Fathers Remembrance

My father died over a decade ago.  He held his secret for six decades.    

September 15, 1950

 

 

My father was a World War II veteran – he was stationed in the Philippines when I was born.  He enlisted in his 30’s without telling my Mother. My Dad didn’t have to serve – he was exempt.  It was an honor to serve your country, a patriotic duty. I was conceived on a furlough.

My father came home from the war changed.  To the day she died Mother never understand why he was withdrawn, uncommunicative, carrying resentments he seemed incapable of letting go.  The spontaneous, communicative man she had been married to for over 10 years was missing.

The father I knew didn’t talk,  he did things – built rooms, repaired cars, fixed leaks, upholstered furniture. He was incredibly handy, always busy doing, never talking. The father I knew was taciturn and downright anti-social at times.

When Mom died Dad grieved deeply.  And a man I had never met emerged:  Bursting easily into tears;  making friends with supermarket clerks who knew him by name; talking to babies in strollers;  smiling and giving hugs. He talked to me, to strangers, to anyone who had a friendly listening ear. It was as if Mom’s death had liberated him.

He talked non-stop mostly about fond memories of his youth and early days of dating and marrying Mom, about his more humorous war experiences while I drove him to doctors appointments.  His anger at General McArthur, decades later, still smoldering.  His amusement stealing sirloin steaks from McArthur’s mess-camp, still delighting.

After hearing the same stories over and over I began to tune them out until one day driving to yet another doctor’s appointment he shared what still haunts me.

“I never told your Mother this . . . “, A tone in his voice I had never heard before startled me. “I didn’t want her to know,” he blurted out, “I killed a man  . . .  he came at me with a bayonet . . . I see his eyes . . .  maybe he had a family . . .” Choking back sobs, Dad stopped talking.

A month later my father was hospitalized. I sat with him as he lay in panic, flashbacks from the war consuming him in terror, convinced the male nurses were there to kill him with guns and weapons only he saw.  He was put in restraints because he became combative, fighting for his life in a war only he remembered.

Wars rip through this planet, leaving a trail of visible destruction. What isn’t visible is the destruction that rips its way through our psyches and souls.

To read my post about my Dad, my VW & me and an explanation of the significance of the poppy for veterans click here 

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below”.

“We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw”

“The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields”.

“In Flanders Fields” written in 1915 by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian forces 

You be the judge

Typically Peggy and I would post this on CATNIPblog since it is health related but I think it important enough to share it with you.

I personally knew two men in their 40’s and a close friend in her 50’s (all spent the good part of every day with cell phones to their ears on personal and professional calls) who developed malignant gioblastoma brain tumors just behind their “phone-ear”.  Each died within 1 – 2 years of diagnosis.  Coincidence?  Pre-disposition?  I don’t know but it changed my behaviour and I only use the cell on “speaker” mode.  

When I read this release it got my attention.

Always having to look over my shoulder for people in white lab coats.

Cross talk: Federal agencies clash on cellphone cancer risk*

By LAURAN NEERGAARD AND SETH BORENSTEIN, ASSOCIATED PRESS

“Two U.S. government agencies are giving conflicting interpretations of a safety study on cellphone radiation: One says it causes cancer in rats. The other says there’s no reason for people to worry.”

“No new research was issued Thursday. Instead, the National Toxicology Program dialed up its concerns about a link to heart and brain cancer from a study of male rats that was made public last winter.”

THE ORIGINAL STUDY

“In a $30 million study, scientists put rats and mice into special chambers and bombarded them with radiofrequency waves, like those emitted by older 2G and 3G phones, for nine hours a day for up to two years, most of their natural lives.”

“The levels the rodents experienced were far higher than people are typically exposed to.”

THE FINDINGS

“Last February, the National Toxicology Program said there was a small increase in an unusual type of heart tumor in male rats, but not in mice or female rats. The agency concluded there was “some evidence” of a link. Also, the February report cited “equivocal evidence” of brain tumors in the male rats.”

“Thursday, the agency upgraded its description of those findings. The heart tumor increase marked “clear evidence” of cancer in male rats, it announced. There is “some evidence” of brain cancer.”

“The change came after the agency asked outside experts to analyze the findings.”

“We believe that the link between radio frequency radiation and tumors in male rats is real, and the external experts agreed,” said John Bucher, the toxicology agency’s senior scientist.”

“While his agency said the risks to rats don’t directly apply to people, the study raises safety questions.”

THE DISAGREEMENT

“The FDA immediately disagreed, firing off a press release assuring Americans that “decades of research and hundreds of studies” has made the health agency confident that the current safety limits for cellphone radiation protect the public health.”

“Plus, FDA pointed out confusing findings from the rodent study — such as that the radiated rats lived longer than comparison rats that weren’t exposed to the rays. The toxicology agency said it appeared that the radio-frequency energy helped older rats’ kidneys.”

“There’s a reason two different government agencies are clashing — they’re asking different questions, said George Washington University public health professor George Gray.”

“A former science chief for the Environmental Protection Agency, Gray said the toxicology program examined how cellphone radiation affected animals. By looking at what it means for humans, the FDA “brings in more sources of information and data than just these recent tests in rats and mice,” he said in an email.”

You be the judge.

*https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/cross-talk-federal-agencies-clash-cellphone-cancer-risk-58909891

Sneak Peak – Lumps and Bump Shadows

The geeeeeeeorgeous model we had last life drawing class came back AND her body still did not have the lumps and bumps to match the drawings. So I focused on shadows.  

These are all 5 minute charcoal sketches.

Unfinished but good enough . . charcoal

 

Back in the art saddle again . . . bare-back

Haven’t drawn for months as I stopped going to art class when I fractured my ankle (couldn’t drive).  The fall semester of classes just started and I was curious to see if I’d lost all the progress I’d made.  

I was even more curious to see how my energy held up since the fractured triggered the worst of all my fibromyalgia symptoms.  My arms hurt during the 1 minute poses – probably because I was drawing furiously, holding tight to the charcoal, trying to stay in the saddle.  

During these 5 -10 minute poses I slowed myself down to a trot. 

Charcoal

Charcoal (The model isn’t as volumptuous as I drew her)

Charcoal (See? She’s quite svelte)

With this chronic condition I’m continually weighing the pain & pleasure ratio, trying to decide if the pleasure I get from activities is worth the ensuing pain.

Today, I’m sore and exhausted . . .

Mini Sunday Sermon, Part III, Stardusted

Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist, says it best . . .

“So you’re made of detritus [from exploded stars]. Get over it. Or better yet, celebrate it. After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?”

Not only are we synchronizing our heads and hearts, one with another, (Part II) we are interconnected with the Universe.  All is  from the same matter.

We are made of stardust. It’s like a line from a song, but there is some solid science behind this : Almost every element on earth, including you and me, was formed from the heart of a star.

Next time you’re out gazing at the stars, (all 5 stars we can actually see in a city) twinkling in the night sky, you are looking at the energy released by nuclear fusion reactions at their cores.

When a massive star explodes at the end of its life, the resulting high energy enables the creation of oxygen, carbon, iron, nickel, and all the other elements – the building blocks which make up the world around us and in us. 

The explosion disperses these elements across the universe, scattering the stardust through stellar winds which makes up planets including Earth, eventually some of it finds its way into our bodies.

There is so much we are not able to perceive through our senses:  The Earth’s electromagnetic fields that guide animals engaged in long-distance migrations, sea turtles and Monarch butterflies, birds, use Earth’s magnetic field as a navigational system; smells which compel my dog Freddie to lift his leg; dreams that portend the future. 

I admit I don’t understand science.

How do liver cells know how to make more liver cells and new heart cells know how to take up the beat?   We’re not fixed at all. We’re more like a pattern or a process, a transient body, cells continually dying and rebuilding all the time, and a continual flow of energy and matter being created . . . without my awareness . . .

Not only are our hearts synchronizing, our brain waves vibrating in unison but the very atoms of our cells are dying, being reborn and quivering in recognition we are all made of stardust.

Everything around us does this. Nature is not outside us. We are nature.

     *          *           *

To read Part I,  Interconnectedness of all Beings click HERE

 Part II, Head and Heart, click HERE

Part III – Stardusted, click HERE

 Part IV, Two Wings of a Bird, click HERE

 

Mini Sunday Sermon – Interconnectedness of all Beings, part I

I’m attending a sermon writing workshop led by Kent Doss, the reverend at Tapestry Unitarian Universalist Congregation – not because I plan to deliver sermons but because I’m fascinated how ministers, rabbi’s, priests and preachers write and deliver something inspiring enough to capture the imagination and stir humans to transformative right action. week after week after week which seems a daunting undertaking.  

Our first workshop assignment was to brainstorm topics.  Probably because I spent a large part of my life as a psychotherapist, steeped in life and death matters, I thought up dozens of topics.  Thinking is one thing, writing another . . .  and sermonizing? . .  .

My topic choice was “selected” by two of the participants (who shall remain nameless in case my topic is a bust) as the one that interested them most.  Not sure about the title yet but the theme is the interconnectedness of all beings.  

Here’s the first 5 minutes:

2027-60-640x640

“This limitless universe is like the human body, all the members of which are connected and linked with one another with the greatest strength . . . “   –(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, pp. 245–246)

Sounds lofty but I’ve believed that since childhood.  Don’t know where my belief came from – it wasn’t from any religious leader because I didn’t have any.  Even as a child I had the notion – I hesitate to call it a knowing – that we are all connected. . . that we live a domino life where when one falls we all fall, where one succeeds we all succeed.

My belief probably originated in my own magical thinking.

I was in grade school during the height of the threat of nuclear destruction, the cold war between the United States and Russia. In 1950 the U.S. began the construction of the hydrogen bomb. Nuclear destruction wasn’t an abstract idea in my 6-year-old mind because I had seen newsreels at the movie theatre – (the days of black and white newsreels, two cartoons and a double feature for 50 cents)newsreels with pictures of hydrogen bomb tests and people digging bomb shelters.

During the school day I believed the drop-and-cover drills we regularly practiced would protect me . (How adults thought that going into a school cloak-room because there were no windows and covering our heads with our arms would protect us from nuclear attack boggles my mind today.)  

At night, in bed, in the dark I lay awake trying to decide where I could go in our tiny 2-bedroom house when we were bombed and I wasn’t at school.  There was no safe place, all the rooms had windows.  In our backyard there was an old, deep, dark cellar dung into the ground and covered by huge, heavy wooden doors.  Too heavy for me to open. The concrete steps were really steep and led into a pitch-black hole.  It smelled and I knew that there were spiders and maybe even snakes inside. The cellar was even more scary than the bomb.

The more I thought about being killed by a bomb, the more terrified I became.  

I knew nothing about prayer, not to mention God, but one night, having exhausted all the possibilities of safe places, I silently prayed.  Silently, so no one would hear me, I prayed for world peace.  The next night I prayed for world peace and my mother and father being safe.  Another night I added my younger brother.  I didn’t particularly care for him but I was as scared of my parents’ thinking I was a bad sister as I was of the bomb and the cellar.  Night after night I silently prayed, each night adding another relative.  Newly added was my fear it would be my fault if anyone was killed by the bomb because I didn’t pray for them.  It was my secret ritual and the only way I could stop thinking about that cellar.  One night I was over-whelmed with the responsibility of remembering to include everyone I knew . . .  . and I stopped praying . . . I stopped praying for almost sixty years.

    *       *       *

To read Part II, Head and Heart, click HERE

Read Part III – Stardusted, click HERE

Read Part IV, Two Wings of a Bird, click HERE

 

 

The 3 “R’s of Old Age-Raving, Ranting & Regretting

maybe-better-not-do-a-tantrum-on-the-floor-because-who-knows-if-I-ever-will-get-up-again (title – compliments of Sarah! http://secretartexpedition.wordpress.com)

I do not like being an old lady.  There’s not much I can do about it but I don’t like it.  I don’t like it!  I do NOT like it!  If there was someone watching right now I would lay down on the floor, pummel my legs up and down and scream out obscenities which I’m too embarrassed to write down proving I’m an old lady because I was taught that ladies, no matter their age, don’t swear.  Even now, when I can’t be sent to my room, I hesitate to say “hell” or “shit” much less utter worse.  The problem is I don’t even know what current swear words are.  (There’s even a bigger problem if I lay down on the floor.  With no one here to watch  I might not be able to get back up without help.)

The urban slang dictionary didn’t exist until I was well past middle age and I couldn’t even look up cuss words that were creative.  I’m now stuck with the “hells” and “I don’t give a damns” because that’s all I learned.

Let’s talk about wrinkles (it’s easier than the belly fat that has accumulated around my mid-section when even sucking in my stomach it still blubs around like Santa Claus’ bowl full of jelly.  So wrinkles it is.) 

Why would I want wrinkles? . . . to  prove I’m as wise as I have ostensibly become?  Phony baloney, I’v never seen a wrinkled owl.   Rather than look wise it’s easier to look down my elongating nose at people who have plastic surgery, botox or collagen treatments.  If I weren’t scared of pain and had the money I’d get rid of my wrinkles.  Instead, I’m doomed to cultivating a self-righteous attitude about my aging, sagging, bagging body and pretend to embrace how old I am.

I’ve tried political correctness – how wonderful it is to be wise, to have accumulated all this worldly experience and be on social security . . . I’ve tried to embrace aging, smile when people ask me what I do and act like it’s  wonderful to have no career, no purpose, no energy.  I’ve tried wrinkle creams that promise me youth.  I’ve tried laughing at the “old age” cartoons that appear in my in-box and sting in their truths.

Give me the money (and a bottle of numbing vodka – ladies don’t want alcohol breath) and I’ll be on the next surgeon’s schedule to tighten my jowls, pull up my eyelids and get rid of the bags under my eyes . . .  

I’ve even considered moving to another country where old age is supposedly venerated.   But I’m too tired to pack so I live in these here United States where I’m wise enough to know it’s the youth who say it like it is and have the energy to make this world a better place.

Old age – phooey. It’s highly over-rated . . . by the elderly.

A Cautionary Tale

Dance while you’re young

Pierce your tongue

Dye your hair green

Eat fat, not the lean

Don’t give a lick what makes you tick

Eat, drink and be merry

because if you tarry

you’ll soon be too old

all covered with mold

and have to scrap it off with a stick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frankly Freddie – Here a nip, there a nip, everywhere a nip nip

View image on Twitter

 “Not all cats are affected by catnip. According to Cat Behavior Associates, the “catnip response” is hereditary, and one-third of all cats lack the gene that enables them to feel the high. Even a cat who does have the gene won’t be affected by catnip until they’re at least six months old.”

Catnip definitely won’t get you humans high (don’t even think about it . . . ), and don’t give your kitty a catnip treat for working so hard at protecting you in the bathroom and bringing you presents of mice and birds (we canines would never bring you vermin).

Peggy & judy want to help you find your mellow but if it drives you wild with desire for more CATNIP I won’t be pleased.

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, B.E.

Blogger Extraordinaire

*CATNIPblog was inspired by and is dedicated to Peggy’s cat Maui who lived to prove the brain can be rewired and healing is possible.

Maui’s Healing Tale

Monday with Mae & Me

“When choosing between two evils,

I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.

Mae West

 

RATS! Hunger, Chronic pain & Me

Penn neuroscientists have found that animals’ brains can suppress feelings of chronic pain when they are hungry.

The study, which was published in the science journal Cell, found that temporarily shutting down chronic pain is part of animals’ survival behaviors when searching for food.

According to a press release, approximately 300 neurons are capable of shifting the brain’s focus to hunger, thus eclipsing the effect of chronic pain.

The researchers apparently didn’t set out expecting that hunger would influence pain sensation so significantly, but when they saw these behaviors unfold, it made sense to them. “If you’re an animal, it doesn’t matter if you have an injury, you need to be able to overcome that in order to go find the nutrients you need to survive.”

The Penn team also discovered that the neurotransmitter NPY is primarily responsible for selectively suppressing pain responses. This research could potentially be applied in humans to ameliorate chronic pain after injuries and serve as an alternative to opioid medications.

Naked Mole Rat sez:  “At your service. We rodents are here to help”.

 

National Day to Munch Away & Dad

My Dad lived by specific culinary principles:

  • Cake’s main purpose was to hold up the frosting. 
  • Pepsi was the beverage of choice because water was for bathing, not drinking.
  • The only edible food was brown and white (unless it contained copious amounts of sugar), green food should be reserved for insects or chimpanzees
  • Fruit was only safe to eat if it was in a pie. 

If he had known that June 17 was National Eat Your Vegetables Day he would have celebrated with a loaf of french bread & butter downed it with a Pepsi and a cinnamon roll for desert.

 On June 17 – National Eat Your Vitamins, Phytochemicals, Fiber, Potassium Day:

  1. Take a vegetable to lunch
  2. Vege-out
  3. Be corny
  4. Drink Doctor PEPPER
  5. Stalk celery

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, and National Eat Your Vegetables Day is one more opportunity to remind everyone to continue with this part of a healthy diet.

Each vegetable has its own nutritional content though generally, they contain a little protein or fat and varying proportions of :

  • Vitamin A, Vitamin K and Vitamin B6, provitamins, dietary minerals and carbohydrates.
  • Phytochemicals, some of which have antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anticarcinogenic properties.
  • Fiber which is important for gastrointestinal function.
  • Essential nutrients that are necessary for healthy hair and skin.
  • Potassium may help prevent the formation of kidney stones.

When eating a diet consisting of the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, it may help

  • Lower the risk of heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.  
  • Decrease bone loss and protect against some cancers

It is recommended by the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, to consume 3 to 5 servings of vegetables per day.  This recommendation may vary, however, depending on age and gender.  For most vegetables, one serving is equivalent of 1/2 to 1 cup and can be eaten either raw or cooked.

Lettuce All Munch Away!

Click here: FOOD IS MEDICINE 

to learn how my Dad “made” me eat junk food and some scientific research – how what we eat can make us happier and combat depression

Frankly Freddie, Flash Fiction

Since my human judy fractured her ankle all she does is sit around moaning and nothing I do can get her outside.  So I take my Peggy for walks every day where we are inspired by nature which in turn inspires my creative writing endeavors.

P.S. Some of this story is auto-biographical but names have been eliminated so I don’t get sued.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived a tree.(I frequently start my writing with “Once upon a time” as it lends a universal appeal to readers young and old.Its trunk was crooked and all its bark was peeling.  Big roots spread all around the tree, some deep in the earth and some growing above the ground.  The Tree lived in a park with other trees of its own kind on the far edge of town.  Every day many dogs of differing sizes and persuasions came to claim the tree as their territory.

One day, after years of being claimed,the tree yelled at a big black dog with pointy ears and a black nose sniffing around its roots, “I am NOT your territory!” The big black dog didn’t care what the tree thought, claimed it for its own and walked on looking for more territory.  

Within minutes a little white dog with floppy ears and a wet nose sniffed out where the big black dog had been. “I am a tree not a fire hydrant!,” the tree yelled at the little white dog  who ignored the tree, claimed it for its own and walked on looking for more territory.  

The tree, ever alert for impending indignities, spotted a medium-sized dog with shaggy brown hair and a pink nose approaching.   Finally, after many years of being claimed by many dogs, the tree figured out that actions speak louder than words.  So it picked up its roots and walked away.

The end of my tail

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDN Canine Dog Novelist

There’s a new post on Forest Bathing.  Please tell judy she won’t need to take off her clothes or use soap or water. She can wear her big boot that protects her ankle and I’ll help her meander.

If you want to know what I’m talking about click here: FOREST BATHING 

Update on my fractured ankle

 Week 7 – My nudge to budge :

  • Gained 6 pounds from sitting and knitting

  • My belly is swelling while I’m dwelling

  • There’s solace in chewing while I’m stewing

  • Now my left arm is sore. Could there be more?

Fractured Head to Toe

Food for the Heel

In Pain, Need Sympathy

Weird Wonderful World – lizards with toxic green blood

Make no bones about it

It’s not easy being green

you must have grit, a bit of wit

and know it’s just your gene

But 

if you are a Prasinohaema lizard

it’s quite natural, very easy 

to have green blood and gizzard 

and never, ever feel sleazy

“In the forests of New Guinea, lizards scurry around with green bones, green hearts, green tongues, and green blood. At least six species share this enigmatic trait, which didn’t originate from one bizarre mutation but evolved four different times, according to new research in Science Advances.”

“These lizards have green insides because their bile carries super high levels of a deadly compound called biliverdin, the product of old red blood cells. People make the same pigment—you can see it when you get a gnarly, green-tinged bruise —but our livers filter it from our blood. Trace amounts of biliverdin cause jaundice, a disease common in infants and adults with liver failure.”

The levels found in these lizards would kill us. But for these lizards, it sure is easy being green

Prasinohaema virens green blooded lizard

“It’s possible there is no adaptive value,” says biologist Christopher Austin at Louisiana State University, “but it’s hard to imagine.” Over the course of 27 years, Austin, one of the authors of the study, has traveled to New Guinea in search of the bright green creatures. He’s captured hundreds of lizards by clamoring up trees and grabbing the critters. In his fieldwork, he discovered two new species, but he’s sure there are more. “New Guinea is like this black hole for biological discovery,” Austin says. “There’s no field guide.”

“Some species of fish and frogs also have green blood, but none come close to the levels of biliverdin found in Prasinohaema lizards

Austin’s effort to understand the lizards’ evolutionary history might explain why the heck toxic green blood would evolve in the New Guinea lizards more than once. One theory is that biliverdin could help fight off blood parasites, like malaria or blood-born worms, says Susan Perkins, a parasitologist at the American Museum of Natural History, another of the study’s authors.”

https://www.popsci.com/green-blood-lizards

I feel a great sadness

eruption

destroying to build

losing our way to win

and dying so that others may live

In my hope

I feel a great sadness

   *     *    *

Bahá’ís are encouraged to see in the revolutionary changes taking place in every sphere of life the interaction of two fundamental processes. One is destructive in nature, while the other is integrative; both serve to carry humanity, each in its own way, along the path leading towards its full maturity. The operation of the former is everywhere apparent–in the vicissitudes that have afflicted time-honoured institutions, in the impotence of leaders at all levels to mend the fractures appearing in the structure of society, in the dismantling of social norms that have long-held in check unseemly passions, and in the despondency and indifference exhibited not only by individuals but also by entire societies that have lost any vital sense of purpose.

Though devastating in their effects, the forces of disintegration tend to sweep away barriers that block humanity’s progress, opening space for the process of integration to draw diverse groups together and disclosing new opportunities for cooperation and collaboration. Bahá’ís, of course, strive to align themselves, individually and collectively, with forces associated with the process of integration, which, they are confident, will continue to gain in strength, no matter how bleak the immediate horizons. Human affairs will be utterly reorganized, and an era of universal peace inaugurated.
(Universal House of Justice, To the Bahá’ís of Iran, 2 March 2013)

Whine On!

Twenty-eight days since fracturing my ankle (but who’s counting).  I was looking forward to my doctor’s appointment yesterday (“looking forward to a doctor’s appointment” – now, that’s a first for me) thinking I will finally give the orthopedic boot the boot and be frrrrrrreeeeeeee.  Not.  I forgot the ligament was going to take longer to heal than the bone.

  • The good news: The bone is healing, I don’t have to wear the boot to bed, the wrapping is off and can take a shower without my foot sticking out into the room.
  • The mediocre news:  I have to transition from the boot into an ankle brace sloooooooooowly . . .  for a month.
  • The bad news:  My ankle hurts if I walk and pain makes me crabby.

Elixir Fixer by Peggy

This would make a lesser person take to the bottle.  Which reminds me, today is National Wine Day. Read this fascinating post on the benefits of wine which include things I need RIGHT NOW:

  • Anti-aging  (who knew?)
  • Blood thinning (so it no longer boils)
  • Boosts immune system
  • Increases bone density
  • and . . .  6 more benefits (you’ll have to click on the link below to learn how all 10 benefits help you)

Click here: WINE ON!

 

Sneak Peek into my Sketchy Life

Hadn’t been to life drawing class in over a month and now with my “foot in a sling” there are no nudes – other than Freddie –  in my immediate future.  These are the last few quickies.

Here are 10-minute sketches that are “printable”.

The next is what a typical one-minute warm-up looks like.  

The aim is to get the “attitude” or the “gesture” as there’s no time for details.

Sitting Possibly Makes My Brain (Yours too) Thinner?

(BUT I’m relieved that the pea is getting younger as my body grows older!)

judy recuperating by Peggy

“A team of researchers from UCLA and the University of Adelaide studied 35 non-demented adults who were from 45 to 75 years old. They gave each study participant the International Physical Activity Questionnaire to determine how many hours on average they spent sitting and how much physical activity they got each day. Each study participant also underwent a high-resolution MRI scans of his or her brain.”

The researchers found that the more hours the subjects sat the thinner the medial temporal lobes of their brains tended to be. (Each hour of additional sitting correlated with a medial temporal lobe that’s 2% thinner.) This was regardless of how much physical activity they engaged in when not sitting. 

 Some of the possibilities of how sitting impacts your brain include:

  • Your blood may not be circulating as much throughout your body and therefore your brain. This could mean that your brain is not getting as much oxygen or the waste products in your brain aren’t being cleared out as effectively.
  • You don’t burn as many calories, which could lead to weight issues, which then alter a wide variety of mechanisms in your body.
  • Your body’s metabolic machinery and hormones may be impacted so that your brain is not getting as many nutrients or is being exposed to other conditions such as higher blood sugar.

More recuperation by Peggy

Correlations and associations do not mean cause-and-effect.

A study with only 35 people has many limitations and does not prove that sitting will make part of your brain thinner. “Maybe in this study, the people who were more likely to sit more each day also were more likely to be less active socially, have less stimulating jobs, or have other circumstances that could be affecting their brains. Alternatively, could thinning medial temporal lobes somehow be affecting their behaviors so that they sat more?  More studies are needed to figure out what is actually happening.”

*The medial temporal lobe is part of the brain responsible for forming longer term memories. It tends to thin as you age to begin with!

“Nonetheless, this study does add to the concern that “sitting is the new smoking”, which by the way nothing to do with “cigarette butts.” Other studies have associated regularly sitting for lengthy periods of time with increased risks of obesitydiabetesmuscle and back problemscancer, and other health problems.”

https://www.forbes./too-much-sitting-may-make-your-brain-thinner-study-suggests/

To learn how Googling can help your brain, read this:

 Google On! My brain grows younger while my body grows old.

the thinner the medial temporal lobes of their brains tended to be. Each hour of additional sitting correlated with a medial temporal lobe that’s 2% thinner.

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I’m Afraid Being Afraid Shrinks My Fluffy Brain & Creativity

 I don’t have a great memory. Never have.  The worst is retrieving numbers.  In the “olden days” when telephones were attached to land lines when you moved you got a new phone number. Every time I moved I immediately forgot my old number and it took months to learn the new one.  

That hasn’t changed.  What has changed is now not remembering why I just deliberately got up, walked into the bathroom and can’t remember why I’m there.

Now I’m learning that the brain centers largely responsible for remembering are connected to the creativity centers.

Fear and long-term stress

“We have a lot of knowledge about what happens when we are in a constant state of fight-or-flight. And those examples come from syndromes like PTSD, experiencing terrible situations for a long period of time. Here we come to a concept of brain plasticity, which basically means that what you’re experiencing can change your brain. It can make your brain grow so that it’s nice and fluffy and strong or it can shrink it down.”

“PTSD, high stress, can shrink the size of your temporal lobe and increase the size of the amygdala structure that is processing fear information. It also shrinks the size of a key brain area that I’ve studied for the last 25 years called the hippocampus, which is critical for long-term memory.”

“The hippocampus has been more recently implicated in creativity and imagination. Because what imagination is, is taking those things you have in your memory and putting them together in a new way. So just in the way that the hippocampus allows us to think about the past and memory, it also allows us to imagine the future. Long-term stress is literally killing the cells in your hippocampus that contribute to the deterioration of your memory. But it’s also zapping your creativity.”

I’ll put some art supplies in the bathroom so when I forget why I’m there I can sit down and do something creative.

Who knew I’d be a “national symbol”?

I’ve written many posts about my history of fibromyalgia, just not recently.  

My “foot episode” has caused a bit of a fiber flare-up, just in time for National Fibromyalgia/ME Chronic Fatigue day on May 12th.  

Here’s my story and I’m sticking to it:

In 1995 I contracted an invisible “illness”.  Out of nowhere I experienced excruciating burning pain in my hands, arms and legs followed  by years of gastrointestinal, cardiological, dermatological and emotional symptoms.  At the onset I was also in peri-menopause and experiencing mood swings, wildly, uncontrollably ric-o-shaying swings between happy to annoyed – which I’m minimizing for public consumption.

Back then fibromyalgia was not recognized by the medical community as a “real” ailment. Doctors considered it to be a syndrome: Unexplainable, unverifiable and psychosomatic. It was a Hysterical Middle Aged Woman’s Syndrome, as doctor after doctor told me. based on test, after expensive test coming back negative.  I was told nothing was wrong with me and to go home and “Get a life”.DSCN1413

Forever imprinted in my memory is an appointment with the chief of neurology at one of Los Angeles’ major medical schools (the doctor and medical center shall remain nameless because this is a true story)  He reviewed the test findings, looked at me knowingly – as if we shared a secret – and said, “You’re a psychotherapist. You know about psychological issues”.  He leaned forward, compassionately touching me on the knee and winked,  “Go home, live a good life and take up a hobby like kick-boxing.”  The only reason I winked back was to blink away the tears that were threatening to disrupt the façade that I wasn’t a hysterical middle-aged woman.

DSCN1414

I searched for anyone – gynecologists, gastroenterologists, cardiologists, neurologists, rheumatologists, environmental specialists, acupuncturists, immunologists, chiropractors – to name to what I had, to give what was invisible to everyone but myself a label other than HYPOCHONDRIAC.  I looked fine, acted fine, and thousands of dollars of medical tests came back negative.  All I took away from the 100’s of doctor’s visits was a stack of psychiatrist’s cards doctors handed to me on the way out of their office.

After years of  pain, escalating exhaustion, depression, countless doctors and tests I did qualify, on all counts, as a hysterical middle-aged woman .

Well over a decade later fibromyalgia was recognized by the medical community as “real”.  Current research indicates it might be a neuro-inflammatory/auto-immune disease impacting the  central nervous system.  No one knows for certain and there is no current cure.  

I’m no longer middle-aged or hysterical.  

But the doctors were right – it is, all in my head.

 Check out Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters –“You look great!” – and other things you should never say to heart patients and lots of other great posts about invisible illness.

  • Why, when you tell someone who is ill that they look good, they’re offended?
  • Practical ways you can encourage someone who is ill.

May 12th has been designated as International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND). The CIND illnesses include Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia (FM), Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).

May 12th was chosen as it is the birthday of Florence Nightingale. She was believed to have suffered from ME/CFS.

This is National Invisible Illness Awareness Week

P.S.  There are hundreds of millions of people with “Invisible Illness” in this world.  Click above to  read more information.  

Yum Yum – Why you may have been eating insects your whole life

The thought of eating bugs doesn’t appeal to me, particularly if I can identify them on my plate – pulverized, unidentifiable, mushed in my food, doesn’t bother me.  Now that I’ve read this article I stand somewhere in-between revulsion and delectable.

Tasty by judy

One of the most widely used red food colorings – carmine – is made from crushed up cochineal insects, native to Latin America where they live on cacti.  Farmed mainly in Peru, millions of the tiny insects are harvested every year to produce the coloring.

A staple of the global food industry, carmine is added to everything from yoghurt, ice cream, to fruit pie, soft drinks, cupcakes and donuts. (the delectable part)

It is also used extensively in the cosmetics industry and is found in many lipsticks. (makes me not want to lick my lips)

Cochineal on a cactusImage copyright MARK WILLIAMSON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY Cochineal insects, the white dots on this cactus, are found across Latin America

Here are the facts:

  • The bugs, which are about 5mm or 0.2 inches long, are brushed off the pads of prickly pear cacti.
  • It’s the wingless females that are harvested, rather than the flying males. (I’m bugged by this discrimination)
  • The insects are dried and then crushed to produce the red coloring
  • It takes up to 70,000 individual insects to produce just 500g of dye
  • The red color comes from carminic acid, which makes up almost a quarter of the bugs’ weight, and deters predation by other insects (and promotes predation by humans)

“I’d love a mouthful”

Look for the word “carmine” on a food product that contains it or “natural red four”, “crimson lake” or E120.

Carmine is a very stable and reliable natural food dye that can be used to create a wide range of colours – pinks, oranges, purples, as well as reds.

Supporters also point out that it is a natural product first discovered and used by the Maya and then the Aztecs more than five centuries ago. They claim that it is far healthier than artificial alternatives such as food coloring, rings made from coal or petroleum by-products. (double yum)

Click here to read the entire article: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-43786055

Fractured head to toe, day 10

Judy judy in a chair

TV blaring, messy hair

Foot throbbing, rumbled clothes 

bleary eyes, throbbing toes

Judy judy bored bored

slowly going out’a her gourd

Judy by judy

 

Celebrate!

It’s Cinco de Mayo time

Drink tequila and lime

Eat to the beat

Take a chance and dance

so the chips don’t go to your hips

Brain Dance – Bust a Move and a toe or two

Read:  Research findings suggest that combining physical, cognitive, and social engagement like dance can improve cognitive health.

See:  Twirl, Whirl & Swirl

Meet my Feet, Day 5

My journal pages are filled with scribbles, scrawls, doodles, smushes of paint and free writing as evidenced here:

Smushed paint, “found image”

Smushed paint, doodles with marker, free thought writing

This is what I wrote.  Looked at the picture I doodled and wrote spontaneously.

We create life trails and no not, not know

where they lead nor what we encounter on the way

as we make our way to an unknown end.

We leave a line for others to follow.  

The trail of our life

Clear paths or littered with debris.

Need to catch up? Here’s what happened to me:

In pain, Need Sympathy

Food for the HEEL

 

Meet My Foot Feat, day 4

It’s only DAY 3 of my “convalescence” and the thought of spending most of my time sitting with my foot up for 3 WEEKS is __________.  Fill in the blank and it’s probably close to the mark.

So far I’ve worked on CATNIPblog posts, worked on Peggy & my Happiness project, started reading a new book and watched far too much TV.  My “rear-end” is already beginning to hurt as much as my foot.

I have more time on my hands (and feet) than ever yet have less focus than ever.  Looking for something creative to add to my sit-down-activities I decided to finish pages (upon pages) I started years ago in my many journals.  

judy’s journal, collage, acrylic, marking pens

Today I picked a page that required no thought, just schmearing a bit of paint with my finger and doodling with marking pens.  I have no clue why I wrote the fishy-poem I remember from childhood on the page.

Fishy fishy in a brook

Papa catch ’em with a hook

Mama fry ’em in a pan

Baby eat ’em like a man

Need to catch up? Here’s what happened to me:

In pain, Need Sympathy

Food for the HEEL

 

 

 

 

Write On! How to Empty your brain to reduce stress

Non-stop writing, stream of consciousness, free writing . . . it doesn’t matter what you call it – it can change your brain, change your day, change your relationships, change your life.

I’m not being overly dramatic as there is a body of research which shows that simply putting pen to paper changes your brain.

Easy Peasy Writing How-to

Write on! by Peggy

Choose a focus – a situation, feeling, thought and create a “topic Sentence”  If you can’t think of a specific begin with “Right this moment I am thinking . . . ” or “I am feeling . . .” or ” “I can’t think of anything . . . “

It can be anything in the past, the present or the future.

  • Use a pen that writes smoothly and comfortable to your hand.  Don’t use a keyboard since the act of writing with your hand is important.  Your small muscle movement is expressive (much like artistic expression, your handwriting is unique to you.  It doesn’t matter if it’s legible or beautiful as the movement registers with your brain in ways that tapping out letters on a keyboard do not).
  • Set a timer for approximately 20 minutes.  It takes that long for your unconscious brain to push through your logical thinking processes.
  • Use a journal, a piece of paper, a brown bag – it doesn’t matter.
  • Start with your “topic sentence”, thought, feeling . . . just start. 
  • Write continuously for 20 minutes, never letting the pen stop.  If your mind goes blank simply makes loop-d-loops with the pen until you have words to put down. Write quickly, spontaneously, intuitively.  It doesn’t matter what you write just put down on paper where your mind takes you.
  • Do not be concerned about spelling, punctuation or grammar.
  • Do not be concerned if it doesn’t make sense.

Read  research How Writing About Past Failures May Help You Succeed In The Present,  click here

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Food for the HEEL

Went to the doctor and the doctor said:

“Your ankle bone’s fractured, wear a boot to bed.”

“The ligament is torn

but don’t be forlorn,

 there’s great news for 3 weeks –

no driving, no cleaning (even if it reeks).”So here I am with my foot propped high

It is what it is, no need to ask why.

Since there’s no one to cook me a good meal

I settle for ice cream ‘n cake that help heal

Read How I “landed” up here:

In Pain, need Sympathy

 

 

In pain, need sympathy

A stroll was my goal

Stepped in a hole

Spring, sprung, sprankle

twisted my ankle

It’s a painful thing

Put my foot in a sling

Can still squawk 

but it’s hard to walk

Read What the doctor said here

April 29th – Flashy Fun!!

In 1982 the Dance Committee of ITI founded International Dance Day to be celebrated every year on the 29th April, the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), creator of modern ballet. The intention of the International Dance Day Message is to celebrate dance, revel in the universality of this art form, cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers, and bring people together with a common language – dance. 

Take a look at another flash mob, click here:  DO RE MI

 

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Monkeying around

As YOU ALL know my favorite things to draw are nudes . . .

Swing from the trees

by your knees

On a whim

go out on a limb

Monkey see, monkey do

I dare you

How to get the most from your hot soak

Here is the follow-up to 

research on lowering blood pressure, helping dementia and brain trauma with hot baths

 “A hot bath is the original hydrotherapy — water treatment — and still the best. Immersion, buoyancy, heat, and vibration (if you’ve got jets) all have useful biological and sensory effects, many of which are useful to people with injuries, pain, anxiety, depression, and more”.

Bath Buddies

1. Don’t make it too hot. Hot baths are a soothing escape, but too much heat will stimulate the nervous system. While you may feel tired ,you are not as relaxed and  may not be able to sleep for a while.
2. Cool your head–or feet. Sticking your feet out of the bath lets off some excess heat, while keeping the benefits of a raised body temperature. You can also pour cool water on yourself . This will help you to feel better after the bath.
3. Do some self massage in the bath.  
4. Stretch in the bath. The warmth decreases muscle tone, flexibility is increased and the buoyancy makes me stretches easier. 
5. Drink water-you will sweat in a hot bath (which helps eliminate waste from the body). Drink before and after. Being dehydrated can make you grumpy.
6. Baths are a great treatment for muscle soreness. The heat gets in much deeper than using a heating pad/pack. They are especially good for low back pain. Most low back pain is muscular, especially “knots” in muscles, which a hot bath can ease.
7. Try deep breathing-it may increase your relaxation. Not slow breathing but deep and strong.

Source: https://www.painscience.com/articles/bathing.php

Click here for the research on lowering blood pressure, helping dementia and brain trauma with hot baths

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Spring has Sprung and so have I

Since retiring, my to-do list: clean out clothes closets, clean out the garage, the cupboards, replant the garden, paint the living room AND get rid of STUFF.  So far I’ve done very little un-stuffing. 

judy’s Cluttered Closet by Peggy

I just edited a research post on CATNIPblog and I’m relieved to know I can blame my brain which is scientifically on hiatus. 

Here’s a section I edited out on CATNIP trying to symplify the post.  Couldn’t bear to throw it away and lose it though . . .

“Why do we allow clutter to accumulate? . . .  it’s because we don’t want to make decisions about throwing things out. We think we might need that item someday. Blame the psychological effect called loss aversion. Humans are averse to losses. Our brain says, “If we get rid of it, then we’ve lost it.”’

“Can the process of removing physical clutter help us release negative emotional attachments in our lives? O’Reilly says there is a basic, intrinsic pleasure in increasing order.”

“O’Reilly has found that people will organize things as a way to relax and pass the time. An example he finds noteworthy is walking down the aisle of an airplane and observing people playing solitaire on their laptops.”

“They’re sorting fake, digital cards on a laptop,” he said. “Why? I can’t think of a more meaningless activity—sorting stacks of cards that aren’t even real cards. And yet we love to do it, because it’s satisfying to put things in their place.”

Read the full research, click here:

Daunted by “spring” cleaning? Blame your brain

 

 

 

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Sneak a Peek into my Sketchy Life – CheeriOs

Waste not want not.  More sketches on the inside cardboard of cereal boxes.

Model wore a mask and tulle ruff around his neck – it was as weird as it looks!

Charcoal, 15 minute sketch

Naked Mole Rat sez: “Eating all that cereal to save money on drawing paper . . . No wonder she can’t lose weight.”

Fuzzy Apples and a scam

Sharing a warning:  Clicking away yesterday my computer screen turned red, screeeeeeeching noises went off, a warning sign appeared that my computer had been “compromised” that instructed me to call a 1-877 number IMMEDIATELY so that Google Support could help restore my computer.  Nothing I tried would stop the screeching or change the screen.

The screeching continued for what seems like an hour but probably was 5 minutes.  Suspecting the worst, that my computer had been hijacked, I manually turned it off.  When I turn it on again it was back to normal.

 

A is for FUZZY Apple.  Doodle by Shari Bonin-Pratt

Peggy’s Apple Computer did the same thing a day later.  

I had been on Pinterest and Peggy was on Instagram.  The only thing we both had in common was clicking on links from those sites.  

Thank goodness neither of us bit and poisoned our Apples.

Why do dogs have floppy ears?

But what’s behind this mysterious change? What possibly could link tameness and ear cartilage? Skunk Bear’s latest episode shares one fascinating hypothesis that ties it all together, and explains shortened snouts and patchy coats along the way.

Why do pets and livestock tend to have “drooping ears?”

“Wolves, for example, have perky, upright ears. But the ears of many dogs are distinctly floppy. Darwin saw this odd trait in many domesticated species — “cats in China, horses in parts of Russia, sheep in Italy and elsewhere, the guinea-pig in Germany, goats and cattle in India, rabbits, pigs and dogs in all long-civilized countries.”

“The incapacity to erect the ears,” Darwin concluded, “is certainly in some manner the result of domestication.”

“A century later, an ambitious (and adorable) experiment in the Soviet Union proved him right. At the time, Vladimir Lenin’s pseudo-scientific dogma had no room for classical genetics. So Russian geneticist Dmitry Belyayev disguised his own research as the study of animal physiology. He retreated to Siberia and attempted to domesticate the silver fox.”

“Belyayev took 130 foxes from fur farms and started a breeding program. He only picked the tamest foxes — those that seemed less jumpy around humans, and less likely to bite — as parents. When their pups were grown, he’d pick the tamest ones to breed again.”

“In just a few dozen generations, Belyayev’s foxes were tame. And, lo and behold, their ears were distinctly floppier. Just as Darwin suspected, the change in behavior had caused an unexpected change in appearance.”

 

I lose 2 pounds every night . . . by breathing

My brother Rick and I have had a “weight-off” for two years.  We check in every week to report our weight lose (or gain).  Rick weighs himself once a week while I obsessively weigh before bed and when I wake up. Every morning I’m always 2 pounds lighter than the night before.  I’ve never known where my 2 pounds  goes  . . .  until now . . .

The enlightening facts about fat metabolism

” . . . fat is converted to carbon dioxide and water. You exhale the carbon dioxide and the water mixes into your circulation until it’s lost as urine or sweat.”

“If you lose 10 pounds of fat, precisely 8.4 pounds comes out through your lungs and the remaining 1.6 pounds turns into water. In other words, nearly all the weight we lose is exhaled.”

judy’s journal

“This surprises just about everyone, but actually, almost everything we eat comes back out via the lungs. Every carbohydrate you digest and nearly all the fats are converted to carbon dioxide and water. The same goes for alcohol.”

“Protein shares the same fate, except for the small part that turns into urea and other solids, which you excrete as urine.”
“The only thing in food that makes it to your colon undigested and intact is dietary fibre (think corn). Everything else you swallow is absorbed into your bloodstream and organs and, after that, it’s not going anywhere until you’ve vaporised it.”

“The good news is that you exhale 200 grams (7 ounces) of carbon dioxide while you’re fast asleep every night, so you’ve already breathed out a quarter of your daily target before you even step out of bed.”

Eat less, exhale more

“So if fat turns into carbon dioxide, could simply breathing more make you lose weight? Unfortunately not. Huffing and puffing more than you need to is called hyperventilation and will only make you dizzy, or possibly faint. The only way you can consciously increase the amount of carbon dioxide your body is producing is by moving your muscles.”

“But here’s some more good news. Simply standing up and getting dressed more than doubles your metabolic rate. In other words, if you simply tried on all your outfits for 24 hours, you’d exhale more than 1,200 grams (42 ounces) of carbon dioxide.”

“More realistically, going for a walk triples your metabolic rate, and so will cooking, vacuuming and sweeping.”

“Metabolising 100 ounces of fat consumes 290 ounces of oxygen and produces 280 ounces of carbon dioxide plus 110 ounces of water. The food you eat can’t change these figures.
Therefore, to lose 100 ounces of fat, you have to exhale 280 ounces of carbon dioxide on top of what you’ll produce by vaporising all your food, no matter what you eat.”

Changing clothes, cooking vacuuming and sweeping don’t really appeal to me.  I’m going to go to bed now, sleep for 16 hours, and lose 4 pounds.

Find Yourself in Hot Water

Rub a dub dub

Curious Critters in a tub

Blood pressure going down

Calories burning up

Meowie, Ant, Elf, Squeak & the pup

Hot tubing by Peggy

Full disclosure: this is a tease

Click here PLEASE

you’ll learn what’s in store

scientific evidence and more

(why hot baths are good for your health)

Easter Pome & “HEALTHY” Chocolate Brownie Recipe

This Easter be a vegetarian

It’s only utilitarian

don’t eat rats

or worms or bats

Celebrate the day

and eat hay

No chocolate covered ants

chow down on plants

No eggs fried

there’s a chick inside

Don’t EAT us few

and we won’t BUG you.

“Be kind to all people, love humanity, consider all mankind as your relations and servants of the most high God.”

Here’s our bribe

It’s hard to describe

Healthy Double Chocolate brownie recipe

Click here to imbibe

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Family comes in all forms

My brother and sister-in-law’s wonderful dogs have recently passed.  This is dedicated to Duffy & Ozzy and all the wonderful critters who bless us.

Ozzy & Duffy

Thanks LYN!!

“To blessed animals the utmost kindness must be shown, the more the better. Tenderness and loving-kindness are basic principles of God’s heavenly Kingdom. Ye should most carefully bear this matter in mind.”

Baha’i World Faith

Sneek a Peek at my sketchy life – Humbly Yours

In my teen years it was not “cool” to admit you did anything well, much less brag. You were suppose to be humble.  It seems times have not changed.  When I admire someone’s drawing in art class the usual response is to point out why it’s not very good and point out all the mistakes they made.  Is this humility?

We all are probably our own worst critics but I was wondering where the origins of this denying of our accomplishments comes from.   There are many students in class who have immigrated from other countries – Germany, China, Latvia, Vietnam, Korea – and at first I chalked it up to cultural norms.  However, the students native to the United States downplay or outright devalue their accomplishments too.

Is this false humility? Inability to celebrate our accomplishments?  Embarrassment?  

Charcoal, green pencil, water-color pencil – 15 – 20 minute sketches

Having posted my journey in life drawing classes  I can see where it’s not working and I can see my progress.  So I try to squelch my own inclination to negate a compliment and just say thank you.

Do you have trouble receiving a compliment?  . . . and why?

 

Incredible – WATCH

I have no words – which happens, as you know, infrequently.  It is so worth taking 40 minutes of your time to watch, listen and admire this remarkable film,  remarkable woman and creative expression at its most powerful

WORTH WATCHING

Watch: Oscar Nominee ‘Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405’ Short Film

by 
February 5, 2018
Source: YouTube

Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 Short Film

“One of the categories that gets very little attention at the Academy Awards is Best Documentary Short, usually featuring an impressive selection of international short films that are not always easy to watch. One of the films nominated as a Best Documentary Short from 2017 is one called Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405, directed by Frank Stiefel. If you live in Los Angeles, you know the 405 is one of the worst highways to drive and almost always has traffic. The film examines the life of LA-based artist Mindy Alper, who has struggled her entire life with mental disorders and depression, even though she produces remarkably deep, honest work. This short runs 40 minutes, but it’s worth a watch to get an inspiring look inside the mind of a tortured artist. You can find out more about Alper on the film’s official site after you’ve watched this. Enjoy.”

Thanks you Becky Grant for sending this to me.

Becky Grant
Re/Max Property Connection
BRE# 01880297

Anniversary Winners – Gratitude and our health, Parenthetically Speaking)

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve immune function and
  • Facilitate more efficient sleep.

Meowie

Our brain is like a muscle – (it’s NOT a muscle, it’s LIKE a muscle).  The more we practice thinking about being grateful the more grateful we’ll become.

We are grateful to all the Curious & Catnip blog followers.  To prove how grateful, click here to see if you are a winner of our First Year Anniversary Drawing:

CATNIPblog

For those of you who aren’t CATNIP subscribers (and think we’ve been loafing) here’s a retrospective of a few favorite posts:

Healing-a-broken-heart-part-i-healthy-grieving/

How-to-flip-the-switch-shame-guilt-and-worry/

The-pit-in-your-stomach-is-actually-your-second-brain/

Seek-and-ye-shall-find-happiness – the-neuroscience/

Practical-tips-for-handling – conflict-part-ii/

Frankly-freddie-your-dog-can-help-you-get-a-better-nights-sleep-parenthetically-speaking/

The-power-of-touch/

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Seenagers R Us (Senior Teenagers)

Epiphany! My CATNIPblog co-creator, Peggy, and I are not elderly, we are not senior citizens, we are not wise-women, we are NOT, we are NOT, we are NOT.

We are Seenagers and  have everything we wanted as teenagers.  It just took us 60 years to get “there”.

Judy & Peggy (Peggy is actually taller than Judy but Judy wears high heels and has to stand up straighter so the birdie doesn’t fall off)

We don’t have to go to school or work.

We get an allowance every month.

We don’t have a curfew.

We have driver’s licenses and our own cars.

We have ID’s that gets us into bars and wine stores.  We like the wine store best.

We are not scared of getting pregnant.  We aren’t scared of anything because we’ve been blessed to live this long. Why be scared?

We don’t have acne.

Thanks Sharon M.!!!

Check out how Seenagers can improve their BRAINS https://wp.me/p18HbQ-2h4

Celebration, Confession and Happy Anniversary*

Noticed the new header?  The critters are creations from CATNIPblog and the magnificently, masterful, murky minds of Peggy & me.

Love group

Tweeter, Woofer, Meowie, Squeakie & Grunter the Worm

Prisoner of Love

Here’s whatsup:

After retiring I have more and more time but, as you’ve noticed, there have been fewer and fewer posts on CURIOUS.  I have a “tendency” to accomplish things when faced with deadlines and commitments.  My other “tendency” is procrastination when left to my own devises.

Peggy, my co-collaborator on CATNIPblog, has provided both – deadlines & commitment.  She sets up the posting schedule and my commitment to her provides the impetus.

Because Curious to the Max is my first love – been posting since 2009 – I’ve asked Peggy  to help me schedule more CURIOUS posts.  She agreed (without completely knowing what she was getting into) to help, although I have not relinquished editorial control.  CURIOUS to the Max will stay true to:  “Curious STUFF that makes me love, learn and laugh”

CATNIPblog will stay true to:

“Self-care tips, tools, techniques & neuroscience research for MIND, BODY & SOUL – shared with a wink and a smile”

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Meowie

*P.S. Peggy and I, grateful for all the support and positive responses we’ve received, are holding a one-year-anniversary drawing from the list of all CATNIP’s subscribers.  To get in on the drawing click here:

CATNIPblog.com

Sneak a Peek into my Sketchy Life – Venus

The first international Women’s day was celebrated in 1908.  A group of 15,000 women marched on New York streets, demanding their rights. Every year on 8th March the world joins in to support, raise, inspire and motivate women across all fields of work. The purpose of this day is to focus on themes such as innovation, portrayal of women in the media, or the importance of education and career opportunities. 

The official logo of International Women’s Day is the symbol of Venus.  

My “Venus”.

Charcoal, 20 minute sketch

Charcoal 10 minute sketch each figure

Here’s to the Venus in all of us

#MakeItHappen
#womensday
#IWD2015
#internationalwomensday
#PaintItPurple

Raisins vs. Grapes: Which is Healthier?

Our research post finding that eating grapes helps memory – Grape New for Memory Decline – was popular, as readers hoped the “liquid form” of grapes (they weren’t referring to grape juice) was as good as the whole fruit.  Jessica asked if raisins contained the same benefit as grapes.  We Goggled. . . and here’s what we found:

GrapeFull by Peggy

Grapes Versus Raisins

“When a fruit is dried, its components become concentrated.  Whether one is better than another it apparently depends on why you are eating grapes or raisins to begin with.”

Wine

“Most vitamin C in grapes and some heat-sensitive phytochemicals are destroyed in the drying process, but clearly plenty survive, as seen in antioxidant testing. Raisins generally contain little resveratrol, a much-studied antioxidant found in red grapes and wine, either because the raisins are made from green grapes (naturally low in resveratrol) or because the compound is destroyed during drying.”

Antioxidants

“Researchers have found that ounce for ounce as measured by standard test, raisins contain almost three times the amount of antioxidants as their original grape counterparts. Antioxidants are important in promoting and maintaining good health and optimal growth, and are essential in the treatment and prevention of certain chronic diseases, especially cancers.”

Sugar

“When dried, the antioxidants found within grapes becomes concentrated–but unfortunately, so does the amount of sugar. Many people suffering from diabetes or other conditions in which sugar consumption is an issue are already often cautioned against eating large amounts of fruits due to the high sugar content.”

Calories

“Along with the concentration of antioxidants and sugar that occurs when grapes are dried to form raisins, comes a concentration in calories. In general, raisins contain significantly more calories than grapes. In fat, a half cup of raisins contains approximately 250 calories, while the same serving of grapes contains only 30 calories.”

Raisin vs Raisin

“Golden raisins are particularly high in antioxidants because the sulfites used to preserve their color while drying prevent some of these compounds from oxidizing. People allergic to sulfites need to avoid most golden raisins.”

If you are simply looking for a great source of dietary antioxidants, raisins are the best way to go. However, if you are looking for a healthy snack that is low in calories and sugar and can help you stick to a weight loss program, stick with grapes.

Sources:

Fitday & Berkeley Wellness

Thanks Jessica from Mother is a Verb for the question about raisons!

Sneeeeeek Peek into my sketchy thinking

There were no art classes – because of the holiday – for over a week.  For some unexplained reason I began to wonder why I was taking drawing classes.  Previous to retirement the only “extra-curricular” activities I did had a purpose – professional enrichment, teaching others, meeting requirements etc.  I have no desire (we won’t talk about talent) to exhibit or sell nude drawings . . .  For some reason, simply seeking personal enjoyment seemed strange at best and hollow at worst.  

I’m still not sure why my disquiet and only share it wondering if you, too, have questioned just doing something simply for self-enjoyment?

  *      *      *

This model was known for his muscular, regal bearing.  He has lost weight and thee is a vulnerability that wasn’t apparent before.

20 Minute sketch, conte crayon

10 minute sketch, charcoal

20 minutes sketch, charcoal

Frankly Freddie – How Long was she Contagious?

Dear Human-beings and other fans,

My human is finally feeling more normal . . . as least for her as I’ve never been completely convinced she was “normal” to begin with.  The virus that took up residence in her body at end of December lasted for a month . . . and  then triggered  fibromyalgia symptoms.  

The good news was Canines don’t catch human virus.

The bad news was nothing I could do would persuade her to let me take her for walks.

For all my fans I found this very short video that explains some disconcerting flu facts . . . for humans

Skunk Bear YouTube

The CDC says she was contagious one day before she started feeling sick and up to seven days after. If you’re a kid, elderly, or have a weak immune system, you can be contagious for even longer.

She’s no kid but she is elderly and has a weak immune system so for all I know she’s still contagious.  When I take her on walks I’ll keep her on a short leash.

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDH&WC

Canine Dog Health & Wellness Consultant

P.S.  It’s National Love Your Pet Day!  Take a look at my post – click here: Frankly Freddie, National Love Your Pet Day

Frankly Freddie – Valentine’s Day Pome

Roses are red

Violets are blue

I’m not allowed chocolate

Valentine’s day . . .  pooh

The only good thing about Valentine’s day is the candy and I never get any.  I sit alone, no valentines, no candy, no romance.  The only thing I get is dog food.

If you are sitting home alone on Valentine’s day with dog food you are not alone.

___________________________________________________

Bark! Bark!

Want a deeeeelicious and easy Valentine treat (that I’m not allowed to eat cuz it’s chocolate)  click here for the Bark Bark recipe:

and find out how:

Sugar Increases the “happiness” neurotransmitter serotonin.

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Poet

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