Sunday, December 29, 2013

RESOLUTION: the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc.: the act of resolving something.

New Year’s is a time when people make resolutions.  But what is a resolution, really?  It’s about RESOLVING what you consider to be a problem in the first place.

This has brought up something interesting – HOW DO WE DEFINE PROBLEMS?   For each person, a problem is different just like solutions and resolutions to those very problems are different. 

When is a problem, really a problem?

If you solve the problem, does the problem go away to the point your solution becomes the ‘solve all’ to this particular problem in the future?  

Ask yourself this question.  Then take a look at your New Year’s Resolutions. 

Let’s say your New Year’s Resolution is to stop __________(fill in the blank) or start ___________(fill in the blank).  

Why do almost all New Year’s Resolutions FAIL?   It is because most resolutions are not actually resolving anything or solving the actual problem.  And this is because it is identified as an isolated thing.   Most things we must stop doing or start doing is based on BEHAVIOR – and so if we’re not resolving the root of the behavior, most often it translates to the same behavior in another form.

Have you ever heard of people who want to stop smoking say they don’t want to because they think if they do, they will gain weight?   Why do you think that is?   It is because the food replaces the cigarette. The behavior switches gears to something else because it really is about anxiety, discomfort, nerves, which is usually the base behavior for why people smoke in the first place.  Sometimes it is a generational learned behavior.   But it is not the cigarette, it is the behavior. 

Have you ever heard of people who say their New Year’s Resolution is to be more productive, but by mid-year, nothing gets done because they’ve been too busy to take on the resolution?   This is because the problem isn’t really productivity, it is time management, being disorganized.  This is a behavior.

Have you ever heard of people say that for the New Year they want to lose weight?  But then just  a couple months later, they have not lost it?  This is because the problem with weight has absolutely nothing to do with food or even exercise – it has to do with psychological behavior (i.e. habits, willpower, mind-over-body, not stuffing emotional issues, etc.)  This explains why even if you run five miles and eat healthy, you can still have weight.   You have to let go of the issues in order to help yourself get rid of the pounds.  It’s all behavior based and that is the root.

So as we look at ‘resolutions’ we must ask ourselves what is it we’re really resolving.  Are we resolving – procrastination, obsession, defeat, control, anxiety, anger?   

YES – THIS IS THE REAL NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION… these are root resolutions.  And root resolutions solve more than one problem.  Root resolutions are acquired or learned behaviors that trigger a whole set of behaviors, actions and reactions as well as responses.  It is these root problems which cause a myriad of problems.  

We tend to ‘categorize’ problems as one thing without realizing there is a string of other issues affiliated with a behavior which transfers across the board.

Problems multiply.

Take the common flu for example.  The problem is you have the flu.  And when you see multi-symptom relief over the counter – notice that this medication can solve coughing, itchy eyes, sneezing, fevers, sore throats, sinus congestion and a long list of problems.   We have all accepted that the flu has ALL these symptoms – so the flu is not just one problem.  For many it is several problems going on at once, right?  

If we take the approach of our resolutions being like multi-symptom relief, we ultimately won’t really have to make New Year’s Resolutions anymore.  Changing one behavior (which is the common denominator of many of our problems) can eliminate a problem by being the ultimate solution.

So as you make your New Year’s Resolutions this year – RETHINK what it is that you are resolving. If you RESOLVE, you ideally DISSOLVE a behavior and then you will be SOLVE the problem.

Join us in our Solution Revolution and resolve to dissolve and you too can say “WE SOLVED IT!” 

 ~ Athena & Tess – We Solved It

Friday, December 20, 2013

How many times have you heard the phrase, “Silence is golden?”   Do you know what it means?  It means that sometimes saying nothing is preferable to speaking. 

With the upcoming holidays, we felt this was an appropriate blog to post.   The holidays are a time when people lose their cool, their patience and out of stress and frustration from traffic, crowded stores and malls, parking issues and of course not getting enough sleep from trying to do too much, words fly that shouldn’t.

Is it really a store clerk’s fault that the last iPhone has been sold?  

Is it really the waitress or waiter’s fault that you had to wait 2 hours to get a table for dinner when you didn’t make a reservation and all the shoppers like you don’t want to go home and cook dinner and are also eating out, too?

Is it really the parking attendant’s fault that you failed to read the 15 minute only parking sign?
The point is we should all take a moment to pause and much of the time, keep our mouths shut so we don’t take out our frustrations on innocent people. 

The holidays come every year, the same time of year.  This is not a secret.  It’s not like anyone did not tell you when they were.  You knew, you did not plan ahead.  Whose fault is that?

It is also good to remember the silence is golden rule at holiday gatherings and parties and watch your alcohol intake.  Nothing could be worse than getting sauced and blurting out that your co-worker Jenny is job hunting and the company boss is just an earshot away.  Stop the office gossiping, backstabbing and sabotage and keep your mouth closed.

Silence is also golden around children.  Don’t ruin the holidays for them.  Let them believe in their family traditions and the magic it holds even if you don’t.   It is not their fault you lost the magic and are bah-humbug about the season.  Let them enjoy their holiday break from school and take in what the season has to offer without your tainting it because you see the world differently. 

Family gatherings are also a good time to remember the silence is golden rule.  If you know Uncle Edgar gets upset when the family talks about his toupee, Aunt Ida is sensitive about her weight gain and your cousin Monica isn’t pregnant yet but has been trying and trying – keep quiet, remove the pressure, negativity, and unproductive discussion that only causes hard feelings, awkwardness and heated family arguments.   This is also NOT the time to break confidences, have open discussions that were private between other family members, or sharing your opinions that can cause discord, uneasiness and make loved ones feel uncomfortable.  

Silence can also be golden if you are too joyous.  The holidays are not always jolly for everyone.  Sometimes they are difficult and painful – particularly for people who have lost loved ones and have this time of year representative of personal tragedies; those who are dealing with illness and disease; divorce; a miscarriage; the season marks the anniversary of a natural disaster or horrific loss/devastation from Mother Nature or they have a family member overseas in the war zone fighting for our country.  

While it’s great you may be cheery and festive, sometimes your cheeriness and festive mood is not particularly welcomed if someone else is struggling emotionally, financially, physically or mentally.  Some people are just waiting to get through the season and want the holiday music to be over so they are not reminded of the unhappy memory or the fact they do not have the means to participate in the way your jolly nature expects.  Be generous, offer support and love, but keep your mouth shut from words that may be more painful to hear at this time of year. 

Above all – be conscious and think before you speak if you choose to speak. If unsure – keep quiet. Your mouth sometimes can cause a lot of problems – pushing people’s buttons, being selfish with your thoughts and actions, saying things that rub people the wrong way and not putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.  

And remember that silence is golden – not just around the holidays but it can be helpful in many social or household situations all year long. 

Be kind. Be thoughtful and courteous. Remember your manners.  It’s the season of holiday goodies and eating.  Enjoy them – and since it is rude to talk with your mouth full, best to just savor the tasty treats and keep the peace. 

~ Athena & Tess – We Solved It

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Safety is something we think about year-round.  But with the holidays, lots of people get caught up in the moment and forget some simple key ways to be safe around the season.

If you read our blog regularly, you’ll know we just posted a blog on TIME FOR FIRE SAFETY REMINDERS
You will find many of these fire safety reminders to be related to safety for kids and pets. 

Some of the most obvious safety reminders may appear to be obvious, but it is easy to ‘forget’ the dangers affiliated with holiday activities.  Here are a few tips we’d like to post.   We hope that even if this is just a refresher for you that if our tips can help save one child or one pet it’s worth being repetitive. 

*Fire wood is wonderful if you are lucky enough to have a wood burning fire place. And while you may already practice fire safety tips mentioned in our previous blog – chances are you have firewood placed on your hearth at one point or another inside of your home at a level that small children and pets can reach.  Do not forget that black widow spiders like to nest in piles of wood.  One bite from this spider can be a lethal one.   Be sure to inspect all of your fire wood thoroughly before you bring it inside.   Keep watch for splintery bits that often fall off when bringing the wood inside.   Stocking feet of kids and adults as well as the padded paws of four-legged family members will appreciate not getting toe splinters if you take this extra precaution.

*Holiday plants look lovely – but they can kill your cat or dog.  Caladium, Christmas Berries, Christmas Rose, Jerusalem Cherry, Holly, Mistletoe, Pointsettia, Star of Bethlehem, Elderberry and even common house plants like English Ivy or Philodendron which often accompany red and green floral arrangements can be deadly to your pets.  Even if you are extra careful with these holiday arrangements… even simple floral arrangements for your mantle, dinner table can be deadly. Keep them out of reach and out of places where they can be knocked over by curious climbers – both the two and four-legged ones. 

*Hooks and pins are great for your holiday wreath or tree to hang lots of baubles and help hanging lights both inside and out, but should one fall off onto the floor, carpet or even just outside your home it can easily be swallowed slitting the throat of your toddler or pet!   Even if you do not have children or pets – a metal hook in your foot or in your car tire, really isn’t fun.  Watch out as you decorate in all your merriment – and be extra careful. 

* Ornaments and lights are beautiful for decorating, but they can be dangerous, too.  While glass bulbs are probably on your radar - Ornaments adorn everything these days from holiday garland, wreaths and trees to table coffee table centerpieces with candles.   Most of you may be aware that glass ornaments are dangerous and many can fall onto hard surfaces like a hearth, entryway or floor and shatter – you may not be aware that some plastic ornaments are not as durable as you think.  Small shards of plastic can be dangerous, too – as most ornaments are hollow and have seams which split easily.  Even if the ornament is in tact, look for these plastic fragments to break away from corners.  Many of these ornaments may not be up to temperature/heat (those that sit directly next to holiday lights  or feel the heat of the fireplace it sits next to) – breaking down the material, making it more vulnerable to small cracks and breakage.

*Wires/electrical cords are a necessity when ‘plugging in’ your festive lights inside your home.  Curious children and pets around a LIVE Christmas tree that is watered regularly to keep from drying out with dangling cords for lights nearby is deadly.  If you have pets that drink from your toilet – what is to stop them from drinking water from the base of your holiday tree?   Stay aware of this danger and be cautious of cords and wires that get pulled out and plugged in with the curiosity that comes from snooping around surrounding presents around the tree’s baseline (kids and pets), as well as the water that some pets may be drinking and playing around.   

*Holiday treats are in abundance during this time – candy, cakes, fudge, pies … it’s sometimes a bit overwhelming when you have friendly co-workers, neighbors, friends and relatives who drop by with plates full of goodies.   While most parents are careful with children and their nut allergies and dogs around chocolate – we would like to take this time to remind everyone that these treats in the wrong hands or paws, can make a very UNMERRY holiday season.  The same should be said for hot cocoa, hot cider, coffee and tea – spilling of hot beverages within reach of kids or pets can burn your loved ones.    And while alcohol goes without saying – everyone knows not to serve it to little ones and pets, you also need to take precautionary measures.  When Grandpa Al or Aunt Joanne happen to ‘forget’ they’ve left their hot toddy on a low-level coffee or end table in the living room during their visit – this can present some dangerous circumstances.   

While the holidays are supposed to be fun and we’re not trying to put a damper on your spirit, we DO want to ensure happy, safe, peaceful, healthy holidays for all.   With so much going on between the shopping, wrapping, cooking and travel planning – we don’t want you to get so distracted you forget that your children and pets also look to you to protect their health and safety.

By taking extra care this holiday season you can ensure your family will have happy holidays.
~ Athena & Tess – We Solved It
Monday, December 2, 2013

It’s time for a reality check…. According to FEMA - In 2011 there were 166,600 fires related to cooking at home; 26,800 fires related to electrical home fires; 7,800 fires related to cigarette smoking at home; 43,700 fires related to heating at home.  Shocking? Yes.  Why so?  Because every single year we are reminded in the news and within our own local communities to beware of home fires and how to prevent them – yet every year we have these types of statistics which are still too large in number when they are preventable.

While storm fires are in Mother Nature’s hands, the forest and wildfires which start by human carelessness are no different than the careless humans in these  AT HOME fire statistics.
With the holiday season already in tow, we are reminded once again that we must slow down, take the time to be conscious and pay attention and take preventative measures in fire safety.
FIRST THING:  Make sure your smoke alarms are in working order and that you have a fire extinguisher in your home that is easily accessible to use. 

Be sure that you have taken all the necessary precautions around your home and you’ve eliminated dry brush and leaves around your home.  Even if YOU DO NOT do holiday lights – if your neighbor does, and there is an electrical spark next door, your home could be in jeopardy. Do your part in making sure you don’t have nearby fuel (propane tanks, stacks of fire wood, etc.) nearby to contribute toward a larger problem. 

Millions of people and animals die each year because of fire.  Smokey The Bear first reminded us “Only you can prevent forest fires” to “Only you can prevent wildfires”  – how about ….. ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT FIRES – period.  Outside of the fires which happen as a result of mother nature – lightening striking a power line, etc. all the rest of the fires are preventable by us.

While this may appear like a broken-record spiel, we commit ourselves to repeating this until these statistics turn to zero fires.  If reading this can save even one life, it will be worth any of the eye-rolling you all will do reading this.

PAY ATTENTION.  These 166,600 cooking fires…  Really?  Come on.  Stop texting while cooking.  Stop watching TV while you cook and being on the computer or your video games or even on the phone while you have food in the oven or boiling over on the stove top.  Cooking all by itself is a multi-tasking duty – don’t clutter it with outside things.  Your kitchen can be dangerous – between fire and knives – you really don’t want to be doing anything else other than the cooking task at hand. When cooking with grease – be aware that grease fires are by far the worst.  And NO – you do not put out grease fires with water.  Always have PLENTY OF BAKING SODA on hand.  If you make one valuable purchase at Costco or any warehouse super-saver store – get the bulk-size box of baking soda and always have it readily available. 

It can save your life.   The largest metal lid can also help contain it and put it out.  Also – notice when cooking with alcohol – you must go very slow when adding it. Do not douse your meals or deglaze your pans without taking EXTRA PRECAUTION.  Alcohol is highly flammable.  Be careful at all times even when not cooking with grease or alcohol. Fire takes on a life of its own.  You need to also be conscious of what you have around your stove or oven.

Do not have a cluttered environment.  If you have cardboard boxes of food like cereal or pasta boxes or anything else – you have to know that cardboard is flammable – one spark from a gas stovetop or forgetting that box on your electric top can quickly turn into a flame and you’ve got fire. A lot of sparks can also be eliminated by keeping your burners clean!  Dried-on food and bits underneath your burners are fire hazards!   Cleaning your kitchen isn’t just for health purposes to keep yourself safe from E-coli and Salmonella and to keep rats and bugs away, cleaning is also for FIRE SAFETY!  

 Do not wear long sleeves that can easily catch fire when draped nearby an open flame.  If following a recipe… be sure to read it several times BEFORE you start the cooking process so you understand what you have to do.  Floundering in the kitchen only opens yourself to more accidents waiting to happen if you are not paying attention as things are in mid-cooking process. 

PAYING ATTENTION IS YOUR KEY SOLUTION TO EVERYTHING.  You already know the drill – never leave a candle unattended.  But also know that fires can start with everything from frayed Christmas lights; overloaded electrical sockets; and gas leaks (you should have the gas company come out and do an inspection and also examine your pilot lights, water heater line, etc.).  

Also pay attention to something as simple as a table lamp.  Some people are not aware that not all lamps are created equal.  Did you know that lamps have a wattage capacity?   If a lamp only can take a maximum of a 40 watt bulb – and you have a 100 watt bulb in its place, you’re really setting yourself up for a dangerous situation.  Add that to any flammable objects near that lamp – from drapery fabric, piles of clothes, even bottles of perfume on a vanity (yes, perfume is flammable as is nail polish remover) – and you could have a fire.  

When was the last time you had your chimney swept?   Yes, this can start a fire hazard inside your fireplace!   Fireplaces require regular maintenance just like everything else.  Don’t blow off this task – you could save your own life and the life of your family and pets. 

Small space heaters are dangerous. This comes up every year also. Be careful when using them and be even more careful when purchasing them.   You want products that are UL approved and you also need to be careful when using them in your home and where you place them – and DO NOT leave them on and walk away or leave the house.  

Electric blankets are also a danger – particularly if they are older or if you happen to sleep with your cats or dogs on the bed.  Pets chew.  No matter how well behaved your pets may be, claws and teeth near electrical wires in your blankets are dangerous to both you and your pets. 

Take extra precaution while using these.  It is better to be safe layering your bedding with comforters and flannel sheets than it is with a dangerous electric blanket that is not looked after.
YOUR PETS can actually be a hazard in other areas, too.  A dog’s swishing tail, a cat’s curious jumping up and knocking things over ….  Just like you childproof your homes – you need to pet-proof your homes as well.  You should already have dangerous chemicals and flammables out of reach already.   Many people don’t think about this much – but many fires are started by pets curious nature and running antics. If you have more than one pet in your home – this doubles, particularly when pets get into chasing frenzies and fights. Their overzealous playfulness could put your home in danger. 

Please be sure to be aware of all potential hazardous situations – this protects you, your family and your pets. Keep all lights from toppling over, keep all flames out of reach, keep all flammable things  (including things in your medicine cabinet in a locked cabinet).  Animals can go under sinks or inside areas you don’t expect (remember – cats are climbers!) – so be on alert and take precaution.  The last thing you need is for them to get curious and nosey, spill something and suddenly things go up in flames.

We know that fire safety is an endless list.  We hope you’ll take responsibility at all times.  Whether or not you are a cigarette smoker or avid camper – EVERYONE needs to be fire-safe and conscious of their environment to prevent fire safety.  Fires do not discriminate. Everyone is at risk.  And keep in mind that you can be as careful as you can be – but not everyone is.   

Pay attention to your neighbors who have too much brush near their yard and those who work with power tools in their garages with sparks flying near water heater gas lines and any other dangerous situation where fires can be prevented.  

We hope you are always safe – not just around the holidays, but all year long.
~ Athena & Tess – We Solved It