changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
quite the same
in Latitude, Changes in
By: Karen J.
Co-Publisher, On the
Week #2 in
I’m settled in
to the point of hitting the inevitable “what have I
done?!?” I quit a perfectly good job, sold a wonderful
little house, left family and friends behind and totally
uprooted my life. It’s possible that I didn’t actually think
Okay. Okay. What
is it Ann-Marie is always saying? Breathe. Just breathe. But it
all happened so fast! Put the sign in my yard and one weekend
later I had an offer and next thing you know I’m on the freeway
with the cats.
thought….”maybe I’ll move to Charleston” and wham! Now what?
Perhaps I should have had a plan…..
asking me how I’m doing. What’s it like here? Do I love it?
What many of them are really wanting to hear is that this move
is going to be some sort of “answer”.
I appreciate ---
deeply appreciate --- their concern. But the only thing that
has changed is my address and the scenery --- the “changes in
latitude”. The key to my being able to build a future is the
“attitude” part. My unhappiness had nothing to do with my
living in Houston. It’s all me.
thoroughly over unpacking and in the mood to do a little
exploring, I drove north on Highway 17 and stopped at one of
the visitor centers for the Francis Marion National Forest.
Manning the information desk was a woman, probably in her 70’s,
who eagerly answered all of my questions. When I mentioned that
I had just moved here, she told me that several years ago she
came for a visit, went home to Louisville, sold her house and
relocated. There’s something about Charleston and it doesn’t
take long for it to hook you.
interesting thing, though, was that as I was leaving, she said
“have a great life”. That was the second time in a little more
than a week that someone had said that to me. The first time
was back in Houston by someone who actually knows me and who
knew my partner. She added “you deserve it.”
“Have a great
life. You deserve it.”
I thought about
that a lot while I was driving from Texas to South Carolina. I
know she meant that she was aware of how hard it’s been and
that she hoped that life was going to balance out for me now.
Like I’d paid my dues and now it was my turn for something
wonderful. And I know she meant it in only the best way. But
isn’t that the same kind of thinking taught by all the
religions --- from the Christian “mansions” and “streets of
gold” in heaven to the Muslim “forty virgins”? That the
more you suffer, the bigger the payoff?
I’ve been guilty
of that kind of thinking recently --- that for every benefit
there must be a corresponding cost and vice versa. Because of
how wonderful my partner was, when she died, it made perfect
sense to me that the price for having such a gift would be
nearly impossible to pay. Most of the time I don’t seem
to have made much progress. But, now I’m wondering if there
isn’t an error in my thinking.
I don’t place
much stock in the concept of some deity with a tally sheet
deciding who’s worthy of a nice afterlife and who isn’t. And if
the “cost / benefit” model really balanced things out right
here in this lifetime, the world would be a far different
place. People who were honest and worked hard would reap all
the rewards. The sick would be treated with compassion and
cured in time to make up for all they missed. Conversely, the
rich and privileged would end up in soup kitchen lines and
checking the mail for their unemployment checks. Not
No, I don’t
think that’s how it works. I believe life pretty much just is.
Some days are better than others. But even the good days, just
like the good relationships, can be missed if we aren’t paying
attention. Bottom line, I think it all comes down to where
we’re placing our focus.
There is a power
greater than all the weaponry on the planet. Greater than the
armies and the governments and the political systems. It’s the
power of our thoughts. Nothing happens without it. If we focus
on what we don’t have or what we’ve lost and how hopeless and
empty everything is, then that is exactly where we stay.
However, if we catch those thoughts and turn them to allow for
the possibility of a different life, the whole world opens
thoughts and you can change how you experience your
This move was
kind of an experiment. I did exactly what I just described.
Took the thought of moving to Charleston and consciously held
my focus on it. The resulting ease and speed were a bit
Can I do the
same thing with finding a way to be happy in a world that my
partner has left? I honestly don’t know.
But there is
another stanza of that Jimmy Buffett song that I’ve been
singing today as I thought about what I wanted to
Oh but yesterdays
are over my shoulder
So I can’t look back
for too long
There’s just too
much to see waiting in front of me
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Health Care or Health
Do you ever wonder why people
make such ridiculous and blatantly false statements? Like
defeating Proposition 8 would make it a hate crime to use the
term “family values”. Or that President Obama has a forged
birth certificate. Or the “swift boating” of war heroes like
John Kerry and Max Cleland.
I’ll tell you why. Because it works.
though some handler has since jerked her chain and forced
her to tone down her rhetoric, Sarah Palin’s comments
about the Health Care Reform proposal have helped fuel
passionate opposition. Comments with absolutely no basis
who will suffer the most when they ration care?" Palin
asks. "The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of
course. The America I know and love is not one in which
my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to
stand in front of Obama’s 'death panel' so his
bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of
their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they
are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright
asked what part of the bill she was basing this on, her
spokesperson, Meg Stapleton, indicated page 425 of the
House Democrat’s bill.
this section of the bill actually talks about is
providing advance care planning consultation. This
includes things like explanations by medical
practitioners of advance directives, including living
wills and durable powers of attorney, the role and
responsibilities of a health care proxy, lists of
national and State-specific resources to assist consumers
and their families with advance care planning and an
explanation “of the continuum of end-of-life services and
supports available, including palliative care and
hospice, and benefits for such services and supports that
are available under this title,” as well as “an
explanation of orders regarding life sustaining treatment
or similar orders.”
death squads. No endorsement of euthanasia. Only the
benefit of being given all the facts and made aware of
the options available at one of life’s most difficult
times. Personally, for us baby boomers, I believe this
may be one of the most valuable parts of the legislation.
But according to a recent poll, 45% of the American
people believe Palin’s version.
Americans are so quick to jump on these radical
bandwagons is a discussion for another day. For now, the
important thing is to counter the misinformation as much
as possible. The health care legislation is not going to
be perfect but I believe it is going to be a start in the
right direction. There should be honest debate. But this
is too important to allow the likes of Palin, Gingrich
and Limbaugh to distort the facts and use this for their
own political gain.
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To Carb or Not to
Fit in a Year - Week
Are you as sick of the carb
debate as I am?
Let's get straight to the heart of it: what are carbs
anyway, and why should we care?
Here's a definition straight from my personal trainer textbook,
so it's simple enough for gym rats, ie, muscle-heads (not me,
of course....), to understand: "Carbohydrates are the
body's main source of energy....Glucose, the end result of
carbohydrate digestion, is essential in maintaining the
functional integrity of nerve tissue, directs the rest of your
body's maintenance, and IS THE SOLE SOURCE OF
ENERGY FOR THE BRAIN under normal circumstances."
That's why we care about carbs.
You need to know there are 2 types of carbs: simple and
complex. Of course you should eat mostly complex.
That's why I encourage you to take all the refined foods out of
your diet. Eat whole grains. Whole fruits.
Whole vegetables. Those are complex.
When you live mainly (50% daily calories) on simple carbs like
most Americans, and mostly from these sources: soft
drinks, cake, doughnuts, pastries, pizza, potato chips,
popcorn, white rice and breads, beer, and french fries, that's
high carbohydrate/low nutrition food. So you get calories
to burn, but no phyto-nutrients, no vitamins, no minerals, no
fiber, no long-term fuels and amino acids for maintenance and
repair. And you don't feel full for very long. Your
body is constantly asking for a fix, because it burns right
through that simple stuff.
On the other hand, if you limit your carbs (think
diet-in-a-book) like the all-protein-have-your
-steak-and-put-butter-on-it-too-plan, your body will use
protein for fuel (it's not stupid. No carb
fuel? Substitute!) which will seriously compromise your
ability to build and maintain tissue. If you do it long
enough, you'll develop something called ketosis---a potentially
fatal condition--because you can't break down
So keep it simple. Eat as many fruits and vegetables as
you can. Think of a serving size as a handful. Mix
it up. Raw is great. Steamed is fine. Eat
some nuts, too. Every day. And keep in mind that a
glass of orange juice is nice, but it's concentrated, so you're
getting more calories than just eating an orange, and you're
getting NONE of the fiber, the phytonutrients, the amino acids
that you get from the piece of fruit.
When you put a grain into your mouth, make it a whole
one. Be sure to check the label on everything processed
for trans-fats....it's still legal to sneak them in there.
With all that in mind, I say: