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Jen in NY

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About Jen in NY

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    always tootin' my own horn - a trumpet, that is

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  • Location
    the wilds of western ny
  • Interests
    songwriting, music, reading
  • Occupation
    mom of the year :o)

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  1. We have been vegan for about a year, and coincidentally began just after we had had our yearly insurance co bloodwork done, so I had biostats to compare. Initially, I lost about 15 Lbs, but eventually I leveled off... better than before, but I didn't get 'skinny.' I am not trying too hard, though. IOW, I haven't started any kind of regular exercise or anything... but that's next. :) We eat almost no junk food, and are mostly WFPB. We haven't entirely cut out oil... I still use it to cook sometimes. All of my biomarkers improved - blood pressure down, good cholesterol up, bad cholesterol down, total cholesterol down, triglycerides down, etc, etc. I am sleeping much better, but at the same time I went vegan I ditched coffee... because what good is it without the cream and sugar? So I can't say which caused the improvement. Overall it's been a good change for us... Edited to add: Some unexpected benefits for us: Our grocery bill plummeted. Our garbage never smells bad anymore, and in fact, we have so little garbage (less than one kitchen garbage bag a week...) that we are thinking about ditching garbage service altogether and just taking our stuff to the dump once in a while. We got much more adventurous with food and tried things we have never eaten before. Most dishes were yummy!
  2. FYI Diane Rehm's show today is about Fake News and its proliferation. You can stream a rebroadcast later today, usually sometime after noon. It's interesting.
  3. I can't speak for everyone else, but the thing is, since I am not a climate scientist, any facts I would cite would be of other people's/organizations' research. There are many studies that have collectively, over time, from unrelated sources, indicated that climate change is happening. I could look them up and post them here. Then, you will look up some study that will refute whatever I post, because there are websites that present studies that will refute climate change. So, fine. We could go back and forth. The thing is, the overwhelming weight of studies, undertaken by a hugely disparate number and type of scientists, over many years, has borne out, under scientific scrutiny, that climate change is happening. Since I am not a scientist or expert of any kind, I choose to trust the widely researched, widely funded, many non-connected, independent scientists that come to that conclusion instead of looking for much smaller number of entities pushing the opposite view. If you are interested, research how the tobacco companies went about discrediting scientists and doctors that tried to sound early warning bells about health and smoking. It is instructive and well documented. Proof isn't necessary to give people an excuse to continue the status quo... just enough doubt to make rationalization possible. This also comes back around to news/fake news. One journalist to read in this vein is Jane Mayer. I look forward to reading her latest book.
  4. This may seem off topic, but bear with me... I listen to the NPR politics podcast regularly. (You can see the list of other podcasts I listen to here, just for context). The podcast is where the journalists discuss their work in a slightly more casual way, but the one they published today was especially personal and about themselves. One of the women on the team is a Muslim woman, and she published an article this week that they are talking about at the start ... and they veer into their individual experiences covering the campaign. These are people that have long experience covering politics. It struck me as honest and self-reflective, and thought it might be interesting to some people participating in this thread. I am (for sure!) not arguing that all of their opinions on every topic are spot on (after all, this is not a news story, but just relating their own experiences), or that I am just accepting everything they are saying point blank... but.... they seem genuine, and I think that's something for our country to re-consider... there are journalists that are self-reflective and really trying to do the right thing, whatever their personal political leanings, or mine. It seems important in light of this thread. Click on Covering 2016 as a Muslim when you get to the page.
  5. Me me me! I am a total radio junkie and until not too long ago had my trusty radio in the kitchen. When it died, I realized I could stream the same thing with much better sound, so now I listen to streamed radio and/or podcasts pretty much non-stop if I am doing something mindless. (Like my job, lol....) Answering someone else about the cost, etc: It could be free, for the most part, but I am a supporter of my local NPR radio station by choice. The local right leaning talk station I get for free on the radio in the car. (They have ads and don't fundraise.) All of the podcasts I stream are free: The political ones in my rotation right now are Charlie Sykes, Slate's Trumpcast, a local news/political talk show, Ricochet, David Gregory, The American Interest, and NPR Politics Podcast. Just so you don't think I am nuts they aren't published daily.... most are weekly or twice a week. Charlie Sykes is daily but he talks about football and strictly Wisconsin stuff quite a bit which I can ff through, but he is retiring soon. I need another right leaning political journalism podcast, if anyone has a suggestion. (For anyone looking for free podcasts, I also enjoy Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, Tiny Desk Concerts, Star Talk Radio, and West Wing Weekly.) I also really like The DMZ on Basically I think it's my responsibility to check around and vet my sources. If I hear a story beat to death from the right and don't hear anyone talking about it on the left or vice-versa, I start looking around to see what the heck is going on. I assume I have massive amounts of confirmation bias and do my best to combat it by really trying to listen to more than one opinion... and not just to disagree with it in my mind, either. :oD If someone is a screamer or just demonizes or blasts people they are off my list. I only have so many work hours to fill, lol. Definitely going to do what other people have mentioned and am asking for 2 subscriptions for Christmas: my local paper and Digital NYT. Would love it in print for the crossword but I am out of money. Still haven't decided on a right leaning source. I am open to suggestions. This got rambly..... who am I even talking to? Are you guys real or fake? :oD
  6. I am curious what the term 'mainstream media' means to people. I keep seeing it bandied about in ways that equate almost everything out there... CNN, NPR, NYT, WaPo, etc... etc... to me those are all very different entities. What does it mean to you, whoever reads this next? :)
  7. (((Techwife))), peace to you and yours. Pinkmint, is your siggy up to date? Are your kids 7, 3, and 2?
  8. We don't do huge on Christmas. We just don't have a lot of extra cash... especially now with two in college. It's my fault... I always spend the cash on classes or experiences or .... well, whatever. I am not a good planner, either. But we did start a tradition about 10 years ago that we all continue and LOVE, and it usually costs very little. Everyone makes something for one another. It's so much fun! It takes a little planning and sometimes results are not exactly *professional* looking, but these gifts are some of their most treasured possessions. Over the years they have made clocks (inexpensive clockworks from a craft a board decorated with scrapbook papers and mod podge, one made of a Lego plate and a few bricks), Hogwarts House Scarves, a personalized 'book safe', a primitive painting including a favorite Shakespeare quote, an Altoids tin red light flashlight for astronomy, a tea wreath for the year my dd1 started drinking it, very personal Lego ornaments made by ds for dds, a personalized Redwall calendar made on the computer, dd2 wrote & illustrated an awesome How to Train Your Dragon Odin's Day story for her brother when he was in LOVE with those books, last year for dd2 I found a small Christmas tree at Goodwill, and we all made a whole bunch of homemade Harry Potter themed ornaments for it including a knitted Hogwarts Colors garland, and set it up after dd went to bed. She cried when she woke up to it! There are so many more I am not remembering. Really, they are the things they will take with them and remember, because they spent so much time thinking about what would make the others happy. I am sure they don't remember anything else we have given at all! This is not the way my parents and our extended families did Christmas... we would get many, many gifts each year because I had 10 aunts and uncles and we all exchanged gifts with everyone. It was massive, happy, chaos. There were just so many people and packages! My kids.... one uncle on each side - one cousin (that they see. long story). That's it! So even if there was a chance of spending the same amount of money per kid, it still wouldn't feel like the holidays when I was a kid. Merry, Merry Christmas! I hope it is full of peace and light for you.
  9. Same here. And a huge deposit on next year's apartment. Good thing we started that tradition of making things for each other lo those many years ago... because there will be no expensive gifts of any kind this year. My gift to them right now is their education (I keep reminding them....)! I am trying to plan some fun/free/nearly free activities for holiday time. Gingerbread making/decorating is on the list - holiday movie night with hot chocolate (white christmas? family man?) - local hike outdoors - volunteering - making mittens to donate in an assembly line while listening to Christmas carols? I'd love to hear everyone else's great ideas in that vein. My oldest is a senior and already has a job lined up (far away!) for post-graduation... plus she has a pretty serious boyfriend, so I imagine that someday soon we will be 'splitting holidays.' While I am not sad about these developments, I do realize that these are probably some of the last 'old family' holiday moments with everyone under our roof in the nuclear family way. I'd like to make it special and yet keep it quite cheap! :)
  10. I love the Haba set - We bought one many years ago and it is something I have saved for later... whatever later brings. :) My kids played with it for a long, long time.
  11. Not a book, but if she is really into the series she can always start listening to Pottercast - The Harry Potter Podcast. 15 years and still ticking. How old is your dd? Over the years mine have loved Little Women, The Mysterious Benedict Society Series, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, any Jane Austen, Discworld, City of Dreaming Books (and others by Walter Moers), the James Herriot books, Neverwhere, ...
  12. A couple of fun "Big Red" things to check out: Cornell Chimes Concerts in McGraw Tower... if you get there a few minutes early and walk up the 161 steps you will be rewarded with an amazing view of the campus and city, as well as a close-up look at a unique instrument and the person or people operating it. And if you do happen to stop by for a chimes concert, pop in next door to have a peek at the Andrew Dickson White Library - it is a beautiful, magical little library! Another restaurant rec: I completely forgot The Moosewood ! Aside from delicious food, it has the added bonus of being located in an awesome building that houses Ithaca Guitar Works and a phenomenal used bookstore. If you go to Moosewood you must order the chocolate cake for dessert. So good!
  13. Taste of Thai on the Commons is our favorite. Delish, if you are into that. (We are vegan, so I can't comment on the meat dishes...) Is your son into TKD? My dd is taking pictures at that tourney this Sun. Good luck to him!
  14. I have 19 and 21 yo dd's... i'd be happy to talk if you want to pm. Hang in there... it ain't always easy, is it?
  15. Hey Van... you and I can tackle Precalc together! I am just starting myself (for the third time... but the third time's a charm!), and I am 46. Slow and steady... I love so much of the advice you have gotten already. I don't think you have anything to lose to make an appointment with a counselor if you have a community college nearby. Maybe that path will be open to you immediately.... maybe there will be intermediate steps to take... but at least you will know and can start rowing in that direction. Keep on chuggin! There are many valid paths in this life, and you are already on one. :)
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