Sunday, September 28, 2008

true blood

I am a huge fan of Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire series. I have been waiting eagerly for the HBO series, ever since it was announced as a project. I even signed up for HBO on Demand, just so I could watch the show. I have now seen the first 3 episodes, and I *love* it. It isn't a 100% repeat of the books, but it is really really close.

At first, I was really disappointed with the casting. How could little Anna Paquin play Sookie Stackhouse? But she does a great job, and now I think they couldn't have picked anyone better for the role.

My only disappointment is that I can't watch these with our son -- way way too much very explicit sex. It really borders on soft porn. Good soft porn, mind you, but still... not watchable with the kid. Which is a bummer. I try to watch when he is otherwise engaged, just so I don't have to make a big deal of turning it off when he comes into the room [yes, it is that explicit].

The other bummer is that, because I watch through HBO on Demand, I can't see an episode until AFTER it airs on HBO. So the show is on Sundays at 9, and I can't watch until at least Sunday at 10pm. Usually I end up watching the following Saturday afternoon.

It's worth it though. I am curious as to whether folks who haven't read the books would like it as much, but for me its a kick to see them come to life. So to speak.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

cynical SOB

McCain is one cynical SOB. Seriously. I thought his Palin pick was a cynical, manipulative move. But the latest -- let's suspend campaigning so I can go solve the financial crisis -- now that's CYNICAL. Does he really think folks will buy it? That his single voice is needed so badly in Congress, that he alone can pull people together, that he can't spare a couple of hours to debate?? WTF?? He doesn't have the answers, and he has shown he has no ability to build consensus. Hell, his own party doesn't even love him. WOW!!!

And he looked like the cat who ate the canary when announcing it. I could just see him thinking "checkmate" over his latest move. What a SOB!! There was a time, a few years ago, when I thought he wasn't so bad. He was a moderate, and one of the few voices in the Republican party to be in favor of abortion. Now, he is a panderer. No positions to speak of. He'd sell his mother to get in office.

How do people not see through this??

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

no more blank checks

The new mantra - NO MORE BLANK CHECKS!! After 9/11, the administration was given sweeping, undefined powers. This led to chaos, war in Iraq, the loss of civil rights, torture and a huge deficit. Now the administration is asking for more sweeping powers, this time over our financial institutions. NO MORE BLANK CHECKS!! I can only imagine, and shudder at the image, of Bush and Cheney and the other little bushies running amok on Wall Street. Rewarding their friends (remember Halliburton?), and punishing their enemies. They can do a tremendous amount of damage between now and January 20th. And the system is too frail to survive it.

I would rather see Wall Street take a beating, and the Dow drop to 9,000 than I would to see Bush and Cheney with free rein. Yes, I know that is harsh and a lot of people will suffer. But truthfully, if we fund a trillion dollars without oversight of any kind, a lot of people will suffer and maybe nothing will get fixed.

Washington helped create this mess, with the Bush doctrine of "hands off". Let companies do what's best for themselves and our economy will prosper, and the individual will benefit with more jobs, better jobs, etc. Yeah, right. That worked so well. Let's do more of that. Give them big checks, and let them sort it out. They'll do what's in our best interests.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

my diet

The doctor asked me today how I was managing on my ultra low fat diet. She was amazed at how low I had gotten it. So what am I eating?

for breakfast: steel-cut oats cooked with dried berries. I make a batch on Sunday and it lasts through the work week. On the weekends, special K or rice krispies with fat-free milk.

lunch: fat-free soup (split pea, veggie, lentil), an apple or a peach, water

dinner: it varies. I have been eating egg-beater omelettes with veggies, more fat-free soup, toasted whole wheat pitas (also fat free). I've tried whole wheat, low fat pasta with canned fat free sauce, but its not very good. I've also tried salads with honey and balsamic vinegar, which isn't bad, and I've been eating a lot of fresh tomatoes.

evening snack: fruit, prunes, I tried making fat-free home made popcorn, but it was vile. I just made a batch of fat free no pudge brownies, and I can have those.

What's missing: dairy, meat, protein, healthy fat. I also had to cut back on beans, since I'm having GI issues anyway.

I have stopped dropping weight (I think). I've lost 8 pounds in two weeks, but my activity level has now dropped to almost nothing so I think that's gonna stop completely.

It's been interesting, and has shown me how dependent I am on foods for my mood, my social activity, my relaxation.

Monday, September 22, 2008

go ravens!!

Yesterday was a great day for football. Watching, not playing. I felt like crap, had a ton of laundry to do, homework, etc. So a day on the couch watching, not 1 game, but 2, was a complete joy. Adding to it was that my team WON, and won pretty for a change (when they manage to win, they usually win ugly).

The Ravens are not a great football team. But yesterday they looked pretty damn good. I know it may all disappear next Monday, when they have to play the Steelers, but for now, I'm gonna savor the win.

Friday, September 19, 2008

talking out of both sides of his mouth

McCain is now contradicting himself daily. "The fundamentals of the economy are sound." And the next day -- "I meant the american worker, the small business owner, in the sense that those are our fundamentals, those are sound." Hmmmm. I can't think that anyone believes that 2nd statement/clarification. The day after that - "If I were president, I would fire him [the SEC chairman]"

McCain is on the record as being opposed to government regulation of business and industry. So he wants to write tighter regulatory rules.... and fire the chair of the SEC for not interfering more. I mean he says that now, now that he is running for office and there is a financial crisis.

This guy is frightening. Even for a politician... and I assume a certain level of bad behaviour out of folks running for office. They do need to appease the electorate enough to get into office. But come on -- this is just too too much.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

on the home front

I have scheduled my gallbladder surgery for Sept 29th. It is outpatient surgery, but they are going to keep me overnight, because of my known propensity for up-chucking after anaethesia. Right now, I am on antibiotics. Hopefully this will make me feel a bit better in the next couple of days.

I have been a total bitch for a week now. I blame the diet. The ER doctor put me on a NO-FAT diet. Not low fat. NO FAT. This is nearly impossible. I have tried to keep below 3 grams per day, since 0 is out of the question. I mostly eat fat free soup, fruit, veggies and no fat, whole wheat pita bread. It is miserable. I had toyed with the idea of becoming a vegetarian before this, and I still might, but right now - I miss meat. I realize I might not if I was able to have nuts, soy products, olives, things like that. But as it stands right now, I would almost kill for a steak. Or a piece of fried chicken. I was in an elevator yesterday with a woman holding a steak sub, and another with a plate of fries. Niether woman knows how close she came to being mugged for her food. The smells were making me drool.

I also seem to have no energy at all. I don't know if it is caused by the severe drop in calories, the lack of protein, an iron-poor diet, or just being ill. I do know that I don't even like taking the long walk down the hall to the bathrooms. And I haven't taken my lunch-time walk in over a week.

On the plus side, sort of -- I have lost 8 pounds on the diet from hell.

Anybody want to go out for diner food when this is all over???

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

high fud factor

The news today has a HIGH FUD FACTOR. With Lehman Bros bankrupt, Merrill Lynch sold, and AIG teetering on the brink of collapse, the DOW dropped over 500 points yesterday. I am, frankly, frightened. For various reasons, I am not in the financial shape to weather serious economic hard times. We have some money put away, but not enough. And our retirement accounts are taking a beating. Expenses are way up, and our income is stagnant. Companies are not handing out raises like they have in the past.

It worries me. And I am one of the lucky ones. We have great jobs, we have a home we can afford. But will we EVER be able to retire?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

getting results

A co-worker asked me the other day what I was doing to see that Obama get elected. The polls indicate a scarily close race. So he had a point - if I care about the end result, what am I doing to make it happen? So far, I have sent 3 checks to Obama's campaign. None were large, but they were what we could afford. I blog here, obviously, but to a very very tiny audience. I talk with my undecided co-workers, probably much more than politeness allows. I've got a bumper-sticker on my car, a button on my backpack.

So what else? What do you all think works? How can we, as not very wealthy, not well-connected individuals, get the results we want out of this election?

These are not rhetorical questions, gang. seriously, what can we do?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

what are they hiding?

What are the republicans hiding? Sarah Palin has not yet been allowed to talk with the media. Not one interview. No questions allowed. The reporters on her plane have been told that the flights are entirely off the record. Her first solo appearance -- Alaska, tomorrow at a welcome home rally.

WTF? Is she a candidate or a prop? If she is running, take the bridle off and let her run. Or are they afraid of her answers? afraid of what she might say if she is unscripted?

In addition to trooper-gate, she is now also being looked at for her expenses as governor. Apparently, Ms Palin has claimed 43,000 dollars for travel expenses for this year. She takes her family on all official travel, and wants Alaska taxpayers to foot the bill. Because she is a fiscal conservative.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

too much information

Sometimes I think we live in an age of too much information. I spent a little time googling treatment for gallstones, to get more diet advice. What I found was the typical profile of the gallstone patient -- what doctors call the 4 Fs.
Fat, Forties, Female and Fertile. If I hadn't already felt like puking, this would have put me over the edge.

This is knowledge I could have lived without. And it smacks of a certain insensitivity on the part of physicians. It's not a bad mnemonic, but could they have been a little more understanding? In the days before the internet, this would have been private knowledge, shared just between MDs. But now, with wikipedia and webmd and google, its all right out there for the general public.

So I'm 4F... UGH!!!

Monday, September 08, 2008

better today

The sun is shining. The Ravens won a football game. My pain meds are working. I slept through the night and took a nap. My home office is usable again. The filing is done. The first episode of True Blood is on HBO on Demand, so I can watch during lunch.

I miss my sweetie, who is on a business trip. But other than that, everything just seems better today.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

timing really is everything

Timing really is everything. Tomorrow my husband has to leave for Rochester, NY for a 3 day business trip. My semester starts tomorrow night. So, of course, I spent most of the day in the emergency room. I got sick last night, tummy pains waking me up around 11pm. I never went back to sleep. I thought I had food poisoning, with very similar symptoms. But at 5:30 this morning, I threw in the towel and called our HMO. They told me to come in at 10am. I went in, they poked around a few minutes, then told me they thought it was my gallbladder. Since it was Sunday, they wanted me to get tested at a local emergency room. They were going to give me pain meds, and didn't want me driving so they called an ambulance to transport me. In the meantime, they couldn't get the prescription through in their computer system. So I ended up riding in an ambulance without the pain meds. My husband had to waylay a neighbor to take him to get our car, then waylay another neighbor to bring him and our son to the emergency room.

Nothing goes quickly at an ER. I was there for 3 hours. I did get a sonagram that found a few gallstones, which was the reason for the food poisoning-like symptoms. I got prescription meds, and a recommendation that I schedule surgery.

The kicker, at least for me, is that I also got a recommendation to lose weight and cut out fat from my diet. I'm already on a low fat diet! I eat french fries like once a year. But until the surgery, no fats. No cheese, no avocados, no butter, no fried foods. If that isn't motivation to get it done soon, I don't know what is.

Hopefully I won't miss class tomorrow night. I already took the day off from work, so I can sleep. And a dear friend is taking my husband to the train station so I don't have to get up at 4:30am....

Friday, September 05, 2008

the election in a nutshell

I was going to skip talking about the election for awhile, but I can't seem to help myself. Yesterday, I watched the news. An entire room full of people chanting "DRILL, BABY, DRILL" seems to sum up the whole election in a nutshell.

All I can think is that these people are from some alternate dimension, one where there is no pollution, no global warming, and no finite resources. Otherwise, how could anyone, and I mean ANYONE, see this as a successful mantra?

Between that and Cindy McCain's $310,000 convention ensemble (just one outfit, mind you) really illustrates for me that these folks JUST DON'T GET IT. They don't get that people are suffering under a decaying economy. They don't get that the entire world is imperiled by global warming. They don't get that cutting taxes never gives you more money to spend. They don't get that we can't WIN the war in Iraq -- it was lost before we even started.

The 50s are OVER!!! Read a newspaper. Take some classes. Get your head out of your ass. America has to become part of the rest of the world.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

little victories

Life is sometimes about the little victories. For the last week, my son has gotten himself up with an alarm clock, packed his own lunch for school, and done his own homework, with no prodding, and no reminders. As someone who has had to get him ready, get me ready, pack two sets of lunches, worry about two breakfasts, nagged about homework while struggling with my own, this is VICTORY. And it is sweet!

I am free from the tyranny of breakfast. Free from the tyranny of lunch. I can move, somnolent, through my morning, speaking little, thinking less.

This is VICTORY, and it is sweet!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

family values

To me, family values include doing what's best for your child. Sometimes this means sacrificing your own goals and ambitions. This is why I cannot understand Sarah Palin. Why would this woman agree to run? Her 17 year old daughter is pregnant, due to give birth in December. Sarah Palin will be out campaigning through November, and were she successful, would be taking office in January. Where she will not be, is home helping her daughter navigate a critical time in her young life.

And because of her political ambitions, her daughter will have to go through all of this while the whole world watches her. What kind of parent would put their child through something like that? How could she?

She is running as a family-values candidate. Evangelical, anti-abortion, pro-creationist, favoring abstinence education.

She needs to get her priorities in the right place. In a choice between personal ambition and the needs of your children -- the kids come first!!!

any woman will do?

Apparently McCain's new slogan is Any Woman Will Do, else how do we explain the addition of Sarah Palin to the rebublican ticket? I want a woman in the White House, but not this badly. Sarah Palin was in the PTA. Then she was mayor of a town of 6,000 people. Now she is Governor of a sparsley populated state, and is under investigation for her conduct in office. What a sparkling resume! Clearly she is ready to lead the free world.

She does have appeal to the evangelical base. She has the gun-nuts in her corner as well. But. She. Is. Not.Qualified. Not for higher office. She may be a very nice woman. She may be a great governor. But as Vice President to an old and not particularly healthy President -- nope, not a good idea.

I also found the choice to be, shall we say, CYNICAL. Let's put a woman on the ticket and all the Hillary supporters will flock to vote for her. As if we can't tell the difference between Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. I feel pandered to, and it's not nice.

So there you have it, Reason 734 for not voting for McCain -- he subscribes to the AWWD philosophy.