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Friday, April 24, 2015

Junk food Prohibition for the poor only? Good or bad?

"Two lawmakers in Augusta want to curb the junk going into Mainer's mouths through legislation."
That is a misstatement. They do not want to limit the junk food going into Mainers' mouths, but poor Mainers' mouths, and not just poor Mainers' mouths, but poor Mainers on food stamps. Since when did Prohibition comeback? I never noticed that we had made sugar illegal. If they are going to limit food selection for the poor folks on food stamps, then Maine should make all such foods illegal for all Mainers to make the impetus behind the bills apply to all Mainers equally. Prohibit all so called "junk food" for all Mainers, or for none. And, if your going to do it for Mainers, then it needs to apply for all Americans, or none. So, do we really want to try to convince the entire country to Prohibit junk food? The war on drugs and alcohol have shown that making such items illegal only makes them more desirable and easier to get. Prohibition did not stop alcohol consumption. The war on drugs has not stopped drug consumption. Big government is wrong on this thought. Going through educational programs that show the benefits of avoiding the supposedly undesired substance is a possibly good way to bring in reducing consumption. Another process that can help is to make the substance legal but add so many taxes to its purchase that it is highly expensive, so that the healthy substances are more profitable for the average person. Another process is to give the healthy options subsidies through the grocery stores such that healthy choices are less expensive and yet not hurtful to the stores for selling them.
Also, if that particular store owner is really that upset and judgmental about folks using food stamps for what she perceives as unhealthy choices, then she should stop selling the unhealthy choices so she doesn't have to see what she doesn't want to see.

Quote taken from, "Proposals encourage better nutrition for Maine food stamp users: Two bills would change eating habits, EBT use," by David Charns, at

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My submission to the Meredith Vieira Show, Digital Make a Wish Booth

I was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis in 2011.  Since then, my number one hero has been Karen Forbes.  She saved my life by insisting that I go to the hospital when I was so sick I could barely make sense of the world.  She has helped me recover, supporting me when the world fell away leaving us alone.  She was there when oil had to be ordered in 50 gallon amounts because we couldn't afford full orders since I was unable to work.  She does the dishes even though it is my responsibility when I can't keep up because of constant migraines, which is my after effect from the bacterial meningitis.  She has done this while maintaining at least one and sometimes two jobs.  I am just amazed at how strong, powerful, and supportive she is.  I admire her stamina, and ability to maintain a positive affect through tough times.  I have had to reorder my life from a useful and happy worker bee, to one of a disabled person and relearning my new normal.  To say that this has been a simple easy road is a laugh.  Karen has been my rock through that process and continues to be so when the road gets really rough.  We also have a puppy that she insisted we get.  At first, I was angry about him and his unpredictableness, but he has grown into a great therapy dog.  He knows when the migraines are hard.  Karen's best idea. Thank you.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Praying the Prayers of the Bible, A Review

In Praying the Prayers of the Bible, James Banks has brought together reflections on various types of prayers with many selections of verses to pray and even some prayer starters of one to two sentences based on even more verses.

The book has a topical index and a listing of the verses that have been used in the book.  I really liked the section of prayers for when you are in pain, as I have migraines frequently.

I gave the book 5 stars because it is really useful and informative. I really liked this prayer helper.

I received my copy of the book through the NetGalley Reviewer Program and am not receiving anything else in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Hey all,

I want to share my goals for 2015 with you, so you can all be my accountability partners. Yay!

Here we go!

Crafting Goals

  1. Spin luxury batt with supported spindles 
  2. Finish MKAL Alpine 
  3. Spin a traditional 3 ply with the wheel 
  4. Reduce stash by 1/3. 10 miles to 20 miles 
  5. Finish coopworth locks spinning 
  6. Use handspun in 3 projects
  7. Weave a scarf 
  8. Finish 2014 Year of Lace scarf

Priority Based Goals

  1. Health
    1. Lose 5 pounds in the first quarter of 2015
    2. Lose 20 pounds for the year
  2. Family
    1. Date nights with K
    2. Fun as a family once every to every other week
  3. God
    1. Maintain daily Bible reading plan
    2. Pray the World Mission Rosary weekly
    3. Daily prayers
  4. Education
    1. Attend one Mythgard course
    2. Attend at least one Coursera course, not at same time, nor same time as Mythgard
  5. Self
    1. Take care of my body
    2. Respect my limits
    3. Relax daily
So that's it!  That's my goals for the next 12 months or so. I can do this!

When I feel like giving up, I will tell myself

The pain is only temporary.  This too shall pass. I can use this time to teach myself more about how I work.  My thoughts do not make my reality.

It's been a couple of months with the Bullet Journal, A Retrospective

I've been using the Bullet Journal for a month or two now. I like the system.

I'm using a graph lined composition book from Staples for my actual journal.  I use the note and task boxes.  If I complete a task, I check the box.  If I move the task to the next day or later, I put a right pointing arrow in the box.  I don't really use the event marks.  A note mark is just as easy.

I've been sick for a couple of weeks, or this update would have been published sooner.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Knitting for Peace, A Review

In her book, Knitting for Peace, Betty Christiansen shares charities and history of charitible knitting through the centuries.  There are sections about specific kinds of knitting for peace.  

I especially liked the section on knitting for children and the highlight of Afghans for Afghans.  There's also patterns for various items needed by people and animals the world over.  I liked the sweater patterns for the children and the hats for the children.  

A Maine company, Peace Fleece, was highlighted as they produce yarn that is a combination of fibers from Russia and the United States.  They also shared their basic socks pattern.  I made these socks a while ago out of Peace Fleece wool and unfortunately found out the result of using machines to wash and dry 100% wool.  My young niece received thick boot socks/slippers that Christmas. :)

I received my copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  I always provide a valid review of the book in question.  For the eversion of this book, which is what I was reviewing, I gave it 5 stars.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bullet Journal

The above video is a handy introduction to the system of organizing your days and tasks.

Basically there are three types of data to enter, tasks, events and notes.  Tasks are signified by an open check box.  As a task is completed, the check box gets checked.  Events are signified by an open circle.  Events are appointments and dates that you want to remember.  Events can include food journals, chronic illness tracking and other such things.  Notes are signified by closed dots/circles.  Notes are things that you want to remember, but are not tasks or events.  These three types of data are fairly easy to keep track of.

What happens if plans change?  Then you place a right arrow through the open box or circle indicating that the task or event has been postponed.  If a task or event becomes obsolete, just cross it off the list for that day.  There you have it for those unexpected life happenings.

How do I know if something is important or I want to find out more about it?  For important things, I use an exclamation point in the margin next to the signifier for that data point.  For things I want to investigate, I sketch an eye in the margin to show that I want to look up info about "x".  But, how do I know what the various symbols mean?

I have an index page in the front of my journal.  There is also a key/legend page opposite the beginning of the index.  The legend page is where I have all the signifiers and their associated meanings.  The index page is a listing of what kind of data is on pages such and such.  I have a few blank pages after the first index page before the beginning of my first calendar pages.

On a fresh spread, I topic each page with the name of the month and year for the current month.  I list the dates down the margin of the left page.  In the margin next to each date, I put the day of the week abbreviations used at my first college.  U=Sunday, M=Monday, T=Tuesday, W=Wednesday, R=Thursday, F=Friday, and A=Saturday.  This way you can use one initial and know exactly what day it is without wonder if the T is Tuesday or Thursday, or the S is Sunday or Saturday.  On that page, I list any appointments in pencil that are not standing appointments.  On the facing page, I list the things I know as of today, that I need to get done for the month, like registering my car in August, rather than December. ;)

On the next page I repeat the calendar, only on this page I plan out the menu for the entire month.  If I have an old calendar handy, I'll look at 11 months ago and copy the menu plan, only tweak it to reflect food changes and taste changes that have happened.  I'd rather not eat the same thing every 9/15, so that's why I go back 11 months.

Anyways, then on the next page, I start my daily pages with the data points that are important for those days.  Most days currently have the following tasks, with intermittent appointments added in as needed.

  • Get ready for the day.
  • Get dog ready for the day.
  • Dishes.
  • Sweep.
  • Knit.
  • Read.
  • Enjoy the day!
So far, I've been doing this for a few weeks and am liking the break from a traditional calendar and having all the data in one linear form.  It fits with my love of paper and is easy to keep up with.  If I miss a few days there's no biggie, and if I only want to include a few things or a lot of things it's easy to accommodate.  I really am liking this new way of journaling my days. :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Unstoppable, A Review

Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action by Nick Vujicic is the story of his faith, the faith of his family, and the faith of people who listen to him give a talk.  Nick was born with no limbs.  Doctors recommended that his parents euthanize him to prevent suffering, but they believed God allowed things to happen for a reason, even if it was hard to understand at the moment.  So, he lived, and grew, and became a man.  A man God could use, even without arms and legs, maybe even more so than had he had them.

This is an easy read that kept my interest easily, therefore, I gave it five stars.  I received my copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion of the book.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Meningitis Anniversary

So, it's been 3 years ago today since I walked out of the hospital after contracting bacterial meningitis.  How has my life changed since then?

I still am rather isolated.  Not many folks visit me and I'm still easily tired by too much social interaction.  This is a result of depression and fatigue from the migraines that are the fall out of the meningitis.  I'm in pain a lot of days and try not to let others know since that's not really fun to talk about.  Instead we talk about dealing with symptoms, daily events, current projects, and so on.

I'm more attuned to the spiritual realm.  I see God in others easier than I used to.  I also am open to knowing God in different ways than I had previously believed were valid.  That is part of my ongoing growth as a Catholic, and part of my growth as a child of God.  I have been challenged to pray not just for the victims of various crimes, but also for the perpetrators of crimes too.  Even for those doing horrendous things, they are still able to be children of God, they just haven't realized it yet.

I'm about the same physically, though much less interested in being physical.  The bright noonday sun is too bright for my eyes, so I wear a baseball cap, but that is not enough to protect my eyes from the photophobia.  The lights inside stores are also horrible for my migraines.   I do utilize physical therapy exercises in the morning and evenings, but going for a walk is still unusual.  Doing more than a walk is unheard of, unless I'm on a vacation where there is a swimming pool.

I knit and crochet and spin now almost daily.  These activities were sometimes activities before.  Now, I know I'm doing well emotionally when I'm doing regular crafting.  Though, when I don't craft, that is a good signal that I'm not feeling well.

So, overall, how am I doing now compared to 3 years ago?  I am able to do more for myself than when I immediately had left the hospital.  I may have walked out of the hospital, but it wasn't very fast or very far to the car.  Now, unless I'm in great pain or feeling sick, I can walk pretty good for both distance and speed.  Yet, I'm still not back to where I was pre getting sick.  I'm variously frustrated, sad, angry, and accepting of this difference.

What are your ways of knowing you are in a healthy space?  How has your life changed in the last few years?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

How to choose an online course for the term?

Fall 2014 Courses, Mythgard Institute, Signum University
There's open enrollment for the next term at Signum University already for the Fall 2014 term.  The summer has seemed to speed by this year.  I'm surprised to be thinking about courses again.

There are always three topics for the lecture courses, along with some foreign languages available each term.  This term the lecture courses are on Lewis and Tolkien, Science Fiction, and the Root of Fantasy before Tolkien.

Each course is taught by an expert in that field.  Lewis and Tolkien is taught by Signum's own president, Corey Olsen, of The Tolkien Professor|podcast fame and author of Exploring JRRTolkien's The Hobbit.Science Fiction is taught by the eminent Dr. Amy Sturgis.  And, finally, the Fantasy before Tolkien course is taught by Douglas A. Anderson, editor of The Annotated Hobbit.

With such awesome faculty, narrowing the choice of course down to just one (for my own sanity!) is going to be very hard.  I do like Dr. Olsen's teaching style, but have had a lot of Tolkien lately.  That's also a reason for steering away from Douglas Anderson's course as well, plus the vastness of the readings from Homer to Tolkien covers a large area and I'm a bear of very little brain when the migraines hit.  So, that leads me to looking closely at Dr. Sturgis' course.  I have read the larger works the course will be covering, and just need to read the short stories from the anthologies for the most part, to understand the topic.

I've been reading/listening to audiobooks of the Lord of the Rings and that feels like ancient history.  Whereas, the stories for science fiction will have more of a futuristic feeling, even if set in the past,m at least they are set in the 1800s and not the ages before time.  I'm ready for a more current reading material, and stories to carry me away from reality.  Escapism is one of the themes I expect we will cover in Dr. Sturgis' course, as well as the other.  With these migraines, I need chances to escape and feel like an outsider of the human race at times.

So, that's it for my thinking on how to choose the online course for next term.  What course is most interesting to you?  And, why?