recipe: granola

Here's a little secret: making granola at home is EASY. I mean so easy it is kind of crazy to even think about buying it. We have been making it for three weeks now, to put in yogurt, or to just eat plain. Take a glass casserole, line with wax paper. In a bowl, mix 2 cups oats, some coconut flakes, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Mix in half a cup of honey or molasses or maple syrup. Then put it in the casserole and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. You should stir it once and check it at the end to make sure it does not get too dry.



Let me know how yours turns out.


book review: Just Checking

By Emily Colas

Erica, my sister, tells me that she thinks I have an anxiety problem. What does that mean? I worry too much.

Personally I think I have got a pretty good handle on things. There are two categories: things you can control and things you can’t. If it falls into the former, I worry, if not, I don’t. Easy. But a lot of things fall into that first category. What can I control? I don’t really know.

My aunt thinks I worry about Grammy too much. Erica has given me that lecture too.

I am reading Just Checking by Emily Colas. Written in 1998, the book is billed as “Scenes from the Life of An Obsessive-Compulsive.”

“Recipe for a Worry: Take one pound morbid preoccupation and mix vigorously with one cup overactive imagination. In a separate bowl, add one-part hypersensitivity to three parts increased hormone activity. Fold together and let stew for hours on end.”

This pretty well describes how I worry. Everything is fine, and then bam I am worrying about having cervical cancer or why Grammy is not answering the phone or whatever.

There are a group of maladies that seem to all run together: OCD, Turrets Syndrome, and Aspberger Syndrome and all are present in my extended family. Not to mention my father’s mother, and then dad’s ability to think about an event so much that they could remold what happened in their heads into the story that they wanted. No matter what controverting evidence you might bring to the discussion, dad remembered what happened and his version was the correct one.

The book really zings the reader. You can see the train wreck coming as can the author. She know she is acting crazy when she is worried that she might develop a blood born illness from touching the TV screen when there was blood on a TV show. But she can’t stop worrying about it.

Now I want to know how her life has turned out: has the internet helped her? She can look up all of the things that she would call doctors about. Of course there are other maladies to learn about out there too on the internet.

This is a great book for getting into the head of someone with OCD. And I feel bad for her that she can’t just let some of the things go. At one point, after the TV incident, her husband yells at her (something like this, I can’t find the exact quote now…): “If you get sick from the blood on the TV show then you will die.”

Which makes me feel like all of her issues, and I know my anxiety issues, revolve around dying, or rather not wanting anyone you know or yourself to die. This appears to fall into the “can’t control” pile, which is where I am going to work on leaving it.

another review: weight watchers magazine

For my flight back from LA I treated myself to six magazines or so. I did not get to read all of them. I am still working through Harpers, which, frankly, I don't get. I just finished my Weight Watchers Magazine. I have already admitted to loving the true stories in these magazines.

The titles on the May/June issue are:
Get A Summer Body
Be CEO of Losing
Join a Walking Club
Make-it, Match-it Meals
Real Women Tested Swimsuits
And 47 Wallet-Friendly Recipes

My response:
It is May/June. If I don't have the summer body now, I am not getting one this year.

Not sure what to say about the CEO of losing.

The walking club sounds great, but you have to designate a leader the article says...and that person gets to decide where to walk. I want to be the leader, but then well, I really don't want to get involved. HA.

The meals and recipes looked ok, but the recipes include things I don't eat. For instance: margarine. We eat butter in this house. I would go so far as to say we have a no fake food rule. Either it has sugar or not. No artificial sweetener here. I have a story about fat free half and half I will someday report. Needless to say if it says fat free and a prime ingredient in the item is fat, you should run the other direction.

The magazine has a TON of ads for food and for weight watchers. One ad has hundreds of chocolate chocolate chip cookies. I am still thinking about them now. I want one. Anyway, I don't think that is a good idea for a weight loss magazine.

Finally, the stories about people losing weight were ok. It included three people. One woman went from being overweight to a marathon runner. I want to run a marathon...I think.


Book Review: Perfect Weight

by Jordan Rubin

I read Self magazine and Shape not for the information about losing weight, but because I love the success stories contained in them. “Meet Jane, she weighed 435 pounds, started walking every day, and now 14.5 months later she only weight 100 pounds.” So when I picked up the book, Perfect Weight, I was immediately sucked in by the author’s story. He lost a lot of weight too, but not because he wanted to, because he was sick.

Chapter 2 started out great: how to decode most diet books. Ok, I am game. He tells the reader that most diets have the individual cutting out 500 calories a day from their diet and then exercising 500 calories away. This will equal 7000 less calories a week, or two pounds of weight lost a week. He tells us then that 95 percent of all diets fail and he thinks that is because people are hungry.

Thanks. Very insightful. I am just hungry.

He does go on to cut down one theory about obesity theories that the media repeats over and over: Fat makes you fat. Turns out that the word for fat in food happens to be the same word as fat on your bum. The two fats are not the same. It is basically a homonym. Think of the word type: it can mean both to write with a keyboard or a sort of something. Sounds the same, but not the same.

The book begins to lose me though after this strong start, because he starts selling weight loss supplements in the book. I felt like I jumped into an infomercial. Neither good nor subtle.

The book does end on a strong point. He profiles success stories from an Ohio town that tried to all work his program and has lots of recipes. I suppose I should not be so down on the book…I just did not like that he was selling diet supplements in the middle of this book.


On our flight back from Berlin, I was able to get the flip out just fast enough to take this little video. Fun.


random notes about happiness

Everyone told me to do it, so I did it…I applied for a promotion at

I am super tired today. The weather is strange here today: overcast and
a bit muggy. I think the weather is determining my tired feeling. I
already had two cups of coffee.

My short story for my writing class is due Monday. I thought I knew
what I was writing. Now I am stuck worrying about the point of view I
want to use. But I am only thinking about it, not really taking any
action. Go subconscious, go.

Great, great, great article in The Atlantic this month. Great. So
great, I took notes:

“Factor that can help you live longer:
1. Your psychological development: how you deal with stress.
2. Education
3. A stable marriage
4. Not smoking
5. Not abusing alcohol
6. Some exercise
7. A healthy weight

Factors that don’t really matter:
1. Your cholesterol at age 50.
2. Your social abilities
3. Your childhood temperament.

If you exercise in college, then your mental health later in life will
be better.

People who are depressed die earlier.

Pessimists suffer physically more than optimists.”

I have more to say about this…but you will have to wait. Click the
paragraph to go read the article. It is really great.


your teeth

Before we went to Berlin, I found out I needed to have some major dental work done. Six of my old fillings had cracked, and the other dentist I saw, had not noticed. Two crowns later, and lots of other stuff done I got to wondering about teeth. Brent has exceptional teeth...never had a cavity. My sister, Erica, the same thing...Ok she has had one cavity...My mom had horrible teeth too.

I hate flossing. But I am going to start now...every day. So, do you floss? Please take my poll over there to the right...

video: pet penguin



this is funny: I remember Andrea

Can you even imagine doing this? Crazy!


new favorite picture

Shot a wedding this weekend...almost done with the pictures. I really like this one I took, which really has nothing to do with the wedding...


Interesting Idea: Toxic People

"There is a test to determine whether someone is toxic or nourishing in your relationship with them. Here is the test: You have spent some time with this person, either you have a drink or go for dinner or you go to a ball game. It doesn’t matter very much but at the end of that time you observe whether you are more energised or less energised. Whether you are tired or whether you are exhilarated. If you are more tired then you have been poisoned. If you have more energy you have been nourished."

Milton Glaser (by way of Boingboing, by way of the blog Orange Crate Blog (click to go there).)

Thoughts? I agree with this...but then I know some introverts who believe that any contact with other people drains them...and it is only extroverts who are energized by others.


Book Review: Diet Myths That Keep Us Fat

by Nancy L. Snyderman, M.D.

Due to come out this month, I found this book at our favorite book store. (I am so excited about this! Our book store often has books that are sent to book reviewers before they come out. These book reviewers are over run by books and donate them to our book store. This is the first one I am reviewing before the book comes out. It comes out on Monday, so ok, not that early, but anyway...)

The author is the Chief Medical Editor at NBC News. Does anyone have faith in the news with respect to medicine after the swine flu? And a diet book to boot?

Let’s take a look. The book’s chapters are divided into 10 myths that most people believe about dieting. To name a few: your weight is your fault, calories don’t count, carbs are good for you, carbs are bad for you, and dieting is all you need to lose weight, to name a few chapters. I liked the use of these myths to organize the book. Telling me my "weight is not my fault" made me feel a roller coaster of emotions: first I felt better, the I felt let off the hook for being fat, then I felt the chapter made some good points, and finally I felt like she was not being completely honest with me! If the weight is not my fault, then whose is it?

Interspersed throughout the book are “truths.” Some truths are more informative than others. For example: muscle does not weigh more than fat. Who knew? A pound is a pound. (Who's buried in Grant’s tomb?) Apparently muscle does burn more calories daily than fat does.

The informative almost common sense information in the book is good basic knowledge for the reader. I kept thinking while reading, wow, I should have learned this in high school. For example she explains what a calorie measures. (It is the amount of potential energy in food.) And she tells (maybe reminds is a better word here) the reader that the secret to losing weight boils down to one equation: eat fewer calories than you burn.

The book is great for picking up and reading about a few things and then setting it down.

I will be reviewing a diet book I did not like this week. In comparison to that book, Diet Myths is great. Look for it soon in your local book store.

Green Porno: Bugs Not really Having Sex

So this is going to sound crazy...and it kind of is. Isabella Rossellini stars in short films about how creatures have sex...all the information is correct, and they are super funny. Really, check these out. (Click here to see more of the movies.)