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P90X Week 1: My New Part-Time Job

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P90Xlogo Week 1

P90X is my new part time job. It’s time consuming but week one is in the bag. And it wasn’t easy. I am happy to say that I made it through all of the workouts and stuck to the diet pretty well. I think the hardest thing so far is the diet. It’s tough eating such a high protein, low carb and low fat diet. I’m getting a little tired of egg white omelet’s. I need to get some new ideas for meals when I get time to do some research. I did however lose a pound and a half this week so I am quite happy about that.

Even though I’ve been getting plenty of sleep, I have been feeling tired in the afternoons. I think the workouts are tiring me out. I have been drinking chocolate milk for my recovery drink after reading a study that was done on it. I’m thinking about trying a “real” recovery drink to see if it makes any difference. The Nesquik is very good though.

I really have enjoyed the workouts, they are tough but fast paced and I like Tony Horton’s style. I think doing some Firm workout videos before starting P90X helped me get conditioned for it. I also did some pregnancy workouts while I was pregnant that helped keep me from getting totally out of shape.

A few notes on the first week:
My favorite workout was Kenpo X, it reminded me of my days of taking karate classes. My least favorite workout was Yoga X. I like yoga but come on, an hour and a half? I was getting bored with it. The hardest workout by far was Ab Ripper X. 3 months out after having a baby, my abs and tummy are still pretty much mush. Hopefully Ab Ripper X will change that soon though!

Categories : Health & Wellness
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Why P90X, Why Now?

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55/365 P90X
Photo by LetTheCardsFall
As many of you may know, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy about 3 months ago. Unfortunately, I am still carrying around 15 pounds of that baby weight. Now that I’m getting into a bit of a routine, I realized that I really need to get back in shape. I’m tired of not being able to wear my pre-pregnancy clothes. I don’t want to be stuck in sweat pants and t-shirts for the rest of my life.

I have some friends who have had good success with Tony Horton’s P90X and after reading up on it, I decided it is exactly what I need to get back in shape. I have done 10 Minute Trainer workouts in the past that are also from Tony Horton and like his training style.  P90X has been out for a while so there is a ton of info on it online. Plus, it’s not in as high of demand as it used to be so I was able to find it for a good deal on eBay.  If you buy it from Beachbody on Amazon, it’s a whopping $140, but I found it for a mere $47. Not bad for 13 DVD’s, the nutrition guide and fitness guide. Plus the BeachBody web site has a wealth of information and help for people getting started.

P90X is not for the faint of heart. It’s a tough workout and diet regimen meant to get one in peak shape within 90 days. Tony Horton, the P90X trainer, shows how to work out all the muscle groups and also throws in cardio and yoga. It’s a varied workout and it’s based on muscle confusion which means continually working out different muscles so they don’t get used to doing the same workouts over and over.

After doing my calculations I found out I am on level 1 for the nutrition. Which means I need 1800 calories a day. Phase 1 of the diet is very high protein, low fat and low carb so we will see how it goes. I guess this means goodbye to my chai latte addiction for a while…

I have my meal plan made out and my grocery shopping done, now all I need to do is “bring it” as Tony Horton would say. Hopefully this blog will give me some level of accountability and I will be able to stick it out for 90 days!

Categories : Health & Wellness
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Curiosity (Almost) Killed the Cat

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A few weeks ago, my husband brought me a bouquet of flowers. They were beautiful yellow lilies with red roses and greenery. He likes to surprise me with flowers now and then and this was the first time he had gotten me lilies. I put them on a stand by the front door so I could admire them. I liked them so much, that I took a picture with my phone.

The flowers I received from my husband

Friday night our cat Gracie was violently ill, she threw up a lot, not just a little hairball, but some serious stuff. I thought this was unusual and was trying to figure out what could have made her sick. Not to gross you out, but the puke was tinted yellowish which was odd. I was trying to figure out what she could have gotten into when Jake mentioned that the lilies were yellow. I looked at the flowers and sure enough, a couple of petals were missing from one of the lilies. I came to the conclusion that she had eaten them.

Lilies are Highly Toxic to Cats!

I thought I would do some research online to see if there was something I could give Gracie to make her feel better. I knew that some plants were poisonous to cats, but figured she would probably feel better the next day. I googled the phrase “lilies poisonous to cats” and found a list of plants poisonous to cats. I was surprised when I saw that there was a whole separate page on lilies on the site I was visiting. The more I read, the more concerned I became. I discovered that lilies are one of THE most toxic plants to cats. Easter lilies and many varieties of day lilies were included in the list. They are highly poisonous even in small doses and can cause kidney failure! I was totally shocked! I felt like a terrible pet owner for not knowing this information. Any part of a lily is poisonous to cats, from the stem to the petals. I kept doing more research and found a couple of cases where people posted about their cats eating lilies and then dying. I was beside myself as you can imagine. From what I read, treatment should be done in 12 – 18 hours to avoid kidney damage. Some sites said treatment is needed within 6 hours.

I read that the normal course of events after a cat eats a piece of a lily is that they are sick and throw up. Then they may appear to get better. If a pet owner doesn’t know that the lilies are toxic, or doesn’t know that their cat ate one, they will just think the cat is feeling better. Until the cat’s kidneys begin to fail. According to my research, within 48 to 96 hours after consumption, the cat will tend to show signs of clinical kidney failure: increased urination, depression, stomach upset and dehydration. Once kidney failure begins, there is little that can be done to save the cat besides humanely putting it to sleep.  Without treatment, death tends to occur within 5 days.

Treatment for Lily Poisoning

Of course, this all happened at 9pm when there were no vets open besides an emergency vet (which is not cheap).  I decided to take Gracie first thing in the morning. When I took her to the vet, he was very concerned and said that cats eating lilies is similar to them eating antifreeze and has similar effects. However, since she had just eaten the lilies the night before, they could take her blood to see if any damage had been done yet and put her on an IV to flush the poison out of her system. He recommended starting with two days of the IV and then testing her blood again to check her BUN and Creatinine levels that indicate if the kidneys are functioning properly. So Gracie had to be admitted to the “hospital” and put on an IV. She was none too happy about that. As you can imagine, treatment is not cheap. Here is a picture of her on her IV. My husband wasn’t too thrilled about the vet bill, he said that those were the most expensive flowers he had ever gotten me!

Gracie in the hospita

Gracie was a very fortunate kitty. Much to my relief, after two days of being on an IV, her blood test came back normal and there was no kidney damage. She was happy to get home and get back to her normal routine.

Once a person knows that lilies are poisonous to cats, preventing lily poisoning is easy, just keep lilies out of the house or garden. Anywhere a cat might come in contact with them. There are dozens of other plants that are poisonous to cats and dogs as well. For a complete list, check the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center. While most plants are not as poisonous to cats as lilies, there are several that can make them very sick.

What can you do?

I have talked to a few cat owners in recent days, and none of them knew that lilies were toxic to cats. If you are a cat owner, be sure to keep lilies out of reach of your cats. If you know someone who is a cat owner, be sure to mention it to them. I ran across this pdf from UC Veterinary Medical Center, I think it would be a great idea to print off and see if vet offices in your area have a bulletin board it can be posted on. Also, increasing awareness at florist shops would be good. In my case I am happy to say, all is well that ends well!

Gracie reposing on her favorite chair

A healthy Gracie reposing on her favorite chair

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Photo by ericmcgregor
I caught an infomercial for Tony Horton’s 10 Minute Trainer
while I was eating breakfast one Saturday morning. I was somewhat familiar with Tony since some of my friends were doing the P90X
workouts. They all were looking toned and healthy after a few weeks of the workout. The only problem with P90X is that it requires at least an hour workout 6 days a week. With my busy schedule, that just wasn’t going to happen.

The 10 Minute Trainer sounded very appealing for my time crunched schedule. However, the 10 minute part is slightly misleading. They recommend that you do three 10 minute workouts 6 times a week. And if you don’t have time for that just do one or two. Anything is better than sitting on the couch eating chips I suppose.

I didn’t really want to pay the $90 (including shipping) for the workouts so I turned to eBay, one of my favorite shopping sites. I was able to find the “deluxe” edition for $75. It included three resistance bands and some other extra’s and was from a reputable eBay seller so I knew they weren’t pirated. You can see what all is included on the official 10 Minute Trainer site. You can also get them on Amazon. Now I know that these are going to be in next summer’s garage sales for $10, but I really wanted a new workout now and something to motivate and challenge me.

The Pros

The first couple of weeks I really didn’t have time to do the workouts consistently like I needed to. When I was finally able to do them 6 days, I could really tell a difference. The workouts are great and you can get as much or as little as you want out of them. Tony also keeps things entertaining. It took me a little while to get used to the resistance bands since I am used to working out with free weights, but once I got the hang of it, I liked it. You can control the resistance and make it as challenging as you want. It is amazing how much of a workout you can get in with 10 minutes. I try to do at least 3 of them but sometimes if I’m crunched for time I’ll only do one or two, but it is still a good workout.

The Cons

While the workouts were great, I had a few issues with the format and the DVD’s themselves. The one thing that annoyed me the most about the videos is the incessant advertising of the web site before every workout. It always says, log on now! If I’m getting ready to workout, I’m hardly going to go log on now, I just want to get on to the business of working out. There are also several other ads for other workouts which is annoying.And probably the most bothersome thing about the DVD’s, is that I always have trouble getting to the cooldown. Maybe it’s operator error, but there isn’t a separate menu option for the cool down so I have to flip back and forth through different workouts until I get to it.

Overall, it’s a great workout. It is like any other workout routine, if you do it, it works, if you don’t, it won’t. If you want a fun, fast paced workout routine and you don’t mind dropping a few bucks for it, it is a great way to get in decent shape without dedicating your life to working out.

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Shiny New Blog Theme

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I have had this blog for about 6 months, and decided that it was time for a change. While the Oriental theme by Pure Essence served me well, I decided it was time for a fresh new look. I really like this Floral Green 1.0 theme courtesy of Great WordPress Themes,  although I’m still getting a few of the kinks worked out. Perhaps this will motivate me to blog more often than I have been. It is really amazing at the amount of free WordPress themes out there. A person could search for days. I think this theme will do well for me for months to come.

Categories : WordPress
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KFC signs: Old and NewYou might remember a few weeks ago when KFC advertised their new Grilled chicken by letting people download coupons for a free meal. Wow, what a great deal. I went to the site straight away and downloaded some coupons. I was annoyed that it forced the user to download a coupon program, but it was so that a unique bar code could be generated. That made sense, so that people couldn’t duplicate coupons. I was excited about using the coupons that weekend, but when I went to KFC to use them. I was told that they were no longer honoring the coupon due to fraud. The girl behind the counter said that people had been copying the coupons and using them over and over. This made no sense to me since wasn’t that the whole point of having to download the annoying coupon printer? Perhaps she was just misinformed. She gave me a form that could be filled out and mailed in or turned in at the store for rain check coupons that could be used at a later date. At any rate, I did not buy anything there that day and went somewhere else to eat. I was not about to get duped into the old bait and switch trick.

After I got home, I filled out the form and sent it along with my printed coupons to KFC. I was extremely annoyed with the whole affair as I’m sure plenty of other people were too. I don’t know what KFC’s marketing department was thinking, it should have been obvious from the start that there could be trouble.

A few weeks after I mailed in my coupons, I received my new KFC coupons in the mail and these coupons also included a free drink which was nice. However, the coupons were not good until almost two months after the date I received them. Perhaps they are hoping that in two months time I will forget about the coupons and they won’t have to give out the free meals after all.

It is nice that KFC wanted to give out free meals, but they really should have thought through the whole thing a little better. When they quit honoring the coupon, I’m sure it upset a lot of people. Maybe it upset them enough not to want to go to KFC again, or at least put a black mark on the KFC name. Some people in California were so upset that they are suing KFC. It will be interesting to see how that lawsuit turns out. In a couple of months time, I plan to enjoy my free KFC grilled chicken and I will then be able to determine if it was worth all the fuss.

Categories : Rants
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Would you call a telemarketer?

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How Do You Handle Telemarketers?I started receiving calls a couple of days ago on my work phone from people thinking I had called them. I hadn’t called anyone and rarely even use my work phone. After a few calls, I was curious and answered the phone and asked the person who called what number they were trying to reach. The lady said that my number was on her caller id and she just hit call back. I asked what the number was. I immediately saw what the problem was, my work number is the same as the first 7 digits of the number, so the caller id did not dial 1 first, hence the first 7 digits of my number is what was dialed in my area code and it ignored the last three digits. This would not be a problem on a cell phones, but landlines still require the 1.

I am absolutely amazed at the number of people who call back a number that they don’t even recognize. I usually don’t answer unrecognized numbers, much less call them back. A quick Google search of the phone number revealed that it was from Pennsylvania and there were several complaints of it being a telemarketer selling cruises. There are several web sites such as Caller Complaints where people can report telemarketing calls and also comment on them. I have not been answering my phone when outside calls come in, however, one lady was quite insistent and left 3 voice mails asking to be called back. I finally called her back and explained the situation. This morning I had 5 voice mails, some hang-ups and some actual messages. Some people even tell me their name, phone number and where they live. It’s somewhat amusing but also annoying. Hopefully the telemarketer will be shut down soon or use a different number and I will quit getting these calls!

Categories : Rants
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Yesterday’s Café and Tea Room Review

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Tea CupI was looking for a place to take my mom and mother-in-law for tea or brunch the Saturday before Mother’s Day. Although I have lived in the Northern Kentucky area for nearly 10 years, I didn’t know of any tea rooms in the area, so I turned to my friend Google to see if I could find one. I found one right away, Yesterday’s Café and Tea Room in Florence, KY. It is kind of hidden away in the older section of Florence on Main Street. I called and made reservations for the Mother’s Day brunch a couple of weeks in advance.

When we arrived, we were greeted warmly and shown to our table where a welcome card with our name on it awaited. ThereBrunch were also fresh flowers on the table in a cute, tiny vase. Since we were getting the brunch, the meal was pre-planned so we didn’t have to order but did have our choice of quiches. We were served the mother’s bouquet hot tea which was a special blend and was excellent. We also were served a glass of sparkling juice.  We were first served piping hot orange pecan French toast which was delicious. We had a selection of three quiches to choose from, I chose the spinach quiche. The main course was a personal quiche, a cup of fruit, a slice of banana bread and a blueberry scone with lemon curd. It was all excellent and presented beautifully. The service was excellent as well. I will definitely be visiting Yesterday’s again for tea or lunch with friends.

Categories : Restaurant, Reviews
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I have a bad habit of collecting domain names and have been parking them with Sedo Parking for a while in an attempt to make a few bucks by having ads on the domains. The idea is that I would make enough to at least support my habit and have the domains pay for themselves through ad clicks. A few months ago Google made its Adsense for Domains available to regular folks so I finally got around to trying it out at the beginning of March. I took one of my domains that I had parked with Sedo and switched it to use Google Adsense for Domains. I wanted to see how it would perform before I moved all of my domains over.

Google Adsense for Domains is like all other Google products, very minimalistic. It doesn’t have as nice of reporting capabilities as Sedo and the template choices are very limited. Also, it is somewhat cumbersome to set up the domain with Adsense and could be time consuming for a large numer of domains. But the real issue is, how does it stack up as far as ad revenue? I suppose it would be better if I had more than a month’s worth of statistics, but it is probably a pretty good indication of how it will do in the future. Here is the low down:

Google Adsense for Domains:
March $15.09

Sedo Parking:
December: $5.83
January: $7.42
February $3.65

I thought I would include three months of Sedo data for a better average. It looks like Google Adsense is the clear winner here in the money department, just as I suspected it would be since it is cutting out the middle man. The difference is pretty significant. Now I will be working on switching over all of my other domains. I know I’m not going to get rich since I don’t have any really good domain names that people would just type in on accident or domain name misspellings, but if I can make enough to have the domains pay for themselves, I will be happy. Then one day when (or if) I actually get around to developing them into money making sites, I will be glad I kept them.

Categories : Tech
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Day 5 was our last official day of staycation (since I’m not counting the weekend). We decided to check out a couple of local museums. We went to the James A. Ramage Civil War Museum in Fort Wright, Kentucky. This is only about 15 minutes from where we live and we had passed it several times but never had a chance to check it out. It is run by volunteers and is free admittance, they do have a donation box available. The museum showcases the part that Fort Wright played in the Civil War and also has many interesting artifacts from the war. From cannon balls to Confederate money. The volunteers were very knowledgeable and even showed us where some archeology students from a local college are doing an archeological dig on the grounds and have uncovered several artifacts. It is definitely worth a visit.

Slave Pen

Slave holding pen

We decided to stop for lunch at Montgomery Inn located in nearby Fort Mitchell. This is our all time favorite barbecue place. I had a delicious pulled pork sandwich. After our lunch it was on to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in downtown Cincinnati. We had a bit of a theme for our museums. As many times as I had walked by the Freedom Center, I had never actually been there. I am so glad I finally made it, it is an excellent museum. We did the included audio tour and it really makes the museum come alive. They even have a log cabin that was used as a place to house slaves while the slave traders were waiting to sell them. It was taken apart and put back together inside the museum. While it is disturbing to look back at that part of our nation’s history, it also shows us how far we have come.  I highly recommend checking out the Freedom Center if you have a chance. We closed out our last day of staycation by having dinner and hanging out with some friends.

Categories : Travel
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