Saturday, July 23, 2016

Gotcha Day ~ for Clawdia on Caturday

From scared and scrawny ...

... to cuddly cute, in less than a year.

Last July, I asked her if she wanted to come live with me.
She snuggled against my hand and chirped a "meow-WUP,"
which I took as a "yes."

Clawdia is the friendliest cat I've ever known,
running to our neighbors to be petted.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Visiting my sister

Yesterday, I drove 484 miles from St. Louis to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where I am staying with one of my daughters.  Today, I drove another 45 miles from there to visit my sister Ann and her daughter Amy.  I had lots of traffic delays both days, but good visits with my family.  This photo shows my sister and me.  I'm holding their dog Ellie.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sunday Salon ~ changing my life

The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution: 2 Weeks to Drop Pounds, Boost Metabolism, and Get Healthy ~ by Marla Heller, 2012, health
The DASH diet isn't just for healthy living anymore — now it's for healthy weight loss, too.  Using the newest DASH diet research, Heller has created the most effective diet for quick and lasting weight loss.  This is the only book to bring you the latest updates for the DASH diet, integrated with the latest weight loss research, which work synergistically to maximize results.  This effective and easy program includes menu plans, recipes, shopping and lists.  Everything you need to lose weight and get healthy.  Readers will enjoy a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat and nonfat dairy, lean meats/fish/poultry, nuts/beans/seeds, heart healthy fats, and limited amounts of whole grains.  Banished are the empty calories from refined grains and added-sugars.  The result:  improved metabolism, lower body fat, improved strength and cardiovascular fitness — with the diet plan proven to lower cholesterol and blood pressure without medication, and without counting calories.  Superior to the original DASH diet for heart health and turbocharged for weight loss.
In last week's Sunday Salon, I mentioned getting one of Heller's earlier books from my library.  Both it and the other book available from that library are several years old, so after eating out with friends this evening, we stopped by a bookstore on our way home and bought all three books about the DASH diet the store had.  One each.  Sandy chose the other Marla Heller book that I had checked out from my library, and Donna got this one:

DASH Diet For Dummies ~ by Sarah Samaan, Rosanne Rust, and Cynthia Kleckner, 2014, health
When high blood pressure becomes chronic, it's called hypertension — a condition that affects 970 million people worldwide — and is classified by the World Health Organization as a leading cause of premature death.  While medications can help, nothing beats dietary and lifestyle modifications in the fight against high blood pressure, and the DASH diet is a powerful tool in your arsenal.  Focusing on lowering sodium intake and increasing fiber, vitamins, and minerals can help lower your blood pressure in as little as two weeks.  It's no wonder that the DASH Diet has been ranked the number one diet for three years in a row and is endorsed by the American Heart Association, The National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, and The Mayo Clinic.  DASH Diet for Dummies is your ultimate guide to taking control of your body once and for all.  Originally conceived to alleviate hypertension, the DASH Diet has been proven effective against a number of conditions including Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, PCOS, weight loss, and more.  This book contains all the information you need to put the diet into practice, including recipes and a 14-day Menu Planner to help you get started today.
As we left the bookstore with our new DASH Diet books, Sandy said, "We've just formed the DASH diet support group you suggested earlier, Bonnie." And so we have. This week, I put together a notebook I've labeled "Exercise and Eat Right," which includes information from the books I've been reading and pages I put together to log my exercise, my weight, my blood sugar results, and my blood pressure.  Yes, DASH does come from "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension."  My high blood pressure (hypertension) is the reason my doctor put me on this diet in the first place.  We're off and running in our quest for dietary and lifestyle modifications, starting with our exercise class tomorrow morning, which I'm leading in the absence of our teacher, who's on vacation.  I plan to share this information about various kinds of exercise (from pp.93-94 in Heller's DASH Diet Action Plan book):
  • Resistance Exercise ~ strength training to boost metabolism
  • Endurance Exercise ~ aerobic activity to lower blood pressure
  • Flexibility Exercise ~ stretching to reduce the pain of arthritis
  • Balance Exercise ~ to help prevent falls
Bloggers gather in the Sunday Salon — at separate computers in different time zones — to talk about our lives and our reading.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Readers' Workouts ~ exercising healthy habits

John Wesley with our book of rules
I read an article today listing ways United Methodists fail to uphold the rules in our Book of Discipline.  One item on the list says:  "Failure of clergy to exercise habits conducive to bodily health (¶304.2)."  Hmm, I think we could shorten that and say truthfully about some:  "Failure of clergy to exercise."

Not my group, though we are seniors.
I am in an exercise class that meets twice a week for 45-60 minutes.  Our leader left for vacation this week, and I agreed to lead the group.  No, I'm not qualified to teach a class, but I can lead by asking, "What other routines do you remember?"  With all of us suggesting parts of our regular exercise routines, we got through one session without our leader this week and will do two more next week.  One person said as she left, "Good class.  I worked up a sweat."  So did I.

Readers’ Workouts is the weekly event where book lovers share workout stories, goals, successes, and challenges.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Library Loot ~ eBook supplemented

Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir ~ by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie with Rita Lurie, 2009
This memoir explores an emotional legacy — forged in the terror of the Holocaust — that has shaped three generations of lives.  Leslie Gilbert-Lurie tells the story of her mother, Rita, who like Anne Frank spent years hiding from the Nazis, and whose long-hidden pain shaped both her daughter's and granddaughter’s lives.  Bringing together the stories of three generations of women, she reveals how deeply the Holocaust lives in the hearts and minds of survivors and their descendants.
In case you wonder about my subject line, the supplement is this memoir.  I bought it for my Kindle and discovered "Rita's Family Tree" on the page before the Prologue.  It's hard to read the 50 to 60 family names on the  chart in the library's hardback copy, but absolutely impossible for me to read them on my small Kindle.  So I borrowed the book from the library to run off a page of the family tree and to get a look at the many photos scattered throughout the book.  Sometimes an actual book works better than the electronic version.  At least, it does for me.
Understanding the Bible: An Introduction for Skeptics, Seekers, and Religious Liberals ~ by John A Buehrens, 2003
This introductory book is designed to help empower skeptics, seekers, nonbelievers, and those of a liberal and progressive outlook to reclaim the Bible from literalists.  In making accessible some of the best contemporary historical, literary, political, and feminist readings of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, it encourages all who would find in the biblical heritage an ally and not an enemy in the quest for a more just and humane world.  Four preliminary chapters on the why, who, which, and how of biblical understanding are followed by eight brief thematic chapters covering the core of the Hebrew Bible and six covering the Christian scriptures.
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Linda @ Silly Little Mischief that encourages us to share the names of books we checked out of the library.  See what others got this week.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A pair is two, or is it? ~ TWOsday

Forever, Erma: Best-Loved Writing From America's Favorite Humorist ~ by Erma Bombeck, 1996, humor, 8/10
Erma Bombeck was an American humorist who achieved great popularity for her newspaper column that described suburban home life from the mid-1960s until the late 1990s.  She published 15 books and wrote over 4,00 newspaper columns, some of which are collected in this volume.
Let's blame this post on Erma Bombeck, shall we?  I've been reading Forever, Erma, and I guess her quirky way of thinking rubbed off on me.  On Saturday night, I was 86% of the way through my Kindle edition, which (it tells me) is page 236 of 274 pages.  When I put down my Kindle and turned out the light, my mind took up this word puzzle:
Why do we say "a pair of pants" when it's a single item?  The words "pants" and "jeans" both end with -s, which is how we usually make words plural in English.  And we say, "I bought a pair of jeans."  Why?
The next day, I looked online for "pair of," which is how I solve word problems these days.  That "pair of" words could be defined as "Single items referred to as pairs."  The example given was a pair of pants."  Uh-huh, I got that already.  Then I found a long list that included lots of examples, such as:
  • a pair of scissors
  • a pair of glasses
  • a pair of pliers
  • a pair of clippers
On the other hand, two separate items that commonly come together are also called a pair:
  • a pair of shoes
  • a pair of socks
  • a pair of gloves
  • a pair of cuff links
  • a pair of earrings
  • a pair of skates
  • a pair of crutches
  • a pair of chopsticks
Then we also have the confusion of being able to count pairs of things:  six pairs of scissors, three pairs of shoes, two pairs of earrings.  But I still don't know why this is the way we talk.  I decided to share the pair of pears above because they fit at least one of's definitions of "pair":
  1. two identical, similar, or corresponding things that are matched for use together:
    a pair of gloves; a pair of earrings.
  2. something consisting of or regarded as having two parts or pieces joined together:
    a pair of scissors; a pair of slacks.
  3. two individuals who are similar or in some way associated:
    a pair of liars; a pair of seal pups.
  4. a married, engaged, or dating couple.
The pair of pears are (is?) a twosome, a couple.  I went back to my online search and found this informative answer to the question Why is the word "pants" plural?  Here's a snippet:
"Before the days of modern tailoring, such garments, whether underwear or outerwear, were indeed made in two parts, one for each leg.  The pieces were put on each leg separately and then wrapped and tied or belted at the waist (just like cowboys’ chaps).  The plural usage persisted out of habit even after the garments had become physically one piece.  However, a shirt was a single piece of cloth, so it was always singular."

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sunday Salon ~ eat, drink, exercise, and read

When I went to my doctor for a follow-up appointment, she said my blood pressure is up and put me on the DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).  So I got a couple of books from the library:
  1. The DASH Diet Action Plan: Proven to Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol without Medication ~ by Marla Heller, 2007, health
  2. The DASH Diet for Hypertension: Lower Your Blood Pressure in 14  Days — Without Drugs ~ by Thomas Moore and three others, 2001, health
I ran across this online list of ten warning signs that about being dehydrated and decided to make sure I'm drinking enough water, especially since I woke up one day last week with severe cramps in both my legs (see #4):
  1. Increased heart rate
  2. Bad breath and dry mouth
  3. Sudden food cravings
  4. Joint and muscle pain
  5. Intense headaches
  6. Upset stomach
  7. Fatigue
  8. Infrequent urination
  9. Dry skin
  10. Trouble focusing
I thought I was drinking plenty of water, but now I'll start counting how much water I actually drink each day.

Clawdia is a friendly cat — here she's visiting a neighbor in the hall.
Besides watching what I eat and drink, exercise is the other component of getting healthier.  I've been attending an exercise class twice a week, but maybe I should exercise more often.  I guess I could do more walking, though I already walk around the Crown Center each day for the activities I've signed up for, go shopping for groceries and other necessities, run errands with and for some of the people who live here, and take my cat for a walk at least once daily, though I admit we stop a lot so she can investigate smells and look at everything dropped on the carpets and visit anyone who invites her to be petted.  Maybe I can get in the habit of doing a short exercise routine every morning.  Maybe.

Bloggers gather in the Sunday Salon — at separate computers in different time zones — to talk about our lives and our reading.