Fur Real: Your body is made of remnants of stars and massive explosions in the galaxies

It blows my mind that I’m made up of blown up stellar dust.  You gotta read this interview of:

“Astrophysicist Karel Schrijver, a senior fellow at the Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory, and his wife, Iris Schrijver, professor of pathology at Stanford University, have joined the dots in a new book, Living With the Stars: How the Human Body Is Connected to the Life Cycles of the Earth, the Planets, and the Stars.”

How 40,000 Tons of Cosmic Dust Falling to Earth Affects You and Me

“Talking from their home in Palo Alto, California, they explain how everything in us originated in cosmic explosions billions of years ago, how our bodies are in a constant state of decay and regeneration, and why singer Joni Mitchell was right.”

“We are stardust,” Joni Mitchell famously sang in “Woodstock.” It turns out she was right, wasn’t she?”

Iris: Was she ever! Everything we are and everything in the universe and on Earth originated from stardust, and it continually floats through us even today. It directly connects us to the universe, rebuilding our bodies over and again over our lifetimes.”

Can you give me some examples of how stardust formed us?

Karel: When the universe started, there was just hydrogen and a little helium and very little of anything else. Helium is not in our bodies. Hydrogen is, but that’s not the bulk of our weight. Stars are like nuclear reactors. They take a fuel and convert it to something else. Hydrogen is formed into helium, and helium is built into carbon, nitrogen and oxygen, iron and sulfur—everything we’re made of. When stars get to the end of their lives, they swell up and fall together again, throwing off their outer layers. If a star is heavy enough, it will explode in a supernova.”

“So most of the material that we’re made of comes out of dying stars, or stars that died in explosions. And those stellar explosions continue. We have stuff in us as old as the universe, and then some stuff that landed here maybe only a hundred years ago. And all of that mixes in our bodies.”

Your book yokes together two seemingly different sciences: astrophysics and human biology. Describe your individual professions and how you combined them to create this book.

“Iris: I’m a physician specializing in genetics and pathology. Pathologists are the medical specialists who diagnose diseases and their causes. We also study the responses of the body to such diseases and to the treatment given. I do this at the level of the DNA, so at Stanford University I direct the diagnostic molecular pathology laboratory. I also provide patient care by diagnosing inherited diseases and also cancers, and by following therapy responses in those cancer patients based on changes that we can detect in their DNA.”

“Our book is based on many conversations that Karel and I had, in which we talked to each other about topics from our daily professional lives. Those areas are quite different. I look at the code of life. He’s an astrophysicist who explores the secrets of the stars. But the more we followed up on our questions to each other, the more we discovered our fields have a lot more connections than we thought possible.”

Karel:” I’m an astrophysicist. Astrophysicists specialize in all sorts of things, from dark matter to galaxies. I picked stars because they fascinated me. But no matter how many stars you look at, you can never see any detail. They’re all tiny points in the sky.”

“So I turned my attention to the sun, which is the only star where we can see what happens all over the universe. At some point NASA asked me to lead a summer school for beginning researchers to try to create materials to understand the things that go all the way from the sun to the Earth. I learned so many things about these connections I started to tell Iris. At some point I thought: This could be an interesting story, and it dawned on us that together we go all the way, as she said, from the smallest to the largest. And we have great fun doing this together.”

We tend to think of our bodies changing only slowly once we reach adulthood. So I was fascinated to discover that, in fact, we’re changing all the time and constantly rebuilding ourselves. Talk about our skin.

Iris:Most people don’t even think of the skin as an organ. In fact, it’s our largest one. To keep alive, our cells have to divide and grow. We’re aware of that because we see children grow. But cells also age and eventually die, and the skin is a great example of this.”

“It’s something that touches everything around us. It’s also very exposed to damage and needs to constantly regenerate. It weighs around eight pounds [four kilograms] and is composed of several layers. These layers age quickly, especially the outer layer, the dermis. The cells there are replaced roughly every month or two. That means we lose approximately 30,000 cells every minute throughout our lives, and our entire external surface layer is replaced about once a year.”

“Very little of our physical bodies lasts for more than a few years. Of course, that’s at odds with how we perceive ourselves when we look into the mirror. But we’re not fixed at all. We’re more like a pattern or a process. And it was the transience of the body and the flow of energy and matter needed to counter that impermanence that led us to explore our interconnectedness with the universe.”

You have a fascinating discussion about age. Describe how different parts of the human body age at different speeds.

Iris: “Every tissue recreates itself, but they all do it at a different rate. We know through carbon dating that cells in the adult human body have an average age of seven to ten years. That’s far less than the age of the average human, but there are remarkable differences in these ages. Some cells literally exist for a few days. Those are the ones that touch the surface. The skin is a great example, but also the surfaces of our lungs and the digestive tract. The muscle cells of the heart, an organ we consider to be very permanent, typically continue to function for more than a decade. But if you look at a person who’s 50, about half of their heart cells will have been replaced.”

“Our bodies are never static. We’re dynamic beings, and we have to be dynamic to remain alive. This is not just true for us humans. It’s true for all living things.”

A figure that jumped out at me is that 40,000 tons of cosmic dust fall on Earth every year. Where does it all come from? How does it affect us?

Karel: When the solar system formed, it started to freeze gas into ice and dust particles. They would grow and grow by colliding. Eventually gravity pulled them together to form planets. The planets are like big vacuum cleaners, sucking in everything around them. But they didn’t complete the job. There’s still an awful lot of dust floating around.”

“When we say that as an astronomer, we can mean anything from objects weighing micrograms, which you wouldn’t even see unless you had a microscope, to things that weigh many tons, like comets. All that stuff is still there, being pulled around by the gravity of the planets and the sun. The Earth can’t avoid running into this debris, so that dust falls onto the Earth all the time and has from the very beginning. It’s why the planet was made in the first place. Nowadays, you don’t even notice it. But eventually all that stuff, which contains oxygen and carbon, iron, nickel, and all the other elements, finds its way into our bodies.”

“When a really big piece of dust, like a giant comet or asteroid, falls onto the Earth, you get a massive explosion, which is one of the reasons we believe the dinosaurs became extinct some 70 million years ago. That fortunately doesn’t happen very often. But things fall out of the sky all the time. [Laughs]”

Many everyday commodities we use also began their existence in outer space. Tell us about salt.

Karel: Whatever you mention, its history began in outer space. Take salt. What we usually mean by salt is kitchen salt. It has two chemicals, sodium and chloride. Where did they come from? They were formed inside stars that exploded billions of years ago and at some point found their way onto the Earth. Stellar explosions are still going on today in the galaxy, so some of the chlorine we’re eating in salt was made only recently.”

You study pathology, Iris. Is physical malfunction part of the cosmic order?

Iris: Absolutely. There are healthy processes, such as growth, for which we need cell division. Then there are processes when things go wrong. We age because we lose the balance between cell deaths and regeneration. That’s what we see in the mirror when we age over time. That’s also what we see when diseases develop, such as cancers. Cancer is basically a mistake in the DNA, and because of that the whole system can be derailed. Aging and cancer are actually very similar processes. They both originate in the fact that there’s a loss of balance between regeneration and cell loss.”

“Cystic fibrosis is an inherited genetic disease. You inherit an error in the DNA. Because of that, certain tissues do not have the capability to provide their normal function to the body. My work is focused on finding changes in DNA in different populations so we can understand better what kinds of mutations are the basis of that disease. Based on that, we can provide prognosis. There are now drugs that target specific mutations, as well as transplants, so these patients can have a much better life span than was possible 10 or 20 years ago.”

How has writing this book changed your view of life—and your view of each other?

Karel: There are two things that struck me, one that I had no idea about. The first is what Iris described earlier—the impermanence of our bodies. As a physicist, I thought the body was built early on, that it would grow and be stable. Iris showed me, over a long series of dinner discussions, that that’s not the way it works. Cells die and rebuild all the time. We’re literally not what were a few years ago, and not just because of the way we think. Everything around us does this. Nature is not outside us. We are nature.”

“As far as our relationship is concerned, I always had a great deal of respect for Iris, and physicians in general. They have to know things that I couldn’t possibly remember. And that’s only grown with time.”

Iris: Physics was not my favorite topic in high school. [Laughs] Through Karel and our conversations, I feel that the universe and the world around us has become much more accessible. That was our goal with the book as well. We wanted it to be accessible and understandable for anyone with a high school education. It was a challenge to write it that way, to explain things to each other in lay terms. But it has certainly changed my view of life. It’s increased my sense of wonder and appreciation of life.”

__________________________________________________________________________________

Read more of judy’s “mini sermons” on this same subject click:

 Part I, The Interconnectedness of All Beings click HERE

Part II, Head & Heart, click HERE

 Part III – Stardusted, click HERE

Part IV – Two Wings of a BIrd, click HERE

Frankly Freddie – Z’d-out

Peggy & Judy don’t like to promote “stuff” much less brag.  Guess who’s been assigned . . . .  I should be flattered they have such trust in me but I know it’s mainly because I’m the one who has the most followers and fans.  

I told them I would do a post about the “LOVE” products in the CURIOUStotheMAX ZAZZLE shop if they would make me a T-Shirt to wear on Valentines day.  They agreed but I’m very disappointed and you’ll see why . . .

P.S.  Did I tell you that for the next 2 months all their profits goes to charity?

They’ve picked The Gentle Barn.  You can read about it by clicking HERE

     ❤         ❤        ❤        ❤

Current Crop of Curious Critters in the

CURIOUStotheMAX Zazzle Store

The Early Bird Love the Worm Ladies T

Heart filled Wooferdoggie t-shirt:full of love

. . . The Doggie T-Shirt.

I assumed it would have MY picture on it . . . .

DSCN6209

Frankly, Freddie Parker Westerfield

P.S. I have no idea who the hairy model is but he needs a stylist.

CURIOUStotheMAX Zazzle Store

https://www.zazzle.com/curioustothemax

Happiness Hack: Today’s Good Happenings

We’re excited to let you know that we are compiling all the Happiness Hacks we’ve posted. This one was on Catnip as:

“Research shows you will be happier for 3 months – Music to my ears”

I played violin in the high school orchestra. It was enjoyable and got me out of physical education class. Practicing was another matter.  Practicing the violin was excruciating for me. It was solely focused on doing weird, complicated, boring scales over and over and over . . . no melody, NO FUN.   I would set a timer for 1 hour: polish my violin for 10 minutes; resin the bow for 5; tune the strings for 15 and; laboriously do scales for the rest of the time. I did get better.

If only I had known that I could have practiced being in a good mood while I was practicing scales.

Yup, research now shows the more you practice being in a good mood the better you get at keeping a good mood.

Our brains seek out familiar patterns. The more we consciously focus on positive thoughts the easier it is for our brain to access those thoughts and find positive patterns in other areas.  (Of course, there is a corollary  – focus on the negative and your brain will look for more negative connections).  So the more you think about the positive things in your life, the easier it is to think of good things in your life. 

Start at any time.  Like now. Think about something “positive/good” . . . a time you had fun or laughed at a joke or a childhood celebration.  It doesn’t even have to be about you or your life . . .  something “positive” you’ve witnessed, read about or even imagined.  Share it with someone and notice feeling happier.

The more you practice the easier it will be for your brain to access the positive and lift your mood.  

Here’s an easy practice session.

   Maui Practicing, not judy, by Peggy

Pawsitive Exercise

Each day for a week, at the end of the day, write down 3 good or positive things that have happened to you that day and why they happened. 

They can be:

  • BIG things (became a grandma, bought a Maserati, won the lottery)
  • Small things (took a nice shower, ate breakfast, paid the water bill on time).
  • The same things repeated each day or different things/events listed.

When you write down why they happened give yourself credit:

  • I won the lottery because I bought a ticket
  • I took a nice hot shower because I paid the water bill on time
  • I became a grandma because I became a mother because I have kept a good relationship with my daughter because I called her and had a positive conversation.

You don’t need a fancy journal –

a notebook, post-it-notes, napkins will work.

Just do this for one week.

Research shows you will be happier for 3 months!

My violin “practice” list would have looked like this:

  • I managed to get through another violin practice session without dying of boredom.
  • I played in tune, 75% of the time
  • I polished my violin and it’s shiny.

(jw)

Reference:  Seligman, M. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive Psychology Progress. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410-421. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.60.5.410

Frankly Freddie – Secrets Can Make Me (you too) Sick

Dear Freddie Fans,

Finally! I can tell you the secret I’ve been keeping before I get sick . . . Let me explain . . .

Suffering from “the complications of emotional burden.”

It’s a scientific fact!  You can get sick from holding secrets:  My brain’s prefrontal cortex gets over simulated when I thought about how bad sharing the secret would be.  Just imagining all the possible negative outcomes (If I told you Peggy and Judy were changing the name of CATNIPblog they could stop giving me payment treats, ban me from blogging future posts, or cut-off my blog royalties from past posts) the end result is an EMOTIONAL BURDEN.

Specifically, when the prefrontal cortex wins the battle within my brain over keeping a secret, the pressure causes my cingulate cortex leads my body to ramp up production of stress hormones.  So true . . .every time I’ve thought about the secret I felt my stress hormones surge thereby necessitating a treat.

There are even specific health risks but you’ll have to click here to read my post on . . .

TA DA!

Whew!  I feel my prefrontal cortex calming down already . . .

Maui the cat is still the muse but FINALLY P & J renamed the blog to reflect what it’s all about.  I have protested for the last 2 years about using, of all things, a CAT . . . they are slow learners (Peggy & Judy, not cats) . . . 

  • MAX your MIND (formerly known as Catnipblog)- Health and wellness tips and what P & J (and I, Freddie) learned in 30+ years of being psychotherapists, (and canines) – all based on neuroscience & scientific research. 
  • CURIOUS to the Max – Stuff that makes us smile, learn and gives expression to our more  personal, “creative” sides.

You who subscribe to both my blogs (YEA YOU!) as editorial director I promise there will still be fresh content on each blog but let me know what you would like to see more of on either of my blogs.

 Happy New Year! Happy Max Your Mind New Name Blog! from

No Secrets Freddie

 

 

Happy New Year Hack

We’ve been posting Happiness Hacks from our coming book Hacking Your Way to Happiness and put 12 of the 22 hacks into a 2019 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 2019 Calendar is in our ZAZZLE Shop

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.  The 5% profit we make will be donated to charity.

Frankly Freddie – Teasing in the New Year

It’s coming!  It’s almost here . . . Are you glued to your keyboard?  Judy and Peggy are almost set to make a New Year’s  announcement.

In the meantime . . .  I’m sworn to secrecy which is an oxymoron cuz canines never swear.

In the meantime . . .  I interviewed Judy and Peggy – being an intrepid reporter – as to what, BESIDES THEIR SECRET, their new year’s resolutions are.

Judy:

Several years ago I gave up on New Year’s resolutions.   I don’t like to promise myself anything because I don’t like to be disappointed . . . especially in myself.

This year I’m starting a new ritual for New Years.  I’m calling it Old Years Resolutions.  On December 31, 2018 I’m making my resolutions for 2018.  That way I only have one day to disappoint myself.

I resolve to:

  • Re-read an inspirational article I read on how to develop positive habits.  
  • Weigh myself to see if I lost the 10 pounds I gained in 2018 while I was trying to lose the 20 pounds I gained in 2017.  
  • Read an inspirational article on how to lose weight.

That’s about all I’ll have time for in 24 hours.  

Peggy:

I don’t like to make resolutions and then not keep them, so I look for resolutions that I WANT to keep, instead of resolutions that I SHOULD keep. Here is what I came up with:

I resolve to:

  • Eat more dark chocolate bars.
  • Eat more dark chocolate covered coffee nibs.
  • Read about how dark chocolate is good for you..

Back Legs and Other Tails

Receive a free PDF copy!

“The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of

Maui and His Back Legs”

Please help support Peggy . . .

We’re honored to have you as a reader . . . . . If you download the PDF please put a brief review (even  one sentence will do) in the COMMENTS section below or e-mail us at PeggyJudyTime@gmail.com

Here’s the link to a FREE PDF copy of Maui:

The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of Maui and His Back Legs

forgive2 (1)

 is now published on both Amazon & Kindle

Click here to see what people are saying about Maui’s book.

THANK YOU!

(jw)

Frankly Freddie, Help make my Chanukah Merry & Christmas Happy*

Dear all my fans,

I’m here to help promote a petalicious book because my human and her blog-buddy Peggy Arndt are loath to toot their own horns, which is a human expression I fail to understand but because you are mostly human I think you know what I mean . . . but I digress.

If you’ve read CATNIPblog you know that it is dedicated to Peggy’s cat Maui even though I maintain it should be dedicated to me, Freddie, since I do most of the work . . . but I digress.

Peggy has FINALLY after years and years of prodding published the children’s book she wrote for her granddaughter about her cat Maui who regained use of his paralyzed back legs. He did it by re-patterning his brain, even though I doubt Maui knew that’s what he was doing. That’s why, so they tell me, CATNIPblog is dedicated to Maui, because the blog is about how neuroscience research helps humans . . . but I digress.

Here’s the skinny, which is another human saying so ridiculous even human’s don’t know what it means:

Freddie Parker Westerfield, not Maui Arndt

“The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of

Maui and His Back Legs”

 is now published on Kindle

*You have two choices to help make me happy & merry

1.  Because you are my friend I’ve convinced Peggy you give you a free PDF copy of her book In return she will give me 5 minutes of scratching and petting for each downloaded PDF.

Here’s the link to a FREE PDF copy of Maui:

The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of Maui and His Back Legs

 . . . . . If you download the PDF please put a brief review (even  one sentence will do) e-mail me at PeggyJudyTime@gmail.com

 . . . and I’ll get another 5 minutes of body bliss.

Or better yet . . . for each book bought I get a Doggie cookie treat!

2. BUY THE BOOK on Kindle – it’s cheap, the book that is, not Peggy. The Kindle link is:

“The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of Maui and His Back Legs”

THANK YOU for all the scratches and treats which I love almost as much as I love you . . . well that’s probably a slight exaggeration but it’s called “marketing”.

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDMDSCN6554

Canine Director of Marketing

Maui and His Back Legs. PDF 

Fathers Remembrance

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

September 15, 1950

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow

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

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

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

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

Sneak Peak – Lumps and Bump Shadows

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

These are all 5 minute charcoal sketches.

Unfinished but good enough . . charcoal

 

Sneak Peek – Be Careful what I ask for . . .

My last life drawing post Nude No More I complained that the models were wearing clothes.  WELL!  This last model was nude AND geeeeeeeorgeous:  Tall, long, lean limbs, beautiful body, beautiful face, long blond hair and she was really nice . . .  I was soooooooo jealous.

2 minute warm-up, charcoal

10 minute pose, charcoal on back of cereal box

10 minute pose, charcoal on back of cereal box

Some of the models never talk to the students.  During their breaks they retreat to the dressing place or focus on their cell phones.  This model was personable, looked at the drawings and chatted.  

I was soooooooo jealous and told her not to come back until her body matched the lumps and bumps on our drawings.

Sneak Peek – Nude No More

I was soooooo frrrrrrustrated in the last two life drawing class . . . the models were clothed . . .  sensuous lines of flesh, shadows high-lighting skin tones replaced by FABRIC . . . arrrrrrgh.

Two different poses – charcoal sketches on same paper

I pretended they were naked . . . 

Conte Crayon, 2 minute sketch
Charcoal, 2 minute sketch  (my favorite)

UNTIL I COULD PRETEND NO MORE .

Pencil drawing on back of cereal box 

Sneak a Peek – Cereal Box Art

Practice makes perfect . . . so they say . . . I’m practicing using just 3 colors burnt Umber, raw Siena and white.

Deflated Apple

These are all studies in value which is training my eye to see darks, lights and midtones.  It’s easier when using just one or two colors and right now I’m all for easier.

Plumped up Apple

The biggest problem using the back of food boxes is I have to eat the food first.

Sneak Peek at My Alien Babies Painted on Boxes

Needing a bit of variety (getting bored with just drawing nudes), I signed up for a beginning painting class.

In order to not take myself too seriously and give myself permission to experiment I’m painting on the inside of cereal boxes.  Canvas seemed much too intimidating and . . . the cereal boxes are free.

It’s a beginning oil painting class but 3 of us are using acrylic paint.  Acrylic is water based, dries fast (helps with my boredom quotient) and doesn’t have stinky solvent.  For the first lesson the teacher sent us a picture of a black and white alabaster bust of a small innocent looking child.

It’s challenging to say the least.  My paintings turned into alien babies.  After being initially aghast at how I transformed the innocent little child into someone from the outer realms I started to have fun painting alien babies.
Cereal box Alien Baby in Acrylic
Cereal box Alien Babies
Cereal Box Alien Baby

Sneak Peek into my Sketchy Life

My “art” posts are a bit sporadic, as is my energy.  Have missed several classes cuz I is too pooped to pop . . . or in this case draw.

The life drawing class starts with very fast – today it was 30 seconds – warm-up sketches.  These “quickies” are just to capture a single aspect of the model, like the way the body is .  The poses for the remainder of the class range anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.

 15 minute poses

I’ve discovered I don’t have a lot of patience and am into “quickies”.

Two 30 second warm-up poses drawn on the same page.
 

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

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

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

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

Charcoal

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

Charcoal (See? She’s quite svelte)

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

Today, I’m sore and exhausted . . .

Sunday Sermon, Part IV, Two Wings of a Bird

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual … “

Carl Sagan (1934-1996)

Hold up your hand for just a second.  Feel anything?

At any given second 100 trillion neutrinos are passing through your body  . . .RIGHT NOW.

The majority of neutrinos in the vicinity of the Earth are from nuclear reactions in the Sun. The solar neutrino flux for us on Earth is about 65 billion neutrinos, passing through just one square centimeter of area on earth, every second.  That’s a lot of neutrinos and we are not able to see them, sense them nor understand them.

There is so much, too much, that is not perceivable to our limited senses nor explainable by our reason.

I was a psychotherapist in private practice for 30 years.  Not only did people share their fears and sorrows but unexplainable encounters with spirits, near death experiences and life altering experiences with the divine. I admit I was sometimes skeptical.  Over time it became impossible, to dismiss what intelligent, discerning people shared.  

I now think of science as one wing and religion as the other wing of a bird; a bird needs two wings for flight, one alone would be useless . . .  

 . . .  and I circled back to my study of faith and my belief we live a domino life where when one falls we all fall, where one succeeds we all succeed.   I discovered two faiths I’d not originally studied – Unitarian Universalism and Baha’i. They not only complemented each other but each offered something a bit different.  

Baha’is believe in and share all the UU principles:  

  1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth;
  4.  A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process;
  6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;

. . . and most importantly the 7th UU principle –

Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

The Baha’i World Faith brought me full circle back to childhood and to God but it wasn’t the God of fear but of love.

When I read the three core principles which are the basis for Bahá’í teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, the unity of religion, and the unity of humanity From these stems the belief that God periodically reveals his will through divine messengers: MuhammadJesusMoses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Krishna the Bab and Bahá’u’lláh.  It was an “ah-ha moment for me that all establishers of religion. the great religions of the world, represent successive stages in the spiritual evolution of human society. That religion is seen as orderly, unified, and progressive from age to age unexpectedly resonated.

Through decades of trials and tribulations I realize the magical thinking in my childhood, that the world revolved around me, wasn’t quite accurate . . . however,

. . .  perhaps some magical thinking persists 60+ years later.   Every morning I say a Baha’i prayer for family, friends, acquaintances,  past clients and a prayer for those who have passed.  The recitation of all the people grows longer each day and takes longer than the prayers . . . The difference between then and now is my prayers are steeped in love, not terror. 

        *          *           *

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

To read Part I, The Interconnectedness of All Beings click HERE

Read Part II, Head & Heart click HERE

Read Part III – Stardusted, click HERE

 

 

Mini Sunday Sermon, Part III, Stardusted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I admit I don’t understand science.

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

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

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

     *          *           *

To read Part I,  Interconnectedness of all Beings click HERE

 Part II, Head and Heart, click HERE

Part III – Stardusted, click HERE

 Part IV, Two Wings of a Bird, click HERE

 

Mini Sunday Serman, Part II, Head & Heart

As you read on my last Mini-Sermon post – I didn’t pray again for 50 years*.  During those decades I studied or was exposed to the tenants of many faiths and beliefs:  Buddhist, Greek Orthodox, Seventh Day Adventist, Catholic, Jewish, Lutheran, Baptist and even atheist. 

I discovered two things: First,  the bedrock of all religions is love, compassion, unity and the interconnectedness of all beings.  Second,  no matter what belief I studied something was amiss to me.  It just didn’t make sense (if belief could ever make rational sense) how each could claim to be the only truth, the true spiritual path.

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So scientific research became my focus and bolstered my belief in the interconnectedness of all humans  (and animals).  With newer and newer technology the science continues to be even more fascinating and compelling.  Here’s just a small sample**:

  1. Mirror Neurons – These are a type of brain cell that respond equally when we perform an action and when we witness someone else perform the same action. This neural mechanism is involuntary and automatic and with it we don’t have to think about what other people are doing or feeling, we simply know.  When I see you smiling, my mirror neurons for smiling fire up, too, initiating a cascade of neural activity that evokes the feeling we typically associate with a smile.
  2. Touch – When you hug another person, brains release oxytocin and causes secretions of endorphins.You don’t have to be in love, have sex, or give birth to get a boost of oxytocin (although these experiences certainly do that). Cuddling, hugging, making eye contact, and even shaking hands gets oxytocin, the bonding hormone, flowing
  3. Epigenetics – Scientists have long-known that parents pass genetic traits down to their children, current research suggests that life experiences like famine, trauma, stress can also produce chemical effects in DNA which shorten life-spans, appear as anxiety, depression and fear, inherited through generations and generations down the line.
  4. Neural synchrony –  Singing in groups triggers the communal release of serotonin and oxytocin, the bonding hormone, and synchronizes our heart beats.  When we pet an animal our blood pressure lowers and even more astounding their blood pressure lowers too. Studies of 3-month-old infants and their mothers have determined their heartbeats synchronize to mere milliseconds.

The electrical neuronal activity of two people involved in an act of communication “synchronize” in order to allow for a “connection” between both subjects.  The rhythms of the brainwaves corresponding to the speaker and the listener adjust according to the physical properties of the sound of the verbal messages expressed in a conversation. This creates a connection between the two brains, which begin to work together towards a common goal: communication.

Scientists can find out if two people are having a conversation solely by analyzing their brain waves. 

There is more research but just these four areas alone reinforce my belief in the interconnectedness of all beings. Next . . . our inter-glactic connection on Mini Sermon, Part III.

    *           *           *

To read Part I,  Interconnectedness of all Beings click HERE

 Part II, Head and Heart, click HERE

Part III – Stardusted, click HERE

 Part IV, Two Wings of a Bird, click HERE

Mini Sunday Sermon – Interconnectedness of all Beings, part I

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

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

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

Here’s the first 5 minutes:

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

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

My belief probably originated in my own magical thinking.

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

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

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

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

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

    *       *       *

To read Part II, Head and Heart, click HERE

Read Part III – Stardusted, click HERE

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Cautionary Tale

Dance while you’re young

Pierce your tongue

Dye your hair green

Eat fat, not the lean

Don’t give a lick what makes you tick

Eat, drink and be merry

because if you tarry

you’ll soon be too old

all covered with mold

and have to scrap it off with a stick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday with Mae & Me

“When choosing between two evils,

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

Mae West

 

National Day to Munch Away & Dad

My Dad lived by specific culinary principles:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lettuce All Munch Away!

Click here: FOOD IS MEDICINE 

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

Frankly Freddie, Flash Fiction

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

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

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

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

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

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

The end of my tail

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDN Canine Dog Novelist

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

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

Update on my fractured ankle

 Week 7 – My nudge to budge :

  • Gained 6 pounds from sitting and knitting

  • My belly is swelling while I’m dwelling

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

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

Fractured Head to Toe

Food for the Heel

In Pain, Need Sympathy

I feel a great sadness

eruption

destroying to build

losing our way to win

and dying so that others may live

In my hope

I feel a great sadness

   *     *    *

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

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

Sneak Peek into my Sketchy Life

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

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

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

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

Sitting Possibly Makes My Brain (Yours too) Thinner?

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

judy recuperating by Peggy

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

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

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

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

More recuperation by Peggy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fear and long-term stress

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

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

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

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

Fractured head to toe, day 10

Judy judy in a chair

TV blaring, messy hair

Foot throbbing, rumbled clothes 

bleary eyes, throbbing toes

Judy judy bored bored

slowly going out’a her gourd

Judy by judy

 

Celebrate!

It’s Cinco de Mayo time

Drink tequila and lime

Eat to the beat

Take a chance and dance

so the chips don’t go to your hips

Brain Dance – Bust a Move and a toe or two

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

See:  Twirl, Whirl & Swirl

Meet my Feet, Day 5

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

Smushed paint, “found image”

Smushed paint, doodles with marker, free thought writing

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

We create life trails and no not, not know

where they lead nor what we encounter on the way

as we make our way to an unknown end.

We leave a line for others to follow.  

The trail of our life

Clear paths or littered with debris.

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

In pain, Need Sympathy

Food for the HEEL

 

Meet My Foot Feat, day 4

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

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

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

judy’s journal, collage, acrylic, marking pens

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

Fishy fishy in a brook

Papa catch ’em with a hook

Mama fry ’em in a pan

Baby eat ’em like a man

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

In pain, Need Sympathy

Food for the HEEL

 

 

 

 

Write On! How to Empty your brain to reduce stress

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

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

Easy Peasy Writing How-to

Write on! by Peggy

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

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

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

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

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Food for the HEEL

Went to the doctor and the doctor said:

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

“The ligament is torn

but don’t be forlorn,

 there’s great news for 3 weeks –

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

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

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

I settle for ice cream ‘n cake that help heal

Read How I “landed” up here:

In Pain, need Sympathy

 

 

In pain, need sympathy

A stroll was my goal

Stepped in a hole

Spring, sprung, sprankle

twisted my ankle

It’s a painful thing

Put my foot in a sling

Can still squawk 

but it’s hard to walk

Read What the doctor said here

April 29th – Flashy Fun!!

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

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

 

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Monkeying around

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

Swing from the trees

by your knees

On a whim

go out on a limb

Monkey see, monkey do

I dare you

Spring has Sprung and so have I

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

judy’s Cluttered Closet by Peggy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full research, click here:

Daunted by “spring” cleaning? Blame your brain

 

 

 

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Sneak a Peek into my Sketchy Life – CheeriOs

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

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

Charcoal, 15 minute sketch

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

Fuzzy Apples and a scam

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

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

 

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

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

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

Thank goodness neither of us bit and poisoned our Apples.

I lose 2 pounds every night . . . by breathing

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

The enlightening facts about fat metabolism

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

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

judy’s journal

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

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

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

Eat less, exhale more

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

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

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

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

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

Find Yourself in Hot Water

Rub a dub dub

Curious Critters in a tub

Blood pressure going down

Calories burning up

Meowie, Ant, Elf, Squeak & the pup

Hot tubing by Peggy

Full disclosure: this is a tease

Click here PLEASE

you’ll learn what’s in store

scientific evidence and more

(why hot baths are good for your health)

Easter Pome & “HEALTHY” Chocolate Brownie Recipe

This Easter be a vegetarian

It’s only utilitarian

don’t eat rats

or worms or bats

Celebrate the day

and eat hay

No chocolate covered ants

chow down on plants

No eggs fried

there’s a chick inside

Don’t EAT us few

and we won’t BUG you.

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

Here’s our bribe

It’s hard to describe

Healthy Double Chocolate brownie recipe

Click here to imbibe

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Sneek a Peek at my sketchy life – Humbly Yours

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Incredible – WATCH

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

WORTH WATCHING

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

by 
February 5, 2018
Source: YouTube

Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 Short Film

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

Thanks you Becky Grant for sending this to me.

Becky Grant
Re/Max Property Connection
BRE# 01880297

Anniversary Winners – Gratitude and our health, Parenthetically Speaking)

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

Meowie

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

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

CATNIPblog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The-power-of-touch/

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Seenagers R Us (Senior Teenagers)

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

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

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

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

We get an allowance every month.

We don’t have a curfew.

We have driver’s licenses and our own cars.

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

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

We don’t have acne.

Thanks Sharon M.!!!

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

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