Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Needs no comment

A high school friend with whom I've caught up during the past five or so years periodically forwards things to me. While I don't re-forward a lot of what I get -- hey, I like hearing from people, even if it's one of those circulating pieces, but I know that a lot of folks can't stand them -- this one is definitely worth sharing. It speaks for itself.

Who Started Christmas?
Author unknown

A woman was Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of walking down row after row of toys and after hours of hearing both her children asking for everything they saw on those many shelves, she finally made it to the store elevator with her two children in hand. She was feeling what so many of us feel during the holiday season time of the year, getting that perfect gift for every single person on our shopping list, overwhelming pressure to go to every party, every housewarming, taste all the holiday food and treats, making sure we don't forget anyone on our card list, and the pressure of making sure we respond to everyone who sent us a card. Finally the elevator doors opened revealing a crowd in the car. She pushed her way in and dragged her two kids and all her bags of stuff in with her. As the doors closed she couldn't take it anymore and blurted out, "Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up, and shot." From the back of the car, a quiet calm voice responded, "Don't worry, we've already crucified Him." The rest of the trip down was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.

Don't forget this year to keep the One who started this whole Christmas thing in your every thought, deed, purchase, and word. If we all would, just think how much better this world would be. Jesus is the reason for the season. Wise men still seek Him.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bariatrics, Part 7: A Big NSV (Non-scale Victory)

So yesterday morning, my primary care physician's office called me. I had gone in on Monday for quarterly blood work related to diabetes. They were calling to give me the results.

Every quarter, persons with diabetes should have a Hemoglobin A1c test, which measures long-term blood glucose control. The HA1c monitors the amount of glucose that bonds itself to red blood cells. The average red blood cell lives about 3 months, so an HA1c test reflects the status of your blood glucose control for roughly that period of time.

Why is this important? It is the overage of glucose in the bloodstream that leads to diabetes complications. Chronically elevated glucose can damage the eyes, nerves, cardiovascular system and kidneys.

A normal, non-diabetic person has an HA1c score of 5 percent, which means that roughly 5 percent of the red blood cells are glycated. This translates roughly to an average blood glucose level of 100 mg/dL. If your score is above 6 percent, you are considered diabetic. The American Diabetes Association says that a score of 7 percent or less means that your blood sugar is well-controlled. My last HA1c reading, taken in late August, was 6.1 percent. In other words, I was "barely" diabetic and in good control of my blood sugar. Of course, I was also on extended release Metformin. Otherwise, it would have been higher.

Now, enough with the background and dramatic build-up. My doctor's office called me to tell me that my first-post-op HA1c score was --

Now for some fun. I found this on a website and thought I'd share:

1 pound = a Guinea Pig
1.5 pounds = a dozen Krispy Kreme glazed donuts
2 pounds = a rack of baby back ribs
3 pounds = an average human brain
4 pounds = an ostrich egg
5 pounds = a Chihuahua
6 pounds = a human skin
7.5 pounds = an average newborn
8 pounds = a human head
10 pounds= chemical additives an American consumes each year
11 pounds = an average house cat
12 pounds = a Bald Eagle
15 pounds = 10 dozen large eggs
16 pounds = a sperm whale's brain
20 pounds = an automobile tire
23 pounds = amount of pizza an average American eats in a year
24 pounds = a 3-gallon tub of super premium ice cream
25 pounds = an average 2 year old
30 pounds = amount of cheese an average American eats in a year
33 pounds = a cinder block
36 pounds = a mid-size microwave
40 pounds = a 5-gallon bottle of water or an average human leg
44 pounds = an elephant's heart
50 pounds = a small bale of hay
55 pounds = a 5000 BTU air conditioner
60 pounds = an elephant's penis
66 pounds = fats and oils an average American eats in a year
70 pounds = an Irish Setter
77 pounds = a gold brick
80 pounds = the World's Largest Ball of Tape
90 pounds = a newborn calf
100 pounds = a 2 month old horse
111 pounds = red meat an average American eats in a year
117 pounds = an average fashion model (and she's 5'11½"!)
118 pounds = the complete Encyclopedia Britannica
120 pounds = amount of trash you throw away in a month
130 pounds = a newborn giraffe
138 pounds = potatoes an average American eats in a year
140 pounds = refined sugar an average American eats in a year
144 pounds = an average adult woman (and she's 5'4")
150 pounds = the complete Oxford English Dictionary
187 pounds = an average adult man
200 pounds = 2 Bloodhounds
235 pounds = Arnold Schwarzenegger
300 pounds = an average football lineman
400 pounds = a Welsh pony

Here's the latest ticker:

In other words, I've lost a human leg, a Guinea pig and a couple of first-class letters since my initial consult with Dr. Schweitzer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I am The Dancing Queen's mother ... and this and that

Trumpet fanfare: I now weigh less than my husband!!! In all fairness, he is 4-and-one-half inches taller than I am, but if you're an obese married woman, you understand the significance of this achievement.

My great achievement (you ought to be able to see my tongue in my cheek, by the way) comes after a particularly hectic weekend which followed the craziness of last week. First, for all who called or emailed, Kevin is fine. He needs to see the doctor, but it wasn't a heart attack. He was having shortness of breath, fainting and palpitations, but not the crushing pain of a heart attack, so he knew he probably wasn't having one at the time they took him to the hospital. But his EKG while there was a little flaky, so they want him to get it checked out. It was probably something to do with his mitral valve prolapse, a.k.a. "heart murmur," instead. I suspect there's some sort of insufficiency. My dad had something similar and ended up having open-heart surgery in his mid-60's.

Anyway, spending a snowy evening at Howard County General Hospital set me back on my heels a little for getting things done, and the next thing I knew, we'd reached the "insane holiday-time weekend that parents of small children dread." You know, the one with multiple mandatory activities.

On Saturday night, we had Madeline's first dance recital. Madeline is a student at Hua Sha Chinese Dance Center. Hua Sha is a troupe of semi-professional dancers organized and choreographed by Ms. Xiao Fang Xu, who was a famous dancer in Shanghai. While most of the dancers are teens and adults -- indeed, one of the soloists works where Kevin works -- Ms. Xu offers dance classes for children. Last year, Hua Sha performed at the Lunar New Year party at Kevin's office. Madeline was captivated! She had already shown some interest in taking dance lessons, and I was looking at ballet and tap programs, but when she saw Hua Sha's rendition of the Tibetan Dance, she was all ready to sign up then and there.

To be sure, we promised the China Centre for Adoption Affairs that we would raise our daughter with an appreciation of Chinese culture. The fact that Madeline wanted to study at Hua Sha was certainly in line with that goal. Nevertheless, late last summer, I told her that she could either study at Hua Sha, or I'd look into classes at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, where her best friend Amanda takes ballet. Madeline emphatically told me that she wanted to study Chinese dance. When I asked her why, she said that the costumes were better. Probably not quite what CCAA had in mind, but we'll take it.

Saturday was the culmination of an autumn's worth of weekly dance classes. Ironically, the recital costume was the pink leotard and white tights she wears to class. After an afternoon of rehearsals at church for the Sunday School pageant to be held on Sunday night, we showed up with grandparents in tow at the Howard Country Center for the Performing Arts shortly before 5 p.m., when the recital was slated to begin -- at least according to the ticket. What we didn't know is that Ms. Xu would run the entire program twice, once as a dress rehearsal at 5 p.m. and once as the real thing at 7 p.m. Next time we'll know to ask, and we can take two cars. I hated to put Kevin and my in-laws through that. But the kids were cute, and the big kids and adults were fantastic. After she danced, Madeline sat transfixed on my lap while the others danced. And yes, as you can see from the picture, the costumes were as lovely and memorable as the dances themselves.

After the recital, we went to dinner at the Double T Diner in Ellicott City (good, cheap and fast), where the arts center is located. We got home around 11 p.m., a very late night for a tired little girl. Sunday night was the church pageant. Sorry, but the pictures turned out very dark. I was sitting too far back in a dimly-lit sanctuary to get great pictures, and at any rate, I didn't feel right about walking up front and using a flash.

As wonderful and crazy as the weekend was, I'm getting further and further behind on preparations for Christmas. Cards are not done. Shopping is not done. Baking is not done. House is not quite clean and certainly not entirely decorated. I'm definitely feeling the seasonal stress. Note to self: Read that post on 1st Corinthians 13 one more time.

P.S. Check out Therese Borchard's wonderful blog Beyond Blue on Beliefnet. Her Holiday Survival Thoughts are a stitch!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Christmas I Corinthians 13

One of my e-friends sent this to me today. I love it! A recovering perfectionist, I needed to be reminded of the principles in here before I started feeling too sorry for myself for not having Christmas in the bag yet.

It's been a rough day. I've spent the past 8 hours or so in or traveling to or from a hospital emergency room. Kevin was transported today from work for a possible heart attack. As it turned out, it wasn't one, but my best-laid plans of what I was going to accomplish tonight went up in smoke. I needed to be reminded. We all do.

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.

Merry Christmas and lots of love to you and yours!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Some of us would give our eye teeth ...

This picture of the actress Jennifer Love Hewitt is generating a lot of press this week. Apparently, the paparazzi caught Miss Love Hewitt in the act of looking like a normal, healthy woman. Some of the comments on TMZ.com, which published this photo and one of her rather average-looking backside, were excoriating. Interestingly, most of the mean ones came from women. The guys were more willing to give her a pass. As one guy said, "I'd still give my left testicle for a piece of that." Food for thought, ladies, food for thought.