Thursday, May 31, 2012

If It Is Thursday It's Going Green - Water Conservation

Water is a Basic Human Right

All people deserve the right to a clean and accessible water source. However, throughout the world people are struggling for this basic human right.

Today I am making some suggestions that may help you and your family conserve the amount of water that you use.

Think of water as sacred. Whether you live in areas with plenty of water or where water is scarce, remember water is a precious resource. Whether in the home, in the community or within industrial development, we can no longer afford to waste water.

Avoid Consuming Bottled Water: Unless it is an emergency, bottled water is not the solution. Fill re-usable containers with tap water and take them with you.

Do Not Pour Chemicals Down the Drain: Watch what you pour down your drain and what you put in your garbage. Everything you throw out will find its way back into the hydrologic cycle.

Water conservation is an important environmental issue. The average U.S. household uses over 300 gallons of water per day. Inside of our homes, toilets, clothes washers and showers are the largest water users. By making some behavior changes, and by adding some new fixture attachments and appliances, the average water conserving home could cut their daily average to less than 150 gallons with no sacrifice in comfort or performance.

How to Do It:

1. Only run full loads of dishes and laundry. Don’t waste all that water by using half loads, as this isn’t economical at all.

2. Do not hand wash your dishes or clothing if you have machines. You’ll use more water that way and you could be wasting a lot more water by rinsing off your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher.

3. Make sure to fix any leaks. Do you hear your toilet running all the time? Is there a drip, drip, drip in your tub? The water volume from these leaks will really add up over time. Leaks can account for a large percentage of your indoor water use! These are often undetected because they are small, hidden in water fixtures, walls and basements, or happen underground. Check your water meter to see if you have any leaks (shut off all water uses in your house for an hour, and see if your meter moves).

4. Turn off your faucet while you brush your teeth. Don’t let the water run; use the stopper to fill the sink with water when you wash your hands and face.

5. Get high efficiency showerheads. These are really amazing: you’ll still enjoy a luxurious, powerful shower stream but you will save thousands of gallons of water per person per year. Spend less time in the shower.

6. Get low-flow toilets. Today’s high efficiency toilets not only save water and energy, but also perform as well as their water-guzzling predecessors. You may be wasting tens of gallons a day if you live in an older house with old toilets. Pour a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank - wait an hour - if the water in the toilet changes color you have a costly leak. Have it repaired.

7. If it’s time for new machines, it’s a very good idea to get an Energy Star approved laundry machine and dishwasher. These machines save a significant amount of energy and water and they will save you money over the long run. There are also rebates available for these appliances.

8. If you have a car, don’t use the hose but instead use the old fashioned bucket and a sponge to clean your car as this will save so much running water.

9. If you have a house - collect rainwater and use it for your gardening needs.

Just these few tips can conserve not only a lot of water but will also save you money on your water bills each year. Why not save some water today?

Remember the 4 R's - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Repair.
Together we can make a change in the world.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day - 2012

Korean War Veterans Memorial Washington DC

From 1950 to 1953, the United States joined with United Nations forces in Korea to take a stand against what was deemed a threat to democratic nations worldwide. At wars end, a million and a half American veterans returned to a peacetime world of families, homes, and jobs - and to a country long reluctant to view the Korean War as something to memorialize. But to the men and women who served, the Korean War could never be a forgotten war.

The Three Soldiers - Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial

A national war memorial in Washington D.C. It honors members of the U.S. armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War and who died in service or are still unaccounted for.

WWII Veterans on parade

The National World War II Memorial

Located between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, the National World War II Memorial commemorates the 16 million American men and women who served, fought, sacrificed and died during the Second World War.
The World War II Memorial honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S., the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home.

Arlington National Cemetery




Battle Deaths

American Revolution

1775 - 1783



War of 1812

1812 - 1815



Indian Wars

1817 - 1898



Mexican War

1846 - 1848



Civil War (North)

1861 - 1865



Civil War (South)



Spanish-American War

1898 - 1902



World War I

1917 - 1918



World War II

1940 - 1945



Korean War

1950 - 1953



Vietnam War

1964 - 1975



Gulf War

1990 - 1991






These totals do not include the 4,486 who have been killed in the Iraq War
and 1,984 in Afghanistan - TOTAL 6,470

The memorials are a monument to the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment
of those who served their country.

Never to be Forgotten. May they Rest in Peace.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Reflection - Pentecost

Acts 2:1-6 (NIV) - The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost

1. When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
2. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
4. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.
6. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.

Today we celebrate Pentecost as a Christian Holy Day commemorating the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament of the Bible. It is also known as Whitsunday, or Whit Sunday.

Christians share their perspective about the meaning of Pentecost as well as how the diversity of languages and cultures can enhance their worship and fellowship with each another.

As recorded in the New Testament of the Bible, it was on the 50th day after Easter that the apostles were praying together and the Holy Spirit descended on them. They received the “gift of tongues” – the ability to speak in other languages – and immediately began to preach about Jesus Christ to Jewish people from all over the world who flocked to Jerusalem for the Feast of Shavuot.

Pentecost also marks the birth of the Christian Church. According to church tradition, Pentecost is always seven weeks after Easter Sunday, or 50 days after Easter, including Easter Day.

After reading the account of the Pentecost in the Bible I always think about how wonderful it must have been for people from various cultures to be able to talk to and understand each other. They had travelled from many lands and when touched by the Holy Spirit they were able to speak other languages.

In spite of cultural differences we are, through the power of the Spirit, enabled to understand each other and treat each other as equals, with love and mutual care.

The symbols of Pentecost are those of the Holy Spirit and include flames, wind, and a dove.

by Edward Potts

We went to Jerusalem just like He said,
For forty days we wondered what lies ahead,
We sang, we prayed, and recalled each word,
That Jesus told us, and the miracles we've heard.

There was, Peter, John, and Mary Magdalene.
Who told us of many things they had seen,
Jesus told us that in Jerusalem we would receive power,
We waited with patience for His promised hour.

"Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it know fear,
I go to my Father, but you will stay here,
I'll send you a comforter while I am away,
Just go to the Jerusalem and wait for that day.

As we sang and prayed our spirits did soar,
Suddenly the room was filled with a roar,
Great tongues like fire came like the wind,
As fire set on each one, His power came in.

We sprang to our feet and in language unknown,
We gave praise and honor to God on His throne,
Some people thought we had lost our mind,
But they didn't know we had drank His new wine.

As we prophesied in the word long ago,
God was pouring His spirit on people below,
Jesus had redeemed the world Adam lost,
That day in God's word is called Pentecost.


God blesses those who work for peace, 

for they will be called the children of God. (Matt 5:9)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Leadership, Diversity, Harmony - Gateway to Success

The Dr. Fox statue of a Chinese worker sits outside the Auburn, California, Chamber of Commerce building as storm clouds and rain create a rainbow in the background.
Fox created the statue, according to the plaque, as "a tribute to the historical significance of the Chinese worker in the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad through the Sierra Mountains of California."

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (
APAHM) is celebrated in May to commemorate the contributions of people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the United States. Congress passed a joint Congressional Resolution in 1978 to commemorate Asian American Heritage Week during the first week of May. This date was chosen because two important anniversaries occurred during this time: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in America on May 7, 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad (by many Chinese laborers) on May 10, 1869. In 1990 Congress voted to expand it from a week to a month long celebration and in May 1992, the month of May was permanently designated as “Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Who are the Americans of Asian or Pacific Islander descent? (APA's) There are 28 Asian and 19 Pacific Islander subgroups and they make up a population of almost 15 million residents.There are a total of 2.7 million Chinese , making Chinese the leading Asian group

There are so many people and courageous deeds that I could write about to honor this topic but my mind continues to dwell on the Chinese contribution in the 1800’s as the railroad tracks were laid, one by one, by thousands of workers and eventually completed. The United States was changed forever

Recently the Colfax Area Historical Society placed a monument along Highway 174 at Cape Horn, near Colfax, California to recognize the efforts of the Chinese in laying the tracks that linked the east and west coasts for the first time. With the California Gold Rush and the opening of the West came an increased interest in building a transcontinental railroad. To this end, the Central Pacific Railroad Company was established, and construction of the route East from Sacramento began in 1863. Labor and financial problems were persistent, resulting in only 50 miles of track being laid in the first two years. Although the company needed over 5,000 workers, it only had 600 on the payroll by 1864.

Chinese labor was suggested, as they had already helped build the California Central Railroad, and the San Jose Railway. The first Chinese were hired in 1865 at approximately $28 per month to do the very dangerous work of blasting and laying ties over the treacherous terrain of the high Sierras. They lived in simple housing and cooked their own meals, often consisting of fish, dried oysters and fruit, mushrooms and seaweed.

To conquer the many sheer embankments, the Chinese workers used techniques they had learned in China. Ropes from the top of cliffs in baskets lowered them down and while suspended, they chipped away at the granite and planted explosives that were used to blast tunnels. Many workers risked their lives and unknown numbers perished in the harsh winters and dangerous conditions.

By the summer of 1868, 4,000 workers, two thirds of which were Chinese, had built the transcontinental railroad over the Sierras and into the interior plains. The project was completed on May 10, 1869.

Without the efforts of the Chinese workers in the building of America's railroads, the development and progress as a nation would have been delayed by years. Their toil in severe weather, cruel working conditions and for meager wages cannot be under appreciated. Our sentiments and thanks go out to the entire Chinese-American community for its ancestors' contribution to the building of this country, the United States of America.

Once the railroad was completed Chinese immigrants found work in a variety of industries, from making shoes and sewing clothes to rolling cigars. Since language barriers and racial discrimination barred them from many established trades, however, they often created opportunities for themselves and launched new businesses. Many of the shops, restaurants, and laundries in the growing mining towns of California were operated by Chinese immigrants.

I have travelled by train, from west to east, across the United States on several occasions and I have always appreciated their existence. When one learns about the blood, sweat and tears that went into the construction I have an even greater appreciation for those who pioneered in those early days.

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – I challenge you to turn to your history books and learn more about, and give honor to, this wonderful culture.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

If It Is Thursday It's Going Green - Stop Drinking Sodas

America’s first sodas were made by pharmacists for curative purposes and were flavored with ingredients like birch bark and dandelions. Today’s soft drinks are full of artificial ingredients and are proven to increase health risks.

Children in school are faced with vending machines containing sodas. But studies show that consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks not only increases weight but also increases the risk of other health issues.

Besides the sugar content which adds to tooth decay, most soft drinks are also acidic—frequent sipping of these low-pH drinks can have adverse effects on tooth enamel, namely in the form of erosion.

Recent studies show that pre-schoolers are now beginning to show up with soda in their lunchboxes.

Here are six suggestions to change your drinking habits.

1. The best alternative is water, water and water. At school, make sure your kids know where the drinking fountains are! And fill a reusable, inert water bottle with filtered water from your tap.

2. Fruit juice mixed with sparkling water. Juice is packed with vitamins, but is also high in natural sugars so consumption of straight juice should be limited to 6 ounces per day.

3. Organic milk or milk alternatives (rice milk, almond milk, goat milk)

4. Flavored milk (or milk alternative). If you absolutely can’t get your child to drink plain milk, keep this in mind: The Adolescent Health journal found that even dairy products with added sugar are significantly better than soda in the development of children and adolescents. Consider making your own with organic milk and vanilla extract or organic chocolate: This way you can control the amount of sugar.

5. All-natural, low-sugar soft drinks. These are better than conventional sodas, but they still create a “taste” for soda. It is better to get out of the soda mind-set altogether.

6. Drink lots of plain water and eat whole fruit. Also, drink chamomile tea.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May is National Stroke Awareness Month

Tip of the Week 1 – Know Stroke Symptoms

Many people don’t know that if you can recognize the symptoms of a stroke you can save not only your life, but maybe the life of someone else. Being able to recognize symptoms and to understand that they signal an emergency, you are able to seek medical attention quickly. Treatment exists to minimize the effects of stroke; however it must be given within 3 hours of the first symptom. It is easy for people to recognize stroke symptoms by learning to think

F=Face Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A=Arms Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S=Speech Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred?
T=Time If you observe any of these signs, then it’s time to call 9-1-1.

Tip of the Week 2 – Control Blood Pressure to Prevent Stroke

Did you know…High blood pressure is the number one cause of stroke? Yet, nearly 60 million Americans have high blood pressure, and almost a third do not know they have it!

• Have your blood pressure checked at least once a year – more often if you have a history of high blood pressure, have had a heart attack are diabetic or are overweight.

• Know your family medical history, if high blood pressure runs in your family it’s important that you ask your doctor about how to control your blood pressure.

• If you have high blood pressure it's important to follow the recommendations of your doctor, which may include changes in diet, regular exercise and the use of medication.

Tip of the Week 3 – Manage Cholesterol to Prevent Stroke

Next time you think about burgers and fries, think about this…There are many things – including foods high in saturated fat – that can cause arteries to become blocked through the gradual build-up of cholesterol, called plaque.

Cholesterol is a soft, waxy fat (lipid) that is made by the body. It is found in the bloodstream and in all of your body’s cells. Your body needs cholesterol to form cell membranes, some hormones and vitamin D.

Cholesterol is also found in some foods, such as eggs, meats and dairy products. Cholesterol or plaque build-up in the arteries can block normal blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke.

High cholesterol may also increase your risk for stroke by raising your risk for heart disease, a stroke risk factor. There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL).

• It’s important to understand your numbers because they are key measurements of your stroke risk.

• For most people the combined HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol) should fall below 200.

• Maintain a healthy cholesterol level by eating a diet low in saturated fat and incorporating exercise into your routine.

• Ask your doctor how you can improve any numbers that are not in normal range.

Have a test for cholesterol and high blood pressure - these tests are simple and will let you know if you need to make some changes in your lifestyle and diet.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ANIMALS - babies and their parents


Meerkats huddle together for safety

Hanging out with her parents

Mommy, what's for lunch today?

Can I lean on you for a minute?

Mom loves it when the baby takes a nap.

Hope these photos bring a smile to your face today :-)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Remembering Malcolm X on his 87th Birthday

Malcolm X (he became El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz in 1964) was a major theoretician and advocate for Black pride and liberation. One of most influential and important people of the 20th century. “He spoke more truth, with less pretense, than any other Black Leader…”
Bill Russell.

Malcolm X born Malcolm Little; May 19 1925, was an African American Muslim minister, public speaker, and human rights activist. To his admirers, he was a courageous advocate for the rights of African Americans.

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, his childhood included his father's lessons concerning black pride and self-reliance and his own life experiences concerning race, which played a significant role in Malcolm X's adult life.

As an adult Malcolm X became a member of the Nation of Islam. On January 14, 1958, Malcolm X married Betty X (Sanders) in Lansing, Michigan. The couple had six daughters. Attallah (1958), Qubilah, (1960), Ilyasah, (1962) Gamilah, (1964), and twins, Malaak and Malikah, born in 1965 after their father's assassination and named for him.

On March 8, 1964, Malcolm X publicly announced his break from the Nation of Islam. He also expressed his desire to work with other civil rights leaders . On March 26, 1964, he met Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington, D.C., after a press conference which followed both men attending the Senate to hear the debate on the Civil Rights bill. This was the only time the two men ever met; their meeting lasted only one minute, just long enough for photographers to take a picture.

Malcolm X became a Sunni Muslim and made a pilgrimage to Mecca. He traveled extensively throughout Africa and the Middle East. On April 19, 1964, he completed the Hajj. He later said the trip allowed him to see Muslims of different races interacting as equals. He came to believe that Islam could be the means by which racial problems could be overcome.

Less than a year after he left the Nation of Islam, on February 21, 1965, in Manhattan, New York, at the Audubon Ballroom, Malcolm X was assassinated while giving a speech. He was 39 years old.

Many schools have been named after him and several cities have renamed streets in his honor. In New York City, Lenox Avenue was renamed Malcolm X Boulevard in the late 1980s.
In 2005, Columbia University announced the opening of the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center. The memorial is located in the Audubon Ballroom, where Malcolm X was assassinated.


In early 1963, Malcolm X started collaborating with Alex Haley on The Autobiography of Malcolm X. The book was not finished when he was assassinated in 1965. Haley completed it and published it later that year.

Though often controversial in his lifetime he was admired by many and has left an important legacy. I would encourage you to read this book to gain further knowledge on the life of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz .

Some of his Quotes :

"Truth is on the side of the oppressed."

"You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom."

"You don't have to be a man to fight for freedom. All you have to do is to be an intelligent human being."

"We have to keep in mind at all times that we are not fighting for integration, nor are we fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition...for the right to live as free humans in this society."

"For the freedom of my 22 million black brothers and sisters here in America, I do believe that I have fought the best that I know how, and the best that I could, with the shortcomings that I have had...I know that societies often have killed people who have helped to change those societies. And if I can die having brought any light, having exposed any meaningful truth that will help destroy the racist cancer that is malignant in the body of America then, all of the credit is due to Allah. Only the mistakes have been mine."

"The future belongs to those who prepare for it today"


Thursday, May 17, 2012

If It Is Thursday It's Going Green - Plastic Bags

Plastic Bags

NYC Subway - In the stairwell of the R/W train in NYC at Rector Street (by Wall Street). Photo submitted by Steph

Most of us start consuming non-renewable, non-recyclable products from the time we are born, starting with disposable diapers. Breaking the habit can be painful and uncomfortable. But if you think of all that can be gained from changing just a few of your shopping and consuming behaviors, you might find the motivation you need.

One of the biggest environmental problems related to over-consumption is the production and disposal of excessive packaging. Because we are a society that is programmed to buy everything in an attractive box or bag, over a lifetime we can contribute to the disposal of hundreds of thousands of highly toxic boxes and bags into landfills where they'll slowly poison our soil and water. Stop the wasteful packaging cycle by keeping these simple tips in mind next time you're at the store.

Bring Your Own Bags/Refuse a Bag: Did you know that over 500,000,000,000 (that's 500 billion) plastic bags are consumed annually, or almost 1 million per minute? Most of these bags are only used once before ending up in the landfill. Avoid the issue of paper or plastic by bringing your own canvas or hemp sacks whenever possible, and refusing extra bags, like double bagging meats or bagging produce that doesn't need it.

Concentrate on Concentrates: Sometimes good things really can come in small packages, and small packages mean a smaller carbon footprint. Look for products that you can buy in concentrated forms that will save money and produce less carbon emission to make and transport. Common concentrates include juices, soaps, and household cleaning products.

3.6% of emissions come from waste. Here, too, we can have an impact:

Buy fewer packaged goods. Buy loose fruits and vegetables rather than those wrapped in plastic on Styrofoam platters.

Buy less in general – ask yourself "Do I really need this?"

Buy from the bulk bins – most grains, cereals, nuts, rice, raisins, etc, are available in bulk. It is usually cheaper and the item can be placed in a paper bag, thus avoiding cardboard boxes and plastic wrapping.

Buy reusable instead of disposable.

Currently floating in the Pacific Ocean is a giant field of plastic trash that is twice the size of the continental United States. Stretching from our west coast to Japan, this man-made mess is severely affecting the Pacific’s ecosystem. Experts say that dangerous chemicals from industrial waste, such as PCB’s, stick to any plastics in the water. The chemicals are then ingested by marine life and birds – and via the food chain, by humans.

How does the plastic get there? From streams and rivers, beaches and boats. "There is no technology to get rid of plastic", says Marcus Erikson of the nonprofit Algalita Marine Research Foundation. “The only solution is to stop adding it to the ocean.”

Some countries already have announced bans on free plastic bags.
Urge your local markets to go plastic free.

Speak up, stand up, let’s do something about it!