Happy World Kidney Day!

14 Mar

Today I’m wearing orange for World Kidney Day.
To be honest, before researching for this post, my knowledge of kidney health was limited to a book I read as a kid called Saving Jessica in which Jessica needed a kidney and her boyfriend, Jeremy, gave her one. No need to read that book now!

But last summer, a friend of mine repelled down a friggin’ building to raise money for the National Kidney Foundation, so I figured it must be a pretty important cause. Most people know that we need our kidneys to remove waste and excess fluid from the body when we pee. But the kidneys also function to balance the salt, potassium, and acid content of our bodies, keep our blood pressure controlled, and produce red blood cells to keep our bones strong. Unfortunately, around 8-10% of the adult population have some form of kidney damage. There are a number of ways you can work to keep your kidneys healthy. First and foremost, maintain a healthy lifestyle by keeping a healthy diet, staying active, hydrating, and NOT SMOKING. Monitoring your blood sugar and blood pressure levels is also a good idea as is limiting your use of over-the-counter drugs. But some people experience some form of kidney failure anyway, so what can you do?

First, like me, wear orange today to show your support of World Kidney Day! Become an organ donor and donate money OR time to the National Kidney Foundation or attend a World Kidney Day event in your area. Finally, spread the word about kidney disease, and if you or someone you know seems at risk for kidney failure, get regular screenings from your doctor. Early detection can help prevent kidney disease from progressing to kidney failure!

And now, a word from World Kidney Day!


Happy International Women’s Day!

8 Mar

Since Neuronano and I have a lunch date tomorrow, which doesn’t happen too often since we live over 600 miles apart, I thought I’d celebrate by updating the blog that we haven’t posted on for over a year. What better day to get back on the horse than International Women’s Day! I know by the time this gets posted, you may be thinking, “It’s so late in the day to just be finding out now!” but the good news is, it’s also Women’s History Month!

I couldn’t even begin to tell you about ALL of the important women who have changed history, like Marie Curie who was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in science and the first person to win two Nobel Prizes (one in physics and one in chemistry) or Sandra Day O’Conner who was the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Instead, I offer a challenge this month to learn more about the great contributions made by women. Watch movies and TV shows created by women (I highly recommend The Mindy Project as Mindy Kahling is hilarious!). Read books (or other books) or comic books by women. Consume art and music by women. Appreciate women for all they have to offer.

And if you’re looking for recommendations to get you started, head on over to Captain Awkward and dig through the comments. Don’t be intimidated by the title, there are some really great suggestions down there, I promise!

Happy International Women’s Day/Women’s History Month!

Happy National Peanut Butter Day!

24 Jan

Heeeey there, remember me?  Well, that’s been a long hiatus, now hasn’t it?  Many, many, holidays have come and gone since October, so maybe the next time they come around I’ll make up for it and just back date it muahaha.  So, sorry about that, but science got in the way.

So, hopefully you’ll welcome me (us) back with open arms covered in peanut butter!  Wait ew, but yay Happy National Peanut Butter Day!   A gal pal from grad school used to go bonkers for pb, and this blog post is for her :o)

Here’s how I’m celebrating.


See, if you pair pb with an apple, you trick yourself into forgetting how much fat (but hey it’s GOOD fat) is in the pb.  At the very least, the good and the bad neutralize each other.  It’s science, really. JEEZ.

I’m one of those strange people who doesn’t like pb&j.  It’s just too sweet for me.  I’ll eat a pb sangwich, or maybe a jelly sangwich, but not the two together.  Just too much sugarsugarsugarsugar.  Even if I had pb and sugar free jam or something, it’d be too sweet.  I’ll pass.

Anyway, here’s some cool stuff about peanut butter (source:  National Peanut Board):

The good fat in pb is the unsaturated fat.  This helps you lower your LDL cholesterol or “bad” as people like to call it.  The saturated fat content isn’t really that high, and is definitely outweighed but the unsaturated fat.  Your best bet is to go with natural pb, although it’s more expensive but better for you.

Peanut butter has NO cholesterol! Woo!

It takes 540 peanuts to make a 12 oz. jar!

If you’re looking for a reason to visit Grand Saline, TX, well look no further.  This city boasts the title of “world’s largest peanut butter and jelly sandwich weighing in at a whopping 1,342 pounds.   Yeehaw!

Ya know how they got Mr. Ed to “talk?”  That’s right, peanut butter.


For your health and your happiness, be it crunchy, smooth, or X-TREME CRUNCHAY, celebrate National Peanut Butter Day early and often!

Happy National Novel Writing Month!

1 Nov

November is National Novel Writing Month, and you can tell how special I think this month is since I’ve broken our nearly month-long hiatus from blogging.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) was started in 1999 with approximately 21 participants. Last year, over 200,000 people signed up to participate. The goal of the month is to write at least 50,000 words of a new novel from November 1st to midnight on November 30th. This is my 5th year participating, but I am yet to actually meet the goal. Some people have asked me what you get if you complete your novel during the month of November. I tell them ‘nothing’. So then they ask, “What’s to keep you from just entering random words to meet your 50,000 word goal?” Wait, what?

OK, so maybe I know some sketchy people, but the point of this month isn’t about winning a contest. It’s to stimulate creativity. I know personally as the amateur writer that I try to be, I over analyze everything I write, trying to be the next great writer, but NaNoWriMo gives you no time to quibble over such details. Instead, it allows you to do a process I like to call ‘thought dumping’ where you just write down everything you want to say and worry about polishing it in the editing stage (I do this a lot when I write journal articles). Also to help inspire your creativity during the month, the NaNoWriMo website has forums where you can discuss tips and strategies for writing, local “chapters” which sometimes host NaNoWriMo write-ins, and even a section with pep talks from real authors with their advice and thoughts on writing a novel.

So if you’re longing for a creative outlet, I highly recommend you check out NaNoWriMo.org.

Happy writing!

Happy World Smile Day and Ada Lovelace Day!

7 Oct

A long long time ago when there was still some happiness in the world, World Smile Day was created.

Smiles All Around!

In 1963, Mr. Harvey Ball created the trademark yellow smiley face that you may recognize from such products as the Have A Day poster that adorned the back of my bedroom door as an angsty teenager.  Ball later went on to found the World Smile Corporation which in turn created World Smile Day to promote the yellow smiley.  And even though it seems a little screwed up that a day focused on smiling is really just a fancy advertisement, today is actually a good day.  Not only is the purpose of today to make people smile 🙂 but World Smile Day raises money for the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation which is a non-profit organization that supports children’s causes.

So go out and make someone smile!

Also, today is Ada Lovelace Day!

Ada Lovelace was the first female programmer, which as a computational chemist, I think it pretty awesome.  Today is the day to appreciate all women in STEM (which includes neuronano and me!).  Head on over to the Flickr Blog for some more info on this cool holiday.

Happy Do Something Nice Day!

5 Oct

I think this day is pretty self explanatory, so just go out and do something nice today! My nice thing was not hitting the car next to me while pulling into a really tight spot just because he doesn’t know how to park in between the yellow lines.  I didn’t leave a nasty note on his car either, so that’s two nice things!  Maybe I’ll do something nicer later.

This is a day that should truly be celebrated early and often!

Happy Virus Appreciation Day!

3 Oct

Today is that day where we get to appreciate those nasty viruses that knock us on our asses every winter.  Ironically, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was announced today to be awarded to Ralph Steinman, Bruce Beutler, and Jules Hoffmann for “unlocking the secrets of the immune system”.

On a totally different note, I’ve recently discovered the show, The Walking Dead.  It’s about a group of survivors during the zombie apocalypse.  From my limited knowledge of zombie fandom, I’m pretty sure that the zombie virus is passed through saliva, much like mononucleosis, except that you turn zombie by being bit and get mono by kissing.  Interesting, one makes you like a zombie (mono), the other makes you actual zombie.  The new season of The Walking Dead starts October 16th, and if you need to play catch-up like I did, check out your on-demand selection.  Here is the trailer for season 2:

It’s pretty intense, and I can’t wait!