Thursday, June 23, 2011


Oops, not only did I not get pictures, but I haven't even gotten to day two of the quickstart.  In my defense, I don't get the emails since I'm a resubscribe, but since I was provided the link to go get them myself, not a very good excuse.

Thinking pictures might be a better weekend task.  I did get dishwasher loaded and ran (but this happens daily right now) and a load of laundry done, so not 100% useless.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


We did have a babysitter last night, so I didn't take the time to take pre-pictures or anything, but I didn't want to do nothing. Nothing is a slippery path.

Then I suddenly remembered do 10.  I actually remember 10 in 10 in 10, but I don't remember what that means.  What I did instead was picked up 10 things in three different areas.  Progress!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cue Trumpet

So, I read a blog post providing information about a new Quick Start program from The Clutter Diet the other day and this combined with the current state of the house plus reading a blogpost about someone's shining sink made me think maybe I should try it again.  So I took the leap and signed back up. 

First question you might ask is why did I sign up for The Clutter Diet based partially on a post about the Fly Lady?  Basically, I am completely intimidated by the clutter and apparent disorganization of the Fly Lady website.  The Clutter Diet is incredibly easy to manuever and understand, so I figure it's the way to go.

Despite being a repeat offender, I'm going to try the seven day quick start thing.  I just now got access due to a snafu in reenrollers, so am watching the day one video.  One concept that was clear from it is making a commitment helps to achieve a goal.  So, I'm going to try recording some information here.  It's not pretty, but it's real.

So, status of the house.  We have very good maids who come every other week, so it is relatively clean, but there is stuff EVERYWHERE.  Clutter, junk, heirlooms, treasures, trash, duplicates, donations and more all mixed to make it insane.  Trajan has aged three years since I have done this last and his OCD tendencies have made it clear that he does not like living that way.  He does not want to have stuff everywhere.  Honestly, he doesn't like having too many things.  My mess equals some amount of psychological stress for him.  Also, we've added another boy to our life, Chiron.  The path to him was a little complicated including hospitalizations, stress and grief (short version is we lost his twin sister Aurelia) and so while things are not as bad as they were when I started the Clutter Diet the first time, they are not good.

I'm supposed to make commitments.  I guess first is to take baseline pictures. 

Question 1 of the quickstart is "what is bothering you the most".  The stuff on every surface is the broad answer.  Having things that are not necessary and just having probably three times the volume of "stuff" that we need.  In a more narrow category, the bar between the kitchen and the living area.

Question 2 is what will make the biggest impact on my daily life if I can change it.  This is probably the master bathroom.

Oh and a second thing that I think the payoff to work ratio would be really high is the alcove that we have off of our entryway. 

I like that this first six-minute video has already led me to identifying three areas that I can work on rather than just seeing the greater clutter.

And the final commitment: I will go watch the day two video tomorrow.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dream Dinners - First Impressions

I came across a coupon for Dream Dinners to have the meals prepared for me for no additional fee, so I placed an order which I picked up this afternoon.

My first thought is: wow, my world is small. My food was available for pickup between 3 and 6 and since Trajan was supposed to have swimming (Hurricane Dolly changed that) and I needed to pick up Jack, I decided to run over at 3, pick the stuff up, take it to the house and go back to work. I was back in front of my computer in under 20 minutes. This is my office to car in the garage to Dream Dinners to the house to the freezer to unpack back to the car to the office to park in the garage and then back to my office. And that 20 minutes includes one light and the fact that it was raining.

Back on topic: I was immediately greeted when I got there. The employee took my name and came back quickly with all of my meals. While my meals had already been packaged together to allow for quick pickup, she took the time to go through my order list and the food to make sure everything was there as she loaded my meals into the cooler I'd brought. I was given a couple minor tips on some of the entrees and I was on my way!

While in the store, I discovered that when you package your food yourself it's really just combining things. Everything is already chopped or diced or otherwise prepared except for the combination step. Since all the meals are basically just assorted mush combined in a sack, I worry that this limits the food they can offer since it doesn't allow for incremental cooking or sautéing components. What I got all looks good though, so we'll see.

When I got the food to the house, I started to put it into the deep freeze, but I decided that I should make things as easy on myself as possible and so I put it into the freezer in the kitchen. Since I cleaned the freezer out a few weeks ago, there was plenty of room to put everything in in an organized, easy-to-access fashion.

We're going out of town this weekend, so I placed everything but the Hawaiian Chicken into the freezer.

So far, Dream Dinners has been a simple, reliable, clean method to get food. I'll obviously have to reflect more once I've actually prepared the meals and we've eaten them, but no complaints to date.

For those of you who are cost-focused, I ordered 14 3-serving dishes and 1 6-serving dish as well as three side dishes and the total out-the-door cost was $193.35. To give a comparative baseline, the food for the sample week of The Scramble that I did was just over $100 or so.

Freezer Cooking

I haven't really looked into the "do-it-yourself" freezer cooking method, but one of the books that I looked at in the lunch section made me think about this. The book was from the 30 Meals in One Day system. This sounds very interesting, but I'm having trouble turning up specific information or reviews of these products. Particularly, I'd like to read people's thoughts about the software component of the system.

I found "A Beginner's Guide to Once a Month Cooking" which looks pretty informative, but I'm a little intimidated by the whole idea. I made all Trajan's food from the time he started eating to 9 months because of his food sensitivities and I did this in very large bulk sessions with freezing, but somehow I don't think that could have prepared me for this endeavor.

From what I've seen so far, these books seem to contain recipes as stand-alone items. I think I'd feel better if I'd find one that belongs more to the "planning school of thought" that specifies what recipes I'm making, a master shopping list and a moment-by-moment guide to what I should be doing in terms of prep and cooking to move through the recipes. I know some people might have problems with being told what to eat, and that's probably why I can't find a set version, but we eat anything and I really think a step-by-step guide would be so much easier for an initial try.

What's the cost difference of preparing meals this way versus through something like Dream Dinners? There's obviously more flexibility as to the size of the recipe you make and what recipes you cook, but does Dream Dinners use their bulk purchasing to get a cost advantage?

What's a good option as a resource for someone approaching this once-a-month cook and freeze approach? Any that should particularly be shied away from? Any of them provide planning assistance in terms of recommending side dishes?

Lunch Planning

With the increase in people brown-bagging their lunch, it seems like there would be a definite market for a product like the dinner meal planners that specializes in lunches. Meals for the week, a complete grocery list and steps for preparing it including what can be done the night before. It would be particularly cool if this was tied in with one of the dinner planners to minimize ingredients and steps, but that's a bonus in my mind.

I for one would definitely pay a dollar a week (this seems to be the typical price of the dinner planners) for something that took the decision making out of planning lunches, provided a combined shopping list and included packing/prepping/eating tips.

This service should include some of the features that I look for in the dinner planners such as allowing you to change out or remove meals if you desire. Also, it would be nice if it included information about what recipes required refrigeration (ie can not be unrefrigeratored for 4-6 hours), whether they are "brown-bag" friendly or require more of a box or laptop-type case, if they can be prepared the night before and whether they require any tools/equipment for at-time-of-eating preparation. It might be nice if there were checkboxs where you could indicate your preferences for these issues before you began your customization, but just being able to remove/add recipes would be sufficient.

I haven't searched a lot yet, but so far I haven't turned up something that provides this service. There are recipes and advice, but no site seems to offer a "we'll tell you what to eat each day and you just have to follow our instructions" program.

A company called Laptop Lunches that makes a lunch packing system has a pdf that provides some basic ideas for things to go into a lunch. They provide this same list along with a lot of other information and tips on their website and have a photo gallery of lunches packed if you are a visual person. If you order their system, it includes a guide (which reviews well on Amazon)containing recipes and tips and they have a couple books (even a vegan one) and a dvd available on their site with more information about lunch preparation. In addition to the basic set ($35), they have a larger, fancier one called the Lunch Date ($115). That's pretty pricey, but I could see someone who had been using the basic system consistently deciding to take the plunge though I think you could definitely build a similar enhanced system yourself for less. Get a bag that you like (bonus: it's personal), a thermos and a soup type thermos and you're there. One final nice thing about the system is that you can get additional inner containers so you don't have to wait until the previous days are clean to prepare it.

Another fun site I turned up is Lunch in a Box. This site has a ton of information about preparing bento style lunches to the point that it's actually pretty overwhelming. Unfortunately, there is no "starting from the beginning" sequential section or book, so I think implementing this would be a little difficult.

There are some books that look like they would be good tools for someone to generate their own plans, so this might be the best course of action to take. Identifying a book that balances taste, variety and nutrition with quick, simple and convenience is a real challenge, but some books worth looking at:

Lunch Box: Creative Recipes for Everyday Lunches - this looks like it might be good at helping to expand our minds about what can be a packed lunch. Review complains that they're too healthy and not tasty enough.
The Brown Bag Lunch Cookbook - has an intentional adult focus, includes general lunch prep tips. Not currently in stock as new. Many of the recipes seem like they would take a while and this is a complaint within the reviews.
Brown Bag Success: Making Healthy Lunches Your Kids Won't Trade - kidcentric, but includes a monthly planning cycle approach which might ease the planning burden. Reviews complain about extensive use of peanut butter (many schools are peanut free) and lack of health-value/poor nutrition.
The Healthy Lunchbox - focuses on healthy, nutritional meals written under American Diabetic Association. Provides logistical information about preparing and packaging lunches. Reviews indicate that recipes appeal to adults as well as kids. Has a unique interview to ask kids (though I imagine you could do it yourself) to get lunches they actually like.
The Top 100 Recipes for a Healthy Lunchbox - this is another kid-centric cookbook, but does not limit itself to traditional kid ingredients and does emphasis healthy recipes. A review notes that adults enjoy the recipes as well. Appears to be just recipes without any instructional content.
The Lunchbox Book: Nutritional and Creative Ideas - provides flexibility and information for altering recipes for food allergies and some other health conditions. Only 30 meals included and focused exclusively on kids.
Lunch is Ready: 30 Meals in 1 Day - bulk preparing and freezing, but for lunch! A different approach, but one that I could see working well. Contains over 200 recipes, so more content variety than many of the books and all are freezable. Currently unavailable though.
Lunchbox Menus for You - Contains 40 5-day menus each with a shopping list! Claims good nutritional basis, but I worry that the meals are too basic/simple. Reviews say it is well-formatted and easy to use, even making the shopping lists removable. Only 86 pages and I'm a little worried how they fit all that information in there and it seems like it may be too kid-based.
Lunch Boxes and Snacks: Over 120 Healthy Recipes - in addition the recipes, it includes information on how to pack lunches and what can be made the night before. Reviews indicate that the recipes are varied, tasty and suitable to adults as well as kids.
The Brown Bag Lunch - Not too much information available, but very positive reviews lauding the taste and appeal of the recipes. Every recipe includes information on how it should be packaged and when it needs to be prepared.

My final thought on this issue is if you decide that you can create this system and fill this gap, please don't just make a kid-centric, bland program. I'm pretty convinced that if you feed kids flavorful, diverse meals, they will eat them. I'm not saying you can't recognize the existence of some picky kids and provide some options or functionality to handle plain-jane eaters, but there are so many working adults and kids who eat all kinds of food who will really enjoy the broader menu.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Meal Planning Software

I completed the Scramble sample and overall was very happy with it. I'm picking up some Dream Dinner meals tomorrow and will evaluate that, but if I decide I want to take the meal planning route, I think I will probably just go ahead and join the Scramble. It seems like the best degree of specialization of the programs on the market now; it incorporates side dishes, and updates your shopping list based on the meals you pick.

Despite my selecting them as the best options, there are definitely areas in which they could improve and areas of this genre that are untapped. I have examined both the areas in which a product could be distinguished within the industry first and then things that are specific to The Scramble.

Areas for Differentiation in the Industry

With all this thinking about meal planning websites, I have had some ideas of ways that either one of the existing meal planners could distinguish their product and increase market share or a newcomer could even enter the field and do well.

Allow other additions to shopping list. All of the current products that I've looked at provide a shopping list and some alter this list to match your customized meal plan, but none allows you to enter in other extraneous products. Being able to stick your need for cereal and Ziploc bags would be of value. Ideally, the site would place as many of these added products as possible in the correct section, but it could just put them all in one lump and perhaps allow the user to drag them to the correct sections before printing.

This is an area that a company could distinguish themselves to an even greater degree by adding some additional functionality. By allowing email or SMS submissions (look at I Want Sandy for the functionality idea) or even an iPhone app, they could provide full grocery store list support. There are tons of options, such as Jott, that could be used to make this as easy as possible. Any company looking at this should be careful that adding this ability just adds flexibility and does not add burdensome, mandatory maintenance, but done carefully, I think this could be a great may to make a product distinct.

Include relevant skill tutorials. I actually got this idea from an NPR story on yarn. This story discussed a store called Jimmy Beans Wool that has established a strong market share by unique features such as video reviews and project support. I think a meal planning site could see a similar result if they added tutorials, possibly even video ones.

In my mind, there should be general tutorials, i.e. how to dice an onion, that can be accessed from the website, preferably with a clearly labeled, easy-to-find section of their own. I do think they need to have a stand-alone area, but I think their best value would come from each recipe containing links to tutorials applicable to it. In the case of a program like The Scramble that already has a system set up to customize what you print, the system should allow you to select any or all of the applicable written tutorials to include within your weekly printout.

Ideally, there would be both written tutorials and video tutorials, as this would facilitate transfer of knowledge and successful mastery of the contained skills by a variety of types of learners.

Allow Addition of Subscriber's own Recipes. Allowing easy, stress-free customization of a weekly plan is a big selling point of any of these programs. Allowing the subscriber to import his or her own recipes could enhance this feature. As far as I know, only Meal Mixer currently supports this functionality and it is much more time-intensive than what I believe most people are looking for in this market. A company considering this should review some of the many desktop recipe tools in order to implement this as best as possible. There is a good review of 10 Mac-based products including the popular Mac Gourmet to look at as a starting point.

Implementing this functionality would not allow subscribers to add their favorite dinner meals, but also additional side dishes to add to the program as well as information for meals such as brunch that are outside of the normal scope of most of these programs.

Features such as allowing importing of recipes from other websites, discussed in detail in the review above, should be considered, but I think it's important that the company make its first priority keeping the website as straightforward and effortless as possible. Include a feature if it can be blended in, and particularly if it's an option that members can just ignore with no ill effects if they so desire, but consider it very carefully if it will add required time requirements to the subscribers.

Add-on Support of "Other" Meals. I think it is critical for the majority of programs in this genre to stick to the core area of 5-7 weekly dinners by default. However, add-on options that provide assistance for other meals would enhance the appeal of a program. Allowing members to opt-in to adding other meals to their planning and their shopping list would make the product make more closely with the needs of most members throughout a week.

As discussed, the ability to add your own recipes should include these meals, but I think a strong program should include recipes of their own. If the member wants to incorporate them, they should just have to customize their plan and then the recipes will be included in the weekly plan and all the ingredients will be added to the shopping list.

Planned Lunches/Leftovers. This one was actually my husband's idea and I think it's a great one. Contained either within the normal recipes themselves or perhaps as options you can select through the customization process, recipes using related ingredients, leftovers or byproducts could be provided. So, if you're making a meatloaf, a tip for how to combine this meatloaf with bread and some greens to create a sandwich. If you're already baking potatoes, a recipe to make one into a twice-baked potato while you're eating dinner that you can then take for lunch the next day. If you are making pesto for a baked pasta, a recipe for a sandwich incorporating pesto along with directions on how much additional pesto to make.

Calendar Interface. The most basic implementation of this would be to provide a calendar each week that contained all the meals that you'd added for the week. I would like to see this calendar include slots for all the meals that are not included in the planning program as well that you could fill in. Adding some drag and drop ability to move meals around would be nice, but if a company had the technical savvy to get this done, I'd actually advocate developing an interface with products such as Google Calendar, iCal and Outlook. For the sake of simplicity, the company could just develop an interface with Google Calendar as members could then use Google Calendar to update one of the other products if they so desired.

I would like to see the ingredient details and even the entire recipe appear in the detail part of the entry for each meal if this interface with Google was achieved.

Panic Week. A final feature that I believe could be used to distinguish a meal planning site from all the others would be providing what I'm dubbing a Panic Week. This would be similar to the normal weekly plans, but would emphasis quick and easy to the extreme. This would exist so that a member could select it instead of the normal weekly plan if they were feeling very overwhelmed or had a very crazy schedule that week. In my mind, this would consist of quick, simple, low-prep meals, ingredients that are easy to locate and perhaps even some attempt to minimize the number of ingredients needed.

Membership Expiration. This is more of a general issue than a suggestion for a site in the genre. I think these sites, particularly if they are incorporating some of my ideas above, should carefully consider and clearly communicate their policies for memberships and expiration. If your membership lapses, do you immediately lose all of your saved calendar history, menus, recipes and more? Do you have an inactive period in which all your account information will be saved such as one year? Do you commit to maintaining the information for all your members regardless of active or inactive status for as long as you are in business?

General Evaluation. If you are considering starting a site in this genre or have one now that you are reviewing, I think my list of issues to be considered in evaluating a meal planning site are a good think to make sure you consider.

The Scramble-Specific Areas for Improvement

Website Improvements. This is the area needing attention. Overall, the site is quite useable and not bad to look at, but there are some specific areas where it's not performing at it's best.

The FAQ needs to be changed. Tomorrow. Even today would not be unjustified. There are many FAQ products and tools that have been developed including many free and shareware products. If researching and choosing one of these does not make sense either for the short-term or at all, a reasonable alternative would be just to create a list, perhaps divided by the current categories, of questions and answers. It's almost bad enough to advocate removing it entirely if that's the only option, but since a lot of this information is quite valuable to potential subscribers, if they can get into it that is, this isn't actually a good idea.

Links to the sample menu need to be available throughout the website in much the same fashion that the subscribe links are. This kind of product is very personal and since the shortest subscription is 3-months, I think they would get more subscribers if they facilitated more people knowing about and trying the sample menu. This attitude should expand beyond the basic site. For example, there should be a visible, colorful button saying something to the effect of "free Scramble sample menu" placed on the owner's blog that takes the reader directly to the sample menu. Ideally, this will be a page written for this purpose that provides some of the traditional basic info/links as are on the homepage, but the first priority should be to ensure that getting the sample is almost mindless for the person who clicked the link even if this means just linking to the normal sample page.

The "buzz" area, consisting of subscriber reviews, could be improved. Adding the ability to do a search or view by topic would make these more useful. Ideally, the company would go through and tag these with key words when they come in prior to posting to facilitate this. If the company were willing to set up tags, I would highly recommend they then add a tag cloud (example shown). This would not only help people find the comments that are relevant to them, it would also be a visual way of communicating information from the large number of comments that most visitors will never review.

Communication. Despite sending an automatic response to comments stating, "we value your input and will respond to your comment/request within the next 24-48 hours," I have received no response after 14 days. I hope that there won't be much need to contact them as a subscriber, but knowing that they are available if there is a problem, including billing, would be a plus. If they can't manage responses due to volume and time constraints, they should at least get rid of the email promising reply.

Cost Information. There is currently little cost information on the site unless you dig into some of the articles or fight your way into the FAQ (I don't recommend this). As this is actually a strength of the program, I think they should make this more visible.

Articles. Adding links at the top of the articles page to each subject would enhance the value of this resource. In addition, providing the weekly Scramble tips, such as the previous sample one about how to adapt the plan for smaller families, would make absolute sense. This is possibly available now for subscribers, but I have found nothing to indicate that this is so.

General Appearance. This relates to the first topic of website improvements, but while those ideas were specific, this is a general, vague feeling. I don't like the website. I noted that from the onset as The Scramble's biggest problem. I have had trouble identifying what I don't like about the site, but it's blatant enough that I think they should spend some time with a website designer and see if they can figure out what they could do to improve the appearance. This was the best of the five programs that I looked at, but the appearance is such that it has made me hesitant to make a commitment to them.

It might be the huge font on page such as the "buzz", the odd blank spaces between things, maybe the color scheme, or the odd positioning, but something is very aggravating. Why is the quote on the home page positioned at the absolute top of its framing box with large space below and quotation marks that seem out of line with anything escaping the frame? Why is there a huge space under the title of the main page? Why is the font used in basic narrative sections larger than any header or button anywhere else on the webpage? Why is there text in a green font that's very light?

In an interesting irony, the webpage given for the webpage designer just loads a red "x".

For fairness, the website is definitely useable, possibly excluding the FAQ. It's just not at the level that I would expect. Possibly, since the site has been around for five years, they just haven't updated it in which case it is actually nice for 2003. If this is the case, then they really need to suck it up, defy inertia and decide to make a change.


There are a plethora of companies in the meal planning software industry: Meal Designer, Daily Home Planner, e-Mealz, Meal Mixer, eMealsforyou, menus4moms, Menu Planning Central, Dinner Planner and more. Reviewing their sites, much less preparing a sample week, for each is a daunting task. The Scramble seems to meet our purposes, so rather than dedicating the next six months to trying others a week at a time, I am most likely just going to try The Scramble for a quarter. However, if there is a product that someone particularly likes and recommends, please let me know because I will take the time to try any recommended products.

Despite this plethora, I do believe that these is a position for someone to enter the market with a new subscription product and be highly successful by distinguishing themselves from the field and having a well-conceived web product. If you decide this person is you, let me know and I'll be happy to be a beta tester.

If you are lookingn for some more general information, reviews, Real Simple published an article in 2006 looking at 6 of the sites.

Bonus: I just saw that the sample menu for the Scramble has changed! Five different meals, five new sides and a new article. I don't know if they routinely change their sample meal, but if so, it's a brilliant idea to get more people to decide to subscribe. Provide a free sample one week out of each month and send notification of this update to opted in people and they could be golden.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Web appearance and style definitely matters...

I'm beyond buried, but at least for once in my life I recognize this is a problem and am working to get a path out of it and to prevent this from happening again which will hopefully keep our whole division a little more coordinated as a bonus :-).

But here's my tidbit of thought for the day/week. The appearance of your website matters if you are trying to present a product or service. Really for any website, but especially if this is something you are incorporating as a part of your livelihood.

I really support the people who are not only willing to admit this, but acknowledge that their current webpage isn't what they want to be presenting to the world and more significantly, put in the work to make a change and defeat the danger of apathy breed by years of appearing that way.

We have a good friend who provides private dog training, classes specifically tailored to companion dogs and provides high-quality boarding through her company, Buddy's Chance. She's actually had the site since earlier days when she provided pet-sitting services, so she definitely had years of familiarity with the status quo.

Courtesy of the wayback machine, here's how the general layout of her website looked on April 5, 2007:
Now, here's how it looks as of today:

Serious improvement, don't you think?

She's someone who appears to be a natural at resisting the allure of the status quo for the satisfaction of her desires including quitting her law firm to follow her passion and love of dogs. It's a different attitude from what I often see in the world in general including myself and I really find it refreshing.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Why do I keep repeating the same dumb cycle?

Many of you, essentially everyone who's actually potentially reading this, know that my lungs are a mixed bag. I'm incredibly blessed by their size, their power, their capacity, etc. I can hit 130+% on most lung function measures when things are good. On the other hand, things often aren't entirely good. I have issues with inflammation, hyper-reactivity, swelling and gunk that are known to pull my function down. This is something I really should know.

The plus side is that until I get to exceptionally bad levels of inflammation or infection, my baseline function is so good that I'm able to function pretty dang well. The down side is that unless I get to absurd levels of inflammation, I am able to keep functioning and am not forced to even notice consciously that I'm having issues much less take action to deal with it.

Between my pulmonologist and my allergist, they have identified a great regimen of drugs that work not only to keep me functioning at my top levels, but to allow me to engage in pretty much any activities I want to with minimal potential side effects. Take a tiny pill in the morning, two at night, do two inhalers twice a day and nebulize one drug and I'm pretty much guaranteed to be problem-free unless I have an infection. The problem? Me.

I start feeling better lungwise every year around May and then I drop a drug here and a drug there until I suddenly haven't taken anything in a month. I think I'm fine. In fact, I'd normally keep thinking I was fine until September or so. In reality, I'm adequate, but definitely not fine or ideal. Why do I do this? I really think it's just laziness. It really isn't much of a hassle to stay on my meds. The only one that presents a problem at all is the nebulized drug and my doc is okay with me just doing it weekdays and I can do it at my desk while I'm sorting my email and looking through my workload for the day. It's just easier to not. And since some of the drugs have lasting effects and I start from a top-notch shape, the descent into problems is gradual and I just don't notice it.

I'm writing this because I went to the allergist for a regular appointment today. Just an annual because you have to do those to have them keep seeing you happily when you have problems. I walked in with a declaration to the PA, who I absolutely love, that I was healthy and that was something she wasn't used to seeing. Well, she subtly made me keep talking and moving and things throughout the appointment including a lung function test and by the end of the appointment, got me to admit that I was not in great shape. That I was experiencing distracting, though clearly not life-threatening, tightness in my chest at least a couple times a week. They have a brilliant computer system that allows her to fax the prescriptions straight to my pharmacy while I'm sitting there, so she faxed over fresh prescriptions for all the drugs after getting me to state that I should be taking them. Not only that, but she loaded me a hefty bag of samples of everything I'm supposed to be taking so I could go ahead and get restarted right then.

Well, it's only been one night, but based on how I felt waking up this morning, this is why I was so tired and just puttering. I wasn't breathing as well as I can and so my sleep was no where near as a high a quality as it should be. I had actually gotten to the point this week that I was trying to figure out what doctor to talk to in order to get serious amphetamines or something. Who would have thought that the solution was just to respirate to my full potential?

So, props to talented, patient medical professionals who really care about their patients and how they are and are willing to work to fix a situation even with the patient doesn't see that it's there.

I'll leave the debate about whether I should have an Epipen within a foot of my person at all times for another day. Medically, I know the answer, but I really do think you have to balance that with other life issues.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

0 for 0 in 0 (for now!)

Note: don’t start what’s hoped to be a new habit or project on a Monday. Just doesn’t work. Flat out and it will work better if I accept the limits of my current commitments. Paul and I go out together each Monday night while Rebecca babysits and between that and Trajan’s ISR lessons, I end up with negative time.

You might have deduced from this introduction that I have not made progress in the 10 in 10 for 10. Not only did Monday not work, but I ended up having to go back to the office for several hours the next couple of nights. However, this is not me giving up on the idea, but I’m going to delay the start of it until a time that I’m in better shape to actually meet this goal.

This will not be immediate, because I have my hands full with a different project for the next few days. Between my frustration with Vista, my “affair of the heart” with the iPhone and discovering that my Dell laptop is one of the models that people have worked to adapt to Ubuntu, we decided to go ahead and order a MacBook Pro for me. It’s on a Fedex plane somewhere between here and California. The tracking says it will be here tomorrow, but based on the rate other parts of my order shipped, I’m expecting Monday. So, I’m busy going through the Dell machine (it’s under a year old) and backing everything up to our NAS drives because Paul can’t really go to work at converting the hardware to Linux until I’m sure I have everything off of it.

Also, I expect to be near hopelessly distracted over the next few days beginning as soon as I can download the iPhone 2.0 software. I have iTunes 7.7 and so I’m in the ready position and am just waiting for the 2.0 software. I know I could get a copy through other means, but I think I’ll just wait till it’s done in the automated fashion. I’m a sissy as evidenced by the fact that I’ve never jailbroken my phone.

On a final note, first night of the Scramble was a happy success. Not too many dishes, tasty and really hit the spot. Trajan LOVED the green beans. It was actually kind of scary the degree to which he liked them. They were pretty basic. Steamed in a skillet with oil, garlic and some lemon juice.