Monthly Archives: February 2011

Are We Still Discussing the “Soda Tax”?

Of course we are. Do you know the strength of this industry’s lobby and the size of its ad budget?

I have to say, the way they have twisted the logic is almost admirable…almost. The ads that run here in DC have a mother in the grocery store talking about the high cost of groceries especially when personal budgets are tight during this recession. She goes on to chastise the government about telling her how to spend her money and trying to manage her household. She urges viewers to tell the government to stop mismanaging our tax money and to do their jobs…WOW. How did we get there from taxing sugary beverages?

What I want to know is where are the commercials featuring our obese children on the playground getting teased by other kids or the shot of them at the doctor having to be put on a diet because they are too heavy and are at risk for every disease imaginable? Up to 33 percent of children and teens are obese in this country. This tax originated with the Healthy Schools legislation to improve the quality of the meals that are served in school to our children. The tax was an innovative way to cover the cost of the improvements which include using local farmers and teaching kids about sustainability and to garden. How is this different than taxing cigarettes? Because it is a less painful possible slower death?

As I said, this is the product of a very powerful lobby but we need to open our eyes, do the research and think long-term. Is the true cost a higher sticker price on Coke and Gatorade or the life-span of our children?

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Posted by on February 26, 2011 in Health, Politics, women, Youth


The Money Pit?

Home ownership and real estate are said to be mandatory and key assets in your personal financial portfolio, especially for women. As a single woman and homeowner, I began this journey in my twenties and it has been INTERESTING. Early on, I had some not-so-positive results from various contractors. The good news? I learned along the way, received on- the-job-training, if you will.

A decade later, I am ready for some home improvement projects and am a bit wiser. A close friend recently purchased property here in DC after re-locating back after about ten years. He affectionately refers to his home as “The Money Pit.” The term makes me shudder, but I get where he’s coming from. He has had some great results thus far- some of them more painful than others- but I have been inspired; especially by his wife who has served as foreman for the projects.

With that said, I am excited yet hesitant. Is a contractor going to give me a fair shake as a single woman? Will I luck up with a company that takes pride in its work with a good work ethic to boot?

A few basic tips for you…

  1. Get at least three bids.: Even for “small” projects, this is still an investment into perhaps your biggest asset.
  2. Get referrals and recommendations.: Talk to your homeowner friends, neighbors and co-workers for good contractors, if possible. If not, try this resource – ServiceMagic. I stumbled across it years ago in some sort of mailed promo or advertisement and have used it a few times to get bids. They are a portal that offers pre-screened, licensed contractors for almost any service you can think of, with ratings. You can submit inquiries for estimates right there on the spot. There may be some other sites/services like this; please let us know if you know of any.
  3. Do your research.: Know what you want. Know the materials, lingo and techniques/processes required for the project. Since home improvement is “sexy” now, so many of the networks have web sites for do-it-yourselfers: check out DIY, TLC, HGTV or my fav, This Old House (I have at least a year’s worth of this magazine at home waiting for me to dive in and absorb).
  4. Trust yourself and your gut.: As a business person or student of life, you know when someone is yanking your chain. Call them on it and be firm- you have nothing to lose, they do.

With that said, I am pressing forward with my projects. It is a daunting task, but the end result will be well worth it. AND, I will have some contractors that I can recommend… if you live in the DC- metro area.

Happy Home Development!

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Posted by on February 25, 2011 in home improvement, Home ownership, women


State Politics…WOW

Yesterday Maryland and Virginia State Senates voted on legislation concerning two of the most devisive issues: civil unions and abortion. Both bills passed, one granting gay couples the same rights as other marriages, the next requiring abortion clinics to meet structural guidelines of hospitals rather than doctor’s offices.

It is amazing that these neighboring states seem to be moving is two different directions. From a legal perspective, the first takes one step forward, the other two steps back.

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Posted by on February 25, 2011 in Civil Rights, Family, Health, Politics, Relationships


Food Makes Me Happy

I am a Food Network fanatic.

I have cooked since I was eleven. I am the mother of two whom I have to convince to eat each morning and evening. And it can be a challenge to please the palettes of a teen and a toddler, simultaneously. However, the reason I’m a junkie has very little to do with food. Sure, Ienjoy adding a few more recipes to my repertoire, but that does not fuel the addiction.

Have you ever watched the stars of this network? They are absolutely passionate about food. They looove food. The way they describe the food, the joy in their faces when they tell a story or sample their plates, the emotive words that they use… Food makes them happy! That’s what I love to watch.

Too many people get hung up on power and prestige; they never understand the joy of doing what you love. [Well, some do because their passion truly is money.] However, many of us go through life unhappy because we have not found what makes us excited. That thing that makes us want to get up everyday. Recently, quite a few young people have come to me for advice- they can not find their path, or more aptly, are lost. After listening to their story, the first thing that I ask is, what do you love. The look they give is identical. What does that have to do with anything, it says. Everything.

I have learned that I am not fulfilled unless I am 1) doing what I love and 2) using my talent to create something good. If I can combine those two, I am giddy. Admittedly, doing what you love does not always garner the largest paycheck but if you inject some ingenuity, you will be comfortable.  If you honestly can not afford to make such a switch right now, feed that passion through volunteering or as a hobby. It will keep you sane.

Perhaps it is the innate artist within, but I literally feel the tilt when I am out of balance. Before I worked for myself, if I was not taking the time to do numbers 1 and 2 listed above, I could feel my head going underwater.

So, do what makes you happy. And do it on purpose.


Like an Ostrich

This is where I live as of late.

This world has me so weary that I don’t want to know what is happening in it. I am certain that I am not alone which is disconcerting. This reaction is so against the grain for me. Between Egypt, Wisconsin, the Oscars- I just don’t wanna hear anymore.

I am hopeful that I will come up for air soon.

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Posted by on February 23, 2011 in Politics, Reflection


Take On the Day

I love these commercials. It’s these additions that make The Daily Grind so special (sigh)…

Check out dad and son too.

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Posted by on February 14, 2011 in Family, Motherhood, worklife balance




I have it, all the time. Constipation of words, thoughts, ideas… they fight for space in my mind. They want to stretch out to become coherent posts, articles and poems. But there are so many of them, they often slam on brakes to avoid a multi-word pile up.

It is similar to writer’s block- the other side of the same coin. The end result is the same: a blank sheet or more aptly, a blank screen. When I was younger, I would suffer from writer’s block. I would stare and long for the words to come. Then I began to know myself better. I do not write that way. Words come to me. They cascade in pages, prose and lines of poetry. Which is why I keep stacks of journals and notebooks near my bed. Inspiration strikes when it will.

As an adult whose life is full to capacity, my mind wades through waves and waves of word. There is too much to write. Worldwide strife, domestic turbulence, political…I can not even come up with a word to finish that thought.

If only there were a chocolate-flavored laxative that would make them ease out. Perhaps I should start with a nice Reisling and go from there.

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Posted by on February 13, 2011 in women


Does Hollywood Lack Inspiration?

People want and need to be inspired…

This weekend I saw the Disney film, Secretariat. Now upon first glance, when it was in the theater I was uninterested – that is until I understood that the horses’s owner was a woman, Penny Chenery. I watched the movie with my teen-aged daughter (until she fell asleep, it was late) and aunt. I remarked to my aunt how I liked that Hollywood (at least in the last decade) was learning to appreciate real-life stories. For me, it can be a stronger story, one that touches people. And if (and only if) you believe that film should be art, isn’t that what it’s supposed to do?

Secretariat chronicles the struggle of a 70s housewife as she takes over her father’s farm and horse training business. A horse that she watched being born is groomed by a trainer she selected and guided by a jockey she selected to win the Triple Crown – for the first time in 25 years. It is important to note that Penny Chenery was taught about horses and training them at the knee of her father (and her brother was not). Although it is very Disney-esque with its warmth and uplifting tone (not a bad thing), it is an extrememly important story to tell. I would have liked to see more of the backlash that Chenery encountered as a race horse owner in the early seventies, but the focus is on the horse and views her character from a distance. However, there is a scene when she nonchalantly walks into a gentleman-only club to speak to an old friend of her father’s and you know what a spitfire she was and had to be.

This movie is one of the many that are beginning to appear and I am hopeful there will be more to come. Aside from bio-pics, the film industry seems to move slowly in this direction. I would argue that it is because we the audience are slow to embrace such movies, which is a shame because they can be a source of inspiration especially for youth. We must remember that people need to be inspired. Because our children view movies as entertainment, we should take them to see such movies so that they can witness how ordinary people can be extraordinary.

Other movies that I loved have put real stories on the screen but have not received much acclaim from the industry or audience (with the exception of The Great Debaters). However this country loves sports so those have faired better, many even receiving the ESPY award.

  • The Great Debaters
  • Remember the Titans
  • Men of Honor
  • Amelia
  • Coach Carter
  • We are Marshall

Perhaps we are seeing a slight shift of attitude with The Blind Side and The Fighter, but again, those are sports pics.

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Posted by on February 7, 2011 in Family, Fun, Movies, Reflection, women


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