I went to an acupuncturist last year, and it was one of the weirdest experiences of my life. My lower back was spasming (due to a bizarre sort of injury I’d apparently sustained on a zip line) and I was in agony. (I was also in Maine visiting my mother-in-law, but I don’t think that had anything to do with it.) I decided to try acupuncture, but the “recommended” guy was unavailable, so I had to pick a name out of a phone book. This person practiced out of his home, which in theory I have no problem with. However, his kids were there too, and no one was there to take care of them. So he cracked my back (which was fantastic – I wish I could have that done every day) and then stuck me with a bunch of needles, hooked me up to this electrical impulse that pounded through my body, put a heat lamp over the whole shebang, and left me to “heal.” Nothing hurt, exactly, but it was so strange that I felt uncomfortable. (The crying baby a few rooms away didn’t help a lot either.) He came back 10 minutes later with his daughter, aged 7, who asked if she could take the needles out and actually started reaching toward one. This startled me, to say the least, and my subsequent jump probably undid the good (if any) that the treatment had done, because the next day my back spasms were worse than ever. This time, though, I ended up just loading up on painkillers and moving as little as possible.

I know that this wasn’t a normal acupuncture session, but I’m still a little hesitant to try again. If my allergies don’t improve soon, I’ll reconsider.

Get rid of junk mail

Long before spam, junk mail was – and continues to be – a huge waste of resources. Most people just throw it away, some recycle it, and a few think it’s the height of cleverness to send it back to the company. Personally, I think the best solution is to cut it off at the source. You have to do a little bit of legwork, but the end result is virtually *no* credit card offers, flyers, and unwanted catalogs. I think it’s well worth it – maybe you do too.

Note: When you fill out one of the US Post Office’s change of address forms, they immediately sell your new address, so be sure to head to the DMA right away to get your new address removed too.

  • Direct Marketing Association – Start here by letting them know you don’t want any junk and it will start to slow down
  • Catalog Choice – choose which catalogs you actually do want, and the rest will stop coming
  • OPTOUT – Call 888 5 OPTOUT (888-567-8688) to tell the credit reporting agencies to stop sharing your financial info – this will cut down on the credit card offers you receive (not to mention maintain your financial privacy)

If you continue to receive garbage, look for contact information (phone, address, website) and let the company know directly that you don’t want their stuff.

Back online

I know, you’re all wondering whether I dropped off the face of the earth. No, but close: I had no internet access for a month. OK, sure, I could go to cybercafés and use a friend’s computer, but seriously, when you’re used to being able to go online at any time of the day or night, not having your own connection is a real drag. It finally got connected on Tuesday and since then I’ve been dealing with a huge backlog of email, forum posts, and the like.

So anyway, we left Costa Rica on 28 February, spent the weekend in NYC, and got to France on 4 March. Info about all that soon.

Linked In

Linked In is a networking site where you can connect to present and past colleagues and classmates in order to build your own network for professional purposes. I don’t remember when or why I joined originally, but I now have over 50 connections, and have found and been found by several old friends through it. I don’t know how useful it is for work-related networking, but for personal networking, it’s great.

Amazon is great

Amazon is one of my favorite stores, online or off. I quickly became addicted to buying books from them, and I’ve since graduated to kitchen items (my second favorite thing to shop for). A week ago, they were offering $25 off an order of $125 in housewares, so I took advantage of that, along with free super saver shipping. Unfortunately, a single item was on back order, so the whole order wasn’t to be mailed for over a month.

In order to avoid having to wait so long, I decided to replace that item with another, but it turns out that isn’t possible. I deleted the old but there was no way to add the new, and since I was no longer over 125, the price went up by $25. Plus, the ship date didn’t change, even though everything in my order was in stock.

I wrote to customer service, who responded by fixing the ship date (there was some kind of glitch) and upgrading me to regular shipping. I thanked them for that, but explained that I was still disappointed that I couldn’t add an item to meet the coupon requirements. I wasn’t mad, but they reacted as if I were threatening never to shop there again. They said that since I’m such a great customer, they’d go ahead and take the 25 off anyway.

How can you not love being treated like that?

Water purification

We recently found out that our well water is highly contaminated with e. coli bacteria. Strangely, we don’t have any symptoms, but this may be due to the fact that we were sick from e. coli more than a dozen times during the 2½ years we spent in Morocco>. In any case, everyone kept telling us that we needed to dump a bunch of bleach in the well to disinfect it, but since I do not use bleach (it is very toxic), I wasn’t wild about that idea. After much research, I found a better solution: ultraviolet purification. I just thought I’d share one of the more helpful pages I found, in case anyone else had similar troubles: Everything You Need to Know about Ultraviolet Water Purification


It turns out I probably don’t have strep throat since I have developed laryngitis, and the two do not normally go together. Laryngitis is a funny thing – my voice was scratchy on Friday, completely gone yesterday, and is very hoarse today – which I guess means it’s getting better, but I still feel awful. Here are some interesting things I’ve discovered about laryngitis:

  • When you whisper, kids will whisper back
  • I shouldn’t even be whispering, as according to the Mayo Clinic, whispering puts more of a strain on the vocal cords than talking
  • My French R is completely unaffected

Time to drink my 4,391st cup of tea.

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