A Setback and progress.

It has been an interesting week for “The Journey” there was a big setback but also progress, so it is best to talk about both of these.

First, the setback.

A few weeks ago, I decided to set a new challenge goal for myself: walking the Milford Track. It is something I have wanted to do for years, and with the surgery and everything, I wanted to conquer the walk. (well, maybe not conquer, but at least finish). Space on Milford Track is limited, in order to keep the trail naturery and safe. They opened the dates to sign up last Wednesday, and dutifully I was online and ready to go and get those tickets.

Things did not go according to plan.

The site went down almost immediately (typical), and I had to try in vain to get in. At one point, I was signing onto what I wanted, and the connection dropped, forcing me to start over. Over the next 25 minutes, I continued to try and get on the site.

Then, worked beckoned. I was being pulled into an impromptu meeting, and it ran until a scheduled meeting I needed to have. By lunchtime, by the time I was able to access the site, I found that the two date ranges I wanted were fully booked, and it meant that I couldn’t go this year.

To say I was angry would be an understatement.

With so much planned for the next 18 months, the only time I could make to get to Milford were these two weeks, and it fell through. I am a bit despondent. Husband said that I could do another Great Walk, and then to Milford later, but… my heart was set on Milford, and doing a longer, more strenuous walk, and then Milford… would be a let down.

I could still do the Milford Track, and stay in Lodges… but… that is like 2k per person (or nearly 700 a night), and while it would be great to be in a lodge, I can’t justify that amount of cost. That would be a round-trip ticket to the US, or to Europe. (I was going to stay in cheap huts)

So, now I need a new challenge, something physical, something naturesque, and something that will push me emotionally and physically… that isn’t a walk in the bush. I’ve done Tough Mudder, I don’t want to do a marathon/run. I wanted to do something where I can go, take pictures, and have that epic moment.

So things I need to think about.

So, the Progress. After the second (or was it third) Plateau, I have been steadily losing weight. My walking regimen has been steady (5-6 days a week depending on the weather), and today, I hit 120kgs/265 pounds. marking 48 kgs lost since January. This was my secondary major “soft goal” weight wise, the first being set at 130kgs. To be frank, I wasn’t sure I was going to hit 120. Once I knew about the surgery estimates, I figured 130 woudl be the new normal, and I was mentally ok for that. My thought was, anything below 130 would be bonus.

Now, I am considering a new “soft” number goal. The obvious next milestone is only 2kgs away at 50kgs lost. This will mark the most I have ever lost in a single… “era” of weight loss. After that, 115 is around the corner, and then… 113. The barrier I have never been able to breach in my adult life. I have been wondering if that is my base level weight, but I am really nervous about that number. Before, getting to 113 required days of not eating, working out for 5-4 hours a day and drinking as little as possible (Water adds useless weight in my mind in those days). Now, I remind myself to eat, and I keep I am still not pushing exercise wise as hard as I could be. (I am not even going to a gym). I am definitely much healthier and happier with where I am now, but that emotional feeling of 113, and the mythical 112… that will be a big post if I ever get there.

But progress it good, and I am happy to see where this takes me. Slow and steady wins the race.

-W

 

The Tipping Point: Part 4

When will we hit the tipping point in the Trump Administration.

We are 110 days into the Administration and yesterday, it seemed was an appropriate time to fire FBI Director James Comey. While the “reason” for the firing was, inexplicably the handling of Hillary Clinton’s email investigation during the election, the letter itself betrayed the likely reason.

letter

In a move that harkens back to the Saturday Night Massacre during the Nixon Administration, the move is seen as a bald faced attempt to shut down, slow down, or stymie the Investigation into collusion with the Russian Government to win the election.

It seems almost predictable that the GOP response has been muted, dismissive, and outright defensive. John McCain  did his standard approach: chastise the President while doing nothing. Mitch McConnell has pushed back against the possibility of a special prosecutor. Other GOP Senators have been on the spectrum of “worried” to “Difficult decision” to “unusual timing of events.”

Since this series started, I have focused on this story and wondering “When is the tipping point?” We now have a leader who has fired the person investigating him. We have his party pretty much walking lock step with him, despite the ridicule from the public. The moves are so transparent, so blatant, so easy to see, yet the party in power remains placated because as long as Trump is in power, he is their lightning road. They can dump all of their toxicity onto him with the hopes that once they get rid of them, they will be seen as competent.

Right now, Trump support has drifted down to 36%, and this is before the news on Comey. Worse even, the Democrats hold a 16 point lead on Generic House Ballots. That along would put the Democrats up dozens of seats and retake the majority in the 2018 elections. This may explain why Freedom Caucus member Justin Amash to say he is looking into legislation to introduce a special investigator. As the fallout from this move becomes more known, it could mean more defections from the GOP. It also could mean that we will see a response to Administration abuses of power.

But who are we kidding.

When Nixon fired the person investigating him, it was a watershed moment in the Watergate scandal, the Republicans deserted him, and it set up the final act of his Presidency. Only the most die-hard of supporters continued to back Nixon, and once it became apparent what he was doing, Country won out over Party loyalty.

I cannot say the same here.

The National GOP made a Faustian Bargain to attain power, and they will sacrifice everything; their religion, their ideology, their morals, their principals in order to retain that power. From Mike Pence to Mitch McConnell to Paul Ryan to rank and file GOPers in Congress, they turn a blind eye because they have what they wanted, and they will stick to it even as the ship is sinking. McConnell’s response is proof of that, Graham’s weedly explanation furthers that. These men will line up behind Mr. Trump for anything, because they have no choice if they want to stay in their positions.

Former President Obama said just yesterday to a crowd in Italy, “You get the politicians you deserve.” and it feels that the GOP, by sowing discord, dysfunction, and craven power-grabbing for the last decade that they finally have the politicians they deserve; ones that will lie to your face and make your lives worse off, politicians who will ignore the rule of law because they are above the law. They screamed so much of Democrats corruption, and double dealing, and “emails” they have decided to elect people who are categorically worse in every category, and consider it a win.

Now, Comey is such a weird situation, he has been critisised by both parties for his actions, and at a level, his ousting should have happened the moment the new Administration began. Had it happen then, this wouldn’t be an issue… (well, less of an issue), but now… with Grand Juries now out in the open, and Comey speaking to Congress regularly, its wholly unacceptable. It was incompetence that allowed Comey to stay, and it is corruption that led to Comey being fired. The Trump Administration has fucked up twice on this.

I personally do not hold out much hope that anything significant will be done before the Midterm elections. While I suspect that there will be major fallout over this, I suspect that the GOP-run Government will barrel through until Mr. Trump does something else insane, which will move the heat elsewhere. At this point, I think Trump could murder someone on 5th Avenue  and we would have to wait until a Democratic controlled chamber of Congress to do anything about it.

And that is the state of politics in America.

 

Impeachment of a President: A Trump Administration Themed “Clue/Cluedo”

In this game, it is your job to find out how President Trump is going to be impeached! Played liked the Classic Clue/Cluedo game, you must find out who told the Press about the Evidence for the Articles of Impeachment, and where they met the reporter to hand over the goods.

Here are the Suspects

Mike Pence

DeMint, Pence Holds Press Conference On Tax Relief Legislation

Vice President
“If you believe in limited government, you understand that the only check on government power in real time is a free and independent press.” – Source

Sean Spicer

mccarthy_spicer

Press Secretary

“[Trump] hasn’t given any indication that he’ll stop an investigation of any kind.” – Source

 

Kelly Ann Conway

17-kellyanne-feature-lede-new.w512.h600.2x

Senior Counselor & White House Chief Strategist

“Most honest people I know are not under FBI investigation, let alone two.” – Source

 

Steven Bannon

steve-bannon-435-1

White House Chief Strategist

“Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” – Source

Ivanka Trump

ivankatrump

Daughter/Senior Advisor

“While it’s sometimes easy to get caught up in ‘who said what about whom,’ especially if the people around you are doing it, focus instead on making a difference.” –  SourceSource

Jared Kushner

kushner090720_1_250

Son-in-Law/ Senior Advisor to the President/Head of the Office of American Innovation/Shadow Secretary of State/Middle East Envoy

“…”

Places

Of course we need to find the right place where the evidence was passed onto the Washington Times Reporter, and leaked to the Press, but where is it? Search the White House to search for Clues.

  • Oval Office
  • Press Briefing Room
  • Rose Garden
  • Roosevelt Room
  • Secret Bunker (With passages to the Oval Office and the Map Room)
  • Lincoln Bedroom
  • Map Room
  • Grand Staircase
  • Situation Room

The Article of Impeachment

The Evidence is right there, and once given to the Press, the Articles of Impeachment have begun! But which Scandal will the 110-day Administration fall to?!?!

Nepotism

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Sexual Harassment

pussy

Obstruction of Justice

letter

Emoluments clause/Conflict of Interest

china

Collusion with Russia

//players.brightcove.net/1155968404/r1WF6V0Pl_default/index.html?videoId=5368997177001

Gross Negligence

Trumptweet

Here is your chance to break up the story of the year! Play “Impeachment of a President today!”

The Journey: Social Wanderingexpat is back

Good morning! No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, I have just been super busy, and trying to figure out how to fit my writing into the day.

This week, I started me new job, and thusly, I have had little time this week to write down my thoughts and my take on the news, sorry about that! I am working on it.

But this morning, I wanted to talk a little about the Journey.

Last night, I went to a dinner party of a friend of Husband and I. A and his fiance, H, are back in the country for his sister’s wedding, and hosted a get together with friends. We can refer to them ah AH! or HA!… or maybe AH HA!

Any how “Ah Ha” are two of the most incredible people I know. Their energy is boundless, they are both quirky and hysterical and great, kinda, and awesome people. Getting to see them is like going to an adventure park, you know you are going to have an awesome time when they are around.

But, this is… (or was?) typically something I shy away from. A Group of 15-20 people, all engaging in relative small talk can be torture for me, and it is hard to keep focus in situations like that. A cacophony of sound and soundbites of other conversations, I tend to get bored withmyself and float around the room until all light conversation is exhausted, then retreat and hope that at some point, the Husband wants to head home.

Last night was different.

Maybe it was the crowd (many I knew and I haven’t seen in months), but the conversations were good, fun, and interesting. I talked about the Surgery, and The Journey quite a bit, but as 1 hour turned into 2, which finally turned into three, I found the old social wanderingexpat coming through. Gregarious, jokey, and not hyper sensitive about what I was wearing, or how I was presenting to people. Being relentlessly open and talkative, I stayed away from the food, which ranged from Pizza bites to Sushi, to chips and hummus and guacamole, and the alcohol (easy to do), and it was *fine.* I didn’t slink off “to recharge” or try to doge conversations, I was present and apart of the event.

I kinda miss being social.

I feel that I am quite an introvert at heart. My M.O. is small 1-1 or a small group of 5-6 people. I love to be larger than life in those situations and at larger parties, but afterwards, I hibernate for a month to recover my social energy. Parties and gatherings usually exhaust me, but last night, it didn’t. Is it the walking? Is it the added energy? is it the gain in confidence with the weight loss? Perhaps. Maybe it was because I actually had something to talk about and hold up my end of the conversation for once.

I felt like the old me. The me that could engage more and fret less. And that is a big step for me.

This is not to say I will be be out every weekend, but I suspect I will start going out more.

Today, I broke the plateau, losing .4kgs. Not by a huge number, but by enough to breach the wall. I hope this trend continues. Tomorrow, I will hopefully plan the Milford Track with my walking buddy. So stay tuned for details there.

Also, in talking last night with a friend, (I will call him J-Bean) I was recounting what was in essence the last year for me. From losing one of the closest people in my life, to the massive depression afterwards, to getting the house, to Bailey the dog, Surgery, the Journey, getting made Redundant, and now the new job. I have had an *insane* 12 months. The last three months have mostly been incredibly positive, and even with setbacks like the Redundancy, I eventually came out ahead.

I told J-Bean that things are looking up, and that things have been really great this year, something I reiterated to Husband a bit later in the evening. 2017 has mostly been a good year for me, and I think the Journey was absolutely and utterly needed for me in this time in my life. I am glad that I began this, and I am focusing as much as I am on it.

And with that, I will let you go. Enjoy your day, and talk to you soon!

 

The Journey: changing modes

This week has been another plateau week. I tend to not post as much when I am on a plateau because I am usually starting to low key worry about numbers, and such.

This week was no different.

When I hit a plateau, I often will look at my diet, my exercise, and what is going on in order to figure out if this is a temporary thing, or my new normal. This week, I started going through what could change.

  • I am walking further (and faster) every day. Today, I did 5.5kms in 56 minutes (9:50 per km) which has me really pumped. While I hate running, I do enjoy walking, and if I can get to 6kms under an hour, I would be ecstatic.
  • I look at my water consumption. Currently, I have been drinking about 2 liters a day.
  • Food. I am currently eating one “big meal” a day, and I may have something “small” once a day.
    • By a “big meal”, I mean somewhere in the realm of 200 grams of food, mostly protein.
    • by “small” I mean like 20-60 grams of nuts, or 150 grams of Yogurt.

So, I look at this, and I go, “alright, how can I not be losing weight, and on some days, it seems like I am retaining weight? Since last week, I went from 123.7kgs, to 125.8kgs yesterday morning.

Thinking that maybe my diet (which is right now, mostly chicken) may be throwing it off, so while I still have frozen chicken in the freezer, after that is done, I will switch to something a bit leaner, or a different protein. At lunch yesterday, I decided to have a “big meal” and things were good. Drinking my water, all good. In the evening, I found I was hungry again, an despite my weight worry, had a second “big meal” (again Chicken, need to get that stuff out!)

This morning, I got up, got dressed, and took my walk. After coming home and a shower, I weighed myself. I am dreading the number that I am about to see.

124.3 kgs

*blink, blink*

I ate twice my normal amount and I lost over a kilo in a day.

I step off the scale, walk around, let it reset, and I try again.

124.3 kgs.

*Motherfucker*

This is the tough part. There is information everywhere. Everyone has their opinion on the idea of “starvation mode” or why you are not losing weight, and it can be a bit unrelenting on what to do. I shouldn’t eat more, and end up losing more. I mean, everyone runs by the adage of “Calories in, Calories out” and the fact that I am still under 1k in calories a day and walking 5kms a day should mean I should be losing weight. As someone who wants to look to science for the best answer, the answer is still murky. I am likely not in starvation mode, but I am likely not eating enough protein, and I may need to start lifting weights. Maybe there will be a lot more chicken in my future…

As this is a work in progress, I will have to keep an eye on things. Also, with me committing to do the Milford Track this summer, I want to make sure that I am physically do it, and not go crazy.

So that has been my plateau week. I promise to not be so numbers heavy next time (I suspect a lot of talk about the Milford Track)

 

*Facepalm*

Today, the US Congress has agreed to a funding bill that will carry the country until September. They deal was struck between Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate, and for the most part, the Democrats got what they wanted; more domestic spending, planned parenthood is funded, more science funding, and no Border Wall funding. (though border security funding was granted, but with a proviso it cannot be used for a wall)

The GOP got a working budget and an increase in military spending, though less than what the Administration was hoping for.

It is weird to see a bi-partisan agreement in this day and age. It is something I fully embrace and would love to see more of… and by the sounds of things… that may actually happen.

I have longed believed that neither party has the complete answer. Ideological bents on both sides of the spectrum can (and will) bring everything to a halt, forcing the middle to compromise and move forward. When I see this article about how the Democrats now have a way forward in thwarting Mr. Trump’s agenda, and their tactic is bipartisanship it makes me laugh.

The GOP is a party in name only. It cannot pass a budget in the House by themselves, they cannot pass a bill that will pass the Senate. They cannot even agree on a Healthcare Repeal, one that they voted lock step on over 30 times during Obama’s tenure as President. Ryan is incompetent as Speaker, and honestly, if he were to step down, I would have a hard time seeing who, if anyone, would want to replace him. The Party’s Whips can even agree on a bill together, let alone get everyone else on the plan.

And even the fabled “Hasert Rule” has been destroyed.

The issues the GOP has in the last couple of years have not gone away with a victory in the White House. The GOP’s issue is that they gerrymandered themselves into a situation where the ideological bent of their party became the purity test for everything. The House GOP is now a den of various factions that cannot agree with each other lest they lose their ideological purity and piss off their base.

And they have the Administration poking holes in the ship left, right, and center.

The Trump factor in this is almost comical. The GOP did better when they froze out their own leadership. By giving Mr. Trump nothing in the Budget, the GOP embarrassed him more than any Democrat could. They made him irrelevant, and appropriately, he was chucked a fit in response.

In many respects, this is inevitable. The office of the Presidency has become rather powerful in the last 20 years, with George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the Executive Branch has gained a lot of power in its ability to move and shape government. This is not the first time we have had a strong executive branch, but with Trump’s incompetence on full display, and the fact that Congress literally ignored him to get the budget (which he signed btw) tells me that the Executive Branch’s power moving forward will take a nosedive. The Pendulum is swinging back, I just hope we can get a more functioning Congress. Let’s hope that this budget is a sign of things to come. If the Democrats can lead from the back, and it protects the health of people, then so be it. It will make their 2018 campaign better.

It feels like the adults got tired of fighting the kid who is screaming, and are letting him scream while they calmly talk about their days.

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And on the Subject of Trump.

I haven’t posted very much this week because it feels that a lot of news revolves around him. The North Korea situation, China, Philippines, even France, it seems it has always a connection back to Trump, and it is annoying. With Trump’s first 100 days now history, he gave a few (what the media calls) “bizarre” interviews.

Firstly, they are not “Bizarre.” Trump is showing obvious signs that he is in way over his head, and that his incompetency is a feature of his Administration, not a bug. The Civil War comment

*Facepalm*

I want to continue, but I feel that *Facepalm* pretty much sums it up for me. Get the dunce out of the White House, please, before he breaks something, or starts a war because his feelings were hurt.

 

News Roundup: May 1

Good Morning, today is Monday, May 1 and here are the stories that interest me.

Programming Note: As I start a new job next week, I may be shifting the time of this post to the evening. (think of it like the evening news). It takes a bit for me to compile the right stories, and I want to do it justice. Your thoughts are appreciated.

Wikipedia has been block in Turkey, under the cover of a law that bans websites that are obscene or poses a threat to national security. The move came this weekend as almost 4,000 government workers were fired in the latest round of purges to consolidate power for Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after a failed coup attempt last year.

Commentary: The issue with this situation is that Turkey is vying for attention from several regional powers and the US. Russia, the EU, and the US want Turkey on its side, and Erdoğan wants to stay in power. Russia (and now the US) will turn a blind eye to his power grab, while the EU is the odd person out. The US needs Turkey’s airbases, and it seems like the current Administration is approving of his actions, and Russia needs access to the Mediterranean Sea, so they will not stand in Erdoğan’s way. Unfortunately, we are seeing the final stages of authoritarian takeover of Turkey.
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Teresa May and the Conservatives are maintaining a 11-13 point lead in the latest polls ahead of the June 8 election. While down from last week’s shock 25 point lead, the Conservatives still maintain a commanding lead over Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party and the smaller opposition parties within the UK. Prime Minister May has called for the snap election to maintain the mandate for Brexit negotiations.

Commentary: It is very hard to see Corbyn being able to manage a win in this situation, from his own party establishment fighting him, it is going to be a hard slog. I did think that last weeks 25 point lead as a little much, but as the election draws closer, I expect a further tightening. I suspect however that Conservatives are going to rue this election in the future, the crud of the party is starting to show, and while they can ride the nationalist wave a bit, at some point, they are going to have to stop blaming immigrants, and start solving the problems that were there long before immigration became an issue.
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The Ringleader in a Maple Syrup Heist has been sentenced to at least 8 years in Prison and a 9.4 Million dollar fine in Canada.  The man, Richard Vallières, was sentenced in court with the proviso that if he could not pay the fine, he would serve an extra 6 years. The heist happened in 2012 when Vallières and several others, stole 3,000 tones of syrup from the Quebec Maple Producers, the regulatory group that manages the supply and trade of maple syrup. An inspection lead to the discovery of an empty barrel of syrup, which lead to the wider discovery. Identified as the ringleader, Vallières has proclaimed his innocence, and he is fighting through appeal.

News Roundup: April 27

Good morning, today is Thursday April 27 and here are the stories that interest me.

Fallout from the US Administration’s threats on Lumber and Milk Tariffs is leading the US’s largest Milk buyer to look elsewhere. Mexico is beginning to look to the EU and New Zealand to lessen the country’s reliance on US milk. Mexico has begun talking with New Zealand, a major Dairy producer, to introduce New Zealand Dairy to the country. Originally under the TPP,  which the US withdrew before ratifying. now the two countries are looking towards a bilateral agreement. While the initial shift is small, there is a sense that Mexico is begin to prepare for life post NAFTA.

Commentary: In response the the Lumber Tariff that Trump is imposing, Canada is basically saying “ok, we will go elsewhere,” It is talking with China and other asian nations, who already use Canadian lumber, to help  mitigate the issue. Several provinces in the country have also begun to set up funds to assist logging companies affected by the tariffs.  What is worse is that Canada is being blamed for the Milk issue (which… is there a milk issue?) when there is actually a surplus between the two countries. As a reminder, Canada is also a major dairy producer. I think that, once again, the US Administration is not prepared for the realities of world trade politics and it feels that the US will end up with more egg on its face.

Oh, fun fact, one of the major sticking points in the TPP was between New Zealand and Canada fighting over access to Dairy markets between the signatory nations. New Zealand wanted more access, Canada wanted to restrict that access. And yes, Dairy politics are serious business.
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A Meningitis outbreak has killed 813 people in northern Nigeria so far this year. Earlier this month, a massive vaccination drive started in the country to help combat the disease, which strikes due to poor conditions in the country. Authorities have begun doing a house-to-house search in order to identify, vaccinate, and infected people.

Commentary: This is why vaccines are important.
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China has launched its first domestically build aircraft carrier. The development shows China’s growing sophistication in its defence industry. The impact of this is being immediately felt across the region. As China flexes its muscles in the South China Sea, other countries like Japan, India, and Taiwan eye the situation closely. China is believed to be planning to make 2-4 more carriers rivalling the size of the US Nimitz class ships with the ability to launch planes with more weapons and longer missions.

Commentary: While plans began in 2013, there is no doubt that the world is responding to the US and its plans to raise its military spending. What is also important here is that this is a completely domestically built ship, meaning that we do not know what is actually in it, or how it is built. This level of competency means that China may just start churning out ships at an accelerated rate. With tensions in the South China Sea (Long story short, several countries claim the sea, and China is trying to bully its way into taking that territory by raising artificial islands and settling on them. Expect the US to use this as justification for more military spending in its budget.

and that is all for me on the news front, be back tomorrow, and enjoy your day!

 

The Journey: Celebration without food

Today is a great day. A few weeks ago, I was made redundant, The company, which I genuinely enjoy, has been awesome in helping me find a new job. They also gave me 4 weeks notice (which I think is required by law), so I have been working on getting a job.

And today, the offer came in, two days before my last day.

The job is a step up in responsibility, a step up in pay, and it is on the bleeding edge of technology, so I am pretty excited about the future.

In the last week, I have been patiently/impatiently waiting on the offer. For me, anticipation is a terrible feeling. I personally hate it. the pressure builds, and I find that I have all this nervous energy without a place for it to go. I wish for things to happen now, and to handle it. With the offer coming in today, it was literally seeping from my body, and the first thing I thought about was how to celebrate.

*Ice Cream*

*Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream*

*The Tonight Dough*

As those thoughts entered my mind, it was a weird moment. I haven’t had ice cream in three months. In those three months, I have been on the straight and narrow. Now people will tell me, “WanderingExPat, it is ok, it is a treat!” but in reality, my head space is  completely different at the moment. The old me would have already gone to the story, come home, and already broken out the ice cream, chomping down on the pint like no tomorrow, satisfied and happy that things are all right in the world. I got a raise, I got the job that I want, and it is exciting… time to eat to top this off.

New Me however reacted differently.

OK, do I want to eat ice cream and wipe out the last two days of weight loss? Ugh, I haven’t had significant sugar in three months, this will lay me out. Is the Ice Cream worth it?

And that was a pretty shocking honestly.

Food and emotion often go hand in hand. For me, I would often eat when I was sad, I eat when I was happy, I eat when I was bored, I eat when I was nervous, or stressed, or ansy, or… for anything. Food is that comfort, and that quiet supporter, because a pint of ice cream or a bucket of wings never judges me.

But using food to placate or enhance my emotions is toxic. Just like drinking to be happy, or drugs to feel normal, I need to make sure that food and emotions not mix so much anymore… at least in terms of a catalyst for me to eat something unhealthy.

So while I celebrate this day, there will be no Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream tonight.

I will have Ice Cream at some point, it will become that 2-3 times a year food I will have. But I am not breaking my streak yet. Not while I’m on a roll.

-W

 

News Roundup: April 26

Good morning, today is Wednesday, April 26, and here are the stories that interest me.

The US is imposing a 20% tariff on Canadian softwood lumber in a retaliatory strike against what the US believes is unlawful subsidizing of the industry. The US alleges that Canadian lumber is subsidized to the point where it make the wood noncompetitive with US lumber. This has been a LONG standing argument between the two countries. The US is also expected to place tariffs on milk as well. Canada has yet to respond to the changes.

Commentary:  Well, this has been a long standing issue in the construction and lumber companies. The last two administrations have worked with Canada on a resolution with no solution, so of course the current Administration goes in and uses a sledgehammer. The Administration is currently trying to relax EPA regulations to allow logging, mining, and drilling in national forests. Their goal is to target virgin but aging forest for cutting down. This will unlikely work. If a trade war does begin with Canada, it will mean that we are now in trade disputes with two of our largest trading partners. Furthermore, the Executive order being signed today to start the logging will likely be halted while court cases on it play out, meaning that the tariff will mean higher construction prices for homes and small businesses. With the Administration’s track of having their Executive Orders challenged, I question the timing of the tariff.
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In a study released today, scientists and doctors have successfully incubated lambs in an artificial womb that could be a game changer for helping extremely premature babies to survive. For 4 weeks, the lambs were kept in an artificial womb, and their lungs and brains developed normally. This step is a massive leap for neo-natal studies and may lead to successfully develop premature babies and avoid developmental issues later.

Commentary: How cool is this! if we are able to supply the baby while it is developing in those situations, we can avoid a ton of physical and developmental issues that face many premature children. I really cannot wait to see what comes of this.
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A short but intriguing article, it has been found that a the larvae of the  greater wax moth can break down the plastic’s  polyethylene into ethylene glycol. This discovery may unlock a way for us to better eliminate the plastic we have put into the environment. The discovery was made by chance by a Developmental biologist and Amateur beekeeper. The first link goes to a magazine source, the second, to the actual paper.

With that, I hope you all have a wonderful day!