For my daughters and grandchildren

I’m here.

I’ve shown up.

This is my second time at a small writing group gathering to learn more about writing ones “Life Story” for their children and grandchildren.

What am I thinking?

What am I doing here?

I’m not a writer.

Who am I kidding?

What is driving me to try this? 

I don’t know!

Maybe I can start small, just a short essay, or another blog post.

If I practice, and practice, and practice, and put in my 10,000 hours, could I really become a writer?  I don’t even have a burning desire to write. But I enjoy recording the stories of my simple life observations.

There’s only one way to find out if I can write and that is to start, and then to stick with it.

My parents were actually told to not expect much from me by my high school English teacher, Mr. Bruce Robertson.  He even cautioned that they shouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t make it to college. More on that another time.

So, the next questions are what to write about? What do I love? 

Nature and solitude.

So I’ll start small and close to home.

My quarter acre retreat.

Morning often finds me taking 10 minutes, with my first cup of coffee, outside, observing my garden. 

You see, I’m a “dolphin”.

Oh, that’s my chronotype. Dolphins are rare. Let me transition here before I barely get started.

The dolphin chronotype describe me to a T. Dolphins have a hard time waking up. Stick with me here, we’ll get back out in the garden in a minute. 

The author of the book The Power of When, Dr. Michael Breus, writes about our chronotypes and recommends that dolphins get exposure to bright light to wake up. If you don’t know your chronotype, I recommend reading the book. You’ll learn more about how you are driven by your innate circadian rhythms. Anyway, this is why I’m in my garden observing nature at its finest.

It is an early fall morning. Not too early, but not mid-morning either.  The sun is rising but still low in the sky and the shadows are long as the morning rays strike my California fuchsia from a low eastern angle backlighting the reddish-orange tubular flowers making them appear iridescent. 

The critters that share my suburban community are already up and busy.

A single hummingbird visits the early sunlit red flowers. But only one hummer at a time. These tiny colorful birds are territorial and don’t like sharing.  Within a short period of time, another swoops in on the one feeding. A high-speed chase ensues. In a flash of color and wings, the two birds are gone. 

A few native bees and honey bees are already visiting the same bush. A honey bee lands on the throat of a flower with open anthers and a sticky stigma. It proceeds to climb, wiggle and pull itself into the flower. It disappears into the tube. If you look now, you’d never know there is a full-size honey bee down the tube. I wait for it. The flower begins to jiggle. I tiny bee butt starts to appear. First the black and white stripes, then two long bent golden legs. Finally, a fuzzy body, more legs, and a fuzzy head slide down the stamens. The bee takes flight to its next receptive flower, seeking its reward of a tiny bit of sweet nectar. Payment will be made in full as the bee leaves a bit of pollen behind to fertilize the flowers eggs deep within the bloom.

In the oak behind me, I hear the repetitive rhythmic call of a chick-a-dee. It is echoed by another off in the distance. The crescendo of birds near and far builds like a tuning orchestra. 

Simultaneously, I hear a rather loud and shrill scrapping sound. I had heard this exact same sound the other day.  When I investigated the source of the grinding and scraping, I found a squirrel sitting on the fence, with a 5-inch section of dry cow bone, like the kind one might buy for their dog. It appeared to be sharpening its teeth on the bone and with each gnawing, this odd bone rattling, tooth grinding sound emanated forth. I startled the squirrel that day and the bone fell into my yard.  How in the world did this small critter get this bone up onto the fence? The grinding commenced again this morning as I took another bite of my frittata.

A moment later, a familiar chase sound begins. I turn to look upward to see two common oak tree visitors. With their bushy tails flickering and tiny paws and toenails grabbing at the oak bark, another friendly backyard critter chase begins. The second critter chase of my morning.  The sound of the squirrels fast moving claws on the bark is almost like the tinkling of gently falling glass shards as the two playfully chase each other. The chase ends as fast as it started with a leap into the neighbor’s palm tree. A quick flutter of fronds, then nothing, just the gently barely perceptible cool morning breeze. 

The warmth of the new dawn on this fall morning begins to evaporate the minuscule amount of morning dew visible on solid surfaces. The dew is only slightly perceptible on the plants with tiny hairs. Native plants survive the long summer dryness in this Mediterranean climate of central California by having tiny leaf surface hairs which are capable of capturing the slightest amount of moisture from the air.

My chickens scratch the ground, rustling through recently fallen oak leaves. These first autumn leaves of the season drift downward to become food for the overwintering soil decomposers. 

There is a clanking sound as a tumbling acorn bounces off a solid surface on it’s way to the ground. The magic of that morning sun which heats up and expands a layer of cells in the stem of the acorn just enough for it to separate from its attachment point on the thin twig.

No signs yet of the blue belly or alligator lizards. Later in the day the butterflies and dragonflies will come to visit. The native chaparral sages will release their fresh scent as the day warms. 

I will remain blissfully ignorant of the billions of soil microbes, bacteria, fungi, and earthworms busy below my feet.

And then, my peaceful morning is interrupted by the squealing and grinding noise of a circular saw cutting a 2×4. My neighbor’s contractor has arrived. Pulled back to the reality of my day, it is time to start tackling the never-ending to-do list. The rising sun has done its job in so many ways. I’m feeling awake and ready to take on the day.

What a blessing to be able to start my day in nature. Eating my breakfast frittata and drinking my morning cup of coffee.

To my daughters and grandchildren: never stop pausing long enough to notice and love nature.

Comments and suggestions welcomed as I begin, continue and travel into and along this storytelling adventure

Outrageous price gouging and iffy labeling of gluten-free food.

I really don’t get why people jump on fad diet bandwagons. The gluten-free diet is necessary for about 1% to possibly 2.4% of the population. Of that 2.4%, 72% do not have celiac disease. Several sources would indicate that up to 25% of the population eats gluten-free some of the time.  Why?  Gluten-free is not a weight loss diet, it is not cheap, it is not healthy (it lacks fiber and necessary nutrients). These fad followers have made a joke out of my medically necessary diet.

Restaurants don’t take us seriously when we ask about cross-contact/cross-contamination.  Manufactures are slapping “Gluten-Free” labeling on all sorts of products and then in tiny, itty bitty fine print, hidden somewhere on the packaging they add the clause: “manufactured in a facility, or on equipment that uses wheat”. This disqualifies their product as being safe for a sensitive individual with Celiac disease or at least confuses the heck out of us, wondering if it is or is it not safe for us to consume.

Please give me back my gluten-free food medical prescription. 

Here are two label examples seen this week.  My go-to flour substitute has doubled in price over the last 5 years. One pound of my gluten-free flour costs $4.  The equivalent wheat-based flour can be purchased at a cost of $0.25 per pound.  Gluten-free flour is 176% more expensive than wheat flour. 

Here’s an example of a product I got excited to see labeled gluten-free at Costco this week.  I love potato salad but don’t always think far enough ahead to make it.  One, I need the raw ingredients on hand and second I need to prepare, cook and cool the potatoes well before I wish to assemble the salad, and then there’s the cleanup. As you can see, this San Francisco potato salad is clearly labeled on the front as gluten-free.  How many times have I bought a gluten-free labeled product, only to discover later that there is some fine print disclosing that it really maybe isn’t truly gluten-free? 

I had hope that when the FDA passed the new labeling law in 2014, it would have cleared things up. That was the goal at least. I keep hearing about too many products being recalled under the labeling law and I can’t find anything about that little itty bitty disclaimer “processed on equipment or facility with wheat”.  What does that mean to a Celiac?  

 

See the differences?

The cost to eat gluten-free has become a big scam. The only winners are the corporations.

Notice anything different between these two packages? Look at the red dots. Look at the package weights. Compare to wheat version below.

Yep, the count has gone down from a mere 8 to now just 6. This package costs around $6.00. This change happened last month. And the tortillas are even thinner. Do the math, ounces/count.

Compared to standard wheat tortillas, count of 10 for about $2.25. And each tortilla is slightly bigger at a cost of about 22 cents each versus the gluten free version at a cost of about a dollar EACH! Are you kidding me? A difference of 4 to 1. Well, fewer soft rolled burritos in my life, back to scooping the filling with tortilla chips.

So, don’t be offended when you ask for just a taste of my gf cookie or muffin and I say “No!”.

Why would anyone choose to eat gluten free unless it is a medical necessity?

Birthday Bike

Well, no, it’s not my birthday. But, I have owned my fancy road bike for 5 years as of today, August 14th 2018.  This bike has been a wonderful gift that I bought for myself 5 years ago, with a little bit of money that I inherited when my mom passed. My thinking was, she’d approve, after all, she had been a physical education professor.  

I’m not one to own much stuff, tending towards minimalism. And, I’m certainly not one to think of buying much for myself. But this has been one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. I bought this bike in

Tahoe ride – almost done, ended with Emerald Bay climb.

preparation for what has still been my longest and highest elevation gain ride.  A `few weeks after I bought this bike, I rode around Lake Tahoe, 73 miles and 4,800 feet of gain on one ride.

 

On this bike, I’ve put in more than 12,000 miles. Most have been great, taking me to places I never thought I’d see from a bike and down many a road that formed new memories.  Some of these miles pushed my mental fortitude. This year alone, I’ve climbed up over 100,000 feet of elevation.

Wind, snow, hail, rain – epic ride up McKenzie Pass, Oregon Never been so cold.

I’ve learned that I don’t mind gravel and dirt roads. I’ve determined fire roads and single track trails are not my thing. In an ideal world, all roads would be smooth with a negative grade. I’m clearly a “roadie” and not a mountain biker like everyone else in my immediate family.  I’ve given it an honest try several times. 

From the saddle, I’ve learned it’s not about the speed I travel but the path I travel.  It’s what’s in-between that fills my soul with renewed energy. It’s the conversations with family and friends on shared rides that build stronger relationships and new friendships. The mountain passes, summits, vista’s, wildlife, sunsets, and rainstorms that fill my heart with hope. 

I’ve met many, many riders over these few years of riding.  Some have really made an impression on me. Those that have overcome injury, diseases, cancer or great losses have inspiring stories to share. Being a very slow rider myself, I’ve ridden many miles with a few men that are quite my senior.  I’ve often inquired if they have any wisdom to share about aging well. Mind you, these are men that I’ve ridden with that are well into their 80’s.  In

Then 83 years young, still riding now 87.

every case, their advice is “keep moving”. They often don’t just bike, but hike, golf, play tennis or swim.  They are movers.  And the interesting and encouraging news is, that they haven’t necessarily been active their entire life.  One gentleman that I have ridden with over several years is now 87 years young and still riding. He tells me he didn’t start riding until he was in his 60’s. One of the first rides I did with him was a two-day tour of the Sacramento River Delta, a ride of more than 120 miles.

 

I’d add that I’ve also learned from these individuals that the secret to aging well also includes eating well, spending time with friends/socializing, volunteering, reading and learning new things.

We’ve volunteered for local team road races, The Mt. Diablo Challenge Road Race to  the professional cycling race Amgen Tour Of California.

Happy birthday, bike.

August 2018 trip to the summit of “my” mountain.

It will be a hard day to ever give you up. But rumor has it, there may be an epic new ride in my future.

Characteristics of one kind of toxic Individual

This is my second post in a row trying to process in my mind to some degree what’s going on in the United States and around the world. This ugly divisiveness we are seeing from our elected officials, religious sects, to branches of media. Like many, I’m seeing so much ugliness and hatred between families, neighbors, global citizens, races, cultures and even the sexes. So many non-truths and fabricated information, “click bait” propaganda using false quotes and images not even related to the message. So many are being so cruel, thoughtless and hurtful. It’s as if everyone has forgotten how to stop, think, question and research. If someone verbalizes it (meme’s it or tweets it is more like it), it must be so. Even as the ideas and statements become even more ridiculous, outlandish and untrue, the more riled up the fringe masses become and some of those on the edges and near the fringe join in, without even considering how absurd the concept is or who the creator might actually be. (It will be interesting if it is found that a foreign party that has something to gain by creating discourse is at the root of this social disconnect.) 

I read yet another fabricated story the other day that stated that the “left” had managed to get rights for illegal immigrants to vote. That is just plain bull shit! Folks, the rules of the constitution haven’t changed. Citizenship is still a requirement to vote.  Before spreading these misinformation folks, please, stop and question and do a little itty bitty amount of research on your own from legitimate and multiple resources. I’m sure you can come up with numerous examples of “stories” made up, that are just plain nonsense. 

I wonder if this vain of irrational dissenters have made it easier for individuals to believe it’s okay to say and do whatever they want?

This leads me to what started this blog post, how to deal with a specific type of toxic individual. There is no way to reason with this type of person. They are very set in their ways. 

See if the following describes anyone you recognize.

We’ve ALL encountered people like this.  Usually, if you encounter a person like this, you naturally distance yourself from them.  Sometimes the situation is complicated and it’s not so easy to walk away.  But, walk away, you must. 

No amount of compassion, empathy, kindness or compliments seems to change their behavior. There is nothing you can do except to advocate for yourself and to distance yourself from the toxic individual. 

I’m terribly sorry for those who have had to deal with individuals that fit the following descriptions.  There must be a reason why the English language has so many words to describe these individuals.  A single word just doesn’t do justice in describing their despicable behavior and attitude. Know that you do not need this kind of individual in your life and you owe them nothing.  Breaking ties is often complicated and difficult. But it must be done.

Words to describe one type of kind toxic person:

Snarky – a person who is sharply critical, cutting and snide. Cranky and irritable.

Snide – derogatory or mocking in an indirect way, devious and underhanded. An unpleasant or

underhanded person or remark

Spiteful – showing or caused by malice

Malice – the intention or desire to do evil, ill will

Backbiting – malicious talk about someone who is not present

Backhanded – indirect, ambiguous or insincere

Hard-hearted – lacking in sympathetic understanding, unfeeling, pitiless

Invective – insulting, abusive, highly critical language

Backhanded compliment – an insult disguised as a compliment – when taken in its entirety

We have to stop being around people who speak unkindly, whether they are co-workers, family or so-called “friends”. It just isn’t emotionally healthy for us, for our children or our marriages to stay connected to this type of person.

If you can’t just walk away and never see this individual again, you might need to try saying something like this: “I don’t like the way you’re speaking to me and to the ones I love.  If you continue to say things like this, I can no longer be around you.  I’m not telling you what to do. It’s your life. I’m simply making a choice for myself. I know you’ll say nasty things about me when I’m not around, and that’s fine.”  It might make you feel better, but it certainly won’t change anything.

Don’t let years go by or decades.  Act now. Your happiness is worth eliminating toxic people from your life.  It is not your responsibility to keep trying to change these individuals. No amount of compassion, kindness or empathy will work. They won’t change.

It is time to finally roll up the welcome mat, delete them from your life.

I wish you the peace and respect you deserve. Practice the Golden Rule, and if it’s not kind or necessary and it’s not nice, just don’t say it. And unless you are skilled in compassion and empathy, you probably shouldn’t be asking personal, probing questions.

In general show respect for others and gratitude. Practice listening without judgment. Show genuine interest in others. Remind yourself that everyone is dealing with or facing some kind of challenge. 

I’d like to end with a book recommendation. I’m currently re-reading this book to strengthen my own convictions to lead a more compassionate and kind life.  

Twelve Steps To A Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong ISBN 978-0-307-59559-1

Writing this post has been a good reminder to myself that I need to make sure I’m not stooping to the level of a toxic person and to remember to practice active listening.

Peace be with you.

Love your neighbor as yourself and remember to take care of yourself first.

If you cannot love yourself, you cannot love other people.

My hope is that we can see each other as fellow humans, our sisters and brothers, each imperfect and accept that as okay.

Lacking Compassion

Homelessness

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and see the light of compassion.

ref=”http://gatoraceae.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/1-1.jpg”> The gentlemen… minus a few.[/ca
I had a rather one-sided conversation the other day with a fellow cyclist. The conversation has been lingering on my mind ever since.  All I could think about during this conversation was how unkind, heartless and lacking in empathy this man was.  There were a handful of other men present and I could tell some of them were uncomfortable with this man’s words (he wasn’t ranting, but close to it), yet, none of us were willing to create a scene and bluntly call this man out on his rhetoric..  

Cyclists on group rides come from all walks of life, careers, educational backgrounds and political leanings.  This diversity can usually make for good, educated discussions on all sorts of topics.

[/caption]This individual stated that “all homeless people are drug addicts and that they chose that life”.  I don’t know how this conversation had started. I had just rejoined the group after filling up my water bottle and others were in getting a ‘Starbucks’. This comment is what made my ears perk up and I started to listen in more on the conversation.

Wow, just wow.  I sort of joined the conversation and I stated that I believed most homeless people ‘probably’ suffered from mental illness or had had unfortunate family life circumstances that had brought them to this point in their lives and that yes, some are now drug addicts. My belief and understanding are that no one “chooses” to become a drug addict.  Often it is a result of ‘said’ unfortunate life circumstances. Drugs are often an escape and there is more often than not, an underlying mental illness.

I think this man honestly believed all homeless people ‘chose that life’ and ‘got what they deserved’.  He said if he was homeless and lived in a homeless gathering in San Jose and another homeless person died, he wouldn’t call the police but he’d bag up the dead guy and dump them in a dumpster.  (I think this conversation started because the group was referring to a recent news story about San Jose homeless.)

Are there seriously people who are this cold-hearted?

This individual “appeared” to be affluent and he griped about all the taxes he has to pay in California.  And what did he get for that?  And he stated that all the states send their homeless to California.  Maybe it’s true that 1/4th the homeless live here. Anyone want to verify that number?  (See link below, I call BS on his comments.)

He also said he wants to move to Tennessee where it would be so much cheaper to retire. He said he’d keep his California home and be okay paying California property taxes.

I asked him what he’d suggest as a solution in regards to the opioid crisis and homelessness? Many of these individuals have had a work injury and ended up getting addicted to the pain meds.  Is this the life they chose? And whose responsible?  The families, the individual, the former employer, the doctors, the pharmaceutical companies?

Of course, he didn’t try to answer but diverted to mentioning how terrible it was that churches in the East Bay were going to build tiny house pods for homeless.  Clearly, he didn’t want this in “his” backyard.  I was preferring to not become a part of this one-sided conversation, but it was really hard to ignore.

I probably prodded with a few more questions, trying to elicit any sign of compassion or empathy.  Never saw any.

I mentioned to this person that I am a “pre-existing” condition, both by being female and by actually having a disease (I did not mention what that disease is).  Couldn’t illicit any indication of surprise or concern on his part.  I thought if he could put a face with a situation, he might show a level of empathy. Please note, I was the also the only female out of 10 riders on this group ride. 

As a married woman, my husband and I made the choice for me to forgo a larger more lucrative career and to work only part-time while choosing to raise a family and to put our children’s upbringing first.  It’s a choice we made, but in reality, for a woman to choose family over career means she will most likely forever be dependent on that man/partner to live a secure life or will most likely lead a life with far greater risk of leading to homelessness and poor health care.  This isn’t a blog post about equality and shared responsibilities, though I can see the connection.  The poor, the unlucky and the mentally ill sometimes need some assistance.  Again, whatever happened to the biblical rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt. 7:12).  This is commonsense ethics.

I guess for an individual like this man, until it is him, his child or brother or best friend, that suffers a crisis, such as a mental health issue or injury that leads to an opioid addiction, they just can’t see the light of compassion. Or maybe they are so cold-blooded, they would just abandon their family member or friend.

As the following news story link points out, it doesn’t appear like most of these individuals are homeless due to their choice to be drug addicts.  In fact, sounds like a lot of homeless are not drug addicts at all.  I do think the homeless that people see and are aware of, are those who are mentally ill.  These homeless mentally ill individuals are mistaken for being on drugs.  Homelessness is a complex issue with many diverse contributing factors.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/06/30/san-jose-huge-surge-in-homeless-silicon-valley-youth/

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and see the light of compassion.

Government Data Report  Homelessness rates per 100K from US government data.

D. C. = 1,097/100K

New York – 453/100K

California – 342/100K

Note that Oregon is at 341/100K, basically the same as California.

I did not look at every state,  And clearly, if you even glance at the numbers, 1/4th of the homeless in the nation do not live in California.  One also needs to take into account the size of California and the total population relative to the number of homeless.

I think this man has believed a lot of propaganda that he has been fed and seen.

Another factsheet: https://mentalillnesspolicy.org/states/lauraslawindex.html#factsheets

28% of homeless suffer mental illness (General population, mental illness is 6%)

 

Gluten cross contact – who am I fooling?

I try to convince myself that food I don’t prepare is probably safe. Who am I kidding? Only me!

I tell people about ingredients to watch for, things to do to avoid Cross-contamination, so they can “believe” they can “feed” me. But I’m only jeopardizing myself. I do want to believe I’m not getting Cross Contamination. But, I know I am being CC, which really is “Cross-Contact”.

I feel sometimes only slight indications or just off a bit and always try to tell myself “oh, it must be something else.” And NO, it’s not “just in my head.” That’s BS. It’s also what everyone is told until something is figured out. But when have you ever heard anyone ever say after the fact “Oh, I guess it was not really just in your head. Oh, you really were experiencing something.”  Until science catches up with reality of what a Celiac experiences, the general population will continue to doubt us and think it is “all in our head.”

Yes, this gluten restriction is hard, really hard to live with.

Reminded this past week why I hadn’t eaten “out” in 2 1/2 months. It’s definitely like playing Russian roulette, except I lose every single time, no matter what I tell myself.

Here are some answers about CC, cross-contact. And, NO, you can’t destroy gluten by burning it off or heating it. Baking bread doesn’t “kill” gluten. Gluten is a protein (not a type of bacteria) and proteins cannot be “killed off” using heat or disinfecting agents like most bacteria can be. Read more here on where and how CC occurs.

CROSS-CONTACT – beyond celiac

Celiac disease (CD) patients adhering to a gluten-free diet (GFD) are exposed frequently to low levels of gluten that contribute to symptoms and persistent intestinal histologic damage.
Conclusions

These surrogate biomarkers of gluten ingestion indicate that many individuals following a GFD regularly consume sufficient gluten to trigger symptoms and perpetuate intestinal histologic damage. Link to 2018 scientific paper here:

Determination of gluten consumption in celiac disease patients on a gluten-free diet

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Head Injuries

My brothers and I have recently been discussing head injuries. Here’s a modified story that I shared with them.  I thought others might find this story entertaining. I’m fortunate in that I have not experienced significant head trauma, well, at least not that I can remember.

I can only remember hitting my head hard once and that was last summer (2017).  I had my first “real” bike crash.  A bee flew down my jersey.  I screamed and my husband who was in front of me, locked up his new disk brakes.  I clipped the back of the bike trailer and slid out, staying with the bike as they say to do.  As my helmet and head was sliding across the asphalt with my eyes inches from the ground, I actually was thinking, “wow, my helmet is doing its job, I’m not passing out!”

I had lots of road rash, and you could say my bike did too, but my carbon fiber frame was ok.  My helmet was cracked all the way through.  I laid on the asphalt for some time mentally assessing my situation with my legs entangled with my bike and my feet still clipped in.  My husband removed my bike and I continued to lay on the bike trail for a moment and then slowly moved up to assess the damage.
We were 15 miles from home.  We road slowly to a drug store to buy Neosporin, Motrin and bandages.  Then we road home, slowly. Which was probably the best thing I could do for my muscles.
My daughter brought me her race helmet the next day.
I was wearing a fairly high-end Specialized bike helmet.  Now I wear an even higher end race helmet.  I credit my helmet with absorbing the shock and preventing blackout or more.
It is also remarkable that I did not fracture anything, because up to about 2 years ago, any fall or trip and I would fracture.  I credit my celiac diagnosis to my improved bone health which for a woman at my age is truly remarkable.   As I’ve said, I have had more bone fractures then I can remember. Close to one a year.
After the crash, I had some serious contusions, a really swollen knee and a very painful sore area on my ribcage opposite the crash side.  I was told that when a racer impacts at that force a shock wave travels across the chest and can cause pain on the opposite side.  Since it did start to feel better after many days, I did not seek medical attention for a rib fracture which I had by then ruled out.
I healed and got on my bike once again.

Why do I think I’m fat?

“Women 50 years old and older who are less than 28 percent body fat are included in the low body fat category. Having too little body fat could impact muscle function and other body systems.” The Normal Percentage of Body Fat for Women

I’ll say it here, my body fat index is 27%. And I feel like I’m fat and that I have this unsightly gut that I can’t do any thing about. Todays thin tight clingy knit fashions don’t help.

Society has done a great job making me feel horribly terribly conflicted gross about my gut pouch. But medicine says I’m “wtf” below normal.

I feel guilty about my lack of will power to avoid a second serving or sweets.

Doesn’t help that for my first 50 years of life I had undiagnosed Celiac which meant in my younger days my body fat was around 16-20% because I wasn’t absorbing necessary nutrients. Yes, I felt skinny back then but I was also unhealthy.

Damn society for how we treat women.

Girls CAN too!

I grew up very sheltered and was regretfully fed a message that I was weaker then boys, needed to be protected, fearful of the world and there were things “girls” just didn’t do. I don’t think it was my parents intentions to instill this message but it still happened. It was surely out of love that they protected me. I was the youngest of four and the only daughter. I wasn’t the rebellious type and just went along with it, accepted life as it was and didn’t know any better. It wasn’t till many years later that I began to realize that not all girls were sheltered like me. Some girls got to do what the boys did or whatever they wanted to.

I hope and pray I set my daughters free and encouraged them to believe they can do anything they want. Maybe having the internet at their fingertips is a big advantage. They can see beyond their shelter and can see the bigger picture.

On that note, making up for a LOT of lost time, it’s finally my turn to start trying those forbidden activities. Today I’m building my first model rocket. I maybe a middle aged (late 50’s) woman, but this is something I would have liked to have been encouraged to do when my brothers got to. I spent a lot of time watching my brothers build electronics, build rockets, rebuild car engines, tinker in the family photo darkroom, go rock climbing and backpacking and on ski trips with their buddies. I was never allowed or encouraged to explore the world on my own. Instead, I learned to sew, cook, clean house and garden. Sexist much?