The Alchemist: A book review

One of the online communities I visit frequent has a book club forum or two. I haven’t participated in a book discussion yet because I’m not always proactive about finding the book. This time I found the book and requested it from the library hoping it would be in by mid-December in time for the discussion. It came in two weeks ago and I finally picked it up from the library this week. I meant to read a chapter or two a day, in between Christmas knitting. Well, there aren’t defined chapters and it was a quick read. I am planning on reading it again as I have the book until Dec. 9 but so far I’m rather impressed.

The subtitle is A fable about following your dream and is written by Paulo Coelho, translated by Alan R. Clarke. It is a quick read under 200 pages with large print on smallish pages. The illustrations on the copy I borrowed are absolutely wonderful. The entire story is told in a series of overlapping pictures. The meanings of which are a mystery until the book is completed. Without getting into the author’s head as to deeper meanings, we follow a shepherd boy named Santiago as he makes life altering choices. He is in the dark about some choices and has unique guidance for others. Santiago is promised a great treasure if he goes to Egypt, which seems like a far-fetched idea. While he attempts to reach Egypt he learns life lessons that many of us fail to learn until we have a great many more years under our belts. In life, should a person follow a dream, a passion, a heart’s desire even if the obstacles seems insurmountable? Should a person take the first easy path that crosses the difficult one? What about the third easiest path that crosses the increasingly difficult one? Should a person listen to counsel from strangers, friends, family?

In my opinion, I have never written a book report that would cause another person to pick up the book and read it. I hesitate to tell too much and ruin the adventure to the point where I don’t tell enough. Let this little paragraph serve as an invitation to read a book that may not change your life, but will certainly entertain you and possibly steal a piece of your heart.

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Fitness Friday

Here’s the deal, this blog is supposed to be more than a “dear diary, today a boy looked at me” thing. Yet, I understand that my personal fitness is going to be boring to most people and I’m certainly not sharing my actual weight with anyone. One of my goals for 101 things in 1001 days is to run a 5k. I mentioned that I found a nice, gently used treadmill for sale and brought it home with me last week. In an effort to keep myself motivated, I am going to try to review something slightly healthy or health related as well as a quick update on my progress.

A website I have used in the past, but no longer use is eDiets. It is a subscription based service with a large menu and fitness system. Fill out a short questionnaire and you will receive a recommended menu profile to follow. I used this site years ago, before I knew I was allergic to dairy and before profiles. The profile suggested to me was not compatible with a dairy allergy. I remembered that I could tell it what foods I wanted excluded from the menu, but it still didn’t remove enough dairy. That meant I was constantly tweaking the menus. I tried the lactose intolerant menu, but it still used dairy products and said lactose-free this or lactose free that. The coolie menu application creates a shopping list so you can take it to the store and purchase only what you need. Cookies never appeared on my list, it’s a sad thing I tell you.

With eDiets fitness profile, you set your exercise level (beginning, intermediate, advanced), click the boxes for that equipment/tasks you want and it lines it all up for you. The site provides strength training exercises based on the equipment (or lack of) and you tell it what aerobics you like or can do including yoga, dancing, running, and swimming.

The drawbacks for the site were many for me. More than once I couldn’t log into the site to get my menu for the week, so my menu date would push back and I’d be shorted days. I started the program on a Sat. and when I stopped I was on Wed. The check-in process made me crazy. I don’t mind putting my weight into the thing once a week, but I also had to put my measurements in several times a month before I could get my menu. It would kick bogus measurements, so I had to either take them or waste time fiddling numbers. It only lets you have one computer generated menu at a time, the theory is that if you don’t lose enough weight, the menu will be tweaked to the lower caloric intake where possible. If you’re already at the lowest and you try to make it remove more calories it tells you to call and discuss your options with an eDiets representative. Because I had to check-in to receive my 7 day menu, I had a horrible time trying to plan grocery trips while trying to save gas. I would prefer to shop every other week, so I would create a menu, tweak it, print it and then scratch the menu and make a new one. The other option was to make the same menu two weeks in a row. Eventually, I just gave up and started copying the recipes into a file for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. I’d print the whole thing and make my own menus. The drawback? No computer generated shopping list for me. I also struggled with food for my husband. I would make a triple batch of each shared meal hoping that would be enough food for my sweet bean-pole who is unable to climb up to 130 and maintain it.

Other than that, the menus were great, I adored the fitness piece. There were new community boards, but since it’s all subscription based, people seem to come and go. I’m still using some of the recipes, the concept is good, the check in is just too cumbersome.

Stay tuned next week for a profile on a free site.

My stats:
Minutes: 95
Miles: 3.82
MPH: 2.4
Days: 3 (Su, W, Th)

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