Chocolate, the Elixir for Long Life

I  have just returned from seeing family in North Carolina.  My aunt is 88 years old and living in an assisted living facility, where my cousin tells me her diet consists of chocolate every day.

I got to thinking about this because I had an aunt many years ago who also subsisted on a box of assorted creams and caramels every day.  She lived to almost 90!  Maybe, this aging stuff wasn’t that bad!  After all the years of watching my intake of sweets, particularly chocolate, which I so love, there was indeed a light at the end of the tunnel!  (literally the end of the tunnel!)

At a certain age, does it really matter if you eat your veggies, fruits, grains?  Maybe chocolate is the new  food group for the geriatric set!  Death by Chocolate? Not so terrible! I think the idea here is,

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

if it gives you pleasure, it makes you happy, and it isn’t doing anything harmful to your body, then why not?

We live our lives constantly watching what we eat, having to lose an inch or two, a few pounds to get into those favorite jeans, depriving ourselves of something we love.  I get it.  At a certain age (and I’m not sure what that age is!) it just doesn’t matter.  If it feels good, do it, if it tastes good, eat it, if it looks pretty, buy it!  It’s a simple theory for that later chapter in life!

I’m a firm believer that if you are lucky enough (blessed) to have good genes, then you can do things that other people can’t with little or no consequences.  I’m not suggesting you light up that cigarette at 85 or eat fried chicken every day, but hey what’s holding you back from doing what makes you happy?

Did you know that the smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves which triggers relaxation.

M&M’s were created in 1914 as a means for soldiers to enjoy chocolate without it melting.

Eating dark chocolate every day reduces the risk of heart disease by 1/3

When it comes to coughs, chocolate is more effective than codeine!

Every second, Americans collectively eat 100 lbs of chocolate

The world’s largest chocolate bar weighed 5.792 kg (12,770 lbs)

So now that we know these very important facts, open up that box or bag of chocolates, cream filled, caramel, or whatever pleases your palate and think what a good thing you are doing to increase your longevity!

Today’s Takeaway…

. Eat, Drink, and be happy!  If a simple pleasure like eating chocolates every day makes you smile and your palate say thank you, then go for it!

. While your at it, have that glass of red wine too!  They pair so well!

Here’s to aunt Jerri and aunt Gussie before her!  My other aunt Rose drank sauerkraut juice and lived to 100!  Another post for another day! Personally, I’d go with chocolate!

Death by Chocolate Cake – Baker by Nature
https://bakerbynature.com/death-by-chocolate-cake/

blueberries cake chocolate chocolate cake
Photo by Abhinav Goswami on Pexels.com

Enjoy the Ride

xox Barclay and Joy

 

The Dog Dance

A few weeks ago my husband and I took our beloved Winston to Jacobs Pillow for some serious boogeying!  Winston is our Mexican refugee dog who came back with us from Ajijic a year and a half ago.  We adopted him quite unexpectedly after falling in love with him at an adoption day in our little village of Ajijic.  This is the place we winter, escaping the severe cold of upstate New York.

My daughter had seen an ad for dog dancing at the world renowned Jacobs Pillow, a mecca in The Berkshires for serious dancing since the 1930’s. It is the oldest internationally acclaimed Summer dance festival in the United States.  220 acres in size and gorgeous, The Pillow, for those of us in the know, was listed as a National Historic Landmark District in 2003.

Apparently, The Pillow hosts a canine dancing event every Summer to celebrate National Dog Day.  The dance is choreographed by resident dancers and the caregivers accompanying their canine friends.  (the dance belongs to the dogs though, not the people!  We just serve as props!)

“Partnering is fundamental to many dance genres and the partnership between dogs and their companions is unlike any other,” says Jacob’s Pillow Director Pamela Tatge. How right she is!  We do not think we look silly jumping around and pirouetting with our four legged friends on the great lawn in the Berkshires.  It is pure silliness, fun, and downright love for the one living thing that gives it’s owner unconditional love.

This event will now become a part of my cultural summers in the Berkshires, weather permitting.  I will look forward to dancing barefoot in the grass with my agile Winston and paying homage to my senior citizen Colby.  If only life could remain this simple!

A short post today before Barclay and I take a much needed rest from our blog publishing.  We have published 60 posts since the end of January when we began.  We are so proud of what we have accomplished and the response from our family and friends.  We will be writing our little hearts out so that we have posts in the queue with no interruptions.  We figured if Maria Shriver (our heroine and role model) could take off the whole month of August, we were entitled to at least two weeks!

Today’s Takeaway…

Don’t be afraid to act silly, laugh, run through the grass with your dog!  Who cares who’s watching?!! Don’t be afraid to let loose.  If not now, when?

. Our 4 legged friends are special.  Love them with all your heart.  Talk to them, cry on their backs, tell them secrets. They are on this earth for one reason only, to give pleasure. Never forget that DOG is GOD spelled backwards.

 

Enjoy the Ride!

xox

Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

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Bravo Winston!!

Self-Care – Putting your oxygen mask on first

It’s an unsettling direction given by the flight attendant.  What kind of parent does not first try to help her child?   It goes against our natural inclinations to prioritize our own well being.

Yet that’s what Jesus meant when he said to love our neighbor as ourself.   We must first take care of our body, soul, mind, and spirit in order to be a conduit of love toward others.  Jesus himself came away from the crowds in order to reconnect with God.

Self-care is actually a spiritual discipline – one we tend to ignore or take to an extreme.  The Huffington Post offers some suggestions for practicing self-care intentionally but not obsessively.  (Check out all 20 practices  here.)

“Do something that energizes your body.  Stretch, swim, run, do yoga, whatever physical activity you enjoy.

Create a Gratitude List. Write down all the things you’re thankful for.

Unplug for a day. Go on a media fast.

Do something new. Have you been considering learning a new skill or trying a new hobby? Go for it.

Practice mini-meditation.  Begin or end your day with a minute of deep breathing, and focused awareness of your body, thoughts, and feelings.

Dance it out.  Put on your favorite dance music, and shake your body.

Get quality time with a quality person. Hang out with someone you love. If they’re far away, give them a phone call.

Be still.  Find a quiet place outside, and embrace the stillness.

De-clutter.  Choose a place — your email inbox, your desk, a closet — and get rid of the excess and junk.

Do an activity mindfully and slowly.  Savor the moment, and experience your activity with attentiveness.

Take a walk. Explore your area at a leisurely pace.

Enjoy a piece of chocolate and/or a glass of wine.  Better yet, enjoy both together.”

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For sure, I’ll do the chocolate/wine suggestion; not so sure about “dancing it out”.

Right now Codie (who enjoys life as only a Golden Retriever can) is giving me a look that says,  Would you forget the damn laptop already?! It’s time for a walk!!

She’s right.  As usual.

Today’s Takeaway –

-Take it from Codie.  She adores all neighbors as herself.  And she knows how to dance it out.  Talk about joie de vivre!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

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These are Codie lookalikes.  Same joie!

Calling all Baby Boomers, please leave a comment about YOUR go-to self-care practice. Codie wants to hear from you!

The Letter

My mother used to write the most beautiful letters.  They were handwritten, well thought out, and in beautiful penmanship.  A millennial would probably say, what’s penmanship?  Why bother?  You can text or better yet, no words, Instagram!

Muriel (if you have been reading our blog, you would know!) won awards for her beautiful cursive writing.  Me, not so much.  I’m a lefty and write like a doctor (if only I had gone to medical school!). She wrote letters to her boyfriends, caught my father’s attention with love letters that made me blush (when I went into her drawers and furtively read them!), and congratulated friends on their anniversaries, birthdays, marriage of a child, birth of a child, etc!  When my mother-in-law passed away, she wrote the most beautiful letter to her husband, my father-in-law. She expressed her grief and disappointment in not really getting to know her new daughter-in-law, married less than 3 years earlier.

Letters are a thing of the past, sadly because they hold a person’s most private thoughts in a way that a text or email cannot. They can disappear with the stroke of the “delete” key. Whether on heavy stock paper with a monogram (this is what Muriel used) with ball point or ink, they beckon us to read them over and over again.  I have put many of them in my drawers to be discovered unexpectedly as I rifle through underwear.  Once I find one, I sit down and read it again.  A tear may come to my eyes, a smile, a look of fondness and love. They are never to be duplicated again and they do not carry any acronyms: LOL, LMAO, WTF, IDK,  OMG, etc.  Everything is spelled out in full.  T’s are crossed, i’s are dotted, strong messages underlined.

“Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.” Yehuda Berg

‘Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”  Mother Teresa

‘To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart” Phyllis Theroux

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”- the Bible

I  am of the generation who kept in touch by letter.  I kept my college roommates apprised of my newly married life, my parents, my old friends, and family members.  It took time to write, to compose, to add humor, funny stories.  When you read my letters it was like being in the room with me.  I wrote run on sentences, as I do today and called it my stream of consciousness writing. I loved receiving them in the mail and I hope mine were met with the same enthusiasm as the ones I received.

They are my mementos of a life filled with friendship that I worked very hard to maintain through a lifetime of new jobs and new addresses.

Take the time to pick up the phone, write a real letter on paper and mail it with a stamp, go ring someone’s doorbell to say hello.

We are all busy, even those of us in retirement, so it means that much more when we take the time to connect as human beings.

Today’s Takeaway…

.Write a letter, the old fashioned kind on paper with a ball point pen.  I’m sure you have one somewhere! It will mean more than you know to the person on the receiving end.

. Never underestimate the power of the spoken or written word.  Keep your mind active by writing down your thoughts, whether in a personal journal, blog, or diary.  You will be glad you did.  They will make you smile when you need it most and keep your memories alive when you may have forgotten.

Enjoy the ride

Barclay and Joy

x0x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreaming Small

Mary Rose filled our glasses and we knitting ladies (loosely termed as I am an awful knitter) toasted Michelle on her retirement.

“What are you looking forward to most?” we asked.

Michelle described a few “more’s”.

Sleep more. Knit more.  Travel more.

Sounds great.  But after the initial exhilaration, some retirees find themselves with more Netflix than more Grand Canyon.

Here are some ideas to get us off our asses (Peggy’s infamous descriptor) physically and mentally.

Say Yes.

Have you seen the Jim Carey movie, Yes Man, where the main character has to say yes to everything?  He finds himself interacting with exhilerating people and having wild-ride experiences.

My friend, Cathy, has said yes to political marches, travel, and continuing her social work.

Jeanne has said yes to tutoring, RV living, and volunteering for Avenues to Independence.

Gina has said yes to bike riding, gardening, and urban renewal projects; Mary Rose – to cradling babies and hanging with her granddaughter; Sally – to travel, family, golf, and taking her beloved dog to nursing homes.

What’s your YES these days?

(A caveat — make sure your YES is not that people-pleasing, forced-into-it type, but comes out of an open heart and a desire to be courageous.)

Find your mission.

What gives you joy?

What are your unique gifts and talents?

What moves you?

Maybe what gives you joy is exactly the spot where you make the world a tad better for others.  One theologian describes this intersection as follows –

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”― Frederick Buechner

My brother, Charlie, a philosophy professor, plans to teach classes to prisoners once he retires. Jeanne, a reading teacher, is helping kids with dyslexia.

It’s OK to Dream Small

Diane says yes in small ways each day.  She is intentional about chatting with grocery store clerks; she shares uplifting  messages on FB, she smiles at strangers.  Her random conversations sometimes end with the other person saying, “I was just meant to talk to you today. I feel so much better. Thank you.”

There’s a song titled Dream Small —

Live well
Loving God and others as yourself
Find little ways where only you can help
With His great love
A tiny rock can make a giant fall
So dream small.

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Whether we visit the Grand Canyon or to the Grand Grocery Store, let’s look for more YES moments.

And then we can check out what’s trending on Netflix!

Today’s Takeaway –

-What a wonderful life I lead.  I can’t wait to do this again tomorrow.    Said no one – ever – after watching 6 straight hours of Netflix.  (I speak from experience…)

Enjoy the ride!

xox

Barclay and Joy