Friday, August 31, 2007

Better Living Through Chemistry?

I must admit, my "chemical exodus" hasn't been entirely successful.

This last month has been particularly stressful for me, in terms of my job, which coupled with the wonky un-summer-ish weather, didn't let me go biking as often as I liked, so I gained a couple of pounds, my face broke out, I got a horrid cold and I got an abnormal medical test result. YAY.

I dealt with the medical test (by going back for an additional, briefly-but-intensely painful test, after which the doctor pronounced the area 'uninteresting', which is nice to hear sometimes ;-) ), but I have had to reign in my eating, and went to Target in search of my old-faithful ProActiv replacement kit (which was about half the price). I found something interesting by Neutrogena; basically a salicylic acid face wash, 2.5% benzoyl peroxide face lotion, and a moisturizing lotion. I am surprised they did not include a toner, but I have a hyaluronic acid (sp?) toner I like. So I have said "Bollocks to Lush face care (for now)!" and have been using that. I also bought Burt's Bees Blemish Stick, which is basically SD-alcohol 40 with a bunch of healing oils (everything from fennel to tea tree oils). My face is finally (!) calming down, after about 3 weeks.

In terms of eating, I had become fond of having a cup (10 0z) of home-French-Pressed coffee every day, with full-on cream and 2 tsp real sugar. The whole thing fit into my 12 oz coffee mug, but I know that, since I'm not on Atkins, the cream just was too much fat for my inactivity, plus the dairy was probably messing with my face, and the sugar was...unnecessary (though I did start measuring it, which definitely helps rather than just dumping it in from the bag!). I gave up the stuff about two weeks ago, and have fallen back to mostly herbal teas, although I am trying to use up my stash of Market Spice's signature tea (SO good..but caffeine-riddled because it's black tea). I also stopped buying the odd pint of ice cream.

Most of these changes are OK for me. The coffee was not a big deal, as I was never really addicted to caffeine, and I was just getting fond of being able to have dessert at restaurants and not see a waist-size increase. Ah well.

To remedy this situation, I am looking for an indoor cycling (or spinning) class. I figure this will help to keep me in shape through the winter, too. I tried to sign up for a pole-dancing class, but they are all full through November. My teacher got a very favorable review in the "Best of Seattle" issue of Seattle Weekly, so I can understand why! :-) (I wish she was more underground, though! ;-) it'd be easier to get in!)

As for my cold... well, thanks Mom for all the herbs you've supplied me with. Here is the twice-daily ritual:

1 tsp astragalus extract
1 tsp Cat's Claw
1 tsp echinacea extract
2 drops oregano oil (BLAH!)

Then I have a constant feed of Chlor-Trimeton and Robitussin DM to quell the post-nasal drip and coughing, as well as Ricola drops whenever I feel the need, and Yogi Tea's "Throat Comfort" tea - it is pretty effective, I gotta admit. I also have the Yogi Tea "Ginger" tea on hand, too.

Between the Yogi tea and fizzy water / iced tea, I am in the bathroom every 20 minutes. Thank god I am working from home! :-)


Back in June, my family decided to meet up in North Carolina for a well-deserved family vacation. We were trying to get everyone to go, but my sister-in-law was out in Canada at the time, visiting her birth parents, and my brother had too many rehearsals imposed by his band's CO, so it was my parents, me, my sister, and my brother-in-law.

Here is a picture of us (with two strangers in our boat plus our raft guide, Nicole) in the French Broad river outside of Asheville. It was our first whitewater rafting experience, for any of us! We also learned that the French Broad is the third oldest river in the world, behind the Nile and the Nu rivers. It makes sense, since the Smoky Mountains are so rounded; our guide told us that they are one of the oldest mountain ranges on Earth.

(L-R: Me, my sister Rosanne, our guide Nicole, my dad (behind the lady in the front), my mom, Paul (brother in law), and guy in front

This is a picture of me and my dad enjoying a beer in a German restaurant in Georgia. We stopped off at Helen, GA on our way back to the Atlanta airport (where my parents would drop me off). This is significant because my dad never (hardly ever) drinks anything alcoholic...

Fast Forward!

This next picture is me and my pasty coworkers. This was taken when we took our intern, Derek, out for lunch on his last day here at Boeing before he went back to school to finish his masters degree.

I had to throw in my Simpsons avatar in here ;-) (you can make your own at if you are so inclined):

And finally, here is a picture I pulled off the web of my sister practicing intubating someone at the Johns Hopkins simulated operating room area-thing-a-ma-bobber. She is currently a resident in the anesthesiology department.