Using Legal Cannabis / Medical Marijuana: 10 Week Experiment

IMG_08481This post is a diary of sorts.  A chronological compilation of my notes, Facebook status updates, links, and photos having to do with my first experiments in cannabis.  It represents a learning curve — and some surprising conclusions.

I was too young to be a hippie by a year or two, though my freshman college wardrobe was bell bottomed blue jeans and madras tops, maxi skirts and halter tops, wedgies and earth shoes.  That was a long time ago.  Now, I’m a semi-retired artist, corporate trainer, technical writer, school teacher, grad student, single-mom (done with that!).

I have several “medical conditions” — that have taken and continue to take a lot of time and energy to deal with.  (and a lot of drugs)

I’m dyslexic (sorry- – no drugs for that!)  Type-2 Diabetic (I control that with diet and exercise rather than drugs.)   High functioning autistic (Asperger’s — no drugs for that one either.)  I’ve had surgery on both legs many years ago — which now turns into sort of a steady-state and slow moving arthritis.  I have asthma so bad that for over 15 years I had a handicap license plate so I could get out of the West Texas dust and pollution.  I have a slight familial tremor (think early Katherine Hepburn, as opposed to late-life Hepburn) and the accompanying stammer.  And I’ve had chronic migraine headaches since I was 13.  Chronic as in, 4-6 of every 7 days on average for 35 years, (though in the last decade — research, experimentation and reading has reduced that by more than half.)  However, headache days are still all day and all night when they happen, and they can sometimes last for 2 or more weeks at a time.

Don’t get me wrong.  By the time you are my age, you’ll have a list like this, too.  Maybe shorter.  Maybe longer.  Maybe with more serious / severe / life threatening problems.  Maybe not.  But this is my list.  And if you know anything about any of these problems — then you know they come with a whole parade of secondary symptoms and issues.  Like the social anxiety and communication paralysis that goes with Aspergers.  Or the cough that can turn into a suffocating seizure with life-threatening asthma.  This is my list, without a lot of elaboration.  And I’m pretty clear that there’s no magic bullet (or magic brownie) that’s going to fix social awkwardness — so we’re looking for specific outcomes, not pie in the sky.

li8xjjubfrcp9dfqbtvoAnd since 2012, I live in Oregon, where Medical Marijuana has been legal for over a decade, and recreational marijuana has been legal for over a year.  There is a dispensary less than 4 blocks from my house — and over 15 more within a 25 minute drive — so it seems to me it’s time to broaden my research.

Before starting this — my arsenal of drugs to deal with the migraines includes opiates, anti-nausea drugs like phenergan, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, , steroids, anti-anxiety drugs, sedatives, caffeine, and off-lable uses for strange other drugs prescribed by headache specialists and other doctors.  (I have a bad reaction to some migraine specific drugs that have been prescribed — including unconsciousness.)

Trust me — I’ve tried more folk remedies, herbal teas, darkened rooms, meditation, hypnosis, sound therapy, aromatherapy, accupuncture, accupressure, chiropractic adjustments, happy thoughts, special diets, fasting, massage therapy, drugs and drug combinations than I can count.

I am not using “a little headache” to get out of work, church, school, family gatherings, personal responsibility, or social obligations.  I can’t even count the number of times or the number of people who think they can talk me out of migraines with their pitiful, uninformed, and condescending personal opinions.  Migraines are about fluid im/balance, blood flow, blood pressure, blood vessel dilation, muscle tension, chemical/hormone im/balance, emotional stress, and in some cases, allergic or auto-immune responses.

Adjustments to diet that improve fluid and chemical balances; discovery of the foods and other allergies that directly cause one or more of those physical changes, blood pressure medications, the hormone changes associated with menopause, and corrected sleep patterns have gotten rid of more than half my migraine days.  And unlike my first family physician who assured my mother that headaches were all in my 13-year-old imagination (like menstral cramps) (!) — current medicine is pretty clearly trying to help chronic migraine sufferers find a better quality of life.



May 14, 2016

Some interesting starting point reads I’ve found to satisfy my curiosity and feed the need for useful info:

61FEC9TQTGL._SX360_BO1,204,203,200_Jack Herer  wrote this — sort of anecdotal history and reference book for marijuana, written while it was still so illegal that you could lose your freedom for decades just for having it in your possession.  It has a kind of Cheech-and-Chong stoner’s charm to it — Jack Herer is now the name of one of the most widely sold medical-use strains available.  There are only a few strains named for specific people — kind of a tribute, and a way to make sure some of the “pioneers” of this Westward expansion are recognized for toughing it out, fighting the good fight, and being so focused on legalization for so many years.

And the humor and the artwork will make you smile if you’re over 50.


13322007_10206741744807641_6225528099064418361_n is one of several online resources — filling in the gaps of information for all types of users — legal, illegal, medical, life-long stoners, newbies, curious, angry, ecstatic, disabled, healthy, sick, chemo patients, retired, college students, veterans, politicians, middle class, blue collar, white collar, Gen-X, Baby-Boomers, Millennials, stoned, and sober.  Their “Cannabis 101” series of articles provides the vocabulary, and reflects some of the evolution of marijuana since it was first legalized for medical use, and later for recreational use in the US.

They offer snapshots of over 1000 different strains, a majority of the dispensaries across the country (including menus of what each dispensary has for sale– kept up by the shopkeepers.)  Dispensaries have to pay to be included, and as long as you’re online in your browser — you can also price-compare between dispensaries.  (Prices aren’t allowed on the app — but are allowed on the big website.)   While there are several informational sites online — so far, has been the most complete and helpful, and is kept up to date, religiously.

A lot of the information is purely anecdotal, but the science is also there (what there is of it so far….)

The best thing about is that they are staying current with information, scientific research, laws, and everything-WEED related.  The second best thing about is that it is entertaining.  Reading just the names of over 1000 strains is an adventure all by itself.



This book is only 2 years old, published in 2014 — but some of the info is already out of date, or explained better elsewhere.  However– the photography of hundreds of different “nugs” (nuggets) — the flowers of different “strains” of the plant — are beautifully detailed, with accompanying information on each strain. talks about strains in more detail, and it augments with new info and data constantly — but the photos and the book itself are just lovely.


The High Times Cookbook has several things about it to recommend.  First — they’ve been doing this for years.  So again, you get the long view.  Next, their recipes include more than sweets — which for me as a diabetic, is very important. Third — and probably most important — they provide a lot information and answers to basic questions that  only come up if you’re using your pot in the kitchen.  They also have all the basics about making infused oils, tinctures, and other media for ingesting pot.

There are cannabis cookbooks popping up every day as legalization becomes more pervasive — but this is the best starting point I found.  Some others show a lot of promise — and others show a lot of mis-steps.  As with all cookbooks, do some serious thumbing-through to make sure the author is using ingredients and ideas that sound like something you’d really enjoy.


May 19, 2016


Magical Butter pot — comes with everything you need to make infused butter, oil, tincture, glycerin concentrate….

I love learning new things…
(in case this isn’t obvious — this is a machine that makes infused butter, oils, tinctures, infused alcohols, infused vinegars, and topical oils/creams with marijuana [or other herb of your choice])

if you watch some of the youtube videos that either show how to use it, or are there to review the machine — there are some really cute ones where the cooks(!) keep tasting their wares and get progressively more and more stoned as they go….

This youtube video was the very first I found when I started reading/ researching how to start this project, so she is near and dear to my heart:

Below is the link to the Magical Butter machine people (if you buy it anywhere but from them directly, their warranty is invalidated — which is okay, since they give you a better discount on the phone than any secondary market seller, or even the individual “stores” merchants sell it for on Amazon.)

oh — AND — if you decide to order one of these from the company — use this link and it will give you a discount code to get $25 off the price, and I’ll get a discount on purchase too for the referral!


May 23, 2016

I’m going to do now what I never did in college — or anywhere along the path, for that matter. I’m going to learn about something that was touted as the most dangerous activity short of


Here’s a link to’s page that breaks down, state by state, what conditions are eligible for treatment with Medical Marijuana.

jumping out of a moving car.  In the 8th grade, we got shown very serious films featuring Sonny & Cher, the First Lady, and some really dour looking physicians and suits. They all said we would be setting ourselves on the road to failure, financial ruin, prison, disastrous health, hell, and/or Skid Row if we even smelled a little cannabis.

But that was Texas. (and still is.)

Fast forward, and here we are. Where I live now, there are “dispensaries” within blocks of my house. 16 within a 25-minute drive (this is a vacation spot and recreational destination, after all.) The average price is $10/g — with a 25% sales tax for recreational users. And after just 6 months of legal sales, they’ve already made enough in sales tax in the state to build 3 new elementary schools.

States are falling like a slow-motion domino train, finally admitting that maybe the fundamentalist sewn-shut-tight-asses may have over reacted. And possibly cut off their noses to keep from smelling the wrong flower in the garden.tumblr_o2rngxbDS81v8amego1_500

A good friend in college once told me that my imagination needed weights, and not wings — and that was why he (a serious smoker of the forbidden weed) thought I’d be better off without it. And I took him at his word.

I’m thinking he didn’t have all the facts. Imagination is not the only consideration. PAIN in a real thing. Social anxiety is a real thing. Asthma and arthritis and chronic migraine headaches complete with nausea, vomiting, light-sensitivity, and insomnia — are real things. And for those real things — I have a medicine cabinet full of pills which I’d like to lose.

It was a different weed back in those college days, and a different world. A lot has changed. Including me. 😀

I’ll let you know.


May 27, 2016


Here it is: the wicked, evil, destroy-your-life, addictive, gateway drug, brain-cell killing, fast-track-to-hell, civilization destroying, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it, throw-you-away-and-lose-the-key illegal flower.


This is a flower. A nug. A bud.

It even looks scary. Like a carnivorous coral or something. And it not only has its own chemical and genetic evolution, vocabulary and sub-culture — it’s a little ugly, as flowering plants go.

And it’s not any prettier in person.  Honestly, people.  It looks like a little plant turd.  And makes me wonder how bad life must have been for the people who first thought of smoking it.  (of course, I feel the same way about mushrooms…who thought of eating fungus on purpose?)

Maybe the first users came across it burning in a forest fire, or after a lightning strike — and were trying to duplicate the happy accident!


May 30, 2016 (rant)

So pleasure, fun, leisure and health — and even some freedoms — have been — for most of the existence of humanity, the purview of the few. The advantaged. The privileged. The elite. The upper class.

During Prohibition — how many of those groups of people were actually imprisoned for possession of liquor? Good God! Liquor during Prohibition is how the Kennedys made their fortune! Mayors, police officials — many had private cellars that stocked their parties and dinner tables.

Long before alcohol re-entered the common cabinet, movie stars, public figures — all avoided public scrutiny by virtue of their own elite status.

And while a lot of musicians, singers, actors, politicians and athletes may have had their hands spanked or been publicly shamed or fined for possession/use of weed — those are not the people filling prisons.

And for much of the last 200 years, those who lived openly homosexual lives who were artists of fame were surrounded by winks and nods of acceptance by their own community — while passing under the radar of most others. Politicians and public figures of note were as likely to be homosexual, or (like J. Edgar Hoover, some other variation on the sexual theme) as they were to be Republican, southern, brunette, or vegetarian!

Free choice of who to marry and where to live. Ownership of property. Decisions about having and raising children. Military service. Quality education. Accessibility to higher quality of life in any form… Available health care. Elder care. Child care. Medicines. High quality food.

The truth is — choice (all the choices) is something that has — at least in the past — belonged to the powerful. Only. Whether powerful by wealth, fame, inherited position, or talent and skill. And they guarded it with great greed. They chaired the committees to make it illegal and out of reach to the average person. They led the lynching parties to rid the world of those choices for the masses. They preached, campaigned, and instructed “the rest of us” on the evils, dangers, pitfalls, and temptations of the the flesh.

All the while — enjoying all the choices themselves.

And giving up any of those privileges is painful. It’s like pulling teeth. It comes with a great, loud tantrum and a lot of kicking and screaming.

But thanks to (Uncle) Ben Parker, “the rest of us” started figuring it out, so that now it’s inevitable:
With great power comes great responsibility.
And one of the things they’re responsible for is their own honesty.
For making the world better.
And for creating a fair world.

“Whoever said life was going to be fair” is the handy-dandy lie they told us for years. A glib slogan. It was a way to get out of having to actually create fairness — which is hard. Making the world a fair and just place means they have to give up some of the private-ness of choices they’ve been guarding as their own special stash. The secret cellar of choices and opportunities they held on to as proof of their special privileged position.

Life may not have been fair in the past — but unfairness is not the natural state of things. Creating fairness is an honorable — and possible — goal. It may be the only really honorable goal.


June 3, 2016sweet-purple-5

Okay people-who-may-know-more-about-this-than-me….
I’m getting the feeling that either I”m doing this wrong, or there’s been an awful lot of fuss about this plant with no good reason.


I got several responses from friends on FB about this.  They bacially confirmed that I was “doing it right”.

And one artist friend looked at the close-up photo of a cannabis flower I included and asked what it was a picture of — which makes sense since he lives in a country where you can be executed for growing the plant.



June 5, 2016

AH HA! Got it. (figured out the last question I asked about marijuana)

So the thing I was forgetting is that I (also) don’t get the same effects/results drinking alcohol that a lot of people do.

13336068_10206802246640149_6475033126694103966_nA lot of people drink to “let their hair down” — to set themselves free from their inhibitions and from the demands/expectations of living in a civil(ized) society. It’s a ticket to not having to think-first, or not having to consider what people will think before you act or speak. Alcohol — for a lot of people — is the grease that lets the door to their unconscious mind swing open. And the Big Bear escapes.

And I think that’s what makes drinking so attractive to a lot of people — and in some way explains the addiction, too. It’s not *just* the alcohol that creates a physical addiction for a lot of people –it’s the addiction to the emotional/mental freedom, as well.

When I drink — I get the physical result of muscles relaxing. I spend a lot of time tensed up, because of my tenuous relationship to other people. It’s part of the high-functioning-autism/Asperger’s profile. I have a lot of trouble talking and just being around people I don’t know. Crowds. Crowded / enclosed places (malls, grocery stores, parades, airplanes, subways, churches….) So I spend a lot of time tied up in knots, so to speak. It’s fear, anxiety, and dread — all balled up and living in my shoulders, back, neck, arms, legs — pretty much anywhere there’s a muscle –> I’m tense if there are people around.

What I don’t get from alcohol — is that “release” that sets my unconscious mind on a beeline toward speaking up in public. My unconscious already speaks up in public! And in private. I don’t have the same kind of inhibitions or social insulation that others have to discard (or fight their way through.) It’s the autism. When I drink — it’s a muscle relaxant that tastes good.

Enter cannabis.13344654_10206796279290969_168342809151578980_n

I’m thinking that much or most of what people describe as a “high” — is a lot like the common high from alcohol. It’s a way to get past the conscious mind and straight at the unconscious. That’s why artists of all flavors talk about being more creative and focused under the influence.

Except I already have the doors to my unconscious open most all the time. Maybe — all the time.

What I notice about using marijuana for medical reasons are the medical results and physical sensations. A low level muscle relaxation, equivalent to about 1/2 – 1 shot of vodka in a Bloody Mary. A slight fuzziness of thought — like really small amounts of nitrous oxide gas at the dentist’s office. Aches in my wrists, thumbs and knees where I have arthritis fade away. My handwriting becomes easier to read because my slight familial-tremor disappears. I’m drinking more iced water/iced tea. I can read for longer at a time because my eyes don’t get tired. I sleep through the night instead of waking up after every sleep cycle.

But after trying 6 different strains of cannabis? — with wildly differing chemical profiles? –> no giggles and silliness; no munchies; no giddy happiness, no extra talking or “free-associating”; no surges in creativity; no euphoria. None of the set-your-spirit-(unconscious)-free stuff associated with stoner-hood.

None. Nada. Zip bupkis goose-egg ZERO. Nothing.weed-jars
Because you can’t swing wide open a door that isn’t there.

So my earlier post wondering if I was “doing it wrong” — no.
Evidently I”m doing it right. I just needed to give some careful thought to expectations.

And I’m still pretty sure that all the fuss (arrests, imprisonments, lawsuits, debates, fines, just-say-no campaigns, ATF raids, three-strikes-you’re-out-s, family fights, and stern pulpit sermons and classroom filmstrips…) was / is waaay out of proportion with the plant itself.


June 7, 2016

well. this is interesting.


If it’s tasteless and odorless, you are making it wrong. This is frustrating news for me since I don’t actually like the taste….

Pot is fat soluble. I made “canna-butter” — infused butter — in the “Magical Butter” Cooker. All the resources / cookbooks say you can make it with a 1:32 ratio of cannabis to/ butter (or coconut oil); or, with a dilution as high as a 1:8 ratio.

That’s a very wide gap. As low as 1/4oz to 1c, or as high as 1oz/1c.

So I journeyed too the middle, and used 1/2oz of cannabis to 1c of butter.

All the youtube videos where people are demonstrating this recipe talk about how it’s the perfect way to use cannabis — because you can hardly taste it, and the effects last longer, and with the right cooking temperature and the right amount of time — it uses every trace of the relevant drugs, so — no waste. It also can take as much as 2 hrs to kick in after you eat it as opposed to the nearly instantaneous effect felt with smoking, vaping, or dabbing cannabis..
Lots of differences.

For my first test-taste, at my 1:16 ratio, I used 1/4t on a half english muffin. 2 hrs later, I was beginning to feel very relaxed. 3 hrs later I fell asleep. 5 hrs later I fell asleep again. It’s now 8 promo_box_2hrs later and I”m still a little sleepy. My speech has slowed down. The connection between thoughts and words takes longer. I had started to get a headache, but it has since faded. Really thirsty. It feels like mild inebriation.  Maybe equivalent to a couple of beers or a glass of wine

This is the most effect I’ve experienced.
I would not be safe behind the wheel of a car.

So — first thing to do is soften the Magic Butter, and cut it with fresh butter. Maybe 50/50. Maybe more diluted than that. This recipe needs to be diluted to be useful.

And — you can certainly taste the cannabis.
To the exclusion of everything else. Maybe the new dilution will help. [it didn’t]

this is an image of "decarboxilyzing" weed in advance of making infused butter or oil. Basically, the butter will just be bad-tasting green stuff to clog your sink and drain if you fail to do this. Remember: closed container; 220 degrees f; 1 hr.

this is an image of “decarboxilyzing” weed in advance of making infused butter or oil. Basically, the butter will just be bad-tasting green stuff to clog your sink and drain if you fail to do this. Remember: use a closed glass container; 220 degrees f; 1 hr.

And in the future, I’ll eat it late in the day.


June 9, 2016

holy cow that butter has a strong aroma.
Garlic butter has less.


I cut it —
2 1/2 c sweet cream butter : 1 c magic butter

did nothing to the scent — I used just a touch in 1/2c of cheesy mashed potatoes. I couldn’t taste it at all except for the aroma.

We’ll see in a few hours how the dosage works out.

3hrs later:
it’s not really glow-in-the-dark green. It’s more like key-lime pie pastel green — especially since I cut it with the regular butter.
— and I’m just a bit more relaxed than I would otherwise be.  No inebriation.  No slowed reaction time.  Just — chill.



June 13, 2016



Why is this chart important?  Because these are the temps you have to hit to “activate” each chemical.  Smoking always hits even the highest required temps which is why smoking has such a wide and deep list of physical effects.  It also destroys some chemicals before they can be felt.  Baking brownies at 425 for just 10 minutes before turning the heat down to 375 or 350 will activate all the chemicals without destroying others.  But most people do not vape higher than 170 or 180 c — which means they never trigger the CBN, Linalool, or THCv.  And if all you’re interested in the the THC, you don’t have to vape hotter than 160 c.

I did the math on the diluted batch of Magic Butter I made.
It works out to 21.53mg/t THC, and 7.6mg/t CBD per teaspoon, (+all the other micro amounts of the other chemicals like limonene, linalool, etc.)

By comparison, the max dose allowed in a retail edible in CO is 10mg THC. In OR, the max is 5mg/edible (like a single cookie.)   That means 1/2t of my butter is equal to 1 CO cookie, or 2-OR cookies.

So this morning I made a recipe of 6 apple-bran muffins with 1T of my butter, so each muffin has 1/2t of butter — Which should work out just about right.

It also means that batch of MButter I made has 434.7 total teaspoons of butter. That’s 869 1/2t doses. Which I can’t possibly eat before the butter goes bad.

It also means that it comes to about $0.55/dose. (including the cost of the machine!)
Compared to the $6-$12/dose shops sell brownies and jelly beans for. And mine don’t have a bunch of sugar


Terpene info-graphic from


June 13, 2016


the original question was: Is there another choice for dealing with my migraine headaches? I’ve tried everything else — with varying degrees of success, as well as varying degrees of side effect.

So I’m living where both medical and recreational cannabis are as easy to come by as vanilla ice cream — and pain management in general and migraine relief in particular are high on the list of pains and ailments for which medical marijuana is prescribed.

I did the research. I read A LOT. There are 2 ways to use pot for pain/migraine problems: as a prevention, or as a remedy.

For 12 days, I used it as preventative. Very small dose, 1x day.b7294835c59cd6d5afa9441a31eed991
Late yesterday, as the weather changed — simple sinus problems began transforming into a migraine. I used 1-dose’s worth of muffin — and the headache backed off.

But by the time I woke up this morning, it was coming back. Blasting through my head like an oncoming train.

So I figured this was a good test. I started with 2 little muffins.
Two hrs later, the headache was worse. I ate 2 more muffins.
Two and a half hours later, My head still hurt. Worse.
In for a penny –> in for a pound. I ate 2 more muffins.
Magic blueberry-pecan-cinnamon-applesauce bran muffins. With flax seed meal and chia seeds.
(This is all I’ve had to eat today. muffins that weigh-in at 7.5g fiber 7g protein each.)
An hour later —
wait —
wait —
no headache. NO HEADACHE.

14-SS-2012-02Too-EarlyTwo hrs later, no headache. Relaxed.
Two hrs later — still no headache. Still relaxed. Head completely clear. I ate half a muffin to celebrate.
Two hours later — no headache. I ate the last half-muffin. And it’s bedtime.

Ding ding ding ding! First trial: success.
12 days in a row with no headaches. Day 13: headache. How much as a remedy rather than as preventative? Turns out, 7 muffins, spread out over 10-12 hours.

—-next morning—-
no headache.

What did I learn? Make the muffins stronger so I don’t have to eat as many to get the same effect. 7 muffins turned out to be all I ate yesterday.

And yes. 1 time doesn’t prove anything. So now I go back to 1 muffin/day. Though I think next time I”m putting the butter in a nice pot of clam chowder.  I’m really sick of muffins.


June 14, 2016

lol.  Just one of the silliest bits of high-writing….—and-heres-what-we-think


June 15, 2016


Today’s diabetes-friendly Magic Muffins: Chocolate-Raspberry Cinnamon Pecan Bran Muffin (baked in a pan like brownies….)


June 18, 2016


Driving back from Tillamook yesterday, our favorite veggie/fruit stand had raspberries just brought in — so fat and electric red they almost didn’t look real.

Today, we have raspberry-chocolate chip (sugar free, of course) bran muffins.
(basic apple-bran muffin recipe [basic bran made with organic unsweetened applesauce instead of other liquids 1:1 substitution], +2c fresh raspberries +1c sugar free semi-sweet chocolate chips +1/2 c cocoa powder +1/2c wheat bran +dash of cinnamon +dash of salt +1/2 t apple cider vinegar

…and baked in a pan like brownies.


June 23, 201613315731_10206741745487658_8602537830592502701_n

can I just say,
WTF is wrong with all those decades’ worth of people who made the cannabis plant not only illegal, but made it illegal to do research on it!?!?!?!

I’m sorry, but I’ve been trying this out for over 3 weeks, and I still haven’t found a way to consume enough of the relevant chemical components to feel out of control in any way. It puts me to sleep before I start feeling anything remotely deserving of the word “high” — and every single effect/side-effect has been positive.
** It is relaxing like 1/2-1 shot of booze in a cocktail.
** It vanishes my hereditary tremor (hands etc)
** It vanishes my stammer
** It knocks out pain — from joint pain, to back pain, to migraine headache pain as well or better than opiates.
** It has a positive effect on my social anxiety (Asperger’s) — as in, I don’t feel anxious around people.
** I’m sleeping 6-8 hrs straight through the night for the first time in about 20 years.

HINT: you can add softened cannabuter to sour cream, cream cheese, or yogurt to make dips -- the spicier, the better.

HINT: you can add softened cannabutter to sour cream, cream cheese, or yogurt to make dips — the spicier, the better. Try it in a SW-Ranch dip, or a chipotle-green onion dip….

** For whatever reason — no nightmares.

And it’s not addictive.
And at least so far, it isn’t in the domain of BigPharm.
And insurance doesn’t cover it because it’s still federally illegal.
And it doesn’t taste good enough to over-use.
And it’s expensive as hell.
And I’d rather the taxes go into the state coffers than the high-tab profits into the hands of illicit drug operations.
And if even half the research being done now pans out –not to mention the potential and unknown future research — this could be something really useful to more people than they’ve even guessed at.

WTF were these stick-up-the-butt, “Just Say No”, my-rules-for-you / no-rules-for-me elitist lawmakers and zealots doing messing with medicine and chemistry and research!?!?!
and let scientists do science.


[After I posted this to FaceBook, I received this helpful link from daughter-in-law, Dannie:]

It’s a must-read for first-timers like me.


June 25, 2016


Today’s Magic Muffins:
Whole Wheat & Oat Bran Muffins w/ fresh Oregon marionberries, chopped hazelnuts, nutmeg & coconut flour. And cannabis, of course.


June 26, 2016 (rant)

Why is it that government and politicians think that questions of intimacy, reproduction, and gender are their business? Did they just assume it by divine right? and if so, which divinity? the divinity of the founding fathers? which founding fathers? they were not only NOT fundamentalist (or Baptist, catholic or Methodist…) they weren’t even all card carrying christian.

and do we as a nation really believe men have the right to decide anything for women regarding their bodies? and if so, does that mean women have the right to decide similar questions for men? If so, I would consider vasectomy (and/or chemical castration?) to be a good imposed choice for all men over 40. Certainly for all men who have reproduced more than 2 times. For all men convicted of violent crimes — especially spousal or child abuse of any kind.

How about a 3-strikes-you’re-out government mandated sterilization for child abusers, sexual abusers, spousal abusers, and all those convicted of hate crimes of any kind? That’s right — you get 2 chances to change your ways, then snip-chop-take-this-pill-and-go-to-therapy.

That would be a good use of this divine right. Let’s make it illegal to reproduce if you have ever been convicted of a violent crime.

Maybe that’s why a woman president is a little scary. Women might actually expect that turnabout-is-fair-play thing.

Better still — how about if we just take matters of reproduction, gender, intimacy, and marriage off the table all together. That would be the real fair play.


June 27, 2016


So here’s the problem with Magic Butter (cannabutter) — okay, there’s more than one problem:
1. If you use butter on veggies, you leave much of the butter on the dish or in the pan. veggies don’t actually absorb butter, they just wear it.
2. the kinds of things that DO absorb and hold butter are things like rice, pasta, potatoes, bread, oatmeal, etc. ALL of which are mostly carbohydrates — which do not play well with diabetes. OR, baked goods like brownies, muffins, cakes, pies, cookies etc — which are more than mostly carbohydrates — they’re mostly sugar carbs!
3. if it’s made with olive oil or coconut oil instead of butter —
colorful-little-mmj-nugs-thcfinderyou escape all the saturated fat, but you’re left with the same problems — dressing stays on the plate, rather than the lettuce — and unless you plan on licking the plate/bowl, makes measurement/dosage practically impossible.

The muffins I’ve been making are really good. And they work really well. After a month, STILL NO HEADACHES. But my average blood sugar is up by about 25-30 pts. So we’ve got the ingredient — I just need to figure out how to get the benefit without losing a kidney or some toes. I can’t smoke it — ASTHMA. I coughed for days when I tried it. I can’t muffin it — DIABETES just won’t take muffins every day.  There are Medical Marijuana sodas, lemonades, and even tea-bags and k-cups — but the commercial edible dosage is low, for a seriously high price-per-dose.

You know that amazingly satisfying mixer you get on airplanes or trains? This is it. By itself, it will mix with vodka and make a passable Bloody Mary -- but see recipes below for a bit of variety and tweaking.

You know that amazingly satisfying mixer you get on airplanes or trains? This is it. By itself, it will mix with vodka and make a passable Bloody Mary !

So I’ve been looking into tinctures. Like the butter, the base liquid (high-proof alcohol, vegetable glycerin, or vinegar) gets infused with all the chemical components and flavors of the cannabis. Glycerin makes a low-glycemic sweet tincture (has little effect on blood sugar;) vinegar makes a much weaker tincture — you’d have to take 4-6 times as much to get the same effect; high-proof alcohol burns like the devil if you put it under your tongue as sources recommend.

So somehow, I’ve ended up back at my favorite drink: the Bloody Mary. In an ice filled coffee cup: 5.5oz mixer + 26 drops of Magic Hooch + lime juice + olive juice/brine
T61HcSPu9XdL._SL1500_omorrow: we add shrimp, cilantro, onions, and avocado!!!!z


!!!!!  Recipe !!!!!!

– – – – – – – – –

BASIC Bloody Mary-Jane recipe:

-5.5oz can Mr. & Mrs. T’s Bloody Mary Mixer
-1 oz spicy cocktail olives
-1/2t olive juice
-1/2 t lime juice
-1 dose (about 1/2t for me, but your dose may be different) cannabis tincture made w/ alcohol
-smile 😀

*for the record, that’s just about 95 calories — mostly from the olives — so if there’s a garnish, inclusion, or condiment you like better than olives (like steamed shrimp, oyster, a thick slice of beefsteak tomato, avocado chunks, jalapeno slices, pickle spear, shredded cabbage pom-pon, pickled onion slices, lime/lemon wedge, a blackened grilled shrimp, a spring onion, a McDonalds hash brown patty, a rasher of crisp bacon, a spear of grilled bell pepper, a string cheese stick, lightly steamed sugar peas pods, pickled green beans, carrot sticks, a handful of grape tomatoes, celery stalk, asparagus spear, pepperoncini, a crisp sweet potato fry, those tiny baby ears of corn, half a hard boiled egg, or even pepperoni sticks/slice or a nice single baby back rib?  GO FOR IT!!!  I just happen to love olives!  But this Bloody Mary Jane is just a gazpacho waiting to happen!!!


June 27, 2016

Here’s a link to the basic recipe for making Cannabis Tincture using a Magical Butter pot:


June 30, 2016

Cannabinoids info-graphic from

Cannabinoids info-graphic from

Here’s a link to the “Cannabis 101” series of articles and videos available through

vsog-cannabis-very-special-og-weed-frosty-buds-thcfinder-0029111Here’s the real bottom line on legalizing marijuana at the federal level. This is a chemically complex bit of nature, which, like real aspirin (found in various forms in nature, like the bark of the white willow tree and other plants) has many effects. None of them are “side effects” unless you try and pretend it has only 1 actual reason for existence. All the effects are potential reasons for using this plant.

It is amazing, frightening, galling, horrifying to me that lawmakers and others have managed not only to keep cannabis illegal, but that they have completely suppressed the knowledge that it is a pain killer, anti-inflamatory, anti-depressant, anti-spasmodic, ….(there are about 20 of these descriptors which are all medical applications….)

Let’s just think about how many people are dying from accidental overdoses of pain killers. How many people are using the highly addictive opiates? Too many to count. But here we have cannabis, which is not addictive — and as far as I can tell is just as effective.

It’s subtle, rather than the deflating of the pain balloon that happens when you take opiates. Instead of “BAM the pain is gone,” it’s more like “hey — my head was hurting before, but — not any more.” It’s also, “hey — I just woke up and my knees (feet, back, elbows, hands, hips) don’t hurt. At all.”

Add to that, it’s almost impossible to take “too much”. At the very least it will just put you to sleep. At most — it will just put you to sleep. It won’t tear up your internal organs like Tylenol. It won’t cause edema or raise your blood pressure (or any of the gazillian other bad effects of taking steroidal anti-inflamitories.) Kidneys, liver, stomach — all safe with cannabis.

So why are lawmakers, doctors, BigPharm, religious folks, tight-ass old goats and busybodies etc so intent on keeping the stigma (and laws)??? Who knows what further research will reveal?! Who knows how many people would be able to leave the opiates behind?

saved18And if it fixes the nausea at the same time it fixes the pain? Or, if it fixes the social anxiety at the same time it elevates mood? Or, if relieves stress at the same time that it prevents/calms seizures and tremors? If it eases the pain at the same time it relaxes muscle spasms? If it prevents panic attacks and nightmares at the same time it increases your appetite? If it makes you feel better emotionally at the same time it makes you feel better physically? (OH GOD, NOooooooo!!!)

The real shame is that it doesn’t seem to be able to open-up a closed mind, or erase 100 years of misinformation.


Just a little FYI….


July 7, 2016

okay. so — 6 weeks: 0 migraines.images-6
I’m coming surprisingly close to calling this experiment a success.

To be clear — I’ve had 6 different days where I started getting a migraine — but in every case, I took a dose of cannabis (either in a muffin or in a tincture-bloody Mary as soon as it began, and the headache backed off before becoming severe, and before reaching “full-blown blinding, throwing-up, sound-and-light sensitive migraine” status.

I made a 40oz batch of tincture on Sunday — so I’m in Bloody Marys through at least November. 😀 (And I’ve still got lots of butter on hand for baking.)


July 7, 2016


Met this company (okay — it was a guy, not a company) when I went to get my medical card for cannabis — he sells 13 of the pure terpenes found in marijuana. Because of legalities, they are drawn from other botanicals where they naturally occur (Linalool in lavender, humulene in hops, limonene in citrus peels, pinenes in pine, caryophyllene in black pepper and clove etc.)

True Terpenes

The chemical components of cannabis that produce the benefits/effects are about 100 different cannabinoids and terpenes. (probably more) But fewer than 20 responsible for *most* of the effects, aromas, and flavors have been identified so far.


What has in the past been solely about pleasure, is entering a critical period of scientific access, methodology, and — capitalism.

Remember — being in cannabis prohibition and being on the Schedule 1 drug list has prevented research for the last 100 years. We know the effects of that baseline of 20+/- components because of their presence in other herbs, flowers, roots, leaves etc.

This one – nerolidol – is present in lion’s share in Neroli (bitter orange blossom — and is what I spritz on in hydro-distillate form (from the online site to ease the social anxiety-type reaction I have to being in crowds, or meeting people. Only a handful of the 1200-or-so cannabis strains that have been analyzed so far show significant amounts of nerolidol — but manymanymany more show trace amounts.'s analysis of a single strain (Trainwreck -- often used for medical purposes -- showing cannabinoids and terpenes present. This kind of information is the future of real medical use....’s analysis of a single strain (Trainwreck — often used for medical purposes — showing cannabinoids and terpenes present. This kind of information is the future of real medical use….  The real problem is that the same strain VARIES from grower to grower, eco-system to eco-system, and even season to season.  In other words — this footprint will be completely different for Trainwreck grown in a different state, or a different climate.  Thus the need for every harvest to be tested separately — and that’s a lot of testing.

The combination of terpenes and cannabinoids is what makes up the chemical fingerprint of each strain — and carries the information that allows growers/breeders to predict the effects of the strain. More than average linalool produces a flower that is more relaxing/sedating. (as in the lavender sprays you spritz on pillows, or rub as lotion on a baby to help relaxation) More limonene makes a flower that has more mood-elevating or anti-depressant characteristics — like the citrus oils you wear/spray around the house to be uplifting and to cheer the place up)

But it is the wildly varied composition where the magic happens. They’ve already discovered that one (and probably more) of these chemicals is what makes it easier for the body to absorb and use many of the others. Still another acts as a sort of glue that lets 2 of the other terpenes work together in a different way than either works in isolation. It’s the combination of caryophyllenen and alpha-pinene (a known bronchodilator) which is most likely responsible for the positive effects on asthma — which is always of interest to me.

This is where the next wave of discovery is going to happen — people have been smoking this stuff all this time without knowing the why, what, how, and what-if of it. The point (are you listening, Big Pharm?) is not to isolate each component and patent it in a pill and market it as a single drug for a single purpose. Especially when we really have so few answers about how these 100+ chemicals interact. Probably the biggest pharmaceutical error of the last 150 years was when they isolated aspirin and left the rest of the white willow fingerprint on the vine. But once they isolate it and synthesize it — all the interactions are lost.


This is what the chemical analysis of marijuana looks like.  (At least from this specific laboratory, for this specific strain — “Scooby Snacks” — grown by this specific grower, in this specific year/season.  The same strain grown by a different grower in a different geographical location will have a different chemical profile.  Grown in another weather year,   even by the same grower, it will have a different profile.  No part of this analysis is absolute and Permanent.  Not even the ratio of one chemical to another.

nyc-diesel-weed-nyc-diesel-cannabis-nug-thcfinder-006The magic is in the complete profile. Nature is complex for a really good reason.

Cannabis is worth the trouble BECAUSE it doesn’t JUST relieve pain, but also relaxes muscles, vanishes depression, relieves muscle cramps and spasms, counters sleeplessness, vanishes nightmares, relieves social anxiety, dilates blood vessels, relieves asthma, quiets panic, reduces the number and severity of seizures, relieves nausea and dizziness, — etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. That they think a couple of these terpenes and cannabinoids may also help the immune system fight bacteria, viruses, fungus etc., and defend the body/brain against heavy-hitters like cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s is just more reason to let the researchers do their thing.

And yes. I’m going to try adding a single extra drop of pure nerolidol to my Bloody Mary, and see if jiggling the fingerprint/profile of my tincture will give me more anti-anxiety effect.
Let the experiments begin!

home-mobile1B*There are now a couple of companies marketing a personal chemical analysis instrument — this one, My DX, offers several software options that will let you analyze your food, your water, the air you’re breathing, or the cannabis in your stash.


We haven’t seen a lot about how the results of this hand-held hardware/software compares to the big mass spec equipment results, but it’s an intriguing idea.  If the current price (several hundred) falls to a workable price-tag, and if its results turn out to be comparable, then this is how my own tinctures and butter/oil can be tested for potency and to set dosage more accurately.




July 16, 2016


“nobody ever said life was fair” is the quippy response created by conservatives so they could blow off doing the hard work of making the world a fair and just place.

Yes, it’s hard.


Unfairness is not the natural state of existence.


July 22, 2016

Bubbler2__77894.1394764451.1280.1280okay, fine. I finally stumbled upon a strain of cannabis that explains the difference between *high* and *stoned*. Very first time I’ve gotten this kind of physical effect — it was very interesting. I am assuming it was a result of the combination of the specific strain (Black & Blueberry Kush) and the new experiment of attaching the vaporizer to a water-pipe type cooling process.
–Pulled all the irritating particulates out of the vapor, and cooled all the irritating heat. No irritation –> no cough, and pretty much instantaneous results. (What started off as the beginnings of a bad migraine just evaporated.) That was 8 hours ago, and the migraine did not return.


July 25, 2016

Jim says that maybe the reason some people want so badly to keep cannabis illegal is because it offers reduction/relief from physical pain and emotional stress to the average person.


Just a little FYI….


July 26, 2016

Okay. Cannabis report.
After 10 weeks.

after reading a pile of reviews (and watching videos demonstrating how to use and clean) this is the vaporizer I bought....

after reading a pile of reviews (and watching videos demonstrating how to use and clean) this is the vaporizer I bought.  You can control temp to the degree — which matters since we know the “activation” temp of each of the major cannabinoids and terpenes (and we’re learning about heat and dozens of the chemicals present….)

I’ve had 2 days where I started to get a migraine headache last week (I blame the Republicans) — but both times, I did the Bloody Mary-Jane, followed by vaping (through a water pipe cooling bowl) a dose of Black & Blue-berry Kush grown by Green Dragon Farms here in Oregon (I only say that because it is one of their newly hybred strains and is only available from them at this time) —
both times, the headache vanished within minutes, before it had time to develop into a blinding, sick, throwing-up sleep-in-a-dark-room migraine.


this little piece of wood + silicone tubing turns any cup or glass into a water-pipe like filtration/cooling system. (Made by Magic Flight)

this little piece of wood + silicone tubing turns any cup or glass into a water-pipe like filtration/cooling system. (Made by Magic Flight)

TODAY, I woke up with a full blown migraine. Sick. Nauseated. Eyes sensitive to light. Curl-up-and-die headache.

I could barely see to put the dropper of tinc into the glass.

And the vaporizer thing was a real challenge since my hands were shaking.


But — within 10 minutes — no headache. My eyes were still light-sensitive, so I laid back in my recliner and closed my eyes. That was about 9am.
6 hours later, I woke up so thirsty I was gagging —
but no headache.

This is called a "bottle rocket" -- also made by Magic flight -- that turns any bottle (evenwater bottles) into a waterpipe-like cooling/filtering set up.

This is called a “bottle rocket” — also made by Magic flight — that turns any bottle (even water bottles) into a waterpipe-like cooling/filtering set up.  The picture is a link.

6 more hours later, still no headache.
And I’m thinking that about settles the question.
I lived 45 years having a migraine headache 4-6 of every 7 days. sometimes they lasted in excess of 2 weeks and I had to basically flood my system with opiate pain killers to get out of the spiral.

This makes 10 weeks — with no headache that has lasted more than 10 minutes when treated with cannabis (longer when using just edibles without vaping.) –And not even very much cannabis. By my calcs, a vaporizer dose is about 20% of 1g. Each tincture dose is less than 10-15% of 1g. So 1/3g of cannabis is doing in 10 minutes what I’ve previously treated with consecutive doses of hydrocodone over periods of days.

F&c% just say no.







Still working on this.

But —

  1.   If you are new to medical cannabis, start by READING first.  That’s me, anyway.  If you’re a good extrovert, go to your local dispensary and TALK to somebody.  Either way, LEARN the basic vocabulary, and what the available delivery methods are like.tumbleweed-joint-roller-1-1
  2. The reputation, anecdotal evidence, and traditional benefits of any strain — including Maui Waui/Wowee, Purple Haze, Afghani Kush, and all the others are pretty much meaningless.  The hybridization of the species has turned any facts about pot from previous decades into history.  Pot in 1960 had less than 10% of the THC or other chemical components that pot in 2016 has.  Which means you would have had to smoke/ingest 10 hits of 1960 weed to get the same effect as 1 hit now.  Jumbo-Joint-RollerEven if the strain has the same name.
  3.  Figure out how you are going to deal with dosage.  If you are using pot strictly for fun and recreation, then which and how much of the cannabinoids and terpenes are present is just a matter of taste.  But if you are a medical user — the decades of “buy-it, smoke-it, and chill” how-to are irrelevant.  As clever and interesting as strain names are — the only thing that matters in the commerce of medical cannabis is the numbers.twaxjointinsidebudder
    –>An ounce (28g) of cannabis that is 10%THC and no CBD = 2.8g of THC.
    –>An ounce of the strain “Critical Mass” cannabis (28g) that is 15% THC and 15% CBD = 4.2g THC, and 4.2g CBD — which is 8.4g total medicine, that’s 50/50 THC and CBD.G_joint-roller-hemp-fibers-raw-110mm_1-1
    –>An ounce (28g) of the strain “Pineapple Express” cannabis that is 30% THC with only traces of CBD will also yield 8.4g total medicine, but it will be near-0g of CBD but a big whopping 8.4g of THC.
    **Why is this important?  Because if you know you need a minimum of 10mg of THC and 10mg CBD twice a day, the ounce of Critical Mass described above made into butter or tincture is going to yield 420 doses — that’s 210 days worth.  If, however you need 4 doses a day, that ounce will only last half as long (105 days.)  If you are heavier (like me) it will take a larger dose to get the same effect.
    AND YOU THOUGHT ALL THAT MATH IN SCHOOL WAS A WASTE OF TIME….images-5-1It’s also important to mention here that without actual testing — any dosage numbers an individual user/cook comes up with for their own brewed/created tincture, butter, oil, vinegar, glycerin concentrate, brownie, cookie, or clam chowder is just a rough calculation.53cfd7800e7578290ddd801920338f40-1You can’t get exact verified numbers without exacting, scientific analysis. You have no way of knowing exactly how much of the chemical is left in the pot, or the dregs/pomace of the plant matter  (Though a lot of people keep the butter pomace and add it to recipes for dense foods like brownies and cookies.)  Your percentages and ratio of THC:CBD  will be very close — but the exact number of mg/dose will always be approximate.  If it doesn’t seem to be doing enough — add a few drops.  If you fall asleep too easily — you might decrease the dose by a bit.
  4. You have to stay up-to-date regarding research.  Most analyses of cannabis on the shelf in a dispensary today (2016) will tell you only the THC and CBD numbers. tumblr_lmwj90hhk11qhfg8bo1_500-1 As we learn more about the other cannabinoids and the terpenes, the available information will/should multiply.  In the same way we now know which of the Big-2 (THC/CBD) are most important in treating specific symptoms/complaints — we are on the verge of knowing much much more.  So that will mean parsing between strains with specific outcomes in mind.  And chances are very good that the growers and those experimenting with the genetics of the plant will create strains that laser-target specific outcomes like sleep, mood elevation, or relief from social anxiety.
  5. magic-flight-bottle-rocket-2A lot of people will tell you that the only part of the cannabis that has medical applications is the CBD — and that if you are a medical user, that is all you need to buy/use.  At least until a significant amount of research can be done, don’t rush to use isolated componants of cannabis.  All these chemicals come packaged together for a reason — there is something very successful about the mix within the plant that we don’t want to break apart without a good reason.
    Pay attention to the terpenes and cannabinoids — be part of the learning process we are going through now.  These are the best first steps after almost 100 years of research interruptus.  We already know that the efficacy of some of the components is dependent on interactions with other components — and this is probably just the beginning of understanding “whole plant” and “entourage effects.”
  6. The most pervasive (and least talked about) effect of this plant for me has been increased b429_zoom_1412698610lood circulation.  I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal, so let me explaine:  Circulation is one of the big monsters of Type-2 Diabetes.  Decreased circulation is why wounds don’t heal as fast for diabetics — and why blindness and amputation of extremities are part of the long-term prognosis for un-managed –and even well-managed diabetes.  Without good circulation — you get cold a lot. Shisha-Parts Without good circulation, you don’t get over minor bacterial or viral infections as fast, so you spend more time out of circulation.  Without good circulation, you are more likely to have problems with kidney infections, liver function, sexual unresponsiveness, neuropathy, and a host of other scary complications.
    –So, while increased blood circulation is not given a lot of attention, and Diabetes is not generally thought of as one of the conditions Medical Marijuana can help (though there is some early indication that a few of the cannabinoids/terpenes can help stabilize blood sugar) — the truth is, this may be my second most significant result of using cannabis, right up there with managing life-long chronic migraine headaches.




marijuana-bongIf you have MS, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, PTSD, epilepsy or other seizure problems, anxiety, stress, depression, arthritis, or if you’re in chemo —

If you have lost your appetite, can’t sleep, can’t relax, can’t eat because of nausea or another medical condition —

If you live with a tremor whether it’s heriditary or from Parkinson’s, ALS, or one of the other tremor-symptom diseases —

If you have bone-breaking or painful chronic muscle spasms or cramps —Metal-Acrylic-upscale-classic-retro-smoking-water-pipe-Multifunction-hose-Hookah-Ben-Type-pipes-for-smoking

If you have insomnia, night terrors or just troubling nightmares —

Do the research.


The only real evidence of intelligence is to learn.





You Learn Something New Every Day — the Miracle of Toe Socks! ToeSox Full Toe with Grip Yoga/Pilates Toe Socks: Sports & Outdoors.

These are “toe socks.”   Yes yes yes, I know toe socks have been around for a long time.

But being oblivious to most things that fall under the heading “fashion” — I completely missed them.  Until now.

I ordered a pair of these from Amazon because I sleep in socks and had found it a little slippery on cold nights to be skidding and sliding on hard floors.  So, I went looking for socks with TREAD.  –Little dollops of rubber or glue or silicone or something on the soles so I wouldn’t slip down and kill myself or crack my head on the coffee table.

When they arrived — the curve for learning how to put them on wasn’t too steep — and almost immediately I notice a significant DIFFERENCE in the way my feet FEEL.  Not just the funny glove feeling between my toes — but a real important difference.

If you know me (or have read much that I’ve written) then you know that I have lost a lot of the dexterity in my hands due to some degenerating joints (hereditary) — and chances are, this will also eventually effect other joints in ways that are more than just inconvenience.  One of the ways I know this is that when I sleep, my toes tend to curl if I’m wearing regular socks.  As a result — I wake up in the morning with my feet aching and cramping — all the bones pop and ache until I’ve been up a while.

This DOES NOT HAPPEN when I wear the toe socks!  The little “sleeves” keep my toes straight and separated!  No more achy feet in the morning.


About 18 months ago, I injured the Achilles tendon on my right foot.  While it has healed (mostly) in the months since — again, I would wake up every morning with extremely painful first steps as the tendon loosens up and gets repositioned where it belongs.

But NOT with the toe socks on.


I have no idea why this is true — my husband says that curling my toes was stretching that Achilles tendon into an unnatural position, and now with my toes straightened out — it doesn’t happen.   Okay.  I’ll buy that.  It’s better than a kick in the head.

But here is this one, silly, almost undetectable change in my life and suddenly my feet don’t hurt any more.  One less pain to deal with.

Just by putting on a pair of yoga socks.

Who knew?

Quality of Life? Pain and Inconvenience

Yesterday when I wrote, More Info About Hands, after having been to see the hand  specialist again, I was confused and stressed out.  Today, things came a bit clearer….

(for general reference purposes, here’s the Quality of Life Index used to compare countries — but it’s pretty easy to extrapolate for the individual….  OR — here’s a blog/reference site about Quality of Life and Power that’s pretty interesting….) [click the image]

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours after my visit to the ortho-doctor thinking out-loud in this blog about my options re: my hands and the mechanical problems I’ve been having with them.

It’s a not-so-obvious problem, made more difficult by the general tendency of orthopedic surgeons (and all other surgeons, I suspect) to believe that they can fix something if they can just cut into it.

After I wrote and published my adventures in the doctor’s office, one of my friends commented that she knew this hand-stuff was causing quality-of-life problems for me.  Which I guess is sort of true — I really used to like to knit in the evenings, and not being able to drive without hurting my hands is a real inconvenience.  I’d never really thought about Quality of Life before.

However —

In absolute terms — even with some tactical disadvantages, my quality of life now as opposed to when I was a single parent trying to raise a child by myself; or when I had to give up graduate school to be a head of household and support us; or when I had to spend all our savings because we didn’t have medical insurance….  I’ve had a lot of quality-of-life issues that were far more crippling than this hand stuff.

My quality of life right now is pretty damn good.  My son is healthy and taking care of himself, with a good job and a great group of friends — what more could a mom want?  My husband is healthy, loves his work, and learns something new every day — and we’re each other’s favorite people in the world.  Again, what’s the point, if not those things?

My quality of life was sliding when my art studio roof leaked after a big hail storm.  (Watercolors are not good at weathering storms.) –And then leaked again every time it rained for the worst rainy season in this town’s history.

My quality of life sucked big time when I had pneumonia for nearly 6 weeks the year after Jim and I got married.  That was scary.

I’m pretty happy these days.  I’m 55, fat, and my hands hurt — but I’ve got a great life.  I’m married to my best friend, and I’ve got a cute, sweet dog, I get to read whatever I can cram into a day.  I know enough about computers to do what I need to do without much effort — and I can let the machines fix the majority of evidence of my dyslexia. (If I’d been born 30 or 40 years earlier, they would have marked me off as too stupid to function.)  I can still paint — paint brushes are very light and easy to hold.  I’m learning to cook all over again, using a different set of techniques and skills.

Leave No Child Behind Painting by Yannick Pigois Braunschweig

Banksy on Political Evolution

I guess if I lived in a country where typing free speech or painting incorrect themes and ideas could get your hand cut off or your fingers broken by a government, or  a band of righteous neighbors — that would be a quality of life issue….

Jelly beans, anyone?

-political cartoons

-graphic novels

-science fiction









Jesus and Handguns make it to the gallery...

If I couldn’t make or view or buy or appreciate all kinds of art, from painting and sculpture to literature, dance, music and film — including political art, or art with the ideas of the artist worn on its sleeves — that would be a quality of life matter for me.

This is more like an elaborate puzzle to figure out.

I stopped knitting and gave away my heavy pots and pans on purpose.  If I can do 6 or 8 or 10 non-consecutive half hours of low-impact work with my hands each day — and I get to pick what kind of work I use those half-hours for — I choose to type some, to draw or paint some, to make dinner, to clean the bathroom fixtures, to brush the little lhasa’s coat, to make notes on whatever I’ve been reading, to go shopping, play card games or play on my Wii,  — to cram as much normal as I can into those half-hours.

But knitting eats up a lot of those half hours for not much progress.  And elaborate cooking belongs to people who love it more than anything else in the world.  I’d just as soon take short cuts and have an occasional frozen dinner.

And in the other hours — I wander about the internet; read (albeit slowly) to my dyslexic heart’s content.  In fact, this hand stuff is a lot like the dyslexia and the asthma –puzzles that can be solved.  Obstacles that aren’t so tough to maneuver around in the long game.

I make tea; paint, draw, write, talk to friends — things I’ve always done, but at different times of day.  All those things act like spacers so I don’t put a constant low-level strain on a hand that doesn’t work properly.

That’s what happened in these last couple of weeks.  I got used to the good effects of having taken such care with my hands.  I got cocky and thought I’d cook something that required opening jars and cans (both require torque,) grinding fresh peppercorn (there’s that twisting torque motion again…) and chopping lots of veggies.  Then I followed it by shuffling new decks of cards to play a new game.  And hand-washing a couple of favorite shirts and wringing them (torque, again.)  And baking Jim a pound cake.  All without much break in between.

And because my hands were hurting, I got temporarily pissed off at the inconvenience and bad timing of a little pain — so I kept going and ended up with more than a little pain.

Chalk one up to being too stupid to function.

But if I can learn to work around dyslexia, I can learn to work around this — at least until/unless it gets so bad that it really does interfere with my quality of life.

For now, it’s an inconvenient and complex puzzle.

I guess I just defined the point at which I’d actually consider surgery.  And I’m a long way from that point.

Am I dieting and exercising? NO. Am I losing weight? YES.

So this has been the question.  What exactly am I doing to lose weight?

This is a complicated question with only 2 real answers that matter:

  1. I’m using an online calories-in/calories-burned tracker (it’s free and very well designed and programmed), and
  2. I’m paying attention

Now, I realize that’s not what you meant.  You want to know the tips, tricks, secrets, and the rules I’m following.  The truth is, I’m not following any rules.  I HATE rules.  I resent rules.  I feel pressured and trapped by rules.  Especially considering that whatever I’m doing now — I’m going to have to do the rest of my life.

So I really don’t have a diet plan or an exercise routine.  Period.  I don’t need any more pressure or stress than comes naturally with each day.

But okay.  There are a few things that I know now that I didn’t used to know.  Here are a few:


I never eat less than 400-500 calories under my daily burn.  If I (or you) do — your body will think you’re in danger of starving, and will slow your metabolism so you don’t burn through as much of your fuel intake.  Your body will go into “conservation of energy” mode.

Well– I don’t want my metabolism to slow down.  I need to keep the burn up as high as I can — especially since menopause has already robbed me of some of my metabolic burn.

Additionally — just to keep my body from becoming too comfortable with any calorie (fuel) consumption level — I try to vary my daily intake number by at least 100 calories (up or down) every day.  And, at least 1 day a week, I try to eat exactly the calories I’m burning.

The key here is to have a resource that tells you how many calories you’re burning.  That’s where comes in — they’ve got the baseline pegged based on your age, body type, sex, weight, exercise level etc.  As long as you answer their questions honestly — it will give you a usable guideline.  And — when you have days of unusually high exercise and exertion, you just enter the work you did by type, and the database adds that number to your calories-burned.  The more calories you burn — the more calories you can eat and still stay within the metabolic-advantage number of 400-500 below burn.

It’s also important to realize that as you lose weight, it takes less fuel to accomplish daily tasks — this means that your baseline “calories burned” number goes down!  When I started this process, I could eat almost 2800 calories a day and never gain or lose an ounce.   Not surprisingly — I recorded several days of “regular” eating before I started, and I was averaging exactly 2800 calories!  It’s not so surprising then, that I’d be at that exact weight for nearly 3 years.  My magic burn number now, after losing 26 lbs, is down to 2645.

😀  I love the way math and science works!

It’s also very important to note that if you let your metabolism slow down to starvation mode — by eating 800 or 1200 calories a day less than you are burning — the first 2-4 weeks WEEKS after you raise your calorie intake post-diet, your metabolism will still be burning on LOW — starvation setting.  This is an evolutionary characteristics of humans — developed because of long, food-scarce winters, and drought-plagued seasons with no available resources.  In the end, your starvation-metabolism will take your “normal diet” and use those extra, unburned calories to put weight on you in preparation for the next winter or dry season.

This is where we got into that nasty yo-yo dieting mess to being with !



I’m walking more.  I bought myself a little hi-tech pedometer so I can keep track.

Because all my joints are in danger of doing what the joints in my thumbs/hands/wrists have done (complete loss of connective tissue so that the nerves are unprotected and resting between bones — and hurting like hell if I don’t take very good care of them) it seems to me that waiting until there is less load for load-bearing joints is a good idea.

I will start exercising my knees/hips/ankles/feet more when there’s less of me to destroy the connective tissue I’ve got left.

In the meantime — walking, playing light games/sports on the Nintendo Wii will have to do.


Fat, Carbs, Sodium, Sugar, Fiber, Protein, Calcium, Potassium, Vitamins, Cholesterol etc.  THE BIG CHEMISTRY SET

This is where the paying attention portion of living shifts from weight-gain/weight-loss/weight-maintenance to Pure Health.

Calcium and Vitamin D

I pay attention to calcium because all the women in my family history died 6-8 inches shorter than they lived.  And if you think those 6-8 inches were lost because they shrank, you’re an idiot.  They “shrank” because the bones in their spines, hips, and joints crumbled like old chalk on a blackboard railing.   Have you ever had a broken bone?  Well — imagine your bones breaking 1mm at a time.  Thousands of breaks every year.  Every morning — more breaks.  More crumbling.  Cell by cell.  It’s no wonder pictures of old women showed them hunched over, and using a cane or crutch to walk!

Prior to the 20th Century — hardly anybody drank milk once they left infancy.  My 5’5″ grandmother never drank a glass of milk of her own free will in her life.  And when she died, she was under 5′ tall.  Understanding that calcium and vitamin D are important really is a new thing.

So I pay attention.  I drink at least 1 glass of 1% milk (usually 2 — and usually organic chocolate 1% milk!), and eat at least 1-oz of low-fat cheese or a carton of yogurt (not that nasty mass-market gelatin crap– real live yogurt) every day.  And most of the time, I add a calcium/Vitamin D supplement.

Fat and Cholesterol

Talking about yogurt and milk and cheese brings up the topics of fat and cholesterol.

I am not on a low-fat diet.  I don’t intentionally buy fat-free anything.

I cook with whole milk, butter, olive oil, whole eggs, bacon, sausage and cheese.



Several reasons.  Fats are what keep the neurons in your brain functioning smoothly.  Really.  And given a choice, I’d rather be a fat blob that thinks well, than a svelte and athletic mindless toad.

Fats are also what keep your skin healthy, your hair shiny, and your fat-soluble vitamins available.

Also, fat is one of the key ingredients that make other foods taste good.  And I’m really into tastes good as a deciding factor in what I’m having for dinner.

Okay — I do pay attention (there it is again) to how much fat I eat.  That’s where comes in.  I enter what I eat, and it counts the grams of fat and shows me what percentage of my daily calories-in come from fat.  I aim for 30-35%.  Some days I may go as low as 20% — other days, I may hit 45%.  But the average is constant.

Because I pay attention.

I don’t eat fried foods but once in a blue moon (technically, that would be 3 times every 2 years) — and some years not at all.

And I add butter to veggies after they’re cooked, rather than during cooking as my mother and grandmother did.

I do use real butter — because it tastes wonderful — and the wonderful taste does not depend on using a lot.  A teaspoon of butter goes a long way, flavor-wise; whereas I could use a tablespoon of another fat and still not be satisfied with the flavor.

I feel the same about low-fat and fat-free cottage cheese, yogurt and sour cream.  If I’m going for the sour cream flavor in a soup or on a baked potato — better to use a small amount of the real thing than a whole tub of something that tastes bad, disappointing, or fake and has a slick texture because of the added gelatin or lecithin used to thicken it.  Cream cheese is the only exception — because neufchatal cheese (which is a lower milk-fat version of cream cheese) tastes exactly the same to me as its hi-fat cousin.  And on a bagel — well.  Neufchatal it is.

Cholesterol is a bit of a slippery slope (so to speak) in the American diet.  Most of the cholesterol we eat comes from meat, eggs, and dairy products.  I don’t want to cut down on dairy — because I need the calcium.  I don’t want to cut down on eggs, because they are so useful in cooking, they taste good, and recent research is attributing so many positive health benefits to whole eggs that I’m not sure we can afford to lose them.  So —

I eat less meat.

In general, I eat 4-8oz of meat and poultry a week.



Which leads us to protein.  Over the years, one of the things I’ve figured out about all those crash diets and starvation diets is that a shortage of protein gives me a headache and makes it hard to concentrate.

So if I don’t eat meat — how do I get enough protein?

Again, we’re back to and their database.  I shoot for 20-25% of my daily calories to come from protein.

By rejecting the American hamburger and hot-dog diet, I go to fish and vegetable sources for my protein.  Beans, peas, nuts, and nut butter!.  — And yes, I realize many perfectly healthy vegetarians live decades on tofu, but I do not like tofu, and so do not eat tofu.

I eat fish and seafood once a week (even though I live in the land-locked panhandle of Texas where no scallop or lobster has lived since before the dinosaurs became extinct.)  I have a handful of either walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts or almonds every day.  And bean soup is one of my favorite foods in all the world.  I average 2 meals of beans or bean soup every week.


I’ve talked elsewhere on this blog about fiber.  Weight Watchers talks about fiber.  Atkins talks about fiber.  Every diet that’s paying attention at all is talking about fiber.

The current batch of research has decided (in direct contradiction to the experts for the previous 20 years) that fiber really isn’t going to do us any good in preventing colon cancer.   Like so many other ideas that come and go — this one will probably be back.

But that’s not why I eat a lot a of fiber.  I eat fiber because it is FILLING, and it lets your body do a more efficient job of through-processing.  You eat good nutritional foods –> your body extracts all the benefits –> and discards the rest.  And it happens faster with a healthy supply of fiber.  In .  Out .  Done.


You have to drink a lot of water/clear liquids for it work properly.  You have to be consistent.  Voila!  And it works especially well when ridding your body of all those fluids created by the dissolution of fat.

The nutritional guides say 20-25g of fiber a day.  I’m finding that I’m running more like 35-40g according to my handy online database — sometimes more.

Carbs and Sugar

I don’t bother with counting carbs.  If I’m getting enough protein and hitting my numbers on fat and fiber, my carb numbers run about 45%.

The only place I pay attention with carbs is to make sure they don’t come primarily from sugar.  This turns out to be a pretty easy turn as well — because if I’m eating my carbs as whole grains and potatoes/rice/pasta, plus at least 3 servings of veggies and at least 2 servings of fruit per day — then there’s not much room left for sugar.

Which is good.  Because I eat 4-8g of chocolate every day because of its unbelievably high antioxidants.  (yeah, right)  And because it tastes good.  72%-cocoa chocolate (or even higher) turns out to have more that 100 times the antioxidants of blueberries, pomegranate, or any of the other so-called superfruits.  This gets lost in the media because of chocolate’s bad reputation as candy (empty calories.)

As it turns out — candy — if it’s mostly dark chocolate, dried fruit, and nuts — is not the boogie-man it’s made out to be.  And if it’s 72% dark chocolate, dried blueberries / raspberries / cranberries / blackberries or poms plus walnuts or almonds — then it’s so dense with antioxidants and other nutrition that you might as well call it medicinal!

And even if it had no antioxidants at all — I’d still eat 4-8 grams a day.

Take that! Diet Police!

Potassium and Sodium

These are the last 2 things on nutrition labels that I pay close attention to.  (Yes, I know there is a lot more information that’s very useful — but these are the things I keep track of daily.)

Body chemistry is a complicated and amazing thing.  I don’t have nearly enough information to understand it.  But — there are some things we know for sure — and some newer bits that seem to be important, and are coming soon to a news-cycle near you.

Too little sodium, and your metabolism suffers.  Too much sodium combined with too little potassium, and it suffers.  Sodium makes you bloat and carry around more water in your cells.  Exercise too much without replenishing sodium and you dehydrate, pass out, or worse.  Eat too much sodium so your cells fill with fluid, and your heart has to beat harder to get the blood oxygen / fuel to all the places it needs to be.  Too much of a chemical imbalance like this and you put your hard-working pump at risk of massive fail.

The current wisdom on sodium is that a person who is moderately active, eating a 2000 calorie diet, with no high blood pressure history and no diabetes can safely consume 3500-4500mg of sodium a day.  That is considerably less that most people eat in the US.

Restricted sodium diets recommend a number closer to 1500-2000mg of sodium/day — regardless of how much you exercise, or how many calories you eat.

I shoot for 3500mg of sodium a day, but I rarely hit it.  Cheese has salt.  (it’s required to make milk become cheese.)  V-8 Vegetable Juice has salt.  Pasta sauce, canned veggies, olives, pickles, canned fruit, canned tuna — pretty much anything that’s preserved, in a can, cured, fermented, or aged has salt.  That’s a really high percentage of everything in a grocery store except for fresh.

And — while I really respect the idea of a mostly fresh diet — it does not lend itself to travel, workplace environments, college, volunteer work, or day-to-day living.  It’s also the most expensive way to eat in the USA.  (So why isn’t the government subsidising fresh organic food, instead of the petroleum industry?)

There are low sodium varieties of many processed foods — and that’s good.  Even cheeses can now be found with lower sodium.  The problem is — we like salt.   I like salt.  Read Alton Brown on salt and he explains why it’s important to flavor and taste buds.  We like it because of its taste and because we NEED it to function.   Even when we buy low-sodium foods — we miss it — and far too many of us waste the money we spend of the lower sodium foods by adding salt at the table!

Then — there is potassium.  Another component in the body’s self-diagnosing and self-treating chemistry set.  Turns out — it may be that when eating 4000-5000mg of potassium per day, AND 3000-4000mg of sodium per day –> the potassium may actually be cancelling out the negative effects of the sodium on blood pressure and heart function.  Potassium is important because it works with sodium to maintain the body’s fluid balance.  And diet’s that are high in sodium, but missing crucial potassium may actually lead to high blood pressure in people who have never shown tendencies in that direction. For more information on this, look at this write-up in Men’s Health Magazine on the relationship between sodium and potassium — and blood pressure.

Potassium is also important to maintaining BONE MASS (see calcium, above), concentration, and coordination — all of which are fairly important to me.

What we do know we is that we need a lot more potassium than most of us are eating.  And multivitamin potassium is nowhere as beneficial as getting it from food directly.  And athletes need even more.  So — here’s a list of naturally high potassium foods, ranked from highest to lowest:

  1. soy flour
  2. blackstrap molasses
  3. wheat bran/oat bran
  4. cantaloupe
  5. apricots
  6. cooked spinach
  7. winter squash
  8. pears
  9. tomato purée/sauce/juice
  10. papaya
  11. mango
  12. cucumber
  13. raisins
  14. figs
  15. sunflower seeds
  16. pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  17. walnuts
  18. peanuts
  19. prunes/prune juice
  20. lima beans
  21. brussels sprouts
  22. pinto beans (all legumes)
  23. potatoes w/skin
  24. green peas/lentils
  25. fresh yogurt
  26. sardines
  27. tuna
  28. halibut
  29. avocado
  30. cabbage
  31. broccoli
  32. bananas
  33. honey

For an even more complete list of foods rich in potassium, look here at!

Here’s a link to my very best, high potassium, high fiber, high protien, reasonably caloried  recipe: WIFFA Green Bean Stew.  It clocks in at 220 calories per cup — with 14g of protein, 4.5g of fiber, and 700mg of potassium.

The truth is, we don’t really have much of a picture of how the chemistry set works.  On the coattails of Linus Pauling and his lifelong examination of Vitamin C, we’re being amazed and confounded by all the implications and nuances of each vitamin, mineral, and chemical that comes into play.  We’re starting to recognize that potassium, Vitamin D, B12, B3, — pick your B vitamin and prepare to be astounded — but they all are pieces of a puzzle — and the machine doesn’t work without all the puzzle pieces present and in the right combinations and amounts.

These are the ones I’m paying most attention to because I already know I’m not getting the right amounts.

You have to know your own body, and pay attention.  Pay attention.


If your head hurts, that’s a clue.

If you are forgetting things — that’s a clue.

If you are tired all the time — that’s a clue.

If you are not sleeping at night, or if you fall asleep during work — those re clues.

Muscle aches?  Dry skin?  Puffy ankles?  Impatience where there hasn’t always been impatience?  Short Temper? Does your mind wander?  Has your breath or perspiration odor changed?  How about your feet?  Are your fingernails more brittle?  Are they harder?  Are your gums bleeding?  Is your vision blurry?  Is your hair breaking or falling out?  Having trouble concentrating?  Short winded?  More infections than normal?  Thirsty all the time?  Not thirsty at all?

All of these are clues.  They’re things you need to pay attention to.  Many of them are things you need to repeat to your doctor.

Pay attention.

Body mass, metabolism, body weight — all of this is chemistry and math.

Pay Attention