Postal Closings

The Post Office is closing, or preparing to close some offices in the US.  The list is actually pretty big.  I think there were close to 4,000 offices.

I checked the list and I found it was mostly offices in Philly from our area.  I did read about the Norristown branch possibly being one of the offices ( Bridgeport), but when I looked on the actual Post Office site that didn’t seem to be listed.

So, freel free to use your local post office. 




Cancer’s Greater Risk For Farm Children?

I was sad to read a study over at a Scottish newspaper ( Scotsman) about a New Zealand study that looked at cancer risk for children who lived on farms.

It seems that children who were on livestock farms were more likely to develop cancer than children who were being raised on crop farms. 

This of course was a study in NZ, and while it’s something worth noting I don’t know whether the stats are similar in the US.

I just thought it was worth posting here, not because I want to frighten people, but it’s the kind of thing parents might want to know!

Here is some of the article-

Children who grow up on farms where animals are kept are much more likely to develop cancer, according to a new study.
Youngsters raised on chicken farms are three times more likely to develop blood cancers later in life, claims the research.

The overall risk of diseases such as leukaemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is 22 per cent higher for those raised on any type of livestock farm.

Scientists say exposure to particular types of virus in childhood may alter the immune system response – so increasing the risk of blood cancer as an adult.

Dr Andrea Mannetje, of Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand, and colleagues said: “It has repeatedly been observed that work as a farmer is associated with an increased risk of haematological cancers, but it is not known whether growing up on a farm also plays a role



Oh Great! Measles!

I told people about BB’s in Morgantown.  It may not have been the best timing.  Unfortunately someone was there around the 11th of July who may now have measles.

Measles or Rubeola is a pretty dangerous illness that has been “virtually” wiped out in the US, but make no mistake, people do still get it and it still kills.  Measles starts like a nasty cold, high fever and hacking cough, but then you develop the rash.  You can be exposed and not develop the symptoms for up to two weeks- some folks don’t show evidence of the illness for up to 3 weeks.

For some folks they not only have the all over body rash, but they also have hives.   The rash will probably last a little over a week and then it appears to dry up and slough off following  the same pattern that  it  originally developed on their skin.

Patients require bed rest until the fever passes, and you have to watch them because they can get dehydrated with diarheaa and vomitting, or they can develop pneumonia.

If you worry that you might have been exposed because you are feeling feverish ( and we are talking a high fever here, it can go up to 103), and you have that hacking cough and you have developed a rash around your hairline, or you have red dots called Koplik’s dots on the inside of your mouth next to your first couple of molars then you need to see a physician and tell them what you think the problem might be.  ( koplik’s dots are small red dots almost like dots made by a red pen but sometimes they have  white in the center.)

While we have almost eradicated the illness, it still exists!  It is HIGHLY contagious!  Unfortunately it’s symptoms are similar to those of some other illnesses.  Therefore a lot of folks who think they have measles often find out that it’another illness, but it’s certainly worth checking since most of the people who haven’t been given a vaccine will come down with the illness.  Naturally not all the people who come down with measles develop serious complications that lead to death, but nobody wants to predict outcomes so it’s safer to err on the side of caution.  The bad news is you can be contagious before you know you have the illness!  And then you are still contagious after the measles show.

There isn’t much you can do if you find that you have measles.  You’ll need to stay hydrated and stay in bed!  But please make sure you contact your doctor. 

I’m no Doctor!  I have never even played one on TV!  I used internet sources to get a quick and dirty education so don’t listen to me!  See your Doc! 

As I read about the possibility that there might be measles in our area  I instantly felt itchy.  Reading about it almost made me pass out!  But I forced myself to find out what measles was and how it could hurt folks. 

I’m going to hope that this isn’t a measles outbreak!  But if it is let’s try to stop it in it’s tracks and not let it turn into a major outbreak.








Bleaching T-Shirts

My kids were looking for something to do one day last week and I suggested they clean their rooms.

That didn’t go over well.

They decided they might be interested in cleaning if they could collect some items of clothing that were worn or that they weren’t really fond of anymore and they could bleach them.

I figured it was a fair deal.  I poured household bleach into a spritz bottle and I laid the ground rules about safety and the kids did the rest. 

I was pretty impressed with their work.  One of my girls had 2 similarly colored tanks and when she bleached them they looked almost as if they had been tie-dyed.  And now she can wear the two of them together and what once was 2 slightly worn and unnattractive tanks is now one cute top.

Another daughter had a black t-shirt that was looking a little tired.  She bleached a heart on it with dots around the rest of the shirt and what was really interesting is that the dye in the black t-shirt  had shades of red in it and the bleach drew out the red and the pinks which fade to an off white in the center of the heart image.  An ugly old boring black t-shirt now looks like something you’d buy new.

If you think this might be something you’d like to try then I’d recommend it but please make sure you do it outside with lots of ventilation.  You also don’t want to leave bleach on certain fabrics or it will eat straight through so please test an area before you try this.  Don’t bleach anything that you’ll regret ruining-as  you can’t be sure this is going to work out.  And make sure you wear protective gloves and don’t you dare spray bleach anywhere near your face.  The best bet is to lay your item down on the ground on top of a ground cloth and spritz away.

Rinse the bleach and then handwash your shirt and voila!  You’ve created something new from something old.

I don’t think my kids ever cleaned their rooms!  Maybe I’ll suggest that again today and I’ll have a new project for you tomorrow!





My Swaniebraai or Grilling With the News!

I found a tiny grill called a Swaniebraai.  It was just sitting on the floor in a junk shop.  The african mask on the front of the cardboard box caught my attenion.  I went over to the box and I picked it up and I smiled when I realized I was actually holding something I had seen here online over a year ago.

I spotted an old video from back in the 80’s.  There were quite a few companies marketing this great new grill idea.  It was being sold as eco friendly because it didn’t need charcoal or lighter fluid.  It only needed old newspaper and who didn’t have tons of that lying around?

There was one version of it called the Qwik Cook Grill.  Here is a really silly looking infomercial about it which I’ll post  for you to see.

.Then the excitement faded.  I think part of the problem might have been that newspaper chars and floats upwards which might make your food a little newspapery.  The Qwik Grill solved that by suggesting users place foil on the handy grill before you place the meat or fish on the fire.  The people on that infomercial insist that their food doesn’t taste like newspaper at all! 🙂

I found a website that is still marketing my grill- it only costs 399.00 in african Rand.  That is about 58 American bucks.  But of course I don’t have to buy one!  I have my own little Swannibraai and I have newspaper, and I have meat!

Anyone want to join me while I barbecue with the news?




Boehner’s Big Non-Plan!

I just read the 56 page budget plan by John Boehner and I thought it would be a lot more detailed.  I’ll post a pdf of the bill that I found over at Politico


Okay, for those of you who don’t have the time or the interest in wading through the file I’ll give you a very brief rundown.  Mostly it takes existing clauses that include dollar amounts and it updates them.  Funding that was appropriate in 1965 is not appropriate in 2012 and will not be sufficient in 2020.  That isn’t surprising is it?  What bothers me about this bill and what I assume will bother other people is that it has definite costs figured for what spending will be allowed for each program it details.  And any additional spending will be removed from other accounts because this bill demands a balanced budget.

So that means that we have a certain amount of money set aside with which to use in the far future- cause 2020 isn’t that close.  And if the US needs  to “borrow from Peter to pay Paul”  it is going to be a lot harder than it is right now.

If the President decides he wants to spend without worrying about the balanced budget requirements the House will censure him by sending him notice that they are in disagreement with his actions.  There are timelines for how this new action will occur.  If the Senate ignores  the House then it goes back to the House and they can continue working on it so that a vote can be taken on it and if the President signs a veto then there is language that almost makes it easier for the House to override his veto through cutting back on how much time the bill has to be discussed and argued over.

There is also a section that eliminates funding graduate programs with Pell Grants. 

There are built in increases for costs in Social Security and health costs.  (I’m not sure I’d want to agree now on determining  future costs up to 2020.)

Other than that the bill contains a lot of information on the new budget balancing rules.  There will be a committee created to keep an eye on how things are going.  They’ll make sure their numbers are accurate by using the CBO’s numbers. 

So that is it.  There are a lot of formulaic pages.  If you don’t have an original clause it’s hard to see what is being changed with the addition of a certain clause or a new paragraph but I’m guessing that the only major change Boehner is promoting is this balanced budget theme. 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t object to a balanced budget myself.  If it makes politicians have to work harder to get things done then I’m all for it, but the real question we have to face is will it?

Will changes be made so that America can move forward and become strong again?  Or will the changes be so convoluted that nothing gets done.  Remember if you have to subtract money from one area in order to fund another it is going to be a lot noiser with assorted groups challenging one another for funding.

Will politicians engage in making those changes?  Or will the leaders simply make the rules and the status quo will decide how things move forward?

A lot of folks are going to be applauding Boehner on coming up with a plan- but I say read the darn thing!  You’ll find it isn’t much of a plan at all.  There are no real elements of change in it.  There are some dollar figures pulled out of thin air and a tiny bit about no more Pell grants to grad students and no incentives for paying loans back early.

That is the plan!

Not much of a plan at all if you  ask me!