Thursday, February 28, 2008

and we're worried about baseball?

A new study, released yesterday, indicates that 1%, yes 1%, of our adult population is in jail or prison. This is alarming. We spend more to incarcerate adults than we do to educate our children.

And what is Congress doing? Holding interminable hearings about baseball. I don't even know why this is Congress' business. Baseball should be policing baseball. If the sport is tainted by the use of steroids and HGH, ban players that test positive. Or come up with some policy to deal with the issue.

I think Congress could better spend its time looking at why so much of our population is in jail. Why is drug use and drug crime so high in the general population? Much more of a question than whether one dumb-ass pitcher lied to Congress. The great game of baseball is just that -- a game.

How about spending our tax dollars wisely, looking at issues that affect our lives?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

this is weird, but true

Ok. I haven't been able to get my walking in for a few days. We had an ice storm, I am working on a deadline, yadda, yadda, yadda. But here is what is weird -- I really really find that I miss it. I have gotten used to taking a walk, and apparently, it has become a habit.

The creators of the 10,000 step plan say it takes about 21 days of daily repetition to develop a habit. And it's been, ummmm, about 21 days. So. I am a walker, now.

And there are benefits. My stress level is manageable, despite the looming deadline (Monday morning, 9am, launches). And my knees, while painful, are much less debilitating than last winter. The more I sit at a desk chair, or at a table, or in a movie theatre seat, the worse my knees hurt. It's got something to do with keeping my knees bent at a 90 degree angle, which apparently my knees are not constructed to handle.

So now, I get up and take a walk "around the block" every hour or two. "Around the block" is a walk around the central concourse of my building at work. It's all indoor hallways, and is about 650 steps per lap. And at lunch, I walk the hallways of the hospital complex, which is much larger, and has windows to the outside. Once the weather gets warmer, I will be able to walk outdoors and my distance should improve.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Castro resigns

I know it won't change anything, but it is still a milestone. Fidel Castro announced his resignation today. He has ruled Cuba my entire life; the sole leader there for 49 years. I hope now that Cuba will make moves to become less isolated, give its people more freedom and access to the rest of the world.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

halfway there

I am up to 5000 steps a day. That's 7 days a week, 2.5 miles per day. I don't know how much I will be able to increase that over the next few weeks. But that's okay. I have a little more than doubled my exercise. I can be happy just having made an improvement.

The same is true of the diet. I am eating significantly healthier. We are eating low-fat with lots of whole grains. I have lost 6 pounds, which is less than I expected at this point, especially in view of the increased activity. But. I LOST 6 POUNDS!

So I have 9 more pounds to go, and 5000 more steps per day to add to my routine. We will see how it goes. In the meantime, I am gonna bask in my accomplishment. As soon as I have some time.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

happy valentine's day

A big valentine's day shout-out to my sweetie of more than 25 years!!! I ADORE YOU. I LOVE YOU. And even more importantly after all these years, I still like you.

And to all my beloved friends -- happy valentine's day to you too! I hope you and yours are just gobsmacked by love today.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

support Obama, but voted for Hillary

I found myself really stuck yesterday. I went to vote, and I really couldn't decide. In the end, I voted for Hillary, even though I support Obama. I then selected six Obama delegates.

It was sort of a promise fulfilled. When I was a little girl, it was the first time that little girls were told they could be anything they wanted. Even President. And that maybe in our lifetime we would see a woman run for President. At the time, the idea was snickered at. "Ladies can't be President!"

Well, there was a woman on the ballot. A qualified woman. All things being equal, and they really really are, I felt I had to cast that vote. I don't think Hillary will be the candidate for President, although she might end up as VP. So I might not get another chance for a while to vote for a woman. I can't see Mikulski throwing her hat in the ring, I can't stand Pelosi, and I don't envision a republican getting my vote unless things change very dramatically in that party.

So, in honor of the little girl that I was, and knowing it made not one whit of difference to the results in my state, I voted for Hillary. It was a symbolic, albeit futile, gesture.

Now, GO OBAMA!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

new approach to food

I have been dieting since Jan 10th, when I got back from vacation. To that end, we are eating "healthy" at my house. Low-fat. Whole grains. Lean meats. More fruits and veggies. I plan out the week's menus on Saturday, and shop on Sunday morning for the week. So far, it appears to be working. We have had some nice meals, a few flops, but no disasters. I don't waste as much food, since before I bought ingredients without much thought in mind, and often had a ton of produce to chuck out at the end of the week. Our groceries have been marginally cheaper, since I am only buying what we use that week.

On Sunday, I cook. A lot. Today I made peanut crunch bars for my son, and my steel cut oatmeal for the week. I cooked Bombay Curry for tomorrow night, along with roasted sweet potatoes, again for tomorrow's dinner. I made Pasta Arabiatta for dinner for tonight, and have leftovers for later in the week.

This week's menu: Pasta Arabiatta; Bombay Curry and Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Basmati rice and whole grain naan; Chicken Cashew and Ginger Broccoli; Haddock and homemade Mac and Cheese, again with broccoli; Chicken Piccata with Mushrooms and whole wheat angel hair pasta.

That leaves two meals where we eat leftovers, or go out, or get carryout. Not bad. Definitely an improvement.

I also have discovered a great new product: dry brown sugar. It pours like regular sugar. If a recipe calls for a half cup of packed brown sugar, you just pour out a half cup of this stuff instead. I *love* it. I always hated dealing with brown sugar; it always turns to a brick in my cupboard and I end up hacking away at it like a madwoman. They sell this in a bag, labelled as dry "brownulated" brown sugar. Awesome stuff.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

what a super tuesday!

WOW! apparently more people turned out to vote yesterday than ever before. People were so excited that they arrived hours before the polls opened. They ventured out in snowstorms, through flooding, put up with long lines and bad equipment, all to vote -- in a primary.

I watched a lot of the coverage last night. I thought I had made up my mind to vote for Barack Obama, but now I am not sure. I found myself rooting for Hillary all evening, and being happy when states went for her. I don't know if it's because I thought she would do badly, and I have a tendency to root for the underdog, or because I actually prefer her for some reason. I do know that I would love to see a woman become president. I don't know if she is that woman, though.

I have a week to decide. Maryland's primary is next Tuesday. I am going to take off early from work, just to make sure I can vote. I am pretty excited about making some history. I'm either voting for a black man, or a white woman, and either way, that is hugely significant in the story of America.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


This week is restaurant week in Baltimore. This is a good, good thing. During restaurant week, participating restaurants offer either a $30 fixed price dinner, or a $20 fixed price lunch, or both. This gives folks a chance to try places they might not otherwise try, and restaurants a chance to lure new customers. This time, we went with friends to Brasserie Tatin for lunch. Oh my.

Salade verte, Confit a la canard, tarte tatin. A nice wine. Wonderful. I watched our son try pate for the first time. He wasn't wowed, but he ordered it and made a good try. On the other hand, he said his steak frites made up for every bad meal he had ever had, it was that good. Our friend was quite happy with the salmon and couscous with leeks.

The restaurant was really lovely, and we will definitely go back. So once again, Restaurant Week has accomplished what it set out to do; wooed us and won us with good food.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Obama Clinton, Clinton Obama

Makes no difference to me really, as long as its one of the two. I am enjoying watching history unfold. We will either have a woman as the Democratic candidate or a black man. Either way, historic and truly, truly wonderful. At the start of the campaigns, I listened to a lot of people say the country wasn't ready for a black president. The country wasn't ready for a woman president. The primaries are proving them wrong. Apparently we are ready. From the reactions of the voters, I would say we've been ready for a long, long time. There is a lot of pent-up frustration being released.

In our state, teenagers actually lobbied to be included in the primaries, if they are 17 and will be 18 by the general election. Lobbied to vote!! And thousands of these 17 years olds have registered. This is amazing to me.

As some of you know, I take voting very seriously. I have voted in every election since I was old enough to vote. And by every, I mean every primary, every general election, every local election. People fought and died for the right to vote. I feel like I honor their sacrifice every time I cast a ballot. And while I am often critical of the government, okay loudly and obsessively critical, I love America. As a citizen, it is my right and privilege, my absolute duty, to participate in the democratic process.

So take part in a little history -- vote Obama, vote Clinton -- vote!!