About Me

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Born and raised in Southern Indiana, this Hoosier transplanted herself to the Windy City after graduate school. Her passion is teaching, with writing come a close second and gaining momentum. She currently teaches College of DuPage as an adjunct professor in the physical education department and runs a martial arts studio in Naperville, IL. She holds the rank of 3rd Dan in the United States Hapkido Federation.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

An Honest Look At Meat-Eating

I recently made the decision to open my Facebook posts to the public. Figured I needed more exposure (especially for my writing) than the 5% of the 5000 friends that would see my posts if I kept them private (friends only).

Not sure if it was a good decision or not. 

Yesterday I commented it was a week until payday and my food budget hadn't stretched as far as I'd wished; I was going to have to go without meat for a few meals. I am a traditionalist; meat, potatoes, veggies are a meal. No huge biggie, I've done it before. I can live on veggies, rice, and noodles for a week. I do have some chicken broth, so at least the rice will be meaty-flavored.

Somehow, that little innocuous post became a tirade with multiple posts against eating meat. Now, before I get started:

I have NOTHING against those who choose the vegetarianism or veganism life. One of my best friends is pesco-vegan (basically vegan with an occasional fish). More power to her. It's just not the lifestyle for me.

First, a nutrition lesson:

FACT: Humans need protein to survive. Proteins are made up of amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids; we need to consume from food nine of them (i.e., nine are essential because our body can't produce them).

FACT: Those nine essential amino acids must come from food; our bodies require these nine essential amino acids to function optimally.

FACT: Two of those essential amino acids are found fully and complete in animal meat and products.

FACT: Yes, you can 'create' those two amino acids by combining certain legumes and vegetables.

FACT: You need iron in your diet. Animal meat is high in iron.

FACT: A lot of vegetables are high in iron as well. (And no, spinach is not, relatively speaking, high in iron.)

So yes, it is possible to be a vegan or vegetarian and be healthy, but it takes research and a little more work to make sure you are getting the essentials your body needs to function properly.

Now, a history lesson:

FACT: Ever since our ancestors came out of the trees and onto the savanna, they have eaten meat. Meat met most of their nutrition needs. There is no denying the fact that our body is designed to eat meat. (Just look at our teeth.) The discovery of fire made almost all meats more palatable and easier to digest.

FACT: Even when we settled down into agrarian societies, we still ate meat. For some, during the winter months after a poor harvest, meat was the only thing that kept them alive.

FACT: A lot of animals are carnivores. For example, if you try to feed a cat a vegetarian diet, IT WILL DIE.

FACT: There are millions of cows, sheep, chickens, pigs, turkeys, etc. on farms in the USA alone. Without human intervention, they would starve, become easy prey, and generally, not thrive. But this would happen only after a few hundred generations, as there are so many of them right now.

FACT: Dairy cows need humans to milk them. If they are not milked and do not have a calf to take their milk, their udders will literally rupture. Extremely painful and more than likely, deadly.

FACT: A majority of farm-factory animals are mistreated. (I get this, I do. Which is why I support small local farms whenever I can.)

So, now that you know your nutrition and your history, we can discuss this like adults.

A majority of Americans eat meat. That is not going to change, no matter how much you rant and rave about animal cruelty. As we learned above, yes, with some effort and research, you can live without meat, it is easier to eat meat and not worry about what foods you have to combine to keep your body working. It's a fact of life that we tend to take the easiest path. (Which is why I have the utmost respect for vegetarians and vegans WHO DO IT RIGHT.)

Of course, being that as humans we tend to take the easiest path, there are quite a few vegans and vegetarians who don't do the research and are doing harm to their bodies. I knew a vegan who lived on french fries and apples. Is it a wonder she was always sick and had no energy? If I had to guess, she was extremely anemic [low iron] (which, if not treated, can lead to organ failure). I wonder about her to this day.

This world has enough problems without people attacking others about their diet. My post was more about economics that it was about my diet. We've all been there; the food budget just didn't reach far enough. I've had friends offer to buy me food - which I politely declined. I HAVE food. Just not particularly the food I want to eat. I'm not a vegetarian. I like my bacon, steaks, seafood, chicken ... and I know where most of it comes from. I lived on a farm; neighbors had cows. I've seen them born and I've seen them loaded on the truck for slaughter. I've seen chickens taken by their necks and swung around by an old lady to prep for a fried chicken dinner. I've caught and cleaned fish.

Do I sometimes feel a little regret? Eh, perhaps if I'm honest with myself, yes. But then I remember we have bred these animals to be dependent upon us, to serve us. How do I make the distinction between a pet and food? It's hard sometimes. Some cultures consider horse a delicacy; ours, it's repulsive to think about eating horse. Some cultures consider dogs a cheap meat; we can't even fathom eating man's best friend. It's all relative.

I'm an omnivore. I enjoy meat, milk, cheese; I enjoy vegetables and fruit, and even the occasional bread and pasta. What I don't enjoy is being told falsehoods about nutrition (you WILL get smacked down for that) or being told that I'm committing murder or about the suffering of the animals. I know where my food comes from and I know the problems associated with factory farming. I choose to support local farms when I can and strive to turn factory farming around to a better treatment of animals (through boycotts, petitions, and letter-writing).

So the takeaway from all this? To each, their own diet. I just hope that each and everyone one of you eat healthfully, regardless of what diet regimen you follow.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Does Marching Really Help?

There is one problem with this ... the people in charge today JUST DON'T CARE. Millions marched last week - not even a blip on the radar for the Repugs in charge. THEY DON'T CARE. They have power for the first time in 8 years and they are going to abuse it left and right and no matter how many marches there are - THEY DON'T CARE. They will never care. Until we VOTE them out, they don't care. You can march up and down the National Mall, you can march outside their homes, outside of embassies ... THEY DON'T CARE. It won't change their minds in the least.

I personally feel we should take our energies elsewhere for the next two years. Instead of marching, go to communities and register people to vote. Hold townhall meetings and discuss the issues. Write Op/Eds to counter 'alternative facts.' When election day comes in 2018, drive the elderly to the polls, volunteer for campaigns you believe in.

Now I know this isn't a popular view, to have such a disparraging view of marches, but I just don't think they do much. Yelling, chanting and holding signs for a few hours while walking around ... I don't get it. Those in power have shown time and time again - THEY DON'T CARE. Do something that will make them care. Work downstate ballots, off-year elections, start with the elected school boards and move up to the governorships. That's something you can do NOW that has definitive results.

Now I need to go find an app that will elimiate the Orange Babboon off my FB pages because I can't stand to see his smug face.

Monday, January 16, 2017

My 600-lb Life - Thoughts

I'm currently watching 'My 600-lb Life' on TV. Now I'm overweight, have been all my life, but never to this point. A lot of these people have enablers in their lives; otherwise, how could they maintain that weight when they can't leave the house?

Anyway, not my point here. Regardless of how anyone gets that overweight, our approach to weight loss is so backassward, I don't know where to begin.

Before a person can get weight-loss surgery, they typically have to prove they can stick to a diet, otherwise the surgery will be for naught. However, this particular doctor in this program is so out of it, so unempathetic, I wonder how he stays in business.

First, most of these people eat in excess of 10,000 calories a day. His first order? Cut down to 1500 calories. Um, what?! The poor patient has been eating crap and calories for so long, her body won't even register 1500 calories as being a full day's supply! Maybe a snack, but not enough to satisfy over the course of a day. He obviously doesn't know anything about how hunger and satiety work.

While I understand sometimes drastic measures must be taken, as in these cases with the morbidly obese, we need to catch these people before they are in a life-or-death situation. Before they reach 300, 400, 500 pounds someone can intervene and stop the enablers and show how to live and eat properly.

Okay, so we're all fat (last stats show 67% of Americans are overweight or obese), now what? Get out those measuring cups and measure out 1/2 cup of veggies, a slice of meat no bigger than a deck of playing cards, 1/2 a muffin, 1 egg ... etc. Yeah, we all know we eat more than what the serving size says. Really, 6 serving in a pint of ice cream? Suuuurrrreee.

Say you're used to eating a whole box of mac and cheese, whole can of veggies, 7-8 fish sticks, followed by a large soda by yourself for a meal. Now you're supposed to cut that back by 80% and feel full?? Sorry, ain't happening. You might stick to your new 'diet' for a few weeks, but never really feel full and the moment you plateau, you're back to your old habits.

Let's equate this with smoking. For most long-time smokers, going cold turkey isn't feasible (not that it hasn't been done, it's just not very effective). We offer nicotine patches and a step-down program. Makes sense, no? Still offer the nicotine 'fix' but lower the dosage over time until the cravings cease.

So why don't we do this with weight loss? Why not offer a step-down program? Have the patient track his/her eating habits for a week, noting exactly how much he/she eats, then design a step-down system for them that keeps the cravings more at bay. Now, I know there won't be much weight loss using this system, but the patient won't be miserable and constantly craving food (and especially foods that aren't good for them). Instead of that whole box of mac and cheese, start off by eating only 3/4 of it. Drop the fish sticks from 7-8 to 4-5. Try to replace the large soda with tea with a no-calorie sweetener (or at least juice, which yes, still has sugar, but at least has nutrients in it).

Small changes can make a big difference. After a couple of weeks, the 3/4-box of mac and cheese may seem too much. Down to 1/2-box, and finally, the recommended serving of 1/4-box. It's not going to happen overnight, and may take months to re-train the satiety center of the brain, but it can be done. Once the portions are under control, we can then concentrate on the actual foods and hopefully, add a bit of exercise in.

Yes, it's a slow and arduous process, but I believe it can be successful in the long term. And note, this is not a diet. I don't believe in diets. I believe in changing eating habits and permanent lifestyle changes.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Mike Pence's Hateful Laws

I've read many articles and books regarding the AIDS crisis of the 80s and 90s. How hateful parents would tear couples apart just when they needed each other the most - when one was diagnosed with the then-death sentence of HIV/AIDS. It physically hurt me to read the stories of partners, who'd been together for decades, being denied access in hospitals and hospices.

We've come a long way since those days, but we still have a long road to go. Same-sex marriage (and rights) are brand new and are still being attacked to this day, regardless of the SCOTUS ruling. It wouldn't take much, a couple of super-conservative judges being appointed perhaps, to undo all that had been accomplished.

While I know Hillary has a snowball's chance in hell of having the electoral college vote her way, I do take solace that hell has already frozen over (Cubs win!), so well, maybe ....

Mike Pence’s Hateful Laws Almost Kept Me From My Dying Wife

Monday, July 4, 2016

It's the 4th of July ... again

It's the 4th of July here in the USA again. Yes, it comes around once a year. And for the every July 4th this past last decade, I'm at home, watching some sort of movie marathon, again.

Now, I'm not writing this for anyone to feel sorry for me. I'm writing this because I'm confused. I have what I think are friends, but as I looked back over the past year, I realized the only times my friends and I got together was when I suggested it. There have been maybe two or three times one friend or another asked me to do something, but I feel these friendships have been very one-sided.

I don't have a lot of friends. Never have. Never been part of a clique or group, never been in the popular crowd. Never really fit in. I've had some close friends, mainly in college, but they've all gone to the four corners of the earth. I've tried to make new friends, but it's quite evident when I do, I'm obviously the untrustworthy outsider. Good enough to be friends on Facebook, but not much else. Just as when I was in high school, I can hear people talking in whispers about me. 

It's hard to make friends at my age. I have absolutely nothing in common with those who are my age - I'm not married, have no kids, and really, can't relate to what a 40-something should be doing. I still feel I'm in my 20s, wanting to do what 20-somethings do, but ... yeah, don't fit in that way. 

I don't blame my friends - as I said, I don't really fit in. But it'd be nice to be asked sometimes. Go to a museum, park, go see the fireworks tonight ... anything. I try to drop hints (would love to see the Pride parade one day; although I must admit I was asked to go a couple years ago, but it would have meant me travelling alone to Chicago and having no idea where to go AND it was going to be in the 90s that day. Me and heat do NOT get along and it would have been just too embarrassing for me to pass out from the heat around so many strangers.) 

I won't invite myself along with anyone. It's rude. But perhaps that's how it's done these days. Don't really know. All I know is that I'm home, again, when all I really want is to enjoy seeing the fireworks.

Happy 4th of July to everyone (hey, it's the 4th everywhere, whether you celebrate a holiday or not).

Friday, July 1, 2016



Most folks who know me know that I was born and raised and ran away from a family of radical Evangelicals. At every opportunity I have tried to warn people that this group of people are dangerous, vile, and terrorists. The ONE and ONLY thing they preach from their pulpits is hatred. I have heard them in their secret meetings when I was a child, even way back when, fantasize about the days they could freely kill people of color, of different religions and the homosexuals. They claimed it as a God-given right because they were “His Chosen”. For years I have seen their power grow, and in spite of a Constitution guaranteeing a separation of church and state they stuck their nasty fingers into politics and found their power with no checks. We now see the end result of that as the bigots and racists and homophobes now feel free to spew their hatred everywhere; and terrorize, bully and EVEN KILL anyone and everyone that does not subscribe to their brand of insanity. In all my years after escaping this I have been on a singular mission to tell it, shout it, and write about what they really are and what their agenda really is from my first hand experience of being raised in the midst of it.

A year and a half ago I decided to finally write the scifi novel I plotted out OVER 8 years ago about a despicable religious-political entity coming to power in our country… One that if you are listening to the news now…is happening… The villain in this book is that religious creature, an Evangelical pastor…and I made dead certain I included the exact type of rhetoric I once heard coming out of his mouth… Now is the time to be afraid… The MONSTERS are here…they are out to destroy everything with their hatred…and we need to recognize their speech…and ACT!!!


available at Amazon. com

Chris’ head cocked. “Someone’s coming.”

Before they heard the engine, the crowd had begun to cheer. Whomever they’d been awaiting was arriving. The group parted making way as a convertible military jeep drove to the center and parked. Applause echoed as a tall figure dressed in a dark suit stood in the back holding his arms high. He was a gaunt man with an emaciated face. Long dark hair had been pulled back in a ponytail that curled past his collar. When he smiled his teeth looked abnormally white and too big for his mouth like dentures. He had fierce, penetrating ebony eyes.  The crowd chanted, “Reverend, Reverend!”

“Brethren, patriots, disciples…” he began, after a theatrical bow. More applause rolled through the crowd. “Welcome!”

It was the man with the oddly familiar southern drawl that had arrived by limousine at the repair shop. The man with the voice that haunted Geoff. Though thin and white as ash he had the empirical stance of a one certain of his position. His eyes possessed that feverish glassy stare of the single-minded zealot seeing a golden road where others saw gravel. His posture was rigid, his chin elevated as he spoke.

“There’s our guy,” DiMarco announced, moving in between them to peer over the crate.

“Do you know who he is?”

“No. But if we were Bond this would be our Blofeld.”  He began typing more texts on the phone.

The applause died away as he began to speak. “I am so proud to be with you on this propitious occasion.  A little over ten years ago I began this crusade of change as a proud American and a man of Faith. I had a vision to right the wrongs happening to our once great country… soon to be great again. Our founding fathers were great men who had a vision for this country. A vision built on faith. The Almighty spoke through them, and wrote through them when they penned our Constitution. But the faithless have been changing it. Destroying what was once our great nation by saying it’s a melting pot. You know what a melting pot is?  It’s where the pure becomes polluted. We weren’t meant to be a melting pot back then, now nor ever.”

Another oceanic roar of approval rolled through the crowd. He waved them down. “I coined that phrase ten years ago: It’s time to take our country back.  Only a patriot knows the true meaning behind those powerful words. Our country was founded by pure-of-heart, god-fearing men like us, our Founding Fathers – George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and the rest. Slaves did not write our Constitution. Muslims did not write our Constitution. Queers did not write our Constitution. The Natives who were here did not make this country great. We brought them civilization. We made this country what it is and they’ve systematically torn it down around us. We build skyscrapers, they turn ‘em into ghettos. We raise religious gentlefolk, they give us diseased whores, hustlers, pimps and queers. We build nice homes to raise decent families and they brought drugs to the streets. We praise the Creator, and their scientists say we’re the product of ooze. We preach the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman and they’ll have the world believe that we’re unnatural because we will not approve their perversion. They have defiled everything that was once good; that made our country with no rival.”

DiMarco shook his head, veins in his temples rose like engorged streams. He was not enjoying the speech.

“I’ll tell you who did not build this country, did not make it great: the Muslims, the Chinese, the Mexicans, the Africans, the atheists or the homosexuals. The blind, the poor; the disabled did not build this country. Women did not build this country. What does it mean when we say we’ll take our country back? It means we’ll take it back from those who do not belong here. We worked for our riches and they want to take them away and give it to the parasites: the poor, the homeless, the jobless, the immigrants. You know why we have taxes? To pay for the slackers in the homeless shelters, the indigent who sneak over our borders to feed on our wealth. Shelters are nothing more than homes for life-sucking leeches. We feed them with our blood and they want more. We’re being robbed by the very country we built. These are the people from whom we will take our country back.”

Geoff saw Chris flinch, his jaw flex. Touching his shoulder, he was rigid. He knew he was thinking of his friends who were now gone.

Listening, he couldn’t shake the feeling he’d encountered him before. He just couldn’t recall where. His effete gentlemanly mannerisms made him distinctive; not someone you’d be likely to forget.

“My father didn’t grow up in luxury in little Hawk Point Junction, Texas just eight miles of the Oklahoma border. He started as a near penniless newspaper owner. But he was a smart man and a hard worker and by the time I was born he was the co-owner of a multi-million dollar oil engineering firm.” He strode back and forth in the rear of his jeep platform as he spoke. “I remember when I was a tyke him telling me he wanted me to grow up knowing the true feeling of accomplishment. I wasn’t handed anything on a silver platter. He made me work. I was a paperboy. I washed dishes in restaurants. I mowed lawns for two dollars in the long, hot Texas summers. And when I was old enough I joined his company, not as a family member, but as an employee putting in sixteen hours a day. He made me earn my way into the offices. By the time he died, he’d lived to see me turn the business into a multi-billion dollar Goliath in over sixty countries.”

Their gruff, Italian colleague was still busy with his phone when he made a fist pump. “Got him,” he said, excitedly. “Braggart gave me just enough background history to figure out who he is. His name is Emerson Lakefield, the heir to the Lakefield oil fortune. One of twin brothers, Everette Lakefield, who went mysteriously missing in 1972 when they were seventeen. “

“Mysteriously?” It was Chris. “What does that mean?”

“It says by the time the boys were in their teens Emerson had become obsessed with religion. His brother was getting ready to go into college and favored scientific thinking. They both fought for their fathers favor, but Everette’s interest in theater, writing and science didn’t go down well with the old man. He thought it made him effeminate. By 1968 he only referred to having one son, Emerson. To toughen them up he sent them on a camping expedition in the wilds of Washington for a month giving them nothing but the clothes on their back. Two boys went on a camping trip together in the Washington woods. Two went in, one came out. They never found Everette. Emerson said the last he’d seen of his brother was when he walked into the woods to take a piss. It was listed as an open but unsolved case. Their father never mentioned Everette again and they never held a wake or funeral for him after he was declared dead. There never was any suspicion that it was anything but an unfortunate accident. I guess money can buy anything.”

“It’s odd he doesn’t even mention his brother growing up,” Chris observed. “He only talks about when he grew up.”

Lakefield was still speaking. “I learned two things when I took over my Pop’s business: The backbone of this country was built on industry and our faith in the Almighty. One cannot have prosperity without Faith, and that has been my message. I’ve put my money where my mouth is. I’ve backed good men in politics, helped build churches that have this country’s heart at its center. But there are those with equal resources and power that’ve fought me. They’ve tried to stop my businesses by saying I’m destroying the planet even though my companies gave thousands of people jobs. They’d have you believe my companies harm the ecological balance of the planet without telling you I’m also the man who puts the food on your plates. At every turn I’ve encountered resistance by these socialistic bleeding hearts, and do you know why?” he pointed at the crowd. “Godlessness. They use the myth of Science as a club to try to beat me down. I ask you, how can the small hands of man ruin the large work of a Creator? We cannot. Man doesn’t have the capacity to change creation, only the Creator does.”

There was a resounding chorus of “Amen’s” from the crowd. A strange combination, Geoff thought: men dressed in military uniforms behaving as if they were at a revival.

“All around us we’ve seen the godless handiwork tearing at the fabric of society. I knew I had to do something. And it came to me ten years ago when I took on the mantel as one of His ministers that I had the money to do it. That I had the power to make the change. That I had a voice and I would let the Almighty use it. Now my tongue is His tongue. He speaks through me to command the armies of earth to do His Will. And His Will is for us to take back this country.”
The dismal sewer walls resounded with more cheering and applause.

“God speaks through him? His tongue is God’s tongue?” Chris made a distasteful face. “That’s pretty…”

“Sociopathic,” DiMarco supplied the appropriate term.

The sinister man shook his fists, yelling the words like a drumbeat to stir the fervor of the crowd. “My Will is His Will! His Will is mine!”

The affirmations rose louder. Emerson’s eyes shown bright, his grin augmented with the adulation.

“In these ten years it’s become clear that their laws weren’t in harmony with the Almighty’s. That it was their intention to force their world of sin upon us. They thought we were too meek, would turn the other cheek, but that’s not the manner in which our Lord works. If they’re lawless, he drowns them with a flood; if they’re perverse he’s rains fire down upon them. If they didn’t harken to his commands, he gave them plagues.” The arc of too white teeth hardened into something malevolent. “The Almighty has never been a passive leader. He’s always been a decisive commander, and He’d expect nothing less of us… nothing less of me.  Together, we’re now the arm of the Almighty. They’ll fear us.” He shook his finger. “But it will not be easy, and we must be strong because they’ve summoned the demons of Hell to help them. I witnessed this with my very eyes: Lucifer’s dark angel swooping down with death upon those whose allegiance was with us. I saw the winged demon tear them apart limb by limb. I barely escaped myself except by His grace.” His eyes blazed.” That was when I knew that ours will be a mighty fight; we must steel ourselves against what may come against us.”

Booming noises drummed above the tunnels. Lakefield made a grandiose sweeping gesture upward. “Like my Pop used to say, the world can change in three blinks of a gnat’s eye…”

Those words thunderstruck Geoff. They echoed back to him from another night in the middle of summer in Forest Park. He peered over the crate at the wiry figure with the ponytail he’d first seen in silhouette by the lake where gay men cruised.
“Our real life MONSTERS are sometimes ORANGE and spew hatred like they think it will buy them a new Mercedes… Mr. Skinner’s MONSTERS eat them for breakfast…”


” this IDEA is pure GENIUS!!!!”



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Going Backwards Is Not Progress

This isn't my grandma, and to be honest, I don't know what my grandmothers would have thought about abortion; we never talked about it. But this grandma gets it; she doesn't forget history like a lot of people do.

To this current generation of females - you have it so good. And a lot of you are about to blow it. There are males who are threatened by you and they will do everything in their power to take away your rights. They will take away your birth control, your health care, and yes, your right to your own body.

It's already happening; restrictions on abortion in some states have become in essence, laws against abortion in total. And making abortion illegal (or hard to obtain) does NOT make abortion go away. It goes underground. Women will go back to the back alleys, give their lives to untrained hands, lose their fertility, lose their LIVES.

A female's life should not be superceded by a ball of cells that may or may not become life. (Did you know that about 50% of all fertilized cells do NOT come to full-term fetuses?) A female should not be forced to carry a fetus who will never have a quality life, who may never even make it out of the birth canal (see the current Indiana law that I hope will soon be overturned).

Again, do not ignore history. The reason pro-choice people have the logo of a 'no' slash over a hanger is that before Roe v. Wade, women would use hangers to induce an abortion. Yes, hangers. Wire hangers. Inserted into their uterus to induce abortion. Did it work? Sometimes. A lot of times, the unsterilized hanger perforated the uterus, causing a severe infection and sepsis. And then death.

Thank of that next time you decide to picket outside a Planned Parenthood or vote republican.