Happy Arbor Day!

Today is Arbor Day! If you are wondering what that is, according to arborday.org it is, “the annual observance that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care”. This is especially important in states such as California where more than 100 million trees died between 2010, and 2016 during the really bad drought. According to a December 2016 post from livescience.com, “the death count found that 62 million trees died this year in California, bringing the six-year total to more than 102 million”. While California is still in a drought, you can pick trees that are resistant. Here is a list of a few trees you can choose if you are in an area that does not get a lot of rain. And as for caring for your tree, please click here to learn how.

We need our trees, to help with clean air, oxygen, shade, and even growing food. Please consider growing a tree in your yard if you do not already have one. Just remember, check with the local gas, and sewer companies to make sure the roots won’t disturb the pipes. Happy planting!

The First Temporary Insanity Plea

Were you aware that the first time the temporary insanity plea was successfully used in a case was back in the 1800’s? It was 1859 to be exact, and it was used by Dan Sickles a congressman from New York. He was accused of killing his wife’s lover, Barton Key, who was son to Francis Scott Key, the author of “The Star Spangled Banner”. This case really does sound like something out of the movies. According to todayifoundout.com, “Sickles had married his wife in 1852, when he was 33 and she was 15, despite the objections of her family. Though it was apparently okay for him to have affairs, it was not okay for her to have one. Sickles grabbed three guns and set out to find Key, finding him right across from the White House, he shot and killed him”.

So, how did he get off with his temporary insanity you might be wondering? The website continues that, “although Sickles confessed to murder, he had been driven temporarily insane by his wife’s infidelity. The newspapers went further declaring that Sickles was actually “protecting” other innocent women from Key. The public agreed and lauded Sickles as a hero”. Not sure if this same sentiment would be felt today, but back in the 1800’s, it was enough to get Sickles off of his murder charge. You can read more about Dan Sickles here.

Protect Yourself From the Mosquitoes

This year mosquitoes will be a little worse if you live in California. There are several things you can and should do, to help prevent mosquitoes from breeding, and biting you. First, you should realize that it only takes a cap full of water for a mosquito to breed, so if you have any amount of standing water around your house you should remove it. Here is a link to ways to help prevent breeding around your home. Next, understand what types of diseases that mosquitoes carry. Malaria, Zika, and West Nile are among the more well-known, but there are certainly many others. Click this link to see a full list of the diseases they carry. Last is prevention such as wearing longer clothes that have a little thickness, and lighter colors. And of course using spray helps too, click this link for what works and doesn’t for repelling mosquitoes. Here is a link to the plants that Prevention.com says you can plant to help keep the little buggers at bay. Keep you and your family safe this and every mosquito season.

Get Ready to Fly!

Did you see footage of the newest car floating around? I am not talking about another self-driving car, no I am talking about a car that actually flies! Google founder Larry Page is backing a company called Kitty Hawk and they have created two prototypes of flying cars. I feel like we are living in the Jetsons, remember when that cartoon was just a fantasy? Fantasy has become reality! While we still seem to be a long way off from flying cars being the norm on roads (or rather above them) it is pretty cool that what was once  fantasy world, is now a kind of reality. Click this link for more information on the “all-electric aircraft”.  The link also includes a video of the aircraft being “driven”, pretty cool stuff!

Be Aware of the Stress in Your Life

April is stress awareness month, and since most of us like to go, go, go, I thought I would remind you to stop, and give back to yourself. I found the following stress relief tips on WebMD website.
-Meditation: While the site lists a very traditional meditation, sitting still with legs crossed repeating positive mantras, I believe mediation can be more than just that. Meditation is about learning how to stop the mind from wandering and looking within. Here is an article with additional thoughts on meditation. If you are worried you won’t be able to figure out how, try taking a yoga class, as it will help to teach you.

-Deep Breathing: It can be helpful to take slow deep breaths, calming you, and eventually helping to bring the heart rate and blood pressure down.

-Laughing: They say laughing is the best medicine, and they say this for a reason. It is true, laughing out loud can actually make you feel better. It boosts the brain releasing endorphins, and those make you happy!

-Music: Yes! Are you a fan? I like a little of everything, from the Beatles, and Rolling Stones, to Amy Winehouse, Beck, and Bob Marley. Music can help to lower blood pressure, thus relieving stress.

-Exercise: Movement helps to decrease stress too! Walking, running, riding a bike, yoga, barre, find a class or trail that suits you and get moving! Let out the stress from your day in physical movement. And bonus, you can get in shape, and get healthy!

There are other ways to relieve your stress, you can check the link for help. Whatever you choose, don’t let the stress overtake you. It is so easy to say we don’t have time for stress relief, but stress is literally toxic, and can make us sick. Here is a link on how stress effects you, please take care of yourself.

Happy Earth Day

Today is the day we honor and celebrate the Earth, well really we should do this everyday, but today specifically. There are celebrations that go on all over the world, to bring awareness to our precious commodities via our planet. I encourage you to find one near you so that you can take part next year, here is a list of the ones in California. A side note, Modesto was not on the list, and we had our 28th one this year!

If you are anything like me, you want to know where Earth Day came from, who started it, what the reason behind it is. Well, it started in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson as a way to educate about environmental issues. According to History.com, “in 1990, Earth Day went global, with 200 million people in over 140 nations participating. In 2000, Earth Day focused on clean energy and involved hundreds of millions of people in 184 countries and 5,000 environmental groups”. We only have one Earth, (that we are aware of) and we want to leave it nice for our children and grandchildren. Here is a link to a little more info on Earth Day, via the Earth Day website.

The next question you are probably asking yourself is how you can help. There is so much we can do to reduce our carbon footprint.  You can start with recycling, simple, if you are not interested in taking in your recyclables, give them to a family member, or neighbor who might want to take them in. Be more aware; is everything you are printing needed, can you walk or ride a bike instead of driving, are you pouring water down your drain or throwing on your lawn/plants. Being more green does not need to take a bunch of time, and in fact, often when you start thinking more about what you are doing you will save money.  If you are curious about your carbon footprint, click here for a calculator.

Do what you can, what you have control over, and teach your family, especially your children. We need our Earth as long as possible!

Life in Prison VS. The Death Penalty- A Surprising Fact

I am going to start this off by being clear, I am not putting forth my opinion, just stating a fact on this very controversial topic. Many would be surprised at some of the facts surrounding this debate, as many think they know everything when it comes to the death penalty. So, I am going to put forth this single fact, and let you have your opinion.

Life in prison is cheaper than the death penalty. In fact, it costs much more to end someone’s life. Why you might be wondering, one reason is the court process. It costs money to have an attorney (and in some cases several), experts, and juries. On top of those fees, you are still paying to house the convicted, while they are on trial. According to The Marshall Project, “A 2010 report prepared for the Judicial Conference of the United States found that between 1989 and 1997 the median cost of a federal death penalty case that went to trial was $269,139; between 1998 and 2004 it had grown to $620,932”. and according to Deathpenaltyinfo.org, “the cost of the death penalty in California has totaled over $4 billion since 1978”.

Again, this may not be a factor in your mind at all, and that is your choice. I just wanted to draw a little light on a subject many of of think we know everything about, but are surprised to learn this detail. I found another interesting website on the pros and cons of the death penalty in general. If you are interested in the debate, take a look.

 

Thank You Volunteers

Today is volunteer recognition day, a day to appreciate the kindness and generosity of the people that give themselves to others. It takes a special person to do something for nothing, but then again, sometimes the reward of helping is more than a paycheck could ever provide. Do you remember the last time you volunteered? If you live in my area here is a link to current opportunities. It would appear that the organization has many different locations, so you can search out one in your area.

I want to thank all of those people who give back to their communities, by volunteering. You are an inspiration to us all!

We Love Our Pets

Did you know that there is a whole list of days for pet owners recognizing different days having to do with being a pet owner? Yes, you can Google Pet Holidays and find lists such as this one, and learn that there are many days in honor of our pets. Today, April 18, 2017 for instance, is known as Pet Owners Independence Day. So what is this day exactly, well if you read up online it was a day to switch roles with your pets. Can you imagine your dog or cat driving into work, while we lay on the floor, waiting for attention, someone to scratch our head. Seems pretty funny, but wouldn’t it be nice. Here is a link to some of the details I found on this holiday. And of course my image of choice is my Melky. I guess I will have to get one of him sitting at my desk with a little jacket on, to truly play the role.

Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts

Every year those in the state of Massachusetts get a holiday in the name of Patriots’ Day. What is this holiday, well for one, it is the day the Boston Marathon is run, and is also known as Marathon Monday. It is also a day that the Red Sox always play a home game. It is a state holiday where much is closed, and many are on the streets celebrating. Patriots’ Day as officially made a holiday on April 19, 1894, however in 1969 it was officially moved to the third Monday of April. It was in 1959 that the Red Sox began to always have a home game on Patriots’ Day, and was moved to a 11a.m. start time in 1968, to ensure those at the game would get out in time to cheer on the runners. It is a day of celebration, of history, and patriotism.

In 2013 two men would try to ruin the patriotism of Massachusetts by setting off bombs disrupting one of the greatest marathons. It would take law enforcement only 4 days to create a timeline, and make one arrest (the other bomber was killed in a shootout). Here is a timeline you can find on CNN.com regarding exactly how everything progressed. The thing these men did not know, Patriots’ Day is called that for a reason, as the people of Massachusetts very much love their city, and are fiercely protective of it. In fact, if you watch the movie “Patriots Day” starring Mark Wahlberg, you get an accurate portrayal of just how much people love that state.

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Four years after the bombing, the Marathon is still going strong. And in fact, it was during this years race that the current mayor of Boston announced that a permanent memorial would be made and in place in time for the 2018 race.

If you ever have a chance to visit Boston for the marathon I would encourage you to do so. It really is a fascinating, moving day, full of amazing people, and fun times!!