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Tim Foolery

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Flu Shot?

Do you get a flu shot?  No, I’m going to get into the benefits of the flu shot or venture down the anti-vax rabbit hole, either.  When I was younger, I would never get a flu shot.  It wasn’t because I liked the flu, or that I thought vaccines were bad.  I was young and healthy and never really caught the flu. Plus, I don’t like the idea of medication unless absolutely necessary.

That all changed in 2010.  We were planning our trip to Africa and needed quite a few shots before we left.  I visited, as I always do before exotic travel, the Northwestern Travel Clinic.  I was talking with the nurse about all the vaccines and medications I must get: Typhoid, Yellow Fever and a Tetnus Booster.  We also talked about the vaccines I could get: Malaria (not a vaccine, but you get the point) and Rabies.  The doctor didn’t recommend the rabies vaccine as it wouldn’t prevent rabies, but just give you an additional 24 hours to find medical help.  I decided to get the rabies vaccine as we’d be in rural Zimbabwe with very limited hospital and flight options.  Easy enough.

Simple Question – No Answer

She then asked me about the annual flu vaccine.  I told her I wasn’t interested in it at all.  Struggling not to roll her eyes at me, she asked why.  I explained that I’m not a fan of medication and the flu doesn’t really impact me.  She then started spouting off stats on Americans getting rabies in Africa vs the flu at home or while traveling.  She made a good point that I could not refute.  If I’m afraid of a 1-in-300,000,000 chance of rabies vs a 1-in-5 chance of getting the flu.  Logically it made sense to me.

Flu Shot Vaccine Good or Bad

Flu Shot: Annual Tradition or Waste of Time?

It was from that moment on that I would get the flu shot each year.  I have had no ill effects and have only caught the flu once in the past 8 years.  With all the travel we do, anything that can keep the germs on airplanes, hotels and crowded spaces at bay is good in my book.

What are your thoughts on getting the flu shot?  Do you think I was crazy for getting the rabies vaccines too?

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My Language Study Plan: September 2018

I really enjoy studying languages and I do think they come a bit easier to me than they do to others.  I’ve studied Spanish in High School for three years, German in College for two years and have been studying French as an adult for a few years now.  I’m not fluent in any of these languages, but when I find myself surrounded by these languages, it starts to click again.  I get re-energized on language study after spending a couple days surrounded by another language.

Part of my language study plan - reading a newspaper

Grabbing Le Monde at the airport is a solid part of my language study plan.

I’ve taken a few months off from my official French Language Study, and I’ve decided to start it up again.  I’m going to take a basic French Literature class in September.  We’ll be reading and discussing Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince.  I’m going to make September my French Language month.

In addition to this class, I’ve got these additional items on my list to push my French brain:

  • Read the entire Le Monde, that I picked up while in Singapore
  • Watch 7 Jour Sur La Planete (a 30 minute world news show in French with French subtitles) each week
  • Use Duolingo four times a week

My goal for September, obviously isn’t to be fluent in the month, but just get back into the swing of things.

Do you set language goals for yourself?  What recommendations do you have for me to make it through September and beyond?

Rosemary Salt – Preserving Fresh Herbs

It is that time of year – our gardens are roaring into full production.  We’ve just started getting our tomatoes, but our peppers have been coming in for a couple of weeks and our eggplant will be ready for harvest by the end of the week.  We’ve had a great crop of fresh herbs for almost two months now.  We can’t use all the fresh herbs that we’ve grown, so we’re doing everything we can to preserve them.  I’ve been making and freezing fresh basil pesto every week now, I’ve also started making flavored salts too.  I made a half cup of rosemary salt this weekend and thought I’d share my simple recipe that is so easily scalable – make a half teaspoon or a cup, it’s the same process.

Here’s what you need to make a tablespoon of rosemary salt:

Rosemary Salt

Another way to preserve fresh herbs

1 Sprigs rosemary, stemmed and roughed chopped
1 tablespoons sea salt

  1. Place the chopped rosemary and salt in a mortar and pestle (I didn’t use the M&P, I just used a knife to chop the salt and rosemary into a finer powder

Finished product – Rosemary Salt

You can use the rosemary salt on anything and everything that could use a little pop of rosemary!  Try it as you roast some vegetables, on steaks or chicken before they hit the grill, or to finish off a salad.  Personally, we love it on pork chops.

Prepped and ready for the grill

Do you make flavored herb salts?  Do you have an easier process?  What are your favorite flavor combinations and how do you use them?

A Peloton Milestone – 200 Rides in the Books

As this post publishes, I’m in the midst of my 200th ride on the Peloton Bike.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Peloton, let me school you.  Some say that Peloton is an exercise bike, which is true, but it is so much more.  Peloton offers live streaming classes at least half a dozen times a day, seven days a week.  Plus there is a library of a few thousand previously recorded live classes on-demand for you to ride whenever you want.  Peloton employs a dozen full time instructors teaching a variety of classes both on and off the bike.  The classes have varying music styles as well as class types (Low Impact, Climb, Tabata, High Intensity Intervals and Power Zone, to name a few).  Between the live and on-demand classes, you can easily find a ride that suits you from a workout style to musical preferences.

Unlike traditional stationary bikes at home, this one feels more engaging as you are actually working out with other people all over the world.  The large tablet screen on the bike includes a leader board that ranks you against other people riding (or who have ridden that same ride) – another level of encouragement.  The tablet also shows about a dozen important stats relating to your ride, including cadence (leg speed), bike resistance, output (a combination of the first two), heart rate, time and others.

There is a strong feeling of community with Peloton.  There are Facebook Groups, Regional/Local Meet Ups, and if you ride frequently enough, you’ll start to see the same people on the Leader Board and you can follow them and keep up with their work outs and even ride together.  It’s more than a traditional stationary bike.

The Peloton bike arrived in May 2017 and we started riding immediately.  Unlike many of the vocal users online, I wasn’t addicted.  Let’s be honest, I’m not an avid “work out guy”.  I hate working out.  When I was younger I could eat anything I wanted and never gain an ounce.  Not so much any more.  That’s why we got the bike.

Fast forward 14 months and I’m crossing my 200th Ride Threshold.  I enjoy riding the bike.  I absolutely feel stronger (both in pure muscle strength and heart and lung capacity).  I don’t wake up and have the urge to jump on the bike though.  Once I am on the bike, I do find it encouraging to ride with others.  I will frequently zero in on someone near me on the Leader Board and make sure to push my self hard enough to beat them at the end.  Being competitive on a bike that goes no where in your basement is really easy with the Peloton.

As this posts, I’m actively riding a 90-minute ride with instructor Matt Wilpers.  Matt is by far the most frequent instructor I’ve used (82 of the 200 rides).  He focuses on Power Zone Training (Google it) and that was my main focus for the first portion of my bike ownership.  It’s easy to follow along and it’s based on easy to understand stats and metrics.  I’m a numbers nerd.  I ended up getting a little burned out on this type of training and branched out.

Since I’m a numbers guy, I thought I’d share some graphs that I found interesting.  Yes, Peloton does allow you to grab your ride data and pull it down directly into an excel file for all your numbers nerds out there.

I’ve technically ridden 2,193 miles since getting the bike over 6,915 minutes while burning 102,867 calories.  Does that mean I’ve actually lost about 29 pounds (a pound is about 3,500 calories).  No of course I haven’t.  I’ve actually gained about 8 pounds since I started riding.  I don’t think my eating habits have changed all that much, and my clothes don’t fit all that differently (definitely not tighter), I just know that I’m stronger.  If you are looking for weight loss, you’ll need to really focus on your eating habits – you can’t really exercise away a truly awful diet.

I’m happy with our purchase of the Peloton.  I find myself setting individual goals like: Ride Every Day This Week, Ride 5/10/20 Days Straight, Burn 5,000 Calories This Week, etc.  It keeps me motivated.

Are you a Peloton enthusiast?  If so, follow me – yes, my Pelo Name is TimFoolery, so it’s pretty easy to track me down.  Who are your favorite instructors?  Any advice for keeping me motivated for my next major milestone?  Any other of my stats you’re interested in?

Cook Books – Use ’em or Lose ’em!

We have a ton of cook books. Cook books always play a major role as Christmas gifts too. Each year we probably add half a dozen to our library. In general, we look at the book immediately after unwrapping it and make these great plans on all the new things we’ll make, then fail to execute.  When we either have a dinner party or a free weekend, we’ll often pull a cook book and find something new to cook, then the book goes right back to the shelf.

Our cook book shelf is overflowing…

So many cook books and so little time!

I decided that I’d be meat free in January (also chose to be booze free). I needed to expand my meatless repertoire, so I pulled A Year in a Vegetarian’s Kitchen – grabbed some post it notes and went to marking interesting recipes. We found about a dozen that really spoke to us and since they were vegetarian it fit my nutritional changes for the month.

We made these recipes throughout the month and we’re really pleased with our selections. We tried so many great things in January, we decided to pick another cook book for February and will try this experiment again. While I’m not going to be meatless in February, I do plan to remain as mindful about my food as I was in January. It might be a bit tougher considering we chose Tommy Bahamas Flavors of the Southern Coast as our February book. We found another dozen or so recipes, but these recipes all require more work than our January selections, so adding these to our week night rotation will be tough.

It felt great trying so many new recipes in January and I can’t wait to work our way through this new book. How often do you use your cook books?  Seriously, how often?  Do you dig getting a new cook book as much as I do?  I love to give cook books just as much – it often means that someone will be thanking me for the gift by making something amazing out of their new book too.  Now that’s a win-win!