Archive for August, 2010

Mercury in Retrograde Woes

August 29, 2010

We seem to be having an appliance meltdown at our house. Sure, the little things always go; the clock radio ceased to go off at the required time, the handle fell off the garlic press, and we have broken more glasses than we currently own. But this week, the big things went too.

First it was the refrigerator. The repairman was dispatched and gave us a quote for $1200 to replace the compressor, and a suggestion to consider getting a new refrigerator.  A little on-line research and a few phone calls turned up some substantial sticker shock. A new basic model stainless steel Sub Zero refrigerator now costs $8000, plus tax. Say what? We explored other options and discovered that you can’t fit a Sears Kenmore peg in a Sub Zero hole.

Next, we booked Miele to come in and take a look at our very slow yet very hot clothes dryer.  Verdict pending.

I tried to call home to see how things were going and got a recording stating that the line was out of service. Apparently, the Verizon guy came to work on the cable T.V. service, and cut off the phone line in the process. Add cable and telephone to the growing list of problems.

Trying to see the last remaining glass on the shelf as “half full” I remarked that at least we were busy work-wise.  Just as Spencer finished a big job and booked 2 more, one of the studio computers went down. You know, the one that the digital camera runs off, of course. The Apple Genius declared it dead of natural causes (5 years is ancient in Macintosh terms) and steered him to the sales floor.

Fearful of the whole house falling down, forcing us to live in a Sub Zero refrigerator box on the street, I searched for the root of our problem.  It seems, that Mercury is in retrograde. Yikes!

For years I have heard people refer to Mercury being in retrograde as the root of life’s disruptions. But I was not aware that the planetary forces actually had an effect of appliance function.

This particular retrograde (the time in which Mercury appears to travel in reverse through the sky) is in Capricorn, the Earth sign, and as chance may have it, my astrological sign as well.  Mercury officially turned retrograde on August 20, and will not turn direct until September 12.

According to California Psychics, now is a terrible time to negotiate contracts, file a lawsuit, travel without a back-up plan, start a new job, or, you guessed it, buy or repair electronics!  In our case, short of living urban prairie style, we are going to need to do something about our appliance situation before a major planetary realignment.

They do however recommend reviewing the past and using this reverse energy to re-apply for a job, rewrite your resume, recontact people from the past, and do research.

Currently, we have restored cable, telephone and refrigerator service.  We replaced our clock with another one in the house with a reliable alarm, and are patiently awaiting the dryer repairman next week.  With only 2 more weeks of Mercury in retrograde to go, we are hunkering down and toughing it out. Until the next one that is, expected November 24.

Sitting Ducks

August 25, 2010

For those of us with jobs that keep us seated for a good part of the day, this is news you might want to take sitting down.
According to a recent article in the New York Post which references the Institute of Medicine and Public Health’s recent poll, we spend an average of 56 hours a week sitting at our desks, in our cars, or lounging potato style on our couches.  This has triggered a new medical study on inactivity physiology, which explores the effect of this sedentary lifestyle on our health.

We are designed to stand upright and move. When we sit for extended periods of time, our bodies start to shut down at the metabolic level.  Circulation slows and fewer calories are burned.  According to the study, for every 2 hours spent sitting the chance of contracting diabetes goes up by 7%. Risk for heart disease rises when enzymes that keep blood fats in check become inactive.

Remaining seated has also been found to cause tightening and weakening of the spine and other key muscles.

But that is not the scary part.  Even if we work out daily, we are not immune to these effects! Apparently, 10 hours a day of being sedentary can out weigh the 30-60 minutes of exercise that is recommended for good health.

You mean I work out everyday and walk 1-2 hours a day for transportation purposes, and I am still considered sedentary?  Wow, that’s harsh news!
So what do we do? Find ways to move.  Get up every hour and stretch a little.  Walk down the hall to your colleague instead of emailing or calling them.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Stand up when you talk on the phone.  Take a short walk at lunchtime if you can.  Simple movement will get the blood flowing and move the larger muscle groups and prevent tightness.

Nothing will replace a good vigorous workout for health benefits, weight management and mood enhancement, but random acts of fitness just might save our lives.

“Move it or lose it”!!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week

August 21, 2010

Watermelon is a great summer food. It’s low in calories, and high in re-hydrating water content. Here is a super easy and delicious salad using this refreshing fruit. While many recipes call for onions, olives and even tabasco sauce, we prefer to keep it simple and let the fresh flavors shine though!

Watermelon Salad

Cube and seed watermelon

Sprinkle with lime juice

Add chopped fresh mint leaves

Mix in crumbled feta cheese and toss to blend.


photo: Glasshouse Images

Early Childhood Development

August 18, 2010

According to a study by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the number of 7-year-old Caucasian girls developing breasts has doubled since 2004, putting them in line with African American girls,who develop at a faster rate.

What’s up with that?!! This gives new meaning to the subject of  “early childhood development”.

Right on the heels of last week’s articles about the rise of 9 to 12 year olds getting waxing services, this is reason to be concerned.

Researchers are attributing this early puberty to obesity. Estrogen is stored in fat, and the excess estrogen is triggering children to develop at a much faster rate.

Other possible explanations include environmental exposures to chemicals, including pesticides and BPA, commonly found in plastics, as well as some personal care items.

We have spoken at length on these pages about the risks of plastic bottles, and children’s use of cosmetics at an early age.  It begins with early pubescence (7 year olds are just entering 2nd grade this year people!) and the future even more complex risks are still as yet unknown.

Eating organic and hormone free foods, and laying off the plastic bottles could be a step in the right direction.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Summer Streets

August 17, 2010

Yet another reason to love New York….Summer Streets!

For 3 consecutive Saturdays in August, Park Avenue is closed to traffic from 7a.m. to 1 p.m. from the Brooklyn Bridge all the way up to the 72nd Street entrance to Central Park. There are breathtaking moments, such as cruising up the ramp above Grand Central Station and through the Met Life Building.; spinning around the spectacular Central Park loop that leads up to Harlem, and riding (huffing and puffing most likely) over the Brooklyn Bridge.

If you are a cycler, a blader, a runner or just a casual stroller, this is an incredible way to enjoy New York City!

For those who can’t take the heat, the mayor has converted large dumpsters into public pools along the way.

Next Saturday, August 21st is the last Summer Streets event for the year, so get up, get out and enjoy our beautiful city traffic free.

Unrecipe of the Week

August 14, 2010

It’s the perfect time of year to make Gazpacho, the Spanish spicy tomato based soup that is served cold. The green market is filled with great things, so feel free to improvise!  The secret to this “unrecipe” is to puree the vegetables separately, so the texture stays chunky.


Chop 2 red peppers, cored and seeded, 4 tomatoes, 1 red onion and 1 large seedless cucumber. Puree each one in a blender or food processor, and put into a large bowl.

Add 3-4 cloves of garlic minced finely.

Add ¼ cup of olive oil, and ¼ cup of white wine vinegar. Mix together and add tomato juice until it reaches the consistency of a thick, chunky soup (about ¾ of a bottle).

Season with coarse salt and pepper to taste.

Chill for several hours or overnight to allow the flavors to combine.


photo: Glasshouse Images

Cheese Please

August 12, 2010

The food industry just won’t quit. In a time where New York City is posting calorie counts on it’s menus and opening bike lanes, it’s mind boggling that the rest of the world seems to be engaged in a sandwich gross out contest.

Next up in our lineup of disgusting culinary marvels, is Denny’s, with not one but two new high cholesterol, high calorie creations. First up, the Fried Cheese Melt. As part of a value priced menu, this little ditty is only $4.00 and consists of “ four fried mozzarella sticks and melted American cheese between 2 slices of sourdough bread. It is served with French fries, and a side of marinara sauce.” So it’s basically breaded fried cheese, with cheese, and bread that gets re-fried. Oh, and then there is the sauce!

But what about something for the little ones? Denny’s has a Mac and Cheese quesadilla for them! It comes with dessert and a drink and boasts 2300 calories!! According to Denny’s you can add bacon or a “Friendly frank” to enhance the offering . You can also choose from lots of great beverages such as “Cotton Candy juice” as well.

Please pass the Pepcid!

Sequins of Events

August 10, 2010

I am infatuated with my new skirt. It’s just a simple stretchy tube covered with black sequins but it’s filled with wardrobe possibilities.

I wore it to a presentation last week with a crisp white shirt and a fitted black blazer. It’s the outfit equivalent of a mullet; business on top and a party on the bottom! *

Next I wore it out running around with a basic white tee, black converse sneakers and a pinstriped men’s fedora.   The look was casual, yet unexpected.

I am plotting all the ways I can style this little tube of versatility for fall.

Tights and a black turtleneck sweater… a boyfriend cardigan and boots.  How about a denim shirt and a leather jacket? The options seem endless.

The key to wearing a piece like this is to throw it off balance. Taking it too seriously could result in looking like Liza Minnelli or a Rockette.  Treat it like a pair of jeans that can take you anywhere you want to go. Mix it up with unexpected pieces, but keep them simple and clean. Like most divas, this skirt does not like to compete with other glamorous items for attention.

As summer drags on we all need a little pick me up from time to time.  Mine came in the form a little sequined skirt.

* don’t try this at home unless you are in a creative field

photo: courtesy of Express

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