American Idol- Who is going home tonight?

A recap from yesterday:

Kris: the dark horse of the group was pretty good. I am still not sure if he has the material to be The Idol.
Allison: she is my favorite. I like her voice and I keep my fingers crossed that Simon was wrong on his ‘horrible feeling’ that she may be in trouble. I would say that her performance could have been better, but on the other hand, she landed on the bottom three when she did sing very well. So… let’s hope for the best.
Danny: now, this guy is really getting on my nerves. I liked him in the beginning up to the moment the judges started pimping him out. Geez! that was annoying. OK, so the guy lost his wife, let’s get over our sympathy and admit that he is boring. Sure, his voice is all right for a while, but after that it’s just a raspy voice. And don’t get me started on his smirk. Get rid of that ridiculous smirk Danny!!!!
Matt: he was all right yesterday; not over the moon for his performance, but still much better than other nights. In all honesty, he should be eliminated today. He does not have a voice to remember or to make you buy his CD.
Adam: I am on the fence regarding Adam. Sometimes I like his creativity, other times he gets on my nerves with his falsetto. I would like to hear a song without the screeching and the tongue hanging out. Not a nice image. He has talent but sometimes his arrangements are more to shock than to please. That being said, he is talented and creative, hands down.

About judges:
More often than not I am looking forward to hearing Simon‘s comments. And so are the contestants. He is witty and most of the time down to earth. But yesterday he was a little bit off, especially with regards to Allison.
Paula– I love her. She is such a nice person but because she does not feel comfortable saying anything bad about a performance, she is not taken seriously.
Randy and Kara– they are whatever. Kara seems to be biased. Maybe all of them are.

In conclusion: tonight we should say farewell to Matt if we are to be objective.
As well, for the weeks to come I would like to see the guys leaving in the following order:
– Kris
– Danny

Adam and Allison top two.

I will be surprised to see Allison winning. Based on the info leaked on the net a few days ago, Adam has already the biggest number of downloads.

2012- Doomsday or a New Era?

Apocalypse (Greek:Apokálypsis; “lifting of the veil” or “revelation”) is a term applied to the disclosure to certain privileged persons of something hidden from the majority of humankind.
Source: Wikipedia

Currently, we got a difficult hand to play with. Severe recession, high unemployment rate, greedy and out of control bankers, rogue nations building nuclear weapons, famine and disease, drought and flooding. One would think that we are on the brink of extinction. Our beloved planet is in crisis and people are growing more and more obsessed with 2012. The net is full of references to Nostradamus, Mayan Calendar, Apocalypse and the coming of the Promised One. It’s difficult to find what makes more sense, but this is what I tried to do gathering information to confirm or debunk the most popular concepts.

Most of the paranoia has been generated by the interpretation of Mayan Calendar, which allegedly ends in 2012, more precisely on December 21, 2012.

According to scholars, the Maya used a Master Calendar named Tzolkin.

The Tzolkin is a 260-day calendar composed of 20 day-signs each of which has 13 variations, and was (and still is) used to determine character traits and time harmonics, in a similar way to Western astrology. The Maya also used a 365-day calendar called the Haab, and a Venus calendar, plus others. They measured long time periods by means of a Long Count, in which one 360-day year (a “Tun”), consists of 18 x 20-day “months” (“Uinals”). Twenty of these Tuns is a Katun; 20 Katuns is a Baktun (nearly 400 years); and 13 Baktuns adds up to a “Great Cycle” of 1,872,000 days, ( 5200 Tuns, or about 5125 years).

People seem to agree on all of the above. The speculations start while interpreting or finding correlation between Mayan Calendar and the Gregorian one.
If the start of the Great Cycle is considered to be August 11, 3114 BC day, the end-date will be December 21, 2012 (day

Another element has been thrown into the equation to prove that something will indeed happen: the alleged Alignment between the Galactic Equator and the Sun supposed to happen at Winter Solstice 2012 .But this alignment has already happened on December 21,1997. So the Galactic Alignment should be disregarded.
As for the December 21, 2012 as the end of our world, I have serious doubts that it will happen because the date is based on OUR interpretation of Mayan Calendar.

Now let’s move to Nostradamus.
Contrary to the popular concept, Nostradamus did not predict the end of the world. He only mentioned that his predictions go as far as 3797. Way beyond 2012.
But to be honest, my problem with Nostradamus quatrains/predictions, is that they are too vague and may be interpreted as we please, because they can be applied to many events. Not to mention that it’s found after the fact.
Going back to Nostradamus predictions, I could not find any link between his name and 2012. I found something related to 1999 but that was all.

Some people mentioned the Apocalypse in relation to 2012 and the end of world.
But what if instead of meaning the end of life it means ‘lifting of the veil’?
What if instead of being the end would be a beginning?

Maybe it announces the coming of the Promised One- the spiritual teacher who would come back to us as our Savior.
If nothing else, this is the common denominator for many religions and prophecies.
The Promised One is found in the Book of Enoch, Bible (Old and New Testaments), in the Buddhist, Chinese, Muslim and Zoroastrian sources, and also in the work of Nostradamus and Edgar Cayce.

If we are to move towards a more scientific approach, we should mention the revelation from NASA scientists that we can expect major solar storms that will disrupt the magnetic fields on Earth, set to happen in 2012.

Would this be the cause of something major happening on or to our planet?
Very possible.

I guess if we are lucky enough to survive the current economic recession and the next -at least- two bad years to come, we are going to see what it will happen.

Fertility and Dong Quai

I thought about writing a little bit more about the herbs I took to get pregnant.
I developed for myself, a special regim I followed diligently over about two years (after that I got pregnant), including exercise and taking special vitamins, herbs, supplements and maca

I will start today with some information about Dong Quai.
I have started taking it because I have read that it’s been used for promoting reproductive health and hormonal balance.
I was lucky to be pretty healthy, not taking any medication, therefore it was a safe choice for me.
Before start taking it, please read carefully about drug interactions and evaluate if it’s a suitable alternative for you.

Dong quai ( Angelica sinensis ) root has been used for over a thousand years as a spice, tonic, and medicine in China, Korea and Japan. Although there are few definitive studies on dong quai, it is reputed to relieve constipation, increase red blood cell count (which helps treat anemia), and provide relief from menstrual disorders such as cramps, irregular menstrual cycles, infrequent periods, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and menopausal symptoms. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is used for various purposes, including reproductive, circulatory, and respiratory conditions.

Dong quai contains, among others, ferulic acid, a pain reliever and muscle relaxer. Indeed, the herb is often used to treat painful menstrual cramps or other cases of uterine spasms. Oddly enough, several studies have shown that dong quai acts as a muscle relaxant overall, but before it relaxes the uterus, it stimulates the uterus briefly. The uterus is a muscle, and when dong quai stimulates it, its tone improves and it becomes tight and contracts more readily.

All muscles function better when they are well toned, and the uterus is no exception. A well-toned, strong, healthy uterus is less prone to cramps and muscle spasms. In addition to relaxing the uterus, ferulic acid also may relax the heart muscles, lower blood pressure, and calm cardiac arrhythmias (a variation in the normal rhythm of the heartbeat).


Because dong quai dilates the blood vessels and improves circulation in the uterus, regular use can sometimes make menstrual flow heavier – in China, dong quai is called a “blood mover.” Many herbalists recommend stopping the use of dong quai during the actual menstrual period in women prone to heavy flow or if heavy bleeding is a concern.

Do not use dong quai if you take blood-thinning or high blood pressure medication.

Dong quai should not be used during pregnancy because it may affect the muscular functioning of the uterus. It should also be avoided by nursing mothers, because there is little information about its effect on the infant through breast milk.

Hormone medications
Although there is little research on the use of dong quai with hormone medications — such as estrogens, progesterones, oral contraceptives, tamoxifen or raloxifene — health care providers advise against using them together, due to the possibility of adverse effects, unless you are under the supervision of a doctor.

Blood-thinning herbs
Although reported extremely rarely and not published in the scientific literature, the practice of combining dong quai with other herbs that thin the blood could possibly increase the risk of bleeding in some people. The following herbs with this potential when combined with dong quai — and which should be used only with caution and under the supervision of a doctor include:
• Feverfew ( Tanacetum parthenium )
• Garlic ( Allium sativum )
• Ginger ( Zingiber officinale )
• Ginkgo ( Ginkgo biloba )
• Ginseng ( Panax ginseng )
• Licorice ( Glycyrrhiza glabra )
• Chinese skullcap ( Scutellaria baicalensis )
• Turmeric ( Curcuma longa )

This is what you should do:

– Search the net for the best quality product. I am not here to endorse any company and I can’t honestly remember which one I took. I would suggest taking it as a tincture or powder, not tablets. The processing method of making tablets could lower the quality of the herb.
– Take it before and after your period; take a break while having your period

Temperature as ovulation prediction

I can’t emphasize how important it is to understand your body. You have to learn to understand it because very often the signals sent out are lost because you don’t know what to look for.

You start your journey thorough infertility with a mix of hope and disappointment; with lots of envy seeing all the pregnant ladies and questions like ‘why I am the only one not able to conceive?’
First of all you are not alone, I was walking in your shoes not so long time ago and like me are lots of other women. If you are not fortunate enough to get pregnant just seeing a penis, you have to put extra effort. Life is not fair and most of all, we are not born equal, regardless what your priest my tell you.

Now that you know you have to do extra work for something that other women take for granted, let’s start with a very easy but important step.
Taking your temperature.
Do yourself a favor and go to the pharmacy and purchase a basal thermometer.
Down the road you are going to understand better how fragile the balance between estrogen and progesterone is and at the same time how important for conceiving is.

Let’s start with: Cycle overview
The first day of the dreadful period is the beginning of a new cycle. From this moment until ovulation occurs, the temperature starts dropping.
During the first part of the cycle the temperature is anywhere between 96.5 and 97.5°F. The temperature is low due to the presence of estrogen in higher amount.
In majority of the cases, the transition from estrogen dominated phase to the progesterone dominated one is marked by a thermal shift. How big is the temperature rise? It depends on the body, but as a rule of thumb, a minimum of 0.4 to 0.6°F should occur.
Between 24 and 48 hours after the temperature shift, the ovulation is said to occur.
We enter into the progesterone dominated phase, when the temperature rises to ensure a warm and fertile environment for the fecundated egg to implant and develop.

Let’s move on to the next step: Taking the temperature
As I have mentioned above, you have to get a basal thermometer, but from my experience, a digital one works fine as well.
Over the years I had 2 glass basal thermometers.
Pros: Not very expensive and they were accurate.
Cons: Glass. I broke one while washing it after one use.
Then I switched to a digital thermometer. It’s got a temperature probe capable of pretty accurate reading.
You don’t need a super scientific precision, all you need is to identify the thermal shift, meaning that any accuracy will do it.
Pros: Flexible tip, easy to insert the thermometer in the vagina (I highly recommend taking the temperature vaginally, because it’s by far the most reliable one).
Cons: More expensive than glass ones.

– It’s very important NOT to switch from one thermometer to another within any given cycle!!!
If possible use only one thermometer for the whole time you monitor your cycles. That’s why the glass thermometer may become a liability down the road.
– Make up your mind if you want to take your temperature vaginally or orally before starting monitoring your cycles. They differ a lot!! Vaginal temperature is higher than the oral one.

When to take the temperature?
There are many school of thoughts, the most popular one recommends taking the temperature first thing in the morning, after at least 4 hour sleep, while still in bed.

Also it’s said that it’s pretty important to take the temperature at the same time each day.
I did not take it at the same time for the simple reason that I did not want to wake up in weekend at the same time I woke up during the week. But to be true, during the week I used to wake up at 6:30 and in weekends I slept until 7:30. One hour would not make a big difference, if any at all.
Of course that if you usually sleep until noon in weekends, you will have to wake up earlier, please don’t follow my ‘it-does-not-matter-it’s-weekend’ rule.

Next step: What to do with the temps?
That is simple : you have to make a chart.
You can use a simple excel spreadsheet, handy to everybody. Enter the data and get the graph.
Or you can go on line and download a more fancy version. Following is an example of charting with the software provided by site.


As you could see in the graph, along with the temperature it’s good to record the cervical mucus. It’s an important tool to evaluate the changes that occur within your body. A normal mucus should be translucent, increasing in quantity around ovulation time. You are going to see that right after the end of the period, there are going to be some ‘dry’ days, with hardly any mucus. Approaching ovulation, it should be an increase in the quantity and the aspect. The mucus will ensure a nutritious medium for the sperm as well.

From the graph you will see how long is the time between ovulation and the onset of the next period. This is called the luteal phase (LP) and a normal one should be about 13 days. If the ovulation is not a fix date or time of the month, the LP should be almost the same, plus or minus a day. If the LP is too short, you have to work something on prolonging it. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ll talk about it more later on.

Pay attention as well to your libido; it tends to increase around ovulation time. I guess the Mother Nature is sending signals that it’s time to procreate.

Now you know what to start with.
Let’s summarize:

1. Purchase a thermometer
2. Get a blank graph
3. Start taking Folic Acid. It won’t influence your temperature but it’s extremely important to prevent neural defects in your baby. So, just in case, take your Folic Acid: 1 mg per day.
4. Take your temperature and record it in the graph. After two-three months you are going to get a clearer picture about your body. You will see IF you ovulate and IF your luteal phase is long enough. It is said that a shorter than a 8 days one won’t allow the fertilized egg to burrow into the uterine wall before the next cycle is scheduled to start. As well, you will understand if you have enough cervical mucus to provide the nutrient medium for the sperm to survive until it fertilizes the egg.

Please keep in mind that fertility chart is to be used as a tool only, because for every rule, there is an exception. There are many other factors to take into account and we are going to talk about them in the further installments.
We are going to talk about Dong Quai, Maca, Black Cohosh and Evening Primrose Oil, Selenium and other important minerals and vitamins to be taken. I will tell you when and how to take them.

Until then, Good Luck!

Reading between the lines: Is the company you are working for going down under?

Being economic recession- despite whatever else you may be reading in the papers or on the net, it’s really bad- you may expect that companies still afloat are going to use this reason to work us even more than before.
Yes indeed, they are in for blood and they suck it out of people scared of losing their jobs. Any decency a ruthless CEO may have had before recession, is now gone.
How to read between the lines what is really going on? Is it the time to start looking for another job?
Following are real life examples, read them and decide for yourself if I am bull-shitting you or not.
As a note: please ignore the fact that I am working for a company owned by a Chinese- notorious for being penny pinchers.

1. Increased frequency of meetings and reporting, where everything you do is scrutinized and your working time closely monitored. OK, if you work like I did, 30 hours overtime in the past week, of course you are NOT going to be paid. So no, monitoring your time refers to how much more you could be given, not to collect kudos for screwing your evenings and weekends. To speak concretely: we now have ‘personal time’ with our CEO every other day, at an allocated time. We get into his office with a full report about what we did since the last meeting (Duh… it happened like… yesterday!!), what we have to do for that day and ask questions or listen to the ‘how bad the recession really is and how many people are out of job’speach. On top of these mandatory meetings, we have a mandatory task list that must be updated as soon as we finish a task. If you think this would increase efficiency I can assure you that it will not; it will drive you bonkers and on the verge of a coronary.
Translation: Shut the fuck up and work till you drop, or else.
2. Abandon ship phenomenon. It happens when suddenly people start leaving. Of course you get the global email with ‘Thank you Company X and Mr. CEO Y for the opportunity to grow with you. Now it’s a sad time for me to say good bye and pursue new venues. For you guys who may want to keep in touch with me, this is my email address’… followed by a gmail or yahoo domain.
Translation: In your face suckers!!! I am so out of here. Yupee!!!!
3. Penny pinching pushed to extreme. I am not sure if it needs any explanation because it is pretty much straightforward. We are monitored how many pages we print out for example. I will not be surprised at all to see that we need permission to print out anything from now on. How much overhead is going to be saved if instead of 200 pages we are going to print 20? A few cents a month I imagine, that considering that only a limited number of people must print documents. Instead of limiting how many pages we print, maybe our CEO may get rid of one of his two imbecile secretaries, paid with lots of money to do nothing. Actually, one is his personal assistant – mistress paid with around $60,000 to keep him happy. Nothing wrong with that, if this person would not be stupid and vengeful.
Translation: When the office supply rules become so stringent, making your life a leaving hell and your work more difficult, you may think ‘constructive discharge’. This is when a company is trying to get rid of you for one reason or another but they can’t or don’t want to pay unemployment so they make you leave.
4. You get the ‘honor’ of getting the work load of a colleague off on maternity leave, without a pay rise. This sucks big time. So, you had your work before, with plenty to do, no moments of boredom. Now you are told that for about a year from now on, you are going to take over your colleague responsibilities- another super full time job.
How are you going to juggle two full time jobs paid as one? No idea and if I find a solution, considering that I am in this situation right now, I shall promptly inform everybody.
If you open your mouth and tell them to fuck off, you may get fired, because you see, people like my CEO are NOT concerned that they are going to lose the smartest and the most resilient workers. They even believe that the good guys are a dime a dozen.
Translation: Don’t think that just because you were given a second job your position is more stable, because it’s not. It’s time to go, baby!!
4. The last sign on my list is when a technical guy is asked to do sales work. You are pulled out of research and given ‘sales accounts’. You have to start navigating uncharted territories, chasing people, bagging them to buy your product. And no, you don’t feel comfortable doing it because that was one reason you finished university with a diploma on science, to do research and product development not to be account manager.
Translation: Time to find greener pastures!