Preparing for November

Well, okay. Tomorrow starts NaNoWriMo, but I will also strive to meet my goal of publishing one post every week during November. And somehow this weekend, and probably next weekend, too, I have an additional goal of catching up on my Blogging 201 assignments – which may well be the topic of my first November post.

I’ll somehow pull this off – as long as my day job doesn’t get too crazy.

For any fellow bloggers participating in NaNoWriMo – I wish you the best of luck.

For those that aren’t, if you are feeling adventurous – this is the link to NaNoWriMo’s website:

http://nanowrimo.org

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Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.

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Forever wheat-less?

Oh what is a whole grain loving soul to do? After 6 months of keeping a food diary, one thing became very clear: I had some sort of symptoms after most meals every day. Whether a digestive issue, nasal congestion and sneezing, or itching tongue (or face) it was always present. And, deeply in denial, I looked at minimizing ingredients (& of course no processed food – that’s been out for years), checking spices, reducing gluten products. Finally, after a 10 minute bout of sneezing after eating a home-baked cookie, I gave up. I decided to try eliminating wheat (not all gluten products – just the wheat) for two weeks with plan of reintroducing it afterwards to see if the symptoms returned.

Today was the day I had my epiphany – wheat and I are through. I feel so much better that there’s no point pretending. For most of my life I’d thought that eggs gave me heartburn – I discovered over the past 10 days that they don’t. Not even when cooked with peppers and onions. Not even a little bit.

So the substitution journey begins – I’m on a quest to find a decent rye bread recipe that does not use wheat & that ideally can be made in my bread machine. I already know that Barilla makes a decent gluten-free pasta, but most of the others that I’ve tried are awful. Panera? Well, they still have very good salads – just need to skip the croutons.

It won’t be a picnic, and I may not be 100% successful, but as long as I stay close to the path, I’ll be healthier and happier.

Except that eliminating wheat also made it obvious that my problems with dairy aren’t limited to lactose intolerance (gelato and yogurt consistently cause congestion). So dairy will be the next to go, but I’m not entirely ready yet. I have to adjust to the wheat-less life first. On the bright side, other than daily yogurt, occasional gelato, and small amount of lactose free skim milk in my tea, I’ve already switched to coconut & almond milks for most other uses. So maybe it won’t be too difficult – except for dessert?

If anyone has recipe ideas or suggestions, especially for wheat-less bread, please share them!

Blogging 201 – Time to set some goals

Sometimes I wonder about myself. I signed up for Blogging 201 knowing that I have very little free time right now, and am falling behind with my blog.

Much more to do at work these days, NAMWRIMO starting in another week, but maybe Blogging 201 will give me the push I need to focus?

The assignment was to think about what I wanted to accomplish with my blog, and then set 3 goals.

Okay – mainly I want to be able to lay out and work through my thoughts, and engage people who would like to do the same. Without the hyperbole, hostility, and rhetoric. I would also like to publish my fiction someday, and having a blog gives me the opportunity to hone my writing skills & yes, maybe find an audience.

At this point, my goals are simple:

1) Get consistent by posting weekly in November (NANOWRIMO takes a lot of time), and at least 3 times per week beginning in December. I’d like to get to the point where I post something every day, but that’s a longer term goal – perhaps for early next year.

2) Spend at least 30 minutes every day looking at posts from the blogs that I follow, and commenting more often.

3) Spend at least 30 minutes each week looking at posts from my follower’s blogs, and commenting when appropriate.

and she’s back…

Okay, so I’ve tried hard to remain unlabeled politically – I was a lifelong moderate, one who voted across party lines – since, after all, it’s the stand on the issues & not the party affiliation that matter. True – I’ve always been socially progressive: pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, a firm equal rights supporter (good boomer female that I am), member of the ACLU, and supported of environmental causes. But I’m fiscally conservative about many things, and I have concerns about the sheer volume of unfunded mandates that the Federal government forces upon the States. But I also recognize that some things need Federal control or we may as well not be a united Republic. And all societies form in order to provide support for each other – some things have to be addressed at a centralized level. That is the implicit compact for every society.

The thing is that I’ve realized is that I probably have to stop considering myself a Moderate & just cop to the Progressive/Liberal label. Hell, with the force of the Tea Party, the late, terrifying, Barry Goldwater looks like a Socialist. We have a Libertarian Party that is all for crushing big government and deregulation, except when it comes to homosexuality, marijuana legalization, abortion rights, equal pay, and pretty much anything else that does not benefit either the very religious, or the corporations. Apparently, the concept of what a Libertarian is supposed to be disappeared around the time the Libertarian Party was started in the early ’70’s. We have a Republican party that has long been sliding away from Eisenhower & Goldwater, and their quests for smaller government which also included in the social arena. I don’t think the current incarnation of the Republican Party bears much resemblance to the Party of Reagan. And I know, beyond any doubt, that it bears no resemblance to the Republican Party of my parents. And to continue calling themselves the Party of Lincoln is laughable.

The 2012 GOP Platform was stunning in its love of the completely free market & disdain for anything that might actually benefit anyone that was not a large corporation. Anyone who disagrees with me on this should pay particular attention to the section on the First Amendment, which is where they vowed to continue on in the spirit of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision by working to lift all limits on campaign spending, and on funding disclosures. And they did – they backed the fight that took McCutcheon to the Supreme Court – so not only were they supporters of the notion that political spending should be unrestrained, and that corporations are people too, but also that political spending was included in the definition of free speech. Notions that, very disturbingly, the conservative majority on the Court agreed with. A lifelong love of the Constitution, and a childhood dream of being the first female on the Court (long missed, I know) were shattered in a relatively short period of time, by a Court that has proven itself to be quite revisionist while pretending to be strict interpreters. And, courtesy of the Hobby Lobby decision, the same conservative members have determined that since they are people, corporations are also entitled to hold beliefs, and to act on them even when the beliefs they hold are medically inaccurate. I couldn’t have made this up if I’d tried to write a story about the rise of a corporatized dystopian society. I can’t, in good conscience, continue to even consider a Republican candidate in a Federal election – the past few years of Congressional gridlock, and repeated votes to kill the ACA, or to waste money investigating Benghazi,  have made it obvious that those least interested in actually accomplishing something are in charge of the Party. And through redistricting have guaranteed that nothing will improve any time soon.

And the noise, the constant noise from the Libertarian & Tea Party aligned constituency. Openly calling for sedition is apparently a First Amendment right. When GW Bush was President, any attempt made to publicly question the facts behind our rush into war, or to negatively comment on any decision, was loudly & repeatedly called treasonous. But our current President – nope, apparently nothing is even close to treasonous to these guys because they like to pretend that there’s some reason his Presidency is illegitimate. “The worst President ever” – even as Forbes’ magazine lauds his handling of the economy. So much confusion, too – is he a Socialist, Fascist, Communist, Weak, Indecisive, Dictator? And does anyone using those terms realize that they mean very different things? Or just a black guy in the White House who is too Liberal for the Tea Party & way too conservative for the Left? I can’t even voice my legitimate concerns in some circles because that seems to add fuel to the conservative fire. And I disagree with the hyperbole, and the conspiracy theories.

The same internet that allows so much information to be shared has allowed for conspiracy theorists to run rampant. And the great thing about a conspiracy theory is that you don’t actual need facts to back it – just innuendo & reinterpretations. And a place to continue repeating it.

And yet the places where someone might want to shine a light – the history, and founders, of the Libertarian Party, the Koch brothers & their John Birch Society legacy, the NRA and their primary role as lobbyists for manufacturers, the fact that corporatization is actually a much closer relative to Fascism than the ACA (something that seems to confuse Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, and their ilk). These things should be shouted from the mountaintops, and yet are scarcely mentioned anywhere.

The Tea Party and the Libertarian Party members seem to have allowed themselves to be convinced that all of their rights are being trampled (but that it’s ok to trample on a few in the interests of protecting those rights). That anyone who disagrees, or holds different beliefs is either an idiot, brainwashed, or worse – trampling on their rights by disagreeing.