A health and fitness blog: With an occasional food item

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The key to happiness

Money didn't make the list.
Neither did vacation homes or private jets. (Or body enhancements!)
Prevention.com has this list of things destined to make you--and me--happy. The things on the list make sense.
The one I especially like: Savor mystery.
We just can't know everything. That shouldn't make us intellectually lazy; but the world is a complex place and the more we appreciate that and revere mystery, the better off we are. In my humble opinion.
Also, today is the penultimate day of the year. I have waited 364 days to use that word. Cheers.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In praise of nurses

I can't seem to get off the medical/hospital subject. (Maybe one of these days!)
Here's the latest Well blog from the Times in which Dana Jennings writes about some of the nurses he's known.
I can't say enough good things about the nurses we've encountered over the past 11 days. One got my dad up out of bed today! A real step forward, so to speak, though my understanding is that he just stood up. I talked to him on the phone after the Big Event.
I have no qualms with his surgeons, either, who broke the stereotype of cold and robotic and terse. Both have spent time with us they probably didn't have. Three cheers for these folks, who know who they are.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tips for the long haul

Did a search for "the long haul," as in, What do you do when a family member is in for the long haul in their healing? My dad has a long road ahead and today, three days into his awakened state, he's saying he needs to get out of bed and go home. Google came up with things like long flights (such as to Tokyo); or tips for long-distance truck drivers.
It breaks my heart to walk out of his room and leave him behind.
So, here are a few of my own, off the top of my head:
1) Be patient with the patient, and yourself. He (in this case) is struggling to take everything in. Even though you know more about the reality of the situation, you are taking in new realities as well.
2) He is slow to soak everything in, in part because of the post-drug fog; so don't hit him with all the information at once. Let him lead with questions and correct if necessary and when appropriate.
3) Get rest. Eat. Go about your normal routine as much as possible.
4) Pay attention to the visiting hours. They're in place not only for the staff but for the family. Get away as you can and should.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

St. Francis Hospital: Of rhythms and rhymes and harmonies

My dad remains in the hospital. Rather a sucky time of year to be in the hospital--but then again, when is it ever good? Not sure what we'll do for Christmas but my main wish is he's alert and doing much better.
My mom and I, and my husband and many others, have been around the place since Saturday. For me, it's enough time to pick up on some more things. Here are more random observations, in no particular order: If you know you're going to St. Francis much later than 8 a.m., it's best to park across the street at Starbucks or Gold's Gym and walk. You'll save a lot of time circling up and down the parking deck.
We have found the staff to be professional and kind and honest and tender, not only with my daddy but with us.
As he's gained hours and days away from his surgery, the nurses and docs don't stay in the room as much. That's a good sign.
Hospital food remains high quality. I'm not that picky an eater but it helps to have decent food when you feel tied to the premises.
Take note: The gift shop is having a 75 percent off sale on Christmas items. This has come in handy.
Surgeries tend to happen in the morning, unless one has an emergency. More people in waiting rooms in the morning and early afternoon.
Just curious: Why is the hallway to the CCU area chilly? There's a noticeable difference between other hallways. Is it to ward off germs?

Advent graces

I've been out of the blog scene the past few days because my dad had emergency surgery Saturday morning.
It was (and still is, to some degree) pretty scary. He remains on a ventilator but is doing well, all things considered.
Basically he perforated a hole in his colon; there was also a mass at the end of his colon that they took out and as I understand it pretty much got the whole colon out too.
If all continues to go well, they'll reattach everything at a later date.
His doctors and nurses are excellent, and he's in great hands. I can't say enough good things about the medical team caring for him.
In addition to that, here are a few graces and observations:

--People are there for you. We have received so much care and love just in the past three days it's hard to articulate and give thanks adequately.

--The main nurse I see every day is a guy named Eric. He treats my dad so tenderly. When he's putting in a new drug or something, he'll say, "Here you go, my friend."

--When you are in a waiting room, that is not the time to jump into another group's conversation and interject your political venom. This happened to us Sunday. Someone in our crew brought up something about President Obama and this man, at least five feet away, yelled out something stupid and stomped out. Dude. Really?

--Hospital food is not as bad as some say.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Advent graces

I've been out of the blog scene the past few days because my dad had emergency surgery Saturday morning. It was (and still is, to some degree) pretty scary. Basically he perforated a hole in his colon; there was also a mass at the end of his colon that they took out and as I understand it pretty much got the whole colon out too. If all continues to go well, they'll reattach everything at a later date.
His doctors and nurses are excellent, and he's in great hands. I can't say enough good things about the medical team caring for him.
In addition to that, here are a few graces and observations:
--People are there for you. We have received so much care and love just in the past three days it's hard to articulate and give thanks adequately.
--The main nurse I see every day is a guy named Eric. He treats my dad so tenderly. When he's putting in a new drug or something, he'll say, "Here you go, my friend."
--When you are in a waiting room, that is not the time to jump into another group's conversation and interject your political venom. This happened to us Sunday. Someone in our crew brought up something about President Obama and this man, at least five feet away, yelled out something stupid and stomped out. Dude. Really?
--Hospital food is not as bad as some say.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Msn.com: Checkup can include little white lies

Great eight-piece advice column on your doctor visit.
You have to be up-front, even if it's awkward or you're afraid. Your doc can diagnose better that way. And, I can see how this would be a problem: Telling him/her what you think is wrong with you. Tell symptoms. Let him/her decide.
And try not to be too chatty when he's going over your chart. (I'm guilty of this one.) Let him concentrate on your health.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Alzheimer's Disease: Ten Thousand Joys, Ten Thousand Sorrows

When Harrison Hoblitzelle, or Hob as he was known, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at 72, he and his wife, Olivia, decided to go through the disease as lovingly and consciously as possible. A tall order indeed.
In her memoir of living with Hob when he had Alzheimer's, Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle puts into practice her background in psychology, meditation and wisdom traditions to try to understand what Hob is going through and also keep their lives together as his mind slipped away.
"Ten Thousand Joys, Ten Thousand Sorrows: a Couple's Journey Through Alzheimer's" is a brutally honest yet graceful account of understanding the disease. Olivia, who helped to develop one of the first mind/body medicine programs in the country at Harvard Medical School, currently focuses on elder issues, spirituality and conscious aging.
Read the rest here. This is a great Q/A with someone who's walked the trail.

Read more: http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2010/12/15/1387323/alzheimers-memoir-captures-journey.html#ixzz18EojcikG

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New York Times: Should nightmares have happy endings?

Therapy may help people who suffer from chronic nightmares learn how to turn bad dreams into good ones. But now some experts wonder if changing your nightmares from scary to safe is always a good idea, reports Sarah Kershaw in Science Times.
Read the rest here.
I suffer from nightmares quite frequently. Or, part of the dream is a nightmare, and I'm working on a solution during another part of it. I had a DOOZY of a nightmare last week involving work. No real happy ending in the dream but I did confront the person in the dream, so that was good.
I tend to agree that nightmares should be taken as they are. We tend to be so focused on happy endings (and that dreaded word "closure") that we often miss the mystery and depth of what frightening things can teach.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Emory University: Symposium on prevention

The Sixth Annual National Symposium on Predictive Health, to be held Tuesday and Wednesday at Emory University, will focus on integrating biology, behavior and environment, and will emphasize maintaining health rather than treating disease. The theme of the symposium is "Human Health: Molecules to Mankind.”
Major topics will include environmental health, genomics, nutrition, toxicology, fetal nutrition, air pollution and ethics as they relate to predictive health.
The Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute symposium will be held at the Emory Conference Center, 1615 Clifton Road, Atlanta.
Read the rest here.
What a great idea. We're so good at treating disease and dealing with crisis/crises. But we "need improvement" on the front side.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mayo Clinic: Exercising in the cold weather

Even the most hearty among us have to plan for days like this.
("Mama said there'd be days like this.")
I know my friends in the Twin Cities would laugh but it got kinda nippy here today. Highs in the 30s. (which is indeed chilly for these parts.) Up there, the roof of the Metrodome in Minneapolis collapsed due to heavy snow.
But I digress. If you venture out to run or walk or bike, you have to be prepared.
The Mayo Clinic has this piece on being prepared for cold-weather exercise. Careful out there, peeps.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tobacco: Even a little bit does damage

This report released today is pretty sobering.
Even if you take one puff, there's immediate and lasting damage.
I don't smoke and never have (and that's not a sanctimonious statement; I've done other damaging things to myself, knowingly and unknowingly). But smokers can't get away with "it's just this once," or "I only smoked for a few years."
Also had read this story about a major lawsuit won by the family of a dead man, who dipped tobacco beginning at 13. I never understand the rationale for these huge winnings, because unless an employee of the tobacco manufacturer is putting the cigarettes (or smokeless tobacco) into your mouth without your knowledge, you have a responsibility to be, well, responsible.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards: 1949-2010

So sad about the passing of Elizabeth Edwards, and all that she endured. It's sad she died young. It's sad she had a son precede her in death. It's sad her husband cheated on her, lied, had a baby by another woman, lied and got other people to lie.
It seems Elizabeth had her own dignity about her. She suffered with all this, God knows.
(I'm also well aware that what gets presented to the public is often fuzzy. She could have been completely undignified behind closed doors, and threw vases for sport, for all we know.)
BUT. The fact remains she had a hard life, as most families of Spotlight People seem to do. Rest in peace, brave one.

Monday, December 6, 2010

New York: A man with a bicyle to consider

Matthew McLaughlin of New York has fit his choice of home around his biking habits.
A school teacher, McLaughlin has rented various apartments, and now owns one in Astoria. His choice of dwellings had to be in proximity to his school because he usually rides. But he also wanted a top floor, if possible, and then plenty of room to store his bike.
Fascinating, how this mode of transportation can dictate housing choice.
Read the rest here.

Weigh Down: How to minimize calories during the holidays

You're hanging around the kitchen, chatting up the cook. Next thing you know, you've eaten the whole dish of spinach dip. Or, a long-standing family feud breaks out. Your response? Drink more! Then some more!
For sure, holidays can be stressful and even more high-caloric than our other 11 months of the year. But you can say no.
J.J. Flizanes, director of Invisible Fitness, offers these tips for staying sane--metabolically speaking--during the coming weeks.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Laird Hamilton: Outside Magazine interview

Sometimes you look at a person when they reveal their profession and you say, "Of course." This was the case in looking at Laird Hamilton, surfer extraordinaire. It's the sun-tanned face from his outdoor profession.
It's not that I'm a surfer--AT ALL--but this was an interesting read.
I like what he says about life being harder than death. Not that I'm an advocate for death. But it's true--living is hard work.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Garrison Keillor: The stroke update

After a blood clot infiltrated his gray matter, the Prairie Home Companion host started thinking seriously about sex (and other important stuff). As always, Garrison Keillor delivers.

By Garrison Keillor, Nov. 15, 2010
People keep asking about my stroke.
I am okay, really--not staggering around with one arm hanging limp, or glassy-eyed or slurring my speech, flecks of spittle on my lips. And yet people still say, "How are you doing?" in that special way that means, "Tell us the painful truth and feel free to cry." Really, it was only a minor stroke, but I will tell about it one last time and then let's move on to something interesting--such as sex or sweet corn or the Rapture--and I will never discuss this again.
Thank you for your patience.
Read the rest here, and enjoy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lucy Grealy: Autobiography of a Face

Am re-reading this tremendous book. Lucy Grealy was nine when she found out she had a rare form of cancer. Hospitalized multiple times over her life, Lucy died in 2002 at age 39. Safe to say her life wasn't an easy one. Imagine you're a child one day and the next you're trying not to cry when you go in for chemo.
Here's an interview she did with Charlie Rose in 1994.
Re-reading the scenes from her early hospitalizations, I can't help but get fixated on this: how she stayed overnight for as much as several weeks at a time. Major surgery these days often gets one home in a matter of hours. (So there's that little comparison to changes in healthcare.)
Beyond that it's a challenging lesson: What would it truly be like to have such an obvious disfigurement? Lucy died of a drug overdose. Clearly she acted out her pain and struggle. Outside looking in, it's so easy to judge. I'd like to think I'd rely on inner strength and beauty. But admittedly the pressures to focus on the exteriors, the faces of our lives, is great.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Southern Living: Jambalaya

A little post-Thanksgiving Cajun dish, which we thoroughly enjoyed.
This came from Southern Living. As I was reading nearly every magazine in the doc's office recently, I came across this recipe and ripped the page out and put it in my purse. Passive-aggressive behavior for having to wait so long? Maybe. But it was sure tasty!

Makes 6 servings (we think closer to 8, but you be the judge)
Prep: 15 minutes; cook 35
Note: You can reduce the heat by substituting your favorite sausage for andouille

1 lb. andouille, cut into quarter-inch slices
1 10-oz. package frozen vegetable seasoning blend
1 32 oz. container chicken broth
1 14.5 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
2 c. uncooked long-grain rice
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
one-eighth tsp. red pepper (optional)
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced green onions

Cook sausage in a large Dutch oven on Medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for 8-10 min. or until browned. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels.
Add vegetable seasoning blend to hot drippings, and saute 3-5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Add broth and next 5 ingredients, sausage, and if desired ground red pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook 18-20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Top with green onions and serve immediately.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New York Times: Doctor goes to cancer camp

From Barron Lerner, M.D.: I recently had the opportunity to spend a week as the doctor at the Imus Ranch for Kids With Cancer in Ribera, N. M., founded by radio personality Don Imus and his wife, Deirdre Imus.
Camps for children with cancer have been around since the mid-1970s. Thanks in part to Betty Ford’s courageous public discussion of her breast cancer diagnosis in 1974, people with cancer had begun to talk more openly about their disease. Although children with cancer had always met on the wards, and social workers talked with them and their families about their cancer, these encounters only scratched at the surface of these life-changing experiences. Today there are over 70 such camps worldwide.
Although each of the camps has special characteristics, they all seek to allow children with cancer to attend a genuine camp, let them meet peers with similar experiences and get them away from overprotective parents and doctors, who tend to shield them from new endeavors. Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, Conn., perhaps the best known, wants campers to “retrieve some of their lost childhood” and “raise a little hell.”
Read the rest here.
What a great idea. My immediate question: Is there a comparable such place for adults?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Duke University: Who needs a mammogram?

Informative piece from Duke University magazine.
It's about yet another report about the necessity of mammograms.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently released results of its study on mammograms. It says women should have them routinely after age 50, but that individual choice and circumstances may change that.
For instance, if your mother and grandmother both died of breast cancer you probably should have the screenings earlier. Common sense, right?

The road not taken

That's from the famous Robert Frost poem, of course. But in the context from Sunday, I discovered a new path on my bike ride. Next to Oxbow Meadows, where builders are constructing a new center, there's a new paved path. Others had told me about it, so yesterday I finally explored. It meanders maybe a mile down toward a lake. Various switchbacks and curves make it so you can't sustain much speed--but it felt good to slow down for a change.
The last bridge (so far) was blocked off with yellow tape. I assume the path will be extended, eventually. It's a pretty setting; the city is planning a new marina down there. For now, the scene is quiet and idyllic and perfect for a fall ride. Most noticeably, the fallen leaves on the path make for a steady crunching sound.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

100 weird facts about the human body

Check this out.
Everything from the brain to the speed of sneezes (100 mph) to the largest internal organ (the small intestine.)
Did you also know that the smarter you are, the more you dream?
And that the brain, which feels no pain, is made largely of water?
You could print this out and share with fam at Thanksgiving.

Energy drinks: On the ropes?

Concerns about energy drinks have been gathering pace, with some groups, particularly in the U.S. and the UK, now calling for them to be more tightly regulated and for greater public awareness of what they contain, their potential side-effects and risk of addiction.
Although their history dates back to the early 1900s, energy drinks started coming into vogue in the 1970s and 1980s as performance-enhancing products sought by young people who wanted to prolong their enjoyment of physical activities.
Read the rest here.
Perhaps I've been under a rock (altogether possible) but I'd never heard of these drinks containing alcohol. Four Loko? Never heard of it. Which I guess is a good thing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Follow your bliss

So our boss Valerie Canepa dropped some news on us today (we who relish in knowing news first): She's leaving to pursue a career in social work. She'll go to grad school next fall.
Here's the story.
And we are proud of home-grown exec Rodney Mahone, who will take her spot as publisher. He's been our ad director the past four years. I hope you like him as much as we do.
All this to say: When you feel a tug to do something else, and if the stars line up, do it. Valerie has been in the biz a long time. She's led our company through some VERY lean and tough years. Now it's time for her to try something else, while she's still able to relocate, and willing to do so. It's brave.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mariano: Treating the patient in chief

A new book, "The White House Doctor," is a memoir of treating the country's patient-in chief.
Here's the story.
For nine years, Dr. Connie Mariano led the White House medical team for three presidents: Clinton and both Bushes. The medical staff is also responsible for the vice president and his family.
Talk about concierge medicine. (Dr. Mariano has continued that type in private practice in Arizona.)
You can also see how conflicts come into play, and they did. After Mariano threatened to tell Bill Clinton's wife about a virus he had, the president backed off on his schedule.
And the hours for any doc, grueling as they are, are compounded in this gig. In her case, there was at least one casualty: Mariano got divorced (but is now remarried).
Sounds like an intriguing book.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Diners Drive-ins and Dives

We love this show.
Guy Fieri is such a fun host--always making wise-cracks and crazy facial expressions. Granted, most of the places he visits aren't renowned for their heart-smart menus, but it's interesting to see the many dives this country has to offer.
Here's one featured up the road from us.

I've often thought of places in our town that might draw him here. One of our local faves is Dinglewood Pharmacy. Guy should come here. The lunch counter shares space with the pharmacy (not too ironic, eh?); and it's regionally famous for its scrambled dog: chopped up hot dog in a dish covered in chopped bun, chili, oyster crackers, onions, pickles and ketchup and mustard. Other items include chicken salad (on toasted bread, of course) and burgers and homemade shakes and malts.
Then you can go to the pharmacy. Ask for Terry Hurley and he'll sell you some Tums.

Women's health: Life cycles

Turns out, women (including myself) worry more about breast health than the more statistically-ominous condition: heart disease. Women are more likely to develop the latter than the former. That said, here's a great Mayo Clinic piece on health issues women need to pay attention to.
The Mayo Clinic is on my mind for two reasons: One, a friend went to the one in Minnesota recently and they got him back on the right track. He'd been having various symptoms, including rapid weight loss, and docs here couldn't pinpoint it. Or they thought they could but he kept suffering. He got up there and various specialists said, "No, it's this but not this," etc., and now he has his life back. I'm very grateful.
Second, another friend who's being treated for cancer is the model for patient advocacy. I can see how he'd bug the stew out of his health care providers; but then again, it's his body and his disease.
My hat's off to both these men for being fighters.
Unrelated: A gorgeous day for a bike ride!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The spaces in between

I love that phrase.
People often say they're in between jobs. Or marriages. Or residences. All of life is transition, it seems. Or waiting. The illusion is that things are fixed. Even if someone stays in the same house most of his life, or keeps the same job, transitions swirl around him. The trick, as Shakespeare suggested: "To thine own self be true."
Another dimension of space: The waiting for news. Is it a boy or girl? Is it cancer or not? The funeral isn't here but I want it to be, and then over.
Those are real holy spaces. Packed with intense emotion, for sure, but almost as-if-time-stops spaces. If you're in one of those times, you wonder how other people can walk by without a clue of what's going on? How can Betty stand there and bake that bread while I'm waiting for the phone to ring from the doctor's office?
How do you use these in-between spaces? Myself? It's generally a mixture of the holy and the profane. I fret and worry and pray and live and talk and obsess and ... wait. One time I waited on something for 15 months. It wasn't the news I'd hoped.
But even if bad news comes, there's an ending. A glorious ending.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Jones Soda: Tastes like bacon

Now this is weird.
Granted, maybe I shouldn't pass judgment until I try it; but I prefer my bacon fried up in a pan.
You have to hand it to Jones Soda, though: Very creative and edgy. I've tried the vanilla and the bubblegum (preferring the vanilla). How 'bout you? What are you Jonesin' for?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bike shoe booties: Specialized

Best $20 I ever spent.
Yesterday I rode from about 11-1. I knew the high would be about 60. Though not one to get chilled very easily, I do suffer from cold feet (while cycling, that is) and cold hands and ears. My feet, particularly, can go numb in cooler temps. So I went to see my buds at Ride On Bikes and they sold me these awesome toe warmers.
They're not terribly easy to get on or off, but well worth the effort.
If you have clip in shoes, they have small holes for ventilation. Not something you need going 15 mph or more.
Hoorah for toe warmers!

To remedy the cold hands: bike gloves; and, for now, I put my windbreaker hood under my bike helmet. It cuts the peripheral vision and hearing so I think I'll check out a skull cap. Ideas?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Merrill: Gotta hike

So I got these new boots week before last, before vacation; and they are top-notch. (They should be; they cost enough.) But they're worth it.
You wear smart-wool socks with them and you can go, go, go. Or at least until your legs get too tired.
Check out Merrell for your other active-lifestyle needs.
They do better with a smart-wool sock (not as thick as pure wool but not as thin as cotton); and tonight on a neighborhood walk I went with regular cotton. Definitely will go back to the smart wool.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The spin cycle: The political edition

Politics very much in the air this week. The sun came up again Wednesday following yet another election. (And we await some runoffs.)
Maybe it's because I'd be too thin-skinned for it, but politics bores me. This party is up this time; it'll be the next one next time. Or the next time. And so on. This person will be caught in scandal, and therefore give the edge to his or her opponent. Then it will be the opponent's turn.
I completely understand the need for politicians but what I'm saying is I abhor the process. When you get laws and policies crafted by people--and groups of people--who beat the crap out of others to get there, well, I question the sanity of it all. That seemingly endless craving of power. That no-holds barred drive.
(Maybe this is why I didn't succeed at competitive sports.)
On another note: I wish there were some sort of third party. This either/or business is too limiting.
On a lighter note: Why do Sarah Palin and Bill Clinton (or fill in the blank) only call me every other year? Don't they want to talk to me on the off-cycle, see how I'm doing?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Four rides for what ails you

According to a recent study of more than 5,000 Americans, regular exercise can add as much as four years to your life. What's more, scientists have identified ways to tailor your training to improve common conditions that can wreck your quality of life right now. We pored over reams of research to find the best rides for your health. As a bonus, they'll make you a better rider, too. As always, this advice is for cyclists who have the medical go-ahead to train. If you haven't had a checkup this season, see your doctor before starting any program.
— Selene Yeager
Read the rest here from Bicycling magazine.
See you on the trail!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Charlie Kankel: Nov. 29, 1939-Oct. 29, 2010

"I myself shall see, and my eyes behold him
who is my friend and not a stranger."
The Book of Common Prayer

Back from vacation and I can't think of anything to blog about except our friend Charlie. On my way back into town last Friday, I stopped by the Columbus Hospice House where Charlie had been shipped. The staff were incredibly sensitive, as they had to break the news he'd died about three hours before. Though sad, I was grateful to have had good visit with him last Sunday, with Michael and another friend. He was lucid and funny and we watched a football game on his GI-normous TV in his apartment. A few days later, he went back to Hospice.
On Friday, I wrote a news obit about him for the paper.
Today was his funeral. The main pieces of his life were well-represented: The AA community, Army (and Vietnam) buddies, his church, football and golfing friends. When I grow up, I want to be like him. It might be a cliche but I do. Charlie, sober for about 40 years, had no pretense. You truly got what you saw. He helped untold numbers of people get and stay sober. He made amends.
"How are you doing, Charlie?"
He'd always say: "Better than I deserve."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Christopher Hitchens: Cancer and Vanity Fair

The popular author Christopher Hitchens
writes in Vanity Fair about his journey with cancer. Probably like you, I have too many friends who have it. Some have recently died from it.
Oddly, as Hitchens notes, we tend to save our battle imagery for cancer, rather than heart disease or diabetes. I wonder.
On a side note, Christopher Hitchens and his brother Peter come down on opposing sides of faith. C. is a devout atheist, and P. is a practicing Christian. Here's a CNN report from a recent live conversation between the two.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Grand opening of Outside World

The grand opening of Outside World is Thursday-Saturday.
Location: 1025 Broadway.
I went in today and it's pretty cool. Guy behind the counter said this is the second store to open after the one in Dawsonville, Ga. They seem to have a good variety of clothes (outerwear, primarily) and shoes; camping gear; kayaks; and some trail books.
Ribbon cutting is Friday.
Welcome to the neighborhood.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cosmo: Why men love power-hungry women

Never thought I'd link to something from Cosmopolitan, but here you go.
Have you ever toned down an opinion for your guy because you didn't want to seem bossy? Don't do it again. Here's why many men actually like a woman with a point of view and some ambition.
Meryl Streep revealed something about men recently that really grabbed our attention. She said that out of all the characters she's played, the one guys say they like most is — wait for it — Miranda flipping Priestly, the power-hungry (to put it nicely) magazine boss in The Devil Wears Prada.
Read the rest here.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New York Times: Weekly health quiz

Take the weekly health quiz from the New York Times.
Here's one of the more intriguing questions.
Speaking of infants, we have an infant cat in the house, a kitten named Smoky. We're fostering him because my parents, for whom this pet was adopted, aren't ready to take him yet.
He has really turned our other cat, Bisquick, on his head. For about four years, this has been Bisquick's territory. It's his house and we are the staff. Now, one of us goes around paying more attention to this kitten, holding him and such, and Bisquick does a lot of growling. Yesterday he made a noise I'd never heard before. Here's hoping they make peace.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mike Venable: Columbus and the Valley

If you have a moment, say prayers for our friend Mike V. over at Columbus and the Valley magazine.
He writes here on his blog, about a recurrence of cancer.
He is one tough dude--but still, most of us know what bad medical news looks like. Or at least uncertain news.
He's such a great writer, but I'm sad for the occasion that led to this post.
Hang in there, Mikey. We've got your back.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Prof. Hike: Making the Best of a Bad Situation

Prof. Hike from Backpacker Magazine writes here about the precautions one should take BEFORE heading out.
Mostly this is common sense. But then again, sometimes we (myself included) head out without it.
For one, prepare for blisters. You're gonna get 'em. Two, prepare for rain, and mud (use gators).
In real life, Prof. Hike is Jason Stevenson, author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Backpacking and Hiking."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On call: Weekend work and healthcare

Interesting Op-Ed piece in the Times from earlier in the month.
It seems that weekend work for docs improves care and cuts costs. Anyone who's been a hospital patient knows that weekends are for the skeleton crew. That's true of many businesses. But, for one thing, hospital discharges before noon on a weekend save taxpayers.
N.Y.U. is experimenting with the line between more care and better results.
Like this line: In health care, experimentation is the mother of improvement.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Michael Lanaz: 'In car years, I'm 269'

Found this cool outdoors blog by one Michael Lanza.
One of his latest posts is about "nursing" long-time ailments/injuries/aches through middle age.
Good quote: "Staying active in middle age isn’t just hard. It’s sometimes insulting."
To that end, I went to Group Centergy today at my gym. Basically it's a combo of yoga and Pilates. I hadn't been in some time (and could tell almost immediately). I'm so accustomed to working certain muscles that the other ones I don't often use were saying: "Hello?"

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bicycle magazine: Core

Your bulging quads and razor-cut calves are the envy of your pack, and you start every ride strong. As the ride progresses, though, your hips seesaw in the saddle, your lower back aches, and you slow in corners. The problem? Your core cries uncle long before your legs wear out. Although a cyclist's legs provide the most tangible source of power, the abs and lower back are the vital foundation from which all movement, including the pedal stroke, stems.
"You can have all the leg strength in the world, but without a stable core you won't be able to use it efficiently," says Graeme Street, founder of Cyclo-CORE, a DVD-based training program, and a personal trainer in Essex, Connecticut. "It's like having the body of a Ferrari with a Fiat chassis underneath."
Read the rest here in Bicycle magazine.
It's true. The core muscles needed for cycling aren't the most obvious. You need the whole machine to do with the work, of course, but the legs get all the attention. Working the core will help you work more efficiently and powerfully.
Happy spinning, y'all.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Icing down after a long run

So I have these friends in various cities who are training for marathons or half-marathons or triathlons, etc. One of the friends just posted on Facebook about a 10-minute ice bath after a 24-mile run.
Here's what I found.
It makes complete sense to do it, as it decreases inflammation and soreness, but I would REALLY have to get psyched up for it. I have such an aversion to cold water, period, much less dumping ice into the situation.
Anyone else tried it? Does it work?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Medical student and physician stress: High rates of suicide

From the Well blog on the New York Times: Several years ago, I learned that a physician in a town not too far from where I was practicing had committed suicide. Neither I nor my hospital colleagues knew him, but according to the story we heard, he was the father of young children, was respected by doctors and patients alike and had struggled privately with mental illness since medical school.
But it was not the details of his life that haunted us; it was the details of his death. He had locked himself in a room in the hospital, placed a large needle in his vein and injected himself with a drug that so effectively paralyzed his muscles he was unable to breathe.
Or call for help.
Read the rest here.
I can easily see how the suicide rates are so high. (And depressingly high, so to speak, for female docs.) If you just factor in the cut-throat competition, and the need to be top of the class (when there's only one spot available), sure I get it. It's very sad. There has to be a paradigm shift. And not just among doctors, or those in training.

TWC: Texting while cycling?

Here's a new one for ya: Texting while cycling.
On Sunday, a guy was in my bike lane coming toward me. He was clearly trying to text someone on his phone. The same thing happened Tuesday. Not sure if it was the same guy or not.
BUT: Come on, people!
Both times, I had to yell for the person to look up then swerved.
My husband said later he hoped he hit a tree.
It's dangerous enough to text behind the wheel of a car.
It's also dangerous to hit someone head on going 15 mph on a bicycle.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Junk food key to weight loss?

Losing a double-digit chunk of weight in one month was a piece of cake for Mark Haub. On August 25, the Kansas State University professor of nutrition began a 10-year-old's dream diet of Twinkies, Ho Hos, and brownies for each meal. Thirty days later and 15 pounds lighter, Haub not only feels great, but his bad cholesterol is down, his good cholesterol is up, and his blood pressure is fine. But while he is pleased about his new, trimmer self, that's not the reason he switched to junk food. He wanted his students to see for themselves that any diet can produce weight loss­—and if accomplished with a menu all but guaranteed to wreak havoc, then weight shouldn't be the sole standard for good health.
Read the rest here.
I was pleased to see that PART of his daily intake included veggies.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


So 20 years have flown by and I'm going to my 20th college reunion this weekend.
Twenty? Really?
Am looking forward to seeing people I haven't seen since the 10th. Sadly, some of our crowd can't make it but maybe we'll catch them at the 30th. (A shoutout especially to Kelly and Jeff.)
Things we didn't have 20 years ago: Blogging, the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, iPods, iPads, iPhones, etc. etc. No personal computers.
However, I distinctly remember that bag phones for cars were coming on the scene (this would have been in '89 or '90); and a friend of mine put one of those fake antennas on her car, to make people THINK she had a car phone.
Fads change, but the instinct to copy fads--or look cool in school--does not.
I remember that my dad wrote me letters several times a week and included copies of the Far Side cartoon (which I still miss) in the envelope.
This is where I went to college. I was very fortunate to have gone there.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tiger Woods: Ryder Cup

Newport, Wales--It's an unfortunate concept but, sadly, a truth, too, that in golf, nice guys aren't always as successful as their talent suggests.
Adam Scott is a nice guy, as are Freddie Couples and Sean O'Hair. But are they too nice to step on people's throats Sunday afternoons?
Phil Mickelson ruffles the feathers of his peers, as could Vijay Singh. Jack Nicklaus wasn't too friendly when a championship was on the line, and let's not even talk about Ben Hogan.
And be sure that Tiger Woods earned his stripes in that league, too.
"No matter how friendly you are with him, he wants to slit your throat on the golf course," said O'Hair after Woods beat him last year to win at Bay Hill.
An interesting analysis by Robert Lusetich at FoxSports.
Read the rest here.
Isn't this true in any profession? Sure, golf is played on the world stage (and the Ryder Cup will only further secure that); but think of the really successful people you know: The ones at the top of the heap GENERALLY aren't so concerned with their competitors. Or is it the focus that makes them seem, well, prickly?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A portrait of grief

From one of my all-time favorite movies, "Steel Magnolias."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Nutrition 101: What's healthy, what's not

This is a great link on the Duke University Web site.
So many times, you go to research calories or meal portions or what-have-you and you land on a site with products for sale. It can be discouraging.
Thanks, Duke U, for compiling this list.

Fast food wins bout with veggies

It’s been a busy week for vegetables.
The baby-carrot industry tried to reposition its product as junk food, starting a $25 million advertising campaign whose defining characteristics include heavy metal music, a phone app and a young man in a grocery cart dodging baby-carrot bullets fired by a woman in tight jeans.
On the East Side of Manhattan, crates of heirloom vegetables with names like Lady Godiva squash were auctioned for $1,000 each at Sotheby’s, where the wealthy are more accustomed to bidding on Warhols and Picassos than turnips and tomatoes.
Both efforts, high and low, are aimed at the same thing: getting America to eat its vegetables.
Good luck. Despite two decades of public health initiatives, stricter government dietary guidelines, record growth of farmers’ markets and the ease of products like salad in a bag, Americans still aren’t eating enough vegetables.
Read the rest of the Times article here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Swiftwick cycling socks

Bought some of these socks today.
They rock.
Wicking, as you probably know, keeps moisture away from your skin. I always wear shirts that wick--usually some combo of polyester and rayon--and your shirt can be soaking wet but it doesn't cling to you.
Hope everyone's having a super weekend. Supposed to be 80 degrees here tomorrow. We'll take it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Maryland candidate for Senate hit, killed while cycling

This is so sad.
Natasha Pettigrew, a Green Party candidate, was cycling early Sunday and was struck and killed by an SUV. She died Monday evening.
As much as I'd say "be careful out there" (to cyclists and drivers), accidents can still happen. We have a good friend who was hit here a few years ago. He, too, was on an early-morning ride and a driver didn't see him. I seem to recall it was foggy. He was not killed, thankfully, but broke his back. Word to the wise: Practice defensive driving and cycling, y'all.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

EAS Peak: Performance Nutrition

Got this package in the mail today. It was three bottles of EAS Peak, each with 10 grams of protein. The press release boasts of 3 P's: Push, Performance and Protect. There's no caffeine. It does contain the following scientific words: Beta-alanine: an amino acid used to produce carnosine in the muscles. (Which is said to delay fatigue); isomaltulose: a slowly digesting carb; and HMB: an ingredient that can help slow muscle protein breakdown while promoting the production of new muscle tissue.
Wanna know what HMB stands for? beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate. Whoa.
Did it help get me through Spin? Yes, and it tasted pretty good too.
Thanks, EAS.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wired: Double amputee swims English channel

Did y'all hear about this?
Frenchman Philippe Croizon, who lost both arms and legs in an electrical accident in 1994, successfully swam across the English Channel yesterday in just under 14 hours, using a snorkel affixed to his face as well as some specially designed prosthetic flippers.
Croizon, who trained more than 30 hours a week for two years for this attempt, had been hoping to make the swim in roughly 24 hours. Instead, he made the 21-mile crossing from Folkstone, UK, to Wissant, France in just over half a day.
Back in 1994, Croizon made his living as a French metal worker when he climbed the roof of his house one day and made contact with a nearby power line. His life-threatening injuries required the amputation of all four of his four limbs, although that hasn’t affected Croizon from living his life.
In fact, you’ll likely soon find his name on the official list of Channel-swim record-holders.
Read the rest here.

AP photo

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Garrison Keillor: Leave me alone

"One short weekend, so much to do -- an invitation to go swimming at night by moonlight, the Iran protest march downtown with our mouths taped shut, a dance at the Eagles Club with a hot horn band playing '70s funk that propels people onto the dance floor as if shot from guns -- but here I am stuck with houseguests who are unable to sit in a room without me for more than 15 minutes. They follow me around like faithful collies. We ran out of conversation on Friday and they're here until Wednesday. I have had un-Christian thoughts about them. I may have to run away from home.
The problem, dear hearts, is a common one here in the American heartland: an inability to express personal preference in simple declarative sentences, no modifiers.
E.g., 'I vish to be alone.' "
This is the rest.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Well: What doctors don't know about nutrition

Some of the most common questions patients ask their doctors focus on the link between diet and health, according to the Well blog on NewYorkTimes.com. But as Dr. Pauline Chen explains this week in her Doctor and Patient column, many of the nation’s medical schools are failing to provide new doctors with adequate nutrition education. She writes:
"Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill asked nutrition educators from over 100 medical schools to describe the nutrition instruction offered to their students. While the researchers learned that almost all schools require exposure to nutrition, only about quarter offered the recommended 25 hours of instruction, a decrease from six years earlier, when almost 40 percent of all schools met the minimum recommendations. In addition, four schools offered nutrition optionally, and one school offered nothing at all. And while the majority of medical schools tended to intersperse lectures on nutrition in standard, required year-long or semester courses, like biochemistry or physiology, only a quarter of the schools managed to have a single course dedicated to the topic."
Read the rest here.
I like one of the comments: "Money talks and the beet growers associations can’t afford TV advertising like Lilly can."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Slow cooker: Take the slow-cooker quiz

All hail the slow cooker. This marvel of modern cookery is an asset to busy home cooks everywhere. The set-it-and-forget-it technique means dinner will be ready at the end of the day with a minimum of prep in the morning. Are you a smarty when it comes to slow cooking? Prove your know-how with this challenging quiz.
Good luck!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

MCAT: How the scoring breaks down

In case you are curious about the MCAT--the medical school admissions test--here's how the different sections break down, scoring-wise.
I have a friend who just took it and she feels pretty solid about it. All the best to her. She has to wait about three more weeks for results. Imagine THAT agony.
The sections are: Physical Sciences; Verbal Reasoning; Biological Sciences; and Writing. Not so sure how I'd handle Physical and Biological Sciences--which, yes, sort of counts me out for this particular profession.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Consumer Reports: Rate those heart surgeons

Medical groups that perform heart bypass surgery are now being rated alongside cars and toaster ovens in Consumer Reports.
In most parts of the country, data-based ratings of doctors are not available to patients. Only a few states, including New York, provide them.
The magazine published ratings of 221 surgical groups from 42 states online last Tuesday and will print them in its October issue. Groups are rated, not individual doctors. The groups receive one, two or three stars, for below average, average or above average. The scores were based on complication and survival rates, whether the groups used the best surgical technique and whether patients were being sent home with certain medicines that research has shown to be beneficial after this type of surgery.
Read this rest here.
And why not? If you can get a good sense of the best toasters, why not someone--or a group of someones--operating on you?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

U.S. Open: Federer falls in five-set thriller

What a match!
I'm definitely a Roger Federer fan and would have wanted him in the final against Nadal. But Novak Djokovic prevailed and overall, toward the end, looked fresher.
Here's my question, though: How do you go five sets, at more than four hours, and still look like you've just walked out of your living room? (I'm a major sweater.)
Another question: Whom to root for Sunday?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Livestrong.com: Guilt

What is guilt?
Guilt is:

* Feeling of responsibility for negative circumstances that have befallen yourself or others.
* Feeling of regret for your real or imagined misdeeds, both past and present.
* Sense of remorse for thoughts, feelings or attitudes that were or are negative, uncomplimentary or non-accepting concerning yourself or others.
* Feeling of obligation for not pleasing, not helping or not placating another.
* Feeling of bewilderment and lack of balance for not responding to a situation in your typical, stereotype manner.
* Feeling of loss and shame for not having done or said something to someone who is no longer available to you.
* Accepting of responsibility for someone else's misfortune or problem because it bothers you to see that person suffer.
* Motivator to amend all real or perceived wrongs.
* Strong moral sense of right and wrong that inhibits you from choosing a "wrong" course of action; however, you assign your own definitions to the words.
* Driving force or mask behind which irrational beliefs hide.
How do others play on your feelings of guilt?
Read it all: here.

Admittedly, I am one of those who takes on too much. (Guilty!) I often take on responsibility for things that aren't mine. But the other day when I had one of my "episodes" of guilt, I was able to work through it. At least mostly. Guilt can be a great "check" on you; you can right wrongs. Yet there are some who feel no guilt at all, about anything, and perhaps have no issue with doing things that might lead to a feeling of guilt, such as robbing a bank.
Anyone else want to weigh in?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Jamie Lee Curtis: Recovery is 'single greatest accomplishment'

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis has said that recovering from years of drug abuse is her "greatest accomplishment" in life. (Well, that and motherhood.)
In an interview on NBC's Today, the actress admitted that ending her addiction is what allowed her to lead a successful life.
"My recovery is the single greatest accomplishment of my life. And without that, the rest of my life would have fallen apart," she explained.
Read the rest here.
Mainly I applaud Curtis, and others like her in the limelight, for naming their struggles with addiction. It takes the power out when you say or write things. However, the mixed-bag I have with Curtis and others is two-fold: One, that recovery work can be glorified. (We seem to hear every day about so-and-so actor going to rehab. So it becomes sort of the "in" thing.) And two, I tire easily of celebrity news. "Actress X stubbed her toe today while shopping for a bathing suit. News at 11."

Monday, September 6, 2010

Harvard Medical School: Students look down the road 10 years

"Therefore, if you know one Dominican patient, you know exactly one Dominican patient, and not all Dominicans."

Here, a few first-year medical students at Harvard weigh in on the future of their future profession. And I like what the one guy said above, which should be a lesson to us all--whether in medicine or the arts. Generalizations, while helpful in making certain categorical judgments, miss the particular. What patient/person doesn't want to be seen and heard?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Medical school: Seeing patients on Day 1

Fascinating shift from a formula enacted 100 years ago: Medical schools, such as NYU, are putting medical students in contact with real-life patients on the first day.
Read the New York Times story here.
Of course it's not clinical training, yet--mostly testimonials from patients in the classroom. But it seems necessary. If nothing else, I presume, the would-be docs can associate names and faces with long names of diseases. And in the long run, become more-compassionate physicians.

Friday, September 3, 2010

U.S. Open: Poet-in-residence?

That seems kind of weird.
But this columnist offers a "return of serve" to the tradition at Wimbledon. And the concept of poet-in-residence wouldn't have to be limited to tennis tournaments. What about restaurants? Waffle House?
Here's a Waffle House Haiku (just written by Yours Truly):
Scattered, smothered, chopped
Hashbrowns ready when you are
Ceramic mugs: coffee

If you're laboring this weekend, don't work too hard.
Meanwhile, catch U.S. Open action here.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tiger Woods: What recession?

The housing market in the United States may still be in the tank, but that hasn't stopped Tiger Woods from taking out a hefty sum for his newest residence.
Just days after he finalized his divorce with ex-wife Elin Nordegren, Woods took out a $54.5 million mortgage for the mega-mansion he's building on Florida's exclusive Jupiter Island, according to TMZ.com.
Tiger has agreed to pay the loan back by January 15, 2016.
Legal documents filed in Martin County and obtained by TMZ.com indicate that Tiger's property will span across three parcels of land. The mansion will also include a tennis court, oxygen therapy room, multiple pools and a state-of-the-art fitness center.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mountain Crossings at Appalachian Trail

Here's a cool slide show of Mountain Crossings on Ga. Highway 19/129. Regular readers to this blog will know I'm a fan and supporter of the A.T.
If you're ever traveling between Blairsville from Dahlonega, you'll likely pass by this store. To hikers it's an oasis, the first such outfitters after leaving Springer. Owner Winton Porter recently wrote a book, "Just Passing Through," about his many sightings of the characters who literally pass through his store. (It's the only covered section of the trail). Most stay only briefly but some, so taken by the place, manage to hang around months or years at a time.
Happy hiking.

A Marathon Runner's Guide to Keeping Feet in Tip-Top Shape

The New York City Marathon, the premier event of New York runners, is one of the world's great road races. Drawing more than 85,000 applicants the race attracts world-class professional athletes, driven to cross the finish line in Central Park. Running is a great cardio workout for your body, but pounding the pavement over the course of a long run can be extremely harsh on feet. Every stride taken while running applies a force of 3-4 times your body weight across knees, ankles and feet. During a 10-mile run, feet make 15,000 strides, which means thousand of pounds of force are placed on the feet of runner’s during the New York City Marathon.
NYC podiatrist Dr. Oliver Zong is one of the premier cosmetic foot surgeons in the country. He serves as the Director of Surgery at NYC FootCare and is on the Board of Directors at Gramercy Park Surgery Center. Dr. Zong offers foot related advice and tips to runners participating in this year’s New York City Marathon, for keeping feet in tip-top shape and feeling like a champion at the finish line.
Keep Your Feet in Tip-Top Shape With 10 These Tips from Dr. Zong:

1. Stretching. Stretching primes the body for the strenuous activity. Stretch before and after running. Concentrate on the calves, hamstrings, quads and feet.

2. Shoes. Invest in a good pair of running shoes. They provide specific impact support that running demands. There is a wide variety of sneakers for every prove range at retail outlets like www.shoes.com. If feet sweat heavily during running try putting talcum powder in your shoes to keep feet dry.

3. Orthodics. If you have arch or heel pain, you may be a perfect candidate for orthodics. Visit a podiatrist to inquire about purchasing orthodics for your shoes.

4. Socks. Cotton socks absorb moisture. For a long run like a marathon, your feet may require a synthetic sock (containing acrylic), which helps alleviate moisture from your skin. Make sure that the seams of your socks are not in an area of pressure, which can lead to a lot of pain. If you cannot find a comfortable location for the seams try turning socks inside out.

5. Anti-Inflammatory Medications. Do not pop Advil or Aleve before a race to prevent aches that may arise during the race. Save this treatment for the day after the race. Taking anti-inflammatory medications will mask any pain that is felt during the race and can lead to more serious injury. Pain is a valuable feedback mechanism that you need to pay attention to during a long run.

6. Groom Toenails. Make sure your toenails are not long before a race. They should not extend past the tip of your toe and should be shaped in a straight cut. If you do not properly groom your toenails before a marathon you run the risk of developing an ingrown nail or even a fungal nail.

7. Toes. If you have a tendency to develop corns and callouses on the tips of your toes try adding padding in your sneakers underneath your toes. If your toes or toenails turn black you may have developed subungual hematoma (bleeding under the nails). This may cause nails to fall off. Keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection and seek treatment from your podiatrist.

8. Blisters. Blisters are the results of excessive friction between shoes and feet. Take preventative steps by making sure shoes fit properly and are laced up so that they are form fitting to your feet. If you are prone to blisters apply Vaseline to problem areas prior to your run or try padded “blister proof” socks like those made by Thorlo. Additionally, applying moleskin to problem areas also prevents blisters from forming.

9. Visit Your Podiatrist. Dr. Zong’s patients who run in the New York City Marathon make appointments the entire week before the race to get rid of corns, callouses, get moleskin, have their orthodics padded, and in some cases receive cortisone injections for their heel spurs (plantar fasciitis) so they can run in their dream event.

10. Finish Line. When the race is complete Dr. Zong says practice RICE:
Rest your feet.
Ice helps keep inflammation and swelling down.
Compression with ACE wraps will also reduce swelling.
Elevation will help your feet rest up for the next big run.

About Dr. Oliver Zong: Zong is a podiatrist in Manhattan. One of the premier cosmetic foot surgeons in the country, he serves as the Director of Surgery at NYC Foot Care and is on the Board of Directors at Gramercy Park Surgery Center. Besides traditional and cosmetic foot surgery, Dr. Zong is also an accomplished cryosurgeon and co-founder of the Podiatric Cryosurgery Center of New York. He is an attending physician at New York Hospital Downtown, Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, Cabrini Medical Center and Gramercy Park Surgery Center. See more at NYFootcare.com

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Singing in the rain: Cycling in the rain

I'll never head out while it's raining, but there's not much you can do if you get caught in it as happened today.
Started out humid (not unusual) and cloudy. Though the forecast called for 40 percent through the afternoon, I decided to chance it. At my usual halfway point (about 12 miles), I took a water and phone break. There were some ominous clouds off to the east, but I was going more north. Still thought I might escape. Within the second mile headed home, I was soaked and still had about 10 more to go. The wind was up, too. Stopped at a shelter and waited a bit while it slacked off. Talked to some guys out on a maintenance job. When I got about another mile down the road, I took a second break and chatted with another rider seeking shelter. He'd been about 5 miles and planned on 30 but was feeling discouraged, naturally. He immediately offered me an Advil. I was feeling fine, though soaked. He had this white shirt on and I asked if it was cotton, because it looked like it. "No," he said, "I learned that lesson a long time ago."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

Saw this today with my mom and was quite pleased that it mirrored the book very well.
The acting was outstanding. I was already a Julia Roberts fan, but liked them all, especially the medicine man in Bali.
The second video is an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert, the author.

Enjoy. And remember to eat, pray and love.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The weekend brunch: Gospel with your eggs?

Here's a cute idea for brunch. You never know what might come with your eggs in one of many of New York's brunch restaurants.
Sometimes I just want to eat eggs and bacon.
Which brings me to another topic: Loud restaurants. We seem to have our share here, even among the high-end places. Lots of brick and hardwood. Drives me nuts. Someone told me the other day people drink more when it's loud. (You gotta love a good conspiracy theory: Pack in the patrons! Sell more alcohol!)
Yet here's a good Columbus place that's consistently tasty and quiet.
God, I'm getting old.

Sawtooth Mountains: James Q. Martin

Climber and photographer James Q. Martin chronicles a series of climbs in this glorious Climbing Magazine piece.
Imagine the rewards en route and also in completion. Imagine the muscles that have to work in near-perfect concert. Legs and arms are obvious, but also abs.
The sport--the art--of rock climbing has long fascinated me, in part because I'm afraid heights and it would test me. I've never done it except in the confines, and safety, of a climbing wall.
What about you? Any experts out there? Any day dreamers, like me?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tiger Woods: Playing defense

Their divorce made official two days ago, Elin Woods of Elin Woods-Tiger Woods fame was on the Today Show this morning sharing her side. It was well-timed in advance of a People story about her. Then Tiger Woods was asked about it at The Barclays in New Jersey, where he's trying to jumpstart his career. Again.
Steve Elling of CBS has this commentary.
As soon as I say, "give it a rest, people" (and People), I also have to admit it's like craning your neck when you pass a car crash. You know there's pain and carnage, but isn't it cool? And isn't it cool it isn't me? Or you?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Recycled homes: Two boats, or an airplane?

Check out these examples of using recycled parts to turn into homes.
We can file this under environmental health.
With the economy still depressed, it might make sense to find, oh, a spare airplane to convert.
Then there's this house in Atlanta, which is on the market. No comment necessary.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Marital health: Ladies, keep the pay down

Here's another reason your man may stray: If you make more money than he does.
Read it all here.
No danger in this house (of my salary catching up anytime soon).
It's also possible that if a guy were that insecure about his salary vs. yours, he wouldn't be with you in the first place. Once was friends with a guy who said he couldn't marry a woman who made more than he did. Though shocking, at least he was honest about it.

20 things that can ruin your smile

Some of these are pretty obvious: Tobacco (all kinds),
But pregnancy and puberty?
I come from a family of dentists so I'm fairly aware of good dental care. My dad's dad had his own practice, and two of his three sons eventually joined it. (My dad, an English major, jokes that he was the "black tooth of the family.") Both my uncles produced a total of three dentists between them.
Get your check-ups. Brush. Floss.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pearl Izumi: Women's cycling shoes

Long in the market for a new pair of cycling shoes, I just bought some from this company.
In a word, awesome.
Wore them for the first time on a ride last night with a friend. Like the new bike, they're a vast improvement from what I did have. My old shoes were about eight years old. They had shrunk considerably through the years, but I didn't realize how much until I had the new ones. Also I had the old pair in my car for a couple of days, shuttling between two shops to get shoes and old clips on the new pair. STINKY.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mental illness: Carnegie

This is such an interesting piece about the Andrew Carnegie family.
One of America's most famous families, the Carnegies have homes on the coast of Georgia (Cumberland Island, which is largely protected), and two off Maine. They OWN these islands.
As idyllic as this may sound, their lives have not been completely charming. Mental illness has touched more than a few of them--in such severity that hospitalization was required here.
I'm glad Millicent Monk, a descendant of Thomas Carnegie (Andrew's brother) has written about it. Her memoir is aptly named "Songs of Three Islands." It's causing pain to Monk's daughter, who plans to tell her own version; they are estranged. But this hidden disease doesn't need to stay hidden.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Guy Fieri

At the outset, I have to say: I pretty much despise our celebrity culture; I read People magazine only when it's the only one available in the doctor's office; and I don't watch much TV.
That said, here's a recent profile of Guy Fieri, superstar.
When we do watch TV, it's his hit show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." Early on, some eateries declined to be featured because they didn't want to be placed in one of those categories. (I'll bet they're returning calls now.)
I like Fieri. Not so much that I would throw underwear at him, as one woman did on a set. But I like his easy, humorous style with chefs and restaurant owners. Have always wondered, though: If upon sampling a concoction he didn't like, would he say so? That's the rub: You're at someone's restaurant and therefore a guest, so it's hard to slam their food.
PS. Fieri is to star in an upcoming Aflac commercial--something of interest to us locally with the insurance company based here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Fresh Market

Columbus has been graced with this store.
Our primary grocery chain is Publix. We also have Winn Dixie and Piggly Wiggly.
The Fresh Market opened last week, and friends from work reported that it was crowded from the get-go, as it was today when I finally went.
When I lived in another city, there was a Fresh Market but I don't remember it being this big--or this well-stocked.
It's a blessing and a curse, you know. What you pay in higher price generally means you're getting a higher-quality product.
What I also like: Ready-made foods/meals for which you can control the amount. At our house, we seem to waste a lot of food because things seem to come in such huge quantities.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Test your fitness level

This is from Men's Health magazine.
The comments below the story are pretty hilarious, such as: Come up with something for men over 40! I do like how they offer tips to move you toward those benchmarks. Better to reach for the stars and fall short than never try at all. IMO.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dr. Oz: Hoarding

Dr. Oz isn't hoarding (that I know of) but his Web site has this feature on hoarding and how mental imbalance or illness can be behind it.
It's a matter of degree, of course. Our house is cluttered in places; but we don't have to walk around mountains of material to get out the door. I have no problem throwing out most things. But I do know we could get rid of a lot more junk--like long-outdated calendars.
What do you hoard?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Golden Retrievers: An office visit

Tim Chitwood and his wife got two new pups last Saturday, Beau and Becky, and they visited the office today. They're Golden Retrievers.
Such calm puppies! They're eight weeks old.
I can remember when Molly, my parents' old Golden, was that age and she was EVERYWHERE.
We're thankful Beau and Becky didn't pee on the newsroom carpet but it's in pretty bad shape anyway so I guess it wouldn't matter.
All sorts of people came around to see the canines. And it's funny: The women-folk, like me, immediately started cooing over them as if they were baby children.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Exercise rest days

A helpful piece about factoring in rest days after exercise begins:
"Most athletes know that getting enough rest after exercise is essential to high-level performance, but many still over train and feel guilty when they take a day off. The body repairs and strengthens itself in the time between workouts, and continuous training can actually weaken the strongest athletes.
"Rest days are critical to sports performance for a variety of reasons. Some are physiological and some are psychological. Rest is physically necessary so that the muscles can repair, rebuild and strengthen. For recreational athletes, building in rest days can help maintain a better balance between home, work and fitness goals. ..."
Read it all here.
Though I exercise a lot, I'd still be considered a recreational athlete. Gotta work to pay the bills, you know. But regardless of one's "level," rest is important. Yesterday, after the bike ride through the oven on Sunday, I took a rest day. I can tell it did a world of good.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

How much water to drink while exercising?

"If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour."
Here's the rest from the CDC.
It's been in the 90s here, with heat index into the 100s. So here's what I did--yes, I'm crazy; let's establish that up front--I went riding from about 3-4:30 p.m. Heat of the day, blah blah blah.
I'm accustomed to exercising and I'm in and out of the office all day. But as I found out, I am not accustomed to exercising from 3-4:30 p.m. in early August.
Four bottles of water and one Gatorade.
Did OK but I realized about halfway through that I needed to be halfway through. Brutal. I rested in the shade several times. Doused my head in water in a bathroom sink.
Careful out there, Ye Fellow Residents of the Deep South.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Jr. Varsity closing

The Jr. Varsity on Lindbergh Drive in Atlanta is closing.
Here's why.
I've been only a couple of times, but it has great emotional significance to me because Michael grew up going there. It was closer to his house than the downtown one. It opened when he was 10.
A shame it had to come to this.
A new site is going up in Dawsonville, off Ga. 400.

Extreme heat and exercise

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned; it has been two days since my last blog post.
Having gone on an hour walk this evening, I was interested to find this piece on the warnings of heat cramps/exhaustion/collapse. (Yes, I'm feeling fine.)
In the extreme weather we're having, with advisory warnings every day, you have to be cautious. For instance, I take two water bottles for one hour instead of the usual one.
I've not been out on the newbie bike lately, either, and it's killing me. I miss it. Love Spin class and other things from the gym, but I'll be grateful for cooler weather.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Paul Solotaroff: Confessions of a Steroid Addict

This is a powerful essay about one man's addiction to steroids.
The essay is excerpted from Paul Solotaroff's book.
Solotaroff started out innocently enough: In the '70s, while in college, a friend introduced him to shots that would help him bulk up. Sure enough they did. But then, to bulk up the shy part of himself, Solotaroff added other illegal substances like cocaine.
Ended up in the hospital once and tried lying to a doctor, who knew better.
Solotaroff is one of the lucky ones. He lived to tell about it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Michelle Duggar: An even 20?

On the Today show, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar of Big Family fame said that Baby 19 is doing well; and that they'd have a 20th if it were meant to be. Josie, born prematurely in December, seems to be catching up with other infants her age. And the Duggars would be open to child No. 20 if it, well, "came to pass" (as they say).
Read the full story here.
Here's the Duggar Web site.
What do you think? Twenty too many? Just right? Go for more?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tuttle farm: Oldest farm in country

This is such a remarkable, yet sad, tale.
Members of the last generation descended from one John Tuttle of New Hampshire are putting the family farm up for sale. The farm is reportedly the oldest continuously operated family farm in America. It operated 378 years. But they couldn't keep it going in the way it needed.
"We've been here for 40 years, doing what we love to do," Lucy Tuttle, 65, who runs the 134-acre farm with brother Will, tells the Associated Press. "But we're not able to work to our full capacity any longer, unfortunately."
Read it all here.

AP Photo credit: Jim Cole

Friday, July 30, 2010

Western North Carolina

"Not all who wander are lost."
--J.R.R. Tolkein

We returned yesterday from vacation. Our usual place for getting away is western North Carolina. On Sunday, we met some friends in Brevard and drove up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We took a little hike to a rocky overlook and ate some delicious pie from the Pisgah Inn Restaurant.
We stayed in a cabin on Cold Mountain, made popular in recent years by the book and movie. (Interestingly, though, much of the movie was filmed in Romania.) With a magnificent view, we stayed on the deck a lot, reading or just staring at the trees. I got in a great amount of hiking.
Having been a camp counselor in that area, I was reminded of the daily weather patterns. Our days would typically start out clear but by afternoon a storm would brew. On Wednesday night we got thunder and lightning and mucho rain. We slept with the windows open--a gift compared to our hot summer in the flats.
Our closest town was Waynesville. One day we drove over to Lake Junaluska, a United Methodist retreat center. Another day, we found an Episcopal retreat center and camp pretty close to our cabin. A kind man (the director?) greeted us on the road and gave us some of the history.
The gravel lane that led to our driveway didn't get much traffic. Maybe 10 cars in five days. Every time we heard the familiar crunch of gravel, we'd run to the deck ledge to see what kind of car it was. This is the kind of entertainment I seek on vacation.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Six ways to look better naked

I have to admit that headline caught my eye.
I read it aloud to Michael and he said: "Turn out the lights?"
Here's the full story.
After sticking with this routine for awhile, I imagine you'll look better with or without clothes on.
Be sure to alternate the strength training with cardio.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lance Armstrong: Cheater?

Floyd Landis says he is. And Greg LeMond.
This piece from Thursday's Time.com tells of one Jeff Novitzky, an investigator for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who's pursuing answers.
I don't know what to believe about Lance. Mainly I go on the evidence: that he's never failed a drug test. But on the other hand I'm pretty skeptical/cynical about sports and all the "records" broken by stars on the juice. I'm also not one of these people who needs a sports star to remain on top for my orbit to spin. (Though I admit having a certain affinity and admiration for the seven-time Tour de France winner.)
It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. And I don't doubt Lance will fight it like he fought cancer: with both barrels.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tech support: A journey through hell

Not to put too fine a point on it.
We got a two-page letter the other day from our cable company, saying that we (or someone accessing our wireless network) were in violation of copyright laws. When I Googled the company, it was for some kind of gaming system. We don't play computer games. Yesterday I called the company and they told me what to do. They figured someone hacked into our network.
Last night, I got online to see how to do what they instructed. Didn't work. As a last resort, I called tech support. I was on hold for about 45 minutes. Same muzak, over and over and over. (Did I say over?) And nothing interesting either, like "Wind Beneath My Wings" or "Old-Fashioned Love Song."
Finally. Techie comes on the phone and he thanks me for staying on hold and we start working through the problem. He suggests a couple of things, which don't work. All the while, there's a language barrier (and probably on my end, too. I have a pretty thick Southern accent). I am also not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to the inner workings of technology. So I kept asking him to repeat things. "What? Where is that? I don't understand," etc.
We're on the phone so long, my computer battery signal starts to blink. Michael runs to get an extension cord. It's like the Keystone cops. Techie has me try the fix on the other computer, which works. Thank God! But then after I hang up (after TWO HOURS) I realize I have to do the re-set on the first laptop.
All for some (probable) pimply-faced kid who knows a thing or two about hacking and could get us fined a sum containing too many zeroes.
I don't know about you but many days, I daydream of playing in a cave with sticks and mud.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hallelujah: Jeff Buckley

This is my new favorite song.
What does it have to do with health and fitness? Not much, unless you need something to soothe you mentally. Which I do.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Weigh Down Workshop

This Arizona woman shares her success with the Weigh Down Workshop.
She has quite a story.
After putting on weight from other diets, she went searching. She found a way to THINK about food, and mastering it, rather than the other way around. I like how she says food isn't good or bad; and that she pays attention to what she might need to eat, instead of want or seek out for emotional reasons.
Cheers to Leslee O.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

British Open: Oosthuizen

Never heard of the leader going into today? I hadn't either.
Louis Oosthuizen, from South Africa, is -11 going into today's round.
Meanwhile, Tiger's changing back to his old putter.
And the great Tom Watson says goodbye to the Old Course.
Unless you're lucky enough to be there, happy watching.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Frank Deford: Summer's excess

Great column by SI's Frank Deford.
I'd like to think the LeBron James soap opera wouldn't have played as well (on TV, at least) outside of summer; but I could be wrong. Same goes, for sure, about the hot-dog eating contest. Egads! What's the summer coming to? The Wimbledon set to end all sets was epic; and safe to say it'd have been big sports news if even in the dead of winter.
The "Is Lance on drugs?" story is a yawner.
But back to the hot dogs: Really?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

WebMD: Exercise do's and don'ts

Here's a cool explanatory slideshow about do's and don'ts while exercising. Most of these have to do with lifting weights and weight machines.
It's amazing what all you see in a gym (many of the don'ts). And yes, I've done a few of the don'ts myself.
I'd suggest working out with a trainer, if only for a brief period, so s/he can instruct you in proper form. Otherwise, you could get injured.
Happy workout.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pacemakers: My father's broken heart

Not my own father's, but the woman who wrote this piece: Katy Butler.
It's very well-written, for one thing; but it's also compelling because it details the dilemmas inherent in medical advances. She admits that, on par, all our advances have been good: Even weighing the skyrocketing costs, kickbacks and insurance problems. But in her father's case, not so much. His heart was fixed by a pacemaker but still, it couldn't help his otherwise wasted body and mind. He was in his 80s.
Another dilemma, which reminds me that medicine--like life--is always contextual: We had a 40-something-year-old family member die of an inoperable brain tumor about two years ago. He took all the treatments they could throw at him. Another family remember remarked: "I wouldn't have taken all that treatment." But I reminded her that he had a young family. No, the treatment didn't ultimately cure him. They knew, without a miracle, it wouldn't. But he had two years he might not have gotten otherwise.
A chosen path is always clear in hindsight. If the pacemaker of Katy Butler's father had turned his life around, the article would be different. As the story goes, his experience allowed her aged mother to choose a different path.
Medicine: An art, a mystery.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Joe Posnanski: Steinbrenner

Curious what "Poz" would say about Steinbrenner, and here it is.
A rich read.
One of my favorite parts: “If I believed half the things said about me, I wouldn’t go home with myself,” Steinbrenner once said, but the thing is that he DID believe half the things people said about him. He just believed the other half.
Steinbrenner is Everyman, of course. We, each of us, have parts of ourselves we'd rather keep hidden. We spend an awful lot of energy (speaking autobiographically) hiding behind masks. And we rail against the flaws of such people often because we're projecting our worst selves, or similar selves, onto them.
But because Steinbrenner was Steinbrenner, the bad parts were all out there in full display. Did he catch a million breaks because of who he was? Of course. Did he often get a bad rap for being who he was? Yes.
The sad part of his "shadow side," though, was his incessant drive to live up to his father's expectations. You can do that even if your father's dead, you know. Always trying to meet approval. Always striving and competing. Little people be damned. I can't glorify that part of him, but the parts that were humble and kind and selfless? Play ball.

AP photo

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lance Armstrong: Crash

Lance's crash today at the Tour de France effectively ended his chances--and perhaps his team's--of winning the Tour.
That's the way the wheels topple sometimes, but I wish his "last" Tour would have gone better for him. (Safe to say he feels the same.) Probably a long shot that he'd taken the whole thing, anyway. But.
(I say "last" in parentheses because there have been previous "lasts" with Lance.)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The secret of aging: This is what it looks like

This afternoon, our priest and another friend and I went on two home communion visits. These are for folks who can't come to church for health reasons, or can make it only occasionally. It's important for them to know they are still connected to the wider community. Our first visit was to a woman and her son. I'll call them Jane and Sam. Sam has some kind of mental condition--retardation, perhaps--which causes him to speak out when he wants or just laugh spontaneously. He's such a delight. So is Jane.
At one point we were talking about age. Doug, our priest, asked Jane about her next birthday. She reported her age, which is way older than I'd have thought. Doug then turned to Sam and asked how old he was. Sam said, "I have no idea!" And we all had a good laugh.
I've been thinking since what a delightful comment that was, and a delightful way to live. Sam is completely unaware of age and the stigmas of getting older. Granted, Sam doesn't have a job or a bank account or drive a car. He is completely dependent on his mother for those things.
But as he sat there listening to his jazz music, stretched out smiling in a recliner, enjoying the company, Sam was simply in the moment. Age? "I have no idea!"

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Energy Gels

Today's topic: Energy gels.
Not much of a fan in the taste department but they sure do what they're supposed to do.
So far I've only tried the raspberry. The turnoff for the taste, I think, is the goo. It's a little less firm than toothpaste. So I find myself chasing it with water.
Any recommendations on other flavors?

Friday, July 9, 2010

What to pack for a day hike

Backpacker Magazine has this helpful video on packing for a day hike.
It seems like overkill (but I know the definitions of "day" and "hike" vary). If I'm out alone, it's seldom more than two hours, maybe more with someone else. If I am out alone, I go to well-populated areas. I always take a jacket/windbreaker, cell phone, plenty of water and a light snack. The cell is only for emergencies; it's not like I use it to gab in the woods. ("Can you believe what Lerleane did to Earl?")
What are your preferences? For the day pack, that is.

Bike gloves: Friend or foe?

Will test out my very first pair of bike gloves after work.
I didn't understand them, at first, until my palms started to hurt after being in the same position. People tell me the gloves will help. I've only experienced this discomfort in the past few months.
Anyone out there use them?
This article says one benefit is for warmth--which will help when it gets cold again around here--but safe to say that's not now.
Happy Friday.