Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I'll Purify My Water In A Pitcher!

I bought my Brita pitcher when my son was a baby. Having clean, filtered water to give him seemed like a great idea to me. I used it for awhile, but it became inconvenient. One pitcher of Brita water doesn't go very far, then you have to refill it and wait for a new pitcher full to drain through. It became more trouble than it was worth. Also, in those days the replacement filters seemed expensive. They're always pushing the Brita filters on Biggest Loser, so after several years of being shoved in the back of a cabinet, I recently washed it out and bought some new filters for it and began using it again.

So does the Brita filter really work? The flyer that comes in the package says it can't purify contaminated water, but it can remove certain minerals that may make your tap water taste bad. I found this article on a website called eHow. I'm not sure how credible that website or this information may be, so take it for what it is, but it's interesting:

All Brita devices use a two-part filtration system. The first is a sheet made of carbon that is activated by heat in order to make it extremely absorbent. The carbon is covered with large pores which give it a greater surface area. These pores suck in all impurities as they are poured through. Leftover ions are caught by an ion-exchange resin which neutralizes the ations and cations. The whole process takes place in just a few minutes and what you are left with is a purified glass of water which the company guarantees has a reduced level of Chlorine, lead, copper, cadmium and mercury. Keep in mind, the water also contains a reduced level of fluoride and the chlorine, that was added, was there to prevent bacteria growth; therefore, leaving a glass of filtered water around for more than 48 hours is definitely not recommended. Because, the filter holds no means of killing any bacteria, changing the filter on a regular basis (which the company suggests is around 3 months) is a must; otherwise, you are just pouring your water through a sheet of carbon ridden with bacteria and other impurities.

Mary's opinion....It takes more than one Brita pitcher full to make a pot of coffee, but if you don't mind constantly filling the thing up, and you make sure to keep the pitcher and the filter really clean, you will filter out some things that sound undesirable. But if you're planning to let your pitcher sit in the fridge for a couple of days, you may just end up with a belly full of bacteria, in worse shape than if you'd just had water straight from the tap.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I Just Wanted A Drink!

I love to drink water. It's the perfect partner to healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. But like everything else in today's world, drinking water has become complicated! In the coming days I'm going to dive in to some research in an attempt to clear up a few different myths and facts about drinking water.

For instance:
~If you reuse plastic water bottles, could you could get cancer?
~Is it true thousands of people in the United States get sick or die each year from drinking tap water?
~Is bottled water safer than tap water?
~Is expensive bottled water is better than inexpensive bottled water?
~What's the difference between spring water, distilled water, and drinking water?
~What's a Nalgene bottle?
~Do Brita filters really work?

I feel like I know the answers to these questions, but do I really?? Frankly, I'm interested to find some definite answers. So fill up your glass and stay tuned!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mary's MILFs

He really shouldn't be alive. He's snorted mountains of cocaine and drank barrels full of liquor. One night in a drunken rage he shot a bunch of chickens and burned down the hen house. He once woke up in the middle of a freeway.

Ozzy Osbourne has done a lot of messed up things in his life, but in true codependent style, I can't help but love him. I've seen him in concert many times and he never disappoints. Like many other artists, he's the quintessential showman; more comfortable on the stage than anywhere else.I watched every episode of his MTV reality series "The Osbournes" and I'm currently reading his book "I Am Ozzy", which is so over the top it has to be true. No one could make stuff like that up.

Despite his image as the "Prince of Darkness", Ozzy claims he was never a devil worshiper or an evil person. The Satanic stuff was a gimmic to sell records. Lots and lots of records. But he was dyslexic and ADHD in a time when no one knew what those things were. He has an extremely addictive personality and suffers from OCD. He's a hypochonriac and has worried incessantly about everything since he was a child. In order to cope and to succeed in life he felt he needed to be very drunk and very outrageous, all the time.

Ozzy is a huge, huge Beatles fan.

Photographs of Ozzy when he was young, like the one here with Black Sabbath always remind me of my first love, Chris W. (Ozzy's on the far right, all black). I like looking at photographs of Ozzy, particularly black and whites. He's got one of those faces that intrigues me.

Ozzy's sober now and living a good life. At 61 years old, he's still one of the coolest guys in rock and roll. His wife and his children are his whole world and I hope he lives a long, long time.

Congratulations Ozzy. Now you can add Mary's MILF status to your long list of achievements.

Friday, March 26, 2010

My Hero of the Week

If you don't know him, just Google him and read all about him; you'll find plenty of articles. He appeared on Oprah today. His new show, Food Revolution previewed last week and the first episode aired tonight on ABC. I'm talking about chef Jamie Oliver.

By now we've all heard the grim prediction that this generation of young people are the first generation NOT expected to have a longer life span than their parents. That's a frightening statement Eric M. Bost, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services (FNCS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made in 2004.

Jamie Oliver wants to change the way our children are eating, and it starts with the food they get at school. He's been successful at this in England, and now he's bringing his revolution to the fattest, unhealthiest country in the world, and the unhealthiest city in that country, Huntington, West Virginia, USA.

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution airs Friday nights on ABC. As a parent, the first two episodes were both frustrating and alarming. I watched in horror as children at school were served pizza and sugary cereal floating in chocolate or strawberry milk for breakfast. My 12 year old son tells me he eats doughnuts and sausage wrapped in a panckake served on a stick like a corn dog, and chocolate milk for breakfast at his middle school.

I'm not sure what it's going to take to turn this ship around. Frankly, I'm not even sure it's possible. It's cheaper and much more convenient to heat up a box of processed meat and potato beads than to prepare real chicken and peel potatoes. And let's face it, the kids like eating the junk food. It's what they know and what they are used to. The first graders on this episode couldn't even identify a tomato or a potato, but they sure knew what chicken nuggets and french fries were!

I can't wait to tune in each week to see how this progresses. Right now, Jamie is hitting wall after wall after wall. Right now, Cheap and Convenient are winning.....bigtime.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Striking A Balance

Tonight it is necessary for me to talk about "detachment"; an important word in this blog. It's not the first time I've discussed it, but I'm in a situation right now where I feel like I'm separating myself so far away from something that I'm to the point of being rude and insensitive. I need to get myself back on track and in a healthy place. I'm searching for that happy medium. So I'm dragging out my copy of "Codependent No More" and reading up on the subject.

First, let's discuss what detachment isn't. Detachment is not a cold, hostile withdrawal; a resigned, despairing acceptance of anything life and people throw our way; a robotic walk through life oblivious to, and totally unaffected by people and problems; a Pollyanna-like ignorant bliss; a shirking of our true responsibilities to ourselves and others; a severing of our relationships. Nor is it a removal of our love and concern, although sometimes these ways of detaching might be the best we can do, for the moment.

Ideally, detaching is releasing or detaching from, a person or problem. We mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically disengage ourselves from unhealthy and frequently painful entanglements with another person's life and responsibilities, and from problems we cannot solve, according to a handout, entitled "Detachment" that has been passed around Al-Anon groups for years.

Detaching does not mean we don't care. It means we learn to love, care, and be involved without going crazy.

-Melody Beattie, "Codependent No More"

That's exactly what I needed. Let me think on that for awhile.....

Monday, March 22, 2010


Almost every night when you turn on the television you hear it. Tiger Woods, John Edwards, Jesse know what I'm talking about.....cheating, married men. They're on the telly crying their eyes out, begging their wives, and America, for forgiveness. So this has me thinking. Do men really cheat more than women?

A quick Google search reveals there are a lot of opinions on that subject, and most of them are conflicting. Some say men cheat way more, some say it's about even, and a few even suggest women may be the more deceitful of the two. Now I know this is going to be a little controversial, and I've said before in my blog, cheating is never a good idea because someone always gets hurt, but for what it's worth, here's my opinion about who cheats and why.

While I do think men cheat more than women, I don't think the numbers are as skewed as Entertainment Tonight and Extra would have us believe. I believe women cheat plenty; I just think they are smart enough not to get caught as often. You see, I believe men and women cheat for different reasons. Men cheat for the thrill of it. Often they can't resist a young, beautiful, fertile woman. They can't really help it; it's nature. But cheating in this way is a bad idea, because young, beautiful, fertile women tend to fall in love with the married man. And they eventually want him all to themselves, so at some point the affair will be exposed; you can bet on it. By the time that happens, the men have gotten so sloppy, they've left a trail of evidence a mile wide. All the mistress has to do is uncover it all and she thinks her man will be hers for the taking.

I believe women, on the other hand, cheat for a different reason. Women cheat because they feel unappreciated or unloved by their husbands. They don't typically have to worry about being exposed, because the men they pick don't usually have any intentions of stealing them away. Let's face it; the hot, Latin pool boy probably does not want to start a family with the rich, lonely cougar. Even the married man from the office who's been filling his coworker's coffee cup once a week, doesn't plan to leave his middle aged wife and kids for a different middle aged woman with kids...who don't even belong to him!

Also, women are more patient, and don't make the clumsy mistakes men make. They don't leave a string of incriminating text messages, emails, and voice messages for their husband to find. They cover their tracks much, much better because they think about what they are doing; they are more shrewd and cunning. I believe women to be much more devious than men.

Men are impulsive and act before they think. Women are much more patient and they think before they act. That, my friends, is why the Jesse's, Tiger's, and John's of the world will always be the ones making headlines. To quote a favorite movie of mine, "If you are gonna have affairs, you have got to be more careful!".

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What's For Lunch?

It's Sunday, and that means lots of things. Scarlett will come by today for some R&R time, my mother-in-law, Cher will most likely come for Sunday dinner, and later this evening many of us will start packing lunches for the coming week. As we pack our lunch pails with quick and easy Lunchables, Lean Cuisines, and other ready made foods, let's think about what we are putting in our bodies. The following is an expert from an article I read from author, Michael Pollan:

For the last 30 years and more, something has been disappearing from the American diet. Its absence, has led to widespread obesity, diabetes, and ill health. The name of the missing ingredient--food. Real food, that is, the kind that our great-grandmothers might be hard-put to find on a visit to a modern supermarket. Real food, is the simple answer to our present, dire dietary state of health.

"Most of what we are consuming today is no longer, strictly speaking, food at all," Most of what we consume has been remanufactured by the food industry into some form of "food product" (generally identifiable by having more than five ingredients or ingredients that are unpronounceable).

Let's face it; we're all pressed for time. Convenience is nice, maybe even necessary. But as you're packing that lunch tonight, consider substituting a piece of fruit in place of a snack cake, consider whole grain breads in place of white, and if you usually run through a drive thru for a quick breakfast, why not pack some (no sugar) cereal and a container of low fat milk instead? Trust me, you'll be just as full, and you'll save yourself hundreds of empty calories.

We've got one body; that's it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Not By The Hair of My Chinny Chin Chin

Remember the Three Little Pigs? I love that story. The wolf came knocking on the door of the pig who built his house of straw. Of course the pig didn't let him in, but the wolf huffed and puffed and blew his house in. Then there was the second pig. He built his house of sticks. The wolf knocked. The pig wouldn't let him in, but the wolf huffed and puffed, and blew his house in too.

In my life, that's how it's always been when it comes to codependence. I heard the problem knocking, and I resisted opening the door, but in the end my structure was so weak that the big, bad wolf was able to blow my house down anyway.

Right now there are a couple of codependent situations in my life that are beating on the door. "Hello, it's me! Why don't you start incessantly worrying about me? Why don't you start focusing all your efforts at fixing me? Why don't you try to figure this one out?!?". Yeah, I'm aware that the wolf is out there, I saw him through the peep hole; and I'm cautious. But I'm certainly not going to open the door. And huff and puff as he may, I'm not overly concerned. Why? Because I'm pretty sure that right now, my house is built with bricks, and I'm going to be warm and cozy inside, taking care of myself, eating right, and exercising.

Healthy mind. Healthy body.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fantastic Foods

I never thought I liked blueberries. After all, blueberry Kool-Aid made my mouth and tongue turn blue. Besides, cherry was always better. MUCH better. I never liked the blue popsicles or the blue Jolly Ranchers either. Seriously...up until last Fall, the closest I ever came to eating blueberries was the dried imitation pieces found in blueberry muffin mix.

Let's be honest...I simply never tried them. Last Fall I made a commitment to myself to start eating healthy foods. I noticed that blueberries were constantly showing up on my Biggest Loser meal plan, and I'd been hearing how nutritious they were. One day I was at the grocery store and noticed they were on sale so I bought a package. I've been in love ever since.

Half a cup of blueberries goes a long way. Sometimes I just measure them out and eat them all by themselves. I love to toss them into my breakfast cereal and milk. They taste great in Cream of Wheat and oatmeal, and they are the perfect alternative to maple syrup when you have pancakes. Two small pancakes with fresh blueberries rolled up inside is a great treat; and you don't have to feel guilty (or bloated) afterward.

One half cup of fresh blueberries contains 41 calories and zero fat. Blueberries contain antioxidants and some studies suggest they may possibly having a role in reducing the risks of some diseases,including inflammation and certain cancers. Anyone who knows me knows I constantly have inflammation somewhere in my body, so this is an added bonus! "It all connected."

In the coming weeks we'll be talking about more Fantastic Foods. In the meantime, buy a carton of fresh blueberries next time you're at the market (organic, if you can find them). You'll see what I mean. "Blueberry" isn't just a blue chemical that flavors sugary candy--blueberries really do exist! And they are delicious!

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Reason For Being Here - Wrap Up Revised

"My Reason For Being Here" has been even more enlightening than I dreamed. I didn't get ten responses as I had hoped, but I think the nine I got were wonderful. Some people believe their purpose is linked to their occupation. Some people believe they have a purpose, but aren't sure what it is. Some never really thought about the question. Many of you believe that our purpose changes throughout our lives. Your reason for being here today may be different than it was ten years ago, or even a few months ago.

Personally, I believe we all have a responsibility to leave this Earth a little better place than when we came here. We may accomplish that task in many different ways; we all have our small but significant role to play. For the past twelve years I have worked hard to raise my children. I'm trying to teach them how to be good on the inside, how to please God, and how to be happy with themselves. I don't want to see them make the mistakes I've made. This isn't an easy task. Unfortunately, human beings sometimes just have to learn things for themselves...the hard way.

Right now I believe this journal to be one of my purposes. Not only to share information with my circle of friends and readers, but primarily so I can grow. It's very helpful to write my thoughts and journal my progress.

Thank you to all who shared in this project. I hope you were able to take something positive from the experience.

My Reason For Being Here - Sara's Inspiration

You may remember Sara as being my friend and neighbor who spent her 49th year of life preparing to grab "50" by the horns and tackle it to the ground (Way To Go, Sara, December 13, 2009).

Not only is she an inspiration, but her whole family are key players in my family's lives. Sara is married to one of my favorite people, Marty-Marr. Sara's oldest daughter is a talented artist and a beautiful young woman. Her youngest daughter and my daughter are complete and total BFF's.

Sara put a lot of thought in to her story, and shared with me a lot of feelings about it over the past few weeks.

Here is Sara's Reason:

What is my purpose in life? I have given much thought to this question over the past weeks. I would have answered this question in a much different way five or ten years ago. Have the dreams of my younger years accomplished? Some yes and some no. I did not become a doctor as I had originally planned, but I have a wonderful husband and two daughters. Family has become so much more important the older I become. There is a little regret and I wonder "what if" sometimes. Celebrating my 50th birthday in December has caused me to look back over my life and think about where I have been and what the future looks like. I feel positive about the future.

I believe that God has a plan and purpose for my life. He knew me before I was born. He loves me. I want very much to be in sync with His plan for me.

My purpose in life, as I understand it, is to love God and love others. I want to be the very best wife and mother I can be. I want to be a positive influence, to love others and offer affirmation, encouragement and help when I see an opportunity or a need.

Sara, you do just that every day. Your unwavering dedication to mind and body has been a huge inspiration to me, and I credit you for showing me the goal is never out of reach.

Keep taking care of yourself. By doing that, you are inspiriting many.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Quotes I Like

This week my husband and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary, and 18 years of being together. We had the rare opportunity to spend the day together yesterday (we were both off work and the kids were at school), and tonight we will go to a lovely dinner downtown.

There have been good years and there have been really, really bad years. But we've managed to endure, and have hopefully weathered the worst of the storms. There's a peace in our home right now that comes from both of us being responsible for our own actions. For me, it comes from not trying to control. It comes from accepting the things I can not change, and embracing the courage to change the things I can.

I ran across this quote and thought it was timely.

"The only thing worse than a man you can't control is a man you can."
-Margo Kaufman

Thursday, March 11, 2010


In high school one of my favorite subjects was Sociology. Partly because even then I loved to study human emotions and behavior, and why people do the things they do, and partly because I had a major crush on my Sociology teacher, Mr. Jones. One day in his class, we were given a piece of paper that had all sorts of shapes on it and we were instructed to draw or write whatever we felt like drawing or writing. There were no right or wrong answers. Afterward, Mr. Jones used a book to help us analyze what we had created. For instance, in one case there was a circle. If you drew a face inside the circle, you were most likely a social person, interested in people. If you drew outside the lines and turned the circle into a flower that meant something else. Perhaps this was my first real indication that I have a strong fascination with people. Almost every shape on my paper had been fashioned in to some type of person.

Several years ago I had another epiphany. Practically every piece of art in my entire house contains the image of a person's face. Most of the pieces I bought immediately after I saw them. Sometimes it's because their faces are beautiful to me, sometimes because they convey a certain emotion, or maybe I just like the way they make me feel. With many of them, it's almost as if they were speaking to me. Some of the pieces were given to me, and they are special too, but the ones I've picked out myself are different. Something about them called to me as soon as I saw them. Now don't get me wrong; these aren't priceless original paintings. Most of them are prints of paintings or photographs, but they mean a lot to me.

So I've been on vacation this week. My objectives were to get some cleaning and organizing done here at the house, and also to spend some quiet, reflective time with myself. It's rare that I'm ever home alone, so when I am, it's quiet. No television, no music; just me and my thoughts. As mentioned in my last post, one of my major goals in the coming weeks is to focus on positive and healthy things. Eliminating negativity is something I've been thinking about all day. So just now I was sitting here at the computer and I looked over at the beautiful print of a painting on the wall, near where I was sitting. I got this print at an antique mall where I used to have lunch quite frequently. It caught my eye the first time I went there, but I didn't buy it for awhile. I always knew I would, though. Everytime I went there I stared at it. It captivated me. Anyway, today I was thinking how beautiful it was and I was remembering the day I finally brought it home, and something hit me. I started looking at the young woman closely. Her ears are plugged, and two young angels surround her. I have no idea what William Adolphe Bouguereau was thinking when he painted it, but to me it reminded me that to keep peace in my life, I need to cover my ears, so to speak. I need to surround myself with beauty, and keep the bad stuff out. Bad foods, bad energy, negativity. None of it should have a place in my life.

It may seem as if I'm talking in circles today, but this has been a good week for me. I've been able to get my thoughts organized, which is often a challenge for my tornado of a mind, and I've been able to foucs on the things that are becoming more and more important to me. Healthy mind, healthy body.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What Next?

While I'm waiting on the final two "reason" stories, I thought I'd talk about what's coming up for "Detach".

As we learned early on, a major part of being codependent is spending so much time focused on other people that we neglect ourselves. As I inch closer and closer to age 50, I'm feeling very passionate about eating right, exercising, and getting mind and body healthy. It's cliche', but I truly want to live my best life; and I know many of you feel strongly about this too. I'm feeling less and less like dwelling on what other people are doing. I'm trying to eliminate negative energy from my life. Some days I'm more successful than others.

Jillian Michaels has a new show airing this spring called "Losing It". It's somewhat of a "Supernanny" concept, with a "kinder/gentler" Jillian moving in to families' homes for a week. She'll go to work with them to see the challenges they face there, she'll teach us we CAN afford to eat healthy, and she'll show us how to fit health and well being into our daily lives. She hopes to dispel some of the excuses people always give for not eating healthy or being able to lose weight. I am quite sure I'll be talking a lot about this show because I absolutely cannot wait to watch it.

I'm also going to talk about some concepts by Oprah that focus on getting organized and "Decluttering My Life"; something I struggle with constantly--clutter.

I'm going to talk about sleep and dreams; a subject that has fascinated me my entire life. Why our dreams are important, and why it's vital to get a good night's sleep.

And it won't all be serious. Mystical has shared an idea for a very fun topic, but I'm keeping that one under my hat; there has to be a few surprises!

Stay tuned, "Detach" readers! There's lots of good things coming this Spring!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Reason For Being Here - Cher's Mind

My wonderful, eclectic, insightful mother-in-law, Cher entered this world in the mid 1940's, which is intriguing to me because she started life during the innocence of the 1940's and the sock hops of the 50's, she lived through the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's, the love and peace hippie movement, the Vietnam war, the 80's, 90's, and the new millennium. What a time to live and see the evolution of this nation! Unlike my parents who came from the country, Cher has lived her whole life in the heart of the city. Needless to say, she's seen and experienced a lot of changes during her life.

Cher is in her mid 60's, and has been single since the early 1970's. She has three grown children and two grandchildren, making her the first grandmother we've interviewed.

I sat down with Cher recently, and posed to her our question. Here's what she had to say during our in-person interview:

My purpose in this life? My reason for being here? Honey, I've been trying to figure that out for 65 years!! I've never really been sure. I feel like I have a purpose, I just have no idea what it is.

(Thinks for a minute) I have three wonderful children and two wonderful grandchildren. Maybe my purpose was to bring them into this world. Jackie Kennedy once said "If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much". I agree with her. Maybe one of my children or grandchildren has a special purpose and is destined do something great.

Cher, I think your offspring turned out pretty well. I picked one of them as a friend and one as a husband, so you must have done something right! You've given me a lot of very good advice in my life, and have become a surrogate mother to me since my mother passed away. I always look forward to our dinners on Sunday, and I value our time together. You are unique, beautiful, and much stronger than you give yourself credit for. I hope one day you'll figure that out.

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Reason For Being Here - Love, Miss Pamela

I've spent the better part of this week trying to figure out how it happened. I've managed to come up with a few different explanations, but the fact remains that one of my very best friends in the world somehow never became a part of the "Detach" family. That is, until now.

Miss Pamela and I have been friends for more than 26 years, but formed a tight and lasting bond during the time I was going through my divorce. I plan to write a lot more about her in the coming weeks, but what you need to know right now is that she's in her mid 50's, is married (but still somewhat of a newlywed), and she has no children. Miss Pamela has a demanding job that probably took her on somewhat of a roller coaster ride the past couple of years, but she perservered and came out strong, making the most of it all.

Here is Miss Pamela's Reason:

Dear Miss Mary,

The following is just what I think about life’s purpose/purposes – I might be way off base but here it goes…

The only person that has truly had only one purpose in life is Jesus Christ. Most people, including myself, have had and hopefully will continue to have several if not many different purposes as we move along life’s journey. There is or have been many great leaders, doctors, teachers, etc. who have or had a very obvious purpose in their life. However, except for Jesus, I believe even the ‘great ones’ have had multiple purposes.

If I had to select one purpose that I think I have now, I would have to say ‘Switzerland’ (you know – the neutral country). In other words, often seeing both sides of an issue, a debate, religious views, political views, family conflicts, etc. and then trying to realize that the answer usually lies somewhere in the middle.

As you can see, my thoughts on the subject are not deep or elaborate… just what I think. Who knows, if you ask me the same question in a year or two, I may have a different answer altogether!

Peace, Love & Rock n' Roll to you and yours,

Miss Pamela

Thanks for sharing, Miss Pamela, and welcome, welcome, WELCOME to the world of "Detach". I look forward to hearing a lot more from you in the near future!