Health & Wellness

Prescription drugs can help sufferers of medical problems by alleviating their symptoms of chronic pain. But the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has come out and advised that addiction to prescription painkillers has become an undisclosed epidemic -- and it kills thousands of Americans each year.

This alarming news which include morphine and codeine has actually tripled.   Deaths from overdoses used to occur from illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine but now prescription painkillers have taken the lead. There are as many reported deaths in country areas as there are in cities. Over 100,000 Americans a year are taken to emergency rooms with overdose issues.

Americans are abusing painkillers and they are not hard to obtain. As Americans get more sedentary and have obesity problems, they are experiencing more back pain and damage to their joints and are in chronic pain. They seek out something to dull the pain and turn to painkillers. Doctors are prescribing relief from pain in the form of pain pills to about five percent of Americans in a months' time. Use of pain pills can cause a feeling of well being and patients on them tend to abuse them and depend on even after the original pain they were taking them for - has disappeared. Patients mistakenly feel that because a doctor has prescribed these pills, that they are 'safe' to take and don't realize the danger when they increase the dosages on their own.

When the prescription refill expires, users go to other or new doctors for new prescriptions, or ask friends or family members to share theirs or go on the internet to find them or can even find them on the street. Although some states have databases which track who takes what drugs, they do not yet share that information with other states. People will cross state lines to get the drugs they can't get in their own state.

Problems begin when a person in pain does not find relief in the prescribed amount. They take extra pills to overcome that pain and become psychologically dependent or addicted to the higher amount. In the prescribed amount, the pills are safe to take, but higher doses can cause a person to stop breathing. An even bigger problem to one's health and can be fatal to the user is when they combine this higher dosages with other drugs they may be taking or taking them with alcohol - both of which increase the risk of overdose and death.

Doctors are advising that persons with chronic pain combine an anti-inflammatory drug and/or muscle relaxant and other methods such as patches or injections. The focus should be on being functional without increase in dosages and pain management awareness that they may always have some level of pain.

From 2000 to 2014 nearly half a million Americans died from drug overdoses. Opioid overdose deaths, including both opioid pain relievers and heroin, hit record levels in 2014, with an alarming 14 percent increase in just one year, according to data published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Report.

The most commonly prescribed opioid pain relievers, those classified as natural or semi-synthetic opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, continue to be involved in more overdose deaths than any other opioid type. These deaths increased by 9 percent (813 more deaths in 2014 than 2013).  Increases in prescription opioid pain reliever and heroin deaths are the biggest driver of the drug overdose epidemic. Deaths from heroin increased in continuing a sharp rise that has seen heroin overdoses triple sincel 2010. Deaths involving illicitly made fentanyl, a potent opioid often added to or sold as heroin, also are on the upswing.

“The increasing number of deaths from opioid overdose is alarming,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “The opioid epidemic is devastating American families and communities. To curb these trends and save lives, we must help prevent addiction and provide support and treatment to those who suffer from opioid use disorders. This report also shows how important it is that law enforcement intensify efforts to reduce the availability of heroin, illegal fentanyl, and other illegal opioids.”

Here are the facts:  Drug overdose deaths are up in both men and women, in non-Hispanic whites and blacks, and in adults of nearly all ages. Rates of drug overdose deaths were highest among five states: West Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Kentucky, and Ohio.The findings show that two distinct but intertwined trends are driving America’s overdose epidemic: a 15-year increase in deaths from prescription opioid pain reliever overdoses as a result of misuse and abuse, and a recent surge in illicit drug overdoses driven mainly by heroin.

More than six out of 10 drug overdose deaths involved opioids, including opioid pain relievers and heroin. The largest increase in opioid overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids (not including methadone), which were involved in 5,500 deaths in 2014, nearly twice as many as the year before. Many of these overdoses are believed to involve illicitly-made fentanyl, a short-acting opioid. In addition, heroin-related death rates increased 26 percent from 2013–2014, totaling 10,574 deaths in 2014. Past misuse of prescription opioids is the strongest risk factor for heroin initiation and use—especially among people who became dependent upon or abused prescription opioids in the past year. The increased availability of heroin, its relatively low price (compared to prescription opioids), and high purity appear to be major drivers of the upward trend in heroin use, overdoses, and deaths.

How to stop the epidemic:  The new findings point to four ways to prevent overdose deaths:

Limit initiation into opioid misuse and addiction. Opioid pain reliever prescribing has quadrupled since 1999. Providing health care professionals with additional tools and information—including safer guidelines for prescribing these drugs—can help them make more informed prescribing decisions.

Expand access to evidence-based substance use disorder treatment—including Medication-Assisted Treatment—for people who suffer from opioid use disorder.

Protect people with opioid use disorder by expanding access and use of naloxone—a critical drug that can reverse the symptoms of an opioid overdose and save lives.

State and local public health agencies, medical examiners and coroners, and law enforcement agencies must work together to improve detection of and response to illicit opioid overdose outbreaks to address this emerging threat to public health and safety.

CDC works with states, communities, and prescribers to prevent opioid misuse and overdose by tracking and monitoring the epidemic and helping states scale up effective programs. CDC also improves patient safety by equipping health care providers with data, tools, and guidance so they can make informed treatment decisions. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose.

 

Living in a retirement demographic area, I often hear others lamenting they are losing their memories, or their keys, have problems remembering people's names, etc.  Dementia is jokingly mentioned, but many seniors do worry it can happen.   Our family doctor says  if you put the milk in the cupboard by mistake and then retrieve it - you're OK; but if you think it's OK to be in there, you may want to see your doctor.   He also states that we all have a 50-50 chance of experiencing dementia unrelated to family history or even if you have one parent who had dementia.

Recently I attended two meetings on dementia that were fact-filled.  Dementia is an umbrella term for a range of conditions that affect one's cognitive abilities in ways that affect daily life.  The three subtypes of Dementia are mainly:   1. Alzheimer’s Disease ( Plaques and tangles form inside the brain causing chemical deficiencies).  It is believed that this can start to have an effect on the memory center   2. Vascular Dementia (decreased blood flow the brain and different from Alzheimer’s in that it is caused by damaged blood vessels in the brain, commonly caused by strokes).   Approximately 20% of all dementia cases are vascular, making it the second most common type. Risk factors include a history of heart attacks, strokes – especially multiple strokes, diabetes, or high blood pressure.   3. Dementia with Lewy Bodies - This is the third most common form of dementia and is caused by build-ups of a certain type of protein in the brain. These deposits are called Lewy bodies and they effect a person’s perception, behavior, and thinking. Lewy bodies are often found in Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s patients, making this form of dementia harder to diagnose.

The National Institute for Aging estimates about 7 percent of people over 65 will have some form of dementia.   What can one do, if anything, to protect oneself from risk factors?  You can affect your risk by how social you are, your exercise habits and your heart and diabetes management.

Although 'seniors' store vast information over the years, they sometimes need extra time to remember where they stored that info in their brain.   Like an over-programmed-filled computer that 'searches' for info and takes extra time to find it, so do our brains.  What a relief to remember albeit slower!

Some suggestions on how to reduce your risk factor:

  • Spend at least one day a week with younger people, especially grandkids,  even if it is on Skype video or the telephone.  Stay social with friends and family.
  • Walk, hike or swim (150 minutes of moderate exercise - weekly).
  • Treat depression; talk to your doctor; depression is linked to higher dementia risk.  And sometimes depression can appear to be dementia.
  • Cook and eat heart healthy.  Strive for a diet low in saturated fat, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist to go over your medications with you to see if any are at a risk for contributing to dementia or lacking in some vitamins.
  • Take some courses or classes.   It can stimulate your brain and/or socially meet new people.
  • Volunteer your time to a cause or interest you support.

Staying connected to friends and family is key and one of the most important ways to avoid dementia.  The risk of dementia is higher if one is lonely or isolated.  Millions of people 50 and older (about 1 in 5) live alone and are at risk of isolation.  The fastest growing type of household is individuals living alone.  And many of those over 50, have no one to talk to about important matters.

Try to stay socially active; If you are homebound and/or can't get around easily, learn to text on a cell phone or video chat or even social media chat, ie, Facebook. Twitter.   In a busy world, a hello by text, especially to the teens & young adults in our lives, wlll ensure a faster return quicker than a return phone call.   If you are not up-to-date in technology in computers or cell phones, there are FREE courses to learn about them.   And a good brain exercise.

Being socially active, getting regular exercise (physically and mentally) and managing chronic conditions (diabetes, heart disease) are all plusses to reduce your chances of dementia.

 

 

 

 

 


It's that time of year again. Frost is in the air, the football season is in full gear and thoughts of the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year are becoming more frequent.

Some years back, it was said that you can expect to gain 5 to 7 pounds during this time of the year.  Since we were expected to anyway, a lot of us figured ~ what the heck ~ gaining a little weight can always be turned into a New Year's Resolution to lose it. This 5 - 10 pounds holiday binge-out projection was changed a few years ago; it was 'trimmed' down to an 'average'  5 pounds weight gain BUT only for folks overweight to begin with.

So ~ here's the new facts for Overweight & Obesity Statistical Fact Sheet;
Adults  ~ Among Americans age 20 and older, 154.7 million are overweight or obese (BMI of 25.0 kg/m2 and higher):  They include:  - 79.9 million men and 74.8 million women.

Of these, 78.4 million are obese (BMI of 30.0 - kg/m2 and higher): ~ 36.8 million men and  41.6 million women.   Is there a good chance anyone reading here is in those stats?

Despite what many people believe, the average adult gains only about  one (1) pound between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, according to a study from the New England Journal of Medicine. The news isn't all good, however. Other studies have shown that people who are overweight to begin with gain as much as 5 pounds on average this time of year and, in either case, it's tough to lose that holiday weight during the rest of the year.

The thing is that most people will not lose that one or two pounds and will keep it, especially if they are older (ie, anyone out of college).  And those one to two pounds a year may hang on for a lifetime. Many 40 year olds will tell you that they are 10 pounds heavier than they were in high school.  And they are the average weight people.

Bottom line: You may not be able to get into that little dress or those cool jeans on New Year's Eve that you bought during the Thanksgiving sale. Along with weight gain, there is some bloat from all the extra salt on prepared foods and dining out. Even more importantly, with all the emphasis lately on diabetes and obesity, it is sensible to curtail the amount of food you chow down during this holiday season.

So is there anything we can do to avoid extra poundage that wants to make themselves at home on you for life?  Yes, there is.

  •  The first and most obvious to-do is exercise. If you are on a daily exercise program and are a good soldier, chances are you will keep up with your routine. If you are traveling or having a house full of company or eat out more than often, then you may not keep up with it as usual. It's important to move around, especially with all those cookies and goodies around. Try to take a walk for at least 10 minutes in the morning and again in the evening. Walk briskly; pump your arms; it will help keep your metabolism revved up, to work on those extra calories. A 30-minute walk is even better. And stay hydrated - drink water to help clean out your system.
  • The second most obvious to-do is the fact that:  As long as you take in fewer calories than you burn, you'll lose weight. You don't have to eat from every dish on the table or at a party. It is difficult because you want to sample everything, especially home baked goods. Try to choose from protein dishes - chicken, meats, fish, beans. Fill your plate with veggies - go easy on the dip. Forego the bread and butter and pasta dishes. And potatoes. Go easy on the carbs. Try to graze with your first-made plate; wait 20 minutes for your brain to tell you how full your stomach is - and you may not need that second (or third) plate. And as much as we don't want to think about it; yes, alcohol - wine, beer and mixed drinks do have calories in them. The more you drink, the more calories you'll take in.
  •  Dessert can be deadly and you don't need to 'have a taste of everything'.  Someone (skinny, of course)  once told me that "you only need one bite of dessert....that bite tells you what it tastes like and every bite after that is going to taste the same."   Pick something you like (chocolate pudding is my vote here - I make it at home with skim milk) and bring it along as my dessert contribution). I notice all the thin ones go for the pudding instead of the tiramisu.

When I tried a popular diet,  I was allotted 18 points ALL day. You can pick and choose what you eat and you CAN eat a satisfying, nutritious diet within those points. HOWEVER, one serving of tiramisu and one serving of fried calamari = 18 points - and would use up my all-day allotment of food!   I don't eat tiramisu anymore but I love calamari - but like my skinny friend said -- after eating a few, they're all going to taste the same. Now I have a few and not a whole plate. Portion control is KEY.  Even some fruits, in excess, can be fattening.

Another changed rule for dieting:  they used to tell you to weigh yourself only once a week. Now they are saying that you should weigh every day and skinny down your diet if the scale is showing 1 or 2 pounds over your daily normal weight.

If you find that you overeat at one meal, neutralize your daily intake by cutting back at the other meals. A light breakfast of a poached egg on a light English muffin or a lunch of yogurt with fruit; or a cup of soup or a salad can help keep your calories in check. And it's good to cut back and give your system a digestive rest rather than overloading it at each meal.  Use common sense.

If you indulge and enjoy more culinary delights than usual during the holiday season, don't be too hard on yourself.  It is a time of joy, sharing and being with friends and family.  Remember that you can always 'fix it' in January and February;  if you watch out for the pitfalls above, you'll have less weight to lose!

© Marie Coppola Revised November 2016

 

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Shaping the New You

by Fran Signorino

The only reason I would take up jogging is so I could hear heavy breathing again.  ~  Erma Bombeck

When I tell people that I’ve been “doing Richard” for more than 10 years, they look at me funny. My affair with Richard started the way many relationships begin — I was troubled and depressed. My parents had passed away within six months of each other. After that most stressful time, my blood pressure rose from normal to high. My doctor, believing that the condition was temporary, did not feel that I was a candidate for medication. He suggested instead that I exercise — preferably an aerobic exercise — of the low impact variety.

At that time, the last thing I felt like doing was jumping around. But because I am a lover of dance, I purchased a “swing along” with Richard Simmons tape and so began my daily encounters with him.

Richard’s screaming and carrying-on irritated me somewhat on bad days, but his movements and “c’mon, get up — you can do it — I know you can” soon had me infatuated. Hey, you can’t have everything in a relationship. On the plus side, I didn’t have to travel back and forth to a gym; I didn’t have to force myself to get up early to walk. I could meet him on both our terms. And in my own home. I quickly learned his routines as if I were appearing in a Broadway show. He was a steady and driving teacher.

I even got a perm during this period to save me time not fussing with my hair. Alas, it came out a little too curly, and lo and behold, now we looked alike. I had Richard Simmons’ hair. Not by choice, but there he was looking back at me in the mirror.

The exercise outfits I bought brought me closer to his “look.” My kids started calling me “Richard.”

Within a month, my blood pressure stabilized, although my life did not. My daily workout with Richard helped me vent the stresses piling up each day. It was during one of these “workout” hours, intense on my part, that someone called me on the phone. I answered it, breathing heavily. “I can’t talk now, I’m doing Richard.”

“Scandalous,” the caller replied.

Whenever I answered the phone totally out of breath, my callers would say, “I’ll call you back — you’re doing Richard.” My son gave me a new workout tape for my birthday. He said, “New positions for you and Richard.”

So now Richard and I could move while Sweatin’ to the Oldies, and Dance Your Pants Off! while we were Groovin’ in the House.  And we got down with Tonin’ Downtown.  Richard and I went on company trips and vacations together.  I brought Richard to the shore.  He always wore the same clothes.  We still had matching hairdos.  Richard and I have been together longer than some of my past relationships.

I anticipate his every move and we mutually experience heavy breathing and sweating.  This also beats some of my former relationships. Yes, I admit after all these years, I still “do Richard” and I’m now a grandmother.  He’s always there for me, he’s always in a great mood, he always smiles and boy can he make the moves.

And judging from the assortment of tapes in the stores, it’s been as good for him as it’s been for me.

TWENTY TIPS FOR FACING AN UNPLANNED PREGNANCY

Emily Brown is director of American Life League Life Defenders, the outreach arm of ALL building a culture of life with a new generation.  While reading a post entitled 20 Tips on Your First Abortion, Emily reacted to what the author had to say - "I could really feel her immense pain. So, I decided to respond to this gruesome article with a positive, empowering, and upbeat message about pregnancy. We do not need more people shaming women into abortion, rather we need positive messages that affirm the immense empowerment that bringing a human being into this world has on women.”  

Reality just slapped you in the face. You’re pregnant! What does that mean? A teeny tiny human being is growing inside of you. So, now the freak out begins.

It’s completely normal to feel terrified, worried, and completely shocked. After all, you might have been relying on birth control, condoms, the IUD, or something else. However, you knew none gave any guarantee that you would not become pregnant. So here you are.

Don’t let your worries take over! It’s very easy to be in panic mode for a few weeks or even months. Look beyond the insecurities and worries. You are strong!

Look for loving support. You need someone who will hug you and comfort you, not someone who wants to shame or belittle you. Sometimes you just need a little affection, and this is definitely one of those times!

Know you are not alone. Every day, hundreds of women discover they are pregnant. Other women are in your same situation!

After you have turned to someone for support, it’s time for Google. Learn what the heck is happening inside your body! Google fetal development and medical articles to learn about the tiny human you have within you.

After reading information on fetal development, come to the realization that you’re a pretty big deal! After all, you are now carrying and protecting a little human being.

While you’re on Google, search your area code, along with “crisis pregnancy centers.” Find the closest one and make an appointment ASAP, for you definitely have loads of questions.

Unlike abortion clinics, crisis pregnancy centers do give a $#%@ and they understand that your surprise pregnancy is a BIG deal. They will treat you with the loving care and respect you deserve!

The time between making your appointment and going can be a terrifying period. You are scared and a million things are rushing through your head, like how to afford a child or how to raise a child alone. Take a deep breath and believe in yourself! You are stronger than you think.

While you’re waiting for your first appointment, learn more about this person growing inside your body. Watch a 4-D ultrasound of a preborn baby growing. Find the stage you are in and marvel at this tiny human.

The appointment day has come. While in the waiting room, focus on the positive messages. Take a look at the brochures, pictures, or wall art and remember that only good can come from this appointment. Nothing here will harm you!

It’s FREE! What? Yes, crisis pregnancy centers’ services are free! They can offer pregnancy resources, prenatal vitamins, pregnancy tests, and services such as parenting classes, counseling, baby supplies, and other financial aid.

While at your appointment, you will not have “pain like someone sucking or pulling out your insides.” Rather, you will feel comfort and support—two of the things you need most.

You will be reaffirmed that you are a strong independent woman! You are more than a pregnancy; you are a mother.

Remember every time you believed you weren’t strong enough, smart enough, happy enough, pretty enough, and so on, and stomp those falsehoods into the ground. You are empowered—empowered with a newfound sense of reason and the ability to care for another human being.

You will not let your empowerment be diminished by people telling you that you are not ready or fit enough to be a mother.

Even after your appointment at the crisis pregnancy center, you still find many moments when you are scared to death. It’s okay; that’s normal. You have a human growing inside of you and you just found out. That’s a huge deal!

Do not let those fears and worries take control of you. You have the opportunity to bring a new life into this world. Do not take this for granted! Many women try their whole lives to have a child.

This is a time to start fresh. Take advantage of that and flourish!

 Submitted by Marie Coppola. March 2016

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 What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.” — Vern McLellan

For the new year, many of us resolve to make changes in our life.  Forty to 45% of American adults make one or more resolutions each year. It is believed that the Babylonians were the first to make New Year's resolutions and early Christians believed the first day of the new year should be spent reflecting on past mistakes and resolving to improve oneself in the new year.   As 2017 begins, we may resolve to make changes in our life.

Here are the statistics on how many of these resolutions are maintained as time goes on:

- 75% of new resolutions get past the first week:   - past 2 weeks: 71%; - after one month: 64%; and - after 6 months: 46%.

If you are among the 25% that have already forgotten your resolutions or pushed them aside in the past, you are not alone. At least you tried to make a difference somewhere in your lifestyle. Some of us feel badly or defeated when we haven't 'stayed with it'.   Make it simple and don't try to change everything at once...some suggestions:

Try to Save Money

Saving money requires two things – planning and willpower. Even if it's a small amount, try to put some in a savings account. Don't misuse your credit or debit cards - paying the 'minimum' on your monthly bills is running up the interest and costs you more in the long run. Try to manage your credit cards so you can pay off the amount due each month.

Lose some weight

Weight loss is probably the most common resolution in history. Shedding anywhere from a couple pounds to a hundred pounds has frustrated people for years. Go slow - no quick fixes - watch your calories and portions and eat nutritious meals. Do an exercise you really enjoy; walking and dancing are great weight watchers. The only way to lose weight sensibly is to take in less calories and exercise calories out.   And portion control.

Quit smoking

Easily one of the hardest resolutions to keep is quitting smoking. You’re fighting an addiction, which is never easy. There are many methods to help you do this.  Yes, it can be done.

Read more books

While it might not be a common resolution, it is one that can help a lot. Reading is beneficial for anyone of any age. It might be hard to find time in a busy schedule for reading, but not as hard as one might think. Find a good book and read ~ one chapter a day.   [*Reading the Bible is a super plus].

Go green

Going green not only helps the earth, it also can save you some money. There's lots of ways to cut down on unnecessary items or include new habits to offset the bad.

Stay informed

In this era of immediate information it’s surprising how few people actually watch the news and make the effort to stay informed.  Listen to the news ~ watch more than one news outlet - watch unbiased news outlets, or at least watch a little bit from every angle. Read a newspaper - and make sure that you don’t only utilize one source for your news.  Bias is rampant. The more sources you get your information from, the more complete a picture you will get or the truth.  Find as many sources as you can from as many viewpoints as you can, and make informed choices based on all the information you take in.

Eat less fast food

Fast food is unhealthy especially if you eat it every day. Pack healthy snacks or find healthy snack bars. Taking a little time in the morning to prepare some food for the day ahead can save you money at the fast food place and at the doctor’s office.  And benefit your waistline.

Manage your stress

Some tips:  Move around doing cardio exercise;  stationary bikes while watching TV; or sign up at for an exercise program at a salon or gym. Get a hobby - something you like to do.  Writing, reading, volunteering or join a social group. Talk it out with a friend or confidante. It relieves stress.  So does going to your place of faith or re-connecting with God.

Managing your debt

Use a debt management service which can be available online and over the phone, but do research to find out which ones are reliable and trustworthy. Paying bills on time and paying as much on the principal as possible is a good way to slowly reduce your debt. There’s no quick and easy way, but try not to get overwhelmed, and attack it head on.   Cut down on credit cards.

Be charitable

Charity has a plethora of benefits, including tax deductions, a sense of pride, and of course the fact that you have just made someone else’s life better. There are literally millions of charities, and a myriad of ways to be charitable.  Find something you can get emotionally involved in. Like animals? Look into wildlife conservation groups. Have a soft spot for kids? There are plenty in other countries that could use some support. Find something you can get involved in and stick with it. If it means something to you, then your work for the charity will be that much more rewarding.  (Ref: CafePress)

Another aspect of charity is extending yourself for the good of others.  It is truly rewarding to both giver and recipient by reading to a shut-in, sending cards of encouragement to those in need, taking a widow or widower to lunch or volunteering in outreach programs.  Look around, there's many good works you can do.

Have a happy and blessed New Year!

© Marie Coppola Revised December 2016

Good-bye to NABISCO

Since my toddler days, I can recall my  father, of Italian/American descent enjoying a breakfast tradition of a biscotti and coffee, sitting down at the breakfast table  with Nabisco's Uneeda Biscuits and a cup of coffee.

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As a schoolgirl, we often had Nabisco's graham crackers for our own breakfast.  Newly married, and during my pregnancies,  I ate only graham crackers for those nauseous mornings and later  I mixed graham crackers with formula or my own breast milk for my infants.  Graham crackers and milk were a staple for fast school-age breakfasts and included in the lunch bag as a dessert or snack.  As an adult, I reached for graham crackers on those winter-sick cold-virus days when food was not appetizing.   Or as a sneak low-calorie snack during serious dieting,

When I found out recently that Nabisco has already moved some and is planning to move its food operations to Mexico, I felt like I lost my family friend.   Quoting from the internet,

"This sort of thing seems to be a new trend among corporations.   Produce their product overseas where they can reap bigger profits because they use cheaper labor and usually don't have to deal with unions and I bet there are far less regulations & inspections by government agencies.  Their greed comes at a huge loss for us."

You can say that again - for me, too.  Along these lines, I have had several occurrences with overseas' products.  One was with a prescription medicine I take for a chronic issue.  My health provider sent me a generic brand which was made in a country I never heard of.    I checked into it because it caused itching attributed - according to my doctor - from the added green dye color.  I dropped the insurance company and went back to the brand name.   No more itching.

The second incident was a pair of shoes I ordered online - they cost $79.99 and were on sale for $51.99.  They have a sweet button on my toe line   I wore them on vacation and  developed infected burn blisters in that same sweet button design  engraved on my toes.    I investigated and they were made in China and similar to the children's burn marks from thongs made in China a few years back.  Bad investment.

Also made in China was catnip we purchased for our beloved cat which was packaged in the USA but made in China.  Fortunately for our cat, it was recalled (causing death in cats) before I gave it to him.   I will not buy anything anymore that is made in these unregulated countries - like China & Mexico.

I will not support American companies who are so greedy to take jobs away from Americans which affects our economy negatively and/or sell less regulated products for the same price and lead us down the path to third-world status.

"Mexico offers a certification option, but it doesn't require it. The US does spot checks – on farms and at the border – but requires no standards certification. The main exporters face standards dictated by third-party auditors demanded by American clients. But some growers, they say, do not have direct relationships with the end client in the US. They sell to brokers, and some are more lax than others. That, Usabiaga says, is where the danger to all looms."

GOODBYE NABISCO   untitled (96)  NO LONGER ON MY SHELF

Here is an article  from USA Today "Food Safety From Mexican Farm to Costco to your plate.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2010/1023/Food-safety-From-Mexican-farm-to-Costco-to-your-plate.

PS - Since Donald Trump called Nabisco out on 8/19/15 speech, the  Mexico regulation articles that were on the internet last night are 'coincidentally not available' this morning.

Marie Coppola August 2015

 

Part-Time Position Open for Anyone Interested

  • Wanted:  Anyone who wants to increase their productivity.
  • Skills needed:  Discipline, dependability, and reliability.
  • Responsibilities:  Ability to work alone and produce lasting results.
  • Working hours:  30 minutes to one hour daily.
  • Dress Code:  Casual.        **Bonus:  Life-Saving

In these technological times, many workdays are spent sitting in front of a computer.   Whether you are an information system analyst  or work at home, many hours are spent sitting at your desk answering emails, creating spreadsheets, preparing PowerPoint presentations or attaching business documents in Microsoft Works or Word.  We even 'do' our social life online - shopping online,  on medias like Facebook to connect with old friends, reminisce and get reacquainted, make new 'friends', and post pictures of our mates and kids.   People complain that Facebook has taken over their lives but  considering how popular it is, it is a choice they choose.  And we all  sit and sit.

If, after hours of sitting in front of a computer screen, the worker may opt for relaxing after dinner to watch TV or spend more time sitting  catch up on personal emails or other PC-related video games.   These folks lives are called 'sedentary lifestyles'.

Sedentary lifestyle is a medical term used to denote a type of lifestyle with a lack of physical exercise.  We have morphed into a society that spends many hours sitting down.   Being sedentary makes you more susceptible to diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and other health conditions.   Surprisingly, it also makes you tired, sluggish, and mentally inactive.   You need to move around, get your circulation going and rev up your metabolism.

How much time do you spend living your life sitting down ?

Do you exercise regularly?   The part-time job listed above is a mandatory part-time position for all of us who spend a large part of the day  sitting down & working at a desk or on a computer.   The part-time job is important to be performed the same as you perform your full-time one.   You must report to it every day and mentally hit the time clock reporting in and out.  No personal days or sick time.

It is habit forming and more effective if you 'report' to your secondary 'job' the same time everyday.   If you work at home, tell friends and family that you took on a part-time job every day from 11:00 pm to noon or whenever is convenient to 'do the job'.   It may be that there is an exercise program on TV that you can work out with; if not, put on your sneakers and go for a walk or dance to your favorite music.

During the day, it's important to get up from your chair, stretch and walk around for a few minutes - even if it is to get a glass of water.   Don't leave water by your desk; get up and get a drink.   Exercise your eyes by rolling them from side to side and look out the window at a distance since you have been working close up and in a glare.  You'll feel better and can continue to work in a few minutes.

You can still have your part-time job at the office - it may have to be on your lunch hour, but it will be more beneficial to you than if you go to the lunch room and just sit again.   If your company has walking trails or an exercise room, discover them on your designated half-hour.  If not, use  your time to walk the halls and if there are stairs, use them.  Don't stop and talk and chat -- look like you are busy and going somewhere in a hurry.  You are.  You are in a hurry to improve your health.   Afterwards, you can always have a yogurt or power bar.

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Forget the cup of coffee or candy bar to keep you going.   After the initial 'high', you get the physical and mental let-down and feel even sleepier.    Get up and shake your booty.

Marie Coppola  July 2015

 
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Why is it when friends socialize, the subject of weight usually rolls around?   This is especially true after the holidays when major over-eating takes place.   The guys seem to brag while they pinch their round bellies but the girls suck in their stomachs and say they gained 5 pounds - when actually it is 10.  

Excuses come forth while the ladies turn down dessert and the men call for another beer.   The ladies suggest these reasons for their weight gain:

"I had so much company, I didn't take time to eat properly.  
 I was so tired I didn't get to the gym or take walks.
My family gains weight easily.
I didn't gain that much - I'll wear my 'big clothes' until I lose it.

I'm bloated - it will go away."

The mens' excuses are nil - instead they say:

"Hey, I'm more loveable - feel these love handles.
I'll take it off in a couple of days
I haven't weighed myself in months.
What's a few pounds - you put it on - you take it off.
Hey, pass me another beer - it's good for diets."

 

The group good-naturedly decides to see who can lose weight before the next month's meeting.

All agree - the ladies express their best and tried way to lose pounds for the rest of the evening.  The men drink more beer and share sports stories and joke around.

 

At next month's get-together, it is disclosed:

  • The guys all lost 10 pounds each, don't know how they did and high-five each other.
  • The silent ladies aren't talking but are all still sporting their 'big'clothes.'

It ain't fair Miz Scarlett, it just ain't fair.    

Marie Coppola (C) May 2015

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I am a grey, black and white tabby who was adopted when I was one year old by my persons – a Sicilian man and an American woman.   She was a pushover – she saw an adoption ad about me; he was my nemesis although she adopted me for him when he retired.    She was an animal lover; his first words were “He can’t come into the house”.  Sicilians don’t believe in sharing a house with animals.   “Animals belong outside”.  

I loved being outdoors – I really didn’t want to come into the house.  They had a grand garden complete with multiple nests of vulnerable chipmunks.  And a wonderful birdhouse where I could wait patiently for birds to gather to eat dropped birdseed.   She said, “How come Mrs. Cardinal isn’t with Mr. Cardinal, today?”   And the Sicilian quietly but sternly said to me, “I saw you – you can never do that again.  She liked that bird.”

I knew whom I had to overcome.

When a coyote attacked me one day in this beautiful garden, the couple brought me to the vet.  The vet charged them $500 and said “If you like this cat, you need to make him an inside cat.”  She agreed but the Sicilian said “Animals don’t belong in the house – he can go into the basement.” 

Living in the basement wasn’t bad.  It was warm and cozy and I was allowed upstairs to sleep on the sofa only if the Sicilian let me sleep on his stomach.   “No sleeping on the furniture”.   The sofa was leather and I was allowed to keep  my nails, so that was OK.   I really had my eye on the bed in the guest room.

When the woman wasn’t around, the Sicilian told me “No jumping on counters or the tables; no scratching furniture or rugs”.  No sleeping alone on sofa or in bedrooms.  Animals don’t belong in houses.”    She was a pushover; she let me sleep anywhere I wanted.  But I had to win him over.  It could turn out to be a good deal.  Plus, I was curious why she was so easy and he was so hard.  

Then he had a hip replacement.   He had to rest a lot and not move around for a while.   This was my long-awaited opportunity.   Patience runs in my family.   I watched him with soulful, sad, beautiful green eyes. (She told me how beautiful they were).  He would pat his stomach and I would jump up and cozy up to his neck while putting my paw around his shoulder.   She would say, “The cat is comforting you.” He would fall asleep and I revved up my purring.  

Not long after, he was in the garden again, and I was jumping around after him.  He gave me a name – he called me Compagno – sounds like ‘Goombah’ – she told me that meant companion or partner;  he started to like me! 

They took me on vacations and sometimes they left me at home with a pet sitter.  One day while they were away, there was a forest fire in the woods behind us and the pet sitter could not get near the house.  I was really frightened.  Alone.  Lots of smoke and ashes.   A kind neighbor had the key and came by to get me – the neighborhood was being evacuated.   My persons came home two weeks later and I felt strange and different.   I was still scared and slept rolled up in a ball in the corner of a room for six months.   I did not jump on my persons’ laps or want to do anything but sleep and eat.    I lost 3 pounds.  I ended up with diabetes.    

My persons took me to the vet who said I was traumatized and needed insulin shots twice a day.   My woman cringed, but the Sicilian took over my care – giving me shots twice a day.  He was so attentive to me, that I could sit by the ‘shot site’ at my given times and he would always be there on time to administer to me.  

When I started to feel better, I jumped up one day onto his stomach and purred loudly and they both cheered.  I purred louder.   When I gained my weight back and ate my high protein food, I was feeling good again.  I slept in my bed by the fireplace, but one night, the Sicilian whisked me up and brought me into the forbidden bedroom.   He put me at the foot of the bed and said, “He can sleep here.”  

And I still sleep there today – I’m 15 years old now – 75 in person years.   I’m high in their routine – we eat at the same time, I sleep on their laps while they sit in the living room, and he still picks me up to bring me to bed.   He gives me my shots, changes my kitty litter, brings me for my check-ups, has me blessed at church on St. Francis animal-blessing day, and makes sure my stash of insulin, special high-protein diet, catnip and fresh water are in place every day.    He’s even added glucosamine for cats because I was walking arthritic-like.    I feel GREAT.    He’s my BFF.   My Compagno.

The woman loves me like her baby – she cuddles me and talks to me all the time.   I wake up in the morning next to her and she cuddles me.   I fall asleep at night next to the Sicilian and he puts his arm around me.   I follow the sun around the rooms during the day and bask in its warmth.  

The Sicilian put in a special pet door for me so I can go to my ‘apartment’ on the enclosed porch and get fresh air.  They speak to me lovingly like I’m their child.  I love my life.  The Sicilian used to say, “He can’t come into the house.”  And, now, I own it.   And have servants.   I purr a lot – just to think, I have eight more lives to go.   

Marie Coppola Copyrighted April 2015