Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I am always surprised by the sheer volume of articles and TV shows that focus on how to lose weight. How do you lose weight? You eat less and move more. These are very simple solutions, yet there is an entire industry devoted to this question. The real question everyone is asking is how do I lose weight without changing a single thing I am already doing? Or can you somehow inspire me through your witty one liners or soulful insights to eat less/move more?

Now, I speak from experience here. I am overweight. I don’t have a thyroid problem. My genes are just fine. In fact, my only problem is how many times that fork comes to my mouth and my wine glass gets “magically” refilled. And by “magically” I mean pressing the button the box of wine that takes up the whole shelf in the refrigerator. I know how to lose weight. I’ve done it before. I just don’t want to make the sacrifice it takes to make it happen. But I am not pretending that I could lose weight by only eating green foods on Tuesday and red foods on Thursday.

Eat More! Lose Weight! The Grapefruit Diet! Martha’s Vineyard! Those public service announcements that try to convince people to just park farther from the store and they will be fit as a fiddle are a public disservice. How about park a little further from your Big Mac? I think that if people started talking openly and honestly about the challenge and sacrifice losing weight presents, then people won’t feel weak when they find it hard to lose weight. 30 Days to a New You! Only if the new you looks exactly the same as the old you but is tired, crabby and hungry.

Losing weight is not easy. Not matter which “diet” you pick. It’s not a gimmick or a promotional offer. It’s a challenge and a sacrifice that takes a daily commitment to making good choices for your health and your body. Don’t get me wrong, it’s worth it once you get there. More energy, cuter clothes, longer life with your loved ones, more time to get revenge on your not-so-loved ones. But, the more we act like obesity can be cured simply by filling most of your plate with vegetables, doing a few squats during commercial breaks and walking to the end of the block and back, the worse shot we have at curing it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What to do about germs?

“Last week I saw on Dr. Oz's new show a pitch (from Dr. Oz) himself for a product called "HygeniClean UV-C Anti-Bacterial Light Wand" which supposedly kills bacteria and is practical to use on cell phones, purses, keyboards, and other hard-to-anti-bac places. My questions are : Would you buy it? Do you think your mother would buy it? Do you think this is the real deal? I am into the notion of being exposed to some germs for overall health-immunity purposes, but would like to avoid the nasty ones (think bottom of your shoes after a night out at a bar - ick!). It is $20 - worth it? How do I know if it works? Is it a truly a gimmick?.”

Ummm, sure, buy it. Seriously, what do I know? I wouldn’t buy it because I am really not that worried about germs, but then again I don’t have any germ factories ( I think some of you people call them children) living with me.

In general, I think, as a society, we are way too worried about “germs”. This overreaction has led to the Darwinian manipulation of casual fun-loving, slight congestion causing germs to morph into Super Darth Vader germs of death and destruction. And that sucks.

Me – I tend to walk on the wide side. I observe the 5 second rule even though Ted Allen said it doesn’t work that way. I’ve been know to eat out of a bowl that I know has been double dipped in even though it makes a petri dish light up like the Fourth of July. I consider it a dry run for my immune system. Give those little white blood cells something to play with.

But back to the product – I do know that UV light does have bacteria killing properties so the idea behind the gadget is sound. Since these little buggers are invisible, you never will really know if it works, but if it makes you feel better go for it. It seems like this flu season is going to be pretty serious. I’m going to stick with frequent hand washing that lasts through at least two renditions of happy birthday and NOT touching my eyes, nose or mouth with my grubby hands.

Friday, September 25, 2009

To advise or not to advice - that's today's question

If you have done something before and someone is preparing for the same experience and you know from your experience they are not preparing in the proper way, what is the best way to intervene?
Now, I must admit I have gone back and forth about how to answer this question. My first instinct was “intervene”, make sure they know that they are in for and how to properly prepare. But then, I got to thinking and those crazy firing neurons led me down me a different road. Let’s go down that road, shall we?

Who’s to say your way is the only way? Now, it may be the best way, but that’s doesn’t mean it is the only competent way.

Let’s say what we are talking about here, hypothetically, is hiking the Appalachian Trail. You’ve hiked the Trail and your friend Suzy is getting ready to take the trek herself. Now, assuming Suzy knows that you have hiked the trail, there is probably a reason that she isn’t asking you for advice. Here are the reasons I can think of that she would not be interested in your advice:

1. She is already on information overload. You weren’t the first person to hike the Appalachian Trail. The magical interweb is brimming with fact sheets, blogs, newsletters and tips on to hike the Appalachian. And there are even real books on the subject. Plus, every person she has likely told that she is embarking on this journey has had some piece of advice. Wear wool socks! Wear wicking socks! Don’t wear underwear! On and on and on until now she has decided to just pick one source and stick with that as her guide for the Trail. I’m sorry that source wasn’t you.
2. She doesn’t want YOUR advice. She remembers all the whining and complaining you did when you hiked it. She’s seen the pictures of that rash you got because you forgot to bring foot powder. She’s decided to stick with the experts on this one.

3. She’s afraid you’ll get mad if she doesn’t take your advice and she really doesn’t want to deal with an “I told you so” if something does go awry. If the words, “Why’d you even ask me if you weren’t going to take my advice?” have every crossed your pouty lips, then you can see why she left you out of her how-to tour.

No matter what the reason, it’s really not something to stress over. As a person that has an opinion about everything, I can understand the frustration of not sharing that opinion, but when it comes to issues where there is a lot of information available, sometimes we just have to let people figure things out for themselves.

If it is just driving you too crazy to live, then you could try one of these covert “I am going to give you advice – like it or not” efforts.
Invite her over to look at pictures and relive your experience. Note I said invite –not ambush by pulling a bait and switch. You can’t invite her over to watch Bones and drink wine and then “get inspired” to spend the next 2 hours talking Trail talk while Bones wastes away on the Tivo. I would stop being your friend if you did that. So don’t do that.
Do some online research to find a source that just so happens to match exactly what you would have said. I call this the “Trojan horse”. You are really giving your advice through the guise of an innocent computer print out. Mission accomplished.

Ultimately, I would recommend check your “I know the answer ” hat at the door and enjoy the ride. Your friend is preparing for an amazing life experience. The lessons learned are part of the journey. Be there to support her/him through the bruises those lessons sometimes cause. And you never know, he/she may find a way that is even better than yours. Nahh, you’re right, that’s impossible.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What if their booger is in their nose?

“I am pretty good when it comes to lettuce in the teeth or something on their face, but how do you tell them if they have a booger hanging out or even worse, it’s just inside their nose so that when you talk to them you can see it?”

Yes, this is a real question I got. So now I am going to talk about boogers. And I am going to use the term booger since this is the term my dear reader used. My answer varies based on a very important consideration – do you have a tissue or a napkin?

1. If you have a tissue/napkin – When there is a lull in the conversation or when you are getting up to leave, I would casually get out the tissue and hand it to them. When they look at you quizzically, say “I think some inmates are trying to escape” and point to your nose. This will only work if the person is not elderly, hard of hearing, or dense as a box of very dense rocks. If the person meets any of the three previous conditions, the conversation will go down a long winding, sometimes painful, path that will end with “Why were we talking about prison again?” and the person will still have snot hanging out of their nose. In this case, hand over the tissue and say “Blow your nose Grandma!” or “You might want to blow your nose” if the person is not your Grandma.

2. If you do not have a tissue – Looks like you are not really going to be able to solve this problem – are you? I would just say something like, “Next time you are in the bathroom, you may want to blow your nose – unless you are going to go do a line a Coke – then you’ll just suck all that crap hanging out of your nose right up with those little powdery pieces of euphoria that ruin your life.” You could probably stop before the “unless” if you were pressed for time. ‘

And that ladies and gentlemen is my opinion on how to tell someone they have a booger hanging out of their nose.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Little Less Talk and A Lot More Action

This is for all the single ladies (yes, I know the Beyonce song just ran through your head).

“I have been hanging out with this guy a lot, I really like him –When is a a good time to have “the talk”?

My answer was a resounding NEVER! If you and this guy have something special, then you don’t need to have “the talk.” Your relationship will evolve through a bat of the eyelashes, an arm around the shoulder, and hopefully, soon and very soon, a first kiss. Now if you have already done the hokey pokey and you don’t know where your man stands, you need to have a talk with yourself with the difference between a repeat one night stand and a relationship. (And check back for a future blog on "How do I transition from "booty call" to girlfriend"?)
The talk is awkward, strange and rarely ends in a long term relationship. This is where you rush down to the comments section and tell me all about how you had the talk 6 months ago and it changed your relationship and you are soooooo happy. Check back with me in a year. My point is that if you have to talk about it, then already that dude is not showing you the affection and dedication you crave. If you have to talk him into it at the very beginning of the relationship, then what is the point?

“But what if he doesn’t want to ruin the friendship?” On this point, I totally agree with the book He’s Just Not that Into You. Friendship be damned. If a guy is attracted to you and sees partner potential, he’s not worried who he is going to the movies with or who he can talk to about “his feelings”. If you give him the slightest encouragement, he’s making a move. Either he likes you or he doesn’t. But either way, you aren’t going to “talk” your way into a great relationship. So if you are curious about whether or not he likes you, give him a little encouragement: a hand hold, a kiss on the cheek next time you see him and see what happens.

Now people are going to say this is playing games or it’s immature. People should talk about their feelings. I agree people should talk about their feelings and their needs, but most “talks” end up being one person saying, “I like you. Do you like me? What does that mean? Are we going to have babies?” It ends up placing a set of demands and expectations on a relationship that is just starting to develop. That’s like dumping a truck of cow dung on a little seedling and wondering why a tree didn’t grow. Be patient. Let things develop naturally. If it’s right, it’ll work. If it’s wrong, there’s something better. But for goodness sake, keep the talking to a minimum!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Oh no! It's a religious one!

Recently, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) decided to allow gay clergy to have monogamous partners. Previously, all unmarried clergy were expected to be celibate. Oh, the uproar heard across Indiana! (And other states I am sure, I just happen to be more tapped into the Indiana Lutheran scene).

Men and women were seen wringing their hands over their ears of fresh Indiana corn wondering what in the world to do. The discussion at church potlucks quickly turned from “Glenda made some lovely chili” to “How do we leave the ELCA?” because the thought of a Christian, a Lutheran no less, having a monogamous relationship was too much to bear.

Well, torch and pitchfork Lutherans, I have some advice for you. Get over it. Unless you are willing to hate everyone that sins according to the Old Testament, and that could potentially include your husband who was ogling the neighbor lady mowing the lawn in shorts a little too short, you may want to rethink your position. I am not going to get into a discussion of what the Bible says or doesn’t say. All I am going to say that is if you are using the Old Testament to rationalize your hate, then you have to embrace the entire Old Testament and hate all divorced people, anyone who covets anything, people who shave their beards, anyone who had sex before marriage and anyone who has dishonored their mother and father. Oh! And no more false idols so say goodbye to that autographed picture of Peyton Manning hanging over the fireplace. Since that would keep you pretty busy and potentially cause you to hate your entire family including yourself, you may want to embrace the New Testament. You know, where the greatest commandment was LOVE. L-O-V-E. LOVE.

Now I don’t claim to know who is right and who is wrong, who is going to heaven and who is going to be left here with Rock of Love and For the Love of Money reruns. But I do know this; love is and will always be a more powerful source for good than hate. And if you are willing to dedicate your life to inspire people to love Jesus and endure all the sacrifices that requires, well, that’s pretty darn good in my book no matter who you monogamously boink in your free time.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Update on How far ..?

Nellie chose not to take my advice. Her other friends advised her "it wouldn't be worth it." She went to the wedding and felt a lot less close to her friend as if not speaking her mind created a distance.

How far does truthfulness extend?

We want our friends to tell us the truth when we are standing in the dressing room and asking “Does this make me look fat?” But, how far does that desire for truthfulness extend? What if our friends think we are about to marry the wrong man?

Recently, my friend Nellie was facing that very dilemma. Her friend Samantha was about to marry the “wrong” guy. Samantha’s fianc√© has two kids, a crack addicted ex-girlfriend, does not pay child support and will not fight for custody of the kids. All Samantha’s friends and family agree that she is dating this man as a way to save him since she could not save her father.

Nellie related the story to me and asked, “What should I do?” I answered tell her. Tell her in a loving, supportive way, but tell her. Maybe there are qualities in him that you can’t see from the outside. Maybe Samantha needs a wake up call and a way out. Truthfulness should extend past the dressing room.

I advised her to say something like this, “Samantha I love you. I will love you and support you no matter what you decide, but there’s something I need to say. I will only say it once and never bring it up again. We have been friends for my whole life and I would want you to do the same for you. I have concerns about your upcoming wedding. You are an amazing woman and deserve an amazing partner in life and from the outside looking in – it seems that your fianc√© doesn’t treat you that way you deserve.”

Then leave it at that and really never bring it up again. Go to the wedding. Hold your friend’s hand and love her.

Now, I know this is controversial advice. Most people would say, “keep your mouth shut and support your friend.” But why is it that we wouldn’t let our friends go out in that shirt that lets their boobs hang out, but we would let them marry a man who could potentially treat them poorly for the rest of their life without a peep? I believe there is a difference between support and placating. Support means telling the truth and then stepping up to deal with the aftermath. Placating means agreeing with your friends’ decisions no matter what you believe serves their best interests.

Here’s comes the big question: “Who I am to judge?” We judge everything every day. You judged your friend when decided to share your heart and your life with her. Sometimes we all need a new set of eyes on a situation to get to the truth and the heart of the matter. So I say tell her. If you would tell her that her dress is hoochie short or that the new hair color makes her look like Pippi Longstocking, tell her that she deserves better. But if you do tell her and she still does what she wants, then you have to accept that and love her anyway. Maybe she really likes dressing like a hoochie Pippi, but at least now she knows she’s doing it.