Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wow! Oh, Wow!

I was so prepared for the Supreme Court to rule against the Affordable Health Care Act. I am just astounded that they ruled the whole thing constitutional. Yes!! Of course, the hate mongers are going to try to get it repealed. I wonder how people can really want their fellow citizens to suffer and die without access to healthcare. Anyway, I am so happy that this small step in the right direction was upheld. Wow! Oh, Wow!

Grand Expectations by James Patterson

Grand Expectations by James Patterson

I cannot overstate how much I enjoyed this history of the United States from the end of World War II to 1974.  I am a baby boomer and this book covers the period of my childhood and youth.  I read the book slowly because I remember so much of the period.  Civil rights, school desegregation,  the assassinations of John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Vietnam, feminism, Watrgate, and Nixon's resignation.  The Cold War and the nuclear arms race.  Wow, it was quite a ride!
Excellent book, well researched, written to be easily read and understood. I am planning to read other books in this Oxford History of the United States series. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Super Immunity by Joel Fuhrman

Super Immunity by Joel Fuhrman

This was an interesting book although I can't say that I learned anything new or that I believe all his dietary claims. 

Basically he is saying eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains,  and nuts. Stop eating junk, processed anything, and eat much less eat.  Exercise.  Nothing new there. 

I am skeptical of the studies that he cites primarily because I know how easy it is to skew results to show just about anything you want it to show. Will you be healthier following his eating suggestions--sure. But I'm not so sure you can prevent or cure everything from colds and flu to cancer.

The recipes at the back of the book sound really awful. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Botticelli by Barbara Deimling

Botticelli by Barbara Deimling

I read this as part of my Art History Project.   It was just perfect for a novice student such as I.  I knew nothing of Botticelli and his work.   While the book is not lengthy, there is enough background of what was going on in Florence in the late 15th century and enough of Botticelli's life to make him real.  The paintings selected for the book were excellent in that Deimling explains what is going on in the painting and points out the changes in his painting style through time.  This book did just what I wanted in my Art History project-- it introduced me to an artist and show me enough of his work to make me want to see and learn more.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fruited Chicken Salad

This is the best chicken salad.  I've made it many times and it is delish.  The chow mein noodles give it a nice crunch.

Fruited Chicken Salad

4 cups diced cooked chicken breasts
1 15 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained
1 cup chopped celery
1 11oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup seedless grapes, halved
½ cup sliced, pitted ripe olives
½ cup chopped green pepper
2 Tbsp. Sliced green onions
1 cup fat free mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Prepared mustard
½ tsp. Salt
1 5 oz. Can chow mein noodles
Lettuce leaves

In a large bowl, combine chicken, celery, oranges, grapes, olives, green pepper, & onion. Blend mayonnaise, mustard, & salt. Toss gently with chicken mixture. Cover and chill several hours. Serve in lettuce leaves and top just before serving with chow mein noodles.

Weight Watchers

Last week I lost 1 lb.  Total lost 18 lb  Weight 156.6 lb.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Weight Watchers

I lost 0.4 lb last week. Total lost 17 lb. which is 10% of my starting weight. I have lost 17 lb. in 16 weeks. Weight 157.6 lb. I am rewarding myself with a manicure.

I have learned a couple of things about myself and eating. The first thing is that I need a certain volume to feel satisfied. I can get that volume and be just as happy with a big bowl of veggies as with a big bag a chips. It's the volume that I want. Second, sugar is not my friend. Sugar just makes me want more sugar.

Anyway, onward to the next 10%.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth

Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth

While many of us admire many aspects of Amish life, few of us would be willing to give up our central heat and air and start driving a horse and buggy.  Nancy Sleeth solves this dilemma by encouraging an "almost Amish" life.  

Amish homes are simple, uncluttered, and clean. By having only what is needed,  homes remain uncluttered and easily kept clean and orderly.  The Amish don't believe the material world is bad but neither do they call attention to themselves with flashy clothing, technology, or decoratinbate abuse that would lead to pridefulness and the Bible is full of teaching about where that leads.  Most of us could easily downsize and declutter and make our lives simpler. 

Technology serves as a tool and does not rule as a master.  While I am not willing to give up my cell phone and Internet connection, I can use them when they are useful and shut them off when they are not.

She goes on to discuss family and community, finances and faith, security, nature, and simplicity.  All are discussed showing how the Amish traditions can be adapted to our own more modern lives in order to live a saner, less damaging to the environment, and more spiritual life.    

Well written and thoughtful book. 

It's like déjà vu....all over again...

I have been slowly reading through Grand Expectations: the United States, 1945-1974 (Oxford History of the United States) by James Patterson. I am currently reading the chapter Escalation in Vietnam. The following paragraphs are from that chapter:

"One of the most important lessons that might have been learned from the Vietnam War is that it is difficult for a nation--even a world power--to protect and reform a client state that cannot or will not manage itself. It may be impossible to provide protection if the state in trouble also faces widespread civil unrest and invasion, as was the case with South Vietnam.
Second, the North Vietnamese were willing to fight hard and for ever how long it took."

I just keep shaking my head at our utter stupidity. You know, at least during the Vietnam War there were citizens pointing out the futility and immorality of what we were doing. We don't even have that now.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lifelong Learning

Next fall I want to take a class at my old alma mater. Since I took freshman biology in 1966, biology has taken a quantum leap or two. I'd really like to take basic freshman biology. Maybe audit it. After that, maybe botany about which I know nothing.

Then there are languages. I took Spanish in school and a year in college. But I'm thinking of French. Why, I have no idea. Spanish makes more sense here in Texas but I want something different.

Reading has always just been part of who I am. I read a wide variety as anyone who follows me on Goodreads knows. So many books, so little time.

Joe is planning to start keeping bees so he is deep into Bee Keeping for Dummies. We are planning to attend the county Bee Keepers Association's monthly meetings.

Next step, check into fall class offerings at the University of Houston.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Weight Watchers

I lost 1.6 lb last week.  Total lost 16.6 lb. Weight 158.0 lb. Since we went to Taste of Texas last Saturday for our 44th anniversary, I was holding my breath to see if I had lost anything. I think increasing my stationary bike time may have helped with the slice of cheesecake I shared with JMM. Anyway, I have 0.4 lb more to lose to reach my 10% body weight loss.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Crazy Love by Francis Chan

What a challenging book!  Francis Chan challenges us to follow Jesus--totally, completely, unreservedly. 

The first chapter tells us to stop our praying (which is usually asking God to do something for us--bless us, keep us safe, pass the exam, etc.) and stand in awe of the Creator, the holy, all powerful, all knowing Creator of us and everything.  

Next, we are to consider our mortality. There are no guarantees of living the next moment much less the next day or year.  Then what? Will what is important to us now be of any importance in eternity?

The third chapter was the most difficult chapter for me.  Lukewarm Christians.  Kinda, sorta want to follow Jesus as long as it isn't uncomfortable or really expensive or too weird.  Jesus didn't say to kinda, sorta follow Him, but to "Take up your cross and follow me."

 But how do you even begin to live such a life? He uses a quotation from Annie Dillard, "How one lives one's days is generally how one lives one's life.". Begin today, where you are and love your neighbor as yourself. 

Good book. Highly recommend.