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DRAFT TODAY, POST TOMORROW: Some posts may be in draft status until I (aka procrastinator extraordinaire) get around to posting them.



Thursday, December 31, 2009

Do Something! (but what?)

An article, "Good intentions won't save the planet" from the Montreal Gazette (http://www.montrealgazette.com/opinion/editorials/Good+intentions+save+planet/2335535/story.html gives some interesting perspective on the locavore movement. I like to support my local farmers but I can't see only eating local. And if I lived in some areas of Canada, I think I would be even less likely to eat locally all the time. With the excellent nutritional value of frozen and jar/canned foods today, I think we can eat a diverse diet that includes local products.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fun Run

Haven't been to agility class in three weeks so I went to the fun run tonight although I feel horrible, so much pain. The girls did really well, were very playful and paying attention. Cassi did her fast teeters and pretty good weaves, intense but popped out. Teka has her out and switch but can't get the offside weave entry. We will practice weaves the next couple of days for our trial this weekend.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Peta vs hunters feeding the homeless

Deer hunting has been approved in public parks to control herds. Some hunters have been taking a portion of the meat and donating the rest to food ministries. Peta feels that it is just a way to justify an immoral act and that the deer should be sterilized rather than hunted. (Can you say extinction?) With the number of people in THIS country that go hungry, it is hard to believe that there are still people that feel it is better to sterilize deer than use them to feed families. According to the article, a doe can feed about 200 people. Go hunters!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Good news

Paying it forward: Mystery couple pays another tab with their own, giving continues for five hours!

Bookstore night encourages reading! In Argentina over the weekend, Buenos Aires held its annual Noche de las Librerias — Bookstore Night. The city closes a main avenue, and places sofas and chairs where cars and trucks normally idle. People with books from the many bookstores lining the avenue, lounge in the seating and a festival atmospherel replaces traffic. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121701799

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tailgating

We went to the Cardinals game, courtesy of M's dad. Very fun people watching at tailgating. I should have packed some snacks to bring though. Good game too but I was freezing with the stadium roof open and my coat in the truck!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Love living life

I would love to say this more often: I love living life--I am happy! I joined Spark People today looking for some resources and ran across this video of a man who asks "are you going to finish strong?" His attitude is a celebration of life over limits http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8ZuKF3dxCY and the video says " I've never met a bitter person who was thankful, or a thankful person who was bitter ." I try to be thankful for what I have, rather than bitter for what I don't have. I'm not generally thankful for having MS though!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas

I baked Arrowhead Mills g/f chocolate chip cookies and then Reese's cookies this morning. Then we headed to Grandma's, where we had a good lunch and lots of yummy dessert! Then over to J and E's to hang out with the kids. M helped set up the Wii, with everyone's Mii's. E liked her cookies; J was eating them too!

M and I watched Australia while eating a little dinner. Then I caught the end of Faith Hill on PBS singing her song from the Grinch movie, then the Drummer Boy. Fantastic voice she has!

I saw this link on Facebook about Christmas customs in Colonial Williamsburg. The end is the best. http://www.history.org/almanack/life/xmas/customs.cfm#viewMedia

In the late 1990s the Christmas season seems to begin right after Halloween and comes to a screeching halt by Christmas dinner (or with the first tears or first worn-out battery, whichever comes first). We emphasize the build-up, the preparation, the anticipation. Celebrants in the eighteenth century saw Christmas Day itself as only the first day of festivities. Probably because customs then were fewer and preparations simpler, colonial Virginians looked to the twelve days beyond December 25 as a way to extend and more fully savor the most joyful season of the year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

I made a gluten free white cake from an Arrowhead Mills mix. I used a strawberry preserve glaze and powdered sugar instead of frosting. It wasn't bad but it was a bit dry. I would add something to make it more moist next time. I could see using that mix for an upside down pineapple cake--the pineapple would make it more moist.

I gave Eileen a box of g/f groceries and a couple of magazines and Babycakes baking book. I had a little trouble letting go of the book and magazines--they looked like they actually had some really good stuff in them. I got a few fabulous gifts from my wishlist.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve eve

It was C & R's last day here--so sad. We did our gift exchange. I got a Wegman calendar and a super cute Bugs Bunny figurine and vintage hardback mini-book comic. C really liked the mermaid ring holder and I got R a calculus book the other day while we were at the bookstore.

We went to Fajitas for lunch with M and his parents. R is very unhappy with my radio on demo mode and wants to fix it but can't figure out how. I thought we'd hit Audio Express while over there but when we picked up Mike, he had too much gear with him for that errand. So I'll put it off some more! R wanted to argue that the radio has something on the front to fix that but I know they almost broke my dash open last time they (didn't) fixed it. Why would I want to argue about something I don't know or understand? Arrgh.

We went to Grandma's for another visit. C & R looked at the quilts while we were there. Then we went over to a Christmas light show that Grandpa gave us directions to see, with a radio station to tune into for matching music. Kind of cool. Funny that most of the neighbors had NO decorations at all.

And then they were off, back to Cali.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

C & R visit

Skateland was really fun! We had a great group, almost 20 total. The kids were definitely getting better at skating by the time we left. I managed to stay upright the whole time! Everyone seemed to have fun so we may have to do it again after the holidays.

We went over to Cheesecake Factory afterwards for an eventful dinner. Torri got a drink spilled on her (a Cosmo or Strawberry martini!) and got the royal treatment after that, which really upset the other kids.

Monday, December 21, 2009

C & R visit

Today we went to the Brindley house so C & R could check it out. I wish the short sale would go through already--the property is not being maintained now. Afterwards, we went to Sweet Tomatoes for a late lunch or early dinner.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

C & R visit

Today, we just hung out. R and I went to the bookstore and picked up some whole milk at the grocery store. R seems to be having a hard time understanding why we are keeping Teka separate from C's dogs. He has that whole "let Roscoe tear her up, she'll learn" attitude. That is NOT going to help. She snapped at Baby through the kennel wires and growled at all of them. Time will tell.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

C & R visit

C & R arrived and we went to IHOP for breakfast. Then they went to bed since they drove all night. We made dinner plans with Grandma, but by the time I got everyone moving and ready, it was a pretty late dinner for her. We met at Uno's on Mill, except that it isn't there anymore, so we went to Macayo's. Of course, being a Saturday night, there was a live band (not Mexican music!) and some crazy college kids on the patio. It was a good dinner and nice time.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas spirit

Oh, the last day at work before vacation. Stress--I definitely didn't get everything done that needed to be. I have to let it go for a week until I return though.

We went to the CZ holiday party--A and D are great hosts. The gift exchange was kind of funny. I actually ended up stealing a gift that had already been stolen, so I was out of the running, but apparently the gift I got was very popular because some people couldn't STOP making jabs about taking it. It was a couple of nice dog toys and a bottle of Bailey's. Now I know what to put with my "dog related gift" to make it more popular next time!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Not nice people suck

I have been having a hectic, stressful couple of weeks at work (and not at work). I am feeling like I'm totally under water and have so much I want/need to get done. Every day, I have to decide on the most urgent/important things and do them. That kinda sucks because that means I'm just barely treading water, no where near catching up.

So I get to work this morning, and before I even get my makeup on (yes, I put my makeup on in the office while my computer is gearing up), I get a call from someone I have to be nice to and help who proceeds to get under my skin. We talked for less than 15 minutes but this person totally ruined my day. I was upset for hours afterwards. It really pisses me off that some people don't care how they treat others. You would think that this person would find out some time during their lifetime that they are being mean ALL the time. I am not kidding--ALWAYS. When people are mean to me, I TRY to think about maybe they are having a rough day or they have circumstances I don't know about. But when someone is ALWAYS mean to me, and everyone else (except the top guy, of course, the decision maker), I can't find a way to be non-judgmental. I kind of feel like a failure when I get this way.

Mean people suck.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Charitable donations for animal welfare


I got an email from Ode (which I love in general) that was soliciting donations to HIS. I was so annoyed that I sent an email to them and then followed up with one to my co-workers, who have been phenomenal in contributing food, etc for the doggie rescue holiday drive. Here's the gist:

During this giving time of year, I wanted to remind you, if you give to organizations that “help animals,” please consider where your donation is actually going. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), their related organization Humane Society International (HIS), and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) are NOT animal welfare groups. They are animal rights groups, meaning people give up their rights so animal can have theirs. They use their budgets primarily for political purposes, lobbying to change laws that generally do not need to be changed. Among other issues, if you want to see no working dogs (such as canine cops, service dogs, therapy dogs), these are the organizations you want to support! I understand their ads can be cute and cuddly or sad but do not be fooled.

If you want to give to organizations that HELP ANIMALS, give to organizations that work with animal owners, not against them, such as animal shelters, breed rescue organizations, and local agriculture support projects (usually international). Your local humane society (i.e. AZ Humane Society) DOES help animals. You can also support local no-kill rescues (such as HALO) or organizations that provide services from or to animals, such as Canine Cancer Foundation or Gabriel’s Angels (pet therapy for at-risk kids).

If you give to other organizations throughout the year, remember to do your due diligence. There are websites that can help such as http://www.charitynavigator.org/.

Resources:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

FB or BB (Facebook is Big Brother)

So a friend posts on FB:

Facebook, as of today, will automatically index all your info on Google, which allows everyone to view it. To change this option, go to Settings --> Privacy Settings --> Search --> then UN-CLICK the box that says 'Allow indexing'. Facebook kept this one quiet. Copy and paste onto your status for all your friends .


Then I read an article (http://www.nytimes.com/external/readwriteweb/2009/09/16/16readwriteweb-5-easy-steps-to-stay-safe-and-private-on-fac-6393.html?em) that explains five things you NEED to know on FB. I've already done a couple, like creating lists and changing privacy settings but I did the last one. Applications are gathering data, so I changed settings. I don't use many but everyone else does and this actually works for your FRIENDS' apps, not yours!

Watch out, ya'll, FB is going to be renamed BB (big brother).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Success Roadmap

At a conference, I picked up a free book and got a complimentary consultation for my success roadmap. The concept is a life planning type concept that is used for developing a financial planning business, so I thought I wouldn't get a whole lot from it, since I don't have my own business. So I explained to my consultant (Accountability coach--love that title--do any of my friends want it?) how I fit in my company. He agreed that I would not want their main service but we went through the roadmap process anyway for me so I can see if it would work with clients. I would say that it probably would; I thought it was similar to some of the holistic planning approaches we incorporate now.

As we went through the process, I realized that the thing that I find taking more of my mental time right now is my "Secret Garden" so he worked with me a little on what would have to happen to make that happen at the new house. While we defined some numbers and time frames for goals, I think I have already defined some of those, just not with such specificity.

I found it interesting that he had me make specific commitments for achieving some of my goals that I consider more ambiguous. I know that I want to make family and friends more of a priority but can't always figure out how to make it happen. Some of the blame has to go to my family and friends since most of them don't make the effort either. However, by the end of our session, he had me commit to 2 dates to see my grandma (this was easy as I was already planning a visit while C and R are visiting and then Christmas is right after that) as well as a set amount of time each month I will devote to being with friends and family. I have put it in my planner for each month's to-do-this month, so we'll see if this works! I need to do the same thing for things like working out, meditating/yoga, shopping for healthy food. Unfortunately, these are not the urgent things that take up my time! So I guess I have my mandate (resolution) for next year....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Music lessons Boost Brain Power

I played piano for about 8 years of my childhood. This explains so much!

For those who seriously practiced a musical instrument when they were young, the experience was more than just entertainment. Recent research shows a strong correlation between musical training for children and certain mental abilities.

We therefore hypothesize that musical training (but not necessarily passive listening to music) affects attention and memory, which provides a mechanism whereby musical training might lead to better learning across a number of domains," Trainor said.

http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,572551,00.html

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Debit card thieves get around PIN obstacle

This article talks about how debit cards are being used fraudulently:
This is the PIRG Consumer Fact sheet for ATM and Debit Cards:

I know they are long articles. Here is what you need to know and pass on:
--You have more liability with your debit card than credit card. The liability limit can be different, AND you can face charges, penalties and hassles if other transactions do not go through due to the missing money.
--You can get an ATM card instead of a debit card. When it expires, you may have to request another ATM card; otherwise, a debit card will be issued.
--Blocking can cause you to bounce checks or be refused transactions. Blocking occurs when a retailer blocks an expected or standard amount when you initiate a transaction, and then correct it later. (for example, you purchase $30 gas but they block $75 from your account.) This is a good reason to use credit rather than debit, or carry a little cash.
--As you know, never use your debit card online or over the phone. Also, do not use your debit card where it leaves your sight, such as a restaurant where the waiter takes the card.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Aquarium Water in the Garden


I ran across this on LinkedIn:
If you have an aquarium – don’t flush away the water when you clean! Instead, use it for your garden and plants.
As you siphon out fish waste and decaying food particles, you are also siphoning out large amounts of helpful bacteria along with all the trace nutrients all plants need to survive (Phosphorus, Nitrogen, Potassium, iron, etc.). Using this “fertilizer” water on your garden and houseplants is very beneficial, and can do wonders for your plants. Additionally, instead of flushing fish when they die, dig them into your garden soil for added fertilization.
Using fish byproducts is not a new concept--the Native Americans were adding fish to the soil when growing crops and taught us the “trick” of increased yields and food production. Today, many fish emulsion products are on the market, but if you have an aquarium, it’s the perfect local source.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Alemtuzemab Trial Six Month visit

First a visit to Dr M. He seemed okay with my walking this time (relative to last) but my balance was horrible. It's a close my eyes and stand type test and I could even tell I was swaying.

Then to Dr G. He showed me pictures of his Airedales and we discussed the "breakthrough" article I read. He said that there is a trial starting in Buffalo related to that surgery.

Then over to the Hope Center. R took a LOT of my blood, at least 6 tubes. (I wasn't watching, just saw him putting them in the container.) R said another guy wanted to come in to do the blood draw but he said no on the large volume. I gave him a little grief that he was going to bruise me, so I'll have to let him know that my arm did not fall off! He said they are testing lymphocytes, thyroid, platelets (that's every month), and some others I forgot.

I had to do all the quarterly tests with another guy--pegs and vanishing eye charts and math and walking. I guess I passed. :) The whole thing, from the time I left my office until I got home, was over 2 1/2 hours. It usually is closer to 3 hours but the doctors both got me in very quickly.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas trees

Real trees are greener than fake! We've had a real tree every year since moving into this house; this is the first year we won't have a tree at all. :(

So this article (http://www.livescience.com/environment/091210-christmas-tree-green.html) discusses the pros of a live trees for Christmas. Real trees are carbon-neutral, generally grown on tree farms, relatively close to where they are purchased, and mulched after being picked up. The only pro to artificial trees is convenience. The article also pointed out that petroleum is used to manufacture artificial trees, which are then shipped from China, and finally end up in landfills.

And real trees smell so lovely! I might have to go by the tree lot and get some cut off branches to hold me over!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cancer From the Kitchen?

NY Times Op-Ed piece (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/06/opinion/06kristof.html?_r=5&em) poses the question "What if breast cancer in the United States has less to do with insurance or mammograms and more to do with contaminants in our water or air -- or in certain plastic containers in our kitchens?" The author attended a symposium where the link between illnesses and common chemicals. There are some interesting stats but the bottom line is "avoid microwaving food in plastic or putting plastics in the dishwasher, because heat may cause chemicals to leach out. And the symposium handed out a reminder card listing "safer plastics" as those marked (usually at the bottom of a container) 1, 2, 4 or 5. It suggests that the "plastics to avoid"are those numbered 3, 6 and 7 (unless they are also marked "BPA-free?)."

I see another item on my to-do list! I checked my Nalgene BPA-free bottle and it does have a 7, but also says BPA-free. I'm sure I have plenty of items that can go, though!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Find your joy

It rained all day today, so I didn't walk at lunchtime. My office building is getting a new roof and solar panels; unfortunate timing--we had indoor rain today. :(

The good news is that it is snowing up north. M and his dad are heading back up for some elk. Christie had a snow day today, too.


"simply being aware of what is happening right now, without wishing it were different...a little less multitasking and a little more smelling the roses."

Lighten up. (smile!)
Get moving. (exercise, yoga, movement--get out of your head)
Look for a joy buddy. (steer clear of complainers)
Practice being happy. (consciously focus on feeling joy--giving compliments, laughing)
Do a song or dance (really). (singing will keep the funk away, dancing works too!)
Be very still. (meditate or pray) appreciate the moment and your life
Don't let $$ worries steal your joys. Instead of just lamenting, do something about it--assert control over finances.
Share your joy!

So now it is really coming down. Cassi is not a fan of the thunder. I hope she lets me get some sleep!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

USDAA Agility Trial

Day 2 started with leash running for Gamblers. I think my girls would have done this gamble--it was a jump to a tunnel, then the tire and last jump. I could have entered but I have decided to limit my entries to 2 per dog per day, and I wanted to run Standard and Jumpers. Mike was able to attend and film my runs. I found out that Teka actually got a 3rd place in the Snookers runs at the end of yesterday, although she did not qualify due to time. One of the (three) photographers got a couple of good photos of Cassi yesterday. He printed them in a collage type of page, for a total of 4 photos with her name. One was her down on the table and one showed how she kicks the tire with her back feet, so I got the page from him, although I don't usually buy the photos, since I have my own photographer!

Teka's Standard run was disappointing. She was distracted and took a lot of coaxing through the weaves and then poo'd on course. (Elimination=elimination!)

Cassi's Standard run was better; she got 4th place but she did not qualify due to time. She took several tries to get the weaves and did a slow (not her worst ever!) teeter. She did manage to get the table this time when I gave her a big "EASY" on the way.

Teka's Jumpers run was not bad, but she lost time when she was distracted by the photographer. However, I was pleased with her run because she did manage to continue coming back to me as she got distracted. She got her "switch" too.

Cassi's Jumpers was good, and would have been faster with another handler. :) She really was focused and trying to do what I asked so I ended the day very happy. She actually got both a Q (qualifying score) and a 3rd place. When we got home, Mike confirmed that was her 3rd Jumpers P1 Q, so that was her titling run. Great way to end the weekend!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

USDAA Agility Trial

It was cold and windy today. Mostly cold--I kept my long sleeve Tshirt and sweatshirt on most of the day, plus gloves. Cassi and Teka wore their sweaters, except when they were warming up and running their agility runs.

We had Standard course first. Cassi did pretty well actually, but we did not qualify. She completed the (12) weaves but popped out a couple of times and had to go back in--actually, the first time she had to restart because I wasn't sure where she popped out. She got a table fault (on, then off, then back on), then hit the wrong end of the tunnel. She ended with a bang--a fast teeter and a tire without any hesitation. Whoo-hoo.

Teka started out pretty well. She popped out of the weaves too but completed them. We've been working on switch and I think she's starting to get it. She booked it across the dog walk--unfortunately, I didn't slow her down and she missed the contact, and then she flew onto and off of the table for a table fault. I ended up on the "wrong" side and should have just gone with it but tried to rear cross the teeter--big mistake. Teka was already on it and it ended up hitting me. Just barely, but still, I touched the equipment--big no-no, and everyone thought it hit my leg and hand pretty hard but really it grazed my hand and knee. Teka also finished with the tire. I think she had a lot of fun. She is really fast and needs a new handler!

I ran leashes for Steeplechase which had a great configuration for something I'd like to set up for the girls to practice. There were weaves that headed into a tunnel and then back out into the weaves. Also, there was a four jump serpentine that headed into a broad jump and ended with a perpendicular jump.

We ran Snooker at the end of the day. I'm still trying to get the rules on this one, so I actually messed up both of my dogs' runs. The basics are that each obstacle has a flag with a number. The red flags are numbered 1, and for this course there were 3 red flags, then a 2 (jump), 3 (chute), 4 (tire), 5 a and b (winged jump and tunnel combo), 6 a b and c (winged jumps combo), and 7 (weaves). The opening is completed by doing a 1, any obstacle, a 1, any obstacle, a 1, any obstacle. The judge said completing the 1 is like getting the key to do the next thing; you can't do any obstacle without the 1 first. After the opening is done, the closing is the 2-7 in order. After the 7, you still have to cross the finish line to stop the timer. (Several people missed that and one disqualified herself by touching her dog thinking she was done but she hadn't gone across the finish yet.)

Cassi's run, we did the 1 jump, 2 jump, 1 jump, 5 tunnel and jump, then i was planning to go to the other 1 jump, but as we were passing the tire, Cassi took it. Since she hadn't yet done another 1 jump, we were done. I was disappointed because it didn't even occur to me that she might take that tire as she doesn't like the tire. And she did it fabulously! So I told her how great she did anyway since it was my gault!

Teka's run, I was going to do essentially the same thing. We did the 1 jump, 2 jump, 1 jump, then headed to the 5 tunnel and jump. She went past the tunnel so, since the 5 was bidirectional, I had her go over the jump but then she went in the wrong end of the tunnel. So I had her re-do the jump and tunnel. Oops--I guess we were supposed to do another 1 before trying again. Aargh!

I think I am going to skip Snookers for a while. I know that a lot of people think that Snooker is a fun game because you kind of make up your own course and come up with your own strategy, but I kind of prefer knowing what I have to do. I like the structure! Maybe I'll get it eventually but I think my brain just doesn't work that way! When I was looking at the entry form, I knew I would do Standard on Saturday, but for my second choice, it was Pairs or Snooker, so I took Snooker. I think I might try Pairs next time. I don't have to find someone--they do a draw unless you request to be paired (or not) with someone specific.

Oh, the other thing was that I talked to Billie about her Control Unleashed group. Two different people mentioned it to me recently when I was complaining about my problem child. :) It's more like a study group or book club with practice. I need to get and read the book and then I can attend as often or as little as I'd like. It sounds pretty promising--we'll see.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Environmental email

Not new, but hilarious

http://www.rumblestrip.org/2007/03/29/green-signature-drafts/

And the comments were pretty good too. What's up with Bovine printer toner though?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Time management

My boss sent an article "Don't have time to read this? Read this" so I read it and thought, hey, I probably should have been doing something else instead of reading this! The article talked about three methods for time management.

Getting Things Done: Uses a weekly "mind sweep." Write down all the stuff I should be doing, want to do or dream of doing. Sort it all and create new files, action lists, calendar items or reminders based on what is needed next.

Pomodoro technique: Uses a tomato-shaped timer. Start each day by making a log of things to do, then tackle each in 25-minute intervals called Pomodoros. When a Pomodoro is over, mark an X on the log next to the item being worked on, then take a refreshing 3- to 5-minute break. Nothing must be allowed to interrupt a Pomodoro.

FranklinCovey's Focus: Recommends "sharpening the saw," a metaphor for setting aside time to take care of your health so you can work (and play) with more vigor. Uses a four-quadrant "time matrix," helps users distinguish among tasks based upon whether they are truly urgent and important; important but not urgent; urgent but not important; or neither. Focus aims to break users' "urgency addiction," the habit of rushing around needlessly.

Many commentators and the author felt that a combination of techniques will work as it depends on what works for each person.

Comments:

Make three priorities each day that have to be accomplished. (I use this idea!)

Check out http://www.flylady.com for a decluttering version of the Pomodoro technique. (I have the flylady timer and really like a lot of the flylady information. The emails were overwhelming though!)

And a few websites to check out:

http://www.getorganizedwizard.com/
http://orgmode.org/
To complain about a shortage of time is like a fish in the sea complaining that it has a shortage of water. http://www.markforster.net/do-it-tomorrow/

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Agility class and stuff

Sunday I set up the weave poles and started "weaving for breakfast" with the girls. Cassi is a bit spaztastic but knows what she's supposed to do, so I've added a hoop for her. Unfortunately, I don't have a frame for it, so she's having a bit of fun with running around it while I'm holding it and trying to get her through it! Teka is really sporadic on the weaves. She's not getting the entry concept yet and I may have to backtrack and try the two by two again.

Monday I stopped by Travel Hounds and tried on several pairs of her new agility tennis shoes, including some mens. I got a pair--good traction, good fit, adjustable inserts, and she gave me a discount since I was going to buy them when she had them on special but she didn't have my size. I also realized that she carries my dog food, kibble and frozen raw. (I'm going to have to find somewhere not as far north as Pet Food Depot if we move out west.) I'm going to wear them for a couple of lunchtime walks this week to prepare for this weekend. Oh, she also told me that she may be able to rent a teeter out to me and see if I really need to buy it. I'm still thinking of buying the frame online and using the board M made for me already.

Tuesday I received my running order for the trial this weekend. I think Teka's going to get bumped up to Cassi's jump height when they measure her, but Cassi's in the middle of her group and there seem to be a lot entered in that height, so I think that will be okay. Since I have to be there early to get Teka measured, I think I'm going to volunteer for the first ring both days.

And tonight was class. We worked on pairs courses--a first for me. It actually went really well. Teka was not too interested in the other dog and did everything pretty well except the weaves. Cassi did a fast teeter! (a little slower the second time) There's hope for them this weekend, I hope!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Post Thanksgiving Kisses Diet

For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything thy goodness sends. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I've been catching up on my Denim Diet Good Life Blog (http://blog.kamigray.com/) and ran across a lot of new stuff since I was last on. I saved a few links to my Listography: Vee.

Check out the health benefits of kissing at http://www.bestkisses.com/kisses-for-health.html.
  • Longer life.
  • Have better self-esteem.
  • Increase metabolic rate.
  • Relieve stress and tension.
  • Prevent baggy cheeks.
  • Stabilize cardiovascular activity; decrease blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Suffer less infections.
  • Increase natural antibiotics.
  • Reduces anxiety.
  • Relieve pain.
That's a healthy life style I can take seriously!

BTW, as I went back to the previous month's posts, I found a couple of soda related entries. One talked about Pepsi's UK campaign encouraging more water and exercise. What's their angle--getting out in front of Coke for the inevitable? Another post talked about a prison switching from soda to tea. I'm a fan of the soda reduction diet!

Organic

Ode's May edition was their Organic Top 20: http://www.odemagazine.com/doc/63/2009-organic-top-20/?utm_source=Ode+Newsletters&utm_campaign=fde97d89ea-Weekly_Newsletter_051909&utm_medium=email

Brands that I already love and use:
Cascadian Farms (their list was for fruit spreads--I like their frozen produce)
Nature's Path (they listed granola--I like some of their flake cereals)

Would like to try:

Turtle Mountain coconut milk ice cream

EO Products cosmetics Sanitizing Hand wipes

Diva International menstrual cup

LUSH solid shampoo (Yeah, no bottle, and made in Canada)

Bonterra Vineyards wines


Monday, November 30, 2009

MS Breakthrough?

Article in a Canadian publication about a Englishman whose wife was diagnosed with MS. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/researchers-labour-of-love-leads-to-ms-breakthrough/article1372414/

Dr. Zamboni's research suggests that MS is not, as widely believed, an autoimmune condition, but a vascular disease. Iron as a possible cause of MS...the heavy metal can cause inflammation and cell death, hallmarks of the disease. Those who have MS have significant blockages and iron deposits, while those who do not have MS have neither iron buildup nor blocked arteries.


W5 DOCUMENTARY

Watch W5's documentary on the groundbreaking new treatment for multiple sclerosis, which includes the first time the liberation surgery was filmed. It is available on the Web at www.W5.ctv.ca.

NARCOMS Update

I completed my NARCOMS Fall Update. From the NARCOMS website:
Benefits of Participation
  • You are helping to provide the information needed to learn about the variations of MS in a very large group of patients and to monitor the progression of the disease
  • You help us monitor the effects of various treatments. Your information may be providing ideas for future research
  • You will be receiving the printed version of the MSQR free of charge
  • You will be informed of recent studies and their results
  • You will be notified of clinical trials in which you may be eligible to participate
The current newsletter is at http://www.narcoms.org/files/NARCOMS_Newsletter_1_Oct0509.pdf, which includes some information on Vitamin D:

The MS Association had this to say about Vitamin D3:

  • An inverse relationship appears to exist between vitamin D3 status and the probability of developing MS. Vitamin D3 supplementation may be a possible therapy in MS.
  • A Phase I/II trial of high-dose oral vitamin D3 with calcium trial showed that high-dose Vitamin D3 - 10,000 IU/day or higher - is safe and tolerable, with some evidence of clinical improvement. More data are needed.

Vitamin D: What you need to know

I ran across this article through a newsletter--otherwise, I wouldn't have been on this site! The article is very detailed: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-frank-lipman/vitamin-d-what-you-need-t_b_308973.html?utm_source=Goop+Newsletter&utm_campaign=cbcfd4a346-Goop55_11_05_2009&utm_medium=email

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone, not a vitamin, has anti-inflammatory effects and bolsters the immune system.

The only 2 reliable sources of vitamin D are the sun and D3 supplements. There is an old Italian saying "Where the sun does not go the doctor does." Always avoid sunburn. Remember to take antioxidants when you sit in the sun, as these can help prevent skin cells from sun damage.


Take vitamin D3, (cholecalciferol) the active form of vitamin D. Do not take vitamin D2 as it is not as biologically active nor as effective, and nor as safe as vitamin D3.

Here are some guidelines

If your blood level is above 45ng/ml and for maintenance, I recommend 2,000-4,000 IU daily.

If your blood level is 30-45 ng/ml, I recommend you correct it with 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day for 3 months under a doctor's supervision and then recheck your blood levels.

If your blood level is less than 30 ng/ml, I recommend you correct it with 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day under a doctor's supervision and then recheck your blood levels after 3 months. It takes a good 6 months usually to optimize your vitamin D levels if you're deficient. Once this occurs, you can lower the dose to the maintenance dose of 2,000 - 4,000 IU a day.

if you are taking 5,000 IU or more daily, you should have your blood levels monitored approximately every 3 months.

The only blood test that can diagnose vitamin D deficiency is a 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (25 OH vitamin D). The current ranges for "normal" are 20 to 55 ng/ml. These are much too low! The ideal range for optimal health is 50-80 ng/ml.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Friends with kids

I (and my life partner!) decided to NOT have kids. There are many reasons for this and I'm not going into them here and now. Unfortunately, our decision has caused a lot of turmoil for a lot of people over the years. Many have tried to change our minds or make constant comments to damage my self-esteem. (I know that wasn't the primary intent, but thanks anyway--great way to show friendship or family love.)

The last time I scrapbooked with two of my girlfriends, they gave me photos of the kids. I started thinking about it, and we hardly ever see or hang out with the kids anymore. But we hang out with our friends (the parents) pretty often. Okay, not often enough, but pretty often anyway. I mentioned to M that I had some concern that our friends think we don't like their kids. They're at the fun ages, so I wouldn't mind being around them more. M thought that the friends might be concerned about my health. I'm good around smaller groups of kids; I just seem to get sick around the gatherings, like the birthday parties with LOTS of germ incubators, I mean kids.

Then we realized that we are probably just getting our friends when they have sitters, so they just have other plans for us. I hope that is the case and they don't all really think we hate kids. I guess only time will tell. Maybe we'll have to go out of our way to include the kids in some things at the new house. (a few at a time?! Kids are exhausting!)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Green Porno

What an odd website. My Green Porno Name is Ocean Glider. Mike's is Ollie Owlfly.

http://www.sundancechannel.com/greenporno/

Friday, November 27, 2009

Truwhip

I stopped buying Cool Whip because it contains high fructose corn syrup. The Rediwhip in a can does not but it's not the same. Earlier this week, I was at Albertson's and they had another brand, so I checked it out and no HFCS. Score! But how will it taste?

I also picked up a Sunshine Lemon Cake mix (I think at F&E) about a month ago because my grandma likes lemony desserts. So I made the cake after I finished making cookies (for grandpa!) Thanksgiving morning but I didn't have time for it to cool quite enough for frosting, so I didn't make the frosting, I just used powdered sugar.

We went to my grandparents and left a little cookies and cake for them to enjoy later. While we were there, I stuffed myself with dessert--little pieces of chocolate pie and pumpkin pie with RediWhip, lemon meringue pie, cheesecake brownie, cherry cheesecake--yum. Then we went over to Joe's and the kids had cookies and cake. After watching them touch the cookies, I left the rest with some cake when we left. :) There was a little cake that had stayed covered with plastic wrap the whole time, so I took that piece home.

Tonight, I decided to have part of my lemon cake, and I remembered I had the Truwhip, so I had some. OMG, way better than Cool Whip. I was really surprised. It was more like the texture of whipped cream when I make it myself. I'm shocked that HFCS made that much of a difference. Maybe there were some other ingredients that were different too, but wow, I hope this product stays on the market. Yum!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

BPA

A NY Times article reports "a chemical called bisphenol A, or BPA...is a synthetic estrogen that United States factories now use in everything from plastics to epoxies to the tune of six pounds per American per year. That's a lot of estrogen. More than 92 percent of Americans have BPA in their urine...." BPA can be found in canned foods and beverages, likely from the packaging.

Best quote: "When you have 92 percent of the American population exposed to a chemical, this is not one where you want to be wrong," said Dr. Ted Schettler of the Science and Environmental Health Network. "Are we going to quibble over individual rodent studies, or are we going to act?"

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/08/opinion/08kristof.html

My favorite water bottle (as I mentioned on a LinkedIn comment discussing "Made in USA" patriotism) is the Nalgene BPA free plastic bottle. It has a large mouth so you can put ice in it, and it is clear enough that you can fill it from the fridge dispenser without overflowing. Bonus is that it IS made in the USA.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

House update

I got an email stating that the lender has received the short sale package, ordered the BPO, and was assigned to a negotiator as of 11/20. The email also stated that it takes 60 days to complete a short sale, so while they stated follow up will happen 12/09, I would guess that, at best, we're looking at 1/20 before we start on the 30 day mortgage close on our end. Sounds like things are moving forward!

So, that means Christmas party in current house (probably 12/26 for those who want to know, but we may not unpack our Christmas stuff since I'm already trying to pack up other stuff, and did I mention the theme of the Christmas party will be "don't bring alcohol so we can drink what's here instead of moving it"). Then first phase move (including cats and dogs and all related stuff as well as anything not needed for staging) maybe end of February (perhaps a little Mardi Gras party for our helpers?). Then second stage move when our current house sells, with a housewarming party shortly thereafter. I've got to start updating my wishlist. :) Then multiple yard warming parties as it gets done it phases--it is over an acre, so it's unlikely to be done all at once but it would be great to have a pool in before the summer.

I'm trying to NOT be SUPER excited but my Realtor said the email was a good sign.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Good service Part II

Same as Part I, some is over the top or goofy, but the general idea is excellent. Here's my top ten: (yes, I consolidated some!)

Do not make people wait or beg for a condiment. Do not bring judgment with the ketchup....Or whatever condiment is requested.

Do not fill the water glass (or coffee cup) every two minutes, or after each sip. You’ll make people nervous. Do not let a glass sit empty for too long.

Never blame the chef or the busboy or the hostess or the weather for anything that goes wrong. Just make it right.

Specials, spoken and printed, should always have prices.

Do not bring soup without a spoon. Few things are more frustrating than a bowl of hot soup with no spoon.

Do not ask if someone is finished when others are still eating that course. Do not ask if a guest is finished the very second the guest is finished. Let guests digest, savor, reflect.

Do not ask, “Are you still working on that?” Dining is not work — until questions like this are asked.

Do not stop your excellent service after the check is presented or paid.

Do not ask if a guest needs change. Just bring the change.

Do not disappear. Do not show frustration. Your only mission is to serve. Be patient. It is not easy.

http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/05/one-hundred-things-restaurant-staffers-should-never-do-part-2/

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mothers

This weekend, R took us to the charity event for the East Valley Boys and Girls Club at the Gila River Wild Horse Pass Resort. We all got something in either the silent auction or live auction. I'm excited to use the passes we won.

One of the speakers was a young lady named Precious. She got (and deserved) a standing ovation. I know it's not all about me (well, on my blog it is!), but she made a comment about her mom doing what was best for her kids, like all mothers do. I remember feeling really ticked off about that comment, not at her, but at my mom. I can think of MANY times that she chose to do what was NOT in her kids' best interests. (My surrogate "moms"--I lived with her mom and grandma--weren't any better.) I try to be forgiving and she's obviously made her peace with God, but I still find it amazing that people take it for granted that parents do what is best for their kids. I don't generally have regrets--I think things happen for a reason, even if I can't see it immediately--but I do wonder how different my life would be if my mom (and SOME other family members) had made different choices. I've lived my life overcoming the obstacles my family put in my way. I know that I can't change what others do, only my reactions, but really, what would it be like to have a family that helped overcome obstacles? Did I really have to go through all those things to be the person I am today? Couldn't I have skipped some of it?!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Music and exercise

Scientific selection of songs for runners (yes, really!)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33418663/ns/health-fitness/?utm_source=Ode+Newsletters&utm_campaign=060488a1fb-good-news-weekly-rss&utm_medium=email

Free download at run to the beat:
http://www.runtothebeat.co.uk/music/free-album-download
Other songs listed under genre

Maybe M and R can get it all on their Droids and start running together. Or not.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ten Things You Can Do to Reduce Incarceration

Written by one of my (many) favorite authors, Walter Mosley, an article suggesting somewhat concrete ways to make a difference. I don't think I can say it any better so here are the excerpts:

Do your jury duty. If you are a juror in a non-violent drug case, vote not guilty. Jury nullification--an acquittal based on principle--is perfectly legal. The framers intended jurors to be a check on unjust prosecutions and bad laws.

Pay a kid to graduate. A report by the RAND Corporation found that paying students to finish high school prevented more crime than the toughest sentencing laws. Dropping out of school creates a high risk of ending up in jail. Work with your community group or place of worship to create a program to pay at-risk students to graduate from high school.

Come out of the closet about your drug use. War on drugs propaganda says users are bad people. Let your fellow citizens know the real face of the American drug user. Don't be scared.

Hire a formerly incarcerated person. Every year about 600,000 people get out of jail. The odds are against their landing a job, which is a huge factor in why more than half will be re-arrested within a year. Go to Hired Network.

Vote for politicians who are smart on crime. Tougher sentences aren't the answer. In the US, criminal sentences are twice as long as those in England, three times those in Canada and five to ten times those in France. And yet crime rates in US cities are higher than in those nations.

Just say no to the police. When cops request your consent to pat you down, peek inside your backpack or purse or search your car, you have the right to decline. When they have a warrant or other legal cause to search, like at an airport, they don't have to ask. Too many Americans--especially in communities of color--are scared to death of the police.

Don't be a professional snitch. If you have information about a violent or property crime, call the police. Witnessing is fine. But snitches get paid either in cash or a break in their own prosecution for tattling. They make untrustworthy witnesses. Snitches are responsible for almost half the wrongful convictions of people who were later found to be innocent.

Talk up the trades. Retail drug selling pays about as much as working at McDonald's. As the book Freakonomics pointed out, that's why most drug dealers live with their moms. Many dealers would prefer a more lucrative--and safer--line of work. People who don't see themselves as "college material" and might otherwise end up on the street should be encouraged to get training for a blue collar trade.

There were a couple more points that I'm not sure I agreed with but may be valid. And Freakonomics was a great read!

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20091116/ten_things?utm_source=Ode+Newsletters&utm_campaign=060488a1fb-good-news-weekly-rss&utm_medium=email

Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking night with my girls (all three of us) and I'm so close to finishing my 2008 family book, I can't stand it! Soon though... Dinner worked out awesome but I forgot about dessert and couldn't convince Mike to do a DQ run for us. :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Environmentalism co-opted by consumerism

Do these "green" tip lists actually reduce the likelihood of making the big changes needed to help our planet? I don't think so...

"Examining 2,219 green products throughout North America between November 2008 and January 2009, TerraChoice also found that 98 percent of them weren't as green as they let on; rather, green claims came with hidden trade offs, lacked proof, were irrelevant, or in the case of something like organic cigarettes were simply distracting from the harm created by the overall product type."

"Green consumerism runs the risk of giving consumers a false sense of accomplishment, reducing the chance of further change. It deludes us into thinking we're going to shop our way into sustainability. What everyone can agree on is that solving the current problems isn't necessarily about introducing more green products. Rather, the answer may be to think differently, look at things through a green lens, simplify life and consume less."

http://www.ucobserver.org/ethics/2009/11/green_enough/?utm_source=Ode+Newsletters&utm_campaign=060488a1fb-good-news-weekly-rss&utm_medium=email

Agility Class

Yep, went to class. Had fun. Tired. No class next week. Kind of relieved. But I should really work with the girls at home...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

(Chocolate) Milk does a body good

I've taken to drinking organic chocolate 1% milk on occasion now that I don't drink soda. Since I started drinking my "milk box" I've read that chocolate milk is an excellent drink after working out. (I usually drink light chocolate soy milk then, out of the carton, since no one else I know drinks it and it's easier!)

The New York Times had an article about drinking chocolate milk to reduce inflammation. The study used cocoa powder and skim milk and found that participants "had significantly lower levels of several inflammatory biomarkers, though some markers of cellular inflammation remained unchanged. Participants also had significantly higher levels of good HDL cholesterol." I'm interested to hear what the MS community thinks about using chocolate milk to reduce inflammation.

Can chewing gum help you lose weight?

An article in the Washington Post talks about the idea of chewing gum as a distraction to other eating. "Studies so far suggest that chewing gum may help reduce cravings, particularly for sweet snacks, and spur people to cut their daily intake by about 50 calories. The combined effects of gum-chewing on weight management -- the reduced calorie intake, increased calorie burning and distraction from potentially fattening foods....suggests that small changes, such as consuming 100 fewer calories per day, can curb weight gain among overweight and obese people and that such changes are easy for most people to sustain. In light of such a "small changes" approach, maybe popping a stick of gum in your mouth now and then is a good idea. Especially if it takes the place of a Snickers bar."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/10/AR2009111001029.html

I don't know when sugar-free gum, at 5 calories rather than 10 for sugar gum, became the norm, but I've looked everywhere and the only gum I've found that doesn't have aspartame or Xylitol is Glee, available at Sprouts. I agree with the author of this related article--she doesn't care for artificial sweeteners and wants to know why those of us preferring traditional gum are in the minority.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/checkup/2009/11/o_for_a_stick_of_sugary_gum.html?sid=ST2009111005199

Denver

Last day in Denver: A and I were going to go to the US Mint, but traffic was crazy (due to residual snow) so we went the other direction to Golden after having breakfast at Toast where you can get a pancake flight. We visited a Quilt Museum and the Coors Brewery. While both were cool, I actually really like the Quilt Museum more. We had a tour guide walk us through and I got my grandma a gift. After the brewery tour (wow, Coors is gross, even when it's free), it was off to the airport. I did not do nearly enough reading on this trip. And I'm coming back with a LOT of freebies, so I'm glad I didn't originally fully pack my bags!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Denver

Last day of the conference and then A picked me up for our girl time together. After we visited her dog and crazy cat, we headed over to the aquarium, which was pretty cool, but I have to say, I've never seen a tiger at an aquarium. It did have Spongebob out front under snow. :) Then we met up with S and another guy they work with for dinner. Hopefully I didn't embarrass my DH in his absence!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Denver

I was stuck inside most of the day for my conference (yes, on a Saturday) but made it out for dinner with a couple of my group members from Phoenix, as well as the young lady in charge of the conference, and three gentlemen including a SUPER BRILLIANT guy who speaks regularly on different financial topics. He is slightly intimidating (to me) as he seems to know A LOT about A LOT and he is pretty young and savvy, and on top of it all, he's pretty down to earth. Anyway, we had fun with our wine flights and then took photos of the Christmas tree outside Bloom while it was snowing.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Denver

I made it to Denver with 3 of my FPA Board members (the executive director arrived yesterday) and it was pretty uneventful, except the lady next to me on the airplane reminded me how much I love Phoenix. It was her first time visiting Phoenix; her daughter was in town for the International Green Show thing. Anyway, we're here and I hope I am doing okay and not embarrassing anyone. (like me) :P

I found out on the car trip to lunch and the hotel with my Phoenix group that one of the ladies is very interested in permaculture and is going to provide a local resource for me. She explained that they have experts in composting, chickens, and which varieties of plants will grow well in Phoenix. (Like which apple trees, since most won't grow here.)

BTW, today is my three year anniversary at KCA. Whoo-hoo!

Health care

NY Times article about Dutch Health Care Minister's observations on the US health care system, overhauls being made to the Dutch system, and things going well in their system that the US should consider http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/10/health/10conv.html He feels that Holland's system does not ration or budget care and is visiting Mayo Clinic as a leader in medicine; he felt innovation should be encouraged by the system by providing incentives to meet the demands of supplying labor (doctors and nurses.)

The article states that nearly 40 percent of the nation's population gets care from Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans Affairs, all of which have significant restrictions on the choices available to patients. (My dad, a Vet, would definitely agree with that!)

According to the article, in the Netherlands, everyone chooses from a list of 10 or so insurers who offer a standardized health plan that can be enriched with other options. Those who cannot afford the premiums are given subsidies; premiums are based on the benefits offered, not on a person's age, health status or sex.

So what can be done? Suggestions include creating quality indicators based on medical process and patient's outcomes as well as electronic medical records for coordinated, coherent care. Hmmm. Not sure this isn't all being talked about between me and my Canadian clients. We've already determined that we can solve the world's problems, if only someone would listen! :P

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Agility Class

Too busy to blog but went to class!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

I'm thankful for Veteran's Day (Remembrance Day for the Canadians, eh) and having many freedoms thanks to our military heroes, including my dad and sister (Marines) and grandpa and SIL's brother (Navy), among many others I know and love! Remember our fallen heroes when you let your freedoms slip away by not voting or not being educated before voting. Just because you don't want it, doesn't mean someone else shouldn't have the choice--you don't have the right to take away someone else's freedom, whether it's religion, guns, animal ownership, etc...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Power Saver and Going Green

I don't understand how this works, but the EEF Residential Power Saver unit claims to reduce energy use bills by 20-25% with a $300-400 investment. From their website:

The basic principle behind these units is as follows:

Inductive loads such as electric motors, pumps and compressors kick back unusable energy into the power system
This unusable energy materializes as heat build-up in appliances, noise on transistor radios and cordless phones, etc
The power save units contain energy saving capacitors that absorb this unusable energy and recycle it as usable electricity that can be used by electrical appliances, thereby reducing the energy demand from the power company
This process can reduce your usage and therefore your electrical bill by as much as 25%*.

http://www.greenertomorrownow.com/residential.html

I also ran across this website: http://www.growandmake.com/grow-and-make-tv where you can watch "weekly green living episodes."