Category Archives: Inspiring Inspiration

Why I’ve not posted on “Curious” for awhile.

Several months ago my good friend Peggy Arndt, who is also a retired psychotherapist, suggested we collaborate on blogging the tips, tools and techniques for health, happiness and well-being we have accumulated over our combined 60+ years of experience.

As that was my original intent when I started this CURIOUS blog I agreed . . . on the condition that CATNIPblog also amused me.

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

By now, you know that I post when the mood moves me.  Collaborating with Peggy, who is much more organized than I am, has made me accountable to a regular blogging schedule on Catnipblog.  So I’ve been typing my little fingers to the bone and posting on CATNIP so Peggy will think I’m not as flaky as I actually am.

I’m not abandoning this blog as I started Curious to the Max over 7 years ago and have over 1,500 post (yes, you read that right . . . OVER one-thousand, five-hundred posts!).  I’m just still in the process of figuring out how to do both blogs.

On CATNIPblog most of the posts emphasize current research and the neuroscience of health and happiness (with a bit of our personal experience thrown in).  Once a week we post something inspirational, weird and/or whimsical on Pawsitively Tuesdays.

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 I’d LOVE it if you would check out CATNIPblog, see the proof that I can be disciplined . . . and subscribe.

Click here:

CATNIPblog take a look !

The HeART of Spirituality Workshop – Finding Balance

How can we find balance in the chaos that surrounds us?  This was the question at the recent HeART of Spirituality workshops held at Tapestry Unitarian.

“As ye have faith so shall your powers and blessings be. This is the balance—this is the balance—this is the balance.” – Baha’i World Religion 

The participants picked images that represented spiritual balance and spiritual imbalance and made collaged Contemplation Cards.  Similar to tarot cards or vision boards these cards can be used in many ways.  

Can you tell which cards represent BALANCE and which represent IMBALANCE?  See all the cards on  CATNIPblog.

To see all the Contemplation Cards,  a picture of the participants and directions how to make the cards click HERE.

Ecclesiastes Chapter 3:1-8

  1. 1 To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
  2. 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up [that which is] planted;
  3. 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
  4. 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
  5. 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
  6. 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
  7. 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
  8. 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

April Fools’ Day – Something’s Fishy

Creepy, manipulative, terrible hoax or a creative, fun-filled joke?

The positive view is that April Fools’ is good for one’s health because it encourages “jokes, pranks, and belly laughs and brings all the benefits of laughter including stress relief and reducing strain on the heart!

Here are some April 1st pranks pulled on whole populations.  You decide if they are creepy or fun-filled:

P.S.  Click here to find out the science behind WHY WE ARE SO GULLIBLE

Pasta Prank

1957: “Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. The BBC broadcast a film in their Panorama current affairs series purporting to show Swiss farmers picking freshly-grown spaghetti from the family “spaghetti tree”. At the time spaghetti was relatively little known in the UK, so that many Britons were unaware that it is made from wheat flour and water; a number of viewers afterwards contacted the BBC for advice on growing their own spaghetti trees.  The BBC was later flooded with requests to purchase a spaghetti plant, forcing them to declare the film a hoax on the news the next day.”

Welcome To Chicago!

1992: “Airline passengers descending into Los Angeles Airport might have experienced a momentary feeling of panic when they looked out the window and saw an 85-foot-long yellow banner on the ground that spelled out, in 20-foot-high red letters, “Welcome to Chicago.” It was raised above the Hollywood Park race track, which lay directly along the flight path for arriving planes, about three miles from the airport.”

Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity

1976: “During an early-morning interview on BBC Radio 2, the British astronomer Patrick Moore announced that at 9:47 AM that day a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur. Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, and this planetary alignment would temporarily counteract and lessen the Earth’s own gravity. Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment the alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 AM arrived, the station began receiving hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman reported that she and her friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room. Moore had intended his annoucement to be a spoof of a pseudoscientific theory that had recently been promoted in a book called The Jupiter Effect, alleging that a rare alignment of the planets was going to cause massive earthquakes and the destruction of Los Angeles in 1982.”

Orange-Bearing Pine Trees

1950: “Motorists driving along the scenic Rim of the World highway near Lake Arrowhead in Southern California encountered something remarkable. All the pine and cedar trees lining the road had grown oranges overnight. The transformation turned out to be the work of the residents of the nearby town of Skyforest, led by the cartoonist Frank Adams. They had crept out during the night and strung 50,000 oranges in the trees along a one-mile section of the highway. The fruit was left over from the recent National Orange Show in San Bernardino.”

The Tasmanian Mock Walrus

1984: “The Orlando Sentinel featured a story about a creature known as the Tasmanian Mock Walrus (or TMW for short) that many people in Florida were said to be adopting as a pet. The creature was four inches long, resembled a walrus, purred like a cat, and had the temperament of a hamster. What made it such an ideal pet was that it never had to be bathed, used a litter box, and ate cockroaches. In fact, a single TMW could entirely rid a house of its cockroach problem. However, the local pest-control industry was said to be pressuring the government to ban TMWs, fearing they would put cockroach exterminators out of business. Dozens of people called the paper trying to find out where they could obtain their own TMW. Skeptics noted that the photo of a TMW accompanying the article showed a creature that looked suspiciously similar to a Naked Mole Rat.”

FAT SOX – Loose Weight from the “bottom” up.

2000: “The Daily Mail revealed that Esporta Health Clubs had launched a new line of socks, dubbed FatSox, designed to help people lose weight. These revolutionary socks actually sucked body fat out of sweating feet, promising to “banish fat for ever.” The American inventor of this weight-loss product, Professor Frank Ellis Elgood, explained that the socks employed a nylon polymer called FloraAstraTetrazine “previously only applied in the nutrition industry.” As a person’s body heat rose and their blood vessels dilated, the socks drew “excess lipid from the body through the sweat.” After having sweated out the fat, the wearer could then simply wash the socks, and the fat, away.”

Bob Blowfish sez: “A fish out of water is not a prank, no matter what the occasion.”

In Italy, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, and French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Canada, April tradition is often known as “April fish” (poissons d’avril in French, aprilvis in Dutch or pesce d’aprile in Italian).

This includes attempting to attach a paper fish to the victim’s back without being noticed. Many newspapers also spread a false story on April Fools’ Day, and a subtle reference to a fish is sometimes given as a clue.

http://hoaxes.org/aprilfool

Click here to Learn WHY WE ARE SO GULLIBLE

Frankly Freddie – Your Picks, My Treat

Dear Human-beings,

Thank you for responding to my survey. For every response I got a treat.

Here are the top rated areas you’re most interested in reading on CATNIPblog:

Tied for #4

  • Quizes to learn about myself
  • How to deal with difficult people
  • Managing time and commitment

Tied for #3

  • How to improve relationships
  • Nutrition for brain health
  • Finding purpose

No tie for #2

  • Stress reduction – be calmer & more relaxed

Tied for #1

  • Mood lifters – quick ways to feel happy
  • Animal Tails & Tales

Other:

  • How to “read” other people in order to improve relationships
  • Humor – everything is funny seen through the right lens
  • How to deal with old age losses – friends, health, purpose

Peggy & Judy’s pick:  How to live in retirement in the manner we’d like to become accustomed.

Freddie’s pick:  How to get lots of treats without more polls and subscriber drawings.

Maui’s pick:  How to achieve alpha-status over Freddie. 

IF you haven’t already you can still be entered in my drawing, Click HERE:

Frankly Freddie – Catnipblog Subscriber Drawing

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CCT, RET

Freddie Parker Westerfield

Frankly Freddie – CATNIP coming to a computer near you!

Thank you for all your responses to my survey.  I got treats for being supportive.

Peggy and my human are excited to launch their new blog CATNIP

I’m getting excited too cuz I’m being supportive and will get treats for my contest.

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I keep asking them Why on earth name the new blog CATNIP and not FREDDIE?

According to humans, catnip makes you mellow. (What they don’t know is it drives cats wild with desire.) Peggy & Judy want to help you find your mellow but if it drives you wild with desire for more CATNIP they’ll be pleased.

Peggy and my human each worked for over 210 dog years as Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists.   That’s a lot of years.  They decided to share what they’ve learned and the tools they’ve taught rather than have all their stuff blindly dumped into a shredder after they’re gone.  

So . . .  continuing to be supportive . . .  I’m sponsoring a contest to help them be successful bloggers, like me. 

Everyone who subscribes to

CATNIP

  by Saturday, March 18, 2017 will be entered into a drawing and I, Freddie the supportive one, will send the winners a WONDERFUL prize.

Click here to enter!!  http://CATNIPblog.com 

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE to CATNIP so Peggy and my human don’t think I’ve sabotaged them (as retired psychotherapists they are sometimes a bit paranoid).

It’s easy – just enter your e-mail address in the subscribe box at the top right hand corner of the CATNIPBLOG site.

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET
Freddie Parker Westerfield, CCT RET

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Certified Canine Therapist, RET

P.S. I made them promise to have fun doing CATNIP.  I know them . . . if it isn’t fun they won’t do it.  So if you pay attention you’ll see some of their original drawings, stories, poems sneak on cat feet into the CATNIPblog.

 P.P.S.S. Neither Peggy nor my human are very smart when it comes to technical stuff. Ronna Skinner, graphic designer extraordinaire (not to mention Peggy’s cousin-in-law) helped get the cats Peggy drew, safely perched onto the letters where they can play with “CATNIP”  to their hearts content (and not bother me)

Ronna
Ronna

Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life – Life imitates Art

Not too very long ago, I thought that really good artists (writers included) got it exactly right the moment they laid pencil to paper.  When I write posts I spend exponentially more time editing than on the first draft.  When I draw I correct and correct and correct some more. 

Not too very long ago, I learned that this is what 90% of artists, writers, dancers, singers etc. do . . .  adjust, correct, redo, undo . . . and it never will be perfect.  It’s knowing when to stop and move on.

It’s a great metaphor for life.  We keep adjusting, correcting and practicing, knowing we can’t get it perfect . . . just better.

LOVE LOVE LOVE this model.  She has curves.  

Much more fun to draw than muscle & bone.

Warm-up poses, 5 minutes

Am I Addicted to Dairy Crack? (parenthetically speaking. . . )

I’m baaaaaaack . . . sorta . . . missed all my art classes, missed church . . . cancelled The HeART of Spirituality workshop cuz I’ve been feeling puny.  (And when I am feeling puny I eat,  watch the cooking channel, download recipes and read all I can about what not to eat in the hopes that I will follow that advice.)

The only constructive thing I’ve done is work on the NEW BLOG Catnip with my good friend and colleague Peggy Arndt.  

(Peggy is a retired psychotherapist too AND an artist and author.  I’ve never caught Peggy feeling puny and eating since she’s within a pound or two of the same weight she was when we were in high school together.  If I didn’t like her so much I’d hate her.)  

Between the two of us we have amassed decades of information on neuroscience and behavior and relationships . . .  and eating . . . and addictions.  We’re going to share all that on a new blog called CATNIP (but I digress . . .)

While I was researching for CATNIP this article caught my eye . . .   here are some excerpts:

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cow by judy

The Case Against Dairy Crack

By Barbara J. King*

“The average American eats more than 33 pounds of cheese a year.”  (Thirty-three pounds is about the amount of weight I’d like to lose.  I need to stop eating my American share of cheese.)

“This is according to Neal Barnard, physician and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. And that’s a problem, he says, because it’s helping to make us overweight and sick.”

“Loaded with calories, high in sodium, packing more cholesterol than steak, and sprinkled with hormones — if cheese were any worse, it would be Vaseline …”

Some foods are fattening. Others are addictive. Cheese is both — fattening and addictive.”

“Barnard explains that dairy protein — specifically a protein called casein — has opiate molecules built in. When babies nurse, he notes, they’re getting dosed with a mild drug: “Milk contains opiates that reward the baby for nursing.”‘ 

“It’s no different with the cow’s milk — or other mammalian milk — from which cheese is made. In fact, Barnard says, the process of cheese-making concentrates the casein”

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Non-dominant hand, one-eyed, fat-tipped marker, puny drawing

“Call it dairy crack.”

 “Dairy proteins appear to trigger inflammation, apparently by triggering the release of antibodies, which leads to the constriction of the tiny muscles in the airways. By avoiding dairy proteins, the trigger for the [asthma] attacks is gone.”

“. . .  Barnard notes that vitamin D may play an important role in protecting us against some types of cancers. Citing prostate-cancer data, he suggests that because dairy products are high in calcium and calcium intake can slow down activation of vitamin D, cancer risks may increase with cheese-eating.”

“The National Dairy Council (or cows who would rather be milked than molded into meat patties) does not endorse Barnard’s descriptions of cheese . . .  and points to research from Harvard School of Public Health that shows no association between cheese and long-term weight gain.”

“However, if one’s goal is to lose weight, there is something to be said for not teasing yourself with occasional doses of the very food that caused the problem in the first place. (I might add sugar and refined carbs to the list . . . might?) Better to end that bad love affair. If a person is concerned about asthma, migraine, rheumatoid arthritis, or other sensitivities, one soon loses all desire for the food product that caused the problem.” (So far THAT argument hasn’t worked with me.)

(Maybe every time I feel puny  I should picture myself eating 33 pounds of VASELINE . . . )

Read the entire article and click HERE.


*Barbara J. King is an anthropology professor emerita at the College of William and Mary.  Barbara’s most recent book on animals is titled How Animals Grieve, and her forthcoming book, Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat,

The Cheese Trap, How Breaking a Surprising Addiction Will Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Healthy by Neal D., M.d. Barnard, Dreena Burton and Marilu Henner

Sneak a Peek – getting in the mood for Valentine’s Day

No further explanation needed . . .

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20 minute pose, Water-color pencil
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20 minute pose, water-color pencil
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15 minute pose, water-color pencil
"She's got to be kidding"
“Getting into the mood! She’s got to be kidding . . . an explanation is definitely needed . . .”

How to gain control of your free time

March 1st will mark two years since I retired.    Now that I have all the time in the world I have much more time to procrastinate.  During retirement I have fine-tuned my procrastination skills. 

I also have a continued quest for self-improvement.   In between TV shows and relaxing I squeeze in reading articles and watching videos that inspire me to develop better habits.

Here’s the latest video which I found so inspirational I turned off the TV.

After listening to this Ted Talk I decided to do a trial run before my actual  two-year retirement anniversary. 

I’m going to treat the things I keep saying I’d like to do like a flooded basement.  (you’ll have to watch the video).  So!  here’s what my emergencies are for this coming week:

  1. Do something everyday (as opposed to doing nothing)
  2. Cut out sugar from my eating “habits”.

I’ll let you know next week . . . or two . . .  how I did.

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Blame game: roosters, virus and my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex

It’s the Year of the Rooster – I was born under the Chinese sign of the Rooster.  Always thought it to be a curse I was born under a sign that wasn’t fertile enough to lay an egg or two.

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According to my friend Sharon Bonin-Pratt (whose last post inspired this post) People born under the sign of the Rooster are hardworking, funny, trustworthy and talented.

I’m not hardworking, at times am funny, almost always trustworthy, and have latent talents that get laid but never hatched.

This Rooster year started off with a cold virus that delights roaming the cozy recesses of my sinus passages.   It’s day 11 (but who’s counting).  I’ve been a total slug – no energy, no resolve which gives me a perfect excuse for not making New Years’ resolutions.

(The truth be told, I never make resolutions for the New Year – learned long ago that when I inevitably fail to keep a resolution it leads to feeling badly.)  

What energy I have has been directed toward resolving to be more creative this year. 

In preparation I’ve been obsessively reading everything I can find on how to break my creative block and stop procrastinating.

Most everything I read about procrastination indicates that we procrastinate when we don’t want to do something that is not enjoyable.   Being a master procrastinator I also procrastinate with things that bring me enjoyment.

For inspiration, I read blogs of people who write, read or draw daily – all things which bring me enjoyment.  I feel badly I’m not like them  which leads me to read articles on procrastination and meeting goals (I know how to set them, just not meet them).

Finally the article below has liberated me! I know what to blame:

My dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is lazy . . . not me.

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Creative block here’s neuroscience how to fix it.

by Elizabeth Shockman

“What is it exactly that helps us be creative? What fuels us when we get into an especially productive work flow? What makes the hours disappear when our brains focus on a task?”

“What, in other words, is happening in our brains when we’re being creative?”

“Cognitive neuroscientist Heather Berlin at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai says we know a little bit about what’s going on. Berlin studies the neuroscience of imagination, creativity and improvisation. And for those people who might be facing writer’s block? “There’s really no prescribed medication,” Berlin says. “There is no real magic pill.”’

Instead, she says, creativity depends on which part of the brain you might be using.

“When [people] are improvising, there tends to be a pattern of activation where they have decreased activation in a part of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex,” Berlin says. “And that part of the brain has to do with your sense of self, your sort of inner critic, making sure that your behavior conforms to social norms.”

“Translation? When you’re at your most creative, “basically you lose your sense of self,” Berlin says. “You kind of release your inhibition. The second you become too self-aware that comes back online and you lose that flow state.”’

“In addition to losing inhibitions, people who are in a creative state have increased activation in a part of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex, which has to do with the internal generation of ideas. In other words, the ideas are coming from within.”

“Some people, when they’re in the flow state … a lot of people say ‘It feels like it’s flowing through me. It’s coming from someplace else,’ you know, ‘It’s coming so naturally I don’t even have to think about it,’” Berlin says. “It’s called liberation without attention. You can only keep a certain number of variables in mind when you’re thinking about something consciously. But if you let it go, you actually can come to a greater understanding because the unconscious can do much more complex processing.”

“For those suffering from creative block, Berlin has some practical advice:”

“You have to take in all the information and then go for a walk,” Berlin says. “Go out, do something else. Because those people who sit there and just obsess over thinking about it too much, using your prefrontal cortex you’re actually limiting yourself. So letting it go can actually help you get over, let’s say a writer’s block or a creative block.”

I’d go for a walk but I have a cold.  Maybe some other time . . .

 

 

Spinning in control

It’s been a rough year.  Maybe it’s the media bombarding us with political enmity, flood, fire, war, death, illness . . .  but it does seem rougher than usual.   My resiliency is running low.  

To put things in perspective on this last day of the year I remind myself that this earth has been around billions of years and I am standing on a planet hurtling through space and haven’t fallen off . . . yet

NASA archive image, relase date October 17, 2000. This true-color image shows North and South America as they would appear from space 35,000 km (22,000 miles) above the Earth. The image is a combination of data from two satellites. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite collected the land surface data over 16 days, while NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) produced a snapshot of the Earth’s clouds. Image created by Reto Stöckli, Nazmi El Saleous, and Marit Jentoft-Nilsen, NASA GSFC Credit: NASA Earth Observatory NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission. Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook Find us on Instagram
NASA archive image, release date October 17, 2000.
This true-color image shows North and South America as they would appear from space 35,000 km (22,000 miles) above the Earth.  Image created by Reto Stöckli, Nazmi El Saleous, and Marit Jentoft-Nilsen, NASA GSFC
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

The earth is moving about our sun at a speed of nearly 30 kilometers per second, or 67,000 miles per hour.  Our solar system–Earth and all–whirls around the center of our galaxy at some 220 kilometers per second, or 490,000 miles per hour.

“There are anywhere between 200-400 billion stars in the Milky Way and an estimated 100 billion planets. Around one in five stars are like our sun, and astronomers have estimated that about 22% of them have planets the size of Earth in their habitable zone, where water can exist as a liquid. This means there could be 8.8 billion planets within the galaxy capable of supporting life (not accounting for composition of the planet or its atmosphere).”

“God has created the world as one—the boundaries are marked out by man.”

‘Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith

 

Antidote for Santa – Peace & Good Cheer

My Annual Christmas pome – Sick Ole St Nick undoubtedly struck a chord among my many many followers – well at least one . . .

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By Sharon Bonin-Pratt*

Goodness, I feel sorry for the poor man in red his weary reindeer and sled
Don’t blame me cuz I’ve never participated in dragging that man from his bed
The worst you can say is I’ve not enough candles and therefore can’t light
All my eight menorahs, yes, count ’em, eight Hanukkah for eight days of light
Tell Santa to give up the late ride and eat chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil
Safer to spin driedles, tell stories of brave Maccabees and the miracle of oil
And he’ll feel much better when he rises well rested at the end of this year
Not having delivered gifts heavier than a wish for peace and good cheer

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Happy Chanukah!!

*Disclosure:  Printed without permission from the author . .  

Why Santa never gets caught

How Do Reindeer Fly?

Doodlewash is a blog I follow – both for Charlie O’s great water-colors but even more for his wonderful stories and descriptions about each drawing.

Today’s Doodlewash post inspired my pome.

Water-color by Charlie O'Shields
Water-color by Charlie O’Shields

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 inspiring story click here:

How Do Reindeer Fly?

Here’s looking achoooooooo!

I admit it.  I’m a bit paranoid about catching a cold or the flu.

When I get sick insult is added to injury as my fibromyalgia symptoms flare for weeks after I’ve recovered from the cold. 

I avoid anyone who sneezes, eyes are watery or is coughing.  I’ve moved my groceries from one counter to another to avoid check-out clerks who looked like they are sick and on occasion come home and taken a shower if I THINK I might have been exposed.  

Now I learn it’s possible I’m avoiding  people who aren’t sick,  just afraid, sad or incredibly empathetic!

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Sneezing is “catching,” like a yawn.

“It is true that emotions can affect your nasal membranes. Fear makes them shrink (which can make you sneeze), and sadness makes them swell (which can also make you sneeze.) Though there is conflicting evidence, yawning has been linkedto empathy, and one study showed that psychopaths — people who lack empathy — may even be immune to contagious yawning.”

“If sneezing fits are like yawning fits, does that mean that if we are tuned into others’ emotions, we might sneeze out of sympathy? Though hard evidence is murky, there is some reason to believe that both yawning and sneezing fits may be powered by the mind.”

The article Here’s Looking achoo – debunking the sneeze covers even more:

  • Sneezing is good for the soul
  • Sneezing is bad for the soul
  • If you say “God Bless You,” God might spare you. Or not.
  • Tweezing your eyebrows can make you sneeze.
  • Sneezing always comes in threes.
  • Bright light can make you sneeze.

Read the entire article click HERE.

 

 

21 ways to keep your sanity for the holidays

 Only  15 days till Chanukah!    15 days till Christmas!  22 days till New Year’s!  Time for my yearly reminder on how to keep sane.

Christmas:

  1. Instead of buying  a tree watch your friends decorate (and take down) theirs
  2. Convert to Judaism
  3. Sit in the lobby of a 5-star hotel and enjoy EXPENSIVE decorations.
  4. ADOPT a pig, instead of eating one.
  5. Make dinner potluck, you supply the paper plates and plastic cutlery
  6. Christmas dinner – Start with dessert and forget the rest.
  7. Sit on the beach in Bali.

8.  Go to bed on the 23rd and get up on January 3rd.*

9.  Only buy presents for Jesus.

10. Put a cover on the outside chimney opening so you don’t have to put out cookies and milk.

Chanukah:

11. Watch your friends decorate (and take down) their Christmas tree.

12. Convert.

13. Stay in a 5-star hotel for 8 days and nights.

14. Use credit cards instead of gelt

15. Instead of gambling with a dreidle at home go to Vegas

16. Don’t give presents, do good deeds

17. Go to bed on Thanksgiving and wake up on New Years**

18. Bake potatoes instead of grating them to death

19. Eat macaroons with Ben & Jerry

New Years:

20. *Remember! Stay in bed until the 3rd, unless you’re Jewish.

21. **If you are Jewish, go back to bed.

 

Peace on Earth & Sanity to all my Friends!

A Frankly Freddie Thanksgiving

Dear Human Beings,

Time for my ANNUAL Thanksgiving ‘Ode To Tom’ and tell you what I’m thankful for:

  • I’m thankful that I was not born in a country where they eat dogs.
  • I’m thankful you are all my best friends!
  • I’m thankful for all the treats I get even if I don’t get as many as I deserve
  • I’m thankful I am soft and fluffy so people want to pet me
  • DSCN4217Freddie Parker Westerfield,  Poet Laureate

A Turkey’s Tale

by Freddie Parker Westerfield

A turkey named Tom lived on a farm

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 on Thanksgiving day

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 only right).

And for all the bugs and many slugs

which make him an organic delight

P.S.  I was told to tell you that my Human-being wishes you all things to be grateful for in your life, like she’s grateful for me.
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My BEST FRIEND Shari sent me this picture.  I think she might be a Turkeytarian . . .

 

How to cook a turkey FAST and painlessly (for you not the bird)

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.

 

Shower yourself with doodle art

This is one hot shower!  

“Third Man Records is pleased to share the genius surprise gift they received from their friend MICHEL GONDRY. On his own and without anyone’s knowledge, the legendary filmmaker shot a video for “City Lights,” which he sent them the other night. The video is Gondry’s fifth visual collaboration with The White Stripes. “City Lights” was written for The White Stripes’ GET BEHIND ME SATAN but then forgotten until White revisited the 2005 album for Third Man’s Record Store Day 2015 vinyl reissue and finished the recording in 2016. The track is the first new, worldwide commercially released song by The White Stripes since 2008.”

http://jackwhiteiii.com/

Music video by The White Stripes performing “City Lights” (Audio) from Jack White Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016. (C) 2016 Third Face, LLC

Director: Michel Gondry
Producer: Raffi Adlan
Camera/Editor: Brooke Palmieri
Special Thanks: Tilly Pederson, David Gritchen
Production Co: Partizan

 

Laughter is the best medicine

The weather is changing

my body rearranging

Help! I’m in a fibro flare

Everything hurts

including my hair.

Sharon Bonin Pratt is a writer, an artist and a dear friend.  I think she also is psychic.  I’ve been not feeling great and the subject of her last post was just what I needed.  AND it’s dedicated to ME!!!!  What an honor!

Shari inspired me to look for a smile (SEE THE VIDEO).  

Here’s a sample from Sharon Bonin Pratt’s Ink Flare:

“Who can laugh without relaxing? Isn’t that why some of us (not me of course, and certainly not you, but other unnamed folks) pee their pants when laughing raucously? Losing all control is not a bad thing, even if you must change your whitie-dities, because when you’re having that much fun – who cares about all the rest? Oh, and it’s contagious! In a good way, not like the flu, but like having enough cup cakes for everyone in the world. So now I not only feel good inside my own world weary bod – I feel good because everyone around me also feels good. Motto for today: Spread cheer – laugh out loud.”

Read her entire post –  Sharon Bonin Pratt’s Ink Flare

My sketchy life – failing my way to success

Sara Blakely’s embrace of failure has helped make her the youngest self-made female billionaire in America.  She invented Spanx (body-shaping undergarments – the modern version of the corset and girdle).

When she was growing up, her father would often ask her the same question at dinnertime.

“What have you failed at this week?”

I was AGHAST – failure!? What a horrible father.  Everyone knows we are supposed to focus on and revel in success.  She went on to say:

“My dad growing up encouraged me and my brother to fail. The gift he was giving me is that failure is (when you are) not trying versus the outcome. It’s really allowed me to be much freer in trying things and spreading my wings in life.”

What a novel idea! Embrace failure as a sign of taking risks, learning and growing. Failure is a victory not a defeat.

“The fact that I had never taken a business class, had no training, didn’t know how retail worked,” she said. “I wasn’t as intimidated as I should have been.”

I read her interview just before my life drawing class.  It was liberating!!  I gave myself permission to fail at trying to draw perfect likeness, perfect proportions, perfect shading.  

Graphite Pencil Sketch
Graphite Pencil Sketches

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My new motto:  Fail Away! 

 . . . it’s never too late to become the oldest self-made billionaire in the United States.

I fail to understand her conclusions . . . that must make me a success . . .
She never fails to confound me . . .

 

Frankly Freddie – Dog Days of Summer

My human has been laying around the house all week.  You’ve probably noticed she’s not been commenting on her blog or responding to e-mails.  She overdid it at her last workshop and has been dog-tired ever since.  

Humans are cute, not very smart and take a lot of patience on our part.  Just when I think she’s trained she gets loose and I have no idea where she goes or what she gets into.  All I know is she comes limping home. 

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Picture by Rona H.

She looks a bit dog-eared.

Usually she can pick up the scent and find her way back but if you see her loose on the street don’t call human-control, just bring her home in time for my dinner.

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT, RET

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Author
Freddie Parker Westerfield, Certified Canine Therapist, RET

The HeART of Spirituality – Journey from Dark to Light

The theme for July is “Journey”.  Held a special 4 hour – yes, count ’em FOUR hours of creative energy – workshop yesterday.  The participants focused on a painful experience, what strengths they developed as a result of the pain and how God’s love or “the universe’s grace” touched them.  

People could share as much or as little as they chose.  It was a wonderful group of women.  (All you men, where are you?!!!!)

Take a look at a sample of wonderful paintings and mini-journals the participants created yesterday!

To see all the paintings and journal pages click HERE!

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Process painting, Journey from Dark to Light

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“Everything in life ministers to our development. Our lesson is to study and learn… Tests are either stumbling blocks or stepping stones, just as we make them.” Abdu’l-Baha, The Baha’i World Faith

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Mini journal – 2- page spread

Can you tell what this is?

poin·til·lism
ˈpwaNtēˌyizəm,ˈpointlˌizəm/
noun
  1. A technique of neo-impressionist painting using tiny dots of various pure colors, which become blended in the viewer’s eye. It was developed by Georges Seurat with the aim of producing a greater degree of luminosity and brilliance of color.
    cmass.0

    Click HERE to see if you were right!

The pinnacle is the climb, not the mountain peak

A lovely reminder of what our souls know but our minds forget.

WORTH WATCHING

Gabrielle Garcia Marquez

Considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century and one of the best in theSpanish language, he was awarded the 1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Everyday is Mother’s Day and Everyone, each in their own way, mothers

On Mother’s Day Reverend Kent Doss at the Tapestry Unitarian Church began his sermon with a poem.  I found myself tearing up.  After the service I shared my response with other women who all said they, too, had to fight back tears.  

Reverend Doss’ heartfelt delivery can’t be duplicated but I encourage you to read it out loud.   

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If you have carried a child or children, whether or not they came to be born, we see you.

If you have fervently wished to do so, and circumstances of fate made it impossible, we see you.

If you love children we cannot see, whether because of death or estrangement, we see you.

If you never wanted to be a mother, we see you.

If you are happy to mother other people’s children, as an educator, an auntie, or a foster parent, we see you.

If your mother hurt you, physically or emotionally, we see you.

If you had no mother at all, we see you.

If your mother is or was your best friend, we see you.

If your gender says you are not a mother, and yet you take on the role of nurturer, we see you.

If you wonder whether your mothering has been enough, we see you.

And if yours is a different truth altogether, we honor your unspoken story.

There is room for all in this circle. May it be so, today and always.

 About the author: Lisa Bovee-Kemper

 

 

Frankly Freddie (parenthetically speaking)

Dear Human Beings,

Do NOT, I repeat do NOT, believe everything you read.   This article is a case in point:

New research shows why dogs don’t like hugs.

Staff writers

“PET owners beware — new research has revealed that dogs don’t like hugs from their owners, which can make them (the owners?) more stressed out.”
“According to new research published in Psychology Today, Stanley Coren from the University of British Columbia, said dogs respond differently to humans who seek comfort from hugging others.”
“Coren, who studies canine behaviour, analysed a random sample of 250 pictures of humans hugging their dogs that he could find online through Flickr and a Google image search.” (skewed data – he left out Pintrest and Instagram where the animal pictures are more photogenic)
“In using photos where the dog’s face was easily seen, he looked whether the dog appeared to be anxious or distressed, relaxed, or showed a neutral response to being hugged.”
“He found that around 82 per cent of the photographs showed “unhappy dogs” receiving hugs from their owners or children.”

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Author
Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Author

He said that dogs show signs of distress when they bare their teeth (called a smile when humans do it), turn their heads away from something ( just being bored and looking around), or they partially close their eyes (doesn’t everyone close their eyes when ecstatic?).
Another sign of anxiety is when a dog’s ears are lowered or “slicked against the side of his head”. (Stanley, it’s just our coiffure)
He also said that licking lips or licking a person’s face can also be a sign of anxiety, like yawning or raising a paw. (I lick when it’s tasty)
Coren said the fact that dogs don’t like being hugged can be explained by their behavioural nature.

As “cursorial animals”, (cursorial?  I swear I never curse) they are designed for swift running. When stressed, a dog’s first instinct is to run away.
It is believed that when they are restricted from moving with a hug, it can increase a dog’s stress level and potentially cause them to bite their owners. (or bite researchers)

It’s not the hugs that stressed the dogs out it was having their pictures taken WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT to be displayed for all the world to see.

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Pulblished Poet
Freddie Parker Westerfield, Blogger

So hug away you human-beings and always follow-up with a treat for us dogs (you got your treat with the hug)

Frankly yours,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET, CDB

Canine Dog Therapist, Retired and Certified Dog Blogger

 

A Leg Up – The Princess & the Pea

I sent my doodle cartoon to Sketchbook Skool & Doodlers Anonymous

and now I’m sending it to you.

The Princess & the Pea- Dispelling the Myth

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The test of a REAL princess is tenacity and ingenuity, not vegetable intolerance.

Sneek a peek at my skechy life

What did I learn today in class?  Drawing is just like life! 

I used to think that great artists, good artists got it right on the first pass.  It’s taken me 7 decades to understand that all artists continually make corrections.  Draw, adjust, erase, draw, redraw, erase . . . 

Luckily, it only took me 5 decades to figure out that life was about continually making corrections.  That reminds me . . .  I need a new eraser.

Here’s my sketches for today – One is loose and the other uptight

#CreativeSprint

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Graphite pencil, I shaved his head so he’d be more “hip”.
Vine charcoal
Vine charcoal, Dilly Dolly

Puppy Power!

SoulPancake and Puppy Chow teamed up to share the #PowerofPuppies at a preschool, retirement home, and gym to transform an otherwise ordinary day. Share http://bit.ly/pwrofppys with someone who needs the power of puppies in their lives! For every video view, Puppy Chow will donate one pound of Puppy Chow Natural to Rescue Bank® (up to 500,000 pounds or until April 23, 2016).

 

 

Happy Easter Klatch Hatch

 Better to give life than eat it.

This watercolor by Kathrin Werner made me smile.   Happy Easter and beyond!

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Watercolor by Kathrin Werner

Kathi also has the best blog series – She’s created an alligator with attitude named Benni:   

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“As the landlord had forgotten to tell the other guests that Benni was a vegetarian, hardly anybody did sleep in that night.”

and you can brush up on your German when you read her blog:

“Außer Benni schlief keiner. Der Hüttenwirt hatte vergessen den anderen Gäste zu sagen, dass Benni Vegetarier war.”

Click here: KathrinsWorld

 P.S.  She even has an ETSY shop

 

 

“Shitty First Drafts”

In art class we had a live model for the first time.  We were to do a fast sketch to acquaint ourselves with her facial features.  She was a striking young woman with distinct features. 

My initial 15 minute charcoal sketch looked like a wild animal had attacked.  I admit to being a bit embarrassed when the model walked by looking at all our sketches.  It’s one thing botching up a plaster cast and another maiming a live beautiful face.

"Shitty first draft", charcoal
“Shitty first draft”, charcoal

The remaining time in class was spent doing the model’s portrait in chalk pastels.  (Confession: The teacher helped me since I’ve never worked with pastels.)

I was not going to post either the initial sketch because it wasn’t “perfectly executed” nor my pastel since my teacher helped. 

Then Anne Lamott, the author, came to mind.  In her book Bird by Bird she talks about how the writer should just spill it all out, create the “shitty first draft”.  That’s how good writers get to the second, third and polished last drafts.

Pastels
Pastel on grey paper

When I look at the portrait I see flashes of myself – mostly the pain I’ve been in.  There wasn’t time in class to finish . . . another work in progress, like me.

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.” 

Anne Lamott

Children’s art – the invisible made visible

“Syrian kids who passed through Milan’s Central Station last year did something very Italian: create artwork. While they waited for trains to take them to northern Europe, Save the Children offered them a chance to draw. They could depict whatever they wanted, says psychologist Vittoria Ardino, president of the Italian Society for the Study of Traumatic Stress, who analyzed 500 of these images.”

Scroll down to last drawing to read one of Ardino’s reflections on the drawings.

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“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. 
Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama

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“God has created the world as one—the boundaries are marked out by man.”

‘Abdu’l-Baha, The Baha’i World Faith

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“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.”

1 Corinthians 1:10

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“However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you

If you do not act on upon them?”

Buddha

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Here’s one of  Vittoria Ardino’s reflections on these drawings:

“There’s so much happening on this piece of paper — which is maybe a reflection of the child’s chaotic inner world, Ardino says. A flying creature is part butterfly, a common symbol of freedom. But it’s also part gun. A plane dropping bombs is covered by a face that’s half-human and half-fish (or actually, a big fish devouring a smaller one). A flower droops over a series of squiggles, which Ardino believes represent human bodies. All of that points to a child feeling powerless — but “trying desperately to find light,” Ardino adds. The face is surrounded by sun, and an oversized ladder or staircase leads away from the houses. Ardino suggests this is the child’s attempt at answering a critical question: “How can I escape?”‘

Click here to read Ardino’s reflections on all 7 drawings.

 

Age-Activated Attention Deficit Disorder

Now back to washing the dishes and the soapy water that reminded me to water the flowers in the garden which reminded me about this video . . .

Thanks Sharon M.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Is it a good thing . . . or a sign . . . I can no longer remember when my attention deficit was activated . . .?

How ANXIETY can make you SMARTER

I tend toward the depressive end of the “depression vs anxiety” scale.  There are very few things, besides snakes, heights and being suspended in the air in gondolas, that make me anxious.  I rarely worry about them . . . unless I’m on a hike in the mountains, it’s rattlesnake season and the only way I can get down is a gondola ride.

After watching this video . . . I’m worried that I don’t worry enough . . . 

Sneek a peek into my art – chalk one up

I’ve been struggling with my health and it’s been hard sitting through 3 hours of art class. 

Our first assignment was to do a black and white of a plaster lady whose arm was cut off above her elbow. Ouch. 

I missed the last class, deciding the fetal position I was in was more conducive to “licking my wounds” than doing it in public. Having no physical reference to finish the arm-less lady I explored the new medium of chalk pastel (new to me) and threw color around . . .  and made things up . . .

Pastel by moi
Pastel drawing by moi

I put her arm back because I wouldn’t want to be immortalized without my arm . . . even if I was plaster.  Would you?

If you haven’t lost all your marbles try this!

Marble Machine built and composed by Martin Molin
Video filmed and edited by Hannes Knutsson

Rube Goldberg would be in awe of the engineering complexity in this marvelous music machine that creates sound with 200 marbles! Its wooden parts are carved and Molin built it after drawing the design in 3-D software.  It’s programmable, and he can change keys midsong.  Take a look at videos about the process of creating the machine on Molin’s website.

Hacker Appreciation pome

In my life time I’ve been whacked

I’ve been blindsided

and been sacked

Now I’m included

 in the pantheon of the hacked

So if you are my hacker

please know I AM pleased

you used a younger picture of me

as a tease.

IACH Board having fun

"More proof she's losing it . . ."

 “More proof she’s losing it . . .”

If a first grader can draw portraits so can I and . . . so can YOU!

I’ve been taking a portrait painting class with Peggy Nicols and it’s very difficult.  Now I’m inspired to work harder because Carol Cormier taught her FIRST GRADERS to do portraits!  You’ve got to check out more great drawings of Picasso, Warhol, Dali and Kahlo! 

Click here to see ALL the first graders portraits at:

MamaCormier

Salvador Dali
Salvador Dali

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Freda Kohlo
Freda Kahlo

 Peggy Nichols, Studio C Gallery

Valentines NOT just from the heart

In case you’ve not gotten a valentine card for your sweetie it’s not too late to get something that’s personal, permanent and not just from your heart but from other parts of you too.

Lovey Dovey, Whenever I think of you I go crazy

Baby Boo, You are the lounge chair of my life. (Eames,no less)

Sweetie Pie, I could just eat you up!

My Love, Count on me to always watch your back.

Sweet Pea, I love you to the tips of my toes.

Baby, Take ALL of ME!

The First day of my Birthday Season – I’m Wrinkling in Strange Places

(Oh yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees – days and days and days and daaaaaaaaaaays of celebration.  You can send me gifts in lieu of flowers or cake per my birthday season RULES, #3).

To celebrate I slept-in late . . . 

Oh nooooooooooooooooo – I have vertical ridges in my fingernails.  So, of course, I googled “fingernail ridges”:

“There are many reasons for ridged nails but the most common is aging,” says Dr. Phoebe Rich, M.D, clinical adjunct professor of dermatology at Oregon Health Science University. As we age the nail matrix becomes atrophied  in areas resulting in longitudinal ridging of nails. I tell people they are like wrinkles in the nails.”

It’s bad enough that my face is wrinkling . . . my neck is wrinkling . . . and now! my fingernails are wrinkling!

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The next thing I know I’ll wake up and I will look like a Shar-pei.

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Bob Blobfish sez: ". . . I p"
Bob Blobfish sez: “I’d be upset too if I woke up looking like a Shar-pei”

 

My Annual Birthday Season!

After 71 times it’s getting a bit boring . . . another birthday . . .  Now don’t get me wrong I’m grateful I’m still around to celebrate but as Groucho Marx said: 

“Age is not a particularly interesting subject.  Anyone can get old.  All you have to do is live long enough.” 

The good news is my birthday SEASON** is getting longer . . . and so is YOURS.  In case, you’ve forgotten the rules (because you are getting old and forget a lot of things) and want to celebrate your own Birthday Season I’m reposting my repost from my reposted repost that I repost every year.
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Birthday Season Rules:

  1. Beginning on the day of your birth your season lasts the number of days you are old.  Consequently, every year your Birthday Season is one day longer.  With me so far?
  2. You are to celebrate your birth the entire season by choosing whatever you wish to do, or NOT do,  each day.  So far so good!
  3. People give you presents the entire season.  SO GOOD, so far!
  4. You must be over 50 to qualify for Birthday Season status.  (Over 50 you need more time to celebrate because it takes you longer.)
  5. You may start your Birthday Season before the actual date of your birth.  But you cannot exceed the number of days you are old.
  6. Those who are under the age of 50 can celebrate a Birthday Season as long as they don’t tell anyone or demand presents.(Gargle thoroughly after breakfast to eliminate tell-tale “Birthday Season Breath”.)
  7. You must eat doughnuts everyday for breakfast during your season. (If you don’t like doughnuts you can choose anything you want as long as it isn’t healthy).
  8. Every day of your season you must be grateful for being born and still being alive.  (After your Birthday Season is over you can revert to moaning about your age).

**In case, you’ve forgotten how the

Birthday Seasons Rules came to be

  (because you are getting old and forget a lot of things)

here’s how :

Many years ago my good friend Bernice and I were sitting in a motel room (don’t go THERE – we were at the motel, attending an imagery conference) eating doughnuts for breakfast.  We picked this motel because it had FREE doughnuts and coffee every morning.   It was just before our birthdays which are a few weeks apart.

A bit giddy from not sleeping well on motel mattresses and slightly inebriated on chocolate covered doughnuts, we decided that if we were going to get older each year we would at least take advantage of our accumulating age.  We created OUR BIRTHDAY SEASON.

"Food for thought . . . "
“Doughnuts . . . . . . .Food for thought . . . “

Click here for my birthday “make-overs” I was contemplating last year: 17 years and 2 months left to live

O’ Woe is Me and my Rule of Halves (parenthetically speaking)

My dear Curious to the Max followers,

I imagine there are millions of you (I have a big imagination) who wait with bated breath and quickening heart beats for my posts – I shall call you Group Numero UNO.  You are keenly aware (due to your breath and heart rhythm) I’ve been bloggingly absent.  The rest of you (group 2, small “g”) are scratching your heads (or other parts) and wondering what I’m talking about because your lives, breath and hearts have gone on nicely without my posting.

For Numero UNO:  I just have lost my mojo, my energy, my focus – not interested in writing, reading, gardening, e-mailing, blog posts started and abandoned . . .  I’m giving credit to a fibromyalgia flare-up because fibromyalgia should be good for something.

For the second group: I am LOST, DEPLETED, SUFFERING and you probably don’t care . . .

On a serious note (not that I wasn’t serious before) fibromyalgia along with many other chronic conditions has a mind of it’s own and takes over at unexpected and unpropitious times.  After over 20 years of living with this condition I’ve still not got the hang of it.  When I feel decent I go, do, get overly involved and then crash for days, sometimes weeks (or months, but who’s counting).

The BACK half
The BACK half

To better manage what energy I have I’ve decided to do half of the ten things I currently need or want to do:

  1. Complete half the alphabet for the on-line daily blogging alphabet posting challenge. (I’ve half a mind not to even do the challenge this year and repost what I wrote LAST year).
  2. Brush half my teeth each day (I’ll alternate halves – half in the morning and half before bed)
  3. Clean and dust the half of the house I can’t reach.
  4. Stop watching the Super Bowl at half-time.
  5. Eat half the pan of brownies I’m making (half today and half tomorrow).

That’s half of my plans so I’m not going to write the other five.  

My New Motto (you can borrow it):

Live half my life with gusto, let the other half rest.

"This woman is half-baked as ever . . . "
“This woman is half-baked”

 

 

 

I Resolve to be Resolute about my New Year’s Resolutions

Changing behavior is VERY hard work.  I think conserving energy is very important in this hectic world and that’s why I’ve always tried to avoid toooooo much behavior change toooooo fast.

HOWEVER, as I get older there is less and less time to do all the things I want to accomplish.  So this year I’m determined to keep my resolutions.

My 2016 Resolutions:  

  1. I will think a lot more about how I could get a lot more organized.
  2. I will read more real life stories about how women lost weight and successfully kept it off.
  3. I will focus more on doing things that come easily to reduce the amount of wasted time on figuring out how to do what is difficult.
  4. I will stop dwelling on what I resolved to do in 2015.
  5. I will spend 2016 getting ready for 2017.

Wish me luck!

I wish you a HEALTHY 2016 filled with LOVE.P1040230

"There she goes . . . again"
“There she goes . . . again”

My Naughty or Nice Pome

When you’re stuck in the middle tween naughty or nice

here’s free advice to add some spice

Be sure to indulge in all things obscene

(as long as the police don’t intervene)

You can’t live twice . . . so shake, rattle ‘n roll . . . them dice

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What goes UP will come DOWN

The excitement is contagious.  WATCH!!!!!!


“With this mission, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will deliver 11 satellites to low-Earth orbit for ORBCOMM, a leading global provider of Machine-to-Machine communication and Internet of Things solutions. The ORBCOMM launch is targeted for an evening launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.”

The 11 satellites were deployed approximately 20 minutes after liftoff at 17,000 miles an hour!!!!!!!!, completing a 17-satellite, low Earth orbit constellation for ORBCOMM.

 

ORBCOMM-2 Full Launch Webcast

The HeART of Spirituality – Virtues – Take 2

In case you need a refresher on what a virtue is here are a few:  Patience, Responsibility, Joy, Love, Compassion, Justice, Generosity.

 Can you guess the virtue* I need to work on?

Take a look at the second group of fabulous prayer/contemplation cards!  Here’s the first group – Take 1

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“Consider the virtues of the human world and realize that the oneness of humanity is the primary foundation of them all. 

Read the Gospel and the other Holy Books. You will find their fundamentals are one and the same. Therefore, unity is the essential truth of religion and, when so understood, embraces all the virtues of the human world.”

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” . . . we must endeavor to promulgate and practice the religion of God which has been founded by all the Prophets. And the religion of God is absolute love and unity.” – Abdu’l-BahaThe Promulgation of Universal Peace. p. 32.

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Another Spontaneously posed picture of those who were able to stay till the END.
Another SPONTANEOUSLY POSED picture of those who were able to stay till the END.

(Try out the exercise we did after making the cards.  Click here for the entire list of virtues and the worksheet on the TUTORIAL PAGE)

*The Virtue of Moderation 

10 packages, possible trans fats

Another Spontaneously posed picture of those who were able to stay till the END.
Another SPONTANEOUSLY POSED picture of those who were able to stay till  the END.

The HeART of Spirituality – Communion – Take 1

Ten amazing people made room in their holiday schedules and came to Tapestry Unitarian Congregation for . . .  TA DA!!!

A HeART of Spirituality workshop!

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 Seven spontaneously posed participants

Reverend Kent Doss talked a bit about the history of communion before making the prayer/contemplation cards,  The group was small enough for each person to share what their cards represented.  The evening  ended with a discussion about virtues.

Card #1 – The love of God, love of self – the spark within or what is holy to you

Card #2 – Virtues that connect you – unity with family, friends, colleagues and the world

Here’s the first group of cards and the spiritual principle of unity, oneness and love guiding my choice of focus for the cards.

Can you tell which cards reflect LOVE and which cards express VIRTUES?

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“All the divine Manifestations (Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, and, in more recent times, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh) have proclaimed the oneness of God and the unity of mankind. 

They have taught that men should love and mutually help each other in order that they might progress. Now if this conception of religion be true, its essential principle is the oneness of humanity.”

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“The fundamental truth of the Manifestations* is peace. This underlies all religion, all justice. The divine purpose is that men should live in unity, concord and agreement and should love one another.”  – Abdu’l-BahaThe Promulgation of Universal Peace

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*Throughout the ages, God has sent Divine Messengers known as Manifestations of God among them – Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, and, in more recent times, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh)—to cultivate humanity’s spiritual, intellectual and moral capacities.

(Click here for the second group of the cards . . .

. . . and the virtue I need to work on . . .)

Chocolate chip cookie – OREO – Brownie recipe!!

I have been Oreo-deprived for years. I don’t buy them because they are potato chips to me – can’t stop with one.  When my good friend Linda sent this recipe I thought I’d die and go to heaven.  AND it seemed toooooo simple.

I have 4 potlucks to go to so I immediately went to the big box store and bought a TUB of cookie dough, enough for more than 80 cookies.

NO trans fat
Healthy, NO trans fat
10 packages, possible trans fats
10 packages, possible trans fats

a 10-package box of Oreo cookies

 

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Triple Chocolate, triple trans fat

and a Box of brownie mix that makes 8 batches of brownies.

First Pot luck:

  • I ate 2 packages of the Oreo cookies to make sure they were fresh. 
  • 1 layer of chocolate chip cookie dough on bottom of 13″ x 9″ pan
  • 1 layer of Oreos.
  • 1 package of brownie mix (per mix instructions) poured over top.  Didn’t seem like enough brownie mix for the 13 x 9 pan so I made 2 packages.
  • Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes it was soup.  After 55 minutes it was congealed enough to remove. (and I was afraid the chocolate chip cookie dough on the bottom would be burnt).  Soft and squishy and any trace of Oreo had been drowned in the brownie batter.  BUT verrrrrrrrrry tasty.

Second Pot luck:

I ate another package of Oreo’s to make sure they were still fresh and this time only made one batch of brownie mix.

SUCCESS!!!

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2 More Potlucks to go . . . Need to buy more Oreos

Thanks Linda B.  You ARE the best!

Sneek a Peek into my Journal

Visual journaling is more fun for me than written –  I rarely reread my written entries but can look at the visual pages and know instantly what was happening, what I wanted to express (and things I wasn’t consciously aware of expressing!).

I also rarely reread what I write on the blog but the last post on gratitude stuck in my mind.  So here’s my gratitude page AND the process I used . . . in REVERSE ORDER!

Step 3

Added squiggly lines and pastels

This is the finished page – I lost interest in the left side!
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Sept 3: Added squiggly lines and pastels

Step 2

Smeared gesso (white paint works too) over the magazine images to blur them

Finished page - I lost interest in the left side! Paint, collage, pastel
Step 2:  Smeared gesso (white) over top of pictures

Step 1

  • I don’t like working on a white page so I spread paint on the blank page. Cut out about 20 pictures
  • Focused on my “gratitude” and picked pictures that caught my attention.
  • Pasted them down.  Didn’t matter they got wrinkled – just adds texture!
pasted magazine pictures
Step 1: pasted magazine pictures onto page that I smeared with paint.

Can you figure out what the focus of my gratitude was?

An easy way for you to feel grateful EVERY DAY.

My brother Rick told me about The Greater Good.  Everyday I click on 6 of the sites.  With every click I remind myself to feel grateful to be living in a free country where I have access to things much of the world does not have.

It’s free and every click counts toward making this a better world.

(plus there are some cool free-trade things to buy that help people around the world)

Click on Greater Good and subscribe to get a daily e-mail reminder to be grateful.  Here are a list of the giving sites.

Research shows that feeling grateful doesn’t just make you feel good. It also helps – literally helps – the heart.

judy's journal
judy’s journal

“A positive mental attitude is good for your heart. It fends off depression, stress and anxiety, which can increase the risk of heart disease, says Paul Mills, a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Mills specializes in disease processes and has been researching behavior and heart health for decades. He wondered if the very specific feeling of gratitude made a difference, too.”

“He recruited 186 men and women, average age 66, who already had some damage to their heart, either through years of sustained high blood pressure or as a result of heart attack or even an infection of the heart itself. They each filled out a standard questionnaire to rate how grateful they felt for the people, places or things in their lives.”

“It turned out the more grateful people were, the healthier they were. “They had less depressed mood, slept better and had more energy,” says Mills.”

“And when Mills did blood tests to measure inflammation, the body’s natural response to injury or plaque buildup in the arteries, he found lower levels among those who were grateful — an indication of better heart health.”

“So Mills did a small followup study to look even more closely at gratitude. He tested 40 patients for heart disease and noted biological indications of heart disease such as inflammation and heart rhythm. Then he asked half of the patients to keep a journal most days of the week, and write about two or three things they were grateful for. People wrote about everything, from appreciating children to being grateful for spouses, friends, pets, travel, jobs and even good food.”

“After two months, Mills retested all 40 patients and found health benefits for the patients who wrote in their journals. Inflammation levels were reduced and heart rhythm improved. And when he compared their heart disease risk before and after journal writing, there was a decrease in risk after two months of writing in their journals.”

“Mills isn’t sure exactly how gratitude helps the heart, but he thinks it’s because it reduces stress, a huge factor in heart disease.”

“Taking the time to focus on what you are thankful for,” he says, “letting that sense of gratitude wash over you — this helps us manage and cope.”

“And helps keep our hearts healthy.”

Much is required from those to whom much is given.
–Luke 12:48

He that give should never remember, he that receives should never forget. –The Talmud