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Lest the title sound like an airline with bad service, it’s not. BpA is the abbreviation for Bisphenol-A, a chemical compound added to many plastic products during manufacturing.  It’s a known endocrine-disrupter and in this age of concern about premature and early pubescence in children, it’s one I’m taking out of rotation as much as possible.

I’m not big in to turning all of my plastic-stuff in the house in to glass, and I do have a plastic (albeit, non-BpA) water bottle that I use daily. But two things have caught my attention recently: 1) China has banned BpA in baby products and 2) While BpA is suspected in plastic products, research indicates that we’re getting the majority of it through register receipts.

First:  China is the center of manufacturing for the world.  Even things that are developed in Japan and sold in Japan are manufactured in China – their sheer available workforce and model of business (each factory on a particular street will attempt to give the lowest bid on manufacturing something) puts them in the catbird seat for making the stuff we use.  I have no problems with this – I cannot change the way businesses do business or the way China handles itself. Chinese manufacturing has been blamed for lead in children’s toys and in the paint on children’s toys; for melamine in baby formula; and for contaminated pet food.  To say that their track record for manufacturing things I use is stellar would be untrue.  But the sheer truth of the matter is this:  if China has recognized the threat the synthetic estrogen BpA poses to the babies in their country and has banned it, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t do the same.  Many manufacturers have already done so, voluntarily.  And that is fantastic.  But for our “protectors in the government” (said with tongue firmly planted-in-cheek) not to even recognize this as a potential risk tells me that our “protectors” are more interested in lining their pockets with contributions from companies who speak more loudly than science does.  Or than we do, for that matter.

'receipt' photo (c) 2007, dodongflores - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/As far as thermal receipt paper – how do we avoid this?  It’s a conundrum I have yet to figure out.  We need receipts to prove we’ve not stolen something and to insure that our checking accounts balance on a regular basis.  We have to handle them, and yet they are often (mostly?) covered in this synthetic estrogen that makes its way in to our bloodstream through dermal exposure.  Yowza.  According to research done in Switzerland, BpA can readily be absorbed through the skin to levels where it cannot be washed off.  Double yowza.

So what’s a girl to do?  I haven’t figured out any good plans so far.  I’m not reactionary in that I’m not ditching all plastics and I’m not wearing gloves when I get a receipt from the store or gas station.  Yet my own hormone levels have been jacked up for years – do I really want to add more synthetic estrogen to my system?  I don’t – synthetic estrogen is what caused blood clots that migrated to my lungs and nearly killed me in July of 2000.  Right now, I’m holding receipts with my fingernails as much as possible and being very aware of hand-washing as soon as I get home.  I’d love for the future of thermal paper to change and for this chemical-additive to go away, but until that happens, I have to have a plan.

Any suggestions?

Well, apparently, I bit off more than I could chew.  And by that, I mean that it probably wasn’t wise to think that I could blog, run a recipe series, pack, move, paint, unpack, go on a working vacation, come back, edit photos, deliver web projects, paint more, and finish unpacking all at once.  Yeah, that was pretty dumb.

Why do I struggle with the Wonder Woman Complex?  Why do I expect that I can do all of those things and not have 'Wonder Woman' photo (c) 2010, Julian Fong - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/something fall off of one of my spinning plates?  I’d like to think it’s not arrogance – I don’t want to be seen as arrogant and I try very hard not to act that way.  And yet, I seem to have different rules for me and how much I can accomplish than I do for friends who also struggle with the Monster of Do.   The words fairly trip off my fingers and it feels good to get the words out of my head and feel productive again.  Maybe it’s a discipline thing – or maybe there’s a season for everything and this past summer just wasn’t my season for doing absolutely everything on my schedule.  I don’t know.

Regardless, there have been lots of changes around Chez Talbert and I’ll get to chronicling some of them in the upcoming days and weeks.  I’ll also pick up on the Recipe Carnival (or rather, re-start it), share more what I’ve been learning in the alternative-medicine realm, and all sorts of goodies.

Stay tuned – and thanks for being patient and waiting for me here.  I appreciate the grace you granted that lets me come back & pick up where I left off.  :)

So I’m kicking off the Recipe Carnival with a cool summer salad – one that is predominantly known to Michiganders.  You see, back in
the day, there was a department store called Hudson’s.  And Hudson’s was a Department Store that enticed people to shop all day long.  It was located in downtown Detroit and people would come in from the outlying areas (we call them “suburbs” now), walk in from different areas of Detroit (like my mom and grandmother), or ride the city transit in.  Multi-floored, many-itemed stores like Hudson’s also conveniently provided a place for people to eat – you know, to keep them in the building, refresh them, and then let them shop some more.  Kind of like IKEA, only few things there had to be assembled.  :)

So Hudson’s had a restaurant and as the tale goes, there was a chef who created a salad that was so unique it ended up bearing his name.  Hence, the Maurice Salad.  Now whether Chef Maurice did everything else right, culinarily-speaking, we don’t know.  What we do know is that his salad quickly became The Item that everyone talked about and the most popular thing on the menu.  Most chef salads (think Caesar’s salad) were ways to use up leftovers in the kitchen and still present something delicious.  I don’t know if Chef Maurice created this at home or in the Hudson’s kitchen, but with a little bit of everything, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was a way to use up what was hanging about in the fridge.

But… it’s a salad, right?  So what’s so great about a salad?  Well, if you live in a hot climate like I do, salads are the quintessential cool meals when the mercury in the thermometer tops 100°F.  And although it is a salad, it’s also a filling salad – one that’s layered with an egg-and-mayo-based dressing, and has turkey, ham, and swiss cheese on it.  So it’s filling.

Unfortunately for us, Hudson’s was imploded in October, 1998.  The landmark that was the face of shopping in Detroit for so many years is no more.  Rumour has it that there are still Macy’s stores in Michigan that present the Maurice Salad at their dining rooms, but I have yet to find anyone who’s had it at Macy’s.  I remember my first Maurice Salad with my mom at Twelve Oaks in Novi, MI, as a 15 year old, and her recipe still stands as my baseline.

The Maurice Dressing
  • 1 egg yolk, hard cooked, smashed in a bowl
  • 2 c. mayonnaise (homemade is, of course, the best; store-bought will also do just fine)
  • 3 T. sweet pickle relish (look for the kind without HFCS – it’s worth the hunt!)
  • 1 t. onion granules
  • 1 T. dried parsley
  • 1/2 t. yellow mustard
  • ice water (for thinning)

Start by combining the egg yolk with the mayo; know that it will be very thick.  I used a whisk with reasonably good results that improved when I added in liquids.  Add in the sweet pickle relish (more to taste, if you’d like), the onion granules,  parsley, mustard, and thin it out with water.  If you allow the dressing to sit in the fridge a bit, the flavours will all come together as well.  My dressing is very yellow – but it is because my mayo is yellow from the farm-fresh eggs I use.  Bright yolks = yellow mayo.  :)

The Maurice Salad
  • Lettuce (a whole head, depending on how many you’re feeding)
  • 1/3 lb. sliced turkey
  • 1/3 lb. sliced ham
  • 1/4 lb. sliced Swiss cheese

Now use your choice of lettuce.  The original salad used iceberg lettuce, but since that has little nutritional value, I say use whatever lettuce makes you happy and gives you the nutritional content you’d like.  After you wash and tear the lettuce, dry it well and put it in a bowl.  Dress the lettuce alone – make sure that all the pieces are coated well.  Plate the dressed lettuce and prepare to build the salad.

I used Boar’s Head deli meats to prepare this salad – I think it really tastes better with real meat.  And since I don’t often have leftover turkey AND leftover ham at the same time, buying it in the deli makes more sense to me.  :)  That being said, cut your meat in to strips – about 3/4″ wide.  Repeat with the cheese (if you don’t like Swiss cheese, try Baby Swiss – it’s much milder!).  Place the meat and cheese strips across the dressed lettuce and serve with a lemon wedge for those who would like to spritz lemon on everything.

It’s both a slightly-sweet and tangy salad, loaded with protein, so it holds us all night long.

Bon apetit!

Don’t forget – if you have a recipe you’d like to see featured or would like to guest-post here, leave a comment.  If you’d like to guest-post, let me know; if you’d like me to make your dish and feature it on a Tasty Tuesday post, post the whole recipe.  :)

I apologize for the radio-silence this week – I’ve had my head in packing boxes and trying to get things done for our move. That, and getting the final warranty repairs on our car before we drove out of our warranty… I think we’re less than 30 miles from 100,000 miles, and so it was imperative to get things done before it expired.  :)

Next week, however, we’ll be having a week of recipes – named Recipe Carnival.  :)  I’ll have different posts on ready-to-make mixes (yes, I actually DO use them from time-to-time), Maurice salad, homemade hot dog buns, and more.  And here’s the part I’m excited about – if you have favourite recipes that you love (especially for the hot summer months), you can share them in the comments section of each post.  I promise to try them out and feature them, if you haven’t already featured them on your own blog/site.

I’m getting excited – I’ve got photos edited & ready to go and in between painting walls and packing boxes, I’ll be starting the Recipe Carnival and posting new dishes that we’ve tried, snarfed, and loved.  Stay tuned!  :)

Today was The Start of All the Dental Work My Mouth needs.  I got props from the staff for just walking back tools of torturephoto © 2009 Bob With | more info (via: Wylio)
through the door – my level of chicken-heartedness is recognized there.  😉  I ended up taking Brendan with me, and he did great – very interested in the tools, the process, the (gulp!) needles, etc. And happily, this practice also cares for children, so I’ll have to get him in for a cleaning at some point in the near future.  :)

I put Peace & Calming under my nose and Valor on my wrists and walked in to meet today’s destiny.

I made it through the worst of it – the numbing.  I despise needles.  Having to get injections every day of my pregnancy with Brendan was a feat of motherly love, because I really, really, really hate needles. I still can’t feel part of my face and yes, we joked about the Bill Cosby “dentist sketch.”  I’m afraid to drink water from my Camelbak bottle because I think I’ll dribble down the side of my face still, but hey, I was brave and got the first part of the work done.  :)

The bummer is that we had to juggle stuff around – the broken tooth which had to be crowned also had decay under the amalgam filling, and instead of drilling too deep, they put a pulp cap and some other things in the tooth which will encourage tooth growth and healing.  And then packed it with a temporary filling product – which will give us a good 8-12 weeks of time to wait while the new tooth material is reproducing.  But in the meantime, we’re going to crown the other tooth.  Blurgh.  The only good thing that comes from this is that these two teeth represent the majority of work that will be done in my mouth (monetarily-speaking), so once these two are done, financially it’s a lot easier to manage.

I know that there will be huge benefits to having these mercury-amalgam fillings taken out; random people in my life have decided to share stories with me (unprompted) about how their health has improved after having this junk taken out of their mouths, and I personally believe I will see some major upswings in my overall health as well.  I did not, however, expect what happened today and if anyone had told me it would happen, I would’ve said, “That’s probably psychosomatic.”

The process of taking the amalgam out was quite extensive – a dental dam, an oxygen mask (so I didn’t breathe in the vapours from the mercury filling), and eye protection for me as well as the dentist and assistant.  The drill went at ridiculous speeds and the iPod was blasting my favourite Celtic tunes in to my ears at ridiculous volumes as I tried to drown out the volume of the drill.  When the amalgam was completely out, though, I knew it. Not because they said it was out, but because almost instantaneously, my brain was clearer. I was more alert and awake at that moment when the mercury was out of my mouth than I had been all day, even with my nerves about going to the dentist in the first place.

I related that to the dentist and his assistant and they smiled and said that I wasn’t the first one to report that experience. Dr. Kovar then said, “And that was just one tooth.

I’m genuinely encouraged about what I’ll experience as each amalgam filling is replaced, and slightly less chicken-hearted than I used to be.  This practice makes it easier to be brave than any other dentist I’ve been to.  :)

Another end of the worldphoto © 2009 futureatlas.com | more info (via: Wylio)
Okay, so today is supposed to be IT as far The Beginning of the End of the World. We all know this and we all know that Harold Camping has made millions of dollars and gotten untold amounts of publicity based on his (whacked out) prediction.  And since Australia, New Zealand, and other parts of the world are currently okay (the predicted quake at 6pm local time hasn’t materialized), we can presume that we’re still okay here in the States.

Regardless of what you think of Camping, Christianity, and the rest, I ask one thing from you:

Please don’t just an entire faith based on the ravings of one person who’s clearly (Biblically) off his rocker.

It’s like judging all Muslims based on the jihadists who like nothing better than to kill everyone who disagrees with them. Or like saying your entire family is nuts because of that one crazy relative.  You know, the one that you all know is crazy and you nod, smile, and then look at each other in wide-eyed disbelief because of the craziness you just witnessed.

If you have questions about what someone who follows Christ believes, ask me.  I’m happy to answer any and all questions. And I’m happy to explain how I know that Camping is crazy. Just please don’t isolate an entire faith and its adherents based on the guy with a microphone, lots of money, and some whacked-out ideas.


Now, lest you think I’m kidding, I’m not.  The zombie apocalypse is coming.  I have it from the best of sources (those who kill zombies in video games) that they’re preparing for The End and will protect us from The Zombies (who want nothing more to eat your brains, by the way).  And if you need more proof, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) have gotten in on the act.  For serious.

The CDC has a blog post and is launching a preparedness campaign based on a Zombie Apocalypse.  It’s not April 1, so it’s not a joke.  The blog post in question appeared on May 16 and has gotten quite a bit of buzz on Twitter and in other forms of social media.

What’s the CDC doing?  Educating people!  By using the common language of “zombie apocalypse” and linking to brain diseases (that are supposed to be at the root of a zombie’s problems) like prions, mad cow disease, and measles, they’re getting people’s attention.

And by talking about making an emergency preparedness kit, they’re encouraging people to think ahead.  In the midst of talking about the coming zombie apocalypse, they’re also talking about preparing for a natural disaster. Under the heading of “Better Safe Than Sorry,” the post talks about how much water is needed per person, per day; what hygiene/sanitation is needed, how much food to store, what medications to have on hand, and other aspects of preparedness.  The author of the post assures readers that he will be assigning disease detectives to the field if indeed the zombies come out with sharpened spoons to eat our brains.

The approach is novel, but I love it.  Not that I’m a-feared of zombies (I know too many people who are versed in killing zombies who would protect me), but I love that the government is using a bit of current culture to reach people with the message of preparedness.  Of course, it’s my belief that by the time the government jumps on the “be prepared” bandwagon, there’s probably not adequate time to actually prepare properly, but hey!  At least it’s something.

Preparing a little is better than preparing none at all, because at least you’re thinking about things like supplies, evacuation routes, and caring for yourself and your family in a time of emergency.  Will zombie-killers be prepared for an EMP? Probably not.  But will they be better prepared than those who don’t read this ad campaign and think about being ready for a crisis?  Most likely.  And that’s a good thing.

If you want to read the whole article, you can find it here.  In the meantime, I’m going to go listen to “Re: Your Brains” by Jonathan Coulton and pack up my food storage for our impending move.  I’ve included a fan video here of the song – hope you enjoy!  :)

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