hrs.
…These nocturnalists are a subspecies of hospitalist, the new-fangled doctor who works only in the hospital since many physicians no longer take care of their sickest patients who have to be hospitalized.
…HA is not a hospitalist-lover. Don’t ask. Probably one of her crazy oversimplifications—but it happened because of every hospitalist she has met so far.
Latest example: http://chandlerazoo.blogspot.com.
…But she digresses. On the plus side, one doc interviewed said being on the night shift gave him more time to think about the patient’s situation. That sounds positive.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
…HA likes bees. She is going to write a screenplay she dreamed about a bee. Seinfeld’s bee movie bombed, right?
…The bees are getting sick of some crap fungus or something and there may not be enough to pollinate all our food—so don’t kill bees.
…Run from bees. Nineteen people have been attacked so far out here this year.
…Is it those crabby African bees? No one seems to know.
…But out here in AZ, anyhow, the bees are getting cranky. If you have a colony, don’t try to remove it yourself.
…A colony can be nice and docile one day, according to a story by Amy Brooks in the AZ Republic May 26, 2008), and on the warpath the next.
…First a few bees will bounce off you, then one stings, and that sting is like a signal—go get him!
…Good news: You can survive up to 300 stings.
…Watch for bees coming in and out of cracks in walls, electrical boxes or other places.
…Clean debris away.
…Don’t wear citrus or floral scents while hiking.
…If you do see some teed-off bees, run to the nearest shelter. Put cloth over your face. Seek medical attention if it’s 15 stings or more.
…Do not wave your arms around, jump in water, or wait to get your stuff. Run!
…Oh, and some rattlesnakes have extra bad venom for some reason…want to hear about that one? HA has lots of these.
Friday, May 23, 2008
...Vietnamese women seem to have cornered the market on fake nails.
…They work long hours around solvents, plasticizers, resins and acids—many of which are known cancer-causers or endocrine disrupters.
…In California, there are 35,000 nail salons. Researchers from the Northern California Cancer Center and Asian Health Services of Oakland surveyed 201 workers in 74 salons.
…A majority of the workers had health concerns from exposure to the workplace chemicals. These were basically skin and eye irritation, breathing difficulties, and headaches.
…Further investigation into links to breast cancer are needed, the scientists said.
…Since these workers are immigrants and often do not have good English skills, how aware are they of the dangers. Do they have a choice of other careers?
...Does OSHA have a role?
…HA has seen pregnant women working with these chemicals! Little drying fans even blow the stuff around.
…As a customer, you have less exposure, obviously. Does your nail applier wear a mask? Would that even do any good?
Thursday, May 22, 2008
…HA’s kid asked her the other day: “So you’re never wearing shoes again when you come out here?” HA was messing around with the koi pond on hot rocks and deck boards with no shoes.
…Her answer: “Nah.”
…The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons would probably freak if they could see how HA lives. Of course, it has a downside—You can step in cat vomit, or if little kids are around, get a screechy case of “toy foot.”
…But even the Surgeons say summer would not be the same without going barefoot. So there!
…You need sand between your toes, they say, or cool grass under your feet, waves lapping at your toes.
…If you get a puncture, see a doc, though, they say—within 24 hrs. Stuff can fester under the skin.
…Make sure you have a current tetanus vaccination (every 10 years, is it?). HA does not. And her doc won’t give a shingles shot, either, without HA signing over the house.
…Put sunscreen on the top of your feet or even the bottoms. Deadly cancers can hide there.
…Check out your feet and the kids’ feet for warts, calluses, ingrown toenails, and moles, spots or freckles.
…Wear flipflops around pools and lock rooms.
…Use common sense. Nuts! Common sense! Don’t mow the lawn while barefoot. Don’t step on fireworks or hot coals. Don’t wade into murky water.
…People with diabetes—you should never go barefoot.
…For more skinny, go to http://FootPhysicians.com.
…Now, what to do when you set off for the mailbox barefoot, get halfway down the driveway and realize it’s SMOKING, SIZZLING, SCREAMING-ASS HOT!?
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
…When you stop to think of it, would you really—seriously—buy your little kid a bed five feet off the ground?
…Well, sure you would! HA could not wait to get her daughter bunk beds so her friends could sleep over. (Later HA also got day beds—like sleeping in a crib. HA is a bad bed buyer, clearly.)
…A nationwide Children’s Hospital Study to be published in June shows that kids and young adults (18-21) are involved in a wave of bunk bed mishaps.
…36,000 kids and YAs get hurt in bunk bed-relateds every year.
…The 18-21 year-olds get hurt twice as often as adolescents in the 14-17 group.
…College dorms, the military, even prison may be the reason.
…Males are most likely to be affected. Falls were the main cause of injury (duh).
…Little children tend to fall head first because of their center of gravity—not good.
…Make sure the beds have a guardrail with small gaps between of less than 3.5 inches.
…Use the proper size mattress.
…Don’t let kids under age 6 call the top bunk.
…And, HA, would add—no jumping!
…Or, what will happen? All together now: Someone will be cryin.’
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
…Compact fluorescent light bulbs—that’s it…Those things that look like piggy tails.
…Supposed to be the diety’s gift to cheaper electric bills. If every home in America replaced just one regular bulb with one of these, it would be enough to light 3 million homes and prevent gas emissions equal to 800,000 cars.
…But of course, there is a catch.
…They contain a small amount of the neurotoxin mercury, enough to cover the tip of a ballpoint pen, the EPA says (weird analogy, what?).
…That’s the stuff that ruins fetus brains and affects babies and toddlers (and is probably not aces for grownups, either).
…Handle these carefully—they are made of glass. Screw holding on the bottom.
…If you break one of these bulbs, the EPA says to quick open the windows.
….Then scoop up the mercury using paper or cardboard. The glass and mercury powder then should be put in a glass jar of plastic bag.
…Go to www.epa.gov.mercury.spills.index.htm for instructions for cleanup on all kinds of surfaces.
…Some states say not to put these in the trash, even unbroken. Others say double plastic bags. Recycling centers just for these are springing up.
…So what do you think? Did someone do the lesser evil on this one?
Monday, May 19, 2008
…Feeling deprived, bunky? How about losing your house, dogs, furniture, peace of mind, and having your wife and parents ill and suffering, all with no health insurance?
…William July and his wife Jamey Lacy July are going through this—and so much more—and wrote a book on coping, called, A Husband, A Wife, and An Illness. Go to www.couplesfacingillness.com.
…Dr July is like a smart Dr Phil. He lectures and writes about relationships. And the one that almost kicked his butt was his relationship to illness.
…His wife is, ironically, a wellness expert in her own right. She had fibromyalgia and then some rats started capering around their yard in Texas, perhaps loaded with fleas, and her health went off the cliff. It ended up being Lyme Disease and other things.
…Self-employed, the Julys had no health insurance.
…July says “normal” slips away subtly. Little routines change—you can’t afford to do this or that. You don’t feel like this or that.You keep thinking the preoccupations caused by chronic illness will go back to “normal.”
…That doesn’t happen.
…So you grieve…it’s gone, changed, never to return.
…You need to create a new normal, one that is not focused on aches, pains, pills, and doctors (HA calls this Sick World).
…You must not worry while you work—separate it in your mind. July turns on music in the car—anything to shift gears.
…Try to find ways to make it positive, viz, this book.
…You may have to do things related to the illness, but do as many of your old things as you can—have friends over, go places.
…Do something constructive every day. Pray, blog, comment on blogs, watch old movies.
…Visualize a better life, the sick person looking healthy, the caregiver looking patient. Make a personal goal and keep to it.
…You are better than your body.
…Oh, and July says try to get insurance. He has some tips.
Friday, May 16, 2008
…HA apologizes for once talking about Crocs. When the president had some on with socks, those were over.
…Erica Sagon, in the AZ Republic, May 14, 2008, does talk about Crocs of sorts in a story on what shoes are good for hot summer days. “The You” is a Crocs version that looks like a flat instead of a Jellie on ‘roids.
…For people with neuroma or foot pain, burning, tingling or numbness, think Taryn Rose. www.tarynrose.com. Spendy!
…Bunions? You need a wide shoe—how about the Foy by Born. www.bornshoes.com?
…Heel pain sucks, HA has had it. The “Air Aidan” satin ballet flat with Nike technology may be the ticket. www.colehaan.com.
…If your feet swell, and heck, whose don’t, look at city sneakers by Naturalizer. www.naturalizer.com.
…And HA’s standby and favorite, which gets tons of comps everywhere: The rope sandal from Ozark Sandals. http://www.ozarksandals.com/.
….Ah, summer. The best! Even in AZ.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
…Food? Pish-tosh, who can afford that anymore? Especially healthy food (and not HA’s beloved Kraft Dinner Recession Favorite, which is palling even for her).
…Fran Sorin, USA Today Weekend (May 9-11, 2008), talks about some forms of organic gardening that do not require you to plow up the back forty.
…First is permaculture gardening. In this, plants, animals, people, buildings and nature work together. You remove the lawn, she says, and plant fruit trees and veggie beds.
…HA would also add shade trees, but then again, HA lives in Arizona, hell’s waiting room. (Her new mesquite tree-let is beginning to recognize her, she is so proud.)
…Sustainable gardening is another approach. This conserves water, no chemicals, and doesn’t pollute.The garden sustains itself, Sorin says. This seems to involve compost and natural fertilizers like kelp. Personally, HA thinks only weeds sustain themselves.
….Biointensive gardening is both Eastern and Western. You grow cover crops, such as alfalfa or oats when the veggies are not growing. Make hexagonal beds, which is said to eliminate weeds.
…Why does that eliminate weeds—or does it make the weeds closer and easier to throttle while screaming the Die Die scream?
…HA is at war with her weedeater. They don’t get along. The weedeater is a demon, is why.
…One epilogue. When HA moved to AZ 12 years ago, she (hope brimming) read a book on organic gardening. It said that compost will eventually become compost, no matter what.
…She recently looked in the composter. Still twigs and sticks in there. Let’s give it another 12.
…Second epilogue. You can eat cactus. Some Mexican neighbors sometimes come over with a card that reads: Can we have cactus? HA has big prickly pears in her front yard (pix). She says yes. Once she tasted the salsa they made…yummo!
...They live off HA's yard. It all works out.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
…HA often wonders when this country is going to grow up and get some smarts. Not all that nuanced nonsense, but real commonsense smarts.
…Yochi J Dreazen, writing in the WSJ, May 13, 2008, reports that the military is thinking of giving purple hearts for post-traumatic stress—a wound you cannot see on the outside.
…Reportedly Secy Robert Gates is sort of for this, saying it needs to be looked at (that’s for, right, since it’s not against?).
…There is no formal proposal at the moment, though.
…They just said enough to set off the blogs.
…Awarding the Purple Heart to those with PTSD would take away some of the stigma of the disorder, proponents say.
…Men with PTSD, said one man who works with these patients, paid as high a price as someone with a brain injury or shrapnel wound.
…Purple hearts are to be awarded for a wound received “in action with an enemy.” Mental wounds can be faked, opponents say.
….Mental problems have been associated with war since the beginning of history. Shellshock, the thousand yard stare. Three hundred thousand Iraq and Afghanistan vets have been diagnosed. Similar numbers suffered from it in Vietnam.
…Maybe this recognition would help remove the stigma somewhat. Then we can get going on getting the VA up to speed on support groups and treatment.
…A lot of soldiers and their families are suffering because the servicemember cannot hold a job, support a family, sleep, stop drinking or taking drugs, or even drive down a busy street.
…This is pain, people.
...All of this.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
…Rochelle Sharp writes in USA Today Weekend (May 9-11, 2008) that sleepy drivers are as dangerous as drunk ones.
…Driving while drowsy makes you three times likelier to have a wreck, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
…One in five crashes or near crashes are attributable to sleepiness.
…In 2002, Gallup found nearly 37% of drivers said they had fallen asleep at least once.
…Most of these events are at night, but mid-afternoon is also a sleepy time.
…Most sleepy drivers who get in accidents are young—under 30. The sleep deprived like shift workers of business travelers, are also at risk.
…Turning up the radio or rolling down the window don’t help. What does? Pulling over for a nap.
...You do know, don't you, that your eyes can be open but you are asleep?
...Many of us learned this during corporate meetings.
Monday, May 12, 2008
…In palmier days before her true destiny as a downscale woman played out, HA used to joke with a friend about how they would have maids and nurses to take care of their kids. The other woman got them, but HA must make do with articles like one she read in Domino (May 2008).
…Amusingly, Cynthia King checks out some rich women to see how they keep their houses so organized and families euphoric.
…At the first place, the woman, let’s call her X (Cynthia did), whipped up a tea tray with Sevres china and Earl Gray in 10 seconds.
…She claimed she could toss together a kid’s party in 15 minutes. She yanked open a drawer filled with designer napkins and a separate drawer for spoons only. (Dragging your good silver out from under the bed is stressful, she noted. HA’s good silver is the kind that doesn’t bend.)
…In her pantry, the foods she uses the most were toward the front (hardly an earthshaker).
…The second woman (Y) excused herself briefly to call a repairman for a leak that was ruining her entertainment system as they sat there. She has her numbers organized, she explained. But still—maybe turn off the water?
…She does keep petty cash in a drawer so the maid can buy things and for her husband and stuff.
…Have lots of what you need, Y explained cheerfully. She showed off a closet of wrapping paper in her signature colors.
…HA has that! Not a signature color, but wrapping paper left over from the adult child’s wrapping paper sales at parochial grade school.
…So what tips can we glean? Make a home bible of necessary numbers (the door hangers and business cards in the drawer don’t count).
…Make a list of food staples.
…Fill a drawer with petty cash. Ask everyone to leave receipts.
…Label the linen closet shelves (does that involve folding sheets?).
…And don’t forget to tell the maids and nurses where everything is. Saves so much time—and stress—you know.
Friday, May 09, 2008
…Two docs at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia Univ Med Center have addressed some questions women have about working while pregnant.
…Their advice is to plan ahead. Talk to your physician about any potentially troublesome signs or symptoms.
…This is especially important for the “elderly” Moms, over 35.
…First, you need to be able to schedule your doctor visits, work notwithstanding. Try for the lunch break (many docs take a lunch break, too, HA must point out).
…Forget the advice that seeing the dentist lets dangerous germs into the body—not true. You need dental hygiene. Avoid x-rays, though. Make sure the dentist knows you’re pregnant.
…If you have morning sickness, this can be (1) all day, (2) awkward in the workplace. Keep Saltines on hand, nibble. Overt vomiting at the conference room table—not so great.
…If you’re tired from insomnia, especially in the second and third trimesters, do your best to cut through the fogginess or pregnancy brain.
…Reduce caffeine. Maybe cut your coffee intake in half. Watch caff in soda and tea. A little won’t hurt ya.
…Eat healthy food—whole grains, fruit,veggies, protein, dairy. Watch the albacore and other fatty fish, which tend to absorb toxic metals in the ocean, notably mercury.
…You can exercise within the doctor’s instructions. You should, in fact! Be careful with stretching such as Pilates—your joints and ligaments are stretchier, you don’t want anything to pop.
…Traveling is OK, but you might schedule it mid-pregnancy, 14-28 weeks. Before you go, scout out local hospitals. Get up, walk around, drink plenty of fluids (but if you’re abroad, stick to bottled water).
…What if you get sick? Tylenol is usually safe. Check with the doctor.Stay away from the herbals. Many have not been tested on preggos (obvious reasons).
…Also—check out maternity benefits and policies well ahead of time.
…Those cravings? Unless they are for Twinkie sandwiches 3 times a day or something like that, you can indulge. HA remembers eating raisin bran with ice cream. Sure beat pickles.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
…Ann Cairns (WSJ, May3-4, 2008) writes that boomers are taking the exercise thing too seriously.
…HA is not one.
…But she digresses.
…Anyhow, to try to stave off aging, some boomers are whipping into exercise routines that are straining their joints and landing them in the doc’s office.
…Nicholas DiNubile, MD, author and consultant to the 76ers and the Pennsylvania Ballet, says boomers tend to get it itis-es. The one he hates in not arthritis or bursitis—-but fix-me-it is. Your frame is not designed to live as long as you will, he says.
…Most of these pains are manageable if not fixable. Much is preventable.
…Everyone has a weak area—maybe a rotator cuff or knee. Around age 40, everything changes. The tendons become less elastic, he told Cairns.
…First, you need to ID your weak spot.
…If you can’t repair or toughen the weak spot, maybe you can work around it.
…For every extra pound, your knee feels seven pounds. Lose 10 pounds, your knee thinks it’s 70 lbs.
…Swimming can be good—unless your issues involve the rotator cuff. For women wanting bone strength from exercise--swimming is not the answer.
…No one activity helps everything. You can run and be thin, but then you may have a weak upper body.
…Often, too, people read about new medical technology and think: “Heck, they can fix me.”
…Look out for knife-happy advice, he adds.
…HA says pop a Tylenol or Ibu and move on. Carefully.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
…Being a woman of royal curvature (think the late Queen Mother), HA hates weeny teeny airline seats. Now, according to Scott McCartney (WSJ, May 6, 2008), some passengers, acting like cornered rats, are being utterly gross in things they leave behind—as a punishment to airline personnel.
…Can we grow up by five minutes, please?
…Some people blow their noses on blankets that get offered to other passengers later.
…A psychologist said people think the airlines don’t care about them? Well, it’s not hard to figure out why. But is this the best approach—gross out your fellow victims by leaving used diapers in the magazine pocket?
…The middle seat (where kids and really really ticked off adults) sit can be the worst pocket to explore.
…One guy spit chewing baccy in a cup for hrs then put it in the seat pocket. No lid.
…Sometimes people hand the attendant a used diaper while the attendant is serving food.
…The airlines admit not much cleaning goes on between flights—remember that!
…And if you are counting on that, never sit next to HA.
…Assuming she ever goes anyplace again.
…And you know what? I don’t think it’s pass-agg against bad airline treatment. Some people are just naturally piggy. Oink, oink!
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
…People who know HA know she is a rape survivor. Even people who don’t know her personally know that—she wrote a bylined story in the Washington Post in 1981 to motivate the police to search harder for her attackers (never caught).
…HA knows she did nothing wrong and that these criminals should be the ones doing the cowering and hiding out, but she understands how talking about sexual violence is difficult and gives people what they think is sexual information about you, which can make them—and you—uncomfortable.
...Does it make you cringe a little reading this about HA? See? That is what she is talking about. Maybe it's a TMI thing.
…Writing about this in the East Valley Trib (May 5, 2008), Sam Miller of the Freedom News Service talks about some websites women (and some men) now use to write about their experiences anonymously and presumably banish some of the horror and immediacy.
…The FBI says one in three women will be raped in their lifetime. Yet, for a range of reasons, not the least of which is the ickiness factor, people don’t want to talk about it.
…Even 27 years later, the experience still drifts back to HA a few times a day.
…As the experts like to say, you never get rid of it. But you can maybe defuse it by talking about it.
…One site people use is www.pointswithpurpose.com (selling something, not sure what). Others are www.survivingtothriving.org and www.aftersilence.org. HA thought the last one looked the most inviting.
…But even now, HA thought: Don’t write about this.
….But as most people know, HA does not take direction well.
Monday, May 05, 2008
…CRS—can’t remember …er, shinola…Is there no end to the fun of aging?
…Good old Georgia Tech, which HA has written about before, has invented a necklace that can tell if you’ve swallowed your pills.
…Ever had the experience of taking a certain pill everyday and then wondering if you took it—say around 11 am? Hmmm, standing at the counter, the yellow bottle…gosh, just like every other day.
…This thing, the MagneTrace (who thought that up—they need a namer, namely HA) relies on tiny magnets, Newsweek says (May 5, 2008). These magnets proposed to be included in pills pass through your sytem but can also trigger a sensor in a necklace.
…Now, that’s attractive. It looks like a dog collar. But not in a good way.
…The sensor then connects wirelessly to a device that the patient carries. That device transmits to a caregiver.
…The system will soon be tested on dogs.
…Dogs..they are pill heads?
…Of course, the inventors will also have to get FDA approval. And get the pill people to put the distinctive magnets inside pills.
…The latter may work out—if pill makers can be persuaded that not missing a dose because of your darling dog collar will sell more pills.
…Sounds kind of complicated. How about training the dog to remind you?
Friday, May 02, 2008
…Sixty-five percent of American women between 25 and 45 self-report disordered
eating behavior, according to UNC and SELF Magazine. Don’t consider SELF magazine the scientific power house of the year? OK, consider the source. Some scientists also scorn self-reporting, but unless you follow people around that is how data of this sort is collected.
…Another 10% reported anorexia, bulimia, and binging.
…The Univ of NC profs said this cut across racial and ethnic lines, meaning Hispanic, black, white, Asian.
…The docs said they found the self-reported purging the most surprising—more than 31% of the women reporting said they had induced vomiting. Half of these engaged in it a few times a week and many did it everyday.
…The editor of SELF said this would help readers decide if their own habits were disordered.
…And it wasn’t just young people. Those in their 40s reported behaviors at the same rate.
…The survey was online and involved 4,023 women.
…Almost 39% said they let worries over what they ate or weigh interfere with happiness.
…27% said they would be “extremely upset” if they gained 5 lbs.
…More than a quarter never ate entire food groups.
…16% have dieted at 1000 cals or fewer.
…The researchers said banishing carbs, skipping meals, and low-cal diets are signs of disordered eating.
…See how you compare. Go to http://www.self.com.
…For more info on the UNC program, go to http://www.unceatingdisorders.org.
…You know some of those newscasters, OK, the one married to Alan Greenspan, you could cut your self on those collarbones.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
…HA knows five women who got breast cancer—one died. But you know those deals where they say one in seven women will get it? Those are pretty creepy.
…According to Carol Tavris and Avrum Bluming, author of Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) and an oncologist at USC, respectively, the stats are unnecessarily scary.
…Of women diagnosed early, 90% will survive and not need disfiguring mastectomies or chemo. One of HA’s five ignored hers and it broke through the skin—and she is still here 15 years later.
…Of course, we see all those weirdass studies—eating grapefruit increases your chances of getting b/c 30%, for example. But this tells you nothing. You need to know the total number of women with b/c who ate grapefruit. If one in 1000 breast cancer patients who ate grapefruit changed to three in 1000—that’s a 300% increase, but is not alarming. If it was 100 shifting to 300, maybe.
…Even the much-vaunted increase in breast cancer among women taking hormone replacement translated to 6 out 100 women, instead of 5.
…So many so-called factors have been linked to breast cancer: gaining more than 33 pounds when pregnant, eating fish, being a Finnish flight attendant, being a Dutch survivor of childhood famine, and so on. Most of these are nonsense.
…Unfortunately, the authors say, good news doesn’t travel as fast as fear.