Friday, March 26, 2010

You want me to drink HOW much water?

The last few years I've become frequently annoyed with this pressure to drink water. The, "at least 8 glasses a day" thing. I think the last straw was being told that I need 8 glasses of water and that, No, tea and sparkling water don't count.
Really? What does all that H2O in there do to my system if not get ingested? Tea is 99% water and 1% stuff. You're telling me that 1% stuff cancels out the water? How exactly? If if did, wouldn't the 1% cause the water to shoot through my system so fast as not to get absorbed? I don't get the runs from drinking water, so I'm not believing.
Let me talk about my dogs for a minute. I've got nearly my weight in dogs - two good sized boxers and my 7lb weiner-dog. They, collectively, drink maybe 16 oz of water per day. Did humans really evolve so far from dogs that we're supposed to consume 4x the amount of water? And where did primitive man find so much water to drink daily? And how did he tote it around?
In a Bush-like effort to find the science to support my opinions rather than evaluating the scientific finds, I present you with this:
Summary of the article peer-reviewed & published by the American Physiological Society:
"This age-old advice is the scientific equivalent of an “urban legend,” with no basis in fact, according to a noted Dartmouth researcher whose findings are published in the American Journal of Physiology"

And it gets better! When it comes to coffee, tea, coke and other caffeinated beverages:
"According to Valtin, there is strong scientific evidence that not all of the 8x8 needs to be taken in the form of plain water. Research conducted by Dr. Ann Grandjean and her colleagues has shown that caffeinated drinks – most coffee, tea and soft drinks – should count towards the daily fluid intake for the majority of people. The authors' conclusion that “advising people to disregard caffeinated beverages as part of the daily fluid intake is not substantiated by the results” of their study, was published in 2000, in the peer-reviewed journal, Journal of the American College of Nutrition."

I am vindicated!

Death of a sibling

I have found that losing my brother has been a terribly confusing ordeal. Not just due to his unexpected and shocking suicide, but also as loss of what was supposed to be.
In writing this, I realized how warren fills my childhood memories like mokume metal. When I think of events, he is as much of a part of them as I was, thus our entities in my mind have bleed together. I cannot recall being a child as an experience distinct from being a child with brother Warren. Not that we were some inseparable team, as we weren't a close pair even if it was visually obvious that we were siblings. We had been asked if we were twins more than once.

He had all the same teaches before I did and left shoes that I had to fill. Every teacher said, "Jennifer DeLano? Your Warren's sister, right?" From that moment I knew they would expect me to be smart & well behaved. He was in some ways in the room with me, becoming the yardstick against which I was measured.

When I came home from school, he was there. I might play in the back yard and he'd be in the living room programing the Atari. We traveled together every other weekend to stay with my father in San Francisco. He studied, played the keyboard and programmed.

Only when we went to college and matured in our 20's did my memories start to form without him. Yet, I still recall dates by our relative age. He graduated high school in 1990, and we overlapped one year, so I started high school in 1989. Likewise, we both graduated in 1993 at the same time - he after 3 years at Yale, me from Gunn.

There were a few years after college where he was doing his PhD and I was trying to sort out life after college. But then he brought me on at Sunesis and, again, life was life with Warren. I'd see him daily. We'd discuss the IT situation. He encourage me to stop staying out late on Fridays and find a worthy idea to pursue passionately, as he did with PyMOL. Lunch at Sunesis was spent in philosophical, political or ideological debate with, of course, Warren and other Sunites.

He did have a life outside mine, but it seems like a side of Warren that was very distant from the man I knew as my brother. Yes, he was married. He had a house. He did home projects. He developed PyMOL and impacted the global scientific community. He had a pilot's license and flew planes on occasion.

Our interactions were distant from that world. He continually pushed me to be better, stop all that needless travel and focus on something meaningful. We discussed the impact of the mortgage crisis on the American economy. He told me to stop being so emotional and calm down about things. Yet he did want to "be there for me" when I broke up with Greg. He frustrated me by not getting mom a gift on her birthday.

As we matured, our relationship did change. We stopped annoying each other and even started to interest each other. The last year or so, I think we started to really see the other as adults separate from ourselves. I wonder how our relationship would have changed over the next ten years. Would we have finally evolved into separate beings? I assumed we'd be interesting & annoying each other for 70 more years. That we'd retire to White Sands together and sit at the same lunch table, as we did at Sunesis, and discuss politics, philosophy, economics and such. Of course, he'd probably die a few years before me - I mean, he was my OLDER brother. There, you see that? Even as I imagine my own demises, it is an event tied to Warren.

I struggle to separate us. I feel like he was the balloon and I the hot air - he was always one step, one inch, one year beyond what I am. My actions all get measured against him and he lead the way. My memories aren't of just him, they are of me & him. When I describe him, I am utterly unable to do so without including myself. I have always been in his shadow, yet he protected me from the wind & rain.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Waiting for Warren

The recent weeks have had some ups and downs. On the upside, Marc & I snuck off for a long weekend in Hawaii and he surprised me with a beautiful ring. I started a new job at the same company - which is a good move, yet stressful as I get up to speed. Then we completed a grueling 1/2 marathon with 2400 ft of elevation gain/loss. My ego felt great, but it wasn't able to help me up and down the stairs the last few days. My legs were less thrilled with the accomplishment.

Through this, I've found I've been thinking more of my brother Warren. I haven't had the urge to call him, but wish he could know what I've been doing. Normally mom would have given him updates and he and I might try to find a day to have lunch.

I feel more in denial that I did right after his death. I don't want to accept that he's dead. My father asked who I'd like to have at my birthday lunch and I couldn't include Warren & Beth. It isn't an option. He's been with me for most of the last 30+ birthdays and now he's not.

I feel my brain struggling with the concept of death. What is this not here stuff? What does it mean? Why did he die? How is it possible? Logical answers don't help me with these questions. I want an explanation from the universe - why are we here? Why isn't Warren here? Where did he go?

There just aren't answers. I am hoping my need for them eventually diminishes.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Count me Census!

I can't recall where I was the last time we had the census. I don't recall much, but I do recall that, like this year, I was keen to get selected to fill out the long from. Something about filling out those forms give me a feeling of importance.

However there weren't enough interesting questions on the form. Name, gender, birth date and then race. I get to select White. I'm not of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban or other Hispanic, Latina or Spanish decent. And why do we single out Mexican, Puerto Rican or Cuban? I mean, we don't count Colombian, Peruvian or Jamaican. Why are those three nationalities so special? And what if you're of Peruvian Native American stock? Do you fill out the Native American slot and say Peruvian, as that would be more accurate than Hispanic, right?

Likewise there is no interest if you're from Africa. My friend who is white, Jewish, South African descent... is he white or African American? And why should the Moroccans be lumped in with the Kenyan and Mali? Are they all the same race?

Then we come to the Asian breakdown. Suddenly we have a world of interest with Japanese getting to be different from Chinese & Korean. I mean those three countries boarder each other - that's like saying we need to have the British and Italian differentiate from each other. Are they really difference races?

At the end I realize how meaningless it all is. I check the last box, feel unfulfilled and tuck the form into the envelope to send back. There are more important unimportant things for me to fret over.

Friday, March 05, 2010


I can hear birds chirping. Their twitters and chirps sound much like a mother fussing over her brood.
And such a little noise and I have flashbacks to my childhood. The blurry memories from my first few years at 3330 Thomas Drive. I'd hear them and know I had a day of fun ahead. I associate the birds with warm days - however the memories have blurred with time. First the chirping, then the back yard, then going swimming at the Eichler Swim and Tennis Club. When I was really young - 3 or 4, we might walk to the Peninsula Dairy that wasn't too far away. They kept a freezer out front where we could buy an ice cream pop. They tore down the factory and put in housing developments a few years later.
More than the sights and sound, the feeling of being small floats into my consciousness. The feeling of safe unknown - I didn't know what was in store for that day and I wasn't worried about it. I knew I'd be fed and dressed and have things to do. I wasn't worried that I needed to tackle a To Do list. Or maybe my To Do list had only a few things on it: play, eat, sleep. The world was so much bigger than I was and irrelevant to me. I neither knew nor cared how the milk got into the fridge. It was just there. The cheerios were in their box. The cat was wondering around. A child's zen of living in the moment.