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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in harryleemartin's LiveJournal:

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Friday, October 26th, 2007
9:32 am
Diet update

Quick update -- last doctor's appointment (end of September) I was down to 227 -- 29 pounds lost. I checked this morning on our scale, and I think it's about 223. (I have not been as vigilant as before). Next doc's appt is end of this month. I will be very happy if it's 220. My next goal will be 210.


Wednesday, August 1st, 2007
9:10 am
Diet fun and realizations
It has been *years* since I've been on a diet -- not since I was 16. I've always been blessed with one of those metabolisms in which I could eat anything and rarely gain any weight. (Dodging things being thrown at me.) 

But after a year of taking prescriptions that cause weight gain -- and, yes, eating -- I had packed on 40 pounds. Ugh, makes me depressed to just read that. For some reason, 10 of those pounds racked up in the month of June -- don't know why, but that's what the scale said. 

So two weeks ago, I just started watching a bit what I ate (for example, a bowl of ice cream every 3 days, instead of every night. Fewer drive-thru burgers, etc) Voila, I dropped 3 pounds in a week! Now just 37 more to go. So after a particularly fun night of indulgence Friday at a Realtor event, I started my crash diet Saturday. I've cut down my calorie intake to between 1400 and 1650 calories a day, and four days later, I can already see the difference.

But what's been eye-opening is how such minor food choices can rack up -- or decrease -- your calorie intake. For instance, I had two frozen waffles this morning because I was incredibly bored of oatmeal. Normally,  I would have three waffles, and then put about 2 tablespoons of margarine on them, and followed by at least a quarter-cup of syrup.  This adds up to 675 calories. (I just realized, that's the same number of calories as a Whopper!) 

But by reading labels, I knew what to cut or change. The waffles were not a big culprit, so I just cut them down to two -- 210 calories. The margarine was just an indulgence, especially when 2 tablespoons cost me 160 calories, so it was nixed altogether. Finally, I had never looked at the calories in a quarter-cup of regular syrup. It's 200! Luckily, someone left sugar-free syrup in the pantry, so I used that instead -- only 30 calories. 

By just reading labels and making sensible choices, my 675-calorie breakfast dropped to 240  -- that's a 65 percent decrease! 

I love milk, too, but at 160 calories in 8 ounces for whole milk, I went from a glass with every meal, to one with breakfast. Again, a 66 percent decrease in calories.  Cranberry juice runs 120+ calories. By switching to the "light" brand, it's 40. Again, a 66 precent decrease.

One more example -- one of my favorite breakfasts or easy dinners is a Mexican-style egg, bean and tortilla dish. Normally, it's two fried eggs served on a burrito-sized flour tortilla, which is covered in black beans. The eggs are topped with salsa verde and cheese, with sour cream dolloped on the side, and a sprinkle of cilantro topping all.  *Very* tasty.  I have never added up, but here is the rundown: two eggs - 194, burrito-size flour tortilla - 210, 1/2 cup refried beans - 110, salsa verde - 20, 1/4 cup cheese - 110,  2 tablespoons sour cream - 60, cilantro - negligible. The total -- 704. 

After seeing what was costing me (and what was not), I adjusted it last night to one egg - 97, a regular size corn tortilla heated over an open flame - 80, 1/2 cup of black beans - 110, salsa verde - 20, a tablespoon of cheese - 37, no sour cream - 0 and cilantro - 0. The revised total - 344. More than 50 percent fewer calories.

I even (painlessly) cut the calories of my favorite gin and tonic. By going with diet tonic (and more lime juice for flavor) I subtracted 200 calories from my standard two-cocktail evening. Sadly, ice cream has not crossed my lips for a week at an estimated 566 calories for a healthy cup. But I have found the joys of sugar-free Jello, which, at 10 calories, allows me to indulge in two servings. A couple slices of fruit fill out the dessert.

So all in all, it's been an eye-opening couple days, and in reality, not that bad at all.  I guess my point of it all is that if you wish to drop some weight, by just reading a bit more and making some slight changes, it doesn't have to be that painful.

P.S. I was 253 on Friday, July 27. I'll report back the new weight after my next doctor's appointment Friday, August 10.
Friday, July 20th, 2007
8:21 am
My Bar Tab Is ... $305

Thanks to rougescheveux for this "confess your sins" quiz.

Just read the "offense" and if you've done it, you owe that fine. Keep going until you've read each "offense" and added up your total fine. Title your bulletin "My Bar Tab is$........" You don't have to confess your answers, just the amount of your fine.

Smoked pot -- $10

Did acid -- $5

Ever had sex at church -- $25

Woke up in the morning and did not know the person who was next to you-- $40

Had sex with someone on MySpace -- $25

Had sex for money -- $100

Ever had sex with the a Puerto Rican -- $20

Vandalized something -- $20

Had sex on your parents' bed -- $10

Beat up someone -- $20

Been jumped -- $10

Crossed dressed -- $10

Given money to stripper -- $25

Been in love with a stripper -- $20

Kissed some one who's name you didn't know --$10

Hit on some one of the same sex while at work-- $15

Ever drive drunk -- $20

Ever got drunk at work, or went to work while still drunk -- $50

Used toys while having sex -- $30

Got drunk, passed out and don't remember the night before -- $20

Went skinny dipping -- $5

Had sex in a pool -- $20

Kissed someone of the same sex -- $10

Had sex with someone of the same sex -- $20

Cheated on your significant other -- $10

Masturbated -- $10

Cheated on your significant other with their relative or close friend --$20

Done oral -- $5

Got oral -- $5

Done / got oral in a car while it was moving-- $25

Stole something -- $10

Had sex with someone in jail -- $25

Made a nasty home video -- $15

Had a threesome -- $50

Had sex in the wild -- $20

Been in the same room while someone was having sex -- $25

Stole something worth over more than a hundred dollars -- $20

Had sex with someone 10 years older -- $20

Had sex with someone under 21 and you are over 27 -- $25

Been in love with two people or more at the same time -- $50

Said you love someone but didn't mean it -- $25

Went streaking -- $5

Went streaking in broad daylight -- $15

Been arrested -- $5

Spent time in jail -- $15

Played spin the bottle -- $5

Done something you regret -- $20

Had sex with your best friend -- $20

Had sex with someone you work with at work --$25

Had anal sex -- $80

Lied to your mate -- $5

Lied to your mate about the sex being good --$25

Tally it up and Title it..."My Bar Tab Is"

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007
12:16 pm
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007
7:08 pm
7 Days to a Clean Bathroom (and One that Stays that Way!)

This is the first of what I hope to be many posts concerning making things easier and more pleasant for you in caring for your home and running your household. My goal is to help you create simple habits that translate into a more orderly and easier-to-run home, be it a city apartment or a suburban house. The emphasis will be on time- and money-saving strategies, with the ultimate goal that you return every day to a home of peace and contentment.

Of course, no goal is met overnight. That's why I will break things down to manageable tasks (most of which you will be able to accomplish easily in 15- to 30-minute time brackets). I promise, too, that every project will allow you to revel in a sense of accomplishment, knowing that minute-by-minute, day-by-day you are gaining more control of your home and ultimately your life.

Think about it: Your home is where you wake every day, and come home every evening -- let's make it the refuge you deserve.

The first project is a big one -- the bathroom. But don't fret -- we're going to take 7 days to clean it! At the end of just one week, we will have a super clean, and super manageable bath from which to start or end each day. From then on, our new habits will ensure we never again face a bathroom that could be designated a HazMat zone.

Each day we are going to focus on one or two areas of the bath, with most of the projects never taking more than 30 minutes. You can do this!

I'll start with an overview, and then we'll just get to it. So without further adieu, I bring you:

7 Days to a Clean Bathroom (and One that Stays that Way!)

I am amazed at the baths people live with every day -- some are messy, some are unappealing, while others are downright filthy. This always surprises me, in that the primary reason for a bath is to clean yourself. How can anyone do this when you are afraid to touch the surfaces?

The cleaning strategies I recommend come from research and experience. For years, I did the move-out cleaning of apartments in my parents' buildings. Let me tell you, I have seen dirt! I also had a house-cleaning business in my late 20s, when speed was the word. Over the years, I've learned strategies to make the upkeep of my own bathrooms manageable, while I pursued a career as a real estate agent. That job also required that I devise methods to teach clients so their baths were always sparkling when a potential buyer stopped by.

The first step, of course, is cleaning products. The amount of money that is spent on marketing products to the consumer is incredible to me, because it really takes just a few to result in a sparkling bath. These are: 

• A good quality glass cleaner (Windex)
• A good quality cleanser (Comet or Ajax)
• A good quality all-purpose cleaner (Pine Sol)
• A good quality hard water deposit remover (Shower Power or Scrub Free)
• A good quality roll of paper towels (Bounty)
• A sponge with a scrubber side
• A high quality squeegee (Etore brand, available in home project stores)
• A round, European-style toilet brush
• A container or drawer for all the above -- and located in the bathroom
This week, plan on purchasing all the above. This is not the place to save pennies by purchasing store brands. Quality counts, and most of these items will last you a couple months. Most importantly, you must have all these items in the bath at all times. If this means one product under the kitchen sink, and an identical one in the bath -- so be it. This is an imperative part of the strategy for a long-term clean bath. I have a drawer with all my items in it, but perhaps you have room under the vanity (then put all in a plastic carrying tote). If you have none of these options, purchase an attractive basket or box with a top about the size of a small trash can to hide all your cleaning products. And, don't leave them visible, we want the bath to look pretty -- we don't want to disclose how it got that way. It's OK to leave the squeegee in the shower, though.

(A final side note: If your bath falls in the "filthy" category with long-term, accumulated dirt, soap scum, etc., purchase some all-purpose, degreaser at the home project store. Products from the grocery store just won't work. You need mega-strength. Also, if the hard water spots in your bath make everything look like a cloudy day in San Francisco, you will also need a commercial strength deposit remover, such as CLR or Lime Away.)

"But I don't have all the items -- guess I will need to put this off." Sorry, no. For most of the 7-day plan, you can jump to another step if you don't have the needed product (or even if you don't feel like doing that today).

So, let's get to the 7-day plan! Our goal is to get the bath on a superior clean/neatness field, so that you will then be able to maintain the level of cleanliness with minimal effort from then on. You pick and choose which task you are going to do today. And I promise, you will be blown away with the bathroom you will be able to enjoy in one short week. Oh, and a rule: You are allowed to do only one specified project in one day. There is no extra credit for working faster, and it's not allowed. I want you to enjoy the process and also every day. Which one are you going to do today?

Mirror, Medicine Cabinet, Light Fixture and Light Switches

This is a low-energy, simple task day. Today we are doing some sparkle-cleaning, as I call it, and some clearing. You will be surprised at the junk you have in your medicine cabinet that you no longer need. Today is a simple project that nets long-term results -- a clean medicine cabinet and gleaming light fixtures. 

• Spray mirror with Windex and wipe. Dry top inch, and using squeegee, dry from top to bottom
• Remove light fixture cover and wash in soapy water in kitchen. Dry. Wipe bulbs with damp paper towel. Replace all.
• Wipe down all light switches and outlets with glass cleaner.
• Clear medicine cabinet of all expired medicines, anything no longer needed, empty or near empty containers, etc.
• Wash medicine cabinet shelves in kitchen, or spray and wipe with glass cleaner. 

Under Vanity Cleaning/Clearing Day

Today will shock you. I know I was. How long has it been since you pulled everything out from underneath your vanity? You will be amazed at the unused/unneeded/expired items you have here that are taking up valuable space! Be ruthless! If you have not used it in the past 6 months, throw it out! Ask yourself: If I were moving, would I pack this to take with me? If not, throw it out! As a personal example, for two different moves, I packed a half-gallon container of Epsom Salts. When packing for the third move, it finally hit me that I had not used these in 9 years! In the trash they went. If I need some in the future, I'll just buy more. I'll say it again: No excuses. Be ruthless. 

• Take all items out from underneath vanity. Toss the unneeded. Put others in a plastic carry-all tote to keep them manageable. Wipe out cabinet with glass cleaner and paper towels, and replace items.
• Clean with glass cleaner or wax (for wood) outside of vanity, removing dust and hairspray etc..

Vanity Cleaning/Clearing Day

Depending on how you live, this could be an easy 15-minute day, or one taking 30 minutes. It underscores the concept we are embracing: Less Clutter=Less Cleaning. The goal is to clear the vanity so that you would only need to move 3-5 items to clean the entire vanity surface. Here are some strategies: If you have a lot of makeup, etc. items, place all in a basket or box (a covered one imparts an even neater appearance). For men, pull out that travel bag, and place all needed items in there. You can then hang on a door for use, or put under the vanity and pull out when needed in the morning. Vanities usually have some decorative items too -- remember, big items are easier to move. A lot of little stuff turns into a lot of little stuff to move. Finally, in addition to the vanity top, we are clearing out any drawers that remain in the vanity. 

• Clear and compartmentalize all items stored on vanity.
• Scrub sink with cleanser
• Quickly shine faucet with glass cleaner (FYI: A new faucet does wonders for a bath, even if you're in a rental. Think about it.)
• Clean vanity counter with glass cleaner
• Clear remaining vanity drawers, as you did under the vanity. Be ruthless - if you have not used it in 6 months, throw it out. Wipe out drawers with glass cleaner. 

Toilet Cleaning and Surrounding Area

The day most people dread. A super cleaning now will equal to much simpler for at least a month or two. There are two secrets to cleaning a toilet -- first the scrub, and then the wipe down. Using cleanser and the Pine Sol, scrub the bowl with the round European brush. (It's best if you just buy one with a holder that you can leave right next to it from now on). Now here is the secret, you work backwards and then forwards on a toilet. Begin spraying down the rim, then the underside of the seat, then seat, then tank and then top. Then wipe forwards: top, tank, seat, under seat and rim. Finish up by cleaning the area closest to the floor and then the surrounding floor area. Don't fret - it's always dusty and gross down here. After this cleaning, you will be able to swish, wipe and toss for months. 

• Scrub bowl of toilet with cleanser and Pine Sol. Flush and run brush under flushing water to clean.
• Wipe down exterior of toilet with glass cleaner
• Clean base and floor around toilet with glass cleaner.
• Wipe down toilet paper holder with clean paper towel
• Toss old magazines and reading material near toilet (Look at finding a basket or holder. I use a hat box for mine and TP) 


I am splitting the shower and tub into two. Some have both. Most have one or the other. Either way, it cuts this physical intensive chore into two. Due to variations (doors vs. shower curtain for instance), you will need to customize this for your own needs. Further, some are worse than others and require extra work -- use your discretion. No getting around it -- this is easiest by stripping down and spraying away. Keep a window open or fan on. Bring a plastic mixing bowl in with you (this should go in your cleaning drawer/basket) to rinse off all surfaces. 

• Spray walls with shower cleaner or heavy duty water deposit remover, whichever fits your situation. Let soak for 5-10 minutes.
• Spray inside shower doors with shower cleaner or heavy duty water deposit remover, whichever fits your situation. Let soak 5-10 minutes.
• Spray faucets and showerhead with shower cleaner or heavy duty water deposit remover, whichever fits your situation. Let soak for 5-10 minutes.
• Scrub from top to bottom, doing a final scrub with all the cleaner that dripped onto the floor. Rinse with mixing bowl of water from top to bottom.
• Finish by Windexing outside of shower doors. If you have mold, spray now with a bleach and water mixture.
• If you have a shower curtain, run through washer or just purchase a new liner if yours is so covered with soap scum. Sometimes it's just easier that way. By the way, we soak to allow the cleaners to give them time to work without you scrubbing.
• Final step is to shine the faucet fixtures. 


If you have an all-in-one shower/tub, you're almost done if you followed the shower instructions. If you have a separate one, do the walls one day, and then the tub. If the tub is nothing less than filthy, before you go to bed, pour straight degreaser into tub, fill with hot water to the dirty line and let soak overnight, scrubbing the next day. (You can also use this with a rust-stained toilet, etc with Lime Away.) If this doesn't work, then do what I did in apartments and use undiluted degreaser and scrub. It will clean anything. If not that bad, pour a coating of Pine Sol, and then a smattering of cleanser. (Most people use far too much cleanser, and then it takes forever to wash off. A little goes a long way.) Scrub and then rinse with the plastic mixing bowl. 

• Throw out any and all empty shampoo bottles, etc. (An over-the-showerhead organizer is great, because it keeps these items out of your way when you clean the tub in the future. Spend the $9 and get one.)
• Scrub tub using appropriate method
• Spray faucets with shower cleaner, rinse and shine.  If gunk still around faucet, scrub with an old toothbrush. (By the way, did you know that you can find replacement plastic handles, etc at the home project store. It's amazing how this small change will make the bath look so much newer.)
• Use glass cleaner to wipe down exterior of tub. 


Often this area of the bath is as bad as the tub (and it doesn't get all the rinsing). I've found the fastest way is to vacuum first and then clean. In this case, nothing beats getting on your hands and knees -- that's why I set aside a day just for it. Use shower cleaner if the floor is coated with hairspray, or glass cleaner for general dust and dirt. Clean a section at a time. Regarding rugs, I don't see the need for them, except when you step out of the tub. The ones that go around toilets are plain germ magnets, in my opinion

• Vacuum floor
• Clean floor section by section with shower cleaner or glass cleaner, and paper towels
• Launder rugs

The Aftermath and Future

You're all done! Does it look great? Do you feel better every time you "use the facilities?" Do you have more storage? Is it even easier to clean? I bet all are true. And the best news is that you will NEVER "clean the bathroom" again! Instead, one morning you will take a shower, and scrub the tub using the cleanser, sponge and plastic rinse bowl that is conveniently in the bath. Another morning, you can can grab a paper towel and glass cleaner, and wipe down the vanity and sink (a lot easier without all that clutter). Another day, spray the toilet with glass cleaner, wipe with a paper towel, and flush. By doing just 5 minutes work every couple of days, you will never have to clean the bath again.

Congratulations -- instead of being degrees of dirty, your bath will now be perpetually clean!

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006
1:11 pm
Stupid people piss me off!
Today's subject line is a takeoff on one of my favorite Cartman phrases. If you don't know who Cartman is, you're already one of those stupid people who piss me off.

Yesterday was a red letter day in which I could no longer abide idiots. There I am at the Good Christian Church in my neighborhood, in line to vote after work. And I do mean LINE. After nearly 40 minutes of waiting, I went up to the little cardboard booth to vote. The problem this year -- at least for some people -- was that San Diego County decided this election to go with new voting machines, reminiscent of ATMs. After signing in, you got a little Voter ATM card, which you inserted in the machine and then proceeded to touch the box next to the candidate's name for whom you wished to vote. You then hit the "next" button to go to the following page, and then touch the "Cast ballot" button to finish.

Sounds pretty simple, huh?

Uh, no. At least not for the three people in front of me, who took more than 15 minutes each to figure out the voting machine. "OK," I told myself, "This is something new, and people need to adjust." But that was before I noticed in the front of the voter's guide that it included directions how to use the machine, including picture diagrams for the illiterate (and why are those people voting anyway?).

I finally got to the voting booth after waiting a total of 35 minutes. Five minutes later, I was done. And *still* there were people who went before me, still trying to figure out the simplistic machines.

Out of frustration (and now behind one gin and tonic, and a cig because it took so long to vote), I went up to one of the poll workers and suggested that they tell the people in line that there are directions for the machines in their booklets. And, perhaps, they could read how to vote before getting to the booth.

My suggestion was met by a confused look by the poll worker (and where the hell do they get these people? It's like immigration day at the senior center). By now, I was so fed up with the inefficiency, all I thought was "Good luck" and "Get me the hell out of here."

Sometimes I wonder why I vote ... living in a predominantly Republican county, all I see are people voting candidates into office who appeal to the lowest common denominator. This is the same city that refused to step away from backing Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, until he was indicted by a Grand Jury for accepting millions in bribes (which he pleaded guilty). And yet, last night, they elected a career GOP politician to replace him who was "tough on illegal immigration" <--- that's the code phrase for "I am sick of all these Mexicans in our city."

I guess I vote because I hope, just hope, that the public will elect someone with morals, and who genuinely hopes to do the best for his or her constituents and country. But after watching the idiots try to vote last night, I don't hold out much hope.

Maybe next year I will just cast a write-in vote for Cartman.
Thursday, November 2nd, 2006
11:32 pm
MySpace profile
Oh geez, I just did a MySpace page and completed this ridiculous set of questions, so enjoy and learn more about me than you *ever* wanted:

Name:Harry Martin
Birthplace:San Diego, CA
Current Location:Escondido, CA
Eye Color:Blue-gray
Hair Color:Brown
Right Handed or Left Handed:Depends on how creative I'm being that day
Your Heritage:English/German
The Shoes You Wore Today:Flip-flops (and who the hell cares, except ??)
Your Weakness:People going through any trouble
Your Fears:Wasting my time in this world and not being the best person I can be
Your Perfect Pizza:Who cares -- it's pizza
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year:100 Percent Club - $4K more
Your Most Overused Phrase On an instant messenger:BTW
Thoughts First Waking Up:What time is it?
Your Best Physical Feature:My eyes
Your Bedtime:10-11'ish
Your Most Missed Memory:What the hell does this mean?
Pepsi or Coke:Neither - just water for me
MacDonalds or Burger King:Burger King (because of the $1 menu)
Single or Group Dates:After nearly 12 years together, let's say group
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea:Whatever's on sale
Chocolate or Vanilla:Vanilla
Cappuccino or Coffee:Oh Lord, coffee -- and I'm not paying $4 for it
Do you Smoke:Yes
Do you Swear:Here and there, dammit
Do you Sing:Yes, but I've dropped to Baritone (see smoking)
Do you Shower Daily:Ummm, yes
Have you Been in Love:Yes
Do you want to go to College:Been there and got the paper to prove it
Do you want to get Married:Hello? Welcome to the Bush years.
Do you believe in yourself:No, I have no self-esteem. Ummm, yes.
Do you get Motion Sickness:In a heartbeat
Do you think you are Attractive:Yes -- on some days more than others
Are you a Health Freak:LOL ... oh yeah
Do you get along with your Parents:Yes and sorta
Do you like Thunderstorms:Sure -- neato
Do you play an Instrument:See left or right hand input
In the past month have you Drank Alcohol:Is this Candid Camera?
In the past month have you Smoked:You should have said, in the past 5 mins? Yes.
In the past month have you been on Drugs:LOL but none of the fun kinds
In the past month have you gone on a Date:
In the past month have you gone to a Mall:No - don't like 'em
In the past month have you eaten a box of Oreos:Hello? Sure, I'm bulimic
In the past month have you eaten Sushi:I don't care for it
In the past month have you been on Stage:Sorta
In the past month have you been Dumped:No
In the past month have you gone Skinny Dipping:Lord, give me strength to get thru this
In the past month have you Stolen Anything:No
Ever been Drunk:LOL ... I am past 18
Ever been called a Tease:
Ever been Beaten up:Welcome to my school days
Ever Shoplifted:No
How do you want to Die:With some notice
What do you want to be when you Grow Up:Oh Lord
What country would you most like to Visit:Hell, I don't even care by now -- I just want this to be over
In a Boy/Girl..
Favourite Eye Color:Don't care
Favourite Hair Color:Brown/black
Short or Long Hair:Short -- God, this is like Tiger Beat!
Height:I don't care
Best Clothing Style:Shoot me now!
Number of Drugs I have taken:See PDR
Number of CDs I own:How the hell should I know, and who really cares!
Number of things in my Past I Regret:Starting this survey

12:41 pm
What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The West

Your accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. Unless you're a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. And really, you may not even be from the West at all, you could easily be from Florida or one of those big Southern cities like Dallas or Atlanta.

The Midland
North Central
The South
The Inland North
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes
Saturday, October 21st, 2006
12:45 pm
OK, one more
Again pretty darn accurate, I think:

Maslow Inventory Results
Physiological Needs (14%) you appear to have everything you need to survive physically.
Safety Needs (14%) you appear to have a very secure environment.
Love Needs (27%) you appear to be content with the quality of your social connections.
Esteem Needs (47%) you appear to have a medium level of skill competence.
Self-Actualization (26%) you appear to have a low level of individual development.
Take Free Maslow Inventory Test
personality tests by similarminds.com
Friday, October 20th, 2006
7:11 pm
Quizes, quizes, quizes
OK, these were a breeze to complete, so here's a bit more about me:

Your Political Profile:
Overall: 30% Conservative, 70% Liberal
Social Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Heh-heh on that I should avoid wood :-)

Your Love Element Is Earth

In love, you have consistency and integrity.
For you, love is all about staying grounded and centered.

You attract others with your zest for life and experiences.
Your flirting style is defined by setting the scene, creating a unique moment in time.

Steady progress and stability are the cornerstones of your love life.
You may take things too slowly, but you never put your heart at risk.

You connect best with: Fire

Avoid: Wood

You and another Earth element: need each other too much to build a good foundation

This is pretty accurate, at least I think. :-)

You Are An ISFJ

The Nurturer

You have a strong need to belong, and you very loyal.
A good listener, you excell at helping others in practical ways.
In your spare time, you enjoy engaging your senses through art, cooking, and music.
You find it easy to be devoted to one person, who you do special things for.

You would make a good interior designer, chef, or child psychologist.
Saturday, September 9th, 2006
2:34 pm
Hooked on Food Network
I can't point to a specific day or even what was going through my head, but one fateful afternoon (or was it an evening?), I turned on Food Network and have been hooked since. I can't help myself anymore -- I pick up the remote and my fingers nearly automatically hit Channel 6-7, and there I am.

All the TV chefs/hosts have become well-known friends of mine -- from terminally perky Rachael Ray, to nerd-ey Alton Brown, to pinup Giada Delaurentis. Lord, I even know Paula Deen's name is spelled like "keen" and not like one of the Watergate co-conspirators.

Art, being the good partner that he is, acts as my enabler, as he doesn't even ask anymore at 6 p.m. what channel I want to watch -- it's "30 Minute Meals" with Joker-like-grinning Rachael Ray. Search anywhere on the 'Net, and you will find *so* many Rachael-lovers and Rachael-haters. I fall more in the former, than the latter. I like how she chats with the camera/me, how she screws up, and how her mind jumps from topic-to-topic. Art loves her cool retro stove, while I have found several good recipes in her repertoire.

But I must admit that I used Rachael for fun recently when we had Art's sister and boyfriend over for dinner. When a lull hit after dessert, I decided to spunk the evening back up by staging a drinking game as we watched Rache. A list of her often, often, often used words was created, and one could sip (or gulp) any time she said the noted word. Lemme tell you, "garlic" almost sent us into alcohol comas.

We rounded up the evening with me explaining to Steven and Maria (whether they liked it or not) who all the hosts are on Food Network, and what they are known for. The Barefoot Contessa (or Ina Garten) we call "The Mumbler," because we always have to turn up the sound whenever she is on. That, and she *always* does this -- she'll mention an ingredient, and then add, "Make it a good one." Me thinks that means "make it an overpriced one." And, of course, *all* of Ina's male friends are gay, and yes, she lives in the ultra-swank Hamptons (where one's mustard is always "a good one").

Giada of "Everyday Italian" could be every frat boys nasty dream. She's very pretty, has way too many teeth, and also has a tendency to show a lot of cleavage as she whips up a simple bruschetta. (That and she always corrects everyone's Italian -- it's pronounced bru-sk-etta, by the way.)

Sandra Lee hosts "Semi Homemade," which we call "Semi Ho Made." Sandra is too thin for words, and looks like she escaped from Stepford Village. I am not kidding -- for every show, she matches her kitchen decor, her clothing and her "tablescape." What's a "tablescape," you ask? Mainly, it's a lot of craft store and 99 cent store crap heaped together to create a theme to wow your friends (and make them think you have way too much time on your hands).

The liberal in me loves the weekend show of the "Hearty Boys," who show you how to cater your own party. The recipes are pretty simple and look do-able, but the coolest thing is that the "boys" are really a couple in real life. They never let on much, other than talking about "their home" and "their friends." I mean, there is never any "Suck this dough from my fingers" action. All this makes me know somewhere in the Midwest, some fundamentalist Christian woman tunes in every weekend just to see those "sweet boys and how well they get along."

Finally among my faves is that Queen of Cream Cheese, the Baroness of Butter, that Georgia peach Paula Deen. Her recipes are to die for -- literally! My cardiologist must inherently twitch every time I tune in Paula, as she shows me the wonders of cooking with bacon fat. Paula is the queen of Southern comfort food (and reminds me of all my relatives on my Mom's side). Now appearing more often are the Deen Boys, as I call 'em, Paula's sons -- Jamie (the married, taller one) and Bobby (who I am personally hoping would fit in well at a Hearty Boys Academy Awards party).

Come to think of it, there are *several* men on Food Network who are considered sexually ambiguous. Michael Chiarello tops the heap. Honestly, you could have heard the audience gasp, "What the f^&k?" when he casually mentioned his "wife and kids" during one show. I tell ya, the man is way too polite, throws way too nice a party, and is way too thoughtful with his women friends to be straight. Hey, but I just caught myself, wouldn't it be even cooler if he is indeed straight -- and that nice?

But I most likely will never know. Instead, I'll just continue to tune in -- or at least until a 12 step group is created for folks like me. But it will never happen -- they never could figure out what to serve without watching first.

Current Mood: bouncy
Sunday, July 9th, 2006
11:32 am
New meme survey
Don't know what this was all for, but I did have to think about my past a fair amount.


(Click here to post your own answers for this meme.)

I miss somebody right now. × I don't watch much TV these days. × I own lots of books.
× I wear glasses or contact lenses. × I love to play video games. I've tried marijuana.
I've watched porn movies. × I have been the psycho-ex in a past relationship. I believe honesty is usually the best policy.
I curse sometimes. × I have changed a lot mentally over the last year. × I carry my knife/razor everywhere with me.
it goes on...Collapse )
Tuesday, June 6th, 2006
9:31 pm
Disabled, like me
Due to a health issue, for the past 48 hours, I spent my time as a disabled person who was unable to walk without a cane -- and then at the speed of an old man -- confounded by being unable to stand for any length of time without extreme pain. Thankfully, drugs brought me back to an almost normal degree of existence, but I doubt anything will be the same from here on out, for now I glimpsed what it is like to be a handicapped person.

Let me tell you, it ain't fun, and causes more challenges and frustrations than you could ever anticipate.

For the sake of expediency (which I have come to appreciate, when I was unable to do *anything* quickly), I give you some experiences I encountered and thoughts that plagued me:

* The car is SO far way! Having no disabled parking sticker, I put the car in our normal office spots in the lot. It took me 15 minutes to walk 150 feet. I now strongly believe anyone who is not disabled and parks in a handicapped spot should be shot. This goes also for the co-worker in our office who parks there and uses his wife's sticker to make it legal.

* But what I had to go through to get here! My first stop after hobbling away from the office was to stop at a medical office to pick up a urine test kit. Once again, I park 50 feet from the front door, and 10 minutes later make it to the elevator. Up one flight, I hobble to the front door of the office to discover the door locked. I wait, hoping someone will come out so I may go in and pick up what I need. Yeah! The door opens, but I am stopped by a security officer, as he lets other patients out. "Please, I just need a 24 hour test kit -- can't I just get it?" I implore. He says he will check and closes the door. A moment later, he opens the door and says, "The office is closed." Being polite, and making a point, I ask, "What are the hours?" "7 a.m. to 5 p.m.," he answers. "What time is it now?" I ask. "5:08," he says. I say, "Thank you" and walk away -- it took me those 10 minutes just to walk across the fricking lot! Another 10 minutes later, I was back in the car and on the way to the grocery store.

* No problem, I'm sure you needed that cart. The stop at the grocery store was met again by the *long* walk to the door. Lucky me, someone left a cart by the front door, so I don't have to walk the 25 feet to get one outside the store. Awww, too late -- a woman with a toddler walked in front of me and grabbed it, putting her son in the carrier. Thankfully, a man who had walked back to get his cart noticed my predicament and offered me a cart. I was incredibly thankful.

* Lord, which aisle? I had a small list of items to purchase at the store -- mainly things for a recipe I hoped to make that night. I needed dry taco sauce, "It's down the Latin Foods aisle," I thought. Nope. And then began the agonizing hunt, trying to figure out in Vons infinite wisdom, what aisle would they stock taco sauce. I lucked out and picked the right one. But then it was looking for a pie crust, which aisle? Normally, I would just hunt, but any hunting today meant more pain, more effort and more time. "Why don't they have directories for grocery stores?" I thought, or a lookup method on a computer? I spent *one hour* shopping for 15 items.

* Thank God for help. I have no idea how people without someone to be there for them at home manage. Thank God I had Art to help me haul groceries, get items from the pantry, stand in front of the stove, make my bed, etc. All of these tasks would have taken *so* much energy I can't even imagine.

* Drive-throughs rule. Thank goodness for drive throughs! I did manage to get my banking done, as well as mail a letter today without much drama due to drive throughs.

* I'm so embarrassed. The shame was incredible when in public, because I felt like I was a burden to any of those having the unfortunate chance of passing before or after me. I walked too slow for cars in the parking lot. I noticed I kept my head down because I did not want to see people's frustration. In the aisles at stores, I felt as if I were blocking people's way. I was a bother, was all I felt.

* Thanks for your thoughtfulness. I definitely came away from the past 2 days noting there seem to be 3 types of people in this world in the eyes of disabled people -- those who help or offer help, those who ignore you, and those who don't care you have a problem. Most people I noted fall in the "ignore you" class -- they are not rude, but make no effort to be polite or helpful either. They are just too busy being in their own world to see whether you could use any assistance. (And, yes, there were many times, I would have loved just a tad of help.) Sadly enough, I also determined that helpful and rude people seem to run 50-50. For the woman who insisted on staying in front of me in the cashier line as I did my best to maneuver my cart in place behind her (with 1 item in my basket), there was the other woman who allowed me to go before her when a new line opened, acknowledging, "You've been waiting in line for a long time." These people are angels walking the face of this earth.

I'm thankful it looks as if I was only disabled for 2 days. Maybe next time you will remember these comments because I'll never forget what it was like.

Monday, June 5th, 2006
2:43 pm
Got gout - again?
A short one today, but just got back from the doctor for an emergency visit. Seems the gout in my foot from last Wednesday *did* go away ... up to my hip. So I am back with cane and saying many naughty words when I have to do anything that requires movement.

My wonderful doctor did give me Celebrex to hopefully bring down the inflammation. I also got *another* prescription to bring down the nasty uric acid, which is attacking my joints. Oh, and I get to do a 24-hour urine test (which I will not explain) and have a hip X-ray.

But at least I might be able to walk normal again.

(All I can hear is Bette Davis screaming, "But ya are Blanche. Ya are in that chair!"

Friday, May 19th, 2006
5:02 pm
The cleaning muse struck today
Not much to report today, except I do feel accomplished.

I had the shutter blinds being professionally cleaned today (take down, clean, and deliver and put back for $14 apiece), so I decided it was *the* time to clean the second floor windows inside and out. Art helped immensely by cleaning all the screens on the 1st and 2nd floors, and helping put the windows back in. Two hours later, everything is sparkling ('cause I also added in cleaning the 1st floor windows).

After, I dusted, Art vacuumed, and I did a quick clean in both baths. Now just washing a swag window treatment and a tablecloth from my bedroom.

Just gotta run to the store, then make dinner.

But I defnitely know I earned my "Good Martha Award" for the day.


P.S. Also, got the contingencies removed on my listing in between and the termite clearance. :-)
Friday, May 5th, 2006
9:55 pm
Happy birthday, Miss Lisa
Yesterday was my friend Lisa's birthday. Of course, the only way I remembered was when my buddy Scott reminded me, though I see her birthday every time I log onto her Live Journal, lisaburks.

I sent her a note, a birthday song by Cartman and a gift certificate from Amazon, but I am reminded of a skit on "Saturday Night Live" featuring Madeline Kahn, in which she was saluting her mom for Mother's Day and said, "She gave birth to me, and all I got her was a scarf."

That's how I felt about the certificate. Lisa has done so much for me, and means so much to me, but all I got her was a lousy gift certificate.

So, to add to that, I just wanted to pay this little tribute to my Burbank Be-atch.

I met Lisa *years* ago as part of Hollywood Underground. As most people, I was drawn to her great sense of humor, but it's her intellect that keeps me coming back for more. Writing the Franchot Tone biography and creating the www.jeanharlow.org site for Jean Harlow are always interesting to me. But she is so much more than that.

Lisa is one of these rare women who has class and can also say "fuck." She's an intellect, but can also appreciate a good low-brow joke. She's all woman, but also one of the boys. She's sympathetic, but also willing to give you a kick in the pants. She makes time for her friends and always has a healthy input to a situation.

Frankly, I don't know how I would have got through the Hollywood Underground dinner without her, and now I wonder how I did without her in my life this far.

My friend Lisa is just that -- a great friend. I always count myself lucky for the small group of wonderful people in my life who mean so much to me ... I feel they keep me going, keep me smiling and keep me going day-by-day. And Lisa Burks is one of those rare individuals.

So, if I had a drink in my hand (and you know I do), I say, "Here's to my wonderful friend, Lisa. The world was blessed when you were born, and I was lucky enough to have you come into my life. May many others know the beauty, intelligence and bevy of unique qualities you possess, for they will be the luckiest souls in this world."

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006
9:14 pm
The joy of a full pantry
"Souls should have a pantry, however modest" -- Helen Witty, author of "Fancy Pantry"

Today was my "Stock the House Day" ... a once every two months foray to the grocery store in which I do commando shopping to fill the pantry, fridge and freezer. $150 later, I was done. For the coming 6 weeks, I will supplement the mega-trip with stops here and there for produce, milk, orange juice, the occasional meat or item not normally stocked. But now I know I have most anything to make a meal.

Prior to leaving for Albertsons, I cleaned out and took stock of the fridge, freezer and pantry. It felt great to clear space for the new and fresh, and know exactly what I was low on. Before heading out in the late model Lincoln, I asked Art to have the kitchen floor mopped by the time I got back. Ninety minutes later, I had a full trunk of groceries -- and a clean floor.

Rather than being a chore, I *love* stock-the-pantry shopping. It reminds me of times when I did not have the money to buy whatever without thought of the final amount. Sure, I still comparison shop, buy the items on sale, and have my limits on what is too extravagant, but it's nice to know at the end, I really don't need to worry what the total bill.

In lesser flush times, my monthly allotment from the SHARE food co-op had to feed me for 30 days - $20 for $40 in food. But let me tell you, I came very adept at cooking 5 pounds of chicken legs, making soup and stretching a buck more than Joan Rivers' face. Thank God for that program.

But today, I look at a pantry stocked with spices, pasta, beans, soups, and the makings of many a meal. The fridge echoes this with fresh cheeses, milk, eggs, veggies, and a variety of inexpensive meat. The freezer stocks other vegetables, and a meat or two, plus a half-gallon of Cookies and Cream ice cream. (Man does not live by veggies alone.)

The Cancer in me loves it all.

So, after my foray today, call me thankful.

Current Mood: thankful
Saturday, April 15th, 2006
8:35 pm
Well, ignorance *was* bliss
Well, there I am a couple weeks ago, just tooling around like a 2003 model Thunderbird. Sure, there are a couple things that aren't running as smoothly, but all was well. Flash forward to two doctors appointments, one meeting with an X-ray tech, and 90 minutes in a blood-sucking lab, and I now find out that I am a '94 Ford Taurus with 100,000 miles.

Three weeks ago, there was one multi-vitamin for me to take every morning. Now there is a high blood pressure pill, an acid reflux pill, a mood-altering pill and one capsule for cholesterol that Trigger would be hard-pressed to swallow (those I get to take 2 times a day).

In addition, I am supposed to start exercising (ugh), lift weights to increase testosterone, cut back smoking and cut back on the drinking.

Can't I just cut back on seeing the doctor?

I sure was a lot happier three weeks ago. Sure I had a chronic chest pain. Sure, I had acid come up my throat in the middle of the night to make me throw up. Sure, I would freak out going over bridges or when driving more than 20 miles from my house. Sure, I would get shaky if I had not eaten recently. But I was happy -- or at least ignorant.

But now I am committed. Next week is a visit with the cardiologist. I've already begun to cut back smoking and am planning for exercise and the other things next week. Big baby steps for me, but I'm proud of myself.

So, I guess I am no longer 18, but after going to Mrs. Bates 80th birthday reception today, I think it would be nice to see that.

So if that take some changes and some pills, I guess I'm in.
Monday, April 10th, 2006
9:23 pm
He Died of AIDS, OK!?!
This past weekend, I went to a multi-year reunion of the drama students at my high school (classes '77-'85). Had a good time, and it was enjoyable to see people with whom I reconnect only every other reunion.

But something sticks in my craw from the biography booklet that was given to all attendees, specifically about my friend Donald Rago. He was a close friend of mine, and we were a group of four -- Norma, me, Donald and Toni. During and after high school, we hung out, until our lives started going in different directions in our late 20s. Norma ended up getting married, I went through college and a path of self-discovery, and Toni decided it was better if she were a man. Quite an odd group we were.

Donald seemed to flounder, never branching out more from our high school surroundings. I always enjoyed seeing him, but it was frustrating to me that he did not seem to be growing. Years later, we lost touch, but I would hear from Toni every once in awhile ... including the one night she told me Donald was dead -- from AIDS.

I always knew Donald was gay, but he never came out, like I had. No, he decided to perpetuate the idea that he was still looking for the perfect woman -- even though he never dated. He did act as Norma's groomsmen at her wedding and the godfather of her child. And so was written a pact -- one of lies.

Donald lived with Norma till he died and was afraid that people would think he was gay because he had AIDS and all the wile saying he had never found the right woman. Norma bought it, and it was she who wrote his "in memorial" in the reunion's bio.

I loved seeing his photo there because he had truly become grown up and quite handsome and buff, but it bothered me to no degree that it said, "he died of a long illness." He died of AIDS! We are not in the Reagan years where you couldn't even say so.

I know Norma is trying to protect and perpetuate his wishes that no one know, but he died of AIDS. *And* he was gay! She even put in his bio -- again perpetuating the lie -- that he was still looking for the right woman. Why the hell did she have to put that in there? To me it was a joke. My God, saying a grown man still thought Melissa Gilbert was the ideal woman ... I kid you not, that's what it said! She perpetuated his high school lie.

Norma was so concerned about people wondering why he died that she left out *so* many good aspects of his life. Instead, she chose to use precious space to try and keep a very thin closet door closed.


But this was echoed so much at the reunion. Only one other person put in their bio about their "partner," while a trio of other gay men were present at the reunion (and the one who put it in the bio was not there). I asked about one handsome guy in particular who dated my (female) friend in high school. I was told he tries not to acknowledge his gayness because he hopes to overcome it. So instead he is alone and is now 45.

I know first-hand that self-loathing seems to be part of recognizing you're gay. I always thought you overcome it as you become more comfortable with yourself. But what struck me from this past weekend is that some never get past that level.

I hope the 45-year-old above grows beyond that point, because Donald never will (and some, in the guise of helping him, continue to enable that). All I know is if Donald were here today, I would say, "Stop the self-loathing, and let's get on with your life."

In his case, it's too late.
12:29 pm
Sucked dry -- and not in a good way
:-) On the subject line, but I got back from the lab about 40 minutes ago.

You know it's not going to be fun when the technician asked, "What did you say was wrong with you to the doctor?" and then added, "Did you get your doctor mad?" She then proceeded to pull out 9 viles. "Do I have to fill them all up?" -- my answer was when she tapped my arm and said, "Great, you've got good veins."

Then, in my mind, I could hear the ring-ring of a gas pump as it fills up a Suburban.

After that, I got to do the fun urine thing-ey. Thank God the 20 ounces of water I drank this morning came through with flying colors.

So I staggered out of the office, stopped at Burger King for two Whopper Jrs and am now just trying to stay upright ... just want to go night-nights.

I decided to go for the chest X-ray in Poway tomorrow 'cause the technician told me Mondays are always busy days.

Then Thursday, it's back to the doctor again ... starting to feel like I'm 80. :-)

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