Is the economy in trouble?

A comment on CNN's retail review says that sales have gone up, just not much. It's the growth, the more-than-last -year numbers that keep retailers in business. Their costs go up, just like ours.

I went to the CNN link, but I'm having trouble with my webbrowser today, so I wasn't able to copy the addresses.

One story on CNN Money, said that FAO Inc is closing one quarter of their stores because the sales just haven't been there. Ouch.

Another said that mortgage rates are down to 5.16. Drats. I refinanced at 5.375. But, the site also said that even though rates are down, the number of mortgage applications hasn't gone up much. I guess everyone, like me, has already refinanced, figuring they couldn't possibly go lower.

Pregant Midge

I am waffling on my view of pregnant Midge, Barbie's married friend.

I think it can be a great idea for young girls. It lets them have a baby with a mom, who has a wedding ring on.

But older girls' parents at Wal-Mart said it was promoting teen pregnancy. (Barbie's over 40, but she doesn't look it.) So Wal-Mart pulled the doll.

Hmmm.

Day 25 BFL

Body for lifeis a health challenge wherein which, for 12 weeks, you eat well six days a week and work out, alternating aerobics with weights, six days a week. You get one free day.

The program is fairly simple, see “Getting a hot body” in an earlier blog entry for a more in-depth description.

I am on day 25 of 84.

Today was an aerobics day. I turned on the alarm and got my hubby out of bed to go for his early morning bike ride. However, since he doesn't ride with me and I didn't go to bed till 2:30, I went back to sleep. When I got up, I went on my bike ride. 6.6 miles in about 40 minutes.

I was very slow today. I seem to be running on low energy. I feel like what I really need to do is take a nap, but I don't want to. Sleeping too much is bad for your body, too.

I was talking to my parents yesterday about BFL and told them that right now I have a hard time eating all I am supposed to. It is amazing to me that when I ate mostly (95%) carbs, I was hungry and eating all the time. Now when I have balanced carbs and protein (40% each), I am not hungry. I'm so not hungry that I have to be careful not to undereat.

If you undereat or overexercise, or both, you don't get in better shape, either.

Today I've had Mexican steak leftovers and turkey leftovers. Also some rice and some pineapples.

I got on the scale this morning. It said I'd lost 5 pounds since I started. That sounds good, right? But it also said that I'd lost three pounds of muscle since I started. I find that very frustrating. What happened? Why is it doing that?

My husband, genius that he is, says that it's water or whatever when I tell him things like this. Ofentimes it is. However, I wish the scale were more even, that my weight was more predictable.

The good thing is that, though I didn't measure today, I have lost 3.25 inches on this challenge in the first three weeks. That should mean that I'm not losing muscle but fat. I'm looking forward to measuring on Saturday.

I'm also looking forward to Saturday as my free day this week. I have FAT plans. I want a peanut butter sandwich with milk. I want a burger from Burger King, with a soda and fries. I want a piece of French Silk Pie.

We were talking with my folks yesterday and told them that you don't really end up eating all you've craved all week. It would probably make you sick. However, I have had cravings for these things consistently for a while and since I have the pie in the freezer, I might actually be able to manage to get a piece this week.

Getting a hot body

This is one of my goals. I want to have a hot body, clothed or naked.

If you read “Cleavage,” you already know I have the breasts for it. But, though I wear a size ten, which is an average size, I am still carrying excess fat.

I am carrying a lot less of it than I used to.

For the past nine months I have been weight lifting and doing cardio on a modified BFL program. Body-for-Life is the program, challenge, and website which Bill Phillips and his supplement company operate. Body for life

If you go to the website you can find training tips, champion tips, chats, and great motivational pictures.

Basically, very basically, BFL calls for eating equal carbs and proteins, weight lifting three days a week, and doing aerobics three days a week. It doesn't require calorie counting, but asks you to eat portion sizes: a closed fist for fluffy stuff, an open palm for flat stuff. It's a very livable program. Something you could do for life, and I intend to do basically that.

BFL also has a challenge. Take before pictures. Do their program for only 12 weeks. Take after pictures. See how much you've changed. (The people who send in their stuff and make big changes and express themselves well become Champions. Which means money in their pocket.)

I thought the whole thing was a fraud. There's no way those people were losing as much as they said. Not in 12 weeks. Not unless they'd only been fat for twelve weeks.

But my hubby said, “What have we got to lose? Except fat.”

I mostly did it to prove he was wrong.

He wasn't.

I don't look like the before and after pictures on the website. At least, not yet. I didn't lose 35 or 40 pounds in 12 weeks like some of these women did. But I lost 14 inches. I was a lot sexier and I was a lot healthier.

That was the first time. I've just started my fourth challenge. I'm on Day 11 of 84 days. I am hoping that this one will get me to my goal weight. But even if it doesn't, at least I'm going in the right direction.

I've modified the program because I tend to eat too much. So I do count my calories. And I tend to be a couch potato, so I do aerobics at least five times a week. But lots of people got their great results doing pure BFL.

So, if you're tired of the flab, get with the program.

One hot body attracts another.

My hair

My brother was here for the holidays.

I turned to my boys, ages 10 and 11, and said, “See Uncle's hair? That's what color your mommy's hair really is, with more gray.” I don't know if they were amazed or astonished.

I've been dying my hair for fourteen years now. It's been red, mostly, all their lives.

I've thought about letting it go back to it's natural color, but my beautician says, “Don't. The whole top of your head is gray now.” Gray is a beautiful color, but I'm only 40.

I have more gray hair than my mother!!!

I got the color, the gray, and the lack of curls from my dad.

Why Columbine?

My 11-year old son, an inveterate gamer, found a link on the internet that he really wanted to talk to me about. So we talked.

He said the question was, why did things like Columbine happen? When women were asked this question, every single one said “violent video games.”

I told him that it was much more likely that the kids were outcasts, picked on, made to feel bad, and they got angry and hateful.

He said, “That's just what the article said!”

(I think he was surprised by two things. One, that I didn't answer as all the other women. Two, that I could come up with something that's on a website. I didn't tell him I have several websites, so he could have been reading something of mine.)

I think that it is better if you don't fill your mind with worthless words and negative pictures and thoughts. But I also think that, no matter what goes into your head, it is how you respond that matters.

I have known people who were abused and ridiculed and hurt who have said, “I will be better than that! I will be a useful, helpful, loving member of society.” I have known others in similar situations who have said, “All people are bad because these people are bad. People are lying, cheating scum who only want to hurt you.” The first is harder to do, but it is a better way to go.

What SciFi Author are you?

Found a site with a quiz that will, supposedly, tell you what scifi author you most closely resemble.

I took the quiz and was told I was like Gregory Benford. I read scifi, but I don't know this guy's works.

When I changed a few answers to my second choices or my other first choices, I came out to be Robert Heinlein. My husband loves Heinlein, and has lots of his books from years and years ago. I've read two. Liked one. Hated the other. Didn't want to read any more. When my husband tells the stories, they sound fascinating, but I just don't like to read Heinlein.

Let me know who you showed up as if you decide to take the quiz. I'd be interested in finding out what other authors are on there.

Christmas

I went out to eat with my siblings and Dad tonight. Since the two siblings in question live in NC and I don't, that's pretty cool.

After dinner, the waitress wished us happy holidays.

I smiled and said, You, too. But inside I was wondering, what holidays? Oh, yeah. Christmas.

It's not that I don't celebrate Christmas. I do. I celebrate with trees, usually. With lights, if my hubby and I get them up. With presents, always. With a little child's nativity set, where the three wise men don't show up till Jan.6 and baby Jesus shows up Christmas morning.

But this year, my sibs from NC came in and we celebrated Christmas yesterday.

We started with an early dinner, 4 pm. We had Mexican Steak, which my brother cooked as usual. (I love this stuff and will try and get the recipe up this week.)

Then when the dishes were done (My wonderful husband washed and I dried.), we went into the family room and opened presents.

I received a set of sheets. Which I wanted and needed. Sheets, you say. Why sheets? Well, ours have holes in them. (I noticed yesterday morning.) And I hate to spend $30 or more for something no one except my husband and I see. Normally I buy sheets when ours are threadbare. So I was thrilled.

I received three great sets of cute underwear. New and improved. Curves ahead. Bombshell. Those were the signs on the backs of the cute underwear.

I received a book, March to the Stars. That was from my brother who happened to find a copy on his trip here. It's a January printing and available from amazon.com after December 24.

I also got a chapbook from Miller and Lee, who are some of my favorite authors. Their Liaden books are absolutely wonderful. And I hadn't ordered the chapbook myself. So I was thrilled to get it.

And I got a gift certificate to Chili's. I like to eat their queso on my free days. My boys always like to eat there.

Everyone else also got presents. Hopefully ones they appreciated as much as I did mine.

Then we loaded up the car and headed home.

In my mind, Christmas was over.

But it's not. I still have some small presents for my kids and parents, who will be with me on Christmas day. But not for my sexy spouse, who will also be here. (Hmm. Guess I better hit the malls tonight.)

And there's a turkey in my fridge. Say a prayer for me. I've never made a turkey. I've always had turkey at my in-laws or celebrated with Mexican Steak, at least since my family had enough money to have meat at Christmas.

So, Christmas isn't over. I've got to remember that. Or I'll start wondering why the bank is closed on a Wednesday.

What's up with blog-city?

First, the blog software keeps putting the wrong date in. I have checked in Options, it knows where I live.

Then, when I went to put in a saved draft, I changed the date of it, but the blog software insisted on putting it in on the date I saved it. Even though that wasn't the date I wanted it published.

Anyone know how to fix this?

And now, I've gone to my blog and it says these were on Sunday. No they weren't.

Maybe that's cause they're in Greenwich and I'm not? Who knows? I'm going to try again with the 24th on there.

Five Great Movies and Books

Blame the WordGoddess. First, I wish I'd thought of that title. WordGoddess.

She did the Twelve Days of Christmas and I just had to try some of it. But then I realized if I had done that, my whole blog would be forever long today. So I am just going with day 8: Eight of the best books or movies you've read/seen this last year. But I'm just doing five. I haven't thought of any others. If I come up with them I'll add them later.

8 Great Books/Movies

My Big, Fat Greek Wedding. It was a wonderful movie which I went to see with my husband before it was at all the big theaters. We saw it in a tiny artsy theater. It was wonderful. My husband said, “So this is where all the single women go. Wish I'd known that when I was single.” So, guys, if you are looking for a gal, she's at a girl movie either alone or with girlfriends.

I Dare by Miller and Lee is a wonderful science fiction book and an interesting culmination to the story which begins, in sequence, with Scout's Progress and Pilot's Choice. I personally prefer Pilot's Choice and you don't need to have read Scout's Progress to enjoy the sequels. They didn't write or publish them in sequence, though, which means that reading them in order would be fascinating.

Goddess by Mistake by P. C. Cast is also a wonderful book. It is more in the romance genre, with some fantasy thrown in. A 20th century Oklahoma English teacher gets sucked into another world, with centaurs and vampires as just some of the more interesting characters.

Eternal Warriors: The War in Heaven, Book One by Theodore Beale is also a great book. It's the story of a modern boy and an ancient evil and how they end up being the same. It is the story of the fall of Lucifer from Heaven. Some of the theology in the series doesn't mesh with mine, but it's a great story.

The World in Shadow takes up where Eternal Warriors left off. The kids are on earth fighting to save their city from the fallen angels. It's a Columbine type situation. Much shorter than the first book and a much easier read, though a bit more scary since it takes place in the here and now.

Terror in the Airports

But it's not the terrorists who are the problem. It's the police. The handlers. The supervisors who lie for their officers. The officials who cover up the truth because admitting that their officers manhandled a woman and then humiliated her in public would get them in trouble.

It's always scary to me what the people in charge can do. Because I'm not one of the people in charge. And they can do it to me.

If you're from Portland, maybe you could email this to someone who works at the Portland airport. Maybe you know someone who knows someone.

Maybe if this kind of thing got the same reaction as the bloggings got Lott, we could get this kind of thing stopped.

Even if you don't know anyone in Portland, send it on to someone else anyway. Maybe somehow we will get this noticed as a crime. If not in Portland, then in the city you and I will be flying into next.

Coffee, Tea, or Should we Feel Your Pregnant Wife's Breasts?

Eat your vegetables.

Having trouble getting in the perfect 10 vegetables and fruits a day? Wondering how Prevention Magazine could really expect you to make the “nine divine” a part of everyday living?

According to this study on Reuter's Health, one vegetable each week, can cut your chances of stomach cancer (the number 2 killer worldwide) in half. If it's a cucumber. If it's a carrot it cuts it 36%.

To read about it, hit this site: do a tummy good.

It's good to know that those seven fruits and veggies I make my kids consume daily is actually helping with something besides their regularity.

Liberalism in the classroom.

Plastic carried a story on a site where you can go and post anonymously that a professor was dogmatically imposing his liberalism.

They ended the article with the comment that a student who got a D would report a teacher this way.

First, anonymous is a good thing in some ways. Folks who have a reputation of being a troublemaker are avoided, punished, shunned. (Think about whistleblowers. Been there, done that. Know it's true.)

Second, one anonymous comment shouldn't get anyone even looked at. But if someone is using a college classroom as a liberal podium, I think someone should know. If I were talking about my views prejudicially, I'd certainly get in trouble. (I'm a conservative.)

Third, this is not going to set about McCarthyism. McCartthy was a big name symbol with lots of political power and a nation pretty much in agreement with him. Nonindoctrination.org isn't. I couldn't even find the site on Google.

Nonindoctrination was not found by Google.

However, when I put in “indoctrination” I got an interesting page from Amazon.com on refuting postmodernism.

Can you require English only?

Some folks own a restaurant in Arizona. Workers speaking in their native languages, not English, were being abusive to customers–who also spoke that native language and knew what they were saying. So the owners asked their workers to sign a paper saying they would only speak English at work.

Now they're being sued.

You know, I am all for saving culture, but I think a restaurant owner should be allowed to make a requirement like this. Any responses?

Happy anniversary

Today it's been 14 years since our wedding in the town in which we now live. (We didn't live here then.)

I have the greatest husband. He is incredibly sexy. He is funny. He loves to read. He likes to take me out. He thinks I'm perfect.

This morning I got a beautiful garnet (read “red”) nightie, very short, very scooped, with long sleeves. It is incredibly sexy. And feels very soft and comfortable. So sexy doesn't have to be uncomfortable.

US and Iraq

This is an opinion piece by one of the places I read a lot. The question they are asking is Does the US need Iraqi oil? and basically the answer is no. We don't need it. We have plenty. We can get it other places.

So why do we need Iraq to be stable? Well, it's not oil. Terrorism maybe, but not oil.

Copyright Act: Public Response

A description of the response to the US Copyright's office's request for public response to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. We're against it seems to have been the overwhelming opinion of the public.

I'd have to agree. If I own a book, I am allowed to lend it, to sell it, to give it away, to give it to charity to be sold again. The author and the publisher don't make more money after the first buy. I don't really know why the digital people should.

Space, the final frontier. Still

This is an op-ed piece on why we haven't made it to the stars. Still.

My husband is also a child of the 70s. A dreamer of living in space. I am resigned, already, to taking off to the stars if they ever let average people on a colony ship, no matter how old we are.

If they do, I might be able to talk to my great-great-great grandchildren someday. Hmmm.

Who wrote that book?

I love to read. I have my favorite authors. According to this article, someday my favorite might be a whole bunch of people.

The article, talking about collaborative authors publishing under one ficticious name, says that folks shouldn't be surprised when the name on the book isn't the name of the author. Sorry, I pay for that name. It had better be the name of the author. If I wanted a ghost writer, I'd want to know their name.