Saturday, February 21, 2009

Go Figure

Have you ever seen a "breaking new study" with a headline that made you want to say: "Well, Duh!"? The following nuggets of knowledge were obtained through scientific study:
- Americans have lots of cars! An average of 2.28 per household.
- A man's attraction to potential partners is easier to read than a woman's.
- Laughter is contagious.
- People who play "massively multiplayer" role playing games invest more time in gaming than those who don't.
- Taking a combination of drugs and alcohol is bad for you. (By the way, this was not a study to determine if the "Do not take alcohol with this medication" sticker should go on your antibiotics. The official title of the paper: "Differential affects of cocaine and cocaine plus alcohol on neurocognative performance.")
- People who have to attend many meetings in the workplace are grumpier than those who don't.
- Things that are far away are harder to see than things that are close.
- Swallowing more than one magnet is dangerous.
- Memory and concentration deteriorate with age.

This week, I conducted my own quasi-scientific study and determined that it doesn't matter how many celery sticks and baby carrots you have cut up and ready for eating in the refrigerator. The "Container of Fudge" will win out every time.

Go figure.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dear Banana

Dear Banana,

Please believe me when I tell you that I truly planned to eat you. You are advertised as the world’s most perfect food, and I know that you are high in potassium. You are a nutritious alternative to sugary breakfast cereals and gooey snacks. I know this.

But, poor Banana, I am weak. I saw plates of cookies and black bottom cupcakes placed seductively before my eyes, arranged temptingly on the kitchen table. They called to me, enticed me with their promises of deliciousness. You started to look a little brown. Oh yes, deep down I knew that you were still firm and edible on the inside. But shamefully, I judged you based on your outer appearance.

And now, you are gone, withered away to mush before my eyes. It is all my fault, dear Banana. I have acted as though Bananas grow on trees. Well, perhaps they do, but the money I wasted to buy you does not. I tell myself that this will not happen again, that I will not purchase food only to toss it to the dumpster a few weeks later. But you know me, don’t you Banana? I only hope you can appreciate the times when I have been attentive, ingesting your wonderful nutrition each day before you begin to rot. I shall strive to be better. For, sadly, I know this will not be the last time.

So Sorry,


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dieting...and Loving It?

I just (finally) had a kick-ass week in the health department. I am dieting, exercising, and loving life. I know a lot of my Constant Readers are struggling with weight-loss as well, so I will elaborate:

My method is simple in theory - decrease the calories in, and increase the calories out. However, I cannot tell a lie. The maintenance of the balance is very time consuming, and it takes a lot of commitment to overcome obstacles.

The first step is to pay attention to your own habits, good and bad. You enhance the good habits, and you think of feasible ways to kick your bad habits. My bad habits were (among others):
- lack of exercise throughout my day
- making lame excuses for not working out after work
- incessant snacking while cooking dinner
- portion control
- a penchant for all foods free at the office - even if I had just eaten

My solutions were:
- commit myself to a 30 minute walk during lunch at least four times a week
- plan out my week by determining which classes I will attend, based on the ones that work for my schedule and are fun, then committing myself to sticking to it
- having a stash of cut celery sticks and carrots in the fridge to eat while things cook, AND doing light cleaning while food is cooking. This has been a challenge, so I have been tweaking my food intake later in the day and adding a snack with complex carbs and protein around 4 pm before I leave work (such as yogurt, cottage cheese, tabbouleh, vanilla flavored almonds, etc). This has been helping to control the overwhelming urge to go for the cabinets and eat everything in site while my celery sticks rot in the fridge.
- noting the intended number of servings in all things I prepare, and making sure I refrigerate the leftovers before dishing out our meals. I ration my lunches too - I pack enough for the week on Monday, so if I eat too much early on, I won't have a meal later in the week.
- waiting until 1pm for lunch, so that I can indulge in the occasional free food treat without as much guilt. Completely depriving myself of these little snackies is not an option, so I do my best to at least regulate the amount going in. Luckily the "economic downturn" has affected the frequency of freebies. Mr. Bush, my waistline thanks you.

In general, these things work. But "healthy eating" becomes a "diet" when one does not allow flexibility. So when a co-worker says, "Hey, do you want to join us for Happy Hour on Friday?" I can usually eliminate a planned food so I can drink a beer or two. I have also considered just getting water at the bar, but this silly notion tends to fly away at the site of a freshly poured micro brew. I fall frequently, but I think on the whole, I do pretty well. You can't beat yourself up. You can only assess the problem and do something to change it.

So, what was the winning combination this week? I highly doubt this will work for everyone, because we all have our challenges - different poor habits, or schedules that don't allow so many opportunities for snacks. But, for what it is worth:
8:30am Breakfast - a whole grain (like oatmeal or the recently discovered bulgur)
12:30pm Lunch - Soup
2:00pm Snack #1 - Fruit
4:00pm Snack #2 - Protein (like yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts)
7:00pm Dinner - Varied menu from my "Healthy Cooking" magazine, usually around 400 calories. I try to have at least one fish meal, and maybe one meatless meal from my new "Vegetarian's Bible" cookbook. I will let you know how it is, but the one meal I have had so far was deeee-licious.

I also walked 4 days, and went to "Body Step", "Body Flow", "Body Attack", and "Step It Up". I really love these classes, though I missed my favorite one - "Brick Boxing" - because we had tickets to a concert on Thursday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Scene From My Life

"My Life" a one scene snippet with poor plot lines and dissatisfying conflict resolution:

The Stars: F-ing Model, Fat B*tch, and Me (Innocent Bystander)

The setting: Innocent Bystander (I) walks along the street on a blustery day last week (probably Thursday). She huddles in her coat and steps briskly against the cold. A bus pulls up to the curb in the distance. F-ing Model (FM) and Fat B*tch (FB) exit the bus, both yelling incoherently.

FM: He just using you, you Fat B*tch. Look at me! Look at ME! I'm a F-ing Model and you're a Fat B*tch. FM lifts her heavy coat and shirt beneath to reveal her presumably spectacular body.

I: Being grateful to miss the glimpse of boobies due to strategic placement of FM's large handbag draped over her elbow, begins to realize that walking between the arguers is inevitable because FM has crossed to the other side of the street and continues to yell obscenities at top volume.

FB: (Not to be outdone) He don't love you, you crack whore! You think you're so f-ing hot but you just a crack whore!

FM: You just call me fat? How can YOU call me fat, you Fat B*tch?!

FB: I didn't call you a fat whore, I said a CRACK whore!

FM: I am not fat!

FB: You are on CRACK!

I: Walks directly into the line of fire as FB correlates the similarities of one who uses crack and FM. Meanwhile, FM pontificates that nothing FB says could be valid due to her larger than average posterior. Obscenities are used freely by both parties. Being on the FB side of the street, I smiles at FB with an eye roll as if to say, "What the heck is her problem?" I avoids conflict and continues at a near run further down the street, noting a toddler with mouth agape in a nearby parking lot.

Monday, February 9, 2009


On Saturday, I went to a different grocery store, conveniently located next to a gas station with a car wash. I knew there was potential for there to be a few cars in line. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and Marylanders were emerging from their holes all squinty-eyed to enjoy some sunshine. But first, they had to remove the quarter inch of salt which was plastered to the sides of their cars. So yes, there were cars in line. I pulled up next to a pump and observed that the line ran from the car wash, behind the length of the convenience store, around the side of the store and ended with a car about 15 feet in front of the first parking space. At roughly 10 feet per car, assuming about...140 feet, we have 14 cars. And, lets say the wait is 3 minutes per car. Yikes. I was going to need some reading material.

No biggie, I thought as I stared down my gas gauge. It was nearing empty, but I wasn't about to pay $1.91 a gallon if I still had to find a car wash. I pulled out, unfulfilled, but full of hope. I looked to the car wash a few blocks away, thinking these guys were all suckers, unknowing of this alternate car wash lurking just below their noses. I had little time to make the assessment before needing to decide if I should pull into the grocery store or go for car wash plan B, but this was not a problem. The car wash line nearly doubled back around in a full circle around the store. "Blimey," I wish I had thought (British accents are so cute!), "This task may be harder than I thought."

On the way home from the store, I decided to check out the place that offers car washes minus the gas and convenience store. I put on my turn signal to pull in, but quickly reversed direction as I nearly hit the SUV which had just managed to tuck itself into line without hanging its rear into the street. I decided the time was all wrong, and I would resume my search on my way to a party later in the evening.

Fast forward to 8pm, and I pull into a third gas station/car wash. The line was still about 12 cars long, but my gas gauge was no longer giving me any options. I bought the car wash, and the gas. The car wash ticket is valid for 14 days, and I figured I could make it in with minimal wait sometime before it expired.

Thus far, no luck. I have been by the place 4 times since Saturday. I sneak, I hover, I lurk. I know the employees, and who was late for their 10pm shift. OK, so I exaggerate. But perhaps priority could be given for those of us silly enough to buy dark blue vehicles and who live in a place that does not give access to its hose from October to April? That. Would be cool.

Until then, I am considering renting the car to hunters. I figure the deer will be mistaking it for a salt lick in no time.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I Like Mike

I am not sure what the National News has been reporting, but Michael Phelps is all the rage in B-more these days. However, unlike the 24-7 news coverage we endured over the summer, this 24-7 news coverage is not positive. Someone posted a picture of Mike, with his face very close to a water pipe which is distinctly empty of smoke. To the casual observer, it appears that this is a bong.
Micheal Phelps is Baltimore's pride and joy. He grew up, and trained, in Towson, MD. Seven years ago, I moved to Towson, and I (ahem) ran on the track of the very high school the esteemed Mr. Phelps was attending at the time. OK so I walked. But that is beside the point.
The point is that shortly after the 2004 Olympics, Towson ceremoniously "re-named" my road "Michael Phelps Way". By "renamed" I mean they changed one road sign and no maps, making it slightly difficult to give directions. About three months after this grand ceremony, Micheal Phelps (a teenager) was discovered doing something unthinkable: he was...oh, perish the thought...drinking. A beer. Excuse me while I faint due to the shock. Suddenly, Baltimore's Hero was slung through the mud.
Please do not misunderstand me - I do not think that drinking to excess (at any age) is an inherently good thing. But, I must admit, I learned this lesson firsthand. As a teenager. I have even taken the occasional refresher course as an adult. Was Micheal Phelps doing something reckless? Stupid? Yes. But people seem to forget that in addition to being an athlete, he was also a kid. Being reckless and stupid comes with the territory.
Now it is like de ja vu all over again. Poor kid. Don't get me wrong. I certainly would not want to see Micheal Phelps waste away into a world of drugs, sex, and rock n'roll. But cut the KID some slack!

The most confusing part of this story is that Kelloggs dropped Michael's endorsement deal becuase they felt the bong picture wasn't consistent with their image. Umm...have you seen this box?

Just this supposed to appeal to Olympians? Or stoners?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Time Warp

Sorry, folks. I have been cheating. Due to a combination of laziness, busy-ness, sickly-ness, and weariness, I fell behind in my blogging. There was no lack of material. In fact, I still have a few blog ideas to type up. But for now, please enjoy some of my newest entries, which have been belatedly posted to their correct chronological position. (It is so cool how blogger lets me go back in time!)

January 24, January 30, and January 31 have officially happened, and I now return you to your regularly scheduled day.