Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bird Feeder Watch Again

Yesterday morning, I saw:

1) Cardinal: female and male
2) Housefinch: female and male
3) Titmouse (don't know how to tell the genders apart)
4) Nuthatch (don't know how to tell the genders apart)
5) Chickadee (don't know how to tell the genders apart)
6) American Gold Finch: female and male
7) Red Bellied Woodpecker (don't know how to tell the genders apart)
8) Junco: male

Friday, February 22, 2013

Prevention Is The Cure

The cost of medical treatments is in the news these days, thanks to the article published by Time Magazine. One aspect of this that people never talk about is how much cheaper it is to prevent disease than to treat it. In the case of cancer, it may be that prevention is the cure. I am reading The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee right now, which is a biography of cancer and cancer treatment. The author drives home the point that the prevalence of cancer, despite the many methods of treatment and many scientific investigations into cancer treatment, is increasing. Why is this the case? Because we do nothing to prevent cancer. One of the reasons that it was so difficult to identify cigarette smoking as a cause of cancer for so many decades is because it was endemic. It is difficult to identify something as omnipresent as the very air one breathes as a source of disease. Some people still do not believe.

If you are motivated to protect yourself from death by cancer, the best place to begin is prevention. If you don't develop cancer or give your body the tools (vitamins and nutrients) necessary to fight cancer before it takes over, you will not die of cancer. Next most important is early detection. If you catch cancer in stage I or II, it is easier to fight off (yes, with the help of drugs and surgery and so forth) than stage IV. Oh, and also cheaper.

How does one prevent cancer? Our old friends diet and exercise are top of the list. Also don't expose yourself to carcinogens like cigarette smoke, asbestos, radon, x-rays, sun light, all those things you already know are bad. How does one detect cancer early? Be aware of your body: perform self exams as recommended by your doctor. Take advantage of tests you are lucky enough to have provided for you by your medical system.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sick Winter of 2013

Like my hat?

This winter is our sickest yet. Captain Adorable is still sick. He has been very helpful and sweet, doing his chores without complaint yesterday. His hives are getting better, but he still has a cough and a snotty nose. He's been sick since January! That's 3 weeks! Captain Obvious was sick and is still hacking up phlegm on his business trip! And yes, I am sick!

I've had a fever since Friday, and it has climbed as high as 102.2. When I woke up with 101 yesterday morning I decided to go to the doctor. The doctor's office required that anyone with flu-like symptoms don a mask to prevent others in the waiting room from getting sick. I knew I did not have the flu, but asked for and received a mask anyhow (because I am a rule follower). There were only 2 other people in the waiting room and I sat far away from them. I was a bit shocked when one of them requested a mask for herself right after I sat down--she said wanted one because I might have the flu so she wanted to wear a mask also. Sigh.

I was tested for the flu and strep and have neither. However, the persistence of my fever (still have it, now, on Tuesday) led the doctor to conclude that it is a bacterial infection. She prescribed antibiotics. I think they are helping. I do not feel as bad as yesterday...but still icky. The doctor cautioned me to rest and drink tea with lots of lemon and honey for my sore throat. :)

Blah. Bring on SPRING!

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Captain Adorable is picking up new words (no, not bad words) left and right. Or maybe I am just starting to notice his use of new words more and more...anyhow, whatever the case may be, I have recently heard him use "unnecessary," "advantage," and "instinct," all correctly in normal conversation.

So, I am sick now (probably not the flu, but feel miserable nonetheless: fever peaked at 102). Captain Obvious is out of town for work and so I am a single parent for a week (or until Oma arrives, yay! on Wednesday). Yesterday I watched entirely too much tv with my little Captain. I know, terrible parenting, but I was miserable and my throat was too sore to read aloud. We were lucky to find a National Geographic marathon of shows about the honey badger (wow those animals are amazing!). We learned all about the honey badger's parenting style (including hearing a cub harass its mother with constant begging for food), diet (they eat anything and everything), hunting techniques, et cetera. We learned that they can survive a puff adder bite (which would kill a lion, a much bigger animal). We saw them kill and eat several cobras. Actually, the honey badger doesn't "eat," it DEVOURS. It is amazing to watch the animal chase down a cobra (even chase the snake up a tree!) kill it, then eagerly bite off its head and destroy the fangs before eating it from neck to tail as if it were a delicacy.

Later, when eating gelato after dinner, Captain Adorable said "I'm going to beg for another bowl like a honey badger begs for a snake."

I thought this was cool because it showed he definitely learned about honey badger behavior! And was able to talk about and apply that knowledge to his own life as a particularly apt metaphor. ;).