Mary Poppins just flipped her umbrella

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

Thank you Sharon M. for sharing this video!

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

Frankly Freddie – Social Distance from people not FOOD

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

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

 

 

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.

 

4 FREE Resources for Social Distancing & Isolation

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

Online University learning of all kinds of subjects

click here for  Coursera

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

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

Online exercise classes – Planet Fitness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun things to do from NASA for kids and adults

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

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

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

 

Get out in the open -no charge at National Parks

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

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

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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!

 

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

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

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

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

Social Distancing for your Brain

Pare down your sources of information

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

Hand-Washing for your Brain.

Don’t Chastise Yourself for Worrying

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

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

Name your Fears

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Think Outside Yourself

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

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

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

Seek Support Wisely


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


Enforce or Create Healthy HABITS


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

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

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

Remember!  Fear and Anxiety is . . .

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

Source: CNN.com

Frankly Freddie – 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: Why You Can’t Herd Cats


Dear Human-beings,

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

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

How hard can it really be to herd cats?

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

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

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

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

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

Proof by Peggy

2.  Cats are gate-crashers which is rude.

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

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

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

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

More Proof by Peggy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lions live together, unlike other cats 

(Credit: Images of Africa Photobank/Alamy)

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

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CCT, RET

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

It is Almost Impossible to Herd Cats Thanks to Evolution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cute Bat

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

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

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

The RIGHT way to Kiss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Tickled Pink

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

rat-1_custom-90adc1ff3c94c404321504e9da8d8e53a1ca8b84-s800-c85

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

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

Tickled

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

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

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

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

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

  * .   * .   *

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

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

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

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

Now that’s what we call WILD LIFE.

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

Sex on the Fly

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

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

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

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

and fly fishers come looking for a tasty fish

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

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

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

Roses are red

Violets are blue

I’m not allowed chocolate

Valentine’s day . . .  pooh

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

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Poet

  I sit alone, no valentines, no candy, no cake.  The only thing I get is dog food.

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

___________________________________________________

Find out how:

Sugar Increases the “happiness” neurotransmitter serotonin.

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

Puffin & Scratch’n

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

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

An itch their beaks couldn’t scratch

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

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

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

Stick scratching is the second type of tool use in birds

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

Fiona the Hippo – Cute comes in ALL sizes and shapes

We’re so blessed to coexist

with creatures hard to resist

Hip Hip Hooray

It’s Fiona’s Birthday!

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

Frankly Freddie’s early Valentine Greeting

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

So send me treats

I can eats

bananas, apples and meats

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

Get your Sweetie a USEFUL Valentine!

Click here!  https://CURIOUStotheMAX Zazzle Store

 

Valentine’s Day collection

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

The Hope for Peace & a Prayer

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

  Several months ago I began including this prayer:

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

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

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

Prayers for Humanity & Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

2.  Make it something you like or enjoy.  

(no problem – I LOVE to eat)

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

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

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

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

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

8 x 8 inch canvas – very small fruit by judy

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

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

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

6.  Allow yourself to fail

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

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

7.  Set yourself up for success

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

8.  Make it public
(I just did)

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

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

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

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

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

“Eat in” the New Year with Old World Food

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

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

1. Hoppin’ John, American South

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

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

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

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

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

2. Twelve grapes, Spain 

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

3. Tamales, Mexico

Tamales get special attention in Mexico during the holiday season.

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

4. Oliebollen, Netherlands

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

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

5. Marzipanschwein or Glücksschwein, Austria and Germany

Fresh marzipan made in the shape of little pigges.

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

6. Soba noodles, Japan

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

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

7. King cake, around the globe

The French do enjoy their galette des rois.

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

8. Cotechino con lenticchie, Italy

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

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

9. Pickled herring, Poland and Scandinavia

Rolled herring in vinegar, served with onions and pickles.

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

10. Kransekage, Denmark and Norway

This is a traditional Norwegian marzipan ring cake.

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

Here’s to a delicious New Year!

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

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

Santa CLAUStrophobia:

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

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

Have a HUMAN(E) Christmas!

Lickingly LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL,

Freddie

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

Merry Christmas AND . . .

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

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

Remember 50% goes to

The Gentle Barn Charity!

Click HERE to get your 2020  mini calendar

Click HERE to get your calendar

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?

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

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

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

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

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

judy

 

 

 

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

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

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Rats Taught How to Drive Tiny Cars (Parenthetically Speaking)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Gentle Barn

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

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

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

 

Sneeeek Peeek – Painting my way to THIN

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

APPETIZER

MAIN COURSE

DESSERT

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

judy

Ode to Tom

A Turkey’s Tail

by Freddie

His story is such, so they say

Waking at dawn

he’d peck at the lawn,

searching for bugs,

nibbling on slugs

of which he was particularly fond.

Then a Thanksgiving day, out of the blue

Gobbledy gobbledy gone.

So if  YOU took Tom from off his farm

in the middle of the night

please give him due thanks

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

And for all the bugs and many slugs

which make him an organic delight

Dear Human Beings,

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

 

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

Don’t ignore this turkey tip!

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

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

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

 

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

PEM’s and PEM – How I try to cope

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

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

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

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

This is how “gobsmacked” looks

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

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

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

Some of my coping mechanisms.  

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

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

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

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

Peggy

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