Sunday, February 27, 2011

Six Foods You Didn't Think Were Good for You...But Are; Tisanes Tea; Q Fever From Pets?

Good to know cuz I love them all>>and, yes, apparently I am on a health kick today! ;-)
I highly recommend subscribing to two online weekly e-newletters loaded with all kinds of useful info, not just regarding health, but most anything you can think of is in Bottomline Secrets; great women's health info in their Healthy Women e-letter>>

6 Foods You Didn't Think Were Good for You...But Are
John La Puma, MD
Santa Barbara Institute for Medical Nutrition and Healthy Weight

Many foods that we perceive as nutritional lightweights actually are just as healthy as -- and, for many people, more enjoyable than -- the so-called superfoods, such as broccoli and spinach. Here, some of the best...

The light green color of iceberg lettuce suggests that it isn’t rich in nutrients.

Fact: Iceberg contains lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that reduce the risk for cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, the leading causes of blindness in older adults.

Bonus: Eat a salad at the beginning of a meal. It is low in calories and, like any food, stimulates the release of cholecystokinin (CCK), a satiety hormone that reduces appetite and causes people to consume fewer calories overall.

It contains more water than most fruits. The high liquid content, along with the sugars and fiber, make watermelon the perfect snack before workouts. But it’s more than a snack food.

Fact: Watermelon contains 40% more lycopene than fresh (uncooked) tomatoes. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and may lower the risk for breast and prostate cancers.

Helpful: When you take a watermelon home, keep it on the counter even after cutting it open. Room-temperature watermelon continues to produce antioxidants for about two weeks. It will contain up to 40% more lycopene and up to 139% more beta-carotene than cold watermelon.

Fresh, minimally processed vegetables are presumed to be the healthiest. Not always.

Fact: One study found that women who ate at least four weekly servings of fermented cabbage, better known as sauerkraut, were 72% less likely to develop breast cancer than those who ate less.

Eating fermented cabbage changes gut metabolism and may help to protect the intestinal tract. Isothiocyanates, which are naturally present in all the cruciferous vegetables, appear to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and accelerate the death of these cells.

Korean kimchi, a spicy form of fermented cabbage, appears to have similar effects.

Most people use onions mainly as a seasoning ingredient in soups and stews and on burgers and salads. For good health, use a lot of them.

Fact: Onions are high in vitamin C, fiber, vitamin B-6 and folate. They also are rich in quercetin, a flavonoid with powerful anticancer effects, and allyl sulfides, the same protective compounds that are present in garlic.

Studies have found that people who eat between 14 and 22 servings of onions a week can reduce their risk for oral cancer by 84%. They have a 56% reduced risk for colon cancer, a 25% reduced risk for breast cancer and a 71% reduced risk for prostate cancer.

Red onions have the most quercetin. However, pink shallots contain the richest mix of chemical compounds and more antioxidants than other onions.

They’re work to eat, but the payoff can be better digestive health.

Fact: One study found that people who took an artichoke leaf extract had a 26.4% reduction in symptoms from irritable bowel syndrome. One of the chemical compounds in artichokes, silymarin, is reputed to improve liver health in patients with hepatitis, but this hasn’t been proved.

I advise patients to eat whole, natural foods rather than depending solely on supplements. Artichokes contain a mix of antioxidants, including narirutin and apigenin-7-rutinoside, that aren’t necessarily included in supplements.

Helpful: Look for artichokes with long stems. When cooked, the stems are almost as tasty as the hearts. Peel the stems to make them more tender. Canned, frozen and jarred artichoke hearts are good, too.

Avocados have the distinction of being higher in fat than any other fruit or vegetable. One medium Hass avocado, for example, has about 29 grams of fat and about 320 calories.

Fact: Nearly all of the fat in avocados is the healthful, monounsaturated form. In a study of patients with high cholesterol, those who included avocado in their daily diet had a decrease in total cholesterol, along with an 11% increase in beneficial HDL cholesterol.

As a source of healthy fat, avocado is better than butter and is delicious when spread on toast or a sandwich.

Bottom Line/Personal interviewed John La Puma, MD, an internist at Santa Barbara Institute for Medical Nutrition and Healthy Weight in Santa Barbara, California. A professionally trained chef, he hosts the Lifetime television series What’s Cookin’ with ChefMD? He is author of ChefMD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine: A Food Lover’s Road Map to Losing Weight, Preventing Disease and Getting Really Healthy (Three Rivers). He writes the blog "Paging Dr. La Puma" at

Easy Aromatic Tisanes Give an Instant Energy Boost
Tisanes, aromatic tealike beverages made from herbs or spices, provide a gentle yet immediate surge of mental and physical energy, we heard from Mao Shing Ni, PhD, DOM, LAc, an expert on traditional Chinese medicine and author of Secrets of Longevity.

He explained that smelling and tasting the pungent volatile oils in such infusions transmit signals to your nervous system that increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain and vital organs and boost production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule known as the "energy currency" for cells throughout the body. Results: Increased alertness and energy that typically last at least an hour, depending on your levels of blood sugar, stress hormones and neurotransmitters, Dr. Mao said.

To make a tisane: Pour eight ounces of very hot water over one or more of the herbs and spices mentioned below... cover your mug and steep for no longer than five minutes so the volatile oils do not dissipate... strain... and be sure to inhale the aromatic steam as you drink.

"Have a cup first thing in the morning to get yourself going, in the late afternoon 'witching hour' when energy often fades, and any other time you want a pick-me-up," Dr. Mao recommended. Other advantages: Tisanes also help settle the stomach... do not interfere with sleep the way caffeinated beverages can... and have no harmful side effects (with the possible exception of a garlic tisane, which can trigger heartburn for some people when used in excess).

Almost any herb or spice with a strong aroma will work equally well, Dr. Mao said, so experiment to see which individual one or combination you like best. Try...

One tablespoon fresh or one teaspoon dried cilantro, dill, mint, parsley or sage.
One teaspoon fresh or one-half teaspoon dried chives.
Three to five fresh or dried bay leaves.
Two sticks cinnamon or one teaspoon ground cinnamon.
One quarter-sized medallion fresh ginger.
One stalk green onion, cut to fit into your mug.
One whole clove garlic (remove skin but do not crush or cut the clove).

Concerned about getting bad breath from the onion and garlic? Combine them with cilantro or parsley.

Source: Mao Shing Ni, PhD, DOM (doctor of Oriental medicine), LAc (licensed acupuncturist), is chancellor and cofounder of Yo San University in Los Angeles and cofounder of Tao of Wellness, an acupuncture and Chinese medicine center in Santa Monica, California. He is the author of 12 books, including Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100 (Chronicle).


Is It the Flu... Or Could You Have "Q Fever"?
Fever, chills, cough, headache, muscle aches... sounds like an obvious case of the flu, doesn’t it? But: Recently, I learned about a masquerader called Q fever, which causes symptoms so similar that even doctors often mistake it for the flu.

Therein lies the danger. Although Q fever is easy to cure if properly diagnosed early on, left untreated it can lead to pneumonia, heart damage, hepatitis or even death. And here’s a scary fact -- you can catch it from your dog or cat, even if your pet seems perfectly healthy.

You’ve never heard of Q fever? Neither had I. And neither have many doctors... so you may need to bring up the subject with your physician if you ever develop possible symptoms of the disease.

Thankfully, Q fever is rare -- though no one knows just how rare because it is underreported, I was told by infectious disease specialist Edward A. Dominguez, MD, of Methodist Dallas Medical Center. Here’s how to protect yourself...


Q fever was first reported in Australia in the 1930s. The Q stands for query, because nobody knew what the disease was or how to treat it.

Unlike flu, which is caused by influenza viruses, Q fever is caused by a germ called Coxiella burnetii. "It’s not a bacterium, virus or fungus. Instead, it is a rickettsia, an infectious parasitic microorganism similar to those that cause typhus or Rocky Mountain spotted fever," Dr. Dominguez said.

Q fever is a zoonotic infection, meaning that people get it through contact with infected animals, such as horses, goats, cows, sheep, rabbits, cats and dogs. People most likely to be exposed are veterinarians, breeders, ranchers and others who work with animals, but pet owners may be at risk, too.

The likelihood of transmission is highest when an infected animal gives birth or is killed. (Dr. Dominguez recalled a group of poker players who all contracted Q fever after an infected cat gave birth in the same room.) The disease most often is caught when a person inhales air contaminated with this type of rickettsia, so poorly ventilated or enclosed spaces (small rooms, sheds) pose a greater risk than outdoor areas. But Q fever also can be transmitted through food if a person drinks milk or eats meat from an infected animal.


About half of people who get infected develop no symptoms and experience no short-term or long-term problems. For the other half, symptoms typically develop within three weeks after exposure and last one to two weeks. Warning signs of acute infection: High fever (up to 104° or 105°!)... chills and/or sweats... severe headache, joint and muscle aches... sore throat, cough, chest pain... nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30% to 50% of patients with a symptomatic infection develop pneumonia... and in 1% to 2% of acute cases, the disease is fatal.

Long-term danger: When the acute form of the disease does not get successfully treated or clear up on its own, patients may develop chronic Q fever. Serious complications can include hepatitis, an inflammatory condition of the liver, and endocarditis, inflammation of the heart lining and/or valves. For chronic Q fever patients, the CDC reports a death rate as high as 65%.

I asked Dr. Dominguez whether people who recover from acute Q fever might later develop the chronic form. He said, "If recovery was induced by antibiotics, no. If the infection went away on its own, chronic infection is unlikely -- but not impossible."

Self-defense: Of course you must see your doctor if you have symptoms that suggest Q fever. But: Since physicians often do not recognize Q fever in patients with flulike symptoms, Dr. Dominguez said, you also should tell your doctor about any recent animal exposure and ask, "Could this be Q fever?"... request blood tests to check for antibodies to the rickettsia and other evidence of Q fever’s effects on the body, such as thrombocytopenia (reduced blood platelets), electrolyte imbalances and abnormal liver function... and ask for a chest X-ray to check for pneumonia.

When acute Q fever is caught early, it generally responds well to a 15- to 21-day course of oral tetracycline antibiotics (since the rickettsia, like bacteria, is vulnerable to antibiotics). Sulfa drugs or quinolone antibiotics also can help. Note: If your doctor does not prescribe antibiotics because your initial blood test for Q fever was negative, yet you still feel ill two weeks later, ask to be retested. It can take several weeks for antibodies to build up to detectable levels.

Chronic Q fever may require daily intravenous antibiotics for eight weeks or longer. If the infection causes heart valve damage, valve replacement surgery may be necessary.

Prevention pointers: The Q fever vaccine used in other countries is not approved in the US because it can trigger a severe skin reaction if the rickettsia is already present. Research is under way for a better vaccine, but for now the best bet is to minimize your risk of exposure to Q fever. Dr. Dominguez’s advice...

Stay outdoors or in well-ventilated areas when around farm animals.
Do not drink unpasteurized milk or eat raw meat.
To reduce your pet’s risk of being infected with the rickettsia (and thus reduce your risk of catching it from your pet), limit your pet’s exposure to animals who live on farms, on ranches or in the wild. It also is a good idea to get a veterinary evaluation for your pet, especially if it is pregnant.

Source: Edward A. Dominguez, MD, is the medical director of Organ Transplant Infectious Diseases at Methodist Dallas Medical Center and a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

"A Time to Hate, a Time to Kill" -- Who Knew?

This was read at my mom's service yesterday, and since I did not realize anywhere in the Bible there is reference to "a time to kill" and "a time to hate" I had to check it to me...’s-ecclesiastes-31-15
And other interpretations>>
Ecclesiastes 3   
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
9 What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.
13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
15 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.
16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.
17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.
18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
22 Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?1

Bible Commentary
1 Every thing has its time and season. God by his providence governs the world, and has determined particular things and operations to particular times. In those times such things may be done with propriety and success. However if we neglect the appointed seasons we sin against this providence and become the authors of our own distresses.   God has given to man that portion of duration called time; the space in which all the operations of nature, of animals, and intellectual beings, are carried on. But while nature is steady in its course, and animals faithful to their instincts, man devotes it to a great variety of purposes, very frequently to that for which God never made time, space, or opportunity.2
2 It is worthy of remark, that in the list of events to verse 8, there are but two things which may be said to be done generally by the disposal of God, and in which men can have but little influence: the time of birth, and the time of death. All the others are left to the option of man, though God continues to overrule them by his providence.2  There is a time to plant or sow in season, another time to pluck up or reap. To plant out of season is vanity.3 There comes a time when even the finest fruit trees must be cut down.4
3 There is a right time to kill. Commentators disagree whether Solomon here refers to war or to other circumstances. It is possible that he is speaking of the execution of criminals, or he may be thinking of an injured domestic animal.4 Killing through malice is murder and out of God's time and order.3 Medicines when used out of season, that is, at the wrong time or for an unintended purpose, can lead to sickness or death. However if correctly applied in a timely manner can restore health.2 There is a time to break down; for example there comes a time when old buildings must be demolished and more convenient ones put up in their stead.4
4 It is a good thing at times to allow pent-up emotions to express themselves when men have just occasion.4 Laughter has been compared to a good medicine. There is a time to mourn for the dead. In ancient times dancing was an important part of religious and festive ceremonies; for example, David danced before the ark.3
5 There is a time to cast away stones such as clearing the fields of the stones that impede cultivation.4 A time to gather stones together such as to the building of a wall or house. A time to embrace when persons perform friendly graces one to another.5
6 There is a time to seek and search. There's also a time to give up as lost, for example, after an intensive search proves futile.4 There is a time to keep, for example, by not giving to the idle beggar. A time to cast away such in charity3 or when a man casts away his goods voluntarily as in a storm to save his life.5
7 There is a time for men to rend their garments as in great and sudden griefs.5 There are circumstances under which silence is golden.
8 There is a time to love such as when God stirs up love, or gives occasion for the exercise of it.5 There is a time to hate, for example, sins and lusts. A time of war and peace.3
9 What real good or pleasure is derived from all the labours of man? Necessity is the principal motive behind his cares and toils; he labours that he may eat and drink and thus to preserve his life and be kept from sickness and pain. Love of money, the basest of all passions, and restless ambition, drive men to many labours and expedients, which perplex and often destroy them.2
10 Because man is a sinner, he suffers much travail.2 The practical difficulties of life can be met successfully only under God's leading.4
11 God created everything good, not only perfect for practical use, but beautiful in its appeal to the eye and to the taste. God has deeply implanted within man a concern for the future. This awareness of the infinite in time and space stirs dissatisfaction with the transitory nature of the things of life. It is God's design that man realise that the present, material world does not constitute the sum of his existence. He is linked to two worlds, physically to this world, but mentally, emotionally and psychologically to the eternal world. The unaided human intellect cannot enter into the intricacies of God's created marvels or the mysteries of eternity that God has not seen fit to reveal.4
12 When received as God's gifts, and to His glory, the good things of life are enjoyed in their due time and order.3 Man should endeavour as much as possible to do others good and share his transient blessings.2 He should avoid self-indulgence and sensual joys.3
13 It was the will of the creator that man enjoy, in moderation, the good things provided for his needs, and happiness.4
14 All God's counsels or decrees are eternal and unchangeable. Men can neither do any thing against God's counsel and providence, nor hinder any work or act of it.5
15 Whatever changes there be, the succession of events is ordered by God's everlasting laws, and returns in a fixed cycle.3 God governs the world now, as he has governed it from the beginning; and the revolutions and operations of nature are the same now, that they have been from the beginning. What we see now is the same as that seen by those before us. The heavens themselves, taking in their great revolutions, show the same phenomena.2
16 A judge is supposed to be the embodiment or personification of all right doing. However throughout the ages bribery and corruption have resulted in the enthronement of wickedness in the very courts sacred to the dispensing of justice.4
17 God is not only the one who will act as arbiter to decide the cases of the righteous and wicked, but also the one who executes the penalty.4
18 God tests men as a disciplinary measure in order to cleanse and purify them. There is hope for the man who recognises his sinful and unclean condition.4
19 All living creatures are identical in that, with the cessation of breath, the creature dies; the physical consequences of death are the same. Outward appearances suggest no superiority for man. But through faith in the Inspired Word we believe that God will redeem man from the power of the grave.4
20 Both the man and beast live transient and frail lives, draw the same breath, grow old and return to the earth as dust from which they were made.2
21 The destiny of the body is known; it returns to the dust, through a process of disintegration - but human wisdom cannot ascertain what happens to the spirit or breath, except that it shall return unto God. The Hebrew word ruach is translated breath in verse 19 and spirit in verse 21. Note that man and beast both have a ruach, and the ruach of man is one with that of the beast. If then, the ruach or spirit of man becomes a disembodied entity at death, the ruach of beasts must also. But the Bible nowhere so much as infers that at death a disembodied, conscious spirit continues to live on, and no Christian claims this for animals. Solomon incredulously asks who can prove that the ruach of man ascends, while that of the beast descends. He knows nothing of such a proceeding and doubts that anyone else does. If so, let him prove it.4
22 Solomon says that man should find contentment and satisfaction in what this life has to offer. This is the normal outlook of the man who does not have faith firmly based on eternal things. What lies beyond the grave is outside the scope of human knowledge.4 When he is dead, man shall never return to see into whose hands his estate falls.5

References and notes
1.  King James Authorized Version
2.  Adam Clarke's Commentaries - Ecclesiastes 3
3.  Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1871) ECCLESIASTES; OR THE PREACHER. Commentary by A. R. FAUSSETT
4.  SDA Bible Commentary Vol. 3 pgs. 1073-1076
5.  John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible - The Book of Ecclesiastes Chapter 3
6. -  Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

And Today Was the Day...

My mom passed peacefully this morning...2.22.2011.

Another phenomenal and beautiful tribute to my mom from Gregory Vahanian:

In honor of this morning's transition of my new friend, Ginger's mom I was moved to light a candle and say a blessing. Aware of my friend, Cathy's mom having returned Home in November, I thought to light two. Knowing full well the deep sadness that sometimes washes over me missing my own mom, Tilla, who passed on in August of 1999, I thought to light three.

I lit the candle in the middle first as a symbol of God's Love & Light. From that candle and with that flame I lit one to represent the mothers of these two friends and my own. The other two candles can be claimed by whoever reads this and can relate to this monumental transition. Your mom is honored too. Recognizing we come from the same Source and how much the Light is magnified when we come together. To Ginger, Cathy and All of Us Blessings of Comfort and Faith That The Light of Our Mothers Continues To Shine and Healing Continues To Take Place In Any Places That May Call Out For Loving Attention... God bless those Divine Beings doing their best to mother us, mother themselves and negotiate life's journey. God Bless and Guide Us All... As One, Gregory

And Christie with a photo she shot in the Caribbean last night for my mom; she's a true darling and very real...and she knows what it's like to struggle with a parent's health...>

Christie Brinkley>For Ginger and her Family, May you always find peace and comfort in joyful memories with your Mom. Prayers are with you.
And again today>
More prayers this morning and heartfelt sympathy during this sad time for Ginger and her family.
And, isn't this wonderful?! Made and sent to me by my lovely Swedish friend Emmelie Larsson! Thank you!!! XOXO

Thanks to sooo many friends locally and across the world for your loving support! XOXO to all... 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Death All of a Sudden -- or Not?

I have been fortunate to have advance notice of my parents' deaths. With my dad, he had cancer a few times; although his heart stopped on the table during surgery in 1989 for his first bladder cancer at Duke University Medical Center -- he miraculously (as in he is in Duke's base of case studies and as having "nine lives") recovered and lived six more years until he got another set of cancers in 1995. There were no surprises except when his heart stopped during the initial urostomy and Duke's chaplain and my dad's chief surgeon were "with the family" to share the news of his impending death that first fateful day. I was OK; I had dreamt the entire scene in exact detail two hours before it happened; rushed me and my mom from the hotel across the street to the hospital, and the next thing we know, it all happened in the exact details I had dreamt. My dad recovered amazingly and went on to live another six years -- and with an entirely new take on life -- until 2005 when the other cancers attacked; they proved to be too much for chemotherapy and then one radiology treatment. So, we gathered near for Christmas 1995, and he passed two weeks later in early January at his home in the care of Hospice, my mom, and my family. I recall being chastised for giving him ice cream along with his morphine mix while I was home with him from mid-December 1995 until early January 1996. Two days after I returned to work in Southern California, he passed on and back to NC I went. My thoughts: I was going to feed him anything he wanted those last few weeks. Why not?

Now we are with my mom in this same scenario. Having fought depression, breast cancer, and then Alzheimer's ever since March 2008 in a nursing home in my hometown, she is nearing the end...any moment now, although I have strongly sensed it will be in the middle of the night. It is sad but imminent -- the last two to three weeks she has had no appetite, swallows nothing, not even water. My family is on stand-by status. There is nothing left to do. Sad? Yes. Anything to be done? No. My thoughts? Let's keep it joyful! She will be with my dad now and Snooky and Klaire, my two female Cockers both of whom she adored! ;-) That matters to me! Peace be with you and much love!

A beautiful sentiment written by Gregory Vahanian today>Hi Ginger ~ May your treasured mom feel blanketed and gently caressed by God's Loving Presence. May she feel her Beloved Nature reflected back to her by the quiet steady streams of cherishing known through kind words and even in the silence of her family's presence and the consciousness of those sending Love whether near or far. Blessings to you, Ginger, your extended family circle and to your Dear Mom...Blessings for her Graceful and Gentle transition...Love & Light, Gregory

* Please enjoy and share Gregory's new Web site if you admire his work. Thanks!

My mom, Klaire and I in 2009 -- with Koal peeking in from the bottom right!

My mom, Koal and I in 2009.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Karma's Only a Bitch if You Are

Isn't that the truth?! I know everyone reading Pauper Girl Parables has only good karma, but I'm just sayin'. ;-) Think about those in your life who have been -- ahem, shall we say -- not so nice to you. Do you ever keep track of what happens in their lives? I have been stunned to hear about -- sometimes years later because if someone has done me wrong, I don't stay in touch with that person, generally speaking -- some obstacle or hindrance placed directly in his or her path down the road, or what horrific and often unexpected losses or circumstances they are forced to endure and survive. (That is officially, as a writer, the longest sentence I have ever written!) My point: It's interesting the way it comes full circle. Never fails, really.

The takeaway here: do unto others as you want them to do unto you. Not getting gospel-ly here, but put the good out there and see what positives and unexpected "goods" happen in your own life! It doesn't take much effort to be nice and to try to do the right thing! You just might be pleasantly surprised!

Remember to pay it forward...and keep the good karma coming...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Don't Be With the Wrong One -- Alone or Lonely?!

In retrospect on Valentine's Day yesterday, my thoughts are you are better off being alone than being with the wrong significant other. I can say this from experience: since December 2006, I have spent exactly 33 months with the wrong one -- in two stints of 15 months and then 18 months until finally last May, a lightbulb went off in my head (or should I say his final betrayal of and disloyalty to me was the straw that finally broke the camel's back?). After spending so much time with the most ungrateful, heartless, soul-less, spineless man on the planet, I got it! Thus, the lightbulb -- at about a million watts. Of course, he's not the first one in my life, but he is the most recent one.

Let me preface this by clarifying this is for men and women alike before my male friends jump on my case. ;-)

Yesterday was the first Valentine's Day in my entire life when I didn't care! Didn't even cross my mind. This may be partially due to spending 2.5 hours of the late afternoon/early evening with a bevy of male salespeople in my local Verizon store trying to coach them on how to install a 4G Broadband on my Mac to upgrade from 3G. I digress, but suffice it to say after 2.5 hours I walked out at 7:30 p.m. with the exact thing I went in with. And at the end of it all, they wanted to charge me a $35 restocking fee for the 4G box they had opened and could not figure out how to install on a Mac. My response: "Jesus Christ. Get me the manager." Yes, this was another male who knew nothing about Mac operating systems. Let's just say I did not end up paying the $35. And on this particular February 14, it didn't leave a good taste for men in my mouth. ;-) Note: I do need to insert here that I do have some excellent male friends -- in real life and on Facebook, of course. These were not those men nor the caliber of those men! ;-)
Note: I did play on their iPads while wasting time. Nice device but wayyyy too overpriced for what it is at this point.

Now back to the topic: For years -- shall we say my entire lifetime thus far -- I was guilty of not liking to be alone; I was fearful of it. It made me irrational. It made me needy. It depressed me to no end. I was lonely. Here is the learning: Being alone is a choice, and should be valued as such. In fact, you should crave it if you are in a rocky or unfulfilling relationship -- married or single and partnered. Too many married folks stay in lackluster, going-nowhere relationships because of fear of the unknown; too many single-but-attached people do the same thing for the same reasons. When you crave being alone because you are miserable with the other person, make it happen; no one else can do that for you. You'll get through the loneliness aspect.

But understand, being lonely is a different animal altogether. Granted, this is not a matter of personal choice, but a status you feel is forced upon you, thus you don't like it, you don't embrace it, you do fight it, and you do mourn it -- perhaps very often. The trick and strength is in learning how to turn the loneliness into being alone -- being you, doing exactly what you want to do, when you want to do it, and honoring who you are. There is no magical formula to do so, but I do urge you to think about it and try to figure out how to best be happy with you.

I strongly feel when the time is right and if it's meant to be, you'll find your partner when and perhaps where you least expect it. Do I think about this every day? No. If I did I would never get anything else done. I know it's a cliche, but life is too has taken me a longggg time to realize this and actually believe in it. I offer this to you! That's my $1.10 worth for the day, do with it what you will -- and make it a "you" day, and year, and future... ;-) Carpe diem.

Mahatma Gandhi: "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."

*** Sorry for being incommunicado for over a week here. A little thing called work got in the way! Given the topic of my blog site, you all KNOW there are no complaints from me regarding being busy with work.

Carry on, all!

Friday, February 4, 2011

How to Overcome Life's Disappointments

*** I got this in my Bottom Line Secrets e-letter today, and it bears posting; strikes a nice can subscribe for this very helpful service at

How to Overcome Life's Disappointments
Rabbi Harold S. Kushner

Most of us must face the disappointment of not having all of our dreams come true. The fact that we experience failure does not make us failures -- although the way in which we respond to our failures could do exactly that. Here’s what to do when you have trouble getting past life’s disappointments.

Remember for whom you are working -- you. The promotion you had hoped for went to someone else... our family doesn’t appreciate the many things you do for them. It is natural to feel disappointment when things like this occur, but our mistake is to rely on others for validation. We should work hard because to do any less would be letting ourselves down. We should work hard for the sake of our own sense of integrity and knowing we have done our best.

Understand that those who have never been disappointed are the real failures. People who achieve everything they set out to achieve in life obviously have set their bars too low. We achieve more if we aim high -- though this also means that we will be disappointed more often, because lofty goals are difficult to reach. Understand that disappointments are inevitable when we strive for greatness, and consider your life successful if you accomplish just a fraction of your goals.

Escape the isolation of disappointment. We feel alone when we lose a loved one...suffer a life-threatening illness...or experience a major financial setback. Our loneliness then drives us further into despair. Example: My wife and I saw only happy families around us when one of our children was seriously ill. Not until after our child had died did we discover that other families we knew had gone through similar ordeals.

A tragedy does not separate us from everyone else. Sharing our grief brings us closer to the brotherhood of the afflicted, a huge club consisting of everyone who has ever endured pain or inequity. Our misfortune even makes us qualified to help other grieving people. Assisting others can get us past the sense of helplessness that often comes with major disappointments.

Keep disappointments in perspective. Try to remember what was worrying you two weeks ago. Many people cannot. Most disappointments are less consequential than we feel they are at the time. Psychiatrist George Vaillant, MD, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which followed 800 men for five decades, found that it is not the bad things that happen to us that stay with us in life -- it is the good people we meet along the way. People who handle misfortune best are the ones who focus not on what happened to them but on all the people who rallied around them when it happened.

Fashion a new dream. There’s no reason that you have to let the failure of one dream stop you from dreaming -- and trying. The experience you have gained can help you create a new, more realistic and achievable dream. Example: When Al Gore lost the presidential election, he recast his dream. He moved from politics to environmentalism, producing a highly acclaimed documentary on global warming called An Inconvenient Truth. His success and impact have been tremendous since his “failure.”

Get angry with God. Some people consider it wrong to get angry with God. I believe that if we cannot get angry with God, then we have a constrained, artificial relationship with God.

When the world disappoints you, go ahead and blame God. Vent your anger, and bemoan the inequity. Voicing unhappiness with life’s disappointments brings you closer to moving beyond them. God does not mind. He will continue to stand by you no matter how angry you become. God understands that you really are getting mad at your misfortune, not at Him.

The friends, coworkers and loved ones on whom we rely sometimes will disappoint us. Two ways to forgive them:

Don’t focus on the mistake. Before ending a relationship based on a single failure -- however great -- consider this person in full. Think about who he/she has been in the past and who he can become in the future. Example: A husband cheats on his wife. The wife might choose to end the relationship, but she also might choose to view this as a single error from a loving but flawed partner.

Consider forgiveness a favor that you do for yourself. People often believe that if they forgive those who have wronged them, the transgressors “get away with” the misdeeds. But forgiveness benefits you more than the transgressor. Offering forgiveness removes a heavy burden that you have been carrying around. It cleanses your soul and eases your pain. The sooner you forgive, the sooner you can move on from your disappointment.

Bottom Line/Personal interviewed Harold S. Kushner, Rabbi Laureate of Temple Israel in Natick, Massachusetts. He is author of numerous best-selling books, including When Bad Things Happen to Good People and, most recently, Overcoming Life’s Disappointments (both from Anchor).

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Awaiting Tiger Time!

Happy Chinese New Year to all you Rabbits! I'm waiting on my Tiger Year again...this link is very in-depth for Chinese Zodiac signs!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hot Beds for Great Value

Tip for the day: If you haven't checked out and for your area, you should! The savings -- often half off -- on a huge array of items and services are delightful! There's no better time to save money on things you need than now! Enjoy! ;-)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Shopping at Home -- and I Don't Mean on TV or the Internet

Be stylish all the time -- and I do mean "your style" stylish!

In this tumultuous economy why not "buy" -- or should I say discover -- new clothes and shoes right in your own closet? You might be surprised at the oldies but goodies you own, many times right on down to jewelry.

For attire, I tend to have a favorite I wear at home or out for a while, then I switch to another favorite. Well, if you're like me, when you go closet diving, you might come up with some forgotten treasures. I love finding something I forgot I have because at some point I loved it, and now I have rediscovered that initial appeal! Be creative, pair unusual items. Cater to your style!

There is nothing wrong with being eclectic; this creates your personal style. As a matter of fact, eclectic is the true definition of what many consider personal style, according to>
eclectic: the less evident form of a hipster. They hold characteristics of a hipster, such as going to cafes and bookstores. They also enjoy vintage shopping, indie and foreign films. Their taste in music usually reflects that of a hipster, and is usually more along the lines of indie rock. Eclectics care about how they look, but they also like to look as if they like to read, too. They, in a large part, appreciate cultural events and lifestyles. They are the less extreme form of a hipster, and are very chill people who enjoy discussing politics or music in general with a group of their friends over a good cup of coffee or tea or --  in my case -- vino!

I, personally, have not stepped foot in Charlotte's top-flight Southpark Mall in two years -- not once. Surprisingly, I am OK with this. I will say I am fortunate I work out of my home office; I don't have to stay current on business-clothing trends to be trendy. Of course, in-person client meetings are cause for appropriate business dressing, but I have what I need for that because I have tended to buy -- in the past -- good-quality, timeless classics like a little Tahari here and there, and lotssss of black. That works. Always will.

So, with that said, why not take a little dive into the depths of your closet and drawers and see what you come up with? Happy "shopping"! ;-)