Nice visit...

M stopped by after a meeting she had close to here, and we drank tea and chatted - it was nice. She commented that I don't always get out much, and it's true - especially lately - I hate the cold, the snow, and don't feel all that wonderful still. Fasting is not my friend - it takes so long to get the intestinal flora and fauna back in shape - and don't suggest yogurt - I'm a label reader and do my best to avoid HFCS and plain yogurt is so - plain. I need to make my own, unsweetened. So I hide inside, snuggled under kitties, and avoid thinking. This too, shall pass and I'll be myself again. Eventually.

On the job front, still no unemployment, still applying, still working on my business plan, but was very excited to see that DEED (Dept of Employment) has a lot of info and free stuff on starting one's own business, so that was a good thing!

Now all I have to do is feel better - which is a time thing. I know I will, but I think next year I'll push on my visit to Mayo until January. Just too much other crap this time of year, and it takes all I have to put a smile on my face when I feel good.

So - feel no pity for me, I don't need condolences, this will work thru and come January, things will be looking up. I'm too stubborn to be kept down! Andrea wouldn't approve...
  • Current Music
    Sussex Carol

For all you brewers:

I expect to see this show up at a show this season, after hours, of course!  Courtesy of my favorite niece...

Cock Ale

Classification: cock ale, historical, 1500s, chicken, meat

Source: Chris Sutherland (, 6/20/93

The recipe for authentic Cock Ale has finally arrived. Boy it sure is scary:

COCK ALE (circa the 1500's) A real recipe from some obscure text found in the Scottish Highlands... Enjoy....


"Take 10 gallons of ale and a large cock, the older the better; parboil the cock, flay him, and stamp him in a stone mortar until his bones are broken (you must gut him when you flaw him). Then, put the cock into two quarts of sack, and put to it five pounds of raisins of the sun - stoned; some blades of mace, and a few cloves. Put all these into a canvas bag, and a little before you find the ale has been working, put the bag and ale together in vessel.

In a week or nine days bottle it up, fill the bottle just above the neck and give it the same time to ripen as other ale."

Alternate recipe:

Brutal, eh? I was also given a modern recipe written by some guy named C.J.J. Berry.... Here goes this one...

"Take a few pieces of _cooked_ chicken and a few chicken bones (approx one tenth of the edible portion of the bird) well crushed or minced.

Also take half of pound of raisins, a very little mace, and one or maybe two cloves. Add all these ingrediants to half a bottle of string country white wine. Soak for 24 hrs. Then make on gallon of beer as follows:

1 lb Malt extract
1 Oz Hops
1/2 lb demerarra sugar
1 gallon water
Yeast and nutrient

Add the whole of the chicken mixture to the beer at the end of the second day. Fermentation will last six or seven days longer than usual and the ale should be matured at least one month in the bottle. This cock ale is of the barley wine type.

  • Current Music
    Hans Zimmer

Girlfriends rock!

From my friend Kerigwen - and we already knew this, right girls?

A landmark UCLA study suggests friendships between women are special.   They shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are. By the way, they may do even more.

Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis. A landmark UCLA study suggests that women respond to
stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. It's a stunning find that has turned five decades of stress research --- most of it on men --- upside down.

"Until this study was published, scientists generally believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible," explains Laura Cousino Klein, Ph.D., now an Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University and one of the study's
authors. "It's an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by saber-toothed tigers.

Now the researchers suspect that women have a larger behavioral repertoire than just "fight or flight." "In fact," says Dr. Klein, "it seems that when the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers t he "fight or flight" response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead.

When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect. "This calming response does not occur in men," says Dr. Klein, "because testosterone --- which men produce in high levels when they're under stress --- seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen," she adds, "seems to enhance it."

The discovery that women respond to stress differently than men was made in a classic "aha!" moment shared by two women scientists who were talking one day in a lab at UCLA. "There was this joke that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded", says Dr. Klein. "When the men were stressed, they holed up somewhere on their own. I commented one day to fellow researcher Shelley Taylor that nearly 90% of the stress research is on males. I showed her the data from my lab, and the two of us knew instantly that we were onto something."

The women cleared their schedules and started meeting with one scientist after another from various research specialties. Very quickly, Drs. Klein and Taylor discovered that by not including women in stress
research, scientists had made a huge mistake: The fact that women respond to stress differently than men has significant implications for our health.

It may take some time for new studies to reveal all the ways that oxytocin encourages us to care for children and hang out with other women, but the "tend and befriend" notion developed by Drs. Klein and Taylor may explain why women consistently outlive men. Study after study has found that social ties reduce our risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. "There's no doubt," says Dr. Klein, "that friends are helping us live."

In one study, for example, researchers found that people who had no friends increased their risk of death over a 6-month period. In another study, those who had the most friends over a 9-year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%.

Friends are also helping us live better. The famed Nurses' Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and
the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life. In fact, the results were so significant, the researchers concluded, that not having close friends or confidantes was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight! And that's not all!

When the researchers looked at how well the women functioned after the death of their spouse, they found that even in the face of this biggest stressor of all, those women who had a close friend confidante were more likely
to survive the experience without any new physical impairments or permanent loss of vitality. Those without friends were not always so fortunate.

Yet if friends counter the stress that seems to swallow up so much of our life these days, if they keep us healthy and even add years to our life, why is it so hard to find time to be with them? That's a question that also troubles researcher Ruthellen Josselson, Ph.D., co-author of "Best Friends: The Pleasures and Perils of Girls' and Women's Friendships (Three Rivers Press, 1998).

"Every time we get overly busy with work and family, the first thing we do is let go of friendships with other women," explains Dr. Josselson. "We push them right to the back burner. That's really a mistake because women are such a source of strength to each other. We nurture one another. And we need to have unpressured space in which we can do the special kind of talk that women do when they're with other women. It's a very healing experience."

Taylor, S. E., Klein, L.C., Lewis, B. P., Gruenewald, T. L., Gurung, R. A. R., & Updegraff, J. A.
Female Responses to Stress: Tend and Befriend, Not Fight or Flight.
  • Current Music
    Fugue in D Minor

The good news is...

No new varices and I don't  to go back for a year.  That's 12 months.  365 days.  I'm a very happy camper.  I have no restrictions (other than I can't take nsaids) and I'm not suopposed to lose weight fast - I just need to lose it.

The (semi) bad news is that my beta-blockers are getting upped so my energy level will go down - at least for a bit.  He wants to keep my pulse below 60, and I've been riding about 60 and a little above.  It seems that I've developed (if I remember it correctly - drugs are fun!) portal hypertension gastrophy - a slow seepage of blood from the stomach.  Much less dangerous than the varices, but still present, so I'll be chronically anemic - not that that's much change.  Everything else fell within the normal range, so that's a good thing too.

The worst news, and this from a different doctor - in less than 10 years, I'll need a new knee, but with BigSis setting such a shinig example of recovery, I'm not too worried! 

All in all, a pretty successful day - and I slept until after 8 AM today...  Still feel kinda crappy - they always manage to bang up my left tonsil which makes it hard to eat - but that's better than rubber bands and superglue!

Count your blessings!
  • Current Music
    Ambrose purring

37 years ago today

I got the call that my mom died.

If you smoke, quit.  Get your yearly checkups.  Get your mammograms. (Men get breast cancer too.)

Tell whomever that you love that you love them.  It may be too late tomorrow.
  • Current Music

By way of my friend Kerigwen

Dear Red States:
If you manage to steal this election too, we've decided we're leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we're taking the other Blue States with us. In case you aren't aware, that includes California , Hawaii , Oregon , Washington , Minnesota , Wisconsin , Michigan , Illinois , and all the Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the country of New California .
To sum up briefly: You get Texas , Oklahoma , and all the slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get the Statue of  Liberty . You get Dollywood.
We get Intel and Microsoft. You get World Com.
We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss.
We get 85% of America 's venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama .
We get two-thirds of the tax revenue, you get to make the red states pay their fair share.
Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22% lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single parents.
Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids
 they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home. We do wish you success in Iraq , and hope that the WMDs turn up, but we're not willing to spend our resources in Bush's Quagmire.
With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80% of the country's fresh water, more than 90% of the pineapple and lettuce, 92% of the nation's fresh fruit, 95% of America 's quality wines, 90% of all cheese, 90% of the high tech industry, 95% of the corn and soybeans (thanks Iowa !), most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools plus Stanford , Cal Tech, UCLA, Berkeley and MIT.
With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88% of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92% of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100% of the tornadoes, 90% of the hurricanes, 99% of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100% of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University , Clemson and the University of Georgia .
We get Yosemite , thank you.
Additionally, 38% of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62% believe life is sacred unless we're discussing the war, the death penalty or gun laws, 53% that think
 Saddam was involved in 9/11, and 61% of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals than we lefties..
Finally, we're taking the good pot, too. You can have that dirt weed they grow in Mexico .
Peace out,
P.S. Just ignore the environment. It'll go away.

  • Current Music
    Tenous, by Sleep Thief