depression and alzheimer’s…linked?

The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a stack of Wall Street Journals sitting in my husband’s home office. He keeps threatening to toss them into the recycling bin, unread. My immediate retort is “Don’t you dare!”

Hoarders

Hoarders (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m a pack rat, bordering on hoarding. Shhh!!! Don’t out me to “The Hoarders,” the TV reality show. I’m trying to change, especially after my bed/bath remodel is completed. I swear I’ll reorganize big-time. “Famous last words” is my husband’s response to my ongoing promise.

There are always juicy tidbits in the Journal that excite me into sharing the news with you. So bear with me as I post another which deals with 2 topics with which I’m keenly interested, depression and Alzheimer’s. I’ll bet most of us know someone who has one or the other, or both. And I’m just as certain that number includes many of us.

Because my mom died with Alzheimer’s, I’m always open to potential cures, given that children might inherit the gene. Avoiding stress is identified as a strong contributor to good health, mentally and physically. It seems reasonable to assume that stress-free would also mean depression-free. And according to the following article, as we age we should avoid the “big D” in order not to succumb to the “big A.” Makes sense to me!

Nederlands: Gezonde hersenen (onder) versus he...

Nederlands: Gezonde hersenen (onder) versus hersenen van een donor met de ziekte van Alzheimer. Opvallend is de ‘verschrompeling’ die is opgetreden bij de ziekte van Alzheimer, waardoor de hersenen in omvang zijn afgenomen. English: Healthy brain (bottom) versus brain of a donor with Alzheimer’s disease. Notable is the “shrink” that has occurred in Alzheimer’s disease; the brain was decreased in size. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Study Examines Depression and Aging Brain
by Jennifer Corbett Dooren

     People who suffer from chronic depression throughout their lives are more likely to develop dementia compared with people who aren’t depressed, according to a study released Monday.
     The study, by California researchers, sheds light on whether depression might cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, or if it is merely an early sign of memory loss and other problems associated with dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia; the second-leading cause is impaired blood supply to the brain, resulting in what is known as vascular dementia.
     “It’s quite clear depression late in life can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s,” explained Rachel Whitmer, a study researcher and an investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research. “There’s a lot of debate whether [depression] is really a risk factor for dementia, or if it just shows up.”
     The findings, published in the May issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, add to the evidence that late-in-life depression is a likely early sign of Alzheimer’s disease and suggest that chronic depression appears to increase the risk of developing vascular dementia. Adequate treatment for depression in mid-life could cut the risk of developing dementia. The study is the first to examine whether midlife or late-life depression is more likely to lead to either Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia over the long-term.
     To look at links between depression and dementia, Dr. Whitmer and other researchers looked at 13,535 long-term Kaiser Permanente members who had enrolled in a larger study in the period from 1964 to 1973 at ages ranging from 40 to 55 years old. Health information, including a survey that asked about depression, was collected at the time.
     Researchers looked at whether the same people were depressed late in life, in the period from 1994 to 2000, and then looked at whether they were diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease in 2003. The participants’ average age in 2003 was 81 and 57.9% were women. The study found depression present in 14.1% of subjects in midlife only, in 9.2% in late life only and in 4.2% in both.
     Looking at those who later developed dementia, the study found 20.7% of study participants without depression developed dementia, compared with 23.5% of people who reported depression in midlife only and 31.4% of those who were depressed later in life. Among those who were depressed at both mid-and late-life, 31.5% developed dementia.
     Researchers then did more analysis to tease out Alzheimer’s diagnoses from the broader dementia category. They found people who were depressed in midlife but not late in life had no increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia. People who were depressed late in life were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s while those depressed at both mid-and late life were three times as likely to develop vascular dementia.
     Dr. Whitmer’s research focused on people’s health and how it affects brain aging. Previous studies she has conducted using Kaiser’s database of long-term members, have shown that factors such as smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol and belly fat increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases. A 2008 study looking at belly fat showed people who had more belly fat during middle age had higher rates of dementia when they reached old age. The finding held true even for people whose overall body weight was considered normal.
     Kaiser Permanente Northern California is a large, nonprofit health maintenance organization that provides health services to more than one-quarter of the population in the San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., areas.
     Dr. Whitmer’s most recent study, conducted with researchers from the University of California in San Francisco, was funded by Kaiser Permanente, the National Institutes of Health and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.

Don’t let life get you down. You could end up losing more than a good night’s sleep. And do-overs are always possible, when a new day dawns. More time to create memories…

Not So Much to Be Loved as to Love

Not So Much to Be Loved as to Love (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…the highlight of our golden years…

………hugmamma.   

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not so trivial…trivia

Flames

Image by Velo Steve via Flickr

I’m overdue for a bit of trivia…a little of this…a little of that. Pieces of information fluttering like moths round a flame, in this case…my brain. So here they go…flying straight towards you…

Remember Rachel Beckwith, the 9-year-old who died in a 15 car collision on I-90 heading West into Seattle. Months before, she’d asked family and friends to donate money toward Charity:Water, in lieu of gifts for her birthday. At the time she was $80 short of the $300 goal she’d set for herself. Undeterred, Rachel planned to contribute again next year. Upon hearing her story, people began donating from all over. Recently, news reports indicated that contributions were in excess of $1,500,000. No more “tears in heaven.” Rachel must be smiling…knowing that she has helped bring water to Africans in need.

Cropped and b&w version of Mona Lisa. Used to ...

Image via Wikipedia

As I was getting myself ready this morning, the radio was turned on to my usual jazz station. A song was playing but at first I wasn’t listening to the lyrics. After hearing the refrain a couple of times I focused upon the line Mona Lisa was a man.” I’d never heard the song before but I could picture the portrait with the infamous smile. Sure enough I thought “Why not? Men wore their hair like the model in the famous painting.”

I’ve not heard it positively proven that she was, in fact, a she. There’s only been speculation as to the person’s identity. What an intriguing thought…don’t you think? Maybe that’s why the smile. Only the model and the artist know for sure. Perhaps they were having the last laugh. They might have been the first gay couple…who “came out”…without “coming out.” I know! I know! Leonardo da Vinci…gay? Why not? Europeans have a more liberal perspective of sexuality. An interesting thought…and not far-fetched in my estimation. In fact, in googling the possibility, I came across an Italian researcher who made this exact claim in February of this year. Click here to read more. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1352915/Mona-Lisa-model-man-Was-Leonardo-da-Vincis-male-apprentice-model.html

Have you ever heard of the foreign accent syndrome? Neither did I. TV’s Inside Edition ran a segment on the rare occurrence. It seems when the brain suffers injury to a particular area and works toward recovery, it may change the victim’s language to one that’s totally foreign. Following are a couple of Youtube videos of women who were afflicted with FAS. And these are not stories from Ripley’s believe it or not! 

…if it weren’t somewhat upsetting…it would be amazing………hugmamma.

proactive…against alzheimer’s

My friend Sylvia sent me a nice email which, among other things, expressed her concern that perhaps I dwell on the possibility of succumbing to Alzheimer’s more than I should. I’m certain the disease is not in her genes, for I’ve never heard her speak of either parent or any family member having died with it. Sylvia’s a decade older than me, and shows no signs of memory loss. Having done extensive reading about the disease, I know that she’s already got several factors in her favor for NOT developing Alzheimer’s.

Sylvia is a voracious knitter. Challenging herself with difficult patterns probably keeps her mind agile. She is a meticulous housekeeper and gardener. You could dine off her kitchen and dining room floors, and spread out luxuriously on her manicured lawn, while your eyes feast on the abundant clematis flowers that climb the nearby fence. The exercise involved is also good for the brain, not to mention the body. Finally, Sylvia relishes socializing. She and Jim traipse hither and yon to listen to the big band sounds of “Peach Tangerine.” She has belonged to the “Happy Hooker’s” knitting group for 20+ years, inviting the ladies to her home for an annual Christmas luncheon. And she goes above and beyond to help those in need, from family members to elderly neighbors in her retirement community. Sylvia’s got socializing down to a science which is great, because it’s a key ingredient in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Sylvia has taught me invaluable lessons on growing older gracefully…and keeping my mind healthy and happy. From what they’ve written, others have also given me useful information so that I can take a proactive role in slowing the onset of Alzheimer’s or perhaps preventing it altogether. I regularly share this information in the hopes that it might encourage others to take action as well. I don’t do it as a plea for sympathy, or to sound my own horn. I truly feel this disease, like others, can and should be addressed as early as possible. If there’s any cause for which I am fully committed, rather than “burying my head in the sand,” the delay or prevention of Alzheimer’s is the mother lode of all causes for me. I take a stand not only on my own behalf, but also on behalf of those I love, and who love me.

Cover of

Cover of Preventing Alzheimer's

Leeza Gibbons, one-time TV personality writes in the “Foreword” for Preventing Alzheimer’s – Ways to Help Prevent, Delay, Detect, and Even Halt Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Forms of Memory Loss by William Rodman Shankle, M.S., M.D. and Daniel G. Amen, M.D.:

If you’ve picked up this book, you’re probably scared. Or if not afraid, at least interested in what causes Alzheimer’s disease and learning whether you are at risk.

The reality is that we’re all at risk of having this “terrorist-like thief” randomly break into our brains and begin to rewrite our life stories. As Baby Boomers beginning to face our mortality, Alzheimer’s is the unwelcome stranger that reminds us of our vulnerability.

The good news is that we don’t have to be defenseless.

My grandmother lost her life because of Alzheimer’s disease. We lose a little more of my mom everyday. Before Mom was fully trapped behind the fog, she asked me to promise that I would tell her story and use it to educate and inspire. I am, but doing so often brings more questions than answers. She looked into the face of her mother at my Granny’s funeral knowing what her fate would be. I looked at Mom and wondered…What about my children, and what about me? Am I next in line to have my memories stolen?

When my three children ask me if I will get “it” I tell them–truthfully–that I don’t know.

Thanks to Drs. William Rodman Shankle and Daniel Amen, what I do know is that perhaps I can effectively manage my risk of getting the disease, and you can, too. Whether or not you have a history of Alzheimer’s or dementia in your family, your goal is to keep your brain strong and healthy. …

We all know that the “age wave” is about to crash in our culture and yet we are not at all ready. Even in the wake of President Ronald Reagan‘s death, there is still so much shame and stigma surrounding memory disorders that many families try to compensate and deny until they are bankrupt–financially, spiritually, and emotionally. Alzheimer’s is a disease that depletes and depletes, and it is never satisfied with the diagnosed individual…it wants the entire family.

It’s for this reason I created the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation. Our family was numb and paralyzed with fear when Mom was diagnosed. It was almost impossible to find the help and support we needed. Answers were scarce. …

Leeza's Place

At Leeza’s Place, our mantra is early diagnosis. We believe in memory screenings to get a baseline reading, against which any decline can be measured. We believe in educating our guests about the latest in alternative treatments to complement traditional approaches. We believe in being proactive against this frightening force. We believe in support for both the recently diagnosed and those who care for them.

That’s why I am so impressed with Drs. Shankle and Amen and their work. They are well-respected scientists whose work is world-renowned, but I also know them as kind, compassionate men who not only focus on how to tackle this disease, but on connecting with families who arrive in their offices with their breath knocked out of them, looking for a miracle. These two doctors will never try to talk anyone out of expecting a good outcome…they have seen it happen too many times. They have been the guiding forces toward success stories that may offer real hope against a dark landscape of despair. …

You are perhaps doing nothing short of changing the course of your future, and possibly someone else’s, by reading this book. Can you think of anything more powerful or important? It’s a popular notion that we must gracefully surrender the things of youth. Yes, we will lose our firm muscles and unlined skin, but memories should be ours for keeps. They are what resonate at the end of a life, sweetened over time.

We must do what we can to bolt the door to our minds so that our treasured recollections of those we love, where we went, and what we felt will be kept forever as a sort of “soul print” of our time here on earth. This book suggests options that might have the potential to lock out Alzheimer’s disease in order to do just that.

This image shows a PiB-PET scan of a patient w...

Image via Wikipedia

Under the heading “What the Brain Needs to Stay Healthy,” Drs. Shankle and Amen write:

Fuel
Just like any other living thing, a brain needs fuel to grow, function, and repair itself. Glucose and oxygen run the engine powered by your brain cells. Glucose is a simple six-carbon sugar. Unlike other cells in your body, your brain cells only know how to use glucose. Anything that impairs glucose delivery to brain cells is life-threatening. Oxygen is required to produce energy; without it your mitochondria will not produce enough energy to keep your brain alive. Because blood delivers glucose and oxygen to your brain, nothing must get in the way of blood flow if the brain is to stay healthy.

Stimulation
Although largely genetically programmed to turn on its functions at the right developmental age, the human brain also depends on proper stimulation to grow and develop throughout childhood and to maintain its functioning into old age. When you stimulate neurons in the right way, you make them more efficient; they function better, and you are more likely to have an active, learning brain throughout your life. …

The best sources of stimulation for the brain are physical exercise, mental exercise, and social bonding.

Physical Exercise
Physical exercise is important for brain health. Moderate exercise improves the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body and helps maintain healthy blood flow to the brain, which increases oxygen and glucose delivery. Exercise also reduces damage to neurons from toxic substances from the environment, and it enhances insulin’s ability to prevent high blood sugar levels, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes. Physical exercise also helps protect the short-term memory structures in the temporal lobes (hippocampus and entorhinal cortex) from high-stress conditions, which produce excessive amounts of the hormone cortisol (20). …The Honolulu Study of Aging found that untreated high blood pressure during midlife (40 to 60 years old) greatly increases the risk for dementia. …This study emphasizes the importance of regular exercise and proper treatment of any medical conditions you may have. …

Mental Exercise
Physical exercise has a global effect on the brain, but mental exercise is equally important. By mental exercise, we mean acquiring new knowledge. It is possible to use your brain without learning anything new, which in the long run is not terribly helpful. For instance, Dr. Joe L. reads mammograms all day long–reads thousands of them a year–and although he is working his brain every day, he is not actually taking in new information. Whenever the brain does something over and over, it learns how to do that particular thing using less and less energy. New learning–such as learning a new medical technique, a new hobby, or new game–helps establish new connections, thus maintaining and improving the function of other less-often-used brain areas. …

Social Interaction
One common source of brain stimulation that is often overlooked is interacting with other people. Social interaction is the fuel the brain needs to develop the ability to negotiate, cooperate, and compromise with others, to know right from wrong, and to know when to respond and when to keep silent. These highly complex human abilities are largely controlled by the tips of the frontal lobes. They start to develop before two years old, such as when the infant starts saying no to the parents. These abilities continue to develop at least until 50 years old, according to studies of brain myelination, and perhaps longer.

Child neglect has been associated with many brain-based developmental difficulties such as personality and learning and behavioral problems. Likewise, adults deprived of the company of others experience a clear negative effect on cognitive abilities, memory, and social skills. In studies on social connectedness in the elderly, it has been shown that people who spend time with others on a regular basis are cognitively sharper. In addition, their emotions are more even. Psychiatrists have seen time and again that people who are isolated commit suicide dramatically more often than those who are active in society. Simple social interaction stimulates particular neuronal circuits. For instance, there is a self-awareness circuit at the very tip of the frontal lobe. If its capacity is diminished, the person can no longer judge her own abilities. Self-awareness is maintained, literally, by being aware of oneself, and that is aided significantly by feedback from other people. If the circuits in the crucial areas of the frontal lobe aren’t being used, they atrophy, and the person’s social skills suffer.

Page 71 of the book carries “The Shankle-Amen Early Dementia Detection Questionnaire.” Listed are 21 short questions to which the answers are either “yes” or “no.” In parentheses are numerical scores. Upon completion, one is asked to total the scores for the “yes” answers.

Interpretation
If the score is 0, 1, or 2, then you have low risk factors for developing ADRD.
If the score is 3, 4, 5 or 6, then you should annually screen (see Appendix A) after age 50.
If the score is greater than 6, then you should annually screen (see appendix A) after age 40.

Following are the questions for which I answered “yes.”

1._(3.5) One family member with Alzheimer’s disease or other cause of dementia

10._(2.1) High cholesterol (hyperlipidemia)

Mrs. Laura Bush, First Lady of the United Stat...

Image via Wikipedia

As you can see my score is 5.6 indicating that I should test for memory loss, which I will be doing. Coincidentally as I write this post, there’s a Larry King special on TV, “Unthinkable – Alzheimer’s Epidemic.” Among other guests speaking of their experiences with family members who had Alzheimer’s are Leeza Gibbons, Laura Bush, Angie Dickinson, Ron Reagan, and Maria Shriver. Contributing to the piece are the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, as well as doctors, scientists, and other experts in the field. Larry King underwent testing, including an MRI, to see if symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s could be detected. He came away with a clean bill of health as far as they were concerned.

β-amyloid fibrils.

Image via Wikipedia

The message of my post, and Larry King’s TV special, is to recognize and accept the potential for Alzheimer’s. But more importantly, it’s that we should be aggressively proactive in remaining out of its debilitating grasp for as long as we are able. For once its tentacles take hold, there’s no escape…ever.

preferring to be the aggressor…and not the victim…hugmamma.  

a tribute…to my mom’s legacy

Happy..Happy.. Mother's Day :-)..

In a couple of days we’ll be celebrating moms. What they mean to us; what they do for us. My mom has been gone a number of years now. But there’s never a day that passes, when I don’t remind myself that “because of my mom, I can endure this struggle.”

While she was alive it seemed my mom and I were always engaged in our own struggle. Up until Alzheimer’s completely overtook her mental capacities, she was forever willing me to do as she wished. Perhaps I was too much like her, for I had difficulty bending to her will, especially after becoming a wife and a mother. Although I was her youngest, I felt I deserved respect as an adult having to make my own way in life. I was footing my own bills now, and picking myself up after life smacked me a blow to the head. This became even more apparent when I moved away from family in the islands, to reside permanently on the mainland. I think I learned early in life that I needed to take care of myself…without whining.

So whether or not my mom intended to give me the strength to endure, I learned by osmosis. She did it, so I do it. And because I do it, my daughter does it. But I must admit she does it with a whole lot less…whining. I like to call it venting. I like to get things off my chest with good friends, including my daughter, and hubby, of course. Now that I’m blogging, you naturally hear some of it as well. But you’ve always the option of…tuning me out.

My daughter’s recent experiences have served as a reminder of the strength instilled in me by my mom, which I have obviously passed along. My daughter’s dance season began with a sabbatical during which she returned home here for medical treatment. After 2 months, she was able to rejoin her ballet company. Cast in a couple of wonderful roles, she was elated to be dancing again in February. As she geared up for the final performance of the season last weekend, my daughter broke her hand in a freakish accident during rehearsal. While stressful, physically and emotionally, she carried on as cheerfully as possible. The beginning of last week she learned her apartment was mildly infested with bed bugs.

Bedbug

Image via Wikipedia

Advised to strip the place of everything except the furniture in preparation for treatment she, with a broken hand, but with the help of a friend, did just that. Renting a storage unit in which she placed bins and trash bags full of her belongings, and boarding her cat at the vet, my daughter has now been waiting almost 2 weeks for her apartment to be treated.

Management is dickering with 2 pest control companies about the price. Meanwhile my daughter is boarding here and there with friends because she doesn’t like the thought of being live bait. The rep from the second company consulted, suggested my daughter sleep in the bed where a couple of bug larvae were found so that the infestation would not spread to other areas, since the bugs would go in search of her blood. You can imagine her reaction! He went on to say that she needn’t have emptied her apartment of its decor and her clothing. Caught in the middle of 2 supposed experts saying opposing things, who should she believe?

Unfortunately management of the apartment complex is in the same quandary, and my daughter is the guinea pig in its efforts to devise a game plan going forward. With bed bug infestations throughout the country being widely broadcast in the media, I wonder why there was no best case/worst case scenario in place with the apartment complex‘s regular vendor of pest control?

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY.....

Image by Daisy.Sue via Flickr

With a broken hand, and living like a nomad, my daughter maintains an upbeat attitude about her life. She’s rehearsing a piece she’s choreographed for this weekend’s show with trainees of the company; she’s been a model in a photo shoot for the company, albeit minus the hand splint which she’s now sporting; and she happily accepts invitations out with friends which often includes a place to bunk for the night. As a beacon of light on the horizon, my daughter will soon be reunited with my husband and me for some much-needed R and R. I promised that she and I would “tie one on” when she got home.

Mother & Child, Coc Ly Market

Image by Hanoi Mark via Flickr

Any mom who cherishes her child can appreciate that what my daughter has been through makes my spirit go limp. At my age, I don’t even have the fire to take on the adversaries anymore, at least not as I did in earlier decades. I have my husband to thank for that. In our household wiser heads now rule, for which I’m eternally grateful. For it has meant that, unlike my mom, these, my later years are free of the kind of stress she inflicted upon herself through negativity. And that I truly believe, is a key component of Alzheimer’s. I may still not escape its grasp, but I maintain control over the number of factors that might contribute to eventually being overcome by the disease. So while I still have my wits about me, I’ll continue to fight the good fight. That’s something else with which I can gift my daughter.

giving thanks…for what my mom has given me…and what i’ve been able to give my daughter…and for the legacy that will most certainly… live on…hugmamma.

Wild Roses Mother's Day Card

Image by Flora Powell via Flickr

“blog buddies,” getting it…finally

Figuring out how “blog buddies” works has been a bit of a mystery. But I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. It seems to be a matter of finding bloggers with whom I share common interests, and once found, trying to establish continuing dialogue. I’ve begun doing that with a couple of sites, by growing the conversation. It’s not easy keeping several conversations going at the same time. But it is fun, once you begin. I’m sure I’ll find the technical components that make it easier to check in with everyone, without having to click in all the time. Takes me a little bit, but I eventually manage. Good exercise for growing brain cells, and staving off Alzheimer’s.

The first blogger who taught me about being a blog buddy was Scriptor Obscura. A knowledgeable techy, she was the first to leave regular comments and “likes” on my posts. I was very touched when she asked to run some of them on her blog. She allowed me to decide which they should be, but I left the decision with her, emailing those she “liked.” Not all mind you, I didn’t want to overrun her site. As passionate as me about causes, Scriptor Obscura minces no words in her support of issues. A person less than half my age, I admire her conviction to promote compassion for those less fortunate.

Another blogger with whom I’ve begun a conversation is jeanne’s blog. I just learned that she and I share a love of antiques, hunting them down, owning, and cherishing great finds. Her blog’s photo header displays 2 adorable lhasa apsos or shitzus, not sure which. I had a shitzu, years ago, named Sushi. She was the sweetest, smallest dog. Loved her to pieces. Jeanne’s gardens are lovely, like an oasis. Mine will be, once the last dregs of winter pull up stakes and leave. She also shares recipes, which shows a love of cooking, another interest of mine. She’s gotten me started doing book reviews. And the lady has a compassionate spirit, as is demonstrated in inspirational messages she posts.

Image representing Etsy as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

The Daily Dabbler is another blog with whom I’ve begun another conversation. It’s centered around crafting, a shared interest of ours. Both dabblers in creating things, I think we both realize making a living at it is best left to the professionals, not amateurs like ourselves. Nonetheless it’s fun to check out the creative offerings on ETSY, where all manner of beautiful crafts are sold.

My French friend has shared so much of herself in my interviews with My English Thoughts. Besides our love of travel, though we’ve both not the kind of time or money to globe trot, we have the commonality of the theatre, where she works, and my daughter performs. I can understand the trials and tribulations she must endure in such a unique occupation, because of those my daughter herself has endured. But I’m sure they would both say that there’s also something magical about the stage, especially behind-the-scenes. What’s also captivating about Isa is her simplicity. She seems to “go with the flow,” dealing with life as it presents itself. At this stage in my life, taking life as it comes is less stressful. My friend from France has learned it at a young age. Kudos to her!

I’m getting to know other bloggers as well. Random Thoughts from Mid-Life speaks my language, although much better, I think. An excellent writer who expresses herself so clearly, with seeming understatement. By contrast, I think my words explode on the page. But we’re different people, with different messages. Learning from others is always good, great in fact. And I’ve a lot to learn.

Space Buddies

Image via Wikipedia

Pet lovers such as those who blog at The (mis)Adventures of Sage, and Lifewith4cats remind me of my own four-legged family, and how much joy they bring their human family. Never underestimate the healing power of animals. They give so much of themselves, asking so little in return. And they get me up and exercising, even when I’d rather be lazy and blogging. A walk with Mocha, or running down the hallway with Sitka and Juneau, or crouching on all fours to stroke Sunkist, remind me that I too need to move about to keep my joints oiled. And how they make me laugh, watching some of their antics. ha, ha.

So I take my hat off to all who’ve nurtured their own communities of blog buddies. It’s an art form which when begun, takes thought and effort to maintain. But the rewards of connecting with like souls is immeasurable. I encourage you to visit these blogs mentioned above, and I’ll let you know of other blog buddies with whom I start a dialogue.

writing is fun…sharing with others enhances the enjoyment…hugmamma. 

“getting over getting old,” laughing helps…a lot!

You want more laughs? You’ve got it! The usual instigator being my Brit friend with the wicked sense of humor…Sylvia.  🙂

 
 
 
Questions and Answers from AARP Forum
Q: Where can men over the age 
of 60 find younger, sexy 
women who are interested 
in them?
A: Try a bookstore, under fiction.
Q: What can a man do while his 
wife is going through 
menopause?
A: Keep busy. If you’re handy with 
tools, you can finish the basement. 
When you’re done you’ll have a 
place to live.
Q: Someone has told me that 
menopause is mentioned in 
the bible. Is
 that true? 
Where can
 it be  found?
A: Yes. Matthew 14:92: 
“And Mary rode Joseph’s ass 
all the way to  Egypt …”
Q: How can you increase the 
heart rate of your 60-plus 
year old husband?
A: Tell him you’re pregnant.
Q: How can you avoid that 
terrible curse of the elderly 
wrinkles?
A: Take off your glasses.
Q: Seriously! What can I do for these Crow’s feet and all those wrinkles on my face?
A: Go braless. It will usually pull them out.
Q: Why should 60-plus year old people use valet parking?
A: Valets don’t forget where they park your car.
Q: Is it common for 60-plus year olds to have problems with  short term memory storage?
A: Storing memory is not a problem– Retrieving it is the problem.
Q: As people age, do they sleep more soundly?
A: Yes, but usually in the afternoon.
Q: Where should 60-plus year olds look for eye glasses?
A: On their foreheads.
Q: What is the most common remark made by 60-plus year olds when they enter  antique stores?
A: “Gosh, I remember these!”
SMILE, You’ve still got your sense of humor, RIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

     

    

just in the nick of time to help me reach my goal…hugmamma. (gotta love my friend Sylvia!)  

 

counting my blessings

On my recent flight home, I overheard a fellow passenger remark “It’s good to get away, but it’s always good to come home…sleep in my own bed.” Amen! Again I say, Amen! So this seems as good a time as any to reflect upon that for which I’m very thankful, beginning with…

  • The memory foam mattress that snuggles up against all the contours of my body, as though I was sleeping on a cloud. Now if only I could lay my brain beside me, so it too could get a good night’s rest. Maybe then I’d slumber peacefully, rather than thinking what next to write.
  • My husband’s affection pulling me into a huge bear hug. Just where I belong, until death do us part…not even then.
  • Crouching down beside Mocha, the doggie “love of my life,” to whisper “sweet nothings” in her ear. 
  • Lovingly stroking the length of Sitka, Juneau and Sunkist, as they stretch up to share their hearts with me.
  • Laying my weary head on my daughter’s shoulder, as she embraces me into the bosom of her “old soul.”
  • Letting my home, still decorated for Christmas, nourish my soul with childhood delights.
  • Reading emails from friends and family, sharing memories, newfound discoveries, and always love and concern.
  • Writing and blogging, journaling my thoughts and feelings, wary of the day when I might not, but thankful for the precious moments of the present.
  • Knowing that I’ve a network of online readers with whom to share my journey is mind-boggling, but a blessing I wholeheartedly welcome.
  • My health, such as it is, keeps me ever mindful that quality of life is fragile, and shouldn’t be compromised by poor choices.
  • The Maui of my childhood, where innocence and naivete abounded, ingrained forever in my moral fiber.
  • My Aloha spirit, my compassion for others, a legacy from my mom and those who came before.
  • The 2 angels who have gently guarded my well-being these last decades of my life, continuing to do so, my husband of 40 years and my daughter of 24.
  • And God above all, who gifted me with life, ensuring my best, knowing He is always with me…ALWAYS.

 

counted your blessings lately?…hugmamma.

dr. amen speaks

Am including this “page” as a post, since readers don’t often click on my pages, running beneath the pictorial header at the top of the blog. So it’s reprinted below so that you don’t miss the good information contained in the accompanying YouTube videos. Enjoy!

Wanted to keep Dr. Daniel Amen’s YouTube videos close by, for when I need a spiritual boost. Watching his animated presence, hearing his laughter, partaking of his great sense of humor, and being reassured that I need not be stuck with a brain that can go askew every now and then, makes Dr. Amen a cherished friend. I like having him on my side; so I want to keep him by my side. His words are not only food for my brain, but more importantly nourishment for my soul. You’re always welcome to visit, when you need uplifting…

a lot to digest, i know…feel free to stop by, often…hugmamma.

postaday2011 question: what would you tell yourself 10 years ago?

At age 61 with 20/20 hindsight, I’d counsel myself to laugh a lot, live my own life and not someonelse’s, and eat 25-30 grams of fiber a day to “stay regular.” I know, I know, TMI! But it’s the truth, the God awful truth! ha,ha. Told you…laugh a lot.

One other thing I’d pass along is to ward off “ants,” or automatic negative thoughts, as described by psychiatrist Daniel Amen in Change Your Brain Change Your Life. I’d go even further to say we should beat the c**p out of those buggers for attempting to suck the life from us. “Ants” take on a life of their own if we let them.

Automatic negative thoughts fester in our minds, convincing us that they are truth when, in fact, they are only illusions, posturing as facts. Many of us, if not all, live our lives based upon these masters of manipulation. No wonder relationships run aground, and mistrust among countrymen is possible, if not inevitable. If we allow these “ants” safe haven, they will grow fat and multiply. As hosts, we will succumb and self-destruct. Alzheimer patients are prime candidates for these nasty “critters,” which eventually consume the sufferer’s every thought, spinning falsehoods until fantasy and reality are one.   

It’s for sure we have all been overrun with automatic negative thoughts from time to time, some may never be without respite from these “ants.” Fighting them is imperative, sooner rather than later. Dr. Amen’s book provides the armament necessary. He speaks of these “ants” in the following YouTube videos. I’m hoping you will be encouraged to pick up and read  Change Your Brain Change Your Life, and other books authored by Dr. Amen.

Join me in stopping “ants” dead in their tracks!!!

wish I’d learned this 10 years ago…or earlier…hugmamma.

cat nap? wish i could

In another post, published on 1/12/11, “solution to insomnia? blogging!” I owned up to the fact that I’m an insomniac, not good for someone with Alzheimer’s in my genes. It’s been proven that 7 to 8 hours of restful night-time sleep is a must in fighting the dreaded disease. Another thing I’m working on, even as I type.

I still struggle to clear my mind as my head tosses and turns on the pillow. Last night it seemed to help that I kept repeating to myself, “melatonin, melatonin, melatonin.” For those of you out of the loop, melatonin is a natural supplement which aids sleeplessness. It’s actually present in us, in varying degrees. I guess those blest with more, sleep better; those like me, registering a deficit, lay awake counting, or not counting, sheep. Too lazy to get my body out of bed, to down the “wonder” pill, I opted for “mind over matter,” and said the word instead. It worked! I think the process is called meditation. Evidently that’s another helpful solution for insomnia. Hey, I’ll do anything, short of hitting myself over the head with a two-by-four!

I wish I could slide into “la, la land” as easily as cats seem to do. While their radars are probably still on “full alert,” their bodies look sublimely relaxed in repose. The following photos are of my ballerina daughter’s, adorably, photogenic, buddy Misha, named after the famous ballet dancer, Mikhail Baryshnikov. It’s hard resisting the urge to snatch him up and cuddle him without end. But as you can see, I resisted long enough to capture these sleeping images.

Too cute!

…too, too cute!!

Beyond cute!!! Absolutely precious!

And the little rascal always knows when we’re talking about him…

now if i could only take after my “grandson,”…hugmamma.

“exercise and pastries,” oxymoron, or balance?

On the last Friday of the month, our exercise class usually meets afterwards for coffee and conversation at a local Starbuck’s. Once in a while we patronize another local “coffee” house…mine. Since it’s decorated “to the nines” for Christmas, I love having people over for a “look-see.” And my exercise buddies always love  to look and see, how our household rings in the holidays.

Since our personal computers are still without internet connection, thanks to Comcast, I’m still blogging gratis my husband’s laptop. Because of this, I’m not able to share photos of this year’s decor, which I can only access on my computer. Hopefully service will be restored tomorrow, and I’ll be back in “my office.” When I am, you’ll get a peek inside what my daughter calls our “Christmas explosion!” Meanwhile, the photo at the top of my blog is of last year’s decor, partially of course.

Somehow preparing to entertain is an all night affair. I almost never get to bed until the wee hours of the morning the day of the party. I crawl under the covers, only to get up a couple of hours later, put on my “new day” face, and proceed to rush about on pure adrenalin. I should be napping right now, but I always get sucked in to blogging. It’s my time for personal pleasure. And writing gives me a “high,” like trillions of endorphins flying around inside my head, wearing happy faces. Blogging is one “detour” I can never seem to bypass.

Unfortunately preparing for today was delayed last night, because I wanted to first write and publish a post on tinnutis, or ringing in the ear. Writers will agree, I’m sure, that we have to continually write to be taken seriously. And I’ve a long way to go, since I’ve only been writing consistently for 5 months. 

Knowing my penchant for delay, I bought a few items for today’s coffee with the ladies. If you’ve a nearby QFC, you can purchase some of the goodies that were a hit. Dutch Country’s Homemade Red Velvet Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Filling (made from scratch). “Thaw and Serve. Ready to Eat.” Dutch Country also makes a Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling, again “from scratch.” The other pastry I bought from QFC was a Danish Kringle, a “Traditional Danish Pastry.” It looks like a large pretzel in the shape of a heart with an “x” in the center. Its crust is sooo flaky and its center is laden with a thin custard layer. Hmmm…yummy!

My homemade contribution was an “Overnight Breakfast Casserole.” It’s very easy to make, and lent something different to a table of sweets. Actually, a friend brought another egg dish that included mild peppers. It was flavorful, and not spicy as expected. Here’s the recipe for my casserole. Next time I might try it with hashed brown potatoes, instead of bread. I’m certain that would change the taste and texture of the dish. Bon appetite!!! 

OVERNIGHT BREAKFAST CASSEROLE     

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Ingredients: 1/4 cup butter, 6 to 8 slices bread, 1 to 1  1/2 lbs link sausage, 12 eggs (beaten), 3/4 cups milk, 1  10 oz. can cream of chicken soup, salt and pepper to taste, 1 to 1  1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese..

Spread butter on 1 side of each slice of bread. Place buttered side down in baking dish. You might have to cut each slice into quarters so all slices can fit in the dish.  Brown sausage in skillet, drain. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Beat eggs with milk in mixer bowl until foamy. Add soup, salt and pepper; mix well. Pour over bread; sprinkle with sausage and cheese. Chill, covered, in refrig overnight. Bake, uncovered, at 300 degrees for 1/2 hour or until center is set. You may add fresh sliced mushrooms, and use mushroom soup, or vary cheeses and substitute hashed brown potatoes or tater tots for bread.

If you’re nowhere near a QFC (or Kroger) market, here’s the manufacturer’s information: Dutch Country Apple Dumplings, Inc., P.O. Box 603, Orrville, Ohio 44667, (330) 683-0646. Larsen’s Original Danish Bakery, 8000 24th Ave, N.W., Seattle, WA 98117, (206) 782-8285, www.larsensbakery.com.

You must be wondering, or maybe you’re not, how women who make it a point to “bump and grind” in exercise class three mornings a week, can return to indulging ourselves once a month. Partly because it is once a month, but more importantly because of the camaraderie we share away from class. Socializing is an important factor in delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s. Those who are getting on in years, including myself, must make a concerted effort to remain connected to people, to our community, to society. The fact that my friends and me exercise, socialize, and eat sweets, now and then, demonstrates how normal we are in trying to live balanced lives.

wishing the same for you, a balance of exercising…socializing…and pastries…hugmamma.

up and running, for now, comcast

Don’t want to jinx the recovery of our internet connection, but right now I’m typing away on my laptop upstairs. If this keeps up, I won’t be visiting the “dungeon” much anymore. Our family room is nice and cozy, just a little dark since sunlight streaming in through the windows is pretty minimal, especially given the fact we live in the Pacific Northwest. Someone should bottle and sell sunshine. I’m Hawaiian, you’d think I’d have the inside track, although I’ve lived away from the islands for 30+ years. I’ll have to call some relatives. But I digress.

Comcast’s rep who’d been by last night called early this morning. I let him speak with my husband. Evidently they did some work last night in our area. If our problem is resolved as a result, then the job will have been successful, and there’ll be no need for a followup visit to our house. “Knock on wood,” looks like we’ll be spared Mocha’s unstoppable barking when strangers show up at the door. The rep is still committed to trying to change out our single modem, for the more current 2 modems. Otherwise, it looks like we’re good to go.

So for now, all’s well that ends well. I know, as one comment stated, that Comcast has bigger issues with the government and public than our little dilemma. But as I replied, I’ve also got bigger battles to wage than what Comcast is doing or not doing. Yes, it’s good to look at the “bigger picture,” but it’s also wise to focus on taking small steps towards accomplishing change. Most of us can only wrap our minds around the small stuff, anyway. The big politics can overwhelm, stopping people dead in their tracks. Better we do what we can do, and leave what we can’t to those who are better equipped for the challenge, remembering that small still counts.

I may not be as recognizable as the Tea Party organizers, but, hey, those 2 housewives started small, and look where their blogging got them. Perhaps companies like Comcast do sit up and take notice when we Lilliputians speak. My husband says they do; his company has someone trolling the internet tracking comments, good and bad. So we should all register our voices on the internet, since our access to mainstream media is limited, and manipulated to suit their purposes. But remember the wise, old adage “You can get more with honey, than vinegar.” As I’ve aged, this truism is even more relevant, for my own self-serving reasons. Life is short. Alzheimer’s looms. Heart attacks are even more plausible. Why am I going to quicken all 3, by stressing out over “stuff.” My urgent priorities are my health and my family. Amen.

for keeping my voice on the internet, thanks Comcast…hugmamma.