Thursday, January 28, 2010

Viral Meningitus

I am sick.

Viral meningitis.

Need rest.

So - I am going to rest.

I will return soon.


I decided to cut and paste what meningitis is:

Viral meningitis refers to meningitis caused by a viral infection. It is sometimes referred to as "aseptic meningitis" in contrast to meningitis caused by bacteria.

That's all I have in me.


Until next time..

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pick, Pick, Pick

Different cultures find different body shapes attractive.
I, thank God, had a good figure (by American standards) when I was a teen ager and in my early 20s. Crucial years.

Now - I am your typical 30-something carrying extra luggage around the middle, the bottom, and everywhere else in between.

I have started heading back to the gym. My LEAST favorite place to be. Walking in place for 30 minutes is BORING. Riding a stationary bike is BORING. The elliptical machine makes me feel like a gazelle running through the forest.
Weights feel butch.

I hate the gym.
I do, however, love taking dance classes. However, dance classes don't come cheap. No where - never have. I was thrilled last year to be able to take my Flamenco dance classes. But it was NOT cheap. I started to take salsa classes at another dance studio - again, very expensive.

I would prefer to fill up my days with dance classes. I would happily attend an hour to two hours a night - dancing. But my wallet will not allow it.
But I digress.

I know the weight I need to be in order to be "healthy." It's fairly low - between 105 - 125. I am short. When I weighed that much I was between a size 2, 5, or 7.
Let's just say, it's been a while since I was any of those sizes. When I started college I was a size 5. When I graduated, I was a size 10. The weight jumped up in 5 years.

Now I have been out of high school for almost 20 years. And my weight has climbed, yet again.

I will take a moment and say one thing - I do not think that I am unattractive. No, I am not going to sit here and have a pity party. However, I know my body is not what many would deem attractive - or fit. My husband finds me beautiful. I asked him specifically - what do you think is beautiful about me? He laughed and teased me about the things I hate about myself. But then he answered me most seriously, "Your eyes. I love your blue eyes. When you are old, and wrinkled, and everything - those eyes will be the same." He also said he loved the color of my skin. He likes fair, porcelain skin. Of course he loves my mind, and my heart - etc. But I tried to make him stick to the physical.
But what does it mean to find someone physical attractive? The actual definition is: Physical attractiveness is the perception of the physical traits of an individual human person as aesthetically pleasing or beautiful, and can include various implications such as sexual attractiveness and physique.

Soo... what is considered physically attractive is dependent on three factors: universal perceptions common to all human cultures, cultural and social aspects and individual subjective preferences.

Despite universally held perceptions of beauty in both sexes, males tend to place significantly higher value on physical appearance in a partner than women do. Heck - no need to go into great explanation of this one, but there is a reason. This can be explained by evolutionary psychology as a consequence of ancestral humans who selected partners based on secondary sexual characteristics, as well as general indicators of fitness (for example, symmetrical features.)
Studies have shown that ovulating heterosexual women and gay men prefer faces with masculine traits associated with increased testosterone, such as heavy brows, wide jaws, and broad cheekbones.

Women who are in the late luteal or early follicular phases of the menstrual cycle (or those taking hormonal contraception) do not prefer masculine male faces. Isn't that fascinating???

Also, females tend to prefer different facial traits in short-term and long-term partners, and sociocultural factors, such as self-perceived attractiveness, status in a relationship and degree of gender-conformity.
Now - back to the men! Features such as a symmetrical face, full lips, and low waist-hip ratio are commonly considered physically attractive.
According to one source : The determinants of female physical attractiveness include those aspects that display health and fitness for reproduction and sustenance. These include correlates of fertility such as youth, waist-hip ratio, breast size, breast symmetry, body mass proportion and facial symmetry.

In a study by University of Louisville psychologist Michael Cunningham, dimensions and proportions of what was regarded as attractive emerged with remarkable consistency. The ideal attractive female face featured "eye width that is three-tenths the width of the face at the eyes' level; chin length, one-fifth the height of the face; distance from the center of the eye to the bottom of the eyebrow, one-tenth the height of the face; the height of the visible eyeball, one-fourteenth the height of the face; the width of the pupil, one-fourteenth the distance between the cheekbones; and the total area for the nose, less than 5 percent of the area of the face."

Desired traits were large female eyes, small chin and nose, and these "infantlike features draw out in them the same caretaking response a baby would–they make a woman seem cute and adorable."

Further, high wide cheekbones and narrow cheeks are "signs that a woman has reached puberty" and "high eyebrows, dilated pupils and wide smile" signal excitement and sociability. One psychologist speculated there were two opposing principles of female beauty: prettiness and rarity. So average, symmetrical features is one ideal, while unusual, stand-out features is another.
The Body Mass Index (BMI) is another important universal determinant to the perception of beauty. The BMI refers to the proportion of the body mass to the body structure.

However, the optimal body proportion is interpreted differently in various cultures. The Western ideal considers a slim and slender body mass as optimal while many historic cultures consider an embonpoint or plump body-mass as appealing.

Men do not appear to have evolved to hold a particular build as more attractive, but rather to be drawn to whichever build associates with social status.

In the United States, women overestimate men's preferences for thinness in a mate. In one study, American women were asked to choose what their ideal build was and what they thought the build most attractive to men was. Women chose slimmer than average figures for both choices, though when American men were independently asked to choose the female build most attractive to them, they (the men) chose figures of average build, indicating that women may be misled as to how thin men prefer women to be.

Some speculate that thinness as a beauty standard is one way in which women judge each other. A reporter asked: "Why do women suffer to look like skeletons even when men don’t want them to?" and wondered whether "women's aesthetic judgments are so influenced by other women."

The reporter surmised that thinness is prized among women as a "sign of independence, strength and achievement." Some blame the fashion industry from pushing an "unnatural thinness" with "waiflike models who paraded down the catwalk" and that these unattainable and dangerous examples of slimness could be harmful to young, impressionable women.

There is speculation that some beauty standards for thinness are harmful to women since they encourage extreme dieting; in one instance, a Ralph Lauren advertisement of a model was digitally altered to make her hips appear thinner than her head, and the distorted image caused controversy about whether the thin-beauty standard was false and harmful.

In his foreword to Peter Frost's 2005 Fair Women, Dark Men, University of Washington sociologist Pierre L. van den Berghe writes: "Although virtually all cultures express a marked preference for fair female skin, even those with little or no exposure to European imperialism, and even those whose members are heavily pigmented, many are indifferent to male pigmentation or even prefer men to be darker."

A consequence of this is that, since higher-ranking men get to marry the more attractive women, the upper classes of a society generally tend to develop a lighter complexion than the lower classes by sexual selection (see also Fisherian runaway).

In eastern parts of Asia, including Southeast Asia, a preference for lighter skin remains prevalent. In East Asia in particular, fair skin is associated with beauty and youth, since skin darkens with exposure to the sun and aging. This conflation of youth and beauty is not exclusive to East Asia, and can be linked to the phenomenon of neoteny. Thus, skin whitening cosmetic products are popular in East Asia.

A preference for fair skin however is not a recent development, and in China, for example, can be traced back to ancient drawings depicting women and goddesses with fair skin tones. While in Malaysia, up to 48% of Malaysian women use skin whitening product. Some Asian women, trying to conform to a Western beauty standard, have plastic surgery known as blepharoplasty to alter their eyelids to make their eyes "appear fuller, less slanted, more Western."

A reporter found plastic surgery was booming in South Korea as a result and wrote "Korea’s standard for beauty is this: the more Western you look, the better."

The perception of beauty can be influenced by racial stereotypes about skin color; the African American journalist Jill Nelson wrote that "to be both prettiest and black was impossible"and elaborated:

"As a girl and young woman, hair, body, and color were society's trinity in determining female beauty and identity, the cultural and value-laden gang of three that formed the boundaries and determined the extent of women's visibility, influence, and importance. For the most part, they still are. We learn as girls that in ways both subtle and obvious, personal and political, our value as females is largely determined by how we look. As we enter womanhood, the pervasive power of this trinity is demonstrated again and again in how we are treated by the men we meet, the men we work for, the men who wield power, how we treat each other and, most of all, ourselves. For black women, the domination of physical aspects of beauty in women's definition and value render us invisible, partially erased, or obsessed, sometimes for a lifetime, since most of us lack the major talismans of Western beauty. Black women find themselves involved in a lifelong effort to self-define in a culture that provides them no positive reflection."
Back to the body shape - what types of shapes are there??
Female shapes

Apple (triangle downward)
Apple shaped women have broader shoulders and bust, and narrower hips. Apple shaped women have (much) higher androgen levels compared to women with other body types.
Because of this high androgen level, the skeleton develops in a masculine pattern. Fat is mainly distributed in the chest, face and abdomen.

Banana or straight (rectangular)
The waist measurement is less than 9 inches smaller than the hips or bust measurement. The body has a relatively high androgen level compared to the estrogen level, and this causes the skeleton to develop in a more masculine pattern and body fat to be distributed predominantly in the abdomen, buttocks, chest and face.

Pear or spoon or bell (triangle upward)
The hip measurement is greater than the bust measurement.

The distribution of fat varies, with fat tending to deposit first in the buttocks, hips and thighs. As body fat percentage increases, an increasing proportion of body fat is distributed around the waist and upper abdomen.

Hourglass shape (triangles opposing, facing in)
The hip and bust are almost of equal size with a narrow waist.
Body fat distribution tends to be around both the upper body and lower body. This body type enlarges the arms, chest, hips and rear before other parts, including waist and upper abdomen.
A study of over 6,000 women carried out by researchers at the North Carolina State University around 2005 found that 46% were banana (rectangular), just over 20% pear, just under 14% apple, and 8% hourglass. Another study has found "that the average woman's waistline had expanded by six inches since the 1950s" and that today women are taller and have bigger busts and hips than those of the 1950s.
Again, what is considered beautiful? What is best for me? My guess is - I will stick to the insides. I will make sure my cholesterol is low. I will try to lower my blood pressure. I want my muscles to be strong enough to burn calories when resting. I want to be able to move my joints without pain. I want healthy teeth and a beautiful smile. I want my eyes to remain bright and blue. I will always cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize my skin. I will try to get a better night's sleep. I will eat plenty of fruits and veggies to get my vitamins. I will drink plenty of water in order to stay hydrated.

More importantly, I need to work on my inner soul. :-)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sleep Apnea - 100%

It is official. I got the results back from my "sleep study." I have sleep apnea.
Apparently I quit breathing up to 11 times an hour. This is turn causes my adrenaline to kick into overdrive to "pull me out" of this state, and then heart races, the blood pressure rises - and boom.
So - with the theme of our Go Red For Women campaign - Speak Up to Save Lives - I want each of you to talk to your doctor if you snore. Simple as that.
I have to return to the Lakeshore sleep clinic for another sleep study. Damn it.
They will be hooking up a CPAP machine and measuring the amount of pressure needed to keep me breathing.
Then, I suppose, I will be walking away with one of these handy dandy things.
I am not sure what I think about it.
I will fill you in Wednesday.
Until then.. happy snores... :-)

How will you Go Red?

My entire month has basically consisted of how to make Birmingham (and really a myriad of other cities) Go Red For Women in the month of February.

It is important to know, just because the actions take place in February - does not mean we start in February. I have about a 2 1/2 week window of promotion, and right now - I am in the thick of it.

This year in particular, I am trying really hard to get into the spirit of GRFW. As you all know, I am seeing a cardiologist and I have major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke. I am trying (well - taking one step forward, and two steps back) - but the point is I am making a conscious effort to reduce my risk factors. NO, I am NOT successful all of the time. But each time I take a moment to find a way to stop the risky behaviors, I am one step closer to reaching my goal.

My goal is:
1. Return to a healthy weight.
2. Get to a point where I no longer need blood pressure medicine
3. Lower my cholesterol and triglyercides. (sp)

Basic - 1.2.3.

February is Heart Awareness month. I think everyone should be more heart aware. In particular, the first Friday of each February is National Wear Red Day. This where we draw awareness to the Go Red For Women Movement.

Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association’s solution to save women’s lives. Too many women die each year because they are unaware that heart disease is their No. 1 killer. One in three women suffers in silence, and almost one woman dies every minute of this largely preventable disease.

This year, Go Red is asking women to bring a voice to this silent killer –

· Cardiovascular disease kills approximately 450,000 women each year, about one every minute.
· While 1 in 30 American women die of breast cancer, about 1 in 3 die from cardiovascular disease.
· More women die of cardiovascular disease than the next five causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer.
· Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
· Only 1 in 5 women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat.
· Heart disease is largely preventable. In fact, 80 percent of cardiac events in women may be prevented if women make the right choices for their hearts, involving diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking.

Research shows that women who “Go Red” are more likely to make healthy choices.
· More than one-third have lost weight.
· Nearly 55 percent have increased their exercise.
· Six out of ten have changed their diets.
· More than 40 percent have checked their cholesterol levels.
· One third have talked with their doctors about developing heart health plans.

This year, Go Red For Women invites women across the country to SPEAK UP TO SAVE LIVES.
· PARTICIPATE IN NATIONAL WEAR RED DAY (February 5th, 2010): Speak up by wearing red on National Wear Red Day and spreading the word to others to build awareness and inspire action.

· WATCH THE “CHOOSE TO LIVE” DOCUMENTARY: In partnership with NBC Universal, Go Red For Women produced the 30-minute TV special, “Go Red For Women Presents – Choose to Live!” The special, hosted by Hoda Kotb, premiered on NBC in national syndication beginning in September. Visit for local listings or to watch the special online.

– Show Up: Attend a local Go Red For Women luncheon to learn more about how you can support Go Red For Women in your community.
– Speak Up: Make the hearts of your community stronger than ever by volunteering at your local American Heart Association office.

· SHOP GO RED: Go to to support life-saving research and awareness programs by purchasing Go Red For Women apparel, accessories and other heart-healthy products.

· VISIT US AT A premier source of information and education, is the No. 1 online destination where women can learn how to make heart-healthy choices every day.
– Go Red BetterU: A FREE 12-week online makeover that can change your life.
– Go Red Heart CheckUp: An online tool that provides a 10-year, personal heart disease risk assessment.
– Community of Stories: Join Go Red For Women to connect with others who are speaking up for women’s heart health nationwide and sharing their healthy choices.
– Consumer Education: Go Red For Women provides educational materials for consumers such as cookbooks, brochures, bookmarks, posters, Web alerts, etc.

For more information about Go Red For Women, visit or call
Locally there is a lot going on!
Friday, February 5th – National Wear Red Day
· Free health screenings are available for everyone at Princeton Hoover from 9am-1pm on Hwy 150.

· Xcell Academy invites you to Go Red by giving a ten dollar donation and getting red hair extensions and more! Hwy 31, Hoover.

· Wear Red while shopping at Macy’s Riverchase and Brookwood and receive a free shopping coupon.
Saturday, February 6th – Go Red for Women casting call
· Time: 10am- 1pm
2pm- 5pm
· Venue: Macy’s Riverchase Galleria, Hoover.
· This is the chance for women to speak up and share their heart stories and help empower other women to live more heart-healthy lifestyles. Join the movement and also get a free heart checkup.

Tell us your story of the choices you have made to improve your health and encourage the women in your life to do the same. Save lives with the power of your very own voice. By sharing your story you will have the chance to become a spokesperson for the cause – representing Go Red For Women in marketing materials, at events, on and possibly in a national television special about women and heart disease.
· Choose to make your voice – and your heart – stronger than ever.
· Choose to “Say YES” to healthy behaviors.
· Choose to be a BetterU.
o Know your numbers (i.e., cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, BMI, etc.)
o Enroll in Go Red BetterU at
· Choose to join the conversation at

· Choose to spread awareness of the No.1 killer of women. Save lives with the power of your own voice.
· Choose to support the movement at
· Choose to educate your community about heart-healthy actions. Contact your local American Heart Association office to see how you can get involved with Go Red For Women.
· Choose to donate. Give from the heart to help fund life-saving research and education programs for women.

If you are interested and need more information - please contact your local American Heart Association. You can find locations/contact numbers at

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sometimes I feel like Switzerland

With a small prayer, I can do this topic a little bit of justice.

Yes, I am about to "go there."

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Yep, I said. Now I want to educate - BOTH SIDES.

I know all of you are aware that I am married to an Egyptian. He is a muslim. Many, many of my friends are egyptian and muslim.

I am Christian - and well, as we all know, Christian - especially American Christians are very sympathetic to Israel.

I am quite sure (and this statement does not pertain to anyone I worked in television with) but I am quite sure that most of the people I know on Facebook - and that is over 500, are not aware of what's really going on over there.

Maybe you don't care. Then again, maybe you should.

I remember back to when I was a senior in High School - my first REAL taste of what was going on "over there." I took a Foreign Relations (H) class with Virginia Phillips. (Still the single coolest teacher IN the world.) One of our class projects was to participate in Georgia's Model United Nations. Some things to realize, 1. It is 1991 - Gulf War is going on and George Bush (daddy Bush) was president.

We were to send in our request to participate, then we would be given a country to represent. I am sure our teacher almost fell out when she realized the country we had - what a HOT topic. Yes, my friends, we were given Israel. At the time, probably must of us laughed and said - oh easy - Israel of the bible. *sigh* Naive at such a young age.

We got an excellent opportunity to go to Atlanta to the Israeli consulate. We got to sit and ask lots of questions to these very intense men. I remember that I had never met people so serious in my life. They explained the entire history - and referenced the Torah (first 5 books of the bible for those who are not aware) and used that a historical account of why the land they are on is theirs.

Our little group heads to our Model UN - and guess what committee I was put on for debate? Special Political Committee. The one where "special" issues are debated out. Holy moly. at 17, that was A LOT to take in. ;-)

But I digress.

Back to the issue at hand. Visiting Egypt, one of the first things you will notice, and I am just going to be honest here, is a major "hate" and I know that is a strong word, but it is the right one - HATE of Israel.

Obviously, I asked - why? It's compassion for the Palestinian people.

Let me explain what is exactly going on over there. The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is an ongoing dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. Although the conflict is wide-ranging, the key issues are border security, water rights, control of Jerusalem, land rights, and legalities concerning refugees.

The violence resulting from the conflict has prompted other security and human rights concerns on both sides and internationally. It forms part of the wider Arab–Israeli conflict.

Many Palestinians nowadays believe that Israel is not really interested in reaching an arrangement, but rather interested in continuing to control the entire territory from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. As proof of their claims, they point to the expansion of the Jewish settlements during the terms of the Israeli left-wing political parties, the argument that it has always been Israel which has conquered territory which belonged to Arab countries, that the IDF entered Palestinian towns during the intifada, as well as quotes of Israeli right-wing leaders and religious leaders who have expressed their support in a Greater Israel and in implementing a population transfer.

On the other hand, many Israelis nowadays believe that the Palestinians’ true intentions are to conquer the Palestine region entirely and that their official claims are only a temporary strategy. As a proof to their claims, they note the rise of the Hamas, which has called for the takeover of all parts of Israel, incitement against Israel made in the Palestinian schools' textbooks and to the Palestinian political violence made against Israeli civilians within the Green Line borders.

Due to the large number of opinions and interpretations, the question of the true demands of the parties is a political issue by itself, about which many Israelis and Palestinians disagree.

Take a moment and watch this video:

This video is an eyewitness account of what is going on along the borders. THIS is what gets people angry. This is government, not religion.

After watching the video, I thought it might be "eye opening" to see what the International Solidarity Movement was about.

Here is a very in depth documentary of the Palestinian Refugees.

I want to make sure I am balanced in this explanation. So I did a little research on what Israel is saying. I think video is an excellent way to show this.

Finally, I thought it might be good to share this link -

You can see both sides. Both are killing - one has more advanced weapons (from us) and one is living in squalor and creating make-shift bombs and receiving bombs from other sources.

Other Arab nations are backing Palestine, which leaves Israel surrounded by enemies.

Then Israel has the strongest ally - the United States, which puts Palestine at risk.

What is the American official statement on the Arab/Israeli conflict??

In the end, I hope for peace. I believe Palestine needs their own state. Make it official. I believe Israel has a right to their state.

There are so many perspectives. I will end with a few "excellent" sources to help you understand the conflict.

In the end.... I share this message:

God Bless Everyone! :-)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Headaches, Backaches and $45 copays for Prescriptions

The egyptian has a two-week headache. I have apparently pulled something in my back after the big "jump back into exercise" week. Co-pays for his prescription are $45 flipping dollars.

I would vote YES for government-ran healthcare today. Absolutely.

Now onto something else.

Tired. WHAT a week. Demands Demands Demands at work. All of the way from one end of TN to the Florida panhandle. I have sooooo much on my plate.

I almost laugh when someone in on our fundraising team tells me they are beyond stressed. They have one event a year and usually someone to help them.

I, on the other hand - have EVERY EVENT IN EVERY CITY IN EVERY CAUSE. I am there to provide free advertising for all of their companies, and their people, and.. and.. and.. and..



I counted in two months I have over 8 events. 8 MAJOR events. That includes several Heart Balls and Go Red For Women Luncheons, 2 Heart Walks, several National Wear Red day items... I could go on and on and on.. That's just through the first week in March.

Guess what - EVERYONE wants all of my attention at all times.


Sooo.. needless to say, I am looking forward to this weekend.

Sorry - this is not a post full of awesome research and funny observations - this is a vent/rant/rave post. ;-)

Perhaps tomorrow - when my back doesn't hurt and life returns to a slower pace, I will share something...

Until that peaceful, joyful moment...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Time to brag.

Actually I was just kidding. It is not time to brag. But I do want to say something.

Do not get me wrong, I do NOT want to be one of those people chronicling their weight loss journey. That bores and annoys the hell out of me. But I am proud to say that I am successfully going to the gym daily and enjoying it. Also - I have picked up my Mediterranean diet again (per D_O_C's orders.) There. I said it, and I will leave it at that.

For my birthday, I have decided to take the photography classes that I have been putting off. Yep. Gonna do it. It will take a little or a year and a half, then I will have my "diploma." Very excited. FINALLY - I am going to make this happen.

All of this is in preparation for something really pivotal. My husband and I MIGHT go back to Egypt after he gets his citizenship (which is several years from now.) Yep. I may live abroad for a bit. I am actually excited. I also wanted to think of a way to earn some money. I love taking photos. Soooo....

Today will be a fairly busy day. Technically could be life saving. Tonight is the American Heart Association's first annual Research Reception in Birmingham. Basically it is an adult science fair. :-)

The life-saving part is - people with lots and lots o' cheese will be attending. In turn, they will see where their money goes - then hopefully, will be inspired to give even more - and in turn, the circle of "life saving" commences.

Technically I should feel privileged in life. My life experiences, regardless of the outcome, have been very adventurous/interesting/sometimes.. moving. I get to go to an invitation only party where scientist will reveal the biggest breakthroughs in cardiovascular disease and stroke - before the public really gets to learn about it. Life saving measures. Then to add a cherry on top - it is MY job to inform the public. I write about it, I get media to cover it, I find ways to utilize the scientists. Pretty cool... pretty cool.
Another big announcement, I finally got my egyptian to agree to officially give me 30 minutes to one hour a day in arabic lessons. I want to be fluent by the age of 40. I am 36 - well.. for a few more weeks. ;-)
I have to admit something now.. I was a little whiny and needy last night. Yep... I think the egyptian saw first hands a hormonal woman. LOL
Also - I have to make an even BIGGER decision. I am trying to decide whether to stay as a youth leader at my church or not. I feel like it might be time to roll on.... but even last night, after taking a 6 week break from it - the kids were thrilled to see me again. :-( At one point, our youth minister asked everyone to write on a sheet of paper what we thought our mission in life was. (loaded request there.) The young man sitting next to me, who is thinking of becoming a priest (maybe).. for fun, wrote that his mission in life was to get Nicole to stay as a youth leader. LOL Sweet... maybe thru the school year..... ??!!?? I don't know. I sometimes feel like just another chaperon in the room. I don't like that feeling. I want to be more useful. *sigh*

To keep everyone up on the talk with my egyptian about the divinity of Christ - I am reading "The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel. I also plan to take the islam classes at the mosque. Compare and contrast - get it?
Fun research - from the inside.

Okay, much love to my friends, a big hello and welcome to my new readers, and then of course - to those of you being critical - this blog has been galvanized. hahahahahaaha.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Is it a full moon?

Anyone that may be on the verge of losing their mind is out and with full force today.
It has to be a full moon. LOL
I literally just ended a 15 minute debate with a 19 year old on Health care reform. LOL
Finally - he says - "Answer my objections." All I said was -
"Bless your heart."
The craziest of conservatives are out for blood tonight. TRULY out for blood.
Cracking me up.
Then work. WOW. hahahaa.
Then dealing with drivers.
The my head is killing me.
There must be something in the air.
Maybe all of that Christmas debt is getting to people and they are having buyers remorse. lol
Good night folks.. aye yi yi.

Patience. Patience. Patience.

I feel like this cat you see here. Sitting. Watching. Ready to pounce.

Sometimes people, places, or even events are the "mice" I might choose to "play with."

Sometimes these items are a bird that I like to chew up and spit out.

Sometimes, like all cats, I could care less and choose not to play.

Today - I chose not to play.

Emotional roller coasters are not my bag. Nor is drama from other people.

I say what I say. I do what I do. I could honestly care less what others think of me. Many of you reading this may have very strong opinions about me. That's okay. Really - it's your God given right.

I have strong opinions and I voice them - here. In my blog. It is my right - my 1st amendment right, to say as I please. If, by chance, I choose to "air" how I feel about a person, place or thing - it is rare that I would ever use names or places. I don't wish people any harm. Never. But sometimes, people - whether they realize it or not - do harm to others. And that's when my opinion may form.

Today my blog apparently hurt some one's feelings. No - it is not someone close. But this person, who does not even follow my blog, and obviously had to search to find me, read my blog. They confronted me.

I apologized and chose, out of respect for this person's hurt feelings, to delete the post.

I do not wish anyone harm. Never have, never will. But at the same time - people must realize - if you have behaved a certain way toward me, and it warranted a blog entry - WOW - it must have really been building up in me. Fair enough?

I do not write to win friends and influence people. I like to share ideas and opinions. My opinions are sometimes strong.

I am not passive. I used to say I was very confrontational. Sure - but only with things that MATTER.

If confronted, I do respond. And honestly. Very honestly. No - it may not always be the polite thing. But then again, I always thought being overly polite when honesty was needed was in fact, a way of lying.

Social media - when used for work - is where someone can keep it polite and non-personal.

This is MY SPACE. The one place I can come and let it all out.

I only invite people who know me (closely) to follow me. Randomly an outsider "happens" upon my random thoughts. Upon reading this - who would actually stick with the blog? It's some one's personal reflections.

If you were just stopping by to see how a blog is written fine. But if you go so deep you uncover items on my "bad days" then you were looking for something. And THAT is weird.

To my friends, you are welcomed to read and comment and share. Because we have known each other for a very long time. To fellow bloggers from here and there - feel free to share your funny stories with me - because we are all very open about our lives. To anyone who gets offended by what I write - why do you care what I think? I am no one special or influential. Let it go.

Yes. This is my space. And I am free to voice my opinions. :-)

Until next time...

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Divinity of Christ. (does it get more blunt than that?)

I have been challenged by a very well-meaning, God Fearing man to prove that Jesus Christ is the son of God.


Tall order for a girl who just recreationally dabbles in religious debates.

This well-meaning person is my wonderful, intelligent husband. He is a devout Sunni Muslim.


So - last night, my egyptian was praying, and then as he does everyday, he stops to read a chapter or so in the Qu'ran. The Qu'ran is the holy book of muslims, believed to be the actual word of God.

He ran into the living room and says, "I read the most amazing thing a moment ago. Nicole - look up the Qu'ran translation in English on the web. Then read the chapter on Mary. (Known as Miriam in Arabic.)
I decided, okay.. okay. I will humor him. I pulled up the Surah 19 and he asked me to read it aloud. I did.

At the end, the most controversial "verse" is written - the one verse that separates what my beloved and I believe:

019.086 And We shall drive the sinners to Hell, like thirsty cattle driven down to water,-
019.087 None shall have the power of intercession, but such a one as has received permission (or promise) from (God) Most Gracious.
019.088 They say: "(God) Most Gracious has begotten a son!"
019.089 Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous!
019.090 As if the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin.
019.091 That they should invoke a son for (God) Most Gracious.
019.092 For it is not consonant with the majesty of (God) Most Gracious that He should beget a son.
019.093 Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth but must come to (God) Most Gracious as a servant.
019.094 He does take an account of them (all), and hath numbered them (all) exactly.
019.095 And everyone of them will come to Him singly on the Day of Judgment.
019.096 On those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, will (God) Most Gracious bestow love.
019.097 So have We made the (Qur'an) easy in thine own tongue, that with it thou mayest give Glad Tidings to the righteous, and warnings to people given to contention.
019.098 But how many (countless) generations before them have We destroyed? Canst thou find a single one of them (now) or hear (so much as) a whisper of them?

I read this aloud. I paused. I looked at my husband. He smiled and said - see.
I took a breathe and I said, "I understand what you want me to see. But I believe Jesus is the Son of God."

We went on for about an hour, discussing our reasons, and challenging one another. I took strong measures to make sure I was calm, kind, and listened. As I was talking, I prayed to God to give me the right words to say.
I want my readers to understand. My husband means well. He loves me so much - he is honestly concerned that we will not be together for eternity. He told me this. He believes that I will go to hell for believing, in what he says, polytheism. He believes that the Holy Trinity is me worshiping three Gods. Of course I tried to explain this mystery of faith, but he cannot seem to wrap his mind around it.
At the end of the conversation, I promised to provide as much information as I could in the coming weeks, to "prove" that Jesus is the Son of God. *scratching of throat.*
Okay - I am no theologian. Nope. I can hardly quote bible versus. Yes, I read the bible. Yes, I go to church. Yes, I attend a bible study from time to time. But I am not the authority on these matters.
No I am not what some might call a bible-thumper. I believe in God. I have a strong faith - but I am not armed with the right verbiage.
My husband, the love of my life, is concerned for my soul. :-) I better get to work.
In closing, I told my egyptian that it is a win-win situation for me. (Open your mind with the following statement.) I told him if I am wrong, then God would reveal it to me and by living with him I would revert (not convert - they believe we are all born muslims) and then my soul would be saved. Then I explained if I am right - then all the better. This quest will confirm and reaffirm my belief structure.
Should be fun... should be interesting.. time to break out the old catechism books.
If anyone has any good "evidence" - ie. verses, etc. that would help my wonderful muslim understand what it is we believe and why, I would greatly appreciate a comment or two to help create the most convincing debate.
Until next time...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The problems with my culture.

I live in America. I am a catholic. I am female. I am in my 30s. I live in the south. I am college educated. I am married. I do not have kids. I do not have pets. I rent. My biological parents are married. I have experienced divorce. I have risk factors for heart disease. My favorite color is red.


Those are my labels. The pieces of my culture that you may be able to easily see. Except for the whole color piece, I thought I would throw that one in for good measure.

Living with someone from another country (not just that their parents or even "ethnicity" is of another culture) - I am talking truly "just off the boat" foreigner - is an interesting experience that makes me hyper-aware of my country's culture.

This blog is going to be very judgemental. I warn you now. I am judging the people who share the space with me. People who - for whatever reason - cross my path and cause my life to shift this way and that.

My first complaint of my own culture is religion. This one is going to bother many of you. My apologies. This is simply my observation. Nothing more.

I saw a Facebook status yesterday that said: "I'm also tired of hearing Haiti, help Haiti. Folks as a Christian I'm all for helping "anyone". God said love brothers and sisters but hate the sin. At a minimum, we know God allowed this for a reason. Study up on what they believed and it sure wasn't Jesus."

Then this person went on to say Christians need to stand together. He defended his post by saying:
"XXXXXX let me correct you on my "stupid comment", first of all what country do you live in? Is it America? If it is then act like it. If not, you are free to leave anytime you get ready, thats American for you sister! I dont want to live anywhere else but America, you understand that? Second of all I care about Haiti and other... countries as well. I have heard testimonies from missionaries that I know my money went to and I still support as we speak. So as I Christian, I support missionaries to teach and preach the Word of God to these people. Do you support them? I know the truth hurts people who are not accustomed to hearing it. There killing our missionaries down there. I cant type you everything I need to say to you but this is America, if your husband or whoever lost their job, home, ect., do u think Clinton would visit you, like they are right now in Haiti?No!!! They could care less about you and me. I will give u the last word b/c I know liberals have a hard time digesting the truth! Amen."


Some religious stats on Haiti -

  • According to 1998 estimates, Roman Catholics represent about 80% of the population.
  • Most of the remainder belong to various Protestant denominations, the largest being the Baptist (10%) and Pentecostal (4%) churches.
  • Other significant denominations include Methodists, Episcopalians, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Adventists, and Orthodox.
  • Other religious groups include Jews, Muslims, Rastafarians, and Baha'is.
  • Voodoo, a traditional religion partially derived from West African beliefs, is still widely practiced, often in tandem with Christianity. Voodoo became an officially recognized church in 2001 with the establishment of the Eglise Voudou d'Ayiti (the Voodoo Church of Haiti) and has had a growing attendance since then.

The comment made by the person that stated Haitians do not know Jesus - could you please show me where those stats add up?

Another comment this person said was - "Hey folk, this is just a start Matt: 24, dont forget 9/11, new orleans, Cali, ect. its not over. Keep removing God from our homeland."

For my none Christian readers, Matthew is a book in the Bible - New Testament, in a group of books known as the Gospel. Matthew 24 (feel free to read it.)

Interesting this person would pick Matthew 24. Because this chapter could refer right back to the person who said the comments above. If someone were to trust this "person's" word, then you would have to judge the people of Haiti and turn your back on them - and this person, is saying this all in Christ's name. Interesting.

This is what really got me angry. I know I should stop and "pray" for this person, but I am not that spiritually developed.

This is the problem I have with my culture. Specifically the culture where people mix politics and religion and judge people (all people) based on these labels.

I have friends of various ethnic backgrounds, religions, etc. I am married to an Arab who is a Muslim. My sister is a Celtic pagan.
I could go on and on.

I am just so frustrated with the ignorance I am surrounded by. People who HATE Obama, and for sometimes.. really odd reasons. (This comment goes back to some of the ridiculous things I have read by "said" person. It is perfectly okay to dislike the policies of the President. But some of the items are ridiculous.)

People who HATE the victims in Haiti- because they believe them to have different faiths. SO WHAT???

I am just so done with the foolishness of the rednecks that I come into contact with on a daily basis.

I am done with people who have never left their own circle/bubble.

I have choices. Cut this ridiculousness out of my life - or dig my heels in and show people a different way.

Perhaps this is where I should stop and pray for guidance.

Dear God... help.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I miss the days of Boy Bands

Did I just say that?

I miss the days of Boy Bands?


*scratching of throat.*

I do. I never, ever thought I would say that. EVER. But pop-ish, dancing, clean cut boy bands are no where to be found right now. I was making my little playlist on Vevo - and yes, I added some NSYNC - a group I was not fond of when they were really popular. But watching their video tonight, I had flashbacks of really happy days. Yeah. I guess when they hit the charts, etc - I was in a different place in life. I was working in television. I was living alone. I was dating. Life was full of endless possibilities.

With all of my complaints about working in television news, I have to say - I NEVER called in sick. I always went to work. Always. I would work over time. Hmmm.. now I can't seem to get enough days off.

That's a disturbing observation.

Since it is next to impossible to find a job in tv these days, and the pay is crap - I guess I will stick with what I am doing, and fill up my playlists with cheesy boy bands. Yep... I guess that's the answer.

There has got to be something to write about today.

I have tried several times to write my daily entry in my blog.
I guess I am not very inspired or angry or annoyed or excited about anything. I am fairly balanced today.

Chemicals in check. LOL

I joke about that, because I bet - if given the opportunity - I bet a psychiatrist would jump on the opportunity to level my chemicals out with some serotonin re uptake inhibitors. But nooo.. I prefer to live naturally. ;-)

** please note - the above paragraph was sarcasm. Just in case you do not know me.

Today has been fairly uneventful - in a good way. It's cold. It's rainy.

I have an idea - here is a look at my day thus far:

9:02am - Woke up. No one in the bed. Decided to emerge from the bedroom.
9:05am - Proceed to the bathroom. Basic items: Use toilet, comb thru mop on head, take alpha beta blocker and diuretic, apply deodorant - screw taking a shower. I'm not going anywhere.
9:30am - make coffee. Cheap ass coffee. Bleh! Added cheap ass cinnamon vanilla creamer. Not great, did not even finish cup of coffe.
9:45am - Decided to make breakfast. Greek yogurt with S&P, cut up 1/2 a pear and had a handful of green seedless grapes.

10:15am - decided to check email - facebook - tried to come up with something to write. Failed.

10:45am - watched medical miracles on Discovery Channel on Demand. Learned about a 34 year old guy who died from a terrible infection from a spider bite. Learned about a woman with a massive tumor growing out of her neck and then saw the surgery. Decided that was gross. Turned off the tv.

Noon - bathroom break. Decided to change out of pjs - grabbed long sleeve black t-shirt from Old Navy and the Black Sweat Pants from old navy. Brushed teeth. Pulled hair into pony still. Look like crap - who cares?

12:15pm - chatted with Yasser. Ate 1/2 a brownie. Bad idea.

12:30pm - watched Fuse on demand. Decided to look up music on Youtube.

1:00pm - Discovered I could make a playlist on Vevo. Signed up- began the process.

1:20pm - decided to make the margarita pie I was going to take to Julie's. Julie called last night and said she has strep. Cancelled last night - but still wanted to have it for tonight.

1:45pm - decided to make Taco's tonight. Pulled out ground beef for thawing. (My one time this month to have red meat. ;-) )

2:15pm - finished playlist - decided to visit my blog.

And here I am.

A whole lot of nothing.

What is sad - you just read about it!


Friday, January 15, 2010

How do you define a "good girl" in America

Last night on VH1 News, I saw a program about Virginity in the United States. At first, I wanted to change the channels. I thought it would be some right wing Caucasian home schooled teens talking about the importance of waiting until marriage.

But what I saw was completely different! Very interesting.

To begin with, I came from a generation that basically grew up during the 80's. I was seven in 1980 and I was a junior in high school by 89. I would say my formative years were the 80s.

I remember my parents taking me to church. I remember being given a book called "Where did I come from" when I was about 4. I remember going to a hospital to take a class in puberty/reproduction when I was in the 5th grade thru my Girl Scout class. I remember a Health class that discusses STDs in 9th grade.

I knew you should wait until you were married, but I cannot remember for the life of me anyone "out right" saying that.

I remember as far back, and this is soooo sad, in 5th grade. There was a little girl named Angela. Angela, as far as I could tell, was probably not from the best of homes. She was a mean little thing. But I do remember her telling me she was sleeping with a boy that was in high school.

In 5th grade, I was a little confused. I had the basic concept, and even saw the movie - but for the life of me I could not put two and two together.

In 7th grade, I ended up at a different school from the kids I went to elementary school with. There it only got worse. Soooooo many were sexually active. I remember it took everything I had to put my barbie's away in the 7th grade. I think I would have preferred to keep it innocent. The things I heard from other kid's experiences almost made me want to puke. It was too much information.

By high school, we are talking full-on kids in massive relationships. Part of that required the girl to engage in sexual activity. I cannot tell you how many boyfriends I lost because I would not do things. Oh yes.. it was bad. But I saw, one by one, as really "good" girls subjected themselves to lude behavior. The pressure of it all was too much, I suppose. Wanting to be liked, wanting to keep a boyfriend, etc.

Not me.

If you are wondering what I believe - I think it is important that the person
1. should always be an adult before they make these types of decisions, regardless of religious upbringing. In our society you are deemed an adult when you go off to college.
2. I think you need to take your religious values into play, and realize for some people, there is a belief of very strong consequences.
3. Be smart. Understand birth control.
4. Preferably, wait until marriage.

Obviously I am catholic. We have very strong rules around this. But let's be serious, people will do what they shouldn't do most times. If they are going to choose to make a bad decision - at least wait until they are older, and can use their brains a little clearer.

Now - back to what I saw last night:

Purity Balls.
Guys, this freaked me out. A Purity ball (also known as a father-daughter purity ball or purity wedding) is a formal ball dance event attended by fathers and their daughters.

Purity balls promote virginity until marriage for teenage girls, and are often closely associated with U.S. Christian churches, particularly fundamentalist churches.

Typically, daughters who attend make a virginity pledge; a pledge to remain sexually abstinent until marriage. Fathers who attend pledge to protect what they view as their young daughters' purity of mind, body, and soul. Proponents promote a strong father-daughter relationship as a means to affirm what they consider to constitute spiritual and physical purity.

Okay - I am for the whole promise to wait. I am for a ball. I am for father/daughter dances. But I am creeped out by the idea that the Father is pledging to protect her virginity.

So - as I was looking around the net to learn more about this, I found this writer Eve Ensler .

She criticizes purity balls for what she sees as the position of inferiority it puts the daughters in:
"When you sign a pledge to your father to preserve your virginity, your sexuality is basically being taken away from you until you sign yet another contract, a marital one...It makes you feel like you’re the least important person in the whole equation. It makes you feel invisible."

Conservative journalist Betsy Hart, while supporting the idea of sexual abstinence prior to marriage, has expressed concerns that the strong focus of purity balls on the concept of virginity may actually sexualize youth, albeit in an unintended way.

During the documentary I saw 4 year old signing (the best that they could) the pledge. Okay - let's refer back to my personal story about how in the 5th grade I could not put two and two together. These girls probably see this as a night they get to dress up as a little princess and daddy says "You're my Girl" - how in the heck does that work???

To the right is a picture of a purity ball. Looks like a mix between a debutante ball for kids and a scene from the Nutcracker. All jokes aside, one of the things these girls do is lay a white rose at the foot of a cross. Pledging that their love is not their own, but for God to possess.

The first virginity pledge program was True Love Waits, started in 1993 by the Southern Baptist Convention, which now claims over 2.5 million pl edgers worldwide in dozens of countries.

A torrent of virginity pledge programs followed.

A later, prominent virginity pledge program was the Silver Ring Thing (SRT), which was the subject of a lawsuit by the ACLU in 2005. SRT presented a two-part program, the first part about abstinence; the second about Born again Christianity.

The ACLU claimed that federal funding given to this program violated the separation of Church and State. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services settled the lawsuit by suspending SRT's federal grant until it submitted a "corrective action plan." In 2006, SRT decided not to seek further federal funding so it could continue its message.

Virginity pledge programs take a variety of stances on the role of religion in the pledge: some use religion to motivate the pledge, putting Biblical quotes on the cards, while others use statistics and arguments to motivate the pledge. Advocacy of virginity pledges is often coupled with support for abstinence-only sex education in public schools. Advocates argue that any other type of sexual education would promote sex outside of marriage, which they hold to be immoral and risky.

I have encountered a handful of teenagers who are wearing these virginity rings or Purity rings.

They originated in the United States in the 1990s among Christian-affiliated sexual abstinence groups.

Wearing a purity ring is typically accompanied by a religious vow to practice abstinence until marriage.

David Bario, a reporter in the Chicago Tribune, Rutland Herald, and several other news websites wrote:"Under the Bush administration, organizations that promote abstinence and encourage teens to sign virginity pledges or wear purity rings have received federal grants.
The Silver Ring Thing, a subsidiary of a Pennsylvania Evangelical Church, has received more than $1 million from the government to promote abstinence and to sell its rings in the United States and abroad."

Wow. And conservatives are complaining about how the democrats/liberals are spending their dollars on health care. I would much rather my money be spent on giving someone the help they need versus a ring to "promise" to abstain from sex.

Well.. back to the question - how do you define a good girl? What about the girls who decide to wait, just because they see their virginity as a valuable commodity. Take for instance -Natalie Dylan. Do you guys remember hearing about her?

Just so you know, Natalie Dylan is the pseudonym of a 22-year-old student from San Diego, California, who rose to fame in September 2008, when she announced on the Howard Stern Show that she would auction off her virginity online, and that the act would be consummated at the Moonlite BunnyRanch in Nevada.

Dylan retained the right to choose the winner of the auction regardless of who is the highest bidder. She also admitted that she's still concerned about the prospect of spending a night with a stranger. As such, and according to plan, she has been getting to know the men who are bidding and having email conversations with them.
Dennis Hof, the owner of the brothel, is to receive half of the winning bid.
Here is a picture of Natalie Dylan. She took some racy pics of herself with the help of the brothel owner. Interesting way to promote her "virginity."

Apparently the bid made it all of the way up to 3.7 millions dollars by an Australian guy. He paid the 250,000$ deposit - but then decided to reconcile with his wife, so he left Natalie keep the 250,000 - and went about his way.

PS - She never attended graduate school.

Since she launched the auction, Dylan has faced a steady stream of criticism from women and allegations from men over the validity of her virginity claims. She said she is prepared to undergo a medical hymen examination to prove her chastity and has already passed two lie detector tests.

She also said "I am a sexual person and I've had sexual encounters - both casual and with a boyfriend. But I've abstained from sexual intercourse."

Some religious legal groups are objecting to the sexual sale, saying they are concerned that its influence may reach beyond the borders of Nevada, where prostitution is legal. However, according to specialists, there is no basis for the federal government to stop the auction. "It's a First Amendment issue. You can advertise goods or services that are illegal where they're advertised but legal where they're performed."

Again - what is the value of virginity???

I turned to Wikipedia for some help. But for the most part, what I found was the state of virginity often has special significance, usually as something to be respected or valued. Sure.. we get that. But this is especially true in societies where there are traditional or religious views associating sexual exclusiveness with marriage.

Female virginity is closely interwoven with personal or even family honor in many cultures, especially those known as shame societies, in which the loss of virginity before marriage is a matter of deep shame.

For example, among the Bantu of South Africa, virginity testing or even the suturing of the labia majora (called infibulation) has been commonplace.

Traditionally, Kenuzi girls (of the Sudan) are married before puberty by adult men who inspect them manually for virginity . Female circumcision is later performed at puberty to ensure chastity.

History evidences laws and customs that required a man who seduced or raped a virgin to take responsibility for the consequences of his offense by marrying the girl or by paying compensation to her father on her behalf.

In some countries until the late 20th century, if a man did not marry a woman whose virginity he had taken, the woman was allowed to sue the man for money, in some languages named "wreath money".

Some historians and anthropologists note that many societies that place a high value on virginity before marriage, before the sexual revolution, actually have a large amount of premarital sexual activity that does not involve vaginal penetration: for example, oral sex, anal sex and mutual masturbation.

This is considered by some people "technical" virginity, as vaginal intercourse has not occurred but the participants are sexually active.

In recent years, "technical" virginity has become popular among teenagers.

In 1999, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which examines the definition of sex based on a 1991 random sample of 599 college students from 29 states found that sixty percent said oral-genital contact did not constitute having sex.

According to a study published in 2001 in The Journal of Sex Research, over half of respondents considered that virginity could only be lost through having consensual sex.

There are anthropological reasons for the view that vaginal penetration, especially on the part of the woman, is especially indicative of a change in status, a threshold irrevocably crossed, the most incontrovertible "loss of virginity".

What can we say to all of this? I simply don't know. I am so glad I do not have any kids to have to make these decisions with, or to even help them understand. But I have a niece, and I want her to grow up with values and self respect. Don't make the mistakes so many people of my generation did. Don't get caught up in the need for attention and false value.

Wow - all from a silly cable television piece I saw last night. Geez..... ;-)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I want to be here.


What I would do to go back to the days of pampering!

Seriously, I used to schedule massages twice a month (every two weeks), I would attend random little "new agey" workshops - trying to learn a little meditation. I would take a trip at least once a month - some place relaxing and spectacular.

But life is a bit different these days. I live in an expensive city. And yes, I chose to live on a more expensive side of town. I have a great apartment. I have an adorable, fairly fast car. However, I am financially responsible for me - AND for my egyptian.

I realize this will change soon. But it is hard. No doubt about it. I can only imagine how single parents or husbands who let their wives stay home feel.

It's not just the $$$ and endless shopping I miss - I miss my time. My lazy leisure time that girls in their mid-thirties when they are single grow accustomed to.

See, I spent about 2 years living alone. Dangerous thing. Because now I am trying to adjust to sharing space with a man who 1. Has never lived with a woman before. 2. Is a foreigner and adjusting to the country 3. Is arab and muslim - which means - different rules in the home.

You can imagine the issues that arise. One - he is not dealing well with me being the sole provider. BUT - we had to wait for a while. We had to wait until all of his paperwork came thru. It did - this past week. Now - he can search for a great job in his field. College educated, tri-lingual - he will do fine.

BUT back to me. (Since this is one place I can concentrate on me and not feel guilty.)

Time. I don't have any. I work long hours in a great job. I work in media relations/communications/public relations - whatever you want to call it. BUT - living with my egyptian means, he still expects me to keep not just a clean house - a perfectly clean house... and cook... and still be successful.

See, when I lived alone - I liked being a bit more lazy. And yes - I could be as close to a feminist as you can get. To be perfectly honest, I needed the extra push to be a little more organized. I have to say I am picking up some good habits.

Yet, I just wish I could be a little more selfish. A little more spoiled.
I am none of those things anymore. And it sucks.

I used to buy what I wanted when I wanted it. Now I have to budget.

I know, I know.. stop whining. I don't have kids.. I don't have pets.. I have no real responsibilities - but realize - I chose that life on purpose. I recognize my selfishness.

Maybe I need to find other like-minded selfish girls to take one nice spa-like retreat once a year to re-energize.


Who's in??

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Climbing out..

Did I mention how tired I am? Oh my goodness.. am I tired.

I had a SUPER long day yesterday. I left for work at 7:30am and did not end until 7:30pm.

I had to spend 2 hours at the Social Security office with the egyptian. I had to run errands. I had to overnight a package at the UPS store.

I am just tired.

I am glad I did not check my BP yesterday - I ate HORRIBLY then I stayed a little stressed. Today I feel like I need to detox to remove all of the sodium.

Bad Bad Bad. I always fail when I am stressed. (Food wise.)

Let me correct something - it is not a bad stressed. It is a busy stress.

My quarterly media impressions are due today by close of business. I have a meeting with Macy's today to work on the Go Red For Women - National Wear Red day items. I am basically out of gas - oh yeah - and out of money. lol. Seriously. I am going to scrape coins today to get from point a to point b.

*sigh* I would scream - but I am too tired.

I need to pull myself out of this funk. God willing..

Speaking of which - I notice I do not write about God very often. Which is odd, because I am a very spiritual person. I guess that is because I am usually venting. ;-) Rest assured - I do spend time in prayer during these stressful times. ;-)

I do have a few highlight I hope to enjoy today! One is the fact that my intern, Basma, will be joining me today. I truly enjoy working with her. She is the daughter of a family friend. (Yes, they are egyptian.) Second - it looks like American Idol has their season premiere tonight. very exciting. I have not watched the past couple of seasons. Sooo.. thought I would like to catch it from the beginning. Also- looks like Paranormal State has a premiere tonight. Ahh.. the beauty of cable television.

I have some needs today too. I need to make sure my package got to my support staff down in Columbus, GA. I need to pick out a gym -once and for all. I need to file my extended State taxes.

I am not sure what this blog entry is about - other than my early morning ramblings. Yes, it is well before 8am. I just wanted to ramble. YOU get to read it.

Oh yeah - wanted to mention - I am reading a "delightful" - yes, I just said delightful- book. It is called "The Camel Bookmobile" by Masha Hamilton.

It's an adorable book, well.. about the love of books. A New York exec takes off to Kenya to work for a traveling library into remote villages. I am not too far into the book, but the characters are darling. I love books. I love the idea of educating other cultures. This book just really speaks to me. It is an easy read. I expect, even with my limited time available, I should be able to finish it before Friday.

Well, I have 45 minutes before I need to leave the house. I suppose I should motivate. Boooo. It feels like a lazy pajama day. But instead I have some serious meetings. ;-)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Facebook would have been brutal.

In college, it is bad enough the amount of pictures that are taken at parties. People are drinking, smoking, doing God knows what - and from time to time, back in the day - random pictures were taken.

I only have a few from the college days. Because back then, we had to actually develop our film. Most of us were too broke to do that. Heck, if we had any money we would spend it on beer - nothing else.

This morning I logged onto Facebook and saw some pics posted by one of my friend's ex-exchange students. I believe this girl is still in high school, but she attends school in the ultra-liberal Scandinavian world. What I mean by that - her parents probably don't mind the pics.

But here is the thing.... it is clear in the pictures that this young lady is getting pretty toasted. Lots of "cider" (not the non-alcoholic kind) and beer. As you keep clicking on the pics, you can clearly tell that they are in chronological order. Eyes are getting more blood shot, squinty looks, girls are beginning to hug each other and sit in each other's laps. Then the words written on people's faces - and then - the pièce de résistance - the boob shot. Oh yes, the pic where girls flash the cleavage boob area when drunk.

Now - perhaps I am getting a bit older and I can see it for what it is. And yes, sure - my behavior in college was less than perfect. But I had one little thing on my side - NO FACEBOOK OR MYSPACE.

OMG - can you imagine. Come on now, those of us who partied together? Aye yi yi - what trouble we would have been in. The indiscreet photos, the drinking, the shots, the dance ridiculously. There for everyone to see. All the way down from your former teachers to your bestie from vacation bible school.

You would think, well maybe they only allow certain people on their page. Nowadays - nope. Most kids have well over 300 "friends" on their pages. Sometimes these kids do not even know some of the people. SCARY.
I guess the boobage shot early on a Sunday morning was just a little too much to take. Perhaps I flashed back to more embarrassing moments in my life and the life of my friends. Maybe I see this girl is about to make some very BIG mistakes, and you wish you could control it all.

All I know is.. thank God digital cameras and facebook did not exist when I was 19. ;-)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Frankly my dear..

About a week ago I read one of my friend's blogs.
*in my best southern accent* Bless her heart! She had a trip to the south and experienced some horrible cookin'.

As a southerner (and yes - I have to admit it, whether I like it or not) - that just will not do!

For fun, I was looking through some old recipes - some I know my Granny would have made. Some my mom makes, and some I am known to whip up from time to time.

I warn you - these recipes are not for the faint of heart. And by that - I mean, if you have a heart condition, don't eat them - it's bad for you!

But I would rank these recipes as my TOP southern recipes. Special note to my non-southern readers: NOT ALL SOUTHERN STATES COOK THEIR FOOD THE SAME. This is a Georgia thing I am sharing with you. Enjoy!

Authentic my friends.. authentic southern cooking. (Georgia Version.)

Turnip Greens

(a must on New Year's Day - for money)
1 bunch fresh turnip greens
1 medium piece salt pork
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
Strip leaves from stems. Wash. Place leaves in a large heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Add salt pork, water and salt. Cook at medium heat for several minutes, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for about 45 minutes, until tender. Remove pork. Shred greens with two knives. Add more salt if needed. Add 2 tablespoons butter to greens before serving. Should be able to feed 6 - 8 people.

Hoppin John
(another must for New Years!)
1 1/2 cup dried black eyed peas (soaked)
1 cup celery, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 small ham hicks, or a large meaty ham bone
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup rice
minced onion
minced green pepper
Combine everything but the rice in one heavy pot. Cover peas with water and cook until done, about 2 to 3 hours. Continue to add water if peas appear too dry. Remove ham hock or bone, pick meat from bone and return to the pot. Prepare rice separately. and serve peas over the rice, with minced onion and green pepper.
Serves about 6 -8.
Cornbread Muffins
2 cups self-rising cornmeal
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
3 tablespoons bacon grease
Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk. Make a well in the cornmeal. Combine buttermilk, egg, and bacon grease. Mix well. Pour liquids all at once into cornmeal and mix quickly. Fill well-greased muffin tins three-quarters full. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes about 12 muffins.
Southern Sweet Tea
1 quart water
7 small tea bags
1 cup sugar
Bring water to a boil in a heavy tea kettle. Turn off heat, add tea bags, place lid on kettle and allow tea to steep about 1 hour.
Remove tea bags, pour tea into a 2-quart pitcher. Add sugar to warm tea and stir until dissolved. Fill kettle with water again and add to tea. Chill it. Serve over ice.
Pecan Pie
3 eggs
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cups broken pecans
unbaked 9-inch pie shell
Combine eggs and syrup. Add other ingredients in order. Stir well. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes until sides are set and middle is only slightly jiggly. Pie will rise, then deflate during cooling.
Brunswick Stew
2 chickens
1 large pork roast
3 quarts water
salt, to taste
freshly grated black pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp cayenne
3 medium onions chopped
2 cups corn kernels, fresh
2 cups lima beans
4 potatoes, diced
2 16-ounce cans tomatoes, chopped
1 15-ounce can small garden peas
1/2 cup vinegar
1 stick butter
tomato paste
Cook chickens and pork in salt and pepper until tender. Cool. Remove meat from bones and return meat to stock. Add onions, corn, limas, potatoes, tomatoes, peas and vinegar. Simmer with lid off, for several hours, stir frequently to keep from scorching. Before serving, add butter and color with tomato paste. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serves 10 - 12.
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 cup pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in brown sugar, whip cream and corn syrup. Bring to a boil, then lower hear to med-low. Slow bubbles should continue. Cook 10 minutes, stir constantly - DO NOT LET BURN. Add pecans. Stir and cook 5 minutes more. Remove pan from heat. Add vanilla to mix. Stir vigorously to blend. Drop mix by tablespoons full on to waxed paper sprayed with veggie spray. All to cool. YUMMMMM
Mint Juleps
Mint syrup
Kentucky bourbon
Crushed ice
Mint sprigs for garnish
Orange Juice
Fresh Mint
Georgia Caviar
1 pound dried black eyed peas
2 cups diced green onion
1 1/2 diced onion and green onion mixed
1/2 cup diced jalapeno peppers (remove seeds)
1 2-ounce jar sliced pimentos, drained
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sugar
pinch of dried basil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup veggie oil
Soak peas in water for 6 hours, or overnight. Drain. Cook peas in large pan with water to cover for 40 minutes. drain. Add peppers, onions and pimientos. Combine dressing ingredients. Add dressing until all veggies are coated. Refrigerate overnight. Allow to come to room temp. Serve with corn chips.
Peach Cobbler
Pastry: 3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup boiling water
Filling: 8 cups sliced fresh GEORGIA peaches
1/3 cup flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon almond extract
In bowl, mix well flour and salt. Cut in shortening. Poul boiling water over. Mix well with pastry cutter until forms ball.
Line a 9x13 inch pan with half of crust. Fill with peaches. Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, water, melted butter and extract. Pour over peaches. Cover with other half of crust. Punch edges of bottom and top crusts together. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.
Low Country Boil
8 medium onions cut in half
Corn - about 1/2 ear per person, cunt into 1-inch pieces
14 pounds large raw shrimp
2-3 new potatoes per person
1/4 pound per person - kielbasa Polish sausage
2 lemons, sliced
Old Bay seasoning, to taste
Allow 1 hour to heat in 20-gallon pot, filled about 1/3 full. About 45 minutes before serving, add lemon slices, seasoning, new potatoes and sausage. About 30 minutes before - add onion. Add corn at about 15 before. Ten minutes before add shrimp. When shrimp turn pink and are cooked thru - drain contents - Serve Hot. (can feed about 40. - Great for summer parties.)
I hope that helps my non-southern friends looking for a few southern dishes. No I did not add the shrimp and grits. Nor the sweet potato pie or homemade peach ice cream. Some things must remain sacred.


Interested in purchasing ad space? Your ad could be RIGHT HERE.
Email for more details.


Related Posts with Thumbnails