Friday, May 20, 2011

Brace Yourselves Folks

Because I'm gonna get political.

I read an article today that ticked me the heck off. And I've just got it running through my head and I can't sleep so you guys get to hear about it.

Did you know that the US government received a letter from the people who regulate such things (I don't look up, I just remember content) threatening to slash our credit rating if we don't get the deficit under control?

Did you know that to try to balance the budget they're talking about slashing student loans?

Did you also know that we give away billions (possibly trillions but that would require me to look it up and I'm lazy) in foreign aid?

One of the very first things I learned in my water safety class at the Red Cross when I was a Girl Scout is that if you're trying to save a drowning man do not jump in the water with him. If you do, he will pull you under trying to save himself and you will both drown. You have to be on solid ground and reach out to lift them up.

We as a country are drowning. We have children starving in our own streets. If our credit rating is slashed the effects will be devastating both nationally and internationally.

If we as a country do not get ourselves on solid ground then we are all going to drown.

I am not saying we shouldn't send help and aid to countries who have suffered a major disaster or to assist in establishing democracy and protect human rights through out the world. But we cannot and should not do it to the extent that we jeopardize ourselves.

Additionally we need to carefully evaluate how we help other countries. A dole does nothing good long term. Its the whole "give a man a fish" vs "teach a man to fish" thing. The money should not be permanent. The aid should be given when needed, for a specific cause that will aid in future self sufficiency, with transparency and accountability and a schedule in place from the start as to how and when the aid will end.

And it royally ticks me off that slashing student loans even got on the table. As far as I'm concerned our children are our national security. Education is an investment, not an expense. If we fail to provide for the future of our country the effects will be devastating.

I know that the American public is currently up in the air about the true value of a college degree, particularly in this economy. But if you look at the employment stats the value becomes truly obvious. Those who only have a high school education are significantly (I *think* the article said 4 times) more likely to be out of work than those with a degree. And a middle class life style is becoming almost impossible to obtain with out some level of upper level education.

I know the collapse of manufacturing jobs in the US has been devastating for many people. I know there are many who long for the return of manufacturing jobs to the US. However, the reality is that I do not see that happening. Our economy is based on capitalism. If you can get the job done cheaper over seas, then thats what companies (who are in business to make money) are going to do.

Yes it sucks, but its reality. In order for us to compete on a global scale we have to be willing to grow, change and adapt. In another article I saw recently, one of the countries in Europe (I *think* it was Holland) is having the same problem. All of their manufacturing jobs went over seas and they had tons of people out of work. Instead of giving them unemployment benefits forever, they accepted that the jobs ain't coming back and instead instituted a program to reeducate the workers in another field with a benefit program that will help support them through their reeducation and then taper off to encourage them to get new jobs and support themselves.

Wow! What a great idea. Its empowering. Its supporting people through a rough patch, which I think we as fellow human beings should do, but it gives them the tools they need to be self sufficient long term. It shows confidence and the expectation that they can and will do better and we will not enable their wallowing in self pity.

I have never had a desire to go into politics. But I'm starting to get angry. I'm talking march in the streets angry. I know the system is huge and complex and bigger than I can comprehend and I'm running off of information I can glean from the media. I know there isn't an easy fix. But I'm starting to think I need to get involved.

My biggest problem is: I don't know who to get involved WITH. I do NOT like either party at the moment. Both parties are so incredibly polarized I can't say I agree by a long shot with either platform. There are things I like about both, and things that make me wanna smack them both.

I think we need a new party. I have no idea what to call it. Maybe the "Common Sense" party. Or the "Rational and Empirical Thinkers Party". Maybe just "The Moderate Party".

I'll have to think for a bit on what all I'd want on the platform. I know we need to reform the education system. Big time. I know we need to massively reform the tax structure. We need to get the debt under control. I think the Constitution is an inspired guide to the spirit of how we should run our country, but I also believe that our forefathers allowed amendments to the Constitution for a reason. They recognized that as the country grew and changed that we would need for Constitution to grow and change with it. But I also think with modern technology there may need to carefully evaluate balance of power and responsibilities between the fed and the states. I'm all for the use of technology to enable transparency and accountability.

And thats all I've got for now. But I think I may be on to something here. Anybody else feel a grass roots movement coming on?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Definition of Insanity

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the quote (don't ask me who said it):

"The definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior over and over, expecting different results".

This is one of the things that annoys me the most about people. The ones who when given the answer to whatever problem they're whining about now continue to beat their head against the same wall that gave them the head ache in the first place. Cuz honey, if xyz didn't get you where you wanna go the last 5,000 times you tried it why on earth don't you CHANGE SOMETHING to something that say... I dunno... actually works.

Another one of those nasty, uncomfortable quotes is: "The thing that bugs you the most about others is most often the thing that bugs others the most about you".

And so in the interest of full disclosure, and trying to do as the bible directs and remove the beam from my own eye before I go picking motes (splinters) out of other peoples eyes I'll tell you where I do well at this, and where I FAIL at this.

Where I succeed in the changing of my own behavior is mostly likely to be in my relationships. How I related to others and how I relate to myself. I used to hate myself and I used to tolerate abuse from others, and my communication skill SUCKED. I'm much, MUCH better about this now. I actually like myself, and my relationships are MUCH healthier and I don't tolerate abuse (99% of the time).

I'm not perfect, and it took me YEARS to get this far, but by golly I have kicked some butt!

I FAIL at this concept when it comes to my eating. I've realized that what I really want is for the way that I have always eaten, that I'm comfortable with, and have always done to magically change. I want it to magically change from a way to gain weight (which it is, my current pants size being the case and point) to a way to lose weight.

Because I can diet. I can even stick to that diet for 6 months or more and I can drop a bunch of weight. But in the end, I got back to my old eating habits and those old eating habits are what got me into this boat.

I always before blamed my weight problem on my metabolism. I just have chitty metabolism and thats why I'm so heavy. There's no way for me to eat enough to be full and not gain weight.

And then I tried the Skinny Chicks program and discovered I can eat a healthy balanced meal, and be full, and still lose weight. And I did and I was doing great. But as good as it was it was still uncomfortable because it was different. Because I couldn't have all the baked goods I wanted whenever I wanted them.  Because I wanted to continue eating the same way I always have and have that magically work out for me.

And its stupid, illogical and insane. And I know that. What I need to do is create a permanent change in my eating habits. If I continue to diet and then go back to eating like I always have, I will simply continue to yo-yo my weight up and down like Oprah.

I make conciliatory gestures. I work out more and get active, in lieu of actually changing my eating. Its like my eating is the abusive boy friend I just can't break up with. I'd kill a man who tried to harm my body like this eating is harming me.

And thats part of the problem is that - aside from some joint pain - I'm shockingly healthy. My blood work is all good, my blood pressure looks great. I can conceive and carry to term a healthy baby boy. I even have positive self esteem. I can't hate myself for being fat anymore. Its more important for me to be happy.

And so I'm left to try to motivate myself with the "good reasons". Because I want to be healthy. Because I want to live a long and happy life (you'll notice there are not a lot of fat old people. B/c being fat is a good way to die young).

I think my biggest motivation right now is that I need to teach Caleb by example how to eat right. Because my Mom taught me how to eat right. She told me all the science and begged, pleaded and cajoled me to eat right. But she didn't show me how. And I'm not saying its all her fault, I'm a big girl and I take responsibility for my own problem, but I've got almost 30 years built into this bad habit and its only gonna get harder to break as time goes on.

And I don't want Caleb to have to fight this battle if there's anything I can do about it.

So I know the how. I know the why. What I need is momentum. I need to actually kick my own butt in gear and start working towards this and I'm not sure how to start.

On my mission we taught people you not only had to make a goal, you had to have a plan of action, and accountability otherwise all you're doing is wishing. Thats probably the answer.

I should start praying for the desire to change (because I really, really don't want to) - and ultimately thats the problem here - I don't wanna. I need to want it. So I'll pray for the desire to change and then I think I'm going to start by simply making sure I eat a protein and carb combo every 4 hours. I'll work on improving the quality of what I'm eating over time but I think the every 4 hours is the biggest change and whats gonna take the most effort and make the biggest difference so we'll start there.

Now I need some accountability. I think I will make like a calendar and check off every time I eat? Or maybe I can set up my phone to give me an alarm? I'll have to think a bit more about this part.

Lastly I think I'd best start this on like Friday when I can afford to go grocery shopping. Eating this much takes some planning and I'm gonna need to buy some more food....