A health and fitness blog: With an occasional food item

Saturday, November 29, 2008

This and that

One, I have discovered Facebook. Wow. (I realize that in Internet years, it's about 500 years old. So I'm a little slow.) It's cool to keep up with people, especially those who don't live in close proximity.
Two, my aunt and uncle gave me a pretty green jumpsuit for the birthday. Complete with hood. So on my jaunt this evening to a convenience store, there was a sign posted at the door: "Please remove hoodies and sunglasses before entering." (In a recent rash of crimes here, many a robber has worn hoodies and glasses.)
Three, the the University of Alabama football team won a shutout today against Auburn. Normally I'm an Auburn fan, because both my mom and aunt are graduates; but our good friend Lucius, who died in August, was a HUGE Alabama fan. It was also his alma mater. (I wonder if he had anything to do with their undefeated season?)
Four, I was not a fan of naps as a child. But now, especially when one is not reporting to work for several days in a row, they are GOLDEN.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for ... Denny's!

Yes, Denny's. The restaurant. It seemed to be the only food establishment open around here, at least this evening. Yes, we had The Feast at lunch but we held back pretty well this year. After a long nap and long walk, I was ready for some vittles. Ventured out but most everything was closed, except good ol' Denny's and the ever-reliable Waffle House.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Thanksgiving poem

After Apple-Picking
By Robert Frost

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well

Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing dear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mmmm, tasty

Tonight we're going here with some friends.
Back to Spin tomorrow!
If you're there, too, come by and see us.
And happy Thanksgiving, early, Internet.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Faux pas

So this morning, I had an impromptu breakfast with one of the local rabbis and his wife at their house. Last Thursday was his birthday and on that day, they were driving up to Atlanta to Whole Foods. We were chatting and he asked if I wanted anything. They got me some coffee beans and I called today on the way to work, to pick it up. Being the sweet couple they are, they invited me in for bagels and fruit and coffee.
After I put the cream into my coffee, I helped myself to a spoon out of the drawer.
Oops. They keep a kosher kitchen. That spoon I used for dairy was meant for meat.
I was embarrassed, but the rabbi's wife promptly washed it and we laughed about it. Glad they didn't say, "You crazy Christian! Get outta here!"
For more about keeping a kosher kitchen, click here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Last spin class ...

... as a 39-year-old, in about 45 minutes.
Yep, tomorrow is the big 4-0.
Some say it's the "new 20," which I hope to God isn't the case. Late 20s might be better, or mid-30s. Those were some good days. I find myself dreaming lately about some people I knew in my late teens and early 20s. Some college days are in there, and when I started my first job. In some ways, life was easier then, but not in other ways--all the questions and searchings and grapplings. Lord knows I still have them, but now it's different. For instance, I really used to get upset about some stupid, trivial things. But now I get upset about things that matter more, such as when loved ones die or when injustices happen. I miss the energy I had when I was 20; but I like the perspective of now.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Smoke out!

Thursday is the Great American smokeout.
A couplea stats: It doesn't appear that by 2010 fewer than 12 percent of American adults will have kicked the habit, as the CDC has been pushing for.
And last year, about 40 percent of the 43.3 million smokers tried to quit for a day.
If you're a former smoker who finally gave up smoking, how did you do it?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Reba's sweet potato casserole

Just in time for the holidays!
Click here for what looks to be a scrumptious and easy-to-make dish.
(Courtesy Reba McEntire)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The case of the disappearing tilapia

This guy in front of me at Publix tonight ordered $120 worth of tilapia. The dude behind the counter recognized him from ordering in bulk before. The customer said he likes to buy a lot of fish at once and freeze it. (Maybe he lives far out in the country, for all I know.) After the employee wrapped up one styrofoam box, he started dipping into the display fish.
Customer turned to me and said, "I hope you didn't want any tilapia."
Which I did. I said, "Just three for me, please." So the employee was kind enough to hold back three.

Here's a simple and tasty way to make it (or any fresh fish):

Soak fish in milk and 1 tsp. of salt for a half-hour
Roll in bread crumbs
Bake on very top rack of oven at 500 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until flaky

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Brunette goddess?

That's the name of my new conditioner. Haven't tried it yet but my hair stylist recommended it Friday. Will let you know how it goes.
The name cracks me up.
And here's hoping I stay brunette for quite some time--considering I am a mere six days from the Big 4-0. Gulp. (But some say 40 is the new 20. Do you think that's true?)

Friday, November 14, 2008

More about Lucy the dog

Here's something Bebe just sent to me:
"Here’s the story. I probably told you all that I walked outside several times just in case Lucy had “escaped” again and had come back here. No luck. Yesterday morning, I left on an errand and, of course, went out of my way to ride by the house I had let her return to. No Lucy.
All the way home from the errand, I kept telling myself, “Don’t ride by that house again. You’ll just make yourself miserable.” So of course I went out of my way again and rode by the house. Presto!
Lucy was outside with Peggy, the woman I had let her go home with. Lucy was thrilled to see me, and I was thrilled to see her. ... She told me I could take Lucy home with me, and I said, “But I don’t want you and your children to be hurt.” To which she would reply, “But I don’t want you to be hurt. You obviously love her.”
She and I must have stood there 10 minutes saying, “But I don’t want you to be hurt” to each other.
She convinced me to bring Lucy home with me when she said she could tell Lucy missed me last night. Peggy said, “She would play with the children for a few minutes and then she would go sit in the corner by herself.” Lucy is not a corner-sitting dog.
Peggy also said, “She would sniff around as if she was looking for someone.” That did it. I said I would take her, and I did. Lucy jumped into the car so excited. We got back here and she jumped out, still excited. Then I stepped on her foot and made her yelp.
She forgave me and ran around to the front door of the apartment. I opened it and she greeted Scruffy the cat almost as joyfully as she had greeted me. Later Don and his dog, Jack, came over and Lucy went nuts again."
I'm a sucker for a good reunion story, aren't you?

Lucy is the dog on the right.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A happy 'tail'

Our friend Bebe was heartbroken yesterday because her dog Lucy was taken away.
But let's start at the beginning. About six weeks ago, a dog wandered into her neighborhood. He didn't have a tag but appeared healthy. She asked around and tried to find the owner. Meanwhile, Bebe (who has a heart not only for animals and people but for strays--in both categories) fell in love with Lucy. Lucy fit happily into Bebe's apartment, which she also shares with Scruffy the cat.
Life was going on until yesterday, when a car drove by her apartment, and the driver spotted Bebe and Lucy outside. There was a child in the backseat. Turns out Lucy was their dog. After some discussion, Bebe gave back her friend, even though the woman said she could keep her.
Well today I got an e-mail from Bebe who said Lucy's come back! I don't know the details yet but I figure the other family figured Bebe was better off with Lucy than they. What a kind gesture.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dude, I feel your pain

Today something happened to a story I had just finished. It pretty much vanished, even though I thought I was saving correctly. Ever have one of those days?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Weird wedding stories

So, yesterday at lunch, a group of friends and I were discussing weird things that happen at weddings. Weddings and funerals either bring out the best in people, or the worst (or both), given all the emotions floating about. This one friend told the following story: She and another friend were the wedding planners for the bride. They had arranged the caterer, flowers, music, etc. On the big day, the bride's father-in-law was thanking my friend for all her work. He put his arm around her shoulder and sort of went to kiss her on her cheek--only, he "accidentally" stuck his tongue in her ear. Eeew.
Then someone else at the lunch table said she was a bridesmaid at a recent wedding in Florida which in fact was called off the morning of, but happened anyway. The bride and groom had lived together for a year or so but never did have that "special" relationship you might expect of two people about to wed. In fact, this bridesmaid and others had said as much to their friend. The day of the wedding, the groom called it off (sort of?) on the phone with his fiance, with his mother in the room. That's strange enough. Then later in the day, somehow, the wedding still took place.
What are some of your own weird wedding stories?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Gruyere cheese

My first encounter with Gruyere came from our friend Billy, who makes a kickin' tomato-cheese pie. Though not cheap, Gruyere has a kick to it that's out of this world. Then when I was out of town week before last, I attended a party where the couple served cheese grits with Gruyere. Wow. Even before I could drive home from said trip, I was telling Michael about this on the phone; so tonight, he made a recipe of cheese grits with Gruyere, which we ate with pork tenderloin and steamed broccoli. The grits recipe came from the Paul Prudhomme site, therefore, in the venerable words of Mr. Husband, "it wouldn't suck." And it didn't.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Won't you be my neighbor?

Let me brag about our neighbors. I know it's tough these days to find people who will love you as your neighbor, much less tolerate you. But when I came home today, I had this note posted to the door: "No door delivery on newspaper Sat. or Sun. I will be out of town. Love, your neighbor (paper boy)."
You see, the two newspapers we get every morning are thrown to the end of our drive. It's not a long drive, mind you, but it's a pain to go out there when it's raining. So our across-the-street neighbor brings them to our back door.
He's not the only great one. My first grade teacher lives on one side of us and once a week, SHE CUTS OUR GRASS. Not a large patch of grass, but still she insists on it. Michael came home many years ago and saw her cutting his grass (this was before my time), and he said, What are you doing?! and she said, My doctor says I need to get more exercise so I might as well be pushing a lawn mower.
On the other side of us: Bisquick's babysitter. Anytime we go out of town, she comes in and feeds him and talks to him. She and her husband are also very friendly and kind.
It's not everyday you get one neighbor like this, but much less three or four.
Internet, do you have good neighbors?

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Don't know about you but I'm thankful the election is behind us. All that drama! And now, probably starting around next week, someone will announce his/her candidacy for 2012.
Meanwhile, here's an interesting article from Harvard Medical School about dimentia, and about keeping your mind sharp as you age.
(Then again, so much of this is genetic. A professor friend of mine has early dimentia and there's hardly a sharper mind around. It's very sad.)
What are some of your own tricks to keep sharp mentally? I especially like the tip from the article to keep a strong support system around you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cornbread in the yard

Yes, we have about half a skillet of cornbread in the yard. I trust the critters will get to it by morning.
I was pulling the skillet out of the oven with an oven mitt. Then I must have tilted the pan a bit and the whole round piece went onto the floor. Fortunately we have a rug that caught most of it. So I went out and shook it off.
This was not such a bad thing because Michael and I can't eat the whole serving anyway.
Hope the squirrels enjoy it.
Here's the recipe. It's called Charlie's Famous Cornbread, named for our friend Charlie.

1 Tbsp. self-rising flour
1 egg
2 c. cornmeal
1 and one third cup buttermilk or milk (buttermilk is better)
One-fourth c. cooking oil.

Preheat oil in skillet at 450. Meanwhile, mix other ingredients. When preheating is complete, pour hot oil into batter and blend. Return to oven for about 25 minutes.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pet humiliation

These are the pets of two bloggers I read. The yellow-costumed dogs live in Utah. The other is in New York.
If dogs could talk, eh?
What do you think these would say?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

One of the greats

So my little jaunt to Tennessee last week took me to hear the the Rev. Fred Craddock, Ph.D., named one of the best 12 living preachers by Newsweek.
What an amazing storyteller. (All great preachers are great storytellers.) This was a rich experience for me.
Recognizing this is a health and fitness blog and not my subject of daily fare (faith), I'll repeat a story which he told. Though applicable to faith communities, it also helped remind me not to make assumptions about people so quickly. Which could serve us all to be kinder, gentler people. Which is related to mental health, yes?
In this particular lecture, Craddock was talking about guest preaching. Because he has mainly been a seminary professor at Emory University, he's not had a pulpit to call home. The best preachers, he reminded us, are pastors; their words come from their knowledge of what's going on in the lives of the pews. So it's best, if you're a guest preacher, not to comment on something gone awry before you preach. Such as the woman who got up to sing a solo before his sermon. She'd get to a certain verse and her voice would crack. The piano player would stop and they'd start again. Same thing. Then same thing a third time. The woman left the sanctuary and he could hear the car starting and pulling away.
The temptation is to get up in the pulpit directly after something like that and say, "Bless her heart, well she tried. Her heart was in the right place." You just get up and give your lesson, ignoring the faux pas.
Then he found out her father had killed himself two days before.
Lesson: You never know what someone's going through. Don't make assumptions because you will most often be wrong. Food for thought, yes?