July 31, 2009

Sugar Stacked Up For What It Really Is

Visit Sugar Stacks website to see how the sugar stacks up in beverages, snacks, veggies, and other foods. It's worth the quick trip over there to see how much sugar is contained in your favorite items. I am a visual person, and seeing the cubes of sugar stacked in front of the products, helps me see the amount of sugar in each item.

Peanut butter and jelly used to be one of my favorites sandwiches until I began the fight to combat onset of diabetes. Now it is just lightly spread natural peanut butter for me.

July 30, 2009

Shopaholic -- Addiction or Harmless Hobby

I have known a few people, most of them women, who admit they are shopaholics. They are driven to shop, not just window shop, but purchase. Some of them have tried to curtail the spending by trying to stay away from the malls and favorite stores. But their monthly credit card statements showed them they weren't making a difference in their spending habits.

There is a story in BBC News about a woman who did not let anyone into her home for sixteen years. When a friend tried to contact her and became concerned about her, the authorities were alerted. Her body was discovered beneath items she had purchased. Floor to ceiling purchases throughout the garage and the house.

"The body of an elderly shopaholic was found underneath a pile of clothing and other items after she died of natural causes, an inquest heard.

Joan Cunnane's bungalow was so crammed with purchases it took five visits to the house before she was found."

"She said it gave her pleasure to buy things, she only bought things she really liked."

Shopping just to be shopping is not interesting to me. In fact, shopping is actually a chore. One I would so like to close my eyes and wish for a magic shopping fairy to do the shopping for me and bring the purchases back already wrapped if they are gifts and already washed and labels off if they are for me. I don't know why I was not born a natural all American girl, but shopping is not something I have ever wanted to spend my time doing unless it was to please one of my daughters by spending some time with them. The shopping gene bypassed me completely and landed on them with the force of fifteen megatons. So in a way I did my part to contribute to the survival of the malls and boutiques in this world.

I have to admit that for a short while I did succumb to a whirlwind romance with online shopping when I found QVC. That didn't last long because there just isn't much in the way of material things that I am drawn to. Just the basics please and I am content. Heck, I move so much, the more stuff just means more to move!

I do feel grief for the woman in the story who lived her last years buying things she didn't need to compensate for the relationships she rejected. We human beings need each other. We are all connected in a way we cannot see with our eyes but we can hear with our hearts.

July 28, 2009

Once You Hear It, It Is There To Stay

One of the reasons I stopped watching TV was the contradicting misinformation on the news. I would watch a story on the news and then watch a different channel and get a different slant on the same story. It started to aggravate me that I, the television watcher, was being manipulated and sometimes lied to by people that I used to count on to just give me the facts. When I would talk with some friends there would sometimes be different viewpoints of a particular incident, and some of my friends would go to their graves believing that what they heard on Fox News was absolutely true.

A story in Scientific American supports my viewpoint of TV news.

"Why is it that once you learn something incorrectly (say, 7 X 9 = 65), it seems you never can correct your recall? Identifying, correcting and averting our memory errors are part of a cognitive process called memory monitoring. Incorrect associations can be tough to change, but we can use techniques to retrain our brain. Building on the correct information can help you learn new associations to it: add something to change how you retrieve the item from your memory."

So if a news station decides to fabricate or exaggerate a news story and people listen to the story and believe it is fact, then they tell their friends and neighbors the "true story", and on and on until it is believed by thousands of people, we end up with a brainwashed society.

It became more than aggravating to me to listen to fiction being sold as fact. I want to be told the truth, in my personal life, in my work life, in the news being fed to me. I decide what is good enough to chew and what to spit back out.

July 26, 2009

Get In On A Good Giveaway

Go over to The Alternative Consumer and read the post about Fuji batteries and then leave a comment.

You might win some batteries.

Good luck! Let them know you heard about the giveaway here.

A Whale Of A Story

What are the chances of a huge whale getting stuck on the front of a huge ship? And even more, what are the chances that the huge whale would be a rare species?

Will wonders never cease? Check out this story at BBC News, one of my favorite sources of world news:

"A rare whale was discovered wedged on to the bow of a cruise ship when it docked in a Canadian port.

The 70ft fin whale, a threatened species in Canada, was found when the Sapphire Princess docked at the Port of Vancouver, the cruise company said.

It said it had "strict whale avoidance" measures and it was unclear where, when or how the whale became stuck.

The fisheries department will need to conduct a post-mortem examination to find out if the whale was dead or alive before the collision.

According to the Vancouver Star, two tugboats were hired by the fisheries department to nudge the whale from the bow.

It was then moved to a barge."

I have been on a few cruises, none on Princess Cruise Lines, and those cruise ships are very very large, but from the photo it looks like the whale was pretty good size too. It boggles my mind how something as immense as the whale could have hit the ship and not be felt or noticed with all the tracking equipment on the ship. But it did happen. For some reason when I read this news article I hurt for the whale, a wonder of a sea animal who is the main attraction of whale watching enthusiasts. I hope the whale died peacefully and was not in distress. Maybe that is wishful thinking.

July 25, 2009

Hundred Dollar Bill

Woman (speaking to a clearly upset friend): He asked her, "If I offered you a hundred dollar bill, would you take it?" and she said, "Of course." Then he asked her, "What if I crumpled up the hundred dollar bill, would you still want it?" She answered, "Yes." Then he asked her, "What if I threw the crumpled hundred dollar bill on the ground and stepped on it, would you still take it?" She answered, "Yes! I need the money, I don't care if it's been stepped on." Then he said, "Well, you are like that hundred dollar bill. Your worth is not diminished because you have been stepped on a few times."

This was a post on a blog called Unknown Mami. Then Mami went on to say "I am like that hundred dollar bill. So are you!"

That is a good analogy for how so many of us feel or have felt at one time or another. I am beginning to accept my worth and understand what it means to feel worthy as a person and as a survivor.

As I travel around online reading different blogs, it is clear that there are many people suffering and hurting and struggling with grief and tragedy and trauma. I was one of them for about a year. My therapist would give me a big high five right now if she were here reading this post. With her help I have been learning new tools for survival. No longer are the hurt and fear running my life. I am like that hundred dollar bill!!

July 24, 2009

Sister-In-Law Birthday

Today is my dear sister-in-law's birthday. We called her and chatted awhile. Every time I get off the phone I feel good. She is a wonderful friend and sister. She is also a steadfast and loving wife and mother. It is so much fun for me to hear this end of the conversations between hubby and his little sister.

Happy Birthday, Suz. I love you and appreciate you more than I can begin to tell you.

Sensual, Earthy Poems

I have read and followed many blogs with poems in them for the past four years. I have written a few worthless poems myself, but I just do not have talent for writing. The thing I do have is the heart to "listen" to poems. So I am grateful when I find poems that "speak" to me.

My friend, Fancy, writes poems on his blog. I have been reading his blog for a few years and I have the utmost respect for his talent and heart-rending words.

This is Fancy's latest poem:

Winter Rain
frisky tadpoles
in my visual field...
winter deluge

the sound
of silence after the first
winter rain...
how precious is the moment when
the sun turns the other cheek?

raindrops in Findon...
a flock of wild ducks come out
to play; stealing kisses

sowing the
seeds of desire after
the fall...
a cloud painted with
your smiles

the moon sings
yet you sit like the Pharaoh's cat

a new voice
in the 'hood foretold
and yet, the light
of old memory fills the
heart of many

(C) Lawrence T. Udo-Ekpo

The way he joins the wonders of nature and shows them with feelings is enticing and enchanting.

July 22, 2009

Wearing My Big Girl Panties

As I worked through things this past year, I realized that in many ways I did not want to grow up. Maybe because the people in my life who were supposedly grown up, were not mature and healthy. So the adults surrounding me were poor examples of what I should want to strive for.

Small habits of mine became objects of closer attention. Until a year ago, I would only eat with a salad fork because it was smaller and more comfortable for me. Same for coffee cups. Petite cutesy cups were my choice. And shoes. Comfy, cutesy was what caught my eye, not sophisticated or business and certainly not sexy. Pink is my favorite color to wear, all shades of pink. So it was inevitable that I wore white comfy tennies with big pink and white checked shoelaces when hubby and I got married two years ago.

These days I choose a regular dinner fork and am comfortable eating with it. In fact, I noticed yesterday as I used a salad fork because there were no more clean dinner forks, that it felt weird to use such a small fork!! I have come a long way, baby.

I know it sounds absurd to be speaking of growing up for someone of my age. I raised three (wonderful, healthy, no help from me) kids and held down stressful jobs and whizzed in and out of different relationships and moved around from place to place.

But when my panties got in a bunch, there was nothing else for me to do but straighten them out and in doing that, my life is becoming smoother. Not smooth sailing, but at least smoother. And I am continuing to work out the creases to a proper fit.

July 21, 2009

Life Is Like A Tree

Found at the blog called Gurushabad:

"Life is like a tree;
them, us, you and me,
open your mind
and you will see,
we are all connected.
We were born on the same day.....
separated by branches,
we have migrated away,
nature and the environment,
our bodies from the earth.

If it wasn't for water
we would still be dirt.
Our origin is a mystery,
we come from a magical seed,
we are of different colors,
but we are all the same breed...

Life is like a tree
as delicate as can be,
harm one of the branches
you harm the entire tree.

Life is like a tree
them, us, you and me
open up your mind
and you will see.

July 19, 2009

Tainted Alcohol

A story in CNN News is a story I can relate to. This story is about men who drank tainted alcohol.

"It's a big problem," said Southwest Delhi Deputy Commission of Police K. Jagdesan. "It's men who die more often from lower income groups. So they (the women) don't have anybody to support them."

Poor laborers and slum dwellers are often the ones who get sick because they cannot afford the licensed alcohol sold at government-approved shops. Or, they live in parts of India where it is illegal to sell alcohol.

In either case, people turn to illegal vendors who sell homemade hooch or watered-down cheap alcohol. The supplier sometimes adds toxic ingredients to these that are meant to get the drinker higher -- faster and cheaper.

One of the ingredients often detected is methyl alcohol, which is known to cause blindness".

My father grew up in Arkansas. He and his buddies would hunt in the woods and they were on their own most of the time. They would drink whatever they could get from other fellows they knew and sometimes from people they did not know. He must have been addicted to alcohol at a young age. When he was fifteen years old he drank something with gasoline or something like this article describes in it and it killed the optic nerves in his eyes. For the rest of his life he had less than two percent vision. He was labeled legally blind. No more hunting. No driving cars. No more school. No more friends. His life changed completely. The only thing that did not change was his drinking habit. He drank every day. He lived with us off and on for the first 10 years of my life and then I saw him occasionally. He had difficulty with jobs. Most of the time I knew him he did not work. But he always drank. And he smoked Camels without filters. He did pick up some grown up buddies sometimes, guys who would take him fishing with them and oh guess what, they drank all the time too. My father and his buddies would sit on the grass in the back yard so plowed they could not stand and they would grab my cat and pour drinks down my cat till it was bombed and stumbling like they were. This was entertainment for them. For me it was another spark of anger. Anger toward my father and toward his buddies and eventually toward other men too. Watching my father I learned that men make sure they get what they want, as he always had money to buy his liquor and cigarettes and we did not have food or clothes.

As an adult I was able to see that he was bitter about losing his sight. It was an excruciating event that would not ever be turned around. He would not talk about it, but I was the one who was always watching in our family. I watched them all. Just like I watched the ants on the sidewalk and the birds and the rabbits and the almost dead flowers and plants in the yard that I nurtured and worked with every day to try to bring back to life. I watched them all. By watching I was not participating. I knew when to stay out of the way.

When my father passed away in 1986, his then wife called my brother and gave him the news. I had not spoken with my father for about 2 years and I did not know he was living in a different state at the time of his death. I knew he had emphysema and he was still smoking 3 packs of the same cigarettes he had smoked all the years I had known him. And he still drank every day.

July 17, 2009

Are Your Hormones Making You Miserable?

My hubby forwarded this article to me that he found here. "Are your hormones out of balance? Does your life feel like a song played badly out of tune? If so, the problem may have to do with imbalances in your hormones, which are wreaking havoc on your body and mind.

Do your mood and energy swing up and down, making your life crazy?

• Do you crave sugar or salt?

• Are you overweight and putting on more and more belly fat?

• If you are a woman, do you have premenstrual syndrome, painful or heavy periods, and a low sex drive?

• Are you depressed? Do you sleep poorly?

• Do you feel tired but wired?

• Do you need coffee to wake up in the morning and a few glasses of wine to calm down at night?

If you answered "yes," your hormones may be out of balance, and you are not alone.
There are four big epidemics of hormonal problems in Americans today that are sending millions of people out of balance: too much insulin (from sugar), too much cortisol and adrenaline (from stress), imbalances of sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, and not enough thyroid hormones.

When you eat too much sugar, flour, and white rice, your insulin levels spike. When this happens, your cells become resistant to its effects. So you pump out more and more insulin, become even MORE resistant to its effects, and end up in the vicious cycle of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can cause energy and mood swings -- AND it can take you down the slippery road toward high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, cancer, brain aging, dementia, and more.

Historically, we ate the equivalent of only 20 teaspoons of sugar a year as hunter-gatherers.

But just 200 years ago, we started consuming about 10 pounds of sugar per person per year -- a 5,000% increase over our evolutionary ancestors!

As if that weren't bad enough, we now we eat 150 pounds per person per year, or about 1/2 pound each day -- that's the equivalent of drinking 6 cans of Coke or eating 8 Snickers bars per day."

This is one of the better articles about hormones and focuses on insulin.

For two years I eliminated sugar and sugar products from my diet. Then last year I started using sugar again. I started experiencing some symptoms that I had not noticed during the sugar-free cycle. Now today, for two months I am again free of sugar and I am slowly feeling better. For someone like me, this article makes so much sense. I answered yes to all the above questions and because I was listening to my own body whine and moan, I had already changed my diet and increased exercise before the doctor told me I have diabetes. It will be interesting to see the blood sugar results next month to see how much being pro-active can change the test results.

July 16, 2009

Mowing The Lawn

An article on Make Online caught my eye. At first I thought I would email it to my hubby but it has turned into a post for my blog. Hubster can read about it here.

The article may be more interesting to me since I do not mow the lawn. Hubby has happily joined the neighborhood mower guys association. It has been fun for me to see him check out the length of the leaves, the color, the height of the mowed lawn, the moisture content, and lament a dry patch or cuss at the lawn mower. There seems to be a silent competition in the neighborhood regarding the condition of the lawns. Maybe the maintenance of the lawns is so high on the priority list because of all the winter months when there is no green lawn. Just white powder and slush and sand and salt. The first week that a lawn shows green there are multiple lawn mower sounds throughout the area and from then on the game begins. When we walk throughout the neighborhood, the men will have a buddy with them, or at least their dog, and they will be working in the yard. I used to think how awful that some poor hard working man would get a day off his job and have to spend the day slaving away in his yard. Not true! They love it!! And if a man across the street comes out while one is working in his yard, the two of them compare lawns and fertilizer and weed control and tools (don't get me started on tools!) There are different ways to mow the lawn, not just back and forth or around and around. There are designs to mow into the lawn. Amazing.

Oh oh oh, I just realized, I can do a whole post another time on the LAWN MOWER and the WEED EATER.

July 15, 2009

Slowly Moving Forward Toward The Light of Peace

Last year brought major change and upsetting and shocking experiences.
This year is a continuation of effort to understand
and overcome heartache stemming from that trauma.
What I am finding in this healing time is that
I am becoming a better woman as I recover.
Letting go of hurt and fear is making room
for alternate emotions: Strength of character;
Self confidence; Acceptance of what happened; Reverence for what is now. I am taking care of myself as I would an invaluable friend. My welfare receives serious attention. One small word can mean so much. SAFE.

July 14, 2009

Can Graffiti Be Wholesome?

Owen, at Magic Lantern Show, has given me permission to use his photo shown here in this post. His blog is always enlightening and entertaining and visual, and his blog is one I read every day.

His amazing discovery beneath the leaves of ivy, (well, not all of the printing was hidden behind the ivy), causes me to wonder who would have done this much work to paint a love message to their parents. First of all, it would have taken energy and strength to accomplish it, and then it would have taken lots of paint. I would like to be one of the parents. A parent who is cherished and admired. A parent who inspires this kind of pride.

July 13, 2009

It Should Be Harder To Get Married and Also Harder To Get Divorced

This article in BBC News brought back some memories for me when I was going through a divorce. I was much younger then with three children to raise. I remember telling my soon to be ex-husband that there should be laws strictly enforced making it mandatory for couples wanting to get married to attend prenuptial classes, and also that the weddings could not be for another 6 months after completing the classes. The mandatory classes need to be based on reality, with both parties participating completely. The classes should bring out the honesty and open the eyes of each person to see how they each believe and how they would act in a crisis or how they respect each others individuality. So many people have grown up seeing "love" on TV and in movies, that in some cases that is the only example they have. They are not getting an example of honest hard working loving mature adults at home so they fantasize about Mr or Mrs Right making them tingle all over and taking care of them and all their desires for ever and ever. They are not able to see a clear picture of their part in a real relationship; therefore, they are not prepared for a lasting marriage and they do not understand when the fantasy falls apart.

On the flip side, if a couple is talking about divorce, they have to attend classes and arbitration for a mandatory period of time and if they still want a divorce, they would each have to see a therapist for at least 6 months before legal proceedings could be instituted.

In the BBC News article:
"Couples should have a compulsory three-month "cooling off" period before they can start divorce proceedings, a Conservative think tank will recommend."
"A report commissioned by ex-Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith will also propose a network of family relationship centres to advise before and during marriage.

Maybe someday there will be something like this in the US.

July 12, 2009

Do Parents Matter?

In an article at Scientific American, "A researcher argues that peers are much more important than parents, that psychologists underestimate the power of genetics, and that we have a lot to learn from Asian classrooms".

..."In 1998 Judith Rich Harris, an independent researcher and textbook author, published The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do. The book provocatively argued that parents matter much less—at least when it comes to determining the behavior of their children—than is typically assumed. Instead Harris argued that a child’s peer group is far more critical."

"I’ve put together a lot of evidence showing that children learn at home how to behave at home (that’s where parents do have power!), and they learn outside the home how to behave outside the home."

I suppose that is accurate. I raised three kids. That was the toughest job I ever had. In lots of ways it was the best of all jobs. I know that children learn from their peers and their environment. Parents cannot be with their children every minute. We parents do our best to prepare children for the tests and trials they will meet in life.

July 10, 2009

Is It A Balloon OR A Ball OR A Belly?

My sister-in-law sent me the picture of her belly. The note on the back of the photo said that my brother had drawn the face on her pregnant belly. I didn't know my brother was such a cool guy.

The little boy in the other picture is Matthew and he made his debut the end on March.
Matthew is the miracle baby of a father who is 65 and a mother who is 54. My brother and sister-in-law had no idea they would be parents at this stage of their lives. When they were told they were pregnant, they were in shock, and then in awe of the blessing. Since they are both in good health and are retired, they have the ability to be full time parents.

There must be a reason that this beautiful boy has been entrusted to my brother and sister-in-law. They are enjoying every minute. Today is my mother's 88th birthday and I know my brother and sister-in-law will be visiting her this week, so she will get to meet her newest grandson. How's that for a unique birthday present?

July 09, 2009

A Dog Called Chance

This picture was taken by a blogger I read often. The blog is The Far Side of Fifty.

The dog's name is Chance. Isn't this a beautiful dog? For some reason, when I saw this picture I was enthralled. Peaceful, playful scene. Great photography.

July 08, 2009

Youthful Eyes

Great article on BBC News about laser surgery.

"A ground-breaking laser treatment could prevent millions of older people from going blind, experts believe.

The technique helps reverse the effects of age-related macular degeneration - the leading cause of blindness in over 60s in the western world.

Developed by pioneering eye expert Professor John Marshall of King's College London, the laser returns the back of the eye to its youthful state."

...""What this laser is doing is trying to treat the underlying ageing process, as it were, reset the clock so that you don't have the manifestations of visual loss.

Why can't there be laser surgery that could bring old folks bodies like mine back to our "youthful state".

July 07, 2009

Why Do We Shout In Anger

I found a great post about anger at Gurushabad.

"When two people are angry at each other, their hearts distance a lot. To cover that distance they must shout to be able to hear each other. The angrier they are, the stronger they will have to shout to hear each other to cover that great distance.
What happens when two people fall in love? They don't shout at each other but talk softly, Because their hearts are very close. The distance between them is either nonexistent or very small..."

..."When they love each other even more, what happens? They do not speak, only whisper and they get even closer to each other in their love. Finally they even need not whisper, they only look at each other and that's all. That is how close two people are when they love each other

Take a look at Gurushabad and read the entire post.

July 05, 2009

Being Repaired Might Look Temporary

This photo clearly shows that somehow we find a way to fix things so they work, but to the onlooker it is a mess. I found this article at Make:Online.

Just as in my life I have been fixing my codependency and healing my depression and PTSD. This is taking a great amount of work, every day work, honest hard work. Harder than manual labor.

Added to my individual recovery work, I am working on repairing my relationship with my husband. To someone not living inside our earth bodies, it may look like things are not fixed. Our judgment is the only significant opinion. And we don't judge harshly these days. We're pretty easy going.

My hubby is working on his own recovery in codependency. He has been clean and sober for eight years. And he has been living with bipolar disorder all his life, in hospitals for manic episodes twelve times. The most recent hospital stay was last summer, a few months after we moved from California to Nebraska.

Our marriage might look like a jury-rigged fragile temporary fix like the one in this picture. For us, it is stronger and better than it ever was. Last year when hubby was taken to a hospital, I was taken to a homeless shelter, where I stayed for 3 1/2 months. Then I moved to a little apartment and that is still my home. I see hubby almost every day and we are still very married and cook together, clean together, watch movies, wash clothes, all the things we used to do when we lived together. For now, this is the way it is working for us, and we are doing better and better every day, one day at a time.

July 04, 2009

Marvin Gaye Sings


The flag is still there!! And it still means something worthwhile.

July 02, 2009

Remembering Amelia

In the official website of Amelia Earheart, the basic facts cannot describe the woman within the suits and clothes worn by the famous navigator.

"Birth Name: Amelia Mary Earhart
Born: July 24, 1897
Birthplace: Atchison, Kansas
Died: July 2, 1937, en route from Lae, New Guinea to Howland Island
Married: February 7, 1931, to George Putnam

* Despite having to attend six different high schools, she was able to graduate on time.
* Earhart was called "Lady Lindy" because her slim build and facial features resembled that of Charles Lindbergh.
* Earhart refused to don typical flying gear -she wore a suit or dress instead of the "high-bread aviation togs," a close-fitting hat instead of a helmet, didn't put on her goggles until she taxied to the end of the field and removed them immediately upon landing.
* She developed a friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt, who wanted to learn how to fly. Earhart had planned to teach her, for which the First Lady even got her student permit.
* Earhart met Orville Wright at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia in 1937, the same year she disappeared.
* Earhart had such an impression on public that people often wrote and told her about naming babies, lakes and even homing pigeons "Amelia."
* The United States government spent $4 million looking for Earhart, which made it the most costly and intensive air and sea search in history at that time.
* She was the 16th woman to receive a pilot's license from the FAI (License No. 6017)."

For a woman to display courage and intelligence in the early 1900's as she did is an example for all of us even now.