Friday, June 27, 2008

You Can't Make This S*** Up!


Frederick County sheriff’s deputies are looking for a man who attacked a convenience store clerk with a banana.

A man walked into a 7-Eleven store in Monrovia just after midnight Wednesday and demanded money. Investigators said that when the clerk refused, the man became so agitated that he started grabbing items off the counter.

He snatched up a banana and began hitting the clerk, the sheriff’s office said.

The clerk pulled out a knife, and the man with the banana split.

— WRC, Washington

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Leaders of the Pack

A while back I talked about Nutrition, and some of the things we were learning and reviewing in one of the classes I took. The entry was growing quite long so I stopped, but I still wanted to share some info about 4 particular vitamins and minerals. They are Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron, which are called the Leader Nutrients. What this means is that if we consume (eat) adequate amounts of these 4 nutrients in our diet the rest of the vitamins and minerals we need will be consumed along with them. These 4 are actually measured and listed on food labels, as required by the FDA.
OK, so what’s does Vitamin A do for us? Adequate amounts of Vitamin A in the body promotes healthy skin, and healthy eyes. What foods contain Vitamin A? Milk and orange & dark green produce (fruits and veggies such as carrots, peppers, oranges, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and all other dark green leafy vegetables.) Vitamin A is fat soluble, not water soluble, so it needs fat to transport it through the body and be absorbed into use. And since it is fat soluble it stays with us longer so if taken in supplement form can actually become toxic. This is what happens when you hear about someone OD-ing on Vitamin A.
Vitamin C promotes a healthy immune system and collagen development. This vitamin is found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, strawberries, cantaloupe, broccoli, and of course, all dark green leafy vegetables. Vitamin C actually assists with healing by forming a glue to hold blood vessels together. Vitamin C is also a key to helping the body absorb Iron. Vitamin C is water soluble which means it moves easily through the body and is easily absorbed. The body will dispose of any extra Vitamin C which it doesn’t need through our urine. Therefore taking extra supplements won’t help – the body does not store this vitamin. This can give us a very expensive pee though! :)
Calcium gives us strong bones, enables muscle contractions, nerve impulses, blood clotting, normal blood pressure, and helps the body burn fat. We get calcium from milk, cheese, yogurt, dried beans, fish with bones (think sardines), broccoli, and…can you guess? Yes, dark green leafy vegetables. Yes, the body needs Vitamin D to help absorb the calcium, and this is usually added into milks and other foods. We also produce enough Vitamin D when we spend time in the sun. Worried about skin cancer or other complexion issues? Never fear, we only actually need about 10 minutes of sun time to produce our daily requirement of Vitamin D.
Here’s encouraging news about bones – while they will weaken over time if we do not use them (weight bearing activity) and through lack of adequate calcium – they can also be strengthened! Yes, our bones are like our muscles, and just because we let them get weak doesn’t mean they will always be weak. Start using them, and taking in adequate amounts of calcium, and before you know it the bones will be strong and healthy again. It is truly never too late to improve our bones.
Last one – Iron is important for red blood cell formation, transporting oxygen through the body, critical to our ability to learn and solve problems (critical thinking), promotes a healthy immune system, and proper enzyme function. Iron is divided into 2 types – the complete sources are Heme Iron, and the incomplete sources are Non-Heme iron. Heme Iron is readily available to the body as soon as we eat it, and can be found in lean red meats, liver (and other organ meats), and dark poultry meat (not found in white meat). Non-Heme Iron is found in whole grains, dried beans, lentils, prunes, broccoli, and as you probably already know, all dark green leafy vegetables.
I was aware of much of this info, as most of us are, before I ever entered the classroom. I was very surprised to hear about the benefits of Calcium and Iron beyond the typical things we already know. In my battle with pneumonia this past year, pharyngitis, and some of my other health concerns, I’ve come to believe that proper rest is critical for me, but better quality nutrition, more variety, and being careful to get the vitamins and minerals I need will be the key to staying healthier in the future.
I’ve also discovered that while the Doctor may prefer to give me a pill when there’s something wrong, that is not always the best choice. Medications often have side-effects, some very serious. One medication I was given this past year actually caused a folic acid deficiency. Since folic acid is instrumental in new cell growth, blood cell growth, reduction of heart disease, and proper nervous system function, it turns out to be a pretty serious thing when we don’t have enough. From slurred speech to tingling and numbness in the extremities and more, the lack of folic acid is key. We often get enough naturally (we only need 1 mg a day,) but when some medication is causing a deficiency, then we need to boost our normal intake. Folic acid is found in citrus fruits, dried beans, strawberries, liver, enriched cereals and grains, and surprise, surprise, dark green leafy vegetables. If a label has the word folacin or folate that means the same thing as folic acid.
Incidentally, there are only 4 vitamins which are fat soluble – the rest are water soluble. So please be careful about your use of supplements for Vitamin A, D, E, and K. These are the 4 by which you can damage your health if you take too much. Remember that all other vitamins are water soluble, not stored, and will leave the body if not used.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Drink Up!

A frothy daiquiri, a crisp gin and tonic or a sweet Long Island iced tea sipped outdoors among friends is as much a part of warm-weather seasons as daylight savings. But are these drinks slowing your weight loss?

Here's a buzz kill: A piña colada packs a caloric wallop. Your average eight-ouncer can set you back more than 400 calories. Swear off fun, fruity beverages? Never! Just follow these tips to help lighten up these summer classics.

1. Never come to happy hour hungry. "Skipping lunch to compensate for the calories you plan to drink is not a good idea," says Molly Gee, RD, weight-loss counselor and researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. "Alcohol does not satisfy hunger."

Arrive with a growling belly and you may find yourself downing a few handfuls of bar nuts (about 600 calories), or worse, falling prey to the cheese-covered nachos. A better choice: Eat how you normally would during the day, work in some extra exercise, and munch a piece of fruit before you go to take the edge off.

2. Be mindful of mixers. Hard liquor runs 100-200 calories per shot, but add a sugary or creamy mixer and you'll double or triple the calories, says Lisa Drayer, a New York City-based dietician. Her tip: Order what you love, just make it lighter—a rum and Coke using diet cola, a gin and tonic using low-calorie tonic. Or, skip mixers altogether and sip a light beer (one-third the calories of regular) or a glass of red wine (just over 100 calories). Incidentally, light beers have always been low in carbs. "A Miller Light versus a Michelob Ultra is really only a caloric difference," says Drayer.

3. Make the cocktail your dessert. If you can't resist a piña colada or daiquiri, drink seltzer during your cocktail hour and savor the mega-calorie libation instead of dessert, suggests Drayer. "Negotiate with yourself." But exercise moderation. "If you drank a piña colada or any 500-calorie drink every day in excess of what your body needs to maintain your current weight, you'd gain a pound a week," says Drayer.

4. Enjoy alcohol every other round. Alternate each alcoholic beverage with seltzer or water. It'll cut down on calories and help you keep count of how much you're drinking. And because alcohol has a diuretic effect, the water will hydrate you, says Drayer. Or, follow Gee's lead and order a glass of water along with your cocktail. You'll sip the hard stuff more slowly.

5. Focus on the conversation, not the cocktails. When you find yourself alone at a fête, you may swig more swiftly out of anxiety or a need to look occupied. "Food and drink become substitutes for conversation; don't fall into that trap," says Gee. "If you don't want to look like you're standing there doing nothing, drink seltzer."

6. Go for volume. A platter of healthy food can satiate you more than a couple of high-fat morsels; it's the same way with cocktails. "The taller the drink, the longer you'll have it in your hand and hopefully drink a little less," says Gee. "Make it last by adding lots of ice and soda water."

Drink slim. Sip skinny with slimmed-down versions of your favorite cocktails, concocted by master mixologist Dale DeGroff, author of The Craft of the Cocktail (Clarkson Potter, 2003).

Cut a room-temperature lime into quarters and drop it in a shaker. Add one packet of sucralose sweetener (such as Splenda) and one tablespoon water. Mash the mixture very well with a wooden spoon, dissolving the lime into mush. Add a shot (1½ ounces) of white rum and enough ice cubes to fit in an old-fashioned glass. Shake well. Pour mixture (including the peel) into a glass. Variation: Add slices of mangos or a few cherries along with the lime.

Pour 3/4 of an ounce (about half a shot) fresh lime juice into a glass. Add one packet of sucralose sweetener (such as Splenda) and four or five mint leaves. Stir until the sweetener dissolves. Add a shot of light rum and several ice cubes. Top with 2 ounces club soda and a sprig of mint.

To shaker, add 3/4 of an ounce (about half a shot) fresh lime juice, 1 to 1½ ounces low-calorie triple sec and 2 ounces tequila. Add ice. Count slowly to 10 while shaking. Rub a lime halfway along the glass's outside rim, then roll the moistened part of the rim in kosher salt. Pour margarita into the glass.

Long Island Iced Tea
To shaker, add 1/4 shot vodka, 1/4 shot rum, 1/4 shot gin, 1/4 shot tequila, 3/4 ounces fresh lemon juice and two packets of sucralose sweetener (such as Splenda) dissolved into 2 tablespoons of water. Shake. Pour into a tall glass filled with ice and top with diet cola. Squeeze lemon on top.

Dissolve four packets of sucralose sweetener (such as Splenda) into 4 tablespoons of water. Pour into pitcher. Add slices of oranges, lemons, limes, peaches, plums or nectarines as well as grapes (for white wine sangria, red grapes; for red wine sangria, white). Add a bottle of red or white wine. Stir, then let sit. Before serving, top pitcher with a drizzle of club soda.
(Article By: Laura Kalehoff)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Time Capsule

Some years ago, after the divorce and the therapy and the learning to live on my own, taking care of my young son by myself, I came across a birthday card while shopping for someone else. The card's message spoke to me so forcefully I purchased the card to keep for myself, even though money was quite tight then.

Today, while organizing and tidying around the house I came across that message to myself, and reading it again was like opening a time capsule from a different era. Yet the message has turned out to be timeless and relevant even now. Here it is:

Today, you are a little wiser, truer to yourself,
and more confident and comfortable
than you were the year before.

You are stronger and deeper on the inside because of
the experiences life has given you,
and softer around the edges because of
the things you have let go of along the way.

You are clearer about your dreams and your purpose,
and richer because of the laughter, love,
and friendship you have shared.

And the gifts you have gathered just make you
all the more beautiful.

Happy Birthday - you have so much to celebrate.

Of course, it isn't my birthday, and when I bought it for myself in the first place it wasn't my birthday either. Then again, everyday that I live in a more healthy way, more aware of who I am, more awake to the possibilities of life around me, and able to change and grow in spite of fear, is a new day, a rebirth and new life. For it is in remaining stuck in old behaviors, beliefs, habits, and thoughts which keep us from experiencing all that the universe can offer.

So now it's time to put the card away in a new place, where I can come across it again in a few years, relive the progress of the past and see where I am in the present.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Great Read

I recently found a delightful book called "Playing" written by Melanie Abrams. If you enjoy good reading I suggest you check it out.

The story is about a Grad student named Josie who is also working as a Nanny. Josie finds herself oddly and intensely attracted to, of all people, the man her employer is dating. (oops!)

Lots of Domination, submission, bondage, beatings, and other delightful things take place, even as our young heroine struggles to reconcile this part of her nature. After all, isn't this type of thing wrong??? How can it bring her so much pleasure? She should stop. As you can imagine if you're either a reader of fiction or a part of the BDSM lifestyle yourself, this tortured heroine must journey through the maze of her own mind, battling demons all the way.

I enjoyed the book a lot, even though I didn't relate to her intense struggle (for me the path was easy to choose for in this path is my only freedom.) But not relating on a personal level certainly did not stop me from understanding the plight of the characters.

The book is well-written, for non-BDSM practitioners I'm certain it is quite a bit titillating. For those in the Lifestyle it's just good clean fun!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Mai Tai Anyone?

Or is that my-tie-one on???


W/we dined at an authentic Indian Restaurant by the name of Sizzling Bombay and it was scrumptious!

But the drink they prepared for me, a Mai Tai, was very very strong. Deliciously, delightfully strong. Head-spinning, dizzy-making strong. it seems that most restaurants do not go to the expense and bother of making a good, strong drink, using lesser ingredients or just less of the alcohol. But Sizzling Bombay knows how to make a drink!

Did I mention the food was just wonderful? W/we had a chicken dish in an orange sauce which was mouth-wateringly yummy, and a lamb dish which was prepared to perfection. We're eagerly looking forward to the leftovers, it was way too much to finish.

It's such a treat for us to find authentic foreign cuisine close to home. Sir is from the DC area, and quite accustomed to excellent food whenever He wants it. Moving out to the country has been a bit hard on His palette. Thank heaven more of the real-deal is opening nearby.

In addition to Sizzling Bombay, an authentic Japanese Sushi house has recently opened around the corner too. Sir is especially fond of all things Japanese, sushi most especially, and this place, Fuji Sushi, ranks right up there with some of the best He's had. O/our son has even come to love sushi there. As you can see from the link, they don't have a website yet, but the menu is vast, and all yummy.

Exploring and enjoying various cuisines is just one example of the many ways Sir has changed me, broadened my life, and molded me into the perfect companion for Him.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rituals & Protocols

So I mentioned the Retreat I attended this past weekend, Servant's Retreat. And during the course of the 3 days the topic of rituals and protocols was discussed (big surprise...)

At first, when asked what special rituals or protocols W/we observed to help U/us maintain the desired head-space I just drew a blank. I simply could not think of anything.

Which is just ridiculous considering that everyday of my life I wear a dog tag similar to the one pictured above, which Master had engraved with words to remind me of who I am and to whom I belong. And yes, I even had this on while at the retreat, as I said, I wear it everyday.

I did finally realize that this item fit the question, but I was rather surprised at myself.

My mind had focused on things sitting around the house, or very tangible, blatant things like wrist cuffs, floggers, and types of behaviors. My mind focused on the lack of some of these things that others in the room may have had but I didn't since W/we share O/our home with a teenage son. It seems I was viewing things from a place of lack or scarcity rather than from a place of fullness and abundance.

Very clearly now, I see that one of my tasks on the never-ending journey of self-improvement is to teach my mind to see what is possible, what can be, and to teach my mind to be more open to the reality of what is wonderful and is positive, rather than negatively believing something is amiss if it is not.

I don't want to view the world through rosy-colored glasses - they offer just as much distortion as always seeing the negative. I just want to be aware of and awake to what is real and true.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Servant's Retreat

I spent the past few days at a seminar called "Servant's Retreat" at the Playhouse Studios in Baltimore. The Retreat is given/led/facilitated by a wonderful Ma'am by the name of Catherine Gross.

This has been a wonderful experience, very thought-provoking, and growth-providing. I'm incredibly appreciative of the folks at BESS who presented Ms Gross, as well as to Ma'am herself for giving of her time and energy in an attempt to help me grow.

I also have to say the wonderful people who were present with me in the Retreat made a huge difference. There were so many times when I didn't know how to say what I was feeling - and one of them would nail it. I feel like there are people who get me, and who I get.

Ladies, thank you. All of you.