Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2006
Dear Diary:

The spousal unit's oldest brother has been on vacation for the last few weeks, so he's been doing the brunt of taking care of my mom-in-law. Things can get pretty heated between them from time to time because they have a very different approach to being ill.

My brother-in-law is of the suck-it-up school and refuses to talk about illness. You'd never know he went through major heart surgery back in January.

My mom-in-law is of the bare-your-soul school. An extremely gregarious woman, she spends most of her day on the phone to her wide network of friends talking about, well, their various illnesses.

"We're old," she said defensively to my brother-in-law when he complained about the non-stop repetition of the same illness-centered stories over and over. "This is what we do, we talk about our aches and pains."

The other day my brother-in-law took the spousal unit aside and said he was just about at the end of his rope over the situation. The spousal unit advised him to do what their father did.

My brother-in-law had a one word retort to that advice:



Sorry, I can't help myself. Every time I think about it I start laughing until my sides hurt. When the spousal unit stopped laughing, he told his brother to just go outside and do something. They laughed about how their late father used to go outside until well past dark, puttering. A quiet, self-contained man, he was an interesting contrast to my very chatty mom-in-law.

Speaking of interesting contrasts (yes, yes, that was a segue, an extremely smoove segue if I do say so myself) the spousal unit has become a completely different man. Frankly, I am stunned.

Several months ago, after his brother's heart crisis, the spousal unit went in for a very thorough check-up. The upshot was that his cholesterol numbers are high and given the fact that heart disease goes through four generations on his mom's side, our doctor wanted to put him on Lipitor. Clearly, the spousal unit is predisposed genetically to this problem because he and I eat the same food and my numbers are golden.

Well, neither of us is thrilled to start down the medication road, so the doctor said he would give the spousal unit six months of changing his diet to see if a major revamp would lower his numbers.

So, we did another big switch in how we eat. We now eat an alarmingly healthy diet. When we began this, I gave him three weeks tops to stick to it. To my complete and utter amazement, we're two months in and he's been a real trooper.

So now it's my turn to step up to the plate.

One of the big recommendations for a heart healthy diet is to have at least three legume/bean type suppers a week. We're talking lentils and beans here, stuff I don't cook very often. I've been trying on-line recipes, but have yet to find anything that's been a big hit with either of us.

We have been suffering here. Suffering big time through some fairly nasty bean/lentil based concoctions that make cardboard seem like an attractive dining experience.

I am throwing myself on the tender mercies of my three loyal readers. Do any of you cook with lentils and beans? Do you have low fat, heart healthy type recipes you'd care to share with a somewhat befuddled middle-aged woman?

I'm drowning here. Throw me a bone. Or a lentil, as long as it's a savoury lentil.

Please, please, puh-LEESE leave me your favourite recipes in either my comments or my e-mail box at marn at diaryland dot com.

Help me hold on to my will to live.


Mileage on the Marnometer: 508.25 miles. 10 per cent rubber duck10 per cent rubber duck10 per cent rubber duck10 per cent rubber duck
Oh, man, but I am having a hard time building back stamina. Ouch.

Goal for 2006: 1,250 miles - 2000 kilometers

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