What if our healthcare system kept us healthy?

Rebecca Onie asks audacious questions: What if waiting rooms were a place to improve daily health care? What if doctors could prescribe food, housing and heat in the winter? Here’s a Ted Talk that gives concrete information to create a healthcare system that actually keeps us healthy.

Tennessee considers funding free community college for all High School Grads

Tennessee is considering using lottery money to fully fund community college and technical school for all high school grads. Since cost is the biggest hurdle to getting a higher education, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is on the right track to make higher education truly attainable – without all the hoops. Read more here.

Free wood chips help local small business, local landfills, and homeowners

IMG_2450What do you do if you’re a small tree chipping company and you don’t want to spend your money on dumping fees? What do you do if you’re a city planner trying to keep your landfills from filling up so fast?  What do you do if you’re a homeowner who wants to do some sustainable and frugal landscaping pathways?

IMG_2441A new website in Portland Oregon solves this three way problem with chipdrop.  You open an account and give your address, and whatever local tree chipping company has a load of chips they need to dump, they drive it to your house and dump it free in whatever location you mention. It helps the tree chipping companies because otherwise they’d have to pay dump fees. It helps the homeowner because you get free wood chips delivered to your door. It helps the city because it doesn’t get it’s landfills full of woodchips. Everybody wins.

We took advantage of this new service and created front and backyard pathways!  Our load, we were told, was mostly douglas fir, so the whole yard smells wonderful, and it’s safe for our backyard free range chickens.

Kids cars turned into mobility devices

Dr. Cole Galloway is turning kids toy cars into mobility devices and physical therapy for young children. This is making a lot of people happy – especially the little kids who get to drive the cool cars.

Learn more about the University of Delaware Go Baby Go! program here.

Read more about this on Upworthy here.

Are Bronies changing the face of masculinity?

Are the qualities of friendship, fun, working together, inclusiveness, and kindness ONLY male traits; female traits; or are they human traits?

These hero’s are making the world a happier, kinder, more inclusive place; creating 3D men (instead of men chained in a 2D world box of destruction, disfunction, and distance).

Self Cleaning Fish Aquarium

This self cleaning Beta Fish aquarium uses no batteries, filters, or fuss. Using physics alone, the clean water you put in flushes the dirty water out.  You can then use the wastewater to fertilize your plants.  The tanks are made in the US and won Best New Aquatic Product at the Global Pet Expo 2013.

Learn more at The Grommet.

Fight Crime with a Fashionable Hair Clip

first_sign_clip-3The First Sign Hair Clip was designed by Rachel Emanuele as a tool to protect women from violent crime.  The clip can attach to hair or even a purse strap, and then detects through algorithm  if you are being attacked (it knows the difference between a violent attack, a bump on the head, or jogging for instance).  It also has a panic button you can push in case of danger as well.  The included app collects data as evidence such as where you are, records your conversation, notifies authorities that a crime is being committed, and sends out a verbal message saying you have been located and help is on the way (thus possibly scaring away the attacker so no more harm is done, but also gathering information about him for prosecution).

Here’s the background story

You can reserve a clip for yourself or a loved one, and bring this hair clip to market through your contributions to this  Indigogo account.

Thanks to Gizmag for this article on Impact Sensing Hair Clip Helps Fight Violent Crime.

Public urinal goes green

pplanterWhat happens when you combine bamboo plants and simple green science to create a public urinal?  The PPlanter.

The PPlanter is a simple and attractive public system that allows you to privately pee in a urinal (there are disposable women’s adapters as well), then step on a foot pedal that brings fresh water to wash your hands.  The fresh water flushes/cleans the urinal with liquids going into a holding tank.  From there, the mixed liquid is pumped into the planter/biofilter, where bamboo plants are growing in a mixture of rocks, wood chips and styrofoam. The water, nitrogen and phosphorous are used by the bamboo, while bacteria living in the growing medium break down carbohydrates and protein.

I talked to my son and he says guys would have no problem with this, but probably women wouldn’t be all that enthusiastic.  According to the Gizmag article, the test project had plenty of volunteers, but they didn’t break down how many were men/women.  Also what would you do if you ended up needing to do more than just pee – this particular invention doesn’t cover that.  But I think it’s a good start to re-imagine how to simplify waste systems.

Thanks to Gizmag for this article.

Accountability -vs- Forgiveness

Accountability has gotten a bad rap.  American culture sees accountability as a punishment, and forgiveness as a sign of a good person.

I have a different take.

Here are samples of the same conversation:  one from a forgiveness perspective, one from an accountability perspective, using the random names Mike and Jim.

Forgiveness Conversation

Mike spills the milk on the table.

Jim, upset, points out Mike’s milk is soaking into Jim’s papers!

Mike denies he spilled the milk, and/or makes excuses for why he spilled the milk:  he was tired; he was distracted; he didn’t see the milk there; it was someone else’s fault for placing the milk on the table in the first place.

Jim frantically works to keep his remaining papers dry, and in exasperation calls Mike to Get A Towel!

Mike wrings his hands crying “don’t be mad at me, it wasn’t my INTENT to spill the milk, I really AM a good person, I TRY my best, EVERYONE makes mistakes, don’t hold it against me!”

Jim gets a towel himself and cleans up the mess, sad/angry/disappointed/upset/ that Mike didn’t admit to his own mess or in any way help to clean it up.

Mike pleads “Will you forgive me?”

Accountability Conversation

Mike spills the milk on the table, and immediately says “Jim – grab your papers off the table!”  Mike quickly fetches a towel to clean up the mess.

Jim quickly picks up his papers, focusing on the most important ones.

Mike cleans up the mess, dries the table, and says “Hey man, sorry if I ruined any of your papers – is there anything I can do to make it right?”

Jim answers gratefully “I really appreciate your quick action to clean up the accident. I saved most of the papers, but a few got wet.  I’ll dry them out and check to see if I need to re-write any.  Thanks for asking though.”

Accountability brings out personal characteristics such as strength, resilience, quick thinking, problem solving, caring, helpfulness, satisfaction, self-mastery and concern.  Reactions to this caring response are trust, thankfulness, appreciation, and feeling valued.  If Mike wasn’t aware he spilled the milk, as soon as Jim brought it up, Mike would have switched into accountability mode and went straight to cleaning up the mess.  There is mutual respect and trust with an interaction where a person takes personal responsibility and accountability for accidents or hurts they have caused.  Both parties feel like winners.

Forgiveness brings out personal characteristics such as the inability to take responsibility, inflexibility, lack of empathy, neediness, denial, defensiveness, excuses, blame, guilt, and pride. Reactions are exasperation, disappointment, feeling devalued, and feeling unheard. There is a mutual mistrust and imbalance of power, where Mike feels like a victim even though Mike was the one who hurt/inconvenienced Jim. Jim is left in the uncomfortable position of being the ‘bad’ guy if he doesn’t offer forgiveness, and Mike is in the position of feeling weak. No one wins: Both feel they got the raw end of the stick. Even if Jim does say “I forgive you” to keep the peace/look ‘good’, Jim won’t trust Mike in the future since Mike doesn’t take accountability/responsibility for his actions.

In Summary

My hypothesis is, if you have to ASK for forgiveness, you probably haven’t been accountable for your actions.  Instead of asking for forgiveness, ask how you can make it right, then listen.  Better yet – be accountable in the first place – it’s empowering!  You’ll be in the position to make a positive difference, and the person you wronged/hurt will feel heard.

For everyday situations with kind caring empathic people, I think accountability should be the go-to power word, and forgiveness be an un-asked for gift given AFTER the person harmed feels heard.

Article by Barb Hughes

Garden Terrace Apartment Building uses recycled water and solar power

clearpoint-12Here’s an innovative apartment building in Sri Lanka.  It uses recycled water (including rainwater) to water the outdoor plants and flush toilets, and a solar panel to run the lobby lights and other shared resources.

When it’s completed in 2016 it will be the tallest residential vertical garden in the world, with planted terraces circling the entire structure.  The 164 apartments, each with 2300 square-feet of floor space and an open feel, are designed to give residents a sense of ground-level living, as well as privacy and tranquility in a bustling city.

The planted terraces for each apartment will help absorb sound, provide shade, and cleanse the air. They’ll be automatically watered using a drip-irrigation system of rainwater, and along with recycled water to flush toilets, will help to reduce intake from the national water supply by an estimated 45 percent.

Check out this innovative Sri Lankan apartment building here.  Thanks to Gizmag for this article.

A Cancer Therapy

photo 1Even though I don’t have cancer, many of my friends have walked that road.  So I thought reading this book would be enlightening.

In the book A Cancer Therapy, Dr. Max Gerson gives a foundation to understand how cancer can best be framed so that it can be cured.  According to Dr. Gerson, studies show that cancer is a degenerative disease that takes a long time to develop.  So when we find a lump, that is the culmination of years of degeneration, so much that the liver has finally grown too weak to fight the cancer.  This book is a summary of thirty years of clinical experimentation by Dr. Max Gerson M.D. from the 1930’s-1950’s.  He successfully took advanced cancer patients that traditional medicine had written off, and figured out how to heal the majority of them.

Dr. Gerson said that there is no magic pill that cures cancer.  Yes, if you remove a large cancerous lump, sometimes that takes enough of the toxins out of the body where the liver can resume to clean the rest itself.  But many times there is still so much sickness left in the bone, blood, and organs that’s just not showing signs yet, that the cancer ‘returns’.  Dr. Gerson’s therapy was developed to treat not just the end symptoms (the tumors etc.) but the many causes  – such as toxins from our pesticides and poor soil nutrition, using food and rest medicinally, detoxifying gently and slowly so the body doesn’t go into shock, etc.

This book was first published back in 1958.  Today, as then, this research seems to be the last resort for those with advanced stage cancer who have been told they will die.  So they get this book, find out about the Gerson Institute where they can get updated information on how to treat their disease at home, or go to a clinic where it can be treated for them.  The regime is currently a little less intensive then what was written originally in the book, but it is still a slow, steady, time-consuming walk to healing.  While the typical person prefers a faster more heroic rescue to a slow personal climb, if you’re willing (or desperate) to see results, this book is a fascinating read.

I found some healthy concepts I’d like to use/modify for use in my own life.  The suggestions list of potassium rich veggies and fruits (many I already enjoy, some I want to buy and try out) look like a delicious and easy addition to my diet.  And the detox ideas are ones I may explore in the future as well.

solid shampoo is a win

photoSo I’m wandering the haircare aisle looking for a shampoo that won’t strip the oils out of my dry hair, isn’t full of toxic type chemicals, doesn’t cost a fortune, doesn’t pollute the environment, and is in a skinny enough bottle that it will fit on the side of my tub.   I spied a tiny little package – the only bar in the shampoo aisle.  I’d never heard of a bar shampoo so took a closer look.  This is J.R. Liggett’s old fashioned bar shampoo. It has no synthetic oils, no chemical concoctions, no plastic bottle, no detergents, so this shampoo won’t strip the natural oils from hair, is good for our water (from bathing in streams, to city showers because it travels well and doesn’t pollute!)

It sounded interesting, and seemingly fit all my criteria and more.  The ingredients are mostly oils such as  olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, a little bit of New Hampshire spring water, sodum Hydroxide (a binder) and essential oils for fragrance.

Since it was cheaper than most regular shampoos, I bought a bar to try it out. It doesn’t have a noticeable smell, so I can’t tell what essential oils were used.  I rubbed the bar shampoo around in my wet hands to make a lather, and shampooed as usual.  I can’t say my hair came out looking salon like, but it looks and feels CLEAN, and it’s not as dry as when using regular bottle shampoo with no conditioner, so probably all those oils in the bar soap are doing a good job of moisturizing.

I used it on my guinea pig and it lathered up and rinsed out fast and complete ( a plus when bathing animals!).  My husband tried it with his short hair and said he barely used any at all and it was effective.

I think J.R. Liggett’s is a keeper:)

I got the wire chair as an attempt at a soap dish, and it seems to work well to keep the shampoo bar dry.  I think the bar would melt into a sloppy mess if it didn’t have a place to dry out between uses.

I’ve been using foil wrong all these years!

Here’s a simple way to dispense plastic wrap and foil.  I’ve been doing it wrong all these years.  Boy do I feel stupid glad that I know how to do this the easy way now.

inventors create affordable brace to correct clubfoot

What looks like a toy, works like a charm, and corrects clubfoot in children … all for $20?  This new invention by Stanford students is a game changer for the 1 in a thousand children born worldwide with clubfoot each year.  These kids currently wear heavy ill-fitting braces with attached boots that are difficult if not impossible to walk in – that is, IF their parents can afford the $300-$700 price.

These new braces are lightweight, designed to look and feel like a child’s toy, children can stand and walk in them, and they cost $20.  Instead of boots attached permanently to a metal brace, this new technology  features  shoes that can be removed and worn separately, so it’s easier for parents to fit them on wiggly toddlers.

Learn more about this new clubfoot brace and see a video of happy kids using the technology here.

25 year old starts innovative ride-where-you-want bus system

Due to severe Detroit city cutbacks, the bus system didn’t meet the needs of the community.  So 25 year old Andy Didorosi bought a bus and started his own innovative transportation company.  He uses an app that lets riders know exactly when the bus will arrive, creating a new kind of transit system that only runs when and where it’s needed.

Another goal of Mr. Didorosi and his now public/private partnership with The Skillman Foundation, is to get not only people to work, but the elderly and disabled to their appointments, and kids safely to after school programs.  With that in mind, he’s created an online portal to show parents every after school program available for the kids by region, and has worked with these programs to create bus stops convenient to both the kids as well as the programs themselves – and this after school transportation is FREE to the students.  By creating only the routes needed, the savings are nearly 90% of what a traditional transportation system costs!

The Detroit Bus Company runs on bio fuels, technology, and lots of community support.  Read more about this innovative founder and community transportation idea here.

My son is not going to college

Toby dressed as the 'Repair Wizard' at Mac PCx on Halloween 2013

Toby dressed as the ‘Repair Wizard’ at Mac PCx on Halloween 2013

My high school senior is chomping at the bit ready to move on after 14 years of classroom education.  He’s going to high school part time and working part time at a computer store diagnosing and repairing computers.  His past resume includes volunteering at Free Geek where he learned to take apart and put together computers, then trained others to do so.   As a high school sophomore he took computer classes in C++ and other programming languages.  He’s currently studying on his own to get CompTA+ certified, and through a school class learning to write code and design his own website.  He’s been saving up his work money and when he turns 18 plans to purchase professional design software and begin his own software company on the side.

As a parent, I’m getting bombarded at all sides by society telling me my son MUST get a college degree or he’ll never get a living wage job. My son tells me “I know what I want – to work with computers and design computer software.  Why spend 4+ more years in a classroom and be thousands of dollars in debt before I do what I want?”

He’s got a point there.

He says a company should pay to train him in what else they might need because he’s a fast and motivated learner.  He also said that computer technology is growing /changing so fast that what he’d learn in a classroom would be practically obsolete by the time he got out of college, so taking courses now and building on those courses as he works makes more sense than spending his money/time on PE 101 and introduction to Lit classes.  He is studying and problem solving on his own to be on the cutting edge, and expects to be paid for his work (he feels he’s already done the internship route and proved himself).  He is calm about this.  He is focused.  I’m the one freaking out inside.  I’ve heard my whole life “Everyone needs a college education to get a good job”…yet many people in their 20’s  (as well as older adults) who have expensive university educations are looking for work that pays a living wage.

My child has his own vision.  I trust my son and support his wisdom.  And if in a few years he decides that a college education would be beneficial to him, he’ll have the money saved up, or the contacts made, to create a path where he doesn’t have debt.  That’s pretty amazing planning/thinking for a 17 year old.

Vertical striped blazer and skinny leg pajama jeans

DSC_0005I usually don’t go for blazers, but I thought this navy and pink striped blazer actually did me justice.  It’s a Ralph Lauren 100% wool blazer with plenty of shaping darts.  I like the vertical striped pattern in front and in back which gives the illusion of added height, the large white buttons down the front as well as on the back cuff/sleeves, the working slit front pockets and breast pocket, and the soft pink lining not only inside the jacket but also in the pockets.  The stripes are actually light pink, not white.

The blouse is Banana Republic 98% cotton 2% lycra/spandex.  It’s got big pearlized pink buttons down the front and on the 3/4 length sleeves.  Well darted/fitted as well, the collar is a littler bigger/wider than I would usually get, but it seems to go well with this jacket.

Mixing dressy tops with with casual bottoms, the pants are – get this – black skinny leg Pajama Jeans!  So comfortable and warm, and they have side stitching that matches the stitching look of the jacket stripes.  They also tuck in quite well to the black leather boots.  All of the Pajama Jeans seem to be hemmed for those under 5’4″, but the skinny leg Pajama Jeans you could probably get away with wearing if you’re a little taller if you don’t mind them being capris.  See other practical fashion ideas at Over 40 Fashions.

The freedom of age

Women talking about what they love about their age and how they see themselves grow and thrive.  No matter what your age, from 4 to 93, here’s how to love your age.

Book: Choosing Easy World

photo 1You know all those books that tell you “just have a positive mental attitude?”  Well, this book is the manual on how to achieve that effortlessly.   Read this mix of practical examples, storytelling, science, and you can be in easy world as well.   If you believe there could be parallel universes or realities…why not parallel worlds of difficult and easy?  This book gives tools to actively (or at times quite passively) change your perspective to make joy your main operating source instead of fear/control/worry.

 

Julia Rogers Hamrick’s writing style makes this book a fast read.  I can see how many of the good things that have happened to me, the “wow, I can’t believe my luck!” experiences, took place when I was in what this book refers to as ‘Easy World’.  It’s the world of flow, of connection, of joy and fun and hard work that ends in satisfaction.  This Easy World perspective isn’t a striving place or a place of pushing, worry, stress, etc.    And it’s not a pill you take once and everything is peachy.  It’s a place to live.  Take a journey through Choosing Easy World by Julia Rogers Hamrick, and see if your perspective changes for the better.

Easy new way to eat oranges

photo 2It’s that time of year where oranges are plentiful, in season, and an easy and sweet vitamin C fix. But having to peel the darn things leaves pith under fingernails, as well as the possibility of getting more sticky sweet juice on your fingers then in your mouth.  Well, here’s a novel idea of how to eat oranges where you create a wonderful easy long carpet of juicy orange that you can eat right off the skin!  No pith under your fingernails!  No juice running down your hands!  Just a few cuts with a knife and you’ll be getting all that orange AND juice where it belongs – in your mouth.

Your welcome.