Category Archives: nature

MY LIVING WISHES – PART 1

 fufMY LIVING WISHES FOR MY ELDER YEARS (Inspired and influenced by all of the precious elders in my life and those who have cared for them.)

TO ALL OF MY FAMILY MEMBERS,

There will be a day, when I may stop doing things for myself, but they will still be important for me to do.

Who will do them?

Who will make sure I carry them out?  

I will need you to help me do the things that are essential to my health and wellness and state of mind. I will need to be reminded to do them or even have you do them with me, so I can maintain a quality of life that all seniors deserve to have. If for some reason you are not taking care of your own needs, please don’t limit mine. Use my deep down (though not always stated) desire for quality of life to lift you up with me. This is what you did for me when you were a child. You motivated me to care better of myself and now is the time for me to return the favor.  Throughout my life I have also  worked to make sure all I care for have their core needs met for health, wellness and a joyful state of mind. Can you be there for me as well? 

Here is what I ask from you at the very least:

  • I NEED MY LOVED ONES TO HAVE ALL OF MY CONTACT INFORMATION ON DOCTORS, CAREGIVERS, NEIGHBORS, ETC. Perhaps a master list that gets sent to everyone in my family will be the best way to handle this! Also, please make sure I have a copy of this list myself in my wallet or purse and on my refrigerator. (If it can be laminated this is even better!) 

 

  • AS MUCH NATURAL LIGHT AS POSSIBLE. Even if I want to stay inside and close the blinds, don’t let me! Make sure I get outside in the daylight every day for at least ½ to 1 hour. If it is raining, make sure I have all of the blinds open so I get enough natural light! This will help my sleep cycles and other body functions to balance. I need exercise, fresh air and natural light to thrive!    

 

  • PLEASE HELP ME EXERCISE EVERY DAY, especially if I am ever inside without the ability to take a walk. Have me use the stairs as much as possible; have me stretch and dance and do toning exercises. Take me wherever you can to get me walking briskly and move every part of my body in every way possible every day.  

 wer

  • PLEASE MAKE SURE I GET PLENTY OF VEGGIES, FRESH AND COOKED. I need to eat a lot of whole grains and legumes and fresh fruits. I may get lazy and not want to cook for myself. I will need you to cook good food for me! I don’t want a lot of fattening foods or breads or pastas or sweets. Of course, I love these foods and will gladly eat them if they are served to me, but they will be so bad for me. I need for you to take the lead and make sure I am getting the best, especially that oatmeal every morning. A nice pot of homemade soup is something that will help me stay healthy too. P.S. Please don’t microwave the nutrients out of my food (once in a while is ok, but not every day).  nkn
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  • I NEED TO TAKE A SHOWER OR BATH AT LEAST 2-3 TIMES A WEEK. If I get lazy and don’t want to bathe, make sure I do anyway! This is a big issue that I need for you to monitor. Don’t take my word for it! I need to have personal hygiene handled. (Check my fingernails and toenails and give me regular manicures and pedicures-at least every 2 weeks.)  
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  • I NEED MY SHEETS AND TOWELS AND CLOTHES WASHED ONCE A WEEK. Don’t take my word for it. (I may say I have handled things just to keep things easier for both of us.) Make sure my living space is clean and that I have fresh air and sunshine coming into my room.
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  • READ TO ME PLEASE! Because you know how much I hunger for a good story, please find out what my favorite stories are today so you can read them to me when I can’t read to myself!  I adore a clever and beautifully written sentence and find so much joy in hearing them! You can also read me my own writing and journals (or your writing). This may be fun for both of us. I love great movies of course, but I should never stop experiencing the value of good literature.

 

  • I NEED TO EXPERIENCE NEW THINGS ALWAYS. Get me out to museums, live performances, especially great singing and dancing! I love all kinds of new things that are happening from all walks of life. Take me to cultural activities and to neighborhoods for ethnic food and experiences so I can feel connected to the world’s people and feel like I am traveling again. If this is not possible, please let me watch movies set in other cultures. I am a child of the world and need to feel this always.

 

  • I NEED TO HAVE REMINDERS OF MY LOVED ONES. Show me pictures and videos of all of you children and grandchildren and future great-grandchildren. I want to see you as you were when you were babies and as you have grown. 

 

  • I NEED TO SEE AND HUG MY LOVED ONES. Please make sure I have contact with all of you, my loved ones, as much as is possible, even if it is not convenient for everyone! Families are never convenient, though they are necessary! You can just sit me in a corner to observe the goings on of the family and I will be happy if that is all I am capable of.  

  cvb

  • I WANT SOMEONE TO LISTEN THE STORIES OF MY LIFE. Ask me to tell you my stories for as long as I am able. I have so many to share and want to know you are curious about my life. I just may surprise you with one you haven’t heard before!   

 

  • I NEED PEOPLE AROUND ME TO HAVE A LOT OF PATIENCE WITH ME. Please, please, please humor me when I repeat myself.  If you really want to help me feel as normal as possible, pretend that whatever I say is the first time I have said it or asked it. I don’t need the humiliation that comes from realizing my memory is failing me.

 

  • PLEASE TREAT ME WITH RESPECT ALWAYS! Do not ridicule me, tease me, or show your frustrations about my shortcomings as I age. I want to feel that you respect me and do not look down on me for aging. I also want to know that you still respect me for all of the years I have on you, no matter how much I may not show it.

 

  • REMIND ME TO STAY POSITIVE, not pessimistic because we all know that attitude is everything! I may need to be coaxed at times to remember that everything is OK and that there is nothing to worry about.

 

  • MAKE ME LAUGH! Throw humor and laughter into my life whenever possible; even if it is a funny YouTube video or email someone writes.

 

  • I WANT TO BE ABLE TO ENJOY THE LITTLE PLEASURES IN LIFE. (in moderation of course) like a small piece of dark, dark chocolate or a buttery piece of anything! Oh how I hope I never have to stop enjoying the taste of a perfect cup of dark roast coffee or a perfect ½ glass of red wine. If for some reason I can’t have these things in the future, can you find other things that are almost as good so I can have those little pleasures please?

 

  • I NEED TO HAVE MY BRAIN STIMULATED. Involve me in playing games when you can. I love them so and love to keep my mind active.  Even the simplest game will be okay but don’t dumb me down because I may be able to handle more than you think. Be creative with me please!    dnf

  

  • I WANT TO BE REMINDED OF WHAT I HAVE CREATED IN MY LIFE. Show me the things I have created in my life, like family projects, accomplishments, crafts, structures, writing, etc.

 

  • I WANT TO BE CONNECTED TO FRIENDS (even if I can’t do it by myself or pretend I don’t want to) I may be afraid of making a fool of myself because I have changed but don’t let that stop me! (Maybe you can keep me connected to everyone on my Facebook page for me if I am not able and show me photos.)

 

  • I WANT TO KNOW THAT MY BELONGINGS WILL GO TO PEOPLE THAT APPRECIATE THEM. If I get close to death and no one in the family wants my precious things, please find someone who will appreciate them who understands me.

 

  • IF I AM ABLE TO TRAVEL, GET ME OUT OF THE HOUSE ONCE IN A WHILE. Take me to travel with you when you can. I really am a good travel partner and may still be so when I am older.  I love ‘good’ anything, wherever it may be and whatever it may be (that could even mean rap music or the latest music or dance craze or performance art craze)!  

 

  • DON’T LET ME ISOLATE MYSELF! I will always need to be around people on a regular basis; even those who are my age! I may act or say that I don’t, but deep down, I do. Help me with this.      cgh

 

  • HAVE ME WRITE WHENEVER POSSIBLE BECAUSE IF YOU DON’T USE IT, YOU LOSE IT! Have me write in my journal for as long as I can hold a pen and write anything!!!!! It will help me keep my mind alive and create a record of my life up to the very end.

 

  • I NEED TO SEE THE DOCTOR FOR REGULAR CHECK-UPS. Please make sure that they check everything.  However, if a doctor prescribes any medication or treatment for me, ask them if it is necessary and if there is another option. If you don’t like what they say, get a second opinion. I do not believe that God’s plan is that we should automatically be medicated in our old age and I need you to advocate for me to be without medication if at all possible and to find other solutions based on the cause of my ills, not just the symptoms!

 

  • DON’T DOPE ME UP ON MEDICATION JUST TO MAKE ME EASIER TO BE AROUND! In the long run, you may end up dealing with the side effects of the medication that are even worse than me being without medication.

 

  • ENSURE I HAVE BEAUTY IN MY LIFE. Bring me to see things of beauty: flowers, trees, nature.  I need to stay in touch with life in order to connect with my own will to live.  

 

  • I NEED TO FEEL USEFUL for as long as I am able. Give me things to do so I feel like I am contributing, but don’t work me too much! Even the littlest task can make me feel useful. sdc

 

  • RESPECT MY WISHES FOR DEATH, funeral, burial, belongings and any monetary distribution!

 

  • SHARE MY CARE WITH OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS AND MAKE SURE YOU GIVE YOURSELF PLENTY OF PERSONAL TIME SO YOU HAVE MORE PATIENCE WITH ME!

 

  • THIS MAY SEEM LIKE A LOT, BUT IT IS ACTUALLY WHAT YOU NEED TOO, SO HOPEFULLY AS YOU MAINTAIN MY QUALITY OF LIFE, YOU WILL DO THE SAME FOR YOURSELF!

Thank you loved ones for caring for me and being patient with me to the very end! I know it may be taxing, so once again, remember to divide up the duties so not one of you takes it all on! Remember that the ones who are doing the caregiving have their own needs too and that they need a break. That is where each one of you come in! I love you all and so appreciate who you are to me. I hope you will do the same for me!   PART 2- HOW I WANT TO BE TREATED- THE NITTY-GRITTY DETAILS (Coming Soon).

 Love, Mom, Christie, Grandma, Granny Pants

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Filed under Alternative Medicine, Books, children, community, Elders, exercise, Families, Grandchildren, Grandparents, Granny Pants, health care, nature, Senior Citizens

Sedentarianism: Disease or Addiction? The Dilemmas of a Sedentary Society

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                 The escalating rate of childhood obesity in the U.S. is just one example of  “the canary in the coal mine.” There is a much larger, more encompassing issue at hand of which childhood obesity is just one symptom. This issue is a growing disease/addiction I call “sedentarianism.” In my book published last November, 2009:  The New Physics of Childhood: Replacing Modern Myths with Simple Solutions, I introduce the concept of sedentarianism because in order to fully address the problem of obesity, behavioral issues and an increasingly illiterate and unskilled labor force in the United States, we need to look at all of the connected and contributing factors to our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, not just school lunch programs, high-fructose corn syrup or income disparities.

obesity

The terms sedentarianism and sedintarianism and sedentarism  have been used by others before in publications and posts, yet this post is not do dispute the word itself, but to understand the term itself and its implications in our global future.

The definition of a disease is:  1. A pathological condition of a part, organ, or system of an organism resulting from various causes, such as infection, genetic defect, or environmental stress, and characterized by an identifiable group of signs or symptoms. 2. A condition or tendency, as of society, regarded as abnormal and harmful.

The broad medical definition of an addiction is: persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be physically, psychologically, or socially harmful..

I make my case below for a more conscious global plan to combat sedentarianism. You can decide whether or not it qualifies as a disease or an addiction. Regardless, I hope you will agree that it is worthy of escalated attention.

Sedentarianism is the abnormal daily way of life for a growing number of Americans, adults and children, evolving subtly and slowly over decades of cultural shifts, inventions, and failed policies. We are now in a moment where many of us don’t even realize that sedentarianism is an abnormal way of life, that it is extremely life-threatening and contrary to the physical, psychologial and social needs of every person it affects.  Shift-by-shift and invention-by-invention, we have been and still are, chipping away the amount of physical activity and outdoor activity that each American gets compared to life 50 years ago. With every next new technological invention or seemingly helpful new product or service, we are slipping deeper and deeper into a deceptive lifestyle that is literally killing us from a multitude of angles.

Sedentarianism is an individual problem, a family problem, a city, state, national and growing global problem. Everyone is effected and in order to address this global threat efficiently, we need everyone to be a part of the solution: parents, mayors, city planners, educators and policy makers. Investing in the preventives to sedentarianism with save billions in health care and crime while creating a stronger, healthier, more capable and productive country, whereas if we just focus on antidotes like prisons and pharmaceuticals, we will be drowning in debt with a lose-lose situation for all. So, let us take a closer look at preventives by looking at the subtle changes and symptoms that have led the U.S. to become a nation suffering from sedentarianism.

From The New Physics of Childhood, Chapter 6:

“Many homes in the U.S. today have yards which are surprisingly not even set up with growing kids in mind. Yards are filled with kid-prohibited landscaping like poisonous plants, sharp drop offs, pools without fences, and bare concrete, with no swing-set or jungle gyms or tree forts to play in. Or worse yet, there is no yard at all. There are even people who design new homes to cover an entire lot, foolishly omitting the yard for both children and adults to enjoy.”

couch potato 

 

From Chapter 15:

“Once again,  it is important we discuss “sedentarianism” and the role that city planners and developers have in this social disease. Sedentarianism is propagated by suburban sprawl, box stores, and zoning laws in suburban, rural, and urban communities. Fast food becomes the standard meal for working families when isolated communities are not offered convenient fresh food choices due to zoning laws that favor large chain stores over neighborhood grocers and/or farmer’s markets. Sedentarianism produces higher crime rates when urban communities have zoning laws that permit liquor stores on every corner, selling alcohol, cigarettes, soda and even guns. Sedentarianism increases diabetes rates when these same communities have grocery stores with fresh food on the average of a mile apart with fast food alternatives in closer proximity. Sedentarianism increases isolation when we build new housing tracts far from a city’s hub without connecting public transit. Sedentarianism increases addiction and obesity rates through isolation when we allow apartment buildings to exist without playgrounds, parks, and safe outdoor common areas and/or community centers. Communities forced indoors due to limited healthy opportunities to interact experience numerous negative consequences that impact the larger society.

If we replace six-foot high solid fences and walls that separate and force isolation, with short, and open white picket fences, we invite a smile or wave from a neighbor. If we create front porches with benches or swings that encourage neighbors to sit and greet passersby during morning and evening walks, we encourage familiarity and conversation with one another. If we design garages that do not dominate the front of a house, but are discreetly set in the back or to the side, observation and connectedness become priorities, replacing isolation. We remove the fear factor, “the fear of the unknown.” Lack of knowledge about our neighbors creates a climate of mistrust, fear, and secrecy. These emotions are breeding grounds for crime because unknown community members lack accountability. Isolation robs a person of the feeling of belonging or responsibility to a larger community.

A heightened sense of belonging and higher quality of  life is invaluable to every resident, regardless of age. Safety and inclusion result when grocery shopping is within walking distance, bicycling trails are within every housing tract and neighborhoods connect to every other neighborhood, and are continued to downtown areas in all residential and commercial zones—regardless of distance. This community model is not new; it has been the common European model for centuries; in fact, most of the world’s communities are designed like this and should be celebrated and maintained instead of being replaced with the highly problematic designs of the U.S. suburbs and urban areas.

Commercial facilities and factories with healthy outdoor environments also experience more indoor productivity by increasing employee satisfaction during breaks and lunches. Bicycle trail connectedness from residential communities to the workplace and shower/change facilities at work increase employee health and reduce sick days. Plain and simple: connectedness increases well-being and safety for all.

Communities designed with the citizenry walking and greeting each other have less crime and less problems with adolescents because again, all eyes are upon everyone: nature’s built-in—free of cost—security system.”

from The New Physics of Childhood: Replacing Modern Myths with Simple Strategies

I was in Finland this past winter. After only 1 week, I had already learned about the issues arising from the isolation Somalian immigrants were feeling in Helsinki. Racism and cultural differences are creating a situation that is causing many of these intimidated immigrants to remain indoors, escaping their pain through television.

This newly produced Finnish problem smelled awfully familiar to what I have seen evolving within the immigrant Latino communities I am familiar with in the U.S., specifically California. Disenfranchised populations will isolate themselves as a survival mechanism, yet the devastating effects of sedentarianism prevail in these situations such as obesity, insomnia, depression, aggression, and illness, among others. When immigration policies create fear in any community, sedentarianism increases with all of its by-products.

The education component of sedentarianism is just as important to consider in the future financial and economic health of our planet.  When children and adults are sitting in front of a television or video game or spending hours of useless time on cell-phones and computers (versus productive time), every community is losing this valuable time individuals used to be spending on reading, creating, training, and working. The long-term devastating iphone effects on our global culture are yet to be seen now that our current focus and mania has become the latest “App” or “Tweet” or “Wall Post” instead of the real, tangible activities that drive any healthy economy.

We know today, that children are under-educated, but they are also becoming socially and emotionally incapacitated with an increasingly sedentary culture if they are not getting the “optimum” physical and social face-to-face opportunity to develop these crucial communication and social skills with their own families, peers, and community members. Technology has created more opportunities for socialization on one hand, but on the other hand it has also created more isolation from the outer world, specifically the outdoor and in-person social world where instincts and a multitude of sensory skills are developed.

We have replaced productivity with hobbies, feeding this disease of sedentarianism until now it has become so interconnected into our daily life that it is accepted as normal, even with symptomatic abnormal behaviors like insomnia.  These time wasters of misplaced creativity and distractions are the pathogens, but what we don’t realize is that these pathogens are weakening our physical, psychological and social constitutions which are reducing our chances to transform into productive and prosperous societies. New technology, like a euphoric, fleeting cocaine buzz, has now become indispensible to our economic growth and to everyday life. The product pushers of our economy, who are also addicted, deny this dilemma because it feeds the larger monster: the global economy. Now, as a global culture, we are addicted to the products and behaviors that promote sedentarianism.  Country by country, those who adopt our American dysfunctional ways and seductive products are suffering the same symptoms such as obesity, behavioral problems, learning challenges, suicide, etc.  These results are all connected to this spreading addiction of  sedentary indoor activities that are replacing the vital physical needs of our bodies, minds and spirits.  Though, if we carefully examine this quandry that feeds our economy while killing our population, we can begin to design and promote a new era of productivity based on the real needs of the human being, not perceived, vacant, market driven products that feed the spread of this disease/addiction.

Personally, like the billions of others, I am enthralled with all of these social networking tools. I Twitter & have several Facebook pages  & blogs, but I have seen in my own life how addicting these activities can become. I made a vow this Spring to make the effort to start working more with my hands again and not just on a keyboard. I started a bit of gardening and made a blanket for my new granddaughter that will arrive in August. Last night, as I sewed all of the crocheted squares of her blanket together. I reveled in this very tangible act of  love that would last for many years, just as my latest grandson’s blanket has lasted for him.

At the end of the day, a tangible, creative and lasting measure of my efforts is the most rewarding, whether it be a weekend with my daughters and grandchildren, a published book or a blanket. For me, these are the measure of success. (Of course, I also feel accomplished when a blog post receives an abundant amount of hits and/or comments.)  We all have to find our own measure of success and go for it until we achieve it and then go for it again and again and again. It may be that part of that success does involve sitting at a computer, but at the end of the day, isn’t balance what we are striving for to ensure we are not suffering the effects of sedentarianism?  When we stop going for it is when we are more susceptible to the many addicting distractions of sedentarianism. The distractions that can take us further from ourselves and leave us feeling empty and unfulfilled at the end of every day. We all have physical, psychological and social needs to be fulfilled, regardless of where technology is leading us.

Of course, in my own life, I have found that by being honest with myself about my own vulnerability to succumb is the first step. Then, I know that I need to make sure I start my day physically with exercise, because if I have numerous tasks to accomplish on my laptop such as this blogpost, I know that I will get sucked into this seductive world and that my body will suffer if I don’t start with exercise first!  For me, insomnia and body aches are my clues that I have been too sedentary. We each have our own warning signs. I also know that those around me are observing and learning from my own choices, so I have to kick it up a notch, which becomes a motivator. I love it when my  1 1/2 year old grandson, Hudson comes to watch me exercise and joins in to do his squats. Hudson also gets me out of the house for walks more frequently than when I am by myself. I am just as prone to sedentarianism as the next person. It takes tremendous will power to counteract the everyday temptations like that closer parking spot, the elevator instead of the stairs, television all evening instead of a refreshing walk around the neighborhood, coffee before exercise (which will ruin everything for the day).

Sedentarianism is a preventable. Whether it is cultural disease or addiction, it is being fed in many forms throughout our days in blatant and oh so subtle ways. Even baby monitors today make it unnecessary for a parent to get up and walk to their child’s bedroom to see if they are okay! It seems like every latest invention is geared toward less physical activity, not more. Many of the newest children’s outdoor toys are now battery operated so kids don’t even need to use their legs to make their bike or razors move!

With honesty and awareness we can consciously insist and reward innovations for anyone responsible for city planning and/or new inventions make considerations to increase walking, movement and productivity, while boycotting products or community designs that promote the life-threatening, costly effects of sedentarianism. We are creative beings that are always searching for products or “Apps,” to make life easier, but if easier means less physical movement, perhaps we should consider passing! Maybe that is where the next phone “App” revolution should be: to increase physical activity. I am still waiting for this idea for every classroom in the U.S. : Energy Efficient Bicycle-Powered Classroom  Focusing on inventions like this will stamp out sedentarianism!

Granny Pants

Owner, Chamelea Productions

Author of The New Physics of Childhood: Replacing Modern Myths with Simple Strategies

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A Winter Wonderland

Here are some photos of Helsinki during this very rare and cold winter! My descriptions are lame because it is late and I am tired!

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View from my apt. window

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Dreamy

frosty trees

Frosty Tree

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Frosty Bush

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Frosty Limbs

Since I do not have a good camera with me on this trip, I am sure others are getting spectular photos of Helsinki this week. The fog created almost an inch of flat, paperlike frost on each limb yesterday, but today the fog was lighter. I hope to get more and better photos in the future and am kicking myself for not having a good camera!!!!!!!  I feel like I am in the middle of Dr. Zhivago!

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Filed under #ClimateChange, #Finland, #Helsinki, #Suomi, Global Warming, Granny Pants, nature, winter

GOOD-BYE JET LAG, INSOMNIA, & AMBIEN, I hope!

That was delicious…….a full night’s sleep without the need to drink myself into oblivion.  

After 11 straight days of insomnia, save one brief night of a 5 hr. stretch, I actually slept for almost 8 1/2 hrs. last night without waking. I silently celebrated when I finally opened my eyes this morning to discover it was 7:50am. Not 1:30am, or 3:30am, or 4am, but 7:50am!  

Then, with a bit of rebellion, I went back to sleep, because I could. My friend had recommended not to sleep-in but get up and take a siesta later because it was better. However, after 11 consecutive days of tossing and turning and waking and reading and writing and nonsense of all sorts, it was difficult to resist the temptation to doze off into the most wonderful dreaminess for two more hours, so I did.  Now it feels like a holiday!  

What was the secret to my successful slumber last night?  

I have to confess that I was on the verge of hunting down a sleeping pill if I experienced one more restless night. Me, the anti-pharma activist was actually considering a sleeping pill! Perhaps this experience was important to allow me to step into the shoes of the insomniacs I know. But I knew I wasn’t sleeping for a variety of reasons, which I addressed quite faithfully yesterday as a personal vow to try before I resorted to pharmaceuticals. (I already knew that alcohol didn’t work because I tried it without too much success.) Lack of the following factors contributed to my insomnia:  

  • Exercise- 2 times
  • Fresh Air and natural light
  • Sunshine

These are the three things I got yesterday that I had not had previously. The sun actually came up yesterday, even though it was 20 below zero in this Finnish heaven.  

I practically ran outside to seek the sunshine on my face last morning, after adding an additional 3rd. layer to my clothing.  

Due to the winter darkness here in the north, the sun rises ever so slightly above the horizon for what seems to be a brief moment. Knowing this urged me to rush to capture it, even if it meant stepping onto someone else’s property, which I did after crunching down the icy driveway and road.  

Seeing that glowing ball of light peaking through the dense forest was like the end of  

Here Comes the SUn

Here Comes the Sun!

  my treasure hunt. Naturally, the people who owned the property would understand if they found me. They would know exactly why I was standing in their driveway. I was an authentic sun worshipper.  

There I stood, eyes opened, with just the top half of my face peaking out from my thickly wrapped layers. From my studies and research, I knew that light into the iris stimulates the hormonal responses that regulate normal sleep cycles and I knew that I needed at least fifteen to twenty minutes of the sunlight to produce the changes I needed. I also needed more of the natural light, the reflective light from the snow to help me sleep better. Natural light is extremely important for sleeping as is sunlight and exercise.  

A gentleman I met on the plane over to Helsinki illuminated me about the importance of snow in the northern hemisphere. Rainy winters without snow are dark, whereas when you have snow, you have light reflection and brightness, which is necessary for well-being. (Could climate change affect our mental health as well?) And is this why everyone in Finland seems to be so happy about the snow this year after years of rainy winters due to global warming?* 

Is this also why the Finnish people do not care how cold it is; they are determined to get outside for as long as they can every day, even the children and the elderly. I have enjoyed their appreciation for fresh air and exercise. Just another affirmation regarding what I know we all need no matter our age. 

So, I had the three factors to kick-start once again, which has been my lifelong pattern of solid sleep regardless of my enviroment or conditions (minus the years of babydom, which don’t count). You can’t really separate these factors because all are important, though the actual sunlight had been the one missing link for me for way too many days. The below reference from just one of many studies proves that we do not need to be addicted to pharmaceuticals for restful sleep during winter months or any other time for that matter. This study in the Lancet on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) confirms what I knew to be true:  

“These findings support the use of morning light for treatment of SAD, and are in keeping with the “phase-shift hypothesis”, says Lewy. “People get depressed in winter at least in part because of a delay in their body clocks”, he proposes. In summer, exposure to bright light occurs on waking. In winter, dawn is later, “and since we cue mainly to dawn, our other circadian rhythms drift later, and get out of phase with sleep”. Morning light pushes the rhythms back into phase with sleep, reducing SAD by “removing the internal dysynchrony”. Alternatively, people could simply be more sensitive to light in the morning, he notes.” (Benefits of phototherapy on SAD illuminated by Marilynn Larkin. The Lancet, Volume 352, Issue 9136, Page 1289, 17 October 1998)  

With this morning’s cloudy sky, it gives me a thrill just thinking of that glorious feeling of sunshine on my face yesterday. I hope it was enough to carry over because sunshine does not look like an option today!  

In the past, if I ever find myself ruminating over my thoughts at night, unable to sleep, I can almost always attribute it to lack of exercise and/or natural light. Insomnia doesn’t have a place when the body is in balance. Unresolved issues can be resolved better in the morning after a good night’s sleep, though I have always felt that writing my thoughts down in a journal or on a list of “to-do’s” so I don’t forget them, also helps me release them before bed so I can sleep. Then, I have no excuse. But it almost always stems from lack of exercise first, which prevents my body from shutting down; it is as if there is a clock wound up inside that just can’t stop because it hasn’t wound out yet.  

Yesterday, I was able to get those three necessities to a good night’s sleep in one morning walk: exercise, sunshine, and natural light. How easy it actually was to cure my insomnia! I just wish it wasn’t so darn difficult to find the sunshine around here! 

Today, after posting this, I will bundle up again. It is a little warmer, yet the wind is blowing and I don’t want a chance of cold air sneaking into my bundle. I will head out for my ritual brisk morning walk and enjoy the natural light at least, while it is here because it will be gone in a few hours. 

Wish me luck and remember that natural light and sunshine are highly underrated! Generally in the U.S., we need more of it than we get and perhaps we can give big pharma a run for their money if we take the free stuff instead: sunshine, exercise, and natural light! If it works for me here in the dark winter north of Finland, couldn’t it also work for you.  Bye-Bye Ambien, hello Sun!  

SUNSHINE- EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS

Please leave your thoughts on this subject! I want to know there are more people out there that actually know that we have choices that are much healthier and necessary to our well-being without side effects. 

Oops! I forgot to credit the power of a good piece of literature, the fiction variety; books that take you away from your world so you can actually let go of your attachments enough to slumber!  absent-mindedly, I committed the cardinal sin while packing for my 2 1/2 month-long trip, forgetting to include a good story or two or three to read! I finally bought some books yesterday and will be using these as well to help me sleep better. 

Granny Pants 

*Naysayers on global warming can ruminate on this thought: With several warm winters and the escalation of icebergs falling into our oceans, isn’t this winter just an example similar to a piece of ice being dropped into a glass of warm water? It produces a chilling effect for a short time period and then warms up again. Doesn’t this hypothesis make sense and aren’t we just experiencing the effects of a briefly cooling ocean this winter from this “ice-cube” effect?

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TIME TO MOVE FROM DIVIDE & CONQUER MANIPULATION TO COMMON GROUND FOR A WIN-WIN IN COPENHAGEN!!!

For passionate people like me, dangerous propoganda perfectly timed for sabotage is infuriating! As I listen to tidbits of media this week from NPR to Fox, I am appalled that the left has once againSarah Palin bought into this Divide and Conquer manipulation!

If there was ever a time to stop being sucked in to this manipulation and take the high road, the time is now. The time is now to REFOCUS on the COMMON GROUND we all share. We need to insist that our leaders and media spokespersons move away from expending energy on deflecting these distractions and that they insist on one direction only: strategizing towards WIN-WIN solutions!

Regardless of what anyone thinks about “Climate Change” or “Global Warming”, below are the talking points we should be focusing on during the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, because these points all effect the outcome that yes, does relate to the increase in global warming; but most importantly, these points Al Goreare the ones that are without a doubt, effecting our planet and need immediate attention:

* Overuse of plastics and non-recyclable plastics have produced oceanic waste in the magnitude of the infamous “plastic island” in the Pacific Ocean. This waste is not only threatening ocean species of all types, it is threatening humans through the food chain, increasing carcinogenic compounds in the fish we ingest. When plastic waste turns up in the carcasses of whales and other animals, fish, and birds, we need to start preventing this for everyone’s sake, no matter what a person’s country, political or religious preferences, we can all agree that a whale filled with plastic waste and oil sludge warrants regulation and preventive measures across the board. Plastic comes from oil, needs processing, produces pollution in the air, water, and land sources all throughout the life cycle. WE NEED REGULATION TO REDUCE  PRODUCTION OF PLASTICS AND NON-RECYCLABLE PLASTICS to PREVENT THE SPREAD OF TOXIC WASTE THROUGH LAND, WATER, SKY, AND FOOD SOURCES. If companies have not done this voluntarily up to now, we all know it won’t happen without regulation! CAP AND TRADE IS JUST A NIMBY SOLUTION THAT STILL EFFECTS THE WHOLE!

* When a company mines, or drills for oil or other natural resources anywhere in the world, regulations should be universal to prevent the poisoning of land, water, and air for the surrounding residents, workers, and the planet as clouds filled with toxins travel across the globe. WE NEED UNIVERSAL REGULATION OF TOXIC SUBSTANCES PRODUCED BY NATURAL RESOURCE EXTRACTION AND MANUFACTURING TO PREVENT THE HEALTH RISKS TO SO MANY POPULATIONS, WHICH USUALLY END UP BEING LOW-INCOME POPULATIONS THAT CANNOT ADVOCATE FOR THEMSELVES. We can all Earthshots pollution photoagree that this is not correct or good business in the eyes of any religious leader, God, or whomever. Coal ash, while regulated to reduce the effect of “global warming”, becomes another toxin through land and water sources. We need consistent regulation of toxins throughout the life cycle, not piecemeal shifting from one place to another.

* TRASH IN ALL FORMS NEEDS GLOBAL REGULATION SO WASTE, ELECTRONIC OR OTHERWISE, IS NOT HAULED OFF TO POLLUTE ANOTHER COUNTRY AND ITS CHILDREN.  (Sending carbon under the ocean to make it seemingly disappear will come back to haunt us somewhere down the road, perhaps through aquifirs.) Third world countries handling the waste from industrialized countries once again will continue to be the victims as long as a global criteria is not created. These countries often burn this hazardous waste, which travels through the sky, polluting each one of our bodies in time, regardless of what planetary warming effect it may have. It is toxic and needs regulation!

polluted earth NYCTHESE THREE TALKING POINTS, WE CAN ALL AGREE NEED REGULATION AND SOLUTIONS.

JOBS ARE NEEDED TO CLEAN UP ALL OF THESE TOXIC MINE FIELDS FROM THE RIVERS OF TENNESSEE TO AFRICA, LATIN AMERICA, AND INDONESIA. These jobs can replace the ones that are polluting the planet!

Regulations to address these toxic threats to humanity that we can ALL agree on will also have the effect of reducing global pollution.

NEW AND EXISTING ENERGY PRODUCTION NEEDS REGULATION TO PREVENT THE ABOVE PROBLEMS, whether it be PREVENTING ASTHMA for a CHILD LIVING CLOSE TO THE LOS ANGELES HARBOR or preventing contaminated DRINKING WATER IN APPALACHIA OR INDIA, UNIVERSAL REGULATION TO REDUCE ALL POLLUTION from ENERGY, NATURAL RESOURCES, AND MANUFACTURING PRACTICES WILL BE A WIN-WIN FOR ALL by LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD. This will PREVENT THE systematic MIGRATION OF TOXINS TO ANY OTHER COUNTRY AND PREVENT ANY LOCAL ECONOMY from BECOMING A STATISTIC due to the CURRENT STATE of UNREGULATED GLOBAL INDUSTRIES! 

THE CONTINENT OF AFRICA IS THE NEXT COUNTRY POISED FOR RAMPANT POLLUTING INDUSTRY BY CHINA AND INDIA IF WE DO NOT STOP THIS NOW!

LET’S START WITH WHAT WE CAN ALL AGREE ON AND GO FROM THERE AND STOP BUYING INTO THE DIVIDE AND CONQUER TACTICS THAT A Family at the BeachARE JUST A DIVERSION FOR THESE DEEPER ISSUES THAT NEED GLOBAL SOLUTIONS AND REGULATIONS SIGNED BY ALL COUNTRIES NOW!

Me & Baby Manzanillo World Leaders, please take the high road! Our children are depending on you to do so!

Granny Pants

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Jane Goodall-A Contemporary Perspective from A Timeless Advocate!

Jane Goodall with a friendHow wonderful that you came for a visit! You are one of hundreds to do this, all in the name of  Jane Goodall  , whose name triggers either a person’s memory or their deep need to understand what makes this iconic woman tick.   It is obvious from all of the visits to this blog via searches for Jane Goodall that we need more people like her in our world.

Is Jane Goodall still the number 1 leading voice of the need for more human integrity regarding our natural world? More compassionate and visionary voices are needed to drown out the superficial soundbites of popular culture; voices that remind us of what is really at stake with the daily choices we make. Jane Goodall reminds us that ONE person CAN really make a difference! We are ALL that ONE PERSON! Who are you and what do you stand for? I am so curious to know who you are and where your current inquisitiveness about Jane Goodall comes from!

As I enjoy ‘nature walks’ with my 2 1/2 year old grandson Hudson, watching him explore the tiniest living insects, animals and plants wherever we go, I am reminded of where this nature appreciation developed for me. Jane and I both have our work centered around a healthier future for our children and our planet. Much of my work today has been influenced by my childhood exposure to this wonderful woman and her work.  For me, it starts with parents because a parent is the strongest influence in a child’s life, in a child’s value system. Jane Goodall, among others gives me inspiration to continue the immense job of advocating and educating in the name of a better future for our children and our planet, no matter how old I become.

Jane Goodall’s name triggers years of rich, interesting photos and stories I soaked up as a child from my mother’s vast National Geographic collection. I used to dream of what it would be like to live the life of Jane Goodall. In my young impressionable mind, to live with the wild with animals was the ultimate. This young woman was living a dream. But who are the modern environmental heroes that young people today dream of emulating?

In her youth, Jane Goodall taught us about our commonality with the natural world and its inabitants. She introduced us to the humanity of the animal kingdom and developed our compassion for chimpanzees and other animals through years of tireless work and patient study. She touched people of every age and continues to do this today.

In 2009 a lifetime of memories about Jane Goodall’s work came flooding forth in a breathless moment as I was walking through the 2009 Women’s Conference in Long Beach. There she was. The icon, the legend, petite and lithe, graceful and calm. She was being taped during an interview for the conference. A small croud of fans surrounded her, I among them. 

Feeling like a child, I waited for the moment, opened my journal, and quickly askedJane Goodall's Autograph from the 2009 Women's Conference her if she could sign my journal so I could share this moment with my children and grandchildren. She quietly obliged, looking at me a little strangely as if she was thinking,  “What does this have to do with anything?” I thanked her and stepped back, making room for others as I could see this window of opportunity was brief.  Her ‘peeps’ were getting ready to hurry her off to another important affair.

I never know what to say to famous people I admire! In hindsight, I always have a better response; the one I replay in my mind over and over, as if I will ever have a second chance.  Not every famous person leaves me speechless, only those I hold a reverence for, like Jane Goodall! So, this time, instead of dithering about what I should write to her, I will do something different.

Jane’s acceptance speech at the 2009 Minerva Awards this year was the closing speech of the Women’s Conference and well worth every single word. She brilliantly formulated a message that spontaneously included the other winners, her life, and our future as a human race. It was intimate, powerful, inspiring! As a member of Toastmasters International, I am aware of the elements of an exceptional speech.

Jane Goodall  is an incredible speaker, a revolutionary leader, a doer and advocate for the natural world. To honor her work and support her latest project Roots and Shoots, I encourage you to check out: http://www.rootsandshoots.org/ and invite others to do the same. As an inspired young person that literally changed the world’s view of the chimpanzee, Jane Goodall understands the power of youth, especially when it is combined with meaning and inspiration. Now, in her later years she is effectively empowering this generation of youth to be an integral part of the solution. Jane Goodall is synonymous with “change agent.” She knows like so many other memorable leaders, that when we understand our mission on the planet, our work is never done; nor do we every tire of doing it!

If you are a young person, as I was when I first learned about her work, I encourage you to find a way to work with this phenomenol spirit or someone as passionate as Jane is. People like Jane Goodall are rare jewels. You are also invited you to listen to the eloquence of her timeless message. She expresses something we will all benefit from hearing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QlAC5llsOg&feature=channel

Thank you Jane Goodall! I will continue to follow your inspirational leadership and willingness to break through barriers, educate the masses, and to be an effective part of the global solutions we need.

vbn   NEWS FLASH: Since writing this post, a new children’s book has just been published on Jane Goodall’s life. It is beautifully illustrated and effectively, yet simply captures the life of this amazing earth servant: Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps (Written & Illustrated by Jeanette Winter: 2011, Random House).   vbn

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KEN BURNS’ BEST IDEA

Yes! I am one of those reignited Americans.

After watching Ken Burns’ deeply resonating and extremely patriotic documentary on the history of America’s National Parks, “America’s Best Idea”, I have renewed passion for our National Treasures. Through tears and laughter and constant gratitude, I watched this indepth historical journey. I reflected on my own experiences with our National Parks and imagined those to come. As a child I grew up with memories of a very few, yet significant family camping trips. My grandparents were more equipped than us to do such a thing; their old family movies include reels and reels of family camping and fishing trips on lakes and campgrounds along the Pacific Coast. When I became a mother, I exposed my own children to the beautiful Colorado Rocky naturescapes and the Pacific Coastal wonders as much as I could. An innate feeling that nature is healing and necessary has always been a part of me. Perhaps my early park experiences helped to shape this idea.

After my children were grown, I made it a point to visit some of the National Parks I had never been able to visit before. The first time to Yosemite was an absolute epiphany.

The Breathtaking Yosemite Valley

The Breathtaking Yosemite Valley

I had traveled the world prior and frequently met other international travelers that asked me about Yosemite. Apologetically, I confessed I had never been.  One year, at the last minute on an unexpected free weekend, I decided to find out what all of the fuss was about. I also decided not to buy into Yosemite’s 6-month reservation calendar because my life could not accomodate long range plans like this. And as was my nature (a quality I hope to never lose), I just packed up a sleeping bag, some food, a flashlight, my journal, a knife and headed for the Yosemite Valley.

Half Dome

Half Dome

When I first entered the park, after gasping at the spectacular views, I found myself at the base of Half Dome, observing a mountain climber, along with about 50 other tourists. At this moment, still without a campsite for the night, I met a woman from New Zealand who was then living in Sedona. She, like me had also left for her Yosemite adventure without reservations. We buddied up and found a campsite right at dusk. This woman had come all the way to Yosemite to see a bear! She told me she had dreamt of coming to Yosemite to see a bear her entire life. I told her not to wish for that because it could mean trouble, though secretly, like all Yosemite or Yellowstone tourists, I wished to see a bear too!

 

Young Bear Yosemite- from Flickr Photo stream: StartAgain

Young Bear Yosemite- from Flickr Photo stream: StartAgain

While we were preparing the site for our dinner in the pitch black of the full-to-capacity campground, I suddenly heard this woman talking to someone. When I looked up, I saw her running through the campground with her flashlight after a young, adolescent sized black bear! As she ran after it, she was calling out for it to come to her like someone would call a dog. The bear must of thought this woman was as crazy as she was and it most assuredly escaped her madness with success. After he got away, we laughed at the story that we both knew would become a part of our individual Yosemite history. My other memories of Yosemite during that first visit were more introspective than the drama of a bear sighting so I will not recount them. There are just some things to keep to yourself. This Spring, I introduced the magic of Yosemite to my husband as well. It is a thrill to relive your own first time as you watch the eyes of a person seeing the Yosemite Valley for their first time. Yosemite was a birthday present with timeless value.

 

Tranquility

Tranquility

Most recently this past week, for the first time in years, I went camping at a small lake near Lake Tahoe with my daughter and my grandson. We camped for the better part of five days right next to the tranquil lakefront where we fished from our raft. We hiked to the top of a mountain where we saw a bald eagle protecting it’s young in a treetop nest; we roasted marshmallows; we gazed at the magnificent Milky Way Galaxy in awe of how miniscule our moments really are on this planet in the scheme of the life of the universe; we listened to nothing, to the stillness, to the birds and the chipmunks playing chase with our dog. We reveled in the gifts that nature offers us without asking anything in return, other than to protect it. We did this without cell phones or internet and we survived! Yes, after watching Ken Burns’ fabulous documentary following this most recent camping trip, I have a renewed commitment to ensure I do not deprive myself of these gifts of scenery and solitude I am so blessed to have-like every other American! Our state and national parks are ours only because of the tireless dedication of the many individuals that fought to preserve them during the last century. They fought to protect and maintain their beauty for us to enjoy.

Each park has it’s heroes and most importantly, the President of the era, who also understood the need to protect our National Treasures. I feel newly blessed to be able to live in the United States and to have the freedom to visit these glorious monuments of nature whenever I choose. I promise to always do my best to explore another park I haven’t seen, and to continue to share these parks with others who haven’t experienced the euphoria they offer.

We owe it to our children and grandchildren to share these blessings, whether we enjoyed them as children or not. In a down economy, or during a period of unemployment, what better gift to give our families than the peace, tranquility, and awesome magnificence that transcends momentary challenges. What better, economical gifts are there than those gifts that our natural world offers to us. Create your own stories, share these parks with your own children, Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer. No matter what is going on in the planet, we still have our National Parks! Thank you Ken Burns for reminding us how absolutely blessed we all are as Americans, how reverent we owe ourselves to be for these gifts, and how those with persistence and vision beyond the moment have given us these timeless legacies. I wish every single American could watch this documentary from beginning to end. It is some of our most important national history to be learned and preserved. http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/

THANK YOU KEN BURNS! THIS DOCUMENTARY ON THE HISTORY OF OUR NATIONAL PARKS WAS YOUR BEST IDEA!

Most Gratefully,

Granny Pants

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