Friday, September 24, 2010

Marge's big day out

Inspired by these videos:
Marge and Claire 1 (1:08)
Marge and Claire 2 (:50)

Marge took a trip to Stillwater this afternoon
After waiting patiently to cross the street,
she stopped to gaze at the river for a while
but then a big gust of wind came and she fell onto the street. Don't worry, she's ok.
The rain has been so heavy that the sidewalks and stairs near the river are all flooded.
She took a rest by some interesting flowers

And then stopped for a yummy dinner at Domacin - she recommends the tenderloin with fingerling potatoes and asparagus, with one of the nebbiolos. The curried carrot soup is also delicious.
What a great way to wrap up the week!

It's that time of year again!

Cold and flu season has become synonymous with vaccine season (at least in the sense of heavy advertising...unfortunately, vaccine manufacturers and public agencies consider every season to be vaccine season.) Here's a letter I recently wrote and sent to the corporate offices of Lifetime Fitness. If you feel similarly motivated, I would encourage you to do the same thing - to Lifetime, or any other establishment that is promoting vaccines. Let me know if you need contact info.

I joined Lifetime Fitness because I was under the impression that it was a health club, a "healthy way of life company." Imagine my shock and dismay when I passed by the "flu fighters clinic" on the way to drop my kids off at the child center today. As I passed by again I stopped to ask one of the women at the table if they were administering only shots, or if Flu-Mist nasal spray was available as well. She confirmed that both were being given. I told her I was surprised by this, considering the fact that it's a live virus vaccine which can then be spread when recipients cough, sneeze, or breathe. She acknowledged this and shrugged her shoulders.

What is the normal physiological response when an irritant enters the nasal passages? A sneeze. It seems that a large facility filled with people, especially a gym atmosphere where people are exercising and breathing deeply, is not an ideal venue for this sort of risk.

I find it incredibly irresponsible of Lifetime clubs to not only promote flu shots and nasal spray, but also to offer the vaccines in the health club setting. It's not unlike secondhand smoke, in that my family and I could be harmed just by breathing in the vicinity of a Flu-Mist recipient; we pay for membership here and deserve a safe and truly healthy environment. Furthermore, allowing these "clinics" to take place on LTF premises insinuates endorsement by LTF.

Risks aside, efficacy ranges anywhere from 48% to 90% (, depending on whether scientists correctly guess which 3 strains will be in circulation the following year. Increasing the amount of toxins in your body impairs the immune system and actually causes you to become more susceptible to illness. I recommend looking up the ingredients in the influenza vaccines, and reassessing whether this is truly a healthy addition to your event schedule ( For more information regarding the risks, I recommend browsing the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) database. This is a government program run by the CDC and FDA to keep track of, and compensate victims of, vaccine reactions. (

This is a very controversial and political subject, one that Lifetime should not become involved in promoting. I am urging you to shut these clinics down immediately for the safety of your members, and the credibility of your establishment.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I would appreciate somebody following up with me as soon as possible.

(I didn't include this picture, but thought it was an appropriate addition to this post. Click to enlarge it - it's a good one)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pigtails and chocolate

While I was making lunch today, Claire came up to me and announced that she wanted some chocolate. She asked several times while I cut an onion, sliced some cheese, and layered them with tortillas in the cast iron skillet. And she asked again while we were eating our quesadillas for lunch. I distractedly kept telling her no, that after lunch it was time for nap and then she could have some chocolate. A few bites later and she asked yet again, so I decided to explain why.

"Honey, chocolate has caffeine in it...can you say caffeine?" She repeated it perfectly. "Caffeine makes it difficult to sleep, so we don't eat chocolate right before nap. But we can have some after you wake up!" She looked like she was digesting this information along with her food, and let the issue drop.

She took a great nap and I forgot about her request until we were back in the kitchen a few hours later, and she went running toward the cupboard that we keep chocolate in (when we have it). Pumping a fist in the air, she joyfully yelled "I WANT CAFFEINE! I WANT CAFFEINE!" So we enjoyed a few pieces of an organic chocolate bar together and all was well.

A few pics from our chocolate-enhanced afternoon...

I threw my hair into pigtails for my workout, so Claire requested the same for her hair. We couldn't find the other pink rubberband, so we went with one pink and one orange...and she actually kept them in for a while! Notice her entourage: Baby on the left (we recently named her Lucy) and Marge on the right.

A local school supply store is changing locations so everything was on sale; I got Claire a bunch of pencils, a pencil sharpener, and a few blank hard-cover books to color and write in. Later, when I was putting these items away, she got an urgent tone and said "hey, what are you doing with my lessons?!"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Walk a mile in these

I'll admit it: I've been teased by multiple people about my gym shoes recently. Yes, they're a little ratty, but there's a reason I've been rockin' the Rykas for nearly 10 years. (Yes, the same pair for almost 10 years. You heard me right!)

They are THE most comfortable shoes I've ever owned, hands down. I've worn them for everything from running to weight lifting, a variety of martial arts to running errands and shopping (but not shopping for gym shoes...because why replace perfection?)

Over the years they've gotten a little dingy, and the soles have really worn down. It wasn't until I returned to them after taking a break after Arden's birth that I saw them with new eyes. Yikes. That is one worn out pair of shoes! I was a little embarrassed when I was lying on my new chiropractor's table and he took my shoes in his hands to compare the lengths of my legs. He probably thinks I'm homeless, I thought. "Uh, I know I need new shoes," I said with a little laugh.

"You know you're supposed to replace running shoes every year, right?" He asked me.

After that glorious adjustment I hopped on a treadmill to warm up for my workout; I was walking at a good pace when suddenly one foot felt odd. What is that, I wondered. I stepped onto the siderails and bent my knee to see the bottom of the offending shoe, and to my surprise (!) there was a large chunk of sole missing. I turned around to look behind me, and sure enough - there it was, lying on the ground. It had flown off of the treadmill. How embarrassing! I wondered how many people had seen, and felt like everybody was watching me pick it up.

So, the next day I wore my New Balance gym shoes. Oh, did I not mention that I have a nearly new pair of backup gym shoes? No? Oh, probably because they're the most UNcomfortable shoes ever made. Where the Rykas are soft yet supportive, the New Balances feel as if they're made of metal and molded for somebody else's foot. They press in some spots, and dig in others. My feet actually ached after wearing them for only 2 hours. If my lungs would allow it, I could probably run 50 miles in my Rykas and feel just fine. So that night I hopped online and found a new pair of Rykas. They arrived a few days later and straight out of the box they are just as comfortable as the first pair. I love them so much that I just might be able to throw the old pair away.

When I told Mark this great news, he casually asked, "why don't you save them for mowing the lawn, or something?" We both know full well that I have never mowed the lawn, and probably never will. But he has a point...there may be some outdoor project or a need for ratty shoes in the future, and I might as well be comfortable for this mystery project! So they are resting peacefully on the shoe shelf in our closet. Thanks for your service, Pair Number 1; you should have some company in about a year.