Archive for October, 2010

It is a silent scourge that is sweeping our nation.  Well, not so much sweeping as cropping up in the oddest places and some people are banging on about it a bit.  It is the deadly menace of low cholesterol.  We know so much about high cholesterol.  We know of the risk to our arteries and hearts.  There are drugs.  There are newspaper articles.   There are support organisations.  But less is known about the very real threat of low cholesterol.  It is a pernicious problem and, sadly,  you cannot raise a dime for it.

I appreciate that not everyone has my brain for complex scientific information, so let me try to render this in terms even George W Bush would understand.  Cholesterol is important for your cells.  It is important for brain function.  My low cholesterol explains why I can be .. frankly … a bit dim. (I know this may come as a shock to many of you, but it’s true)  Those fried egg sandwiches my Present Husband makes me are what fish oil supplements are to everyone else.

Cholesterol is thought to act as an antioxidant, which goes some way to explaining why I look so raddled.   Cheese toasties are like my Oil of Olay.

Cholesterol is important for the production of bile, which explains why I’m not nearly as sarcastic as I could be.   I could be one dangerously venomous wagon if I gave up being a vegetarian, beat into the jumbo breakfast rolls and got my cholesterol up beyond the magic number of 5.  Who could have predicted all those years ago when I gave up meat that it would have such a deleterious effect on my well-being?  If I weren’t so selfless and civic-minded, I’d be pounding into the Big Macs day and night.

The public ignorance and apathy on the subject of low cholesterol can be laid squarely at the feet of the pharmaceutical industry.  They will not knuckle down and invent a pill to cure this dreadful blight.   Instead, treatment is left in the hands of an uncoordinated, rag-tag bunch of dairy co-ops, butchers and fastfood outlets.  Don’t get me wrong, some of them are doing sterling work in this regard.  I especially applaud the fastfood restaurants who are doing very innovative work in the area of combining cheese with fried meat products, which if ingested in large quantities can achieve huge efficiencies in terms of raising cholesterol.

But it’s not enough.  Frankly, this problem will not go away until some greedy, unscrupulous pharmaceutical types get a vested interest in it.  Until then, people like myself will have to endure the horrors of endless rounds of fried bread for many days to come (while looking old and haggard, being a bit thick and lacking in sarcasm).





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With the amount of fluid that comes out of a baby’s nose, how are they not dehydrated?  A baby girl of my acquaintance should be visibly desiccated from fluid loss through her nasal passages.  Not so, though.  A puzzle.

I could live very happily on lasagne for the rest of my life.  I’d accept chocolate if it were offered, though, in case a refusal offended.

When you see guys being led out of court with blankets over them to protect their identities, who brings the blanket?

Why can’t someone start a business going around door-to-door early on school mornings providing socks?  The money I would pay for matching socks at 8.30 in the morning!  They could later diversify into shoes, lunch boxes etc if the market dictated.  But the core business should be socks.

The Lotto jackpot last weekend was €16.4 million.  Just the .4 of that would have changed my life.  Honestly, match 3 plus the bonus would be a godsend at this stage.

The shocks went in my car today.  I have a courtesy car from the AA for two days.  It is a 2010.  It is nicer than my house.








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Yesterday I Ran 5K

It was not pretty.  It took 41 minutes.  I was breathing like an axe-wielding maniac.  And I am coming increasingly to the conclusion that there should be roadside defibrillators every five hundred yards.  But I did it.  I ran 5k.  Five kilometres.  Five thousands metres.  It’s a distance Sonia O’Sullivan can run in her sleep.  It nearly killed me, but I did it.

I used to think it was terribly important that one find time in the day to be alone with one’s thoughts, so that whatever was niggling away at the back of one’s mind could manoeuvre its way to the front and take shape.  So running fit the bill.  However, I now find that my thoughts aren’t really worth being alone with.   Frankly, I am not the deep thinker that I might have supposed.  Mostly when I am running I am thinking either

a) ” Jesus Christ this is hard.  Holy God what possessed me to come out?  I’ll just do ten minutes and go home.  Really should have done more warm-up stretches.  Do they do ankle transplants?”


b) ” Car coming.  That’s it.  I’m gonna be murdered.  Dear God!  Right there, in that ditch, is where they’ll find my body.  I wonder how long it will take to find my mouldering remains?  Wish I’d worn nice underwear.  I wonder what Dr Marie Cassidy will make of me. ”

Sometimes I roll them into one thought where I think

“Jesus Christ this is hard.  Car coming. That’s it.  I’m gonna be murdered.  At least I’ll get to stop running and that awful pain in my shin will be over.  I wonder what Dr Marie Cassidy will make of me.”

But there have been more positives than negatives.  I’m a lot fitter.  I am not quite as disgraceful as I once was when I have to chase after a small fleeing child.  But the real joy has been that, much like when I found out I had low cholesterol – I know, no-one was as shocked as I was over that – I have become hectoring and self-righteous.  When I found out I had low cholesterol, I used to sit next to my Present Husband as he beat into a bacon sandwich and tut tut quite loudly at the damage he was doing to himself.   Now I have become evangelical in the cause of fitness.  Well, on the days when I have the time and energy to go out and run.  On the other days, I am evangelical on the cause of staying in, relaxing on the couch and eating chocolate.  Because it’s important to be alone with other thoughts too.

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Now that the mantle of night falls on us ever earlier each day, and the bitter chill of winter invades the air, I thought I would advance some suggestions for interesting things to do with the kids.  It is only natural that they will bristle  against the restrictions the next few months will impose and thus test the limits of our patience.

First and foremost, there is selling them on eBay.  All children are, of course, priceless.  So coming up with a value for eBay sales is tricky.  My suggestion is just to let the market make that decision for you.  Avoid a “Buy It Now” option.  Eventually a critical mass of miscreants will have been put up for sale and we will be able to determine more accurately what the marketplace can bear using tried and tested economic models (i.e. charging what everyone else is charging and hoping nobody else notices). It is important, however, that we don’t flood the market with kids as this will inevitably force down prices yet further.

However, eBay can be complicated and who has the patience to keep an eye on sales – after all, if you had patience you wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place?  But I read with great interest – in fact, with cartoon dollar signs popping out of my eyes on stalks – that there has been huge increase in demand for chimney sweeps. This important profession was once the preserve of minors, at least until pesky do-gooders got involved.  But with sufficient lobbying, we can get these interfering nanny-state types to back off and a whole new world of employment opportunities will open up. Plus, it will keep the kids occupied for hours.

If you have misgivings about this route (and I can’t say I blame you, the soot  would be a pain to get out of your soft furnishings), you could always rat yourself out to social services. Click here for some pointers on how to bring this about.  I hear lovely things about foster families.  In fact, my own not-so-secret ambition is to be taken into care myself.

As attractive as all of this sounds, the process is quite protracted and the results are uncertain.  You never know – social services might investigate and find you were a perfectly satisfactory parent (unlikely, but stranger things have happened).  Your best bet is to go for the quick and easy option of taking the child back to the maternity hospital and asking for your money back.  I  threaten my kids with this all the time and, so far as I can tell, it’s not the scary prospect that you’d think it was.  Their little eyes light up with glee at the thought of it.  When you get there, work into the conversation that this child was not quite what you were looking for and ask if they have something timid that would go nicely with your new taupe wallpaper.  A small puppy or maybe a terrapin.  Goldfish, I hear, are a bigger commitment than you’d think.  If you really are a lazy reprobate, go for a bonsai.

So there you have it.  Some practical solutions to the inevitable parent-child tussles that will ensue over the coming months.  And if eBay does not prove sufficiently lucrative, the chimney sweep thing proves messy, the social services option backfires and the maternity hospital just refuse (or re-direct you to the psychiatric ward – always a risk, I find), just put on a DVD and go and write in your blog.

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