Isn’t this how everyone cleans the kitchen floor?

I recently started seeing a homeopathic medicine practitioner.  On my first visit, she prescribed faerie dust a homeopathic remedy and ordered lots of blood work.

The results?  While not technically deficient in anything, my levels of some micro-nutrients (in this case, iron, zinc, vitamin D, and vitamin B12) came in a bit on the low side of the ranges.  While I would prefer to get all my nutrients through real food, I agreed to go along with a supplementation plan.  Our bodies do not readily absorb the form of iron found in many typical OTC iron supplements (which may explain why my levels were low, despite the fact that I take a multi with “100%” of the RDA of iron).

My doctor initially recommended an iron supplement consisting of fractionated liver bits, but moved on to plan B upon remembering that I’m vegetarian.  What was plan B, you ask?  An atrociously expensive — but supposedly effective — liquid iron supplement.  At the recommended adult dose of 2 teaspoons, twice a day, it costs $1.76/day.  Hmm, now that I’m looking at the numbers, maybe it’s not quite as pricey as I thought, but still not cheap.

They package this magic iron elixir in a bottle that is impossible to pour from without dribbling liquid down the bottle and/or all over the counter.  To make matters worse, the top is a bit tricksy.   So, the other evening, I shake it (as instructed), only to find that the lid was not on tightly.  Expensive liquid iron supplement splashed all over the kitchen floor.  Distress and desperation!  I decided the quantity on the floor was close to my 2 teaspoon dose, and I proceeded to clean up the mess.

A bit extreme?  Yes!  Was the kitchen floor clean?  Probably not.  Matthew grabbed the camera and started snapping these pictures and much laughter followed.  Oh, the frugality!


So one thing that I find kind-of sort-of maybe not so bad about a car commute?  The radio.  At home radio listening revolves almost exclusively around NPR, so I only listen to other stations when I’m in the car, which, up until six months ago, was almost never.  I lost touch with the latest pop music (maybe not a huge loss?).  Biking is plenty of fun without the radio.

I fall into the “channel surfer” category when it comes to the radio.  I flip channels during commercials, DJ blathering, songs I dislike, and songs that clash with my mood.  That adds up to a lot of channel surfing.  Total radio ADD.  I imagine being in the car with me would be QUITE annoying.  Sometimes I manage to annoy myself, and I just have to pull the plug.

Anyhow, I have a couple of favorites at the moment.  While driving home the other night, I heard all three of them back-to-back!  Yeah, that was a good drive.  Without further ado, my top three, in no particular order:

  • All the Right Moves – OneRepublic
  • Breakeven – The Script
  • Young Forever (i.e., the Forever Young Remix) – Jay-Z and Mr. Hudson

No doubt that I’ll tire of these and move on to other songs of the moment before too long.

Biking with bears

Returning to that whole vacation thing . . . .

If you visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I highly recommend biking the Cade’s Cove loop.  We drove out early on Wednesday morning, when they close the 11-mile loop to cars (which they also do on Saturday mornings), and rented bikes in the park.  I considered bringing our bikes with us on this trip, but realistically, this was probably the only time we would have used them, so renting was a better option.

The bikes weren’t amazing, but my pedal, which was making suspicious noises, remained in one piece throughout the ride, so no complaints here.  Toward the end of the ride, we spotted some bicyclists stopped on the road to watch a bear.

When we first met him, he was on the ground.  We stopped on the road and watched, without approaching or crowding him.  He ambled along for a bit, and then found this delectable tree.  He walked over to it, stood up, put his paws around it, and SHOOP — up the tree!  (If you’re ever trying to get away from a black bear, I do not recommend climbing a tree!)  We watched, transfixed, for what felt like forever, as our bear friend chowed down on the young leaves at the top of the tree, snapping off branches with abandon, the entire tree flexing and swaying with his weight.  He finished his morning snack, descended, and mosied off into the woods.  Amazing!

Riding a bike is the ideal way to see bears.  From a car, they seem so distant and removed.  Although I have yet to encounter one on foot, I imagine I would feel rather nervous in that situation, knowing that the bear could easily outrun me (and, like I said, forget climbing a tree).  The bike was perfect.  We were able to stop and enjoy, but if the situation went south, bike speed would have allowed us to make a quick exit.  (At least that’s what I was telling myself — maybe a bear could outrun a bike?)  Fortunately, the group of eight or so people who stopped with us acted very appropriately; no one tried to approach the bear or do anything that would have made the situation dangerous.

So, if you are in the Smoky Mountains, head back to Cade’s Cove and rent a bike.  No guarantees that you will see a bear, but riding along the newly repaved road, out in the wild, makes for a great morning, bears or no.

Dude, where’s my car?

A couple months ago, I left work and walked through the parking lot toward the last known location of my car.  I rounded the corner and should have seen my car, but no!  I stopped in my tracks, rather stunned, then took a few more tentative steps forward.  My car.  It was parked right over there.  How could it be gone?  Had someone really stolen my car in broad daylight within sight of my office?

How was I going to get home?  I imagined calling Matthew:

“Hi, honey.  Somebody stole our car.  Can you come pick me up on your bicycle?”

Wearing a look of utter shock and confusion, I ventured forward a few more steps, and, lo!  My car!  Hidden between two behemoths, tucked in snugly (and deceptively) at the front of the parking space, all cute and little.

I found a repeat scene when I left work last night, with less of the shock value, and more of the, “Where’s my car?  Oh, wait.  This is that thing that happened before, with the ginormous vehicles.  Don’t panic, I’m sure the Corolla is in there somewhere . . . unless one of the trucks got hungry and ate it for dinner . . . .”