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The Danger of Handshakes October 29, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Life Lessons, People.
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26 comments

Woodstock-&-Snoopy3A few years ago, at the Suncoast Lifestyle Expo, we met Dr. Z who invited us to his office for a FREE consultation, chiropractic exam, and massage.

We accepted the invitation, went to his office, listened to his dog and pony show, and agreed to return in two days with the completed new patient paperwork for our FREE adjustment.

After considerable debate and two days sitting on the fence, we completed the paperwork and returned for the rest of the FREE consultation.

We spoke with Dr. Z and the woman responsible for billing about the cost of future adjustments and treatments and decided not to schedule further visits.

At check out, we paid for a reusable ice pack.

Two months later, out of the blue, we received a $257 bill for BFF’s FREE consultation and exam.

I called the office and Maria agreed that there had been a mix up.  She promised to clear BFF’s account.  I had her check my account too . . . sure enough, a bill was on its way.

A few days later, I called Maria back to make sure that the accounts had been cleared.  She said, “we’re “working on it.”

The-Pink-PantherIn due course, the accounts were cleared.

It’s good to trust others, but handshake agreements can be problematic.  Memories fade.  Mistakes are made.

Next time . . . I’ll get in IN WRITING!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Top Tips for Tuesday October 28, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Humor.
Tags: , , , , ,
39 comments

Tuesday’s Top Tips for weight control:

170px-Italienischer_Maler_des_17._Jahrhunderts_001

1.  Eat things you love at every meal, in moderation, rounding them out with filling, high fiber, nutritious fruits and veggies.

2.  Write down what you eat.  I lost 10 pounds in 12 weeks this Spring by jotting down what I was going to eat BEFORE eating it.  I didn’t tally up fat grams or calories, I just recorded basic quantities and food types.  It kept me focused on my desire to lose weight.

3.  Drink lots of water instead of drinking calories or diet sodas.

4.  Move more ~ walk, bike, swim, or dance in the living room.  But try to do 20-30 minutes of something every day.

* * *

Speaking of veggies, whenever I have LOTS of greens. I saute them with oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper to wilt them down and reduce the volume. Then I freeze in 2 cup portions for soups, stews, and sides.  Delicious stirred into mashed potatoes, rice, or other grains.

I do the same thing when I have lots of peppers and onions.

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* * *

Bonus Tip (for Road Trips):  Bring a bucket of cat litter for “emergencies.”

Perfect when traveling in a blizzard with no bathrooms in sight.  Easier than aiming at an empty coffee cup (or trying to stop the flow when the cup threatens to overflow).

For more tips on “going with the flow” ~> When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go (My Years Of Sweat).

And, now, you’ll have to excuse me. I am laughing too hard to “contain myself.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Even The Grin Of An Ordinary Guru October 23, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Health & Wellness, Humor.
Tags: , , , ,
35 comments
Cheshire_Cat_Tenniel

Happy Birthday to my Ordinary Guru

Life often conspires to teach us what we need to know.

Some lessons seem negative because our vantage point is limited.

We are lost in the trees.

Once we move farther along the path, we see more of the forest.  Our changed vantage point provides clarity.

With expanded cognition, we find that the “negative events” we resisted resulted in valuable lessons and navigational aids:

* Perhaps we learned to be patient and allow life to unfold.

* Or we shifted our perspective from malignant thoughts of certain doom to benign thoughts of light and laughter.

* Maybe we gained proficiency with a valuable life skill, such as living in the midst of uncertainty without gravitating to worst case scenarios, wild imaginings, and dire predictions.

Anything, even the grin of an Ordinary Guru, can be a nudge in the right direction.

A shortcut to becoming who were were always meant to be.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Four Glitches & A Tumor ~ Part 2 October 22, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Humor, Life Balance.
Tags: , , , ,
62 comments

Continued from Four Glitches & A Tumor . . .

Two months later, I arrived in pre-op for surgery at 5 a.m., wearing a green hospital gown. Despite the early hour, I was peaceful and chipper . . . even without my customary cup of coffee.

The nurses urged me to focus on the serious nature of coming events. “We need you to read this Release carefully. It addresses the risks of surgery.”

I nodded. “I know all about the risks. I’m a medical malpractice attorney.”

“Really? And you’re not worried?”

“Nope.” Then I gave them my best grin. “If I’m going to die, I’m going to die laughing.”

Cheshire_Cat_Tenniel

After deciding I hadn’t left my marbles at home on the bedside table, they had me sign the requisite forms and continued to prep me for surgery.

Glitch #3: Picture a tree with a single trunk and many branches. Most parotid gland tumors are located at the base of the trunk, along a major branch of the facial nerves, making it fairly straightforward to excise the tumor without damaging the nerves. With a well-placed tumor, surgery lasts 1-2 hours. My surgery lasted 6 hours because the tumor was hanging around the branches of smaller facial nerves.

The surgeon (for whom we had waited patiently) worked patiently on his patient patient.

Due to his care and concern, I am not a drooler. I emerged from surgery with all facial nerves intact. He even did a fat graft to pad my face to ensure it would not look lopsided. He was worth the wait.

But the waiting wasn’t over yet.

Glitch #4: Once out of Recovery, my surgeon admitted me to the Intensive Care Unit. The next day, after restless morphine-induced sleep, I asked about the tumor. “Was it benign?”

“I don’t know.”

“What? You don’t have the pathologist’s report yet?”

“I have his report. But you had an atypical tumor. Given the unique cell make-up, the pathology department’s not sure whether it’s benign or malignant. They’ve sent your slides to teaching hospitals around the country for additional input.”

“My tumor’s on tour?”

He grinned. “Yup. It’s gonna be a star.”

After 3 days in the ICU, I went home.  No report.

A week later, I went to the surgeon’s office for follow-up.  Still nothing. “Once they reach consensus, I’ll let you know.”

Two months later he called with a verdict worth waiting for . . . Benign!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Concludes tomorrow with . . . Even The Grin Of An Ordinary Guru

Four Glitches & A Tumor October 21, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Humor, Life Balance.
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52 comments

“You have a parotid gland tumor.”

The doctor’s words hung in the air as we reviewed options:

(1) Have surgery to remove the tumor, or
(2) Do nothing and allow the tumor to grow, possibly impacting facial nerves.

As a medical malpractice attorney, I knew all the things that could go wrong during surgery. But as a litigator, I relied on my facial nerves to convey subtle nuances to the jury.

Caught between a rock and a hard place, we opted for Door #1.

Surgery.

Glitch #1: The surgeon we hand-picked wasn’t available for at least 2 months because he was moving from one teaching hospital to another.

My husband and I decided our preferred surgeon would be worth the wait . . . as long as the tumor wasn’t malignant.

Glitch #2: Due to the tumor’s proximity to facial nerves, the surgeon couldn’t perform a needle biopsy.

Great. We agreed to wait it out “in the dark.” Odds were in favor of it being benign, but . . .

Once home, the initial numbness began to wear off, replaced with worry and anxiety. I tried to calm myself by making plans.

“I’m going to have to call everyone I know before going under the knife.”

“Why?”

“To say good-bye . . . just in case.”

So much for calmness. Blind hysteria set in and I started to cry.  My husband allowed the scene to register and then he . . . grinned. He grinned! There I was, on the verge of imminent disaster, and he was laughing at me.

This was NOT the kind, caring, and compassionate man I had married.

I made a mental note to rewrite my will and change the beneficiary of my life insurance policy from him to someone else.

Anyone else.

Well, anyone other than my surgeon; I didn’t want to create a conflict of interest for him if he had medical malpractice insurance premiums coming due.

I glared at my husband and ex-best friend. “What are you smiling about?”

He didn’t even blink. His grin never wavered.  Proof that my tumor had already destroyed facial nerves essential to glaring, staring, and/or giving someone the “stink eye.”

Ignoring my ire, he spoke. “I just took what you said to its logical extreme.”

“Meaning?”

“You should probably call everyone you know every morning.”

“What for?”

“To say good-bye . . . just in case.”

“What are you talking about?”

His grin grew two sizes as he said, “Well . . . you never know when you’re going to be hit by that proverbial bus.”

Cheshire_Cat_Tenniel

I looked at his Cheshire grin with simmering resentment, annoyed that he had full use of his smile muscles.

Then his words sunk in and I burst out laughing.

“You’re right! I could die tomorrow on the way to work. Or next week by running into a brick wall. Or the week after that while caught between a rock and a hard place.”

“Exactly! Why get worked up now over surgery that’s not even scheduled?”

As we relaxed into the moment, I knew I would be all right . . . no matter what happened. Instead of dwelling on the “black cloud of uncertainty,” I had the time of my life that summer.

Aah . . . that’s better!

To be continued tomorrow . . . Four Glitches & A Tumor ~ Part 2.

Acupuncture ~ A Jab Well Done October 17, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Health & Wellness, Life Balance, Nature.
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48 comments

Acupuncture Meridians, in Public Domain (Source: Wikipedia)

Ever since I practiced law, I’ve stored stress in my neck.  And the weight of the world on my shoulders.

In 2013, I tried chiropractic therapy and had regular deep tissue massages to relieve the pain.  Both provided temporary relief, at best.  I would feel better for a few days before the pain returned at its previous level of intensity.

This past Spring, we went to a lecture at the library on Acupuncture.  The DOM (Doctor of Oriental Medicine) asked for volunteers for a quick demo.

I agreed to be a guinea pig, open minded, not expecting any real relief.

She stuck 8-10 needles in me ~ from my feet to my neck.  Twenty minutes later, she pulled them out.

And my neck felt . . . Better.  Looser.  Lighter.

The relief continued unabated for the next 3 weeks.  My neck felt better than it had in decades.

Now I’m a believer!

Acupuncture ~ in Public Domain (Source: Wikipedia)

Acupuncture dissolved a 25-year-old energy block and allowed the Chi to flow.

We found an acupuncturist on the island and BFF had similar success with his long-standing lower back pain.

After 2 months of once a week visits, we now see Tricia (also a D.O.M.) once every 3-4 weeks. And our insurance covers it.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Have you ever considered trying acupuncture?

Related post:  Listen To Your Body, It’s Listening To You (Find Your Middle Ground)

Overseas Adventure Travel October 3, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Humor, People, Travel & Leisure.
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32 comments

Last week at a luncheon, we met Bob and Carole who have traveled with Overseas Adventure Travel (our host for the luncheon) more than 23 times.

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They’ve been to South Africa, Tanzania, Finland, Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, River Cruises in Europe, Scotland, Ireland, Turkey, Morocco, Zambia, Mexico, China, India, and the list goes on.

They had to sneak out of Egypt during an uprising and they enjoyed front row seats to a gunfight between competing drug cartels in Mexico.  They’ve ridden elephants in Thailand and been offered rides on camels and ostrich.  They’ve steered water buffalo to plow fields, reins looped about their necks.

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But the real eye opener . . .

A few years ago, Carole spent 6 weeks in a coma after being involved in a single car accident.

She ran over herself.

Not on purpose.  It was an accident.  Early in the morning.  While hunting for the release of the emergency brake.

Goofy-Riding-A-BikeDonald-Duck-Driving

Some of our biggest life adventures happen in our own backyards.

And driveways.

Keep your eyes open!

Aah . . . that’s better! 

 

 

Let It Out . . . Let it Go September 21, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
Tags: , , , , ,
34 comments

Most of us experience the occasional down day.

The sun is always shining, but sometimes it is obscured by clouds.

Just as a rainy day can be a nice change of pace, so too can a gloomy mood.

Life is enhanced by the ebb and flow of emotions.

We appreciate our sunny dispositions more after a cloudy day . . . as long as we don’t get attached to the idea of being sad.

I read a story one day about puppies that had been mistreated.   Images of the poor wee pups flooded into my brain.

The happiness felt moments earlier evaporated, replaced with overwhelming sadness.  Tears poured down my face.  I sobbed until the pain dissipated.

Pluto-RollerskatingOnce my tears stopped, I returned my attention to what I had been doing before seeing the story.

In other words, a sad thought entered my brain.  The thought made my emotions switch from happy to sad.  I allowed myself to feel that sadness.

Once I acknowledged the sadness, it left.  It moved on.

And, this is the important part, I let it go.

I did not chase after it and bring it back.  I let it go.  I did not get attached to the idea of being sad.  I let it go.

If I hadn’t read the story that morning, I wouldn’t have known about the poor puppies at all.  Nothing in my life changed from the moment before I read about them until the moment after.

I was not being called upon to save them ~ they had already been rescued.

Mickey-LoungingSo, when the sadness started to dissipate on its own, I let it go so that I could get on with my day.

And the sun shone once more.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Quote:  Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead. ~ Scottish Proverb

Choose Happiness September 15, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Mindfulness.
Tags: , , , ,
42 comments

We can choose to be happier by changing the focus of our day-to-day thoughts.

Like any skill worth having, changing the way we look at the world will not happen on its own.

We don’t learn to swim, or speak French, or play golf by wishing we had those skills.  We learn those skills by practicing them until we become adept.

If we wish to change our minds, it helps to understand a few key concepts:

1. Thoughts create our reality.  

When we dwell on past hurts and frustrations, our thoughts and emotions are apt to be negative ~ sadness, anger, and resistance fill our world.  When we count our blessings and envision a positive future, our thoughts and emotions tend to follow suit, increasing the level of our happiness.

Sometimes nothing needs to change but our perspective or frame of reference.

2. We can choose the way we view the world.

Our thoughts are tools which help or hinder us as we journey through life.

When we learn to view the thoughts running through our brains in the same way we view images on a TV or computer screen, we realize we can change the channel any time we don’t like the program being broadcast.

Watching the same tearful melodrama for days (or years) is like watching a sad movie over and over again.  Instead of watching stale reruns, we can reclaim the remote, switch channels, and watch more positive and uplifting fare.

Monitoring our thoughts allows us to re-program the default setting on our remotes and trains our brain to broadcast shows that are worth watching.

3. It’s hard to stop thinking about pink elephants. 

If we’re told not to think about pink elephants, the image of a pink elephant is apt to appear, front and center. Telling ourselves to stop thinking about pink elephants is an exercise in futility.

Instead, like training a teething puppy, we must give our minds something else to chew on:  planning our next vacation, writing out a grocery list, playing Sudoku, making weekend plans.

Better still, we can do something:  Read a book.  Watch a movie.  Fly a kite.  Ride a bike. Paint a picture.  Take a hike.  Send a note.  Float a boat. Feed a goat.  Dig a moat. Phone a friend.

One of the best ways to distance ourselves from the habit of negative thinking is by distracting ourselves with a dose of positivity.

4. Emotions follow our thoughts, not vice versa.

Think sad, feel sad.  Think mad, feel mad.  Think glad, feel glad.

As we tune into the ticker tape of monkey chatter racing through our mental corridors, we notice emotions as they arise ~ e.g., a flicker of annoyance.  We take a mindful peek at our thoughts to see if they are true, helpful, kind, etc.

If not, as is often the case, we switch channels to a more positive broadcast.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  A Simple Choice

There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.  By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.~ Robert Louis Stevenson

A Sense of Humor August 29, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Health & Wellness, Humor.
Tags: , , , ,
44 comments

Cheshire_Cat_Tenniel“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.”  ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Laughter shortens the distance between people.

He deserves Paradise who makes his companions laugh. ~ the Koran

The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer everybody else up. ~ Mark Twain

When we stop taking ourselves so seriously, we become ever so much happier!

220px-JoseOrtegayGasset“Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.” ~ William James

Not being happy during Happy Hour is a self-defeating way to go through life.

“A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.” ~ William Arthur Ward

Life improves with laughter. ♥ ♥ ♥

Aah . . . that’s better!

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