on the edge…

Getting older has its pitfalls; some being more evident than others. I don’t think we notice them in ourselves until we see them reflected in others. With his erratic behavior growing ever more so each day, Donald Trump should be a warning to those of us on the brink of going there ourselves.

If we disconnect with the changing world around us and become more and more insulated inside our own “bubbles,” we run the risk of becoming like Trump. We begin to see the world as hostile; people unfamiliar to us as “the enemy.”

As he has demonstrated time and time again, Trump sees another conspiracy lurking just around the bend. Beginning with the “birther” movement for which he enthusiastically assumed the leadership role, he has progressed to his current vendetta against the media, global bankers, his sexual accusers and the Clintons  as being in cahoots to take him and the country down.

We all know folks like Trump. Folks in their 60’s, 70’s and older, who can’t see beyond yesterday when the world was familiar and they felt safe. Arguing for the past in bellicose tones empowers them, even as reality slips through their fingers.

Years ago while sitting at the table with good friends of ours, dining on a wonderful array of delicious, homemade, Italian dishes, I was keenly aware of the elderly dad sitting quietly unable to participate in the banter of lively conversation. Now and then someone would try to draw him in, with no success. That image remains  etched in my mind, and serves as a reminder against the debilitating effects of isolation in older age.

That’s how I see Donald Trump…a dynastic patriarch lost in a world of his own, unable to set aside his glorious past for a present in which he doesn’t figure as prominently. I’ve known men and women like Trump. Folks who continue to view themselves as THE authoritative voice on all things, unwilling to allow that others might know better. Many a time I’ve been on the other end of such dogmatic arguments.

I don’t want to be like Trump…seeing conspiracies where there are none. Getting older doesn’t mean we automatically slide into a world of paranoia. It happens when we allow negative thoughts to overwhelm our minds, wreaking havoc where there is none, and wallowing in our own isolation to the exclusion of all else.

A couple of nights ago, hubby and I enjoyed a date night. I was looking forward to seeing Adam Levine and Maroon Five perform ever since we received the tickets as a Christmas gift from our daughter. While I thoroughly enjoyed his music, I must admit to feeling older than I expected. As thousands stood for the duration, my arthritic back found comfort in remaining seated. And while everyone else sang along with Adam, I was at a total loss for the lyrics. I felt “left out.”

Early on, I asked a woman standing in front of us to please sit so we could see the performance. She eventually acquiesced, but at the end of the evening I realized rock concerts might no longer be for me. Rather than be a curmudgeon, I’d prefer to remember when nothing could keep me down; when I’d be up and moving before anyone else.

Letting go…happily and with dignity…is a nice feeling when getting older. Although I promised myself that if I could see Bruno Mars perform live, I vow to stand with the best of them…and learn all the words to his songs! My daughter promises to join me at a Mars concert, and I’ll bet one or two of my sisters-in-law would fly in from Hawaii to join us as well.

Being “young at heart” would serve us seniors well. Old age doesn’t have to deprive us of youthful ideas and feelings, or guarantee we’ll suffer the effects of dementia…or worse, Alzheimer’s. It’s never easy to teach an old dog new tricks, but it’s…

…not impossible.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

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nurturing thursdays: feeling good…

Have you ever contemplated how great it is to…feel good? To have that warm, fuzzy feeling that all’s right with the world? Well, perhaps not the world outside your walls, but the world which you inhabit inside your walls. And more specifically…the inner spaces of your heart and mind and soul?

With age comes a good deal of reflection. Having attained most, if not all, of the physical wants on our check lists we begin to wonder what is left for us to do while we count down the years until the end. What is there left to do? Have we done it all? Do we feel good about how we’ve lived our lives?

Speaking from my own personal experience, feeling good about things outside of myself only came when I began to feel good about myself. And that only happened when I accepted that what others thought, felt and did was not my responsibility. More importantly, it did not really involve me. Accepting that fact was like having an invisible wall deflect any and all negativity coming my way back onto those from whom it was being generated.

Folks unhappy with their own circumstances tend to blame others for what’s wrong within themselves. Unable to resolve their problems, they want others to do it for them. Even going to extremes as we’ve seen in the case of shooters who opt to commit suicide, whether by their own hand or at the hand of others.

Wallowing in the hate generated by negativity as we see happening with Donald Trump and his followers, blackens the environment like a thick fog of pollution. Rather than succumb to its poison, we should hold strong to the fact that he and they have issues with which they are struggling. Because they cannot think through constructive solutions based upon positive thinking, they find it easier to pass along their problems to the rest of us. They bleed negativity, not caring about the effect they are having on the masses.

That’s how Trump and others like him “feel good”…by feeling bad. It’s what stokes their already smoldering dislike of the unfamiliar and the different. They refuse to flex with the changing environment, preferring to encapsulate their rigid views of how life should be…in stone.

Truly feeling good means accepting that we are basically good. How we react to adversity outside of ourselves determines whether or not we continue to feel good.

Like others, I am disturbed by the constant reminder that many are hell-bent in bringing about Armageddon…sooner rather than later. I’m equally disturbed by the desire of many in the Republican Party that America return to isolationism from the rest of the world. Obviously, neither Armageddon nor isolationism is compatible with the survival of the human race. What separates us from other species is our ability to THINK through alternatives to our problems, arriving at the best one for the good of all, not just a few.

As naïve as this may sound, I strive to remember that each of us is basically good. We didn’t start off as bad babies. What happened after that was dependent upon circumstances, much of which is beyond our control…our birth country…our parent’s economic standing…our education or lack thereof…our jobs…our families, friends, enemies. What we do have control over is how we act and react under these circumstances. Again, however, we cannot over-stress or over-worry about others’ actions and reactions. We can only act and react, striving to do so from a platform of positivity, not negativity.

Feeling good. Or feeling bad.

…our choice.

………hugmamma.

(Note:  Enjoy other nurturing words at…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/12/10/nurt-thurs-how-long/#comment-26111

 

we manage…mocha and me

These last few months have been touch and go for my pal Mocha. Old age has been complicated by the debilitating effects of sciatica. Hobbling around, her right paw can bend backwards and send her tumbling forward onto bended knees. Not one to be dissuaded from what she is about, Mocha picks herself up, dusts herself off, and goes about her business.

Observing Mocha makes me sympathetic to the plight of older folks. It’s no fun when body parts don’t work anymore. Life seems consumed with just the basics…eating, peeing and pooping.

“Wwwhhhaaa happened? Where’d all the fun go?” That’s what Mocha’s eyes seem to say as she watches me move about the room. On medication for a heart murmur, sciatica, and now a urinary tract infection, what’s a dog to do? Not much, except lie around.

These last few days I’ve been outdoors prepping the garden for the hibernating months ahead. While back-breaking for me and my arthritic lumbar, Mocha’s been lazing about on the freshly mowed grass, drinking in the sunshine. I’m certain we’ve both felt like switching places.

Being half-beagle, Mocha would love to make like a mole and dig tunnels in the dirt. Me? I’d be content with stretching out on the warm, green lawn, staring up at the billowy, white clouds floating serenely across the baby blue sky.

And yet we make the best of it, Mocha and me. On good days, she’s a little sprightlier. We both are. On days when it takes a little more effort to get going, we take our time.

We don’t wallow in “what ifs,” we just tweak our plans a little. If I’m not up to weeding and pruning, then I’ll do some laundry and vacuum. As for Mocha, if she can’t wander about in search of a new place to lie, then she’ll stay put in her comfy bed all day.

Older age. It’s about doing what we can do, and not fretting about what we can’t do. Of course, doing what we can to keep our bodies humming along is imperative…stretching, exercising, and minimizing our intake of unhealthy carbs.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgo potato chips, candy, and soda. Although I have managed to limit them to…once-in-awhile.

Because of global warming we’re suppose to get a break from the cold, dank, dark weather that normally smothers the Pacific Northwest like an unwanted blanket. According to local forecasters, the lows should hover around the 50s. So far the prediction seems to be panning out. The sun is still with us.

Hallelujah!!!

…mocha and I don’t feel so old…when our bones are warm! Xmas 2010 2 00000

………hugmamma.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: filed under entertaining angels

Gosh! I’m sure someone is already thinking of me this way…”that chatty, old woman.” Let’s hope I complete the picture…”she made me feel good about myself.”
………hugmamma.

another cup of coffee

angel

This lovely lady represents so much that’s good about humanity: unconditional love, joy, compassion.

I ran into to her at the post office. Well. Let me rephrase that; she annoyed her way into my heart while I was standing impatiently in line at the post office.

She kept engaging the postal clerk in a prolonged conversation, asking after everybody in the clerk’s family, her co-workers, and some other mundane and totally-uninteresting-to-me details. In short, she was holding me up. I didn’t even have anywhere to be at the time, but I can say that my day had been fairly ruined with some bad news, and that wasn’t helping my mood.

By the time my turn came up and I was finished and on the way out, she was still moving at her elderly pace to get to the door. I gave in to the moment. I just wasn’t going to…

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nurturing thursdays: choices…changes…part 2

This is where I come in…

This year I turn 65. The year of Medicare. On the thresh hold to formally entering…old age. 

I’ve been practicing for a while, even telling folks I was already 65. My husband who turned 66 recently, pointed out my mistake. Seems I was rushing him along.

Funny thing. As the years pile up I’ve become more preoccupied with, of all things, death.

Without realizing it, death has become my point of reference these days. Not in a morbid sense, more like savoring the pluses in my life while trying to downplay or diminish the minuses.

So with my daughter as ring master, I’m jumping through the hoops and…going for the gusto!

On Facebook the other day, I saw a photo of my mother-in-law seated with her 7 daughters. They were the picture of health and happiness. She sat shrunken, a shadow of her former, robust self. A quick glimpse of her eyes spoke of a woman growing older by the second. Yes, she looked all of her 80+ years. But she seemed to me, even older on the inside.

Years before my mom died, she fell in the bathroom of a vacation home we rented near the beach on Oahu. Her legs were like toothpicks, bowed from years of suffering the effects of arthritis. She was probably mortified that it took several of us to get her to her feet. Sadness seemed to hover over her like a black cloud in spite of her efforts to smile away her tears.

Both images are permanently embedded into my brain. Old age is not a pretty sight to behold.

For more than a decade now fibromyalgia, arthritis and I have occupied the same body…mine. In recent years I’ve been forced to take a backseat, while they’ve taken to calling all the shots. By late afternoon, I’m totally fatigued. Muscling through dinner preparation and evening chores, I usually fall into bed exhausted, aching from head to toe.

Caring for our dog who has heart disease and chronic neck and back stiffness, has only added to my own aches and pains. I must cajole her into taking her meds morning and night, including forcing a capsule down her throat. I must lift her in and out of the car when taking her to the vet, as well as carry her up and down flights of stairs.

Knowing that we women are often the designated caretakers, I wonder how long I can manage to help those about whom I care, as my own health dwindles. How can I help my husband should his health fail?

It’s more than likely my chronic pain was caused by the statin CRESTOR which I started taking to lower my cholesterol. I alerted the prescribing doctor to the fact that news reports indicated Asian women were susceptible to muscle pain caused by the drug. He’d not heard about it so I remained on Crestor, especially since it did the job intended. Even a subsequent physician, who happened to be female and Asian, ballyhooed my information. Not until a third physician drew blood to measure my C-Reactive Protein number and found it to be 1000+ instead of within the normal range of mid-100, did I stop taking CRESTOR. Only after trial and error did I end up with the one I’m currently taking which doesn’t have the same effect…yet.

In the midst of trying to determine the cause of my chronic pain, the doctor sent me to a rheumatologist who diagnosed me as having fibromyalgia. Like the “kiss of death,” I’ve been living with it ever since. Thanks, CRESTOR!

Alternative medical practitioners, including chiropractors and massage therapists, have helped me live a fairly normal life. I’ve done pretty much whatever I’ve wanted to do. But with old age settling in for the duration, quality of life becomes harder and harder to sustain. 

After much reading, discussions with my naturopath, and soul searching,  I have begun the WILEY PROTOCOL natural hormone replacement therapy. 

Not having had the truly bothersome effects of menopause like hot flashes and night sweats, I never felt the need for hormone replacement treatment. But now that old age is staring me in the face and my quality of life is in jeopardy, renewing my body’s resources seems imperative. 

Without hormonal balance, our bodies are going the inevitable route of shutting down. And while that is the natural order of things, I’d like to make the journey as enjoyable as I possibly can. 

I’d like to savor the moments I can still do for others, and with others. I’d like to continue laughing, and hugging. I’d like to feel the excitement of learning new things no matter how old I get. I want to keep on writing, and blogging.

Essentially, I’d like to keep on…keeping on.

So why choose to change things up? What’s my goal? Well I’ll tell you…it’s for quality of life…no matter the quanity of years.

…here’s to living life…the best way i possibly can!!!

………hugmamma.IMG_3370

…if dogs could talk…

…mine would say “Couldn’t you tell I was in pain? You dummy you!”

Nashville 09-2010 00116About the time Mocha was diagnosed as having a leaky heart valve which causes fluid to accumulate, she seemed to go downhill rather quickly. She’d get out of her bed and plop down on the floor. A little later she’d get up and amble a short distance and…plop! She continued this pattern for days.

The vet had advised that Mocha rest as the spirit moved her. The way she behaved, it seemed her spirit wanted permanent bed rest. And every so often the thought of “putting her down” crawled through my mind. I hated to see her suffer so.

Mocha’s appetite never waned. And when she was outdoors, she seemed her old self.

As the days passed, her body seemed to shrink and lean to one side. She walked around looking lopsided. Her tail wagged less.

When Mocha started looking up at me with a very cynical stare…moreso than usual…I thought she’d had a stroke. She wouldn’t lift her chin, just her eyes. It was as though she was casting an evil eye on me. Spooky. After a couple of weeks, her neck seemed to disappear as she hunched her back.Imported Photos 00004

Dr. Mom’s diagnosis? Old age and arthritis, along with heart disease.

“Poor, poor Mocha” I thought. As I stroked the length of her body, I’d murmur softly . “I know how you feel. I have arthritis. It’s no fun getting old. You’ll be alright. It’s okay. I love you.” The whole while she was probably thinking “You’re making it worse. Don’t touch me.”

I finally decided to get a second opinion, the vet’s, wondering if the end was in sight for my beloved, old pooch.

The assistant asked preliminary questions, all the while observing Mocha who paced, sometimes in circles, head cocked to one side. When the young woman asked if my dog was in pain, my eyes widened. Pain? That never even crossed my mind, especially since she never yelped when I held her, stroked her, walked her.

I hung onto the possibility that pain was indeed the culprit, as the assistant went to fetch the vet. “Mocha’s not dying! She’s just in pain.” Words that kept playing over and over in my brain.  I shivered at the thought that I had contemplated ending her life. OMG.

Lo and behold. The vet diagnosed Mocha as suffering extreme discomfort because of pain in her neck region. Evidently unlike people, dogs can’t turn their bodies to look from side to side. They’re kind of stuck if their necks are immobile. Worse, the sciatic nerve can also be affected, causing added pain.

Oye vay!!! It was like a wall of bricks fell on top of me. Pain, not heart disease was the reason for Mocha’s strange behavior.

If you’re like me, you bypass common sense and go straight to…worse case scenario!

A steroid shot and pain meds, and Mocha’s her old self again. Just old…not decrepit and on death’s doorstep. Thankfully, she has no memory of my idiocy…

…now that she’s back to taking long walks…and getting her treats for going poopy…

………hugmamma.February 2011 00040

it’s sunny where i am…not!

(Written yesterday. Today…the sun is smiling…its glorious teeth shining brightly. Hooray!)

It’s “raining cats and dogs” where I am…in Seattle. Duh. No surprise!IMG_5213

What I wasn’t prepared for is having to bail myself out of rain water every hour on the hour. Somebody didn’t want new gutters installed…back when hubby suggested it. I can remember the conversation as if it were yesterday.

Hubby: “I’m going to change out the old gutters for the ones that prevent pine needles from collecting.”

Me: “How much will it cost?”

Hubby: “$2,000.”

Me: “Are you crazy!!! Let me think about it and do a little more research.”

Twelve years later I’ve no one else to blame but myself for the puddle I’m in.

A portion of the gutter pulled away from the eave of the roof due to the constant pressure of pine needles that formed a dam every fall. Being low maintenance folks…meaning maintenance was low on the list of things we liked to do…sometimes the needles were cleaned out, sometimes they weren’t…until the rains came and forced us into action.

Smart hubby. He left on a business trip just as the rain began falling. And I’m positive he’ll be home AFTER the rain’s gone. That’s just how these things work out.

It’s like the time he left on a business trip while we were living in Redding, Connecticut. It was the dead of winter. Snow piled high on the ground. The heavens opened up and dumped buckets of rain without letup. The field stone basement of our 100 year-old Victorian farmhouse flooded. The old sump pump installed by the previous owners was too small to drain all the water. Guess who was bailing water out in the middle of the night, while cursing out her young husband? You got it! Moi!

With my husband’s tall rubber boots just skirting the hem of my nightgown, I sloshed around in the water, bucket in hand. I had thrown back the wooden basement doors leading to the outside, and proceeded to fill bucket after bucket of accumulated water tossing it out the open doors. Of course it was a totally nonsensical solution to the problem since the water dribbled back down the steps as quickly as I was getting rid of it. Or trying to, anyway. To make matters worse, the water probably melted the snow just outside, adding more water to the knee deep reservoir in which I was wading. Thankfully, my toddler lay fast asleep in her cozy bed a couple of floors above . She never awoke to the mayhem beneath.

Since we’d not resided there very long, I had no one to call except our realtor. If I recall she sent her husband over. That was the good news. The bad news was that he couldn’t do anything. He suggested I call the fire department to have them come out with their long hose to suck out all the water. Their response was “no” because they didn’t want the hose to get damaged by any grit that would likely get sucked up as well. 

More than twenty years later, I have no recollection how I resolved the dilemma. It might be that my husband returned home in time to take charge. I do know that we updated our sump pump so that it would activate quickly and drain the water away from the house. When we purchased the house we were aware there might be flooding, but we had no idea we would need Noah’s Ark.

IMG_4438In my present situation, the water dripping from the broken gutter is saturating the ground in back of the house which, in turn, is soaking through the carpet in our downstairs family room. Luckily I’ve been able to vacuum out the water with our rug shampooer.

In order to capture as much of the overflow as possible, my husband had strategically placed a couple of barrels beneath the broken gutter. One of them is smaller and rolls on wheels. The other is larger and with water filling it to the brim, I would break my back trying to lug it to the edge of the deck where I then upend it to spill the contents along the path leading away from the house. So smart me…I use a pot to bail water from the large barrel into the smaller one. Once it’s filled, I drag it a few steps before carefully turning it on its side. It must sound like a tsunami every time the water splashes out over the garden with a thunderous CRASH!!! Especially at 11 p.m. when the neighborhood is beginning to slumber.

CRASH!!!

While I’m getting too old for this, I tell myself these ordeals make me a survivor. I can take care of myself when I’ve no man to come to this damsel in distress. A good legacy to leave to my daughter…

A woman CAN empower herself…

and

DON’T skimp on home maintenance.

…unless she wants to bail herself out of her own puddles…

………hugmamma.IMG_1545

 

what separates the generations?

Old age. Pure and simple. Sometimes maybe not so simple.

It’s like one day I was the tasty olive served up on a toothpick in a James Bond classic cocktail…shaken, but not stirred. And then the lights blinked. And shazam!!! I’m a raisin sinking to the bottom of that martini.

Yeah! Yeah! I know hugmamma likes to crack wise about all kinds of things based upon decades of experience. But that’s just it. She’s talking about all the stuff she use to do; not living it like the young chick she use to be.

Old folks like to talk, talk, talk. That’s pretty much all we can do. 

Back in the day

Oh, I know there are those exceptions to the rule. Like President Bush, the elder statesman, who at a ripe old age jumped out of a plane on the end of a parachute. But you know what that was, don’t you? That was George H. saying…”I can do this…before I rendezvous with the Big Guy upstairs.”

On the other hand, look at the last of the Flying Walendas, the dude who’s walking across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. The last time his grandpa tried to do that, walking a tightrope high above a city street…was his last. Unfortunately.

At some point, the body goes “Okay. Been there. Done that. I ain’t going out on a limb for you anymore, dude! Get that through your thick skull!”

A month or so ago, or maybe two or three, there was a James Bond marathon on TV.

Sean Connery as James Bond

 I got my fill of Sean Connery as the hunky spy. Images of the senior Bond kept flashing across my mind, trying to reconcile one with the other. I convinced myself that the old Connery still had it. Then I saw  Never Say Never Again, and the dream ended. Still good looking, still somewhat virile. But more of a caricature of what he once was as the cocky, gorgeous Welshman of years past.

Old age sucks! Don’t let any well-meaning, old-timer…like me…convince you differently.

Once your mailbox is flooded with Medicare supplement forms, there’s no turning back. It’s official. You’re on your way to la-la land…along with the other sheep put out to pasture.

What else can a wrinkled up raisin like me do but…blah, blah, blah about the good old days. Or give counsel about this ailment and that supplement. Or coo about the guy who lies all shriveled up beside me.

And then there’s the daughta! A reminder of what I was, and now I ain’t. As if I needed reminding.

Twenty-seven years old and rarin’ to go. Flittin’ from city to city dancing up a storm. Only my fingers come close to keeping up…churning out post after post on my trusty laptop.

So there’s the difference between her and me…old age. 

Youth does; oldsters don’t. That’s “how the cookie crumbles.”

…so enjoy those cookies…before your digestive system goes haywire!..and backfires on you…

……….hugmamma.

Sean Connery at the private party after the pr...

 

 

 

 

six word story challenge: youth

Young at heart…Old of mind.IMG_5001

Youth is never wasted…it’s overdone. 

Young maiden chases…young man runs.

Sexy is young…dried up is old.

Young pointed peaks…old sagging valleys.

Youth lasts forever…only in fairy tales.

Young men speed…old men walk.

The young flirt…the old fart.

Wisdom grows with age…stupid youth.

Religion bores the young…and buries the old.

Prejudiced old teaches prejudiced young…both wrong.

The body may age…memories don’t.

…hugs to figments of a dutchess for the challenge at http://www.figmentsofadutchess.wordpress.com

………hugmamma.

wellness…

It might seem to some of you that I’m forever making reference to certain failings of mine.

Why is that you ask?

Some time ago I read a small, thin paperback on how to write well. One piece of advice stood out from the rest.

Write what you know. That’s just what I’ve tried to do.

For some time now I’ve had health concerns…from chronic inflammation…to digestive issues.

A firm believer in alternative medicine, I see a massage therapist monthly and a chiropractor as needed.

Within the last year or so, things have gone haywire.

naturopath

naturopath (Photo credit: mugley)

I chalked it up to old age and moved forward as best I could.

I sought help from everyone in my bag of medical practitioners….family doctor…hand orthopedist…gastroenterologist…chiropractor…massage therapist…physical therapist…and most recently, a naturopath.

I credit all of them for bringing me along physically, mentally, and even emotionally.

What I’ve learned from all of them…and from my daughter, a professional dancer…is that life makes perfect health...impossible!

The experts do their best to get my body functioning again. However a resumption of my normal activities eventually erodes the progress made.

That’s life…in a nutshell!

Every now and then, however, there are “aha” moments.

Today I had a followup appointment with my naturopath. I left her office with a lot of good, useful information.

I discovered I’m sensitive to certain foods…almonds, walnuts, peanuts, sesame, wheat, eggs and egg yolks (from chickens…I can eat the ones ducks lay), pineapple, green beans and lima beans, cauliflower, mushrooms, garlic, both baker’s and brewer’s yeast, cheddar cheese, and yogurt.

How will I ever forgo…peanut butter slathered on a slice of bread? Asian food cooked in sesame oil? The occasional glass of wine or fruity martini?

Only time will tell, I guess.

Then there’s the fact that the level of the good bacteria in my stomach is too low to offset the effects of my bad bacteria. As a result, sugar intake increases the growth of the bad bacteria.

Oy vay!

These lips will never taste sugar again. It’s a good thing I got my fill of holiday candies and cookies when I did.

My thyroid is slightly elevated. “Why the concern?” I asked. “It affects your metabolism.” I was told. No doctor had ever…in my 63 years…mentioned my thyroid. Let alone test it.

Now for a little good news. The ratio of my good cholesterol to my bad cholesterol…HDL to LDL…is 1.8. Well within the acceptable range of 0.0-3.2.

As a result of what we learned from my blood tests, we discussed the diet I should follow over the next several weeks. After that I’ll check back to discuss how it affected my overall health.

If the news is positive, I’ll  reintroduce some of the questionable foods to see how well I tolerate them. Eggs being the first challenge, according to my naturopath.

Following that eye-opening appointment, I had another one with the chiropractor.

Since my favorite practitioner had the day off, I was treated by a doctor who had recently joined the staff.

After an adjustment that took roughly 20 minutes, I left the office talking to myself.

“WOW!!! Oh, my God! I feel great! My back feels great! My hand feels great! My hips don’t ache! I feel taller! I can stand up straight! I don’t feel so fatigued! My head isn’t fuzzy!”

On and on I mumbled, unable to fathom that all my symptoms could be completely cured in such a short time.

Upon “returning to earth,” I knew it’d take a day or two for my body to settle into the adjustment. Another visit with the chiropractor on Monday will ascertain whether or not he needs to do any tweaking.

Chiropractor

My faith in alternative health practitioners has grown steadily over the years. They have helped me understand my body. From them I have learned to take precautionary measures to ensure…quality of life…as I continue to age.

…i write about…what i know…

………hugmamma.

change is inevitable…so grab hold

AARP card

Image by pmuellr via Flickr

Being 62 entitles me to membership in the seniors’ only club…the AARP. As such I regularly receive its news magazine. From time to time I like to share articles that have a place in all our lives. And I’m not only referencing baby-boomers and their elders. Some information, if obtained earlier in life, can improve one’s chances of quality of life in later years. Those lucky folk are then way ahead; unlike some of us who are playing catch up, reaping the results of what we’ve sown as carefree, careless, young whippersnappers.

Laura L. Carstensen, founding director of the Stanford Center of Longevity and author of A Long Bright Future, writes…

Elvis Country (I'm 10,000 Years Old)

Image via Wikipedia

The Resolution of a Lifetime
     Assuming you are a typical American, you are about 2 inches taller than your great-grandparents were at the same age even though you are genetically no heartier than your ancestors were 10,000 years ago. You are stronger, healthier, smarter and living an average of 30 years longer than Americans were at the turn of the last century. That’s because scientists, educators and activists in the 20th century changed culture, the crucible that holds science, technology and large-scale changes in behavior. We are living longer because the food supply is steady and debilitating diseases are prevented before they ever occur. Improved sanitation reduces the spread of contagious diseases, and education is available to all school-age children. Information flows ubiquitously from written and electronic sources.
     In order to make good use of these added years, we need to change culture again, just as radically as our ancestors did. We need to invest in science and technology because we’ve only begun to solve the problems faced by people who are living longer.
     And we need to change the way we live. We mustn’t hold on too tightly to old scripts that evolved to guide us through lives half as long. Instead, we can begin to ask what added years of life offer. We could create an entirely new stage in life, an encore stage–as my friend and colleague Marc Freedman maintains in his book
The Big Shift that we use to pursue meaningful work that improves society. Or we could stretch out all stages of life, making not only old age, but childhood, adolescence and middle age longer too.

Iconic image for social science.
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Rest assured, the demographic changes that are now under way will change virtually every aspect of life. Our task is to thoughtfully and proactively redesign it. What should life scripts look like when most people spend as many years as “old people” as they do rearing children? How should families operate when there are four or five generations of a family alive at the same time? How should societies work when more people are over 60 than under 15?
     The actions of today’s generations of older people will set the course for decades. Change will happen, one person at a time. So as you begin a new year, envision the steps–small or large–you can take to ensure a long, bright future.
     Invest in yourself by learning something new. Design your world so that healthy habits come naturally. Diversify your social network by befriending a person from a different generation. Start a business that puts others to work. Think creatively about ways that an unprecedented number of mature, talented, healthy adults can address society’s great challenges. Then take a first step to ensure that the big challenges will be addressed. Imagine: If every person over 50 makes a single contribution, the world could be improved immeasurably.
     Note that social science is clear: People are happiest when they feel embedded in something larger than themselves and when they are needed. Let’s demonstrate that older societies are better societies for every age on the planet.

Quality of Life (film)
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We can all make a contribution, no matter our age. Finding our passion in life can prolong its quality. Caring for ourselves, physically and mentally, however, is key to living passionately. Not always easy…

…but something deserving…of our best fight…

………hugmamma.

    

hold back the hand of time…can we?

It’s been a while since I’ve faithfully read The Wall Street Journal. When our previous subscription ended it seemed a blessing. No more stacks of unread papers. No feeling guilty that I’d not perused its contents for the latest news, or that money was being wasted. But after months of indecision we gave into subscribing, where before the subscription had been a gift from a former client of my husband’s.

Every so often an article catches my eye that seems of particular relevance, for whatever reason. In this instance it’s to do with getting older. Always an intriguing topic at this stage in my life, I thought it might appeal to some of you as well.

Elderly Klamath woman photographed by Edward S...

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Cell Study Finds a Way to Slow Ravages of Age
by Shirley S. Wang

     Scientists may have found a way to put off some conditions of aging, according to a study in which they postponed or even prevented such afflictions as cataracts and wrinkle-inducing fat loss in mice by removing cells that had stopped dividing.
     Most young, healthy cells divide continuously in order to keep body tissues and organs functioning properly, but eventually stop splitting–a state called senescence–and are replaced by others. Senescence occurs throughout life, but people’s ability to clear such cells from their bodies decreases with age, leading to a buildup.
     Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., found for the first time that by using a drug to target and kill senescent cells, they could essentially freeze some aspects of the aging process.
     Though the research, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, is in its very early stages, it suggests that senescent-cell clearance could be one path to staying healthy while aging.
     “If you could clear senescent cells, you perhaps could treat age-related diseases as a group rather than individually,” said Jan van Deursen, senior author of the paper and a professor in the departments of biochemistry and pediatric and adolescent medicine at Mayo.
     The importance of cell senescence to the aging process has long been suspected. But the latest finding demonstrates definitively that these cells play a role in age-related conditions, according to Felipe Sierra, director of the division of aging biology at the National Institute on Aging, who wasn’t involved in the study.
     When cells become senescent, they produce harmful compounds such as those that cause inflammation. Chronic tissue inflammation with aging is thought to underlie dementia, atherosclerosis and diabetes, among other ills, according to James Kirkland, head of Mayo’s Center on Aging, who was also an author of the study.
     Senescent cells make up only a small portion of cells–some 5% or less–in the tissue of elderly people, but their effects can be widespread, the researchers said.
     Because senescence is believed to have developed as a defense against cancer, in which cells divide uncontrollably, simply halting the process could be dangerous.
     But scientists have wondered for decades if the damage inflicted by senescent cells could be stopped if they were removed from the body altogether, or if the harmful substances they produced were neutralized.
     In the study reported on Wednesday, the team used mice designed to age faster than normal and treated them with a drug that identifies cells that have stopped dividing. The drug then initiates the natural process that leads to cell death by puncturing the membranes of those cells alone.
     The researchers treated some mice over the course of their lifetimes and found a “quite dramatic delay” in the development of cataracts and age-related changes to muscle and fat, Dr. van Deursen said.
     In other mice, the compound was administered in old age. Clearance of senescent cells in those mice didn’t reverse the decline that had already occurred but prevented further deterioration.
     The drug appeared to clear out only senescent cells, not normal ones, and the animals didn’t appear to suffer any side effects, the researcher said.
     Extensive research is still necessary to test whether the clearance of senescent cells would have the same effect in mice that age normally and whether there are different effects in different tissues, such as the brain as compared with muscle tissue, said Dr. Sierra of the National Institute on Aging.
     Another question is whether continuous clearance of senescent cells is needed to produce health benefits, or whether intermittent removal–a spring cleaning of sorts–is just as effective, the study’s authors said.
     The work was funded by the Mayo Clinic, as well as several private foundations and philanthropists interested in promoting research into aging.

A lot of information to digest. But if you’re curious like me, there’s so much that’s intriguing about life from its inception to its demise, that I’m all ears and eyes when it comes to learning the intricacies of our bodies and what makes them tick. And sometimes, we can garner a tip or two about enhancing the quality of our lives…

Portrait of old woman sitting by a window.

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…while the clock continues to…tick-tock…tick-tock…

………hugmamma.  

a “human” cougar

 

Kami-Daigo in Kyoto, Japan

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Events in Japan have put me in a thoughtful mood of late. Decided to lift my own spirits, and perhaps yours, by reprinting the story of Nashi, an elder statesman, who recently passed away. A long-time resident of a local zoo, he seemed to be viewed as one of them, by his human caretakers. Needless to say they mourned him as they would a member of their families. The following tribute ran in today’s local newspaper.

100 px

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The community is invited to Cougar Mountain Zoo to honor the life of Nashi, a cougar transplanted from the woods of Minnesota to the zoo more than 17 years ago.

Nashi died from old age Feb 24. Though he had been showing signs of slowing down for the past several months, the loss was still devastating to staff, volunteers and zoo visitors. Cougar Mountain Zoo General Curator Robyn Barfoot said.

“He was a fantastic cougar. He had a lot of spunk in him,” she said. “He enjoyed talking with the visitors every day.”

The Nashi Memorial Celebration will be at March 26 at the zoo. Instead of holding its traditional cougar lecture, the zoo will open the stage for people to talk about Nashi. Staff members who raised and worked with him will talk about his life.

Cougar“I used to joke around that he’s a rock star, because he is,” Barfoot said. At the zoo, Nashi would model for product labels, television shows and nature documentaries. “He actually sat in the mayor’s chair when he was a cub,” she said. “He definitely made the rounds and left a mark on many people.”

Volunteers and zoo visitors are also encouraged to share their Nashi stories, talking about how he made them feel when he chirped or purred in their presence.

“His purrs were really unique,” Barfoot said. “He had a low guttural purr and he would stick his tongue out. If you got a purr from Nashi, your day was pretty darn perfect.”

A Blackfoot indian on horseback

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Nashi came to the zoo as a cub after he was found orphaned in Minnesota. His full name, Nashidoita, is Blackfoot Indian for Spirit of the Mountains.

“He was a great cat and everyone who worked at the zoo had a relationship with him, not just the people who worked directly with him,” Barfoot said.

My family and I were fortunate to watch Nashi prowl the confines of his Cougar Mountain Zoo hideaway. He looked every bit the master of all he surveyed. And obviously he was.

hugs for cats…big and small…wild and not-so-wild…hugmamma.

“laugh or smile,” whichever suits

I don’t know about you, but I need a good laugh right about now. One of my hovering angels seemed to read my mind, and emailed the following. Whether or not you’re in need of a lift, I think you’ll smile at this.

Gentle Thoughts for Today Birds of a feather flock together . . . and then crap on your car.

The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat have gotten to be really good friends.

The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.

He who hesitates is probably right.

Did you ever notice: The Roman Numerals for forty (40) are  XL.

If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.

The sole purpose of a child’s middle name is so he can tell when he’s really in trouble..

Did you ever notice: When you put the 2 words ‘The’ and ‘IRS’ together it spells ‘Theirs…’

Aging: Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.

Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know ‘why’ I look this way.  I’ve traveled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved.

When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to your youth, think of Algebra.

You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.

One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.  Ah, being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.

Lord, Keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

   AMEN!

i second that…amen…hugmamma. 

“can you part with it?”

If you were to look through the stuff in your closet, are there any items with which you’re  unable to part, at least not yet? There are a couple that immediately come to mind in my overstuffed 70’s style closet. You know the kind, short in width and depth with bi-fold doors. How I dream of a walk-in-closet. Sigh…another house, another life, whichever comes first. But back to the pieces of clothing which no longer seem right for my senior body, but are nonetheless reminders of bygone days, when I was more hip.

Weight gain can be a problem in older or seden...

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It’s the same dilemma we face when we gain a few pounds. We put away those smaller-sized outfits knowing, or maybe hoping, we’ll soon be wearing them again. We’re convinced that little extra weight will come right off. No problem. And then we hold that thought for  ……years.

The shirt and the jacket that have hung in my closet year-after-year-after-year, were victims of weight gain, and old age, my weight gain, my old age. So rather than hide them away from the world any longer, I’m going to sell them as vintage clothing…very soon. I’m certain someone will want to look as hip as I once did. You think?

Dare I ask…what you think of this…

……………………………………….or this?

And what’s Misha’s opinion?

Take them away! They hurt my eyes!!!

grandsons!…what do they know!…hugmamma.