Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Jumping off of yesterday's subject...

Jumping off of yesterday's subject of Indians... Sometimes when I'm talking to an Indian they will bob their head from side-to-side when conveying a 'No'. It always throws me for a loop because in America that is an aggressive gesture. That, basically, means "you wanna fight?" to us.

Aren't cultural differences interesting? I looked up some others just for fun:

Thumb and index finger, forming a circle with the hand raised, is the universal American sign for "OK" or "I agree" or "excellent". The same sign however has a vulgar meaning in many South American counties, especially Brazil and may provoke an aggressive reaction. In Spain, it's a sign for cuckold, certainly not appreciated by the person who is the recipient of the signal.

Hand thrust out, palm upward and outward is in America and many other countries understood as a well meant warning, in the sense of "stop", or "danger". But if you travel to Greece, beware! If the fingers are splayed, you are in the presence of a sign known as "moutza", which is an extremely offensive and aggressive gesture. Curiously, the signal has the same meaning in Pakistan.


More stuff here.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Advice for Indian Call-Centre-Peeps


I noticed that Indian telemarketers or customer service reps will take an American name. John or Sally, or what have you. I appreciate the effort of choosing a name I won't have trouble pronouncing. But I'm sure part of the plan, also, is to avoid the xenophobia, if at all possible. Because, lets face it, Indian call support isn't very popular. They're sometimes hard to understand, and the job outsourcing is a sensitive subject these days. (I give them credit though- they are so polite and probably take a lot of abuse). Over the phone, their accent gives them away so there isn't much they can do to trick us into thinking they really are an American "John" calling from, oh, Knoxville Tennessee. However, online customer service now has the option of Instant Messaging- which I luuuuuuuv. And since there's no talking, they have a decent shot at tricking me into thinking I'm conversing with American tech support. So here's my advice to you Indian customer service reps: take a Spanish or black name! Like "Shaquira" or "Jose" or "Lakeshia". That will definitely give me pause. It might even fool me!


And on an unrelated note: when I googled "Indian" all the images were of Native Americans. Come on!!!! Seriously????? For real, people?!?!? The majority of people are still using that term?! Ugh. That makes me mad. Indians and Native Americans are nothing alike. Why wouldn't you want to differentiate them with two labels?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Read this book



I'm reading "The Big Necessity: the Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why it Matters.

It's really good. Can I state for the record that I've always wanted a bidet? Ever since my 10th grade Italian teacher, Mrs. Cerrelli, told us about them. This line from the book hits home. "[Toilet] Paper cultures are in fact using the least efficient cleansing medium to clean the dirtiest part of their body".

But what I'm really excited about is a bio-gas digester. These things are all over rural China and India. They turn your poo and your animal's poo into fuel and fertilizer. That is so cool. It's my dream to have a bio-gas digester and convert my car to run on the fuel from it. And the leftover slurry- you can make even better with vermicompost- another one of my favorite things- and then I could use it on my garden. I'll have the most amazing, organic fruit and vegetable garden. We can have all sorts of adorable farm animals- we'll need their poo. The gas for my car will be free. And I'll be doing a really good deed for the planet- getting rid of all that ozone-destroying methane. I'm so excited about this. (Even though, I know it's decades away- I don't even own a house yet).

Edited to add: I researched a little more how to run a car on bio-gas. It's definitely do-able. But moving the gas from the bio-gas digester makes it much less useful/efficient. It might be a worthwhile conversion for a large farm- but probably not for a family bio-gas digester, I'm thinking. So we'll probably just use it for cooking/heating to make the most of it.

Bio-gas digesters address global warming, our dependence on Saudi oil, and help the poor live more self-sufficiently. So WHY DOESN'T EVERYONE HAVE ONE? I feel like there is some sort of conspiracy to keep us from this.

Another benefit to everyone getting this is that the city sewage would no longer have any fertilizer qualities to it so it would be completely undesirable. The slurry would be completely made of pollutants-like funeral home and hospital and factory waste. Farmers would no longer use that crap on their soil. We would be forced to deal with it in a civilized manner. Companies would have to take responsibility for their dumped toxins.

As tempting as it is to "move to the country", build myself a house and have a cute little farm and live out my crunchy dreams... I think the much more responsible thing to do would be to live in the city- own a multi-family home with a small yard, build a bio-gas digester there, plant a multi-layer garden, and be an example to the community of how do-able this is and how beneficial it can be to every family.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Boysenberries

These berries are everywhere around here! And they are edible! My five year old son has been so excited to eat these this year. We have three bushes we peruse. One at my moms, one at my in laws, and one at a friend's house. I don't know many (any?) people who eat them though, so I want to spread the word: they're delicious! I hate to think of all those boysenberries out there going to waste. Although I'm sure the animal life is enjoying them. But think of all that unspoiled-by-pesticide- antioxidant-rich-fruit available to the public! So eat up. I've heard that that the unripe ones can have an LSD like-effect. So avoid those. Eat the juicy black ones. Unless you want an LSD-like-trip. lol.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Maps of freedoms by state

I'm becoming more conservative in some ways- Personal freedom is a big deal for me. And more liberal in other ways- social support is a big deal for me too. Which may seem like a contradiction but I don't think it has to be. The Fourth of July brings the issue of personal freedom to the forefront for me. We live on a town in a state where personal fireworks are illegal, but we're only 15 minutes from a state where personal fireworks are legal. We're also an immigrant mecca... and the immigrants aren't as aware or concerned with the law so basically everyone in my town sets of fireworks on the fourth of July. Let me tell you, it is a million times cooler than public shows!!!! The close proximity makes it so much more exciting. And the randomness of the shows around you makes them an enjoyable surprise. When I first moved here I was pretty horrified and scared. But I've been converted and now I think they are the best thing since sliced bread. And I am kind of angry that my state thinks it knows better than I do what's good for me.

I looked up three issues that are an indicator of our "level of freedom" and I present to you these maps. I've been trying to convince Timmy to move to Texas, because they're still hiring new-grad nurses. I'd probably fit in with their "freedom culture" really well there. And maybe I can teach them a thing or two about the liberal concepts of social support and tolerance. :wink

A MAP OF FIREWORK FREEDOMS

A MAP OF HANDGUN FREEDOMS


A MAP OF HOMESCHOOLING FREEDOMS

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Two medical rants

Rant #1)
There's a new study out linking Proton Pump Inhibitor use to Hospital Acquired Pneumonia. This has been one of my pet peeves for a long time. Almost every patient in the hospitals (around here anyway) are put on an acid reducer- probably to prevent stomach damage from NSAID's. But one of my professors pointed out that stomach acid is an important part of our defense system- killing germs that enter the digestive system. So when a patient is in the hospital, and presumably exposed to a variety of dangerous germs, it's a bad time to be lowering their immunity. Ever since she pointed that out to me it's been one of my pet peeves. Hopefully this, and other studies will sway doctors to be more restrictive in their PPI prescriptions. Say no to prophylactic proton pump inhibitors- unless you are taking an NSAID at the same time.

Rant #2)
The "sun damage" message is clouding out (pun intended) a more important one: the importance of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is soooo underrated. We need to get more. Sunlight is more important, in my opinion, than the risk of sun damage- especially with the ability to identify skin cancer in the early stages. I'm convinced that lack of sun was a major contributor to my depression this last pregnancy. Obviously there is already a proven link between sunlight and depression for a substantial portion of our population, in the form of SAD. And it's just now getting the attention it deserves as an immune system booster. Some say even more important than Vitamin C!

The UV Advantage is a good source of information on this subject. Did you know that Vitamin D only comes from UVB rays- which are the "harmful" rays that are blocked by sunscreen and only available at a certain angle- the powerful 10:00-2:00 rays that we're told to avoid!! UVB is not in tanning beds! And it is blocked by glass so you can't get the benefits of Vitamin D from sitting inside a window. If you can't get outdoors enough or you live in the North, I recommend a full spectrum lightbulb- available through crunchy hippy websites. :)
Some more facts:
  • It is impossible to generate too much vitamin D in your body from sunlight exposure: your body willself-regulate and only generate what it needs.
  • If it hurts to press firmly on your sternum, you may be suffering from chronic vitamin D deficiency right now.
  • Vitamin D is “activated” in your body by your kidneys and liver before it can be used. Having kidney disease or liver damage can greatly impair your body’s ability to activate circulating vitamin D.

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