Category Archives: election

President Obama, Martin Luther King, Jr., and My Father

Today we celebrate the second Inauguration of President Barack Obama.  This is a historic day for many reasons.  One because we are celebrating the second Inauguration of our country’s first black president.  Second, we are celebrating it on Martin Luther King Day, who led the civil rights movement that helped make Obama’s rise to the presidency possible.  This is truly a day worth celebrating.  But for me, January 21 will always be my father’s birthday.

My father passed away in October 1996.  Unfortunately, he never lived to see the election nor the re-election of our first black president.  I think he would have liked to see that.

He saw so many amazing historical events in his life.  He was just five years old when WWII ended.  He saw the beginning and end of the Vietnam war.  He saw the election and assassination of JFK.  The Civil Rights movement.  Martin Luther King’s March on Washington.  The resignation of Richard Nixon.  The rise and  fall of the Berlin Wall.  The collapse of the Soviet Union.  And the end of the Cold War.

He also saw the explosion of technology; everything from transistor radios and microwaves to supercomputers and home PCs.  He even had an email address before he died.  He would call me from Pittsburgh to Maryland every single time he sent me an email, but he had an email address nonetheless.

He was married, divorced, and married again.  He owned his own business at one time.  He witnessed the births of his four children and he watched them grow up.

I sometimes think about all that he’s missed since he died.  Monica Lewinsky. Clinton’s impeachment hearings.  September 11. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The election and re-election of Barack Obama. Laptops.  iPods.  Smart phones. Bloggers.  Facebook. Me and my sisters receiving post-secondary degrees. My sisters’ and my brother’s marriages.  The birth of his granddaughter.

Some of it I’m glad he did not live to see.  Some of it, I know he would not understand.  But when something momentous happens, I wish he were here to celebrate with us.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

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Approaching Three Months

I can hardly believe that it has been nearly three months since my gastric by-pass surgery.  To date, I have lost 69 pounds.  One pound away from 70.

I am amazed by how much weight I’ve lost.  I feel a little like I’m moving backwards in time as I am able to fit back into clothes that I have not worn in years.  It is kind of strange.

I am slowly working my way up to about 1200-1400 calories per day.  I am supposed to be in that range at about the six month mark.  Right now, I am up to around 900 calories per day.  I have a calorie tracker.  I put in all of the food I eat including my protein shakes.   I noticed this week I have been a little bit hungrier than normal…well normal being redefined in recent months as not really hungry at all.  That is probably why I’m up to 900 calories per day.  I thought that by increasing my caloric intake from 400-600 calories per day over the first few weeks to 600-800 after that and now to 900 would have slowed down my weight-loss, but that has not happened.  I am still steadily losing weight.  I am still taking in well under the normal, healthy intake of calories, which is around 1200-1400 per day.  Not to mention that 1200-1400 calories per day is waaaay less than what I was eating before the surgery.

The calorie counter that I have on my iphone tells me that for healthy weight-loss that I should be taking in over 1700 calories per day.  Yeah right.  There’s no way I could eat that right now.  I may never be able to eat that many calories in one day again.  Of course, the calorie counter has no idea I had gastric by-pass surgery.  I am just using it to keep track of what I am eating and to count the calories that I am taking in.

I have moved onto the re-introduction of solid foods phase of my diet. Hoo-freaking-ray!  The pureed food phase was really horrible. The soft food phase much better, but still not quite fine eating.  Real food.  I am excited.

I still have some restrictions.  No read meat, starchy foods, or fruits with a skin for three more months.  I can have fruits with a skin, I just have to peel them first.  It’s the skin I cannot have.

I am not a big red meat eater, so I am not too stressed out about not having beef.  I can manage just fine with turkey burgers or turkey meatballs, etc.  But the starches…omg.  I have been craving bread and potatoes for the past couple of weeks.  Well, bread, potatoes, and pizza.

I love pizza.  I could probably eat it for every meal. Not the healthiest diet I know, but I could…thus the reason I had to have gastric by-pass surgery.  It doesn’t help that I haven’t been able to eat pizza for years.  In fact, that has probably made it worse.  Combined with the no bread for six months surgery I just had, I’m totally fixated.

I have dreams that when I am finally able to eat bread products that I will be able to reintroduce pizza into my diet.  I doubt that I will be able to, but still, I dream about it.  I would be fine with vegetables on it.  A thin crust, obviously.  Just one slice, I promise!

A good friend of mine teases me because I’ve apparently taken to talking about pizza quite a bit.  Every time we are together, in fact.  We laugh about it a lot.

Now that I am onto the solid food phase, I have been experimenting a little bit.  I’ve eaten at a few restaurants too.  I went to a mediterranean restaurant.  I had half a lamb burger and asparagus spears instead of fries.  The burger was a bit heavy and I had some constipation afterwards.  I may hold off on lamb for a few more months.  A little too rich, I think.  I went to a mexican restaurant and had chicken with a tomatillo sauce, refried beans, and steamed vegetables.  Clearly, I took most of it home, but I didn’t suffer any ill effects.  I’ve also tried chinese food, kung pao chicken, no peanuts, Szechuan green beans, no rice.  I did OK with that.  I’m still only eating a very, very small portion, but it’s nice to have somewhat normal food again.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful President’s Day weekend.  I might try to go hit some sales to see if I can get a new shelf.  I was also thinking of making my way to downtown DC on the Mall for the Inauguration on Monday, but it depends on the weather.  It’s supposed to be 39 degrees and I’m not sure if I can handle that.  It also depends on what time I drag my lazy butt out of bed.  The swearing-in begins at 11:30am, but one must arrive there several hours in advance.  It’s not supposed to be as crowded as 4 years ago, but I still think it would be cool to go.  We shall see.

Living in the DC area is kind of cool when you can go to events like this.

Happy President’s Day!

 

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A Civic Imperative

Today, November 6, 2012, is election day!  No matter your own personal political creed, it is incumbent upon every US citizen 18 and older to vote.

There are so many places all over the world where people do not have the ability to vote in free and fair elections, or are forced to participate in political theatre by voting for a dictator in a rigged system.   People die all over the world fighting for a right that is guaranteed to us in our Constitution, and yet, many people will inexplicably choose not to vote today.  That saddens me.

Whatever you are doing today, wherever you are, please take the time to cast your ballot.