Thursday, January 31, 2008

Me and my big mouth

So I was discussing politics the other night with a friend. In the primary I generally declare Democrat - not because I adore their platform or think they are particularly right all of the time - but I do it so I can vote against the Republicans.

I try to follow my heart and my brain and my conscience and I am a liberal and I am pro-choice. So with that in mind - I try to vote the best I can - given what I am given to pick from.

I do like McCain. He is a stand up guy. He served his country and survived being a POW. He is a maverick and he seems to say what is on his mind. He is the Joe Lieberman of the Republican party. (At least I thought so....) He might have had my vote, but he is Anti-Choice and I just cannot go there. That for me is a defining issue. See my previous post. Stay away from the womb with your rules and laws.

So on the Democrat side - I really liked Edwards. I liked him 4 years ago and I maintain that if it had been Edwards Kerry, the race would have turned out very differently. So I told my friend - I was voting for Edwards. He was for me and then WHAT THE HELL - the next day he dropped out. You have to be kidding me.... I am the kiss of death. I should just not say a word.

So now I have to regroup and decided between Clinton or Obama. Both are good candidates I think - but they lacked the drive and the Progressive energy that Edwards had.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Well the Secret is....

A while back I was bemoaning the lack of selection and the totally unsuitableness of Victoria's Secrets bra collection. I was at their store in the Mall very near my house. It is smallish and I can see that perhaps it is not their best store.

So a week ago I was at their flagship store on the other side of town. Wow! There were pretty bras galore. Nice colors - cool styles. Someone has suggested that this is BECAUSE I was at the flagship store. Well ok - maybe. But as a point of market strategy - have they lost their minds. Now I know the inventory varies from store to store - but we are talking TOTALLY different planets here. Old lady girdle bras verse - Va Va Voom sexy Mama bras.

I am glad I decided to give them another shot. It is an addiction and I was disappointed that feeding it was going to get harder - not easier on the new me frame. That said when I am wrong, I admit it and I was half wrong in this case - Victoria does in fact still have sexy secrets - just not at the store in my neighborhood! If I were in the mood to flog someone - I would ask for the idiot that made that call to step on up here and go to town - but I will settle for my gentle retraction and rest assured Victoria - I will be driving over the flagship store to get my fix - until you can whip what-his name into shape - you know the bozo marketing guy who thinks the sexy mama's in my neighborhood are into old lady bras!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Business of Government.... Part 3

Well we are back on track - this was going to be number 2 - but it got pushed back to spot number 3....

The Business of Government is to ensure the education of the the leaders and workers of tomorrow. If we as a nation are serious about competing in the global marketplace then we have to stop pretending to care about education and start doing something about it. Unfunded Federal Mandates and Teaching to the Test is not ultimately going to cut it.

What needs to happen - is the Federal Government needs to not only see about setting a national standard - it also needs to provide a basic funding source. While I cannot comment on how other states fund public education I cannot comment on Ohio. In Ohio, the bulk of the funding comes from property taxes. Therefore the budget of a school distract can vary wildly from city to city, county to county. It is inherently unfair on a number of levels and frankly it needs to be overhauled. I know there is some State formula - but it is still not a fair system. Every child in the state is not getting the same education - no matter how you dice it - kids in more affluent areas are getting a better education.

In countries like Germany and Japan - there are national exams. Every child takes the same exam and it is not the PSAT, the SAT or the ACT - not some weird test that tests nothing really. It tests them on real knowledge. Knowledge that they will eventually expand upon in college or vocational school.

I think we need to have the Federal Government Fund public education at a basic level and then have that augmented by the States. Furthermore - there should be a National Sales Tax or Flat Tax or something to cover the cost of public education.

Places like Japan, Germany and India have and are making education a priority. What I am wondering are we making it?

National ranking and the like are just silly. It does no one in Florida to know that they are almost dead last. We need a national basic standard and then the States need to step up to the plate and kick in the same amount per student. It is possible (ducking) that perhaps the system of organizing schools by distracts is not the way to go. Maybe there is too much (shudders to think) redundancy. Maybe or maybe not!

The bottom line - we need to get serious and there needs to be a serious overhaul - because frankly the system we have now - is not working. The US is slipping further and further behind in the global market place and sadly education is a big factor.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

If you give Susan a muffin....

it cannot be made with wheat, rye, corn or oat flour. So right, eating muffins is a little bit problematic for me.

This week however we ended up with a bunch of over ripe bananas. I love banana nut muffins and well I thought I might try something new. Soy Four! Now I have made brownies with soy flour and they were great - but the chocolate masks the soy taste.

So that theory got me thinking, bananas are a fairly strong flavor and I always add chocolate chips to my banana muffins. Think Chunky Monkey. So the combo, I reasoned would hide any strong hint of soy!

Well I am happy to report that they turned out just fine. A bit denser than regular wheat muffins and they are slightly a more yellow color. (Soy flour is yellowish.)

They also need less time to bake - so they are just this side of overdone - but I would try this trick again and everyone seems to like them.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Susan Techie

Can I just say I am on techie binge. Please understand I am not a computer person per se! They make nuts sometimes - but I am learning. I recently bought a Dell Lap top and I am getting along with it smashingly! I do not understand all of its weirdness - but we have reached an agreement of sorts and we have promised to work out our differences.

I have redesigned my Blog and love it - I even added widgets or gadgets or whatever. I can kinda sorta tinker with HTML - I made my pet Moji - say my name instead of my email address. Please note - in my previous post I embedded a YouTube clip (go me!)

Recently, I worked to set up a new computer at my pro bono job - and i PING'd the printer. We switched from static IP addressing to something else. (I am not high and tight on my techie speak yet... but it is coming!)

I also fixed my invisible counter - so that I am excluded from the count. See I thought there were alot more readers - well know - I was just there alot the other day! Yikes!

This past week I bought an Ipod. The tiny little Shuffle! I love it! I got the purple one - I am a girly girl after all! It is the size of a hair barrette. I can easily deal with it while I run. I had been using my cell phone - which is bulky and was not the best option.

I know I need to embrace the technology around me and the fact is I can do it - I have just not been willing to do so until now. Maybe it is a function of having more time and maybe it now I need to. I need to be able to function and market myself in the virtual world. A world where my clients do not know me - they now me via email and chat. They do not meet me for coffee - we met online.

In any event - I am a techno girl and I am hip to the 21st Century - now if I could jut figure out where is my abacus and my pencil?


Words are my new gig - I guess you could say. It is all about word choice. I am attempting to make a career out of writing tight web copy and hopeful entertaining fiction as well.

I have been playing from time to time online Scrabble with friends - there it is all about high point word choice and not WORD CHOICE. I like fun words - pretty words - wild words. I like linking words - making fun sentences. But alas in Scrabble - it is about the points and the placement on the board.

This week though I have been reminded that WORDS do have really huge amounts of power. Words can hurt. When aimed correctly, I think WORDS can be fatal. L is having trouble with a girl at school. L gets the physical violence - she understands that shoving and hitting and hair pulling is bad - it is hurtful. She knows how to evade it. This week she was not only shoved by this girl, but the girl has decided to let loose and use words to hurt. L is a deep thinker and feels very deeply - as do her parents - and she was and is totally perplexed with how to deal with what can best be described as hate speech at the 5 year old level.

I am careful to not allow hateful words in our house. We do not say things are "stupid" or use the WORD "hate" for example. I have first hand experience with how WORDS hurt and I am being very careful to limit L and E's exposure to that type of speech. I think, however, that in my zeal to teach them to express themselves in a positive way - I have neglected to provide them with the amour required to protect them from the viciousness of others.

I think with boys maybe it is less of an issue - boys will fight and be physical on the playground and be over it. Girls - well girls I think know the power of words and they are not shy about inflicting lasting - perhaps even permanent damage. If I look deep within me - there are some very visible scars - left there not by past lovers or anyone I have chosen to let close to me - but by girls at schools - they aimed and drew blood - with glee as I recall.

So my task now is to not only teach L to avoid the hate speech - but now I must equip her with armor to protect herself and that frankly makes me angry. She is 5 years old - she is entitled to a world full of fairies and happy ever after endings for at least a few more years. She is just learning to read - she should not have to learn to duck as the WORD daggers come at her.

I am lucky that the school has a great guidance counselor to help me and I guess the sooner L learns to protect herself the better - but there is an fundamental unfairness to the situation that breaks my heart.

I have been hurt by the master of WORD choice and I so wanted to spare to L that same thing and in this case I think I have - my worst hurts were more personal than some random girl at school - well the ones that really matter - but still - this is a reminder to me that people can be vicious and that LOVE and KINDNESS seem to not be on the top of everyone agendas.

It makes me sad.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Business of Government is... Part Duex

Well this is not what I had planned for number 2 - but I was reading over here today and decided to switch gears!


Ok I have said it time and again and I am saying it again now! My womb! Old men who will NEVER NEVER NEVER have to make a choice about how their body will change in a very fundamental manner and how their life will be forever changed - should SHUT THE (blank) UP!

Now I will say that I think a man should have some input - in certain cases but here is the deal - once a month my body sheds the the lining of my uterus and I feel funky and I am not at my best. I am crampy and grouchy and extra tired. I have been doing this since I was 15 years old. Nature, when I was created female - gave me the ability to bear children. I have a highly functioning brain and I KNOW what I can and cannot handle! I know how many children I can manage and I know when it is a good and safe time for me to bear them. I can make my own CHOICES.

No MAN in Washington DC or anywhere else can or should make this choice for me. My partner the other half of the fetuses DNA should - in certain circumstances have a some say - but the bottom line is the paternal half of the equation is free to leave at any time. At 6 months of gestation I am still in the game. Furthermore, unless one of the male candidates for President - Mr. Fetal Rights for example, can drop trou and prove to me that he has the same plumbing that I do - then I suggest he focus on some real issues - like the children who go to bed hungry every night in this country and get the HELL OUT OF MY WOMB!

As stated in the blog I linked to - no woman makes this choice lightly. I am blessed that I have always had access to birth control and have been able to make sure my babies were planned. I was mentally and physically in a good place to bear my children.

One of my greatest heartaches is for the baby I did not carry to term. I had no choice in that matter - that child was so very wanted - but it was not to be. It is hard to lose that connection and it is a connection in a very physical and emotional way. That said, in college, when I thought I might be pregnant - my choice was clear, I was ready to decide. I knew having a baby then would not be a good choice - I was spared making the Choice - I am not sure if I had miss counted, or my cycle was messed up because of stress or if I miscarried then as well. Bottom line - it was and is my CHOICE and I was prepared to make it. I knew in my heart it would have been a huge mistake to bring a child into the world - with me as its mother at that point in my life. I was barely able to take care of myself let alone someone else.

The fact still remains - it is my CHOICE. It is my plumbing. Really - what if a group of old women got together and said - well MEN can only ejaculate on odd numbered Fridays. What if MEN were told that they could only have surgery on certain days and too bad if it is not what you want. What if MEN were told that we were going to remove their testicles because they were not able to use them and decide about their use properly.

I am not making light of abortions - there are consequences - but those consequences are between the woman making HER CHOICE and her HIGHER POWER.

The converse is true for China. It is not the business of the Government of China to limit a woman's desire for more children and force her to abort additional children. It is just not a government issue.

My fertility is mine to control from the day I first start the monthly ritual until the day I end it. It is something that is a freedom, something deeply rooted in my femaleness, it is part of makes me a woman - it is part of my liberty and it can be part of my supreme happiness. But is it mine!

It is NOT nor should it be THE BUSINESS OF GOVERNMENT.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Business of Government is.....

I have decided to start a little series - my thoughts on what government should be doing. Think the little cartoons from the 70s - LOVE IS.....

This is number 1.


The BUSINESS of GOVERNMENT is to provide all citizens with basic health care coverage. Now I am not going all Canadian on you. I am not advocating socialized medicine. I know there are pitfalls there and in reality it would not work. It would negaztively impact many medical practices and it would cause us some whiplash while we transitions.

What I am saying is - the government should create a system like Medicare or Medicaid for us all. It would be funded by tax dollars - it would cover the basics - 1 tooth cleaning per year, 2 visits to your General Practice Physician, it would cover a trip to the ER. It would be the safety net that all of us really and truly need. Babies would be guaranteed their shots and all well baby visits would be covered. The focus would be creating a safety net and providing for those who need help the most - the very young and the very old.

Health care is a huge problem in this country. I know critics of socialized medicine love to point out that it would create shortages and long wait times. Hello! I have to schedule my OB/GYN appointment for my annual exam one full year in advance and I better pray I do not have to reschedule because that is impossible. When I was struggling with figuring out where my weirdo rash came from the waiting list to see the "really good" food allergy allergist was a short 18 months.

Another issue in this country is that the system is bankrupting itself and the free market approach has created a two tiered system. I hear Republican friends say over and over the problem with socialized medicine is we "will have to pay for them and all their problems." I always want to shout - "Dumbass we are paying for "them" we pay for the uninsured every single day." Our premiums are higher and the cost that the doctors and hospitals charge those of us with insurance are inflated to cover the costs that go unpaid by those who are uninsured. It is a vivacious cycle.

Another and more troubling problem - the increasingly squeezed middle class. Those who have a solid two income - but are dealing with a chronically ill child or managing a chronically illness themselves. Insurance companies are applying caps and if theses families were not working or made significantly less they would qualify for Medicaid. What? This is silly. We need to have some sort of safety net - some sort of way to ensure that those who want to work and who can work - do so - they continue to pay their taxes and be productive. This is also an issue for the Welfare to Work programs that GW pushed thru. I support the idea of getting people into the workforce - but people need health care - affordable health insurance. Getting a a job with a livable wage should not mean taking away the safety net that Medicaid provides dependent children.

If I had all the answers - I would have a plan written and I would run for president (no I wouldn't - you could not pay me enough to take on that job.) but I do think it is the Business of Government - to make sure its citizens have a health care safety net.

At the time the founding fathers were drafting the Constitution their life expectancy was like 40s years old. Now that we are living to our late 90s - we need to change with the times. In 1776, the signors of the Declarations of Independence - has wives, daughters, slaves and servants - to care for them and sadly a paper cut could kill them. They never dreamed of open heart surgery or preemies making it to adulthood.

We live in different times now. We must change with them. We are a nation of smart and free thinkers - we need to show our compassion and our business savvy and solve this problem - the longer we wait - the worse it is going to get.

It is not easy being green...

I decided to make some changes to the blog - most notably a color change. Also I am now looking over the edge from the right side of the blog verses the left - change of scenery is good every now and again. (Make no mistake the change of scenery is in no way an indication of political sentiment change - oh no - we are still LEFT over here!)

Also - please welcome Felix my new tree frog, he was in need of a place to stay and well he is GREEN - so we have reached an arrangement - whereby he can stay for awhile.

I am also looking for some new items for my sidebar - I would like to find an achieve randomizer or something similar where you - my Beloved readers- can hop around and read some of my previous posts. Now that I have been blogging for over a year, there is a wealth of information on the blog and I would like to be able to highlight or spotlight some of my better blogs. Always trying to save my lovely readers time.

I also monkeyed with the comment options - It is even easier to make comments here on the Edge!

My pet Moji is also still with us - at the very bottom of the page. She is a sweetheart - my little emotional barometer of sorts!

So Welcome to our Newly spruced up and redecorated Home on the Web - glad you could stop by!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Moles and trolls

A writer's notebook update: I have freelance work once again. I have and still writing for the gift basket website and I just go a gig with a new business magazine in town. It is awesome. They had held my resume and called me today. It feels good to know that someone liked what they saw. It is a tight deadline - but I have handled it and I like the work.

On the fiction front I have a novella in progress and am writing something with a blog friend - as a practice. It is nice to see how others approach a project. I have also signed up for a few online "chat" classes. A goal for 2008 is to improve my industry knowledge and my craft.

Watch out world - I have my pencils sharpened and I am rearing to go!

Mirror, Mirror on the wall

L got the movie Mulan for Christmas from my bro. She and E have been watching it nonstop ever since. It is a hit. I have now seen it - bits and pieces the entire way through twice. It is a great movie. Think tomboy princess. Mulan is tough. She pretends to be a boy and fools the Imperial Army and learns to fight like a man.

This has made me think a good bit about what we see and what we do not see. Clearly she is a young girl, but she dresses as a boy and joins the army and succeeds - until she is wounded and her gender is discovered.

I wonder if this is true for our inner selves, our true selves. What do we hide from people and what do we show them? Are we different or do certain parts of us stand forward with in certain relationships? Do we utilize a different skill set with one set of friends and another with others?

I think that we do. I think that there are layers of self at play in every interpersonal interaction which we enter into. I think we are a certain way with certain people. I am absolutely sure that I am this way. I just was not aware of this until recently.

I also think that people view us in very different ways. They see in us things we may not see in ourselves. I know this is also true for me. Over the last year, during my Susan overhaul - I have noticed this. There are parts of me that I hid from even me! That I either did not SEE or chose not to see.

It is strange to realize that I have been standing in front of the mirror all this time and missing certain things - which others have seen all along.

I also wonder if it is truly possible to integrate all of "our - selves" into one cohesive unit. Can we find a total oneness? Can we truly be our true self with everyone - furthermore is it reasonable to want to? Is it better to have the layers - to protect the fragile inner core - is it perhaps wise to hold back in certain situations - until we are sure it is a good idea to share the entire package.

I have no idea how to answer these questions - but I think there has to be a certain freedom in the integration but inherit dangers also.

I will say that what I have found is that as I have embraced the me I have uncovered - I am so much more free than before. I am thinking the way that I think best, I have embraced a part of me I had sought to reject and it feels wonderful.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Somethings just REMAIN as they SHOULD be....

This is Tigger! He is my favorite friend from Winnie-the-Pooh. He is fun and bouncy and frankly as dense as I am from time to time. Our friends A & D came over last night and D told me and H and A backed him up that Tigger was killed off by killer bees and is dead. Disney wrote him out of the books. I was appalled - you just cannot kill Tigger!
Seriously - it is just not done - it is traumatic to soulful, thoughtful writers like myself. Some things in life just SHOULD not happen. My friend S told me this fall that they were going to kill Bert on Sesame Street to teach kids about dying - I was horrified then too!

I am 100% opposed to anyone hurting any of these creatures.

Now today - I do think, I believe my friends were just playing with me - because I am just that easy. I am a bit dense and gullible I guess. I do like living in my own mind-- it is a safe, warm-- albeit wacky place. Those of you that know me and know me well, you know I am confident and capable and totally grounded in reality most of the time - key word - MOST. A part of me remains firmly rooted in the world in my head - a place full of wacky ideas, weird rhyming sentences, warm safe clouds, storybook characters and a nonstop story wheel.

I did a little bit of research this afternoon and I have found that Bert is not dead. He is still living with Ernie - maybe wishing he were dead - but alive nonetheless and frankly Tigger appears to be fine also. I did find reference to this 1997 film where Pooh and his pals have an adventure - but it appears that no one was actually hurt in the making of the film!

So I am going to continue on my path believing that all is right on Sesame Street and that everyone in the 100 acre Woods is just fine - happy and somewhat well adjusted.

So things it seems - contrary to the reports made by H, A, D & S - all REMAINS just as it SHOULD in my world. Whew, I was really worried.

Friday, January 11, 2008

I keep calling and there is no answer...

One of the reasons I stopped watching tv was because the news is horrible - both in content and presentation. I used to read alot of news online and as the uber-early campaigning started I eased back because seriously - I do not need to see the negative ads for 18 months prior to the election.

Recently I have started paying a bit more attention to the news - trolling Yahoo, MSNBC, CNN, and the BBC. I do like to be aware of what is going on around me, really I do. So I stumbled upon this gem yesterday and I nearly choked on my tea.

Apparently the FBI has been too busy spying on us to pay their phone bills for wire taps. What? You get a subpoena - to eavesdrop on people and then you forget to pay the bill and the phone company gets mad and cuts you off? I had to read the story twice to try and wrap my brain around just what was happening.

A Justice Department audit released Thursday blamed the lost connections on the FBI's lax oversight of money used in undercover investigations. In one office alone, unpaid costs for wiretaps from one phone company totaled $66,000.

Now I know that catching the bad guys is tough and that being undercover is dangerous. So I would think that the trained professionals at the FBI - responsible for running these operations would be tuned into the fact that wiretapping is a great way to gather info on the bad guys and it very well may make protecting the good guys - pretending to be bad guys safe.

I have ethical issues with some of the wire tapping latitude granted law enforcement by the Patriot Act - but the fact is if they are going to do it - then ante up and pay for it. What a crock. Sloppy office procedures and record keeping will get you every time - but when peoples lives are in the balance - it is really important to dot the i's and cross the t's. Paying the phone bill falls into that category.

In at least one case, a wiretap used in a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act investigation "was halted due to untimely payment," the audit found. FISA wiretaps are used in the government's most sensitive and secretive criminal and intelligence investigations, and allow eavesdropping on suspected terrorists or spies.

I have said it before and I am going to say it again. I feel no safer now than prior to 911. In fact I feel less so in many ways. For starters - this type of situation highlights that we are still running around not knowing what the hell is going on. It highlights that you throw money at agencies and you pass laws - which may or may not violate my civil liberties, you can make me stand in line for ever at the airport and take off most of my clothes while in the line and bottom line - I am not any safer. We are no more organized now that we were in 2000.

"It seems the telecoms, who are claiming they were just being 'good patriots' when they allowed the government to spy on us without warrants, are more than willing to pull the plug on national security investigations when the government falls behind on its bills," said former FBI agent Michael German, the ACLU's national security policy counsel. "To put it bluntly, it sounds as though the telecoms believe it when the FBI says the warrant is in the mail but not when they say the check is in the mail."

And while I am in the mood to point the glaring faults of the government I am going to pick on the phone company also. If in your wisdom you are going to role over and play ball and let the government broaden the scoop of what is fair game - while listening to who they deem the bad guys - I think it is disingenuous to then cut them off when they fall behind on the billing. Nice trick - but once you let them run around and trample our civil liberties - then one has to wonder - is the line you cut the one listening to the actual terrorist or is the line you cut the one that they are using to monitor the status of deep cover operative - who has in fact infiltrated an actual homegrown terror network.

For me this highlights the problems facing us. A government so bloated on power, mismanagement and a general lack of a plan. As much as I would like to blame GW - he is not totally at fault. This has been a problem for as long as I have been able to vote. We need to get serious and admit that the system is not working. There are too many moving parts and a total lack of focus.

I think we all need to ask ourselves - what is it we truly want from our government. What are the key roles which government should fill in our lives. What could we live without? What is best addressed at the local leave?

I am not in love with any of the candidates and I am paying attention now and frankly - I want someone to have the balls to say - you know what - we have problems and I am willing to roll up my sleeves and offer up some real solutions. Unpopular yeah - probably - will you want to re-elect me in 4 years - maybe not - but you know the solutions are more important that the quest for more power.

Is that going to happen? No. But a girl can hope - right?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Just note...

I keep a blog and I read a fair number of blogs and 2008 is all about being more productive to maximizing the time I have for writing. So clicking around to see if one of my favorite bloggers has updated their blog is not the most productive use of my time.

So I investigated and then asked a few friends and a friend suggested SAGE - which is an add on to Firefox. Love it! It is exactly what I was looking for. You can read the blogs in the consolidated format or you can click the link and go to the page - your call. I like it because - you click and the feeds update and you can tell in an instant who has updated. Saves a ton of time. In some cases you can opt for a comment feed as well - which I have done for some of the really active blogs.

The downside is - since this is an add on - it is computer specific - so I had to set it up on my desktop and my laptop, which can be a pain, but really that is a small price to pay for the ease of surfing.

This is like TiVo but for your blogs. While I do not have TiVo - which would be silly since I do not watch TV - I do have SAGE and it works like a charm. There are many more choices out there and I am sure they work just as well - but this one felt right to me and it works and I am running with it.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Honest Ambition beats Dishonest Humility any day of the week

The January 14, 2008 essay in Time magazine is written by Michael Kinsley. He is talking about why candidates run for public office. While I think the essay is well written - I must say I hate it when smart people choose to point out the obvious. People who run for public office are not wallflowers - no shrinking violets! They are alpha dogs. Leaders of the pack. By definition that is what a leader is - they have the ability to get others to follow them. This is not easy work.

I also agree with his assertion that they would be leaders no matter what society they were born into. They are who they are. Leaders lead - whether it be the ruling party or the opposition party - it is who they are.

The question that lingers for me is why in our democratic society are we - culturally speaking so adverse to ambition? I spend a huge amount of my time motivating L & E to do certain things. I want them to be ambitious. I want them to accomplish things. I want them to grab life by both hands and shake the hell out of it, live the hell out of it.

When I worked at Firm X - we had a female sales manager. It was her job to motivate the sales force. Many people did not like her - she was not warm and fuzzy, she was driven, she pushed people to do their best, she was not always nice about it. She wanted the numbers up, she took it personally. She was ambitious. It was her job to stimulate ambition.

I think that if for a minute, politicians think as Kinsley asserts in his essay that people for one second think they are running because they are convicted or because they want to serve - then people are dumber and crazier than even I have thought. I, for one want to see the naked ambition. I want to know that you have fire in your belly, that you are driven to success and greatness. I want to know that you have the inner drive to want something even when the chips are down and the going gets tough. Ambition is not in itself a BAD thing. Unchecked power, bad. Ambition, required in my opinion. Leading the United States and defacto the free world is a tough job. It is not always going to be easy - the job is often thankless and the decisions often tough. If you lack that certain something - that fire - that drive - what I ask will happen when the job is not fun anymore - what will the leaders do when the glamor fades. Ambitions never dies.

It is not a requirement to cloak yourself in false humility to win the race. Being polite is nice, lying to me and telling me that you want the job of President - because you care so deeply about X, Y & Z. Please I was not born yesterday - while you may very well care about X, Y & Z - you want the job because you want it. You are driven to lead, you want to lead, you have had some success leading. You are not the beta in the pack but the alpha and you want to make that clear.

Be it nature or nurture or both - I want my leaders to be honest about what is driving them.

Being ambitious is not a sin - in the political arena honesty is in short supply - a true leader - one with the natural talent for it - would have the balls to be honest about their motives and not insult my intelligence. A real leader would put poll results seconds and honesty first.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I can eat Biscotti

I found these the other day and I am in heaven. I have mentioned the lack of crunch in the wheat-free cookie arena and I have also mentioned that thanks to the 1/2 marathon I cannot even look at my favorite wheat-free chocolate chip cookies any longer.

I also have trouble now with things which taste too sweet. Since I consume nothing with Corn Syrup in it - I have lost the taste for really sweet things all together. Most commercial sweets taste sickeningly sweet to me. It is too much. This includes milk chocolate. Too sweet.

I bought the other day - Chocolate Walnut Biscotti by Pamela's. I have tried their baking mix and it is what I use to make wheat-free Belgium waffles (which by the way - you would not know were wheat-free unless I told you so - I have tested them out on other people and they agree!)

The biscotti is great. Good crunch, great chocolate flavor - kinda light on walnuts - but they are wonderful and not too sweet - just the right hint of sweetness. They go great with tea and coffee and frankly they are now another choice for me for breakfast, with a boiled egg and some fruit, I would be in great shape. Breakfast is a tough meal when you cannot eat wheat, corn, oats & rye - trust me.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

My relationship with Pizza

Cindy C is the winner of my little contest. She wanted to know about my relationship with Pizza.

Well we have broken up - sad to say. I choose not to eat pizza. My friend SS says I should wear a t-shirt that says - "Pizza could kill me." With the wheat and cheese - it might not kill me but it could make feel pretty darn sick.

Before I embraced all my food issues - I ate pizza. H and I would enjoy pizza night. We generally ordered from Donatos.

We would get the veggie, Founder's favorite or the Mexican pizza alot. Always thin crust. I do not remember feeling especially sick after eating pizza - but I do remember sometimes feeling ugh! and thinking it was the grease.

In college with my roommate P - we ordered Papa Johns alot. Always with mushrooms and cheese. They cut their pizza in slices - pie shaped. He liked it that way.

I have eaten a slice in NYC and it is heaven. It always tastes unique and they have creative toppings. I was never all that into Chicago style pizza or deep dish pizzas.

There was also a time that H made alot of pizza from scratch at home. He would make the crust and roll it out. It was always very good. My MIL made what she called a parsley pizza. She would make the dough herself and then made a mixture of sour cream and fresh chopped parsley. It was very good also. I made it once or twice.

For awhile I missed pizza - it is quick and easy and the kids love it. But now I look at pizza and feel sick to my stomach. It is too much of stuff guarantee to give me trouble.

The odd thing is I have never been all that into pasta. We have never eaten alot that of pasta. I never made pasta much. I also never ordered pasta out. Pasta always left me with an upset stomach - go figure it is all wheat - but then why not pizza?

That is a question that will just have to remain unanswered - pizza and I have called it quits - I will not eat it and it will not call to me - or hint at how yummy it is. H rarely orders it while I am around - feeling badly that I cannot eat it any longer - but really it is ok. I will enjoy my soy cream cheese with some veggie or lox on a rice cake and he can have is pizza - because at the end of day I feel great!

Pretty as can be...

I am going to say something controversial here. Feel free to stop reading if you are having a bad day or happen to think wearing sweats to a 5 star restaurant is perfectly acceptable behavior.

I went out with a few friends last night. We went to a reasonably nice restaurant. I wore a nice skirt and sweater combo with hose and boots. My overcoat and scarf complimented the ensemble. I had done my hair and make up. I dress this way when I go out. When H and I go out I dress nice.

Now I do this for several reasons. First of all, when I was working for Firm X - I wore a suit or very nice dress 5 days a week. There was no casual Friday in my office and the dress code was dark and conservative. I liked this - I felt professional, polished and put together.

When I go to church I dress nicely. (Sadly I do not go that often.) I was taught you look your best as a sign of respect. Certainly self respect, but also for respect of the church, God and so forth.

Seldom do I go anywhere in work out attire other than the gym. That is the location were work out attire is acceptable. It is not acceptable - in my opinion - for shopping and so forth. Sometimes I will wear my Yoga clothes home and make a stop on my way home at the grocery - but normally I do not. I change in the locker room and wear a nice outfit.

I tend to look nice when the kids and I are out and about, to play dates, to the park, ect.

I think it is about looking your best and feeling your best. It is about being clean and neat and appropriate. I would never wear an evening gown to the park - but nor would I wear my grungy sweats and mismatched t-shirt which I tend to wear around the house or to clean the bathroom.

I was appalled last night to see people in faded dirty jeans and football sweatshirts at this nice restaurant. What has happened that as a society we have become this casual. At McDonalds that outfit is fine at a three-star restaurant? Um, no thank you!

I also think that it is important that I look my best when H and I go out. I may very well be the married mother of 2 - who is busy and leads a fairly hectic life - but at the end of the day I am also the woman who H loves and desires to spend time with. When we were dating I dressed to impress - why should I not do so now? Should I not respect myself and him enough to look my best.

I had a hugely busy day yesterday, running errands and taking the kids swimming and them coming home and bathing them both and showering myself and pulling together the skirt outfit for the dinner. I guess I could have worn my jeans and sweater - which smelled of chlorine - but why?

Taking care of myself is valuable - let me repeat. Taking care of myself is valuable - it is about pausing and making sure that I am healthy - mentally and physically. It is about loving the skin you are in.

Rachel Ray in this months magazine says, "People are most interested in you when you show an interest in you." Damn straight. People gravitate to those who have it together. I try not to be vain and I do not think we all need to be running around in Prada - please the skirt I had on last night was from Target and was so on clearance to boot - but my point is - even in jeans you can put you best foot forward. Heck I love jeans - but there are jeans ok for a night out and jeans ok to mow the grass in. (Clue: they are not the same pair of jeans!)

In my humble opinion it takes just as long to pull on sweats and a t-shirt as it does to put on a cute dress or a pulled together jeans outfit - that says casual chic! A skirt - is a snap!

I say hold your head high and value yourself - take a notice of yourself and others will too! Looking your best is linked to feeling your best and valuing yourself and respecting those around you.

Just my two cents...