Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October 30 - Wet

Shot this on yesterday's walk. Since there will be no walk today. Only driving, driving, driving.

Off I go …

It's time for my annual fall trek to celebrate Halloween with my younger granddaughter. It's going to be warm in the Triangle this year – up to 75° tomorrow! Which is great, that means she won't have to cover up her good-witch Glinda gown with a sweater or jacket.

I have to stop for sequins on my way to North Carolina. We're recycling her bride's dress from a couple years ago by adding a little bling to the bodice. She has school all week, so I won't actually get to spend much one-on-one time with her. But trick-or-treat is always fun. And maybe I can walk her to school Friday morning before I head home.

While I'm there I plan to visit the Cary, NC, Trader Joe's for – oh, my, there are so many fun things at TJ's that I can't ever find here in the Middle of Nowhere. I used to haunt the yarn shops when I went to my son's, but I have a lifetime supply of yarn, even after the big purge earlier this year, so fiber searches have gone by the wayside.

Now I'm all about consumables and clothes. Heh.

My husband is, as you might guess, delighted with my weight loss, and even more delighted that I'm having fun with the clothes shopping. He frequently says he's never had so much fun watching someone else have so much fun. (I really do think he's The One. Heh.)

One thing I've discovered is that shoes are comfortable when you're not lugging 50-plus additional pounds around. I used to wear Clark's clogs and Birks exclusively because any other shoe hurt my feet.

Since my shoe size has changed, I need new ones for various outfits/occasions. I'm still looking for a pair of black flats to wear with jeans/slacks. I also want a pair of blue suede Minnetonka moccasins. Just because. I've ordered both and had to send them back because the size was wrong, so I'm just going to shop for shoes in person from now on.

At least until I settle on a size that fits.

I also still haven't found a white Oxford button-down shirt. What I've seen is either too dressy or too expensive or the fabric isn't soft enough or, or, or … suffice it to say I'm on the hunt!

Wow, this is a boring me-me-me post. I'm sorry. And I'm sorry for yesterday's, as well. I apparently woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Actually what happened is I found myself in a Facebook debate the previous evening with stupid people who just kept shouting about how bad and awful and terrible Democrats are for wanting to raise the minimum wage.

SERIOUSLY???

I don't have time to go into it here. But I am appalled at the lack of compassion some humans have for their neighbors. The disdainful attitudes and derogatory comments are … well, all I can think is WHO RAISED YOU?

So. Off I go, for a couple of family-fun days decidedly lacking in news and politics. There will be plenty of that when I get back.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 29 - Hair

My last haircut was four weeks ago, and I asked her to cut it a little long, because
I didn't want that just-got-my-hair-cut look for the J-J Dinner October 12. Then the
dinner got postponed to November 2, and I could definitely use a trim, but … no time.
I do believe there will be PRODUCT involved in styling my hair for Saturday evening.
(And it looks like I could use some wrinkle cream, too!)

Some days …

there's just not much to write about. But if you're participating in NaBloPoMo, you have to write something. 

I try to stay positive. I'm a glass-half-full kinda gal, and almost always have been. When I see something uplifting on Facebook, for instance, I share it. I try not to spread negativity and fear. Faux Noise does plenty of that, and I don't want to play their game.

When someone asks where I go to church (it's a southern thang, people seem to think your faith defines you), I say, "Kindness is my religion."

But I'll tell you what. I could punch a few Tea Partiers, Republicans and, yes, even Democrats right about now.

Probably I ought to go back to bed.

Or take a walk.

P.S. Jen, I replied to your comment yesterday, hope you saw it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28 - Just for you

Mmmmmacadamia nuts – formerly off-limits – are now a weekly treat!
(I'll probably cut back on them for next month's Whole 30, though.)

Same as it ever was

For five consecutive Mondays the scale has given me the same report. It's just information, and I pretty much know what it's going to say on Monday morning, based on the daily weigh-ins which are now part-and-parcel of my morning routine.

I went to a couple different BMI and ideal-weight calculators this morning, hoping I could be done, but knowing I'm not. Each time I filled out my personal stats and clicked the "Calculate" button the result was the same: I'm still a couple points above the tippy top of normal BMI, and I'm still 13.5 pounds above the tippy top of a normal weight for a woman my age and height.

Still, it's been easy to maintain this weight the past month.

This week will be challenging, and will include another cheat meal Thursday night. First time pizza has been on the menu since last winter, but that's what I hear we're having for dinner Halloween night. (I'm going to be at my son's home, helping to pass out candy while he and his wife walk my granddaughter through their neighborhood.) There will be salad, as well, and I might take some chunks of cooked chicken with me for a topping, and skip the pizza.

Or I might not. Having been gluten-free since April, I'm a little concerned how my body will react … and really not too interested in experimenting! Then again, I don't want to make a big deal out of my food, and I told my daughter-in-law not to do anything different just because I'm on a paleo plan.

So, decisions, decisions.

I've made one decision, and that is to begin another Whole 30 on November 4. Because of this week's trip and next Saturday's fancy-schmancy dinner, it would be silly to start today. The only things coming up in November are a houseguest for three days, who will be totally on board with anything I cook, and Thanksgiving. We're eating out, at a lovely buffet which I have successfully navigated in the past. No reason to think I won't be able to again.

This Whole 30 will end on December 2 (making it a Whole 28), unless the dinner I'm going to that night is compatible with the plan.

I'm a little disappointed to have run into a weight-loss roadblock this month. I'd hoped to continue losing at least a pound a week. Having a month with a big fat ZERO in the loss column isn't what I expected to happen, but I guess after six months of steady losses I shouldn't be surprised.

It would be more unusual to continue moving down and reach my goal without leveling off at some point. And it's been good, in a way, to know I can be satisfied with this way of eating whether I'm losing or not. I've haven't once considered going back to bread and beans and dairy, oh my.

Honestly? I'd rather have – mmmmm – bacon.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

October 27 - Peaceful

This is one of the peaceful views I enjoy on my solo Sunday morning walks.

A pretty perfect day

Yesterday turned out to be super, weather-wise, and super event-wise as well. We could have had a better turnout, but WV's future Senator made quite a splash, both on the train trip to Hinton and once she got to town.

For those of you who don't know, Hinton used to be a railroad town. My husband remembers the railroad heydays here, and his mother remembers taking trips to Washington, DC, on trains pulled by steam engines. Hinton still has a depot and trains run through here all the time, mostly carrying coal. Passenger trains come and go only a couple times a week.

Hinton's Railroad Days are two weekends celebrating the town's railroad heritage. A passenger train arrives both days of both weekends, from Huntington, WV, with passengers from West Virginia and several surrounding states. We meet a lot of folks from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

Natalie Tennant rode the train into town, but left by car for another campaign event in Beckley, just north of Hinton. She was here for a good three hours, giving her stump speech at Democratic Headquarters and then meeting and greeting folks in the downtown area with a group of supporters.

Granted, people visiting Democratic headquarters are going to be like-minded, but we were pleased at how much support Natalie has here in southern West Virginia. Especially when you read stories like this one, which links our southern counties to the rest of the red-state South.

Today is the last day of this year's event. The next year will be a busy one as we work to elect Natalie Tennant to the seat Jay Rockefeller will be vacating. We here in Summers County also will be working to keep Third District Congressman Rahall in Congress, as he faces a tough challenger next year.

Yes, it seems like campaigning is 24/7/365, thanks to cable news and the internets. But legislators clearly can "accomplish" something – they managed to shut down the government entirely for nearly three weeks. I'm not willing to put anyone back in office who voted for that lame-brained, damaging and wasteful scheme.

I hope you're not either.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

October 26 - Depth of field

In simple terms even I can understand, the photographic concept of depth of field
means that either your subject OR your background is out of focus. In this example,
it's the background. The foreground is a bit of zebra grass covered with FROST!
Busy day today ... the big event for Natalie Tennant happens at 1 p.m. and I have much to do prior to that. Might write again later, but will probably post a wrap-up tomorrow. Hope y'all have a great day! And if you're someplace where it's as cold as it is here (low- to mid-20s right now!), stay WARM.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Photo issues

Google+ offered to store all my photos, so I let it. What I didn't realize is that if I delete any of those pictures, they will also be deleted from anyplace I've used them previously.

Thus there are some missing photos from some recent posts, which I may or may not go back and try to fix.

Thanks to my friend Denise who pointed out today's missing "Welcome" sign (which I did fix). I'm glad someone out there is taking such good care of me!

I can't say the same for Google+, however. Might have to stop that photo-storage madness. Sigh.

October 25 - Welcome

What you see when you walk through my front door. AND I MEAN IT! =)

Something fun for Friday

As both of you know, I'm a Democrat. Here at KRRE, the wallpaper and blog title are true-blue, and the opinions are unapologetically liberal. I happen to think Democrats have the best interests of We The People in mind when they govern. Republicans haven't given me any reason to change my mind.

So, yeah, I'm a liberal. BUT WHAT KIND? We libs have all kinds of hot-button issues, ranging from protecting the environment to occupying Wall Street. Where do I fall in the left-wing spectrum?

Well there's a quiz out there on the internets that informed me, and I have to agree. (There's a quiz out there on the internets for just about anything, right?)

Quiz: What Kind of Liberal Are You?

My Liberal Identity

You are a Social Justice Crusader, also known as a rights activist. You believe in equality, fairness, and preventing neo-Confederate conservative troglodytes from rolling back fifty years of civil rights gains.
Take the quiz at
About.com Political Humor

It's just a silly little quiz, but I feel good about the results. I'd love to know our civil rights are protected and inviolable, but you know what? They're not. Ask voters in North Carolina, Virginia and Florida. Ask African-Americans who are harassed by law enforcement while walking down a city street. Ask the lesbian who is refused employment because of her sexual orientation and refused a marriage license to boot.

Ask working women, who still make 77¢ for every dollar earned by a male counterpart. Why in the HELL haven't we passed the Equal Rights Amendment yet in the United States?

We've got work to do, people! Those neo-Confederates aren't going away any time soon. But we can fire their leaders next time we vote. The right to vote isn't guaranteed to everyone who walks into a polling place. We've been fighting for and about the right to cast a ballot since the country was born.

Here's what I know: The right to vote is worth the fight. It's the most powerful voice we have in this pseudo-Democracy. Sometimes the votes don't count (cough, Bush v. Gore, cough). Sometimes they count A LOT (Obama 2008, Obama 2012).

If your state is throwing up roadblocks to prevent you from voting, pay attention! Learn what you need to do in order to exercise your right. Do you have to show an ID, even though you've never had to before? Show it and then vote against the party that changed the rule.

Virginia recently purged 40,000 voters' names. Do you know if you're one of them? You elect a governor in less than two weeks. Find out what you need to do and do it. North Carolina's Buncombe County GOP chairman resigned after admitting on national television that the new voter restrictions in his state were designed to make it more difficult for Democrats to vote. (His remarks were astonishingly racist and candid, as if he just really didn't care about exposing himself as a bigot.)

The bottom line? Vote. (Or, as we jokingly say around here, vote early and often!)

And my preference, of course, is that you vote for Democrats.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

October 24 - Dark

I'm not sure why we have a witch's hat among our possessions.
But it works for today's photo prompt, so I guess that's a good reason to have one.

I'm dreaming of a …

fried bologna sandwich on white bread with bread-and-butter pickles and a slice of onion.

SERIOUSLY! How weird is that?

What I know about myself as this year of living healthfully winds down and moves into the next one (because I'm NEVER turning back, I feel too good), is that one fried bologna sandwich on white bread with bread-and-butter pickles and a slice of onion wouldn't kill me. And likely wouldn't do any weight-loss damage, either.

I'd probably feel crappy for a day or so. That's happened following my planned cake and s'mores treats in the summer.

I won't indulge, however, because I'd have to drive more than five hours to get the one fried bologna sandwich worth the cheat.

In Waldo, Ohio, a tiny town north of Columbus, is the G&R Tavern, home of a world-famous fried bologna sandwich. Well, maybe just a far-and-wide famous bologna sandwich. My dad and I frequently made the drive up to Waldo for a daddy-daughter lunch.

It ain't healthy, but man is it ever delicious.

I imagine dreaming of crappy food for someone following a paleo plan is similar to recovering alcoholics' drunk dreams, of which I've had more than a few. It's a sober (ahem) reminder that some things just aren't worth it.

If the G&R were an hour away, though, it just might be.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October 23 - Your mood today

In the mood for roasted butternut squash soup, flavored with curry and coconut milk.

Ouch

I spent Monday afternoon lifting, moving and assembling the new furniture we got for our tiny TV room. I felt pretty good yesterday, maybe a little sore but not bad. This morning, though? O. M. G. My shoulders and upper back are really ouchy!

Might be an Aleve day.

We're happy with our decision to go for lower-priced but nice-looking-and-comfortable chairs from Target. They just fit in the space. There's no way any of the super-sized chairs from the grown-up furniture store would have worked.

The lid of the bench lifts for storage – my husband is using his half for current reading material and mine will have a knitting project. Or two. The chair is very comfortable for knitting.

That's important.

My husband thought we'd have to get some kind of new window treatment. The former loveseat upholstery matchy-matched that drapery fabric. I like it the way it is and don't plan to replace it. I do plan to paint the walls, probably some kind of coffee-with-cream color. Or maybe red.

Now that I've been up for a while, my muscles aren't quite so achey. Coffee cures all ills and heals all wounds.

And now, it's time for bacon and eggs and more coffee and a no-rain dance to get through what I hope will be a walk with Lynne this afternoon. We're supposed to meet at 1 p.m., and it's not looking good at this point. That could change, though. It was supposed to freeze overnight and that didn't happen.

But the lemon and lime trees have been moved indoors for the winter, just in case.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October 22 - Change

Going for the obvious here.

Tuesday Quote Day

Because I need it.
If you are PERSISTENT, you will get it.
If you are CONSISTENTyou will keep it.
As both of you know, I used to post a motivational or inspirational quote on Fridays. That habit has gone by the wayside, but I am still moved by certain quotes and I just couldn't wait until Friday for this one.

I searched for who said it, but I think it's just a random meme. I couldn't find this exact wording on any of the usual quote suspect websites.

Some may wonder about the first part, especially if they look back at how many damned years I've been blogging about weight loss. I was persistent, even when I didn't get it. Oh, I'd take a break now and then – usually over the holidays – but I was almost always trying and I was always wishinghopingpraying.

What I was truly persistent about was figuring out what might work for me. My weight-loss pursuit began at age 11, so I've had more than 50 years to figure it out. I've tried just about everything, including Weight Watchers, fasting, packaged meal plans, liquids only, Slim-Fast, diet pills, Jazzercise, many gym memberships, running – you name it, I've tried it. A very low-fat diet worked for a while, but my health suffered, and a low-fat plan just wasn't something I could do consistently.

I'm a bit regretful that it took me so many years to try a paleo/primal plan. I actually had, at one time, a copy of Neanderthin (published in 2000), but never read it and ended up donating it to the library.

Better late than never. And maybe it was supposed to work out this way. (Well, obviously it was supposed to work out this way, or it wouldn't have worked out this way, RIGHT?) I was supposed to hit that higher-than-ever number last Christmas morning. I was supposed to feel frustrated and overwhelmed. I was supposed to come to the realization that what I needed to do was …

SURRENDER.

I've surrendered before. I stopped drinking more than 22 years ago. I've given up abusive and damaging relationships. In the end (oh, let's hope I have a few years left and this isn't the end), my survival has absolutely depended on my surrender.

The big "surrender" in beginning a paleo food plan was dairy. I will never forget talking with my daughter about it, thinking and then saying, "What if it's the cheese?"

You know what? WHAT IF IT IS? Lot of lactose-intolerant folks live without cheese. For someone who used to make her own mozzarella, I do miss it occasionally. But the results are worth it. And I've gotten these results – 51.5 pounds gone, gone, gone – because I've consistently followed this plan that I was so persistent about finding.

I'm not perfect. And consistency does imply perfection. But I've been steady enough since April 7 to know that this plan works for me. And I believe it will continue to work as I get rid of these last few pounds and finally achieve a normal BMI.

The coolest part is that when I switched from simply creating a calorie deficit by eating whatever I wanted – which left me unsatisfied and cranky and didn't result in any significant weight loss – to creating a calorie deficit by following this weird, restrictive caveman diet, I knew I only had to do it for 30 days.

As it turned out, 30 days was enough time to convince me that I could follow this plan for, well, the rest of my life. Giving up grains, legumes, dairy and sugar isn't for everyone. I've previously been sugar-free, but never in my life did I think I'd need to be grain-, legume- and dairy-free as well.

But it works for me. And I don't miss what I'm choosing not to have. I really don't. Because – borrowing a quote from Weight Watchers – "nothing tastes as good as being thin feels."

True dat.

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21 - Then and now

On the left, me in July, 2012. On the right, me on October 19, 2013.

This post brought to you by the number 13

That's how many hours I slept last night. That's what having three five-year-olds visiting will do to you. Or that's what it did to me, anyway. To answer Vickie's question, they are the firstborn. They have a three-year-old sister (who didn't visit this time) who is much calmer, much more focused and much quieter.

It's a girl/boy thing.

I will say this: The fraternal triplet definitely has a different (quieter, calmer, more focused) personality. The twins? Not so much.

So, it's Monday and GUESS WHAT? My weight STAYED THE SAME!

Who's shocked and surprised? Not me. It dipped a little during the week, but began creeping back up over the weekend and I knew I'd be reporting another same old, same old this morning.

Who's getting tired of staying the same? Definitely not me. I'd rather be here than heading back up the scale again. I'm just guessing this is a good time to practice patience and maintain my consistency in both workouts and food consumption.

It helped my attitude tremendously that today's photo-a-day prompt is "Then and Now." Of course I did a before-and-after of myself. 'Cause I'm narcissistic that way. Heh. Looking at the 'then,' taken in July, 2012, and the now, taken a couple days ago, I got NOTHING to complain about.

I'll post the picture in a few.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

October 18, 19 & 20 – Photos

October 18 - In the still of the morning. The sun had just risen.

October 19 - A good day was had by all, especially this young man with ice cream!

October 20 - Summers County Democratic Headquarters are open and ready
for Natalie Tennant's appearance next weekend.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Guess who's coming to dinner?

As well as a couple breakfasts and lunches? Our five-year-old triplet grandsons (and their dad) will be here late this afternoon.

Don't expect much from me over the weekend. Heh.

We're going to roast wieners over the fire pit for dinner tonight, with s'mores for dessert. I just hope one or more of the children doesn't fall into the fire. There will be one adult present for each child, so hopefully between the three of us grown-ups we can prevent an accident or incident.

And maybe the boys have settled down a bit, now that they're five.

Do boys ever settle down? Heh.

Today is a get-ready day. I'm making cole slaw and guac in the new food processor, and applesauce in the old slow cooker. Cleaning is done. We're going to a local festival tomorrow. Should be fun.

Hope you both have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

October 17 - First World Problem

I'm bagging this one (I also bagged one from a couple days ago, which was "Secret." If it's "secret," why would I want to Instagram and blog it?). I looked at some of the examples of first-world problems other Instagrammers had chosen, and decided it just wasn't something I could go for. There were shots of:

  • a traffic jam
  • an almost-empty coffee jar
  • a cracked iPhone screen
  • a crying baby in a too-cold swimming pool
  • an empty gas tank indicator
  • empty plastic water bottles
  • running out of snacks

Makes me think our first-world problems are petty and small and have a lot to do with wretched excess. I'm not playing today.

The (tea) party's over. (Hope springs eternal.)

No more tea, thank you, I've had enough. And I think both of you agree with me.

Not everyone does, of course. I'm just not sure what happened to the ones in the middle. Seems like people are either over here on the left, with me, or waaaaaay over there on the right, waving their Confederate flags and wearing their "Don't Tread on Me" t-shirts.

What's happened to the common good? That's what we should be asking everyone running for Congress next year.

My hope is that this Congressional clusterfuck has woken people up to the idea that we must find the middle again. I'm not going to get everything I want (cough – reduce military spending – cough – end the drug war – cough – protect the environment – cough). But in their quest to dismantle a law they didn't like – a LAW that helps millions of their constituents – the radical right-wing Republicans ended up getting, um, nothing.

[If you are a radical right-wing Republican, riddle me this: How can you be against providing birth control or legal abortions, and also against providing health care and food stamps to underprivileged and/or abused children?]

I just hope voters remember this in November. Congressional representatives are elected every two years. With the 24/7 news cycle these days (/sarcasm font/ thank you, cable news /sarcasm font off/), it seems like they're campaigning all the damned time. Most people aren't as fanatical about politics as am I. (A friend recently asked, puzzled, "Isn't the election in 2014? Not next month?" And of course, she's right.)

Photo credit: Jonathan Tamari, philly.com
Perhaps the tide is turning. Perhaps we truly are ready to take a look at where the country has been going, and where we'd like it to go. Cory Booker was elected to the Senate last night, and a nicer politician you ain't gonna find. The special election cost millions of additional dollars, since New Jersey voters will be electing a governor in just three weeks. But the current Republican Governor decided it would be better to have all those Democrats voting yesterday, hoping they'll stay home November 5.

(Christie enjoys a HUGE lead against his Democratic opponent; he really didn't need to schedule an additional election day. And if he were going to, why didn't he schedule it earlier, so Booker could have voted curing the budget crisis? The questions, oh, the questions.)

A Democrat being elected to fill a Democrat's seat isn't especially news-worthy, but Cory Booker is a newsmaker and a genuinely good guy. He's been ridiculed for his excessive use of social media. I happen to think his tweets and Facebook updates are pretty darned perfect.

But that's just me. Heh.

Yesterday (warning: NO politics ahead) I picked up the second chair at Target. Shopping at Target is truly a wonderful experience for me. Yes, it's a long drive and no, I don't go often, so I don't have much to go on. But I have been consistently impressed with the helpfulness of the staff. My chair was waiting for me in Guest Services. I thought I'd have to hang out while they brought it from the stockroom. I was able to pay for the chair and my other purchases right there in Guest Services. The lines at the regular check-outs were so long that staff members were directing customers (whom they call guests) to the newly opened registers (and shortest available lines).

Seriously. I heart Target. There are only six in all of West Virginia, and the closest one to me is a two-hour drive. "My" Target is Virginia is about an hour and 15 minutes away. And well worth the drive.

There's a TJMaxx near that Target, and I stopped to try on jeans yesterday. Those five pair I've hung on to all these years are already getting a bit baggy. I especially want to replace the single pair of black jeans, which I frequently wear.

I am NOT the skinny-jeans type, and that's what nearly every retailer is pushing now. (I'd already looked at the Gap Outlet.) The one pair I found that I thought might fit just by looking at them on the rack were a size 10 and … too big. SIZE 10! TOO BIG! Whether it's vanity sizing or for-real-for-real sizing, I don't know. (Is Bandolino a pricey brand?)

So I came home jeanless, but I have all the furniture I need to redo the "den." Oh, and I bought a food processor to replace the one that died a couple months ago. And a couple of V-neck knit tops with 3/4 sleeves, one chocolate brown and one black. How boring is that?

Finally … and also having nothing to do with politics … winter's right around the corner. Need a hat? One of my favorite online vendors* has garter-stitch beanies, handknit in Bolivia using baby llama wool, for ONLY $89. Or you could check a knitting book out of the library (or watch a how-to-knit demo on YouTube), pick up a pair of needles and a skein of wool from your local yarn shop and make this one for less than $20. (Or try my beanie pattern, which has a garter-stitch cuff; the top part is stockinette.) And since you have the needles, the next one will cost less than $10. And if you're like me, you've got more time than money. Get those needles clicking and your Christmas gifts will be done while you're watching football games.

*Kauffman Mercantile really is one of my favorite online vendors. But ninety bucks for a garter stitch beanie is, um, ridiculously expensive. They have reasonable prices for Weck jars, though, and a great replacement policy if something is broken in shipment.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 16 - Leafy

This leaf was stuck to one of those silk spider strands I always run into on my walk.

Here we go

Today's the day we fall off the cliff, hit the wall and go to the poorhouse.

I'm sure about one thing: It is crucial, imperative, VITAL to vote for Democrats the very next chance you get.

In New Jersey, that's today. Cory Booker is going to make a fabulous Senator.

West Virginia's primary will be held Tuesday, May 13, so that'll be my next opportunity. Election Day is November 4. I plan to hold my nose and scratch the rooster then, because here in West Virginia it's difficult to find a political candidate who is as left of the salad fork as I am. But I figure if there's a "D" after his or her name, at least we're in the same ball park. (That is, occasionally, debatable.)

My husband's social security check made it to our account this morning, on schedule. We're good for another month. Not sure if the United States will fare as well.

As for me, today, I've already been working for a couple of hours. Democratic headquarters will be open the next two weekends for our annual Railroad Days festival. We're selling campaign buttons:
If you have a Badge-a-Minute button maker, I'll be happy to send you
the Hill, yes! design (far left) as a 9-up .pdf file. Gotta get ready for 2016!
and I also created a flyer to encourage women to join our county Democratic women's group:
I don't really expect anyone to join our group, but if you'd like
me to send you a .pdf file of the form I'd be happy to. Surprise me!
(Anyone can join. Feel free to click the image, print it, fill in the information and mail it with your check. Seriously! Annual dues are only five bucks!)

We're having company this weekend, so the rest of my day will be spent cleaning and dusting and decluttering, oh my. Unless the chair is in at Target. Then I'll be … SHOPPING!

While I still have some money.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Stepping up the pace


This screenshot (my new phone takes screenshots!!!) was part of yesterday's 95-minute outing. I walked with my husband for between five and 10 minutes, then chose an interval run from my updated RunDouble app. This one began with a five-minute warm up. For the next 30 minutes I alternated 60 seconds of running with 60 seconds of brisk walking. A five-minute cool down period followed the run/walk portion.

I know I couldn't keep this pace up for an entire half-marathon, but, um, WOW! I never felt like I was dying during the speedy parts because I knew they'd be over in less than a minute. And I really pushed myself to RUN, not just jog and definitely not just continue walking briskly when I should have been running.

There are lots of interval options: 30:180 all the way up to 180:60. 60:60 sounded manageable, and it totally was. I'm so doing this at least a couple times a week. It will be interesting to see what I'm capable of, now that I'm not lugging around those 50 extra pounds.

Er, 51.5. But who's counting?

Will this kickstart my metabolism and result in a bit of a loss this week? I'd be lying if I said I didn't want that to happen. But if I don't have a bit of a loss this week, will I quit doing intervals? Not on your life. That 30-minute challenge was good for my body as well as my mind.

Plus, it was fun. And we could all use a little more fun these days.

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 14 - Favorite space

I don't have just ONE favorite space. But my favorite for walking is definitely
here on Indian Creek Road, and definitely by his side. And definitely in autumn!

Same old, same old

But staying the same AGAIN is better than taking a step or two backwards and recording a gain.

Can I get an AMEN on that?

Two weeks (three weigh-ins) at the same number hardly constitutes a plateau. If I'm still here in a month, then I'll slap that label on. However, since I'm still doing the same stuff and not seeing results, it might be time to do some calorie-cycling or to increase the frequency of the bodyweight training I've been doing.

Whatever. I'm happy, happy, happy.

  • Happy to see a number I haven't seen in years.
  • Happy to know that everything in my closet and dresser fits.
  • Happy to feel good – pain-free and energetic and, sometimes, sassy.
  • Happy to be satisfied with the amount of food I'm eating.
  • Happy to KNOW how happy I am with my progress, instead of wishing I were done.

I have been increasing that bodyweight training frequency, slightly. I'm trying to remember just to throw some curls or squats in on a daily basis, whenever I think of it, rather than just twice a week. The stuff I'm doing doesn't require a rest day for muscle repair. And it doesn't feel like a regimen if I'm just, say, doing squats while I brush my teeth.

My husband took the cutest picture of me walking the other day. He never wants to use my phone for anything. So when he asked if he could use the camera function, so I could see what I look like from behind, I agreed. A little apprehensively, I must admit. Who in their right mind wants to see that view?

During this impromptu shoot, I turned around unexpectedly and I love that he was snapping away. Here are the results. And, yes, I need to get some workout clothes that fit. But baggy = comfortable, and as both of you know: Comfort is my racket!


Sunday, October 13, 2013

October 13 - Watching

Told you I'd be watching football today.

A football kinda Sunday

The New York Jets (West Virginia's new home team, now that former WVU quarterback Geno Smith is starting for NY) and the Denver Broncos (um, Peyton. Need I say more?) are playing back-to-back games on CBS this afternoon. I will be planting my ass on the comfy couch with the big-screen TV, knitting in hand, and enjoying a lazy afternoon.

In order to prepare for several slothful hours, I will walk/run this morning, probably eight miles. I also will throw something in the slow cooker, probably chicken thighs and squash and onions and peppers and mushrooms and coconut milk and curry powder.

I'm salivating just thinking about it.

And here's what I've already accomplished this morning. My inbox went from overflowing to this:
It was a huge batch-delete project, with stops along the way to update a credit card and check out a few free knitting patterns.

Too bad deleting e-mail doesn't burn more calories. Heh.

Wishing you an equally relaxing Sunday.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

October 12 - Below

This is the root structure of a very tall tree. One of these days, years from now,
it will uproot itself in a wind- or rainstorm. If a tree falls in the forest …

And even though our hike was on the same road we usually walk on, instead of a
scenic hike on a trail, the fall colors are loud and proud!

Chairs have gotten bigger …

and my shoe size has gotten significantly smaller.

Yesterday's shopping trip was mostly about looking for a pair of chairs to replace an old and uncomfortable loveseat in what we laughingly and lovingly call our "den." It's a tiny room, only about 9-by-10 feet, but it's where we he watches television, so having comfortable seating is a priority.

We wandered through a real furniture store and sat in dozens of chairs without finding anything we either a) liked or b) could afford. We replaced our living room sofa, chair and coffee table seven years ago for just slightly more than the current price of a good chair!

As we left the store, I mentioned that I thought all the chairs we tried out seemed so … big. My husband said it was because I've lost weight, but I found that hard to believe. Just to be sure, though, I sat in our living room chair (which I love) when we got home. It isn't nearly as wide as the store's current stock.

Here's why. Hint: It has nothing to do with the increasing width of American asses.

Anyway, as we got in the car, my husband suggested going to Target. And we found two chairs and a storage bench that will work perfectly in our tiny space, didn't break the bank and are amazingly comfortable. No, they're not top-quality and yes, they'll show some wear sooner rather than later, but we're practical people, and we aren't interested in having our furniture outlive us.
They only had one chair in stock, so I have to go back next week to pick up the other one. OH, DARN. ANOTHER TRIP TO TARGET. (I plan to go solo and to stop at the Gap Outlet before I head home.)

Part of yesterday's trip also was to find a couple things to wear to the rescheduled J-J Dinner. My little black dress would have just worked in early October, but won't be appropriate next month. I'm wearing a long black jersey skirt and a beautiful and fancy handknit sweater, but needed a dressy top and shoes, both of which I found.

I used to wear a size 8-1/2 shoe. All my running shoes, clogs and Birkenstock sandals are 8-1/2s. The sandals I bought this summer are 8s, but I chalked that up to a difference in brand. My new boots are size 7-1/2 and the new black kitten heels I found yesterday are – get ready – size 7.

If you've lost a lot of weight, has your shoe size changed significantly? Or are shoes being vanity sized nowadays, as clothing is? (Except the top I bought still looked better in a large than a medium. So not all clothing is vanity sized these days.)

We enjoyed our day together very much, and are looking forward to hiking someplace nearby this afternoon. Neither of the football teams we follow (Ohio State and West Virginia) are playing today. We're having breakfast for dinner (and thus I don't have to slave all day making something special for his birthday).

We thought about going back to the Cascades, but since it's part of the Jefferson National Forest, it's closed due to the government shutdown. We'll need to go earlier rather than later, as it's supposed to rain this afternoon. I'm looking forward to using the new phone camera to capture some of the beautiful fall color we're enjoying.

Film Image at eleven!

Friday, October 11, 2013

October 11 - M is for …

My husband, Mike, captured digitally on the last day of his 60s.

Holding steady

This week's daily weigh-ins have me the same, the same, the same. Just like last week.

I told my husband the other day that if I hadn't adjusted my eventual goal, I'd be done. (If you're new here, my original plan was to lose 50 pounds, beginning last Christmas, and I gave myself a year to do it.) I still think attaining a normal BMI (I'm still 2.16 points above the upper limit of normal) is achievable, but it's certainly taking longer than I thought it would. In fact, as he said to me, the next 15 pounds might take as long to lose as the first 50 did.

Which might be discouraging, if I think about it too much. I think, though, I'll just keep doing what I've been doing.

The one thing I haven't been doing lately is running. I gotta say using the Cto5K program was pretty motivating. I downloaded the app to the new phone yesterday and discovered lots of new training modules, including fun runs and improver plans. Monday sounds like a good day to start something new, don't you think?

I'm not saying running makes a difference regarding weight loss. Moving your body makes a difference, and I've been consistent with the daily walks. But the current slowdown coincides with my switching back to walking.

I'm still logging my food, still doing bodyweight training twice a week, still doing occasional yoga classes (the yogi's schedule has been erratic lately, she's a busy gal!). I just have to remain consistent, keep doing the things that worked and trust the process.

We're going chair-shopping today. Probably not chair-buying at this point, but we need to put something more comfortable than the current ancient loveseat in our tiny TV room. We think a pair of chairs might be a good solution. Will walk before we head out.

'Cause first-things-first is how we roll.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

October 10 - Hands

Holding hands, getting ready for a walk. I swear most of my photos could
be taken before or during one of my walks.

Out of the loop yesterday …

and I feel as though I didn't miss a thing.

Republicans in Congress are still shouting and pointing fingers and blaming the other guy President.

The stock market is still going down, down, down, taking our 401Ks with it.

Federal employees are still furloughed, national parks are still closed, essential government services are limping along and why the hell are there any non-essential services, anyway?

I went shopping yesterday. We needed coffee beans and dog food and groceries and I made a day of it, leaving at 9 a.m. and returning home mid-afternoon. I looked for shoes to wear to the rescheduled JJ Dinner, but didn't find anything I liked that I could afford.

(I won't be wearing that cute little sleeveless black number after all. It would have worked in early October, but November 2 is most likely to be much cooler. I'm wearing a black tank and skirt with a black-and-gold jacket. Not that it matters!)

Kitten suggested in a comment yesterday that I not get rid of my soapbox just yet. And then said, "Every voice matters."

His does, too. And yours. And mine. Take advantage of every opportunity to speak up, speak out and get in the way.

The other thing I bought yesterday was … are you ready? … a new phone. I know, I know, you're really going to miss my bitching about my old one, aren't you?

When I was at the phone store a couple weeks getting the old one serviced, the technician told me I could get some of the same phones they sell at the company store at Wal-Mart, at quite a savings. He didn't have to do that, but I decided to see what the Evil Empire offered.

This phone does everything but the dishes.
As it turns out, they offered the exact phone I ended up buying, for about $30 less than what I paid for it. What Wal-Mart didn't offer was expertise, attention to detail and customer service. I had done my research and asked a couple questions of the woman behind the counter. She was only there to take money – not her fault – but didn't really know the features of the phones on display.

So I went to the company store (I sound like a coal miner, don't I?) and forked over the big bucks during quite an amazing shopping experience that was worth every penny. My salesman turned out to be a Peace Corps veteran with a Masters Degree in Peace and Justice.

Selling cell phones is not what he thought his post-graduate life would look like, but he was very zen about it. His wife is studying graphic design. They have two children. They're young Democrats in one of the reddest counties in southern West Virginia.

How often have I had this experience while shopping? I would have to say, um, never.

So that was fun. And I got a $30 case for the phone at no additional charge. I feel like I came out way ahead on the deal.

I just hope I feel the same way with whatever deal happens to get the government rolling again.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October 9 - Pink

I had grand plans of taking a picture of the pinked edge of some pink fabric
for today's prompt. Alas, the day got away from me and I ended up walking quite
late in the afternoon in my Wendy Davis pink Mizunos. Good enough!

I almost deleted yesterday's post

I'm glad I didn't. Thanks for your comments. Please feel free to continue weighing in.

My husband is a history buff, and he's been saying for a while now what Gingerzingi noted in her comment: "No empire or government is eternal." He phrases it a little differently, saying, "All governments fail."

And they do.

And ours is.

And it's up to WE THE PEOPLE to right the ship.

Elizabeth City, NC, elected a new city council member yesterday. You might not think a small city council race could make a difference, but believe me, this one did.

Mr. King, an East Carolina State University student, lives on campus. He was at first denied the right to run for the seat because he had a campus address. The NC Board of Elections overturned that ruling. In this election, that one decision led to change Elizabeth City and the entire state of North Carolina can believe in.

North Carolina's GOP legislature doesn't even want students voting, let alone running for office and winning elections. Mr. King fought the law and North Carolina – or at least Elizabeth City – won. I like to think this is the pebble in the pond, rippling out to affect others who might be thinking about challenging incumbents in local races.

Because no matter how trite it sounds, all politics is local.

I've been thinking of running for our county's Democratic Executive Committee. The only reason I've backed off is because the incumbents I would have to challenge are doing a fine job. It would be an ego thing for me, and would likely damage two friendships. But your Democratic Executive Committee might need you. Consider running for that position, especially if you find it's difficult to fill the spots. Believe me, sometimes it is!

My Democratic activism is well-placed at the county and state levels with the Federation of Democratic Women (link leads to National FDW website). Every county in the nation should have a local chapter. Some don't, but if yours does, please consider joining and working for Democrats in 2014. Dues are generally nominal, and you'll find yourself working with great women. And maybe even scolding a Senator.

If your county hasn't organized a local group, contact your state federation and ask how you can help get one going.

Like Gingerzingi, I have little tolerance for those who bitch but don't vote.* If Democrats, who traditionally stay home in droves during off-year elections, do so again next year, these United States will continue to decline. The rich will get even richer. The poor will be left to fend for themselves.

Republicans refuse to raise the minimum wage and can't wait to cut government programs which help the needy. They don't want to provide contraception OR abortions. They are at odds with themselves and so help me [deity of your choice] they are at odds with the founding principles of this nation.

Wow. Two consecutive soapbox posts. I guess I hope to inspire and motivate you to do at least two things:

  • Get involved locally.
  • Vote for Democrats.

And then maybe three more:

  • Speak up.
  • Speak out.
  • Get in the way.

*I recently met a woman who was born in Canada, and has lived and worked most of her life here in the U.S., but has never applied for American citizenship and, thus, has never voted. But she doesn't shy away from expressing her disdain for Democrats and thinks Reagan was a good President. She and I will never be BFFs.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

October 8 - Corner

Most of my walls end in angles, not corners, since the main part of the house is
a hexagon. I managed to find a somewhat interesting corner in the kitchen.
However, looking at the photo makes me want to get new countertops.

Do I need anti-anxiety meds? Or do I need to crawl under a rock?

My mood is generally pretty even-keel. I've been known, in my younger days, to have an explosive temper, but as I've, ahem, matured, I've reined in my tendency to act out by blowing up.

Apologizing for misbehaving has a lot to do with this change in behavior. And 22+ years of sobriety have taught me that, yes, I do need to apologize. And really? I'd rather avoid having to apologize.

This past week, however, with all the mad-crazy-insane crap spewing forth from Washington, DC, has me a little ... unsettled.

Democrats in West Virginia were informed last week that the annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner was being postponed this year due to the government shutdown. It was originally scheduled for this coming Saturday, and will now be held November 2.

I didn't get angry when I got the e-mail. Oh, maybe a little, because I truly think the Tea Party and its ilk are guilty of high crimes and treason and sedition and extortion and intimidation and manipulation. And also they're not doing their jobs.

Nope, instead of angry, I got scared. Scared because – and I know you've both heard and/or read this before – a small group of one branch of government seems to be holding the rest of us hostage. Because they're not getting their way.

They don't seem to care. And here's what they don't care about:
  • Taking these United States of America right off a cliff
  • Our reputation in the rest of the world
  • Increasing unemployment numbers, as furloughed workers file for benefits
  • Food safety
  • NIH clinical trials
  • The Constitution of these United States
What they do care about is undermining President Obama's signature legislation, a LAW which has been PASSED and UPHELD by the Supreme Court of the United States. Laws are amendable, not negotiable. If and when the GOP ever regains control of Congress and the White House at the same time, then they can attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I don't know when or how or if EVER that will happen.

It will never happen, if I have anything to do about it.

So back to the dinner. Our state's two Democrat Senators and lone Democrat Congressman are busy fighting with Republicans in Congress working toward a solution to the government shutdown. Since the dinner was going to be a celebration of our senior Senator Jay Rockefeller's service to West Virginia (he won't be running for re-election next year), it's fitting that the dinner be postponed. Also, the keynote speaker will be the Vice-President. I expect he's kind of busy this week, too.

Our junior Senator scares me more than the GOP most of the time sometimes. He was, at first, in favor of delaying the implementation of the ACA. Someone convinced him he needs to stand strong with his fellow Democrats this time. (He's not known for his voting consistency.)

I read yesterday that he favors spending cuts to get a deal to raise the debt ceiling. 

I'm no expert. I assume that We The People elect representatives because they know more about fiscal cliffs and debt ceilings and government funding than we do.

What I do know is that that if his spending cuts affect the sick, the poor and the elderly (via cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security), but don't affect defense and the military … well, I guess We The People aren't who he represents after all.

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7 - What I saw today

The first ripe Meyer lemon this season! And since the plant bloomed twice,
there are many more in various stages of readiness – a steady supply!

Hello, Karen

It is raining like a MOTHER out there this morning!
Skies are supposed to clear by noon, though; the morning walk will most definitely be postponed until these showers – the tail end of Tropical Storm Karen – move on.

Since it's Monday, it must be official weigh-in day. I stayed the same this week. My daily check-ins have been consistent, so this was no big surprise. I've had only a handful of stay-the-sames this year, but as I inch down toward my ultimate goal, this isn't – and shouldn't be – unexpected.

It's more than likely a good thing, a way to reinforce for me that what I'm doing has, is and will work. I can't emphasize enough how satisfying it is to eat this way. I'm especially astonished at how little I miss eating bread.

If each of my days was spent longing to chew something I'm choosing to eschew, I guarantee you I wouldn't still be paleo-ing my way down the scale.

As for the bread, these Pumpkin Mug Muffins fill that gap nicely.

Okay, we've talked about the weather and my weigh-in and I've linked to a recipe. I swear if I had a cat I'd post a picture, just to cover all the blogging bases. You got to read a rant yesterday, and I'm ranted out. Just as I'm powerless over alcohol, I'm powerless over Congress.

Until November 4, 2014, when you can bet your ass I'll be voting Democrat blue.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

How is it a furlough if they're getting paid?

When my son is furloughed from his newspaper job, as he is for about four weeks a year, he doesn't get paid for that time off. When auto workers are furloughed in order to reduce expenses and improve the bottom line for their companies, they use their personal savings to pay their bills. Or they make arrangements with creditors to pay later, when they go back to their jobs.

If 800,000 federal employees are going to, eventually, get their back pay – a recent unanimous House vote guarantees it – well, then, are they furloughed? Or are they taking an unscheduled vacation?

And if you were on an unscheduled vacation in which you knew you'd get your paycheck, would you be worried or outraged? Would you be protesting or calling your Congressman, urging them to settle this dispute sooner rather than later? Maybe. But probably not.

There's WAY more to this issue than 800,000 furloughed workers getting paid for not working. Things like constitutional amendments and debt ceilings and Supreme Court decisions and health insurance for 17 times more people than those who have been off the clock since October 1.

I'm informed, but I'm certainly no expert about any of this. (She is, though.) I feel helpless and frustrated. I feel like all I can do is rant.

But you know what? That's not all I can do. I can vote. And you bet your ass I WILL vote. I can urge you to vote. I can give you a ride to the polls. I can point out the craziness and insensitivity and selfishness of the Tea Party Caucus, which is mostly responsible for this debacle.

I can look back to 2010, when Democrats stayed home, and I can take a little bit of responsibility for today's budget crisis. We lost the House, and in losing we had no idea what kind of madness would ensue.

And make no mistake: It is madness for 49 members of Congress to hold the United States of America hostage. (Is your Congressman one of them?)

To prevent this from getting worse, Democrats MUST MUST MUST vote for Democrats. I've been holding my nose and doing just that for a couple of offices in a couple of election cycles now. My candidates may not perfectly represent me, but their job is to work for the greater good. I'm a little left of the salad fork – not exactly your typical Dem – and would be known as one of those bleeding-heart liberals in another universe.

I hope and pray that those who vote third-party – and oh, how I've been tempted to do just that – will remember October 1, 2013, when they and all the rest of us began to reap what they sowed when they voted Green or Mountain or Whatever in 2010 and 2012. We can't take back the House by voting third party.

We. Just. Can't.

It sucks to be a grown-up on this issue. I'd love to support the high-minded little guy. But what I want more is to get this country back to taking care of her citizens. The Koch-funded Tea Party crazies aren't interested in doing that at all.

And that's all I need to know to vote a straight ticket on November 4, 2014.

October 6 - 8:00

Just prior to the 8 p.m. kickoff of the WVU-Baylor game last night. Before the
massacre began. I went to bed before 9 p.m., it was just too hard to watch. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

October 4 - In motion

Wasn't feeling much personal motion yesterday. Here's the view from my bed,
where I napped and nursed an upset stomach during the early part of the day.

If you don't have anything to say …

don't say anything.

But if you do – and you'd rather it not be public – make sure you're not saying it on a hot mic.

You win games. Football, baseball, Scrabble, checkers … those are games. Shutting down the government is NOT a game and you should not suggest that you want to "win."

Especially when 800,000 furloughed federal employees aren't winning at all.

I'm kind of wishing we could all go back to a time when ABC, CBS and NBC aired news programming at 6:30 p.m. Or was it 6 p.m.? CNN launched in 1980, but even then wasn't a major player for news.

MSNBC hit the airwaves in the summer of 1996, followed three months later by Faux Fox News. The Clinton impeachment (I did NOT have sex with that woman!) happened in 1998, and cable news was ready. Viewers hunkered down in front of their screens, taking sides and watching every last finger-shaking defense from the President of the United States.

And the news hasn't been the same since. And neither have our leaders.

And that's the way it is.

Good night, Chet. Good night, David.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October 3 - You today

Looks like all glasses and wrinkles! Believe me, I don't feel like that!

Darn. Missed reporting another milestone.

But this time it has nothing to do with fitness or health or weight loss.

Tuesday's photo post was the 2000th on this blog. My first blog, The Shrinking Knitter, ended nearly two years ago after 694 posts.
I've gotten a bit wordy (and posted a lot of photos!) in the past two years.

A recent commenter asked:
Does the book address the cost of Judges not wanting to add people to the system? I see Judges giving people chance after chance to fix contempts rather than telling them to pay up or go to jail.

The book in question is Orange is the New Black, which I recently finished reading. I don't recall any mention of this particular topic in the book. It really wasn't relevant to the author's situation. She was guilty and didn't fight her indictment.

I know a lot of women who are marginally guilty – not turning a dealer boyfriend/husband/son in to the authorities is probably the most frequent "crime." It's a crime because of the way prosecutors interpret the conspiracy laws. Many prosecutors are backing off from these cases, and paying more attention to those who are more directly responsible.

And that, in my opinion, is a good thing.

Yesterday was a busy and very tiring day. In order to fit everything in, I had to skip posting. What did I do instead of writing to you? Ran/walked four miles, which was two fewer than I wanted to do, but all I had time for.

WHO IS THIS WOMAN AND WHAT HAS SHE DONE WITH DEBBI?

Used to be that if I was staring at a jam-packed day I would postpone the scheduled workout. I certainly wouldn't miss my morning routine of coffee+Blogger. I could skip a day of laundry or housework, but not breakfast.

Yesterday I kept the coffee, skipped breakfast (unless a single banana counts), and did the four miles. Since laundry and housework will always be there, I didn't even count them as being skipped. A couple of out-of-town cousins were visiting my husband and his mother and we all went out for lunch at the fanciest place in my neck of the woods.

I felt a little guilty, what with food stamps being cut and government workers being furloughed. I daresay I was the only one who did, with the exception of my husband. The cousins really wanted to go, so we went.

My penance will be cleaning out my pantry and donating dried beans/rice/baking ingredients to a food pantry. Having a $20 Cobb salad (sans bleu cheese dressing) for lunch on the second day of a government shutdown was just the motivation I needed to add "pantry clean-out" to my to-do list.

As for that shutdown … I'm beyond discouraged. I just hope my Senators, both Democrats, continue to stand with the President and refuse to cave on delaying the implementation of the ACA's individual mandate. I couldn't get into healthcare.gov Tuesday, and didn't have time to try yesterday. Deadline for signing up is December 15, so there's plenty of time.

But I'm thinking the GOP's days are numbered.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October 1 - Something colorful

A trip to the hairdresser yielded a good opportunity to shoot something colorful.

So.

The government is shut down and the Tea Party won't shut up.

That's my tweet du jour.

In other news, I finished reading Orange is the New Black yesterday. If justice issues aren't your thing, you probably won't enjoy the book. That said, if you're concerned about the cost of incarceration – and I'm not just talking about dollars, but also societal costs – it's an excellent primer on what really happens in prison.

I've been a volunteer at a federal facility for more than a dozen years. I learned more reading Piper Kerman's book than I have in all that time of up-close-and-personal interaction with inmates.

The prison's annual refresher training emphasizes personal safety, identifies contraband and reminds us we to wear close-toed shoes (the better to run in, my dear, in case one of them-thar criminal types gets feisty). The book tells the truth.

The book is very different from the Netflix series. Nearly apples-and-oranges different. The series is entertaining and dramatic and outrageous. The book is more serious and very readable.

•••

The government shutdown will affect all of us and cost hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in the long run. The Tea Party caucus is comprised of 49 Congressional representatives. That so few in government could cause so much harm and upheaval says a lot about the lack of leadership in the GOP. And the lack of concern for this country and her people.

My new hashtag is #votedem110414.

And my job today is to sign up for health insurance at healthcare.gov.