Good News Monday: Turning Waste Into Fuel

Doing the right thing may soon be very lucrative. Researchers have been finding ways to turn plastic waste into usable sources of energy.

Of course, it will help if politicians admit that immense tons of discarded plastic actually constitute a problem.  (Hope springs eternal if they stand to make a profit.)

Speaking of which, it’s Presidents’ Day in the US, which means no mail; ergo, no bills today. More good news!

blue and white abstract painting

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A Punch List for Relationships

If you’ve ever been through a renovation or built a new house, you know that after 99% of the work is done, there are little lingering issues someone needs to come back and fix.

hammer craftsman tools construction

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Wouldn’t it be great if we could similarly correct all of our partner’s flaws, foibles, and idiosyncrasies? Then they’d be perfect, right?

Wrong! In honor of Valentine’s Day, let’s remember that we don’t need to “fix” either ourselves or our partners — unless there’s something really egregious going on.

grey metal hammer

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Imperfection keeps life interesting.

But I’d sure like our contractor to repaint the places where door locks had to be moved, repair the dent in the kitchen sink, and replace the wonky floorboard and kitchen cabinet door.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and those you love!

three red heart balloons

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Good News Monday: Cat Owners Live Longer

A University of Minnesota study conducted over a 10-year period found that cat owners lowered their risk of heart attack by nearly 30%. Meowza!

Other research supports these findings, and lists even more benefits:

  1. Reduced risk of heart disease is similar to going on a low-salt diet
  2. Boosts your immune system
  3. Helps children avoid developing allergies
  4. Lowers blood pressure
  5. Lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  6. Reduces the risk of stroke
  7. Heals bones and muscles
  8. Reduces stress and anxiety
  9. Improves mood
  10. Lessens feelings of loneliness and depression

Here’s the full article I found, complete with adorable photos.

kitten cat rush lucky cat

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Hump Day Hacks: Looking Younger

I know, I know.  These days, it’s politically correct to look “rested”, “relaxed” or “fresher”. But if someone said you looked much younger than your chronological age, would you really be insulted?

Herewith, some easy hacks from a recent beauty round-up:

  1. Keep skin care products in the fridge. They’ll work faster and keep fresh longer.
  2. Boost your brows.  Thicker eyebrows signal youthfulness. Fill in with pencil while they’re growing in.
  3. Wear a double-duty sunscreen. An antioxidant formula will reduce the effects of skin-damaging free radicals. I love the La Roche-Posay Anthelios line.
  4. Check your eyesight.  Squinting deepens frown lines, so you might need a stronger prescription, not Botox.
  5. Pick lighter lipstick.  Our lips get thinner with age, and dark colors make your lips look smaller, as well as emphasizing any vertical lines. Stick with rosier shades and avoid orange or peach tones, which make teeth look yellower.
  6. Blush higher.  Swirl your blush at the highest point of your cheekbones, and choose a warm pink, apricot or bronze shade that’s close to your skin tone.
  7. Choose camouflage vs. concealer. Regular concealer is oilier, so it tends to “pool” in fine lines. Concealers labeled “camouflage” cover dark spots better, too.
  8. Speaking of dark spots: Sunblock, retinoid, and gloves will keep your hands looking younger.  Applying a dot of diluted lemon juice before bedtime may help too. Note that acids can irritate skin so gradually build up to twice a day.
  9. Best foot forward. Dry, scaly feet wreck the effect of even the most gorgeous shoes. Before bedtime or working out, apply a layer of over-the-counter salicylic acid to rough areas, cover with a small amount of Vaseline or thick moisturizer, and put on socks. The combo will soften your feet and help protect against blisters and calluses.
  10. Accessorize wisely. A small investment in a broad-brimmed hat, larger sunglasses and a scarf can protect against wrinkles, sun spots and pricey treatments.

And if someone asks to see ID the next time you buy alcohol, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

oval brown wooden framed hanging mirror

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Good News Monday: Free Pain Relief

Take a deep breath: it’s an easy, free way to combat pain, insomnia, and nausea. Try these wacky-seeming techniques and let me know if any of them work for you.

PAIN 

closeup photography of two teal and three pink inflated balloons

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WHAT TO DO

Most of us inadvertently hold our breath when we experience pain. Shallow breathing can make things worse by releasing the stress hormone cortisol instead of relieving the stress itself.

  1. Close your eyes and breathe deeply from your belly.
  2. Picture oxygen filling the painful areas with comfort as you inhale
  3. Picture the pain being pushed out as you exhale.  This supposedly stimulates the vagus nerve, which calms the fight-or-flight response.

INSOMNIA 

white bed comforter

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WHAT TO DO Try a technique called 4-7-8 breathing instead of medication. Keeping the tip of your tongue behind your upper teeth, follow these steps:

  1. Exhale through your mouth with a gentle “whoosh”.
  2. Close your eyes and inhale through your nose for a count of four.
  3. Hold your breath for seven counts.
  4. Exhale with an eight-count “whoosh” through your mouth.

Repeat three times or until you fall asleep from boredom.  Caveat: Warn your partner that you’re about to make weird noises!

NAUSEA

man on gray concrete staircase

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WHAT TO DO Controlled breathing is said to help suppress the gag reflex and encourage peristalsis, the muscle contractions that move food into the stomach. Picture yourself walking barefoot down a long, stone staircase.

  1. Inhale slowly through your nose for a count of four as you imagine how the cool stone feels underfoot.
  2. Exhale with your lips closed for a count of eight as you imagine stepping down.
  3. Repeat until you stop feeling queasy.

 

 

The Ballad of a Thousand Boxes

IMG-1053Do you remember moving into your first apartment? Mine was a dark, tiny, one-bedroom in Springfield, Missouri – notable for its cheap rent and even cheaper-looking olive green shag carpeting on the walls as well as the floor. (Even for the 70’s this was mind-bendingly ugly.)

But it was my first post-college job and I was thrilled to be on my own.

Moving in those days was much easier.

  • We had friends to haul stuff and we paid them in beer or cheap wine — not the price of a European vacation.
  • I had more energy than possessions.
  • An old orange crate made a perfectly acceptable coffee table.
bottles inside boxes

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Having just moved again for the umpteenth – and hopefully, last – time, I’ve noticed:

  • It costs more to move across town than it used to cost moving across the country.
  • I have way too much crap, even after endless trips to Goodwill.
  • I have way less ability to carry said crap, especially up a flight of stairs.
  • Young people don’t seem to accumulate china and crystal.
  • The more stuff we have, the more storage we need.
  • One TV used to be sufficient. Now we all have multiple TVs, each with complicated hookups and several remotes that have to be housed somewhere. Not to mention computers.
  • Sunnier rooms reveal flaws and dings in furniture that used to look pretty decent.
  • Change is good, even when it’s painful. And it’s better to share that pain.
  • Rugs and wood floors look a lot better than shag carpet.

 

Thanks to Laura S. for suggesting this topic!