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Showing posts from July, 2020

TBT: Keep on the Sunny Side

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The science on striking a healthy balance between absorbing sunshine and avoiding sunshine remains confusing. Before re-posting my old opinion below from ye olde turn-of-the-century, I had to remove all the links to my sources because they're all dead by now. Last year, I read some interesting articles on this issue called "Is Sunscreen the New Margarine?" and "No, Sunscreen is NOT the New Margarine." Neither of them can provide a clear answer to how much sun a person should get, and I suspect that the answer is both individualized and complicated.

I've given up on asking doctors about this in person. When I've asked for their personal opinions on the controversy, most of them have given me a blank stare, followed by a mumbling of, "Current guidelines are..." I even started seeing a dermatologist for annual skin cancer screenings, as recommended by every popular women's magazine I've ever seen in a medical waiting room. My dermatologis…

$Monday: Skip the Supplements (Unless Medically Advised)

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Dietary supplements cost more and do less for your health than nutritious food. Popping a pill is not a good financial or health choice unless you have a specific condition that is truly treatable with a supplement AND it is not possible to consume enough of the nutrient you need in real food AND your supplement is not a fake. Otherwise you are literally flushing money (and possibly your health) down the toilet.


It's tempting to buy into the fantasy of a pill that can fix something or even provide an "insurance policy" without doing any harm. The truth is more complex. Sometimes vitamins and herbal supplements can help, but the poorly regulated supplement industry is filled with fake news, false claims, and literal sawdust posing as active ingredients--or worse.

If a nutrient is good for you in a whole food, it might not be good for you when processed into a pill or tablet or gummy or whatever.

If something is good for you in a precise amount, more is not better. You can…

TBT: Get a Second Opinion

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Ouch! The story in the throwback post below was a painful lesson for me to learn as a young woman. I'm better off now, with a family practice I trust and more experience in effective self-care.

The problems with our national health care situation have... let's say, not resolved since I wrote this, so it's still on us citizens to keep on advocating for federal change and also for ourselves as patients at the same time. Godspeed, fellow humans. Take care.


Get a Second Opinion Poor and fabulous friends, take care of yourselves! You can't completely trust our corrupt health care and insurance systems to do it.

Health care providers are human beings just like everyone else. Most of them are people who entered the field of health care because they wanted to take care of others. Most of them, I'm sure, are good people. But even good people are... well, people. People who can be influenced by profit margins and unconscious prejudices that could be harmful to us as patien…

$Monday: Defund Mindless Consumption and Invest in What's Good

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Most people and systems don't change until they are forced. This pandemic has forced a lot on us and keeps ramping up, so now is make-or-break time to defund our worst patterns, from the global to the individual, and reinvest in our future. If you have been in a mental fog since March, or if you have been using harmful coping mechanisms to get by, there's no shame in your automatic responses or in your survival strategies. At the same time, we each have the agency and the urgency to shift to sustainable ways of living through hard times that have no quick fix.


Each one of us can and must use the current pandemic and the winds of social change to redesign our ways of life from the ground up, in the unfortunate absence of national leadership. It's sink or swim time, for you and for me and for the whole of our society. And it isn't just a matter of surviving so that we can get back to normal--this is our chance to truly heal some old wounds and to build a new normal that …

TBT: Sweet Corn and Fire (Campfire Corn Recipe)

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Thanks and blessings upon the original inhabitants of this hemisphere we call America, who developed sweet corn and the delicious practice of roasting it on hot coals. Sweet corn isn't ripe in Michigan yet, but the time is coming soon! This is one of my family's favorite summer dinners. Below is a picture of campfire corn from last year, when we were entertaining guests. This year, we'll have to eat it all ourselves!

Below that is a vintage memory of fire-roasted sweet corn, from back when we had a cellar dweller roommate instead of a child.


Sweet Corn and Fire Sweet corn season has begun!


Last night, we feasted on simple, delicious grilled corn. The ears in my garden aren't ready yet, but I found some gorgeous, fresh, juicy ears of corn at my local grocery store for 25 cents an ear. Can't beat that price!

New roommate Mr. C and I rode our bikes to the supermarket to pick them up. Mr. C towed the baby trailer that Mr. G bought for us to haul groceries in. (By the …

$Monday: Foods for Beauty

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For skin-deep beauty, the foods we stuff in our faces are more important than the products we slap on our faces. I started college as a bony, anemic teenager with flaky skin, brittle nails, frizzy hair, and terrible acne. After a couple months of near-constant access to an all-you-can-eat cafeteria serving a wide variety of foods, I became the proud owner of breasts and a nice booty, smoother skin, strong and shiny nails, and thick hair that felt good to brush. I also noticed that I didn't get bad breath as often, and I had more energy, a sharper mind, and better moods. All of these effects not only made me feel better inside but made me undeniably more attractive on the outside.

In hot weather, I still have a problem with lower appetite, and I constantly struggle with anemia, but my teen years were the worst. My adulthood has never been as busy and demanding as high school except when my daughter was a baby. In high school, my schedule was so busy that I did not have adequate tim…

TBT: Fabulous Fake Beauty

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When I was a teenager and a young adult, everything we now understand as "drag" thanks to RuPaul--outfits, makeup, hairstyles, accessories, ways of holding ourselves and moving and speaking and any other ways in which we intentionally manage or change our physical presentation to others--was condemned as FAKE. It meant you were a poser, a liar, an object, or an inhuman lump of plastic. In one of my college classes, a douchebro declared that guys lying to girls to get them into bed was equivalent to girls wearing makeup. Both practices were equally sinister, dishonest, and manipulative. The cool girls, with their peeling burn/tans and caked-on hangover concealer, nodded and made serious facial expressions to acknowledge the deepness of this thoughtful thought.

Oh, how times have changed.

"We're all born naked and the rest is drag." -RuPaul Andre Charles
Now all of us who aren't conspiracy zombies or flaming turdbags are wearing literal masks when we go out,…

$Monday: Corona Summer Self-Care

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Nobody wants to hang out in a waiting room at the height of this pandemic summer. One of my friends just dodged an outbreak by procrastinating on having her cat's claws trimmed. Now everyone who's been to that vet during the past few days is supposed to do the two-week quarantine routine. Now on top of copays and the usual discomforts of obtaining care for our furry friends and our human selves, there's the risk of catching the cooties. Definitely go and get any treatments that you need, but it's great to not need as many office visits. I'm doing what I can do at home to take care of my own health and have all of my stupid, silly summer fun in relatively safe ways--like having a redneck pool party in the lawn with my daughter and husband.

Here are some other ways I'm staying healthy, safe, and sane while maintaining social distancing and a spark of faith that my kid might somehow be able to go back to school next month:
keeping active with silly stunts like abo…

A 4th of July Playlist for Sh*tposting Haters Like Me

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If you can't beat 'em, join 'em! This year, there is no hope of avoiding loud redneckery, gauche displays of nationalist pride, or even the rising trend of born-again Nazi exhibitionism that are all so hot in the hot, hot summer of 2020. And yet, I've got all these fun childhood memories of the 4th of July, and I have a kid who's excited about fireworks. There's a pandemic, in case anyone forgot, so we won't be able to walk down to the park and join a crowd of spectators for the usual professional fireworks display, so this year we bought some stupid recreational explosives to set off in our own yard.

We plan to pump up the jams, grill some greasy meats, open a bag of chips, park our rusty red pickup truck in the front yard and turn the bed into a redneck swimming pool, then light fireworks out of it until our retinas are seared and our eardrums burst.

Below is my intended playlist of epic metal anthems about America--except the last one, which is an epic m…

TBT: Medical Marijuana

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Raise your hand if CBD oil is saving your life in 2020! Yeah, me too. I am using a small dose of a product by CBDistillery for a few days each month, starting just before my period. That's when I tend to have my worst anxiety episodes, typically occurring in the evening, resulting in acute cramps, nausea, flare-ups of fear that I am seriously ill, uncontrollable shaking, and hours of insomnia. I don't think these episodes are quite the same as panic attacks, though I have had those as well, about a half dozen times since my teens (at random times, not according to a hormone-related pattern).

I started taking CBD oil earlier this spring, and since then I have had only one evening anxiety episode, which lasted only about one hour instead of the usual three or four. I have also completely, 100% avoided the symptoms of summer Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is rare but real and horrible. In past years, I have lost my appetite over the summer and become underweight and severely…