Category Archives: healthy habits

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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In a recent article, I read about someone who designed a “Pizza

Garden.” This inspired me to suggest you grow a vegetable garden

focusing on your children’s favorite foods.They will be more likely

interested in the garden’s outcome, if they enjoy the idea of what

it will end up in, in a prepared dish.

Since today we are celebrating Cinco de Mayo, I thought of some

vegetables that would be wonderful to include in a Mexican dish.

For next year’s Cinco de Mayo, grow a “Tacos Garden!”

In my son’s garden, he grew red, yellow, and green peppers, hot

red chili peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, potatoes, onions,

corn, watermelons and pumpkins.

Last year, my son and his wife ‘canned’ the red, green and yellow

peppers and onions by being given small batches a quick dunk in

boiling hot water. Waiting for them to cool and then, freeze them in

large freezer quart Zip Lock bags, pressing them to remove all the

air bubbles.

I call this process, ‘flash freezing,’ but not sure if they told me this

or if it is really the correct label.

There may be a more accurate way of describing and naming this

process. My son and daughter-in-law chose to chop onions and

put them in freezer bags. They also used the method of scraping

the kernels off their ears of corn, where they could then boil them,

cool them and pack in freezer bags.

I think you may find how many seconds you boil each food item on

the internet, since they said you don’t want to boil any of the items

too much or they will be ‘mushy,’ when you defrost them.

For a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta meal, you could defrost onions, corn,

and choose your favorite peppers. While waiting to get olive oil,

in a skillet, nice and hot, finely chop up onions and the peppers.

When you have lightly browned the vegetables, set them aside.

If you use a pre-packaged taco seasoning, I recommend the

lower salt ones available.

If you already have a natural pack, or spice jar, prepared with

your favorite taco seasonings, add some of this to the skillet

with the appropriate amount of hot water.

The oil from the onions and peppers will be fine, if you don’t

get it too brown, or black. (Yikes!)

I like to use 80% lean beef, but have used cooked chicken cubes

or ground turkey.

If you are a vegan, you may find some recipes for using other

thickening agents.

On one of my last year’s comments, Celeste had added a link

which will help you out.

Some suggestions were to use tofu, eggplant, kidney beans and

other kinds of beans. If you do this, you may wish to use a soft

shell taco or tortilla.

I like to also top the meat with sliced tomatoes, but if you have

canned diced tomatoes, you may wish to use these.

Drain, of course, and add to the meat, once it has been cooked.

I usually make guacamole, purchase sour cream and low salt salsa

to add for extra spices.

You may vary this informal recipe, but the main focus I wished to

impart was,

This is the time to start planning your vegetable garden!

Having children get involved, is so much more fun and easily

done, when you call the garden, a “Pizza” or “Tacos” garden!

This idea was used in a public area by the Delaware Community

Market. There was a nifty, helpful article called,

“Growing Pizza in Delaware,” by Deena Kloss, in the July, 2013

edition of the free magazine, “Natural Awakenings.”

Here is a list of spices, that the children in the Delaware

gardening “Kids’ Club” planted last year, in the early part

of June:

1. basil

2. parsley

3. tomatoes

4. peppers

5. onions

The “Kids’ Club” was led by garden volunteers, Bob Sullivan-Neer

and Master Gardeners, Regina Grywalski and Diane Gelinas.

They also produced radishes, snap peas and arugula in raised

garden beds.

An amusing sight in the community gardens is a pink painted

step ladder, that got too ‘rickety’ to be used as a ladder. Some

purple morning glory vines were flowering last summer. They are

such a lovely sight!

Another interesting and fun way to ‘recyle’ old and no longer

useful household items included a wooden head- and footboard,

painted bright yellow. Some old wooden pallets, buried partially in

the ground, then, filled with dirt became literally a “flower bed!”

Brightly colored zinnias were popping out, making the kids happy,

last year, to pick bouquets for their parents. I like portulaca, since

you can pinch the dying seed pods and save to plant again the

following summer. They are quite hardy and colorful.

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I have added updates throughout this post about children’s

input in gardening.

I babysat my four grandchildren last Saturday night while their

parents had a much needed dinner out and a movie. The kids

were put in ‘charge’ of drawing or listing, foods that would be

ones they would like to grow in their garden.

My son had used individual art pads, using a ruler to add some

lines under the area their drawings would go.

I thought of another way of doing a garden art project, could be

to give the kids old gardening catalogs, scissors, glue sticks and

allow them to practice their cutting and gluing skills.

The grandchildren were excited about the project, which did help

me to keep them occupied for almost an hour. The littlest one,

age 4, Makyah decided that her scribbling free form vegetable

garden was rather hard to explain. I asked her if she would like

me to write her special vegetables, fruits and flowers down on

the lines provided. I also praised (of course!) her lovely use of

colors and designs.

I asked Kyah what the yellow swirls were and she labeled them,

“Corn.”

I wondered what the big bushes of green were and she said,

“Lettuce.”

She had purple stuff, which I asked if they were purple cabbage

and I remembered, too late, a valuable lesson:

**Note:  Never, ever try to guess what children’s drawings are!!

Kyah looked quite impatient and annoyed at me, scolding me,

“No, Nana! Can’t you tell those are flowers?!”

I asked if she knew what kind they were and in a rather superior

tone she said,

“Daddy will know what kind!”

Both Lara, age 10 1/2, and Landen, age 9, drew beautiful and

elaborate gardens with details. They needed some help with

spelling, but the finished projects were awesome.

Marley, age 6 1/2, was very excited about her drawing, stayed

the longest at the table, with her hands covering some of her

drawings, too.

Children will get excited as the plants grow and change. My

older grandchildren say their very favorite ones that came out

of last year’s garden were:

Corn on the cob, watermelon, cucumbers and potatoes.

They mentioned having fried potatoes with onions and since

their mother doesn’t like onions, they told me,

“Daddy makes Mommy her own ‘batch’ of fried potatoes for her

breakfast!

Last but not least, you may remember that their garden produced

a ‘minor miracle’ last Fall!

Exactly 6 pumpkins, just in time for Halloween!

(One for each member of the family, parents included.)

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“Yo espero que tengan a muy bueno dia y hasta la luego!”

Sorry, I am not sure why the ’tilda’ on the 2 “n’s” did not appear!

I am not positive but I tried to say in my ‘rusty’ Spanish,

“I hope you had a very good day and see you when we meet again.”

Abrazos y besos.

Hearts Among the Treasures Found in February

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February has so much to enjoy and appreciate, despite some of us

who have to endure such cold weather.  I have fun thinking about

what will good ole’ Punxsutauney Phil do on Groundhog’s Day,

how will we celebrate each of the Presidents, along with will any

of my grandchildren make me handmade Valentine’s Day cards

or will they give me a Sponge Bob Square Pants, Batman, Frozen

or Angry Bird valentines?

February is “Wise Health Care Consumer Month.”

There are choices in your reducing health care costs

and making good ones in your physicians, too.  Learn

more about over-the-counter and the prescription

medicines you take, asking what dosage is the least

you need to be the most healthy. Although it is not

always suggested, I like to take nutritional supplements

to ‘back up’ the fresh vegetables, fruits, fiber and protein

sources I choose to consume.

I take out a few decorations for this festive month, including a

couple of American flags which I put two on my door, along with

Cupid, a heart and a laminated Snoopy giving his pal Woodstock

a Valentine. This about covers most of the main ‘holiday rituals.’

I have had the cupid and “Peanuts” laminated pictures, ever

since my years of teaching middle school in the 80’s.

Amy Poehler, comic, actress and “SNL” show alumni

gives us good, comforting advice for February:

“I think sleep can be really magical

because sometimes Balance is only

a day away.”

FEBRUARY

Birthstone: Amethyst

Flower: Violets

Purple is a beautiful color echoed in both the gem

and the flower of the month.

Feb. 1-

“National Freedom Day”

“There is one thing stronger than all the armies in

the world and that is an idea whose time has come.”

~* Victor Hugo.

It is Super Bowl Sunday!

Are you rooting for the New England Patriots or

the Seattle Sea Hawks?

What snacks will you serve? If you wish to read

about the history of hot sauce on chicken wings,

you can push your clicker on the side panel of

my topics to read about. Recipes included from

past posts, too.

Feb. 2-

“Candlemas”

“If Candlemas be dark

with clouds and rain,

Winter is gone and

won’t come again.”

(“The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” 2015 edition.)

Groundhog Day.

You know the results, don’t you? If he sees his shadow,

he will run and hide, means a longer time until Spring.

If it is a gloomy day, and he doesn’t see his shadow, we

are that much closer to warmer weather.

Another special occasion is “The 14th Annual AARP

Movies for Grownups Awards.” Kevin Costner will

be honored to receive the career achievement award.

I would like to see his newest family movie that deals

with his character raising his bi-racial grandchild.

Viola Davis plays the other side of the family’s

grandmother, scenes look funny and uplifting.

It is called, “Black or White.” (Nothing ever is. . .)

Feb. 3-

Full Snow Moon.

On February 3, 1913 the U.S. Congress was

authorized to impose a federal income tax

under the 16th Amendment of the U. S.

Constitution. The beginning of our tax ‘woes.’

Feb. 5-

Personal special day, will go to see my Mom if the

weather is good the weekend after this day. It is

the 60th anniversary since my Mom and Dad got

married. In only 9 months and a week, I will be 60.

So many family members of my parents counted

back to make sure I was “legitimate!”

Feb. 9-

Family Day in British Columbia.

This is the beginning of a great week titled,

“Random Acts of Kindness Week.”

Feb. 11- Last Quarter Moon.

Feb. 12-

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday.

The way he read books by the fire and the “Honest

Abe” nickname, made this President special to me,

as a child. Later, when his assassination was more

emphasized in Social Studies, I felt sad to have lost

this fine hero.

The military services always wish for U.S. citizens

to fly their flags for past presidents.

Feb. 13-

This is Friday the 13th… ooh! Some people

believe you may wish to be more careful.

Are you superstitious?

Feb. 14-

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Flowers or candy? Special jewelry or friendly

exchange of Valentine’s Day cards, however

you celebrate, hope it is a fun day for you.

I happen to like heart cookies with vanilla

frosting, what is your favorite ‘treat?’

Flavia quote:

“Love lives forever and belies the passage of time.

It is what we take with us wherever we go.”

The shiny ‘heart shaped’ flowers of the tropical

anthurium are perfect fir a romantic bouquet,

suggested by “Old Farmer’s Almanac,”

2015 edition.

I happen to like peach roses or pink-tipped

carnations. The scent of the roses is sweet

while the carnations smell ‘spicy’ to me.

Last but certainly not least, this is also our

“National Have-A-Heart Day” where the aim

is to raise awareness of healthy eating and

taking care of our hearts.

Feb. 15-

National Flag of Canada Day.

Susan B. Anthony’s birthday.

In 1808, on this date in history, the U.S.S. Maine sank.

Remembering veterans and servicemen.

Feb. 16-

Presidents’ Day observed, United States.

The American Veterans request you proudly

fly your flag.

President George Washington’s birthday is on

February 22nd, but most calendars say we

“observe” his and all other presidents’ today.

Celebrate the tale of young, honest George,

who said, “I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down

the cherry tree,” by having a piece of cherry pie

with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Yummy! I suppose if you were dieting you

could simply eat some fresh cherries or

have cherry yogurt.

A book recommendation from “AARP Magazine” is

of Robert Middlekauff’s “Washington’s Revolution:

The Making of America’s First Leader.”

Celebrate “Family Day” (Alta., Ontario, and Sask.)

The mid-month “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” 2015 suggests

planting winter beets. They are hardy, which surprised me

that they can be planted in the winter time. (Should your

ground not be frozen solid.) They suggest harvesting beet

greens when they are a couple of inches tall.

Did you know the ‘new green sprouts’ can be added to a

salad and are considered delicious?  I learn something

new every time I open and read the almanac. They are

most tender before they reach 6″. This will not disturb

the growth of those red or purple beets, which provide

sorts of healing powers, through their nutritiousness.

Feb. 17-

“Fat Tuesday”

or “Mardi Gras.”

Celebrating the last day before you go on a ‘fast’

for Lent. This seems early and I re-checked this

fact. We have forty days of Lenten Season, before

Easter, should you be Catholic or another church

which celebrates the ‘walk’ of Jesus’ last days by

not indulging in what you crave.

I like the idea which my friends and coworkers do,

eating pancakes with sausage, bacon and eggs. The

Filipino coworkers have a traditional feast full of

a variety of savory and spicy foods.

What I remember from my childhood was receiving

those Lenten “fish” cardboard boxes where we would

put our leftover lunch or allowance money into. On

the last Sunday before Easter, (Palm Sunday) we could

turn them in and they would go to a needy cause.

These days the church I am affiliated with uses the

money for preparing and serving twice a month free

meals for those who wish to come. We also collect

products once a month for local humane shelters,

the battered women’s shelter in Marion (“Choices”)

and  P.I.N. which stands for a food pantry that is

called, “People in Need.” If you wish to do something

extra this month and the next, check out local centers.

You may make a big difference, “in the spirit of Lent.”

Feb. 18-

“Ash Wednesday” is the first day of Lent. Some

Catholic and other churches use ashes to form a

cross on a person’s forehead denoting the start

of the Lenten Season. Mass or communion is

usually served on this day at churches.

New Moon.

“The February sunshine steeps your boughs

and tints the buds and smells the leaves within.”

~*Written by William C. Bryant

(American Poet,  1794-1878.)

Feb. 19-

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

This calls for my going to our local Chinese

restaurant and ordering Sweet and Sour Chicken or

Shrimp, or if I am in a spicy mood, General Tso’s

Chicken or Pork. I will ask for a fortune cookie

should they forget to throw one in. I will let you

know my fortune, hope you will let me know yours.

Feb. 20-

Heritage Day, (Y.T.)

Feb. 22-

If you still have some leftover cherry pie, you may

wish to celebrate George Washington’s ‘real’

birthday today!

This is the Academy Awards or Oscar’s night.

If you are one who likes the Red Carpet, the

guests and singers who will perform the “Best

Song” nominations, or just like to have a fun

time watching all the famous people, this is

one of my favorite nights of the year! I get

some snacks, popcorn or chips and dip, some

nuts and a piece of fruit, sometimes if there is

any leftover wine, or if I need to stay awake,

(more likely) I drink some flavored coffee.

Feb. 23-

The infamous photograph represents this real

event in history today, 70 years ago today:

The flag was raised on Iwo Jima in 1945.

Feb. 25- First 1/4 Moon.

Feb. 27-

Battle of Java Sea, 1942.

Here is a pray or words to consider for February:

“Extra Things

We thank thee, God (or Higher Being) for extra things

You send along our way,

Both when our days are sunny bright

And when our skies are gray.

The little planned surprises dropped

From Thy great, loving hand,

Like unexpected showers on

A parched and desert land.

The meeting of an old-time friend,

The lifting of a care,

And sunlight breaking through the clouds,

To tell us You are there.

Just why You do these extra things

Our finite minds don’t know;

It must be you delight in them

Because you love us so.”

~*Written by Alice Hanche Mortenson.

The above prayer could be just pleasant thoughts sent your

way, as if someone sneezed and you say automatically,

“Bless you!”

What special things do you do to celebrate the month of February?

Soul Food

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There are so many versions of “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” which

really is a great collection of books. I felt happy when my youngest

daughter  started  reading,    “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul.”

She would have a big smile on her face, arriving at the dinner table,

taking each individual story and reading it as a daily devotional.

 

She would excitedly share about the impact in the story collections

of one life upon another. This, along with her two years of studying

as a confirmand, which is one getting ready in our Presbyterian

Church to be confirmed. . . all of the pieces were falling into place,

with her faith.

 

Here was a young girl, who at age 11, feeling pain in her joints;

already. My daughter was diagnosed at age 12 after being tested

and a surgeon wanting to cut into her knees. We chose to research

more and found out she had JRA. This is the acronym for Juvenile

Rheumatoid Arthritis. Felicia was diagnosed using blood samples,

at Children’s Hospital. She was ‘taken under the wing’ of a lovely

and giving physician named, Dr. Gloria Higgins.

 

If anything, Felicia could have quit playing soccer, would never

have pursued in high school, cross country and could have not

been so eager to learn in school. Her energy and her determination

earned her 10th place in the OCC for our high school in long

distance running. She enjoyed being a cadet journalist and “Girl

on the Street.” There were times I would accompany her to the

mall where she would take her microphone and ask questions

like,  “What are you buying for your significant other, Sir?” or

“What is the most popular toy in the store?” to a salesclerk or

busy manager. She would happily exclaim over the loud speaker,

the morning announcements ,

 

“Good morning, Hayes High School, this is Fox Oldrieve giving you

the news today.”

 

Let’s go back to elementary school, before she knew pain or had a

‘care in the world.’ She wrote an essay that won her third grade

class’ assignment on the subject of Martin Luther King, Jr. She did

this once more and wrote an essay that won her fourth grade class’

assignment. The amazing thing to me was she also won the whole

school’s award two years in a row. She was asked to speak in front

of Ohio Wesleyan University’s annual MLK, Jr. breakfast. My secret

wish was for her to pursue this and become a newscaster. . . She did

study dual majors at University of Dayton in Communications and

Marketing. No, she is not in journalism.

 

Her goal is to help others in their pain management, encouraging

them to be careful of what they eat. Healthy choices for her and

she has documented what causes negative joint reactions in her

hands (knuckles), knees and her jaw bone. The way she helps

herself to feel less pain is gluten-free, no milk products, no

sandwich meats or other salty and less natural foods. We shall

see if she finds her dream of this come to fruition. This is not

what my focus is today.

 

Anyway, the books got her through difficult times, challenging

circumstances. When some people, coworkers and friends, start

to complain about aging and their aches and pains, I try not to

say this thought out loud:

 

“My daughter was told by not only Children’s Hospital but also,

due to her being a participant in an OSU study on rheumatoid

arthritis, she had the joints of a 65 year old at age 12.”

 

Here are two motivating quotations, written by John Caulfield,

taken from “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul II:”

 

~ One ~

“Her essay about the wedding ring was short. Kerr wrote,

‘Things are just things- they have no power to hurt or to heal.

Only people can do that. And we can all choose whether to be

hurt or healed by the people who love us.

That was all.

And that was everything.”

 

~ Two ~

“And so I wait.

I wait for time to heal the pain and raise me to my feet once

again. So that I can start a new path, my own path, the one

that will make me whole again.”

 

Besides chicken soup what can we do to help strengthen our immune

systems?

There is always such diversity in lists given by different resources.

There are so many various food sources, also being cleverly labeled

as, “super foods.” A tag that this past ten years has labeled those

foods that give us healthy bodies and provide us rich sources of

“anti-oxidants.”

 

Using some of these ingredients will help you stay healthy on

the outside, your body will hopefully battle the daily coughs

and sneezes we are all assaulted with, in elevators, in cubicles

and in the library sitting next to someone you wish you could

say, “Next time, when you feel miserable and sniffly, would

you please stay home?”

1. Ginger-

a. Soothes upset tummies.

b. Relieves muscle pains.

c. Helps your vocal chords (voice to speak)and prevents coughs.

 

1. Chili powder of chilis-

a. Warm your mouth and ‘innards.’

b. Clear congestion.

 

3. Garlic-

a. Antioxidants boost your immune system.

b. Helps heart and lowers cholesterol.

 

4. Mint

a. Helps with colds and fevers.

b. Mixed with smashed peas, minted peas are getting popular.

c. Sipping on mint green tea, adding another antioxidant, lemon is

a great way of combining forces.

 

Tasty Alternatives in Soups:

~ Homestyle chili with Mexican spice, cumin, garlic, other seasonings

and flavorings both vegetarian or meat/beef style are very good for

us. Also, nice to have a big crock pot of this, so you can pack a few

meals up and be ready for work. (White bean chili is a new favorite.)

~ Garlic soup using sweet potatoes and cauliflower, with curry and

ginger spices.

~Also, some recipes for soups are adding cinnamon, paprika and

bay leaves.

~Roasted pepper and cheddar cheese soup includes cilantro, basil,

garlic and cumin.

 

One last ‘brag’ about my youngest daughter who handles her pain

and sometimes ‘suffering’ in silence and shows grace. I entered her

in her junior year of high school in a contest by the Columbus Dispatch,

“Who Is Your Hero?” She ‘won’ along with two others, in a three way

tie, the newspaper took a picture of the two of us, we won two tickets

to see Dustin Hoffman in “Hero,” first run movie and it was nice to

receive copies of the first page of the Arts and Entertainment

section from so many people in Ohio.

I mentioned something like this:

“At the end of the day, there are teenagers who would use any excuse

to get out of sports or work, but my daughter has a part-time job, is

involved with extracurricular activities and doesn’t complain. There

are many people around her daily who have ‘no clue’ of what she goes

through. It is nice when we are relaxing to sit downstairs while we

have a fire in the fireplace. But as she gets up, she winces. That pained

face moves me. When her stepdad offers to help her up the stairs, she

takes him up on the kind offer. You know that is when it really hurts

to know what she hides most of the time.”

 

What challenges do you overcome daily?

(Spiritual, emotional, seasonal, physical, mental or other?)

 

 

 

December Wonders

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Making your spirits bright and your home fires warm,

makes me think of our Winter’s blustery cold and the

upcoming holidays. There are several directions your

faiths and belief systems may go- Kwanzaa, Chanukah,

Christmas or other ways. You may not be living in a cold

climate, you may be in the exact opposite of my location,

being greeted daily with warm sunshine, gentle breezes.

Wherever you are, I try to write a monthly newsletter to

keep up with various customs, cultures and faiths.

Please feel free to add in the comments section, a special

family tradition to make this interactive and meaningful.

 

Thomas Kinkade’s ‘healthy habits’ message for December is:

“Take care of your body, keeping your

body running the way it is supposed to

can be effective in lifting your spirits.”

(12/2001)

In a December issue of Prevention Magazine,

there was a list of “7 Foods to Keep You Healthy.”

I took the list and added a few personal favorite

ways to use these in the Season of Peace:

1. Eating almonds over the holidays will add some

much needed Vitamin E.

2. Serving different peas or beans, not only add

extra fiber to our diets, fill you up more, but also

give you a great source of Zinc.

3. The special addition to carrots, sweetens your

salads or grated can be added to various casseroles

(even mac and cheese), along with Vitamin A.

4. Mushrooms, cooked or raw give you Selenium.

They can be used in dips, stuffed caps or in gravies.

5. Drinking tea, either black or green, boosts your

antioxidants. Over a warming cup of tea, sprinkle a

dash of cinnamon or nutmeg to create some festive

flavorings.

6. Tomatoes give you Vitamin C, which can be so great

at fighting off colds. I like to have them in salads, but

also enjoy the way you can stuff them with crushed

croutons and Italian flavorings. Nutritionists advise

heating tomatoes releases more of its healing power.

7. Yogurt, which you can include in desserts, sauces and

dips gives you those probiotics that we all need, especially

as we get older.

 

DECEMBER

Birthstone:  Turquoise or blue peridot gemstone

Flower: Narcissus

I think of Poinsettias, when I think of December.

 

There are so many new and old books of Christmas,

along with other December holidays. This is a book

which can bridge any personal choices: “Rabbit’s Gift,”

by George Shannon and Laura Dronzek

(Harcourt Children’s Books) Snowfall, blue skies with

the beautiful effect of snowflakes and a message of hope.

 

December 6-

Full Cold Moon.

Full Night’s Moon.

 

December 7-

Pearl Harbor Day

and

Remembrance Day:

Wherever you live, take some moments to

honor your heroes. Those who serve and

protect us and our freedoms deserve our

meditation and gratitude.

 

“Believe in a Higher Being.

Believe in others and yourself.

Believe in miracles and wonders.”

(Author Unknown)

 

December 14- Quarter Moon.

 

15- Bill of Rights Day.

 

December 16th (sundown)- 24th:

Happy Hanukkah!

 

18-

This is the 50th anniversary of the Pink Panther

theatrical short featuring Pink Panther harassing

his foil/enemy. These characters are the creations

of Fritz Freleng. This won the 64th Academy Award

presentations in the department of “Animated Shorts.”

 

Definitely, this is a reminder that December is the time

to enjoy, laugh and be playful. Pink Panther was so silly

and fun.

 

22- New Moon.

 

December 25th- Christmas Day.

Many religions celebrate Christ’s Birth,

Rejoice and Follow the Stars wherever your faith

takes you.

“December is a time

of celebration and joy.

A time of promises kept

and Love reborn.”

~ Flavia, 2003.

 

26th- First Day of Kwanzaa.

This is a festive celebration of African American

community, culture and faith. This continues

until January first.

Boxing Day- Canada, U.K., Australia and NZ.

 

Many people shop for the following holiday

season (2015), finding bargains and gifts for

the coming year.

 

28- First Quarter Moon.

 

December 31st-

New Year’s Eve.

“Another fresh new year is here. . .

Another year to live.

To banish worry, doubt and fear,

To love, laugh and give.”

~ William Arthur Ward

(American Writer, 1921-1994)

 

May you and your family enjoy many experiences of

happiness. This final month of the year arrived far

too quickly! I hope you find ways to make December

stretch, savoring these special moments. Include some

meditation to help you to relax and not get too stressed.

For me, nostalgia arrives as I take out the ornaments

and decorations of Christmas past.

May this lovely time of year fill your senses with joy and

wonder in the simple things.

Most of all, wishing all of you to experience feelings of

Hope and Peace.

 

 

 

Incredible Excuses for Sick Days

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The Harris Poll performs a national online poll of 2203 hiring Managers and Human

Resource Department’s Professionals and 3103 workers. This was carried out this year

from August 11 trough September 5, 2014. You won’t believe some of the strangest

set of “poor excuses” ever!

 

Here are the TOP TEN most unbelievable, but true, excuses for calling in sick:

 

1.  I just put a casserole in the oven. I need to stay home to take it out.”

2.  I had to have some plastic surgery; it needed ‘tweaking.’

3.  I fell asleep on the toilet, my feet and legs fell asleep and this caused

me to fall and break my ankle.

4.  I was at the casino all weekend- still ahead, so won’t be in on Monday.

5.  I woke up in a good mood. I didn’t want to ruin it by coming into work.

6.  I had a “lucky night” (if you know what that means) and didn’t know

where I was when I woke up.

7.  I got stuck in the Blood Pressure machine and can’t get out in time

for work.

8.  I had a gall stone, I just want to allow it to heal holistically.

9.  I caught my uniform on fire when I tried to dry it in the microwave.

10.  I “accidentally” got on an airplane and am leaving the country.

 

When I use Number Five, I call it a Mental Health Day (to myself) but

I use the ‘too sick to come to work’ line.

 

The HR Department personnel and the Managers mention that

1 in 5 employers can tell a ‘fake’ excuse and have fired employees

for their lying to them.

28% of Call In’s compared to 32% Call In’s last year, 2013.

I was not able to understand this statistic. Sorry!

 

 

Do you mind sharing one of your most imaginative excuses?

Hope this list gave you a chuckle or got you smiling today.

They sure were wild and crazy, laughable and lame.

In the ‘good old days’ the regular excuses were:

“I am a little under the weather”

or

“I am feeling queasy.”

 

October’s This and That

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When I have a few odds and ends, loose ends which need to stop unraveling, I usually

post a “this and that” summary. It is a little like when you go to a garage sale, flea

market or thrift store, some history and strange things may show up.

First of all, this is more of a serious subject. When I wrote my slightly negative review

of the movie, “August: Osage County,” you may remember that I said the movie had

one ‘saving grace?’ It was in the calm, interesting Native American housekeeper.

Little did I know that she would turn up missing just a week after my article was

posted. Her real name is “Misty Upham,” and she has been missing a week. There

have been people ‘close to her,’ mentioning that she has had some financial trouble,

along with being depressed. Her father filed a “Missing Persons” report on October

6, 2014.

Here is a brief biography of Missy Upham. She was born July 6, 1982. My daughter

was born in 1980 and son in 1981, which makes my heart stop, worrying about this

young woman. She could be a classmate or friend of theirs. . . Missy walked out of an

apartment in Auburn, Washington more than a week ago. She was born in Kalispell,

Montana and went to school in Auburn. This is located about 20 miles south of Seattle,

WA. Her biggest acting award was for a movie called, “Frozen River,” where she won an

Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female Actor. She made a series of Native

American television movies, “Skinwalkers,” “Dreamkeeper,” and “Edge of America.” She

played a recurring role in the t.v. series about polygamy called, “Big Love.” She had a role

in “Django Unchained.”

I certainly hope nothing happens to her. I know this is rather unusual but I plan on

keeping Misty Upham in my prayers…

Note: Family and friends are convinced her death was not due to depression. They

believe Misty’s views on Native Americans, may have caused her to get in ‘trouble’

and get murdered. They don’t believe she would commit suicide. I am sad that this

happened to someone who had talent, intelligence and died too young. So sorry

to have to add this, too. (Friday October 17,.)

 

In the Summer of 1986, a man from Tuxedo Park, New York traveled to England.

He had been invited to visit the Palace to dine with the Prince of Wales . This man

was named, James Brown Potter. (I wonder if he was related to Beatrix Potter?)

Anyway, he moved in some fancy, ‘high society’ circles, where he was used to

wearing what they casually called, “an evening suit.”

When he went to an English tailor, J. B. Potter was impressed so much with the

design of a shorter black jacket, on display.  The jacket had a refined look and he

felt distinguished while wearing it to dinner with the Prince of Wales. The satin

lapels were what set it apart from other suits. Later, the added satin, grosgrain

stripe along the matching black pants and a cummerbund were part of the final,

complete “Tuxedo,” otherwise known as a “Tux.”

This was found in the Tuxedo Park ‘archives’ of the local community news.

When J.B. Potter came back to America, he had a New York tailor create this suit,

which he labeled, a “Tuxedo.” In the Fall of 1986, at the Autumn Ball held in New

York City, a man named  Griswold Lorillard, wore the American design of the

styled suit jacket. This is where many people noticed and  commented about

his “Tuxedo”  jacket.

And here, I had imagined someone had visited Antarctica, viewed penguins and

got the idea from their dapper appearance!

 

In an AARP article that comes out in a newsletter, filling in ‘gaps’ of information

during the off months that “AARP Magazine” is not published I found several

famous people who have been diagnosed with Diabetes (Type 2).  I feel this is

an ongoing concern for my good friend, Pat, along with other friends. I think

knowing how others handle their disease can be helpful and encouraging. When

anyone doesn’t feel ‘alone,’ it is good to spread this around. My youngest girl,

who deals with ongoing arthritis, started out at age 12, which helps her to feel

better when she reads about others and their techniques in coping with this

physically debilitating disease. So, in this vein, hope you may find this helpful

to know of some famous people over 5o coping with Diabetes, type 2.

Since 1995, Larry King was diagnosed. He eats many small meals, includes

30 minutes of daily exercise and is careful monitoring his foods.

Patti LaBelle has written three books about Type 2 Diabetes, including some

delicious recipes and light-hearted suggestions. Can you believe her exercise

includes walking her 20 dogs? This would take ME all day, taking only 2 at

a time…

Tom Hanks was diagnosed in 2013 with diabetes and works out, eating healthy

foods. His wife, Rita Wilson, likes to go out on walks with him. Did you know

they met on the movie set of “Volunteers?” It is a funny movie and I had to get

it out from the library to remember this one!

Sherri Shepherd, dropped 40 pounds when she decided to handle her diabetes

starting with a serious weight loss. She has written a humorous book about her

challenges and includes recipes for this particular diet of low carbs and  no white

processed foods and sugar.

Billie Jean King, tennis professional, has been an active spokesperson for Diabetes

and supports fund-raising by appearances on television and in person. She is given

credit for raising public awareness on the subject.

Paula Deen admitted that she was diabetic, after she had many books published

having desserts and mashed potatoes included. She has made significant efforts

speaking and addressing the foods she used to support. Paula has also changed

her famous fat, sugar and butter-laden recipes making them more healthy. She

went through a big controversy over this unfortunate situation and another

situation which does not pertain to diabetes. She admits to still struggling with

what she calls, “stress eating.”

Ben Vereen, the dancer/actor, has been dealing with his diabetes since 2007.

He believes there are “opportunities for a better life.” His positive attitude,

along with continuing exercise, diet and awareness in his regimen have helped

him immensely.

 

Last night I watched a fantastic episode of “Madam Secretary” and I wish to

recommend it again. I had included it on the (at the time, Upcoming Fall

Television shows)  new shows to watch. Then, I had recently commented on

someone’s blog that I did not enjoy it as much as I had hoped. It turns out this

man made an effort to convince me, through comparing it to the excellent writing,

cast and ensemble, “West Wing,” television series. I decided to give it a second

chance, which involved a Chinese young woman seeking asylum in America. It

was a really fascinating plot, it kept me wondering what the Secretary of State

would do.  Whether she would agree to having her stay or send her back. I won’t

ruin this plot for you, since it was a good and satisfying ending, the way it played

out. There was a diplomacy issue, a treaty to sign, involved also. Well acted by

many of the famous people in this cast.  I especially like the marital dynamics

between the leading role of Secretary of State played by Tea Leoni and her nice

husband, played by Tim Daly,  as supportive, sympathetic and understanding.

If you remember “Frasier,” you may also know and recognize Bebe Neuwirth,

starred, off and on, as Frasier’s ex-wife. She came across as  a  ‘mean’ or ‘witchy’

woman in one of the scenes on Sunday’s current show she is part of, but you find

out more about her reasons for being this way. I like when a show takes the time

to include character development.

I am still watching, “Forever,” and “Scorpion.” I am giving up on the quirky plot

lines of “The Red Band Society.” My regular television shows seemed to have

very exciting Season Premiere episodes, catching my interest and keeping me

a faithful viewer.

 

What’s new in your area of the world? Anything bothering you or causing you

concern?

 

If you have a new show you would like to recommend, please let us know. We

still have time to catch up on t.v. shows, by watching on the channels’ websites.

 

 

 

 

Just Smile

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How do some people smile all the time, while carrying worries, concerns and other

challenges in their daily lives? This information will fill an aisle of books, in a large

bookstore and possibly be the sole purpose in some blogs and television shows. What

new ways can get your ‘groove’ back? I am not sure if any of these are particularly

“new,” but I am as sure as the “sun will come up tomorrow,” some of these may bring

you a new ‘lease on life!’ (Yes, “Annie,” the musical play and movie, does remind us

that it is a “hard knocks’ life,” along with how we should try to face every new day.)

 

Suggestions for getting happy feelings started in your mind, also getting your energy

revived and other ways for getting out of your funk will be found here. If I were a

speaker, I may try a joke:

 

“There was an elderly man who wanted his younger wife to become pregnant. It was

something she desired also. He went to his family doctor asking for him to suggest

ways of making this result come about. The doctor suggested going to a fertility expert,

so the man set up another appointment. He went on his own, since his athletic wife was

busy taking her tennis lessons.

The specialist’s receptionist gave him a specimen cup to take home and bring back the

next day. She explained what he needed to do to fill it, along with telling him to put it in

the refrigerator overnight. This would get the ‘ball rolling.’ No other way to find out what

level his sperm count would be until he brought this back.

The excited man left the office, with a little more pep in his step.

The patient came back with an empty specimen cup. The receptionist could see the man’s

deflated ego, his head was drooping. She did not ask him a thing,  since she could not

imagine the complications he had run into while collecting the specimen. She had the

dejected gentleman sit down, explaining to him that he must wait to see the doctor.

After reading a few magazines and the newspaper, the man was ready to leave the office,

irritated that such a simple action, which had produced children with his first wife, meant

he had to go through all this trouble again.

When he was escorted into one of the private rooms, the doctor came in and closed the

door behind him. The specialist asked when the empty specimen cup was given to him,

“What exactly was the problem?”

The frustrated man exclaimed,

“Well, I tried it with my right hand. . . nothing.

I tried it with my left hand. . . again, nothing.

So, my wife came home from her tennis lesson, she tried this with her right hand. . .

nothing!

She decided to try her left hand. . .same results.

Then, she used her mouth. . . nothing!”

The doctor stopped this, since he was really shocked at the lack of response from

any of these practices.

The impatient man nearly shouted,

“Wait, doctor, I have to tell you more!”

The fertility specialist paused and said, “Proceed.”

“Well, we were desperate! I ended up asking my wife to invite our neighbor over,

since she is her best friend. . .”

The doctor incredulous interrupted,

“Wait a minute, did you say your wife’s friend tried this, too?”

The man exasperatingly sat down, saying in a low voice,

“Yeah, and we still couldn’t get the lid off the freaking specimen cup!”

 

Here are a few “Prevention Magazine” suggestions for ‘tapping your

inner peace and bringing some joy into your life.

 

1. “Do something called, “the ho’oponopono.”

This is a source of Hawaiian calm and doesn’t mean you need to drink

some Mai-Tai’s or dance at a luau. It is simply repeating these words

in a chant, which helps spread some warmth into your life. Murmuring

the “ho’oponopono” mantra is all about forgiveness. You, your family,

your enemy and the ones who have made your stomach get in a knot.

It means literally, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you.”

By saying this in a low, quiet way, you will ease your anger, untighten

your thoughts and body, along with lowering your blood pressure.

“Try this, you may like it!”

(Source, “The Hormone Cure,” by Sara Gottfried, M.D.)

 

2. “Spritz a scent.”

There are essential oils which can bring you vitality, exuberance,

evoke special memories. Go to your favorite natural products store

and sniff testers until you find a couple of them which give you that

“Ah-h-h!” all over feeling. Good ones which bring many pleasant

feelings are lavender, orange, sage, and ylang-ylang. I like to head

to the Yankee Candle Company, which I know there are some who

will tell you that burning candles means there are pieces of ‘wick’

floating in the air. (My sister in law told me this before I ever read

this!) But, you can get a candle warmer, choosing your favorite scent.

In the fall, I enjoy and savor pumpkin spice, Home Sweet Home, and

country apple… I also found “Woodland Walk” at Meijer’s which has

a very different scent and it doesn’t cause me to want to eat cookies!

 

3. In 2011, a Michigan State University conducted a study of customer-

service employees. They found that ones who smiled throughout the

day, by thinking positive thoughts, reported feeling more serene overall.

I certainly would feel great if the customer service people would carry

this practice out. But I also did not see in the study, that there must

surely be a reward. By smiling; you get smiles back. This perpetuates

the positive activity. “Psychological Science,” (2013) published the results

which include smiling lowers your body’s stress response and also, can

even overcome ‘road rage,’ if one tries to smile in traffic jams!

 

4. Plant something. (If you are in warmer season now)

or Rake some leaves or clean your garden out. (If you are entering the

cooler season, where your plants need to be covered, the remains of

stems and messes need to be ‘mucked out.)

According to research done in a recent study, gardening is an even more

effective stress reliever than reading a good book! This was done in Holland.

There is also evidence microbes found in soil, may lift your mood, from an

older British study conducted in 2007. If you wish to clean your garden out,

digging in the dirt can also be a good way to greet Autumn’s weather changes,

along with feeling like you accomplished a big task. For me, I love the idea of

building a big pile of leaves, after using physical effort which does get your

endorphins going, and asking your children/grandkids/ neighbor kids or

a silly adult friend or two, to jump into the leaves with you!

 

5. Pet a cat, dog, gerbil or ?

If you don’t have a pet to take care of, it is always uplifting to go to an animal

shelter and offer to walk a dog. If you are a cat person, you are always welcome

to pet the kitties, there may be other unusual animals to see and touch, too. I

have a good friend whose two cats came from a farmer who was over-run with

cats. They are adorable calico cats, which I will be cat-sitting in just a week and

a half from now.

 

6. Offering to read to someone’s child, at the library. Volunteering for a monthly

obligation of being a classroom ‘helper’ or a ‘library aide’ are other ways to get your

spirits lifted.

 

Baking cookies is always a treat for me, along with my grandchildren. I am going to

share a company called “Martha’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.” She has 400 employees,

over 2 million dollars sales in only 12 days of being located at the Minnesota State

Fair. Wow! People want cookies!! This retired elementary school teacher may be fun

to look up and get inspired.

 

Here are two books I can guarantee you will feel are ‘guilty pleasures’ but really will

entertain you! I did not skim nor read just the book jacket for these two FUN books!

 

1. “The Widow’s Guide to Sex and Dating,” by Carole Radziwill. It is considered Popular

Fiction. The author was on the television show, “The Real Housewives of New York.” This

is a very satisfying read, one that used to be considered a ‘Beach book.’ Why does it have to

be summer-time to choose an indulgent piece of fluff, which may surprise you with some

deeper meaning, more than you would expect from a ‘real housewife!’ She was, after all,

an award-winning former journalist/reporter. Her book, “What Remains,” was critically

acclaimed, about the memoir of her marriage after her husband died of cancer in 1999.

The widow may not be based on herself, but her wry sense of humor, her simple writing

without frills, will be possibly one of the moving, insightful books you will enjoy this year.

2. “Confessions of a Counterfeit Country Farm Girl,” made me burst into laughter, each

time a new chapter started. This woman, like Carole R. above, is one who captures your

imagination and pulls your leg, getting you to picture all kinds of lively challenges in an

uprooted lifestyle. She is Susan McCorkindale, one of my friends, in my mind! Here are

some of the chapters I loved, “Days of Whining the Big Wigs,” “Get Down on the Farm,”

and the “Chick in the Mail.” The author was really running with the big wigs being the

former marketing director of both “Family Circle” and “Sports Illustrated.” Her husband’s

choice of farm living to raise their boys, involves the whole story, including learning how

to buy appropriate footwear, helping her boys to not always be the dirtiest kids, and how

to order different products, fertilizer, seeds, and of course baby chicks.

 

Eight Simple Steps to Have All Day Energy: Mini-Meals

1. Get up every day at the same time and eat something OTHER than refined carbs.

Suggestion in the August, 2014 “Prevention Magazine,”

Try some hunks of cheese, fruit and a scrambled egg.

2. When you have another hour until lunch, your cortisol levels are dipping, as is

your energy. So, go ahead and have a second cup of coffee.

3. Adding nuts to your day, will help you stay ‘full’ longer throughout the day.

Recommended only 1.5 ounces of almonds. Oh my, I hope you know how to measure

this delicious snack!

4. Lunch time.

Meat, protein if a vegan, eggs, avocado (decreases people’s appetites by as much as

40%) some fiber and vegetables. A salad with chicken, tomatoes and spring greens,

with some whole grain crackers, instead of croutons. This meal is supposed to be your

‘main’ meal of the day. You still have time to wear off the calories when you walk around

the block, catching up with your kids, friend or husband.

5. Sip water or herbal tea, (I love Bengal Tiger Tea, which is aromatic, cinnamon

and has, I believe some chicory in it.) Dehydrated people report more headaches

and dips in mood.

6. Carrots and hummus, yogurt with blueberries and a drizzle of honey, …

Suggestions for a small snack to ‘beat’ the mid-afternoon slump.

7. Dinner.

Balanced but not heavy. Your meal should not include greasy or spicy food, particularly

as we age. This can interfere with your sleep and also cause heartburn. It may also leave

you groggy in the morning.

8. A light carb-rich snack is okay, according to a new Yale review and American Journal

of Clinical Nutrition. Include a banana, milk or something that is not too heavy. I like the

idea of cookies, my favorite one is oatmeal raisin cookie. (My real favorite one is white

chocolate macadamia nut but am sure this is not allowed on this good food plan!) Often,

I go against protocol, so a small bowl of ice cream or a ‘treat’ is what will make me smile

before I go to bed at night. . . or a small goblet of wine or hard apple cider!

 

Dean Koontz quotation:

“Happiness is a choice. That sounds Pollyanna-ish, but it’s not; you can make it or not.

Readers (of Dean Koontz), over the years, say what they love about my books is that they’re

full of hope, and that’s the way I see life.

If you always dwell on what went wrong in the past it’s almost hopeless.

So, I don’t dwell.”

Check out Dean Koontz’s newest thriller: “Innocence,” at bookstores or the library.