12.31.2015

Moderate Amounts of Caffeine During Pregnancy Do Not Harm Baby’s IQ and Do Not Cause Behavioral Problems, Obesity


The study comes from researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH, and is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

"Women drinking and eating moderate amounts of caffeine during pregnancy should be reassured that they are not harming their child’s intelligence, according to a study from The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital that was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The research, one of the first studies to focus on how in utero caffeine exposure affects a child’s future intelligence (IQ) and behavior later in childhood, found caffeine did not lead to a reduced IQ or increased behavioral problems.

“We did not find evidence of an adverse association of maternal pregnancy caffeine consumption with child cognition or behavior at 4 or 7 years of age,” said Mark A. Klebanoff, MD, principal investigator in the Center for Perinatal Research at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s and faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Medicine."
The women were all part of the Collaborative Perinatal Project, which was conducted at multiple locations in the US between 1959-74 - a time when the researchers say coffee consumption during pregnancy was higher than today, given that there was little concern regarding caffeine safety.

Because the study took place during a time of higher maternal caffeine intake, the researchers say they were able to assess a broader range of caffeine intakes than they would in pregnant women today.

"We did not find evidence of an adverse association of maternal pregnancy caffeine consumption with child cognition or behavior at 4 or 7 years of age," says Dr. Klebanoff, who adds that their study is one of the first to focus on how exposure to caffeine in utero affects a child's IQ and behavior.

"Taken as a whole, we consider our results to be reassuring for pregnant women who consume moderate amounts of caffeine or the equivalent to one or two cups of coffee per day."

"To get an idea of what 200 mg of caffeine looks like, one 8 oz cup of coffee contains about 95 mg, while one cup of black tea contains nearly 50 mg. Green tea, meanwhile, contains between 24-45 mg."

Caffeine intake through chocolate, however, can surprisingly add up; in 100 g of dark chocolate, there is approximately 45 mg of caffeine.

12.28.2015

Homemade Creamer for Coffee

Admittedly I'm not a 'coffee creamer' kind of girl.  I like my coffee hot, strong and black.  When I say 'hot' I mean hot.  190-200 degrees is about right.  No sweetener, no cream.  However, in iced coffee or if it's a freezing cold day and there is fluffy snow falling outside my window, I do enjoy a flavored coffee, complete with creamer to sweeten it just a bit and bring out the flavor.  Here is a non-sugar version that uses a Stevia based sweetener.


Homemade Creamer for Coffee


1 can evaporated milk
1 ½ c milk of your choice
3 T Stevia (powdered version)
1 T vanilla extract

Whisk ingredients together in a bowl.  Pour into an air-tight container like a mason jar. Use up within the date of your milk best-by date.


12.19.2015

State Highway Patrol trooper was charged Friday with involuntary manslaughter in the drowning death of an Iowa man who fell from a patrol boat while he was handcuffed




Source:    Missouri trooper charged in handcuffed Iowa man's drowning

A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper was charged Friday with involuntary manslaughter in the drowning death of an Iowa man who fell from a patrol boat while he was handcuffed at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Trooper Anthony Piercy arrested year old Brandon Ellingson, of suburban Des Moines for boating while intoxicated and was taking him to a patrol zone office. "Witnesses have said Piercy placed an already buckled life vest over Ellingson's head and didn't property secure it. Ellingson's life vest came off shortly after he went into the water, and Piercy eventually jumped into the water but was unable to save Ellingson. His body was recovered the next day from the lake bottom."

So... a 20 year old - just months from being able to drink 'legally' anyway and was not driving on the roads, but was enjoying a summer day with friends boating on the lake... arrested, a poorly trained trooper takes off in his boat, Brandon falls and the news says Piercy "eventually" jumped in the water...  eventually?   My condolences to this family. 

A 13 year old rides his bike around safety gates and onto train tracks and is hit by a train - now his Mother can sue even though the BOY made the choice to go around the gates?


Source Link:  Mother of Nebraska boy struck and killed by Union Pacific train can proceed with lawsuit

Efrain Ramos-Domingo was killed when he rode his bicycle onto a double set of railroad tracks in Schuyler while the safety gates were down.

A woman whose 13-year-old son was struck and killed by a train can proceed with her lawsuit against Union Pacific Corp., the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The 3-2 decision overturns a district court judge's decision to throw out the case. The Supreme Court said that reasonable people could have reached different conclusions about who was at fault for the July 2005 crash.

 The boy was struck by a westbound Union Pacific train just after an eastbound train had cleared the intersection. Authorities pronounced him dead at the scene.

The boy's mother, Manuela Domingo Gaspar Gonzalez, alleged in her lawsuit that the noise from one train was loud enough to prevent a pedestrian from determining whether there was one train or two at the crossing. A judge also considered evidence that the departing eastbound train blocked the boy's view of the second locomotive until the final seconds before the crash.

A Colfax County District Court judge ruled that Union Pacific had not violated its standard of care and concluded that the boy should have looked and listened for the oncoming train.



12.18.2015

Wasting time waiting on a call from the mechanic. Coffee in hand. Music Meme Time. Random questions!

Here is something I don't think I've done on Coffee Talking in about 7 or 8 years.  Since it used to be a "Mom Blog" (although honestly I had a 50-50 readership with just as many guys reading as women and some didn't have any kids at all).  Because I didn't really just talk about my kids.  It was friends chatting over morning coffee on my blog every morning - anything goes.

But anyway!  Time for a random meme because I'm sitting here babysitting my phone very closely so I don't miss the phone call from my mechanics - who should have called me yesterday - and still haven't called today.  It's 5:pm on Friday evening - they close at 6:pm.  If they don't get done with my truck and call me SOON then my truck is going to be held hostage by them all weekend as they are closed Saturday and Sundays.

I've got a cup of coffee in hand.  No dinner has to be made for another hour.  Everyone gone for now but me.  BORED and waiting on the mechanics.  So, I typed the words 20 question meme into Google to see what would pop up.  Apparently there are sites that discuss and list nothing but meme ideas.  Who knew?

Apparent meme's are aimed towards 13 year olds as almost ALL of them had something to do with school, classes, teachers and such.  I'm sure there are 'adult' memes out there too if I looked.  But... maybe we just don't need to 'go there' on this blog right now anyway.  Ha.  I don't know you that well.

Since I like music, and this was one of the first ones I saw - I decided this would be the one.


1. a song from the year you were born
Let It Be


2. a song that reminds you of school
1985


3. a song tied to a specific moment in your life
Hold On


4. a song that is not sung in your native language
Waterloo (Swedish Version)


5. a song over 5 minutes long
The Magic Flute (Overture)


6. a song under 2 minutes long
Hmm. Not sure but I think the Beatles have a couple of them.

7. an instrumental
Die Walkure: Ride Of The Valkyries


8. a classical piece
Die Walkure: Ride of the Valkyries and The Magic Flute would both qualify here

9. a song with no percussion
Penis Envy


10. something you’ve heard performed live
Wanted Dead Or Alive


11. something you’d give ANYTHING to hear performed live
Eh. Not much for crowds and I'm good with Youtube.  

12. a song by an artist who’s from where you’re from (town/city/state/country)
Seriously?  Did a 12 year old from Los Angeles write this question? I may find someone from my state but tiny little towns in the heartland aren't known for pumping out big name celebrities.

13. a song made suddenly precious because of a special someone
When You Say Nothing At All


14. a song made suddenly awful because of a special someone
Oh Sherrie


15. something to BELT SHAMELESSLY/do DIVA HANDS to
Hmm.  Belting shamelessly and diva hands are completely different things. I don't think I do diva hands. Ever.

16. something to SCREAM ALONG to
I'm On A Boat (Album Version) [feat. T-Pain] [Explicit]


17. a song for raging
Break Stuff


18. a song that demands lipsyncing into a makeshift microphone
Pretty much every song that comes on has to be sung to or lipsync'd to

19. the last song you had stuck in your head
Johnny Cash - but I've thought about so many songs since starting this meme that now I've forgotten what it was

20. a song you’re dying to master all the words to
Penis Envy

21. a song that you could SLAY at karaoke
Girl Crush


22. a song you can’t help but dance to
Jump in the Line

23. a song that makes you want to dance on a table
Maybe ... Pour Some Sugar On Me

24. a song that makes you wanna STRIP
Mondo Bongo


25. a song with a great music video
Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead or Alive (was there when it was filmed)

26. a song that makes you act out the music video when you hear it
Uh... none of them?

27. a song with counting
Mambo Number 5

28. a song with spelling
RESPECT 

29. a song with lots of clapping
ChaCha Slide

30. a song 40 years older than you
Star Dust

31. a song you wish your parents didn’t know the words to
(another question by a 12 year old) - Eh. Too old for this one. 

32. a song whose lyrics shocked you once you were old enough to understand them
Huh.  Not sure about this one.

33. a song you have ZERO patience for
Almost anything by Kenny Chesney (did I spell that right?)

34. a song you’d like your favorite artist to cover
Don't have a favorite artist nor a song someone else needs to do so... moot point

35. a great song you discovered thanks to a movie
Mondo Bongo

36. a great song you discovered thanks to television
Oh crap.  I stopped watching tv in 1998 or 1999 so...  don't remember.

37. a song you’re ashamed to have in your music library
Well, I'm not sure why I've never deleted "I'm My Own Grandpa"  just never got around to it I guess but I hate it and cringe when I hear it.

38. ok what’s the song you were too ashamed to even post for #37
My tastes in music is so eclectic that I'm past caring.  EVERYONE knows they could get ANYTHING when they hit 'random play' on my computer.  From folk tunes, to 1930's to heavy metal, christian, country, show tunes, disney, anything goes.

39. the most played song in your music library
Currently?  "I'm Not Pageant Material" 

40. favorite disney song
Belle - "Little Town"



12.14.2015

This morning's news over coffee.....

This morning's post is coming from Fox News and my 2nd strong, hot, black cup of coffee. Headlines link to the source stories.




School principal bans Santa, Thanksgiving and Pledge of Allegiance

"...Santa Claus is banned. The Pledge of Allegiance is no longer recited. “Harvest festival” has replaced Thanksgiving, and “winter celebrations” substitute for Christmas parties."

New principal Eujin Jaela Kim has given PS 169 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, a politically correct scrub-down, to the dismay of teachers and parents.

“We definitely can’t say Christmas, nothing with Christmas on it, nothing with Santa,” PTA President Mimi Ferrer said administrators told her. “No angels. We can’t even have a star because it can represent a religious system, like the Star of David.”



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~



Police investigation into mass cellphone buys now includes stolen propane tanks

"The bulk purchases of more than 200 cellphones from seven Missouri 
Walmarts over the course of a single weekend continues to draw the attention of law enforcement 
– particularly combined with the theft of more than 
48 propane canisters in the state during the same time frame."

Terrorists have long used mobile phones to set off explosive ordinances, and propane tanks have been used in improvised bombs. For example, the thwarted car bomb attack in Times Square in 2010 was set to use four propane tanks as part of the explosive device.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~



Grieving father had a heartbreaking request for Santa 

"Without anyone saying anything, he handed me the frame and I placed it on my knee.
In the photo, I could see on the little boy's armband that his first name was Hayden.
I didn't ask any questions, but I am guessing that this is his first photo with Santa.

The camera snap was the only sound I could hear through the entire mall.
Normally, I hear all kinds of music and sounds, but it was absolutely silent."


"My son passed away, last year." He choked up and couldn't finish his sentence.

Kyle's son Hayden died in his arms after a long fight with his congenital heart defect.

Kyle wanted Hayden to still have his photo with Santa, and to give the photo to his wife, Sasha, as a present.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

12.08.2015

Spiderman, Hulk, Captain America Coffee Mugs - a Superhero Kind of Coffee Morning

This morning I was going over my son's Christmas 'idea' list and in my search for various Marvel Comics coasters and koozies, ended up stumbling upon marvel comic COFFEE in k-cups!  This was over on the Walmart site and other than Walmart and one other site, I can't seem to find them on Amazon or anywhere else... but it did lead to this mornings Coffee Talking post.

When my son was 3 years old, he loved anything that had to do with Spiderman.  From the figures to foot tall toys, pajamas, slippers, web slinging silly string, Halloween costumes, t-shirts...  His 4th birthday party was a Spiderman themed fest... and so was his 10th.

You would think he would have grown out of it but you would be wrong.  That little boy is now a young man set up in his own apartment and his 2nd bedroom is......?  A Marvel comic themed office complete with 3D Marvel Comic light fixtures coming out of the wall (like these;  Marvel Ultimate Spiderman Spidey Hand 3d Deco Light. He has the Hulk, Spiderman's head and hand, Captain America and Thor's hammer).

As I research Spiderman and other superhero items for his Christmas gifts, I thought it would make a great post on Coffee Talk in case anyone popping in wanted to check out some superhero coffee mugs!



  I actually think my son has this one already!   His Spiderman and Marvel Superhero collection not only is filling his office but spills into his kitchen with coffee mugs, glasses and cereal bowls!    Here is a Marvel Comics Spider-Man Eyes Coffee Mug



Similar items you might be interested in....


Superhero Shield Ceramic Coffee Mug

  • Custom printed 15 oz ceramic novelty coffee mug for your coffee, tea, or drink of choice.
  • Drink in style - coolest superhero print.
  • Makes a great gift for your superhero friends.
  • Microwave and dishwasher safe.




The Incredible Hulk Green Oversized Jumbo Hand Mug Officially Licensed Marvel Comics - 22 oz

  • Officially Licensed by Marvel
  • Sculpted Ceramic Hulk Hand Mug
  • Holds approximately 22oz and is 5" tall
  • Beautifuly Designed and Painted
  • HANDWASH ONLY; DO NOT MICROWAVE












Marvel Comics Spider-Man Web Slinging Coffee Mug, 14-Ounces


  • Iconic red and black image of Marvel's Spiderman
  • Officially licensed by Marvel Comics
  • Made of microwave safe ceramic
  • Holds up to 14-ounces of cold or hot liquid
  • Features easy grip handle





Marvel Comics Captain America Coffee Mug






Funko Spider-Man, Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man Pop! Home 12 oz. Mugs Set of 4

12.04.2015

Trader Joe's Chocolate Marbles are Just So Pretty! Too pretty to eat?

I just had time to brew a cup of coffee and finally go through today's mail.  I am on the mailing list for Trader Joe's newsletters - you know the old fashionedy twelve page 'catalog' and 'newsletter' thing they send?  So, I'm glancing through it and see Chocolate Marbles... 



I don't normally shop Trader Joe's and don't particularly like chocolate but even so, they caught my eye because they are just so pretty!  I have a family full of chocolate lovers that would love to see these under the tree as a gift for Christmas.

Two half rounds of chocolate are filled with a filling of various flavors, then the two halves are molded back together to form the sphere.  The balls are coated with a layer of chocolate to smooth them out and then very thin layers of sugar coat are added and finally, a fine layer of color.  Made to deliberately look like marbles, Trader Joe's newsletter says they are selling them for $4.99 while they can keep them in stock.

I don't currently live anywhere near a Trader Joe's but of course I looked on Amazon to see if they were available and as of tonight they have 3 in stock yet... but expect to pay dearly for them.  They are listed for $14.99 right now (of course Amazon prices fluctuate though).

About the Product
  • Almond praline, hazelnut praline, chocolate mousse, coconut, caramel, crispy cookie
  • 12 delicious marbles to enjoy
  • Contains milk, hazelnut, wheat, almond, soy, coconut
  • May contain traces of chestnut, pistachio, walnut, pine nut, egg
  • Product of France

I suck at sharpening my machete blades!


I posted about my new machete's I bought to tackle the briars and overgrowth in our woods and by the creek where our wild berry bushes grow (see post here if you missed it below).

I also have researched far too many forums, blogs and message boards in order to learn correct ways to sharpen them, and watched a kazillion videos.   Then I tried a couple of them.

And I suck at it.

I think if I had a belt sander, I could get the job done well, but I don't.  And my attempts with a metal file and sandpaper and diamond sandpaper block aren't giving me the sharp blade I want.  I will also admit that my first attempts actually dulled it and made it worse and I had to stop and start over!

I readily admit I'm useless with metal files and Puck Sharpeners.  So I have started to think about getting a 'sharpener for dummies' - at least that is what I call it in my head as I admit that using metal files and such is just beyond my skills at this time.

This week I've been debating about ordering one of these (I am linking to it on Amazon which is probably where I'll order one from if I decide to);



Smith's Axe and Machete Sharpener - But here is what is frustrating.  Some of the reviews (on various sites) rave about how great this is and how easy it is to get a good blade with it (especially for dummies like me that seem to be screwing it up with files and blocks, Ha ha).   This looks easier for me to use, to get the right degree down and to sharpen and not dull it.  But then there are other reviews (yelling) to people; do not buy this!  That it not only doesn't work, but dulls your blade or in some cases, notches it!

What's a girl to do?

IF YOU HAVE AND USE A SMITH'S AXE AND MACHETE SHARPENER OR ANOTHER BRAND OF THIS STYLE, COULD YOU LET ME KNOW WHAT YOUR OPINION IS?   You can reach me on twitter at: MerittAndrews 

Dee Dee Blanchard - Gypsy Blanchard

Read the latest update source story for this opinion chit-chat post here if you don't know who Dee Dee or Gypsy Blanchard is.

So, my quick thoughts over morning coffee and this news story....

I'm going to say right off... my heart aches for this girl.

Her mother screwed her up so badly.  To listen to her speak in old interviews and more current, it's so obvious her little squeaky voice is that of a much more immature person that whatever age she was at the time.  She was also plainly 'coached' for responses as she used sentences and phrases that sounded so clearly rehearsed and things her adult mother would say - but not an 'average' 'typical' eight year old child.   Then again... Gypsy was never, ever allowed to be a normal, typical child.

"....Relatives have said Dee Dee Blanchard imprisoned Gypsy Blanchard and forced her to pretend that she was disabled — shaving her head and making her use a wheelchair and take seizure medication that caused her teeth to fall out."

This poor girl, from birth, was made to believe she had spina bifida, muscular dystrophy and leukemia... among who knews what else?

The public was duped by this woman since her daughter was born to believe she had these and all kinds of various medical issues.  Reporters, Habitat for Humany, Make a Wish Foundation... all duped by this mother at the expense of her daughter ever having a normal childhood.


Seeing her now, as an adult you can tell she doesn't even know how to hold herself, or act 'normal' and she speaks as if she is still a 7 year old child.  Her voice, her personality...  being held in a medical bubble all her life, she doesn't even know what reality for most young women her age is.


And this mother is still wielding her power from the grave...  Gyspy can't even legally talk to her OWN DOCTORS without the Mother present.  So getting medical records has proven difficult because somehow, the mother got power of attorney over her daughter - even though legally this is not allowed unless they are shown to be incompetent. 

".....Stanfield said at a previous court appearance that Dee Dee Blanchard had set up some blocks that prevented her daughter from viewing her own medical records. Stanfield said Monday he has still not obtained those records.  

"We're still attempting to obtain all of the medical records," Stanfield said. "The durable powers of attorney that her mother had executed prevented Gypsy from even requesting her own medical records. They prevented her from speaking with the doctors on her own. They required her mother to basically do everything as far as her medical care."

This source story was interesting to me because it shows Dee Dee was claiming 'health issues' all the way back to Gypsy's birth. 

"... I was told at that time that her health issues, which began at birth, included vision and hearing problems. She could only be fed through a feeding tube, Dee Dee Blanchard said." 

"I have been very lucky," Blanchard told me. "She is such a good child. She has never once complained."

  • She and her mother lived in a Habitat for Humanity home in Springfield.
  • They told officials there that they were survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
  • The News-Leader, in researching Gypsy's past, found details of gifts from the Children's Wish Endowment, located in Slidell, La. At the age of 11, Gypsy told a Times-Picayune reporter that the organization had granted several wishes of hers, including a trip to Walt Disney World.
  • The Habitat house they lived in was specifically outfitted for Gypsy's wheelchair and her other healthcare needs. 

The needs which she may have never had.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

After the mother (Dee Dee) was killed, Gypsy no longer had the chains of her binding her - physically, mentally or emotionally.   For the first time in her life she was without a domineering maternal presence in her life.  Some people are claiming Gypsy must have been 'in' on the ruse after she was old enough because she didn't go against her mother's claims in the past couple years. 

How can anyone know that?

Having spent 20 years - from the day you were born - being given medications to make your teeth fall out, being told you have cancer, having a woman psychologically mess with your head your entire life...  This little girl did not have any 'normal' life experience to base her decisions or knowledge on.

If she was 'in' on the ruse and intelligent enough to think that deeply and make decisions that complex (for her) then she would have been better off to continue the ruse of sickness in her own defense.  But she didn't.  As a matter of fact, as soon as her mother was out of the picture she was able to be "normal" and "healthy" for literally the FIRST TIME IN HER LIFE.  

I personally find it most likely she fully believed she was sick until just recently when she was able to befriend the man who ultimately became her 'boyfriend' and with a mental capacity seemingly stuck around 8 years old, I'm sure it's like a 2nd grader discovering things like friends, boyfriends and the ability to believe things other than what your parents have told you (discovering there is no Santa Claus!). 

As she discovered more things and became stronger in her own feelings and choices - I can imagine realizing small things like "What is Mom talking about?  I can walk without my wheelchair."  "What would happen if I stop taking the medicine she says I need?"  "My hair is growing!?"  "I don't feel sick today..."  and more and more the realization that this woman who you believed loved you and cared for you in sickness all your life, was in fact MAKING you sick in order to thrive on the attention, the interviews, the free housing, Disney trips and many gifts and money they received.

Like a sickness herself, the need for that attention by a mother forced her child into a life of faux sickness - from simple "hearing" issues as a newborn to making her baby have a feeding tube... and then when the need for more attention grew stronger, portraying her daughter as having spina bifida and later muscular dystrophy and finally, leukemia. 

This seems like a strong case of  Munchausen's by Proxy to me...  and a very messed up little girl that was suddenly in an adults body and as an adult, starting to realize her mother may have been causing her 'sickness' her whole life.

But then again, I've had 5 cups of very strong, hot, black coffee this morning already so.... maybe it's just the coffee talking.






11.24.2015

Coffee and the Morning News.... A father failed a paternity test because genes in his saliva differ from those in his sperm!

If you follow me on Twitter, then you know I'm a news-a-holic - love to read anything and everything and usually have a comment on it!  But this one was not only interesting for the obvious reasons, but another one, that I'll get into in a minute.


Source


DNA researchers report a father failed a paternity test because the genes in his saliva differ from his sperm’s. One in eight people might possess such “chimeric” genes caused by a twin lost in the womb.



"A 34-year-old U.S. man is the first-ever reported case of a paternity test fooled by a human “chimera” — someone with extra genes absorbed from a nascent twin lost in early pregnancy.

About 1 in 8 single childbirths are thought to have started as multiple pregnancies. Cells from these miscarried siblings are sometimes absorbed in the womb by a surviving twin — but are only rarely discovered by surprises such as the paternity-test puzzle.

“Even geneticists are blown away by this,” Barry Starr, a geneticist at Stanford University, told BuzzFeed News.

Last year, a Washington couple came to Starr, who answers the “Ask a Geneticist” questions on the website of the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California, looking for help with what appeared to be a mistake at a fertility clinic. The answer to their mystery points to a possible genetic loophole in standard paternity testing, Starr said — “one where we have no idea how big the problem is.”

In June 2014, the parents (who have chosen to remain unnamed because of concerns for their privacy and confidentiality of medical records) had a son with the help of fertility clinic procedures. The boy was born healthy, but strangely, his blood type didn’t match that of his parents.

An at-home paternity test suggested an explanation: The man wasn’t actually the father of the child.

“You can imagine the parents were pretty upset,” said Starr, whose colleagues have presented the case at two scientific meetings this month. “They thought the clinic had used the wrong sperm.”

The parents hired a lawyer and sought a more precise paternity test from an accredited lab. Just like the at-home test, the new analysis relied on skin cells from a cheek swab to check the father’s genes against the child’s. Again, the test came back negative for paternity."

"Concerned that the fertility clinic had made a mistake, the Washington couple approached them with the results of the paternity test. But the fertility clinic said that the 34-year-old father was the only white man to donate sperm at the facility on the day their son was conceived, and the child looked white.

That was when the couple approached Starr, who suggested they test the father and son with a direct-to-consumer genetic ancestry test sold by the startup firm 23andMe. The results of those tests came back late last year. Bizarrely, their results said that the man was his son’s uncle."

“That was kind of a eureka moment,” said Starr. At that point, he realized they might be dealing with a chimera.

 ___________________________________________

You can read more of the story at the source I linked to at the top of this post.  But what happened is the man originally had a twin way back before his mom probably even knew he was pregnant.  But the cells for that baby don't form a life and they (very early on) are reabsorbed back into the body before anyone even knew they were there.

When I got pregnant with our son, we assumed it would be a healthy, non-issue pregnancy just like our pregnancy with his older sister was.  However, during a cross country drive to see family about 9 weeks into the pregnancy, I started bleeding and long story short, we ended up at the hospital doing testing instead of visiting family.  We ended up with images that showed I was pregnant with unexpected twins - 2 different sacs, 2 different babies, but only one was a thriving little peanut.  The other was more like a round grape.  No movement.  No heartbeat.  

My cervix was still closed, I wasn't 'losing' the babies but I was having spotting.  I took it easy, went back to our home 1000 miles away after the visit and because I happened to be in the middle of switching doctor's, I didn't see a new doctor for about 6 weeks.  At that visit, I brought the ultrasound results, letter from the doctor who saw me, and the images of the 2 babies and placentas.  However, the new ultra sounds taken that day now showed 1 baby and 1 placenta.  My body had reabsorbed the other.  It was now a single, healthy pregnancy.  Had I not had the ultra sound and the internal ultrasound images to show the babies at 9 weeks verses 16 weeks, we would never have known there was originally a twin there.  The rest of the pregnancy progressed perfectly and a healthy little 8 lb. 4 oz. baby boy was born.

Now... back to the news story!  So it's actually possible this story could theoretically happen to my son one day.

If he has a child and decides to do a paternity test for some reason he could conceivably have different DNA in his body as well due to the ghost-twin.  No, it's not likely... but unlike the guy in the news story, my son actually knows he had a twin in utero that was reabsorbed by my body (and possibly him as well as he grew from that 1 inch peanut into an 8 1/2 pound baby).  It was a separate sac so we know it would have been a fraternal twin, and not identical.  

And that... is what I was thinking while I was sipping my coffee and reading this particular news story.

It's just the coffee talking again.














11.19.2015

Product Review Over Coffee: I got my Tramontina Bush Machete's from Machete Specialists (14" and 18")



This isn't a sponsored review - I did some research into what I wanted and needed and purchased these full price online from Machetespecialists dot com. 

A machete is something I've wanted for the last few years but never got around to buying one because it wasn't a priority in the budget and I could 'put off' the work I wanted to use them for until "next Fall", or I could use another tool to do it.  However, this week I found myself tackling overgrown black raspberry bushes and a jungle of briars and other invasive weeds... with a little hand held pair of pruning clippers.  And after about 2 hours of working, came into the house, got online and ordered 2 machetes (that I had already researched and bookmarked) from Machete Specialists.

About 3 years ago I started to keep my eye on various knives and machetes at the sporting goods stores and hardware stores we visited.  For the most part, I found them to be cheaply made, over priced and stamped with some tv celebrity name on them in order to sell an inferior product.  In the end, I wanted a true, 'working' machete and wanted it to be made in South America where they use and know their machetes.  Not China.

Although I had 5 machetes bookmarked; when I was going to order them, my first 2 choices were out of stock.  I had 3 in my 'cart' but could really only afford to get 2 of them so I opted for the 2 Tramontina's; a 14" and an 18". I also opted to pay a bit more to order them with sheaths so I didn't have to bother with ordering or making them separate. A leather sheath would have been nice, but again; budget.

Here are the two I bought and their product descriptions from the website:


Tramontina 14 Inch Bush Machete with Canvas Sheath

Product Description

Brand: Tramontina
Total Length: 19 inch
Blade Length: 14 inch
Weight of Machete: 12 oz
Blade thickness above handle/at tip: 1.25 mm/1.25 mm
Blade width at handle/widest point: 4 cm/6 cm
Blade Composition: SAE 1070 High-Carbon Steel
Blade Detail: Primary grind established at factory but will require further sharpening for fine edge.
Style: Bush
Handle: Natural color hardwood handle with full tang.
Features: Heavy Duty Green Canvas Sheath Included. Made in Brazil.




Tramontina 18 Inch Bush Machete with Canvas Sheath

Product Description


Brand: Tramontina
Total Length: 23 inch
Blade Length: 18 inch
Blade thickness above handle/at tip: 1.25 mm/1 mm
Weight of Machete: 15 oz
Blade width at handle/widest point: 4 cm/6 cm
Blade Composition: SAE 1070 High-Carbon Steel
Blade Detail: Primary grind established at factory but will require further sharpening for fine edge.
Style: Bush
Handle: Poly handle with full tang.
Features: Heavy Duty Green Canvas Sheath Included. Made in Brazil.


 They were delivered today.
So... what do I think?

PROS
  • The delivery was fast.  I appreciated that!  As a matter of fact, they shipped within a couple hours of me ordering them.  Kudos for that!
  • The canvas sheaths are much better quality than I was expecting.  Seeing how nice and durable they are, I didn't feel bad about not ordering a leather one after all.  
  • The knives are nice. Full tang. Have a good feel to them.
  • I opted for a wood handle on one and a poly handle on the other to see which I liked better.  I love the wood handle!  It also happens to fit the best in my hand and has a great feel to it.  The poly, I will be wrapping in either leather or possibly tennis tape for a better fit and better grip.
CONS
  • This isn't really a 'con' as it was expected; but the Tramontina's don't come factory sharpened.  I knew this and didn't think it was a big deal I'd have to put a good edge on it first - but when they arrived, I had underestimated how excited I would be to use them! It killed me not to be able to grab it and go tackle some brush asap as I have to sharpen them first.
  •  It was beat up.  As in... the tips are beat up - one more so than the other and there are a few surface scratches (eh, no biggy) but one has a pretty deep scratch to it.
My husband knew I was really excited about my new machetes so I called him when they arrived and I told him that I knew these would be 'working' machetes.  I'm not going to be hanging them on the wall or trying to keep them pretty.  I'm going to be using them and they are going to be dirty, scratched, dinged and used but I couldn't help be disappointed when I pulled them out of their sheaths and found them already sporting a couple deep scratches.  

He laughed at me... but when he was finished laughing he said he understood.  That when you get something new you want to be the one to put the first scratches, gouges and dings in it.  You don't want them to come 'new' like that.  Could I contact the company and complain?  Yeah.  But it's not an expensive blade, and I'm going to be using it for clearing brush and crap so it's not like it's not going to be dinged up by me too.  

I was just disappointed to have it arrive beat up - when I wasn't the one doing the beating.   


 Here is a deep scratch in one of the blades as it was delivered to me, brand new.

The tips are beat up a bit - not that I plan to go stab anyone with it anyway


 You can see some lighter scratches and another beat up tip

But... these blades are going to be cutting through some of the overgrown black raspberries and briars and other growth down by the creek and lining the side and back of our yard before our woods start.  Working blades.  So... I'll try not to dwell on my initial disappointment. 






Everyone has opinions on handles so I got one wood and one poly.
It ends up the wood handle is my favorite.  And, it fits my hand perfectly - I like the feel of the grip.
I may end up wrapping it if I find it gets too slippery from sweat when it's being heavily used but
I'm very happy with the wood handles.

Some people like poly handles.  I found they aren't my favorite.
But I planned on wrapping it anyway; leather or tennis grip tape, etc.
I'll decide that later.

Overall... I'm THRILLED with my blades.  Love the sizes too!  I'm a girl - about 5'5" and I opted for the 14 an 18 inches for this order.  I plan to order a 12" as well - which I will be not only using around the yard and woods but will keep in my backpack for camping and hiking.  Although a lot of guys like the longer 20, 22 and 24 or more... I don't anticipate having to fight off any zombies any time soon and for what I need it for and my size, I made a good choice.











Some products available through Amazon related to this post;


Tramontina 18" Machete, Black Handle, Nylon Sheath







Tramontina 22" Machete with Textured Black Plastic Handle and Nylon Sheath





Tramontina Bolo Machete 26624/014







Tramontina 12" Machete with Wooden Handle








Tramontina 18" Machete with Hardwood Handle and Nylon Sheath



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