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Bugs IN the Flu Shot?!

With fall upon us, so is the flu season.  Oh joy!  Most of us have known the ugly symptoms of flu and colds before and I am sure that most can agree that it’s not something that you likely wish on even your worst enemy.  Aside from trying to navigate the many aisles’ worth of medications, vitamins and ointments which are supposed to help us mend more quickly from our annual bouts of sickness comes the all-too-familiar and deeply controversial flu vaccine.  For as long as I can remember, there have been those who are steadfast in the camp that one SHOULD get the flu shot if for no other reason than to help prevent passing it along to those more vulnerable and then, of course, there are those persons who are equally as adamant that one should NOT settle for the needle, or more recent mist (now, highly discouraged this season by the CDC for its lack of efficacy) citing many reasons.  So, what does one do?

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate, if you will.

I am okay, as an adult, with making the best informed decision that I can make as a consumer (and yes, this serum is definitely in part a consumerism issue), but as a laymen person without a medical/scientific background, I do tend to rely on information provided by my doctor and/or pharmacist as to what is best for me.  The problem with that is that I am not sure that ANYONE truly KNOWS what is best in this wide debate since various research/reports seem to support both sides of the flu shot argument not to mention the slant that various media takes.  What may be worse yet, however, is the thought maybe someone does know, but they don’t want to tell us for fear of dollars lost since the number of vaccinations has grown by over 100 million in the past two decades.  Or, worse again–what if, because of dollars potentially lost, ‘mum’s the word’ not just because of lack of efficacy, but also because of potentially harmful, even long-term effects caused by the shot?  Yikes!  That’s a whole other ball game.  While it has been common knowledge that the chosen vaccine for each year may or may not be effective depending on the strain that surfaces, withholding facts from the public for financial gain is a scary prospect, though not surprising, I guess.  Personally, I can live with the idea that getting the shot may or may not protect me against the flu since it is clearly hard to determine which illnesses will come our way from season to season.  What I have great difficulty with is being out and out lied to with my personal health and well-being at stake.

The following article published in December 2015 by a Johns Hopkins’ scientist was recently brought to my attention.  Like any other finding in the media, it may or may not have merit, but it is certainly worth considering as the drug companies gear up for another successful 135+ million shots to be given out.

http://yournewswire.com/johns-hopkins-scientist-reveals-shocking-report-on-flu-vaccines/

What do you think?  Are we Succumbing to the scares of modern day media who will often report anything to gain its own fame/fortune or is there a real pause for concern?

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Cloaked in Sadness

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If the world could stop for a minute,
Everyone would definitely see,
That I just lost someone,
So very, very dear to me.

Though the sun is shining,
And a breeze is softly blowing,
Little things that once mattered,
Are no longer in my knowing.

My heart and soul are breaking,
NOTHING seems the same,
The noises around me fall silent,
I wish I knew who to blame.

I tried to prepare for this moment,
Never before have I felt so sad,
My insides ache and ache,
I cannot believe that I have lost my dad.

He meant EVERYTHING to me,
Was the apple of my eye,
How will I ever think of him again,
Without the need to cry.

They say that time will heal,
Surely they are wrong,
Everyone who tries to reassure me,
Sounds like a never-ending song.

My eyes are red and stinging,
My throat feels tight and dry,
My legs are weak and tingling,
I really could just curl up and die.

I slowly gather myself together,
I am going to win this fight,
After all, I owe it to him,
I will be his light.

(Written as a tribute to my colleague who has recently lost her father.)

Cloaked

Maple Leaves

There’s nothing Pedestrian at all about this shot, in my opinion.

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While some may view this pile of leaves as just another fall clean-up chore, they are nothing of the sort.   In colour and kind, these maple-shaped wonders are representive of the great country that I call home.  Cheers, Canada!

The Half-Truths of Free Speech?

“Because your entire life, you have been taught a half-truth…and the half-truth(s) that you have been taught since you were in kindergarten are this:  words hurt, words wound, words kill.”   ~Brooks Gibbs

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a very thought-provoking video from a friend on social media by motivational speaker, Brooks Gibbs.  After listening to the beginning of the clip wherein my opening quote lies, my first thought was that what Mr. Gibbs had to say was a bit risqué, maybe even controversial, especially since it was directed to a group of ten thousand children.  ‘Ooh, is that REALLY wise to say?’  From personal experience, the immediate dilemma that came to mind is how you would tell a child who is crying their eyes out (while your heart is breaking for them) over having been called a name that “words don’t hurt” because clearly they certainly can.  They are young, they are vulnerable and in their realm of the world, as they learn to interact with others, words DO matter–both what they hear and what they themselves choose to say.  In fact, as grown-ups, I think many of us would agree that words matter whether we reference present life experiences or those in the past.  After all, I didn’t like being called ‘dumb’ as a youngster, nor would I appreciate it even as a well-established, self-assured, forty-something year old woman.  By the same token, I know how good it feels/felt when someone tells me or has told me that I look nice or that I am funny or smart.  As per my given examples, words obviously take on negative or positive connotations and I am sure that we have all experienced both ends of the spectrum from a very early age.  Thus, do we have the power to change our thoughts on the matter at hand?  Mr. Gibbs seems to thinks so and most of us have heard before that words affect us only to the extent that we LET them affect us.  Before we look at his message more closely, let’s go to the extreme of his half-truths first; the scary thought that “words kill”.

Let’s face it, “words kill” elicits a whole other discussion about suicide, the internet, social media, etc.  Just recently, my husband and I watched a 20/20 episode entitled, “Can Words Kill?” wherein a teenaged girl named Michelle Carter was convicted of manslaughter after exchanging texts and ‘encouraging’ her boyfriend Conrad Roy in a phone conversation to commit suicide, which he had threatened on numerous occasions prior to his actual death.  Needless to say, the case of Miss Carter set a precedence  and led some to question if the basis for her conviction was justified.  Regardless of what you believe about the case, it is a purely tragic story in which one life ended and another was forever changed on the basis of words and words alone–a bit sobering to say the least and a sordid tale hopefully never to be duplicated again.  So, is Mr. Gibbs flat-out wrong in his message to students that “words don’t hurt”?  I am not so sure actually, but in saying that it requires one to really focus and listen to the message he sends to kids in his ‘Free Speech‘ spiel.

As the clip from Brooks Gibbs video continues on, he goes on to say that, “Words DON’T have to hurt, (that) words only have the power that YOU give them”, which as I said earlier, most of us have heard at least once before.  We can also probably relate to his statement that “when you believe that you have the human right that everyone must be nice to you, you’re setting yourself up for failure, you’re creating in yourself a victimization mentality.”  I mean, just think about the saying, “You can’t please all of the people all of the time.”  True, is it not?  What likely takes Gibbs’ speech to another level of contemplation is when he challenges the notion that others have the right to say what’s on their mind, even if it’s mean and hateful, and that their constitutional right to free speech should not be suppressed (though it may be immoral), since we wouldn’t want our own freedom of speech taken away.  “Every single citizen, ” he says, “has the right to stand up on their platform and speak their mind even if it offends another group.”  While the idea of offending others makes many of us cringe, it cannot always be avoided and countries such as ours ARE founded on the very principles of democracy in which everyone HAS a voice.  Of course, the hope is that “the virtue of love (will drown) out the vice of hate.”  So, how does one achieve that, according to Mr. Gibbs?  The answer is two-fold:

1) Make a decision that you are NOT going to give people the power to hurt your feelings.  Expect that people will be mean from time-to-time–after all, they technically have the right to (it’s not nice!), but that ultimately, you get to choose NOT to pay it any mind.  I’d go one step farther here and explain that the reason that you shouldn’t pay it any mind is because it’s often rooted in another person’s own insecurities/low self-esteem.

2) Despite how you are treated (within reason obviously–this post and his video clip are meant how to address and deal with everyday hurtful comments, not instances of physical and/or verbal abuse), use the ‘golden rule’ to treat even your enemies the way that you would want to be treated.  “Kill them with kindness”, I believe is how the saying goes.

After seeing the video on “Free Speech”, it led me to think about what impact it would have on children.  Would they be able to realize the power that THEY truly hold in what they often perceive as powerless situations, i.e. being called a name, etc. or would it be irrelevant to their fragile egos?  And, if we could get them to realize that love wins over hate, would self-esteem be on the rise and bullying and suicide on the decline?  I don’t know, but I would certainly share Brooks Gibbs’ message if I thought it could make a difference.  Would you?

Layered Rose Petals

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Exquisitely Layered petals delicately unfolded for all to see,

Their soft, velvety texture inviting us in with each gentle curl,

Like an ocean wave, lapping up nature’s every ounce of beauty.

 

Haleakala Lava Cake

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This chocolatey, flourless lava cake at Duke’s Beach House in Maui is simply delectable.  We know….we devoured it!  Served warm with caramelized pineapple and créme anglaise sauce, technique and timing is Critical when it comes to eating it.  Timing maybe, but technique you question?   Yes!!  In order to get all of the ooey-gooey ingredients in every bite (an absolute MUST!), it requires precision maneuvering of your spoon or fork (ALWAYS a fork for me, spoon for my husband).  Don’t worry, though, it’s worth the effort and should you miss acquiring the correct menagerie, you get to try, try, and try again…until it disappears;-).

Fresh Corn-y Goodness

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While this may not be the best photo composition in town, the perfect, yellow Structure of this subject is worthy of a submission in my opinion.  Picked and enjoyed from our very own garden just the other day, I had to capture the uniformed essence of these pre-cooked kernels of sweet corn; from end to end, round and round, not one single part of the cob was unfilled or unripe–nearly a first for me.  No wonder this much-loved vegetable appeals to kids and adults alike.  Add in a little slathering of butter and salt on top (though I also enjoy it plain), and you have a meal unto itself–just ask my husband, who recalls a few childhood dinners of exactly that.  And, the best part is that there is little prep and no cutlery required, saving on dishes and clean-up:-).  All that is needed once grilled, boiled or microwaved (yes, microwaved) is a firm grip, some solid teeth, a healthy appetite and likely a napkin, and you are Good. To. Go.  Now, is that corny or what?!  Hmmmm!

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