Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Finding perspective, finding hope,

"I began to think that continuing to have inchoate questions about what went on in the world was a luxury. Not only that, but I was gathering parasites"

There are those neat moments of discovery that people have and the things they say about them.

I liked this one.

Forgiveness is sweet -- such a powerful perspective, well told. It is easy to forget that we are all children (a "child of God" is a child first).

I also liked

I am encircled…eternally in the arms of his love.

and finally

I'm actually working toward full activity. I've rearranged my work schedule so that I can go to Church again and I'm looking forward to Conference.

Yesterday marked six years of Mormondom, and I think I have at least another six left in me.

I'm always grateful to find hope in the midst of so much trial.

I'll be back from vacation, and back on the internet in about nine or ten days. Just in time to help unload my parents I suspect. Back to posting on grief, loss, love, the Shangi-la Diet, and the amazing places people find hope.

Wish you all well, with love, hope and faith.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Changing my mind

One of the things I do at work, that people I work with value, is I change my mind.

I will look at things and go, "hmm, this changes what I was thinking."

I hadn't even realized that others noticed until I was in a meeting Thursday with some people I work with, and one pointed out that my ability to change my mind, and to be honest about it, was something that made me valuable to work with.

I've been thinking about that since.

BTW, I'll be going on vacation at the end of the week. My parents move into town, actually move into our house while work and clean-up on their house continues, and we go on vacation.

I keep feeling like I need to post a caveat or something "just because the house is full of people, it doesn't mean we are home ..." We keep having friends borrow the house, and now we will have family here.

But, we will get to see Heather. Not sure what else, would like to take my nephew Darrell and his wife and child out to dinner while we are visiting. Will see what works out. I admire them.

At least I did. I reserve the right to change my mind. (That is a reprise on the post theme and a joke, the more I see of the kid the more I admire he and his wife).

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Hearing and listening -- what is really being said

One thing that gets my attention every-so-often is when there is a rift between what is being said and what is being meant. I usually find those by reading conflicts where the people appear to be talking past each other.

For example, on the Snarkernacle (e.g. here as well as other places), if they post a parody or a snark that offends you or hurts your feelings and you send them an e-mail, they take it down. Every time, like clockwork. But, there is someone who posts as anonymous (and I suspect more than one someone) who has had their feelings hurt and is really upset about it.

The two talk past each other. For their situation, I don't have a solution.

But, if you find yourself repeating something and getting the same response back that seems to miss the point, assume that you are not communicating and that whatever they are saying, isn't what they mean to communicate.

Sometimes you even need to explain the difference. Such as when my wife sat our six-year-old down and explained that when many adults said "would you please do ..." they meant "do ... now!" but were being nice about it, not giving her an option (which is what she heard from the words and the word combinations they used).

Sometimes you need to figure out the difference. But in a relationship that matters to you, it is worth it. I'll write next on figuring out who is being talked to. Sometimes the words may go to you, but the person talking is talking to someone else. It helps if you figure that out.

Shangri-la Diet: moving on to months three and four

I've been reviewing the experiences others have had with the Shangri-la Diet.

At about the third month, if it is working well, you will get bored with losing weight or just feel tired of losing weight. This stage lasts about two weeks, but when it hits a number of people quit the diet and then come back after several months. So, if it works for you, just be aware that at around the third month boredom sets in and just hold on and the boredom will end.

Also be aware that for many, at the end of the second month, plateaus start to happen. Unlike a normal diet, where a plateau means the diet has failed, plateaus merely are a sign that your set point moves downward in a sine wave pattern rather than in a straight line. In losing over seventy pounds, I spent about half the time on plateaus mixed with about half the time losing weight. Lose weight, pause, lose weight, pause, all the way down. ~ is kind of a symbol for the way it goes.

On the other hand, for some, the weight loss is very slow and the plateaus are enhanced. For those, here is the next step.

First, make sure you are getting enough protein. That is one of the reasons I started eating so much fat free yogurt (amazingly, on a diet where most people add oil to what they are eating, my total fat intake went down -- fat free foods often have more protein for the calories than any other).

Second, make sure you are getting enough calcium. I'm not sure why, but many people who do not get enough calcium have trouble with weight loss, though they may get excellent appetite suppression. Yogurt again works well here (though I have a large container of calcium pills from Costco in the cupboard).

Third, consider protein powder smoothies. There are two ways to drink them, both in the place of one meal a day. The first is to have them as flavorless as possible. DesignerWhey and Nutro Soy protein are both available in a flavor free "flavor." Mix some of each together, blend with some cold water and maybe an icecube (use a blender) and drink them down while holding your nose (to reduce any remaining flavor) once a day. The second way is to open up your spice rack and use half a teaspoon of two spices, randomly chosen, blended with the protein powder and a couple tablespoons of yogurt and a little sugar or sweetener, for a "variable flavor" smoothie. As long as the flavor is different each day, that seems to work well too.

Protein powder smoothies also help with any protein issues.

Work through those additions and alternatives for the next two months. That gets you to four months on the diet. I'll go over the next two months in the future.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A completely different perspective on gay marriage

Red Family, Blue Family

I've never seen anything like it, anywhere else.

Interesting, related posts:
I'm afraid that I don't have any conclusions to add, any sermons to preach, anything to say but to cite Joseph Smith:
I never thought it was right to call up a man and try him because he erred in doctrine, it looks too much like ----ism and not like Latter day Saintism. ----ists have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their church. I want the liberty of believing as I please, it feels so good not to be tramelled. It don't prove that a man is not a good man, because he errs in doctrine. (WoJS 183-184)
I always wanted to write a doctrinal book or discuss a topic fraught with discord with that quote in the introduction.

I will go back to grief and loss and recovery and relationships in future posts.

Friday, September 15, 2006

What we should ask ourselves

The catalogue of self-doubts in the original post are superficialities, only brought up to be dismissed. Obviously the young man didn’t decline mission service because his mother wasn’t a nimble housekeeper or scrapbooker.

The real doubts in every parents’ mind should include: Did I do everything I could to instill in my children a desire to serve the Lord through missionary service? Did I show by example that I value the Gospel enough to make personal sacrifices for it?

Starting (or starting over) the SLD method

I've been working on different protocols to suggest to people, here is one I started to post on my site when blogger crashed and took the entire original post with it.

First you need to start with a commitment to taking a long, slow approach.

Second this approach is based on oil. When you use oil you need to realize that all oils are not the same thing. Your body metabolizes them all differently. Switching oils is the same as starting over, and for most people, switching oils means a loss of a week or two. Anyone who reports trying 4-5 types of oil in a couple months should not expect any success.

Third you will start with one tablespoon of sugar, one cup of water and one tablespoon of oil. To start use a 50/50 blend of canola oil and extra light (not extra virgin) olive oil. Dissolve the sugar in the water, pour the oil on top, swirl and drink at 10:00 a.m. every day. No flavor, no cigarettes, no mints, no snuff, no flavored lipstick, etc. from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Do this for a week. At the end of the week, if you have appetite sup presion, continue. If not, then.

Fourth, adjust. If your appetite hasn't reduced, go up to a second tablespoon of oil. Do a week at two tablespoons. If it works, stay at that level, if it doesn't, go up to three tablespoons of oil. Stay there for a week, if it works, fine, if not, go up another tablespoon.

Fifth, use a food plan to start. Check out a South Beach recipe collection from your local library. Use that as a rough guide for the first two months -- using it to avoid ditto foods, to avoid high gylcemic index foods and to make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet. An easy substitution is to eat eggs and whole wheat toast (dry) for breakfast, fat free yogurt for lunch, sandwich, green beans and salad for dinner. Diet soda for a snack. May get a little boring, but what you are after is stabilization and enough bulk and enough protein in your diet.

Sixth make sure you are getting enough water and enough vitamins. Note how much tea Seth reports that he drinks. I get a lot of fluids myself, even if I don't drink tea.

Seventh Join or a similar group (OA is free, which is why I recommend it).

Give this regimen two months, eight to nine weeks, if you have had problems and have decided to start, or restart, the diet.

I'm still working on a second two month program.

Co-thread at:

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

So, I'm half the man I used to be ...

Or at least that is the normal joke at Church. If you want more on the diet I used to lose the last seventy-two pounds, you can use the diet information link or read
Another Shangri-la Diet article

I'm just grateful it isn't my mind that shrunk this time.

Shangri-la Diet Information for more if you have any questions. Or ask me. How many diets don't require buying special food or making major life changes? Even better, the on-line information lets you try the diet before you buy the book (if ever).

Monday, September 11, 2006

Aging, my father, my life

My father is aging. He also has Parkinson's disease. About four years ago his doctor told him that most of his patients die about nine to ten years after diagnosis. The medicine lets him function, but it makes him tired and he is thinking in terms of only having five or six more years before the end.

Until the disease took hold of him he was vital. Everyone expected him to long outlive my mother. Now she prepares for a life without him and he is in a state of acceptance.

But the long years I looked forward to with him seem unlikely. August 31st I had such emotional turmoil about it. Now I move forward.

For myself, I really fell apart as my girls died, one by one. I gained weight, lost muscle and became an old man when I was in my mid-thirties. Life wrapped up on me before I knew it.

Of course I've lost over seventy pounds, added muscle mass, and now that my rotator cuff problem is resolved, I'm slowly getting stronger in the arms and shoulders. I work out, and I'm very much enjoying it, though I also very much remember that I took it up so that I would be stronger and last longer for my girls. That is why I'm home with my six year old tonight instead of working out.

A friend I really admire is now frail. She can't even do Tai chi style exercise without injury and her essay touched me.

So much about life is about being bound by time. Making decisions when decay and imperfection surround us and loss is ever present. Because we grow, because we age, because we die, we have to choose. Every day we have to choose, to make decisions, to constantly deal with a world and an environment that is never static, that we have never mastered.

So I look at my father, his choices, his life, the good he has done and the peace he has found and I look and see my life. Having them near so we can care for them, doing what we can to be there for our children, making choices, bounded always by time, imperfection and ends.

In the progress of age, in my father, I see the shape of my life.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thinking about law school?

Skaddenfreude: Not All Lawyers Are Loaded

100 dollar bill.JPGWe now proudly present the inaugural installment of a regular ATL feature, Skaddenfreude: Totally Gauche Ogling of Other Lawyers' Incomes. As explained in our introductory post, Skaddenfreude will inform you about how much different lawyers around the country are earning (and how hard they're working to earn those salaries).

We've already received a number of submissions, some of which we present below, and some of which we're saving for future editions. This week's theme: not all lawyers are making a mint -- especially those who avoid the path of Biglaw and work for the government. Here are the numbers:

(1) assistant attorney general in a state AG's office, based in a large city, specializing in criminal law, class of 2005: $48,000 (40 hrs./week);

(2) legal research professor, at a top 50 law school in a mid-sized city, class of 2002: $46,000;

(3) attorney advisor for a city agency in a large city, class of 2003: $61,000 ("I only get a raise every two years, which is less than the cost of living. I work about 50-60 hours per week... last summer, I was working almost 70 hours a week...");

(4) deputy public defender, in a small city, specializing in criminal/juvenile cases, class of 1999: $48,000 ("Bonus? HA!").

Click the link for the rest of the story.

Ambient Noise, Ring Tones and Things I Really Don't Like

I listen to a fair amount of NPR, or used to listen to a fair amount of NPR. One thing I really do not like is the current trend to increase the amount of ambient noise that runs with the material -- often noise that seems artificially added. When I'm driving, I do not need an extra, moving, crystal clear siren noise. Let the studio broadcast just be silent in the background.

Even worse is the growing trend of using ring tone "music" interlaced with broadcasts, as a sub-theme in theme music and in advertisements. Like a borderline personality disorder, the "music" cries out for attention, setting off people checking to see if a cell phone is ringing. While it calls for attention, it also seems to generate revulsion. Advertisements with those sub-themes are the ones most likely to trigger a changed channel rather than being patiently listened to/ignored until more news or music comes on.

Shows that use them are why I've given up on NPR and on radio in general.

I know, on the scale of things that are annoying or dislikable, what I've mentioned is pretty trivial, but it probably annoys me more than anything else I deal with. What out there annoys you?

Monday, September 04, 2006


Ok, here is a photo.

Like everyone else, I love my kids and am proud of them. Tournament winning shooter, that's my daughter.

Too bad BYU doesn't have a Judo club any more, she had just started with that and was really enjoying it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


I've blogged about other people's sisters, but I had the sweetest call from my own, who shows such kindness to me. I'm grateful for her and her remembrances.

Choosing, endurance, happiness, and kindness

I saw the question: "And what can we do in the midst of affliction to endure?"

In a roundabout way, there is an answer, and it comes from the nature of the human mind and the reality that we are a part of. It is interesting that the research seems to indicate (very, very strongly) that attempting to exert direct control over an emotional response has a negative effect when we try to choose to be happy.

So, if we try to choose to be happy, we are probably going to be less happy.

On the other hand, we are quite capable of choosing to be kind because there is strong support to the position that we can choose approaches to take. The choice of taking the approach of kindness will help us to endure and live well.

It is similar to the issue of choosing to endure. If you are trying to choose endurance, you are probably already in trouble. On the other hand, if you start looking for reasons to endure, you will find them, and in finding them, endure.

Live your life for others, be kind, and you will find endurance and happiness, things that everyone thinks they seek. Especially when grief attempts to overwhelm you, there is reason in the choice to find meanings as a foundation and to choose the approach of kindness. In enduring for others, in being kind to them, we find our own path and way home, in spite of every affliction.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

... I need a psych exception to the no weapons in the dorms policy ...

Funny story.

There is a kid, when she was young and feeling scared, her parents gave her a sword to sleep with to make her feel safe. Kind of like a teddy bear, only a bit more useful (though not much, it was a wall hanger) against prowlers and such.

So, she is in the dorm, feeling homesick and wanted to know if they would let her have a sword in her room. The exception would be the psych exception. So she could have a weapon in the dorms.

They kindly told her no, she laughed when she told my daughter and my daughter told me, which I thought was funny.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Recommended books by Suzette Haden Elgin

I should have thought to do this for my guest post at FMH.

How to Turn the Other Cheek and Still Survive in Today's World
How to Turn the Other Cheek and Still Survive in Today's World by Suzette Haden Elgin (Paperback - Nov 1997)

Used & new from $0.19

My favorite. At nineteen cents, a used copy is obviously a great deal.

The Grandmother Principles
The Grandmother Principles by Suzette Haden Elgin (Paperback - April 2000)
Buy new: $10.95 $8.98 In Stock
Used & new from $0.86

The book on how to be a grandmother.

How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable: Getting Your Point Across with the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense
How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable: Getting Your Point Across with the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense by Suzette Haden Elgin (Paperback - Mar 1997)
Buy new: $16.95 $11.53 In Stock
Used & new from $4.75

This is probably the best book if you are looking to learn the concepts.

The Gentle Art of Communicating with Kids
The Gentle Art of Communicating with Kids by Suzette Haden Elgin (Paperback - Jan 1996)

Buy new: $14.95 In Stock
Used & new from $4.99

I've given over ninety copies of this book away.

The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense at Work
The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense at Work by Suzette Haden Elgin (Paperback - Jan 19, 2000)
Buy new: $16.95 $11.53 In Stock
Used & new from $7.95

The one I recommend to anyone in college.