The Cat’s New Year’s Resolutions

My human will never let me eat their pet hamster, and I am at peace with that.

I will not slurp fish food from the surface of the aquarium.

I will not eat large numbers of assorted bugs, then come home and throw them up so the humans can see that I’m getting plenty of roughage.

I will not lean way over to drink out of the tub, fall in, and then pelt right for the box of clumping cat litter. (It took FOREVER to get the stuff out of my fur.)

I will not use the bathtub to store live mice for late-night snacks.

We will not play “Herd of Thundering Wildebeests Stampeding Across the Plains of the Serengeti” over any humans’ bed while they’re trying to sleep.

I cannot leap through closed windows to catch birds outside. If I forget this and bonk my head on the window and fall behind the couch in my attempt, I will not get up and do the same thing again.

I will not assume the patio door is open when I race outside to chase leaves.

I will not stick my paw into any container to see if there is something in it. If I do, I will not hiss and scratch when my human has to shave me to get the rubber cement out of my fur.

If I bite the cactus, it will bite back.

When it rains, it will be raining on all sides of the house.

It is not necessary to check every door.

I will not play “dead cat on the stairs” while people are trying to bring in groceries or laundry, or else one of these days, it will really come true.

When the humans play darts, I will not leap into the air and attempt to catch them.

I will not swat my human’s head repeatedly when they are on the family room floor trying to do sit ups.

When my human is typing at the computer, their forearms are *not* a hammock.

Computer and TV screens do not exist to backlight my lovely tail.

I will not puff my entire body to twice its size for no reason after my human has watched a horror movie.

I will not stand on the bathroom counter, stare down the hall, and growl at NOTHING after my human has watched the X-Files.

I will not drag dirty socks onto the bed at night and then yell at the top of my lungs so that my humans can admire my “kill.”

I will not perch on my human’s chest in the middle of the night and stare until they wake up.

I will not walk on the key board when my human is writing important adagfsg gdjag ;ln.

From Pastor Tim’s Clean Laughs

Holiday Dieting Caution

According to CNN (among other sources), the average American gains 7 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. What is a person to do?

Well, to be honest, you shouldn’t you get yourself in that position to begin with. Moderation should be the watchword for those who tend to easily gain weight. If not, then there are some consequences that need to be addressed. Now how to lose that extra weight?

Now the first thing that some people will do is overreact. Throw themselves on the first diet that they see, and start eating diet-labeled foods. That’s the worst thing that you can do.

First of all, fad diets are short term, and don’t last. What does work is a moderate intake of a variety of food (you don’t need that third helping of pie…) and exercise. A new food pyramid at http://www.mypyramid.gov/ is a good start on the nutrition side of the equation.

Also on the food side, people like to think that if they drink diet colas and eat diet products that this will help with the calories. Wrong! The tendency is to drink more of the diet colas than normal because it’s diet.

Of a greater concern (at least to me) is the use of artificial sweeteners like aspartame (like NutriSweet and Equal). First of all, I cannot stand the taste of these products, and they tend to make me light-headed. And there seems to be a reason behind this.

According to Wikipedia:

In 1995, FDA Epidemiology Branch Chief Thomas Wilcox reported that aspartame complaints represented 75% of all reports of adverse reactions to substances in the food supply from 1981 to 1995. Concerns about aspartame frequently revolve around symptoms and health conditions that are allegedly caused by the sweetener. A total of 92 different symptoms and health conditions were reported by physicians and consumers.

The extreme side of this is a condition known as Aspartame Poisoning (information found here). What is also confusing is that aspartame has been approved by the FDA and the European Food Safety Authority. Personally, I would rather just deal with moderate portions than trying to cheat with a chemical that has the potential of having adverse effects.

Now the part that everyone talks about but few do – Exercise!! My wife and I have been going to the gym for almost two years. She has lost 25 pounds and several pant sizes. I have lost 20 pounds and three inches around the waist. Exercise only works if you are consistent in the time and frequency spent. It does work, but it takes time and dedication.

So when everyone is looking at the scale and trying to figure out how to lose those holiday pounds, breath in and relax. There are ways to deal with it, just don’t think that it will be as quick or as easy to get rid of them as it was putting them on.

Hope everyone has a wonderful New Years.

A Christmas Reflection

A tradition around our house is to listen to Christmas Music on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We usually try and get one or two CDs of new Christmas music. The CD that we purchased this year is Josh Grobin’s Noel. I highly recommend this CD.

Listening to the rendition of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” gave me pause to think and reflect. Included in the recording are greetings from members of our armed forces in Iraq to their loved ones. One cannot ignore the fact there are people making great sacrifices on our behalf, whether it is being away from their loved ones or giving their lives. One also reflects on that it is not just the present day situations, but those situations in years past, both in open war and war disguised as peace. Our soldiers are the most obvious of those making sacrifices, but there are others as well who make sacrifices just as important – their families. I know I have written about this before, but it doesn’t change throughout time.

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.John F. Kennedy

And that is what our elected representatives and soldiers are charged with – defending freedom. There are those who decry our involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places around the world. That is their right under our Constitution. But they need to answer the question, “Is the world a better place with us or would it be better without us?” If the answer to the question is in the affirmative, then the sacrifices of all throughout the years is justified. If the answer is in the negative, then they do not understand the role of this country in defending freedom in the world, and the sacrifices have been in vain.

It is an unfortunate fact that we can secure peace only by preparing for war. – John F. Kennedy

And sometime, to secure peace, war must be waged.

A people free to choose will always choose peace. – Ronald Reagan

And that is what this country must strive for, to champion the freedom of people to choose their own destiny, otherwise, any sacrifice in the name of freedom will be in vain.

Christmas 2007

As many of you have noticed (all five and a half readers), I haven’t been posting much. Life has, well, been busy.

Christmas this year will be a lonely one for the wife and myself. The son is spending his Christmas elsewhere, and this time, I’m the one that’s sick. A severe sinus infection is going to be the grinch that’s going to make my Christmas a miserable one.

But no matter – I have my wife, the cats, a roof over my head, food in my tummy, a job, and my (relative) health. No one can really ask for more and truly be happy or satisfied.

So when you gather around your Christmas tree and scarf down the holiday feast, count your blessings and remember those less fortunate than you in your prayers.

May everyone find peace in their hearts, and in doing so, bring peace to those around us.

Auf der Straße wieder…

…or to translate from German – “on the road again.” Yes, I’m a traveling man again, only this time, it’s overseas to Germany. The traveling won’t start until after the first of the year (thankfully).

I got picked for a program, interviewed, and then selected. It’s a big responsibility, and I’m pleased that they wanted me, but there is a downside.

Travel.

Fortunately, it doesn’t look to be over six months of foreign travel, but it looks like around a year in a plant in another state to help start the lines up. Ugh…but that’s part of the job.

An upside is that I just might have time to post and read everyone’s posts with a little more regularity than recently. And by the way, I’m counting on all of you to keep me informed on what’s going on back in the US.

So keep posting, and I’ll keep reading!