Archive for January 18th, 2009

…do something.  I would feel more comfortable if I knew exactly where this little engine was taking us.

It has been something of a revelation to learn exactly how conservative Fr. Count is.  Normally you would say, “Yeah, priest, conservative, what else” (althouth most Roman Catholic priests I know are fanatically liberal), but this guy is not only not Roman Catholic, but from a former Communist country, Romania; as a brand-new citizen of the U. S., he has become very outspoken on the subject of our new president.

Neither of us is especially impressed with his choice of Treasury Secretary, for example.  I mean, somebody who “forgot” to pay his taxes for the past two years?!?!  I’d love to see what would happen if I “forgot” to pay my taxes (NOT!!  Remember, I worked in Federal law enforcement!).  Then there’s his choice for Secretary of State — and her qualifications are what, exactly???  That she got to go along for the ride in Air Force One???  So did Jackie Kennedy, and I don’t see that anybody ever nominated her for Secretary of State.  (And she’d have been better at it, too — anybody who can charm the socks off the French is a born diplomat.)

However, I find I have to make one grudging nod of acceptance in Obama’s direction.  Apparently, it’s considered newsworthy that this person rides from Philadelphia to Washington, D. C. in a train.  I’m not sure exactly what kind of nut case would actually fly from Philly to D. C., considering airport security, flight delays, and lost luggage — the train ends up taking half the time, and is a lot more relaxing — but it must be such a rarety for a public official to take a train that it’s considered a News Item.  Hey, when Chris lived in Philly we took the train from Boston to visit him all the time, and there were no news crews on hand for us.

But I digress.  Grudging Nod of Acceptance.  Due to our son’s choice of occupation (railroading, in case you’d forgotten — how, I can’t imagine), my husband subscribes to all kinds of railroad publications.  One of the more recent issues of Trains magazine had an article about the chances for Amtrak funding under this administration, and it seems that they are considerably improved.  Another recent issue noted that Amtrak funding in the millions of dollars has already been approved for Fiscal ’09, with a sidebar note that the Congress approved billions in highway funding every year.  Now — help me out here.  It’s okay for Congress to subsidize roadwork (not to mention those ridiculously inefficient airlines), but Amtrak is supposed to be completely self-sufficient in terms of generating revenue??  Say what???

So I am happy about the possibility of increased train service and funding.  I have long believed that the two most efficient forms of transportation ever devised are train and bicycle.  An ad for CSX Freight (the old ConRail line) notes that train transportation gets something like 300 miles per gallon of fuel, though how they figure that, I’m not sure — perhaps calculating how many trucks it would take to move the same amount of freight.  Anyway, the Chattanooga Choo-Choo gets my vote every time, and if this administration actually does increase funding massively for mass transit in general, it will earn my undying gratitude.

For that, at least.

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This is, what, the fourth or fifth Sunday with measurable snow?!  Last week, I missed church, and Father told me on Monday that there were four people in attendance, besides himself and his wife — and two of those were chanters.  This weekend, he cancelled Liturgy altogether.  A good thing he did, because the projected snowfall for today is 8 inches.  Enough, already!!

That’s enough of that, too.  For about 30 years now, I have been trying to lose weight.  Like, who isn’t.  Thirty years ago, I weighed 150 lbs. and wanted to lose 25 of that.  Twenty years ago, I weighed 170 lbs, having put on another 20 after a mysterious foot ailment that kept me from walking, but for which doctors could find no reason (this was the beginning of my sterling opinion of the medical profession, BTW, not altered by more recent events).  By “foot aiilment,” I mean that when I would get out of bed in the morning, I literally had to hold on to furniture and walls so I could get to the bathroom, and after I’d been up for about half an hour, the pain subsided to a level that allowed me to walk unaided, but not altogether without pain.

Then I became Orthodox, and discovered the wonderful world of fasting.  Now, there’s a school of thought out there that says, “Calories in = calories 0ut” is the best way to maintain weight, and the best way to lose it is to take in fewer calories than you expend.  You’d think, then, that eliminating all meat and dairy from one’s diet for half the year (add it up, you Orthodox folks — it really is half the year) would result not only in spiritual enlightenment, but also in a trimmer figure, wouldn’t you?  So, would anyone care to guess how it was possible to gain another 100 lbs.?!?!

I think I have the answer.  Last year, I joined a forum called SparkPeople which enables one to track nutrition as well as exercise and weight.  Great.  I tracked my nutrition for a couple of weeks, found that what I was eating was actually under the recommended calorie count, and figured I was all set.  Not so — here I am, a year later, still vastly overweight.

During this past Christmas Fast, I decided to keep close track of just what was going on with my body when I eliminated the usual suspects (i.e., meat and dairy), and sure enough:  Within two weeks, I had gained five pounds and ballooned in my shape.  At that point, I told my priest I was going to need a different spiritual discipline because it was clear that fasting was hazardous to my health, and he, bless him, agreed.  (The first priest I’ve had to do so, probably because his wife is a doctor.)  So I stopped fasting, lost the five pounds, and whatever was causing my face and belly to swell up.  Great.

Then, at the beginning of the new year, I got back onto SparkPeople.  Figured, I had to try something, already.  I saw that I was still under the recommended calorie count — for someone my size, the minimum calories to be consumed is 1,510 — and said, “Maybe I need to pay attention to that.”  A couple of cups of yogurt and a slice or two of bread was enough to boost it into that 1500 range.

So far, I’ve lost three pounds.  Not a lot, when the goal is 130, but I’ve proved to myself that — eep — fasting was the problem.  Apparently, if you eat too little, your body thinks it’s starving and converts everything you do eat to fat so you will have enough of a reserve, or something else completely incomprehensible.  So, if you are Orthodox and fat, I suggest you try SparkPeople and see if you are actually getting enough to eat.  I am shocked by the results of my explorations.  Maybe you will be, too.

(Of course, this could all be a fluke…)    😉

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