Category: Uncategorized

I read… crap

One of the things I’ve learned about myself is that I’m a trollop when it comes to my reading material.

If you look at my Goodreads list, you’ll find a lot of stuff on there that isn’t “literature.”

It’s just plain trashy.

And at one point, I was ashamed of it.  But how can you blame me for being ashamed?  I run a Common Reader program.  I talk about author quality, writing styles and various other academic issues.  And yet, my Kindle is just trash!

Until I realized that it really doesn’t matter, as long as I’m constantly reading, challenged by the work in front of me.

A friend and I decided to read The Vampire Academy series together after I’d seen the movie previews.  I don’t often feel compelled to read along with a movie series, but I thought it looked like something I might enjoy.

Ummm, no.

I get that it’s a young adult series.  I know that it isn’t literature.  But, it did help me remember what I know about writing.

There has to be a plot.  The characters, even in a made up world, have to do things that follow the path the author’s laid out.  When they act out of character, I call a spade a spade.  I allow for character growth in saying this.  Sometimes an author just paints him or herself into a corner they can’t remove themselves from without breaking character.  As a reader, I get to call the bluff.

Understanding that even in the worst writing, I can still learn about writing is key.  We often worry about what our kids read.  My thoughts, today, reflect the idea that it doesn’t matter what they read – so long as they read broadly.  No genre is taboo, or verboten.  They all have value.

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Why is this a story? Open Letter for Francesa and Esiason

Today’s sports news hosts a story about WFAN broadcaster, Mike Francesa, and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason taking issue with the Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy for using his CBA 1-3 day paternity leave. 

Dear Mike & Boomer:

The most magical memory I have of my three children’s deliveries is not their precious faces, or their soft gentle coos.  No in fact, it’s quite the opposite.  I stand in awe that my body could create, host and deliver another human into the world.

Pregnancy is a beautiful opportunity many families enjoy.  I have had the privilege of three full-term deliveries.  Each is special and hard in its own way.

But, I take offense at your reported lack of compassion for the Murphy family for several reasons.

1) The simple idea that anything would come before family.  Baseball is a game that some men have the opportunity to play professionally.  It isn’t war, and it isn’t heroic.  Nothing trumps family, no matter how many zeros or contracts are attached to the salary.

2) Each of you lack the basic anatomy to describe why a woman might need or want her husband around following a delivery.  Just as I can not tell you how to best get through a prostrate exam, you cannot and should not comment on how or why a family might feel it best to support a woman who’s just given birth.  I for one will just state, that the days after my three deliveries were nothing but a blur, not to mention how incredibly difficult it was to just get up and “feed the baby.”  Regardless of family support, my husband and I both decided to become parents.  His support during the first couple of months was critical to our family’s success.  His contribution to the process did not end with conception.

3) Regardless of your own family choices, you have no room to single out a particular family, in the national media.  By singling out the Murphy family, you’ve done more to cause chaos and uproar than any national conversation on women’s rights could ever do.  You both singled the Murphy family out  during what should be one of the happiest times of their life.

4) Baseball’s season is 162 games.  Murphy’s paternity leave removed him from only 2% of the regular season games.  Rarely, if ever do three games determine whether or not a team makes the playoffs.  And, if they do, it would unfair to blame it all on one player.  Murphy started 155 games last year, with 78 RBI, hitting 13 home runs, and a .286 batting average.  He’s a decent player, but it’s not likely to sway an entire season.

5) Both of your comments make the assumption that the birth of a child is a common, everyday occurrence.  It might have been for you and your families, but for some, the birth of a child is a lifetime of prayer, hope and faith.  It is something many families haven’t had the chance to experience.  Maybe your individual responses are at the heart of what’s wrong with our culture.  We simply fail to value life.

In short, back off.  Until your ovaries, cervix, and vagina are installed, and one of you is carrying Daniel Murphy’s child (which might just actually might be one of the best reality TV shows ever pitched), you have little to no opinion in what goes on inside the Murphy family.  Your comments helped create a national news story about a non-issue.

No gimmicks.  No c-sections because of a game.  No story.

Bee in my #tutu

When I saw this story posted on Facebook, I was upset.

If you haven’t heard, SELF Magazine emailed Monika Allen asking for permission to use this photo.

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The problem is, they used it in their segment called “BS Meter” which basically calls out certain trends.  And, it seems that they don’t know how to do it with grace, or even with a tongue in cheek demeanor.

SELF Magazine stated, “NEW RUNNING TULLE A racing tutu epidemic has struck NYC’s Central Park, and it’s all because people think these froufrou skirts make you run faster. Now, if you told us they made people run away from you faster, maybe we would believe it.”

So in essence, Monika believed she was being spotlighted for running 26.2 miles in a fun get-up.  However, the “professional journalists” at SELF Magazine opted to take the low road.

The kicker? Monika Allen was running in a marathon while undergoing chemotherapy for brain cancer.  And she makes and sells tutus and then donates the money to promote girls being active in running sports.

Yes, I’m pissed at bad journalism.

Yes, I’m pissed at bullies who hide behind a national masthead.

But more importantly, I’m pissed that the photo could have been me, or you.

You see, I’ve come a long way in a year.

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And I guarantee you, if SELF Magazine had emailed me to ask for my permission to run a photo of me in their national magazine, I’d have said, “HELL, YES!”  It would have been a source of pride for me to know that my work was noticed, and that I might, just maybe be able to help others.  Just a touch of encouragement!  Yeah for the little guy!  Yeah for me!

Because trust me, if SELF Magazine had been at that 5K back in May, they’d have made fun of the fat girl running.  AND, that I got passed by a pregnant woman.  Little would they have known that I was running for my mom, or mother-in-law.  They’d have just seen the fat girl, coming in dead last and found some sort of punch line.

EXCEPT, you and I know, they wouldn’t have done that.  There’s no way SELF would have made fun of me, because I am the image they sell.  I’ve torn those inspirational stories out of their magazine and posted them on my wall.

Woman loses 105 pounds.

Mom of Three leads the weigh!

Whatever catchy phrase they put with it, they sell to my demographic. The woman who’s desperate to try anything, ONE LAST TIME to make the change of a lifetime.  There’s no way they offend my target audience.  Because, who would they then tweet about avocado toast and Wendy’s new line-up?

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So when they took advantage of a seemingly normal woman, running in an outfit they didn’t approve of, they didn’t understand the whole story.

When the backlash started, SELF’s initial apology was trite to be sure.  

In a statement to NBC 7, SELF apologized “for the association of her picture in any way other than to support her efforts to be healthy.”

“Of course if tutus make you run with a smile on your face or with a sense of purpose or community, then they are indeed worth wearing, for any race,” the statement read.”

Now, with a bit of outrage and a few cancelled subscriptions, here’s the Twitter message:

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It’s not okay.  Why would you try to break down someone because they wear matching shorts, shirts, socks and shoes?  If they’re doing their best, SO THE FREAK WHAT?  Since when did we have to tear each other down to make a sale?  Since when isn’t it enough to actually believe none of us get out of life alive.

I’m not a tutu girl, but come on, taking cheap shots at the little guy to make someone snarl in agreement for 15 seconds is childish.  Even if you didn’t know she had cancer, she’s still running a marathon, which makes her a mean mama-jama in my books.  But to know that she’s running a marathon while undergoing chemotherapy?  She is literally a ROCK STAR.

So here’s my take away, I’m even more dedicated to standing with those who fight the good fight.  Who do hard things, not because someone will notice, but because it makes them feel alive!  Because it’s finally something they can control when everything is seemingly out of whack!  When I run, it’s just me and my brain telling my legs when it’s time to go and when it’s time to stop.  I’m in charge of it all.  

And it’s a truly beautiful feeling.

 

 

 

 

Paper #1: Directions

LENGTH: 2 pages

FORMATTING: typed, double spaced, with 1″ margins and Times New Roman 12 pt. font. 

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS: The paper should illustrate an interpersonal conflict you’ve recently experienced or witnessed.  THIS IS NOT BASED ON TELEVISION, BOOKS, MOVIES, or any OTHER TYPE OF MEDIA.  What was the driving factor causing the conflict?  How was the conflict resolved?  If the conflict has not resolved, what are some tools that might lead toward a resolution?

DUE DATE: March 3, 2014, 6 p.m.  

LATE WORK POLICY: Papers will be accepted late with a 20 point deduction for each calendar day the paper is late. The day I receive it my hand is the calendar day it will be accepted. For example if you turn it in on Friday, but I don’t know anything about it until Monday, I will consider it to be turned in on Monday. This means you will need to make arrangements with me by phone or email that you are turning it in late.

Week #16

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It’s hard to believe that I’ve been doing this for 16 weeks. That’s the same length as a typical college semester. I’ll take these finals any day of the week!

I am down only .8#, but hey, with the week I had, I’m happy with the loss. That brings my total weight loss to 42.8#! Very pleased with that total. And, truthfully, I just want to know that I’m making progress toward the goal.

Last night I ran/walked the farthest I’ve ever gone, 3.7 miles. That’s a freakin’ long way! I really want to run/walk the 7k (4.35 miles) for the American Cancer Society on August 10. The race is at the Alibates Flint Quarries at Lake Meredith. I think I can do it, although I may not be able to run the whole thing. Besides, I’ve never been to the Flint Quarries and it will be interesting to see this National Park. The only draw back is the incline! This girl’s not used to elevation so the whole idea of increasing an incline of 170 feet worries me a bit! Hopefully my treadmill can help me pick up some of that slack and get me a bit of practice. I may have to try the Wildcat Bluff trail out there on Soncy.

Pizza Dough

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This recipe is an amalgam of various pizza dough recipes I’ve used throughout the years. The original recipe is from a friend and fellow blogger’s husband. He makes hands-down the best pizza and crust. I only try to get close to his expertise.

The addition of honey is if I’m trying to eat cleaner, but hey, it’s all sugar to me. And it makes the yeast so happy. I love happy yeast.

After you have the dough made, it’s pretty much about topping the pizza with whatever floats your boat. We poke the crust after it’s on the peel with a fork and then we brush on some olive oil. The kids call this painting. Then it’s topped with some store bought pasta sauce (whatever’s on sale) and a jar usually lasts for two Family Fun Nights. I freeze the remaining sauce if I’ve opened a new jar, just in case. Since pasta sauce was on sale this week, and cheese the week before, I think this meal cost us a little less than $10 (with all of the toppings, etc.). Very nice savings to send toward other Family Fun Night adventures!

We bake our pizza on a pizza stone in a 425 degree oven.

Pizza Dough

Serves 5-6
(makes two large pizzas, or one large and three small, kid-sized pizzas)
Recipe from: www.courtneymilleson.com

Ingredients

1 c. warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
2 T. sugar (or honey)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour (more for rolling)
1/2 c. corn meal (optional)

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine water, yeast and sugar. Let the mixture ‘get happy’ for five minutes or so. The more it goes, the happier your yeast will be. Next add the salt, making sure it’s well incorporated.

This is the fun part. Add the flour, a cup at a time. You should mix it together (use a spoon or your hand) to make sure you’re not adding too much flour. The mixture should hold together, but not be super sticky. Once you’ve incorporated everything, place it onto a counter dusted with flour. Begin kneading it, just to incorporate all of the dough together. It should be a happy, happy process.

Once incorporated, turn the edges in under themselves to form a ball. If you’re doing multiple pizzas, take a knife or rotary pizza cutter and cut the dough in half. If you’re doing kid-sized pies, take one of the halves and cut it in half or thirds. I like to take the smaller portions and make them into balls again by turning any corners under. If you do that enough, you’ll get a ball.

On a dusted surface, roll out the dough into a circle (or as close as you can get). Trust me, the shape doesn’t affect the taste!

Place on a pizza peel (or another flat surface, directly onto round cookie sheet if you’re not using a pizza stone) that’s been dusted with flour or corn meal.

Nutritional Information

(according to information entered into myfitnesspal.com)
1 serving (2 pieces of pizza crust – toppings will be addtional)

Calories 205
Total Fat 0g
Sat. Fat 0g
Mono 0g
Cholesterol 0g
Sodium 98.3mg
Potassium 12.5mg
Total Carbs 39.8g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 5.4
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0%

What’s that thing?

I answer this question almost daily during the summer months (since I’m wearing short-sleeved shirts).

I don’t mind answering it, as the question in itself is a reminder that I am on a journey to someplace else.

What the curious women (because most often they’re women) are referencing is my LINK from BodyMedia.

BodyMedia LINK Armband

It’s a great fashion statement.  Because with it, I’m wearing smaller clothing and living a healthier life.

Here’s what it looks like when I plug it into the computer…

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It also tracks my weight (but we’re not that good of friends yet) and tells me when I’ll likely reach my goal.

It links up with my iPhone 5 via BluTooth and I can update my information on the go (like when I’m out running and want to know if I’ve met my step-count for the day).  It also takes nutritional information from myfitnesspal.com and includes it into this program to give my daily calorie balance (looking for a negative balance).  My sleep?  Yep, this model counts that as well.  Think you slept good?  Not so much…  I average around 88% efficiency in my sleep.  Not what I like to call good.

This is my second time to use this type of product.  My college had a program where we focused on living healthier lives and I was able to use one.  It was a great program for me, because it showed where I needed to focus my energies.

After I stopped wearing it, I really slipped.  And ended up back where I’d started.

When I made the decision to make a life change, I bought my own LINK and signed up for one year’s subscription to the website.

Here’s how I justify the expense.

1) I have one life.  I am, what they call, priceless.

2) I don’t have a gym membership.  I offset the cost of the band and subscription via this.

3) I have this treadmill and these expensive running shoes.  I better have a way to prove I use them.  Even if it’s only me looking for accountability.

It’s just a good choice for me.  I don’t know if it’s a good choice for you.  I don’t work for the company, and I am not paid to endorse their product.  But I do know, it’s so helpful to look myself in the  eye knowing what I’ve done that day to make progress toward my goal.

I’m curious, what tools do you use to help you monitor your progress?

I use the LINK and myfitnesspal… What do you use?