Floating along…or away I should say…

This is just a funny little personal story that may bring on a laugh or an urge to go tubing.  One fine summer day my mom thought it would be fun to take the grand kids and their cousin tubing on the Delaware River.  Now I must preface this by saying that my mother and myself are not really outdoorsy people.  That being said we packed the kids in the car and headed out on our adventure.  I have to also say this day will live forever in our memories.

We got to our destination, purchased our tickets, found some tubes and boarded the shuttle bus that took us to our starting point.  With excitement we geared up for our six-hour leisurely float down the river or so we assumed.  We thought to ourselves this will be fun, we can do this.  I thought floating along in a tube would be a great way to catch some rays and let the kids splash around.  I figured the only thing I was missing was a frozen daiquiri to make this even better.  Boy were we wrong…

My mom watched the two girls as they were older and were having an easier time navigating their tubes.  My son was a bit younger and small for his tube so I tethered him to me and we were off.  Our instructions were  that about half way through our journey we would be directed to the “hot dog man” whose stand was on an island in the river.  This of course was the only place to get any lunch so we were surely keeping our eyes peeled for the hot dog island.  Easy right? Oh so wrong were we!

Apparently unbeknownst to us there was a strong current in the river that day.  My mom and the girls had a bit of a lead on my son and I but still no cause for concern.  Finally signs for the hot dog man came into sight after a few hours.  By this time my son was already doing the “I’m hungry” whine.  As the island came into view we made our way over to it but somehow kept floating right past it.  I paddled, I kicked, I pulled but we got no closer.  As we were passing the island by my son was now crying “I’m hungry!” I promised him as many hot dogs as he could eat once we got to the end but that was not appeasing him.  So in turn I got out of my tube and tried to swim us to the island rather unsuccessfully.  At this point I am now also crying because I have lost my mom and the girls and my son was hungry.  As the current carried us farther away from the island I notice someone waving and hollering for me from an embankment.  I realized this was my young cousin and to my shock she was alone.  I managed very difficultly to get us over to her.  She then tells the tale of how she, my mom and daughter also got carried far from the hot dog island.  She had managed to make it over to this embankment but the current carried my mom and daughter away from her and by now she was pretty scared.  The three of us then set off to find my mom and daughter.  I was half holding my tube and half holding my son’s tube and we were trying to swim to get to my mom.  At this point I’m falling into the river and barely treading water to try to keep us all above water.  Do you know how hard it is to keep your head above the water while holding two large tubes and keep your calm “mom” face showing? Yeah lets just say by now panic had set in.

As we were heading down the river in pursuit of our lost tubers we notice that they caught a ride back to the hot dog island with the help of some kind passer bys.  Now I’m really in a panic lol.  I began swimming, crying, and hoping someone would help.  Yes a power boat came out for us!! Now I am holding on to the side of the power boat with one hand and my son and his tube with the other.  Umm impossible task I must say.  As we are motoring along my hands are slipping, my head is under the water and oops there goes my bathing suit top somewhere down around my waist…  Thank goodness for tank tops or I would have added flashing to my list of skills for the day.  Somehow we made it to my mom and daughter and what a happy reunion that was.

We were still far from the hot dog man but luckily we were able to get to him by land or so we thought.  We climbed over dunes and debris and waded through some shallow bits of river just for a hot dog?! I am to this day not sure what is crazier us deciding to go tubing or the desperation involved with wanting a hot dog.  I guess six hours with no food and 3 hungry kids would drive anyone to race to the hot dog man.  Well with just a few scratches and scrapes and some water-logged hair we got to the under water picnic area.  Yes I did say under water picnic area.  The next time I swim up to a serving counter there better be a bartender and I better be at an island resort, just saying.  So now bellies are full we can try to get through the rest of our tubing adventure right? Weeelllll not so much now we  hear, “where is the bathroom?”  It’s time to find a spot in the woods and grab some leaves.  Now we can finish our journey.

The rest of the day went by rather smoothly.  Till we got to the end and they were flagging us out of the river and my mom decided she was tall enough to stand because she saw some guy doing it and oops there she went way under the water.  Well after sputtering out some river water lol we did all manage to trek through the mud and to the shuttle boat.  I think it only took us 8 hours to get down the river but hey we all made it out alive and grateful for a few hotdogs.  All in all the laughs we share made up for all the scary moments.  Of course my mom and I can share a few glances the kids will never understand at least till they are older.  All I have to say is we came we say we went.  We will never go tubing again but at least we can all say we tried…

Hope you shared a laugh with me.

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Round and Around

Ever wonder why people do things? I find myself saying “why?” very often. I noticed a pattern of curious behavior in some people who I know. They walk aimlessly in circles. I have not noticed this behavior before and it is extremely funny to me that I have found multiple people who do the same thing. That being said, I decided to find out what makes people walk in pointless circles.

What I found out is that people have a natural tendency to walk in spiral patterns. Most often demonstrated while being lost. Ever say to yourself, “I am lost and walking in circles?” According to scientific research on Discovery News you actually are. They say that if we are blindfolded then we will be unable to walk in straight lines. Apparently without the aid of landmarks people will walk in circles. In order for people to walk in a straight path we need a familiar building or other landmark to guide us. The sun and the moon can also be used to direct people in straight lines.

The conclusion I have drawn from this curious study is that even if you aren’t technically lost you may still walk in aimless circles if you are feeling “lost”.

I love to learn something new everyday; hope I piqued your curiosity!

Great book to read

I just finished reading, Good to Great, written by Jim Collins and his research team. Technically this is a book written for and about building great companies but I have to say I found it personally inspiring for life as well. Below is a synopsis from the author that I found on his website.

Good to Great

This book addresses a single question: Can a good company become a great company, and if so, how? Based on a five-year research project comparing teams that made a leap to those that did not, Good to Great shows that greatness is not primarily a function of circumstance; but largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline. This book discusses concepts like Level 5 Leadership, First Who (first get the right people on the bus, then figure out where to drive it), and the Flywheel.

Throughout the book Collins relays the idea that the “enemy of being great is settling for good”. How true is that in everyone’s day to day life? If we do something “good enough” than we never strive to make it great. Collins himself says that while this book was a compilation of research on great companies the themes can and should be carried over into our everyday lives. If you are a CEO that wants to lead a great company into the future, an entrepreneur who wants to build a successful business, a self-help junkie or just want to get inspired to seek greatness than this is a must read for you.

I love to learn something new everyday; hope I piqued your curiosity!

Raving Reviews or Not

Did you love your last hairstylist? Did you eat the greatest dinner ever? Did you find the best store? Did you read the most captivating book? I think it is up to us to let people know what we think.  If you love it or if you hate it!  I feel that often times we believe it’s too time consuming or just plain out don’t feel like taking the time to evaluate an experience we had.  Although one bad experience and we grab the mega phone and just start hollering. It’s easier to yell and scream when we are mad than it is to stop and tell someone they did a good job or simply rate their service.  How many of us look forward to our job performance review so that we can get a raise? How many of us just like to hear that we did something right? We all enjoy praise and affirmation for our hard work no matter what we do and though we may not like criticism it is what makes us improve.

I all too often ignore the requests of dr’s, stores, restaurants etc. to complete customer satisfaction surveys or to write reviews. I recently realized that the first thing I do when I want to buy something or go to a restaurant or stay at a hotel is look on the internet and search for the reviews of other consumers. Though I can’t deny I do like looking at the pictures as well. I use these experiences of others to learn what choices will be better to make and what products and places would be best to ignore. I finally understand that reviews are important to consumers and businesses alike. I will never again pass up the opportunity to tell others what I think. This keeps businesses aware of current concerns and consumer likes and dislikes.  Bloggers like to know what people think about their posts so they know what to write about in future posts. Even your Facebook friends want you to like their comments and pictures as well.  This is not a foreign concept since everyone is always searching for some kind of feed back.  Reviews force companies to continue to offer high quality products or get some in the first place.  They also tell people whether they are giving great customer service or if they need to improve.

So scream your opinions from the rafters or from your keyboard. If you like it say so and if you don’t tell someone why. There are many places that you can post reviews so I am going to break down of few of the big ones just to make it a little easier for you. If you are a Google user or have Gmail then head to Google places for your review posting as all businesses should have one. If you are a member of Angie’s List than tell Angie what you think. Facebook and Twitter are popular sites for showing support and posting a comment to a company, a fan page or your best friend. Blog sites have comment and like boxes and give you the opportunity to re-blog a post. There are countless search engines such as Yahoo and Bing that give outlets for posting opinions.  Almost all companies have a website that you can comment on.  Remember businesses and people alike benefit from the opinions of others so wherever you choose to leave them is up to you but make sure you do.  The old adage of treating people the way you would like to be treated applies here.  The next time you ask for someone’s viewpoint make sure you are willing to do the same for someone else.  Almost everyone will thank you!

I love to learn something new everyday; hope I piqued your curiosity!

Oh the rings of an onion

If the thought of an onion brings tears to your eyes then you have to see what I dug up on onions!  Ever wonder why you cry when you cut onions? It’s the sulfur compounds that onion are full of that make us bleary eyed.  Those same compounds turn the onion an anti-microbial wonder veggie.  I recently received an email stating that onions can make you sick if you eat them after they have laid around after being cut open.  The email said that onions were capable of absorbing germs from the air.  Well after researching these facts I found that the absorption power of onions is still being debated but I did find tons of things that eating onions are good for.

The onion is the highest source of quercitin that you can include in your diet according to foods-healing-power.com.  Now what is quercitin? You may be asking because I know I was.  It is a strong antioxidant that is directly linked to warding off stomach cancer.  It is also known for thinning blood, lowering cholesterol, fighting asthma, bronchitis, hay fever, diabetes, atherosclerosis and infections.  Onions are reported to increase bone density; which is a valued benefit for women.  Other things onions are good for include:

  • reducing harmful bacteria in the colon
  • repelling insects
  • coughs and colds
  • fighting bacteria such as salmonella and e coli
  • constipation
  • anemia
  • ear ringing 
  • urinary tract infections
  • detoxing the body

It is even rumored that onions are a natural aphrodisiac (though I don’t suggest onion breath on a first date) and a hair re-growth stimulator. A little fun fact I learned was that Egyptians found the onion so valuable that they buried their kings with them and even paid the Pyramid builders with onions.  Hey me personally, I love onions but I don’t want to get paid with them.  I do suggest that you include onions in your diet when possible.

I am going to leave you with a tip for cutting onions: to help with eye tearing while cutting onions chill them for an hour before or cut them in water.  Also I found a recipe for onion soup that will help you with cold and flu symptoms at The Global Healing Center website.  The site also provided some helpful household uses for onions.

Ingredients Needed for Onion Soup Recipe:
  • 3 large organic yellow onions
  • 3 organic cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of fresh, finely chopped organic oregano
  • 4 cups of purified or distilled water
  • Add Himalayan salt, to your taste.

Preparation: Chop both the onions and the garlic into cubes. Bring water to boil and add onions, garlic and oregano. Let simmer for 15 minutes, or until you notice that the onions are translucent and soft. Drink the hot soup and allow the body temperature to rise enough to induce mild sweating.

I love to learn something new everyday; hope I piqued your curiosity!

The dry air dare… Do we need dehumidifiers?

If you are anything like me you are always searching for all natural home remedies to keep yourself and your family healthy.  I try at all costs to avoid medicines that have unknown risks and side effects.  I believe that our dependency on medicine these days has weakened our immune systems and possibly caused worse problems.  Now understand I am not swearing off all medicine I just think we should avoid it when possible.  I was actually struck by an email I received in regards to onions and how they are able to absorb “germs” that are airborne.  I plan to research this further for my next blog but for now this has led me to my topic at hand, which is the health benefits of healthy air in the home.  With “going green” being all the rage these days shouldn’t we be “going green” with our health as well?

So armed with my iPad I set off on a personal quest to discover what I could about getting and staying healthy by promoting health in the home and not simply treat “symptoms” with medicine.  Of course as you can imagine I found more than I bargained for and I could probably blog for years just on this topic alone.  So to put off putting you to sleep I have decided to settle on the use of dehumidifiers in the home.  Our homes are where our families spend most of their time so I’m betting most of us want the healthiest homes possible.  I’m not sure if everyone knows that a minimum of 40% of the air we breathe in our homes comes from our basements and/or crawlspaces.  I know I didn’t.  Though I must say it is a surprising and scary fact.  While many of us homeowners have rushed to make our homes as energy-efficient as possible with new insulation, new windows etc. we have unknowingly sealed in all in-house and below ground air contaminants, which find their way in through the basement and/or crawlspace.

One of the big dangers in the home that I discovered was moisture which comes from high humidity and this poses many threats to our families and homes.  The American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest Health House lists the signs of high humidity as:

  • condensation on windows
  • wet stains on walls and ceilings
  • moldy bathrooms
  • musty smells
  • allergic reactions
  • can lead to damage of the house and it’s contents
  • ongoing allergies
  • promotion of mold and the proliferation of dust mites

They recommend a dehumidifier to help control the humidity.  They also describe different types and their proper care.  Wikipedia says that high humidity can even cause, “disruptive sleep and musty laundry, by not letting your clothes ever really dry fully.”  The article goes on to say that, “higher humidity is also preferred by most pests, including clothes moths, fleas, cockroaches, wood lice and dust mites.”  I don’t know about you but I sure don’t want any of these uninvited guests.

Allergy Consumer Review says that, “molds are fungi that require high humidity to feed and grow.”  They educate consumers on which models for the whole house are best to look into.  I have discovered through my research that the dangers from mold are the mycotoxins (toxic gases) that mold releases into the air that we breathe.  WebMd draws attention to the fact that mold spores in the air can cause nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing and even skin irritation.  The EPA says that, “mold can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present.”  They instruct that “mold can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors.”

So what I have learned is that if you have leaky pipes then fix them, if your basement or crawlspace has water in it then call a professional to install a closed drainage system, make sure that bathrooms are vented properly, remove and replace any organic materials in your home and last but certainly not least control humidity/moisture in your home with a dehumidifier.  I think all too often we are treating just the symptoms instead of the real causes for our health problems.  Before running for that cough and cold medicine or stocking up on expensive allergy treatments a good idea may just be getting rid of the germs, mold and allergens by looking for a dehumidifier that reduces moisture and purifies the air swirling around your home.

As a side note I interestingly found out that dehumidifiers are recommended for combating arthritis pain and hearing instrument (cochlear implant equipment, ear monitors, noise maskers etc.) issues.  Dr’s Hearing Care conveys that dehumidifiers can lead to fewer repairs, better sound quality, relief from itchy ears and longer battery life by removing moisture, drying earwax and killing germs on hearing instruments. This is not everyone’s everyday concerns but possibly points that some of you may want to research further.

I love to learn something new everyday; I hope I piqued your curiosity!