Celebrate Women; Every Day of the Year

Celebrate Women; Every Day of the Year

Women contribute to society every day of the year.

Celebrate Women; Every Day of the Year

By Anna Hessel with Wes Hessel

 

History In the Making

Women’s History Month 2022 is now behind us, but women’s contributions to society continue, so we are recognizing some of the Women’s History Month themes of previous years in honor of the confirmation of our first female African American Supreme Court Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.  The theme for 2022 is “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope”, which pays tribute to frontline workers, medical professionals, and caregivers.  The 2021 Women’s History Month topic saluted the strength of women in times of difficulty.

Glass Is Trash

During 2020, festivities for the centennial of women’s suffrage had to be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions, therefore 2020’s theme, “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced”, was extended through 2021, as we celebrated the election of our first female Vice-President, Kamala Harris. The intent was to pay respect to the ladies that paved the way for women’s voting rights.  Now that the second highest office in the land has had its see-through ceiling shattered, the view to the top looks clear for breakthrough when President Biden hands over the reins.  Ladies, we should make sure we are wearing cute shoes and watch where we step, as there is glass everywhere, and more to come.

Breakouts

Barriers are falling and walls are continuing to be breached.  As Douglas Emhoff put it, “I may be the first Second Gentleman, but I know I won’t be the last.”  The foundation for more is being laid in part by the man who wrote and pushed through the “Violence Against Women” Act.  Dr. Jill Biden has a doctorate in education. Ms Biden is the only First Lady to continue her career while her spouse has led the nation.  But there were leaders before them who led the way.  Shirley Chisholm was the first woman of color elected to Congress, then the first woman to run for the Democratic nomination for president.  Geraldine Ferraro was the first woman to be a major party candidate for Vice-President.

Working From Within

The 2016 Women’s History Month theme was “Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government.”  This sisterhood of political pioneers have opened the doors of diversity for our nation.  The National Women’s History Project for that year honored the often undervalued and overlooked women in government leadership and public service.  This collection of amazing women has stood on the forefront of change, and their dramatic influence on public policy and the assisting of building viable organizations and institutions have helped lead the way to a more democratic, safer, and stronger America.

Above And Beyond

These women have fought to insure equal opportunity for all.   With diversity of experience and tireless dedication to community service, each of these public leaders, have succeeded against seemingly insurmountable challenges.  This company of ladies and their ability to create non-partisan policies and all-encompassing solutions, in addition to their determination, art of collaboration, and amazing skill sets, will serve our nation today and inspire our future generations.  We applaud these women for their unyielding courage and faithful service.

Women In Front

Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “Behind every successful man, there is a woman”.  Behind every successful woman is one or more women who succeeded before them, breaking ground or building up new progress.  And these were not always just in the advancement of women’s rights.  Most of us know of Madame Curie, and her ground-breaking radiation work.  But what about Tabitha Babbitt, a Shaker who came up with the prototype for the circular saw?  Or Nancy Johnson, who patented the original hand-cranked ice cream freezer.

Intrepid Inventors

Josephine Cochrane created the first dishwasher to achieve commercial success, with the first use of water pressure to scrub.  Sarah Boone improved the portable ironing board to the familiar wedge shape of what we use today for our pressing engagements.  Alice H. Parker created the first natural gas central furnace.

Men Don’t Have A Monopoly

Elizabeth Magie gave us “The Landlord’s Game”, the forerunner of what we now know as probably the most recognized board game ever, “Monopoly”.  In its design she made social commentary on property owners of her time in their treatment of tenants and materialistic priorities, as well as the benefits of home ownership.

Science This!

The first female scientist hired by GE, Katharine Burr Blodgett, developed the first method to put one-molecule thick coatings onto glass or metal.  This made possible non-reflective glass, which is used for lenses on common items such as eyeglasses, cameras, microscopes, and other optics, as well as picture frames and the like.  She also invented screens during World War II to protect troops from toxins in smoke.

Even More Data

In 1944, data processing pioneer Grace Hopper worked with Howard Aiken to create the Mark I computer at Harvard, then later came up with the computer slang “bug” and its companion, “debug”, after finding an errant moth had caused a system problem.  She was also on the team that developed COBOL.  Architect Eleanor Raymond collaborated with biophysicist Maria Telkes to build the first solar heated home in 1947.

She Didn’t Just Play A Spy…

And Hedy Lamarr didn’t rest on her acting laurels – her work with George Anthiel in 1941 created a “Secret Communication System” that depended at least in part on frequency-hopping for security.  These innovations and further work on her part gave us the beginnings of “spread-spectrum” technology, which became the basis for fax machines, cell phones, GPS, Wifi, and other related wireless communication advances.

Create Like It’s 1966

1966 was a bellwether year – in it Marie Van Brittan Brown patented the first closed-circuit TV security system. Again in ’66, Stephanie Kwolek invented-Kevlar. Kevlar is one of the most important synthetic fabric fibers ever created. She developed the process while working on strengthening material for auto tires. It is still used for tires, and brake shoe linings, boat hulls, flame-resistant clothing, and many other composite materials.  It’s most significant use has saved countless law enforcement and military personnel; which we are extremely thankful for – the bulletproof vest.

Dr. Jackson, Dr. Jackson…

The first black woman to receive a M.I.T. PhD, Shirley Jackson, helped develop modern communication technologies such as touch tones, call waiting and caller ID, and fiber optic cables, in addition to solar cells.  And she was the first woman to head one of the major technological institutions, in her case Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

They Figure In

Since this article is about women, we can’t forget women in American history; explorer Sacagawea, original First Lady Dolley Madison, abolitionist Sojourner Truth, women’s suffrage advocate Susan B. Anthony, famed authors Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beecher Stowe, Red Cross founder Clara Barton and fellow super-nurse Florence Nightingale, aviatrix Bessie Coleman and Amelia Earhart, poet and author Julia Ward Howe, civil rights activists Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King, just to name but a very few…

Wells, Wells, Wells…

Women have typically had to be multi-taskers – many took this to levels of great feats.  Ida B. Wells was a women’s rights and civil rights activist (one of the founders of the NAACP), while also wearing the hats of teacher and investigative reporter, particularly focused on the horrors of lynching.  She, working with Frederick Douglass and other African American leaders, orchestrated a boycott of the 1893 Columbian Exposition, since Blacks were not permitted to enter the exhibit areas.  Ms. Wells also advocated for school integration, and helped found many African American clubs, particularly for women of color.

Working It In

Contemporary to Ida B. was housing reformer, women’s suffragette, social work pioneer, and political administrator Jane Addams.  Harriet Tubman made a career out of multiple jobs – in addition to her famous slavery freedom trips, she was a spy for the Union, abolitionist, and political advocate.

Multi-mavens

Multiple talents aren’t just a precedent of years gone by – what about actress, director, and producer Penny Marshall?  Or dancer, choreographer, singer, and reality talent judge Paula Abdul?  Queen Latifah handles music (including songwriting), acting, and producing, equally well.  While we’re on the subject of entertainment, we can’t forget Cher and Madonna.  Then there’s the lifestyle mavens such as Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray, and Ree Drummond.  And, of course, there’s one lady we only need one word for: Oprah.

Sporting It

Great women of sports also abound.  Mildred Ella “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias excelled in baseball, golf, track and field, and basketball.  In the 1932 Summer Olympics, she received two gold medals for track and field events, then became a golf professional, and went on to win ten LPGA major championships.  In 1951 she was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, and she was married until her death in 1956 to George Zaharias.  Babe is seen as a lady ahead of her time.

They Have the Drive

Ms. Zaharias has been followed by other outstanding female athletes, such as a professional from Sweden who is considered to be one of history’s most stellar lady golfers: Annika Sörenstam.  She has received numerous awards, including H.M. The King’s Medal, AP Female Athlete of the Year 2003-2004, Bob Jones Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Nancy Lopez’ exemplary career was also precedent setting.

Tennis Anyone?

The dynasty of the Williams’ sisters in tennis is one of the great dominations of a particular sport.  And before them was the legendary Billie Jean King, who even beat out Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes”.

Leading From The Front

The 2017 theme was “Honoring Trailblazing Women In Labor And Business”; these are ladies that have been successful in challenging women’s roles in the paid labor force and businesses.  Although women have always been part of our workforce, they are often been underpaid and undervalued.  One well known example was popularized by the movie “Norma Rae”, which was based on events in the life of Crystal Lee Sutton.  She was a strong labor leader who fought for unionizing as a way to gain better working conditions.

Do Something…

Here are ways we can continue to commemorate women’s history:

  1. Involve yourself with female supporting groups that empower girls and women
  2. Create a brand-new book or movie club on-line, or join an existing one
  3. Treat a special lady that you receive inspiration and friendship from to a mocha latte, lunch, or bouquet of flowers
  4. Invite female entertainers, speakers, writers, and other professionals to online events
  5. Utilize all social media outlets to encourage women
  6. Utilize intersectionality to understand women of all walks of life
  7. Take an online class that highlights women’s history
  8. Help involve children and teens in art, writing, performing, and reading women’s history related material
  9. Support STEM/STEAM initiatives targeted at encouraging young women in science and creative pursuits
  • Write a play, article, song, book, or poem about women, or read one

Color Purple And White

Let’s all wear purple, the international color which symbolizes women, and white, which represents women’s suffrage, to highlight those ladies who have contributed and continue to do so.  We will keep using our voices for the advancement of female equality.  For more information, visit www.womenshistorymonth.gov.  In the words of Elle Woods, “What? Like it’s hard?”

Fifty-Two Ways To Celebrate Earth Day

Fifty-Two Ways to Celebrate Earth DayEarth Day is April 22nd. Time to invest in our planet.Fifty-Two Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

 

By Anna Hessel & Wes Hessel

 

There’s Just the One Earth

There are several ways to make an investment in our planet, many of which have no financial cost or little expenditure.  In fact, being earth friendly can often save you money.  Here are fifty-two ideas, one for each Earth Day we have celebrated so far:

  1. Plant a tree; in addition to their benefit of taking in the carbon dioxide we and animals breathe out and giving back oxygen we all need; trees can help save on home heating/cooling. Choose a deciduous tree (one that loses its leaves in the fall) for the south side of your dwelling, which will allow winter sun to help heat the home, as well as provide shade in the summer months. For a northern or other windy exposure, opt for coniferous (that is, pine-type trees), which can provide a wind break against the cold (or heat, if you live in a hot area).
  2. Organize a trash pickup on the side of the road, a vacant lot, or anywhere needing rid of debris – let’s show we care for what we are blessed with.
  3. Don’t litter, ever – take a moment to put recycling and trash in their proper places; everybody wins.
  4. Plan a recycling event in your community – many things are toxic to the environment if not disposed of properly, not to mention items like electronics at the end of their life can yield back needed precious metals such as gold and platinum. But maybe they are just something you’re done with but that can help someone else, like donating cell phones to organizations who refurbish them for victims of domestic violence.
  5. Watch Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”, and its sequel, then choose at least one thing to help stave off climate change – we all benefit.
  6. Some years back our church did a children’s musical and reception to educate the public about Earth Day – try something of this nature at your place of worship or school.
  7. Read the many publications available about pollution, global warming, and climate change – learn how we can all do our part.
  8. Educate yourself with virtual or in person Earth Day events – never stop learning.
  9. Reduce your use of paper – recycle what you do use; options like e-tickets save trees and curb environmental factors, as well as they can be easier to keep track of.
  10. Join a free swap group to stop items from going into landfills – save money in the process, too.

You Can Sustain…

  1. Opt for environmentally friendly cleaning products – clean with green.
  2. Use your local library to learn more about Mother Earth – keep learning.
  3. Choose farm-to-table food items and buy from local farmers – energy used in transportation is saved, and less gas emissions go into the air we breathe, not to mention the freshness gained in eating.
  4. Shop sustainably – for instance, ordering online can save on individual car trips, combining them into more efficient delivery routes. Also opt for purchases that include materials that are recycled or repurposed, and which are made with more sustainable and safe processes.
  5. Don’t waste resources – save water, for example, by not leaving the faucet running while brushing your teeth or between dish rinses. Turn lights off in places where no one is going to be for more than a minute, literally.
  6. Keep your car running efficiently to avoid harmful emissions – not only does it improve the air we breathe, but it also saves money with less gas used.
  7. Consider an electric or hybrid vehicle – more of the same as the previous choice.
  8. Use solar energy, if possible – even opening curtains in colder months during sunny times will cut your heating bill and use less energy of other forms. Active solar such as heating or solar cells improve the benefits significantly and can bring rebates or tax savings.
  9. Compost – even a small porch/balcony-type depository for used organic materials like fruit peels and so on cuts waste going to landfills, as well as offers low-cost, safer fertilizer. Countertop units are also now available.
  10. Use environmentally friendly household products such as paper towel or bathroom tissue. Look for green items where you shop whenever possible – recycling cuts down on energy used in manufacturing and gas emissions.

Save The Planet, Save Money…

  1. Choose Earth friendly items when remodeling your home, such as double or triple pane windows letting warm sun in but keeping the cold out, or vice versa with shades or blinds in warm months.
  2. When considering cosmetic items such as sunscreen, choose environmentally friendly companies, and, of course, cruelty free also – what goes on your skin can enter the body, so choose wisely.
  3. Biodegradable balloons are available for your next party or event, or opt for other decorating choices, as balloons can be dangerous for small children.
  4. Avoid lawn products that are toxic, not just for the planet, but for pets and wildlife.
  5. Wear ecofriendly clothing and use ecofriendly linens – items using easier to wash fabrics saves on washing costs and energy used, not to mention the environmental impact of production.
  6. Shop at thrift stores – they have many items for any budget. It’s a great way to reuse/repurpose and save money.
  7. Take military showers, which is to shut the water off between rinses – water and heating energy saved. Showers heads with built-in shutoffs can make this easier.
  8. Use eco-friendly bath products – once again, more recycling, lower waste, and less wear and tear on the environment.
  9. Put a brick in your toilet tank and invest in a low flow shower head – more water saved.
  10. Consider bar soap and shampoo and recycle any plastic shampoo or conditioner containers; also choosing containers which are designed to sit upside down when not in use will increase the amount of product you can use out of each product.

Make Good Choices

  1. Use zero or low waste grooming products that are sustainable – refills with less packaging are a good environmentally friendly choice.
  2. Take a nature walk with your children or pet – not only do we then enjoy the environment we are saving but we gain the health benefits of exercise and endorphins.
  3. A bath can be greener than showering if you take very long showers but short showers can use less water than bathing – try closing the drain one time while showering to see if the water accumulated is less or more than that of a tub run.
  4. Take a quiz to ascertain your carbon footprint to reduce it – we can always do a little better.
  5. Save energy in your home, and walk, bike, or carpool, whenever possible; turn off or up/down to use less and choose more active or sharing options for transportation.
  6. Go ahead and hug that tree, you know you want to – the Earth will love you back.
  7. Avoid excessive use of aerosols – we’ll all breathe better and stop erosion of our natural UV protection in the atmosphere.
  8. Remember to give a hoot, don’t pollute.
  9. Plant flowers – beautification, exercise, and viewing recreation, as well as the benefits of saving water with plants like succulents, or flooding mitigation by plants which can absorb excess water. And choose environmentally safer methods while you’re at it.
  10. Start a community vegetable garden – working together is better for our emotional environment, and can be more sustainable, not to mention the benefits of sharing, especially with those who are in need. Find services on the internet who can take excess produce to food pantries and banks, saving on food waste and helping at the same time.

Clean And Green

  1. Plant an herb garden – freshness adds to taste, and less energy is spent going to the store and for food processing.
  2. Put fresh mushrooms on your grocery list of sustainable foods – great benefits in multiple ways.
  3. Add avocados and bananas to your sustainable fruit and veggies basket – more health and uses beyond just as food.
  4. Create a pretty terrarium – a little more oxygen for the indoors, as well as a micro-environment reminding us of the big one, we all share.
  5. Post-Earth friendly tips on social media – it’s always good to share…
  6. Do a science experiment – try food science to learn more sustainable processes or learn ways to do things better for all of us; a good way to get our children involved.
  7. Make a do-it-yourself dry seed bomb – just make sure you use it in a place where you have permission to…
  8. Spread a pinecone with peanut butter and sprinkle birds seeds on it – instant, environmentally safe bird feeder
  9. Enjoy a nature-based scavenger hunt – more exercise and awareness of the beauty around us
  10. Recycle a small wooden box filled with pinecones, dried grass, and bark to attract insects that assist in controlling non-beneficial pests – call it a bug hotel…

Always Room for One (Or Two) More

  1. If you haven’t already, replace your light bulbs with LED-based ones – they use significantly less electricity, saving energy and money. They often have subsidized prices which make them cheaper.  But don’t forget to dispose of them safely, as with all things…
  2. Make each day an Earth Day – look for that one thing, as they say, each day, that shows the Earth it’s worth…

Earth Day is an international event that began in 1970.  For more information, and a list of events across the globe and in your own neighborhood, please visit the Earth Day official site at www.earthday.org.

Celebrating St. Paddy’s Day Safely

Celebrating St. Paddy’s Day Safely

 

While we are celebrating St. Patrick's Day let's say a prayer for those suffering in Ukraine.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day Safely

Editor: Pray for the victims of Russian aggression in Ukraine. Donate to UNICEF relief services.

By D. S. Mitchell

For The Irish

St. Patrick’s Day is a big day for the Irish. In fact, more than 30 million Americans brag about their Irish roots, which means there will be a lot of beer drinking on March 17th. Early reports suggest more than 57% of those questioned have plans to celebrate the holiday. Statistics indicate the average party goer will spend $40 on celebrating, which adds up to over $6 billion in green.

Legal Limits

March 17th encourages us to dress in green and lift a brew or two. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always stop with one or two. Beer sales jump 175%, and liquor sales rise 153%. 32% of men report binge-drinking on the holiday. Most revelers admit to drinking no less than 4.2 drinks on the holiday, which should propel any drinker over the .08 BAC national intoxication level.

Alcohol Soaked

Only Mardi Gras and New Year’s Eve are more alcohol soaked or dangerously combustible than St. Paddy’s Day. As such, it should be no surprise that driving might be dangerous. Of all fatal auto crashes on St. Patrick’s Day in 2018, fully 62% involved a drunk driver. Every year close to a 100 folks, nationwide lose their lives in alcohol related accidents on the holiday.

Have A Plan

No one wants to see holiday celebrations turn tragic, so if you are planning on having a brew or two come with a plan. I do not believe the average celebrant sets out to drive drunk, but once we start drinking we make bad decisions. People lose track (big surprise) of how many drinks they’ve had, or somehow ingest a couple more than intended. Here is where the problem starts, once intoxicated they assume they are sober enough to drive home, somehow. This error in judgement is often deadly.

Corn Beef And Cabbage

The plan for the evening (afternoon) may include identifying and enlisting a trusted “designated” driver to take responsibility for getting everyone home safe at the end of the night. Or, my personal favorite, take a taxi to and from your destination. That way, with no car on site, there will be no temptation to hop behind the wheel; no matter how twisted your judgement may have become. Or, consider spending the holiday at home with a six pack, or forego the beer altogether, and enjoy the corned beef and cabbage.

Last Word

However you choose to celebrate, please do it safely and responsibly.

The Benefits Of Spring Cleaning

The Benefits Of Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning offers many health benefits

The Benefits Of Spring Cleaning

By D. S. Mitchell

The first day of spring, is March 20, which means it is time for spring cleaning. Washing windows, moving furniture, organizing the pantry are all big projects, but such annual tasks provide big benefits. Spring cleaning is more than just picking up your space, or tidying up a bit; it is about improving overall well-being. Organization and cleanliness can provide unexpected health benefits; read on.

Turn On The Feel Good Hormones

There is a proven connection between cleanliness, organization, and mental health. Studies have shown that a clean home and tidy surroundings are directly correlated to happiness, and the all important ability to focus. Clutter causes anxiety to spike. Laundry piling up in the corner, papers, and mail, strewn carelessly about on the floor and various surfaces can be overwhelming. If you want a boost in your mood, clean up. Cleaning the clutter will turn on those hormones that improve mood, and general attitude.

Send Germs Packing

Cleaning items that are touched frequently is a good place to start. Cleaning and sanitizing on a regular basis, not just as spring arrives, is a proven way to reduce the spread of germs. Keeping household surfaces clean can help reduce the spread of viruses and illnesses. Doorknobs, refrigerator handles, light switches, countertops, and TV remotes, are all places that germs are hanging out waiting to spread infection. Wipe it down and stay healthy.

Breathe Better  

I’ve suffered with asthma all my life. Dust and pollen can trigger an attack; causing me to cough, wheeze and struggle to breathe.  With spring comes pollen that aggravates such allergies. Pollen, however, isn’t the only thing floating about causing breathing problems. The build up of dust and pet dander can also cause respiratory problems, particularly for the vulnerable. Spring is the time for ‘deep-cleaning’. Changing out your air filters, furnace filters, and vents will go a long way to improving your overall health.

Get Moving 

Get up off the couch and get to work. Just running the vacuum and picking up the surface clutter will make you feel better. With that goal in mind here are a few tips from the internet to help you with the spring cleaning tradition.

Room by Room: Skip the areas that you clean regularly and focus on areas that are generally ignored or neglected.  Create a cleaning checklist for each room to help you stay on track and remind you what areas need special attention.

Seasonal Projects: Many tasks are seasonal, such as boxing and storing winter clothing, bedding, skis,  sleds, and decor. As you are putting away the memories of winter you will be preparing for summer activities.  Clean the grill, sweep the patio, wash exterior windows. Unpack summer linens, open the drapes and invite the sunshine in.

Clear And Organize: Focus on getting rid of clutter. Leticia Almeida, on her website, suggested a 4-step approach. “Identify problem areas, analyze reasons for the clutter, determine solutions and implement them. Sorting your belongings into four categories-trash, give away, store, or put away. . . ” is highly effective.  Her number one suggestion is “move the clutter as soon as possible, whether it’s bringing a donation box to a charity or having a garage sale.” (www.thespruce.com)

Enlist The Family: Make the Spring Cleaning project, a family affair. Young kids can be fun and imaginative, and excellent helpers. Assign tasks, and make everyone feel included. Turn on the tunes and plan a dinner at your favorite restaurant as a reward when the work is done.

My Take

Several of the experts suggest you break up the spring cleaning tasks in to multiple days to ‘establish cleaning habits’ that will last the rest of the year, encouraging you to spend 10-15 minutes a day straightening up and de-cluttering year round. Sorry, experts, I cannot deal with the mess that comes with cleaning, to want to extend it into several weeks; enjoying it in small doses. For me, it is all or nothing. Plus. it is easier to get help for a full eight hours, one day, or maybe a second day, but never a dozen days for half an hour a shot.  So, figure out what you want done and when you want it done and get on the phone and ask for help if you need it.

102 Worst Valentine’s Day Gifts Ever . . .

102 Worst Valentine’s Day Gifts Ever . . .

Careful what gifts you choose for Valentine's Day

102 Worst Valentine’s Day Gifts Ever . . .

Editor: Usually Anna outlines the perfect gifts and outings for the holidays, however, today she wants to warn you lovers, there are a few things you should steer clear of on the most romantic holiday of the year.

By Anna Hessel

Don’t Even Think Of Buying These For Your Valentine…

  1. A sponge mop from Dollar Tree
  2. An autographed photo of Donald Trump – I would rather have the sponge mop from Dollar Tree.
  3. Slippers in the shape of a unicorn
  4. A night at a Trump hotel – this will surely put an end to your relationship.
  5. Naming a cockroach after your significant other – naming a cockroach after Donald Trump, however, is a different story but to be safe, stick with a virtual adoption of a beautiful animal headed toward extinction.
  6. Any item made by the “my pillow” guy.
  7. A COVID test kit (well, on second thought…)
  8. Any bottle of lotion that has the word “firming” on the label.
  9. A DVD collection of the Bachelor – if the dude was capable of getting his own date, he wouldn’t need a reality check, I mean show.
  10. A “Trumpy Bear” – yes the damn things actually exist, we live in a sick world.

Continue reading

OPINION: Sorting Out Generational Differences

OPINION: Sorting Out Generational Differences

Family gatherings often result in anger and hurt feelings.

Minding the Gap

OPINION: Sorting Out Generational Differences

The pain of family dysfunction is frequently on display over the holidays

By Megan Wallin

Farewell Patience

Despite the cries of “holiday cheer,” the truth is holidays can drain you of every ounce of patience and good humor you possess. The dark underbelly of family gatherings is that they often culminate in contentious  counter viewpoints. These instances can be quite grating for all parties, especially where generational gaps are involved. While it’s easy to dismiss such disagreements as being a result of an ageist culture, one that neither admires nor protects its most experienced members, I sense there’s more to it than that.

Times Change

Often, the mindset that genuinely worked for one time in history does not work when applied to another. During times of war, hardship and economic depression, children grew up fast. They often skipped the phase that allowed them to develop as individuals and instead adopted a more collectivist perspective, with an absolute respect for authority. Case in point: The idea that children are to obey all adults—absolutely and without question—is a concept that has actually led to insanely corrupt and egregious cover ups of child predators.

A Shift in Parenting Priorities

Now, armed with this knowledge, parents no longer tell their children to trust all adults or do as they’re told without a prior relationship established. Perhaps as a result, we have more self-aware young people and more challenging behaviors at times as today’s kids test boundaries with their parents, teachers, and older family members. Gone are the days of “Because I told you so,” as we usher in the new era of, “I understand that you’re upset, but you cannot do that because . . . .” We are demanding accountability from parents as well as children, and while it may be an exhausting way to parent, it’s by far the preferred method for newer generations.

Continue reading

Johnny Mathis “O Holy Night”

Johnny Mathis “O Holy Night”

Johnny Mathis “O Holy Night”

Calamity came up with the Jukebox Choice of the Day for Christmas Day. It is an oldie, but Johnny Mathis has a voice that never grows old. Please enjoy your holiday and stay safe.

The Twelve Days of Covid Christmas

The Twelve Days of Covid Christmas

The holidays bring fun but also stress and anxiety.

The Twelve Days of Covid Christmas

Here are some new lyrics for the holiday favorite, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” please feel free to just sing-a-long.

 

By Anna Hessel

The Twelve Days of Covid Christmas

The First Day – Where’s The Partridge?

  • On the first day of Christmas
  • My true love sent to me
  • ONE pear scented gel hand sanitizer

The Second Day – No Turtle To Slow This Dove Down

  • On the second day of Christmas
  • My true love sent to me
  • TWO bars of Dove antibacterial soap
  • And ONE pear scented gel hand sanitizer

The Third Day – What, No Hens?

  • On the third day of Christmas
  • My true love sent to me
  • THREE French couture face covering masks
  • TWO bars of Dove antibacterial soap
  • And ONE pear scented gel hand sanitizer

Continue reading

11 Super Easy Holiday Weight Loss Tricks

11 Super Easy Holiday Weight Loss Tricks

Looking for a few tips to cut back on holiday eating

All the goodies available at the holidays can challenge any weight loss program. Here are 11 easy tricks to  help you stay on your healthy eating program. The holidays don’t automatically spell weight gain.

11 Super Easy Holiday Weight Loss Tricks

By D.S. Mitchell

The Checkout Line

I’m standing in the grocery store check-out line reading the magazine headlines when the ‘Woman’s World’ catches my attention. Their busy cover page announces, “The #1 Keto Trick for Women to Lose Weight Without Surgery.”  I have toyed with trying the Keto diet, and I couldn’t resist the teaser, and found myself tossing the magazine on to the conveyor belt.

Lovin’ Woman’s World

I love ‘Woman’s World’, because it is cheap, it has an easy to read format with lots of pictures and almost always features a weight loss trick or two for the ‘always dieting’ crowd. Once home, with feet up on the ottoman, I search for the article on Keto Dieting. Before I get to that story I landed on, “Tiny tweaks that melt pounds”.

Tiny Tweaks

As I read the “Tiny Tweaks” article I thought the ideas were great and thought they were worth passing on to my blog readers, especially with the holidays upon us and the constant temptation of homemade cake, cookies, pies and candy.

  • Afternoon Snack: A recent study found that by shifting a morning snack of an apple or a handful of nuts to the afternoon could give dramatic weight loss results. The reason the study suggests is that there is a bigger time span  between lunch and dinner, than between breakfast and lunch. The snack gets us through the long afternoon and that healthy snack prevents overeating on those holiday treats.
  • Weigh Daily: Weighing in every morning is a good way to reverse sneaky weight gain trends. In fact, researchers in Finland found that people who weighed daily at the same time each morning shed more weight than other test subjects.
  • Pay With Cash: I loved this one. When you go grocery shopping, always plan to pay with cash. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that paying with cash actually reins in the impulse junk food purchases. Researchers explain that the “pain of paying with cash” makes people less likely to splurge on unhealthy extras. Awesome. I know this tip will work for me.
  • Add a sprinkle of salt:  This tip comes from British researchers who discovered that women who add a bit of salt to their vegetables will increase their intake of the green goodies by as much as 70%. It seems that using the flavor enhancer can actually cause us to start craving vegetables in as little as three days. Who knew?
  • Red Wine: A glass of red wine in the evening can help you lose weight. It seems the polyphenols in red wine “help the body process excess blood sugar before it can be turned into fat. Investigators discovered that women who sip one glass of red wine daily are “30% less likely to experience weight problems than teetotalers”.
  • Rearrange Pantry: If you must have high calorie indulgences in the pantry try rearranging their position on the shelves. Experts suggest storing high calorie treats on the right side of the shelf and good for you snacks, such as dried fruit and nuts on the left. In this case, researchers at University of South Florida, tell us that the reason is that the brain is wired to read numbers from left to right. Fascinating. When a person sees foods displayed this way we are subconsciously reminded that the foods on the left are healthier for us.
  • Turn On Soft Music: This one surprised me, but at the same time it made sense. Before you sit down to eat, find a soft music channel and let it play throughout the meal. You will find you eat less and enjoy it more. The best part is Psychological Reports found most people will eat 175 fewer calories per meal; which is an easy way to shed 15 pounds a year.
  • Seek Encouragement From A Friend: It seems if you feel you are at risk of diving face first into the office buffet you should take a minute and text, or call a friend or loved one, about your weight loss progress. Duke University scientists say that exchanging words of encouragement reminds and reinforces your goals. Such reinforcement doubles your odds of sticking to your healthy living plan and helps you lose up to six pounds a month.
  • Recall A Happy Moment: Happy thoughts help us stay on track. Researchers at Cornell, suggest that when cravings strike, recall a positive memory. Apparently, being in a positive frame of mind switches off the desire for instant gratification of a chocolate or calorie heavy treat and encourages healthier choices.
  • Chop It Up: Before gobbling down that Hersey’s bar, take a minute and break it up into small pieces. Scientists at Arizona State University say cutting sweets into “bite-size bits tricks your brain into thinking your eating more than you are, triggering the release of appetite-taming signals”.
  • Count To 10: Remember the old saying, “count to 10 before you speak”. In this case, it is “count 10 before you eat”.  Harvard researchers discovered that people who are able to count to ten (or any simple ritual) before eating that piece of cake or chocolate bar are able to consume much fewer calories than those who just dive in. Why? Repeating familiar behaviors or “rituals,” stimulates the part of the brain that controls self-discipline.

Now that you are armed with these dietary tricks, hopefully you can get through the holidays without feeling either deprived, or guilty. Happy holidays.