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Benefits of Cuddling

Here’s the link: Surprising Benefits of Cuddling
This article is from WebMD, Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on April 18, 2018. ~ I love to cuddle with my husband. It feels so darn good, but they didn’t include that as a benefit. I think a good hug, whether it’s with family or friends, has similar benefits. ct

Ease Stress
When you cuddle with someone you care about, your body releases a hormone called oxytocin that calms you and makes you more likely to deal better with stress. For example, you might laugh, distract yourself, or try to solve a problem. It also can lower your blood pressure and lower levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol, which also can help.
May Help Your Heart
It’s good for your ticker if your blood pressure’s lower and your stress levels are down. Scientists say it’s clearer that women get this benefit from cuddling, but it seems to be true for both sexes.
Relieves Pain
A good cuddle may give you more than just moral support after an injury. The oxytocin it releases can help block pain signals. It works so well that doctors are trying to figure out how to treat people with a lab-made form of it.
Fight Colds
Hugs from people you trust may protect you against this common virus, especially if you’re under a lot of stress. And if you’re already sick, more cuddling might keep your symptoms from getting worse.
Connects You to Your Partner
Oxytocin is sometimes called the “love hormone” — you often have more of it in your blood if you hug your partner a lot. Couples who cuddle and kiss freely tend to be happier, healthier, and less stressed.
Helps You Sleep
Oxytocin is the magic ingredient again, probably because of its calming effects. But some people wake up often if they fall asleep in a cuddling or “spooning” position. That’s OK. You can get a lot out of it in the 10 minutes or so before you go to sleep at night.
Helps You Bond With Your Newborn
Parents who cuddle with their babies, especially skin-to-skin, feel closer to them and are more tuned in to their needs. Research shows that dads are likely to get more involved, and moms may not feel stressed or sad. Babies may cry less, sleep better, and breastfeed sooner.
Good for Baby’s Health
Cuddling can boost an infant’s oxygen levels, calm its breathing, and ease pain signals. And for an underweight baby, it raises survival chances by more than a third. It helps the brain grow and makes infection and other illnesses, like hypoglycemia or hypothermia, less likely.
Should You Hug Your Dog?
You may get many of the same benefits as a human cuddle, but your dog might not like it. Don’t misread the response from your furry friend: Ears back and eyes turned away could be signs of stress, not happiness. Fido probably would rather have a pat, a treat, or a kind word.
Hug Your … Phone?
In one study, people were asked to hug a human-shaped cushion with a built-in phone and talk to a partner through the device. The results showed they got one of the big benefits of a real embrace: lower stress hormones. Scientists are studying this effect to see if it might boost social support in this age of technology.


Blood in Your Veins Is Not Blue

Funny how this subject came up a few times recently and then it pops up on my Facebook page. I probably should not admit that I thought it was a duller red due to the lack of oxygen. I don’t think I’ve ever paid that much attention to the color. I need to check out the link on determining time; that might come in handy for a novel one day. This article from LiveScience  gives a terrific explanation. I’ve included the link so you can go to the site for more: Blood in Your Veins Is Not Blue — Here’s Why It’s Always Red ~ Connie

By Marisia Fikiet, University at Albany, State University of New York and Igor Lednev, University at Albany, State University of New York | June 3, 2018
Human blood is red because of the protein hemoglobin, which contains a red-colored compound called heme that’s crucial for carrying oxygen through your bloodstream. Heme contains an iron atom that binds to oxygen; it’s this molecule that transports oxygen from your lungs to other parts of the body.
Chemicals appear particular colors to our eyes based on the wavelengths of light they reflect. Hemoglobin bound to oxygen absorbs blue-green light, which means that it reflects red-orange light into our eyes, appearing red. That’s why blood turns bright cherry red when oxygen binds to its iron. Without oxygen connected, blood is a darker red color.
Carbon monoxide, a potentially deadly gas, can also bind to heme, with a bond around 200 times stronger than that of oxygen. With carbon monoxide in place, oxygen can’t bind to hemoglobin, which can lead to death. Because the carbon monoxide doesn’t let go of the heme, your blood stays cherry red, sometimes making a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning appear rosy-cheeked even in death.
Sometimes, blood can look blue through our skin. Maybe you’ve heard that blood is blue in our veins because, when headed back to the lungs, it lacks oxygen. But this is wrong; human blood is never blue. The bluish color of veins is only an optical illusion. Blue light does not penetrate as far into tissue as red light. If the blood vessel is sufficiently deep, your eyes see more blue than red reflected light due to the blood’s partial absorption of red wavelengths.
But blue blood does exist elsewhere in the animal world. It’s common in animals such as squid and horseshoe crabs, whose blood relies on a chemical called hemocyanin, which contains a copper atom, to carry oxygen. Green, clear and even purple blood are seen in other animals. Each of these different blood types uses a different molecule to carry oxygen rather than the hemoglobin we use.
Despite exceptions, the majority of blood from animals is red. But that doesn’t mean it’s exactly the same as what courses through our veins. There are many variations of hemoglobin present in different species, which allows scientists to distinguish blood samples from various animals.
Over time, spilled blood that starts out red turns darker and darker as it dries, and its hemoglobin breaks down into a compound called methemoglobin. As time passes, dried blood continues to change, growing even darker thanks to another compound called hemichrome. This continual chemical and color change allows forensic scientists to determine the time a blood drop was left at a crime scene.
In our lab, we’re developing methods that look at the ratio of the different compounds that hemoglobin breaks down into. Then, using computer modeling, we can estimate the time since the blood was deposited to help investigators determine if a blood stain is relevant to a crime. If the blood is a year old, it might not be important to a crime committed yesterday.

Marisia Fikiet, Ph.D. student in chemistry, University at Albany, State University of New York and Igor Lednev, Professor of Chemistry, University at Albany, State University of New York
This article was originally published on The Conversation.

“Patched” Published!

It’s a lovely poem.

Penny Wilson Writes

I submitted my poem “Patched” to Spill Words Press and they graciously published it!  I was blown away, because I MISSED the notice they sent me.  This was published on March 7th!  If you would like to see that publication, you can view it HERE.

Thanks! Penny

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Food Poisoning with MG Flare-up

Sunday afternoon, June 10, I reheated some Dip I made earlier in the week. I had put a small amount of leftover mushrooms in it which we’ve never done before. My husband found this recipe quite a few years ago and we love it. He usually makes it, but with him having so much hip pain I tried my hand at it.
We usually make a double recipe even though there’s only three of us. Leftovers never last long. We used tortillas this time instead of chips.
The basic recipe is:
1 lb. ground beef, cooked & seasoned to your preference
1 8-oz. jar of salsa, we like medium heat, but decided hot would work better with tortillas. I’m guessing on the jar size since I don’t have one to look at.
1 can refried beans
Mix together and heat. Serve with either corn chips (need a sturdy chip to support dip) or roll into a tortilla.
Nobody liked the mushrooms, including me, and I put in too much salsa. My husband had brought home a huge jar (1 lb. 8 oz) and since it was a double recipe, I dumped in the whole bottle.
The guys liked the tortillas, but I didn’t. With the dip so runny it was hard for me to handle them. I’ve never been good at rolling tortillas. I generally use too much filling. Even though I know the problem, I continue to repeat it!!
I finally remembered to buy some chips on Saturday. Sunday after church I reheated a bowlful of dip for my lunch. It smelled fine and tasted good. I ate while watching Longmire on Netflix. I started getting little muscle spasms. It began in my right elbow and spread all over. I’m not sure how much longer it was before my stomach started to hurt and I began to feel nauseous.
My youngest son had come down for a visit. All the guys were outside. I’m thinking food poisoning from the old mushrooms. When I heard my husband come in, I walked to his room. The hallway shifted as I walked similar to being on a gently rocking boat. He took one look at me and his smile disappeared, “What’s wrong?”
I told him I thought I had food poisoning. He quickly looked it up on his computer and, sure enough, I had some of the symptoms. He called EMS and went out to tell our sons what was going on.
I won’t go into all the morbid details, but I felt absolutely awful. Apparently, food poisoning was enough to send my Myasthenia Gravis into overdrive. I couldn’t walk anymore and my speech was garbled. My husband helped me into a rolling desk chair and I sat in the hallway leaning over a trusty waste can. I hate feeling like I have to throw up and nothing happens!
EMS arrived and took me to the ER. Every bump made the nausea worse, but we still managed to joke a bit. I’m not sure what brought it up, but the lead EMT looked like Mitch, a character of mine in Triple Trouble in Texas. He asked me how old he looked. Mitch is 32 in my story so I told him that. The EMT was 30. They have the same face and build. It’s cool to meet your characters in person. I had 4 handsome young men taking care of me – 3 in back with me and and the driver. The youngest of the group looked to be 16, but I knew that couldn’t be right. It seems that the older I get, the younger everyone else looks!
Another thing that stood out was my medication sheet. The EMT who was taking my information exclaimed, “I love this! Everyone should have one.” I made a sheet on my computer that has my info at the top – name, allergies, diagnoses, and doctor info. Then I list each prescription medication with dose and frequency along with why I take it. For MG medication I specify the times since BID usually means 9am & 5pm. That one is taken in the morning and at noon. Below the medicines is a list of all the supplements I’m on and why for a couple of them, like the magnesium is for seizure management. I had a question on my cholesterol drug so the form was just updated last week after I talked to my pharmacist.
The ending was happy. I spent about two hours in the ER, holding onto my little plastic bag most of that time. The nausea subsided on its own. Tummy still wasn’t happy, but it was calmer. My blood pressure came down some and my MG flare-up disappeared. I could talk normally and walked out holding Jack’s hand. The last time I was seen in the ER I had to take a WC ride on discharge. The staff waited with me while my husband brought the car around. This time I waited in the lobby and saw a former ER patient drop off her orange sheet. I walk to the window and handed mine in also. It says to turn it in, but when the nurse gave us our discharge instructions, I thought she said it had reasons we might need to call the ER.
I looked up my notes on Triple Trouble in Texas and saw that Mitch’s age was 33. I changed it to 32. I also changed his writing alias to Jimmy Simmons. I’ve decided to write it as a short story. We’ll see how that goes!

Focus Fox: 10,000 words

Claudia Blood

FocusFox01_smallFocus Fox says:  I have not failed to write a novel. I’ve just found 10,000 words that won’t work.

What Thomas A. Edison would have said if he was talking about writers

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When You Can’t Do Over But Have to Move On

I thought this would make a good Faith Filled Friday blog. A lot of us hang on to the old stuff we should forget and move on. God forgives, but a lot of us don’t.

Heather C. King - Room to Breathe

We’ve been giving do-overs here at my house.

Snarkiness has been on the rise.

So, when we hear, “Move!  I can’t see!”

We respond with, “You want to try saying that again in a kinder way?”

Or we hear, “Put that down!  That’s mine!”

We say, “Try that again.  I’m sure you could say that differently.”

I love do-overs.

I love the utter grace of it all, that even though you made a mistake, you can have another go at it.  Maybe you’ll do better this time.

Learn from those errors.  Make some corrections.

Maybe this time you won’t miss or forget.  Maybe you’ll study harder or speak with kindness or choose not to gossip.

My hope is that the do-overs now will help those lessons sink in before it’s too late, because we all know you can’t always have a do-over.

Sometimes, bad things happen and once it’s done…

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Trash Day and Lost Glasses

I have two pair of glasses – one pair of trifocals and another pair for reading. Technically, the reading glasses are called computer glasses. I guess that’s the new age term so you don’t feel like you’re getting too old too fast.
I see the eye doctor yearly and will need cataract surgery at the end of this year. Not looking forward to that, but that’s another post. My problem is that my vision seems different every day, sometimes even several times during the day depending on my fatigue level. There are times I can see distance better with my computer glasses than my regular ones. I can read better without glasses than with either of them!
When I get up from my computer, I often don’t switch to the regular glasses and most of the time end up taking them off and setting them down–somewhere. When cooking, I’ll put them on the narrow counter to the side of the stove. There’s usually a hot pad or tea towel lying there as well. The trash can is on that side. Keep that in mind as you read on.
While dinner cooked, I decided to work on my coin collection and took off my reading glasses. My husband has a magnifying lamp attached to his work table. I used it to see some of the dates. I logged in all the coins then put on my regular glasses to check on the food.
After eating I returned to my computer, but couldn’t find my reading glasses. They weren’t in the eyeglass case where I usually put them. Both my husband and son were in bed for their “naps.” I looked all over. If I don’t put them in their eyeglass case, they could be lying most anywhere – kitchen counters, dining room table, the living room end tables, the bathroom counter… the list is almost endless. I looked on the floor around my chair since I occasionally have them in my lap and get up without thinking about them. They were not on the carpet. I looked on Jack’s desk even though I had not used his desk. He took the trash out before lying down. My fear was that I had knocked my glasses into the trashcan without realizing it.
With the weakness from my myasthenia gravis I doubted that I could drag the wheeled trashcan back down to the house to search for the right kitchen bag. I resigned myself to having to buy new glasses.
I’m always the finder in the family. I don’t know if it’s a female trait or a “mommy” thing. Lost sock? Lost magazine? Lost shoe? Lost belt? I can usually find it without any trouble. Actually, the belt we didn’t find until a year later when packing for the next trip. Neither of us looked in the suitcase since my husband was positive he had worn it.
Before I went to bed I wrote my husband a note asking him to look for my glasses. The next morning he told me he found them. I asked if they were in the trash. “Nope. They were right where you left them.”
Great answer. I would have found them if they were where I left them. I know, I know – since I couldn’t find them apparently I didn’t know where I put them.
As he talked he pointed towards his work table, “I read your note and looked over at my table and saw them.” Oh, yeah, the magnifying lamp. I had totally forgotten about that. I had looked only on his computer desk.
I thanked my husband with a hug and kiss, but I also thanked the Lord because I had prayed for His help to find them.