October 17th, 2008
Green is the latest buzzword. For most of us, green means recycling and avoiding chemicals, for the good of ourselves and the environment.
But, there is not only one green, but many shades, in our environment. Compare limes to Granny Smith apples, or the noble fir to the birch tree for only four of the many shades of green in nature.
We should each be accepted for whatever shade of green we are able to reach in our lives and our choices along the way.
A vegan may look down on a vegetarian, and a vegetarian may look down on a meat eater. Some demand only organic in what they will eat or wear. Some will not wear leather, and others will shoot their food and make sure that no part of the animal goes to waste. Consider the choices regarding one tree on the African savannah. Giraffes eat from the thorny top of the acacia, zebras eat the tender leaves from the bottom of the tree, elephants eat the branches, and monkeys eat the seeds.
Being green comes in steps for most people. Not everyone is up to having a compost pile in the yard or a composter in the kitchen. But, most can recycle cans and plastic. With the addition of chemical-free products in most stores, many are deepening their shade of green in their choice of cleaners.
We are all different. A group of fifty people may include fifty shades of skin color. We have fought hard to build tolerance of these color differences and see beyond them to find the person inside. Now we need to spread that color tolerance to each other as consumers.
You could give a scowl to someone who shops without giving the environment a thought or you could give them a canvas shopping bag and a smile. The second one has the better chance of starting them down a green path.
October 6th, 2008
It is time to make your survival kit. Now. No more putting it off. No doom and gloom here — no scare tactics — just being prepared.
The US economy was sound only weeks ago. The financial crisis will, however, affect the economy. In fact, it has already begun. And, the financial crisis is not limited to the US for the simple reason that countries invest in each other’s companies and banks.
Now, while you still have a job, put a good hunk of each paycheck toward stocking up. Stock up on anything that you would need for at least a month — three months is even better — twelve months is best. This will allow you to get through slow months in your business or a lay-off at work.
Think twice before you say that you cannot afford to stock up on anything because money is tight. The truth is, almost everyone wastes money every month, and most of us eat better than we need to. You could have steak and au gratin potatoes this month and nothing next month, or you could have hamburgers and beans for three months. You normally have two pork chops and a touch of vegetables, so change that to one pork chop and lots of vegetables. This is not only cheaper, it could also result in thinner Americans!
If you still think your budget is tight, start with canned vegetables since they are pretty cheap. And, buy only the ones that are on sale. You can sometimes get food (and other items) almost free if you go for items on sale for which you also have a coupon. Many coupons can be found at Great Coupons and Rebates.
What you should stock up on is non-perishable food (canned or boxed), toiletries (toilet paper, shampoo, etc.), pet food, and prescription or over-the-counter medicines that you take regularly. That is the digest version. You can see the “complete” list at Home Survival Kit List.
You are not responsible for the stock market dropping and the tight times ahead, but you can show great responsibility by getting prepared now.
July 20th, 2008
Libraries used to be for and all about kids. Little kids are new, voracious readers who soar through tons of picture books, and who, if allowed, would read through more books than most parents would be able to buy. Libraries should also still be the best place for kids to do homework – not everyone has a computer at home.
Are libraries now more for adults to anonymously ogle kiddie porn, or for terrorists planning to bomb a daycare center? Maybe they are now more for adults having cyber affairs, or for older kids to be on myspace without their parents watching. Well, that implies that there are still parents who watch their kids, but that’s another issue.
According to a recent AP article by John Curran, a librarian “demanded a search warrant, touching off a confrontation that pitted the privacy rights of library patrons against the rights of police on official business.”
Those policemen were desperately searching for clues in the disappearance of a child the day before. Brooke Bennett was found later, dead. The wait for a search warrant wasted 8 hours of search time.
“Data mining” and “privacy rights of library patrons” were the things most important to the librarian on the scene, fellow librarians, and the American Library Association.
Here is one quote from the article: ” ‘It’s one of the most difficult situations a library can face,’ said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of intellectual freedom issues for the American Library Association.”
Is that really a more difficult situation than walking by a computer with your 5-year-old child when a man is looking at a close-up of a sex act on the screen? These are not private computers, nor are they in private institutions (the sign outside says PUBLIC library), nor are they kept in a private area.
Why are the privacy rights of terrorists, child molesters, rapists, or bombers more important than the rights of their victims? Why are the privacy rights of anyone more important than a child’s life?
As a researcher, I have been on enough questionable sites that I am most likely on lists compiled by the FBI and Homeland Security. So? As long as I am not a terrorist, am not planning any crime, have not committed any crime, am not a fugitive, etc., I have nothing to worry about and nothing to hide.
I regularly order a “bomb” from the local Hoagie Hut. If police, Homeland Security, the FBI, or anyone else is listening and wants to ask me questions about bombs, I’ll simply ask them if they would like fries or onion rings with theirs when they come by.
November 21st, 2007
Today, kids 13 or over are allowed to ride in the front seat of a car with a passenger-side airbag, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommendations. Some parents may even think that their younger child is safe if he is tall for his age.
Dr. Craig Newgard is assistant professor of emergency medicine in the Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine’s Center for Policy and Research in Emergency Medicine, and an emergency physician at OHSU and Doernbecher hospitals. He “felt it was time to study whether more children could be at risk, and assess whether age or body size were good measurement guidelines.”
According to his 2005 study, “children 14 and younger were at high risk for serious injury from air bags when they sat in the front passenger seat during car crashes. In contrast, air bags had a protective effect for children aged 15 to 18. In addition, the study showed age may be a better indicator of risk than height or weight.”
“Several body changes during puberty, such as muscle mass, bone density, and bone mineral content, may help explain why body size isn’t a good measurement of risk in children.”
Automakers have switched to airbags with sensors for the front passenger seat, to deploy with less force than a regular airbag. The sensor may be able to detect the passenger’s weight, but not the age.
If a child under 15 must ride in the front seat of a car, it is only safe if there is no airbag at all, or if the airbag can be turned off or set to a lower force. In addition, the child must use a lap belt and shoulder harness.
November 12th, 2007
Much of the country has the opinion that those who lost their homes to the wildfires in California deserve little sympathy.
One reason is that reporters and journalists flamed the heat of their stories with mention of multi-million dollar beachfront homes of the rich and famous. In fact, none of those homes burned.
Most of the homes lost were of average price, owned by middle-income families. Many people who lost their homes were not homeowners at all, but renters, so their belongings were not covered by the home’s insurance policy. And, contrary to rumors, homeowners in California, whether in a fire-prone area or not, are required to have fire insurance in order to get a mortgage, so few of the homes were not insured.
Another reason for the lack of sympathy for Californians is that some of the homes were located in fire-prone areas. People wonder why they should feel sorry for anyone who dares to live in such an area.
That thinking is understandable. People in California have wondered for years why the government (meaning everyone, in the end) should bail out people who continue to live next to the Mississippi River even though it is guaranteed to flood nearby areas on a regular basis. Why should anyone have sympathy for those who lose everything in a hurricane when their area is hit by hurricanes over and over? And, what about those living in “tornado alley?”
Very little of this United States is not threatened by earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, fires, tsunamis, volcanoes, or even extended drought. Disasters can happen no matter where we live.
And, the fact that homes in California cost more than those in many areas of the country may bother people in other states in times of tragedy. But, it bothers those of us living in California all the time. We live in a tiny three-bedroom house to which only recently we added a second bathroom. For half of our monthly mortgage payment, we could buy a home in most other states that is four times the size on a lot that is ten times larger. Californians also pay 10 times the state taxes as those in Missouri and 100 times the state taxes as those in South Dakota – every year.
We all need to count our blessings when we have them, which is most of the time, and help the other guy when he needs it.
October 29th, 2007
The number of acres burned by wildfires has more than doubled. But, the number of fires in the last 27 years was half that during the 1970s-1980s. Wildfires are burning hotter and taking longer to extinguish. This is most likely due to the environmental issue of not allowing forests to be thinned, brush to be cleared from near homes and other buildings, and brush to be thinned through controlled burns.
Fires were more controllable and fewer (if any) homes and other buildings were lost in areas where forest thinning had been allowed and implemented. One such area, Lake Arrowhead, California, was saved by thinning. According to Randall Clauson, the Forest Service’s division chief for the San Bernardino National Forest, “… only a few stumps were burning and no trees were lost. Hundreds of surrounding homes were untouched.” This also freed firefighters and equipment for use in other areas.
In addition to some areas being saved by thinning, more trees and underbrush are lost to raging wildfires than to thinning.
California’s latest fires were started by downed power lines, arson, and welding sparks. Hot Santa Ana winds fanned the flames and drought conditions did not help. But, even though all of these causes and conditions have also been in play over the last 47 years, increased acreage lost to wildfires coincides with the implementation of the environmental bans.
Environmentalists and others are also concerned about carbon dioxide causing and worsening global warming. But, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during wildfires far exceeds anything man could have done in the same timeframe. One major fire can emit in days up to 40 percent of what man causes in a full year.
Forests that have not been thinned in years are also full of older trees (which absorb carbon slower than new trees do) and dead trees. Thinned forests can absorb more carbon, at a faster rate. The older trees also contain more carbon after soaking it in over the years. When these older trees are logged, burning of higher concentrations of carbon is prevented.
The last few years have seen catastrophic wildfires globally, including in the United States, Russia, Canada, Australia, Mongolia, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Europe, Ethiopian, and the Mediterranean. It is no wonder that carbon emissions have increased. Man had little to do with it, just as man had little to do with the increases (and ensuing decreases) over the millennia, nor with the global warming / global cooling cycle.
October 13th, 2007
How spouses argue is learned from what they saw and heard from their parents. Most people simply repeat the pattern, even when it is obviously unsuccessful. But, you can change that.
The first thing to know about arguing properly is to speak out. In some marriages, there is no arguing at all because one person either simply clams up or storms out of the room. These two methods may let the other person know you’re angry, but they fail miserably at changing things for the better.
Another part of proper arguing is the right attitude. Arguments usually are partnered with anger, but your anger can quickly fuel anger in your spouse also. Accusations fly, and sometimes objects fly. But, the point of arguing is to change or solve things, not to get each other angry.
Volume is also important when arguing. When one person starts yelling, the other gets louder. It doesn’t take long before words are not heard at all, only the volume.
So when you want to get your point across, speak out, speak out without anger, and speak out without yelling.
The best way to get your point across is to keep the conversation about you. Specifically, keep the conversation about your feelings.
“You’re never home! You’re always gone! You’re at work all day long, and then you’re out with the guys on the weekend!” Those comments are not about you, they are about your husband, and they will be heard as accusations. Accusations put the other person on the defensive and can cause anger. A possible reaction would be, “I need to do something fun on the weekends after listening to my boss all week! And, you should be grateful that I’m working so much so you can have this furniture and your nice clothes!” Instead, tell him what you are feeling. “You work hard, and you are a good provider. I really appreciate that. But, sometimes when I’m home alone I feel like I’m not important.” A likely reaction to this would be, “You are important! You’re the most important person in my life. I didn’t mean to make you feel that way. What would you like to do this weekend? This weekend is just for you. We could go on a drive and then to a nice restaurant, whatever you want.!” Telling him what you are feeling is not threatening to him, and it gives him a chance to come to your rescue.
Respect, a nice attitude, and a pleasant voice go a long way to prevent arguments. You haven’t gotten anywhere with yelling, “You’re such a pig! You never rinse off your plate, then you leave dirty dishes all over the house!” Instead, try saying, “When I rinse food off a plate right away, it’s so easy to clean. But, if I wait until the food is stuck on, it’s really hard. It would really help me out if you could rinse off your plate and put it in the sink after you eat. I even enjoy washing dishes when they’ve already soaked in the sink.”
“This is what you always do!” “You broke my mother’s plate! That’s the third plate of hers that you’ve broken! You’ve always hated my mother!” “I wouldn’t need to worry about where you go if you hadn’t had that affair two years ago!” The last thing to remember about arguing is to forget. A quick way to cause resentment or put a person on the defensive is to bring past problems into a new arguement. Forget past sins.
September 15th, 2007
When your child does something wonderful or looks adorable is when you usually give them a big hug. You might also give them a big hug just for waking up in the morning.
The time that too few parents think to hug their child is after punishing them. But, that is when a hug does the most good.
Little kids are much smaller than parents. We loom over them. Just imagine how strong words, a harsh tone, or yelling would feel to you if it came from someone taller than the ceiling. There is usually not a need to be as loud or as harsh, and we can usually get the point across with nicer words. Either way, a hug goes a long way toward reassuring a child after a reprimand of any sort. It says that you still love them, even though you didn’t love what they did.
Hugging does not take away from punishment or discipline. Instead, it lets the child know that they can come to you after they make a mistake or do something wrong. What a great life lesson. Older kids don’t make bigger mistakes, but they often add to the problem by trying to hide what they did or trying to fix it themselves.
Anyone can love a child that never does anything wrong and always looks so cute. They need to know that you also love them all the other times.
August 21st, 2007
US researchers say that the inner clock (circadian rhythm) of teenagers directs them to be ready for sleep later at night than when they were younger.
This has become just one more opportunity to take the responsibility off the person and the parents, and to be able to place blame. The blame is put on schools for not starting later to accommodate teenagers – it must be the schools’ responsibility. It is also a wonderful opportunity to tell us (again) that we need the (socialist-leaning) government to force the situation. In this case, it is to force schools to change their hours. The bottom line is that many adults do not parent their kids and the government thinks that none of us is smart enough to do so.
From the National Sleep Foundation: “On April 2, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), introduced a congressional resolution to encourage schools and school districts to reconsider early morning start times to be more in sync with teens’ biological makeup. House Congressional Resolution 135 or the “ZZZ’s to A’s” Act would encourage individual schools and school districts all over the country to move school start times to no earlier than 8:30 a.m.”
If teenagers “are our future,” as one author put it, they deserve to be parented. Left to their own devices, young children might have cookies and soda for dinner every night, never take a bath, never brush their teeth, etc. Parents usually step in to guide their young children instead. Adolescents are still in need of guidance and parenting.
“What can I do to improve things,” is the appropriate question, not “Who can I blame for my problem?” If responsibility for things is given early in life, it is a concept that kids can understand and appreciate. When a teenage girl is asked occasionally to wash dishes, she may leave dishes with food on them on the counter every day. When she is given the responsibility to wash all of her dishes every day, she will avoid this consequence by rinsing each dish after she uses it. It is a win-win situation when people take responsibility. It is difficult for teenagers to take responsibility for their own actions when their parents won’t take responsibility for parenting.
Almost all of the circadian rhythm research on teenagers was done in the US. At least one study compared American teenagers with those in Italy. Everyone has to occasionally adjust their inner clock (during daylight savings time, when traveling in a different time zone, or sometimes when we change jobs, etc.), and it can be done. The study cited below found that the main difference (between the success of the adolescents in Italy versus those in the US), in addition to and to help facilitate adjusting the inner clock, is in bedtime routine and “sleep hygiene.” That makes it dependent upon conditions which can be controlled and changed.
From Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, January 2005, study of teenagers in Italy and the USA: “Italian adolescents practiced markedly better sleep hygiene and reported substantially better sleep quality than American adolescents. Across cultures, reported practice of sleep hygiene (ASHS total) was moderately to strongly related to sleep quality (ASWS total), and these relationships were not attributable to any of the measured demographic and individual difference variables. Furthermore, differences in overall sleep quality between the Italian and American samples were, for the most part, due to differences in sleep-hygiene practices.”
They found “increased sleep problems among adolescents who worry, feel sad [parents, do you listen to your kids?], or engage in cognitively stimulating activities just before bedtime.”
“In Italy, better sleep-hygiene practices may be due to maintenance of parental involvement into early adolescence.”
“Our findings suggest that sleep hygiene is importantly related to sleep quality during adolescence and support the implementation and evaluation of educational programs that emphasize good sleep habits. Investigating similarities and differences in sleep and sleep-related practices within and across countries may facilitate an understanding of factors that underlie sleep/wake regulation during adolescence. Furthermore, these results indicate that culture may influence sleep-hygiene practices and that these sleep-related behaviors may put adolescents from different cultures at risk for poor sleep quality.”
American parents seem to do less parenting than Italian parents. But, despite the propaganda from Congress, parents can change this without government intervention. If schools are forced to start later, they will end later, so teenagers will stay up later still. Unless parents improve things at home, the cycle would not be changed, merely the time of day that the cycle starts. The article below tells how.
see How to Get Teenagers to Sleep Despite Their Inner Clock, dated August 21, 2007
August 21st, 2007
Teenagers see staying up late at night as a right. Even though teenagers push to stay up later and later, they do still need more sleep than adults. Many adults function best with 7 hours of sleep, but school-aged children need 9 or 10 hours. Teenagers will give themselves this much sleep if they are allowed to wake up on their own. Weekends attest to this. But, it is necessary for them to go to bed early enough to get 9 or 10 hours of sleep before getting up for school.
Kids start a new cycle in approximately the sixth grade. It seems that their inner clock is telling them to stay up later. But, they end up sleepy and sluggish in the morning if this is allowed because they still need the same amount of sleep. If the situation goes unchanged, the effects worsen.
Getting enough sleep is necessary to stay healthy. Lack of sleep can cause physical and emotional problems, and learning difficulties. Impaired memory, concentration and ability to learn – these seem to describe the typical teenager, who is probably not getting enough sleep. Anxiety, depression, and other emotional problems – even more “symptoms” of being a teenager that relate back to sleep deprivation. Poor decision-making, poor judgment, increased risk taking – all three describe many, if not most, teenagers. It is possible that most teenagers are not getting to bed early enough.
Parents can help kids adjust their inner clock, known as circadian rhythm, so that they can get the sleep they require. A schedule helps greatly. The younger a schedule is started, the easier it is to keep a regular sleep schedule as they age. And, if younger kids are sent to bed as early as they really need to, the forward push of the cycle is probably not as late into the night as kids that routinely stayed up too late.
One big step is to help kids start winding down in the evening instead of allowing more physical activity or television shows that are too stimulating. Shows that are too stimulating or are aired too late can be recorded for viewing at a better time.
Kids are getting less sleep as the popularity of coffee, soda, and/or “energy” drinks increases. All of these drinks should be limited in general and be stopped before dinnertime. And, dinnertime should be at least 3 hours before bedtime to prevent obesity.
Kids who are active during the day will be more likely to be tired at bedtime. Sunlight is not only healthy, it helps to normalize the sleep schedule. On dreary days or when a child cannot get out in the sun, the house should be brightly lit. Bright lights should then be dimmed in the evening. Bright lights include the computer screen and television. TV viewing should be done from a distance, and computer use should be scheduled for late in the afternoon or very early in the evening. Mornings should include bright lights to start the day cycle.
Kids also need the right conditions to be met in order to be able to sleep properly. They should not use the bed as a place to do homework; or to lie on while listening to their favorite music, read, make phone calls, or watch television. This reserves the bed as a place for sleeping. It is even better if most of these activities take place outside the bedroom. The bed should be neat and inviting for sleep instead of piled high with notebooks and clothes. The child’s bedroom should be dark and quiet when they do go to bed, although soft music can be soothing. And, the rest of the household should not be loud enough to be a distraction.
When kids are not sleepy at bedtime, lying in bed in the dark will at least allow their bodies and minds to begin to recharge for the next day. Lots of kids who complain, “I’m not tired,” fall asleep quickly once they are in bed.
Once a good sleep schedule has become regular, it is safe to allow kids to stay up 1 or 2 hours later on Friday and Saturday nights. For a special occasion, like a sleepover or a concert, a good compromise would be for kids to take a nap before dinner.
August 18th, 2007
(A follow-up to “Ephedra Free,” dated August 13th, 2007)
Coffee contains about twice as much caffeine as soda, and most of the energy drinks contain at least as much caffeine as coffee. One of the energy drinks contains as much caffeine as five cups of coffee, or the equivalent of two and a half Vivarin, No-Doz or Dexatrim. (The name of this drink is being omitted so kids won’t search it out.) To put this into perspective, the Olympic Committee will disquality an athlete that has had more than three cups of coffee.
And, that is only the amount of caffeine listed as a separate ingredient. The top drink also includes green tea, which contains additional caffeine. Some of these drinks also add guarana, ginseng, and/or mate – which are stimulants. One brand of energy drink contains 140 mg of caffeine, and it also contains 600 mg of ginseng and an unknown amount of guarana.
The FDA does not require disclosure of the amounts of caffeine, guarana, ginseng, or mate on energy drinks. But, this information is available on internet sites. The labels do not contain enough information for an adult to make an informed decision. But, kids most likely don’t read labels at all. So it is up to parents to research the drinks their kids are ingesting, or put limits on what their kids are allowed to drink. Adults may be used to drinking one or two cups of coffee in one sitting, but kids are not; and kids have smaller bodies than adults, so stimulants affect them more. A child is also not likely to limit themselves as adults do.
Too much caffeine and/or other stimulants found in energy drinks can cause dangerous symptoms.
These can include some or all of: diarrhea, sleeplessness, heart palpitations, dehydration, panic attack, and suicide. Dehydration, for instance, can cause death, especially when it is mixed with exercise and/or heat.
Kids can “bounce off the walls” without energy drinks. And, kids can be moody enough without the withdrawal symptoms that come after the stimulants wear off. If parents don’t worry about the dangers of energy drinks for their kids’ sakes, they should at least worry about them for the sake of their own sanity.
August 13th, 2007
Most people know that caffeine is stimulant. Many do not realize that guarana, ginseng and mate are also. Stimulants can be beneficial when used correctly.
Another stimulant, ephedra, was taken off the market because a few people died after taking it. Some of the fatalities occurred when it was taken before extreme physical activity, or rigorous activity in extreme heat. When used correctly, it does work wonders for allergies and asthma.
After the ephedra scare, companies started adding “no ephedra” to their labels.
The Monster drink contains guarana, ginseng and caffeine. Kids love to drink it for its energy boost. Snapple has at least eight drinks that contain all three ingredients. The problem with “energy” drinks and many pills (mainly for weight loss) is twofold: that they contain one of these in an excessive amount, or a combination of these ingredients; and that many of the labels do not specify that they are stimulants. Some even imply that their product contains no stimulants because it is “ephedra free.”
It is important to read labels on everything nowadays. It is equally important to know what the ingredient names mean.
July 19th, 2007
He and she had only been married for a few years when the Air Force sent him off to Shemya, Alaska, while she and their two children stayed home in California. (Shemya is an island in the Bering Sea, about 200 miles off Russia, which has absolutely nothing but an Air Force base, foxes, and tons of snow.)
She was shaken awake on the morning of February 1, 1975. Not by one of her kids, but by the room itself. The bed was jumping up and down and actually rolling back and forth on the tiled floor, and the Venetian blinds were violently shaking against the window. Being a native Californian, she knew that this was an earthquake. A big one. A very big one.
When the shaking stopped, she jumped out of bed to check on the kids. She met them in the hall outside her bedroom. Just as she got to them, the shaking started again. They held onto her, she held onto the stair railing, and they rode it out. Earthquakes are scary, but they also give more of an adrenaline rush than the biggest roller coaster. When the shaking was over, all three of them alternated between crying and laughing.
They dressed quickly and went outside to hear the reactions of her neighbors, many of whom she knew had never experienced an earthquake before. But, none of them felt anything at all that morning. Wow, they were sound sleepers.
There was little time before her parents were to arrive to celebrate her birthday, but she checked the news channels. Nothing.
She told her parents all that happened and asked if they had felt the earthquake at all. They did live two hours away, but the earthquake had been huge. But, they had not felt it. Well, people don’t always feel an earthquake when they are driving.
After her parents left, she ran to the television again. There it was, she was not crazy. The newsman was telling all about the earthquake. It had been a magnitude 7.6 quake – wow, it really was huge —- off the island of Shemya!
“A major earthquake injured several residents and caused severe damage on the Shemya Island. The Shemya Air Force Base runway sustained cracks. Crevasses having as much as 16.5 meters of vertical displacement were observed on Sheyma. Landslides occurred, water tanks twisted, and underground waterpipes broke.”
She had felt, heard and experienced “his” earthquake thousands of miles away.
July 18th, 2007
Animals or kids? Animals or babies? Animals or people?
When a horse and many dogs are found residing inside a house, there is an outcry against their living conditions. Animal control is called and acts very swiftly. Besides the filth, the outrage is that a horse should be able to run free. The sidenote in the news story is that there is a child in the home. If a concerned neighbor had called to say that a child was living in filth, would child protective services have acted as swiftly?
Testing is done on rats in a laboratory. It is found that a beneficial drug causes horrific birth defects. Animal rights protesters are outraged. Would it be better to have thousands of human babies be born this way? Do they think that a good alternative would be to allow women to take all new drugs without any testing? It is possible in a society that not only allows but encourages abortions, even partial birth abortions that are performed because the mother is depressed. This would never be allowed in a vet’s office. Why is letting the baby be born and go to a loving family not a better option?
Our pets give us so much in their lifetimes. When they get very old and are in constant pain, we humanely (note the root of the word) have them put them to sleep. We cry but are happy to know that they are no longer suffering. But, when Grandpa gets very old and is in constant pain, it is illegal to do anything to speed up his death. Our strongest pain medication does little for this pain, and Grandpa begs to be allowed to die. Some doctors even worry about giving certain pain medications to Grandpa at all because he could become addicted.
Animals or kids – animals often receive more concern. Animals or babies – animals seem to be more important to some. Animals or people – animals are definitely allowed a more humane death. It is good to be caring of animals, but not at the expense of losing our humanity.
July 8th, 2007
Young people have a different outlook, which is natural. Our youth think that they will live forever. After all, only old people die and they think that old is “forever” away. On the other hand, they are apt to forget that a tattoo lasts forever and get one on a whim.
Bad things only happen to others, not to them. This thinking is especially prevalent when it comes to drug overdoses or addiction, drunk driving, or sex. Why is pregnancy such a surprising result after participating in the very act that creates babies? They think that they can’t get an STD if they only have one partner – but the one partner may have already been with others. Asking about that in advance, though, doesn’t show trust and love.
Youth might be no fun at all without the youthful outlook. And, who knows, maybe few inventions would have ever come about without the blind perserverence of youth. Wisdom usually comes only with age since the ears of the youth are like a radio that only gets a few stations: music, gossip, protest movements of any sort, etc. The “talk-radio” station of sage advice is all static to them and gets turned off. But, their eyes are always working (television, video games, the internet). Whether our youth admit it or not, parents are seen. So, the best way to teach our young people is by being good examples to follow.
June 22nd, 2007
When we are extremely sick, and we feel like we might even die, we fight. We spend all of our waking energy fighting, and our body fights as we sleep. The fight is more important than eating, having visitors, working, cleaning, or even watching television. The entire goal is to fight to get well.
With the addition of today’s medicines, we usually win the fight. But, we will all die someday. “Nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.” (Benjamin Franklin)
When several doctors and all available tests give us no hope of recovery, we don’t have to fight. We don’t have to spend all of our remaining time and energy fighting. Of course, not every death sentence comes true – only God truly knows when we will die. For that reason, some will say that we might live past a proclaimed death sentence if we don’t give up the fight, especially when prayers are added to the mix. Our prayers are best used for how we live, not how long.
Sam worked so hard all of his life to provide well for his family. He did not retire until the last possible moment so that he could have enough money to be comfortable for twenty years after he stopped working. Sam died six months after he retired. We hear this story all too often. How would Sam have changed his life if he had known twenty years before he retired? It seems a surety that he would at least have retired sooner.
Stress kills, and Joe personified stress. He died without warning. Joe’s family barely recognized him in his casket; he had always had a look of extreme worry and anger, even in his sleep. What a joy it would have been for his family to see that peaceful face looking back at them in life, even if it was only for months or weeks. If only he had known in advance.
Receiving a death sentence from doctors is actually a blessing. We are instantly relieved of the society-required duty of fighting. We are instantly given permission to do as we please and speak nothing but our true feelings. We are instantly able to concentrate on the future of others instead of on our lot, and on God instead of ourselves. With a death sentence, any time we have left would be all ours – not that of our boss or even household chores.
Maybe we should all pray for God to give us a warning like doctors do: ”You’ve got six months” to LIVE.
June 16th, 2007
There’s a billboard in the depressed part of town with an interesting message. “If you graduate, it is like your mother also succeeds.”
The words seem meant to make a teenager feel guilty enough to stay in school and graduate. Looking deeper, the real meaning goes to the heart of the ghetto / barrio family – which is that the mother is the heart of the family. She is often times the only parent in the home, and she is well loved. She may have even had to quit school to become the mother of the would-be graduate.
All of that would bring up a wish to please her, make her proud, and give her such a great gift. The message also seems like it would be very effective in keeping more teenagers in school.
Hmm. Why is it that these same feelings do not keep many teenagers from joining gangs?
June 15th, 2007
Many people have given up eating meat, for a variety of reasons. One reason is that they think meat does not digest well, if at all. Proponents of “food combining” say that the real problem is what you eat with your meat.
Their rule for eating meat is to not combine it with starch, another protein, cheese, acid foods, sugars, or fats. That eliminates the cheeseburger, bacon and eggs, pepperoni pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, and most of the staples of the American diet.
So if you’ve turned vegetarian simply for better digestion but miss the occasional steak, you might consider trying a small one with a leafy salad.
The link below has many details on this and other food combinations, even for the vegetarian diet. www.internethealthlibrary.com/DietandLifestyle/Food_combining.htm
(What we eat and how we treat others are personal decisions.)
June 11th, 2007
Oh, where your toothbrush has been!
Not many people would feel it is healthy to prepare meals in a bathroom. But, toothbrushes are usually stored there – and in the open. This is a room that was built for regular deposits of urine and feces.
A place that is almost as filthy as the bathroom is the mouth. But, that is where toothbrushes go every day.
First, prevent the filth.
Close the toilet lid before you flush, and instruct everyone in the family to do the same. The flushing action of the toilet forces waste down, but it also forces germs up into the room. These germs land on every surface, including exposed toothbrushes.
Toothbrushes could be kept inside a closed medicine cabinet. This would prevent them from the germs that must still escape while the toilet is being used. There must be a covered toothbrush holder somewhere.
And, clean up the filth.
Most people who read this have probably already thrown away their filthy toothbrushes.
But, when you have a cold, you put your toothbrush into the holder next to those of your loved ones. It’s no wonder colds spread like wildfire through families.
Washing your toothbrush after every use when you are sick will keep it from infecting others. This will also prevent reinfecting yourself with your own cold germs over and over. You could use a fancy machine to kill the germs. Or, you could just rinse the toothbrush (bristles and handle) with hydrogen peroxide, diluted grapefruit seed extract, or rubbing alcohol, all of which kill germs.
It’s best to change your toothbrush at least every three months anyway. Now’s a good time to start.
May 29th, 2007
The ancient Minoans had grand kings for leaders, and the people had total faith in them. Minoan kings were held as gods who could protect them from everything, including nature’s fury. That is, until a huge volcanic eruption made it obvious to the survivors that human kings were as powerless as themselves.
The people chose to worship and trust in a god instead – two gods might give them even more protection. They erected statues to honor the gods. And, for good measure, they made sacrifices. Human sacrifices. Can you imagine, they sacrificed their own children so that they themselves could have a nicer life.
Can you imagine?! You don’t have to work very hard today to imagine it. Many have gone back to worshipping the gods of their own making. The god of choice could be money, prestige, or fame. And, many today sacrifice their own children just so that they themselves can have a nicer life. Too many of today’s children are given up to nannies, babysitters, and daycare centers full time – some, much more than full time. All this so Dad can have the fanciest cars and Mom can have the biggest house, or so that either can have the most admiration from their peers.
We no longer kill our children physically. We instead kill their spirit, and the relationship we could have shared with them. You can have the mansion, I’ll take the modest house. Yours will be full of expensive furniture, and mine will be full of hugs and kisses – and secrets of the day that only a real family can share.
May 29th, 2007
Shipping season was long over for daylilies due to the coming winter frosts. Even Southern California is not immune to the occasional dip to 30 or even 28 degrees, so shipping was not scheduled to resume until March.
Ask and you just might receive.
The grower was obliging, even envious, when told that the daylilies would be planted within walking distance of the ocean. Coastal frost is extremely rare. The live plants arrived in time for Christmas. To the credit of the grower, the daylilies were also the largest we’d ever received. Still, fingers were crossed and weather reports were checked daily.
But, Murphy’s law struck.
It has snowed locally twice in recorded history, and there is a frost or two in the memories of some old folks. But there it was — in print — frost was expected for two nights. Along with the awful idea of being thought a liar came the desire to not cause the grower to disallow exceptions for anyone ever again. Not to mention missing out on the beautiful flowers that were expected and being out a lot of money; these daylilies were prize winners and were priced as such.
After researching books and the internet, protection for the daylily “nursery” was found to be simple and inexpensive. Only two things were needed: extra water and a thick layer of bark. Watering before a frost increases the temperature of the soil, and bark mulch keeps heat in the soil.
The plants seemed not to have suffered from the frost, but only time would tell. And tell it did. The new plants bloomed in the middle of May — with blooms so large that they almost broke the tender little stems. Some of the older plants had been in the ground for two years without their first bloom, so these new ones did live up to their reputations. So did the grower that took a chance.
If you have a special circumstance, let the grower know. You just might find that rules are not always written in stone.
October 20th, 2006
Men are physically able to father a child much later than women can normally conceive. But, the risks increase with the age of the father.
It has long been known that older women have a higher chance of giving birth to a baby with Down Syndrome. This occurs in less than 1 in 1,000 women under 30, 1 in 400 at 35, and 1 in 6 by age 50.
Researchers now say that the same can be said for older fathers. Compared to fathers between 20 and 29, the incidence of Down Syndrome increased by 15 percent in men over 35, 30 to 40 percent in men over 40, and 300 percent higher in men over 50.
Older men also have a higher risk of fathering children with Achondroplastic Dwarfism, Marfan Syndrome, or Myositis Ossificans.
New studies also show that older fathers are far more likely to have children with schizophrenia than men under 25. This increase is 200 percent higher in men between 45 and 49, and 300 percent higher in men over 50. The age of the mother appears to have no influence.
The risk of autism also increases with the father’s age but not with the mother’s age. Autism is 5.75 times more likely among children born to men ages 40 to 49, compared with those born to men under 30.
In the old days, it was natural for men to marry before the age of 20, and women were even younger. Both sexes are most fertile at around 24. Taking into account the fact that most teenage pregnancies occur on the first “try,” it is probably more accurate to say that both are most fertile from puberty until the age of 24. Physically, it does make sense to marry before or during the period of peak fertility instead of 5 to 15 years after.
October 18th, 2006
Imagine a bird hatching from its egg. The process involves an incredible stuggle for life. The human reaction is to help crack the egg and/or pull away some of the shell. Helping with the hatching process almost always results in the death of the baby bird. The same is true for a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. The process of change, from a fetus to a live baby or from a caterpillar to a butterfly, imparts strengthening and protective properties.
~ According to Dr. Sakala of Childbirth Connection, “Cesarean-born babies are more likely to have breathing problems around the time of birth and to experience asthma in childhood and adulthood. Respiratory benefits also appear to be associated with experiencing the onset and occurrence of labor. The connection to asthma is less clear and may relate to exposure to beneficial microbes during vaginal birth.”
“The studies we reviewed found that a baby who was born by cesarean is [also] less likely to be breastfed and get the benefits of breastfeeding, most likely because the transition from surgery poses challenges for successful initiation of breastfeeding. The mother’s relationship with her baby can be adversely affected, because a woman who has a cesarean gets less early contact with her baby and is more likely to have initial negative feelings about the baby,” says Dr. Sakala.
~ In addition, “Babies born by Caesarean are nearly three times more likely to die in the first month than those born naturally,” according to the BBC News. “The researchers suggest that the process of labour helps prepare the baby for life outside the womb. As well as squeezing fluid out of the lungs, it may promote the release of hormones that encourage healthy lung function. Labour is an important part of the birthing process because it gets infants ready to breathe air and function outside the womb.”
~ Finally, a Norwegian study shows that babies born by cesarean to mothers with a food allergy have a much higher chance of developing the life-long food allergy themselves. The increase of an allergy to egg, fish or nuts is seven fold. The intestines of a baby are beneficially affected during the natural birth process, and this is bypassed in a cesarean delivery.
There are times when a cesarean delivery is necessary, either for the baby or the mother. But, cesarean births for unnecessary reasons are on the rise. Some doctors feel that cesareans offer less chance of problems resulting in lawsuits. Still others prefer being able to have births fit their schedules, especially when their insurance carriers only cover a specified number of births per month. Just as unnatural is the new craze of mothers choosing a cesarean birth in advance simply to bypass the pain of labor or so they can select the birthdate (or astrological sign) they prefer for their baby. We should take a lesson from birds and butterflies.
October 16th, 2006
The world began as a perfect place, and we were given all that we need. Even though the world is no longer a perfect place, who’s to say that we don’t still have all that we need. Here are just a few examples of “medicines” found in nature.
- Aspirin was one of the greatest discoveries ever, but it was found in the bark and leaves of the willow tree.
- Cranberry juice will prevent a urinary tract infection.
- Apple cider vinegar lowers blood pressure and takes away the pain and restriction of movement caused by arthritis.
- Eating turkey will put an insomniac right to sleep.
- Garlic will lower the bad cholesterol.
When there is a choice, the natural way seems best.
~ Natural remedies do affect the body and can be strong “medicine.” Using two at once can result in each cancelling out the other or in getting too much of a good thing.