Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Loss of a Pet

In a topic within this blog, Man's Best Friend, I shared the benefits to having pets. Before discussing how I coped with the loss of my pet, I will still advocate always having them as long as your are able to care for them in a responsible manner. Caring for a pet is a way for us to extend ourselves as humane human beings. In many cases pets are a sole source of companionship.

About a year ago my dog Roscoe became very ill as we noticed he was quite bloated. His pancreas was inflamed leading the vet to believe he ate something he shouldn't have or worse, cancer. If it was a food illness, he would eventually get better, but the vet was not optimistic this was the case and hinted there were other signs of pancreatic cancer. We drained him for the bloating in order to make him more comfortable, but the effects only lasted a week and he became bloated once again. Our mission now was to make him as comfortable as possible. Mysteriously a month later his bloating disappeared and he was acting his normal self. This too was short lived as the bloating returned for what was to be his last days.

The hard part about losing an animal this way is simply because their mind is fully intact yet their body is shutting down. Their loyalty is with you every step of the way. Had I not been a dog person before this experience, I am now.

In Roscoe's final hours it became very clear to me this was going to hit me in a very special but hard way. All his personalities would be gone soon. His distinctive bark will be no more. If this was not hard enough, his last breath was what broke my heart because the reality of him being gone had arrived. Comparing losing Roscoe vs. losing my dad, losing Roscoe was so much harder. After almost a year later, the pain of my loss is still very much here.

Sharing this experience is not to be an example of what to expect if you have a pet. As heart wrenching it may seem, the time I shared with my pet was beautiful from beginning to the end. This experience showed me what kind of person I really am. This also taught me the value of having a pet in my life. As long as I can provide a responsible home for a pet, I will always share my life with one. This past August we welcomed our baby puppy Emily to our home.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dermal Elasticity

A commonly obvious sign of our aging process we notice most is our skins viability. In our mid to late 40s we notice changes to our skin by its elasticity loss or evidence of wrinkles start to appear, almost what seems, daily. This is when we make the mistake by telling ourselves we wish we did more when we were younger to prevent what is happening now. "Mistake" I say because you can decelerate this process with proper hydration and using very affordable moisturizers.

The fact remains - we're all gonna grow old. The sooner we can accept the fact the better we can live a non-stressful existence, thus in itself, causing the aging process to be compliment rather than penalty. However accepting the fact is not a reason to stop taking care of yourself. This is the case in regard to mobility, your mindset and taking care of your skin.

Think about what our skin goes through in a one years time. Winter: No sun to heat body enabling moisture to be brought to surface in form of sweat which hydrates skin. The side effect can be an ashen appearance. Summer: Too much sun causing skin to redden and burn or dry out because we are not drinking enough water. Not to forget social habits like drinking and smoking which create an all out war on our internal organs as well as the largest organ of all - our skin.

Proper nutrition and preventative actions can protect our skin from harsh elements as well as exercising moderation when in festive moods and most of all, if you are a smoker, quit! Furthermore, the biggest misconception about moisturizers is people believe they must spend a fortune on these types of products. Be warned TV infomercials are the biggest scams when it comes to what products are good for your skin. You can protect your skin with economical products sold at Target, Walmart or membership clubs like Costco and Sams Club.

Applying these products doesn't need to be hard either. The best time to apply moisturizers are right after a showers or baths. This is when the skin is moist enabling a smoother application and pores are open allowing your skin to absorb product.

It's never too late to start taking care of our skin because the truth of the matter is we're only going age and there's no stopping this process. Wrinkles should be warn like a badge of honor, but they need relief and by providing them with moisture will allow them look healthy and glow making them more of a compliment to your appearance - in a mans case, more distinguished.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Man's Best Friend

Periodically I experience one of those lazy, rainy and cold days. These are days when I'm at home with the dogs and the other half is on a trip away from home since we're both flight attendants. We alternate our schedules in order to care for our 3 dogs, Bugsy, Rosco and Lucy. Days like this are perfect for flipping channels on the TV while tucking my feet under Bugsy since his favorite spot is on the couch, and no kidding, he watches TV. Lucy and Rosco just don't understand the concept of life going on behind the TV screen. Bugsy on the other hand, thinks it's just another window in the house and will remember commercials with dogs simply by the familiar jingle (music) used for the commercial. So here I lay, Bugsy content next to me, Lucy in corner grooming herself to no end while Rosco does his favorite activity - sleep.

Shortly after buying our home 10 years ago, we adopted both the boys. They were approximately 2 months old, and were litter mates. Rosco appeared to be the alpha dog despite his dwarf stature compared to Bugsy. If I had to guess, Rosco's dominant personality formed out of his struggle to be fed. Even to this day, he still assures Bugsy he calls the shots. However these days both the boys are less active. Bugsy has bad knees and hasn't been able to sit properly since having knee surgery 6 years ago to repair ligaments in both legs, so he spends a lot of time lounging but alert no less yet he is not as responsive to food being prepared as in the past. The boys are aging and while Rosco seems to be doing it with slightly more grace, Bugsy seems helpless at times and it pains me to realize it will only get worse and I selfishly wonder, how much longer will my buddy be around? How will I adjust to my most loyal and best friend being gone?

Lucy, a year or so old bundle of explosive energy came to us not without some task. She was a stray and seemed lost in the neighborhood. She was alert to cars and would stay clear of people. She was a survivor among many animals being put out by many irresponsible pet owners who realize there's work, also known as love, involved in raising pets. When bringing Lucy to humane society in order to register as a lost puppy they told us it's becoming common for realtor's to open a foreclosed home and find dead animals. How lazy can you be not to anonymously bring your pet to shelter? Letting them starve is better on the conscience? Anyway, we adopted Lucy and she seems to balance our heavy hearts making the eventual nonexistence of Rosco and Bugsy a reality which does not consume us.

One thing I've learned as a pet owner - I will always be a pet owner! My question is, which of my future dogs will be like Bugsy?

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Since the number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease it may be a good idea to talk about the main culprit of what actually causes this progressive, and chronic condition. We all know someone who has some form of heart disease whether it be hypertension, high blood pressure, angina or even friends or family who have actually had a heart attack. for a few exceptions, one being genetic disposition factors, most of these people we know have indulged in foods high in fat's and their cholesterol levels are off the charts. There are many kinds of fat's - good and bad.

We all have made efforts grocery shop with smart, economical and healthy intentions. We simply say to ourselves: Low sugar, low salt, low fat! While this is a good start, it's really not enough. Now days, we almost need a degree in nutrition to get it right - particularly when it comes to fat.

Good fat? Yes, there is a thing called good fat. But eating it in moderation is a must. Good fat is labeled as so since it's a fat which most doctors say you don't need to completely avoid. These consist of monounsaturated fats, which lower your total cholesterol especially LDL (bad) and may even increase your HDL (good), which are usually found in nuts, avocado's and olive oil. Also polyunsaturated fats which also lower your total cholesterol found in fish, soy, and corn.

Bad fat consists of saturated fats, which raise your total cholesterol, and are found in animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs, and fish. Then there are trans fats, which are the worse of all fats. Trans fats clog arteries like nothing else. These are genetically engineered fats developed to stabilize our foods. Trans fats are generally found in packaged foods or used in fast food restaurants in the form frying oils which make, for example, your chicken extra crispy...yum!

The food industry is very tricky when it comes to labeling trans fats. Until the FDA clamps down on how we classify food labeling all a scientist needs to do is change a small component in what makes up a trans fat and they can remove it from its trans fat classification. As is the case with triglycerides or diglycerides which in the body act the same as trans fats but by using these instead of "trans fats" it is legal to label a package with a "No Trans Fats."

What are your options? In this day and age, you cannot avoid everything unless you were to live on a farm and grow your own food. The best thing to do is get on internet and research on your own for what's best for you. The information is out there, and all the answers will not come from your doctor. Reading food labels is the best way to correct your diet. If there's something on a food label you don't understand or it makes your skeptical about that product, it's most likely something you don't want to buy.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Flexible Spending

As we grow older, many of us will be faced with medical issues which may be classified as chronic. In such cases, our medical expenses can be costly. There's a great way to assist ourselves in order to avoid having to pay taxes on a lot of these expenses. Flexible Spending is a program you may elect during your annual benefits enrollment each year through your employer. This program allows you to specify a sum of money to set aside before taxes which you feel will cover your co-payments for prescription drugs, doctors visits, over the counter drugs, as well as expenses incurred through dentistry and or vision plans for the next year.

It's important to note when deciding on the amount to set aside, you always need to estimate carefully as any funds not spent within the calender year will be forfeited to the federal government, thus making the program obsolete to your benefit.

Besides acting as a kind of tax shelter, another benefit to this program is you are able to withdraw funds, provided you have medical receipts to substantiate your claims, before you have even funded your Flex account through your monthly paycheck. In other words, this is somewhat of a interest free loan to yourself.

A very important warning and the main reason I'm writing about this topic is you're claim for the new year has to be performed in the new year regardless if you paid for service in the new year. Example: In the last week of December of 2009 I called to refill my prescriptions so I could pick them up in the first week of 2010 under the assumption I could file a Flex claim and get the money back. Not the case. Since the prescriptions were filled in 2009 it did not qualify me to retrieve those funds for the new year. This is an IRS rule. I feel it is my duty to make others aware of this minor and could be costly technicality.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Recently I read a blog which basically blindsidedly bashed my company. The blogger started out their story by praising my company then their tone changed rapidly. Starting out a topic with a positive is always a nice way to begin a critique, however this blogger did not do that because they titled the topic as, "The Curse of Arrogance."

Arrogance? What does it actually mean? - having or showing feelings of unwarranted importance out of overbearing pride. I invite anyone to read this blog and explain me how this word fits in this story. In my opinion, its not the airline employee in question.

It is not my intention to blast the author of the post, but when a person feels it necessary to attack a brand which has consistently proven to win over people with its culture, over a few incidents, also keep in mind these were incidents which were not directly involving them, is completely unfair.

How does this topic relate to my blog? In the topic "Crotchety" I discussed my lack of desire to express myself in a light which is non-progressive. As I read this story, my immediate thought was how sad it must be for an individual to be so unhappy they must find their emotional fix by speaking negatively about something so many millions of people think otherwise. This is a trait seen in many people as they grow older. It's always important if you intend to bash anyone or anything, you first observe every angle.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Alternative Foods

How many times a year do you say, "I'm gonna get into shape and eat right!" From there you go to your favorite supermarket and spend twice as much time reading labels in order to reduce your carbohydrate, fat, or sodium intake. Do you actually know what you are looking for? Do you understand what the tongue twister words listed in the ingredients mean, let alone pronounce them.

Let's take butter for example. Butter is known to be high in saturated fat and is loaded with cholesterol so by hearing this we immediately decide to look for an alternative. The butter alternative is margarine. Even some brands of margarine will claim to be heart healthy, low fat and contain no trans fats. Some brands actually print this on the label then they also print in the ingredients something which totally contradicts their claim: "monoglycerites." Since this is a word not normally used in my vocabulary I initiated a little research to find out what it meant: "trans fats!" Trans fats are the worst type of fat to feed our body. Trans fats will coat your arteries with so much plaque it will eventually cause a heart attack from a clog or even stroke if some of this plaque decides to start moving. Sticking moderately to real butter is far better.

My thing is cream for my coffee. For years I've been buying fat free creamer. Now that I think of it, I should have been savvy to lie from the beginning by reading, "fat free creamer." That's like saying, "wet-less water." Just recently I decided to pull out my glasses and read what actually is in the ingredients of my fat free creamer: mono and dyglycerides which are other words for "trans fats." Kind of ridiculous don't you think? A little hint to stick to moderation of the real stuff maybe?

What's happening here is these brands are capitalizing on our fears and manufacturing fat and legally calling it something else. The government does nothing about it because not enough evidence is there to prove their manufactured fats are killing people and or they have not been sued by a good lawyer forcing them to actually call it fat within their ingredients.

It goes back to moderation of the real stuff. Us being a fast food nation has cause us to believe the alternatives are better. And the manufacturers of these alternatives are profiting on our stupidity. They are betting we never read or research their ingredients and up to now, they are winning that bet.