How to Drink Wine

How to Drink Wine

red wineI am a successful mid career financial consultant by profession and a wine connoisseur and collector by avocation. Right after graduating from Stanford, my young wife, Carol, and I had the good fortune of landing in Napa, CA where we have been raising our family of two boys, now both in their teens. Every year, Carol and I visit two to three dozen wineries returning to old favorites and discovering new gems off the beaten path. Although I am passionate about wine, I am definitely not a wine-snob and would never tell you not to drink merlot and insist on pinot noir like Miles, Paul Giamatti’s frustrated character in the movie ‘Sideways’. Leaving it entirely to your preferences what to drink, I would just like to pass on some tips which have enhanced my own enjoyment of fine wine. Continue reading

Different Types of Wine Accessories

wine rackDifferent Types of Wine Accessories

Many people will readily admit that they are beer drinkers and unless they are willing to try something new, they will probably continue to be. I was that way for a long time, until I was introduced to a sampling of Riesling and I have not looked back since. As a financial consultant in Napa, I have found that I can use wine and especially the accessories that come with it to improve my business relations, in fact I have come across a few accessories that have served me well.

I may not be the most experienced person when it comes to drinking wine but I believe that a corkscrew is a valuable commodity to every wine drinker, even more so if it comes in a gift set. I have done some looking around and seen several different kinds of bottle openers, cork pullers and wine stoppers and determined that they would all be great to keep around the house.
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Making Use of Free Time

I have been traveling to several vineyards these past few weeks to take pictures of them for posterity. I have this little project that I have been cooking up for the longest time and I am proud to say that I have already started working on it. It is a coffee table book about making wine here in Napa Valley and although it is really easy just taking photos and stuff, I am finding it hard to put everything together into one fluid book.

Maybe I better do some outlining first or write everything down on paper so that I will not get excited about one thing and keep doing it to the detriment of everything else. I was hoping to feature how fine wine is made here in our locale, starting from the planting of the grapes on vast stretches of rolling vineyards that seems to be located everywhere you look.

I also want to feature how the plants are well taken cared of and pampered by farm hands. What they do during winter, how they water and the frequency of watering, do they use pesticides or fertilizers on it, anything and everything about growing them I would like to document.

Unfortunately that is just one part of the total scope I wish to cover and indeed there are still many more aspects left to tackle. For one, there is their harvesting and after that the processing and priming of the grapes that are to be made into wine. The whole wine making job including all the ingredients and processes that are used, their proper containers and how to determine their aging, stuff like that, among many other things.

You can see clearly the daunting task ahead of me and I am beginning to think of what have I gotten myself into again. Can I really do this thing? But looking into another perspective, if I ever did managed to complete all of this, well by golly it would be a very amazing book. I could even earn from selling them by the looks of it.

But as they say that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, and I am doing my earnest best to keep at it. Heck I even bought myself the best travel tripod that money can buy to help me take rather amazing pictures as I can’t really freehand it because my hands are always shaking and stuff. The tripod also allows me to be in the picture even when I’m alone, which happens to be quite often, so good job on that one.

I also bought myself the darnedest best yoga DVD on the mall to help me unwind after a very tiring day out. Although I am not yet very proficient with it, I can already experience the huge benefits it brings to my body just by learning about breathing techniques. Now if I can only manage to do the contortionist thingies then I’ll be set.

Well that’s it for now. I’ll make sure to keep you updated about this recent project of mine. See you soon.

Water Pipe Problems

Yesterday I got the shock of my life from the most unexpected thing that you would do almost every day and never think anything could go wrong with it. Well to make a long story short, I came into the house from working on my garden and I went to the tap for a drink of thirst quenching water and next thing I knew there was something on my mouth that was not there moments ago.

I hesitated at first looking on it and knowing what it was. I thought first if I had a gum or if I had loose tooth fillings or something tamer than what I have been imagining all along, but the list was just not up to par with what I was feeling inside my mouth. It was chunky and coarse, much too big for a tooth filling or a tooth chip for that matter and it tasted like rust, or I think it was as I have never tasted rust before.

I immediately spitted it out unto my palm and lo and behold, I almost drank a hideous fragment of pipe gunk. Yep, it sat solidly on my palm in all its grimy glory and I went straight to the sink for some retching relief. To think that I had this thing in my mouth just a second ago truly made my stomach somersault inside of me a couple of times.

I really never did get over that until today when I finally got my act together and planned my course of action. I asked around my neighborhood if they experienced something like what had happened to me but they all answered in the negative. So it was really just me that is affected by it. Maybe it has got something to do with the pipes underneath my house. It’s an old antique of a house so maybe the pipes are aged the same if not older.

The plumber arrived this morning and confirmed that it really was from my pipes as several more sediments managed to flow with the tap water when we opened it. Maybe the low intensity quake that we experienced a couple of days ago has got something to do with it.

The plumber suggested for a filter of some sort to serve for the time being but I’m not having any of it. I could buy even the best reverse osmosis system on the market today and have clean water flowing out of the tap again but just the thought of knowing there are more of that stuff in there gives me the creeps. What I really wanted was the total replacement of all the offending pipes and I’ll be a happy camper again.

So I’m heading to the mall right now to go buy myself the best lightweight luggage available as I will be going on a trip somewhere far from my house while the pipes are getting fixed. I can’t stand being with no available water to use and I know it will take a couple of days for it to be fixed.

The thought of me drinking that thing makes my skin crawl up to now. If you would have seen how gross it was then I am sure you would’ve felt the same as me. I’m out of here.

One Crazy Afternoon

Upon coming home again, this time in the afternoon after a trip to the grocery, another surprise awaited me. Life with my sons is never dull and always full of surprises, and this day was no different. After placing a heavy bag of items at our kitchen and near our sink, I suddenly heard a kind of snorting, heaving sound come out of nowhere. I instantly recalled that Japanese horror film that I had the bad luck of watching the other day, and expected the worst.

I hesitated turning my head in any direction for fear of seeing something, and instead listened intently for the sound to come again. I silently told myself never to watch horror movies again, as it gets the better of my imagination and believe me, it does go wild. Another moment and the snorting came again, this time with a kind of ruffling sound that was kind of familiar to me, like the sound of tiny feet going across dry mowed grass. As I turned around with the intent to dart towards the front door, a glint of sunshine hitting metal caught the corner of my eye and I stopped on my tracks.

Now feeling braver with the sight of something familiar, I went towards the thing, and underneath several old newspapers and a worn out blanket, lies two hedgehog cages, each containing their resident semi porcupines, one awake and another holed up halfway thru its cave. I breathed a sigh of relief, and the once feeling of dread, now slowly becoming distinct annoyance. So at last, they have finally decided to have these hedgehogs as pets, I muttered to myself, recalling the running joke amongst us father and sons about these prickly things.

I sometimes refer to my sons as hedgehogs when we are joking around. With their weird hairstyle of stand-up hair and their propensity for staying up late and sleeping all afternoon, they do really resemble several traits of the hedgehog. They also warned me that if I keep on calling them such, they would be forced to get real life hedgehogs, and take them in as their fully pledged pets. They really seem to have made true their promise to me.

Now I am wondering how in the world did they acquire these things, and from where did they get them? Also wondered if they really did meant to keep them, or is this just another part of a joke that they were trying to pull again? Good thing I discovered them before all else break loose, as It would surely be me who would end up facing these hedgehogs at some point in time.

I love these kids very much! They always keep me on my toes every time. If it weren’t for one thing, like these hedgehogs, it would certainly be another that I didn’t know of. Good thing I am always on to them before they can pull these things out. They can never beat the master in his own game hehe. Now what am I going to do with these two fine specimens? Hmm.

Natural Treatment For Bruises

Since many people that like to imbibe in wine may find that they get inebriated, they might see some unexplained bruising. There were many times when a bunch of my colleagues and friends decided to go out and check out the different wine tasting facilities in the area. We had a great time. Since some people over did it, they did stumble a bit into tables and bar stools that might have been in their way.

They enjoyed themselves during the event, but they awoke to some bruising that left them worried. It was totally explainable because of the nature of the event, and how close the various tables and chairs were placed in the area.

In order to help my friends with their bruising, I told them about some secrets that I knew. First I told them to massage the affected area in a clockwise area. The reason for this is it stimulates the blood through the affected area. There have been many cases of bruising that have been cured by this.

It is also important to elevate the affected area. The arms or legs that the bruises are on should be raised higher than the chest because it will lessen the stress on the heart. The heart muscles have to work harder when the person is not in a relaxed state. Since they will be able to control this, the point of the massage in the affected area is to keep the blood flowing in a normal way so that they don’t have any other problems.

Since there are many other problems that can into play when there is bruising, it is important to feel the bone mass beneath the bruised area. If it is extremely painful, it may mean that something else has happened to the affected area. This may mean that a trip to the emergency room will be needed. Since a broken or chipped bone can cause a lot of problems, they may need to find out what the underlying problem is.

When people like to go out on the town, they need to be very careful about their bodies. They should make sure that they sit when they are drinking or stand in an appropriate place in the building so they don’t get hurt. There are many things that can go wrong, and they will be glad that they took care of their bodies when they needed to.

How I Learned Which Foods Are Hazardous To Dogs

How I Learned Which Foods Are Hazardous To Dogs

I have a lot to be thankful for. A great job as a financial consultant in the beautiful Napa Valley in California, a comfortable home and a happy family that includes a rambunctious Husky Pomeranian mix, check them out here. While I love my job and the clients I work with, when I get home from work all I want to do is forget about the day and relax with a glass of wine from the vineyard down the road. As you can imagine, living in one of the greatest wine producing regions of the word, I have a lot of options available to me and enjoying and noticing the nuances of a wine help me focus on something other than work as I work to refine my wine palette.

dog food

I also enjoy the produce and fruits Napa Valley offers and frequently pair my wines with local delicacies I picked up at the farmer’s market. On one night not so long ago, I decided to open a bottle I had been saving for a special night. I had closed a big account that day and felt like celebrating and treating myself. I made a gorgeous spread of cheeses, fruits, vegetables and chocolates and opened the wine so it could breathe. As the wine was breathing, I decided to go out and fire up the grill so I could make a celebration meal for myself and my family to enjoy. Little did I know that while I was out playing grill master, my precious pooch was inside playing gourmand. When I came back inside, I found my meticulously laid out platter on the floor with nothing but crumbs on it. All I had to do was look at my dog and instantly I knew who the culprit was. His cower said it all: “Yep! I’m guilty!”

Quickly, I called my veterinarian (the same vet who took care of his ear infection problem previously) to see if the little guy needed to come in. She asked what he had eaten and I started to recount his meal. Halfway through my list, she stopped me and said to bring him in. As it turns out, the local raisins, the plums, the roasted garlic I made to eat with the baguette and cheese, the wine soaked local goat cheese, the sliced avocado, the macadamia nuts and the chocolate were all on the list of foods that are hazardous to dogs. After tending to my little man, the vet sent me home with a list of hazardous foods and now I know to make sure to reserve the fruits of the valley for my human family!


My Wife and Her Experience with Treating Baby Hiccups

As a mother, getting my first baby two months ago meant that I had to make countless changes in my already busy schedule. I had to divide my time into more baby time and less time dealing with clients. But it was well worth it as my girl has taught me a lot. Especially about hiccups.

Her first hiccups were when she was two days old. I thought it was normal. However, by day four, she was hiccupping twice each day. And, the hiccups were persistent. I was worried. I checked in with my doctor and wasn’t prepared for what was to occur at the office. “I know you love wine…” he started off with the serious tone he always uses with clients. “Don’t you think that wine can be the cause of your baby’s hiccups?” he asked frankly. I had no idea of what to say. So he went on to explain how newborn hiccups can be the result of alcohol.

hiccuppedAlcohol and hiccups

Hiccups are caused by sudden contraction of the diaphragm. This contraction can be the result of irritation of the phrenic nerve, acid movement or expansion of the stomach. The interesting thing is that alcohol has been found to cause all three! After this explanation, I finally realized why I hiccupped frequently after a couple glasses of wine.

Did I unintentionally cause my baby’s hiccups?

This was the question that ran through my mind as the doctor continued to explain the connection between alcohol in breast milk and hiccups. “When you consume any alcoholic drink, the alcohol is absorbed in most body fluids including blood and breast milk.” He explained.

I had the answer. But he had more to say. “However, alcohol doesn’t remain in breast milk otherwise drinking mom’s babies would be high most of the time.” He said lightheartedly.

The doctor continued to explain that the timeframe between taking wine and breastfeeding my little one plays a huge part on whether she is likely to have hiccups. In addition the amount of wine I consume before breastfeeding will also play a part.

What to do

While taking wine wasn’t completely restricted while I was breastfeeding, I was to cut down on the amount of wine consumed at a time. The next thing to do is ensure that I avoid breastfeeding my baby for at least 6 hours if I take wine. Well that seemed favorable since I could breastfeed her before taking a glass of wine and going to sleep.

My visit to the doctor that day opened my eyes about the connection between wine and hiccups in my baby. At least I learned sooner and took the necessary measures. I saw immediate results and although my girl hiccupped, it was less frequent.

Besides cutting on my wine consumption, I also found that making adjustments in my diet significantly reduced hiccups in my baby. For instance, I cut down on spicy foods which seemed to prompt acid movement in he stomach.

Chance Encounter with Mothers

brestfeedingNothing strengthens the bond between mother and child more than breastfeeding. A mother holds his child close to her body, gently nuzzling him into place. Their eyes clasped in filial, acknowledged love. The warmth shared between both their bodies telling the cold to come to some other place and shy away from them. The child’s remembrance of the familiar heartbeat, which is near, and which has been his assuring, constant companion in the womb, brings calm and guarantee that safety is at hand. And ultimately, the passing of life giving sustenance to a child, signaling a mother’s covenant that he will be nurtured, loved and cared for from this moment on.

I was at the restaurant last week, eating lunch with only my bag as companion, when I saw a mother tending to her baby. Oblivious to whatever or whomever was around, she unbuttoned her blouse and commenced to feed her crying son. As if by some form magic, the baby immediately stopped bawling. He’s hungry, she said to her companions at the table, seemingly half apologetic for the ruckus that the baby caused, and half announcing to everyone to mind their own business as the stares and disbelief among some of the patrons at the other tables began to brew. Breastfeeding in public is not yet truly accepted by everyone and it showed by the icy stares. My wife and I have been through that as well and I know how hard it is to defend what she is doing. I feel for her and her baby.

I was at the table next to them and I cannot help but hear their discussion. They were talking about what foods to avoid while breastfeeding. With all their hairs down, their comfortable clothes and large bags, they were all mothers! Surprisingly I assumed. One lady said that alcohol is to be avoided because it tends to make the baby weak, cause hiccups, and gain weight abnormally. Another said that the caffeine in coffee is also a no-no as it makes the baby irritable and cranky. While another contributed that spicy foods and garlic also must be removed in the diet as its taste is also passed to the baby. They were teaching the new mother, which was now re-buttoning her dress, as her baby was now in deep slumber, pointers to think about. They were all in agreement that it was important to watch what you eat when you are breastfeeding. I was so engrossed over their conversation, guiltily listening to their stories while pretending to read the newspaper that I almost forgot to eat the food that I ordered.

Looking at my watch, I saw that it was time to go. An appointment needs to be done. Begrudgingly, I stand up and leave these fine ladies to their conversation. I was hoping to listen more about their daily lives and adventures but alas, time is not on my side.

The experience I had in the restaurant taught me a lot of things. Foremost of which is a mother’s sacrifice for her child. From the pain of childbirth and onwards, she is the sole keeper of the well-being of the child, the one in charge. Those made me appreciate my wife even more. I never did know of all the hardship she went through raising our two kids. She never complains. I love her even more now.


Undeserved Hate for Coloring Books

Many bad things had been said about coloring books and coloring pages. In fact many school administrator, particularly in preschools, purposely removed coloring books as teaching tools from their curriculum. They are in the belief that, amongst other things, that coloring books stifle a child’s innate creativity. That a child never learns to be either imaginative or inventive, stunts their critical thinking, because of the simple nature of coloring, which only involves putting color to bare drawings and figures. Others think that coloring books teaches inferiority in children, because it shows them how poor their skills are in drawing the same things that they are coloring. Many other justifications have been used to vilify the activity. I don’t know what particular place they are coming from, where they get their figures from or how they arrived at their conclusions. But for me, I don’t believe in any of the things they are saying.

Traditional hard copy coloring books or the recently readily available coloring pages, like the “Disney’s Frozen” coloring pages or the ever popular “My Little Pony” coloring pages are just that, they are coloring books that were made for enjoyment, and nothing more. Finding fault in a thing which is so innocently unassuming takes great courage, I will give them that. I think they have too much time on their hands, with nothing to do except to bash anything of their current fancy. Makes me wonder what they did as children.

They say that coloring books inhibits creativity. If you give a young child a crayon or a pencil, and told him to draw a tree, what would he do? He would scribble lines and whatnots all over the place because he does not know how to draw yet. What if you give the same tree to him for coloring? Yes, he will still scribble and wave the crayon aimlessly; in his little mind, he will still try to impose what he thinks the tree is. But after coloring, it enforces in his mind that the thing he colored was a tree. Try to make him draw the tree freehand next time and see the difference.

Another issue I have with their belief, that coloring is not good for learning, is the statement that coloring inhibits critical thinking and thinking “out of the box”. Well, how then, I ask, do you teach young children to think out of the box if the same children doesn’t know what’s in the box in the first place? Before wandering off and thinking about all the things in this world, one must first know the basics of life. From the basics lie the foundation of critical thinking and creativity.

For children, there is a certain time for everything. They must be afforded every tool that may help them in achieving whatever potential they have while growing up. Coloring books have their place in a child’s life, bashing them and labeling them as unworthy, only limits a child’s potential which, in the first place, is what they are aspiring for. I suggest for all the non- believers to try coloring sometimes, as it may change their view of it. I really can’t imagine them saying that coloring books are bad, do they really know what they were talking about?


Carbohydrate’s Role in Making us Fat

bad carbsIf you are looking for a diet that is not terribly depraving and is almost hard to notice then low carb diet is the way to go. The Low carb diet’s aim is to severely control one’s carbohydrate intake while permitting an increase in protein and fat intake. Carbohydrate rich food includes dairy products, most types of grains, sugar and its end products, and also starchy fruits and vegetables among other things. Popular diets which incorporate the low carbs philosophy in their diet programs are The Zone Diet Program, Atkins Diet and also The South Beach Diet system.

In essence, what the low carb diet preaches is that if we restrict our carbohydrate intake, we would lose weight more rapidly. Carbohydrates, a dietary component, are broken down by the body to form glucose which is then used by the body as energy. Excess glucose in turn, is stored by the body as fat. It is then safe to assume that if we limit our carbohydrate intake, the body will then source its energy from fatty tissue deposits resulting to the decrease of a person’s weight. Consuming fatty foods really doesn’t make us fat; it is the body’s reaction to excess carbohydrates in the food we eat that makes us fat.

Although I am not a follower of any diet regimen, I am in agreement of its basic principle of minimizing carb intake. Carbohydrates being sugar, has many detrimental effects on the human body besides gaining unwanted pounds. Recent studies found that an excess amount of sugar in the body almost triples the chance of one developing coronary heart disease and that fructose, another byproduct of carbohydrates, feeds various forms of cancer cells and contribute to their rapid growth. Other notable problems that may arise from consuming too many carbohydrates are an increased risk of developing diabetes and insulin resistance, wherein your body secretes insulin twice, doubling the formation of triglycerides in your liver and creating a condition called hypoglycemia or false hunger, that even if your stomach is full, makes you feel you are still hungry which then eventually makes you eat more.

What I do is I keep a conscious tab on what I eat. I call it my replacement diet, and eat low carb vegetables in place of foods rich in carbs like breads and cereals to keep me full. And in place of desserts, I eat low carb fruits instead. The internet is rich with information about what vegetables and fruits to eat and I suggest you start researching about it first. Although I still eat meat and other foods rich in protein, the benefits of decreasing your carbohydrate intake can be felt immediately as you’ll feel lighter and gone are the feelings of listlessness and sleepiness associated with high carb foods. You’ll just have to ease yourself slowly into this kind of diet and never go into it cold-turkey as you’ll have a very hard time weaning yourself from the comfort foods that you have been accustomed to. Being fit and having a strong body takes will power, determination and patience, if you have those three then you are set for a long and healthy life.

Casual Talk about Histamines and Allergies

agyI was at work the other day when I happen to chance upon a good friend of mine. He was in the middle of filling up some form at the bank where I worked at, probably paying off his credit card or some other thing. What made me notice him was his persistent coughing, it was neither a hard nor serious kind of cough, but when you are in a quiet place like a bank, your constant coughing is enough noise to attract some form of attention. I approached him carrying a glass of water to somehow help him with his situation, and after the exchange of the usual pleasantries, he proceeded to finish up what he was doing. It was almost lunch that time and I invited him out to a local cafeteria, hoping to catch up on things.

Eating was a bit of a labor for him due to his constant coughing, but we managed to finish, and also had some bubblies for the road. You see we both share a love for things fizzy and have spirits, as he was also a member of a wine tasting club that I regularly hang out with. I remembered that he also was coughing up a storm during our club’s last meeting, and out of concern, I asked him what he is down with and what’s up with his cough.

He said it was his allergy to dust that is causing him this trouble. Intrigued, I asked him to tell me more about it, and was obliged with a very detailed explanation.

Histamines are compounds found in some human cells and are primarily responsible for the symptoms of allergic reactions exhibited by a person. Histamine’s particular function is that it makes the blood vessels porous enough to enable the body’s defenses to reach the pathogens from affected tissues. The human body releases histamines into the bloodstream if a person becomes exposed to an allergen, and its particular destinations are a person’s eyes, nose, throat, skin and lungs causing different types of reactions. You may have watery eyes, stuffed nose, and even fluid in lungs as the histamines job is to make your capillaries permeable enough, that excess fluids sometimes flood the affected areas, causing congestion and also, in his case, chronic coughing.

He also said that for medication, he is through with prescription anti-histamines, which are strong medicines, as they cause severe dryness in his mouth and throat, chest tightness and also finds it difficult to urinate most of the time when he is taking the drug. And up until now, the commercial antihistamines that he took seem to never work on him. Instead, he is now trying to go with natural antihistamine.

Plants, herbs and also some food are often used as natural antihistamines for different kind of allergies; examples of which are basil leaves, Vitamin C in high doses, wild oregano, Echinacea, ginger, thyme among many other things, as each one has particular qualities that helps fight allergic reactions. My friend said that he makes it a point to religiously include many of them in his diet, and is somewhat working on him as his bouts with coughing has decreased noticeably.

Unfortunately not today, being a particularly dusty day because of the wind, it was no help to him.

I suggested he get himself a mask to wear, and to always have a hanky available whenever he goes out for long stretches, also to get some exercise to build up his natural resistance. He said I sounded like his doctor. With a hearty laugh, we again raised our glass for a toast.


Ear Infection in Dogs

It’s always nice to have a pet around to share your life with every day. I don’t know with cats, but dogs, they give you unconditional love. Always hanging around wherever you are, tails constantly wagging. Even when they are sleeping, one whiff of your smell or one sound of your familiar footsteps and their off to the races coming for you. The same is true for Missy, my little baby Teacup Pomeranian. We do almost everything together, owing to her small size and lightness of weight, she is easy to bring along and is my constant companion. We love our pets so much and want to spend more of life together, so it is also very important to take care of their health properly.

Just like us humans, there are practically thousands of diseases which can affect dogs. However for Pomeranians, several of these diseases occur more frequently in their breed. Sickness like cataracts, hypoglycemia, collapsed trachea, eyelid problems, shriveled ears and knee problems are the most common forms of diseases that a Pomeranian dog can have. It is best to read and know more about them, so that we could respond properly if ever they acquire any kind of sickness. Like missy for example, last month she had an ear infection that we only knew about when we went to the vet for her regular checkup. Ear infections in dogs can be hard to detect, as dogs have deep ears and, unluckily for Missy, small ones too.  We were bothered with her demeanor during those days and she has been acting weirdly, good thing her vet schedule was up.

deiThe vet explained to us that there are several tell-tale signs to consider if a dog has ear infection. Primary was the smell coming from their ears or if any discharge is coming out of it, another is if they are always scratching or rubbing at their ears and the constant shaking and tilting of their heads, as if they are trying to remove something from their ears are also signs of ear infection. The dog during those times will also exhibit irritability and may seem depressed most of the time. So if you notice your dog exhibiting most of these symptoms, it is advised for you to take him to the vet for treatment. Dog ear infection is generally treatable if diagnosed early and properly. It also recommended that we know what causes these kinds of infections, so that we can save our dogs the experience of going through them.

Ear infections in dogs can be caused by several things. Examples of which are parasites, foreign body dislodged in the ear, food allergies, trauma, and most important of all, improper hygiene. Regular bathing and grooming of your dog is not enough, care should also be taken in the cleaning of their ears, as they do not have easy reach of it and has no capability for its maintenance. Cleaning of a dog’s ear is almost the same process as with humans, although theirs is much deeper and more L-shaped, the use of an ear cleaner and a cotton swab to ease out dirt and other foreign substances from the ear is recommended.

Awareness of your dog’s health is the key to his long life and years of enjoyment and love for everyone in the family. We owe it to them and it is but proper that we also give him the best care available, because he too never holds back, and will gladly give all his love to us, unconditionally.

Getting Braces

bracesMy son has perfect teeth today thanks to his episode with braces. He had difficulty chewing his food back then because his teeth were misaligned and crooked. We always observe good dental hygiene in our household and from when they were young, we taught our children the value of taking care of their teeth, how to properly brush, floss and everything in between; because we don’t want them to ever suffer the pain of toothache later in life. The problem was that their dental hygiene was so good; some of my eldest son’s primary teeth never fell off, even when the later permanent teeth began to grow. He had a mouth with almost two rows of teeth, not literally every one of them, but too many for comfort. Although it was okay with him, we let the dentist pull out some of them as they were starting to affect his eating. What resulted were several gaps in his teeth, and it was then that we decided that he got braces.

The process of putting braces on teeth is fairly simple, easy for me to say because I didn’t went through it, but it’s basic concept, is to force teeth to grow in different directions with the use of metal fasteners and tiny rubber bands as aid, so that the teeth as a whole will straighten out like the way nature intended them to be. Hesitant at first because of the weird look it may put on his mouth and the rumored pain that his playmates told him about, our son concurred after a very lengthy and detailed explanation. He was also amenable, after some cajoling, to the one to three years it might take him wearing it, depending upon the evaluation of the dentist.

After an initial interview and thorough examination of my son’s mouth the first day, it was the putting on of the braces the next time we went. It began with the careful cleaning of all the teeth and drying them afterwards. Next, the dentist put on some bonding glue unto his teeth and attached the metal brackets on them, also installing the blue spacers for braces between each tooth. Finally, the arch wire was connected to all of the brackets and the rubber bands also were installed for anchoring and tension. It didn’t take two hours for the entire procedure and my son was none the worse for it. We were advised that my son’s mouth and teeth would be sore for a week and was given prescriptions for tooth pain relief if ever it did happen to come up. He also gave us our scheduled appointments for the future in order to regularly set and tighten the braces.

After about two years’ worth of dental visits, and to his great relief, my son’s braces finally came off, immediately showing the fruits of his sacrifice. No longer showing crooked teeth, his smile was the greatest ever.

Although getting braces is a long, arduous and often expensive process, it was worth it. Looking at and asking my son today, he will always say that he would not do anything otherwise. It’s kinda funny because back then, it would’ve taken two trucks to pull him to go to the dentist, but hey, all’s well that ends well.

What is Implantation?

Yes! Finally your wife is pregnant. Your dream of becoming a parent will eventually come true. Many things keep running through your mind, all the plans you will be making and how wonderfully changed your life would become. But have you ever thought about the process it took and also when the baby was actually made?

Implantation, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear it? Grapes for me sadly, and it can be that actually, but for our case, implantation in humans, is scientifically defined as the time during early pregnancy wherein the embryo, an already developing female egg cell with sperm in it, attaches itself to the walls of the uterus where, in the near future, will eventually develop into a baby. It is also there in the uterus, after attaching to it, where the embryo will get its nutrients and oxygen that is needed to for it to grow. The embryo is also called a blastocyst in this stage of fetal development.

So what are the typical signs of implantation for mothers-to-be and how do we differentiate it from PMS, simple cramping, monthly period and other similarly occurring bodily functions? Sadly there are no set rules for this and it differs from person to person if it did actually happen to make itself felt. Some women even go through their entire pregnancy not knowing they are pregnant. Anyway, scholarly manuals give several details pertaining to signs of implantation. Examples of which is the light spotting experienced by women at around 8-10 days after ovulation and the dip in a woman’s temperature also during the same period, although it is also said that these signs are not to be treated as sure fire ways to detect  possible pregnancy, so we will leave it at that.

Implantation calculator are all over the internet and will try to help you determine the best time for successful implantation based on the date of your ovulation. These calculators ask you to input the date when you last ovulated and when your last menstrual cycle started, the typical duration of your monthly cycle is also asked. Some other calculator also asks your Luteal Phase length or the time of the latter phase of your menstrual cycle. After inputting the needed details, the calculator then presents you with a table, sometimes a graph, showing dates and the amount of percentage that you have during certain days wherein there is a great chance for implantation. Are you still with me?

Science has grown leaps and bounds every passing year, advances in the treatments of once feared diseases is discovered in a daily basis and test used to perform unlimited variety of tasks gets developed at an astounding pace. Although I am very thankful for such gifts, sometimes it can be very intimidating. The information out there is just too staggering to fully comprehend and sometimes you just get lost in translation. I remember the good old days, when a prayer is the only solution if you have a hard time getting pregnant, and that you leave it to all to faith if your tryst last night would finally become fruitful, those really where the days of old.

Days like these really makes me think that ignorance, sometimes, truly is bliss.