New Year’s Resolutions

I typically do not like making New Year’s resolutions. At least not as most people make them. I don’t want to make some resolution and then break it. I want my resolutions to be more than pie-in-the-sky aspirations. So I like to set goals which I can work toward. Concrete targets. Workable goals. Attainable goals.

It helps that my birthday is January 3 because my goals coincide with me traveling around the globe another year since my birth too.

Last year, with the help of a friend (thanks Chelsea!), I set a new financial goal for my office, and got down to making that goal a reality. It is still in process but I’m definitely on the right trajectory. That this goal will be multi-year does not make it less valuable. It is a hill worth climbing.

Instead of saying “I want to lose weight”, I set a goal to better health each year and my continued improvement of my health. As I get older, I know that this is a crucial aim to achieve. It is always a journey though.

For example, I recently started eating rice, corn, and white potatoes again — after 3 years of none. But I don’t want to go crazy. They aren’t the best of foods for me to eat, especially since I love FRIED potatoes and can eat them to sickness. So I set my goal so that for the most part, I would not make them at home and only eat them out of the house. I am not uber-strict about it but I still haven’t bought rice or corn in years. Eating these items while dining out (or takeout at home) keeps me from over-indulging.

I always have a goal to eat healthier foods. My daily goal is to drink enough water. That hasn’t changed in years. Neither has my goal to eat lots of veggies. My newest goal is to eat more fish and lamb and less beef. I will accomplish this by eating beef most of the time while dining out and only eat poultry, fish, lamb, and some pork in the house.

It helps my food goals that  I eat 2/3 of my meals at home and that I really like to cook. It also helps that I have two friends that are professional chefs. One cooks me great, healthy meals to take home periodically (the cost is less than eating out). The other is someone that I can bounce ideas off of for home-cooking and has some of the same food challenges.

I set a new goal to do more yoga and/or tai chi in the coming year. I’ve said it before but I have made a serious setting of intention this year. My thought process is that I want something that is good for my mind and spirit not just my body. I am that person that feels great after going to the gym but getting me there is hell. But with yoga, I’m not looking for power yoga or exercise disguised as yoga. I want yoga that has lovely, slow movements and lots of breath and mindful meditation. It may very well mean a beginner’s class. I’m okay with that.

I have set a goal for reading books every year for as many years as I can remember. I am forgiving of myself and change it as necessary. The past few years I use Goodreads to assist by following their annual reading challenge. The reading challenge helps me keep track of books I’ve read (I do not make any money from Goodreads; I just like the program). Last year I read 27 books (plus 1 book I read 1/2 of and just couldn’t bring myself to finish). But I decided to set my goal at 12 books for 2018 because I’d rather readjust upward than “fail”. My goal since I was 10 years old has been to read at least one book a month. As I get toward the goal of 12 books, I will reevaluate and likely increase the number of books to read by year’s end. I love to read so this is not a hardship but sometimes work gets in the way of my reading habit.

Some other ideas I have for goals this year are to start playing guitar again (we’ll see how that goes) and to take my love of photography more seriously (I bought myself a camera for the holidays so that’s a start!).

One of the most important goals I have made a commitment to is to friends and family. Life is too short to spend on people that will suck your time and affection from you. After someone I cared for and trusted showed me that I was wasting my time and energy where it wasn’t appreciated, I made an almost immediate goal half-way through 2017 to connect and reconnect with those people that truly care about me and that I care about. I am continuing this vital goal this year with gusto. Tea, coffee, drinks, lunches, dinners, movies, emails, letters, phone calls. Do I fall down? Yes. But I keep trying.

In Hebrew, the number 18 corresponds to the word “chai” which means “to life”. So here’s to 2018 — to life!

20 chai


Alabama — By the Numbers

I haven’t written in a while because I’ve got something up my sleeve. A project. More to come in the next few months.

But I thought that after yesterday’s nail-biter of an election in Alabama, I would give my 2¢.


My Bachelor’s is in Political Science and I have a law degree, so I find all of the politics very interesting, even without all of the emotions that get everybody (myself included) knotted up. The political scientist in me is very interested in the numbers. I am not going to discuss how over 600,000 people could vote for a man that is likely a pedophile instead of the “liberal” (okay, I guess I just did, although discussing it further gives me heartburn and makes me immensely sad).

Here’s what I saw with the numbers. Doug Jones won the election by 20,000 votes. But what was most interesting were the 22,000 votes by mostly Republicans that wrote-in a candidate’s name instead of voting for Moore or Jones.

What this tells me is that while Jones, the Democrat, won this election, a solid Republican candidate has a very good chance of winning during the next election because it is likely those 22,000 write-ins will go back “to the fold”.

It seems to me that Jones, who I am sure will run during the next regular election, will have to do a stellar job  in office (although it may not be enough) and everyone that voted for Jones this time will have to make a concerted effort to vote in that next election as well. Plus an additional 25,000+ will have to step up and vote for Jones or he will be sent home.

I Quit Blogging Before It Was Cool to Blog– I’m Baaack!



I was a blogger before it was cool. I was blogging regularly in 2003. I blogged about music and my marriage and my family and how I was feeling and, and, and. Back then, it was considered really strange. I met some good people and I still “talk” online to some of them because we’ve kept in touch all these years. That was a great side effect of blogging. Of course, I loved flexing my writing muscle.

But then I quit.

I archived all of my blog posts and shut down my site.

By 2007, I hadn’t blogged in over a year and a half and I was still way ahead of the blogging curve. In 2007, I had to actually add the words “blog,” “blogging,” and “blogged” to the Word dictionary because Word didn’t yet recognize the concept of BLOG.

Why did I stop? I stopped blogging because I really got tired of total strangers reading my words and feeling like they had a right to comment on what I thought. Some of the people were downright rude and obnoxious. I also didn’t like the idea that anyone could read it and draw conclusions that I didn’t like. My family also was chiming in and questioning why I needed to blog. Right up until my dad’s death in 2016, he questioned the need to talk about anything publicly, in a blog or on social media. He thought it was really weird and perhaps even unseemly.

I wasn’t ready to be out there.

Nonetheless, I started blogging again in 2015 although due to work and caregiving, I was (and still am) rather neglectful of the blog. I was still worried about what people thought though. I thought that in a city with the population of Beijing it might not matter but I live in Winchester, Virginia, hotbed of gossip. I worried. Blogging was definitely beyond the pale if I chose to blog the way I do. I’m not doing a cookbook blog, or teaching people to be healthier. I had people tell me that even my social media posts might be negatively affecting my business and that perhaps I should be more circumspect. Airing laundry in Winchester, even if it’s clean, is apparently not a good idea.

Well, first, I started having different people coming to me for legal advice. These were people that did not know I was of a similar mind before. They assumed I was a stodgy conservative thinker. Surprise, surprise, surprise! Business has been better than ever. So much for hurting my business.

Second, I allowed a few chosen people to read my “private” blog posts. These are posts that are hidden. They didn’t run and hide or cringe. They asked why I wasn’t posting them and when could they read more.

Third, I went to a writers’ workshop and came away with the idea that I cannot keep worrying about what everyone else thinks. Not family. Not friends. Certainly not exes. As long as I was speaking my truth, I was okay.

I’m ready to be out there.

It is a risk but I am willing to take it. Hang on folks and damn the torpedoes!

I Sure Do Miss You

You are gone one year today. Some days it seems like this year has dragged on. But in all honesty, I can’t believe it’s been a year already.

I can’t believe that I miss my gluten contaminated house filled with your cakes, doughnuts, breads, and cookies, Mr. Cookie Monster.

Having you live with me was so incredibly difficult and yet so incredibly rewarding. While I didn’t like your nocturnal need for tea and conversation,  I cherish those 3 a.m. conversations nonetheless. In those talks I learned so much.

I miss your advice. Oh boy do I ever miss your advice. Lately I could really use it and somehow asking myself “what would Dad do?” doesn’t seem adequate.

I miss your voice. I miss hearing you say “love you babe”.

Thanks for being my dad. Miss you Dad.


We’ve been hearing a lot about lying lately.  Apparently lying is en vogue these days.

Our president thinks the media lies. Fact checkers prove that our president lies with every breath he takes. Michael Flynn neglected to tell the VP about something he did and had to resign as a result.

Some however would question whether Michael Flynn actually lied. They will say he merely omitted giving information. 

I had a conversation about this with a friend. My friend believes that the omission is not a lie. I was told that as long as the precise question is not asked, there is no lie. Merely not speaking the truth is okay. I take some comfort that my friend did use a fair amount of word salad to say that, hopefully an indication that he is trying to believe it but not quite sure himself. In a later conversation,  this person said that he didn’t lie, he just left out part of the story.

But this conversation wasn’t sitting well with me. It felt very false. How can the obfuscation not be a lie? How do you trust what the person is telling you knowing it may not be the entire truth?  As usual, I have taken the time to think about it and do a little research as well and now I’m blogging (or at least journaling) about it.

As a law student you are taught early on about the difference between lies of commission (speaking outright lies) and lies by omission. You are taught that in some circumstances,  a failure to act (or speak) is as bad as acting. Similarly, omitting an important fact that would be incriminating is as bad as lying to avoid saying something incriminating. 

I’m not a Christian but the New Testament is very clear that a lie by omission is sin. I can only assume that our law, based on biblical morality, sees lies by omission as unlawful because of the biblical command to not lie or bear false witness.

So what is lying by omission and is it really lying? A lie by omission is an indirect lie. You are lying by omission when you deliberately leave out important information which gives others a misconception of what is really going on.

The most obvious example is a married person having an affair and the married person doesn’t say “I’m working late” but lets the other spouse believe that’s why he’s coming home so late. Then the married person goes out on a date while his spouse waits at home thinking loving spouse is hard at work. 

In my friend’s viewpoint, as long as the spouse doesn’t  specifically ask “honey are you cheating on me?,” forcing a “yes,” there is no lie. However, I think the spouse left in the dark will feel that this “don’t ask, don’t tell” moment needs to be called what it is. A lie. And a betrayal.Research bears this out as I will explain later. Plus you need to know to ask the right question!

Perhaps a better description of this person is “deceiver”. A deceiver is a person who willingly deceives another day in and day out and seems comfortable with doing it. 

There’s a similar form of deception, called paltering. A palterer  strings together a series of essentially truthful statements to create a false impression. This is most used to describe politicians and advertisers.

This Dilbert cartoon is a perfect example of lies of omission .

How  does this person look another person they are deceiving in the eye every single day and not feel that he is lying? 

I know I couldn’t do that without great discomfort and a lot of lost sleep. That discomfort is called cognitive dissonance. 

People however are capable of great mental gymnastics to make themselves feel better about their lying and some will go to great lengths to pull the wool over your eyes. Some people will even change their beliefs to avoid any discomfort they feel at telling lies. By changing their beliefs, they are no longer lying! 

Should you trust someone that is adept at omission/deception? George Orwell said that “the omission is the most powerful form of lie”. Research in the field shows that all this lying is damaging to relationships.

A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology determined that a person who is  lied to by omission didn’t feel any better than one told an outright lie. The person feels just as betrayed and believes the behavior is just as unethical. 

In a study published in Cognition, MIT scientists revealed that if you lie by omission to children, they are adept at telling that you have not told them the truth and will stop trusting the information you give them from that point on. Apparently, kids are really astute! The shame is that as we get older we seem to lose that inate intelligence (and wind up spending a few hours researching and writing blog posts about it).

In other words, trust is eroded. 

How do you get that trust back? I don’t have an answer for that. Once you know someone is a deceiver, can you trust that person?  How do you know the person is not going to willingly deceive you even if you haven’t been on the receiving end of deception thus far?

Perhaps, though, the words of a wise friend will offer some food for thought. She opined that when a person shows you who he (or she) is, believe it. Don’t discount it. In other words, a person that deceives so easily and doesn’t seem to lose sleep over it should be approached with caution. Their words may not be dripping with lies but the omissions, those words unsaid, are suspect. Be vigilant. Proceed with caution.


This is too hard. His birthday was the 10th. Last year we were having cake and he was eating fish and chips. 

Sunday is the first father’s day without him. Advertisers want me to buy the perfect gift for him. I want to scream “my dad is DEAD! Stop emailing me this crap!”

Facebook is already blowing up with dad’s day posts. By Sunday it will be unbearable. I will have to do my best to do a FB fast.

The past two weeks have been filled with annoyances and heartache. Now Tuesday is the anniversary of his death and I’ve been dreading it. I’ve wanted to talk to him so badly. This only drives home how much I miss him and his wise counsel.  

They say it gets easier. I sure hope so.