Archive for the 'health' Category

The More You Know: Sinuses

My sinuses have been achy and throbbing for the last week. I hate not feeling 100% and was thinking from an anatomical perspective, sinuses don’t make sense. So, because it’s how I roll, I googled “What purpose do the sinuses serve?” Answer:
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A variety of theories have been proposed:

  • The sinuses act as ‘air-conditioners;’ they filter and humidify the air.

  • The sinuses lighten the weight of the skull.
  • The sinuses are ‘crumple zones.’ In severe facial trauma, the facial skeleton is crushed; this absorbs energy that would otherwise be transmitted to the cranial cavity and brain. In a similar fashion, automobiles are designed so that the energy from a collision is absorbed by the car body, but the energy transmitted to the passenger cabin is minimized.
  • The sinuses are resonance chambers (echo chambers tuned to a specific frequency), which change the characteristics of spoken voice.

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I still don’t think they make a lot of sense and would prefer not to have such a frequent point of failure in my life. Not that eliminating them is an option. ;)

Source: American Rhinologic Society (No, they don’t study rhinoceri.)

Posted on Monday, December 27th, 2010 by Jeri
Under: health | 3 Comments »

Daily Gratitude: Mom

I’m not a fan of the holidays, and Seattle’s seasonal gloomy weather tends to make my mood worse. I’m frustrated by the holiday obligations, the family tug-o-war, the unnecessary consumerism, and the obligatory cheer (which I lack).

So, my new goal is to find (and post) a daily December gratitude. I’d like to control my attitude and be a bit less of a Grinch.

So today, I’m thankful for my mom’s excellent health. As some of you may know, she’s a longtime cancer survivor, and at 77 years old, has the energy and vitality of someone 20 years her junior. She went in this week for her annual medical screening and, again, all results were excellent.

Go, mom! You’re living right and I’m grateful for you and your continued wellness.

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Note: the amazing and brilliant Janiece and Carol Elaine are doing a month of gratitude too – please join us!

Posted on Wednesday, December 8th, 2010 by Jeri
Under: family, gratitude, health | 2 Comments »

Fitness Confession

Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.
It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times.
Come, yet again, come, come.

     ~Rumi

I actually really enjoy exercise, but I am an idiot.

I was a high school and college jock, a swimmer, and pretty much grew up in the water. When I stopped swimming after college, I started gaining weight. When I start swimming again, I lose weight. It’s a pretty simple equation, really.

Of course, with an adult life and priorities, I can never again spend the 3 ½ to 4 hours a day in the water I spent as a young adult, but still, I can easily invest an hour in my health and sanity, and most importantly – I really like doing it.

I also like walking. Hiking. Bicycling. Yoga. Weightlifting. Rowing and kayaking. The only thing I don’t like is cardio machines – they bore me silly – although I can talk myself into rowing or doing elliptical for an intense 20-30 minutes in a pinch.

Anyway, this spring, in the onslaught of knee problems, bronchitis, vacation, and project ramp-up, I stopped swimming and never got back into it. *whacks self on the forehead* That was pretty stupid because a project like the one I’m on now really requires some extra stress management help.

As a result I regained a pants size, am regularly chewing my nails to nubs, and am through the roof with stress and anxiety. Of course, that kind of stress is normal a month before go-live on a project. I’m not sure even running half marathons would cure that.

Some friends have started an informal accountability group online, on twitter, hashtag #akmoveit. Our goal is to exercise at least 3x a week for 45 min. For each session missed, we forfeit $3 to the pool. We haven’t really determined time period or an empiric measure for most consistent exerciser, but whoever that person is will win it. (I have no illusions it will be me!)

So, right now, I’m walking again. And I may do a yoga session or two if I can find a piece of carpet that’s not covered with boxes or pet hair. Once I get settled in my new place, I’ll join the neighborhood Y and start swimming again – the Y is close, the hours are long and the facility quite nice.

Really, I have no excuse for not doing something so very, very good for me, especially since it’s an activity that I actually rather like. As I said, I’m an idiot.

Quote thanks to the amazing & well read Karen S. Thanks!

Posted on Thursday, August 26th, 2010 by Jeri
Under: exercise, health | 4 Comments »

Care and Feeding of your Extrovert

My excellent friend and perennial Internet crush Eric tweeted an interesting article on how to be friends with an introvert. It’s definitely food for thought.

It requires a companion piece, though, on “Care and feeding of your extrovert.” Or, “Extrovert – narcissistic and needy?”

Those on the extroverted end of the continuum (like me) tend to require a little patience from those who are, well, not of the same persuasion. Still, we’re worth it – adopt an extrovert and you may find you have a friend for life!

Talkative and expressive. Outgoing people are naturally talkative and emotionally, physically expressive. Their dynamic range is considerable; they talk with their hands, their arms, their whole body. Not only do they enjoy talking, they require it for their sanity; when things are crazy, they verbally process and analyze issues and questions of the day. This need for verbal processing, for someone to talk to, sometimes makes extroverts seem a bit needy.

Enjoy hugs and affection. Extroverted people tend to be more casually physically affectionate. They casually hug, and touch you on the arm, the shoulder, the hand, while talking. They may walk a little too close, even sit right next to you. To them, this creates camaraderie, while to an introvert, it’s an invasion of personal space.

Prefers people to toys. Extroverts almost always prefer people to toys, and when they do enjoy those toys, it’s within the context of social implementation. When they indulge in the latest phone and the latest camera, they’re using ‘em to connect with people. You’re not very likely to find an extrovert choosing a book over a social outing, or online gaming over a dinner party.

Are interested in new people and places. Extroverts enjoy meeting new people and mingling in groups — the same kind of scenario that strikes your average introvert as fairly painful. They also tend to choose a new restaurant, a new club, or a new travel destination over revisiting the tried, true and familiar.

Extroverts find identity & energy in social contact. An extrovert takes Descartes one step further – the introvert’s mantra is “I think, therefore I am” but the extrovert believes “I interact, therefore I am.” Social interaction provides the extrovert with validation, energy and justification and when he/she can’t find someone to talk to, verbally process with, it can be uncomfortable and frustrating.

Of course, friends of all personality types can enjoy spending quality time together (often over pizza and beer), enjoying music, sports or the outdoors, or other common interests. It is especially important to train an extrovert well, keep them from jumping up on you and on your furniture, and have their hips and joints checked regularly by your veterinarian be patient with them.

Note: this post is dedicated to my many fine introverted friends. You know who you are. :)

Posted on Sunday, August 15th, 2010 by Jeri
Under: communication, health | 5 Comments »

The Good Girl

I learned to be a good girl early in life. When I took care of everyone else, didn’t rock the boat, followed all the rules and met my parents’ high standards, I stayed out of trouble and earned the occasional grudging nod of acceptance.

I got married a couple of months after college and settled down. I was a good wife, supportive and enabling, tolerating it all and cleaning up messes as soon as they were made. I earned a good living and used it to support the family.

I had my first baby three years after the wedding, and my second three years after that, both on schedule. I was a devoted mom, putting my kids first and working long hours to both support them and spend quality time with them.

I finally divorced my ex-husband after nine years of his compulsive financial irresponsibility, not for myself, but when I began to feel my children’s safety and security were threatened by it. It cost me my faith.

A couple of years later I married Bryan, who I adored and tried to be an exemplary wife to. He was conservative, responsible, kind and loving and I tried to take care of him and the boys in every way. I was a good wife and mom, I had a good job, and constantly strove to be conservative and respectable and not rock the boat.

Then a year ago I lost Bryan, and with it a large part of my identity – wife. Loved one. Partner in a stable, responsible home. Instead, I had to try to figure out who I was, when I wasn’t busy taking care of everyone and trying to meet everyone else’s standards as wife, mom, employee, daughter.

Who am I? I am still a caretaking, nurturing type – that hasn’t changed. There’s nothing I like better than truly helping someone, preferably behind the scenes, with a hug, some long term support, an act of love, or anonymous generosity.

I am not, however, quite the good girl I’ve tried to pass myself off as for so many years. I do like to rock the boat. I firmly believe that “What the hell?” is often the right decision, and that I would, indeed, like to give ‘em something to talk about. I’m creative and artistic. Passionate about what I believe in. Very geeky. A little bit edgy and nihilistic. And more than a little bit hedonistic.

In the process of growing up a little this past year, I got healthier and set some interesting fitness goals. I changed the way I dress, a little curvier and punkier, becoming a shoe & jewelry addict in the process. I pierced my ears a few times and now wear colorful jewelry. I got my first tattoo, an ankle bracelet memorial.

The tattoo, in particular, is an interesting rejection of the good girl ethos. When I grew up, only sailors and bikers had tattoos. They were just not commonly worn, especially by women. Now, of course, for younger generations, body modification is a frequent rite of passage. As an artist, as a bit of a rebel, as a woman seeking beauty and meaning in my life, the act of permanently inking my skin with something significant is an important freedom for me.

So, here’s to shedding the old, ill-fitting good girl skin and finding one that fits better! I wish all of you a similar epiphany on your journey.

Posted on Monday, March 29th, 2010 by Jeri
Under: creativity, health, rant | 10 Comments »