Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Outline of a trip:

Starting point: Vilseck, Germany
Car to Nuremberg City: 1 hour
SBahn to Nuremberg Airport: 10 min
Fly to Frankfurt: 1.5 hours 
Fly to Brussels: 1.5 hours
Train to Brugge: 1.5 hours
Train to Ghent and back for the day: 2.5 hours
Train to Amsterdam: 3.5 hr
Train to Amsterdam Airport: 30 min
Fly to Munich: 2 hours
(No we did not land in Munich, just flew there, and circled a bit and decided to fly to Stuttgart)
Fly to Stuttgart: 1.5 hours
Train to Nuremberg City: 3.5 hours 
Car to Vilseck: 2 hours
Hours Traveled: SHIT IF I KNOW.  A lot.
Euros Spent: LOST TRACK
Photos to follow in the next few days.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Viewing sins

"There is a good rule in spiritual life, which we all forget continually, that you must see more of your own sins that other people's. The sum of human sin has been growing since Adam's time, and we all share some of the blame. So I think everyone must say to himself, 'We must change our thinking.' We cannot see what is in the heart of another person. Maybe he is a holy man, and I can see only that he is wearing a wrong jacket." -Arvo Pärt.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sick Care vs Health Care

In reading Prescription for a Healthy Nation by Tom Farley, M.D., Deborah A. Cohen M.D. this week, I pondered our health care system. It really does seem like we're looking at the wrong factors. With rising rates of diabetes, hypertension, obesity, we wonder how can we reduce the costs of medication, healthcare and fix health insurance in general, while our population is becoming more unhealthy with each passing minute. It's true, something needs to change.
I am in the business of health care. I care about health. I want to live a healthy lifestyle, unencumbered by disease or injury myself. I'd also like to see that for the rest of our society. But we live in a world where it seems that fitness and health are not priorities, rather, they are additional responsiblities on people's already too busy lifestyles. Which is why this book was actually quite interesting, discussing things like shelf space devoted to food products, pricing as related to people's consumption/purchasing tendencies, children walking to school now vs 20 years ago-- generally questioning our assumptions on what's broken with healthcare and society and how it could be changed. (Cutting healthcare costs and improving medicine vs changing lifestyles and cityscapes.) 
It's not just the system that's broken, it's also the people who are using it. Just looking around, it's obvious that most people are not healthy, fit or at a comfortable weight. In my office alone, a non-scientific survey says more than 50% (and likely nearer 75%) would like to lose weight, but what are they doing about it? Most talk about it, but do not act on it.
The suggestion of this book is to work on changing society to create an environment which encourges healthy choices, whether it's by walking and biking, planting a garden, handing out free condoms, or installing safety bars so children don't fall off balconies. It is less about education  (most education does not affect the rates of smoking, condom use, weight loss, and so on) and guilting people into improving behaviours than it is about making healhy choices accessible and easy.

Prescription for a Healthy Nation: A New Approach to Improving Our Lives by Fixing Our Everyday World

As a corollary, thoughts on nurses in health care reform:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I am not a foodie.

Recently, I read Grass Fed Up in the NYT, lamenting the proliferation of foodies, and associated irritations. I thought, finally someone has spoken the truth!

I tired of chasing the lastest restaurant craze about six years ago, after realising most restaurants were serving food which tasted worse than what I could prepare at home, and it was more expensive. Unconvinced that restaurants were they high road to eating, I embarked on cooking with various cookbooks, only to discover simple is better and often the newest cookbooks are really just reworkings of everything that's already been.

Excuse me if I don't get breathless with the fantasies of saffron tinged soup or truffle oil. I just want to eat something simple and good. And preferably mildly healthy. I don't want to be dragged all over town, waiting to try the lastest food craze only later to be followed by gastro excitement from some sort of high fat "delight".

I just don't care. I don't care if I eat frozen vegetables every night. And cereal when I feel like it. And apples every day. And now that it's been shown you can survive and even lose weight on junk food, I am not going to lose sleep about my diet.

This obsession with the latest and best food taste, beer, going out to the newest restaurant- it just doesn't seem that important to me.

From "In Blackwater Woods" by Mary Oliver

To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Athens Grand Finale

These are the underwear and socks of the girl who had the huge suitcase. She turned out to be one of those people who stays up smoking, talking loudly, inviting friends over, burning incense and then deciding to go out after midnight--- along with the other Argentian boy who was in our room. The other girl Gina (from NH and living in London) and I were not impressed. But at least we were not alone. I have never seen someone's thong out. We thought since she had a 2-ton suitcase she would have spare underwear. Hmm. A mystery.

How I woke up. The view out my window.

"21 secrets to make him fall in love fast"
Beware men everywhere, I'm going to read this on the way home (given to me by Gina) and I will wield my power over you!

I saw this when I was first out. They were just sitting together. Happy.

From a different view.

This was the photographer, from her place of rest. A good way to start the day. On the cold tiles. Before the sun popped out.

Inside the theatre. You can tell it's been restored.

Well my plans for touring at the sites were FOILED. By elections. Oh well.

Had my morning espresso at MickeyD's. That's a first. I don't even know why. Oh ya, because I was cheap and it was non-smoking. All the other cafes are all full of smoke in and out, even though Greece has non-smoking laws. They are not enforced at all.

Their poor guards... Look at the hideous shoes. Even with my crazy fashion sense, I'm not sure I'd wear them. Ok I would. Pom-pom and all.

From the top of Lykavittos Hill. On the right is the Acropolis, on the left is the Olympic Stadium.

The church at the top of Lykavittos Hill.

The Acropolis is like an island amidst city.

He was writing the whole time I walked up and down the hill. I wonder what.

Goodbye Athens! I loved you!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Athens II

That's a real angel. Like me.

Dead people. I come from a long line of dead people. Hehhe. Don't we all? I was hangin' out in a graveyard this morn. Athen's first graveyard. Old.

A plant I MIGHT not kill.

Coffee in Greek. Sounds the same, just different spelling.

A Greek Coffee. Awful lot like a Turkish Coffee. But don't say that to them. They don't really like the Turks.

In this old church, I said a prayer.

The Acropolis.

I sat and listened to a guy pick guitar here. It was beautiful.

The Acropolis.

The Central Market. Reminded me of Istanbul.

They have these abandoned crumbling buildings everywhere, like they are out of Interview with a Vampire. But I didn't see any Vampires.

I almost threw up walking through the fish and meat market. And decided I am firmly vegetarian.

Fortunately after the horrid dead animals and fish, there was fresh coffee roasting, so I quickly suppressed the bad smells and thoughts.

He did not look good.

This was some sort of creme cake w cinnamon topping. I ate it for lunch. Really healthy, yes. But I read that you can even loose weight eating twinkies. So I am not feeling guilty. No. The guy said it was called Milfac. But I think I got it wrong.

Are they saying marriage is wacked?

Gasworks, where they have arts and shows.

Inside Gasworks, an exhibit.

What I felt like. I was having a migraine. And lost my left field of vision in rainbow effects. I couldn't read or see the pictures. So I sat with the girl who was working there and talked. And she gave me water and a tablet of something. It was actually a good diversion. Her name was Thalia.

They were both playing w their worry beads. See the guy on the left, the orange beads--- people use them to pass time or when they are fretting or trying to quit smoking. If you listen when you are walking the streets of Athens, you will hear them clinking.

Me at the top of the mount. I found a couch made of rock. And laid there watching the city. It was beautiful.

Look at his steering wheel. I saw him twice today.

I can't wait to meet this person (roommate). Who the hell travels w this much shit! 2 bags and a hair straightener? That suitcase is gonna explode!! I'm a snot.
***OK I met the girl and she is really nice, from Argentina and traveling for TWO MONTHS with that much stuff! Crazy as!!