Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Affair of the Heart

What is the Spyder reading now to pass the interminable months until Rachel Vincent's PRIDE comes out (which is now scheduled for the first of February instead of March - yippee!!)?

The Night Serpent
Harlequin Nocturne
by Anna Leonard

The heroine is a 'cat whisperer' haunted by dreams and memories of a murky past. How could I resist such originality? I'll let you know how it turns out.

Heart disease is the number one killer in America, even over cancer. Like cancer, it isn't easy to spot a heart attack coming, so we need to all be on the lookout for the most reliable predictors. In that vein, I found a great article in this month's Prevention Magazine.

3 Heart-Saving Questions You Might Want to Ask Your Doctor

1. Should I get a CT scan of my heart? Dr. Arthur Agatston MD considers this one of the best tools to assess a patient's risk of heart attack in the near-to-far future.

2. Should I get specialized cholesterol tests? Some doctors may not be familiar with these advanced blood tests that show the size of your cholesterol particles. It seems if you have small particles, your risk is higher even if your total cholesterol count is in acceptable ranges.

3. Should I take a drug to lower my cholesterol levels? Dr. Agatson says statins are good to lower the bad cholesterol, and niacin - in large prescription strength doses - is good for raising the good cholesterol. Unfortunately, niacin causes flushing (blood vessels dilate) in some patients. Evidently this is very unpleasant although I can only imagine. He suggests taking an aspirin a half-hour before taking the niacin. He also suggests taking the niacin with food.

To assess your risk of heart disease, try the heart risk calculator at AOLhealth:

Visit the following link at WebMD for a detailed description of various CT scans:

Friday, August 22, 2008

Recall Alerts of the Rich and Flameous

What's the Spyder reading tonight while she waits the long months until Rachel Vincent's Pride is released?

The X Files: I Want to Believe
by Max Allan Collins
I found some interesting recall alerts in my Good Housekeeping mag this month:

Cricket EZ Cellular Phones - on 911 calls, a software problem may keep the operator from hearing the caller or the caller from hearing the operator. Now that's scary. You're running from the serial killer wearing a hockey mask and carrying a meat cleaver. You dial 911 and scream for help. Meanwhile the operator keeps saying, "Hello. Hello? Hell-o-o."

Here's one for all the writers out there: Michael's Seasonal Writing Pens are being recalled because the pens' surface coating contains high levels of LEAD, which violates federal standards and may be toxic. Can I blame that for the problems with my plot? Oh yeah, I use a computer. Well, darn.

On a more serious note, LOWE'S CHILDREN'S STORAGE BINS are being recalled for excessive levels of LEAD as well.

Now this is one I did *not* have to check my cabinets and drawers for: Funtastic Hillbilly teeth. The gray surface paint on the teeth contains excessive levels of LEAD. I thought they finally figured out how DORKY their product is.

Speaking of people trying to kill us, FireX Brand 1000 series Carbon Monoxide Alarms and 12000 series CO/Smoke Combo Alarms come with an owner's manual that says to disconnect the alarm if a "double chirp"/fault alarm sound occurs, but this can actually be a warning of carbon monoxide presence. I had a friend one time who wrote technical manuals for a nationwide heating and cooling unit company. In one, he started a sentence and ended it with yada, yada, yada, intending to go back later and fill in the information. You guessed it. The material shipped to several hundred customers before the mistake was caught. Of course, yada yada yada isn't likely to *kill* you.

Have a great weekend all!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Twice in One Month!!

My life is just so full. Yes, it's a good thing, but it's also stressful. I keep thinking I'll get caught up, but it's been 2 years now since I quit the day job. Oy! My weeds are higher than ever, laundry beckons, and now I have a fabulous new vacation to prepare for. Guess what's going to get most of my spare time?

That's right! The vacation. Lane and I are headed to Vermont at the end of September to see the fall foliage and the gorgeous countryside. We're RVing, and I have our campsites picked out and reserved. We'll be staying at Apple Island Resort on a little island in Lake Champlain. We're renting a car for our driving tours. That's what I'm mapping out now - the driving tours. I definitely want to see 'The Kanc', a popular scenic highway with a long, long name I've already forgotten. It's in New Hampshire. We're going to see covered bridges and turn-of-the-century hamlets. I've always dreamed of this vacation.

I am getting more disciplined with my scheduling. I'm exercising on a regular basis (Wii tennis which is surprisingly great cardio) including weight lifting. I'm writing on a steadily more regular basis, and I'm involved in a project with my church that is incredibly exciting.

We're working toward a spiritual renewal from top to bottom based on Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Church, 12 Steps to Congregational Transformation, and the Strategic Plan rolled out in our Annual Conference this year. We're an older congregation striving to survive, and I'm convinced the way to do it is to return to the church's roots, our 'first love', if you will.

Aw, man - time's up. I've got to go exercise and write and all the other things screaming my name! Hehehe. Hope you all have had a great summer, and Jo - it was great hearing from you!!


Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Just got back from national conference in San Francisco. Had a great time, but what I thought was a terrible allergy attack has turned into a cold. AND I came down with a bladder infection yesterday. My friends nicknamed me 'Tanks' because I can go so long without use of the facilities. Unfortunately, my capacity is down to a few drops at a time. Two different doctors have called in antibiotics (I was desperate and more than a bit wicked), so I'm soon off to the pharmacy.

I've been puttering in the yard today - so good to be home! This must be the year of the milkweed because mine are incredibly healthy since I've been gone. It's not too hot so after the pharm visit, I think I'll pull some weeds until it gets too hot. We're having big company this weekend, some who've never seen our house, so I'm trying to get it in extra good shape. And with my clutter, that is not an easy task. I like things where I can see them, okay? Drives my hubby bats.

Thanks to my great friend, KN (you know who you are!) I got to go to the Harlequin party this year at conference and had a freaking BLAST. You all know how I love to dance, and they were playing my favorite classics. Came home in an extreme writing mood.

Well, the tank is calling for attention, so I'm off to the ladies' room and then the pharmacy. You all have a great day and TTYL!