Archive for January, 2014

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flu.

January 17, 2014

There seems to be a lot of news about how the flu season this year has been pretty bad. Good thing I got my flu shot!

Thing is, the only reason I got a shot was because the hospital made me (under threat of termination). Then they made it really easy by sending people to the office to give us flu shots. But with this approach, they vaccinated 99% of their 15,000 employees. That’s incredibly awesome. I wish all large companies did this.

But I have to admit that I never go out of my way to get a flu shot every year. If it’s easily available, then sure – why not? If I have to go somewhere to get one – eh, I have a lot of faith in my immune system. I have a very selfish perspective on vaccines. That is terrible thinking. While I might not be prone to getting sick or be in a high risk population, germs find a way of getting around. My vaccination helps protect the other people around me. That’s really why everyone should get their flu shot.

Did you get yours?

 

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book dump.

January 11, 2014

I read too much to go for months without giving recommendations. At any given time, I’m probably reading several books – a nonfiction, a bad mystery or chick lit to read on the treadmill, a good fiction, and probably a sci-fi/fantasy one too. Here’s my list of favorites since my last book post in April.

Complications – must read of my year. Written by Atul Gawande (I think this guy is brilliant), it talks about medicine from the view of a surgical resident. He splits his stories into three sections – Fallibility, Mystery, and Uncertainty. In general I really like healthcare books – ones that show that doctors are human and medicine is hard. Parts are scary and other parts are inspiring.

Second Sons Trilogy¬†– I’d highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys fantasy series. The basic plot is the High Priestess is in power over a world with two suns, so it never gets dark. She cemented her power when the Goddess told her a human sacrifice was necessary to end the Age of Shadows (a period of years when the suns disappeared and plunged the world into darkness and chaos). But Dirk, the genius son of a supposed heretic, begins to uncover a different version of history. It kicks off a story of massive political¬†maneuvering.

Wool Books 1 to 5 – I’m not one to read short stories, but Book 1 was rated very highly and was free on Kindle. Get it – even as a stand alone story it was really good. Taking place in the future, society now lives inside a silo, viewing an outside world too toxic to inhabit. The rule-breakers are sent to death – to go outside to clean the view for the people inside. It’s a cool idea. There’s several more stories in the series, but 1-5 comprise the first story arc.

Gone Girl – and Sharp Objects and Dark Places. In order of how I would recommend them. Gillian Flynn writes creepy books with creepy people. Gone Girl was my favorite – murder mystery about a wife who disappears and her husband is the prime suspect. But not a mystery in the Law & Order vein. Think more Hitchcock meets Stephen King (although I’ve never read any King books).

The Dinner – heralded as the European Gone Girl. Two upper class families go to a fancy dinner to discuss their juvenile delinquent sons.

The Cuckoo’s Calling – Started reading before knowing this is JK Rowling. Murder mystery about a PI who investigates a celebrity death that was ruled a suicide.

Friday Night Lights – This book took me a really long time to get through. But I was surprised how much I liked it. A different view of the world.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Hard to describe, but I really liked this book. It’s about a family – Microsoft exec dad, crazy mom Bernadette, and daughter just trying to be normal. When Bernadette disappears the daughter collects emails and other correspondence trying to piece together exactly what happened.

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diet.

January 7, 2014

Instead of doing full year resolutions, I’m going to try smaller 3 month challenges. A friend gave me this idea. The way he put it – 3 months is long enough that by the end you’ll notice some sort of difference but short enough that you can see the end in case you feel trapped. That’s exactly what I need!

See, I’ve always been hesitant to attempt any dieting because I know I’m not committed enough to stick to a new eating plan forever. My habits are very ingrained. Also, I really like food. And I never want to be that person who’s too picky to eat out with. And I don’t want to sit and read ingredient lists forever.

So to kick off the new year – I’m going to try cutting out dairy and white grains. Let me explain.

I personally love dairy. I also believe that most people who think they are lactose intolerant are making things up. Not saying that I don’t recognize lactose intolerance as a thing – it’s real; I get it. But I also recognize that tolerance can be built up. Just because I have one glass of alcohol and feel bad doesn’t mean I’m intolerant of alcohol – it mostly means I’m a lightweight. And likely, if I started having a beer every day, I would start feeling fine after just one drink. I think similarly about dairy; in most cases people just don’t eat dairy all that often. Now that that’s out of the way – I also recognize a lot of people do claim to feel better without dairy. So I’m giving it a go. Also, dairy is the easiest food group to cut out of my diet and to be on the lookout for.

The white grains – this is a compromise because I won’t go full out gluten free or cut out all my grains. But I will accept that really refined grains – white rice, pasta and bread – aren’t the best. Also, grains are a hard area to portion control (and I’m already the worst at that). And it gives me a chance to branch out and try out some new grains (if anyone has suggestions other than quinoa, I’m open!). That’s how I got to this goal.

We’ll see how it goes.