10 things volunteering can do for others and you!


1. There’s nothing like giving to others. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
2. People do need people. Although some animals need help too.
3. Meet other people you wouldn’t ordinarily ever come in contact with.
4. Share your knowledge about something: for example, art, writing, music…
5. Helping older people is a good thing. Some of them are very isolated, and this is not a good way to live. There are many children who need someone too!
6. Put good karma in the universe. ( I’m not sure there is such a thing, but
who knows?)
7. You would be surprised how many people you help will want to pay it forward and help someone else.
8. Maybe learn a new skill while you’re volunteering.
9. Stretch yourself further than you thought was possible.
10. In the process, you will make some good friends.

What have you gotten out of volunteering? Share your experiences and thoughts.

Dental work bites your pocketbook: Why is it so expensive?


Cover of "My Dentist"

Cover of My Dentist

I have always had good health, and I am really grateful for that. But, one part of my body seems to be falling apart, my teeth. Maybe human’s weren’t meant to live as long as they do now-a-days. It seems like teeth go before the rest of our bodies.

My teeth have never been wonderful. When the tooth fairy was giving out teeth,  she must have given me the second-rate ones. Maybe she knew I wasn’t ever going to be rich and famous and didn’t need to be photographed. It might also have something to do with the inheritance I got from both my mother and grandmother. They both owned dentures which they faithfully soaked in Polident every night. Dental Implants, which stay in your mouth permanently, are an improvement.

To clarify, I am constantly brushing and flossing my teeth. I have said aloud to anyone who was listening, “I no longer have to take care of children, but I always have my teeth to keep me busy.”  I guess I’d be completely toothless now, if I didn’t do that. I know people without teeth, and it’s not a pretty picture. People shouldn’t have to go around looking like that because they’re financially strapped.

In my sixties my teeth have become very high maintenance.

When I was a kid, I went to a dentist who was continually putting silver cavities in my mouth. One time when a new dentist drilled my tooth I complained about the way the Novocaine felt. So, he let me go without it. I would  not recommend this. I will never complain about Novocaine again.

The silver cavities have been replaced with beautiful white ones because the original ones only last so long .Now, I need crowns on my teeth.  A crown protects your nub of a tooth. ( The dentist files down your tooth to fit the crown.) A guess they call them crowns because they’re about as expensive as the one of the  English  crown jewels. (Okay, I’m exaggerating.)

Unfortunately, I lost 2 teeth in the past couple of  years.  I was going to a dentist who was having some  emotional problems,  and he told me not to worry about my teeth that were  slightly wiggling and a little mushy.  I should’ve known better, but I listened to him.

By the time I got to a good dentist, it was too late.  I had to get them pulled by a fancy periodontist in a fancy office.  It was a surreal experience.

Cover of "Cast Away (Widescreen Edition)&...

Cover of Cast Away (Widescreen Edition)

mainly, because I used to have dreams that my teeth were falling out. When the periodontist was pulling out my tooth I must have  had the look of  panic on my face. He said, “at least I’m not taking off your arm.” This put it in the proper perspective.

If that wasn’t bad enough, he later did surgery on 3/4 of my mouth. He opened up my gums and got all the gunk out, then he sewed them back up.   It only hurt when he put those 3 fancy shots of Novocaine in my gums.  He did this surgery that was supposed to “save my teeth.” He even called to see how I was doing the next day. I found that amazing. How many doctor’s call you to see if you’re still alive?  I finally understand what being long-in-the-tooth means. More gum then tooth, and you’re getting up there in years.

It worked for a while, but  time is marching on. Not only am I now “long in the tooth”  but some of my teeth are just not going to last. I have a feeling there are more crowns in my future.

I visit the dentist every 3 months, and the periodontist on the alternate 3 months. These are like my closest friends now. No offense to them, but I’d rather be socializing with other people.

The crowns are so fancy that each of these majestic coverings is going to cost me over $1.000.00.a piece. Yes, I do have Dental insurance, but it doesn’t pay for the whole crown. Only 25%. Does that mean they only care about  1/4 of my tooth.

I think the dental profession is getting away with overcharging all of us.

 I personally know elderly people who will not get the replacement teeth because it’s just too expensive. This doesn’t seem right to me. Isn’t there something undignified about going around with your teeth missing? Besides, you can’t do much else when your past 90, but eat.

To be fair I’m glad we have dentists, periodontists, and dental hygienists
My dentist is so good that my kids still use him when they come to visit. He’s a very nice guy, and I don’t think he would be overcharging if he didn’t have to. I’m wondering if it’s the dental labs.

There’s nothing worse than a bad toothache. Remember Tom Hanks in that movie, Cast Away; he was deserted on an island and had to pull his own tooth out. I could feel his pain.

Why is it so expensive?

Don’t they know that times are tough? Does it really cost thousands of dollars to make those fancy crowns and implants? How much do they make on each sale?

Am I just a whiner? Is the cost justified? Tell me about your experiences.

Happy New Year! Top 10 things I get out of celebrating the Jewish new year. It’s 5773!


 

 

English: Symbols of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish N...

English: Symbols of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year: Shofar, apples, honey in glass honey dish, pomegranates, wine, silver kiddush cup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the practical things I take out of Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur. During Rosh Hashanah Jewish people welcome the new year and start reflection. On Yom Kippur, we ask for forgiveness for things we’d done during the year that aren’t so great.

I do not take religion literally. I don’t like extremism in any religion. I have to respect my religion. It’s come back despite all odds for generations despite efforts to annihilate it.

I believe every religion has something good to offer people. The extremists in every religion  use it for their own purposes and agenda. I wasn’t raised in an orthodox household. I am a Reform Jew.

These are my top 10 things I get out of celebrating the Jewish holidays.

1. It reminds me that I get a new chance every year.
2. It gives me a chance to reflect on the ways I’ve handled myself  throughout the year. Have I done enough to help other people. When you help others, you perform a Mitzvah (good deed).
3. It teaches me that forgiving myself is important.
4 .It’s all about forgiving people who may have hurt you too. In other words, don’t hold a grudge. Now, that’s good advice.
5. I like to think about my ancestors chanting the same prayers. My great-grandfather was a Cantor in a Jewish  school in Germany. I know he had to teach some of the same prayers to young boys.
6.  It gives me sense of a long history. According to the Jewish calendar. It’s really 5773. I wonder if I’ve really been connected to Judaism for all that time. I often wonder how the connection started.
7. I’ve met some of my closest friends by singing Jewish music with them. So, Judaism has given me something special.
8. The new year offers apples and honey. A great combination.
9. It reminds me of people who were close to me that are no longer living.
10. It’s a good reason to get many of the family members together.

What do you get out of your religion? Do you think religion is outdated and no longer relevant to modern society?

 

Pill Overdose: Are American Seniors Overmedicated?


Medicine Drug Pills on Plate

Medicine Drug Pills on Plate (Photo credit: epSos.de)

Would you take 24 pills in a day? Maybe if you’re over 80, you’d be spending a good deal of time sorting, categorizing, and remembering to take all your pills in order. Are these seniors too trusting of their doctors and the FDA (Federal Drug Administration)

I first realized the enormity of this problem  when my own mother was taking so many pills she was obsessed with the whole process. She was practically blind which made the whole endeavor pathetic. She was trying to distinguish her pills by their shapes.  When she wasn’t taking her pills, she was falling asleep throughout the day.

I thought it was because she was old, but my sisters and I finally figured out it was because her doctor was over-prescribing medicine. One pill for one condition, and one pill to take care of side effects.  When she would complain about how she felt,  he would throw another pill at her.  Being of the generation which never questioned their doctors, she would obediently do what the doctor suggested.

My oldest sister took my mother to another doctor who cut her medicine drastically. She stopped falling asleep in front of me, but she was still loaded down with medicine. At least she was conscious most of the day which was a vast improvement.

Is the FDA in Cahoots with the Pharmaceutical Companies?

I have a friend who believes there are a lot of natural remedies for the pills that the doctors prescribes. She doesn’t trust the FDA,(Federal Drug Administration)

FDA (trade union)

FDA (trade union) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the pharmaceutical companies, and doctor training   “They teach doctors to treat symptoms not to prevent the problem in the first place,” she contends.

When I see all the older people loaded down with pills I have to agree. It seems really cruel to load these people down with all these pills they have to organize, sort, and take.

I wonder what their lives would be like without the pills? What if they ate the right foods, exercised, and prevented the conditions in the first place? Vitamins, and fiber?

I have to say, I do trust my doctor, and do take a pill she prescribed for my GERD (heartburn and esophagus) problem. She scared me with that word…Cancer. When I suggested I try a more natural approach, she told me it was too late for that. I am thinking about going to a doctor who believes in the more natural approach.

I refuse to take cholesterol pills. I figure I’ll take my chances. I would never take those awful blood thinning pills. All those horrible bruises old people walk around with are not worth it to me.

One might argue that people get so old these days because they take all these pills. What do you think?

.

Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition…Nyla’s Story


Nyla

I  like the “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition.  Chris Powell,  the trainer, actually seems interested in making transformations among people.

But, there is something nosy and wrong  about watching extremely obese people begin to work out. They sweat, pant, grown, and look like they’re about to die.

But, it is great to watch them make progress, and “transform.”

Nyla, the recent episode struck a chord with me. I like watching strong women succeed.

This woman started out at 438 pounds. There is no doubt that she got this big because she has emotional problems.

It all stems from the fact that she was abandoned by her father when she was very little. Now, she can’t remember him, and he doesn’t really know her. Somehow, she’s found his loss so hurtful that she’s eaten to make up for it. ( It seemed hard to believe that missing someone you never really knew would upset you, but who’s to say what hurts other people. )

At first, she is really happy that Chris is going to help her. But what she finds out how hard it’s going to be, she gives up. More than once. She seems to be afraid to face her fears. She gets to a point, then gives up. She is afraid of failure.

One of the things Chris has her do to face her fears is to move the opposite way up a down escalator. To me, this seems a little, well….extreme.

She refuses to do it.

More than one time they butt heads. I like Nyla because she is a strong-minded woman. She’s not a mealy-mouthed type.

Everything is going up and down, until Chris hires a private investigator to find her family. Although her father is dead, she gets to meet the rest of his family. This closes the chapter on her feeling awful about the whole thing, and she gets a new family.

My favorite part is when she gets a dance lesson from one of the instructors from “Dancing With the Stars.” Being able to move rhythmically has nothing to do with being overweight!

Without ruining the whole show, let’s just say that she looks pretty good at the end although she can stand to lose some more weight.

Somehow, you’re pretty sure she’s going to succeed.

Extreme Makeover Weight Loss: Mike’s Story


Tonight, I watched Extreme Makeover Weight Loss. This is the TV show that follows a very obese person for a year.  I occasionally watch these programs to inspire myself to lose weight. It’s kind of like attending a Weight Watchers meeting.

We have the adorable personal trainer, Chris, who picks a person to work with for a year. He tortures them in the gym. He makes them lift weights, run, and want to scream bloody murder.  He makes them move their fat all over the place. Despite all the hardship he puts them through, they usually end up being best buds with him.

What I found truly inspirational about Mike’s story was his family.  They all pledged to lose weight right along with him. They did it too! That is real love.

How did he get so fat? He was a shy guy, and  spent a lot of time in front of his computer, TV  and turned to food for comfort. Sound familiar?

One of Mike’s goals was to run a triathlon. Eventually, after losing gobs of weight, he gets to the point where he can attempt it. Cute Chris runs right with him. Mike struggles and struggles, but finally makes it across the finish line. Talk about an extreme race. I was glad he didn’t have a heart attack.  But, we love to watch him triumph, so what’s better than a triathlon?

Meanwhile, he’s met the first girlfriend of his life. Every time they show her, she’s crying because she’s so happy that Mike is in love with her.  I’m wondering why Mike is picking such an obese girl for his girlfriend. It doesn’t seem like she’d be good for him. After all, he’s going through agony so he’s not obese anymore. It’s kind of  like an alcoholic living with another alcoholic. Not such a great idea.

Time marches on, and Mike loses a whopping 232 pounds. He also has skin surgery, and looks fabulous at the weigh-in. He’s a hunk. His family has also lost weight too. Everyone is happy. Too make things even more glorious, Wal-Mart has supplied him with a $50,000 gift certificate. (Shouldn’t they give that to a hungry family?)

Epilogue

The next time we see Mike, it’s a couple of months later. He doesn’t look quite as buff as he did in the reveal. As a matter of fact, he looks like he’s put some weight back on. He dumped his girlfriend.

I hope he keeps the majority of his weight off. But the problem is, excess weight has more to do with emotions than it does to running marathons, or doing 400 push ups. Besides, who can keep up that training schedule?

Am I expressing sour grapes? Experiences with regaining weight after spending hundreds of dollars at Weight watchers? Watching so many people lose and regain weight?

But, it does inspire me, and I’ll watch the next episode.  After all,

My Weight Loss Coach

My Weight Loss Coach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

hope is eternal.

What do you think? Is the show exploitive or inspirational? Should we watch it? Is it a crime to be obese?

My New Experience: Tent Camping (A humorous look)


My husband was not having the best day,  so I figured why not humor him and go camping. He’s been talking about wanting to do this ever since we met, and that was about 40 years ago. (We did go once with the kids, and I haven’t been back. That was around 25 or 30  years ago.)    I do like to walk and bike, but I’m not fond of bugs, or an uncomfortable bed. I am basically an old girly girl.
Anyway, I say, ” I want to try something different.  let’s go camping today.” Not wanting  to miss a golden opportunity  he quickly loads the car. He takes the tent he optimistically bought last year, and never used. He also packs some food, peanut butter, bread, ice, water, towels and a blanket.  He also takes Kodak —the defunct photo company—  rafts we used 40 years ago, and a blow-up mattress he bought who knows when.
He forgets the air compressor. I guess he was in a big hurry to go before I changed my mind. He doesn’t usually forget anything.
We get to the camping site, about an hour away. The first thing I notice is there are hardly any stand alone tents. There’s all these fancy motor homes, and cute pop-up tents. I’m thinking, “Maybe tent camping isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

I  already know this, but I figure I can try it every 30  years or so.
After 20 minutes he puts up the tent. (He’s good at that kind of stuff). I’m reading the directions which he pays absolutely no attention to because he can see how everything fits together without them.
Everything is going along beautifully until he figures out he forgot the air compressor. Meanwhile, we’ve pulled next to a family about 5 little girls. We know we’re old because we think the mother is a teenager at first.
One of the  little girls (about 3)  hurries up and draws me a picture, and tells me her name. She seems to have a speech impediment, so I have to guess, Olive, Ella?  Finally her mother tells me it’s Alice.
Anyway, they are staring at us. They can’t believe it when we both start blowing up the Kodak rafts and the air mattress. Finally I ask,”Do you have an air compressor?” I figure they do because they have a fancy trailer thing.
The mother asks,”Are you guys new to camping?” Then she makes a remark about how adorable we are. I guess it’s cause we look as old as we feel compared to her.
She gives us a compressor, but it doesn’t work, so my poor husband resorts to blowing up the air mattresses using his breath. I’ve already expended all of mine.
Finally, night comes. I don’t know what to do. No computer, no television, and no light to read the book I brought.

My husband lights a lantern that he expertly pumps up. But that goes up in flames. So, he blows until that goes out.”Guess that had too much gas,” he says.
He finally sets up the tent. He doesn’t want me to be uncomfortable because if I wait another 30 years we’ll both be in our 90′s or dead.
I get in the tent. Not easy to get in that small zippered passageway.  It’s not bad, very cozy. After a couple of hours both ancient mattresses and Kodak floats have deflated. He thinks they had a leak, but I think they have aged just like us.
I am trying to suppress my usual inclination to complain. I only utter, “this is ridiculous once or twice. When I go to the bathroom, a huge ant climbs up my foot. I hurry up and get out of there!

I’ll give it another chance. But we’ll have some new mattress things, and an air compressor.

Right now the lodge sounds pretty good to me.

Tents

Tents (Photo credit: avlxyz)

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I Used to be Fat: TV Review


I Used to Be Fat

I Used to Be Fat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes, I really like to watch those weight TV shows. They seem to motivate me. I really would like to take off some pounds. Like everything else, you have to work at it.

I watched a teenage oriented show on MTV entitled I used to be Fat. The young woman on it had been fat all her life.

When we meet her parents, and family we understand why. Although I do believe some people have a tendency to put on weight, the environment plays just as big a role.

They have all the creamy bad stuff in their pantry and refrigerator. Several different types of pancake mix, creamy stuff, and generally bad. They all put it in a big sack to give to the food pantry. (I suppose it’s not okay for them, but okay for the poor.)

Anyway, this young girl has a trainer who is merciless on her. The first day she is running across the football field. When she’s done with that, she’s going up and down the stairs of the stadium. ( I think he could have just had her run back and forth across the football field on her first day.)

Her father, who is overweight himself, tried to motivate her. He obviously cares about her, and that’s a good thing. I think it’s the case of the pot calling the kettle black. I think it would really motivate her  more if he was earnestly trying to take off some of his bulk. It looks like he’s making a half hearted attempt.  Her mother seems to be out of the picture. She does take responsibility for her kids being overweight.

The trainer and father point out that losing weight is a mental exercise. She keeps saying she can’t, can’t, and can’t. Finally she starts saying, “yes, I can.” (Sound familiar).

There is one scene where she goes to a restaurant with her brother and friend. They order all that bad stuff that they serve in restaurants:  hamburgers, french fries, and fried food. They seem to enjoy taunting her with it. She orders a salad, but you know those restaurant salads, some of them are loaded with hidden calories. At least she’s trying.

Finally, she manages to run a marathon, and succeeds. She goes off to college, and after about 3 more months she’s lost 79 pounds, and looks like a different person. (She could’ve picked a more flattering outfit to show off her good points.)

Her parents at the reveal still look pretty overweight. That was a disappointment. It means she’ll go back to the same lousy food environment when she comes home.

This program reminded me that losing weight is such a mental exercise, and that negative self talk is such a defeating thing. If you can find some determination, you can change things for yourself. (Even if you’re over 60)

Even thought this show was about a teenager, I still found it full of good information. It’s things I knew, but needed to be reminded about.

 

 

How to keep off 20 pounds: Move more!


Gym

Gym (Photo credit: ivywoodavenue)

Although I go up and down in my weight, I have managed to keep off 20 pounds in the last few years. Okay, I need to lose 40 more. I have started a weight loss blog. Here is an example of one of my posts! If you want to get to it, it’s barbaralynnabel.wordpress.com. It’s called Losing the Last 40 Pounds. I may have to rename it because there’s about 40, 000 blogs with the same title!

I do talk about some of my emotional issues which has a lot to do with being overweight.

Elliptical machine: I love this machine. It’s great. You can adjust it to as hard as you want, you can keep track of your heartbeat, and there’s several workouts you can choose. I just listen to my I-Pod and let it rip.

arm and leg machines: if you belong to a gym, go to the basic machines. Put it on the lowest pounds, or where you feel comfortable, to start. Do 2 sets of 12 on arms, and 3 sets of 15 on legs. Ask the exercise guys and girls to help. That’s what they’re getting paid for. (Although they would like to personal train you.) Most gyms give you a complimentary workout to start! If you’ve got the $$, use the personal trainers. At least do it once or twice, so you really learn how to properly use the machines.

yoga classes: almost anyone can do something in yoga. They emphasize not to compete against others.

spinning: that’s a stationary bike class, and I love it. You can set the bike anywhere you want it, and they usually listen to music. One time, I watched an entire movie while spinning.

I also have a bike I bought a couple of years ago. I named it “Freedom”. I still get on it and tool around the neighborhood. It’s a good way to start the day. Sometimes I’ll go 4 or 5 miles, and sometimes less. I think I may look very entertaining going through the neighborhood.

Water aerobics has become my favorite because I’m a little older, and it can really get the heartbeat up. I think it works great. Lift those weights too. It does wonders for a lot of people. Just because it’s not torture doesn’t mean it’s not working.

I do have a tendency to get down-in-the-dumps, and exercise really nips this in the bud. Maybe, that’s why I like it so much!  I might feel crummy when I start my exercise session, but never do when I’m finished. This only takes me about an hour to feel the relief. It releases those endorphins— feel good chemicals in your brain.

Try it, you’ll like it!

Tell me some of your favorite activities.

Obesity is linked to Autism: Give me a break!


I just watched a report on The Huffington Post that links obese mothers with having Autistic children. They better have proof of this because that’s adding another stigma to obesity.  Isn’t it tough enough already?

I would bet the higher rate of autism has to do with other things that make us stay skinny: like aspartame in everything, and how about the pink slime in McDonald’s Hamburgers? Then, there’s always high fructose corn syrup.

How about all the Ritalin we hand out like candy, or the antidepressants everyone takes?

How about all the unhealthy meat we eat from the corporate farms, or the chickens who are literally cooped up?

Last year they were convinced autism was caused by vaccinations and now that’s been dismissed.  Meanwhile, there’s a whole lot of kids running around who are going to get things like whooping-cough because their mothers are afraid to vaccinate them. I suspect that’s why a lot of people are homeschooling their kids.

I hope they figure this autism thing out soon. It’s pretty scary, but do we have to blame it on being obese?

Don’t obese people have enough to feel guilty about?

MEGA MAC jp-1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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