18 January 2009

First Day on the Job

Wouldn't it be great if everyone were treated like the president on their first day at a new job? There's a parade and people are cheering you on as you drive to work. When you arrive at the workplace, a big crowd hollers and cheers and reaches out to touch you and get your autograph. Then they make you say an oath... like, "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the job of Computer Programmer, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the company policies." Then after work there's a huge party in your honor!

yeah, I think we all should get that treatment on our first day at a new job.

13 January 2009

Body Temperature Obsession

In the early years of the 18th century, Daniel Fahrenheit invented the scale for measuring temperature (and ultimately the mercury thermometer). It wasn't until the mid-19th century that the connection between illness and body temperature was confirmed even though physicians for ages knew clinically that there was a connection (both high and low).

Throughout the 1970s I spent a considerable amount of time on the infamous green couch at "six-twenty-eight" with a mercury thermometer in my mouth. My mother had previously implemented the rule: you go to school unless you are puking or have a fever. I invariably had one or the other (which is probably the reason I hardly ever get sick as an adult). At some point, I became obsessed with taking my temperature.

I prefer the mercury thermometer because the "old-school" in me thinks it's the most accurate, even though there is proof to the contrary. Unfortunately, mercury thermometers are hard to come by (a.k.a illegal) in most states which the environmentalist in me can appreciate.

Furthermore, when considering the orifices available for taking body temperature, I prefer the mouth. Even though these days the ear is apparently the most accurate. Like most people in this country, I repudiate the rectal thermometer outright. When I was living in France I became sick with a respiratory ailment. Compelled by the aforementioned obsession, I went to le pharmacie to get a thermometer. They thought I was NUTS to want an oral thermometer as the most accurate temperature is taken through the rectum and they didn't even carry any other type! I ended up buying a BRAND NEW rectal thermometer and used it orally.

I mention this all because in the last hour and a half I have taken my temperature three times. I spent the day sneezing and blowing my nose at work (used more than 90 separate Kleenex, but who is counting) awaiting the moment when I could get home and take my temperature.

As a consequence of taking my temp all the time, I know that my normal temp upon arriving home from work is slightly below 97. So when my temp showed 98.9 on my digital (oral) thermometer, I knew I had an itty-bitty fever. Which at this point only shows that my ailment could be attributed to allergies.

I am looking forward to that moment when the cold medicine kicks in and I can lie down and sleep.

a la prochaine!

08 January 2009

Urban Chicken Movement- is it for me?

One night last fall I was browsing the internet as I frequently do. I don't know how I came across it, but I ended up on the Mother Earth News web site and there was an article for finding your dream homestead. It caught my eye and led me down a very interesting browsing path. I eventually came across an article, I don't remember where, that mentioned a chicken tractor with a link. I had no idea what a chicken tractor was so of course I had to follow the link. I found it so fascinating that I ended up spending several hours looking at photos of them, plans for them, advice on how to maintain them, etc. Now, I enjoy trying new things, experimenting and trying fun things. I like to think of them as my little adventures in an otherwise dull life so the thought occurred to me then that I could get a couple of chickens for my back yard.

After doing some research I decided I probably don't have the lifestyle or attention span to take care of poultry. Plus, I can't actually eat eggs as they sometimes make me sick, so it's probably not a bright decision for me. However, I encourage anyone who thinks they'd like to get into the movement to do so. The poultry industry in this country has some of the most disgusting and horrific practices that raising your own chickens would be a very wise health and environmental decision.

I did discover that where I live (Omaha) you can legally own two chickens without having to get a special permit, but that's not the case everywhere. However, several grassroots efforts have passed laws in their city to allow chickens so there is hope. A good site to start your own research is Urban Chickens http://urbanchickens.org/.

You'll want to be sure you don't get a rooster, but if you do, well, there's always Coq Au Vin.

Like Dave Cieslewicz (Mayor of Madison, WI) said "...it's no yolk. Chickens are really bringing us together as a community. For too long they've been cooped up."

07 January 2009

The Flexitarian Viking?

I have been a flexitarian for about 10 years, which might be about 10 years longer than the word has been in existence (according to wikipedia it's been around since 1992). Today I discovered that there is a diet book based on the flexitarian diet. Which I find highly amusing. I have to admit it is partly annoying and yet a source of pride seeing my passion suddenly become mainstream. Having spent all my life so far trying NOT to be mainstream, it's a strange sensation. The words "tree-hugger" and "environmentalist" were not always ones I liked to bring up in public to describe myself, but now I shamelessly assert my opinionated self on others letting them know how they can live in a more sustainable way.