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My teeth are a mess! Should I consider dentures?
Fashion & Beauty, Healthy Living
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Today’s Featured Comments

From Lynne B


Let me preface this by saying that if I had the money that has been spent on my teeth over the last 55 years, if it had been invested, I would probably have very few worries about retiring.  I say that because when I ask the question I have to ask, most of you are going to think that I have neglected my teeth over the years and nothing could be further from the truth.

My teeth have always been horrible.  I have 4 teeth in my mouth that have not been crowned.  Every crown and every bridge I have ever had, the existing teeth decayed underneath.  I have had one oral surgery after another over the years, spent hours in a dentist chair, wore braces in my 30s and on and on.  SO that brings me to today.  I year ago the denist I was going to suggested partials.  They are awful.  Now the 4 natural teeth that I have left are starting to decay.  I am a professional and work in the public daily.  I am about to loose my mind about these teeth.  I understand that dental implants are incredibly expensive and in all honesty, I would imagine that I have enough bone loss that I would not be a good candidate for implants.

Does anyone out there have full dentures and if so, could you please share any advice that you may have.  Any suggestions from anyone else that has had this same experience with really crappy teeth???  My mom and dad both had ALL their natural teeth when they passed away.  I have no idea how I ended up with this mess!!  Thanks so much – any advice or wisdom would be greatly appreciated!!

From jhl&f

EEK!!! Do Not Get Dentures.  Dentures are NOT a substitute for teeth.  Dentures are a substitute for No Teeth At All.  Your teeth are part of your skeleton and when they are removed – no matter what a denture-pusher tells you – your face will begin to deteriorate.  Your gums will deteriorate and your dentures will never fit tightly as the base they need to stay put will become less and less secure as time goes on.  I don’t know where you live, or what your circumstances are, but you will put your overall health at risk by not finding out all your options – and that may start with finding another dentist.

Dentures are NOT a substitute for teeth.  Dentures are a substitute for NO TEETH AT ALL.  Your teeth, part of your skeletal system, are the foundation for your face  and if they are removed-no matter what anyone tells you-you will NEVER look the same.  Your gums will deteriorate as the underlying bone and tissue shrinks, so the dentures will never fit properly as the base necessary for them to sit on will erode over time.  You may think this is a choice of economics.  It most definitely is not.  The health of your mouth is key to having good health overall.  I don’t know where you live, or what your circumstances are, but you will put your overall health at risk by not finding out all your options – and that may start with finding another dentist.  I am 60, have survived bad orthodontia, exposed roots, have several molars with caps, and am seeing my endodontist tomorrow for a 6-month follow up from an emergency root canal.  Expensive?  Depends on what quality of life is worth to you.

Sometimes it’s hell to grow old, but don’t go hurrying the downward spiral along with an extreme and irreversible choice. Please, find another, more competent dentist.

[These comments were originally posted in these conversations. ~ Eds.]

Dentures – what’s advice would you give a friend?

Ellen Dolgen
The big “O” – Osteoporosis 101
Healthy Living
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Osteopenia means low bone mass that places you at increased risk for osteoporosis and broken bones. When it comes to your bones, being dense is a good thing. However, Dr. Diane Schneider, author of The Complete Book of Bone Health, explains, “A diagnosis of osteopenia doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll develop osteoporosis. Osteopenia is not a disease, either.”

Detecting osteopenia

So how do you gauge your bone density? There is a test for most everything and bone density is no exception. Bone density is determined via a bone scan or bone mineral density (BMD) test. The most common – and most accurate – test is a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan. Try saying that real fast! The bones in the spine, hip and sometimes the forearm are those most commonly tested.

If you’re worried about radiation, have no fears. A DXA scan uses low-dose X-rays. According to the National Institutes of Health, you receive more radiation from a chest x-ray.

To scan or not to scan, that is the question.

Are you a candidate for a bone scan? The National Osteoporosis Foundation suggests that you should consider it if you can answer “yes” to these two questions:

  • Are you a postmenopausal woman or man age 50 or older?
  • Have you recently broken a bone?

The test itself only takes about 10 minutes, so you can’t use “I’ve got no time” as an excuse. However, not all insurance plans cover bone scans, so be sure to check with your carrier first. The average cost of a DXA scan of the spine and hip is $140.

Your T-score and what it means

The T-score is the result of the scan (and we’re not talking golf). The Mayo Clinic explains that your T-score compares your bone density with that of a healthy young adult of your sex.

According to the criteria established by the World Health Organization, here’s what your T-score means:

-1 & above normal
Between -1 to -2.5 osteopenia or low bone density
-2.5 & lower osteoporosis

If you have a T-score of -1, you have twice the risk for bone fracture as someone with a normal BMD. If your T-score is -2, you have four times the risk.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2001 reported that a 50-year-old white woman with a T-score of -1 has a 16 percent chance of fracturing a hip, a 27 percent chance with a -2 score, and a 33 percent chance with a -2.5 score.

Beyond the numbers assessing the overall risk

“Over the past decade, we have learned to use bone density scan results in the context of assessing one’s overall risk of fracture,” Dr. Schneider said. “The result of osteopenia must be evaluated along with other risk factors. For instance, if you compare a 55-year old woman with a 75-year old woman who both have the same T-score of -2.0, the 75-year old woman will have a higher risk of fracture based on her age alone. Various tools are being used to quantify fracture risk like the FRAX calculator. As a result, fewer early postmenopausal women are being treated with osteoporosis medicines.”

Medical options

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends drug treatment for osteopenia in postmenopausal women and men age 50 and older who have at least a 20 percent risk of any major fracture (spine, forearm, hip, or shoulder) in the next decade or at least a 3 percent risk of a hip fracture.

Johns Hopkins Medicine warns that taking bisphosphonates or other bone-building medications for osteopenia means you may be treating a condition that might never develop. These medications also can be costly, which may be a determining factor on when – or if – you begin taking them. You will want to make sure your risk is high enough to warrant starting on medicines.

Medications used to treat osteopenia/osteoporosis include alendronate (Fosamax and Binosto), risedronate (Actonel and Atelvia), ibandronate (Boniva), and raloxifene (Evista). Other medical options include denosumab (Prolia) as twice a year injections, zoledronic acid (Reclast), given intravenously once a year or every two years, and teriparatide (Forteo), daily injections for a total of two years only. Estrogen is FDA-approved for prevention of osteoporosis if other options are not viable.

Some doctors recommend taking medication for five years, taking a break, and then going back on medication. This may mitigate any potential rare negative side effects, such as femur fractures, jawbone decay and more.

Non-medical options

Harvard experts suggest if your T-score is closer to -1, you’re better off getting more weight-bearing exercise, calcium (1000 mg/day), and vitamin D (800 mg/day). Weight-bearing exercises are usually those where your feet (not your tatas) touch the ground, such as running and walking. Strive for at least 30 minutes a day.

Heavy drinking can increase your risk of osteoporosis, so, ladies, you’ve got to lay off the bottle… in moderation. One alcoholic drink a day for women and two a day for men is considered moderate.

It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway – you shouldn’t smoke. Period.

Osteopenia has been overmedicated in the past. Now that fracture risk is assessed, those with low fracture risk do not benefit from medicine, but those with high risk, as defined by the National Osteoporosis Foundation, do.

If you’ve been diagnosed with osteopenia, consult with your physician to determine the best course of action.

Keep the “O” in the bedroom; keep it out of your bones!

Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!

Robin Donovan, Menologues
Gearing up for my 10-year Menoversary
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Ten years ago in October I had a hysterectomy and started down my menopausal journey. In many ways it feels more like 30 years ago! So much has happened – correction – so much has had to be dealt with in that 10-year time frame.

Looking back on these past ten years the dominant feeling has been one of frustration. Dealing with a body that has changed, and not much of that change has been positive! I don’t even feel as joyous over the lack of a monthly cycle as I’d expected – man, I thought that would be a celebration every month – but it feels as though it’s just kind of faded away. Sometimes I try to remind myself of the discomfort and inconvenience just so I can feel triumphant – but it falls kind of flat.

What I do experience is the greater difficulty in losing weight (not that it’s ever been easy), the night sweats and the hot flashes. The ever present need to check my “freshness” on pretty much every front. In short, I kind off feel like a walking, clammy blob. It’s not great!

Do I sound whiny? Honey, I’m just getting started, but I’ll guarantee those around me would be crabbing about the broken record who’s been overgenerous with her TMI!

In fact, I’m lucky. I have a great doctor who monitors my hormones and works to improve my symptoms, a wonderful chiropractor who helps me with symptoms as well as controlling scar tissue from my surgery – that’s been a huge (and most unwelcome) presence in my life!

I’ve said it before, menopause doesn’t end. You’ve lost key hormones in your body and they don’t just come back after a bit – they never come back. I’m convinced that the clinical definition of menopause being over is the body accepting that death is inevitable and that decay leading to death is only natural. It’s not like having the flu and having it be over!

Sadly, one difference that has occurred over these past 10 years is that I used to be quick to point out that I was in surgical menopause – because I went into menopause earlier than the average – I was very young. Now, 10-years later I’m quick to point out that I may still be IN menopause (doubtful, but you prove I’m not!) – because I’m too young to be finished with menopause. Damn, the years are unkind in so many ways!




My Heart Goes Out To You
Family & Relationships
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Aging brings with it the opportunity to make decisions during our lives that will leave profound legacies; for our families and for people we will never meet once we are gone.  However, contemplation of the following should be done by everyone, no matter the age.

Think about the body part phrases we use daily to express ourselves.  ‘I’d give my right arm to have that job.’  ‘I’m just trying to get my foot in the door.’  ‘He’s cutting his nose off to spite his face.’  ‘I’m all ears.’   You get our drift, although we’re not trying to point fingers.

Many parts of our container, as I call it, are essential to human life.  What if your son or daughter’s life depended on the generosity of someone donating an organ?   It’s not like the deceased actually need their body parts anymore.  Un- donated organs will either be burned or left to decay with the passing of time.

One important legacy that will make you a true hero in the eyes of many people, especially a transplant recipient and the people who love them, is to be an Organ Donor.  YOU can be that hero.  YOU can make the difference in someone else’s life.

Here are some amazing reasons to consider donation that may be helpful to you in making your donor status decision.  (Partially taken from the LifeSource Organ and Tissue Donation website.)

Why consider donation?

Your decision saves lives – up to 60 lives, in fact!  It’s also a gift to your family and your community.

YOU can give someone their life back.

Imagine being tethered to a dialysis machine or struggling to breathe while walking up a flight of stairs.  What if you couldn’t ride a bike, play with your kids or travel? The gift of organ donation brings new life to people who are struggling with end-stage organ failure and allows them to once again live their life instead of watching from the sidelines.

It’s a gift to your own family.

It is often heard from donor families that their loved one’s donation was the one positive thing that came out of a terrible tragedy.  Many families say that knowing their loved one helped save and heal lives gave them great comfort and strength in their grief journey.

Would you want someone to help you?

The fact is, you are more likely to end up needing an organ or tissue transplant than donating. Fewer than 5% of people are able to give the precious gift of organ and tissue donation upon their death.  Nearly 120,000 people are currently waiting for an organ transplant and the number continues to grow each day.  If you’d be willing to accept a transplant, shouldn’t you be willing to help someone else?

Spread the word; ask your friends and family, start a campaign at your church or other groups in which you are involved.  The life you save by just initiating the conversation may be the one that’s reading this right now, YOU, or more importantly one of your children’s lives.  So don’t just give this ‘lip service’, ‘shake a leg’. Because I am a donor I can truly say ‘my heart goes out to you’.

To obtain HERO status in creating YOUR legacy just check the “Donor” box on your drivers license OR click here to link to our favorite law firm,  LOMMEN ABDO.

Create a Life to Love. 4 things happy people do consistently.
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All kinds of people study what makes happy people that way.  I hope it makes THEM happy too!

The findings of a recent report were surprisingly simple….so much so, they may make some cynics scoff—but then I have never met a cynic who was happy, have you?  If you are feeling a little blue…..then there might be a way into a new view with just a few easy things to do.

Here are the most recent findings about what happy people do on a daily basis:

1.  They make up their beds.

Studies have shown that happy people have some kind of internal sense of beginning and ending things. One researcher called it consistent “markers” that are an ingrained part of each day.  Happy people get closure, feel complete, then move on to the next thing.  The simple act of making up a bed is getting closure from the night before.  It sets the wheels of a new day into motion. It cleans things up and gets life in order….even in the smallest way.  Makes sense to me.

2.  They floss.

Happy people are most often the healthiest.  And, like the consistent “markers” mentioned above, flossing is another way to get closure, as in the end of a meal. before moving forward.  Tooth decay and gum disease—-as well as other diseases that are transmitted through food—when left in the teeth, create a kind of “compost” in the mouth that breeds all kinds of nasty stuff.  Gum disease and heart disease are directly related.  Happy people get the gunk out.

3.  They find a way to help others.

Happy people find a way to give back or to give, in general.  One happy woman I know, when I shared this list with her—-was in total agreement.  Her comment, “Hey, when you are helping someone else and you know what you have done has been of benefit….everyone wins.  Their lives improve AND, I know that who I am and my life experience actualy matters. Helping out is a two-way street.”

4.  They listen to music.

Happy people bolster themselves with music that re-inforces their love of life.  The genres span the spectrum.  Happy people get their groove on.  They use music to enhance whatever activity they are pursuing.  They like to hum, too. Supposedly, only twenty percent of happy people are actual musicians—-justing listening is enough.

Looks like being happy could be pretty easy to do.

boomer breasts and the state of the planet
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Boomer breasts, while going about their daily business in relative obscurity, have nonetheless unwittingly become symbols of the general state of our world.

The Breaking up of the Polar Ice Caps: The southward journey of the Boomer breast is symbolic of the sinking of the polar ice caps, but because it is located in a place that isn’t normally seen by the public, it is allowed it’s continue slide in relative obscurity until that critical moment when a casual look informs one that it has disappeared, or rather, has relocated itself to another place entirely.

The Disappearance of the Tundra: Like the disappearing permafrost, the decline of the Boomer Breast has its repercussions. As one scientist said, “Think of broccoli that you’ve got in the freezer. As long as it’s frozen, it will remain stable for years. As soon as you pull it out, it’ll go mushy and soon begin to unleash the stench of decay.” This quote has nothing to do with the Boomer Breast, but it is sort of disgusting to think about.

The Fiscal Cliff: The Boomer Breast, like the fate of the US economy, continues to be bogged down by partisan interests: the desire to be true to oneself vs the desire not to scare people in public.  The result is extreme factions, in which some women flaunt their natural sag and secure their breasts with their belts in public, while others wear regular bras during the day, sleeping bras at night, and look forward to a “shower bra” being marketed in the near future on QVC.

Fox News: The Boomer Breast, like Fox News, isn’t what it appears to be.  Held up by various hidden levers and pulleys, it may seem to be legitimate.  But fact checks reveal that its source is often contrived and influenced by outside interests. When threatened, it closes ranks and issues statements like “Everyone thinks I’m ten years younger than my age” and “I still have the breasts of a Barbie Doll.”

Palestine Admitted to the UN:  Like a non-country being treated like a country, the Boomer Breast often masquerades as legitimate, even though it’s the bra, and not the breast, that others respond to. The breast hides its natural inclinations and the world hopes that the bra will continue to keep it in check.

The Petreus Scandal: Like the most recent antics of the high-profile male, the Boomer Breast may, on occasion, stray into territory in which it shouldn’t.  But basically, it does its job well and it’s decline in no way interferes with its performance.  And anyway, it is only doing what all members of its species do (or would like to do) and so shouldn’t be blamed for what is natural and expected.

Fallout: Yes.

The Endangered Species Act: I wish.

Alien Invasion: While many Boomer women would like to believe that the state of their breasts is due to an alien invasion, this writer has found no evidence to support that belief. Yet.

Lynne B
Healthy Living
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Let me preface this by saying that if I had the money that has been spent on my teeth over the last 55 years, if it had been invested, I would probably have very few worries about retiring.  I say that because when I ask the question I have to ask, most of you are going to think that I have neglected my teeth over the years and nothing could be further from the truth. 

My teeth have always been horrible.  I have 4 teeth in my mouth that have not been crowned.  Every crown and every bridge I have ever had, the existing teeth decayed underneath.  I have had one oral surgery after another over the years, spent hours in a dentist chair, wore braces in my 30s and on and on.  SO that brings me to today.  I year ago the denist I was going to suggested partials.  They are awful.  Now the 4 natural teeth that I have left are starting to decay.  I am a professional and work in the public daily.  I am about to loose my mind about these teeth.  I understand that dental implants are incredibly expensive and in all honesty, I would imagine that I have enough bone loss that I would not be a good candidate for implants. 

Does anyone out there have full dentures and if so, could you please share any advice that you may have.  Any suggestions from anyone else that has had this same experience with really crappy teeth???  My mom and dad both had ALL their natural teeth when they passed away.  I have no idea how I ended up with this mess!!  Thanks so much – any advice or wisdom would be greatly appreciated!!

VN Newsletters
Bathing suit shopping: A mid-winter’s nightmare (VN Newsletter, March 15, 2012)
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overheard on vibrant nation

fashion & beauty

Bathing suit shopping: A mid-winter’s nightmare
I don’t know too many middle-aged women who enjoy bathing suit shopping at any time of year. But then I found it: A beautiful greenish-gold, simply cut, modest yet sexy, feminine, classic suit. And it fit. And it even looked good — unbelievable!

love & marriage

Celibate — and not by choice (My update)
Two weeks ago, I was ready to leave my marriage. But after reading all your wise, empowering advice, I decided not to do that. Here’s what I did instead.

don’t miss

health & fitness

What will you do with your one wild and precious life?
Although aging is up to nature, decay is up to us.The way we choose to live our daily life determines our state of health. Amazingly enough, it can be springtime for us every single day.

home & garden

Help me plan my spring garden!
The gardening catalogs are starting to come in the mail and I’ve been poring over them. Spring isn’t here yet but it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead! Any suggestions for easy, shade-friendly, animal-proof flowers?

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EmpowHER Improving Health - Changing Lives
5 Ways to Beat Gum Disease
Healthy Living
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Official dental opinion states that once your gums start receding, they cannot recover and all that can be done is scale and polishing to prevent any further gum loss.  However, some dental professionals are now realizing that gum tissue can regenerate and with the right recovery program it is possible to reverse gum disease.

1. First, look at your diet. Stay away from sugar and too many carbohydrates and eat high protein healthy foods.  Snack on seeds as these contain minerals that may contribute to healthier gum tissue.

Swap your morning coffee for a cup of green tea.  Research in the  Journal of Periodontology found that for every cup of green tea drunk, patients had less gum bleeding, less clinical attachment loss and shallower periodontal pocket depth.  The more green tea they drank, the lower the incidence in periodontal disease.

This is probably because of catechin, a substance in green tea that is antioxidant and reduces inflammation.  Take a multivitamin supplement, particularly if you aren’t sure that your diet contains everything you need or you have a busy lifestyle.

2. Check your toothpaste. It may be making the situation worse.  Don’t have one that contains chemical whiteners or artificial coloring as these may irritate gum tissue.  Sodium lauryl sulfate can also irritate and actually serves no purpose for your teeth and gums.  It isn’t needed for their health.  Saccharine or sugar is counter-productive and can hasten tooth decay.

Fluoride has been reported to protect against dental decay and gum disease, however, research carried out in 2007 found that in high-fluoride areas, there was a strong occurrence of periodontal disease.  There is also a condition called fluorosis caused by having too much fluoride that can chip away at your enamel and result in cracked and weakened teeth.

Opt for natural toothpastes that state ‘100% natural ingredients’ on the packaging.  Rosemary toothpastes may improve gum cell regeneration.

Other examples of toothpastes are echinacea (good for wound healing), baking soda, bee propolis (a natural antibiotic that may help tackle bacteria in the mouth) and calendula.  If you want to use a tea tree toothpaste, only do so sparingly in conjunction with a regular toothpaste as too much tea tree can irritate the gums.

3. Use a mouthwash to combat bacteria. Both commercial and herbal brands are available but the commercial brands contain dye and other artificial products that may be too harsh on delicate gum tissue.  Mouthwash can be put on a toothbrush or cotton bud and dabbed onto the affected area.

4. Use an oral irrigator. This uses jets of water to clean out areas of your mouth that you may not reach with a toothbrush.  You can add mouthwash, baking soda or salt to your irrigator to get a really good clean.

5. Use a gum massager. Battery-operated gum massagers are available from shops and online stores.  By massaging the gums daily, you can increase blood flow to them which will increase their oxygen supply and may reverse gum disease.

Robin Goodfellow
Your Inner Mermaid
Family & Relationships, Healthy Living
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MY MOM HAS AN AFFINITY for the mermaid, a form that flows from her unconscious through fingers that shape it from clay and paint as unconsciously as Richard Dreyfuss formed Devils Tower from mashed potatoes and shaving cream in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I doubt she has an objection to the fact that we have algae at the base of our family tree, simple forms ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms such as seaweed and the giant kelps that grow to 65 meters in length.

We’ll get to algae as a relative, a great-great-grandmother of sorts, in a second. I’m giving you a heads-up here since it’s tucked inside a valuable message from Dr. Henry Lodge who insists that, although aging is up to nature, decay is up to you.

This faculty member at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons asks how you can get your physical brain to comprehend your choice of new life over decay. After all, he writes, ”This brain is deaf, dumb and blind. Literally. Apart from smell, it has no direct connection to the world. Inside your skull, it is always dark, wet, a little salty and 98.6 degrees. Your physical brain knows only what you tell it by the way you live your life. Your physical brain and body evolved in a harsh world, with no second chances, and their mechanisms are as fundamental as the orbit of the earth around the sun. Until the day you die, they will believe, with relentless certainty, that you still live in nature.”

Can you believe that? Guess we live in a parallel universe next to the one our brains live in. Brick houses, fridges full of cream pies and French fries on the coffee table next to raised feet and a couple of remotes…that’s what we see, but our physical brains don’t. Though it does sound like it can smell the French fries. Here we are, sedentary, sated, and it’s thinking hibernation, hard times. The smell of French fries must be confusing.

“That’s why,” Lodge goes on, “the way you choose to live your daily life determines your state of health–good or bad, whether you like it or not. Health is your physical brain’s perfect adaptation of your body to the world it thinks you live in. This is not about disease, that’s different. No one chooses disease. It’s just plain bad luck, though often piled on top of bad health. But you choose your state of health. You can see this as a burden or a privilege, a gift or a curse, but you can’t put it down and you can’t get away from it. That’s great news, if you understand the rules, because it’s not that hard to take over the controls.

“Taking charge starts with a look at how the whole system was designed, and that takes us back to the beginning. The first stirrings of life began 3.5 billion years ago, with our direct ancestors–algae, yeast and then bacteria. That pedigree is not humiliating, it’s awe-inspiring, and we should be grateful for it. We do ourselves a great disservice by thinking we can divorce ourselves from evolution. Your family tree goes back 3,500 million years, and every second of it was spent perfecting the body and brains you inherited. Not one second of wasted time, mind you, but 3.5 billion years of making you perfect.”

The poet, Mary Oliver, asks, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Answer: You can eat piles of potatoes (finger playing in them if you like…thank you, Richard) and sit in front of the TV, decaying every day, or you can choose to acknowledge your roots. Hats off to swimming, mermaiding, running, exploring, lifting, trying, doing. Amazingly enough, it can be springtime to that dumb brain of yours (hey, the doc said it, not me) every single day.

Robin Goodfellow
How To Get Arrested (or Foam Cells, Yikes!)
Healthy Living
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“REMEMBER, NO MATTER WHAT, don’t sell liquor by the drink. It’s against the law around here.”

The young man who’d just hired me looked intently into my eyes to make certain I understood. I understood. I could sell beer, and I could serve setups for those who brought their own spirits. The bottles sat in a colorful row on a shelf behind the bar.

I was pursuing a Masters in English literature and had taken a job as a bartender via a wild hair during the summer between semesters. I was curious about the night life, having little myself. And, oh yes, I needed money.

One night, a couple of red-faced older guys in Hawaiian floral shirts stopped in early. It was so early, in fact, that just one regular sat at the bar, nursing his drink.

“What’ll it be, fellas?” I asked.

“Bourbon,” they answered, almost in tandem. I noted their lack of a personal bottle and smiled. “Sorry, we don’t sell liquor by the drink. How about a cold beer?”

“Nope,” answered one. “I want bourbon.” The other nodded in acquiescence. Big old babies, thought I. I explained that this was simply not possible. We didn’t sell liquor by the drink…it was against the law. Again, I suggested a beer. Again, they made it clear that nothing but bourbon would do.

At that point, the regular client who sat three bar stools away nodded his head toward his own bottle, so I poured two drinks from it. “So nice of you, Jonathan,” I said, and pointedly looked at the ungrateful men. “This guy is sharing his bourbon with you.” They ignored my remark and each plopped down fifty cents for the setup (having moi pour a drink was valuable stuff), downed the liquid and shoved their shot glasses forward. “One more.”

I looked askance at Jonathan. He nodded again, and as I poured, I said, “That’s awfully generous of you.” I was irritated that the two men hadn’t thanked him, hadn’t acknowledged his gift. They flung down more quarters for the setups, tossed their second round back, and left. I was glad to see them go.

A few nights later, a half dozen policemen streamed into the club, shouting, “Arrest warrant for Ann Doe!” I thought…well, I’m Ann. Oh my gosh, they want me! So I did what any law-abiding citizen would do. I ducked into a little black-curtained phone booth.

Okay, I thought as I sat there. This is just nonsense. Go out and find out what the heck’s going on. I walked out. What was going on, they said, was that I’d broken the law…I had sold liquor by the drink. I was extremely vocal in my denial of the charge and on the way to the station in the squad car (a brand new, exciting experience for me) I was told quite firmly to shut up.

I was released within a few hours, and the young man whose livelihood I’d just placed in jeopardy contacted me a day or two later. The case would go to trial in a couple of weeks, he informed me, and he insisted I lie about it. I was shocked. And stressed. Although the two men had been given the liquor by Jonathan, they’d paid for the setups. If Jonathan had treated them to my pouring as well as the stuff I poured into their glasses, there would’ve been no “sale.” I was outraged, frightened.

“I’m just going to tell the court how it happened,” I told the owner. “They can’t possibly shut you down because of an innocent misunderstanding like that.”

“They can, and they will,” he said desperately. “You’ve got to say you didn’t do it. It’s your word against theirs.”

I didn’t know what I was going to do. I still don’t know what I was going to do. It never went to trial. The club closed the very next week, forever.

I guess what I’m trying to say (besides warning anyone and everyone to never hire me as bartender) is that the old saw, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you,” is wrong. It can hurt you, and it can hurt others.

In Younger Next Year, Henry Lodge, MD writes something that will surprise you. At least, it surprised me.

As he discusses the cycle of decay and repair that drives our physical well-being throughout our lives, he tells us, “You can control the cycle. Commuting, loneliness, apathy, too much alcohol and TV all trigger the inflammatory part of the cycle. But daily exercise, joy, play, engagement, challenge and closeness all trigger the crucial repair.” That makes sense; now, are you ready for the surprising part? Here goes. “That’s why a man who’s thirty pounds overweight, smoking a pack a day but exercising every day, has a lower statistical mortality than a thin, sedentary nonsmoker.”

He goes on to say that vigorous exercise cuts one’s risk of dying from heart attack by half. And chronic stress? We all think we know about that, right? Heck, I thought I knew all about selling liquor by the drink! But here’s the deal. Lodge goes on to say that “chronic stress alone won’t kill you. It will melt big chunks of you, but it won’t kill you. We, however, have taken it a step further, because we’ve coupled chronic stress with cheese and butter and red meat and chips and sugar and French fries.” Then he gives us this lovely image: “When you combine chronic stress with our rotten diet, the white cells turn into vacuum cleaners sucking fat out of your bloodstream. They grow to obscene proportions. They absorb so much fat that the actual cellular machinery of your arterial walls becomes invisible, buried under a mountain of goop. We don’t even call them white blood cells anymore; we call them foam cells.”

Fine, I don’t want to know about foam cells. But foam cells don’t care whether I want to know about them or not. They’re there, anyway. The good news is, of course, that joy, connection, good food, exercise…all these lovely things will keep your own club open. There’s not much refuge in ignorance, hope, or a black-curtained phone booth. It simply bears repeating: what we don’t know can hurt us.

That’s true across the board and can happen to anyone in various ways. Once, during a stirring 1963 Berlin speech, John F. Kennedy said, “Ich bin ein Berliner.” Some linguists argue that he unintentionally identified himself as a jelly-filled doughnut.

Wow, those two red-faced old fellas in Hawaiian shirts that were straining at the buttons? I’m surprised they didn’t ask for jelly-filled doughnuts to go with their bourbon. You know…to feed their foam cells before trying to throw me into a steel one.

Aging Gal
Personal Hygiene or Times I Wish I had No Sense of Smell
Healthy Living
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As some of you know, I work in a dialysis clinic and the smells are unpleasant at best. The aroma is a concoction of blood, liquid medications, bleach, body odor and bad breath, a.k.a. Halitosis. The last two scents are the focus of today’s column. Lord knows I don’t smell like Plumeria blossoms after running thirteen miles in the West Maui sun, but I do know the health and social benefits of bathing and brushing.

Halitosis can result from poor oral hygiene, which leads to a buildup of bacteria, gum disease, and tooth decay. But Halitosis can also be a symptom of more serious health problems, such as Diabetes, kidney or liver disease, acid reflux, and respiratory infections to name a few. Ill-fitting dentures can trigger bad breath as well.

Similarly, body odor can be related to medical issues. For example, Trimethylaminuria, also known as “Fish Odor Syndrome,” has a genetic link where the body has difficulty breaking down choline concentrated foods, such as eggs and organ meats. The odor dissipates once these foods are digested. The condition can be rectified with a change in diet. I must confess that after a night of garlic overload at the Stinking Rose in San Francisco, I too was oozing stench from my pores. I could barely stand myself.



The lack of adequate teeth brushing and bathing is often times a problem for the elderly due to social isolation, depression, or dementia. Without fail some little kid during a visit with Grandma and Grandpa will ask their parents why these old folks smell like mothballs. Please explain to the little darlings that if they’re lucky enough to live as long, they too may stink. All kidding aside, these smells should be a red flag for caregivers. If you’re not elderly, infirmed, demented, depressed, or socially isolated and just suffer from Lazy-itis, please consider your friends and loved ones, who would like to remain your friends and loved ones, Brush & Bathe!

Wendy Lewis
Whiter teeth after 50: How porcelain veneers or laminates can help brighten your smile
Fashion & Beauty
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Women over 50 who care about looking and feeling their best likely use the most up to date anti aging cosmetics and skincare products and treatments. But besides caring for the skin on your face and hands, it’s equally important to pay attention to your teeth, which can really give away your age.

If the prospect of showing your teeth in public can wipe the smile right off your face, it might be time to consider a state-of-the-art smile overhaul. Here’s what you need to know about porcelain veneers, considered the gold standard in the cosmetic dentist’s arsenal.

Cosmetic and restorative dentists have the skills and tools to fill gaps, smooth chips, eliminate stains and cracks, shape contours as well as make teeth whiter and brighter again. If you are dying for a Hollywood smile, you are a candidate for cosmetic porcelain veneers. Just as plastic surgeons mold soft tissues and alter the bone structure to rejuvenate the face, cosmetic dentists can give you the smile you used to have or the one you wish you were born with.

Considering cosmetic dentistry: Questions you should ask

• What are the expected benefits of this procedure?
• What are the expected risks of this procedure?
• How many procedures like mine have you done previously and can I talk to any of these patients?
• Is there an alternative treatment that I should consider as well?
• How long will the procedure take and how many appointments are necessary?
• What percentage of patients have had significant complications?
• Will you repeat or correct procedures if it does not meet agreed-upon goals?
• If the procedure must be repeated / corrected, will I be charged again?
• What kind of longevity can I expect?
• May I see “before” and “after” photos of recent patients?
• What should I expect after the procedure in terms of downtime, discomfort, bleeding, etc.?
• What are the limitations of this procedure?

Porcelain Veneers/Laminates

Porcelain veneers are considered the gold standard in the cosmetic dentist’s arsenal. With veneers, virtually anything can be done to improve a smile. Porcelain veneers are used to correct tetracycline-stained teeth, malpositioned or oblique teeth, spaces, gaps, chips, and worn, short, or twisted teeth. They can also be used to widen your entire arch of teeth or make your teeth look bigger or longer. If you show too much gum when you smile, porcelain veneers are the ideal solution in conjunction with periodontal surgery.

Porcelain Veneer Techniques

Porcelain veneers can be used to repair damaged top or bottom front teeth and side teeth, correct gaps, conceal discoloration, and change the shape and size of your mouth. Veneers are highly resistant to permanent staining from coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco. Thin porcelain is bonded like little shells that wrap around the tooth.

This procedure has many advantages over other tooth-restoration procedures, such as bonding. Porcelain is an extremely durable material with a color, translucence, and texture that is similar to tooth enamel. It is not susceptible to decay and resists staining while maintaining a natural appearance.

Porcelain Veneer Basics

DURATION: Porcelain veneers are very durable; they may last up to 20 years if you take good care of them and return to your dentist for regular maintenance.

COSTS: An individual veneer may cost from $500 to $2,500; typically a minimum of 8-10 teeth are done in one session.

RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS: Quality of the porcelain used and the creation of the veneers to match the correct color are essential. Although veneers do not stain, they can chip, which may require additional treatments.

For more information on cosmetic procedures to help brighten and perfect your smile after 50, check out the Vibrant Nation beauty guide, Cosmetic Procedures and Plastic Surgery After 50: Expert Advice for Choosing the Best Option for You

Sharon Lee 123
Countdown to Oblivion
Home & Garden, News
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An obscene amount of money has been spent on the development of nuclear power in an effort to end our dependence on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are political and have always carried a depletion factor. There’s just so much of the stuff and we aren’t making more. When it’s gone, it’s gone. So we have turned to nuclear energy.

Powerful foreign people have control over the production of fossil fuels and treat us little folks like puppets on a string. This includes coal, which is plant-based and over great periods of time hardens into rock/coal. There’s lots of coal but its extraction gets more and more difficult and is not as cost effective as it once was. “Peak” coal theorists predict we have about 120 years left of known reserves. “Peak” oil theorists say many major oil fields are already at their peak and others will be there in 10 years. 

Nuclear power plants do not depend on fossil fuels and the cost of nuclear power also isn’t affected by fluctuations in oil and gas prices. It is efficient and when properly operating is clean and dependable (properly operating being key), but it does have—and always has had—operational problems. Mining and purifying uranium and other materials isn’t a clean process. Transporting nuclear related materials to and from plants poses a huge risk to populations on the routes to and from the plants. Once the fuel is spent, we can’t throw it in the trash. It continues to live its deadly radioactive life for almost eternity. It’s ripe for use by terrorist groups and dictator led governments as horrifically simple weapons—just open the spent fuel container, spread it around, thousands die. 

Spent nuclear fuel will decay to safe radioactive levels—but it takes tens of thousands of years. Low-level radioactive waste requires centuries to reach acceptable levels. An accidental or deliberate spread of such waste is possible, probable, and predictable. It’s predictable because: what geniuses considered building nuclear power plants on earthquake fault lines? I’m not a scientist but had they asked me I would have suggested a different location. In fact, no location in Japan is safe since it is practically the earthquake capital of the world. But that’s just me.  

There are around 440 commercial nuclear power reactors operating in about 30 countries. They produce about 14% of the world’s electricity. That figure varies depending on who is pushing a particular agenda. One would think that with that many reactors they would already be running the world’s energy. It’s depressing to think we need hundreds more to run the entire planet’s needs. And there are many being constructed as I type and many more on the drawing tables around the world. Thousands of nuclear reactors. The most are being built in China. When is the last time you purchased a product from China that worked properly?

In addition to energy producing reactors we have hundreds of “research” [shiver] reactors and reactors on ships and submarines. In fact, we have a tidy number of disasters just waiting to spill and spread around the world. Enough to kill every living creature on the planet and keep the planet dead until the supernova.

Some of these little annihilation bombs are in the hands of unstable people and unstable countries that we should be terrified about. Some countries are careful about waste storage, others not so much. If the highly technologically savvy Japanese have containment problems what hope is there for less enlightened countries? Or countries not known for quality production? [China]

Chernobyl didn’t have a “special” containment building, just a regular building. That’s like storing nuclear waste in my garage. Some are operated by evil regimes and shouldn’t have reactors period. Some are located in geographical nightmare regions like Japan and California. Some are frighteningly close to terrorist groups. Some are not currently active but retain the guts of their former operation along with the waste. Reactors produce TONS of waste that is stored forever around the world. We ordinary folk are scolded if we use plastic drinking bottles. There’s a major disconnect somewhere.

Many years ago the very smart citizens of Sacramento, California, voted to close their nuclear facility (Rancho Seco) 25 miles southeast of the city. It’s now a lovely park but I have no desire to frolic in that park. When I drive by the towers on my way to visit family and friends in the area I instinctively speed up.

Chernobyl, the king of nuclear disasters to date (but might move to number 2 if things continue to fail in Japan), was poorly designed and poorly operated. The plant required constant frenetic human attention to keep the reactor from malfunctioning right from the beginning of its operation and it didn’t help. I looked at all the countries currently operating nuclear power plants and discovered there is no safe place to live in the entire world if we end up with thousands of these plants. Not the Amazon, not Iceland, nowhere. We have too many already in play and we’re getting more.

Even if we stopped operating all reactors this afternoon, it would take hundreds of years for us to tear them down and process their parts and their waste. Then thousands of years after that for the waste to diminish its harmful properties. And we aren’t turning them off this afternoon. [Note: but many cities are demanding we no longer use plastic grocery bags for our groceries because they take so long to break down at the dump. Really? That’s what we should be worried about? Is that some sort of malevolent misdirection?]

There are other sources of energy. Some yet to be fully investigated but that are quite promising. There’s also interest in more localized energy production rather than trying to illuminate an entire region. Small areas can generate their own power needs according to local resources available to them such as thermal energy, wind energy, etc. And here’s a novel idea. We can actually use less. In fact, reduced use should be mandated. I would be happy to have a black out at my house every day if it meant saving energy for everyone. Those with special needs would be exempt from blackouts. Most of us do not need energy while we’re sleeping or at work. Why not have meters that we can operate and turn our energy sources off when we’re gone or sitting by a window reading a book? Each person responsible for their own energy use. Astonishing!

I live close to San Francisco. What a magnificent beauty. At night as we cross the Golden Gate Bridge the view takes our breath away. Yet why are all those buildings lit up like Christmas trees? Shouldn’t they be turning off those lights when they leave each day? Yes, cleaning crews need lights but can’t they turn them off and on as they work through the building?

When researching on the Internet I found many alternate sources of energy in the form of fuels for vehicles as well as industry and homes. There are too many to list here but most of us know the various ideas being tested and researched. Some are very promising but expensive. Nuclear power plants are also very expensive—in oh-so-many scary ways.

But don’t take my humble word for it. Take a peek at the Internet sometime to determine if nuclear power plants are still a safe option for living creatures. If still convinced they are the way to go, chat with someone from Japan. Better yet, someone from Chernobyl. I think there may still be a few alive to discuss the pros and cons of nuclear reactors.

To put all of this in perspective for those of us living our daily lives, I heard this alarming analogy on TV. It is said that every computer will crash. It is not “if” they crash but that they “will” crash. They have a shelf life and can be affected by use and all sorts of evil things including those pesky viruses. We should all have our files backed up on a regular basis. I didn’t do that for years and one day my computer died and I lost everything including photos, documents, addresses, applications and programs, and it was just awful. Years later it happened again but I had a backup external drive so I got a new computer and transferred my “stuff” back without missing a single thing.

That scenario was likened to nuclear reactors. It isn’t “if” it will happen, it’s “when” it will happen. The backup safety measures are not as reliable as computer external backup drives for our home computers. Nuclear backups fail almost the moment they are used and not all containment units are created equal. All reactors have procedures and buildings in place for when they do fail because—they will all fail given the right circumstances. Hence, they have containment buildings. We know how well that worked in Japan and Chernobyl.

On another note, here are some insomnia figures on Nuclear missiles. And don’t for a minute think the creation of nuclear reactors doesn’t hold a secret path to nuclear missiles. Ask North Korea.

·      Russia 13,000

United States 9,400

·      France 300

·      China 240

·      United Kingdom 185

·      Israel 80

·      Pakistan 70-90 [Yikes!]

·      India 60-80

·      North Korea 10 [Double Yikes!]

·      Estimated Total:  23,375

That’s an estimate and there are those who believe more are hidden and secretly manufactured that we don’t know about. Some scientists believe it would only take 1,000 nukes to kill every living thing on the planet. We have over 23,000. When the 440 nuclear reactors go offline because all their operators die from the missiles, then the reactors will all meltdown. If there are any humans or animals left from the missiles, which is unlikely, they would soon die when all the reactors fail. The missile list doesn’t include dirty bombs loaded with radioactive materials, which can be carried in a backpack and detonated with ordinary explosives, say, in a shopping mall.

If you’re falling asleep at your desk in the afternoons, take a peek at this list. It’s better than strong coffee or high-energy drinks:

Note: The title of this post was inspired by Countdown to Zero, a documentary about nukes and our unstable political world. Stop worrying about whether to toss your coffee grounds or compost them. We have bigger disposal issues at hand.

“The nuclear age is over.” Dave Kraft, director of the Nuclear Energy Information Service.

I hope he’s right.

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