The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...

The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...
He's thinking Classic. (click on photo)


Aug 27, 2010

Honors & Awards

Honors and Awards:

I know this isn't what this section is for but if I ask myself, what honors have you attained? Working outside the home while being a mother to 5 incredible children and receiving their respect and love and mother "awards" plastered all over my house - that is an honor worth mentioning.

Aug 20, 2010

Could this be the first day of training?

I haven't ran in weeks. About a month ago, my first day in training for a half, my lower back, hip joints deserted me. In pain I scratched my way off the floor of my bedroom, on to the bed. An entire week I couldn't walk without hobbling.

Since then, it's as if nature has been trying to slow me down. I don't do anything the easy way. I've been running for years to lose weight, to push myself - dragging my shoes over a year instead of replacing them every 3-5 months. Running in the morning and at night. Traumatizing my body.

Once my lower back & hips stopped hurting, I've tried several times to get out for a quick 3 mile run. To no avail. Without fail something has come up to keep me from going or to make it only in to a walk. Yesterday, bound & determined to get a walk in, I reverted to how I originally started running - taking my clothes with me to work and getting it in during my lunch hour. Right as I left my desk, my daughter called from out of state with a serious need to talk. What I thought would be a kick in the butt to get back out there, turned into a 45 minute walk, laughing and encouraging the love of my life (okay, one of the 6 loves in my life). Later I forced my husband into another 45 minute walk with me so I could feel like I got enough to equate to a 45 minute RUN.

After losing 90 lbs, I stopped running in late 2008, picked it up again last year, only to have my knees turn against me.

I really want to run a half! I missed the 2010 Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon this year.

So over the past month, since my hip & tailbone rebellion, I've turned to reading about marathon running and training. (See, previously I really thought maybe I could do this without much prep...) Since my sister in law sent me the video of RLAM and I discovered their site. I ordered from our library "The NON runners guide to marathon training for women" and have read a chapter or more each night, laughing the entire time. (Sorry RLAM, they don't have your book in yet but when they do, I'm first in line!) And feeling vindicated, validated for all the flippin' body pain I've endured over the years. The countless massages I've asked my wonderful husband to give when I couldn't breath, turn over, walk the stairs, get out of the car, stand up or sit down.

Today. I made it out there. Gloriously sunny, partly cloudy sky. iPod fully charged, 4000 songs to choose from & I put it on shuffle. Sometimes that's a curse when 2 slow songs, God forbid 3 slow songs, come up when you're in the middle of a quicker stride. (no, I haven't created a running playlist yet... that would take time, which I don't have!). My shuffled songs today played right along with the speed I was running. The second song to play was rockin' Third Day's "Slow Down". I chuckled because it was a "speed it up" song about slowing down your life. No way, not today. I felt inspired. Played imaginary drums as I ran. Almost started crying as a moment passed over me with a really good song and my really used tennis shoes scooted me over the pavement.

My husband text me in the middle of my run. "Hey Beautiful, how's your day going?" My response "Totally friken' good run!" (yes, I used the slang...sorry kids, my bad)

My goal was 45 minutes. 3 miles. I had to stop twice to walk a minute or two and tried not to be disappointed when I looked at my watch. 50 minutes. Shrug. Look at it again. No way! 40 minutes! Right on!

Roger Clemens vs. Bill Clinton

So let me get this straight. Bill Clinton is impeached but not forced to leave office for lying to Congress as President of our country - yet Roger Clemens is indicted & could go to jail for the same exact thing. I mean, lying is lying right? Regardless of whether it's about sexual escapades as President or steroids as an athlete. I vote to give Clemens the same treatment - impeachment with no punishment.

Here's a news line:

"Do we really need a judge and jury to tell us that... is guilty of being a liar, a cheater, and genuine sleaze ball?" (Mike Kline)

Which one are we talking about? A government official or an athlete?

Please. Those that lead our country should be held to the same height of expectation and reputation, if not MORE as we hold our athletes too. I guess when the vice president is dropping the F bomb on TV, the President is romping around with his interns even though he's married (wait this is not new) - lying to congress and the nation & allowed to walk away - our expectations as a nation have gotten pretty slim. Why then do we hold normal citizens, just making a living at what they do best, to higher standards? Let him go. Let them all use steroids. Stop using our tax dollars in an already near bankrupt country to pursue this guy. It's the new way. Tolerance of everything imaginable without judgment. Poor Clinton, what choice did he have? Give a guy a break, right?

Well Clemens, needs that paycheck and needs to be on top of his game. He's got a family to support, probably a wife (did I read ex wife now?). Give a guy a break!

Do I support breaking the law, hindering a legal investigation, federal or otherwise? Hell no. But it ticks me off to watch our government hold our citizens to a standard they don't hold themselves to, while they are the ones SWORN to uphold the laws of this country themselves. So probably as soon as Clinton gets his time in a cell next to Clemens, I'll support the country paying to penalize this poor poor citizen.

And give him The Hall of Fame. Clinton got his own.

Aug 19, 2010

The Masks Men Wear (TAOM)

Anyone who has dressed up for Halloween knows the transforming effect donning a costume can have, and how exponentially stronger this effect is when it involves wearing a full mask. You feel mischievously free- free of self-consciousness, free to get in character and be someone or something else, free to get a little crazier than you normally would. There is a power in the donning of a mask and for thousands of years, tapping into this power was an essential part of the male experience. Putting on physical masks allowed men to drop the social, psychological “masks” they wore each day and express the more hidden sides of themselves. Now, with the tradition of physical masking having all but disappeared in civilized society, the false veneers of social masks have become permanently glued to the faces of many modern men.

Since prehistoric times and all across the world, making and wearing masks has been almost exclusively the domain of men. Men donned masks for many of the rituals and celebrations that marked a tribe’s most important celebrations and transitions. Men wore masks during rites-of-passage, to ensure a bountiful hunt and harvest, to escort recently deceased spirits into the afterlife, and to mark times of renewal like the new year.

Masks helped primitive tribes deal with change and danger. Transitions and crises could threaten the unity of the tribe. The unchanging face of the mask was a symbol of stability and continuity, and the masquerades were thus used to convey meaning, purpose, and structure during these shifts.

And of course, masks were and are not simply for symbolic use. They also serve as straightforward, functional headgear designed to protect the face. Ancient warriors like the samurai and medieval knights donned headgear and masks not only to protect their mugs, but to intimidate the enemy. Functional masks are the only type of mask to still enjoy widespread use today. From the helmets of football players and motorcycle riders to the masks of hockey goalies and doctors, these masks protect the face while also serving to get the wearer “in the zone.”

Of Masks and Men

Masking’s masculine nature likely arose from its ancient connection to the hunt. Males also often dominated the spiritual life of the tribe, and donning a mask was believed to allow a man to transform himself into the spirit or deity the mask represented.
But masking served a deeper purpose for the male psyche as well. Men have always had to put on a psychological or social mask-a front to hide weakness from their rivals and adhere to a culture’s standard of flinty manliness.
Researchers who study primates, like baboons, have learned never to tranquilize a male in front of his rivals. Once the male goes down, his competitors see the opportunity to pounce on him and will viciously attack the helpless baboon. No such problem exists when researchers tranquilize female primates. One can see then why male primates that are sick or injured will put on displays of vitality and vigor when their rival is around, only to go back to licking their wounds when once again by themselves. Biologists theorize that perhaps our human ancestors dealt with same issue-they couldn’t appear vulnerable or their rivals would see an opening, an opportunity. So our male ancestors learned to hide weakness and act tough. But constantly putting up this front can be psychologically taxing.
By donning a physical mask, the men of old could drop the false facade and feel free to express the more hidden aspects of themselves. Masks were a way to connect with the wild man we’ve been talking about recently, to let loose without feeling fearful or self-conscious. Masks were avenues of transformation and self-discovery for men. They were empowering, allowing men to act out the drama of nature, spirit, and desire in a controlled environment.
The Social Masks of Modern Men
The male tradition of wearing physical masks has almost entirely disappeared in the developed world, with the exception of things like Halloween, Mardi Gras, and Carnival.
But the pressure for men to wear a social “mask” has not vanished. We are still generally expected to hide our weaknesses, on penalty of being labeled a sissy. We also sometimes wear masks of cynicism, coolness, aloofness, or of just generally being people we are not.
The tribal rituals of past times allowed men to drop these false social masks by donning a real mask. Without these reprieves, false social masks can become molded to our faces and become permanent parts of ourselves.
It is not that social masks do not have a healthy role to play in our lives. In Masks: Faces of Culture, the authors describe the transforming effect donning armor and a mask had on the warrior:
“fortified and impenetrable, he appeared ominous, daunting, and invincible, prepared to conquer the world. He exuded a look of rationality, domination, and control, totally disengaged from nature.”
Don’t we all want to feel and look like that from time to time?
Sometimes we need to be the rock of strength for those around us, even when we’re struggling ourselves. When you’re striding up to ask a girl out or sitting in a job interview, wearing a mask of self-assurance can help you come off better than your “normal” self. Putting on a social mask of certainty and strength gives confidence to those around you and makes you feel confident yourself. We see this when athletes put on their “game face,” or when a high-powered salesman takes on a different persona to make the hard sale.
The problem, however, is that some men keep wearing their mask even when the game is over.

The Temptation of the Social Mask

Ancient warriors wore masks as part of their defense-to protect themselves from the blows of their enemies as they defended their territory. Modern men wear the false social mask for a very similar reason-to shield themselves from being wounded by others, to protect their emotional territory from invasion and assault. They use the social mask to intimidate, mystify, and prevent others from getting too close. Their mask keeps others asking,“Who is this person? Does he mean me harm or good?”
But constantly donning a false mask is a cowardly way to deal with your fears. Instead of confronting them directly, you wall them off inside your true self, while allowing your alter ego to navigate the world. The mask acts as the buffer between you and others. This way people don’t insult or reject you, they don’t let you down, they simply deal with your false front while you’re hiding in the back. People can’t touch the real you. The mask puts distance between you and the world and allows you to spurn personal responsibility for your actions. Masks embolden people to do things they wouldn’t normally do-for good and ill. “It wasn’t me being a d-bag, that was The Situation!”

As discussed, the occasional use of a social mask can be healthy. But many men start to use it as a crutch and can’t take it off. Like Jim Carrey’s character in The Mask or the Green Goblin, the power of the mask becomes addicting. It’s easy to put on a mask to transform into someone else, but it’s harder to change who we really are. The mask becomes the source of our power and confidence instead of that power coming from within.

The problem with constantly putting on a false front is that the relationships we make while wearing it are inevitably inauthentic. People interact with your alter ego instead of the real you. Mad Men’s Don Draper is a perfect example of this. He tries to keep up a front of cool control and invulnerability in his relationships. His associate Harry Crane remarks, “Draper? Who knows anything about that guy? No one’s ever lifted that rock. He could be Batman for all we know.” The problem is not only that nobody knows Don, but that in pretending to be someone else (quite literally here) he doesn’t know himself either. He wants to change, but his real self and his false persona are so disconnected he doesn’t know how.

Taking Off the False Mask

Masks can both conceal and reveal. A mask can allow us to express a part of ourselves we would normally be too self-conscious to display. But they can also be a means of deceiving others and ourselves. The constant need to hide our true selves can be psychologically exhausting and takes its toll on our psyche and our relationships.
This is doesn’t mean we should be an entirely open book. Some men, spurning any kind of social mask, go in another extreme, what is often termed, “the overshare.” They spill their guts and emotions to anyone who shows them the least bit of attention. A man should always operate with a healthy sense of sprezzatura.
But we should be careful not to let the social mask so mold to our faces that we can’t take it off. We may no longer have the opportunity to drop our social masks by donning physical masks, but we can cultivate friendships and relationships that allow us to drop the pretense and be ourselves. These kinds of close relationships provide pockets of relief and sanity; they allow us to be open and vulnerable and are absolutely essential to our mental health and happiness. And we can work on cultivating our inner values; pride, confidence, and strength don’t come from a mask, they come from within.

Source: Masks: Faces of Culture

Aug 18, 2010

Afghanistan fallen return to families (MSN)

How could I not share this news story -

In the summer twilight, a crowd gathers on a baseball diamond in Seattle, candles in hand, to remember a sailor who not long ago ran this dusty path.

In a California church, a young widow reunites with friends she saw just nine months ago at her wedding — this time, though, they've come to bid farewell to her soldier-husband.

And in a Tennessee high school, a family friend remembers the eager boy who grew up counting the days until he could don an Army uniform.

Day after day, the war in Afghanistan comes home.

The ritual has grown agonizingly familiar: The transfer of the fallen at Dover Air Force Base, then the journey to a final resting place. Some families have mourned privately; others have found comfort in the public embrace of their neighbors. In Burnet, Texas, in Owensville, Ohio, in Jacksonville, Ill., townsfolk have lined the streets in respectful silence to honor the return of the departed.

Last month, the nation marked a milestone in Afghanistan: The loss of 66 U.S. troops made July the deadliest month in the nearly 9-year-old war. Many were killed by roadside bombs.

That spike in violence stirred new debate about the war — but for 66 families, it was no time for punditry or political debate.

Instead, it was time for an Arkansas father to celebrate his 20-year-old son, finding some comfort, he said, in the knowledge that "God had other plans." Time for friends of a Minnesota graduate of West Point to recall his favorite words from Thornton Wilder: "Goodbye, world!... Goodbye to clocks ticking ... and Mama's sunflowers — and food and coffee... and sleeping and waking up! — Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anyone to realize you!"

Time, too, to reflect on dreams — a cross-country trip, a firefighting career, buying a plot of land — now sadly set aside.

More than 450 weeks have passed since the fighting in Afghanistan began.

This is how goodbye was said in one painful week in August.

'He brought joy and laughter'
The candles flickered as the sun was setting in a west Seattle baseball park one recent Tuesday as 200 people crowded around the infield to honor 25-year-old Jarod Newlove, killed with a second sailor after they disappeared miles from their base in a dangerous area of Afghanistan known to be a Taliban stronghold.

The mourners stood on the spot where Newlove had played second base for the Chief Sealth International High School Seahawks. And they signed two memorial banners. "You're home safe now J," one person scrawled.

After the tributes, some who knew Newlove best reminisced.

They remembered Jarod, the 140-pound wrestler who sometimes skipped practice to woo another student, Kim, who became his wife. The jokester whose grades sagged, then rebounded. The young man who needed tough love but found his way and "became a man" in the Navy, said Dave Rosario, his wrestling coach.

Newlove's best friend, Garrett Rochon, met Jarod in sixth grade. They became inseparable as teens, joined the Navy, became young fathers (he's godfather to Newlove's daughter) and took their families to the zoo in San Diego when stationed there.

"He loved his family and my family, like they were his own," Rochon said. "Whoever he connected with, he brought joy and laughter."

Rochon's wife, Tabatha, can't help but think of Newlove's year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. "They don't have a chance to know who he really was," she said.

'He was — IS — my soul mate'
On this same night, there was another gathering in a California home. Friends and family of Staff Sgt. Kyle Warren shared stories about the 28-year-old member of the Army's Special Forces, a red-bearded bear of a man — 6'4" and 250 pounds, size 14 shoe and a lust for life that matched his size.

He loved sports. He played baseball, soccer, football and rugby, excelling at all. He was a fierce competitor, whether it was on the line of scrimmage or in front of a Monopoly board (one Army pal recalled he wasn't happy unless he was the banker).

He adored dogs, too, and jokingly sparred with his wife, Sandra, about letting their golden retriever, Cincinnati, sleep with them on their white sheets.

Warren's ebullience, though, sometimes sidetracked him. His father joked he was on "the seven-year plan" at Northern Arizona University and cut off his share of tuition payments after two years. Warren dropped out and moved to Manchester, N.H., to join his mother. He met Sandra there and they dated for six years.

But Warren pursued her with the same passion that guided everything he did.

"I had my doubts," Sandra recalled in a phone interview, noting long stretches when he was away in training or deployed. "But he was always the one who said, 'No, this is it. We're meant for each other.' I felt protected with him. That was the sense that I got from him and when he hugged me, I felt like nothing in the world could ever hurt me."

They wed last November with a reception in a New Hampshire vineyard.

"We wanted to make sure that we had the bond ... and that's why this is so difficult for me because he was — IS — my soul mate. I know it's easy to say, but it's true," she said. "Yes, we had our fights and arguments, but at the end of the day, we loved each other and that's all that mattered."

Army medic was on second Afghanistan tour
Warren's death from a bomb came just two weeks into his second tour in Afghanistan.

In his first deployment, Warren, a medic, helped host a weekly health clinic for villagers. Once when two little boys were badly injured by a roadside bomb, he stabilized them and made sure they were evacuated to a hospital. Both survived.

Warren planned to enter the fire academy when he returned. Now Sandra thinks of all that will never be.

"I feel robbed of my life, of our life, all the plans that we had, the family that we wanted," she said. "Everything has been taken."

Days after the family gathering, Warren's funeral was held at the church in Redondo Beach, Calif., where he was baptized. A friend read some words on behalf of Del Warren, the sergeant's father.

"Kyle was smart, handsome, funny and so generous and loving," he said of his only child. "Whatever he had or whatever he knew, he would gladly share it with anyone who asked. ... I thought my son was invincible. I was wrong. I have a wound that will never heal."

Warren was buried near his beloved grandfather, "Papa Pete." He had made that request in his will.

Family members placed single, white long-stemmed roses on the casket before it was lowered into the ground.

Small town, big loss
Yellow roses awaited the return of Capt. Jason Holbrook.

On a blistering Friday afternoon, hundreds of folks from the Burnet, Texas, area stood along the highway, holding flowers with red-white-and-blue streamers and small American flags provided by the local grocery. They watched the county sheriff lead a somber procession from the airport to the funeral home.

Holbrook, a West Point grad and member of the Army's Special Forces, was killed with Kyle Warren. He, too, was 28.

Charles Goble, a family friend, helped organize the tribute. Burnet is a small town, too small for six degrees of separation. People here are closer than that. Goble's father and Holbrook's father were in the same VFW and American Legion chapters; his stepdaughter was Holbrook's classmate.

Goble remembers a quiet young man who loved to fish but who also had bursts of spontaneity — such as the time on a school bus when he suddenly started singing "I'm Henery the Eighth, I Am."

"He would just do funny, outrageous things," Goble said.

And yet, he was mature, even as a boy. "He was the kind of kid who even at an early age, he could tell when something needed to be done without someone telling him," Goble said. "Jason was just exceptional."

All those memories sustained Goble as he stood on U.S. Highway 281, watching Holbrook's casket approach in a white hearse. "When I saw his father and mother drive by, that's when I lost it," he said.

Third-generation Marine
That same day, nearly 1,400 miles away in Williamsport, Pa., they said farewell to Lance Cpl. Abram LaRue Howard.

About 1,000 mourners filled St. Joseph the Worker Parish Annunciation Church; another 500 watched on video from a chapel next door as the 21-year-old Marine was eulogized.

"He took friends under his wing during their trying times and helped them through their tough situations," said Christopher Bain, a family friend and injured Iraq war vet who read a eulogy written by Joseph Dincher, Howard's uncle. "So many times we heard how Abe was there from the beginning to the end. Never judging a person on the mistakes they made, but helping them through their situation and leading them in a better direction."

Howard was on patrol with Afghan police trainees when he left his vehicle after hearing reports of Taliban activity in the area. He was hit by a roadside bomb, according to family. His father, Bart, had helped his son buy top-of-the-line body armor, but Howard was apparently struck in an unprotected area of the upper torso.

Days before, thousands had paid their respects in a nine-hour viewing at Howard's high school, filing past his open casket on the stage where he'd played bass guitar for the school orchestra not long ago. His battered football helmet and No. 50 jersey were on display, too.

Howard was not just a musician and athlete. He was a hunter, a poet, a Roman Catholic who led his platoon in reading Scripture before and after patrol.

And, just liked his father, uncle and grandfather before him, a Marine.

Soldier 'always dreamed about being in the Army'
In Ohio, yellow ribbons tied around light poles marked the path home for Army Spc. Joseph Bauer.

On a Saturday afternoon, Bauer's widow, Misty, stood in a Cincinnati funeral home next to a display of photos, several featuring her husband in a Cincinnati Bengals jersey; another in a prized Ken Griffey Jr. Reds' jersey in Army camouflage pattern.

Bauer, 27, was deployed to Afghanistan last October. His barracks were decorated with Bengals paraphernalia but it was hard to follow his favorite team as they made their push into NFL playoffs. When he was in remote areas and had limited time to talk, Misty recalled, he'd say two things: "I love you" and "Tell me the Bengals' score!"

Bauer had recently reenlisted. He planned to make the Army his career.

He was part of an extended family that includes five brothers and two sisters, four half-sisters, a half brother, a stepsister and a stepbrother.

"He loved his family," Misty said.

Michael Stansbery was a family man, too, a homebody who liked nothing more than being with his sister and parents.

The third generation to wear a uniform, Stansbery had declared his intentions long ago — in first-grade, to be precise. He'd written a letter that said: "I will be in the Army, I will go to battle and have a bunch of men with me to help. I will go to the ocean and save someone from trouble."

Those words were read at his memorial service.

"Mike ... always dreamed about being in the Army," said family friend John Jankowich, who noted Stansbery had reenlisted after a tour in Iraq, expecting to be redeployed. "He couldn't wait to go. ... He never talked about being afraid. He said he was where he was supposed to be. He didn't sugarcoat things, but he didn't complain."

'He loved the team'
On a recent Sunday, Jankowich joined hundreds in the gym of Wilson Central High School in Lebanon, Tenn. — the place Stansbery had wrestled and practiced drills as a member of the Junior ROTC. They watched a slide show spanning Michael's 21 years, from a photo of him as a baby in his father's arms to one as a young soldier, helmet on, smiling, thumbs up.

Bryan White, his head wrestling coach, remembered a dedicated kid who wasn't the greatest on the mats, but compensated by being a great teammate and fundraiser who gave his all.

"That's why he was one of the best wrestlers I ever had," he said. "He loved the team; he loved belonging to the team."

Sgt. Chris Mauro, who'd worked with Stansbery at Fort Carson, Colo., recalled his ability to juggle the serious, his soldier's duties, with the frivolous, his fascination with anime, or Japanese animation.

"There were times I would go up and do barracks checks to see how he was doing," Mauro said. "He'd be playing 'Final Fantasy' on one TV, watching cartoons on another and had his training manual in his lap. He would do all that at the same time."

From South Africa to the U.S. Marines
Shane Martin liked to joke he was so American he got married on July 4th.

In fact, it was just a coincidence. As was Sept. 11, 2007, the day he was sworn in as a Marine.

Martin, a native of South Africa, became a U.S. citizen in an unforgettable way: a naturalization ceremony at one of Saddam Hussein's palaces during his first tour in Iraq. He was killed on his second deployment, in Afghanistan.

And when he was laid to rest, Marine pallbearers escorted his casket into church while the choir sang "America the Beautiful."

Martin, a 23-year-old lance corporal, had started adult life on a different course. He loved to draw, using charcoal and oils. He was studying web design at the Art Institute of Houston when he shifted to the Marines.

It all made sense.

Martin, who moved to the United States at age 12, was a military history buff with a family legacy of service, said his aunt, Amanda Brock. "It wasn't that he wanted to go to war for war's sake ... but he did believe that, if needed, you were required to protect," she said.

'It's as if he had his own magnetic field'
Martin had recently resumed drawing and had asked that art supplies be mailed to him — though what he really loved were care packages stuffed with Oreos, onion rings, cinnamon buns and other junk food.

At his funeral, nearly 600 mourners at Prince of Peace Catholic Community church in Houston viewed photos of a young man with bright, blond hair and a wide, easy smile — as a boy at Disneyland on his first trip to America, as a groom feeding cake to his bride, Lauren, at their 2008 wedding, as a soldier in Iraq.

Martin was buried with pieces of rock from cherished places — his childhood home in Durban, South Africa; an annual vacation spot, Destin, Fla.; his family ranch and his wife's house in Texas. Each family member also wrote a letter.

His 14-year-old sister, Diane Wallace, spoke of his charisma.

"It's as if he had his own magnetic field — everybody wanted to be around him," she said from the pulpit.

Martin's 23-year-old widow, Lauren, talked of their eternal bond in her eulogy

"Shane was my greatest love and best friend. He IS my soul mate," she said, her eyes briefly tearing up, "and he was my protector."

Then turning her gaze to the casket, she said:

"I am forever proud to call you my husband and the wife of a U.S. Marine. I am so proud of you. I love you, handsome. Wait for me."

Solemn duty at Dover
Before dawn the following day, soldiers and Marines at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware performed a solemn duty.

In the inky darkness, they carried the latest casualties of the war in Afghanistan down the ramp of a transport plane.

In the first two weeks of August, 12 Americans troops have died.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Aug 17, 2010

The Runner's Diet: Runners World

It seems almost impossible that runners could become overweight. All that running, all those calories burned along city streets and down park paths--it just doesn't seem right (or fair).

The problem is that we read about the performance-oriented nutritional habits of ultrathin elite runners (lots of carbo-loading and truckloads of energy bars, gels, and drinks), then assume that as recreational runners we should do the same. But we're not elite runners. We're average people who use running to manage our weight, increase our energy, and lead healthy lives.

Think about this scary fact: It takes only 100 extra calories a day to gain 10 pounds in a year. That's one high-calorie prerun snack that you didn't need. Or one unnecessary bottle of sports drink before a 30-minute walk. The extra weight many runners carry around is simply the result of eating for energy or performance--with little regard for total calories. But calories do count, and as runners we tend to underestimate the amount we eat and overestimate the amount we burn.

What you need to do is match your eating plan to your running habits. You need to know exactly when to eat those carbohydrate-rich foods that will give you the energy you need to run well.

You also need to know when to consume the lean proteins and heart-healthy fats that will keep you satiated while still losing weight. You need the Runner's Diet.

The Runner's Diet helps you determine the real number of calories you need to maintain or lose weight based on your current running schedule. It's a 50-25-25 eating plan, where 50 percent of your calories come from carbohydrates, 25 percent from protein, and 25 percent from fat. With half of your calorie intake coming from carbs, the diet provides you with plenty of readily available fuel for your runs. And with the rest of your calories split evenly between proteins and fats, you feel full longer, which is key to losing weight. The diet also focuses your carbohydrate intake around your runs and emphasizes the right proteins and fats for all other meals to optimize performance and weight loss. Finally, you'll have lots of choices when deciding what to eat. To start the Runner's Diet, follow this simple, six-step process.

Step 1
Determine Your Daily Calorie Goal

To estimate your daily calorie needs for maintaining your current weight, take your present weight and multiply by 13. That number covers your metabolic needs for the day, factoring in a bit of light activity. So if you weigh 180 pounds, you need about 2,340 calories per day. To lose a pound a week, you must then create a calorie deficit of 500 calories a day (3,500 calories equals one pound).

How many calories you can cut from your diet depends a lot on how much you're eating right now. There's a big difference between cutting 500 calories if you're eating 1,500 a day than if you're eating 3,000. But remember: Weight loss is a lot easier when you factor in your running mileage (1 mile = 100 calories). So your calorie deficit can--and should--be created by eliminating some calories from your daily diet and increasing the number you burn per day through running.
Step 2
Distributing Your Calories

After you've determined the total number of calories you should be consuming per day to meet your weight-loss goals, divide those calories so that 50 percent of them come from carbohydrates, 25 percent come from protein, and 25 percent come from fat. So, for example, if you've determined that your daily calorie goal is 1,800 calories, then 900 of those calories should come from carbohydrates, 450 from protein, and 450 from fat. Remember: You're not striving to have every food you eat meet this ratio. You're simply aiming to get your total daily calorie intake to fall within these guidelines.

Step 3
Selecting Carbohydrates

Lots of runners will look at the 50-percent carbohydrate guideline and think they'll go into macaroni withdrawal. They'll argue it's not enough--that they need 60 percent or more. After all, carbohydrates are the body's preferred energy source.

While it's true that elite runners need a very high percentage of calories from carbohydrates, recreational runners simply don't need as many carbs. Taking in 50 percent of your daily calories from carbohydrate sources will provide you with all the energy you need.

Because high-carb foods sustain you during your workouts, they are best eaten just before and just after your runs. When choosing which carbs to eat, opt for those that are fiber-rich and have a high water content to keep you feeling full.

Carbs to Choose Often

Fruits (about 60 calories per serving)
Apple, orange, pear, nectarine: 1 small (tennis ball size)
Banana: 1 small (5 inch)
Peach, plum: 1 medium (fist size)
Grapefruit: 1/2 whole fruit
Canteloupe: 1 cup
Berries: 1 cup
Fresh pineapple: 3/4 cup
Canned fruit (in its own juice): 1/2 cup

Low-Starch Vegetables (about 25 calories per serving)
Carrots, celery, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, leeks, onions, green beans: 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked
Green pepper: 1 whole
Asparagus: 7 spears cooked or 14 spears raw
Lettuce/raw greens: 1 cup 100-percent vegetable juice: 1/3 cup

Carbs to Choose with Caution (watch those portions!)

High-Starch Vegetables (about 80 calories per serving)
Beans (lima, navy, pinto): 1/3 cup
Corn: 1/2 cup
Peas/lentils: 1/2 cup
Baked white or sweet potato with skin: 1 small (tennis ball size)

Pasta/Rice (about 80 calories per serving)
Couscous (cooked): 1/3 cup
Brown or white rice (cooked): 1/3 cup
Noodles/pasta (cooked): 1/2 cup
Bulgur (cooked): 1/2 cup

Breads/Cereal/Crackers (about 80 calories per serving)
Tortilla (white or wheat): 1
100-percent whole-wheat bread: 1 slice
Mini-bagel: 1
English muffin: 1/2
Pretzels: 3/4 ounce or 8 sourdough nuggets
Popcorn (air popped): 3 cups
Saltine crackers: 6
Rice cakes (all varieties, large): 2
High-fiber cereals: 3/4 cup
Oatmeal: 2/3 cup cooked or 1 instant packet Step 4
Selecting Proteins

While protein's primary role is maintaining muscle integrity, it also satisfies hunger. Protein provides a greater feeling of fullness, ounce for ounce, than an equivalent amount of carbohydrate. The effect: You're content with fewer calories. That's why 25 percent of your calories should come from protein.

When you choose proteins, lean is always best. Fat adds flavor to protein--but also calories. So be sure to limit the number of calories in the protein sources you choose. A good rule of thumb: The fattier the protein, the smaller the serving.

Protein Picks

Very lean (about 35 calories per serving)
Chicken or turkey breast (skinless): 1 ounce
Fish fillet (all whitefish): 1 ounce
Canned, water-packed tuna: 1 ounce
Shellfish: 1 ounce
Egg whites: 2 large
Egg substitute: 1/4 cup

Lean (about 55 calories per serving)
Chicken or turkey (skinless dark meat): 1 ounce
Salmon, swordfish, herring, trout, bluefish: 1 ounce
Lean beef (flank steak, top round, ground sirloin): 1 ounce
Veal or lamb (roast or lean chop): 1 ounce
Pork (tenderloin): 1 ounce
Canadian bacon: 1 ounce
Low-fat hot dogs: 1
Low-fat luncheon meats: 1 ounce

Dairy Products (about 90 calories per serving)
Fat-free or 1-percent-fat cottage cheese (calcium fortified): 1 cup
Low-fat, sugar-free yogurt: 3/4 cup
Fat-free, sugar-free yogurt: 1 cup
Low-fat cheese (all types): 2 ounces
Step 5
Selecting Fats

Most dieters immediately start cutting fat. But instead of just cutting out junk-food sources of fat, they also cut fatty foods that are healthy, including nuts and nut butters, and olives and olive oil.

Foods with a little fat help slow the rate of digestion and provide a sense of fullness. Try to get 25 percent of your daily calories from good fats by selecting heart-healthy vegetable, nut, and fish sources.

Fats of Choice

Full-Calorie sources (about 50 calories per serving)
All oils: 1 teaspoon
Avocado (medium): 1/8
Almonds, cashews, filberts: 6
Peanuts: 10
Pistachios: 15
Olives (green or black): 8 medium
Peanut butter (creamy or chunky): 1 teaspoon

Reduced-Calorie sources (about 25 calories per serving)
Light tub margarine: 1 teaspoon
Light mayonnaise/salad dressing: 1 teaspoon
Light cream cheese: 1 teaspoon
Fat-free salad dressing: 1 tablespoon

Step 6
Establish an Eating/Running Pattern

The wild card in the 50-25-25 eating plan is how you distribute your calories throughout the day. That depends on your running schedule. Because you want to eat the bulk of your carbohydrate calories around the times when you will be active, you need to know ahead of time when you're going to exercise each day. Then select mostly carbohydrate-rich foods to fuel up beforehand or afterward. By eating most of your carbohydrate calories around your runs, you'll then eat most of your protein and fat calories the rest of the day when you're more sedentary.

Remember one other guideline when establishing your daily eating pattern: Don't go too many hours without eating or your brain will signal starvation mode and stimulate your appetite. So go ahead and have a morning, afternoon, and evening meal, along with snacks. Just make sure that when you tally up all your eating, you're still within your daily calorie range.

Adapted from Runner's World The Runner's Diet by Madelyn H. Fernstrom, Ph.D., C.N.S. (Rodale 2005). Available in May '05 at and at bookstores nationwide.,7120,s6-242-304-310-7771-0,00.html

Aug 13, 2010

First-borns really are smarter

Well, I hope someone is learning from the obstacles I've overcome in my life :)

SAN DIEGO — Birth order within families has long sparked sibling rivalry, but it might also impact the child's personality and intelligence, a new study suggests. First-borns are typically smarter, while younger siblings get better grades and are more outgoing, the researchers say.

The findings weigh in on a long-standing debate: What effect if any does birth orderhave on a person's life? While numerous studies have been conducted, researchers have yet to draw any definitive conclusions.

The results lend support to some previous hypotheses — for instance, that the eldest sibling tends to have higher aptitude. But the study also contradicts other proposed ideas, for example, that first-borns tend to be more extroverted.

The findings shed light on the influence of sibling relationships, which often receives less attention compared with that of the mother-child or father-child relationship, said Tiffany L. Frank, a doctoral candidate at Adelphi University in Long Island, N.Y., who lead the study.

They also suggest some inherent differences between siblings exist, differences that might arise no matter what parents do. "While parents might want to treat each child equally, it's almost impossible," Frank said here at the 118th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

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Most previous studies on the influence of birth order have looked at children from different families. For instance, some studies have looked at U.S. presidents, Nobel Laureates or NASA astronauts to see whether they are mostly first-born children or later born children.U.S. presidents and science Nobel Laureates were found to be overwhelmingly first-borns, as were 21 of the first 23 NASA astronauts. However, these studies cannot take into account influences that arise from children being in the same family, such as the competition that might exist between siblings, Frank said.

In addition, most previous studies have asked subjects to think back to their childhood or adolescence, a method that might lead to inaccuracies if subjects misremember their past.

In the current study, Frank and her colleagues surveyed 90 pairs of siblings in high school. Subjects were asked to report their grades and rank themselves as compared with their siblings on intelligence, work ethic and academic performance. The researchers also obtained academic tests scores and grades to verify the students' own reports.

While the first-born tended to do better on measures of intelligence, the younger siblings had higher overall grade point averages.

Anxious Monkeys Shed Light on Human Temperament Part of Stomach Removed Through Patient's Mouth Fast-Food Should Be Served with Fat-Busting Meds, Study Says New Ovarian Cancer Test Shows Promise First-borns might score higher on tests because, at some point in their lives, they were only children who were the sole recipients of their parents' attention.

Younger siblings might earn better grades, because they received mentoring from first-borns who already had to tackle certain subjects, the researchers say. Also, later born children might feel extra pressure to be competitive, and might try to out-do their older siblings in the hopes of gaining extra attention from parents.

In a second experiment researchers looked at differences in personality between 76 pairs of siblings in high school. Subjects rated themselves on a series of statements designed to assess personality.

Later born siblings were found to be more extroverted (sociable, outgoing), sentimental, forgiving and open to new experiences than their older siblings. First-borns were found to be more perfectionistic than their younger siblings.

The youngsters might also be more open to new experiences, because they "see the obstacles that their older siblings have overcome and therefore feel more secure in challenging themselves," the researchers say.

Frank conducted the work with Hannah Turenshine and Stephen J. Sullivan of Lawrence High School in Cedarhurst, N.Y.

Aug 3, 2010

Jamie Oliver on TEDTalks

I used to watch his cooking show - it was great. Then I discovered TED Talks recently and it's GREAT - any subject, they talk about it. Saw this on today. Listen to Jamie - young 34 year old hip chef. Working for an eating revolution. We are priming our children for less lifetime by the food we're surrounding them with. The food we've been surrounded with. The food our palette craves. It's a money driven industry and we've been trained to stop providing for ourselves and rely on the grocery store. The manufacturers that are putting money in their pockets from our compliance. This is an excellent message.

Aug 2, 2010

A Reminder

Good Morning Fellow Worshipers:

Driving to work this morning I was reflecting on the experience more. I've been drawn to this concept of how much we may forget exactly WHO He is. Maybe forget the absolute Holiness of The Father and our Savior. We lose value in the ground so holy we remove our shoes before approaching. To think we can stand in His presence. We may address Him directly - should we not bow our eyes and head, fall to our knees? Grasp the immensity of who He is? Regain the Awe of our Father and a relationship with Him? It's mind blowing.

This is not in condemnation at all. My words probably do not do the message justice. Forgive me my inadequacy. Simply that there is something there I cannot verbally express that we lose hold of - the value in the fire of the Almighty.

In this Majesty, we find His power. For me, yesterday was deeply humbling. Humbled to simply exist - for Him. Even in all my faults & excuses. I was gently reminded of exactly Who He is. Grace, Mercy - yes. But Powerful beyond comprehension. Mighty. In His love - and His direction - for us.

I hope this touches whoever it's meant to touch today.


Aug 1, 2010

The Love of The Father

I wanted to share a vision I had during worship today. I really felt the Spirit moving in the sanctuary. Powerfully.

While my eyes were closed and I was lost in song, I suddenly had a visual of a forceful wind moving through the sanctuary. Not something to be afraid of but moving in through the doors and quickly, fast moving everywhere and touching everything, surrounding. I shook it off as silly imagination for a moment but then asked what it meant. It was a symbol of God's fierce love for us-as a parent loves & protects their child, so does He of us. He is fighting for us. He is not complacent. His heart burns and His eyes are ablaze for His children. He will wage the war for us, we only need let go & bring it to Him. So difficult to do. He loves us w/a fierceness that we cannot understand. I was moved that the message was to move to Him, let Him take the fight, for He is the mightiest of ALL and it is always His and ours is to release our hold.

This was right before we sang that song that has the lyrics about a hurricane, which was the force of the wind I envisioned. I didn't know that part was coming. I felt in awe that He would move in me with such clarity.

I thought I would share. Thank you for a great worship team & allowing Him to move through each of you to reach others.

For the Kingdom -


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