Doing Nothing

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Searching For a Four-Leaf Clover

“Do you like doing nothing?” The question, posed by fellow blogger Kim is intriguing and 67 people commented.

Kim said, if you’d like to do more of nothing; start small, plan unstructured vacations, and choose soft fascination, aka go for a walk. She quotes three University of Michigan psychologists to support the point that nature heals.

Most comments favored doing nothing, I disagree.

Once I start doing nothing, I’m stuck and can’t return to doing something. However, my nothing was not their nothing and many comments addressed the definition of nothing.

The doing nothing discussion was really about the self-imposed lack of unstructured vacations or leisure time.

I can remember only one unstructured vacation for our family of ten.

What I do remember is being sent outside to play after breakfast with strict orders to be home for lunch. Playing cards under our Weeping Willow tree and walking to the pool by ourselves in the afternoon. If I really had nothing to do I’d search for a four-leaf clover.

 

. . . just saying

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Something to Think About

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Circle of Friends

Listening to Alan Alda’s podcast Clear and Vivid gives me something to think about. Recently he interviewed Robin Dunbar, who researched Monkey behavior and why Apes groom each other, constantly. You know what his talking about, the behavior of hunting through their mate’s skin and hair for what not. Bugs?

His investigation expanded to human behavior, termed; Dunbar’s Number and Circle of Friends, and concluded . . . relationships and their quality effect the longevity of life. This comes as no surprise to most of us, however, now data backs it up.

What is Dunbar’s Number?

The anthropologist theory is that the average number of relationships humans can maintain is one hundred and fifty. It is okay to scratch your head and ponder Facebook claims of thousands by some individuals.

His research supports the concept of circles of friends; the closest has just five people (loved ones), followed by a layer of 15 (good friends), next 50 (friends), followed by 150 (meaningful contacts). The outer two circles include 500 (acquaintances, aka people who smile when they see you) and 1500 (those you recognize, but can’t remember why).

Keep in mind, people migrate in and out of these layers and sometimes are referred to as flat leavers. No worries, that makes room for someone else in your circle of friends.

Clearly however, having friends increases the quality and length of one’s life. Especially as we age. It is important to have someone to respond when you’ve fallen and can’t get up, bring you chicken soup if you have the flu, and drive you to a doctor’s appointment.

But we often lose loved ones and, or don’t get along with relatives. So, how do we make friends?

Well, touch triggers endorphins and consequently bonding. Apes groom each other repetitively for closeness. They have smaller brains, fewer friends and grooming activities to attract them. Similarly, humans have behaviors that forge relationships; laughter, singing, dancing, drinking and eating. That’s why people dine, drink, dance and laugh the night away.These activities draw people together, and then something does or doesn’t happen.

Dunbar identified seven pillars of friendship or why friendship lasts. Understanding the Power of Our Most Important Relationships (London, UK: Little, Brown Book Group Dunbar, R (2021) goes into depth.

  • having the same language (or dialect)
  • growing up in the same location
  • having had the same educational and career experiences
  • having the same hobbies and interests
  • having the same worldview (moral, religious, and political views)
  • having the same sense of humor
  • having the same musical tastes

So, if one stops playing golf, or joins a nudist club one might pretend not to know them in the grocery store.

Unbeknownst to them, they have been relegated to an outer circle.

. . . just saying

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Wine Not and Cataract Surgery

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Wine Not and Cataract Surgery

Those of you who have had cataract surgery know what I’m talking about; the world is brighter. I see the walls in my house as cream, not mustard. And my hair, isn’t dingy grey. I’m hoping after the second eye is corrected, I’ll have fewer wrinkles.

Rumor was the regiment of daily drops three days before surgery and up to one month after was the most annoying part.

They were right.

Although, I had to strip naked and wear a surgical gown three times too large; told to use the restroom which was locked, and consequently, had to sneak into the hall with my butt exposed.

The surgery was everything promised. After the doctor marked my forehead to indicate the left eye was to be operated on, I didn’t feel a thing.

In recovery I overhead the nurse’s discharge instructions for the patient in the next bed; no driving, DO NOT bend at the waist, and no alcohol.

However, she did not include the no alcohol in her discharge spiel to me, nor mention the difficulty one might have walking. One eye is new and improved, but patched and vision in the other eye is cloudy and compromised. A glass of wine was in my future.

After dinner I poured myself a glass of wine and watched the level rise in the glass, carefully, not to over do it. There was no rise in the glass and I thought the glass could be cracked, only to realize I had been pouring the wine on the counter.

Fortunately, it was inexpensive wine.

Fortunately, the spill didn’t travel to the floor. I would have had to bend at the waist.

Note to self; in preparation for the second eye surgery, buy straws.

. . . just saying

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What Are You Reading?

Just Do Something

Famed naturalist Jane Goodall has dedicated her life to protecting wildlife and the environment, and at age 87, she continues to reach out to as many people as possible to advocate for a more sustainable future. She talked with correspondent Seth Doane about her new book, “The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times,” and about how everyone can contribute to reversing mankind’s destruction of our only home.

I am sure it is a great read for those inclined, however, her simple plea; JUST DO SOMETHING, has stayed in my mind. I thought my recycling helped but recent local reports suggest otherwise. China no longer wants our garbage and it is more than likely the recycling is floating on barges somewhere between here and there. There is talk that clothing donations are so abundant designer jeans are washing up on third world countries shores.

We need to rethink things. But Ms. Goodall’s request is simple. So, what can we do? These are my two favorites;

  1. Delete old emails. A server needs electoral power to save data, emails are data. Think of it as storing junk mail in a storage unit you pay for.
  • Don’t run the water in the sink, (especially when brushing your teeth) Clean water empties into dirty water and needs to be cleaned all over again with whatever chemicals your municipality uses.

                                                         . . . just saying

laurenstaton.com/what-really-happens-to-our-donated-clothes/

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Something More to Think About; Anger


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Are Americans Angrier?

Tony Dokoupil

     On CBS Morning, Tony Dokoupil’s lead question, “Are American’s angrier?” was in sync with conversations I’ve been having with family and friends. Almost all phone calls and table discussions end with rants about people’s misbehavior and world sanity.

     Well, there is a lot to be angry about.

     During my recent flight to Maine, a three- year -old strapped in a car seat, that, had been secured in the airplane window seat, attempted to remove his Covid mask and squirm out of his buckles.

     His mother whispered, “Don’t do that,” and pointed to the glaring red seat belt sign. Her other hand held his face mask in place.

     Once in flight, the struggle continued periodically until he was screaming his protest and when ignored, hit his mother. You can image my distress watching the insanity we now refer to as child safety.

     “I’m angry and I’m not going to take this anymore,” a famous line from “Network” came to mind. My husband and I had watched the movie on TCM the previous evening.

     It is a classic and still relevant today; especially when the terms: social media and fake news, are substituted.

     The film came out two years after television news reporter Christine Chubbuck committed suicide on-screen in Sarasota, Florida. The anchorwoman was suffering from depression and loneliness, often emotionally distant from her co-workers, and shot herself on camera as stunned viewers watched on July 15, 1974.

      This real life event was used in “Network,” in which the final scene shows the anchor killed, not by suicide but by staff because of low ratings. The scene might be responsible for the expression killer ratings.  

      Anyway, I paid close attention when Tony Dokoupil interviewed a parent about his recent outburst at a school board meeting and spoke with Dr. Ling, an expert in the field of anger.

      Tony’s view of anger as an unhealthy changed and they discussed the following.

  • Anger is a natural response that keeps us alive. Anger warns us of danger.
  • Anger and Violence don’t go hand and hand.
  • Anger can be appropriately channeled into good or change.
  • Passion can be perceived as anger.

       Many of us grew up with angry threats, i.e., “Do that again and I’ll kill you.” I believed my mother’s warning and did not do it again.

       What I did, instead, is tidy up closets and scrub bathroom floors.

 

 

. . . just saying

 

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Pinwheels

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Thirty days has September, April, June and November. All the rest have thirty-one, except for February.

Today is September 4, 2021 and there are 118 days left in the year. Our local newspaper prints this information daily.

Can you believe it? Thanksgiving is November 25th, or 83 days away and Christmas is 113 days from now.

Yikes! Where has the time gone? To quote the lyrics from a Floor Cry song, “My mind is spinning like it’s a colorful pinwheel.

What were today’s headlines?

Covid deaths outpace 2020, “Since Jan. 1st, Volusia County has reported 609 COVID-19 deaths, a 35% increase over the 449 coronavirus deaths reported in 2020. The county had a total of 1,058 deaths as of Wednesday.”

They continued to report, “This year we are seeing younger and otherwise healthy people to be among those who are losing their life to COVID-19.”

Other headlines, Biden tells La.: “We’re going to have your back’ and US set to admit over 50,000 Afghans

We can find housing and relief for immigrants . . . but going to help citizens?

My head is spinning like a colorful pinwheel.

* * * just saying

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What Have You Been Thinking?

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Baby Breath

I have not been thinking much. I could call it brain fog or fizz, however, I prefer pause. My brain is on pause. There is no debate on whether handshaking and hugging are things of the past or who will win the next presidential election. I avoid watching the news and skim the newspaper. What I do ponder is; who invented dental floss and when did fast-talking become acceptable? Hopefully, it is aging and not a yet to be identified dementia.

I searched online.  Evidently, ancient ruins reveal chewsticks and horsehair as floss has been used for a long time. In 1898 Johnson & Johnson patented dental floss.  I did not know that.

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Pickled Beet and Grapefruit Salad

I have to stop imagining a virtual Thanksgiving dinner, so when I sat down to eat lunch thought; are there many vitamins in the beets?  There are; manganese, iron, vitamin B9, vitamin C, potassium, and betanin.

According to Jim

Manganese

“Manganese is a vital nutrient found in veggies and fruits. Beets have a lot of manganese which directly promotes bone health. This mineral is essential in the development of bones. When combined with other nutrients, manganese helps in maintaining a healthy bone mineral density.”

Iron

“If you have always wondered does beetroot contains iron, you are not alone. I discovered a beetroot source of iron and found my replacement for the pan-fried liver. Iron is vital for your body to keep diseases like anemia at bay. Beets iron also helps with boosting the body’s immune system function. The iron content in beetroot juice also helps in boosting hemoglobin, reducing fatigue, and improve concentration. Iron improves your sleep pattern as well.”

Vitamin B9

Vitamin B9 or “Folate assists in the formation of red blood cells. It is also a core nutrient in the synthesis of DNA which determines our human attributes. Combined with vitamin C, vitamin B9 promotes gut health and helps the body absorb proteins better. If you are into fitness, red beet vitamins can help you bulk up faster.”

Vitamin C “is a common ingredient in our meals. It helps us fight the common cold by boosting our immune system. As a water-soluble vitamin, vitamin C lowers stroke by 42%. Vitamin C is rich in antioxidants which slow down the aging process. This vitamin also helps in reducing inflammation and staving off cardiovascular” disease.

Potassium

Potassium “is also one of the vitamins and minerals in beets. It reduces the risk of stroke and hypertension. Increased intake of potassium also promotes the excretion of excess sodium via the urine. Potassium is also good for heart health.”

Betanin

“Betanin is the food additive that gives beet its red hue. As one of the beet juice vitamins, Betanin has antioxidants effects on the body. It promotes skin health and reduces the rise of free radicals in the blood. Just like other beetroot vitamins, Betanin also helps in regulating blood pressure.”

I did not know any of that and now glad I eat beets.

My search for fast-talking revealed nothing about the practice. You know what I am talking about. People speed speaking. I can hear the sounds, however, can not process the content.

Hopefully, it is aging and not a yet to be identified dementia.

What have you been thinking?

                        . . . .Just saying

 

Happy As A Clam

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Happy as a Clam

It is 7:52 AM; I am in the kitchen having a first cup of coffee when a ding-dong alerts me a door has been opened.

In walks Mr. Wonderful, my husband of 47 years carrying an empty McDonald’s brown bag, showered, shaved, and dressed returning from lab work. I say, “Good Morning Husband” and stretch to kiss his cheek as he whizzes by dumping his cell phone and car keys on the counter exclaiming a need “to PEE.”

As the toilet flushes, he returns calmer to greet me, I ask, “How are you today?”

His reply, “Happy as a clam.”

I ponder how happy a clam might be and why . . . . then ask, “Happy as a clam because you remembered where you parked the car?”

“No,” he states emphatically and drains a dribble of coffee from an empty paper cup before tossing the used paper product in a recycling bin under the sink.

My curiosity is mounting, “Happy as a clam because you didn’t leave the engine running while you were inside Lab-Core?”

“No . . . . Happy as a clam because I didn’t have to wait.”

“Really, you had the first appointment, 6:30AM.”

“Right, but when I arrived at 6:20 the doors weren’t open, so I decided to hunt for that loose golf ball that rumbles around the car and drives you crazy.”

“You said you didn’t know what caused the sound, the car might need brakes.”

Ignoring my comment and concern, he exhales heavily, “My head was under the front seat searching, before I knew it, a van pulls up, and this aid is helping some grey hair pony tailed old goat into a wheel chair. Other people are getting out of parked cars and headed toward the door, you know tinted windows make it near impossible to see who is waiting in their cars, a line was about to form. ”

“What difference would it make if you had an appointment?”

“Claudia, be serious, if the old goat in the wheel chair is first in line they are going to take him! So I fast walked, got ahead of everyone, and when the doors opened said, Good Morning, I have the first appointment at 6:30. The nurse asked if I was fasting, I said yes, but first I had to PEE! That’s why I’m happy as a clam; I was out of there and having breakfast at McDonald’s, lickidy split”

My Mr. Wonderful is wearing a look of glee as I recap the situation, “So you are feeling happy as a clam because at the crack of dawn, you beat out an older than you senior in a wheel chair to have blood work.”

His good mood is alluringly infectious, but I question, “Can a clam be happy, really?”

Mr. Wonderful’s response . . . . “Sure at high tide, with their shell closed they’re smiling,” and proceeds to demonstrate his own delight with a tight lipped grin.

.  .  .  . just saying

Presents Vs Presence

 lg-metta-meditationAging & Attitude

   Recently a local newspaper article titled, “Presence of Mind” and subtitled “Meditation can help cope with stressful holiday season,” caught my attention. Struggling with holiday gift shopping, and guilty of not buying on Brown Thursday, Black Friday or Cyber Monday I started reading.

   The Zen Master immediately captured my heart defining the Metta method and saying; sitting on the floor is optional, and that a popular meditation spot is a bathroom stall. The Metta method teaches love and compassion for yourself first, and then sending the message out into the world. I have tried to meditate, and couldn’t stop the nagging intrusive thoughts from running around by head. Remember Julia Roberts in “Eat, Pray, Love,” well I read the book, and sitting for hours on a cold hard floor does not work for me. Occasionally I find a quiet place to sit and repeat, love, peace, joy endlessly, hoping a mantra will push out negative thoughts about the Valentine flowers I did not receive in 1982. It does not work.

A Buddhist concept, the Metta method was originally instituted to aid terminally ill people, and has gained a following in  other meditation circles because of the positive effects, simple techniques and easy transition.

Benefits

  • Minimize Stress
  • Improve healing
  • Learning about and training the mind

Two Simple Techniques

  • Grounding – Giving attention to the body’s current position
  • Orienting – Awareness of surroundings and knowing exits

Easy Transition

  • Mind is the sky
  • Thoughts are the  clouds

The article recognizes that when meditating, “you see things, the ideas that cause stress,” and thoughts about finding the perfect gift, and its credit card debt are counterproductive to the joy we hope to create. Recognizing what is on your mind is the first step to eliminating stress and being present for loved ones, enjoying the holidays. The point is well made that although Christmas is about presents, your presence may be a gift alternative.

So, thoughts about running over the driver who beat you to the last parking spot at the mall, can become clouds afloat in your mind. Ask yourself, “how important is this?” and you will gain new perspective and see your anger drift away.

Once rid of those dark clouds, put some happy thoughts in your sky by repeating;

May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease,

   Then send the message to others by replacing the I with you and say;

May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.

   Happy Holidays!

. . . . just saying

We’ve Fallen & We Can Get Up

   Mr. Wonderful, my husband of forty years, is wonderful, mostly.  He is my househusband, does most of the food shopping and cooking, and dusts if I ask ‘pretty please’. I’m loving it. He seems content, and has heightened status among women when they learn all he does. Although, the guys turn up the TV volume when he becomes the topic of conversation.

   I make a point of showing my appreciation. Today I sat on his lap, gave him a nice kiss. Enjoying the attention he playfully embraces me, arms behind my back. I slipped my arms under his shoulders and interconnected my fingers around his back nervous we might fall. Like Fabio on the cover of a romantic novel, he curves my back across his knee, and we topple.

“Are you okay?”

“I can’t tell. Are you okay?”

“You’re lying on my arm, I can’t move.”

“You’re lying on my chest; do you think I can move?”

 We’ve fallen and we can’t get up.

 “Claudia, you’re killing my arm, you have to move.”

 Granted his arm is underneath me, taking the bulk of the fall; his 200 lbs pressing my 135 lbs into the floor. But I am flattened like a pancake too and cannot move.

  So I quip, “Let me see if I can bench press your 200 lbs. with my nose.”

 “You’re killing my wrist, move!” He says, with a loud little boy in pain tone, to his voice.

  Wondering if I am able to take in air, I say, sweetly, “Don’t panic, yet. Where’s your other arm?”

  “What other arm?”

  “The other arm attached to your body. I’m lying on your right arm, where is your left?”

  He pauses at length to consider the possibility, and responds “You mean this one,” raising his left arm above his head.

  Relieved, I suggest he use it to lift himself, allowing me to push up so he can retrieve his right arm.

  He does. I move and guess what, we have fallen, but we can get up.

                                                                                                                                    …just saying