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Showing posts from 2012

Post 4.13 - Tumbling Down

So something frightening happened to my dog.

In April, I was working for a few weeks in New Hampshire, and a few days after I returned, my beloved Belgian Malinois presented with some scary symptoms. He kept falling, as if one side of his body were weaker, and he was vomiting. My first reaction was that he had suffered a stroke, and I went into a panic. I normally consider myself calm, cool, and logical when adverse situations occur, but my dog is my baby.

And I could not imagine what rehab one might do for a dog who had had a stroke.

We rushed him to a 24-hour animal hospital in Gilbert, AZ. He was diagnosed with "Old Dog" vestibular disease, also called idiopathic vestibular disease.

It is somewhat common in older dogs (my dog is now 12 years old), and most owners react exactly the way I did.

According to Dr. Jennifer Coates of website petMD:
The vestibular system is composed of portions of the brain and ear and is responsible for maintaining our sense of balance. When som…

Post 3.15 - Olympus

As I mentioned on Monday, while I still reside in Arizona, I have been working in California. Specifically, I have been working at a site about 30 minutes north of San Francisco. I have spent much of the last several months on site, but in 2013, we are adjusting my schedule so I can divide my time a bit more fairly and effectively between the two states.

Since relocating to Arizona in 2005, I have spent most of my time working from home, leaving me outside of typical office politics and human social interaction. It hasn't been all bad - in fact, I have found that it has made my work more productive and efficient. Unfortunately, I am still human, and there is much to like about being around other members of the species.

Not the least of this is what I refer to as "eye candy".

And oh, is there much to see.

Post education, we meet most of our social contacts through our places of employment. Even with all the social media options we have now, there is no substitute for actu…

Post 2.18 - Obama: The Sequel

On November 6, 2012, the United States re-elected Barack Obama to a second term as President. While the rejoicing was not as euphoric as 2008, this came as a great relief to many across the country and the world.

Despite living in a traditionally red state (Arizona) and working in a very blue state (California), I know many from the opposite party in both locations. It has given me a new respect for Republicans and conservatives in general, and encouraged me on the issues that are important to me.

I am a civil rights voter. It's not that I don't care about energy, the environment, or the economy, but in my opinion, until we get beyond certain serious civil issues, things are not going to improve. One party has a decidedly better record in this area.

And I think this is where the future lies, more than many might expect.

As citizens, as human beings, we are stewards of our country and our world. We are only here temporarily, but we all leave a legacy. We can choose to leave a l…

Post 0.8 - The Return!

My sincere apologies for my protracted absence. I've begun working in California, and much of what I do is write all day -- so writing more at night and on weekends has had a reduced appeal.

But I was telling a co-worker about my blogging activities, and I thought it was time that I incorporate this blog back into my life again.

So here we are.

Monday is normally my foodie day, but with my traveling, that's become even more of a challenge -- so I'll return to this topic next week, just in time for Thanksgiving. :-)

Tomorrow, on politics day, I'll give my take on the recent election. It was monumental in a lot of ways.

Wednesday is sex/relationship day, so I'll have a post on workplace flirtation and romance. Now that I don't work from home a lot, I have some material for this based on my observations and experiences. Not that I didn't have any before, but it's definitely in my face these days.

Thursday is pets day, and since I last wrote, my pets have h…

Post 5.17 - Model Students

PBS Newshour recently aired a story about cyber schools and discussed some of the effects of this model on education. The issues are really very interesting, but I think the piece highlights the issues in each competing model for education. And given the profits quoted for the cyber school, it's clear that education can be done more economically.

However, I think the proper solution for all students lies somewhere in an amalgam of these models.

I know a lot of teachers, and they all struggle with students of varying calibers, with budgets, with supplies, and with curricula with respect to the time allotted. I know parents who home school, use cyber schools, use Montessori schools, and other parents who are constantly looking for ways to give their children the best possible education. If nothing else is evident, education is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Different students thrive in different environments and with different methodologies.

My mother wanted to send me to a Mo…

Post 1.20 - Pollo Perfecto

One of the reasons I like to cook chicken or with chicken is that it often tastes great with very little effort. Sure, you can bread it, marinate it, poach it, cover it in barbecue sauce and grill it -- but a little salt and pepper and 40 minutes in the oven can taste amazing, too.

So I have two recipes for you today.

The first is one I prepared for my mother at her suggestion. She is diabetic, and this recipe is diabetic-friendly (i.e., low-carb, high protein), and so easy as to be ridiculous. The result is delicious.

The second is one I have made several times in bulk, as the individual portions freeze and sous-vide or microwave beautifully.

Both can be served with rice, vegetables, or both -- but you'll see when you try them. No heavy sauces here, but amazingly flavorful.

American Pie Chicken  (from the original recipe here)

Non-stick cooking spray
4 boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets (4oz. each)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup apple butter
1/4 cup shredded r…

Post 1.19 - Tomayto, Tomahto

I grew up in an era when less was known about many of the food allergies we hear about today. And all my life, while loving the taste, I've had a problem with tomatoes. Which is to say, typically, I have the runs.

We're all friends here, right? :-)

In a recent conversation with my mother, I learned that as a toddler and younger, I would get a rash on my face whenever I ate tomatoes. In other words, an allergic reaction! She was explaining how she could get me to eat anything with tomato sauce by telling me it was pizza, and then casually mentioned the after effects.

But like I said, it was a different time.

Anyway, in changing my diet in recent years, I have found that I can eat tomatoes without incident, depending on how I prepare them. I simply have to seed them first. I am not allergic to the skin or the "meat" of the tomato -- the part I like best anyway -- it's the mucus covered, acidic seeds that do me in. So I can make tomato sauce, I can add tomatoes to s…

Post 2.17 - The Clash

When I started writing the posts for this week, I had planned my usual diversity of articles discussing all the topics I usually do. But it's been a remarkable week politically.

Tuesday saw the resignation of Karen Handel from Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, after the defunding then refunding of Planned Parenthood. The Republican voters also handed victories to former Pennsylvania Senator and far-right conservative Rick Santorum (R), giving renewed life to his campaign.

Wednesday saw the Ninth Circuit of Appeals affirm the federal court ruling that California's Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional.

And all week, the talking heads on the various networks have been discussing the Obama Administration's decision to require insurance coverage for birth control, even for so-called religious institutions who may believe differently.

Since this post is prepared in advance, who knows what today may bring?

But if nothing else is true, it is a fairly sure …

Post 2.16 - Proposition Hate

"Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples." -Judge Stephen Reinhardt, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 07-Feb-2012
Proposition 8, voted into law in 2008, was California's ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign was largely bankrolled and supported by the Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, various Protestant evangelical sects, and various conservative groups from around the country, including the National Organization for Marriage. The ruling yesterday upheld the earlier federal court ruling that the law violates the U.S. Constitution.

As I discussed yesterday with respect to the liberal/conservative paradigm, this is another case of conservatives denying rights to someone. For the moment, this is a losing proposition with respec…

Post 2.15 - Running Path

We are in the thick of the race for President here in the United States, but the ongoing circus that has been the selection process for the Republican candidate has not been the only news. Last week, in the continuing War on Women, a leading breast-cancer focused charity, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure announced that it would no longer provide grants to Planned Parenthood ("PP"), the leading provider of women's health services to poor and underserved populations in the U.S. The Komen organization stated that their new criteria for providing funds to other organizations required that such organizations not be under federal or state investigation, and PP is currently under such investigation.

The reaction to this decision and the "criteria" has been swift and vocal, both from pundits and the general public, and the Komen organization has been forced to reverse their decision. The damage, however, has been done.

So why did this all happen?

PP also happens to be …

Post 1.18 - Frankenfood

I hope to be back to my recipes for next week's post, but I wanted to take a moment to talk about home gardening, especially in regards to some recent items in the news, namely, the continuing controversy over Monsanto and related companies with respect to genetically-engineered foods.

In a nutshell, industrial food interests have continually and successfully lobbied the USFDA and governments in other countries to avoid having to identify which foods have been genetically-engineered, denying consumers any choice in the matter. Foods are modified primarily to make them resistant to pests, but it doesn't end there. Some seeds are modified with a so-called "terminator" gene, which results in the adult plant not producing viable seeds to be replanted, forcing the farmer to repurchase new seeds for a new harvest. However, there is now evidence that some genetic modifications result in damage to benign species. The collapse of honeybee populations has been investigated for…

Post 5.16 - Grief in the Digital Age

I never met Michael Walsh in person. Our first connection was on LiveJournal, some time in late 2004 or early 2005. He was a friend of a friend, as most of my contacts on LJ have always been. His comments to a friend's journal piqued my interest, or my comments piqued his. In any case, we started reading the other's blog/journal, and this was how we got to know each other.

I learned he was a librarian, living in Detroit with his partner in a house they owned together. He was originally from Ohio, and had an older sister named Ann. He loved food and sharing "food porn". He would take trips to see friends and it would be as much about what he ate as who he went to see. He was very social, and his companionship was valued by all who knew him. My view into his world and into the person he was came solely through LiveJournal at first, and then in 2008, through Facebook. I knew about his co-workers, the people he admired, the people he loved, the trials and tribulations of…