Archive for the 'Health' Category

It’s here. God. It’s here.

The flu has arrived in full force in the Donovan house.  We are all walking zombies with plenty of unstoppable green funk flowing from our noses.  The babies are being sports. They are sucking it up and working through it. My husband, however, not so much.

I can’t quite figure it out - why do men suck at being sick?  I noticed it as a girl when my dad would get sick and act like he was being tough.  But he failed.  Miserably.  He would walk around moaning, literally, and wait for someone to ask if he needed anything.  Then, when someone (Usually me.  My mom had figured out his game I guess) would ask if he needed something, he would wimper and say “nah, I’m just fine.  Don’t mind me”.  Then, more wimpers would follow and I would follow him around doing things for him and scampering to make sure he didn’t have to lift a finger.  My husband - a little different.

He gets sick with bravado. He actually pranced in the house with zinc cough drops the other day and annouced “Well, I’m sick!”.  I rolled my eyes.  He doesn’t understand why I am so unsympathetic.  I don’t understand why it is an event to be sick.  He rolls around in his sickness like a pig in mud.  And, he expects me to roll around in it with him - not to necessarily be sick with him, per se.  No.  He just really wants someone to be around to watch him be sick. I get every little detail about what is feeling bad - right down to the color of the snot.  I don’t get it.  Men - help me out here.  Is it the whole nurture instinct that I’m supposed to be whipping out here?  Why do you guys wallow in your illness while we women tough it out and get on with the show?  Come on.  You’d think you guys would want to show how tough you are.  Instead, you become whiney little boys again.  You’re all lucky we women love you so damned much.  And that you manage to be mildly cute while your fussing up a storm about how bad you feel.  I guess there’s no changing it.  Thousands of years of evolution hasn’t managed to help men shake it - I guess me ranting about it won’t do it either.  Here’s to the flu.  Wish me luck in kicking it’s ass (in all four of us) this week. 


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A Little Something For Whatever Ails Ya…

We are all slowly coming down with the flu.  Normally, one of us gets it and then passes it around the house. But, yesterday, all four of us started feeling that ache, that lethargy, that sleepy, cranky feeling.  That fluey feeling.  So, today, we all cozy up to my son’s famous homemade soup and some Sesame Street.  The cable guy came yesterday and we finally succumbed to introducing a television into our home.  Man.  Right now, with my ickiness sticking to me like the nastiest funk ever, I love love love television.  Love it. Love it. Love it.

My son’s soup is both a too-cold-to-play-outside tradition as well as an everyone is sick tradition.  He picks out the ingrediants from the fridge and cupboard and washes them and tells me how much to cut.  He is a pretty fine cook - he understands how to balance out flavors.  So - thought I’d pass along our family tradition of kid-made soup.  Our recipe usually goes a little something like this:

Two onions - sauteed in oil and a little butter in big soup pan

Add carrots, celery, mushroom, and whatever else suits your kid

Sautee all together (I usually add a little white cooking wine & garlic…)

Add vegetable broth and cut up potatoes and sweet potatoes

Boil until some of the potatoes are falling apart and then add one more cup of cubed potatoes and cook until those are just soft enough (this makes for a thicker broth - the first potatoes will serve as the thickener - while still being able to have some nice chunkier potatoes to enjoy)

Season to taste - my son loves to add a little bit of everything which, sometimes, makes the soup taste like the spice cabinet, but whatever.

This soup thing always makes our crappy days a lot nicer.  Thought I’d share. 

Posted in Health, Cooking, Daily Living, Cold and Flu Remedies | No Comments »

ch ch ch changes….

Hold on.  I can’t concentrate.  This flitty, flirty “music” on NPR is making my nose bleed.  Gah.. Who’s the douche that picks this crap.  There is good classical music, for christ’s sake!  Need to change the channel.. NOW. freakin lame world… grumble grumble grumble…….. 

Ok.. There see. I just typed what I was thinking and did not alter anything to make me look like a better person than I am - not even the grumble grumble part.. When did I become this grousing grump of a person? WHEN!?!  It seems, these days, that this (”this” meaning my overwhelmingly and alarmingly worn out, tired, overwhelmed, sour demeanor) is the norm and I want it to stop. 

I am evaluating my habits.  Here’s what I have come up with.  I am not eating right.  I don’t drink enough water.  I don’t get enough exercise.  I don’t get enough sleep.  All of those things add up to a very icky me.   

Today I turn over a new leaf.  I start fresh.  I found a great website that I think any of you ladies, mothers or not, could benefit from.  Check out Dr. Weil - I have been an avid follower of his work since I was in high school, until recently.  He is a brilliant combination of homeopathic, natural healing as well as a trained modern day doc - it’s called integrative medicine and I think it is brilliant.  He talks a lot about proper eating and how to live up to your optimal health.  These are matters that I have always been passionate about and very interested in learning more about. With kids, it has become a bit harder to focus on myself and how my body is functioning - obviously not to positvie recults. He even has a section about how to age gracefully.  It’s never to early to start thinking about that.  And with all my grumpiness, the last thing I feel is graceful.  I think I could use a little help.

You can sign up for his newsletter and fill out a personal survey that will bring you personal helath advice every week - it is called his Optimal Health Program.  I’ll keep you posted on how I am progressing and what proves to work for me.

Posted in Lifestyles, Health, Websites | No Comments »

Autumnal Bliss and Frolicky Tots

Somehow I scored a weekend off of work and was able to have a much needed date day/night with my son.  Saturday we started the day off right with several very impressive estate sales and yard sales.  I know, that seems like something only mommy might enjoy.  But, you’re wrong.  Dead wrong.  My six year old son has turned into quite a rumamge sale junkie - and he is a much better bargainer than I am.  He has the whole sweet, innocent “how much for this teddy bear - it will be my first teddy bear - sniffle, sniffle” that I can’t pull off and usually manages to get everything for next to nothing.

We then spent the afternoon at a birthday party where we painted pumpkins, drank hot chocolate, painted our faces and played in the most gorgeous weather I have seen in Nashville this year.  We ate chocolate cake and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches like there was no tomorrow.

After our happy gallivanting at the park, we headed home - wind chapped cheeks and rosy nosed - to get cleaned up for our fancy dinner date at Margot (one of the best places to eat in town).  We put on our most comfortable clothes - and still managed to look classy as penguins.  We settled into our cozy, candle lit table - ordered sprite and wine (respectively, for him and me) and enjoyed the best meal and the best company ever.

Originally, I had made the reservations for me and John.  Alas, as is usual, we could not acquire (nor afford) a babysitter - so I figured, why not take a date (an equally romantic date) with my son.  I have to tell you - it was one of the best days in my life.

Then on Sunday the whole crew carved pumpkins on our front porch, took long walks collecting leaves, fed geese and ducks in the park, made french toast, played in the backyard and had an all around beautiful day.  If it sounds idylic and magnificent - it’s because it was…

And, I’m happy to report - the ants have settled in (quite nicely, might I add).. We watched them for some time yesterday getting their new home properly set up.  They are fascinating creatures - they collect the dead, bury them, help each other carry heavy loads.. They each have their place and they each have their task.  They rest when it is time and they work (hard!) when it is time.  Something to be admired in any creature.
God, I love autumn and renewal and work and play and feeling purposeful in life.. There is no time like this time of the year.

Posted in Daily Living, Healthy Living, Mental Health | No Comments »

A Coke and a Smile.. or a degenerative bone disease.. you pick.

Another reason to rethink your diet ladies.. Just read that, apparently, Coke (Pepsi, included) has been linked to high rates of Osteoporosis.. Apparently the phosphoric acid in both Pepsi Cola and Coke is the culprit (who would of thought something that could burn a hole through rust could be bad for you??).

Researchers now believe that cola consumption is linked with a loss in bone mineral density in women.

Cola consumption (4 colas a week or more) was linked to a lower bone mineral density in three hip sites (but not the spine) - and the association was only with colas and not other carbonated beverages.

Presumably here we are talking about any drink with phosphoric acid in it (i.e. Pepsi Cola and Coca-cola).

aaaaaaand, more…….

Traditionally, the bone deficiency disease osteoporosis (literally “porous bones”) has been seen mostly in post-menopausal women, particularly those who did not build high bone density in youth, typically due to insufficient calcium intake. Some researchers have observed a positive correlation between soft-drink consumption and increased risk of osteoporosis in young women, which is now also seen in increasing prevalence in men of late middle age.

Phosphoric acid, used in many soft drinks (primarily so in cola drinks), was initially suspected. It has been claimed that an excess of phosphorus may lead to poor bone density. However medical research indicates that exactly the opposite is the case; as one might expect from the simple application of Le Châtelier’s principle, it is low phosphate intake which increases the risk of osteoporosis, while high phosphate intake reduces it.[2]

Other chemicals such as caffeine (also a significant component of popular common cola drinks) were also suspected as possible contributors to low bone density, due to the known effect of caffeine on calciuria. However other studies have shown that not only does phosphoric acid in colas have no such effect, but the caffeine has only a temporary effect which is later reversed. The authors of this study suggest that any correlation between osteoporosis and soft drink consumption is probably due to displacement of dairy products from the diet.[3]. (Another possible confounding factor may be an association between high soft drink consumption and sedentary lifestyle

Sorry, that was a mouthful.. but well worth the read.. So, it’s a little contrary to our earlier bit of information but I think the fact alone that colas have entered the discussion at all, either because of phosphorus or for caffeine should be a good indicator that they shouldn’t be at all included in a healthy diet.  I think I will just kind of mosey my way around the caffeine bit and focus mainly on getting the phosphoric acid out of my diet.. I’m not strong enough to omit coffee from my life just yet - but I think I won’t have any problem avoiding the former reason…


Posted in Daily Living, Healthy Living, Osteoporosis | No Comments »

Autumn’s Arrival… and mine…

I can remember long hours sitting in my room, all alone, listening to album after album after album… From the age of six or seven until I was well into my adult years I was infatuated with music… I would wear out my parents old 45s.  I would try to capture the raspy click of each turn of the needle softly scratching its way across the vinyl onto a tape so that I could play it in the car on my way to guitar practice.  This was how I spent my childhood…  hours spent sitting on my daddy’s knee, oversized headphones on my head, blonde hair tucked underneath while goodbye yellow brick road played and my daddy explained to me why the piano was more powerful than a guitar in rock and roll.. every long drive there would be a quiz and a reward for who, between my brother and myself, could guess which beatle was singing.. it was the way my father raised us.. with all the creativity that the military managed to suppress in him, he never let his passion for good music go.  and he made sure that it was as much a part of our upbringing as brushing your teeth and making our beds everyday.. because, what’s the good of having clean teeth if you can’t sing a good rock and roll tune, right? 

Yet, somehow, with all the business of starting a family and finding jobs that paid us enough to eat, I put it aside, making room for sleep and work and all the other business of life.  too tired.. too busy.. too distracted.. Sure, music is always around.. Our radio is always on - something good is always available for the wanting ears.. My kids adore it.. But I stopped listening.. I didn’t feel a thing.. Until today.  I put Goodbye Yellow Brick Road on and, like a flash, it got me.  It got me like it used to get me.  The whole CD.. It just took over..  Watching my son in the backseat singing all the words helped - it got him too, it always gets him.  Am I making any sense here?  I guess what I am saying is, a part of me is waking up again.  Mabye it’s the beautiful autumn that is shaking me up.. This weather always stirs some madness in me that makes me feel fuller than I can handle some times..  But part of me that had to rest for a few years so that I could take care of some serious stuff is tired of sitting on the sidelines.  I’m back.  Me.  I’m finally back….. whew..

Posted in Daily Living, Mental Environment, Healthy Living | No Comments »

Food Poisoning 101

I had my first experience being the parent of a kid with food poisoning yesterday, thanks to Sonic.  Against my better judgement and my usual disregard for fast food of any sort, I found myself in a bind yesterday - we were counting on eating lunch at the birthday party we had just attended but pizza was served and, somehow, my son hates pizza like most kids hate brussel sprouts- so we swung by and let the boy pick anything he wanted.  Anything.  He picked a corndog.  Apparently, and I’m only taking a wild guess here, but the evil cornbread coated weenie was the culprit.  By 10pm that night the poor kid was projectile-ing anything and everything he had eaten in the last ten hours - all over the bathroom, kitchen and, of course, not his bed but our bed.  I felt so bad for him.  In between blows, he would look up and say “do ya think the cake made me sick?”.. “do you think it was the corndog??”.. “do you think it was the roller skating???”…  He had gone to his very first roller skating party and I think the sweet darling thought that he was having delayed motion sickness - but I had my money on the greasy stick injected meat composite.  He was a real trooper throughout the whole thing - I even had to stop him from helping me clean up the floor.  It was pretty upsetting for him, I think. 

With the flu there is significant warning to any horrific vomiting episodes that might occur.  The sweats, the chills, the fever - all good indicators that things aren’t right.  Food poisoning, though, creeps up on you.  I tucked him in, kissed him good night and entirely out of nowhere he starts groaning like a collapsing steel bridge and when I suggest he take some time in the rest room we are, within seconds, all covered in - well, you get the picture.  I can’t even say that I have ever had food poisoning (knock wood, knock wood)… My husband has - actually had to rush to the hospital for dehydration.  Awful.

So, I just let him take it easy today.  I didn’t force food on him though, by the end of the day, I was being a little pushier than this morning.  I had realized that he didn’t want to eat because he was scared he would throw up again - not because he wasn’t hungry.  I’m quite certain, judging by his requests for dessert tonight, that he is feeling much better.  Just thought I’d share.   Aren’t you glad.  Nothing like a good food poisoning story. 

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My Britney Spears Moment…

I can honestly say that I, since high school, I haven’t worried much about impressing people.  The parental cliques on the school playground make me nothing more than amused and damned happy that I have better things to do than to gossip about my own friends and complain about my husband.  I am very comfortable with my typical outcast position with these people - I like that they think I am weird and too “different” to get to know.  I like that they stare in disgust at my ten year old puma tennis shoes as if they were covered in elephant dung.  And I adore the ugly, ugly fact that once I bought a car that met their approval and they all wanted to “hang” with me that I took great joy in sincerely showing no interest at all.  My point is that I am far beyond really giving a crap who thinks what about me or my kids, especially from the PTA or PTO or whatever they call themselves these days.  That being said, let me tell you about my most recent Harris Teeter trip.  I may as well have been barefoot, had a cigarette hanging out from between my knocked out teeth and pregnant - because that’s about as classy as I felt.

It was a bad, bad time of the day.  You know, that 430pm time of the day when you just want to crawl under a rock and hide but instead you decide it would be the perfect time to load the kids in the car and go grocery shopping?  I was tired, the kids were tired and I was starting to get that constricted feeling in my throat and that twitchy look on my face.  I decided that, instead of shooting menacing looks to all the women in suits calling their children “dahhhling”, I would bury my face in the newest edition of OK! Magazine while we waited in line.  I had no idea that Anna Nicole’s son died and I was having a quiet moment of reflection while I simultaneously wondered when Katie was going to freak out and murder Tom Cruise in his sleep.  While I am in deep musing over the going ons in Hollywood I hear, “Um, Hi Lisa”..

I look up.  It’s her.  It’s the leader of the cool kids on the playground.  The ex-lawyer, lexus driving Molly Ringwold of Eakin PTO.  And I casually put down my magazine - “Hey, June, just, you know, catching up on Anna Nicole - did you know her SON died”.  note about lisa when she is caught off guard by someone that she knows hates her:  she starts talking about shit she really doesn’t care about.  incessantly.

“Yeah, so I guess it was a car accident”.. and as I am blathering on about it, I notice she is looking at my children with great distaste.  I knew that were covered in dirt - I actually let them play at the playground and only wiped the dirt off their faces, leaving the hands and clothes nicely covered - the HORROR.. Her kids had apparently had several costume changes since school let out because they looked pristine and like they just walked out of a Janie and Jack store.  But, when I looked back at my kids (whom I had been only moderately paying attention to until her sneers prodded me into taking my nose out of OK! Magazine) I saw, to my own malaise, my two year old daughter had apparently swiped a ten foot long beef jerky and was peeling the plastic off with her teeth and devouring it and my son was doing the pee pee dance while singing “should’a gone pee but now I ‘ll have to find a tree to go pee ooooonnn….” with great operetic flare.. I turned back around and she was walking away - “Ummm, ok, well - see you tomorrow!” I beckon - hoping she’ll nod some kind of affirmation that I wasn’t the most disgusting, negligent parent on the face of the Earth.  She just looked over her shoulder, hiked up her Prada bag and said “um, yeah, whatever”. 

To make matters worse, when I got to the car I looked in mirror to give myself a little happy Stuart Smiley affirmation but, found that I couldn’t.  Once I looked in the mirror and saw the really nice piece of basil that was stuck in my teeth from my afternoon snack with Maggie AND my bra strap hanging out from under my tank top (that was, prior to the shot of afternoon heat a mere undershirt), I had to admit that the situation didn’t look good for me and my “image”.  I can honestly say, I was mortified.  I am sure that she will go back and relay this information to all of her PTA pals - but that’s not the part that really bothers me.  The part that really bothers me is that she thinks her world is reality.  I mean, I guess it is her reality.  But it’s not my reality.  Why couldn’t she just leave me alone and let me finish reading my trashy article about whether or not Anna Nicole’s son was on drugs and leave my daughter to her beef jerky?  Why call out my redneck moment like that?  Seriously.  Just get in your SUV and drive lady.  Just get on wit’cha bad botox injected self and let me have a bad afternoon in the privacy of my OK! magazine.

Posted in Daily Living, Mental Health | 1 Comment »

It’s Like Dominos

Something happens with comfort and luxury.  You start becoming self involved and isolated in your experiences as a human being.  Hold on a sec while I explain.

So, I have this new car.  A car that, size wise, makes sense for my family but is counter to my beliefs as a primarily anti-resource exhausting person.  We can fit our kids and our dog in it and travel safely from here to anywhere in the country.  I made an addendum to my ideals just by buying the car and, now, when I hear about the oil crises, global warming and the war I get mad at myself - but not enough to give up my new creature comfort. 

In this car that I drive - despite my stronger, more intelligent inclinations to not drive it - I have XM radio.  XM radio further catapults me into a state of seperation from my normal informed decision making self.  Granted, you can listen to news stations on XM radio, but I have opted for the more entertaining channels that both me and the kids love.  We are entertained but altogether too distracted for my own liking.  My husband made the comment this morning that we should get rid of XM radio because I no longer listen to NPR, which was, prior to XM radio, my staple for news and information and, yes, even entertainment.  Yeah yeah, sure, it’s easy to say that it is not the actual XM radio but my decision to not listen to the news stations or NPR - you’d be right, I guess.  All in all, though, I feel like it is a distraction that I fell for.  My husband made another comment, shortly after the request to pull my mind-numbing-listen-to-old-80’s-songs-all-day-xm-radio, that we have nothing to talk about because of the fact that I am now absorbed in nothing but old pop songs that really weren’t good twenty years ago but that I am, now, completely absorbed with for pure nostalia anyway… Gaw!  How rude.  But, after I got over being completely offended that my husband implied that I have, ideally and intellectually, become a wet noodle - I had to agree. I spend my day driving around in a very comfortable car thinking about nothing more than why Tiffany started to suck in 1986 when she started out so strong only a year earlier.  And, how the Cars could’ve been a great band but in the eighties they really started to sell out and make music for Mtv rather for the greater good of music itself.. I do move on to more intriguing topics like how Micheal Jackson used to be great and how it is so apparent on any of the songs from Thriller - and I wonder, a lot, what went wrong. 

But, I missed Hugo Chavez calling our president the devil.  What else am I missing?????????

Posted in Daily Living, Technology, Mental Health | No Comments »

Children’s Health - Five Easy Steps

I was tipped off about a really good website that give parents trying to maintain a standard of health and wellness for their kids a basic foundation on which to stand.  The Blue Butterfly Campaign, developed by the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition, is working in conjunction with science and government to develope and regulate health standards for kids. 

THE BLUE BUTTERFLY CAMPAIGN is an initiative to help spread the word about the 5 Easy Steps to a Healthier Home that everyone can easily follow to create a cleaner, healthier environment for their children.

The Children’s Health Environmental Coalition (CHEC) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public, specifically parents and caregivers, about environmental toxins that affect children’s health.

Our ultimate goal is to eliminate children’s exposure to man-made toxic substances by ensuring everyone’s right-to-know what is in their air, food, water and commercial products. We are working to achieve this goal through increased scientific research, government policies which are more protective of children, and educating and mobilizing individuals — like you — around the country. Visit the CHEC website:

CHEC’s MISSION is to educate parents and all those concerned with the welfare of children about preventable health and development problems caused by exposures to toxic substances in homes, schools and communities and to empower the public to take action to protect children against these toxic threats.

CHEC’s GOALS are to:

  • Create awareness of preventable, environmental risks to children’s health.
  • Help people learn about safer practices and products.
  • Encourage the public to adopt these safer products and practices.
  • Change government and corporate policies to protect children from environmental hazards.

Some of the information is basic, but at the very least, it gives parents something to stand behind and rely on when it comes to everyday decision making for their homes and families. 

Posted in Health, Healthy Living, Websites | No Comments »

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