Day 23 – Winter Weather Advisory

Tonight I’m planning on watching “The Day After Tomorrow” in honor of the big storm that’s moving it’s way into the Texas Panhandle. We are only supposed to get two to four inches of snow, but the blizzard conditions which include 50 mile an hour winds and a windchill estimated tonight of 15 below is not my idea of a good time. I know this storm is not atypical, but still, storms like this always kind of freak me out. I don’t like to think I would be stuck at home with no electricity or creature comforts. I suppose that means I probably should learn what “roughing it” really means. I think I will go add a third pair of socks to my freezing tootsies and may also throw on another sweater. It’s cold. I don’t like the cold. It’s not that I’m a big fan of a Texas summer, which can be hotter than the gates of Hades… but I really don’t like the cold.

More later…… when I thaw out. Safe driving peeps…

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Day 22 – Not So Sunny Sunday

I’m sitting here looking at my desk at the casa and all I can ask is, “How does it get this messy so quickly?” I guess junk mail is the majority of it (and mess is relative to any given person. Mine is just cluttered, not exactly “messy.”) And the good Lord knows that I have no intention of letting my desk look like mother’s kitchen table. Heavens that would be bad… I tend to be a pack-rat and I can probably justify most of the stuff I have kept throughout the years; however, the older I get and the worse mother’s hoarding gets pushes me to the other extreme and I’ve started throwing out a bunch of stuff.

If you are wanting to know the difference between hoarding and collecting, there’s a pretty observable definition. Hoarding is when the items collected intrude on the living conditions, lifestyle and ability to use areas of the home for their intended purpose. For example, when you are sleeping on the couch or in a chair because you can’t make it to your bed, you are a hoarder. Another example is when you are eating off a tv tray in the bedroom because the dining room and kitchen table are covered with stuff, you are a hoarder. If the quality of the air you breath is diminished and you don’t even realize it because you are in the stench all the time, you are a hoarder. If you are keeping random items long after the use they were intended for, then you are a hoarder. I’m not saying all of these things apply to my mother, but I can honestly say that she does have a problem.

My brother in law, John, is the opposite of a hoarder. He and my sister live in a wonderful apartment in Manhattan and have an office on one of the most famous streets in the world. Because New York living standards are different from the midwest, it’s easy to see how he is able to keep things to a minimum. I admire the ability to do that. And usually about the time their spring cleaning / fall cleaning starts, I sit around at the house and start asking myself, “Ok, time to clean out some of this crap. What goes first?”

With this being said, now is a good time for Life Lesson #22 Cleanliness is next to godliness.

It’s an old expression, but in case you were looking for some motivation to actually clean up the casa, here’s a list to help you get motivated.

1) Insects. The cleaner you keep your room the less likely that there are creepy crawlies hiding in corners, in your shoes, or otherwise populating a space that should be yours alone.

2) Cleaner rooms are healthier rooms. A lot of people are allergic to dust mites or dust itself. It’s bad enough that your messy decor might be making you sick, but if your room is literally making you sick that can lead to feeling awful and possibly preoccupying your immune system so when a cold or flu bug comes your way, you might be too run down to fight it off as well as you otherwise would.

3) When you can find all of your clothes, and they are clean and neatly put away, you can actually wear all of them and vary your wardrobe, which is very cool. This can prevent you from getting bored with your stuff, and even better, prevent you from wasting money on stuff you already have.

4) Cleaning gets rid of some other nasties: It eliminates food and body shed skin that roaches dine upon as well as the stink from oily bed clothing. (I’m thinking I need to do a wash load right now because I’m fairly grossed out by #4.)

5) Pride. If you have a messy room / house, when you have company over they may tell their friends. They may also say something if your room / house smells bad. When friends and family come to call, they don’t want to trip over anything, break anything, or sit there with a hankie covering their face because your room smells like decomposing food, old gym shorts, wet dog or what have you.

And a final note taken slightly out of context, the Bible also promotes keeping things clean. This also includes our bodies and our spirits. When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’Luke 11:25. and the rest of the story at Matthew 12:44 When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.

Food & Drink #22 The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook. —Julia Child

Food tally for the day:
Breakfast: 2 homemade oatmeal cookies and some hot tea
Morning Snack: TBA
Lunch: TBA
Afternoon Snack: TBA
Dinner: TBA

Feeding the Spirit #22 “May the God of peace… equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).

Sarah Brightman & Antonio Banderas – The Phantom Of The Oper

Day 21 should have something pretty amazing to share. I mean three weeks is a long time for developing a pattern of change and becoming a better me, right? I was zooming around the “tube” and found this. At first I scoffed. I mean, I know that Sarah Brightman is amazing… but Antonio Banderas did quite the job. I suppose that’s todays lesson – admitting when we are wrong.

Days 19 & 20 – Another two-fer

I’ve been excessively busy during the day and at night too tired to write. So here I am while I have the chance to check in and see what all the wonders of the universe have in store. Aside from catching up on my actual work-load, the only thing I have truly accomplished is watching some American Idol. There’s some talent out there and then there are the others where you just have to plug your ears, cock your head to one side and go, “Seriously?”

Isn’t rakish a great word? According to the dictionary, it means:

1. Smart; jaunty; dashing.
2. Of a vessel: having an appearance suggesting speed.
3. Like a rake; dissolute: rakish behavior.

I’m trying to figure out how I can best use it in a sentence, but at this time I haven’t quite figured out how it fits in law-enforcement. A romance novel perhaps, but not here. Will have to keep trying.

Also, I can’t say that this is a “new” feature to the blog, but from time to time, I figure I will share a few words I find interesting.

Life Lesson #19-20 Heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences

Health & Fitness #19-20 If you are finding it hard to workout because of a time crunch. A lunchtime workout may be the answer. Keep a bag with your sneakers, gym clothes, and basic grooming necessities stashed at your office so you’re always ready for a lunchtime workout. Women with long hair can tie it back to sweat-proof it. And Baby Wipes come in small packs and can get you cleaned up really fast so you don’t have to wait in line for the shower.(You might not want to share that particular secret with your work colleagues!) If you pack a nutritious lunch, then you are set. Just don’t assume that you burned 300 calories and can then eat a cheeseburger. You’ll just feel frustrated and not lose any weight.

Food & Drink #19-20 Breakfast is the most important meal of the day as many studies have shown and confirmed. So here are some great breakfast ideas for you to ponder courtsey of runner’s world.:

Homemade raisin bran
Description: Mix one cup of Total cereal, a packet of raisins, and 1 cup nonfat milk. This simple home recipe with 244 calories fortifies you with 100 percent of the Daily Value for most vitamins and minerals, boosts your protein intake by 12 grams, and gives you a sweet, natural fiber and sugar source.
You’ll Save: 50 calories, 6 teaspoons of sugar, and 5 grams of fat compared with ready-to-serve raisin bran doused with a cup of 2-percent milk.

Scrambled whites with greens
Description: This low-fat, scrambled-egg alternative provides 54 grams of high-quality dietary protein in just 255 calories. First, spray your frying pan with fat-free Pam. Then pour the equivalent of four servings of Eggology egg whites (or Second Nature or Egg Beaters egg whites) in a bowl and blend with 1/2 cup spinach and 1/2 cup mushrooms. Heat the pan until the Pam starts to bubble, pour in the eggs, and fry until the eggs are nearly dry.
You’ll Save: 40 calories, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, and 13 grams of fat compared with two normal scrambled eggs.

Balanced Diet Shake
Description: For something cool, tasty, and nutrient-filled in the morning, try a shake or smoothie. The Balanced Diet nutritional drink provides 180 calories with lots of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals in a naturally flavored French vanilla or chocolate royale. Each serving includes 5 grams of dietary fiber and 10 grams of soy, or 40 percent of the daily minimum now recommended by the American Heart Association.
You’ll Save: 60 calories daily and nearly 6 grams of fat compared with many other similar drinks.

Frozen fruit smoothie
Description: You can prepare your own personal antioxidant-filled fruit smoothie like the following one that runner Bruce Shapiro used to lose 30 pounds over the last few years. Combine and blend: one cup frozen, unsweetened blueberries; 1/2 banana; 1/4 cup wheat germ; and water.
You’ll Save: 200 calories for each 2- to 3-cup serving, compared with many store-bought and canned smoothie beverages.

Personally, I would prefer a bowl of old-fashioned oatmeal, fresh blueberries, flaxseed, wheat germ, pecans, and a little bit of agave nectar. Filling and yummy. Scottish oats are great too. I used to hate oatmeal because dad couldn’t make it to save his life…but I had a big bowl a few years ago at Inn of the Mountain Gods and been hooked ever since. Yum.

Food tally for the day – Friday:
Breakfast: Ribeye Steak Breakfast Burrito
Morning Snack: Cheese Stick,Grapes, 1 Giradelli mint-chocolate square
Lunch: Tuna fish, baby carrots
Afternoon Snack: TBA
Dinner: TBA

Feeding the Spirit #19-20 I’ve really been missing my BFF lately. After something in the neighborhood of 25 years of fun and frivolity, tears and torture and some great moments in between, I miss talking to her on a regular basis. True friendships are a rarity and dad used to say that there was a big difference between a friend and a friendly acquaintance. It’s something I also try to instill in my kids. You have to know the difference and sometimes it takes a long time to figure out. So in honor of friendship:

“Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow-ripening fruit.”
— Aristotle (4th century B.C.)

“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.”
— Samuel Johnson

It’s the ones you can call up at 4:00 a.m. that really matter.– Marlene Dietrich

Do not protect yourself by a fence, but rather by your friends. — Czech. Proverb

Days 17 & 18 – Two for One

Ok, I’m cheating. Two days combined into one. Yesterday I felt like hammered dog poop. Quite the visual because one has to wonder as to the consistancy of said poop, but trust me… it was ugly. Yesterday I went to the doctor for what I thought was going to be the ugly testing… no.. just kind of a painful poke and prod that I’m still trying to get over. The uber-ugly testing actually occurs next week. Local anesthetic and a 2.5 hour procedure is involved. If the tests are as others have told me about, I would prefer to just not go there. Sucks.

Ok… let’s lose some of the negativity for now at least. Sometimes I swear I sound like my mother and that’s bothersome. I really don’t mind being sarcastic or cynical, but negative is one of the things I’m really trying to work on in this 142 days.

Something positive. Girl Scout Cookie time!!!

I’m sure there is something cosmic about the way Girl Scout cookies fall right in line to sabotage new year resolutions; however, the yummy goodness (if eaten in moderation) can be a life saver for many people. I have and will probably always have a weakness for Thin Mints – they me want to sing and dance. In fact, I could right now because the guys aren’t here to make fun of me doing so. (Insert silly looking jig here.) I got two boxes this morning, some of which may or may not make it all the way home. However, the boxes have been in my possession for almost four hours and I haven’t even cracked open the box nor the bag in which they were delivered in. See… already showing signs of progress for a healther lifestyle, eh? However, I am salivating with the mere thought of a Thin Mint.

I’m not blue and fuzzy, but I think we can all agree at this point that this little fella and I have something mutually in common. However, I just want to state for the record I am nobody’s puppet.

Speaking of puppets… Did anyone watch the state of the union last night? Personally I had better things to do than to listen to El Presidente open his maw. However, the SoU address was posted on the White House website and I thought I would make a comment. I think President Obama is an idiot. And here we go with a rant / bit of negativity.

“Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans’ paychecks are a little bigger today. Every business can write off the full cost of new investments that they make this year. And these steps, taken by Democrats and Republicans, will grow the economy and add to the more than one million private sector jobs created last year.”

Excuse me, but did I miss something here? Because I am not making more money and after discussing this matter with the guys I work with, neither are they. Because of the change in the tax laws, my paycheck was shorted about $20 a pay-period. At the end of the year, that means the government has gotten another $520 of my hard-earned money. IF the federal government would quit spending money they don’t have and if congress would just suck it up and say “enough already” then the economy might just turn around.

El Presidente also touted the fact that America’s education system sucks. It does suck. We lack behind so many other nations in the world. I attribute this to many things… but first… the part that caught my eye and ticked me off – he was discussing the costs of a college education.

“Of course, the education race doesn’t end with a high school diploma. To compete, higher education must be within the reach of every American. (Applause.) That’s why we’ve ended the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that went to banks, and used the savings to make college affordable for millions of students. (Applause.) And this year, I ask Congress to go further, and make permanent our tuition tax credit –- worth $10,000 for four years of college. It’s the right thing to do. (Applause.)”

Ok… my oldest daughter wants to be a vet – to help animals that need it. A college education for her will run about $85,000. Does anyone seriously believe that $10K is really going to help with that? Why don’t we actually implement tuition freezes for awhile. Colleges can certainly deal with not building any new buildings for a couple of years. As a college guidance counsellor told me in the fall of 2010 when I questioned why I HAD to take algebra when I have not used it in the 20 years it had been since I graduated high school, “Colleges are in the business to make money.”
Yeah… lemme tell you about it. That $10K that the president is proposing is a drop in the bucket and college costs are still out of reach for many Americans. For me to go to school at WTAMU here in the Texas Panhandle… Here’s what I have to pay…

For details of cost by residency (Texas and border counties resident, border state resident, non-resident and international) by semester credit hour, please click here for Cost of Attendance. Amounts shown below are the rates for Fall Semester 2010.

Statutory Tuition
Statutory tuition rates are set by the Texas Legislature. The rate for Texas residents is $50 per semester credit hour (minimum of $120 per semester; $60 per summer session). The non-resident rate for the 2010-11 academic year is $360 per semester credit hour.

Designated Tuition
A mandatory tuition ($102.51 per semester credit hour for 1-11 hours; $1,435.14 for 12-18 hours; $102.51 per semester credit hour, over 18 hours) for operations of the University, scholarship set-asides and building upkeep and improvements.

Health Fee
A mandatory fee ($38 per semester, $19 per summer session) for the operation of a student clinic on campus.

Student Service Fee
A mandatory fee ($16 per semester credit hour –– maximum of $198 per semester, $96 per summer session) distributed by the Campus Student Fee Committee for various campus services and organizations.

Student Center Complex Fee
A mandatory fee ($8 per semester credit hour –– maximum of $96 per semester, $4 per semester credit hour–maximum of $48 per summer session) for operation and maintenance of student centers.

Technology Fee
A mandatory fee ($11 per semester credit hour) to provide, operate, maintain and staff facilities and equipment that helps promote computer literacy among the entire student body.

Traffic Safety Fee
A mandatory fee ($1 per semester, $2.50 per summer session) to maintain and repair campus traffic controls.

Records Fee
A mandatory fee ($15 per semester, $7.50 per summer session) to combine drop/add fees, transcript fee, graduation fee and ID card fees and to support the offices providing these functions.

Rec Sports Fee
A mandatory fee ($70 per semester, $35 per summer session) to finance, construct, operate, maintain and improve recreational sports facilities and programs.

International Education Fee
A mandatory fee ($4 per semester) for international student exchanges and study abroad programs.

Library Fee
A mandatory fee ($4 per semester credit hour) for the ongoing operational expenses of the Cornette Library.

Washington, DC Intern Fee
A mandatory fee ($1 per semester) to assist students participating in approved internships in Washington, D.C.

Intercollegiate Athletic Fee
A mandatory fee ($20 per semester credit hour – maximum of $240) distributed by the athletic director for all intercollegiate athletic activities and scholarships.

Advising Fee
A mandatory fee ($35 per semester; $17.50 per summer session) for advising activities of all students at the University.

Transportation Fee
A mandatory fee ($10 per semester) to operate and maintain shuttle service for the campus and parking spaces/lots.

Look at all the freakin’ “MANDATORY FEES” that I (or anyone) have to pay to attend school there each semester. I started adding it up and after I got to $400 a semester, I quit – some of the fees are for each semester hour… if you are taking a full course load of say 15 hours, that’s unreal and a load of bullshit.

Ok… done with the rant, but I’m willing to bet you can tell I can go on and on … and I want to, but won’t. That’s the problem with me blogging, I’m sure I can channel my mother and work up a rant John McEnroe would be proud of… but I won’t. I will just leave it at rest and experience the power of the Woo-Sah…

More later from this rebel…

Day 16 – Just another Manic Monday

I’m not a big fan of Mondays and if the beginning of my workweek was (again) Saturday or another day of the week, I still would not be a fan. After having a couple of days off to do the things I need to get done for home, I feel like I need a rest before I go back to work. One might say I need to utilize my time better, I say we should all get an afternoon siesta on Mondays.

Life Lesson #16 Few people truly outgrow the terrible twos. They just have fewer temper tantrums and try not to have them in the middle of the grocery store.

Health & Fitness #16 I haven’t been getting as much sleep as I need. For me, 8 to 9 hours is a good thing. I was reading some tips on getting some better sleep and I thought I would share.

Adapting.
You can adapt to sleep deprivation, so that you don’t realize you’re not getting enough sleep. You think the way you feel is normal. If you feel fatigued for no reason and/or nod off at meetings, concerts, or dinner parties, examine whether you are getting enough sleep. Don’t just assume the meeting was too boring.
Underestimating.
How much sleep are you really getting? Maybe you are underestimating it. Consider your naps, when you go to sleep, and how long it takes to fall back asleep. Sometimes people consider light sleep, which is true sleep, to not count. If you’re generally not feeling fatigued, depressed, or unable to pay attention, you may be getting plenty of sleep
Head south.
If you can, put your bed so that your head is to the south. This is from Chinese Feng Shui. You should be able to see the bedroom door from your bed.
Melatonin.
The brain releases the hormone melatonin in response to darkness and ceases production in response to light. Melatonin is thus linked to sleep. The synthetic version can be helpful in short term situations, especially for jet lag and to help adjust to changing shift work. There is no real evidence that it is effective as a long-term sleeping aid, though it is sometimes prescribed for the elderly.

Of these, I use melatonin quite often. I worked graveyard shift for so long that my body seems to want to be awake in the wee hours of the night so I take 15mg (I think) before bed and it’s generally pretty good at helping my brain and body shut down.

Food & Drink #16 This has not been the best day for eating clean. I just can’t seem to get my crap together. Oh well… try and try again, eh?

Food tally for the day:
Breakfast: Lean cuisine Steak Tips Portabello & some Yogi hot tea
Morning Snack: A small piece of leftover German Chocolate Cake – I’m now in a much better mood.
Lunch: Grilled Ham and cheese sandwich;
Afternoon Snack: Nada
Dinner: Small cup of icecream and then a nap.

Feeding the Spirit #16

” Be at peace with your own soul, then heaven and earth will be at peace with you.”
St. Jerome

Day 15 – Ken’s Retirement (at lonnnnng last!)

Today is the retirement party for my father in law, Ken. He’s worked at KAMR-TV for almost 49 years. (Yeah, you read that right…) I find that remarkable in a world where people find a new job every three years (statistically speaking.) Ken has started a new career – ok, he started more than a few years ago, but he’s also an artist. And I would definitely be remiss if I didn’t promote his work. We have more than a few pieces here at the casa… take a lookie and enjoy.

I’ll post some other different pictures as I have some time, but if you are interested in some original southwest art… www.kenhighfineart.com

In other news…

I had a hard time figuring out why I was all shaky and nauseous today. Apparently the only thing I had to eat / drink until about 2pm was the Grande 6 pump Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte I had early this morning. Hmmmm… Grabbed a Snickers bar in the checkout line at Walmart. Not the smartest choice, but desperate times, desperate measures. Can’t say that I feel any better. But hopefully some good chow tonight will make that all good. And if not, going to bed early.