Shock & Awe

Standard

I’m shocked because I have gained almost 10 pounds cooking the mostly vegetarian diet that Lynne is now eating. I should return to my beer & BBQ. I feel better. Lynne feels great, mostly. She has taken up meditating using the “Healing Codes”. I read the book and recommend it. Gurdjieff always talked about finding ways to bridge the Occidental & Oriental cultures, making something topical and accessible. I think this book answers that challenge. It has helped Lynne. We are also using this bed sheet that “grounds” us in sleep. Grounding is described as “Earthing”. Since using the sheet, my sleeping pattern has improved; I can’t tell you about my free electrons. I’m rested, not rusted.

 

Lynne is in Houston with a half dozen female research doctors. If you are there, then you know where she is. I am not supposed to talk about the clinical trials. She is in great spirits, but misses me.  The “Awe” is reflecting on the speed of this last six months. The despair, the possibilities, diets, massages, acupunctures, chiropractors, friends, healers, hope, and more possibilities are abundant. I used to say as long as you’re breathing there are possibilities and this is what Lynne & I practice every day.

Advertisements

Ayurveda is not a Suburb

Standard

Lynne & I both appreciate the amazing amount of support, love,  and energy we are getting from everywhere! She wants to do something really big for others when she is better.  She is better.  Lynne’s better because we know more and more about what she faces.  Lynne’s better because she has made decisive choices about attacking and handling this situation. I believe surviving and thriving after getting this diagnosis is a really big thing. The how, what, and why of being diagnosed with ALS is open for all kinds of debate; especially if you are not genetically predisposed to having the symptoms.  The other side of how, what, why is: How to survive & thrive?  What are we doing to survive and thrive?  And possibly, why whatever you are doing is working?

We are exploring a triple course. One avenue is about diet and cleansing through diet. This course is tied up in Ayurvedic traditions.  We are both exploring this approach towards removing toxins and promoting healthy physical functions.  This leads into a second course of meditation and mental centering.  Studies repeatedly support the power of the mind using placedbo effects on healing.  Finally, we are still waiting to hear about clinical trials coming up next month. Meanwhile, we certainly are eating better and reading a great deal more about health and self healing  principles.

Thank you all for your kindness!

Sol & Sommer Love

Standard

A.G.’s in Norway. Middle August and looking at the photos from Norway just makes me cooler. We celebrated Evan’s 30th birthday on the deck of an East Austin bar yesterday. It was 106 degrees; Lynne & Hollie were troopers. All the while I’m thinking ” if I push the temperature another 20 degrees I could actually cook something!”

So much of my life has been punctuated by the weather; hot summer days, hurricane parties, ice storms, flash floods, it continues. Think about how you frame the narrative of your life and it comes into focus. This is the summer of ALS; a fevered response to be remembered.

I am not Lynne. I understand the separateness of living. I don’t remember my brother David before he had Polio. I only remember being too young to read anything in long drawn out cool hospital waiting room settings. The waiting. The rehabilitation clinics.  Summer camps visited, but never stayed.  More doctors. It was a very long summer until Hurricane Carla, then everything got really wet.

Scrolling past teenage nights misspent sleeping on mosquito infested beaches. Walking home from the Sadie Hawkins dance the Spring of my senior year in high school. Explosions. More mosquitoes with Evan when he was just a little fellow. The hunting trips. The birds. The buddies. The food. The stuff. Landing here, in a bookend of my life.

The implicit contract of every partnership: Someone has to  turn off the lights, the television, sweep the dance floor, hang the towels, Check that the pool equipment is properly working, generally handle all of the things held as a passing baton. The jury is still out on Lynne and me. You never know, until you get there. But, what an amazing ride it has been so far! Amazing. I wish you were here.

Dexpramipexole vs. Ceftriaxone

Standard

Pronouncing Dexpramipexole or Ceftriaxone is really tough. What if we  named the various foods we enjoy with the same complexity? Rib Eye would be Longissimus Dorsi with a little Complexus and/or Spinalus . Last night, I dreamed of a Commercial Characters Congress, (Keebler Elves, Mr. Clean, the Michelin Tire Man, etc.), inventing these names for us.  Of course it’s not Keebler elves wasting their time coming up with these names!

Dexpramipexole has demonstrated improved mitochondrial function conferring significant cellular protection in neurons under stress. Ceftriaxone is a new generation broad spectrum antibiotic already used in various treatments where earlier generation antibiotics are not effective.

These two things are like street signs along our bumpy road each going along  separate paths trying to arrive at the same place. All I can say is that it is dusty out here on the open road, but there are possibilities!

Waiting Starts Every Journey

Standard

Lynne & I have been on this big beautiful super highway for a long while. Cruising speed has been very comfortable; so much so that we felt comfortable looking out the side windows watching the world slip by in the slip stream of the great coil of life.  Suddenly, in a blink, we have hit a detour. “Road Constriction” for the next (insert an indeterminate number here) years, days,  months or infinity. The trip slows to a crawl. There’s too much dust and dirt to see beyond the road, we roll the windows shut. We slow in order to absorb the ripples and potholes already starting to bounce us off of our comfortable seats. Yesterday’s warm beautiful sunset offering a shimmering mirage of a promising future surrenders to a sweltering heat wave obscured by billowing dust coming off the “constricted” road. Lucky me, we have some good tires and plenty of fuel to make it a little further up this road that is not a highway after all.

Living with Lynne & ALS

Standard

Lynne has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It was not a big surprise, we have been hoping for better news. The doctor seemed to need more comforting than either of us. It must take a great emotional toll on medical practitioners having to repeatedly give bad news to many people who appear fairly healthy. Think about the sacrifice, the years of schooling, training, and work ultimately to give people really bad news. Lynne and I leave with this information that will define our lives, the doctor gets to do this talk again to another person sooner or later.  Lynne and I discussed getting out in front of this news, sharing, perhaps learning something essential about ourselves.  I learned a new phrase today, “emotional incontinence”; meaning, an inability to control laughter or crying. Emotional incontinence is associated with ALS but I had no idea that emotional incontinence was contagious!

Lynne has always been my “bright light” filling the room animating the space between us and I know she is that for so many others. This is a new chapter.  Lynne says “I’m OK” and I know she is more than that.

I Dreamed About Green Mole’

Standard

Most people who know about Mole’ stop at the chocolate/peanut concoction found in the Mexican Food section of the grocery store, but “mole'” is just a word for mixture. I know of three types of Mole’; the Chocolate/Peanut (red), Amarillo (yellow), and Verde’ (green).  The way I learned about these different sauces is by a lot of reading, searching, and sampling. The broadest way to describe the applications of these three flavors is as follows: the Chocolate/Peanut is usually served with some domestic meats such as Chicken or Rabbit, ( I have had some great Rabbit in Zinfandel laced red Mole’),  Yellow Mole’ is reserved for sea foods such as Scallops, Shrimp, or grilled Snapper, and the Green Mole’ is designed for gamey meats such as Lamb, Goat, Venison, or even Turkey (although I have had Turkey in Red Mole’ many times).  So now, I am going to set up for Green Mole’. Who do I invite over to try this with? That, is the big question!

Adrift in the Sea (or Soup) of Diverse Food Fads

Standard

We walk into stores today and there are abundant new things for all of us. The availability of new flavors and cooking techniques is a click away from your grocer and your iPad. I love trying new things, but there are some basic tenets about food that should be considered when you have the opportunity to work with the freshest fish, lean or marbled grass fed beef, lamb, pork, free range chicken or what have you. The basics are that the item you start with ( the “filet”) is kind of like a foundation piece that you will be adding things to make it more interesting as you create your meal. The idea is that exploration is great, but make certain that you have the ingredients that marry well before striking out in many directions at once. An example would be a nicely poached egg or two and some Canadian bacon; you could put these together with an English Muffin and Hollandaise sauce dusted with Paprika (or smoked Paprika) or, you could combine them with toasted warmed Corn Tortillas, re-fried beans, and a mole’ arriving at a completely different experience. The mole’ probably would be OK with the English Muffin, but not nearly as good as with the Tostadas.

Making Mole’

Standard

I read somewhere that “Mole'” is a Nahuatl term for “mixture”. A qualification is that the mixture must be fine enough to pass through a fine sieve. Anything chopped roughly and not able to pass through a fine sieve is really a “Pipian” which is another Nahuatl term meaning mixture, but Pipians are meant to be rough cuts. So, anything “Pesto” is really a “Pipian” if you are speaking the ancient language of the Aztecs.

Another Nahuatl term we use today is “Chipotle” meaning smoke dried peppers. What I have found is that any pepper smoke dried could be a Chipotle pepper, but for modern convention we consider Serranos and Jalapenos as the peppers used to make Chipotle. Smoking imparts a very particular flavor to peppers unlike simply drying them out. Mole is made from dried peppers not typically anything resembling Chipotle. Mole is also made from those peppers which I consider way down on the bass note scale of pepperdom. The peppers used for Mole traditionally are three: Ancho (which is a dried Poblano), the Passilla or Chile Negro, ( a dried Chilaca), and the Mulato which is another variety of dried Poblano.  I have searched for Mulato peppers in the Austin, Texas area and have never found them available. I always swear that the next trip to Houston, Texas will include a swing through the Farmer’s Market on Airline Drive. They will have them in that market. As far as I remember, this is probably the best Farmer’s Market in the state of Texas.

Without the Mulato, an approximation for the dark Mole can be made substituting Chile Cascabel which is a popular more fruity flavored alternative. Mole’ is not necessarily spicy hot. Nor, is Mole’ only deep rich red to dark brown.  Yellow Mole’ imparts a wonderful flavoring to seafood while Green Mole’ does wonders for Turkey and Duck.   Mole’ should contain a deep under layer of heat in a sauce suspense that includes flavorings of nuts, legumes, seeds, spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits combined to enhance whatever is being prepared.

Painted Concrete

Standard

Back during the clean-up after hurricanes Rita & Katrina I had an opportunity to spend some months in Miami. For a very large, densely populated city this was a beautiful place.  The scary thing about the city was the lack of curbs through out the city allows for people to completely ignore the streets and actually make common drive through areas that the city will eventually pave. This turns a “cut-through” into an actual street. The busy people of Miami all seem to be driving and talking on their cell phones making walking through neighborhoods challenging because pedestrians have to watch out for drivers making a possible “cut through” or maybe just not paying attention and running over another pedestrian.

Many of the homes of Miami have taken stucco to a whole new level. Stucco is very beautiful but I don’t understand how it became so popular here. Stucco is something found in drier, desert type environments not in places full of humidity. The stucco has the propensity to trap moisture thereby creating pockets of mold in the walls of structures. The moisture of Miami lends itself to allow all kinds of rampant growth and small cracks and crevices are invitations to set up residence for any kind of small invasive plant and mold spores. So, how do the people of Miami deal with the problem of keeping the molds and small plants from taking residence in the natural production of cracks and crevices of their gigantic stucco structures? Many people paint everything with special epoxy paints. You walk down some streets and witness house after house in various pastel colors. Many of these houses also have their driveways painted matching colors. I am certain there is some neighborhood in Miami with the neighbors painting spilling out into the streets and moving in pools of color and joining into a great swirl where the storm sewer terminates the pooling pastel pastiche.