Friday, February 24, 2006

Hey! Hey! Our little band of missionaries has made a national wave. Check us out!
GSP BAND on Catholic Music

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Public Beware--foodborne illness on the loose!

The Norwalk virus is alive and well, and no doubt waiting for me! I had a foodborne diease not so long ago--see blog below. Just the pits! Perhaps it was not, as I thought, a runofthemill food poison. Here's a description:

Norwalk virus infection is an intestinal illness that often occurs in outbreaks.
Norwalk and Norwalk-like viruses are increasingly being recognized as leading causes of foodborne disease in the United States.
The viruses are passed in the stool of infected persons. People get infected by swallowing stool-contaminated food or water. Outbreaks in the United States are often linked to raw oysters.
Infected people usually recover in 2 to 3 days without serious or long-term health effects.
To prevent Norwalk virus infection: 1) wash hands with soap and warm water after toilet visits and before preparing or eating food; 2) cook all shellfish thoroughly before eating; 3) wash raw vegetables before eating; and 4) dispose of sewage in a sanitary manner.

Ain't much worse than what a foodborne disease can to do a body. Unless you wanna talk Eboli bacteria, and I don't thanks! The brave at heart can go here for more details NORWALK http://www.dhpe.org/infect/norwalk.html

And you may as well be aware of this, too:
You may not have heard of Norwalk virus, but your child has probably had it or will have it. It is not a flu virus, but when people speak of the “tummy flu,” they are often referring to a Norwalk virus infection.

What is it?
Norwalk virus was first identified as the cause of an outbreak of gastroenteritis among children at a school in Norwalk, Ohio – and among their teachers and their families.

Norwalk virus is a significant cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks in schools, day-cares, summer camps, restaurants, and cruise ships.

It is also a significant cause of gastroenteritis in the absence of an outbreak.

In addition, Norwalk virus is a significant cause of food poisoning.

Who gets it?
Anyone can get Norwalk virus, from the nursery to the nursing home, but those at highest risk are children under 4.

Outbreaks often occur in settings where there is close contact between many children. The virus is found in stool and on hands and surfaces that have had contact with stool.

Norwalk food poisoning has most often been associated with contaminated ice, water, raw shellfish, salads, sandwiches, and cookies.

The virus is destroyed by cooking, but not by freezing

What are the symptoms?
Diarrhea and vomiting are the hallmark symptoms of Norwalk virus infection. These may be accompanied by fever, headache, muscle aches, abdominal cramps, and generally feeling crummy.

Dreadful disease. And oh so common! Go wash your hands.

Monday, February 13, 2006

WISE WORDS: Second Sunday of ordinary time (last month)

Fr. Bouchard begins his homily with examples from movies and literature of stories the bring humor or crisis to situations of mistaken identity. This parallel to scripture has a practical application to life. He points out: "Mistaken identity is a spiritual problem, too. Scripture is filled with stories of people who failed to recognize God or God's messenger. Angels are confused with men, and men with angels; John the Baptist's followers mistake him for the Messiah; Mary Magdalen mistakes Jesus for the gardener; The Disciples think he is just a fellow traveler on the road to Emmaus."

Examples in our own lives are probably even more frequent than in the gospels. Bouchard is right when he tells us that: "God certainly could reveal himself to us all at once, in a flash, with no intermediary at all. But God ordinarily chooses not to do that. Instead, he sends people into our lives who help us discover him a little bit at a time. They help us see glimpses of truth, they set us straight, they deliver us from our delusions. This is the role of spiritual directors, of course, but it is also something that friends, or occasionally even strangers, can do for us."

The challenge is double sided. How do we listen with ears that really hear and find the Wisdom of the Spirit in the world with us? But at the same time, the messenger of Wisdom may be in us. What message do others receive because of my words and actions?

Friday, February 10, 2006

Aging and Dementia--a checklist

1. Memory loss. Forgetting recently learned information is one of the most common early signs of dementia. A person begins to forget more often and is unable to recall the information later.
What's normal? Forgetting names or appointments occasionally.
2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks. People with dementia often find it hard to plan or complete everyday tasks. Individuals may lose track of the steps involved in preparing a meal, placing a telephone call or playing a game.
What's normal? Occasionally forgetting why you came into a room or what you planned to say.
3. Problems with language. People with Alzheimer’s disease often forget simple words or substitute unusual words, making their speech or writing hard to understand. They may be unable to find the toothbrush, for example, and instead ask for "that thing for my mouth.”
What's normal? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
4. Disorientation to time and place. People with Alzheimer’s disease can become lost in their own neighborhood, forget where they are and how they got there, and not know how to get back home.
What's normal? Forgetting the day of the week or where you were going.
5. Poor or decreased judgment. Those with Alzheimer’s may dress inappropriately, wearing several layers on a warm day or little clothing in the cold. They may show poor judgment, like giving away large sums of money to telemarketers.
What's normal? Making a questionable or debatable decision from time to time.
6. Problems with abstract thinking. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may have unusual difficulty performing complex mental tasks, like forgetting what numbers are for and how they should be used.
What's normal? Finding it challenging to balance a checkbook.
7. Misplacing things. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places: an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.
What's normal? Misplacing keys or a wallet temporarily.
8. Changes in mood or behavior. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may show rapid mood swings – from calm to tears to anger – for no apparent reason.
What's normal? Occasionally feeling sad or moody.
9. Changes in personality. The personalities of people with dementia can change dramatically. They may become extremely confused, suspicious, fearful or dependent on a family member.
What's normal? People’s personalities do change somewhat with age.
10. Loss of initiative. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may become very passive, sitting in front of the TV for hours, sleeping more than usual or not wanting to do usual activities.
What's normal? Sometimes feeling weary of work or social obligations.
If you recognize any warning signs in yourself or a loved one, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends consulting a doctor. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other disorders causing dementia is an important step to getting appropriate treatment, care and support services.
Everyone forgets a name or misplaces keys occasionally. Many healthy people are less able to remember certain kinds of information as they get older.
The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease are much more severe than simple memory lapses. If you or someone you know is experiencing Alzheimer symptoms, consult a doctor.

Wakefield: 'Dog sh*t' ham

A Wakefield man lost his appetite when he found "dog sh*t" listed among the ingredients on a packet of ham.

Mick Woods, 34, examined another of the 300g containers and saw the same 'additive' listed on the label.

And he admitted: "Obviously I haven't eaten it. It sort of puts you off."

His partner Tracey, 28, bought the 99p packs of cooked, sliced ham from a store near their home.

The dad-of-three added: "We spent 40 minutes laughing. But we haven't put any in the kids' sandwiches and we had something else for our tea."

Manufacturer H R Hargreaves & Son said it axed an employee over the labeling prank and was trying to recall the ham.

A spokesman for the Manchester firm said: "We can't have people fooling about with food products. A number of packs are affected. We're trying to find out what shops they're in."
[ananova news]

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Book Review: The Magician's Assistant

While looking for a book to take a long for beach reading, I remembered Ann Patchett's Bel Canto and how much I enjoyed it from cover to cover. Luckily, on Border's shelf was another by Patchett entitled The Magician's Assistant, which I get wrong every time I tell someone--Magician's Wife usually because that's what it is about. Unlike Bel Canto, which takes place in South America and has a colorful global cast of characters enduring a wild hostage situation, Magician's Assistant is set in Californian and Nebraska. A notable magician dies on the first page, and we get to know him throughout the book during flashbacks and dreams. His assistant, now his wife, has the gift of dreaming about and communicating with those who have passed over into the next life. They guide and support her (Sabine) as she begins to live a new life without the man she has loved for twenty years, yet magically more connected to him than was possible during their life together.

The deceased magician was gay, with a partner. Sabine marries him after the partner dies from AIDS, and partners him through his own AIDS illness, only to stand by helplessly as he dies suddenly from a brain aneurysm. Patchett has done a skillful job of placing love at the center of the characters' world without hedging it in with social or religious expectations. Sabine's love for the magician is boundless, following him beyond the grave. She has been the one confidant in his life, sharing the secrets of the most profound magic tricks, but never knowing the man behind the magic.

The first few chapters are not hot page turners. It was easy to put the book down to close my eyes and listen to the roar of the ocean or the Cuban music over the poolside speakers. But once the plot and main characters were laid out, my reading pace quickened. I wanted Sabine to be happy again, to find love again, and to get to know her magician, if only through her dreams. Patchett kept my attention; I rarely skimmed any page--a bad habit of mine when I'm hurrying toward the finish. Each word of dialogue and descriptive passage moves the plot along and tells me something more about Sabine or the secrets she's trying to find.

I finished the book on the plane during the return flight. Perfect timing. Sabine would return to California, all was well. The plane flew right over the Bal Harbor Resort and I had a bird's eye view--as if from a dream--of the meandering pool and tropical paradise in which I'd come to know Sabine.

Monday, February 06, 2006

I wanna be in Miami! What a pleasant place to be, if only for one week--or less. The Bal Harbor Resort is heaven. In fact, I had the odd thought, "What if when you die you go to Miami?" I noticed there are many Jews in heaven. The young Jewish girls (teens) were dressed at poolside in long black skirts, long black sleeved t-shirty blouses, and plugged in to various electronic entertainment devices. They sunned their lower legs and their faces. And they swam in the same attire--with suits under their clothing. The clothing was SKIN tight, so one cannot say it was overly modest, except that no skin was showing--or very little.

Besides that, the temperature hovered around 80 all week, allowing me some poolside reading and sunning time. Back in the cold northern weather, I can't show off my tan for all the layers of clothing I have to wear to stay warm. sigh.

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