Wednesday

Climate control or Green House effect - Does it affect you?

How many of us have heard of the Greenhouse Effect? How many of us know exactly what that is? It is defined as the rise in temperature that the Earth experiences because certain gases in the atmosphere trap energy from the sun. Most of you out there are saying “Yes I know this already” but what you might not know that this term also covers the 2 types of greenhouse effects - The ‘natural' greenhouse effect (it keeps the Earth's climate warm and habitable) and the 'man-made' greenhouse effect (the enhancement of Earth's natural greenhouse effect by the addition of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels (mainly petroleum, coal, and natural gas)). The first has always been there and been normal but the other is due to man-made machinery and use. 

The first type of greenhouse effect, is normal and we cannot and don’t want, to do anything about. Why? Because this keeps Earth the warm and breathable place that everyone loves. 

The second type of greenhouse effect is not normal and we CAN do something about. If we do not do something soon, it will tip the weather balancing scales and all hell will break loose. 



 
There are some who don’t care – It won’t affect me.

This will affect all of us here on Earth. How?

Glaciers Melting 


Some people will be forced from their homes because the oceans will rise due to the glaciers melting. Don’t think this affects much? How about the availability of fresh water for irrigation and domestic use, mountain recreation, animals and plants that depend on glacier-melt, and in the longer term, the level of the oceans. Further evidence is shown by the pictures which show just how much they have melted. 


Retreat of Whitechuck Glacier, Washington
Glacier in 1973
Same place in 2006. The glacier has retreated 1.9 kilometres (1.2 mi)

Droughts, heatwaves, bushfires, and flooding

If that doesn’t convince you, about the number of droughts, heatwaves, bushfires and flooding that every continent has been experiencing? I currently live in Australia, and we have experienced each and every one of these. We’re setting new records since records began in the 1800’s. There have been fires in places that either seen them a very long ago or haven’t seen them – ever. It’s the same with flooding, heatwaves and droughts - from Europe, to Canada, to the US, and Australia. As I said

above, I live in Australia and we are hotter, more humid and have seen bigger and angrier bushfires and droughts than I’ve ever seen before. When you look outside of your house at noon and see what should be sun and it’s almost like a fog until you open the door up and it’s smoky like someone left the wood fire door open outside and the smoke backed up out there, you know there’s trouble some place and you go looking. That was what it was like for us on Black Saturday. The trouble was less than 2 blocks away in the form of a bushfire that was moving very fast. My husband took off to help the neighbors up there and I stayed back grouping things together and to look after the house so our house could be protected from embers. We did loose homes that day – about 10 from memory – but at least others weren’t lost due to people like my husband and the volunteer firemen. Beyond that, there were 173 people who died and many others that were affected either by that lost or by other losses or traumas. 

Because of the loss of homes, life and agriculture, this affects everyone because of costs going up in things like insurance (for the home, car, life, etc), food (due to loss of crops, equipment, water to be brought in due to not having any to grow the crops, etc), and life (due to workers not being there or not being able to bring in the crops that are there).

We all eat, we all have to live some place and we all have to have water to live. Still doesn’t affect you? I think not as these are the basics that we need to live, so yes it will affect you. 


What will happen if the major climate control factor – the Gulf Stream – stops?


Most people don’t know it, but the thermohaline circulation, which supplies the ocean currents around the world, is a major factor in keeping the climate like it is. However, there is evidence that shows this circulation slowing down due to the warmth of the oceans. It’s also due to the salinity of the oceans which is lessening due to the glaciers melting. This trigger has localized cooling in the North Atlantic and can lead to cooling or lesser warming, in that region. There could be sufficient
freshwater could be provided to interrupt thermohaline circulation. It is believed that the Younger Dryas are a period where this might have been the case, although there is some disagreement as to its cause

If this does happen, it could trigger something that changes Earth’s entire climate. It could either make the temperatures get very warm or it could even throw the planet into another ice age. I have read and watched programs which have cases for either of these events happening. The way I look at it, if the circulation stalls, then something bad is going to happen either way. Then look out because no matter where you are on Earth, you’re in the crapper. If you don’t believe me, watch the video below from someone that makes a career out of science. 




If we all chip in and do something now, then we can slow these events down and, in time, turn it back to make sure Earth will stay liveable – not only to us but for the future generations.

Family History – why is it so important?



About 8 years ago, I started to do my family history. This is the searching for who the people who make up my relatives through both my mother and father. Then I took a break on the searching and recently I have started again.

Why do you want to know? 

Contemplating the complex family history I have
I want to know who made me who I am. I know my own experiences made part of my personality up, but what about those other characteristics come from? Who were those people who came before me? What diseases did they have and, in turn, could I have? These are just a few of the questions I have. To me, they are very important because I want to know why I am the way I am because of my family’s history. 

I never knew either of my grandfathers at all. As for my grandmothers, I used to spend some time with her each summer vacation from school. My other grandmother I saw 3 times my entire life and then she just sat there. My parents never talked about the past – at all. When I was growing up, I always had friends that would talk about their grandparents, and in some cases, great grandparents. I had a grandmother, but that was it and it never occurred to me to ask that one question – why? 

Family Interviews


My grandparent’s headstone in Salisbury Mills, NY
When I first started the journey to answer some of those why questions, I took out my grandmother’s obituary, which had passed when I was a teenager, and found I had a starting point. I started looking up the names on Ancestry.com and found – almost nothing.  As I’m pretty stubborn, I figured the only other way to find out any questions would be to start to ask those questions to the oldest people in the family, which at this point are my mother and father. It was a starting point. 

I asked my father some questions and it was glanced right over and not much else was said. I asked a second time and got a “Ya know.” and “You’ve met your grandmother.” and that’s as far as it went. As for my mother, I asked her and she said, as plain as day, “Why do you want to know? They are all dead.” And I told her that I wanted to know my past relatives which included her side. She got really quiet and then went onto another subject. The next time I asked her about family, my grandmother directly, she told me very upset “She is dead. Leave her ALONE. She’s finally getting the peace she never had when she was alive.” I told her I wanted to know where she was buried so I can pay my respects and she just told me “NO”. Another dead end. 

This is when I left the conversations. Then a few months ago, my husband found more information and told me about it, and that got me interested again. Round 2 had started. My father’s been very helpful but in small doses. The last time he brought up the subject, as “your little project”, I asked a few more questions, but he let information out. I know it hurt him because, for once, I could hear the hurt and loss in his voice.  Finally a win.
My Great Aunt Genevieve
  
On my mother’s side, I tried again as well. I got a very terse email back stating that a picture I sent to her was of her aunt and that her grandfather wasn’t very nice. I then emailed back stating some of the facts as I knew them, but she had taken them the wrong way and got very ticked off and I could hear the hostility in her writing about her relatives. It was very little that she let go and some of the information she mistook. The last email I wrote to her on the subject, recently, was about what I knew as fact and what I wanted to know. Since then, she hasn’t emailed me back, so I guess I have a mother that is currently not talking to me. 

Family Interviews are very important. They can give you information in small doses that you might never have known before. The way a person says a word, and a word or more can also cause you to ask more questions. 

Why is this so important?

This is very important to me because once we lose that generation, then any information we had about our great grandparents is gone. Any luck with knowing if we have other family out there is completely gone. As my parents are getting older, we have to face the facts that someday in the next 30 years; they will not be with us any longer. If we want those ties to our ancestors then we need to get that information NOW. I feel for some families because the generation that they have left might have dementia or some other trauma which they cannot get the needed information. 

I would love to know if I have first cousins out there. We might be able to talk about our family and how we’re alike. Then there’s the medical history as well. How can you be preventive when you don’t know anything about why your past relatives have died? Are there things we can do now, to prevent the current and future generations from getting a disease or illness and live longer?

The past is just a story

I have seen the above picture on Facebook, and told myself that it is a story, but it’s not JUST a story. Each of us has a story to tell – just like our past family has, and in researching them, you can finally tell their story. Sometimes in telling that story, it will actually change a current story – and in some cases break the cycle. For each one of us, that story is different and in others it can be just the same. Don’t believe me? Then let me focus on one circle in my family. 

I have been told my grandfather had diabetes. No matter what I did, I couldn’t lose weight, but kept trying. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with it. I took a stern stand and controlled all sugar I was eating. After years, I finally lost weight, and in doing so, I actually reversed the diabetes to normal levels.  If I hadn’t known about the diabetes, then we wouldn’t have been looking as early as we were and I could have done real damage which couldn’t have been reversed. 

I have broken the cycle on my side by watching and tightly controlling the sugar and diabetes. It was extremely hard, but it can be done. Now everyone in the family is watching what they eat and is encouraged because it can be done because they have seen it. So by breaking the cycle, it’s changed my story and my sibling’s story. 

Can you imagine what can be done if it had been physical abuse? Or mental abuse? Researchers have said:
“Emotional abuse of a child is commonly defined as a pattern of behavior by parents or caregivers that can seriously interfere with a child’s cognitive, emotional, psychological or social development.[6] Some parents may emotionally and psychologically harm their children because of stress, poor parenting skills, social isolation, and lack of available resources or inappropriate expectations of their children. They may emotionally abuse their children because the parents or caregivers were emotionally abused during their own childhood. Straus and Field report that psychological aggression is a pervasive trait of American families: "verbal attacks on children, like physical attacks, are so prevalent as to be just about universal."[23] A 2008 study by English, et al.found that fathers and mothers were equally likely to be verbally aggressive towards their children.[24] “and physical abuse is aligned with this view. If we find that our past family members had any abuse in the family, then we can break this cycle. That way no abuse happens for further generations. That is an important story – stopping or limiting what we can. 

Staff Sgt J. Sherman's wings
There are good stories as well as bad stories to be given. For instance, my father was in the US Navy. My nephews, two of them, have either served or are serving. Upon my research, I found that my mother had a cousin which served in World War 2. He died on a training mission. His memory is being kept alive by a plaque in France, as he had no wife or children. 
 
Further, I want to “visit” any relatives… they have lived and loved or we wouldn’t be here. I have to respect that. Why did they do the things they did? If they didn’t then we might not have been here at all, but you ARE here so shouldn’t we honor them by remember what they were – both the good things and the bad? 

People who take on being the family historians are trying to do just that – show both the good sides and the bad of each person and to tell their stories. In doing that, it will release whatever good and evil is known so it cannot be done for future generations. That is the important part. 

I do know this – family is important. When you have nothing, they will still be there to give you confidence and unconditional love. Should those who have lived before us have any less of a story to tell or be unrecognized? I don’t think so, as people, we are all important. Further, those of us who want or need to know this information, please give some family historians some respect and information after all, its for the future generations of your family.

Family History Week is going this year for the whole month of August. To find out more here's the website
Some of my family in 2004
 

Woman power – or not?



In the past few weeks, I’ve done deep and meaningful posts. This week’s post, I’m going to have a bit of fun with. Let me know if you think how I’ve done – not if I haven’t quite made the mark.

When I see the words “woman power” or “women power”, I think of someone that can do multiple things and kick some butt all within a short span of time. This description is backed up by a few websites that define them as “…females who manage to wield power in societies that try to limit it or decree female submission; where their leadership is stigmatized and their creativity disdained. [It can also mean] women who resist and overthrow oppressive traditions and regimes. Who break The Rules in defiance of unjust legal and religious "authorities." Who pursue their vision in spite of the personal cost” and another website states “It could mean “I am woman, hear me roar.” It could mean “Women unite!” It could mean a lot of things to different people. However one thing I know for sure, there seems to be an uplifting energy and excitement when you say the phrase WOMAN POWER to another woman”. What I believe is that it comprises both of these meanings – you think of these terms and it fills you with energy and excitement and that spurs you on to do the wielding of power and resisting of overthrowing of oppression.

When I was growing up, there weren’t many areas where women could actually think they could have or get woman power. Then during the late 70’s things started to change – all of a sudden Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, Bionic Woman were all making appearances on TV. Then the “normal” TV shows were starting to focus that way – an example was Happy Days where Marion told people to “go sit on it” which was funny because before that she would have been told to listen to her husband and go to the kitchen or something. From there women in main rolls and kicking butt took off – You had Charlie’s Angels, Designing Women, and Murphy Brown.

Women in Key Roles

In the past few years, women have started to take the front line on many fronts - in business (CEO and chair of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi), in law (Supreme court judge  Sonia Sotomayor), in Science and Medicine (Jane Goodall conducted ground breaking work on chimpanzees), Television (host and actress Oprah Winfrey), and the list goes on and on. We are no longer the sex that has to wait – we can get out there in the world and stand up and make a difference. The hard part is to see where we can make the difference and getting the courage to make that difference.

Is violence the answer?

Honestly, I have my spurts of wanting to kick some butt, but I do that in different ways. Can I kick some butt? Sure I can – I’ve had self-defense training, but that’s to protect myself and those I care about. What I have learned over my years getting violent about it is not the way to go. There are other ways to go about getting things done. And in doing this, I must see that the worth is there and make sure what I do is ethical and fits closely with what truly believe, because if it doesn’t, it’s not worth doing.  When it’s worth doing, I put my all into capturing as much information about it as I can and finding avenues where it can be expanded upon in order to get the results that are expected. True, those results may change, but the end result is what matters and gets you to the desired finish line.

If I don’t truly believe what is important within my heart, then either you must leave it alone and stop it, or redirect it to what IS important within my heart. By my experience, if you do this, you will have the passion and the energy to put your Woman Power out there and kick some butt. 

 
This video of episodes of Charmed was taken from YouTube - but see how kicking butt is sometimes worth it?

Some people think it’s just a business or educated area for these feelings. That’s not correct at all. If anything, that is selling you, as a person, short. If you notice, I said “selling you as a person” which means everyone – not just women. We’d like to think, that but it’s all of us man, woman, and children. What’s to say that a person who’s a stay at home parent cannot be passionate about the children, something that concerns the household, or something that’s going on in the neighbourhood? It’s all in the perspective and what makes you act within yourself to be as powerful as the Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, Bionic Women, Alias, and Annie in Covert Affairs we have grown up with and continue to watch.


2010 Winners and Finalists of Eastern Metro Region of Adult,Community and Further Education Regional Awards
For me, it used to be working to get the best results for learners or students and those who support those students to get any kind of education to make them feel that passion or power that they have inside of them. That’s what kept me going because I could see by meeting some learners, just how important those feelings of power were for those learners. Those feelings were just as powerful for those teachers, tutors and practitioners who could see the outcomes in the learner’s eyes.  However, powers that be decided that’s not the case and decided to take my job away from me. It took me a bit, but I sat down, did some searching and have redirected those feelings into teaching those learners, writing up blog posts, taking classes and restarting the family history searching again. Do I wish I was back doing what I was doing for those learners? Sure I do, but now I can see I can do just as much good teaching, getting taught and writing about all things. Doing all of those things gives me those woman power feelings. 

This is me for Halloween one year - Woman Power Super Hero!
So let’s go out there and kick some butt!

How others see you and how you see yourself



This is a subject that gets brought up in the media every year – are we putting too much emphasis on how we look or not enough? What are these ideals doing to our children? There are other questions that get brought up but these 2 questions are the main questions that get brought up each and every year. When they do appear on the news and other programs, I believe it gets brought up because it MUST be a slow news day.

Yes, some people have more self-esteem problems than others do. We all like or dislike something about our bodies. However, people intend to forget our bodies are a living human being and they can be change or molded into whatever we want them to be. It can be hard or easy depending on what we want to have changed on our bodies, but it can be done. 

Are we putting too much emphasis on how we look?
  
When I was growing up, this is what everyone talked about - was someone too thin, too fat, too tall, too short – and that’s how we were judged. As someone that went into the too fat column, at first it saddened me that this was the only thing people could see of me. As time went on, I got angry and upset because there was and is more to me than this. Finally, I had acceptance of myself. Screw what everyone else thought, this is my body and if they didn’t like it then there’s the door and don’t let it hit you on the way out. Just to let you know, that is the PG rating of what I’ve told some of my doctors.  

I think I must have heard all of the types of ideas for weight loss over my years – don’t eat so much, what ARE you eating, you have to eat only salads, to you need to have your stomach stapled so you can lose weight and don’t come back in here until you do.  If this wasn’t enough, I have been on many diets over the years – Slim fast (until I started getting sick each time I had to eat), only vegetables (until I was so hungry that my stomach kept grumbling and I wasn’t losing any weight), to salads with chicken breasts only (again I was so hungry that I couldn’t stop eating and again I wasn’t losing any weight), and then someone suggested a dietitian because I told them where they could stick the dieting. The doctor that suggested that was stunned when I told her where should could stick the idea of another diet as each time I tried to lose the weight, I always stacked on more. This doctor told me to please go and see the dietitian because she knows what I’m going through with losing weight.  I finally relented and went to see her. I made it clear to her that I wasn’t going to bed hungry, but I would listen to her and see what we could come up with. Over the next 2 months, I saw her a few times and I started to lose weight AND stayed hungry. I now know it is possible to do this. 

I’m not saying that everyone is willing to do this. I know of people that have done the drastic weight loss ideas such as stomach stapling, gastric sleeve, bypass and lap band surgery. Each person has had different results from the great to the not so great. Does it work you might be asking and I can tell you again it depends on how much one person is willing to do or not. This willingness is where the weight is either gained, maintained or lost. 

The bigger question, and one of the questions of this blog, is but why do we do this to ourselves? Is it because of our perceptions of how we look or is it how people think we look? 

How others perceive on how we look

I honestly think we do these types of weight loss that I’ve described above, generally, because of either how we were told we look growing up or how people have stated to us since we were teenagers. I think depending upon the type of person you are, is how you’ve acted upon it. 

This video above, is what I felt like during my weight struggles – I didn’t want my picture taken.

There were many times growing up, I was called lazy, fat, and, yes, a cow. I’ve even had the nickname Moo Cow. This was all due to my weight issues. It pushed me to going on diet after diet and my self-esteem went down because of what others were telling me. By the time I graduated from high school, I was in the angry stage and told others where they could shove their opinions. Within 5 or so years of graduating, I was going between the angry stage and the who cares stage. By the time I got married, I was at the who cares stage and this is me and if you don’t like it tough – there’s the door.  

The who cares stage is me becoming comfortable with what I am and what I look like. This is what I’ve had handed to me, and it’s a continuous work in progress but it’s my work in progress.
Since then there have been times when I’ve gone back and forth between these stages, and usually it’s around fertility and the doctors there trying to get me to lose the weight.  That being said, I have also mellowed in my growing older. I can concede that I need to lose weight because of diseases like diabetes but doctors have to understand my medical history and that it’s not easy as that. They can understand and usually we come to an agreement. 

How I perceive how I look

Once I reached this stage, life was happier and lighter. I felt I could once again enjoy myself and life. It wasn’t until I talked to the dietitian and thought about the subjects and topics we discussed that I came to these conclusions.

We all have to come to the conclusions to what we will accept and what we won’t in life. Our bodies are like that. If we don’t like what we see, then we should go to change it and get on with and enjoy life.

If you take a look at this year’s Dove commercial where people were asked to describe themselves as to what they see and you can see the amazing differences between the two perceptions. 

Cost is usually a really big factor when people decide to change their bodies. It doesn’t have to be. You need to tone up your arms? Then use a canned good as a weight. You need to tone up your legs? Then you can use books to simulate stairs or walk in place for a set time. You don’t like either of these options? Then how about put on your favourite songs and dance around the house? Or dance while doing house cleaning? These will all burn calories and tone you up and will cost you basically nothing. These are all nice to do, but realize that if you ARE doing them, the reason why – because you love yourself and want to change something about you.


Some of us come to these revelations earlier in life than others. In 2012, Dustin Hoffman actually brought this topic up in an interview where he realized that if someone wasn’t attractive, he would never think of talking to them – he wouldn’t talk to them just because he didn’t find them attractive. You could tell, he was very ashamed of this, but I hate to tell him this but he’s not the only one who does this. It’s in everyone’s everyday life – from employers, to acquaintances, to customers.  I still get this in today’s world. 

My husband and I April 2013
Two personal examples are of my husband and I which are both youthful looking. You cannot believe, unless you’ve had it done to you, what it feels like to go in to purchase a mattress set and was told that once you can afford it to come back because they know it would take you awhile to save for it (we were in our late 30’s) or not to be even talked by a house building representative until you approached them, and were told that this was too expensive for us and to come back once we had a job for an amount of time and had savings (we were in our late 20’s and had been married for a few years).

As uncomfortable as this makes some of us, it is a fact of life that some people are this narrow minded. Some of them will change upon growing older and some people won’t. It’s all in how people act and how we intend to act when this is thrust upon us. In the incident with the house building representative did that to us, my temper gauge went zero to 60 in about .05 of a second. However, I just stated that he better get his head out of his butt because to say that to people almost 30 years old with stable employment would cost him income and its age discrimination and walked out. I could have screamed, rant and raved which would have gotten the angry factor out of me, but I then wouldn’t have had the pleasure to see the colour drain from the guy’s face after I told him about us and walked out.  

Looking at the topic, it’s a bit of how others see us but it’s also how we see and act ourselves. You must be comfortable in your own body and life and that will come out in how you look. Depending on someone’s worthiness either as an acquaintance, employer or friend, will depend upon if they really see the real you or just the outside. As many of my real friends know, a real friend will accept you both inside and out no matter what life throws at either of you.
My friends and I in 2012. Most of them I had been friends with for over 30 years!