Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Week 2 complete and a new beginning

Week 2 of Fire Engine 2 down with a slight hiccup.

Yeah, we strayed a bit over Memorial Day weekend and tucked into a burger and some BBQ ribs. Not many mind you, but enough to make me feel mucho guilty.

However, back on track again and I'm not gonna worry about feeling guilty. Just had an excellent Japanese meal with mushrooms, carrots and bok choy done with ginger and mirin sauce.

Today has been eventful as I've just begun a new novel. I agonized for an hour about the opening paragraphs and now am out the gate. My Mormon protagonist has now got life. This time I tried a new technique. I actually outlined the plot on index cards and then sorted them in sequence and copied them into the Word document. As I complete each scene, I can delete the corresponding entry and on and on until the novel is written.

It's supposed to banish writer's block aka staring at a blank page. We'll see.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Engine 2 -Week One complete

I've just completed Day 7 of the Engine 2 diet, which isn't a diet per se but rather a means of changing one's eating habits.

Engine 2 diet is basically a Vegan diet (consuming anything with a face or mother is forbidden) that was started by the head fireman from a Houston's Fire Engine 2. He persuaded a company of Texan red meat eaters to go Vegan. However, his father (who really devised it while doing heart research) is/was head of the Cleveland Clinic--a top heart hospital in the US, which was founded by his great grandfather. If you're interested to try it out, the book is called The Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn and there's a website.

Basically, the diet states we've been brainwashed by the meat and dairy industries and the USDA to believe we can only get good protein from animals and their by-products. This is not true as animals get their protein from plants--and meat and dairy are basically not good for us and that living a plant based diet can eliminate and in some cases reverse the damage caused by the western diet. The only vitamin not found in plants--largely as a result of modern day large scale food production--is B12 and that you can get from Nutritional Yeast, which looks like grated Parmesan and can be used in dishes as such.

I'm a meat and chicken eater, love cheese and yogurt and haven't missed any of it so far. The recipes suggested as part of the diet we have so far enjoyed, and the one we found a little bland was easily fixed with additional spices, etc. So far the one I enjoyed best was the Portabello Mushroom burger with sweet potato fries. Major yum-yum. That surprised me.

Real Men can also be Vegans. Who knew.

Report on Week 2 next Sunday.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Smoke filled rooms

Just had a great laugh this morning. My sides are still hurting

The medical industry--doctors, insurers, hospitals, pharmaceutical industry--have decided they want to help the Obama Administration reform the industry.

They will hold costs steady for the next few years which will result in a loss of profits amounting to 2 trillion dollars.
In exchange they want a place at the table to reform the industry.

I can't begin to imagine how many secret meetings have been held among these industries.
Smoke filled rooms filled with different kinds of smoke are alive and well.

I guess the credit card legislation and public sentiment has spooked them.
Oh, and remember the pharmaceutical industry's promise to reduce the costs of drugs a few years ago. I'm sure somebody in the Obama Administration will do their research.

Monday, May 04, 2009


Out of the blue, I got a call from someone I haven't seen since I was 21 and living in Germany. The call came just as I was helping Larry hoist a brute of an aluminum ladder up on the roof so he could reattach a cedar shingle that had come loose in a recent storm.

Susan and I attended the Collegium Palatinum in Heidelberg--me fresh out of law school. Then, I had plans to become a bureaucrat and work for the European Commission--the group that oversees the business of the European community--in Brussels and I needed fluency in a second European language. Susan was a journalism major.

She and I and a bunch of friends spent many evenings in Heidelberg kneipes throwing back bootfuls of cold frothy beer (that's the German yard of Ale). I remember her sitting in a bar wearing a huge quilted maroon jacket writing furiously as the erst of us drank ourselves silly.
When I asked her what she was doing, she replied, "Writing a letter to a friend back home."
It struck me as very funny then.

I met Susan and her hubby Eric at the Starbucks in town. Eric's an alum of the The Solebury School and they were down for the alumni weekend. We'd arranged to meet in front of a shop called Taste of India and I recognized her immediately. That pleased me. I ahte it when people change so much, you don't remember them.

A pleasant hour was spent drinking coffee and eating bananas on the Starbucks veranda watching the people stroll by. Our conversation wasn't about the past--well, other than asking about some people both of us had lost contact with straight after the course ended. That's when I learned neither of us are nostalgic people.

She and her hubby run a magazine out of Southampton, Long Island and they do a clown show which the local kids love.

It's great to reconnect. Highly recommend it.