Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why I love Valentine's Day

What could be more capitalistic than to create a holiday in order to sell your product?  Think it doesn’t exist?  Google the term “Hallmark holiday.”  Many call Valentines’ Day one of these days. 
“No, not true,” say the romantic naysayers.  “Valentine’s Day is for lovers and only losers with no romantic liaisons rain on Valentine’s Day.  Those people are Valentine Scrooges, Grinches with no heart. “
Now, I’m the first to admit I love the sappy, sweet cards accompanying ten caret diamonds, but no matter what your personal reason for celebrating Valentine’s Day, the broader picture is that it’s a testament to American Capitalism.  Ask any man who’s serious about keeping his relationship.  The more you buy the better lover you are.
Let’s think about it for a second using a popular Valentine present:  the bracelet. First, there has to be freedom to own the materials for the jewelry; then business is done with the jewelers. The jewelers work with packaging companies to create boxes and bags unique to their store—i.e. Tiffany Blue.  Then the ad agency has to market the jewels. And, most important, there has to be freedom of speech and free enterprise to produce and distribute the advertisements and the products.   Last but not least, the public has to be convinced they can’t live without the product. 
Each February 14 we see the effectiveness of the marketing campaigns.
I tried to find the origins of Valentine’s Day, but all I found were disagreements.  We may not know if Valentine’s Day is to celebrate a martyred saint, a sex lottery commemorating a Roman goddess, or just the results of hack writers trying to sell a few poems, but we know one thing for sure: Americans will make money off it.
Normally I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day.  This year though, when many of my freedoms are being threatened, I find comfort in the myriads of commercials telling me not only how to buy the key to finding that special someone, but what I should buy him when I find him. It reminds me I still live in a free country. 
This year instead of making fun of Valentine’s Day, I’m going to embrace it.  I’m going to buy myself the biggest, prettiest roses I can find, and maybe a bracelet or at least a box of chocolates.  I won’t push the mute button when Jane Seymore talks about her Open Heart collection. 
What’s the story behind my open heart?  It’s a story of chocolates that increase my weight and cholesterol; of jewelry that puts me into debt; of sappy cards that go into the recycle bin a week later. It’s goofy plush animals and expensive lingerie that only looks good on 0.1% of the population. It’s lowered self-esteem if you don’t get the fanciest flowers.  It’s a story of companies creating holidays to sell products.
Most important, it’s the stories of capitalism and freedom that make it all possible.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Healthy Eating--my 500 word challenge.

            Every New Year people across the country make resolutions to adopt a healthier lifestyle.  Training both body and mind are popular in the early months of any given new year.  There’s no doubt there are numerous benefits in this resolution, but as you’re planning your weight loss and nutrition goals consider this: the average human being isn’t the only one looking for improvement. Other groups want to get fit too:
            “You forgot it again?  Really dear, you’re becoming more brain dead than usual.”
            “I know, Honey.  It’s just hard to find a good brain these days.  IQ isn’t what it used to be.” 
            “Tell me about it.  And you know how low quality grey matter makes you edgy.”
            “Yeah. You know, I was thinking about going to college. What do you think?”

            “The things people put in their bodies these days. Prescription drugs, nicotine, fast foods.  I hate that bloated feeling high cholesterol gives me.”
            “I know.  Give me a good Type O on a high fiber, low carb diet any day. No carbs is even better because sugar makes me jittery. Don’t even talk to me about Starbucks!”
             “I especially like those who hit the gym or run every day.  That’s good quality.”
            “The problem is volume, though.  It takes two exercisers for one couch potato. 
“Yes, but portion control is important to overall health.”

Cannibalistic Serial Killers
            “Are you sure it’s the same guy?  I mean, this one is what 98#?  She looks like she spent more time at the gym with a celery stick than our other victims.” 
            “It’s the same MO even if the victimology changed.”
            “I wonder what caused the shift from overweight to anorexic.”
            “I don’t know.  Maybe he started a new diet?”

          “Wow, what kind of spell are you weaving?”
            “Essence of soccer mom on fad diet.”
            “Wow, who would’ve expected something so amazing,”
            “No kidding, right? And I can eat chocolate cake and hamburgers and still see instant results."

            “Stop picking your teeth at the dinner table. It’s disgusting.”
            “I’m sorry. It’s just the lean meat is so tough it gets stuck in my molars. Whatever happened to a juicy thigh or arm?”
            “I know.  The fat makes my coat so silky.”
            “I remember how it used to shine in the full moon.”
            “You aren’t attracted to me anymore.  I knew it!”
            “No, dear, I’m just thinking we should move closer to a fast food restaurant.” 
            I’m not trying to discourage anybody from wanting to improve their status, both mentally and physically. But I've read popular literature.  I know what's out there.  Health is so important, but just know adopting a healthier lifestyle might actually make you a target.  Paranoia should be on the top of your work-out list. When you’re coming out of the gym, keep the mace, garlic and crucifix ready.  Everybody needs a little salt in their diet—you can use it to form a circle of protection against evil spells. 
          Unless you live next door to a pack of werewolves. In which case, you probably can’t exercise or run enough.  With those neighbors you might consider investing in silver and joining the NRA.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


It's Wednesday--halfway through the week! 
My article reviews can be found at the following links:
Managing Bronchiolitis
Unkeeping a Journal

Halfway through my goals...

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Slow Start and Modifications

Slow and Steady Wins
Things don't go as planned, especially when you're trying to establish new habits. Obviously I didn't post yesterday, but for good reason.  I got my 500 words written. Wahoo!  It wasn't something old, but something new that kept being in my head.  I'm in the editing phase now.  Maybe it will be my Saturday post? 
Goals are always easy to think about when it's the weekend and your brain is all relaxed, right?  Then you realize it's Sunday evening and not only is something else competing for blog time, but you didn't wash clothes, do the dishes, vacuum, clean the bathroom, feed the fish.  The next thing you know it's already after midnight so you missed Sunday, and then alarm sounds and it's Monday again. 
It would be easy to just say "oh well, another thing I didn't do" and go to bed, putting off again my plans to be more disciplined in writing.
But, isn't it better to write on the day you didn't plan than to not write at all? 

As for articles, two have caught my eye to read:
Medical--Managing infants with bronchiolitis. The Clinical Advisor. 
     We are in RSV Season. Is there something I can be doing better?
Writing--Unkeeping a Journal.  The Writer's Guide to Creativity.
      Everyone says keep a journal.  But, an unkept journal?  Curious...

As I continue the week:  Wednesday will have reviews of both articles at WriterNP website.  Tomorrow evening visit two sites from friends who have been so kind to follow me.  I'm trying to get back into the social media loop.
Also signed up again this year for the A-Z challenge in April.  Now I have to come up with a topic!

More on Wednesday. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Humanity of Social Media

Oh the humanity!
The icons smother me:  linkedin, facebook, twitter, hootsuite, pintrest all beg sign up here, log in there, post daily for best results, but do so between the hours of 1 and 1:30, 2:22 and 3:13 and only when the moon is 3/4 full-- drowning in a sea of social media, no life preserver.  Nobody to tell what kind of information  I should and shouldn't share.  Privacy settings?  Is privacy even possible on the Internet? How do I use it to promote myself and my work?  My brain has been totaled on the information highway.  Trapped in the wreckage, where are the jaws of life?
I wake up in a cold sweat, shivering in the remnants of the nightmare. Whew! Thank goodness it was just a dream.  It had seemed so real. 
My phone lets out a single bing and the screen brightens the room.  I look to see what has awakened my sleeping smart phone.
you have notifications pending on facebook.
Oh no!  It's real!
If I touch the phone will I lose my soul?
Oh wait, I forgot.  It's the first Saturday of the Month.  The Bayou Writer's Group meeting.  Live contact, icon free, no passwords to remember. I love the first Saturday because I get to talk to real writers who drink as much coffee as I do. I learn as much by how they say things as what they say.
Sure we talk about using social media for a few hours over dinner.  But it's not so scary when I have live people to talk to about it. I guess we were flapping our jaws of life. 

Flu and Blogging

Therapist:  "...and writing a blog about everything that happens to you will honestly help you."
Dr. John Watson:  "Nothing happens to me."

I could say I was kidnapped by aliens who didn't have internet acess, but maybe the truth is more exciting.   As most know, this year's flu season has hit hard all over the country which results in being busier at work.  I have to admit that after seeing 40 -50 patients in the day, I'm not real excited to blog about things in the evening.  In fact, not real excited to do much of anything but lay on my couch and watch DVDs of my favorite shows. 
Maybe that's a good enough excuse but I've been missing my blog and visiting other people's as well.  It really does help.

Flu, RSV, and a perennial favorite:strep throat.  How can you fight it?

Good handwashing, good nutrition, cough in your elbow, and stay home when you're sick--yeah, yeah, easier said than done, I know.
Did I mention good handwashing? 

A month into 2013 already. Hope all who read this are having a happy and healthy new year.  

I have some challenges for myself for the week of February 3
  1.  post on Sunday, Wednesday, and Saturday here or at the website
  2.  pick one story to finish and write 500 words.
  3.  read two magazine articles--one writing and one medical. 

Goals are supposed to be measureable and have a deadline, right?  I'll see on Saturday how I did.

“We are free to choose our actions, . . . but we are not free to choose the consequences of these actions.”
― Stephen R. Covey