Sunday, July 31, 2005


This summer I've read these books:
  • Tipping Point (hoping this principle works for my Blog)
  • Blink (idea is other places but Gladwell has a snappy way of writing)
  • Never Eat Alone (interesting idea: how many "refridgerator friends" do you have? Meaning how many people can just come by and grab a cold one from your fridge? Or are you a hermit?)
  • Freakonomics (an economist who likes to be provocative...the way he manipulated some statistics to support a few ideas was off-putting but that's economics for ya!)
  • The 48 Laws of Power (good bathroom book)

Reading now:
  • Biology of Autism (science stuff...heavy duty biochem, brain drain, I can promise you)
  • Backlash--even when I agree with Faludi I feel like I'm being screeched at
  • In the Company of Women--there is a section titled "When A Colleague's Self-Esteem is Low", oh, for the love of pete. I bought this book at a used book store and it comes replete with this inscription: "To Melissa, Hope this has some helpful hints--working with women is not easy! We love you! Merry Christmas, Mom (written by mom) & Daddy." I had to buy the book. Why, it was written to my namesake! Can you imagine an inscription: "Hope this book helps--working with men can be a royal pain in the ass--their testosterone, their mood swings, their bitchi...scratch that....let's see what word can we use...hmmm...all the words for jerks of guys actually sound, kinda good and powerful. BUT I DIGRESS!
  • The Confident Child--more fodder for my continual inferiority complex when it comes to child rearing.

Magazines: Fast Company, Fortune (the latest cover is an Unfortunate jumble), Texas Monthly (love the angelic Lance Cover, article is good too), Architectural Digest, Home & Garden, Veranda, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Business Week, U.S. News & World Report, Readers Digest (I always feel depressed after reading this--so many scary articles), Smithsonian and my new favorite: Utne.

Must read the article called "Transhumanism: World's Most Dangerous Idea?" or some other interesting features at

The home and garden monthlies are my "junk food for the mind". The business monthlies and weeklies, I read for professional reasons. The rest of them either get sent to me because of the Doctor's office waiting room thing or I'm on a wacky mailing list. Who knows.

Believe it or not, I read most of these cover to cover. No wonder I'm the female version of Cliff Claven minutiae.


More Stem Cell Stuff

Okay, I'm beating a dead horse here. But hear me out. Umbilical chord blood also has stem cells--lots of them.

Scientists believe (there's that word again) but it's not proven, that blastocyst stem cells are the most capable of solving health problems because they have the most potential (pluripotent--infinite functions--rather than multi--many potential functions--and uni--one function), but this still doesn't solve rejection problems (just like rejecting an organ you can reject a cell).

Also, new research has shown that a blood stem cell can be coaxed to develop into a cardiac cell or a neuron (brain cell). Imagine, using your own stem cells and thus no rejection.

Those who believe like me--leave the embryos alone--are being branded "crazy" and "anti-science". Not so. The 60% of Americans are for "stem cell research" is an oft-quoted rationale for why the federal funding should go forward, but this stat (as so many of them are) is bogus.

Stem cell research is a complicated topic even for those who are given to look into these things. Are the people being polled differentiating between the kinds of stem cell research?

Furthermore, I was reading a liberal dude's blog about his perspective on stem cell research. He thinks that people who believe like me equate a blastocyst with a live human being. Not so. I'm fully aware that up to 50% of fertilized eggs never make it to babyhood. But this is NATURE's job not some guy in a lab coat's. A woman's body decides which baby to carry and not to.

Fertility treatments work less than 30% of the time. The number one cause of infertility today is PID (pelvic inflammitory disease) which is related most often to genital warts (eww gross, I know) and other STDs. In addition, a woman's fertility drops precipitously each year after 30. And even more so after 35 especially if this is her first child. The majority of the 30% of those who do get pregnant with infertility help are in their late 20s and early 30s. As women approach 40, their chances with invitro slip to 1 in 10 and less depending on the clinic (and almost all of them lie about their success rates).

The infertility business is an abomination. Men and women hang their hopes on crazy treatments that exhaust them emotionally and financially. Few end up with children. The ones who do and the ones who don't almost always have "left over" embryos. Left overs, isn't that nice?

Are these embryos people? Not yet, but they could be as the 30% success rate attests to.

Regulation of this industry is nearly non-existent. The legal ramifications of all the permutations of this "intervention" have yet to be worked out and now we are adding a new wrinkle: donate your embryo to science.

The schpiel? "At least SOME GOOD could come out of this difficulty." It's like donating an organ. Somebody, like Christopher Reeve could walk again. Wouldn't that be great? And it would be because you gave your embryos. Why, it's downright noble!


My heart goes out to childless couples. Children are the best gift in the world, I'll be the first to attest to that and worthy of pursuing.

But I have a big problem with an unregulated industry creating all of these morally questionable situations: parents with slim to no chance of having a kid thus creating surplus embryos, people so self-absorbed that they believe it is their "right" to have a child at "all costs". The child seems like the cherry on top of a narcisstic ice cream sundae.

So out of this mess...embryonic stem cells. Now to the stem cell side: there are no regulations, no standardized procedure, no ethical guidelines at all as to how to handle these. There aren't at the fertility clinic either. Some have rituals associated with "disposal" some just throw them out.

In the labs, how are they dealt with? Well, we know the nuclei is sucked from them, we know that the constituants of the blastocyst are necessarily teased apart to "see how they work". Then what?

Do you see how this whole process is as clear as week-old pea soup? It is in grey areas like this this, where people have the "best intentions" that really bad things happen. It's called the law of unintended consequences. And there are already layers and layers of those before the embryo ever reaches the high-minded scientist ready to save the world.

I stand by my opinion. Embryos should not be used for research. Excess embryos shouldn't be sitting around to begin with.

The ethical problem began way before a sperm ever was injected into an egg. Way before. Link

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Breast Milk Has Stem Cells, Too

It does. Say it with me: JUST SAY NO TO EMBRYOS.

Stem Cell Research: What's All the Fuss?

Do you understand what stem cells are? Does Nancy Reagan? Maybe. Does REPUBLICAN leader William Frist, MD? Yes, he most certainly does. He most certainly understands the difference between EMBRYONIC stem cells and the stem cells you can harvest from the fat or bone marrow of ADULT, CONSENTING PEOPLE. Must we create future people and then destroy, also known as murder, in the name of science? And the moronic parents who have fifteen embryos frozen in the bank: you're okay with a potential child being sliced and diced for unlikely cures?

If you are, not fine, but I don't have anything to say about it. (Ever heard "there ought to be a law"?) But whats really galling is using taxes to fund this crap. Use your own money Dr. Frankenstein or scrounge it up the old-fashioned way--Venture Capital. Ahhhh, but no one will give you money. Why? That's right because its MORALLY REPREHENSIBLE!

Btw, please don't bore me with pleas for Michael J. Fox's Parkinson-addled brain or your grandma with Alzheimers. These terrible diseases will be cured, I believe, in my lifetime, but not this way. See my previous post: Alzheimers: Beliefs Create Reality

Have we lost all moral sense here? Is there even a line with some people? Will someone, anyone, please tell me where the line is, if we don't adhere to a few basic moral absolutes. I know, they are so uncomfortable. Shhh! There are even some athiest ethicists (is this an oxymoron)who think embryonic stem cell search might be wrong. Link

Paris & Nicole Re-Unite

Now I can sleep tonight. And sleep has eluded me recently due to a pox on our house. Thank you, all you people who believe that quarantines are quaint health ideas from the past and WON'T STAY IN BED when you're sick. Oy vey! Link

Awesome link

Amazing Americans to be! Link

Doing for the Sake of Doing

What consumes you that really doesn't matter? Are you wasting time doing things just to be busy?

One trait unites every business I've worked with: spending time doing meaningless tasks just for the sake of doing or being seen doing.

Why? Well, "productivity" and "busyness" often get mixed up. Being busy is highly valued. It is equated with a strong work ethic which may or may not be true.

The managers at one Fortune 10 company pride themselves on how early they arrive at work and how late they go home. When questioning them individually, all admitting wasting probably what added to hours of time each day so to look impressive.

To add to this is the "Earlier than the Boss" phenomenon. Workers must arrive at least 15-30 minutes earlier than the boss and leave probably 5 minutes after she/he leaves. This practice is especially rampant in Japan, I'm told by a friend who works there, because it is tradition to stay longer than the boss. The result? Commuters in Tokyo going home at 9:00p.m.

I have one word for this: Stupid.

No workers can maintain productivity consistently for 12-14 hour days, day after day. The occasional week, month or even year for an over-the-top assignment that requires dedication that the employee loves may elicit this high-powered productivity. But for the average tasks, it will result in frustration, fatigue and apathy.

When talking about work-place motivation, being realistic about schedules would be a start. Note to executives: you may have sacrificed all to achieve your lofty position, but there are many people who have families and a life outside your beloved institution. At the very least give permission to your employees to take off at a reasonable time. And, don't penalize them for it later. At best, get a life outside of work, read something new, and you'll be surprised about the benefits you reap professionally due to this refreshed perspective.

Doing for the sake of doing ends up dragging you down and ultimately losing productivity not gaining it.

Friday, July 29, 2005


Summer means heat. And this summer, especially, burns hotter than most. In Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, this season relates to the organ system called the Triple Warmer.

The Triple Warmer includes these organs: the endocrine system including the Thyroid, Adrenals, Prostate, Testicles, Ovaries, Uterus and Pituitary; the Heart; and the Small Intestine. If you think about it, these systems regulate the immune system and stress-modulation system which is really two parts of the same whole.

An unbalanced Triple-Warmer (too much or too little energy--Chi--flowing) person can be "dis-heartened" with chronic health problems oozing everywhere. Bouncing between hyperactivity and depletion, then finally just being chronically tired, this person is often anxious, indecisive, unstable, weirdly "over happy" (those people who make you feel uncomfortable just to be around because they seem kind of manic), sometimes paranoid and just "off".

Disorders in the above named organs means problems originating with the Fire Element. If you are taking medication for heart problems, thyroid problems or reproductive problems, you might want to consider this element.


Unresolved emotions attached to stressors cause problems in this element, too:

  • Anxiety
  • Lost
  • Vulnerable
  • Muddled instability
  • Blocking emotions totally (if this doesn't sound like an emotion, let me give you an example: when at a funeral, those often "broken hearted" by the loss, don't cry at all, some report not feeling anything they are so overwhelmed--this is non-thinking, non-emotive)

Secondary emotions can be:

  • Abandoned, deserted, absent minded, insecure and experiencing profound deep unrequited love
  • Abnormal (inappropriate) laughing, lack of emotion, rapid mannerisms and speech, talkative
  • Paranoia, muddled thinking, emotional instability, up and down, can't figure it out
  • Depleted, suppressed, sluggish memory and vivid dreaming


The art of Feng Shui (the art of placement) relates to how your environment can affect your health and everything else in your life. In your house, the fireplace, the oven and stove, the electricity and lightbulbs should all be functioning well. If your electrical system is overloaded, that will stress your health. Anything emiting EMFs (electromagnetic fields) falls in the fire element: TVs, computers, cordless phones, cellular phones, the microwave, etc.

In our modern electrical society, our bodies are overwhelmed with electricity. This stresses our body. Make sure everything electric in your house is in perfect working order. DO NOT have a TV or computer in your bedroom. In fact, current research has found that small digital clocks next to the bed emit enough EMFs to cause cellular change! Your bedroom and your children's bedrooms should be fortresses of peace and low energy. Some Feng Shui experts recommend that you remove mirrors as well as it multiplies light (a form of pure energy).

Remember, too, that just because appliances are off does not mean that electricity is not flowing through the circuit. It is. To completely remove the flow, the device must be UNPLUGGED. Pediatricians recommend this for TV's anyway, as the EMF's radiating out of a plugged in TV cause problems for the baby's developing system. This is another reason small children should not be watching TV before the age of three. Forget Baby Einstein. Remember the sand box.


Another manifestation of disturbance in the Fire Element can be reputation problems. Specifically managing your image or "fame". If you are a "hothead" you may have found your reputation tarnished. A seldom thought of problem can be no one knowing you exist at all! Perhaps you don't like "tooting your own horn". I've seen business people who HATE giving out their business card, don't like a promotional picture, fearful of public speaking or unwilling to advertise their product (often themselves). This is a problem. If you want to excel in your field, extend your influence and generally help the world, the world must know you and/or your product. Change the offending items so you can feel confident.

Certain Herbs and Nutritional Supplementation as well as Homeopathic remedies help support the Fire Element. If you always feel tired, have difficulty expressing yourself, feel overwhelmed and indecisive, please connect with an Applied Kinesiologist, Acupuncturist or Doctor certified in Neuroemotional Technique or click on the link.


Thursday, July 28, 2005


First Audio Post

this is an audio post - click to play

Learning Without Thinking

A new study confirms that humans possess the ability to learn without remembering that we learned. Neuroscientists thought that this ability may had been "evolved" past--left behind with the chimps and gorillas. (Click on the title for the link to

As the most sophisticated mammals on this big blue marble, it would stand to reason that while we have higher functioning, we retain more rudimentary functioning. In this case, amnesiacs were taught a task and "remembered" it after weeks of doing it over and over even though they didn't know how they knew it. Make sense?

It does to me. If you think about babies and their ability to learn, it seems that a vast majority of their learning is through repetition of tasks that get hardwired--no memory of the learning required. For example, most babies learn to put one arm through a shirt hole, then another, then the legs, etc. They are not "remembering" the task through: let's see, first the left arm, then the right arm, then the left leg. They just do it--habit after days and days of mama putting one arm then the other arm then the head in the shirt.

By constrast, my child who has autism never learned ANYTHING in this manner. My sister marvelled because her son was 8 months and "helping" her dress him. At five years old, my son still had to be told the process. Then around seven he consciously learned: first I put my head through, then I put one arm through, etc. He had to "memorize" a system. It now occupies the space in his brain that memorized "steps for the potty", "steps when I go to school in the morning", "steps after dinner", "steps to draw a face". Not very efficient.

Is the problem, then, with his temporal lobe therefore no memory? Is the problem his frontal lobe, therefore no executive functioning? Is the problem the part of the brain that "knows" without conscious memory of learning? Maybe all of the above.

To me, learning without remembering learning equals survival. It must be a form of learning that happens simultaneously with "declarative" learning (remembering when you learned) that gets hard-wired. This learning could be a form of internal back-up. You may be conked in the head but still be able to perform basic tasks. How elegant and efficient. Humans were designed very well, indeed. Link

What Would Rich People Do?

Between Lance Armstrong bracelets and Satan is a Nerd t-shirts, religion is big down here ya'll. BIG. So, in the spirit of when in Rome, I am adding a new feature to my blog: What Would Rich People Do? (A variation on What Would Jesus Do?)

This thought occurred to me when we moved to a more refined area and people did not leave their garbage cans out for 48 hours before putting it away. We were not in Kansas anymore.

First post: I'm quite sure a rich person would not bend at the waist and looking gleefully at his wife to expel 30 seconds of methane.

Rich people don't fart.

Long Posts

I have decided that long post are boring. I shall write shorter posts henceforth.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Things That Bug Me

  1. The word luxe
  2. The people who use the word luxe
  3. Cell phones. I prefer the good old days of the pony express--the message had better be important to go through the trouble
  4. People who refuse to wear deoderant as a political statement
  5. People who refer to their crappy furniture as "pieces"
  6. Cold water that shoots out before hot water during a shower
  7. Slow elevators. I got to the top of the Empire State Building in less time it takes to go up one story to the office (yes, I should take the stairs but the kids like pushing the buttons, okay?)
  8. 80 year old women with boob jobs. Super freak.
  9. 55 year old pregnant women. Double super freak. Do these people realize that running around with kids is hard work?
  10. Models who say they stay thin by "chasing their toddlers" Pshaw! Right! I can chase mine all day and maintain my frumpy figure.

That's it for today.

Hormones Manipulate Behavior

The hormone oxytocin when sprayed nasally makes people trust others more with their money, so say Swiss researchers in the journal Nature ( Oxytocin, the hormone that causes uterine contractions and ultimately helps expel baby from mommy, controls lactation and mediates that "bonding" feeling.

When a close friend of mine decided to have her dim-bulb future ex-husband at her birth even though they were separated, I knew they'd get back together. Oxytocin in strong enough doses would make women bond with tree stumps if they happen to be present in the birthing room. Oxytocin is the hormone, if you need further convincing, that causes the mom to exclaim, "He is so beautiful!" when handed her pointy headed, blood-covered and squished newborn. Sure he's beautiful mom--in an ugly kind of way.

So now, a new field, neuroeconomics seeks to exploit this connection. How about perfumes sprayed through air-handling systems at the local Dillards (, or McDonalds ( where there would be more smelly competition or how about The Mirage in Las Vegas ( Scary huh?

Walking through the perfume department, you talk to a sales lady who says, "Why not try the perfume? That's right, honey take a big whiff." "Why thank you," you say. After smelling it you say, "I don't like the perfume, but what else do you have?" A whoosh of biochemistry later you buy $500.00 worth of cosmetics (wait, I have friends who already do that) and just feel warm and fuzzy about the whole experience especially about "that nice sales lady."

Don't think this won't happen. It will. But will it really work? If they get it all right enough, I'd say very possibly, yes. Link

Wicked Problems

An interesting theory about solving "wicked problems" and why so little gets done in a business day.

It ignores the stuff that often torpedos real accomplishment: emotional baggage. So many of us are attached to a certain outcome because of past losses, disappointments, etc. that we lose the forest for the trees. Multiply that by a team of twenty, oh boy! It's a miracle anything ever gets done. Link

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Post Secret

How many secrets do you have? Yeah, I have a bunch, too. Go to this site and find out you're not alone. Link

Better Investors are Brain Damaged

A recent study found that people with brain damage where emotion centers were impaired averaged 13% more returns than emotional-normal investors.

Risk-aversion (therefore survival) may be a trait of the mentally healthy, but seems also to give you less bang for your investment buck. Could being a "heartless" trader (not traitor) actually be a benefit? The answer, superficially, appears to be yes.

Why would this be? Many emotions factor into investing: fear of losing, fear of failure, inability to trust information, institutions or people making recommendations, desire to get at least some return (the something is better than nothing theory), previous loss sensitation (people are pain averse and more pain actually sensitizes you, rather than de-sensitizes you to it), and there are probably more emotions I'm not thinking of here.

Bottom line, when to buy and sell is complicated neurobiology. The chemical soup that sways our emotional states affect our decision making and in almost every other study I've read have been beneficial to our success rather than a detrimant. This is encouraging because it calls into question the idea that robots will take over the world.

But the researchers on this study say something different (for what it's worth, a recent study published in the latest Journal of American Medical Association said that 30% of research articles published are directly contradicted!). They say that lack of emotion (which some equate with logic and I vigorously deny that false assumption) relates to higher risk-taking and less remorse over losses thus the ability to get back in the game.

Perhaps emotionally-normative people can step back and act brain damaged. If we choose to jump back in the game, recognize a loss for the bump in the road it is and hang with a winner long after all sense would say "sell", maybe we'll up our profits, too.

Then again, maybe not. Why don't you run an experiment and try this theory out? Let me know if it works. Link

Kid Hating: A Popular Sport

While some talking heads lament a child-centric society, evidence strongly suggests the opposite is true. Just try carrying a purse and a four-month-old baby down the isle of an airplane toward the plebe class and you'd know what I mean. The normally Godless heathens shut their eyes reverently and silently mouth the words, "Please, God, don't let her sit next to me, please God don't let her sit next to me." If they close their eyes long enough, see, maybe I'm not really there.

My kids travel like pros. They are quiet and well-behaved. I water, feed and toilet them before boarding. They are instructed in no uncertain terms to refrain from kicking the seat in front of them. When my daughter inadvertantly bumped the seat in front of her to get her headphones, the woman in front of her gave her husband a knowing glance, "See, I told you they were miscreants." And then she settled into a smug slumber. My urge to bump her chair for the rest of the flight was stopped only by the infant on my lap.

People pay lip-service to liking kids, but really hate them, not so deep down. Restaurants are made so inhospitable to children and families it is laughable. The few 3-star restaurants around here (no 5-stars, but boy do they take themselves seriously) don't even have changing stations. Here's the message: children do not belong in this establishment even if their father is Midas, himself. A mother with a nursing infant surely would not want to take a plane trip, eat a good meal or otherwise enjoy something adult-centered. Why no! She must be punished for being obviously woman and stay locked in her domesticity until the child is school-aged or otherwise properly incarcerated.

And yet, I understand the other side. Two rows ahead of me coming back from Chicago was a family of three thoroughly rotten girls. The youngest, a two-year-old, stared the entire flight over her chair at the charitable people in front of me. Her stupid mother sat next to her oblivious and probably relieved not to be dealing with her little cherub.

While I love my children, I don't expect anyone else to admire their obvious charms. I also don't give a baboon's red behind about anyone elses' kids either. Please just sit still, be still and make some attempt at civility.

My experience has been that good kids are the majority, not the minority. Rarely you'll have the temper-tantruming toddler who is over-tired and over-wrought. He is so loud and nerve-fraying that he drowns out all the sweet little voices and happy attitudes of his tiny peers. In fact, I'd say that the ratio of irritating children roughly equates the ratio of irritating adults, the common trait being that they all believe they are the center of the universe.

All people, including (this is shocking) children, have bad days. But the complete avoidance of discipline nor moderate encouragement of decent behavior gives parents who do try and children who are troupers bad names.

Back to the other side now, a little sense of humor, world-perspective and patience wouldn't hurt superior jet-setters (some of whom must have terrible gastro-intestinal distress or bladder insufficiency, so often do they bumble to the bathroom). Do all you sophisticates forget that you were once a snotty little kid? Or did you find that stage of your life so contemptable that you feel the need to take out your hostility on the rest of the ankle-biting world?

Child-friendly facilities would be nice. Child-friendly people would be better. It would be nice for a mom travelling with kids to get at least a little break. Parenting is hard work. Travelling is challenging in the best of circumstances for all ages. A little slack would be nice.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Kidney Stones: Natural Prevention

A loyal reader of this blog, you know who you are (all three of you), said that a friend suffered from kidney stones and requested that I write about some preventative steps for this painful affliction. Kidney stones are considered one of the most excruciating pains that exist in the body and demand immediate attention as everyone knows who has been unfortunate enough to experience one.

First, to debunk a myth: eating too much calcium (in supplement or food form) causes them. Not so. In fact, kidney stones are often a sign of insufficient calcium. This is why: the blood tightly regulates calcium because the heart needs a precise amount to keep working (ever heard of Calcium channel blockers?). Too much or not enough causes problems.

The problem, when people don't get enough calcium in their diet, is that the body breaks down bone (osteolysis) to liberate the calcium needed to regulate muscle function, including and especially the heart. This process works but is somewhat inefficient. The body breaks down too much and the kidneys are left with filtering it and getting it back into the bones or excreting the excess. Over time, this can cause stones.

Other substances can cause stones like magnesium, ammonium, uric acid, etc. One theory put forth is that some little bug (nanobacteria) causes them. Fine.

Now, what to do about this? There is an especially good diet that is easy to follow that has you avoid foods like peanuts, red meat, turkey, soda, and a few other foods you wouldn't think of. More importantly, the diet offers meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, but it is too extensive to list here. If you want the diet, email me with a fax number and we'll send it to you.

People given to stones should drink lots of water but usually drink soda. Coffee and wine actually help get rid of kidney stones so drink and enjoy.

In Chinese Medicine, the kidneys hold the life force energy and certain emotions relate to this organ system. If your stress state includes emotions like fear, dread, bad memories, impending doom, and contemplation, you may be stressing your kidneys. Secondary emotions, often affecting the bladder, include paralyzed will (can't do something you want to do), miffed, timid, inefficient, wishy-washy, comme-ci comme ca but most importantly suspician. I find suspician often involved with chronic bladder infections.

People with kidney problems might want to consider "going with the flow" and identifying what is "pissing them off". Some view kidney stones as hardened anger. Also, consider career problems or other fears about "where am I headed?"

Finally, go to the chiropractor and ask to have Thoracic vertebrae 1, 5 and 8 adjusted. Getting the energy flowing always helps! Link

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Why wait?

My aunt suffered a series of strokes over the last few days so I'm flying across the country tomorrow morning to be with her (I have to get up in 4 and 1/2 hours, but can't sleep. Arghhh!). This aunt never had children, but would have been a great mom. She found true love later in life after many tries. For her whole adult life she has struggled with a crippling disease but no one knows unless they are told. The women in my family are T-O-U-G-H. She's one of the toughest and lovingest, too.

For the past, I'm ashamed to say it, eight years, she has wanted me to come see her home. She and her hubby remodelled it and from all accounts it's spectacular. She knows I'd appreciate it more than most because in another life I've been an interior decorator or perhaps later in this one I will be. Who knows?

When informed of her health, my eyes welled with tears. Between money shortages, time shortages and just life, I hadn't visited her. It bugs the crap outta me that this is what it took for me to get my arse on a plane. The dream visit going to all the sites with her may never be a reality now. Please let me be wrong.

Well, I'm not waiting any longer. Good grief! How often do we wait and then it's a funeral? What a total waste. It won't matter to her one bit if the fam treks up to the funeral now will it?


There will be no posts until Sunday the 24th. Link

Birthdays Worth Celebrating

My husband and I both grew up in families that eschewed (like that word?) birthday celebrations for quasi-religious reasons: bad things happen on birthdays (think John the Baptist's head on a platter), expecting birthday presents breeds selfishness, Jesus Christ told us to remember his death not his birth, yadda, yadda, yadda. We were not allowed to go to other birthday parties either.

It was all nonsense, really. Having severely premature children revealed this ridiculous point-of-view for pure pessimism. My twins were born weighing 810 and 850 grams--about the size you see in that picture. One child died a couple weeks after birth and the other survived and spent many uncuddled weeks and many pain-filled surgeries and many harsh days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit before coming home on a cocktail of medication, an apnea monitor and oxygen with pulse-ox.

One child made it and now has more siblings and we celebrate. Because of the dates of the birthdays, we celebrate most of the summer between birthdays and anniversaries and of course, July 4th!

Life is a gift. People talk theoretically, saying, "I would never want to live like that" when they hear about difficult life circumstances. It is the rare person who doesn't struggle to their last dying breath and that was certainly the case in the NICU. Every child fought to live and had an amazing capacity to endure pain. They wanted to live.

I wanted my kids to live. Bargains with God were made. Prayers never ceased. Hope was clung to. In the end, my thought was: every moment is a blessing. I'm so glad I had even just days with my one child. (Because some ask, "would it have been better not to have the child at all?" No, it would not have been better.)

Alfred Tennyson's poem: In Memorium: 21, 1850 says it best:
I hold it true, whate'er befall,
I feel it when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost,
Than never to have loved at all.

It almost seems thankless to ignore birthdays since every moment is filled with possibility and wonder. We have so many choices before us, and nothing puts life in stark contrast like dying.

With my husband having already dealt with cancer, friends who have survived and died from it in their 20s and 30s, a friend who recently simply dropped dead at the ripe old age of 35 of some freak virus and too many clients for my comfort who died and left 4 children behind, I view birthdays as the one day a year set aside for gratitude, humility, life assessment and happiness.

Presents are great, too. Link

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Hire A Lady

Btw, for what it costs to go to dinner and a movie with my husband, I can get my house cleaned once a month. For another dinner and a movie, I can have it cleaned twice amonth.

Since I don't get out much, get my nails done, do my hair twice a year whether it needs it or not, eschew (look it up at designer duds and shop fashion at Target (look it up at, and generally only splurge on organic food and the occasional Wendy's (look it up at spicey chicken sandwich, the money I spend to "treat" myself is for house cleaning and a few baby-sitting hours so I can work and make money. Yup, my "self time" is working. What can I say?

Fly Lady

A friend commented that she didn't have the resources for a house keeper and recommended Check it out here. I'm most interested in getting started. If you can do that...anything is possible. Link

There's Something About Mary

During marriage counseling while still engaged, I felt it necessary to inform my future husband that the likelihood of me ever ironing any articles of his clothing was somewhere between not going to happen and no way ever was it going to happen. And thus it has been.

Other "not likelys" were: cleaning up after him, being his personal key locator, or making him dinner after we both had a long day of work.

What was my problem? Was I just a bible-thumping Christian Feminist? Well, that could be part of it.

But the real truth is that keeping up with my own cleaning, tidying, locating and arranging was a full-time job. My mom called me a slob. That is not exactly correct. The label "slob" implies that you're okay with the mess. Pigs are slobs. They live in a mess and enjoy it too. I do not like messes. I hate them, in fact.

Then, perhaps I'm just "lazy". This, too, is not exactly correct. True, I have a long "relaxation" streak, but I do work hard. In fact, when the cleaning bug bites me, I can be downright industrious. The only problem is that three hours of hard work for me looks like 15 minutes of my mom in action. Even when I clean, it still looks "undone". This is depressing and a huge dig-incentive to do any domestic work.

And my husband is worse. Between the two of us, we can wreak more havoc than a Category 4 hurricane in less time and more efficiently.

I used to feel ashamed of this. (Interestingly, my husband feels no shame. Must be the Y chromosome or the very low expectation bar of "boys will be boys" acculturation.) With a mother who cooks like Emiril, cleans like Molly the Maid and loves domestication like Martha, my sense of inadequacy knew no bounds.

I wondered why I didn't get a 10th of my mom's energy, verve and meaning out of the work. Her approach to dishes was zen-like. "I clean the dishes that my children will be nourished from--ommmmmmmmmm." One look at dishes, again, for the millionth time, makes me want to hook my children up to I.V.'s, and while were at it catheters too--potty training is a pain in my ass. (Hey, I didn't say I was winning any mothering awards here.)

And then, along came Mary.

I had resisted hiring someone to clean my house. It would be a confirmation of my shortcomings. It would be an announcement of my weakness. My husband would throw a fit about the money and my lackluster homemaking.

In the face of all this pressure that took ten years of marriage and chaos to overcome, I hired Mary. There's something about her...well, that's magical.

Mary manages to clean my house, help with my kids and generally support me without me feeling like a recipient of condescending charity. She knows her way around a kitchen, makes playing Chutes and Ladders with two young kids seem like the best way to spend an afternoon and rocks the baby to sleep like a human version of the Horse Whisperer.

Not only does she perform her job with joy and excellence she has turned into a true friend of mine. I know, I know, I've read you're not to mix friendship with the help, but I just don't buy it. Our best employees have turned out to be some of our best friends.

Mary's spirit lifts my own. With the kids, it can seem that all I do is laundry, feed, clean up, change a diaper, feed, laundry, etc. While Mary is here for just a few hours, I look forward to her coming and try my best to keep things the way she cleans them, so she doesn't have to work too hard. When the house begins to fall down around me, I know it won't be too long before I have her help.

Without family around to take the kids to a movie or go to dinner, Mary has been a gift from God. Even with her own household's troubles (we exchange our woes), when I get down she says, "I know. I know." And she does.

Why did I wait so long to hire someone? Why did I care about some relative's pursed lips and eye rolling (you know the sort: Hey, I gutted it up for years and hated it, why can't you?). Worse, why did I judge myself so harshly when it has always been clear that my talents lie elsewhere?

Well, having made a commitment to be a high achiever and never admit defeat, recognizing that I was a "C" housekeeping student was humbling. Snide comments and thinly veiled contempt for my shortcomings didn't help either. The irony is that when I finally let go and let Mary, I slowly but surely got on top of things better. I can go about a month in the house on my own before all heck breaks loose. Hey, it's an improvement.

I have a friend who keeps a huge garden, cans more food than Campbells Soup, ferries her kids around with the grace and speed of a stock car racer and has trouble keeping her house up. Hire help, I urge. I have another single parent friend who rarely sees his kid with work and other commitments and then spends his time shopping and cleaning. Hire Help! Ignore the internal judge. Just do it!

There is something about Mary. I believe she is an angel in human form. Link

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

True Self

Through researching the science of personality, an interesting piece of information stuck with me and I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about it personally. Basically, when it comes to personality, there are four perspectives:
  1. The personality traits that we see and others also see.
  2. The personality traits that we alone see.
  3. The personality traits that only others see.
  4. And the personality traits that no one sees, including ourselves. This area is described on one personality profile as "hidden needs."

To use myself as an example, I see myself and most others would probably agree, that ideas come easily to me, information gathering is fun and I enjoy education and derive personal satisfaction through helping and teaching people. We would also probably agree that I am more a big picture person, get paralyzed making decisions at times and have weak follow-through when it comes to detail orientation. Starting is easy for me. Finishing--oy!

Then there are the traits that I alone see. For example, I know, even if most people are shocked, that I have a shy interior. I work very hard to meet people and be open. It is work for me. After being in group situations, I need time alone to recharge. For example, church wears me out. Speaking engagements wear me out. Social functions like weddings wear me out. Because I manage social situations fairly easily, this trait is often obscured. My behavior has been (mis) interpretted at times as being "stuck up" because after spending fun times with people I'll hibernate for a while. Oh well...

Now to the traits that only others see. How can you see it if only others can see it, you may wonder. Well, I have been personality tested out the wazoo and have done some serious soul searching so to become aware. This trait was very painful for me to recognize but a lot of things came together once it was presented to me: I am extremely blunt to people, so much so that even things that I'm not emotionally attached to (hey, you should go to this restaurant it's great!), can sound like strident directives. People who know me, know that inside I'm a mush, which is why I suspect many of my friends have stuck with me. What I put out is Marine Drill Sargeant. I am diligently working on this trait. It bugs me that my normal self can be so offensive and off-putting. So now I try to pause, "Is this kind? Does this matter? Does it need to be said? Can I say it softer?"

Finally, there are parts of me that I don't see and others don't see either. Again, a personality test helped me see that I really have a low energy level and need more time than the average bear to re-tool. This too, was difficult to swallow. I had made a life burning the candle at both ends. People who see my "slowed down life" now laugh. But I have slowed down comparitively and work constantly to simplify my life.

There is more about me, but my point in bring this all up is this: w are more than meets the eye to ourselves and to others. Often our vision of ourself is as distorted as the image we see in a mirror. It looks like us, but it is not us. It is an approximation of the superficial.

It makes me wonder: what else don't I know about me? Surely the tests aren't sophisticated enough yet to pick up everything. What other traits could be modulated or better managed so my life is happier and more fulfilling and my relationships prosper?

It takes more than a little courage to truly see ourselves. It takes commitment to follow through and change. In my experience, the benefits of doing so have been enormous: I parent better, my marriage has improved and my professional life is easier.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself -- and you are the easiest person to fool.

--Richard Feynman


Antibiotics CAUSE Resistence

Antibiotics cause and increase in the likelihood that you are carrying an antibiotic resistant bacteria. Check the link below for the study.

Milton Freedman said, "There is no free lunch." He was speaking in economic terms and meant that somebody was paying for your lunch. (Nice thing to remember about medicare, medicaid, and every other governmental function.)

When it comes to your health, there is no free lunch either. Antibiotics, while a life-saver in critical situations, causes problems when overused or used for frivolous reasons.

Long term, antibiotics used more than once a year are linked to breast cancer in women. And that is just one instance of scariness.

Remember, too, that every piece of meat you eat, egg you cook, and milk you drink is coming from an animal that has drowned in antibiotics before you ingested them. It is no wonder bugs are rampaging over antibiotics and ravaging bodies.

My kids pediatrician said that she has at least one case of antibiotic resistant, flesh-eating bacteria per week! I was absolutely stunned. She said that the bad part was, that parents like me who use antibiotics as an absolutely last resort with their children, still had to worry about it with their kids because the bugs are so strong and so easily passed around.

So, stop popping antibiotics like they are candy. They have consequences short and long term for you and those you love and the strangers that you many never meet but whose life you will touch. Link

Monday, July 18, 2005

Lance Armstrong: Mental Toughness

A real skinny Texas dude rides a bike through the Pyrennes in the Tour de France as this post is written. He will likely win. Again. For the 7th time. He will likely win the most grueling sporting event that exists.

Most of us, by comparison are big losers. If we have any awareness of our talents (a minimum start to greatness), we give up developing them for a variety of reasons. We are tired. We are spread thin. We can't make money at our gift. We stink on the playing field. (It's unfortunate when our only talent is lackluster when tested against other peoples talents.)

We lack the single-mindedness needed to succeed. We lack the genetic gifts to succeed (Armstrong is gifted with lung capacity and muscle recovery that other athletes, even professional ones, just don't have).

That single-mindedness thing is what interests me, though. On some level, it is a little weird to love baseball (I went to High School with Johnny Smoltz, the Braves pitcher and he would pitch against his garage over and over and over and over again in rain, snow, whatever. He didn't date, really. I wondered if he'd ever get married, he was so driven and focused.), or basketball, or bicycling, or computers (Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are a little weird), or anything so seemingly meaningless in the big scheme of life that much.

But these guys do.

Another group of people are single-minded and usually have one area that they "stim" on: autistic people. What I wonder, is how are autistic people different than high achievers?

First, autistic people don't usually focus on socially relevent activities. They focus on spinning plates or memorizing bus schedules or knowing every make and model of train.

Second, autistic people have difficulty communicating their knowledge to others. Temple Grandin, is a notable exception. Through her own need to calm down internally, she created a machine that calmed her down and transferred that knowledge to cattle. Her ability to do this depended on communication and executive functioning.

Third, autistic people have little interest in or ability to integrate other people into their talent focus.

For example, Steve Jobs saw a need, had the ability to put something together and recruited help to bring his computer system to the world. Bill Gates has Steve Ballmer. Michael Jordon (although not originally) saw the need to help other people become better, thus making him a better player. Johnny Smoltz has a team. Sure he's the lone gun pitching, but he receives encouragement from a catcher, input from a coach and can integrate it.

And that crazy cat, Lance Armstrong. He is single-minded for sure. He too has a team and a coach and an emotional support system. His passion and dedication inspire others. His excellence keeps them supporting him when his love for the bike seems like a psychological dysfunction.

Is Lance Armstrong autistic? No, but it is interesting that achievement and pathology can look so similar. Link

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Oprah's Dogs

Do you ever wonder why people treat dogs so well when they could have just had a kid already? What are they afraid of anyway?

And how about the cat ladies? What is going on there?

Lonliness is too easy an answer. Link

Friday, July 15, 2005

Alzheimers: Beliefs Create Reality

Every once in a while the religion "science" is faced with new information challenging long held dogma. Today is one of those days.

In the journal Science (apt), researchers led by Karen Ashe of the University of Minnesota reported that mice whose genes had been "turned off" thus creating the dementia seen in Alzheimers recovered their memories when the genes were turned back on. This is good news for Alzheimers patients and their families since it implies that the same could happen in humans.

"I was astonished. I didn't believe [emphasis added] the results when I saw them," Ms. Ashe stated.

She couldn't believe it. Why? Because the accepted dogma is that Alzheimers is irreversible, that's why.

Cancer: irreversible. Diabetes: irreversible. Heart disease: irreversible (oops! not irreversible. Dr. Dean Ornish has loads of research reversing it, but you do it with diet, exercise, stress management and familial support. I know, it's just not nearly as sexy as an exotic potion like a drug or a dramatic intervention like surgery).

Yep, scientists are unbiased, blank papers looking for the answers, certainly not ministers preaching dogma looking for evidence to back up their beliefs. Link

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Dude, I'm So Polluted!

Research conducted by Environmental Working Group on 10 samples of chord blood (blood taken from the umbilical chord of a baby just born) found an average of 287 contaminents including mercury, lead, and the now-known-to-be-harmful teflon to name just three.

If the science of medication is politicized and skewed, the science of environmental studies is positively crazed and confused. The implications of these contaminants in the blood is not known, but this is what the two sides will say:
Environmentalists (shrieking and near tears): "Even our newborn children are contaminated for Mother Earth's sake! Is nothing sacred?"
Chemical companies and business beneficiaries (reasonable and dismissive): "There is no proof that these chemicals are in any way harmful to the humans, even babies and we will investigate, obfuscate, and eliminate any research that shows a link between said chemicals and ill health." (No they won't say that.)

For all the years of cancer treatment, the number of cases of cancer has not slowed down, life expectancies have extended due to better treatments. Why? Why, in this generation, have the number of kids with autism increased by between 400 and 500%? There must be an environmental link.

Is it possible that pollutants, chemicals and genetically modified everything are mutating our genome or making our immune systems weaker?

It's possible. And it's possible that there are too many good reasons not to confirm this connection. Link

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Defunct Treatments

Almost every day former "standards of care" are disposed of because they are either useless or harmful. Let's review a few:
  • Bedrest or surgery for back pain (there is now a "side-effect" called Failed Back Surgery Syndrome)
  • Arthroscopic knee surgery (sham patients did better--all they got was a hole drilled in their knee)
  • Hormone replacement therapy--reduced hotflashes (sometimes) caused invasive breast cancer (oops!)
  • Leeches for everything
  • COX-2 Inhibitors--(Celebrex and other arthritis drugs) You're 2.5-3.5 times more likely to have a heart "incident"--attack, stroke, etc.--while taking these. My joints feel better but unfortunately I'm dead!

These are just a couple off the top of my head. There are many more.

I'll be a prophet for a moment. Here are a few treatments that will soon make the mainstream as being unhelpful:

  • Fluoride in toothpaste (it causes dulled mentation and is a seditive and is so toxic if your kid swallows a pea-sized dab of toothpaste you should call poison control)
  • Coronary by-pass surgery (the death rates for those who have surgery and those who don't are almost identical five years down the road)
  • Cholesterol-reducing drugs (we already know that reducing cholesterol causes impotence--no wonder everyone discontinues them, they feel like s**t and can't do what they want to)

Medications are created to manipulate the body's chemistry. Most of them are like driving a Monster Truck to work. It'll get you there, but it will be very inefficient and cause other problems (parking and traffic jams come to mind). That's how many medications work. They might even have the desired effect, but there will be undesired, unintended side-effects.

And remember, no doctor can predict how more than two drugs will interact. There are absolutely no studies that are this complicated. So, if you are taking more than two medications, you're a walking science project.

"The doctor of the future will give no medicine but interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."

--Thomas Edison

Read more about HRT for an example.



At the end of my posts, you'll be able to go right to what I'm talking about. See? Link

Dr. Know-It-All

I live in the state of Texas. Believe it or not, I love it here. Recent developments concerning the care of a child with cancer more than alarmed me, though.

It seems that a family here chose to disagree with their physician about having their daughter irradiated after her chemotherapy after looking at the research and long-term outcomes. Her enraged doctor reported the parents to CPS. The child was taken and the treatment given while she was in the care of a foster parent.

Did everyone lose their minds? First, the doctor should know, if he isn't a complete moron, that "standards of care" differ wildly and are at best opinions and at worst experimentation as there is no way to know how a body will react to the treatment (Will radiation put the cancer in remission? Maybe, maybe not. Will it cause an accumulation of radiation? Definitely. Will cause a future cancer? The odds are REALLY good.)

Second, the doctor should also have some perspective. Even if he could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that this child would definitely live FOREVER with any treatment and the parents resisted, perhaps he could talk to the parents before calling in the troops? Perhaps he could imagine that he isn't the ruler of the world? Perhaps he isn't used to having a discussion with a well-informed patient. He should get used to it. Did this guy not consider the stress this situation would cause the child? Has he not read the research regarding immunosuppression and stress? Did it not occur to him that the stress could outweigh any potential benefits of radiation? And, by the way, had he not read the research that nearly 80% of oncologists would NOT have radiation if they had cancer.

Third, what judge doesn't do a hard pause before yanking a child with cancer from a family? Even if the doctor argues passionately for his desired treatment protocol, could the judge not wait one day while he received a second opinion?

My husband had testicular cancer and decided to forgo radiation. His survival chance without it was 90%. His survival chance with radiation was 97%. Waiting to do radiation and having to have chemo gave him a 95% survival rate if he waited. Some people feel better with that extra 7%. Good for them. He felt better not being lit up and being sick. And, by the way, knowing that should he have a more serious form of cancer down the road, he would never be able to fall back on radiation because he had already received it.

Many people make these choices every day. Parents make these choices every day. The doctor will not have to make funeral arrangements should any treatment plan fails. The doctor doesn't know the outcome. When entering the gray zone of medicine (and it is almost all a gray zone), side with the people who have to live with the consequences not the arrogant boob who resents being questioned. Link

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Fooling with Brain Chemistry

America, the home of the free and formerly home of the brave, has turned into a nation of anxiety-ridden, depressed and otherwise mentally unstable citizens. Tom Cruise, dedicated Scientology dude who is noteworthy for acting and becoming known for his medical opinions, received almost universal condemnation for sharing his belief that Brooke Shield's problem could be helped with something other than drugs.

With 60% of adults consuming some form of medication and children catching up at an alarming rate, America can safely be called drug dependent. While Mr. Cruise tersely informed an alarmed Matt Lauer of his extensive research into the area, thus his informed opinion, I thought it might be nice to look at some actual research.

That's right, drugs used for treating Parkinsons, have been shown to cause compulsive gambling, and even compulsive sex, compulsive eating and compulsive alcohol abuse, which stops when the drug is no longer used.

The drugs causing these ailments are called dopamine agonists. They work in the brain (mostly the limbic system which moderates emotions) by keeping dopamine receptors more receptive to dopamine a neurotransmitter (also called "information substances" by more cutting-edge doctors). Dopamine works to control movements, is involved in rewards and desire, and much more.

Psychotic people are given dopamine blockers, for example. Cocaine greatly increases dopamine and thus pleasure. So do amphetamines.

All these drugs monkey with brain chemistry. All have side effects.

I have many concerns about medications. Today, I'll discuss one: Because of the need to make money on patented drugs is so huge (it costs $500 million to bring one drug through trials and to market), low-cost, sensible alternatives are not even considered.

Take Lorenzo's Oil. On the same day that we find out that dopamine medications CAUSE the unfortunate side affect of another disorder--addiction--in some people, a doctor has finally confirmed (17 YEARS LATER) that a simple mix of olive oil and rapeseed oil prevents, slows and in some cases, halts a rare disease called adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD). Lorenzo's parents and others in the community have known this for 17 years now. Today it's official because a doctor did a study confirming years of clinical obviousness.

How many other disease's could be prevented, slowed or cured by simple treatments? Well, until substances like rapeseed oil, butter, rosehips and other gifts of nature can be patented and owned by drug companies, you'll have to depend on frustrated parents, friends and alternative physicians for their opinions and observations as studies won't happen.

So while there is no question that medications help some people, there are questions to be raised about the system that promotes expensive medications while ignoring low-cost, low-tech easily available alternatives that have NO SIDE EFFECTS.

Next time, we will list drugs and treatments that were the "standard of care" until tons of research confirmed deadly side-effects.

One good thing about Mr. Cruise's remarks and Ms. Shield's vigorous rebuttal is that this debate needs to occur. No question, we are an over-doped nation. No question, lots of people need health solutions. No question, new answers need to be considered besides more medications.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Psychology of Friendship

Recent brain research says that the area of the brain that lights up when we are in love is not the "sex" area as many researchers (men, I would guess) assumed, but the "reward" centers. That would mean that the same area lights up for bonuses from your boss as from bon mots from your mate.

I wonder what part of your brain lights up for good friends? While in NY last week, my family travelled uptown, downtown, mid-town and around Manhattan on a Circle-Line with three of my most favorite friends and their families. We rode subways, cabs and boats together. We walked blocks and blocks and sweaty blocks together. We saw Washington Square, the Statue of Liberty, and rode the elevator up the Empire State Building together. We ate at John's Pizza and Carnegie Deli together.

We split the bills between us. In all there were 19 people ranging from 3 months to pushing 60. And we were happy through it all.

My friends and I, while all Type A's most days, moved from experience to experience with ease. For me, I wouldn't have cared if we ate hot dogs from a vendor and spent the day looking at the world go by in Central Park. Just being with them was enough.

No, it was more than enough. It was a gift. I love them. They love me. Their kids are beautiful, funny, sweet representations of them and so I love them too.

There may have been a time when I was too worried about stuff to enjoy and be present, but on that day--July 5--each moment was like a nice buzz from champagne.

The high will keep me going for some time. Maybe the "intoxication" area of the brain lights up around good friends. No hangover. No sickness. Just sweet emotion. Wouldn't that be great?

Monday, July 04, 2005

Free in New Jersey

Perfect weather, burgers, beer and swimming in the pool with new friends: vacation has been perfect so far.

As a citizen of this great country, I didn't have to do the following:
  1. Register with the government to have a get together at someone's house.
  2. Notify my neighborhood association that we would be gone for a few days. (Although, the representative from our neighborhood does seem a little too concerned with our schedule.)
  3. Register when I crossed a state line.
  4. Fear for my life when I went to church.
  5. Fear for my life when I talked to someone about politics and TV production.

In short, I am Free. Free to congregate with whom I chose, free to express my views, free to go where I want, when I want.

When we walked past the soldiers prepared for their service at the airport, I cried. I'm grateful for them, for their sacrifice, their family's sacrifice and for the soldiers past and present who died so I could live this life.

Thank you to our country's founders and thank you to the people today who continue to serve. Happy July 4th!

More blogs about the woodlands rita.