Praticing Optimism in 2016

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Aging & Attitude

Happy New Year!

      The year 2015 was crappy. Although it is not politically or otherwise correct to say so, it was; and became more crappy and crappier.

     Remember; it started with Tom Brady and an inflated, uninflated or deflated (whatever) football. Then as shock and dismay about Bill Crosby unfolded, we almost forgot about Hillary’s emails.

     Let’s not revisit the numerous mass shootings, police killings, plane crashes, and weather related disasters. You can read about them at abcnews link, factor in any personal crappiness and evaluate the year yourself. For me, it was one of the crappiest.

     Thank goodness Donald Trump added some much needed humor, Prince William and Kate appear to be a happy family, and Pope Francis’s visit to the United States prompted John Boehner to resign.

     Mr. Wonderful and I were asleep by 9:30 pm on New Year’s Eve. We took a 6 am flight home to Florida, having spent Christmas in Albuquerque with our kids and grandkids, and exhausted.

     I slept until 8am the next morning and while enjoying a cup of coffee viewed Dr. Oz. He discussed the glass half-full or half-empty approach to the New Year and a solution for cynicism. “Practicing Optimism,” is the catchy expression he used.

     Although a sunny disposition is to some degree a byproduct of genes and life experience, there is increasing support that thoughts have a cognitive effect on the mind. Specifically, meditation and mindfulness are being studied.

     “Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology. “This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”

    In the March 2014 issue/Meditation Research Psychological Science  of Meditation  the following findings are listed from articles:

  • Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness
  • Long-term meditation is associated with increased gray matter density in the brain stem
  • The underlying anatomical correlates of long-term meditation: larger hippopotami and frontal volumes of gray matter
  • Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density
  • Mechanisms of white matter changes induced by meditation

 

     Sounds promising. Previous research indicating jumping up and down was the way to reactivate a shrinking hippocampus. Now we can achieve the same, if not better, improvement in a prone position.

     Things are looking up. My Christmas cactus is in full bloom and being an optimist, I believe it to be a sign that 2016 will not be as crappy.

. . . . just saying

     These articles  discuss the benefits of practicing meditation and mindfulness. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mindfulness-research-2015_567865b6e4b06fa6887e3f1d

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/19/meditation-apps-inner-peace_n_2900544.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2015/12/12/how-to-meditate-in-five-m_n_8779824.html

Global Positioning System and the Hippocampus.

 

2014 Weight Loss Resolution

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A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”   Lao-tse  

   Here we go again; the number one New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, unfortunately only eight percent of those making the intention succeed. That means ninety-two percent or almost everyone fails, and I am one of them. It was my resolution last year, the year before and the year before that; to lose the five pounds gained in retirement. Granted it is not the freshmen fifteen but I am not eighteen either. Mr. Wonderful, my husband of 42 years, says, “You’re not really overweight.” My response, “Yea and that’s the way I want to keep it.” Besides not really overweight is equal to, not really smart or its counter not really stupid. His comment does not make me feel better. My pants are tight, and please do not suggest I wear pants with an elastic waist. I am philosophically opposed to the fashion concept.

You may think losing five pounds for someone my size is easy, but it is not. In order to lose one pound a week I need to cut my caloric intake by 500 calories a day or eat 25% to 30% less than I now consume. What typically happens is that I am “Good” on weekdays and take off the pound, but it comes back over the weekend. On Monday I face the same old challenge.

Consequently, to meet success in 2014, I have consulted a professional personal trainer, my brother, Victor. He reinvented himself in retirement and has his own business, VB Fitness(vicboylhart@gmail.com), with a catchy tag line; “Stay Fit With Vic.” The Silver Sneakers flock to him. Vic’s advice, “Sis, you can cut calories to lose weight OR increase activity and people who want to lose more have to do both.”

Vic explains, “walk one mile, lose one hundred calories. Take any amount of time to do that but the faster you walk the less time you need to burn calories. That is why people run.” Vic can lose a pound in 6 point something minutes.

But Vic, “I do not run, my boobs shake, but I walk several times a week for about 30 minutes and exercise with Miranda Esmonde-White’s The Classical Stretch routine.”

Vic smiles and says, “That’s the problem you’re burning calories not fat. You have to sweat and exercise 40 minutes or longer, sweating clears the body of toxins. ”

But Vic, “I don’t like to sweat! How about I change my resolution to; I’m not going to gain five pounds.”

Mr. Smarty Pants response is to do jumping-jacks, he is right.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends:

  • Adults participate in at least 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity physical activity to prevent significant weight gain and reduce associated chronic disease risk factors. For most adults, this amount of physical activity is easily achieved in 30 minutes/day, five days a week.
  • Overweight and obese individuals will most likely experience greater weight reduction and prevent weight regain with 250+ minutes/week of moderate-intensity physical activity and reducing calories.
  • ACSM also recommends strength training as part of this health and fitness regimen, to increase fat-free mass and further reduce health risks.

Consequently the way for me to lose weight is; give up wine, give up cookies, and jump around until I sweat. I love my cookies with coffee as an afternoon snack and seriously, sweating is highly over rated.

   Place your bets!

. . . . just saying

 

 

Soap That Grows On Trees

Aging & Attitude

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    Have you heard of soap nuts? I had not until Sarah Meyer drew my attention at the Farmer’s Market. Sarah, a licensed Massage Therapist, is giving back to the environment by promoting the cleaning product, and quite a salesperson.

Her tag line, the soap that grows on trees, grabs you.

It conjured up a strong visual image of Floridians shaking their native Sapindus Marginatus tree before doing laundry. Needless to say, I bought a package of soap nuts for $7.25 that Sarah placed in a brown environmentally friendly bag, and included a sheet of  “recipes for cleaning…your laundry, face, car, hair, baby, dog or cat…if you dare”.

I left excited to brew my batch of liquid concentrate.

Soap nuts are actually not nuts. They are berries that contain saponin, a natural soap that is hypoallergenic and eco-friendly. The trees grow right here in the USA in the states of Florida and South Carolina and in India and Nepal.

Sara recommends using three tablespoons of soap tree concentrate per wash load.  The three bags of soap nuts will produce enough liquid concentrate for forty-five washes at a coast of fifteen cents a load.

I Googled soap nuts looking for more information and found Greener Living, a company that pitched their product on the Canadian television show Dragon’s Den and consequently picked by Brett Wilson.

Greener Living sells a 32 oz liquid detergent for $16.99 that washes sixty-four loads, a mere twenty-six cents a load. Add the shipping, $7.49, and the cost rises to forty cents per load. There were some special offers and orders $99.00 or more, ship free.

Sara’s soap nuts are cheaper but the boiled liquid should be refrigerated and used in ten days. Liquid can be frozen and I thought about buying an ice cube tray, guessing one or two cubes equal to three tablespoons.

I did a large white wash using three tablespoons of my new brew, and pleasantly surprised at the cleanliness and fresh scent. The nuts and liquid do have a slight cider vinegar smell.

Thank you Sarah Meyer!

                                                                                 ….just saying

To order call Sarah 352-422-3901             

Her email: yourhealingjourney@tampabay.rr.com

Repost “Over Active What?”

(Mr. Wonderful is recovering from surgery, and needs my special attention, consequently a  repost that many of you may have missed and others will still enjoy.)

Aging & Attitude

Overactive bladder is a scary phrase for someone my age.  According to Dr. Paul Donohue, there are several ways to wet your pants.  His daily column in the local News Journal Newspaper answered a reader’s concerns and the good news; you can retrain your bladder, and or take medicine.

Leakage or stress incontinence is loss of urine when swinging a golf club, laughing, and sneezing. Laughter and golf may not go together. If you anticipate a good time golfing, tee up with pads, not knee, the other kind. Perhaps you have seen Whoopi Goldberg’s TV advertisements. Another option is to be a straight-faced golfer committed to not laughing.

Urge incontinence is the other overactive bladder condition. Early symptoms (in my non-medical opinion) are, fear that a bathroom is not readily available when needed, and using a bathroom when you do not have to, resulting in bladder shrinkage.

Dr. Donohue states that the medicines Vesicaare, Enablex, Detrol, Ditropan, and Sanctura help control the urge resulting from bladder contractions. He suggests retraining the bladder by delaying use of the bathroom for five minutes for a week and gradually increasing the time before “going” until you are “going” every two hours or more. This process may result in doing the pee-pee dance, but it does work.

He also recommends avoiding alcohol, carbonated beverages, milk, milk products, honey, sugar and artificial sweeteners during training periods. This man is no fun.

Dr. Donohue goes on to describe a more barbaric invasive procedure, called InterStim no one wants to talk about, although it does stimulate a nerve somewhere in the lower body.

Thank you Dr. Paul Donohue. It is comforting to know there are options. We can take medicine or give up my favorites, wine and ice cream, and stay home to retrain our bladder.

                                                                      ….just saying

New Year Resolutions In July

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Half Way There

Aging & Attitude

The Rise & Shine section of the News Journal, informs the reader of the date, the days left in the year and gives a quote.

Today is Tuesday, June 19 the 171st day of 2012 and there are 195 days left in the year.

The quote; “One has two duties – to be worried and not to be worried” by EM Foster a British author (1879-1970)

I worry. We are 171 days into the year and I am nowhere near accomplishing my New Year’s resolutions. Remember, the things we planned to change and have not.

I saw Bubbles at the gym recently. She is not thinner, neither am I.

I have lost and regained the same two pounds many times in the past six months and frequent the gym although, the measurements logged in my journal have not changed. The good news is I am not heavier nor wider.

No, there are not 171 entries in my writing journal even though it was a New Year’s resolution to write every day. There are fifty, well less than forty.

I am moving at a snail’s pace.

How are you doing with those New Year’s Resolutions?

I gave up weeding (number one on the list), but lack a sense of real accomplishment, because I sold the house to do it, literally.

I am eating healthier after attending a Vegan Festival and scared shitless about meat and milk. We eat soymilk, cheese, and margarine. Boca Burgers pass for a real burger. Tofurky has the taste of sausage but the consistency of a hardboiled egg white. The picture shows a recent birthday dinner, cheesy potatoes, kale, and blackened tuna with salsa, quite delicious. Mr. Wonderful raved about the cheesy potatoes made with butternut squash. VegRecipes.org.

It feels like I am taking three steps forward and two steps backwards every day.

However, I am not worried because there are 195 days remaining in 2012 to make those resolutions  happen.

We need a boost, like retail does with a Christmas in July sale.

Why not revisit New Year’s Eve Resolutions in July?

Rather than abandon goals or throw the baby out with the bath water, re-energize, re-organize and re-think strategies.

This is Leap year and there are 366 days in 2012. The 183nd day of the year, halfway to 2013 will be in 13 days or July 2 (for those of you not good in math, trust me).

Rethink failure, join me in celebrating July 2 as “Halfway to Resolution Day”. Forget about fireworks and a big celebration. Sit in a corner, ponder the consequences and let me know.                                                                                           

                                                       ….just saying

(Those exempt from resolution are eligible to comment)

Stick Out Your Tongue for Rainwater

English: drinking water

Image via Wikipedia

  Aging & Attitude

Remember sticking out your tongue to capture rainwater after a baloney sandwich, if a glass of Kool-Aid was not available. The strong visual enters my mind reading an article in our local paper, The News Journal, by Tom Knox. The headline, “Ormond Beach start-up hopes to tap bottled rainwater market,” hints of an entrepreneurial spirit enhanced by a Made in the USA theme and intrigues me.

Florida has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and needs to create jobs. Larry Curran, the retired accountant written about in the article, likely shares my view that retirement is highly overrated. Larry is 64 years old and opening a bottled-rainwater plant.

I keep reading.

Curran concerned about manufacturing plants polluting groundwater near his neighborhood, began using rainwater for swimming to showering and eventually drinking water. He shared 5-gallon buckets with his neighbors and developed a bottled rainwater business plan after researching collection on-line. His company, Choose Rain, sells a 16 oz bottled rainwater for $1.15 locally at Love Whole Foods, Peggy’s Whole Foods and Michael’s Health Food. Curran is in the process of moving into new headquarters and seeks additional funding, so consequently buys bottled rainwater for his label, Choose Rain, from Texas Rain.

I purchased several bottles at Love Whole Foods in Ormond Beach. The taste is different; subtle, sweet, almost tasteless, like water, before we started taking out and putting stuff in.

A message on the bottles reads, “When water evaporates, the tiny drops mingle in the clouds, like nature’s spa in the sky. There they soak up the sun’s purifying UV light, get zapped by the lightning’s ozone, and then all nice and clean head back to earth.  At our Welcome Station we catch the rain before it hits anything nasty on the ground.”  And continues to explain nature’s process is replicated here on earth before put it in a biodegradable bottle.

Larry can be contacted at Larry@chooserain.com.

Texas Rain has a plant in Smithville Texas.  “We believe it’s the largest fixed capture rainwater collection site in the world,” says David Schraub, Founder, President, CEO, and self identified “mad Scientist,” and environmentalist with additional ideas about solar energy. You can capture the true scope of the company in this video http://www.kxan.com/dpp/living_green/drink-rainwater-to-boost-solar-power . What they do is impressive.

However TankTown, the company that bottles Cloud Juice, in Dripping Springs, Texas, has been collecting rainwater longer, since 1994. You got to love the perspective; that all water is rainwater at some point, so why not capture it before it goes into the ground and is subject to pollutants.

Richard Heinichen, Founder, says, “There is nothing in rainwater. It is naturally soft and made safe for drinking easily and without chemicals.”

Who knew?

Heinichen claims a few firsts for the industry and that “water snobs say they taste a difference. You can order a case of Cloud Juice (16 oz. bottles) online for $11.50, about fifty cents a bottle.

Ordering rainwater is probably the way to go, the cost of a Tank Town home collection system for four people is between $10,000 and 15,000 dollars. You can purchase his book, “Rainwater Collection for the Mechanically Challenged for $15.00 and attempt the work yourself.  I like this man’s humor.

It is encouraging to learn we have water alternatives. Imagine if towns built rainwater plants powered by solar energy.

I am thinking differently about rainwater, how about you?

                                                                              . . . Just Saying

Anytime Fitness with Bubbles

Anytime Fitness with Bubbles 

Aging & Attitude

Bubbles was at the gym today decked out in a hot pink workout suit, purple Merrells, a bubblegum glitter headband, and acrylic nails. She wore a scooped neck designer tee-shirt over a sports bra. Sweat covered her forehead.  When she got off the treadmill, a bead of perspiration trickled down her face, dribbled over her wrinkled neck to nestle in some serious cleavage. The bra was working overtime to support the girls.

Bubbles got my attention with her giggles and girlfriends a few months ago. All four of them were working out in a fun way, encouraging each other and laughing at their lack of grace. They called her Bubbles, but she looked like a Mary Jane. Clearly, these senior ladies were the bikini clad in crowd from my past. I guess all had steadies and made the cheerleading squad in High School. I was the cheerleader advisor and my teenage nickname was ClaudieMay.

When Bubbles plopped on an abs machine I jumped on the chest press next store, hoping to hear her story and wondering, if I said, “Hi, I’m ClaudieMay.” Would she say, “I’m Bubbles.”

I can complete three repetitions of twelve, using twenty-five pounds, without grunting. My goal is to not wear a bra. I take that back, my goal is to be comfortable wearing, or not wearing one. Women understand. Either way is uncomfortable now, and I wonder constantly about a heart attack, the band feels so tight.

Back to Bubbles, it does not make me feel better that she is thirty to forty pounds overweight and has muffin-top. Probably, she does not see the extra pounds and wrinkles in her mirror.

I want her magic looking-glass attitude; giggle to your sides hurt and wet your pants experiences. I could be bubbly with practice.

The pounds I lose during the week come back on the weekend and consequently, Mondays, I have to start losing the same few again and my mirrors reflect deep lines and wrinkles, not funny. (I am considering abstaining from cookies and wine on the weekends, also.)

I pass Mall windows and remark, “That old person looks so familiar, I feel like I know her,” to discover it is me.

The mind does not consider age. Bubbles clearly thinks she is sixteen. I have no desire to be sixteen and cheerleader advisor again. Hopefully, Bubbles is wise enough to know not to do splits.

Water Bagging

Aging & Attitude

 What is Water Bagging? Water Bagging is a newly coined phrased (by me) referencing an experience that can occur in public bathrooms. Water Bagging has a snappy ring, sounds like water boarding minus genuine torture. The similarity, other than the obvious H2O, is the incident left me feeling victimized and asking, “What can be done legally?”

My mission was to exchange an ink cartridge that went dry printing a few Sud0ku grids.

The customer service person at the local super store said, “Wthout a receipt or the packaging, I can only give you ink.”

“That’s fine.” I said. Did she think I wanted money?

“Go get a new one; you don’t have to wait in line again when you come back.”

Great, I hike to technology, grab a new HP cartridge and a second one, just in case, and skip line.  She checks me out with a reminder to save the receipt and off I go. Life is good.

I  see a restroom, do not ‘really’ have to go, but slip inside. All the stalls are in use. The handicap stall frees-up first and since not previously used by a handicap person and no handicap people are in line, I hurry in.

Thanks to an ABC story, “Your Purse Could be Making You Sick” about pseudomonia, straphylococcus aurews, EColi and salmonella invading our homes due to women putting handbags on the floor, I look to hang my bag on the back of the door. The hook is missing. My handbag is small with two handles and closes with a snap, but not snapped. I dump my bag on the edge of the sink and start to undo my slacks.  The bag slumps into the sink, no big deal, until with my pants down and a plastic grocery bag on my wrist notice that like Niagara Falls, water is pouring into my handbag. Tripping, I grab the handbag out of the sink and begin tossing the contents into the plastic bag strangling my wrist. Once the handbag is empty, I pour mega amounts of water out, puddle walk to the toilet, sit with the bags on my lap, and pee, studying my wet stuff.

The ink from the receipt is bleeding and threatens to blotch up several items.

The automated paper towel dispenser is just beyond my reach, wiggling closer (my pants are still down) I manage to activate the release of brown paper by flapping my arms. I wipe things dry while standing.  A couple of deep knee bends later my pants are secured and nothing has touched the floor.

Leaving, I stop to use a noisy hand dryer hoping to preserve the needed HP ink cartridge receipt, conflicted about searching my handbag for ear plugs to prevent loss of hearing from these mother of devices.

Does Water Bagging happen to anyone else? What are the numbers?

Legislation may be need, definitely a grass roots movement, Women United Against Automatic Flush Toilets, Soap and Paper Towel on Demand Dispensers, and Hot & Cold Water Request Valves That Only Work When You Do Not Want Them To.

We could start a protest similar to Occupy Wall Street, but still pay taxes, babysit grandchildren and sleep in beds.                                                                                                             

                                                                                           ….Just Saying.

“Overactive What?”

 Aging & Attitude

Overactive bladder is a scary phrase for someone my age.  According to Dr. Paul Donohue, there are several ways to wet your pants.  His daily column in the local News Journal Newspaper answered a reader’s concerns and the good news; you can retrain your bladder, and or take medicine.

Leakage or stress incontinence is the loss of urine that comes when swinging a golf club, laughing, and sneezing. Laughter and golf may not go well together. If you anticipate a good time golfing, tee up with pads, not knee, the other kind. Perhaps you have seen Whoopi Goldberg’s TV advertisements. Another option is to be a straight-faced golfer committed to not laughing.

Urge incontinence is the other overactive bladder condition. Early symptoms (in my non-medical opinion) are, fear that a bathroom is not readily available when needed, and using a bathroom when you do not really have to go resulting in bladder shrinkage.

Dr. Donohue states that the medicines Vesicaare, Enablex, Detrol, Ditropan, and Sanctura help control the urge resulting from bladder contractions. He suggests retraining the bladder by delaying going to the bathroom for five minutes for a full week and gradually increasing the time before “going” until you are “going” every two hours or more. This process may result in doing the pee-pee dance, but it does work.

He also recommends avoiding alcohol, carbonated beverages, milk, milk products, honey, sugar and artificial sweeteners during training periods. This man is no fun.

Dr. Donohue goes on to describe a more barbaric invasive procedure, called InterStim no one wants to talk about, although it does stimulate a nerve somewhere in the lower body.

Thank you Dr. Paul Donohue. It is comforting to know there are options. We can take medicine or give up wine, ice cream and going out to retrain our bladder. . . .just saying.