Five Good Reasons To Look Forward To Autumn

August 28th, 2017

An intrinsic part of our human instinct is to anticipate the future. We often project either our desires or our insecurities into future events, depending upon our personalities. Optimistic, positive people usually see the best that lies ahead. Pessimistic, negative folks often see the worst possible scenario. What do you think the Autumn has in store for you? And why do you believe that some of us love the Fall and others dread its coming? Let’s explore all the possibilities!

I’m sure that I’m not alone in my love of all the beautiful colors of Autumn! Yes, the reawakening of nature in Spring also brings forth gorgeous colors and summer is filled with bright, vivid hues of flowers and plants as well! But every color in the fall, especially the trees, is extra vibrant, perhaps because nature is ready to go to sleep as winter approaches.

Whatever the reason, nature seems to explode with a profusion of amazing colors! Just taking walks, wherever we happen to live, but especially in the country, brings us unparalleled joy! Picking up the loveliest of the leaves as they fall from the trees is an Autumn pastime, and not only for children! All kinds of crafts can emanate from nature’s gift of leaves in extraordinary color! Many of these creative projects turn into special personal masterpieces that we savor long after!

Autumn means pumpkins in huge numbers! Pumpkins are not only used in large quantities by those who celebrate Halloween. Not at all! So many of us enjoy pumpkin pie, bread and muffins. We also create non-seasonal crafts, which we enjoy throughout all the seasons!

In the Fall many of us go apple picking! It’s as much fun for the adults as it is for the children, for we sojourn with nature at the same time that we pick the choicest apples!

The Autumn means cooler, more comfortable weather in the 60’s and 70’s! It is actually my kind of weather but certainly not mine alone. Most people like a break from the sultry summer weather, including high temperatures and, unfortunately, humidity to match!

Another part of Autumn that most of us love is Octoberfest! All over, there are festivities including great food, exhibits, crafts and other activities! For me, Octoberfest is most fun right here on Long Island! I have enjoyed it especially over the years in Cold Spring Harbor, but Octoberfest is great all over the Island!

Speaking as a retired English teacher, I strongly feel that returning to school and work, although an adjustment after vacation, is a good thing in the long run! I loved the creativity of my teaching position, and I enjoyed teaching and interacting with my students. I took pride in helping my students to learn and mature!

Whatever one’s job, returning to a structured lifestyle is important to the heart and mind! Most jobs offer some intellectual stimulation and creativity! Even youngsters look forward to the excitement of a new school year, although they would never admit it! New teachers, a new curriculum and even new school supplies are exciting!

So when Labor Day weekend comes and goes, all the fun is not over by far! The official coming of Autumn is in less than a month! Look forward to it! Actually, when September 21st arrives, the fun and games, so to speak, will just be beginning!

A Wonderful Preview of Fall

August 24th, 2017

What a wonderful change! From exceedingly hot, humid weather on Tuesday to a long and comfortable stretch of below average weather for the rest of August and hopefully well beyond! It’s still going to be warm in the afternoons, but not hot, moist and humid! Instead, just right!

I know that some people like it, not just warm, but really hot! I was never in that category! I always liked 75 degree weather in the afternoon with a refreshing breeze and in the 60’s in the evening and maybe a tad cooler in early morning!

Wouldn’t it be amazing not to have the AC on every night, but to open all the windows and let the fresh air come in? We’ll be able to experience all of this in the next week or so and perhaps even longer.

Don’t get me wrong, though! When it’s really hot, I appreciate every moment the AC is on, but I can’t help praying for cooler, more refreshing temperatures, just like we are promised during the weeks ahead of us!

I guess I’m of the philosophy that happiness and cool, refreshing weather go together! Bring it on, Autumn! We’ll be seeing you very soon!

Comments After Viewing the Solar Eclipse in Various States

August 22nd, 2017

Some complain about television, but no one can deny that it can be, not only very entertaining, but quite educational as well! Today, we couldn’t thank the CEO’s of channels 7 and 2 enough for their broadcasting two hours of amazing information and actual photos of the celestial phenomenon we have been awaiting for months! August 21, 2017 has been a most special day! Imagine seeing a total eclipse from the comfort and safety of your own home!

I could not believe that I could actually see pictures of the moon covering the sun and seeing total darkness in several states as a result, including Illinois, Oregon, Kentucky, Idaho, South Carolina and even Washington, D. C. I took countless pictures and posted them on Facebook. I want to save several of these pictures so that I can remember this absolutely magical day!

Life may be very challenging, and people may often be at odds with one another and feel alienated, but at a time like this, whrn we live in an era of advanced technology and scientific advances often beyond the average person’s comprehension, we realize that the world has become so much smaller and people so much closer! I felt that closeness today , and I am sure I’m not the only
one!

The Unofficial End of Summer

August 21st, 2017

In two weeks it will be Labor Day, the unofficial end of Summer. I can’t help asking the same question that most people do at just this time of the year: where did the summer go?…

Now I remember distinctly June 21st, the first day of summer. I was so happy when I woke up, knowing that it would be the longest day of the year, and it would bring in ten weeks of warm, mostly beautiful weather with a variety of exciting activities, including swimming, tennis, golf and, of course, gardening! Two special people in my life were even born on that date!

July 4th came and went so quickly with the delicious barbecues and the companionship of the people who mean so much to us! Some of us went on vacation while others stayed home and spent time in our pools or went to local beaches.

The weeks that followed during this summer brought in many lovely days and breezy nights, but also several heat waves! We got through it all: the good and the bad, just as we always do, through faith, endurance, prayer and hope for the future.

Now the unofficial end of summer, Labor Day, lies before us! Most of us look forward to a super barbecue with those who are closest to us. But we also feel an element of sadness because everyone loves vacation time, and, since childhood, isn’t that what we associate with summer?

What am I thinking about as Labor Day is rapidly approaching? I remember the numerous Labor Days when, I, as a child, spent the summer vacations with my parents, grandparents and extended family at Rockaway Beach, Queens, at my grandparents’ rooming house. Labor Day meant an end-of-the-season summer party with a live band and delicious, catered refreshments. A summer boarder by the name of Mr. Borden collected money from each of the other summer residents so as to have enough to feed us all at this spectacular get-together.

Yes, it was an amazing get- together each Labor Day. I remember how we all danced the night away in between eating, drinking soft drinks, laughing and talking.

So, with those splendid memories dancing together in my head, I bravely and even cheerfully anticipate both the unofficial and the official end of summer about two weeks after Labor Day!

Each year I grow more sure of the knowledge that the future holds something very special to which to look forward. Each season brings us closer to that time!

So the end of summer is not a time to make us feel depressed! It is instead a time to look forward to what comes next… in terms of the seasons…Autumn and beyond that, winter, summer and God’s Kingdom! So yes, bring it on!

The Importance of Just Hanging In”!

August 8th, 2017

We all know that life is not a “rose garden”. It is often very difficult, and, in a way, we are like soldiers fighting for endurance, strength, inner peace and sometimes even our sanity!

For every phase of our lives, there are challenges. I have already gone through many of life’s stages: childhood, adolescence, young adulthood and middle age, and I’m now in the retired senior category.

Sometimes, I complain about this stage since, being that I’m not one of those rich jet-setters who travel the world, or even one of those snowbirds who fly south for the coldest of the winter months, my husband and I have to be very careful about expenditures. After the bills are paid, there’s not much left for anything extra. I have to be creative in terms of finding constructive and fun things with which to occupy myself.
I
Besides a lack of structure in our lives, financial problems for some, a little boredom and sometimes a struggle with depression, for some seniors this is also a time for thinking about wills, life insurance and long term care. Sometimes, children and/ or step-children can be callous and lacking in understanding when seniors need compassion and kindness most! Some may be willing to take parents to medical appointments, but can’t find the time to talk to them and find out what’s going on in their lives, aside from their medical problems. A senior parent is much more than his/her health impairments!

The best part about this stage in my life is enjoying my three smart, sweet, cute and talented grandchildren. I don’t see them nearly enough, however, since many times my husband doesn’t feel up to going, and I don’t want to leave him alone. But I text and call the grandkids when I can without overdoing it. Grandkids are busy, too, especially when they are teens or pre-teens!

To me, God, the Father, and Jesus make the good times in life better and make the worst times at least bearable. Reading the Bible has given me the faith to keep going as I dream of a millennial Paradise that will follow Armageddon, according to the Bible.

We all have problems and experience good and bad times. We have to plow through the rough times and savor all the good ones. We can’t let the malice and unreasonableness of others affect our moods! We have to think positively and substitute the good thoughts for the negative ones! Reading books with positive themes help, too. The support of some friends, family members and congregation members can make a difference, too!

Life, to a certain degree, is what we make of it! Yes, some things are completely beyond our control, but how we react to them is still very much
within our control! So we say a prayer and find a way to cope with the upsetting things and enjoy all the good moments! Yes, there are many good ones, you know! They’re just sometimes hiding behind the problems and challenges!

Hello again!

August 5th, 2017

It has been weeks since I have been able to post any blogs. Every year at this time the domain that houses my website has to be renewed. For some reason it takes weeks to complete the process, although I have tried everything!

I have sent in the renewal check early. I have made various calls to let the company know that the check was sent. I have checked with the bank to make sure that the check was deposited by the company! And then more calls!

Finally, I was asked to fill in the complicated security code to get onto my website, and then lo and behold! I was finally able to write this blog to you!

It will be a short blog today. I thought it would be appropriate to write about the importance of self-expression because that is what a website enables us to do.

Having a website with access to blogging is emotionally healthy for the writer. We all need to express our opinions. That is why social media is so popular! But for some, short posts on social media are not enough. Longer posts are needed and a larger audience for the type of information that a person needs to express.

As for me, I write on a wide variety of subjects. Many times I write about the fifteen books that I have written over the last twenty years. Most of the books are novels, but there are a few non fiction books, poetry and children’s books. I also write about current events and controversial topics.

But tonight I am so happy just to get my website back for another year. This is the beginning of my eighth year of blogging! I thank God for the opportunity to write what is in my heart and, in so doing, to have the privilege of entertaining, informing or at least helping others by relating to them in some way!

Part 111: SAD aka Seasonal Affective Disorder

July 23rd, 2017

In this final blog on SAD, I am going to discuss a few more facets of the condition. First, its history.

SAD was formally described and named in 1984 by Norman R. Rosenthal and colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health. Rosenthal gave the disorder its name and pioneered the first treatment that proved somewhat effective for SAD.

Winter SAD seems to be caused by a biochemical or hormonal imbalance due to the shortening of daylight and the lack of sunlight in winter.

The status of SAD was changed from a “unique mood disorder” to a “specifier, called with a seasonal pattern, for a major depressive disorder that occurs at a specific time of the year and fully remits otherwise.” In other words, it is a major depressive condition that comes and goes with either the winter or the summer.

SAD is now recognized as a common disorder. 1.4 per cent of the population of Florida suffer from it and 9.9 of the Alaskan population, to name just two states. Throughout the U.S. thete are considerable numbers of people who suffer from either winter or summer SAD.

To summarize the causes, let us begin by saying that the exact cause is unknown. However, the onset of the condition is associated with three factors: the person’s biological clock or circadian rhythm, and reduction of serotonin and/ or melatonin levels. Reduction of sunlight in the fall and winter may be the cause of winter-onset SAD. The reduction of sunlight plays havoc with the body’s biological clock, which leads to a depressive state. Also, changes in season may have an effect on the balance of serotonin and melatonin in the body, which disrupts mood and sleep levels.

Some of the more specific causes of “summer” or “reverse SAD” have to do with the higher temperatures and the lower production of both serotonin and melatonin, which are mood regulators. This reduction increases the risk for depression and other mood changes.

In my previous blogs, I have included a variety of treatments for SAD in either of its forms.

Whatever you may do, don’t ignore the symptoms. If the simpler methods (more exercise better nutrition, light boxes, etc.) do not work, you may need the advice of a medicsl doctor or psychologist. Perhaps, medication and/or psychotherapy might be necessary.

We should not allow changes attached to the seasons to adversely affect our lives and make us miserable.

More About SAD

July 22nd, 2017

What causes Sad or Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Lack of sunlight

What can lack of sunlight cause?

1. Upset your “biological clock,” which controls your sleep-wake pattern and other circadian rhythms.

2. Cause problems with serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood.

As stated yesterday, some symptoms are:

1. Feeling sad, grumpy, moody, or anxious.

2. Losing interest in your usual activities.

3. Eating more and craving carbohydrates, such as pasta and bread.

4. Gaining weight.

5. Sleeping more but still feeling tired.

6. Having trouble concentrating.

If it is winter SAD, the symptoms start in September or October, last through the cold months and start to disappear around April or May.

if it is summer SAD, it begins around March or April, and you feel better around October or November.

Now you are ready for remedies!

Medical treatment includeszantidepressants and psychotherapy. But what about home remedies?

1. Light Therapy Boxes

These are used for Winter SAD. Light therapy boxes emit light that is like sunshine for the patient. This treatment may help a person recover from this disorder . Actually, light therapy boxes have brighter lights than those of regular light bulbs, and their wavelengths vary.it would be necessary for a person to sit in front of the light box for about thirty minutes a day to to activate the body’s internal clock and reduce natural melatonin release. It is best to use the light box early in the morning upon awakening.

2. Exercise

Exercise is another remedy for SeasobalAfgective Fidorder. Why is exercise important? It promotes the production of chemicals that help us to feel good and fight the depressive state and brain fog.

Actually, walking for 30 minutes on a treadmill for ten consecutive days can lead to a considerable reduction of depression . More important than the duration and intensity are the frequency and consistency. So do it every day! A fitness class is highly recommended! It is frequent and consistent.

3. Outside Exposure

For the fall and winter type of SAD, exposure to the sun is a wonderful way to manage SAD. What could be better than a long walk, sitting on a bench in the park or even eating lunch in the park, even when it is cold or cloudy.

Did you know that exposure to the sun increases vitamin D levels, which helps to reduce depression.

More on future posts. Material based upon article by Linda Beckmann, entitled “Seasonal Affective Disorder Causes, Symptoms and Remedies.”

Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD

July 20th, 2017

Seasonal affective Disorder or SAD is a condition, characterized by depression, that is related to a change in seasons. It begins and ends at about the same time every year. For most people, the symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months as they consume your energy and increase your tendency to be moody. Less frequently, but just as valid, SAD can also cause depression in the spring and in the early summer.

SAD can be treated with light therapy(photo-therapy), psychotherapy and medications.

SAD is a real condition and not just a case of the “winter or summer blues.”

Professional help is needed to keep mood and motivation balanced throughout the year. If affected, one should not decide to “tough it out” on one’s own. Even if symptoms begin as mild, it may become more severe later in the season.

SAD is a subtype of major depression that may begin and end, based upon seasons. So having SAD may include symptoms of major depression, including…

1. Feeling depressed most of the day, every day.
2. Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
3. Experiencing low energy levels
4. No longer having interest in
activities once enjoyed
5. Insomnia
6. Changes in appetite or a loss
in weight
7. Feelings of sluggishness or
agitation
8. Difficulty in concentrating
9. Frequent thoughts of death or
suicide

Winter SAD includes symptoms of…

1. Irritability
2. Tiredness or low energy
3. Problems getting along with
other people
4. Hypersensitivity to rejection
5. Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the
arms or legs
6. Oversleeping
8. Appetite changes, including a
strong craving for foods high
in carbs.
9. Weight gain

Symptoms of summer- onset seasonal affective disorder , aka summer depression, may possibly include…
1. Depression
2. Insomnia
3. Weight loss
4. Poor appetite
6. Agitation or anxiety

Remember that most of us have days when we feel down. However, if you have the “blues” for days at a time and cannot motivate yourself to do activities that you would normally enjoy, it is recommended that you see your doctor. It is most important if you have noticed a change in your sleep patterns and appetite and if you have experienced any of the following…

1. Hopelessness
2. Thoughts of suicide
3. Turning to alcohol for comfort
or relaxation

More tomorrow!

Material based upon information online from the Mayo Clinic

Finally! A New Blog!

July 18th, 2017

I know! No excuses for not writing in a while. But I’m going to write a few anyway, my friends and readers.

Those of you who conscientiously follow my blogs know that I am basically a happy person who normally loves to write, and, although I am not currently working on a new novel, I delight in writing on this page, on my three community pages and, of course, on Facebook. Now I’m back on all of the above. But why the hiatus?

There’s something about summer that is, of course, exciting and beautiful… the flowers in abundance, the gorgeous trees in bloom and, on perfect days, the 70 ish degree warmth and summer breeze! Kids and many adults are on vacation, whether they enjoy local places of interest or travel away beyond the powers of imagination!

But summer is also enervating sometimes. We have heat waves! We get tired more easily, even if we try to stay inside in air conditioning or in shady, more comfy outdoor areas like maybe a backyard hammock under a tree, which is pleasant if the temperature is under 85 degrees!

But some of us, like me, often get more lazy and tired over the warm, summer months! For instance, I think about the past sometimes too much… loved ones whom I have lost and miss… people close to me who are suffering from serious, chronic illnesses and the strength and vitality I myself had in the past that is affected by medications that are absolutely necessary for my continued good or even fair health! I guess negativity affects all of us sometimes… even someone like me who is basically optimistic, spiritual and believes in a paradisaic society promised by God and the promise of everlasting life. Negativity, anxiety and fear at times touches all of us, but, for me, for some reason, it affects me more during the summer.

But I feel more optimistic and even happy now that we are at a mid-point of summer. I have a few more hobbies, including art, and my husband looks and feels a little better.

So I am going to write more and more and hope you enjoy the results! After all, it is a two-way street! I have to enjoy writing for you, and you have to find some value in reading what I write! I hope we both will find fulfillment in the process! Love….