Monday, September 29, 2014

Whole 30

So. Here I am......seven months since my last post. It has been a busy year. Lots of things coming and going. Why shouldn't a new eating plan be in the works for 2014 as well?


Fifteen days ago I started the Whole 30 program. I had a friend who was starting it and she challenged others to follow on Facebook so I said...why not? I am not an expert at this program by any means, but I must say I am beginning to adapt.


The Whole 30 program basically pushes the reset button on your daily eating habits. It strips out all of the unhealthy items so you can go back to the basics for 30 days to kick start your metabolism. I like the word "kick start" and "reset". This may be just a side effect of being in the IT profession for over 20 years. We use terms like that a lot.


But I digress, I am half way through this program and I must say that I am feeling pretty good! I am not as tired as I was before and I have more energy. Imagine that.....energy without slurping down ice cream, soda or cookies. This program strips all of that....and I mean ALL.....out. No sugar, dairy, legumes (beans, peanuts etc), grains or alcohol....yes....even booze......for 30 days. While I have been tempted to rob my local delicatessen of their largest wheel of cheddar, I have gradually lost that craving for everything cheesy. It was pretty bad there for awhile. Dairy is a huge part of my life and now not even a smidge of it for 30 days. Egads I thought.


Now I am finding myself not as hungry. Oh sure....I have hunger pangs just like everyone else, but I'm not as "ravenous". This whole thing has been quite interesting. It really has been a change to my system and I feel better for it.


To help the weight loss part of the program, it is really not specifically aimed at weight loss insomuch that it is a change in your foodie behaviors, I have started walking a lot more each week. I am hoping that as it kick starts my way of eating and thinking about food I drop some serious pounds too. I almost have to at this point. I have given up everything.....and I mean everything....that I loved to eat.


I am liking the way I feel and I look forward to the next 15 days with optimism and a change of heart about what I need to eat daily to make me feel happy and fulfilled.


Monday, February 03, 2014

It's Another New Year!

I almost feel compelled to write something in my blog at least several times a year if not once a month just for the pure joy of sharing my opinion to somebody or nobody.
Yes, it is true that I have not been as faithful to this as I have in the past. What's changed? Well, lots of things, but perhaps I just haven't felt the compulsion to vent about anything. Today, I decided that perhaps a few words here and there to sum up the year would be a good way to reviving my blog.


Amazingly, one month is already gone for 2014. It is the most important month in the whole year actually because it is my birthday month. Those who know me know that my birthday is hugely important to me and should be a national holiday. Ok....I am not that important or egotistical, but I do love my birthday! I turned 48 this year. I have come to realize that I am edging closer to the 3rd quarter of my life. Fifty is right around the bend and I have come to appreciate how important being alive means to me. Death is so permanent and I am not ready to go anywhere and I can't hardly imagine the day when I would be ready to leave this world. However, until a magic serum appears that allows me to maintain my looks of today forever, I will plod ahead with everyone else, keep my nose to the grindstone and enjoy each and every day.


Love, Love, Love - not just a catchy Beatles tune, but something that is so wildly important to me these last seven months. I have found the love of my life and I can't imagine one day without her. With that though comes the fact that I have to wait and endure many days without her for the time being. You see everyone has some housecleaning in their life and my love has her own to contend with these days. In any case, our hearts beat in unison and that steady beat allows me to look forward to a future full of love, fun and prosperity in many, many ways.


My Dad has settled in to the nursing home. Perhaps "settled" is not the word because he is a man of restless spirit. He likes to roam. Sunday drives on the weekend were something he adored while the rest of us bristled at the thought. He does realize that he is somewhere that is not his home and has difficulty understanding why this was necessary. Sharing this experience with my Dad has only called to mind my own mortality. Again....making this birthday and all future birthdays very important to me. Carpe Diem!


Football season is over. Now I know there are some that will say...."Yawn, what?"....or "I didn't notice", but it is one of my favorite sport seasons and I shall miss it. Onward and upward however to the next favorite - March Madness. What is not to like about this time of year? It ushers in Springtime - flowers, gardens, grass cutting - and renews our spirit! The "renewal of spirit" is much appreciated these days since we have had an abundance of snow in the Cincinnati area this season. I digress....March brings NCAA BB tourney time and it is a fun time indeed! No more sub-zero temperatures for me!


Have frequent flyer miles - will travel - I am hell bent in taking a vacation away from here this year. I picture a week or multiple 5 day weekends. I think it is so healthy to see the city fading behind you as you travel to your destination. It just releases the stress of everyday living. We all need to take the time to "smell the roses". I've been dreaming of beach places lately, but I gather that is because of this year's Winter.  Bah humbug.


I have a friend who will be married this year to her long time partner of 12 years. They live in New Hampshire - one of the 17 states (to date) that allow gay marriages. Last year, they made it official at the local courthouse and this year they intend to celebrate their union with a grand party near their home in the coastal town of Portsmouth. I couldn't be happier for them. We have moved into an era of tolerance to some extent, but have lots of work yet to do in regards to recognizing that all people have the legal right to marry the person that they love despite their sexual orientation. Hooray! It just boggles my mind that there are so many people in the U.S. who care about the humanity of people in other nations and just as soon trip me as I walk down the street for being gay. We should be ashamed of ourselves that it took this long for the rights of all individuals to be recognized. I had the joyous opportunity to attend my first lesbian marriage last year for a dear friend of mine and it was a powerful experience filled with love and sincerity. No different from any other wedding and that is the point now isn't it?


So what will the next 11 months hold? It is filled with promise, new beginnings, new adventures and reuniting with friends old and new and surrounded by loving family members. It will be a good year indeed!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Gay Marriage

Last night I took a few minutes to clean out a closet. I came across the front page section of the San Francisco Chronicle from May 2008. The front page was proclaiming victory in the initial Proposition 8 ballot item. Yes......all gay and lesbian couples could marry in the state of California! It was an exciting time and I was very happy to be in San Francisco the very day of that landmark vote.

Here we are five years later and we saw Prop 8 challenged and overturned just to be overturned again by the U.S. Supreme Court. We saw the Defense of Marriage Act - otherwise known as DOMA - crumble into a fine dust and scattered through the streets of Washington DC. We have even seen a few more states step forward and legalize marriage for all gays and lesbian couples. I think the total state count may be 12. Ok....that's not a lot, but it is 20%!

Now that the federal government will recognize those unions in those 12 states, I have two friends who will take the plunge themselves in the next year with their partners. In both cases, it was something that finally made sense in their 11+ year relationships. I look forward to seeing them both married and continuing their relationships as they have all of these years. It is truly a wonderful thing.

In my tri-state area, Ohio, Kentucky nor Indiana allow for gay marriage. In Ohio, this ban on gay marriage is being challenged by two gentlemen who flew to Baltimore to be married. One of the gentlemen is terminally ill from ALS and his partner would like their life to be recognized as a married couple - with all of the federal benefits and protections that it allows every other married couple. Read their story. If they are successful with their court battle (and I fully expect this to go up to the Ohio Supreme Court or higher) and Ohio ends their ban, there will be a lot of very happy gay and lesbians in the area.

It is my hope that I will be one of those happy souls as well. :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Reflections

As I have posted several times before, my Dad is in a nursing home. He was diagnosed with early onset dementia last August. His dementia has been complicated by two surgeries since then which has re-baselined his condition.

My visits to the nursing home occur about three times a week now. Each time I go I am struck by the fragile nature of the human experience. I don't know if I like being reminded that I too will become old and frail and quite possibly need the support that only a nursing home can provide. This is something I haven't had to think about prior to my father's experience. I guess like so many other people we prefer to live in the moment of today rather than think about 40 years ahead. I mean...why would we? We have so many things to preoccupy our life with at this moment and sometimes it is just enough to organize those thoughts and activities.

Yesterday, I couldn't help "thinking back" for these older folks. What was their life like? Do they have children? What kind of jobs did they have? Did they go to Florida on vacations? Did they know true love in their lifetime?

Their actions nor the expressions on their faces answer those questions for me. I am left wondering and that leaves me feeling lonely for them. How much they actually remember is beyond my scope of understanding at this point because they are all suffering from some form of dementia and their answers are not always a clear and accurate portrayal of their lives. Even for my Dad.....his answers to my questions - for which I know the answers - are not always correct. His state of mind has him clear one day and working a plumbing job the next.

Nevertheless, my heart goes out to these people. They have no control of the disintegration of their minds and the utter collapse of every memory they have ever created. My only hope is that all of them have someone who loves them and respects them for the lives they no longer remember. 


Monday, June 24, 2013

Espionage Stuff

Even if you aren't a news junkie, it is likely that you are aware of the recent news story about the NSA whistle blower - Edward Snowden. The last couple of weeks the media has been covering his every move and comment after he decided to tell the world how our government handles spying and surveillance. Currently, he is seeking asylum in Ecuador to avoid being prosecuted by the United States.

While I have commended the actions of whistle blowers from time to time, I just can't in this case. Anyone else remember this?



Here is why I stand in support of the government and their ways and means of reviewing phone records, emails, etc. of American citizens. As a result of 9/11, there were thousands of men and women who volunteered for the military to combat terrorism to allow us to continue to enjoy the level of freedom that we have been accustomed. Many of them died for that service to keep us free.

I want the government to do whatever is necessary to keep us safe. Currently, they are pulling phone records to see who I have called. Heck, they may even be listening in on my conversations.....I don't know for sure. What I do know.....is this is the very least that I can do to support my freedom. I think as Americans we should all contribute to the well being of the nation. Why should our men and women in the military be the only ones to shoulder the brunt of the action for our security?

If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about right?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Music

I think music means a little something different to everyone. Some like to sing, write, play an instrument or listen to thousands of tunes on their iPhones/Droids. Music fills our lives and is used to "date' our lives as well. I have a friend who knows exactly what year a song was released based solely on what was going on in her life at the time. Music provides the soundtrack by which we look back and remember.

I have had my share of musical moments in my lifetime. I have made more "mix tapes" than I can count, sang in my high school chorus for all four years and even managed to pick up a guitar and play in our grade school church group. I can pound out some notes on a piano as well although even that is hit and miss.

When my father spent a month at Good Samaritan Hospital this year, I would pass the same quiet Baby Grand in the lobby. No one ever played it. It sat there silently just begging someone to "tickle the ivory's". Now...I have always wanted to learn to play just one song really well on the piano. Just one.....I'm not greedy nor do I want to embark on a new musical adventure by building out a piano repertoire for myself. I just would like to learn one song and I have decided that the one song would be "Roll Out The Barrel". Yes.....that might bring you a chuckle but it is a lively song that generally brings a smile to someones face when they hear it.

So you can imagine my disappointment the day I looked at the hospital Baby Grand closely.


"Please refrain from playing any music other than that of a "soothing" nature." Really. No wonder the piano is quiet all of the time. I mean....what is more soothing than a fun-loving rendition of "Roll Out The Barrel"? The last thing that I would want to hear during my recuperation period is a classical number from Mozart. And besides that......you have to be a volunteer. Apparently the volunteers are struggling with the whole "soothing nature" idea as well.

So my dream of filling up the lobby of GSH with the sounds of "Roll Out The Barrel" have been dashed for now. On my father's last day at the hospital, I was very very tempted to streak through the lobby and play "Chopsticks" just because it was so forbidden. However, I just couldn't bear being arrested by a hospital guard and having "Chopsticks" tainted in my memory for the rest of my life.

I would have loved telling the story though...........

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Jury Duty?

Exactly what I said when I opened the envelope that contained those lucky words.....You have been chosen. It also came with a lengthy questionnaire that zeroed in on all those pitfall questions that may or may not qualify me to be a member of a jury.

So....at 47 I finally get chosen for jury duty. I must say that this may be infinitely more fun if it were in a major city and not Dearborn County Indiana. My mind automatically went to some of the major arrests that have occurred in the last year. There were some murders, money laundering and vehicular homicides. I figured it would have to be a crime of that magnitude to warrant a jury trial. We are not talking about chicken coop raiding or petty theft here. Still, this county is not a hotbed of interesting criminal activity and I am at least thankful for that! Oh yeah....and the letter said that I should consider this a privilege to be performing this civic duty.

I filled out the questionnaire and sent it back this past weekend. My jury term is set for July and August. I am a bit interested to see how this unfolds since I am "virgin" to this whole process. I don't expect this to be glamorous, but I am hoping that I get a trial that has a little meat to it. Something interesting but not so involved that it reminds me of  "Twelve Angry Men".

No....no angry men.