Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Computer Issues

I think I have a virus. I may have to reformat my hard drive. I'm not happy. I may not be around much in the next few days while I attempt to solve this problem using my less-than-technical brain and the Restore DVD that came with my computer. Any advice before I wipe the slate clean?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Nothing Much

It's been a "nothing much of anything" kind of weekend. I did some reading, some writing, some exercising, some cleaning and unpacking. Some candle-burning, movie watching, cuddling with My Love. Some stretching, yoga, and laundry washing. And now, I'm doing some Oscar-watching and my First 50 for the day. Then I'll do some cozying up in my bed with some popcorn and the rest of the awards. Like I said, nothing much of anything...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Blinking Cursor

Every day, when I'm busy and don't have time to post, I've got ideas galore of what I'd like to write in this empty box. But when the time comes for me to actually post something, when I've got a few extra minutes or an hour, even, I can't seem to come up with a single topic that does this blinking cursor justice.

"Why don't you write your ideas down?" you might ask. Because it might interrupt the flow of whatever it is I'm in the middle of: work, driving, talking on the phone. Because I think, "Ooooo, that's good! I'll remember that." And then I don't.

Of course, there are also all those semi-ideas--the ones that briefly cross my conscious mind but need more formulation, more contemplation and explanation before they'll make anything close to a coherent commentary.

So tonight, I'm gonna leave you with a few observations I've made this week:

  1. There's something beautiful in the realization that a person loves you enough to go out in the cold and get you ice cream just because you said you had a taste for it.

  2. Cuddling with your cat while reading a good book can cure a case of the blues.

  3. Having a treadmill in your dining room does not mean that you will exercise at any time of the day or night just because it's there and you can.

  4. Having a treadmill in your dining room does, however, mean that you will feel bad for not exercising at any time of the day or night.

  5. Experiencing your own emotions after hiding them for so long is really. hard. work.

  6. Not smothering those same emotions with pasta and candy bars and cookies and peanut butter is even harder.

  7. There's a smell that clings to my clothes and my hair after I walk outside in the dry, winter cold that is so fresh and clean it makes me want to bury my nose in my shirt, close my eyes and breath deep breaths without a care for the fact that I'm at my desk at work and should be reading or editing something oh-so-important.

  8. There's a lot of pleasure in doing it anyway.

What have you observed this week?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Just What We Need

When I heard the news that Orlistat was going over-the-counter on NPR about a week ago, I actually said out loud to the air in my car, "You've got to be kidding me." As if what overweight Americans and self-conscious young women alike need is a readily available and extremely powerful diet drug. While the arguments for making this drug available to more people--including the large number of obese Americans--is moving, I'm not convinced that this is a good idea. Studies show that this drug is effective at increasing weight loss when paired with diet and lifestyle changes. But I'm concerned about the potential for its abuse by people who don't really need it.

An article in USA Today didn't make me feel much better. Even if GlaxoSmithKline works "with retailers to make sure the drug is sold only to adults," what's to stop young adult women (and men) with eating disorders or unrealistic self-images from using the drug to lose unhealthy amounts of weight? And why are the FDA and GSK so quick to blow off studies that show potential increases in cancer risk for those who take Orlistat?

With all the drugs being manufactured and prescribed these days, and all the after-the-fact research and law-suits based on previously unmentioned side-effects, I'm starting to wonder who is on the consumer's side. Clearly the drug companies are out to make a buck, but isn't the FDA supposed to protect us from the money-hungry, quick-trigger executives looking to pad their pockets? At least when we needed a prescription for Orlistat, a doctor was held responsible for inappropriate drug distribution. But now? The only ones responsible are the ones emotionally distraught by their weight (whether unhealthy or not). Can we make the right decision when we're being bombarded incessantly with messages to be thin, thinner, thinnest?

Unfortunately, I think there are too many people out there, women in particular, who will be negatively affected by the appearance of a new diet drug on the shelves of their local Wal-Mart pharmacy. While it might be beneficial for some (maybe even many), will the benefits outweigh the risk of taking Orlistat out of the hands of doctors and placing it into mine. I guess time will tell.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I Don't Usually Do This

Several weeks ago, I got an email from a woman who wanted me to check out a website that promotes healthy living and then review it in my blog if I felt so inclined. I've never been asked to review a product or site for anyone before, and I wasn't sure I was interested in the prospect. I did some preliminary poking around and realized the site was sponsored by General Mills, which turned me off from the idea even more. I assumed it would be another website feigning to be doing "good" but all the while promoting a company's own agenda and bottom line.

After a while, I started seeing adds for the site around the internet, and I decided to go back and see what there was to see--good or bad--so that I could complete my reviewer's duty and be done with it. I was pleasantly surprised. It turns out General Mills has partnered with Rodale and Lluminari, and America's Second Harvest to sponsor a well designed, informative and interesting web site.

Eat Better America is site that I'll go back to. I've signed up for their e-newsletter. I've saved my personal health goals. I've read a few articles on healthy eating and exercise, and I've submitted a question for the experts. The interactive features of the site make it fun to play around with. The information is helpful and the recipes look delicious. I'm impressed that General Mills didn't use this particular feature to promote their own products by name. There's even a feature that lets you submit your own recipies for "healthification."

So I was wrong about General Mills. Their intensions seem to be honorable. The only areas that mention the company and their products are the About Us section and the coupon links that appear on most pages connecting you to printable coupon lists. So, if you're interested in getting more information about healthy eating and exercise, or if you're looking for a healthy recipe to cook for dinner, check out Eat Better America. I think you'll like.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

It Happened Again

I got a gift card for Barnes & Noble for Christmas and I have been holding onto it. After work yesterday, I decided I needed a trip to the bookstore--just to browse and buy one book, I promised myself. I should have known better. Just like my last little book spree, I went in for one and came out with so many more. At least on this trip I was able to stick to the clearance shelves for all but two, and I got both of those for at least 50% off the list price. Still, I blew through my $40 gift card and spent $5 out of my pocket. It could have been worse. And now I have six more hardcovers to find room for on my crammed bookshelves and add to my To Be Read pile. Thankfully, I'm feeling motivated to read more now that I'm part of the TBR Challenge. I've got a lot of reading to do this year.

So here's what I got:

  1. The Best Life Diet by Bob Greene -- This is the one I went in for. I've been trying for months to live by several of these principles, so I figured a little of his guidance might be helpful.

  2. A Hand To Guide Me by Denzel Washington -- I saw him on Oprah talking about the inspirational stories he'd collected for this book and I've wanted to read it ever since.

  3. Hotel of the Saints by Ursula Hegi -- I've never read anything by this author, but the description and, yes, the book jacket, intrigued me. It's a collection of short stories and I'm looking forward to finding out what Hegi's writing is like.

  4. The Ha-Ha by Dave King -- I've heard about this book, and I know some people who read it for a book club, so I figured I'd give it a try.

  5. Citizen Girl by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus -- I loved The Nanny Diaries so I'm hoping the follow-up by these two women is just as good.

  6. Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson -- A friend recommended this book to me several months ago. I've passed it by several times, but finally decided to get it since it was on ly $5.98 for the hardcover.

If you've read any of these, I'd be happy to hear what you thought. I'm looking forward to digging into them eventually, but I know it's going to be a while, since I have a long list of books waiting on me as it is.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Here I Am

It's been a week since I moved in, and I'm starting to feel at home in this house. It's growing on me, and the boxes are gradually disappearing as I find the perfect places (like the trash and the Goodwill) for all of my things. It turns out I don't really need all the stuff. Now if I can just remember that the next time I'm at Target or DSW.

The new rule is: if you don't know where you'll put it, how you'll use it or what you'll wear it with, you don't need it and you can't bring it home.

Here's a summary of what's been going on:

  • My first two or three nights in the house I slept fitfully. With all the new house noises I was sure someone was breaking in or the furnace was exploding or the cat was getting caught in a box. She was on edge, too, so we made quite the pair.
  • A security company came out and gave me a price on a security system. I've scheduled installation for this week. At least I won't be worried about break-ins anymore.
  • I got a quote on replacement windows since there is a visible breeze coming through most of the ones I have now (the originals--the house was built in 1951). Eight windows = almost $10,000. I'll obviously be doing that one window at a time on my tight budget.
  • I had to line the front doorway with weather stripping because there was a gap that was letting in quite the draft. No wonder the previous owners averaged $200 a month in gas & electric bills.
  • I've enjoyed doing laundry in my very own basement. I can put a load in the washer before I leave for work and toss it in the dryer when I get home. How cool is that?
  • I've also managed to flood my very own basement already. Somehow I accidentally closed the drain in the utility tub and it overflowed when the washer started the spin cycle. I went down to feed the cat and found quite the mess. It took several towels, a mop and an hour to sop up all the water. Note to self: Tell the next owners about the sensitivity of the utility tub's drain.
  • Getting organized takes time and money. I've spent what seems like an entire paycheck on shelving and cabinet organizers and DVD baskets and collapsible drawers.

I'm discovering what it really means to be "house poor" but I'm loving the excitement of making this place mine.

Clicky Web Analytics