A health and fitness blog: With an occasional food item

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Share your cold remedies

Dear Internet, due to heavy doses of sleep lately, due to a cold, blogging has not been high on the ol' agenda. Please share your "cures." I know it has to run its course and all we can do, really, is mask the symptoms; but I thought I would gather more tools for the toolbox. And it's too bad this happened because it really is a pretty weekend here.
Do share.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Her 15 minutes are up

It would have been such a poignant story. If only it were true.
One Tania Head of New York City has told tales of working in the south tower of the World Trade Center, and surviving the attacks of Sept. 11. Five days after her alleged survival, she said she discovered in a hospital that her fiance Dave had perished in the north tower. And that they'd already been living together in the city with a dog named Elvis. They'd been to Hawaii, she said, and would have married after the attack.
Ms. Head, promoting herself as one of 19 survivors from that day, had become the president of the Survivors' Network. She's not any longer.
Turns out, not many people questioned the details of her story. The schools she said she attended have no record of her. Nor does the employer she named. (Merrill Lynch).
Her lawyer told the New York Times she had no comment.
Read it all here.
To what lengths would you go to for such fame? If any at all?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A little slice of life

Picture this: Late afternoon, end of the work day. Car in shop. Friend takes me to pick up car. When we arrive at Garage of Favorite Mechanic, Mechanic is not around. Another guy--a slow talker and man of few words--says he's gone to look for a part for a customer. I also don't see my car. Friend has already left. I ask Slow Talker where my car is and he says it's at the other location, not far away. I wait, soaking in the scenery of the busy street. Cab pulls up. Guy with a briefcase gets out, too cheerful for the time of day and the fact that we are both about to be out $400 apiece. Discovering he has to wait on Favorite Mechanic as well, he starts gabbing on his cell phone. Loudly. Then he strikes up a conversation with Slow Talker: "Nice day, isn't it? How's business?" Etc. He tells some jokes at which only he laughs. I quickly nickname him Annoying Man. Reminds me of the John Candy character in "Stripes."
Mechanic from the other place pulls up in my car, and we discuss the damage.
Another customer and his wife/significant other drive in. She waits in the car. Favorite Mechanic finally arrives and we all pile into the phone-booth sized office, lining up to pay. Smoke fills the air. Annoying Man comes in and proceeds to tell some jokes (all of which are stupid) and drops some things out of his briefcase. Favorite Mechanic takes his money first and initially I am agitated because I'd been there about 10 minutes longer than Annoying Man, but then I realize Favorite Mechanic is a genius; he wants him out of there first.
Man whose wife/significant other is waiting outside glances out the shop window and says, "Great, she's on the phone. Give a woman a phone and she's going to start yakking." I look around the room, packed with about five other people, all males except me. I say, "I don't like to talk on the phone." Sexist Man says: "Yeah, well THAT one does."
I study my bill in the dirt-packed lot. $75 an hour for labor. Realize I'm in the wrong line of work. Do you, Internet, know the feeling?

Monday, September 24, 2007

At age 18

Stealing this idea from another blog. ... In the interest of mental health, say you were writing a letter to a newly minted 18-year-old. What would you say to him/her? In thinking of what to say, what might you regret that you wish you could do over? Or what is something you did at that age that you look back at now and say, "Well done."?
OK, Internet, I'll start. Here is my advice: Have more fun. (Seems to me our lives are increasingly programmed and, as goes the thinking in some quarters, if we don't get into the right preschool, we're doomed for life.) So. Loosen up. Dance more. Jump rope. Run. Cavort.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday rhymes with sundae

Here's a recipe I just found for a guilt-free sundae. If this first one isn't your cup of tea (or syrup), there are more links to browse. Enjoy!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friends: Hazardous to your health?

This MSNBC piece says we eat less when we're by ourselves, versus eating with friends. If you go out to eat with a friend (or more), you are likely to consume more food and/or drink than you would alone. Don't know about you, Internet, but this doesn't always prove true with me. (I can rake it in on my own, thanks.)
Take our cool poll about your eating habits.
When do you consume more food?
When I'm dining alone
When eating with friends
Both about equal
I am always disciplined in my eating habits
pollcode.com free polls

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Keillor on cheerfulness

This is the latest Garrison Keillor column from Salon.com, in which he connects the coming of autumn, his daughter's love of school and the last months of the Bush administration with reasons to be cheerful. He mentions Thoreau and Emerson as examples of cheery fellows, but comments posted on the blog take him to task--that they were actually darker and more complex characters. Most of us are more complex than what appears. But whatever. In typical Keillor poetry that isn't exactly poetry but reads like it, he gives us good reason to look up. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"Blue ribbon" recipe

This here is a recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu, which means "blue ribbon" in French. (As in, you can receive a blue ribbon for this award-winning recipe.)

P.S. But don't eat TOO much Cordon Bleu.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Vicious cycles

This is a fascinating read.
Dr. Dorothy Lewis of Yale University has studied killers her whole professional life. Some are famous, others not-so. She calls the violence they enact a public health crisis. As such, she takes a prevention approach to her work. Based on her studies and interviews, murderers typically have been abused themselves. The abuse not only teaches them to deal with problems with violence but the abuse actually affects their brain.
No matter how you feel about capital punishment, you have to know that prevention would keep more people out of prison, and keep more people alive. In Dr. Lewis' dreams, she would want to work with the families of child-abuse victims instead of working with the defense team, as she typically does, when it's arguably too late.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Back from the hills

Back from the hills, where we attended probably the most picturesque wedding ever. Will post pictures later (after the return of my dad, who has the camera.) My cousin Anna got married behind this bed and breakfast overlooking pastures and mountains; and as we remarked how perfect the weather was, Anna said, "The Farmer's Almanac is never wrong."
Here's something they ran on the back of their program: "Sautee-Nacoochee Valley is a historical community that has long attracted artists and farmers alike. We choose this rich valley soil as our place to stand together today, and choose one another forever."
Anna and her husband Gabe "jumped the broom" after the ceremony, a tradition I'd never seen or heard of.
After the nuptials, we all moved our chairs around tables for food and drink. My mom said the whole scene reminded her of the movie "Cold Mountain." (Minus the gratuitous sex, violence, war and death, of course.)
To justify posting this wedding news on a health and fitness blog, here is something good for you they had on the reception buffet: salmon. And another thing: A few hours before the wedding, I hiked about four miles on the Appalachian Trail. Which was outstanding.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Getting outta town

Happy Friday.
Going to a wedding later on. In north Georgia. It's not till tomorrow evening but hiking beforehand will definitely be in order. Rain or shine. (Rain is likely.) Hope that you, Internet, have a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Acts of Southern aggression?

At a recent party, the subject came up of Southern gregariousness. Here's an example: You are in a room full of people and you start asking questions of someone you don't know. Such as: "Where are you from?" A Southern translation: "Who are your people?" (Full disclosure: I am affected by this. I'm naturally curious about folks. That is either my DNA inherited by two outgoing parents or geographic. Or both. As Fox News says, You decide.)
The couple who prompted this party conversation recently took their daughter to college in New York. The state, not the city. This teen is VERY outgoing. And a new friend of the teen, who is not from the South, said some Northerners take Southern friendliness as aggression. An example: If you are in a major city north of the Mason-Dixon Line, it's advised you don't make eye contact with people, much less engage them in conversation.
This is all such a complete puzzle to me. Can you, Internet, explain?
I'd be "much obliged," which is another Southernism.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Here's to your (cat's) health

Just when you think your pet has it all: Here comes the pet drinking fountain.
Among its benefits:
--Keeps water circulating
--Charcoal filter absorbs tastes and odors
--Adjustable flow control for gentle cascade
--6-cup water capacity, expandable to 12 cups
Says the Web site:
This veterinarian-designed Drinkwell pet drinking fountain continuously circulates and filters your pet's water, making it more appealing than standing bowl water. The flowing action breaks the surface tension of the bowl water to draw in oxygen from the air and aerate the water, keeping it fresher-tasting. Fresher-tasting water encourages water intake and proper hydration, which helps maintain a pet's health. If you have a cat that likes to jump on counters in search of dripping faucets, this fountain can help stop counter-jumping by satisfying the cat's need for running water.
Bisquick just told me he wants one.
There are similar models for dogs, too. Arf.

Monday, September 10, 2007

For richer but not poorer

If you like a good romance, you might like the wedding announcements in the Sunday New York Times. These are great features. Some are longer than others. Some, like this one, are entire stories unto themselves. What does this have to do with health and fitness, you may ask? This might be a stretch but here goes: Feeling joy over others' joy is healthy. (Also, some of the announcements are so over-the-top that you have to laugh, which is also a healthy trait.)
For instance, if you are, shall we say, a person of lesser means don't bother to send yours in. This is not class warfare; this is pretty much true. A friend of mine says these annoucements are all about the couple's parents anyway. "The father of the bride, Fred Schmedly of Westchester County, N.Y., recently published a book, "How to Learn to Putt in Ten Easy Lessons" (Harper Collins). I'm exaggerating. But not by much. In other words, you can tell these couples come from wealth.
Also if you are mentally challenged, don't bother to waste your 41 cents. At least not on The Times. Even if you have a mere bachelor's degree. I've been reading these for so long now, I should be jaded about the number of degrees one can aquire before one is 30. But inevitably a bride or groom's accomplishments will shock. "Lucille Smith Rockefeller received her bachelor of science degree from Princeton. She then completed her M.D. from Harvard, and now is a resident in cardiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. When she was six, she published a book of nursery rhymes."
When I retire, I think I'll write spoofs of these.

P.S. Here is something decidedly health-and-fitnessy for you: Over the weekend, my boss Pork Chop and her husband ventured to Atlanta to hang out with Pork Chop's sister. On some Atlanta streets, they have these really clearly marked pedestrian crosswalks, where if you are driving anything remotely motorized, you have to give the walkers/joggers/crawlers the right-of-way. Pork Chop said they witnessed a woman go airborne after the car next to theirs ran into her. They stopped for the police and ambulance, and stayed at the scene about two hours. Pork Chop's sister had to keep the woman from trying to get up and walk. She apparently was on the way to the soccer game and at last reporting was fine. But the worst part--aside from being hit, of course--was that the driver of the offending car was kind of aloof and arrogant about it. So. Be careful out there. Cross the street with both eyes open.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Tiger, tennis and PB&J

Howdy, Internet.
We are watching Tiger Woods prevail (thus far) at the BMW Classic/FedEx Cup. A big day for sports: The men's singles final continues at the U.S. Open. Justine Henin won Saturday.
And here's something completely unrelated, for the kiddos: How to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Click here.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Secrets of healthy men

Seems that MSN.com did a massive study of the healthiest men around the world. One tip is not to view vegetables as side dishes. Women can probably benefit from this, too. Check it out

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Something fishy

Today's fish dish: Tilapia.
Try this yummy recipe:

Number of filets: Depends on the number of mouths you're feeding

Coat the tilapia filets in a lemon based marinade like Lowry's or "Ken's Lemon and Pepper" then lightly flour the filets, dipping them in flour that has a touch of salt and pepper. In a frying pan (preferably cast iron because that gives it a nice texture while baking/frying), coat the bottom with about a Tablespoon and a half of olive oil. Place the filets in the pan, then take about a half a stick of pure butter and divide it up into little pieces all over the top of the fish (this amount is for five filets). Let it get a bit crispy on top, and watch closely to be sure it doesn't burn. Bake for about twenty minutes at 400 degrees, then turn it and put a little butter on the tops and broil for about five minutes on the top shelf of the oven.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Ten feet from safety

Dear Internet, I have hesitated to blog about this because the last thing I want to do is invite you to a self-centered, narcissistic, naval-gazing pity party. I figure you get invited to enough of those already. But now that I have moved from that phase (somewhat), I feel more free to share. On Sunday, I was 10 feet from safety. By that I mean I was parked about 10 feet from the store in which I was looking for a kitchen gadget.
At the front of my parking spot, where my front bumper would be, sat a shopping cart. Who knows who left it? Doesn’t matter. I wanted to get close enough to it without touching it, but also get close enough to keep from sticking out the back. No such luck. My front bumper touched the cart. It began to roll to the right. Near the end of its roll sat a large green truck, in which a man sat in the driver’s seat and a woman in the front. The woman immediately jumped out and cussed me up one side and down the other. Think of all the bad words you know that you could call a person; she said them. Several times. Loudly. Still sitting in my car with the driver's window down, all I could do was apologize. Several times. That seemed only to provoke.
I sat there and waited for them to drive off. It seemed an eternity. Then I sought safety in the store, where I lost all concentration, couldn’t find what I needed, came back out to my car and called my husband. Crying like a baby. He thought I’d been shot. It felt like it. No one has ever yelled at me this way, at least not in one full swoop and with such intensity over a relatively small slight. To my knowledge, the cart didn’t even hit the couple's truck. The man in the truck sat and remained silent throughout.
I’ve mulled this scene over many times over two days. The part that makes this health-blog worthy, I think, is this: What is appropriate when receiving such abuse? What made this woman so angry? (A friend said Monday she probably was a raging addict. Or related to one.) How might things have been different if my husband or another friend had been there? Would she have spoken?
My faith tradition teaches me not to respond in kind. And to pray for her. It also teaches me to cry out, seek solace, lament. It teaches me not to be holier-than-thou in the aftermath: “I would NEVER do anything like that.” Maybe not. But she and I are on equal footing in that we are both human and therefore both capable of hurting other people.
What is it about us, or this present age, or what have you, that makes us so reactionary? What is it that teaches us, “When threatened, attack? ... Withhold? Disappear?” What makes mercy and grace and forgiveness such foreign concepts? Many in my faith tradition would say, "Sin." Yes, but what does that mean?
Ironically, the title of a book I'm currently reading is "Everything Belongs" by Richard Rohr, OFM. The thesis: Everything that happens--and everyone--belongs because of God's love. Situations from Sunday test me. Does THAT belong? You have to wonder. One day I want to answer yes.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Chili with an 'i'

We're watching the Food Network. Here's what appears to be a good recipe for homemade chili powder.
Hope everyone enjoyed some time off this weekend!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The WH

On the other side of healthy blood pressure: The Waffle House. (If you are my husband's doctor, please don't read this.) After going to a book sale Saturday, I said to Dear Husband: "Here's what I'm thinking: Two eggs over medium, wheat, hold the grits." So we went and it was de-lish. The Waffle House and I have enjoyed a long relationship. I don't go that frequently anymore (like in college for late-night study/coffee sessions; and my college choral director was in a band called Scattered Smothered and Covered. Briliant.) but it's some sort of comfort that you can walk into a Waffle House pretty much anywhere and the cooks and waitresses will yell out: HELLO! Sort of like "Cheers" without the charm. The simple menu. The simple decor. Photos of menu items framed on the walls. Watching the cooks manage multiple orders at one time.
Granted, the Waffle House did its part to contribute to the untimely death of one Lewis Grizzard--so I don't recommend becoming an addict like he was. Just an every-now-and then trip for good, cheap comfort food.
To read a column by Grizzard about his favorite fast-food haunt, click here. Ironically, it's about the need for Americans to walk more.