Monday, December 28, 2015

Imagine A Better 2016

Where did 2015 go??
As I searched for end of the year recaps or videos to share with you, all I seemed to come up with were negative stories: this shooting happened, this bombing, this refugee story, that injustice. We had to offer our "thoughts and prayers" far too many times.
I wondered: Where are the good stories? Where are the stories about people helping people without being asked? What about positive "Stories of 2015"? Good things had to have happened...but where were they?

What were some good and positive things that happened to you this past year? Stuff like:
  • Making progress on a goal you've set
  • Making a new friend
  • Learning something cool
  • Going somewhere you never went before
  • Creating something
  • Doing something that scared you, and then you liked it
  • Enjoying time with friends and family
What if we stopped and thought about the possibilities of the new year and focused on that?

UPDATE: Finally, a list of good things that happened this year, via Senator Amy Klobuchar and Buzzfeed:  Read them and smile. I knew they were out there somewhere:

Most of us can't accomplish peace in the world. But we can...
  •  Remember to be grateful for our lives
  •  Learn about other cultures and appreciate that we are actually pretty similar. 
  • Care about what's going on around us. 
  • Notice when a friend is struggling and offer help. 
  • Accept help when we need it.

And, we can imagine a better world starting right now. Have a great 2016!!!
"Imagine" by John Lennon, sung by Eva Cassidy
 It's In Our Hands


Monday, December 21, 2015

How To Decorate A Tree: A Step By Step Guide

Order your tree from

Rest assured that any tree can be beautiful with enough lights.

Proudly display ornaments received  through the years, basking in their sentimental value.

Let the little ones decorate the tree.

 Perfection is overrated. Take tinsel, for example: Just throw a handful at the tree and call it good.

Decorate the tree with edible items such as cookies, candy canes, popcorn, or cranberries.

Don't ignore the tree trends of the year. 

Try something new for a tree topper.

Encourage your pets to enjoy the tree. Or not.

  Hang a few carefully placed larger ornaments on the bare spot of the tree. 


  Hang all the really heavy ornaments towards the back. You know, to protect them.

 Put up a festive tree at work.

But remember, it's not about the tree. It's about family and warm wishes.

Have a wonderful holiday season, from Triogenius!!!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

$33,822: The Math of the 12 Days of Christmas, The Gift of People, And Why All The Birds??

That dollar amount, my friends, is the cost of buying every thing on the 12 days of Christmas song.

The song was probably written in French and had no music when it was first published in 1780.
In 1909, music was added and it became the song we are familiar with today.
  • "4 "Calling Birds" was originally 'Colly' birds, meaning coal colored, or blackbirds.
  • 5 gold rings originally meant 5 ring-necked pheasants. This makes the first seven gifts to be birds.
  • Aside from the maids a-milking, the rest of the gifts are people who dance or play an instrument. You could give people as gifts?? That's not right.
  • If you gave the total with repetition, you would be giving  364 gifts.
Because: Day 1- receives 1 gift
Day 2- receives 3 additional gifts, making 4 total
Day 3- receives 6 additional gifts, making 10 total
Day 4- receives 10 additional gifts, making 20 total
Day 5- receives 15 additional gifts, making 35 total
Day 6- receives 21 additional gifts, making 56 total
Day 7- receives 28 additional gifts, making 84 total
Day 8- receives 36 additional gifts, making 120 total
Day 9- receives 45 additional gifts, making 165 total
Day 10- receives 55 additional gifts, making 220 total
Day 11- receives 66 additional gifts, making 286 total
Day 12- receives 78 additional gifts, making 364 total gifts received.

Here is what these things cost today, one day at a time...
1 Partridge                $25             in a pear tree, $190.00
2 Turtle doves          $290
3 French Hens          $182.00
4. Calling Birds     (Canaries) $600
5 Gold Rings          at least $500 *if using pheasants, then only $28
6 Geese         $360
7 Swans         $13,125

**Wait, that's 28 birds of various types, or 33 if you count the 5 golden ringed pheasants....Why???**

8 Maids (working for an hour at minimum wage) $58
9 Lady dancers  (ballerinas at $75 per hour each, for an hour) $675
10 Lords who leap $5509 (apparently not as valuable as ballerinas)
11 Pipers piping   $2635 (even bagpipers charge about this much)
12 Drummers  $2855   (although if you're talking rock star drummer, it would probably be more)

And how much, with repeating as in the song (3 French hens, two turtledoves, and a partridge in a pear tree....)? That would run about $115,000. Good math practice, what total do you get?

The cost of these things in 1913, the earliest we could figure using an inflation calculator, was about $1450.00. The price of a 9 room house at that time was under $3,000.
Some people over-think. They feel that the song's gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith, and the "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. They hold that a partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The other symbols could mean the following: 
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles

Monday, December 7, 2015

Microblog: Careers With Minnesota Companies: General Mills

General Mills was founded in 1866 as Washburn Flour Mills. In 1928 the name was changed to General Mills. Corporate headquarters are in Minneapolis, but there are offices worldwide. Today, General Mills is owner of the following brands:

  • Bisquick
  • Betty Crocker products
  • Cereals: Cheerios, Wheaties, Kix, Trix, Chex
  • Pillsbury
  • Gold Medal Flour
  • Green Giant
  • Yoplait Yogurt
  • Gardettos Snacks
  • Nature Valley Granola Bars
  • Wanchai Ferry
  • Hamburger Helper
  • Haagen Daz ice cream
  • Totino's Pizza
  • Progresso Soup
  • Old El Paso

and also
  • Play Dough
  • Easy-Bake Oven
  • Parker Bros. board games
  • Red Lobster restaurants
  • Burger King restaurants

Learn more about the history of the company here:

You may find a career at General Mills in the following areas:
  • Engineering
  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Manufacturing
  • Research
  • Quality Control
  • Marketing
  • Sales

Here is a job description and requirements to be a Snack Scientist (Yes, that's a real job title)

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Food Was Delicious.....Ways to Burn Calories After the Feast

Thanksgiving and the holidays may mean a bit of weight gain. Or, you may be gaining that "Freshman 15" you always hear about (generally due to eating any free food offered on campus plus eating a lot more junk and fast food than you used to, and not moving enough to burn it off).

In order to lose one pound of weight, you need to cut 3500 calories fom the food you eat for the week, or 500 calories every day.

The other way to lose weight: burn calories.

Here are some ways to burn 100 calories, for someone who weighs about 150 pounds:

10 Minutes       Jump rope continuously
                        Shovel snow
15 Minutes       Paint walls
                         Swim some laps
                         Walk up stairs
20 Minutes        Rake leaves
                          Wash the car
                          Take a slow bike ride
                          Play basketball
                         Take a brisk walk
                          Spend 20 minutes on an elliptical or treadmill

30 Minutes        Walk the dog
                          Put up holiday lights
                          Do some dancing

Wondering how many calories you're burning? See this calculator:

  • Take weight loss slowly, don't do any 'fad diets' where you eat nothing but cabbage or one that doesn't include a major food group.
  • Losing one or maybe 2 pounds a week is perfectly fine---that's between 5 and 8 pounds in a month.
  • You can eat a bit of everything. Forbidding a food is just asking you to 'cheat.'
  • Watch the way you use words---'skinny' and 'thin' really refer to people who are not a healthy weight. You're trying to be healthy, feel better, and make it easier for your heart to work, not go to extremes to be underweight. Work on a sensible body image while you're learning to eat better and move your body.
  • Make new eating habits you're not going to abandon once you've lost weight.
  • Regular soda has 100 calories and 27 grams of sugar, about 8 teaspooonsful (or more). Diet soda has 0 calories and 0 grams of sugar. If you typically drink 3 cans of soda in a day, you could cut out 300 calories a day (and 24 spoonsful of sugar!!) simply by switching to diet soda. That's 9000 calories in a 30 day month.
WOW for November 30: What does BMI mean? What is your BMI? Click here:

How many calories are in that??? Look up the number of calories foods including items from restaurants here:
Here's a list of apps that might be helpful in your goal of getting healthy:

Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving! Pass the Venison Please!

  • The first Thanksgiving in America was actually in 1541 in Texas, celebrated by Coronado, the explorer.
  • The Pilgrims' Thanksgiving took place in 1621, then not again until 1623, then not until 1676.
  • 535 Million pounds of turkey will be eaten in the U.S. every year.

  • The Pilgrims ate, celebrated, and feasted for 3 days on berries, shellfish, boiled pumpkin, fish, and deer.
  • Cranberries were used as a way to dye cloth and hides red.
  • Since it was autumn, the Native Americans who took part in the feast likely were wearing warm animal skins, not dressed in minimal clothing.
  • The first Thanksgiving football game was played in 1876, Yale vs. Princeton.
  • The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade balloon handlers are employees of Macy's and their families and friends.
  • Snoopy Flying Ace at the 2009 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, by Musicwala
  • People on the west coast of the U.S. often eat crab for Thanksgiving.
  • The biggest turkey recorded, in 1989, was 86 pounds.
  • Columbus named turkeys "tuka," using the Spanish word for peacock. He had heard there were numerous peacocks in the East Indies (where he thought he was) and that turkeys were some type of peacock.
  • In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated the 2nd Monday in October.

  • The average distance traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday is 214 miles
  • Turkeys have heart attacks

How do Native Americans feel about Thanksgiving now? Some consider it a day of mourning because of the way the whites have treated them, and for the fact that they brought diseases to the Native Americans that hadn't existed here before. For an interesting perspective...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Black Friday, Gray Thursday, Buy Nothing Day

Originally, Black Friday referred to a stock market crash that happened in 1869. It was also used to describe the crash that happened October 24, 1929, Black Tuesday.  Now it refers to the day after Thanksgiving, when a high number of sales allows retail merchandisers to be "in the black," or to make profits, even when selling some items very inexpensively. Their hope is to have customers buy other items not on sale. 

Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade has always been used to advertise items for sale the following day.

Did you know:
  • From a shopping standpoint, stores opening on Thanksgiving call it  'Gray Thursday.'
  • It is prohibited for stores to be open on Thanksgiving Day in Massachusetts.
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, has the most customer traffic on Black Friday.
  • Other countries also have sales on Black Friday. Most of the sales take place online, but they are present in England, Panama, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, South American countries, and Canada.
  • India has The Great Online Shopping Festival that lasts 3 days.

Canada invented Buy Nothing Day, now observed worldwide either on the Friday or Saturday following Thanksgiving. Besides concentrating on saving the planet with less waste, people also have parties to cut up credit cards, have a winter coat exchange, and steer empty shopping carts around a store. Some people also see it as a way to support retail clerks required to work on a day that most others have off--at possible danger to the clerks.

Do you shop over the Thanksgiving weekend? Could you participate in Buy Nothing Day? (For college students, that's every day).
And speaking of poor college students, here are some do it yourself ideas to make simple Christmas Gifts:

Ideas to make with items from the Dollar Store:

Monday, November 9, 2015

What About Veterans?

Originally published November 11, 2013

A Letter to a Vet:

"Thank you" hardly seems adequate

For time away from your family

For putting yourself in harm's way

Without question, without complaint, when your country asked

For your triumphs

For your losses

For showing the rest of the world, the best of the world

For being there

Whether it was yesterday

Or 50 years ago

We appreciate everything you did, everything you do

We haven't forgotten

Thank you isn't enough, but , Thank You.

Sincerely, Your Country

Some brief facts:
  • There were 21.9 million vets in the U.S. in 2009
  • 1.5 million of those vets were female
  • 71% of all vets voted in the 2008 election, compared to 63% of non-vets
  • 5.5 million vets have a service-related disability
What do these people have in common?
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Drew Carey
  • Ice T
  • Chuck Norris
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Elvis Presley
They all served in the military.

For a video that gives a history and other facts about Veterans Day, check this out: