Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Someone is walking in my head.

When I was little and would lie down in bed to take a nap, I often remember being able to hear the sound of my heartbeat in my ears. (thud, thud, thud) It's a sound I don't hear now. As a child I would close my eyes and imagine someone walking on an endless sidewalk in my head, usually a cartoon character from Sesame Street.

David walks on the treadmill in the morning. Our treadmill is in the garage, which shares a wall with our bedroom. While trying to get a few more minutes sleep in the morning I could hear the familiar (thud, thud, thud) from so long ago. Only this time it's not in my head - someone really is walking on a path that never ends.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

So sick of hearing about bird flu.

It seems you can't turn on the news or radio without hearing a story of how to prepare for the inevitable bird flu pandemic. Now I've been hearing from people around here who are going to begin stockpiling food which I think is ridiculous. I'm all for disaster preparedness, but this just seems like Y2K all over again. (I did not prepare for Y2K either.)

I was listening to a story about bird flu on NPR a few days ago, and I couldn't help but wonder if this whole thing is just a cover up for something else. I remember during the Clinton years, when the Monica Lewinsky story broke, all of a sudden it became a big deal that one of our embassies was attacked; it was top news for several days.

What bothers me the most about the bird flu scare is that all the stories say that pandemics routinely happen and so there is no way that another one won't happen. Each story then goes on to say that the last pandemic was in 1918. Seriously, that was almost 100 years ago. We have made quite a few medical breakthroughs since then. I don't think there were flu vaccines in 1918 like there is now. There is even a vaccine for birds being used now.

A point that is not emphasized in the stories is that the virus is only transmitted from bird to human, not human to human. There is just a chance it could mutate into a virus that could be spread among humans. The NPR story said that "when" not "if" the pandemic breaks out that it will spread quickly and tens of thousands if not millions will die. I do believe that it is possible for an outbreak to be disastrous for third world countries, but it's hard for me to imagine an outbreak in the U.S.

One news article I read said a way to protect yourself from getting bird flu is to stay away from sick or dead poultry. Ok, will do!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

It's Girl Scout cookie time!

Yes, it's that time again. This year I've decided not to sell cookies, but rather, just give a financial donation to my daughters troop.

Why, you ask? Many reasons, the most important one being that the troop only receives $0.50 per box sold. That's right 50 CENTS. Cookies are selling for $3.50 per box this year which means the cookie fundraiser yields just 14% for the troop. Who gets the other 86%? Good question.

My second reason... Notice I said I'VE decided not to sell cookies. The girls are actually discouraged from going door to door. Parents are the ones who bear the brunt of the work in the cookie sales. First, selling at work or to friends. Then, pick up, deliver and collect money. Parents are financially responsible for any cookies that couldn't be delivered.

Booth sales can be a good way to sell a lot of cookies fast, but are risky. It can be hit-or-miss if the sale will be successful. Many factors play a role: location, bad weather, time etc. Last year I showed up for a booth sale, only to find another troop already selling there. Time had to be spent convincing them that our troop had signed up at that location and they needed to leave. I think we sold about 40 boxes at the sale. That equals $20 for the troop. Hardly worth all the effort of dragging the cookie boxes, tables and signs out there. Plus dealing with cash and making sure to bring enough change.

In years past I've usually been able to sell about 50 boxes. (Only making $25 for the troop). This year I will make a $50 donation to the troop and unlike in years past, 100% of my donation will benefit the girls.