Saturday, January 15, 2011

Keep Those Brain Cells Buzzing

I just had my annual physical last week and all is well. In fact, the doctor was surprised that I was 62, took only 1 medicine and had no serious medical conditions. It made me feel great that I'm doing alot of the right things. My challenge now is to conquer weight control with more activity. Summer was easy but winter is harder. Need to adjust the mindset.

8 Weeks to Optimum Health: A Proven Program for Taking Full Advantage of Your Body's Natural Healing Power [Book]Shortly after Mark and I got together, we discovered Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. We saw a show with him on PBS one night and it literally changed our lives. Dr. Weil is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School and has worked for the National Institute of Mental Health; & for 15 years was a research associate in ethnopharmacology at the Harvard Botanical Museum. He is founder of the Center for Integrative Medicine in Tucson, AZ and director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. As well, he is a practicing physician and renowned author. The guy has credentials for sure. But more importantly, he talks like a layman and has an unbelievable curiosity that keeps him on the bleeding edge of health discoveries. His focus is on wellness rather than disease.  

As I said, he changed our lives! The show we watched on PBS was featuring his newest book at the time, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health. We followed his advice chapter by chapter for 8 weeks and then continued to read his books and follow his discoveries. We went to see him in person at UCLA where he gave a lecture about healthy aging about three years ago. The next thing we knew we found ourselves in our 60s and pretty darn healthy. If you're not familiar with Dr. Weil, 8 Weeks to Optimal Health is the book to start with in my opinion. You can also catch his online newsletter at

Not only is reading a wonderful pastime but it keeps the ol' brain cells buzzing --- a good thing at any age but particularly as one grows older. Between September 2009 and December 31, 2010, I read 60 books! I kept track for the first time in my life to gauge my reading and to keep track of book titles so I can share with my sisters and friends who are readers. Sharing book titles generates great discussions and also opens the mind to new ideas and different worlds. 

I used to buy books but when we retired and moved to the ranch, the cottage wasn't big enough to hold them all. I sorted through what I had and donated many boxes of books and sold many to the used bookstore. I keep my bookshelf full because I love to be surrounded by books but I'm not buying books anymore. These days, one of my favorite places is the local library. We are lucky here in that the community combined the public library and the school library into one. Consequently, the building is beautiful, the library is well used, and the librarian can keep a good supply of current books available. It also has an area with large windows, a fireplace and comfortable couches and chairs. Oh my, it's a bookworms dream.

If you are in the reading mood, here are a few titles you may wish to check out this winter.

Product DetailsBig Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani was a gift from a dear friend, Anneliza, several years ago. Big Stone Gap started a series that is a delight to read and will sweep you away to this world.
As described on the cover, "Comic and compassionate, Big Stone Gap is the story of a woman who thinks life has passed her by, only to learn that the best is yet to come." Adriana has become one of my favorite authors for great women stories.

Sarah's Key [Book]Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay is spellbinding. One of the quotes in praise of this book states, "...De Rosnay offers up a mesmerizing story in which a tragic past unfolds, the present is torn apart, and the future is irrevocably altered". This is definitely a worthy read for all, not just women. 

The School of Essential Ingredients [Book]Another that is a great read but much lighter in tone, The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. One review says, "Food Network fans will devour this first novel about a whimsical cooking school run by a gentle chef with a fierce passion for food." I'm a foodie and a reader so this was heaven for me. Just a fun read.
My folks were avid readers and I have strong memories of them both reading everyday. I remember distinctly when my Mom joined a mail order book club and received books every month. It was the most exciting concept and one of the first books that came was In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. It was radical for its time and I was surprised that Mom let me read it then but she did and her open attitude impressed me. Prior to the book club, we'd go to the library once a week to get our supply of books. So as you can see, books have always been a part of my life. Once Mom joined the book club, she put them on the bookshelves in the 'porch'. My job was to dust the bookshelves every week and I hated it because of all the knick knacks but once the books resided on the shelves and started replacing the knick knacks, I didn't mind anymore.

Friends will often say that they just don't have time to read. I understand that; life can be very busy. I read every day for my pleasure during my years of working although I was incredibly busy. It was such a positive thing for me that I read every night before I went to sleep. I still do that. We find time for those things that mean something to us. Some of us though make time for everyone BUT ourselves. Reading may be a way to start taking care of yourself. It's not a selfish thing to do. It is actually good for your says Dr. Weil!

Back to health and food. Since I live with the Cookie Monster, I made 7 dozen oatmeal cookies today. I froze most of them so he can take them with him when he is out working. Now the question is... how can he remain so trim, with virtually no paunch in the middle, and eat this many cookies? It's not's... just... not... fair. (It feels good to whine occasionally!!) I don't eat the cookies and I'm the one who needs to lose weight. go figure.

Around the ranch.........

Since the big snow, we've had lots of deer in our yard. There isn't much of anything to eat but we noticed deer tracks to our bird feeders so even they are trying to get a bit of the seeds

This small buck showed up one day this week;
we've also seen a doe and her twins around the
yard foraging for food.

The colts enjoying hay snack on beautiful winter day

And, of course, the birds...

Feasting during the snow

Don't forget to submit your name suggestion for our new puppy! She should be arriving sometime this week. We'll send an announcement with pictures as soon as she arrives.


Janet said...

Loved this blog with all the book suggestions. You read as much as Deonne, makes me look like a slacker.. I'm doing good to read two books a month, but trying to read more, less TV. Two book gifts from Deoone were, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski and The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Maybe you've already read them, highly recommended. And during these cold days, a good time to snuggle up with a book.

Delores said...

Janet, Thanks for the suggestions. I've read The Help and loved it. I'll look up The Story of Edgar Sawtelle at the library. The librarian keeps the most current books here which is surprising and wonderful. I'm going to do book recommendations occasionally as a matter of practice. I've had several requests to do it.
Thanks for visiting Country Tales.

Anonymous said...

Good mornin', I enjoyed this entry, as well. You might remember that I have many books in my house. I'm trying to eliminate some before our move. I've taken many to the library for their annual book sale and they even use some to replace worn out ones they have on the shelves. I the feel of a book and of the paper and the smell of a library......but.....I did buy a Kindle. It's.....okay and easy to take along,..... but nothing replaces a book. When we go to live in the hills we will have less space for books, but I am determined to also be surrounded by them as I am now. So, I'll have to adjust the quantity by keeping my favorites. Thank you for reminding me that I need to read everyday. And thank you for the suggestions. I belonged to a reading group for a while. For some reason it dwindled down to just a few and eventually stopped meeting altogether. There is a program called "One Book South Dakota". The humanities council chooses a book for everyone to read. Then there are gatherings all over the state to discuss the book and are lead by a scholar. You might check online and see if Neb. participates in a one book program. In SD the librarys have them so readers don't have to buy them. There have been some outstanding books, and some of them are by local authors. We have both read "Buffalo for the Broken Heart" by Dan O'brien. It's a true story about raising buffalo in the Black Hills.

I better get back to my work. Take care and stay warm......Sandy in South Dakota

Anonymous said...

Dear Delores
Didn't know you were such a voracious reader too. I get panicky if I don't have at least 5 books in my book larder to be taken out whenever I need them. Reading is a very important psycho pharmaceutical for me, helps me to keep my sanity in this crazy world. I think I even match you for quantity, how I find the time I don't know.
We currently have the most snow in all of Switzerland. Can't say I share you're enthusiasm for it though ... motorcycles don't behave that well on the white stuff.

Bestest from Switzerland