Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Totally Tuesday

The weather in the southwest is AWESOME! It's a great time to get those walking shoes on, grab the leash and take Fido (or Fidette) for the first of many long walks starting now. Long, slow distance does the heart good.

Take some slow time to look around at things you only fly past in the car. Take some new routes! Leave the cell phone off (but on you in case of emergency), leave the headphones at home and listen for the sounds of nature: birds, of course, the rustling of lizards in the dry brush, gophers and rabbits chasing each other around! Lots of peaceful things to enjoy on a walk...or a run...or a nice bike ride... or on the back of a horse. Happy spring!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Big Idea

One of the foundations of my life and also one of the things researchers have discovered is that being committed to a cause is an important factor in living a long, high-quality life. Women's health is, of course, a main passion of mine. That's why the book, the blog and many waking hours of the day are devoted to it. So this idea may seem unconnected, but it's really not. You'll see.

I believe and have a passion for rescuing animals - dogs, cats, horses, etc. who have suffered at the hands of humans (if you can call them that). So I had this idea I would love to just get out into the world and see if it might help in how people understand the neccesity of rescue and increase the number of people doing it.

After Valentine's Day this year, I was in the local grocery store and naturally, there were a couple of shopping carts sitting there full of leftover candy, cards...and stuffed animals. Well, I'm a sucker for stuffed animals, so I had to just take a peek. There in the basket under all of the others was a cute little white poodle with a red ribbon. BUT, she had grease on her legs and tail. I knew she would never be sold and I thought what a shame that she'll probably go in a dumpster somewhere without ever having a little kid to love her. (I'm a big Velveteen Rabbit fan also.)

So I picked her up and asked one of the employees walking around if he would take $1 for her instead of the half-price $6.00 her tag showed. I said that no one would ever buy her because of the grease and he said "Sure!." So I bought her, cleaned her up and although some of the grease didn't come off, a lot did and she's a sweet little thing. I now have her put aside to give my grandaughter. I plan to tell her that this is a rescued poodle and what I did was just like rescuing a real dog - a dog nobody wanted, but would be a loving pet if just given the chance. She is getting the gift of this dog so she can make it feel loved and wanted.

So the Big Idea, is what if we all did this? Every holiday, lots of stuffed animals are left over and go for low prices. Stores are always willing to deal. Often after the holiday is over, there are stuffed dogs, bunnies, cats, etc. that got dirty, had something spill on them or they fell into something on the floor that makes them virtually unsaleable. Sometimes they don't even go back out onto the sales floor to be sold. What if we asked for those stuffed animals "in the back" they were going to get rid of or we found them in the sales bins, asked for a deal or just bought them for whatever and used them to teach our children lessons? Lessons about the value of rescuing animals someday when they grow up and have homes of their own and the ability to help rehab abused pets, give them homes, love and more. Lessons that beauty isn't always found on the outside - that often it is inside where you might not see it at first.

The kids could even help with cleaning the animals and naming them, etc. A bigger, tandom idea is that rescue organizations like Humane Society, SPCA, FAIR and hundreds of others out there could work deals with the big stores like WalMart and Target to get unsaleable stuffed animals and use them to teach kids about rescue through their organizations.

It's a win-win for everyone. And when children grow up to learn the value of reaching outside themselves with an animal, they also become better human beings who understand the value of reaching out and making a difference in the world around them.

So that' s my Big Idea. I'd love to hear what you think and I'd love it if you would pass the idea on!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Silent Sunday - Spring Hits the Southwest

Premio Dardos Awards!

“The Prémio Dardos is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing”. Jane Augenstein gave me this award and I am very humbled by that and thankful! Since my sister, Sarah, introduced me to blogging several months ago, there is this whole new world of really cool women that I've been able to "talk" to, learn from and enjoy. What a blessing! So I am recognizing some of those women today with the Prémio Dardos for their contributions to my life and all the others they touch.

Jane Augenstein for her beautiful photos and funny stories about her furry babies she obviously loves so much.

For Heart of a Cowgirl for her dedication to horses that bring us back to our roots here in the west and her beautiful jewelry.

For Snap of Tales from Twisty Lane who has a very gentle old soul and is all about peace and kindness.

And an award for my sister Sarah of Garden Cottage Studio who introduced me to a whole new world and gave me a new door into her world and day-to-day life we wouldn't otherwise be able to share.

Thank you ladies!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Copping an Attitude!

I just finished listening, for the third time, to a book I found a review of in Outside Magazine's Dispatches several years ago called Deep Survival, Who Lives, Who Dies and Why by Laurence Gonzales. I read the hardcover first and later got the audiobook. Love audiobooks. The book is about how to avoid getting into survival situations and what to do if you are in a survival situation. It is NOT a little pocket survival book by any means. It's a book you want to read now if you ever plan to step outside your front door and do anything in the world, and especially if you are planning to do things that tempt fate. Lots of examples of situations that people never dreamed they'd be in as they began their day (World Trade Centers disaster, airplane crashes, etc.) and also situations where going into them, the people knew there was a chance they might die (climbing, river rafting, etc.).

I have learned from this book what to do when something comes up suddenly that I have no experience in dealing and I start to panic. I have since been able to recognize panic (that deer in the headlights, I-wouldn't-know-my-own-name-if-you-asked-me panic), calm myself and figure out what to do. I've made decisions, based on what I've learned, not to do stupid things out in the wilderness just because the people I'm with try to shame me into it. I can't recommend this book highly enough to everyone.

Listening to it in this time when we're innundated with bad news from many media sources, I'm realizing that panic seems to be an effect many of us are feeling. So I thought it would be a good thing to remind all of us in this blog about one of the things Mr. Gonzales talks about in his book that can help quell panic. Positive mental attitude. I have a whole chapter in my book, Aging Lite, on attitude as it relates to health. In his book, Gonzales relates it to an important factor in survival. We need to survive this current situation our country and many other countries are facing.

It's tough to maintain a positive mental attitude about it if you continuously watch CNN, read all the news magazines, the newspapers, etc. It's too much! We should stay informed of course, but we can be informed in about 5 minutes a day. Maintaining a positive attitude is hard to do when you feed your brain bad news all day.

So let's get on with the business of living, helping others, doing our jobs, caring for our kids and knowing we will make it through this. This is only a season. Tons of positive things continue to happen in our world and even if this is a time of struggle for you, things will get better. The life of this little butterfly in the photo I took this weekend is at risk every moment, in every flight he takes, yet he still presses on. Yes, he doesn't really have much of a brain, but you know, sometimes we think too much and it leaves us paralyzed. We have to believe in ourselves, our families and believe in the strength we have through God. Never ever give up! Press on!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sleep - More Than Just a Refresh

Sleep! Deep, REM, dreaming sleep - do we get enough? Many of us don't. In fact, it's almost a badge of honor to say we can get along with only a few hours a night. Turns out we really aren't getting along very well.

There is a lot of research going on right now about what sleep really does for us human beings, and it's fascinating. 60 Minutes just did a segment on January 18 about what the latest research is turning up about results of "normal" sleep deprivation. Lack of a healthy amount of sleep (eight hours), even for a few days in a row, can result in almost immediate increased risk for weight gain, diabetes, ability to remember things, make good decisions or react reasonably. If you can, listen to the 60 Minutes podcast from that date - it is well worth your time.

As women, we KNOW we are often sleep deprived due to the many jobs we have to accomplish every day. Menopause and aging don't help either. We need to take a good look at what we're doing every day and see what we can start saying "no" to so we can put that time back into our health - get on with the business of Aging Lite!