Do you want the icing or the cake? -HaliPawz

Sometimes it is important to take the time to make sure all of the ingredients are correct in the relationship before you add the “icing” to the cake. Remember, if you don’t put the correct ingredients in or cook for the right amount of time, the cake isn’t worth eating.  Once it’s done, it has to cool before adding the icing or it doesn’t stick to the cake.

Take your time and your cake will be amazing.

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Why is my vision worse when I drink soda – HaliPawz

Why is my vision worse when I drink soda, or for my Michigan friends and family, when I drink pop? It’s a random question, I know, but the optician in me has been bothered by this question for a while.  

Since I have been trying to lose weight, I have not been drinking as much soda.  I still drink it, I just make sure to include it in MyFitnessPal calories, so when I do drink it, it is usually one can of Coke followed by one or more glasses of water. On rare occasions, I have a “I don’t care” day and don’t track all of my calories. These days are usually when I have plans with friends and I just want to enjoy myself.  Last night was one of those nights.  I had plans to go out with friends so I was careful to not eat too much during the day, keeping my available calories on the high side. 

Our plans changed slightly, so we ended up going to a local bar I had never been to before. They served Pepsi, not Coke. I would usually opt for water with lemon, but I wanted something more and didn’t feel like drinking alcohol. I had three glasses and no water for the night. 

I fell asleep on the couch watching tv, nothing unusual, but Bella, my Mastiff, woke me up at 3am. I still had lights on, the tv was loud, and I had to throw a load of clothes in the laundry, so I stood up to fix all of it and go to bed.  I looked out my patio door to see what the dogs were doing and noticed halos all around the lights.  My eyes felt heavy and dry, I couldn’t focus clearly on the clock. Since my LASIK surgery, I hate when my vision is blurry but I know it’s temporary. I really hate halos. I always notice them more after I’ve consumed a larger amount of soda (last time was after leaving a movie theater). 

I saw the pattern, the question still loomed as to WHY….now, common sense tells me it is because I’m dehydrated and dehydration affects your whole body, including the vision, but I wondered if there was more too it.  I began my Google search, since there is always an answer in Google, it might not always be right, but there is always an answer.  First five results were about caffeine affecting your vision.  Great! There are answers.  Until I started reading them. The answers were about a study showing where consuming coffee daily can affect your vision health. I’m not a coffee drinker but kept reading because I thought it might be the same thing, until I get to the line….

Researchers found that participants who reported drinking three cups or more of caffeinated coffee per day were at a higher risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma. The results were interesting though in the fact that they linked coffee consumption to exfoliation glaucoma, and ruled out other drinks and foods that were caffeinated.

The optician in me was interested in learning more about this study, but I wanted to stay on track. I found a blog where someone noticed worse vision after sugar binging since they went paleo. Of course, everyone went to diabetic conclusions, which I have been tested often for diabetes and I do not have it, plus my vision isn’t affected when I eat chocolate, only when I consume soda.  Still no answer.  

I then when to my scale, not that I wanted to check my weight after a “cheat” evening, but my scale also measures BMI, body fat, and water. 3:48am and I’m stepping on a scale. 26%. I knew it was lower then my typical percentage of anywhere from 33-37% but I realized I had no idea what it should be. Back to Google.  

Google Results for what should my water percentage be


50%!?!? I was currently at 26%. First thing I did mentally was set a goal, not only for weight loss, but to also get to 40% water; steps to the goal of 5o+%. After reading a couple articles, I realized my water percentage should go up as I lose weight, but I still need to step up my water intake in general. 

I think it’s safe to conclude consuming so much soda isn’t the sole contributor to my halo vision, but the lack of consuming enough water to counterbalance the soda consumption. I’m dehydrated, clearly, and my eyes are warning me to do something about it before it affects more of my health. 

Health through eye exam, hazel eyes
As an optician, I understand your eyes are the window to your health, so it is important to listen to what your eyes are telling you.  When your vision changes in any way, process what was different in your day, if you can conclude what the cause was, great, if you cannot, make an appointment.  It could be your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. 

So now I know, if I’ve consumed a large amount of soda, I need to make sure I also drink plenty of water. If you are someone who notices a lot of halos at night, you might want to check your water percentage. For now, I will drink a glass of water, put some Refresh in my eyes and get a couple more hours of sleep.

Optician PSA: Even if your vision is perfect, get an eye exam ever 12-18 months. It truly is so much more than just a prescription for glasses or contacts. 

Know what the band is playing before jumping on the bandwagon – HaliPawz

I recently watched a video being shared on Facebook regarding Donald Trump being a racist.  I know the intent was to show a protester not fully informed about the subject of his protests, but I saw so much more. 

The video – Black Lives Matter protester regarding Donald Trump

Video courtesy of Dennis Michael Lynch

  

Screenshot of Dennis Michael Lynch’s video regarding Black Lives Matter protester

As you can see, it has been shared over 8000 times. People are reacting in many ways to it.  

 This is an example of too many issues in our country today. Not just with racism or Donald Trump…we have a society where people jump on bandwagons without truly knowing facts. They follow crowds, spouting off “facts” that may or may not be true. Stop following others. Stop sharing things you do not know are true. Do your own research from sources OUTSIDE your comfort level. I’m not a Trump fan because he encourages the racial division and the violence that follows, because he knows it helps hype him up. He’s made a living over sensationalizing media moments and he continues to do it with his political campaign. Encouraging racial division for media sensation IS NOT the same as him being racist. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. I don’t know because I haven’t done enough research on that topic. I know he LOVES Omarosa for all the money she helped make him when she was on his show, so he can’t be 100% racist LOL. The point is….verify before you spout off. Don’t just be a follower. Before you jump on a bandwagon, know what the band is playing! 

#knowthefacts 

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Unfair expectations of children set by adults who forget who THEY were as teens – HaliPawz

As I am sure in many families, when everyone gets together for the holidays, topics of discussion can range from the most mundane to heated debates.  My family is no different.  We started a discussion about some high school students who were “kicked off” their various extra curricular activities because of behavior their school deemed “inappropriate”. Short story, they got drunk at a party and got caught.  

I do not think teenagers need to drink and get drunk.  If you are a patent, it is up to you to have those discussions with your child(ren). My surprise was how the school chose to handle it.  As we discussed more, I learned many schools take this stand and I think patents need to step in and be more of an advocate for their child and stop letting this happen.  

It all stems from the fact that many students are required to sign a “code of conduct” in order to participate in the extra curricular activity of their choice. Allegedly, the students were reported drinking by another student and many of them were removed from their sports and academic events.  Because some of them were seniors, not only does it affect their last year of high school but could also affect their chances at scholarships, college choices, etc.  I found this to be a very harsh punishment for a mistake.  I went and researched other school’s published Code of Conducts and saw many of them clearly had their punishments laid out for first offense, second offense, and third offense.  None of them went right to removal of the student from the activity.  When I went to review the code of conduct for the school we were discussing, I found it interesting that the page had been removed! 

 

Code of Conduct Page Removed

 
Since I cannot comment on their particular code of conduct, I want to share some of my thoughts regarding a Code of Conduct and the punishments behind them.  

I understand playing a sport or doing an extra curricular activity is a privilege and not a right.  I understand schools have to right to set some expectations for those representing their schools.  My concern is when the expectation is greater for a minor than it is for adults.  Some of the CofC I read expected the kids to be perfect.  I wonder, how many of those adults responsible for WRITING the CofC would have been guilty of not following it when they were teenagers?

  
Another concern is the zero tolerance for making a mistake? You go to a party. You drink. One person finds out, reports it, and you’re off the team? Off Student Council? Is that really fair?  It was not a school event.  It was just teenagers being dumb. 

One CofC I read said you could not be loitering anywhere where alcohol or drugs were present.  I think back to my high school days.  My sister (college aged) would have a party when my parents were out of town.  I would be home and at those parties sometimes.  There was alcohol. According to these CofC, if a picture circulated with me there or someone reported it, I would be in trouble.  There doesn’t seem to be a gray area. 

Another question I have is; how are these even legal? How can they be upheld.  If an adult can not go into a legal, binding, contract with a minor, how can a school? I understand parents have to sign as well, but, in reality, there is no consequence for the parent, other than their son or daughter no longer being on the team.  

I understand there should be expectations and consequences for actions. I can see why the schools would have them in place, all I am saying is to take a step back and really look at the expectations and the consequences.  Does the punishment fit the crime? Are we, as adults, setting higher expectations for children than we set for ourselves? Are we teaching them there is no room for mistakes? 

At the end of the day, there is a reason the laws are different for those under the age of 18. Perhaps some adults need to review those reasons. 

The Confederate Battle Flag and the “N” word are not all that different but many may disagree – HaliPawz

racism, empathy

I understand I may make some angry with this post.  It is NOT my intent.  Please read the WHOLE blog before you form an opinion about me, about the flag, or even what your real argument is about.

I recently had a conversation with a non white male about the confederate flag and all of the drama around it.  So many people are focused on the Confederate Flag and how it represents so much hate and horrible ideas but as the discussion continued between the two of us, I stated to him the “N” word is just like the Confederate Flag and the conversation got even more intense.

His argument:  The Confederate Flag is a representation of hate and was designed around white supremacy, and therefore should be gone.

My Argument:  The Confederate Flag is a representation of Southern Pride and / or of country life, and has nothing to do with hate except for those who allow hate and racism to enter their lives.

His Argument:  But the history of it shows it represents something else.

My argument:  But history shows the true meaning of the word Negro and the “N” word and why it should not be used by ANYONE but there are those who choose to ignore it and give it  it’s own meaning.  How is the “N” word any different than the Confederate Flag, it’s just  different groups supporting the two sides.

Now mind you, I was driving across state heading from Michigan to Missouri so I couldn’t take the time to break it down with facts about the Confederate Flag and I wanted to refresh my memory of the N word before I stated facts.

Please understand, I am not trying to divide the races even further, but rather to get everyone to understand similarities exist, even when we don’t want to see it.

Let’s look at some true facts first…..the term “Confederate Flag” is used when people are talking about this flag:

This is the Rebel Flag, not the Confederate Flag

This is the Rebel Flag, not the Confederate Flag

But the Confederate Flag actually looked like this:

White Man's Flag

Actual Confederate Flag

William Thompson, who designed the Confederate Flag DID say it was the “White Man’s Flag” but the Rebel Flag, causing all the uproar right now, was designed by Willliam Porcher Miles.  Was Miles racist?  Probably.  He was a Southern man living during a time when the country was divided.  Yes, he was known as a slave owner, but so were some of our earlier presidents and key men in our history.  I’m not here to discuss slavery.

The history of the Confederate Battle Flag or Rebel Flag

The Confederate Battle Flag was just that, a battle flag.  It was NOT a representation of slavery, it was just the battle flag of the south.  There have been people saying it flew on slave ships.  Not true.  The south NEVER owned any slave ships.  Technically, the slave ships were from the New England State, the dutch, and the Portuguese, NOT the south! It wasn’t even a southern NATIONAL flag, it was JUST a battle flag.   When racist groups, such as neo-nazis and skinheads choose to use this flag as “their” flag, they are, in fact desecrating the Confederate Flag and technically have no right to use it.  There are southern men and women who lost their loved ones, their ancestors, who died under that flag flying.  While we may not agree with WHAT they were fighting for, they have every right to want to respect the flag that represents THEIR history.  You don’t have to agree with something to respect it.  Black men, of their own free will, chose to fight under this very same flag that everyone is saying represents white men only.  So not true.  There are a lot of myths surrounding the Civil War.  It wasn’t as simple as the north was free and the south was slavery.  It goes so much further.

One group you may want to study further is the “Sons of Confederate Soldiers”  and read their statement so many, including the media, ignored.

Before I get into my deep comparison, think of a tradition such as “jumping the broom” that was passed on from ancestors to today.  A white person living in a predominately white town may have no idea what “Jumping the broom” means, but that doesn’t make them hate it or fight to have it removed from the weddings of those who choose to keep that tradition.  Yes, I understand there is a difference between someone choosing to have a tradition at their wedding vs a flag flying high on a government building.  All I’m trying to say is to understand the meaning TODAY behind something before you get upset, not the meaning the media or hate groups want you to believe.

47% of those polled only think of the Confederate Battle Flag as a symbol of pride in the south.  They don’t even know the history of it other than that.

This leads me to the N word…..

Negro comes from the Greek word Necro meaning dead, empty of life, corpse.  Now, I can say I choose to never use the N word or the word Negro but there are those who choose to use it as a sign of empowerment, indicating that, by using the word, they are taking it back and taking the negativity away from it.  But it comes with rules.  It is not OK for EVERYONE to use it.  Who decides?  At the end of the day, some use it almost like a word of pride.  I personally don’t understand how a word representing death and empty of life is a word to be proud of, but it’s not for me to understand because it isn’t MY history.

At the same time, I would hope those who CAN understand the pride that goes with the N word for themselves or those they know would look deep in their hearts to understand how the Confederate Battle Flag can be a source of PRIDE for those with Southern Roots.

The south wasn’t the only one who owned slaves.  There was slavery in the north as well.  In fact, there were some slave owners in the north that tried to ignore the laws even after Emancipation Proclamation.

At the end of the day, we don’t have to agree with something in order to be accepting of it.  Try to gain a little better understanding of WHY one group supports something, even when you may not and ask them to understand the things you support.  By taking the time to understand and appreciate another point of view, there will be less knee jerk reactions to all situations.

All I ask if for you to think about it, consider what I’m saying, and try to understand a point of view different than your own; it might just help make the world, and relationships with others, a little better!

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz

When life gets too rough, take a nap – HaliPawz

dog, sleeping, couch

When Life Gets too ruff, take a nap

If you are anything like me, when things aren’t going the way I had hoped or planned, I don’t always want to deal with it right away.  Sometimes I want to sit back and assess the situation, consider my Plan Bs, or even Plans C or D! Unless it is critical, it is ok to sit back, take a minute, take a day, to get a game plan together before you move forward.  Just don’t procrastinate too much and let things escalate too much. Don’t run or ignore the problems because, as I have learned, they DO NOT go away!

It is, however, ok to take a breath, reasses, and “take a nap!”

To see more pictures featuring Bella, the Neapolitan Mastiff, Click Here

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz

Rachel Dolezal; Conversations are Happening, Opinions are forming – HaliPawz

When the Rachel Dolezal story first broke, I made a statement on social media about possible mental instability.  
I was challenged by someone I know as to the reason behind calling her mentally unstable. They asked how I could openly support Caitlyn Jenner but not support Rachel. They said it was the same thing. I disagreed but I APPRECIATED their thoughts.  It made me think. Is it the same thing? Do I know enough about the story to even make an intelligent opinion about it. Conversations were starting all over the Internet.  With every hot news topic, everyone had an opinion and everyone wanted to share theirs.

I love conversations. I love having my thoughts challenged, especially when it is done respectfully and by someone who isn’t just spouting off to say something but someone who has given thought to their perspective as well. It is how we grow, how we learn. If we only surround ourselves by people who think like we do, act like we do, look like we do, we never grow as a person.

Rachel Dolezal changing her looks, changing her race

Let’s look at some of the positives surrounding Rachel Dolezal.

She immersed herself in something she was passionate about.  I read an article on Jezebel about complimenting Rachel on her hairstyles and her commitment to black hair.  The article was spot on! Rachel did an amazing job with her hair.  She was a professor of Africana Studies.  Clearly she educated herself in many ways.

She was doing a job she was proud of. NAACP does not limit their hiring to just people of color, jobs are open to the most qualified person.  Would Rachel have been the most qualified if she said she was white only? Who knows. It isn’t for us to speculate.  At the end of the day, she was doing a job she loved.  I actually feel bad for her about losing it.  I haven’t read one article stating she did a bad job, so it’s sad she had to walk away from something she enjoyed and it may be a loss for the NAACP chapter. If the job application asked what race do you most identify with (like many do) she didn’t lie on it.  She did identify with the black race.  I’m not mad at her for it.

People seemed to genuinely like her.  She seemed happy.  She was married, divorced, had a circle of friends, had children, worked…overall, appeared to be living the American Dream.

I have no issue with someone wanting to be transracial.  With someone wanting to identify as another race.  I think we, as a society, get too hung up on little things.  If someone white marries a Hispanic man and, because their children will be half Hispanic, immersed herself in learning all about the Hispanic culture, speaks Spanish fluently, etc, no one questions her racial ethnicity if her last name has a Hispanic sound to it, she gets divorced and then married a Scandinavian man and takes his last name, someone might not take her as seriously about her Hispanic knowledge. To me, that is a problem.  We only want to accept someone as an authority on a subject of they look the part.  Rachel seemed to understand this and decided the only way to truly be seen as an authority in the field she loved was to truly immerse herself in it.  She stated, in an interview with the Today show that she saw herself as black from an early age, using brown crayons and curly hair when she drew self-portraits (her parent’s denied this).

In that same interview, Matt Lauer asks her about changing her complexion.  She stated, “I certainly don’t stay out of the sun.”  As a white woman who tans, I understand how easy it is for someone to develop a darker look to their skin tone.  At one point, I tanned so much, a guy I was dating would tease me and say I was darker than his son, who wasn’t bi-racial and we would both laugh about it.  Had I changed my hair to a darker color instead of my blond highlights, would people think I was a different race?  Would they wonder if I was bi-racial when they saw me walking with a black man?  Would they even care?  I would like to think they just wouldn’t care, why would it matter?  I can see how easy it was for Rachel to just allow the news stories to print whatever race they wanted to print about her and not correct them.

Some other statements Rachel made make complete sense to me.  When she was questioned about the black man she called her dad, she smiled and said, “he is my dad”  she went on to explain any man can be a father, but not everyone can be a dad.  My dad, who passed away in 2013, was an amazing man.  Sadly, his death followed a ten year battle with Alzheimer’s. During that time, I had moved to Kansas City, was away from my family, living on my own.  There was a father figure down here who would be an ear for me, would be there for me when I needed someone to talk to.  I, and many others, appreciated his wisdom and called him dad.  He is black.  I never once thought anything about his race.  It was never to take anything away from my own dad or my family.  I loved him dearly and love my family, but I couldn’t talk to my dad, he was a shell of his former self and appreciated the time and wisdom I had down in Kansas City.  Had someone heard me call him that outside of the scope of those who knew us, they might have drawn their own conclusions.  It is clear Rachel and her family have issues.  It has been said they are estranged.  This man, whom she identifies as her dad, could be, by all rights, a dad to her.  Again, I have no issue with that.

Even the discussions around her suing Howard University for discrimination because she was pregnant and white were interesting.  At first, like others, I thought she was just using her race to suit her when it fit.  She wants to identify as black, yet sues and says the university has a problem with her being white, because she is, in fact, white.  Then I dug a little deeper.  Rachel lost the suit.  She claims her anger was over the accusations that she didn’t need the money because she had white relatives who could pay her way.  Maybe some did say that to her.  Maybe it was the catalyst that caused her to start thinking she had to drastically change her looks in order to get to where she wanted to be in her life.

Where my understanding and agreement towards Rachel ends and where I begin to question her mental stability seem to largely stem around the topic of her family.  She made a statement in the previously mentioned interview on the Today Show that when she received full custody of her brother Isaiah and she stated, “I certainly can’t be seen as white and be Isaiah’s mom.”  To make a statement like that is a slap in the face to every parent of a bi-racial child!  Every mom and dad who is raising a child of a race different than their own fights battles of one kind or another from time to time, but they don’t turn around and say they are the same race or make physical changes to their bodies to closer identify with their child’s race!

Rachel would send out tweets that, would, in fact, seem almost anti-white in nature.  While they didn’t come right out and say, hey, I hate white people, they were pretty close.  I found it interesting that she referenced Kwanzaa in one tweet.  While many people just think it is an African term for the Christmas holiday, similar to Hanukkah, it is not.  Kwanzaa is actually a celebration of African-American unity.  It was NOT started in Africa.  It was started by an American less than 50 years ago.  It has some similarities to different African thanksgiving style celebrations, but it not rooted in Africa.  There is some debate that, while non African-Americans do recognize it and celebrate it, it really is another tool for division between the races.  The true history behind it is to empower African-American’s to help each other, build their own communities, support one another.  While this is great, the deeper roots studies show it is said to be done without the “white person’s help” which would make it, in some ways, Anti-white.  If you change it in your family to match your style, and say it is about supporting your community, your family, regardless of racial affiliation, that is great, but it should be understood better before you just start celebrating it.

She posted on Facebook she was “going with the natural look as I start my 36th year” regarding her hair.

Rachel Dolezal Facebook Post about going natural

She recently admitted it was a weave. Since she is a black hair hairstylist, she does all her own hair, but still, it is clearly a lie to say she is “going natural” when, in fact, it is a weave.

I think Rachel has been living this lie for so long she is no longer able to differentiate between what is truth, fact, and fiction.

Rachel wants to be so far away from her family that she is making up her own history.  She says she was born in a teepee, hunted for food with bows and arrows.  Once the story starts, it just seems to keep snowballing.  That is typical of a person who has a problem with telling the truth.

Maybe there is a reason she has distanced herself from her family.  I don’t believe her parent’s are saints as some in the media are claiming they are.  Yes, they did adopt four children of a race different than their own.  Yes, they are all over the news media sharing how they just want to tell the truth and their daughter doesn’t.  None of this means they are without blame or wonderful parents. Did Rachel turn her brother Isaiah against her parents and white people in general? Is that why he went to live with her at 16? It seems like this is truly a family divided, full of hurt, thrown accusations, allegations of abuse and lies, between parents and children alike.  Maybe it was easier for Rachel to just become someone else than to truly deal with the damaging affects of this toxic family dynamic.

Rachel Dolezal's Siblings

Rachel Dolezal’s Siblings courtesy of American Thinker

While there have been comparisons between her at Caitlyn Jenner, I have to disagree.  When Caitlyn was Bruce, she owned who she was.  She might have been miserable as a man, and longed to be a woman, but she still owned who she was.  Now, as Caitlyn, she isn’t going around saying everything about her is real.  The ONLY similarity I can see is that Bruce (born a man) DESIRED to be Caitlyn (a woman) and Rachel (born white) DESIRES to be black.  I have no issue with her following her dream and desires, just don’t lie along the way!

At the end of the day, I appreciate Rachel for opening our eyes and our conversations towards racial acceptance and the desire to be transracial.  As I always say, everyone should be allowed to be who they want to be as long as it doesn’t bring harm to children, animals, or other individuals.  If she wants to be black and wants to be viewed as black, who are we to say she can’t be?  My heart does go out to her and all of her family though.  Perhaps with help, they can navigate through all of the hurt they all feel, start admitting their faults and forgiving the other’s faults, and be a family one day again.

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz