A few weeks ago I posted about my friend Kathryn, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

I am happy to report that her disease was caught early, and it hadn’t spread, so she will not need chemo. She has been blogging about her experiences at http://www.2thingsatonce.com. It is worth a visit for her writings on a host of subjects, not just her experience with cancer.

Kathryn also posts to Twitter. She had a great tweet today that I’d like to pass along: “love paying medical bills for procedures done on a body part I no longer own. Feels like making car payments on a car that was totaled.”


Unforeseen side effects?

April 25, 2010

Frito-Lay has been heavily advertising their eco-consciousness. They have developed a new bag for their chips that is 100% compostable.

SunChips compostable bag

The company should be congratulated for their work in this area. It could go a long way to reducing urban garbage if all such packaging decomposed with exposure to sun and water.

While I like the idea of the new packaging, it raises some questions in my mind. The first question is whether I can recycle the bag with other recycling at home. This isn’t paper. It isn’t plastic. It isn’t metal. If I put it out with other recycling, will it gum up the works at the processing plant?

If I throw out the bag in the regular garbage, will it actually decompose sitting in a plastic bag at the dump? Or, will it continue its existence “forever”.

Is the best way to dispose of the bag to throw it out the window to decompose as the TV commercials show? (Just kidding.)

One other big question comes to mind. The bags are really noisy! As compared to other chip or pretzel bags they make a lot of noise when picked up or crinkled. I don’t have a meter to measure volume but this is my unscientific judgment.

Why is noise important? This is a snack food. Snack foods are often consumed at odds times of the day, and night. And on the sly. How easy is it going to be for a snack eater to open the bag, grab a few chips, and then deny having done so to his or her spouse, kids, co-workers, pets?

By switching to this new packaging, will Frito-Lay end up reducing their sales as people decide it isn’t worth the hassle of defending their snacking to loved ones and friends? Isn’t it easier to get something that comes in less noisy packaging? Or, maybe serious dieters will welcome the packaging as the noise will alert others to their alimentary transgressions and build peer pressure to lay off the snacks.How about at the office? Open up a bag to catch a snack and alert the whole office to the availability of crunchy chips.

What do you think? Will the eco-friendly packaging be more likely to get you to buy  SunChips or other products in similar packaging? Will the wider issues outweigh being a “good citizen” because you don’t want the hassle at home or at the office?

Should Frito-Lay set their scientists back to work to keep their chips crunchy but their packages less so?

Let me know your thoughts. Better yet, let Frito-Lay know ( http://www.frito-lay.com/about-us/contact-us.html) . It’s future depends on your input!

Is this animal cruelty?

April 19, 2010


I saw this article in today’s New York Times and really had to ask myself if this is a form of animal cruelty. Sure, the animals are well cared for, even pampered. But, having them subjected to hours of grooming has to be wrong. Actually, they aren’t groomed. I would describe it as being decorated.

Check out the article. Actual, just check out the pictures, and let me know what you think.


April 11, 2010


What could 30:46 possibly mean?

Is it a passage from the Bible? Is it a reference to some legal statute? Is it a ratio of the length to height of the Cahokia Indian burial mounds in   Illinois?

It’s none of the above. It is the result of my first post-surgery 5K race.  “The Race That’s Good for Life” is its name, and I think it is personally quite appropriate.  Having done this means I have taken another big step in my recovery.

Last week, my friend Ted, one of the runners’ group, asked if anyone was interested in doing a local 5K this morning. I knew about the race but didn’t give it much thought as I didn’t think the staff at Cardiac Rehab would give me the OK. At lunch on Friday, Rob, another friend, asked if I was doing the race. I told him I would come out and root for him. But, all this got me wondering if I could do the race “legally”.

At the end of my rehab class on Friday, I asked my nurses for permission. They all thought I could do it, but said that it was up to my Cardiologist as I wasn’t at the half-way point of the program. I thought “Great. Here it is Friday at 5:30PM. How am I ever going to reach my doctor?” Well, I took a chance and sent her an email. Two hours later I had my response. “Go for it but be careful.”

Saturday morning I registered for the race and picked up my race stuff. I got really excited about what this meant.

Saturday night I set my alarm and settled in to watch some Saturday Night Live. A little after 11PM, the power went out! I looked around in the dark, trying to find my cell phone and other devices that could serve as an alarm clock, in case the power stayed out.I set my phone, my digital watch and another device.

At around 12:15 AM, I awoke with a start as the power came back on. The lights were on, the radio was on and TV was coming back on. I shut off the radio and TV. I reset the clock time and alarm and went back to bed.

Then, at 2:00 and 4:30, one of the dogs woke me up to go out.

When the alarms (radio, watch and cell) went off at 7:30 I was sure not as rested as I wanted to be.

Alan before the race

At 9:45AM, the gun went off and so did we. I participated in the men’s race. There already was a women’s race and a kid’s race.

My goal was not to set a personal best. It was to finish the race and keep my heart rate below my target rate. I accomplished both. I not just finished the race but did so in a time that wasn’t too far off my pre-surgery times.  I was able to keep my heart rate at or below 130. Pre-surgery my rate would probably have been closer to 150, so this was a major improvement.

Rob pre-race

During the race I didn’t worry about where I was in the pack but I had a sense that I was near the back. I was keeping pace with a Mom and son. The boy looked to be 7 years old or thereabouts.

As I was nearing the finish line I saw my neighbor Dawn on the sidelines. She got really excited when she saw me, giving me a big thumbs up. Dawn is a physician, and her husband is a cardiac surgeon and partner of the doctor to operated on me.  As I crossed the finish line I saw Ted and Rob. I got a big greeting. I felt great having finished, and felt pretty good physically.

All in all, it was a great Sunday morning.

PS  This afternoon, before writing this post, I went online to check my official time. I also looked at some other runners’ results. I didn’t check out the winners, or the leaders. I checked out who ran at about my pace. I came in 427th out of 473 men. I did better than all of the men in the 80 and over group. I did better than only one of 22 in the men’s 14 and under group. And, that individual was 6 years old. But, as I said earlier, I reached my goal and am very happy.

PPS Thanks to Ted and Rob for encouraging me to sign up; my rehab team for being cautiously positive; to  Dr. R. for giving the OK, and Rya for being so supportive.

A brave friend

April 9, 2010

Last week seemed to be a week of bad news. Two friends each had a parent who passed away. Another friend learned that she had breast cancer.

The friend with breast cancer is in remarkably good spirits and a wonderfully positive attitude. Her cancer was caught early and has a good prognosis. It is serious, nonetheless. Breast cancer is a disease that runs in her family.

Her positive attitude comes through loud and clear in her blog. Start  out with this post:


Tell me that the picture and caption doesn’t bring a smile to your face. Then check out her subsequent posts to get more good humor about a difficult subject.

Health update

April 7, 2010

It’s been awhile since my last post, in part because I didn’t think there was anything to report.

In reality, there has been lots going on.

Since early March I have been in Cardiac Rehab. Three days a week I go to the gym for exercise under the watchful eye of a team of cardiac nurses. I started out just walking on a treadmill for 40 minutes. I graduated to a slow run on the treadmill for 40 minutes, then on the elliptical. Over time I have been working harder, getting my heart rate up.

Last week, I tried out the stair climbing machine. That was tough. Not on my heart or my breathing, but on my legs. It was even tougher when I had to climb the stairs to the “L” train to go home.

The past couple of days, I was back to running on the treadmill, but at a quicker pace. I ran most of my time at a 10 minute mile, which is what I was running before surgery.  The good thing is my heart rate is lower than it was.  That means I may be able to pick up the pace a bit more and still be within my target.

Next week, they are going to add weight training to the mix. I never did any weights before surgery, so this will really be something new. Maybe I’ll develop some muscles. Maybe I’ll become buff. Which is a good thing. After all, summer is coming. (Which is hard to believe given the temperature is supposed to be in the upper 40’s tomorrow after having been in the 70’s.)

Lost and FOUND!

March 17, 2010

Having let you in on my sadness at losing my wedding ring, I knew I had to post as soon as I found it.

Although I didn’t expect to see it again I hadn’t given up hope as several of you had told me about finding lost jewelry in unexpected places months after the loss.

This morning, when getting ready to leave the house for work I went to the coat closet to find a hat and gloves. I was rooting around the top shelf, mostly by feel, when I heard a ” plink” at my feet. Looking down I saw the ring. I couldn’t believe how happy I was and how good it made me feel to get it back on my finger. It shouldn’t have been a surprise as it has been on that finger for almost 33 years.

I headed off to work feeling pretty good. I had my ring. The sun was coming up and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Little did I know there was to be another nice surprise.

I decided to take a slightly different route to the train this morning. Along the way I met a young woman walking 2 whippets she had rescued. One was 4 and the other 7. They were nice looking but of course not as nice as our 2. I got her name and phone number so Rya could get in touch with a fellow whippet lover.

When I got to the train I called Rya with both pieces of good news. I would have loved to have boxed them up as birthday (Friday) presents for her but I just couldn’t wait.

How my ring got to its hiding place will forever be a mystery. Because the shelf is high, the ring couldn’t have slipped down and off. Also, I always use my right hand to reach up there and I wear the ring on my left hand. How it might have gotten into the hat is beyond me. But if I ever figure it out, I promise not to bore you with the details.

Posted by Wordmobi