Brain Brawn & Body
Brain Brawn & Body blogs on health, nutrition/fitness, lifestyle, leisure and finances.
This holiday season you may find yourself traveling near or far. Whichever it is for you, travel safely. Try to put aside any family discontent and enjoy each other. Be positive, kind and compassionate.
Some of the stories I’ve heard over the last month have saddened me…a man dying unexpectedly at the age of 47; a young mother in our school district passing away. She was only 40. Then yet this week, I heard of another person dying who was only 30. Life is short, so live it with gusto.
There are some of us who love words. Vicarious is one of my favorites. “Living vicariously” allows one to experience things through others without having the experience firsthand. In this case it is witnessing the amazing hippopotamus in Africa.
With her husband, my sister recently took one of her bucket list trips. She went on an African safari. Prior to the trip, she received a new camera with an amazing lens and took photography classes to enhance her picture taking skills. What she did next was wonderful.
With photo sharing on Facebook, friends and family can stay up to date on trips and photos. My sister took over 600 pictures each day on her safari, then each night she would edit them and post her favorites for family members to enjoy. We took a virtual safari with her, thus, experiencing the safari vicariously.
My sister emailed this to me the other day with the subject line: Absolutely priceless.
I’d have to agree. It is simply, priceless. I don’t know who compiled this list, but I am thankful to my sister for sharing it with me. Read it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too.
An Elementary School Teacher had twenty-six students in her class. She presented each child in her classroom the 1st half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you. While reading, keep in mind that these are first-graders, 6-year-olds, because the last one is a classic!
My wife often asks me to walk with her. She is an avid walker. She gets her day started with a brisk walk through our neighborhood. I admire her commitment to this daily exercise routine.
As a former athlete, a weekend warrior really, I still look at walking as a wimpy way to get your fitness fit. But I must admit, it’s better than nothing and nothing is what I’ve gotten good at.
Wikipedia defines vulnerability this way: Vulnerability refers to the inability to withstand the effects of a hostile environment.
A more spiritual understanding of vulnerability is provided in the Bible in 1 Peter 5:14… Greet one another with a kiss of love. And in Ephesians 4:25… Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
The other day I watched a popular life class about vulnerability. In essence, the guest, Brene Brown, defined vulnerability as “an act of courage”.
We have been looking forward to this vacation all summer. I always wanted to take a vacation right at the end of summer and have one last big hurrah before the children start school. Then our memories would be fresh, we’d be rested and happy to start the school year. So, this was the vacation!
For some reason, my daughter thinks it is fun(?) to get up super early and go to the airport. That is just what we had to do for our great fare deal out of Chicago’s O’Hare airport to Myrtle Beach. It’s also nice to have friends who will pick us up at 4:00am to get us to the airport in time. I guess if one is trying to get as much fun out of a day as possible, this combination of my daughter’s excitement and the energy of our kind friend is a great way to start.
My greatest wish is for all to have the best health possible. As one who has faced many health challenges over the past 20 years, I know and appreciate the importance of good health.
While I have never asked, “why me”, I have often wondered just how someone who has never been a drinker, nor a smoker could have been hit with such devastating health issues. Obviously, there are many other factors that contribute to or detract from one’s health. But it is clear that these two aforementioned vices, which, when they become habitual, can be detrimental to one’s health.
You may not recognize his face and certainly, his was not a household name like that of James Gandolfini, the star of the hit HBO series the Sopranos. But Christian Benitez’ fate was the same as that of Gandolfini’s in that both men died of a heart attack; both unexpected.
I don’t know much about soccer. I’m not familiar with the stars of the game. I was watching ESPN and saw the story of this young man who had succumbed to an apparent heart attack. The people in the story who knew him were devastated and in shock.
You may think I am being facetious. I guess it depends on your ability. There is the Joy of Cooking, the Joy of Baking, the Joy of Painting, but the Joy of Golfing? Much to my surprise, there is a website titled thejoyofgolfing.com. I actually love golfing. I am a moderately skilled golfer, although the golf instructor at my local course thinks I bought the lifetime lesson membership! You are here for lessons again?! Let me tell you why I am serious in my belief that there is much joy in golfing.
I know of groups of men who live for early Saturday morning golf, our own editor Eric Von included. They thrill for the long drives, sinking the putts and in some cases, enjoying a stogie in their carts. They enjoy getting away, relaxing and testing their skills. This is great “guy time”.
Health Reporter, Essayist, Blogger
I am standing in line in one of our state's legal pot clubs, which sells marijuana to anyone with a doctor's letter of recommendation. The "patients" look similar to the customers in a middle-market liquor store. There are a preponderance of frat boys and surfer dude-types, women with tattooed shoulders and piercings and a few older folks, who might be military vets fallen on hard times. Most of us look like we are shopping for something to put the spark into Saturday night, but I am here in the hope that marijuana will help my 11-year-old daughter enjoy her food once again.
The Black male incarceration rate; higher than the national average unemployment; unacceptable drop out rates at middle and high school; the disparate treatment of black male in the health care community which results, in part, to the high rate of death in just about every category impacting the human race. And now the question: are men needed?
It’s no wonder black males are slow to respond as mentors, as leaders in their communities; even as heads of their own families. There is so much that black males combat on every front - every day of their lives. The above list just scratches the surface. Add to that list everyday things that occur for all of us, and it’s a wonder black men don’t question their own relevancy daily.
2,400 miles. 6 tanks of gas. $4.19 a gallon. $157 round trip. These were the numbers I worked with as we debated to drive or fly to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We had been there a few years ago with some dear friends. We stayed only one night, but loved the ocean and the area. I have always wanted to return, so this year we hoped we could.
If we drove the 2,400 miles from Milwaukee to Myrtle Beach, it would be take about 6 tanks of gas costing about $75 each fill-up for a grand total of approximately $450. It would also take about 2 days and 19 hours of driving. My son would have his license, so there would be three drivers, but the thought of spending that much time in the car didn’t thrill me.
I was stunned and saddened by the news of the death of television star James Gandolfini. My daughter called to tell me. She knew I was a huge fan of the show, The Sopranos when it was on HBO.
It was hard for her to tell me, I’m sure, not only because she too is a fan of the show, but because of my recent heart issues. Gandolfini is reported to have died of a heart attack. Just a few weeks ago I suffered my third heart attack and it’s been rough on my family, my daughter and my wife especially.
Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there!! June is the special month that we honor our Dads who were there for us all our lives. I am fortunate to have a great father, father-in-law and husband that are great dads to their children. Every Father’s Day we celebrate with a big cookout that has to have steak or ribs in it. The men in my life love meat! This brings me to your asset portfolio. The meat of many of our portfolios is our house. Big or small this is where our stability lies as we pay it off. For many of us, it can become one of our biggest assets.
The plan to pay off your house early can be one of the best ways to work towards having a good retirement. In some cases, just paying an extra $100/month on principal has the potential to reduce the amount of years by half. It is good to go online and use a mortgage calculator to figure out how soon you can pay off your mortgage. When a house is paid off and the home-related expenses you have consist of property taxes and upkeep, it can make it much easier to retire.
Happy Father’s Day! Remember on Father’s Day as you are taking a big bite of the meat right off the grill that the meat of your portfolio is the house you are paying for every month and that may be one of your best assets. Enjoy!
I’ve experienced the death of loved ones and good friends before. There’s nothing more heart wrenching than saying goodbye, but it’s also a blessing to be able to say those final words.
I remember when the ‘Dean of the Black Press’ Walter Jones, former editor of the Milwaukee Courier passed away. Walter had been sick for a long time, battling cancer. I visited with him the day before he died. During my very brief visit with him, he tried to speak, but no sound came out, he spoke to me with his eyes. It was difficult. Based on what I was feeling and experiencing I could only imagine what his family was going through. I cried for days thinking about my last moments with Walter and wishing he could get the words out he seemed so desperately wanted to say to me.
For Father’s Day, my boyfriend’s son is planning on giving his father a juicer. (Don’t worry, we won’t spoil the surprise as he already asked if it would be used before purchasing it!) His son made us a “green” drink this past summer and it tasted surprisingly delicious. See picture. I hadn’t given it much thought since, but then my “butts and guts” class instructor who is also my yoga teacher mentioned we should Google Green Smoothie Girl. This is how the story continues.
I’ve always been a good student, so if my teacher asks me to do something, I do it. I learned that Green Smoothie Girl is a website developed by a woman, who while currently a best-selling author, used to weigh over 200 pounds and had over 21 chronic health problems. Through her green smoothies diet and switching to whole foods, she is now a 135 pound athlete with no health problems. That was of interest, so I kept reading.
I hope you know I am talking about the Hawaiian islands of Oahu and Maui. Both are beautiful places to visit and are a part of the eight major Hawaiian Islands. A friend recently asked me where I recommended she go on her upcoming vacation to Hawaii. Here is what I told her as well as the advice from another frequent Hawaii traveler.
Fortunately for my travel enjoyment, my sister lives in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. She has been there for 6 years and I have had the opportunity to visit three times. Going to a vacation spot multiple times gives you a certain level of comfort and familiarity. While I am, by no means, an expert on the island, I certainly did develop a fondness for certain beaches, restaurants and locales.
A few weeks ago I decided to take some vacation time, to get some rest. I was feeling exhausted. I mean exhausted beyond belief. Who knew spring would arrive during my vacation.
I can get back to walking again! What a nice surprise. Spring is here and I took my first walk through my neighborhood I heard the birds chirping and children playing in the school yard. I see other people walking or running and moms or sitters out with children in strollers. Everyone is going about their day and as they pass by me, they share a smile or a soft good morning.
I love walking. It helps me think better. It clears my mind and makes me feel younger and energetic.
Current nutritional guidelines advise eating between 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. At first glance, that may seem difficult but broken up throughout the day into meals and snacks it’s doable.
How much of the servings should come from fruit and how much from vegetables?
A person can typically eat as many vegetables in a day as they want as long as they are prepared in a healthy way without deep frying or too many sauces or dips. Always look for variety, although green leafy types should be the preference.
In our home, we have adopted a trend that has swept America. Our home is our office. While we both have office space elsewhere, we choose to work from home often. The convenience of being able to open our laptops, participate in strategic phone conversations and conduct business from the comfort of home is in some way liberating.
All of this and we may still be in our pjs. (Don’t try to envision that!)
On this Saturday morning I can’t help but overhear my wife engaged in a phone conference with an organization we both belong to, but as president of the Milwaukee Chapter of the Black Public Relations Society, or “Beepers” as we call it, she deals with the national folks.