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Table Scraps: Massage is not a luxury

By Lynn Dirk in collaboration with Lily Van Halen, LMT

062916LilyVEDITOR's NOTE: Lily Van Halen is a Licensed Massage Therapist and the owner of Advanced Massage Works in Gainesville. She trained at the Florida School of Massage in Gainesville in 2010. Lily is trained in several different types of massage therapy, is certified in manual lymphatic drainage, and provides Lyme disease and detox therapies. Her clinic welcoming committee is 3 very small but big hearted-dogs, Simba, Gina, and Petey.

062916DropCap 

have recently discovered a new form of preventive health care: massage. I've had a   few  massages in the past and enjoyed them but always thought of massage as similar to getting my nails or hair done – a luxury that simply boosts how I look or, in the case of massage, how I feel.

Now, after talking to a massage therapist (hint, hint) that I am now going to regularly and with all the info that has been coming out about the mind-body connection and stress, I have learned that massage is not a luxury but a form of preventive health care that just so happens to also makes me feel great.

 

062916MassageADVANCED

This new perspective has led me to team up with Lily Van Halen, LMT, the previously mentioned massage therapist, to spread the word that this is a valuable – and very affordable – part of health maintenance. This is the first part of a series where I will report, with the help of Lily, on my experiences with massage therapy and related ways to regularly engage in preventive health care.

 

062916massageSUNBATHE

Most people think of massage as a way to relax, but why would relaxation be essential? First it's important to clarify that the relaxation created by massage is very different from the idea that most people have of relaxation. You might think you can get relaxation from vacation-type activities like lying on the beach or meeting friends for happy hour or watching your favorite TV show. Those activities do remove you from stressful situations, like difficulties at work or driving in rush hour traffic, but the effects of everyday stresses can linger and accumulate and lead to chronic stress.

 

062916trafficGville

Personally I think one of the biggest causes of stress in the world today is the speed of transportation, especially in cars. When I am speeding along – and by speeding along, I mean travelling faster than a person can run – as far as my cells are concerned, I am hurtling through space, and that is an emergency! Sure, I know the car has brakes, but I am convinced that, physiologically, the body just automatically goes into crisis mode. And that's why passengers always try to help drivers – it's an automatic response that is created by every cell in our body going "Oh no -- we are going to die!!!"

 

062916driversOnlyA

062916painWhether my theory is true or not, chronic stress is a very common condition of modern life, and the effects of chronic stress can make you vulnerable to illness. This is because stress really is a physiologic response, thus it can affect the whole body in complex ways due to the release of certain hormones that cause inflammation. This response can occur almost silently because it starts out mild, and it is easy to cope with mild discomfort or dysfunction, but that is also what allows the effects of stress to accumulate slowly over time. Symptoms that are mild at first get ignored, but build up over time. When they begin to have serious consequences, we still may not recognize the problem because we have adapted to it. Our ability to adapt is a two-edged sword: It enables us to deal with our environment as it changes, but at the same it is also changing us, and not necessarily for the good. Thus chronic stress can be like the hot water the frog doesn't jump out of. (Although this frog myth has been disproven, there is historical evidence that people don't always get out of hot water in time, so the frog story continues to serve as a useful metaphor).

062916FROG 

Health care advice now frequently includes practicing relaxation techniques that people can do themselves, like yoga (see previous link for chronic stress). I recommend it to everyone but rarely take the time to do it myself. Now I have also become a proponent of massage, and this is one piece of my own advice I am taking at least once a month. In articles to follow that Lily and I collaborate on, we will provide more information about the following benefits of massage:

zzGLOBbullet Decreased physical stress.
zzGLOBbullet Decreased mental stress.
zzGLOBbullet Decreased pain.
zzGLOBbullet Increased self-care
zzGLOBbullet Decreased effects of aging on skin.
zzGLOBbullet And all of the above together decrease inflammation, a significant source of aging and illness.
zzGLOBbullet Last but not least: A positive cost/benefit ratio, that is, cost is low and benefit is high.

 

062916Massage

In the meantime consider this: People don't feel stressed because stress manifests as symptoms that seem to be caused by physical problems such as poor digestion or stiffness in the morning. Not always, but very often, those symptoms are actually the effects of stress that lead to illness.

If you have any specific questions about massage, you can email Lily at lily@advancedmassageworks.com or visit the Advanced Massage Works website,

GLOB Content Editor Lynn Dirk writes Table Scraps, an occasional column featuring compostable food for thought, scrap mettle for possible salvage, and crisp pieces of rendered thoughts.

 

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Table Scraps: Strangulation by stuff

A Halloween horror story

GLOB Content Editor Lynn Dirk writes Table Scraps, an occasional column featuring compostable food for thought, scrap mettle for possible salvage, and crisp pieces of rendered thoughts.

There is a VIP in town – a Very Important Place: The Repurpose Project (RP). Its mission: To stretch reuse and recycling to places where none have gone before. To salvage items that regular thrift stores won't take, such as odd pieces of wood and old jewelry that is coming apart. To take broken items and salvage material from them that can be used to create something entirely new.

The RP, a very worthy non-profit organization, is moving to a bigger and better place, but it needs help to get all that stuff to the new place. I am hoping to convince you that the RP is important enough for you to help them move.  Why is the Repurpose Project VERY IMPORTANT?? It all has to do with STUFF.

101514LYNNstuff1 Stuff is alive -- just like that plant in Little Shop of Horrors, and stuff can strangle us. I learned about the horror of stuff at the first Cinema Verde Environmental Film and Arts Festival in 2010, when I saw the video, The Story of Stuff. From this video I learned that, since the end of WWII, the economy has been creating a culture that makes buying stuff our sole purpose. The quote shown here, an excerpt from the movie, is an actual quote from an influential economist of that time who helped to give birth to and promote what I will now call the Reign of Terror of Stuff. For example, we have all heard of "planned obsolence" where things are designed to have a short life so we buy more, but there is also "perceived obsolence" that makes us want to buy the latest fashions. I also learned that 99% of the stuff we buy becomes trash within 6 months from the date of purchase.  But the worst thing about stuff is how it exploits and then wastes resources.

101514Lynnstuff5The Story of Stuff should be required viewing for ALL CONSUMERS – and that's EVERYONE. You can see this enlightening, frightening, and yet simultaneously entertaining 20-minute video anytime at the Story of Stuff Project website (pic at right is a link). If you don't have time to watch the video, check out the Story Of Stuff FAQs Sheet.

In addition to what I learned from the Story of Stuff, I know stuff is a problem because I, myself, have too much, and I know other people do too because I've talked to friends and coworkers about this problem. We all bemoan having too much stuff.

Also, I've watched A&E's Hoarders. Well, most of us are not THAT bad, but it can really catch up with you when you aren't looking.

There might be one person in the United States who does not have too much stuff – my sister. She actually has some drawers in her house that are empty. It amazes me and I find it a little disturbing, but I totally understand why. By the time I left home to go to college, my sister was a pre-teen and my mother was just beginning a slow spiral into hoarding. Her couponing addiction did not help. She was never as bad as those people on Hoarders, but it was bad enough.

101514EbayStuff is truly seductive and it can be valuable, especially to people who sell and buy it on the you-can-sell-anything-on-the-worldwide-website, eBay.com.  This phenomenon is sweetly described by that musical genius Weird Al Yankovic in his music video eBay. No wonder stuff is so easy to collect and so hard to get rid of.

But have no fear – The Repurpose Project is THE CURE for stuff. What makes the RP different from ordinary thrift shops is that it collects ANY and EVERYthing! In addition to broken chairs, for example, it will also accept those little odds and ends that you know just might come in handy101514LynnSTUFF2 someday but finally decide one day to throw it away and then as soon as you get rid of it you wish you had it.

Now, instead of giving up on getting rid of stuff, you can take it to the RP and have confidence that, when you need a very specific item, you will be able to find just exactly what you need at the RP. You can see the amazing variety of stuff the RP collects at their Craigslist web page.

Are you now convinced that the RP is a good cause and worth helping? If so, FOLLOW THIS LINK to read about how to help them move all that stuff!

Also, the new location is around the corner from Satchel's Pizza. So when you go take your stuff there or go to find just the perfect something you need for some special project, after you go to the RP, you can stop in at Satchels' for some pizza and beer and maybe some music as a reward for helping to save the planet from The Strangulation of Stuff.  Happy Halloween!

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Table Scraps - Living in a commercial world

Living in Commercial World, and I am NOT a Commercial Girl

GLOB Content Editor Lynn Dirk writes Table Scraps, an occasional column featuring compostable food for thought, scrap mettle for possible salvage, and crisp pieces of rendered thoughts, USUALLY related to restaurants and food.

I absolutely hate commercialism. I could not live in a time where there were no remotes to mute commercials. I do not understand people who love TV commercials as much as or more than TV shows. I do realize, however, that commercialism, like sports, pays for things that have real value, like education and the web. Nevertheless, I cannot stop myself from ranting when I see rampant commercialism. So, I have to rant about Zoe's Kitchen website.  The food itself, however, had some unique aspects that I liked very much (see the food review here).

Borrowing from motion sickness, I actually got dizzy at ZK's website from what I will call "web sickness" – from all the info and links whizzing into my eyes and brain.  In fact you could say it is a-maze-ing – and not in a good way.  While amazement can have a positive connotation, it can also be negative in a more literal sense relating to a labyrinth:  "to stupefy or confuse", and that is probably a result of having "conflicting elements", for example, there are all kinds of friendly social media messages, as if it is your best friend rather than business. 

zk-real-estateThe first, thing I learned from the Locations page is that Zoe's is a restaurant chain, primarily in the southeast but spreading north and west.  Then I looked for Zoe's 'About' page; I really enjoy About pages that have information on the history and owners of organizations and businesses, but I could not find an About page.  Instead I notice at the very bottom of the Location page, next to Contact Us, "Real Estate," so I clicked on that.  At Real Estate, I saw, as a business, Zoe's Kitchen is not fooling around. They have a formula that they think equals success, one of the requirements being "20,000 minimum traffic count on street in front of store, non intersection, both ways." At this point, my anticommercialism hackles were raised, but I could also see this as efficiency, so I moved on and attempted to keep my bias in check.

At the top of Zoe's web page, I see a 'Live Mediterranean' tab, and decide to give that a try.  At the Live Mediterranean page, there's links to EAT, COOK, CONNECT, LIVE sections further down the page. All kinds of healthy advice is sprinkled with a social media pop up floating along to LIKE.  There is indeed some useful info there, including a link to a Mediterranean Diet Shopping List.   NOTE: Nowhere on that list did I see meat, which is a prime ingredient in many of of ZK's menu items.  I was also thinking that they might use cold cuts, which are definitely not healthy, but on closer look, it seemed like maybe not.  Further investigation warranted . . .

zk-app-exWhen I see the helpful information, though, my guard lowers, and then I realize the logo at the top of the page, Zoe's Kitchen, is also a link and I click on it. That leads me to Zoe's Kitchen App. At this point, I'm continuing to soften up because there's a section for "Life Goals," one of which is 'Take Cans to a Food Shelter'. How can I NOT be supportive of that?

But then my hackles were raised again when I saw a link to a Zoe's Kitchen app that goes to 'Relevant Customized Mobile Loyalty' page, where "Building Apps ... Build Your Company."  As Mr. Spock would say:  "Fascinating!"  Is this the future of advertising? 

Then I see a tab/web link that says 'Fresh Takes' where, below a video (which I did not watch), you click on ANOTHER link for ideas for a weekly meal plan, which starts out with a picture of "Sarah Jane" followed by a long, homey narrative leading up to a week of menus that starts with: "Day 1-- Dinner for Four from Zoes."

zk-appWhat I see here is an attempt to seamlessly mesh social consciousness with commercialism.  How can that be bad?  Only if it's a wolf in sheeps clothing, that is, the social consciousness is half-hearted and the commercialism is . . . obvious?  Well, if there's going to be commercialism, I guess it's better that it be obvious than hidden and deceptive.  So I have to give points to ZK for being blatant -- I say blatant rather than honest because  . . . I just don't trust commercials. Hmm, why is that?  Because I think a product should be good enough to sell itself and not resort to exaggeration, deception, and extremely loud volume, OR extremely convoluted messaging for that matter.

Another aspect of commercialism that bothers me is how people BUY T-shirts and other products that proudly advertise a brand.  Shouldn't the company being PAYING those people for serving, essentially, as billboards?  On the other hand, if I like a product, I am happy to let people know about it.  I proudly wear my Cinema Verde or Save the Suwannee T-shirts, not to mention my UF alumni T.  Am I a hypocrite?  EEK.

It's just very difficult to support businesses and, thus, their commercial messages, with the incidents of corporate deception that have accumulated over the years:

zzGLOBbullet  Tobacco - I HIGHLY recommend the movie The Insider.  True story of a couple of real American heroes, including one of the founders of 60 Minutes, and what it takes to get to the truth when an organizations has a lot to lose.

  zzGLOBbullet Oil, as in BP - BP touts all the money it is giving for recovery from the Gulf spill, and I think "Why didn't BP just spend that money on prevention???"

zk-investzzGLOBbullet  Fracking - Thinkaboutit.org talks all about the benefits of fracking but says absolutely nothing about the risks to water quality.  Once you know how fracking is done, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand that there ARE risks.  

BUT there is always hope things will improve -- after all, people CAN learn from mistakes.  

EPILOGUE:  A few days after I first drafted this rant, I went back to ZK's home page to check my facts, and on that page I see something new.  At the bottom, right next to "Contact Us  / Real Estate" has been added "Investor Relations."  I go to the Locations page and it has also been added there, so it IS something new just added.  I have to wonder, will this company be able to balance stockholder and customer interests fairly?  As noted, we can always hope . . . and hopefully LEARN.

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Table Scraps: Do right by Farmer Bubba

Petition Home Depot: Do Right by Farmer Bubba

GLOB Content Editor Lynn Dirk writes Table Scraps, an annual (so far) column, featuring compostable food for thought, scrap mettle for possible salvage, and crisp pieces of rendered thoughts, USUALLY related to restaurants and food.

My family makes fun of me whenever I get all “corporationy,” which I think is a term from South Park and I think it refers to people who rant about the evil of corporations. All I can say is, when it comes to the perfect model of corporations at their worst, think tobacco. Every person in this country--no, make that the world!--should see the movie The Insider.   Also, might I add that British Petroleum (BP) is an excellent example of a corporation that certainly could vie for least socially responsible.

I admit that corporations can do good, however. In fact there is a whole new type of corporation called the B-Corps that uses “the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.”   I am going to be using this website a lot to decide where to shop and/or invest. 

Another example of a corporation doing good is Home Depot, a more typical every day corporation, which did a good thing recently by standing up for social equality.

FarmerBubbaLOGO3Unfortunately, I have a little problem with Home Depot right now because the GLOB’s own Farmer Bubba got a serious hit on the head at a Home Depot store recently and has been practically harassed by Home Depot’s insurer Sedgwick.  Ironically, Bubba never even made a complaint himself, he just started getting calls from Sedgewick and the second call was when they told him the accident was his fault. Bubba is 100% sure it is not his fault, so that really bothered him – and it really bothers me. Actually a friend of mine commented that even if he did accidentally brush against a heavy pipe, it should not have been able to fall and hurt anyone. Good point.

Bubba is so hard working and such a good guy that I decided I wanted to try and help him.  His hit on the head has been very difficult for him.  He has had vision, memory, and headache problems that have caused him to lose days of work that he really cannot afford, plus his doctor recently told him he needs a skull Xray and a brain scan. That costs a whole lot more than an un-insured self-employed small farmer has on hand.

SO, there is this really neat website, change.org, that, via petitions signed on the web, enables groups of people to put pressure on large organizations like corporations to make 060313Scrapschanges. I created a petition that tells Bubba's story.  If enough people sign, maybe Home Depot will make its insurer, first, stop blaming Bubba for the accident and, second, do what insurance companies are supposed to do -- cover some of his health care costs. Check out the petition for Bubba and sign if you can.  At the same time check out change.org and see what a neat website it is. 

I’ve included the petition below so you can read it before you go to the website.  I hope I did a good enough job of telling the story to make you want to sign the petition. If so, go to the Petition for Farmer Bubba on the change.org website to sign the petition.

If you decide to sign, please also share the story and the website with as many friends as you can.  Thanks so much just for reading this far.  Here's the petition:

To: Brad Shaw, Home Depot Vice Pres, Corp Communications& External Affairs

Elizabeth Francy Demaret, Chief Customer Relationship Officer, Sedgwick

RE: Sedgwick’s handling of Claim 20130374664

I just signed a petition calling on Home Depot to review Sedgwick’s Home Depot Claim 20130374664. It appears that this 3rd party insurance manager may be attempting to deny coverage by unfairly accusing a long-time and loyal customer, Bubba Scott, of causing an accident that injured him in the store.

Bubba Scott, a self-employed home improvement professional and small farmer, experienced a serious head injury while at Home Depot on March 5th. He was hit hard on the head by a heavy pipe. At that time, Bubba did not even ask for compensation or complain to the Home Depot staff. Bubba did not see a doctor right away because he did not realize the gravity of a serious head injury or the effects that would occur in the following weeks. 

After the accident Bubba began to have bad headaches and problems with memory, vision, and lost appetite. Bubba then realized he needed to see his doctor. The doctor told him he needs a brain scan to determine if the injury may lead to serious complications, but Bubba cannot afford the $6000.

Bubba later learned that the Home Depot store manager had filed a report. About 3 weeks after the accident, Bubba received a call from Home Depot’s 3rd party insurance management company, Sedgwick in reference to Home Depot claim 20130374664. The Sedgwick representative called to ask Bubba what happened and how he was doing, which Bubba described. Two weeks later, the representative called Bubba again and told him the accident was his fault and offered him a $100 Home Depot gift certificate. Bubba asked to see the claim report but was told he could not see it.

As much as Bubba might needs a brain scan, he is even more concerned by the demeaning and accusatory way the Sedgwick employee informed him that the accident was his fault and then refused to provide evidence of that, even though it is very likely that the accident was captured on a security camera. 

As a home improvement professional who is also a certified electrician, Bubba knows how important it is to be careful around equipment. Also, Bubba has been a loyal customer of Home Depot for many years. In fact, when he was relocating to a new city, staff of the Home Depot in the city he was leaving gave him a Home Depot employee apron with his name on it as a going away present. 

Please tell Home Depot to review Claim 20130374664 to assure Sedgwick is not unfairly blaming Bubba Scott or other customers for accidents without proof and is not making money for themselves or Home Depot at the expense of Home Depot customers.

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Table Scraps, May 23, 2012

Some Restaurant Locations are Revolving Doors

GLOB Content Editor Lynn Dirk is presenting Table Scraps, an irregular column featuring ideas for disposal or salvage, scrap mettle worthy of reprocessing, small pieces of someone's mind -- crisp pieces of rendered thoughts related to restaurants and food.

Location, location, location! To understand that this real estate truism overemphasizes only one factor in business success, think "restaurant." If a restaurant has good food and a HALF-WAY decent location, we will come. There are some very interesting examples of this in Gainesville.

leonardosmidtownBelieve it or not, the current location of Leonardo's by the Slice was once a revolving door location where hopeful restaurateurs would eventually become disappointed.

That all changed when Leonardo's moved there in the early 80's. Wow, 30 years. That's a long time. They clearly have a successful formula that includes a location within walking distance for captive university peeps, so that tiny little L-shaped parking lot is not a serious problem. Good food factors into the pizza-by-the-slice formula, but Leo's has also evolved – while keeping the essentials, over time they added new menu items and changed up the décor. I love that brushed metal counter! Leo's definitely now OWNS that spot. Can you imagine NOT having Leo's there? Can you imagine it anywhere else?

The importance of a specific building or location might be most critical for locally owned restaurants, whereas big box franchise restaurants rely on branding -- it doesn't matter where they go, they are always nearly identical. Some people like that consistent uniformity, even though it might result in mediocre food. But even chain restaurants can fail.  When a chain restaurant fails - I mean the one restaurant, not the chain! - is it usually due to poor market research resulting in a bad location?

Here's some other Hogtown restaurant location scraps for your consideration:

Sshake13th> The corner of SW 13th St and 16th Ave hosted a restaurant for years and years, the last being a Guthrie's fried chicken. Since Guthrie's failed, that spot has been dormant for quite awhile. I kept wondering why–maybe because I drive by that corner every workday–until I recently learned the property was bought by Shands. So ends a location that for many years could never keep a restaurant going even though it has as good a location as the Steak and Shake directly across the street from it, which does so well it even created a whole new building for itself about 5 years ago.

> Is there even an address for that spot that will soon become Chuy's Mexican restaurant off of Archer Rd. and SW 34th St.? Nice building, good parking, LOTS of other businesses around it to bring people to that area. SOMETHING has just not been working there. Will Chuy's stop that revolving tenant door from turning?  By the way, I looked up the address in the GLOB – it is 3410 Archer Rd. I don't think you can even see that building from Archer Rd. Wouldn't you like to know how addresses get assigned?

JonesDF> The Jones Eastside has some great food and hard core fans, but that location . . . really? Admittedly, more and more restaurants seem to eke out workabke space in small strip malls. Despite such an iffy location and small dining area – or maybe BECAUSE it's small? – The Jones stays very busy. Where would YOU want The Jones to go if it relocated? Rumors are beginning to surface . . .

> GLOBers who live on the east side of town would NEVER want it to have the kind of chaos that occurs on Archer Road, but more good restaurants wouldn't hurt. Wait – there are actually a LOT of good restaurants on the east side already, including Satchel's Pizza, which, like The Jones, never seems big enough to hold all the people who want to eat there. Satchel has made it clear, though, he will NEVER move. Good for him, and soon he will have a new kitchen. That's probably a good thing: With the new eastside UF complex practically right across the street from him, his business may actually increase--if that is even possible. Speaking of Satchel's, make sure you check out the Satchblog to follow progress on the renovation.

SatchelsSFSatch won't give an ETA on a reopening, but he is hoping for good news in the next six to eight weeks. It seems like construction projects are NEVER completed on time. Either way, Satchel has had some tribulations along the way. Check out his story about the air conditioning. Hang in there Satchel!

> Burrito Brothers Taco Co. was in the same 13th Street location FOREVER and was a very popular lunchtime Food on the Run spot until big business and big politics literally made everything on that corner disappear, maybe FOREVER. That's OK by me.  There are too many buildings in cities, so I am enjoying that open space.  Amd Burrito Bros did not disappear, it just moved. I haven't been there since they moved, but I hear it is in a better place where people can actually sit down and eat.

I have focused on some the revolving door restaurant locations mainly east of University Avenue because this is the part of town I know best.  Is there a revolving door restaurant location that tickles your fancy or ticks you off in your part of town? Post a comment below to add your own Table Scraps.

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