Friday, March 27, 2009

I Wish Books Had a Rating System

Movies have a rating system. Electronic games have a rating system. Even music has ratings. Why don't books have a rating system?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I am a modern prude who loves to read. But so many times when I pick out a promising book at the library and bring it home, I find it's filled with foul language or more sexual content than I'm comfortable with. I can avoid watching movies with questionable content by looking at the rating. But there is no rating system on books. I wish there were.

I don't advocate banning books. I'm not for censorship. I'd just like a little more information on book jackets so that I can make an informed decision.

What do you think? Should books have a rating system? What should it be modeled after? I'm most familiar with the movie industry rating system and think that something similar might work for books.

Before posting this entry I googled the term "book content rating system." It didn't turn up anything like what I'm envisioning. Does it exhist and I've missed it? Do tell.

Finding Health at Every Size . . .

Yesterday while wandering the racks at my local library, I found a book that caught my eye: Health at Every Size: The surprising truth about your weight, by Linda Bacon, PhD. I'm starting to read it, and must say that I find it intriguing. I'm beginning to see that it could have wonderful health implications for me.

One of the things it advocates if giving up on dieting. Instead, we should listen to our hunger and fullness signals for eating cues. That's what I've been doing since the end of January. Remember how I went back to Weight Watchers in December only to find that I gained weight each week? Sure, my thyroid was out of whack. That was part of the problem. But even when I'd lost 40 pounds with Weight Watchers in 2007 I hit a plateau and then slowly started regaining the weight -- even though I was following the program and staying withing my points target. This book explains why.

For the past two months I have not been dieting. I haven't written down what I've eaten. Haven't tracked points or calories or net carbs. I've eaten sweets. I've eaten salads. Really, I've eaten whatever sounds good. And I haven't gained any weight. I weigh the same as when I quit Weight Watchers in January.

So far Health at Every Size is confirming what I've been experiencing for the past couple months. Our bodies have a set point where they feel most healthy and happy. It's not dictated by BMI charts or graphs. Mine, for the moment, is set right here. But the best thing is, I feel free. I don't obsess about food and don't feel guilt over what I eat. What a concept!

When I finish the book, I'll do a more in-depth review. I really think it's onto something.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Help! Give me feedback for my talk in church Sunday.

I'm speaking in sacrament meeting this coming Sunday (the 29th). The topic is, "Be thou an example of the believers."

We all have someone we look up to as a good example. Is there someone whose example made a difference in your life? Could you tell me about it?

Also, what keeps us from being an example of the believers? My downfall is probably a quick temper. I haven't mastered patience yet -- not even close.

I'm thanking you in advance for any insights you might share. Muchas Thank You!!

Hike #5

The mother in me wanted to avoid hiking in mud. But how? I briefly contemplated doing a little urban hiking -- walking up and down the steep dugway a couple times and climbing the stairs on Old Main Hill a time or two. In the end, last week I looked out my back windows at the foothills and noticed that the snow was almost gone. Upon closer examination, I noticed that the Cedar Ridge jeep trail on the mountains above Hyde Park looked dry. I decided to give it a try.

So, on Friday morning I dropped my youngest off at school and took the dog in the back of the truck up to the trailhead. The two photos to the left were taken so you could get a feeling for how steep the trail is. I was glad that I decided to go this hike alone, as no one had to know how many times I stopped to catch my breath on the climb up.

The views of Cache Valley on this hike were spectacular! (I had plenty of time to enjoy them on the many stops I took during my ascent.) In this photo I can actually see my house. It's fun to see my community from a different perspective.

When I finally made it to the top of Cedar Ridge, I felt great. What a sense of accomplishment! This is the view from the tippity top. I'm happy to report that my body held up great -- my knees felt fine, and my heart and lungs didn't feel over-taxed even though I haven't really done much cardio in the last two weeks. The nausea I've been feeling the past three weeks disappeared on Thursday. I felt like Rocky when he made it to the top of all those stairs. I even thought about putting my hands in the arm and doing some Rocky moves. Yeah!

Okay. I will admit it. I was really looking forward to getting to head DOWN the trail. It was a nice change. And again, my knees held up great. I did notice, however, that my legs where a little shakey from fatigue. After a couple weeks of little exercise, it felt good. Once I got off the ridge there was a lot more mud,but I found that I could walk on patches of unmelted snow or along the side of the trail where the vegetation kept me off the mud. Some spots were dry, and for the most part I avoided getting too much mud on my hiking boots.

The biggest disappointment of the hike was seeing the amount of junk and trash that the melting snow left uncovered. ATV tires, wooden pallets, liter from food containers. Who do people think is going to clean up after them? It's disgusting! Actually, I may make a suggestion in my newspaper write-up that some enterprising Eagle Scout looking for a project would have plenty of work to keep them busy. (Thank goodness for Eagle Scout projects!)

All in all, it was good to get out into the great outdoors and enjoy a solitary walk in the mountains. I love hiking!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's Not Easy Feelin' Green . . .

I spoke too soon. The metamucil didn't work today. I spent all morning feeling green around the gills. By mid afternoon I was doing a bit better and took the dog for a walk.

And I finally decided to make an appointment with my doctor to see if he has any ideas what is making my tummy feel topsy turvy.

Actually, I thought it couldn't hurt to make an appointment. How many times have you made an appointment with the doctor only to have your symptoms disappear completely by the time you actually go in? If only that would happen this time, I'd pay my $35 co-pay and go away happy!

Signs of Spring . . .

Spring is finally arriving at Belly Acre Farm. This is one of the crocus that bloomed for the first time today out along the sidewalk to our front door.

At this very moment Hubby is out in the orchard trimming fruit trees. There are 18. It's going to take him a while.

The kids have also been out playing ball in our yard and the neighbor's. I even took our dog for an extended walk around the block. Maybe tomorrow I'll put her harness on her and take her for a bike ride. I think it would do both of us some good.

I love spring!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I'm Making a Come Back . . .

Making a come back. Aren't those great words?

You want to know the funny thing? Metamucil is part of my return to health.

Metamucil. You know, that fiber supplement you stir into a glass of water. The product that my grandparents couldn't live without. Well, apparently, I can't live very well without it either.

After the anti-depressants brought back my mental health, I was still suffering from an upset tummy (nausea) every day. Sometimes all day. Just a couple days ago I remembered what had helped me get through the last bout of IBS a few years ago -- Metamucil. So I tried it again. Sure enough, it helps. I'm not sure why, but it does.

Give me a week, and I'll be back to regular exercise and positivity once again!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Winter Blahs . . .

I've been trying really hard to be a healthy housewife, but it's been a battle. Starting in January my health took a dive. At first I thought it was mostly physical, but the longer it went on, the more I came to believe that it was both mental and physical.

In September I switched from anti-depressants to light therapy with my doctor's approval. Fall was wonderful! Then I had a heart scare in December, followed by super low thyroid levels. Somewhere along the line I think that the light therapy wasn't enough to keep the winter blues at bay.

I tried upping the time I spend under the light. I went on vitamin D supplements. I tried to get outdoors on sunny days. I tried to get good and sweaty on my Nordic Track every morning. But despite my best efforts, my health deteriorated.

A month or so ago I was flipping through channels and came across a show on PBS about mental health. The man said, "Saying someone has depression is like saying someone has back pain." His point was that everyone experiences depression differently. Everything from its causes, symptoms and treatments needs to be individualized.

For me, depression manifests itself very physically. I get incredibly tired. My stomach hurts (nausea, IBS symptoms) as well as other parts of my body (headaches, joint pain). I get frustrated when I can't accomplish all that I expect of myself. I can get moody. But this year I've experienced what I call the winter blahs -- just a tired, empty mood most of the time. (Hence, my lack of blog entries lately.)

I've tried being patient. Because a low thyroid can cause depression, I thought I'd wait until I get my throid levels tested again before doing anything. But the tummy troubles and fatigue are getting to be too much. A week ago I called my doctor and we decided that I should go back on medication at least through the end of April. Hopefully that will banish these winter blues.

Here's hoping that a healthy housewife re-emerges soon!

Spring is coming (I just know it is)

Hey. You've probably noticed that I'm not writing regularly in my blogs anymore. There's a reason for that -- the winter blahs. It's been a really difficult couple of months (since mid January). With not much going on, there's not been much to write. And I've noticed that I prefer reading to writing. Here is a list of the books that I've read since January, in the order I read them:

"Ella Minnow Pea" by Mark Dunn

"I am a Mother" by Jane Clayson Johnson

"The Careful Use of Compliments" by Alexander McCall Smith

"The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch

"The Right Attitude to Rain" by Alexander McCall Smith

"No Graves as Yet" by Anne Perry (1st in her WWI novel series)

"Shoulder the Sky" by Anne Perry (2nd in her WWI series)

"The Twisted Root" by Anne Perry (from her William Monk detective series)

I started "Blessings" by Anna Quindlen, but it did NOT pass the modern prude vocabulary test.

I also tried "Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver but it didn't hold my attention. (No modern prude issues as far as I got.)

"The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday" by Alexander McCall Smith

"Angels in the Gloom" by Anne Perry (3rd in her WWI series)

At the moment I'm reading, "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" by Maria Augusta Trapp.

There you have it. Lots of reading reasons for why I haven't written. I can't guarantee that I'll be posting again soon. You just never know.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

What's your best tool to stay healthy?

I was visiting one of the blogs listed at the left a couple weeks ago. The question was asked, "What is your best fitness tool?" What's your answer?

My best fitness tool is my dog. For starters, she's always happy to see me. On Sunday I had a neighbor call to see if she had gotten out. "There's a big, black, happy dog running around my yard," he said. It sounded just like Annie, but wasn't. She was safe and sound in her kennel.

Dogs live in the moment, aren't worried about the past or the future, just enjoy being with you for whatever amount of time you can give them. They don't hold grudges. These are the reasons that my dog is good for my mental health -- her enthusiasm and zest for life rubs off on me.

On the fitness front, dogs are a good way to get more exercise. They need to be walked everyday. Mine also likes to go for bike rides when the weather permits. I like to call it "bliss on a bike."

I'll be honest, the puppy stage can be a challenge for your mental health. They chew stuff. They whee on stuff. They're high energy when they're awake, but take lots of naps. Huh. That was starting to remind me of young children. If you've got young children at home (babies, toddlers) you may want to wait to get a dog. They are a lot of work to train. My rule is, no family should get a dog until the mom wants a dog. 'Cause really, we all know that Mom is going to be doing the lion's share of caring for the dog.

On my last hike I brought Annie's harness to see if she would give me a little pull up the trail. It didn't really work. I think she's becoming too well trained for that -- she realizes that on all our other walks I don't like it when she pulls. Bummer. Last summer she "helped" me make it all the way to White Pine Lake. But there were also other hikers and another dog ahead of us. Maybe that will be the key to having her "pull" me a bit up the trail. (Note: I only do that when she's wearing her harness so that she can pull with her body/chest and not her neck.)

There you have it -- man's best friend is also this healthy housewife's best friend.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Teenagers can make you laugh . . .

I came across this piece of hilarity lying on the desk this morning. This, for those of you who were wondering, is a sheet of lined school paper that's filled with the message, "I am very . . . bored."

What I've reproduced here is only one side. The flip side of the paper is also filled to capacity with the same sentiment. Oh, and the entire creation is laminated in clear packing tape.

This is teenage fine art at it's best! It was created by my daughter, Loula Belle.

When I picked up this work or art this morning it made me chuckle. Later, I asked Loula Belle where she created this fine work. She said she wrote it up at school, when she was really bored. "Why did you laminate it?" I asked her.

"I was bored again," she said.

There you have it. Teenage boredom fully illustrated.