Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bad Food

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with author Michael Pollan about America’s problematic food policies and what citizens might do for their –- and the nation’s –- health.

If any of you had the opportunity to watch this Bill Moyers' show on PBS last night, you may have been horrified to hear what bad food we are all eating. Everything we eat is loaded with high fructose corn syrup, which our pancreas cannot process, therefore does not create enough insulin, which causes type 2 diabetes and other horrible health problems such as obesity and heart disease. The huge farm lobby, is financed by huge rich corporations, that receive millions of dollars in federal subsidies that keeps that cheap bad and unhealthy fast food coming.

Corn fed cattle on large feed lots are creating unhealthy beef for our tables. Piles and piles of manure and piles of piles of corn can be found on these horrible feed lots, where cattle are crammed in to be fed up for slaughter.

Even our eggs from the grocery store are a problem as huge corporations keep the chickens in small cages just to capture their eggs as they drop them. To keep them from pecking each other to death, because of the terrible close quarters in which they are kept, their beaks are burned off....with no anesthetic.

Just as bad is the plight of pigs, also kept packed together until they are frantic. To keep pigs from trying to bite one another's tails off, their tails are pinched off with pliers, again, with no anesthetic.

The entire show may be available at now. Check it out. It may change the way you eat.

Because of Bob's newly diagnosed diabetes, we check every label and we have found very little food without high fructose corn syrup. Even our bread is loaded with it. Most of the bread from the market has it listed as the second ingredient, which indicates that it is the second largest ingredient. I may buy another bread maker and begin making our bread again. I gave mine to Scott's (ex) wife several years ago since they had family.

The new administration will need not simply to address food prices but to make the reform of the entire food system one of the highest priorities of their new administration: unless this is done, we will not be able to make significant progress on the health care crisis, energy independence or climate change. Unlike food, these are issues that were campaigned on — but as we try to address them we will quickly discover that the way we currently grow, process and eat food in America goes to the heart of all three problems and we will have to change it if we hope to solve them.

"Contrast this with the big bucks being shelled out in the recent $307 billion farm bill, much of it going to massive agribusinesses -- “A welfare program,” as TIME Magazine described it, “for the megafarms that use the most fuel, water, and pesticides; emit the most greenhouse gases; grow the most fattening crops; hire the most illegals and depopulate rural America."

In a press conference on Tuesday, President-elect Obama cited a report released this week by the Government Accountability Office: “From 2003 to 2006, millionaire farmers received $49 million in crop subsidies even though they were earning more than the $2.5 million cutoff to qualify for such subsidies, “ he said. “If this is true, it is a prime example of the kind of waste I intend to end as president.”"

But the farm lobby exploded over this announcement and Obama backed down.

So farm subsidies, which are mainly paid to rich farm corporations, keep fast food cheap and fast food available. Something needs to be done about the future farm bill. Our best recourse as consumers at this point is to read labels and cook at home where we do have some control over the ingredients in the food we eat.

There's an excellent article in Time magazine about the lame duck president. It can be found at,8599,1862307,00.html

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Day After

I don't know what we will do today. I would like to go to Bartlesville and start my Christmas shopping but I also need to go up to the hospital and visit my sister. We did not get up there yesterday.

Scott is not feeling well today. He is trying to take a cold, I think. I got him started on my zinc tablets to try to ward it off.

I fixed him an omelet this morning. Bob is just now getting up. He will probably want bacon and eggs too. I will need to get a few things at the market today.

Scott took Ashley to a movie last night in Bartlesville. It was "Twilight". He said it was a chick flick but he likes chick flicks so that was fine. He is really enjoying his opportunity to see Ashley. He went to the bank to check his account and pay his bills this morning. He will go back out to see Ashley again today while Bob and I go to Bartlesville. This is a photo of them together yesterday.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Busy Thanksgiving Day

Bob is feeling just fine this morning...thank goodness! I got up at 6:00 and the house was cold. I turned the furnace up but it did not come on. So I checked the breakers and none had been thrown. Then I took the doors off the furnace and hit a reset button and when I put the doors back on, the furnace came on. Thank goodness! The service call on Thanksgiving Day would have been horrendous! I baked two pies yesterday and will bake another this morning. We are going to Thanksgiving at our daughter's home. They have a larger table and a larger home actually. I am taking the pies, whipped cream and Bob's Waldorf salad. She will have twelve of us. My niece is taking the veggie dishes and sweet potatoes. My daughter will do the turkey, ham and stuffing.

Our granddaughter, Ashley, came in yesterday afternoon. We had not seen her since she graduated and moved to Texas. She drove 6 1/2 hours from Tyler, Texas, and will stay until Sunday. It was good to see her again. The photo is of her.

Our daughter learned that her unemployment appeal was denied so they will be struggling until she finds a job. She has had two interviews out of twelve applications. Jobs are not easy to find in this recession. She has a degree too.

But I intend to put all this stuff out of my mind today and just enjoy our family. Bob has invited one of his FEMA friends who is stationed in Independence away from his family so we will also have him. There will be Bob and me, Leslie and John, Scott and Ashley, Denise, Terry and Dee, Jeromy and Marlene and Dick. My brother-in-law decided to have Thanksgiving with my sister, who is still in the hospital in the skilled nursing area.

So Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here today! It's supposed to be 60 degrees here today!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Menier's Disease

Bob has Menier's Disease and has had it for years. But he hadn't had an episode for fifteen years until this morning. I was out in the kitchen earlier this morning and he called out to me from the bedroom. I went running only to find that he was suffering from vertigo. I got him one of his pills and then checked his sugar to be sure it wasn't that. His sugar was 134 so I knew it was the Menier's Disease. He took the pill but still was dizzy headed when I left for my hair appointment. I told him to stay in bed and I would be back in less then an hour.

I was just finishing up in the chair when our daughter called. She had called to check in on us and her dad answered the phone like he was at death's door. He scared her to death. She called her brother to see how near he was to our place and he was 90 miles away still. So she called to see where on earth I was. I told her what it was and that I had given him one of his pills and taken his blood glucose but she was mildly irritated that I wasn't home. I had done all I could but he did not have his hearing aids in and could not hear her and thought she had hung up. She thought he was deathly ill and had hung up on her. Then our son called and told him he was going to call 911 but Bob couldn't hear him and said "o.k.". Luckily, Leslie called Scott back and told him what it was and not to call 911.

What a mess. I was home within the hour and explained what he had done to alarm our kids. He was properly penitent.

I discovered his meds were fifteen years old so I don't know whether they will do any good or not. I called his doctor, who was out of town, and got the one on call to call in a fresh prescription but it will be afternoon before he can get to it.

Never a dull moment.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Quieter Day

This should be a quieter day. I know my daughter is going to be out at church this morning to begin decorating for the Hanging of the Greens on Sunday. I may go out to help her after I get my house cleaned. I have an appointment out there at 1:30 to meet the Superintendent of Schools from Independence. He wants to talk to me about their need for school renovation in Independence. They really are in dire need of help with their schools but their school bond issue has failed three times. The reason is they have shot themselves in the foot.

Several years ago, they passed a huge bond issue to renovate their Memorial Hall. Then they passed another to build a new swimming pool. Then they passed one to renovate their library and finally they passed one to build a new sewage disposal plant. All these projects are being taxed at the same time. Of course property owners are in rebellion over it and will not pass the school bond issue. You really can't blame them.

Why he wants to talk to me is beyond me. I live in Coffeyville where we built a Community Elementary School five years ago. It is a wonderful school with all the elementary grades in one building. But we have an electric utility plant here that helps pay for that school. They do not have that in Independence so it would fall on property owners to finance it. Taxes in Montgomery County have more then doubled the past six years as it is. When we bought this house six years ago, the taxes were $770 a year. Now they are over $1300.

So, no, even through they desperately needs school renovation in Independence, they probably will not get it. But that still doesn't answer the mystery of why he wants to talk to me. Well, I guess I'll find out at 1:30 this afternoon.

By the way, they put my sister in skilled nursing yesterday afternoon so we do not have to stay with her anymore...they say.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Progress Report

My niece went to Topeka to take her disabled husband to the VA hospital there for a check up so my brother-in-law is staying today with my sister and also tonight. My niece will be back staying days with her after today and I will stay with her again Tuesday night. I suppose he will stay with her Wednesday night and possibly Thursday because the niece is counting on bringing her family to my daughter's home for our Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe my sister will be doing a lot better by Thursday and my brother-in-law will be able to come too. He certainly needs a break. They are wanting to put her in skilled nursing either today or tomorrow. Maybe she won't need a family member to stay with her after that.

I hope my brother-in-law talks to the doctor about that today.

Our son will be coming in late Tuesday night to stay until Sunday. Our granddaughter, Ashley, his daughter, is driving up from Tyler, Texas, for Thanksgiving and he is dying to see her again. She will stay with our daughter and son-in-law. I will stay with my sister Thursday night but my son will be sleeping then anyhow. I will get home by 7:00 AM if things go as they have so far. I don't try to sleep in the daytime because that ruins my night sleep.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Especially Big Day

This will be an especially big day. This morning I speak at church, then we have our annual Thanksgiving dinner. After that, I will do my notes and go to the hospital to relieve my niece who stayed with my sister during church so my brother-in-law could go home and sleep. He stayed with my sister last night. I will stay with her tonight.

They have begun her therapy and of course it is very painful. They are giving her pain meds, which further confuse her and they are fearful that she will try to get out of bed in the night and re-break her hip. So someone has to stay nights with her. I don't know how long this will go on. And... I don't know how long by brother-in-law and I can keep this up.

She is back in her room now and will be there a day or two then they will send her to skilled nursing for two weeks.