10 Hours Walking in NYC As A Man

I JUST HAD TO FOLLOW UP WITH THIS ONE, STRAIGHT FROM THE ELEPHANT JOURNAL TODAY, OCTOBER 30, 2014.

Just click the link below:

10 Hours of Walking
in NYC as a Man

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What It's Like To Walk Through New York City As A Woman

FROM THE ELEPHANT JOURNAL
OCTOBER 29, 2014
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Wish Granted

Napa woman, 90, gets wish granted, rides horse for the first time

By Carolyn Jones
Updated 8:35 am, Saturday, September 27, 2014

Ninety-year-old Thea Murphy is escorted on a ride aboard Katydid at the Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Petaluma. Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle / ONLINE_YES

  • Ninety-year-old Thea Murphy is escorted on a ride aboard Katydid at the Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Petaluma. Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle.

It took 90 years for Thea Murphy to get on a horse, but about 30 seconds to fall in love.

“I’ll be sore tomorrow, but it doesn’t matter. It’ll make me remember Katy,” a beaming Murphy said Friday afternoon at a Petaluma horse arena as she gazed upon the palomino mare that provided Murphy’s first horseback ride. “Look at her. She’s so beautiful. And she listens to me!”

Murphy’s maiden horseback ride was courtesy of a Napa nonprofit called Celebrating Seniors, which granted wishes for half a dozen elders in the North Bay. Murphy’s wish was to ride a horse — something the 50-year Napa resident had never done.

Other seniors wanted to go on San Francisco Bay cruises, or visit a great-grandchild on the East Coast. But for Murphy, who’s partially paralyzed from a stroke and blind in one eye, it was all about horses.

“It’s because I love them,” Murphy said before getting on a horse. “I love animals, I love horses. I want to know what it feels like to ride one.”

Gentle horseback rides

The ride took place at Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Petaluma, a facility that provides gentle horseback rides for people who are physically, cognitively or emotionally disabled.

Murphy’s wish was chosen from about 45 entries, and she had been planning for the excursion for weeks. She bought denim skinny jeans and a bright red shirt for the occasion, with red lipstick to match and hair colored strawberry blonde.

She was accompanied by caregivers, friends and volunteers from Celebrating Seniors, who became a little weepy when Giant Steps staff lifted Murphy from her wheelchair onto the 1,000-pound beast.

“With her disabilities, at her age, to still have that same desire that she had since she was 6 … that’s what we found so heartwarming,” said Penelope Hyde, who led the senior wish committee for Celebrating Seniors.

Even the staff at Giant Steps was moved by Murphy’s story, and by Murphy herself. The slight, Dutch-born widow smiled almost incessantly as she petted the horse and chatted happily with spectators.

Riding horses can be great therapy for disabled people, said Giant Steps Therapeutic Center Director Mark Walden.

Balance, coordination and core strengthening are among the benefits, plus the emotional and social boost from interacting with the patient, placid animals.

Will Rogers’ wisdom

“It’s like what Will Rogers said: There’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man,” Walden said.

Murphy has had her share of physical setbacks recently. In the past few years she’s had a leg amputated, undergone hip replacement surgery, lost vision in one eye following cataract surgery and became paralyzed on her left side after a stroke.

Giants Steps staff held her on both sides as the horse ambled around the arena and down a short trail, for a total of about 30 minutes. Murphy held the reins and directed Katy left, right and forward. Katy, for her part, followed along cheerfully.

Murphy may have physical limitations, but her spirit has never been brighter. Until very recently, she was reading a book a day, knitting, puttering in her vegetable garden and Skyping with her 91-year-old sister in Holland every morning.

“She’s a tough cookie, extremely strong-willed,” said neighbor Anne LeBlanc. “She gets something in her mind, and there’s no stopping her. She decided she wanted to ride a horse, and here we all are. Life is really quite amazing.”

Carolyn Jones is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:carolynjones@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @carolynajones

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DUGONGS

STRAIGHT FROM “THE DODO: For The Love Of Animals DATED 9/15/14  By Lindsey Robertson

Dugongs are very special creatures of the sea, and are often affectionately referred to as “sea cows.” Not only are they an unusual species, they are ridiculously cute. Here are a few facts on these nifty creatures:

1. Their mustaches are for function, not style.
The sensitive bristles on the dugong’s upper lip help the creature to root for underwater vegetation. This act of rooting kind of makes the dugong look like an adorable vacuum-cleaner:

(Giphy)

2. They aren’t manatees.
Though they look very similar, manatees and dugongs are not one in the same. Manatees generally live in freshwater, whereas dugongs can usually be found in marine environments. Dugongs also have fluked tails, which resemble those of whales, and manatees have rounded tails.

(Flickr: Andreas März)

3. They are cousins of the elephant.
Even though dugongs are grey and slow-moving, it’s still pretty surprising that these creatures are more closely related to elephants than they are whales or other marine life. Male dugongs actually grow tusks, which only become visible in maturity.

(Wildscreen Arkive)

4. They have nifty noses.
Dugong noses are specially designed for being submerged in water. The nostrils are actually valve-like openings on top of their heads which open when the sea cow breaches water for air, and then close again when submerged. It is also important to note how cute dugong noses are when they peek out of the water:

(Flickr: kaitimae777)

5. They really ARE big-boned!
Dugong bones are very dense, which help to keep them submerged. Conversely, their lungs run along their backs and act as floatation devices, keeping them horizontal in the water.

(Flickr: whl travel)

6. Their populations are in decline.
Dugongs are defined by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service as “Endangered,” and have been listed as such since 1970.

(National Geographic)

7. There’s still hope for them.
There are conservation efforts in place for the dugong, such as the 16 Dugong Protection Areas which were established in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. You can learn more about the projects being undertaken to help these amazing creatures and how you can help here.

(National Geographic)

 

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Why You Want A Physicist To Speak At Your Funeral

Planning Ahead Can Make a Difference in the End

by AARON FREEMAN

Commentator Aaron Freeman gives advice for planning your funeral.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Commentator Aaron Freeman isn’t a person who does much planning ahead. However, if you like to look ahead to the future, he has some advice for you, advice on planning your funeral.

AARON FREEMAN:

You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly. Amen.

Aaron Freeman is a writer and performer. He lives in Chicago.

From NPR News.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR’s prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information

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SUICIDE, MENTAL HEALTH AND THE CAREGIVER by SHERI de GROM

I want to share this blog post written by an online friend of mine, Sheri de Grom. Until we bring mental health disorders out of the closet, the people who suffer from them will not not get the help they need because no one will understand. And we must open up the discussion in order to do that.

Compiled from journal notes, April 26, 1996, Washington, DC

Burdened by my bulging briefcase, I’d hoped to get a jump on the day. We were celebrating our tenth anniversary tonight and I wanted to arrive home early.

Tom wasn’t in bed as I prepared for work but many mornings he’d be up early working in his shop. That morning would soon prove to be an exception to the rule.

Official Logo for 2014 Participants

Blog for Mental Health

I slowly made my way downstairs from our bedroom and paused at the second landing to adjust my heavy load. Looking down into the small sitting room, I had a clear vision of Tom as he sat  in an easy chair. There was no mistaking the pistol in his lap.

I knew not to startle him. His finger played with the trigger. I held my breath. My mind raced. My briefcase slid to the floor. I moved cautiously down the remaining steps and into the sitting room.

Tom had been in and out of the hospital five times in the past two years. Sometimes I thought the hospitalizations helped and other times they were puzzling. We’d gone through two additional psychiatrists and tried three new hospitals. Doctors and hospitals alike were proving to be of separate classifications. There were the ones that were more or less okay, the ones that were indifferent and then the ones that just didn’t seem to give a damn about anything other than our insurance coverage.

Our anniversary plans were defeated, again. I had to retrieve the gun and keep Tom safe.

I lowered myself to his feet. He’d retreated to his secret and secure inner space, that place where suicide knocked again and it then became my responsibility to whisper to him, “Darling, it’s me, Sheri. May I please have the gun?” Tom continued staring straight ahead. In a calm and soft voice I repeated, “May I please have the gun?”

It seemed hours had passed but only moments had trickled by. He kept his hand on the gun.

“I feel dead. I don’t care. Do whatever you want with me,” he said in that all too familiar monotone voice I’d come to despise.

“I love you. You’re going to be safe. Tom, please give me the gun and we’ll get you help. First, I must have the gun. May I please have it?”

He shook his head yes. Holding my breath, I carefully removed the gun from his hand, put it in a closet for now, helped him into his coat and we slowly made our way to the car where once again I buckled his seat-belt for the ride to the hospital.

I’d admitted him to yet another hospital. The facility was one of the highest rated in Virginia. The psychiatrist interacted with Tom during the admissions process and this gave me hope.

I talked briefly with the psychiatrist and he explained that Tom would probably sleep for at least two days but, I was welcome to stop in any time to see him. After looking at Tom’s meds, he told me there were some he would like to discontinue. He said that Tom might not know I was there that evening and if I wanted and most importantly needed to go home and rest that was understandable.

“Thank you doctor. I appreciate your kindness. I’ll be at my office if you need me. I’ll plan to come by on my way home.”

The doctor told me he would still be on the premises and that if I didn’t see him I should have one of the hospital staff page him.

The day seemed an eternity and I’m sure I looked exhausted before I reached my office. Driving the extra two hours required on the beltway to get Tom to the hospital before work, surviving the admissions process, driving another one and one-half hours on the beltway, bumper to bumper, to get to my office, depleted my negligible reserve of stamina. I was on autopilot, again.

As I drove, I peeked into other cars and all the drivers wore the same stoic expression. We were five lanes of traffic moving at eighty miles an hour with nowhere to stop in an emergency. It always amazed me that on the opposite side of the concrete dividers, another five lanes of bumper to bumper traffic traveled eighty miles an hour going in the reverse direction. It appeared we were all going round and round on some pointless, endless amusement ride.

Some mornings during my commute I’d watch drivers working on laptop computers on the seat beside them with a phone glued to their ear. Other times I’d see a young woman removing rollers from her hair and applying makeup. I’d brood angrily, while these young professionals were working or sending e-mails to lovers. Why had my life become so intolerably chaotic, always directed by the unstable requirements of Tom’s disease?

I’d gotten out of bed on a cold morning to rush Tom to the hospital, again. It distracted me and time passed faster when I fantasized that the young woman applying her makeup and fluffing her hair in the car next to mine stayed a moment too long in her lover’s bed for one more lingering caress. Maybe a baby or toddler stole those few precious moments from her?

Now that I was at my office, I wanted to stay in the car and go to sleep. It didn’t matter that it was cold. I simply didn’t want to see anyone or interact with my deputy or the staff. I didn’t care about the appointments scheduled for a full day.

How was I going to get through this day? I had to focus but I couldn’t stop yawning. Of one thing I was certain, today would not proceed as planned. Would I ever learn? Plans had no place in my life. Other people made plans, I could not. Some day the cumulative disappointments would destroy me.

THESE THINGS I KNOW FOR SURE

  • Suicide will knock again.Provided by Healthy Place.com

    Unconditional Love Will Survive Along With Mental Illness

  • No one is exempt from suicide.
  • A correct diagnosis is critical.
  • Bipolar disorder is a progressive disease.
  • Clinical depression can and does manifest without warning and it must be treated aggressively, and at once.
  • Firearm availability increases the risk of suicide.
  • Miracles happen with the dawning of each new day.
  • Unconditional love will see you through and the reward of beginning each new day together is the reason you do what you do.

 

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SIX UNEXPECTED WAYS BEES BENEFIT EVERYONE

14 July 2014

The Natural Resources Defense Council has recently created a donation fund to prevent major chemical companies Dow, Bayer, Monsanto and Syngenta from using toxic pesticides which endanger the lives of bees. Because this is an important step in saving the already dwindling bee populations, we’ve decided to compile these great reasons to save our bees, which you may not have been aware of:

1. Toxins found in bee venom may help to destroy HIV. Their venom contains a substance called “melittin”, which is capable of piercing small holes the protective envelope surrounding the HIV virus.

Giphy

2. Bees are capable of “reverse-aging” in their brains. This means that whenever they take on a responsibility which is typically performed by a much younger bee, their brain changes accordingly. This behavior may help in giving researchers the ability to slow or treat age-related dementia.

3. The resin made by bees to seal their hives, called propolis, has numerous health benefits, including soothing inflammation and pain, fighting infection, and acting as an antioxidant for the bloodstream.

4. Bees can recognize faces through the process of piecing together the facial features (known as configural processing), much in the same way as humans. The study of bee facial-recognition methods could potentially be beneficial to the wider facial-recognition community, even being used to improve airport security.

5. Bees are capable of solving some complex mathematical problems, as they can identify the shortest distance between two points (or in this case, flowers) even if they didn’t find the two points in the same order. They are apparently the first animals to do this. By understanding how bees calculate the shortest distance without using a computer, humans could simplify how they operate daily networks such as traffic routes and information flow on the internet.

Giphy

6. Researchers believe that the methods bees use in hunting for food could inform authorities on the behavioral patterns of serial killers. Reason being, bees use geographic profiling — meaning they hunt far enough away from their nest so as to not alert predators or other parasites to the location of their home. Scientists believe serial killers operate in a similar fashion, creating a “buffer zone” around their home base.

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THE TEARS OF AN ELEPHANT

from THE DISH/BIASED AND UNBALANCED

July 7, 2014

 

Yesterday, there was a strikingly good reported piece in the NYT magazine on thegrowing evidence that consciousness does not have some kind of radical break between humans and every other species on the planet. And by consciousness, at varying levels, I mean, for example, the ability to feel fear, or joy, or anxiety, or even grief. This is emphatically not about anthropomorphism. It’s about the reality of creation:

A profusion of recent studies has shown animals to be far closer to us than we previously believed — it turns out that common shore crabs feel and remember pain, zebra finches experience REM sleep, fruit-fly brothers cooperate, dolphins and elephants recognize themselves in mirrors, chimpanzees assist one another without expecting favors in return and dogs really do feel elation in their owners’ presence. In the summer of 2012, an unprecedented document, masterminded by Low — “The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in Human and Nonhuman Animals”[PDF] — was signed by a group of leading animal researchers in the presence of Stephen Hawking. It asserted that mammals, birds and other creatures like octopuses possess consciousness and, in all likelihood, emotions and self-awareness.

And then I come across this rather beautiful story about an elephant around my own age, captured in his infancy, chained and shackled his entire life, until he is released by an animal welfare group:

Fitted with painful shackles for nearly his entire life, Raju had been forced to walk the dusty roads of India, interacting with tourists in exchange for coins and food. His body bears the signs of malnutrition and the scars of physical abuse — but the emotional toll was no less profound. Late last week, a team led by the UK-based animal charity, Wildlife SOS, intervened to liberate Raju from his cruel keeper. As it started to become clear that they were there to help him, the elephant wept.

Wept? I was doubtful until I read other tales of exactly this phenomenon: in a book from Jeffrey Masson, When Elephants Weep, and a recent story about a newborn elephant calf, rejected by its mother, who then cried uncontrollably for five hours.

Does weeping mean in elephants what it does in humans? We cannot know, of course. But when it is occasioned by the kind of event that prompts human tears, it does not seem to me to be indulging in anthropomorphism to posit that something like grief or relief (or some elephantine version of either) is behind it. And that, to my mind, tells us a huge amount empirically about the way we treat animals in our society: we treat countless living creatures as if they had no feelings and as if we shared nothing in our experiences. That’s not just based on untruth; it is the kind of thing that future generations may well look back on in horror and disbelief.

To see what is in front of one’s nose …

(Photo: Tears run down the face of Motala the elephant. She is crying from the pain as vets clean up the damaged tissue that is all that is left of her front left foot. She is a patient at the Elephant Hospital where vets and doctors hope she will recover from extensive damage when she stepped on a landmine on the Thai/Burma border. The hospital was founded by Khun Soraida Salwala, and the NGO Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE). By Peter Charlesworth/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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7 Reasons Why People Age Better In California

 

The Huffington Post  | By 

Contrary to popular wisdom, not everything keeps better in the cold. Some things, like people, actually may age better if they live in the warmer temps of southern California. Don’t think so, eh? Post why in the comments below. But for Huff/Post 50, we think Californians age better because:

Californians, in general, are happier.
We all know that exposure to sunlight combats depression and lifts our spirits. And let’s face it, Californians are outside in the sun more. In southern California, pretty much every day is a sunny day, especially thanks to our current drought conditions. Sure there is hellacious traffic, but once we find our zen with the 405 Freeway, the rest is easy. We aren’t going to win any centenarians’ race here (although the 2010 Census said we had 5,921 people who were 100 or older,compared to New York with a mere 4,605), but we’d venture to say that more of our “elder olders” get to the finish line with a smile on their tanned faces.

Californians don’t get skin cancers as much as Vermonters.
We all know that sun damages our skin, which is why it’s so surprising that the incidence of skin cancer is actually higher in some cold weather states than it is in California. The incidence of skin cancers is lower in California, says the Centers for Disease Control, than in many other states including Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Could it be that Californians are just more vigilant about applying sunscreen?People who use sunscreen daily show 24 percent less skin aging than those who don’t. It may also be that we are just more vigilant about going to see our dermatologists. The $10.1 billion dermatology market in the U.S. is expected to grow to $13.1 million by 2017. Why? Because of the population’s aging.

Californians exercise, like a lot.
Exercise keeps our hearts stronger, our blood pressure lower and our bones and muscles stronger. The California lifestyle is just more conducive to exercising. It has us out at the beach, on bicycles, boards — boogie, snow and surf — and of course skis (sometimes all on the same day). We were born with tennis rackets in our hands. We love our mountain hiking trails. We get dogs as fashion accessories and then have to walk them.

And yes, we actually walk places, despite the perception that we drive everywhere.According to MiceChat, just spending the day at Disneyland will put about 6 miles on your Fitbit.

We accept when our number is up — at least when it comes to defibrillators, unlike the good people of Oregon.
The California State Supreme court recently rejected the claims of the family of a California woman who died of cardiac arrest while shopping in Target. As the story goes, Mary Ann Verdugo, 49, collapsed while shopping at a Pico Rivera Target store in August of 2008. Paramedics were called, but couldn’t revive her. The Verdugo family sued, claiming Target should have had a defibrillator available in its store in case of medical emergency. Not so, said the state court. The court concluded there is nothing in California law requiring any of our retailers to provide a defibrillator. The only state to have such a requirement on the books is Oregon, which has a statute requiring the owner of a “place of public assembly” to have at least one defibrillator in place. This from the state that brought us Jack Kevorkian. Go figure.

Californians are forced to wear bathing suits year round.
Unlike the Northeast, Californians don’t get a grace period for pigging out around the winter holidays. Knowing that we can get invited to a pool or beach party on a day’s notice — 365 days a year — keeps us on our toes in the over-eating and under-exercising departments. Don’t believe us? Mappers have counted 43,123 swimming pools in Los Angeles alone. And that doesn’t count the San Fernando Valley, which would kind of be like eliminating Long Island in a New York count.

Californians have Hollywood role models.
While a few have gone a little crazy in the plastic surgery department, many celebrities have shown us how to age gracefully. And if George Clooney at 53 isn’t the handsomest guy out there, well, we don’t know who is.

Californians invented reinvention.
Second acts, second chapters, call it whatever you want. But when it comes to figuring out what your next incarnation is, we are all Shirley MacLaines. If the first career fizzles out, Californians just go find themselves a new one where their charms are more appreciated. Actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronald Reagan both enjoyed long second acts in politics.

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http://www.ted.com/talks/jamila_lyiscott_3_ways_to_speak_english?utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_campaign=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_content=button__2014-06-19

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