Another Dot in the Road

Christmas 2018

I am alone this Christmas for the first time. The day started early, another byproduct of the aging process. For months I’ve known that I would be home alone today. The Boss is out of town to experience the joy of Christmas with our first Tiny Human Grandchild and her clan in Providence RI. Our other Number One Son is hiking somewhere in the Colorado Rockies. This Christmas I am home alone with my thoughts and memories.

The funny thing is I really don’t mind being home alone on Christmas. I don’t have a problem being alone. Some people get lonely when no one else is around. That’s not me. You can be in a room full of people and feel lonely. Or you can be alone and feel completely surrounded by the love of family and friends. There are just so many wonderful memories of Christmas all fighting for my attention right now. All day long these memories will begin bubbling to the surface. And believe it or not I just got a Merry Christmas text message from an old college buddy. This simple gesture brings back fond memories of Sweet and Sour Tripe (trust me, you don’t want to know the rest of this story). I can’t stop smiling.

The tree lights are on. Christmas music is in the air. I’m wearing my Life is Good tee with Jake’s dog on it (the one I wear every Christmas). I started a pot of Mayocabo beans early and they might even be ready for lunch later. The smiles keep coming because the memories are surfacing from places and times nearly forgotten. I wasn’t quite sure how I would feel home alone today but I’m fine. I have time to read and write. Dinner tonight will be with friends gathered together for some good food and good company. Believe it or not I just got a message from my stomach. It’s time to make my world famous multi-grain pancakes for Christmas breakfast.

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The Protector 09.02.17

Being bred to work hard all day means that most Aussies are not content to be couch potatoes, although Aussies have individual characters and some are more sedate and quiet-natured than others. For the most part, however, these are high energy dogs who need a purpose in their lives-a job as it were. Owners must be committed to give these dogs the time and attention they require through play and training, for as with any dog, undirected energy can turn towards destructive behaviors such as digging and chewing. Running, jumping, and rough-housing are all a part of being a normal Aussie.

The Austrailan Shepherd Club of America

The Protector 090217

We all need a sense of purpose in our lives.  Dogs do too.

Could Big Lifestyle Changes Be Key to Managing Type 2 Diabetes?

Source: Could Big Lifestyle Changes Be Key to Managing Type 2 Diabetes?

Spoiler Alert

Yes.

My Father had diabetes which contributed to his early demise.

My youngest brother was diagnosed with the disease in his 20’s.  He is committing slow suicide by diet.

Way back last century when I was in my 20’s I was involved in a local professional group in Dallas TX.  The speaker I brought in was one of the country’s leading endocrinologists from UT Southwestern Medical Center.  After his talk I thanked him for his time and for enduring a dinner of rubber chicken and mushy vegetables.  But what I really wanted was free medical advice.

“Doctor, my father and brother both have diabetes.  Do you have any advice for me?”

The good doctor gave me a steely glare over the top rim of his glasses and said,

“Stay as thin as you can as long as you can.”

Boom.

 

Intersection of Interests

I’ve spent most of my life working in various areas of the life insurance industry. Currently I am back where I started over 41 years ago as an underwriter specializing in mortality risk assessment. My job is to understand what kills people. Sounds simple but it’s not that simple. As a creative and destructive species people have figured out a myriad of ways to kill themselves. When someone applies for life insurance I figure out what is most likely to kill them and charge an appropriate rate for the risk. I really like what I do. Each and every day is another opportunity to learn and improve.

I also love to cook. The Boss has to declare a No Cook Night otherwise I will cook. This love started early watching my father cook supper every night. Dad was a great cook and I had a role model from the beginning. One day I asked him

“Why do you cook?”

“You’ve tasted your Mother’s cooking. Survival.”

Eat to live. Not live to eat. For me, this was a hard lesson learned. Before the age of 20 I weighed over 370 pounds. I’ve used 370 as my highest weight but it could have been higher. I stopped weighing myself because I really didn’t want to know how heavy I was. The story of how is for another time but suffice to say I managed to lose 200 pounds by the time I turned 21. As the years have passed my weight has slowly crept up. I’m proud to be near 190 pounds and approximately 180 pounds lighter than my personal peak. Eat to live, not the other way around. I’ve learned not only how to lose weight but how to keep the pounds off.

I’m a published writer. It’s been decades since I’ve published any of my writing but I’m still a published writer. I maintain two blogs and a journal. This short piece started in my journal and ended up public. This food blog got started to share family recipes. Over time it has changed to the point where I now describe this blog as a food memoir. Now I’m beginning to think the description should be changed again. There is a lot more space devoted to nutrition science which used to be posted on my other blog. For now though, food memoir still works.

One of the fascinating things about writing here is how the recipes are not the dishes I grew up with eating my Dad’s cooking. You also won’t find a lot of the recipes I made years ago for my own family. Some family favorites are here but not many Box Project recipes. For example I pulled one of my “favorites” from the box, handwritten on a white lined 3 x 5 index card. It’s an old James Beard chicken recipe that is delicious. When was the last time I made this dish? I can’t remember. I suspect that many of the recipes I considered to be family favorites I no longer make. What I’m learning is I don’t cook nor eat the same as I did when I was younger. As Dr. Wareham says you start with one good habit at a time. I say you also stop one bad habit at a time (but I did quit smoking, drinking Jack, and start running all at the same time).

The writing, research, and recipes that end up here are mostly where I am at now. And that’s fine. There’s a pot of Vegan Chili Beans on the stove as I’m writing. Defiinitely not a family favorite recipe from the past. But it might just become a family favorite for now and the future.

 

Pet Exposure may Reduce Allergy and Obesity – ScienceDaily

The latest findings from Kozyrskyj and her team’s work on fecal samples collected from infants registered in the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development study build on two decades of research that show children who grow up with dogs have lower rates of asthma.

Source: Pet exposure may reduce allergy and obesity: Research shows having a dog early in life may alter gut bacteria in immune-boosting ways — ScienceDaily

When the kids were little we didn’t have furry friends in the house.  We thought this would be bad for the allergies.  Turns out we may have been wrong.

Your Mother and I apologize for your childhood canine deprivation syndrome.

The Dot Project

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

Steve Jobs

Sunday mornings are wonderful time for reflection.  I’ve kept a personal journal for many, many years.  Warren Bennis once wrote that maintaining a journal and periodically taking a look back on your writings was The Path to Wisdom.  I agree with Bennis on this point.  Looking back helps you understand where you’ve been, where you are, and most importantly where you are going.

I was looking for something else in my journal and stumbled back on a section titled

The Dot Project.

There wasn’t much written there so I started adding Dots this morning.  After a few Dots I realized I actually started The Dot Project in earnest here with the post Nothing to Do With Food.  For the longest time I kept my journal private.  But something is telling me that this is where some of my private thoughts should be shared.

The Dot Project lives here.