Archive for Weight Loss

Our Gift from China

It is hard to buy a manufactured product these days that doesn’t come from China or some other sweat shop nation.  But that doesn’t mean much when you are out shopping.  Normally we buy what we need and take the product at face value.  News stories of product defects, of tainted materials used in the manufacturing process, are usually sloughed off by the everyday ordinariness of life.  That’s why it took me by surprise when the reality of the danger struck home.

Here’s the situation:  T and I had started working out in the pool by swimming laps using kick boards.  The weather had turned warm early and we both needed to get back in shape after a winter of stress and strain.  I had noticed though that T likes to float around in the pool after a workout while I get out to enjoy the sun.  So I went back to the store where we got the kick boards and picked up small size belly board that was small enough for pool use but large enough for her to float on.  So much for good intentions.  What’s that saying “No good deed goes unpunished.” 

Skip forward about two days.  T says “Look at this.”  She is pointing to a small row of pimples on her right side.  “And this.”  She turns so I can see a similar breakout across her chest.  I can tell from the way she is looking that she thinks this is more of the same weirdness that has happened to her body since the gall bladder surgery in February.  In another two days the breakout has spread to the backs of her knees and all across her abdomen.  “I don’t understand what could be causing this.” she tells me.  “I stopped using any medications over a week ago.”  So we go back to the doctor, who prescribes a steroid ointment, and then, either Benadryl or Zyrtec, whichever works since he really doesn’t know what the cause is but sees it as some sort of allergic reaction.

Meanwhile, I am still trying to figure out what could have caused this to happen.  Could it be more post surgery body stress?  Was it the sunshine, the pool water, the combination of both?  It didn’t make sense.  Then I looked at the belly board I bought for her to float on.  China, tainted lead-based paint, asbestos, flash across my mind and I suddenly realize that the pattern of the breakout actually matched the way she would lay on the board as she floated in the pool.  Shit.

“There are generally three types of product liability cases: negligence, strict liability and breach of warranty” say the folks at

Strict Product Liability

If you can prove that a product is “unreasonably dangerous” – that it has a design or manufacturing defect – then you may be able to establish that the defendant is “strictly liable.” Unlike negligence cases, you may not have to prove the manufacturer knew about the danger, because even if they didn’t, they should have. (One of the main purposes of this provision is to hold manufacturers accountable for developing safe products). You still, however, have to prove that the product caused your damages.

Is this the case?  How can I even start to prove it?  Yes, the board was made in China, but how do I pursue a product liability case with so many other factors involved?  Maybe it wasn’t even mis-manufactured but just made with latex in the processing.  She is allergic to that.   The site recommends talking to several lawyers, and warns that the whole process of pursuing a claim will be extremely expensive.

No, for now I’m stuck with this.  Blogging about it in hopes that the blogosphere might have a response.  I’m also going to take this question over to JD’s getrichslowly forum and see what the folks there might suggest.


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Went out dancing

last night with my swing dance buddies and as usual it was time well spent.  The music was live blues and swing by a group called Buick Wilson.  Smooth lead guitar, strong bass work, great salty-voiced vocals, and the best part – two one hour sets of nothing but swing, East Coast, West Coast, and One Step with an occasional slow dance to cool us all down.  It’s a tradition that’s been going on here in the North of San Diego county for 35 years and counting.  It started out as a Friday night Happy Hour back in the 80’s, low cost drinks no cover no minimum.  Then the club, the world reknown, Bellyup Tavern, added a Wednesday edition.  I can’t tell you how easy that made the work week.  It was like having two weekends a week.  Great for your conditioning too.  Since dancers don’t drink too much and serious ones like my crowd try to dance every dance, you can’t help but burn off the lbs and develop real staying power.

As I said it has been going on for a long, long time through many different variations.  Now we pay $5 at the door and the drinks are regular priced except from the well.  But they put out pitchers of water and glasses of  ice at a pour your own spot on the bar so it is still by far the cheapest date in town.  Not that my crowd is really into the dating thing.  It’s more of a meeting place for old friends and new faces but the focus is on the dancing first and the meeting mostly second.  We also get to share the news about where else the bands we like are currently playing, like The Coyote Grill up in Carlsbad or Tio Leos down in Old Town San Diego or the Elks in Encinitas.  I guess you could say we have by happenstance formed a real community that shares concerns: how can we support a band we like or what else can we do to convince the club owners to keep using live bands.  The thing is that it is all rather unplanned.  The original BUT owned by Dave Hodges was a neighborhood bar with a small dance floor and no stage.  We went there to try out the stuff we learned in our dance classes and found out that it was a comfortable place to be.  Then as times changed, ownership too, we changed into a group concerned that we not lose this valuable experience to the vagaries of time and money.  Whenever it was needed somehow the word got spread and the dancers as we’ve come to be known in the community at large were there.

So as I said, I went out dancing with my swing dance buddies last night and it was still great.


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Losing weight the hard way

A few years ago, I became so concerned about the extra pounds I was carrying that I actually joined one of those dieting plans.  I got the pre-planned diet, the once a week counseling, and the target weight loss.  About half way through the program, I realized that the losses had leveled out and I was starting to gain back the lbs.  So I dropped the plan and went back to my usual strategy for weight loss, excessive exercise.  That worked for a while until the stress of the job began to take my attention and time, and  back came the pounds.  So then I decided on taking the radical approach.  I went to a health food store and picked out one of the 48 hour flush plans.  Within 10 hours I had lost 5 of my target 20 and I was sick as the proverbial dog.  My head ached, I had a fever, and my mouth tasted like old sauerkraut. 

But whatever I went through then was nothing compared to the trip my wonderful partner, T, has taken to lose her extra.   A year ago last December, she became enamored of the ads that were then running for weight loss with Jenny Craig.  She loved seeing the fat woman, Kirstie Alley, before become the skinny after.  So she joined and for approximately $90 a week all her meals became planned.  She took the once a week weigh-ins, she learned to cut up her meals into itty bitty bites, and she drank rivers of water.  Seven lbs, 4 lbs, then for a long while, 1 pound a week was her weight loss all through this past summer and into the fall.  About 25 pounds and 10 months into the plan though something began to happen.  She began to have a problem digesting.  She felt like she had a constant cramp in her right side.  Gradually her nights became sleepless.  I’d wake up to find her watching TV with the sound down low.  She stopped eating the Jenny Craig and went to her doctor.

Skip four months ahead to a week ago last Friday, when T took one last fearful look at me as the nurse wheeled her into surgery.  Four months of constant pain, plus one last excruciatingly painful visit to the ER had convinced her to join the apparently thousands of others who choose to have gall bladder surgery.

So here we are, slim and almost boney, T and I.  She has been limping towards recovery for 10 days now.  Those extra pounds are definitely gone.  The way that she picks at her low fat food indicates they won’t be coming back any time soon.  Our trip to weight loss has definitely thinned down our emergency fund.  If there is a plus side to all of this, it’s that T has discovered she has tons of clothes in her closet that now fit perfectly her new slimmed down chassis.  And I, well, let’s just say there ain’t nothing wrong with hugging a slimmed down chassis.  But if we had it to do all over again, there’s no question we’d pick a way that was a lot less painful.

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