Friday, July 19, 2013

ERA: Equal Rights Ammendment

From a young age I have been told of the myriad of opportunities that were available to me.  Being raised by a single mother due to divorce, the youngest in a family of all girls, the idea that my gender could hold me back in life was never a question.  Although my mother certainly did not sugar coat the world, she made sure we knew the advantages and disadvantages of our gender and understood the extra hard work that would be required of us.  She also modeled a disciplined woman who worked hard for her family and in what seemed like a very short time, graduated college and purchased a house which would become our childhood home.

When considering the questions posed for this assignment, I could not help but stop and think of how many societal disadvantages women are still facing now in 2013.  I am absolutely grateful for the work of women such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Stone Blackwell.  Thanks in huge part to these women I have an incredible number of choices and opportunities available to me today.  It is truly incredible and inspiring to know that their work made such a difference and nothing was in vain. 

However, with that being said us women still have more work to do.  In 2012, women in America earned 80.9% of that of their male counterparts weekly.  The gap has reduced significantly since the days of the Woman's Suffrage Movement, but it has slowed tremendously since the economic recession and now may be widening yet again.  We may be in need of some modern day Susan B. Anthony's, although we are do have Representative Rosa DeLauro who sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act which was blocked in the house just last month.  I think many expected more support from the Obama administration, but given that black men were given the right to vote before women, maybe it is only fitting that a black man reach the highest office in the United States first.  If history means anything, then now is the time to hear the voice of the women and equalize the wage disparity in our lifetime.
When taking into account all of the strides and progression that has been made, in addition to the momentum behind the movement that has never waned, I believe that we will see a female president within the next ten years.  I do not, however, believe it will be in the next election. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

P. chrysogenumby and Penicillin

Diary of a Fungus: P. chrysogenumby and Penicillin

Fungi have proven to have numerous medicinal properties, but none may be as important of a breakthrough in medicine and science as the antibiotic penicillin. The no doubt brilliant Scottish scientist, Alexander Fleming, discovered penicillin accidentally in the early 20th century. It was quickly known as a wonder drug and was used for nearly every ailment! Penicillin truly has saved countless people from what could have horrible sickness, and even death. Before penicillin was ready for mass production and use, World War II had begun. The war and dire need to save lives from the rampant bacterial infections placed high pressure on scientists, researchers and laboratories to move more quickly.  The need for mass production was clear to save our soldiers on the front lines. A researcher by the name of Mary Hunt made the mass production possible by recognizing a particular fungus (P. chrysogenumby) growth on a cantaloupe at the supermarket and the rest is history. 
 The importance of the drug penicillin is indisputable and evident in the history of healthy and healing patients. However, the overuse of this drug has created the most penicillin-resistant strains of bacteria. As I said, in the early years penicillin was prescribed to treat everything, even the common cold. The drug has no effect on viruses but antibiotics do kill the healthy, good bacteria in a person's body. This allows the bad bacteria to flourish causing even worse sickness (even disease). Another issue is the patient's who stop taking their antibiotics when they start feeling better. This allows those bacterial cells that were the toughest, or semi-resistant, to stick around and take over.  
Despite these drawbacks, I am very grateful for the drug penicillin, as well as the scientists and researchers that turned a simple mistake into a success!

Carniverous Sea Sponges

Carniverous Sponge: Chondrocladia lyra

Scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute have certainly surprised the scientific community in the past with their discoveries, but none so much as a new carnivorous harp sponge that has been named the Chondrocladia lyra.  Sponges have not always been given the respect they are due, but have been faithful in helping to clean our waterways for centuries.  Now, the C. lyra on the other hand being carnivorous, could be called our competition for tiny crustaceans that it ensnares with its branches, envelopes in a thin membrane and digests slowly.  Then again, humans would probably not be interested in something so miniscule anyway.  The other amazing discovery of the C. lyra is that it does not simply release sperm into the water, but instead creates condensed packets of sperm that are visibly seen on the tips of the branches called spermatophores (Crew, 2012).  The spermatophores are released in hopes that they will find and be able to fertilize another C. lyra sponge in the area.  These are actually not the first meat eating sponges that have ever been discovered, but they are certainly within the last twenty years.  How incredible is that?!   

There is a really good YouTube video about the discovery, too!


Crew, B. (2012, November 08). New carnivorous harp sponge discovered in deep sea. Retrieved from Scientific American:
Wells, C. (2012, November 13). Scientists discover new meat-eating, harp-shaped sponge. Retrieved from New York Daily News:


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Friendship Fountain

My family and I really enjoy finding outdoor adventures or even just a nice place for an afternoon walk.  
Friendship Fountain in Jacksonville, FL is more than we could ask for!
Friendship Fountain is a large fountain with beautiful water jets at the St. Johns River bank, in Downtown Jacksonville.  It's been there since 1965 and I've always enjoyed it as a kid.  Many years ago, however, the city planners were in great debate on whether to remove the fountain, now Landmark, for good.  It seemed that it had fallen into disrepair.  Now the fountain was in need of a major renovation that was going to cost the city over $3 million dollars!

I'm sure this was no easy decision!  After much debate, in the end, I'm very glad the Friendship Fountain is still with us.  It's not enough to simply focus on new construction in a city, but we must strive to properly care for and maintain places such as this, where generation after generation can come and enjoy.  The nostalgia alone is worth $3 million dollars and then some!  To be able to re-visit the Southbank Riverwalk after so many years, and walk the same boardwalk with my now husband, where we use to stroll on our "dates", and bring along our two little ones is priceless!

The most memorable visit was most recently.  After a big family dinner, with my sister, nieces, nephew, brother-in-law, we visited Friendship Fountain for a nice evening stroll. What a beautiful night it was!!  Then it started to drizzle, just a little.  We didn't let it stop our fun!  Before long the drizzle was a downpour!  Well, that's what we get for not checking the weather report :)  We didn't mind, because just the short visit, and then running for cover, faces dripping, clothes soaked, we were smiling and laughing the whole time!

Thank you Jacksonville, for all of the wonderful memories and those that are sure to come!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Life is certainly a journey, as I'm sure many of you can agree.  Or even a wild ride!  The journey can sometimes be full of bumps, twists, curves and even U-turns.
Thankfully it can also, and oftentimes is, full of vistas, scenic rests, lofty vantage points, and awe inspiring wonders!

A wise person understands and accepts that the best journey, possibly even the most successful ones, must have all of the above.

I can undoubtedly say that when I look back on my life, I want to do so as one of those sweet little old ladies, who can recant to you in beautiful, detailed ways the years of pleasure and enjoyment from a "well" journey.  The excitement felt when you first learn to ride a bike with no training wheels, or go swimming in a river underneath a waterfall.  The unforgettable first love, marriage, pregnancy (I know, not always in that order).  When you felt your baby kick inside you for the first time, held them in your arms, and the flash of years that hasten with every milestone thereafter, gathering momentum until you're looking back wondering where all the time went.

Of course I know that even the best journey has disappointments, trials, even pain, and unfortunately sorrow.  Those bumps, twists, curves and yes even U-turns are explicitly the very paths that lead to the vistas, rests and awe inspiring wonders!

If it were not so, how would you even recognize a "lofty vantage point" when confronted on your journey?

The Bible states in 1st Peter, chapter 4, verse 12-13, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (Translation: Don't be surprised when you hit those bumps in the road) But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings (But expect them, be ready, and be happy regardless!) that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."

-Did you catch that last part?  That is a direct promise to us and I for one would prefer exceeding joy over anything else!

Be blessed and know that no matter what today holds, you can never have this time back again.  You might as well live life to the fullest and keep moving down along on your journey no matter what lies ahead! the beginning

There's much to say about a person who spontaneously decides they'd like to blog.  The question immediately becomes, "What do I write about?"  I'm not sure how people narrow this down, but I've decided that I'm not going to.  There are plenty of topics I'd like to avoid, some that scare me or simply make me nervous, and others that excite me, fill me with passion, intrigue me, and even make me want to jump for joy!  Okay, maybe not literally jump, but you get the point.

In my, oh so fabulous, day I am a wife to a wonderful and at times challenging husband, along with 2 equally wonderful and at times challenging children.  Of course, I'm the perfect one in the bunch as I'm sure they'd agree.

I work from home and type eight hours a day for good pay, but not much challenge there.  Not to complain though!  I'm very grateful for the work and paycheck.  So are my bills!

When I'm not working with a medicine ball of guilt in my stomach (more on that later) you can find me and the family outdoors looking for the next great adventure, the next great bargain, or at least the next great weekend getaway!!  Which I plan to share with my readers as well!  All of those great deals and bargains that you hear about after the fact and wonder why you never get the 411 in time to cash in!  Look no further and stay tuned!