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 The Austin American Statesman endorses Obama over Hilary Clinton for the democratic nomination. They give very good reasons for doing so also :)

"HRC's self-centered governing style, self-righteousness, and inability to negotiate led to the collapse of the health care initiative in Clinton's first term; why would people expect her to be able to do things differently second time around?"  Thats very good reasoning also.

GO OBAMA

YES WE CAN change our country!!!

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its June

Well, its been sunny pretty much all week and that keeps me in a  very good frame of mind. 

I have been working out 2 times a day and the first 2 days my body was a little sore but now its feeling very good. I feel my body firming up and adapting to its new state of being. (I know it sounds slightly new agish) I also perfer the way I eat. I don't even want to have anything thats carbonated to drink like sodas or the like. The other night I had a strawberry margarita but I rarely ever have a drink so I wasn't too concerned about it.  Plus my workout the previous night was quite intense. Its likely that I pushed it quite far. I don't crave sweets/salt even when its that time. I do enjoy strawberry smoothies very much now though. I make them like Jamba Juice does. I asked them to show me how to make it and what they used. So basically I don't have to go out to JJ unless I am out and about anyways.

I dig on watching Dog Shows a lot.  I wish I could have a dog but I don't have the time to devote to it really and that would be most unfair to the dog. I don't want to have a cat either. I like other peoples cats. If I had a cat I would like a red cat though. (don't anybody get any ideas!) I think if I had a dog I would love a Kerry Blue Terrier though. Terrierrs can be a handful but if you don't exercise and engage the dog and have discipline then thats true of any dog. You have to have a dog that matches your energy level or even a little less. Now I wouldn't have a very high energy, active breed who needs a lot of activity like a cattle dog, Portugese water dog or other working breeds of that nature. They'd wear me out but a terrier would be my prefrence for the right type of dog for me.

Lately we have these trees with white crap that flies off of it and its giving me a bit of the allergies for the past week or so. I love our better weather because it feels like winter is exceptionally long here and I am considering getting out of here so I can get back to my Cali 11 month sun and warmth. My body likes it better seriously. It loved Hawaii even better but after about a year I'd have to come home because I would be suffering island fever. I am thinking of going over to Oahu in October. Its still 80's then and its not the height of tourist season. Oh thats right I would have to go before September or in December/January...

Colour me country right. Actually the past week or so I have been listening to all these young female country singers and I am feeling it. Especially Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and the like. Taylor's Tim McGraw is a classy jam. Michael Buble has an interesting new song "Everything."  I have been listening to quite a bit of Baroque also. I dig on the harpsicord.  Music is pratically the greatest thing in life for me along with Reading and Writing. Art runs close up there. I am working on regaining my Spanish and I would love to learn French and Italian and maybe some Russian. The school system in this country sucks seriously.  Languages are much easier to learn when you are younger. Heck children in this country should be learning Spanish and French. Those are the 2 along with English that need to be taught here and maybe even some Chinese or Japanese. If I had any children its school overseas for them.  Enough soapbox for the day...

My mom called me last night 2 times and I did not even hear the phone ring. Heck, TV was watching me seriously. I think I fell asleep around 6-7pmish and woke up this morning around 5am. Maybe my body is telling me I am pushing it a little to hard with working out and doing so much on top of it. So basically I will scale back to once a day with the workouts and such high activity. I should rest myself but life is short and thats not really any fun. I could do some writing but I do that much better later in the evenings. I have a lot to read but I like to read in the evenings also. I do my best reading and writing in the evenings and like12-3am. I am a real nightbird. I do some other things in that time frame very well also.

I have done some bunjee jumping and parasailing but I have been thinking that I would like to either skydive or learn to fly a plane. I wouldn't recommend bunjeeing if one is afraid of open heights as I am. See I am good if I am in a plane or something like that but I don't think at this point I could take a hot air balloon ride. I have always been very keen on exploring my fears but open air heights was a rough one. Honestly, I did the bunjee for the thrill of it because I am a thrill seeker. I get a euphoric high off of it. I don't need to take drugs to get high. I like fast amusement park rides also. Most people who know me are surprised about that aspect of my personality. I am an introvert and even intensely private about many things but get me around an amusement park or something that involves thrill and I will do it. Maybe its to prove to myself that I can actually do it. Which of course I do. I need to learn to swim better. I won't drown myself but its a bit colder here and I just don't feel the need to swim. I would like to learn to dance professionally also. I think I am almost ready to undertake the dancing part. I know you get in shape seriously with dancing. Right on...

I don't know what it is but I have never had an interest in blonde men--ever. However, there is an actor on a daytime drama (I know a soap opera. I don't watch them most boring!) He is sexy, suave and looks like evil. (well, his character is eveil sorry SR :) I have always had a thing for a French guy though. Probably because I am French myself. That devil may care atitude and arrogance and independence. It attracts me. I respect a man who can come up to me and let me know that he is not intimidated by me. I get bored by wishy washy men or men who aren't straight out with me. I don't do  very subtle men well. I take it as disinterest or a man not being sharp enough for me. See I need a man who is interesting. I like to talk sports, music, cars yes but I need a very bright and intelligent man. I want to talk Philosphy, Lingusitics, History. I read the encyclopedia for fun. Most men I meet can't hold my interest. Ah, such is life...








The White Envelope

It's just a small white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas -- oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it -- the overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma -- the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties, and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church.

These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them." Mike loved kids -- all kids -- and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball, and lacrosse.

That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.

For each Christmas, I followed the tradition -- one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning
it was joined by three more.

Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope.

Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us. May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the season, and the true Christmas spirit this year and always.

God Bless! -- pass this along to your friends and loved ones.


This is for those of us who either need to remember the true meaning of Christmas or maybe just need inspiration. For me Christmas is much too commercial so I appreciated this story. In recent years I have focused less on the commercial and more on doing for others to remember what the true meaning of Christmas is all about.

Gumbo

Tonight I made gumbo. I enjoyed it but it is a process definitely.

It had sausage, shrimp, chicken and green pepper basically. You can add more ingredients than I did like crabmeat or crabs, oysters, tomatoes etc...

I made it the easy way and here is the receipe.

Make roux from Tony Cachere's container of instant roux mix in a saucepan. Trust me its easier than scratch roux and tastes the same. Just follow the directions on the cannister. It will come out think like gravy but it will thin out as time goes along in your dutch oven. Basically put the roux mix into your dutch oven with more hot water and stir and that thins it out. Make sure roux is perfect before you put any of the ingredients in it because if you burn it then you just wasted some good money if you added everything to the pot already. You can't add anything to the pot if the roux isn't there though so don't trip.

Make a pot of white rice--as much as you need! add salt and garlic to the rice and cook it up in your rice cooker.

Basically, cook the chicken until almost done then add it to the roux. Add the green peppers, celery and onion to the roux also after cooking it in a pan until almost done. Add some bay leaves if you want. I season the roux even further with red pepper, hot sauce, file, garlic and creole seasoning. Just don't go too overboard because it will set you on fire if you are prone to that kinda thing.

Boil some water for the hot sausage, while that's going on cut up the lil smokies sausage and fry it in some oil until browned and add it to your gumbo pot.

When the water boils for your sausage add the sausage to your pan and season the water good and let it go for about 8-10 min. Then sausage is done. Slice it up after it cools some and add it to your gumbo pot. (I used Italian sausage because Andouille sausage is $7 for 5 links here. I ain't paying that much for sausage. Italian sausage works fine anyhow and its about $2.99)

At this point 2-3 hours have gone by and your gumbo has been simmerin and your rice has been done for a long time. Might as well eat it now. Take the bay leaves out though because they aren't really all that edible in my view.

It came out quite fine. I can cook anything really!!!So can you...2 day old gumbo is better than 1 day old gumbo so make a lot so you have leftovers.

Make sure you are sanitary and do not mix uncooked meats with the cooked foods otherwise that can be a real bitch. Also, make sure you cool down that gumbo before refrigeration otherwise bacteria can form and that wouldn't be plesant either.

Wonder if Justin Wilson is smiling right now?

If you come back I might give you the receipe for Jumbalaya soon.

Inspirated?

I am watching American Chopper--a new one. Eragon bike. Its moving from Discovery to Learning Channel in January. To Thursdays at 9pm. Um, yeah. I will be watching Grey's Anatomy people.
I will have to catch the repeats.

Trying to get to Louisiana to see my parents for the holidays but we'll see how that goes. Quite expensive indeed. Around $530 from Seattle area to New Orleans/Baton Rouge. Expensive.

Well I am on day 4 of 31--doing well so far in posting online.

My favourite commercial on the tele these days has been the CITIBank commercials with the Russian guy. Very, very rewarding...

Its nice to be rid of the snow I must say. Its nippy but not super cold. I was nervous in all that ice last week. We'll likely get a few more snowstorms I think though.

Been doing quite a bit of couponing lately since every little bit helps right? As expensive as life is it would be crazy not to. I just wish some retailers here would do double coupons. I did not realize in Cali how well double coupons added up in savings. Ths time of year its adventageous to take advantage of the great buys I would have to say.

I do not do a lot of decorating for XMAS but I have 2 fake small trees and white lights and garland up on my bar. That has 1 card on it so far. I need to make up my cards to send out. Maybe I will do email cards instead if I go over to LA.

I am looking forward to doing postcards for December. I am getting better every month. More motivated and inspirated every month.

Getting to know you

> 1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate
Soy sugar free hot chocolate yes...

> 2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Wrapping or bagging presents yes. If it were a huge present then I would just throw a bow on it.

> 3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
White lights. Growing up it was mainly coloured until my brother and
I were teenagers. My mom preferred white and so do I.

> 4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No but maybe I should and surprise the S.O. with it. As a rule I have
no mistletoe no.

> 5. When do you put up your decorations?
The decorations I have I put up the first weekend of December. I take
them down a few days after New Year's.

> 6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Gumbo.

> 7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
Don't have one. I have tried to put holidays and Christmas out of my
mind from when I was younger.

> 8. When and how did you learn that Santa isn't real.
I do not remember but I figured it out pretty quick.

> 9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
In my family we all open our gifts on XMAS eve.

> 10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
When I was a teenager I decided to take the pressure off my mom. My
brother would put the white lights on the tree and I would put on the
angels, decorative bulbs, ribbon, bows, and other ornaments on it. I
also put real candy canes on the tree and an angel went on top. It
looked so professional I was asked to do some other trees in the
neighborhood and they tried to pay me but I said not for payment!

> 11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
I like snow if I don't have to walk on ice or drive in it.

> 12. Can you ice skate?
I cannot ice skate but I love to watch it and imagine I could.

> 13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
My favourite gift was likely not having my dad ruin holidays with his
bad attitude. Now that I am an adult I can understand the reason my
father was the way he was but it was not good when it was going on.

> 14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Not overextending myself and focusing on the non-commercial aspects
of XMAS.

> 15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Don't have one but I like to make bourbon balls and eat 1 or 2 before
the heartburn kicks in.

> 16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Getting as much volunteer activity in as I can. I donate to Salvation
Army, buy gifts for Toys4Tots, buy gifts for the gift trees at the
malls, this year I am adding buying pet food and giving it to Safeway
for the pet shelter so low income people don't have to decide to feed
their pets and not themselves. If I can find some other interesting
ideas then I will do those things also.

> 17. What tops your tree?
I won't have a tree personally since I will be in Baton Rouge with my
parents but I will throw up my few small decorations to remind me to
be thankful for having a place to live and have food to eat etc...

> 18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving gifts?
I much perfer to give than receive gifts.

> 19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
O Holy Night, Silent Night by Mariah Carey, Joy to the World...
I perfer the more "religious" carols to more secular fare.

> 20. Candy Canes on the tree?
Yes, why not? I won't eat them though.

> 21. Do you feel Christmas it too commercialized or is it still
magical?
Its way too commercial for my tastes. XMAS was never magical in my
view so I am thinking about how I can make it more memorable in the
future.

More snow

More heavier snow today...It looks like a winter wonderland. I just stepped outside and its quite cold. Down in the 20's for sure.

I had called my mom earlier this evening just when the Seahawks game started. I had let her know it was snowing and they were like we don't see any snow! Then it starts snowing on tv and they were like oh ok we see it now lol. On the Packers/Seahawks game. We have an open air stadium of sorts and with the rain and snow here one would think they would of made it a closed stadium. Or at least an optional closed roof. It gets cold here from November-March or so!

When it snows here things kind of grind to a halt because it rarely snows here. It rains plenty though. We are getting more snow this week I think. It will be soupy this week though. I will get over to get mail tomorrow or the next day. Send the mail I have to send out.

I did a bunch of housework today which included vacuuming, dishes etc...

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fragments of things and Writing

What would my "friend" think about if I kept a written journal for him and gave it to Him at Christmas time? Would he appreciate it or read it once and then toss it aside and figure where's my real present (snarky KAT!)
What would I write about that was meaningful or had importance that he may want to read? I am not artisitically inclined really...
I will consider it or maybe just write him a bunch of love letters of sorts maybe...

Just spoke to a friend...I did not have a chance to ask him about moving or if he had a daily planner for next year. He did say he wanted to have some razors...$1 store anyone.

In terms of the writing books I mentioned in the previous entry:

John Steinbeck's Journal of a Novel/The East of Eden Letters. Journal entries from when Steinbeck was writing EOE and letting us know about the process he used to write the story. Also interspersed with what he was doing in life at the time from building bookcases to spending time with his boys etc...He has another book in this vein I have to track down. I also have A Moveable Feast by Hemingway my favourite writer. Journal of a Solitude by Mary Sarton. I collect these types of books as its fascinating to me to read about such things.

This Day in the Life-Diaries From Women Across America is basically entries from women on the same day June 29, 2004. A mulititude of entries from different women all over the place. I did not find it exceptionally interesting as a whole but in spots it was pretty good. Some participants entries are super and then others just really blah. I am thinking they need a bit more life, excitement, activity etc...I would send this one to anyone who wanted to read it and pass it on etc...

The Hidden Writer-Diaires and the Creative Life is again about female writers but they are published writers. I found this at Half Price Books in the Women's Studies/Sociology section. Majory Fleming, Sonya Tolstoy, Alice James, Katherine Mansfield, Anais Nin, Mary Sarton, and the author of the book Alexandra Johnston are included. The author profiled the previous 6 writers for this book and its about the diaries of all of the writers.

The Writing Life is a collection from The Washington Post Book World. Its a book on how writers Think and Work. From Julia Alvarez to Erica Jong, from Gloria Naylor to Jane Smilley.

Writing The Mind Alive--Its a Guided Writing Practice that can transform your life. It is called Proprioceptive Method. It is a guided healing or delving deeper into one's self.

The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing. It breaks down novel writing into 16 steps (hence Marshall Plan) you put together one piece at a time. It gives you the confidence and strength to have your story plotted and planned before you start writing.

CIG Guide to Journaling (Complete Idiots Guide)
Ideas for differnt types of journals such as a log style, a healing journal, A theme journal, the reflective journal, the family type, a historical journal. What, where, how to write; taking control with your Journal...

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