Sunday, July 29, 2007

Catching My Breath

Since we returned from our cruise, I have had a bout with low blood sugar, a summer cold, a sinus infection, bronchitis, laringitis, and incipient pneumonia.
Praise God that we live in the age of antibiotics; otherwise, as my darling husband pointed out, I would be dead by now.
For some reason, no matter what kind of illness I start out with, it eventually goes to my lungs, resulting in acute bronchitis, or pneumonia, or both.
Just lucky, I guess.
Fortunately, my doctor takes any respiratory problem I have quite seriously, and gets aggressive with antibiotics, cough meds, pain killers, and so forth and so on. He know that for me, waiting to see what develops is just not an option.
In addition to coughing incessantly until I feel as if I have broken a rib or two, blowing my nose until it's so raw the skin starts peeling off, and wheezing so loudly I can be heard in the next room, my brain turns to mush. All I want to do is sleep.
Thinking is out of the question.
I'm so glad I had my response t o Jeana's question about blogging comments drafted ahead of time.
It only took me about 45 minutes to figure out how to post it, working, as I was, through a codeine fog.
Fortunately, it's summertime, and I don't really have to make good sense until August 2oth, when I have to go back to work.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bloggy Commenting

Jeana posted an open invitation to talk about commenting on blogs, and I couldn't resist putting in my two cents.

I feel certain that my post will not be exactly what she had in mind, since I am thinking in terms of literary theory, interpreting literature and literary criticism. Some might argue that blog posts are not literature, but I feel that in our age of electronic communication, internet blogs qualify as a form of literature; in fact, blogging seems to be overtaking traditional publishing in both volume and content.

For many years, the interpretation of literature was based on the idea of figuring out what the author, the writer, meant. This process involved close reading of the text, exploration of the multiple meanings of the words used, and then extended to examination of the author's life to put the piece of writing in context.

However, as literary theory evolved during the twentieth century, the deconstructionist view began to take over. According to the deconstructionist view, the author is not necessarily the only or even the best source for discovering the true meaning of the text. The reader brings his/her own life experiences to the interpretation of the writer's work, and the reader's interpretation is considered as valid as the author's interpretation.

For most published authors, writing was a sort of one-sided conversation. The writer "speaks" through his written works, and retains possession of the original work, as well as the authority to reinterpret his/her meaning in response to literary critics. The "conversation" might take place over a long period of months or years, as each writer contributed to the exchange.

Now, with the advent of blogging, the author can receive almost immediate feedback, finding out how others interpret his/her work while the ideas are still fresh in the author's mind.

If you are a regular reader of blogs and their comments, you already know that people can take totally opposing views on what the blogger "really" meant. The blogger may or may not try to interpret the original intent of the post, may respond to the comments, close the comments, or delete comments that seem inappropriate. Those who comment can create their own posts, linking back to the original source, thus keeping the conversational connections intact. Others may then comment, or post in response, and so the conversation continues until everyone is satisfied--or exhausted.

I enjoy the comments almost as much, if not more than, the original posts. The exchange of ideas is so fresh, so immediate, and so often takes the readers in unexpected directions, possibly unimagined by the original poster.

The down side of comments is that some people feel entitled to browbeat the blogger into changing his or her position, by arguing the issue, or by personal attacks.

As my grandmother used to say, if you can't say anything nice, maybe you shouldn't say anything at all.

I don't mean that it is wrong or rude to disagree; I'm just saying, let's try to express ourselves civilly and kindly.

We are all entitled to our own opinions, but if we can't have civil discourse, ...
well, if we can't be civil, I'll close my comments ;)

Jeana's take on bloggy responses focuses on the issue of manners. I chose to focus on the conversational aspects of blogs and responses. What's your take? Be sure to link your response through Jeana's Mr. Linky.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

WFMW--e-mailing grandkids

Like many grandparents, we don't get to see or spend as much time with our grandchildren as we would like. We work. They are busy. And too young as yet to really participate in a lengthy telephone conversation.
After just a few sentences, they are off to other activities.
So we e-mail. Each child has his or her own e-mail address. I write an open-ended question (one which requires more than a yes/no answer).
Sometimes that day, or the next day, or a week later, I receive a response. Sometimes they ask me a question. Or I come up with another question based on their answers.
Sometimes I write a short paragraph, to which they respond with questions or comments.
I enjoy hearing from them, and letting them know that they are on my mind and in my prayers.
They like knowing that an adult is willing to take the time to keep the "conversation" going.
It only takes a little time, and doesn't put them on the spot to reply immediately, as a telephone call or visit does.
Like most kids, they love to use the computer, and love getting e-mail.
And it keeps us involved in each other's lives.
And that works for me.

Running Aground on the Carb Reef

On Monday I posted about our cruise vacation, and all the wonderful, marvelous, delicious food served on the ship.
We had decided before the trip to throw caution to the winds, and eat like there was no tomorrow. When tomorrow got here, we started paying the price for that orgy of carbohydrates.

Ohh how we payed.

Blood sugar dropped.
Heads hurt.
Bones ached.
Energy was nearly zero.
We felt just awful.

We started Monday morning just fine, with all those carbs still floating around in our blood stream. We reviewed our dietary plan for the week, made a shopping list, and went to the grocery store. Unfortunately, I drank two cups of coffee, but didn't eat any breakfast.
Our shopping trip included a stop at Home Depot, so it was past noon when we got to Wal-mart.
By 1:30, it had been more than 15 hours since I had eaten.
As I pushed the shopping cart along one of the outside aisles, I noticed that everything was looking sort of blurry.
Then I started to feel dizzy.
I was sure I was goingto pass out.
How embarrassing would that be, to fall to the floor in the middle of the Wal-mart?
Luckily, there was a little bench nearby, so I sat down, put my head between my knees as best I could, considering the load of carbs I was still carrying in my bloated tummy, and wiped the clammy sweat from my face.
Was I ever paying a price for all that yummy, luscious food.
Somehow, it seemed so unfair.
I mean, 5 had already decided to reform.
I was busy buying all kinds of low carb, healthy foods, getting back on plan, and yet I was having to suffer withdrawals for the carb revels on the ship.
Isn't my repentance enough?
Why do I have to suffer like this, just when I am back on the right track?
Fortunately, just as I was about to drown in a pool of self-pity and sweat, dear husband came to the rescue.
He knew that my blood sugar had bottomed out.
He also knew that sugar would temporarily stave off the symptoms, but in a few minutes I would be crashing again.
So he did what any low carb savvy husband would do:
He popped the top on a can of Vienna sausages.
Stabbing one with his pocket knife, he offered it to me.
Now at that moment, I truly thought that if I ate anything, either I would not be able to swallow it, or it would come right back up again.
But I felt so lousy I was desperate.
So I opened my mouth.
I chewed.
I swallowed.
I began to feel as if I might not actually fall off the bench onto the floor.
And when I got home, as soon as I put away the groceries and ate more protein, I got busy posting recipes on my low carb recipe blog.
I'm still not feeling good enough to make anything very elaborate, but at least I am thinking about it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cruising Along

Wick & I just returned from a 7 day cruise with Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas. We have sailed on this ship four times. She is not the largest cruise ship, but has the most repeat cruisers of any of Royal Caribbean's ships, due to the wonderful service and friendly staff.

Sadly, this will be our last cruise on the Rhapsody. She is being sent to Australia for several months, then will be reconditioned, and sent to Asia.

One of the things we like about the Rhapsody is the size. With about 2500 passengers, it is possible to get acquainted with other passengers, and to feel a part of the shipboard community.
On this cruise, we traveled with a family group, 15 other cruisers related to us by birth or marriage. We enjoyed their company, and shared many meals, on board activities, and excursions.

If you have never taken a cruise, be prepared for a whole new world of experience. For us, it is a week of feeling like royalty. Someone else cooks, serves and cleans up after 5 course gourmet meals, including lobster, escargot, prime rib, shrimp, and the most luscious desserts I have ever dreamed of. Someone else makes up the bed, cleans the shower, puts out clean towels, and picks up the wet washcloth I dropped in the shower. Someone else plans the daily activities, serves an endless stream of drinks with chunks of fruit and little umbrellas, and washes up the glasses afterward.

The biggest decision on a day at sea is which of a half dozen appetizers to order, or whether to read in a deck chair on the promenade deck, or in the solarium.

It's a week of luxury, of being pampered and cosseted, of being made to feel that life is truly just a bowl of cherries---piled high with whipped cream.

Try it. I think you'll like it.

Blog Reader Project survey!

Please, please, pretty please, take this survey! I'd like to get to know you better!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Meredith's post about lids reminded me of the loss of lids for my favorite Corning ware casserole dishes, which I received as a wedding gift.
The dishes themselves were that very sturdy, nearly indestructible stuff that goes from freezer to oven to microwave to dishwasher with nary a problem. The lids, however...
The lids were just glass.
They chipped easily.
They broke almost as easily.
So by the time I had been married about 20 years or so, I still had the dishes, but only one lid.
One Sunday afternoon, my dear daughter-in-law and I went shopping at a nearby outlet mall, where there was a Corning outlet. We were accompanied by two year old Pie.
Pie was very patient with us as we shopped store after store.
When we got to the Corning outlet, I looked at replacement lids, but couldn't decide on which sizes I needed. So we decided to go home and look at the dishes, just to be sure.
When we got back to my house and unbuckled Pie from her car seat, she ran ahead of us into the house, jabbering incomprehensibly.
I followed her, curious to see what she was up to.
She went directly into the kitchen, opened the lower cabinet door where I kept the Corning dishes, and yanked the stack that needed lids right out of the cabinet.
Onto the floor.
Onto the ceramic tile floor.
Shattering all but one of the dishes.
Despite their apparent sturdiness, they could not survive a two year old, or a tile floor.
I guess I didn't need those lids after all.

Monday went to the dogs

Yesterday, instead of cooking supper, I was lazy, and picked up a box of fried chicken at Brookshire's, as well as a pound of fried chicken livers, one of my husband's favorites. I sliced up a cantaloupe and some tomatoes fresh from our neighbor's garden, and baked some potatoes.
A pretty decent dinner, I thought.
Apparently, son's Boston terrier thought so too.
We currently have our own Pom, Frankie, as well as Gracie the pug and Oreo the Boston terrier (son's dogs) in residence. Frankie, being particular about what he will eat, rarely begs for table food. Gracie, being somewhat on the plump side, has never offered to climb up on the supper table. It had never occurred to me that Oreo, in addition to being a persistent beggar, would actually assault anything left on the table and swallow it whole.
At least until last night.
I got sidetracked before I finished putting everything away after supper. The bowl of chicken livers, a couple of chicken wings, and half a stick of butter in its dish were still on the table.
I went outside, leaving the dogs inside.
Now I don't know for sure that Oreo was the one responsible.
Nor do I know for sure that she actually devoured all that food.
But when I came back in, the butter dish was on the floor.
The bowl of chicken livers was empty.
The fried chicken wings were gone.
I'm talking gone.
As in not even crumbs left behind.
Frankie had his head between his paws. Never looked up.
Gracie looked at me with her melting brown eyes, as if pleading innocent.
Oreo was laying on the couch, and when I tried to scoot her over so I could sit down, she groaned.
None of them confessed, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they shared the bounty of our leftovers that I had planned to have for lunch today.
And judging from what came out during her late night walk, a great deal more than dry dog food went into Oreo at some point.
Not that I am accusing her.
I'm just saying.