Where we get fit and spin (wool)

Archive for October, 2010

Musings on the Boy Scouts

We just got back from a boy scout dinner, thanking all those who helped for the year. We were there as my husband coordinates a function between the scouts and the Field and Stream club.  It was very inspirational, and made me think about scouting and raising children today.

Scouting has made the news in the last few years more for malcontents suing it than for all the good it does. This is a shame, because when you see the opportunities it affords the boys and young men, and the results they get from these youngsters, it seems you cannot say it isn’t a positive organization. For those who argue that it excludes people, I would say, then start your own organization. People tirelessly devote themselves to running these organizations, because they believe in them. And belief is the operative word. You cannot separate actions from beliefs, and you cannot tell people that they have to change their beliefs to suit you. It reminds me of the Jewish girl who joined the Morman Tabernacle Choir, then wanted them to stop performing Christmas music because it was against her belief. Join something else. Create a Jewish Synagogue Choir. Create a gay and lesbian scout troop, or a secular humanist volunteer organization. All theses big organizations started because people saw a need and strove to fill it. Of course it is hard to start, and there is little funding, and you don’t have the resources. Did all the big organizations start big? Of course not.

Anyway, off my soapbox now. Scouts, 4-H, and other organizations do so much for kids, but they do so much for families and communities  too. It isn’t someone from the outside coming in and doing for you, it is all of us pulling together and doing for ourselves and each other. One guy knows woodworking, so he opens his shop to teach 6 kids. Another does leather craft, another cooking. We all have enough resources to share with some people in our community, and we should make the most of those opportunities. Everyone has some hobby or interest they could teach others. Then we aren’t just sitting in our 90’s style cocoons, vegging in front of the tv.

I guess I can’t stay off the soap box tonight. Good night folks.

Goals and accomplishments

I’m so excited by what I’ve accomplished in the past two days that I have to share it. I’m currently taking a class in web design to add to my skills. I’ve been a digital photo retoucher, using photoshop for the last decade. I used to be on the cutting edge of technology, but as we all know, no matter how much you learn, it keeps changing and you have to keep up. I haven’t been keeping up, so there is a lot I don’t know how to do. So, I started with this class, but it is basically just teaching dreamweaver. Not that that is a bad thing, but websites encompass  a lot more, including being hosted. Today, I purchased my first host site.  I haven’t actually put the site up, but I did take the first step. Yesterday, I bit the bullet and purchased my own copy of creative suite (ouch!). Up till now I’ve been using the school’s and a friends.  If you are a young person reading this, you are probably laughing, new stuff is no big deal. As we get older, we get into ruts, and new things seem bigger and scarier than they are. ( I know I’m generalizing.)

In any case, I feel like I’m taking big, positive, steps into a brave new world. (want to count how many cliches I can put in one post?) I know I have a lot more to learn, but I have been surprised at the amount of support I’ve gotten. I thought I’d get a lot more people sneering at amateur dabbling, but so far I’ve gotten nothing but positive, encouraging feedback.

Changing the subject, I am canning apples and working on wesites. Talk about worlds colliding. Will we even be able to use the word anachronism in the future?

If anyone has a comment, I would love to hear other peoples stories of “stepping out”. Also, is there a visual icon of the web? I wanted to put one on this post, but I can’ think of a visual representation of it.visual representation of the web This is all I got in a google search.

Exercise and alzheimers

I just read an article that supports my contention that exercise is the closest thing to a fountain of youth. Here is an excerpt:

“In fact, there’s only one practice that’s been proven, without question, to preserve your memory: exercise. “Aerobic activities tend to show larger effects than non-aerobic activities,” University of Pittsburgh psychologist Kirk Erickson tells Yahoo.

Working up a sweat helps your mind stay fit better than any crossword puzzle–unless you’re doing that crossword on a treadmill.

The good news is that you don’t need to run a marathon. Just walking six miles a week can ward off memory disorders caused by aging, according to Erickson’s research published this month in the medical journal Neurology. “It appears that if people start exercising their memory may improve and if you continue to exercise, that might delay, or offset, the age-related decline in memory,” he explains.
And you don’t need to lift any heavy barbells either. Erickson and his team monitored 300 senior adults over a period of 13 years, and found that those who walked between 6 and 9 miles a week—whether to work or with the dog–had half the brain deterioration of those who didn’t. “Exercise seems to enhance some of the more fundamental properties of our brain,” Erickson explains. “It increases the growth of new cells and improves cellular processes associated with learning and memory.” To put it simply, walking keeps your gray matter from shrinking. And the more matter, the more mind.

Another study published earlier this year suggests exercise can actually help your brain grow. A moderate workout may generate new brain cells. And not just any brain cells, but cells that specifically help to distinguish between memories, so each recollection stands out. It’s the kind of function you rely on every day, says Tim Bussey, one of the authors of the Cambridge University study. “[These cells help with] remembering which car parking space you have used on two different days in the previous week.”

But exercise isn’t the only way to keep tabs on your parking spot. There are some supplemental practices that doctors recommend in addition to a regular walk-a-thon. Diets rich in Omega fatty acids are instrumental in keeping your brain from aging. Two servings of salmon a week, provides ingredients that support brain tissue and enhance nerve cell function. Balancing fish with the other elements of a Mediterranean diet, like fruits and vegetables, has been found to lower the chances of cognitive decline. When it comes to memory retrieval, self-testing can be beneficial. In other words, pausing between paragraphs of an article and asking yourself to paraphrase the information, or repeat a fact. It can’t hurt if that article is written in another language. Bilingualism, says one new study, helps ward off Alzheimer’s for up to four years. But it doesn’t prevent the disease altogether. Your best bet: Walk it off.”

The full article is on yahoo.

healthy eating just gets easier and easier.

I don’t mean for this to turn into a “foodie” blog, but when I discover something great, I have to share it. The latest is squash.  Any squash can just be pricked and put in the oven with your chicken, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, or bread. I haven’t tried it for less than an hour, but I did have a large butternut in for 2 hours because of the chicken, and apparently over cooking only makes them better. The skin falls off, the flavor and texture are AMAZING.  What could be easier? Scooping out the seeds and getting the skin off becomes cake, and the cooking is so easy. One big butternut is probably three meals worth of squash, depending on your family size.

More ideas about healthy eating

I love anything that makes healthy eating easier, and this article  about snacks from yahoo Shine does that. I’m not saying the ideas in the article are perfect, lets face it, snacks are always dangerous. However, they definitely are the lesser of evils, as vending machines are fraught with danger. This spurs many ideas that I have about healthy snacking/ eating. For one thing, I firmly believe in not letting yourself get too hungry. If you do that, you are more susceptible to temptation. I can resist donuts and cookies at work as I have plenty to eat, and I eat often. I know there is some controversy over frequent eating, some people claim it boosts your metabolism, others say no. I simply say, I like to eat, and I get hungry often, especially at work. I work out in the morning, and walk at lunch time, so I am burning most of my calories before lunch. May I suggest, if you’re like me, instead of snacking per se, eat the same foods you would eat for a meal. I often eat a sandwich at 10:00, or a bowl of soup. Why eat empty calories, rather than nutritious foods?

What ideas do you have for healthy eating? Do you have any snack alternatives?

Don’t tell me it is too expensive to eat well.

Here is an article on cheap, healthy eating. All the foods in the article, canned beans, potatoes, eggs, whole wheat pasta, ground beef and frozen fruits and veggies are also quick to cook, especially if you don’t hate microwaves.  You can cook an egg in the microwave in 30 seconds. So I think all the arguments against healthy eating fall down on closer inspection.  Add some cheese and salsa, and you have a party!Bean soup

Why Fiber?

Everyone just looks at you when you say “I have a fiber hobby”.  While it is unusual, it is growing in popularity. Go to any fiber festival. For me, the draw was the ability to go from a raw product, right off a sheep, to a finished product. I have spent a good bit of money on equipment, but when you think of processing most things, it is really inexpensive. Can you imagine growing and grinding wheat to make bread? But wool, silk and cotton are relatively easy to grow and process. The beauty of the finished product is so entrancing as well

I started out life in love with art, fine art. I grew up with mixed feelings about “crafts”. I loved doing them, but they were disdained by the art community. However, seeing some of the stuff from the 60’s and 70’s, makes that understandable. I’m not sure when I first saw crafts raised to art, but since then I have seen it over and over. Even knitted clothes can be art. Certainly I have seen quilting and knitting unquestionably raised to art, and even some of the knitting has been in art galleries.

While this makes me happy, I don’t need what I do to be art, as I had a backlash of attitude towards art. I love beautiful things that are useful as well. I have become so practical, that art for arts sake bothers me. Please don’t take that as a slam on art, I just can’t participate in that form any more. I would rather paint on a wall, than create a painting that will just end up being more stuff accumulated in your life. I wish everything you looked at and touched was beautiful, but not extraneous.

The last point that I would like to make is that I have found I am obsessed with the process, the end product is almost incidental. Once the project is finished, my interest is diminished.

What do you think? Do you have thoughts on art, crafts, process or the finished product?

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