A Valentine’s Day Surprise to Remember

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. I am, and always will be, a romantic, and I enjoy watching the genuine smiles on other couple’s faces as they share the appreciation they have with one another. I also love getting to celebrate with that special someone every year. The best part of this romantic day is having an excuse to buy flowers and share a nice meal. Whether you cook at home or go out for fine dining, food is the essence of love, and flowers are some of the most beautiful things nature has to offer.

One year, I spent several hours creating one of the best surprises ever for my Valentine. I wrote on tiny pieces of paper all the reasons why I loved them so much, I jotted down my favorite memories we shared, and I wrote down compliments for them. I put each message in a balloon and blew the balloons up. Then, I put tiny glowsticks in each balloon. At first, I thought balloons with a dark color might look impressive with the mysterious glow coming from the center, but after testing it out, I decided to use white balloons so the color of the glowstick would be more apparent.

I had one problem though. To prepare all of the materials, I needed to start early. That means putting everything together but also making sure the glowing balloons looked perfect when it was time for the surprise. Glowsticks only stay lit for so long, so I had to figure out a method for preserving the glow while also having everything ready to go. The trick to this surprise, I soon discovered, was to put the glowsticks in the balloons before you break them, and don’t overfill the balloons with air. You want to have just enough air, so the balloons are big, but keep the material thick enough on the side of the balloon that you can grab and break the glowsticks right before your Valentine walks in. If there is too much air, the balloons pop quickly and you will have to start all over again.

With as many lovely messages as I had to share, I ended up with over thirty balloons. It only took me ten minutes to snap all of the glowsticks and shake them up, and my surprise was ready. My Valentine walked into the room with glowing balloons all over the place, and then we got to pop them all and read the tiny letters. It was extraordinary for me, and my Valentine loved it! Who doesn’t like to pop balloons, especially when there are little surprises inside each one?

I think one of the reasons my Valentine’s Day surprise went so well was because I was communicating with my loved one. Sharing words with one another can be difficult sometimes, but it’s essential to express your ideas openly and regularly if you want to stay on the same page. Relationships are never easy, but talking about your joys and concerns is a great way to understand each other better.

Once a Thief, Always a Thief

So, I’ve been accused of stealing my own things. That’s my current predicament. Now, I know, anyone who’s followed me or knows me in real life knows I’ve had my real troubles in the past. I have actually stolen other people’s things. That’s a fact, as I’ve recorded many times before, that I’m not proud of.

But I turned my life around years ago. I’ve tried to be a positive presence online, showing how a person can grow and change, but I’m now having my doubts, both about myself and about the system.

What happened can be laid out pretty easily. A supposed friend of a friend, whom I was friendly with (is that clear? let’s just call him an acquaintance) stayed the night at my place last week. He’s been to prison, like me, and I make a point of not judging people on the surface for doing things like that. He seemed nice enough, and so I let him crash for a night.

Well, that turned out to be a mistake. I woke up, had breakfast with him, had a chummy conversation, showed him out and went about my day. It was only that evening that I noticed my PS4 was missing.

I keep it in a drawer, so it wasn’t obvious at first. I immediately called my friend, got his friend’s number, and called him. The guy denied the whole thing. He said he’d never do it, he was reformed like me, yadda yadda. He acted offended that I of all people would accuse him. He suggested someone else had stolen it. He even threw his own friend under the bus.

I tried to stay calm, I said I wasn’t going to call the cops or anything, just return the PS4. Nothing doing. He hung up after giving some lame excuse and said he’d call back later.

He never did.

Now, I knew where he lived, this guy. He had told me about it because the whole reason he needed a place to crash was the building was shut down over some pest infestation.

I know at this point I should have involved the cops or tried to press my friend to do more, or just let it go. Instead, I broke into his place, and I took my PS4 back.

Well, now I’m getting calls from this guy, who says he’s going to call the cops and get me arrested for stealing my own property back. I may need to contact a theft and burglary attorney and see where I stand with the law. It’s a whole mess.

Worse than the mess, though, are the implications of what happened. Did I never actually change? Does no one? Is the system so screwed up that I can’t help but be drawn to the wrong side?

It’s all so awful and confusing. And for the first time in a long time, I feel like I don’t have any answers.

New Grants for Dental Research Awarded to New York University

New research studies are the catalyst for innovation and new technologies. Without the ability to conduct unprohibited research, universities wouldn’t be the powerhouses they are today. In this past month of September, two research teams were awarded millions to engage in research that will hopefully change the future of dentistry. Looking into the effectiveness of cavity prevention and new techniques for teeth restoration these researchers hope to improve the materials dentists use and make sure the techniques we use today are as effective as they can be.

Dr. Yu Zhang, an associate biomaterials professor from the NYU School of Dentistry, will lead two projects into developing better materials for restorative dentistry surgeries. With a grant of 3.7 million dollars from the National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research, Dr. Zhang hopes to change the way we think about teeth. He and his team are looking focusing on a type of ceramic called zirconia that will be as strong or stronger than enamel while maintaining the translucent natural color. The tricky part in this type of research comes in balancing the two vital parts of teeth restoration: you want something as strong as teeth, and you want it to look like teeth. They are hoping that this type of material can last longer than current dental implants. The second study is also from the NYU School of Dentistry and is being led by Dr. Richard Niederman and Dr. Ryan Ruff. The two have been awarded a 13.3 million dollar grant from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. They are leading a study into the effectiveness of two techniques in cavity prevention on opposite ends of the complexity spectrum. The simpler treatment includes a topical mix of silver and fluoride sealing a cavity. The second, more complex, treatment is a mixture of traditional sealants and fluoride. This study will select 60 low-income elementary schools in the Bronx and randomly give the students in need there one of the two treatments to test their effectiveness.

While these two studies will take up to five years to yield results, it’s important to realize that dentistry now is more than effective. The point of research is to make things that already work marginally better until something completely new can be found. For example, dentists like those at Dr. Bram’s Dental Expressions use a method known as white filling to restore teeth rather than the traditional metal to cut down on toxicity levels that have been associated with the metal fillings. Thinking about the future is always an exciting concept, seeing what’s on the horizon helps us appreciate how far we have come and what we have now.

Like many fields, dentistry is still growing. The American Dental Association call the mouth the window into the health of the body. Keeping one’s teeth healthy pays off more than just the cosmetic look and feel. They are vital to our health, and as our diet changes so should the way we care for them.

Denied Long-Term Disability

Disability insurance can be essential to protect individuals and their families if they are facing a serious illness or injury, and they are unable to work. The unexpected loss of an income can threaten any sense of financial stability that an individual has created. They may no longer be able to afford their house payments, car payments, or even everyday bills and expenses. This can be a devastating loss, but long-term disability insurance aims to help lessen this burden by providing a supplemental income. Unfortunately, receiving these necessary disability benefits is a difficult and frustrating process, and many people, who have valid disability claims, are still denied. Often this is due to mistakes in their paperwork, a lack of proof of insurance, or technicalities in the process. However, some individuals are denied because the greed of insurance companies, who know they will save money if they deny claims. This illegal practice is a serious problem across the country that has recently been brought to light. The Northern California Record wrote about one such case that occurred in Los Angeles, California.

Central California resident, Jessica Huerta has decided to pursue a lawsuit against Prudential Insurance, after they wrongfully denied her long-term disability claim. Huerta suffers from scleroderma and a degenerative joint disease that causes debilitating pain. She is incapable of working due to this plain and other complications from these diseases. In 2015, Huerta applied for disability benefits, under her long-term disability policy with Prudential Insurance; however, her claim was quickly denied. According to Huerta’s long-term disability insurance plan, her disabilities should have been covered by the insurance provider, and Huerta could not understand why she would be denied. Her frustration and confusion led Huerta to seek legal advice, and after speaking with a lawyer, she decided to move forward with a lawsuit against the company. Her suit alleges that the company is in breach of contract and violation of the Employment Retirement Income Security Act.

Although Huerta filed her claim for long-term disability insurance in 2015, she is still struggling to receive the benefits she needs over two years later. During this time it is hard to say how she has been providing for herself and receiving the medical care that she needs. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon problem and many other people with disabilities across the country face similar situations. Insurance providers prey on these individuals, who are seeking their help, in order to make more money for themselves. We must find a way to prevent companies from continuing to use these underhanded and despicable tactics.

Fortunately, individuals can take steps to protect themselves during the filing process, to ensure that they are treated fairly and their case is handled with care. Long-term disability lawyers, such as Fields Law Firm, are prepared to help their clients throughout the filing process, and they can help ensure that these individuals receive the benefits they need. These lawyers have an in depth understanding of disability law and can help write an application that provides all essential information and is free of mistakes.

How Junk Bonds Can Be Problematic

Junk bonds are bonds that are both high-risk and high-yield. Because of this nature, they are a kind of security that can be very vulnerable to fraud and recklessness. It is a good thing that fraudulent and reckless financial advisors may be held liable.

But at the end of the day, do you really want to deal with the hassles of the court? Prevention will always be better than cure, so avoiding junk bond fraud and recklessness is more advisable than fixing it. Below are some of the ways how junk bonds can be problematic.

Focusing on the benefits

The best thing about junk bonds is that they have significant returns compared to other securities. If your advisor makes a sales speech using this sole advantage and disregarding the other aspects that involve junk bonds, he may put you into financial trouble. It is very important to know that junk bonds are high-risk securities.

Not looking at the risks

Bond prices and yields often go on opposing ways. Stable and high prices often have low yields, while unstable and low prices, such as junk bonds, often have high ones. For an investor like you, high yields may be very attractive, but your advisor should let you look into the risks, so you would know whether you have the flexibility to take them.

Many investors have lost significant amounts of money because of the risky nature of junk bonds, and you can be one of them if you and your advisor are not careful.

Not suitable for your financial standing

You and your advisor should work together so that you can clearly state your financial status, investment goals, and willingness to take risks, and that he clearly understands them. These are very important aspects when it comes to investing, because they can determine the kind of investment that is suitable for you.

Depending on these factors, junk bonds may not be suitable for you, and if you still pursue, you may experience financial losses that is more than what you can take. Effective communication with your advisor is key.