Ever feel like your life works in three year cycles?
At three, you are talking and walking, much different than a baby.
3-year-old by Philcampbell
A six-year-old has progressed into school and is learning math, proper grammar and etiquette (or so we hope.)
6-year-old birthday party by El Caganer
A nine-year-old is opinionated and coming into their own.
9 year old boy by juliejordanscott
At 12, you are nearly a teenager. It is the last days of innocence.
12-year-old girl via Flickr by oxefx
By 15, you are close to driving. Most have had first loves, first kisses and think the world revolves around them.
15-year-old at her quinceañera.
At 18, legally, you are an adult. College, work, the military and other life changing decisions are in motion. You finally have a chance to vote.
18-year-old by rileyroxx
By 21, you have experienced so much. Legally, you can drink. Many are thinking about life after college.
21-year-old by Mickipedia
At 24 you’re usually out of college. Some are married. Some aren’t. You’ve entered the workforce and may be on your second job.
24-year-old by Natalia Balcerska Photography's photostream
When you hit 27, you usually know what you want and what you don’t. Statistically those who marry in their late 20’s are less likely to get divorced. Why? Because you have finally come into your own.
27-year-old by lassmatazz's photostream
By age 30, statistically speaking, three-quarters of women in the U.S. have been married and about half have cohabited outside of marriage, according to the CDC. Depending on your life path, many are in the midst of babies, marriages and careers.
30-year-old by benjamin barnett's photostream
It just reminds me how life evolves.
Three is a powerful number.
Sphinx and pyramid via Flickr by Butch Osborne
Everyone talks about seven or even eight, but through out history the number three has symbolized so many important things. Think of the trinity: God the father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Or the phrase, “body, mind and soul.” Three means equality, being balance and grounded. Many call it the divinity number. It symbolizes perfection and being complete. (See this wonderful discussion about the “Number 3″ on www.greatdreams.com.) Think of the shape of the great Egyptian pyramids. The triangle is the strongest shape to build a structure.The Bible discusses how Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day. There are “three jewels” in Buddhism, “three purities” in Taoism.
Photo by Hale Popoki.
Everyone from Plato to Aristotle have referenced the number 3. Freud talked about the id, ego and super-ego while American psychologist Robert Sternberg has taught the three components of love revolve around the trio: passion, intimacy and commitment. Plus there’s everything else in our culture: the Three Musketeers, Three Stooges, the phrases A,B,C and 1, 2, 3, past, present and future and three primary colors (red, blue and yellow). Even in a photography or art class they teach the rule of thirds to make a picture or painting more appealing to the eye. In the “Harness the Psychological Power of “3″ to Improve Communication” post on Psychotactics.com, they discuss how the eye sees things in graphics, color and fonts and it’s importance for businesses when they are planning their logos and promotional information. It’s also important in life.
Sometimes we have no idea where things are going but it feels like life is moving so rapidly that everything slows down in Matrix like fashion so you can see more clearly.
Right now I’m going through that. Life is in transition.
For the past decade, I’ve made big moves every three years: college to Dallas, Texas to Florida, Florida to Chicago. I’m now at the three-year mark in this great city, but I can’t help but wonder what is next?
Sometimes you can just feel change swirling around you. Even if no one else realizes you are going through it, every part of your body tells you so. Everything in my life is point in that direction, in a matter of a few crazy weeks. My uncle asked me for part of my liver. A man I care very deeply about just walked out of my life (and cut off contact with a few other people we both know.) I’m also getting ready to move and I’m not really sure where I’m going to go. (And no, the latter two aren’t related.) Last week, a family member died. A series of other unusual events have also recently happened.
In a few weeks, I’m going to hit my 33rd birthday, so in an odd way, it makes sense. I’ve got the three-year itch. It’s nerve-wracking. But change can be good, even when it is forced change.
I only wish I knew what was coming next. I’ve got some big decisions to make.
It’s an amazing day at track. T-minus one day until the Indianapolis 500.
The likes of boxer Evander Holyfield and Ashley Judd (whose husband, Dario Franchitti will race) have been sited wandering around with a slew of other celebrities.
Brazilian Helio Castroneves, one of only nine Indy 500 drivers of all times to win this race three times (2001, 2002 and 2009), and is the clear favorite.
A few hours ago I had a chance to catch up with legendary Indianapolis 500 driver Johnny Rutherford, who has been training Good Morning America co-anchor, Robin Roberts, how to drive the pace car for tomorrow’s race. Rutherford is one of the elite nine to win the Indianapolis 500 (1974, 1976, 1980) three times, and only three drivers are in a tie for the most races won ever with four Indianapolis 500 victories since it’s began in 1911 .
I talked to dozens of people, other drivers, fans and pit crews about who would win it all, most were on the Helio Castroneves bandwagon. So I was surprised, that Rutherford told me something different.
“I have a feeling this is a dark horse year,” Rutherford says. “Somebody is going to come from the back of the pack to win. Helio, bless his heart has had a great race here so far, winning the pole and pit stop competition and if he can pull a win off they are going to be unbeatable for a while.”
Which of course that begged the question of who.
Danica Patrick at the track on Saturday.
“It’s going to be interesting to watch Tony Kanaan,” Rutherford told me. “He’s in the back and won’t see him until later in the race and if he’s there he may be a real factor. I think Alex Taglinani looks like he’s got a good chance, but there are some others in there. Danica could if her car responds for her she might be a factor when it’s late in the race. That’s when it all happens.”
Adding: “You only want to lead one lap and that’s the last one.”
Find “Fast Facts” about the Indianapolis 500 with this Washington Post write-up.)
Back pain affects many of us. It’s like a horrible phathom that just keeps coming back. (No pun intended.) If you haven’t had to deal with it, you might not realize just how debilitating it can be. Of course, there’s a wide range and degree of back pain. For more than a decade I’ve tried to figure out how to manage my back pain.
When my brother-in-law mentioned a friend’s wife was having back pain that no one could seemingly resolve, I began thinking about my experiences and what I’ve learned. I feel lucky. Despite having lots of back pain (I have 10 herniated discs from my neck to lower back), I have done two triathlons and just ran five miles for the first time in 10 years.
Here’s my story and a few tips. Hopefully, this will help you.
MY PAIN IN THE B*@%
My back pain started while I was rowing in college. I’m 6-feet tall, and as a sweep rower (an athlete who rows with one oar) in the Varsity 8, I overdeveloped one side of my back and got my first dose of TENS treatment (where you get hooked up to a nice machine that runs electrical current through your body.) It was a weekly treatment until I graduated, but things seemed relatively fine after I stopped rowing.
I spent a day in the booth with Dan Dierdorf and Dick Enberg while on the NFL Road Trip.
Then I went on an internship project where I drove some 25,000 miles with two other guys I didn’t know, to every NFL city in the country, for The Sporting News’ “Ultimate NFL Road Trip” in 2000. We covered games, wrote about life on the road, the fans and NFL cities we visited. While on the trip, I was sitting in the back seat that was rear ended by an oil tanker in Foxboro, Mass. on December 5, 2000.
The back seat of the car I was sitting in when it was rear ended by an oil tanker
To this day, I don’t remember it. After being in a coma, having a punctured lung, internal bleeding, five broken ribs – including two that broke on the airplane ride home to Chicago because the air pressure was too strong – I recovered. But not before learning how worker’s compensation works (or doesn’t really work), seeking alternative treatment, being told I should have 30 injections in my back, and four years of physical therapy.
To celebrate my comeback, I did my first triathlon in Crystal River, Fla. a few months shy of my five-year anniversary of the car accident. Ironically, a year later I was hit on the driver’s side by a MACK truck while driving in Florida. Again, I resolved to recover. I came back from that, after two years of physical therapy, only to take a nasty fall down a flight of basement stairs at a now ex-boyfriend’s parents’ house in Cincinnati, Ohio. (His mother had individually covered each of the 15 steps into the basement with bath towels to protect the carpeting.)
Inflatable donut aka "ass ring."
Lying, unable to move at the bottom of the steps, I thought I broke my tailbone. (Let me tell you, making a 6-hour drive back from Cincinnati with an inflatable “ass ring” (insert joke here), that keeps deflating so you have stop at a gas station to inflate it, is quite an experience; along with having your butt x-rayed, which feels like you’re pulling an old-school prank where you are xeroxing a body part.) But a month or two later my left foot went numb and my left leg was constantly shooting pain. Although I tried to avoid surgery, I could barely walk to the bathroom on my own. Several MRIs revealed the fall had injured my already sensitive back. For a while I ended up writing from bed. After four months of yoga, therapy and huge dosages of 40 milligrams of Prednisone, nothing improved and I ended up having surgery (an L4-5 microdiscectomy) on my lower back in August 2008.
I was terrified.
You hear all sorts of horror stories about people who end up needing 10 back surgeries and it only makes matters worse. I interviewed six or seven neurosurgeons and orthopedic doctors and consulted with a lot of people. I eventually made a great choice. I would do it again in an instant. I trust (and did trust) my life with my neurosurgeon, Dr. Doug Johnson, and nurse practitioner Laura Guzman (who does a whole lot more than that) at Wheaton, Ill.-based DuPage Neurosurgery. Dr. Johnson has a great bedside manner, is completely anal-retentive in the operating room, operates in combat zones with highly unusual and complicated problems on veterans in Iraq and is one of the few surgeons I’ve ever met who doesn’t recommend surgery unless it is absolutely necessary.
When I came out of surgery at Central DuPage Hospital, I was able to finally walk without pain, although I could barely walk half a block. Slowly, I began to build up stamina. Like I said, I’m lucky. Ironically, the therapist, Nikki (Michelle) Thennes who worked on me after my first car accident, helped me again after back surgery. A year after back surgery, I competed in the 2009 Chicago Triathlon. I owe a lot of my success to many people, including my parents, who helped me through the recovery process, multiple times.
WHAT HAS HELPED ME
* Try a lot of alternatives from physical therapy to acupuncture before even considering surgery.
Frankie Burget working with a patient.
* Consider myofascial release treatments. Myofascial is the tissue between the muscle and the skin that forms a thin membrane like spider web. When it’s messed up it’s like undoing a ball of yarn. I went to an amazing woman, Frankie Burget, while in Dallas. A physical therapist from Baylor Hospital sent me to her when I started getting worse rather than better. She told me it was where they sent everyone to Frankie when “they really weren’t sure what to do” with a patient. I started developing a hump in my back (from the scar tissue) and Frankie really changed my life. She is a unique individual who combines Western and Eastern medicine together with CranioSacral treatments. Frankie’s work at her practice, Windsong Therapy, earned her the 2006 Occupational Therapy International Health Professional of the Year Award from Cambridge’s International Biographical Centre.
* Try “flow” Vinyasa yoga. Slow gentle movements can help strengthen your core and relieve tension. Child’s pose actually helps you self- traction your back so it opens up.
Me at Yoga Circle.
* Look for therapeutic yoga sessions. I went to an intensive 6-week yoga instructor training class (at Yoga Among Friends in Downers Grove, Ill.) where I was one of the “guinea pigs” for new in-training yoga instructors to work on. (They wanted unusual cases to study. It helped me and it helped them.) I also went to private lessons with yogi guru Gabriel Halpern at Chicago’s Yoga Circle. He had me doing assisted inversions from a chair, and from a door with straps, so I could traction my back at home on my own. Now I do yoga once a week at my gym or at the Chicago-based running store, Fleet Feet, which holds free weekly sessions.
* Use a Thera Cane to hit pressure points. I feel like a freak when I use it since it looks like a Little Bo Peep Shepherd’s Crook, but it totally works because you wrap it around your body and can trigger point hard to reach places, and you can do it to yourself.
* Lie on a small, cantaloupe-sized inflatable ball the size. Some people use a tennis ball, but that is too much pressure for my back. Roll around on the floor with the ball under your back to hit pressure points.
* See a chiropractor. Just make sure you have someone who knows what they are doing. Like any profession, some are good, some aren’t. Every two months or so, I know my hip pops out and one leg becomes an inch to almost two inches longer and creates back pain. My chiro adjusts me and I’m fine.
* Take Epsom Salt baths. It’s so inexpensive at less than $5 a bag and can help so much. I was taking three baths a day before surgery just so I could walk. It helps relieve muscle tension, pain and dumps out the toxins in your body. Use two cup of salt in the tub, soak for 20 minutes or more. You’ll be amazed. (Here are some other home remedies.)
* Really listen to your body. You know what feels “normal” and what doesn’t better than anyone else. When it comes down to it, doctors, physical therapists and everyone else are just making educated guesses, and sometimes their suggestions are wrong. Keep searching until you find something that works for you.
* Ask lots of questions and do a ton of research. Talk to everyone you know and meet, you never know who will know something. Even if you think it is a basic and stupid question, ask. Any pain, unchecked and un-managed can be debilitating. No matter how light people make surgery, it is still surgery and there is always a risk you can still die if there are complications. (They always ask for a living will when you check into the hospital for surgery for a reason.) If someone is being patronizing before surgery, think of how they will be after. I had a neurosurgeon who wanted to operate on me the week after I walked into his office. It was way to quick for my comfort zone. As it turned out, one of his patients, who shared a recovery room with me, had complications and didn’t see her neurosurgeon until 15 hours after her surgery. I had two follow-up visits, one immediately after surgery and one the next morning. It made a big difference.
* Know that your back is divided up into several major parts: the cervical (neck) which doctors call C1-C7, the thoracic (mid-back) T1-T12 , lumbar (lower back) L1-L6, Sacrum (S1) and Coccyx or tailbone (which doesn’t have a number.) Also realize that numbness or shooting pain in other parts of the body can directly relate to back pain. (That’s why there’s reflexology where you can trigger different parts of your body in your foot.) See the diagram to the right.
* Consider making changes in your diet. Certain foods can be inflammatory including: salt, sugar, processed meat, junk food, and caffeine. Drink lots of water to flush out toxins that build up when you have chronic pain. This can also help you lose weight, something I’ve struggled with for a long time, especially after gaining some 30 pounds in a six weeks after taking the high dosage steroids. But I also know that some doctors will attribute ALL back pain to weight gain. While it certainly doesn’t help the situation, that may not be what is actually causing the pain.
* While doing my “back pain” research I came across University of Chicago alum Brian Hainline, MD’82, the U.S. Open chief medical officer from 1992 to 2007. I ended up interviewing him for the U of C’s alumni magazine about his book Back Pain Understood. It’s a great resource that I highly recommend.
Pomodoro means tomato in Italian.
* Set a timer while you’re working at your desk so you get up and walk around every 45-60 minutes. (This is a good practice anyways, see Pomodoro Technique.)
* If you can’t sleep because of the back pain. Lie on your back, in bed, put pillows under your calves to elevate your legs to take pressure off your lower back. Stack several pillows high to make a “shelf.” Even 20 minutes of this can help.
* Or lay on the ground, on your back, with your knees bent. (Your legs will look like triangles). One leg at a time, splay your knee out, lowing each knee out to the side to the floor and then raise it back to center. Repeat with other side. It loosens up your lower back when it is locked.
* Do the “cat and dog” (cat/cow) pose where your hands and knees are on the floor in a “table top” like pose. Arch your back and put your head down like a cat then reverse and stick your head up and chest out like a dog.
* Do the “Superman” where you lie stomach on the floor arms “flying out in front” and legs straight behind you. Lift arms and legs at once off the floor and then drop them back down. Repeat. Or do opposite arms and legs (ie left arm, right leg) if doing everything is too difficult.
* Bounce on a large exercise gym ball. Just bouncing on it will make a big difference because it helps improve circulation and release toxins which can increase inflammation and trigger back pain. See more reasons here. (65 inch size for people 5′6″ to 6′2,” 55 inch for people that are shorter than that, 75 inch for people that are taller.) Of course there are plenty of exercises you can do and you can sit on one at your desk to build core strength too.
* If you have to have surgery, find a doctor you trust and then believe, truly believe, that you are going to be okay. Your mental state is so important. As an athlete, I would always visualize my race before I raced, and it always helped. The same thing is true with surgery. The body and mind is a wonderful thing and if you can visualize actually go through something and being successful with it, then your body and mind acts like it’s the second time around when you do something, even if it’s not. I finally made peace with my fear of back surgery, and put my full trust in Dr. Johnson that everything was going to be okay. It made a big difference in the outcome. At the recommendation of another woman who had previously had back surgery, I listened to Peggy Huddleston’s Prepare for Surgery cds before going to the hospital. It also helped with the mental preparation.
* Remember there are always going to be good days and bad days. Changes in weather pressure and temperature can affect how you feel, (at least for me), along with a whole host of other things, including stress. But I appreciate and I’m grateful for all that I can do. It’s always better to get out and be active, even if it is only walking.
* Most importantly, please remember I’m not a doctor or trained medical professional this is just my personal experience.
Let’s admit it. We are afraid to commit. Call us the “Runaway Brides” of the world.
It’s a cultural phenomenon. We make plans and we break them. It’s one of my pet peeves. If you tell someone you’re going to do something, you should do it. But most people just don’t think (or act) so.
Case in point. I was planning on doing Chicago’s famous sunrise “Bike the Drive,” where you bike, starting at 5:30 a.m., as many miles as you can handle up and down Lake Shore Drive until 10 a.m. It’s the one time a year that the street is closed to traffic. You get fantastic views of the Chicago’s skyline and it is an amazing experience. Last year, I biked 50 or so miles with two guys and I wanted to do it again this year.
I was in the middle of organizing a group of friends, when I was offered what may be the chance of a lifetime: a press pass and grand stand ticket to this year’s Indianapolis 500. Along with it, a chance to drive a Chevy Volt on the race track and ride in the pace car with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts. But I had already committed to my friends. So I took a poll. I said I wouldn’t go unless they all agreed it was okay. (They all nicely said go to the Indy 500. A few said it was a no-brainer, but that wasn’t the point. The point was I had already committed to them, first.)
Image by Getty Images via Daylife
A high school friend of mine who moved back to South Korea told me during her recent visit to Chicago, that learning how un-committed Americans are to anything is one of the hardest lessons to learn as an immigrant. She cited a South Korean friend of hers who struggled to adjust when she first moved here.
“She’d make plans with someone or a group of people and Friday or Saturday night would come around and no one would actually show,” my friend told me. “She spent the first few weeks crying because she’d think when people would promise her to do something with her, they’d actually meant it and would show up. In South Korea if someone tells you they are going to do something they do it, not like here.”
It’s not like I’m perfect. I’m certainly guilty of such offenses, and have even been called the “Runaway Bride” after turning down a marriage proposal from a former long-term boyfriend. But I knew in my heart that had I gotten married, it would have ended in divorce. So the alternative was much better, in the long run.
I think as a whole, most Americans are way too fickle. Call it politics, call it being two-faced. Most of us realized long ago, that honesty and commitment are hard qualities to find in many people, situations. (Hence the reason there are so many lawyers and contracts for everything.) Sometimes it’s just really difficult and uncomfortable to stand by a commitment or to be honest.
Oil Beach Your Dudeness photostream
When you don’t know what you stand for, you’ll stand (or fall) for anything. Which is why all the “drill baby, drill” people are the same ones who are now crying that our shrimp and crab prizes are skyrocketing and the beaches are going to be ruined with the “spill baby, spill.” Or the people who ranted and raved about “Obama care” health insurance, are the same ones who quickly ask for a Social Security or Medicare government handout as soon as they are eligible.
No one says commitment (or honesty) is easy, but in the long run it usually is better. Even if you don’t like what you hear at first. If you’re not committed to the things that are important, you and everyone else around you eventually pays the price — and no one likes to be left at the altar.
When did network televisions start banning big boobs?
I really can’t remember a time, until now. In case you haven’t heard, ABC and Fox banned a Lane Bryant ad for Cacique, its new plus-size lingerie line.
The reason: too much cleavage.
Talk about getting your panties in a bunch.
Here’s Lane Bryant’s statement from their Inside Curve blog:
ABC restricted our airtime and refused to show the commercial during “Dancing with the Stars.” Fox demanded excessive re-edits and rebuffed it three times before relenting to air it during the final 10 minutes of “American Idol,” but only after we threatened to pull the ad buy.
Yes, these are the same networks that have scantily-clad housewives so desperate they seduce every man on the block, and don’t forget Bart Simpson, who has shown us the moon more often than NASA, all in what they call “family hour.”
For years network television stations have aired scantily-clad women grinding and busting out of their tops. The irony is that the Lane Bryant ad was supposed to air during Dancing With the Stars, which, ahem, has plenty of half-naked women running around on stage.
How many people watch CBS’s annual December Victoria Secret’s Fashion Show? It is always a big hit and topped the ratings (along with the Christmas special, Rudolph) back in 2008. Ironically, what topped Victoria Secret’s Fashion Show last year? The hit television show about losing weight: The Biggest Loser. (The Biggest Loser scored a hefty 10.3 million viewers, while Heidi & Co. brought in about 8.3 million at CBS, according to a Film.com post.)
Maybe television executives should take a cue. Change your attitude and get real.
The average American woman is 5-foot-4, weighs, 140-pounds and wears a size 14 dress. At six-feet tall and more weight than I care to share, I’m certainly not the standard size. Never have been and never will be. For goodness sake, I was taller than my 5-foot-2 Italian-heritage mother in third grade. Third grade! (I remember standing in Catholic church, while in grade school, and having someone from the pew behind us, think that I was my father’s wife because I was adult size at such an early age. Talk about mind-boggling and embarrassing.)
Victoria's Secret Fashion Show that aired December 2009 on CBS
As Jezebel so duly noted, it is far healthier to be fat and active, than thin and not. I certainly agree. As I noted in earlier posts, I like to keep active. I was a Division I rower in college, did the Chicago Triathlon last year after coming back from two bad car accidents and a nasty fall down a flight of basement stairs that resulted in back surgery. But less than a year later, I was back at it, working out and competing in the triathlon, despite taking four months of high dosage steroids because my left leg went numb, which certainly hasn’t helped my case. I think all of us would love to be just a little bit thinner, but let’s be realistic. There certainly is a double standard for men and women. Just look at how many fat, obese men are seen naked or half naked on television.
So here are some of the photos from the ad, screen captures I took of the video. I challenge you to look at them, really look at them and decide if they are worse than anything any of you have seen on network television.
New York’s WPIX interviewed the model Ashely Graham who starred in the commercial, airing it today.
“When it comes to a little bit extra, they can’t handle it,” Graham told WPIX about the network stations not wanting to see a curvy woman in an ad.
As mentioned earlier, Fox eventually decided, after changing some of the original ad, to air the commercial in the last 10 minutes of American Idol.
Here’s the ad that has caused so much controversy. See for yourself. There really isn’t much to talk about, except the networks’ decision not to air it. Maybe they should think about their decisions the next time, before they air a Victoria’s Secret ad for it’s new Naked line. It’s completely hypocritical and everyone knows it. The networks are naked in the boardroom, and it isn’t pretty.
I'm a Chicago-based journalist. I'm known for my quirky, off-beat features, but I've covered everything from the NFL to eating crickets in Cambodia to Chicago's best websites to celebrity profiles of the likes of Maya Angelou and Magic Johnson. My work has appeared in 25+outlets including: Travel + Leisure, Chicago Tribune, Chicago magazine, American Way magazine, CNN.com, MSN.com, Restaurants & Institutions and Boys' Life. I'm the immediate past president of the Chicago Headline Club, the largest Society of Professional Journalists chapter in the country and a former St. Petersburg Times and Dallas Morning News staff writer. My co-authored book, Armchair Reader: Chicago, about quirky, off-beat things in the Windy City, was just released this month. Twitter @dawnreiss Email me dreiss100 AT gmail DOT com (In case you were wondering, my name is pronounced R-I-C-E (Think Weiss with an R, not Reese.))