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Unacceptable Levels

Unacceptable Levels examines the results of the chemical revolution of the 1940s through the eyes of affable filmmaker Ed Brown, a father seeking to understand the world in which he and his wife are raising their children. To create this debut documentary, one man and his camera traveled extensively to find and interview top minds in the fields of science, advocacy, and law. Weaving their testimonies into a compelling narrative, Brown presents us with the story of how the chemical revolution brought us to where we are, and of where, if we’re not vigilant, it may take us.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day...it's about much more than picnics


It's Memorial Day and I woke up wondering about what my role should be. Growing up, Memorial Day started off with a parade, in which, as a Girl Scout, I took part in. We marched up the hill at the cemetery and there, we honored those brave military men and women who sacrificed all. It was a good tradition that is now simply a memory.

I'm ashamed to say I can't remember the last time I attended a Memorial Day parade. I'd never really given it much thought before today. After all, I don't enjoy parades. But as I thought about it, I realized the purpose of a Memorial Day parade is not for entertainment. For me to attend a Memorial Day parade would take, well, a sacrifice on my part. And for that reason, I very much regret not coming to that conclusion in enough time for me to drive somewhere to stand along the parade route and honor those who march by; those who are a small representation of the lives lost for our country. To stand by in tribute, to humbly say "thank you," to watch teary-eyed as the flag passes by....that's what I should be doing on Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


In the created world around us
we see the Eternal Artist,
Eternal Love at work.

-- Evelyn Underwood (1875 - 1941)  

Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil            

Friday, May 28, 2010

Vinegar Fridays

TGIVF!

Wow, this week went by quickly. I can't believe it's Vinegar Friday already. So, any big plans for the holiday weekend? We're going to stick close to home and take it easy. I want to transplant my plants and do some planting in my balcony container garden. I know it's a little late for some things, but this month's weather didn't really cooperate and the month flew by, so perhaps we'll just have a later harvest. My snow peas got in on time and I'm waiting for the flowers to start blooming. The plants themselves look amazing.

Enough about me and my plans. You didn't drop in to read all about that anyway. No, you dropped in to find out some more interesting facts about vinegar. Once again this week we're going to focus on the amazing benefits of apple cider vinegar. So here goes.

Since this is the weekend pools traditionally open, at least on the east side of the U.S., I thought it might be a good time to focus on the fat-burning properties of ACV. Yep, that's right. ACV can help you get back into that bikini. Notice, I said you. That's somewhere this grandma's ever going again!

The truth is, I was a bit disturbed by the reading on the scale today at the doctor's office, so I thought it was time for me to learn a little bit about how vinegar can help me shed some of these added pounds.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Caring for the Creation

Last night was the final meeting of the Home Group Bible study my husband I hosted at our home since September. This year's group was a different blend of people than we've had in the past. Multi-generational, a diversity of political views, a variety of interests...it made for some interesting discussions.

Of course, everyone in the group was aware of this blog and of my stand for common sense environmental issues. At tonight's gathering, which was simply a time to fellowship and share some good food, my husband and I were humbled when we were handed a gift bag from our friends.

Inside was a Plantable Greetings card from Tree-Free Greetings®. That was the first bit of awesome. Not only is the card made from earth-friendly materials, part of it is a plantable mix of wildflower seeds, which means summer after summer we will be reminded of these special people.

Inside the envelope was also a gift card to Borders. Nice.

But the best thing of all was something I'd never heard of. The Green Bible...and no it's not just one of those books specializing in a certain subject called a "bible;" it actually is the Bible. Old and New Testaments in the New Revised Standard Version. The green letter edition. Have you ever heard of the green letter edition? I hadn't. What is it exactly? It is an edition of the Bible with all environmental references (over 1,000 verses) in green. And the book itself is environmentally friendly -- recycled paper and soy-based ink. To me, this is the coolest book.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Recession-Proof and Green…It’s a Family Affair

Thought I'd share an article I recently had published in Vegas' Zip Code Magazine.



Hooray for the recession! What? What good could come out of a recession? Quite simply, the answer is family time. Not ‘family in the minivan heading to the mall’ time, but ‘family finding things to do together at home’ time. With looming cuts in overtime giving moms and dads more hours to spend at home, while budget woes require eliminating expensive extracurricular activities like Tae Kwon Do or piano lessons, finding fun and affordable activities to fill those time slots requires a bit of creativity. Here’s how you can make the most of this time with budget and eco-friendly activities the whole family can enjoy.

Project Time

Pursuing a project together reaps a variety of benefits, including stronger bonds.
  • Compost. From decisions on what to compost, to where to put your composting pile, to building your own container, this can be a green family project involving everyone. For more information on this, check out The Good Compost Guide at DoItYourself.com.
  • Plant a garden. Everyone in the family can take part in the planning and care of the garden. Round up the kids to help build a container garden, plant seeds, make plant markers, water and weed. By avoiding chemical fertilizers and pest control products, your family can enjoy healthier vegetables all summer long.
  • Scavenger hunt. Set the family lose in the attic, garage, basement or wherever unused stuff gets stored. The goal here is to see who can come up with the most creative use of forgotten junk. For instance, an old door can become a workbench when placed atop two old dressers.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Another chemical to avoid

An anonymous member of our community posted a comment yesterday, informing me of another chemical we all need to be award of. It's called Quaternium-15 or Q-15 and is a formaldehyde releaser. Quaternary ammonium salt is a preservative found in cosmetics, including popular baby washes and shampoos. This chemical compound slowly releases formaldehyde, causing a myriad of symptoms from slightly annoying to potentially dangerous.


I did some research and found the following three products contain Q-15: Johnson's head-to-toe baby wash, Huggies Baby Wash and Mr. Bubble Bath. Disturbing? It should be. Any product containing quaternary ammonium salt can cause contact dermatitis. It is a neurotixin and carcinogen and in addition to the contact dermatitis, which is the most common complaint, it also has been linked to insomnia, coughing, headaches, nausea and nose bleeds. Lovely.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Personal care products -- what to avoid

When I found out recently that my favorite fragrance, Japanese Cherry Blossom from Bath and Body Works, was one of the worst offenders when it came to hidden chemicals that pose a danger to people, I was dismayed.

While it's nearly impossible to know what all the hidden chemicals are in the personal care products we use, we can at least read the labels and steer clear of certain ingredients we may find there.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Savor the moments
that are warm
and special
and giggly.

                                                            -- Sammy Davis Jr.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Vinegar Fridays

TGIVF!

So, did anyone try any of last week's ACV remedies? Would love to hear how they worked, or didn't work, for you.

I'm going to stick with the apple cider vinegar this week. I've been reading some fascinating stuff about the wonders of ACV and am now convinced I will no longer go a day without drinking some.

Last Friday I mentioned the healing properties of ACV for sore throats, acid reflux, constipation, hemorrhoids, IBS, colds, congestion, cough, earache and the flu. This week I want to point to a bigger issue: CANCER. Yes, apple cider vinegar is known to have cancer-fighting properties.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mommy, it hurts!

It's a nightmare for any parent -- your child has gotten burnt. Now what do you do?

The first thing you want to do is to remove any clothing that is in close proximity to the area that's been burnt. If the fabric clings to the burn, cut around it and leave it alone. Do not pull or force the fabric away from the skin!

Unless it's an electrical burn, run cool water over it and loosely apply a dry gauze bandage. If the area that's been burnt is too large for the bandage, wrap in a clean towel or sheet. In addition to the cool water, you can also pour apple cider vinegar over the burn to help ease the pain and battle infection.

In the case of an electric burn, DO NOT RINSE WITH WATER (or apple cider vinegar). Simply wrap with gauze.

Call your pediatrician or take your child to the ER.

Of course, it goes without saying you should remain calm and not say things like, "Oh no, you're going to have ugly scars," okay?

Other than reacting badly and saying stupid things, there are a couple of other things you should not do. Do not:
  • put any type of ointment on the burn. Forget some of the old-fashioned ways here -- like putting butter on the burn. It will make things worse! Also avoid applying ice, vitamin E, antibiotic creams, aloe or any lotions at all. Wait for instruction from your doctor before applying anything other than cool, not cold, water, apple cider vinegar and dry gauze.
  • poke at or pop any blisters that may form. Period.
  • hesitate to call 911. If you think it's an emergency, treat it as such.
I do want to point out, just in case you're confused, that no, it is not Vinegar Friday. I'm just sharing a bonus vinegar tip this week.

I hope you never have to use any of these suggestions, but if you or your child is ever burned, I hope you'll find some relief by following these tips.

Keeping it healthy,

Hana

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Voting day

It was primary voting day in Pennsylvania and I woke up in a rather foul mood. First of all, I had to sort through all the info about the candidates so I could vote responsibly. Plus, I had to tune out all of the half-truths that have been filling my brain for the past few weeks via political ads. Hallelujah the commercials are done for now!!

As I stood in the shower, I grabbed the body wash and started reading the ingredients, which got me thinking. Sometimes that's not a good thing! Once I started thinking, I started getting angry.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Beyond the open window

So, yesterday we discussed the benefits of opening windows. I want to continue on that vein and talk about proper ventilation and cooling in the home now that the warmer weather is quickly approaching.

Keeping your humidity levels in check this summer will help keep your home cooler. One way to do this is through the use of exhaust fans, both in the bathroom and in the kitchen. But don't forget to turn off the fans as soon as the air is cleared of the humidity caused by showering and cooking. The reason? Well, if your home is air conditioned (or if the furnace is running in the winter), an exhaust fan will not only filter out the humidity, but it will also suck out the conditioned air, ultimately costing you money. Make sense?

Monday, May 17, 2010

The value of an open window

Kids generally are smaller than adults, right? Just want to make sure we're on the same page here. That said, it only makes sense that children who are exposed to any type of pollution, indoor or out, tend to be more susceptible to the harmful effects of it. The reason is directly related to their body weight; the smaller they are, the more at risk they are for exposure and effects of pollution.

Proportionately, kids eat and drink more per pound than adults do. They also breathe in more. Which is why any type of chemicals in their food or beverages and any type of pollution in the air they breathe has a greater affect on them. Their shortness of stature has an affect as well. After all, the closer they are to the ground, the more car emissions they breathe in when walking along the road. Had you ever even given that any thought?

Saturday, May 15, 2010



Two roads diverged in a wood...
I took the one less traveled by
and that has made all the difference.

                 -- Robert Frost                    

Photo courtesy of Bengt Bavegard       
                  

Friday, May 14, 2010

Vinegar Fridays

TGIVF!

How about a slight change of pace for Vinegar Friday this week?

So far we've been focusing on distilled white vinegar and all the wondrous ways it is used to replace chemically-laden household products. But today we're going to shift the focus to apple cider vinegar, one of my newest best friends!  In order to reap the health benefits, it is essential to use raw organic unfiltered ACV, however. The Bragg brand is usually available in most grocery stores.


I have discovered the healing properties of ACV and want to share some of them with you, starting with what to do when you have a nasty sore throat and/or are losing your voice. As a voice-over talent, I've found this trick to be a lifesaver when deadlines were looming and my voice was not cooperating.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Absolutes -- A poem

The beauty outside my office window
makes me wonder how it’s possible others
don’t see
don’t understand.
 As rhododendrons obscure my view of the house next door
and cardinals flash their brilliant reds
across the emerald green oak leaves,
I think of the insensitive fool I was driving behind yesterday
who thought nothing of tossing his fast food discards
out the window --
bag and all.

What motivates people like that?

Or those who throw their burning cigarettes
onto the sidewalk
before entering a store.
Do you they really think the earth is their personal ashtray?
Seriously?

It’s people like that
who scoff at people like me.

I have to keep my emotions in check
so I don’t assault them
as they assault my beautiful land of residence.

And then there are the cars I pass on the road
that transport little children
void of car seats
or seat belts.
Once again, I have to keep my emotions,
my sensibilities,
in check.
It’s not my job to judge them.
But is it not my responsibility to care?

How do I keep my opinions to myself
when I see a pack of cigarettes
shoved in the side pocket of a diaper bag?
When I see a very pregnant woman lighting up?

Is it wrong for me to care about the little ones?
Is it wrong for me to care about the earth?

Sometimes
that’s how I feel.

How about you?

Do you feel you’re in a minority
with your strong opinions and concepts of right and wrong?
Are there no absolutes?
Is right or wrong really a matter of perception?

Some would like us to believe so.

But, you know, I think I’ll hang on
to my belief that common sense means
not harming an unborn child,
not tossing litter somewhere for someone else to pick up,
not berating a child with cutting words,
not tossing recyclables into the trash,
not exposing children to known carcinogens,
not wasting our resources,
not choosing things over relationships.

I guess my list could go on and on.
I imagine yours could, too.

Are we wrong?

Does it matter?


--Hana Haatainen Caye


©May 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's about more than Global Warming

People ask me, "So, do you believe in Global Warming?"

The answer may surprise you. While I do believe what we're doing is directly affecting the climate to a certain degree, I am not about all the Global Warming hype. From what I've heard about Al Gore, I believe there's an enormous amount of hypocrisy in his life based on the lifestyle he's rumored to be leading.

If we look at history, which we too often forget to do, we'll see that the earth goes through warming and cooling cycles. Some experts are saying we have moved from the former into the latter and will be experiencing up to three decades of cooler-than-average temps. Time will tell.

So, the question that now arises is, "If you don't believe in Global Warming, why are you bothering to do what you do?"

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Laundry woes...the next installment

Some of you were quite shocked by yesterday's post. I'm with you there! But what now?

First of all, if you're the activist type (even ever-so-slightly), file an official complaint.
  • Visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website or call 1-800-638-2772 to voice your concerns.
  • Call the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at 1-301-504-0424 to request a report about fabric softeners. Due to the Freedom of Information Act, these reports must be available to you. You can request the following:
    • reports from the Emergency Room
    • consumer complaints
    • death certificate reports
    • in-depth investigations
  • Call the manufacturers directly.
    • Proctor and Gamble (Downy and Bounce)  1-800-543-1745
    • Lever Brothers (Snuggle)  1-800-598-5005
    • Seventh Generation  1-802-658-3773
Surprised to see Seventh Generation on the list? I hated to add it. But the fact is, their fabric softener and dryer sheets contain Linalool, the narcotic I mentioned in yesterday's blog with connections to a variety of CNS disorders and respiratory problems. Seventh Generation is a company who cares. Your call might make the difference.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Don't forget the contest! Scroll down to May 5th for the details.

Before you do your next load of laundry.....

Today’s riddle: What do the following CNS disorders have in common?
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Dementia
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Seizures
  • Strokes
  • SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
You're not ready for this. The common denominator here is Fabric Softener. Yes, like the stuff that snuggly little bear pitches. Fabric softener. The information I'm about to share is enough to make me want to hit the rewind button and remove every last fabric softener sheet from my endless loads of laundry. Fabric softener.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!


Who fed me from her gentle breast

And hushed me in her arms to rest.

And on my cheek sweet kisses prest?

My Mother.

                   ~Ann Taylor

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A mother's prayers

I remember my mother's prayers
and they have always followed me.
They have clung to me all my life.
~Abraham Lincoln


Friday, May 7, 2010

Vinegar Fridays

TGIVF!

It was so nice to hear from a member of our community this week, who left her laundry in the washer just long enough to be greeted by the stench of mildew when she opened the lid. Distilled white vinegar to the rescue! Success stories. We all love 'em and quite honestly, when you let me know how one of the tips here on the blog has helped you out somehow, it makes my day!

So last week we talked about laundry and this week we move on to the blessed task of ironing. I have to admit, I'm not an ironer. Not that I don't ever iron, but it's not a common occurrence. For those of you who do, you may appreciate the following tips:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Why Becca Smith loves PBS

I want to welcome Becca Smith back as a guest blogger today. Thanks Becca for offering your take on what's worth watching on television.

Why I love PBS (Public T.V.)


1)Better quality shows, for both the kids and myself.

2) No commercials. I really believe that watching TV in 6-8 min. sessions makes for short attention spans in our kids. I mean come on, it's almost not worth watching since they break that often. The content of a half-hour program ends up being less than 24 minutes long.

3) It's not mainstream. You won’t find "popular" story lines that follow trends of society.

4) Large selection of topics you won’t find on cable or network television.

5) It's free! If you can make a donation, do so, but if not, enjoy. Help when you are able to.

6) Better quality shows, for both my kids and me!!


So what are your thoughts? Are you a PBS fan as well? Post your comments on what you find to be worthwhile viewing for your family.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How about another contest?

Okay, this is a fun one.

My husband, although not a writer, likes to toy with words sometimes. A while back he emailed me a lovely little song he wrote and, for the most part, it's quite cute. But there's a line (the one in orange) that just doesn't fit. Post a comment with one that works better and win a copy of Sophie Uliano's book, Gorgeously Green. It's that simple.

Green Grandma
(sung to the tune of Green Acres)

Green Grandma
Is the one for me.
Diapers hanging from an old oak tree
Fake diapers all thru the land fill
Keep those phonies and I’ll buy cloth
Diapers for you.

For mu la is what I’d rather use
My boobs are sore from all that use
I just love using plastic stuff
Dah-ling I love you but goin’ green is really rough.

do do do do do

Your boobs.

do do do do do

Plastic Tubes.

do do do do do

Fresh Cloth.

do do do do do

A fake Moth.

You’re going green,

You’re being mean

Green Grandma we are there.

***********************

Okay, so maybe there are a few lines that need some adjustments. Improve the song and I'll choose my favorite version a week from Mother's Day on May 16th. Have fun!

Sharing a bit of my goofy family with you,

Hana

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tiptoe through the tulips...but flat-foot it through the foyer

Many toddlers like to walk around on their tiptoes. But should you be concerned?

My grandbaby tends to do this when she's barefoot, but not as much when she has shoes on. Sometimes a tiptoeing toddler can spell trouble and other times it's a perfectly naturally phase of mastering the art of walking. When is it time to call the pediatrician?

Well, if your child will not stand or walk on flat feet ever, there could be a problem with his or her Achilles tendons. When these tendons are too short or tight, your child may need leg braces or possibly surgery to lengthen the tendons in the calves. Sometimes certain stretching exercises are all that's needed.

One other thing your pediatrician will be looking for is the possibility of a mild case of cerebral palsy.

When I first noticed Laura's tiptoeing behavior, I was concerned. But she'll flat-foot it along with best of 'em, so once more, Grandma's concern was unfounded. Don't you just love when that happens?

Keeping you informed,

Hana

Monday, May 3, 2010

And the winners are...

Congratulations to the winners of the Earth Day/Arbor Day contest! They are:

Abby P.
Becky S.
Lisa B.

All three winners get to choose the product of their choice from O'BON.

Congratulations and thanks to all who participated!

Not what I had planned

Did you ever have your day planned out, only to be thrown a curve ball? That's what happened to me yesterday. The plan was to get my grandbaby up and ready for church, as she spent the night with us on Saturday, and then head over to welcome our minister back, who was stuck in England during the whole volcano thing. After church, some of my kids planned to join us for lunch at a local restaurant. It's one Sunday tradition I wouldn't give up for the world....or in this case, for a 24-hour stomach virus.

Sparing you the details (you're welcome), from about 6:30 a.m. on, I spent the majority of my day in the bathroom. Not pleasant. I got a hold of my daughter around 7:50 and told her she'd have to come get Laura. My husband adores his 18-month-old granddaughter, but to expect him to change her cloth diaper (when his children were babies, they used disposables), brush her hair and put her in the adorable little dress her Aunt Bethany bought her. I knew that was asking a bit much. Besides, as my sickness progressed, it became obvious he wasn't going to church either. The threat hung over us all day that maybe we'd have to go to the ER. And maybe I should have.

The point of all this is we can't always assume our plans will work out. Sometimes life gets in the way. So we just have to learn to 'go with the flow' as they say. Life is a lot more peaceful when we choose that path.

The bottom line is: It's not all about us. We're just a small speck in a huge universe. When we keep things in perspective, it all works out eventually.

Think I'll head back to bed now....

Hana

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Suburbia



“Suburbia
is where the developer bulldozes out the trees,
then names the streets after them.”

                                                            ~ Bill Vaughn

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