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The Advice Column

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charliechaplinfan
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The Advice Column

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 11th, 2012, 1:03 pm

I don't think we have one of these but there are plenty of days when I could do with a bit of advice be it parenting, recipes, pets, household emergencies etc. I thought it would be a bit of fun as I have a bit of a dilemma one that my husband finds hilarious. So here goes

Dear SSO,

I have the nicest neighbour, I couldn't wish for better, we're the same age and get on really well and she's generous too and she's just bought me
three books to read when I go away on vacation. The first one is called Fifty Shades of Grey, it's a bit notorious here, let's jusy say it wouldn't have got filmed in Hollywood not even in the precode era. Has anyone else heard of it? I'm quite open minded but it isn't my usual reading material. Apparently there is a discussion board about it and as my neighbour knows I'm part of this discussion group thought I might want to read the trilogy and review it. Anyone out there ever had any books pressed on them by others. Any help and suggestions will be appreciated.
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moira finnie
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Re: The Advice Column

Postby moira finnie » July 11th, 2012, 2:13 pm

Fifty Shades of Grey is all the rage in the US, even sold in supermarkets, with a huge mass marketing push that surely takes the bittersweet tang of "forbidden fruit" from any taboo subjects explored in this literature. Having sampled enough of de Sade, The Story of O, etc. in adolescence, such fare bores the heck out of me now (too repetitive) and there is always a small voice in the back of my head that whispers that this old wine in new bottles is just another way of telling women to be submissive and that their sexuality is first and foremost their only asset. I am not a strident feminist, but, having been through enough in my own life, I feel that dignity and respect for one another should enter into any loving relationship. Besides, if people are going to write explicitly about sex, couldn't the characters at least have a good time? But everyone is different and if you like these books, perhaps it will be an opportunity for you to use your considerable analytical skills to point out the strengths and weaknesses in the story and its underlying themes. Otherwise, I might politely tell the neighbor that you don't have time to write a review on this topic.

I have many people who have generously tried to get me to read stuff that they have enjoyed, but I tend to like to choose my own books with little reference to what is popular. I hope this helps a bit, Alison.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: The Advice Column

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 11th, 2012, 2:37 pm

Thank you Moira. I admit I am my own worst enemy and not good at plain speaking but I was caught unawares, my neighbour told me all about the book and how various female members of her family were enthralled about the love story between a man and a woman not telling me why it's a best seller and I have my head in the sand about most popular culture so it had completely passed me by. It's only when Chris saw them, well aware because they are the talk of the staff room, he was surprised at my choice of purchase but thinks it's so funny that they've been bought for me. My adolscent learning wasn't quite up to the standard of the Marquis de Sade but Shirley Conran and Jackie Collins used to do the rounds between teenage girls and that's where they stayed in my adolescence. Although I'm no prude I have firm opinions about women in literature, I'm feeling that the example here isn't a going to be one of my role models. Besides having a daughter who's reading tastes are quickly developing and loves to know what Mummy is reading, it's not the kind of book to be left around a 10 year old, so I've had to hide them.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

feaito

Re: The Advice Column

Postby feaito » July 11th, 2012, 5:16 pm

Hi Ali,

My two cents.

Regardless of the BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism) nature of the relationships depicted in the books you mention, when I have received as a gift books that I don't care to read at all, I have thanked the gift but I have not read them, period. And if the person who gave it to me would have asked me what I thought about the book, I'd tell her/him a half-white lie and say that I read it but did not like it, because it wasn't my kind of literature.

There's so much little time for reading and watching all that interest us, that it would be a crime to waste time in things that not only do not interest us but that might become a burden to watch or read.

Also, if for instance, someone who loved films that I do not like all, such as -in my case- Yves Noé's "Irreversible" (which is truly revolting in some sequences) or Mike Nichols' "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (which I loathed because of its unpleasant, neurotic and strident characters) asked me to watch any of them with him/her, I'd be frank with that person and tell her to choose something we both liked.

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Re: The Healthiest Foods

Postby MissGoddess » July 11th, 2012, 7:35 pm

I think this is a nice idea for a thread, Allison!

If I may ask my own: I'm curious to know what, based on personal experience, individuals here think are the healthiest foods to eat. As we all know, there is SO much information out there, often conflicting, about the health benefits of this, the dangers of that; how everyone MUST eat/drink more of this, and NEVER touch that; or only consume "organic" vs. "it's a scam", etc. If you've experienced some noticeable benefits from eating a particular food, recipe, drink, fruit, vegetable, spice, or whatever...I'm curious. I'm currently making some adjustments to my own diet and thought I'd get some live input after getting a mild headache from all the "stuff" I've been reading online. :D

Oh, and if you're a skeptic about anything in particular, feel free to respond as well.

Grazie.

April
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
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Re: The Advice Column

Postby knitwit45 » July 11th, 2012, 7:54 pm

Since I don't eat healthily, I can't in good conscience answer April's question, sorry.

Alison, this is one of those times you really do need to speak up, albeit pleasantly. Libby and Joe are your perfect out. Return the books to the neighbor, and tell her after reading a few pages, you realized they are not suitable for a home with young children, especially since Libby is curious. Tell her hiding them made you uncomfortable, so better they went back...

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Re: The Advice Column

Postby CineMaven » July 12th, 2012, 6:12 am

Alison...what a clever idea for a thread here.

That's quite a dilemma you have on your hands re: the sordid reading fare. But your humorously written post made me laugh, I have to say. I think I'd go with what both Fernando and Nancy advise. I think I might be in the Feaito camp of the "little white lie." To return the books would really be hurtful to the person. But if they offer you another set of scorching tales, right then and then I'd go with what Nancy suggests, tell them that with your kids in tow, you'd rather not have the books around for their young eyes; maybe you'll download 'em on a Kindle. Thank your neighbor profusely and then scurry off saying you hear the tea kettle whistling or have something on the stove. I know you don't want to hurt your neighbor's feelings but these books are not quite your cuppa. People mean well, but sometimes they sure can cause cringe-inducing anxiety. ( For me in high school, Jacqueline Susann was the auteur du jour, who wrote the books we girls passed around. :shock: )

Hi April. As a person scarfing down chips, Twizzlers, Chinese food and pizza, boy, I could sure use advice on that score as well. ( A baby boomer's metabolism is not what it used to be. ) Yesterday I worked on a shoot with a man who's the Executive Chef at a mid-town restaurant. I asked him if he knew what foods were carbs and what were proteins and such...He laughed and said of course; he had to study nutrition at culinary school. The film shoot was for a friend who wants to submit a pilot to WNYC entitled "Cooking In A Small Kitchen." When we broke for lunch the chef ( Chef Carlos ) made us a salad and some pasta and ( my own request: ) eggs benedict, all very filling. ( He's cute, Portugese and as thin as a rail. ) I could maybe e-mail him and specifically run your question by him...

Fernando, I saw "IRREVERSIBLE." Shocking, yes indeed. I thought Monica Bellucci was quite brave to take on the role...but I have to say I loved the cleverness in the way the story was laid out, though it was a rough ride.

Again...nice thread idea Alison!
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Re: The Advice Column

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 12th, 2012, 8:46 am

I thought if anything it would give folks a chuckle. My neighbour has children so I don't think I would feel comfortable saying it as she is comfortable to read the books with her kids in the house. OK the word used here is Mummy Porn. How can I be so unaware of what everyone else seems to know about, I'd never heard of it before and I was told it was an unusual love story, well so was Jane Eyre in it's day. I've got to laugh, I'm all for getting an education but really. I was more on the up take with the Twilight books, I'd heard of them and managed to convince her that I wouldn't read them.

I try to be good with food, easier said than done but my number one recommendation is porridge oats made with either half milk and water or milk but made on the stove, a pinch of salt and I flavour mine with honey. It's filling and stops me from munching throughout the morning.
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Re: The Advice Column

Postby JackFavell » July 12th, 2012, 10:45 am

Alison, you are not the only one who has never heard of these books, I am so out of the loop I'm not even in the suburbs of the loop.

Some people who might never normally read this stuff might consider them perfect beach reading. I am not one of them. The Story of O in college was enough to put me off any of that stuff forever. I would sooner take Jackie Collins or Jacqueline Susann than the highbrow stuff. Anais Nin, maybe, but mostly it just makes me either laugh or feel sick.

I have a book here, Something called Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife. A friend gave it to me for my birthday, because she knows I like Jane Austen, and here it still sits staring at me. Last year she "let me borrow" (ie forced it upon me) a modern story where a liberated American woman finds Darcy in a bedroom on a tour of an old estate... it was awful tripe which I did my best to read but finally gave it back and she did not quiz me on it thankfully since I gave up at about page 50. I told her it was cute. I really probably should suggest to her that Austen rip-off stories aren't my cuppa and that I am not really infatuated with Mr. Darcy. I think if I were doing it over again, I would say I just don't like the stories unless they are written by Austen herself, though I did like The Jane Austen Book Club. I
'm not sure why.

April, Andrew swears by celery, and he has become much healthier this year. His triglycerides were up, and he was starting some blood pressure issues, but now he's fine, all from changing eating habits for a few months. He also tried almond butter, if you can eat nuts, on celery for snacks at work. Grapefruit is another good food. We also have plenty of apples for snacks. I don't know if you are looking for healthy eating, or are wanting to diet? We also have eaten much less at night, with an emphasis on chicken and fish....and we try to stick to a rule of eating between a certain timeline - an eight hour period from breakfast to dinner seems to keep people from much weight gain. My brother in law is a biologist, and he says there is a study about that as well.

I think natural foods are very important, I don't eat much processed food anymore except for tomato sauce. When I do buy sauce or anything else, I go for organic ones ( or free range organic eggs, for instance) as I do find a difference in how I feel after eating them. I seem to be one of those people who can't eat a lot of preservatives, or corn syrup, so I check labels ALL THE TIME. Now I can see a huge difference in how I feel, especially with corn products, which have started to inundate the food supply, hidden in other foods. I think though, I have an allergy to corn and onions, they make me quite ill and are both hidden in a wide range of products. I have always wondered if the reason why I can eat free range eggs but not regular store bought eggs is that the chickens are fed nothing but corn in the regular facilities.

I did just read a recent study that found that a calorie is a calorie, whether it is a carb calorie or a protein calorie or a fat calorie. It said that initally, fat and protein calories actually make you lose weight (a la the South Beach diet), however they said the weight lost was all water... meaning that it was not a substantive loss of fat in the body. All the weight you lose on a high protein, low carb diet WILL come back, and needs to, because it is water. So basically, there is no magic diet cure, just less food and more exercise will make you lose weight, if that's what you are interested in doing.

I don't know if that helps, but I find these are what have helped us become more healthy lately.

Personally, I eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies, and if not fresh then frozen. I will spend money on those things first, they are the first thing I buy in the store, and though I do have a limit of what I will spend on them, it is higher than my limit on other foods.I also have been going with whole grains.

Sorry to run on, but Andrew is visibly healthier from these steps, and I feel healthier.

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Re: The Advice Column

Postby MissGoddess » July 12th, 2012, 12:08 pm

Allison, oatmeal is what I grew up on and I still like to eat it especially on winter mornings, and YES definitely with honey! Yum! I also love oatmeal cookies, especially if they have chocolate bits in them...super yum! But not quite as "healthy", no? :D Wish I had a great recipe to make them homemade. I'm trying a new chocolate chip cookie recipe that uses pudding mix in it to make the cookies extra moist and chewy...we'll see.

I'm asking about healthy foods and immediately have to turn it to chocolate. :)

Theresa, your friend's show reminds me of how my friend from Ecuador, who is one of the best cooks I know, used to make gourmet meals when all she had in her teensy weensy kitchen was a single HOT PLATE. No oven, nothing else, not even a toaster. And the meals were better, even fancier, than many at Alain Ducasse...

Wendy, thank you so much for all you wrote. I'm rather fascinated always by the different ways people eat and feel about food. There are some really extreme views and everything in between. Sounds like you have a very balanced approach which is great. Fresh really is key, isn't it? At least as fresh as we can get it without having our own farm. I find that part a little difficult since I'm only one person and produce that typically comes in sizes or amounts that feed a family ends up spoiled in my fridge after a couple of days and end up throwing so much out. That makes produce the priciest part of my marketing, by far.

You mentioned celery, ha, that reminds me there are a few stalks sitting in my crisper that need to be thrown out. Celery is something I don't use too often and really goes to waste, but I will find ways to use it more.

Organic is a challenge sometimes due to price but i have a few places where I can shop around and get the best deal. I'd say 60-70% of what I eat now is organic. Maybe more. And I go by taste as much as anything else---if the organic "version" tastes better, and frequently it does, that's my main incentive. I realize that what is labeled "organic" is not always what we think that means.

Goodness, it's getting to the point where you need a college education to shop at the supermarket, hee! And our great-great grandmothers never had to think twice about all this. Sigh.

Right now I'm on a Brussels Sprouts love affair, I've been eating them every week, sometimes every night, for nearly a year now and not because I read anything good about their health benefits, but because I'm in love with the taste. Of course, they have to be cooked just right. I usually just saute them in olive oil (with garlic and shallots, sometimes with leeks) for a few minutes until they're al dente, so to speak. Or steam them. That occasionally is my main meal.

Honey with aloe, cottage cheese mixed with Flax seed oil, those are the only two really "new" things I've added as a daily supplement.

I'm trying to make some adjustments for health reasons, not weight, but I want to be balanced about everything, not extreme. People have told me (and I've read toooooo much on the Internet) that milk, sugar and meat will absolutely positively kill me dead and I just think that's overboard. Sometimes it makes me laugh, especially when you hear about the 100+ year-old people talk about eating bacon, fried chicken and drinking hard liquor all their lives.

In the end, balance and happiness really are the best medicines.
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Re: The Advice Column

Postby knitwit45 » July 12th, 2012, 12:11 pm

April, I read this in a magazine years ago, and it really works. When you bring celery home, take it out of the plastic bag it came in, and wrap it in aluminum foil. It stays fresh for much, much longer in your fridge!

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Re: The Advice Column

Postby MissGoddess » July 12th, 2012, 12:41 pm

knitwit45 wrote:April, I read this in a magazine years ago, and it really works. When you bring celery home, take it out of the plastic bag it came in, and wrap it in aluminum foil. It stays fresh for much, much longer in your fridge!


Thank you, Nancy! I love tips like this. I will put it into practice.
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Re: The Advice Column

Postby JackFavell » July 12th, 2012, 1:54 pm

Oooh, thanks for that tip, Nan! I wonder if it works for peaches? Probably not. Does anyone else have trouble with peaches from the grocery store? They are too green when you buy them, but then by the time they are ripe, they spoil.

April, I think you are right to try for balance, rather than the extreme. Some people have gotten very sick limiting their diets to only certain types of food.

I try to go organic, but lately I just can't afford it. But if it comes to sauce, or canned or processed food I buy organic, those are now much cheaper than they used to be. I find that a lot of the time, organic fruits from the farmer's market are less likely to spoil, not because they are inherently better, but because they have to be fresher than the others, which sit in warehouses somewhere before ever getting to the grocery store. I buy organic also not just for flavor or nutrient value, but because I think pesticides and fake fertilizers are killing our earth. But that's just my opinion. My dad thinks it's a scam to get people to pay more money. I just don't like big business trying to put small time organics out of business, when people have the right to grow food the way they want to, without poisons. I probably sound like a freak... sorry. :D Frankly, I don't like big business anywhere - but that's again my opinion and a whole other story. Don't even get me started on the introduction of big business into education.

I love Brussel Sprouts, especially roasted ones with olive oil and salt. YUM! But because of weather, the only thing roasting in my house lately is me.

I just saw a recipe for grilled lettuce, if you can believe it! I am going to try it, but they say you have to dry it thoroughly, make sure to use lettuces with a thick center like romaine, halve them, oil them, and then watch closely because it only takes minutes to grill.

We eat a lot of kale, which is also healthy. We tear leaves off the center veiny stem and bake it or broil in small pieces for five minutes or less with olive oil and salt, they come out crispy and are delicious to eat like chips. You want them dry but not browned.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: The Advice Column

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 12th, 2012, 2:11 pm

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has had unwanted books foisted on them. I have a friend who knows I love my movies and movie stars and buys me books, usually by David Bret or similar author that churn biographies out one a year and I just can't read them. How can you have written a fully researched biography in that time?

I like to make all my food from fresh and buy good ingredients but when I became ill that's the first thing my doctors made me give up doing, a Western diet is fine as long as it's not endless takeaways. Canned food, freezer food, ready meals are all much healthier than they were but old habits die hard. I will keep the odd thing in the freezer and when my symptoms flare up I will resort to ready mades but I like to eat fresh and make fresh but I've had to get canny about what I can make quickly with fresh produce, wraps are a good thing packed with baby spinach, rocket, salad veg and some lean meat.

I'm always wating celery, I have the good intention of snacking on it but it never looks as appetising as the chocolate bar and before I know it, it's wilted.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: The Advice Column

Postby JackFavell » July 12th, 2012, 2:21 pm

It's one of those things that isn't easy to prepare, you have to rinse and cut it up to eat it. The store bought pre-cut is expensive and isn't as good as the full stalks.
My aunt always had it in the fridge in a little container of water which makes it crisper. I do that with snap peas too. but of course, if you don't use them within a day or two, you just have yucky celery or peas in disgusting water. :D

And Alison, if I can't always get my veggies cooked or prepared, you certainly have a better excuse than I do. I am trying very hard to put things into fresh packaging and make my own for later use. Sometimes, I can catch a fruit before it spoils and freeze chunks of it. Frozen watermelon or grapes make a great healthy snack in summertime.


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