Saturday, December 26, 2009

Book review

The Awakening and The Struggle (The Vampire Diaries, #1-2) The Awakening and The Struggle by L.J. Smith

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
While I enjoy the TV show, I cannot say I enjoyed this book at all. I thought the characters lacked depth and honestly it dragged.I have to say the story was also just not very well rounded. I finished the book, becasue I honestly hoped at some point it would improve. I have no plans to go out and read the rest in the series, in part becasue it has not been favorably reviewed and this was arduous enough to slog thru.

View all my reviews >>

Chocolate Biscotti

I found a box of Simply Organics Chocolate Biscotti mix while shopping the week before Christmas. It had vegan directions, so I thought I would give it a whirl. Hey it would be a cookie I could eat for Christmas.

Instead of eggs, you use ground flax seeds, some water and some oil.

Well they turned out so-so. As I cataloged on Twitter.

I think they needed more oil and more chocolate flavor. Maybe using some espresso would have helped. Dunking them in melted dark chocolate helped a bit, but overall, it was not as I had hoped.

L spit hers in a napkin and my bother said he had never tasted anything chocolate with less taste. H said they were ok, but I think he honestly was trying to be nice to me.

I will admit I have been whiny about my food issues over the last few weeks. He felt bad and was trying to host his own little pep rally. I also noticed he did not eat any more after the big show of really enjoying one.

So I say give them a try - I have to think the version with eggs would be better, in some fashion. Simply organics makes an entire line of gluten free baking mixes and many have vegan directions. I am glad I tried it, I am in no hurry to try them again.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


L and E wrapped tonight. Nothing they had bought. They had each wrapped a present for each other, something of their own that they wanted to the other to have. They were so proud of themselves.

I am so proud of them. That is what Christmas is about. Giving something of yourself. So sweet. I dread this time year. The commercialism. I just cannot stomach it.

If felt good to see L and E, being thoughtful and loving and giving. It makes me feel like my efforts at raising kids, not consumed by consumerism is working. It is not about the stuff, it is about being loving and kind and giving.

I think I am ready for Santa and his magic now.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I am just going to come out and say it. In my world, EGGS, DAIRY PRODUCTS, GLUTEN (which can be found in wheat, oats, barley, and rye), and CORN are perceived by my body to be poison. Flat out. Place a slice of wheat bread on the table and some rat poison and my body thinks it is the same thing, to a varying degree.

Same with people with nut and peanut allergies.


Just as with rat poison, a little bit will make sick and alot could kill you. Same with those of us with food allergies, a little but of the poison will make us sick, a little more will make us very sick, and alot of it will make us wish we were DEAD.

This story is horrifying. For everyone who knows and loves me and has shared a meal with me or been gracious enough to invite me to their homes knows, eating with me is a challenge. I am hyper vigilante. I have been sick enough times to know that it will be horrible, painful, and unpleasant for weeks to come.

At a meeting recently, someone made some very yummy gluten free vegan food thinking of me. I did not eat it, I could not verify the ingredients and while it was well intentioned, the memories of the last time I was poisoned are still fresh in my mind.

People with food allergies are not being difficult. Honestly I would love nothing more than to be sitting in bed with H, devouring a plate of yummy - real Belgian waffles, made with wheat flour, eggs and real cream or to be able to wake up and head out the a greasy spoon with the love of my life and eat a great stick to your ribs breakfast. I miss being able to enjoy those moments with H. Thanks to the last time I was poisoned, I can't even enjoy coffee, while watching him eat that stick to your ribs breakfast.

What the man did in this story is not better than slipping rat poison into someone's meal at the local McDonalds. It should be criminal. If it is not gluten free - do not label it as such.

Or maybe we can take the gentleman and offer him some great muffins laced with exlax or poison and see how much he enjoys the lasting and lingering effects of a little some surprising in his breakfast.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hit me

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Arguably orange is E's favorite color. L told him so when he was a baby and it has stuck.

"I like all the colors." he will say, "except white and most of all orange." He is so diplomatic.

I really have no thoughts about orange, nice in sunsets, I never thought I would like to have walls in the house painted orange, but my office is a very pleasing shade of pumpkin.

Last night for dinner, I managed, without even thinking about it to make only orange foods. H and I had butternut squash risotto. Yumm-o and very very orange.

The kids had mac and cheese, made with cheddar, so it was lite orange. I par boiled carrots, also orange and for desert they finished the pumpkin pie.

Today I checked out what the color orange might mean.

One site says: "Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation."

Not sure what it means in terms of food, but boy am I happy the walls of my office are that pleasing pumpkin.

Better with Almond Milk

I have been eating Chia Goodness on and off for a bit. Honestly the choices are out there, if you get your stomach to think outside the box. Seeing as Whole Foods has this item on sale, says to me that they will not be carrying it much longer, at my local store. Story of my life.

I have to say that you can eat this hot or cold and cold is better, with almond milk and not water. The water seems to make the seeds more slimy than the milk alternatives. It is an odd mixture and raw, but it seems to hit the spot and it has all the good stuff one would want at breakfast. like vitamins, fat and protein. I wonder what juice would do. Some apple juice or something might be yummy too, but it adds a fair amount of sugar.

I like the cranberry ginger a good bit. That said I do not eat it day in and day out and it seems to hold in the pantry very very well.

To learn more visit their website.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Wrong Mother; Sophie Hannah

I picked this book up on a lark, while shopping with my mother. I do like mysteries and particularly British ones. This one was a delight. Her writing style is straightforward, but still twisted in terms of plot lines.

She has about three narratives going and they all fit together, one I could have lived without, but the rest was in their head, deep and twisted.

I think she handles this delicate topic very very well, the fact that motherhood is hard and life long and a struggle and guilt abounds in heaps and heaps.

All in all this was a delightful read, it took me awhile to actually read it, not because the story was challenging or the writing hard to digest, but purely because I am super busy right now.

I also love all the delicious British slang. So fun. I also learned a new word. Scrote. Not nearly as funny to say as 'wanker' but then it is a bird of a different feather, now isn't it?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Black Friday

Oh no, stop the presses, Black Friday Deals have been leaked. (So says the Yahoo headline and I say, "Like I care.")

I would not go to (Insert favorite retailer) at 4 am or 5 am or anytime on Black Friday. It could all be free (and we know I am totally opposed to paying full price) and I still would not go.

The entire concept of Black Friday is stupid. It is a bad strategy I think to hang your entire years profitability on one day or a single season.

I refuse to drive anywhere on that day. When I worked downtown and had to work the day after Thanksgiving, I walked the long way or took the bus. When I worked in the burbs, I did not have much trouble, but the mall parking lot was always full.

It is well and duly established that I am more "Bah Humbug" than "Merry Merry" and this is part of the reason. Normal, reasonably rational people, lose their minds this time of year and it all starts on Black Friday.

My shopping is more or less done.

I plan to be home with the kiddos on Black Friday and if the weather is nice, we will go to the park. It is my aim, to spend nothing on Black Friday, just be contrary and bucking the trend!

My idea of a perfect holiday season. It starts December 21 and ends December 26. There that would be more than enough "season" for me.

I am already over the Christmas music and it is not even Black Friday yet!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I just don't get it...

SPAM, I get alot of it, to various email addresses, but I just do not get it. Understand it. What is the point? Here is a sampling of subject lines from some recent SPAM.

  1. Form rod for better love
  2. Take and be inside her tonight
  3. Secret of male power
  4. Sustain your wooden-thing
Really? This is the best anyone could come up with in terms of a tag line. #3 mildly peeked my curiosity. Mildly. The rest of it just sounds stupid.

If this were not bad enough - these lines from a body of one of the emails - sealed the deal for me.

When you're nervous, mating can be spoiled by the specific male problems. OR
Your shaft will never be 'sad', when you need his fervor!

Your shaft will never be SAD? Fervor? Who uses that word? I can honestly say I have been married for 10 years and that is not a word that I associate with well, sex, exactly, but it is most assuredly something from a bad romance novel.

Are you kidding me. Mind you I did not click on the links, but who writes this stuff, bad romance novel rejects? Shaft? Seriously?

Now I suppose this works, it must, because this ridiculousness keeps arriving in my INBOX.

I have no idea what they are actually selling, one would think herbs for ah, shall we say enhancement.

The MBA candidate in me wants to analyze their marketing plan just a bit. First of all, I am a woman, shocking, but true. Therefore I do not have a shaft or a lack of fervor as it were. While I might, in a fit of well meaning but misguided efforts to help my guy feel better about himself or solve an issue, MIGHT think to give this a try, but that is doubtful. Men take their fervor seriously, and therefore this is a touchy space for a welling meaning but misguided woman to travel.

Moving on.

I have read men's magazines. They do not use words like fervor or shaft. So in the "know your audience" category of marketing, these clowns are falling short.

My third and I think final observation, spelling is in fact important. Grammar maybe less so, but spelling, kinda important. These SPAM emails read like a bad translation most of the time. Clearly English is not the primary language of the SPAMMER.

While I realize this type of marketing is largely free, it has to be less than useful. You have narrowed your market, to that of bored teens, people of questionable intelligence and well maybe the occasional weirdo. (Or MBA students/writers with some time on their hands, with designs at poking fun at you.)

See, I have even given it 15 minutes of thought and I still do not get it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pet Care

So Catty (nka Snickers) is recovering well and E has a new career goal...

He wants to be a Veginarian and give animals braces.

Currently he is wandering the house, lining up his stuffed animals and listening to their heartbeats and suggesting that they would benefit from braces.

MMM, do they have career day for that?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Catty goes to the Vet

Catty missed her vet appointment yesterday because she was freaked out about the lawn mowing and leaf blowing at the neighbors house. So she got to go today, with E and I. The good news is, she is not chipped, she does not have FIV or any other horrible cat disease, she is about 2 years old, has clear ears and great teeth. She now has her rabies vaccine and her FIV vaccine and something else.

The so-so news is she has a birth defect in her eye, the inner lid is fused to her retina causing her to be nearly blind in her right eye, so what I thought was infection, was actually what might have landed her out. It is not expensive to fix (relatively speaking) but it likely meant she was unsalable or less than perfect (hell aren't we all.)The Vet thinks a few snips and she will be fine and likely regain the sight in that eye. Not treating it is an option, but she would likely develop an infection or loose the eye altogether. She has some round worms, easy to treat or at least treatable and not a problem for the kids. She also likely is not spayed and there is a chance she might be newly preggers. So I am having her spayed tomorrow and I have no issues, that she might be with kitten. We are keeping her, because there are clearly too many kittens running around Central Ohio.

So I have dropped more money that I imagined I could but I think it will have a decent outcome. He said she likely will be with us for a long while. Strays who adopt a family, tend to stay and are loyal and happy to have a place. She has a pleasing personality and is well mannered.

They gave me some outdoor cat keeping tips and assured me that all would be well.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spicy Turnip Green Soup

So, this is another creation from my gluten free, mostly dairy free kitchen...

bunch of spicy turnip greens
1 large potato
1 large leek, white and lite green parts
2 cans veggie or chicken stock
salt, pepper, basil, salt and fresh oregano
olive oil

Heat olive oil, in the pan. Add in diced potatoes and thin sliced leeks. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, dried basil and red pepper flakes, to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Then add the stock and cook for 10 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and mashable. Use either a potato masher or a hand held blender and puree/smoosh until chunky.

Add in the spicy and greens and cook over low until the greens are cooked thru and tender.

At this point you can serve, or stir in some sour cream or half and half or milk, to taste. (Unsweetened almond milk would work also.)

Enjoy. Not as good as the pasta, but yummy all the same.

It's a mandate...

well not exactly.

This is what I don't get. The unopposed people on the ballot. Why bother checking the box, they have no opposition. Why vote for them at all, it is a forgone conclusion that they are going to vote for themselves, so with no one opposing them, they will by default win.

It is a waste of ballot space and my time, to check that box.

I can hear the speeches now.

"The voters of (fill in the municipality) overwhelmingly elected me to (pick a job.) I collected 6325 votes out of 7250. I was clearly a winner."

In your own mind wind-bag. You had no one running against you. No one bothered to collect any signatures, no one else took the time to write speeches and blah, blah, blah.

Seriously is winning while running unopposed a real victory, I don't know. Maybe. I will raise my glass to you, you went to the board of elections and completed the required steps to get your name on the ballot. Good show, you can at the very least read and understand and follow directions. That puts you ahead of 99% of all Americans.

But is it a ringing endorsement of your platforms, your moral integrity, and your ability to actually perform the duties of the office you now hold. Who knows. Even running opposed and winning is no guarantee of that.

The fact remains, I refuse to mark the boxes, when you are running unopposed. It is stupid and I won't do it just because I think it is silly. If you have no opposition, why waste the BOE's time, adding you to the ballot, and my time reading the ballot and the paper it takes to record a vote, which is superfluous given you are the only one running anyway. You win. Duh! There is no contest. Even with a parking ticket, you can mark a box, mail in the loot and all is done. Why not with this insanity too. Let's just post a list on line, of people who qualify for the ballot, are running unopposed and therefore by default WIN!

If someone really had opposition to candidate A running and winning a seat, they should have gotten off their ass and jumped thru the hoops and run against them, and then I would have made a choice, between A and B. But sans there being something to choose from, exactly, I choose to abstain.

You should too!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


We have been adopted. It happened on a sunny afternoon, whilst the little people were home from school sick. We had, on the doctor's advice, been taking some fresh air and had walked about the neighborhood. When out of nowhere, a tiger cat came up to me and was making nice. She is beautiful. Good disposition and very friendly.

We fed her and she seemed happy. We did not see her again for a bit, but left some cat food out (which I had borrowed from the neighbor) and it disappeared bit by bit.

Lo and behold a few days ago, she is back and has stayed. She likes to sit on the deck and H and I think she is living under the deck.

We had no more cat food, so I have been feeding her whatever I had, some tuna and rice, some chicken sausage, some shrimp and stale toast. Some milk. Unlimited water.

I have photographed her and posted her picture to various websites and have gotten some emails, but no one has come forward to claim her or want to take her in and provide her an inside home.

I went and obtained coat food, in various varieties yesterday. She is very hungry. I decided a mixture of dry and moist food, would be a good choice, she needs to bulk up a bit.

As I put food in her bowl this afternoon and talked to her, I decided it is very likely that she is now ours. I cannot see taking her to the Humane Society, only to have killed, for no reason other than someone turned her out, she got out by mistake or fate. She is very pleasing and very pretty. She is not mean. She seems to like the kids.

While we cannot have her in the house, given I and my mother are allergic, we can try and provide her a good home. We can give her shelter and feed her. She seems content to hang out on the deck. H is lukewarm on the idea of letting her sleep in the garage, but he is even less ok, with me spending money to let someone kill her.

I just cannot let her starve either. That is just fundamentally wrong. I know most people, as evidenced by my neighbor, who had her on her deck first and did nothing, can just turn a blind eye to another creature's suffering, I cannot. She is not a wild cat, she has been someone's pet, someone who thoughtlessly and cruelly shoved her out or she is a victim of circumstance. She escaped or wandered too far, or there was a traumatic event in the home she was in. Just as friends of our, had their cat go missing, for a few weeks, after their house fire.

So later this week, she and I will go to the vet, I will get her a collar and she will, I suppose, unless someone comes forward, be in effect ours, for as long as she will have us. My neighbor has a largely outdoor cat and she says the cat will be ok in the garage, even when it is very cold, I can always give her a warm blanket and so forth. I have to think a family to love her and care for the best they can, is better than being killed, even if it is humanely. I understand that there is an explosion of unwanted cats, but I just cannot be part of cats death march. With us, she has a chance at a happy life.

E has named her "Catty."

She has named us, "family."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Spicy Turnip Greens & Goat Cheese Pasta

Wow, I am so proud of my creation, I am sharing it with you. I used, naturally, gluten free pasta, but regular pasta would work also. I used spiral pasta, but honestly I think anything would work just fine. i bought the greens from Wayward Seed farms at the farmers market today. So super fresh!

1/2 bunch big leafy turnip greens
4 oz goat cheese crumbs
2 cups chicken stock (you will not use it all)
1/2 small onion thinly sliced
red pepper flakes to taste
black pepper to taste
salt to taste

Boil pasta following package directions.

Meanwhile, pour 1/2 c stock in large pan, toss in onions cook 2 minutes, then add the chopped greens. Cover and stir until greens are wilted and bright green, they are not cooked, but cooking at this point. Add salt and pepper and pepper flakes. Stir and cook uncovered, adding stock as needed. You must keep a bit of stock in the pan, so that the bitterness of the greens has somewhere to go. Let rest a few minutes and serve. Yumm-o!

When the pasta is almost done, add a ladle or two of the pasta water to the greens mixture, drain the pasta and toss it into the greens, tossing to coat. Then toss is the goat cheese and stir until melted.

Monday, October 19, 2009

In my Operations Management class, I have been studying my writing habits as a process, which I would like to see improved. Week 1, I drew up a process/flow chart and then I studied, how I am doing with my process. The reality is there is too little time in some days. Maybe I should get up at 5 am and write for a solid 2 hours. But I can't. Why? I cannot function with any brain capacity at 5 am. So I am left to work with the day light hours. I did think, however that this paper, which needed a MUCH higher word limited frankly, is very much about hoe writing, for a commercial purpose, is manufacturing in a way and I am not sure that is the kind of writer I ulimately want to be. My stories are important to me. If I am not feeling it, it shows.


Time or Creative Resources, which is the limited resource

A bottleneck is any point in the process, which slows the process, derails the process or adds costs unnecessarily to the process. “A potential exists to manage the resources better by allowing a cost structure where the resources are shared among a group of customers…, it is still a valid argument that a customer paying for the resource mismanagement of a company will have a negative impact on the business. Following this logical argument, activity based costing does not suggest assigning the cost of under-utilized resources to the customers. Therefore, the cost of resource under-utilization does not get its due attention. ..resource under-utilization cost to be an important consideration in order to identify potential bottlenecks in the manufacturing systems for a better resource management… provides an activity based costing model to identify resource under-utilization assuming normally distributed demands. The main justification for picking the ABC methodology to identify potential bottlenecks lies in the fact that we need activities in order to manufacture a product. These activities in turn need resources.” (Gill, 2008, pg. 165)

The process being study is my ability to carve out 4 hours per week for focused creative writing; there are two main sources of bottlenecks in this process, time and creativity. Sometimes those two resources feed one another and sometimes they can be identified in distinct ways. Most writers would not view their writing process as manufacturing, but in fact that is in essences what the writing process is, manufacturing a document, a creative work, a work product, the summation of hours of labor.

An expert opinion on the matter of creativity in this writing process holds, “Given that a lot of good writing is achieved through this day-after-day, draft-after-draft, down-to-earth manner, calling what we do the "creative" process is a bit of a misnomer, and a dangerous one at that. The term leads us to believe that we actually need to be feeling creative in order to write successfully. As such, we wait for inspiration to get started… and there goes another month or year with no pages to show for it.”(Cole, 2009, p. 26)

In a careful review of the data collected, the study reveals no lack of creativity on my part; I have notes and notes, drafts of poems, partial poems, made carefully on the days I simply could not be at my computer. The true bottleneck in this process is too little time. Some days it may be lack of careful discipline on my part, some days it is being too tired, given the demands of the day and over the period of the study, issues have cropped up, which have eaten into the carefully created weekly process plan. Could these issues have been mitigated, in part no, some are well and truly outside of my control, such as ill children and my mother needing additional supportive care. Going forward, I may need to revise my planning process or accept that for as long as I am attending the University of Phoenix, my expected creative writing time, may well need to be pared back. There truly are only so many hours in the day.


Cole, J. (2009). The (not so) creative process. Writers, 122(10), 26. Retrieved from

Gill, A. (2008). Identifying potential bottlenecks through activity under-utilization cost. Manuscript submitted for publication. Retrieved October 16, 2009, from

Thursday, October 15, 2009

He's such a guy...

E: What are you doing?

Me: Christmas shopping?

E: For what?

Me: For presents.

E: For me?

Me: I do not know what you want, how can I get you presents if I do not know what you want.

E: You can just buy me what I want.

Me: You have to tell me what you want.

E: You can just buy me what you want me to want, or have, or want to have.

Down the hall he marches, dragging a rope and a pillow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Writing Style

I posted this to the team forum this morning. They are wasting time obsessing about who is going to write the hell out of each bullet point and wondering why their grade last round was not what they had hoped. I truly believe what I wrote below. There is a time and place for list based writing, like an RFP response for example, a how to manual, or guide. At the graduate level, however, you have to take a position, synthesize the facts and and add to the discourse. The style may vary based on the area of study, but regurgitation is not the path to an A. It just isn't.

Since I have no professional insight on the topic of this class, I will offer you this, as a writer...

I think the biggest mistake people make in writing is being too literal. So when I hear the team obsessing about each bullet point, I think, well they have to be in the paper but not as a hit list. I think a true sign of a professionally written paper, a graduate level paper is synthesis. Can you blend, braid and explain a complex idea in a complex and fresh way. Can you make meaningful connections. Can you take a concept and present it in a fresh way. can you combine "bullet points" in a single section of the paper seamlessly.

Teacher, I am willing to bet understands all of this material. I bet she can lecture on it in her sleep. There is no reason to spoon feed it back to her. That merely demonstrations that you can paraphrase from primary sources. Setting up a paper with headings that equal the bullet points is not exactly what she has in mind, I am willing to bet.

The papers I have been most successful with at UOP, and in thinking about it now, were the ones with vague guidelines, where I simply tried to tell the story. I took what I had read and thought about and applied it. It is harder and it is scarier I think, because it means taking a risk. It means taking an opinion and really selling it in terms of the writing. It means not pulling punches and not hedging and second guessing. When I read back over last weeks paper, I was like - ok, I get it, I see how I managed something I thought I was failing at...

So I think we need to read her lists, think about them critically and then apply them as we tell our story. What is it that we are going to do with the knowledge we have enmassed together. A "term paper" in my experience does not merit an A... I would not, if I were in her shoes give a "term paper" an A. If I got a paper, which merely answered the questions I asked in the order I asked them, would not give that an A either...

We need to, in the business setting, surprise and delight her.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lost and Found

May I just say it has been a day? H left this morning early for a trip and he grumbled last night he was staying in Chicago at Loft A. I asked him what that was and he said he had no idea. I suggested it might be an overflow hanger at the air port, he told me not to give anyone any ideas.

So we were up early, him dashing off to catch a flight and me dealing with a sick E and a distraught L. E came home from school with a hurting ear and he was up in the night for support care and snuggles. L has been missing her most treasured possession, Babalicious, her bunny. The bunny with a hole in its ear and who is more gray than white. She went missing over the weekend and we have not been able to find her.

So I dressed the three of us, managed a breakfast and then we took a trip to the neighborhood park before school to see if she was there. No rabbit. So we went to school, while I held for the pediatrician's office, securing a 9:30 am appointment. I went into school with her and we pawed thru an impressive collection of sweatshirts and jackets, but there was no little bunny.

Seeing as I had not brushed my hair nor put on make-up, thinking I could come home after the bunny recon mission, I looked a site as we arrived at the pediatrician's office. I will say at least I had on a nice pair of capris and a sharp black 3/4th length sleeve sweater. I was not in old Yoga pants and one of H's T-shirts.

The new doctor with the practice saw us and confirmed my suspicions, ear infection in BOTH ears. Ugh.

So armed with a script for antibiotics we stopped at WalMart to get my mother some tube socks. She is in a walking boot, that goes to her knew, given her broken foot and nearly sprained ankle. She needs the socks to keep her foot warm and prevent any rubbing and chafing of the boot.

Then to her house, where I gave her the socks and parked E on her sofa. I took her list and was off to pharmacy, and two groceries.

For reasons I do not understand the antibiotic was free at Kroger. I did not ask questions, I just smiled and nodded.

Went back to my moms, fed us all lunch, watched some tv and snuggled E and then off we went, coming home.

Once home E wanted to nap, so I got him settled looked at the clock and well hell it was almost time to go get L from school. Ugh.

So I swallowed my pride and with grace and humility called my neighbor, who agreed to pick up L. Whew. I then called school and let them know of the change.

Then I made the executive decision to be truly needy and called my other neighbor who takes dance lessons at the same place as L at the same time. She agreed to take L to dance lessons. I just could not see having E there for an hour while he is feeling poorly. On a good day he is a handful during this hour.

Then I just got them tucked in and I am going to bake a cake.

The best part of today? After in little windows of opportunity, I have been combing the house searching for this ratty rabbit. While packing E's suitcase for the trip to grandpa and grandma's this weekend, I move his blanket and low and behold in a basket snuggled up with E's puppy is Babalicious. We were roaming the park this morning, while she slept peacefully all covered up and warm.

So in the midst of seeming chaos, my mom got to spend some time with E and I learned that I really do need to just ask for help when I need it and if you look long and hard enough, what is lost will be found, where you least expect it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Drivers Ed

So H, as a pilot, has to go to ground school once a year and then to simulator training once a year. Basically he is being retrained or being offered a refresher.

The last time I had a refresher for driving a car, well let me think, um, yeah never!

Clearly no one else on the road has had one either. I swear in the last week I have been cut off, honked at for not turning left on red, honked at for not turning left into on coming traffic, honked at for stopping when the green arrow faded on a rainy evening in the dark - so as to not be in the middle of a huge intersection and yes, oncoming traffic. I have been yelled at for yielding to a pedestrian in a CROSSWALK and almost hit while walking my bike across the street in a CROSSWALK with a sign, that for the picture challenged means yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. Google it.

I am the first to admit, I am not the best driver in the world. I took out the neighbors mailbox on 7-7-07 (search the blog, that was a crappy day for me.) I struggle with parking and backing up, I sometimes forget I am driving, so busy thinking about whatever idea is dancing in my head, but I also tend to error towards the side of safety. If I think I can make the left, I do and if not I wait. I am never in that big of a hurry as to endanger the lives of my kiddos or someone else.

I think you are more likely to get killed driving your car than flying an airliner, so why is it then that H has to do all the retraining and refresher classes, we get our drivers license at 16 or 17 years of age and that is it. Honestly I am astonished there aren't more accidents.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Saddle Up those Fish?

So I will admit it, I like to watch Top Chef on Bravo. I stayed up last night to watch the "all new" episode at 10 pm and wish I had not bothered. It was not that exciting and frankly all those chefs, who took fish, to cook in the back country on a Dude ranch need their heads examined.

Who eats fish in the desert? What cowboy, camping eats fish, other than the fish he or she catches?


Part of being the Top of anything is, knowing what is appropriate. Is it any wonder the guy who won served some smoked meat with polenta. Well Boy Howdy, that sounds like camping food to me. Hello - we camped in an RV and I did not bring fish. I would have cooked some if we caught any, but taking fish and trying to keep it cool is nuts - in a desert.

I was under impressed by this episode. Just saying...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gut Check

I had a great work out yesterday. I am back to the weight and percentage of body fat I had before I glutened myself at Easter. It has been a long battle back and has meant even more dietary changes and the addition of some probiotics and other supplements to balance my gut out.

I have had to give up eggs and coffee (for the most part) in addition to the long list of other don'ts. That said I feel better and the few times over the summer I willfully ate eggs, I felt like a MAC truck hit me, so needless to say, lesson learned, eggs are out.

My trainer wants me to think about seeing a holistic physician he has been talking with. I think, as much to test her as for my benefit. I told him I had no problem, giving her a spin, as my family doctor has very little to say on the matter, other than I am healthy. Well ok I am healthy, but when someone comes to you, somewhat suffering from self induced "food poisoning" the last thing they want to hear is that they are healthy.

I felt really strong yesterday and had a really solid workout. I have no doubt that these muscle testing test are accurate, because when I am not at my best, my upper body work out is for the birds, but now that I have detoxed and am feeling better, I could bench the bar for 3 sets of 15 and not almost kill myself.

I hope now I have found a balance and can continue to grow and build on my strength.

I have ruled out running any long distances, I just cannot eat enough to cover those additional calorie needs.

I have basically adopted a vegan diet with meat a few times a week. My gut seems most happy with that approach.

So it is Yoga, spinning and lifting.

For now.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Let them listen...

So today L went to the gym of her school and watched President Obama's speech. She went with her two friends, who are Chinese American. She reports that only three kids in her class went. She thought more had been given permission to go, but instead choose recess.

In her school distract parents had to write permission slips, in order for their children to be allowed to hear the President of their nation speak.

I made it L's choice and wrote the permission slip accordingly. It is a free country last time I checked and she is a citizen. The US grants citizenship based on physical place of birth, for the most part. She has a passport and has gone and voted with me in almost every election since birth.

I cannot believe the TA-DA over the entire speech thing. Since when is listening to the President of the United States, encouraging you to stay in school and do your homework subversive. It is a honor that the President took time out of his busy day to address the future business and social leaders of the United States.

I wonder how many of the parents who were so outraged over President Obama addressing the youngest citizens of this Nation allow their children to watch Britney Spears half naked on TV and take their children to High School Musical movies and the like. How many of them expose them to all the commercialism that is our society? I am not saying it is wrong, but I fail to see how those pursuits are any more or less harmful, than letting them hear their President speak.

It is not like Chairman Mao was speaking. (Which might have been entertaining, seeing as he is dead...)

H's mother hid in the cellar on a weekly basis in Nazi Germany. Hoping to avoid being carted off to a work camp at best or assaulted at worst as a young girl. Her crime, being Catholic and having a father who refused to join the party.

We live in a democratic society, founded on the principals of healthy debate and room for disagreement. I get that some people are unhappy we have an African American liberal democrat as a president, but you know what, tough SHIT. In less than four years there is a remedy for that. Get off your ass, run a better candidate and VOTE.

Did I bitch and moan about Bush, yep. Did I tell anyone they should not listen to him on television, nope! But I did rock the vote, put a sign in my yard and VOTED, when it was time!

All this bitching and moaning, sounds like sour grapes to me.

Monday, September 7, 2009

End of Summer?

A few weeks ago, the beginning of the school year spelled the end of summer. No more lazy evenings, lingering over dinner. No more unsettled days, ungoverned by the calendar.

Today, Labor Day, is often seen as the last day of summer. One last chance to go to the lake house, out on the boat, to the summer cabin in the wood or to the local community pool.

The official end of summer is September 20/21 with the Autumnal Equinox. By then in some parts of the country it will be well and truly cool and perhaps frosty.

This summer has been different than most. My birthday in peak summer, was cool and unseasonably pleasant. My cake did not melt. L's birthday was likewise cool and pleasant. I do not recall as pleasant a birthday since my summer spent in Germany.

In reality thought, I do not think seasons end exactly, I think they gradual fade. Flowing like water into the next season. I think they linger and morph, effortlessly one into the other. Easing back and surging forward. Whispers of what is to come and echos of what has been laid to rest.

Just as the tide comes and returns out, so do the seasons change.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Audience Particpation

Please take my survey. This is for my MBA Business Research class. You can copy and paste it in an email or copy it and paste it in the comments section of this blog. Thanks!



Please review the chart provided and answer the following questions, based only on the information provided in the paragraph and each chart.

AFLAC Accident Plan

The accident plan is designed to help cover the expenses associated with an accidental injury. Accidents range from food poisoning and sprained ankles to something more serious like a car accident. The plan pays money directly to you if you, your spouse or child has an injury. You can use this money for whatever you wish and it is paid even if your medical plan pays all of the doctor or hospital bills.


$ 12.05 per Bi-monthly paycheck

Employee + Child(ren)

$ 17.55 per Bi-monthly paycheck

Employee + Spouse

$ 16.15 per Bi-monthly paycheck

Employee + Spouse + Child(ren)

$ 21.65 per Bi-monthly paycheck


Based upon the example above, I would rate AFLAC supplemental Accident plan insurance as:


A good value


A reasonable value


Not at all a value


Based upon the example above, I would find the option of AFLAC supplemental Accident plan insurance:


As an attractive option in the benefits menu


As an interesting option in benefits menu


As no value in the benefits menu


Based upon the information above, How likely would you be to purchase AFLAC supplemental accident insurance


Very Likely




Not at all likely


Would knowing that AFLAC pays most claims within one business day make you:


more Likely to purchase a policy


Less likely to purchase a policy


Not at all likely to purchase a policy


Purchasing an AFLAC accident supplemental policy would not impact the cost of your health insurance or its coverage. AFLAC supplemental insurance is additional insurance. Is having the option to purchase additional insurance something which adds value to the benefits menu available to you currently?


Very valuable


Somewhat valuable


Not valuable at all