Thursday, March 8, 2012

Can’t Tell Whether a Wine Bottle Has a Plastic Cork or Real Cork? There’s an App for That!


    Can’t Tell Whether a Wine Bottle Has a Plastic Cork or Real Cork? There’s an App for That! (via My Plastic-free Life)
       One of the most frequent requests I get is for a list of wines with natural cork stoppers because most of the time it’s impossible to see what kind of cork a bottle has without opening it up.  When I first started this project, I began keeping a list of wines and what kinds of closures they had,…



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Remembering Our Neighbors

As we sit snug in our warm homes, I ask that you turn your mind to the less fortunate. Our society is faced with high unemployment and underemployment. Many people are without homes. Please think about those who do not have a place to live.
On these long cold winter nights, please think of those who have paid the price of our society's failure to provide for those in need. Today I honor those who have died on the streets. I was lucky and was homeless was only during the summer. I will strive harder this year to help provide for those in need.
One concrete way that I can help is to volunteer with The Warming Place in The Dalles. The Warming Place, which is open when the temperature dips below freezing, is housed in St. Vincent dePaul Community Meal Dining Room, and is open when the flag is out, from 7pm to 7am. It is staffed by two volunteers each night. A church or an organization is responsible for a day of the week. Volunteers have participated in a brief training session. Hood River is also starting a warming shelter program in January.
No matter where you live, I encourage you to check into local ways that you can help out others in need. Please remember to encourage you legislators to create laws to help protect the homeless. For more information on homelessness, please visit the National Coalition for the Homeless.
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Invisible, but not alone

In earlier posts, I've mentioned the invisible illness that haunts me daily. I'm thankful that it is relatively mild, but the associated conditions that may develop in later years frighten me. Knowing that its not myself that faces it, but my daughter deeply saddens me.
My daughter was initially diagnosed with Selective IgA Deficiency days after her first birthday, and was recently reconfirmed. We were concerned because our healthy baby girl dropped in weight from the 50th percentile to the 3rd, while simultaneously developing a chronic cough and mucousy diarrhea. My first fears were of Cystic Fibrosis and Celiac. It was during the testing for Celiac, that we discovered my daughter has no IgA.
Hers is a fairly common primary immunodeficiency disease. Thankfully, her symptoms are pretty mild. She is still prone to a chronic cough. Her weight is starting to come up, as long as she avoids certain foods. She primarily has a food allergy to dairy, casein to be more specific. Dairy allergy is a common occurence in people who have Selective IgA Deficiency.
Exposure to casein results in days of diarrhea. Unfortunately, many people don't realize hidden sources of dairy and casein. Most people can accept that she can't eat cheese, but don't realize that she also reacts to soy cheese. In child care settings, she's constantly being exposed to these hidden sources. The diarrhea has made it very difficult to potty train her. Its hard for a child to learn to use the toilet when their belly hurts and they cannot control their bowels.
I worry about the future for my daughter.  Will she catch a virus at school thats benign to everyone else, but more threatening to her? Will she develop autoimmune disorders? Systemic Lupus Erythematosis is already present in the family. Will she develop asthma? If she ever needs a transfusion, will she go into anaphylaxis? Then there's the fear that she will go on to develop a more severe combined immunodeficiency.
For now I simply try to be a good mother. I treat my daughter like any other child. I make clear to caregivers that she cannot have dairy/casein. I remain patient with the potty training, and hope that one day her diet will be free from hidden casein. I feed her a good diet and make sure she lives an active life. I let her be the wonderful vivacious child that she is.
I share our story with you so you might realize that there are many of us who live daily with invisible diseases. Even happy seemingly healthy pre-schoolers can be effected. I hope that this will serve as a reminder to parents, please don't send sick children to school/child care. Remember, one of your children's classmates may have an immune deficiency.
I welcome comments by others who face an invisible disease. I hope that another parent in a similar situation will read this post and find companionship. If you are facing an immune deficiency disease, please visit the Immune Deficiency Foundation to get more information.
For more information about dealing with invisible diseases please visit, Remember, you are not alone.
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Access to Health Information

Sources used to find health and wellness relat...Image via WikipediaHow much of your health information do you get by reading? How would your health be effected if you couldn't read?
Today is International Literacy Day. With this in mind, I want to remind all of you of a skill that many of us take for granted, our ability to read. Did you know that one in five adults cannot read, and 2/3 of them are women! We need to help reverse this.
One organization I recommend is Reach Out and Read. They have partner groups all over the US. If you have some time, or money, to spare please consider contacting them. If you have a spare dollar, there is currently a fundraiser being hosted by BloggersUnite to buy books for children who are being taught to read.

What have you done to help teach people to read? What are ways to get health information to those who can't read? Do you know of any good resources?
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Friday, August 27, 2010

A peak into what I see daily

My time here at TrueNorth is ending. I'm excited to return home to my family. I've seen some amazing results while here. Below you will see a video of Christina, a person here with an amazing story.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010


ARCADIA, CA - APRIL 16:  CamelBak brand water ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
By this point, most people have heard about bisphenol A (BPA) and the negative impacts it may have on health. Nation-wide protest occurred to get BPA out of beverage containers, especially baby bottles. Although the desired legislation did not always pass, most companies have now given in to consumer demands and started making alternative BPA-free containers. However, BPA is not just limited to plastic bottles.

The Environmental Working Group(EWG) released a recent study which found high levels of BPA in 40% of cash register receipts. The receipts do not need to contain BPA. The leading manufacturer of thermal paper in the US, Appleton Papers, Inc does not use BPA.

The exposure to the consumer from BPA laden receipts is very low, however cashiers are being exposed to a large amount of BPA laden paper. According to EWG, retail workers carry an average of 30% more BPA in their bodies than other adults. Retail outlets and receipt manufacturers are being urged to switch to BPA-free alternatives.

In the meantime, EWG has some advice for consumers:
  • Don’t let infants or children handle receipts.
  • Avoid paper receipts entirely when electronic or email alternatives are available.
  • If you save receipts, keep them in a separate envelope.
  • After handling receipts, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before preparing and eating food (and that’s a good practice even when you haven’t handled receipts).
  • Don’t use alcohol-based hand cleaners after handling receipts; they can increase absorption of BPA through the skin.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

People First

All to often we forget to include people differently abled from ourselves. The few times when our society remembers, it generally focuses on the disability and not the person. Many people would instinctually say the blind man, rather than the man who is blind. We need to change this way of thinking, and put people first! People should come first in language and action.

Starting around 12 years of age, I became a Special Olympics volunteer. I credit this early exposure to people with varying abilities to my ability to honor everyone. I highly suggest that people volunteer with Special Olympics, or at least attend an event.

When I was 15, I met a gentleman who had lost his right hand. I was the only person in the group who thought to shake with my left hand. That simple action really impressed the man by honoring his humanity, it also forever impacted me by reminding me that simply actions do make a difference.

I strongly encourage people to at least think about what life is like for others. During my gerontology training, I learned how to evaluate buildings for their accessibility. Simple things, like flooring choice can have a major impact on people. I am a strong supporter of universal design; we should try to design things with a wide group of humanity in mind. I do not want to be singled out for my disability, nor should others be. I wish electronic manufacturers would have taken red-green color defective people into account when they designed LED charging indicators.

I admit that I am not completely aware of how various things can effect peoples lives. Admittedly, this blog is not fully accessible. The Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE) is a great resource to check if your site/blog is accessible. I've changed everything I can on this one and the rest is up to Blogger to change.


Please share any information you have on how to empower all people!
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