Archive for December 2011

A version of this is attributed to Mother Teresa, but here’s the original, from a booklet for student leaders. It has been my experience that more than a few adults missed this lesson about doing what’s right despite what your raggedy ass peers think.

The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

  • People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
  • If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
  • If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
  • The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
  • Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
  • The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
  • People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
  • What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
  • People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
  • Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

An e-mail I sent my mom this morning and decided to share:

So, Debo… I modified the recipe a little. It’s kinda dense and chock full of sweet, buttery deliciousness, so go easy on em (I have eaten them with breakfast, lunch and dinner, and it’s hard to eat just one) and do NOT put butter on them before you eat them. I know you, and just trust me…

I kinda combined your and one of my girlfriend’s recipes. I basically make them the way you do with all the added ingredients, but Christal makes it in a cake pan and swirls a mixture of honey and melted butter across the top, so I added that, but one day, I ran out of honey, so I decided to try it with brown sugar instead. Then, last night, I stumbled onto perfection… I didn’t measure everything out, but here’s my best recollection.

Try it and tell me what you think…

Preheat oven to 500 degrees (yes, 500 – you’ll turn it down when you put the muffins in).

Whisk together dry ingredients and beat out clumps:

  • 1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 2 level tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon non-dairy creamer
  • 1/4 cup loose brown sugar (not packed tight like most recipes say – I use light brown, but I guess dark brown would be ok)
  • Somewhere between a pinch and 1/4 teaspoon salt (salt enhances sweet flavors, but you don’t want too much)
Add wet ingredients and mix w/electric mixer, (use fork to mash out lumps):
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg whites (or a single egg, but I try to spare my arteries cuz of all the butter and what not)
  • 1/4 cup skim milk (u can use whatever milk you normally drink, but again, I try to lighten it up)
  • 1/2 stick melted butter (SALTED butter)
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream (you can use regular, but again…)

Drop one heaping tablespoon of batter into 12 muffin cups (it should divide up perfectly even). I use paper liners, but honestly, you’re better off without them because the butter greases the pan for you, and just soaks thru the paper liners anyway. Tap the pan on the counter repeatedly (lift it about an inch off the counter and drop it a dozen or so times) to raise air pockets and level out the batter.

Melt half a stick of salted butter, and pour/drizzle exactly one teaspoon onto the top of each muffin, then drizzle a light swirl of honey (approximately 1 teaspoon) on top of that.

Turn oven down to 400 and bake for 17 minutes. They’ll come out flat, lightly browned, and slightly crunchy on top, and when you taste them it’s like A PARTY IN YOUR MOUTH!!! The tiny bit of salt from the drizzled butter remains on top, but the honey sinks to the bottom, so the salty and sweet hit your tastebuds separately then combine for awesomeness.

What do you think? Any suggestions for improvement?

I’ll let you know when I figure out how to skip the Jiffy mix altogether.

Maximum Kara. 258 pounds of awesome. Philly, January 2010

So. I’m… Fat.

Once upon a time (circa 2006) I lost almost 40 pounds by loosely following the South Beach diet.

In 2008, according to my Weight Watchers Online records, I got down to 239 while loosely following their PointsPlus Plan.

In June 2009, I reached a high of 258 lbs and hovered in that area for about six months, maxing out again in January 2010 (see photo, left).

Over the course of 2010, I lost 30 pounds again – down to a low of 222 in October 2010 (see photo, below), but this time without any particular regime. While I made a conscious effort to be more healthy after seeing the New Year’s photo you see here, I mostly attribute it to living in other people’s homes and having my own issues with violating their space more than necessary. I stay in my room and out of their way as much as possible, which includes using the kitchen only when absolutely warranted.

36 pounds lighter and I really don't see the difference. Baltimore, October 2010.

Well, I’ve been living alone for almost a year now, and… Here we go again.

This very moment, I am exactly 10 pounds shy of my maximum. The vitals (BP, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar) are all good, as they always have been, except that gotdammed BMI is sky-high. My body fat percentage is only 4% above what is considered healthy, and my waist circumference only two inches larger than the recommended maximum. HOWEVER, at 5’9″ and 248 pounds, I have a Body Mass Index of 36.6. Anything over 25 is considered overweight, and anything over 30 is labeled obese. In that Fat Kara picture up there… my BMI was 38.1. Morbidly obese according to these guys. How obnoxious, right??!

To get my BMI in the normal range, I should weigh between 125 and 168 pounds. How is 125 pounds at 5’9 and some change even normal? Right now, my jeans are a size 14 which isn’t scary bad, and my bras are a 40F. Where, dear God, will my 80 pounds come from? I’ll end up as a “healthy” 34B? Eww. I don’t want to be thin or flat-chested. Not at all. I want “the perfect coke-bottle figure” (yeah, there’s a math to it, click the link) and to be able to buy bras at Victoria’s Secret like normal women. I’ll try to stick with the plan til I reach 168, but I can’t make any promises if  I like what I see at 200 pounds or somewhere else between here and there.

Also, the most rapid yet safe rate of weight loss is approximately 1% of  your body weight per week… So, I get to lose 2 – 2.5lbs per week for about five months, then 1.5 – 2lbs per week for another five months. Ten months is a long gotdam time to deny myself some chocolate filled cupcakes. Inhumane, even. So, we’ll have to take a break for my birthday in June, and start over immediately after. *sigh* By next New Years, I, too, can be healthily curvy and continue my mission to remake myself as a total sexpot.

This time, since I’m obviously at least moderately successful at both diets, even if I hadn’t the wherewithal to stick with the healthier way of life for more than a couple months in the past, I’m going for a long-term hybrid of South Beach and Weight Watchers. I’ll stick to my daily points value of 40, and am going to do the first two weeks low-fat and carb-free (or close to it). It’s really not so hard to eat fish, poultry, dairy, and vegetables for two weeks. Veggie omelets (with cheese) for breakfast, soup and salad (with cheese) for lunch, grilled or baked chicken or fish and veggies (with cheese) for dinner. After the two week cleansing and reconditioning period, I’ll reintroduce whole fruits and whole grains

None of this starts til I wake up on Sunday, January 1st, though. New week, new month, new year. It feels right and sounds like success.

As far as exercise, it’s three miles from here to 30th Street Station, so, I’ll make it a point to walk at least that far on a daily basis. I like seeing the sleepy city in the wee hours (and makes tons of friends that way), plus it gives me time to wake my grumpy ass up before I get to the office.

I went for a practice run of the diet today, and despite the irresponsible act of skipping breakfast, and that delicious ass bacon, it was a pretty healthy day. I went to Reading Terminal Market this morning (Wednesday mornings are best because it’s the first day that the Amish are there, as well as student discount day at Iovine’s) and for $12.82, I got: 6 plum tomatoes, 4 ears of white corn, 3 cucumbers, 2 broccoli crowns, 2 red onions, a head of cauliflower, a head of romaine, a stalk of celery, a bag of spinach, a bag of spring mix, and a bag of string beans. Word to the fine folks at Iovine Brothers and OK Lee Produce. #allfresheverything

While making my lunch, I had a slice of Brown Sugar Ham from Hatville Deli (in Reading Terminal Market). A serving, which is six slices, totals 2 points, but I literally only had one slice, so let’s call it one point as there are no halves in Pointsdom. Lunch turned out to be a huge salad of iceberg lettuce (1/4 head), 1 plum tomato, 1/4 cucumber (with skin), and less than 1/4 cup of diced red onion tossed with two tablespoons of Wishbone Italian Dressing, and a slice of american cheese (also from Hatville Deli) diced up on top of it all. I washed it down with a 20oz cup of green tea with one tablespoon of sugar in it, and a 16oz bottle of water. My PointsPlus tracker says all this, which stuffed me to the brim, had a total point value of FOUR (ham included), but I always round up, so I’ll call it five to be on the safe side.

Continuing with my ridiculously cheap cornucopia o’ produce, I wound up making a belly-busting (in more ways than one) dinner. There was a wrap of grilled chicken, cucumber, plum tomato & red onion tossed with balsamic vinaigrette and wrapped in a flour tortilla for an alleged value of five points; 1.5 cups of steamed broccoli and cauliflower topped with a melted Kraft Single for a value of two points (all in the cheese, of course); a cup of cabbage fried in the grease of two bacon strips (both of which I ate during preparation, of course), for a total value of three points; and a steamed cob of corn lightly sprinkled with sea salt and no butter for a total of two points. I added another 20 ounce cup of green tea with sugar and a 16oz bottle of water, of course. They say my heaping big meal and beverage combo was 12 points total. Of course, I’ll call it 13 (probably more like 14), but really, I wasn’t able to finish it all.

Even with my generous estimate of 19 points consumed today, I have 21 left. I’m fighting the urge to bake chocolate chip cookies. Luckily, I don’t think I have enough brown sugar left. But I’ma go look anyway. If I can talk myself down, though, I may settle for some Tostitos Hint of Lime chips topped with 2% cheddar, homemade chili, some salsa and a dollop of light sour cream. But that’s only 12 points total. Or be lazy and have a piece of Sargento Reduced Sodium String Cheese (one point). Or maybe I’ll finally discover the phenomenon of celery and peanut butter for three little points. Or, ALL OF THE ABOVE!!!!!

Which leaves three questions: 1 – What will I do with the rest of today’s points? 2 – How does anyone fail at this diet? 3 – How does anyone lose (weight) on this diet?

This poem, by Max Ehrmann, reminds me of my dear friends, Christal and Elisha. The first time I saw Desiderata was probably around ten years ago on Elisha’s bathroom mirror in Silver Spring, MD. I loved it instantly, but never had a book or a print, and only thought of it occasionally. Last winter, I came across it again, somewhere in Christal’s house.

Christal & Elisha always reminded me of each other in that they are amazingly kind, patient, generous, gentle, and leave such an impact on my heart when I’m in their presence. They are close in age, both from Philadelphia, both born in June, but that is where the similarities end, which makes me wonder if  the words and ideas contribute to their nature, or if their dopeness drew them to the work. It also makes me wonder, if I’d been introduced to this poem earlier, might I be as beautiful as they? I don’t know, but I do know I’ll read it to my child(ren) every night before their bedtime prayers.

Upon further research this evening, I found that the work was largely unknown in its author’s lifetime, and was found at politician Adlai Stevenson’s deathbed, intended for use in his Christmas cards. How appropriate.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

Be great, my loves. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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  • Najeema: I've got the same plans (and posterboard on my kitchen table) for a vision board. I'll share mine if you share yours, lol. Hoping you attract everythi
  • NVRGVUP: Love is where it's at!