End of Week 294 – Figuring Things Out…

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No special reason for today’s picture.  I just like it.  That’s reason enough right now.

I am using my food journal.  I am back at the gym.  My training sessions are now Fridays at 8am.  I’m hoping that all this will help me start losing weight and moving better as a beginning to my 5K project.  I also would like to look a lot better by July 1st, which is my niece’s wedding in Virginia.  Maybe with a couple of nice goals I will be able to finally make some progress.  I got on the scale and am up to 285, which I HATE!  But maybe that will turn around if I can stick to this plan.  I am not following any special eating pattern except to not have any more holiday goodies in the house, try to not snack between meals, veggies for lunch, lots of water, and watch portions.  Oh – and of course record what I eat!

As promised, we had a taste of Spring last week.  Yesterday Winter came back, and today it’s much colder.  However, the warmer weather melted the snow and while it’s cold today, it’s not very windy.  I can handle cold if it’s not windy.  My backyard feeders are full.  The usual assortment of doves, chickadees, wrens, house finches, goldfinches, titmice, and of course my downy and red-bellied woodpeckers, have arrived to partake.  Yesterday there were also blue jays.  This morning I saw a couple of robins.  Do robins migrate?  The last few years we have seen robins year-round.  I’ll have to look that up.

I need to start writing, but my mind is taken up with worry for my husband.  He just started kidney dialysis and has become quite ill.  We don’t know if it is a reaction to something used in the dialysis or perhaps he has caught the stomach bug that is going around.  It has him very discouraged, and I think he is scared.  When he gets scared he acts angry – I think it is a “man thing”.

Last week a lot went on politically, but nothing overshadowed a single statement by SCROTUS.  It was reported that during an important meeting on immigration (attended by one democrat and a bunch of republicans) SCROTUS asked why we let so many people from “sh**hole countries” like Haiti and certain countries in Africa in the US.  He said we should get more people from places “like Norway”.  SCROTUS has denied using  “language” – he did not specify what the language was – but I don’t think anyone believes him.  I know I don’t.  The report of this statement has had predictable reaction worldwide.  We have a flat-out racist man occupying the White House.  Those from the insulted countries are mostly dark-skinned while people from Norway are mostly light-skinned.  I hope no one is surprised that SCROTUS feels this way.  He’s pretty much demonstrated it all along.

My personal opinion is that most people living in Norway are not interested in coming here to live.

Until next week….

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End of Week 293 – My new world….

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This week’s picture is my cousin, Linda.  She passed away December 29th, and her funeral is today (Saturday) in Dallas.  She has been on my mind, of course.  The world is a better place because she was in it, and its light is slightly dimmed with her passing.

This is the end of my first week of retirement.  I still don’t know what “typical” retirement will feel like since New Years was Monday and then we had a snow storm, and then we started dialysis, and then we took down our Christmas decorations, and over all of this loomed what happened to Linda.  However, maybe this is typical retirement – one is around to see and hear and do what used to go on while one was at work, whatever that happens to be.

Right after the snow came another polar vortex.  Our temps are not reaching 20.  The snow is not melting.  Driving is still treacherous.  Hard to believe, but it is supposed to get to the 50s by the end of next week!  I don’t care how cold it is Monday, I am going to the gym that morning.  I have not been at all this week, but that is because of things like snow storms and the beginning of my husband’s dialysis sessions.  But Monday is supposed to be at least tolerable, and I plan to work out and talk to Will about finding a new time for my weekly session.  Now that I’m retired I don’t think 7am will cut it; 8am would be good.  I don’t want it to be too late since I don’t want to eat breakfast until afterward.

This will be the official beginning of my 5K project with the goal of being able to walk 5K by the end of 2018.  I know the first thing I’ll have to do is keep a food journal, so I ordered exactly that.  I also know it will be like starting all over again after having a week off, but I’ve done this before.  I can do it again.

The big news this week politically was the release of a book called “Fire and Fury” by Michael Wolff, formerly of the SCROTUS White House.  This is supposed to be a non-fiction work full of tell-all details regarding the first year of this so-called administration.  I have not yet seen the book, but those who have read it say it paints SCROTUS in a most unfavorable light.

So, naturally, SCROTUS has taken to Twitter and spoken to the press saying Mr. Wolff is a liar and the book is total fiction.  Personally, I take whatever SCROTUS says and believe the opposite, or discount what he says entirely.  Not sure if I will buy the book or not.  I was amused to hear that SCROTUS sent Wolff a cease and desist letter to keep the book from being released – so they made sure the book was released a few days early! LOL!

Besides the book, SCROTUS may be irritated by the fact that North and South Korea seem to be heading toward constructive talks without the benefit of SCROTUS or the USA participating.  This will definitely make it more difficult for SCROTUS to start a war with NK.  Of course, he always has the middle east to mess with.

Until next week….

End of Week 292 – Changes. More Than Expected…

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I had a difficult time deciding which picture to display on this post.  Today is December 30 and seldom have I been in a time of more transition.

Yesterday would have been my mother’s 85th birthday.  I miss her terribly, and was having my usual hard time with the day when I found out one of our cousins – one with whom we are all close – passed away the same day.  Linda was our family historian and a community activist.  Everything she did benefited someone else.  This was not expected, and we are all in shock.

However, yesterday was also my last day at work.  Although I was dealing with remembering mom, I was not yet aware of Linda’s passing and was managing to stay fairly cheerful as people wished me well on my retirement.  Then, at the very end of the day, my son walks into the office with roses for me, and insists on walking me out!  He actually  made my coworkers cry (at least one of them).  I have a wonderful son!

More transition – here we are at the end of the year.  Tomorrow is New Years Eve.  I am looking forward to spending it with my husband, at home, watching Twilight Zone on SYFY, eating cheese and crackers with cold cuts.  This is our tradition; neither of us is into crowds and noise and partying.  We will be cozy and warm and enjoying the peace and quiet.

And so I chose a picture I’ve used before, one that has always represented my mother to me, and one that I now realize perfectly describes how my cousin Linda lived.  I believe what it says. Maybe now I will have time for “small acts.”

There isn’t much happening politically due to the holidays.  I did read about something that made me laugh.  Supposedly, the reelection committee for SCROTUS and the RNC have launched a fund-raiser that opens with a survey.  The question asks what the taker thinks of SCROTUS’ performance as president so far.  The story I read said the response choices were something like fantastic, very good, good, and “other”.  Their point was that there are no negative terms included in the choices.  “Other” can mean anything.  There is a place for comments, but you have to give a LOT of personal information, including contact information.  I have not seen this solicitation personally, but I hope I get the chance to confirm the description.

Until next week….

 

End of Week 291 – Tis the Season…

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Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah and a joyous any other holiday that may be happening this time of year!  We are waiting for our son and his fiancé and her son to arrive for dinner and a gift exchange.  Most of my hard work is done for now.  Tomorrow I’ll make ham for Christmas dinner.  After Christmas I’ll have four days in the office and then I will be officially retired!  I can’t believe it has arrived.

One of the things I want to do after I retire is spend more time at the gym.  I won’t have to get there quite as early (although I am a morning person by nature), and I won’t have to worry about getting to the office at certain time.  Also, my husband is starting a medical regimen that may have me driving him, and the place he has to go is close to the gym, so I may work out during the 3 or 4 hours it takes at each appointment.  Will and I are going to work on getting me back to walking 5Ks.  I’ve even ordered a food journal since I know the first thing he is going to want me to do is record what I eat.

Since it is the holiday season you would think SCROTUS would give the nasty tweets a rest.  No such luck.  He has been generating a twitter storm and most of it is either self-aggrandizing or full of name calling and insulting others.  Well, I’m tired and don’t want to bother with him at this time of goodwill toward all, so I’m not going to talk any more about SCROTUS today.

This one is short and sweet.  Enjoy your holidays!

Until next week…

End of Week 290 – I have good news and I have bad news….

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We had a second snow. Surprise!! It was pretty and did not interfere with much.  I hope it warms up a little.  Makes it easier to get to the gym.  We have entered that quiet time between Christmas shopping and Christmas day.  That time we sit and wonder what we’ve forgotten.  I think I’ve done ok this year.  We finally got our tree today.  It is short and squat because there wasn’t a lot from which to select.  Everyone else got their trees last weekend.  My husband likes to procrastinate.  However, I will say he got the inside of the house decorated early and it is beautiful.

I’ve decided I’m just going to do the best I can on eating and working out between now and Christmas.  Working out should not be a problem.  Eating – well, we’ll see.  I need to start drinking more plain water as well.

I have only 9 work days until retirement.  It is really 2 full weeks, but one of those days is Christmas so that makes 9 work days.  My husband is having a good time asking me how it feels to be “a single digit midget”.  He says it is an old Air Force term.  It should be an interesting time.  My last day in the office is my mother’s birthday and my first day home that I would normally be in the office will be our 37th wedding anniversary.  After that it will be a completely different world for me.

This week’s picture states something we can all keep in mind, but is something I especially wish I could tell SCROTUS.  One of the things that irritates me the most about him is how he uses name-calling and insults in his tweets.  I don’t like the lying either, but it’s the name-calling that makes him look like a spoiled child and a bully.

As the title says, there is good news and there is bad news.  The good news is Roy Moore lost the special election in Alabama.  It appears the state of Alabama will not be represented in the US Senate by an accused pedophile who waves guns around in public and thinks stating that “one of our attorneys is a Jew” makes him tolerant.  Bama will be represented by Doug Jones, a somewhat conservative Democrat.  He is a supporter of the second amendment and supports reducing corporate taxes, but in other ways he supports Democratic positions.  Most important, he is not accused of any type of harassment or abuse.

The bad news is passage and signing of the Republican tax overhaul is all but certain – maybe before Christmas.  Personally, I don’t think the changes are going to affect us much if at all.  Our taxes are just too basic.  We don’t itemize any longer – we are too far into our mortgage for it to be of benefit.  For a few years we may benefit a little from an increase in the standard deduction.  Other than that this bill does not appear to involve us at all.

I’m worried about others, like my son and our friends.  I’m not sure what will happen to the student loan deduction, but my son needs that.  Democrats are saying the bill does nothing but make the rich richer and give a huge windfall to large corporations.  That is not entirely true.  There are some modest benefits for the rest of us.  Problem is, those modest benefits are temporary.  They will phase out in about 5 or 6 years.  On the other hand, the much larger benefits aimed at the wealthy and large corporations are permanent.  Most of the bill will not take effect until the 2019 tax year.  A lot can happen in the meantime.

SCROTUS thinks giving all this money to the corporations will make our economy come roaring back and we will all make more money, spend more money, and give SCROTUS all the credit.  I can see a temporary uptick in consumer economic participation due to having slightly more money from the temporary tax benefits of the bill, but I think that will fade once the benefits phase out.  Anyone who thinks the corporations are going to take their extra money and funnel it to employees through higher wages is living in a fantasy.  That money will either be invested in updated technology (costing jobs), or will be given to investors and senior management as dividends and bonuses.  Trickle down economics does not work.  It didn’t work with Reagan and it will not work now.  All it will do is add over a trillion to the national debt, according to non-partisan analysis.  What we have not heard is how they intend to pay for that increased debt.  You can bet it won’t be from the wealthy or the corporations.

Until next week….

End of Week 289 – Delaware, Land of Surprises

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This week’s picture represents the weather that surprised us this week.  Actually, just yesterday.  Here it is, early December, not even officially winter, and we had enough snow Saturday to shut down some social functions and make for some dangerous driving in some areas.  I’ve lived in Delaware for well over 30 years and I’ve always heard “Don’t like the weather?  Just hang around.  It’ll change.”  It was in the 50s most of last week, and now we have snow.  I watched it fall a lot yesterday.  It was pretty.

Are you ready for (insert holiday or season name here)?  That is the question I’ve heard, and probably will continue to hear, this whole month.  Surprisingly, my answer is “pretty much”.  I still need to get stocking stuffers, but my main gifts are secured! Each year I list the names of those to whom I give gifts, and this year the list was amazingly short.  I guess that’s what happens when nieces and nephews get older and start having kids of their own.  You get to the point that you simply cannot buy for everyone.  Fortunately, by then it is much more important to be with family and to communicate than to give gifts. My list now consists of husband, son, his fiancé, her son, son’s best friend who is also other son, and the people in my office.  This is the last time around for the office.  3 weeks and counting until retirement!

Working out was difficult this week.  My knees, especially my right knee, felt like they were falling apart.  I even used my cane a couple of times.  Thank heaven Will, my trainer, knows what to do for bad knees.  They feel much better now. I’m hoping to get back to fuller workouts this week.

Food? Maybe we shouldn’t go there.  Stuff comes out during the Christmas/Holiday season that we don’t see the rest of the year.  And there are traditions that must be maintained, no matter how much one wants to lose weight.  There are red and green M&Ms, chocolate chip cookies, butterscotch oatmeal cookies, German stollen and other German goodies, and of course fudge.  None of this stuff is in my house any other time of the year.  I know – just because it’s there doesn’t mean I have to eat it.  I’m not pigging out on it, but I want to enjoy myself, too.  Oh, well.

SCROTUS is tweeting up a storm, as usual.  The big thing now is the special Senate election in Alabama.  SCROTUS has officially endorsed the republican candidate, Moore, who has been accused of child molestation.  Think about that.  We have an admitted (on tape) sexual predator endorsing an accused child molester, and there is a good chance Moore will win.  Moore has denied the accusations, and I am all for due process, so I will not judge him on that yet.  Thing is, there is plenty of other stuff about Moore that should keep him out of the Senate.

Moore spoke at one of his campaign rallies and waved a gun around on stage.  He has said that the last time the USA was great was when slavery was still an accepted practice. He used to be a judge – he’s been thrown off the bench TWICE.  He has actually been banned from a shopping mall in Alabama.  The man is completely unfit for the US Senate.

The timing of all this is fortuitous for SCROTUS.  It just so happens he was going through adoration withdrawal and needed a fix.  He needed a fix and Moore needed an endorsement.  SCROTUS arranged a campaign rally (a rally for SCROTUS, not for Moore) in a part of Florida that is in the same TV market area as Alabama.  SCROTUS gets his adoration fix, Moore gets his endorsement, the RNC starts funding Moore’s campaign again, and everyone is happy.  At least all the hypocritical, gun-wielding, tunnel-visioned conservatives are.  We’ll see on Tuesday.  I don’t live in Alabama so I do not claim to know what is best for them, but I wouldn’t think having someone who is suspected of being a child molester as a senator would be good for anyone.

The other main action by SCROTUS this week was his announcement that the US is now recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  The problem with this is that now he has destroyed the tenuous peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel.  Jerusalem is a city considered holy to 3 major religions – Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.  The reason Christians are not in this argument is that the importance of Jerusalem to them is not political – just historical.  The Jews and the Muslims, on the other hand, are fighting for this city for political as well as historical reasons.  I do not pretend to know how the Jews and the Muslims can work this out.  My opinion on this is strictly about SCROTUS.

SCROTUS wants a war (for political and economic reasons). North Korea is not getting there fast enough for him, so he is trying to start one in the Middle East. This is only my opinion, but it makes sense having observed the careless and irresponsible behavior of SCROTUS regarding these two areas of the world.

SCROTUS is also tweeting about immigrants, blaming them for crime, and is tweeting “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” at random moments for no discernible reason.  It is pretty obvious that he wants the presidency to be one long campaign.  He is not knowledgeable or comfortable doing the real work of governing.  It calls for a level of calm, class, and ability that SCROTUS simply cannot attain.  His need for adoration fixes is coming more and more often.

The most interesting things are yet to come, I’m afraid.

Until next week….

 

End of Week 288 – Countdown…

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Ok, I finally got back to the gym.  My right knee was completely gone, but I knew I had to get back on the elliptical to get it back in line.  I was in a lot of pain, but the more I worked out, the better I felt. By Friday I was ready for Will and my training session.  He worked on my knee, which he had taped earlier in the week, and on Saturday morning it was greatly improved.  Now I’m feeling almost normal.

I asked Will if he thought it was a realistic goal to want to be able to walk a 5K by this time next year.  He said, “Sure!  Sooner than that!”  I’ll settle for this time next year.  I told him I’d do whatever it takes.  I know the first thing it takes is for me to start a food diary.  I keep trying to, but I eat on the run a lot and it is difficult to stop and write about food all the time.  However, I’m going to give it another shot.

This week’s picture is symbolic of my 28-year career with the State of Delaware.  It is now December, and I have made it to my last full month as an active State employee.  The sun is setting on my current career, but that’s ok.  I’m looking forward to doing other things after I retire, like maybe doing a lot more writing – work besides blogging – spending more time at the gym; reading more; doing some projects around the house.  By the way, credit for this incredible picture goes to NASA.  It was taken by them during the great North American solar eclipse.

SCROTUS is smelling blood in the water. The House and Senate have each passed their versions of a tax reform bill, so now all they have to do is reconcile the two versions.  Both versions are Republican up one side and down the other, so the middle and lower classes break even at best while the wealthy and large corporations get huge tax breaks.  What few breaks we regular people get are temporary and a lot depends on what type of group you are in – parents with children; grad students; retirees; singles – it all depends on the bill that finally comes out of conference.  The only thing guaranteed is that wealthy people and large corporations will benefit big time from this.

The worst thing about the passage of the Senate bill, which was the last one passed, was the way they did it.  It was edited behind closed doors; distributed with almost no time for reading and understanding it; distributed with handwritten notes in margins, most of which could not be read; and voted on in the wee hours of the morning so no one could do anything about the horrible way it was handled.  It was sneaky and deceitful and very typically Republican.

That was the good news for SCROTUS.  The bad news was that Michael Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with Mueller.  SCROTUS claims he is not worried.  He should be.  Personally, I have no problem with Flynn avoiding jail if his information nets Mueller some bigger fish from the current administration.

The quality of SCROTUS’ tweets has not improved.  His claims get more and more outlandish everyday.  He started out this week claiming the Access Hollywood tape, which he basically acknowledged and said was just “locker room talk”, was a made up fake.  He finished by trashing the FBI via Twitter.  That’s entertainment!

Until next week…