DRAFT TODAY, POST TOMORROW: Some posts may be in draft status until I (aka procrastinator extraordinaire) get around to posting them.

Friday, December 31, 2010

What not to wear, and other news

Seventh Generation highlights its chemical free detergent, noting that it does not have optical whiteners like so many commercial detergents. Optical whiteners do not take dirt out of clothes but rather leave chemicals in the fabric to make clothes appear brighter. Clothes washed in conventional detergent will glow purple under a black light. Because of this, the military has instructed that uniforms are laundered with detergents that are free of optical brighteners.

Perhaps more commonly known is that formaldehyde is used in clothing, especially no-iron shirts, one of the reasons that clothes should always be washed prior to wearing. And sports clothing sometimes has triclosan, an antibacterial chemical, which is also found in toothpaste, although it is a pesticide. Um, yum?

The EPA has slightly altered the instrutions for broken CFL bulbs, which have a "small amount of powdered mercury in them." Mercury is toxic and dangerous, and I can't understand how or why these light bulbs have been permitted and promoted.

As the public becomes more aware of BPA in product packaging, companies are looking for alternatives. This report names names and grades companies based on their transparency and their efforts to reduce BPA in packaging. One of the more interesting tidbits is that a company (in this case, GE) can choose to use BPA-free can linings for one product line (Muir Glen) but not the rest (Progresso and Green Giant). I'm not surprised to see Kellogg's gets a D--I can't remember the last Kellogg's label I read that didn't cause me to put the package back on the shelf. Stores are not going to take action until, as Costco says, until "a safe alternative becomes readily available."

I'm a little late but here is A cute picture story for Christmas.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Catching up on message boards

I'm catching up on emails and notifications.

  • The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree will be donated to Habitat for Humanity for the fourth consecutive year. It will be milled and processed into a house for a family in need.
  • A time capsule was recommended for an eco-craft for kids, maybe using a cookie tin from the holiday season. I wonder if we should do one and bury it in our backyard when we start work there.
  • On my "new" commute, there are a couple of those fancy new digital billboards. I noticed that one had a concert ad still showing from last month and was a little confused--how is that not changed out yet? But my primary reaction to these signs is annoyance. They tend to be in driving areas that are busy, accident prone freeways. While they are probably more profitable, they also may be worse for the environment than traditional billboards.
  • No, I don't want to start my own organic gardening business, but thanks for the resources and tips.
  • A post on a website I don't want to share or promote in any way did have an interesting post about the "junky gift syndrome" or "plastic disaster." How much STUFF did we exchange during the holidays that wasn't wanted or needed this Christmas?
  • Someone recently questioned my use of sea salt in my kitchen. I explained that I actually use both "regular" salt and sea salt--they are right next to each other by my stove. This person felt that I would not get any iodine (maintains thyroid glands!) if I used sea salt. Table salt is fortified with iodine, but there are other sources of iodine.
  • A thread on a message board discussing the worst excuses for not getting healthy and I ran across this possible tidbit: "People diagnosed with Celiac disease are eligible for a tax deduction on gluten-free foods (because of the extra cost) a search for tax-deduction for celiacs."
  • Study suggests that consumption of cranberry juice cocktail does not decrease UTIs. Commentors on the message board were concerned with the HFCS or other artificial sweeteners that could impact the effectiveness, as many have moved to either pure cranberry juice (YUK!) or cranberry pills. I take the pills and I think (anecdotally) that they are effective.
  • Red No. 40 is not safe for consumption, but it is one of the most commonly used food coloring in the US. Those candy canes are good enough for American children, but as of this summer, several countries have banned the use of this artificial food dye, along with Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 and something called Cochineal Extract. Great, more things to add to my list of groceries to put back on the shelf instead of in my basket.
  • My sister and brother have been visiting and we had to go to the grocery store. They drink whole milk--a lot of whole milk. A Harvard Study shows "Whole-fat dairy products may lower diabetes risk." In related news, "Confusion among nutrition experts: High-fat dairy product eaters have 40% higher risk of mortality." I would question the validity of either study, as many factors do not appear to be controlled. But if both were valid results, does that mean that drinking whole milk will keep you from getting diabetes but you will die sooner?!
  • Find a registered dietitian! I've been trying to find a good source, not for weight loss, although that would be a great side benefit, but for better health and digestion. I think that some of my pain and health issues could be addressed through diet if I just knew how and could work with someone to figure it out. So now, do I look for someone who works with immune disorders (MS is thought to be an autoimmune disease), oncology patients (my medicine is a cancer drug), digestive disorders, or do I select based on another criteria such as location or use of metabolic measurements? I looked at some of the websites and I don't want someone to give me meal plans or recipes--I have plenty of both.
This very cute picture story "Let it dough" is worth a view or two.  I'm off to allocate my assets to sprinkles...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Depression and MS

A small study in Norway shows a link between depression and people with benign MS who do not continue to work. It was unclear if the depression was caused by unemployment or unemployment was caused by depression. The article notes that Norway "has well-established social and welfare systems which may make it financially easier for people to leave work at an earlier stage than in other countries."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why do you want to lose?

Seen online: A list can serve as an inspiration, a reminder....just the right thing to get someone off his/her duff and into the groove! Why lose weight?

So the reasons I want to lose weight:
1. for my health
2. stamina, strength, energy
3. self-esteem--I know I look better thinner and can dress better (is this the same as vanity?)
4. sense of accomplishment--I did it before without MS, I can do it again with MS
5. So doctors will take me seriously when I try to discuss pain with them, rather than dismissing it as something that would go away if I lost weight.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Woman's Way

My sister and brother are visiting. I saw one of my best girlfriends this weekend after not seeing her for a few months. I'm making new girlfriends near my new house. According to this article, one of the best things women can do for their health is connect with other women. I make an effort to nurture my friendships, although time and distance can be obstacles to overcome. Apparently, I am doing something really great for my health while I'm watching TV with my sister!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Survey says...

Monthly survey is complete.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Agility class

Our course tonight was the same for both classes. It started with a tire jump to a jump to the walk it, where I had to rear cross. Then to the right over a jump, U turn to another jump, switch to the teeter. Then a panel jump, out to weave (technically a line to not cross, but that wasn't happening), then a left into a chute. Then come in to a jump, into the tunnel (under the walk it), to the A frame (I did a front cross but most didn't, and I had trouble getting all the way over). From there, a right turn to a jump, then a kind of circle over a triple jump, single jump, single jump--facing the A-frame--but going into a serpentine of jumps, then one double right at the end. 20 obstacles, and Teka was excited about it. She did well except popping out of the weaves, and taking the frame when it was in front of her but I had called HERE. Cassi was spaztastic her first time through, but she slipped and fell between the two jumps after the walk it. I realized later that she was bleeding from her back foot, so she must have done it then. It didn't seem to boher her at all. She would not go out to the weaves but otherwise did them very well. She did the teeter great too. They both seemed to have FUN. Oh, they were giving out those plastic candy canes full of candy, and Teka totally thought it was a toy for her.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Agility - Contacts

We are starting to learn the clicker board, a fun "touch" game. We are using the Aframe, dog walk, and teeter at a very low height and letting Cassi turn around, sit, and get comfortable on them.

Agility - Weave 101B

I did not blog Teka's class....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Trial update

I saw Dr. M first. He seemed pleased by my balance tests. It's all relative! Next was Dr. G, with a medical student. I think he thinks I'm doing better than I am--he seems to think all his patients are doing great on the trial. He said my MRI was fine but I didn't get anything more specific or tangible than that.  And then it was off to Sonora for blood draw and Hope Research for the rest of my vitals.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Agility class

I didn't blog it soon enough to remember the details!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Contacts 101

Cassi had her first Contacts class. This is typically to teach up- and down-contacts on "contact" obstacles: dog walk, teeter, A-frame. For Cassi, this class will be to get her comfortable on the obstacles while making sure her contacts are solid. I am behind the rest of the group since I'm coming in near the end of this session.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Agility classes

Tonight was a Snooker course for both dogs. (no time to blog....)