Saturday, June 24, 2006
Well, we were - kinda - were'nt we? The X sent over yesterday a bag of Pineapple Lumps yesterday. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned the favorite LUMPS before - but not even sure which blog. I love Pineapple Lumps. (Did I say that? Is that already evident?)
Ok - I should get to the point already. X phoned yesterday morning, asking if I'd make one of the kids breakfast & mentioning that his mom had sent over a bag o' lumps. (X is from NZ - family lives in NZ) so I grabbed the ball and ran with it! (Is that the correct sporting analogy?) I'll make the lunch, you send over some lumps. He agreed & when I thought he'd just be sending a few, he sent over an entire BAG.
Put 'em in the freezer -- but I tell you I cannot, cannot, cannot and cannot stay away.
it's horrible. Just when I really want to try to watch what I'm eating (reference previous post) I have the lumps. And the thing is, I generally have good will power, but this.... they have some sort of pull over me, or something.... I keep getting drawn back to the freezer....
I guess my only hope is that I"ll just eat them all in a day - then they'll be gone - then that'll be it. And I will be transformed into a walking pineapple lump.
BUT STILL - I can't imagine everevereverever getting to the point where I"d inflict lipopain on mysef - especially in those obscure areas.... Jeez - I can't even get a bikini wax!
Do My Knees Look Fat to You?
By NATASHA SINGER
Published: June 15, 2006
LOVE handles, saddlebags, turkey wattle. Self-conscious women have been trying to reduce those body areas for years. But now, with more efficient diets and fitness routines, women are turning to more obscure anatomical zones. The newest worries? "Bra fat" and "back fat."
Buff Enough? Not yet? Micro liposuction can take a few ounces off the knees.
"I had a little roll of fat hanging over the back of my jeans, like a spare bicycle tire in the back," said Dana Conte, a bartender in Manhattan. It was so obvious that her mother constantly came up behind her and pulled her shirt down over it, Ms. Conte said. "When your mother is doing that, it means there's a problem."
Ms. Conte, 34, says she has an hourglass figure that attracts whistles as she walks along the street. To get rid of the back fat, she tried working out — "like a lunatic," she said — five days a week. Then, she enrolled in Weight Watchers. When neither worked, she turned to plastic surgery.
Last August, she had liposuction on her lower back around her waistline, and in January, she had liposuction again, this time on her mid- and upper-back to eliminate "bra fat," bulges that can occur when "your bra pushes lumps of fat down your back and up over the bra fastening and to the sides right near your arms," Ms. Conte said.
The total fee for both procedures, $10,000, was well worth it, she said.
Last year, Americans had about 455,000 liposuction operations, making fat removal the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. But in the last two to three years, liposuction, once used predominantly to reduce the flabby abdomens, hips and thighs of average Americans, has become a tool to enhance the near-perfect body parts of the already fit.
For this designer-body approach, an increasing number of doctors are using a technique known variously as precision, selective or micro liposuction. The goal is to remove an ounce or three of fat from ankles, knees, chins, necks, backs and upper arms, according to some prominent plastic surgeons and dermatologists.
"This is mostly for people who do not need much work done," said Dr. Luiz S. Toledo, a plastic surgeon in São Paulo, Brazil, who has taught the technique to American surgeons at their annual medical meetings. "It's liposuction for skinny people."
But some sociologists and medical ethicists say that using liposuction — which can cause complications ranging from infection to death — for such tweaks raises profound questions about the increasing risks cosmetic doctors and patients are willing to take in the name of perfection. They say these microprocedures may signal a shift in beauty standards in which people come to regard the body the way they do their cars or kitchens: as an object able to withstand never-ending renewal and modification.
And they worry that the idea of precision liposuction carries an inherent suggestion that everyone should have surgery, even those who are already beautiful.
"The goal posts are changing so rapidly that what was once considered cosmetically unnecessary is now considered helpful," said Victoria Pitts, an associate professor of sociology at the City University of New York, who teaches a course called Sociology of the Body. "As calves, ankles, knees and even genitalia become zones of perfectibility, we will feel more and more pressure to get involved in projects that improve them."
Dozens of experienced American doctors have been performing precision liposuction for more than a decade. But in the last two to three years, hundreds of other doctors have been adding it to their surgical repertory because it seems easier to perform than it used to be and because more patients are asking for it, said Dr. Peter B. Fodor, a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles.
"Because our equipment has gotten better, surgeons who a few years ago would not have touched areas like kneecaps, inner thighs, back rolls, calves and ankles have extended their practices," Dr. Fodor said.
New types of ultrasound machines, which can be used to break up fat before it is extracted, and daintier cannulae, the blunt-tipped hollow tubes used to dislodge and suck out fat, have made it easier for doctors to fine-tune liposuction, Dr. Fodor said.
During liposuction operations, doctors anesthetize patients, inject a numbing solution and suction fat cells out of the body with a tube inserted into incisions in the skin. Patients may be sore and bruised for several days to weeks afterward, but doctors say results are permanent on the treated areas as long as patients maintain stable weight.
Because removing too much fat can be risky, medical societies do not recommend liposuction for the morbidly obese. But it has been widely used to reduce bulges on the merely chubby.
And now, as it has grown more precise, liposuction is attracting a new clientele of body-conscious people who want to improve physiques already honed by diet and regular exercise
"Some of them are perfect 10's who want to be 10½'s," said Dr. Howard D. Sobel, a dermatologist in Manhattan whose liposuction patients have included models and personal trainers. "These patients' 'before' pictures are what patients in the past wished their 'after' pictures looked like."
One of Dr. Sobel's patients is Judy Goss, a former Ford model who works as a model agent. "By normal standards, I'm pretty skinny," said Ms. Goss, 38. She is 5-foot-10 and weighs 126 pounds, she said. "But my arms were getting a little flappy. I could feel it wiggle every time I shook hands."
Two years ago Dr. Sobel performed liposuction on her upper arms.
Dr. Lawrence S. Reed, the plastic surgeon who operated on Ms. Conte, the bartender, said some patients who choose micro liposuction want to reduce such negligible deposits that doctors can have trouble seeing the problem when the patients are undressed.
To pinpoint the little lumps of fat, Dr. Reed, who is based in Manhattan, asks patients to wear their favorite jeans or bra right before surgery so he can mark the areas with a pen.
Patients have developed their own nicknames for these obscure fat deposits. To help doctors understand the exact locations their patients are describing, the journal Dermatologic Surgery recently published an article titled "Lexicon of Areas Amenable to Liposuction." According to the article, patients are now asking for liposuction of the "buffalo hump" (upper back), the "wings" (bulges around the bra area), the "doughnut" (around the belly button), the "banana fold" (below the buttocks), the "piano legs" (calves) and the "chubb."
"Chubb is a Southern term for the kneecap area," said one of the article's authors, Dr. William P. Coleman III, a clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. He has not yet heard a colloquialism for ankle fat.
Even though these miniprocedures sound superficial, sometimes marketed as "lunchtime liposuction" or "liposculpture," they can cause medical and aesthetic problems. Possible complications include infection, scarring and perforated intestines.
Liposuction can also result in death from an overdose of anesthesia or from a pulmonary embolism in which clots block blood vessels in the lungs, Dr. Toledo said. He put the death rate from liposuction at one in 5,000 procedures in an article this year that appeared in the journal Clinics in Plastic Surgery. (Not all doctors agree on the risks: a survey by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery estimated the death rate to be one in about 47,000 procedures.)
Dr. Fodor said operations for "lesser corrections" are technically and aesthetically more challenging because the areas that are not so fatty require more experience and wider anatomical knowledge. Ankles have superficial nerves and arteries that can be damaged, he said. Fat on the back or kneecap is very fibrous and can be difficult to remove evenly. And kneecaps have sac-like cavities that can be easily traumatized, Dr. Fodor said.
Doctors are grappling over where to draw the line. Last week Dr. Toledo saw a patient who wanted to have liposuction of her pubic area.
"In Brazil, bikinis are very small, and she complained that a little bit of fat stuck out over her bikini," he said. Dr. Toledo refused to do the surgery. He said removing the fat might make sex painful for her. "Sometimes a change is so small that it is not worth the time, money and risk."
Some medical ethicists are concerned that medical societies have not established standards or guidelines for doctors on what kinds of micro liposuction are too minor to be worth the risk. "Today the cutoff point is the pubic area, and what about tomorrow?" said Sheila M. Rothman, a professor of sociomedical sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.
But Rosamond Rhodes, the director of bioethics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, does not see an ethical concern. "Humans have always been willing to invest time, energy and risk in looking attractive, so I don't see smaller liposuction procedures as a sign of doom, gloom and the downfall of our culture," she said. "It's just medicine being used to address problems that it could not address before."
Still, Dr. Rothman worries that these tiny procedures may create a demand for serial liposuction in which patients come to view surgery as a maintenance technique, like fitness.
"We already have a model for this with Botox and Restylane, where people go to their doctors every few months to get another shot whenever they feel like it," Dr. Rothman said. "Maybe liposuction will become like a gym membership where you pay a doctor $10,000 for the year and you can have as much surgery as you want."
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Here's the deal: I've been accumulating these medical bills for the kids - get them, kinda look at them, and put them away. Finally I got a BIG one from the plastic surgeon who stiched Nathan up after he hit his head on my parents fire place mantle - last December. (We're talkin' over $1,000 here - just so you get an idea of what I consider BIG.) So, that got me moving.
I called the insurance company and was able to get that BIG bill reduced by $714 - but the other charges were "after hours" charges & not covered.
THe other, more recent charges/Dr's visits are covered by the X's new insurance & they have to meet the deductible before the insurance kicks in... soooo.
I email X andtell him about the charges, how I got the bill reduced, and what his share is. I say that he can let me know how he wants to do it - little by little, pay Dr. directly, whatever.
He emails back: "I'm sorry, but I literally have no money."
Ok. We're not going to go into what went through my mind then.. but suffice it to say that something along the lines of "you're a friggin' corporate hack, I'm a socialworker & you have no money...?"
I acknowlege the financial situation, but remind him that we indeed still have to pay the bills.
He then responds with an email basically blaming me for everything. I went back to school, I got us into debt, I'm selfish for doing this, I should be earning more, I'm going to ruin the kids' lives because they won't be able to go to a good school... It's his usual tirade.
So, I'm thinkin' - in my last post about him I pretty much say, what? That I took time out to sit & listen to him & help him? And I really have to know that I do that without any sort of "thank you."
So, that has been on my mind a lot. I mentioned it to my parents (I don'tdon'tdon'tDON'T know why) that X called & that I spoke to him like that. My Dad was like: "WHY did you do that?! Has he ever done that for you? WHen you were married?" And I thought - and no. Never. Whenever I was tired, upset, nervous, stressed, whatever -& shared, it always went back to him & what a bad, awaful, tiring day HE had. And if/when I ever shared any anxiety, troubling thought, problem with him - chances are he would use it against me at some point. Like if I would say: "This makes me nervous" "or, this is something I don't like about myself" he would use it again later.
Nice guy, huh? Yeah, that's why I'm payin' my shrink the big bucks...
SO, this is all nagging on me now -- that and the fact that you'd think that the benefit of being divorced from somebody means you don't have to deal with their shit. But look at that: I still do!
Just wanted to stop in and say hi. I have this whole long post in my head, but haven't had the time to write it. Why, you may ask? Welll.... I bought.... a ..... PALM PILOT!!
"Hey" I can hear you thinking "aren't those things supposed to save you time? Make you more efficient?"
Lies, lies, all of that lies! These things are time SUCKERS! You have to set them up, you have to sync, you have to play with all the little buttons, and games, and set the fonts, and the backgrounds, and the alarms, and the icons, and pull the little stylus out & look at how cute it is, and put it back in again, sync, and marvel at how it syncs, and change something and marvel at how it changes on both and wow isn't technology sososo darn cool.
See, you're tired already!
You also have to really over-use the joke about playing with your Palm. See, I've used it - oh - about 50 times already. Nobody has told me yet to stiffle it - - but I sense it's coming. Heck, if they don't I"ll just up & say it to myself. Enough's enough - even of such a joke of such fine wit and intelligence.
See - I'm even having fun writing about it!
Seriously, though - it's one of the basic palms - meaning it's really only a date/address book. (With all these cool games, first aid tips, calculators, check splitters [yes, figures out the tip!!!], and and noises) that I got in an attempt to get my life into some sort of order. THree jobs, two kids, one x-husband, a boyfriend, a babysitter & assorted and sundry friends and relatives.... Too much.
I'll let you know if it works. I have irrationally high hopes.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Does Fatherhood Make You Happy?By DANIEL GILBERT
Jun. 19, 2006Sonora Smart Dodd was listening to a sermon on self-sacrifice when she decided that her father, a widower who had raised six children, deserved his very own national holiday. Almost a century later, people all over the world spend the third Sunday in June honoring their fathers with ritual offerings of aftershave and neckties, which leads millions of fathers to have precisely the same thought at precisely the same moment: "My children," they think in unison, "make me happy."
Could all those dads be wrong?
Studies reveal that most married couples start out happy and then become progressively less satisfied over the course of their lives, becoming especially disconsolate when their children are in diapers and in adolescence, and returning to their initial levels of happiness only after their children have had the decency to grow up and go away. When the popular press invented a malady called "empty-nest syndrome," it failed to mention that its primary symptom is a marked increase in smiling.
Psychologists have measured how people feel as they go about their daily activities, and have found that people are less happy when they are interacting with their children than when they are eating, exercising, shopping or watching television. Indeed, an act of parenting makes most people about as happy as an act of housework. Economists have modeled the impact of many variables on people's overall happiness and have consistently found that children have only a small impact. A small negative impact.
Those findings are hard to swallow because they fly in the face of our most compelling intuitions. We love our children! We talk about them to anyone who will listen, show their photographs to anyone who will look and hide our refrigerators behind vast collages of their drawings, notes, pictures and report cards. We feel confident that we are happy with our kids, about our kids, for our kids and because of our kids--so why is our personal experience at odds with the scientific data?
First, when something makes us happy we are willing to pay a lot for it, which is why the worst Belgian chocolate is more expensive than the best Belgian tofu. But that process can work in reverse: when we pay a lot for something, we assume it makes us happy, which is why we swear to the wonders of bottled water and Armani socks. The compulsion to care for our children was long ago written into our DNA, so we toil and sweat, lose sleep and hair, play nurse, housekeeper, chauffeur and cook, and we do all that because nature just won't have it any other way. Given the high price we pay, it isn't surprising that we rationalize those costs and conclude that our children must be repaying us with happiness.
Second, if the Red Sox and the Yankees were scoreless until Manny Ramirez hit a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth, you can be sure that Boston fans would remember it as the best game of the season. Memories are dominated by their most powerful--and not their most typical--instances. Just as a glorious game-winning homer can erase our memory of 812 dull innings, the sublime moment when our 3-year-old looks up from the mess she is making with her mashed potatoes and says, "I wub you, Daddy," can erase eight hours of no, not yet, not now and stop asking. Children may not make us happy very often, but when they do, that happiness is both transcendent and amnesic.
Third, although most of us think of heroin as a source of human misery, shooting heroin doesn't actually make people feel miserable. It makes them feel really, really good--so good, in fact, that it crowds out every other source of pleasure. Family, friends, work, play, food, sex--none can compete with the narcotic experience; hence all fall by the wayside. The analogy to children is all too clear. Even if their company were an unremitting pleasure, the fact that they require so much company means that other sources of pleasure will all but disappear. Movies, theater, parties, travel--those are just a few of the English nouns that parents of young children quickly forget how to pronounce. We believe our children are our greatest joy, and we're absolutely right. When you have one joy, it's bound to be the greatest.
Our children give us many things, but an increase in our average daily happiness is probably not among them. Rather than deny that fact, we should celebrate it. Our ability to love beyond all measure those who try our patience and weary our bones is at once our most noble and most human quality. The fact that children don't always make us happy--and that we're happy to have them nonetheless--is the fact for which Sonora Smart Dodd was so grateful. She thought we would all do well to remember it, every third Sunday in June.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
It's finally getting warm, and here it is middle of June. Before you know it, summer will be over.... :) Ok. Enough of that.
Had a great weekend w/J (aka boyfriend). It was kinda like the first weekend we've pretty much spent together - without one of us having to run off early to do something. ...
We went out after work on Friday - then Saturday went to The Bronx Zoo. It was the first zoo date - and he passed with flying colors. (You know, the first dinner, the first movie, the first zoo, the first picnic and then the first Meet The Parents.)
Cesar Milan - the Dog Whisperer. I had just read about him from an article in The New Yorker Apparently he does some kind of "Dog Psychology" which I usually hate ("Buncha yuppies who can't control their dogs...") but that really makes a lot of sense. Treat the dog like a dog - make sure it respects you - but still make sure you love it. (Very abbreviated version.) He was fascinating, though - and SO MUCH personality... and so darn cute! (Ok, I have a little, little crush on him now...)
Then we went to Arthur Avenue for dinner. Arthur Avenue is kinda the Little Italy of the Bronx. It was lotsa fun - although I had just a little too much to drink. Actually, it was probably more the being out in the sun all day, then having wine that put me over the edge. Don't worry - I didn't make a fool of myself. (At least I think I didn't. No, no - I didn't! Ok, maybe I did in that photo above.... but that was earlier. See, I can make a fool of myself without alcohol!!)
Then today we took my dad out for brunch for fathers' day. And for the first time, it was like the 3rd degree about J. I guess because it's so rare for my parents to get me on my own... My mom was like: "So, you see a lot of this guy.... three nights a week?" "Umm, mom - I only get one free night a week - then every other weekend..." "Right, right - but you see him every free night?" "Umm, where are you going with this?" Then my dad: "Does he have any friends he could fix up with your sister?" Mom: "Have you met his friends? Couples? What do they think?"
It's amazing how quickly a headache can develop.
No, actually, it was a really nice brunch. Very relaxing. It's been a long time since it was just the five of us - no kids, no son in laws.... My Dad kept saying that over and over... (He also kept singing the Sesame Street Song: "Five people in my family." to the point where I nearly snapped. Just kept repeating: "It's fathers day, it's fathers day...")