Just Say’n . . .

The early bird

“gets” the worm.

(LOVE_no_need_to_explain_poster available on Zazzle, click here)

Check out other Curious Critters and  inspirational sayings on Max Your Mind every Pausitively TUESDAY

A WARNING for You and HOPE for Me

I’ve written so many times about my Fibromyalgia (ME)/Chronic Fatigue symptoms that they bore even me. However . . .  COVID-19 symptoms and Fibro/Chronic Fatigue symptoms have an eerily similar overlap.  Some people who have had COVID-19 are experiencing a slow, protracted recovery with chronic, unremitting exhaustion, body aches,  mental fog, strange dermatological sensations or rashes, gastrointestinal issues,  irregular heartbeats, depression . .  

“COVID-19 may produce a lot of ME/CFS-like cases. Will we be able to use them to understand ME/CFS?
A lot of infections can trigger chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) but in some ways SARS-CoV-2 is different in ways that reminds one of ME/CFS.  For one, it’s causing weird symptoms (loss of smell and taste, buzzing, electric, vibrating sensations, red/purple faces, purple toes, pink eye, digestive issues, nausea, dizziness, cognitive issues) that aren’t usually associated with a virus.”
“The director of infection prevention and control at Mount Sinai Hospital attributed the weird fizzing-type sensations to the immune system acting up:

Immune Responses
“Our immune cells get activated so a lot of chemicals get released throughout our body and that can present or feel like there’s some fizzing. When our immune response is acting up, people can feel different sensations… I have heard of similar experiences in the past with other illnesses”.’

My own immune system is in chronic overdrive with chronically elevated. cytokine levels.   When I first read about the COVID-19 cytokine flooding that causes organ failure with viral infections I immediately went into isolation – weeks before anyone even suggested isolation. 

THE WARNING:

“It leaves something inside you – and you never go back the way you were before.”  Everyone reading this should be worried not just of catching/surviving this viral pandemic but what might happen to their life even if they catch it and survive. Because one of the known triggers for ME/CFS is a viral illness. A huge population of ME/CFS patients got the virus Mono and never fully recovered, instead they wound up with ME/CFS.”

Charcoal on paper by judy

“Paul Garner, an infectious disease professor, and Director of the Centre for Evidence Synthesis in Global Health, and Co-ordinating Editor of the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group, knows infections on both a personal and professional level . During his tropical infectious disease research, he came down with malaria and dengue fever, but nothing he’s encountered has compared to his bout with COVID-19.
In the British Medical Journal Garner, called post COVID-19 a: “a roller coaster of ill health, extreme emotions and utter exhaustion.”
Garner doesn’t appear to be describing post-COVID-19 illness so much as he’s describing a descent into ME/CFS. All the hallmarks are there – the post-exertional “malaise”, the delayed and mind-boggling symptom flares after little exertion, the inability to understand his limits, Garner talked about the “apparition”, a semblance of improved health that kept getting smashed as he innocently overreached.
“People who have a more protracted illness need help to understand and cope with the constantly shifting, bizarre symptoms and their unpredictable course.”

“Some of the longest-suffering Italians are finding themselves in physical and financial uncertainty, unable to shake sickness and fatigue and get back to work.”
“We have seen many cases in which people take a long, long time to recover. It’s not the sickness that lasts for 60 days, it is the convalescence. It’s a very long convalescence.” Alessandro Venturi, director of the San Matteo hospital, Pavia, Italy.”

“Another doctor noted that after all the different, initial symptoms were gone, it was the fatigue that remained. That rang bells. Early studies of the ME/CFS outbreaks came to the same conclusion: the early symptoms were often different but the fatiguing state that ultimately remained was quite consistent.”

 MY HOPE

“Because we generally, in the past, haven’t taken viruses seriously, we simply tell patients to ‘go home and rest up’. The significant fraction (which might be as high as 1-10%) of patients who do not recover normally after infection have often been marginalized and forgotten.”
This time there may simply be too many unrecovered patients for the NIH and other medical funders to ignore. 
“An unexpected element is a growing number of reports that even people with mild Covid-19 illness, who didn’t go to hospital, are experiencing long-lasting symptoms. Some people infected in February or March are still being ambushed by extreme fatigue, headaches, sudden breathlessness and problems concentrating or doing even light exercise.”
Many will probably recover, but if COVID-19 patients go the way of past Ross River virus, Coxsackie B, Giardia and SARS patients and others, a subset will remain quite ill.”

So, you ask, What’s HOPEFUL about THIS?


The Open Medicine Foundation Launches International ME/CFS COVID-19 Study
Research into Fibro (ME)/Chronic Fatigue has had few funds for  research even though there are estimated tens of millions of people in the world with that diagnosis.  
But now the entire world is focused on COVID-19. More research in a shorter period of time has been put to work on COVID-19 than ever before. With hundreds of thousands of people potentially coming down with post-infectious illnesses, there’s an opportunity to include fibro/chronic fatigue into the biggest, single medical research effort ever.”

The Open Medicine Foundation (OMF) will produce an international effort to understand how COVID-19 turns into ME/CFS. The OMF’s four-site COVID-19 study (Stanford, Harvard, Canada, Sweden) will collect body fluids, do continuous health monitoring using wearables, and collect symptom data over two years. Its genomic, metabolic, and proteomic analysis will attempt at the molecular roots of ME/CFS as it occurs.

“With the NIH otherwise occupied, Open Medicine Foundation’s COVID-19 research effort is our best chance at helping both people with ME/CFS and COVID-19 patients who are having trouble recovering. In fact, it’s the only effort going right now that seeks to directly understand and help the possibly many people, who, after surviving COVID-19, find their lives unalterably changed.”

Your Warning and My Hope:

Stay Vigiliant.  Be Safe.  Wear a Mask.  Social DIstance.  Stay Isolated if possible.  

Don’t think because you are healthy now there can not be long term consequences . . . and I’m speaking from experience.

judy

 

Click here For a list of other post COVID-19 efforts/studies that are underway and the full article

The Elephant in the Room – Going out’a your mind purposely

The Elephant says:

 When you’re going crazy

 breath deep and meditate

a pillow for your bum

and sit up very straight

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Why smart people believe coronavirus myths

(We are posting this article in its entirety, including pictures, because of it’s importance to the health and safety of everyone.)

By David Robson
6th April 2020

“From students to politicians, many smart people have fallen for dangerous lies spread about the new coronavirus. Why? And how can you protect yourself from misinformation?

It is a sad truth that any health crisis will spawn its own pandemic of misinformation.

In the 80s, 90s, and 2000s we saw the spread of dangerous lies about Aids – fromthe belief that the HIV virus was created by a government laboratory to the idea that the HIV tests were unreliable, and even the spectacularly unfounded theory that it could be treated with goat’s milk. These claims increased risky behaviour and exacerbated the crisis.

Now, we are seeing a fresh inundation of fake news – this time around the coronavirus pandemic. From Facebook to WhatsApp, frequently shared misinformation include everything from what caused the outbreak to how you can prevent becoming ill.

In past decades, dangerous lies spread about Aids which exacerbated the crisis (Credit: Getty Images)

We’ve debunked several claims here on BBC Future, including misinformation around how sunshine, warm weather and drinking water can affect the coronavirus. The BBC’s Reality Check team is also checking popular coronavirus claims, and the World Health Organization is keeping a myth-busting pageregularly updated too.

At worst, the ideas themselves are harmful – a recent report from one province in Iran found that more people had died from drinking industrial-strength alcohol, based on a false claim that it could protect you from Covid-19, than from the virus itself. But even seemingly innocuous ideas could lure you and others into a false sense of security, discouraging you from adhering to government guidelines, and eroding trust in health officials and organisations.

There’s evidence these ideas are sticking. One poll by YouGov and the Economist in March 2020 found 13% of Americans believed the Covid-19 crisis was a hoax,for example, while a whopping 49% believed the epidemic might be man-made. And while you might hope that greater brainpower or education would help us to tell fact from fiction, it is easy to find examples of many educated people falling for this false information.

Just consider the writer Kelly Brogan, a prominent Covid-19 conspiracy theorist; she has a degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and studied psychiatry at Cornell University. Yet she has shunned clear evidence of the virus’s danger in countries like China and Italy. She even went as far as to question the basic tenets of germ theory itself while endorsing pseudoscientific ideas.

Kelly Brogan received a medical degree from Cornell University, yet has questioned germ theory and the existence of Covid-19 (Credit: Getty Images)

Even some world leaders – who you would hope to have greater discernment when it comes to unfounded rumours – have been guilty of spreading inaccurate information about the risk of the outbreak and promoting unproven remedies that may do more harm than good, leading Twitter and Facebook to take the unprecedented step of removing their posts.  

Fortunately, psychologists are already studying this phenomenon. And what they find might suggest new ways to protect ourselves from lies and help stem the spread of this misinformation and foolish behaviour.

Information overload

Part of the problem arises from the nature of the messages themselves.

We are bombarded with information all day, every day, and we therefore often rely on our intuition to decide whether something is accurate. As BBC Future has described in the past, purveyors of fake news can make their message feel “truthy” through a few simple tricks, which discourages us from applying our critical thinking skills – such as checking the veracity of its source. As the authors of one paper put it: “When thoughts flow smoothly, people nod along.”

Eryn Newman at Australian National University, for instance, has shown that the simple presence of an image alongside a statement increases our trust in its accuracy – even if it is only tangentially related to the claim. A generic image of a virus accompanying some claim about a new treatment, say, may offer no proof of the statement itself, but it helps us visualise the general scenario. We take that “processing fluency” as a sign that the claim is true.

The mere presence of an image alongside a statement increases our trust in its accuracy (Credit: Getty Images)

For similar reasons, misinformation will include descriptive language or vivid personal stories. It will also feature just enough familiar facts or figures – such as mentioning the name of a recognised medical body – to make the lie within feel convincing, allowing it to tether itself to our previous knowledge.

The more often we see something in our news feed, the more likely we are to think that it’s true – even if we were originally sceptical

Even the simple repetition of a statement – whether the same text, or over multiple messages – can increase the “truthiness” by increasing feelings of familiarity, which we mistake for factual accuracy. So, the more often we see something in our news feed, the more likely we are to think that it’s true – even if we were originally sceptical.

Sharing before thinking

These tricks have long been known by propagandists and peddlers of misinformation, but today’s social media may exaggerate our gullible tendencies. Recent evidence shows that many people reflexively share content without even thinking about its accuracy.

In one study, only about 25% of participants said the fake news was true– but 35% said they would share the headline

Gordon Pennycook, a leading researcher into the psychology of misinformation at the University of Regina, Canada, asked participants to consider a mixture of true and false headlines about the coronavirus outbreak. When they were specifically asked to judge the accuracy of the statements, the participants said the fake news was true about 25% of time. When they were simply asked whether they wouldshare the headline, however, around 35% said they would pass on the fake news – 10% more.

“It suggests people were sharing material that they could have known was false, if they had thought about it more directly,” Pennycook says. (Like much of the cutting-edge research on Covid-19, this research has not yet been peer-reviewed, but a pre-print has been uploaded to the Psyarxiv website.)

Perhaps their brains were engaged in wondering whether a statement would get likes and retweets rather than considering its accuracy. “Social media doesn’t incentivise truth,” Pennycook says. “What it incentivises is engagement.”

Research suggests that some people share material they would know was false if they thought about it more directly (Credit: Getty Images)

Or perhaps they thought they could shift responsibility on to others to judge: many people have been sharing false information with a sort of disclaimer at the top, saying something like “I don’t know if this is true, but…”. They may think that if there’s any truth to the information, it could be helpful to friends and followers, and if it isn’t true, it’s harmless – so the impetus is to share it, not realising that sharing causes harm too.

Whether it’s promises of a homemade remedy or claims about some kind of dark government cover-up, the promise of eliciting a strong response in their followers distracts people from the obvious question.

This question should be, of course: is it true?

Override reactions

Classic psychological research shows that some people are naturally better at overriding their reflexive responses than others. This finding may help us understand why some people are more susceptible to fake news than others.

Researchers like Pennycook use a tool called the “cognitive reflection test” or CRT to measure this tendency. To understand how it works, consider the following question:

  • Emily’s father has three daughters. The first two are named April and May. What is the third daughter’s name?

Did you answer June? That’s the intuitive answer that many people give – but the correct answer is, of course, Emily.

To come to that solution, you need to pause and override that initial gut response. For this reason, CRT questions are not so much a test of raw intelligence, as a test of someone’s tendency to employ their intelligence by thinking things through in a deliberative, analytical fashion, rather than going with your initial intuitions. The people who don’t do this are often called “cognitive misers” by psychologists, since they may be in possession of substantial mental reserves, but they don’t “spend” them.

Cognitive miserliness renders us susceptible to many cognitive biases, and it also seems to change the way we consume information (and misinformation).

We consume headlines and posts differently depending on our amount of ‘cognitive miserliness’ (Credit: Getty Images)

When it came to the coronavirus statements, for instance, Pennycook found that people who scored badly on the CRT were less discerning in the statements that they believed and were willing to share.

Matthew Stanley, at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, has reported a similar pattern in people’s susceptibility to the coronavirus hoax theories. Remember that around 13% of US citizens believed this theory, which could potentially discourage hygiene and social distancing. “Thirteen percent seems like plenty to make this [virus] go around very quickly,” Stanley says.

Testing participants soon after the original YouGov/Economist poll was conducted, he found that people who scored worse on the CRT were significantly more susceptible to these flawed arguments.

These cognitive misers were also less likely to report having changed their behaviour to stop the disease from spreading – such as handwashing and social distancing.

Stop the spread

Knowing that many people – even the intelligent and educated – have these “miserly” tendencies to accept misinformation at face value might help us to stop the spread of misinformation.

Given the work on truthiness – the idea that we “nod along when thoughts flow smoothly” – organisations attempting to debunk a myth should avoid being overly complex.

To fight misinformation, it’s important to present the facts as simply as possible (Credit: Getty Images)

Instead, they should present the facts as simply as possible – preferably with aids like images and graphs that make the ideas easier to visualise. As Stanley puts it: “We need more communications and strategy work to target those folks who are not as willing to be reflective and deliberative.” It’s simply not good enough to present a sound argument and hope that it sticks.

If they can, these campaigns should avoid repeating the myths themselves. The repetition makes the idea feel more familiar, which could increase perceptions of truthiness. That’s not always possible, of course. But campaigns can at least try to make the true facts more prominent and more memorable than the myths, so they are more likely to stick in people’s minds. (It is for this reason that I’ve given as little information as possible about the hoax theories in this article.)

When it comes to our own online behaviour, we might try to disengage from the emotion of the content and think a bit more about its factual basis before passing it on. Is it based on hearsay or hard scientific evidence? Can you trace it back to the original source? How does it compare to the existing data? And is the author relying on the common logical fallacies to make their case?

One thing we can do is simply think about a post’s factual basis before we pass it on (Credit: Getty Images)

These are the questions that we should be asking – rather than whether or not the post is going to start amassing likes, or whether it “could” be helpful to others. And there is some evidence that we can all get better at this kind of thinking with practice.

Pennycook suggests that social media networks could nudge their users to be more discerning with relatively straightforward interventions. In his experiments, he found that asking participants to rate the factual accuracy of a single claim primed participants to start thinking more critically about other statements, so that they were more than twice as discerning about the information they shared.

In practice, it might be as simple as a social media platform providing the occasional automated reminder to think twice before sharing, though careful testing could help the companies to find the most reliable strategy, he says.

There is no panacea. Like our attempts to contain the virus itself, we are going to need a multi-pronged approach to fight the dissemination of dangerous and potentially life-threatening misinformation.

And as the crisis deepens, it will be everyone’s responsibility to stem that spread.”

_____________________________________________
David Robson is the author of The Intelligence Trap, which examines why smart people act foolishly and the ways we can all make wiser decisions. He is @d_a_robson on Twitter.

As an award-winning science site, BBC Future is committed to bringing you evidence-based analysis and myth-busting stories around the new coronavirus. You can read more of our Covid-19 coverage here.   https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200406-why-smart-people-believe-coronavirus-myths?xtor=ES-213-[BBC%20Features%20Newsletter]-2020April17-[Future%7c+Button]

The Elephant in the Room: Posing

Elephant Says:

Don’t be lame

Get off your bum

Stretch, don’t strain

calm your brain

Yoga-phant by Peggy

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Frankly Freddie – It’s her birthday!!!!!!!!!!

Dear all my Freddie Fans,
It’s Peggy’s birthday today


I won’t tell you her age
But she’s reached that stage
When considered a sage.
Tho no longer a pup
She still whoops it up
Please send her some “licks”
from your ruby red lips

Peggy by Peggy

Happy Birthday Peggy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From FreddieL, L, L, L, L, L, L, L

(air kisses)

Do you have Zoom Fatigue?

On my fourth zoom meeting I kept my video off. It was strangely calming not to have others see where I was looking or looking at me.  

No matter how many times I’ve written about the level of fatigue I feel it still seems unbelievable, inconceivable that such a thing could exist.  But it’s real.  I have Post Exertional Malaise – Malaise being a fancy French word for what I experience as exhaustion.  It’s a symptom that some people experience with fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue.  Without going into the theories of what causes it – any energy expenditure – physical, mental, emotional, including intense focus – exhausts me, often for days.  

 Zoom meetings are now added to the list of what exhausts me.  Distractions, during in-person conversations which are relegated to background, swirl around in the foreground of my brain:  The small audio delay contributes to people talking over each other or weird silences, visual cues are distorted or magnified,  people fiddling with controls, some sitting too close, some too far from cameras, background noise . . . exhaust me but I thought too weird to admit to anyone.    judy

judy by Judy

Low and Behold when I read this article it was a hallelujah moment!

What’s ‘Zoom fatigue’? Here’s why video calls can be so exhausting
by Ryan W. Miller

“As social distancing remains in effect across the country during the coronavirus pandemic, people are moving from one video call to another. But there may be an unintended effect, mental health and communications experts warn: “Zoom fatigue,” or the feeling of tiredness, anxiousness or worry with yet another video call.”

Why are we all experiencing ‘Zoom fatigue’?
“From having to focus on 15 people at once in gallery view or worrying about how you appear as you speak, a number of things may cause someone to feel anxious or worried on a video call. Any of these factors require more focus and mental energy than a face-to-face meeting might”, said Vaile Wright, the American Psychological Association’s director of clinical research and quality.

“It’s this pressure to really be on and be responsive,” she said.

According to Jeremy Bailenson, the founding director of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, the platforms naturally put us in a position that is unnatural. A combination of having prolonged eye contact and having someone’s enlarged face extremely close to you forces certain subconscious responses in humans.

“Our brains have evolved to have a very intense reaction when you have a close face to you,” he said.

During normal, in-person conversations, “eye contact moves in a very intricate dance, and we’re very good at it,” Bailenson said. When one person looks one way, another changes where they look. A small eyebrow raise from someone at one end of the room can trigger a glance between two people on the other. But typically, we don’t stare into our colleagues’ eyes, up close on a computer screen, for an hour at a time.

So much of human communication is through these nonverbal cues that can be either lost or distorted in a video conference.

“In a way, we’re closer but we’re still communicating through this weird filter, so it gets tiring to get to the real stuff through this filter,” Degges-White said.

For video calls with old friends or virtual family reunions, the forced structure can create different challenges.

“A lot of us are thinking I want social stuff to be fun and having to be locked in front of this computer … it’s just not how I want to be spending my time,” Bailenson said.

Degges-White described it creating a structure to conversation like email. One person speaks and everyone takes their turn and waits to reply.

“That’s not normally the way we do social interactions,” she said. “It’s not that easy give and take.” Side conversations are lost. Some people who are naturally reserved may never get a word in. Others may get distracted by people in their house.

The context of this happening during the coronavirus pandemic can’t be lost either, Wright said. We’re worried about loved ones but apart from them physically.

How do you combat the ‘Zoom fatigue’?

Degges-White suggests:

  • Set ground rules before a call. ‘Can we just go audio only?'”
  • Only the person speaking has their video on. And at least for one meeting a week with his team, he says they all keep video on the entire time to have that shared sense of being together.
  • If you’re uncomfortable with how you look on camera, it’s worth spending time adjusting your settings and trying different lighting in your house, 
  • If you notice one person not very responsive or always turning their video off, check in with them one-on-one.  Some people don’t like to speak up in large groups.

Hallelujah, I’m not as weird as I thought . . . 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/04/23/zoom-fatigue-video-calls-coronavirus-can-make-us-tired-anxious/3010478001/
USA TODAY

Messy is ME – making a mess of my life on purpose

Declutter! Focus! Do one-thing-at-a-time! Plan! Schedule!

There are thousands of books and articles on how to be organized.  I’ve read them.  I understand them.  I don’t follow them.

I rarely keep a things-to-do list.  I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda person.  My  process is divergent, I am a piler not a filer, not logical and I used to think there was something wrong with me. (jw)

AND NOW I’m vindicated!  Read this excerpt*:

“Sometimes, we place too much faith in the idea that if something looks well-organized, then we’ve got our lives under control.”

“It’s all too easy to fall into this trap. Many of us feel embarrassed about our cluttered desks, for example, assuming that they are an externalization of our internal chaos. Yet emptying your desk may, ironically, clutter your mind more than ever. All those tasks—read that book, reply to that letter, pay that bill—still exist. But lacking physical reminders that you trust, you may be forced to rely on your subconscious to remind you of all these incomplete tasks. Your subconscious will do a pretty good job of that: it will remind you every few minutes. An empty desk can mean an anxious mind.”

Piler Cat by Peggy

“Nor are empty-deskers necessarily better organized in their work lives. In 2001, Steve Whittaker and Julia Hirschberg, then researchers at AT&T Labs, studied the behavior (pdf) of “filers”, who scrupulously file away their paperwork, and “pilers” who let it accumulate on their desk and any other convenient horizontal surface.”

“. . .  the researchers discovered that the “filers” accumulated bloated archives full of useless chaff. Whittaker has a term for this: “premature filing.” That’s what happens when we take a new document and promptly file it in a fit of tidy-mindedness before we really understand what it means, how it fits into our ongoing commitments, and whether we need to keep it at all. The result: duplicate folders, folders within folders, folders holding just a single document, and filing cabinets that serve as highly-structured trash cans.”

“Meanwhile, the “pilers” flourished. They were much more likely to throw paperwork away—after all, it was in plain sight on their desks—and when they did file something, they were more likely to understand it. Paradoxically, the messy workers had lean, practical and well-used archives. Their organizational system was messy, but it worked.”

“It’s possible to over-structure your life in other ways, too. As the psychologist Marc Wittman told Quartz in August, a partly or wholly unplanned holiday tends to feel longer and fuller than a holiday in which every decision has been made in advance. Critical decisions have to be made in the moment, which means you pay more attention to what’s happening and have richer memories after the fact. But to carry out Wittman’s advice, of course, means letting go and taking a risk. Switching off autopilot always carries an element of danger. That’s why it works.”

“One fascinating study conducted in the early 1980s examined the well-worn question of how structured one should make a calendar. Some people think that if you want to get something done, you should block out a time to do it on the calendar. Others think that the calendar should be reserved only for fixed appointments, and that everything else should be a movable feast”

“The study, run by the psychologists, Daniel Kirschenbaum, Laura Humphrey and Sheldon Malett explored this question, asked undergraduates to participate in a study-skills course. Some were advised to set out monthly goals and study activities; others were told to plan activities and goals in much more detail, day by day.”

 “The researchers, assuming daily plans would work better than months were wrong: “The daily plans were catastrophically demotivating, while the monthly plans worked very nicely. The effect was still in evidence a year later. The likely explanation is that the daily plans simply became derailed by unexpected events. A rigid structure is inherently fragile. Better for both your peace of mind and your productivity to improvise a little more often.

I believe our brains are hard-wired to be logical or creatively divergent.  What works for one person, one situation, will not work for another.  If I can learn to stop berating myself when piles and projects surround me you can stop berating yourself for being overly organized.

(jw)

*Source:  Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford, Financial Times columnist.

Originally posted on Max Your Mind. Click here to see more from Max Your Mind

Doing Introversion in the time of Isolation – “I vant to be alone”

Many people think I’m extroverted, simply because I am genuinely interested in people and am comfortable in social situations.  However, self-isolation is a relief because I’m an introvert – I recharge my “batteries” in private. 

Simplistically, extroverts recharge in the company of others. 
if you’re someone, like my husband, who is an extrovert and thrives on social connection, isolation is particularly difficult. He has spent an inordinate amount of time on phone calls – needing to hear other people’s voices – and calls out greetings to neighbors from across the street. 

Note:  My experiences and suggestions are EXAGGERATED because of my fibromyalgia/ME, Chronic Fatigue I’m physically depleted to begin with and overly sensitive to social interactions of the “normal kind” which drain me to the point of exhaustion. Many  people who are introverted and/or have life-altering medical conditions cope a bit differently than those who are extroverted and better thrive on personal and community connections. 

Me by judy

My personal experience in isolation:

Zoom meetings can be overwhelming:  Too many people, too much to track, people talking over each other or too long silences.  During the last Zoom meeting I stopped my video so no one could see me.  It helped me not be concerned how I was visually responding, even if it might have bugged others.  I excused myself and logged off before the meeting was over when I noticed my attention & physical energy was flagging.

Phone conversation have long been exhausting to me and I’m relieved when the phone doesn’t ring.  E-mail is my chosen means of communication because there is a one-way conversation – no need to think on my feet, and can time my responses for when I have energy and focus.

Exercise is a solitary experience. I walk Freddie, our dog, late at night, when no one is out and there’s no demand to interact with neighbors.  Freddie likes being able to sniff at his leisure and not have to patiently wait for human conversations to stop to resume his exploration.

Luckily, we introverts are no longer labeled as anti-social.  Research by social scientists have found that while some people can’t get enough of spending time with large social groups, others find the experience more of a mixed bag: usually gratifying, but ultimately draining. 

If you have a friend or relative who’s introverted: 

  • When you reach out keep your conversations short.
  • Don’t pressure people to stay longer in a virtual hangout than they want to be there. 
  • Ask what their preferred means of communication are.
  • Be patient if your contact doesn’t respond back quickly.
  • If a friend starts wrapping it up, just wish them well. (It will make them more likely to want to reach out again.)
    And MOST OF ALL Don’t take any of this personally 


We’re all in this together, even if us introverts want to be alone much of the time!

My caveat:  There are people, all over the world,  who would give anything to be able to be with the people they love – people hospitalized, others unable to hold new born grandchildren, isolated from parents, fearful of infecting others. Loneliness is also an epidemic.  We all want to make sure our friends and loved ones are physically or emotionally OK.   Embracing community in a times of hardship is one of the best and most universal qualities of humanity. Some introverts are my best friends.  I am, grateful for them and my introverted life.  

I’d like to know how you cope socially in these unsettling times.

judy

If this isn’t a reason to stay out of public spaces, we don’t know what is

TERRIFYING SIMULATION SHOWS HOW VIRUSES SPREAD WHEN YOU COUGH
A new 3D-rendered simulation by Finnish researchers shows how aerosol particles coughed out by a person in an indoor environment can spread terrifyingly far.

BY VICTOR TANGERMANN (posted in it’s entirety)

The research aims to determine how the coronavirus can spread through the air, and found that “aerosol particles carrying the virus can remain in the air longer than was originally thought, so it is important to avoid busy public indoor spaces,” according to a statement.

The 3D environment is trying to provide an analogue for the average grocery store with run-of-the-mill ventilation.

“In the 3D model, a person coughs in a corridor bounded by shelves under representative indoor ventilation air flow conditions,” reads the video. “As a result of coughing, an aerosol cloud travels in the air to the corridor. It takes up several minutes for the cloud to spread and disperse.”

“Someone infected by the coronavirus, can cough and walk away, but then leave behind extremely small aerosol particles carrying the coronavirus,” explained Aalto University assistant professor Ville Vuorinen in the statement. “These particles could then end up in the respiratory tract of others in the vicinity.”

Aerosol particles from a dry cough — a common symptom of COVID-19 — are so small (less than 15 micrometers) that they float through the air rather than sinking to the floor. Air currents can help them spread. According to the researchers, previous studies have shown that influenza A viruses can be found in even smaller particles — less than five micrometers.

The model underlines that avoiding crowded places or “nodal points” could be an effective way to curb the spread of the virus.

Masks have also proven to be an extremely effective way to curb the spread through aerosol particles and droplets — that is, if a recent study published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature is to be believed.

Important things to know about COPING so you aren’t more anxious

During our 30+ years as psychotherapists we never had to address the fear and uncertainty the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic has created.  The disruption to individual lives and society is surreal.

There are coping truths that we know are real:

  1. Everyone copes with horrible situations differently.  Some use humor (even gallows humor), some become immobilized or depressed, for others anxiety explodes, some grasp at things that are seemingly frivolous but under their control (like hoarding toilet paper).  I watch the news obsessively since I find comfort in information.
  2. We want our family & friends to cope in the same way we cope.  “Why aren’t you acting more worried?”, “Don’t be so obsessive”.  “Do something productive.”  “Calm down and slow down.” There’s comfort in thinking we are connected and not alone in our own way of seeing and responding to threats, real or perceived.  When other people don’t cope the way we cope it makes us nervous, as if something is wrong with them.
  3. The higher the stress the more the brain reverts to automatic, old, tried and true patterns and coping mechanisms that are basic to who we are and how we are in the world.  Our mind-body stress response says this is NOT time to change our normal behaviors and natural tendencies because doing something new creates more stress.
  4. It’s normal to feel productive anxiety right now, and while we need to allow ourselves to feel these feelings.  Some anxiety is productive—it’s what motivates us to wash our hands often and distance ourselves from others when there’s an important reason to do so. If we weren’t reasonably worried, no one would be taking these measure to help reduce the viral spread.
  5. Unproductive anxiety— unchecked rumination—makes our mind spin in frightening directions. Our anxiety is actually trying to keep us safe by focusing on potential threats preparing us for fight, flight or freeze. However, anxiety when constant elevates our stress response chronically which dampens the immune response which is the last thing we want during a pandemic. 

    Click here for your FREE Incredibly Creative Stress Kit PDF

In recent weeks we have been doing daily posts on coping with stress, anxiety and social distancing .

Click here for “Ways to Cope in Uncertain Times 

Click here for “Control your Stress & Anxiety: 6 Ways to Meditate for People Who Can’t “Meditate”

Click here for: “Control Your Stress and Anxiety: Comfort Eating Actually Comforts”.

Click here for : “ME, a Stress Case? . . . This Anxiety Reduction Technique is for YOU too “

Click here for:”Decrease your Anxiety & Stress Increasing Immunity”

Click here for: “How to Reduce Fear and Anxiety in 30 Seconds”

Click here for: “How to Empty your Brain to Reduce Stress & Control Anxiety – Write On!”

Click here for: “How to activate your own Placebo to reduce Stress & Anxiety”

Corona-Crisis breeds fear, panic . . .and INNOVATION

You can now calculate just how long your stash of toilet paper will last you during a quarantine.

As households continue to stock up on toilet paper — emptying shelves across the country — a new website is attempting to answer the question: How much TP do we really need?

Howmuchtoiletpaper.com is a website created by student software developer Ben Sassoon and artist Sam Harris, both based in London, in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The tool calculates just how long your stash of TP will last you during a quarantine.”
“The idea came to them naturally, while talking about how much toilet paper they used, and how that would change during the pandemic.”

Users enter how many rolls of toilet paper they have and how many times they visit the loo.

“If you scroll to the “Advanced Options” section, you can really get detailed, customizing the average number of wipes per trip, the number of sheets per wipe, sheets on the roll, and people in the house.”

“More than 2 million people have used the tool, the website says, and the average user has a whopping 500% more toilet paper than they need for quarantine.”

“The whole point of the tool is to reduce the toilet paper shortage around the world, which has begun as folks panic-buy rolls out of fear of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”

“Not everyone is able to get to a store and stock up on toilet roll. Don’t be selfish.”  

the Howmuchtoiletpaper.com website says bluntly.

Thanks to Sharon M. for the cartoon!

How to Recognize & Honor Your Losses in this Time of Uncertainty

If you are irritable, less motivated, sad, or even angry, depressed, you are not alone.  With loss there is a grief reaction.  Not only are we dealing with loss of life, loss of mobility, choice, sense of safety, during this current time our emotional reactions are compounded by anxiety & fear. 

It’s easy not to recognize less obvious, existential and secondary losses but important to honor our own losses even if those losses seem small compared to others.  Left unrecognized grief can negatively impact our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.


Recognize your losses

We can’t deal with, or heal, what we aren’t aware of

 Consider how you feel when you think of these losses:

  • Social connections – One of the most impactful loss is the separation from friends and family. 
  • Separation from colleagues – Our work environment can be like a second family. 
  • Habits and habitat – The world outside our homes no longer safe and we can’t engage in our usual routines and rituals.  No matter how mundane – from getting coffee at the local café, driving to work, or picking up kids from school – routines help define your sense of self in the world. 
  • Assumptions and securitythe spread of the virus has upended assumption we once counted on. And so we’re losing our sense of safety in the world and our assumptions about ourselves,
  • Trust in our systemsWhen government leaders, agencies, medical systems, religious bodies, the stock market and corporations fail or are unable to meet expectations, we can feel betrayed and emotionally unmoored. 
  • Sympathetic loss for othersEven if you’re not directly affected by a specific loss, you may feel other’s, grief including: displaced workers, health care workers, the homeless, people barred from visiting relatives in nursing homes, hospitals, or those who have already lost friends and family and to those who will.

4 ways to “honor” your grief

Grief is not a problem to be solved

  • Communicate & Share your stories
    If you “bottle up” emotion your brain neurochemistry can negatively impact you physically and emotionally.
    Communicate with your friends or family about your experience.
    Pick up the phone, send an e-mail.  Ask to share your feelings and give permission/direction to NOT give or receive  advice nor “fix” anything. 
    Gather a group of friends to share losses together on social media. 
  • Write – Writing, whether it’s a journal or just a piece of paper, is another way to express, identify and acknowledge loss and grief.
  • Create – Make a sculpture, draw a picture or create a ceremonial object that symbolizes your feelings. This is not about making art but about expressing yourself.
  • Ritual – Do breathing exercises to symbolically blow away sadness, fear or anger.  Find a rock to throw away. Write feelings on paper and rip it up.
  • Meditate
    Regular meditation gives you time to slow down your thinking.  Take several deep, breaths throughout the day to lower stress.
  • Be open to joy & gratitude – Look for it in small places – the chirping of a bird, a funny video.

Remind yourself that grief is a normal reaction to loss

Source: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/03/26/820304899/coronavirus-has-upended-our-world-its-ok-to-grieve

Frankly Freddie – Good things about Social Distancing

Dear Freddie Fans,
My human is a pro at self-quarantine.  She’s been using paper towels to open doors, pushing elevator buttons with her knuckles and washing her hands obsessively for years.  I encourage her to do all this because when she gets sick all her fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue symptoms flare up for weeks and she won’t go on walks.
I cheer her up by reminding her all the benefits of isolating herself:
  • I stay home with her so she’s never lonely.
  • She can wear the same clothes every day.
  • She can take a shower once a week or not at all.
  • She saves money on laundry detergent, soap, shampoo
  • Her excuse for doing the cleaning, cooking TOMORROW is plausible.
  • Naps are a good thing.
  • She saves money on gasoline and car washes.
  • Alarm clocks never need to be used
  • She has an excuse for whatever she needs an excuse for . . . 
I’ve been posting a daily series on coping with self-isolation, social distancing on all my blogs.  In case you’ve missed any of my sage observation and advice click on these links.  
And tell your friends to read FRANKLY FREDDIE!
and here are my blogs:
CURIOUStotheMAX – Stuff that makes us love, learn and laugh.
Art, prose, poetry, personal reflection, inspiration, animals, FREEBIES and . . . .FREDDIE the dog.
Neuroscience and research – tips & techniques for mind-body health and wellness,  shared with a wink and a smile and . . .FREDDIE
The HeARTofSpirituality – Exploring spirituality through art, prayers, self reflection & inspiration

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

Frankly Freddie: Self-Isolated Dog Owners are Healthier Hoofers

Did you know that a record number of animals are being adopted?  Yup, humans who are self-isolating are finally figuring out what it’s like for all us animals who are isolated in shelters.

I prefer to think the adoptions are about animals rather than humans feeling lonely.  

There are lots of reasons to adopt an animal.

1. In a study published in the journal BMC Public Health, dog owners on average walked 22 minutes more per day compared to people who didn’t own a dog.

The study found that the dog owners walked briskly and got their heart rates up. At times, their pace was about 3 miles per hour, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers moderate intensity.

I take my human out for a walk as often as I can.  She’s a bit delusional . . .  she thinks she’s walking me. So I constantly have to remind her that she needs to quit patting herself on the back and pat me.

We canines keep you humans healthy.  It’s a big job.

2. Other studies have shown that moderate-intensity walking is just as effective as running in lowering the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes and other conditions. And the more people walk, the more the health benefits increase, according to the American Heart Association.

(“The national physical activity guidelines call for 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise.”)

3.  If you look at studies on pet ownership, people who own pets seem to live longer than those who don’t own them. 

Get a life.  Adopt a dog . . . like me

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CHT

Certified Human Trainer

If you don’t believe me read this: Dog Owners Walk 22 minutes more per day 

If you want a kitty or bunny you can teach them to walk!  

If you don’t believe me Google it!

Mary Poppins just flipped her umbrella

“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins with some Coronavirus inspired lyrics! The tune and all rights of course belong to Disney and all of the creators. This was created as parody, and is intended to bring some levity to the Coronavirus epidemic and to those who are spending long periods at home. I hope this video brings you a laugh in the midst of some hard times.”

Thank you Sharon M. for sharing this video!

Some Good News From Researchers Studying the Novel Coronavirus

We pulled the following from an article on sequencing the genome of COVID-19.  It seems that researchers are hopeful the virus can be stopped.  When is still the unknown.  The link to the full article is at the end.  We’ve highlighted with color what we find “good news”.

“While researchers caution they’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg, the tiny differences between the virus strains suggest shelter-in-place orders are working in some areas and that no one strain of the virus is more deadly than another. They also say it does not appear the strains will grow more lethal as they evolve. 

“The virus mutates so slowly that the virus strains are fundamentally very similar to each other,” said Charles Chiu, a professor of medicine and infectious disease at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.

Different symptoms, same strains
COVID-19 hits people differently, with some feeling only slightly under the weather for a day, others flat on their backs sick for two weeks and about 15% hospitalized. Currently, an estimated 1% of those infected die. The rate varies greatly by country and experts say it is likely tied to testing rates rather than actual mortality.

Chiu says it appears unlikely the differences are related to people being infected with different strains of the virus.  “The current virus strains are still fundamentally very similar to each other,” he said.

The COVID-19 virus does not mutate very fast. It does so eight to 10 times more slowly than the influenza virus, said Anderson, making its evolution rate similar to other coronaviruses such as Ebola, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

“It’s also not expected to spontaneously evolve into a form more deadly than it already is to humans. The SARS-CoV-2 is so good at transmitting itself between human hosts, said Andersen, it is under no evolutionary pressure to evolve.”

Shelter in place working in California
Chiu’s analysis shows California’s strict shelter in place efforts appear to be working.

“Over half of the 50 SARS-CoV-2 virus genomes his San Francisco-based lab sequenced in the past two weeks are associated with travel from outside the state. Another 30% are associated with health care workers and families of people who have the virus.”

“Only 20% are coming from within the community. It’s not circulating widely,” he said.

“That’s fantastic news, he said, indicating the virus has not been able to gain a serious foothold because of social distancing.”

“It’s like a wildfire, Chiu said. A few sparks might fly off the fire and land in the grass and start new fires. But if the main fire is doused and its embers stomped out, you can kill off an entire strain. In California, Chiu sees a lot of sparks hitting the ground, most coming from Washington, but they’re quickly being put out.”

The virus, he said, can be stopped.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/03/27/scientists-track-coronavirus-strains-mutation/5080571002/

Frankly Freddie – Social Distance from people not FOOD

For the Foodie
If you don’t know what a “foodie” is you are probably around the same age as Peggy & Judy. For all you “oldies” . . . “gastronome” and “epicure” define the same thing.  If you don’t know what gastronome and epicure mean it’s a person who enjoys food for pleasure.

  • Have a picnic on the floor (benefit-no ants, just dust).
  • Get takeout. Support independent restaurants which are hurting right now by eating their food. It’s reported that takeout service Grubhub will stop collecting commission of up to $100 million to support independent restaurants that use their service. (Just make sure you limit your contact with the delivery driver and wash your hands after unpacking the food.)
  • Have your own wine tasting of whatever bottles you have.  No wine?  Have a tea-tasting.
  • Make a new recipe, like dog biscuits.
  • Perfect grandma’s special recipe.
  • Make coffee, and study how many beans you use, which types, how hot the water is, how long it brews and whether any of that even makes a difference.
  • Read your cookbooks and find new culinary sites on the internet.
  • Make doggie biscuits – peanut butter should be the #1 ingredient
  • Watch “The Great British Baking Show,” and bake something with the ingredients you have on hand
  • Organize your spice rack alphabetically.
  • Make a cocktail or mocktail (if you don’t know what a mocktail is you’re over the age of 21)  Don’t forget the garnish.
  • Cook something special – make a double recipe and give half to an elderly neighbor and the other half to your dog.

 

 

4 FREE Resources for Social Distancing & Isolation

Here are some fun, FREE resources for social distancing and self isolation-check them out!

Online University learning of all kinds of subjects

click here for  Coursera

Join Coursera for free and learn online. Courses from top universities like Yale, Michigan, Stanford, Imperial College-London, Tel Aviv University, Duke, Johns Hopkins, University of Cape Town, University of Tokyo etc. . . . and leading companies like Google and IBM.

I (judy) have taken 2 of the courses and they were excellent.  Since I don’t need any more degrees or certifications I never did the papers or took the tests . . .  just watched the lectures and did the reading.  There is a large catalogue of classes from colleges and universities all over the WORLD.  Fabulous resource.

Online exercise classes – Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness, one of the nation’s largest chain gyms, is offering free online exercise classes 

The at-home workouts are streaming on the company’s Facebook page, open to anyone, including non-members.

Because I love all of you I (Peggy) sacrificed myself and tried two Planet Fitness on-line workouts.

I tried 2 Planet fitness workouts.  They were actually great!  The instructors made it easy to follow all the exercises, all of which could be modified to easier levels.  

To make sure all of you could do the routines I did the easier levels, even though I didn’t NEED to, of course . . .   

I am recovering from a sprained ankle and didn’t want to jump on my foot, so I was clever enough to figure out ways to keep both feet on the ground.   (I couldn’t think of other excuses to modify more exercises but carefully watched how they were done.)

Instructors do warm ups and cool downs. Have a chair handy and water.  You get 15 second rests in between the exercises.  

Another thing I liked is the instructor stopped exercising in order to continue talking.  That allowed me to stop early too so I could hear what he was saying without the distraction of exercising . . . The workouts are scheduled for 4pm PST. I was late but no one said anything. There are many workout videos on the Planet Fitness Facebook page so if you’re late I’m positive they’ll let you in the class.

Fun things to do from NASA for kids and adults

https://www.space.com/free-nasa-space-projects-at-home-coronavirus.html

“NASA’s website has a plethora of opportunities for kids and adults alike to learn more about astronomy and spaceflight. Whether you want to be an astronaut, kill some time learning about the universe or help the agency work on future space exploration activities, there’s no lack of things to do.”

“So, if you’re looking for a little out-of-this-world escape while you’re stuck at home, There is a list of free space-themed activities from NASA to keep you occupied.”

 

Get out in the open -no charge at National Parks

The National Park Service is waiving entrance fees at all national parks that remain open during the coronavirus pandemic in an effort to aid public social distancing.

“This small step makes it a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors in our incredible National Parks,” Bernhardt said in a news release Wednesday.
“Our vast public lands that are overseen by the Department offer special outdoor experiences to recreate, embrace nature and implement some social distancing.”
 
Scroll down for more posts in this series.

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Things to do when Virus Fears Overwhelm you – Hand-washing and Social distancing for your Brain

The constant flood of precautions and warnings, whether it’s from the medical authorities or recirculated, dubiously-sourced information on social media, can take a toll on our mental health.
The uncertainty of what a pandemic portends for our future, the drastic changes it means for the present can be unnerving.

It’s ok, it’s normal, to feel anxious and stressed when everything familiar has seemingly come to a halt in the entire world and when experts, whom we normally turn to, have no answers, no treatments and are impacted in the same way we are.  We feel helpless and our fears are heightened when we can’t see or predict where the threat may strike.  

Yes, it’s a serious situation, and deserves your vigilance and attention.   However, there is a happy medium between ignoring the biggest story in the world, and panic. Here are some tips. 

Social Distancing for your Brain

Pare down your sources of information

  • Continually tell yourself it’s ok not knowing every little thing because there will always be an update a click away.
  • Don’t carry your phone around so you’re not tempted to check it.  
  • Leave your phone on a charging station, put it in “airplane mode” or turn off notifications
  • Limit time on social media.  Your friends and acquaintances filter what they share through their own fears and lenses.
  • Unfriend those who are conspiracy theorists.
  • Install social media apps or tools that limit access to content, or limit aimless scrolling.
  • Schedule a set time, and no more, to get updates from reliable news or health organizations.

Hand-Washing for your Brain.

Don’t Chastise Yourself for Worrying

“You are allowed to worry or feel bad. When discussing how to talk to children about the coronavirus, health experts say people should acknowledge a child’s fear and let them know their feelings are valid.”

“Surely, you can afford yourself the same compassion. The key is to work toward understanding and contextualizing your fears so they don’t keep you from living your healthiest life.”

Name your Fears

A virus can’t be seen by the naked eye.  It’s threat is abstract.  Writing things down makes the worries concrete and stops your brain from going over and over the worries.  Here’s what to write to reassure your brain that you’ll remember everything it’s been reminding you of.  You may do all steps at once or over several days.

1. List what specific threats worry you. Do you think you will catch the coronavirus and die?  (The fear of death taps into one of our core existential fears).  Someone you love falls ill?  Would you need treatment?  What would happen if self quarantine was necessary?  Not able to work?  No access to support or childcare?  

Keep writing small fears, big fears, rational and irrational, until you can’t think of anything else.

2.  Mark the ones that are REALISTIC.  Consider your personal risk and how likely it is that you will actually come in contact with the virus, lose work etc.

3.  Write down what you are in CONTROL of  – what you are currently doing and what you might consider doing.  

4.  Make a plan – Brainstorm options and write them down even if they seem out-of-reach or impractical.   Being prepared for your fears will help keep them in scale.

5.  Review and add, delete, rearrange, update all the steps frequently to keep your brain in the know.


Think Outside Yourself

Since action can allay our anxieties, also consider what you can do to help others who may be more affected by the outbreak than you. Service workers, medical workers, hourly workers and people in the restaurant or entertainment industries may have their livelihoods paralyzed or have to put themselves in disproportionate danger.

Talk to your brain: “Most of the precautions put in place to help stall the spread of the virus aren’t just for me. They’re intended to keep entire communities and vulnerable people safe.”

There are ways to reach out that don’t demand a lot of time or energy.  Examples:  Double the recipe you are making and give half to a neighbor, donate money, (if you have the means) to a reputable charity, write a letter or a note to someone in quarantine, e-mail friends who are isolated . . .  

Seek Support Wisely


Talking to friends about the latest news, outbreak cluster or your family’s contingency plans is a good idea so you don’t feel alone.   However, if you are overwhelmed, don’t seek out someone who also is overwhelmed.  Find someone who does not support or inflame you on your anxiety and can provide some advice.  Always consider professional help which can be short-term.  Most psychotherapists and doctors are offering phone sessions.  There are community agencies or religious clergy that are free or low fee.


Enforce or Create Healthy HABITS


Pay attention to your daily basic needs – healthy practices that affect your wellbeing. 

If you haven’t practiced self-care, NOW is the time to create healthy habits that will last after this crisis is over.

  • Get adequate sleep
  • Have proper nutrition
  • Go outside as much a possible
  • Engage in regular physical activity
  • Practicing mindfulness, prayer, meditation, yoga or other forms of self care can also help center you in routines and awareness, and keep your mind from wandering into worry and fear. 

Remember!  Fear and Anxiety is . . .

. . . overestimating the likelihood of something bad happening, and  underestimating our capacity to deal with it. 

Source: CNN.com

Frankly Freddie: Why You Can’t Herd Cats


Dear Human-beings,

Peggy is on the look-out for a long-haired kitty to adopt.  After she reads this I hope she adopts a dog or . . .  a lion.  

  • edited for precious blog space
  • emphasized the scientific proof and
  • pointed out the obvious (in red) 

How hard can it really be to herd cats?

“Ask Daniel Mills, professor of veterinary behavioural medicine at the University of Lincoln, UK. In a recent study, Mills and his colleague Alice Potter demonstrated that cats are more autonomous and solitary than dogs. Carrying out the research for the project was as difficult as the cat’s reputation might suggest.

“They are challenging if you want them to do certain things in a certain way,” says Mills. “They tend to do their own thing.”

“Cat owners (with the exception perhaps of Peggy) everywhere will sympathise. But why exactly are cats so reluctant to cooperate, either with each other or with a human? Or to flip the question around, why are so many other animals – wild and domestic – willing team players?”

1. It’s a well known that cats are greedy and don’t share.  (Not nice).

” . . . domestic cats . . .  hunt small animals. “You don’t want to be around somebody else when they’ve just caught a mouse, because they’re going to eat it whole,” Packer says. “It’s gone. There is not enough food to share.” 

Proof by Peggy

2.  Cats are gate-crashers which is rude.

“All domesticated cats are descended from Middle Eastern wildcats, the “cat of the woods”. Humans did not coax those early cats out of the woods; the cats invited themselves into our grain storehouses, where an abundance of mice fed unchecked. Gate-crashing this mouse party marked the start of a truly symbiotic relationship. The cats loved the well-stocked storehouses, and the people appreciated the pest control.”

3.  Cats are stubborn at best and unsociable at worst.

“They retain a large degree of independence and approach, or stay close to us, only when they want to,says Dennis Turner, a cat expert and animal behaviourist at the Institute for Applied Ethology and Animal Psychology in Horgen, Switzerland.”

“Cats have evolved lots of mechanisms to keep themselves apart, which aren’t exactly conducive to herding,” says Mills. Cats spray their territory to help avoid awkward meetings with each other. If they do accidentally come face to face, the hackles rise and the claws come out.”  

More Proof by Peggy

“In some circumstances it can appear that domestic cats have embraced group living; for instance, a colony living in a barn. But do not be fooled . . . “

“They’re very loose aggregations and they don’t have any real group identity,” he says. “They just have a common place they come to keep their kittens.”

“In keeping with their solitary, uncooperative reputation, cats turned out to be neurotic, impulsive and resistant to being ordered around.”  (I didn’t say that the SCIENTISTS did).

4.  Cats are uncooperative which creates unnecessary tension in an already tense world.

“In fact, even in the face of extreme danger, which often brings animals together to form a defensive unit, it is unlikely cats would cooperate. “It’s just not something that they typically do when they’re threatened,” says Monique Udell, a biologist at Oregon State University. Cats just do not believe in strength in numbers.”

“A study published in 2014 in the Journal of Comparative Psychologysaw scientists probe the personality traits of domestic cats. In keeping with their solitary, uncooperative reputation, cats turned out to be neurotic, impulsive and resistant to being ordered around.”  (SCIENTISTS know.)

Lions live together, unlike other cats (Credit: Images of Africa Photobank/Alamy)

Lions live together, unlike other cats 

(Credit: Images of Africa Photobank/Alamy)

I rest my case.  Please Peggy, get a cuddly canine. We don’t raise hackles or claw furniture.

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CCT, RET

If you don’t believe me here’s the full article:

It is Almost Impossible to Herd Cats Thanks to Evolution

Originally posted on Max your Mind. To see more from Max Your Mind, click here.

Why don’t bats get sick with Coronovirus (COVID-19)?

“It turns out that the answer to that question has to do with the bat’s status as the world’s only flying mammal.”

“During flight, a bat’s body temperature spikes to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Its heart rate can surge to more than 1,000 beats per minute.”

“For most land mammals, these are signals that would trigger death,” says Linfa Wang, who studies bat viruses at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore. But bats live it every day.”

Wang says it seems that bats have developed special immune systems to deal with the stress of flying.

“Their bodies make molecules that other mammals don’t have, which help repair cell damage. And their systems don’t overreact to infections, which keeps them from falling ill from the many viruses they carry (and also prevents conditions like diabetes and cancer).”

“This shows that it’s not always the virus itself but the body’s response to the virus that can make us sick, explains Wang.”

“Olival at EcoHealth Alliance says let’s be clear: it’s not the bats’ fault that people are getting diseases. “They’ve just sort of coevolved with these viruses and these bugs that basically don’t cause them any harm.”‘

“The problem, he says, is when the viruses jump to new species. And it’s human activity that makes that likely to happen.”

“In wildlife markets, like the one in Wuhan, Olival says animals that would rarely mix in nature come together. A bat in a cage could be stacked over a civet. And those animals are then mixed with humans — for example, butchers handling animals without gloves.”

“The way that we’re coming into contact with these animals, hunting, selling, and trading them is to a scale that really we haven’t seen before,” he says.”

“Investigators found traces of the virus in 22 stalls and a garbage truck at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, which also sold live animals. The market was shut down in early January, as it was tied to many of the early cases.”

“While the animal in the middle is still a mystery (some early reports point to pangolin), Wang says it’s easy to imagine how an infected animal could spread the virus to humans. “The animal can sneeze, the animal can urinate,” he says, “If a human touches [it] and blows their nose or whatever — they’ve got it.” Infection could also spread through eating undercooked meat.”

Cute Bat

“And bat researchers stress that bats aren’t just a possible source of viruses. They play a hugely important role in Earth’s ecosystem. They eat tons of insects and pollinate plants and disperse seeds for hundreds of plant species. And they’ve found a way to coexist with the viruses they carry — which means, says Wang, that even though bats may be the source of viruses that affect humans, they could also be the source of potential therapies if we study their immune systems.”

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/09/803543244/bats-carry-many-viruses-so-why-dont-they-get-sick

In the interest of not spreading false information we have reproduced this article in it’s entirety.

The RIGHT way to Kiss

An international research team suggests that humans are hardwired to favour leaning to the right while kissing their romantic partners, which may have wider implications for neuroscience and cognitive sciences.

“According to an academic study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, over two-thirds of the kiss initiators and the recipient of the kiss have a bias to turn their heads to the right and men were about 15 times more likely than women to initiate kissing.”

“Psychologists and neuroscientists at the universities of Bath Spa and Dhaka, Bangladesh, invited 48 married couples to kiss privately in their own homes, and after kissing they were asked to go to different rooms, open an envelope and then report on various aspects of the kiss independently of each partner.”

“The setting for the study was significant as kissing in Bangladesh is not typically observed in public and may censored from television or films. That means similar results from the western countries could be attributed to cultural factors or having learnt how to kiss through influences on TV or film.”

“Building on the previous studies from western countries, which have involved couples kissing in public places, this study is the first to investigate an inherent bias for turning the head to one side while people kiss in a non-western context. And it is also the first study in the world to show that the kiss recipients have a tendency to match their partners’ head-leaning direction.”

“Head turning is one of the earliest biases seen in development – even in the womb a preference for turning the head to the right is observable before that of favouring the right hand or foot. Whether this fundamental bias is innate and extends into adulthood is a lingering question for neuroscience and psychology,”

“The new research suggests that the act of kissing is determined by:

The brain splitting up tasks to its different hemispheres. Different hormone levels in each hemisphere and neurotransmitters might be unevenly distributed to each hemisphere as giving rise to a bias to turn right.”

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-07/18/c_136451252.htm

This post was originally posted on Max Your Mind. Click here to see more from Max Your Mind.

 

Tickled Pink

Wondering if your pet rat is feeling happy? You should check its ears, researchers say.

rat-1_custom-90adc1ff3c94c404321504e9da8d8e53a1ca8b84-s800-c85

A team of scientists in Switzerland found that a rat’s ears are more pinkish and are positioned at a more relaxed angle when it is experiencing positive emotions. The researchers recently published their findings in the journal PLOS ONE.

Scientists have not yet pinpointed what a rat is feeling when it is experiencing a “positive” emotion. As Melotti explains, they are currently at the point where they can distinguish “positive” emotions from “negative” – but not finer emotional graduations between happiness, joy and optimism, for example.

Tickled

It’s interesting that rats show emotions on their faces because they are not particularly visual creatures, Melotti says. They’re nocturnal and rely primarily on their sense of smell and touch.

The team says their findings could indicate that rats “may at least partly sense … the facial expressions of their partner, along with other body postures, to gather information on the likelihood the partner will initiate play, and how intense that play is likely to be.”

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/12/16/505727648/tickled-pink-scientists-have-determined-what-a-happy-rat-looks-like

“Playboy Tortoise had so much SEX he saved his entire species”

DISCLAIMER: We’ve taken note that sex sells . . . or at least boosts the number of hits (no pun intended) . . . on the blog, not us . . . So in an unabashed ploy to raise our “ranking” . . . this article is by Rob Picheta, CNN, not Peggy, Judy nor Freddie.

  * .   * .   *

(CNN)”A womanizing tortoise whose rampant sex life may have single-handedly saved his entire species from extinction has retired from his playboy lifestyle, returning to the wild with his mission accomplished.”

Diego’s unstoppable libido was credited as a major reason for the survival of his fellow giant tortoises on Espanola, part of the Galapagos Islands, after being shipped over from the San Diego Zoo as part of a breeding program.”
“When he started his campaign of promiscuity, there were just two males and 12 females of his species alive on the island.”
“But the desirable shell-dweller had so much sex he helped boost the population to over 2,000. The Galapagos National Parks service believe the 100-year-old tortoise is the patriarch of around 40% of that population.
“He’s contributed a large percentage to the lineage that we are returning to Espanola,” Jorge Carrion, the park’s director, told AFP. “There’s a feeling of happiness to have the possibility of returning that tortoise to his natural state.”‘

Diego’s good looks made him a hit on the island.

“A total of 15 tortoises took part in the breeding program to boost the island’s population, but none played a big a role as Diego.”
“About 1,800 tortoises have been returned to Espanola and now with natural reproduction we have approximately 2,000 tortoises,” Carrion told AFP.”
“This shows that they are able to grow, they are able to reproduce, they are able to develop,” he said.”

Now that’s what we call WILD LIFE.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/11/americas/diego-playboy-tortoise-sex-life-galapagos-scli-intl/index.html

Sex on the Fly

February is the month of love.  And here at CURIOUStotheMAX love includes all God’s creatures as we are fascinated by this CURIOUS, WONDERFUL and WILD World we all share.  Marvel with us at the incredible lengths nature goes to help mayflies survive.

Mayflies have an curiously interesting life cycle. Adult mayflies have no mouths, don’t eat, only live for a few days and their only purpose is TO REPRODUCE.

Males swarm above the water in a thick colony while females fly into the colony to mate. The males hold onto the females and mate in air. (No, it’s not the mile-high club since they stay a bit closer to the ground.) After mating, females fly down to the surface of the water to lay eggs and die – usually devoured by hungry fish either before or after death. The males also die, though on land. 

Mayfly mating season-fish come to the surface looking for a tasty meal,

and fly fishers come looking for a tasty fish

The eggs fall to the bottom of the water where they land in mud and attach or stick onto stones or vegetation. The eggs remain in the mud for anywhere from a day to weeks before hatching. After hatching, the mayflies turn into their nymph stage (which you might attribute to teenage years). The mayfly nymphs are an aquatic life stage and do not have wings or contain gills.

Nyphs spend their time, anywhere from 1-2 years, searching for food in the relative safety of the lake bed bottom. When the time is right, the nymphs rise to the surface, molt and rest on the water’s surface to allow their wings to dry.  After drying, they fly onto land where they wait in the vegetation before they molt once more and become a more colorful specimen..

Frankly Freddie, My Valentines Day evidence linking chocolate to heart health

Roses are red

Violets are blue

I’m not allowed chocolate

Valentine’s day . . .  pooh

Did you know chocolate has been linked to lower rates of heart disease and stroke?  You would think that my humans would want me to have a healthy heart.

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Poet

  I sit alone, no valentines, no candy, no cake.  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.

___________________________________________________

Find out how:

Sugar Increases the “happiness” neurotransmitter serotonin.

Puffin & Scratch’n

(CNN) Perhaps puffins aren’t as bird-brained as previously believed.

“A team of animal experts observed two Atlantic puffins, more than 1,000 miles apart, spontaneously scratching themselves with sticks — the first time wild seabirds have been spotted using tools, according to new findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .
It’s exciting for a few reasons, author Annette Fayet said: It could mean wild birds are capable of using tools and have a reason to use them. Animals who use tools typically have higher cognitive abilities.
What’s more, the birds exhibited the same behavior on different islands — so while it may be rare for the swollen-chested birds to scratch themselves with branches, the behavior isn’t restricted to a single population.”

An itch their beaks couldn’t scratch

Researchers observed two puffins — one in Wales, one on an Icelandic island (where researchers planted a camera) — using a stick to scratch themselves.
In footage from Iceland, a puffin toddles toward the camera, picks up a stick in its beak, then reaches under its chest to scratch itself with the tiny branch.

The Icelandic puffin dropped its stick to pick up grass and feathers to line its nest. Pointy sticks, while good for a scratch, do not make suitable bedding for persnickety puffins.

The authors aren’t sure just why the puffins picked up sticks, though they assume it needed to knock off seabird ticks that plague coastal populations. Perhaps the branch was a more effective removal method than its beak.”

Stick scratching is the second type of tool use in birds

“The study rules out any doubt that the birds were merely building nests — puffins are particular, and prefer lining their burrows with softer materials, like grass and feathers. The footage shows the puffin in Iceland collecting both.
The stick it used to scratch its chest, meanwhile, remains on the grass, right where the puffin dropped it.
Animals use tools for a few reasons, researchers noted, mainly to feed. It’s not uncommon for some creatures to maintain themselves using tools, like chimpanzees that groom or wipe themselves with natural objects and captive parrots that scratch with sticks.”
The puffins’ scratching is only the second type of tool use related to body care spotted in wild birds — the first is “anting,” when birds smear ants all over their plumage to fight parasites.
“Our observations alone cannot solve the puzzle of the evolution of animal tool use,” Fayet told CNN. “Many more species may also be using tools, but we simply haven’t observed them yet.”

Fiona the Hippo – Cute comes in ALL sizes and shapes

We’re so blessed to coexist

with creatures hard to resist

Hip Hip Hooray

It’s Fiona’s Birthday!

Fiona was born at the Cincinnati Zoo six weeks premature, weighing only 29 pounds. She is the smallest hippo to survive, according to the zoo. Since then, Fiona has captured the attention and love of people all over the world.
Now a mighty animal weighing 1,300 pounds, Fiona marks another year of spreading joy to everyone she meets.
In celebration of Fiona’s birthday, the zoo gave her a bubble bath and a healthy birthday cake made of fruits and veggies. Fiona and her hippo pals shared the cake.
Businesses all over Cincinnati also celebrated the birthday, selling Fiona-themed beer, ice cream bowls, T-shirts, coffee and more.

Frankly Freddie’s early Valentine Greeting

Roses are red
violets are blue
sugar is sweet
but I wouldn’t know

So send me treats

I can eats

bananas, apples and meats

Every year I protest that I’m the only one who doesn’t get to eat chocolate. I’m told that if I eat chocolate I could die but I suspect that is my human’s ploy to keep it all to herself. When I want a cookie she says sugar causes inflammation. She said she read it on the internet but it undoubtedly is an Urban Myth.

Get your Sweetie a USEFUL Valentine!

Click here!  https://CURIOUStotheMAX Zazzle Store

 

Valentine’s Day collection

The Hope for Peace & a Prayer

Every morning I say Baha’i prayers which include family, friends, those who have passed.  I know there is war, violence, inhumane actions in all parts this world – on personal levels, small scales and large.  The current escalation between the United States and Iran, however, triggered the anxiety I felt as a child during the cold war between The USA and Russia. (jw)

  Several months ago I began including this prayer:

O God!  Let his American democracy become glorious in spiritual degrees even as it has aspired to material degrees, and render victorious a JUST government.  Confirm this revered nation to upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity, to promulgate the Most Great Peace, to become thereby most glorious and praiseworthy among all the nations of the world.

You can change it in any way that fits your own thoughts, feelings and country.  The full prayer is on The HeART of Spirituality where is also a selection of  Christian, Jewish, Native American, Hindu, Jainist, Native American, Muslim, Sufi, Zoroastrian etc. prayers

Click here to find the prayer that best speaks to you:

Prayers for Humanity & Peace

Also see: Frankly Freddie – Guide to World Peace & Goodwill toward All

How to keep my New Year’s resolution, and yours too –  (parenthetically speaking)

(I never make New Year’s resolutions because NEVER is how I keep them.  However, I’m rethinking it this year to resolve to eat healthier based on these tips.)

1. Know who you are . . . and who you’re not

“Do the activities that make you who you want to be rather than just focusing on your goals. Decide the type of person you want to be: A healthy person? A strong person? A writer? A musician?
Then prove it to yourself with small wins over time: Gym classes, writing, practicing . . . Every time you do something toward the goal of you who want to be, tell yourself that you are becoming that person.
(I want to be healthier . . . healthy might be a bit too big a stretch.  And because food is medicine I want to eat healthier)

2.  Make it something you like or enjoy.  

(no problem – I LOVE to eat)

Avoid resolutions that sound great but are unattainable. Make them them something you will enjoy. They can still be hard, but that doesn’t mean they have to make you miserable.

3.  Make it specific
Resolution idea: Eat an apple every day for lunch or snack.
Resolution idea: Have one donut on Saturdays for breakfast
Eating better and exercising more are all nice ideas, but they’re too general and don’t give you a plan of action. People often think they lack motivation when the problem is really a lack of clarity.
“The simple way to apply this strategy to your habits is to fill out this sentence:

I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION],”

(I’ WILL keep a bowl of fruit on the counter and cut-up vegetables in the refrigerator.  I DO NOT ENJOY chopping vegetables so I’ll buy them already cut-up.

When I want to eat my go-to sugar with a side of carbohydrates I WILL EAT A PIECE OF FRUIT OR VEGETABLE.)

8 x 8 inch canvas – very small fruit by judy

4. Change it up. Swap it out. Write your own rules
Instead of one year-long resolution set yourself monthly micro-resolutions.

(I might have to break it down into weekly . . . or daily . . . maybe hourly resolutions since I eat all day and all night)

5.  Start Small
(I’m going to eat small pieces of healthy fruit and vegetables).

6.  Allow yourself to fail

“Everyone screws up. Expect to have occasional slips. But don’t let the occasional missed exercise class or donut throw you off course. Most successful resolvers slip in January, but 71% of successful resolvers say their first slip strengthened their efforts through a combination of guilt, increasing awareness of their problem’s severity, and the slip reminding them to refine their plans.”  (Who ARE these people?)

And if you do slip? Focus on getting back on track, not the slip. “The people who show more compassion for themselves are more likely to get back on the horse and try again.”  (This might be a problem since I show compassion for myself by eating sweets.)

7.  Set yourself up for success

(Since I want to “limit” sweets I must get them out of the house. I resolve: I WILL give them a stern talking to EVERY TIME they appear so they know they should leave.)

8.  Make it public
(I just did)

“If you’re surrounded by supportive friends and family, making your goals public and asking for accountability can help. So can joining a gym with friendly competition or a group.”

(Probably the key to my past failures at keeping resolutions starts with the fact I prove myself right by thinking I can’t/won’t keep my resolve.)

“Think you can’t do it, you’ll likely prove yourself right.  But if you believe in yourself, you are 10 times more likely to change via a New Year’s resolution, compared to non-resolvers, when both groups have comparable goals and motivation”.*

*University of Scranton psychology professor John C. Norcross, who has studied resolutions for decades.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/01/health/keeping-new-years-resolutions-wellness/index.html

“Eat in” the New Year with Old World Food

As the new year arrives around the globe, special cakes and breads abound. The particulars vary, but the general theme is the same:

Share food and drink with family and friends to usher in a year of prosperity!

1. Hoppin’ John, American South

Field peas or black-eyed peas are the base for Hoppin' John.

Field peas or black-eyed peas are the base for Hoppin’ John.
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

In the American South, Hoppin’ John said to bring good luck in the new year:

  • pork-flavored field peas or black-eyed peas (symbolizing coins) and rice
  • served with collards or other cooked greens (the color of money) and
  • cornbread (the color of gold).

Different folklore traces the history and the name of this meal, but the current dish has its roots in African and West Indian traditions and was most likely brought over by slaves to North America. A recipe for Hoppin’ John appears as early as 1847 in Sarah Rutledge’s “The Carolina Housewife” and has been reinterpreted over the centuries by home and professional chefs.

2. Twelve grapes, Spain 

In Spain, they bring in the new year with 12 grapes. The tradition has spread to many Spanish-speaking countries.
In Spain, they bring in the new year with 12 grapes.
JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images
The people of Spain watch the broadcast from Puerta del Sol in Madrid, where revelers gather in front of the square’s clock tower to ring in the New Year.
Those out in the square and those watching at home partake in an unusual annual tradition: At the stroke of midnight, they eat one grape for every toll of the clock bell. Some even prep their grapes — peeling and seeding them — to make sure they will be as efficient as possible when midnight comes.
The custom began at the turn of the 20th century and was purportedly thought up by grape producers in the southern part of the country with a bumper crop. Since then, the tradition has spread to many Spanish-speaking nations.

3. Tamales, Mexico

Tamales get special attention in Mexico during the holiday season.

Tamales get special attention in Mexico during the holiday season.
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock
Tamales, corn dough stuffed with meat, cheese and other delicious additions and wrapped in a banana leaf or a corn husk, make appearances at pretty much every special occasion in Mexico. But the holiday season is an especially favored time for the food.
In many families, groups of women gather together to make hundreds of the little packets — with each person in charge of one aspect of the cooking process — to hand out to friends, family and neighbors. On New Year’s, it’s often served with menudo, a tripe and hominy soup that is famously good for hangovers.

4. Oliebollen, Netherlands

An oliebol is a doughnut-like product, traditionally made and consumed in the Netherlands during the New Year's celebrations.

An oliebol is a doughnut-like product, traditionally made and consumed in the Netherlands
BAS CZERWINSKI/AFP/Getty Images
In the Netherlands, fried oil balls, or oliebollen, are sold by street carts and are traditionally consumed on New Year’s Eve and at special celebratory fairs. They are doughnut-like dumplings, made by dropping a scoop of dough spiked with currants or raisins into a deep fryer and then dusted with powdered sugar.
In Amsterdam, be on the lookout for Oliebollenkraams, little temporary shacks or trailers on the street selling packets of hot fried oliebollen.

5. Marzipanschwein or Glücksschwein, Austria and Germany

Fresh marzipan made in the shape of little pigges.

Fresh marzipan made in the shape of little pigges.
PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
Austria and its neighbor Germany call New Year’s Eve Sylvesterabend, or the eve of Saint Sylvester. Austrian revelers drink a red wine punch with cinnamon and spices, eat suckling pig for dinner and decorate the table with little pigs made of marzipan, called marzipanschwein.
Good luck pigs, or Glücksschwein, which are made of all sorts of things, are also common gifts throughout both Austria and Germany.
Vienna bakeries this time of year will be filled with a variety of pig-shaped sweets: Champagne truffles, marzipan and chocolate in a variety of sizes.

6. Soba noodles, Japan

Many Japanese slurp down bowls of delicious Soba noodles to welcome the new year.

Many Japanese slurp down bowls of delicious Soba noodles to welcome the new year.
Nishihama/Shutterstock
In Japanese households, families eat buckwheat soba noodles, or toshikoshi soba, at midnight on New Year’s Eve to bid farewell to the year gone by and welcome the year to come. The tradition dates back to the 17th century, and the long noodles symbolize longevity and prosperity.
In another custom called mochitsuki, friends and family spend the day before New Year’s pounding mochi rice cakes. Sweet, glutinous rice is washed, soaked, steamed and pounded into a smooth mass. Then guests take turns pinching off pieces to make into small buns that are later eaten for dessert.

7. King cake, around the globe

The French do enjoy their galette des rois.

The French enjoy their galette des rois.
margouillat photo/Shutterstock
The tradition of a New Year’s cake is one that spans countless cultures:
  • Greeks have the Vasilopita
  • French the gateau or galette des rois
  • Mexicans have the Rosca de Reyes
  • Bulgarians enjoy the banitsa.
Most of the cakes are consumed at midnight on New Year’s Eve — though some cultures cut their cake on Christmas or the Epiphany, January 6 — and include a hidden gold coin or figure, which symbolizes a prosperous year for whomever finds it in their slice.

8. Cotechino con lenticchie, Italy

Cotechino con lenticchie is the yummy Italian pairing of sausage and lentils.

Cotechino con lenticchie is the yummy Italian pairing of sausage and lentils.
barbajones/Shutterstock
Italians celebrate New Year’s Eve with La Festa di San Silvestro, often commencing with a traditional cotechino con lenticchie, a sausage and lentil stew that is said to bring good luck (the lentils represent money and good fortune) and, in certain households, zampone, a stuffed pig’s trotter.
The meal ends with chiacchiere — balls of fried dough that are rolled in honey and powdered sugar — and prosecco. 

9. Pickled herring, Poland and Scandinavia

Rolled herring in vinegar, served with onions and pickles.

Rolled herring in vinegar, served with onions and pickles.
gkrphoto/Shutterstock
Because herring is in abundance in Poland and parts of Scandinavia and because of their silver coloring, many in those nations eat pickled herring at the stroke of midnight to bring a year of prosperity and bounty. Some eat pickled herring in cream sauce while others have it with onions.
One special Polish New Year’s Eve preparation of pickled herring, called Sledzie Marynowane, is made by soaking whole salt herrings in water for 24 hours and then layering them in a jar with onions, allspice, sugar and white vinegar.
Scandinavians will often include herring in a larger midnight smorgasbord with smoked and pickled fish, pate and meatballs.

10. Kransekage, Denmark and Norway

This is a traditional Norwegian marzipan ring cake.

This is a traditional Norwegian marzipan ring cake.
V. Belov/Shutterstock/Shutterstock / V. Belov
Kransekage, literally wreath cake, is a cake tower composed of many concentric rings of cake layered atop one another, and they are made for New Year’s Eve and other special occasions in Denmark and Norway.
The cake is made using marzipan, often with a bottle of wine or Aquavit in the center and can be decorated with ornaments, flags and crackers.
Those who can’t make it to Copenhagen for Danish treats should check out Larsen’s Danish Bakery in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. They have a long-running mail-order business to accommodate kransekage lovers across the country and carefully pack each ring on the tower individually for easy assembly right before your New Year’s Eve feast.

Here’s to a delicious New Year!

Frankly Freddie – A man for ALL seasons (and a calendar too)

Santa CLAUStrophobia:

Fear of fly-by night men who are partial to the color red, use environmentally appropriate transportation and make their employees wear pointy shoes.

This phobia is often triggered by anticipation of shoveling snow and spending time with relatives in closed quarters.   It is characterized by over-spending, over-indulging, delusions of family harmony, leaving cookies and milk out to spoil and . . .  lying to children.

Have a HUMAN(E) Christmas!

Lickingly LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL,

Freddie

P.S.  My Humans say to tell you to have a DOG-GONE

Merry Christmas AND . . .

buy EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT MEN I LEARNED FROM MY CAT 2020 Calendar

It’s the purrrrfect mini size –  6 3/4″ w x 5 1/4″ H

Remember 50% goes to

The Gentle Barn Charity!

Click HERE to get your 2020  mini calendar

Click HERE to get your calendar

Sneak Peek into my Mixed-up . . . media life

Because of my limited energy and never ending search for whimsey I took one of Carla Sonheim’s on-line classes The Painting Techniques of Anne Marie Grgich (Portraits).   Carla is one of our Well Done Women and her classes are filled with experimentation and whimsey.  This one didn’t disappoint.

3 paintings – Mixed media, acrylic paint, collage, markers, pens, pencils, crayons, scratching, scrawling, smushing, doting and dabbing . . .

Anne Marie encourages working fast, loose and intuitively . . . my kinda artist!  She described her technique like frosting a cake – layers upon layers of media building the surface with color and texture. 

We were to work on 6 portraits and keep moving spontaneously between all six.  My work space (concentration & energy) was limited so I did three.

judy

 

 

 

Abdu’l-Bahá writes: “If religion is opposed to reason and science, faith is impossible; and when faith and confidence in the divine religion are not manifest in the heart, there can be no spiritual attainment.5

To have faith is not merely “to know” the truth. True faith is conscious knowledge expressed in action. Bahá’u’lláh states that “The essence of faith is fewness of words and abundance of deeds…6 On the same subject, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá writes: “it is first ‘to know’ and then ‘to do’.

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Rats Taught How to Drive Tiny Cars (Parenthetically Speaking)

Rats can learn the complex task of navigating a rodent-operated vehicle (ROV) to a desired area, according to new research from the University of Richmond.  (They are not allowed in car-pool lanes which require 2 or more rodents per vehicle)

Dogs don’t need to drive, they have their meals delivered — click here!

A team of behavioral neuroscientists led by University of Richmond’s Professor Kelly Lambert taught rats how to drive specially-designed ROVs.

“The driver compartment of the ROV was a plastic container with an aluminum floor plate and cut out windows spanned by copper bars,” they explained.  (Kinda like a Kia or Fiat?)

“The ROV was designed so that the rat could move the car by touching or grabbing a bar and stop movement by releasing contact.” (No self-driving technology?)

The research involved five young adult male rats (Female rats don’t need enrichment to learn) that had lived in an enriched environment (i.e., environment with interesting objects to interact with) for four months and six control rats raised in standard laboratory housing.

Driving training began when the animals were approximately 5 months of age.  (Legal rat-age to acquire learner permits)

Compared to standard-housed rats, enriched-housed rats demonstrated more robust learning in driving performance. (It’s long been known that standard-house-wives need enrichment too.)

“We found that rats housed in a complex, enriched environment learned the driving task, but rats housed in standard laboratory cages had problems learning the task (i.e., they failed their driving test),” Professor Lambert said.

“That means the complex environment led to more behavioral flexibility and neuroplasticity.”

“Among other outcomes, the research could help scientists better understand the effects of Parkinson’s disease

(The next time you see a rat driving erratically, smile.  They’ve learned how to escape from the lab and go joy riding.)

Freddie’s JOY RIDE – Dog  Driving Bowl – Buy it here on Zazzle! 

Remember, a Dog’s Share of proceeds go to The Gentle Barn Animal Rescue Charity

The Gentle Barn

Teaching People Kindness and Compassion to Animals, Each Other and our Planet.

http://www.sci-news.com/othersciences/psychology/rats-drive-cars-07731.html

paper describing the research was published October 16, 2019 in the journal Behavioural Brain Research.

 

Sneeeek Peeek – Painting my way to THIN

On doctor’s “orders” I’ve been struggling to lose weight.  The biggest problem I’ve discovered is swallowing.  Now that art classes have resumed I think I’ve solved the “swallowing problem” . . . I’m painting . . .

APPETIZER

MAIN COURSE

DESSERT

Haven’t gained a single pound . . . So far so good . . .

judy

Ode to Tom

A Turkey’s Tail

by Freddie

His story is such, so they say

Waking at dawn

he’d peck at the lawn,

searching for bugs,

nibbling on slugs

of which he was particularly fond.

Then a Thanksgiving day, out of the blue

Gobbledy gobbledy gone.

So if  YOU took Tom from off his farm

in the middle of the night

please give him due thanks

for gracing your table.  (It’s  fitting and right).

And for all the bugs and many slugs

which make him an organic delight

Dear Human Beings,

  1. I am thankful that I was not born in places that eat dogs.
  2. I am thankful you are all my best friends and fans.

 

P.S.  I was told to tell you my Human wishes that you things to be grateful for in your life, like me for example.

Don’t ignore this turkey tip!

It’s THAT time of year again for “Cooking with Judy”  Here’s my yearly Thanksgiving post — cuz it’s tooooo good not to be shared!  

img_00131 I have a reputation, among those who know me,  to have an “interesting” sense of humor.  Even though How to Cook A Turkey with 500 degree heat sounds like a joke IT IS NO JOKE.

The turkey comes out brown, beautiful and MOIST.   I’ve done this every year for over three decades and it’s never failed. 
All the people who have tried it do it again and again. . . except for the woman bought a ButterBall Turkey* . . . to see why, keep reading.
 
Ingredients:
10 – 18 pound turkey* and a sense of adventure
 
Directions:
  • Pre Heat oven 500 degrees (this is not a typo)
  • Clean the bird
  • Throw it into a covered container – put on lid or aluminum foil
  • Do not add ANYTHING to the pot and/or the bird.
  • Do NOT baste or look at until time is up  (you will hear burbling, don’t worry, by the time you hear burbling the turkey is dead)
  • Bake (and I do mean BAKE), 7 minutes per pound, unstuffed at 500 degrees FARENHEIT
  • 7 1/2 minutes per pound, stuffed
*WARNING: Do NOT buy any *turkey that has ANYTHING injected under the skin (especially butter!) or the fire department will join you for dinner after you scrub the black soot from your ceiling.
Q & A (I won’t bother you with the Q-part)
  • Yes, it comes out brown and beautiful.
  • No, it is moist and delicious
  • I always put the stuffing in a casserole rather than the turkey – others have stuffed the bird and said it was great.
  • Yes, it will smell like Thanksgiving not like a house-on-fire.
  • No, PETA would not endorse this because it is more humane . . . for the cook
  • Yes! 500 degrees.  It is not a typo
  • Yes, 7 minutes a pound
P.S.  A typical turkey will take a little over 1 hour to bake. The first year I made the turkey this way I had the critter sitting out raw and naked as a J-bird when the guests arrived.
When they found out nothing was in the oven everyone nervously inquired what time we were going to eat.
Made me smile.

 

PEM’s and PEM – How I try to cope

Peggy loves to use multiple exclamation marks when she writes. Probably to her chagrin, I edit them out. I refer to it as PEM’s or “Peggy Exclamation Marks”.

One of the reasons I retired was after seeing clients I was exhausted for days.  Because I felt fine when I was in session I largely ignored crashing afterwards.  Besides I was used to feeling exhausted socializing, exercising or even taking a shower.  

Having been diagnosed with fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue in 1996 I am relatively well versed in research, symptoms and treatment.  However, I just recently came across the term PEM!  I did a double take.

Turns out that, in relation to chronic fatigue and fibro, PEM stands for Post-Exertional Malaise and has nothing to do with Peggy’s excitement.  I was gobsmacked to find a name for what I thought was just a weird reaction, I alone had, to anything stressful, whether positive or negative.

This is how “gobsmacked” looks

How do I explain that I dread taking a shower because it fatigues me.  How do I tell friends I don’t want to get together because “they” exhaust me?  I constantly evaluate cost/benefit of whether any activity is worth hours or days of exhaustion afterwards.

It’s a relief to put a name to my experience:

“Post-exertional malaise (PEM) is the worsening of symptoms following even minor physical or mental exertion, with symptoms typically worsening 12 to 48 hours after activity and lasting for days or even weeks. PEM can be mitigated by activity management (pacing). The goal is to avoid PEM flare-ups and illness relapses by balancing rest and activity.” CDC.gov

Some of my coping mechanisms.  

  • I avoid telephone conversation.  E-mail is one-way – my pace, my time and not as energy depleting as two-way conversations.
  • I watch lots of Hallmark TV moviesthere’s always a happy ending.  Any violence or tension sends my brain into over-drive.  
  • I eat constantly Food gives us energy.  So far all it’s given me is a roll of fat around my middle.
  • I live vicariously through friends and fellow bloggers who travel to far away places. I daydream of moving to live in another country.  My day dream always includes a villa in Southern France with servants. 
  • I try to find humor in life . . . “try” being the operant word.  
  • I never take a daily shower.  I figure the sweat will help the dirt roll off.
  • I take 3 hour naps immediately after I wake up in the morning.

Now I know why I edit out PEM’s (the Peggy kind).  Exclamation is exhausting . . .

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don’t let her kid you, Judy is very successful at finding humor in life, to the delight of us all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Peggy

I’m so disappointed

When I was in grade school we did “duck ‘n cover” drills. Ducking under a desk and covering your head was suppose to protect us from an atomic bomb drop. It was the height of the cold war between the United States and Russia.

I lived in Phoenix Arizona which was a small (by today’s standards) city surrounded by miles and miles of uninhabitable dessert where many alien spacecraft had been observed.
I prayed that the aliens would land and the entire world would then, out of necessity, come together in solidarity to protect the planet.

Alien Baby, by judy – acrylic on cardboard box

“Weird space object ‘Oumuamua’ was not an alien spacecraft after all, scientists say. The 1/4-mile long rock was first spotted in October 2017 by astronomers peering through a telescope atop Mount Haleakala in Maui, Hawaii. In the weeks after that, other ground-based telescopes around the world and space-based telescopes in orbit continued to monitor Oumuamua (Hawaiian for “scout” or “messenger”) as it zipped through the solar system at about 85,700 mph.”

There was also wild speculation that it came from an alien civilization.

“After a fairly exhaustive search, scientists couldn’t find any artificial radio signals coming from the interstellar objet known as Oumuamua.”

“The alien spacecraft hypothesis is a fun idea, but our analysis suggests there is a whole host of natural phenomena that could explain it,” said Matthew Knight, the study lead author from the University of Maryland, in a news release.

‘”While Oumuamua’s interstellar origin makes it unique, many of its other properties are perfectly consistent with objects in our own solar system,” said study co-author Robert Jedicke of the University of Hawaii. In fact, Oumuamua’s orbit, its path through our solar system, matches a prediction published in a scientific journal by Jedicke and his colleagues six months before Oumuamua’s discovery.”

One theory is that the object could have been ejected by a gas giant planet orbiting another star.

“Even though we know it’s a natural phenomenon, “we have never seen anything like Oumuamua in our solar system,” Knight said. “It’s really a mystery still,” he said.”

Decades later “duck ‘n cover” has been replaced by “lock down drills” for shooters.  The aliens are still waiting for us to figure out how to come together without their help.

judy

The new study was published in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature Astronomy.

Frankly Freddie – CAPTIONIt! #9 & 10 and the WINNERS #7 #8

Dear Freddie Fans,

Create a Caption and I’ll post them to share with all my fans.

To get you started, check out CAPTIONit!  Part I  and CAPTIONit! Part 6 or 7 or . . .?

#9

#10

    *     *     *     *

The WINNING captions from my  And as you know by now, your prize is MY delight receiving entries and YOUR WORLD blogging fame.


#7, The WINNER!!! Shari B-P 

“Left foot, left foot, can’t you tell your left from your right?”


 #8, The WINNER!!! –Joyce K.

Prisoner of Love

Shari, Joyce, human-beings,

You are currently my favorite winners!  Thank you from the bottom of my treat container,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Humor Editor

 

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