A health and fitness blog: With an occasional food item

Sunday, August 31, 2008

My new hero


Kei Nishikori of Japan is my new hero in the tennis world. He cranked up the juice last night in the U.S. Open. Did you see it?
He beat the '07 semifinalist, David Ferrer, in five sets.
Then today I read this piece on John McEnroe, who continues to share his knowledge and love of the game as a TV commentator.
Closer to home, the tragic news is Hurricane Gustav. Today I met a couple in spin class who got on the early side of the evacuations; second-year students at Tulane University School of Medicine in NOLA, they're staying with the woman's parents. Turns out, the guy just rode his bike from the west coast to the east. He said it took him two months. (Spin class? Not a problem!)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A new partner in your health

It's been called a number of names: Preventive medicine, predictive medicine, proactive medicine.
The Center for Health Discovery is a new venture at Emory University in Atlanta.
This is intriguing, as Western medicine tends to focus on fixing and curing disease. So, we — docs and patients — are more attuned to crisis rather than health promotion, or maintenance.
But you don't have to wait for a crisis to get well.
Read the article from Emory magazine here. Let me know what you think about this concept.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Java news


We try to stay away from shameless commercials around here but this one is for a regional company with a good cause to back it up.
Cafe Campesino, HQ'd in Americus, just sent an e-mail that said they're open 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday (Labor Day). They will be laboring even though others will not.
There's a link on the site to Fair Trade, which means they pay good wages to coffee farmers. So support them if you can.
Their brick and mortar address is 725 Spring St.
Have a safe holiday weekend.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bisquick's twin

Our friends the Lowdogs had this video on their blog and we liked it so much, we had to post it too.
If you want to know what Bisquick is really like, watch this.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Peanut butter: Alone or with a 'vehicle?'


Yeah, there's the war and all. And high gas prizes. And the free-fall housing market. And soaring unemployment.
But here's an itch that really deserves scratching: Is it OK to eat peanut butter BY ITSELF, or do you need a vehicle like toast or crackers?
I bring this up because my husband, and a certain other (male) editor at the office, eat it straight out of the jar. In fact, I bought the other editor a jar of Jif the other day and he has it on his desk and some has disappeared. So I'm wondering if it's a guy thing to ignore the vehicle and go straight to the "buttah?"
What do you think? Take a break from your unpaid bills and phone messages from the mortgage company to ponder this question.
Here's what I think: I think when cavemen sat around back in the days of yore, they dipped their paws into the jar of peanut butter, ate some and then growled for the cave women to go buy some more. Haven't we advanced a bit from that? Graham crackers weren't invented for nothin'.
Gentlemen?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Quiz time


Psychology Today has these fun personality quizzes.
I took a couple of them, and their expected time of completion seems off (on the long side).
I would have taken the attention-span test but I lost focus. Haha.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bon Appetit!

We at the Spin Cycle have always enjoyed stories/profiles on chefs.
This one is no exception. It's from Bon Appetit magazine.
Six chefs, who happen to be women at the top of their game, offer a glimpse behind the scenes of their craft. They are: Melissa Perello, Kelly Liken, Naomi Pomeroy, Allison Vines-Rushing, Alexandra Raij and Ashley Christensen.
Me? It's a good night when I can open a can of spaghetti sauce. So I very much appreciate what they do.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fraud!


This is such a great story. I mean that in the journalistic sense — blowing the whistle on Medicare fraud.
Here's my favorite graph, to whet your appetite:
" ... A Florida businessman was sentenced last year to 37 months in prison for submitting more than $5.5 million of fake claims to Medicare. The businessman operated for months, despite giving the agency an address that was actually a utility closet."
Not only is it shocking about the closet, but that the guy got only 37 months. Justice, HELLO?! are you there?

P.S. Shown in photo, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said an inquiry could follow the allegations.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday poll

This comes from
an Associated Press story that says Alabama state workers who weigh too much could pay for it, in a monthly fee. They have a year to lose the pounds.
Take our poll, which is stolen from the AP poll.

Do you think employees should be charged fees for being overweight?
Yes
No
  
pollcode.com free polls

Friday, August 22, 2008

Making cones at Brothers

This is my foray into shooting and posting videos.
This here is Irvin "Brother" Rosenberg making waffle cones at Brother's General Store.
Location: Broadway between 11th and 10th streets. Visit early and visit often.

video

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dives

If my father were given the choice between an expensive dinner with the current Republican president or a lunch alone at a truck stop diner that is cooking its hamburgers in a vat of bacon grease collected over the period of fifteen years, he'd say, DO NOT FORCE ME TO MAKE THAT CHOICE, GEORGIE.
Dooce.com

Just to be clear, the guy meant he would choose the dive. (And I gather from Dooce's previous posts that her father is a Republican.)
What are some of your favorite spots? Suffice it to say, Waffle House makes my list. Another, which sadly is out of business (probably because I moved) was called Pop's Truck Stop. It was in Monteagle, Tenn. Their sweet tea could send you directly to an AA meeting. Or dialysis.
Part of the allure of a dive is that there's little to no pretension. Therefore, it's pretty cheap. The food has to be good, and the people-watching, too, of course.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gym as soap opera


Got to develop this more but I'm reminded every time I'm at the gym that it's a little soap opera. I'm not sure how many members we have, but it could actually number the population of a really small town. Being a natural eavesdropper, I hear things, or I pay attention to things around me — even though I try and just do my thing and get in and get out.
Happily, not many people know my name at the gym, and even though I've been a member more than two years I know relatively few names myself (partly because I'm bad with names; an occupational hazard). That's mostly by design. I seek to be pretty anonymous at the joint.

And yet.
1) There's the couple who aren't married but who work out together every day, spotting each other with weights; by the looks of some of the intimate moves, they need a room but the woman mentioned her husband to her guy "trainer" the other day. I always assumed they were a pair.
2) There are definite cliques. This mostly seems to depend on which trainer has which trainees. Are you one of C's people, or one of J's?
3) One person has been guiding some others on diet. These are not otherwise hefty people. They have NO fat to lose. I think there's a happy medium on the diet/exercise thing. Unless you are training for the Olympics, no real need to go this overboard. Some, mind you, need to go overboard. Like if you weigh 500 lbs.
4) One guy dominates most of the classes he's in. By that I mean he hogs space without regard to others. I think this is universal in gyms. There's always at least one.
5) One woman stands out, too. I call her the Groover, because she's always sort of dancing to her iPod on the stair climber or whatever else she's doing. This was sort of off-putting at first but then I thought, "Good for you, girl. Strut your stuff."

Any gym observations you'd like to share?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Feet?

Just saw R., a friend of mine, down the street.
He said he got home late last night and mixed together the following ingredients for his dinner: Onion, cucumber and ranch dressing.
"What'd it'd taste like?" I said.
"Feet."
Then he wasn't feeling too hot so he ate some bland cereal.
"In case you're wondering," he said, "milk doesn't sit well with onions."
Or, probably, feet.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lost in translation


This is so depressing.
(If you're not a reader, it won't be depressing.)
Stats from the story say 40 percent of people in the U.S. read a book--or less than one book--last year.
I recommend my husband remove all the sharp objects in our house immediately.
FORTY PERCENT. ONE BOOK.
On our nightly walk just now, Michael and I saw one car pull of out of a driveway. Both the driver and the passenger were on cellphones. "They're probably talking to each other," he said. Around the corner, a woman was walking with her toddler son, pushing a baby in the stroller while her shoulder cradled her cell phone.
Then today I interviewed a minister to college students who reminded me that e-mail is out; texting is in.
I know each generation has its own splits in which the older one laments the way it used to be and the younger rolls its eyes. In my teen years, Walkmans were all the rage. We could tune out people (read: parents) like many do on ipods today.
But I digress. Reading an actual book is a labor of love. And then, really, not laborious at all.
I feel so old.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

It's Phelps — again!

Cheers to Michael Phelps. The 23-year-old broke Mark Spitz's 36-year record after Phelps secured eight gold medals at the Olympics. Spitz held the record at seven.
Now NBC has to find a new darling for its second week of coverage. Shouldn't be too hard, though.
Also, I felt for Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain during the Women's Marathon. Did you see the pained look on her face over the last few miles? (In her defense, I'd have had the same look, but after about the first two miles — never mind 26.) Proud of her for fighting to the end, though, especially since the British press raked her over the coals four years ago for quitting. You could read determination all over her face.
Check out this AP news video of Phelps' feat.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's Phelps!


Certainly after Friday, Michael Phelps is a household name.
The U.S Olympic swimmer beat Milorad Cavic from Serbia in the 400-meter. By one-100th of a second.
The previous Gold medal record-holder is Mark Spitz, who congratulates Phelps in this article.
Read Mitch Albom's Detroit Free Press column here.
Earlier, I read a piece in the Times that said Phelps has been pretty monk-like in Bejing, listening to music, playing cards, eating, sleeping and ... swimming. I daresay you'd have to be that focused, to do what he's doing. (Then there's that Malachy McCourt book, "A Monk Swimming." Never mind.)
Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cha-church?


When you think "lottery winnings," you might say, "cha-ching." But this Florida church rejected a church member's tithe of $600,000 because he won it through gaming.
If you're clergy, what would you do? Accept or reject?
If you won a chunk-o-change, would you offer a slice to your congregation?
I know my church could use the money so hey, Mr. Powell, send us a check!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

This ain't right

But it's funny.
There's even a reference to Aflac, Columbus' homegrown insurance company.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Just wondering

How can those super athletes competing in the Olympics thrive on the likes of McDonald's and Budweiser?
They're two of the main sponsors.
A French fry every now and then never hurt anybody — yet I can't see them washing down a Big Mac with a cold one.

P.S. Before some lawyer calls me, let me say I have nothing against the sponsorships, or even these in particular — just that it sends a mixed signal to those of us sitting on the sofa.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pulled the trigger


No, not that kind.
Bought my first car in 10 years. It was sad to let the old one go, but also time. Not a bad experience, considering the feeling you get that you are opening your wallet, emptying it on the floor and leaving it with them; and it beat the previous two experiences I had--in 1990 and 1998, respectively.
Yet here's a tactic I noticed: Different people kept coming in and out of the office where I sat and waited on different things and each one apologized for how long everything was taking. "I know we need to get you out of here," that sort of thing. I took the afternoon off from work, so I wasn't in a hurry, really.
Then after they gave me their price and various percentage rates based on the years of payoff, I told them a rate I got from my credit union. So then they went back and crunched the numbers and came up with an APR that was about a quarter-percent less than what I brought in.
I was thinking to myself, "Boys, I'll camp here all day if I can get a better deal."
Also, I think there needs to be a way to bottle that new-car smell. Ahhhh.
This is where I got my car.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Salad days


Recently I blogged about a great salad I came across at The Cannon Brewpub, a local establishment; then lo and behold, stumbled today upon another one.
Found this one today at Lakebottom Bakery & Deli. The location is 1815 Garrard St.
It's called the Cran Bleu Salad: Mixed greens topped with dried cranberries, bleu cheese, pistachio nuts, tomatoes, cucumbers and roasted chicken garnished with marinated asparagus.
Those things sticking out of the side? House chips, which are quite addictive.
All in all, yummy-licious.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Amazing story


Hope everyone is having a good weekend.
Mr. Owen is grilling a BUTT (as in Boston) for guests — and us — later; if you call in time, you might can come, too. We're in the phone book.
Catching up on some reading earlier, I found an amazing story in the New York Times Magazine from July 20. David Carr, a media columnist for the Times, wrote about his decades-long history of drug and alcohol abuse. And how he lived to tell about it.
It's sad only in the way that you realize how much time he wasted; and how many people he hurt. He doesn't seem to write to bring pity on himself, but perhaps as a wake-up call for others in the same situation.
It's pretty amazing, as well, that an obvious gift of words enabled him to rise to the heights of his profession.
A snippet from the piece:
"I always thought that people who spent endless amounts of time drilling into their personal histories are fundamentally unhappy in their lives, and I'm not. I'm ecstatic in my own dark, morbid way and subscribe to a theory of the past that always allows the future to unfold: We all did the best we could."
Read it all here.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The girl in the window

This horrific story comes from the St. Petersburg Times. Get out the Kleenex.
Blessings on the family who adopted Dani.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Suggestions for a happy life


Don't take health for granted.
Don't interrupt.
Don't tailgate.
Listen to your children.
Wave to the children on the school bus.
Leave everything a little better than you found it.
Leave the toilet seat in the down position.
Keep good company.
Keep your promises.
Be kinder than necessary.
Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.
Vote.
Be a good loser.
Be a good winner.
Be romantic.
Whistle.
Marry only for love.
Don't rain on other people's parades.
Call your parents.
Enjoy real maple syrup.
Remember people's birthdays.
Never refuse homemade brownies.
Never gift fruitcake as a gift.
Don't nag.
Don't expect money to bring you happiness.
Miracles happen every day.
Say thank you a lot. And please.
Take your dog to obedience school; you'll both learn a lot.
Slow dance.
— From the Web site of an area car dealer.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Scrambled


Georgia, especially the southern portion of the state, has a variation called the scrambled dog (or dawg, as it is colloquially known). Originating in Columbus (that's here!), it is a cheap, usually red-skinned hot dog, served on a toasted white bun and topped with mustard and spicy chili. This particular chili contains beans and has large chunks of diced raw onion mixed directly into the prepared sauce before being spooned onto the dog.
The Scrambled dog in its traditional configuration was invented at now-defunct cigar store and newspaper stand run by Firm Roberts on Columbus' Broadway beginning in 1908. The most famous purveyor of the dog today is the city's Dinglewood Pharmacy, where it is topped with ketchup, mustard, chili with beans, onions, sliced dill pickles, and oyster crackers. Scrambled Dog purists do not put cheese in any form on the dog. While the recipe is relatively consistent on a city-by-city basis, each town has a unique opinion on the propriety of the presence or absence of American cheese on the hot dog. Typically a scrambled dog meal is regarded as incomplete unless accompanied by a Coca-Cola (which also originated in Georgia).
— Wikipedia.com

Good thing I like to Spin, and like those Stability Balls. Had this today for lunch, at Dinglewood.
If you are ever headed to Columbus, look me up and I'll treat you.

Stability ball


The stability ball is my BFF, as the young people say.
When you exercise with one, your back stays protected so your injury risk is slight — unless you do like I've done and fallen off the thing. At times, I've been self-conscious doing all my rolling around on it and falling but then I remind myself other people are trying to get a handle on it, too.
If you have used a stability ball, what's your favorite move? So far, mine's the one where you put it against a wall and do squats.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"If the phone don't ring, it's me"

This is an interestine piece from the Times, from Saturday.
It seems that a new feature called Slydial (get it?) can allow you to let someone know something without having to actually talk to them. Which is pretty cowardly if you think of it (as says the last line in the story).
Say you want to break up with Steve. (Or Jane, to be fair.) But you think text messaging or e-mail is too impersonal. But you don't necessarily want to get into all the reasons and such in an actual conversation. Slydial lets you leave Steve or Jane a message without having his phone ring. It goes straight to voice mail.
This really cracks me up.
Technology is great in soooo many ways but what happens when we get so impersonal we don't know how to relate to people anymore?

P.S. Slight confession: E-mail was invented just for me. The older I get, the less I like talking on the phone. Could jab for hours as a teen-ager but not anymore.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Negotiations


So. I started the business of negotiating for a new car today. It's been 10 years. Regular readers of this blog will know that my current car--an otherwise reliable Honda Accord--is possessed by the devil. Which might be a sign.
So I went out to the dealer and met a nice guy named George (yes, he is nice); and we had a good chat as we drove around for a test-drive. Being in the business I'm in, I know his pastor so that was a good connection.
When we got back, he wrote down some numbers, including what they would give me for my car. I'd already been doing some research in the Kelley Blue Book so I knew what I was facing. And their numbers square pretty well.
My next questions are these:
1) How do you politely say, "Lower your price?" and how possible is it that they'll do it? Because there's really no point in paying what's on the sticker.
2) The price George gave me, with trade-in allowance, Is that THE final price or is that without tax, tag and title?
3) Would you recommend my going this alone, or taking Michael? Mainly I want to see it through to the end, solo, because what if Michael got hit by a truck and couldn't go with me? I've bought two cars already without "reinforcements."
Yet I also know the reality that having a man along, whether the salesman knows it or not, gives a sense of back-up and perhaps added power. Going solo? Let's just say my previous buying experience in another city felt like that scene with Jodi Foster in "The Accused."
Not to put too fine a point on it.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Taps


Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.


Our friend Lucius died this morning. Lucius Powers was his name.
He was one of the bravest and kindest men I've ever known.
Rest in Peace, dear friend.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

'My God, the dead has arisen'

When I was younger and still living under my parents' roof, one of them sometimes said that to me after I got out of bed in the morning.
It comes from this movie clip from "The Color Purple."
What a great scene.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Here, KITTY KITTY KITTY


More big animal news. If you see this cat sauntering down the road, better move to the other side.
At 44 pounds, Powder (aka "Prince Chunky") makes Bisquick look absolutely petite. He was turned over to the pet shelter in Camden County, N.J., after his owner had a foreclosure on her home. Sad story.
Instead of using the scales normally used for cats, the vet had to move to dog scales.
Arf.