Back Home Again in Indiana

Christmas Village Scene - The Toy Shop

Greetings, Empty Nesters. We have traveled to Indiana to be with family for the holidays and so far we’re freezing! Since we moved to Florida, when the temperature reaches 70 degrees we start looking for our sweats so this 20 something temperature we’re in now is really making us shiver. It’s worth it though to get to see the new grandkids, the old grandkids and our children.  

We’re staying with our older daughter and her family for a couple of days so we spent today Christmas shopping and the crowds weren’t bad at all. We may do a bit more tomorrow and then move on to our other daughter’s house for a few days and more shopping and eating. Ah, yes, the ever popular eating! We love it.

I hope you’re enjoying your holidays as much as I am.

Merry Christmas!!


What is Digital Mammography?

Nurse

Well, Mrs., I wish I could tell you that digital mammography meant that they just took some pictures of your breasts with a digital camera, no smashing or radiation exposure, but I’m afraid that’s not the case. In fact, having the actual mammogram performed is pretty much the same as it always was and we know what that means!

However, the promise that digital mammograms seem to be heading toward is a better view of the insides of our breasts. They may make detection of disease easier and earlier in the disease progression.

As far as comfort goes, it is possible with digital mammograms that there won’t be as many call-backs, either at the time of the mammogram (remember how you have to sit in the waiting room in your little robe to make sure the films are OK?) or after the patient has gone home. This is because the digital image has much better detail. They can also be viewed by the radiologist on a computer screen.

The doctor reading the mammogram as well as the person performing the test can tweak the darkness and lightness on the image as they go along or even after the test is finished to get an improved view.

So while this new form of mammography may not be any more comfortable for the patient, it may be quicker and the results may be better and that’s what makes for faster, better cures.


National Poinsettia Day

Poinsettias for Christmas Decorations (POTD Dec. 12, 2008)

In case you didn’t realize it, today is National Poinsettia Day! The person whom this plant is named for, Joel Roberts Poinsett, was the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico when he initially saw these plants. The poinsettia is native to Mexico and there are at least 100 varieties in the world today. 

In 1825, he sent cuttings back to his South Carolina home and when the plants grew up and bloomed at Christmas, he gave them to his friends and family.

As fate would have it, Ambassador Poinsett died on the 12th of December, 1851, two weeks before Christmas. What more fitting tribute than to put National Poinsettia Day on that date, commemorating both the Ambassador’s death and the beautiful Christmas plant he introduced to the U.S.

Now you know!


Minnesota’s Senate Seat Recount–Can We Trust It?

Have any of you of the Empty Nest been following the vote recount in Minnesota for the Senate seat there between Coleman (R) and Franken (D)? From what I’ve read, someone in their infinite wisdom has decided that in one of Minnesota’s smaller towns, they should just go ahead and use the vote count that they had on election night instead of recounting like they’ve agreed to do in the state.voting_booth[1]

This makes absolutely no sense as far as I can see except for the fact that Franken got more votes there, and perhaps his team is afraid they’ll lose some or all of those votes if a recount is done. If 120 plus votes were counted twice in that town as it has been reported, that alone is surely enough reason to do a recount there, let alone the fact that they’re supposed to be recounting the whole state anyway.

Why can’t anyone be honest anymore? Everyone just wants to win at any cost and the result is that no one really wins, especially our country which seems to be going to H*** in a handbasket as our forebears used to say.


A Disney World Christmas

07 xm disney party 045

Can you believe all these lights? This is part of the annual Christmas parade at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. If you get the chance to go to Disney World around Christmastime, be sure to stay until after dark to see all the light shows they have to offer. Even if you’re there sometime other than Christmas, there are other light shows at night that are well worth hanging around for.

We were there about five Christmases ago (more or less–you know how time flies) and they gave us 3-D glasses. With these glasses, when you looked at the regular Christmas lights, you could see little angels hovering around them. The glasses worked with your own lights too. Really neat!

I love all the colors and you can almost hear the music and the oohs and ahhs going on just by looking at this picture. The picture was an award winner on webshots.com.


Fat Granny

Fat People-34

Two Christmas parties in two days and although I had sooo much fun at each of them, I still feel like I must’ve gained 20 pounds. We had snacks and salad and spaghetti with Italian bread and then cake and ice cream at the one last night.

Tonight we had snacks, salad, two kinds of meatballs, lasagna, scalloped potatoes (huh? well for variety I think, in case not everyone liked lasagna) and pecan pie with some sort of luscious creamy topping. And this is just what I took and ate. There were a lot more things to pick from but I didn’t want to be piggy about it, ya know?

Now Thursday I have an all-girl party at noon where we all have to take an appetizer so we’ll eat half the afternoon away, then I suppose my husband will think I want to cook supper. The nerve of him!

But such is life in an empty nest! The nest is empty of children but not of food and fattened up grandmas and grandpas.


Cold Weather Tips for a Healthy, Happy Winter

Mary shoveling snow

Greetings, Those of the Empty Nest Persuasion!

Today I have some random tips I’ve seen here and there and some I’ve thought of on my own to help us all stay happy and healthy during the holidays and the cold winter. (NO, that is NOT me in the picture. I DO NOT shovel show!)

Since I live in Florida, my winters aren’t THAT cold but we do travel north for the holidays and when you’re used to it being 90 degrees, 70 can feel rather cool. (No chuckling please.) We do actually wear sweats when it’s around 70. (I said, don’t laugh.) Our kids who still live up north think we’re nuts but they’re actually just jealous that they’re in 2 feet of snow when we’re playing golf.

Anyway, here’s the list:

1. Install a carbon monoxide alarm and a smoke alarm if you don’t already have them. If you do have them, make sure their batteries are good and that the alarms are working OK.

2. Get a flu shot.

3. Quit smoking.

4. Eat less salt and sodium.

5. If you’re useing cold and flu remedies be sure to follow the usage instructions. While we generally know that too much isn’t a good thing, it’s also not such a good thing to use too little as you may not get the desired relief with a too-small dose.

6. Buy generic prescription drugs if possible.

7. If you see a specialist and he or she prescribes new drugs, be sure to tell your regular doctor too.

8. If there’s bad weather on the way, be sure you have everything you’ll need on hand for the next few days so you don’t have to venture out in 3 feet of snow.

9. Get ready for tax season and file early to avoid the stress of filing late in the season. Besides that, if you’re getting a refund, you may as well get it as quickly as you can.

10. Exercise, even if it’s just raising your legs up and down while watching TV.

11. Consider hiring someone young and healthy (or someone with a plow) to shovel or blow your snow.

12. Read, do puzzles, play games or watch game shows on TV to keep your mind alert and active.

Happy Winter Everyone! 


High Blood Pressure–Silent But Deadly

Blood Pressure Information

How do you know you have a cold? You probably have a stuffy head, you may be sneezing or you feel tired and run down. What about how you feel if you have an ear infection? Your ear hurts, of course. But how do you feel if you have high blood pressure? You probably don’t feel anything! And that’s why high blood pressure can be silent but deadly.

One in three adult Americans today are afflicted with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. If your systolic reading is over 140 mg HD, then you are one of them. If your pressure is 120/80 to 139/89, you are considered to be pre-hypertensive which means you are at high risk of developing high blood pressure. Once your pressure surpasses the 139/89 mark, you would be considered hypertensive. Chronic hypertension puts people at increased risk for strokes, heart attacks, heart failure, aneurysms, chronic renal failure and shortened life expectancy.

Many hypertensive people have no idea that they may have hypertension and thus be a time bomb waiting to explode. Elevated blood pressure can easily be detected by your doctor or even with a simple self-administered blood pressure test. Most pharmacies have machines to measure blood pressure and most are free for the customer to use so there is really no excuse to not knowing if you have elevated blood pressure readings.

There are several reasons a person may have hypertension, including obesity, salt sensitivity, genetic factors, age, stress or sleep apnea. Some people, however,are never really able to pinpoint the cause of their high blood pressure and it may in fact be a combination of factors. This doesn’t mean it can’t be treated, however.

Things you can do on your own are to lose weight by watching your diet, exercising and managing your stress levels. Low-sodium and low-fat diets can help lower your blood pressure too. By losing only ten percent of your current body weight, you should be able to get your readings down. And don’t forget, try to avoid using tobacco and alcohol and stay away from caffeine. Simple relaxation techniques and meditation can help to lower your stress and the resultant high blood pressure.

If diet, exercise and stress management aren’t quite enough to get your levels down to where they should be for good health, you may need to go on some form of drug management. Usually a combination of two or three drugs will do the best job for most people. There may be a bit of trial and error for a few months until your doctor comes up with the best combination to control your particular type of hypertension but it can be done and your life will be better for it.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

A Wild Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving, Empty Nesters. Many of you will probably have fuller nests this weekend for which I’m sure you’ll be thankful. We’ll be thankful for the good food, our nice nests, our health and many other things. This is a good time to take stock of your life and stop to realize all the things we really do have to be thankful for. 

The economy certainly isn’t very good right now but as we know, it’s a whole lot better than a lot of places. You may be having some health issues but hopefully there are doctors who can help you with them. Perhaps you can’t be with family on Thanksgiving but be thankful if they at least call or send a card.

On Friday, you can stay home and be thankful you don’t have to go shopping! Black Friday will probably be a mess. Even with the slowing of the economy or maybe because of it, shoppers will probably be out there in droves.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Take care of yourselves! 


Empty Nesters, What Are You Most Thankful For?

Outhouse

Hi, Empty Nesters! In honor of Thanksgiving coming up in a couple of days, I would like to put forth a question for you:

What are you most thankful for?

Of course, we’re all thankful for our family, friends, health, jobs, all the normal stuff. But besides that, what are you grateful that someone discovered, invented, did for you? Give it some thought and leave a comment and I’ll make up a list so everyone can see what Empty Nesters are thankful for.

For myself, I am thankful for indoor plumbing! It’s such a pain to have to take the dogs out all the time, I can’t imagine having to go out myself too! And no shower? No running water in the kitchen unless you had a pump on the sink. I suppose that was a real boon in its day.

I live in Florida so at least it’s warm but for those living in the north where it gets really cold (I lived in Indiana for 49 years so I know cold), I wouldn’t want to have to bundle all up to go to the outhouse, I wouldn’t want to have to bathe in the sink, I don’t want to have to commune with the bugs while doing my business!

I remember my own grandmother lived on a farm and had an outhouse, a two-seater by the way, and my cousin and I would go out there together. I don’t remember minding that much even though I was used to inside plumbing at home. I can’t remember what Grandma did for water in the kitchen. After my Granddad had a heart attack and they moved to town, it must have been a thrill to finally have indoor plumbing!

Let us know, everyone, what you’re thankful for!


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