Thursday, January 31, 2008

Great Article

I found this great article on Web MD. It's the Dietitian's Top 10 Diet tips. Note the word "Dietitian." This is the person you want diet advice from. She has a BA degree (or more) in her field. Unlike a "nutritionist" which could mean anything. These are great tips because they are common sense.

Happy Healthy Lifestyle, everyone. :)

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Edwards' Thank you Speech

John Edwards came full circle in New Orleans today. As you may recall, he announced his candidacy there. I can't help but feel we are really losing our chance to do something great by losing him as a candidate. It's not that I don't like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, it's just that John Edwards did everything right, touched on all the issues that are the most important. Losing the hope of him as president, is a far greater loss than I realized this morning.

My heart is incredibly heavy tonight.

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Edwards is dropping out

Sad news this morning. John Edwards is dropping out of the presidential race. I'm really upset about this. The USA needed a man who cared so deeply about the poor and the middle class. A man who was willing to do whatever it takes to help them. A man who grew up poor, and hadn't lost track of where he came from. Sigh.

It's a difficult thing, but it's time to back Barack Obama. He's a great man with great plans and I've always said I liked him and would gladly vote for him if he was our party nominee, I just liked Edwards better.

Life goes on, I guess. It has to. The Republicans hate the Clintons too much for me to back Hillary. Sorry. Go Barack Obama! Turning in my absentee ballot today with a big ol' check by Obama's name and a NO on all the propositions.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Healthy Lifestyle Update Babble

It's been a while since I've done a Healthy Lifestyle Update. As you may or may not know, Sunday is my weekly weigh day. I don't believe in weighing yourself more than once a week because the body fluctuates and it can be very stressful seeing the needle on the scale go up and down.

My goal is 1 pound a week because it's a healthy goal. The whole idea behind losing weight is to be healthy. Losing weight and looking better is a fantastic side benefit, sure, but developing healthy habits to take with me into my 40's is the ultimate goal.

So today is the last day of week 27 and I've lost 31 pounds. I couldn't be happier with my results. Sure, if I went on a crash diet I could have lost it faster, but this way I don't feel deprived. I don't know about you, but when I feel deprived, I find something really bad (a pint of Ben and Jerry's regular ice cream--not the frozen yogurt which isn't bad--or a bag of soft batch cookies, or wedge of cake from the bakery counter, or a giant Cadbury Milk Choc Toffee bar) and eat the whole thing. Not good. We eat at restaurants and fast food places on a regular basis, by the way, but I make healthy choices.

Tonight we ate at Red Lobster. I ordered grilled shrimp, a garden salad with low fat dressing, steamed broccoli (I love broccoli-no sacrifice) and yes, I did have a cheese biscuit. There are 9 grams of fat and 160 calories in a cheese biscuit, but I was careful the rest of the day. The other items I ordered only had 8 grams of fat and 300 calories total! And it was delicious. It's important to eat delicious things so you don't feel deprived. Remember this is a healthy lifestyle, not a diet. Depriving yourself is not what it's all about. It's better to make small changes every day. Small changes daily equal big results weekly.

I think I'm going to start posting healthy lifestyle tips on a regular basis. I grew up with a dietitian mom. I'm surprised that a lot of things I think are common knowledge, many people don't know. For example: carbs are NOT BAD FOR YOU. I live for carbs. If I had to go on Adkins I'd have gained 31 pounds by now. Too much protein makes me feel full, sick to my stomach and weighted down. If you are like me, you don't pig out because you're hungry, you pig out because you're not satisfied or feel deprived. Protein foods do not satisfy me. Of course I eat protein, but I eat it as part of a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, lean protein and some fat. A healthy lifestyle follows the food pyramid because your body needs all the food groups to run smoothly.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blog for Choice Day 2008

Today is the 35th Anniversary of Roe V. Wade and the second annual Blog for Choice day. I feel quite fortunate that I've never had to make that choice, but I am grateful that, unlike my mother's generation, choice has always been an option for me. I'm worried, too, that many young women today have become complacent and don't realize how close we are to having the freedom of Choice taken from us. It only takes one more Supreme Court Justice stepping down while Bush is in office or a Republican winning the 2008 presidential election, to get the conservative majority needed to overturn Roe V. Wade.

I also wish to state that I don't know anyone who's pro-choice who thinks abortion is a wonderful thing. The pro-lifers paint us like people who think everyone should just run out and have an abortion, like we take delight in it. If no one ever had to have an abortion ever again that would suit me just fine. And maybe someday we can get there--or, at least, much closer to there--but for now we have issues to tackle. I was going to write up a more formal essay, but I decided not to. I'm passionate about this issue, and making it more perfect and sterile, takes the heart and soul out of it. So, here are my off the cuff thoughts about Choice tonight.

We need comprehensive sex education for all children and teens--taught in an age appropriate manner, of course. It's all well and good to teach abstinence. I think everyone agrees that abstinence is best, but statistics show that these programs don't work. Teens say one thing and do another. That's what being a teen is all about, right? Testing boundaries? Thinking you know it all? Yeah. And when teens decide to have sex, if they haven't been taught about condoms, birth control, sexually transmitted infections (STI's) and pregnancy, they're left in the dark. Since Bush took office and funding has switched to Abstinence Only Education, teen pregnancies and STI's are on the rise. 'Nuff said. Teach kids what they need to know to be safe.

Adoption is a great option as well. But the thing about adoption is that I don't know anyone who's pro-life whose actually adopted a child. I often ask why people don't consider adoption, and I'm usually told it's because, "I can have my own babies." That's all well and good, but if a pro-lifer won't adopt children, who will? Your average pro-lifer votes Republican and the Republican party regularly cuts funding on all the programs that poor children and single mothers need like WIC, Head Start, foodstamps, welfare, etc. If you won't take in one of these children you are trying to save, and you won't fund the programs to help the children who you are "saving," then are you really saving this child at all?

I used to work with a woman from Romania and she told me why she'd never go back to live there. In Romania, someone from the government came into the office where she worked once a month and gave all the women a pregnancy test. If your test came out positive, they made note of it. Next month they came back and tested everyone again. If you weren't pregnant the next month, you better be able to pass a physical examination by a doctor proving you miscarried or you'd be arrested! Abortion was illegal in Romania when she lived there. (I haven't investigated the legalities today.) I cannot imagine living somewhere like that, somewhere women are forced to give birth to a child against their will. I can't even begin to fathom what that must be like. She said that to be a woman in Romania was like being a second class citizen, with no right to her own body. She, like me, was pro-choice.

If abortion is made illegal in America, would the government resort to something like this? I wouldn't put it past some of the passionate pro-lifers I've met. Most of them care more about the unborn child than the woman whose life is going to be turned upside down. Her own life with her own unique set of circumstances, not theirs. It matters not to most of them if the woman's life is at risk, if she was raped or molested by a family member, or if the child is severely deformed. Well, it matters to me. It matters a great deal to me that a woman not risk her life for a child whose not even here yet when she may have other children depending on her, that someone who was raped not be forced to re-live her experience by being forced to give birth, that a deformed child not live a short, painful, unnecessary life because some people think sparing him the pain is murder.

I also wonder who the pro-lifers think are going to adopt these children they "save" if they overturn Roe, when more and more people are able to "have their own babies" with techniques like in vitro fertilization. I wonder why they don't think the extra embryos that are destroyed after the in vitro process is over (and the couple has produced their desired amount of children) are not human lives too. One would think that if you did consider them to be human lives, you'd want their lives to have meant something by allowing them be used for stem cell research, but that's another topic for another day.

Happy Anniversary Roe V. Wade. Remember, complacency kills. Fight the good fight, every day in every way.


Please check out the others who Blogged for Choice today.

I blogged for choice last year as well- HERE.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

In honor of Dr. MLK Jr.

Today, John Edwards received a letter from Martin Luther King III, son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I'm so pleased with the letter, I'm posting it in its entirety. Here's the link as well.

Dear Senator Edwards:

It was good meeting with you yesterday and discussing my father's legacy. On the day when the nation will honor my father, I wanted to follow up with a personal note.

There has been, and will continue to be, a lot of back and forth in the political arena over my father's legacy. It is a commentary on the breadth and depth of his impact that so many people want to claim his legacy. I am concerned that we do not blur the lines and obscure the truth about what he stood for: speaking up for justice for those who have no voice.

I appreciate that on the major issues of health care, the environment, and the economy, you have framed the issues for what they are - a struggle for justice. And, you have almost single-handedly made poverty an issue in this election.

You know as well as anyone that the 37 million people living in poverty have no voice in our system. They don't have lobbyists in Washington and they don't get to go to lunch with members of Congress. Speaking up for them is not politically convenient. But, it is the right thing to do.

I am disturbed by how little attention the topic of economic justice has received during this campaign. I want to challenge all candidates to follow your lead, and speak up loudly and forcefully on the issue of economic justice in America.

From our conversation yesterday, I know this is personal for you. I know you know what it means to come from nothing. I know you know what it means to get the opportunities you need to build a better life. And, I know you know that injustice is alive and well in America, because millions of people will never get the same opportunities you had.

I believe that now, more than ever, we need a leader who wakes up every morning with the knowledge of that injustice in the forefront of their minds, and who knows that when we commit ourselves to a cause as a nation, we can make major strides in our own lifetimes. My father was not driven by an illusory vision of a perfect society. He was driven by the certain knowledge that when people of good faith and strong principles commit to making things better, we can change hearts, we can change minds, and we can change lives.

So, I urge you: keep going. Ignore the pundits, who think this is a horserace, not a fight for justice. My dad was a fighter. As a friend and a believer in my father's words that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, I say to you: keep going. Keep fighting. My father would be proud.


Martin L. King, III

I'm sure John Edwards felt as proud to have received this letter, as I am for him. I'm so glad he's staying in the race. I truly believe he's the right man for the job, even though the media tries to pretend he doesn't exist.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Oh, Happy Day!

In honor of her upcoming birthday, Michele and I had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory today. Not that we need an occasion to meet for lunch, mind you, but that's what we celebrated today. Doesn't she look fantastic? I had my favorite Crusted Chicken Romano and she had the Cobb Salad. For dessert, we had Dutch Caramel Apple Streusel and Kahlua Cocoa Coffee Cheesecakes (full menu here ) because we were at the CHEESECAKE Factory, and not partaking in some cream-cheesy goodness would have been very, very wrong. Don't you agree?


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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Now It's Time to Choose!

Now that you know you're registered to vote, it's time to choose a candidate. Here's a great little quiz (courtesy of to see who you match up with.

Thanks to Michele for the link.

I'm voting for Edwards anyway, but here's what I got:

89- Kucinich
84- Gravel
80- Edwards
80- Richardson*
78- Obama
76- Dodd*
74- Clinton
73- Biden*
46- Giuliani
43- Paul
41- McCain
36- Thompson
34- Romney
31- Huckabee
29- Tancredo*
26- Hunter

*withdrawn from the election

How about you?

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Every vote counts!

Are you registered to vote? Are you sure?

The 2008 presidential primaries are in full swing and time is running out to register in most states. You can check your voter registration instantly here. (via Votepoke)

If you're not registered, Votepoke helps you get registered, regardless of your party affiliation or political leanings. In a viable democracy, every voice matters, every vote counts. Do it now: It's that important.

Next, nudge your friends. Also, please consider adding a similar message to your emails and/or your blog.

Thanks to Melodye for the idea. I took this directly from her fab blog.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Goals for 2008

I've been thinking a lot about goals for 2008, and it's sort of stressing me out. LOL! I think I'll keep it really easy this year. So, here goes...

1) Continue on with the healthy lifestyle I began in July of 2007. This includes a balanced, low fat diet with lots of fruits and veggies and walking every night. This will eventually include getting my butt back in the gym, but I won't stress over it. I renewed our memberships this month, so we'll get there eventually.

2) Write 15 minutes a day during ther month of January, and up it to 30 minutes per day going forward. An hour a day would be ideal. Work up to that most nights if humanly possible.

3) Lose 25 more pounds.

4) Throw a blow-out 40th/60th birthday party for my mother and I this summer. (Pick a date and plan it!)

5) Replace all the interior doors in our house, including the closet doors in the three bedrooms. This also includes new doorframes and doorknobs (levers, actually).

6) Have the contractor come to the house and give us an estimate on the room addition we've been wanting. Discuss all the options and set goals to achieve the one that's the best for our financial situation.

7) Paint the bedroom and replace the window treatments.

8) Spend more time with my family and friends. Take our nephews to the movies, attend our niece's dance ricitals, have a tea party with G and play games with A. Take Mom and the MIL and FIL to lunch, a trip to LA, etc. Just enjoy each other's company.

9) Attend RWA National in San Francisco. (I've already started saving.)

10) Complete a manuscript. Any manuscript, whether it be the Healer story, the Witch story, or Adam & Cricket's story.

11) Volunteer a bit of my time to get the Democratic candidate elected.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Goal Setting Vs. Resolutions

My friend Pat has a brand new blog. In her first post, she tells us why she sets New Year's Goals rather than making Resolutions:

"Here we are 5 days into the New Year already, and I haven't made any resolutions, nor do I intend to. What I am doing is setting goals. What's the difference? In a way it's just semantics, but playing the semantics game works for me. Ignoring the dictionary definitions, for me a resolution is just a determination to do something, with no plan of action. And we all know what happens to most resolutions. You break them once, and soon they're forgotten. A goal, on the other hand, is all about a plan, about thinking about the baby steps that lead to actually attaining the goal."

Read the rest of her post HERE.


I like Pat's take on this. Resolutions are hard to keep and can be defeating when you fail. I think I'm going to follow Pat's lead and set goals this year too. Last year I did New Year's Indulgences: HERE I didn't follow through with any of them (I did lose the weight, but I began dieting AFTER the wedding), but I still like the idea of indulgences, so I'll come up with a few of those as well.

Do any of you out there in Blogger Land want to join me in setting goals, making resolutions or coming up with some indulgences for 2008? I'm giving myself this week to get them together since my life's still winding down from being holiday-hectic.

Goal #1- post them this weekend. :)

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

A different kind of rally

The family of teenager Nataline Sarkisyan of Southern CA (who died while waiting for a liver transplant) stood beside John Edwards at a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire today urging voters to elect Edwards. Edwards has repeatedly talked about the Sarkisyan family's fight with Cigna Healthcare to get the insurance company to cover the transplant. Cigna initially denied coverage for the procedure, but after protests and pleas from nurses and doctors the company reversed its decision. The 17-year-old Sarkisyan died before she could get the transplant. Here is a short clip.

Join with me and many other average people like me and vote for the person who will stand up for us.


Go me!

Healthy Lifestyle Update: I'm so jazzed to report that I made it through the last 2 weeks and was still able to lose 2 pounds. With all the baked goods and chocolate that's been floating around the home and the office, and with my week off to boot, it's been a real challenge. I'm really proud of myself. 28 pounds in 24 weeks.

Knitting: I just finished knitting my first skein of yarn (I think that's what it's called) this morning. It's a simple scarf (half of one, actually) with pretty variegated yarn in shades of green and brown. Once I learn how to join the second skein of yarn to the first, I'll be off and running on completing the second half of the scarf. It's taking forever since I'm using #7 needles, but the stitches are tight and even and the scarf should be quite warm as well as pretty.

Writing Update: No writing to speak of in 2008 so far. That's going to change. Today I have a critique to write and then I'm going to read over all the critiques I received on my scene all the way back on the first week of December. Between my mother's eye problems, my father in law's car accident, Christmas, New Year, and vacation, I've yet to give writing the time it deserves. I will, though. I promise.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Mixer Love!

My fairy godmother gave me a generous gift card for for Christmas. I had no idea what to buy myself, but then I found this:

I've wanted one of these Kitchen Aid mixers for the last 15 or 20 years, but they're so expensive and I could never justify spending the money. But Amazon had it on sale! And I had a gift card! And they had free shipping--a $22 savings! My mixer is 15 years old, so I could justify the part I put in to buy it quite easily. With the free Super Saver Shipping, it was supposed to arrive on the 28th, but surprise! It came yesterday!

Now I'm in mixer love. It's easy to see why, is it not? My husband likes it too. He thinks it looks nice in the kitchen, he says, but he's probably just thinking that now it'll be so much easier for me to make treats. Hee. (Please don't mind my messy kitchen. Red cabinets coming soon.)

And here's Ace with the mixer:

I'm so very pleased tonight.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Still Mulling

I've been kinda busy, but I haven't forgotten about my new profile blurb and new year's resolutions. I'm mulling everything over for a bit. (The Iowa caucus is tomorrow, so we'll be glued to the TV tomorrow night.) I'll try to post them over the weekend.

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