Tuesday, May 31, 2011

June is Men’s Health Month

Men's Health Month, according to menshealthmonth.org, is designed to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This month gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. The response has been overwhelming with thousands of awareness activities in the USA and around the globe.
"There is a silent health crisis in America... it's that fact that, on average, American men live sicker and die younger than American women." ~ Dr. David Germillion
In honor of Men’s Health Month, I’m going to focus many of my posts this month on health related issues.  I’m a pretty healthy guy, with mostly healthy habits, but I definitely have areas where I can improve.  This month I’m going to research men’s health issues and share whatever facts or tidbits I learn.    Hopefully by the end of the month we can all be better prepared to live a more healthy life.
"Men die at higher rates than women from the top ten causes of death and are the victims of over 92% of workplace deaths." ~ BLS
Not a dude?  Men’s health is very important to women too!  Men typically live shorter lives than women. This results in many women having to suffer the premature loss of a father, brother, husband or son.  Most of these premature deaths by men are preventable.  The more aware both men and women are of men’s health issues, the more likely that hardship can be avoided. About 100 years ago, women outlived men by about one year.  Now, women (on average) outlive men by more than five years.  This is mostly because men are less likely to take good of care of themselves.  Throw in the fact that men are less likely to have health insurance, but more likely to have unhealthy habits, and the results speak for themselves.           
"Women are 100% more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men." ~ CDC 2001

Join me this month by learning more about men's health.  
It may save your life or someone you love!






Information Provided by:
www.menshealthnetwork.org


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www.facebook.com/pages/Thought-of-the-Jay

Monday, May 30, 2011

Off to Ikea!

Fresh off my business trip, we proceeded as planned to make progress on the baby’s room.  The next item on our to-do-list was to purchase a new dresser for the boy.  While he and most of his stuff made the move over to his new room, his clothes remained in what will soon be the baby’s room (again).  After some Internet searching we opted for a dresser from Ikea.  We considered having the items delivered but after seeing the $99 delivery price-tag we opted for a road trip.

"People say I am cheap, and I don't mind if they do." ~ Ingvar Kamprad
I’ve never been to an Ikea before, but have always heard that going to one of their stores is a fun experience.  The store was very big.  As you enter, maps (that double as a purchase wish list) and pencils are available to assist you with your shopping.  The first few sections of the store are mock rooms decorated entirely with their products.  If you see something you like, simply write down the product's descriptive information and continue along your way.  After zigzagging through the all of the showrooms you arrive at a food court.  I ordered the veggie wrap and some sort of chocolate cake. The food was decent and reasonably priced. The next stop is the warehouse. This is where you pickup all the items you want to buy.  The warehouse is very well organized.  The product information you wrote down in the showrooms contains the aisle and bin number for each product.  The process could not have been mapped out any easier.

"In the successful organization, no detail is too small to escape close attention" ~ Lou Holtz
The experience was also fun for the boy.  The food court and many of the showrooms contained small play areas for little kids.  One of the showrooms even had a slide!  Behind the steps to the slide was a mirror so the boy kept walking up backwards so he could watch himself.  Safe?  Not completely, but it wasn’t that high.      

"When you're safe at home you wish you were having an adventure; when you're having an adventure you wish you were safe at home." ~ Thorton Wilder
Shopping was the easy part.  Next, I had to assemble the two dressers we purchased.  This process went fairly well considering the instructions didn't contain any words, only pictures.  I put together the larger piece in a few hours with no problems.  The next day, I put together the smaller piece. It took slightly less time but longer than it should have taken. The extra time was because I messed up the drawers (made them inside-out). I had to take them apart and reassemble.  

"You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do." ~ Henry Ford
With the dressers in place, my wife moved over the boy’s clothes.  Well... with another task completed we are that much closer to having the house ready for the baby.   




Sunday, May 29, 2011

Business Trip

This past week I was in Alexandria, Virginia for a meeting. With the baby coming soon, and still a lot of work to do to be ready for her arrival, my wife told me to have fun because when I get back it’s time to get serious about getting the house ready. So have fun I did...
Prior to checking into our hotel, my coworker and I decided it would be best to find a liquor store.  In Virginia, beer and wine can be bought just about anywhere but liquor is not that easy.  We had GPS and an iPhone and still ultimately needed to ask someone for directions.  After searching the aisles, I opted for a bottle Jack Daniels Honey.

The first night I decided to take a dip in the pool.  Just like the rest of the Hilton Mark Center, the pool is very nice.  It is half indoors and half outdoors.  After getting into the pool, the lifeguard notifies me that the outdoor portion of the pool was closed.  A wooden plank was sprawled across the pool blocking off the deep end.  I waded around for a minute or two then asked why the outdoor portion was closed.  The lifeguard replied that the outdoor portion didn’t pass inspection yet.  Mind you this is all one pool, that I’m in.  I decided not to 
swim very long that night or ever again.

Since swimming wasn’t going to be an option, on day two I decided a jog would be helpful to sweat out some of the alcohol.  Since the hotel is located directly next to a park, I figured that would be my best option.  Before heading over to the park I thought it would be best to ask the concierge if the path in the park was a loop or if it was clearly marked.  Since I was supposed to meet my coworker for dinner I didn’t want to get lost in the city.  I was informed that the park was closed, but was given a google map printout and told of a popular route.  Despite being a little leary of running the streets of a strange city, I decided that with the map I could find a better route than the one suggested.  Veering off the recommended route started off well.  The road was tree lined, shady, and slightly downhill.  Once I reached 
my next turn I realized that this next leg would be along a very busy, non-shady, steeply inclined road.  While huffing my way up this hill I tried to concentrate on not letting the cars passing by see me struggle.  Since I didn't bring any music, the only thing I had going through my head was the realization that it was much hotter than I remembered and this hill, combined with the traffic, was why the hotel didn’t recommend this route.  Well, it turned out that those were more than enough distractions, because I zipped right on by my turn.  Now beyond the limits of my printout, I had to improvise my way back.  It was a nice run, but next time I think I’ll take the recommended route.   
      
One afternoon it was arranged for the group I was with to receive a tour of the Treasury building.  In case you are not familiar with what the building looks like, it is on the back of the $10 bill.  The building was very fancy (spiral staircases, gold plated fixtures, decorative columns, etc.)  The highlights of the tour included seeing the old cash room, going into a vault, and seeing the Secretary’s office.  We obviously weren't allowed to go into the Secretary’s office, but as we walked by, the door was open and I tried to get a peek.  We were, however, allowed to tour his private meeting room.  This room is now famous for being the room where the meeting with the top bankers occurred at the beginning of the recent financial crisis.

As with all trips, eating was a big part of the trip.  Most of our meals were either at the hotel or at chain restaurants, but for one dinner we went to a local place called Clive’s.  It was nice... after a few Jack and Gingers it was nicer!  For dinner I ate the pan seared salmon special.  I have a rule about eating fish out - unless you can see the ocean or the place has something fish related in the title, don’t order the fish.  I broke the rule, but it worked out this time.  However, I did get nervous when asked how I wanted the pan seared salmon cooked.                    

Well... all things considered the trip went well.  The meeting was relatively beneficial.  The Jack Daniels Honey was smooth and delicious.  But most of all I made it home safe!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Netflix Movie Review: Black Swan

"I absolutely loved Black Swan. I’m just not sure I can accurately say that I enjoyed it. When I first walked into Black Swan, I wasn’t sure what to think. When the movie was over and I walked out, I still wasn’t sure what to think. Despite how that might sound, that is not a criticism, but rather high praise for director Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Requiem for a Dream), and Natalie Portman, who present a movie that is complex, compelling, and never ordinary. It is also one of the year’s best." ~ Ryan Fleming
General Movie Info:
Genre: Drama, Thiller
Plot: A ballet dancer (Natalie Portman) is chosen for the lead role in "Swan Lake". She is perfect for the White Swan scenes but struggles in the transformation into the Black Swan  
Rated: R


My thoughts:
Black Swan was better than I anticipated. While the movie is about a ballet dancer it is not a dancing movie. With all of the attention Black Swan received at the annual award shows I was a little worried that this would be an artsy ballet film. Instead it was a sexually charged dark thriller that kept me interested from beginning to end. If you like dark thrillers I would recommend putting it on your your Netflix queue.
    
Check out the official trailer:



Thursday, May 19, 2011

Preparing for Delivery

Like many expecting fathers, I signed up for email alerts from What to Expect. These alerts are based on my wife’s due date and inform me about the baby’s development and other pregnancy related information. With our first child I read these emails everyday. Many days I would read them twice to make sure nothing changed! This time around, since I’m now a pro, I don’t read them everyday but I do try to read the ones that catch my eye. The feature article in today’s email titled “Packing for the Hospital” definitely caught my eye.

"We must be prepared to face our responsibilities and be willing to use force if necessary." ~ Dick Cheney
Obviously, the editors at What to Expect didn’t read my recent 3 Little Birds post about having plenty of time left to prepare for the baby!  

"If you fail to prepare, you've prepared to fail." ~ Mark Spitz
Within the article was a list of items they recommend assembling now to be best prepared for the big day.  While I still think we have plenty of time, I decided to review the list.  After reading, I felt more their list wasn't very helpful.  Sure the items contained in the list were helpful but most, if not all, of the items were centered around the needs of the birthing lady and nothing for the fella.  In my opinion, if the hospital doesn't have it the patient doesn't need it.  The person who needs a bag of stuff is the guy!  Below is a list of items no father-to-be should be caught without at the hospital.

"It is well to be prepared for life as it is, but it is better to be prepared to make life better than it is." ~ Sargent Shriver
Man’s Birthing Bag Contents:
  • Notebook and Pen: You may need to write stuff down... like how to get to the cafeteria.
  • Stopwatch: Not for monitoring contractions, but for playing the How Long Have My Eyes Been Closed game.  If you’ve never played before I highly recommend this gem.  It is very simple.  Close your eyes, start stopwatch, open and stop timer at same time, before looking at the timer guess how long your eyes were closed, then check the timer.  (This game is also great for passing time at work or the DMV.)  
  • Massage Oils: In case your lady wants/needs to distract herself from the pain of childbirth by giving you a massage.  It’s better to be prepared then to settle for a dry hospital hand massage.
  • Oddly Flavored Beef Jerky: The odder the better.  That way your lady won’t ask to eat any.  The hospital will give her food if she needs it but they only give the guy directions.
  • A Toy: The toy needs to be small and quiet.  It’s best that your lady not know about the toy.  If it is too much fun she may not want you to play with it or worse... take it for herself!
  • Clean Underwear: Always a good thing to have around.  No one has ever said... “I wish I didn't have that extra pair of clean underwear.”
  • Any Random Girly Thing: In the event that your lady questions what you are doing or why you got her pregnant, calmly look into your bag, shuffle some items around, then pull out the girly item and ask her if the item would be helpful.  It is best if the item is not sharp or hard.  This is because if you present the item incorrectly it may be thrown back at you!   

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Is it the End of the World... Again?

Billboards and pamphlets have been appearing around the world claiming Judgement Day will occur on May 21, 2011.
"No one knows the day or the hour..." ~ Mathew 24:36
What is Judgement Day?
For centuries people have contemplated the end of the world and have tried to predict when and how this might happen.  Judgement Day, often referred to as Doomsday, refers to an end of the the world as we know it.  Most religions have a theory as to the events that what will occur on Judgement Day.  Theories typically involve an epic battle between good and evil and include cataclysmic natural disasters.     
“It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.” ~ REM
Why May 21, 2011?
Family Radio Worldwide, the source of the billboards and pamphlets, base their claim on two numerological “truths” they claim they have discovered within the Bible.
"If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later." ~ Mark Twain
The first “truth” is based on Genesis 7:4, when God said to Noah: "Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made."  They claim that when God referred to seven days, he meant both seven days and seven thousand years, because "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." They believe that the flood occurred in 4990 BC, exactly seven thousand years ago.
“If the Apocalypse comes, beep me.” ~ Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The second “truth” they discovered is said to be based on the number of days between Christ’s Crucifixion and May 21, 2011.  According to their math, May 21st will be exactly 722,500 days after the Crucifixion.  They claim that 722,500 is a significant number because it is composed of the significant numbers 5,10, and 17. Five signifies redemption; ten signifies completion; and 17 signifies heaven.  They feel that since those number are so significant they should be doubled.  If you multiple those numbers twice (5 x 10 x 17 x 5 x 10 x 17) you get 722,500.  
"Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." ~ Matthew 24:44 ESV
Other Judgement Day Predictions?
This isn’t the first time Family Radio Worldwide has predicted the end of the world.  Originally this group claimed a date in 1994 would be the final day of earth.  The group justifies their 1994 date was inaccurate because “important subsequent Biblical information was not yet known.”
"They say God existed from the beginning of time and will exist beyond the end of of time.  Can you imagine trying to sit through his home movies?" ~ Scott Roeben
Other noted prediction dates for the end-of the-world:
  • Jan. 1, 1000:  Many Christians in Europe predicted this date. (This prediction turned out to be wrong.)   
  • Mar. 21, 1843: William Miller, founder of the Millerite movement, predicted Jesus would return on this date.  (This prediction also turned out to be wrong.)   
  • Oct. 22, 1844: After being wrong the first time William Miller predicted this date.  Many of his followers sold their property and quit their jobs to prepare for the second coming.  (Guess what... this prediction turned out to be wrong too.)   
  • Dec. 17, 1919. Meteorologist Albert Porta said that six planets would come together that day, with the resulting magnetic current causing the Earth to be engulfed by the exploding sun.  (I can’t find proof on the Internet but I’m pretty sure this prediction turned out to be wrong.)   
  • Aug. 18, 1999. Charles Criswell King, an American psychic, said the world would end that day. His other predictions ranged from Denver being struck by a ray from space to saying in March 1963 that something would happen to U.S. President John F. Kennedy in November 1963 that would mean he wouldn't run for re-election in 1964.  (Did anyone question this guy about being on a grassy knoll?)
  • Jan. 1, 2000. Otherwise known as Y2K, it was a widespread prediction that computers wouldn't be able to handle the arrival of 01/01/2000. (They did.)  
  • Dec. 12, 2012. Based on the final date on the Mayan calendar (To be determined.)
“The apocalypse is coming, that's the one thing I like about George Bush, I really think he can get us into the ... apocalypse, like the BIBLICAL ... I really think he believes that he'll be the guy in the white hat. I think he's read the Stephen King novel The Stand a couple times, and he really thinks there's a dark man in the desert somewhere and he's gonna fight him or something.” ~ Patton Oswalt
So now what... What to do?
Many religious groups are angry at the audacity of this group for proclaiming that they know God’s plan, but not me.  While I give their fuzzy math date calculation no merit, the prediction does serve people some good.  It reminds them that this world will end at some point.  If the world did end would you have accomplished everything you want to?  I haven’t.  Would everyone you care about know how much?  I hope so.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Little Man

Lately most of my attention has been concentrated on preparing for baby number two.  The days on the calender keep moving closer to her due date, and to-do items are slowly being checked off our baby prep list.  But this weekend I noticed the my wife’s belly isn’t the only thing getting bigger, so is my son.
"You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was." ~ Abraham Lincoln
On Friday, the boy and I went to a local children's amusement park for the first time without my wife.  As soon as we got to the park we headed straight for “Vapor Trail”, which is their big roller coaster.  This would be my son's first time on a roller coaster!  He has gone on several other rides but nothing this big or this fast.  I thought he would like the ride but since this was his first time I couldn’t be completely sure.  
“Don't wait to make your son a great man - make him a great boy.”  ~ Author Unknown
After the safety bar was locked and the ride began to move I explained to him what was about to happen.  My words received little attention.  However, about halfway up the incline I felt his hand firmly grab my leg. He was now quite aware that something big was about to happen.  
"Do not ask that your kids live up to your expectations.  Let your kids be who they are, and your expectations will be in breathless pursuit."  ~ Robert Brault
The ride was faster and more exciting than I was anticipating, so when we pulled into the station I was wondering how he was going to react.  Once the ride came to a complete stop, I could tell from the look on his face that he had fun.  We gave each other a high-five and continued our journey . I was feeling very proud of my boy as we walked around the park.  We were having a great time.  We went on a few more rides, shared a hot pretzel, and met characters.  How could it get better?

"It is not flesh and blood, but heart which makes us fathers and sons."  ~ Friedrich von Schiller
This amusement park has a big slide for kids.  You have to walk up three flights of stairs to get to the top.  On past visits to the park, I would take my son to the top and my wife would wait down at the bottom.  On this trip, since it was just the two of us, if he was going to be able to go down the slide he would have to climb to the top by himself.

“Sons have always a rebellious wish to be disillusioned by that which charmed their fathers.”  ~ Aldous Huxley
We walked over to the stairs and I told him to follow the other kids and I would be waiting for him at the bottom.  He let go of my hand and began to climb the stairs.  After going up the second flight of stairs he looked back to me.  I yelled up to him, “I’ll see you at the bottom.”  He then continued on his climb and quickly went out of sight.  I made my way down to bottom of the slide and waited.  Since he was out of sight I kept watch like a hawk.  Would he come down the slide?  Would he come back down the stairs?  Would the ride attendant call me to come up for some reason?  After what felt like an hour, he came flying out of the slide tunnel with a huge smile.  

“Of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanageable.”  ~ Plato
As soon as he got off the slide he wanted to go again.  So we walked back to the stairs where I told him again that I would be waiting at the bottom.  Again he walked up most of the way, looked back, then continued ahead to the slide.  Each time he reached the bottom he wanted to go again.  So we would walk back to the stairs and go through our quickly formed routine.
“When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.”  ~ William Shakespeare
However, after a few times of going through this process he stopped looking back to see if I was watching. He was too excited to get to the top and go down the slide like the bigger kids.  At that moment I realized my little boy was growing up... and growing up fast!
I am so proud!

My Netflix Movie Review: The Switch

"She’s 40, broody and single, so TV production assistant Jennifer Aniston decides to have a child via a sperm donor. As the title pretty much gives away, complications with two different helpings of man-seed lie ahead. But what the title and marketing don’t tell you is that Aniston is essentially a secondary character. The focus is actually on her unattached best friend Jason Bateman’s discovery that he may not be much of a lover but he’s a great father. Curiously, he comes on like a latterday Tony Randall, a charming neurotic seemingly at the closeted end of the asexual spectrum. Bateman’s performance – as a broker shedding his anxious reserve when it’s his turn to look after Aniston’s melancholy little boy (Thomas Robinson, a real discovery) – is funny, touching and observed in micro-detail throughout." ~ Trevor Johnston
General Movie Info:
Genre:  Comedy, Drama, Romance
Plot:  Still single and increasingly attuned to the cacophony of her biological clock, 40-something Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) decides to pursue motherhood with the help of a sperm donor. Kassie's best friend Wally (Jason Bateman) disagrees with her decision.
Rated: PG-13

My thoughts:
This romantic comedy lacked comedy. It had one or two chuckle moments but never delivered a truly funny moment. Unless you are desperate to see a Jennifer Aniston movie, this is one movie you can live without seeing. I would recommend finding something else to put on your
your Netflix queue.
    
Check out the official trailer:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fatty Likes Cake

I’m not a big snack person.  Typically I don’t fill up on chips or cake but for the past few weeks I’ve been a late night snacking fool.  Each night it seems that I have some type of craving that I’ve needed to satisfy.  I’m not exactly sure why I’m having these cravings but my initial thought is to blame my pregnant wife.
Men are but children of a larger growth, Our appetites as apt to change as theirs, And full as craving too, and full as vain. Diane Arbus
Sure, I’m the one choosing to eat the ice cream, nachos, cookies, etc but it’s not like I want to eat them.  It’s more like I need to eat them.  My wife is the pregnant one, but I’m the one craving snacks.  
There is no end of craving. Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. Therefore, acquire contentment. ~ Sivananda
It turns out I’m not alone, many dads-to-be experience this sudden shift in behaviors.  Some even experience physical discomfort such as abdominal pain or leg cramps.  What many consider to be sympathy symptoms is technically known as “Couvade syndrome”.  
The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. ~ William James
According to www.whattoexpect.com, Couvade syndrome may be caused by emotions that the father-to-be is feeling about his lady or the experience in general.  For example, she feels uncomfortable so he feels bad that he can’t help so he feels uncomfortable.  Other potential feelings that could trigger sympathy symptoms include anxiety from the stress of the experience, or from jealousy caused by her getting all of the attention.  “The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips and Advice for Dads-to-Be” claims that up to 75 percent of men experience some type of symptom.   
There is a syndrome in sports called "paralysis by analysis. ~ Arthur Ashe
To me, Couvade syndrome is some type of lovie-dovie hippie term some new age doctor made up.  Sure... some men might think they are having pregnancy symptoms, but they are just confused and weak.  The doctors give them an excuse and they go along for the ride.  In my case.... I’m not going to blame my wife or Couvade syndrome for my snacking.  I think it is much simpler... fatty likes cake!

Monday, May 9, 2011

3 Little Birds

About three years ago we rose up one morning to find a bird had made a nest on our front door wreath.  It was nice because we could look out the window and look into the nest.  It was very exciting!  

"A new baby is like the beginning of all things wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities." ~ Eda J. Le Shan
At the same time, my wife was pregnant with our first child. Even more exciting! As first time parents-to-be we enjoyed observing the birds and my wife's belly grow.
"Having a child is surely the most beautiful irrational act that two people in love can commit" ~ Bill Cosby  
As my wife moved along with her pregnancy she began to prepare our home for the arrival of a baby by cleaning, fixing and organizing everything. Coincidentally, this motherly ritual of preparing the home is referred to as “nesting”.  One project on our to-do list was to add a screen door to the front of our house.
"People are giving birth underwater now. They say it's less traumatic for the baby because it's in water. But certainly more traumatic for the other people in the pool." ~ Elayne Boosler
The date of the door install was quickly approaching and we were concerned about the birds.  If we installed the door the mother bird would not be able to reach her baby birds in the wreath.  If we moved the wreath we were worried that the mother would smell us on the birds and stop feeding them.  What to do? 

"There are three reasons for breast-feeding: the milk is always at the right temperature; it comes in attractive containers; and the cat can't get it." ~ Irena Chalmers
Three years have gone by and again a bird has made a nest at our house and once again my wife is pregnant.  This time around, our “nesting” process has progressed along much slower.  We have about two months to go and a whole lot of work still needs to be done.
"Diaper backwards spells repaid. Think about it." ~ Marshall McLuhan
Three years ago we went to bed not sure what we were going to do about the bird nest in our front door.  The day before our screen door was going to be installed we woke up to find the birds flew away.  Everything worked out perfectly.
"People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one" ~ Leo J. Burke
While we still have a lot to do to be ready for baby number two, I’m confident that we will have everything ready in time.  We don’t have to worry about a thing... every little thing is going to be alright!