Posting this for our non-USian friends who might want some "color commentary" on what's going on over here. Let me know if it isn't helpful.


The US elections are getting even more fiery.

Hillary Clinton's folks are getting some flak for spending $1 million to purchase the services of internet people whose sole purpose is to go online and astroturf. For the record, that's referring to creating "artificial grassroots" by planting people to post online as genuine supporters. The initiative is called "Correct the Record" - and it drew howls of derision from supporters of Donald Trump as well as Bernie Sanders. The Clinton folks rightly pointed out the double standard here, given that Sanders has paid out ten times that amount to similar initiatives, a fact which his supporters went very very quiet about when this was revealed.

The other bombshell on the Democrat side is that Sanders finally agreed in a public venue to support Hillary Clinton if she's the nominee, and to encourage his supporters to back her. This has led to some outrage in the Sanders camp, as many were expecting to write-in Bernie as a candidate, and some feel that his tacit support of Hillary is a betrayal of their support for him.

It's turning into a really weird set of coalitions: on one side we have the "Never Trump" people who will support ANYONE on the other side of the ticket to keep "The Donald" out of the White House. There's the usual chorus from left wingers saying they will up and leave the country in protest if Trump is elected: the same folks who were absolutely, completely and FOR REAL THIS TIME going to move to Canada if Bush was elected. And re-elected. Al Sharpton and Miley Cyrus have joined the usual chorus this time around, leading to the usual racist jokes about finally, we have a way to get rid of Al Sharpton. On the other side we have folks who absolutely will not, never, not in a million years support Hillary Clinton, and they aren't just dyed-in-the-wool rednecks who watch Fox news. Many of them are dedicated left wingers who hate Hillary's involvement in wars and coups over the course of decades, and her halving the wages of Haitian textile workers to support the garment lobby in the US. For them, Sanders represented to the Millennial generation what McGovern was to the Baby Boomers, and they're exceedingly bitter. Most will probably vote Hillary, but there's a vocal minority as I've said before who rightly say that Trump in many ways is the lesser of two evils.

To add fuel to that fire, one of the Koch Brothers came out publicly to say that Hillary would be a better choice for them than Trump.

Meanwhile on the Republican side, Ted Cruz and Kasich have formed an interesting anti-Trump alliance. Cruz will not contest Kasich in certain upcoming primaries, and Kasich will bow out of races that Cruz will more definitely win. Because both have been mathetmatically eliminated from winning that race by delegates - they're trying a Hail Mary pass to simply deny Trump his own majority which will force a brokered convention meaning that all bets are off and the RNC can nominate who it wants. They're not going to be able to win it, so they're just trying to ensure that nobody does, so that the RNC can anoint who it wishes after back-room dealing. And boy has there been blowback. Sean Hannity, the conservative talk show prince to Rush Limbaugh's King, has said openly that if they wrest the nomination from Trump with these kinds of shenanigans, he is done with the Republican party for good. This is huge, considering just how much water Limbaugh and Hannity have carried for that party for decades.

One of the main themes of this election has been a real hatred of "politics as usual" and Trump and Sanders have had levels of support that they would never have enjoyed previously based on that zeitgeist. This move has greatly angered supporters of both men in states where they've suddenly been disenfranchised - and many are planning on casting Trump votes in protest. Meaning that their Hail Mary pass, like many of them on the football field - might land squarely into the hands of the opposition.

This is a very weird polarizing election. It's starting to get motivated more by a hatred of everything else rather than the support of any particular person - and unfortunately it's given the public too much of a glance into the inner workings of how party politics really works. 

What's come out of this, in essence - is a fracturing in both parties. The Democrats' uneasy alliance of John Major style center-leftists and the genuine progressive left is looking to be toast. Likewise, the unholy alliance of redneck, gun-toting Bible thumping fundamentalist evangelists and Brooks Brothers Tories looks to be finished as well. Both parties made Faustian bargains that held for a while, but now they're showing stress cracks, and personal ambition is tearing both of those alliances apart.

None of the usual prognostication rules apply. Who are the unions going to support? Usually they support the Democrat candidate - but with Hillary shilling for the TPP and the further outsourcing of jobs (it was Bill's NAFTA that killed a lot of good blue collar jobs to benefit the 1%) and Donald Trump building a wall to restrict cheap undercutting undocumented labor from Mexico, who are they going to really support in the upcoming contest? Are the greenies and the ultraprogressives going to stand with Her, or are they going to throw their support with Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate?

To give you an idea of just how weird 2016 is - in Stone Mountain, Georgia just outside Atlanta, Georgia there was a white power rally at the mountain park this past weekend. Eight people were arrested. None of them were the white power supporters, who simply stood with their Confederate flags and did their tired Nazi salute routine. The folks who were arrested were counter-protestors, whom the police stopped because they were wearing masks. It is illegal in the state of Georgia to attend a rally or protest or gathering wearing a mask (ironically, this law was enacted to prevent the Klan from appearing in hoods). One attacked police, and while they were effecting that arrest, one counter-protestor maced the police and another threw a smoke grenade. The ensuing melee resulted in the closing of the park and multiple arrests. Let me reiterate that again. In 2016, the Ku Klux Klan were the reasonable, pacifist voice. (By that I don't mean I consider racism to be reasonable, I'm saying they didn't come masked and armed and didn't physically assault the police or anyone else.)

Is this the election that finally smashes the two party system? Are we going to see four or more parties in four years?

What does a win for either party either way DO for the contest two years later to control Congress? This is going to be a rollercoaster ride either way.

Woke up around five, but laid in bed for a while. Tested out my sore ankle which was good for a short walk. Last night I read a blog post on goal setting. It's simple and effective, yet I rarely set goals. Last night I learned there's a focus and a formula - that helped. It's silly to set goals without a way to track them. I'm new at this, but excited to have this new knowledge. Another thing I'm thrilled about is how my Use What You Have Decorating book has transformed the rooms where I've applied the skill set. I tweaked my living room again, one of the people I'm going to be interviewing studies ergonomics which is a topic that's always fascinated me as most furniture is manufactured for people who are taller than I am.

The blog post says there are four main goal setting areas - relationships, self, health, and wealth. While I've made strides in each category I believe that more specific goals will help. Probably the biggest relationship in my life that would benefit from strategic work is the one I have with Jill and Jane's father. It's also the one I want to work on the least. I'd like to get to a point where I am proactive, realistic, and less sensitive. He owns the house, but I live here. I have time and he's willing to pay for things like paint if I can get it up on the walls. My goal is to define him as a landlord who is also the part time custodian of my children. They're separate intertwined issues that need detangling.

Some of the things I can do are: make a list of everything that needs painting. We also have trim that needs to be replaced, we have a laundry list of handy man projects, I know a guy who might be willing to help, I have to think about what the priorities are, and in what order things should be done. The floors need to be redone, we either need new carpeting or another type of flooring where we currently have carpet. There are holes in the wall that need patching before painting can be done. I'd like to turn the back hall closet into an area where people can hang coats and drop gear before they head into the kitchen, and then there are things like the hot water heater. Is he going to be responsible for that or does he expect me to pay for repairs or a new unit? These things need to be clarified. I'll talk to my therapist about it today.

As far as goals for my self are concerned, I want to be a less fear filled and anxious person. I want to reduce the amount of medication I take, I feel like I'm pretty good about minimizing it, but I want to taper off the sleep meds and reduce the number of vitamins I take. This is tied into health and eventually wealth since spending less there will give me more to save and invest. I like the interviews, those are a good thing in my life right now, but I'd like to be better about who I invite and when I interview people. It's my show, yet I let others dictate when it runs. I invited a partner to help me, I need to be clearer about her role and what I expect from her. I've let fiction and blog post writing slide. I can probably devote an hour each day to both, but I might start out with half an hour and see how much I can get written in that time.

Health goals are pretty clear to me - move more and eat less. My budget is about to shrink - a car payment wasn't anything I planned on, but that's the reality of the situation. I want enough money to go to yoga two to three times a week. I've been a lot better about measuring out my meal portions. This morning I made rice and oatmeal that I put into individual containers. It's a failing to plan thing that gets me most of the time. I want to have easy grab and go portions of carbs, proteins, and fruit. Fat is usually easily combined with either carbs or proteins. I'm good about having a piece of fruit before meals so I'm going to continue that. I need to be better about drinking water, I try to set out a quart jar each day, but that's not enough so I'm thinking of ways to cue myself visually without cluttering up the countertops.

Money is probably the area where I have the most to gain by goal setting. I've made some half hearted attempts in the past, but I lacked clarity and focus. Writing purchases down on a sheet of paper worked well for me. I could see my money dwindling as the month went on, I have books I can read. I would like to devote more reading time to finance, I got rid of the Suze Orman book everyone recommends, but I'm sure the library has it. If not, I see it frequently at thrift stores which is another area I need to tackle. Staying out of the stores will help. I can make lists of what I need, get in, and get out before I go over my budget. I tried taking cash out of the bank each week, I'm going to commit to reading for a certain number of minutes about finance each day, maybe fifteen minutes to start?

Overall I'm thrilled that the guy I'm seeing is so disciplined and hard working. He manages his time well and has a strong sense of responsibility. He's fun and I need that in my life. He wants what is best for me, challenges me, and cares. I have a lot going for me, I just need to fine tune certain areas and work toward goals that are achievable, managable, and measurable. This was an outline of sorts, I need to get more specific about what these goals are and how I'm going to track my progress. Instead of binging and neglecting I would like to work toward a better cycle of work, play, and relaxation. Starting and finishing projects is tough for me, but breaking things down into smaller pieces will help. I want to keep writing, that's good for me and starts my day right. I feel better when I get things out of my head and can start my day without racing thoughts bogging me down.

Back to work, for a couple of days this week at least. Today and Wednesday. Tomorrow I have pre-surgical testing and an appointment with my sleep specialist to get the compliance letter the FAA will want for my third-class medical. So I have to haul my ass out of the house early, ugh.

Thursday I head to Massachusetts for the FAA medical itself on oh-god-early Friday morning. I was optimistically hoping that Thursday afternoon or Friday afternoon would be nice weather, so that I could try to fly again at 7B2 where I trained, but various weather information sources claim it will be heavy clouds and likely rain both days. I'll take my license and medical and headset just in case.

Another user here on E2 has reached out to share their story of success (and, from the info, stellar success) with the vertical sleeve gastrectomy - I'm very very grateful, as their experiences sound like pretty much what I'd hoped for both in terms of results and life-after-procedure. Here's hoping.

I am realizing my house isn't very clean. This is annoying because a) I'm really no good at cleaning and b) I don't know if I'll have time to do it (or have it done) before I go in for surgery. I'll have to figure something out. It's neat, for once, but I haven't scrubbed things in, uh, cough mumble. And I'll need to do laundry before I go in.

Laying in more supplies. Vitaminwater, broth/bouillon, some apple juice, and jello. I've ordered some protein powder. Also some chicken breasts and lean pork chops for the freezer, in the hopes that as I can eat lean protein I'll be able to eat them to reassure myself that my life with food is not over. The E2er who chimed in reminded me that right now, I'm on a diet that is designed to crash-lose fat out of my liver - it's not really a sustainable level of consumption. And that means that even after the surgery, once I've recovered (which may take a few months to fully happen) I'll be able to eat much more than I am now, even if not nearly as much as I can right now were I to choose to do so. They described a diet which basically boiled down to "around 1/3 of what I used to eat, but whatever I want, although avoiding bread/pasta." That's very heartening. It's weird, I've always had a sweet tooth - but being restricted to this sugar-free crap for all my nutrition has made me crave savory something fierce. My one cup a day of salty soup mix is pure treat now. I'm craving simply grilled chicken and pork and beef, no sauces, just protein. Hopefully I can carry that over; I'll be spending weeks eating clear liquids and thin purees, so by the time I can start attempting tiny bites of meat I'll either be overwhelmed with joy to get even that, or I just won't care anymore.

Today, in the mail, I received the formal authorization letter for the surgery from my insurance carrier, so that's good news.

Weight: 319.1

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