The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The gluttony of Delicacy

“We must picture hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives with the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.” 
― C.S. LewisThe Screwtape Letters

I have chosen to be "sugar-free".
I chose not to ingest added sugar.
I chose to avoid sugar even when it is obvious, as in dessert.
I basically don't eat sugar at all, avoiding even the high G fruits and vegetables.
Except when I don't.  Or is it do?  Except when I do, do sugar that is.
I identify as a dieter, but the truth is I may be confused.  I may be bisugaral, or even transsugaral.  I am sugar fluid ... .

It has made me a label reader, and in doing so I have become ... horrified ... is not too strong a word, horrified at what all sugar is added to.  It's added to pretty much everything.

Most of us eat too much sugar. On average, Americans consume 475 calories of added sugars every day (that’s 30 teaspoons), which is 3 or 4 times what’s recommended by the American Heart Association.
If you’re trying to cut back on added sugars in your diet, you’ve probably already tackled the obvious sources: sugar-sweetened beverages and desserts.
But what about the less-obvious sources of added sugars? It’s difficult to know how much added sugars are in most processed foods because food manufacturers aren’t required to disclose the amount in their products on the Nutrition Facts Panel.

Hidden in Plain Sight

Added sugar is hiding in 74% of packaged foods

We are being coerced in to thinking that added sugar = yummy.  Our palate is being trained to expect a little sugar buzz in every bite.

Most Americans are not conflicted about their sugar preferences.  Most Americans seem to embrace all that is sugar.  66 pounds, on average is a lot of sugar.  Next time I am on the sugar aisle at the grocery store I am going to see  what 66 pounds of sugar looks like.

One of the linked sites listed like 61 different names that sugar uses to disguise itself. 
According to my FitnessPall app I average around 5 grams of sugar every day that I am not indulging my desire for sugar.  I would guess that a day with dessert and maybe a dessert-y cocktail to top it off with would put me well over 100grams of sugar for that day.  Incidentally, it weakens my resolve to stay on the sugar-free straight and narrow as well.  I makes me want to look at pictures of desserts.  It makes me want to bake.  It reminds me that I own an underutilized ice-cream making machine.

The other day I noticed something that I have been over-looking.  This:  sugary treats are readily available through out my normal day.  There are candy dishes at practically every counter ... at the bank, at the grocer, at the dry cleaners ... on the check from the waitress, wait, excuse me, the waitperson. Not one single one of those dishes has ever had a SF goody tucked among the assorted offerings.  I think I should be ... offended.  I think I am being overlooked.  It is as if my preferences don't matter.

Why am I not receiving the sugar free candy that suits my lifestyle (on most days).  Why are the sugar eaters being catered to?  

“The claim to equality, outside of the strictly political field, is made only by those who feel themselves to be in some way inferior.” 
― C.S. LewisThe Screwtape Letters

And what should I do about that?  

There is a sugar free option available.  Yes, the taste is invariably subpar.  It's pretty pricey and smaller ... the portions are meager, unsatisfying.  The selection leaves a lot to be desired though the company with the green bag style of packaging does seem to be attempting to hit most of the high notes. Because of how it is "artificially" (that means fake) sweetened if I eat more than a piece and a half I will have pretty intense abdominal pain ... I may even have to spend extra time in the bathroom.  That sugar free stuff tends to make me "indisposed".  I am beginning to realize that my choice to be sugar free is not being properly attended to by "them".  No one seems to care that sugar free candy is not in the candy dishes strewn about my life.  Those candy dishes are for other people.  People not like me.  Those people don't care about the quantity or quality of candy being made available to me (at no charge).  

“Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s (God’s) ground…He [God] made the pleasure: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy [God] has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He [God] has forbidden. ” 
― C.S. LewisScrewtape Letters

“The contemptuous way in which you spoke of gluttony as a means of catching souls, in your last letter, only shows your ignorance. One of the great achievements of the last hundred years has been to deaden the human conscience on that subject, so that by now you will hardly find a sermon preached or a conscience troubled about it in the whole length and breadth of Europe. This has largely been effected by concentrating all our efforts on gluttony of Delicacy, not gluttony of Excess. ― C.S. LewisScrewtape Letters


I think the main thing I am bothered by boils down to creating problems from the flimsy of personal whimsy, making things that really can't matter much ... big freaking deals.  Like this ... it's nice that they put the candy dish out.  It's nice that they do that or maybe it is manipulative too.  I get to chose whether or not I reach my hand into the candy dish.  It's not my job to monitor the flow of candy being provided or the intentions behind it.  It would be just really bad manners to say - hey, I don't like that kind of candy ... get my kind in there or I'm gonna throw a hissyfit next time I stop in.  When did life start being about the candy dish.  It seems like all this "my_____" stuff isn't working for us.  

If I'm paying for the candy ... if I'm stocking the dish ... I have a say ... the say.  I shouldn't be forced to provide candy or clap as you eat yours.   (via entitlement programs in their various mutations)

Friday, May 20, 2016

barely ahead of the red ...

 We left out a little later than we might have liked.  The donut shop, the donut shop, didn't open until 6:30 and little sister's only special request was a dozen chocolate glazed delights from the donut shop.   We waited for them to begin serving, purchased our dozen then we hit the road.  I drove the first leg while Four slept - finals week, long drive home, few days of pampering then off to the summer job.  We arrived Vicksburg in time for a late lunch (1/2 a shrimp po-boy, sweet potato fries (for her) and a cup of delicious seafood gumbo).  By then she was driving.  We had made the change at a fuel stop an hour back.  I chose the restaurant, one we had enjoyed on a previous trip through and she pointed the car towards it.  She likes to "know" exactly where she is going and takes pride in "getting" there without refreshing her memory.  I am a scardy-cat.  I have seen bad places and can imagine even worse.  I like to have very precise directional guidance when it is readily available.  So as not to diminish her pleasure, I kept quiet even after it was apparent that we were way off the well beaten path. I wanted to see how she would handle it.  It became intensely creepy, sweaty feet creepy, for me when the broken pavement gave way to a dirt road.  We were driving along side a railroad track (fully loaded with howling freight train) to the left and to our right, shanty houses whose yards couldn't imagine a lawnmower.  I had observed that even if the track wasn't full of high speed metal the past three street crossing were decorated with permanent barriers. Hmmm, nobody wants in and only the lucky find their way out I thought.  Still I said nothing.  I was probably breathing pretty loud.  The armrest may have groaned as my hand gripped it. At the end of "our street" a sharp right turn yielded a dead end in to the high grass.  Trash, empty liquor bottles mostly, created a boundary layer ... then really high weeds, no sunflowers, just thistle.  She calmly, almost lazily I thought, put the car in reverse while I scanned the immediate vicinity for "danger".  I thought of my handgun in it's case under my seat.  I wondered if it would alarm her too much if I reached for it.  "Well, at least all the crack heads are sleeping well".  That's what I said, noticing the three sofas (facing away from us) peeking out from the field as I calculated how many seconds it would take me to retrieve the bag, unzip it and chamber a round.  "Mom, I think you are over reacting" she said.  "I believe you might be surprised at how much distance there is between here and my version of over reacting..." I replied as I uncurled my hand and brushed down the tiny hairs on the back of my neck.  "...would you be offended if I "mapped up" some directions ...? "
See that picture at the top?  I snapped it from our parking place.  The boat was docked across the street in the Mississippi River.

The empty cologne bottle caught my eye before I noticed the chapstick and almost used up compact.  Last time we were here an old woman was sitting there panhandling.  All of these pictures were taken on the "tourist" side of the tracks  Below is a picture of the restaurant.  It's always packed and the food has never disappointed. 

This is my fourth child.  She is an adult now.  Sometimes she reminds me that she is competent, discerning ... aware.  Still, I fret.  I know that she has never seen anything really bad with her own eyes.  We have been able to provide a pretty nice environment for her, and her siblings, to grow up in.  I do, as a parent, and more especially as the mother parent, try very hard to let all five of mine live the lives that God gave them without a lot of background chatter coming from me.  I'm confident in their abilities to navigate successfully through the pleasures and perils which life presents.

Today I read a news piece about a woman who said she felt her life was being threatened by a bunch of Bernie supporters who were booing her.  She said they wouldn't listen to her and they were looking real mean at her.

What's "crazy" about the world these days isn't just the dangers that might be lurking at the end of dead end ghetto streets.  I am amazed at how weird it's getting everywhere.  The crazy soft life problems are more troubling to me then the crazy hard life problems. I asked Four what she thought about people boycotting Target.  She said people ought to use the bathroom at home if they're worried about what's going on in the next stall.  My mother was worried about VD on public toilet seats, my kid doesn't seem to be worried about much of anything.

It really began to pour down around Waco.  She drove from the Texas welcome center  the rest of the way home.  I know "what" I don't want to fly in so I pulled up the foreflight app to help her steer clear on the ground.  We had the road mostly to ourselves and arrived safely home ahead of the "red".

Saturday, May 14, 2016

My phone camera "sees" through fog better than my eyes do but refused to notice the hundreds of fireflies about tonight.  Sammy came over, sat on my bare foot, and leaned his body against my leg.  I rubbed his ears wondering if he could see them. And if he could, because surely he can, what does he think of them.  Probably nothing.  They make me smile.  I've never seen so many of them at once.  They are down by the water and up in the trees.  They are all about like stars.

We, my brothers and I, used to catch 'em.  We'd fill up empty jelly jars with a few twigs. a hand full of grass, and as many fireflies, lightning bugs, as we could catch.  My daddy told us to be very careful with them, careful not to rub their magic off.  We weren't allowed to keep them for long.  The jars were always opened by time we went inside for the night.

my laptop is acting weird tonight
I have this bird nest picture on my desktop waiting for when I can get to saving it here ... all four eggs hatched.  The picture of my brother, with his sweet little granddaughter, just popped up from idk where.  I was trying to get the bird nest picture which should have been very simple to do. Well.  It's nice to see him.  Today my husband and I were remembering the day at the hospital when Tommy decided he wanted to see the imaging for the cancer in his body. There was discussion about doing a second colostomy which he declined.  He really hated the idea of that.   

I was over at our house for the first half of this month.  Enjoyed seeing the rose vine in full bloom and the doings in this nest. 

Today was a great day.  I really enjoyed the day even with all the rain and flash flood alerts pinging in on my usually quiet phone.  Seems like we all mostly just text now.  A phone conversation is rare for me.  Anyway, I sat down tonight to write a few notes, looked at the few blogs I tend to visit and read a comment which caused me to remember, for the second time today, how hard it can be for the people who remain alive when someone dies too soon.  I'm saying it poorly.  My brother felt that he could "fight cancer" more effectively if he didn't have all the information which could have been available to him.  Dying sorta took him by surprise.  He expected to live longer.  I can't say how he handled it made it harder for me.  It would have been hard to see him seeing my grief.  I was willing to let him handle it as he saw fit.  That still seems right to me.  I wish he had known he had cancer before it was stage four.  I wish he had known soon enough to do something more about it.

The mail at the other house had a card reminding me that it's time for me to get my annual screenings done again.  A year goes by so fast.  Next week I really have to figure out who my doctors over here will be.  I have to make the appointments.  I think for the sake of the people who love me I have to do it.  It's easy to neglect it because I feel great and it seems like if something sickly was setting in I'd know it. 

Today we wandered around the Renegade Craft Fair.  Later I made sushi and started figuring out the right proportions for the alcohol in the cocktail I'll make to share at the "girl's weekend" coming up pretty soon.  It's equal parts vodka, kahlua, and godiva white chocolate mixed in the bullet blender with a bunch of ice (like ice-cream density ice mixture) and then the very generous splash of half and half on top once it's in the serving glass.  I am definitely a one drink per week type of girl so I have to get going on this now.  The liquor part of these will be pre-measured in to mason jars for transporting and serving.  I'm also going to bake a coffeecake type thing that I haven't made in a couple of years.  And I'm thinking about a few savory dips.  I don't eat sugar very often.  That drink is crazy high calorie!  I dare not taste the Nutella bread/cake recipe ... .  I was very happy to see that I've lost 2.5 pounds since I last weighed.  I'm pretty close to where I was.   

I enjoyed the time alone (mostly, One spent some time with me and after he left I slept over at Four's apartment).  I like having quiet time.  It's nice to be back home too. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason. John Keats (letters 1817)

Finally!  This idea was expressed in Kidder's book, Mountains Beyond Mountains,This compelling and inspiring book, now in a deluxe paperback edition, shows how one person can work wonders. In Mountains Beyond Mountains, Pulitzer Prize—winning author Tracy Kidder tells the true story of a gifted man who loves the world and has set out to do all he can to cure it.

as I recall, here, now several years after reading the book, which I note because I may be wrong (But, I don't think so, not this time anyway).  Briefly, I liked this book so much that I selected to read all of Mr. Kidder's books.  There was one I wasn't crazy about, but I was glad to have read them all as they sort of demonstrated a progression of a writer (that's my take) and I would not have wanted to miss any of them because of that. One was very difficult to come by (it was an interlibrary borrow) but, I'm not actually thinking about that tonight.  Not much anyway!

I have not read very much KEATS. Something I was looking at as we blasted along I10 towards the Southern Maker's event (this weekend past) brought the two together.  Now I have begun to scratch the surface of Keat's words, ideas, and quite frankly, I am intrigued.  Keats has arrived at precisely the right time, when I have time to sit with what he left for us.  

"It appears to me that almost any man may 
like the spider spin 
his own inwards 

his own airy citadel." 

Interesting thought ... I'm thinking about that one.

"Poetry should surprise by a fine excess and not by singularity, it should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance."

... some poetry, yes ... the type that he wrote, yes.  We are not always best "moved" by "highest thoughts" though, and some of what I've been glad to have read would certainly never occur to me.  I get to see through an other's eyes/soul.  Seems like a lot of writers have seen some pretty bleak stuff.
He died young and though I do not know very much of his life yet, I imagine he was an idealist, or a romantic.  

"You are always new, 

the last of your kisses was ever the sweetest." 

(smile sigh)

Though a quarrel in the streets is a thing to be hated, the energies displayed in it are fine; the commonest man shows a grace in his quarrel.


There is nothing stable in the world; uproar's your only music.


Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one's soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject.
"Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter."

in one of the quotes - "...I describe what I imagine."  in a comparison to Lord Byron ... 

So, I got a bit carried away there ... worth a while.  
Brent Smith

Sara Pittman

Jungle Joe folk art

These are three examples of what I enjoyed seeing at Southern Maker's an event one of my daughters coordinates.  My husband asked Jungle Joe to "do" a truck for me.  That one was spoken for.  It was very sweet of him to know that something like that would be meaningful to me (and act on it).

(None of this has anything to do with negative capacity.  These notes are connected by proximity rather than relevance.)

I'm pretty exhausted tonight.  "house camping" is a little weird.  Cots. The hot water heater in our house over here is kaput and can't be replaced until Thursday.  Today I realized that I come to completely take hot water (on demand) for granted.  I am never thankful for hot water when it shows up.  This morning I heated water on the stove top.  Hot water feels really really good on my skin.  The lack of hot water from the taps is reminding me to be thankful for  cold air which circulates through out the house.  I tend to take full advantage of the luxury of taking things (and people ? ouch ) for granted.  It's good to do without every once in a while.