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High on the Stress List: Divorce, Moving, Job Loss, and Death (of your Refrigerator) Part II

24 Sep https://marcellarousseau.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/whirlpool-estate-6-shelve-options-crisper-meat-drawer.jpg

When I had bought my Whirlpool Estate eleven years ago, the instructions said to wash the inside of the fridge before storing the food. My new Frigidaire instructions didn’t say anything about washing it but I did it anyway. I hated to take the time to do it, knowing that all my food was melting, but it was easier to do it then than later! Plus, while wiping it down, I found particles of white plastic in the freezer so I was glad I took the time to do it. The outside of the fridge still had some Styrofoam particles on it so I wiped the outside of the refrigerator too. I can’t tell you how many times I wiped and mopped up the floor which was still sticky in spots for days!

 

I was lucky in that I had finished the caramel swirl, chocolate chip ice cream the day before my refrigerator went out on me. Wouldn’t that have been a lovely mess! I was also lucky in that I decided to pull the fridge out from the wall for the umpteenth time Wednesday morning to check the drip tray. It was filled to the brim. If I hadn’t checked, the delivery men would have likely spilled it all over. That would have been a nightmare. I got an old towel and a bucket and drained it dry.

 

The new Frigidaire had tape everywhere! It was worse than a crime scene! The shelves were shrink-wrapped in plastic. What a pain when you’re in a hurry! I was afraid I would break the shelves getting the tape off. Since I was working as fast as I could, I didn’t get every drip off every food item so some things went in the fridge moist. That was a mistake. The next day, I noticed I had water in my crisper drawers. I was hoping the new fridge wasn’t malfunctioning already and thought it might be from the wet items on the shelves so I mopped up the crisper drawers with a paper towel and dried off some of the foods on the shelves. I still had to cook the defrosted meats because I didn’t want to throw them out. Who wants to cook at a time like this?

 

I had some Coho Salmon that defrosted, previously purchased from the fish counter so it was well-wrapped. I just threw that in a frying pan with some butter and ate it before anything else. It was very good! I also made a bag of previously frozen shelled edamame to go with it – the kind you just put in the microwave and steam. Easy and quick was all I could handle Wednesday night.

 

On Thursday morning, I was up early because it was going to be the coolest day of the week and I needed to mow the backyard. It was actually pleasant with a mild breeze. We had been having hot, sweltering, muggy, rainy, humid weather in the high 80’s. Even though I had long pants on and a shirt with long sleeves, and enough mosquito repellant on to make me cough, I still got bitten when I mowed! Only one bite this time though; I am like fillet mignon and strawberry shortcake to a mosquito.

 

Thursday afternoon I made meatballs of the defrosted ground turkey, fish sticks from the cod fish, and chicken nuggets from the chicken breast. I realize I didn’t have to be fancy when trying to save these meats and fish, but I do love to cook and although the flouring, egging, and breading was time-consuming, the end result was worth it and delicious! (I was determined to get something good out of this experience!) I found a great tartar sauce recipe from a Martha Stewart DVD that I got from the library the week before. I ate like a Queen with my newly working refrigerator!

 

Friday morning I mowed the front yard. It began raining so I had to stop after only doing 1/3 of the yard. I went to the library and then the grocery store and picked up some of my favorite things: spinach dip, blue corn tortilla chips, white flesh nectarines, watermelon, bread and butter pickles, and a bottle of red wine. After the week I had, I deserved it! When I came home from the store, I finished mowing. It was the sloppiest mowing job I’ve ever done but I didn’t care! I just wanted it all over with so I could relax!

 

Saturday I forced myself to do nothing. It wasn’t easy but I needed the rest. I was exhausted Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Today, as I write this, is Sunday the day of rest, but I continued cleaning up and organizing things. The new fridge had caused a chain reaction: items got rearranged in the kitchen, put away, washed and wiped; baseboard trim that had separated from the wall behind the fridge got hammered into place and sealant was squeezed onto spaces between it and the wall and the floor; wall paper that had come away from the walls in the bathroom and the bedroom got re-cemented with wallpaper glue, and so on. It was like I was just moving in! I was stuck in “drive” gear and couldn’t get out! However, now that it’s all done, I feel pleased and I don’t feel exhausted anymore. Who knew a dying refrigerator could be so much work? And it could have been so much worse! All along I kept thinking about people who suffer through flooding disasters. I don’t know how they continue to stay in their home afterwards .

 

So, in all, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I learned a few things that could help me if a future catastrophe happens and maybe you could learn from my experience too. None of the food made me sick – I was worried about that. All my yogurt containers were good. Even my homemade meatball calzones that I had in the freezer which defrosted, I ate and they were good! I guess I did a better job with the bags of ice than I realized! I always wondered why some people needed a second fridge in their garage. I’m beginning to see the benefit now! Imagine life without a refrigerator? Do you remember your grandparents having an icebox?

 

I’m glad I am in good physical condition because it helped me to rebound quickly. It also helped me to move my fridge, pack my food in containers and place a 7 lb bag of ice on each one. All the more reason to work out ladies so you can tackle household emergencies without injuries or mental breakdowns! Fitness rules!

 

It’s interesting that all of this happened the week before the Labor Day Weekend. Now I know why they call it Labor Day!

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High on the Stress List: Divorce, Moving, Job Loss, and Death (of your Refrigerator).

22 Sep https://marcellarousseau.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/my-frigidaire.jpg

Good health encompasses stress; some of it good, some of it not so good. You can lessen stressful situations with good planning. A little luck doesn’t hurt either. Exercise can help control stress in most situations, but maybe not this one!

 

Stress denial: On Tuesday, I noticed that the packaging of my store-bought pastry in my freezer seemed a bit soggy. I ignored it. While dozing off to sleep that night, I noticed my refrigerator often making a clicking sound. Uh-oh I thought, and fell asleep. On Wednesday morning I tried vacuuming the refrigerator coils since I neglected them for several months. No change in the clicking noise. I pulled the plug and then plugged the fridge back in one minute later. No change. I turned off the fridge and pulled the plug. No change. The refrigerator kept clicking. By Thursday morning, I realized that all my frozen food was defrosting in my freezer.

 

Full blown stress: I decided to buy several bags of ice to help save my food. I didn’t sleep well Wednesday night because I couldn’t make up my mind if I should buy a new refrigerator or call a repairman. The last time I called a repairman for a refrigerator I learned that he would charge $100 just to come out to look at it! I called the Whirlpool number to get a repairman for my Whirlpool. The gal I spoke with asked me how old my refrigerator was and I told her, eleven years. “Oh!” she said. “If it was me, I would buy a new one.” I asked her how long they usually lasted. She said between 10-13 years. I didn’t have time to do research online to find out if what she said was true and I didn’t have time to research refrigerators to see what would be the best deal for me unless I wanted to let all the food in my fridge go to waste while I did my research. So, I went to H.H. Gregg and asked the saleswoman if the sale coming up included the week before because they were advertising 30% off! Frankly, I didn’t understand her answer but I think I got a good deal anyway!

 

Stress ebbing away: I wasn’t charged a delivery fee or one to cart away my old fridge. I was able to open up an H.H. Gregg charge account for 5% off the cost. The best news was that they could deliver my new fridge the next day!

 

After I left H.H. Gregg’s, I went straight to Meijer to buy ice. One 7 lb package was $1.67. They also had 20 lb packages of ice but that would be too unwieldy. So I bought two of the 7 lb packages and put one in my freezer and one in the refrigerated section.

 

On Thursday evening, I got a call from H.H. Gregg’s telling me the refrigerator would be delivered between 3 – 6 pm on Friday and they would call me 40 minutes before arriving. That was perfect because I would use those 40 minutes to remove everything from the fridge.

 

I had my Rubbermaid container ready for the refrigerated food, and a clean, cardboard box which I lined with heavy plastic for my freezer food. In hindsight, I needed a bigger box. I also learned from this experience to not put foods in plastic bags. They become sloppy wet. All my cheeses which were wrapped in plastic wrap got wet. All my frozen vegetables and frozen cherries in their original plastic bags were soggy, defrosted and I didn’t feel safe using them. I had to throw them away since the bags were opened. Although I previously thought wrapping a rubber band around the plastic bags after I had opened and used them was fine, it was only good like that if your refrigerator doesn’t die! I will be on the lookout for tightly sealed plastic containers.

 

Stress comes in all shapes. If you handle it calmly, you can get through it easily enough. I won’t recommend exercising to get rid of refrigerator stress because just moving food from the refrigerator to other containers is a workout in itself! Not to mention that I had to wash the floor three times due to items dripping and the fact that a piece of thawed fish leaked all over everything due to a small hole in the plastic packaging. Hence, the need for plastic containers!

 

I am enjoying my new refrigerator, a Frigidaire, even though when it runs it sounds like a cross between the boiler room of the Andrea Doria and LaGuardia airport. I don’t care. Sometimes denial is a beautiful thing!

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

29 Jul

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

23 May Library Books (sxc.hu - alko)

Some of you expressed an interest in my experience transitioning from using home internet services to library internet services. So, this post covers my early experiences (and updates) transitioning from my home computer using AT&T Internet service to using free Internet service on library computers. There are two parts to this post, Part I and Part II. I will post Part II soon.

 

At the bottom of this post, I have added some important updates as I continued to use my library computers since April 8, 2014. It was a little bit rough in the beginning, but nothing that I (or you) couldn’t overcome. Change isn’t easy but it’s manageable. It’s helps to have an adventurous spirit!

 

But that doesn’t mean that I gladly accept every bump in the road that change brings! For example, on my second visit using the library’s computers, I forgot my list of passwords to get on certain websites. My passwords are so tough that I can’t remember them so I keep them on a Word document. I have a lot of passwords and I printed them out and slid the document into a sturdy, see-through, plastic sleeve. I was planning to take it with me every time I went to the library but on my second visit, I forgot it. Lots of cursing went on in my head. None of them out loud because I didn’t want to be kicked out of the library this early in the game! I tried to remember some of them. I sat there straining my brain. No go. The visit was almost a waste of time except for the audiobooks I was able to return and new ones I was able to pick up. Since the plastic sleeve is pretty big and it is unwieldy, I decided to put the password document on my Flash drive. So far, I haven’t forgotten my Flash drive. Problem solved. (More about a Flash drive below.)

 

The Expected Snafus

You have to expect some snafus in the beginning but you can definitely avoid most of them by reading my posts AND the articles I’ve written in the links below.

 

My library’s computers usually are all taken by 11:30 am at my branch. This means I have to leave the house by 10:15 the latest so I can get my favorite spot. (Some areas are drafty near a vent and I want to avoid them.) I need at least an hour to eat, get dressed, and be presentable. Usually, I can do that but not always. Hey, I’m retired. I don’t have to get up at 6:00 am anymore! Using the library computers in the mid or late afternoon hours when the library is less crowded renders the computers more accessible, but I prefer to do my computer work in the mornings. This is not a problem. Read on.

 

If no one is sitting at a computer and the computer screen says, Available, you can use that computer. You can also reserve a computer just like you can reserve a book or anything else at the library! Library card holders can stay on a computer for 1 hour and non-library card holders (guests) only 30 minutes before receiving a time notice. However, you are allowed 800 minutes per day.

 

Each computer is numbered. When you reserve a computer, which you do on a computer assigned for that purpose only, you get a small printout with the time the next computer is available, the date (that same day), and a computer number that is assigned to you. The first time I tried, the software didn’t bring up a field for me to scan my library card number. I simply asked the person in line behind me. I needed to double-click the scan gun. I had only single-clicked. Sometimes, double-clicking still doesn’t work. It’s finicky. Then I click the computer space bar. That worked. One of the two does the trick and the printout prints speedily. This is a small issue but sometimes enough small issues can become frustrating!

 

When you’ve found your reserved computer and used all your time allowed on it, the computer gives you a 10-minute warning beforehand. Then a little later you get a warning to save your work because you need to get off the computer for the next person who has reserved a computer. If no one has reserved your computer, you instead get 15-minute increments at a time and can stay on longer. Once I was on for three hours before I got bumped off. So, the fewer people on the computers, the longer you can stay on. This is nice. My son told me he used to stay on for eight hours at a time when he was looking for work! He used a different library branch that was less busy than mine.

 

On one visit to my library, I didn’t get any 15 minute increments after I used my 60 minutes. Instead I got the warning that my time was almost up. Someone had reserved a computer and mine was in the queue to be next. I had gotten most of my work done but I would have liked to do more. I could have easily reserved another computer and got the next one in the queue, but I didn’t want to wait around. On another library visit, I decided to reserve a computer and had to wait 10 minutes for my reserved computer to open up (for the person who was using it to leave). Anyway, the computer was ready before the 10 minutes were up because the person left that computer a little bit earlier than his time limit which is usually what happens.

 

On another visit I had trouble transferring a photo from my Flash drive to my blog. You are not permitted to put photos on the computer desktop of any of the computers and I couldn’t figure out how to transfer the photo. I asked the assistance of the reference librarian and she showed me how to do it, but it didn’t work. I realized that what she showed me made sense and told her I would try it again and she went on her merry way. Sure enough, when I tried it again, it worked. The reference librarians are always there to help and most of the time they can solve whatever issue you have.

 

Some Background About Me

I thought you might like to know some background information about me relating to computer work. I consider myself computer savvy so if you are thinking about canceling your Internet service as I did to use library Internet service instead, you may want to make some comparisons to your own computer experience. Several years ago, I had a part-time job similar to what these reference librarians do regarding computer help except that I was working at a university. My title was computer consultant and I helped students in a computer lab with their computer issues.

I also taught computer basics in these computer labs, such as how to use Word, Excel, email, ftp, how to use a PC and/or Mac computer, how to create a web page, and whatever else was asked of me. As they say, the best way to learn something is to teach it! Computers and software can be frustrating to learn. I supplied tissues to students who crumbled. People respond differently to the frustration: some cry, some become angry! Computers don’t seem to have a positive effect on people is/was my observation.

 

As far as my home computer, I’ve also taken apart my CPU and vacuumed it. I replaced my DVD-ROM drive, and I’ve replaced memory chips on a previous computer. I don’t let computers intimidate me. You shouldn’t either! I have even more of a background in computers but I think this is enough information for the time being. You don’t need to have as much background in computers as I had to transition to using library computers. It helps to have the confidence though. The way to get that confidence is to practice, ask for help, read about it, then do it. Most computer mistakes can be undone.

 

So far, you can see that this transition from home Internet service to library internet service not only calls for confidence but also some organization: leaving the house at certain times, moving password documents to a Flash drive, and probably more things that I haven’t realized yet (I cover them in the links below.) I can also foresee that I will need to have some kind of reminder or list of things that I need to work on when I get to the library. I can’t just leisurely work on whatever I feel like as I could when I was strictly using my home computer. I’ll need to do the most important things first. If I don’t, I may not get the chance to do them during that 60-minute time period, OR I’ll need to reserve a computer to have access to more time. The plus side is that I’ll get things done quicker. The minus side is that I will feel rushed and stressed. I’m feeling a little stressed already but some of that will pass when it all becomes routine. It’s just like starting a new job! These things are to be expected.

 

Update:

I have now had more than 15 visits using my library’s computers. I no longer feel stressed because now I am super organized. I’ve created a TO DO list and I explain how to 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.”

 

As I said above, I am planning another post soon. Part II  will cover things you need to be aware of using your library’s computers and also some strange situations I have experienced! Both of the article links above contain valuable, time-saving and money-saving tips that would be worth your time to check out. I get my work done in half the time now! 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! Saved time and saved money is good for your health!

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Men’s Health – Their Greatest Threats

25 Apr Wheel-chaired Man (sxc.hu ba1969)

Today’s post is devoted just for men but women should read it too.  I’ve noticed recently that my male readership has increased steadily and so I want to address health issues that men specifically find challenging.

It’s no secret that men don’t live as long as women. I think part of the reason for that is that men don’t take care of themselves as well as women do. I’ve been witness to this countless times with my own father, my son, my husband (ex), men I’ve dated, through social networking, and just in general.

I remember my dad saying that when he finally went to see a doctor, the doctor was shocked that my dad hadn’t had a physical in 20 years!

A past boyfriend of mine told me that he fell over the balcony of his two-story house, landed on his back, and never went to the doctor!

Another past boyfriend had symptoms of depression but never followed up with a health professional. He was a counselor prior to his current job.

My son told me he had growths on his hands that he let go for too long. He doesn’t believe they are warts.  He still hasn’t seen a doctor.

My ex-husband quit smoking countless times. He IS a doctor!

So men, you can see you are not alone in not seeking out help for your health issues. We women would like to see you live as long as we do. The way to do that is to pay more attention to your body. Seek medical help when you need it and even when you don’t, in the form of a preventative checkup or procedure.

I’ve written more here. Start now to take better care of yourself.

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End of Support for XP so I’m Canceling my ISP on April 8

24 Mar System Failure (sxc.hu DGBurns)

Sometimes it’s good to get things off your chest and to assert yourself. It’s good for your health and as we all know, my blog is about good health. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Here’s the story.

Those of you with Windows XP know that Microsoft is ending its support on April 8.  As I have mulled over this event since their announcement, I decided that I did not want to upgrade my desktop computer to Windows 7 or 8 in order to avoid malware and viruses and other clouds of doom. And I resent the fact that it is expected of me.

So, in my way of protest, I have scheduled to cancel my Internet Service as of April 8, the same day Microsoft is ending XP support. What gives? I am so glad you asked.

1. I resent being led around by the nose by the Microsoft conglomerate needing to line their pockets by forcing consumers to buy new software when XP has been doing a good job for us. Better than Vista, better than Windows 8. Nobody liked either one.

2. I scoff at their cavalier throw-away attitude and lack of concern for the environment because rather than upgrade, many people will decide to buy new computers with Windows 8 loaded on it and not load software on their old computer all day long.

3. I’m mad at programmers and software developers for not creating better products that could last longer. Yes, I want computer products to last longer so that we don’t have landfills overflowing with discarded computers that take years and years to break down and then pollute the land and the air while doing so. Read more about computer pollution here.

4. I’m ticked off at AT&T my ISP (Internet Service Provider). I try to avoid calling them because I know that every time I do, it means a long conversation where they try to get you to buy something or add something and you can’t get done what you need to get done until they let out all the stops and wear you down! Other people must have complained about this issue because this time I was asked if I would allow the representative to explain other product options. I told her no. I asked if I decided to get DSL again in the future would I be able to. She said no.  She said she would explain why but since I already told her I did not want her to explain, that she would not be able to tell me. Oh boo-hoo my heart is broken! Then she said, to cover her *ss, you’ve probably gotten notices in the mail about these new products or options or whatever she called them. Yeah, like every week! They never stop coming. And the funny thing is that it is about $15 more than what I’m paying now so why would I want it? But I didn’t say that. I was nice. Speak softly and carry a big stick is my motto.

Then she tried to get me to agree to call waiting and some other service because it would be a package deal. Oh boy, a package deal! Would it save me money this special package deal? Heck no, it costs more than what I’m paying now. Thanks but no thanks.

Then at the end of the conversation she said if I change my mind, they could re-instate my DSL service. Huh? Didn’t she just tell me I couldn’t have DSL anymore if I cancelled it?

So what does this mean for us? For you, me,  my blog and my posts?

I went to my local library branch today and inquired about using their computers. Since I have a library card, I am allowed 1 hour at a time. If I need more time, I can sign up on their computer for another hour. My library is about 2-3 minutes from my house. At 2:30 pm today, all their computers were in use. I’ll have to get there earlier.

At this point I don’t know if using the library computers will work for me. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. As of now, I’m not canceling my New Food Friday posts. If worse comes to worse, I’ll just do them as time permits instead of the 3rd Friday of the month.

The last time I checked, there were still over 400 million XP users out there who hadn’t upgraded to Windows 7 or 8.  For a different point of view about the XP issue, read this.

When I had Window’s ’95 on my old laptop computer, I ended up having to upgrade to Window’s ’98. When I did so, my $200 audio system did not function correctly with it anymore. To this day, I’m still tinkering with it, trying to “fix” it. If I upgrade to Windows 7 or 8, on my desktop computer, my Italian language software programs will not work, nor will my printer and who knows what else. I can probably get an upgraded driver for my printer but it will be difficult if not impossible to do anything about my language CDs. I use them around Christmas time to send letters written in Italian to my relatives in Italy. I refuse to buy new language CDs when I’m happy with what I’ve got.

Upgrading XP boils down to spending a lot of time correcting computer issues, searching for solutions and being chained to my desk a little longer. I’ve already written a post about how sitting at your desk is not good for your health. If you haven’t read it, check it out here.

After all the record snow we had here in Indy this winter, 55″ (and counting) when we usually have between 19″-23″ depending on which news program you follow, I am itching to get out in the sunshine! I don’t want to spend more time on my computer, I want to spend less time!

Well, some of my prayers have been answered. A website, epinions.com,  that I had written reviews for the last six years, has shut down. Kaput, The End, No More. I typically spent 3 hours writing each review. I’ve written over 400 reviews. To read them, click REVIEWS at the top of the page. While this turn of events frees up my time, it also lightens my pocketbook because I was paid for these reviews. Some of these reviews were of books.

I’ve recently gotten in the habit of listening to audiobooks. I love them! But now I have no outlet to write about them. Unless I do it here.  The way I see it, listening to audiobooks or reading printed books is good for your health because they are entertaining, often educational, can increase your vocabulary, and darn it, I say they’re good for your health! So, while I haven’t decided completely, I’m leaning towards adding book reviews to this blog.

Final words. A few people got rich crying out, “A computer on every desk!” We followed these commands like lambs to the slaughter. Have they (computers) really saved us time? How many times has someone misread your email so that you had to write another email explaining your original email? How many times have you hit the delete key for the Spam you got and then had to go into your Trash folder because you (or  software) accidentally deleted an email that you wanted to keep? How much time have you spent online trying to find a free anti-virus program that didn’t eat up all your resources and slow down your computer to a crawl? How many times have you gotten the “Unresponsive script” warning and it hung up your computer? How many times has malware or a virus screwed up your computer because your anti-virus software didn’t catch it? How many times….fill in the blank with your own time-consuming computer issue. Enough already!

I know. Normally I’m a quiet girl but when I get a bee in my bonnet, look out! The wheels are in motion, my mind is made up. Upgrade be damned! AT&T call yourself and hang up. Power to the people!

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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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Winter Scenes Can Make You Relax

24 Dec Fireplace

There is nothing more beautiful than snowy, winter scenes. Oh yes, the ice and slick streets can be treacherous when you have to drive on them, but let me take you instead on a relaxing tour of gorgeous scenes of snow and ice.  Winter Scene

All you have to do is scroll; driving is not necessary. Grab a sweater because the scenes may make you chilly.Winter Scene

It is cold enough and therefore safe to go ice skating,  Have you ever been ice skating outdoors?Snow on the Lake

The sun has warmed up this lake. Can you feel the winter sun’s warmth? There is something about snow scenes on a lake that is so peaceful.

At a time when the holidays bring stress to so many, it’s good to take time out and appreciate mother nature’s beauty.Winter Willow Trees

Click this photo  with the Weeping Willow trees to see all the birds on the lake. They liked the scenery so much that they forgot to fly south for the winter. Winter in Hamburg

Nighttime brings out a different feeling in winter scenes.

Winter NightThe snow has muffled all sounds except for our breathing. I can almost see my breath in the air! Can you smell the pine trees?

Hot DrinkWe have arrived at our destination. Time to warm up with a hot drink.

Fireplace & TreeAnd maybe a nap in front of the fireplace.

Stay safe and warm this holiday season.  HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!

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