Thursday, July 24, 2014

You are Here (Pale Blue Dot) - Carl Sagan

A Pale Blue Dot

This excerpt from Sagan's book Pale Blue Dot was inspired by an image taken, at Sagan's suggestion, by Voyager 1 on February 14, 1990. As the spacecraft left our planetary neighborhood for the fringes of the solar system, engineers turned it around for one last look at its home planet. Voyager 1 was about 6.4 billion kilometers (4 billion miles) away, and approximately 32 degrees above the ecliptic plane, when it captured this portrait of our world. Caught in the center of scattered light rays (a result of taking the picture so close to the Sun), Earth appears as a tiny point of light, a crescent only 0.12 pixel in size.

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
-- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994
This message underscores the responsibility we have to be a Steward and take care of each other and this pale blue dot that we call home.  To learn more about being a Steward check out the Well U Stewardship in Seconds Webinar series.  
These 10-20 minute videos cover a variety of topics and are accompanied by quizzes you can take to enter yourself into a prize drawing!

Watch the video :

Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Sizzle: Guest Post from Mediterranean Foods Alliance (MFA)

~ Tempting Tapas ~
Eighty degree weather is upon us! As we careen into the summer months, cooking a full meal on a hot, humid night might feel unimaginable. Eating it might feel pretty intimidating as well. If this sounds familiar, you might benefit from an evening meal of tapas, Spain's little plates. Tapas originated in the province of Andalusia, Spain's southern tip bordering the Mediterranean Sea, but are now enjoyed throughout the country. Spain's provinces are based on the country's old medieval kingdoms, and each section of the country reflects its geography and history. The cuisine of Mediterranean Spain mirrors the colorful, rich land that surrounds it with sensuous flavors and scents.

The word "tapa" literally means "lid," and refers to when, in medieval times, innkeepers would bring glasses of sherry to stagecoach drivers, covering the glass with a thin slice of meat or cheese to keep the bugs out. Also, this sustenance was said to keep the stagecoach drivers from getting drunk. This old way of eating and drinking has trickled down through the years and continues to be a huge part of Spanish culture.

Sevillian tapas expert Juan Carlos Alonso describes the practice of consuming tapas as "drinking, eating, chatting, strolling, greeting, seeing, being seen...," a way of dining that embodies the Spanish lifestyle. Ataberna, or tasca, is a small bar where customers stand while they drink and eat, while in cervecerias it is more traditional to sit down. People flit from taberna to taberna with their friends and family to taste all sorts of different dishes. Tapas are served in small portions, so a couple will serve as the perfect appetizer; if you had a few more, you can make it a whole meal. Whether served on a thick slice of fresh bread, a skewer, or a tiny plate, tapas are guaranteed to always be a flavorful bite full of pure and rich ingredients.

Some common components of tapas are veggies like potatoes, tomatoes, and asparagus, as well as savory olives and legumes of all varieties. Manchego, goat, and Parmesan cheeses often complement toasted white and multigrain breads. Sausage and prosciutto make tapas worthwhile for meat lovers, and in towns especially close to the Mediterranean, fresh seafood like scallops and shrimp are grilled to perfection.

Today we're bringing you just three of the many options for summer night tapas. First, fresh and easy tomatoes and cucumbers stuffed with tuna will cool you right down. Second, grilled shrimp with pepper confetti skewers from Anya von Bremzen's book The New Spanish Table are a great source of protein. Finally, the most common tapa is probably Tortilla Españolaand there are many versions out there, but Oldways friend and caterer/cooking teacher Gabriela Llamas makes it quickly and simply.

Click on a photo or recipe title below to link to the full recipe.  

Because tapas originated in Spain, seafood historically plays a starring role in them. The best part is, fish and shellfish boost the taste and nutrients in small dishes. Try this easy recipe with tuna, yogurt, green onions, mint, cumin, cherry tomatoes and cucumber.

Recipe, content and photo courtesy of National Fisheries Institute

These shrimp brochettes are the specialty at Goiz Argi, a perpetually-packed bar in San Sebastián's cobblestoned Parte Vieja. Like any proper pintxo (Basque tapa), the brochettes are served on pieces of bread but you can skip the bread if you prefer.

Recipe courtesy of Anya von Bremzen's The New Spanish Table; Photo:

Tortilla Española or Spanish Potato Omelette is one of the most popular dishes in Spain. There are many variations of the dish, but the most common version features potatoes and onions.  It is perfect for lunch, and is a staple of tapas bars throughout Spain.

Recipe adapted from Gabriela Llamas; Content courtesy of Oldways; Photo:

To find even more delicious Mediterranean recipes please visit:     

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Last chance to take the Employee Interest Survey and be entered into the drawing!

As we enter into the second half of the year the WellU Committee would like to learn about your interest in work site wellness. Please take a few minutes to complete the Interest survey. Your responses will be used in planning work site wellness programs for our employees. All survey responses are completely anonymous and you may stop the survey at any time. 

After completing the survey, If you would like to enter into a prize drawing for a gift card please email Julie Zaruba Fountaine at

​ ​ stating you have completed the survey.

Thank you for your time and participation! Please click on the link to take the survey.

The Survey will close on Monday July 21st. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Snack Ideas

Try some fun and refreshing summer snacks from the American Heart Association that the entire family can enjoy:

  • Fruit pops: Homemade freezer pops are an easy, fun treat for kids to make. Mash up fruit like peaches, grapes, berries or watermelon and put them in paper cups, insert a popsicle stick, freeze overnight and enjoy!
  • Cool and crisp: keep a variety of colorful veggies on hand that stay cool and crunchy for   a refreshing treat – baby carrots, cucumber slices, and celery sticks are just a few ideas.
  • Fruit smoothies: blend your favorite fresh fruits with fat-free or low-fat yogurt and ice for a refreshing drink or freeze and eat with a spoon like a frozen ice chill.
  • Mix it up: make your own trail mix using your favorite unsalted, oil free nuts, seeds and dried fruits (just be sure to keep your servings to 1.5 ounces or 1/3 cup).
  • Just slice and serve: summer months are peek season for most fruits, just slice and serve – the whole family will enjoy the refreshing natural sweetness and juices just the way nature made ‘em!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Half Way Through the Year- What's Next?

As we enter into the second half of the year the WellU Committee would like to learn about your interest in work site wellness. Please take a few minutes to complete the Interest survey. Your responses will be used in planning work site wellness programs for our employees. All survey responses are completely anonymous and you may stop the survey at any time. 

After completing the survey, If you would like to enter into a prize drawing for a gift card please email Julie Zaruba Fountaine at

​ ​ stating you have completed the survey.

Thank you for your time and participation! Please click on the link to take the survey.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

11 Myths About Sunscreen:Guest Post from ActiveTimes

Three dermatologists weigh in on some of the most common misconceptions about protecting your skin from the sun

It's no secret that we need to protect our skin from the sun. Whether you bronze beautifully or burn badly, the body's natural reaction to sunlight shows us that too much unprotected exposure is unhealthy for our skin.
Some startling statistics also help solidify this fact. According to theAmerican Academy of Dermatology, more than 3.5 million nonmelanoma skin cancers in more than 2 million people are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.
Research also suggests that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their life and that by 2015 about one in 50 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma, which according to theSkin Cancer Foundation is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and is most commonly caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds.
“UV exposure causes free radicals to form in your skin and they damage your skin cell’s DNA,” says Dr. Cynthia Bailey, a board-certified dermatologist and the President and CEO of Advanced Skin Care and Dermatology Physicians. “This leads to skin cancer.  It also leads to a series of events in the skin that cause a cycle of skin collagen breakdown and skin thinning.”
Bailey says the damage caused by this series of events can also lead to wrinkles, sun freckles, age spots and blotchy pigmentation with broken capillaries.
The AAD believes that skin cancer would be much less prevalent if more of us were aware of the signs and symptoms, knew how to check for them and actually took the time to do so. However, perhaps another part of the problem is that we're uninformed about how to properly protect ourselves.
According to the three skincare experts that we consulted, there are quite a few misconceptions about what needs to be done in order to adequately protect your skin from the sun. One of the most common mistakes: not using sunscreen every day, even when it’s not sunny.
Dr. Susan Huang, a board-certified dermatologist at the Harvard teaching hospital Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and an instructor of Harvard Medical School says that it’s a good idea to use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 daily.
“I tell patients that the best sunscreen is the one they’ll use regularly,” says Dr. Jeffery Benabio, a board-certified dermatologist and the Physician Director of Healthcare Transformation at Kaiser Permanente. “So make sure you like the feel and scent of it.”
No one likes dealing with sunburn, no wants to be another statistic and most of all, no one wants to deal with skin cancer. Seaside vacations and sunny summer barbeques are some of the best things about summer, but the opportunity for more time spent outside also means a huge increase in prolonged exposure to intense sunlight.  
Protecting yourself isn’t all that difficult, but it does require more than one quick application before you head out the door, which is why we've rounded up this list of 11 need-to-know sunscreen tips that will help keep your skin safe from the sun this summer and all year long.