Catherine Jimenez

2878 POSTS 2 COMMENTS

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To: Marybeth

From: Dad is Desperate for a Date

My husband says we should have “date nights” without our three kids, but free evenings are almost impossible to find. Our children’s schedules are full of school, sports and social activities that keep us coming and going, and when we finally choose date night, I’m either too tired to go out or I feel guilty for taking the time away from home. I think our time would be better spent having a family dinner, which we don’t do enough. Our kids are 8, 10 and 14. How bad would it be if we just give up on date nights until the youngest is older and finding time as a couple is easier?

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To: Desperate Daters

From: Mb

Consider this: Whatever is in the best interests of your marriage is also in the best interest of your children.

We all know that having children is both indescribably satisfying but also extremely stressful. Little children are physically exhausting, big children are emotionally draining, and children of all ages are demanding and expensive.

More than that, in our culture we’ve been convinced that children come first even before our marriages. You see this attitude exhibited in couples running themselves ragged to accommodate their children’s sports and extracurricular schedules, not to mention their busy adolescent social lives, yet take virtually no time to nurture their relationship as husbands and wives.

The pressure to be “perfect parents” sometimes causes us to go way out on a limb for our children, leaving us no time, energy or funds to attend to our marriages. If this is true for one parent but not the other, resentment can build within the marriage resentment some say the children can sense.

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#1. Do things in a big way.

Here’s a quote: “Craig liked doing things in a big way. He was a dramatic and loud (though lovable) kind of guy. Mary, on the other hand, was proper and quiet (and just as lovable). Craig sometimes criticized Mary for not being expressive or outrageous enough. Until … one day when Craig returned home from a business trip and was greeted by Mary and two hundred forty-three members of the local high school marching band on their front lawn.

OK, a couple points to be made here. One, I appreciate the writer’s drawing me in by giving names to this couple. Right away, I totally understand who Craig and Mary are, though I doubt she’s quite as lovable as he is. However, I’m unclear about just who would consider John Philip Sousa marches romantic. Nonetheless, I can appreciate the gesture that Mary is making here, and for that, she receives one point.

However, if I came home to a two hundred and forty-three-member marching band in CB’s studio apartment, a couple things would happen:

  • I’d immediately begin worrying for CB’s safety and wonder where he was, since he would likely be crushed by the tuba player who was layered up on top of the trombonist because his apartment is approximately 400 square feet.
  • I’d wonder where CB met a high school marching band in his free time and would perhaps have to begin a conversation about hobbies.

Either way, romance lost, moment ruined.

#2. Go through revolving doors together.

First of all, shoving yourself into a revolving door with your partner isn’t romantic. It’s mildly terrifying and probably a fire hazard. Also, you’d be so busy giving each other footing orders on how to properly make it through this moment alive and without face planting into the glass, that you’d totally forget that you were supposed to be sharing a romantic moment altogether.

#3. Practice “even-day/odd-day” romance.

Yeah, I’m just going to go ahead and say that this sounds way too close to a math story problem for me, and so I’d have to skip the love all around. Also, what if one of you was sick on your even/odd day? Does the other person take over romance duties? What if you’re too sick for romance? And then do you double-up? And then when do you decide who’s day it is after you’ve each done double-duty after you got over pneumonia?

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Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

For some people, it’s somewhere between the third or fourth cup of coffee when they begin feeling human. While people commonly guzzle a cup of joe to perk up, it turns out caffeine can do more than simply wake people. Researchers found that caffeine helps the brain process positive words faster.

Caffeine indirectly boosts dopamine transmission—a neurotransmitter that aids in reward-based learning. Lars Kuchinke, a junior professor at Germany’s Ruhr University, suspected this might lead to better acumen with word recognition by enhancing activity in the brain’s left hemisphere, which controls language. Researchers already know that people who consume normal levels of caffeine perform better at basic cognitive tasks.

To discern whether a link existed between dopamine and word recognition, Kuchinke asked 66 people to participate in a word test. Thirty minutes prior to the study, half of the participants took a pill, containing about 200 milligrams of caffeine, which equals two or three cups of coffee. The other half ingested a placebo. Then the participants watched a string of letters pop up on a computer screen and quickly had to decide whether each was an actual word or not. Researchers have long known that most people have a natural tendency to recognize positive words faster than neutral or negative words.

“Either positive words are better interconnected in the brain and it is, therefore, easier to recognize them or [the brain] receive[s] some kind of ‘positive’ or rewarding feedback during this process,” says Kuchinke. He also theorizes that negative words might cause the brain to pause, balking at the negative association, meaning a person would not identify it as quickly.

The caffeinated subjects correctly selected more positive words than the people in the control group. Kuchinke theorizes that when caffeine is added to the body it regulates the dopamine transmission in the regions that control decision-making and word comprehension.

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(HealthDay News) — Throughout the winter, excessive hand washing to prevent the spread of germs can leave skin extremely dry and itchy. Drinking coffee and alcoholic beverages can also lead to dehydration and dry skin, experts say, but proper skin care and hydration can prevent skin from chapping or cracking.

“As the temperature is low and the heater is on, the indoor air gets dehydrated and your skin loses moisture from the environment,” said Dr. Michelle Tarbox, a dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Saint Louis University, in a medical center news release. “Water always moves downhill, even on a microscopic level, and when the level of moisture in the air drops due to the heating process, it practically sucks the water out of your skin.”

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Tarbox offered the following tips to help keep skin hydrated during the winter months:

  • Use a humidifier. Plug this device in at night and while working to help prevent moisture loss indoors. For best results, use distilled water instead of tap water. “Humidifying the air can reverse the process of skin dehydration and is particularly helpful for patients with dermatitis (an itchy inflammation of the skin),” Tarbox said.
  • Choose the right moisturizer. Essential oils, jojoba oil and shea butter oil are also beneficial ingredients found in certain moisturizers. Use products that also contain fat molecules known as ceramides that help protect the skin. It’s also important for people to choose products suited to their skin type. “The less water a moisturizer has, the longer it will last,” Tarbox explained. “When in doubt, thicker is often better while choosing a skin moisturizer.”
  • Drink water. Drinking caffeinated coffee and alcoholic drinks can also lead to dehydration and dry skin. To prevent dehydration, Tarbox recommended drinking one glass of water for each alcoholic or caffeinated beverage consumed.

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Do you have any great tips on keeping skin moisturized and fresh?

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One of my favorite quotes is from C.S. Lewis —

“With the possible exception of the equator, everything begins somewhere.”

My somewhere begins January 1st, 2013, when my husband went out and purchased a third E.P.T. test. We couldn’t believe we were pregnant, but after a third positive E.P.T. test, it was truly undeniable.

We had been married a little over a year and planned on starting a family in a few years, not a few weeks. After a time of emotional processing we were excited about bringing a new life into the world.

Fast forward 32 weeks. It’s now time for me to say “goodbye” to Thoughtful Women and “hello” to motherhood. I’m fortunate to be able to stay at home with my daughter, but sad to say I’ll be leaving a project I have been with since its inception.

Thoughtful Women has been a source of joy, pain, and incredible accomplishment. I began working on this project July 2, 2012 – just one day before the website went “live”. I had zero knowledge of blogging and only a smidge more knowledge of politics. I knew I was a conservative, but beyond that I was pretty unaware of our current situation in America. Thankfully, the staff could see my heart and desire to learn so they gave me a chance.

One of the most prominent lessons I’ve learned during my time serving as Assistant Editor has been the resiliency and unity of Americans across the nation. So often, I feel like America is so large there’s no way people in New York can understand what people in Arizona or California could be feeling. However, what I’ve found is we may live all over the nation, but our desires for this country in the form of good government that doesn’t take advantage of good people remains the same.

I hope to teach that same desire to my daughter as she grows up. In fact, I hope to pass on the message of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to not just my daughter, but to all my future children.

And I know that in the end, I learned great life lessons working with the great people who write for Thoughtful Women and our editorial staff. Who knows, I may even have my own column one day. For now, I know its okay to plan for my new responsibilities as “Mom”, enjoying and embracing every snapshot in time I have as I await the birth of my little baby girl.

Thanks for reading this and for being part of the reflection that is Thoughtful Women.

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Liz Cheney’s decision to challenge a three-term incumbent Republican senator has caused a certain amount of soul-searching within the GOP. The Republican dilemma—support for a dynamic candidate versus loyalty to a good soldier—is a real one.

And it reminds me of Sen. J. William Fulbright (1905-95), of all people. Fulbright of Arkansas, a famous critic of Cold War foreign policy, is not much admired in these precincts; but I always had a weakness for him. He was a thoughtful politician with a scholarly bent (he had been a Rhodes Scholar) and courtly demeanor, and he didn’t demonize people with whom he disagreed. Anyone with a taste for legislative civility, Southern-style, will profit from reading his extended debate with Mississippi’s Sen. John Stennis – The Role of Congress in Foreign Policy – published by AEI in 1971. He was, and remains, the longest-serving chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

In 1974, Fulbright sought a sixth term in the Senate and, at 69, was exactly the same age as Liz Cheney’s opponent, Sen. Mike Enzi. But the retiring one-term governor of Arkansas, Dale Bumpers, chose to run against Fulbright in the Democratic primary, and Bumpers defeated him.test_Display

At the time, I believed this to be a calamity: Whatever you thought of his opinions, Fulbright was a distinguished senator and thoughtful participant in the foreign policy debates; Bumpers was a supreme mediocrity – and remained as much throughout his four terms in the Senate. It seemed grotesque for Arkansas to cast aside a statesman in favor of a blow-dried Claghorn. Moreover, the senior senator from Arkansas, John McClellan, was planning to retire in two years: Bumpers could have chosen to wait and, at 51, succeed him in the Senate without vanquishing Fulbright.

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Apple and books, education

House Republicans passed a bill Friday to reduce the federal role in public education and cede back to states decisions about how to deal with failing schools, how and whether to evaluate teachers, and how to spend much of the money sent by Washington to educate poor, disabled and non-English speaking students.

It marks a significant departure from No Child Left Behind, the 2002 law that set federal goals for academic achievement and penalties for schools that fell short of those goals, as well as prescriptions for steps states must take to improve failing schools.

No Democrats supported the bill, which passed by a 221 to 207 margin, with 12 Republicans voting with the Democrats. It marked the first time in a dozen years that either chamber of Congress approved a comprehensive bill to update federal education law.

Republicans argued that states and local school districts are in the best position to decide how to educate children and that a decade of federal control has hamstrung teachers and school leaders.

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