Wednesday, November 07, 2012
A few weeks ago I signed up over at Nerd Fitness. He has some great tell it like it is blogs, which make a nice change from SP.
Don't get me wrong, SP is great too and very supportive but sometimes the hard truths have to be said without all the rah-rah-you can do it! and SP is not a great place for that.
So anyway, I signed up and at the beginning of the month received notice of The Morning Mile challenge for November. Basically you walk a mile first thing in the morning when you get out of bed, every day for the month.
Why not, I thought, it will give me a little bit of exercise on those no-running days. And I can take Stupid Dog with me.
I added my name to the list.
And then I doubled back and re-read the "fine print"...in the morning when you get out of bed.
I am the antithesis of a morning person. Once I learned what a snooze button was and how to use it mornings became doomed.
But I have managed to go for my Morning Mile every day so far. With Stupid Dog. He's fat, has always been fat (his original owners would give him hard candy as treats and he had almost no room to run in). I've fed him doggy diet food, we had a large yard for him to run around in...and he stayed fat. Although somehow he did lose 10 pounds before we moved; I made the vet weigh him 3 times because I didn't believe it. So now he is a "svelte" 85 pound black lab mix (mixed with what I don't know but probably with something likely to win a Darwin award). So he still needs to lose weight.
Anyway after 4 days of going with me he realizes there is a pattern.
No, this does not show that he is smart after all. It took him 4 days. If I do something ONCE for my cats it immediately and forevermore becomes an unchangeable lifelong written in titanium never to be altered obligation.
So after Stupid Dog recognizes a pattern...he gets it wrong. On Day 5 he wakes me up at 2:30 am because in his mind the pattern is go outside to pee and then go for a walk.
He tries this at 2:30 am
I change his nickname from Stupid Dog to something unprintable.
He tries again at 4...and at 4:45...and at 5:15...and again at 6.
My alarm finally goes off at 6:20, which is when we go.
Today, Day 6, he tried at 4:45 and again at 5:30. So he is learning slowly.
The cats laugh at him.
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
It makes me crazy to hear people complain about the government and then hear them say that they don't bother to vote!
If you don't vote...you don't get to complain! You had a chance to make a difference and chose to ignore it. Voting is your right...and your duty.
So if you haven't yet fellow Americans...get out there and vote today! (I actually voted a month ago with my absentee ballot).
Your vote does make a difference!
And in that spirit I did a little research today. There are the ONE VOTE lists posted all over the internet and e-mails and regularly reported by the print & media journalists as facts.
Here is a short sampling of times when just a few votes - and in some cases just a single vote - made the difference. My comments are in ( ) at the end of each item. If I couldn't verify it I left it off from the list (unfortunately the best sounding ones were either unverifiable or completely wrong).
1800 – ONE vote in the electoral college made Thomas Jefferson President over Aaron Burr. (Almost true. One member of the Electoral College was supposed to abstain from casting a second vote for Burr and thus allowing Jefferson to win by one vote. The Elector did not, resulting in a tied electoral vote, so the House of Representatives had to vote & elected Jefferson, leading to the 12th Amendment to the Constitution)
1824 - ONE vote in the House of Representatives made John Quincy Adams President over front runner Andrew Jackson to become the nation’s 6th president (Almost true. None of the 4 Presidential candidates received a majority of the electoral vote; Andrew Jackson received 94 votes and John Quincy Adams received 84. As a result & according to the 12th Amendment the election was thrown into the House for resolution, which elected Adams 87-71)
1876 – ONE vote gave Rutherford B. Hayes the Presidency over Samuel J. Tilden – twice, once during the actual election and again during a recount (Pretty much true. Tilden had 184 electoral votes to Hayes’ 165…with 20 votes uncounted. These were from 3 contested states where each candidate’s party reported him as the winner, & from a state where an Elector had to be replaced. All 20 votes were eventually awarded to Hayes, giving him the Presidency by ONE vote).
1948 – 87 votes elected Lyndon B. Johnson to the Senate. (True, and by a majority of ONE member the Democratic State Central Committee, which handled the runoff count, voted to certify his nomination)
1868 – ONE vote prevented President Andrew Johnson from being impeached. (If I remember my high school history book from way back in the day Johnson actually was impeached but a two thirds majority was needed to actually remove him from office. It was this second vote which was missed by ONE vote. I went from memory on this one.)
1916 – ONE vote in each California precinct re-elected Woodrow Wilson to the Presidency over Charles E. Hughes (Poor math perhaps. There are 53 precincts in CA today; Wilson beat Hughes 277-254, a mere 23 votes. Maybe there were only 23 precincts in 1916. Note this refers to the electoral college, not the popular vote.)
2000 – 237 VOTES in Florida resulted in the election of George W. Bush to the Presidency (GW was only the 4th president to be elected after receiving fewer popular votes than his opponent. He actually won the election in the Electoral College with 271 votes to Gore’s 266 with one elector abstaining - a whopping 5 vote margin)
2002 – 5 votes elected Dan Sparks to the Minnesota State Senate (True. His opponent was Grace Elizabeth Schwab. The election was so close there was an automatic recount required, which Sparks won by 5-7 votes)
2004 – 129 votes declared Christine Gregoire the Governor of Washington in a third and final hand recount (True)
Monday, November 05, 2012
A coworker went to the US last week and was kind enough to offer to go shopping for me, for those items I can't get here in France (or at least in my area of France).
Today he's back and brought me my goodies, 2 of each :
I'm so excited, I can't wait to have breakfast tomorrow!
I found something here that looks like oatmeal but isn't quite like it. Hard to describe exactly how it's different, but it is just slightly off. It could be I'm not cooking it right, but there were no instructions because it is intended to be sprinkled on yogurt or something, at least based on what I remember from the package. I've been eating it anyway (as oatmeal) because it's the closest thing I could find.
The peanut butter is actually for my long run days. It's what I eat before and after the long distance runs. I finally did find some PB on the store shelf here, hidden with the Greek food on a tiny little section in the foreign food area. It is a non-US brand and has been sitting there for a very long time from the looks of the jars, and one had even been opened. So I passed on it; I'm quite picky anyway and prefer my White Chocolate Wonderful.
Fortunately peanut butter is not one of my trigger foods. The two jars should last me a while.
The other week when I was in Paris I stopped at the American food store and bought some cans of refried beans. Last night I was going to make burritos...and realized that while I now have the refried beans I have no way of actually using them.
I have no can opener. And the stores are all closed at that point.
Tonight I stopped and bought a can opener. But I used the meat in something else for dinner yesterday so the burritos will have to wait a few days.
I never thought I'd actually miss Taco Bell.
The cats enjoy their food though. They get to eat things like rabbit and duck and all sorts of fish I haven't bothered to translate for them (because, really, they don't care). And spiders and ladybugs.
Not in the cans of cat food, those last two. The spiders come up from the basement and get eaten by the cats; Stupid Dog tries to get in on the spider eating but he's generally not fast enough to beat the cats to the goodies. Plus they smack him when he tries to muscle in on their spider stalking. And apparently the ladybugs have decided now is a good time to hibernate and invade everyone's homes. Except mine...bugs are a delicacy in the Kitteh world.
Stupid Dog has his "revenge" for missing out on the spider action...he keeps trying to sneak up to the litter box, which he apparently considers to be his personal dinner buffet.
This is just one of many reasons I call him Stupid Dog (names have been changed to protect the guilty).
Last week in the grocery store they were selling whole smoked pigs, all shrink wrapped & boxed. I should have taken a picture, but the store was crowded. Not something one generally sees, even at Walmart (in the North anyway, not sure what a typical hillbilly Walmart might look like No offense intended to any self-identified hillbillies out there ).
Sitting in my freezer, waiting for my daughter to forget they are there so I can cook them, are some horse steaks.
Another item one doesn't expect to see in the meat cooler in the US! Along with all the animal organs and innards - none of THOSE are in my freezer, I do have some food standards - no organ meats or hot dogs
I've already gotten my daughter to eat rabbit; I told her it was chicken.
Because everything tastes like chicken, right?
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Yes, I'm a day early this month.
1) Maintain my weight at +5 / -14 pounds
Re-committed to tracking my nutrition every day. I’m not doing anything with the data yet, as far as balancing carbs/proteins/whatever, but maybe in another month or so I’ll start paying attention to more than just total calories.
3) Do some sort of housecleaning or maintenance daily.
I should really move this to the Completed Goals section since it is now a daily habit and not really a goal but I like giving myself a thumbs up every month lol!
5) Finalize my budget by the end of Jan and stick to it to pay off at least 3 loans by Dec.
Seven debts gone so far, instead of the 3 I was shooting for (although to be honest I hadn’t included ALL of my debts in the original list so I’m actually right on track and not ahead). I remembered I had opened a U-Promise account way back when; checked it and found about $90 in it just sitting & not doing anything so I’m transferring it to one of my student loans. Because of the move eliminating some subscriptions, lowered utility rates, some unexpected refunds and finding a renter for my house in the US, I have been able to revamp my budget a bit and make some extra payments, which should put me at 2 more debts gone by year end. Moving this goal to the Completed Goals section for November since I’ve now paid off all the originally intended debts.
9) Other goals as they occur to me.
For October I got more of the necessities –dining table and a car. The washer/dryer & TV got delivered. I found a service that will allow us to watch US TV on-line (at least as long as the episodes are available on whatever websites). I still need to get chairs for the table, an armoire for my daughter and light fixtures for the house.
10) Have fun and stress less!
Not sure if this is a thumbs up or down month so I’m awarding neither. On October 5 my internet/phone/TV stopped working and it took them until 10/16 to get it fixed. I had to have my coworkers make repeated calls to the phone company because I don’t know nearly enough French to do that myself. I hate feeling incompetent and dependent. My daughter had a horrible September with the original school, I finally got her transferred & they helped her figure out the bus system…and after a week of everything starting to go well…the bus just stopped going to her stop. The 1st time it stopped at the bottom of the Never Ending Hill of Death instead of going to the top, so she said that wasn’t too bad. But the next day – a very rainy cold Monday – it didn’t even get to the bottom of the hill, the driver just turned left instead of right and she ended up in the next village, over 3km away, and had to walk home in the cold dreary rain along a road with no shoulders (she refused to wait until I could get there, which was in 2 hours). That coupled with her isolation (due to the language) on top of the lack of internet to keep in touch with her US friends sent her into a big angry depression which I had to deal with.
On the positive side I ran my first race here, an 11k, on October 7 and am settling into the house & life here in France. Our stuff from the US was all delivered intact and we’re unpacked. There is a local running store that carries my brand of shoe & other gear (although significantly more expensive than the US!) and some local gym possibilities. We’re slowly getting all the little touches to make the house into a “home”…curtains, lighting, etc. (although the owner won’t let me paint and they have some – to me anyway - questionable color choices in the house!) The upstairs pipes leak down the wall so the paint is blistering…but it’s not MY problem! It’s the property manager’s / homeowner’s responsibility. *I* don’t have to fix it or figure it out myself! WooHoo! School is slowly getting better and my daughter now has her bus card which tells the driver where she goes is so no more missed stops.
12) New Goal – Marathon Training
Finished week 7, made some tweaks to the plan; skipped a whole week, missed some other days here & there, but since it’s a 30 week plan I’m still in early days where the misses aren’t a major deal and I’m on schedule with my total miles (we won’t discuss the extra miles run one Sunday because I got lost lol). I can’t really afford any misses like that going forward though, I’m at the point where I either make the full-on commitment or don’t. And since I’ve already registered for the marathon…I’m making the commitment.
2) Become a half fanatic by the end of August
4) Break my dependence on Splenda
5) Finalize my budget by the end of Jan and stick to it to pay off at least 3 loans by Dec.
6) Ready to test for black belt by end of June:
6a) All techniques approved by May
6b) Ni kyoso suro no kata approved in February; Bassai kata approved in March
6c) Make terminology flashcards by end of February; review weekly until testing
6d) Assist in 4 classes per month (20 total required)
6e) Learn and master sais kata
6f) Keep running so as to maintain ability to run 2 miles in 18 minutes
6g) Be able to do 55 pushups in May; 60 in June
7) Goal revamped – finish mailbox / light switches / outlets / floors / doors / ceiling fans / curtains before I move
11) NEW GOAL - weekly pushup challenge
8) Postponed to 2013 - Run my first marathon by October 21
My priority is black belt testing; I will aim for the Paris marathon in April 2013
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