Everything Happens for a Reason

Most of you are familiar with the Byrds song Turn! Turn! Turn! adapted from the Book of Ecclesiastes. In particular the start of the song: “To everything (turn, turn, turn), there is a season (turn, turn, turn), and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

As the time rolls on, I become more and more convinced that everything…both good and bad…happens for a reason. The reason may not be apparent to us immediately. But there is a reason. A couple of examples:

I was laid off from two jobs within 14 months. I enjoyed both jobs and did not want to leave. But economic realities forced the companies to downsize. However, now I am in a position that I enjoy much more than the previous two. It was only a series of two layoffs that lead me down a winding road to my current job.

I heard of a more dramatic example of this recently. I young man was diagnosed with brain cancer. He needed costly surgery, so a small community pulled together to organize a fundraiser to help pay for the surgery. Part of the event involved people asking for sponsorship to get their heads shaved in solidarity for this young man who would also have his head shaved. A couple of weeks later, a lady who had her head shaved was diagnosed with skin cancer–on her head! Since it was caught early, hopefully her prognosis is good. Without her head being shaved, the cancer would likely have grown for months or years and likely spread.

Things are tough with a lot of people right now. Just try to keep in mind that even the bad things happen for a reason. We may not know why immediately, maybe not for week or months, maybe even never. But there is a reason. We just have to make the best of the hand we are dealt, and learn and grow from it.

Treasure Valley Weight Loss Challenge: Month 2 Weigh-In

It’s wasn’t a good month for me in the weight loss challenge. Lots of stress and other crazy things going on took me off focus with eating better and moving more. And the results show it:

Initial weigh-in: 242

Month 1 weigh-in: 234

Month 2 weigh-in: 235

Gained this month: 1 pound

This weekend, I’m on a quick, relaxing getaway. Then next week, it’s time to re-focus and get back on track. Still 4 months to go in the challenge!

Treasure Valley Weight Loss Challenge: Month 1 Weigh-In

As you may recall, I’m participating in the Treasure Valley Weight Loss Challenge. I did my month 2 weigh-in today. Here are the results:

Initial weigh-in: 242

Month 1 weigh-in: 234

Loss this month: 8 pounds

This second weigh-in was a longer period at 7 weeks (the rest will be at 4 weeks). So I lost 1 pound per week. This is short of my 2 pound per week goal. However, I’m still proud of the achievement and look forward to the next weigh-in.

A Nice Trip to Mexico

So you’ve settled in at your hotel in Acapulco and are ready for an afternoon at the beach. Time to grab all those items you need:

Swimsuit: check
Sunscreen: check
Towel: check
Sunglasses: check
Flu mask: ???

It’s kind of funny, yet sad, to sit back and watch paranoia grip the planet.

art_sun_flu

Treasure Valley Weight Loss Challenge: Initial Weigh-In

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am participating in the $10,000 Treasure Valley Weight Loss Challenge being held by the Humphrey’s Diabetes Center in Boise. We had our initial weigh-in today. The damage: 242 pounds…ugh. Well, it’s all downhill from here. We have monthly weigh-ins starting in June and continuing through October. I’ll post updates.

I Want to be a Loser

I have known for years that I needed to lose some (or even a lot of) weight. For some reason though, pesky things like better health simply were not enough to motivate me to give it a serious run. However, I have now found my motivation: cold, hard, cash.

That’s right, the Treasure Valley is having it’s own version of The Biggest Loser. The fee is $50 to enter. The first weigh-in will be this weekend. Then there will be monthly weigh-ins for the next 6 months. The biggest loser (by percentage) will take home the grand prize of $3,000. I really want to win the big prize, but even if I “just” lose weight, it is well worth the $50 entry fee.

I’ll keep you posted with my progress here with each weigh-in.

Passport Fiasco

The Older Daughter has been invited by her grandma to take a 15-day European cruise this summer. (I am very jealous, but that’s another story.) Her passport expired a few weeks back, so we needed to get it renewed. We went to the State Department’s website to find the requirements. It said that we needed to bring her old passport or her birth certificate, and that we could pay by cash or check. Knowing how the government operates, I asked The Wife to call the local office to make sure the details from the website were correct. She did and they confirmed everything. Great, right? Not so much.
 
When they got to the office, they were told that she needed her old passport and her birth certificate. Well that sucks. My worst fears were realized in that no matter how hard you try to make dealings with the government easier, they always go awry. Anyway, they headed back  home to pick up the birth certificate. They made it back to the office, got all the paperwork filled out and processed. Then it was time to pay. The Wife forked over the $100 fee in cash. That’s when they told her that they don’t accept cash. You’re kidding me right? This after they said that was an acceptable form of payment on their website and The Wife double-checked over the phone? Not to mention that every Federal Reserve Note says “THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE”.
 
I just wanted to rant about this to you and I hate to turn this political, but think about this for a moment. Think about this experience at the passport office; think about what a nightmare the DMV is; think about the IRS. You may have had other experiences interacting with the government. It’s nearly always a nightmare. The crush of massive bureaucracy and rampant incompetency is staggering.
 
How can anyone out there really think that the federal government can do a better job with health care? Universal health care would be an unmitigated disaster. Think of your DMV experience…that’s what going to the doctor or hospital will be like. We’ve got to stand against this.

Eat Your Vegetables…er, Voots

Those who know me know that I’m not a big fruits and vegetables kind of guy. I know that I should eat more, but I definitely struggle eating the balanced diet that I should. I really am more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy.

As I was running around Costco today, lunching on all the free samples, I ran onto a product called Voots. They are little chewable tablets, each of which they claim to contain 12 fruits and vegetables along with all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and flavonoids. This is fantastic!

They claim to taste like candy. I tried a sample and they don’t taste too bad. I could eat these and never eat another fruit or vegetable again…woo hoo!

Then again, I could try Vitameatavegamin and eliminate meat also…heh.

Girl Germs

I knew it. According to an article on cnn.com, women have more germs than men. Finally, a reason to brag about being a man.

“The researchers aren’t sure why women harbored a greater variety of bacteria than men, but Fierer suggested it may have to so with the acidity of the skin. Knight said men generally have more acidic skin than women.

Other possibilities are differences in sweat and oil gland production between men and women, the frequency of moisturizer or cosmetics applications, skin thickness or hormone production, he said.”

See, it’s all that darn makeup and other crap you put on your skin. Try the natural look. I like it.

Now you might think that this would give me pause when considering kissing a woman. Nope. It is simply too much fun–I’ll take my chances. I guess I could just restrict myself to family members though. In fact, The Wife would probably prefer that. 🙂

Am I Deaf?

I was at the doctor’s office for a physical. I saw “the glove” and the lubricating gel on the counter. Turns out he was planning on doing a prostate exam. I politely declined. Guidelines say that you should start getting this exam done at age 40 and I’m not going to have a done a day before I turn 40, so there.

Anyway, he completed the rest of the physical and asked if I had any particular health concerns. I didn’t really have any, but mentioned I thought I was having more difficulty hearing. So…he proceeded to rub his thumb and index finger together near my ear and ask if I could hear that. And I could, so he said my hearing was fine.

Ok, wait. This guy spent 10 years of his life and tens of thousands of dollars on medical school. We live in the United States and have access to the best diagnostic tools money can buy. And he rubs fingers together to check my hearing? This is insanity!

The Answers to All Your Diet Questions

I am so tired of the conflicted health tips we get. One day something is bad for us–the next day it is good. Thanks to Carol, I found all the answers. Here you go…no extra charge this time.

Q: I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that’s it… don’t waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that’s like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?

A: Can’t think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain…Good!

Q: Aren’t fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU’RE NOT LISTENING!!! …. Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they’re permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It’s the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! ‘Round’ is a shape!
Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And remember:
“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways – Chardonnay in one hand – chocolate in the other – body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO! What a Ride”

Finally, for those of you who watch what you eat, here’s the final word on nutrition and health. It’s a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

Conclusion: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

1968 Retrospect: Dentistry

According to the 1968 Year Book by The World Book, “A leading dental research scientist predicted in 1968 that tooth decay may be preventable in less than 10 years. Dr. Seymour J. Kreshover, director of the National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) in Bethesda, MD, made the prediction on the basis of successful work done at the institute in pinpointing the organism of decay.”

Well, this prediction was way off. There have certainly been improvements in dental health, but I don’t think we can say that we are anywhere near preventing tooth decay.

In 2002, clinical trials began on a genetically modified mouthwash that should stop tooth decay. The mouthwash is squirted onto the teeth in a 5-minute process. The treatment is expected to last for a “considerable time.” The most recent information I could find indicates that the trials are moving along very cautiously because of FDA concerns. You see, this treatment permanently replaces the bacteria in the mouth that causes cavities with another bacteria. Yeah, I think it’s a good idea to proceed cautiously when you are talking about permanently altering your body’s chemistry!

How to Avoid Exercise (or, I’m the Laziest Person on the Planet)

I’m just about the laziest person on the planet (just ask The Wife). I know that I should be exercising to be healthier (and shed a few pounds), but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Well, after extensive research by the DITH Wellness Department, we have found a viable alternative to exercise: drinking alcohol.

Benjamin Franklin said “Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” According to an article at time.com, this is absolutely true. It seems that those who do not drink and do not exercise have the highest risk of heart disease. Those who exercise or drink have a 30% reduction in risk. Finally, those freaks that exercise but are smart enough to also drink, have a 50% reduction in risk.

So if a couple drinks per day will replace some exercise, then lots of drinks will replace lots of exercise, right? I don’t know, there may have been some caveats or something later in the article. But when I hit the part about alcohol replacing exercise, I got up and did a little Snoopy celebration dance. Okay, not for very long because I didn’t want to cross that line into exercise.

Anyway, cheers to your good health!