Archive for November, 2009

How to make your dream of writing your life stories come true. Joanne Lozar Glenn continues her six-week series on sharing one’s life stories.

Your Mark of Genius: Start with a Bold First Step
Many seniors dream of writing their life stories …so that their children and grandchildren get a sense of who they were, how they lived their lives, and what was important to them. But it’s hard to start what seems like such a huge project.

Jim Ball, president of The Goals Institute, recommends an easy technique for accomplishing any dream: start everything with a strong, bold, first step. Ball says that people who begin boldly and with enthusiasm are more likely to end strong and with success than those who start with only half-hearted efforts.

What bold first step can you take today to create a written record of your life? Maybe it’s clearing this week’s calendar and scheduling ten minutes a day to brainstorm and then list what you want to write about—then in the weeks that follow, write one memory, as fast as you can, during each ten-minute time period you’ve set aside.

Write one memory in ten minutes, you say? Yes, you can, if you give yourself permission to just get the story down on paper and worry about “perfecting” it later. I use (and teach) this technique myself. In ten weeks, writing two days a week for ten minutes each day, I created twenty stories. Ten of them are good enough to keep and file for later revision.

I’ll ask it again—what bold first step can you take today to create a written record of your life? As Goethe said, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

First Anniversary of noranagatani.com

happy_anniversary_heartToday is the first anniversary of the birth of this blog. I chose to celebrate an anniversary instead of a birthday because if my parents, Mark and Dorothy Murakami, were still living, it would’ve been their 66th wedding anniversary. I’ve had so much fun in the past year writing this blog and I appreciate everyone who has paused to read my blog. I’ve met some wonderful people and even met two of my California readers in person! How awesome is that?!

Through this experience, I’ve found a special passion for Alzheimer’s and now run  two blogs. You will see more guest bloggers in this blog, amazing seniors I’ve met through a networking group that I co-founded, Women’s Network of Springfield. I know you’ll enjoy their blog posts.

This is the time of year when we think about the many things we are grateful for. Did you know that there’s a science to happiness? Research suggests that gratitude makes us happier and is the key to a longer and more successful life. Robert A. Emmons, PhD, professor of psychology, University of California, Davis, has written a book on the science of gratitude: Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.

So from the bottom of my heart, I extend my deepest gratitude to all of you and a very special and Happy Thanksgiving!

Writers Read Revelations of the Heart

Guest blogger Joanne Lozar Glenn writes about sharing one’s life stories. She will be my guest for the next six Wednesdays. Enjoy!

Last Friday, about 80 people came to Borders Bookstore in Tysons Corner, Va., to hear nine local writers reveal how everyday events—a shopping trip, a bracelet, a failed crop—shaped how they later came to view love, loss, life itself.

Kathy Nutt

Kathy Nutt

Who are these writers? They are people—like you, perhaps?—who wanted to create a written record of their life in a way that is interesting for others to read. So they enrolled in writing classes—mine and those of my colleagues, Kathy Nutt (that’s Kathy in the photo) and Louise Gibney. The writers’ work earned them an invitation to participate in the “Writers Read” program, now in its second year.

Some of their stories, like Chuck Klee’s “The Busboy,” were funny. Some, like Susan Rich’s “Up the Hill,” were stunning. And some, like Mary Lucas’ “Legs,” and Maria-Mercedes Torres’ “Monologues with Julia,” had that perfect blend of humor and pathos. All of the stories were heartfelt in how they aspired to understanding, forgiveness, transformation—and in the process, inspired us, the audience, to see others, and ourselves, a little differently.

It’s not easy to do this kind of writing, to craft a story so well that it’s as compelling as a novel—and harder still to put that story into the world. But these writers did it, through lots of hard work and courage. I salute them for sharing their revelations of the heart.

If you’ve been thinking about writing your life stories, here are two resources for getting started in the Washington, DC, metro area:

  1. Classes at Fairfax County’s Adult and Community Education Program
  2. Frank Milligan’s Time to Write: Discovering the Writer within After 50

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Skype

AlyssaRecently, my husband and I visited our granddaughter. We knew she would start walking any day. She did take baby half steps while we were visiting. Of course, right after we left, she took off and according to my son, she took about 25 steps! What’s the long-distance solution for grandparents? It’s Skype for us. We missed the first step, but she was able to walk for us a few days later.

Skype is software that you download to your computer from www.skype.com. Click on the Download tab and follow instructions. Besides a computer, you will need a webcam and a microsphone. Most new computers have them built in — most likely into the monitor. If not, they need to be purchased. A webcam is relatively inexpensive. Amazon.com has a Microsoft webcam for less than $30 as of this writing.

Microphones come in two styles — a stick type microphone or a more expensive headset type of microphone. Although they are easily obtainable online, if you’re a novice computer user, you might want to visit your local electronics store — a big box like Best Buy or a smaller store like Radio Shack.

I’ve not had a problem with the built-in microphone while calling domestically to California and Hawaii. However, I made a call overseas to the United Kingdom to assist someone in a group I belong to called Synnd, and he told me several times that my voice was breaking up and he recommended that I use a headset. I used to teach an online course for a private university where I lectured in real time and although I bought a headset microphone, the stick microphone proved to be the clearest. So, I must look for my headset and try the call to my friend in the UK again.

Skype is not the perfect solution, but it’s certainly close. We Skype often with our other son as well and he’s able to show us what he’s cooked for dinner. One night he showed us the California roll (sushi) he made and it looked delicious. Skype is just a great way to stay in touch with family.

For the next six weeks, there will be a guest blogger. Enjoy learning about writing your memoir!

Anti-inflammatory Turmeric

turmericMany issues faced by seniors such as heart problems, arthritis, and even Alzheimer’s disease are said to be a result of inflammation. Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and is a member of the ginger family. It has been used in the Ayurvedic (Indian) and Chinese medicine for ages. After processing and being ground into a powder, turmeric is better known to those of us in the west as curry. Today we are realizing more and more health benefits.

According to www.whfoods.com, (The World’s Healthiest Foods and The George Mateljan Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation with no commercial interests, is a new force for change to help make a healthier you and a healthier world), their food rating system shows the following nutrients in turmeric:

Turmeric, powder
2.00 tsp
4.52 grams
16.04 calories

Nutrient

Amount

DV
(%)

Nutrient
Density

World’s Healthiest
Foods Rating

manganese

0.36 mg

18.0

20.2

excellent

iron

1.88 mg

10.4

11.7

excellent

vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

0.08 mg

4.0

4.5

good

dietary fiber

0.96 g

3.8

4.3

good

potassium

114.48 mg

3.3

3.7

good

DV = Daily Value

World’s Healthiest
Foods Rating

Rule

excellent

DV>=75%

OR

Density>=7.6

AND

DV>=10%

very good

DV>=50%

OR

Density>=3.4

AND

DV>=5%

good

DV>=25%

OR

Density>=1.5

AND

DV>=2.5%

According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, the volatile oil fraction of turmeric has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity in a variety of experimental models. Even more potent than its volatile oil is the yellow or orange pigment of turmeric, which is called curcumin. Curcumin is thought to be the primary pharmacological agent in turmeric. In numerous studies, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin. Unlike the drugs, which are associated with significant toxic effects (ulcer formation, decreased white blood cell count, intestinal bleeding), curcumin produces no toxicity.

Ezine articles author Henri K. Junttila also writes about the benefits of turmeric in “Discover the Incredible Health Benefits of Turmeric Spice.” She says, “The best way to take advantage of the benefits of this herb is to take it in the form of multi-vitamin supplements.  Studies reveal that the substance is digested and ingested in the bloodstream better in combination with other beneficial substances. It is important however, to check which of the other complementing substances and ingredients work best with turmeric spice.”

There are nutritional supplements available. The supplements that I have taken contain turmeric as part of another supplement. For example, Immunotec has an Omega-3 product with turmeric. Vitamark International puts it in their Naturflex product and includes ginger root in their vitamin, VitaChe, specifically for heart health. My favorite, VitaOne, Vitamark’s multi-nutrition pack, contains 100 mg of turmeric. Does your favorite multi-vitamin contain turmeric?

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