Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What Vaccinations and eCigarettes Have in Common

Photo from Blu eCig commerical. 
Answer:  Jenny McCarthy.

Now, I am honestly a long time fan of Jenny McCarthy.  She was gorgeous before she was a mother, she is hilarious in an honest way which translates on screen and even in her books. As a fellow mother, I literally did laugh out loud at her comedic writing. I applauded her bravery in standing up for the personal beliefs she held about the dangers involved in vaccinations.  I still fully vaccinated my kiddos, but I always thought it was great that she made people across the country take a step back and learn more about what chemicals are inside widely accepted and unquestioned medications. Even if today science supports the benefits of vaccinations, she got us talking about toxic chemicals.

That being said... I'm incredibly disappointed that she is the spokesperson for Blu eCig, the vapor smoking device.  Don't get me wrong, I respect that people should be able to smoke when they want to do so - just like people are allowed to drink if they are of age - but only so long as they aren't harming others with secondhand smoke.  Blu does give people this freedom and that is great.

But, McCarthy is a role model for women.  And eCigs still contain potentially harmful substances, such as Diethylene Glycol.  Whenever I see her ads it makes me wonder how she can advocate for parents to decline lifesaving vaccines that might be harmful to their child, but endorse Blu (which thankfully doesn't harm others with second hand vapors) but is still a potentially harmful substance to herself and other adults?

It makes me confused as to what she stands for?

Jenny, you are beautiful and smart! I don't know if you did this ad for the money or to change your image into something a little more fun, but would you deny a child a vaccination and then hand him an eCig 15 years later?

Oh well. Maybe the crazy busy days of motherhood cloud our judgement from time to time. If you are pregnant, I still highly recommend McCarthy's books as a spirit-lifting insight into just what those beginning stages of pregnancy and baby rearing are like.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Justy Say NO to WARTS

I can't say that I've seen a lot of personal testaments online about skin warts... Even for me it was once an enormously embarrassing subject because I had a wart on the side of my toe as a preteen.  It was no more than 2 millimeters in size and still, it caused me pain whenever I walked with shoes.  Also, and even more so, I was convinced that everyone could see it so I always wore socks and closed shoes.

Of course, I visited different dermatologists to have it frozen, then burned, etc. but it just kept coming back!  Two different dermatologists informed me that warts usually go away after a few months all by themselves, but after 2 years it was still there. On one particular visit a doctor explained how the virus that causes warts is contracted, and I mentioned that I always wear socks to prevent catching more and spreading my own wart to others.  Curiously, the doctor told me that people who wear socks are more likely to have warts than people who don't, but that medical professionals DID NOT KNOW WHY this was the case. That's strange, I remember thinking.

Despite my efforts, summer came and my wart was still there. I remember sitting in the back seat of my friend's car while she flipped off her sandals and put her bare feet up on the driver's armrest.  At 13, the sight of her healthy feet made my vain, teenage heart weep a little.

Eventually, I found a dermatologist who practiced a special treatment that most dermatologists (even today) do not use.  He put a topical agent on my arm - like a superficial shot - and then rubbed the same agent on the surface of my toe's wart.  REALLY?  I thought.  No cutting? How could this work and HOW LONG will it take to see results?  But, the doctor explained that the agent causes an immune fighting response inside my body that would teach my body to fight off the wart all on its own.  It sounded too good to be true... but it worked!  In 4-6 weeks the wart was gone and it stayed gone. After that, I wore leather Birkenstocks almost everyday!

Until I got to college, where despite wearing flip flops in the dormitory showers I still contracted a plantar wart on my heel. I was sock-free and wore my cool plastic flip flops everyday. I tried the immune response treatment, the wart would go away, but then another one would return in a different part of my heel despite the fact that I was always replacing my flip flops with new ones.

One day I was walking around campus in my plastic flip flops - feeling pain on my heel with each step - when I recalled what the dermatologists of my youth had told me.  People with warts are usually wearing socks. I went to the nearest store to look at the labels for socks and saw that most of them were made with Polyester fabric. A little more research online opened my eyes to the fact that Polyester is 100% plastic, just like my flip flops.  I decided to stop treating the plantar wart problem and bought a pair of $80 leather shoes instead.

And I'm happy to say that I've been wart free ever since.  For 10 years I have made the conscious choice of wearing 100% cotton socks and 100% leather shoes and my feet are happy and healthy... the feet of my dreams!

**Now, I'm not a doctor, I don't think that plastic actually causes warts, but I do think that petroleum (from which plastic is created) can weaken the immune system. If you are someone who already has a weakened immune system or who is sensitive to environmental and/or food allergens than it could be that plastic products can weaken your body's natural defenses or even delay your immune system's ability to fight off viruses (such as wart viruses) and other ailments.**

So, if you are desperate to be wart free like I once was, try going natural on your foot wear!  BTW, for anyone who suffers from warts on their hands, try wearing wool gloves instead.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

How even the "poorest" of us can still be happy

The other day I came across an article 6 Unique Ways to Be Successful and Happy. I thought the author had valid and useful points, but I felt I should expound a little on my blog on a 7th way to becoming fulfilled. Now, I'm no guru so read on at your own risk :)

Let me begin with a real metaphor. When I was living with my husband and daughter in Asia, down the street from our apartment was a sort of cement shack. We lived on a busy street filled with cars and pedestrians.  Our apartment was cozy and our landlord a blessing, having chosen not to overcharge us on our rent even though we were foreigners.

The nearby shack was triangular and filled to the brim with Korean kimchi pots of various sizes.  In fact, there were so many pots that they spilled out of the shack and ran along the street side.  Everyday I would walk by the shack on my way to work and would try to look inside without being too obvious.  Often I would find an elderly woman crouched in the middle of the cement space who was busily creating more and more pots.  At first, I found the site of the shack to be jarring.  There was a single bulb on the ceiling which had a string hanging from it.  The walls of the structure were blackened, perhaps from mold or soot from the passing cars. There was only a foot of space amid all of the pots where the old woman could work to make more pots. Even so - day by day - she created pot after pot. Some of them were as big as a person.

The beauty of this work is that she lacked an incredible work space from which to change the world.  And although it is impossible to know, her environment indicated that she struggled financially. She didn't close million dollar deals or perform heart surgery. Still... still, when you watched her work or saw her creations you saw something beautiful. Why?  Because each day she did what she loved to do.

Furthermore, one single pot might not have seemed so inspiring or earth-shattering.  Instead it was the multitude of them. She did what she loved AND was seemingly undeterred by a lack of funds and space to continue doing it.  In truth, even in the coldest days of winter she sat in her unheated shack to spin pots.

The result of her persistence and passion, even for something as simple as pot making, turned this woman's shack into a national icon. Fellow Koreans came to her for kimchi pots believing that after making so many of the vessels that hers would be the best to purchase. And foreigners came to understand and experience Korean and Asian culture through her work. In short, she had become an artist, a cultural teacher and a great symbol.

So, the next time you wonder at how to achieve your own happiness, I invite you to imagine the kimchi pot lady. Find what you love to do and no matter what keep doing it... your hands and heart will feel good and eventually you might see a rippled affect from doing it that will be greater than you could ever have imagined.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

ideas live forever

Where have I been? Trust me when I say that my going MIA had nothing to do with suffering from a loss of words or random ideas to share. 

No, this summer marked the loss of a dear friend, one I have known and cherished all of my life. To outsiders she was simply my grandmother, but she was much more than that to me. Many of the thoughts in my posts were inspired by her and I know that they will continue to be. 

So now what? The ironic thing is that I created the blog Everyday Poison hoping that my Grandmother would have an outlet in which she could share a fraction of her incredible wisdom. But, a lack of time as well as fluency in technology prevented her from sharing with the world in that capacity. Eventually, I realized that as an author of sci-fi novels it may not be a bad idea to write for myself to take breaks from my usual story building. And so mommybrainstorm was born. 

But, my goal has never been to become a site full of catchy headlines or high-paying ads, not that the latter wouldn't nice! My goal is to share my love for the universe, its people and its mysteries through my writing. I write for myself - to create order from my daydreams. Now, however, I write to the faceless user who stumbles upon my site. And, above all, I write to my best friend, my Grammy, knowing that somehow she and I are still talking and sharing our thoughts about the world over a good cup of coffee.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

This Summer: Back to the Future PARTIES

Old is the new NEW. I know it sounds cliche, but 2013 seems to be looking at 1913, 1953 and 1983 for inspiration in home decor, fashion and overall pop-culture. So, this summer I plan to throw a Downton Abbey party with my girl friends and an 80's Bash with my hubby and our daughters - I think the latter is the perfect way to celebrate my turning 30.

Here's what I'm thinking for Downton (adults only):
An Edwardian costume
I pieced together at a
thrift store :)
  • Whiskey and crumpets as an appetizer
  • Conversation cards
  • Play the guessing game 'Who am I?'
  • A hat decorating activity
  • Enjoy a multiple course meal (have each friend contribute a course) and use formal diningware
  • Watch at least one episode of Downton or the Titanic
  • Read Freud aloud while sitting around a crackling fire...

And for the 80's showdown:

  • Hit up the $ store for Pop Rocks, Ring Pops and other goodies
  • Watch at least one Brat Pack film and one Star Wars Episode
  • Braid our hair to create a crimped look
  • Play Operation and Trouble, maybe even a round of Twister!
  • Dance around to Madonna
  • Make friendship bracelets
  • Fall asleep on the living room floor in sleeping bags

My kids are entering a new century. If people are can use google glasses as their new 'computer' then just think what the developments will be over the next 20-40 years. I think that whenever we aren't sure what the future brings, we use the past to influence our trajectory. But, if we are finding ourselves unconsciously looking toward the past, we might as well look to the most awesome parts of it.  So bring on the Pop Rocks!

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Moments We Crave

It's late afternoon on an ordinary day somewhere in a cozy American suburb. The clouds cast themselves in a haze just as your eyes struggle to remain wide open. Like a wave washing over your mind, you crave coffee. I know I do!

But, sometimes I wonder if it is the coffee I crave or the moment I spend drinking it that I'm chasing. The moment you can sit with a small piece of quiet as you sip at a warm beverage which smells like roasted nature. Don't get me wrong, caffeine is wonderful... especially when you are a busy parent in need of a pick-me-up.  Plus, the fact that researchers now claim that coffee has many health benefits makes drinking the beverage even more rewarding.

Even so, I know that when I finally sit down for my afternoon latte it is not only the coffee which stirs me. I'm thrilled at the overall experience: the atmosphere of the room I'm in, usually with dimmed lights, relaxing music in the background and - of course - the rich aroma and taste of the coffee itself.

Today it made me wonder, what other moments do I crave... and what about them in particular seems to tickle my fancy?

  • Writing, writing, writing 
  • Crashing into a bed made with freshly cleaned sheets
  • Sitting in a great restaurant with loved ones
  • Taking hot showers or baths
  • Cracking jokes in a theatre while waiting for the movie to start
  • Baking bread at home with my daughters
  • Working on creative projects with my husband 
These moments are 3-D experiences.  They involve my 5 senses and speak to who I am as a person, in terms of my interests, my spirit.  These are just a few of my favorite moments, but I'm curious, what are yours? Please share! :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Can Men Have PMS?

Everyone has seen Arnold Schwarzenegger play a pregnant father in the 1994 film Junior. And of course, Thomas Beatie made the film into a reality when he became the first pregnant man a few years ago. But, as I rest on the couch in my most comfy pajamas (nursing a cup of hot chocolate and cringing with each of my menstrual cramps) I am wondering why we don't ever ask if men can experience PMS?

Perhaps this is my hormone-filled brain's attempt to seek justice as to why I'm curled up feeling icky while my husband sits at his desk building a robot for fun and feeling quite period free. Regardless, I am suddenly remembering something I learned while attending college. It has a lot of different names but within pop culture is referred to as the Dorm Room Affect. Essentially, the Affect (aka Menstrual Synchrony) is that women who are living in close proximity to one another will eventually menstruate at the same intervals.

Now, there is actually some science backing this up, but the question is why? Why should we women all bleed in unison? It's as if the hormones in our bodies are privy to some sort of invisible star wars like force which - to be sure - is a strong one!

This brings me to another caveat... sympathy pain. I never really gave it much credence until I was pregnant myself and now I am definitely a believer. When I had prego food cravings, my husband would often crave them too.  When I was fatigued, my husband also found it more difficult to wake up in the morning. I once heard a doctor suggest that men experience sympathy pain on a chemical level to help the father-to-be identify with the mother rather than fleeing from her. That's nice!

But, what about PMS? I thought I was talking about that. Oh, yes. I once read a book called The Red Tentby Anita Diamont.  It was a spellbinding read about passion, but the red tent it was based around was a place that all women went to when they were menstruating together. Each month the women nursed one another and shared in their misery as sisters. But where were the men? Weren't those sympathy pains telling them to remain at our side?  Curiously, the men were forbidden to enter the tent until the menstrual period was complete.

For years I have known that I am more irritable for one day which falls a couple of days before my period begins. And then on the actual D-Day I am very fatigued. This of course is different for every woman! What I didn't realize until recently is that on those days my family seems to be experiencing PMS right along with me. My kids are more tired and kranky. My husband, who is usually incredibly sensitive and supportive, can be just as moody and tired as I am on these key days.

We've both noticed it and have even talked about. Simply put, something feels off between us / within us as individuals. We've learned to laugh at it, but also to make individual space a higher priority on those days (funny, maybe the red tent wasn't such a bad idea). Oddly, many women believe the Bible considers a menstruating woman as being like a leper. However, as time goes on I see that my female hormones are powerful. Almost out powering me, but never completely. And possibly even affecting my husband and children on some unseen, chemical level.

What do you think? To test my theory, last month I recorded the start of my cycle, but didn't count out in advance to my next expected period. Then, I waited for the symptoms of the "PMS force" to become present in my family members and counted backwards 27 days... to the first day of my last period.

So, the next time you get your monthly visitor, do a little detective work and see if you maybe aren't the only one PMS-ing :)