Inferior Imitator

ep·i·gone n. A second-rate imitator or follower, especially of an artist or a philosopher.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Quit Playing Games With My Heart

Joe and I finished up our three day weekend at the doctor's office for a follow up to discuss his blood pressure. From what I understand, Joe has had high blood pressure his entire life, and the range he has been in qualifes him for hypertension. Joe is dead set against taking medication, for reasons I'm not 100% positive of. He likens it to BMI as a measurement, that it is fine for the population as a whole, but doesn't take into account individual idiosyncracies.

The doctor is giving him four months to see what we can do to lower his blood pressure without drugs. We've been talking about an exercise plan for months now, and there's room for improvement in our diet. It's been one of my goals to get more servings of vegetables into my day, so I'm going to try this meal planning deal with that in mind. I'm hoping that he'll have that annoying quality in men that once he changes his diet and exercises outside of work, that he'll lose weight easily. I'm to the point if that if I gain any more inches (I haven't gained weight at all), my pants won't fit anymore, so I'm motivated, too.

What I don't like is that now I find myself worrying about him. I knew he had high blood pressure, but I didn't know how bad it was, and I'm concerned about his attitude. He stopped smoking, he is eating better (with the aforementioned room for improvement), he's pretty much cut out drinking pop, and he has lost weight since I met him. He hasn't seen change in his blood pressure from those changes, and I think maybe that he thinks that since it's genetic, it won't hurt him?

I'm contemplating my approach on this: it is in fact his decision, and I can't do everything for him. I do have the most influence over diet and exercise, and I'll do all I can there. I'm just hoping that this four months will help him get used to the idea of the need for medication. I just want "the rest of our lives" to be as long as possible.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Joe and I had a great long weekend visiting my brother in Boone. I'm thinking about suggesting that the family go in on buying him a guest bed, because three nights on an air mattress is two nights too many. We did have a relaxing time otherwise, and we both needed the day off work. Especially Joe.

We got a bit of a late start Friday night, because Joe wanted to pick up a crappy fish sandwich. The no-meat-on-Fridays-in-Lent is about the only Catholic thing he does. I suppose it's the least annoying thing, but in this case, he got mad at the drive through clerk at Hardee's when she got snippy with him, so we sat down at Culver's instead. It takes about half an hour longer to get to my brother's house than it did for his apartment in Ames, so we were pretty tired when we got there. We slept in the big family room, which they at least heat (he hasn't been heating the upstairs, since he doesn't need the space yet), but I was still pretty cold that first night. We figured out the magic combination of supplemental heaters for the rest of the weekend at least.

Saturday morning we breakfasted at the Dutch Oven Bakery, which is right up there in quality of baked goods. It was so good we went back Monday morning on our way out of town and picked up more pastries to take home. Then we headed to an open house that was the reason for choosing this weekend to go up. An acquaintance of Joe's from racing opened a car restoration business, and had an open house of his facility. Joe's been dying to get a look at this guy's collection, because he's got probably 80 cars in various stages of restoration. I admit, he has a interesting and diverse collection, so I wasn't totally bored. We then went to Hickory Park for barbeque, since I had not been there before. It was a half hour wait for a table at 2:00 in the afternoon - that's how popular this place is. I could see why. Those were some of the most tasty ribs I have ever had. We spent the rest of the evening playing Settlers of Catan. Lew and Kelsey got it for us for Christmas, and they had hoped for the chance to play it with us, but this was the first opportunity. We ended up playing three or four games over the course of the weekend, it was that much fun!

Sunday was a little more laid back. We made waffles for breakfast, Kelsey went off to do homework while Joe and Lew built steps for the basement to outside and I knitted and watched Dexter. I got the best of that deal! We made supper together and finished off with an apple pie I had promised Lew for his belated birthday. Kelsey said "Don't tell your mom, but this is the best pie crust I have ever had." I'm getting better at it, I see. More Settlers and Lew and I played a few rounds of Tetris on the N64 for old times sake before heading to bed.

Joe and I wandered around Ames for a while on Monday after breakfast. He wanted to hit up Mayhem Comics firstly and have lunch at Cocost. We also did a lot of walking around, with Joe pointing out how what had changed since he went to school there. He also didn't tell me I wasn't supposed to walk across the Zodiac in the Memorial Union, and now I'm going to fail my next test.

It was nice to get away from the routine. We need to do that more often.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Whose Names Are Unknown

I've been thinking about this book off and on since I read it - it's the first book I've read in a very long time that made me WANT to write a paper about it. The themes are still very relevant, and parallels and contrasts to society's problems today would make for an interesting topic for a Lit Class. I had to return the book since it was an interlibrary loan, so I won't be able to go into as much detail as I would like, but I need to write about how this book affected me.

I learned about this book watching Ken Burns' documentary "The Dust Bowl" (which is also excellent, of course). It was written about the same time as Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, but since he got his book published first, Sanora Babb's book was put on the shelf because "there wasn't enough room in the market for two books on the same subject (paraphrased)." It wasn't published until 2004, which is a great tragedy, because it is a much more readable novel. Babb had first-hand experience growing up in Oklahoma and subsequently followed the exodus of farmers to California and migratory farm work there.

The first thing that struck me was the optimism of farmers. Growing up on a farm myself, I know a little bit about placing your livelihood on the whims of the weather. So many things have to go right to get a good crop, and so many things can go wrong. Even when things went wrong year after year, "next year things will be better" was the inevitable response. You hear sometimes about "connection to the land" and thinking about the way I grew up and the way I live now, I know the difference. There's just something *satisfying* about doing for yourself, and I didn't realize how much I had missed that until we did some canning this last summer. Eating something you grew and harvested and stored yourself is so much different from something you bought in the store.

This book also made me think about the social safety nets that were created in this era and why. Before social security, if you had not been able to put anything aside for old age, you had nothing. There was no such thing as retirement. If you had several bad years in a row, the bank took your farm and you had nothing to live on, no subsidized housing, no welfare, no unemployment. We as a society are so far removed from the consequences of not having these programs, I think we've taken for granted the good they do. I believe that those that want to roll back the New Deal sometimes forget that there are human beings behind these programs, much of the time through no fault of their own.

Today's problems are the same problems as yesterday's, only in a different form. People want to do for themselves - we are hard wired to want to be self-sufficient and successful. Sometimes our mistakes catch up with us, and the only way we overcome them is with other people's help. Stronger together. That hasn't changed, either.

Monday, February 04, 2013

It Just Keeps Getting Worse

The cyst is still on my ovary, so I'm on birth control until it goes away. Actively preventing something I want so much is breaking my heart.