Just a Reflection of My Perception

When I was young, we used to visit my grandparents, aunt, and cousin, on my dad’s side.  I would sometimes stay longer, particularly in the summers.  My aunt was a teacher, so she did academic things with my cousin and I.  We would go to the “back room” of my grandparents, and do geography lessons with the map that was on the back of the door to the room.  We had to watch the news and pick stories to write papers on.  Yep.  That was my summer vacation.  I’ll never forget when she had my cousin and I write the instructions for making a peanut butter sandwich.  We went into it, thinking “this will be easy”, and then realized what happens when someone takes your written instructions literally.

Years later, it wasn’t too surprising that I chose to study political science in college.  My dream was to be like Christiane Amanpour.  Originally, I wanted to do a dual major with journalism, but quickly found out that the journalism track at my school was more for regional news reporting, and my focus was definitely on political and social issues world-wide.  One professor told me my paper read like something out of New Republic. I was so flattered, until I realized that’s not what he wanted.  I graduated with a BS in Political Science, a second major in English Literature, and a minor in Philosophy.  This is really just a summary for those who stumble onto my blog.  This is my background, and even though I found a paycheck in IT as an application developer, my heart is still in being an aware citizen, helping not just participate in discussions of social issues, but to help frame the discussion.

I started this blog, because this election year is such an important year.  It is critically important for US citizens to wake up, start paying attention to our elected officials, and to those vying to be elected to represent us.  We have a lot going on in this country and the world. A lot of complex issues, concerning equality, the environment, and international relations with leaders of countries where we either have allies, enemies, and sometimes both.

I’m going to start writing articles (blog posts for someone who has interest in journalism, but isn’t being paid to do it), in the fashion of what my aunt taught me as a kid.  Pay attention to the news and write about what is important and why.  Hopefully my writing skills have improved some, since those days.  I don’t expect my blog to gain any huge following, but I have strong feelings about the candidates, the issues affecting our citizens, and how we as a species are treating each other globally.

To get it out of the way now, yes #ImWithHer.  I support Hillary Clinton and am so excited to vote for her in the general election.  It is past due for us to have a female President, and I hope we can flip congress to blue in November as well.  I want to see Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnel voted out.  I want to see Pence, Cruz, and Rubio shut down for good.  I want to see the rhetoric of #BlackLivesMatter get the traction it needs to affect real change in our policing and ensuring that all citizens have absolute equality.  I want LGBT rights to be secured in all states and to protect trans people from the hate of fear and ignorance.

I want people who make millions and billions to pay their fair share, and for those living in poverty to have real support, including mental health, so we can help them to heal and be provided real opportunity. I want our military budget to include real veterans support, because the first thing we should be doing, is ensuring that when they come home, there is NO red tape between them and the benefits they rightly deserve.

I am a bleeding heart liberal, who wants all Syrians to be able to go to school and not have a war in their schools, living rooms, and their hospitals.  I want to see people condemn Trump for the selfish narcissist he is, who only cares about his own gain, and not the interest of American citizens.  I want to see him defeated in November.  I want people to vote.

If there is one thing I would hope my blog will do, it would be to convince people they should pay attention to all candidates running for office in any district that they live in.  It would be to convince people that true patriotism is not waving a flag.  Its voting.  I want people to use logic and critical thinking in their debates of the issues.  I want people to hold candidates and elected officials to what they say, how they vote and what they stand for.  I want 100% voter registration and turnout, because we have no excuse for low voter turn out.  We live in a country that prides itself on our democracy, while not taking part it in.  I want that to change.  I want to help discuss the facts, so that we can shape the discussion around the truth, and engage our citizens in our democracy.

Thank you.

Billie Ferretotious Difranco 07.2000 – 01.2016

Billie Ferretotious Difranco.


She was my first MY cat. We had a family cat, when I was young, but she was a family cat. Even though I’m pretty sure she knew she was mine, she was still the family’s. Once I graduated from college, I got a cheap apartment. One day I was looking around and realized I wasn’t in college anymore. I could get a cat! My very own cat! I called my mom, because I knew she would be visiting soon and I knew she would love to go pick out a kitten with me. When we got to Lollipop Farm, it was packed. We signed in and had to wait in front of those in the queue ahead of us. I walked around to view the kittens and see which one I might like to adopt. I was really wanting a Persian or all gray cat. Not sure why, just what I wanted. Then I saw these 2 black kittens. A volunteer took them out of there 1 window display room, so the lady in front of us could see them. When the volunteer came back out she told us that one of the kittens had “kissed” the lady, so she was adopting that one.

I instantly forgot about the other cats I had seen. These 2 kittens had been checked out, and one was being taken. The other, presumably a sister, was being put back in the 1 window display cage to be left alone without her one friend. I couldn’t let her just be alone, so that was that. I had to adopt her. My mom drove home, so she could sit on my lap. Once we got inside, we started to try to come up with a name. My mom looked up at a poster on my wall and said “Billie”, after the photo of Billie Holiday. It was perfect. She was my Billie.

Within a week, I started to notice that every time she heard a noise (which was often in our city apartment), she would stand up on her hind legs and looked very much like a ferret. It was the cutest thing. She would just stand there and look around for the cause of the noise. I had to give her a full name, which took form of Billie Ferretotious Difranco.

She could jump from the floor to the top of the kitchen candidates in one giant leap. I would play with her, using one of those sticks with feathers and stuff hanging off the end. She would flip in mid-air and do it again and again. She was fierce and fearless. She would try to escape the apartment (which was inside a house) and run around the hallways, until realizing the apartment might be the best place, and then go back. Once, she woke me up while I was sleeping. Why is that notable? Well, I was sound asleep, and she did what she often did. She was walking around on my desk, and then decided to walk on the printer. The printer tray. Then it happened. The tray broke, and she went down with it. I woke up, saw what happened and after I stopped laughing, checked to see how startled she was. She had a fascination with printers (f%^cking lexmark piece of shit).

Billie loved when I would print something. She would stick her little paw in that printer, trying her damnedest to either attack the paper, the cartridge or the evil creature making that noise and movement. We moved around to many different apartments over the years, and finally into a home of our own. She was with me for 15 years. Through the big stuff, the small stuff, the good stuff and the bad. She was the happiness in any moment when she walked in the room to greet me, or I would find her snuggled in my clothes, or hiding somewhere.

She would come up on the bed and sleep next to me. I could put my arm around her and hold her like a teddy bear. A living, lovey teddy bear. She was the sweetest cat, and I was so lucky to get her to love her. She would meow and “talk” so much that calling her the lady who sings the blues was fitting. She loved to butt her head into me. We could head butt each other again and again. She loved it.

I’ll always miss her soft fur. I’ll always miss her meowing and telling me how hard it is to be her. I’ll always miss her love of ribbons, printers, and anything she can attack. I’ll always miss her purr, like a motorboat. I’ll always miss her big huge eyes. I’ll always miss my sweetness. I’ll always miss my Billie Ferretotious Difranco.

I Love Getting High

(This is from Monday, I just never published it)

Never gets old. Can’t describe how fantastic it felt to get myself to the gym. Cycling, lifting weights. I felt like a beast. So powerful. Back in control. At least that’s what it feels like, to get back to the gym and have a great workout, after a week hiatus.  1 hr 35 min 824  I made it to spin on time, and then figured it was time to start the intermediate routine from the site where I found the workouts.


Here is the next routine, for the next 4-6 weeks.

Monday: Cardio + Toning
• 5 minute Warm up on treadmill
• 20 minute Jog on treadmill
• 5 minute Cool down
• 3 sets Lat pull downs (did 60lbs)
latpulldown2.jpg (333×500)
• 3 sets Incline Dumbbell press (used 10lbs dumbbells)

• 3 sets Triceps kickbacks on bench (used 10 lbs dumbbells)

• 3 sets Bicep curls on cable machine (Did 40 lbs)

• 3 sets Dumbbell lateral raises (Used 5 lbs dumbbells)
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Cardio + Core
• 5 minute warm up
• 20 minute Interval training on treadmill
• 5 minute Cool down
• 3 sets Back extension 

• 3 sets Bicycle crunches

• 3 sets Straight leg raises on bench
Thursday: 20 minutes Stationary Bike
Friday: Cardio + Lower Body
• 5 minute Warm up on treadmill
• 10 minute Jog on treadmill
• 5 minute Cool down
• 3 sets Stability Ball Squats

• 3 sets Barbell Side Lunge 

• 3 sets Bridges 

• 3 sets Seated Calf raises
Saturday: 20 minutes Stationary Bike
Sunday: Off

Lidia and Mel’s Wedding Toast

Some of the people at the wedding asked for a copy of the toast that Tracy and I gave, so here it is for all to enjoy.

Love is patient
Love is Kind
Love does not envy
Love does not boast      
Love does not dishonor others
Is not self-seeking
Is not easily angered
Keeps no records of wrongs
Does not delight in evil
Love rejoices with the truth
Love always protects
Always trusts
Always hopes
Love always perseveres
(Corinthians 13:4-7)
We’ve known Lidia for a long time, and through many years of friendship, we wanted to take a moment and give Mel some helpful advice.  While you two have been together for some time now, we hope these tips will ensure a long and lasting marriage.
Tip 1: When Lidia gets sleepy, get her home fast, or she might fall asleep against a wall.
Tip 2:  If Lidia starts to get whiney, just pretend you’re going to tickle her
Tip 3: Never over caffeinate
Tip 4: When in doubt, get her a mountain dew – Please note number 3, use in moderation         
Tip 5: After a long hard day, make sure there is corona on hand
Tip 6: To make her smile, take her salsa dancing
Tip 7: If she has a bad day at work, make sure to give lots of hugs and kisses
Tip 8: To keep her sweet, always have flan on hand
Tip 9: If she gets really mad, show her a picture of dolphins
Tip 10: Look into her eyes, and know she loves you with all her he art
We know that sometimes Lidia has a tough time saying what she means, so as her friends, we decided we would help her out…
Yes, I’ll marry you, my dear and here’s the reason why: 
So I can push you out of the bed when your feet are too cold..  
And if we hear a knocking and its creepy and late, 
I can hand you the torch to investigate.
Yes, I’ll marry you, my dear, you may not apprehend it, 
but when the faucet leaks it’s you that has to mend it.   
You have to face the neighbor, should our friends kids get in trouble for tossing the ball, 
and shovel the snow when a blizzard hits and there is a wall.  
Yes, I’ll marry you, your beauty and your grace, 
for even when I’m tired and grumpy, 
you’ll put me in my place.  
All of this you do for me, but none of them for you, 
and so before you see the light, I do, I do, I do!
(To give proper credit, we borrowed liberally from this poem: I Will Marry You and made it to fit for our friends.)

Mischief Managed

A fellow bridesmaid and I just finished pulling off back to back bachelorette parties for our friends. They were both excellent and I’m so psyched that we pulled them off. I have plans for a blog on the most incredible experience in bad customer service that you could imagine. One of the parties was to be at a restaurant. A classy, nice dinner with friends. Well, I have some emails and a voicemail to get together, and then I will hopefully get this “review” post up. It is so needed.


Abs & stretching 23 min 97 cal
Spinning 56 min 505 cal
Total 1 hr 19 min 602 cal


“totally worth it.” That’s what I planned to post because I was aiming for that kind of result this week. I didn’t work out, I ate whatever I wanted, and wished myself a pound down. Don’t try this at home, kiddies. Now, a month of camping. 3 back to back trips. It’s double sticker week at the gym, so I’m going to rock it every chance I can. Let’s see if I can wish it and work for it.


I had my pity party. Was tempted to go back to bed. I only had one “bad” day this whole week, and it was yesterday. I had 20 activity points and all my weekly points to use. There is no way I had all that. I wasn’t even that bad. I only had 3 drinks the entire day.

Oh well, enough bitching. All I can do is “keep on keepin on”, as an fb friend said.

Get Those Marshmallows A Toastin

Today my friends and I are doing a meet and greet picnic. We put together an annual camping trip, and the meet and greet gives us all a chance to meet everyone, as each year new people are invited.

The next month is filled with bachelorette parties, camping, a concert and oodles of fun. I won’t be able to make my new tradition of Saturday morning back to back spin and yoga, which is going to be rough, so I’ll have to be diligent with getting my workouts in elsewhere.

It was great going today, and getting it in while I can.

Spin 1 hr 598 cal
Yoga 57 min 302 cal
Total 1 hr 57 min 900 cal

Try As I Might

I do. I told myself not to go to spin yesterday, because I had definitely pulled my back on Tuesday. That was fine. I went Monday and Tuesday. I knew I would go today, and Saturday I have back to back spin and yoga. Yesterday on my way home from work, I was feeling my arms. Maybe I shouldn’t go to total body on Thursday. They hurt. Something is up. Then I had that doy moment. Um yeah, they hurt – from total body on Tuesday. They are sore. That means I should definitely go, before they lose that momentum, or whatever you want to call it.

It’s always rough getting up at the a$& crack of dawn, but it really does have a huge effect on my entire day. I feel it in my body, my mood, the accomplishment, not to mention my body feels stretched out and healthier than when I don’t exercise.

Total body 59 min 459 cal
Treadmill walking inclines 31 min 312 cal
Total 1 hr 30 min 771 cal

Excited for the weekend. Hope it is sunny on Saturday!

Pushing Against Nothing

While brushing my teeth, I started to not feel good. Once I put my sneakers on, the backs of my heels hurt. During total body, it felt like I pulled the left side of my back. Moving forward, despite the discomfort, tends to show it wasn’t legitimate pain. It was more a Randy Pausch test of how much I wanted to do what I set out to do.

Total body 59 min 490 cal
Precor swingy thing 29 min 267 cal
Total 1 hr 28 min 757 cal