Thursday, December 27, 2007

Another slap at those who retired

Ahhhh- you work for a company for decades. You had good health and retirement benefits.

Now? You might lose them or have them reduced if you are 65 and over.

Why? See today's news

December 27, 2007
U.S. Ruling Backs Benefit Cut at 65 in Retiree Plans
By ROBERT PEAR

WASHINGTON — The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Wednesday that employers could reduce or eliminate health benefits for retirees when they turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare.

The policy, set forth in a new regulation, allows employers to establish two classes of retirees, with more comprehensive benefits for those under 65 and more limited benefits — or none at all — for those older.

More than 10 million retirees rely on employer-sponsored health plans as a primary source of coverage or as a supplement to Medicare, and Naomi C. Earp, the commission’s chairwoman, said, “This rule will help employers continue to voluntarily provide and maintain these critically important health benefits.”

Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose an average of 6.1 percent this year and have increased 78 percent since 2001, according to surveys by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Because of the rising cost of health care and the increased life expectancy of workers, the commission said, many employers refuse to provide retiree health benefits or even to negotiate on the issue.

In general, the commission observed, employers are not required by federal law to provide health benefits to either active or retired workers.

Dianna B. Johnston, a lawyer for the commission, said many employers and labor unions had told it that “if they had to provide identical benefits for retirees under 65 and over 65, they would just drop retiree health benefits altogether for both groups.”

In a preamble to the new regulation, published Wednesday in the Federal Register, the commission said, “The final rule is not intended to encourage employers to eliminate any retiree health benefits they may currently provide.”[emphasis mine - ld]

Well it's not the intention - but intentions don't count....actions do..so wait and watch.

What this can mean for many is that they can lose the "good" benefits if those benefits were the same as those of current under 65ers. A company may continue to provide the same benefits for all - but it now means they can change the benefits of those over 65 without it being considered age discrimination.

Trust the company? The corporation? Maybe the very same ones who, when faced with problems and declining income for their shareholders, cut the pensions and the feds said "sure?"

And, do you think the CEO's will also face this or any downward changes? Or will they still have the top of the line health and pension/retirement benefits while you are now possibly going to lose yours?

Isn't it great to be aging in the good old us of a?

Me? I'd prefer what the nay sayers call "socialized medicine." Let's all have the same health insurance benefits; universal health care.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Late December Thoughts

As we wind down another year we tend to do as the god Janus did [hence January] we look both forward and backward and see a door to a future. This time of year can be depressing for many; it’s dark in some parts of the world, it’s a time for recounting [Janus looking backward], a time for family gatherings [and all those potential conflicts] and this year it is the middle of a long drawn out primary season that has yet to see a primary vote. But votes will occur when Janus looks forward.

For those of us with birthdays in December and January there is the additional counting and re-counting. Not only is the year changing – we are adding another year to us at the same time.
So on this nearly eve of Janus – I am reflecting doubly – as I am one with a January birthday. After many decades of life – I still see a positive future for us all – but we need to envision it and work toward its effect.

I have been known to get pessimistic about the sorry state of our country but I take heart form my son’s hypothesis that everything has a way of balancing itself out. Guess that comes from having a psychologist for a mother. It’s the homeostatic idea of life, ecology, biology, etc. But I never applied it to politics like he does and that’s why he’s a sociologist ☺


My optimism for 2008 and beyond is that we, as a country, will do more to take care of our own citizens; the young, the middle and the older ones.


That we will protect our food supplies and stop allowing foods in the system that are rife with pesticides, bacteria, hormones and worse.


That we will protect our farm land and stop poisoning the grounds that are so vital to growing good foods.

That we stop poisoning the air we breathe.

That we stop feeding hormones to our food supply.

I could go on - but in short: That we will love, nurture and provide for all people from cradle to grave by giving food, shelter and medical care so that all can experience the most optimal development that is possible.




Besides when you see this symbol outside your house on a cold December morning – you just have to have a positive outlook.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happy Winter Solstice

Soon we will be at the winter solstice [December 21/22] and as a friend joyfully said: "we start adding daylight back!"

I don't know - here in Portland I am still trying to get used to the fact that it is dark outside in the morning - until about 7:50AM - well into the 2nd week of January.

What I am reminded of each turn of a season is when I was teaching in a small New England town and we celebrated the solstices and equinoxes [if those are the correct pluralization] by doing some of the rituals we found in mythology books.

It was fun but all I can recall these many years later is that it was pretty cold out in the field in late December and most of us wanted to get back inside to a warm fire and warm food.

But most of us have some sorts of rituals we do each season's start...some have become religious rituals and some more individualistic. Most religions have a "holiday" that coincides with the turn of the season and they can be very similar. Like light being added at the winter solstice. There is the lighting of menorahs; the lighting of Christmas trees [and houses]; lighting of Kwanzaa candles and in my neighborhood, the lighting on boats that do a parade route on the rivers.

Whatever is your winter ritual - enjoy it - add to it or keep it the same forever - it's yours!

Friday, December 14, 2007

New thoughts on bithdays

After my 65th birthday I decided to not celebrate my birthdays unless they ended with a 5 or a 0 - but my thinking has now changed.

With the recent deaths of two friends, one who never reached 65 and the never reaching 75, I decided that life is too good a thing to miss a chance to celebrate any and all ages.

So - starting in 2008 - I am going to throw myself a birthday bash every year. My day is in January and it's usually pretty dreary where ever I have lived - so I'll make it cheery and colorful with decorations and pretty food.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The down-side of aging

Got a call last night from a friend's daughter letting me know her mom had died in November. My friend was 74 and a vibrant politically active go-getter who advocated on behalf of those who are usually forgotten.

Coming one week after hearing about my other friend's death - I am a bit discombobulated. My age is about half way between that of these two and it leaves me wondering - and sad.

I know that as we age we lose friends and family. My own mother who lived to be 95 once lamented that all her friends from her past had died. She had newer friends, mostly younger than her, but those are a different kind of friend; you do not have the same history with them. Well - unless you meet the new ones and then live another 40-60 years....

I have new friends in Portland, but I have only known them at max for 4 years. Some are my age; many younger. Maybe we will all grow as close as I was to my older friends - those from childhood, college, grad school and on....I hope so.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Proud Parent

My son, the sociology major, did this video with his group for a class project. [He is the announcer you see first.]

It is on AIDS and religion

Thursday, December 06, 2007

ATM fraud - be careful

A friend just told me that she was the victim of a "swiped" pin number and her account was hit for $500 [plus ATM fees] twice.

She will be reimbursed - but - the lesson is to beware when you use ATM machines.

The bank said to look at the bank camera to see if it has been taped over -

On snopes.com there is a good article and some photos of "doctored" ATM machines:
click here

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Life - and death

I got a phone call this morning from an old friend back East telling me that a mutual friend had died while on vacation overseas with her daughters...

All day I have had old memories stirred wherein the 2 of us did things together. We were both in grad school in Boston during the 60's - then lived near each other in a Boston suburb in the 70's - and her kids are just a little older than my son. In fact, I wore her maternity clothes all during my pregnancy. We both lived in D.C. at the same time for a few years too.

What my head has trouble with is that we never know when is our last day [she was just 62]. I'm sure she foresaw a future with grandchildren at her home. I'm sure she had a work schedule planned out for when she returned from this trip. And I'm sure, like several of her friends including me, her desk is a mess and her affairs not in any semblance of order....

Although sad, I am now working harder at the projects I started this year. Because, although healthy, I'm not getting any younger...none of us is...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Ahhh December

December came in like the rhyme about March - a lion.....a very windy wet lion. My house was being bumped around a bit and all are tying down anything that could fly off into the river...somehow though I doubt December will go out like the lamb of that same rhyme!

I moved my chairs and plants away from the edges as we were moving a bit too much. I have always been an indoor and outdoor plant person - and here most of my plants can make it through the winter outdoors which is good as some of the indoor plants I bought when I first arrived have gotten so big that I have no room for them in the house - and besides the pots are now quite heavy....I do bring in the more "delicate" plants and the ones I know do not like to be wet all the time : - )

Enjoy your December but do stay safe - it seems to be bringing some pretty miserable storms across the country....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pre New Year

This week I got back into doing more exercising. Admittedly, I am one who takes exercise out of my schedule when I get busy knowing that is BAD for me! It's usually bad for everyone - but most of us stop exercising when we have other things to do.

I started feeling more tired even tho I get sufficient sleep - so I felt too tired to get to the club and then of course the cycle continued. I was getting there for a cycling class but doing "serious" exercise only twice a week is not the best for me and it led to the tired feeling.....

So today I added yoga back into my schedule. In the summer I do yoga at home to the tapes I have - but as soon as it gets cold - which it did on September, my floor is too cold to stand on with bare feet - and so out went the yoga.

What finally got me back was the realization that we are entering celebratory season - and I love parties. So figured I'd beat the New Year Resolution crowd and be in great shape before January 1...besides I have a birthday coming up in January and I'd really prefer being in a whole lot better shape, and a few pounds lighter, than last year...which was not that bad a shape - but we can always improve on our health and I started on improving mine today..

And I really want to get back to playing squash before my D.C. friend comes in late December - so I don't look like such a dork on the squash court when we play!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

As we grow older, we have more thanksgivings behind us to remember - but for me, each year seems to be a better thanksgiving than the one before.... maybe as I have more to be thankful for in that I have yet again added another year.....

Enjoy your day.....

Monday, November 19, 2007

Here's a question, and some variants, to ponder

What is old age? Or - when does old age start? Or even this: Is there really such a "thing" as old age?

I have taught life span development many times over the decades and it's a question that came up [and comes] up in college classes and now it's popping up among other populations - even among those who might be considered to be "in" their old age.

I have heard many 20-somethings talk about "those poor senior citizens" who collect social security. The "seniors" are often described as infirm, unable to work and otherwise to be pitied. These same 20-somethings most likely come into contact with those over 65 - who are still working, still active and hardly pitiable...but the 20-somethings do not see those over-65ers as being over 65.

So when are you old? Is it an age determination? or is it something else?

When I was a "young kid" a few years removed from graduate school - many of the local psychology professors were beginning to think and write about aging but few had really started studying it. One such psychologist jokingly said that only when we all got older would psychologists start really understanding older ages. I think she was right.

Studying older and aging populations is relatively new...and defining old age keeps changing...

Me? I hate the term "old age." It has no real meaning. We do not speak of childhood as "new age" or junior - so why label some as old age or senior? I much prefer "old fart" - it stops people in their tracks - annoys some and makes many laugh... I ask for my old fart discount when I go to a particular store on what I call old fart Wednesdays - when we old farts get a 10% discount.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Holidays

What do holidays mean for you?

I love Thanksgiving - but it has not been a family holiday in ages and has rather become an extended-family holiday where friends and visitors gather for a pot luck feast. This was true in Boston, D.C. and now here in Portland.

What started years ago, well before I moved here, is what is called "Orphan Thanksgiving" - and it has become an anticipated event.

Many years ago, my neighbors were staying here for Thanksgiving and put out an invite to anyone who was also not going anywhere. Since it was such fun, it has since become the destination spot for Thanksgiving - so much so that fewer go away and instead arrive with visiting family and friends.

As we are a small neighborhood most everyone knows everyone else and a relaxing day with all sorts of good food to eat and good wine and beer to drink - makes for a grand holiday. And as we all live within walking distance - there is never a need to drive and be in traffic.....

So readers, whether you spend holidays with family, biological or extended, or take the time to get away for a vacation, enjoy this upcoming holiday season and remember that being social is good for your health!

And don't forget to share lots of your social-ness with those 4 footed neighbors and family : - )

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Beware of your own HMO

For those on Medicare - some worries are about the schemers who promise the moon and deliver nothing while taking your money. And for those insured through HMO's there is an additional set of worries.

For starters it is often difficult for an insured to get some care covered - and covered in full - as the HMO keeps looking for loop holes.

Well it seems at least one California HMO gives it's employees bonuses to do such things!

From SFGate.com
Health Net Inc., one of the state's largest health insurers, tied rewards and savings to its employees' ability to cancel policies based on misrepresentations in members' applications, according to documents in a lawsuit against the company.

The documents showed Health Net saved $35.5 million in "unnecessary" health care expenses for rescinding more than 1,000 policies between 2000 and 2006. At the same time, a Health Net analyst received about $21,000 in bonuses for her work, which included exceeding company goals for policy rescissions.
Full article HERE.

This does not surprise me as I had heard it before - but this came out during an arbitration hearing and was made public....widely public! As a one-time provider for an HMO, I dropped off their list of providers as decisions about people's mental health were being made by gum chewing office workers who continued to have loud conversations with their friends while speaking to me on the phone about clients!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Back to standard time

I'm not sure why this year is so different for me - the change of time was only a week different from what is used to be but my body is more mixed up. I sleep okay and wake up okay but I'm hungry at odd times...and I am tired earlier.

I could see if my stomach was off by an hour - but it's way off...like I had supper at 3 PM today. I assume the tiredness is related to the dark so I try to get as much sunlight as possible during the day [and it's great that we have not had the usual Portland cloudy drizzly days.]

And soon will come the stretch of time when it is still dark out at 7:50AM. That shocked me when I first moved out here. It's just an odd sensation to have that drastic a change from what I was used to on the East coast...

Wonder how much of this might be related to aging? Exercising more? Different climate? It's hard to separate out all the variables as I changed so many in the same time frame....

Monday, November 05, 2007

Information about medical schools and drug companies

Disclaimer - I take vitamins and supplements. I also market vitamins and supplements.

But did you ever stop to wonder why the big pharmas and your docs tell you vitamins are a waste of money? And why certain meds are seemingly pushed at you? Read on.....

Medical School Department Heads Financially Connected to Drug Companies
Breaking News
By VRP Staff

A new survey indicates that almost two thirds of department heads at U.S. medical schools have financial ties to drug companies.

The survey, conducted by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, was distributed to all 125 accredited medical schools and the nation’s largest teaching hospitals. A total of 459 of 688 eligible department chairs completed the survey.

The results indicated that many of the academic leaders at these institutions served as paid consultants to the pharmaceutical industry or accepted free meals and drinks from drug company representatives. Overall, 60 percent of the department heads had a personal financial relationship with the drug companies. Twenty-seven percent reported serving as a paid consultant to the pharmaceutical industry and an equivalent amount of respondents also reported serving on a drug company scientific advisory board. Furthermore, 21 percent of these academic leaders reported serving on speakers’ bureaus for the drug industry. Eleven percent of respondents were on the board of directors of companies involved in the medical industry. In short, the survey found that pharmaceutical companies are involved in every aspect of medical care.

The lead author of the study, Eric Campbell, pointed out that drug companies and makers of medical devices often take advantage of these academic connections to convince physicians to widely prescribe the companies’ products to patients, even if the products aren’t necessarily in the patients’ best interest. Campbell also co-authored a study last year, which found that these same links to drug companies occur on hospital review boards that oversee experiments on patients.

Reference:

Campbell EG, Weissman JS, Ehringhaus S, Rao SR, Moy B, Feibelmann S, Goold SD. Institutional academic industry relationships. JAMA. 2007 Oct 17;298(15):1779-86.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The free food come on

Some Medigap providers invite you to a meal - a FREE meal! Why? Because few turn down free meals. But with the food comes a sales pitch.

You can eat the food and say NO - not interested. Or say "let me take the information home and study it." If you feel pressured by the sales people to sign up right there and then - it's a good chance they are working on a commission and do not really care about you except as part of their commission check!

High pressure sales tactics are not unheard of - several insurers got in trouble due to this a while back. If any sales person tells you that you must sign up for their insurance immediately because it's a limited time offer - RUN the other way! You have a few months in which to make the decision...and it's one that you want to think about.

Changing insurers may mean you need to switch physicians and you'll want to think about that. You'll need to check each plan in which you might have interest and see if your current providers are part of the new plan. You'll also want to compare out of pocket costs like co-payments, daily hospital rates and the maximum you must pay before the insurance kicks in.

I got a "blurb" in the mail yesterday that said it starts at $0. [There are a few of these.] So I went online to find out more about this because I was not about to call them and talk to a sales person. For starters even tho I am web savvy - the site was not easy to negotiate and for many of the questions I had - I needed to open a .pdf file.

So I decided to stop looking at that insurance for now because it seemed to me the goal of the site was to get me to call or go to a meeting - which is exactly what I was trying to NOT do!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's Almost November

I have posted some of the funnier scams that arrive in my email boxes but now it's time to pay attention to the onslaught of information and potential for scams that will come to your phone or house.

If you are a Medicare recipient - you can switch plans starting in November. My local paper is already carrying large ads for insurers who want you to chose them...

There is nothing wrong with switching plans - IF - and it's a big IF -

IF - it's really your well considered option!

I'll post more on this over the next few days - but for now - just be careful.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Art and artists

This is the weekend of my art group's show....I'll be back to more regular blogging next week.

Getting ready is a bit stressful - but it's a good kind of stress - the kind that can motivate and get you revved up!
This is one of those kinds of stress I do not wish to eliminate - or I won't get everything done : -)

If you are in the Portland Oregon area this Sunday - here is our Press Release

ORA: Northwest Jewish Artists
503.244.0794
info@northwestjewishartists.org
http://www.northwestjewishartists.org

CELEBRATION OF ART:
Portland, Oregon- October 28th, 9am-3pm
Neveh Shalom
2900 SW Peaceful Lane
Portland Oregon

The magic begins as you enter our Main Exhibit Hall. Live music by well known recording artists and performers will greet your ears, and a coffee house featuring fresh treats will tantalize your palate as you listen to the musical stylings of Stephanie Schneiderman (of Dirty Martini fame), George Fendel, jazz pianist, and Justin Jude, recently named "Oregon's Best Singer/Songwriter 2007!"

Stroll from exhibit to exhibit to experience a unique show that blends the best elements of a gallery opening with an artist colony tour -- with a coffee house of a forgotten age tossed in. Celebrating their second year as a collective, ORA artists invite the public to
discover their new work. Although the artists are Jewish, Judaic and secular works are available for purchase.

Members of ORA are: Rosana Berdichevsky , collage and multi-media; Lynn Dorman, photography; Leslie Elder water colors, Robin Esterkin, water color, acrylic and mixed media; Laurie Fendel, fabric construction; Diane Fredgant, silk painting; Sara Harwin, fabric construction, acrylic painting and serigraph prints; Julie Hockley, hand-cast precious metal jewelry & ritual objects; Esther Liberman, handmade bead work; Sharon Segal, acrylic and mixed media paintings and cards; Eddy Shuldman, fused glass; and Sabina Wohlfeiler, water color paintings.

You don't need to be Jewish to come look, schmooze with the artists, nosh a little, and buy art that speaks to you., Best of all, admission is free!

For more information please visit our website: www.northwestjewishartists.org

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sports

I have been a sports-nut since I was a kid.

Grew up with a father who was Yankee fan as he had grown up near the Stadium in the Bronx. My friends rooted for the Brooklyn Dodgers as their parents were from Brooklyn. In retrospect I don’t recall anyone rooting for the NY Giants –also a Bronx team.

So I was Yankee fan – especially in the Dodgers-Yankees World Series days. The radio was on for all games that were available. [It was the old AM only days you know.]

By the time I got to college, I was tired of the Yankees winning all the time and so I stopped paying attention to baseball.

I was a Boston Celtics fan as long as I can remember. Bob Cousey had lived in my neighborhood and gone to my high school - so that’s the team we heard about.

After I moved to Boston, I still did not pay attention to baseball but instead got hooked on football. [Hard to imagine but I have seen every Super Bowl!]

In the late 60’s I got back to baseball and became the Red Sox fan I am today and - ditto the Patriots.

Some say I have addled my brain on all this sports stuff f- first on the radio then on TV...but every year that a team I like is in the World Series – I watch every playoff and series game. Other years I sort of watch to see if the game is a good one....but will turn off the TV if it gets lop sided. [I know it’s hypocritical to love lop sided when you are the winning lop.....but I never said I was not a hypocrite ☺ ]

In the “real” world I have seen the Orioles “live” the most of any team - since a friend and I took our kids to the old Memorial Stadium a lot – couldn’t beat 2 buck Mondays. And at one of those I caught a home run ball hit by the visiting team!

After the O’s moved to Camden Yards it got too “tony.” Kids seemed to annoy those D.C. lobbyists in their fancy seats and we were no longer welcomed. It really was no longer fun to be at a game so we stopped our regular outings to see the O’s. At least when I watch on TV - I can scream and cheer without “the look” coming my way!

This has been a nerve wracking week with the Sox having to win 3 games in a row. But my friends, son and I managed to keep watching by calling each other to say how worried we were that the Sox would blow it. And then came last night’s outcome!!! The Sox will play in the World Series!

Friday, October 19, 2007

A confession [of sorts]

You know I love the effects of my exercising - and I suggest that we all need more exercise...

Well - like most people, when I get busy, "official" exercising is the first thing I start skipping.

So - when September rolled around and I got busy - I stopped going to my cycling classes. I did do that long kayak trip I wrote about and still did yoga at home - and of course went up and down the ramp several times a day and my dog got extra long walks....but my aerobic conditioning took a back seat.

In October I had a long talk with me and forced myself to start back to the cycling classes. Much to my own amazement and joy - I kept up as much as I usually did - which is not ever 100% as I have 30-40 years on most in the class including the instructor : - ).

I'm not sure it was a good thing for me to learn that I could take off a month with few repercussions - so I have promised myself I won't do that again. It's too chancy. Besides ski season is approaching and the legs and heart need to be in great shape for Mt. Hood.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Good news; Bad news day

Good news
Simple blood test could predict Alzheimer's risk
Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:39am EDT

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Researchers have developed a simple blood test that may be able to predict whether mild lapses of memory could be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease.

In a study published on Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine, an international team of researchers describe 18 cell-signaling, or communication, proteins found in blood that predicted with 90 percent accuracy whether a person would develop Alzheimer's disease.

Bad news
Depressed at work? Get a new career
Sun Oct 14, 2007 5:26pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Child care workers, home health care aides and other people who provide personal services have the highest rates of depression among U.S. workers, according to a new survey to be published on Monday.

It found that 10.8 percent of personal care and service workers and 10.3 percent of food preparation and serving workers -- both usually low-paying jobs -- experienced one or more major depressive episodes in the past year.

It's good that we may be able to predict Alzheimer's early - but unless we also figure out better how to treat it or avoid it - I am not sure I'd like to know if my memory lapses are an early signal - what if they aren't?

I found out last year that I have some odd white spots in my brain - they are usually related to MS and other conditions but I was told by the neurologist not to worry as it turns out that more people have these than they used to think...and since I bike and ski I certainly have no balance problems...

But now that I know they are there? I have a nagging something in my head about them.

And the depression? It seems to be more prevalent in those professions where we find more women - care giver careers.
Are women more depressed or do these profession tend to appeal to those who get depressed?

Lots of questions that need answering.

In the meanwhile if you are depressed - see someone to find out why - it may be situational..

or as the news said - get a new career...

If you have read other of my posts - that's a great idea for many reasons -


Friday, October 12, 2007

The Friday scam laugh - an "honest" scammer

Edited from an email I just got - wow if I believed all these scammers - I'd have enough money to pay off the USA Federal Debt, support whole communities and still have billions left for me : - ) - and that's just in the past few months!
My name is Mr.MORONIKE ADAMS
[ yes Ike is a moron]
I am compelled to seek your indulgence and active participation in a well thought out scheme for you to act as the NEXT OF KIN
[but the scheme is not so well thought out – doesn’t moron Ike know he is not alone anymore in using this scam?]
Should my proposal apeal to you,and upon the receipt of your reply, I can obtain and manipulate all vital document neccessary for a sucessful transfer of the fund into your bank account.I will also send you a detailed information about the transaction.
[Misspellings are a dead give away that no real banker is involved and yes moron Ike is admitting to manipulating all documents so if there is a criminal/legal problem – you have no defense as you have agreed to cooperate]
I will not fail to bring to your notice that this transaction is 100% risk free and that you should not entertain any fear as all modalities for fund transfer can be finalized within 14 banking days, after you apply .....
[risk free to moron Ike – not you – a careful shading of the truth....]

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pets and stress - another thought

I know that pets can be calming...

That was the situation for me until my cat, Sheba, went missing for 4 days. You bet I got stressed by that!

She reappeared at 1 AM this morning - mewing loudly to come in. She was clean, dry and well fed. [This was as opposed to summer of 2006 when she went missing for 21 days and came home hydrated but skinny...]

When she is not home at night the dog lies by the door waiting for her.....and he is stressed...

I know there are those that say keep her in - but have you ever tried to keep an outdoor cat in? If I do try that, she runs under the dog's body when I open a door for him.... and in the Summer out here - all my doors are always open during the day so I'd have to lock her up somewhere - and if you knew my cat - you'd know that would be stress for both us us : - ).

Besides - all the cats in our moorage are out - playing and hunting together...we live in a one main street neighborhood and everyone knows everyone and whose cat is who's - and we don't worry much about cars...

After I sent out an email to friends and neighbors this morning about Sheba's return - I got a return email about a cat I have known for going on 18 years and who has cancer...so I called my friend back East and we cried together about her cat who was diagnosed about 6 months ago and seemed to have been doing well.

She and I have cried about our dead and dying pets for the last 25 years and this was no different. The conversation was more on the lines of when do you decide to "play g-d" and how long and under what conditions do you wait and see. She waited and saw 6 months ago and he perked up.....does she wait again? Is he in pain? Is it fair for her to want a little more time with him?

Tough questions and a lot to cry about and of course a lot of stress

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Holidays?

Does anyone celebrate holidays anymore or have they just become part of a 3-day-weekend - for? SALES!

Not that I am a big fan of Columbus Day - but it used to be on October 12th and it used to be a day where most things were closed. Now it's only the day after the fat Sunday paper announces all the SALES you can go to on Monday...

Maybe because it's what I grew up with - but I liked it when holidays were celebrated on their "real" dates. Have an occasional week day off from school or work was sort of fun. It varied from year to year and broke up the week in a nice way - or at least it did for me.

When I lived in Boston, there were Boston-only holidays so one got a day off in every month except August if I recall correctly. But now even those are Mondays - like April 19th...it's permanently a Monday no matter when the 19th actually is.

Makes it easier to plan for the marathon and make it a 3-day-vacation for the crowds that come to watch and/or run.

And yes, I went to Costco yesterday as I needed a few staples and there were the Christmas trees - all lit up! Wonder where [they will find room for all the Halloween and Thanksgiving "stuff?"

Think I have mentioned this before but - I'll repeat. Again when I was a kid I worked at SS Kresge's at the seasonal counter. Yes back when sales people were behind counters running their own registers....] We did school related items from mid-August to mid September. I sort of forget what came next but then we did Halloween til November - then Thanksgiving and only after Thanksgiving did we put out Christmas/winter related items and then end of year sales and so on. And when there were no special days, we did cookies, snacks, linens or whatever needed the extra space. Seems so quaint now. And back then I could add rapidly in my head as the registers only rang up the total sale - it did not do the adding - and then we also had a tax box for the NYC sales tax! Now I am so computer/calculator addicted I'm not so sure I could do that arithmetic in my head anymore : - (

But progress in the form of computers? and word processing programs? Love it - I am a 2-3 finger typist and have to look at the keyboard as I type. So I live with spell checkers...they catch most of my typos....and I cut and past or click rather than type....

Ah - progress is a mixed thing and guess it will always be so.

We will continue to get advancing holiday seasons, 3-day-weekends, ad laden Sunday papers and the message to buy! But we will also keep getting advances in technology. It's life - enjoy it...

[but what will be the reaction when the 4th of July or December 25th become the "nearest Monday?"]

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Only a pawn in their game [B. Dylan]

Why is that "health" care companies feel they have the right to scam Medicare clients and all others?

Why don't they do health care insuring [and assuring] and not "pick-your-pocket" and "damn-the-consequences" type of behavior?

From the Sunday New York Times
October 7, 2007
Medicare Audits Show Problems in Private Plans
By ROBERT PEAR

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 — Tens of thousands of Medicare recipients have been victims of deceptive sales tactics and had claims improperly denied by private insurers that run the system’s huge new drug benefit program and offer other private insurance options encouraged by the Bush administration, a review of scores of federal audits has found.

The problems, described in 91 audit reports reviewed by The New York Times, include the improper termination of coverage for people with H.I.V. and AIDS, huge backlogs of claims and complaints, and a failure to answer telephone calls from consumers, doctors and drugstores....The audits document widespread violations of patients’ rights and consumer protection standards. Some violations could directly affect the health of patients — for example, by delaying access to urgently needed medications. [emphasis mine - LD]
Full article here HERE

Call me whatever - but I'd rather have the government doing health care than these greedy, out-to-scam-everyone corporate types whose only interest is the bottom line and their shareholders.

The people buying the insurance? We are just pawns in their game. And I have seen the "game" both as a provider and as an insured! Believe me - insurance companies are out for your money - not your health!

Friday, October 05, 2007

It's Fall and the scams increase!

As we approach the end-of-the-year holidays [and we now start approaching them in August] the scammers are as busy trying to get your money as are the stores. "Gift" items are moved into prime retail space...online businesses are telling you to buy for the holidays.....

And the scammers are sending out numerous emails saying that your credit or debit card account has been compromised: reported as stolen, has strange charges on it, etc. You are asked to log in from the email page and give them all sorts of private information relating to your account - so they can "verify."

I guess enough people fall for this that it makes them all money - but it is a scam - and if you believe them - you will lose ALL of the money in your account as they will withdraw it - BECAUSE - you have given them the info they need...

I am getting more and more of these by the day - allegedly from "banks." But they are "banks" I have either never heard of and certainly do not use for my banking!

If you pay close attention, the return email address is odd...that's a give away clue. Also in small often faint print at the bottom it asks you to not reply to the email...why? In reality it is a "throw-away" email address and they will never see

But more importantly:

YOUR BANK WILL NEVER ASK FOR INFORMATION IN AN EMAIL- NEVER!!!

If your bank needs to contact you, they have your phone number and your bank already has the information being requested in the phoney emails.

If your bank has your email address - they might say "you have a message - log in to read it." That is what all my banks do.

So please - do not fall for these scare tactics. If in doubt - call your bank on the phone and ask if they really sent out that email.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Back to work

Today I am back working on the book about child development - actually I did a lot of editing on it while in the courtroom yesterday as we had breaks...When it is done I will most likely offer some of it for free here and elsewhere and also sell the entire book online as well..It will be self-published and self-sold [is that's a real phrase.]

After the child development book is done I have a few other books I want to write.

For whatever reason[s], and I mentioned it in another post, October 2007 is a GREAT October for me as I am on a role with ideas and plans of action. I wonder where the myths came from that we "older" persons just sit at home and vegetate and think back on our lives. I do think back but it's not a bad thing - I use it to find ways to keep moving forward.

Several of my neighbors and I, all over 60, are forming a neighborhood ski club for the coming winter [it's already snowing on Mt. Hood.] Happily as I am over 65, I get the cheapest ski deals! Hey - I "earned" it!

Think activity
Think happy
Think long health productive lives

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Still a legal junkie

I have been a legal junkie forever and that has not changed as I have aged...and if you have read some of my other blogs you know I also have a law degree - which I got when I was 51!

Anyway - on October 3, our little neighborhood [Portland is made up of small neighborhoods and ours it s the smallest] is going to court to try and keep a TRO [temporary restraining order] in place to forestall cutting of over 100 trees.

I live on the river side of a levee and we park and drive on the levee - it's our road...also there are houses on the city side of this levee.

Long story sort of but when I learned we were being outright lied to about the need to cut down all the trees - I jumped into this fight and have offered my research and writing skills along the way....

If you are into trees, levees and or court hearings - you can read all about this at: http://ibridgeton.com

As I am the neighborhood blogger, I have been posting about this and will be at the hearing.

ain't getting older fun?

Happy October

For whatever the reason, October has been a month of real ups and real downs for me....Back East I used to love October with the trees turning all sorts of colors...As a kid we picked up the brilliant maple leaves from the street and sidewalk and coated them in paraffin...remember that?

As an adult, I got married in October...and as an adult we split in October....

I have also moved during several Octobers...maybe the shrink inside my head should figure out what October is for me? It's not my birthday nor my son's - and it's not filled with nostalgia producing holidays - it's just October! It's the "real" beginning of Fall and the last quarter of the year...hmm gotta mull over the meaning of October : -)

There have been other good events outside my control which were October-related but for whatever the reason - I just know that this October is one of the best yet!

Do you have a weird month in your life? Any clues as to why?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thoughts on being a grown up.....

As I have aged, I realized that while others say I never figured out what I want to do when I am a "grown-up" - at now almost 68 I finally decided what to do when I am a grown up. My decision is that I do not ever have to make that decision...

I never have to decide. Why pick one thing when there is so much to do that expands our minds?

Can you start a new career?
Can you turn a fun hobby into a money maker?
Can you move to a new location where you do not know anyone?
Can you ski? travel? bicycle? etc?

The answer to all these questions is: SURE! Why not?

We use so little of our minds that there is lots of space left for all manner of new stuff..

So go ahead and span into the next stages of your life !

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Why does the USA treat it's elderly like this?

How terrible - but how American.

Corporate bottom lines take precedence over care for the least able to care for themselves - children and the elderly! MONEY is the prime mover in our country thee days....and id you are not among the millionaires - forget getting help! You just don't count...well except for the money the corporations can make off you...

And ask yourself - why do we continue to allow this?

From the New York Times
September 23, 2007
More Profit and Less Nursing at Many Homes
By CHARLES DUHIGG

Habana Health Care Center, a 150-bed nursing home in Tampa, Fla., was struggling when a group of large private investment firms purchased it and 48 other nursing homes in 2002.

The facility’s managers quickly cut costs. Within months, the number of clinical registered nurses at the home was half what it had been a year earlier, records collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicate. Budgets for nursing supplies, resident activities and other services also fell, according to Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration.

The investors and operators were soon earning millions of dollars a year from their 49 homes.

Residents fared less well. Over three years, 15 at Habana died from what their families contend was negligent care in lawsuits filed in state court. Regulators repeatedly warned the home that staff levels were below mandatory minimums. When regulators visited, they found malfunctioning fire doors, unhygienic kitchens and a resident using a leg brace that was broken.

“They’ve created a hellhole,” said Vivian Hewitt, who sued Habana in 2004 when her mother died after a large bedsore became infected by feces.

Habana is one of thousands of nursing homes across the nation that large Wall Street investment companies have bought or agreed to acquire in recent years.

Those investors include prominent private equity firms like Warburg Pincus and the Carlyle Group, better known for buying companies like Dunkin’ Donuts.

As such investors have acquired nursing homes, they have often reduced costs, increased profits and quickly resold facilities for significant gains.

But by many regulatory benchmarks, residents at those nursing homes are worse off, on average, than they were under previous owners, according to an analysis by The New York Times of data collected by government agencies from 2000 to 2006.


Full article HERE

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My art group is growing older better too : - )

My art group - ORA Northwest Jewish Artists is celebrating year 2 with an elegant show and sale

Come see our healthy aging as artists while listening to headline musicians.

You can come, walk around, sit, listen to music, and chat one-on-one with the artists [all women]

Food will also be available.

Save the date: October 28 from 9 AM to 3 PM

Neveh Shalom
2900 SW Peaceful Lane
Portland, Oregon

Musicians are Stephanie Schneiderman Justin Jude and George Fendel....

More info as date gets closer but here is our website for you to look at until then : -)
http://www.northwestjewishartists.org/


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Talking about weight

I have had people in my office this week - doing the diet assessment I have mentioned here. Easy for them as they live near my office - but it is doable on the phone!

Why do I keep harping on weight? Because no matter how otherwise healthy you think you are - you are at risk if you are overweight - and if you already have some health issues - being overweight worsens them.

Besides we have become an overweight culture...the kids as well as the grown ups. We no longer eat good food and we eat too much of the food we do have. Our food is less nutritious and the additives are making us fat!

I just read that the newer bigger foods - the bigger tomatoes etc. are less nutritious
A report issued this week examined several recent studies by food scientists, nutritionists, growers and
plant breeders. It found clear evidence that as the produce we eat gets larger, its vitamins, minerals and
beneficial chemical compounds significantly diminish, as do taste and aroma.
Growing bigger tomatoes and ears of corn leads to a bigger yield for the producer, but the trade-off is
the lower nutritional value.

Full article HERE

So in our rush to produce more food per acre - we are worsening the nutritional value of the food produced.

But if you have read some of my earlier posts, the soil is so depleted today that even without the super sized produce - the food is less nutritious than it was when we were kids.

So what do we do?

We need to supplement our diets, eat less but of the right foods for our metabolism and exercise more!

Not an easy path for many - but it leads to a good place////

more info? see on the right hand column

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fall comes soon; then Winter; then 2008!

My last post was about a hot few days - but now we are having late Summer, early Fall weather so I am doing this pre-New Year post.


Wouldn't it be great if this coming January 1 you did not feel the need to make the resolution to lose weight in 2008?

Well - start getting lean now and by January - well - you can make other resolutions and leave the weight issue behind in 2007.

Most diets do not work - you need information about YOU and YOUR metabolism and then eat for YOU and if you choose, add products that help get you lean - lean is good....

You can start now and feel better this coming New Year. Get a friend to work this with you...It will be good for you, your friend, your stress level and your overall health!

If you'd like more information - click on the "Request Information" button in the right hand column.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It's hot out there!

Well - we finally got a real week of summer - 80's and 90's and lots of sunshine...but it's mid September....oh well...





Dog has taken to the shade under my hammock - a good idea - he gets a breeze and double shade [hammock and upper deck.]




Meanwhile the cat has taken over the dog's usual outdoor bed by the front gate.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Stress and friends

Chatting with your friends is a good way to reduce stress. It's fun, you often smile, and having and talking to friends is good for whatever most ails you...including stress.

Go out for coffee [that's my thing] or a spot of tea, or a beer or glass of wine.

Socializing is good...food is good...wine is good.. people is good [sic :-)]

I work at home and I tend to work alone....so when I can, I invite a friend over for wine or a meal - or I accept such an invitation..and we are lucky in our neighborhood to have an adult hang-out... food, coffee, art gallery and a view! And all I have to do is walk up the ramp.

But it's closed on Monday and Tuesday and so on those days - sigh...like today..I get more work done [lol]

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Laughing your way out of stress

Being able to laugh - at the world, at yourself or at something funny is good for reducing stress.

So I decided that instead of deleting the spam/scams that come to my email boxes [ yes have a few] I would read them and laugh. It worked- I feel better all ready.

In the last week I have been told I won major amounts of money from all manner of International Corporations....but I have to tell the emailer who I am and where I live and bank, and some other personal info.

Have you even won a prize? You usually just get the prize as the giver knows who yo are most of the time..and with lotteries, you identify yourself when you pick it up. I have never known anyone asked to give banking and personal details.

And the numbers of people who are dying within days - and yet have the strength to keep emailing me from deathbeds in hospitals...it amazes me how they can be so generous and so active as they lay dying.

Then the we-can-present-you-as-an-heir schemes. This one is very funny to me as I was an heir, a real heir, to an unknown relative and my cousins and I had to go through legal and genealogical systems to prove who we were, that we were related to the deceased and that no other persons closer in lineage to the deceased still was alive.

It took years to settle the account and it cost us a not so minor percentage of the proceeds...and still we had to wait out a statute of limitations for any unknowns to appear....

So when someone tells me they can easily put my name out there as an heir - I LAUGH! and I feel so good...

But one new scam is the funniest yet.....it tells me that the United Nations or some other known body, has developed a SCAM fund....yup - the scam fund allegedly pays people who have been scammed!

All you need do is provide name address bag info etc. You need not even show proof you were scammed :-)

So read these scams and LAUGH...then DELETE - you will feel relief of stress

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

More recalls for toys

If you bought any Mattel toys lately - here is information on yet another recall of toys form china


The latest recall involves three Fisher-Price toy models and eight Barbie brand playsets. No Barbie dolls were included.

Mattel instructs people to go to its Web site (click HERE) to establish whether they own an affected toy. After they fill out a form and send back the affected parts, Mattel will send them replacement and bonus parts.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Welcome to September

Where did August go?

Seems it was just early August and now it's early September....

For those of us who think of September as the start of a year [for whatever your reason] , let's make a new new year resolution.

This year I will exercise more, I will eat well and I will do fun things!

Starting your year now will enable you to be in great shape when that "other" year starts : - )

Friday, August 31, 2007

Circumnavigating Hayden Island

One of my friends and I have talked about doing this circumnavigation and so on Tuesday we said - Thursday it is! [It was supposed to be a bit cloudy - it wasn't :- )]

The trip around is about 12 miles or so and wasn't a "walk in the park" or an easy kayak paddle!



Here is a shot of the I-5 Bridge soon after we rounded the Eastern end of the Island.



This was the easier part...then we had to paddle to the Western end - all in the main channel of the Columbia River which has a strong current and much traffic. Neither of us had ever paddled on the North side of the Island - and it interesting to see the industry in both Portland and Vancouver and many of the barges at rest.

Nearing the Western end of the Island we encountered WAVES....we made it around but it was work! Not sure why waves but it has to do with the confluence of Willamette River and Columbia which is near there.

It was then definitely time for lunch, a swim and a long break....


Lunch on the West end of Hayden Island.


After lunch we paddled back toward home - taking a break to get wet as it was very hot out on the river. [Winter seems like a good season for this trip when we do it again - especially a rainy winter day : -)]

When we saw the railroad bridge we cheered as we knew we were nearing home. As we passed under the I-5 bridge and got to see closer-up the familiar condos and floating homes - we knew we had done it!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Great fun if......

If you can stay awake or get up early : - )

There is a total eclipse of the moon early Tuesday AM.

For an animated view and some time info for different time zones in the USA and some other parts of the world look here:
http://shadowandsubstance.com/

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Stress and pets

Do you have a pet? Yes? Great!

Pets are stress reducers..
Having that live entity to care for gives meaning to your life...


Also - getting that unconditional love is great...
Yes - even from those independent cats!

I walk my dog every day - admittedly the walks vary in length depending on the weather and my schedule - but I always feel better after that break - and I know he does! So we both reduce stress. He gets to run and play - so he is happy..and I get exercise in addition to the happiness he imparts to me and everything he sees along his walk.

And when we are out walking, we often meet neighbors and their dogs - so more stress reducers - friends, conversations and exercise - all at the same time.

And when I feel less than super - my dog knows that and stays near my feet. sometimes on my feet!


My cat is a hunter and summer is her "hunting season." But when she deigns to come home and sleep, she snuggles up to me or the dog and purrs like mad...

and that makes us all less stressful.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New scam using IRS as "bait"

This came today...
After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $109.30. Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6-9 days in order to process it.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example submitting invalid records or
applying after the deadline.

To access the form for your tax refund, please click here :

http://www.xxxxxxxxxxx

Regards,
Internal Revenue Service

© Copyright 2007, Internal Revenue Service U.S.A..


If you get this DO not fill out the form..they want your VISA, MC number, expiration date and code...to get your "refund"

The IRS does not have your email address - if you were getting a refund - you would get a notice in the MAIL saying that and stating why the refund!

Beware - there are new scams every day - I keep being asked to fill out forms for banks that I don't use...guess the scammers hope to hit a live one...

Update on the 23rd...

Now I have received 3 or 4 of these IRS refund notices...so be more aware - they are ALL scams - the IRS does not hound you about refunds...it sends them out!

Monday, August 20, 2007

been busy?

I have...but I am not always sure why I was so busy : - )

Been doing more art and photography as my group has another show in late October and I need some new art.

I've actually been having fun making paper - but am still figuring out what to do with it...any ideas?

It's been suggested that I use the paper as a background for a photo collage, or just frame the paper itself ..

When it stops raining I'll take some photos of the paper...I've been adding grasses and flowers to the pulp and the papers made with lavender and nasturtium smell so neat..

More on stress reduction later...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Reducing stress - part 2 - exercise

A few posts ago I said that proper nutrition lessened stress...

Now - exercise.

Exercise is good for any number of reasons. If work hard enough you actually create a "good" feeling. Often when I am in the locker room after exercising - many of us say how good we feel after working out but how awful we felt during [or before] that exercise. It's that "good" feeling that helps you relax.

Exercise also helps you stay lean and keeps pounds from accumulating - and for anyone who has ever had an "extra" weight issue- that alone can make you feel stressed.

Mental health is important to feeling less stressed and exercising helps one's mental health - so the more you work out the better you feel about you - and the better you feel about you - the less stress you fele..

It is cyclical - and it works for the bad as well as the good. No exercise leads to feeling less happy about one's self and that negative feeling creates the lack of desire to exercise, etc.

I'll be the first to tell you that even though I am a mental health expert and one into healthy aging , eating well and exercise - I know that when I am busy or feeling stressed - the fist thing I want to drop is my exercising!

So at those times I literally have to force myself to get out the door and go to class - remembering how good I will feel a few hours later... I know it's hard - you need to find at least one form of exercise that you love - so that you will at least do that a few times a week.

I know I hate weight machines and will never go to the club "just" to work out. But I love the cycling classes and playing squash and will get there for those - and since I am already there - I use some of the machines...

Works for me - everyone needs to find their own way of making sure they exercise : - )

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More toy recalls

Again if you have young children around - or know of any with Mattel toys in the house - please read and take action if necessary...

If this weren't so serious, the saga of ongoing recalls of products made in China would be a running joke..... Today's recalls are about toys - again...from Mattel - again.....


One recall is due to lead; the other due to small magnets....

The company, in a statement issued from its headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., said it was recalling a total of 436,000 Chinese-made toys, more than half of them marketed in the United States, that had “impermissible levels of lead.” The toys are die-cast vehicles featuring the Sarge character from the movie “Cars.”

Mattel said the hazard in the products, made between May and July, was discovered as part of an investigation of all its toy manufacturing that began in July after it received a tip about lead-based paint. The latest move involves toys from a different Chinese contractor than the one that produced toys recalled earlier this month, it said.

The separate action today involving a design flaw in 18.2 million magnetic toys, about half of them sold in the United States, expanded a recall initiated last year after reports of deaths and injuries to children who ingested magnets that had come loose. Mattel said the recall covered 63 varieties of toys, made since 2002 and sold before January of this year, including 44 Polly Pocket toys, 11 Doggie Day Care toys, 4 Batman toys, a One Piece toy, and two Barbie toys.


Here is a link to the Consumer Product Safety Commission listing all recalls [so far] for this month

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelaug07.html

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hoping for a clear sky tonight

It never rains in Portland in the summer - that's what I was told anyway. It only rains in the Winter - all Winter...and Fall and Spring...but that was before - and now we have had rain a few times this summer...like yesterday and it stayed clouded over til at least the time when I gave up looking at the sky.

But today is a normal summer day and I am hoping the sky is clear tonight and I can see the meteor shower - and take some video footage and take some photos. If not- there's always next summer...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Perseid Meteor Shower

I love these "heavenly" phenomena - when one can see them it is not to be missed. Here is some brief info and a link for more ..

The next meteor shower is the Perseids on August 12. This year there’s no moonlight to interfere. The best time to watch is from 11 p.m. August 12 until dawn the next morning. The best direction to watch is wherever your sky is darkest. If you have a dark sky, you may see a meteor once a minute on average. The shower is also active for several days before and after its peak.

More info here from StarDate: http://stardate.org/nightsky/meteors/

Enjoy these showers....

Recent photo - Lynn at 67 1/2!!



I told some of you that I'd post a full face - well I finally have a photo of moi

This was taken in the same part of my house as the ones where I showed the mouth and eyes.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Stress reduction

Let's chat about eating...

Food is a necessity for life...but not eating properly is a recipe for stress.

Too many of us eat more -and eat more of the "wrong" foods - when we are stressed and all that does is increase the stress level.

I know we have food we call comfort food - it takes us back to when mom took care of all our problems. But that comfort food mom fed us does not exist anymore. The current versions of those foods we loved are filled with chemicals and highly processed and refined "food stuffs."

For reducing stress and overall taking care of your nutritional needs so as to make stress less all the time you need one important nutrient.. And what is the most important nutrient?

That's a trick question - it is the one you are lacking in your diet.

So how do you get all the nutrients you need? By eating supplements. Few dispute the need for supplementing our foods and few dispute the need for anti-oxidants. Why?

As I have said before, we have created a toxic environment and we have depleted the soil of nutrients - the ones it contained when some of us were kids...and eating mom's comfort food.

Do we have greater stress today? I think so - due in large measure to our hurried lives, lowered incomes, and poor foods.....

More on stress reduction next time : o )

Monday, August 06, 2007

We all need less stress

What age experiences the most stress? I'm not sure but I might guess that at any given time some age will "win."
And this is not a good thing to "win" as stress is not good for our bodies...[well lots of stress is not good - some stress can be energizing.]

How do you deal with stress?

These are good ways to reduce stress [in no particular order]:

Yoga
Adequate sleep
Pets
Exercise
Eating properly: right foods - right times
Chat with friends/family

Over the next few weeks, I'll go into each a bit more detail as to why each works.

If we are stressed, we are not functioning at our peak levels, and we then ony increase the stress...
It's a vicious circle.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

My mom





Born on this date in 1906, my mother would have been 101 today. She died a few days after her 95th birthday back in August of 2001.

I have often wondered how she would have dealt with September 11, 2001 had she stayed alive for a bit longer. She who was born before we had planes, cars, skyscrapers, and the Internet, etc. and did not take a flight until in her 50's, 60's or thereabouts when she flew to Boston to visit me.

She was quite curious about the Internet and we had many conversations about what it was - but as she was legally blind by then, computers were never going to be part of her life.

It is amazing to think about the progress we have made in technology and other matters in the last 100 years.... [and sadly - the messes we have made in that time as well ]

[Photo from the 1930's]

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

If you are around children read this Fisher-Price toy recall

This in the news today:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mattel Inc.'s Fisher-Price division is recalling almost 1 million toys made in China because their paint may contain too much lead, marking the latest in a string of recalls that have fueled U.S.-China tensions over the safety of Chinese products.

Mattel said the 967,000 plastic toys, which include popular preschool characters like Elmo, Big Bird, and Dora, were made by a contract manufacturer in China using a non-approved paint pigment containing lead, which is in violation of its standards.

Full article HERE

Why are all these dangerous products still coming in? We have had bad pet food, bad people food and bad children's toys. No one seems able to stop them because no one is monitoring our safety! We have few person who do the actual inspections - in fact there are fewer food safety inspectors than back in 2002 and we import more and more stuff - with fewer and fewer inspections!

This from an administration that pretends to be concerned with public safety - when they are in reality more concerned with scare tactics and keeping people afraid.

After all - Fear is good for republicans...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Friends and weight

One reason I like longitudinal studies [long term/same people] is that researchers can mine the data and find much over the years...even when it wasn't the original idea of the study.

The Framingham study is one such a research project. This project followed people in Framingham, Mass for decades beginning in 1948 as the Framingham Heart Study. The health and social data collected is still being analyzed today.

One of the very recent findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine is based on the large social networks of many the persons who have been part of the study for decades.

Social and weight data from 1971 to 2003 was analyzed by Harvard researchers who found that you are more likely to become obese if your friends are obese. As one who heard "birds of a feather flock together" from my mother [when she did not like what my friends were doing] this is not a surprise.

The question was raised as to whether we'd lose weight or be thin if we hung around with skinnier people...the researchers said yes - but they found on the average that most people were gaining as they aged. some think this is inevitable but I do not. I still think it is a myth - we gain if we do not change our eating to stay in balance with our metabolism - and that changes as we age...

You can be lean at any point in your lifespan...but I guess not if you hang around with obese people.

Next question? If you choose to get leaner - will that affect your best friend's weight? I think yes...but you have to do your thing and not get caught up in theirs..and we are social creatures...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Weighty issues : - )

I have been following my own advice for a few weeks. Figured if I was working with people on eating for their own metabolism I ought to recheck my own eating....and whoops I was not doing enough protein for me.

So since the 4th of July - I added protein in the form of bison and have lost 5 pounds. Even better - I lost 3 inches on my hips and 3 around my waist. I feel great! And am looking much leaner...my friends have asked if I lost a lot of weight. Nope - just getting lean...

I'm also still exercising although I took off last week [too hot ]- but it seemed to not make a difference - I jumped right back into my usual routine this week with no problems.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

29 years ago today....

My son was born - in Boston, Massachusetts.....now I live in Oregon and he lives in Illinois....with more than a few stops for each of us in those 29 years....

But today we are in Portland and I had brunch with that now 29-year-old... it's been 2 years in a row that I have seen him on his birthday - that after years of not seeing him in July as we were on very different schedules...

He, his significant other, and I had a tasty meal and chatted for hours....he is out here helping her pack up as she is moving to Chicago with him...

And he still thinks it's funny that I again said that I can't believe he is 29 as I have not aged 29 years since July 15, 1978 -
[I have said this for many of his birthdays - changing only the number : - )]

I am not alone in this thinking - I've met other mothers who say the same or very similar things - we all recall the births of our children as if they were recent....so we can't have really aged as many years as our children...can we?

What dorks!

Today I got a message from someone who filled out the more info form...it was from one of those scammer/spammers I had mentioned - the ones who tell you that someone with your surname died, etc...

So now we know that the scammer/spammers troll blogs to find names and go thru the same idiocy of telling you they will help you lie to authorities to get money...[of course they claim it's all legal - except you are to keep it a secret]

but to do this to bloggers who are onto them is hilarious...

I know they spam most people but they are targeting those over 50 whom they think are more apt to fall for the scam...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Ahhh - more fun as we age



Pictures from a delightful cruise Wednesday evening ...


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Parabens ARE in the news!

I had said one doesn't read much about parabens in the news - but this week they ARE in the news.. but not here in the USA - they are in the European news..

some quotes

From Tenerife:
Cosmetics and the dangers therein: lipstick, moisturisers, shampoo, deodorant and even soap

Women’s health may be put at risk by the chemicals in various toiletries, and apparently we use twelve such products every day of our lives! This may mean that we are being exposed to as many as 175 different chemicals that may include ingredients linked to cancers, hormone problems and skin irritations. There are actually three commonly found ingredients that can be especially dangerous.

Parabens are preserving agents that are often used in body creams and moisturisers and have been linked to breast cancer and skin inflammations.
Sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate are used in shampoos and can irritate the skin.

Full article HERE

From the UK:
Dusting off preservatives
[July 9, 2007]

One of the most common types of ingredient in consumer products is the preservative, added by manufacturers to prevent spoilage during storage and use. Numerous compounds fulfil this function and they can be classified according to their mode of action. Antioxidants such as butylated hydroxytoluene (NHT) act by inhibiting oxidation whereas bactericides kill off bacteria and antimicrobials destroy fungi and parasites, as well as bacteria.

The parabens are a group of esters of para-hydroxybenzoic acid, hence their name, and the methyl, ethyl, propyl and butyl esters are generally employed. Triclosan (TCS) is a chlorinated phenoxyphenol derivative. Together TCS and the parabens are widely used preservatives found in cosmetics, personal care products such as shampoos and shaving gels, toothpastes, canned foods, beverages and textiles.

Despite being used for many years without any apparent long-term health problems, several recent studies have cast doubt on the safety of the parabens. They have been accused of being endocrine disruptors and have been found in breast cancer tissue but opinion on their safety to humans remains divided. In addition, TCS has been found in human breast milk, urine and plasma and it has been reported to disturb thyroid function. [Full article no longer available.]

Parabens are not good for you...but there is paraben free skin care - see what it has done for me....
http://growolderbetter.blogspot.com/2007/06/8-weeks-of-skin-care.html

Monday, July 09, 2007

Are we hot yet?

I'm cross-posting this from my politikal blog [lynnsrants] as hot , hotter and hottest weather is not good for bodies...If you are in a region that will be or are experiencing heat advisories, stay out of the sun and drink a lot of water....

I have only lived in Oregon for 3 years but do understand that temperatures in the 100's in Portland are not usual. Last year the heat wave [global warm?] came later in July - this year it starts later today [July 9th]...

As one who does not tolerate high temperatures very well - I must be careful...and as I do not have air conditioning - my computer and I will be taking time off this week as it soars into the 100 plus range here...thankfully, I can roll right into the Columbia River to cool off....or kayak to a beach and swim where my feet touch bottom : - )

My dog and cat are already staying in the house - and that is totally not like either of them...I watch them for impending weather - they are good forecasters!

Is the globe warmer? I say yes...Having lived in the Boston area for about 15 years [60's and 70's], I recalled only a very few days during that time frame where it got to near or over 100. While in D.C. [80s and 90's] many summers were unbearable as the outside temps were in the high 90's [plus] during the day and "cooled off" to the high 80's at night...Then I moved back to New England, further north than Boston and saw record heat almost every summer...more days near 100 than in my entire time in Boston... And now heat waves in July in Oregon!

Hmm...the wing nuts, during the cold spells last winter laughed about global warming as it was cold - we had very unusual cold here in Portland...the nay-sayers fail to understand that global warming produces both hot and cold climate changes...

Now look at the recent devastation in Texas , the fires out West and the heat waves in Europe. If you are older than 50 - you know this is an odd pattern of weather..

For me, I'd like to to see reduced global warming.. someday I'd like to have grandchildren who can see glaciers on Mt. Hood or in Glacier National Park...to be able to enjoy a summer outside an air conditioned building..to not be subjected to heat advisories and smog alerts...to breather cleaner air, to swim in cleaner waters, have birds and fish to look at, and see the country as I saw back in the 50's and 60's....


My "backyard" hammock......

Friday, July 06, 2007

The scams get funnier by the day

There seems to be a cycle to the banking scams. Of late the ones I get all indicate that they "received" my information and are just confirming it before they actually "send" the millions.

Today's version indicates they are about to send "my" money to a particular person and indicate that person's name and banking information and ask me if that is actually "my" representative.
[I have removed the name and bank info they used.]

The funniest part is that the sender uses this as his "title:"
Paymaster General of the Federation,
Federal Ministry of Finance


Sorry but no legitimate banking people would be offering to break all manner of law to send me any money...or to send you any money either. And what exactly is a senate committee for foreign over due fund transfer?

Beware of these scams - laugh at them and delete them...or post them here for all of us to read : - )

Attn: Honourable Beneficiary,

Re: Your Over Due Contract/Inheritance Funds Approval.

This is to notify you that your over due contract/inheritance funds has been gazette to be released, via key telex transfer (KTT) -direct wire transfer to you or through any of our correspondent bank nominated by the senate committee for foreign over due fund transfer.

Meanwhile, a man came to my office few days ago with a letter, claiming to be your true representative. Here are his information for you to confirm to this office if this man is truly from you or not so that the Federal Government will not be held responsible for paying into the wrong account.

Name: [removed]
Bank Name: [removed]
Bank Address: Henderson,NV, USA 89014
Account Number: [removed]
Routing Number: [removed]

Please, do reconfirm to this office, as a matter of urgency if this man is from you. You are requested to fill and send this information for verifications purposes so that your fund valued U.S$12.5 Million Dollars will be remitted into your nominated bank account as follow:

(1) Your Full Name And Address:
(2) Your Age And Marital Status:
(3) Your Occupation:
(4) Your Telephone/Fax Number:
(5) Your Nationality:
(6) Your Bank Account Detail:

As soon as we receive the above requested information, we will commence with all necessary procedures in other to remit your money/funds into your account.

However, we shall proceed to issue all payments details to the said Mr. [removed], if we do not hear from you within the next seven working days from today. We are sorry for any inconvenience the delay in transferring of this fund must have caused you.

Best regards,

Dr. Jubril Bello
Paymaster General of the Federation,
Federal Ministry of Finance.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

July 4th

Have a safe and sane 4th of July!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Veggie Booty snacks

As there are readers of all ages...this is for anyone who might have bought Veggie Booty snacks for their kids or grandkids...

If you have any of these Veggie Booty snacks around - throw them out!

Snack implicated in 17-state Salmonella outbreak

Jun 29, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – An epidemiologic investigation of 52 cases of Salmonella infection in 17 states, most of them in children, has prompted a nationwide recall of a snack called Veggie Booty, federal health agencies reported yesterday.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised consumers to throw away any Veggie Booty on hand. The snack is made of puffed rice and corn with a vegetable coating and is sold in flexible plastic foil bags in 4-ounce, 1-ounce, and half-ounce sizes, federal officials said...The FDA listed the states and numbers of cases in the outbreak as follows: California, 7; Colorado, 5; Connecticut, 1; Georgia, 1; Indiana, 1; Massachusetts, 3; Minnesota, 2; New Hampshire, 2; New Jersey, 2; New York, 13; Oregon, 1, Pennsylvania, 3; Tennessee, 1, Texas, 1; Vermont, 3; Washington, 4; and Wisconsin, 2.

Full article HERE

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Weight

I've had a few discussions with friends lately about weight. I think it's a myth that you MUST gain weight as you age...yet I know some believe that..

Yes your body changes but the changes need not lead to increased weight. And don't forget that muscle weighs more than fat so if you work out - you will lose inches but not necessarily a lot of weight. Losing the weight may come at a slower pace than losing the inches. But being lean is good!

Our bodies all work differently - which is why there can never be a "for everyone" diet - yet I see eating recommendations that do not mention any metabolic differences....one size fits all can't work for human bodies and eating.

Take a look at the people around you - some are thin, some are more muscular, some are tall, some are short, some are men, some are women, etc. Should they all be eating the same foods in the same proportions? Nope!

I learned a while ago that I am a protein eater...my metabolism needs more protein per meal than my very active friend who needs more carbohydrates per meal. If I ate as much in carbohydrates as she does - I'd balloon and not only gain weight but get lethargic. If she ate as much protein as I do, she'd feel lethargic. Is something wrong with either of us? No- we have very different metabolisms.

There are some short paper/pencil tests that quickly assess your metabolic profile. No physical testing needed. If you would like more info about this - fill in the info box and I will email back asking you for a phone number as most of you are not near enough to come to my office...I will call you and in 10 - 15 minutes I can give you info - and it's free.

Monday, June 25, 2007

More about parabens

For those who have read this blog for a bit - you know I have posted info about "bad" stuff in cosmetics, your home, your food and your pet's food.

Here is another review of studies on parabens and their relation to cancer...

FYI paraben are in most skin care products....including shampoo, anti aging products and on and on..

In fact many cosmetics and skin care products do not list what is in them! and those that do use parabens defend the practice by saying they are needed to preserve the products and also that the FDA allows them to be used...

Sorry - but I for one do not trust the FDA !

To read the article....click here

One sentence is cited here:

But now the presence of intact parabens in tumor tissue shows that these chemicals can not only be absorbed through the skin but can also persist and accumulate in breast cancer tissue in their original form, without being degraded.

Scary - and this report is from 2004.....did you read about it in your daily papers? Even I, who try to stay up on good v. bad stuff for the body - especially as we age - was not aware of parabens...

Now that I am am - I have taken to very carefully reading the ingredients on all products I buy for moi...most usually shampoo and soaps....

It's why I am now using and marketing skin care products that are paraben free, preservative free and water based!

And - the company lists all the ingredients in these products...and not in microscopic sized print either !

Sunday, June 24, 2007

8 weeks of skin care

Here are my eyes and mouth after 8 weeks .








April 23







June 23













April 23









June 23








The dark circles and lines under my eyes are nearly vanished...and the lines around my mouth are finally disappearing...but hey it took me years to develop those lines - so making them almost go away in 8 weeks is great!

Other differences I have noticed are that my hands are in better shape as they also get the product rubbed into them daily and my fingernails are stronger.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Scams

I've mentioned some scams by name - but I will not give those persons any more "ink" than they got...

Of late - I have noticed a new take on scams - or at lest they are hitting my junk mail/spam boxes....

These are the ones that tell you that you are a finalist or winner [or whatever] in a drawing by a Foundation...
I've checked and the Foundation names are legitimate....unfortunately the contests and drawings are not.

The usual clues are the many misspellings....especially as these spammers want you to think they are from legitimate sources. Legit mate sources would not spell so poorly or misstate the obvious names of USA or European agencies.

Please beware... I read that as more and more of the over 50 ish population gets more into being online - many of these are targeting us..

How do they get our info? That too unfortunately is very easy....One can buy email and postal addresses by age or other demographics! Or they buy millions of email addresses hoping to find the one who believes...

To stop spreading email addresses please do this...use the bcc: function in your mail program...it stands for blind carbon copy and it hides the addresses of all those you are sending to..

Also if someone sends you an email with many names and addresses showing - pass along the bcc info to them...

and when forwarding or replying - erase the RE: or change the subject heading....

There are programs that scour the Internet seeking those addresses that come in bunches and to often when one replies or forwards - all those names are again included...hence the RE: as a signal to the sapmmers...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hmmm...why are the over 65 people seen as targets?

Here's another scam that does not surprise me. Anytime the bottom line is more important than people - you get abuses...be it people food, pet food, medications or health care and insurance...

And remember that United Health is the one that pays AARP to use the AARP endorsement.. I find that offensive! Yes it's called a contract between them but for me what is means is that United Health is given free access to the AARP data base. and they are not the least expensive at all - they just like you to think they are - and to make you think that if you are an AARP member you are getting a "deal." I at first signed on with them when I was 65 and my "guaranteed" rate for a year went up after 6 months - so I found other insurance.....and got a very rude call from UnitedHealth....

Humana, UnitedHealth Suspend Some Health Plans After Complaints

By Aliza Marcus

June 16 (Bloomberg) -- Humana Inc., UnitedHealth Group Inc. and five other U.S. health insurance companies agreed to stop selling a type of government-funded plan for the elderly in response to complaints that sales agents forged signatures and enrolled dead people.

The seven companies are working on new marketing guidelines with the U.S. Medicare health insurance program for the elderly and disabled. The voluntary sales suspension will end as each company adopts the guidelines, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said yesterday.


Full article HERE