What About The Sunk Costs?

December 14, 2010

Dear Family,


Looking deeply into my eyes: “There are two Jems in there! See them?”

In NJ, enjoying the carpet: “I'm gonna hop up the fuzzy stairs!”

Staring wistfully out the window, over the mountains, while Ben and he and I discuss the far ranging nature of Sky: “I want to go FAR away.”

Stomping down the path: “That's the sound of the crunchy snow... I like it!”

“I wanna be a train driving on tracks--'cause I wanna drive on tracks.”

Jem is mostly a rational, mature fellow, but still often imagines that danger lurks in the shadows: “I like you to come with me to the bathroom. _Sometimes_ I go all by myself...but I _step_ on the duck so it's dead in a second.”



Ben vacillates between attacks of Food Confusion (when his GAPS symptoms temporarily set in, and mealtimes are super challenging)--and absolute Food Amnesia (when he can't remember a time when these symptoms ever were--even if the food aversions, etc. occurred just hours ago). The other day, during a thankful afternoon of amnesia, he said contemplatively, “I really want to eat Bear.”

In case anyone was worried about Ben's math curriculum (notice: that person wouldn't be me), he is currently studying advanced geometry by way of paper folding. Kristen and family just gifted him with a really cool new book on unit origami, and Ben spent the afternoon assembling multi-hedrons out of tiny pieces of paper. I can't wait until I get to read through some of the books he's been using lately:

--Origami Tessellations, by Eric Gjerde
--Origami Zoo, by Robert Lang
--Unit Origami, by Tomoko Fuse
--Genuine Origami, by Jun Maekawa


Some Random Recent Events:

--We spent 3+ fun-filled days in NJ. We got to hang out with everyone but Jake :(, Athena and Sudip gave the boys some much-appreciated Hanukkah wind-up animals, Ruth procured Amish meat and even made sauerkraut for us, Dad helped Ben and Jem wind the super-cool antique clock, Matt and Loren played hide and seek with the boys, Jeff took Ben into NYC to the Natural History Museum for a day, and Jem and I had a train-watching expedition to Rahway and back. Jem didn't want to leave NJ at all - “I really liked the trip!” he said. It was a great visit, all things considered, except that traveling with Ben is unfortunately still very stressful--and I'd somehow hoped/planned that this time it wouldn't be. If I had somehow remembered to cross “relax and rejuvenate and refresh” off my Travel To-Do list, I wouldn't have had any disappointments...

--I made schmaltz. Not kosher schmaltz, since it was pig fatback, but probably similar in taste to Great-great-Grandma's anyway: you render a whole bunch of animal fat, and then strain the extra liquid fat. Add onions to the pan along with the remaining chunks of meat/solid fat, until they are browned and crispy, and add all the strained fat back in again. It cooks for hours on low heat. You end up with an incredibly flavorful mixture that, when salted and peppered, is a pretty incredibly tasty addition to just about everything.

--I wrote up a brief GAPS resource/reference list: http://www.lifeisapalindrome.com/articles/gaps-resource-list .

--I posted a handy dandy guide, “How to Start GAPS...or, what I wish I'd known last April”: http://www.lifeisapalindrome.com/articles/how-start-gaps .

--Jeff and I watched “Thelma and Louise,” which I'd never seen and which gave me both appreciation for my own life and also for the medium of Motion Picture. It is really fun to stare at screens sometimes. Except that we also tried watching “Chasing Amy” and also another comedy which didn't seem worth finishing. But this is the beauty of Netflix--we can watch forever, millions and zillions of movies, and never have to pay more. The more we watch, the more we save...

--Currently, Athena is en route to Honduras to attend her girlfriend's wedding. We wish her a safe and fun trip, and are currently sending lifty thoughts in the direction of her airplane.

--We only had a total of 21 candles at the start of Hanukkah, but we knew we were headed to NJ on the last day (when you need to burn a total of 9). So we (I) had a fun math exercise, figuring out how many candles to burn down halfway each night, for the first seven days, in order to make us come out even. (On the nights when the candles had to be blown out early, Jeff exercised his Airzooka http://www.thinkgeek.com/geektoys/warfare/60b6/ prowess in order to extinguish them in one satisfying POOF.)

--I've discovered that, when eating a low-carb, high-fat diet, my hypoglycemia (e.g. my constant need to eat to prevent me turning into a Meltdown Monster) is greatly diminishing. I rarely get hungry in between meals lately--and this is the first time in my life when I haven't needed to eat nearly constantly. At the conference I went to last month, I heard Nora Gedgaudas speak, and she used the metaphor of The Body As Furnace--which you can stoke with “kindling,” “twigs,” or large “logs.” They're all flammable, but if, for example, you mostly eat sugars/refined carbs, they are burned immediately (an explosion!), you need to eat again very quickly, and your blood sugar yo-yos constantly. If you eat lots of complex carbs along with some protein and fat, this takes slightly longer to burn--but you still have to feed the fire every couple of hours, an exhausting process for bodily systems (as I can attest!). But if you fuel up with larger “logs” (small amounts of carbohydrate-containing foods (none refined), some protein, and _lots_ of fats) at each meal, you provide your body with a long, slow burn that doesn't peter out and result in hypoglycemic meltdowns... At least, so goes the theory.

--Jeff and I are reading The Cartoon Introduction to Economics: Volume One: Microeconomics, by Yoram Bauman and Grady Klein. I concur with the Publisher's Weekly review, which noted that Bauman and Klein have distinctly pro-Free Trade mentalities. Also, they're a bit too cavalierly dismissive of the deserving concept of externalities--that is, they pretty much ignore elephants in the living room like natural resource depletion, slave/sweatshop labor/human rights violations, pollution, etc. But all in all, the book is amusing and just the level of economics study I prefer for now. And I loved understanding the definition of Sunk Costs, and why you should not base a decision solely on these...


Okay, it's way too late...must sleep!