The NEUROSCIENCE OF ZOMBIES & another “Z”

Send a Friend Zombie Cat

Remember! 50% of profits from the CURIOUStotheMAX Zazzle sales is donated to:

The Gentle Barn*

Click here for zombie cat card

 Send Witchy Friends to your friend!

Click here for Witchy Friendship card

Click here for Which Witch is Which kitchen towel

Click for ALL our Halloween items

Featuring, CURIOUS CRITTERS, Witchy Witches to create

a SMILE-A-WEEN for someone you know.

*“The Gentle Barn rescues animals from severe abuse and neglect who are too old, sick, lame, or scared to be adopted into homes. We are sanctuary to horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, llamas, peacocks, emus, cats and dogs.”

Once rehabilitated, the animals help us give hope and inspiration to children with the same stories:

At Risk Youth 

Special Needs Children

Educational Programs

Click here to visit our CURIOUStotheMAX Zazzle Store

There’s MORE in STORE!

 

Don’t despair If you missed the live “Hamilton” stage show

Lucy never is at a loss for creative projects.  Hamilton has captured her imagination.  She created hair do’s out of magic clay that fit her Lego Hamilton characters, and made them a stage. She is currently making a hotel for the Lego cast to stay in when they go to New York to perform.

Lucy* and Lego present:

HAMILTON in all it’s glory

“Alexander Hamilton.
My name is Alexander Hamilton.
And there’s a million things I haven’t done.
But just you wait, just you, wait.”

Hamilton was primary author of the Federalist Papers, one of the founding fathers of the United States, the founder of the nation’s financial system and first US Treasury Secretary.  He worked closely with George Washington.

“I’m a general, whee”

Charles Lee

Charles Lee  served as a general in the Continental army during the American Revolutionary War

Philip and Eliza with piano

Eliza was Hamilton’s wife.  Philip, his son, was killed in a duel (before Hamilton was).

“Don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for
You can’t be serious
You wanna get ahead?
Yes
Fools who run their mouths off wind up dead”

Aaron Burr

Aaron Burr, another founding father of the United States.  His role in developing the nation was a bit overshadowed when he killed Hamilton in a duel.

Spinning piece on stage

Stage with lift in back to raise actors

“Hey yo, I’m just like my country

I’m young, scrappy and hungry

And I’m not throwing away my shot”

“We are outgunned
Outmanned
Outnumbered, outplanned
We’re gonna need an allot stand
Ayo, I’m gonna need a right-hand man”
George Washington
“‘Cause when push comes to shove
I will kill your friends and family to remind you of my love
Da da da dat da dat da da da da ya da”
King George 

Sneek a Peek into my journal & my HeART of Chronic Conditions (including life)

The best I can describe my “condition” is feeling like a sandy beach being worn away by unrelenting waves and occasional pounding storms.

Fibromyalgia/Chronic fatigue is said to not be life threatening only life altering,  Flares come and go, exhaustion is ever present.  Describing the pain is difficult but sharp pressure anywhere on my body hurts. I’m just reporting, not complaining, (although I’ve been known to moan & groan) .

A WHOLE HOLE, judy’s visual journal

I was blessed in my first forty plus years with relatively good health.  In 1995 that changed for me with the diagnosis of fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue.  I admit it’s been a struggle trying to ignore, over-ride or giving in to the daily fatigue, pain and various other “irritants”.  The older I get the harder it’s been.  

In public I look fine and only those who intimately know me would know if I were feeling exhausted, in pain or depressed.  When I’m feeling particularly bad no one knows as I shelter in place – stay home and lick my wounds.  Any contact, even a phone call, can feel overwhelming.  Weirdly, having to isolate at home during the pandemic has been a relief.

Black-eyed Anger, collage by judy

CURIOUStotheMAX blog has been my in-home companion:  A way to connect to the world and my incredibly understanding friends while expending minimal energy;  posts that remind me to eat better, be grateful, and most of all Peggy and her delightful drawings that make me smile.  

My Baha’i faith, above all, is what sustain me.   Even on my worst days my question is never “Why me?”.  I ask God for guidance, the wisdom to understand that guidance and the where-with-all to carry it out . . . one day at a time . . . sometimes one hour at a time.

The Eye of Grace, judy’s visual journal

I learned early on that each of us, in ways large and small, carry physical or emotional pain.  Each of us searches, longs for answers, respite and meaning.

Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity.

Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face.

Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge.”

The Baha’i World Faith)

Check out this way of giving – POUR for POVERTY

This post first appeared on MaxYourMind. Click here to see more 

Chocolate Rides Again

Yaaaaaa hoooooooooo.  Yet another reason to indulge.  A new study to support your . . .  er . . .  my . . . chocolate cravings. 

Adding a little dark chocolate to a training diet may effortlessly improve endurance performance.  The findings provide ammunition both for athletes looking for an edge (and those of us wanting to improve our eating performance).

Woofer on recumbent bike

Eight male recreational cyclists who agreed, in the interests of science (yeh sure . . . science . . .), to swallow a little dark chocolate every day. Without going into the details of the study, here are the findings:

“Each of the cyclists performed better in most of the physical tests after two weeks of supplementing with dark chocolate, compared to baseline results and after they had eaten white chocolate. The riders utilized less oxygen to ride at a moderate pace, a change that would generally allow them to ride longer or harder before tiring; and they covered more distance during a two-minute, all-out time trial, meaning that their anaerobic, sprinting ability had been enhanced.”

“Most of this research has focused on the role of a substance called epicatechin, a plant nutrient found in cocoa. Dark chocolate is generally rich in epicatechin, though levels vary, depending on how the sweet was produced.”

Levels of epicatechin tend to be much lower in milk chocolate, which contains little cocoa, and white chocolate contains little or none of the nutrient. (Fine by me, since I do NOT consider any white food to be chocolate.)

“Epicatechin is known to prompt cells that line blood vessels to release extra nitric oxide, a substance that has multiple effects in the body. Nitric oxide slightly increases vasodilation, or a widening of the veins and arteries, improving blood flow and cardiac function. It also gooses muscle cells to take in more blood sugar, providing them with more energy, and it enhances the passage of oxygen into cells.”

“. . . scientists do not yet know the ideal dosage of dark chocolate for athletes, and that more than 40 grams is unlikely to be helpful” (those of us who are NOT athletes can eat more).

Read the entire article and click here:Chocolate Really can boost your workout. 

This post first appeared on MaxYourMind. Click here to see more posts like it.

Maui’s Mood Tips

There’s more than one way to . . . feel better

Get a new perspective. Climb a tree.

Get your feet wet. Literally.

Click here to learn how water lifts your mood

Click here to learn how sunshine lifts your mood

Play 

Click here to learn to lift your mood in 10 minutes

Play with whatever is at paw . . .  or hand.

Sneak Peek – charcoal, pastels, snacks & wine

Judy Formato collects people – from bus rides, parties, meetings and invites them to her “POP” gatherings – Painting on the Patio. A few years ago I met her collection of very talented and welcoming women who have been meeting for many years to paint, chat and share resources.

I experimented with my newly purchased pastels to color two of my quickie life drawing sketches. 

The afternoons were topped off with wine and snacks.  Judy served a verrrrry tasty egg plant dip that had zing from some delicious pepper sauce imported by the family fine Italian food company Formato Brothers.

Here are my “befores” and “afters”:

DSCN6651

“After” – pastel

Click here for card with this artwork

DSCN6610

“Before”, Charcoal – 1 minute sketch

DSCN6596

“Before”, Charcoal,  1 minute sketch

DSCN6650

“After”, pastel

Hmmmm . . . looks like they are all "afters" . . . after drinking

Hmmmm . . . looks like all the drawings are “afters” . . . afters drinking wine . . .

Do you want an easy and MEANINGFUL way to make a difference?

  • Macy is looking for a pen pal with interest in church, singing and playing checkers, because he is the current checkers champion.
  • Ms. Julie says she loves cats and crossword puzzles.
  • Ms. Edna is looking for someone to chat about her favorite show, “Family Feud”.
  • Roger is looking for a pen pal who likes Las Vegas and casino games.
  • Lenora, isn’t picky about what she is sent — she just wants to receive some mail.

Nearly four months into a strict no-visitor rule due to the coronavirus, an assisted living community in North Carolina tapped into the power of social media to get its residents connected with people from all over the world.

After reading this CNN report we thought it would interest some of our readers to take out a pen and address a card to brighten up someone’s life.  Isolation isn’t impacting only those at senior homes but many people around the world as the pandemic continues to change the way we are able to connect with each other.

Check out assisted living in your own area.  Our guess is they would be delighted to have cards sent, even one time, if you don’t want to be a pen pal.

“It has been mentally straining on them not to see family members and loved ones,” Meredith Seals, the chief operating officer of Victorian Senior Care, told CNN on Wednesday. “When you are used to having family there every day and then you can’t, it’s very lonely for them.”

“It only took one question for the post on Facebook to go viral: Will you be my pen pal?
Residents in the various Victorian Senior Care communities smiled for pictures while holding signs with their names and interests. Staff then shared the images on Facebook with the address of where to send the letters.”

“They are overcome with joy when they see the mail,” Seals said. “It’s good to bring people together as much as we can.”

Since this program started last week, mail and packages for residents have been received from all over the world including Germany, countries in Africa and New Zealand.
“We posted a world map in each facility and they are tracking where they are getting letters from,” she said.
She added that the residents are enjoying getting photos of pets and people. They are working to get a pen pal board added to each facility so residents can hang up pictures they get.”

Again . . .

. . . check out assisted living, in your own area.  Our guess is they would be delighted to have cards sent, even one time if you didn’t want to be a pen pal.

We’ve got a stash of cards in our Zazzle store.  Remember!  We donate half our proceeds to The Gentle Barn.

Here’s some samples:

Click here for quilt card 

 

Click here fo Cute Creatures Card

Click here for Mask Making card

 

Click here for Tree of Life card

Anyone can send mail to the residents. People can click through the images on the Victorian Senior Care Facebook page to select a pen pal, their addresses are in the captions.
For anyone having a hard time picking, the main office is collecting themed packages it will distribute to the appropriate residents. Seals asks that the sender write on the envelope what the theme is — for example, sports, veteran, dog, or crafts.

Those can be mailed to:
4270 Heath Dairy Road
Randleman NC 27317
Attn: VSCPenPals

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/01/us/assisted-living-pen-pals-north-carolina-trnd/index.html

Please SHARE THIS Post by sending this link http://judithwesterfield.com

to a friend, neighbor or relative who might be interested.

Everyday Habits (like lounging in the nude) that Reveal your Personality

The results are surprising. Example: Are you a prolific curser?  Defend your habit as a sign of your open-mindedness . . .

1. Greater conscientiousness was distinguished by:

  • Avoidance of various activities, including such innocuous pastimes as reading  (speculated that it may be seen by the highly conscientious as a leisure-time luxury), Swearing and Chewing on a pencil.
  • Wear a watch
  • Comb their hair
  • Polish their shoes

Agreeably Ironing Things Out by Peggy

2. People scoring high on agreeability said they spent more time:

  • Ironing,
  • Playing with children 
  • Washing the dishes presumably because their strong motivation to keep other people happy means they’d rather do the chores than have domestic acrimony.
  • More likely to sing in the shower or the car.

3. Neurotic people engaged more often in:

  • Activities and substances associated with helping reduce mental distress, such as taking more tranquilisers and anti-depressants.
  • Anti-social behaviours, such as losing their temper more often,
  • Making fun of others – perhaps because they struggle to keep their own emotions in check.

    4. Extraverts are more likely to ink themselves with tattoos

    • Wallow more in hot tubs
    • Spent more time planning parties
    • Drinking in bars
    • Discussing ways to make money
    • Talking on the phone while driving

    5. Open-mindedness went together with some obvious behaviors like:

    Open-minded by Peggy

  • Going to the opera
  • Smoking marijuana
  • Producing art
  • Swearing around others,
  • Lounging around the house with no clothes on. (To be precise, the highest scorers said they were about twice as likely to have sat around in the nude for more than 15 times in the past year, compared to the lowest scorers.)
  • Less likely to follow a sports team.

The serious side to this field of research is learning more about the harmful and unhealthy everyday behaviors linked to the different personality traits which then could contribute to better, more targeted health campaigns and interventions. 

*”The researchers, Benjamin Chapman at the University of Rochester and Lewis Goldberg at the Oregon Research Institute, profiled nearly 800 people in Oregon, USA, most of whom were white, and their average age was 51. The personality test asked participants to rate how accurately 100 different trait adjectives described their personalities, including words such as bashful, kind, neat, relaxed, moody, bright and artistic. The researchers then compared these personality test scores with the same participants’ answers, recorded four years later, to how often they had performed 400 different activities over the last year, from reading a book to singing in the shower.”

Here’s the entire article: Everyday Habits that Reveal our Personalities 

This post was originally published on MaxYourMind (peggy arndt.com). Click here to see other posts like it. 

How to Sleep Better: 6 cool cat tips & 4 human techniques

Did you know sleep isn’t for your body?  Sleep is for your brain.  When completely deprived of sleep, for only a few days, research shows that at best our immune system is depressed, we have trouble concentrating or processing information and at worst become paranoid and schizophrenic.

sleep-small

Maui, my cat, was a superb sleeper. No matter where I went in the house I found him stretched out. Whatever magically found its way to the floor (I certainly never put it there) I’d find him asleep on it – pillows, magazines, empty boxes, dirty clothes . . . new clothes. A particular comfy spot was in the middle of a pathway at the top or bottom of the stairs.

As far as I could tell Maui was never sleep deprived, paranoid or schizophrenic.

sleepfoot

Superbly Sleeping

Maui’s Tips for a Good Nights Sleep . . . for humans only

  1. Exercise every day but never just before bedtime. (Chasing things like children and dreams doesn’t count)
  2. Stay away from alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine (catnip is fine).
  3. Have a relaxing bedtime routine (stretch, turn in circles and always clean your paws and teeth).
  4. Keep the room temperature cool.  It helps us hibernate.
  5. Limit catnapping during the day to 10 minutes, 20 minutes max.  Any longer and your brain goes into deep sleep (and you’ll be a ornery cat when you wake up)
  6. Keep your bedtime consistent. 
  7. Don’t sleep all day and be up all night – it messes with your circadian rhythm.

Peggy’s Tips on Sleeping Well

  • Mind won’t shut off? Do a brain dump 30 minutes before bed. Write down your worries, things to do, random thoughts until your brain is empty. (takes about 3 days for this to work, but it works!)

  • Talk to your brain.  Assure your brain it can solve any problem or cope with difficulties much better when you are rested.  Your unconscious mind is always working and give you solutions while you sleep.

  • Get bright sunlight in the morning when you first wake up.  Go outside if you can.  Even if it is cloudy you get 3000 lumens vs 200 inside. (That’s a lot of lumens!)

  • Turn off cell phones, computers – anything that emits blue light.  It keeps the brain awake. 

Here’s a bonus tip to help you sleep well!!

Buy Guatemalan Worry Cats from the Greater Good Site  Charity Site

images

Handmade Guatemalan Worry Cats

 http://GreaterGood.com

Tell them your troubles and they’ll worry for you while you sleep!

Sleep even better knowing you’ve contributed to worthy causes.

This post first appeared on Max Your Mind. Click here to see more like it. 

There’s an Elephant in the Room – Self Isolation, Series ON!

If indeed you despair

Isolation needn’t be a bear

Find your own elephant  

 whose advice waxes eloquent

(not to mention relevant)

And if your friends are petulant

 please share!

We’re all about self-care

Click on each image to read Elph’s guidance

First Week of Self Isolation

Second Week of Self Isolation

Third Week of Self Isolation

 

 

 

The Elephant in the Room – Self Isolation, Knitting Us All Together

The Elephant Says:

Don’t just sit and stare

Let’s knit and prepare

Something warm to wear

Winter is near

and we may still be here . . . 

Week #1 The Elephant in the Room

Click here for : Self Isolation & Self Indulgence

Click here for:  Liven up your environment

Click here for: Self Isolation Selfies 

How to spend Week #2, The Elephant in the Room

Click here for: So, Sew Sew Sew

Click here for: Do it Up

Click here for: Self Isolation, Veg About

Click here to  Week #3

Click here for: Posing

 Click here for: Going out’a your mind purposely

Click here for : Dye Job

Elephant in the Room: It’s to dye for

Elephant says:

It’s a new day

time for a new do

a little color, a bit of spray

so the real you shines through

Click here for : The Elephant in the Room , Self Isolation and Self Indulgence

Click here for:  The Elephant in the Room, Liven up your environment

Click here for: The Elephant in the Room,Self Isolation Selfies 

 

The Elephant in the Room – Self Isolation: Veg About

The Elephant says:

Since it’s only us

Here’s our new plan

No need to cook

Eat out of the can.

Click here for: The Elephant in the Room,Self Isolation Selfies 

Click here for : The Elephant in the Room , Self Isolation and Self Indulgence

Click here for:  The Elephant in the Room, Liven up your environment

 

The Elephant in the Room – Self Isolation : Sooooo Sew Sew Sew

  The Elephants says:

As long as you’re sitting

Let’s make masks

Give back to others

Live up to the task

Click here for: The Elephant in the Room,Self Isolation Selfies 

Click here for : The Elephant in the Room , Self Isolation and Self Indulgence

Click here for:  The Elephant in the Room, Liven up your environment

The Elephant in the Room – Self Isolation: Do It Up

The Elephant says:

Hair’s turning grey

You’re no longer a pup

No need to be dowdy

Let’s gussy you up

Click here for: The Elephant in the Room,Self Isolation Selfies 

Click here for : The Elephant in the Room , Self Isolation and Self Indulgence

Click here for:  The Elephant in the Room, Liven up your environment

The Elephant in the Room – Self Isolation, Selfie Rumba

The Elephant says:

Take some selfies, send to friends

Show ’em you’re hip

Come on, let’s dance

Put on a dress

Get out of those pants

 

Click here for : The Elephant in the Room , Self Isolation and Self Indulgence

Click here for:  The Elephant in the Room, Liven up your environment

The Elephant in the Room – Self Isolation: Liven Up Your Environment

The Elephant says:

This room’s a bore

Let’s change up things

Bring in some pizzazzz

we’ll give it some zing

Trying LSD

LSD was rampant in the 1960’swhen I attended The University of California at Berkeley.  I was soooooo naive, having lived in Phoenix Arizona, all my life.  The first time I heard of LSD was at a party where I was told to be careful drinking the punch because it was spiked with “acid”.  I turned to my friend and questioned:  Hydrochloric?

I admit to “doing other substances“but was too afraid of LSD having seen people take “bad trips”.  But NOW I’m willing to give LSD a try, the Steve Chandler*way:

Laughing, Singing & Dancing

Since I can’t carry a tune and have 3 left feet LAUGHTER will be easy.

(jw)

*Steve Chandler, author of – “Reinventing Yourself” and “Fearless.”

How to activate your own Placebo to reduce Stress & Anxiety

In uncertain times we all need help to calm our fears so that our bodies are not flooded with stress hormones & neurochemicals.  

A placebo is NOT imaginary but creates biological changes in the brain that actually ease our symptoms and are very similar to the biological changes when we take drugs.

There are many DOCUMENTED placebo effects, depending on what we think a treatment is going to do for us. Examples:

  • Fake painkillerscause the release of natural painkillers in the brain called endorphinsand work through the same biochemical pathway that an opiod painkiller would work through.
  • A Parkinson’s patient takes a placebo they think is their Parkinson’s drug, they get a flood ofdopaminein the brain, which is exactly what you would see with the real drug.
  • Altitude sickness – someone at altitude inhales fake oxygen, there’s a reduction in prostaglandinswhich actually work to dilate blood vessels that cause many of the symptoms of altitude sickness.

Some explanations for the placebo effect 

Stress and anxiety— if we feel that we are in danger or under threat, the brain raises its sensitivity to symptoms like pain. Whereas, if we feel safe and cared for and things are going to get better soon, we relax and are not so alert to symptoms.

Physiological mechanisms like conditioning*   We can all be conditioned to have physiological responses to a stimulus, even immune responses. For example, take a pill that suppresses your immune system and on another occasion take a similar looking placebo pill, with no active drug, your body will mimic same immune response. Astonishingly, it doesn’t even matter if you know it’s a placebo.

Stress can rewire the brain — and create more stress

Like a muscle, the more you exercise any part the stronger it gets.

Brains are shaped by our thoughts and behaviors. Research shows your brain structure, neurochemical and electrical activity responds to and reflects how you think throughout your life.   For example: If you play a musical instrument, speak a second language, train for athletics for eight hours a day – the parts of your brain responsible for performing those activities gets more active and larger. 

If you’re thinking stressful thoughts for the whole day parts of the brain involved in the stress response get larger and other parts of the brain actually deteriorate.  Consequently, the very brain circuits we need to counter stress no longer work as well as they should.  

It’s not as simple as saying, “I’m going to change how I think now. I’m not feeling stressed.” It takes a long time to change your brain. 

In the middle of your face – your personal placebo “pill”

When stressed, the brain influences your body AND the body influences your brain.  The stress response speeds up your breathing to pump more oxygen when your brain perceives danger, either real or imaginary.  If you deliberately speed up your breathing when not stressed you’ll start to feel more aroused and on edge.  The opposite is true: Slow your breathing down, forcing your body into a more relaxed state.  Your brain responds with more calming thoughts and feelings.

Condition your own calming response using your breath . . . salivating optional.

Click below to read two ways to slow your breathing down:

Decrease your Anxiety & Stress Increasing Immunity

Control your Anxiety: Easy, Fast, Effective and Square

* Ivan Pavlov, a physiologist, conditioned dogs so that whenever he gave them food he made a noise, like ring a bell.  Eventually the dogs associated the bell with their food and they would salivatejust to the sound of the bell.

 

 

 

https://www.npr.org/

A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant, PhD. in genetics and medical microbiology

How to Empty your Brain to Reduce Stress & Control Anxiety – Write On!

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

I’m not being overly dramatic as there is a body of research which shows that

simply putting pen to paper changes your brain to reduce anxiety & stress.

Write on! by Peggy

Easy Peasy Writing How-to

Choose a focus – a situation, feeling, thought and create a “topic Sentence”

If you can’t think of a specific begin with

 “When I ____________”,  Right this moment I am thinking . . . ” ,   “I am feeling . . .”,  

“I can’t think of anything to write because . . . “

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

  • Use a pen that writes smoothly and comfortable to your hand.  

Don’t use a keyboard since the act of writing with your hand is important.  Your small muscle movement is expressive (much like artistic expression, your handwriting is unique to you).  It doesn’t matter if it’s legible or beautiful as your hand movement registers with your brain in ways that tapping out letters on a keyboard do not.

  • Set a timer for approximately 20 minutes. It takes that long for your unconscious brain to push through your logical thinking processes.
  • Use a journal, a piece of paper, a brown bag- it doesn’t matter.
  • Start with your “topic sentence”,thought, feeling . . . just start. 
  • Write continuously for 20 minutes, never letting the pen stop. If your mind goes blank simply makes loop-d-loops with the pen until you have words to put down. Write quickly, spontaneously, intuitively. It doesn’t matter what you write just put down on paper where your mind takes you.
  • Do not be concerned about spelling, punctuation or grammar.
  • Do not be concerned if it doesn’t make sense.

Read  research: How Writing About Past FailuresMay Help You Succeed In The Present

 click here

How to reduce fear & anxiety in 30 seconds

Affect labeling—the act of naming one’s emotional state—helps blunt the immediate impact of negative feelings and begin the process of reducing stress.

Ina small study* of 30 subjects, researchers conducted a series of brain-imaging experiments in which participants were shown frightening faces and asked to choose a word that described the emotion on display. Labeling the fear-inducing object appeared to:

  • Reduce activity in the amygdala, the part of the brain in which the fight or flight reflex originates.
  • Increased activity in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, which is associated with vigilance and symbolic processing.
  • The brain’s perception of the images shifted from objects of fear to subjects of scrutiny.
  • Experientially, the fact that there is a name for what you’re going through means that other people have experienced it as well, which makes an overwhelming emotion feel less isolating.

How to “Affect label” 

30 seconds . . . as long as you don’t count the 15 minutes of moving.

*The University of California, Los Angeles. Study led by psychology professor Matthew Lieberman,

https://qz.com/989060/reduce-stress-and-anxiety-with-a-pen-and-this-simple-neuroscience-backed-trick/

Decrease your Anxiety & Stress Increasing Immunity

Diaphragmatic breathing is the best known and one of the most powerful breath exercises to reduce the stress response, get oxygen flowing to your brain and in your body.

If you’re constantly and chronically stressed out, sleep-deprived, malnourished, or dehydrated over time your immune function will weaken.

Longer, deeper breaths into your abdomen, slows your heart rate and activates the calming, parasympathetic nervous system. 

Inhale . . . . . . . . . . . Exhale. . . . . . .  by Judy

The most basic type of diaphragmatic breathing is done by inhaling through your nose and breathing out through your mouth.  However, exhaling through your nose allows you to do this in public places.

Here’s how:

  • Sit in a comfortable position or lie flat on the floor, your bed, or another comfortable, flat surface.

  • Relax your shoulders.

  • To feel your diaphragm move as you breathe place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your ribs on your stomach.

  • Take a slow, full breath in through your nose for about two seconds. Experience the air moving through your nostrils into your abdomen, making your stomach expand. During this type of breathing, make sure your stomach is moving outward while your chest remains relatively still.

(your hand below your ribs moves in and out with each breath).

  • Press gently on your stomach, and exhale slowly for about two seconds through your nose (or mouth) and tighten your diaphragm

(just like squeezing a lemon to get all the juice out)

  • The hand on your upper chest should remain as still as possible throughout.

Repeat these steps several times for best results.

It may take you a bit of effort at first to do this cuz it ain’t the usual way you breathe.

With continued practice, diaphragmatic breathing becomes easier, Easier, EASIER.

After you get the hang of it, you can practice diaphragmatic breathing  . . . without using your hand.  

 

 

 

ME, a Stress Case? . . . This Anxiety Reduction Technique is for YOU too

Judy’s Self Reflection

I’m not a worrier by nature but during the past weeks and all the uncertainty about Covid-19 spreading throughout the world plus the fact that I have underlying medical conditions (I’m not mentioning my age!)I have had trouble falling asleep.

Tossing and turning, it took me 2 hours to realize my entire body was tense.

I relaxed my muscles. They tensed up againI relaxed again.  Muscles from head to toe tensed up again and again as if I were a trained athlete who had practiced so many times my muscle memory was so strong practice was no longer needed.

Flashing before my eyes was every therapy session I’ve ever had with anyone who had anxiety, PTSD, was a caretaker, had a sick loved one, experienced loss of any kind, anticipated loss, was in pain or had a medical condition. . . .

I had explained the relaxation response so many times that I automatically recognized the stress response in others (others being the operant word).

I know that our brains automatically perceive danger in any emotional, physical or imagined threat and sends signals to our bodies to ready us to flee or fight off our enemy.  Muscle tension is needed for running like hell or slugging it out – now’s not the time to relax if you want to live.

The opposite of DANGER is SAFETY

I’ve taught one of the very best, easiest mind-body techniques that calms the brain hundreds, maybe thousands, of times.  It absolutely works and only took me an hour of tossing and turning to remember to use it myself.

Best of all it requires no Rx, no money, no time and you take it with you where ever you go.

Safe Signal Breath:

1. Take a deep breath through your nose.
2. Hold the breathfor just a moment
3. As you release the breath, through your nose, very gently, silently say: “Thank you brain, I’m safe.”(Be kind to your brain.  It’s just trying to keep you from being eaten alive.)

Sound too simple!?

Our brains are relatively simple in that brains can not tell the difference between when we are actually in danger (anxiety is our brain’s way of keeping us on alert for danger so we can survive) or when we imagine danger through thoughts or other cues.

Imagine a snake, a spider, anything that you are afraid of. Your brain will signal “danger! danger!” and flood your cells with the neurochemistry of fear.  Watch a sad movie and your brain will flood you with the neurochemistry of sadness and, if you are like me, sob like a baby.
So, tell your brain you are safe and it will stop the neurochemistry of fear and anxiety. 

It’s not instant cup’o’soup because once you are flooded with the anxious feeling it will take about 20 minutesor so for the neurochemistry to metabolize out of your body’s cells.  No matter how you FEEL keep giving your brain the “I’m Safe” cue.

Here’s the Key for Continual or Chronic Threats

Yoga, meditation, mindfulness prayer, listening to relaxation recordings all help. However, to break into a CHRONIC cycle you need to chronically signal your brain to stop sending the neurochemistry of the stress response to your body. Let your brain know that no one is throwing grenades at you, animals are not trying to eat you alive, you are SAFE.

Continually “Sprinkle” the Breath/I’m safe cue throughout the day and evening. It’s a good idea to get a cue(s) to remind yourself to do this. A post-it-note on the bathroom mirror, every time your phone rings, a note in your appointment book etc.

You HAVE to breathe anyway so you’ve got nothing to lose — except your stress response!

My Self Realization

I figured out that I had a legitimate reason to be anxious while virus swirl around the world looking for bodies to inhabit.

Control your stress & anxiety – Comfort Eating Actually Comforts

When I am a little stressed I want to eat – usually carbs – but if I am very stressed I lose my appetite. Peggy

I never lose my appetite because I’m an emotional eater – eat when I’m stressed, happy, bored . . .  From now on I’m calling it  “Comfort Eating” – it sounds less . . . emotional . . .  and  is a new area of research. Judy

For the second year in a row, just over a third of American adults reported eating “too much” or “unhealthy” food because of stress, according to an APA survey. Approximately 40 percent of people increase their eating when they’re stressed, 40 percent decrease their eating, and 20 percent stay the same. 

Dr. Janet Tomiyama has been trying to figure out if eating because of stress works for us.  Here is a summary of her findings:

  • Rats were given access to comfort food — usually Crisco mixed with sugar! 
  • Researchers then stressed them out
  • Over time, the comfort food actually dampened their stress hormones
  • Dampened down their brain’s responsivity to stress
  • Dampened down the signaling between the brain and the rest of the body, so they didn’t secrete as many stress hormones.

    CRISCO & sugar! At least they could have the decency to give us the cake under the frosting  . . .

We tend to be critical of people who eat because of stress BUT  “Not just psychologically, but also biologically — people who do a lot of comfort eating tend to show a reduced level of stress hormones and stress.”

What’s happening, according to Tomiyama:

  • “When you do anything that’s rewarding to you the reward parts of your brain light up — those parts of the brain can dampen down areas of your brain that are freaking out with negative emotion. And that’s why comfort foods tend to be foods that are high in sugar and fat. They’re really rewarding; they really do light up the reward centers of our brains.”
  • There’s also some work showing that when you do comfort eating, it builds up fat in your belly region and that fat pad sends a signal to your brain to decrease the amount of stress hormones that you’re producing. 
  • Then there’s conditioning. If throughout your whole life, you’ve paired stress relief with comfort foods over and over again, then soon enough, your body is going to automatically respond to eating these comfort foods with relaxation.

Many people have had the experience of being given comfort food to cheer us up as kids. Part of the comfort t then came from bing cared for but that became associated with the food, which now gives us comfort on its own.

“in addition to rodents, we also see comfort eating working in some non-human primate species as well. So my main take home from this is self-compassion: You’re not doing the comfort eating because you’re some sort of weak-willed human being; you’re biologically driven to do this. ” says Tomiyama.

What Tomiyama is trying to do now, is to see if healthy foods can also be comforting. Even in rat studies only unhealthy foods were used. Therein some data from surveys that say there are people who do use healthy foods for stress.

 “Nobody stress-eats strawberries, do they?”

Actually, strawberries might work she reports. Anything  sweet can dampen stress.

We’ll eat to that!

A. Janet Tomiyama, an associate professor of psychology and director of the Dieting, Stress, and Health Lab at UCLA

https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/11/9/18072318/does-stress-eating-work-psychology

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

Yay. Sure. 100%.  When I meditate it’s 50%-50% at best.  My monkey mind swings from trees with great abandon, my thoughts rambling, rumbling and wildly roaming.

So!  Why meditate?

Meditation has been rigorously scientifically studied and it’s shown to literally change the brain.  A regular meditation practice helps significantly with depression and anxiety, meditation has been shown to help with anti-aging, fighting infections, contributing to a sense of control and combating feelings of loneliness.

Nearly anything can be turned into a meditative practice as long as you focus on leaving your “head” and experience the world through your senses.(Sorry – Television, video games and reading don’t count as meditation because they simply replace our own thoughts with more stimulating ones.)

When the stress, thinking of “doing nothing” for 20 minutes, negates  benefits here’s 6 alternative forms of meditation:

(I’ve tried five of them- and they work.  You can guess which one I’ve ignored)

1.  Take a Musical Bath

Like a warm bath, sink into the melodies, soak in the harmonies, bath your body in the rhythms and Immerse yourself in sound.  It is a powerful and enjoyable form of meditation.
Get an album you’ve wanted to listen to for some time and listen to it… reallylisten, with no interruptions.

2. Dance When NO ONE Watches

Dancing is the natural progression from listening to music.  Many of us have had the horrible feeling of dancing while being stuck in self-conscious over thinking and paranoid about how we look.

Meditative dance is ignoring everything that is going on outside our own body and becoming one with the music.  Flay your arms, sway your hips, roll your eyes –  Let go of protecting your self image, have fun and even be silly. 

3. Draw with your eyes

Drawing is less about talent and more about learning to see.  Thinking actually can get in the way so that’s why this exercise is meditative.

(Don’t worry about what it’s going to look like, it’s the meditative process that counts not the Museum of Modern Art.)

By drawing without looking you use your sight perception to get out of your head- what you THINK it should look like – and be in the moment.

  1. Choose what to draw — a cup, your foot, a chair, it doesn’t matter.
  2. Set a timer for 10 or 20 minutes.
  3. Arrange yourself so you can see the object you will be drawing without seeing the paper.  Put your pencil through a paper plate so you can’t see your paper.
  4. Focus your eyes on some part of the object and coordinate your eye moving around the outline (contours) of the object with moving your pencil to record what your eyes observe.
  5. Without looking at your hand, your paper or your pencil focus only on the shape of an object.

    Do not look down at the paper as you SLOWLY move the pencil,  concentrating on the lines, and contours of the object as you let your pencil “flow” in time with your eyes.

  6. Continue observing and recording until the timer rings

Just like any meditation practice, this exercise can be difficult at first but will become easier as you learn to shift your thinking from an analytical, labeling mode to one that is more intuitive, MEDITATIVE.

4. Yoga

Not only is yoga incredible for flexibility, balance and strength, it’s also one of the oldest forms of meditation. You combining various movements with coordinated breathing to help focus on your inner body.

Watch yoga videos on YouYube, there’s hundreds to choose from – and practice them a few times a week.

Don’t get caught up with all the bells and whistles, yoga is about feeling connected to the earth and your inner body.  (The last time I checked your feet were already touching ground.)

5. Meditative Munching

Take advantage of one of the necessities of life – food – and the fact you do it every day . . . several times a day.  

Remember, the power of meditation comes with practicing full focus.  When your mind strays return to taste, texture, temperature.   Eating in front of the TV, in the car or standing over the sink only encourages the monkeys to leap around.

Eat slowly, savor each bite – focus on the textures, flavors, aromas and the temperature. (And while you’re chewing, feel grateful for each bite of nourishment.)

6. Restore with Chores

(We’ve gone from what I consider the most enjoyable – eating – to the least)

Chores can be meditative WHEN you focus solely on what your are doing.  Your monkey mind will try and take over to keep you entertained and stimulated.

Just as in all meditative practices keep refocusing your monkey mind on the task at hand: Washing dishes – focus on the temperature of water, seeing the pot become cleaner and cleaner;  Mowing the lawn – examine the cutting patterns, inhale the aroma of cut grass; Making the bed – notice the feel, color, wrinkles of sheets, the tension of folds, your hand motion . . .

(Personally, I’d rather monkey around.)

jw

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/6-alternative-forms-meditation-for-people-who-hate-doing-nothing.html

Ways to Cope in Uncertain Times

There is unprecedented anxiety in the entire world due to the pandemic.  Fear and anxiety is a normal response to unknown threats to our survival and well-being.  The problem for all of us is prolonged and chronic anxiety which elevates the stress response and lowers our immune response.

We have searched all our posts which address stress and anxiety to give you some tools to incorporate into your daily life and better cope with uncertainty.

Stressed out….

Click here for  FREE PDF of

The Incredibly Creative Stress Kit

to CALM, COOL & COLLECTED!

Have a look at these past posts: 

How to Reduce Fear and Anxiety in 30 Seconds

Meditation Changes Your Brain for the Better

Coping with family tension 

Six ways to meditate for those who can’t meditate

Comfort Eating Actually Comforts

Stressed? How to Activate Your Own Placebo

And from Curious to the Max:

ME a Stress Case? . . . I Don’t Think So. . . This Anxiety Reduction Technique is for YOU

Write On! How to Empty your brain to reduce stress

Click here for “Frankly Freddie: How to Social Distance and be Social” on Curious to the Max

Control Your Anxiety & Stress – Easy, Fast, Effective & Square

 To better control your anxiety and stress every single one of you has all the equipment you need:

A pair of lungs and a nose.

Slow, deep breathing hacks your brain’s chemistry, resets the autonomic nervous system and activates the parasympathetic nervous system that calms and relaxes the body reduces anxiety and stress.

Square Breathing

Inhale and exhale through your nose*

  • Inhale deeply for a count of four

  • Exhale for a count of four

  • Repeat 4 times

(Can’t get easier than this IF you know how to breathe and count to 4) 

It’s best, during really stressful times, to so this breathing exercise throughout the day and evening.  You can do it anytime and anywhere . . . even lying down or upside down.

*Nasal breathing is better than mouth breathing: Your lungs extract oxygen from the air and the absorption of oxygen happens mostly on exhalation. Exhaling through the nose (because it’s smaller than your mouth) creates greater air pressure and therefore a slower exhalation.  Your lungs get extra time to extract a greater amount of oxygen.

Curious Coloring for Calming Down

Coloring books aren’t just for kids anymore.  Adults have discovered coloring provides a brief focus, away from the world within and the world around us. It’s a form of meditation:  Concentrated visual focus on color, patterns and repetitive motion are hallmarks of the meditative process.

We’ve picked out some Curious Critters that lend themselves for for quick & easy coloring. Embellish them, add patterns, squiggles and make them your own.

Click on the download at the bottom

Get out your crayons or colored pencils 

CREATE your own meditation.

(Don’t want to meditate?   Color with a child!)

 

Click here for your free coloring PDF

 

Scroll down for more posts in this series.

 

Frankly Freddie – Social Distancing Naturally in Nature

Dear Freddie Fans,

Because I’m not allowed to go anywhere without a leash I KNOW how to cope.  This week I will share what you humans can do.  Since I’m Editor-in-Canine-Chief for several blogs I have a trove of posts to share with you.  Here’s today’s bit of my wisdom. 

Get out of the house. Just remember to keep 6 feet of distance from other people,  Find an area where you won’t encounter crowds.

  • Garden!
  • Pot a plant
  • Repot house plants.
  • Weed, mulch, rake & mow
  • Start birdwatching. Coronavirus hasn’t bothered birds. Download a birdwatching map. Sit in your backyard or near a window.
  • Take a brisk walk  You can still exercise – It helps your immune system be strong.*
  • Go on a stroll.  Sniff around and clear your mind.
  • Sit outside & breathe fresh air. Notice things about the world around you that you didn’t see before.
  • Bike ride.
  • Meditate, journal, draw in your yard or patio.

Resting after munching the lawn, bird watching, walking and sniffing.

*Exercise which increases immunity and reduces the stress response . . . even if it’s marching in place for 5 minutes without a leash.

Take a 10 minute walk outside – 5 minutes out and 5 minutes back.  The colors of nature are also calming to the brain.

 

Frankly Freddie – How to be a Good Sport While Social Distancing

Sports fans are going bonkers since all the games are canceled or have no spectators.  Don’t go bonkers it’s not becoming, unless you are in a parking lot, eating hot dogs and drinking beer from the back of your pick-up truck.  Do these things instead:

  • Become an expert. Read up on your sport so that when your team starts playing again, you’ll have even greater insight into the game.
  • Show your team some love. Tweet them a positive message or send them a photo of you wearing team gear in solidarity.
  • Even better, support a charity that your favorite player loves. 
  • PLAY FETCH

  • Practice painting your face in the colors of your favorite team.  Keep your “art work” above the neck. Bare chests make you look like an “animal”.
  • Revisit an old game. You know the one – The game that made you fall in love with the sport.  If you have a subscription to a sport-specific streaming service, check if they have your favorite game. YouTube has clips of  large collection of games.
  • Play Keep-Away or Dodge Ball.  No yard?  Use balloons
  • Watch sports documentaries about games of the past and present.
  • Donate all your clothes that aren’t in the colors of your favorite team.
  • Pretend you’re an athlete and do calisthentics. (If you don’t know what calisthenitics are do jumping jacks).
  • PLAY FETCH
  • Go Bonkers!

 

Frankly Freddie – Social Distancing for the Cultured

Dear Freddie Fans,

Because I’m not allowed to go anywhere without a leash I KNOW how to cope.  This week I will share what you humans can do.  Since I’m Editor-in-Canine-Chief for several blogs I have a trove of posts to share with you.  

CULTURED: characterized by refined taste and manners and good education.
cultivatedartisticenlightenedcivilized, educated, well readwell informed, discerning, discriminating

sophisticatedurbaneintellectual, scholarly, erudite

If you are lacking in any of these here’s what you can do:

  • Download e-books and audiobooks and READ.
  • Create a virtual book club and video call each other to discuss.
  • Take a virtual museum tour. Many museums offer audio tours on your smart phone. The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the Guggenheim Museum are two that host online tours.
  • Explore overseas? Google Arts & Culture has a collection of virtual walk-throughs for dozens of international museums, from Paris to New Delhi.
  • Become a film critic.  Write a  review of the latest. Catch up recent Oscar winners and snubbed gems and share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter. To exchange recommendations with your fellow cinephiles, join a site like Letterboxd, a social networking service for film geeks.
  • Learn a language — or just the basics. Learning a few phrases in another tongue will make you feel smart. 
  • Bolster your vocabulary. Remember when reading the dictionary was a form of punishment? No longer. Flip through a thesaurus or take online quizzes to test your vocabulary.

What “cultured” will look like after you do what I’ve told you.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/14/us/what-to-do-this-weekend-coronavirus-trnd/index.html

Frankly Freddie, How to Social Distance and Be Social

Dear Freddie Fans,

Because I’m not allowed to go anywhere without a leash I KNOW how to cope.  This week I will share what you humans can do.  Since I’m Editor-in-Canine-Chief for several blogs I have a trove of posts to share with you.  Each day I’ll share a bit of my wisdom. 

Here’s my first recommendations for HUMANS

Ya Gotta Take Care of your Mental Health.  

  • Connect with family, friends.  If you can’t get a scratch behind their ears you will have to settle for the phone, internet or writing a note or letter.
  • Meditate, pray.
  • Take a nap.  One of my favorites.
  • Video chat.
  • Share funny messages on social media. Do NOT share conspiracy theories – leave theories to bonifide scientists.
  • Take a warm bath.
  • Take another bath.
  • Go outside, get some fresh air and sunshine .

Keep your paws busy:

  • Tackle a puzzle.
  • Make art. Download my human’s free coloring pages.Click here for the PDF
  • Humans like to knit, sew, paint
  • Do all the stuff I’ve watched humans put off – taxes, clean closets.
  • Play board games. Chess and checkers seem to be fun for humans . . . go figure
  • Fix something around the house.  
  • Rearrange the furniture.
  • Give yourself a manicure.
  • Pet your pet.
  • Brush your pet.
  • Feed your pet.
  • Give your pet treats

Tell me what you do to keep your paws busy!

See ya tomorrow.

click here for: “How to Cope in Uncertain Times” on Max your Mind 

Frankly Freddie – The Untold Story of Little Red Riding Hood

After reading an original Little Red Riding Hood story (which I won’t link to as I do not condone violence nor death by consumption). I have to exonerate the Wolf who has gotten a bad rap because I know about “wild life” and wolves are no exception:

  • Wolves do not eat people whole like boa constrictors. (They have better manners and teeth.)
  • Wolves never eat little girls because they prefer meat well-done and chewy.  (Grandma’s might qualify.)
  • If they did eat little girls they would never eat one wearing a red cape.  (They are environmentalists and prefer green.)
  • And lastly . . . Wolves NEVER dine alone. (They live in packs and have communal dining halls.)

Warning!  Do NOT read the original.  It’s filled with violence and death.

The REAL Story of Little Red Riding Hood

by Freddie Parker Westerfield, published author

Once upon a time in a land far away lived a little orphan wolf. How he became an orphan is not known, the records being lost long ago in the archives of the forest.  All the tales simply begin: Once upon a time, in a land far away lived a little orphan wolf.

Never having been around others of his own kind he didn’t know what big teeth he had. He didn’t know what big eyes he had. He didn’t know what a long tail he had. He didn’t know how hairy he was. He didn’t know how scary he was. All he knew was that he was alone in a big, big forest filled with creatures that ran away as soon as he approached.

Day by day, so the birds wouldn’t fly away, he sat far, far below the tree tops listening to them sing to each other from high above.

He watched from far, far away the forest creatures playing so they wouldn’t leap out of his sight.

He snuck peaks at all the critters sharing their meals from behind a bush so they wouldn’t know he was there.

Every morn he dined out for breakfast, alone. Every eve he dined out for super, alone. Every night he settled down to sleep, alone.

One day the little orphan wolf decided to set out from his forest home to find someone, somewhere, to be his friend.

Along the way he came upon a little girl. She had a little curl and wore a red cape and hood. Why she wore a red cape and hood is not known, the records being lost long ago in the archives of the forest.

Because she was so young she didn’t know how scary the orphan wolf was and asked.

“Where are you going Mr. Wolf”?

“I’m off to find a friend so that I am not alone. I’m off to find a friend to dine with. I am looking for a friend to play with and most of all I want a friend to talk with. I am very lonely.”

The little girl, feeling sorry for the little orphan wolf, said, “Do come with me to Grandma’s house. She makes delicious muffins from berries I pick in the forest. She sits at the table and listens to me talk. Grandma loves all of God’s creatures. Although she can’t be your grandma, perhaps she can be your friend”

“I don’t know what a Grandma is,” replied the little orphan wolf, “but she sounds exactly like the friend I’m looking for.”

And so the little orphan wolf set off with the little girl with a curl, wearing a red cape and hood to Grandma’s house.

They passed by a giant berry bush.“Stop here to pick berries for the delicious muffins Grandma makes.” They picked bushels of berries and carried them in the little girls red cape and hood.

They passed by a field of flowers.“Stop here to pick flowers for Grandma to put on the table where we sit and she listens to me talk.”They picked bouquets of flowers and carried them in the little girls red cape and hood.

They passed a bubbling brook where cool waters ran.Stop here for a drink to refresh ourselves after all our work picking berries and flowers.” They drank from the bubbling brook and rested on the little girl’s red cape and hood so as not to get dirty.

As they passed over the crest of a hill the little girl cried, “There’s Grandma’s house. Let’s see if she will be your friend.”

Grandma greeted the little girl, the little orphan wolf peeking out from behind not sure what a grandma was, with a big smile, the biggest smile the little orphan wolf had ever seen.

The little girl announced, “Grandma, I’ve brought you berries so you can make delicious muffins. I’ve brought you flowers to put on the table where we sit and you listen to me talk. I’ve brought you a little orphan wolf who is lonely and looking for a friend”

Now, the little orphan wolf’s eyes grew big, having never seen a Grandma before. Not knowing what to do he opened his big mouth, showed his big teeth and wagged his bushy tail.

“My! What big teeth you have”, gasped grandma. The better to protect you with”replied the wolf.

“My! What big eyes you have”marveled Grandma. “The better to lovingly look up at you with”, replied the wolf.

My! What a bushy tail you have”, exclaimed Grandma. “The better to wag with happiness,” replied the wolf.

“My! How hairy you are”, said Grandma. “The Better to cuddle and keep you warm,said the wolf.

“My oh my”, Grandma sighed. “You may stay with me. I’ll feed you delicious muffin treats, and you can sit and listen to me while I talk”.

“And because you are one of God’s creatures I will call you D-o-g.”

Where upon he looked up at Grandma with big eyes, opened his big wolf mouth, showed his big wolf teeth, wagged his bushy wolf tail, stuck out his wet wolf tongue and gave Grandma an appreciative lick.

He had found his friend.

The End

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Author

PLEASE share this with everyone you know

to help clear the wolf’s reputation.

Soon to be a children’s book! Watch this blog for the premier international publication date! You may be able to get an advanced FREE PDF if you’d give a review. And/or treats. Treats preferred.

LLLL,  Freddie

Drawing friends and pets for my granddaughter

The last post I shared (click here) was my some of my earliest memories I drew for my grand daughter Lucy.  They didn’t hold her interest as she was 5 years old.   Perhaps when she’s 50 she’ll value them enough to share with her children.

The more I drew the more my own memory was jogged and these were of my childhood best friend and pets.

.

I made friends with Kay in grade school. For a while, she needed to wear a patch over one eye. I think it was to make her other eye stronger- and it worked. After awhile she no longer had to wear the patch.

My dogs Tipper and Topper loved ice cream and would look at me with puppy dog eyes when I had some. They always got a taste.

My first horse was Misty. She had a foal and I guessed which night she would give birth. Kay and I spent the night at the pasture. It was good we were there, because the foal got caught in a loop of batted wire and I had to untangle him. That night I will always remember.

I named the foal Copper Tint for the color of his spots. I’d bring him along when I went riding.

PA

See Drawing Stories for my Granddaughter

Drawing stories for my granddaughter

When my granddaughter, Lucy was born, Judy gave me a “Grandmother-book” to write about events in my life as a keep-sake for my granddaughter.  I thought it was a good idea, but writing has never been my first choice of expression.  So I decided to draw stories & vignettes of my life for Lucy.

Some of my earliest memories:

I lived in Chicago until I was almost 5, so I got to play in the snow.

I had my tonsils out, and “had” to go on an ice cream diet.  Back then the flavors were limited.  choc chip now ( or Vanilla Swiss Almond from Haagen-Dax’s

We moved from Chicago, Illinois to Phoenix, Arizona when I was 5, so now I played in the sprinklers instead of snow.

I loved horses and drew them all the time. I got a real horse, Misty,  when I was 10.

see Drawing Friends and Pets for my Granddaughter

PA

New Year’s Happiness Hacks

We’ve been posting Happiness Hacks from our coming book Hacking Your Way to Happiness and put 12 of the 22 hacks into a 2020 calendar.  Rick (Judy’s out-of-the-box-thinking brother) sent her what he thought was possible hack cure for fibromyalgia.  We didn’t get it in time for the Hack Your Way to Happiness calendar so we’re sharing what Rick sent in this special post. 

The 2020 Calendar is in our Zazzle shop. Click here

Note this calendar is small, 5.5″ x 7″

We’re not sure about fibromyalgia but for those of you who are planning to imbibe this New Years hopefully the hack won’t get you wacked.

*     *     *

“The active ingredient common to all alcoholic beverages is made by yeasts; microscopic, single-celled organisms that eat sugar and excrete carbon dioxide and ethanol, the only portable alcohol.”

“From our modern point of view, ethanol has one very compelling property: it makes us feel good. Ethanol helps release serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins in the brain, chemicals that make us happy and less anxious.”

Cheers To Responsible Drinking This Holiday Season From all the Curious Critters

DRINK ON A FULL STOMACH (that doesn’t mean balancing a beer on your belly)

Make sure to have solid food in your system before having any alcohol. Experts recommend that you eat high-protein foods such as cheese and peanuts, which help to slow the absorption of alcohol into the circulatory system and burn it off.

KEEP HYDRATED (with water, not wine)

Dehydration can cause your blood volume to drop, allowing less blood and oxygen to flow to the brain and allowing the stress hormone cortisol to have a greater impact on your system, so make sure that you are getting adequate fluid. If you drink alcohol while dehydrated, it will have a seriously negative impact on your system. Water improves the processing of brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine.

SIP IT SLOWLY (nothing to add, we just like the alliteration)

Your body absorbs alcohol quicker than you metabolize it. The faster you drink, the more time the toxins in booze spend in your body, affecting your brain and other tissues, and the bigger the hangover will be in the morning.

ONE PER HOUR (drinks, not miles)

Metabolism depends on several factors (gender, weight, age, health), but in general, most people can metabolize roughly one drink an hour.

ADD SOME ICE (we’re not referring to the Rapper)

Diluting alcohol with ice or water will increase your time between refills and decrease its effects on your body and brain. As you slowly enjoy your beverage, the ice will melt and create more liquid as it reduces the strength of the alcohol. You can also use soda water or another non-alcoholic beverage as a chaser. Don’t be influenced or embarrassed into not chasing your drink. Your own health and safety are what’s important.

DON’T MIX ALCOHOL WITH DRUGS

Whether it’s flu medicine, painkillers, sleeping pills, antibiotics, prescription meds, antidepressants – you name it, it doesn’t matter – it is a really bad idea to mix alcohol with drugs.

Alcohol Packs on the Pounds (We’ve saved one of the worst for last)

Alcohol is calorie-dense

Alcohol intake is for adults – 18 years and older but our Happiness Hacks Calendar  is G-rated

*P.S. We bought calendars for ourselves with Zazzle discount coupon.  Make sure to check out the Zazzle specials.  Half of the profit we make will be donated to the charity, The Gentle Barn.

Click her for Recipie for Peanut Butter Cup Martini

The True Story – Why Santa Never Gets Caught

Doodlewash is a blog I follow – both for Charlie O’s great water-colors but even more for his stories inspired by his watercolored drawings.  Several years ago I was inspired by his childhood explanation of how Santa and his reindeer get around.  (Charlie claims he was a child but I suspect that is just a cover-up for what he knows is the truth . . . )

Pome by judy

No one catches Santa on the roof

or in the snow sees prints

of tiny reindeer hoof

for Santa’s no bigger than a fly

and reindeer all the size of ants

ferry him through the Christmas sky

I don’t think it silly at all

to imagine reindeer quite so small

and know 

how Santa slides down chimney flues

with nary much soot on his beard or shoes

So make your cookies the size of peas

and leave the milk in a thimble please

Limit the weight of gifts and such

to crush an ant

 it doesn’t take much

   *     *    *

To read Charlie O’s story click here:

How Do Reindeer Fly?

SPECIAL Tree of Life for the Holidays

It’s unusual to receive a card in snail mail nowadays.  Increasingly, social media, text and e-mail messages are the choice for everything from birthday greetings to wedding invitations. It was a nice surprise to receive a card from Sharon Bonin-Pratt (A “CURIOUS” Well Done Woman) and was struck by how lovely and whimsical the trees were.

I was even more surprised and delighted when I saw Sharon had hand drawn and painted it.  

Peggy, too, loved it and made it into a poster. With Sharon’s urging we are donating one third of all profits to The Gentle Barn, Animal Rescue charity.  (Judy)

Available on Zazzle, click here

“It is a tree of life to all who grasp it,

and whoever holds on to it is happy;

its ways are ways of pleasantness,

and all it paths are peace.

(Proverbs 3:17-18)

To get your own Sharon Bonin-Pratt Tree of Life poster click here to purchase it 

Web-site: Sharon Bonin-Pratt’s INK FLARE