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My Piercing Adventure at “Enigma”
By Carol LeBeau
9/23/2013 12:27:38 PM


–FULL BIO
 

Guess what? I just got a couple of new piercings. 

Darn! I wish I’d had a camera rolling when I gave my conservative, button-down, former Navy pilot husband the news.  As he clutched his chest and gasped for air, I quickly assured him I wasn’t about to take a walk on the wild side…and I’m too old to be having a mid-life crisis!

I’ll bet Tom’s blood pressure dropped 20 points as I pointed to the tiny hoops in my ear lobes.  As he scanned my face for any other evidence of metal, I told him about my experience that day.

I actually got my ears pierced the first time in the mid-70s.  My very un-professional piercing was performed by my bright, but not very steady college roommate.   Though I survived the ice cube and needle ordeal, I’ve lived some 40 years with one hole lower than the other.  Time and the weight of heavy earrings (remember the hub caps we wore in the 80’s?!) finally took its toll on the little hole in my left ear. It finally tore through the bottom of my lobe.

So, after a simple plastic surgical procedure to sew up both holes and two months of healing, I was ready for my new piercings. But where? The mall? The doctor’s office?  And then it hit me…how about one of those piercing places?  That’s all they do, right? Pierce body parts?

So I went online and read the glowing reviews from folks who’d received positive piercings at “Enigma Professional Piercing Studios.”  (enigmapiercing.com) I figured it couldn’t hurt to learn more.

The voice at the other end of the phone sounded like a corporate CEO.  Polite, professional and helpful, Angie De Leon deftly answered all my questions assuring me a nearly 60-year-old woman who needed her ears pierced was more than welcome at Enigma.

Right next door to a tattoo parlor in North Park, I tentatively walked through the wildly painted piercing studio entrance half expecting a scary ex-con to greet me.  Shame on me!  I’m now appalled at my pathetic pre-conceived notion of piercing places.  My experience at Enigma was more pleasant and professional than most businesses I deal with.

After filling out the proper forms to be registered with the state health department, (the industry is highly regulated) Angie helped me choose a tiny pair of earrings made of a medical-grade metal alloy.  “For an initial piercing,” Angie explained, “we recommend the highest-grade jewelry to avoid infection and hasten healing.”

Covered nearly head to toe with tattoos and piercings, Angie may be a walking advertisement for her industry.  But don’t let her appearance fool you.  With professional precision, Angie placed my earrings in an autoclave to be sterilized for seven minutes then escorted me to a squeaky-clean treatment room and explained the piercing process.   Then, before I knew it, with virtually no pain, I walked out with two pierced ear lobes, a copy of strict after-care instructions and a friendly handshake from the charming and colorful, Angie.

The best part?  Walking into the small lobby as a couple of young Marines stood waiting their turn.  “Mam, yes Mam,” the polite young men said as I excused myself to walk by.  The expression on their faces as a woman who could be their mother walked out of a piercing salon? Priceless.

I’ll bet they’re still debating what exactly the old gal got pierced. Tee-hee.

What’s Pickleball?!
By Carol LeBeau
9/16/2013 12:18:17 PM


–FULL BIO
 

What’s Pickleball?! It’s the fastest-growing new sport in the nation and it has nothing to do with pickles!

At a recent family reunion, I learned my husband’s sweet, petite cousin, Carolyn, is also quite the athlete.  I had no idea, but cousin Carolyn and her husband, Dale, are the reigning New York state double’s champions… in pickleball!

“Wow!  That’s awesome,” I said…fake smile masking the fact I had absolutely no idea what Tom’s cousins were into.  Pickleball?  I’d never even heard of the game with the funny name.  Turns out, Dale and Carolyn are on the cutting edge of a sports trend that’s exploding in popularity especially among older adults.   

Unfortunately, I was still in a pickle about pickleball!  So, I talked to Carolyn and got the “scoop.”  First off, the game often described as a mixture of tennis and ping -pong has nothing to do with pickles! 

Here’s the deal.  If you take a game of tennis and slow it down, use a smaller court, slower racket and harder-to-hit ball…you get pickleball!

The sport is played with a wooden paddle and a plastic ball on a short, square court.  The net is hung at 34 inches in the middle (it’s 36 inches for tennis.) There is a non-volley zone on both sides of the net to prevent high-speed spikes as dictated by the U.S.A. Pickleball Association rulebook.  Players score when the other side can’t return a shot.  The first side to reach 11 points with a two-point lead wins.

Pickleball’s popularity has made it the first sport to be added for competition in the National Senior Games (NSGA) in 20 years.  The pickleball movement is averaging a thousand new players a year.  There are now more than 100,000 players in the United States and the number of pickleball courts has doubled to more than 5,600…just since 2010.

“It’s good exercise,” says cousin Carolyn.  “In my first six months of playing pickleball, my cholesterol dropped 40 points!”  But she also loves the social aspect of the game.  “It’s fun.  It’s something Dale and I can do together and we meet so many wonderful people.”   

Interestingly, the popularity among seniors is creating a trickle-down effect, with pickleball becoming more popular with school PE programs and at recreational camps nationwide.   

And that includes the San Diego area. If you’d like to try your hand at pickleball, you can find teams and leagues from Oceanside to Alpine, La Jolla to Lakeside.  Check out San Diego Parks and Recreation for more information and become part of the fastest growing sport in America!  

In fact, San Diego boasts a gold medal-winning pickleballer.  Pat Carroll took the gold in the 70-74 age division at the National Senior Games last month in Cleveland! (Where, if I may brag just a bit, Dale and Carolyn placed fourth in the doubles division. Way to go, Cousins!) 

As more folks become sweet on pickleball, maybe it’s time to give it a try.  “This is a game that has a lot of participation from people who have never been an athlete in their life,” says Tom Burkhart, pickleball competition director for the NSGA. “They can still acclimate and become a decent player.”

Need a little incentive to try your hand at pickleball?  According to a report on San Diego’s KPBS, “Pickleball is really a great game with a silly name. It’s addictive and might just lead you on the path of health, happiness and a heck of a lot of fun!” 

Healthy "sides" for your next cookout
By Carol LeBeau
9/10/2013 11:01:27 AM


–FULL BIO
 

You all know I’m no Martha Stewart, so there’s no use pretending.   When asked recently to bring a side dish to a backyard barbecue, I admit…I picked up some potato salad at a grocery store deli. 

Carol LeBeau's Health JournalWhile transferring my store-bought salad to a plastic serving bowl, I couldn’t help but notice the little chunks of potato literally swimming in gooey dressing.  Yuk!  Not very healthy (and probably not very tasty either.)

I debated getting out my Mom’s famous potato salad recipe and whipping up a batch.  But while her famous recipe is delicious, it, too, is loaded with rich, heavy dressing.  

Growing up in the Midwest, summers meant burgers on the grill and classic cookout favorites like coleslaw, bean salad and, of course, potato salad.  I still love a traditional barbecue buffet! 

I just need some updated recipes with fewer calories, less fat…AND plenty of flavor.

My search led me to several classic cookout side dishes that have undergone healthy makeovers and they’re delicious! (Easy, too!)  Next time you’re asked to bring a “side,” give one of these a try.  (Beats the grocery deli every time!)

Bean Salad

6 Tbsp chopped red onion
4 Tbsp wine vinegar
4 oz. thin green beans, trimmed
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 c shelled, cooked edamame (about 10oz), thawed, if frozen
1 can (15 oz) dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1. Combine onion with 3 Tbsp of the vinegar in small bowl and let stand 15 minutes to pickle.  Cook green beans in boiling, salted water until tender, 3 minutes.  Drain, rinse under cold water and cut into thirds.

2. Whisk together mustard, honey, oil and remaining 1 Tbsp vinegar in large bowl.  Stir in pickled onion mixture.

3. Add cooked green beans, edamame, kidney beans and chickpeas.  Toss together until well combined.  Season to taste.

New Potato Salad

1½ lb. new potatoes
3 ½ Tbsp white wine or cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp finely chopped shallot or onion
3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon.
2 lg. hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 lg. rib celery, chopped

1. Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water until fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. When potatoes are just cool enough to handle (but still warm) cut into quarters.

2. Whisk together vinegar and mustard in large bowl while potatoes are cooling. Add oil in slow stream, whisking until well combined.  Stir in shallot and tarragon.  Immediately add warm potatoes, tossing to combine.

3. Add eggs and celery and season to taste with salt and pepper. (Makes 4 cups.)

Tri-color Slaw

3 Tbsp cider vinegar
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz. fresh coleslaw mix (about 3 cups)
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrot
1 bell pepper, sliced (optional)
1 Tbsp poppy seed, toasted (optional)

1. Whisk together vinegar, lime juice and honey in large bowl.  Add oil in slow stream, whisking to combine.

2. Add remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine. Cover and chill at least 1 hour to let flavors develop. (Makes about 6 cups.)