Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Think you are above addictions? Think you don't have an addictive personality? I always thought that until I started taking a closer look at my life. Know what I'm addicted to? Coffee for one... which I'm trying to curb and replace with more healthy tea choices but is mostly a losing battle. The label "Possessions" covers just about everything else I'm addicted to. I am addicted to my Blackberry - don't think I could live without it even if it goes for days and weeks without actually ringing, I must have immediate and instantly gratifying access to my email. I'm addicted to books - if I didn't have a book in my purse and several more lying about the house to pick up on any given whim, I would think that life had come to a screeching halt. I'm addicted to movies - I don't watch much TV but man, take away my movie watching on either the big or small screen and I will be hurting. I'm addicted to my way of life - to think about leaving my home with all its quirks that I want to change or improve and I am sad. I'm addicted to the neighbors next door - knowing that their schedule is pretty much the same day after day and that I could walk outside and most likely find them in the yard to shoot the breeze with is pretty great and I wouldn't want to give it up. I'm addicted to the company of my husband and daughter - as much as I like to read which lends itself to a lot of alone time, if we are all home at the same time and don't interact I am sad. Goes to show that addictions are not just for hard drugs, cigarettes or alcohol anymore. What are you addicted to? Think hard... you may not like the answers!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Had an interesting conversation tonight at the neighborhood book club.... We were discussing "The Book Thief" which is a novel about Germany during WWII. Inevitably, the conversation turned to that of war. Of course, being surrounded by flaming red Republicans, most everyone was saying that it was "right" of America to take over and kick butt then as well as now. I tried (like HELL) to bite my tongue but in the end I couldn't help but point out that no matter our reasoning for going and invading Iraq - which I personally opposed from the very beginning - we always go too far. It isn't enough to simply rid a country of a leader - be it Hitler or Saddam Hussein - who was terrorizing his people. No, we have to overstay our welcome and try to force the culture to adopting our way of life. Which, IMO, is exactly where we went wrong in Iraq. Fundamentally, we will never "win" there, because our criteria for a job well done is to have their culture completely converted to the American way of life - which is why they are on the brink or knee-deep in a civil war depending on the specific region. At what point does it all become pointless and not worth the cost of the lives of Americans or Iraqi's? And at what point does the world begin to view our leader(s) as they did Hitler or Hussein? Bottom line, the Germans in the early 19th century thought that Hitler was a great leader and it was only slowly over time that he got to the insanity of the Holocaust. What makes us different now as we watch our civil liberties slowly whittled away and told it is for our own good to "protect" us?
Thursday, August 7, 2008
I know, I know... what a cliche that I'm reading the Twilight Saga but I'm telling you don't knock 'em until you try 'em! I just devoured the 756 glorious pages of the fourth and (supposedly) final installment of the series by Stephenie Meyers in 4 days. I resisted like any mature fiction reader would when told that "you just have to read" a novel written for the teen market. It took my sister and several others several months of hounding me last summer and I finally gave in and took the first one on loan from my sister last October. It started out a bit slow but after 50 pages it grabbed me and I haven't been able to put them down - more often than not having to force myself to stop in the wee hours of the morning so I'm not a zombie at work. (Thank GAWD for coffee!!!) I read "Twilight" and immediately opened "New Moon" because I couldn't wait to see how it continued. I ended up getting my own copies because after the first one I couldn't wait to be next in line on the rotation list for loans within the little circle of readers who were passing it around. I had "Eclipse" on hand already when I finished the second and then had to wait an agonizing 9 months for the fourth, "Breaking Dawn" to be released. And, I have to say that (other than Stephen King's conclusion of The Dark Tower Series) this is the one book I've known the release date of and actually purchased it ON that date as a premeditated act. If you're looking for Pulitzer Prize level writing, you won't get it. But, if you're looking for a new twist on an old theme (vampires - could it get any older than the undead?) that is so fresh and interesting then this is the series for you. Can't wait for the movie... although we all KNOW that the book is always better than the movie!
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Seven simple words: Eat food, not a lot, mostly plants. That's Michael Pollan's Eater's Manifesto and the premise of this remarkable little book about getting back to eating real food and solving the health problems that plague the American culture. So, I loved Pollan's previous book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and couldn't wait to read this follow-up which was touted as taking his vast research and putting it in more personal terms of how we eat. I was amazed at what a great book this was. Easy to read, sensible and sane concepts and very easy to manage suggestions of how to be more healthy Americans. Ever wonder why every other culture on the planet eats contrary to what our "experts" say we should eat and yet don't have the problems with obesity and diabetes and heart disease that we do in America? Well, this little book will open your eyes. Did you know that most of what we purchase in the grocery stores couldn't even be labeled as food until the '70's when the FDA and Congress overturned a rule that said if it was imitation food products that it had to be labeled as such? The first part, Eat Food, of his manifesto is amazingly simple in concept and yet pretty hard to do if you don't pay attention to what you are really eating. The second part, Not A Lot, is also pretty simple in concept until you take a real look at food portions and compare our eating habits as a nation with other cultures. There's something to be said about quality not quantity that will have lasting health benefits. And finally, Mostly Plants, shows how what we eat and how it has changed over time has become so different than what our bodies really have the capacity to handle - which explains why so many of us are fat and why so many of us get sick. He wraps it up with some great AND EASY rules of thumb to navigate our plethora of food choices and hopefully put people on a road back to the health we enjoyed before industrialization of food without having to leaving civilization to do it. If you've ever wanted to get a glimpse of the topic but didn't want all the science, this is a great place to start! You'll be hitting the farmers market and screaming "no high fructose corn syrup" with the best of us in no time...