Category Archives: Health

Talking Trash: The Latest on My Garbage Situation

So last week we went to Cape May for two days (can’t miss too much Musikfest). The night before we left we made sure to take out any trash including questionable foods from the fridge, dog poo (my husband wishes this stuff was made of gold) etc. because the day we were leaving for the shore, Wednesday, was also garbage day.

We come home Thursday night to find the trash is still in the garbage cans. They never came. This is August mind you. So my husband calls and they tell him the truck broke down and they would be over as soon as possible. Thursday comes and goes, as does Friday. Saturday I’m sitting on the patio enjoying the last few days of my vacation but I’m not enjoying the aroma of rotting meat and dog shit. Nice.

I call one number for the trash people, the new one they gave my husband, and I get an answering machine telling me that anyone missed on Thursday or Friday was going to get picked up on Monday and that Wednesday people need to wait until the next Wednesday and that they would credit the account for the missed week. WTF??? So Thursday and Friday pick-ups only suffer a few days (which I acknowledge is a long time in August) while Wednesday people have to wait a week??? Last time I checked my calendar Wednesday came before Thursday or Friday. So what gives? My theory is that Thursday and Friday customers do not live on the southside. I’m willing to bet money on it.

So at this point I had enough of the answering machine, so I leave a not so nice message and call the number where people actually answer the phone. And they do. And they tell me that the truck was just now fixed and they would add us to the Monday list. Fine. I get off the phone and go back out to the patio. I get hit in the face with the stench of the garbage. I’m back on the phone. The good number. This time I get a machine. They know its me. So I tell them on my message that the more I think about this situation the less I understand why on Earth I need to wait until Monday if their truck is fixed now. Come tonight or Sunday morning. I also tell them while they are enjoying their Sunday off I have to sit here and smell garbage on the last remaining days of my vacation and I’m not liking it. I also tell them how I am tempted to pack the garbage up in my husband’s truck and dump it at their place so they can suffer with it and I don’t have to.

Ten minutes later my phone rings. It’s someone other than the person who I spoke to the first time. She immediately has an attitude telling me my message was inappropriate and she didn’t know where I was getting the information that the truck was fixed, it was not. I tell her “well, the other woman who answered at this number told me it was just fixed.” Silence. “Well we have sent you four invoices now with a new phone number on it. Stop calling this number.” (Nice, see that, changing the subject) Me: “I’m sorry I’m not studying your invoices to see if there are changes. I call this number because I tend not to get an answering machine when I do. And as a matter of fact, I have never received four invoices from you. You only recently began sending them (we pay 6 months ahead) because I have to beg for them.” Her “No, we sent you three” (oh…now it’s three?)

Then we went into this whole thing about how I should find another collector because I don’t pay my bills on time. I told her if I’m ever late it’s because I’m pondering if I should find a new hauler before I pay. I also told her I paid the last bill in about two weeks and that their due date is usually the day they send the bill or the day after which is ridiculous. We went back and forth about how they were giving us a special rate and how I should be more appreciative. I told her I never once asked for any favors and that if I got better service with a higher rate plan that I would take it. I also told her about how my garbage cans are left laying on the side-walk or thrown in my plants. That I never know what day of the week they are going to show up.

So then I told her that I hope that Bethlehem goes to city-wide collection soon. You can imagine that went over like a lead balloon. I told her about how wonderful it was when I lived in Allentown and they picked up twice a week. She was not amused. So she said, we are adding you to the list to pick up ASAP. (I wonder what other lists I got added to…)

So Sunday morning our garbage was picked up.

Here’s the picture of how we found our cans:

So the big question at home this morning was whether or not they would pick up today. I got the text from my husband today:

“Garbage assholes didn’t come and get the garbage”

Please Bethlehem. Enough is enough. I’m really tired of hiring and firing (or getting ripped off by) garbage haulers. But I tell you one thing. I am done with one truck operations. If you don’t have a fleet, I’m not hiring you. I’m not saying this is a cure-all either, I’ve had a bigger hauler in the past, I think they were the ones who told me my house was not there anymore.

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Horns – New Sustainable Restaurant Coming to South Bethlehem

During the heatwave this past weekend Hailey and I went for a walk through the sideside (yes, we are insane) and we stopped to peak in the windows of a new restaurant under construction at 123 West 4th Street near Play It Again Records. What immediately caught my eye were the two antique Singer sewing machine tables converted into small cafe tables and the old pictures leaning against the wall.

Hailey and I were quickly spotted by John Silvestera who took a break from working on the interior of his future restaurant to invite us in for a tour. The place was really cool. One of the first things I noticed once inside was where the place may have gotten its name…there were a few animal mounted heads on the wall, some with horns. The place has a rustic look, but not in any sort of Cracker Barrel way, definitely much cooler and darker. Aside from the Singer tables in the window there are wooden picnic tables (trust me, it works) and a coffee bar area under-construction. The coffee will be fair trade of course. John also said he was going to have a Chef’s table in the kitchen where lucky diners can get up-close to the action in the kitchen. Chalkboards across the wall in several areas will include the menu, specials, and one black-board is already devoted to defining some of the terms common to sustainable dining. He made his own lighting fixtures.

In the corner there is a big barrel with a vessel sink. John explained that instead of having water bottles people can either bring their own containers for free “super filtered” water or pay a small amount for a cup to fill up. The purpose is to encourage people to think about waste and ways they can be more green. I asked about take-out and the containers he’d be using and he’s on top of it already, it’s all green.

John and Horns are both welcome additions to the southside. In case you missed it, the Express-Times ran a story recently about how John came to the southside after being turned down by Easton. Easton’s loss is definitely our gain.

It was also refreshing to see work being done behind open glass. I wish more people would consider this. I realize it may steal some of the thunder by not having a big reveal once it’s all done but because he didn’t hide behind windows covered in craft-paper or newspaper he gets to interact with future customers now to get the buzz started. I’ve seen tweets since my visit from others who have been invited inside by John for a tour and I think that’s just so smart. I was actually chased off by peaking inside an open door when floors were being redone in the old McCorry’s building on 3rd Street. Really? You’re going to chase curious people away people showing interest before you even open? I just don’t get it.

Ok, sorry, back to Horns. John is hoping to have Horns open in early September. Check out some of pictures I took, though it doesn’t compare to seeing it in person. Go take a walk, look curious, maybe you’ll get a sneak peak too.

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You really, really like me…I swear this hasn’t gone to my head #winning #tigerblood

Thank you, thank you very much. In all seriousness I am so thankful for everyone who voted for my blog, although I feel kind of silly since I’ve only written a handful of posts over the short 3 months since I’ve started this thing. And I really do swear that I won’t let this go to my head.

So now that I’m officially an award-winning blogger I feel this great pressure to write more regularly…not to mention the pressure to be more funny…which people seem to enjoy reminding me of. Yet, when I look at the picture of me and my double chin tweeting away while fellow award winning blogger Jaime bursts with excitement as she wins her second award of the night, I am reminded that I need to continue my weightloss journey, which at the moment means I have less time to sit on my ass and write. The major problem? I am more likely to exercise if I get it out of the way in the AM, and that just so happens to be the same time that I do my “best” (using that term loosely) writing.

It’s not that I don’t have ideas, I have like 5 blog posts in my head right now (trust me, this was NOT one of them -hence all the rambling goofiness). But I’m a procrastinator and procrastinators love reasons to put things off. I’ll work on that I promise…tomorrow.

Speaking of procrastinating, that’s what I’m actually doing right now…I still have to write my next column for the Lehigh Brown and White that is due any day now. It will print this Friday. In the meantime, here’s a link to my last column about Becoming Part of the Community it includes some suggestions that not only could help Lehigh students but anyone in the Lehigh Valley feel more connected. If you are interested you can also see my first one here, as well as Part I and Part II of my columns on stereotypes and town-gown relations.

I had a little dilemma about this next column. I already created a “Lehigh Bucket List” a list of must-do’s before graduating from Lehigh but have not actually typed out the column (it’s all there still in my head). Then I saw a Lehigh student tweet out a request for ideas for a Lehigh Bucket List…for her article. I was originally bummed…I’m running out of ideas here. But then realized that I was specifically asked to write my column based on my view as a non-Lehigh student, as the “token-townie” as I call myself. So I’m writing it anyway. She will write from a student’s standpoint, I’ll offer my local insight. My next dilemma was to decide if I should look at the student’s article in order to reduce some redundancy (assuming her’s prints before mine). But then I decided not to because I don’t want it to affect what’s already written in my mind. What are the chances they will really be that similar? I guess we shall see. Who knows, maybe hers was actually for a journalism project and not even for the paper. I really have no idea.

This brings me to a possible topic for another blog post. Why do we sometimes get annoyed when someone “steals” your idea, even if they had no idea you were thinking of doing the same thing? It’s weird isn’t it? I don’t like it and I’m trying to cure myself of it…if that is possible. Maybe it is the disappointment that we really aren’t as original as we would like to think we are?

Ok…a little too deep for the BEST HUMOR COLUMN EVER.

So anyway…an update:

Still doing weight watchers, though I’m way too dependant on those extra weekly points. Only lost 4.2 lbs so far. Yes, I know muscle weighs more than fat. I can tell you that is not muscle in that double chin.

Still doing P90X and feel sooooo much better already. Why the hell did I stop in the first place?

Doing well with the running, keeping up and increasing my pace slowly but surely.

Still deciding on that perfect wrinkle cream.  Thank you all for the suggestions! For now I’m using up my free samples from Sephora that I had laying around. First I tried Miracle in a Jar from Philosophy (actually miracle in a tiny packet) and I didn’t see any miracles. Now I’m finishing up some Shiseido Bio-Performance Super Restoring Cream. The stuff seems to work but is a bit greasy. Probably won’t buy it, but I’ll keep using it until it is gone (it was a “deluxe” sample). Bonus: If you click on the link look at the links on the left of the page…there is a “Dick Page” link. I was like what the hell, but it turns out that’s the unfortunate name of their Artistic Director. Yes, I have the sense of humor of a 13 year old boy, ala Beavis and Butthead. But hey, you voted for me.

First Strides Starts This Week

In my continued effort to lose weight and get in shape I registered for First Strides which begins all over the Lehigh Valley this week. I’ll be at the Sand Island sessions, which start this Thursday.

Basically First Strides is a running program for women that is sponsored by  Lehigh Valley Hospital, Aardvark Sports Shop (Bethlehem), and The Finish Line Running Store (Emmaus). I participated two years ago and I’m determined to get back into running again so I joined up again this year.

Basically you meet up with a swarm of other women to run, in my case at Sand Island (one of my favorite running spots), each week. After a few weeks you break out into groups that run at a similar pace. Groups have names like Jaguars, Giselle’s, even Jack Rabbits. If there was a turtle group that would have been perfect for me. In all seriousness though it is a great way to meet people with similar goals and challenges.

But in all seriousness this is perfect for first timers and even experienced runners, especially if you need some motivation. You follow a program that gradually builds  in time and speed each week, switching between slow and fast intervals. Each week the fast intervals gets longer and the slow intervals gets longer. For newbies or people like me who are coming off of a hiatus you can walk the slow interval, and run the fast interval. If you are already running or are somewhat in shape you can run both intervals, slow run and fast run. The first week the run intervals are only ONE MINUTE long. Seriously, you can do this. Each week there is also homework, at first two additional runs before the next meeting, eventually three additional runs.  By the end of the 12 week program you are ready to run a 5K. For many in the group this will be a first 5K. It was mine 2 years ago and I survived (barely). And not because they didn’t prepare me, but because I didn’t always keep up with my homework. Now I know better and I WILL keep up with the homework this time.

You can even enter the program intervals into Runkeeper to help you with your homework runs. Hopefully you picked up the pro app when it was free in January. If not, it is worth every penny. The free app is also good, try it first and if you like it get the pro version.

There is still time to register on-line. Go to the First Strides homepage and click on the location you want to sign up for and then go to the registration area. They’ll ask if you want to join Active.com, unless you are really interested, skip that part, it costs extra and is not required for joining First Strides.

I also plan to work in a few P90X routines each week because I did notice running was much easier last summer when I was on the program. I still need to find my motivation again, I’ve been extra lazy in the morning lately, only getting in about 2 P90X workouts a week.

I also tend to think I can eat a lot more (more than burning off with exercise) when I’m active so I’ll also be on the weight watchers program during all of this to keep me in line. I managed to lose 3.2 lbs at my 2nd check-in. Woo-hoo. I’m hoping to earn my first 5 lb gold star this week. Fingers crossed – I was kind of bad this weekend – I’ve burned through my extra weekly points. I must say that I like the points plus program much better – I’m eating lots of fruits and vegetables instead of crappy pre-packaged foods with artificial ingredients just to make point calculations easy and points low.

Coming out of hibernation early

I always fall into a funk sometime in January and it generally lasts until about April when the days start getting noticeably longer and the weather gets milder. It’s probably seasonal affective disorder, but since I’ve never been diagnosed, I will just call it hibernation for now. I become extremely inactive, finding it hard to motivate myself to do much of anything but lay on the couch before and after work. But unlike bears…I eat throughout my hibernation. It’s a bad combination.

Well, this relatively milder weather has me thinking its time to come out early. Plus I really feel like crap. Every year I try to combat it in January, set up a plan to get out and exercise. I even tried blogging about this year to keep me motivated. I did OK in January, watched what I ate, even exercised a little, and I lost 10 lbs. Then the effect of the cold and the dark hit me hard. It has a power over me. The 10 pounds also returned.

I don’t mind it in December because of all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and really it’s not usually unbearably cold until maybe the very last week of December or the beginning of January. I can’t even get to the gym because I don’t even want to go out in the frigid tundra to get in the car and drive there. But it really is more than the cold. It really feels like there is a dark cloud o’funk (not the good Parliament kind of funk, the ugly depressing kind) over my head at this time of year.

But now, it’s not just the pounds that came back, it’s the pain. My back, neck and shoulder pain that P90X all but cured is returning. It’s time.

I’ve also signed up for Weight Watchers and it starts Thursday. I’m lucky that we have a “at work” program so there is no excuse for not going, it’s right there, no driving out in the cold. And the new points plus program sounds like what I was looking for, something that motivates me to make better choices in the quality of my food, rather than directing me toward pre-packaged, artificially sweetened, fake food choices that don’t taste good.

I’ll also be signing up for First Strides, a running program for women that I joined two years ago. I skipped last year because I was completing my capstone for my MBA and it was just too much. Well, as of the end of this month, I’ll be back. I plan on devoting an entire post on this in the next few days or so…stay tuned.

And also Thursday, tomorrow, I’ll be back on P90X. It’s a great program and while it is really hard it does greatly improve your fitness if you “bring it.” This is not a 10 minute three times a week “miracle.” You have to dedicate an hour or so a day to it. That’s what makes it hard to start. But every time I do it I feel so much better…just need to get over that initial hump.

One thing that I am giving up instead of picking up is the gym. I’m so not hitting my six-hour a month minimum I was supposed to hold myself to. I’m just not motivated to go and I don’t really like being there. I’d rather just run outside or do P90X in my own home.

An update on the Bee Pollen: it is no longer helping as much in the weight loss department, though I have pretty much kicked diet sodas and cut down my coffee intake to two small cups in the morning with no effort, which I attribute to Bee Pollen. My skin has also been good, I usually get little stress breakouts once in a while and I haven’t had any since I’ve been taking them (improved skin condition is also a claim). I think it is still controlling my appetite, I feel fuller, but my problem is my eating out of boredom came back…even though I feel full. So I’ll still take them for a while yet and try to be more aware of my fullness. Weight watchers should help this as well.

So once again…I am declaring that I am re-doubling my efforts….tomorrow.

Just one Stomach Flu Away from My Goal Weight

Ok, for me it is probably more like ten or so stomach flus. This has to be my favorite line from a movie I never saw. It’s from The Devil Wears Prada and I just think it is absolutely perfect, it cracks me up everytime I think about it. The significance of this line to this blog post will become clear in just a bit…

As I wrote earlier this month one of my resolutions for 2011 was to get back on a program and lose some weight. I started out on the right foot, started running again, did a couple P90X workouts and also went to the gym a few times, then I got sick. Or at least I thought I was sick. I have this horrible habit of stopping all forms of exercise when I’m sick and it always takes weeks months for me to get back on the program.

About a week before I got sick I went to the Chinese new age center on S. New St. on the southside-I forget the name, I just call it Kim’s (it is related to Kim’s Healing Center in Easton)- and picked up some of that Bee Pollen I was joking about in that same post. It’s actually called ZI XIU TANG FACE AND FIGURE CAPSULE, and there’s a lot more in it than Bee Pollen. Yes, the same stuff my facebook friend takes that she claims makes you “go” a lot. Oh and this same facebook friend informed me that she was disappointed that I didn’t come up with a funny code name for her in my last blog post. Apparently “facebook friend” is not funny enough for her. So from here out I’ll refer to her as Orange Julius.

So any way…I figured, well it will be like a cleanse, cleanses are good right?

At first I thought this side effect OJ was experiencing was an allergic reaction she was having (people with bee allergies SHOULD NOT TAKE bee pollen supplements) as I didn’t notice any unusual gastrointenstinal “effects” at all. What I did notice was that I was not eating out of boredom, and on my first day I was really bored…this would usually be a trigger for me.

The second day was a Monday and I usually drink a TON of coffee on weekdays, both before work and all day at work. By 10AM I had to put the kibosh on the caffeine because it felt like my mind was racing and I was all twitchy and nervous. It takes a lot of caffeine to have this effect on me. I continue to drink coffee but in significantly lower amounts since I started taking the bee pollen (at most 2 cups a day, as opposed to say anywhere from 5-10 cups). Herbal mint tea has replaced my coffee for the most part at work.

I was also addicted to diet soda. It doesn’t have to be caffeinated, it just has to not be water. Not a fan of water. I make myself drink it at work, but rarely drink it at home. I just noticed that it has been about two weeks since I’ve had any considerable amount of diet soda-about the same amount of time that I’ve been taking these pills. The last time I stopped drinking diet soda it was a conscience decision and it took considerable effort and it only lasted about 3 months. I don’t even consider it as an option now. I wasn’t expecting this effect, but I like it! I’ve been told by others, and I can absolutely confirm, that the Bee Pollen suplements will make you very thirsty and you should drink a lot of water so this sudden preference for water over soda works out great!

Throughout the first week I continued to notice that my portions were getting smaller with no thought or effort and I was getting full quickly and not constantly getting cravings. I still had an occasional sweet tooth craving but considerably less frequently and found that it took a lot less sweets to satisfy it. Could this really be the bee pollen…or is it just the fiber that in the supplement? My energy level as similar to when taking 5 hour energy, and the Bee Pollen supplements do contain B vitamins. I’m still not completely convinced that the appetite control and energy I’ve noticed are any more than a placebo effect, but hey if it works who am I to question it? And so far so good with the lack of explosive bowl movements right?

Not so fast. After about 6 days, suddenly my stomach felt weird and for two days I thought I had food poisoning and/or a stomach flu (and not the vomiting kind-I just thought that picture was hysterical-Welcome to New Jersey…Ha!). I didn’t think it could be the Bee Pollen Supplements, even though this was an expected effect, because I hadn’t had any issues the prior 6 days. So I just spent the weekend thinking I was sick and then it went away. This is also when my exercise program went down the toilet, pun intended.

Then it came back (the stomach flu-like symptoms, not the exercise program). Not nearly as severe and not every day. So I get a facebook message from Orange Julius asking how the Bee Pollen was going and I mention that it felt like I had a stomach flu for a couple of days but it wasn’t until a week into taking the pills and it went away (for the most part) so I didn’t think it was the pills. And she replied “oh, that’s the pills alright.” So it IS true.

So then I immediately thought, “oh god, does this mean I’m bulimic? Have I turned into the type of person who says things like ‘I’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight’?”

I decided to weigh myself to see if anything happened and if any of this was worth it. HOLY CRAP I LOST 10 pounds. About 5 of which were post-holiday pounds that I expected to drop rather quickly, another 2 post-P90X pounds that I put on after I stopped regularly using the program, but that still left me three pounds lighter than when I was on P90X!

But surely this must all be water weight and muscle that I lost right? My scale displays fat, muscle, and water mass percentages and after I stopped P90X my fat % started going up and my muscle % started coming down. But now my percentages were actually starting to reverse in the good direction and I haven’t completed a real workout in over a week.

So based on all of this, I’m learning to live with the “effects” of these bee pollen supplements. I’m just going to think of it as an on-going cleanse process and we’ll see what happens. OJ assures me it gets better.

I do intend to get back on the program with the exercise though. Especially now that I’m no longer addicted to Angry Birds.

Note: As always, I’m just sharing my personal experience and by no means am I recommending anyone to start taking these things.

Shopping updates: Sales and Closings

Haven’t written in a while…have a couple of ideas for posts but one of them requires me to take some pictures so I’m waiting for the weekend, about the only time I have access to daylight these days!

Also, there haven’t been a whole lot of new sales that I’ve been excited about…at least not enough to share.

But today I did see that Cleo’s on 3rd St., South Bethlehem is having a 25% off the entire store this week (Jan 13-22). This is a nice shop with jewelery, gifts and home decor. If you have had your eye on something or haven’t checked this place out yet, now would be the time.

Also, don’t forget that RunKeeper Pro is still available on iTunes for free until the end of this mont! It’s usually $9.99 so its a great deal. Even if you don’t run you should consider getting this app. It also tracks walks, biking, skiing, wheelchair, skating, and rowing.  No swimming, at least not until they make a waterproof iPhone. If you aren’t doing any of these things…you really should be….why not track your activity and see your progress over time?

Also, I’ve been reading about the legal troubles of Richard Leidich, who was the proprietor of Bergy’s, that is until he was charged with embezzling $99,000 from the Blue Mountain Community Library in Pen Argyl. So, Bergy’s  is closed. What the heck is Bergy’s you ask? It’s an old country store in the Wassergass. Wassergass? That is a section of Lower Saucon east of Hellertown, that connects to Bucks county to the south.

I write about Bergy’s basically because of childhood memories. When I had pet rabbits (which was during much of my childhood) I remember going to Bergy’s for their feed, and I always felt I was stepping back in history, like the store looked the same in then as it did when it opened (back in 1903). I also had friends in Wassergass growing up and we’d occasionally stop in. It’s one of those places you always hope to see make it. This isn’t the first time it has closed, I hope to see it come back again.

If anyone has any Bergy’s memories or history to share I’d love to read about it in the comments.