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Tether That Camel!

By: Karen J. Allen
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon 

We're less than a week from THE INAUGURATION! That's how I think of it --- all in caps. People are enveloped in this sense of hope and optimism, something that has been sorely lacking in the last eight years. But, at the same time, headlines scream that more than a half million jobs were lost last month, bringing the 2008 total to 2.5 million.

Because the mess has reached crisis proportion, our new President-Elect has been working non-stop since November and isn't even on the clock yet. But, according to an article in the New York Times, when asked what moments from the last eight years George Bush revisited most often, he talked about the pitch he threw out at the 2001 World Series: "I never felt that anxious any other time during my presidency, curiously enough." 

What is wrong with this picture? And where do we even start to fix it? Did you know that some fly-by-night organization has sent Joe the Plumber to the Middle East as a reporter? If things had gone differently in November, what do you think --- Secretary of State?

We managed to dodge that bullet and I'm actually pretty hopeful about our new incoming administration. With a little luck and a whole lot of cooperation from all of us I think he has a shot at turning things around. But there's an old Arabic saying:

"Trust in Allah --- but tether your camel"

I've been thinking for several years now that I'm not comfortable relying on the whims of our economy. Most of those two and a half million folks who lost their jobs last year did so through no fault of their own. It wasn't that they didn't work hard or get there on time. Hardly any of it was under their control, but they are the ones suffering the consequences.

So, yes, I will be supportive of our new president's economic stimulus package and the other initiatives he has in the works. But, I also intend to do what I can to take myself out of the line of fire. I'm looking at ways to supplement or totally replace income from the traditional 9 to 5 work world. That way, if the economic outlook brightens, that's great --- but, if it doesn't, there's that camel parked out back, ready to go.

I've explored a lot of options and I've chased more than my share of "too good to be true" offers.  In the end, in always comes back to common sense. All of those schemes to get rich quickly are far more about schemes than riches. But I have managed to find a few that were definitely worth the cost. If you have an interest in supplementing your income --- or acquiring the skills for a second career after you retire --- then I recommend you take a look at The Internet Marketing Retirement Plan. It's sitting on my shelf and I use techniques and skills I learned from it every day.

Hopefully, things will start turning around and better times are ahead. But I've been reminded of another line that you all may be a bit more familiar with than the one about camel tethering....

"I can swear there ain't no heaven but I'll pray there ain't no hell"

It just never hurts to hedge your bets......


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So, how's everybody doing with those New Year's Resolutions? Are you taking advantage of our Fit in a Year program? If you have questions for Ann-Marie or want to share any experiences, just send us an email at admin@onthegayhorizon.com .

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 Fit in a Year --- Week 3                              

By: Ann-Marie Giglio
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon

Now that we're 3 weeks into the new year, and you've taken a physical and spiritual assessment of yourself, it's time to check on your pantry.

First, we'll recap.  After you did your aerobic test, you added some aerobic activity to your day.  Remember that our bodies have evolved for movement.  Especially walking and running.  You don't need to join a gym --- unless you want to.  But you do need to move.  Add steps to your day whenever the opportunity presents itself.

If your assessment of who you've become in 2008 included the remedy of taking yourself to a gym or walking with a friend, you've got 2 things checked off our list.

So this week, we look into your pantry.  Remember that diet is not some sort of deprivation system.  Look it up in Webster's.  Diet is simply WHAT YOU EAT.  That's your diet.  So first, spend a day and write down what you eat.  Everything.  Then analyze it.  Are you eating 7 servings of fruit and vegetables?  If not, you'll be very susceptible to cancers, diabetes and heart disease in 15 - 20 years.  (Perhaps you're already there...) 

Then choose ONE thing from your pantry --- from your diet --- say it's potato chips.  From now on, whenever you buy potato chips, only buy organic, whole oil chips.

Why organic?  Choosing organic foods makes your impact even larger. First, your own cells will not have to deal with any foreign substances. Second, the planet will not have to deal with foreign substances, like excessive nitrogen or pesticides. Third, you will be supporting farmers who practice clean farming. Fourth, you or someone you don't even know, will not suffer the consequences of ground-water pollution from chemically managed farm run-off, which occurs every time it rains or fields flood. Fifth, you will keep the food chain and the earth more pure by rejecting genetically modified grains which are developed specifically to endure more pesticide application.

Next week, choose a second thing.  And so on.  Need help deciding? Check out how toxic most common fruits and veggies are in When to Buy Organic on our website.  If I had a choice, I'd start adding the organic versions to my diet first.  Over the next 49 weeks, your food --- what you eat --- your diet --- will be completely revolutionized.  And you'll barely notice making the change!  But I bet your body will know.

Small things, big results.  That's the best way.

[Editor's Note: Ann-Marie Giglio, besides being a professional writer and the co-publisher of On the Gay Horizon, is the owner of a fitness studio focused on improving quality of life through the mind/body connection. She is a certified ChiRunning and ChiWalking instructor, AFAA certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness instructor and SCW certified Pilates reformer instructor. She is currently working on a new book for GLBT baby boomers --- Lighten Up! How to Exercise Safely and Effectively After 50]


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The Great Brussel Sprout Experiment

By: Karen J. Allen

When I committed to following FIY (Fit in a Year) and reporting on my progress, it didn't occur to me that that meant I would have to try the dreaded Brussel sprouts! But, people kept asking me about them, so I guess there's no sacrifice too great for OTGH subscribers.

I honestly wasn't sure I even knew what a Brussel sprout looked like, so I was relieved to see a sign hanging over them one day at Whole Foods. No, I don't really shop at Whole Foods. I go there sometimes when I can't afford to go on vacation --- it's like visiting a foreign country for me. Anyway, they had a bunch of them in a bag so I grabbed them. Turns out they look like a cross between tiny little cabbages and shrunken heads. I took them home and rediscovered them a couple weeks later when they weren't looking so good. End of Brussel sprouts!

Sigh....I really have to do this... 

So, off to the store --- a regular store this time where I found them all perched together but loose this time. Was actually kind of fun picking out the ones I wanted. I got all different sizes since there was nothing in the instructions about whether it was better to get the teensy ones or the bigger ones. But that comment about "roasting veggies is not gene splicing" kept coming to mind so I was determined that I could at least purchase them successfully.

Next step was checking to see if my oven still worked. It had been awhile....  Then to find the perfect pan --- how high could the sides be without being "too high"? Eventually, I had all the ingredients assembled, cleaned, measured and tossed. I set the timer and raced to my computer to pull up Pizza Hut.com so that I would have something for dinner.

You see, the reason I didn't want to try this recipe is because I knew there was not a chance that I was going to like Brussel sprouts. No way. No how. And, we may live a thousand miles apart, but Ann-Marie is my good friend, and I didn't want to hurt her feelings by having to report on how much I disliked her beloved little sprouts. I figured I'd give them a sniff, maybe sample the pecans and have them in the trash by the time the pizza delivery guy was at the door.

And then an odd thing happened. The house started to smell really good. Must be the pecans, right? I took them out at the 15 minute mark to give the required toss, and I noticed they were getting this nice brown-around-the-edges look. I was inordinately pleased to see that because I was pretty sure that was the way they were supposed to look.

Finally, they were done. No point in dirtying a plate, so I just speared one, held my nose and took a little nibble. Hmm....not what I was expecting. Next thing I knew, I was curled up in front of the TV with, of all things, a plate of Brussel sprouts! And I was thinking --- "next time, maybe I'll throw in some onions and carrots with them --- and I wonder what else would be tasty all roasted like this...."

So, the only thing left to report is that Ann-Marie owes me a pizza. By the time the door bell rang, I was stuffed with her Brussel sprouts and a perfectly good pizza went to waste!


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