October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween



This was the pumpkin we carved last year! Can't wait for all the kiddos to come tonight.

October 30, 2008

Response to Anonymous Comment

I received an anonymous comment to my blog post from yesterday. I understand that people have different point of views and are free to comment in any way they feel. On the same note, I am allowed to post and write about my thoughts in any way I feel. We are fortunate in the United States to have freedom of speech and exchange ideas in many different ways. We have the right to disagree. This blog is a personal blog where I share my ideas and thoughts about what I think to be important. I don't talk politics very much but I do know what is important to me and have my own beliefs.

Everyone has different ideas and viewpoints and those ideas are meant to be respected. I respect the opinion of the commenter and that person has the right to be bothered by my post if they so feel bothered. They may not agree or be annoyed but I do personally believe that the issues that were outlined in the report card are very important issues and are important to me both as a woman and as a citizen of the United States. I also understand that not all people will agree with me. That is the beauty of human beings, we are all individuals and we are all different. I embrace those differences.

I do want to clarify one thing from your comment. You asked:
"Furthermore, since when did economist become specialist in such things? Isn't the specialty of economist supposed to be the economy?"
Actually economists are social scientists, like other social scientist (e.g., psychologists, sociologists) economists study a wide variety of issues; many issues that impact public policy. They apply economic theories and methodologies to answer important questions. In actuality, the items outlined in the report card are all public policy issues that have been studied by economists as well as other social scientists. As a psychologist, I find economic research to be very valuable and so yes they are specialists in "such things" and as a discipline look at issues beyond the economy. These things are a part of their discipline. Economist, much like psychologist, are stereotyped to be one thing when in fact their training provides them with the skills to do much more. Well-known economists have done research on child care, work and family issues, health care, employment, education, and much more. Many of the same issues that are important to voters.

While Anonymous commenter you might be annoyed by my post, I am not annoyed by your comment. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and commenting on my blog. While I do not agree with your comments, I do thank you for taking time to read my blog and share your comments.

October 29, 2008

Presidential Report Card

Recently, a group of economists released a report card evaluating the presidential candidates on 10 economic issues of importance to women. No matter who you support, it is a good idea to be informed. This report card is one way to compare the candidates on the important issues. Below is the report card according to the report.

REPORT CARD

McCain

Obama

Overall Grade

D

B

Health Care

C-

B-

Pay and Employment Equity

F

B

Retirement Security

D

B

Taxes

D

B-

Paid Time Off

D

B+

Child Care and Early Education

D

B

Poverty

D

B

Non-traditional Families

C-

B+

Domestic Violence

D

A

Reproductive Rights

F

A



This is pretty interesting and I am sure people will have their various comments on this report card. But it is important to realize, that this report was endorsed by more than 40 economists. Many of whom are well-know academics in their fields and who examine policy issues for a living. As an academic, myself, I find this to be a credible source. In the end, it is up to you to decide what is important to you. The full report can be found at http://www.epgwi.org.

October 27, 2008

It's only Monday!

It was such an exhausting day at work today. And it is only Monday. If this is any indication of the rest of the week. Yikes!

On the bright side, I am taking a mental health day on Friday.

Back to work!

October 24, 2008

October 21, 2008

Chinese Food

I love Chinese Food, especially really good Chinese Food. Actually, Mr. Bear and I had some yummy Chinese food for dinner just the other day. Well, today I came across this article from Newsweek. It lists the 7 unhealthy food choices at a Chinese restaurant.
  1. Fried Rice
  2. Lo Mein
  3. Chow fun
  4. Orange Beef
  5. Lemon Chicken
  6. General Tso's chicken
  7. BBQ spared ribs
These are some of my favorite Chinese dishes. This makes me very sad. Of course this is not to say that you should just stay away from Chinese food all together. It is all about moderation and making healthy choices. Stir fried dishes are often the better choice, as are vegetable dishes.

I can never give up fried rice altogether. I do know it can't be that great for you, it is fried and it is white rice but I love fried rice. Occasionally, when we do go out I will ask for steamed brown rice instead, but I do love fried rice. It is all about moderation and in moderation it will not totally ruin my healthy eating habits.

October 20, 2008

Oktoberfest: "Das Boot"

Friday night, Mr. Bear and I enjoyed Oktoberfest! We had bratwurst, drank beer, did the chicken dance, and had a great time with some great friends!



"Das Boot" Instead of a stein, Mr. Bear found Das Boot for his German beer. It was definitely an attention getter.



With all the beer this group drank, we created a beer cup tower! A lot of effort went into this creation.



October 16, 2008

No Food Bank in the largest county in the US

My friend decided to start a canned food drive and she will be delivering canned food to a local food bank every week. What a wonderful idea! She is so kind and wonderful to come up with such a great idea. Her idea prompted me to find out where the closest food bank was to me, so that I could donate some canned food in her honor. According to the California Association Food Banks, there are no food bank in San Bernardino County. That is just crazy!

San Bernardino County is not only the largest county in the state of California, it is the largest county in the United States! In fact, it is larger than 9 states! That just seems absolutely wrong that the largest county in the U.S. would not have a food bank. According to U.S. Census Bureau, 15.40% of the San Bernardino population were below the poverty line, that is higher than the state percentage (13.2%). So it is not like San Bernardino county doesn't have a need. I just think that is outrageous.

October 15, 2008

Getting back in the swing of things

Since the triathlon, I have been taking it pretty easy. I felt like I had been pushing my body so hard that I wanted to take the week to recuperate and rest. That's not to say that I did nothing at all last week. I rode my bike to work a few days and I took a couple of aerobics classes, so I wasn't a total couch potato. But it was nice to not push myself and feel that I must be training all the time.

I went for a run for the first time yesterday since the race and it felt great. I ran about 3-4 miles. It was a good run and felt good to be moving. I think I will be getting back on my schedule and mixing things up. Since I was training, I was primarily focusing on running as many miles as I could get in each week. I like to do a mix of different activities. It keeps things interesting and fun and now it doesn't seem like so much work. I will start getting back into my step classes and body works classes. I will continue to do yoga, because I absolutely love yoga. So I will mix it up more, to keep me motivated and give my body some new activities to do. I will continue to run. Because this non-runner has begun to really enjoy running. Amazing!!

I haven't decided on new goal or race yet. I would like to do another relay triathlon and I know a lot of the people that participated with me want to do another one too. So I am sure that will be in my future at some point. I would also love to do another 10K race. We'll have to see what is ahead. For now, the goal is to stay healthy, stay fit, keep in shape, and have fun.

October 11, 2008

You can't call me a spoiled princess anymore

I'll be the first to admit that I am spoiled. I am daddy's girl and daddy gave me pretty much everything I wanted. Then I got a job and got myself whatever I wanted. Then, I got married and have a husband who gives me what I want as well. I have so much in life and I am so thankful for everything I have. I have wonderful parents (my own and my in-laws), great friends, a job I enjoy (and a new one I am totally excited about starting), an awesome fat cat, and of course the best husband ever! As Mr. Bear says, I am such a princess sometimes.

My car lease is coming up at the end of the month and it is time to decide on what to do. There are many options: buy out the lease, buy a new car, lease a new car, or buy a used car. Since I am a married women, this is not a decision I will make alone but along side my husband. This is a decision we make for our little family. So we have been doing our research and looking at different options and trying to determine the best choice. With the state of the economy and the fact that we hope to have children soon, we needed to make a decision that was practical and economical.


My current vehicle is a 2006 BMW X5. I absolutely love my car, but this was not the most practical or economical choice. Being the spoiled princess I was, I wanted this car and so I got it. When I got it, I was a single woman with a new job and no major expenses. The economy was great and at the time it was a great choice for me and my lifestyle. Since then, I planned a wedding, moved, got married, planned a funeral, celebrated an anniversary, and many other things. Life has changed and so have my priorities. My priorities are our family. Though I absolutely love my car, it was time to make a decision that was in the best interest of us as a family unit for the future.

So today we purchase a used cargo van. Okay, you may think, why would I choose to drive a van of all things. Well, actually Mr. Bear will drive the van. It will become his work vehicle and I will drive his vehicle, a Chevy Suburban. It was a smart decision for our family. The payments and insurance on the van are way lower than my BMW (about half). So we can take the extra money and put it away in savings. With the state of the economy, it seemed like a smart idea to have money in savings and spend less. Plus, the van is a tool for Mr. Bear and his business, it will be used to for work and work brings in income. So, it was a good decision for us all around.

Plus, now that I will be driving a Suburban, I can practice to be a soccer mom. Mr. Bear always called the Suburban a soccer mom car, since many mom's in this area seem to drive Suburbans to haul kids and their stuff around town. Not a mom yet, but I am gearing up and getting ready.

October 7, 2008

Triathlon reflections

Now that I am rested, I can reflect a little bit more on the relay triathlon I completed yesterday. What an amazing experience. I set a personal record and as a team we ranked 3rd among mixed gender relay teams (6 teams total)! That is pretty awesome. I am pretty proud of us.

The best part was having all these people around to support each other and cheer each other on. We were there with 5 teams. Most of us novices who were just in it to have some fun and "tri" something different. Everyone was awesome and did a wonderful job. I don't think there was anyone who was upset or disappointed by the whole experience.

I loved that Mr. Bear was there to cheer me on and to document the experience by taking some photos. The rush at the finish line was just awesome. I sprinted to the very end and did my very best and I feel pretty proud of my accomplishment. I am hooked and I am ready for the next challenge! I feel good.

October 5, 2008

I did it!

I completed my first relay triathlon today! The weather was perfect about 70 degrees and it was absolutely awesome. My team did wonderful and my friends all did amazing jobs. My running buddy, TK, did the entire triathlon herself, she did the express version. I was very proud of her! It feels so great to have accomplished something like this. I may not have done the entire triathlon myself but I ran the 10K in a personal record time. I ran it in 1:11, which is better than I thought I would ever do. I feel great about my time!! My best friend and swimmer swam 1.5K in about 34 minutes and my cyclist rode 40K in about 1:12. We did well individually and as a team.

My Team:



Getting ready:



Look at the swimmers go:



Passing the baton (timing chip), transition I:



Passing the baton (timing chip), Transition II:



And off I go:



Here I coming; the home stretch:



We did it!!

October 3, 2008

A New Job!

I have been concerned with the state of my current job. With the budgetary issues at work, there was a possibility that my current position would be eliminated or downsized to a part-time position. Since I work with the budget, I understood that there was a possibility that my institute might fold in a few years unless we were able to find a means to sustain through endowments or donors. My boss and my former boss were trying to find some solutions to keep me by restructuring my position to piece together a full-time position by working in different departments. I knew I was secure until June 30th, the end of the academic and fiscal year.

On Tuesday, I got a call about a new position on campus. This new position was being created at in another institute on campus and they thought of me for the job. They wanted to see if I was interested. This new position is actually a better fit for me and a great new challenge. It involves more focus on research and the opportunities to work with a lot of different people on campus. Plus, I would get to let go of some of my administrative responsibilities (like dealing with budgets, yuck!). So of course I was interested. Yesterday, I got the call that the position was approved and that I was approved for the position if I wanted. Without hesitation, I told them wanted it. They want me to start quickly, like next month. They did talk with my current boss and to allow for a seamless transition, they agreed that I will work 50/50 in the new position and in my current position for the rest of the academic year. Come July 1st, I will transition solely into the new job. I am so glad we were able to work this out so that I can still stick to the commitments I have in my current position. This will give my current boss the time to find my replacement (which because of the budget issues will become a part-time position) and train them.

I am so utterly excited. This is such wonderful news and this new position provides a lot more job security for me. I am so fortunate to have such great support. My boss, my former boss, and my new boss are excited for this new career move. I think it is a good one, not only does it provide me with the job security I need, it will be a great challenge to utilize my skills and allow me to work with other people around campus. It is a great move all around. I can't wait to start.

October 2, 2008

October 1, 2008

My man is talented!!

I shared with you a few weeks ago some pictures of Mr. Bear's talent. I have a few more picture to share. He does the most amazing custom work.

Here is an entry way:




Here is a corner leading up to the ceiling:




Look at this ceiling: