Car Shopping with my Daughter

During her recent european vacation, my eldest daughter rented a Fiat 500 with 2 of her engineer cousins. She lovvvvvved it! and wanted one. Initially she decided she wanted a stick shift ( no doubt due to the influence of those two engineers). After a couple of gut wrenching “learn to drive stick shift” episodes with her sister, she decided that the automatic may be for her. Besides, she wanted it now.
Shift forward to Wednesday when she called asking if her dad would go test driving with her. Dad was volunteering at the library so she consented to have me accompany her. Let me preface this by saying our Mother daughter shopping trips during her teen years were excrutiating for both of us. This did not bode well.

Test driving a car with Mom is totally different than test driving with a 44+ years as an aircraft mechanic Dad. First of all we had to decide on a color. Amazingly, Fiat has lots of neat colors and interiors that aren’t boring gray. A shipment of 50 had just arrived so we were challenged to drag the salesman around 2 parking lots full of cars. Red, her first choice was sold. Yellow and black, (MY CHOICE) was nixed since “Mother, this is MY car, MY choice.” For many nervous moments I thought she was going to choose another grey car (OOOOH!), but ultimately she chose a white car with red & black interior. sharp, sharp! Did we worry about anti lock brackes or acceleration, Did we sigh about gas mileage or reliability. NOOOO!  We pondered getting a sunroof or not and whether the bluetooth and iPod connection was included. We discussed the furniture in the show room..great leather chairs and couch!

We attempted to negotiate, but probably paid too much. We got exactly the car she wanted! A successful Mom/daughter excursion!

Hmmmm…Maybe I could buy the yellow and black combination convertible for the Arizona house, couldn’t I?!?


I Went Away for a Week & Look What Happened

My husband & I just spent a week at perhaps the best vacation spot in the country, The Clearing Folk School in Ellison Bay (Door County) Wisconsin. Originally  founded by the prominent Danish landscape architect Jens Jensen, the Clearing is possibly the most relaxing of atmospheres. Residing in modern cabins, students trek to the lodge three times a day to eat marvelous food such as eggs benedict, Swedish pancakes with hot cherry sauce and whipped cream, fresh whitefish from the bay, barbecue ribs,  and perhaps the best luncheon dessert, ruby ripe strawberries with individual pots of the Clearing’s famous hot fudge sauce. In addition to wooded hikes, wondrous sunsets, views of the three pines, & a table for puzzles,  you can actually learn something during the week. I took an oil painting class this time but I have attended week long book discussions and learned photoshop techniques in the past. My husband took a furniture making class in the wonderful  woodshop creating a replica of a 100+ year old child’s chair.

With no tv, internet, radios and phones (except for emergencies) we were virtually out of touch with  the world. We knew that a horrible heat wave had hit the Midwest…we too, even up in Door Co. were experiencing 90 + weather, but what had happened in the debt limit talks in Washington? Surely they had come to some compromise! NOOOOOO! NOTHING HAPPENED!!!!

Watching the Sunday news shows  I am seeing the same old finger-pointing and that Koch Brothers script verbage “we have a spending problem” spouted by every Republican as if it were a bible verse they learned to recite at their contributor’s knee.  In fact that is exactly where they learned the phrases they are constantly quoting.   The billionaire Koch brothers are driving this entire dissension in Washington. Far right proponents of state’s rights and very limited government, they are monetarily funding those candidates who vow to roll back any of Roosevelt’s New Deal programs they can…especially entitlement programs.  I’m not sure they wouldn’t blow up Hoover Dam and let the Colorado run free if they could. After all it was built by a WPA/PWA work project..(My father helped build it)  They want to get the tax rate back to where it was in the 1930’s extremely non existent, especially for the rich. They want to destroy unions and fund ads that demonize labor unions. In the last 3 years they have donated 40+ million in attack ads, & candidate support. They especially want to roll back any kind of regulation of industries or companies. Let them pollute as they will as long as it is profitable. They completely deny the theory of climate change. With the weather we have been enduring, how could you still take that view…Oh, I forgot, they don’t want their companies regulated so they just deny climate change. How very different are other billionaires in this country, men like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates who donate billions of dollars for the betterment of our citizens rather than build barricades around the wealth of the rich.

…And if we swallow their theories, our way of life will be gone.   Think I’ll head back to Door County.

Evil Wheat

One of the book galleys I have downloaded to read and review is called Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by Dr. William Davis a Wisconsin cardiologist. This book has blown me away. Unfortunately for you, it will not be published until the end of August.

Dr. Davis maintains that there is a direct corrollation between the aggressive genetic engineering of modern day wheat and the rise in obesity, type II diabetes, and various gluten intolerant diseases such as celiac disease.

In 1970 Norman Ernest Borlaugh won the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to genetically create a high-yielding short-strawed, disease-resistant wheat. It seemed to be the salvation of the hungry famine-ridden inhabitants of part of this planet. However, as Dr. Davis shows,  this wheat is everywhere and is, indeed, almost advertised by our own government which advocates the use of “Healthy multi-grain whole wheat products.” As the usage of this type of wehat took over, in the 80s and 90s obesity grew, more and more adults came down with adult onset diabetes, people developed the “wheat belly inner tube protuberance around their middles. including me.

For the past few years, especially after beginning to take insulin, I have time and time attempted to lose weight using weight watchers, counting calories (under 1500 daily) going on low-carb diets, etc.  The result has been absolutely nil. But, I did notice that when I went on a low carb diet, my diabetes and blood counts improved measurably. In addition, a friend of mine discovered that she was wheat intolerant and that by going gluten free cured her migraines. My own daughter  announced this weekend that she has discovered that her lifelong stomach troubles seem to be exacerbated when she eats wheat.

I talked to my endocrinologist yesterday and he was not surprised to hear that wheat may be the culprit. Moreover, he has encouraged my eliminating wheat from my diet to see how it effects both my diabetes and weight. If we see positive results, he may begin having his other diabetic patients at least limit their wheat intake. I’ve decided to set mid August as my begin date. I will reread his book, and begin de-wheating my home. Believe me this will be hard. Look at labels. We think that sugar and high fructose syrup is everywhere, count how many foods in the supermarket are wheat-based. Aisles and aisles of them.

Stay tuned, this hopefully will be my best project yet.

Dry Heat vs. Wet Heat

Having just spent 3 days in the Arizona Summer, I feel I have become an expert on the variables of heat and humidity or the lack thereof. For years I pooh-poohed the very idea that 110 degree heat was tenable and asserted that is was similar to being in an oven and that the people living in Arizona were wacko. As far as their politics, I still feel the people of Arizona are wacko, but now I’m one of them, having purchased a home in Sun City West. Temperatures averaged 107 during our stay reaching the top f 116 yesterday. You may assume that most Arizonians are dried up crispy-edged folks spending their days slathering on the antiperspirants. Not so. They adapt very well, rising at 4:30 AM to tend their gardens, walk their dogs and pursue their daily duties before the heat of the day arrives.  In Sun City West only the stalwart or crazies venture out between noon and dusk to play golf, walk their dogs or water their cactus. When a flash fire in an electric power plant occurred, real panic developed among those sans air conditioning, but other than those unfortunate few relying on paper fans or visiting friends in other parts of the area, life went on with the streets of Sun City West abandoned midday.

There are many perks to living in Arizona…most of them during the winter months when 5s and 60s are welcome balm to the snowbirds who flock there.  If the fruit trees in your own yard aren’t producing well, those of your neighbors will be. And the neighbors are very generous with their fruit. Sunsets are reliably spectacular. A little known benefit is the fact that during the summer the water gushing from your cold water faucet is as warm and toasty as can be…we showered for three days without turning on our hot water heater.

Upon returning to Illinois on the redeye flight, I instantly felt uncomfortably hot. Temperatures were only in the 80s but the humidity factor hit me in the face as I exiited the airport. Mist rose from my garden. It seems that dry heat may actually be better than that with humidity. Oh well, winter is only a few months away…and besides Illinois politics is also full of a lot of wackos and some criminals as well.  Bu tI can guarantee that I’m not getting up at 4:30 AM no matter where I am.

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