4 Things I’ve Seen People Doing While Driving This Week

mirror

(Sorry for the technical difficulties earlier – accidentally published a draft!)

Here are four things I’ve seriously seen people doing while driving this week:

1. This morning after dropping my son off at school, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw a guy shaving with his electric razor while driving (as he was passing the elementary school).

2. Yesterday I saw a gal eating oatmeal (I assume) and using a spoon while driving.

3. Everyday I see a teenager texting while driving on the way to school. (Isn’t there a law about this? They don’t even try to hide it.  Scares the heck out of me.)

4. Monday I saw lady putting on mascara while driving.  (That would suck to lose an eye for vanity’s sake.)

At some point I assume I’ll see someone doing yoga or lifting weights while driving because they ran short on time.

What’s the worst you’ve seen people do while driving? (Aside from nose picking which is far too obvious – and disgusting.)

Best thing since … sliced onions

onion glasses

A month ago I stood in the kitchen with mascara running down my face and my eyes burning while I chopped an onion. And because my family doesn’t even bat an eye as I loudly blurt out expletives while attempting anything in the kitchen,  it didn’t surprise them when I exclaimed “Surely someone has invented some !@*^$% onion cutting goggles..!?”

I reached into our school supply closet and gave the science lab safety goggles a try.  No luck.  Duh.  But I was determined.

Then, as it happens most of the time when I turn to Amazon looking for whatever I’m hoping that someone has invented, onion cutting glasses do, in fact, exist.  This may be old news to you, but it was news to me.

And what better time to share this find than as part of the WordPress Daily Prompt  to write about something that I think is the best thing since …well, you know… sliced bread.

So there you have it.  Hands down the best new gadget to come into my life … my special onion cutting glasses, in fire engine red.  The foam around the eye of the glasses blocks out all vapors. And, as a bonus,  I’m always ready for an extreme Airsoft challenge if one occurs in the backyard while I’m chopping onions.

What’s your favorite kitchen gadget?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination

light in The Kitchen

This week’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge was to post a photo which represents illumination to me.

This photo is of an uber chic chandelier at a restaurant downtown.  (This is how I embarrass friends and family on an ongoing basis – by taking pictures of random things like this which I love.)

So there you have it … my photo for the Illumination Challenge! I would love to have this in my dining room —  if only I had the thousands of dollars that would require.

I bet you feel illuminated just by seeing it.  Okay, maybe not, but I hope you enjoy the coolness of it.

Do you have a photo that represents illumination to you?

Playing the Ukulele By Virgin Ear

curse often

My youngest son (my Clone) is taking ukulele lessons (yes, ukulele – ‘ concert ukulele’ actually:) ) lessons from a young gal who is a private instructor.  Last night was his first lesson.

After my Clone showed us some chords that he learned, he told us a little about the lesson and the cute, young instructor (my oldest son heard how cute she was and might suddenly be interested in some lessons).

My Clone explained that during the lesson while the instructor was demonstrating a chord and slipped, she said “Oh crap.”  She then looked up at him and apologized profusely for saying such a bad word in front of him.

He had a terrific grin on his face as he explained this to his curses-like-a -truck-driver mother.

I asked him if he explained to her why she shouldn’t worry.

His Clone grin grew large enough to reveal his Clone dimples and he explained that he didn’t want to shock her … right off the bat, anyway.

We’ll save that for next week.

Gaining traction with the law of attraction.

wayne
One of my all time favorites, Wayne Dyer. And this is a good quote if you take the time to understand it.  Maryanne Williamson talks about this concept as well.  Love her too.

I’ve used this concept various times in conversations when people ask me why they repeatedly are drawn to potential mates with the same qualities that don’t always turn out to be great for the kind of relationship they need. Or when they repeatedly get themselves into situations that aren’t ideal. It’s no accident.

Dyer’s book, The Power of Intention, came to me at a time years ago when I really needed a shift in thinking.   The book came across my path several times in different ways for a year or so until I realized that the universe must be trying to tell me something, so I gave in and read it.  The concepts set me on a new path which I am still refining, and will always be.  But I like where it’s going.

A lot of Dyer’s books seem to be the same ideas from this book but repackaged and titled differently.  He is a marketing machine to the point of excess, but if you can get past that, he makes a lot of sense.  This book is a must read and I reread it regularly.  I’ve given it to numerous friends.

I intend to sleep well tonight.  It was a hell of a day.

Peace out.

Did Buddah have a Napoleon Complex?

napbud“The battlefield is a scene of constant chaos. The winner will be the one who controls that chaos, both his own and the enemies”― Napoleon Bonaparte

I recently discovered this quote and I love it.  Just as it applied to the battles that Napoleon’s armies fought, it  applies to how we live our lives each day. How we react to chaos, change or loss – anything that rocks our world- and how we choose to process it.  It’s only when we rise above the chaos or challenges that we truly win the battles of life … and grow from it as a result.

Buddhist teachings have long taught the value of quieting the mind and experiencing the present amidst chaos.

Tibetan Buddhism describes three gates we must pass through or commitments we must make to help us embrace our moments of chaos as opportunities for growth:

1. Cause no harm: do our best to not cause harm with actions, words or thoughts (to commit to being good to each other).

2. Help others: do our best to keep our hearts and minds open, and nurture our compassion by giving to those in need.

3. Accept impermanence: do our best to embrace the world just as it is, without bias; try to see everything – good and bad – as a way to awaken further.

I will keep these commitments in mind the next time I have a lot on my plate and become ridiculously frustrated by the person in the bank drive-through who won’t commit to a lane (in case a different one opens up faster). And the next time I’m put on hold on the telephone listening to music and being redirected repeatedly. And the next time I judge anyone who doesn’t share my point of view or appreciate the same things that I do.

P.S. Did you know Napoleon was actually above average height for his time?  Scientists say he was actually about 5’6, rather than just over 5′ as the compensatory complex has been explained.  The average height for an 18th century Frenchman was 5’3″.  He was perceived as short because he was most often seen with the Imperial Guard — his bodyguards who were above average height.

Nameste my peeps.

Unfolding Cocoon

fountain muse

Unfolding Cocoon

Fresh start, new beginnings, rebirth,

Physical, mental, external.

Tuning the body,

Clearing the mind,

Prioritizing the other.

Focusing on peace and clarity,

As the cocoon unfolds, little by little.

Fresh start, new beginnings, rebirth.

 

And that’s my shot at today’s WordPress Daily Challenge on the theme of Starting Over.

What does starting over mean to you?

Twilight zone turned school zone.

irony

As I say often, “You learn something new everyday…” (And as many who know me hear me say even more often, “Every day’s a damn school day.”)

I now better understand the impact that certain infections can have on the elderly and on those with dementia.  They can actually cause delirium.

And I now know that 30% to 40% of elderly patients with serious infection don’t exhibit the usual signs of fever due the inability of the immune system to mount a response to infection due to the effects of aging (or in Little Red Riding Hood’s case – Alzheimer’s).  (I felt like Velma in a Scooby Doo mystery trying to figure out what was causing her further and furious decline.)  If you already have Alzheimer’s, infections can put you into a mental tailspin.  This was our week.

Fortunately, after copious amounts of heavy duty antibiotics and eye rolling, Mom was actually able to come back home this afternoon.  She smiled at me more today and said many more words to me today than she has in the last few weeks.  I even got some bona-fide Mom to daughter smiles which tickled me with delight.

We still will assess where we are with her doctor, but it appears that we have bought a little time for her, avoided the cuckoo’s nest/twilight zone for a bit longer and become better educated in the process.

I also had the privilege of doing a Yoga class today (hallelujah) geared toward technique and theory, which was fabulous.  I also got to wear my awesome new yoga pants. And I got to take a lot of deep breaths, which were welcomed.yoga pants

Oh, and MacGyver discovered a new Chardonnay for me named Irony which seems quite fitting. And it is quite good.  MacGyver makes a damn fine Sommelier.  Which makes me a damn lucky sidekick.

Overall it was a day of education and progress which is ALWAYS a good thing.

Thanks so much for your support on this journey!

What’s the most ironic wine you’ve ever enjoyed?

Flying over the nest.

cuckoo

“I mean—hell, I been surprised how sane you guys all are. As near as I can tell you’re not any crazier than the average asshole on the street…”  

(from Nicholson’s character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)

I think the universe intended for me to go to that intense yoga class that resulted in a huge release early in the week to prepare me for what was coming.  I honestly do.

Little Red Riding Hood (my Mom with Alzheimer’s) had to go to the hospital yesterday via ambulance because we couldn’t get her to walk or get up and because she doesn’t really communicate, we couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

She is still in the hospital and depending on how she recovers (apparently certain infections can make dementia worse.  Who knew?), she may or may not be able to go home since she seems to have advanced to the next stage.  Either way, the next shoe is starting to drop and I have been in full gear researching facilities and options. (These are times when I miss my sister the most.)

Hospital visits were beyond bizarre for various reasons, but mainly because 1) hospitals in Denver were full due to the flu and we were diverted to a less full hospital which was still quite full and 2) she is in a room where they put 4 people who need 24/7 “sitters” (for people who don’t understand what is going on and might try to get up and then fall).

It was like I was in a strange movie that was so awful it was almost funny.  I kept waiting to hear Jack Nicholson’s voice.

Here are some highlights:

-One of Mom’s roommates had his own sitter right by his bed at all times which made me uneasy.  He was listening to Jimmy Hendrix music and blurting out aggressive sounding phrases.  I swear to you I thought he was going to pull out a shank from under his mattress.   And he sort of had the Jack Nicholson look going on.

-Another roommate kept asking for a beer and pointing to what he thought was a beer Stein hanging up on the wall (it was actually a piece of medical equipment that did look like a Stein) and wanted us all to see it. He was the cutest and sweetest little man I’ve ever seen.  I wanted to go buy him a six pack and make his day.

-Two of the Certified Nurse Assistants (the sitters) were absolutely darling.  They have hearts of gold and I wanted to adopt them. One named Flora from the Philippines told me all about her family’s plantation in the Philippines where they grow rice.  She said if someone made $750 a month in the Philippines they would be so rich they could have five maids.

-Another of the sitters I’m guessing was from South America and was determined to find something that my Mother would eat.  We finally landed on chocolate cake and Pepsi once I got there today and shared my mother’s strange eating preferences. Worked like a charm.  Some things are never forgotten.  She also told me I have my mother’s nose and she bet my Mom was quite pretty when she was younger.  She was right.  I told her she was a beauty queen in high school.

-The unfriendly nurse (who was clearly put-out with any question I asked) was seriously channeling Nurse Ratched.

-Another one of Little Red Riding Hood’s roommates kept asking for cottage cheese over and over and seemed sad. He had a huge scar across his head.  I wanted to give him a hug but he was on the side of the room by the guy I was worried had a shank under the mattress.  This roommate’s mother came and visited him and my heart ached for her.

-There were four TVs going at the same time, plus the Jimmy Hendrix music, plus the beer and cottage cheese requests and medical chatter.  Enough uncoordinated noise to make an undiagnosed ADD person with sensitive hearing lose it. but I didn’t.

-Little Red Riding Hood has not lost her ability to sarcastically roll her eyes and did so every time a room mate blurted something out. This cracked me up.  Apparently she thought the rest of the group was crazy, not her.  Again, some things never change.

-She petted and squeezed the cute little beanie baby dog nonstop from the second I brought it in from the gift shop.  This made me happy because it made her happy.dog

-I’m damn sure figuring out a way to go to yoga tomorrow.

Thanks as always for reading…  Hug or call whatever family you have this weekend and tell them you love or appreciate them — even if they drive  you nuts.

The Good News. The Bad News. And the Reality Check that’s Needed.

Below is a post that I have re-posted from my new Alzheimer’s blog from yesterday: http://www.laughingatalzheimers.com.

You’ll see some of my past posts from Life On Wry that are related to my Mom and our journey with Alzheimer’s there for a bit as I get this new blog up to speed.  But don’t worry, LifeOnWry isn’t going anywhere!  As always, thanks for being on this journey called life with me!

alzheimer's statistic

Good News.

On several news stations yesterday I heard about the latest government report revealing that cancer death incidents have fallen in the United States by an average of 1.8 percent in men and 1.4 percent in women.  These percentages don’t sound dramatic, until you consider that the numbers didn’t start even falling until after the early 1990s.

Further, scientists report that the incidence of cancer and subsequent deaths could be further reduced if all those with New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise and quit smoking would stick to their plans.

There is still much to be done to research, prevent and combat Cancer, the second most common cause of death in the US, but the fact that these numbers are decreasing – rather than increasing – is good news.

Added to that is the fact that the 5-year relative survival rate for all cancers diagnosed between 2001 and 2007 is 67%, up from 49% in 1975-1977. The improvement in survival reflects both progress in diagnosing certain cancers at an earlier stage and improvements in treatment, according to a 2012 Cancer Facts & Figures report.  In other words, research.

Bad News.

Now for the bad news. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is on the rise throughout the world.  And there is still no known cure or way to prevent it, no remissions.  In fact, it is always fatal, causing brain changes that eventually impair an individual’s ability to carry out such basic bodily functions as walking and eventually swallowing.

According to a 2012 Alzheimer’s disease Facts & Figures report, about 5.4 million Americans now have AD. By 2050, more than 15 million Americans could be living with the disease, unless scientists develop new approaches to prevent or cure it.

In fact, every 68 seconds, someone in America develops Alzheimer’s. By mid-century, someone in America will develop the disease every 33 seconds. It is estimated that nearly 500,000 new cases of AD will be diagnosed this year alone.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, AD is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the fifth leading cause of death in Americans over age 65 years. And although the proportions of deaths due to other major causes of death have decreased in the last several years, the proportion due to AD has risen significantly.

Researchers have long noted that funding for Alzheimer’s research lags significantly compared to funding for other major ailments. According to University of Mississippi Medical Center, the $450 million allocated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Alzheimer’s is equivalent to less than 15% of the research funding for HIV/AIDS, less than 11% of funding for cardiovascular disease research, and less than 8% of funding for cancer research.

And for every $28,000 spent on Alzheimer’s patient care, only $100 is spent on research.  In fact, the government funds more nutrition research than it does Alzheimer’s research.

Reality Check Needed.

Through exciting research initiatives, scientists continue to make headway in understanding this devastating disease. They believe we are getting close and even at a tipping point.  We just need a commitment from the federal government to fund the level of research necessary to tip the scales on a disease with these startling numbers staring us in the face.

And we’re getting there. In January of 2011, the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) was signed into law by President Obama. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, The National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) will create a coordinated national plan to overcome the Alzheimer’s crisis and will ensure the coordination and evaluation of all national efforts in Alzheimer’s research, clinical care, institutional, and home- and community-based programs and their outcomes.

But that’s just the beginning. Because there are no survivors of this disease, and those affected directly are largely unable to advocate for themselves and for the need for more research (like many AIDS and Cancer survivors are able to do), we must speak out about the need to federally prioritize the impending Alzheimer’s epidemic.

Members of the public — not just medical and association professionals — need to speak up and take action, to contact their representatives in Congress and become advocates through the Alzheimer’s Association.  To defend helpless Alzheimer’s victims, much like we defend the voiceless for other causes in our society.

The time is now to take action.

Visit the Alzheimer’s Association’s  advocacy pages for a simple way speak up for those affectedhttp://www.kintera.org/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?c=mmKXLbP8E&b=7516993&auid=8520366

The Alzheimer’s Association — and for Coloradans – it’s the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado — is the best place for families to go to learn about programs and services available to those on the Alzheimer’s journey, as well as about opportunities to participate in local research through TrialMatch.

Believe me, you have no idea how awesome this organization is until you’re faced with this disease and they help you breathe easier.

alz.org/co | 800 272 3900 helpline 24/7

Waxing Kundalini. 10 Lessons Learned.

buddah

Lessons learned from my first attempt this year to officially get off my butt and exercise (after a much too lengthy hiatus):

1. Too many muffins = muffin top even in cool yoga pants.

2. When you don’t recognize the type of yoga listed, look it up before showing up. (Especially if you can’t pronounce it.)

3. First sign you may be in over your head: When you arrive to check in and say, ” I called and they said this class is okay for beginners”  and the teacher takes a long pause and says “… Uhhh…. well… SURE it is. Welcome….”

4. When all else fails, fake it and act like you know what you’re doing. (No one will notice when you keep one eye open to double check during the eyes closed parts.)

5. Second and third signs that you might be in over your head: When the teacher says she’s picked out a much harder class sequence for after the holiday and she apologizes in advance.  Then, when you’re about to pass out already and the teacher says “okay…we’re almost done warming up.”

6. Do not sit by the only male in the class who is clearly an overachiever with extremely loud and forceful breathing.  (Otherwise it’s far too distracting and windy during the “fire breathing” portions of the exercises.)

7. Figure out where everyone else gets the mantra chanting song sheets ahead of time (watermelon, watermelon doesn’t seem to work when you’re chanting in a  small group).

8. Have a tissue at the ready for the “fire-breathing” parts of the exercises when the teacher tells you to switch from forceful mouth exhales to forceful exhales through the nose. (Especially if you have allergies, it can get messy.)

9. Bring a second tissue for the cleansing song at the end of the 75 minutes of hard core Kundalini yoga.  (You’ll think it’s corny when it starts.  Until you’re wiping away your tears.)

10. You will be sore as hell the next day and probably have a hard time walking down the stairs very quickly.  But you’ll be so proud of yourself that you might even treat yourself to a new pair of cool yoga pants with built-in compression in the butt and gut areas (worth every penny, and a great motivator to go to the next class).

About Kundalini Yoga from about.com: Is Kundalini for You? (the part I probably should have looked up before going) ….

Kundalini is one of the more spiritual types of yoga. It goes beyond the physical performance of poses with its emphasis on breathing, meditation, mudras and chanting. However, the Kundalini sequences can be very physically intense. This type of yoga appeals to those who are up for both mental and physical challenges.

In the end, I’m so glad I tried this class.  I will be going again.  Happy 2013!

How To Write a Thank-You Note – too funny.

WordPress-Donations-thank-you-note-in-every-language-flickr-creative-commons-440x300

This is a favorite blogger of mine, I miss you when I blink, who cracks me up.

Had to share this class how-to on thank you notes… Guaranteed to make you laugh.

Enjoy:

How To Write a Thank-You Note.]

Have you written your thank you notes yet?  

Flipping the bird. A Different Take on New Year’s Resolutions.

shoot the bird

Are you tired of hearing about New Year’s resolutions yet?

As cliché as it sounds, I love New Year’s resolutions.  It’s quite liberating to step back and assess which of my thought patterns and habits need to be tweaked or ‘given the finger.’  Kind of like cleaning out the fridge after the holidays.

Especially right after I take down all of my Christmas decorations and re-box them in the basement.  This cleansing ritual helps me settle my thoughts and reach inward to my control panel to adjust whatever habits need some fine-tuning and determine which thinking patterns need to be given ‘the bird.’ (My son has never heard of these ‘bird’ references related to the middle finger gesture.  I know this because he was the co-director in my middle finger photo shoot. My e-book on parenting will be out soon.)

So, let’s get on with it. To which thought patterns and habits shall I flip the bird to this coming year?

In 2013, I am going to give the one finger salute to the following:

1.My inner gremlins.  (Translation:  I will throw negative self talk out the window at every possible turn.) This is particularly important as the new year begins, because this whole resolution thing can often turn into a time when we beat ourselves up about what we didn’t accomplish last year.  I’ve been a lot better about this, which I’m proud of, but I am a work in progress.  My inner gremlins still mess with me.

The trick to taming these gremlins (who like to sabotage us with negative self talk and excuses) is to become aware of them. And notice when they typically start yammering. As a great book for all ages, (Taming Your Gremlin), explains, gremlins hate to be noticed. It throws them off guard and weakens them.  This year I will recognize my gremlins and push them in the corner. (This is when I picture giving the gremlins the one finger salute as I walk away while tuning my self- talk to a more positive station.)

2. The barrage of marketing attempts raging around me at all times.  I will no  longer waste time thinking about buying things that marketers are quite good at making me think that I need. Or waste time thinking about how to redesign my perfectly functional kitchen or closets.  I will focus on what matters.  I will NOT get sucked in by direct mail catalogs, marketing emails, and ridiculous coupons (DAMN THOSE MACY’S SAVING PASS CARDS) that distract me from the more important things in life.  

For goodness sake, I have a marketing background, and I still get sucked in.  This year I will be more cognizant of how I spend my time. Maybe I will set-up an email rule to sort all of my advertising emails (many of them that I signed up for in order to receive discounts that just sucker me in) into a folder that I can open only if a need actually arises?  What a concept.

3. Small stuff that doesn’t matter.  I’m going to think less about what bothers me and instead strive to love more.   I’m going to make time to encourage others, to lift them up, to help others, and to make sure they know how much I care about them.  I will forget about the small, stupid stuff that irritates me. I won’t hold others to my standards, or expect them to behave as I would.  I will turn that little mirror inward  immediately when I start to complain or get irritated.

4. Worry. This year I will worry less and live in the moment more. I will worry less about what people think, about what kind of shape I’m in, about what I wished I had done before today, about my Mom, about whether I’m doing enough, about being far away from so much family, about my kids growing up too fast, about what could, might or will happen. I will live in the moment and do the best that I can as often as I can, and know that it’s enough.

5. The excuses that stunt my personal growth.  I will set aside routine time and plan deadlines for myself this year for writing, meditation, fine-tuning my body and taking better care of myself, learning new skills and taking time to do some things that fire-up my internal engines like painting or volunteering or riding horses.  As a result, I will grow more as a person this year.

6. Going through the motions.  Instead, I will be more awake this year.  I will ‘show-up’ for life.  I will not focus on what’s expected, but rather what feels right.  I will notice and listen and observe.  I won’t play it as safe.

I realize there will be hurdles along the way and that flipping-off all of these negative patterns 100% of the time will not be easy.  (I also realize that I shouldn’t start flipping anyone or anything off in public.) But I’m going to do my damnedest to make some changes and fully engage in this mental tune-up.

It’s going to be a fun year.  Thanks, as always, for being on this journey with me.

Any old thought patterns you’d like to ‘shoot the bird’ to this year?