January 25, 2004

It MUST be Good

Have you noticed how EVERYTHING is 'clinically proven?'

Posted by heather at 09:09 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2004

Oh Lemon Tree, Oh Lemon Tree

No Southern California home (or apt) is complete without a citrus tree. We want to be complete, so we bought a lemon tree. Actually, we went to Lowe's on Saturday night to get some dirt for my container—I was going to plant our little Christmas tree (18" cyprus from Home Depot) in a container on our balcony—and I saw a lady walking out with a lemon tree. I had been thinking of finding something to plant on our little balcony (in addition to the little Christmas tree...it is nice, but not very colorful), and the lemon tree looked like fun, plus, Bob is always making his delicious lemon pies, so having our own stock of lemons sounded like a good idea.

Bob & I found a healthy-looking Eureka lemon tree and brought it home. I planted it this weekend, then got online to find Eureka lemon-growing tips (yeah, I know, wrong order). The first thing I found is that we probably shouldn't have bought a Eureka lemon tree for a container—they like the real ground. Then I read conflicting information when to plant it, whether or not it will grow in a container and how many lemons it will produce. Oh well. It has 1 little lemon sprout (is that what's it's called??) right now. I am hopeful that it will survive the shock of being planted. Check back for growth updates.

lemon tree and container

Posted by heather at 07:19 AM | Comments (4)

January 17, 2004

Online Diet & Fitness Journal

The first time I ever recorded what I ate was in 9th grade at Charles Wright Academy as an assignment for my biology class. I found the assignment only mildly interesting.

Later, around age 18/19, I counted my calories for a couple weeks just to see how my eating patterns were affecting me. It was a great eye-opener to see just how that 1 Coke a day affected my overall calorie count, and subsequently, my weight.

In 1996, I took a human nutrition class in college. In this class we used a computer program to record everything we ate. It had cool graphs to show how well we were meeting our nutrition requirements. My biggest complaint about the program was the limited amounts of food in the database and the inability to customize foods. Still, it was great fun to try to get my RDA of various nutirents by eating healthy. (Amazing how there is so little room left for empty calories when you are trying to meet your RDA on a 2000 calorie/day diet.)

Then around 2001-2002, as I started working out everyday at the office gym, I came across an online version of a diet & fitness journal on webmd. It worked a lot like the program I had used in college, but this one also had the exercise component, so I could see if I was burning more calories than I ate.

Last week I went back to webmd and found that they are now charging for access to their online diet & fitness journal. Bummer. I want to use it, but not bad enough to pay for it. So I did more searching. I found a great little online diet & fitness journal: www.fitday.com.

So far, I'll have to say I'm quite impressed with this free site. Although the reports aren't as wonderful as I would like, the food database is fantastic! This is the first database I have found that contains the funky foods I eat, like sprouted wheat bread, almond butter, and rice crackers. In addition, you can create customized foods, so the nutirition facts can be tweaked to match your food exactly as the package says.

The activity database is pretty impressive too. Although I can't find a stairmaster exercise that burns as many calories as the stairmaster in my gym says I'm burning, I just crank up the time spent to get the same result. The activity database even has activities such as "making bed" and "Fishing from river bank and walking." Pretty funny.

Overall, the site is not perfect, but it the food and activty database is sufficient for most users; the interface is pretty usable (I didn't read any instructions or 'take a tour,' but I figured it out pretty quickly on my own, which makes it pretty usable in my book); and the price is right: free.

If you are interesting in seeing how many calories you are consuming vs burning and how much of the US RDA you are getting in your diet, I would recommend you give FitDay a try. Let me know what you think.

Posted by heather at 12:50 PM | Comments (2)

January 06, 2004

Guest Bloggers

Welcome to kathy_o'quigley, one of Wisehawk's guest bloggers. If you have something you want the world to know about, send me an email at heather [at] wisehawk [dot] com and I will (most likely) set you up as a guest blogger. Remember, you are always welcome to comment on any postings that pique your interest.

Posted by heather at 07:22 PM | Comments (1)

January 05, 2004

My Obesity Rant

Bob and I woke up this morning at 6:20 to go work out. Were we excited about getting out of bed at that hour? No. Would we have rather slept another 40 minutes? Yes. Why did we do it? Because we have to. OK...we really don't have to. We can join the 65% of Americans who are overweight or obese. We can have added health issues like diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and a host of others.

Living a healthy lifestyle isn't always easy. Yes, I will admit, it is easier for some than others. That's life though—we all have our battles to fight. It is much easier to drive through McDonald's on your way home from work with 3 screaming kids in the back seat than to cook a nutritious dinner at home. It is easier to turn on the TV after dinner than to take a walk around the neighborhood with your pet/family/friend. It is easier to drive that half-mile or mile to run errands than it is to walk. Some of the best things in life don't come easily.

I am tired of reading how obesity is someone else's fault: fast food restaurants, the food manufacturers, television, the government. The simple fact is, unless you are part of an extremely small minority, the calories you burn must be more than the calories you consume or you will get fat. You are the one who chooses how much food to put in your mouth and how much time you spend exercising. Only you can be responsible for your choices.

"But I just LOVE my daily [insert favorite junk food here]!" Fine. Just take an extra stroll around the neighborhood that day. "But I really just want to sit on the couch and watch TV." Ask yourself: How is this going to improve my life? Do you want your children to say, "She only lived to age 48, but she saw every Friends episode 3 times," or do you want to be having coffee with your friends at 58?

Posted by heather at 05:50 PM | Comments (1)

January 04, 2004

The Season to Give

I used to be the "fun" aunt in my family, and vowed never to give socks or underwear to my nieces and nephews for Christmas. This year, I caved in and gave pj's. They have so many toys already, and I find it kind of dilutes the joy of giving when you see the gift you lovingly selected trampled underfoot soon after it's opened. I'm at the point where I'm ready to give less so they can learn to enjoy it more when they do get something special.

For anyone looking for an alternative to giving "stuff", I read about a unique idea for a registry: whatgoesaround.org

Posted by kathy_o'quigley at 06:20 PM | Comments (2)

My Penguin Dream Come True!

I got to pet a penguin!! We went to Sea World today and went on the Penguin Experience Tour. It was only an hour long, and half of that was spent at the sharks, but the 30 minutes with the penguins was great! We got to see some chicks and we got to pet a penguin. We also got to stand in the doorway of the penguin exhibit and pet more penguins! You can check out the pictures in our Wisehawk Photo Gallery.

A note for anyone planning to visit Sea World—we highly recommend you come this time of year. There were no lines, no crowds and the weather was beautiful!

Posted by heather at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)

January 03, 2004

Color Change

Since Christmas was over, I figured it was time to change my Christmas penguin image. I used my limited skills to change them into "winter penguins." If I get too many complaints about the obnoxious color combination, I may give in and change it.

Posted by heather at 06:55 PM | Comments (1)

Turning Analog into Video

For Christmas, Santa brought me a new camcorder. (The little Sony I bought in 1993 finally died, which wasn't so bad since it was analog anyway.) It isn't the 'must have' Mini DV format because the main purpose in owning the camera is to convert my 20+ Hi8 tapes to home DVD movies. I figured the cost to have someone do the work for me or to buy a gadget specifically for analog to digital conversion was the same price as the Sony TRV350, and this way I get the bonus of the camera to use for a least a few more years.

If I were one to make New Year's Resolutions, I would resolve to have all of my Hi8 tapes converted by year-end; however, since I am so far from even starting the first 2 steps in this process, I am fairly confident I won't get everything done by this time next year.<sigh>

For starters, I need to figure out what I'm doing. We played around with analog conversion a bit last spring with a borrowed camera, and the results were less than spectacular. I will be spending a lot of time online trying to figure out the best way to go about this. I'll likely start over at The Tong Family Blog where Rich has some pretty good info to get me started. I may just have to go over to Connie's dad's house since he is right up the road from me...

The second part of this adventure involves actually finding my old Hi8 tapes. I am 99% certain they aren't in the apartment anywhere, so that leaves 2 places—storage #1 or storage #2. If they are in storage #1, I won't find them until we move. Yes, it is that bad.

In the meantime, if you have any advice for me I would love to hear it. The comment line is open now...

Posted by heather at 06:50 PM | Comments (1)