iExperience – iFail – iGrow

one. step. at. a. time.


April 2016

Could Hollywood Stop Shootings?

[Insert best Hollywood movie preview voice] Dark on a Monday morning the man lay there in his bed unprepared for the silent torture he was about to endure!  Like a ticking time bomb the alarm clock read 4:59a, with one more tick, and….

…and it’s 5:00a!  Time for me to get up and motivate myself to get some sort of physical activity!  Oh, you can stop reading this with a Hollywood movie preview voice!  Although there are no Hollywood cameras filming my morning wake-up routine and how my silent watch alarm gets me to move my butt out of bed, imagine what your scene would look like when you wake up?  Would it be a comedy?  A love story with your pillow?  Or a horror film?  Whatever the case, I want to share a thought I had while watching the news one day and how I think the Hollywood movie industry could maybe make a difference.

Every morning my wife and I typically have the local news channel playing on the television.  Usually having the news on allows us to focus primarily on what we really want to know about, the weather.  Aside from that, we really like when the CBS This Morning show does their “your world in 90 seconds” spot at 7:00a.  Between those two main portions, we also catch stories that spark our interest and catch our eye.

The news channels always try to seem up beat with their commercials about how you should start your day with them and how they’ll make sure you get the news you deserve.  In some ways, I consider it to be an upbeat pulse.  However, as the newscast plays out, it’s typically all the bad things that are going on in our world and doesn’t really seem to be all that uplifting at all until the weather man says, “today’s forecast, blue skies and 75°!”  Feel free to change that statement to your ideal temperature!

Since the news is filled with so many discouraging stories, I have a full basket of options to choose from.  I could pick from the lovely candidates running for office, the battles that continue overseas, or maybe how some lunatic opened fire in a movie theatre or school.  It is the last topic I mention that I want to put some thought around.  It is an issue that can affect us all and it is one that I can never quite wrap my head around because of all the innocent people that fall victim to it.  When you have a gunman shooting up a theatre or blasting children in a school, it really isn’t any different then a suicide bomber overseas.  In either of the situations, lives are lost and that’s something I’m sure we would all like to see less of.

I wish I had an easy solution for all of this and I wish I had some sort of a psychology or neuroscience degree to offer up maybe a more sound solution, but I don’t.  What I do have is an idea.  That’s it.  My idea may have a trillion reasons why it won’t work and I can fully accept that, but Thomas Edison had a ten thousand ways that didn’t work for him and rather than consider it failure, well, you know what happened.  So bear with me as I share my idea and I’d love to hear what you think, no matter your opinion, I’d just like to hear your thoughts on this.

As I listened to a news story about a shooting, I, like many people, begin asking, why did that person do that?  What was so bad in their life that they reached that point?  Sure I could easily chalk it up to the fact that they may be insane or they have a screw loose.  Usually they have some flavor of a vendetta and in their mind it is a logical reason to carry out their attack.  Others may just have a disgusting fantasy they want to play out and that’s where my wheels are turning.  Is it just living out a fantasy for some people?

We are continually entertained by movies and as you watch a thriller you are sucked in waiting for what happens next.  An although I’m entertained, after watching the movie I realize, what sick mind came up with this plot?  The amount of detail it takes to plan out each scene and think about how that all ties into the storyline, that’s a lot of planning!  Which in the mind of some real world shooter, don’t many of them go to great lengths taking time to plan their attack?  Ok, maybe some just snap and there really isn’t any rhyme or reason, but some do.

As my wheels turn about these two separate worlds of, Hollywood dreaming up the next blockbuster to knock us off our seats, or the person secretly planning an attack on innocent lives, it begged two questions.  1) Could Hollywood sometimes be the cause of why people do what they do based on what they see?  2) Could Hollywood also be the solution to this problem?

Let’s assume that the reason someone wants to carry out an attack is because it gives them some sort of high.  They’re willing to go through with it and know that they could die.  They may also anticipate seeing this destruction on television since the news will cover it.  You have to agree, we know there are people among us in this world that have that fantasy.  So what if Hollywood could let them have their moment?  What I mean is, what if Hollywood could let them act out their scene as if it were the real thing?  They would then have footage to watch that might satisfy their crave and on top of that, no one gets hurt!

Like anything else, I realize there are consequences to this as well.  Depending on how strong the urge is for a person, maybe watching their scene played back to them is a short term fix.  Maybe it satisfies them and maybe it doesn’t.  I’m guessing the latter part would be true.  But what if it did work?  Heck, what if Hollywood found some really good actors in the process?  There is probably a good chance that someone who is planning to shoot up a public venue is not working on their acting skills or looking for an acting career.  But imagine it did give them the relief and it put the thoughts in their head to rest.  Wouldn’t that be amazing?

All this is, is an idea.  A thought.  Nothing more than to get some discussion started on maybe an idea you might have of how to stop events like these.  I know many people would argue to just take away guns altogether, but I think we all know that this would only make guns more of a problem.  It’s like being under the age of 21 and wanting to drink.  Kids find ways to drink even though the law says they can’t.  If you take something away, people just want it more.

As I wrote this article, I thought that it was crazy for me to even share this idea.  However, relating back to the news, I saw this segment Baby Role Playing, and thought, if people are doing this [baby role playing], sharing my thoughts around an idea isn’t that bad, especially when it aims to solve a problem, not create one.  Once again, this baby role playing thing, just another saddening, disheartening way that the news is getting my day off to a great start!

If there is nothing else you take away from this random thought of a post, remember this.  Ideas are worth sharing, because some of the greatest inventions or movements started with just that, an idea.


Kefir Cure? Another Quest for relief!

When I was younger, I was definitely a kid who was not interested in what was healthy for me.  If I had the choice of a glazed donut or an apple, glazed donut, all the way!  If I wanted a snack at eight or nine o’clock at night, then a sugary bowl of cereal, or two, looked like the right choice!  Sure, many kids act just like I did because who wants to eat what is healthy and good for you when some other item satisfies the taste buds so much more!

I’ll share with you a perfect example with my three year old son this morning.  As we were walking out the door this morning, I realized I hadn’t given him his last dose of an antibiotic he was taking for an ear infection.  I’m well aware that he does not like the taste of the medicine, so I have a swig of milk at his side ready to go.  After he takes his medicine, he says, “daddy, I’m still coughing”, as he fakes a cough.  I also notice that he is still tasting the medicine, the milk didn’t wash it all away.  I offer an Easter egg hard shelled piece of chocolate candy and I say, “try this.”  Immediately after eating that up, he says, “daddy, I’m not coughing any more.”  So case and point, he’s just like me, well, like most of us!

Between multiple glazed donuts, sugary pop (or soda as my New Jersey cousins like to say), and who knows what other sugar I ingested on a daily basis, I didn’t think twice.  During those years I also encountered many migraine headaches.  I don’t have anything charted, but I probably had on average six to eight within a year and maybe it was more; I just know I had a lot.  To this very day, I have no idea what caused them.  My guess would be that I was slightly over weight, probably ingested to much sugar, and when drinking soda, it was primarily Pepsi or Coca-cola, so I was throwing caffeine in there too.  As I grew into my later teens, I noticed less and less migraines.  Was I growing out of them or was I eating differently?  What I do know is that when I turned eighteen and graduated high school, I started working for a home builder that summer.  I was losing weight working the physical job and began drinking way more water.  So I believe that had something to do with it and it’s also about the same time I believe I started caring about what I ate… to some degree.

Although I don’t battle migraines anymore, it’s been replaced by something even more constant.  Sinus issues.  In my early twenties to current day, I continue to get a stuffy nose and I have a constant cough.  Typically my doctor will put me on an antibiotic, most people refer to it as the Z-pak.  When I was first introduced to this, it seemed to take care of things and I definitely felt better.  What I’ve noticed over time though, is that when my sinus infections started, I got the clogged head, followed by the stuffed nose, and then everything fell into my chest.  Now a days, I don’t notice the head congestion anymore but mostly just a stuffed nose, followed by chest congestion.  I know many people that deal with sinus issues, so I don’t worry much about the actual sinus issues.  What I started to become concerned with is how the Z-pak was always thrown at the problem.

Using the past to help me again, I started noticing that along with sinus issues, I repeatedly experienced more bowel issues.  So of course, my wheels started turning more.  You always hear about how antibiotics can destroy the bad bacteria and it’s essentially a quick fix to make us feel better.  That’s great, but in the process of killing off that bad bacteria, I’ve also heard how good bacteria in the gut also gets destroyed.  Although it took me some time to put two and two together, I started thinking, what if over all those years of taking a Z-pak, was it slowly destroying the good flora in my gut?

After doctor visits and educating myself more, the obvious choice was to introduce more probiotics, so welcome in the yogurt!  I started introducing more yogurt into my daily diet.  It started with a bowl in the morning with breakfast.  At other times, I’d use it as a treat or something sweet after lunch or dinner, if I hadn’t had any for breakfast that day.  For the most part, I felt like things were improving.  Even though I felt they could be better, I kept reading.  I began to learn that even though yogurt is good for you and even though it has active cultures, most reports find that when it’s processed, some of that goodness is diminished.  Although it’s better than a glazed donut, I want the full benefit of yogurt not just a little bit!

Here in lies my introduction to milk kefir.  One Thursday afternoon I was attending a Toastmaster’s meeting and one of the members of the group spoke about how to make your own milk kefir.  As I heard him speak and the process was explained, I couldn’t believe how dead simple this was.  The hardest part about it is finding milk that is not ultra high pasteurized.  Let me share how simple the process is:

  1. Start by ordering kefir grains (online or get some from a friend who already makes milk kefir)
  2. Next, find milk that is not ultra high pasteurized (I use Snowville Creamery Whole Milk)
  3. Depending on your kefir grain, you may need to hydrate a few times before use.  Since my friend at Toastmaster’s gave me some of his, I didn’t have to do this step.
  4. Once hydrated, put about a tablespoon of kefir grain in a jar.
  5. Fill the jar with about 8oz of the milk and put a loose lid on so the gases that form during the fermentation process can escape.  You could also use a paper coffee filter with a rubber band around it.
  6. Put the jar in a cupboard or someplace the temperature stays in the range of 70°-85° for a 24 hour period.
    • I’ve modified this step by putting my jar in what’s called a ‘culture box’.  Basically, I have a small cooler that I place the jar of kefir in along with a jar of boiling hot water, and then I close the lid to the cooler.
    • If I can, I try to reheat the water over the 24 hour period.
  7. After 24 hours, I tighten the lid and place the kefir in the refrigerator for another 24 hours.  I only drink my kefir or mix it in with bowl of cereal, every other day.
  8. When it’s time to ingest the kefir, get a plastic strainer (metal is not recommended because it can weaken the kefir grain) and strain the kefir into a clean glass.
  9. You will need to use a wooden or rubber spatula to help the kefir through.  Lightly move the mixture back and forth and you’ll slowly see the kefir grains appear as the milky yogurt passes through the strainer.
  10. Once it’s through, put the kefir grain back in a glass jar and start with step 4 above and start the process all over.

Alright, so I might have spelled it out in greater detail than is necessary, but as you can see, it’s not that difficult to get better, more effective probiotics.

I’ve been drinking it or mixing it in with my morning cereal every other day for about two months now.  I’ve also tried blending it with honey or combining it with strawberries.  There are really a ton of options for what you can do with it.  Just search online!

Overall, I feel like it has improved things in my system compared to the store bought yogurt.  Has it helped relieve any sinus issues?  Well, no or at least not that I know of.  Even though I’m keeping up with the kefir more regularly than the honey and lemon concoction I wrote about in my other Quest for Relief article, I do feel like the kefir is benefiting me.

It’s amazing how my perspective has changed over the years and how I am more conscious about what I’m ingesting to help cure my ailments.  I believe more and more that the saying, “you are what you eat” does directly affect your body.  I’m also pretty sure that as much as I enjoy a glazed donut, it’s probably not a solution for anything but a sugar craving!

Baby Doll Bunk Bed – Part 2

We moved on to the next phase of the project, the remaining assembly!  If you read part 1, we were just getting the assembly started.  Although we had to wait a few days to continue on, we finally found a night that worked!


With the bed assembled, my wife got to join in the fun and help my daughter with making the actual bedding.  To do that, they hopped in the car and headed to Jo-Ann Fabrics to let my daughter pick out her own fabric.



It was a toss up between some rainbow powered dog bone pattern, or what I referred to as the bambi print.  So as I sat eating lunch with my older son, a text came in asking us which we preferred.  My son immediately voted for the rainbow explosion, while I thought the bambi print was more suitable.  There was no response to let us know which one she choose, but when she arrived home, we learned she agreed with her dad’s choice!

I thought she was going to be super excited to get started on the sewing right away, I was mistaken.  It wasn’t until the next day that my wife pulled out the sewing machine and the two of them began the process.

My daughter jumped in and wasn’t afraid to give it a go!  Since she likes doing a lot of art projects, she is no stranger to scissors.  However, I thought she might be a little intimidated by the sewing machine, I know I am!  My wife got everything setup and in place, and my daughter looked as if she had done this before!  She’s a natural!

I was very impressed by my wife, not because she knows how to sew and I don’t, but because she took the idea further than I expected.  My initial thought was that they would just construct some pillows that would act as a mattress for the dolls to lay on.  That’s where I was wrong!  Once they had the mattresses sewn, my wife suggested that they also make small pillows, along with some sheets!  I believe my daughter was also surprised because she seemed excited at the suggestion!

Now what my wife and I didn’t know, is that the joke was on us!  As fast as my daughter was excited at the thought of the sheets and pillows, she was also quick to be done with this portion of the project.  A friend rang the doorbell and invited her to come out and play, so she immediately dropped the project and bolted out the door.  I’m not sure if she just wasn’t interested anymore or she was just itching to get some fresh air!  Needless to say, my wife was a good sport and finished up the remaining sewing.

You may be asking at this point, where is the info or measurements used to create the mattresses, pillows, and sheets?  I wish I could answer that too!  I would have to ask my wife how I translate sewing to text, because like I said before, I don’t sew!  Other than the obvious, she measured the inside of the bed frame and worked from that.  I can’t tell you what type of stitch they used or what settings to configure on the sewing machine.  It’s just not a skill I possess! Maybe my wife can teach me one day!  Or even my daughter at this point!  She knows more about sewing than me!

For the last couple nights the baby dolls have had a much better rest!  I haven’t heard as much crying coming from my daughters room, unless it’s my daughter doing the crying!  Even though the bedding portion of the project is complete, we’re still not finished.  The final step will be to paint the bed frame.  What color you may ask?  Pink of course.  Plain and simple.  This was probably by far the easiest decision that was made on this project!

Once again, stay tuned and I’ll share the final phase of the project so you can see the end result!  Hopefully it will inspire you do want to build, sew, and paint your very own as well!


Blog at

Up ↑