September 02, 2016

Potassium Chloride

I've had a problem with my potassium level being low. This is quite common for Americans. When it gets like that, I start getting leg cramps, which I think isn't quite as common. All of a sudden one or the other of my calf muscles will clench hard, and it really hurts. (It's known as a "Charley Horse".)

I've been putting up with them most of my life, and then I read somewhere that it was caused by low potassium, and the solution was "eat bananas". And it works, too, except that I really hate bananas. I always have; I don't like how they taste. So when I have cramps I will buy bananas, eat a couple of them, and the rest rot on top of my refrigerator. And maybe the cramps go away and maybe they don't.

There has to be a better way. I wondered if there was a pill I could take, a potassium supplement, and indeed they sell such a thing. But what they contain is Potassium Gluconate, and it's only 17% potassium. The rest is essentially sugar.

Apparently the recommended daily intake of potassium is 4700 mg. One of those Gluconate pills contains 99 mg of potassium, which makes it pretty much useless, not to mention ridiculously expensive: 100 pills costs like $6.

My mind doesn't work very fast these days, and about a week ago I remembered that when I was a kid they used to sell something called "salt substitute", for people who back then tried to follow medical advice to drastically reduce their sodium intake. (Which was SCIENCE! back then but is kind of out of favor now.) Salt Substitute was potassium chloride, where table salt was sodium chloride.

I wondered whether they still sell it, so when I put in my most recent order for groceries from Safeway, I checked. And they do; Morton (the salt people) also sell this. So I bought a package.

Just now I had a TV dinner for my evening meal. This was meat loaf, and I always add butter and salt to the veggies and the potatoes. Otherwise they don't taste like anything. This time I added butter and salt substitute, and I was a bit apprehensive about how it might taste. But it was good. The interesting thing is that it does taste almost the same as salt. I shook a bit onto my palm and licked it, and it was nearly the same. If anything it seems to be a slightly stronger flavor.

I hope it makes my leg cramps go away.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Daily Life at 06:45 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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August 20, 2016

Attack of the Ice Giants

And my ice was again delivered early, much to my happiness. Both yesterday and today I signed up for a delivery window of 10-12, and both days they showed up at 9:45. Which was FINE with me.

They did run out of block ice, so per my instructions I got bags of cubes instead. It was still 10 units, though, so it meant I got 70 pounds of ice instead of 100. But it looks like that will be enough to get me through.

I wasn't sure whether I should open the bags or leave them closed. I decided to try it closed to begin with, and it's worked fine. Again I'm very comfortable, not sweaty at all, even though it's above 95 out.

And tomorrow the prediction is 80, so looks like I'm clear. This is probably the last ridiculously hot weather we'll get this summer.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Daily Life at 02:53 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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August 18, 2016

Think ice

Well, "Think snow" didn't have any effect, but "Think 100 pounds of ice" has worked beautifully. I don't have a thermometer but I was very comfortable all day and never broke a sweat at all. It's about 9PM now and there's about 10 pounds of ice left, so I kind of got too much.

Of course, too much is better than not enough. So I've got an order in for another 100 pounds (about 45 kilograms) for tomorrow morning.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Daily Life at 07:59 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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August 17, 2016

I take it back!

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Yowch!

UPDATE: Think Snow!

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(Somehow I don't think this will work.)

UPDATE: I ordered 100 pounds of ice to be delivered tomorrow morning. That will probably work a lot better.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Daily Life at 12:39 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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August 08, 2016

And now it's Autumn

At the end of July we had one week of pretty toasty weather (mid 90's) and then it got cold again. Right now it's overcast and we've had rain and it's cold, and it feels like September.

I dunno; maybe it'll get warm again at least once. They're predicting another 90 degree day for later this week. But the damage has already been done.

Our entire Spring was terribly cold, and as a result we didn't get an insect bloom this year. Usually on a warm day I look outside and I can see loads of bugs floating around, which get inside my apartment if I leave a door open for more than 20 seconds (like when my groceries are delivered) but not this year.

And that means there hasn't been any food for the song birds. I cube up bread and leave it on my deck and most years I get lots of visits by wrens, sparrows, and jays. This year, hardly any. Usually the bread vanishes rapidly, especially during nesting season, but it didn't happen. There's a pile of bread out there now that I put out three weeks ago and it's hardly been touched. And the only birds singing is crows making a racket.

I wonder if the song birds decamped to elsewhere due to the lack of food? Or did they all (or mostly) just die?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Daily Life at 10:31 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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July 20, 2016

Heck of a good question!

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When I was a kid, I thought there would be some point where a gong would sound, and a switch would throw, and suddenly I'd be an adult and I'd know it.

I'm 62 and I'm still waiting. Somehow nothing like that ever happened. I've come to the conclusion that this old saw was actually the truth:

The only difference,
between men and boys
is the size of their lies
and the price of their toys.

The only real change, and I suppose it was a good one, was when I left home to go to college. After that I could decide to do things without having to ask permission from my mother. (My dad died a week before I entered college.)

All my life, deep down I had this irrational fear that someone was going to walk up to me someday and say, Nope, nope, it was all a mistake. We've decided you don't get to be an adult after all. You have to get back in the cage again and let other people run your life.

And now I'm facing that as a real possibility. I may have to enter a nursing home, and the prospect fills me with abject terror. I got two and a half weeks of that in November 2012 after my stroke when I was in the rehab hospital, and after one week I was ready to go home, at least mentally. (I sure wasn't physically, though.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Daily Life at 03:56 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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June 14, 2016

Mama Goose out for a walk

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There have been a couple of families of goosies around, though they haven't shown up very often. This is what they looked like on June 3.

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And this is what the smaller family looked like today. They're starting to fledge already, and the young 'uns have put on a lot of weight.

What I find a bit disturbing is that I haven't seen any ducklings. Usually there are two or three duck hens with baby duckies hanging around here but not this year. I would think the geese chased them away except that today is the first time since June 3 that the geese have been around.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Daily Life at 03:15 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Dreams of our daughters

Last night I dreamed that Team Anko appeared in the middle of... something... I had been dreaming about, and it turned out they were phantoms. Eventually Maho showed up in her Tiger, too.

I think I've been watching too much anime...

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Daily Life at 05:59 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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June 07, 2016

Dammit, Fedex!

So I ordered a couple more of those 512G flash drives, and they were supposed to be delivered today. The Fedex tracking site says my package was left at my door at 12:20, but it's not there, 2 hour later.

Probably the driver left it at the wrong building, and if so and if I'm lucky and my neighbor is honest, then when they come home they'll find it and bring it to me. I'd go out and search the complex for it except that I can't walk anymore. I'm tempted to start complaining but I really should wait until tomorrow.

Screw it; I'm going to take a nap.

UPDATE: It's after 8, and I can't figure out how to reach a real person at Fedex in a timely manner, so I got into the NewEgg customer service page. After following lots of links and then filling out a form, I was able to get into a chat session with a customer service rep named "Duncan D." (ostensibly; wouldn't surprise me if that isn't really his name) and he did good.

He's going to do the "package tracing" thing with Fedex and if they can't satisfy him, he'll issue me a refund. Considering it was about $500, that's a good thing. (If it had been $30, I would have just let it go.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Daily Life at 01:13 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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June 06, 2016

Lights out

Power failures are a pain in the butt. We had one this morning, about an hour ago. It only lasted about a minute, but all my computers went down, and I had to reset all my clocks.

We take reliable power for granted, and PGE (Portland General Electric) does a really good job overall. So it's really a surprise when it really does happen, kind of like being blindsided by a sucker punch.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Daily Life at 10:24 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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