One Hour With Out My Smart iPhone!

On my recent vacation to the lowest place in California, I dropped my iPhone and it landed glass side down on a patch of small sharp-edged rocks. In my defense, I was recovering from a broken right elbow and dislocation. Clearly, I’m not very coordinated handling my phone with my left hand.

In all the many, many years that I have had a pocket-sized phone, I have never broken the glass.  There is always a first for everything.  

This was the 2nd day of my short vacation to the desert to visit with two of my brothers and my niece who is working for the park service as a hydrologist. I depend on my phone a wee bit too much, using my phone for everything from checking the time of day, navigation, texting to photography.  Fortunately, after brushing a few tiny sharp shards of glass away, the phone still turned on. Granted, the display had a web of cracks and a few divots, but it still worked. I finished my vacation, framing pictures the best I could through my shattered glass display.

A few days after my vacation I find myself at the Apple Genius bar in Walnut Creek handing over my beloved iPhone 7 to have the glass display replaced. I will be without my phone for one whole hour.

I had a few choices of how to spend my hour as Apple replaced the glass. I thought about walking around the not so new Broadway shops. I didn’t need anything and I don’t find window shopping terribly entertaining. I thought about walking to the downtown public library a few blocks away as I waited for the repair. 

Instead, I found myself putting pencil to paper at the Peet’s Coffee Bar on Locust Street. I could have pulled out my MacBook laptop computer and used the free wi-fi, but, I opted to see if I remembered how to write without a keyboard or dictation.

At my last Telling Your Life Story Meet-up, Jan read about “A cup of coffee”. Everyone chimed in about how experiencing a cup of coffee can be so much more, then “just” a cup of coffee. 

So, I found myself at Peet’s Coffee. It was odd to not “check-in” and pay at Peet’s with the Peet’s App on my iPhone. Fortunately, my app is linked with my cell phone number, so I could still get points for “checking-in”. Those “check-in” points add up to free coffee drinks. I had to pay with cash or credit as my discounted gift cards are all stored electronically on my phone.

Usually, when I’m out and about, all I carry are my car key, dark glasses, and my iPhone. I had to think ahead and planned to bring my small travel satchel with cash and actual plastic credit cards. My credit cards are all in my virtual wallet on my iPhone. Seems like just about every business now accepts Apple Pay. With a wave of my phone over the registers black box, payment can be made. Unless of course, I’m with my husband and he beats me to it with his Apple watch.

Speaking of Apple watches, I don’t have one and I currently have no plans to get one. I had to find my old Citizen watch. Before these “do everything” smartphones, we used to wear a wristwatch to tell time. Fortunately, this last watch I bought years ago is an Eco-Drive watch which means it uses light as the source of power. I placed the watch under a lamp this morning to charge it back up, as it had been in my nightstand drawer for what seemed like a decade.

As I wrote this with pencil and paper while enjoying my Chai tea, I found it odd to rotate my wrist to check the time.

You know, I didn’t miss my smartphone…..   YET!

I enjoyed the view from my corner table and did a little people watching as I savored the last of my tea.

I returned to Apple in just over one hour and my phone was fixed with a smooth, silky to the touch, new glass screen.

It wasn’t so bad being without my phone for just a little while. However, I realize there are advantages to a keyboard or dictation over pencil and paper. I now have to type this essay to post on my blog. I don’t think scanning my sloppy penmanship to an image would be appreciated by readers.

I survived modern day life without my iPhone for one hour. It was okay. Don’t be surprised when I don’t respond. I may be trying to survive without my smartphone for another hour or maybe even two.

Turning a negative into a positive

Well, life is all about learning. On Sunday afternoon February 10, 2019, my husband and I decided to take a walk downtown to buy 2 cans of white beans for a new soup recipe I wanted to try. It was a cold crisp partly cloudy afternoon, a lovely day for a long walk. We kept at a fast pace, walking 16-minute miles. After we purchased the beans at smart and final we started our walk home. Deciding to make a loop we walked back through a different neighborhood. It has been years since I walked up this particular street. As always, when I’m out on a walk, I enjoy looking at people’s gardens and homes.  I had really been looking to my left at a cute single-story house. As I looked at the home I was commenting to my husband that I knew someone that would really like this one that had a two car garage and driveway space for extra vehicles. 

The road we were walking on had recently been repaved so I was not looking down at the ground in front of me. My right foot caught on one of those reflective dots which are usually placed in the middle of the road. This one was right on the edge of the road where I was walking. Since we were walking at such a fast clip, when my foot caught, I had so much forward momentum that despite trying to recover by taking a few steps forward, the downward momentum was too strong and I fell to my right side. Of, course I tried to roll but my right arm got in the way. From the excruciating pain, I knew something was wrong with my arm. Grabbing my right elbow with my left hand I knew instantly I had a partial dislocation of the elbow. This is the second time in my life I have dislocated this elbow. I had my husband help me to sit up, and I grabbed my wrist and yanked downward trying to pop my elbow back in place. From the continuing pain and the shape of the elbow, I could feel through my down jacket, I could tell I had not yet gotten it back in place. Knowing I would get relief if I could pop it back in, I yanked downward harder to get it back in place. This time it felt better, the pain decreased some and I was able to flex my arm a little bit. Shortly, I was able to get up again and finish our walk home while supporting my elbow against my body with my other hand. 

Osteoporosis is a complication of untreated celiac disease. I was not diagnosed with Celiac until age 49. However, I was diagnosed with osteoporosis and low bone density in my 20s. I had my first total hip replacement at age 29. And as a result of living so long with undiagnosed celiac disease, I have had more bone fractures then I can remember. For a while, I think I averaged at least one fracture a year. 

Since I am so familiar with bone fractures I don’t rush to an ER or to urgent care to be seen right away. I know what test to perform and how to check my arm to know if I need to be seen immediately or can wait a day. I started the maximum dose of Motrin, iced my arm, pulled out my old sling, splinted my arm and propped it up on a pillow.  

My husband Scott got to cook the new Tuscan soup recipe. It was delicious. Later in the evening when I headed to bed I told my husband to go ahead and go to work on Monday. I would assess the situation in the morning. 

Monday morning after removing my homemade splint and looking at my elbow, I knew it just didn’t look quite right. And besides the pulled muscles and ligaments, I was still feeling that tale tale sign that this might be more than just a partial dislocation. So 24 hours from the incident, I decided I should go have it checked. I held out faith that it would just be a sore swollen arm, that I would have to be careful with it for 3 to 5 days. Well, I guessed this one wrong. I have a hairline fracture on the radius just below the elbow joint.

I started this writing, saying that life is about learning. I try to find the positive out of the negative. The positive from this story is that I have learned in a very short amount of time how to do voice dictation with my computer. This was completely written by speaking to my computer. 

Blogging is fun and it led to more writing

I started this blog on a whim 3 years ago today. Mostly to try something new and to teach this old dog a new trick.  It’s been fun.  I learned a lot. The best thing about trying new things is what those “things” can lead to.

I have lots of opinions and have plenty to write about. I discovered that despite a terrible early education as a young child, I wasn’t completely ruined by the public school system of my day.  I can sometimes actually formulate a thought and get it into an electronic post in a somewhat coherent manner.

Overall, I’ve learned my opinions might not be that helpful in the big scheme of things. I am still writing and I’m thankful that by starting this blog I realized I do have stories to tell. Lots of stories. Most are not stories I want to share publicly.

I joined a writing group last fall called “Writing your life story.”  We meet weekly and share our writing. It’s often very personal. We write about our lives. It is a safe space where we support each other and exemplify the meaning of compassion. No judgment allowed, just encouragement, acceptance and kindness.

I am learning so much from this group.  You see, I’m up to 30 years younger than my fellow writing companions. The wisdom these very accomplished seniors have to share is mind-blowing. Maybe I am appreciating these individuals so much, in part, because I lost my own father when I was just 27 years old and up to that point we had never really had a very close relationship. I know he was a brilliant man, a Ph.D. graduate of Columbia University. I only have a few memories of times that he truly mentored me. The most valuable memory was the half day he spent with me when I bought my first SLR Minolta camera when I was in middle school.  He taught me so much in that one afternoon on how to use my camera and how to see the world through a lens. His gift of a photographic eye lives through me to this day. Thank you, dad, for your love of photography.

Ok, see how fast my writing can become personal?  I thank my father for always challenging us. If we would question it, think it, dream it, he would say go for it, prove it can be done.

Okay, back to writing, just not for the general public. I will write for my daughters, my grandchildren and for myself. Here’s to trying new things and challenging ourselves. You won’t know if you can do it unless you try.

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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