Monday, February 29, 2016

Beautiful. Strong. Resolute. Courageous. Women: Get Inspired.

I watched these short videos of women around the world who define beauty, courage and strength of body and soul, and got inspired.

Get Inspired.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Simple -- but not Easy

It is not always easy to make a new habit.

In fact, it is seldom easy, even though it may be simple.

One may ask why, (if I really truly want to create a new habit), it would be hard to do.  Gretchen Rubin, in her book Better Than Before - Change Your Habits, change Your Life, helps me understand myself better, and answers why.  Better yet, she lays out the "HOW", step by step, with notes on pitfalls to avoid and what to do when I fail.

Failing, it turns out, is part of change. One reason I love Gretchen is her candid notes on her own attempts to change. She sees a failure as a clue to success, an arrow pointing to an as yet unrecognized challenge that will be analyzed and overcome.

Adopting the tools Gretchen recommends is helping me to also adopt her attitude towards a lapse in my effort to create new habits. A major tool, monitoring my progress, not only shows me where I lapse, it shows me where I succeed.

So far, I'm sticking to my diet six days out of seven the past week, practicing oral hygiene daily but not as many times as my goal, blogging most days but not every day and practicing origami not at all which makes me think it is not important enough to me at this time. A mixed report card, not "straight A's", which is fine because the goal is not perfection, the goal is change, and that is most definitely occurring. Daily.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Elliptical is Wonderful Torture Machine

Yesterday at the gym I was introduced to a wonderful torture machine - the elliptical trainer.  After two minutes I was panting to get off and straining to keep going. My coach, Daina, commented that I needed to limit myself to five minutes next time. Limit myself? {spontaneous laughter} Greatest benefit so far?  After the elliptical, the treadmill seems very easy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Money is Speech - and Corporations are People

Do we want to replace Justice Scalia with someone like him? Do we want a justice of the Supreme Court who thinks that money is speech and corporations are people too?

Only a lawyer could argue that money equals free speech and remove all the safeguards against undue influence. How, I ask, does permitting a wealthy person to contribute unlimited funds to elect the candidate of their choice make all citizens equal? Everyone has one head, one mouth. We are equal in speech. Citizens United will stand in history, along with the three-fifths rule and the Dred Scott decision, as being among the worst legislation ever imposed on America.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Constitutional Crisis of Government - Overturning the Balance of Power


"The President shall be commander in Chief... He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, ...and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and consuls, Judges of the supreme court,...." 

Oath of Office of United States Senators - from Senate website

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Taking the Oath - from Senate website
At the beginning of a new term of office, senators-elect take their oath of office from the presiding officer in an open session of the Senate before they can begin to perform their legislative activities. From the earliest days, the senator-elect—both the freshman and the returning veteran—has been escorted down the aisle by another senator to take the oath from the presiding officer.

On the Spirit of Laws, by Montesquieu, published 1748
by Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, aka Montesquieu

as cited in "The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America", compiler Verna M. Hall, (New York, New York, Iverson Associates, 1983), page 137

[On Necessary balance of power]
"Were the executive power not to have a right of restraining the encroachments of the legislative body, the latter would become despotic; for as it might arrogate to itself what authority it pleased, it would soon destroy all other powers,

"But it is not proper, on the other hand, that the legislative power should have a right to stay the executive.... [for it has natural limits].

"The executive power, pursuant of what has been already said, ought to have a share in the legislature by the power of rejecting; otherwise it would soon be stripped of its prerogative, but should the legislative power usurp a share of the executive, the latter would be equally undone,

Montesquieu, De Tocqueville, John Locke, Samuel and John Adams, Gov. William Bradford of Plymouth Plantation, an abridged Magna Carta, and other texts on the formation of America are quoted at length in this useful reference book which proposes that religion is "indispensable to the maintenance" of the Republic [De Tocqueville, page 372].

Let the president, twice elected by a majority of voters, do his duty to nominate and appoint a judge to fill the vacancy on the supreme court.

Let the senators obey the constitution, to advise and consent. 

Let the citizens call anything else by what it is - an attempt to overthrow the Constitution and destroy the balance of power in government.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Downton Abbey Ends

Tonight we watched the next-to-the-last episode of Downton Abbey.

The formal manners, fabulous fashions and fascinating characters of six seasons are about to come to an end. What is it about this particular drama that has inspired loyal fans all over the world? Perhaps because it shows people being kind, ambitious, worried, loyal, brave, angry, gentle, confused, loving - in short, just living their lives.  When the butler asked "What do you find so amusing'?, the housekeeper could have been describing the entire show with her answer: "Life, Mr. Hughes, just life."

Friday, February 19, 2016


Was Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia subject to undue influence?

This article at the Washington Post raises serious questions about influence on certain of his decisions.

While I strongly disagreed with some of his decisions, I wanted to believe he made them from principles of law. Now I have grave doubts.

If past Supreme Court decisions were made in favor of private influence, and the legal arguments were a cynical covering for personal interests, does the next court have a duty to review those decisions?

The questions and consequences of influence on Supreme Court judges are too important to ignore. There must be a thorough and impartial investigation of Justice Scalia's trip to the luxury compound, Cibolo Creek Ranch, and answers to who paid for his plane fare, and who were the other guests. What little we already know is very disturbing. The only way to assure the independence and integrity of our highest court is to follow the questions that are raised by his actions, regardless of where they lead.

Justice Scalia's refusal in the past to recuse himself from a particular case where he was considered to have a conflicting interest does not inspire confidence in the circumstances of his death. Justices have traditionally made full disclosures of any gifts, including air fare, speaking fees, etc. Now we are left with sad questions about Antontin Scalia, and what he really was doing at the ranch where he died.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Down three pounds since Jan 30th

It is not easy to lose weight at 70. Too little muscle, too much body fat, not enough exercise, a lifetime of negative eating habits - little wonder that few people even try to get fit at 70.

I feel as if I have a secret weapon in the war on fat - cookies! Not just any cookies, but Dr. Siegal's Cookies. Designed to satisfy cravings, keep blood sugar stable, and a lot of other good things.  If I kept on the diet more perfectly, I could have lost four pounds instead of three. But who is perfect?

Now my weight is in territory I have not seen in over twelve years! I have more energy, feel more graceful. The Cookie Diet helped me through Halloween followed by Thanksgiving followed family birthdays, Christmas and New Year's Day celebrations.

I'm an emotional eater, and yes, there have been stressful days when I might have gone for the junk food - except my cookies satisfy that craving.

Be good to yourself and take a look at Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet. It is working for me. I know how hard it is to lose weight, and wish for anyone with a desire to get fit to have the best tools available.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Watching the debate yesterday

Is it possible to learn much about a Presidential candidate by watching them in a forum or debate with other candidates? I think it is. That plus a history of how they voted on key issues, forms a gestalt of what they might do as President of the United States of America.

I've seen all the current contenders defend their ideas, propose what they think the country needs most, and show how they think and act under pressure. I voted in every presidential election since I was eligible to vote, starting with Richard Nixon's election in 1968. I have not voted for a political party, but for the person I thought would do best in the hardest job in the world.

I look for integrity, intelligence, stability, good health, dedication to principles of what is best for the country, a sense of humor, leadership skills, an attitude of generosity and compassion. Like the old saying "I don't care how much you know, until I know how much you care", I want action, not words, where it is most needed.

I eliminate from consideration candidates who use a politics of fear or hate. Our country went through a Civil War deciding whether all people are created equal. We don't need to fight that battle again.

I look for a person who will uphold the dignity of the office, who will live in that fish bowl called the White House with honor and courage.

I want a President who inspires and reinvigorates the US of A.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Diffiiculties of same names, and of Good sources gone wrong

One of my ancestral lines has two Lord Mayors of London in the Middle Ages in it - but there are many John Brownes and William Brownes named in records of the time. Worse, The Visitations of Northamptonshire are based on Harleian manuscripts that do not match wills - in which case the wills are the primary source, and the Visitation tree is inaccurate. It will take time to correct it all.

John Browne 1435 - 1498

There are other profiles that are correct or at least more correct which need to be merged with the one above. WikiTree profiles change and develop until they reach consensus with the correct sources, the correct lineages, traced back as far as possible with accuracy.

Next week, John Browne and all his twins will be correct, and well documented with primary sources (wills).

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Writing in the Swash Zone

 "Swash"  by  Maki Akiyama  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

File:Swash Lano Beach Samoa.JPG
 "Swash Zone"
The swash zone  [Wikipedia] is the upper part of the beach between backbeach and surf zone, where intense erosion occurs during storms. The swash zone is alternately wet and dry. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License;

Writing in the Swash Zone on Pandababy, my words may fade away like writing on wet sand, but nonetheless, I write them, and own them, and share them.

Dylan Thomas - Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night - Lecture by Dr. Barker

The poem by Dylan Thomas ends with "Rage, rage against the dying of the light".  It was written for his father at the onset of blindness, but has also been taken for a simile of death, and a refusal to give up and die, but to keep up the fight to accomplish what is worthy of a life. It seemed apropos.

Our Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather was a Patriot of 1776

Seventy years old at the start of the Revolutionary War, German immigrant Johann Philipp (known as "Philipp") Dellinger was reimbursed for his war effort by local auditors in 1783. See images of his signature, maps of his home town in Germany and farm in North Carolina, and his documented story on WikiTree here.

Philipp's sons, Johann Philipp (known as "John") Dellinger and Heinrich (known as "Henry") Dellinger, are also Patriots registered with the Daughters of the American Revolution. Find their DAR Patriot numbers and more on their lives at, the free online family tree.

WikiTree is a community of family tree enthusiasts, from beginners, to amateurs with long experience such as myself, to professionals who are certified Genealogists such as our cousin Kathy Gunter Sullivan.

Kathy's contributions to the profiles for our Dellinger ancestors are invaluable, and it is thanks to her work that Philipp Dellinger, and his sons John Dellinger. and Henry Dellinger, are all now recognized for their war service, and registered as DAR Patriots.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Are We Happier Yet?

I would say "Definitely. Yes."

I'm happier when I look in the mirror. I'm happier when I walk out of the gym after my second POUND class. I'm happier knowing I'm doing my best effort to get fit.

I'm especially happy when I end the day knowing that I've spent more calories than I've eaten. My Fitbit makes it harder to deceive myself, because one of the functions is a live update of "Calories Burned". Combine that with the FitDay food log of everything I eat, and know how long it will take to lose a pound. A pound is 3,500 calories. If my calorie deficit is 500 calories a day, it will take seven days to lose a pound.

My Fitbit also tells me how many calories I spend on a specific exercise. Because I wear it, and it measures pulse, it knows if I'm doing an exercise lightly, moderately or really pushing it. It is shocking to me how few calories can be burned giving it my all for half an hour. It makes the calories in any rich food look very expensive indeed. Suddenly a half cup of borscht (hold the sour cream) looks much better than a doughnut.

My mood affects the people with whom I live. When I am happier, I can also see that they are happier too. It is okay to be happy. Unselfish, even. (smile)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Lift and Pound and cookies all day

This morning was fifteen minutes of aerobic exercise, and a half an hour of weight training. This evening is my first "Pound" class. It looks like great fun, working out with weighted drum sticks to music. Rhythmic and creative. All day long is Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet. Life is good.