Saturday, January 24, 2009

If you're in need of some inspiration...

... watch this!

Thanks to Tammy Sisk for putting me on to this.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Note to doctors: A bit of compassion, please...

A woman I know went to a clinic the other day for something and received a stern lecture from the doctor she saw (for something completely unrelated to her weight) about her being "obese" and needing to lose weight. She was then ordered to the hospital for blood tests to check her "cholesterol".

She was humiliated. The doctor was very blunt about the whole thing and made her feel horrible. She told me that her self-esteem was destroyed within one minute - to the point of her having to tell the doctor to basically shut up. Good for her!

As far as being "obese" goes, this woman does need to lose some weight - perhaps 40 lb or so. Maybe more? I don't know. But believe me when I say this, she wears it very well and no one would turn their head in a mall and point at her.

As someone who has been overweight all his life, KNOW THIS:


You don't have to make a huge announcement like we have a secret tumour growing out of our forehead. We KNOW we're overweight. Trust me, if we wanted your help, we'd ask.

There has got to me a more subtle way of mentioning blood tests for cholesterol or other issues. "Have you had any blood tests lately? It's good to have some benchmarks done every couple of years in order to make sure everything is OK. Everyone should have them! I have them, too!" Now, to me, that sounds perfectly reasonable for anyone - overweight or not. But DO NOT lecture me, please, or scare the crap out of me about my "cholesterol" before you even know what the readings are!

And for the record, I had 240 lb to lose and my blood tests were stellar. No diabetes. My cholesterol (if you think it's that big of a deal) was among the lowest the doctor had ever seen - he was quite frankly astonished, considering my size. Everything else (blood-wise) was perfect.

If you're a doctor and you're genuinely concerned with a person's weight - and of course you should be - try to find a bit of tact and diplomacy within you. There's a way of getting the tests you want without humiliating the person.

And if you can't do this, well then just shut up and fix the problem the patient was there for in the first place.

And let me repeat... "WE KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!"

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Doing battle with the laundry... and losing!

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Editorial Page

I don't normally consider myself a klutz -- or in other words, a clumsy person. I'm no ballet dancer who can glide around a stage on my tippy toes, but I'm not usually an accident-prone big galoot, either.

However, I write this particular column with the tip of a finger on my right hand covered in so many bandages that it looks like I have a towel wrapped around it. As well, the top of my balding head looks like I tried to brush (what's left of) my hair with a comb made of surgical scalpels.

Being handyman-challenged, I'd asked a friend of mine to install some shelves in my laundry room several years ago. They were left behind by the previous owners of the house, so I had them reinstalled after the laundry room was renovated. Obviously not into any kind of sensible layout, I decided to put one of the shelves near the dryer.

On the surface, this seemed like a brilliant idea -- convenient storage for detergent, etc. Unfortunately, I don't have eyes on top of my head, so whenever I bend down to take the clothes out of the dryer, I have to be extra careful not to bang my head on the corner of the shelf. Yeah, the corner. I didn't just put the flat edge of the shelf near the dryer, I put a corner so sharp you could use it to cut diamonds.

I'm not sure why, but on Sunday I must have been quite absent minded. Usually careful of the "corner of death" above the dryer, my mind was obviously elsewhere. When I straightened out quickly after taking clothes out of the dryer, I rammed the top of my head into the corner of the shelf. You can probably guess what happened next. I cussed my brains out (practically literally) and yelled so loud that the windows shook and angels cowered in fear.

It hurt! Being a typical man who will never experience the pain of childbirth (please note this blatant suck-up to my female readers), I acted like there was no other pain like this one. A burst appendix probably didn't measure up to this. Neither did a gallbladder attack or a kidney stone the size of a football.

I dabbed at my head oh so gingerly, wondering how to push my brains back inside my crushed skull. Surely I'd cracked my head open and grey matter was oozing out. It should be said that there was actually blood. I dabbed the top of my head with a paper towel and noticed a little drop. Okay, so maybe my brains weren't oozing out of my head, but it sure felt like it.

After the stars I was seeing subsided, I went upstairs to get some things done. When the next load of laundry was ready, I once again had to put things in the dryer. "This time," I thought, "that corner of the shelf has met its match!" I was too smart to let this happen again. I had learned my lesson. I chuckled snottily at the shelf. "Loser!"

Five seconds later... I was once again holding the top of my head and screaming blue murder. This time, I'd pretty much torn half my face off. I slapped the dryer. Yes, I slapped the dryer. Thankfully, it didn't slap me back. I continued swearing, yelling and slapping various things in the laundry room.

I swore a lot. In fact, I took the name of pretty much every prophet in vain. By the time I stumbled upstairs still holding my head and counting the little cartoon birdies circling me, the pope had already left a notice of excommunication in my mailbox for all the swearing I'd been doing.

Dabbing my head continuously with a paper towel to make sure the blood loss (a few drops... but they were big drops!) was not going to be too crippling, I sat down to recover from my ordeal. I put the basket of dry laundry on the bed and told the cats to stay out of it. No sleeping in the laundry basket when it's clean! They both readily agreed and I had them sign affidavits. (Perhaps I'd banged my head harder than I thought...)

When the cartoon birdies finally flew away and the blood stopped pouring down my face (work with me here!), I decided to take out my nifty new mandolin slicer and cut some zucchini for a lasagna I wanted to make. No need to use the safety grip when I would slice the zucchini. I'm not that stupid to put my finger in the slicer, despite the warnings on the box. Sheesh! Am I that dumb? More snotty chuckling was had.

The slicing was going well. Man, those mandolins are sharp aren't they?

Five seconds later... I was yet again running around the house screaming and swearing after watching my finger silently and oh so efficiently go through the slicer along with the zucchini. I'd managed to slice the tip of my finger nearly clean off, but not all the way, so it looked like a little hat. This time, there was blood. Serious blood.

By now, I was almost afraid to continue the day. Perhaps it would be safer just to go to bed even though it was barely 4 p.m. Hey, so I'd be awake for awhile.

Eventually, however, the double concussion and loss of blood from the nearly amputated finger tip would surely just render me happily unconscious and I would wake up the next day fresh as a daisy and with a renewed commitment to personal safety.

I managed to put the lasagna together despite my severe injuries. The oven didn't explode, thankfully, despite my accident-prone day!

Now if that paper cut I got opening the new box of bandages would just heal!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Today's Hump Day column...

... is about a recent run of clumsiness I had all in one day. I bumped my head on a shelf - twice! (same shelf, too) - and cut my finger quite badly on a food mandolin (slicer).

Check out Hump Day on the editorial page of today's Moncton Times & Transcript! It will be posted online here tomorrow.

It's Wednesday, so Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

... and George W. Bush bids farewell...

It's official!

Barack Obama is now officially President of the United States.

I used to have one of these Shaker Maker sets!

Click here for more info on Shaker Maker!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Surveillance videos show US Airways flight crash landing into New York City's Hudson River

Here are a couple of fascinating videos of the US Airways crash landing into New York City's Hudson River last week. Miraculously, everyone survived.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A favourite low-carb meal: Shrimp'n'salsa'n'sour cream

One of my favourite low-carb meals is very simple.

First, take a some sugar-free salsa (check the label - my favourite brand is Pace). Choose mild, medium or hot... whichever one you prefer. Put a generous helping in a bowl... at least 1 cup. Throw in a couple of tablespoons of full-fat sour cream. (I use a restaurant-style sour cream sold around these parts - it's extremely thick.) Mix'er up. This gives you a pink'ish blend that you'll use as the dip.

Next, you'll need some shrimp. Personally, I prefer to buy the bags of large raw frozen shrimp and cook them. The hot shrimp combined with the coldness of the dip is a very nice contrast.

If you're cooking from raw, you'll need to thaw the shrimp first, of course - either for several hours in the refrigerator or under cold running water for several minutes. Peel the shrimp (if they're not already peeled) and then cook in salted boiling water for 2.5 to 3 minutes. Shrimp cooks extremely fast and it only takes a couple of minutes. Any longer and your large beautiful shrimp will shrink and turn into rubber. (Once I learned how to properly cook raw shrimp, I never bought frozen pre-cooked shrimp again.)

Once you've drained the shrimp, put on a plate along with your bowl of dip, grab a fork and dip each shrimp into the dip. It's absolutely delicious!

I eat this all the time, especially when I'm in a rush and want something simple. If you've planned ahead and pre-thawed the shrimp, this supper takes literally only a few minutes to pull together.