Monday, November 30, 2009

Challenge – Day 4

Back to work. Not complaining, just not that much freedom to do as I please – but that’s why they call it work. Otherwise it would be play.

½ cup of coffee
1 bottle of low-cal Gatorade
Lunch: Thanksgiving leftovers: turkey and stuffings w/gravy, snow peas. Unsweetened ice tea
Dinner: Thanksgiving leftovers (again): turkey and stuffings w/gravy, snow peas, mashed sweat potatoes. Unsweetened ice tea.

November 30, 2009 @ 2135 hrs
BP: 127/93
Pulse: 94
Weight: 229.5 lbs

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Challenge – Day 3

A little treat today because our grocery chain over stocked (?) on turkeys. Fresh turkeys were on sale $.99/pound. I had to buy one! So we’re having turkey for dinner tonight with stuffing and gravy. I’m wondering if this is going to put me well over 233, since I bounced up to 233 on Thanksgiving and back down to 230 by Saturday.

I need to look at recipes that reduce the amount of fat and calories that we’re eating. I saw an entertaining and interesting item on food and fat today. This story is so me!!! Here is
a link to the story

It begins “when I was growing up there was no one skinnier than me! I could eat anything I wanted and I would not put on weight. As a result I never learned how to eat…” The video goes on to explain food, weight, and BMI (Body Mass Index). Your BMI is an estimate of your body fat, based on your height and weight. So my BMI is in the obese range - but I already knew that. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk of developing such conditions as heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and type 2 diabetes. To calculate your BMI you can use this
BMI calculator at

Breakfast: four cinnamon rolls five bacon strips w/glass of orange juice
Dinner: a full Thanksgiving dinner (again): turkey w/stuffing and cranberry sauce, snow peas, sweet potatoes with unsweetened ice tea

November 29, 2009 @ 1335 hrs
BP: 137/99
Pulse: 94
Weight: 230.5 lbs

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Challenge - Day 2

Saturday is always filled with errands and grocery shopping. I wanted to be better prepared. I really wanted to have identified 4 or 5 dinner recipes listed their ingredients and THEN go grocery shopping. I am doing this BACKWARDS which may be the reason I have so few choices when it comes to cooking dinner during the week. I’ve got to get my act together.

My sister-in-law (doctor) applauded my desire to lose weight, but she was really concerned when she read my blood pressure. My doctor was monitoring it at the beginning of this year and prescribed Lisinopril 20mg daily. Lisinopril is standard treatment for patients with
high blood pressure (hypertension) and considering that my BP was clearly in the 140/90 range on a daily basis, this treatment was recommended for 120 days. He also prescribed Lovastatin 20mg for the treatment of high cholesterol. It is sold under the brand name Mevacor® but is also available as a generic called Lovastatin tablets. He wanted to reduce my LDL cholesterol levels into a normal range. This treatment lasted 90 days, which ended about 15 days ago.

My thinking here is to reduce my weight which will have an impact on my LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure. The goal is to REDUCE my weight + dependence on medication.

½ cup of coffee
Lunch: 2 wings, 2 legs and 2 chicken breast grilled with 4 rolls with water
snack: 15 Oreo cookie
Dinner: chicken melt sandwich with French fries with unsweetened ice tea

November 28, 2009 @ 1036 hrs
BP: 147/111
Pulse: 89
Weight: 230.5 lbs

Friday, November 27, 2009

Challenge - Day 1

Day 1
20 sit-ups and 5 push-ups. I didn’t expect that it would be so difficult to get to either number. I’m told that it will get easier after each day – I wonder. If today was a work day, I wouldn’t be wondering if I should eat breakfast and skip lunch, so I might eat a banana and think about a salad for lunch. I don’t have a plan for dinner, since cooking Thanksgiving leftovers seems to be the easy answer. I am disappointed that the scale shows a 3.5 pound increase, considering I didn’t eat lunch yesterday – however I did down about twenty pigs-in-a-blanket before our Thanksgiving dinner.

Lunch: ham+cheese+bacon sandwich plus a cup of New England clam chowder soup with water.
Dinner: leftover turkey+stuffing with gravy with 8 oz bottle of sweeten ice tea.
No snacks.

Friday, November 27, 2009 8:20AM
BP: 137/102
Pulse: 88
Weight: 233.5 lbs

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Thanks Giving challenge

It seems that today, one should reflect on what one has to be thankful for, before racing off at 4AM to take advantage of Black Friday sales. I have much to be thankful for: I am happily married to a woman who loves me more than I love myself; I have two well-adjusted sons (emphasis on the “adjusted”). I have a fairly normal relationship with my family and friends and I try to give more than I take. There are a few missing items: enough money to get ahead of the bills, a HD motorcycle, and the freedom to visit the Pyramids of Giza. So while I would like to have more money, or at least an 2009 FLHT Electra Glide, I think is might be easier to adjust my attitude and my weight.

I am bombarded with daily messages that I should lose weight. It will reduce the strain on my heart, it will reduce the threat of diabetes, and it will add years to my mortality meter. But the difficultity that I find in getting this weight off, is well…a challenge. I’ll have to adjust my diet. I’ll have to exercise.

So here is my challenge: to lose 60 pounds….

Every day I will post my weight, blood pressure, pulse and menu for dinner + lunch. I don’t know if you want to take this journey with me, but I figure that the Biggest Loser is number one in its time slot, there are probably many people out there who might be interested in my weight management. I will greatly appreciate your feedback and suggestions on my blog Wish me luck.

Thursday 11/26/20098:44 AM144/10094230.0 lbs

Monday, November 23, 2009

Know When to Hold 'Em

How playing poker taught me almost everything I know about running a not-for-profit
by Nancy Lublin

I used to play a lot of poker. Every Friday night for nearly three years, I was at the May fair, a poker club in a Manhattan basement. There were big games in the other room—with Joey Bagels (he became Joey Knish in the semi-fictional film Rounders) and dotcom kids. I played in a small 5-10 stud game with Big Phil, Arnie the Garmento (he always wore the same sweater with holes in it), Gracie (she brought class to the place), Trichter, Scott (our fish), and a bald Aussie math major.

I made shoe money. One day, I spotted some gorgeous $550 cream-colored, patent leather, knee-high Nancy Geist boots. I had to have them, but that wasn't going to happen on my Dress for Success salary. It took me nearly 20 hours of play over two weeks, and those people bought me the boots.

Ultimately, those boys from Staten Island and South Philly gave me more than sexy boots. They taught me nearly everything I know about running a not-for-profit. With apologies to Kenny Rogers, here are four lessons.

You've got to know when to hold 'em .. . Every poker hand is like a fund-raising pitch. Your first bet needs to be high enough to garner respect from the other players, but not so high that you scare them all away. It also can't be so low that you make them think you're desperate. And that first bet has less to do with your cards than with who's at the table, where you're seated (are you the first to bet? the last?), your reputation, and chutzpah. I've heard foundations say they ignore requests for under $100,000, but a first-time ask for $5 million won't get a second look either. Every entrepreneur knows that chasing early funding is similar: What can you request with a straight face and still get a "yes"?

Know when to fold 'em ... You should fold about 80% of the hands you're dealt. That's hard to do—you get itchy to play or you're tempted to see if you can string something together. Dress for Success was once asked to provide suits for women seeking restraining orders in court. We wanted to help. We had the inventory. But our purpose was to support women looking for work. Our board debated it passionately and decided that we shouldn't muddy our mission by getting involved in something complex that we didn't fully understand. That slope would have been too slippery—we wanted to say yes, but we had to say no.

Know when to walk away. And know when to run. Sometimes you suffer a bad beat and you have to move on. In the office context, this is especially relevant to personnel. Firing an employee is never fun, especially if you hired the person. It's like starting out with a nice pair in the hole. You're starting strong, but it never gets better. The best thing is to just cut your losses quickly. If that new employee turns out to be a loser, better to fail fast.

This has been the hardest lesson for me: I fall in love with cards, and I fall in love with potential in employees. Do Something, my current not-for-profit, once hired a successful tech entrepreneur to be our CTO. He took a huge pay cut, which made us feel lucky to have him. He wanted to redesign our site. This was a bad use of our time and resources, but he kept arguing for it. I'd be crazy to ditch the genius, right? Wrong. He didn't understand our priorities or our agenda. Delaying a decision to cut bait is expensive and affects your head. We finally let the guy go.

You never count your money when you're sitting at the table. There'll be time enough for counting when the deal is done. Don't gloat. Even when you win a gigantic pot, you don't want your benefactor to feel cheated—or stupid— because you want to play with her again. And counting your chips is distracting. Every second spent examining your own stack is a second you're not using to suss out others' cards and nerves. In the not-for-profit context, droning on about how much money you've brought in doesn't help bring in more. Plus, it's off-topic. Your goal is to build a more effective organization and reach your group's goals, right? So communicate your strategy for change, not how much change you've got.

About seven years ago, I had my first-ever straight flush—and two dumb, beefy guys stayed in with me until the river. It doesn't get sweeter than that, so I no longer play. But I still have my boots and my lessons. Every day at the office, I remember that it's not about the hand you're dealt, but how you play it.

Nancy Lublin is CEO of Do Something
Fast Company, September 2009, p62

Monday, November 16, 2009

How to Win an Argument About Vaccines

The anti-immunization crowd clings to well-worn myths.
Arm yourself with facts.

MYTH: Vaccines cause autism.
FACT: Until 2001. vaccines included thimerosai, a preservative containing ethylmercury. Mercury, of course can cause neurological damage. But there's scientific consensus that the amount once used in vaccines—around 50 micrograms per 0.5-ml dose was far short of toxic. And autism rates have continued to climb, suggesting that there's either a different cause or, more likely, that a better understanding of the condition has increased diagnoses;. A comprehensive review of the research, conducted in 2004 by the prestigious Institute of Medicine, found no evidence of a connection between vaccines and autism. None.

MYTH: Giving too many vaccines overwhelms a child's immune system.
FACT: This argument echoes the "too much of a good thing" chestnut. but there's no science behind it. With millions of vaccines administered every year, a handful of allergic reactions do happen. But severe cases are so rare that the CDC cannot calculate a statistical risk for the population - the numbers are just too small.

MYTH: Vaccines cause diabetes.
FACT: This idea relies on the flawed work of one doctor, who gathered data on a slew of vaccines and failed to follow standard study protocols, No other study-including those using the same data—could reproduce the results. The CDC and the Institute of Medicine have both dismissed any possible link. This argument also ignores the obvious and well-established fact that diabetes rates in children are climbing because obesity rates are climbing.

MYTH: Vaccines are no longer necessary, because the diseases are no longer a threat.
FACT: The opposite is true. Because of vaccines, diseases that once killed millions are now invisible. But if only a few families stop vaccinating, the illnesses could reemerge in a community, And the diseases are horrible—mumps and Haemophilus influenzae type b cause meningitis, which can lead to deafness, epilepsy, and cognitive impairment. Measles can lead to encephalitis, blindness, and death.

MYTH: Scientists are divided about the safety of vaccines.
FACT: By any measure of scientific consensus, there is total agreement. Vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary. Twelve studies have shown that the measles/ mumps/rubella vaccine is safe. Many other studies have disproved the theory that the Hib shot is toxic. The few dissenters get lots of attention, but it's always the same old names.

MYTH: Aluminum in vaccines is just as toxic as mercury.
FACT: Aluminum, the most common metal in nature, is perfectly safe in small amounts. (A dose of antacid has about 1,000 times as much as a vaccine does.) Aluminum salts are used in vaccines to increase antibody response. They make it possible to use less vaccine less often.

Erin Biba
Wired, October 2009

Friday, November 06, 2009

How to Locate and Apply for College Scholarships

Scholarships are private funds awarded to students who meet specific criteria set by the donor(s). The criteria can be as specialized as the donor(s) may choose and, consequently, are competitive. Frequently used criteria include: academic performance, community service, ancestry, career/profession, race, religion, gender, and specialized skills or talents.


1. Research/Network - places to look for scholarships
Off Campus:
• Employer/parents' employer
• Employment personnel office
• Public Library
• Unions
• Church
• Clubs and Organizations
• Community-based groups
On the Internet:
At School:
• Counseling Office/Career Center
• Bulletin boards
• Daily school bulletins or public announcements
• Special scholarship bulletins
• Teachers and counselors
• School library and internet
• Fellow students
• Scholarship handbooks or guides

2. Keep a portfolio folder of scholarship documents and include the following:
a) Personal Statement - express strong, clear, positive information on your background (past), current activities and challenges (present), and your enthusiasm regarding your goals and aspirations (future)
b) Letters of Recommendation - highlighting your strengths, abilities, goals, personality, and an indication of your financial need and potential for success. If a letter is addressed, "To whom it may concern," and you are given a copy, it may be used for more than one application. Ideal recommendations are from teachers, employers, and/or community members.
c) Transcript - Cumulative Student Record (CSR) must be sealed in an envelope by the school to remain official. (Keep your own photocopies of your transcript, in the event unofficial transcripts are acceptable.)
d) Personal Budget - detailed list of expenses and any income to be received. Costs should include tuition, books, transportation, housing, meals, medical, and personal expenses. Student-budget forms are usually available from the financial aid office or college catalog.
e) Miscellaneous - sometimes a photo is requested. Samples of work may also be requested for competitive awards. Your high school portfolio may also be helpful.
f) Copies of application - be certain to keep copies of all applications to colleges and scholarships so that information can be quickly revised. If you are using a computer, save essay information on a disk.

3. Be persistent! It pays!!!

Meet deadlines and follow through as appropriate. Take advantage of every opportunity to network, get to know yourself better, and benefit from the results. Scholarships can be worth your time and effort, but - YOU MUST APPLY - APPLY FOR ALL SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WHICH YOU MAY QUALIFY. It is FREE MONEY which can help you through school. The more scholarships you apply for, the more opportunities for FREE MONEY.

Note: Be extremely wary of individuals or companies who offer to locate or "guarantee" scholarships or financial aid assistance for a fee (e.g., Do not pay money to apply for scholarships. To learn more about "scholarship scams" visit: or by calling 800.433.3243

Tips regarding letters of recommendation:
1. Ask only those who will give you a positive recommendation (do not ask to see it).
2. Request the letter three or four weeks in advance so the writer is not rushed.
3. Provide the writer with the name, address, due date, and any particulars to be included in the letter. (A helpful gesture is to provide a correctly addressed, stamped envelope and tuck inside a list of particulars, e.g., achievements, awards, community service, talents, challenges, to be mentioned by the writer.)
4. Send a "thank you" letter to the writer sharing the outcome of your scholarship application.

more information can be obtained at
an outreach program of the California Student Aid Commission

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Into to Student Financial Aid


The California Student Opportunity & Access Program (Cal-SOAP) and your high school counselor can help you apply. Financial aid is available in the form of grants and scholarships (which do not have to be repaid), student employment or"work study"(a part-time job while attending school), and low-interest loans (which must be repaid). Information on financial aid application deadlines and maximum award amounts is available in the fall of your senior year in high school. Students should be certain to apply for the following:

If you are a California high school senior (or a graduate) planning to attend a community college, a four-year college, a university, or a vocational school located within California, you need to apply for a Cal Grant by making sure that a GPA Verification Form is sent by the March 2 postmark deadline, and by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 2nd or earlier (deadlines vary by college). It is important to get Certificates of Mailing at the Post Office at the time you mail both forms; keep them in a file.
CAL GRANT A: The purpose of the Cal Grant A is to provide financial assistance to students from low- and middle-income families in meeting tuition and fees. Cal Grant A recipients are selected on the basis of financial need and academic ability. For the year 2009-10, grant awards ranged from $2,772 to $9,708 per year depending on the institution. A student who decides to attend a community college must request that this grant be held in reserve until they transfer to a four-year institution.
CAL GRANT B: The Cal Grant B is for high-potential students from disadvantaged or low-income families who otherwise would not be able to pursue a postsecondary education. Cal Grant B awards for first-year students are usually limited to assisting with living expenses, books and supplies, and transportation (a living allowance or monthly access grant). When renewed by sophomores, juniors and seniors, a Cal Grant B may also coverall or part of tuition and fees. For the year 2009-10, the maximum access grant was $1,551 and the maximum award for tuition and fees was $9,708.
CAL GRANT C: The Cal Grant C was developed to assist vocationally oriented students to acquire a meaningful and marketable job skill in occupations designated by the state as being in demand. This grant may not be used to pursue a four-year degree program. To qualify, vocational training must be on a full- or part-time basis. For the year 2008-09, Cal Grant C awards were up to $3,168 for training related costs and $576 for books and supplies.
•Students apply for federal, most state and some private aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); however, certain state and private aid programs have priority deadline dates and require an additional form(s).To find out more about deadline dates and which forms are required, contact your high school counselor, college financial aid office, or state scholarship/grant agency. Note: Pay attention to priority/deadline dates and photocopy all completed applications and forms for your files. Mail originals and request a "Certificate of Mailing" from the U.S. Post Office. Note: You may apply FREE over the Internet at

: The Federal Pell Grant is intended to assist eligible low- and middle-income students to attend a college or university of their choice. Pell Grants are available to undergraduate students with financial need who will be attending an eligible college or vocational school at least half time. For the 2009-10 school year, Pell Grants will pay up to $5,350. The maximum expected family contribution to be eligible for a Pell Grant is $4,617.

• FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY GRANTS (FSEOG): The Federal SEOG Program provides supplemental funding for students with exceptional financial need. Once the Federal Pell Grant is awarded, the college financial aid office will assist eligible students in determining whether or not they qualify for Federal SEOG.

The state sponsored program that waives an eligible California resident's enrollment fees at a California Community College is the Board of Governors Enrollment Fee Waiver or "BOGW." Contact the EOPS office at the Community College for application information. Or go to

Colleges and universities offer several types of scholarships and financial awards (such as employment under the Federal College Work-Study Program). Students apply for these campus-based funds by completing the appropriate financial aid forms which may be obtained from the financial aid office of the institution they plan to attend.

Some scholarships are offered through organizations, groups, or businesses of which the parent is a member or employed. Many local service organizations also award scholarships and grants. Information about applying for these awards will be announced by your high school scholarship counselor. Pay careful attention to the school bulletin, and check with the counseling office for bulletin boards with scholarship information, applications and deadline dates. Some school districts publish scholarship/grant handbooks for senior students with specific information about available local awards. Outstanding Pell Grant eligible students: Get information on the Gates Millennium Scholarships For more information on scholarships, see section below.

Under this program, "state mandated" and "per unit" fees are waived for qualified students. The waiver is applicable at any California Community College, California State University, or University of California campus. Eligibility is determined by the County Veteran Services Office: For more information regarding eligibility questions, contact the appropriate Veteran's Service Office.

Foster youth or former foster youth (ages 16 through 21) in California may qualify for the Califor­nia Chafee Grant administered by the California Student Aid Commission. Eligible students may receive up to $5,000 a year for college or job training. Learn more about this program at or call toll free: 888.224.7268

Loans should be considered only as a last resort to finance your education. If you need to apply for a low-interest loan, discuss your options and the best loan package available with the financial aid officer at your college of choice. Sometimes low-interest loans are necessary. Remember: Loans must be repaid!

Learn more about financial aid and how to apply for it, go to: and

Complete and file the FAFSA online following step-by-step instructions:

Go to for more information on admissions, financial aid, and career exploration.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Marketing You

Resumes still matter, because they are the best way for job hunters to present a quick synopsis of their skills - to make a compelling argument for why they are the best choice for the job. But just slapping all your degrees and accomplishments on an 81/2-by-11-inch sheet of paper and adding your contact information isn't enough. Design matters, because you want your skills and experience to leap out at hiring managers.

One group that takes resumes very seriously is Career Directors International. It hosts an annual competition among professional résumé designers, and it also makes some résumé professionals available at career fairs to provide brief critiques of people's resumes. (Goto to find out when a fair will be held near you.)

You might also keep an eye on the site to see whether winners of this year's résumé competition - which was held on Oct. 17 - have been posted, as they have been in years past.

One intriguing approach that was used by the winner of last year's contest seems especially adaptable for IT workers. Sharon Williams of used an eye-catching chart in a résumé for a sales manager. The chart illustrated retention rates for clients of a weight-loss clinic, but it could just as easily have shown network availability under your stewardship or a decline in data breaches since you took over security at your company.

ComputerWorld, Nov 2, 2009, page 40