Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

The ‘Let’s be neighbors’ sign in front of Get Some Groceries, in our little village, gives me hope.  It is acknowledged worldwide that now is absolutely an extremely hard time for our nation.

The hopefulness in the banner simply comes from seeing each other as human beings. For all our differences we are all people living on this earth, in this country, in this little mountain village – or wherever you live.

Encouragement means to be inspiring, to give support, so that as each of us shows kindness, we cause a ripple effect. Small changes in attitudes can indeed occur in the hearts of thinking, growing, openhearted people and maybe, finally, this can really be the beginning of authentic, lasting, kindhearted change in our souls and in our history.

If we don’t want people to judge us – we cannot judge. Remember the Golden Rule? And to all Christians: Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Genuine change can happen with valid relationships. Real relationships assume the best, kindly question and show love. And where there is love there is no judgment.

Lake City neighbors, like your own, are quite diverse. Our little mountain village is very unique in its location. The draw is the mountains but we can be as different as the seasons of summer and winter as to why we like the mountains. There are environmentalists and not. There are couch potatoes and active folks, same-gender couples, single folks and married folks. There are people who work and not. There are blue and white collared folk, artists, musicians, firefighters, atheists, clergy and agnostics. There are Republicans, Democrats, and folks who don’t declare. There are residents from birth and transplants.

There are people of color and not. There are people with physical challenges and people who have challenges that are harder to see. There are people who live in large and expensive houses and not. There are people of all ages. For different reasons, we are all drawn to these mountains – or to wherever you live.

If our goal is to move our nation in a healthier, kinder direction, we need to do that at home first. We are neighbors.  Let’s be part of a positive change. In the words of loveable Mr. Rodgers, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”  So, neighbor, what will you do with your life to make the world a kinder place to live?

 

Make your thoughts known in the comments section below. As always, I prefer if you post your comments and questions here rather than send them to me by private email. By putting them here, you share with other readers, not just with me. I read all comments and try to respond to all  useful questions. Sign up at the top of this post to be notified of new ones. Thank you!

Living in the Mountains

Today is the Birthday of My 1st Born

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Julie, 38 years ago today, with her 1st born child, a son, David (biblical name) Bruce (Bruce after his dad and his dad’s dad)

 

For me, this has been the most life altering experience ever. There’s nothing to compare to growing a person inside of your body, giving birth and being responsible for molding another person’s life, especially with everything happening for the first time.

 

At 25 I had quite a bit of experience with babies and children. My parents had been foster parents and I was expected to babysit. I’d babysat for neighbors too. I had been a preschool teacher, Girl Scout leader, children’s swimming instructor – but – there’s NOTHING like having your own child that you are completely responsible for, not to mention the physical aspects of being pregnant, giving birth and nursing, all while your hormones do whatever they like…

Trying to be good environmentalist, we weren’t going to use disposable diapers. We started with the diaper service we were given as a baby gift and kept it. Pick up was every two weeks. The diaper pail was as tall as an average 5-year-old. The smell…well you can imagine. Nursing baby’s poop is…well let me just say that rubber pants did not keep the poop contained. There was a lot, a lot of laundry, all the time which had to be attended to as soon as possible if I had any hope of getting poop stains out of baby clothes, my clothes, baby blankets…

But I loved nursing. From the very beginning nursing came naturally, for both of us. It was also what was best for both of us. It felt emotionally satisfying to be doing the very best by my baby. David didn’t get anything but my breast milk for the first 6 months of his life and he thrived. It was so easy too – always handy, the right temperature, no bottles or any of that paraphernalia to deal with and a baby blanket was always handy for my privacy.

We took a car trip when our son was a few months old and we used disposable diapers. OMG!!! No diaper pens, no rubber pants, no leaks, no diaper pail and not nearly as much laundry! We never looked back.

As much as I loved nursing, at a year I was done. By that time I was no longer food. We were nursing first thing in the morning and the last thing at night for routine and comfort. I didn’t want to be a pacifier and knew how important it is for babies to be able to comfort themselves. David had always fallen asleep nursing but Bruce stepped up and sang and walked his baby son to sleep, until finally we could put David down awake and our little son could get himself to sleep! There was great rejoicing!

Autumn (our favorite Lake City season) David, (about 20 months) my towheaded toddler and me, his mom, in Lake City, throwing rocks in the river near our cabin. I can still feel the sweet coziness of the moment. I remember him calling Lake San Cristobal, “Crystal Ball”, and falling on a rock that gashed his little cheek. First time parents, we didn’t think to bring David a jacket. This little yellow jacket from Wal-Mart got a lot of wear and being a light color that was worn outside, a lot of laundering. We had fun. I remember a lot of joy.

Proud mom with my son in his engineering office at Notre Dame University (where he earned his PhD in aerospace engineering on a complete scholarship and stipend) and he is a kind person too.

Happy birthday David!

Much Love,

mom

“May you live all the days of your life.”  J. Swift
julie@handsbestrong.com

Living in the Mountains

Happy New Year

Celebrating New Year’s Eve

 At Climb in Lake City, CO

 Instead of the red sauce being over powering, this light red sauce has a gentle blending of complimentary flavors. The aroma was mouthwatering and the colors – a celebration! 

This isn’t just going out to eat, Climb is a dining experience ~!  Linda is the chief and her husband Jerry,  the ‘everything else.’ Not only is the food really good, the restaurant is lovely and Jerry greets customers by name, with pleasure, as if you were gracing his home by accepting a party invitation. He spends just the right amount of time conversing at your table and letting you take everything in to enjoy your time.

The pretty presentation and gentle aroma are a given at Climb. My husband plucked the mint leaf from the chocolate and suggested I take a whiff ~ chocolate and mint, yum!

It was fun to dress up for the evening and go out together, celebrating the past year. Over dinner, I shared with my husband my ‘gratitude jar.’ For the past year I’d been writing down, with the date, something that touched me in a positive way, something I was thankful for. Some of my entries were as simple as a stunning blue sky day, my son calling me just because he was thinking about me and having an especially fun, satisfying day with my little pal Elsa. Of course this past year I overcame osteoporosis and we went to Italy too!!!

We are taught in psych 101, as well in life, that it takes numerous good things to overcome a negative one – something like 5-1. So, being more aware of the good in our lives helps insure we are living a more positive life!

***If we aren’t making a point to dwell on our blessings, we might as well not have them –

The New Year is the perfect time to start living a more positive life!

Happy New Year! Make it your best lived life ever!

What are you grateful for? What’s good about today?

“May you live all the days of your life.”  J. Swift
julie@handsbestrong.com

Living in the Mountains

How Did You Spend Your Christmas Season

Bruce and Joy deciding which tree is the right choice

For our mountain Christmases we always cut our tree. When living in suburbia, I’ve gone to a Christmas tree lot and also had an artificial tree. Cutting our own tree my favorite! We don’t have a specific time to put the tree up, about a week or two before Christmas is usually when we do it. How about you?

How do you get your Christmas tree? When do you put your tree up?

Elsa and I have been together for 4 years; since she was a young 2-year-old. Officially I’m her nanny-teacher. She’s like my Lake City grandchild. Having been a teacher and being a mom and grandma makes me a perfect choice!

Joy is never far from Elsa – she’s really quite adorable the way she ‘watches’ over Elsa.

The lighting of the advent wreath

I grew up Catholic observing the season of advent; the 4 weeks before Christmas. A candle is lit for each week.

We spend a lot of time outside

Christmas Eve – what a sky!!!

More often than not our winter days are calm and sunny with this cobalt blue sky. We work to keep a path open to enjoy walking on our nature trail right outside our garden.

Church is always a part of our Christmas. Bruce and I were asked to read at the Presbyterian / Episcopal Church Christmas Eve service.  Bruce was working until late in the afternoon Christmas Eve. I also went to St. Rose Catholic Church afternoon service Christmas Eve.

Growing up I remember once or twice going to my father’s parents for Christmas.  They lived in Kenosha, Wisconsin which was a completely different environment from where we lived in the south. Christmas morning we walked to church through the snow, leaving our unopened Christmas presents under the tree. Between untouched snow yet to play in and unwrapped presents yet to open – it was hard to be a child in church!

This year it was ‘just’ the two of us with our canine kids, Joy and Hope

What are some of your Christmas memories? Traditions?

“May you live all the days of your life.”  J. Swift
julie@handsbestrong.com

Living in the Mountains

Winter Solstice

 

In our Northern Hemisphere winter solstice is usually the 21 or 22 of December. It is also known as the “shortest day” of the year. Continuously the winter solstice has been seen as a significant time of the year and has been marked by celebrations and ceremonies with the symbolic death and rebirth of the Sun.

 

This Lake City, Colorado Saturday morning was cold. It was close to 0. Central heat doesn’t exist up here. It takes ‘awhile’ for the fireplace to warm up our little 1981, built for seasonal use, home. While procrastinating getting up from under the electric blanket, my mind drifted back to 10 years ago when we visited our son and his wife while they were living in Ireland. During that visit we made a side trip to Newgrange. Newgrange was constructed about 5,200 years ago (3,200 B.C.) which makes it older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza.

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Famous Newgrange

 

Newgrange is famous for the rays of sunlight moving through the passage and chamber created by the winter solstice sun. Above the entrance to the passage at Newgrange there is a opening called a roof-box. Its purpose is to allow sunlight to penetrate the chamber on the winter solstice.

 

At dawn, from December 19 to 23, a narrow beam of light penetrates the roof-box and reaches the floor of the chamber, gradually extending to the rear of the chamber. As the sun rises higher, the sunbeam widens within the chamber so that the whole room becomes dramatically illuminated. This event lasts for 17 minutes, beginning around 9am.


The intent of the Stone Age farmers who build Newgrange was surely to mark the beginning of the new year. Too, it may have served as a commanding symbol of the victory of life over death. It is an impressive place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance, perhaps not too different from present day cathedrals.

 

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 Beautiful rocks outside the entrance of Newgrange

 

When my family and I visited Newgrange in November 2009, it was is an unexpected feeling to wait in the darkness, as people did 5,000 years ago, for the longest night of the year to end, while our guide shown a light representing the winter solstice sunrise. The accuracy of Newgrange is incredible; especially when one considers that it was built 500 years before the Great Pyramids and more than 1,000 years before Stonehenge.


I like having all the seasons, as we do in Lake City. I have an understanding of the power of nature. We had an unprecedented amount of snowfall last winter which caused an unprecedented amount of avalanches. Those who don’t live here appear to be unable to comprehend why we would want to live here in the winter. Our house with its lack of a comfortable heat source is unusual and still we love it, it is our choice. Not only is our unique location incredibly amazing but there’s a specialness about this time of the year that I’ve never experienced anywhere else and I’ve lived in numerous different places and circumstances, including other settings in the countryside.

 

Perhaps it is exactly because I’ve lived in different environments, worshiped in different types of churches and have traveled more than most, though a lot less than some – that I know that there is more than ‘my way’ of living and finding joy and contentment.

 

To me, there is a uniquely beautiful and mysterious feeling to winter where we live in the mountains. I feel the bone formation of being one with the mountainside – the awesome loneliness of it, feeling winter’s breath. Something amazing sleeps underneath. There is a comfy retreat about winter which no other season gives you….only in the winter, in the midst of nature, can you have longer, settled down stretches when you can savor being in the right place with yourself.

Our sheltie girl Joy take pleasure in our fireplace

 

Our fireplace is hot now, filling our little living space with warm air. The scent of freshly baked bread calls out for delicious sandwiches to be enjoyed for lunch. My husband, wrapping Christmas presents, delights in the large rolls of gift paper I bought on a recent shopping trip to the nearby town of Gunnison. Live is good – little joys are the best. A wine spritzer or mug of hot chocolate, with or without a good book, in front of the fire – I’m happy.

  

Our nature trail

Today’s sunny blue, blue skies are to go from 2 to 40 – love it! With our dogs we walk the nature trail breathing clean air, no crowds or traffic noises but the soft freezing sounds of the river. We can go into town but we don’t have to live there. Happily we can retreat into our own little sanctuary – our nature trail or home. Idyllic. 

What to you love about where you live? Have you lived any place vastly different than where you live now? Have you always lived in the same place – tell me about it.

 

 

“May you live all the days of your life.”  J. Swift
julie@handsbestrong.com

Living in the Mountains

 

Food – New Experiences

Our Rick Steves group. We traveled together  to Venice, Florence, and Rome in late October 2019. What I generally enjoy about our group dinners together, is the combination of getting to know the different people we are traveling with, while being in the midst of a new food experience. It’s FUN!

Food

For the two of us, eating out has mostly been reserved for special occasions or a once in awhile treat. Last weekend we had dinner at an Italian restaurant that everyone was so enthusiastic about – I was looking forward to the experience – I was disappointed. Maybe, subconsciously, I was reminiscing about our October meals in Italy. At this Colorado Italian restaurant the hors d’ oeuvres were as follows: the stuffed mushrooms were tasty but they were doled out one apiece. My teeth are fine. The bruschetta was so hard I could not enjoy it. The meatballs looked simply uninspired. Phooey! if I’d only known ahead of time we were allowed one hors d’ oeuvre a piece, I could have worked out a plan to trade ‘my’ meatball for a second stuffed mushroom.

In Italy I ate, be it unknowingly, squid. I seriously thought calamari was a type of pasta. The other choice was veal and I was not knowingly going to eat the flesh of a baby cow.

It had been decades since I’d eaten bacon. But since having eaten squid, I was more cosmopolitan, more sophisticated – right! Well, at least more open to trying the asparagus wrapped in bacon. These were the hors d’ oeuvres my girlfriend Erin had prepared a few nights earlier. Very tasty! So, having recently eaten squid and bacon I was intrigued with the elk tortellini at this Colorado Italian restaurant. The elk, I was told, was ground with the spices and other tasty treats and stuffed into the pasta. Sounded good, not a slab of animal, but sadly for me, not a lover of red sauce, the food was saturated in red sauce. The sauce should compliment, not take over the other flavors.

Since the city of Venice is actually on the sea, fresh seafood is the specialty. This fact does not go unnoticed when you live in the mountains.

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Early morning Venice fish market

Bruce and I ate squid or as it is more delicately put – “calamari” – as stated, I thought calamari was a type of pasta dish. I do like how the Italians lightly fry foods rather than the American way of deep frying. Pretty much, though anything fried will taste like fried food. Laughing with my dinner companions I said that the calamari looked like onion rings. They had no idea I’d ordered squid inadvertently and thought I was an experienced calamari consumer making a joke. Not one to put on airs, between laughs; I let them in on my naïveté.

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Sea Food Pasta

Our first dinner in Venice – this food just calls out to be photographed. The colors, textures and shapes are beautiful, interesting and appetizing – AND everything is not drowned in a sauce. With my own limitations, so I continue to feel well, I find trying something different to eat when in another country, to be an important part of the cultural experience. And, new experiences after all, are what travel is all about.

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Calamari

At home Bruce and I tend to continuously, eat basically the same kinds of food: homemade: bread, pizza, vegetable soup, grilled salmon, healthy salads and my chicken crock-pot concoctions. Even in our basically, boring, rut eating we do notice the colors, flavorful combinations and presentation.

What’s the most exotic food you have eaten? How do you feel about food – is food something to fill your ready to eat stomach? Have you ever thought of eating as an experience – how so?

“May you live all the days of your life.”  J. Swift
julie@handsbestrong.com

Living in the Mountains

Venice, Italy and Lake City, Colorado

My husband and I were in Venice, Italy this October, just 24 days before the worst flooding in 50 years. I really connect with Venice. Venice is a delicate island ecosystem and it reminds me of home. My husband and I live at almost 9,000 feet above sea level, in the tiny mountain village ecosystem of Lake City, CO.

Last October began an unprecedented snowfall for us that continued through May. According to our local weather man Phil, we received approximately 55″ from November 2018 thru February 2019 and approximately 43″ in March of 2019!!! (Which beat the 1906 record)

Unprecedented avalanches followed. It was mind boggling and heart wrenching for me to see where we had just been walking around Venice, was now flooded. This past winter, it was mind boggling and heart wrenching for me to see, about 20 minutes after I had driven out of our valley, an avalanche pushed down the mountain and into that exact same spot where my car had been.

And oh yea, as I write this, it’s been snowing for 24 hours now.

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This November 30th picture is a month or two ahead of what I’d say is ‘normal’ for the river on our nature trail to look like.

Many Venetian churches and museums have flooded. We were recently enjoying the historic beauty of St. Mark’s Square and Basilica, which have since flooded. The damage the salty sea water does to centuries old mosaics and buildings won’t be known for a long time yet.  In Lake City, our sheriff’s house was destroyed by an avalanche as he and his family slept – mercifully, everyone lived.

More than 20 million visitors visit Venice each year, compared to its permanent population of 55,000. Lake City has about 300 permanent residents. In the summer our population swells to around 3,000.

Venice has seen loads of cancellations. Many would be tourists saw the floodwater footage and decided not to go to Venice. The waters have subsided, and most of the museums are open again. The city is as beautiful as ever — even more beautiful, locals might say, with its current lack of visitors. I understand the beauty of having your home to yourself; as it gets tiresome being inundated with visitors. Our mountain’s natural peacefulness returns when the visitors finally leave.

 

But the Venetians have suffered devastation, and what they need now is to be busy with visitors — people need to make money to survive the losses they’ve had. If tourists decide not to come, people who desperately need money will suffer, because Venice is based on tourism.  

 

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This past year Lake City was expected to be devastated with flooding as the unprecedented snowfall melted – thankfully the flooding didn’t happen. Still, tourism was way down and businesses suffered as would be visitors listened to the reports on national news and newspapers, of probable floods.

 

It’s late November now and it is cold. Our glorious Indian summer days are over. Highs of 32 and much lower will be the norm, along with the onset of single digits and negative temperatures. But dressed in warm layers, with calm sunny, blue sky days, bringing up firewood, walking with the dogs in the mountains, our days are generally delightful and cozy.

 

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However, as I write Lake City is not having a cozy day. It’s just nasty outside – windy cold – an awful combination. It has been snowing all day today. Prayers Venice will not continue with flooding rains. Prayers we are not having another harsh, very snowy winter!

 

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Our little sheltie girl Joy out walking today.

 

Too often visitors come to Lake City and don’t show respect for our environment as they ‘forget’ / don’t care / think it would be fun to see a bear – and they leave food out on their grill or campfire or in their non-bear proof garbage container. They don’t care about the noise or the carbon footprints they make – it’s their vacation! Likewise visitors have been offensive in Venice with swimming in the canals and  demonstrating  private, bedroom behavior, in public places – like under the Rialto Bridge. It’s not just your vacation – it’s home to some of us!

 

Good and services are much more expensive in remote places like Lake City and Venice, where everything has to be brought in. Though cold, I can imagine how beautiful Venice would be at Christmas. Though cold, Christmas in Lake City is adorable and romantic. It is neither easy nor inexpensive to live in these secluded spots. However, for some of us this is our choice, our home and we feel blessed.

 

“May you live all the days of your life.”  J. Swift
julie@handsbestrong.com

Living in the Mountains

Celebrating Thanksgiving and Being Grateful

IMG_4898.jpgCelebrating Thanksgiving and Being Grateful

My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving! I love that there’s a holiday centered on being grateful; with no pressure to send cards, buy presents or even decorate. Yesterday was Thanksgiving. It’s interesting to me to think about people all over our country doing the same thing – sitting down to a feast of turkey, cranberries, potatoes and pies – with friends and family and being grateful.

As life changes, so do holiday celebrations…when Bruce and I were 1st married we lived in Tulsa, OK and our parents lived in Ft. Worth, TX. As young newlyweds we were so glad for the ‘breathing room’ between us and our parents.  Generally, we didn’t really even notice that there were other people in the world. We went to Ft. Worth for either Thanksgiving OR Christmas and totally enjoyed having the other holiday completely to ourselves.

David, our 1st born, was a January baby – after his birth we started going to TX for ‘all’ the holidays. Decades later, after parents could no longer have the family gatherings at their home, we were the host for numerous years; until we moved. A cousin then took over hosting. Eventually, Bruce’s folks were in their 90’s and too fragile to take out. We then went to the ‘retirement center’ where they lived and finally, it was just Bruce’s dad.

Howard died in late October 2017. We were too spent that Thanksgiving and ignored a potential invitation. Last Thanksgiving, 2018 it was again just the two of us and I felt – kind of sad, missing the gatherings we use to have with more people.

I wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving this year with other people. I thought of our widower friend Don, being alone, as well our new friends, Sylvia and Bill. Everyone was pleased and accepted quickly. For various reasons, after some back and forth, it was finally agreed that we would all go to Sylvia and Bill’s new home for Thanksgiving. Daughter Terry has just moved back to Lake City and she brought friends Mike and Parker to Thanksgiving dinner.

Sylvia, your daughter, Terry, is so like you: vivacious, interesting and pretty, too. I felt like I just made another girlfriend! Thanks Sylvia for all of your wonderful, delicious efforts and warm hospitality! It was fun!

Today it’s really, really snowing – hard and long. All of us Lake City folks, living here at 9,000 feet, are doing the same thing – dealing with the snow. I’m thinking, those of us not removing the snow with a vehicle and plow, we are using some of those extra calories we stored up yesterday.

I am thankful for healthy bodies and being strong enough to move snow and bring up firewood. And yes, I am thankful we get to live here! And too – as in a romantic comedy, but this is my life, as we are shoveling snow my husband of 42 years calls out to me, “I love you Julie!” Aw!!!!!

Something else to be incredibly thankful for is our local veterinarian; knowledgeable, personable Linda – who also makes house calls!

Yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, I was able to text with Linda and she communicates that the medicine we need for Joy, our sheltie, is in the picnic basket between their garage doors – I love living in Lake City! This morning, before it was really snowy, Linda came to our home to check on Joy. Thank you again Linda!

I am also really grateful for my readers – thank you – thank you!

Do you have dogs? What kind? How’s your veterinarian situation?  How was your Thanksgiving? What are you grateful for?

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“May you live all the days of your life.”  J. Swift
julie@handsbestrong.com

Living in the Mountains

Overcoming Osteoporosis

 

MOST EXCELLENT NEWS!!!

Listen Up!

Had Osteoporosis

Now I Don’t!!!

 

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I am not telling anyone what to do. This is simply information I have gathered, made as straightforward as I could make it,

along with my experience:

I am (my birthday was days ago) 63-year-old, Caucasian, female, who has always been physically active. I have never been a smoker or drinker, and have a healthy body weight and healthy eating habits.

When I was 60 I freaked out when I was found to have osteoporosis. I didn’t like the idea of being on medicine – it has been my observation that too often medicines, especially over a long period of time cause horrible side effects. Also, as much as possible, I want to be in control of my health and change any part of my lifestyle as needed, rather than pop a pill.

I live in a little mountain village and have a good, personal relationship with my health care provider – so that I am not just another patient who gets the standard treatment – because that’s not what I want.   

***I know where I made my health mistake – I wrongly thought that with my healthy life style I could forgo supplements.  

Information on taking supplements varies. For me it is vital to take supplements along with my healthy lifestyle to maintain my health.

 

When I calmed down I heard that I was just over the line that marks having osteoporosis. My health care provider agreed with the advice I had from my good friend and retired nurse Judy – take 2 calcium daily, 1 in the AM and 1 in the PM making sure vitamin D is included. Keep up my healthy active lifestyle and healthy diet.

 

Just FYI an OB/GYN I saw in a nearby town automatically thought that the pharmaceutical recommendation of being on meds for osteoporosis for 2 years (before making a new assessment) was the way to go. ***She and I had just met and did not have a close, individual health care relationship as I do with my health care provider here for years – vital to me.

 

***Yesterday I got the report from my bone scan 2 days before, that I no longer have osteoporosis!!!

 

Osteoporosis is a disease in which there is loss of bone mass and density.

Risk factor for osteoporosis that are uncontrollable: gender, age,  and ethnicity

Women are 4-times more likely than men to develop osteoporosis.

After age 30, bone mass naturally begins to decline with age. 

Caucasian and Asian women are at the highest risk for the development of osteoporosis.  

Risk factor for osteoporosis that are controllable: smoking, excessive drinking,  underweight, lack of exercise

 

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH): A BMI of less than 18.5 means that a person is underweight. A BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 is ideal.

 

Calculate BMI by dividing weight in pounds (lb) by height in inches (in) squared and multiplying by a conversion factor of 703. When using a handheld calculator, if your calculator has a square function, divide weight (lb) by height (in) squared, multiply by 703, and round to one decimal place.

 

Two easy BMI calculators below

https://bmicalculatorusa.com/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obesity/in-depth/bmi-calculator/itt-20084938#

 

 

Researchers have shown a direct link between smoking and decreased bone density.  

 

Research has shown that regular consumption of more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases the risk of developing osteoporosis.  Consuming more than four alcoholic drinks per day may double the risk of osteoporosis related fractures.  In the United States, a standard drink is defined as 12-ounces of beer, 5-ounces of wine, or 1.5-ounces of distilled spirits.

 

 

Studies have shown that women who sit for more than 9-hours per day are 50-percent more likely to have a hip fracture compared to those who sit less than 6-hours per day.  Bone, like muscle, becomes stronger with exercise.  The stress of exercise stimulates bone cell activity.  Exercise also promotes balance, which can decrease the likelihood of falls and fractures.

 

Two types of exercises may help prevent osteoporosis:  weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises.  Examples of high-impact weight-bearing exercises are dancing, hiking, jogging, and tennis.  Examples of low-impact weight-bearing exercises are elliptical machines, stair-step machines, and walking on a treadmill.  Examples of muscle-strengthening exercises are lifting free weights, using elastic exercise bands, and lifting one’s own body weight with pull-ups or push-ups.  Walking is the best exercise for me. I walk with our dogs, in our mountains, on and off throughout the day(s) I also keep hand weights in my bedroom window seat and lift them 3x’s off and on throughout each day. I do a video of Tai Chi. I climb stairs and carry firewood, etc –

 

At least 30-minutes of exercise most days of the week, provides the greatest benefit to bone health. I wear a Fit Bit.

 

In addition, the National Osteoporosis Foundation reports some medicines may cause bone loss.

 

Life is hard enough. Aging is hard enough. Being healthy and strong is everything (to me) doing all I can to stay as healthy and as strong as possible is vital to my happiness! I am getting up from the computer now and bring up firewood and going walking with our dogs again on our nature trail. *Life is Good!

How about you?

Venice, Florence, and Rome

In October 2019 Bruce and I went on a Rick Steves Tour Group to Venice, Florence, and Rome

 Burano, an island off Venice, Italy

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” -St. Augustine

Venice was founded over 1,500 years ago on 117 different islands that are linked by 150 canals and 400 bridges.

Venice: uniquely picturesque, absorbing, romantic, historic, a pioneer, and definitely a survivor.

I find it fascinating that the current buildings are built on the original wooden piles!  How can that be – well, the wood is secured because the soil is so water logged that there’s no free oxygen in it, so there’s no decay.

To make the islands fit for living, Venice’s early settlers drained areas of the lagoon, dug canals and supported the banks in preparation for building. On top of these stakes, they placed wooden platforms and then stone and then the buildings.

Venice is at constant risk for flooding. The city has survived Napoleon, and two world wars. When the plague struck, Venice invented the concept of quarantine. What a survivor!

Michelangelo’s David

This centuries old original sculpture of the David is in the Accademia Gallery of Florence. David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture, created in marble between 1501 and 1504, by the Italian artist Michelangelo

Being practically alone with Michelangelo’s David was a tender hearted, mind-boggling experience.

Some interesting little know facts about Michelangelo’s David:

Michelangelo created David from a piece of marble that had been  discarded by other sculptors. The block of marble that became one of history’s most famous masterpieces proves the cliché: one man’s trash is another’s treasure.

 Agostino di Duccio gave up on a project using the block, after which the marble was untouched for 10 years. Then, Antonio Rossellino tried to work with the block of marble but also gave up on it.

The block of marble had been waiting for 40 years when Michelangelo was up to the challenge of carving the marble. 

Also, something like 8 million visitors a year tread through the Galleria dell’Accademia to take in the sculpture of David. Studies show that all this foot traffic creates vibrations that are tearing at the centuries old marble.

Our Rick Steves tour group in front of the Colosseum in Rome.

Many more ponderings to come…