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Is firing off that witty tweet really worth the pain?
Is firing off that witty tweet really worth the pain?

I'm too texty for my thumbs

I'm sitting at my kitchen table in front of two side by side legal pads, one marked "pros" and one marked "cons," deciding whether continuing to use my cell phone for texting, emailing, web surfing and social media is an unavoidable reality or an only- in-desperate-need option.

This surprisingly, has nothing to do with the nasty waves emitted into the cranium by proximity or the risk of cell phone particles migrating through pants pockets into reproductive organs. It's about the health of my digits – the ones attached to my person, not numerated on the dial pad.

Sure, it's super convenient to hold the epicenter of communication in the palm of your hand, but what happens when the fingers that attach to the fleshy cradle start communicating back to you via nerve pathways?

My thumbs are screaming, "Stop texting already!" "Do you really have to scroll down 20 pages of tweets?" "Can't you wait until you are in front of your laptop to respond to that email?" "Like it later, lady!" "Was Instagram really necessary?" (Absolutely. This is my new favorite platform.)

I woke up a few months ago with severe achiness in both of my thumbs, but more pronounced on the left side. It centered in the "knuckle," but traveled down the belly of my palm and into my wrist. After three months of denial, I finally to put two and two (thumbs) together as pain shot through the opposable digits as I entered a (fabulously witty) tweet on my Motorola XPRT keypad.

I believe the onset was a result of using my phone more while traveling on the road, as I had limited access to my laptop. I was sending extensive emails, having detailed text chats and just wasting time Googling on the device at a higher volume.

What's worse is that I think my particular phone and keyboard may have exacerbated the condition, due to its small width and tiny keys. Even more atrocious is that I insisted on having a keyboard of this type because I was so resistant to the iPhone touch screen.

Is having a cell phone wo…

Burger salad night: Cheaper, healthier and just as good as going out for grub.
Burger salad night: Cheaper, healthier and just as good as going out for grub.
Family meal time is important to every member of the household.
Family meal time is important to every member of the household.

Give "Dining-at-home" Month a try

For the sixth straight year, October is Dining Month on, presented by Concordia University. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2012."

All this talk of food during's Dining Month has me fantasizing about my favorite places to go OUT to eat: Silver Spring House in Glendale for their chicken wings and French onion soup, carnivorous delights from Ward's Downtown, the tempeh reuben from Beans and Barley on the East Side, BBQ ribs from Speed Queen on Walnut Street, my beloved chocolate malt custard from Kopp's, Sunday night Prix Fixe dinner at the Capitol Grill, Mexi and Margs at Botanas on the South Side and Sunday brunch from really anywhere ... the list goes on and on.

But, frequent eating out wreaks havoc on my waistline and makes a major dent in my wallet, so I choose to cook at home, three meals a day (and snacks) most days of the week.

The vision of me cooking in the kitchen on a daily basis is contrary to what a lot of folks think my life is like; so much so, that it often leads to gasps of "YOU doooooo?" when I declare that sitting around the table as a family for at least one a meal a day is priority in our home.

I'm not sure what is so unbelievable about the fact that I plate a meal every night – if it's a personal thing, or a sign-of-the-times cultural thing – but the effort is well worth the rewards. Even if I choose to drown our food in a pound of butter, use conventional pasta or add sweetness with real sugar (none of which I ever really do), I am still far more in control of what goes on our plates than if we dined at a restaurant together.

And physical health benefits aside, our souls are healthier from the time we spend together talking candidly in the comfort and privacy of our home. Our dinner talks often start with "So, honey, how was your day?" and segue to much grittier, …

Larrissa Beckenbaugh and PJ Heffernan from PJ's Yoga Shala.
Larrissa Beckenbaugh and PJ Heffernan from PJ's Yoga Shala.
Shayne Broadwell from Core Essence.
Shayne Broadwell from Core Essence.

Yoga "teacher training" is big business

September was the official National Yoga Month, celebrating the Eastern tradition that the West and the rest of the world has enthusiastically embraced for its fitness, health and spiritual benefits.

Yoga "teachers" do not need to be certified, credentialed or attend any special "training" to instruct yoga. This may come as a surprise even to yoga teachers, who, when looking for a job, may be faced with the stipulation of "must be an RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) through the Yoga Alliance." Often, these studios looking for teachers are "RYS – Registered Yoga Schools" through the Yoga Alliance.

So, eager yoga students passionate about their practice and wanting to progress to teaching are almost forced to take (expensive) "teacher trainings" to qualify to be "certified" as a yoga teacher. They then have to register with the Yoga Alliance, paying a fee to maintain their "RYT" teacher status.

And the Yoga Alliance (a non-profit organization) is doing pretty well because of it, as their website financials state: "Yoga Alliance and YA+ have released their 2011 financials by posting them on this website. The combined organizations reported revenue of approximately $3.25 million in 2011, which represents a 37-percent increase over the $2.37 million generated in 2010. They also ended the year with a surplus of $78,806, which was down from $364,188 in 2010."

Wow. Looks like yoga is one of the only businesses thriving in this economy. (Yoga as a business. This, in and of itself, gets some yogis' mats all up in a bunch.)

On the other hand, how many yoga teachers do you know whose "revenue is up in the last year"? Yoga teachers are typically paid per class, from my experience, starting around $25 per class. This fluctuates where you are in the country, at gyms versus yoga studios and by the teacher's experience. Some studios pay per student in class (again, from my experience) around $5 per student.

Private yoga sessions can be anywhere from $35-$150 per session – again…

No. 52 looks just as good off the field as he does in uniform.
No. 52 looks just as good off the field as he does in uniform. (Photo: Tyler Gajewski/Green Bay Packers)

Look on the "blonde" side

I don't usually go for blondes. And I really don't watch football. (Silence your gasps.)

But, a flaxen-haired Adonis has captured my interest and is keeping my bottom glued to the couch during Packers games.

It started innocently enough. I was turning the pages of the latest issue of W Magazine while my husband was being mesmerized by "the game." Unexpectedly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw sun-bleached strands flying in slo-mo across the screen.

I did a double take. I even had Chuck rewind. Was that Thor charging down the field? Had David broken free of his marble prison and found life in Wisconsin? Did a younger version of Fabio find out that it really isn't butter?

My football crush is No. 52, Clay Mathews.

His name evokes a classic film star whose name was emblazoned across the silver screen in westerns and romances.

His jaw is impossibly square, chiseled at an angle only Marvel comic book heroes can rival.

His physique is powerfully carved out; all 255 pounds of his 6-foot-3-inches deliberately sculpted for speed and power – and I'm sure, other physical endeavors.

How I've been oblivious to this California import the last three years is a tragic loss for only me, but I am down to play catch-up. I am officially into Packers football this year. Call me a Cheesehead, but I'll be watching every time my new favorite linebacker removes his helmet and tosses his golden locks.

I am inspired to hang a poster in my bedroom, wear a "Claymate" tee on Sundays (that moniker just seems so inappropriate for Clay Aiken now) and start a global chapter of the Clay Mathews fan club.

As everyone else focuses on the robbery that was last night's game, I'll be looking on the blonde, I mean, bright side.