Mix it up: Just like a mix

Mix it up

I sometimes come up with weird themes for music mixes. There was the Same Title, Different Song mix and the Aging mix back when I blogged at PastaQueen.com. Here on JenFul I came up with the Callback mix and the Opposites mix.

My latest idea is the “Just Like…” mix which only includes songs with titles that start with the phrase “Just Like.” Granted, this mix was pretty easy to put together after I loaded all my MP3s in WinAmp and searched for the phrase “just like.”

The Cure – Just Like Heaven
James – Just Like Fred Astaire
Jesus and Mary Chain – Just Like Honey
Pink – Just Like a Pill
John Lennon – Just Like Starting Over
Bob Dylan – Just Like a Woman (YouTube only has a live version)
Happy Rhodes – Just Like Tivoli
Bell X1 – Just Like Mr.Benn
Brett Dennen – Just Like The Moon
Old 97’s – Just Like California

Feel free to suggest some more in the comments. And here’s a YouTube playlist of all the songs, because I’ve learned how to do that now!

Dear JenFul: What’s the best way for healthcare providers to address weight with their patients?

Dear JenFul

I got an email from a reader recently who asked a question I wasn’t entirely sure how to answer, so I decided to punt it to you guys instead. Of course, I might be stretching the meaning of the word “recently” when I refer to an email I received over two months ago. Sorry about that, dear reader! I got busy or lazy or both if that’s even possible. Here’s what she wrote:

A brief personal history: I’m typically in the mid-range of the “overweight” section of the BMI scale, I exercise regularly and eat fairly healthy, just a little too much of everything. But, my question concerns my role as a nurse practitioner in a college health setting. I occasionally see students who are at an unhealthy weight and I’m never quite sure how to approach a discussion. I tend to think most of us know if we need to lose weight, we just don’t always do what we need to do. I realize different people require different approaches, but I’m wondering what, if any, tips your healthcare providers may have given you that really helped in your weight loss quest. Thanks for any insight you can provide.

I replied letting her know I’d throw this one out to the blog, and I also mentioned the Health at Every Size philosophy. I believe it’s important that any discussion about a patient’s weight remain health-centered since that’s what you’re seeing a doctor about, your health, not your appearance. If you want makeover tips you can go to Sephora. It’s also possible for you to be overweight but otherwise have perfect health. For instance, I had my annual physical last month and if they gave out grades for your blood work I would have gotten a big, red A inked at the top of my report. I was told to get a bit more Vitamin D, but that was it.

The only negative impact my weight currently appears to be having on my health is that it’s stressing my knees more than if I were thinner. Of course, my weight also makes me more likely to develop health problems in the future, like type II diabetes which my grandmother got in her 60’s. (She happened to be a nurse, BTW.) So if my doctor were to bring up my weight I’d expect him/her to stick to those two topics – my knees and any future health problems.

But, let’s throw it out to you guys. What tips would you give to healthcare providers about how to have a conversation about a patient’s weight? I know many of you have horror stories about medical practitioners who handled this topic really badly.

Not what I (k)needed

Not my actual knee

Not my actual knee. Photo by Mike Davies / by NC-ND 2.0 CC

Last month I had two projects go so spectacularly, horribly wrong at the same that I had to run. Literally run, not run away from the projects, though that would have been lovely. Too bad I have a sense of professional responsibility and a need to pay my rent.

Exercising because I’m stressed out is a new thing for me. Usually I just eat a package of Oreos because I cling to the belief that cookies can fix everything, just like duct tape. However, my body felt so physically tense that even the gross output of the Nabisco factory wouldn’t have helped me, so I went for a walk instead. After a few minutes I realized walking wasn’t enough, so I burst into a run and I ran and ran and ran. While this did not solve my work problems, I did feel like I could go back to work without having an aneurysm.

Although I’d been walking fairly regularly, I’d been avoiding running because my knees are not in the best shape. They hurt a little when I go up stairs, and they hurt a lot when I’ve been going up and down the stairs all day for three days, like when I moved three months ago. They also make this unsettling crunching sound when I bend them, like I’ve got Rice Krispies and milk in my joints. So, I was happy and amazed that I was able to run for several minutes without collapsing on the side of the trail and having to crawl back to civilization.

I started doing intervals the next week, running for a minute and then walking for three minutes. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. This was going really well until it wasn’t, which was when I was lying in bed with achy, achy knees screaming that I was an idiot.

I decided to finally see a doctor about the problem. I had to get x-rays which required me to stand in a lunge position for an uncomfortably long period of time, which seems like the last thing you should ask someone to do when they’re having knee pain. I was referred a to a rheumatologist and the nurse said I was the easiest patient of her day because I was so young and disease free, which made me laugh and laugh and laugh on the inside because I could fill a Bingo card with every type of medical specialist I’ve seen in the past five years. But, whatever, evidently most rheumatology patients have it worse than me, those poor, poor, souls.

I made sure to wear a skirt to the appointment so I wouldn’t have to put on a robe, but I forgot to shave my legs. For some reason I feel like I should be well-groomed when seeing a doctor, like how I brush my teeth before visiting the dentist. It seems polite. But I’m sure he deals with much worse things than leg hair, so I didn’t feel that bad about it. I laid back on the examination table and he bent my legs a variety of ways, which sounds very dirty when I put it like that. But trust me, it was not sexy at all, especially not with the leg hair.

My doc then told me that I have hypermobility syndrome in my knees. (Disturbing photos here courtesy of Google images.) Evidently my knees can bend in ways they shouldn’t. I’m not a flamingo or anything, but I can bend them slightly past vertical when standing. The doctor was also able to rock my lower leg slightly left and right at the knee. All of this means that when I do something that stresses the joints, like walking up the stairs or running, the ligaments and tendons have to work harder to stabilize my knee. Doing this a lot causes pain. He said there really aren’t any drugs to treat this at my stage, and what I really needed to do is NOT RUN.

*Your blogger sobs quietly*

I have never been a fast runner or a particularly good runner, but I like the meditative qualities of running. When I was a baby, my parents could always soothe me by bouncing me up and down. Running is like that. I fall into a rhythm and fall out of the world for awhile. While my body is busy, my mind if free to do what it wants to. I get a lot of thinking done when I run. I’ve written a lot of blog entries in my head when I was running. I like running.

However, I will not be doing any running in the near future, because as much as I love running I like pain-free knees better. The doc recommended swimming, biking or the elliptical machine instead. None of which sound appealing because 1) I don’t know how to swim that well and I’m not crazy about being seen in a bathing suit 2) Bicycle seats hurt and 3) Elliptical machines are only found in gyms and I’d rather be out running on a trail.

Alas, we can’t always get what we want. And despite what the Rolling Stones say, I don’t think I’m going to get what I need either, which is BIONIC KNEES. I still haven’t sorted out what I’m going to do instead of running. I hope I don’t have any projects go horribly wrong anytime soon, because if I can’t run I’ll probably have to smash something instead, and if I run the only thing I’ll smash is my knees.

A post a day will probably kill me, but you have to die of something

Calendar on keyboard

I’ve decided to write a blog post every day in October. I do not promise they will be long. I do not promise they will be good. But they will be here. Every day.

I haven’t been writing much lately and I think this is bad for me. A lack of self-reflection is like going outside without looking in the mirror. You’re kind of a mess and don’t even realize it. Actually, I don’t think I’m a mess, but I do think I’ve been stagnant lately. If I were a character in a television drama I think the show runner would write me out or kill me off because my character was going nowhere.

I would prefer to go somewhere. And I really don’t want to be killed off.

Just by writing this first entry of the month, I’ve typed and deleted several paragraphs about how I feel about all sorts of things. It makes my brain hurt in that good way my muscles feel like after a long run. That’s when I realized, “Oh, right, I used to think about stuff.” I used to exercise my brain by writing blog entries. I still think about stuff, but it’s different writing those thoughts out. It makes you look at your thoughts more closely, like sketching a portrait of a person forces you to examine every pore on their face.

I stopped writing about stuff here for a variety of reasons, be it boredom, lack of focus, mean people, or just plain lack of time. Now that I work for myself it’s easy to get distracted by all the madness of running my own business. I do feel like a phony introducing myself to people as a writer when I haven’t been writing anything other than emails and tweets. I have a big list of blog ideas that I’ve never bothered to convert from thoughts into actual posts, so I figure blogging is as good as anything. I don’t know if returning to my past to figure out my future is the way to go, but it is *a* way to go. And going is better than staying.

So here we go!

The Art-o-Mat: Better than a pack of cigarettes

I visited my dad in Frostburg, Maryland this weekend. I didn’t see any frost, but I did see the Art-o-Mat, which is way cooler than frozen precipitation you have to scrape off your windshield.


The Art-o-Mat was actually in Cumberland, Maryland at the Saville Gallery which we discovered while exploring downtown. It looks like a cigarette machine because it used to be a cigarette machine, if you’re old enough like me to remember them. I’ve never smoked, but when I was a kid I loved yanking on the knobs of these machines and no doubt annoying any adult within a 10-yard radius. Underage smoking laws probably caused their downfall because stores had to move cigarettes behind the counter. Back in 1997 Clark Whittington got the idea to convert the old machines into art dispensaries. For five dollars you can buy a coin to purchase one of the boxes inside the machine.

Fancy money

Everything comes in a cigarette-sized box, and you never know exactly what you’ll get. Hundreds of artists from around the world create art for the machines, which are now in over 90 locations. You can see if there’s one near you on this map. I wasn’t that surprised to learn there is an Art-o-Mat in my liberal college town, Chapel Hill, but I was surprised to learn that it is located at Carrburritos, a Mexican restaurant. Ok, technically Carrburritos is located in Carrboro, hence the name, but the two towns blend into each other and you only know you’ve entered Carrboro once you see chickens in someone’s front yard.

Capacitor Dude

It was tough to decide what item to get from the Art-o-Mat because I didn’t quite know what it would dispense, which is half the fun. When I was a kid, my mom would sometimes let me put a quarter in a vending machine at the grocery store that dispensed little plastic toys in a little plastic bubbles. Although you may or may not be happy with what you got, the coin was really paying for the anticipation and surprise, not the toy. That experience was better than any cheap neon plastic dinosaur. It was like gambling…for children! And all you lost was a quarter, not your mortgage payment.

Capacitor Dude

I decided to get the Capacitor Dude, and was delighted when I found a tiny robot man inside made of capacitors scrounged from circuit boards. According to the note card inside, if I hang him by my computer he will protect me from computer crashes. He’d make a cute charm for a necklace too, which is what I am more likely to do. The little robot man was created by Dewitt Young. I know you are totally jealous of my little dude, but don’t turn green with envy, just check out their Etsy store for charms, earrings and more.

My father’s girlfriend also took a whirl at the machine (and paid for my token, too, thanks!). She got a cute earthenware keychain shaped like an olive, where a knot in the red ribbon becomes part of the olive. It was created by Kelly Rush and you can buy one here.

Olive Keychain

I have this urge to go back to the Art-o-Mat and see what other goodies I can glean. Good to know that if I do it in Carrboro I can get a burrito at the same time.

Keep reading: 

Want second helpings? Devour more entries in the archives.

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, chronic headache sufferer, (former?) weight-loss inspiration, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She was formerly known as PastaQueen. You can contact her if you promise to be nice.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.


The Oregon Trail Generation: Life Before and After Mainstream Tech - Social Media Week
Sums up what it's like to be in between Gen X and the Millenials.

Charged in the death of Eric Harris, Deputy Bob Bates gets permission to go to the Bahamas
I was hoping this was an Onion article, but unfortunately it appears to be real.

Google Now Lets You Download Your Entire Search History - NBC News.com
Sort of disturbed to know they've been saving my search queries at all.



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