Strange Comments at the Doctor’s Office

I went to the doctor this morning to see if something could be done about me feeling crappy for the past 2 weeks. Well, the good news is that it all turns out to be a simple case of allergies. That’s something people don’t tell you about when you’re younger. Every year your allergies will get worse until you feel like you are going to die the second that first leave falls from the tree or first flower blooms.

Anyway, back to the doctor’s office.

So, after the nurse but before the doctor, an intern comes in the room to ask me some questions. Since she’s still learning, she proceeds to ask me way too many questions about my stuffy nose and sore throat. My entire medical history was reviewed, she asked about any family medical problems and if I’d done anything out of the ordinary recently. “Well, I went mountain biking and camping about 3 weeks ago.”

She acted like I had neglected to tell her that the ax murderer was the one responsible for my deep flesh wound.

“Hmmmm. Did you go swimming on that camping trip?”

“Yes, actually, I did.”

“Did you know that in southern lakes there is an amoeba that can crawl up your nose and will kill you within 10 minutes?”

“But don’t worry, you’re still alive, so I doubt it’s the amoeba.”


The other night, while working out on the treadmill at the YMCA, the perfect song came on my iPod. Picturing all of us furiously working out as these lyrics echoed through my headphones brought a smile to my face.

Talkin’ Bout The Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues (everyone wants to live forever)
The Flaming Lips (Hit To Death In The Future Head)

Imagination, that’s the way that it seems
Man can only live in his dreams
Oh, it seems so hard.
If I’ve lived a thousand times before
And if I’m gonna live a million more
Always brings me down

Everyone wants to live forever
Thinkin’ that it’d be a lot better
Everyone wants to live for ever, whoah

The feeling in my head starts heading south
It seems it stops the fever from shootin’ out of my mouth
Life gushing all around

Everyone wants to live forever
Thinkin’ that it’d be a lot better
Everyone wants to live forever, whoah oh oo ohhh

Amy’s Kitchen

Amy's KitchenEver since the wife and I bought a house at the upper reaches of our financial abilities, the name of the game around themuy household has been to spend as little as possible so that we are still able to afford this beautiful home.

A big part of the money saving strategy has been to curtail the number of times we eat at restaurants. The wife and I looooove to eat food that someone else makes and brings to us while relaxing at a dimly lit table, so this has been a little difficult for us. But, apart from a few breakdowns that have lead us into Nuevo Laredo’s capable hands, we’ve been pretty good about eating at home.

So, instead of making my trip down to the local Quiznos for lunch these days (where they seriously ask me if I want “the usual”), I’ve been bringing something from home. Yep, the microwave and I have been getting downright chummy as of late.

For awhile, I was pretty loyal to Stouffer’s. They make a pretty damn good Chicken Parmigiana, but overall I got the feeling that I just ate a lunch made of plastic. It just feels very unhealthy to eat one of those things everyday. So, I went on a search to find a better, more healthy frozen meal. That search has lead me to Amy’s Kitchen. You might not know much about Amy’s since grocery stores usually stock them in the health food section, but I highly recommend that you seek them out.

First, let me get something out of the way: they’re all vegetarian (gasp) meals. My wife the vegetarian has been eating Amy’s burritos for years and that’s how I found out about them. So, if you’re looking for some carne, go somewhere else. But I assure you these are the best tasting frozen dinners out there, meat or no meat.

How does Amy’s make such great tasting frozen dinners? The secret is pretty obvious: just use good ingredients. Case in point, these are the ingredients of the meal I had today:

Black Bean Enchilada w/ beans and rice
Organic long grain white rice, organic pinto beans, filtered water, organic corn, organic tortilla (organic white corn cooked in water with a trace of lime), organic tomatoes, organic onions, organic bell peppers, organic tofu, organic black beans, expeller pressed high oleic safflower oil, organic zucchini, sweet rice flour, spices, sea salt, tapioca flour, black olives, organic garlic, organic green chilies, chives.

Sounds pretty good, huh? Simple ingredients, all organic, free of genetically modified organisms (GMO‘s), no preservatives and all from a small, family-run company.

Another great thing about these meals is the simple cooking instructions. I’m not crazy about the “cook for 2 minutes on high, rotate 1/8 turn and then cook on medium power until you see the cheese start to bubble, then take out of microwave, stir, replace plastic wrap, etc” method of cooking most frozen dinners. Again, here’s what my Amy’s meal says:

  1. Remove tray from carton.
  2. Put a 1 inch slit in overwrap.
  3. Cook for 5 minutes.

Pretty simple.

I highly recommend Amy’s dinners. I’m a big fan of the Mexican meals, but the pasta and pizzas are excellent as well. They’ve been a nice addition to our household meal options. Oh yeah, and there really is an Amy.

Health Snob

Ever since I quit smoking (about 5 years ago), I’ve been trying to resist becoming one of those health snobs. You know, the people who love to tell you how unhealthy whatever it is you’re doing is for you.

Case in point: my dad. He is militantly anti-smoking. No, I don’t think you understand. Militant. He just loves to pontificate about the evils of cancer sticks. He cuts out newspaper articles on the dangers of smoking just so HE can look at them later. Any poor sucker who innocently lights up in the presence of my dad will be met with endless barbs and jabs at how stupid he/she is for having that “filthy habit.” He’s relentless.

His dad died of lung cancer, so I understand my dad’s passion. But, jeez, give it a rest. If someone wants to kill themselves slowly with the sweet, smooth flavor of glorious tobacco (Hey, it was only 5 years ago. I still get the cravings.), than let them.

I was in such fear of his anti-smoking wrath that I never could muster the courage to tell him that I was one of the nicotine addicted schmucks. For eight years I had to constantly scan for incriminating evidence lying around my car or apartment: errant packs, lighters, matches or the dreaded smoky coat. A box of Altoids was my constant companion. It was an endless source of amusement for my friends. They thought I was such a wimp. “You don’t understand, guys, he’d KILL me!”

Of course, the downside of not telling dad that I smoked (and really, this is probably the only downside, I still think he would have killed me) is that I didn’t get to tell him when I quit! I lost out on the congratulatory high fives, the beaming look in his eyes when he learned that I, his son, kicked one of the hardest habits to kick. I have daydreams where I tell him I used to smoke just to get the accolades for quitting, but think better of it when I realize he’ll probably kick my ass to the floor anyway. Like I said, militant.

Back to the health snob thing. Because of my dad, I know that I have the health snob gene. Everyone knows that the HS gene is passed down paternally. So, like I said, I’ve been looking for it to rear its ugly, smug face. It has bubbled up a few times, mostly as my wife tries to quit smoking. She’s doing really well, but I can’t resist giving her a hard time when she bums one in public.

Ever since I quit, I’ve been running fairly consistently. About 3 miles, 2 or 3 days a week. Recently I’ve dropped off a little, but my membership to the YMCA should kick my ass back in gear.

Anyway, as most runners do, I have a usual route that I take. It is on this route that you will see me huffing it, with my 2 dogs in tow. It’s a pretty funny sight, two smiling dogs pulling a slightly grumpier me down the road, happy as clams to be with their dad outside on a sunny day.

It is on this route that I pass the same house every day. And outside of this house is the same woman. Probably around 50 years old and perennially sucking on a cig. I run different times of the day and sometimes not for a week, but every single time I pass that house I see this woman. Every damn time. Sitting by herself on a stoop smoking a cigarette. She must go out there every 10 minutes of every day. It looks so lonely and sad. It is the picture of addiction.

I don’t think I’m being snobby when I say I’m glad that’s not me, because it very well could have been. Like I said before, it’s her choice and I’m sure she really enjoys her 30-40 daily cigarettes. But, as I pass her on her little stoop, I can’t help but get an added spring in my step and a stronger resolve never to start smoking cigarettes again.