Archive for February, 2010

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Working towards a cure

February 24, 2010

Everyone is affected in some way, either directly or indirectly, by cancer. It’s a sad fact that I wish was not true. Due to my own personal hatred of the disease (here’s a post from my old job for insight into where that hatred began), I tend to read up about the latest developments in treatment and discovery. I have two articles to share today, as well as some information on upcoming events.

Last week, I read about the possibility of home detection sensors that could help determine if cancer cells are present. These sensors are still in developmental stages but seem like they would be invaluable resources in early detection, which almost always results in better treatment and survival rates.

Today, I was moved by doctor’s who are constantly trying new drugs and new treatments even when faced with sometimes devastating failure. It’s no secret that drug trials are constantly evolving and occurring. Even so, I’m encouraged by specific stories of doctors who will not give up on their patients. It definitely takes a strong person to see what these doctor’s see on a daily basis and still turn around and provide hope.

These stories are especially important to me right now as I start to gear up for this year’s Relay for Life. With less than 2 months to go, my team is almost ready to get moving (don’t ask). Jesse and I are taking some of the generous monetary gifts we received for our wedding and putting them towards Relay. That will give us a great start, but I’m not stopping there. I’m not convinced that my team will raise a lot with their fundraising plan, so I intend to launch my own campaign soon. Stay tuned for details!

Is there a cause that’s close to your heart? Do you have any fundraising tips for me? I look forward to sharing my ideas and getting your input.

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Keeping it real

February 24, 2010

It seems there’s been a spike this week in people reading my post on youth weight struggles and public ideas of what it means to be beautiful. Thanks for reading, everyone. Here’s a followup.

I just saw this great piece about a model who decided to stop starving herself and find her own beauty. If only more people in the fashion and TV worlds would do the same.

I laugh out loud whenever I see the “plus-sized” models mixed in with the waifs on America’s Next Top Model. I find it ridiculous that people can be considered a plus-sized model starting at size 8 (according to multiple sources, but I’ll just link to one for now). Regardless of that craziness, I would personally love to see more people in clothing ads who look like real women. And why stop there? There are hardly ever comments on how unrealistic male models are – let’s get some more flesh on those bones, too!

Beauty comes in every size, shape, color, race, gender, religion, etc. Don’t let magazines or pop culture tell you what you need to look like. Only you can define yourself. Thank you, Crystal Renn, for helping to keep it real and for choosing health over stereotypes.

Do you think models accurately represent the population? What would you like to see in relation to changes in this industry? Maybe Tyra will take notice.

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NOT a good day

February 16, 2010

More snow in the area today, but it was the opposite of what happened last week. This time forecasters downplayed the system and it was far worse than last week’s storm. Let me just tell you how my day went. As you can probably tell already, I am NOT a happy chica.

It started to snow about an hour before I left for work today. I left the apartment at 1:15 to clean off my car (there was already about 2-3 inches on my car and plenty on the road), and gave myself what I figured would be more than enough time to get to work. Leaving my apartment complex, I was driving slowly heading to the highway. As I made the right turn for the onramp, my car freaked. I started to spin out. Thankfully, I stopped before I got to the side of the road, but ended up perpendicular in my lane. After a few cars passed me and I calmed my nerves, I repositioned myself and headed back towards the highway. Even though I had a nagging feeling that I should just head back home, another part of me figured that was the worst thing that could happen to me today.

I called my boss to tell him that I would be later than my 2 p.m. start time. As I slowly made my way to work, I thought about my severe lack of winter driving experience. Fortunately, I’ve only lost control of a car twice in my life, and neither incident was terrible. The first time was about 2 years ago. It was snowing pretty badly that day, and as I tried to make my way down to the store my car swerved left and I ended up on the median. Both that time and today I was very lucky. I hate driving in snow.

It took me about 30 minutes to make my normal 15 minute commute to work, but I was just glad to be there in one piece. I kept looking out the window as time marched on, and the snow grew heavier. Students were wondering why school hadn’t been cancelled since this was way worse than last week when we were closed. I wondered the same thing.

Word came that the university would close at 5 p.m., so we started locking up and sending folks home. My two coworkers and I stuck around until closer to 6, figuring that it was better to let the big rush out first. I got into my car at 5:56 to return home.

Getting on I-91 North, my ride generally takes 20 minutes (a different route than the faster one I take in good weather). Things were pretty snowy and slick, so I started out no faster than 30 mph. Suddenly, there were dozens of hazard lights ahead. All cars slowed to a crawl, and then stopped. For over 2 hours, I crawled and stopped along the 6 exits from the school to my apartment. I pulled into my parking lot at 8:10.

Not too long ago, my friend Jamie told me that I-91 was shut down for a while in my town due to excessive icing. Makes sense.

Today, I spent longer getting to and from work than I actually spent at work. Needless to say, I am not pleased and wished that I had just turned back when I spun out.

Care to share your winter driving tales? I’m sure mine is nothing compared to what you folks have, so feel free to vent here.

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Snow dud (kinda)

February 11, 2010

Even though some areas of the Northeast were hit pretty hard by yesterday’s storm, I am happy to report that I did not get the 10-15″ that were forecast for my area. We ended up with about 4 inches, far less than everyone seemed to expect. You know it’s bad when the weatherman apologizes on air.

Despite the relatively low snowfall in our neck of the woods, QU was closed and we did have a snow day. Better yet, the minimal snow total meant that Jesse got to work and back with no issue. For us, it was the best of both worlds.

The only bad part was that my mom, my aunt and other family members & friends were hit harder, and were probably still digging out this morning. But I guess that’s the price we pay for living in the Northeast during the winter.

For readers in the Northeast – How did yesterday’s weather affect you? Will you be more skeptical of any upcoming storm as a result of the uneven predictions this time (and last time) around?

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Wintery wonderland? Not so much.

February 9, 2010

Prepping for work today, I heard that NYC public schools have already been closed for tomorrow in anticipation of heavy wintery weather. Anyone who knows the area can attest that snow days are rare in NYC (I don’t remember too many growing up in Queens). NYTimes reports that the whole Northeast region could be trapped under a fairly thick blanket of snow by tomorrow night.

With the impending storm drawing nearer, I’ve been thinking about how my perception of heavy snowfall has changed since I was young.

As a child, I longed for snow days. Really, what kid doesn’t want to stay home from school, play in the street with friends and come home to some hot chocolate and TV? In high school, I enjoyed any snow day we had, but didn’t head outdoors since my friends lived farther away.

College brought a return of the snow loving spirit. There weren’t too many days off since QU is mainly a residential school, but we really loved the few we got. We reverted back to our childhood selves, heading to the quad or behind Commons (a dorm with a great sledding hill, perfect for makeshift cafeteria tray sleds) and having snowball fights. Snow was the great equalizer – freshmen, sophomores and juniors (seniors lived off campus) all came out to act like little kids, and it was a great time.

When I started working at the newspaper, I didn’t have the luxury of snow days. I lived closest to work than the others in our 4-person department, which meant when others called out due to transportation troubles I was called in. One blistery day, I came in at 10 a.m. and was asked to leave at noon so I could come back to work 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. Not cool, but I did what had to be done.

Now I work at the college, which means if the university closes I get a snow day once again. You’d think I would be happy at that idea, right? Wrong.

Because whether I get off work or not, Jesse still has to go in. My mom (or Jayson or some other nice person) still has to shovel in front of the house in Queens. Other friends and family members still have to brace the white stuff and head out to work or dig out their cars, sidewalks, driveways, etc.

Which means I will sit at home and worry all day. Where’s the fun in that? 

How do you feel about heavy snowfall? Do you long for the carefree snow days of your youth, or have you found another way of enjoying the flakes as they fall?

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Learning of death through Facebook posts

February 8, 2010

What a terrible story, and sadly not the first of its kind that I have heard about.

Two siblings learned of their brother’s death via Facebook before the police had even notified their family. How awful must that have been for them, and equally how surreal.

My college roommate told me just the other day that she learned of the deaths of several people from her high school (one of whom she played hockey with) through Facebook before anyone told her personally.

I know people learned of my friend David’s death through Facebook posts from myself and many others, and this is not an uncommon occurrence.

In the case of the siblings learning of their brother’s death, the police were at fault for not informing the family soon enough, and for not questioning more people to get the family’s information. 

It’s so easy to go online and publish information, condolences or anything at all in an instant. But how often do we think of the consequences of such posts? When writing tragic news, do we wonder about those who will see it for the first time because of our post? 

I cannot even imagine how terrible it must feel to learn of the death of a loved one through wall posts. My heart goes out to that family, and to everyone who receives such tragic news in such a callous way.

After reading about stories like this one, do you feel that social networking sites do more harm than good? Or do you think that people should be able to grieve openly, without fear that their words will break the news to those who have not yet heard? I see both sides here, and would love some other opinions.

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Great way to get rid of evidence

February 8, 2010

People in high stress jobs often deal with a lot of paperwork. They may send reports back and forth dozens of times before they are finalized, or may print out copies for everyone at a meeting. Even though everyone seems to be trying to “go green” these days, there is still countless tons of corporate waste being jammed into shredders or dumped into recycling bins.

A brilliant invention has come along to take all that paper waste and put it right back into the company. According to this post, Oriental Co. has developed the White Goat system to convert paper waste into toilet paper. Check out the demo:

Think of all the TV shows, movies or news stories you’ve seen that have corporate bigwigs shredding documents when they are about to be hit up with federal charges. How brilliant would it be for them to use a system like this to take care of incriminating paperwork? “No officer, we don’t have any such files. Would you like to use our restroom?” Talk about hidden in plain sight!

Even without the hilarious aspects of this, I think White Goat is a great idea. It is a fast and effective way to recycle and provides real results back to the company. I would totally use it!

Thoughts? Comments? I’m intrigued!