Father’s Day in the U.S. And Other Countries

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My dad has been gone for 34 1/2 years and I miss him as much today as I did when he died. Particularly on Father’s Day, the third Sunday of June in the United States. My dad was a fun, but hard-working parent, never aimless. I miss the twinkle in his eye when he saw me and the spring in his step when he carried me to bed! This poem reminded me of him.

Father’s Day was first celebrated by Sondra Dodd in 1910 in Spokane, Washington. She had lost her mother in childbirth and her father cared for her. She wanted to show her appreciation for him. Sondra’s dad’s birthday was June 5, so Father’s Day unofficially ended up in June. The movement to establish a day to honor father’s grew and in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge became a supporter. He did not declare it an official holiday.

Father’s Day was celebrated in June. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson declared it an official holiday and designated the third Sunday in June as the official date for Father’s Day. In 1972, President Richard Nixon declared Father’s Day to be a national holiday.

There are some interesting and fun facts about Father’s Day in the U.S.

There are over 70 million fathers in the U.S. And 2 million of them are single. It is the fourth busiest day for sending greeting cards. More than 214,000 men are single fathers.

Other countries also celebrate Father’s Day. Canada celebrates it like the U.S. but unofficially. France celebrates Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June. They used to give their fathers’ Bic lighters but now they substitute other small gifts. Germany celebrates the day on the last day of the Easter holiday.

In Asia, India celebrates Father’s Day much the same way as we do, but Thailand celebrates the day on the birthday of their king and everyone wears yellow. In Australia, Father’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of their spring which is September.

Now, I’m going to go and start the dinner I’m preparing tonight in honor of my dad. Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there!

 

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Baby Boomers: Obsessed with Staying Young?

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I may do a series of articles on the topic of baby boomers. I am one. I’m interested in the characteristics of all generations, but I’ll start with the boomers. Are we baby boomers obsessed with staying young? Baby boomers, in the U.S. were born between 1946 and 1964. The post World War II generation. There are many characteristics and issues I could blog about regarding we baby boomers but, in this post, I’m going to write about whether or not we have an obsession with youth. Are baby boomers obsessed with staying young?

Right away, I will tell you how I feel so you will know my particular bias. My answer is an unqualified yes. Of course, not every member of a group have the same characteristics so there are undoubtedly many boomers out there who are growing old gracefully. I just don’t happen to be one of them. I don’t think the majority of boomers are growing old gracefully. I intend to fight growing old – kicking and screaming if necessary. Yes, I know that, ultimately, it won’t help. But, I can try. I can take care of myself from a physical, mental, and emotional standpoint. I can do all I can do.

I contend that doing all you can do to take care of yourself and, yes, even fighting to stay young is not only an exercise in self-preservation but a positive outlook on life. Is it such a bad thing to want to look, think, and feel as young as possible? I don’t think so. I think many baby boomers would agree with me. Even doctors agree with me.  They say that people with a positive, young outlook and those who actively try to stay healthy, mentally and physically, tend to live longer and stay healthier

There are billions of dollars spent every year on anti-aging products and treatments. Since the baby boomers started getting older, the segment of the market offering anti-aging products and services has taken a huge jump and is expected to skyrocket by 2019. Not only do many of us not want to quit work, we also don’t want to get old, however you define old. We use treatments and potions on our faces and bodies. We get tucks here and there. We get shots of Botox and other fillers in our faces. We take our Vitamin D and stay out of the sun. We get facials, waxes, implants, dental work, and full-fledged face lifts when necessary. It isn’t your grandmother’s generation. I don’t see anything wrong with any of it.

What don’t we do? The very things that would make a difference. We don’t eat right, at least not as well as we should, and we don’t exercise as much as we should. Both can and do slow aging. There are pathways in our biology that can be used to manipulate aging. For example, the simple act of fasting can slow down the aging process. Short periods of fasting work. Intermittent fasting, or longer periods of fasting, work even better. Other techniques to slow the aging process can be learned from the people of Okinawa. They eat very lightly and only certain foods. They do practice fasting. Fasting shuts down growth and metabolism pathways.These people  live to be considerably over 100 years old and work into their 90s. The books written about their way of life are fascinating

Even for boomers who eat well, the downfall for many of us boomers is exercise. Exercise is an elixir for we who want to delay aging. We just choose not to drink it as often as we should. Exercise changes the way our genes work.

The good news is that there are ways to delay aging. When we reach late middle age, things start happening. Medical conditions happen. Some we can get under control. If we practice some of the techniques that science know work, we can delay the aging process. We can help that along, regarding physical appearance, with some of our treatments and potions. Of course, genetics plays a role. We have to start with the basics.

More to come on baby boomers and aging. Here is a link to one of the books on the people of Okinawa. It is fascinating reading. #amwriting #writing #blogging #BabyBoomers

The Okinawa Program: How the World’s Longest LIved People Achieve Everlasting Health and How You Can Too

 

Father’s Day in the U.S. And Other Countries

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My dad has been gone for 33 1/2 years and I miss him as much today as I did when he died. Particularly on Father’s Day, the third Sunday of June in the United States. My dad was a fun, but hard-working parent, never aimless. I miss the twinkle in his eye when he saw me and the spring in his step when he carried me to bed! This poem reminded me of him.

Father’s Day was first celebrated by Sondra Dodd in 1910 in Spokane, Washington. She had lost her mother in childbirth and her father cared for her. She wanted to show her appreciation for him. Sondra’s dad’s birthday was June 5, so Father’s Day unofficially ended up in June. The movement to establish a day to honor father’s grew and in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge became a supporter. He did not declare it an official holiday.

Father’s Day was celebrated in June. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson declared it an official holiday and designated the third Sunday in June as the official date for Father’s Day. In 1972, President Richard Nixon declared Father’s Day to be a national holiday.

There are some interesting and fun facts about Father’s Day in the U.S.

There are over 70 million fathers in the U.S. And 2 million of them are single. It is the fourth busiest day for sending greeting cards. More than 214,000 men are single fathers.

Other countries also celebrate Father’s Day. Canada celebrates it like the U.S. but unofficially. France celebrates Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June. They used to give their fathers’ Bic lighters but now they substitute other small gifts. Germany celebrates the day on the last day of the Easter holiday.

In Asia, India celebrates Father’s Day much the same way as we do, but Thailand celebrates the day on the birthday of their king and everyone wears yellow. In Australia, Father’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of their spring which is September.

Now, I’m going to go and start the dinner I’m preparing tonight in honor of my dad. Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there!

 

Livin’ in the City

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Livin’ in the city! I lived in the city for 25 years and I miss it every day. I love living in my cabin in the woods in the country. When I moved here 18 years ago, I needed to be away from the city. I needed the respite. But, I’ve always missed the city, my city. There is just something about the city, some energy I get from the city, that just doesn’t happen in the country. I can’t put my finger on it, but my head starts buzzing with all kinds of possibilities when I drive into the city, any city.

My favorite big city in the U.S. is probably Chicago, IL. Think of the possibilities in Chicago. All the restaurants you can choose. The museums, the shopping….always important to this girl. There is culture. But, there is my rock and roll fun too. I went to one of the best rock and roll clubs I’ve ever been too in Chicago with an old friend who is, sadly, gone now.

According to a Wall Street Journal study, there is a rather significant health advantage to living in the city compared to rural areas though the study finds that the health advantage is a function of age, income, and education. In other words, poorer people in cities don’t have this health advantage. Rural areas are served by only 10% of the country’s doctors. There is also indications that people in rural areas have a harder time getting health insurance. From this perspective, there is no health advantage to living in rural areas except the cleaner air and, perhaps, healthier food.

The Wall Street Journal study noted that people living in the city have a higher incidence of developing stress-related mental and emotional problems. Considerably more anxiety and mood disorders. Researchers have even discovered that urban dwellers process stress differently than rural dwellers. Their brains are different.

Almost everything you read about living in the city talks about the problems associated with city living. Health problems, homelessness, pollution, housing, and  more. You find very little research about the good aspects of city living. But, on a personal level, I love city living. It kicks me into high gear. It gives me energy and motivation. It fills me with possibilities.

For your enjoyment, here is Joe Walsh singing one of my favorite songs…..In the City. Enjoy!

 

Our 2016 Concert Tour

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*Photo courtesy of gorupdebesanez Creative Commons 2014

They say big, loud, crowded rock concerts are for college students and the young, don’t they? I’m not sure who “they” are, but they’re wrong. My friends and I grew up in the age of rock and roll. The 1970s. Listening to classic rock is our natural state. We got to see some of the rock and roll groups that were popular in our day back then, but we were busy with college and young marriages and jobs and just life and we didn’t get to see them all. One of my friends decided to rectify that situation and invited me to join her. I couldn’t say YES fast enough!

Rock and roll is our passion. The sound track of our lives. Just about every rock and roll song and every rock and roll band reminds us of something that happened in our lives….or someone. I love this music as much today as I did when I was 20….no, maybe I love it more. My favorite rock and roll group is the Rolling Stones and I don’t care how old they are, they still play my kind of music. My friend and I and our husbands saw the Rolling Stones play in Cleveland, OH many years ago. We’ve never forgotten that concert. If the Rolling Stones tour again and play anywhere close to where we live, we’ll be there. On the front row if we can get tickets.

While we’re waiting on the Stones, we’re going to see rock and roll bands we’ve wanted to see for years. We have tickets, some with other friends and family joining us, for four more concerts in 2016 and who knows, we may add more. We’re going to enjoy every single minute of listening to the soundtrack of our lives. #RollingStones #classicrock #amwriting #writing #blogging

Time to Rebuild

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Time to Rebuild, Part I

When I walked into my house, after shoving in the door, I knew we would have to rebuild. The entire inside of the house. It was destroyed. It was such a shock that I was shaking and felt I had to sit down, but there was nowhere to sit. The furniture was knocked over and wet. I couldn’t even sit on the floor. It was wet but not only that. The hardwood was raised up. The water had caused it to move and stack itself up in piles. It was the most unbelievable thing I had ever seen. The power of water. The power of a flood. The necessity to rebuild the entire interior of a house due to a flood.

This is what happened to me and my family last summer, the summer of 2015. We had been on vacation. Traveling around New England in our RV. We were planning to be gone for six weeks and had gotten as far as Cape Cod. We were planning to go as far as northern Maine before heading south again. We had so enjoyed the southern coast of Connecticut on Long Island Sound. We had actually enjoyed the entire state of Connecticut. The beautiful Cape Cod houses in their traditional New England colors. The campus of Yale. The mansions along the Rhode Island coast. The Mystic harbor and the old ships. On the way north, we had seen so much in Maryland and Pennsylvania — become familiar with those two states beautiful states. America is really a wonderful, gorgeous place.

When we got the call about the flood in our home, we were, of all places, on a large boat off the shore of Plymouth, Massachusetts on a whale-watching tour. My cell phone rang. I wish now I had not answered it but finished the tour instead. But answer it I did and heard what no one on vacation ever wants to hear. My neighbor said, “Rosemary, I have bad news.”

A pipe had burst under a sink in my kitchen. My neighbor had noticed water running out of my house — a sure sign of something being wrong. He had a key and walked in to check. He didn’t really walk in. He shoved his way in as he couldn’t open the door because the floor being pushed up blocked it. Water was everywhere. Even standing in the drawers of the cabinetry in the kitchen. He and another neighbor looked through the house. The water had knocked over furniture, ruined the floors, and they actually couldn’t tell all the damage that had been wrought. They  just knew it was bad. Very bad. So, my neighbor made that phone call.

The eighteen hour trip home in an RV over the Allegheny Mountains was the longest trip of my life. We hardly talked. We hardly stopped — only for gas and to eat. Neither of us could really eat. We just snacked. When we got home and pulled the RV into the driveway, we just sat there for a few minutes. We knew there wasn’t much use to hurry. We didn’t know when the water pipe had burst, but we got the call about the flood 3.5 weeks into our trip. Later, much later, the insurance adjuster told us that it probably burst quite soon after we left based on our water bill and the damage done to our home.

So we took a deep breath, got out of the RV, and started toward the house. I had the house built myself, at that time it had been 17 years. I had put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into my home. I couldn’t imagine that the inside was destroyed. We opened the door. #flooding #amwriting #writing #blogging

Stay turned for Time to Rebuild, Part 2.

Women and Midlife: Sleep Issues

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When I talk about women reaching midlife, I am not going to mention the horrible term “midlife crisis.” I’m also not going to mention menopause. Issues that women have at midlife can occur without a crisis and before or after menopause. One issue that we face as we try to juggle children, perhaps a career, elderly parents or other family members, a spouse, and the rest of our lives is sleep. Sleep, for me, is like climbing a very tall and steep mountain.

There is no doubt, according to extensive research, that decreases in a woman’s estrogen and progesterone at midlife contribute to sleep disturbances. Doctors, in my opinion, often simplify our insomnia to just that and it is much more complicated. This is the time in our life when we are most likely to be part of the infamous sandwich generation, taking care of children and parents. If we have a professional career, as I have, add more fuel to the fire of anxiety and stress. You go to bed at night without sufficient time to relax and when you go to bed, you are already hurrying to get up the next morning. I call it the “hurry up and sleep” syndrome. Is it any wonder that you are climbing that mountain toward sleep, hoping to arrive, all night almost every night? Then, rinse and repeat the next day.

The advice continues. Don’t drink caffeine for six hours before bedtime or liquor for three hours. Don’t exercise except earlier in the day. When? We’re busy, working, taking care of our families! Don’t eat a heavy dinner. Go to bed only when tired. Does all this sound as ridiculous to you as it does to me? Then, the last piece of advice. Doctor says, “I can give you a mild antidepressant which should help with your sleep issues.” That, my friends, is when I want to scream.

A drug. Give us a possibly dangerous drug to help us climb that mountain toward sleep instead of addressing the problem. The problem is that we need help. Help with the chaos that our lives have become. Not a pill.

Since help doesn’t often seem to be around the corner, try some natural solutions. Women’s bodies are almost always deficient in magnesium which helps our muscles relax. Take a magnesium supplement a couple of hours every night before bed. It will help you sleep, help your digestive system, and relieve cramping in your legs. Very few foods that we eat on a regular basis contain enough magnesium for us to meet our daily requirements. Melatonin is another possibility. Take half an hour for yourself and try a warm shower or bath, possibly using Epsom salts (which contain magnesium). After your shower, put on some calming music and sit quietly and meditate. Personally, magnesium is a miracle solution for me.

Get all the electronics out of your bedroom. Unplug at night even though it’s hard. Read a book you can hold in your hands rather than your Kindle.

I’m not saying that you don’t have sleep apnea or depression or some other medical condition that needs treatment. What I am saying is that not everyone does and it is too easy for doctors to hand us an anti-depressant rather than take the time to get at the root of the problem and suggest real solutions.

Think for a minute. Does that anti-depressant really make that much difference in how you sleep at night? Does it make that mountain you are climbing toward sleep less steep? Just give some of the natural sleep solutions a try. #sleep #amwriting #writing #blogging

*Image by photostock at Freedigitalphotos.net