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Hi there! If you’d like to see ONLY my extensive research on Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, bariatric diet and managing GERD (reflux), you can filter out all my other posts and see just those by clicking HERE. You can see my vlogs about my VSG journey here.

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Sleep Supplement Recs by an Insomniac

Insomnia is a very common issue. People do not get enough sleep or enough quality sleep these days. I’ve struggled with insomnia for literally decades. I’ve tried every aid out there and I’ve got a list of aids that work well. I alternate them depending on how I feel before bed. I take supplements every night.

We use various supplements to get sleep because we are notoriously bad sleepers. Here are some tips from long time insomniacs:

– DO NOT take a shit ton of melatonin! 3mg or less ONLY. Melatonin can turn on you if you take too much.
– Do not look at electronics before bed. If you do, get a blue blocker screen cover or use NIGHT mode.
– Same for when you wake up at night. This is one reason why I keep paper books! I try to avoid screen use when I’m struggling with sleep.
– Don’t bother with Rx shit like Ambien. It’s too much and overkill IMO.
– Be cognizant of your pre sleep habits! No caffeine, nicotine or alcohol.
– Get enough sleep. When you sleep badly, you’ll need MINIMUM of 8 hrs in bed, even if you toss and turn. We generally require 9 hrs to get enough REM sleep to feel refreshed, so give yourself enough time!

Sleep Supplements
Sleep supplements from Vitacost.

There are tons of supplements out there, just be careful of the amount of melatonin in them. Here are some that I’ve personally used and how they work for me:

Nature’s Plus Sleep Assure: I’ve used it forever, it’s got herbs and 3mg melatonin. Great stuff.
Herbs, Etc. Deep Sleep: all herbal, no melatonin. Great stuff, hella expensive.
OTC sleep aid Doxylamine Succinate (NOT diphenhydramine aka Benadryl) this works well, I’ve used it for years.
Synergy Sleep Support (Vitacost brand): Herbs and 3mg melatonin. Works very well!
Superior Source GABA melts, 100mg: GABA helps you fall asleep.
Bluebonnet Sleep Support: herbs and 5HTP. It has been working well.
Enzymatic Therapy Sleep Tonight: all herbal and VERY good! We are liking this one a lot!
Irwin Naturals Power to Sleep PM: no melatonin. This one has GABA and 5HTP, but overall doesn’t seem as effective as some of the others.
Jarrow Formulas Sleep Optimizer: This one has GABA and tiny bit of melatonin. It’s ok, but the ET is better.

Here is the list over at Vitacost, I highly recommend them for supplements, they have great pricing.

Time to Unload, Unpack and Move On

I have learned a lot in the past 3 years. I’ve taken a risk and gotten VSG surgery, I’ve tried to open a restaurant, failed, and lived through it…

Now I’m tired. Tired to the bone.

I think I’ve reached the time for me to unload some of the angst, anger, frustration and disappointment of the last year and a half. Then maybe unpack some lessons learned.

First of all, let’s go back to the VSG in 2016. THAT was one of the best decisions I’ve EVER made. Nick was working, we had the money, it was ALL GOOD. I’m happy with that move and I’d do it again. Even losing my trusty 1994 Honda Civic EX in 2017 turned out OK, for which I am grateful.

Now let’s move to the end of Nick’s job (Dec 2017) and where we were then.

Nick was making a very good living at NuVision after 20+ years. At the end, he was making $75k. We knew months in advance that the shop was closing – they were down to their last client (Rite Aid), which had been bought by Walgreens. When that shot clock started in mid 2017, we decided to see if we could perhaps roll our existing arcade business into a bigger, more lucrative concept: arcade pub.

We knew we didn’t have the money to start up something like this, so we asked one of Nick’s bosses if he might be interested in investing since NVG was closing, etc. He already owns a bar in Memphis, so we thought he might be amenable. He said he might, so I got to work on a business plan and projections. We had a coupla meetings and he seemed interested, but then he ultimately said no. We think it was actually his WIFE that said no. LOL

So we shelved the idea and Nick continued to close down NVG, which was a MASSIVE job. December of 2017, NVG finally closed for good, Nick got his severance and applied for unemployment.
Continue reading “Time to Unload, Unpack and Move On”

Progressive Capitalism Could Be Our Savior

I’m reading an article about Progressive Capitalism on marketwatch.com. It is a well written article by Joseph E. Stiglitz about neoliberalism’s long term effects and how progressive capitalism could end the decline we’ve been suffering for the last 40 years.

Neoliberalism is the idea that deregulation and trickle down economics will sustain the whole economy and bring prosperity to everyone. It was put forth by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in the 80s and it is the driving force behind the economic decline of the US as well as the UK (and Europe in general). It is obvious that trickle down economics does not work and allowing the private sector to self regulate is folly.

The rise of megacorporations and oligopolies that control pricing and have zero competition has brought us high priced and low quality cell services and broadband. It has also brought us outrageously overpriced healthcare that is not sustainable by any stretch – and people are dying because of it.

The U.S., after all, stands alone among developed countries in not recognizing health care as a basic human right. Ironically, while the U.S. spends more on health care — both per capita and as a share of gross domestic product — than any other developed country, its predominantly private system delivers worse outcomes. U.S. life expectancy is barely higher than that of Costa Rica, a middle-income country with one-fifth the per capita GDP of America.

I agree with this statement 100%. It is crystal clear that the private corporation driven healthcare system we have does not work. Yet, it is all we will get as long as insurance corporations and big pharma control the government with lobbying dollars.

The Trump presidency has reminded us that such checks are indispensable for the proper functioning of democracy. But it has also exposed the limits of existing institutions (such as the Electoral College, through which the president is chosen, and the Senate, where a small state like Wyoming, with fewer than 600,000 people, has the same vote as California, with nearly 40 million), underscoring the need for structural political reform.

I’ve said for years that the dismantling of the checks and balances of our government will end in chaos. It’s happening. I’ve also said that the Electoral College should be eliminated completely. It is unnecessary and it is an anachronism. We have the technology to count the votes, so let’s count them. I, for one, am sick to death of having the POTUS installed despite NOT winning the popular vote. This is a huge red flag! Yet, this is what we get as long as fascists are in charge. Fascists love this system because it works for them.

At stake in both America and Europe is our shared prosperity and the future of representative democracy. The explosion of public discontent across the West in recent years reflects a growing sense of economic and in political powerlessness on the part of citizens, who are seeing their chances of having a middle-class life evaporate before their eyes.

Yes, indeed, we’ve watched our chance at a middle class life evaporate. We are currently living at poverty levels. If it weren’t for the credit card debt we’ve run up (about $50k), we’d be homeless right now. We are middle aged people who get jobs making $17/hr. This is seriously fucked up. I see jobs for $12/hr with requirements for a college degree all day long on the job sites. This is how far the economy has fallen. You’re expected to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a college degree, then you’re looking at a $12/hr job. How is this even reasonable?? It is NOT. But the whacked out economy with corporations running amok is how we got here. It is the race to the bottom and it is not coming, it is happening. Right before our eyes. We know, we’re living it. We will never retire. There’ll be no Social Security and we have no retirement savings, thanks to using it to start a business, which is the only way we’ll make enough money to pay our debts and keep a roof over our heads. Even with BOTH of us working full time at $17/hr, we’ll barely keep our heads above water. At least with our own company we can make enough to stay afloat and maybe, if we’re REALLY LUCKY, manage to save a little for retirement when we’re too broken to work any more. The Boomers never had to face these sorts of decisions. They got their fat stacks and they tell us to fuck off.

We have conducted a 40-year experiment with neoliberalism. The evidence is in, and by any measure, it has failed. And by the most important measure — the well being of ordinary citizens — it has failed miserably.

Yes, yes it has failed miserably. We are middle aged and broke. We have $50k of CC debt at 25% interest. We have shitty job opportunities. Hell, I can’t even FIND a job. At least Nick found something, but I’m here to tell you that we CANNOT live on $34k before taxes.

We are pretty much forced to pursue this pub concept. It is literally the only way we’ll be able to avoid bankruptcy.

So, I say bring on the progressive capitalism. We need to do something before we are all living in the streets while the top .01% eat cake. And let’s kick out the fascists while we’re at it.

Welcome to the new misangela.com!

For the 20th anniversary, I thought I’d give the old place a refurb!

I’ve not been able to get typekit to work with this theme, so the fonts are pretty bare, but otherwise, it’s clean and mobile friendly. I’m using Twenty Seventeen by WP.

I’m the only one who will give a shit about the typography, I know, but I do, dammit. Sigh.

Hope y’all like the new look. Headers will be my nature photography. Enjoy! (Yes I know my logo is blurry. Gotta get my graphics weasel on that to see why it won’t sharpen for me.)

Being a Generalist in a Specialized World

This is a review of the book Range by David Epstein.

This Author wrote The Sports Gene a while back, and he begins this book with showing how the famous 10,000 hours rule for sports and some other specialties can work, but how it mostly is not the way to ensure success in the real world. I’d agree with that overall assumption. I’ve got my 10,000 hours in bookkeeping, but it’s just one small part of the vast array of things I know how to do. And I’m a better office manager because of my wide range of skills.

The Author also goes into the separation of learning environments into “kind” and “wicked”, with kind being an environment where a specialist can thrive, such as golf or chess and wicked being an environment where just practicing what’s already been done will not work. As you can imagine, most of life is “wicked” – requiring the ability to think on your feet and pivot ideas when necessary. This wicked environment is where generalists thrive. I’d say that the entrepreneurial environment is one of the most (if not THE MOST) wicked of them all. This is where being jacks of all trades benefits us most.

I just finished the chapter on “grit” and why too much grit is a bad thing. I AGREE. This is the battle that Nick and I fight regularly. He has too much grit and I have too little. This is how $70k gets lost.

I think that learning to find your match is more important than sticking it out to the bitter end. Matching is a tedious process of trial and error that I’ve done my whole life. Which is why in my 50s, I’m more focused on what really engages me and what I really want to do, which is cook for people. The way for me to accomplish that AND do everything MY way is to open a restaurant.

The issue is that opening a restaurant is, itself, a winding and circuitous venture where grit is NOT your friend. Had we employed less grit and more pivoting, we’d have bailed on this lease in April rather than dumping $40k more into a partial buildout.

Live and learn, as they say. But managing the urge to stick to a bad plan because of what’s already invested is a VERY bad habit. And it’s one that I do NOT plan to entertain ever again. Nick and I will continue to fight about this, no doubt. His Taurus nature makes him stubborn AF and he never ever wants to give up, no matter the odds.

This book also touches on the problems that we, as a society, are having with specialists, especially in medicine. Anyone who’s had any medical care in the past decade has surely run into the horror show of being ping-ponged from one specialist to another, with NONE of them actually helping. Every Doctor is a hammer and if your illness isn’t THEIR nail, then too bad for you. Specialization has pretty much ruined the medical field in all areas from research to patient care.

I found this book to be an excellent read. The Author has extensive end notes with citations and he has done a really great job presenting this information. I highly recommend this book!