Friday, March 30, 2012

Just Stuff

Today Madam and I celebrate our 39th anniversary...hard to believe. For her gift she got new tires and a tuneup on her Explorer. Aren't I romantic?  I have to work this afternoon and evening so we won't be doing a special dinner, tonight at least.
I did hit a rather nice milestone Wednesday as well. Since I modified my diet(6 wks ago) to eliminate "fast carbs" (high glycemic index foods), eliminated processed foods, foods made with white flour, and all sugars even substitutes and increased the whole grains and added mostly vegan protein I have shed just over twenty pounds. Granted I am working out but I was before with no appreciable weight loss so this seems like a good thing. I might also note that my fasting blood sugar is staying at about 90 or below and while I am still taking the meds I will shortly start removing them and we'll see what happens. That will be the true test.
My first two shifts at the new store were rather challenging. For some reason my userid and password aren't working at the new store yet and since I can't log into a register they had me on the lot. That means loading a lot of bags of mulch, top soil, pine straw, etc, as well as rounding up carts and wagons from all over the lot. Not a job for an old man even one in reasonably good shape. I told them yesterday that I wouldn't do that again and to get the password thing fixed or don't bother scheduling me. I'm scheduled today, tomorrow and Sunday so they will have a shortage of cashiers if it is not fixed and it is a "Black Friday" weekend starting today. Lots of deals so the place will be hopping especially in the garden. Last Saturday the garden center accounted for almost 70% of the day's store sales about 80K$ and it should be even busier this weekend.
Off to water in the greenhouse where everybody looks happy and almost ready to go into the garden and then to work. Cheers!

Monday, March 26, 2012


I really, really need to keep reminding myself that it is just now spring and not yet time to go full tilt in the garden. We can still have some freezing weather between now and Easter so I need to hold off a bit longer. With the highs hitting the 70's everyday it is really hard to believe that Spring is fully sprung. I've got a day off but there is transplanting to do and more seeds to get started. I'm going to start the corn in trays again this year since I was so successful last year. Way late in getting basil and parsley started as well. I was going to get an early start today but when I picked up my glasses yesterday morning to put them on they just snapped in half so instead of gardening this morning I had to make a trip to the optician. It always something.
Minimonk dropped off the three dogs yesterday so we now have a houseful of canines to watch over as well. They are probably going to want to do something besides watch me transplant  tomato seedlings most of the day.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Good productive two days off. Finished the final tilling of the garden and now it is ready for the beginning of planting. The team finished the house painting just as scheduled and now it is a nice dark green (rosemary) with white trim. Much different experience than the last painting job which took 6 weeks and the involvement of my lawyer. The recommendations of Angie's List came through this time.
While the boys finished up the painting yesterday I got all the outside lighting replaced with new lanterns by the garage doors and front door. Replaced the locks and deadbolts on the front and back doors. I also (Madam's help) got half the tomato plant seedlings transplanted into their own little cells. They'll be ready for the garden in a couple of weeks. I once again have way too many tomato plants but I'm thinking my friends down the road will take some off my hands. Now back to work for the last three days at the old store and then start the next Tuesday at the new one around the corner. Gotta go make my lunch and head out...everyone enjoy their weekend.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Just The First of Many

A little more is coming out about the tragic murder of civilians in Afghanistan by an American serviceman. It turns out the guy is on his 4th rotation only this time it was Afghanistan and he was not happy about the deployment. The military/government are trying to hype this as a soldier becoming deranged and the rampage the result. The probable truth is that the guy was frustrated, mentally exhausted and lashing out. If he was actually "deranged" then he would have probably turned his weapon on his buddies. It happened in Vietnam and even after deployment to Vietnam was over in places like Hawaii. I know because I was there and witnessed it first hand. It is just one of the symptoms of "battle fatigue".

The thing is, it doesn't matter how professional, elite, or well-disciplined your army is, if you put them in theaters like Iraq, Afghanistan and yes, Vietnam for 10 years with an open ended and undefined  mission  mixed with an indigenous population where you can't tell the good guys from the bad you're going to have trouble. Add rotations of four, five, or six tours to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster.  Afghanistan is not materially different from Vietnam in this respect and until the generals and chicken hawks admit it, this kind of thing will continue to happen and even escalate.

In case I wasn't clear...this guy wasn't "deranged" or just all of a sudden went off the deep end. His actions were a product of this environment and completely the result of his repeated deployment into what I am sure he realized was a "no win" situation. Frustration, anger, resentment and a sense of powerlessness to control his own destiny were the triggers. It is tragic that a bunch of civilians got in his way of venting his anger. Just as tragic, however, is for us to buy into the military/government hype that this guy was "deranged" thereby removing any responsibility for the soldier's actions. They will try very hard to distance themselves from the reality that this whole tragic affair is because of their poor or nonexistent management of this whole Afghanistan thing and the terrible burdens that they are putting on our men and women in uniform.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Snakes Today

Just came back from the gym and went out to open the greenhouse door as it is going to be in the 80's again today and lo and behold there was a small king snake stalking a lizard in front of the basement door. I spent a good half hour watching the snake inch closer and closer and finally spring. It only took a couple of minutes thereafter for the lizard to disappear down the hatch. The crazy thing is that this happened in the middle of March. Very bad sign for the summer which is probably going to set records for temperature and who knows what else.
We've got house painters coming Monday to start on the house and I have to remember to tell them not to panic or kill the snake if they see it. King snakes are nice to have around as they do a  good job of keeping the poisonous away. In this part of Georgia we normally only see copperheads and the occasional moccasin though the rare Eastern timber rattler will surface now again. I am sure it will be a Hispanic crew and I don't know if they have the same reiculous fear of all snakes that your typical American does.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


By my calendar it is officially Spring as I tilled the garden yesterday. I got two passes in and got most of the green manure turned under before it started to sprinkle. That should break down before planting gets into full swing in mid April. Rained all night and it is just beginning to clear up this morning. Since my outdoor endeavors are on hold I am going to plant some stuff. I'll get the okra and eggplant started today and maybe a little more. Going to try rest up a bit today after a couple of hard days. Going to the gym and then spending the  rest of the day in the garden is a lot. Since we are now on daylight time  I also have to gird myself for the earlier mornings and later nights. I don't start tomorrow until 8a but Thursday it is 545a..uhg!
There is some good news however....and that is my efforts to get transferred to the store nearest me (5 minutes) have finally borne fruit and I start there on the 26th...hooray.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Poison Sugar

Today is my third "official day" without sugar of any kind...not even fruit. Whole grain, lean meat, yogurt, eggs vegetables, legumes, etc. This is only for the first 10 days or so and then I can start adding some fruit. Just tow days without any sugars and I added 10 pounds to most of the exercises in my weight routine and 15 pounds to the chest press. I also added 15 additional situps to each of my three sets. I have to believe that the lack of sugar has to be the cause of some of it especially as my fasting blood sugar was 111 this morning when it is normally 130 or 140 and sometimes even higher. Just saying.  I've actually jumped the gun a bit since the program I am following calls for eliminating just sugar the first day, adding a teaspoon of cinnamon the second, eliminating soft drinks and fruit juice the third and "fast carbs" the fourth. I was already doing cinnamon daily and except for my Snapple Green Tea not doing soft drinks. I decided "fast carbs" and sugar could be eliminated from the get go. The next couple of days are eating a good breakfast with eggs and or Greek yogurt which I already do and not eating any fast food which I don't do very often (every week or two I will have a Wendy's cheeseburger so I won't miss fast food). All things considered I am well ahead of the curve. Though I must admit I was tempted this morning to do my traditional Sunday breakfast with bacon, eggs and toast. I opted for oatmeal with cinnamon and Greek yogurt and the gym.

There is also the requirement to drink a liter/quart of water for every 50 pounds of body weight a day which is proving very tough. For me that is 5 liters and that's a lot of water. What's worse is I had a cup of coffee and a cup of tea this morning which means an extra liter. I'll be doing yard and garden work for the rest of the day so maybe I'll have a chance to meet my water quota. It's another gorgeous spring day here in Atlanta and the forecast is for daytime highs in the 70's for the next week. Lots of blooming already happening.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New Program

I have been doing a lot of research on Type 2 diabetes and am convinced that all the medications I am taking(metformin, glimiperide, losartan, plus the statin) are probably not necessary if I can change my lifestyle just a little.
Sugar and "fast carbs" are the devils that I have to purge. I already do a lot of things sodas(even diet), eat mostly whole grains, lots of veges and legumes. I still have to deal with things like chips, crackers, etc.
Today I started on a program to eliminate every sugar and "fast carbs" from my diet for 10 days including all the "hidden sugars in processed foods(I don't really eat that many but some). All forms of sugar are out including artificial sweeteners. Today I had my one cup of coffee without Splenda and I eliminated it from my tea a while back. This also means I have to give up my Snapple Diet Green Tea which I love since it has both Splenda and sugar. Bummer. The other bummer is that I am going to have to cut way back on my wine which isn't going to make me happy.
The thing is I already am pretty careful about my food, no HFCS, minimal sugar etc. and I try and avoid processed foods and white flour. Not careful enough so now I have to become a fanatic. Hopefully in a couple of weeks my insulin and adrenaline will be back in balance and my pancreas all rested up from having to produce insulin in excess and we will see if this lifestyle change has an impact on the diabetes and the need for all the drugs for sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. Everything I have read tells me I can lose these drugs with some changes to my life style. We shall see.
Did you know that today the average American consumes 170 pounds of sugar per year in all its forms compared to 100 years ago when the average consumption was 4 pound per year.
In a famous study with rats it was discovered that given the choice of cocaine or sugar the rats chose sugar and worked harder to get sugar than cocaine.
It is poison.

Almost Off

I was off yesterday and got the peas(sugarsnap and green) planted as well as potatoes. I was beginning to worry that I was going to miss the window. I also managed to get four more blueberries planted. I am off today for the most part as well (I do have to go in for 4 hours tonight at 5) but I should actually have a chance to get something done before then. I just finished 6 days straight and so the first thing this morning will be the gym which I haven't seen in a week.
I will have 3 whole days off starting tomorrow...hooray!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Murder By Any Name

There has been quite a dust up regarding the Attorney General's comments on the Executive branch's need and justification for killing American citizens without "due process". Let me just start out by saying that I don't agree that "due process" justifies killing anybody whether friend or foe. I do, however, want to try and bring some perspective to the issue.

The harsh reality is that our government has been killing American citizens without "due process" since before it was actually our government and that has been through the inhuman act of war. Thousands and thousands of American soldiers have been killed since our country's founding in war without "due process". You can argue that a Declaration of War by the Congress is "due process" but I beg to differ. Regardless of whether an official Declaration of War is, in fact, "due process" the point becomes effectively mute when you consider the actions of our government since the Authorization to Use Military Force was granted after 9/11. You can argue until you are blue in the face that the AUMF was "due process" but the fact remains that thousands of American lives were lost and are still being lost based on lies and without "due process".

The idea that killing/murder/death of your own or others for any reason that you might decided upon is wrong, regardless of reason whether it be for revenge, oil, politics or religion. Nothing justifies it.

So here is the deal. It is wrong for the Executive branch to effect this power but let's be is just another flavor of government sanctioned killing/murder/death. If we are going to get our skivvies in a knot let's, at least, get them in a knot over the whole enchilada and not as some half-baked excuse to accuse this President of some grievous crime against the Constitution.

While I am at it I might as well go the next step and mention that our current sanctions against Iran are just another way of killing/murder/death without the bullets. Just like the sanctions we imposed on Iraq, these sanctions are going to kill the poor, the children and the least able to protect themselves. None of the powerful in Iran will suffer just like none of the powerful in Iraq suffered. The sanctions will, just like Iraq, kill thousands of the least able to protect themselves and it will all be without "due process".

Monday, March 05, 2012

We Have Tomatoes

The majick happens once again. Most of the tomato seed I planted last week have now sprouted. It just never ceases to amaze me. Anyhow, off to work in a bit for the fifth day in a row(some part time job!) and I have to work again tomorrow but a day off Wednesday, short (4 hours) Thursday and another day off Friday. Might have a chance to get some garden work done since there is no rain forecast and it might get dry enough to till. Fingers crossed.

On the political front the GOP troglodytes have been here in Georgia and I have felt a weakening of the force. We'll have Super Tuesday out of the way tomorrow and the infestation will go away before we have to resort to drugs. Newt will win in these parts since I am surrounded by idiots.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

There Be Dragons Here

I shamelessly appropriated this from the Facebook page Fundies Say the Darnedest Things because it made me laugh.
 Update: I can't seem to make it so when you click on it it gets full page. I'll try and fix it but no promises. It may be because I got it from Facebook.  Update 2: Fixed I think.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Missed A Month

March 1st and it is 74F in Atlanta today. Somehow the universe skipped a month and yes Al Gore is still a little heavy. Only had to work until noon today got home and dug out some shorts and I am still hot. Very strange.