Tidbits May 16 2015

morning_versus_evening_personAs daylight gets longer, I tend to get up earlier.  I am definitely a morning person.  In the evenings while my wife and I watch some TV I tend to snooze and fall asleep.  On the opposite side, my wife is an evening person.  She could stay up chatting, reading or watching a movie or TV until late hours of the night.  Her problem is getting up the next day.  It is interesting that most people fall on one end of the spectrum.  When I was attending school, several times a week we would get together with a small group of friends to study.  It was common to return home around 02:00 AM.  The next day I would get up at 06:00 AM and would head to school.  My wife would spend a few hours in bed before starting her day.  For some reason I replaced work with school and shifted back to being a morning person.  My wife continues to be an evening person.

This weekend we have our granddaughters saying with us.  Around 06:00 AM or earlier, I walk the dogs.  The female underwent surgery a couple weeks ago to correct an issue with her knees.  Today she completed taking her medicines.  She is able to walk to the corner but remains in her bed most of the day.  She still needs to go through a couple fitbit_compulsive_usersmore laser therapy sessions.  Those will be done next week.  After I return from the first walk of the day, my youngest granddaughter comes out and joins me while I fix breakfast for my wife and the dogs.  She likes to have for breakfast a cold bottle of Starbucks Frappuccino.  She is definitely a morning person.  On weekends her sister rolls out of bed around noon.  She skips breakfast and is ready for lunch early afternoon.  She definitely is a night person.

A week or so ago I read an article in the news about a woman that got a Fitbit unit.  She started using hers as soon as she got it.  The fitbit tracks the number of steps you take a day.  When I got mine I was surprised to learn that the recommendation is to walk 10,000 steps a day.  Most people in our society live a sedentary life.  We tend to walk less than what is recommended.  In my case, I take around 5,000 steps a day.  Since I got my Fitbit I check a few times a day when I take a break away from my computer or reading a book.  When I am behind I tend to walk the dogs more often or alter some simple chores at home to gain some additional steps.  For example, when I am fixing breakfast, if I produce some waste, I take it out to the bin in the garage as soon as I am done instead of waiting to consolidate the waste generated by my wife.  We have been preparing the same breakfast for years.  It starts with a large scoop of yogurt, topped with frozen organic blueberries, followed by homemade granola and finally topped by fresh strawberries and a banana.  I stop to fix breakfast for the dogs as soon as I slice the strawberries.  My wife takes over peeling two bananas and slicing them on top of the bowls.  When she is done I pick up the remaining waste and make an extra trip to the garage.  Every single chore tends to add a few steps here and there.  At the end of the day I figured they make me walk an additional 2,000 steps.

alcohol_and_tobacco_compulsive_useBeing a compulsive person is in general not a good idea.  It seems that in our country we are compulsive about too many things which tend to harm us.  In other countries children are introduced to alcohol at an early stage.  As they grow to become adults alcohol does not call their attention.  When they leave home to attend college they tend to drink responsibly because the novelty is not there.  The same appears to hold for tobacco use.  I know many people in several countries that smoke and have smoked all their lives.  Yet they seem to live into their 80’s and 90’s.  We need to conduct good science based studies to better understand the issues with tobacco.  Scarring people is a technique by lawyers and politicians to make money for them.

Getting back to the story of the woman that got a Fitbit, she threw it away at the end of the first month.  In days she became so obsessed with the total number of steps, that while at work, she would go often go to the bathroom to walk in circles to increase her number of steps.  She became so obsessed that she got rid of the Fitbit.  Obviously the issue was not the Fitbit.  The issue was that she has a compulsory disorder.  It seems that compulsion is something that within reason (let’s call it motivated personality) it is a good thing to have.  Most Americans tend to be very compulsive with multiple things.  We do have compulsion to eat, drink alcohol, prescription medicines, watch TV, play games on our smart phones, etc.  I agree that companies producing the different products, for which we have strong feelings, tend to do a very good job at marketing such goods.  We need to think about the things we eat, drink and do during the day and come with reasonable and gradual changes to free ourselves of such compulsions.

When I was younger I studied and played hard.  I used to row shell boats.  During the training season I would eat at least 5,000 calories a day.  My weight was around 180 pounds.  After I entered the workforce, I reduced the amount of exercise but my food intake was over 2,000 calories per day.  Through life I added pound after pound.  Occasionally I would pick up some activity (i.e., biking, jogging) that would bring my weight down.  Given that I live in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, winters are very hard on your body especially when one spends many hours (on average 60 a week) in front of a computer.  A year or so ago, my wife and I decided that we are not getting any younger and need to take care of our health.  We decided in making a life style change.  Diets do not work for the simple fact that they start and then end.  Life changes start but they do not end.  We decided that we should only have two meals a day and complete skip fruits and snacks.  We have breakfast and lunch.  The first few weeks it was very hard to stick to the change.  After a few months, it did not matter if we would be sitting home for dinner with our son and granddaughters.no_diet_lifestyle_change

So far the result of the life style change has produced a loss of about 20 pounds each.  We are full of energy (are not caring around so much extra weight).  We feel overall better.  My wife has eliminated taking her cholesterol medicine.  All her siblings still do.  I can go up and down the stairs at home as many times as needed without having to slow down or hold the handrails.

About a month ago, a couple friends of ours, decided to go on a diet that contains seeds and leafs.  They claim the diet is working for both of them.  They have lost several pounds each.  Hopefully when the diet is over they will consider a change in life style so they are able to keep the weight off.  Earlier this week I had lunch with a friend.  He also has lost some weight (not that he needed).  He is very active.  He goes to the gym every day, plays golf and does yoga.  After all is said and done we need to eat less and exercise more.  As long as the number of calories in the food we consume is smaller than what we consume exercising, we will loose weight.  It is that simple.

My wife and I are some of the few couples than have been married only once and still are happily together.  Most of our friends are in the same situation.  Not sure what is happening to our society.  It seems that for some reason the value of marriage is getting lost.  People are taking it less serious.  My opinion is why getting married if you do not care for the other person.  Living together for a while is OK with me.  If things do not seem they are going to work just split.  All is well as long as there are no children involved.  Today is very difficult for a woman to have an accident and get pregnant.  A few decades ago it was conceivable for a young girl to get pregnant due to lack of education and access to methods that would prevent pregnancy.  Today that is not the case any longer.  As statistics show, less and less young and single women are getting pregnant.

marriage_better_definitionWhen a couple decides to get married, it should be between a man and a woman.  I do not care what the Supreme Court has to say about marriage.  It is their opinion and as far as it goes their opinion is as good as mine.  There is no nature or science behind their decisions.  I do agree that is a couple of gay people decide to live together; the government should extend the same benefits as it does for married couples.  The same should hold true for any two people that wish to live together regardless of their relationship (i.e., friends, brothers, sisters, mothers and sons, fathers and daughters).  There does not need to be a sexual component for legalizing who may or may not live together and have access to benefits offered only for married people.

There are people out there that plan on getting married as much as winning the lottery.  The laws in our country need to be revamped to protect people from getting married, helping not to split when they are married and finally truly helping them in the few cases where the relationship fails.  Today, many women marry, get pregnant and get a divorce after one or two kids.  That seems to be the ‘meal ticket’ that many woman plan and work for.  This is not an issue just in our country.  The phenomenon seems to be happening all over the world.  Adults, in most cases, appear to be able to cope with the consequences of breaking up.  Children in general are the ones affected and are the big losers in a divorce.  Our current laws are far from protecting them or being adequate.

News last week as the results of a poll that indicates that about 30% of Millennials moral_values_millennials(generation under 30 years of age) are walking away from traditional religious affiliations and organized religion in the USA.  I was taught when I was a child not to talk about religion.  Religion is based on believes which are promoted and taught by parents to their children.  Science tends to disprove all religious believes.  That does not mean religion is good or bad.  People should have good moral values.  Societies have evolved in a way that morals are typically taught through religion.  The essence of religion is not the religious believes but the moral values.  I am somewhat concerned for future generations regarding moral values.  Hopefully the way I was brought up and the way my wife and I brought up our two sons are just different avenues for kids to learn good moral values.  I can see in some nations where religion is not practiced or has been abolished, the lack of moral values their citizens in general tend to show.

A couple weeks ago, it was not to interesting that a couple terrorists were shot in Texas.  The terrorists where Islamist militants that wished to go to join a terror group in Somalia.  Both were shot dead by a single police officer using his service revolver.  Compared to what has been occurring lately in other cities all over the world, the incident remained in the news a short period of time.  What was interesting is that a few days after the federal judge revise the procedures used by the NSA and shared with the FBI to collect global information from all US citizens was deemed illegal, the FBI came with a warning that there were many terrorists’ threats against the US about to occur.  What a joke.  So far little, if any good information has come from spying on all US citizens as far as helping stop terrorist’s attacks.  The Boston Marathon bombings illustrate how ineffective the massive and illegal spying of US citizens can be.  In every single terrorist case the data illegally collected by the US government has been of little if any use and has not prevented the perpetrators to get their bad deeds done.  I will have more on the NSA activities in my comments of a book in the following days.

nature_versus_nurtureIn conclusion, it seems that the theory that 50% is nature and 50% is nurture is quite accurate.  What we need to do is think about what we will change in order to help not only ourselves and our immediate families but help our nation as a whole.  Small changes on our behaviors by a large group of people will have an impact on our nation.  Let’s make sure that the impact is positive so other countries will consider the US as leaders and will follow.  At this point in time it seems that the US shares so many flaws with so many countries that we are losing our strengths as a leader.

The Naïve American

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