Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wednesday Diet Tip #10

Hi and welcome to Peggy and Kelly's Wednesday Diet Tip! Can drinking diet sodas make you fat? The experts say yes! According to research by the University of Texas Health Science Center, the more diet sodas a person drinks, the more likely they are to gain weight.
I admit to a diet soda consumption habit. In fact, my diet coke drinking is way beyond what anyone would consider moderation. I pop one open for breakfast, later as an afternoon treat, with dinner and even before bed. By now I"m used to the acrid flavor, the burning aftertaste. Although somehow, diet soda doesn't really quench my thirst. When it's hot or I'm really thirsty, water does the job much better. So why do I continuously turn to the diet soda? I guess because it's free-- no calories! no fat! I can drink as much as I want! If all this sounds a bit addictive, I guess it is. Caffeine addiction is very real. And I guess, so is diet cola addiction.
And so, yes, water may be a healthier, more refreshing option. But for now I'm still going with the diet soda.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In the Nest

I've been watching a webcam view of baby falcons, fascinated as every day they grow bigger and stronger. In the beginning they just huddled in a helpless lump. Now, 2 weeks later, they are beginning to have more individual forms. I've become somewhat preoccupied watching them, running to the computer in the morning to count the babies (4) and make sure they're all still all there, panicking if the mama is away from the nest for too long, fussing over the runt and hoping he survives. According to the website, it takes 6 weeks until they fledge the nest.
I also had an up close and personal experience with baby birds in the nest this weekend. A mama robin had built her nest on the boat trailer at my in-law's camp in the Adirondacks. They were just hatched, with scraggly feathers, scrawny necks, and bulging, closed eyes. We even bought a styrofoam container of trout worms and left it out for the mother to "find" to feed them!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wednesday Diet Tip #9

Hi and Welcome to Peggy and Kelly's Wednesday Diet Tip!
I don't want to say that obesity in dogs is becoming a national health concern, but the news of a new diet drug--for dogs--indicates otherwise. Slentrol is the first prescription canine weight loss product in the United States. Slentrol works as similar human weight loss drugs by preventing the absorption of some fats in the body.
There's no question, an obese dog faces the same health risks as an obese person. It's crucial to reduce his or her girth to a healthy weight. But must we resort to medication? For most dogs, the proper amount of food and exercise should do the job. I am uncomfortable relying on a medication, with potential risks and side effects--to do what I should be doing myself with a little extra effort. But in some cases, where diet and exercise have not worked and the health risk is severe, maybe a medication is necessary. Is Slentrol right for your dog? Only you and your veterinarian together can decide.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Wanna Play

Like most dogs, Kelly loves to nap. She's even become, perhaps, a bit of a couch potato. Sometimes, however, I feel sorry when I see her lying around. She must be really bored. I've come to realize that I need to work to ensure her environment is interesting and stimulating. After all, how exciting can it be to stay inside and watch me tap away at the computer all day?
In addition to our daily walk, I've made a promise to myself and to Kelly to devote more time to play.
One day I took all of the toys out of her basket and threw them on the floor. Kelly scampered around, going from one to the other, picking up one and then seeing something more appealing and dropping the first to grab another. I teased her with rope toys and tempted her with squeaky bunnies.
Other times I go into the back yard with her and throw sticks and tennis balls. We don't have a very large yard, but it's enough to give her a little space to run and chase. And I find that I tire myself out with the exercise too.
Kelly loves it when I just get down on the floor and roughhouse. Sometimes I wish we had another dog for her to play with, but then I remember that she doesn't like other dogs, so I'm not sure how well that would work. I'd love to bring her to a dog park, but fear she might be too aggressive toward the other dogs.
There are many ways to play with your dog, and some dogs, like Kelly, need a little encouragement to get moving. So excuse me, it's time for my play date. Kelly has a new tennis ball, and it's my serve.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Good News and Bad News

Good news: We took Kelly to be groomed--she really needed it!
Bad news: She stressed out so much she nearly stroked out and broke blood vessels in her eyes and we had to rush her to the vet's
Good news: She'll be okay
Bad news: It cost $125 at the vet's
Good news: Our son went to the prom
Bad news: He got into a car accident on the way there
Good news: He's okay
Bad news: The car is not
Good news: He had a great time at the prom
Bad news: My husband and I sat in the rain with the car til 10pm waiting for the tow truck
Good news: Tomorrow's another day.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Grooming Horror

As I was walking Kelly around the neighborhood last week, a little girl stopped to visit with us. I told her that Kelly and I were on a diet. "Do you think she's fat?" I asked.
"Well, her fur is fat," the girl replied.
It was true. Kelly's long, flowing coat was thick and plentiful. Just too much fur overpowering her delicate face and short legs. She looked like an overgrown Chia pet.
Luckily, she had an appointment for her second-time-ever grooming session.
The first time didn't go so well. Kelly had never been left off in a strange place before, and she barked incessantly. This time, however was much worse. After nearly 2 hours my cell rang. "Uh, something's not going right," the groomer said quietly. "Kelly didn't like her bath, and she didn't like the blow dryer..." there was a pause. "And she's pretty stressed out. Her eyes are really red, I think she popped the blood vessels in her eye."
We rushed right over to pick her up. Kelly was wet, hairy, and half-groomed, tufts of hair sticking out unevenly. We took one look at her panting anxiously, her painful red eye looking like a bright cherry, and took her right to the vet's.
The vet performed a series of tests and found not only a burst blood vessel, but also a scratch on Kelly's eye. She gave her antibiotics and we made an appointment to be checked out again next week.
Although Kelly is not normally a stressful dog, I know that dogs can get stressed in new situations. Surely this couldn't be the first time the groomers ever saw that happen. And it seems to me they should have called before two hours, before it got to the point where blood vessels were bursting.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wednesday Diet Tip #8

Hi and Welcome to Peggy and Kelly's Wednesday Diet Tip! I don't want to talk salads today. Salads are great when you're watching your weight, but what about those times when you want to have a sweet, chocolate treat? Here are my top picks for chocolate delights that won't sabotage your weight loss program.
1. sugar free fudgsicle
2. Jello sugar free chocolate-vanilla swirl pudding
3. small square of Lindt dark chocolate with orange
4. Nestles sugar free hot chocolate
5. Weight Watchers chocolate snack cakes

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Have you found an indestructible dog toy? I haven't. Kelly can get her canine canines through anything. When she was teething, she once shredded a diet coke can into dozens of tiny, razor sharp slices. When I saw it, I raced to check her tongue and gums for lacerations. Amazingly, she had not a single cut on her.
I love to watch Kelly with a tennis ball. First she peels the felt off the top. Then she cracks it open like an egg. Every time it's the same routine.
She dismembers her stuffed toys too. All the stuffing is pulled out and scattered across the living room rug. The toy is then de-squeaked. Then, one by one she chews off the arms, legs, tail, bunny ears, elephant trunk or what have you. A tiny, pink, unstuffed chipmunk paw is still among her most treasured toys. She takes it out of her toy bin, tosses it around, chews on the raw edge, and then leaves it behind for me to find when I'm vacuuming.
Even Nylabones are chewn through--and swallowed--in a matter of minutes.
The one toy she's yet to destroy is aptly named "The Indestructi-ball." It's large, smooth, red, about the weight of a bowling ball. There's no dents or notches or any place to get ahold of it. She's never destroyed it...yet she's never played with it either. Apparently an indestructible toy is just no fun.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!
We don't need a special day to remind us of how much we love being moms, but it's nice anyway! My big treat today was pancakes. Obviously not on my diet, but I did use sugar free syrup. Yum! My son, a senior in high school, still makes me a homemade card, and I love it. What used to be crayon scribblings and cockeyed stick figures is now fancy computer fonts and graphics in full color print elaborately folded together. The expectant look on his face as I read the card aloud makes it all the more special.
And my daughter, who now lives out of state, remembered me with a special phone call. Hard to believe she's not right here by my side any more, but kids grow up.
As I surveyed the children in church this morning, I nostalgically remembered the marigold seed in the styrofoam cup I was presented with every Mothers Day. The dandelion bouquets. The popsicle stick pencil holders. The gifts we cherish, because they were made with innocence and love. No other gifts could come close.
But I wouldn't mind a nice Caribbean cruise some day, okay?!
Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wednesday Diet Tip #7

Hi and welcome to Peggy and Kelly's Wednesday Diet Tip! This morning I'm eating waffles topped with banana and syrup. Doesn't sound too dietetic? Well, if you do it right, it's not that bad, and a delicious start to the day! Start with 2 Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Eggos. Only 180 calories, 4.5g fat, (0 trans fat), and 3g fiber. If you're watching carbs, you might find this a little high, but personally I concentrate on the calories and fat for my eating plan. Now, resist the urge to top with a pat of butter (that melts so temptingly over the sides.) Instead, if you want, squirt on a few dabs of I Can't Believe it's Not Butter spray. Slice a half a banana over the top, or strawberries or blueberries. Drizzle with sugar free syrup. Most brands make a sugar free variety now and trust me, they're not bad! Log Cabin Sugar Free has 35 calories and 0 fat for 1/4 cup. There you go: a diet breakfast that looks and tastes like a high calorie splurge!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A New Way to Look at Things

Okay, I'm not saying I'm old but...I got my first pair of bifocals today. And I'm having a lot of trouble getting used to them. I never had to wear glasses before and I may be in denial but, the reading glasses the optometrist prescribed for me five years ago aren't really necessary. I can see the print on the pages just fine if I hold the book far enough away.

Since I write full time, I'm spending most of my day looking back and forth from the computer monitor to my notes. But I need a different strength lens for reading than I do for viewing my computer screen. Swapping out two different pairs of glasses isn't an option. Thanks to good ol' Ben Franklin I now have this funny looking vision correction contraption with a funky line across the middle. When I want to use my computer, I have to bend my neck down to look only out of the top of the glasses. And to see my notes sitting on my desk, I must only look out of the bottom part of the glasses. When I look straight ahead, it seems that neither the top nor the bottom is in focus.

The optometrist assures me I'll get used to it. But she warned me not to walk anywhere while wearing my new bifocals. Well, rooted to my computer, I should be able to get a lot of work done. If only I could see what I'm doing.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Mommy Blogs Rule!

Working full time as a freelance writer, submitting articles to countless agents and editors, and hoping they will print my words in their media gave me cause to pause recently when I read about Heather Armstrong's mommy blog, Dooce . This 32-year old mom made it big by writing whatever she wants about her life, family and dog, posting it on her own blog, and garnering more than 4 million page views per month!

I'm not even sure if my own mother reads my blog.

A great entry on the blog Scribbit was brought to my attention, extolling the virtues of mommy blogs. The author points out five benefits of blogging for moms. Here's my take on them.

1. Moms can blog at home

My kids are grown up now and don't really need me at home, but that doesn't mean I don't like to be here when my son comes home from school or baseball practice to ask him about his day. Plus, I love sitting around in my pj's til noon, walking the dog when I need a break, and throwing in a load of laundry between assignments.

2. Moms need the social connection

Working from home gets very isolating. I belong to several online writer's groups to share about our careers. And now I can blog with other work from home moms, dieters, dog lovers, or anyone who craves social interaction with a complete stranger! (So c'mon, leave me a comment! Mom, are you out there?!!)

3. Moms have a wealth of material

I'm not sure I would call my life experiences a wealth of material (more like a dwindling bank account), but sometimes even the mundane topic of favorite ice cream flavors (caramel soft serve!), or what Kelly dragged in from the garden (dead snake) strike a chord with a reader.

4. Moms are record keepers

I love keeping lists. I recently discovered an old yellow legal pad with a record of Kate's first words and the ages at which she said them, and if necessary, what they meant (roe roes = Cheerios, la la berry = library, and when she got a little older, potholder= pot hole, woodpecker= beaver. Figure it out!)

5. Mom blogs wield economic power

When another Mom tells me something she purchased that was handy, economical, convenient or beautiful, I'm there. And I can share it on my blog to alert interested readers, too. Here's one for ya: Laini's Ladies Adornments. Adorable angelic decorations, Laini's Ladies adornments are approximately 9" tall glossy paperboard with beads, wire, ribbons and whimsical sayings. You can hang them anywhere, and there's one for any passion: The Muse of Chocolate, cats, coffee, gardening, dance, books, children, etc.