Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Hudson Hornet's Engine couldn't last forever

If you haven't already heard, Paul Newman passed away yesterday at the age of 83.

He certainly left his mark on the world, with his great movie roles, his charitable work, his amazingly long Hollywood marriage, and of course his yummy Newman's Own.

Around here, as in many homes with kids, he holds a special place in our hearts as Doc Hudson, the Hudson Hornet. Radiator Springs just won't be the same without him.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

His name was Guthrie, he was a Jedi

Guthrie totally looks like

a Jedi.

(Because I can never get it to work when I try to embed video:

We DON"T like Ike

I've been watching the path of Hurricane Ike closely since it first started to develop over a week ago. Over the weekend I watched even more closely, as it looked like it might head this direction. We had been considering a short trip to Corpus Christi this weekend, but we decided that was probably going to be out of the question, so instead we spent Sunday at South Padre Island. This area is in some ways still recovering from Hurricane Dolly, and the Island especially seems to still be trying to get back on its feet.

And so I keep loading and reloading the Weather Channel's hurricane articles and maps. Even yesterday morning it looked like Ike was going to hit far away, but now I'm thinking what we need to do to prepare. I can't imagine it will be another direct hit like Dolly was, but it's certainly going to make an impact here, if in no other way than to gives us back the mosquites that had finally started to die off.

I'll be happy if Ike doesn't restrengthen, or just misses us altogether, but once again, we're on the lookout.

And lest anyone think the hurricanes are making me dislike where I live, I must remind people of my passionate hatred and fear of tornadoes. Tornadoes give you, if you're lucky, a matter of minutes notice to head to your basement. We've already had over a week to be thinking about this hurricane, and we have a few more days before it will hit. I'll take the week's notice over a few minutes, thankyouverymuch!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Can someone explain the bottled water thing to me?

If there's anyone here, in the Rio Grande Valley, who can explain to me, in detail, with specific examples, why exactly I should not drink the tap water, I would appreciate it. Greatly.

And anyone else who just wants to make an argument in defense of bottled water, that would be great too.

We've lived here 2 years. We drink the tap water. I believe we have yet to meet anyone else who drinks the tap water, yet no one has been able to explain to me why, exactly, the tap water is dangerous.

I've heard lots of vague "it's very polluted here," "there are lots of dangerous toxins in the water," "it's not safe," "it causes birth defects," but NOT ONE legitimate, specific REASON for avoiding the water. So we continue to drink it, and continue to remain as healthy (if not moreso) than a lot of the people who only drink bottled.

I'm not knocking those who drink bottled water. (Well, kind of, if there's not a good reason for it, why spend so much money and contribute to the destruction of the environment with all those bottles, even if they are being recycled?) Really, if you want to spend so much more money on bottled water, fine, that's your choice. There is a part of me that thinks if everyone else is so scared of it, maybe I should be, too, and so I would like to know WHY the local water is so dangerous.

I do find it funny (in both a genuinely humorous and a sort of ironic sort of way) that a lot of the time the people who think we are risking our lives because we drink the tap water are the same ones who think we've lost our minds because we don't eat dead cows, because we believe it is too dangerous. Or we are way too strict because we won't let our sons drink soda or go to McDonald's - because surely those things are much safer than tap water.

Also, something I wonder - if the water from the tap is really so dangerous and full of toxins that you can't drink it at all, wouldn't it be unsafe for use for anything? Whatever toxins that might be in it, wouldn't those be absorbed into your food when you cook in it (boiling pasta, for example)? Isn't there a chance that those "toxins" would remain behind on your dishes when you wash them? Those toxins - might they be absorbed into your skin in the shower, into your children's bodies in the bath, into all of your skin in the pool? Into the foods in your gardens?

Further, do you have any idea what is or isn't in the bottled water you (general you) drink? I received a copy of my local tap water report in the mail, but I cannot find a way to get one for the Watermill Express or many of the bottled water companies. The government standards for bottled water and tap water are very different, and the standards for your tap water are much more strict.

I've been Googling this, trying to come up with ONE legitimate reason to drink bottled water. Aside from certain areas where the water is known to be a problem, I can't find anything. At all. In fact, everything I'm finding is showing why tap water is likely as safe or safer than bottled.

I'm not meaning to attack you bottled water drinkers. I just want a reason, an explanation, something in the form of EVIDENCE to show me you're right. We don't eat beef, because we believe conventionally raised beef is dangerous to our bodies and the environment. Aside from the environmental impact of it all, I don't care if you (general you again) want to eat dead cows, that's fine, and I'm not going to tell you otherwise. If you ask me why I don't eat beef, and why I believe it to be unsafe, give me an hour and I'll give you dozens of links to websites, news stories and video explaining my decision, and then you can make your choice for yourself.

That's all I'm asking for with this whole bottled water issue. WHY do you believe the local tap water to be unsafe? What proof can you offer me, especially if you are actively trying to convince me that it is dangerous to my (and my children's) health? Anyone? At all?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Allergic to the air I think

Inspired by the mushroom incident of a few weeks ago, I finally went in today for allergy testing. I've been wanting to for about 10 years, since I first suspected I was allergic to dogs, but never had health insurance that made it reasonable and affordable until we moved here. Then, I just didn't make the appointment, until recently.

I didn't find out for sure whether I'm allergic to mushrooms. Apparently it's pretty uncommon, so I would have to have a blood test for that one, and I just figured if I can't eat them, I can't eat them, whether it's an allergy or not.

But I am allergic to ... everything else. Okay, not quite everything, but I think there were more positives than negatives. Cats was a big old itchy bumpy positive, as was dog, feathers, most weeds (Ragweed, I hate you), some grasses, a few trees, multiple molds, dust mites. Totally explains why I can't sleep under a down comforter - allergic to feathers and dust mites.

The one that upset me, because I just didn't know? Peanuts. It was mild, but definitely noticeable, and I have a mild allergy to peanuts. Funny, because I ate peanut butter before I went in to my appointment. I've never had any allergy symptoms from it. I LOVE peanut butter, and eat it every day, usually. Makes me wonder if I'm one of those who just has such mild allergy symptoms all the time that I think it is my norm.

I feel much better knowing what my allergies are, for sure. It gives me an excuse to get out of vacuuming (which Eric normally does anyway). Debating now if I should plant the fall garden or not, which I need to decide pretty fast.

We talked about the option of allergy shots. If anyone has any experience with those, give me your opinion. I need to learn more before I consider, and find out if the insurance would cover it.

I was given samples of an inhaler, which I sometimes do need - cats, specifically, can trigger severe wheezing and an inability to breathe - scary stuff. Also samples of Nasonex. I thought I'd give it a shot for the 2 weeks until the follow-up. I'm sorry I tried it, and I've only taken one dose. I'm sure there are people who experience relief with this drug, but for me, NO WAY! I started having mood swings almost immediately - severe sadness with no real cause. My heart is racing and all over the place. I have a terrible headache and nausea. I was terribly bloated earlier, with no other apparent cause. I'm dreading trying to go to bed. I'm jerky and jittery to the point where I'm having real difficulty typing this, because I keep hitting the wrong keys or in the wrong order.

Anyone else taken Nasonex? Was it good, bad, or ugly for you? If this is what it's like, for me, on the first day, I'm not going to try again. My day-to-day allergy symptoms are not bad enough (I rarely actually have symptoms unless exposed to a known trigger - cats are the big one, usually) to deal with side effects. I feel fine without the drug, but like crap with it? I'll take the default norm, thankyouverymuch.

And I have to say, as pleased as I was with the rest of the experience (the doctor and nurses were really great and friendly and helpful), I really wasn't given any information on the drug and possible side effects AT ALL. Not that I can say I ever really have been, but shouldn't that be an important part of the job? It's so frustrating, and moreso to think of how many people take a drug, don't know of the side effects, then take another drug to counter the side effects, which then might have side effects of its own ... and the cycle goes on and on. Not so much a complaint about this doctor, specifically (really, I liked her a lot), but a problem with the whole system. And I'm sure those drug commercials don't really help.