Obedience and Disobedience

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Source: http://www.fullpunch.com/random/25-awesome-thoughts-read-it.html/

Disclosure: This post may contain advertising or affiliate links. 

When I was in high school, I had an awesome history teacher. Everyone in the school knew him and he was involved in many jokes due to his seemingly uncaring and sarcastic attitude. He’s still there, still teaching, and I think my sister had him at one point as well. We had him for Honors US History. And since we were the first ever Honors US History class in this history of my school, we were guinea pigs, to see what kind of work level we could handle.

And one of the parts of this class was reading A People’s History of the United States: 1492 to Present
by Howard Zinn. Now at the time, I have to tell you the truth. I hated this. We had to write a lot of papers talking about different chapters of this book and I was like “Ugh, it’s so much work.” (Oh high school self, we need to have a chat about what you think is so much work lol) 

But now, as an adult, I really appreciate that my teacher exposed me to Howard Zinn. Because in exposing me to Howard Zinn, he didn’t just expose me to that one author and that one book, he exposed me to a whole concept. He exposed me to the idea that there are more sides to history than just what is in one book. And that idea, it’s the kind that has the potential to open your mind. And it did open mine – to knowledge and to wanting to learn more. And to realizing that history isn’t just the be all and end all of what it says in this book. Who knows, someday I may even have my own kids read it.

But anyways, to address this quote, I think it speaks pretty well for itself. I could give you lots of examples (Germany during WWII is what first jumps to mind, but there are other ones as well) but I won’t, because I’d rather you think about it for yourself. But I just want to say this. We definitely need to live our lives with our eyes wide open. We can’t always just blindly follow the status quo or what the government says or what any other person says either. Because all of those things can be led astray and can lead us into destructive behavior, either for ourselves or for others.

Don’t just blindly follow. Know why you’re doing what you’re doing. And make sure you’re doing the right thing.


Of Terrorists and Politics and Fear

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Disclosure: This post may contain advertising links, which you are under no obligation to click. 

When I was younger, I used to fear terrorist attacks. They were the big unknown, the colossal evil, the worst possible thing that could happen to you. And in some ways, this makes sense. I was only 11 when the September 11th terrorist attacks happened and how else can an eleven-year-old brain make sense of such an event except to react with fear.

I didn’t know then what I know about terrorist attacks now. I didn’t know they were rare and unlikely to happen. Of course, with the Boston Marathon bombings fresh on our minds, they don’t seem rare. They seem very real and vivid and personal. And that’s not to say that they aren’t personal. But the fear, the fear is a very component of how terrorism works, in a sense.

For you see, deaths by terrorism are, overall, relatively low. People have done the math.  A similar number of Americans die on an annual basis from being crushed by falling furniture/tvs. And Americans are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, an airplane crash (not involving a terrorist attack), a car accident, in a fall, by drowning, in a railway accident, killed by a police officer, accidental electrocution, hot weather, excessive alcohol use, avoidable medical errors, obesity, a workplace accident, by fireworks, in a fire, from the flu, in a gun related death, and I’m sure many more. (Sources here, here, and here)

But terrorism invokes fear. Terrorist use what can be called force multipliers. Basically, what a force multiplier is something that causes a terrorist attack to have a greater extent instead of just the straight up number of people killed/wounded. You could almost call it the shock factor. I don’t know if I’m explaining it well, but basically because they do things that are shocking and out of the norm, it makes their actions seem much more scary and dangerous. It’s using things like suicide bombers and airplanes and attacking civilian targets.

But terrorists aren’t the only ones who take advantage of this. Politicians do too. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. They use it to pass laws like the Patriot Act, to hold people indefinitely without trying them and without access to a lawyer like they do at Guantanamo Bay, to convince companies to give NSA data, to kill terrorists rather than attempting to capture and try them and so many more things.

And I guess, I’m not saying they shouldn’t do some of these things if that’s what the American people want (even if it’s not what I want). If the American people want the government listening to their conversations, well then that’s their prerogative. I guess what I do want is for people to think critically when it comes to terrorism and politicians. Is whatever this politician is proposing in the name of keeping us safe from terrorism actually going to make us safer or is it just going to restrict our liberties?

And at least to me, if we let the terrorists change how we live our lives as Americans and the freedoms we have, then maybe, just maybe, they’ve won. They’ve already made us afraid enough to give up some of our core American values.

And I don’t like that thought at all.

P.S. In kind of odd things, did you know the National Counterterrorism Center has a kids’ page? Is it just me or is that kind of weird?

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10 Finds for Saturday – 4/27/13

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I decided today to try to organize these a bit into categories so I hope that helps! Here are your ten finds!

Ten Things: A Roundup Worth Reading


“My baby does not like being in a sling!” Tips for parents that want to babywear


Creative Sand Sensory Play

Pretend Campfire for Dramatic Play Camping Theme

General Parenting

10 Ways to Be a More Confident Mom

Appreciate Your Mom

Women’s Issues

It’s Not Just Domestic Violence: The Beginner’s Guide to 16 Types of Violence Against Women


Free Wheat Thins Sample

Free One Year Subscription to Ladies Home Journal

Visually Appealing

10 Cool Office Spaces


To Die For Pizza Dip


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Meet My Friend Janet and Her Pampered Chef Business

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Every so often, I like to promote my friends and what they are doing on the side because I really think it’s a neat thing. To me, supporting your friends is very important and to me, a part of the way I can do that is to promote them here. Janet and I have been friends since high school. We drifted apart for a bit over a stupid fight (which was kind of my fault – I held a grudge over something silly and dumb and I’m ashamed of that), but now that we are back in the same city, we are good friends again and it pleases me! In fact, she was over today and we baked and had a good time. So now to my interview with her!

Tell me a little about yourself.

I am a recent graduate of Martin Luther College. I also recently got married to my wonderful husband Mark. I teach pre-school half-time and I nanny in the afternoons, along with selling Pampered Chef. I also love to sew and bake and my dream job is to be a home ec teacher.

My Pampered Chef pizza stone. This was the last batch of cookies, we forgot the first two times even though we reminded ourselves. Haha.

My Pampered Chef pizza stone. This was the last batch of cookies, we forgot the first two times even though we reminded ourselves. Haha.

Tell us a bit about Pampered Chef.

It is a company that focuses on making it easier and faster to make dinner so your whole family can eat together instead of eating in front of the tv or saying it takes too long to make dinner so you make something that’s not healthy or you go out to eat instead of eating at home.

What are one of your parties like?

I come in, I make food, people get to try it and then they can ask questions about the products.

What kind of things do you sell?

We sell kitchen tools, things to use for grilling, spices and sauces that you can put on your food, dip mixes, pizza crust dough mixes and beer bread mix. Then we also have picnic ware – like plates, cups, that kind of thing. We also have cookbooks and more. It’s really cool that we just got a new gluten-free cookbook.

What is your favorite Pampered Chef product? 

It’s so hard to choose! I have so many things that I love. Most of the time it’s the newest thing I got, which at the moment is the tea bird. But I also love my dishes. And the cookware, which is awesome. I just got the new 8-inch executive skillet and it’s fantastic. I also like the knives, I have like umpteen thousand knives, but only two Pampered Chef knives and those are the ones that are always in the sink – they are like my kitchen power tools. Mark’s favorite is the stoneware.

What can you do for people?

I can do parties, bridal showers, birthday parties, and anything else you can think of. It’s always fun to have a girls’ night because we have drink mixes and then you can add like the alcohol and have drinks. You can pick the recipe and as long as it’s not too hard, I can show people how to make it at the show. And then you’ll be able to try it. I can also do a catalog show or a Facebook show or even over Skype, where I can still show your guests how to make the stuff and you can have a pre-made one at home. We ship all over the United States, so you can be anywhere.

My Pampered Chef cake pans. These really are non-stick - these cakes popped out beautifully.

My Pampered Chef cake pans. These really are non-stick – these cakes popped out beautifully.

Why should someone have a party with you?

There are a lot of benefits to hosting a show. For example, there’s always a monthly host special. This month it’s our cutting tools that are 60% off, like our simple slicer, the manual food processor, which I love, the mandoline, and the chopper. Plus, you get a certain amount of Pampered Chef dollars to use towards free products. I’ll do the cooking and the cleaning! And, as a host, you don’t pay shipping and handling (even during a virtual show!)

How can people get in touch with you?

They can e-mail me at jsewweddings@gmail.com. Also I have a website – if you just want to order something on the website, then your information is all safe and secure. That’s pamperedchef.biz/janetswanson.


Thanks so much Janet! She did a Pampered Chef show for me a while back and I loved it. We made a delicious taco ring and I now own several Pampered Chef items – I have a pizza stone, some of the stainless steel cookware, which I love, the knives, which I also love and a few more things. If you have any questions for Janet about Pampered Chef or hosting a show or anything like that, feel free to post them in the comments and Janet (or I, if applicable) will answer them.

Disclosure: I am not receiving any compensation from Janet or Pampered Chef – I’m simply doing this because I want to help my friend promote her business and I use and love my own Pampered Chef products. 

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Hello, New York Times, Way to Grind My Gears

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Ugh. So just when you think you’re having a nice morning, you read an article that you came across this morning while doing your usual internet browsing about how Japan is behind on OB/GYN care (the article is about that, not that I spend my mornings looking for articles on Japanese OB/GYN care – though I did this morning). While the article does make some important and valid points about the lack of OB/GYNs in Japan, it opens up as citing a low-level of pain relief and genetic testing as proof that OB/GYN care in Japan is lagging behind in OB/GYN care.

But let’s take a look at a few things. First of all, infant mortality. In the article, they compare epidural rates to France and the United States. So for sake of argument, we’ll compare stats with those (where I can find them). So infant mortality in the US is between 6-7 per 1000 live births. In Milwaukee, in 2010 the infant mortality rate was 9.5 per 1000 live births. In France, the infant mortality rate is between 3-4 per 1000 live births. In Japan, the infant mortality rates is between 2-3 per 1000 live births. Hmm, so Japan has a lower infant mortality rate than my hometown, the US, and France (by a bit) but yet, their OB/GYN care is lagging behind the rest of the world.

Well what about maternal mortality you might say? Does Japan have a large number of mothers dying in childbirth? That could make a difference right? In the US, maternal mortality rate is 21 per 100,000. In France, maternal mortality rate is 8 per 100,000. In Japan, the maternal mortality rate is 5 per 100,000. Oh hmm, that’s interesting. Japan has a maternal mortality rate lower than both the US and France, but yet their OB/GYN care is lagging behind the rest of the world.

Well maybe they have a lot of babies born prematurely. That’s worth investigating right? The percent of babies born preterm in the US is 12 percent. France is 6.7 percent of babies. Japan is 5.9 percent of babies. So Japan has a lower rate of premature births. Fascinating.

And okay, why should the rate of epidurals be a determining factor in poor OB/GYN care? They should be available, of course, I’m not against people using them, but they’re not mandatory for birth. You don’t need to have pain meds to have a baby. I had no pain meds, by choice. In fact, I know several people who had no pain meds by choice and even some people who had home births. Not having pain meds does not mean you are receiving substandard OB/GYN care and in a culture that thinks of suffering as not necessarily a bad thing, is it any surprise? Certainly, like I said, they should be available to people who want them, but they are not mandatory to have a baby.

And let me touch on genetic testing. You do not have to have genetic testing to have a baby either. The author of the article clearly thinks that genetic testing is a good thing, but not everyone feels the same way. There are many people who decline genetic testing because they know that no matter what they are going to love and keep that baby. Not to mention, amniocentesis  one of the tests the author mentions, carries risks. Amniocentesis carries a risk of miscarriage between  1 in 200 and 1 in 400 depending on circumstances. Perhaps there are less genetic screenings for these reasons.

And in his last sentence he talks about this lack of quality OB/GYN care being a reason Japan’s birth rate is falling. I find that a little hard to believe. Among The Economist, BBC News, and Japan Economic Currents not one lists poor maternity care as the reason Japan’s birth rate is falling. Instead, they list reasons such as the high cost of weddings, lower marriage rates, companies discouraging women from returning to work after becoming a mother, high unemployment, low wages for young people, social attitudes about family life, and the cost of raising and having children.

Lastly, the article spends the majority of the time talking about an OB/GYN shortage in Japan. This is a real problem, yes, but not one unique to Japan. Several sources predict a coming shortage of OB/GYNs or say one is already here in the United States including T̶h̶e̶ ̶O̶B̶/̶G̶Y̶N̶ ̶N̶u̶r̶s̶e̶-̶N̶P̶/̶P̶A̶, (link now broken as of 2/8/14), Parents.com, ACOG (they say one of their legislative goals is to support federal funding to address OB/GYN shortages)Massachusetts Medical Society, and USA Today.

I think saying that Japan has “poor” OB/GYN care is having the wrong conversation. I think the conversation we ought to be having is about maternity care in the US. But that’s just my opinion.


Wikipedia: List of Countries by Infant Mortality Rate
City of Milwaukee – Infant Mortality
CIA: Country Comparison: Maternal Mortality Rate
WHO data on preterm births by country
American Pregnancy Association – Amniocentesis 


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