Crunchy Chicken is hosting a challenge: Hitch up your wagon for Pioneer Week! Participants are supposed to make our meals from scratch, including pasta, butter, and cheese; decrease energy and water usuage; decrease driving as much as possible; our entertainment is supposed to more old-fashioned like reading, games, or crafts; and try not to buy anything.

I need Halloween candy anyway, so I’ll be buying fresh veggies (I’ll be watching my soluble vs insoluble fibers for our IBS, which has been behaving pretty good lately with the prebiotics and digestive enzymes), flour for homemade bread and pasta (the processed AP kind, not whole grain, which has given me numerous IBS attacks), and lots of whole milk for butter, yogurt, and cheese (oh and some whole cream too).

I doubt I’ll be able to get hubby to not bring his beloved processed frozen lunches, but maybe if I make his favorite meals, I might be able to get him to carry leftovers a few times.

I’m just glad the challenge doesn’t require not using electricity at all (I had enough of that with Hurricane Ike!)

They’re predicting Hurricane Ike will turn north once the high pressure zone in the upper atmosphere weakens, when happens is what’ll affect where Ike strikes. We’ll probably know more Wednesday afternoon or evening. In the meanwhile, I’ve seen comments on blogs like SciGuy’s about people pretty far inland planning on evacuating, and making reservations in hotels much further inland.

I don’t know all these early-evac folks’ stories, maybe some of them have elderly family members, or a family member dependent on machines for livng (had my son lived, he would have needed power for daily peritoneal dialysis). But I saw a few commenters writing they would probably evacuate because they didn’t want to be without power with a toddler — one lived NW of Houston!, while the other lived further south than I do, and I’d evacuate from where she lived.

On the flip side, there were a few coastal commenters wondering if they should evacuate…um YES!

As for me, although I’m nervous about the four trees surrounding my house, I’ll probably ride it out just to avoid another panic-induced mass exodus. However, if the evacuation goes much smoother with the new Contraflow plan, and Ike makes a sharp turn north to threaten Houston, AND becomes a category 4, I might do a last minute evacuation. But no way would I prevent people south of me, that are in more danger, from escaping as long as they leave in their allotted priority timeslot. I got into a comment-argument with someone in the NW part of Houston defending their right to evacuate anytime they wanted, the coastal folks be damned — she didn’t exactly say that, but AFAIK she might as well had said it exactly like that! It reminds me of the scene in Titanic where they locked the gates preventing the below-decks from escaping.

Meanwhile, I started freezing water bottles to build up thermal mass, and have cool potable water. I’ll check NHC’s 5-day forecast right before hubby leaves for work, and if they have Ike shifting north towards my area, I’ll take hubby to work so I can fill up both tanks on the truck, and see if the supplies have started flying off the shelves yet.

I haven’t blogged much here since I had a few more gut attacks, when I figured out I wasn’t Celiac after all, but responded to IBS triggers (mine is insoluble fibers). Then the attacks slowed down quite a bit, but I still had a few moderate attacks while learning a new diet.

Now that I finally figured out what was causing those painful gut attacks, I wanted to blog about it. But, I was also thinking about trying out monetizing a blog. From what I read, blogs now do better if they’re tightly focuses — or a niche blog. Well, I was blogging whatever here, so it certainly wouldn’t qualify as niche, so I started a new one just for IBS, called IBS Nurse.

I wanted to put some unobtrusive ads on it, so I found a new server which allowed sub-domains, so I started another blog too: Shreela’s Online Money Experiment.

And I even started a Squidoo Lens: Diagnosing Gut Pain, which was quite a learning curve. I think I’m most proud of the movies for Celiac Disease and IBS, and the Digestive Enzymes voting section I just added. I may or may not make money from that Squidoo Lens; there’s a lot of stuff I’m not comfortable linking too (like IBS cures that are just expensive enemas — repeated enemas are unhealthy, and only a temporary cure for IBS-C, why not find what’s causing it so you can prevent attacks instead? And take supplements that’ve been tested like probiotics instead). But I’ll never know unless I try it, so I’m sticking with the Squidoo Lens on Diagnosing Gut Pain because it might help someone else find what’s causing their gut pain after their doctors rule out the more serious conditions.

I did manage to get a few things planted in my garden during this time, but even though I put in compost and manure, they still did poorly. I can’t convince my husband to till with the rototiller to loosen up the gumbo soil because he says it’s pointless. So I’m going to try container gardening for Houston’s second season (starting any time now).

So that’s what I’ve been doing lately 8^)

Karen Knows Best blog had a post about people making out in public: What’s So Great About Outdoor Sex? It reminded me of this story, so I wrote it in the comments there, but I wanted a copy on my blog so I could enjoy it later on, after I forget about it again:

I was cocktail waitressing at a fairly popular nightclub during the
early evening on a slow night. On the slow nights, they ”closed” down
half of the club by having the lights turned off.

A couple we’d never seen before went straight for the back corner in
the dark ”closed” area, and started making out in a round booth that
was the VIP booth on busy nights. Me and the other waitress took turns
walking all the way to the other side to see if they wanted to order,
but they acted like we were interrupting their makeout session, so we
slowed down our trips.

A little while later, one of started to make the trip again, but
returned to the open area after noticing they were about to ”engage”!

We enjoyed eating the ice there because it was soft, so we always
had ice handy during slower times, so one of us chunked ice across the
room at the couple. I swear I can’t remember which one of us did it
first, but after the shocked giggles, the other one chunked some ice

At first, nobody else there knew what we were doing, because we
tried to cover our throwing motions. But because we were giggling so
much, some looked over and caught us.

It didn’t take very long before all the other customers in there
were chunking tiny soft ice pieces at the couple. Not all hit them
because it was such a long distance, but I bet at least 1 in 4 hit
them. They’d look around a little at first, then all of us would look
away…la la la.

Eventually the bartender ratted us out to the manager who had
finally come out from the office. He chewed both of us out quietly for
a few minutes — we were still on the floor, but the customers kept
chunking ice while we explained how the woman’s top was up and we
actually saw her boob a few times, and he was working on her lower
parts when we started throwing the ice.

With all the customers laughing because they were still taking turns
chunking ice, the manager finally started laughing himself. So that was
the end of our chewing out, because it’s hard to chew someone out when
you’re laughing.

The customers really were into chunking ice by that time, and no
longer took turns. It was like a minor hail storm by the time the
public nookie couple left. Everyone cheered, bought each other drinks,
and it was one of our better nights in drink sales for slow nights. Ah
camaraderie against pervs LOL

I ordered this Spin Dryer because I’m tired of carrying heavy baskets full of wet clothes to the clothesline to save money on utilities. Sure, it will use a little power, but not nearly as much as a traditional dryer.

I think it’s much smaller than a traditional dryer too.

They also have a manual washing ‘machine’ I’ve been wanting. I received the email from them that they were finally in stock again, but after going to their mini-washer webpage, there was a note in red about how the frame didn’t fit correctly. So I wrote them to let me know when they receive the properly fitted washing machines from the manufacturer. I mostly want it for when there’s a power outage, which happens frequently on the coast because there’s so many thunderstorms (or worse).

They used to have some electric mini-washing machines too, but they’re not on the washing machine webpage anymore. Apparently these people sell out certain things quickly. So when I see an electric mini-washing machine, I’m ordering it ASAP.

Bill Marler is a lawyer specializing in food-poisoning cases, but he’s an advocate for us all when it comes to food safety. Apparently I’m not the only one that thinks highly about his food-crusades:

Many people–including me–think Bill Marler is a modern-day superhero for his tireless work fighting Foodie crimes of poisonings…
Haphazard Gourmet Girls – What’s Bill Marler Eating During The Chowpocalypse?

After reading Marler’s interview snippets, I read the entire interview at Haphazard Gourmet Girls, and it was fascinating to read how passionate he is about food safety. Marler mentioned drinking alcohol quite a few times in the snipped quotes, but it made more sense in the HGG post, because drinking alcohol can decrease, or even prevent food poisoning.

“Mr. Marler cites a food poisoning outbreak with oysters, in which those who had drunk liquor while eating their oysters didn’t get ill with a norovirus, but those who hadn’t imbibed, did.”

I didn’t know about alcohol and food poisoning, and was able to find a few articles about it:

Red wine can ‘prevent food poisoning and stomach ulcers’ – Daily Mail UK

The Claim: Drinking Alcohol With a Meal Prevents Food Poisoning – NYT

Food Poisoning & Drinking Alcohol by David J. Hanson, Ph. D.

We’ve been drinking red wine for the resveratrol, which supposedly boosts the immune system; and because red wine lowers alanine aminotransferase (ALT), which seems to decrease the chances of fatty liver, and I’m guessing possibly even heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Now there’s another reason to drink red wine with dinner: Preventing or decreasing food poisoning. Our single glass might not be as effective for preventing food poisoning as preventing fatty liver, heart disease, and boosting the immune system. But I get pretty buzzed just from the one glass, so I’ll still have to depend on my food safety practices, and avoid whichever foods are poison du jour thanks to our incapable food czars.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

by Joss Whedon
starring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, & Felicia Day

Neil Patrick Harris is Dr. Horrible, and his arch-nemisis is Captain Hammer, played by Nathan Fillion. just watched act 1; it feels a bit like Little Shop of Horrors so far.

Awful Plastic Surgery was a fun snarky celebrity plastic surgery blog, but the last few months their newsfeed through FeedBurner has intermittantly been setting off many security warnings from my browser or other security settings/programs. (more…)

I started an account with LiveMocha, a social language-learning website, to learn Spanish. I’ve tried to learn Spanish two other times in the past, once at an adult learning center, and once at the hospital I used to work at that offered a trial Medical-Spanish course. Neither taught me how to carry a decent conversation in Spanish because it seems teaching English speakers about making the entire sentence singular or plural; male or female, past or present, is too difficult for English speakers to learn in the short period of time they offered the courses. Once the Medical Spanish instructor saw this happening, she at least translated many phrases important to each of our medical specialties. (more…)

I don’t update Firefox unless it’s a major release in the hopes of the bugs having been worked out. But either there’s new options in Firefox 3 that I need to learn to configure properly, or it’s buggy as far as saving sessions and cookies.

Sometimes it will open with an older session, and occasionally there’ll be no menu bars, just the tabs area. I can’t figure out a way to pull up any menu bars without the main menu (File, Edit, View, ect…), so I have to close and restart. Other times it will start with an older session, but at least my menus are loaded. My husband’s noticed his sessions load sporadically too.

And either Firefox 3, and/or Enhanced Cookie Manager are no longer saving my protected cookies like I’ve grown used to over the last few releases. I’m having to sign in to regular sites every time I load Firefox. Enhanced Cookie Manager was supposedly compatible with Firefox 3, so maybe some new security/privacy enhancements have been put into FF3 or ECM that need tweaking, but I’m not ruling out FF3 being buggy because it’s human nature to blame the new release when someone’s miffed at it 8^P

Under Options | Privacy | Cookies, I’m configured to accept cookies, and to delete them after they expire. Under Options | Privacy | Private Data, I’m configured to Always ask me before clearing private data. The Cookie Manager doesn’t appear to have changed with the release of FF3.

I just want FF3 to stop eating my cookies and sessions.