Cure Worse Than the Ailment

I’m a lightweight when it comes to anything. I can get drunk off DayQuil. My friend Mary is the same way. We often discuss how, at least for us, the cures are worse than the ailments. For example, I’d rather put up with sneezing and a runny nose during allergy season than attempt to operate under allergy medication.

In a bizarre twist of fate, the prevention for the infamous swine flu can turn out to be pretty bad for you too.

No, not the vaccination.

Hand sanitizer.

That’s right… There have been cases of people, mostly young kids, ingesting hand sanitizer and getting alcohol poisoning. You can read about it here. One young girl licked it off her hands and ended up in the hospital. When they checked her blood alcohol level six hours later, it was at 85%. So be careful with that stuff. While it may be an easy way to clean your hands before eating, it’s probably better to just stick with old-fashioned soap and water.



In about an hour, I’m going to the dentist. If you’re anything like me, that very word invokes stomach-churning horror, and my dread right now is worse than usual. Here’s why:

My jaw’s been hurting. Normally, this wouldn’t be cause for alarm because I have TMD (tempramandibular disorder). It’s pretty slight and doesn’t often cause problems. However, this time it hurts much differently than normal, and I’m terrified it may be my wisdom teeth. Why would that be so bad? 1) I have no insurance. 2) Me and oral surgery aren’t such good friends, largely because of the aforementioned TMD.

So at the moment I’m pretty divided as for what to hope for… Do I hope it’s my incurable TMD that will continue to hurt but free me from surgery? Or do I hope that it’s the wisdom tooth which, after a couple more weeks of pain, will make the problem go away?

Really… I’m honestly divided…

The Difficulty in Self-Discipline

It seems like I can only be self-disciplined in so many (or few) areas at once. In trying to maintain my health, for example, it seems like I can either eat healthy or work out regularly–when I try to do both, the bottom falls out and I stop doing either. Baumeister’s research that describes self-discipline as a muscle that, when stretched too far, simply gives out, may begin to explain why.

I remember when I first started going to the gym with my husband. After about 6 months, he was improving every couple weeks on the weights he could lift, while I may have gone up one increment in the entire time we were working out. Why? Because I wasn’t exercising to the point that my muscles were working enough to grow. Guys seem to embrace the pain of weightlifting. Some even seem to revel in it. I’m a girl. We’re generally smarter. We recognize that pain is bad. During a workout, however, I had to learn to adopt, to some extent, a guy’s point of view. If you don’t lift to the point of discomfort, you aren’t going to see any results.

So, if self-discipline is a muscle, it’s time to find that threshold where discomfort becomes pain, and stay on just this side of it so I can strengthen that muscle without overextending it.

I’ll start by making one goal in each of three areas:

Work: I will do 500 words of my book per day

Health: I will exercise regularly again

Home: I will do at least one small item of housework per day (fold laundry, pick dirty clothes off the floor, clean the counters… something)

After a couple weeks, I’ll start adding more light “weights” to my routine. What small goals could you start with to build your self-discipline muscles?

Pet Sematary

I have been increasingly perplexed over the years with how people seem to equate Stephen King with Dean Koontz, but never more so than having finished King’s Pet Sematary. Koontz grabs you from the first sentence and doesn’t let go until the last page, and even when you’ve read enough of his books to guess where it’s going, it’s one heck of a ride.

In Pet Sematary, on the other hand, it started off slow, I knew where it was going within the first 50 pages, and after reading 400 pages, it ended almost exactly the way I’d expected. The only part that’s tense at all is the last 50 pages or so, but again not really, because you already know where it’s going. It’s rambling, boring, and dull, and when I finished, I wondered why I wasted my time.

Conclusion: if you must make a comparison, even though there’s no real reason to, Dean Koontz is king.

Sweet and Salty

First of all, The Brink Online published an article of mine, “Be Salty.” Go read it, comment on it, and check out the site. It’s great.

The “sweet” part is that I’m free from the cafeteria job. I’ve known several people who’ve worked two jobs. They’ve made it sound pretty easy. So I decided I’d give it a try. It was an epic fail.


Trying to do three things–coffeehouse, cafeteria, and freelancing–I failed to do any one of them well. At the coffeehouse, I kept forgetting the most basic things. At the cafeteria, I couldn’t even clean the sneeze guards. After working 20 minutes on one window, I finally made it not streaky. There were over a dozen sneeze guards. So in addition to being super busy, I was depressed and tired all the time.

So tired that, yesterday, I slept through my alarm to go to the cafeteria job. When I woke up and realized what happened, I realized that I was so elated at the thought of getting fired that I needed to quit. So I quit. I’m already much happier.

Although the coffeehouse is still a “food service” job, it’s also my church. It’s a ministry. And I feel like I’m doing something worthwhile by working there, even if I am just mixing coffee drinks and making deli sandwiches. And I love the people I work with.

And working at the cafeteria gave me the extra motivation I needed to work harder on my freelance career. I’m now a writer for a couple different content generating sites. They don’t pay much, but they pay enough to justify keeping my regularly paid work down to one job.

And I am so much happier.

So… why aren’t you checking out TheBrinkOnline instead of reading my emotional ramblings?

Overcoming Circumstances

The good news is, I’m free from Huddle House, and freelancing is beginning to pick up somewhat. The bad news is, I’m 24 years old and a college graduate, and I still make most of my money through food service–the very thing I went to college to avoid. I’m trying to have the right attitude and rejoice that I have a job (three jobs, in fact: two in food service and my freelancing), but I’ll admit, it’s difficult at times.

Being put on such an irregular schedule is often the most difficult thing. Because my training starts this weekend, for example, I’m going to miss out on a trip to visit my in-laws, who are soon going to be moving to somewhere much farther away from us than where they are now. And, as I’ve said before, it’s even more depressing when you’re just starting out at a job like this, because you seem well and truly stuck.

Do you have any tips at overcoming circumstances? Not the big things, just these day-to-day frustrations that pile up until it seems like, sure, God could provide a miracle to make the sun stand still, but each of these little things is too small for Him to worry about until they pile up and block your view of Him.

I could really use the encouragement about now.

“Good for You”

Steve likes to tell the story of a dietitian at a restaurant who overheard a woman dipping her bread into her olive oil dip exclaim, “This is so good and so good for me! I can’t believe how healthy I’m being!” as she heartily dunks the bread into the oil. While olive oil may be better for you than, say, butter, it’s still oil and requires moderation. Actually, any food requires moderation, but fats and oils more than most.

Which brings me to my point. I think people should actually make the difference between “good for you” and “less bad for you.” Saying that olive oil is good for you does not give you license to pour it over everything you eat and expect good things to happen to your body.

I used to joke about things like that. If I made any eating choice that was less bad for me than any of the others available, I would wink and say it was good for me. For example, eating a piece of banana bread instead of iced chocolate cake. Or pizza with a whole-wheat crust.

But sometimes the issue is more confusing, and I for one would appreciate the distinction between, “yes, this is actually good for you–eat your heart out,” and “this will make you much less fat than this other choice.”