Thursday, January 31, 2008


Here she (he? it?) is: Sorrel from the Rowan Magazine No. 40. I love the names they give their designs but sometimes I wonder where they get them. The example in the mag is black and white so they can't mean sorrel as in a chestnut-colored horse. Is it the herb? But that is green. You can make a drink from the sorrel flowers which is a fruity red. Maybe the name has nothing to do with anything. Anyway the design is by Sarah Hatton. I love the cowl neckline and the quirky ribbing pattern, just two reverse rows of purl and knit in a stockinette stitch background. The sleeves and the collar are entirely of this pattern.

The yarn is tapestry by Rowan. I chose color 175 Moorland, a blend of soft grays and tans that looks great with jeans. This yarn which I have blogged about before is 70% wool and 30% soybean! Weird. It's a little scratchy but it drapes very nicely and since the pattern calls for a tank top underneath, you don't feel the yarn that much. The mag does show the pattern in a different color being worn by non-models and without the tank top and I have to say the front neckline comes dangerously low. Too risqué for me. The yarn is also one-ply which caused trouble with my very pointy Options Needles and also created some problems when doing the final sewing up. If I wasn't careful, the yarn just separated and broke.

I followed the pattern pretty exactly except for tacking the collar down in three places so that it curls out the way I want it to. I didn't find any errors which is nice and I have finally gotten used to the British way (or maybe just the Rowan way) of saying things like "Dec 1 st at neck edge of 2nd and foll 2 alt rows, then on 6 foll 4th rows, then on 1 foll 6th row and at the same time..." Aaaagh! I found it to be very helpful to work this out on paper in advance. Then I just check off the rows as I work them.

It took a year to get this finished because, while I started it last February, I set it aside after almost completing the back because I got interested in other things and I didn't feel like working on wool over the summer. It's so nice to have it done-done and to be able to clear off my coffee table even though I know that will only be a temporary thing!

Monday, January 28, 2008


Here I am in the bathroom again, trying to get a decent photo of me wearing another FO. I take about 10 bad ones before I get the focus, etc., right (or good enough). How do other people do this?

I bought this luscious hand-painted yarn at my LYS before the holidays. I shouldn'a done it, but I did. I certainly have enough UFOs to keep me busy until summer! But this yarn just kept calling my name. I didn't even know what I was going to do with it when I bought it and since I couldn't make up my mind between the two colorways, Elderberry and Painted Rocks, I bought both. I am hopeless.

The yarn is a mountain goat mohair/wool blend from Mountain Colors in Montana. They have an interesting blog of their own showing how the yarn is dyed. It looks pretty much like the hand-dyeing I did last year (Part-1, Part-2, and Part-3) only more of it. I have to say it was a whole lot easier just to buy the yarn already dyed!

The pattern I finally chose is a simple scarf, all in knit stitch, but with a nice little added touch. You start in the middle of the scarf and add stitches on either side forming a V. Then at a certain point you cast on 49 stitches on either side to work a straight edge. So you get the best of both worlds, a triangular shape at the neck and long ends to wrap around. Also, since it is knit on the long side, it doesn't stretch so much when you wear it. I've had scarves that start to drag on the floor after awhile, if you are not careful. It's from The Knit Stitch by Sally Melville. I have worn this scarf many time already, it has been so cold here in LA, and have gotten lots of compliments.

I haven't decided what to do with the other skein yet. Maybe a beret?

I am also working on Sorrel from Rowan Magazine No. 40. I sure am getting my money's worth out of that one. The knitting is all complete and I am in the process of sewing it up. I hope to have pictures for you soon. This time I'll go to the trouble of setting up the tripod.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Adrenal Fatigue

Brain fog. That's what I've got today. It's what usually happens to me the morning after a concert only I never had a name for it until now. I feel not just tired physically, but brain tired. I can't make the simplest decision, like what to wear. I lounge in my PJs until noon. I read the newspaper and other people's blogs, and generally waste time until something gets me going again, usually lunch. I shouldn't even be trying to write this because there's no guarantee that it will make any sense. But after reading the book, Adrenal Fatigue by James Wilson, I can better understand what is happening to me when I get in this state and I have learned that since starting my low-carb diet, I am not as fatigued as I used to be. I am much more resilient.

According to Wilson, stress is cumulative. So while some people are laid low after a major event like an illness or emotional upset, others can just suddenly be unable to cope with ordinary things they have been doing all along because of the buildup of stresses. When I started to think about all the stressful things in my life I realized what a long list it is. I really feel that my reflux symptoms came on so suddenly last fall due to stress. When you are really fatigued, your adrenal glands can no longer produce enough hormones to enable you to rise to the occasion and handle the stress. You try to recover by eating sugary foods, or taking a stimulant like caffeine or other drugs, which only make things worse. In extreme cases, you end up with burnout, or a "nervous breakdown."

It wasn't until I read Wilson's book that I found a paradigm that fits my health profile. All you hear about these days is losing weight and avoiding insulin resistance, diabetes, and heart disease. Important health concerns, to be sure, but there's nothing for those of us at the other end of the spectrum, the ones who are underweight, who tend towards arthritis and osteoporosis, who have anxieties and depression, asthma and allergies. There's no recognition that there are some of us who may have weak adrenals to begin with and who have to drive ourselves "much harder than people with healthy adrenal function merely to accomplish life's everyday tasks."

The good news is that all of Wilson's recommendations for restoring health and strengthening the adrenals are things I have been doing anyway these last few years. Top of the list is a low carb diet because people with adrenal fatigue often have bouts of hypoglycemia as well. Next comes getting enough sleep. He recommends getting to bed by 10:30 (too late for me) and then sleeping in until 9:00 am, something I have never been able to do. But I can accomplish the same thing by getting to bed by 9:00 and getting up at 7:30 which is what I was trying to do before rehearsals started up again. And he recommends melatonin as a sleep aid. Exercise is important, too, but not excessive exercise, more like the kind that just gets your body moving and adds a little good stress to your life, like the exercises I blogged about here.

He goes into great length about the balance of potassium and salt which is something I have been trying to understand for a long time. It is the function of aldosterone, produced in the adrenals, to control our body's levels of these two minerals and thereby influence fluid volumes. He claims that by keeping track of your cravings for either salty foods or potassium containing fruits, you will know the state of your adrenals throughout the day. People with salt cravings, have low adrenal function. My potassium and salt levels were certainly out of whack when I had the severe reflux and I was dehydrated. In addition, the acid in our stomachs is HCl. The parietal cells produce the H (think proton as in "proton pump inhibitor"), and the Cl comes from NaCl, sodium chloride or salt. I now have a mug of warm water most but not every morning, with a quarter teaspoon of sea salt in it, a half hour before breakfast.

He also recommends vitamin C. He says if you know you are going to be up late, take extra vitamin C, the kind with bioflavonoids. I did this last week and it really made a difference. Vitamin C also helps with reflux as it is a natural component of gastric juices. By the way, another recommendation for the adrenals which also helps with reflux is licorice (DGL).

But the best advice he offers, in my opinion, is to keep a diary of your symptoms no matter how trivial they may seem. That way you can learn what it is that is really going on with you and find a solution to the problem. By keeping such a diary I was able to learn that many of the weird symptoms I was having last fall were due to dehydration, or adrenal fatigue, or hypoglycemia, etc. It made the illness less scary and gave me the hope that if I find myself in the same situation again someday, I can take counter measures and prevent another trip to the ER.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Death and Taxes

I have been awash in rehearsals and concerts this week and have not had time to continue my posts on melatonin. But I will get back to that topic soon. Suffice it to say that the melatonin has worked beyond my wildest dreams (in fact dreaming is something that has returned with the melatonin.)

In the meantime, since taxes will be the next focus of my attention, I thought I'd share with you this link to a poster that came my way this morning. It shows President Bush's proposed budget for 2008. You may be as surprised as I was to see where the money goes, or will go if the budget is approved by congress. You don't need to buy the poster, just click on an area of interest to zoom in to see the details. You can also pan across. Refreshing the page will return it to a small size. A graph of the total budget is down in the lower right corner.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Neat Stuff

OK. Rant's over. Let's get back to all the neat things I have been finding out about melatonin and its cousin prolactin.

Browsing the web yesterday, I found an old blog post in which the author mentions that melatonin is made not only in the pineal gland, but also in the gastrointestinal tract (in the enterochromaffin cells) and oddly, the retina of the eye. Since this is an old post, I am trying to track down his facts and see if there is any corroborating evidence in the scientific literature. I did find a few papers that treat of this topic. One abstract is here and another full paper is here.

He also indicates that there is way more melatonin in the gastro tract than the pineal gland secretes normally (only 3 micrograms). And further that taking melatonin orally does not interfere with the pineal gland's production. This would be good news indeed, if true.

I have also been coming across descriptions of SAD symptoms and the various remedies people try to overcome that problem. SAD is the acronym for seasonal affective disorder. This is the winter blues that was much more prevalent back in New England where I came from than it is here in sunny So. California. My mother thought she suffered from this. One of the treatments is to sit in front of a bright light, or just to get outdoors more in the winter. Many of the people suffering from this disorder say they feel like they want to hibernate in the winter and after reading Wiley's book (Lights Out), I am wondering if the SAD sufferers aren't the normal ones and those of us who pay no attention to the change of seasons are the abnormal ones. The connection to my current research is that SAD makes one too sleepy (for modern living) and the cure is to make more serotonin (one theory) by sitting in the light. I found the bit about how shining a light pen on the back of a person's knee could shift their circadian rhythms really fascinating. That's in Wiley's book, too, and is the reason she advocates total darkness for sleep.

But there is one problem with this that I have been thinking about, and maybe you have thought of it, too. Not every night is totally black. Every month the moon goes through its cycles and when it is full, it can be bright enough to cast a shadow. Over at the Weston Price Foundation, they have come up with another hypothesis as to how this affects the human animal. (I'll give you a hint: think cycle.) Check out this page and scroll down to the paragraphs on Night Lighting. Even if you are not planning to get pregnant, you will find this interesting.

You can see how melatonin production--and thereby sleeping in darkness or with light--can affect the whole body's functioning, including the menstrual cycle: if the hypothalamus doesn't receive sufficient melatonin, its ability to regulate the hormonal system will be impaired.

Neat, huh? The story of prolactin will have to wait until the next time.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Health Care?

Grace asked in a comment to yesterday's post, "Do we let insurance companies determine our treatment?" The answer to that is a resounding, YES!!!

In the natural medicine world, the low-carb world, and even before that in the women's health world, the onus for the sorry state of mainstream American health care has been placed on "Big Pharma." (For example, see Dr. Eades post for Friday.) It was the pharmaceutical companies that paid for the research to validate their products and then sell doctors on the benefits of the product which almost guaranteed that whenever you consulted your doctor with a problem, you went home with a prescription for some drug. Then they started going straight to the consumer and procured the legal right to advertise to further increase their sales. If you do any research on the web into any medical condition or treatment, you will find that the studies that have been done were done with a pill in mind. It seems that nobody can afford to do research just for the sake of finding out how things work. Melatonin is a case in point. Who is going to pay for research into the efficacy of a product you can buy at the grocery store?

But recently I read another book, Adrenal Fatigue, by James L. Wilson (which I will blog more about later. Yes, I'm off on another tangent.), in which he makes a very good point that our insurance companies are also shaping the medical world of today. You can't get diagnosed with a disease that isn't on their list of diseases and expect them to pay for the remedies. If a disease has no ICD code (International Classification of Disease), it simply does not exist. According to Wilson, adrenal fatigue is not on their list, only the more serious Addison's disease. If your tests show that you do not have Addison's, then doctors rule out an adrenal problem even though you may be presenting them with a classic case of adrenal fatigue which used to be treated quite commonly. (Ever describe your symptoms to your doctor and only gotten a blank stare in reply?)

Also, even if you have a bonafide medical condition (according to their way of thinking), they get to determine the therapies. They are now starting to refuse to pay for things they consider "not medically necessary." This morning's LA Times (in the Business section, it's all big business) has an article about a woman who after receiving therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome, was told it was not medically necessary and Blue Shield, her insurer, refused to pay for it. They are also refusing to pay for her annual MRI to make sure her breast cancer has not returned.

I myself was caught by this one recently. As part of the diagnosis procedures to determine what was going on with my digestive system, since my reflux symptoms were unusual, I had a routine colonoscopy and endoscopy. Colonoscopies are recommended for someone my age, but I had never had one due to the fact that 15 years ago I had a sigmoidoscopy at Kaiser Permanente without anesthesia and it was an excruciating experience. My gastro doctor said not to worry, I would be anesthetized this time. Doing the procedure without anesthesia was "barbaric" according to him. Now after the procedure has been done, my insurance has deemed the anesthesia "not medically necessary" on the advice of some doctor who was not there, has never seen me, and doesn't know my case personally. Hence, they have refused to pay the anesthesiologist's bill. And since this anesthesiologist is a Blue Cross provider (my insurance is Anthem Blue Cross), they say I do not have to pay any bill she sends me either.

I have been wondering what to do about this for several weeks. I feel like I am caught in a battle between the doctors and the insurance company. At least the doctor who did my second-guessing is an anesthesiologist himself, although it would have been better if he had been a gastroenterologist. The doctor who reviewed the lady's case in the Times article was a pulmonary specialist and not even in the AMA. But I wish I had been forewarned. Now I am afraid to have anything out of the ordinary done because my insurance, which does not come cheap, may decide afterwards that I didn't need it.

Is it any wonder Americans are turning to alternative means of health care?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Sleep Cure

It seems like such a simple thing. Just go to bed early in a very dark room, and stay in bed late. And viola! (as we musicians say) you're cured. Now there's a remedy that sounds like it's worth a try. But as I am finding out, it's not so easy to do (especially for a musician).

It all started with an article in the LA Times about a study that was conducted by a doctor named Pereira who compared the effects of a cocktail of naturally occurring substances including melatonin with omeprazole (Prilosec) on GERD. (You will need a subscription to access the full article.) In the study, it was found that the melatonin worked just as well, if not better, than the omeprazole. I clipped this article out not realizing that in a month or so I would be hit with an attack of severe acid reflux myself.

In researching the connection between melatonin and GERD, I discovered several other studies that attested to the efficacy of melatonin to sooth the esophagus and protect it from digestive juices that might find their way there. It also suppresses stomach acid from being formed in the first place, which makes sense, since your stomach shouldn't be producing acid while you sleep.

So in the all-American modern medical way, I thought, Hey, just take a pill—melatonin can be had at my local grocery store. But I also found that taking melatonin can cause your pineal gland to stop producing its own so I wanted to be careful.

Then I discovered Lights Out by TS Wiley which I have mentioned previously. If you can follow my thread here, this led to the realization that we have so separated ourselves from our animal heritage that we have forgotten how to sleep! We have forgotten that it is not normal to stay up late at night with the lights burning and push ourselves to work day after day with only 6 or 7 hours sleep, not even 8, when our paleolithic ancestors would be sleeping or resting for the full 12 to 14 hours of darkness that happens in winter.

So I decided to try to get more sleep, encouraging my pineal gland to make more melatonin, and thereby curb my reflux symptoms. I indulged in my body's desire to go to bed very early—9 pm most nights and made myself stay in bed, in the dark, until 7 am. Actually, you don't have to be asleep to make melatonin, you just have to be in total darkness. And I got a little help in the beginning with a melatonin supplement. It worked like a charm! In fact, I am off the supplement now and sleeping better than ever. If I have acid reflux symptoms during the day (I believe it will take awhile, like months, to fully recover), I watch my carbs and take the other various remedies (DGL, bitters, etc.) that I mentioned earlier.

Oh, and by the way, no TV before bed. The light is too bright. Only gentle, non-stimulating activities—meditation, not exercise; reading, not web-browsing; knitting, not practicing. But... next week I will have children's concerts in the morning and rehearsals at night that last until 10:30 pm. No going to bed early, and no staying in bed late. It will be tough.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Causes of GERD

OK it's time to get down to the nitty gritty.

Theories (hypotheses? I get them confused) on the causes of GERD (gastro-intestinal reflux disease) are abundant. They say you have GERD if your reflux is persistent, not if you only have occasional problems with reflux. I will call it all GERD because it makes things easier for me. One thing the following theories have in common is that they eschew acid-reducing pills and medications like Mylanta, Zantac, and Prilosec. These are not only bad for your stomach and digestive tract, but bad for your overall health. You need acid to digest proteins. You need acid to make the whole cascade of events that happens later to occur as it should.

The low-carb theory blames it all on carbs, natch. In the book, Heartburn Cured, by Norm Robillard, the author states that if you cut your carbs really low, down to 25 to 35 g per day, you will find lasting relief almost immediately. Before I went low-carb, I was consuming 200 to 300 g per day, so you can see why cutting down to 25 would make a huge difference. Don't try to do this yourself without reading Protein Power Lifeplan to help you with the transition. I stumbled along and gradually got that low over the course of 2 years. You can check your current carb intake on the USDA MyPyramid Tracker website.

Once you have completely eliminated your symptoms, you can then experiment with adding more carbs back into your diet until symptoms return, then stay at that level or a little below. In my experience, this method will work for most people suffering from GERD. As Robillard points out, it's the carbs that create gas, especially in the small intestine, which then pushes up on the stomach from down below, which forces open the LES (lower esophageal sphincter) and allows stomach acid to flow up into the esophagus. The book is short and easy to read and includes an easy to follow description of the digestive process.

For a more thorough description of the whole process, I recommend Why Stomach Acid is Good for You by Jonathan Wright. This book has more detail and some excellent diagrams to help you get familiar with the digestive organs and the digestive process. Wright's suggested remedies are more mainstream, though, i.e., looking for specific foods, like spicy foods, etc., that might be your own triggers. I found that for me this is not the case. There isn't any one food that sets me off, but carbs in general do add to the problem. However, his solutions other than using HCL (hydrochloric acid) and pepsin are quite helpful. I am reluctant to use HCL without a doctor's assistance.

The HCL probably would work, though, because as Wright says, it isn't that you have too much stomach acid, it is that the acid is in the wrong place (your esophagus). He claims that most people have too little stomach acid and the remedy is to increase the acid signaling the LES to stay shut tight. There is some evidence that he is right, so I have followed his recommendations for taking bitters before a meal to increase stomach acid. He also recommends DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) which I have tried (definitely an acquired taste) and other natural remedies like vitamin C and L-glutamine. Even chamomile tea will sooth the esophagus.

Another theory can be found in the book by Konstantin Monastyrsky called Fiber Menace. His theory is close to the low-carb theory but he puts the blame on the fiber that comes with carbs and not on the sugar content. He has a point when he says that fiber swells up inside our digestive tract with the liquids we drink with meals and may cause blockages. I have followed his advice to drink water, or some other liquid like herbal tea, an hour or one-half hour before a meal and not afterwards. That gives the liquid time to clear through the stomach before filling it with food. The liquid our stomach uses to make the chime that is sent to the small intestines comes from our blood. BTW, if you are having constipation, read this book before you reach for the Metamucil!

But the thing that has really gotten me off the Zantac and on the road back to my normal good health is melatonin about which I'll have much more to say later.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Sea

The sea was calling me. I just had to go. I acted on impulse and convinced Kathy to join me. It was a glorious day after the rain. The plants had a fresh green look and the birds were out in full force to feed while the weather was clear. The air smelled by turns sweet and then pungent with various aromas—the wonderful scent of artemesia (California sage brush), the bracing salty air, and old broccoli. "Something is fermenting here," commented Kathy. "We are so fortunate to live near the California coast," she repeated over and over. We were feeling as glorious as the weather and the vista.

We walked for two hours enjoying the fantastic views, observing the plants and birds. Kathy can't resist snapping off a sample here and there. But she doesn't touch the endangered species and she does spread the seeds. The bird species observed included three of the sleek, gray California Gnatcatchers with their "mew, mew" call, dozens of White-crowned Sparrows, and several Yellow-rumped Warblers who were down on the ground pecking like the sparrows. A majestic Raven and his/her mate had a front row seat of the view of Catalina in the distance. A Red-tailed Hawk slowly rose on the warm air rising from the cliffs.

Why does it take so long to get ready for a short excursion like this? We couldn't decide what jackets to bring. Would it be cold? Windy? Or sunny and warm? We needed water, binoculars, my camera. Kathy needed her emergency diabetes supplies, sunglasses, the right hat. We were outfitted for a trek through the wilderness, but we were only going for a morning walk! And still I did not take into account the mud. Kathy had an extra pair of shoes, but I did not and drove home in my stocking feet (is that against the law in CA?) to avoid getting the car all muddy. When I got home, it took me half an hour to clean the mud off my new Nikes.

In Lights Out, T.S. Wiley says that our impulses are governed by serotonin. Without serotonin we would run amok and in today's world we need more control than ever. At night, melatonin is made out of the serotonin. We sleep it off and start each day afresh. Dark controls melatonin while light controls cortisol and dopamine. When you are feeling great, on top of the world, you are high on dopamine. Since serotonin is a downer, the best state to be in is one with high dopamine and low serotonin during the day. Serotonin blunts your perceptions while dopamine puts everything into high focus. But serotonin levels match insulin levels. So if you eat a high carb diet, your insulin goes up and so does your serotonin.

All very complicated, all very fascinating.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Desert Plants, Birds, Bunnies, and ?

On the last day of my stay in Arizona, we paid a visit to the Desert Botanical Gardens outside of Phoenix. It was a lovely day and the low afternoon sun offered many picture-taking opportunities. So I thought I'd share a few with you.

The Saguaro is the quintessential Arizona plant and this one was a fine specimen. The Saguaro is also a very useful plant and one of its uses is as a bird house or even an apartment building!

I hadn't brought along my big lens for the camera, but took some bird photos anyway. I was surprised at how well they came out when I got them on the computer. These are all fairly common birds of Arizona. The Curved-billed Thrasher has a lovely song, the Cactus Wren was everywhere (naturally), as were the Bushtits.

We strolled down Quail run hoping to see Gambel's Quail, the desert member of the quail family, but while I kept hearing quail, we didn't see any. Then we discovered that what we were hearing was an audio tape display on the birds of the area. Someone had kept pushing the quail button. Then we remembered that the last time we were at the gardens, the quail were all on the hill above the cafe! They know where the food is. So we headed up there, sat down quietly at a table, and sure enough the quail came out and gave us a show. Nick had a lot of fun sneaking up on them to take their photo.

Leaving the cafe, a strange cat crossed our path as we meandered down the hill. We are not sure what it was, but it wasn't an ordinary house cat. Notice the raccoon-like rings on its tail. Unfortunately, I didn't get a shot of its head. It had huge whiskers and it's belly was drooping and almost dragging on the ground. Searching the Internet, the best we could come up with was that it was a wild cat. What it was doing in the Arizona desert, I don't know.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Better Late than Never

I received one last Christmas gift last night from my local florist. She had been trying to deliver this beautiful table arrangement to me for a week. It's from my brother in Massachusetts who was unaware that I was spending the holidays in Arizona with my son and family. Communication with both of my brothers is not as frequent as it should be. So here it is bro, and thank you very much! I will certainly enjoy looking at it while I eat, especially with the candles lit.

It's the third day of the new year and I have been able to do my exercises twice already. I feel great! Got a good night's sleep last night which helps, too. The illness I have been grappling with since September is a severe case of reflux and except for Christmas Eve (the perfect gift), I have not had a good night's sleep for months. Typically, I fall asleep just fine, but then wake anywhere from two to five hours later and can't really get back to sleep. This illness has had me stymied as to the cause, except for the proverbial old age, since I have been low-carbing for almost four years now and low-carbers aren't supposed to have reflux problems. Also, my symptoms have been non-standard to say the least.

Even though one of the main purposes for my starting this blog was to relay the information I had gleaned from four years of reading and experimenting with a low-carb diet for my friends and family who suffer from the various diseases of 20th and 21st Century man, I have been reluctant to write about this problem of mine mostly because I didn't know what was going on. Since I am feeling better and since I also feel like I am finally getting a handle on this, (Hah! I've said that before many times over the last few months) I thought I would end my silence and let you in on the nitty gritty. A second reason for not blogging about it is the subject matter. Things gastro-intestinal are just not talked about in polite company. Anyway, take this as a warning that what I say I may refute a week later, and that the going will be rough and not pretty.

As always, I have been reading and one of the latest books I have just finished is all about sleep! Lights Out, by T.S. Wiley is a very thought-provoking book about the mess modern man has gotten himself into since the invention of the light bulb. The short message is that we stay up too late, especially in the fall and winter, and do not make enough melatonin. Why is this so important? Well, there has been research that shows that our digestive tract is full of melatonin, and furthermore that melatonin protects the digestive tract, especially the esophagus from stomach acid that may have found its way there. The reason I am feeling so much better now is because I have started a regimen of very-low-carb eating (it's the carbs that create gas), getting to bed in a very dark room by 9 pm most nights (not an easy thing to do!), and taking a supplement that includes melatonin. No Prilosec. No Zantac.

There's a whole lot more to the story, but I'll have to give it to you in pieces. I need to try and organize it a bit and find links to my sources. We are due for three big rainstorms here in LA starting today, and I need to do a few things around the house to get ready.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Happy New Year to one and all!

I decided it was time for a change. I hope you like my new layout. It is a sea theme and doesn't really have much to do with knitting except for all those lucious, warm fisherman's knits I could make. I'll put that on my list.

Now is the time for lists of New Year's Resolutions. After just getting back from Arizona where I spent a wonderful and relaxing (well most of the time it was relaxing) Christmas with my son and family, I am ready to tackle new things. At the top of my list of resolutions is to get my health back on line (more about that later) and get back to doing my exercises regularly. Then I want to reduce some of the clutter around the house so that there is room for new projects. In the knitting area, I want to get Anya at least started for my daughter, finish the Maltese shawl for my daughter-in-law, and knit myself a pair of socks. I've never done socks.

Books to read include finishing Maynard Solomon's Beethoven. I also want to finish listening to the lectures on Beethoven's piano sonatas by Robert Greenberg. I never realized how fantastic Beethoven's sonatas were—so rhapsodic, like he was improvising when he wrote them, but yet they are so well-crafted. I can see I will be buying more CDs in the near future also.

And then I want to travel. I have lots of frequent flyer miles and itchy feet. No definite plans yet, but something will happen. Stay tuned.