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We are being invaded by New York — well, sort of. Many of the New York-based colleagues (Bill O'Reilly, "FOX & Friends" anchors, etc.) will be in D.C. today and in our D.C. bureau. It is not that they are so enamored with our D.C. bureau — or us — that they want to be here. Rather it is the annual White House holiday party for the media and thus they are here in D.C. Bill O'Reilly actually arrived last night and did his show from the D.C. bureau and thus I got a chance to talk to him for a minute. This company is big so we don't have much of a chance to see our colleagues. By the way, if I remember, and if it does not seem to odd when I am there, I will take some pictures from the White House party and post them.

Incidentally, the process getting into the party is this: You arrive at the appointed gate, stand in line and hope that it is not too cold in Washington, D.C. the night of the party. It is typically freezing and you can't feel your feet! At some point, you are met by Secret Service and White House staff, who confirm that your name is on the party invitee list. You must also produce a driver's license or passport or other identification. Upon gaining admission to the White House grounds, you proceed up to the White House. There is an enclosed checkpoint where everyone must go through a metal detector (just like the airport.) After passing this checkpoint, you have "free rein" of the first floor of the White House. (The private residence is on the upper floors.)

I have not yet been to the White House this holiday season but suspect it will be like every other year — each room will be elegantly decorated with Christmas trees, etc., the food will be fabulous and there will be music. The music is provided by a military band and is quite impressive.

During the course of the evening a line is formed for those who wish a picture with the president and the first lady. As you stand in line, you fill out a card with your name so that when you actually get up to the front of the line, you can be announced for the president. You also include your address on the card. I suspect the function of the card is threefold — one as sort of a courtesy to the guest, second so that the White House staff knows where to send the photo and third so that the president can politely acknowledge even those who he does not know or recognize.

Now for some e-mails: the first one relates to our interview with Karen Hughes — at the end of this first e-mail, I had some comments in response:

E-mail No. 1

I watched your interview with Karen Hughes and I am astonished that you would compare the children of the Bush administration to not fighting in Iraq, when we have a volunteer military. That was a very low blow and Karen Hughes remained the intelligent and even keeled person that it takes to be in her position. To not consider the sensitivity of a president's decision to go to war is ignorant. It is evident that reporters like you today, do not understand the concept of sacrifice that all American's must deal with during these times. You tried to politically correct yourself by implying both sides, Democrat and Republicans do not have children fighting in the war, but I question your data. Regardless, our military is volunteer, I don't get what your point is only to make the president's administration look like they do not care for other Americans because their children are not fighting in Iraq. Shameful.
A former Wisconsin resident myself, but happy that I'm out of that Blue State and not amongst the ranks of you.
Susan Rombak

ANSWER: First Susan, you need to put your facts in order. Don't bury the headline. I was speaking about both DEMOCRATIC and REPUBLICAN politicians. I made that plain upfront. This is an issue that applies to both sides of the aisle. Second, I find it hard to understand how so many politicians (both Dems/Repubs) want to inspire the rest of American to volunteer to go to Iraq, etc., but can't inspire their own children to serve. Many children of famous people or of politicians are "high value targets" and should not be sent to war zones, but there are many jobs stateside that they could do to help our military. They can work on bases in the USA — they can even do support work for the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds (which are effective recruiters for our military service.) If you vote for war, and both parties have, you should try and make an example by encouraging even your own children to make the sacrifice of service. Just for some examples, Senator Kerry, former Senator/VP candidate Edwards, and Senator Clinton all have children who could serve in some capacity. And yes, Vice President Cheney has two daughters and President Bush has two daughters. Not one of their adult children volunteered (which is, of course, their child's choice.) Out of that group of children, only one — VP Cheney's daughters — has children and maybe it would be a hardship (although many parents are now serving in our military.) Yes, this is a volunteer service... we can't and should not force these children to join but wouldn't you think the parents would be more of an inspiration to their own children on this topic? If this is so important to our nation, and if the politician feels that need so deeply in casting votes, would not that sense of importance and duty be contagious to other family members? By the way, some politicians do have children serving and I applaud them and thank them. The sacrifice by those serving and their families is immense... and growing.

As an aside, imagine how valuable it would be for the members of our government — both Democrats and Republicans — to hear from their children their viewpoints on military service and war. I bet the remarks would be unvarnished and thus potentially helpful to them in making important decisions for our nation. I suspect that our politicians don't always get candid remarks from our many service members since they see them often at only staged formal events rather than over dinner at home. Our service members are quite polite and are unlikely to be as bold as a family member at dinner.

Now for some random e-mails — after confessing that my lunch on Tuesday was a box of DOTS (and a large one), I asked what others had. Here are some answers:

E-mail No. 1

Dear Greta,
Hot Tamales are much tastier than Dots and don't remove fillings! Intended lunch: well thought out frozen Lean Cuisine dinner of chicken, pasta and veggies
Actual lunch: Diet soda, Fat Free potato chips and four Christmas cookies delivered to our office
Christina Sullivan
Middleboro, MA

ANSWER: My "intended" was first an hour at the gym and then a salad. Perhaps "intended" is not the right word... maybe fantasy? You know my "actual" — the box of DOTS. And my plan is to start eating better. Eating DOTS for lunch is stupid.

E-mail No. 2

Yesterday was a bad day for many of us, I think. You had Dots and I had a Charleston Chew and a Baby Ruth.
I usually am better than that.

E-mail No. 3

I had the same thing for lunch yesterday that I've had for the past 35 days. Soup-plain soup run through a blender. This is also my breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next 14 or so more days.
I'm recovering from surgery, my jaw is wired shut and the only thing that can go down is liquids. Weight problem? No more: Down about 25lbs now and still dropping.
What a lifestyle change! I recommend wired jaws for the overweight and the CIA for a future torture method. If I had any secrets I would be willing to tell all if someone would just cut these wires.

E-mail No. 4

Tuesday's lunch: 3 Cinnamon graham crackers covered with peanut butter!
Peg Robbins
Forsyth, MO

E-mail No. 5

I had 6 ounces of Cherry Vanilla low-fat yogurt.
Maggie Sholar

E-mail No. 6

I am the queen of bad lunches! And I know better, being a nurse! First, I must add that I never eat breakfast, the most important meal of the day. My 'breakfast' consists of coffee, and maybe some juice, or a Diet Vanilla Coke.
Having not eaten breakfast, one would think I'd eat a good lunch! Lately, I have been too busy to take time out for lunch, and on many occasions, I eat nothing but a late dinner (and I eat a lot then for someone whose only 5'2" tall!) My lunch yesterday consisted of some kind of diet-like candy bar from the vending machine that tasted like a Butterfinger, and a Starbuck's latte grande w/2% milk and extra foam (my daily addiction). These items were not eaten at lunchtime; I ate the candy bar in the mid-afternoon, and I bought the latte around 5 p.m.
And as I write this e-mail now, I have not eaten anything yet but 2 cups of coffee, and some un-sweet tea w/no-cal sweetener. My combo lunch from ToGo's (Chicken Bruschetta sandwich and Doritos) is sitting on my desk until I get around to it. The Doritos will go in my pantry drawer at work, to be eaten for lunch on another day! And right after I send you this e-mail, I will walk across the street to Starbuck's for my daily latte.
Did I ever tell you that nurses make some of the worst patients? Yep, we are!

E-mail No. 7

For years I have been going to the gym to jog (walk fast) and exercise. To save time and get some nutrition, I always drink a can of Slim Fast and eat a piece of fruit going to and from the gym. I enjoy it, it is a lot cheaper than lunch in a restaurant and it helps me maintain my weight. If I eat other food at lunch, I am sleepy the rest of the afternoon.
Have a good lunch today.
Lee Hitchcock
Birmingham, AL

E-mail No. 8

Yesterday's lunch was a salad with chicken breast cooked in Mrs. Dash marinade.
Isobel Griner

E-mail No. 9

Hi Greta! Love the show! Never found it dull and always interesting. Always. For lunch yesterday I had sardines, chunk of feta cheese, and about six snack crackers. I eat at home and offend no one with this lunch. What a fun question!
C. Darnel
Findlay, OH

E-mail No. 10

I live in an area affected by Hurricane Katrina, about 15 miles from New Orleans. We are just now seeing restaurants (the salvageable ones) with full menus. I did the gourmet thing yesterday and had the all-you-can-eat buffet at KFC. Any fast food looks good to me after three weeks of MREs and FEMA water.
Troy D.
Slidell, LA

P.S. Originally from Rockford, IL, I've been to a couple great concerts at the Dane County Coliseum back in the 70s.

E-mail No. 11

Lunch was a No. 1 at Krystal with a Diet Coke. Probably worse than your Dots!

E-mail No. 12

Hey, Greta!
I'm a loyal reader (and watcher, of course!)
Yesterday and really all this week, our office is having what I refer to as "Treat Week." I work at a school district's central office and we have different groups signed up for each day this week before we close for Christmas Break. Friday we will have a full-blown dinner. But yesterday, the Special Ed group out did themselves with Swedish meatballs, nacho dip, all kinds of sweet things including Strawberry Bread and Chocolate Cherry Bars. Since I had the meatballs along with all the chocolate stuff, my lunch yesterday was probably a little more nutritious than your Dots!
Bon appetite!
Martha Runnels
Mendenhall, MS

E-mail No. 13

I had soup for lunch, but I totally understand the Dots thing! Sometimes you just don't want something "good for you!"
Karen Reeser

E-mail No. 14

OK Greta, I'm sitting at my desk reading your blog like a usually do for lunch having Sharp Cheddar Cheese and Crackers. Not too nutritious but better than Dots!
Nashville, TN

E-mail No. 15

Funny you should ask about lunch this time of year! I lost 25 lbs w/ Weight Watchers a couple years ago and have managed to keep it off largely due to watching what I eat at lunch. But, I was really bad yesterday: Nachos and a taco from Taco Bell and a "real" Coke. It was so good. :)
Karen Gustafson
Houston, TX

E-mail No. 16

Easy question for me: As I am eating it right now — cottage cheese and a handful of crackers (usually low fat Triscuits) or a carton of yogurt and granola plus sometimes a piece of fruit. I’m not a health-nut, but not a fast “fooder” either.
R in NH

E-mail No. 17

As almost everyday, yesterday I had a large leafy green salad. I don't think I could ever have Dots for lunch but probably could have M&M's! I enjoy your show and blog. Keep up the good work.
Atlanta, GA

E-mail No. 18

Hello Greta,
Although I'm not a big fan of Dots, I can relate to often eating things that are clearly not nutritious for lunch. I work for the Postal Service which is extremely busy this time of year. Because I did not have time to stop and eat lunch yesterday, my mid-day meal consisted of:
1 handful of peanut M&Ms and Raisinette mixture
3 small pieces of chocolate fudge (courtesy of one of my carriers)
2 pieces of mint chocolate candy (courtesy of one of my customers)
1 Diet Coke
1 piece of sugarless gum
1 Diet Coke
I'm going to try to do better today. Hope you did as well. Happy Holidays!
Debi Stiles

E-mail No. 19

To answer your question of what I had for lunch yesterday was what I usually have — leftovers from the night before. Yesterday it was chicken breast covered with pasta noodles and organic spaghetti sauce. My husband is a great cook! My husband and I both work full-time and are raising two bright kids. My husband cooks on Monday and Tuesday nights since I work late and he gets off early. He always makes plenty so I usually end of setting some aside so that I can take the next day. Of course, last night we were out late watching a special screening of King Kong and fixed no supper so I had no leftovers for today. Therefore, as I type this, I am eating an orange and banana for lunch today. Dots do sound much better though! Enjoy reading your blog everyday as I eat my lunch at work!
Sonya Grimm

E-mail No. 20

I had a lovely lunch with my son who brought me some Chick-Fil-A nuggets (a guilty pleasure) with honey-mustard sauce. I also had a carrot-raisin salad and a piece of their lemon pie with a coke to drink. I don't really know if my lunch was nutritionally any better than yours but I'm sure it was more filling!
Cheyenne, MT

E-mail No. 21

Box lunch from the Sugar Plum: chicken salad sandwich on white with deviled egg, chips and a fudgie nut for dessert. All for $5!
Dianna D. Barbee

E-mail No. 22

Hi Greta,
Sorry you had to resort to Dots for lunch. I would probably go for chips or something a little bit more substantial if I had to resort to junk! My workday lunch is almost always the same... either a chicken, turkey or ham sandwich on multi-grain bread, slice of Swiss or provolone cheese, and mustard (had ham yesterday). I then bring various snack bags of raw veggies such as baby carrots, peppers, mushrooms and cucumbers and have those with my sandwich. In fact, I'm munching on veggies right now. Don't feel bad though, it hasn't helped me keep my weight down!
Allentown, PA

E-mail No. 23

Hi Greta,
I ate 2 Steak Fajita Hot Pockets and drank a can of Coke.
Alicia Waters

E-mail No. 24

OK, yesterday was a bad day, truly. For lunch, here's the deal:
11:45 a.m. — As usual, handful of nuts for protein
2:35 p.m. — Walked 15 minutes to Starbucks for a 4-pump Mocha and an Apple Fritter
That was it, for my lunch time. And, it is not normal! :) You asked, I prefer the truth, so there ya go!
Usually I have a carefully balanced meal of more protein than carbs, lots of water with Sea Salt (works wonders I assure you), and maybe a small cup of oatmeal around 2-3 p for carry-over to dinner. Our family has modified our diet since our youngest daughter has Type 1 Diabetes — she was diagnosed at 2 1/2 years old.
It's hard work to keep healthy and set a great example for your kids. When the day hits you hard at work, sometimes ya just gotta cave for the crave!
Take care, God Bless, and Merry Christmas.
Steve Glaiser

E-mail No. 25

Dear Greta,
I usually go home for lunch because I live close to work. However, yesterday I had a McDonald's Sausage McMuffin for breakfast and went Christmas shopping during my lunch hour. I must confess I grabbed a soda on the way back because I was thirsty.
Jill Paulos

E-mail No. 26

1 whole wheat bagel toasted with 1 slice of Free cheese
6 Hershey kisses and Diet Mt. Dew
Denver, CO

E-mail No. 27

Hi Greta,
Love your show! I usually take leftover from previous night for lunch. Yesterday I had whole-wheat Udon noodle (Japanese noodle) with organic tofu, organic baby spinach and Chinese mushroom in vegetable broth. It is one of my favorite lunches. Keep up the good works!

E-mail No. 28

Hello Greta,
I really enjoy your show. Never miss a night. My husband thinks I need to go to the Betty Ford Clinic due to being addicted to your show. Yesterday I ate a Lean Cuisine for lunch. I feel they are low in calories and better than fast food or candy. Although I have had many lunches that consist of junk. Keep up the great show!
Frankfort, KY

E-mail No. 29

Greta: I had Campbell's Soup at Hand... classic tomato flavor. It's quick and I can just drink it at my desk. But then an hour later it was gone so I ate a mini bag of popcorn. And throughout the day I munched on some chocolate that a co-worker sent. Greta, you're so tiny now so Dots probably didn't hurt you yesterday, but don't make it a habit!
Ginger King

E-mail No. 30

Yesterday for lunch I had six Jack-In-The-Box regular tacos and a large Coke. I KNOW that’s a horrible lunch, but it seems to be a regular one for me. Those tacos are greasy and pitiful, but I just like the taste so much. As for the Coke, I know that’s bad for me as well. I’m not man enough to drink Diet Coke, and I just can’t seem to stop drinking regular Coke.
And I AM at least 50 pounds overweight, and at age 51, I should know better. Maybe in 2006 I’ll start exercising and get serious about eating better.
Have a Merry Christmas,
Paul Hankinson
Arlington, TX

E-mail No. 31

In response to your "what did you eat for lunch yesterday," during my lunch hour Christmas errands, I swung into Burger King and ordered a Whopper Jr. with onion rings and a Coke. Doesn't sound much better than your Dots!
Bozeman, MT

E-mail No. 32

Hi Greta! Love the show. I wanted to let you know what I ate yesterday for lunch: a King Size Snickers bar and I drank a 20oz Dr. Pepper. Oh, and I've too eaten a box of Dots for lunch. They are my weakness.
San Antonio, TX

E-mail No. 33

I was at a conference yesterday, and they feed us salad, soup and sandwiches. It was good, but not as good as usual since my husband normally packs my lunch with delicious leftovers from dinner he makes the night before.
Kari Duda

ANSWER: How did you "teach" your husband to do this?

E-mail No. 34

Hi Greta,
Great minds think alike. Dots happen to be my favorite candy — can't find Chuckles anymore, also love Chuckles. But I take it one step further. I love popcorn and Dots together. Shame on me. I did not have lunch yesterday — but around 3:00 had a mug of tea and 4 Christmas cookies. There is something wrong here!

ANSWER: I think Patsy and I need a new diet... with some nutrition as starters.

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