Today is Mother’s Day! A special day set aside to celebrate Motherhood and all it nuances. What are your plans for today? Sleeping in and having breakfast in bed? A special lunch or your favorite meal? Or just snuggling with your little ones. Perhaps you are sharing this special day with your own mother or a special person that may not be physically related, but you share the kindred spirit. Regardless of your plans for this Mother’s Day, may it be filled with sweet memories and some relaxation.
It is another weekend of rainy days here in Middle Tennessee. As I pen this blog, rain drops casually fall from the sky creating a soothing rhythmic melody against the skylight in the office. The sleeping dogs lie gifting me with residual flatulence from the umteen retriever rolls they have consumed this morning as a way to calm them down, and our kids are ever grateful for their self proclaimed “much needed” time to unwind while watching Disney in the playroom.
With all sports event called off and the inability to do any more gardening, it leaves this mother begging the question, ”What are we going to do today?” Well, there is laundry to be folded – well, it is actually in need of washed before folded…..dishes to be put away – well, they actually should be cleaned before put away…..and projects to be completed – well, actually started before they can be completed…and the list goes on.
Then it dawns on me that there are also books to be read….cookies to be made….nails to be painted….and maybe even naps to be taken. What is it about the rain that beckons its listener - well this one at least – to just throw everything off her desk and to do list and forsake all productivity for laziness?
Perhaps instead of viewing this day as another opportunity to satisfy my to do list, I need to take my own advice that I give to my clients to take time to just hang out as a family. To spend some time actually conversing with one another over meals rather then shoveling food in our mouths as we travel back and forth to school, music lessons, soccer practice, church and our other whereabouts. Or listening to their hearts as we get our nails done. Time is fleeting as they grow up and I often wonder how much of it I end up squandering rather than enjoying with them.
So today I’m thankful for the rain and the much needed prioritizing it brings.
Rain Rain Don’t Go Away
The first bee – helium shortage.
The first started when a few friends were organizing an event for another friend to celebrate the grand opening of her business venture. One of our cohorts went to buy some helium balloons, but found there were none to be had at the place where she went. Instead, she bought a pack of balloons we blew up the old-fashioned way.
It transpires there’s a world shortage of helium and, after reading around the subject, I found out this was no April Fools’ Day joke. Experts say the world’s most commonly used inert gas could be depleted in 30 years. The price of helium on the commodities’ markets makes it too cheap to recycle. Helium can’t be made artificially; it’s either produced by the sun’s nuclear fusion processes or by slow radioactive decay of the earth’s rocks over millions of years. The world’s helium reserves are by-products from the extraction of natural gas. Once helium is released in the air, it’s gone forever.
Do you know what helium is used for, apart from helping party balloons float? It’s used for many essential processes, from cooling the magnets in medical MRI scanners to the mix of helium, oxygen and nitrogen that deep-sea divers use to breathe while under water. Now that I know helium is a precious commodity, I’ll never squander it on balloons again. I urge you to preserve and conserve by blowing your own balloons.
The second bee – food conservation.
Earth Day is today, and as I think widely about our environment, for me, it becomes more than just filling bags of recyclables every week or switching lights off. I live by the philosophy of balance and moderation, which includes food consumption, too.
When I first moved to the United States, I was shocked by the huge portions of food American were used to being served, as well as the waste and spoilage of tremendous amounts of uneaten food in those large portions. One of my family goals is to use up what we have in the fridge before we buy more, and to never throw out spoiled produce just because we didn’t consume it in time. Although I love to socialize with neighbors and friends at my local grocery store, my aim is to reduce my trips there.
It’s great to see a well-stocked pantry, but it means there’s food being unused. As a family, we’ve challenged ourselves to cook only from the cans and boxes we find in the pantry at least once a week. We’ve, also, set a goal to never throw out leftovers, but to make a second or third (different) meal out of them.
Wow, these two bees are really starting to crowd my bonnet. I better get going on my “mystery dinner” from stuff I find in the pantry.
Happy Earth Day, April 22!
Susan Shifay Cheung has turned her hand to many forms of writing in her various roles, over the years, as corporate trainer, management consultant, journalist and writer. You can contact her at email@example.com.
We have all heard of the NFL lawsuits for dementia caused by chronic concussions. No one questions the idea that large men hurling themselves into each other at large speeds could cause a head injury. But it might surprise you to learn that the highest number of concussions in female athletes is soccer. I have a friend whose middle school child has already had several concussions from soccer.
The Center for Disease Control reports that from 2001-2009, concussions among youth increased 60%, leading the agency to label concussion frequency as reaching “epidemic” proportions. 70.5% of sports-related emergency visits for traumatic brain injuries were among youth aged 10 – 19.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a fancy term for dementia caused by multiple concussions. Researchers believe the concussions are caused by the development of Tao protein that basically inhibits the brain from communicating with itself… like a road block. It is a terrible condition that causes Alzheimer type symptoms and eventually death. The symptoms can include memory loss, speech loss, personality changes, depression, etc. Unfortunately, my father has CTE from his college football days. In the sixties you were told to “shake it off” when you “got your bell rung” according to my dad, when he could still speak. It is his symptoms that have inspired me sue those who tell our children to “shake it off”.
Up until this past fall, there was only one way to determine whether someone had chronic traumatic encephalopathy. You had to biopsy the brain; i.e. post mortem. This is why Junior Seau shot himself in the chest when his doctors suspected CTE. He wanted the NFL to know what was happening and preserved his brain for biopsy. His family has now filed a wrongful death claim. Since, Junior Seau’s and others deaths, the ability to find CTE while the player is alive has changed. In the fall, studies at UCLA have developed a brain scan that can find the TAO Protein. (See my website: firstname.lastname@example.org under football injuries)
So what about our youth? 43 States have passed Legislation to protect the youth athletes. Tennessee is not one of them, yet. However, the Tennessee Legislature has finally written and passed Senate Bill 882. It will now be sent to Governor Haslam’s desk for signature. It is Legislation designed to protect student athletes who suffer concussions from risking further medical complications. In part, the Bill makes the following changes to our youth athletic activities:
-Requires coaches, volunteers, and team medical providers to complete a “concussion recognition and head injury safety education course” program. (which will be on the Department of Health website free of charge)
-Requires schools and organizations to have a policy of removing youth who show signs of concussions from activity for medical evaluation.
-Requires a doctor trained in concussions to provide written clearance to return to the activity.
This is a good and important step towards a safer future for our children. Even so, I am hopeful for more studies, treatment, and a cure for CTE.
Constance Mann, Attorney
The Law Offices of Constance Mann
Well, I stumbled upon the art of “making your own laundry detergent” a few weeks ago online and was shocked to realize how much I normally overpay for my favorite detergent or whatever is on sale. Per the recipe, I bought the items suggestions (Borax, Super Washing Suds, & a bar of Ivory Soap) and decided I would make this a threefold event: money saving effort, craft-project for a rainy day, & mother/daughter bonding opportunity. I also picked up some regular detergent that day and life went on as normal…..except for feeling a twinge of guilt each time I saw the Borax box on the laundry shelf. “I really need to make that homemade stuff. It looks so easy” I would always think. I even began saving my empty laundry bottles for that “rainy day” when our mother/daughter project would fill the bottles with a soapy homemade concoction. Days turned into weeks and I wondered why I had even thought myself so crafty in the first place. I hardly cook much less create home-brewed cleaning supplies. What was I thinking? Oh well, at least the supplies were cheap-I wasn’t out much for hopeful thinking. Call me an eternal optimist. Everything changed this past weekend. I had to do some laundry. I loaded the wash and reached for my detergent only to realize- “We’re out!” I had a choice: Make a trip to the store & spend time and money, or use the ingredients I already had PLUS finally conquer that recipe challenge. My daughter was thrilled to help and we now have SO much homemade laundry detergent (powdered and liquid-yep, both kinds) that I actually briefly entertained the thought of selling the stuff. It was fun, easy, and oh so cheap!!! I don’t know if I will ever buy regular detergent again. We put some lavender oil in the liquid version just to give it an extra nice scent. Now, off to research homemade softeners. Have a perfectly imperfect day.
Click HERE for recipe of Homemade Laundry Detergent (liquid).