Tuesday, December 28, 2010

home sweet home.

It's sometimes difficult to keep this updated. But when I really think about it there are plenty of times that I'm doing absolutely nothing productive or useful when I could be updating something here... or somewhere else... not that this is overly productive or useful...

I'll start with today - we started getting our windows installed today! Dale, our window salesman/installer, came over today and, all by himself, installed 8 of the 15 windows that we're getting. He didn't get a chance to seal the windows completely on the inside or the outside yet but already we're noticing a significant difference! The two double hung windows in our living room and the two in our kitchen were by far some of the worst in the house so having those replaced is wonderful. We're also already noticing a difference in the behavior of our boiler as our thermostat is on the first floor. It's turning on much less often and staying on for a shorter period of time. Honestly, with the wonderful deal we got on these windows, I think we'll pay them off in a couple of years in heating cost savings! In order to get all 15 double hung windows replaced we went with a little cheaper vinyl option. I've always been a bit against vinyl windows, especially in older homes like our own, but I have to be honest with you - these windows don't seem too bad and the fact that we got a color rather than white (we got clay, I believe) and got grids in the windows in the same places and layouts as the originals. Also, to keep with the character and style of the house, we're not getting any of the casement windows or French doors replaced. Oh, to be a homeowner and be excited about new windows. Who knew?!

Our Christmas break was great. It was very nice to have so many days off of work and to not be at home. We have so much to do at home that even having a day off at home can feel somewhat stressful to me. We left Wednesday evening (after a day off at home) and drove to Illinois where we stayed at my dad's house with our honey pup. Thursday was spent at my mom's house exchanging gifts and having dinner with family. On Friday we visited Granny Weaver, I made a pie, and we enjoyed an evening of dinner and gifts with my dad's family. That day fresh beautiful snow fell, which I greatly enjoyed! When we got home we had just slightly fewer than 5,000 gifts to open! Christmas morning we drove to my mom's house to squeeze a few more things into the car and head to Iowa for Christmas with Tyler's mom's family. There we also had a mini baby shower where we got a few neat things. Before heading to Tyler's parent's house we went to his aunt and uncle's to spend some time with some of his dad's family. On Sunday we woke up for Fiala Christmas and breakfast. We had a nice day full of treats and crazy snowy dog running around fun and ended the night with a few games. On Monday morning we woke up, honey got in some more crazy snowy running around, we squished millions of things into the car, and headed back to Minnesota. Home! (for now!)

I'll post a few photos soon.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

schools kill creativity

You MUST watch this video from TED 2006!

[ted id=66]

I've been talking about the "process of academic inflation" since late high school. This video speaks to me perfectly - hits the nail on the head - and other nice phrases, etc.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

baking bread.

Why do people buy bread? I had no idea how easy it was to make your own bread. I'm on my second homemade loaf tonight. And I'm making ginger cookies for work tomorrow! :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

vaccinations - mmr

How does this sound to you? 49 doses of 14 vaccines before the age of 6. Yikes!

I'll do my best to be brief with this one but I'm tempted to quote almost an entire page from a website that I found most interesting! You can read the info, in it's entirety here: http://www.nvic.org/Vaccines-and-Diseases/MMR.aspx

I will not touch on the association of Autism and the MMR vaccine. From the bit of research that I have learned of, mostly due to my job, it seems as though there is little to no link. And while I hold my current position I would rather not investigate much either way...

The most significant info that I found on each disease (potentially) preventable with the MMR vaccine is as follows (everything in italics is a direct quote from the website linked above):

Measles is highly contagious. Up until the past two decades, measles was one of the most common childhood diseases in America... and almost every child had measles by the age of 15. Some researchers believe that measles as a childhood disease in years past helped the human immune system to mature, priming it to be more effective in dealing with challenges from viruses and bacteria later in life. Recovery from natural measles infection confers lifelong immunity and a woman who has recovered from measles as a child passes maternal antibodies to her fetus, which often protects her newborn from measles for the first year of life. Young mothers today, who were vaccinated as children and never had measles do not have natural maternal measles antibodies to pass on to their babies and, so, most American babies born today are vulnerable to measles from the moment of birth. Historically, the majority of children in technologically advanced countries recovered from measles without major complications. Although it can be more severe and possibly fatal in teens, adults, and very young infants. In 1941, there were 894,134 cases of measles reported and in 2002 there were 44.
So, we currently see a large amount of cases of measles in infants under the age of one when there is a measles outbreak. (In the 1989-91 measles outbreak in the U.S., the largest increase in measles cases was in infants under one year old.) The vaccine is given at 12 months or older. The infants that contract measles before the age of one would have been immune if their mothers would have contracted measles naturally rather than being immunized. Hmm. There's some natural protection there that we're clearly interfering with.

Mumps used to be a very common childhood disease in the U.S. among children under age ten. In 1968, there were 152,209 cases reported, the highest number of cases ever reported in one year. In 2002 there were 270 reported cases. A usually mild disease in children, it can be much more severe in older teenagers and adults. Rarely, mumps can be more severe and cause an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). Recovery from mumps infection confers lifelong immunity.

Rubella is usually a mild childhood disease and used to be common in American children five to nine years old. Today is most often seen in teenagers and young adults when it can be more serious. In 1969, there were 57,686 cases of rubella reported in the U.S., the highest number of cases reported in one year. In 1992, there were 160 cases of rubella reported in the U.S. with one death reported to have resulted from disease complications. In 2002, there were only 18 reported cases. Recovery from rubella is usually quick but occasionally brain inflammation and chronic arthritis can cause permanent damage.

Here is information about the MMR vaccine. (I made lasting effects bold.)
Frequent reactions include brief burning and stinging at the injection site; fatigue, sore throat, cough, runny nose, headache, dizziness, fever, rash, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, and sore lymph glands. Other reported reactions include anaphylaxis, convulsions, encephalopathy, otitis media, conjunctivitis, nerve deafness, thrombocytopenia purpura, optic neuritis, retinitis, arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.
In 1981, the British National Childhood Encephalopathy Study concluded that there was a statistically significant association between measles vaccination and the onset of a serious neurological disorder within 14 days of receiving measles vaccine. The risk for previously normal children was estimated to be 1 in 87,000 measles vaccinations.
In 1991, the Institute of Medicine concluded that there is compelling scientific evidence that the rubella vaccine portion of the MMR shot can cause acute arthritis, with the highest incidence occurring in adult women who receive rubella vaccine (up to 15 percent) and that some individuals go on to develop chronic arthritis.
In 1994, the Institute of Medicine concluded that there is compelling scientific evidence that the measles vaccine can cause anaphylaxis that can end in death and that the MMR vaccine can cause thrombocytopenia (a decrease in the number of platelets, the cells involved in blood clotting) that can end in death. The incidence of thrombocytopenia was estimated to be 1 case per 30,000 to 40,000 vaccinated children.
In 1995, a British study concluded that adults who were vaccinated with measles vaccine as children were at much higher risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, as adults.
In the mid-1990's, reports of an association between autism and vaccination (specifically suggesting a possible link with MMR vaccine) were published. Although the U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) acknowledged the hypothesis was biologically plausible, IOM concluded there was not enough evidence establishing a causal relationship. Nevertheless, in light of persistent reports by parents that their children are regressing into autism after MMR vaccination, there is an on-going scientific investigation by independent scientific researchers, such as British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield, M.D., into clinical and laboratory evidence that MMR vaccination may cause autism in biologically vulnerable children.

Are those risks worth it? Measles, mumps, and rubella are not nearly as terrifying as I previously thought when I had basically no knowledge of them. I assumed that since there existed a vaccine they must be pretty horrific but, from what I've read, they were common childhood ailments that generally caused a lifelong immunity that could even be temporarily passed on to offspring.

(I know I've only quoted one source here - before making our final decisions I will references more sources.. don't worry!)

vaccinations - hepatitis b

I'm feeling a little bit lost. I'm doing a bunch of research about vaccines for our baby on the way but I'm missing one thing. I really wish that I had someone to bounce this stuff off of. I feel like back in Chicago in college I probably had quite a few friends and acquaintances to bounce thoughts and ideas and research off of but I don't seem to have that anymore and any online community that I can find to either agree or disagree with is not in the least bit satisfying this need to converse. I'm pretty sure I could find a few people to talk at but no one that I feel connected enough to to really get into a deep, substantial, educated, and possibly heated conversation with. That stinks.

So, um, here I come to my blog. Is that the best I can do? Well no, I do know real people, but I thought someone else might be interested in what I'm finding and, if anything, what I'm finding will be compiled here for my own reflection later on.

First I will start with the Hepatitis B vaccine. I'll try to be brief.
Let me start by pointing out that Hepatitis B is a disease transmitted by bodily fluids and is most often seen in drug users (needles), prostitutes, sexually promiscuous people, and infants whose mothers have Hep B. So, let me ask you, how many infants or children do you think are likely to ever contract Hep B? Seems highly unlikely to me.
In addition, if you do contract Hep B... 90-95% of all hepatitis B cases recover completely after 3 to 4 weeks of nausea, fatigue, headache, arthritis, jaundice and tender liver. (http://www.nvic.org/vaccines-and-diseases/Hepatitis-B/diseasevaccine.aspx)
Here is a bit of info that I found quickly while searching earlier today: Hepatitis B is a rare, mainly blood-transmitted disease. In 1996, only 54 cases of the disease were reported to the CDC in the 0-1 age group. There were 3.9 million births that year, so the observed incidence of hepatitis B in the 0-1 age group was just 0.001%. In the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), there were 1,080 total reports of adverse reactions from Hepatitis B vaccine in 1996 in the 0-1 age group, with 47 deaths reported. Total VAERS Hepatitis B reports for the 0-1 age group outnumber reported cases of the disease 20 to 1. (http://www.thinktwice.com/hepb.htm) So if you trust the sources that's 54 cases of Hep B in a year when there were 47 reported deaths from the vaccine.
Additionally, many of the side effects from the Hep B vaccine mimic or potentially cause autoimmune disorders such as arthritis and lupus, both of which I have. Did I develop those due to vaccines? Who knows. Do vaccines bring out disorders that a person may be already susceptible to? Who knows.
From this info, I conclude that, due to the unlikeliness that our child will contract Hepatitis B and the significant fact that there is a history of autoimmune disease in my family, we're opting out of this particular vaccine.

Next up... MMR.

Friday, December 3, 2010

facebook thoughts.

Multiple times a day there are instances in which I am denied some sort of information or opportunity. None of these things have been of great importance to me but that’s not really the point. WHY do so many organizations and corporations make the giant and unrealistic assumption that EVERYONE has a Facebook account? No, I will not become your fan to get $1 off. No, I will not respond to that answer to win a prize. No, I will not keep up with your Facebook account to keep track of your events, etc. Honestly, because of your great and inaccurate assumption of my Facebook account possession, I will most likely not consume your product because you make me feel as though I do not belong, as though my no Facebook account holding self is not good enough for you. I seriously encounter this every day and it’s bugging me more each time it happens. Be unique guys – don’t use Facebook so much… try appealing to the rest of us as well or you’re really going to miss out on some business and advertisement opportunity. Kay?

Oh, also, I really dislike clicking on links in tweets that take me to Facebook.