Posts Tagged ‘health’

This posting is self congratulatory.  Also hoping maybe a little helpful to someone out there.

One year ago (and seven days) my husband and I quit smoking cigarettes. We both smoked for decades. Both in our fifties. You can figure out the math.

I was only being a supportive friend to my husband. He said he didn’t want to smoke on this certain day. We were in Mumbai and flying back to Delhi.

I said, “I won’t either.”

And we didn’t smoke that day.

There is some irony here. When we landed in Delhi it was the first day of the country’s “bad air quality” season. Could hardly even see the signs outside the airport. The next day the newspaper reported that breathing this air was akin to smoking forty-five cigarettes. A gas chamber of sorts.

The other thing was that it was a sudden quit. Not planned. So that meant we still had a bunch of cigarette packs. That was bothering me. I don’t like to waste. But we didn’t smoke them and eventually gave them away.

We uploaded a free app on our phones. It’s called Smoke Free. I’d recommend it to anyone who is in process of quitting. Obviously, the smoker needs to make the decision to quit but the app provides constant and positive reinforcement. Shows how much money is saved. How health is improving each day. How many cigarettes NOT smoked. How many life days regained. How much time not spent smoking. That one is insane to think about because they mean actual time you were smoking. Mine is up to 25 days.

It has places to post triggers, cravings, set goals, badges, etc.

For those of you who don’t know. Smoking is powerfully addicting. Terrible.

Crowds of people wouldn’t be milling about the entrances of office buildings, restaurants or bars if it wasn’t.

We have been in many filthy international airport smoking rooms because not smoking during a layover was unthinkable. There is one lounge where you had to lean your face into this machine to light your cigarette. Similar to a car lighter. Looked like you were kissing a big silver machine. That many had previously kissed. Gross.

Of course, the duty free shop at the airport is where we would buy our cartons of cigarettes.

Weather would never be a deterrent.  Puffing away in all sorts of weather and every season.

Would have a cigarette outside airport before picking up bags at the luggage carousel.

Always ensured you didn’t run out of them. Or even ran low.

Nor’easter heading your way? Stock up on milk, bread and cigarettes.

I was pretty good about usually keeping the cigarettes at home when not traveling. If I was out and about during the day I didn’t bring them with me. We also didn’t smoke in the house or in our cars.

Here is the surprising thing. It was easier than I thought it would be.

Way easier. My husband agrees. I stated that we would only do it “cold turkey” and not vape or substitute something else. Because I thought that would make it more difficult.

I am not saying it’s easy. Cravings do occur. I sometimes missed it. But it truly was easier than I thought. You just distract yourself. I personally did a ton of walking. Outside in the polluted air. 🙂

I do believe anyone can quit. It is so liberating. No longer being held hostage.








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I was reading the newspaper this morning. There was an article about a couple of prisoners and their resolutions for the new year.

Hmmmm. News does tend to get stale and I suppose something a bit different is needed to catch the reader’s eye.

After reading the piece I thought a little more about resolutions.

This new year tradition is not really about keeping the promise we make to ourselves late in the evening of December 31st. It’s not about commitment or will power. Or the disappointment when we fail to follow through on our declaration.

It is about hope. Pure and simple.

We make resolutions, year after year, because it represents hope. To be a better person. A healthier person. A kinder person. Whether we even realize it or not. It’s the hope for improvement.

Renewable hope.

Those two guys are in prison but they can still make resolutions. Hoping to be better in the new year. In some way.

We all can.

I wish you a new year filled with health and happiness. And that you carry hope in your heart all year long.



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Good Health

When I was a young girl I would ask my father, “Dad, what do you want for your birthday?”

“Dad, what do you want for Father’s Day?”

“What would you like for Christmas?”

He would always, always say, “My health.”

I probably did an eye roll. What that even a thing back then?

Was hoping he would make my shopping easier. Because we are conditioned. We need to buy people presents on these special days. Would be nice if we had a clue as to what was wanted or needed.

He always meant it. He was nothing if not sincere.

Now I  am older. And Dad is gone.

If you asked me today, “Mary, what do you want for Mother’s Day? Christmas?”

I would say, “My health. The health of my family and friends.”

That’s all I want. That’s all I need.

Nothing else matters.

We don’t need to buy anything.

Some things just can’t be bought.




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Today my daughter turns twenty three years old. Not sure how that happened. Tempus fugit!

She lives in a different country and I wish we could celebrate together. But this is life.

I did ask her if there was anything special she wanted for her birthday.

She replied, “Nothing. Just my health and my family’s health.”

Continuing she said, “Wise words from my favorite man.”

So, if you ever doubt that your kids are absorbing everything (or anything) you say I think it would be safe to remove that doubt!

We learn from our parents. And our children learn from us. We learn from our grandparents. And our children learn from them also. Either directly or through us.

Warning: This applies to the good and the bad. So we need to choose our words wisely.

Happy birthday, Rory, we love you and wish you the very best of health. For many, many, many years!

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I do learn something new every day. Any chance that will stave off dementia in my old age? One can only hope.

My eighty-five year old mother-in-law is living with us here in Malaysia due to the conflict in Syria. Her Indonesian aide is with us also.

Today, I noticed a purplish streak on the aide’s neck. Like a bruise.

She only speaks a smattering of English. Her native language is Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) and her second language is Arabic so I painfully stumble and struggle through the questions in my Arablish.

What is that? What happened? Did you hurt yourself?

I then noticed more on her upper chest. My mouth is agape.

She tells me that she was not feeling well last night. Pointing to her stomach like she was nauseous. I am wondering what type of weird illness could cause these horrible purple streaks. I asked if she vomited. Like a game of charades. Me pantomiming the act of retching. She said no.

She then shows me a coin. And motioned rubbing the coin on her skin.

Mouth still agape. She is laughing at my expression and assuring me that it is “no problem.”

I ask if she is okay. She says all is good now.

I later ask my husband if he ever heard of this. He said he thinks he might have seen it on television. Like on the Discovery Channel.

So, I google. Although Google is not God it is still quite good.

Apparently this is a natural healing method. For many ailments. Been around forever. Loads of people buy into the concept. Very curious.

Well, it looks like hell but who am I to say it doesn’t or wouldn’t work? Maybe it’s the placebo effect. Or positive thinking.

I don’t really know. I just thought it was very interesting.

And I learned something new.

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My dear friend, Nancy and I were discussing a “cleanse.” No, not of the spirit. But of the body.

She was telling me about a liver cleanse that is supposed to assist you in losing weight. Who’s not interested in dropping six pounds?

I was totally listening. But I do have to say the first thing that popped into my mind is this. Our livers would be totally cleansed if we stopped going to Nancy’s house every Friday evening.

Back to topic. Apparently you have to experience a bit o’ hunger for a few days during the juice/broth fast. In essence, a liquid diet.

So, being the curious sort, I did a little surfing of the web. Because that’s where one can find all the answers. And sure, as with any fad diet, you will lose a few pounds AND keep it off. If you return to a fruit and vegetable centered diet. Why not just start off with a fruit and vegetable centered diet first and see how that goes?

I am not sure that coffee enemas and broth for three days would ever be for me. Although, to be fair, I do have three cups of coffee each morning.

But the program might be for others. I am, as always, speaking my mind. And my thoughts.

My thought is this. I am no expert. But I have been around trainers talking carbs, fats, whey protein shakes, etc. I have observed friends wrestling with the South Beach Diet. Or at least wrestling with the slicing, dicing and cutting of the numerous veggies. I have seen people hepped up on the Atkins’ Diet. And way into the controlled meal plans of Jenny Craig.

And most of those folks have gained back the weight they lost at the beginning of their diet.

If you want to lose weight then write down EVERYTHING you put in your mouth. And don’t forget the BLTs. Not our favorite bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich but bites, licks and tastes! That’s from Weight Watchers. Hat tip to them.

Quick fixes are quick but they don’t fix. You need to know what you are putting into your body. We think we already know that but if you keep a log of everything for a few days you might be surprised.

Cooking a red sauce and tasting a spoonful. A cup of coffee with milk and heaps of sugar. The small handful of M&Ms at the hairdresser’s while waiting for a shearing. Licking the spatula after making the icing. Eating the leftover food on your child’s plate. Those little things don’t count, right?

Wrong. Every little thing adds up. But no one realizes it until they actually write it down. And no one knows better than me that if you didn’t document it then it didn’t happen.

Someone asks you, “What did you eat today?” You replay the day and think in terms of meals. I had breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or I had one meal. And our brain quickly skims the last eighteen hours to figure out whether it was a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner. But the gray matter is not tallying the BLTs for you. It’s like not noticing the horrid images on cigarette packages. Subconsciously erased.

You just have to know what you are eating, study it and then make changes. It doesn’t cost a dime.

Doesn’t have to hurt or be horrible. Just a little tweaking. More fruits and vegetables. A little less meat, fat, and bread.

I don't agree but I do start a lot of sentences with, "For the love of God....."

I don’t agree but I do start a lot of sentences with, “For the love of God…..”

People can give up many things in their lives. But the one thing you cannot give up is eating. Because you will die. We will always need food. So it’s not like we can swear off it and then stay away from people who do eat. Or not frequent food establishments because of what goes on in there.

Maybe a little less of this. This is the correct pronunciation.

Maybe a little less of this. This is the correct pronunciation.

Just small changes.

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I loved staying home with my second child, Annie. It was a new experience for me because I had always worked outside the home. I just finished a fourteen year stint with a telecommunications company and was ready for a change. Let’s see what I missed with my older daughter, Rory, who was in daycare while I toiled away in the office all those years.

It was so very different being at home. All the time. Because at work you put in so many hours and then you punch the time clock and leave. You also have the freedom to make a phone call without interruption. Oh, and let’s not forget enjoying a meal without leaning the entire top half of your body in front of your co-worker and cutting up their meat into tiny little pieces. Sure, no one wants a fellow employee to choke on a bone but you leave it to their discretion. They’ve all heard the rumors about Mama Cass. They’ll be fine.

Being at home with a little one puts you on an “on call” status twenty four hours a day.  Like a firefighter. Except they actually sleep. And eat good food.

My physical examination with my Doctor, one year after Annie’s birth, went something like this.

I solemnly say, “Dr., I think something’s wrong with me.”

Dr. asks, “Why?”

I answer, “I am so tired! Utter fatigue!”

She chuckles and replies, “Mary, of course you are tired. You are the mother of a one year old.”

I adamantly state, “Oh, no, that’s not it. I just think there might be something wrong with my thyroid. Or something else that causes extreme tiredness. Maybe the pesky appendix? What’s that thing for anyway?”

She’s like, “Hmmm, okay, I doubt it but I can run some tests.”

The test results arrived about five days later. Like opening the front door to find a crowd, cameras flashing and being informed that you are the winner of the grand prize in a Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes.

Congratulations! You are the mother of a one year old! And a seven year old! And you are working eighteen hour days! 

Sure, it was a relief. But sort of disappointing in a weird way. Don’t get me wrong! I did not want to be ill. God forbid. But I certainly did not think that I would be so fatigued from something like “not working” and from something that I was actually enjoying. Time consuming? Yes! But I did love being home with her. I just really wish all the “experts” out there had given me a heads up. Lots o’ talk about fatigue during pregnancy. No one said anything about it lasting for two years.


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Too Soon

Rory called me from college last night. I could hear that she was upset and crying. A terrible thing to hear over the phone. You just don’t know what to expect.

She told me that a student had committed suicide by jumping from the sixth floor window of the dormitory next door.

Lord, have mercy.

I can’t imagine the desperation the poor boy was feeling that led him to die in such a painful, horrific manner. I cannot imagine the shock and trauma of those students who were the final witnesses. Nor can I imagine everything else that follows such a tragedy. I cannot begin to imagine the pain of his family.

It’s Finals Week at the school and there’s a lot of pressure. Rory said she wondered if that had anything to do with it.

I told her that I hoped not. A final exam is just a grade. And not indicative of who you are or of any future success. You just do your best.

That’s what I always tell my kids. Not to soften them up and make them any less competitive. But to make them realize you can only do your best. And your best is good enough. Always.

I really hope that it wasn’t pressure from his studies. But if that wasn’t the reason then it was something else that caused the young man to take his own life. For some reason he felt like he couldn’t go on living. And that breaks my heart into little pieces. As a parent and as a person.

I believe that there is no good reason for people to leave this earth before their time. But I also know that people struggle with deep depression and life seems insurmountable. They can’t see all the wonderful things.

There is always help out there. Even in the darkest hours. Some folks rely on their faith to get them through the tough times. Others lean on their fellow human beings.

But the important thing to remember is that there are many folks out there that want to help. There is help. It could be medicine. It could be friendship. It could be support. No one has to be alone in their despair.

No one should leave before their time. When it happens survivors are permanently wrecked and bereft. Mourning the loss of the future. The contributions, talents, friendship, love, and companionship that no longer exist.

If life seems insurmountable and wonderful things are nowhere to be seen then it’s time to reach out for assistance. And if reaching out is too difficult then just grab the hand that is extended. And keep grabbing. And then grab some more.


In memory of my Auntie Maureen who died soon after her twenty fifth birthday. She was a nurse, intelligent, loving, had a gift for languages and a wonderful sense of humor. 

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