Toddler Q, the light of our life, is chatty. He’s been talking for over a year, but on a daily basis, we are amazed and delighted by his ability to articulate and to express himself.
Yesterday, on the way to his swimming lesson, AdventureMan was working with him on “goldfish” which he has been pronouncing “Goldpish.”
“Gold FISH!” they shouted as they drove down the road!
After his swimming lesson, on the way home, AdventureMan could hear him softly saying “goldfish.”
Then he said “BaBa, when I was little, I used to say ‘Goldpish.’ Now, I say ‘Goldfish!”
We’ve had three sets of houseguests in a very short time span, and today is our first day of ‘normal.’ We saw our friends off at 0430 (we used to call it oh-dark-hundred) and I couldn’t get back to sleep, so by the grace of God (and I mean that literally) I got up and walked.
I know I need to walk. I’ve always walked. I used to run, but I suffered for it – the knees – and decided I didn’t want to pay that price. But when my sister was here, we decided to take a walk and I said “don’t worry, I walk fast” and she said “I don’t, I am so slow now, my body has to warm up.” Confidently I started – and starting is uphill from my house. Very shortly, I discovered my fast was her slow, and I was HUFFING and puffing, and so embarrassed because I guess it’s been a while since I did this walk . . . but we did it. It felt good. And I was happy for a nice cool morning so I could do it again.
I ran into a neighbor, ignored that she was in her nightgown, we both pretended she was as fully dressed as I, had a brief conversation and she went inside with her newspaper and I carried on. About halfway through my walk, as I puffed along, I heard it.
The baboon coughed.
I could even smell a faint drift of wood burning fire. I could hear the doves. But it was only very briefly, very intangential, and I quickly realized it must have been a dog barking distantly; I could still hear him. For one brief moment I was back in Zambia, and while I love the magic of Zambia, I would not be out for a mile long hike early in the morning while the lions prowl for a last meal before they settle down for their day-long snooze.
We are off this morning to a grand plant sale across the bay in Milton. Symphony tonight. Back to “normal” for Pensacola.
I took a wonderful photo at Easter, wonderful because I have the same exact photo at the same exact age of my son, holding up his Easter Egg exactly (or, oh pardon me, I can’t resist, eggsactly) the same way. There are just some little things that make a Grandmama’s (and Mama’s) heart sing
Because AdventureMan has worked so hard with him, little Q has been moved up to a more advanced class, and we are all excited about that. I know there are some who prefer to be the BEST in their group, but we always learn and achieve more when surrounded by people a little more accomplished and skilled than we are. We are happy he will be pushing himself to be a really GOOD swimmer!
When we pick Q up at school, all his little school friends say “Q – your BaBa is here!” LOL @ all these little kids speaking Arabic!
We were so efficient at the Mobile Botanical Garden that we had plenty of time to hit the nearby Mobile Museum of Art. Actually, we loved the whole park area; there is the Botanical Garden, the Museum of Art, also walking paths, a huge water . . . something, it might be a river or a large lake with a dam in it, I don’t know what it is, but it is a large amount of water. There are athletic fields and even some offices, not large office buildings but some smaller outlying kinds of state or county offices. It’s a nice park, it has a nice feeling, a lot going on.
It doesn’t hurt that it is one of the prettiest days of the year, not hot, not humid, and no mosquitos!
I love it that not all the art is inside the building. There is statuary outside, along the walking path, and this huge made-from-found-objects butterfly at the entrance. It is wonderful. As you enter the museum, looking through miles of glass out through trees at the water, you immediately think “what a place for an event!” thinking wedding, reception, small chamber group performance, etc. Truly beautiful spaces; I would show you but they have a really strict policy about photographing inside the building, so I didn’t.
They have some surprising pieces, surprisingly good for a small museum. They have some very odd pieces, par for the course in a small museum. They have an amazing art glass collection, beautifully displayed in a room with gorgeous natural light that allows each piece to shine. They had an exquisite visiting exhibit based on a Vietnamese classic, with intricate, ethereal pieces.
Too much to take in on one visit! I think our favorite piece in the exhibit were some gorgeous silvery angel wings on a wall near the gallery entrance on the top floor. When you get closer to the exhibit, you see it really, REALLY is silvery – it is silver spoons! The bowls of the spoons form the outer part of the feathers, hundreds of spoons, and the base of the spoon the lower part. It is whimsical and surprising, and made me whoop a little (trying to be respectful in a museum ) with delight. We are eager to go back and to take our little grandson, as he gains in ability to focus his attention
Driving Directions From I-65
From I-65, take the Springhill Avenue Exit (Exit 5) and head west on Springhill Avenue. Go approximately 1 1/2 miles and turn left on John D. New Street (traffic signal). Take an immediate right onto Museum Drive. The Museum is the first building on the right.
“I am so thankful we had such good weather when our house guests were here,” I said to AdventureMan. Not only was it raining steadily as we headed home from the commissary, but we had thunder and lightning early in the morning, and it meant no water-aerobics class – pools are not a safe place to be when there is a thunderstorm outside.
“And I am thankful to have a garage.” he added, and I totally agree. When you have a big load of groceries is not a great time for a rain storm if you are toting them inside, pelted by a pouring rain.
We thought of all the places we have lived. I thought of all the groceries we have toted. Probably, for me, the worst was in Kuwait, where we had underground parking (very nice protection from the heat and merciless sun) and you had to take groceries and other shopping up in an elevator. We’ve lived in many countries, however, with no garage at all, and carried groceries inside through all kinds of weather.
And the rain keeps coming down . . . .
I’m always watching myself for any sign of cognitive slippage. I had two dear aunts who became barmy, one in her sixties, and one not until her eighties. Thank you, Hayfa, for this great article:
UCLA on Alzheimer’s Disease – young or old should read
Food for Thought
“The idea that Alzheimer’s is entirely genetic and unpreventable is perhaps the greatest misconception about the disease,” says Gary Small, M.D., director of the UCLA Centeron Aging. Researchers now know that Alzheimer’s, like heart disease and cancer, develops over decades and can be influenced by lifestyle factors including cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity, depression, education, nutrition, sleep and mental, physical and social activity.The big news: Mountains of research reveals that simple things you do every day might cut your odds of losing your mind to Alzheimer’s.In search of scientific ways to delay and outlive Alzheimer’s and other dementias, I tracked down thousands of studies and interviewed dozens of experts. The results in a new book: 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Age-Related Memory Loss
Here are 10 strategies I found most surprising.
1. Have coffee. In an amazing flip-flop, coffee is the new brain tonic. A large European study showed that drinking three to five cups of coffee a day in midlife cut Alzheimer’s risk 65% in late life. University of South Florida researcher Gary Arendash credits caffeine: He says it reduces dementia-causing amyloid in animal brains. Others credit coffee’s antioxidants. So drink up, Arendash advises, unless your doctor says you shouldn’t.
2. Floss. Oddly, the health of your teeth and gums can help predict dementia. University of Southern California research found that having periodontal disease before age 35 quadrupled the odds of dementia years later. Older people with tooth and gum disease score lower on memory and cognition tests, other studies show. Experts speculate that inflammation in diseased mouths migrates to the brain.
3. Google. Doing an online search can stimulate your aging brain even more than reading a book, says UCLA’s Gary Small, who used brain MRIs to prove it. The biggest surprise: Novice Internet surfers, ages 55 to 78, activated key memory and learning centers in the brain after only a week of Web surfing for an hour a day.
4. Grow new brain cells. Impossible, scientists used to say. Now it’s believed that thousands of brain cells are born daily. The trick is to keep the newborns alive. What works: aerobic exercise (such as a brisk 30-minute walk every day), strenuous mental activity, eating salmon and other fatty fish, and avoiding obesity, chronic stress, sleep deprivation, heavy drinking and vitamin B deficiency. Drink apple juice. Apple juice can push production of the “memory chemical” acetylcholine; that’s the way the popular Alzheimer’s drug Aricept works, says Thomas Shea, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts. He was surprised that old mice given apple juice did better on learning and memory tests than mice that received water. A dose for humans: 16 ounces, or two to three apples a day.
5. Protect your head. Blows to the head, even mild ones early in life, increase odds of dementia years later. Pro football players have 19 times the typical rate of memory-related diseases. Alzheimer’s is four times more common in elderly who suffer a head injury, Columbia University finds. Accidental falls doubled an older person’s odds of dementia five years later in another study. Wear seat belts and helmets, fall-proof your house, and don’t take risks.
6. Meditate. Brain scans show that people who meditate regularly have less cognitive decline and brain shrinkage – a classic sign of Alzheimer’s – as they age. Andrew Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine says yoga meditation of 12 minutes a day for two months improved blood flow and cognitive functioning in seniors with memory problems.
7. Take Vitamin D. A “severe deficiency” of vitamin D boosts older Americans’ risk of cognitive impairment 394%, an alarming study by England’s University of Exeter finds. And most Americans lack vitamin D. Experts recommend a daily dose of 800 IU to 2,000 IU of vitamin D3.
8. Fill your brain. It’s called “cognitive reserve.” A rich accumulation of life experiences – education, marriage, socializing, a stimulating job, language skills, having a purpose in life, physical activity and mentally demanding leisure activities – makes your brain better able to tolerate plaques and tangles. You can even have significant Alzheimer’s pathology and no symptoms of dementia if you have high cognitive reserve, says David Bennett, M.D., of Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center.
9. Avoid infection. Astonishing new evidence ties Alzheimer’s to cold sores, gastric ulcers, Lyme disease, pneumonia and the flu. Ruth Itzhaki, Ph.D., of the University of Manchester in England estimates the cold-sore herpes simplex virus is incriminated in 60% of Alzheimer’s cases. The theory: Infections trigger excessive beta amyloid “gunk” that kills brain cells. Proof is still lacking, but why not avoid common infections and take appropriate vaccines, antibiotics and antiviral agents?
What to Drink for Good Memory: A great way to keep your aging memory sharp and avoid Alzheimer’s is to drink the right stuff.
a. Tops: Juice. A glass of any fruit or vegetable juice three times a week slashed Alzheimer’s odds 76% in Vanderbilt University research. Epecially protective:blueberry, grape and apple juice, say other studies.
b. Tea: Only a cup of black or green tea a week cut rates of cognitive decline in older people by 37%, reports the Alzheimer’s Association. Only brewed tea works. Skip bottled tea, which is devoid of antioxidants.
c. Caffeine beverages. Surprisingly, caffeine fights memory loss and Alzheimer’s, suggest dozens of studies. Best sources: coffee (one Alzheimer’s researcher drinks five cups a day), tea and chocolate. Beware caffeine if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, insomnia or anxiety.
d. Red wine: If you drink alcohol, a little red wine is most apt to benefit your aging brain. It’s high in antioxidants. Limit it to one daily glass for women, two for men. Excessive alcohol, notably binge drinking, brings on Alzheimer’s.
e. Two to avoid: Sugary soft drinks, especially those sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. They make lab animals dumb. Water with high copper content also can up your odds of Alzheimer’s. Use a water filter that removes excess minerals.
Ways to Save Your Kids from Alzheimer’s:
· Now, Alzheimer’s isn’t just a disease that starts in old age. What happens to your child’s brain seems to have a dramatic impact on his or her likelihood of Alzheimer’s many decades later.
· Here are five things you can do now to help save your child from Alzheimer’s and memory loss later in life, according to the latest research. Prevent head blows: Insist your child wear a helmet during biking, skating, skiing, baseball, football, hockey, and all contact sports. A major blow as well as tiny repetitive unnoticed concussions can cause damage, leading to memory loss and Alzheimer’s years later.
· Encourage language skills: A teenage girl who is a superior writer is eight times more likely to escape Alzheimer’s in late life than a teen with poor linguistic skills. Teaching young children to be fluent in two or more languages makes them less vulnerable to Alzheimer’s.
· Insist your child go to college: Education is a powerful Alzheimer’s deterrent . The more years of formal schooling, the lower the odds. Most Alzheimer’s prone: teenage drop outs. For each year of education, your risk of dementia drops 11%, says a recent University of Cambridge study.
· Provide stimulation: Keep your child’s brain busy with physical, mental and social activities and novel experiences. All these contribute to a bigger, better functioning brain with more so-called ‘cognitive reserve.’ High cognitive reserve protects against memory decline and Alzheimer’s.
· Spare the junk food: Lab animals raised on berries, spinach and high omega-3 fish have great memories in old age. Those overfed sugar, especially high fructose in soft drinks, saturated fat and trans fats become overweight and diabetic, with smaller brains and impaired memories as they age, a prelude to Alzheimer’s.
“Happy New Year!” I called out to my Chinese friend in Aqua Aerobics.
“Happy New Year!” she shouted back, puffing just a little.
“Are you going out to celebrate?” I asked, with my find-a-good-Chinese-restaurant-agenda coming out.
“Yes, with a bunch of friends!” she responded.
“Where are you going?” I asked, genuinely curious as to where REAL Chinese people would eat real Chinese food in Pensacola.
“Happy China, over on Mobile Highway,” she told me.
I haven’t had really good Chinese food since leaving Kuwait, where we ate in a little dingy restaurant where a lot of Chinese people also ate. The food was not dumbed down, not at all.
“Will he fix you something special?” I wondered, and she replied that he would, several dishes, ordered ahead, for their large party.
So today, AdventureMan and I struck out to find the Happy China, and we did, to celebrate Chinese New Year, and it was good. I intended to order from the menu, but the buffet looked pretty good, so we decided it would be a way to get an overview. There were many many seafood items, and a noodle bar where you put together a noodle dish and then put it in warm broth to warm it all up. It was fun, the food was really good, and I look forward to going back and ordering off the menu.
On our way out, as we paid the very reasonable bill, I asked if they ever had any of the cats with the raised paws in white china with the colored paint. She said sometimes, but that they fly off the shelves.
“This year we have these ones, in gold, because it is the year of the Snake, you want something in gold,” she instructed me. I kinda liked the glitzy gold anyway, and they were $2.99, LOL, a small price for welcoming wealth into our household. The cat whose right paw is raised welcomes wealth, the left paw raised welcomes children, which are a different kind of wealth and are also welcome in our household, our own son and other people’s children, not more for me, please!
Fresh from the Pensacola News Journal Page:
Wow. Wow. Wow.
A $5 million pledge by Quint and Rishy Studer has kick-started a drive to build a new downtown Pensacola YMCA on a waterfront site at Community Maritime Park.
Studer said this afternoon he is interested in seeing a new YMCA downtown because of the positive impact it can have on children and adults, on community health and on residential development in the downtown area.
Studer said his pledge is contingent on the YMCA being located on a waterfront site at the southwest corner of the park, and that the project move forward at a rapid pace.
“We told them (the YMCA board) if they are serious, this has to move quickly,” Studer said. “Emotionally, Rishy and I can’t take another long, drawn-out things like with the stadium. We can’t take getting beat up again.”
Studer said the YMCA project, tentatively estimated at about $10 million, would be an excellent fit for the Maritime Park.
“There is a vacant piece of property there and either there’s going to be nothing on it, or a private developer will build something, or there can be a YMCA there.”
Brian Hooper, chair of Mayor Ashton Hayward’s Urban Development Advisory Committee, said a new YMCA in the downtown area was a key recommendation of the report released last month.
“One of the most common suggestions we heard from the public was the strong desire to see a family-oriented community center downtown,” Hooper said. “As our final report recommended, a new YMCA in downtown Pensacola would provide those who live and work in the community with a centrally-located hub for recreation, wellness, learning, and community. And I’m excited to see that many of our recommendations — such as this one — are already being acted upon.”
In addition to Studer’s pledge, community benefactor Terri Levin said she is co-chairing the YMCA fundraising committee.
Levin also said she will be making a dollar pledge to the project but has not yet decided the amount.
Pensacola developer Eric Nickelsen and real estate developer Joe Buehler are co-chairing the steering committee.
Nickelsen said the 10-person, all-volunteer YMCA steering committee, which includes former Mayor Mike Wiggins and former Pensacola City Councilman Ron Townsend, is meeting later this month to recommend a site to the Y’s board of directors. It’s
expected the recommended site will be the CMPA’s waterfront parcel.
Nickelsen said the YMCA project is in the early stages of development, but has considerable momentum.
“Apparently there is good feeling among our committee members that we can be successful in our fund raising campaign,” Nickelsen said.
AdventureMan, half way to his goal of becoming a Master Gardener, spent the last week cleaning out the pots and gardens in back, but couldn’t bear to get rid of these two valiant tomato plants which continue bearing well into January. We’ve had delicious tomatoes since August! Who know we would live in a place where you plant tomato seeds in June and continue to have fresh tomatoes growing into January?
We also have a wonderful aloe plant, which got a little confused in the warmth of a couple days of December and sent up a flower. The first year we were here, the flowers came up in April, but Spring seems to be coming earlier and earlier . . .
We’re having a little tree work done, and AdventureMan is studying pruning techniques, so as to judiciously and minimally trim back some of our fruit trees, and clear some of the dead branches off our huge oak tree. I’ve got two avocado trees that I’ve grown from seeds, in large pots now, and some basil plants that still appear to be doing well. I still remember the hedges made of basil, which grew year round in Qatar at the Ramada Hotel, and in Kuwait would go dormant during the brutal heat of summer but come roaring back once the heat moderated.
Do you remember doing this as a child? I remember doing it, maybe for some Red Cross Swimming class. We could all do it. . . So after I watched the video, I had to try it again. I can get down with no problem – 5 points. Getting up, I needed to use my knee: 4 points. I’m happy with that score, and happy I can still get up and down off the floor
So my question is this – many people who can’t do it the first time, can do it if they practice. So if you practice, and get good at it, have you lengthened your life? Have your improved your probability of living longer?
Simple Sit Test Predicts Long Life
By Crystal Phend, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Published: December 13, 2012
Reviewed by Zalman S. Agus, MD; Emeritus Professor, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner
This study evaluated the association between the ability to sit and rise from the floor with and without support and all-cause mortality in adults age 51 to 80.
There was a significant association between the use of more support to sit and rise from the floor and increasing all-cause mortality.
How well middle-age and older adults can get up off the floor may predict their chances of long-term survival.
Each additional support needed to get to and rise from a sitting position on the floor — knee, hands, etc. — was associated with a 21% lower chance of survival over about 6 years of follow-up in a trial online in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
The survival odds differed by 5.44-fold between the highest and lowest scorers on the sit-rise test after adjustment for age, sex, and body mass index, Claudio Gil Soares de Araújo, PhD, of Gama Filho University and Clinimex in Rio de Janeiro, and colleagues reported.
Ability to rise from the floor reflects muscle strength, coordination, balance, and flexibility needed for getting up out of a chair, bending over to pick up an item, and various other daily activities and is also tied to risk of falls, they explained.
“Application of a simple and safe assessment tool such as sit-rise test…in general health examinations could add relevant information regarding functional capabilities and outcomes in non-hospitalized adults,” the group wrote.
Other functional tests are commonly used, such as chair-to-stand and gait speed, but the floor-to stand test has the advantage of requiring no equipment and minimal space and time, they pointed out.
The retrospective study included all 2,002 individuals ages 51 to 80 evaluated with the test at a single center from 1997 through 2011, excluding competitive athletes and those with relevant musculoskeletal problems.
The test was administered on a nonslip surface, with individuals instructed to try to sit on the floor and then get back up without worrying about speed and using the least support they felt necessary.
A maximum of 10 points was possible, 5 for sitting and 5 for rising without any supports. Each support (hand, forearm, knee, side of leg, or hand on the knee) used took away 1 point; and participants could lose an additional 0.5 points for an unsteady performance.
Over the median 6.3 years of follow-up for mortality in state vital status registries, nearly 8% of the cohort died.
Sit-rise test scores tended to be poorer at older ages, but the association between all-cause mortality and score persisted with adjustment for age as well as sex and body mass index.
The hazard ratios compared with the highest-scoring, 8-to 10-point group were (all statistically significant):
5.44 for lowest scores (0 to 3 points)
3.44 for scores of 3.5 to 5.5
1.84 for scores of 6 to 7.5
That translated to a 3-year shorter life expectancy for the lowest versus highest scoring groups.
The researchers noted that no adverse events, such as injury from slips or falls, have occurred during the test over a 14-year experience at the center.
They cautioned that the study didn’t control for physical activity patterns, subclinical degeneration, or recent unreported injuries.
Other limitations were the predominantly white, high socioeconomic status population studied, which may limit generalizability, and the single center design.