Dry Skin – Driving Me Crazy!

Windbeeches on the Schauinsland in Germany (Bl...Image via Wikipedia

It’s A Long Wait Until Spring!

Okay, even though I kept hearing birds chirping outside my window early in the morning for a few days, (they were fooled by the mild weather); I know that our Michigan winter isn’t even close to being over – not by a long shot.  Case in point: The sky just dumped around eight inches of that old white stuff on us on Sunday.  And you know as well as I do, that with this cold, snowy weather comes a serious lack of humidity in the air. 

Scritch, Scratch

My skin isn’t happy with this dry air.  My scalp is itching as I type this. My back itches in that certain spot where my hand just cannot reach and where in the heck is that back scratching contraption we used to have?  My hands are as rough as sandpaper. 

My hubby just bought himself an acoustic guitar and what in God’s name does THAT have to do with dry winter air? Well, he had to buy a $14.99 humidifier, which consists of  a sponge and a little sponge container. You wet the sponge, stick it in the container, then place in the guitar so that it doesn’t crack from the harsh Michigan winters.  I kid you not. The guy from the Guitar Center insisted that he buy one; no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

However, dry air is not the only cause of dry skin, according to WebMD.  Soap can be drying, as well as those long, hot showers that are so comforting in the winter. Certain medicines people take may also be a factor.  Learn more about what’s causing your dry skin here.

Dry Skin Driving You Crazy, Too?

Here are some cures:

The Home Remedies website has a list of 25 Natural Remedies for Dry Skin, and this list includes some unique ideas, using items you just might have in your house already.  

Holistic Online also has some natural options, as well as recipes for a homemade skin cleanser and mask that can be used to combat facial dryness. Holistic Online also talks about herbs that help remedy dry skin.

Got dry hands?  Here are some inexpensive options to try, compliments of Leigh Egan, at eHow.com. 

Related articles

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Don’t Know Much About: Lewy Body Dementia

Recently, I read a moving article in “O,” Oprah’s magazine.  The author, Beth Macy, told the story of Lynn Forbish, a former copy-desk chief for a Virginia newspaper, who had developed Lewy Body Dementia

Lynn Forbish asked Macy to write the story, so people would become more aware of this “thing,” as she referred to the disorder, after momentarily forgetting its name. Beth Macy described the younger, feistier version of Ms. Forbish – a woman who could, and did, terrorize journalists at the newspaper with her sharp tongue and biting wit.

What is Lewy Body Dementia?
Though I read at the Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA) website that it’s a common form of dementia, almost as common as Alzheimer’s, I had never heard of this condition prior to reading Beth Macy’s article. 

According to the LBDA, this progressive brain disease has symptoms that are common to both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, so it’s under-diagnosed; many doctors aren’t familiar with it.  As described by the Family Caregiver Alliance, “lewy bodies,” named after Frederich Heinrich Lewy, M.D., are “abnormal protein structures” located in the nerve cells of an affected patient’s brain.

Symptoms, Treatment, Support

HelpGuide describes the symptoms of LBD, which include hallucinations, a decline in mental abilities, difficulty with day-to-day tasks, and sleep issues, as well as changes in some bodily functions. This HelpGuide article also talks about diagnosis and treatment of this disease, and provides tips for caregivers whose loved one suffers from LBD.

The LBDA is an excellent source of support and resources for family members and caregivers. This association also offers an email newsletter, the Lewy Body Digest, providing the latest information in treatments and research.

Lynn Forbish’s Story:
Beth Macy’s story about Lynn Forbish from the Roanoke Times newspaper:

The above article was written in 2007 – Lynn Forbish died in 2010, according to Ms. Macy’s article in O magazine.  

Further Resources:
(1) Mayo Clinic, Lewy Body Dementia

(2) National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NINDS Dementia With Lewy Bodies Information Page
(3) Johns Hopkins Medicine offers a free Guide to Understanding Dementia

Super Foods For Your Heart

Did you know that eating popcorn can enhance your heart’s health? (Go easy on the butter, though, or skip it altogether) Dark chocolate is also good for the heart, as well as raisins; which protect us from gum disease as well as heart disease.  These are just a few of the “heart healthy superfoods” revealed in this article by AOL Health. 

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The Dreaded Muffin Top

From Baby Fat to Muffin Tops

Did you ever notice that chubby bellies (and thighs, for that matter) look extremely cute on babies, but not so cute on the rest of us?

I have taken note, however, that many teenage girls and even twenty-something young women appear to be proud of their muffin tops, often flaunting them with low rise jeans and midriff baring tops.

We boomer age women, on the other hand, tend to want to hide that extra belly fat and if we found a genie in a bottle, I’m willing to bet that one of our three wishes would be to make Miss Muffy disappear!

Enter: Body Shapers, Once Known As Girdles
My mom wore a girdle to hide hers; nowadays, the word “girdle” has lost its acceptance in women’s vocabulary. We wear ’em, but now we call the “Spanx.” (??) They even have “man spanx,” but that’s another blog post (one I won’t be writing). 

Image via Wikipedia?

I’ve seen these body shapers in department stores; sorry, but they still look as scary as girdles. Can you breathe in those things? God only knows.

Actually, I did try one on once. It was after my body changed on me, as if some alien had taken it over. I started collecting extra weight in my stomach and back.  So I went to J.C. Penney.  Pulled a spanxy thingy off the rack. Stood in the dressing room and tried to figure out how that little thing was going to “shape” me.

I yanked. I pulled. I held my breath. Somehow, my tummy flab was pulled down to my thighs – still can’t figure out how THAT happened.  Not a good look for me.

What To Do Next?

Plan B: Lose the ab and back flab. Not so easy, I guess, but a healthier alternative to those body shapers. Yea, the muffin top not only looks bad, but it’s also not so good for our health, especially after menopause, when the muffin top officially becomes a “menopot,” as described by Pamela Peeke at WebMD. She also talks about “smart eating,” which helps eliminate that flab around the mid-section.

Too much belly fat can be bad for your heart, and can lead to diabetes and high blood pressure, just to name a few health concerns. The Mayo Clinic article, Belly fat in women: How to keep it off, talks more about how a muffin top affects our health and how to fight back.

Harvard Health Publications also published an informative article titled Abdominal fat and what to do about it, which talks about what researchers have discovered about the connection between body fat distribution and health risks.
Men Have Muffin Tops, Too
Just as an FYI for the men out there:  You may not refer to your extra belly fat as a muffin top, in favor of other endearing terms, such as “beer gut,” but just remember, guys; no matter what you call it, it’s bad for your health, too

Boomer Men, Protect Your Health!

Take Care of Yourself, Guys!

Hey all you male boomers out there! Are you taking care of yourself? Or does your wife or significant other have to push you to go to the doctor for annual physicals? Do you visit the doc for all those age-related tests you should be getting?

You do want to hang around with your wife for a looonnnnggg time, don’t ya?  Navigating through old age is more fun if you’ve got someone to face it with you. And just remember, before you know it, you’ll be able to turn down your hearing aid so you can’t hear her nag you!

Being Pro-Active 

I’m a big believer in a pro-active approach to health and wellness.  If you take the same stance, you may want to check out the Men’s Health section of the Mayo Clinic website. 

The Mayo Clinic Staff can help you prevent your 7 top health threats; number 1 being heart disease.

There are also a lot of other articles relating to men’s health topics, such as:

You can also sign up for the Mayo Clinic Health Manager, an online tool you can use to organize your health information, as well as your family’s.  You can also get health advice from Mayo Clinic experts through this health manager. (By the way, the health manager maintains a high level of security features to protect your information)
Take it from me, guys; we women really like having you around.  If it wasn’t for you, how would the snow get shoveled, or the lawn get cut? My car would never get an oil change if my hubby wasn’t around, or for that matter, a car wash! (I have an irrational fear of automated car washes)
So please, take care of your health. We’re counting on you.

5 Reasons To Love Solitude

Silent Snowfall

The other day, I offered to shovel out the driveway for my hubby, giving him a break from what is normally “his” task (yep, he does “outside the castle” stuff, while I’m the “inside of the castle” queen).  This was a couple days after our so-called “snowmaggedon,” and with no warning at all from the doppler radar weather gurus, we got a snowfall that added several inches to our already white carpet of snow.

While taking a break from the shoveling, I just stood there and listened to the winter silence. Don’t you love how the snow muffles the sound of the world?  Then, in the distance, I heard the mournful sound of a train whistle, a sound I’ve always loved, for some unknown reason. Just being outside, alone in that quietude, I felt at peace. 

The Joy of Solitude

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved those times of solitude.  I often walked to my elementary school alone, and one of my favorite solitary treks was to my hometown’s library, which was about a mile from my house.

As I got older, I enjoyed bike rides by myself and would also travel by car to my dad’s house in the upper peninsula of Michigan, an eight hour drive. 

Nowadays, I like the quiet of the house on Friday evenings, when my husband is at bowling and I have the house to myself. I leave the television and computer off, and just read. After a day at work, with phones constantly ringing, work interruptions by co-workers, and other distractions, it’s nice to simply be alone with my thoughts.

How Solitude Has Helped Me

  • Solitude helps clear my mind of everyday clutter and helps me focus.
  • Solitude de-stresses me.
  • Solitude ofen helps me find a solution to a problem, or at least gives me some temporary distance from the issue.
  • Solitude helps me come up with ideas for my writing.
  • Finally, solitude helps me learn more about myself and what I want to accomplish in my life.

I’m not a hermit, by any means.  I enjoy my friendships, and know I benefit from them.  I’m happy in the company of my husband, and I sometimes miss my Friday evening dinners with my daughter (she’s away at college), but I also find that solitude can be a joy, and enhances my feelings of wellness.

What about you?  Is finding solitude a necessity for you?  What benefits do you reap from it?

Further Reading:

Leo Babauta of Zen Habits writes about the lost art of solitude.

Change My Life: A Great Blog Find!

A Blog’s Siren Song

I recently stumbled across a blog that called out to me, as I was yet again surfing the Internet, seeking out good stuff, in hopes of creating a great and memorable blog post. 

It’s called Change My Life, and it’s written by Steve Thomas, a self-described writer, storyteller, and show-off.

What Caught My Eye

I started to laugh when I read the post on his home page, titled: How Do I Get More Out Of Life? It made me laugh because it rang so true. He stated a simple truth: If you want more out of life, get off your ass. Anyone who thinks that all they have to do is follow that Law of Attraction philosophy espoused by many self-help “gurus” isn’t going to get much out of life.

Steve isn’t denying that hope and optimism are important in life – he just stresses the importance of taking action.  A philosophy I wholeheartedly agree with. 

Not The Only Good Post, Of Course

Anyhoo, I was intrigued and had to read further.

I enjoyed:

Would You Like To Be Proud



 More Stuff From Steve

Steve also writes FunGeezer – writing for those of us who want to live a “full and enjoyable life.” I can relate, ‘cuz that’s how I want to live. Hey, at almost 54 years old, I’d say it’s high time to just enjoy life – who knows what waits around the corner?

(Well, I  actually do know what waits around the corner, hopefully a corner WAY in the future: I’m talking about that guy with the scythe wearing that long robe with the hood, face hidden in darkness . . . ) When he comes for me, I want to say to myself, “I lived, and I lived abundantly.”

He also authors stevecthomas in which he shares his experiences as a writer and gives advice to would-be writers. 

Steve has a damn good attitude, and it shows in his writing.  It’s bloggers like him, and so many others I’ve “met” on the Internet, that keep me plugging along with my writing.  I feel like I’ve found many kindred spirits on this journey.  I like that.

I just love finding great blogs to read, don’t you?

Soup – The Ultimate Comfort Food

February 4th is National Homemade Soup Day!

The Gone Ta Pott website has declared today as National Homemade Soup Day. Not soup in a can day.  Real homemade soup, made from scratch.

Do you remember your favorite soup as a kid?  I sure do.

A common chicken soup variation, with egg nood...Image via Wikipedia
My mom made the best chicken soup in the neighborhood, maybe even in the world. (Well, in my humble opinion, that is). Back in those days, that wonderful sixties decade, my dad would drive to Hamtramck, (Michigan’s home for all things Polish) and pick out a fresh chicken from the butcher shop. (Believe me, you don’t want to know any more details about that poor chicken – sorry, PETA).

None of that frozen chicken from the grocery store. Nope, that just wouldn’t do.

And Then . . .

Mom would cook up a broth from that chicken, add carrots and onions and celery and peppercorn and chicken bouillon cubes, throw in a bay leaf, then shred the cooked chicken and add that in there too. That soup would simmer all day long, until the house smelled so heavenly I couldn’t wait another minute to eat it!

Oh man, I can taste it now.  It’s one of my favorite comfort foods, one that, as a kid, I found to be the best medicine for the common cold. 
Mom’s Chicken Soup

1 stewing chicken, cup up (3 ½ – 4 lbs)
3 quarts water
1 medium onion, quartered
4 celery ribs
2 or more chicken bouillon cubes (to your taste)
1 tsp minced garlic
½ cup thinly sliced carrots
3 cups cooked rice or noodles

Place chicken and water in a large soup pot or dutch oven, bring to boil. Reduce heat, add onion, celery, bouillon and garlic. Cover and simmer until chicken is tender, about 1 hour. Remove chicken and allow to cool. Strain and reserve broth, discard vegetables. Add carrots to broth and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Debone chicken and cut into cubes. Add chicken to broth and heat through. Ladle into bowls and add rice or noodles.

What’s your favorite homemade soup?

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