Archive for February 2011

Another great post from this vegan180 guy

This guy can write. I'm going to put him in my blog-roll. Oh, the post is about how you enable others to convince themselves that it might not be a bad idea to consider changing their eating habits. Told from the point of view of the "The willfully ignorant dude"--him, a while back.

One more thing

One thing Dr. Lisle talked about that I really liked was this idea that you shouldn't compare yourself to others, but just try to live up to your own potential. This is in any area of your life. Now this I understand and really like. I'm going to try this out at work.

more on the Douglas Lisle DVD

I was thinking more about the first talk on the Douglas Lisle DVD called "The Continuum of Evil." (see yesterday's post for a recap). So the first talk was about not trying to be perfect, but aiming for eating A+ foods most of the time and letting yourself have some A, B, and C foods here and there, and averaging an A overall. This is a lot like Dr. Fuhrman's 10% plan. Dr. Lisle emphasized that the most important thing is getting right back on track when you eat the C (sugar,oil), D (dairy), and F (meat) foods. He follows the McDougall program which is a little more relaxed about salt and sugar than Dr. Fuhrman's program. Having followed Dr. Fuhrman's program for a while, I do prefer going without salt and sugar because the salt makes my fingers swell up, and it's even worse after breaking my elbow; and your taste buds get much more sensitive without salt and sugar, and then fruit and vegetables taste really good.

But the problem is that makes me an extremist or darn close to a perfectionist. It means any food prepared by a restaurant or grocery store is off limits, unless it's just plain raw or steamed veggies special ordered. There's a good side to this: it's easy in some ways, because the boundaries are really simple--no to salt, sugar, oil, or processed food, yes to everything in the produce section and whole grains and nuts and seeds. It's easy to remember, and it really is possible to eat on the go even with these restrictions.

Dr. Lisle says we want to average an A. Well, then you have to keep track. Today the co-op had some samples of this treat that is peanut butter, sesame seeds, cashews, honey and salt. Well, I thought, I don't have to be perfect, and this has no added oils! (somehow my brain ignored the salt and honey). So I had two pieces. Is that okay? Well, it had more salt than I would like. My hand was already swollen and now it will get worse. I think it's easier for me to have boundaries, like no salt. Then I just say no to the samples.

I do understand how these boundaries can lead to the perfection problem. When you go off-plan, you can end up in a binge and a promise to come back to perfection some day. I guess you have to remind yourself it's always a choice: "Yes, I can eat those samples. But I don't want them right now because I prefer not to eat salt and sugar. I think I'll try to make something like this at home without the salt and with dates instead of honey." And when you go offplan, you just dust yourself off and jump right back on. because you want to.

Darn it all, I don't understand this any better than when I started. I think I'll just get back to living my life.

Douglas Lisle DVD

I just watched a very good DVD by Douglas Lisle. He wrote the Pleasure Trap. He applies psychology to eating healthy. The first lecture was about the continuum of evil. He's referring to good foods and bad foods here. Grading food, he gives meat an F, dairy a D, processed grains and sugar C, tofu, whole-wheat bread, veggie burgers a B, and whole unprocessed produce an A+. He then says, we're not perfect, but it's good to eat as many of the A foods as you can and only occasionally eating the B and C foods. He spent much of his career counseling on addiction. He says failure is fine, it's part of the process. Don't aim for perfection 100% of the time. If you aim for perfection and then you fail, that sets up weird behaviors, like going on a binge and promising you'll be perfect tomorrow or next week. You want to average a very good score (A on the grading scale) but know that it is a process getting there and that you will dip and know to get back on track when you do--that is the most important part, not aiming for perfection. I'm paraphrasing and surely not distilling this as accurately as he presented.

The second talk is on how personality characteristics determine how easy it is for someone to adopt this healthy eating plan. There are 5 personality characteristics: 1) openness to experience, 2) conscientiousness, 3) extraversion & introversion, 4) agreeableness, and 5) stability. The personality best suited to adopting this healthy eating is 1) not very open , 2) conscientious, 3) introverted, 4) not agreeable, and 5) stable. So for example, those of us who are open to trying new things, well, we might not be satisfied with brown rice and broccoli every day. Conscientiousness is of course helpful in sticking to the plan. Extraverts like to socialize and go out to eat, and it's hard to find healthy food in restaurants. Agreeable people I guess are more easily influenced by our friends and family members prodding us to eat their food and be like them. And stable people are less likely to want to celebrate by eating and drinking, or drown their sorrows by eating and drinking. We can't change these personality characteristics so we just have to be aware of what the vulnerabilities and strengths are when applied to the case of eating healthy.

In my case, I'm 1) open to new experiences, so that is a vulnerability. I am feeling this right now. It was a good thing when I started this because I was open to changing my eating habits and learning a whole new way of cooking. But now I'm ready for something new. So I have to figure out some other area of my life to try out new things in. 2) I'm pretty conscientious so that's an advantage. 3) I'm probably in the middle. I need to socialize and have friends, and I used to struggle with this, but I've modified my social life and don't center it around bars and restaurants. 4) I'm pretty agreeable and I guess that's a disadvantage. But I've learned to deal with that one too, it just took a little longer to stand up to people, in a polite way of course. 5) I think I'm pretty stable, though I do sometimes want to celebrate with food and drown my sorrows with food. I think my biggest vulnerability right now is #1: After embracing this whole-heartedly and learning everything I could, now I've gotten bored with it. I want to try something new.

A strange quirk as of late

I've been doing something very weird lately. I've been watching the Food Network. I think I will stop now as it's probably a dangerous thing to do, but it was kind of fascinating, and I think it says a lot about the culture we live in. I was expecting more cooking shows but it's mostly about restaurant food--at least when I've watched, which is around prime time. There are shows about "diners, dives, and drive-ins" (my favorite), and your favorite foods (at so-and-so restaurant), and how various convenience foods are made. And then of course, there are the chef competitions. In all of them, you get to see what goes into the meals, and that is shocking to someone who tries to avoid oil, salt and processed foods.

I'm not sure what my motivation is for watching these. When I used to eat like everyone else, I was always in search of a good diner, dive, or drive-in when I travelled and wasn't very good at finding them. So I guess that show is the answer to the dreams of my previous life. Part of me wishes I could go and try out those restaurants. Is it food porn? I vicariously enjoy the forbidden "fruit" (though it's anything but fruit in this case) by watching instead of eating? Is it grotesque fascination, like some people are drawn to horror movies? I was thinking, if I had 3 months to live, or if I wanted to commit suicide, should I travel to all these highlighted diners, dives, and drive-in and get the kind of foods I used to dream about? In reality I'd be trading my health for these meal pleasures and I'd need to add coffee to perk me up and alcohol to wind me down to keep me going through this. But that would be enjoyable too. Would I be happy? I don't know. Probably for a few months.

Today's meals

I ended up cooking more this weekend than I thought it would. It was fun. Today's breakfast was ice cream. Lunch was steamed greens, Mexican hummus, and steamed veggies for dipping in the hummus. That will be dinner too.

The dipping veggies are carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, orange bell pepper (raw). I overcooked the veggies in the pressure cooker. I always think I'm going to undercook it and I overcompensate and overcook it. One of these days I'll get it right. It was still good but they were too soggy to dip well.

easy greens

This was "clean out my fridge" day. I didn't measure anything because I was using up whatever I had, but I list suggested amounts in case you want some guidance.

a bunch of kale and any other greens you like to cook
1/2-1 onion, chopped
1/2-1 lb mushrooms, chopped (optional)
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped (to taste)
1/2-1 oz pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 Tbsp spicy pecan vinegar (or other flavored vinegar, or lime/lemon/orange juice)

Steam the greens, onion, garlic and mushroom for 10-20 minutes on stove, or 2-3 minutes in pressure cooker. Add the rest, toss and serve. Yummy.

Mexican hummus

I wanted some hummus but didn't have any of the usual ingredients except sesame seeds but I wasn't in the mood for those either, so I came up with this. I call it Mexican hummus because of the southwest flavors (cilantro, lime, cumin). It is very creamy and yummy. Note that my ingredients are just what I had on hand--you can do the same. The basic idea is to use a bean of some kind, spice--usually cumin (but in searching for the cumin I saw pumpkin pie spice and did wonder what that would be like), some kind of nuts or seeds, and citrus or vinegar flavoring.

1/2 lb beans, (I chose "Eye of the Goat" heirloom beans because they were in the cupboard, and they looked like they would be creamy)
4 cloves garlic, or to taste
1-2 oz walnuts and pignolias
juice of 1 lime and 1/2 small orange (I didn't have lemon)
some cilantro
1 tsp cumin

Soak the beans overnight, and cook for about 3 hours. Here are the beans I used:

I roasted my garlic so it wouldn't have as strong a bite.

I put it in this little 1/3 cup measuring cup with some bean juice (dark from the beans, not roasting), and put it in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes.
Next, blend up the nuts, garlic, juice, cumin, and some bean liquid (1/2 cup?) and just some of the beans. First I want to get the nuts nice and pulverized. Then add the rest of the beans and as much bean liquid as you want for your desired consistency. Then add the cilantro and pulse. Then you can top with paprika. Here it is with an orange bell pepper slice dipped and ready for eating.

date pecan butter

Today I decided to see if I could make a sweet nut butter. The answer is yes, but watch out--it tastes great and is really rich. It is not so easy to make though. I made it in a blender and you need to add a lot of nuts to make it work in the blender, 2 cups works.

2 cups nuts. I used raw pecans, which were really good!
dates to taste---maybe 2-4 medjool dates (remove pits)
soy milk or nut milk or water--maybe 1/2 cup? depends on the consistency you want.
1/2-1 tsp vanilla (optional).

Blend in a high-powered blender. Blend, mash (with plunger or spoon), blend, mash, blend, add more liquid if you need it. It takes a while to get it blended up. Here's what it looks like:

Housemate had it on bread, I had it with strawberries. It was very yummy. It is very rich and hard not to eat too much. Then housemate ran out of bread and I needed to make her smoothies, so I turned this into cream by adding more soymilk, water, and a few more dates. I had some on top of blackberries and used the rest in the smoothies.

next week

I forgot to say in my last post that I am planning to cook more on weekends even though I won't this weekend. I think I have gotten boring in my weekday eating, and that helped me to stray last week in my eating. I'm going to expand my weekly pot of beans to a pot of soup full of beans, veggies, and maybe some wild rice or barley. These are really good, especially with carrot juice as a broth. That will give me more cooked veggies during the week. Then I also hope to make something nice for a Sat. or Sun. dinner. It doesn't have to be complicated, just enjoyable to eat, which many of Dr. Fuhrman's recipes are!

Okay, time to get ready to head downtown. Have a nice day!

how to eat

Reading the Fuhrman forums this morning, I was reminded of this great post by Darryl. This pretty much says it all. No need to read anything else! I'm going to link to it on my recommended websites links at the right side of the page here. I looked over my links to see if they needed updating and so I visited fatfreevegan's blog. I discovered Susan's blog pretty early on when I became a vegan (5 years ago now!) and found her recipes creative and delicious. As I got more "strict" in my diet, I used her recipes less and less since many use refined grains, sugar, and salt. But I see from her recent posts that she is following Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live program now! That is cool. I hope to see some creative "nutritarian" recipes from her blog. I am a big fan of hers.

I don't expect to cook much this weekend. Today I have a date with a hundred thousand people downtown. One is a fellow nutritarian! hmmm, 2/100,000. That is probably about the typical percentage of us. We aren't quite one in a million but we are close. Someone calculated that the fraction of astronomers is one in a million so whenever you meet one, you should ask them lots of astronomy questions because you never know when you'll meet one again! And I am one, so ask away. As a public employee, I would be pleased to answer your questions. :)

great blog post

This is a great post from a fairly recent "nutritarian" (not sure he calls himself that):

It's about the burden of hope. It describes a lot of what I feel about how I have wanted to share what I've learned about literally curing most diseases and then I learned most people don't want to hear the answer.

Tomorrow's confetti salad

Exact amounts don't matter (I just divided my veggies into 4 because I'm going grocery shopping in 4 days), but I happened to measure them so here's what went into this salad (note: 1 oz = 28.4 grams or g):

romaine lettuce, 200 g (one head)
bok choy, 77 g
cabbage, 163 g
cauliflower, 150 g
broccoli, 150 g
kale, 56 g
arugula, 35 g
spinach, 35 g
cilantro, 10 g
yellow bell pepper, 80 g (1/2 pepper)
mangos, 288 g (1 bag frozen)
apple, 173 g (1 apple)
blueberries, 170 g
blood orange vinegar, 3 Tbsp (I'll add tomorrow)

Everything but the blueberries and seed mixture are chopped in a food processor. It tastes quite good. I look forward to eating this. So let's see that's 956 g of veggies, or 2.11 lbs, 631 g fruit or 1.4 lbs, and 1 oz seeds. oh yeah, and then I have a thing for carrots (because our local carrots are to die for) and often eat lb a day, and then there are my orange remainders after making housemate's OJ, and then there's my big bowl of beans. So that makes 3 lbs of veggies and 2 lbs of fruit. That's a lot of veggies!

This is my typical weekday diet. weird eh?!

Confession time

I feel I should 'fess up when I go offplan. It may not be as inspiring as if I stay on plan all the time, where you can think, if she can do it, so can I. Instead, now you think, she failed, so will I. But I want to be honest and share my mistakes--maybe there is something to learn from them without repeating them yourself. So last week, I deviated for a couple of days. The last time I did this was in early December when I was in France. So I guess I made it about 10 weeks; the previous stretch was 10 months, so this is a bit disappointing. Oh well, try try again. What were my reasons? Well, the brain can manufacture good reasons any time, any day, so I don't think that matters. I can tell you that being tired is a big warning flag so watch out for the rationalizations when you are tired--you are much weaker. And it also started out by eating too much rich healthy food, so that's another warning flag. For me, being tired and/or overeating healthy food are both danger zones where vigilance against excuses should be exercised. Your brain is always ready with millions of excuses and they are just that, excuses, so you have to learn to ignore them.

So on Wednesday and Thursday, I had some decaff coffee, some dark chocolate, a vegan burrito', 2 big cookies, 2 small cookies (vegan), some granola and soy milk, some tortilla chips with salt, and some nuts with salt. Well, the salt was very appealing. That is what makes the burrito taste good. But it had a negative affect especially on my healing arm. My arm and hand swell very easily so of course they swelled even more after eating that salt.

I felt quite yucky upon eating this stuff and got even more tired. For the first time in years, I fell asleep during a talk. Fortunately, I got tired of this after two days and started lusting after my healthy foods, and I got back on track on Friday. Both Friday and Saturday, I felt very tired and headachey--I never get headaches when I eat right!. Amazing, isn't it? Today, Sunday, I feel good again. whew. This week I will have a visitor and we will be going to nice vegetarian restaurants, but even there, I can't eat the food. It is so salty and oily. The salt is good going down but too unpleasant afterwards. It is a shame that I can't partake in the restaurant food because I really enjoy communal eating. But that is just the way it is. I will bring my food or eat beforehand and then just order some plain unappetizing salad.

As a good friend of mine says, "Onwards!"

Working Connections Child Care Changes

Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) helps families with low incomes pay for child care while they work or meet WorkFirst participation requirements. Additional changes are being made to WCCC to balance the program budget for the current fiscal year and the 2011-2013 biennium.

Beginning March 1, 2011, families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits and families of children with specials needs will receive priority access to WCCC. Remaining families with incomes at 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines or less will receive child care benefits on a “first come, first served” basis until the program reaches a set limit. The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) will keep a waiting list of potentially eligible families who apply. Families will be notified by mail when there are openings in the child care program, and they will have 10 days to complete the application process.

Families who currently receive WCCC benefits remain income eligible until their monthly incomes exceed 175 percent of the FPG. The copayment increases previously announced for February 1 and March 1 remain the same.

For more information, including potential questions and answers, visit:  
We know these are tough messages for families, child care providers and communities. If a family is placed on a waiting list, check with the local child care resource and referral program to see if there any child care providers in the community offer a sliding fee scale or scholarship opportunities. There are also statewide hotlines that can help connect families to local resources, including:

Easy Pot o' beans

This is tasty and simple.

1 lb dry beans.
1 onion, chopped
1/2-1 lb mushrooms, chopped, any kind
1-5 cloves garlic (to taste), minced (optional)
herbs, dried or fresh (optional), e.g., thyme, basil, cilantro

Soak the beans overnight. Replace water and cook for about 1.5 hours. Add the onions, garlic and mushrooms, cook for another 1.5 hours. Cooking time depends on the size and freshness of the beans, usually ranges from 2-4 hours. Today I used rancho gordo "good mother stallard beans" and portabella mushrooms. This makes for tasty beans. You can add seasonings and greens and veggies and turn it into a soup. Or add these to your various dishes throughout the week.

If you are in a hurry, you can cook the beans in about 10 minutes in a pressure cooker (see your PC instructions). In this case, I'd add the onions, garlic and mushrooms at the beginning.  I freeze the beans into daily servings to eat during the week.

Food this week

I don't have much to report that would excite a reader. I've been enjoying my food but you might find it boring. I still only have about 1.5 arms to work with, so have been eating the usual: salads and soups. Actually it's pretty much what's described in this post. Some of my salads were fruity, some savory. All have a base of lettuce, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, seed mixture. Then add apple, orange, frozen berries, and sweet vinegars to some, add sweet corn, peas or edamame, onion, vinegars to others. Actually onions taste good on the fruity salads too, and apples taste good on the savory salads. I bought a sample pack of Dr. Fuhrman's vinegars and have been having fun trying a different one out every meal. I'm still rating them so might make a report at some point even though I don't think it's helpful to others because it's completely a personal taste preference thing.

I'm almost out of the soup I made two weeks ago. I'm making a new batch of beans tomorrow. That will be good mother stallard beans, with onion, garlic and mushrooms. Those will last me the week, since I'll freeze a lot of it. Tomorrow's cooked meal will be kale & sweet potato sauce, to which I'll add some of the beans. Next week I'll probably make confetti salads--I have a new version in mind so I'll try to post it tomorrow night after preparing Monday's food.

Today I made an excellent batch of housemate's smoothies. I make them pretty sweet for housemate's tastes, i.e., with extra juice and sweet fruit and dates, so I also enjoy sampling the leftovers when I prepare them.

update: here was Sunday's lunch. kale & sweet potato sauce with seed mixture on top. and beans. yum!

Corn, walnuts, and coconut

This is a nice little dessert for me. It might sound odd, but it's good. The trick is to get high quality sweet corn; otherwise, it's not dessert.

High quality sweet corn, fresh or frozen
chopped walnuts
spoonful of unsweetened coconut shavings

Combine in a bowl, heat in the microwave until warm. This follows a similar theme as my sweet pea snack and berry dessert.


Sometimes I am really lazy:

At least I cut up the carrots and celery! (easier to bite).

Breakfast was a housemate smoothie--leftovers from the weekly prep. I also ate a medjool date with a walnut half stuff in it and heated in the microwave. I can't believe I'm saying this but it was too rich and sweet for my tastes (today!). I've eaten mostly salads this week and that must have reset my taste buds. Salads feel just right when you aren't very physically active.

I think I'll have time, energy and desire to make kale & sweet potato sauce tonight--it's easy and I should be hungry. Update: I did make this and boy was it yummy! I added a small leek, and used pignolias for the nuts. And I added mushrooms steamed briefly in the microwave (1 minute, stir, 30 sec, stir). I was sorry I had to share it with housemate!

WaKIDS shines at joint work session

Yesterday, DEL Director Bette Hyde, OSPI Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Jessica Vavrus and others talked about the WaKIDS pilot to a joint work session of the House Education and Early Learning & Human Services. WaKIDS is the pilot kindergarten readiness process going on now in 115 school districts. Superintendent Randy Dorn submitted audio testimony in support of the project.

Check out the video from TVW.

The WaKIDS pilot includes three parts:
  • Family connection — Time for the kindergarten teacher and family to meet and share information about the child entering kindergarten.
  • An assessment of where children are in four domains of child development (social/emotional; literacy; cognitive; physical). Three different “bundles” of assessment tools are being tested by different communities during the pilot.
  • Early learning collaboration—Time for early learning providers and kindergarten teachers to meet and share information about children entering kindergarten.

WaKIDS preliminary data suggest that more than a third of those children participating in WaKIDS enter kindergarten below expected skill levels. The parent, preschool teacher and kindergarten teacher who also testified on Thursday spoke to the great improvement in personal connections, learning and enthusiasm that resulted from using the WaKIDS tools. OSPI has submitted legislation to include WaKIDS in state-funded kindergarten classrooms.

Toppenish preschool teacher Krista Goudy-Sutterlict from described how the WaKIDS process strengthens the relationships between preschool and kindergarten teachers which can then guide and strengthen early learning settings.

“What I mean by strengthening the relationship, we’re using the same language,” she said.

Goudy-Sutterlict, who is also a member of the Yakama Nation, said she works to incorporate cultural awareness into her classroom.

“What I appreciate about the WaKIDS process is its holistic approach,” she said.

Hortensia West, a Spanish immersion kindergarten teacher in the Bremerton School District visited her students and their families in the two weeks before school started to learn about their expectations, traditions and personalities. Using the WaKIDS tools showed her where she needed to adjust her teaching and lesson plans to fit her students’ strengths and weaknesses.

“Taking all that information, I brought it into the classroom and it has made a tremendous difference,” she said. “There’s so much cohesiveness.”

Surina Warren-Nash, a parent in Ridgefield School District, explained how when her son (who is now in third grade) first entered kindergarten, the teacher didn’t support using the information collected from his ECEAP and Head Start classrooms. The WaKIDS process encourages information sharing to build a full picture of a child. Warren-Nash hopes this is what happens for her daughter who is about to enter kindergarten.
“WaKIDS just makes sense,” she said.

 For more information about WaKIDS, visit


Hi everyone,

With my broken elbow, I can't make the time to post much these days but I decided to take a break today and post a little on the Fuhrman forums, and give an update here too. Then I'll have to get back to my daily routines of sleeping, showering, preparing food, bending bending bending my elbow until it hurts, and trying to work.

Foodwise, I'm focusing on the fundamentals because I want optimal healing: beans (1 cup), greens (tons), cruciferous veggies (tons), fruit (1-1.5 lb), and nuts & seeds (1-2 oz).

This weekend I made a bean soup from 1 lb of white beans, 2 cans tomatoes, my last bag of frozen collard greens from the garden (lasted all the way through January!), onion, mushrooms, garlic, turnip (not sure I liked that addition), and italian seasonings. I put those into 12 plastic bowls to freeze.

My fruit this week is bananas, apples, oranges, pears, and kiwis. I've been having the banana, pear, and orange early in the week, then will have kiwis, apples, and oranges later (eating the more ripe ones first).

I'm making a gigantic salad every day. Today's has lettuce, bok choy, spinach, cabbage, brocolli, cauliflower, red bell pepper, corn, onion, pear or apple, seed mixture and flavored vinegar. It's yummy!

I spread the salad between 2-3 meals. I have soup with dinner. And 1-2 fruits at breakfast. Oh, and tons of raw carrots. We get these fabulous carrots grown locally (tipi produce). My visiting parents said they are the best carrots they've ever eaten in their lives and I completely agree. I don't know how long the harvest will last so I've been eating even more than usual in anticipation of the very sad day when they disappear from the shelves until next summer. Fortunately, that's also a sign of spring, and fresh greens and berries. Anyway, I'm getting off track. I eat a lot of carrots because they are so darn good. I enjoy my carrots the way housemate enjoys her tostada chips and chocolate.

So those are my meals this week. Last week I made confetti salads, but this week I wanted to taste the ingredients separately.

Oh, I forgot the weekends. This is when I get a treat! I make house-mate's smoothies. In the process I make a date-nut cream to sweeten the smoothies. This is so delicious. I either have some of that over fresh berries, or make a small sorbet from this combined with frozen berries. yum-yum. And I also let myself have a date with walnut piece (or 2) in it, heated up in microwave. boy is that a sweet treat. I sample the smoothies too. All of those treats end up being my breakfast and lunch, usually. Other meals are just whatever I feel like and have the time to make, maybe greens in sweet potato sauce, or a Fuhrman recipe, or snacking on veggies. I like to cook more on weekends since I don't do much during the week. On Sunday, I make soup for the week.

Any nutritarians who want to comment on my meals and suggest improvements, please do! I welcome advice.

Regarding my injury (broke my elbow, had surgery), my elbow, lower arm and hand are still bruised and swollen, though both are much better and improving daily. I just wish the swelling in the hand would go away faster. I am working to bend my elbow to 90 degrees by tomorrow but I'm only at 82 today so won't make it. I'm hoping when I see the surgeon tomorrow, he will tell me that I can do a lot more with my arm. Right now I'm not allowed to use my triceps muscle. We are having a blizzard so I might not make it to the doctor tomorrow. That gives me more time to get to 90 degrees, but more wait to hear that I can use my arm more.

okay, time to go eat my giant salad for dinner. I'll be back next time I have a break, maybe on the weekend.

Working Connections Child Care subsidy agreement begins today

Eligibility changes for the Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) program will not go into effect today, but instead, families will see higher copayments and potential waiting lists.

New eligibility rules were planned for today due to budget shortfalls and caseload increases. However, a new agreement will keep families with incomes up to 175 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) eligible for the program, but increase their out-of-pocket costs.
Effective February 1, 2011, through February 28, 2011:
  • Families with incomes above 82 percent of the FPG to 137.5 percent will have copayments increase from $50 to $60 per month.
  • Families with incomes above 137.5 percent of the FPG through 175 percent will have monthly copayments increase using a sliding scale.
Effective March 1, 2011:
  • Families with incomes above 82 percent of the FPG to 137.5 percent will have copayments increase to $65 per month.
  • Families with incomes above 137.5 percent of the FPG through 175 percent will have monthly copayments increase using a sliding scale.
There will be no copayment change for families with incomes at or below 82 percent of the FPG. Their payments remain $15 a month.

Another change starting today will allow only licensed or certified family home child care providers to be eligible for field trip fee reimbursements for children in subsidized care. Child care centers and school-age centers will not be eligible for field trip fees.

About 37,400 families use the WCCC program a month to help pay for child care while they work or meet WorkFirst participation requirements. DEL is working with partners to determine how best to implement the new agreements to support families while achieving needed cost savings. Certain families may be placed on a waiting list to receive help. The extent of this waiting list is unclear until it is determined how many families exit the program.

More information will be shared as it is available and posted on our WCCC web page.