In Memory of Kim Freitag

A 45-year-old mother of four kids ages 13, 10, 8 and 4 passed away on Wednesday, July 15 from colon cancer.

It’s a jarring statement, and one that made even more impact on me because I knew her. Kim Freitag was one of the few people I could count as a personal friend I made while living in Dallas. Sure, I met my husband there and many friends through him; but, Kim was all mine.

We worked together at the Superconducting Super Collider and she’s the only one I worked with there that I kept in touch with over the years. I have a framed photo of us, and the rest of our department, that didn’t scan very well, but it looks like we are all standing inside this photo. We never did get to really go down in there because Congress chose not to fund the project. <cough> shortsighted <cough>

Inside the Superconducting Super Collider tunnel

Over the years since then, Kim and I had progressed to being what I call “Christmas card friends.” We each moved to new cities and states and didn’t see each other outside of photos. But, I will always remember her as the one who said 16 years ago when I proudly showed off the dove tattoo I just gotten on my stomach: “You know that thing is going to become a pterodactyl when you get pregnant.” Ha!

Not thinking at that time that I would ever have children, I didn’t worry too much. But, Kim was thinking of that and together with her husband Randy she went on to bring four fantastic kids into the world. I’ve never actually met them, but I know they are fantastic because of her.

I said earlier that Kim was “my” friend, but after Randy called to tell me of her diagnosis last year and started to keep us updated of her battle through the Care Pages site, I discovered that I certainly didn’t have her all to myself. Kim evidently left a mark on everyone she touched, and she made it a point to touch many. I can tell from the hundreds of comments, words of encouragement and more that all of them posted every time Randy would update us.

If you are like me, you are under what I now hear is a common misperception that colon cancer is a “man’s disease.” But apparently it ranks as the third most common cause of cancer deaths in women. All that fiber they tell us we should be eating … one of the reasons why is that they think it can play a role in prevention.

The sound of screenings like “digital rectal examination” and “flexible sigmoidosopic examination” or the dreaded colonoscopy are enough to scare anyone away from means of early detection.

But if you are 40 (like I find myself nearing) or older, don’t avoid it. Then all of us can share in the impact Kim has long after she has physically left this world.

Womenomics: A Bill of Goods or New World Order?

One challange with posting on three different blogs (here, This Mommy Gig, and Direct2Dell) – in addition to just keeping them all updated – is that sometimes I have a hard time deciding which post belongs where.

That was the the case with my latest look at women, men, work, family and flexibility for all of them. While I try not to cross-post too much, I think it deserves space in my personal blog, as well as This Mommy Gig.

So, here is how it starts out:

The #10 book on the New York Times bestseller list for the week of June 21 was one titled “Womenomics.” I haven’t read the book because, well, about the only time I ever get to read is when I’m on a plane by myself and I haven’t had the opportunity to travel in six months.

But, this news article on “Womenomics” has been an open tab in my Firefox browser for nearly a month now, as my own blending of work and life has prevented me from writing about it.

What made that article really jump out at me was that it mentions “a legendary ad sold working women on the idea they could have it all” and I have to believe the writer was thinking of this one that had so much influence on me growing up…

View the video and read more at This Mommy Gig!

And They Say Technology Will Make Us Fat

As technology has advanced and we humans do less and less physical work (when’s the last time you had to grind the grain for your bread or weave the fabric for you clothes?), the tech often gets a bad rap for causing us to pork up. The movie WALL-E predicted a future where not only had we trashed our earth so much we couldn’t live here, but our feet seldom if ever even touched the ground of spaceships where we lived.

That one actually put Disney in a position to be an easy target for criticism when they sold the video game for the movie. As one blogger put it at the time: “Any company worth its salt is going to try and make as much money as they can, any way they can. However, when you spread one message on one end and feed the destructive nature on the other you are bound for trouble.”
More recently, research presented to the Associated Professional Sleep Societies said adolescent obesity is associated with having less sleep, and that reduction in sleep was blamed on higher caffeine intake and more hours of technology use.

But, I’ve recently started using two new popular bits of technology to try to get myself back into the shape I want to be. One is the Wii Fit. While I’m probably not using it to its full potential (my girl keeps reminding me I should do some exercises that are more active than the yoga), I have found the way it records your time to be very encouraging. Like a little electronic trainer, it’s happy to see me and tells me it missed me if I don’t stop by every day. Its tracking of my weight and body mass index is really handy – and the exercises are fun!

Fit Tech

Even the medical industry seems to be taking notice and this year’s Games for Health Conference showed how video games are used to help both doctors and patients.  [Update: Just saw this great post in my Google Reader from the Shaping Youth blog with more news on the increased interest in “healthy games” – including Humana is now offering $5000 to create a healthy game concept] But before I digress into a post on the opportunities of virtual world environments for emergency and medical training exercises, back to my world of getting ready for a beach vacation.

For all the fun I’ve been having on the Wii, I haven’t really be using it enough to see the results I want before our summer vacation, so I knew I had to change my eating habits, too. That’s where my new iPhone has come in quite handy.

After the 3G S phones came out, my husband and I finally broke down and purchased a couple of the now lower-priced versions of the phone. One of the first apps I found was a free one called Lose It! that would help me count calories – the only way I’ve ever been able to successfully diet. Now, right there in my purse or pocket is constant record of what I’m eating. And if you want to spring for the more expensive new version of iPhone, it apparently has the Nike sensor built-in – making it one of Chris Prillo’s top ten things he loves about the iPhone 3G S.

So, after a couple of weeks combining my iPhone calorie counter with my Wii Fit yoga and some extra walks with the dog, I’m happy to see progress. And, I’m glad to see that technology can do more than make us sedentary and fat.

What about you? Any favorite technologies you use to keep healthy?