January 24, 2019

Food, The Government Shutdown and Congress

The sunshine disappeared, the skies turned gray and the winds picked up. All that means is the weather is about to drastically change again. This time we are headed for temperatures back in the teens by the weekend and possible snow by Tuesday. That change was off to a good start as the hounds and I stepped outside after their lunch. As you can see neither hound was too enthused about staying outside. I could feel a very cold wind coming from the west, whereas the weather channel shows the front blowing in from the Northwest at first then a big western front early next week. No matter what, our routine will stay on course.

Stella and Heidi waited for me to return from the mailbox. Besides my small card for the water bill, a bill that has not increased in the last four years, mail was nothing more than added fodder to my recycling bin. Those landscape bricks are going to be swapped out for something taller this spring OR I am going to have a load of dirt dumped in this corner then rebuild the yard. I have lost that much ground in the 20 years I've lived here. Meaning, the ground use to be level with the carport floor. Too much erosion? Or not a concern? Let me know what you think.

So I was ready to go back inside where it's warm ... so were they.

Heidi wanted to do something most of the day but was having a hard time conveying to me exactly what she wanted. She acted like she wanted to play but that wasn't it. She didn't want outside again. She had been fed. She had fresh water and she had plenty of attention after she woke from her morning nap. By late afternoon we still didn't have an answer. She finally gave up and went to sleep.

A little after 2:30pm Stella and I decided it was a perfect time for an afternoon walk. I had some pasta for lunch/dinner and I need to walk off some of those extra calories. That meal brings up some of my recent thinking about food the past couple of days. Since I have blood pressure below the normal range for someone my age, height and weight, plus a low resting pulse rate, and I get some sort of daily exercise ... what if I really don't need to lose weight?

What if my body has decided this is where I need to be just as long as I stay away from fast food, junk food and sodas? What would happen or what would the results by the end of December 2019 if I will have eaten nothing but healthy food minus the cookies, candy, sodas and quarter pounders with cheese? I've not eaten like that since my mid to late 20s. Would I still lose weight?

Obviously I cannot follow the Keto way of eating because after one banana and one apple I am already over their 15-20 grams of carbs. I can't go strictly vegan or even lacto-vegetarian because when I tried that last year I felt lethargic most of the time. If I follow meals similar to the Mediterranean Diet I gain weight because there is too much pasta or too much bread or grains. What if I forgot about counting carbs and calories, fat or protein and just ate good healthy food every day. No processed foods, just food from the produce and meat/chicken/seafood isles? Except for coffee.

As far as calories go, those are tracked in the food apps I've used and use today. Most tell me, along with medical articles, that a man my age, height and weight needs 2200 calories per day. That is more than enough food for me. Overall I average somewhere between 1600-1800 per day. There will be days I go both extremes of 1200 or 3000 depending on what I eat that day. I try to shoot for 1500 but with that number I am too hungry after 7pm. 1800 calories seems to be the best ... still those 1800 calories do not include any packaged food, maybe a can of tuna for spreading on a salad, or pasta sauce from a jar (no I'm not making my own). Meaning, my cabinets are not filled with packages of cookies, chips, crackers, candy, breads, ice cream, etc. It has been months since my last gouge on bad food.

I read the other day a study showed that a high carbohydrate diet was good for longevity .... as long as your lived in Okinawa.   :)

The path was wet this afternoon. Since it was 30° that is still cold enough to keep the ice around.

So I am leaning to do what I have been doing. I'll eat when I am hungry with my biggest meal of the day no later than 4pm. I'll keep eating bananas, apples carrots, other fresh fruit and veggies because they are good for you  and carbs don't matter when it comes to good healthy fruit. I'll have a lot of salmon because I love salmon plus I have a great source nearby for fresh caught wild salmon.

I will still have a steak occasionally along with a burger every 3-6 months because they taste good, high in protein and fat - no carbs to speak of. The BIG KEY will be, to resist that urge for a candy bar, a package of oatmeal raisin cookies or "just one" container of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. This spring and summer will be the hardest time of year to stay away from that kind of food.

I will not care knowing that if I had any amount of pasta to my day, most likely that will shove my calorie count over 2200 for the day ... who's counting? who cares?

I know my limits. I have to stay away from any kind of cows milk, any kind of cottage cheese and even the best of the best yogurt. Why? I can drink milk nonstop and within 24 hours a gallon of milk in my house is gone! I know with a container of cottage cheese that it will not last much longer than the milk does, once I open the container. Same with the yogurt ... only a difference ... I have yet to find a yogurt yet that does not give me some sort of indigestion. So  ... none of those kind of dairy ... Kerrygold butter, yes. Eggs, yes, cheeses, yes.

am I am anxious to see how these new thoughts on food shows on my monthly spreadsheet. I'll adjust my food intake from what I see there.

I've must have turned on my tv and off within 5 minutes a million times the past few weeks ... trying to listen to the news, since I do not sit and watch the news. For those that have never worked in government, let it be known that things operate a little differently than a job in a company. I have been in both worlds, corporate and government in the accounting field.

There is so much more to government finances than the media lets on. So much that I cannot even cover all the points of differences here. I'll just mention a couple of things that make this 'shutdown' confusing.

As a government contractor in 2013 I was sent home during a shutdown in the Obama administration. It wasn't long, a week to ten days. By the time my boss called me to come back to work I told him I am somewhere between Arkansas and Missouri driving and being at work by 8am the next morning was not possible. "After all YOU are the one that told me to go home" :)

I was still paid on a regular basis during that shutdown because I took vacation days as did EVERYONE ELSE I worked with!! There was no hardships by those married with kids - they were happy to have the time off!!!

I have also been in a government position. In most cases throughout government nationwide, funds to pay people salaries are already on the books in THEIR department, especially in January the start of the second quarter in a fiscal year. So the shutdown isn't a money thing, there is money available within their departments to pay salaries.

There might be some people in between projects, or a new hire that doesn't have funds set aside for them but I know from personal experience those kind of employees are paid on time with the project money already on the books. The kicker is, depending what type of funding it is, they will have to spend all of it some way by September 30th or lose it as DC takes back the balance. When people are not paid, those balances grow astronomical.

From the personal side ... I'm sorry I don't agree with the "sob story" of food lines, trying to feed my kids, missing a mortgage payment ... etc.

WHY??? "That's terrible" "You suck saying that"

Well, look at it this way ....

Even the new employee hired a week before the shutdown, they make good money. Very good money. IN MY OPINION after being in their shoes ... the people who are crying to the heavens that Trump or the shutdown is destroying their life .... really???? ONLY BASING THIS ON WHAT I HAVE SEEN WITH MY OWN TWO EYES WHEN WORKING ... those kind of people have a house that they couldn't  afford when they bought it. I mean, they mortgaged out more than they could afford. God bless them if they don't have a fixed rate mortgage. They stretched that monthly payment as much as they could within their budget .... called income and expense.

See along with that house are one or two NEW cars, trucks or suv's. They have $700-~$1,000 per month going out for car payments. "Ah you want at that $65,000 pickup truck but can't afford that monthly payment ??? Let me help you and stretch that loan out 7, 8 or 9 years. Is that better?" says their friend car salesman.

I haven't even got to the credit card mess yet. For those government workers that are strapped for cash driving an older car and bought an older cheaper home or even renting ... I'll bet all the money I have that their credit cards are max'ed out to the maximum balance and there is no more money available .... why??

WHO BUYS GROCERIES WITH CREDIT CARDS THAT HAVE INTEREST RATES OVER 20% ????? Who? .. More people than you can imagine.

Again, based on my personal experience of working for the government, having lunch with co-workers and even having some co-workers show up at my desk more times than I can count saying -----

"I hear you do spreadsheets. Do you think you could make one for me that can tell me where all my money is going , I never seem to have any money left after I get paid?"


Those were people making over $65,000 per year, with kids usually, possibly a single parent. Or a young graduate just starting. Or someone as old as me that just figured out they really want to retire but has not saved a dime for retirement and could see they were not going to have enough to live on after working for the government all their life. They had refinanced their house to keep their lifestyle of the 'rich and famous' going strong all those years.

Now there are those that are innocent, have a savings accounts, have paid for college tuition for their kids, are responsible for their money and stays within budget ... but those people are not the ones crying to the heavens how they are getting screwed.

BTW do you know that most airports hire their security checkers from private firms and not all are TSA employees?

Do you know that 4 out of 6 illegal immigrants have an education level below high school? What kind of job can you get with that?  (Yes, I know Gates nor Zuckerberg finished college) Do they deserve a "living wage" or $15 per hour minimum?

So it's a mixed bag of thoughts for me on this shutdown stuff. I am guessing that Congress will come to some sort of agreement, after both of their bills fail to get passed this afternoon. It will be a deal behind closed doors ... then all the whining and bitching can move to another topic in the media. Just like referees in ballgames, the media reporters make me puke!!!

I did well playing Mahjong today. I also found a new tv series I love on the History Channel called "Project Blue Book" ... my DVR had taped three shows for me. I watched them all back to back. If you like true stories, if you like UFO's, you like history ... then you will like Project Blue Book on the History Channel. Another show I mentioned a few posts ago, is about the start of the internet, the anti-trust suit against Microsoft that they lost, the destruction of Netscape (my favorite browser in the 90's) ... Valley of Boom, their last show is on Sunday night.

Stella of course is not affected by the government shutdown but you can't say she hasn't thought about it. That is a look of some deep thinking from a bloodhound.

While playing Mahjong at the kitchen table I noticed the water rising from the flooded creek that borders both fields across the highway.

By 5pm there were signs of unexpected snow. No urge to nap after that pasta I ate. No urge to read ... just urges to hang out and enjoy another day of retirement. Tell me what you think about my food thoughts or my thoughts on the government stuff.

It's been another nice day in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.


  1. I mostly agree with your opinions on the shutdown folks. They are guaranteed to get their salary for the time they did not work, eventually. When I was sent home that was the end of the job. The next day I was hunting work or getting ready to go hungry (so to speak).

  2. Well......where do I start. I am still in Costa Rica and it is living proof socialism implodes in a few years. Sure hope the USA does not head down this path. People need to learn to handle money in elementary school and prove they understand it before graduating.

  3. Arrowhead GrammaJanuary 24, 2019 4:24 PM

    Good post on the shutdown and how you know it works from having experienced it. What I can't get my head around is that most of the ones in Congress against the wall/barrier were for it just a few years ago, but because the President is for it they are now against it. They are acting the the mean kids in junior high. Time for them to do what's best for the country.

  4. Yes it's much different being a government employee ... very hard if not impossible to get fired.

  5. Costa Rica was on of the better places for retired military 15 - 20 years ago. I can't think of any country where socialism worked.

  6. It's hard to understand. Basically they just hate Trump that much. I hope he does the Executive Order and uses the $7B that will be reallocated, just an electronic paper shuffle.

    "They" will never do anything different, best for the country or not, until Trump is out of office.

  7. Arrowhead GrammaJanuary 24, 2019 7:23 PM

    Totally agree. Issue the Executive Order and be done with it. Too many other matters that need to be dealt with.

  8. When that idiot you so revere issues his executive order to bypass the congress and use his 7 billion dollars from defense budget for his stupid wall,do you think the North Koreans,Russians and Chinese might be dancing in the streets ? To weaken our military like that is ludicrous !

  9. The Pentegon is for it. Go do more research. :)

  10. Plus those that you revere so much just sign on for $15B to build a wall in Pakistan.