For those of you in the United States, just in case you don’t already know, Boxing Day is basically just the day after Christmas. It’s celebrated in the UK, and apparently in Canada and other parts of the “Commonwealth”, though how exactly it’s celebrated is not clear to me. It’s also not clear to me—after a few random, admittedly not very careful searches—just what the day actually celebrates, other than the day after Christmas, or to what the Boxing part of Boxing Day refers.
It doesn’t appear to have anything at all to do with the sport of boxing, nor the dog breed, boxers. I don’t think it has anything to do with the Boxer rebellion in China, either—why would it? It’s a bit of a mystery. Maybe it’s related to people putting the gifts they didn’t really want that they received for Christmas back in their boxes to take to the store for refunds, or to put in the attic (or “loft” as they say in the UK). I doubt that, though.
It’s been a slightly interesting weekend. On Friday I bit the bullet and went to the evening dinner/party with the office, but I arranged things so that I didn’t need anyone to drive me there or to drive me all the way back to the house. Instead, I took the train up to Delray Beach as soon as the office closed and walked to a hotel—The Hyatt Place at Delray Beach—where I’d decided to indulge in a rather large expense and reserve a room for the night.
From there, after a rest, I walked two blocks to the restaurant and immediately started ordering drinks to allow me to socialize, then had a pleasant evening with the people I know from the office. It had begun to get cold—for south Florida, certainly—by that time, and I was pleased to have only a two block walk back to my nicely warm hotel room, where I cuddled up and slept off my drinks, had a continental breakfast in the morning, and then walked back to the train station at about eleven-ish (it was 3 miles…still is, as far as I know) and took the train back to Hollywood and thence to the house.
Since then, I’ve slept a great deal, which is really nice for me. I tried to keep low on carbs for what I’ve eaten this weekend, because it turns out that I’ve probably become pre-diabetic.
I had been trying to see if I could do a near-vegan* diet, including plenty of legumes and other sources of protein, to see if it could help me be healthier and lose weight. It rapidly did the opposite (I was gaining weight and I felt worse), and as I walked through a Walgreen’s one evening, thinking about my family history, I checked into the diabetic supplies area, amazed to note that one could buy a glucometer for less than twenty dollars! I remember when you used to need a prescription to get one because you needed your insurance to pay for it, because they were expensive.
Anyway, not that day, but soon after, I bought one, and tested my fasting blood sugar a few days in a row, and found it to be slightly high, in the pre-diabetic range. This is not terribly surprising, given my family history, but it was a well-needed confirmation of my suspicion. I have to admit, on those few occasions when I’ve tried a carbohydrate-restricted diet, I have felt generally healthier. But it’s been hard for me to maintain, for the temptations of carbs are everywhere, and are all the more difficult to resist when one is stressed out, as appears to be my default state.
But now I have blood glucose confirmation that things are going to go badly if I continue to indulge—and death by type 2 diabetes is too slow a process to make it appealing. I also know that low carb diets have been objectively beneficial for me in the past—my resting pulse, which normally runs too fast (at over 100 bpm) went down to the mid-sixties, my total cholesterol to about 138, my triglycerides almost ridiculously low, and my HDL at a nicely normal range. You get the idea. I felt better, and I looked better (at least at the chemical, microscopic level), and it was only because I had trouble being motivated to control my appetite that I didn’t stick with that mode of eating.
So that’s the plan, or part of it, for the moment. I’ll keep you posted on an intermittent basis on how things are going.
In the meantime, I’m on my way to the office, though there are far fewer people on the train today than usual—in fact, until five minutes before time for the first train to arrive, I was the only person waiting at the station. I’m still waking up early, but then again, given how much I slept this weekend, at least I don’t feel worn out. It’s good not to feel worn out already, first thing on a Monday morning, but I often already do feel that way. So in that sense, it’s been a good holiday weekend. Indeed, we did not work on Saturday, but I did have a nice (low carb) breakfast and a good walk to the train.
I hope you all have a nice several days in this last week of 2022. Remember, since January 1st will fall on a Sunday, there will be a Friday the 13th in January—not one of the movies, but the day. I always like those days. They’re almost never bad luck for me (and there’s no reason other than self-fulfilling prophecies for them to be bad luck for anyone else).
Please enjoy your elaborate, traditional Boxing Day celebrations. But if you do celebrate by boxing, please restrict yourselves to body blows. Even with gloves and padding, just the inertial transfer of any blows to the head always does some damage to the brain, which tends to be both permanent and cumulative. Many of us can’t afford to lose more than we already have lost.
*I like to make the joke that it’s ironic that people who only eat vegetables or similar here on earth use the term “vegan”, because the dominant native intelligent life forms in the Vega star system—the Vegans, in other words—are obligate carnivores. Of course, that’s just a joke; there aren’t really any native species in the Vega star system—it’s too young a star to have evolved complex life. The inhabitants there are all colonists. But the dominant ones of those are obligate carnivores**.
**Earth people need not fear some kind of carnivorous alien invasion, though. Any species that are products of completely separate evolutionary histories cannot readily eat any of the life forms from the other biosphere. At best they would simply get no nutritional value from their meal—like pandas, as carnivores, trying to get enough food out of bamboo, but thousands of times worse, with only some minerals and electrolytes and perhaps a few simple biochemicals being useful. But much more likely, the eaten life form’s own endemic microbes would begin to break down their hosts while in the new species’ ineffectual digestive system, and would cause physical and probably chemical damage to the eater. Many very basic microbes are remarkably good at dining on things that complex life cannot digest…including said complex life.