A health and fitness blog: With an occasional food item

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Socks II

I was telling a friend at work today about the socks story (see Monday). And she said the MIL (mother-in-law) of someone she knows once wrapped up a half-eaten candy bar and gave it to her for Christmas.
Now don't that beat all?
What's the message there? "I care so much about you, I'm giving you PART of a candy bar"? "And by the way, I took the liberty to eat half of it ahead of time"?

Last day of the year

What are you doing today, Internet?
Do you make New Year's resolutions?
I tend not to. (Maybe that makes me a pessimist. Or, maybe a realist.)
Here's to good cheer, good friends and good humor in '09.

Monday, December 29, 2008

No to landfill, yes to socks

Mr. Owen and I didn't make it out to the landfill, after all. There's always 2009.
(You want to tag along? Give us a call!)
The socks part of this story is this: A friend mine--let's call him John--is the middle child of three. He has an older brother and a younger sister. As it usually does, Christmas rolled around last week. John got pretty much the usual fare from his mother. So did his sister and her kids. The other brother? A PAIR OF SOCKS.
Now, John tells me his mother isn't exactly Ivanna Trump in the money department. But c'mon, John's Mom, can you at least feign fairness?
Later I e-mailed John and said I think this pretty much sums up why Christmas is bad for a lot of people. (I'm also aware that people don't get socks, or even food.) But it's that whole high expectations thing. The food has to be perfect; everybody has to get along; nobody can get JUST SOCKS.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Landfill blues

So I was all excited about the prospect of going out to the city landfill today with Michael. But he already drove out there, and reported they're closed until tomorrow. Definitely will want to post a photo or two. (Too bad it won't be scratch 'n sniff, haha.) He's unsure about taking me, because it's not exactly the most scenic (or good-smelling) place in the world. But I think I can handle it. One time he told me about the prisoners who work out there, helping people unload their junk and trash, and how they compete with one another in the down time by creating little decorated heaps of refuse.
One man's trash is another man's treasure, as they say.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

From Bisquick and us, to you.
May nothing you dismay.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tanzania friends

Our friends Martin and Sandy McCann are in town for awhile. They're missionaries with the Episcopal Church in Tanzania. Both are MDs, and they retired from their practices in Columbus in the mid-'90s. Martin is a clinician/pathologist at a clinic in Dodoma, and Sandy works at a seminary. She's ordained, so she also leads services around the villages. They're in their sixth year of service.
Their tales are wonderful--namely, how time is not of the essence there like it is here. One time Sandy was to officiate at a wedding that was to begin at 10 a.m., but they all waited until everyone could arrive. I think it finally started about 2 p.m. It's not like they have super highways or anything, or even paved roads. That would drive this compulsive time-keeper (me) INSANE. But you learn to deal with it, I guess.
We're so proud of the McCanns.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dogs galore

First up: Our friend Bebe added Sam to her mix. Sam joins Lucy and Scruffy the cat in what I am calling her own personal zoo.
When Bebe's son Don brings his dog Jack for coffee time on Saturday mornings, it's now quite a collection. But all very well-behaved. (Reminds me of that scene in Moonstruck where the old man is walking about six dogs at a time.)
Then at our newsroom party Saturday night at Pork Chop's house, Michael (shown here) was cutting the pork tenderloin. And Pork Chop's dog Sassy played supervisor.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Uber climber

This is an outstanding article about one Fred Beckey, a mountaineer based in Seattle who's enjoyed seven decades as a climber.
At 85, he's still pushing. It's amazing the drive some still have late in life.

Great video

Just in time for Christmas!
Click here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rough on the equipment

So I broke a pedal last night in Spin class.
Here's how it happened: We were on Song No. 7, which is the last song and the most difficult track. While in a climbing sequence, the left pedal broke off and stayed clipped into (onto?) my shoe. I wasn't hurt, thankfully, unless you count my pride. People clapped. One nice woman after class asked if I was OK.
I'd been using this particular bike about five days a week for several months. I guess I just wore it out.
Sad that it bit the dust but hopefully it can be fixed. (Mea culpa, Gold's Gym!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dog on airplane

What does a dog think about while he's 35,000 feet in the air, trapped in a crate? Is he fearful? Hungry? Cranky because he's not in first class?
These are thoughts I had today because one of our company's executives, when she was in town last week, adopted a dog. Dog's name is Scrumpy. (I'm doing well to remember that part; there's a longer version.) She and her husband had been in the market for a dog and our publisher took her to PAWS while here.
It's such a great place, and one of the local charities we support. (In fact, Bisquick the fat cat came from there.) After Lynn signed everything for Scrumpy, he had to go to the vet's and get cleaned up, etc. Lynn, being here only a couple days from California, had to go back sans Scrumpy. The earliest that Scrumpy could get on a plane was this morning.
Meanwhile, I got to walk with him some yesterday; and we said our good-byes. He's a very curious dog. Sniffed at everything.
Valerie, who had charged of him for about a week, delivered him early, early, early to Air Cargo at Hartsfield for his flight. He made it safe and sound. (This is Lynn with him in photo.)
He'll have such a happy home. I understand he has two dog beds and toys. Must make the long plane ride worth it.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Lately I've been in a few situations in which I'm "trapped" with other people--namely, doctors' waiting rooms and today, waiting for my car to be serviced. A trend has developed: the people sitting near me feel compelled to start telling me everything that's going on with them. (I know, I know; children are starving in Africa and so this doesn't really rank up there.)
But how do you handle such things? Because I think I need a few pointers. I do know I can be a good listener, but. I'm just wondering what compels someone to start talking to another person while that person is clearly reading a magazine or watching the continuous news loop on TV?
Two women suckered me in today; the first one was worse by comparison but thankfully her car was ready before she could get going too much. The second woman started telling me how she should have let her dog outside because last time she left him in, he ate all the furniture. Then she asked how that governor in Illinois could have done what he did because "he's so good looking."
After awhile, I started thinking of that old slapstick movie "Airplane" in which passengers seated next to the blabbering man, who kept changing seats, committed suicide out of sheer boredom.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My favorite chicken dish

Chicken Parmigiana

4 boneless chicken breast halves
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. Italian bread crumbs
One-fourth cup olive oil
1 16-oz. jar meat flavored spaghetti sauce
One-half c. grated Parmesan cheese
5 oz. mozzarella cheese cut into 8 slices

Flatten chicken to one-fourth inch thickness
Dip chicken into eggs, then bread crumbs
Brown chicken on both sides in olive oil
Pour spaghetti sauce into 11x7x2-inch dish. Place chicken on top.
Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over chicken, and top with mozzarella slices.
Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly brown.
Serves 4.
--from "A Southern Collection: Then and Now" (our local Junior League book. Those Junior Leaguers know how to cook!)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

That's the spirit!

Instance 2,562 that Christmas doesn't necessarily bring out the best in people: Sat in traffic today at the mall, trying to make a left turn, only to be denied about 27 times.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

'Not like Pat Robertson'

So. I wanted to post an article from a recent New Yorker about the uber cooks/writers Jeffrey Alford and his wife, Naomi Duguid. But the Web site doesn't link to everything in the magazine. So. If you're interested, it's in the Nov. 24 edition. Let me know if you want to borrow it.
I'd never heard of these people, but the New Yorker runs such great profiles, you tend to get drawn in whether you like it or not.
Instead, here's an interview I found at Powell's Books with one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott. (Who says in the interview that the people who are drawn to the likes of Pat Robertson would steer clear of her work/take on the world.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

GPS can track Jesus!

Check this out.
Some cities that have problems with stolen Nativity figures, and other religious holiday symbols, have taken matters into their own hands.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Paydirt at Cracker Barrel

This is a strange story.
It's strange on two fronts: one, that anyone in his or her right mind wouldn't be more careful with this amount of cash. And two, my "BS meter" tells me this woman didn't sell a house. (partly because no one is selling a house these days.)

Ethical dilemma

What would you have done?
Last night, I was two customers behind a couple buying groceries at one of the local chains. The cashier couldn't get their check to run through the machine. She finally had to call the customer service woman. She comes over, tries it herself and says, basically, "Sorry, but we can't take this check."
From behind the middle person, I quietly asked the cashier how much their groceries cost. The bill was about $80. I couldn't do it. Probably like yourself, I've spotted people a few bucks here and there, in a similar situation. But it was too much for me.
Guilty feeling? Yes, some, but also sad for the couple. They had to leave the cart. But also, I have a "save the world" streak in me that needs to be tamped down at times. Because I'm not Bill (or Melinda) Gates or anybody like that.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Melancholy: Underrated?

First of all, where have all my commenters gone? Are y'all out Christmas shopping?
Back on the computer after a day in Atlanta. The purpose was to attend a memorial service for a friend who died unexpectedly the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Eleanor was 46. What a beautiful, gracious woman.
Then upon my return, I found a post from a listserve I'm on. It strikes a chord. Because of the listserve's rules, I can't copy it here but the gist is that melancholy, a "down" mood that sits somewhere between clinical depression and euphoria, is underrated. The writer says she's hearing from lots of folks who think there's something wrong with them because they're not in the holiday spirit.
(Don't know about you, but I have a touch of that every year at this time. And at work, we joke about all the "holiday blues" stories--not about their content, per se, but that people are probably not blue until they read all those stories.)
The listserve post was prompted because the writer had found this book at a bookstore. I'll have to check into it myself.
(To read an NPR interview with Wilson, click here.) I could also recommend "Acedia and Me" by Kathleen Norris. Read about that one here.
The thing is, the culture (including the culture of religion) has one preferred mood: up. But our souls/psyches know otherwise. We cycle through seasons. Integrating the cycles/moods/seasons takes time and patience and wisdom and something far deeper than giddiness. (Also a fan of giddiness, I'll take it when I can get it!) And I also believe we can hold many emotions in tension at once, if we permit ourselves: Joy and sadness and grief and thanksgiving.
Melancholy strikes, at least for me, when things don't exactly add up or when I grieve with people. Seem to be doing a lot of that lately. Like my friend's wife dying at 46, and our friend Lucius a few months back at 47.
Maybe we can make a friend of Melancholy and then she won't be such a stranger.
What do you think?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Another use for cheeseburgers

Click here.


Today a friend of mine had this brand of dog visiting in her office; and when the day comes when we actually get a dog, I might have to change my allegiance from labs/Golden retrievers. (Sorry, Mom and Dad. And sorry, Molly the Golden Retriever.)
This is a bijon frise.
When my friend let me hold this dog, she weighed much less than Bisquick. And another plus: She didn't try to break free.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A gift for guys

Not that women don't like bacon, but let me just say my husband will do a dance when he hears about these products.
A friend in the office sent this around today.
Let me know if you try some.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ah, validation ...

This here is a great column in the most recent issue (Dec. 8) of Newsweek, which arrived at our house today. The magazine has a regular feature called "My Turn" (and I am also proud to add I have a friend who's had her own story published in this space); and this woman writes about her craving for a) regular exercise and b) ice cream.
She's a size 14 and calls herself fat.
This is interesting because in the days of Marlyn Monroe, she was a 14 and was considered a goddess. (Yet I think she means in comparison with most other dedicated runners/joggers, they of wirey look.)
But anyway.
I'll say that I'm much closer to Jennifer Graham's build than the slinky supermodels who tell us how we should look. I always want to ask, "How healthy are you?" because looks can be deceiving. Some of the most thin people I know have health issues galore. I'm certainly not advocating for obesity. But somewhere between obesity and size 0 does it for me. And you?

Monday, December 1, 2008

In and out of the vice

Yes, THAT vice. The waffle iron. The cold press. The potato masher.
A mammogram is what you get as a 40th birthday present.
A couple of observations from the wait: One, a woman in the waiting room was chattering away about her breast cancer, which apparently has been treated but she was back for a follow-up. Let me just say that the words "breast cancer" are not exactly words of comfort when one is waiting for such an exam.
Two, a man (boyfriend? husband?) came in with his significant other. I sat next to them when I came back from doing all the paperwork. Brave fella.