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The End of Football as we Know It?

13 Sep 607527 tome213 Heisman trophy

How many times have you seen the Ray Rice video punching out his girlfriend on the elevator? Five times? Ten? The public outcry is so strong that you would think domestic violence had never happened before. Were all the previously abused women just making it up? So, they must have been breaking their own bones then?

 

This is such a broad issue that it’s hard for me to know where to start. OK, I’ll start at the beginning, at least as far as I’m concerned. On November 11, 1984, Dr. Joyce Brothers published an article in the Parade Magazine Issue of the New York Times titled, “Why Men Abuse Women.” In it, she pointed the finger at several professions dominated by men who abuse women: athletes, police officers, lawyers, military men, and doctors. We’ve seen videos of the police in abusive situations, and we’ve seen athletes cause serious injury to other players; and now we’ve seen an athlete in a domestic abuse situation. So far, lawyers and doctors have been too smart to get caught on video. Far be it from me to criticize military men during the country’s present situation. Domestic abuse is not a new issue other than the fact that we now have it on video to watch over and over like the twin towers coming down.

 

I don’t know what bugs me most out of the Ray Rice situation. How about the comments that the woman deserved it because she hit him first? These were women making these comments. So, if a woman hits a man, that gives him the right to knock her out? Forget that he outweighs her or is 10 times stronger than her. Forget that he trains to be brutal in his profession. None of that matters. She started it so she deserved what she got. Mr. Rice not only knocked this girlfriend out, he dragged and then not gently dumped her on the floor, with a facial thump as it hit the floor. This is how a man shows his love for his girlfriend? Man rules the roost. There are people out there who believe this.

 

Mr. Rice has now been suspended indefinitely by the NFL from playing and released from the Baltimore Ravens. His punishment has been the most severe punishment any team owner or league has ever given to a player for domestic violence.  I was frankly stunned that his punishment was comparatively severe. What would have possessed them? Their tough players are their bread and butter. Are they nuts? With any more new rules, policies, and punishment, this will become an entirely new game. I can’t see Casper milquetoast types playing football…can you? People are drawn to the brutality of the game. Isn’t it how some people get out their aggressions? What is behind this new tack? Have sponsors and advertisers squawked over this video? Did a few big ones threaten to pull out? Isn’t it enough that they have recently been hit with concussion lawsuit injuries? If this trend continues, they’ll have to call it footsie-ball instead of football. I’m not much of a football fan, but it is what it is.

 

Or will it all blow over and will players will be instructed not to blow their cork where cameras are visible?

 

Psychologists say, “You can’t change someone else, you can only change yourself.” What’s that old joke? How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: Only one, but the light bulb has to want to change. Let’s stop trying to change these men. Counseling isn’t going to help them unless they want to be helped and how many of them want to change? I don’t know any men who want to change and I don’t know of any abusive men who have changed. Why make the effort to change when you can get away with it. There’s no motivation for them to change. Wife divorces you? There’s plenty others waiting in line. You’re fined? There’s plenty money in the bank. You could always write a book or sell your mansion if things really get tough. Too much bad publicity? You know what they say, “Even bad publicity is good publicity.” Or, “The public forgives and forgets.” Just lay low for a while. Isn’t that what celebrities do? These light bulbs don’t want to change. They want to remain dim bulbs.

 

Let’s talk about the women of domestic abuse. Critics say, “Why don’t you just leave?” These critics live in la-la land. They can’t see their nose despite their face. Maybe he threatened to kill her if she leaves him. Maybe he threatened more abuse. Maybe he promised he’d never do it again. A common statement but not accurate. Maybe children or a pregnancy is involved. Maybe he has her so scared and intimidated that she feels like a prisoner even though there are no visible bars around her. Maybe she can’t drive. She never learned. He hides the car keys. She can’t manage it because she’s in a wheel chair.

 

Years ago I did volunteer work at a women’s shelter where there were abused women and children. There was a young woman there in a wheel chair with her children. I don’t know if her abusive husband put her in the wheel chair or if she was in a wheel chair before he abused her. Is one worse than the other?

 

How about the children growing up in an abusive home? Children mimic what they see. So much has been written and televised about bullies in the classroom. These child bullies have learned this bullying behavior at home. Sometimes authorities have punished parents when a child has displayed poor behavior but often in a way that didn’t make any sense. In my opinion, of all the times where they should punish a parent for a child’s misbehavior, this is one of them! When a child sees that the bullying parent is put in jail, wouldn’t that be a good deterrent? We can’t put the child in jail but if the child learns that bullying is learned behavior and his or her parent is going to jail….I would think that would be a wake up call for the entire family. Abusive men are bullies. Mr. Rice is a bully.

 

Mrs. Rice, yes, his then girlfriend became his wife, is now suffering public humiliation on top of all her other miseries. Whatever future dreams she had of raising children in a happy home and/or a life that was better than hers (isn’t that what we all aspire to as mothers; to give our children better than what we had?) are now looking out of reach. Any thoughts she had of financial security may be shaky at best. Mr. Rice may want to dump her and may blame her for this incident but his lawyers and/or owners may tell him not to incite fans and the public anymore than they already are. Play it cool for now. Don’t add anymore fuel to the fire. The same advice to her. Don’t rock the boat. I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes right now for all the tea in China.

 

What’s a woman to do? A woman could take the advice of Dr. Joyce Brothers. Although Dr. Brothers has passed, she was once the most admired woman, pre-Oprah. A woman could get an education or skill to learn how to support herself and be independent. A woman could get an MBA and start her own business. You don’t need a man for this. A woman has many options these days. A woman needs to set boundaries when it comes to male abuse. One slap is one too many. Run, don’t walk in the opposite direction. Don’t be dazzled by his guilt gifts. They’re a poor salve for physical and emotional wounds.

 

When I was married, over 30 years ago, my husband invited a medical student/resident, his wife, and their beautiful red-haired eight-year-old daughter to our home for dinner. I knew this family and was friends with the wife who was one of the sweetest, southern drawled women I had ever met. She had told me in confidence that he physically abused her but never in the face, where it would show. I was speechless. She said it as if she was telling me that the weather outside was great and we should go on a picnic – in total denial. As we were eating our dinner, the husband proceeded to degrade and belittle their beautiful daughter. It was cruel and uncalled for. I make it a practice to not stick my nose into others’ family affairs but this was too much. He was a guest in MY home! So I told him that maybe he could talk to his daughter like that in his home but he was not allowed to speak to his daughter like that in my home. I was prepared to follow up with telling him to leave if he dared say anything.  And if they all left I was prepared for that too. Abusing that angel of a girl was not going to happen in front of me. You could have heard a pin drop. Nobody said anything after that for a while.  Eventually, conversation started up again and it was forgotten. Except that I never forgot it. I hope that little red-haired girl remembered I responded to her father’s remarks. I hope she got the message loud and clear and that it was a pivotal point in her life. Like Charlie Brown, I was a big fan of that little red-haired girl. With any luck, maybe her father got the message too.

 

It’s good that this video incident is getting so much attention and conversation. It’s the young and naive women who need to hear it most, although the older generation isn’t immune.

 

Domestic violence is not good for anyone’s health – not mentally or physically, or even financially. Not for the wife, not for the husband, not for the children. As a good health advocate, I hope to see women make more enlightened decisions about their partners and their futures if they should decide to go it alone. Life is a struggle. Don’t make it harder than it is by choosing the wrong partner. It’s better to have no one than to have someone who abuses you.

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8 Vegetables You Have Never Eaten (and May Never Want to Try) – New Food Friday Flash

15 Aug Farm in Minnesota

I’ve covered some of the fruits you’ve never tried or even heard of in the last two New Food Friday Flashes and I could do more. Maybe I’ll come back to fruits in the future. Today I’m covering vegetables that you’ve never tried or heard of.  It’s good for your health to eat your vegetables but in some of the vegetables listed below, it might be better for your health if you avoided these vegetables!

Also, I couldn’t find a photo of any of these vegetables but I found a nice photo of what is a “forgotten farm in Minnesota” according to the photographer and selected it for my featured image.

 

Ackee

The alternate name for Ackee is vegetable brains. Is that because if you eat it you will get smarter? Unfortunately not. It’s because it looks like brains. Does it taste like brains? No. How do I know? I’ve eaten a brain sandwich at a country fair once. It was fried pork brains. It had a mild flavor and was served on a bun with either mustard or ketchup. I asked for one side mustard and the other ketchup. But I digress. Vegetable brains, (Ackee) tastes like scrambled eggs according to some. Looking at a photo of Ackee as it is ripening on an evergreen tree, totally creeps me out. It can only be picked when it has turned completely red, has been split open showing it’s “smile” revealing two black seeds that look like eyes. Anything other than the creamy yellow pulp cannot be eaten nor can the unripened fruit because it is fatal! Yipes! You can find this vegetable in the forests of the Ivory Coast and Gold Coast of West Africa. Served with salt cod, it is Jamaica’s national dish! Canned Ackee is available around the world and completely safe. Don’t forget to eat your veggies!

 

Celtuce

You would think that Celtuce is a cross between celery and lettuce but it isn’t. It is sometimes called Chinese lettuce as it originated in China. It is grown mainly for its thick, tender stem, but its leaves can also be eaten. In China, the stems are broiled or boiled, added to soups, and used in stir-fries with meat, poultry, or fish. It is grown mostly in home gardens and is not widely known. When cooked, the stem tastes like a cross between squash and artichoke which means that I would like it a lot!

 

Marsh Samphire

This vegetable is shaped like miniature Arizona cacti but flourishes in the mud of salt marshes around the coastlines of England and France. Collecting and cleaning it is messy and time-consuming. Marsh Samphire is also known as glasswort and was once used in glassmaking! Today, however, it and its relatives are seen as plants of the future because they will grow in salty conditions. To cook, blanch without salt (because it is salty) and add butter. It is served in salads and on trout. Cultivated varieties can be imported from Israel and the Gulf. Its nickname is sea asparagus.

 

Angelica

The healing powers of Angelica, according to the people in France’s marshy Poitou-Charente region where Angelica has grown for centuries, have used it as an antidote to poisons. Hmmm, possibly good to eat after you eat Ackee (above)? Angelica is a member of the parsley family and also grown in Italy, Scotland, Germany, Scandinavia, Russia, and parts of North America. It can withstand the temperatures of Iceland and Greenland. The leaves can be shredded in salads and used in omelets and fish dishes. The stems are often stewed with rhubarb or made into preserves and jams. Today, it is most commonly used as a candied confection for cakes, sweet breads, and cheesecakes. The leaves and stems taste like licorice.

 

Golden Needle

One of the least familiar ingredients to the Western world is golden needles also known as tiger buds. That is, unless you’ve heard of the folk song, “Silver threads, golden needles can’t unbend this heart of mine….” Sound familiar? These buds range in color from pale gold or orange to dark amber in its dried version. They are often added to noodles and meats prepared over high heat. Their sweet, musky flavors complement woodears, enokitake, and misos and appear together in recipes across China and Japan.

 

Ratte Potato

Unlike other vegetables or fruits with names that mislead you to believe their taste, shape, or lineage is why they were so named, this particular vegetable actually was named Ratte Potato because it, alas, looks like a rat!  Eeeeks! Leave it to the French to take care of that problem: they called it Quenelles de Lyon. Ratte’s texture is dense, firm, resistant to breaking down, and yet smooth. They have a nutty taste similar to chestnuts.

 

Huitlacoche

Huitlacoche is also known as corn smut. Part of its name is the Aztec word for dung. I’m not making this up folks. Truth is stranger than fiction. It is a naturally occurring fungus that disfigures growing corn. I’m surprised I never heard of it, considering that Indiana is a corn-growing state. We (we?) must call it something else. The corn kernels swell and mutate into distorted silvery blue lumps with black interiors. How divine. It has a mushroom-like flavor with hints of corn and licorice. It is usually sautéed with garlic and onion and used to flavor traditional Mexican dishes. It can be difficult to find fresh huitlacoche outside of Mexico, but specialty food stores in the US and Canada often stock flash-frozen or canned versions in the event you are dying to try this.

 

Stinky Tofu

Known as ch’ou doufu in Mandarin, it has a mild, faintly sour, beany flavor which is far surpassed by its gargantuan aroma. As you might have guessed, it is a fermented concoction made with vegetables, herbs, shrimp and sometimes other seafood items. There are many, many fermented vegetables served around the world but I chose this one because it is often eaten as street food in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong where you might encounter it in your travels. It is deep-fried until crusty then dressed with spicy sauces, and topped with chili oil and garlic in Hunan. How will you know it? Your nose knows.

 

Based on some of the description of these vegetables, is it any wonder kids don’t eat their vegetables? Poison? Used in glassmaking? Rats? Dung, and Stinky? Those are hardly enticing descriptions. Consider yourself lucky. You didn’t have to look at the photos of these vegetables as I did when doing the research! On the other hand, don’t little boys love gross things? The grosser the better? Maybe you can tempt your non-veggie eater with a plate of Ratte Potato or Ackee!

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5 Mile Walk at Home ADVANCED with Leslie Sansone – Exercise DVD Review

29 Jul Walking Shoes

When I last posted a review, it was of an audio book. This time I’m doing a review of an exercise DVD. This is an excellent exercise DVD that is low impact and great if you can’t go outside to exercise because it is too hot, too humid, too blustery, too cold, too icy, too snowy, or too whatever! Working out at home is convenient, saves you money, and gives you the most control over your workout. I have nine of my own exercise DVDs and shuffle them with DVDs I get from the library. It’s the 5 Mile Walk at Home ADVANCED DVD with Leslie Sansone that I’m reviewing here.

 

Leslie Sansone has built an empire on her Walk at Home exercise DVD program. I purchased her 5 Mile Fat Burning Walk DVD and when I needed more, I checked my library and they had this advanced program which I tried and liked a lot.

 

Leslie’s as chipper and perky as ever and her motivating style keeps you focused. In this DVD, she uses hand weights in the first mile, a stretch belt in the third mile, and a stretch band in the fifth mile. I use my stretch tube in the third and fifth mile and it works just as well.

 

Each mile runs from 10 to 14 minutes. The back of the DVD says the entire running time is 65 minutes. I usually do the entire 5 miles. Today I only did three miles. I might do the other two miles later.

 

There are several highlights in this DVD. She included a bonus segment of a 7-day weight loss meal plan and suggests you follow it and do the ADVANCED walk DVD every day to see your body change. You have the choice of Leslie’s instruction with music or the music only option.

 

She’s got a nice group of people walking with her in each mile. One of them is her daughter who is a bit quiet and apparently more introverted than her mother! Then she also included a husband and wife couple. There’s a grandmother who doesn’t look anything like grandma, and a working mother with three kids. There’s a guy in the back row who looks like a body builder. Leslie gets around to talking to all of them.

 

There is no separate warm-up section but she slowly warms you up at the beginning of each walk segment. I do my own warm up before all my exercise DVDs regardless of whether or not they include a warm up. Although it isn’t stated anywhere on this DVD or on the case, she included a cool-down stretch segment that comes at the end of mile five and she included two of the women who were in the other segments.

 

Leslie used two-pound hand weights in mile one. I only used one-pound hand weights but I also used two-pound ankle weights in the three miles I covered. I like to push myself to do more being careful not to injure myself by doing too much.

 

On days when I’m tired or sore, I do Leslie’s 5 Mile Fat Burning Walk which is my easiest exercise DVD.

 

Whether you are just starting to exercise or if you are a dedicated exerciser, Leslie has a DVD to suit you! Whichever one you chose, you will find it lowers your stress level besides all the other benefits of walking. Give her 5-Mile Walk At Home ADVANCED DVD a try. I think it’s her best one yet!

 

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My Experience Transitioning From Paying for Internet Service to Free Internet Service – Part II

10 Jun books-of-owl-1279612-m

This is the second post covering my experiences transitioning from paying to use my AT&T Internet service provider at home to using free library Internet service.

 

In the Part I post, I covered “Expected Snafus” such as: password issues, library hours, reserving computers, help, my computer background, and I touched upon using a Flash drive and a To Do list. I linked articles in Part I covering these topics in depth which are included below.

 

This Part II post covers problems you might run into at your library branch that make life interesting! I’ve included Updates below.

 

The Unexpected Snafus

Children should be seen, not heard. As with everything, this library adventure has had its negative situations. Take children for example. They haven’t been barred from the library. Perhaps they should be. There is a separate room for them with children’s books but they sometimes stray into the adult computer section – standing next to their family member who is on a computer.

 

Here’s how that went:

Child: bla, bla, bla, bla.

Family member: Shhhhhhh.

Child: bla, bla, bla, bla.

Family member: Shhhhhhh.

This went on for 20 minutes. I felt sorry for the guy sitting next to the chatty kid and I don’t mean the family member! I was on the other side of the computer banks and tuned them out.

 

The computer chairs.  They’re very light weight (you can push them with the tip of your pinky) and they’re comfortable for metal chairs. But, they’re on wheels and they offer no support for when you are trying to get up out of them! Case in point, on one of my visits, an elderly, obese man went crashing to the floor one chair away from me knocking over the chair next to me. He could have landed in my lap. As it was, the noise scared me because I was concentrating on my work. He stayed down on the floor and just about everybody on a computer went over to ask him if he was all right and offered to assist him. He didn’t want any help. Apparently, he was fine. The reference librarian who happened to be a young man, came over and asked the man if he was ok. This librarian was smart to wait – he might have gotten trampled in the mad rush to help the un-chaired man!

 

When Harry Met Sally. My library branch is open every day although the hours change. On Sundays, they open at noon. I went there at 11:30 am on Sunday, thinking it was Saturday. Since the doors were locked, I dropped off an audiobook in the drop slot. I went home and called the library asking why it wasn’t open. I was told they open at noon on Sunday. I said, “Today is Sunday?” Note to self: try to remember what day it is.

 

Finances This is a somewhat more complicated issue. AT&T bundled my landline phone and Internet service together June, 2013. I put it on my charge card. Then, on April 8, I asked that my internet service be canceled, as followers of my blog know. When I checked my statement, the amount for the Internet and phone weren’t there anymore. They disconnected my internet service as I asked and they didn’t disconnect my phone service (Hallelujah!) But what are they planning to do about billing me for my phone service? So, if I don’t get a bill in the mail or some notice soon, I will have to call them to find out what is going on. It would have been nice if the AT&T representative told me what to expect regarding my phone, but she was too busy trying to sell me more products. If all continues to go well transitioning to library computers, I plan to drop my landline phone service too, saving even more money.

 

There were other finance issues that had to be addressed. The question of whether I could or should do financial transactions on a library computer is a sticky issue that I need to investigate. For example, I have a PayPal account. Is it safe to do PayPal transactions on a library computer? How can you be sure someone isn’t standing behind you watching or if the person sitting next to you isn’t looking? This could make you paranoid!  Certainly there are people who use public computers not just at the library but in airports and at Internet Cafes who may feel safer using PayPal via a phone rather than the Internet which is the only way you can use PayPal now.

 

Update

My son told me he did his taxes on library computers and other patrons did too!

 

Benefits of Using My Home Computer Minus Internet Service

 

Since it has turned out that I’m splitting my work between my home computer (without Internet service) and the library computers (with Internet service), I can still enjoy the benefits of working on my home computer such as, getting up to grab a snack, taking a long break and then coming back to it later, listening to music while I work if I feel like it, and, my favorite, putting away the work and taking out one of my exercise DVDs to do a workout! Yesterday I did a 55-minute weight workout and I’m a little bit sore! These things I can’t do at the library!

 

So dear readers, these are my experiences after six visits using library computers. This library is in a good location and in a good neighborhood. It’s certainly not as peaceful and quiet as using the Internet on my home computer but it’s not raucous enough to prevent me from returning.

 

More Updates:

I have now had more than 20 visits using my library’s computers. I no longer feel stressed because I am super organized. I’ve created a To Do list and explain how I use it in both of my articles, “10 Easy Steps Transitioning to Free Internet Service at Your Library” and, “10 Short-cuts Saving Time (and Money) on Your Library Computers.”

 

I had written in this post that you couldn’t listen to music while using a library computer. That turned out to be not true! On more recent visits I noticed that you can use ear buds and a portable CD player. Just don’t play it so loudly that you annoy other patrons! Also, you can take a break on a library computer but you’ll want to make it a short one, like for a bathroom break. The computer screen shows you how to set the screen for “reserved but on a break” so nobody else can take it.

 

Both of the article links above contain valuable, time-saving and money-saving tips that would be worth your time to check out. Let me know what you think of them! Also, let me know if you foresee any obstacles for you if you are thinking of making the transition. Happy surfing on your library’s computers and enjoy the time and money you’ve saved!

Saving time and money is good for your health!

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Exercise: I Talk the Talk and I Walk the Walk

8 Oct sxc.hu createsima - Rainbow Image

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a post about exercising. I’m sure you won’t be surprised at what I’m about to tell you. (Although it surprised me!)

I was acknowledged for doing the most workouts at my health club for the month of August.

Marcy at top of the list

Marcy at the Top of the List

See my name at the top of the list?

I wasn’t aiming to claim the most visits and I wasn’t keeping track even though some members at the club don’t believe me. A new doctor I had been seeing recommended I workout AT LEAST 5 times a week! To me, this translated into doing more than 5 times a week so I was at the club everyday it was open: 6 days a week. I did that for 2 1/2 weeks straight and I didn’t take the 7th day off when I was home!

How was it? It was exhausting! Are they serious? What senior citizen can continually exercise at that pace? Maybe if they didn’t put much effort into their workouts but my workouts aren’t like that. I put my all into it. I’m known at my club as the person who works out the hardest. Really, it’s more of a social club for a lot of the members. I hope their social friends visit them when they’re in the hospital recovering from illnesses due to their lack of exercise!

So, there has to be a balance here. It should be taken into account how seriously you exercise! Plus, I don’t exercise for 30 minutes. I figure since I’m there, I’m going to exercise until I’m tired and that is usually 50 minutes and, depending on which gym I’ve been going to and the equipment they have, as long as 1 hr and 15 minutes. I think doctors need to ask their patients about this. Or, maybe I need to volunteer this information the next time at my appointment since I seem to be stereotyped: Senior = Sedentary.

MY GOALS

I’ve been working on increasing my upper body strength in the past few months and the effort shows. My biceps have increased .25% while I’ve slowly continued to lose weight. I’m still using the caloriecount website and I don’t know if I can ever do without it! I am seriously hooked on it because it has been so beneficial to me!

The reason I’ve been working on my upper body strength is that women in general, are known to have poor upper body strength and I’ve always wanted to do a chin up. So far, I can master a chin up half way. This is a new goal for me. I like to challenge myself and I am always seeking new exercise goals to keep things interesting and to have something to achieve.

Since April of this year, I put together a warm-up routine for myself that I do now every time I exercise. It is about 6 minutes long and involves a variety of arm movements but also leg and ab movements too. I am crediting this routine for healing my shoulder issues that had dragged on for over 2 years! I will write up and post the routine in a future post. You may want to try it. If it worked for me, it may work for you.

Recently, I saw a 75-year-old female body builder on TV. She was lean and didn’t look anywhere near 75! She was inspirational! I was telling one of the gals at my club about her and I said that the body builder was my idol to which she replied, “You’re MY idol!” I got a kick out of that. Hey, that’s OK with me. That’s what this blog is all about:  talking the talk AND walking the walk; reaching that goal at the end of the rainbow!

sxc.hu/cempey - Colorful Rainbow Shot

sxc.hu/cempey – Rainbow Gold Goal!

 

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Update On My Weight Loss Using The CalorieCount Website

29 Jun Fashion Model Silhouette

In a recent post I wrote about the website called caloriecount.about.com. I mentioned that it wasn’t very easy to learn (it wasn’t). However, I stuck with it and so far have lost 4 lbs. I attribute this weight loss to cutting back on fats, sodium, and over-sized portions. I also increased my activity level.

My goal is to lose 10 lbs so that my BMI will be in the healthy range.

The caloriecount website notified me that I had a sedentary lifestyle. Boy, my feathers bristled at that one! If MY lifestyle was sedentary, what was the lifestyle of people who didn’t work out and were couch potatoes?

Other than calorie logging, the website also allows you to enter activities you do each day. They would include: showering, driving, sitting at a computer, weight lifting, gardening, throwing out the trash, preparing meals, grocery shopping, aerobics, stretching, circuit training – the list is almost endless. Yes, this is tedious and time-consuming until you get the hang of it. I now have a clearer picture of my daily activity level and although I still don’t agree with them about having a sedentary lifestyle, I have to admit that losing 4 lbs without starving myself does say something.

I began entering my foods and activities May 29.  Today is June 29.  That’s about a pound per week of weight loss.

The website (and you) calculate what you want your ultimate weight to be and that determines what your calorie count should be each day. Mine is 1600 calories per day.  

I had the hardest time reaching my minimum daily values for potassium (4,700 mg).  Once I began to realize that sweet potatoes and butternut squash (two of my favorite vegetables) were high in potassium, I incorporated them into more meals and now reach my potassium level more often. Other Potassium rich foods: prunes, bananas, spinach.) Potassium may neutralize the heart-damaging effects of too much salt.

I knew that processed foods contained salt but I wasn’t aware that natural foods like white potatoes, spinach (yes, spinach), and fish contained high amounts of sodium! By themselves, you probably won’t go over your daily limit. But when you salt your foods or forget to read food labels as I did when I bought some blueberry bagels, each one having over 700 mg of sodium, you can quickly go over your daily limit of 2300 mg or 1 teaspoon of salt.

I was also heavy handed with olive oil and butter. Now, I measure by tablespoon what I put over my salads or my roasted veggies. Lately, I skip olive oil altogether and sprinkle my own homemade chicken stock when making my roasted veggies. It tastes just as good, maybe better.

I expect to use the caloriecount website until I imprint in my mind what portion sizes I need so that I can eventually forego the use of measuring spoons and cups. Yes, I’ve been weighing my foods like walnuts, golden raisins (another good source of potassium), and edamame (also potassium rich).

About a week ago, I decided that I didn’t need to enter my activities into the website any longer. I have a good idea in my mind how active I have to be each day.  Today I worked out AND I did the laundry. Usually I save laundry day just by itself but my stamina has increased and now to do both in one day doesn’t phase me.

The caloriecount website allows you to have snacks and I juggle my food entries to allow me snacking pleasure in the evening when I watch tv. Usually I have edamame, or frozen tart cherries, or grapes for a snack. Sometimes 1/2 slice of rye bread spread with blue cheese if I’ve gone light on the sodium intake earlier in the day.

I only had one evening when I was still hungry and went over my daily 1600 calorie limit by about 300 calories. I still ate smart though: 1/2 can of tuna, 1 cup brown rice, 1/2 tablespoon peach preserves, 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard (My own concoction that tastes Asian to me). When this wasn’t enough, I cooked a cup of mixed vegetables. Finally, I was satisfied. I must have been very active that day to still be that hungry!

Some days I felt stuffed and I didn’t want to eat my evening snacks…..but I had to in order to meet my daily requirements.  For example, sometimes I saved my almond milk (calcium) for my evening snack along with 1/2 oz of walnuts and maybe some fruit. Well, a couple of times I had to force myself to eat the snack because I am determined to meet my calcium requirements everyday! One particular night this week, I was so stuffed that I couldn’t stand the thought of a snack and skipped it altogether, to heck with not meeting my DV! (It wasn’t a calcium snack though. I eventually decided to get my calcium for breakfast every morning – OJ and almond milk.) I don’t intend to skip my snacks often.

Once I lose the rest of the weight, I won’t be limited to 1600 calories a day. I don’t know that I will continue to use the caloriecount website because I should have a good idea in my mind what I need to watch: sodium, fats, sugars and portion size. On the other hand, I do like seeing their graph showing that I met my iron, calcium, fiber, sodium, fats, saturated fats, potassium, carbohydrates, protein, Vitamin A, and cholesterol limits. (I think I named them all.) The graph shows if you’ve gone over or are under or are good.

If you need to lose weight, I highly recommend this weight loss website. Also, I should mention that I previously checked out other weight loss websites and none of them compared to caloriecount. It’s more thorough and contains more helpful information. It is worth the time you have to spend learning it. And, who knows, you may find it easier to navigate than I did!

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The Liebster Award

5 May Liebster Award

I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award by EarthMermaid. Thank you for nominating me. I love the message your blog sends!

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

This award is for blogs with less than 200 followers. It’s a great way for bloggers to give a shout out to blogs they like and expand their network, while helping other bloggers gain a broader audience too.  It’s also a fun way for bloggers to get to know more about their followers and share some fun facts about themselves!

The Rules for Accepting the Award:

1. Post 11 facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions posed by your nominator.
2. Pass the award on to 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers and post 11 questions for them to answer.
3. Display the Liebster Blog Award in your post.

4. These rules are not written in stone.  If you break the rules, I will not call the  Liebster law.

My 11 Facts about Myself:

1. I love artichokes. I’m cooking 4 stuffed artichokes as we speak. You have to get good ones. All artichokes are not created equal and it is not easy to know good ones from tough ones.

2. I love broccoli rabe or some call it Rapini. I like to make a sandwich out of it on crusty bread or a sesame seeded Kaiser roll! I’m trying my hand at growing it in my garden this year and the seeds have already sprouted! Yipee!

3. Lamb chops are my favorite meat. Thank God they are too expensive for me to buy often!

4. My favorite type of movie is a psychological thriller.

5. I can’t have chocolate hazelnut spread in the house because I will eat half the jar (or more).

6. I like to fix things: toilets, jewelry, thread-bare gloves, broken shovels, wheels on lawn mowers, you name it. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle and I like to study the thing, whatever it is, and figure out how to fix it!

7. I save odds and ends parts so that I might have them for when I need to fix something (see #6).

8. I love chewy foods. Have I told you lately how much I love bulgur?

9. I love art and I love to visit art museums. I get lost in the paintings of some artists.

10. I have a crush on Jeremy Sisto. (But I also still love Charles Bronson.)

11. I vacuum spiders.

My answers to Earthmermaid’s questions:
1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Italy. I’ve got cousins there and I’ve visited them. I love the food and the artistic beauty there.

2. What do you like for breakfast?

Good question! I don’t like breakfast and I have trouble coming up with ideas for a breakfast that can get me excited! I usually force myself to eat breakfast I’m sorry to say. (However, I’m crazy about dinner!)

3. What about yourself do you like most?

My sense of humor. I crack myself up.

4. Which is more meaningful to you – strong mind or strong body?

Tough one! I am very into exercise so I’ll say exercise knowing that a good, strong mind automatically follows a healthy, well-exercised body!

5. What is your most efficient way of handling stress?

Exercise!

6. Are you a morning or night person?

I love the morning air so I’ll say morning but you’d never know it by the hours I keep.

7. What is your favorite form of exercise?

Kickboxing and boxing. I’ve got dvd’s for both. You don’t know how much fun it is (even if you do it alone) until you try it!

8. If you could do one thing to change the world, what would it be?

I’d make every person, especially those in countries that are always at war like Syria, or provoking war, like North Korea,  spend several years in therapy.

9. What books have you read that inspired you?

Seize the Day, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, The Swan Thieves, all my psych text books and all my Italian language books.

10. Guilty pleasure?

I’ve known a few pleasures but I don’t have the guilt!

11. Why did you start your blog?

I started my blog as a way to attract people to my freelance writing articles. My blog has taken on a life of its own and so I’m in the process of re-grouping so that I can go back to writing articles but also keep up with my blog. However, at this moment, house and health check-ups are interfering with those plans. I am encouraged because I am getting a lot done around here! Maybe I should take pictures and do a post about these accomplishments. Although it’s unfortunate that the trash men have picked up all my evidence this morning of all the bushes/trees/vines I hacked down/pruned/sawed! 

My Blog Nominations:

1. Gerard Villanueva

2. http://tylerbballen.wordpress.com/

3. griggwk

4. BlondeHealth

5. The Good Villager

6. Laura Dickey

7. http://mittsandmeasures.com/

Here are my questions for the winners:
1. What is your favorite book and why?
2. Who is your most admired person and why would you like to spend a day with him/her?
3. What is your favorite dish?
4. What is your favorite form of exercise?
5. What is your best skill at work?
6. What is your favorite or most used expression?
7. What makes you madder than a wet hen?
8. What was the nicest thing you’ve ever done for a stranger?
9. If you  could be a famous artist, who would you be?
10. What is your best dance step? (e.g. Cha-cha, tango, funky chicken, etc.)
11. What was the longest hike/walk you’ve ever taken and how long did it take you to recover?
Congratulations to the winners!
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A Followup to my Talk on Blogtalkradio

7 Apr sxc.hu/Cieleke - Juggling

Although we had some technical issues connecting, I was able to give my talk today about humor and health on The Wellness Coaches show on blogtalkradio. 

Any thoughts I had about having lost my New York accent years ago were dashed after I listened to the broadcast later on.  It’s like I never left! How can that be possible? You can take the girl out of Queens, but you can’t take Queens out of the girl!

Because I got started on the show a little late, I was unable to finish my last anecdote about humor and its relation to stress so I’d like to finish it here.

When I worked at IUPUI (Indiana University, Purdue University at Indianapolis) they often offered free workshops during the lunch hour that included special guest speakers. One guest speaker was Dr. Steve Allen, Jr. who specialized in Family Practice medicine and to me, he was a very special guest.

As it turned out Dr. Allen is the son of the famous comedian, Steve Allen who was the first host of the Tonight Show. Many comedians have copied his shtick! Leno copied Allen’s Man On The Street routine. Carson’s Carnack the Magnificent routine, was also copied. But you know what they say: Imitation is the greatest form of flattery! Comedians revere Steve Allen.

For those who are unfamiliar with Steve Allen’s work, Allen was not only a comedian, he was also a composer, lyricist, conductor, singer, and pianist. He wrote over 50 books. He also wrote over 8,500 songs, at least two of which you will be familiar: “This Could Be The Start Of Something Big” and “Impossible” recorded by Perry Como. There was just no end to his talent, he was brilliant. My family would tune into his show weekly and join him and his audience in hysterical laughter.

So, here was his son before me talking about humor and stress. I wondered how a son of such a famous father (and mother too, Jayne Meadows)

Steve Allen and wife Jayne Meadows at the 39th...

Steve Allen and wife Jayne Meadows at the 39th Emmy Awards – Sept. 1987 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

could manage under such a big shadow! It turns out he manages very well! He asked his audience, which included a fairly large group of well-dressed, well-mannered, educated, and reserved employees to take the three scarves that he passed out to each of us, and juggle them up in the air.

We all stood up and tried to juggle these wisps of fabric. They were so thin and fragile, there was no way we could keep them up in the air. Soon, most of us were bending over picking them up or retrieving them from the seat in front of us. Lots of laughter ensued. Dr. Allen managed to turn this group into a bunch of rowdy pre-schoolers! He says that juggling brings the creative use of silliness and that he gets the same result when giving his talk to Nobel Prize winners or janitors!! Laughter = release of tension.

sxc.hu/Cieleke - Juggling

Juggling with Dr. Allen, Jr.      sxc.hu/Cieleke -

Now, just because we were being silly, doesn’t mean that something positive wasn’t happening or that he wasn’t being serious in his talk! This was a fun way for employees to spend their lunch time and I was happy to be a participant, especially because I have always been a big fan of Steve Allen, the comedian.

Dr. Allen won several professional awards for his work in stress management. By the way, I still have the scarves.

Since I consider myself more of a student of humor and laughter rather than an expert, I searched for information online about humor from a more technical point of view that was from the experts. One site was from Harvard that discusses how the brain processes humor: http://www.hms.harvard.edu/hmni/On_The_Brain/Volume16/HMS_OTB_Spring10_Vol16_No2.pdf

Another site was from howstuffworks.com http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/laughter1.htm

Both these sites are educational and funny! I encourage you to take a look!

So how does humor fit in when developing healthy living habits is such a struggle sometimes?

One example  of how it fits in is that if you are at work and you’re under a lot of stress and can’t exercise to relieve or reduce your stress, you can use humor in the form of reading a funny book on your break (I recommend a Far Side book) or watch something silly on YouTube.

Less planning is involved with using humor for good health. You don’t need to change clothes or hire a personal trainer or go to a class. You don’t need to follow a certain recipe or prepare a meal as you do when you are following the Mediterranean diet. You can just turn on the TV or computer and look for a comedy!

So, the bottom line is: humor is more accessible in the arsenal of healthy habits.

Laughing relaxes us. It relaxes our muscles. It puts us in a positive frame of mind. It stimulates our brain and makes us happy. It lowers our blood pressure. It increases creativity. It reinforces group cohesiveness, improves problem-solving ability, and increases endorphins and dopamine.

Last but not least, laughter is contagious like a cold and can spread!

I would love to hear your comments about what you thought of the show and/or your thoughts about humor and laughing. Any funny stories would be welcome too!

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My Radio Gig – Call-in and Live Chat Details

2 Apr sxc-hu-pmos-phonebooth-and-Big-Ben

As I mentioned in a previous post, you can call in to the Blogtalkradio show to ask a question or make a comment about my talk on humor and its connection to wellness and good health. 

sxc-hu-pmos-phonebooth-and-Big-Ben

Phone Booth and Big Ben sxc-hu-pmos

I’ll be the guest speaker April 7th, this Sunday at 11:00 a.m.  

You can call in to the Wellness Coaches show who are the hosts and will be interviewing me. The number is: (917) 889-9079. This is a free call on Skype.

sxc.hu Cieleke - Girl with Phone

Caller with a Question      sxc.hu/Cieleke

You also have the option to use the live chat feature on their webpage with any questions or comments you’d like to make.

If you decide you like the show, you can sign up on Blogtalkradio to receive automatic reminders to hear your favorite shows or any show you like: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/?glogout=true

Just FYI, the Wellness Coaches shows are listed under the category of Self Help. There are 19 categories in all.

I hope you will listen to my talk. Since you know that my blog is about good health, get your unbuttered popcorn, your diet soda pop, and maybe even your mom and pop together to listen in; it should be an interesting show!

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My Health Club is History

17 Oct sxc.huskizof Josep Lluís Caldentey - Donkey

I joined a new health club. You already know about some of the problems I was having at my former club. Let me tell you why I left.

I had been in the private shower/changing room, next to the

PRIVATE SHOWER ROOM

ladies’ locker rooms.

There are two of these rooms; two on the side of the ladies shower/locker area

and two on the side of the men’s shower/locker area. As I was IN the shower, a man started pounding on the door, telling me to hurry up! He was pounding hard enough to break the door down. I told him I’d be out in a minute. About 10 minutes later, he was back, pounding on the door again! He said I had been in there 1/2 hour. (I hadn’t.) I was furious!

I finished showering, got dressed and opened the door, expecting him to be standing there. He wasn’t but he was walking down the hall towards me. I figured it was him but I asked if he was waiting for the room. When he said yes, that’s when I gave him a piece of my mind. I can count on one hand the times in my life that I went into a tirade over something and this was one of those times. He was not going to get away with this kind of obnoxious behavior.

I was yelling at him in a very loud voice and I did that deliberately to make sure other people heard me. In the end, believe it or not, this guy was literally shaking. I don’t know if that means that I scared him to death or if he was holding back wanting to punch my lights out! I just didn’t care, I was fed up and this was the last straw!

He told me that the men’s changing rooms were being cleaned. I said, “We’ll see about that!”

He kept complaining that I was in the shower for a 1/2 hour. At which point I looked at him in contempt and called him a jackass. At which point he said the “F” word to me.

I stormed off and hailed the first health club employee I could find. I said I needed to speak to the manager. The employee said he was a manager. He was all of about 30? I told him what happened, that this guy kept pounding on the door telling me to hurry up while I was in the shower, and that he used the “F” word to me. The manager kept saying over and over, “We’ll take care of it.” He kept apologizing.

I finally calmed down because I realized that he wasn’t going to do anything about it. So I asked, “Aren’t you going to ask me his name?” “Don’t you have any questions?” He kept saying, “We’ll take care of it.” So, out of desperation, I described what clothes the guy was wearing and what he looked like. In disgust, I left.

I tell you this story for your own safety and for the safety of your sisters, your mothers, and your daughters who go to a health club/gym. All during the time that I was yelling at this jerk, NOBODY came to find out what the ruckus was. If this guy had become violent, he could have easily pushed me back into the shower room, done some damage, and nobody would have witnessed it. There are plenty of cameras around this club but NONE in the hallway leading to the side door of the ladies locker rooms

and the two private changing rooms where we were.

The manager said that they had been giving the mens’ rooms a “deep cleaning.” How stupid do these “managers” of this health club have to be to not put up a sign on the doors letting women know that the men will be using these facilities on this day?

The manager said these rooms are “family” rooms. So, in other words, he was defending this jerk’s right to be on the women’s locker room side using these rooms.

Can you imagine if I went over to the men’s locker side and started pounding on the “family” rooms telling a guy to hurry up and get out? They would probably handcuff and cart me away!

When I was new at this club, one year ago, I went on a guided tour and the guy who gave me the tour told me that these rooms were used for changing baby’s diapers, and also if someone preferred privacy rather than being in the larger open locker room. He never said that men were allowed to use them. In fact, he never took me on the men’s side of the locker room to show me the “family” rooms on their side. He never said I could use the rooms on the men’s side either. I never even considered that men had these rooms on their side of the locker area until this incident. In the year that I had been there, I had never seen any men use the rooms on the women’s side and I had gone 4-5 times a week, on various days, at various times.

The bottom line was that there was no respect for women at this club. I certainly didn’t need to feel stressed out after I worked out!

So, when you are looking for a health club, take into consideration these things:

1. Check to see where the ceiling cameras are located.

CEILING SECURITY CAMERA

Make sure there is one near the entrance to the ladies side of the locker rooms AND that they can “see” all areas of the club.

2. Don’t join a club that is so large that your voice gets “lost” due to the distance between you and other people.

3. Ask questions. Ask if men are allowed to use women’s showers and/or changing rooms. If there is an emergency “cleaning” or other type of emergency can men use women’s facilities. If so, will a notice be posted to let women know?

4. I am in the Silver Sneakers program which allows me to change health clubs easily. Even though they had me sign a contract, it’s fairly worthless and probably nothing more than a sales ploy to make you feel obligated to stay with them. I don’t.

When I was new, employees at this club photographed me and put my name in large letters on an ID card as big as a charge card. This is another thing I didn’t like about this club. Although they provided towels for free, you had to turn in your ID card at the desk in exchange for a towel. Sometimes the desk was unmanned and anyone could go behind the desk to pick up their ID card which allowed them to see YOUR ID card and your name/photo. This poses a security issue for you. I only used their towels once. When I saw the lack of care regarding my ID card, I brought my own towels from then on.

I have been at my new club for two weeks now. In the Silver Sneakers program, the club gets paid every time you swipe your “ID” at the entrance or whatever type of “ID” the club has you use. My current club uses a small numbered tag-like ID that I attached to my keychain. There are no privacy or safety issues with it.

My new club is a small club with only two private shower rooms on each side of the club. One side says, WOMEN’S RESTROOM and I assume the other side says, MEN’S RESTROOM. Ceiling cameras can view all areas of the club.

Final Thoughts

Women have as much right to be at a health club as men. We have the right to take care of our bodies. We have the right to be treated with respect, especially when we’re paying customers. I am left with this question: Why aren’t there more women owned, women run health clubs? Why?

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