A health and fitness blog: With an occasional food item

Monday, September 29, 2008

Name that duck

Name this duck. He currently resides in the fountain outside of the newspaper. First time I noticed him was Saturday.
If your duck is missing a home, come get him. Otherwise, he'll gladly be adopted.
Prize awarded to the most creative name. Go.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Coming Tuesday: Clean dishes

The disease spread.
Not long after our oven died, the dishwasher — situated right underneath — kicked the bucket. Something with the motor. True to most things these days, it'd cost about as much to get a new one as replace a part. So we did and it will be installed Tuesday. Meanwhile, we are suffering like those in the developing world (!) and washing by hand.
We should have called our priest to come do a funeral. Why not? He met us at the vet's in 2004 when our first cat, Manny, needed to be put down. (Cats have not had good luck in this house, as I may have mentioned before. Granted, Manny was old; but the next one we got, another grey tabby named Levi, lived less than a year because he came to us with a disease from the shelter. Which we didn't know until it was too late.)
Anyway, on the day of Manny's Execution, when he didn't get a last-minute stay from the governor, I told Michael I'd called Doug to meet us at the vet's — which he at first thought was weird.
The technician came into the exam room and said the vet was running a little late, and I said, "That's OK, our priest isn't here yet." She looked at us funny.
Then Doug came and he read a poem about cats and I started crying; and he said a prayer; then the vet came in and did her thing and we petted Manny and talked to him and he was gone.
Bisquick, meanwhile, is feeling fine and continues to be fat and happy.
If you need any dishes washed on Tuesday or thereafter, let us know.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Internet and hypochondria

First, this. We at the Spin Cycle are saddened over the news of Paul Newman's death. He died of cancer Friday in Connecticut at age 83. Newman was one of the class acts. (And, he had those great salad dressings.)
My main tale today is a new theory: That the Internet — or, searching thereon — can turn one into even more of a hypochondriac than one might already be. For instance: Google the words "dry mouth" and "hair loss" and one of the 199 possibilities on one site is diabetes.
This particular instance is not autobiographical; but there have been others. "OMG, I have cancer."
As with most things, I can see both sides: How docs probably roll their eyes when the upteenth patient says, "I saw on the Internet ..." but also, arming oneself with as much (solid) information as possible is liberating.
Any medical experiences with the Internet — good or bad — out there?

Friday, September 26, 2008

What a gas

Did you see this?
Then I was interested to read this morning about Lance Armstrong getting back into the racing scene.
What do you think?
Have a great weekend, Internet.
And remember (whether you cycle or not): May the wind at your back never be your own.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Time to 'waddle and dawdle'

Now for something light and (somewhat) frivolous: The changing of the leaves.
Read here about great places to go.
The closest recommendation to us is the Great Smoky Mountain National Park; but, thanks very much, I'll watch the leaves change on TV here before I get in bumper-to-bumper traffic there.
Plus I am of the humble opinion that this town in the Smokies would win Tacky Town USA. If there were such a vote.
(No offense to those of you who may be mayor of Gatlinburg.)

"Gatlinburg is a shock to the system from whichever angle you survey it. ... It sits just outside the main entrance to Great Smoky Mountain National Park and specializes in providing all those things that the park does not — principally, slurpy food, motels, gift shops [400 of them], sidewalks on which to waddle and dawdle — nearly all of it strewn along a single, astoundingly ugly main street.
"For years it has prospered on the confident understanding that when Americans load up their cars and drive enormous distances to a setting of rare natural splendor what most of them want is to play a little miniature golf and eat dribbly food. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most popular national park in America , but Gatlinburg — this is so unbelievable — is more popular than the park."
— from "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Um, reality?

This Barbara Ehrenreich piece appears in today's NY Times.
There's something to be said for living on Planet Reality. And there's obviously a line between "the sun is always shining" to "the sun never shines." Sometimes, at least for me, it seems the sun will last forever; and other times the clouds stick around for what seems an eternity. None of us (I hope) are completely one-sided, all the time.
The deluded optimism that Ehrenreich writes about is very popular among Americans — and certainly the financial world — which can be helpful. But not always, as we're now seeing.
What do you think?
Now for some practical tips about money.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


You know the news. Here's some of the latest.
Had lunch with a clergy friend today who asked a pointed question: Where exactly does the money go that you lost in the market? (By "you," he meant the understood plural, because if I were serious about making money, I probably wouldn't be sitting in this chair.)
My friend said he was seated next to an economist on a flight to California recently; and he asked the guy that same question and he really couldn't answer.
Say you have a hundred dollars. You give it to someone to invest. But then the money's all gone (not hypothetical, as you know.) So. Where does it go, exactly?
My new theory is, we'll all be living in caves again and baking bread by sunlight. Maybe we can all go live with Eustace Conway. (See below.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Slow as Christmas

The Internet is creeping along tonight. I might have to send out smoke signals to get this one filed. ...
Currently reading "The Last American Man" by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's about one Eustace Conway who sits/works on his massive property near Boone, NC, and teaches people things such as sustainability, hunting and growing your own food and the general wastefulness that is the American life.
The preserve is called Turtle Island.
Either this guy's certifiable, or he's so cutting edge, he seems certifiable. Or maybe a little of both.
If you've read it, let me know your thoughts.
To read more about Turtle Island, click here.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What a cool gig

The Sports Illustrated writer Gary Smith has what's got to be one of the coolest jobs around. Though I've never been a sports writer (mainly religion, which is comparable if you think about it), it's got to be pretty great to immerse yourself into four full-length profiles a year. Obviously, Smith has paid his dues at the magazine over two decades, and now can perhaps relax a bit, away from the daily grind.
Here's a good quote: “I really want to understand stuff, go on a journey,” he says. “Bringing a judgment to the subject, there’s no journey.” (Translation: You really can find something redeeming in the toughest of folks.)
And, to live in Charleston, S.C. Ooh-lala.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Doing the math

It took me a few seconds to translate 72 oz. of steak into pounds. (It's 4.5). In perspective, a pretty standard-sized filet weighs 8 oz., or half a pound.
We were watching the Travel Channel the other night and a feature on this Amarillo restaurant came on. On this show, three guys of rather average girth tried to finish the meal (with sides) in an hour. None of them could. Not a surprise, really.
Then on Wednesday, a co-worker shared how he was in a Krystal-eating contest last year at a state fair — how many Krystal burgers (we call them gut bombs) you could eat in a minute. Our friend didn't win. He only ate three.
In both cases: Gross.

P.S. "Big Texan" is a bit of an oxymoron, yes?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A pill for everything!

One day, we might be able to program commitment.
Spouse 1: "Honey, did you take your monogamy pill today?"
Spouse 2: "No, but thanks for reminding me! I was just going to go jogging with my new friend Jill."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So long, farewell

To our friend and colleague Brad Barnes.
He's going to work for The Duck, aka Aflac. Here's a little song to send him on his way.
We'll miss you, Brad!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Internet, con't.

Heard this guy interviewed on Georgia Public Radio today.
He's a professor "just up the road," as we say.
In the radio interview, he made it clear that he's not against the Internet and all its advantages; but he also said teens are especially in a cocoon if all they're doing is communicating with — and learning from — other teens via computer.
Now, I don't have a dog in this hunt. I don't have children. But I do care that we might be raising new generations of people who aren't very well-rounded and who don't go to museums or read books, and who can't spell entire words without abbreviations.
What say you?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Technology and time

Defer no time. Delays have dangerous ends.
— Shakespeare

Eating at a fast-food restaurant on Saturday, on our way back home, a woman sat nearby with a young boy. The woman was frantically text-messaging, then she'd put the phone down and stare at it; then she'd pick it back up and go at it again. The boy ate his food silently. I found myself hoping this was the boy's babysitter instead of his mother. Somehow it mattered to me that it wasn't his mother, caught up in "conversation" with someone outside the restaurant.
People say all this technology buys us more time. My question is, Time for what? How do you and I use our time saved by e-mailing and texting and faxing? (Faxing's not new, exactly, but it's still technology.) Is text-messaging, say, a means to an end? Or just an end? If I send a text to someone, do I have in mind to spend more face time with someone else as a result?
My unscientific findings say that the technology, collectively, is an unhealthy escape. An addiction. I get that new things are attractive and cool. But if what results is that a child is ignored while the person in charge of him wears out her thumbs on a phone, well, we gotta rethink our definition of cool. And spending time.
What do you think?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Dialing paws

Bisquick begrudgingly alerted me to this story earlier today.
Begrudgingly, I say, because it involves a canine, not a feline.
His raging jealousy may even have gotten the best of him; even after getting a morsel of grilled chicken from our dinner table, Bisquick whined incessantly then bit Mr. Owen on the leg as he was walking down the hall.
Don't bite the leg that feeds you, I say.

P.S. This story also further illustrates my husband's insistence that the German Shepherd is the best "brand" of dog. I say golden retrievers and/or labs. Truth be told, if this had happened to someone who owned a lab, the person would have died while the dog licked him and wagged his tail. Want the job done? Call the Shepherds.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Jesus on a UFO

Instead of boring you with tales from vacation, I'll just bore you with photos!
These are all from western North Carolina.
I will relay one story, however: In talking with one of the locals on Thursday, we found out that a group of people in a nearby town gathers in the evening to look for UFOs. A sub-group within this group thinks — nay, believes — that Jesus is coming back on one of the UFOs.
I'll just leave that story sitting there as is. Let it sink in a little bit.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Take our poll

Does your pet snore?
I'm not sure
pollcode.com free polls

I ask this because Bisquick, who's sleeping soundly beside me, has been snoring. And also twitching his paws. Any vets out there? Do pets dream? In his case, he is probably envisioning his next meal.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Happy 70th, Billy!

Our friend Billy Winn celebrated his birthday tonight with family and friends. We were delighted to be there.
The guy playing guitar is named Earl. Earl lives in Atlanta and some years ago, needing some money for college, he sold a song called "Shower the People" to one James Taylor. For $500.
The guy standing with Michael is Dusty Nix. Until about 18 months ago, they were partners in crime on the editorial pages. Then Michael became metro editor — when The Boss said, 'Hey, you want to be metro editor, don't you?'
Not sure why Dusty looks like he got soaked with a water hose, but there you go.
Happy 70th, birthday, "Uncle Billy!"

Friday, September 5, 2008

Eyes crossed

Or is it T's dotted? Haha.
Using this with both meanings today. My eyes feel a little crossed because a friend and I rode on the Riverwalk after work. Being in the gym most days, I forgot about mean ol' Mr. Headwind.
And before I left work, I had to cross some T's and dot some I's because, well yessiree, Mr. Owen and I are on vacation as of now. Yay for us.
We're going to this town in North Carolina.
You might think, "Don't you go to North Carolina a lot?" Why yes we do. What can I say? We're creatures of habit.
If you see Bisquick while we're gone, give him a pat on the head. He will also expect food.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Music transports me, as it probably does you. I can hear a song (such as the ones from YouTube below) and think of the following: first heartbreak; driving through the mountains with the windows down after a misty rain; riding my bike; sharing a lazy afternoon lounging in the grass with a friend.
(I am particularly fond of "Midnight Train to Georgia," for obvious reasons.)
When I hear such songs, I have two competing emotions: nostalgia, and yearning for those carefree days (minus the heartbreak, of course). And thankfulness/happiness that I am right here, right now. Gladys Knight sure could get the job done, couldn't she?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A great line

Today I was e-mailing with a friend in Macon. I told him something from there he hadn't yet heard about. He then told his wife, who phoned a friend to check it out.
"I don't repeat gossip," the woman said, "so listen carefully this time."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A marriage I don't understand

Granted, attraction to another person — and maybe later, a marriage — is a mysterious mix of likes and dislikes, backgrounds, dreams and pheromones.
But now that we are drawing near to the November election, I'm once again reminded of this (political) odd couple, James Carville and Mary Matalin. We saw both yesterday on separate news shows. Both are obviously passionate about their respective candidates. Years ago, I read their book, All's Fair: Love, War and Running for President, which is about their courtship amid the crazines of the Bush (One)-Clinton race.
What do you imagine they talk about at night? Probably not politics, given that both of them are still living.