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Apr
22
VN Editors
This grandmother is 104, and she’s never had to use grey hair dye
Fashion & Beauty
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Without the benefits of grey hair dye or any other treatment to her hair, a woman who recently turned 104 has luscious brunette locks. She hasn’t got a single grey hair in her head. What every woman on the planet wants to know, of course, is how did she do it?

The secrets of how to stop grey hair?

Freda Taylor is a resident of Coventry, England who has never had to worry about grey hair color. Maybe that’s why she hasn’t got any of it? Scientists say that stress pays a role in grey hair coloring.

If that’s the case, Freda isn’t affected by stress. Born in 1911, she lived through both World Wars. She was a young child when she overheard her father talking about WWI in one of her earliest memories. She was a young bride when she married just before WWII.

She had a child, and worked during the war while her husband served in the Middle East. Coventry was bombed in 1940, which is pretty much enough stress for any lifetime. Her son was just four at the time. Both were unscathed in the attack.

So to what does Freda owe her still-colorful locks after all these years? She says the best grey hair treatment is staying healthy.

Health as a grey hair treatment

“No cigarettes or big nights in the pub for me,” she told reporters, who came to question her about her amazing head of hair.

She never smoked, and says she never was “much of a drinker.” She advises people to “look after yourselves” in order to avoid getting grey hair coloring, like most of the rest of the world does.

Her remarkable longevity and her amazing head of hair certainly make Freda a fascinating anomaly, but grey hair coloring is determined by genetics as well. Scientists are still studying the effects of aging on hair and why hair goes grey to begin with. They often liken the process to the same chemical changes that occur in trees when leaves turn brown. At a certain point, the cells in your hair stop producing pigment. This results in grey hair coloring that takes the place of the color you’re more used to seeing.

Women like Freda provide some insight into the science of grey hair coloring, and hopefully she’ll help bring the scientific community that much closer to understanding this common process. Perhaps one day soon, all women will live past 100 years of age without ever using grey hair dye to color their tresses.

Nov
9
Anita
Honoring Vets With Gratitude
Other Topics
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Tuesday, November 11th is Veteran’s Day. For most people it is a quasi holiday, a chance to sleep in and take advantage of the Pre-Thanksgiving sales.  For others it is just another day of normal activities. I didn’t think twice about scheduling some car maintenance and I might even try to get the cat her rabies shot since the vet is open. In fact even though there will be promotions, a political speech or two, and some things inconveniently closed, the day will pass just like any other. That’s sad, but true.

Most of us have not been touched by war or experienced the loss of a loved one due to a wartime conflict. My dad and father in law are WWII vets. My father in law lived to a ripe old age and my father is still going strong. My brother was a vet but died of natural causes and my nephew who has PTSD from the Iraqi Conflict is living in another country and thus off my immediate radar. There are homeless people who wander around downtown and some of them could be vets. I don’t know.

So how do we honor a group that may or may not touch our personal lives? By showing gratitude in our own lives.

Being grateful and showing gratitude is not easy, especially as our society is continually focused on the next “big thing”, the newest, shiniest, most expensive toy or gadget, the best opportunities in education, career, or financial gain. But continually looking out over the horizon causes us to miss what is in front of our faces until sadly we only miss it when it’s gone.

Try to start off your day with at least two things you are grateful for.  Before you even get out of bed, inhale, as you say to yourself, “I am grateful” and exhale as you add your choice. Connecting your gratitude intention to your breath is very powerful.  As you move through your day reinforce your gratitude intention and end your day doing the same. Taking just these few seconds of your time makes all the difference in how you perceive the events and people around you. Perhaps you’ll even share some of that gratitude by giving back to someone else.

Make Tuesday, November 11 the first day of your life of expressing and living in gratitude, acknowledging and sharing your blessings. Not only will you be honoring veterans everywhere for their service but perhaps start cultivating some service projects of your own.

 

Aug
11
Charmaine Coimbra
A Moment in Time with a WW2 Hero
News
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Bob Watson

–Photos by C. Coimbra

Bob Watson keeps history alive. The word “beachmaster” sets his place in history. Truthfully, when I met him last Saturday and saw the word embroidered in white threads beneath U.S. Navy on the octogenarian’s blue camos, I had to look the word up.

You see, in my line of volunteerism as a marine wildlife docent that chats up northern elephant seals, the word“beachmaster” has an entirely different connotation.

But for Bob Watson, a World War II veteran who was part of the first wave of the young men that stormed Omaha Beach in Normandy seventy years ago, his job as a beachmaster brings him celebrity today. No! He’s more than a celebrity. How about “…a national treasure,” according to Cmdr. Chris Nelson, BMU-1’s commanding officer?

For the short time I spent with Watson on Saturday, I’d call him a good person who draws crowds like a magnet—and that’s before they hear his incredible story of his willful determination as an 18-year-old on June 6, 1944.

Here’s a quick retelling of what happened on that day:

On the 6th of June in 1944, D-Day, the weather was drizzly, cold and rainy, complicating a horrific scene of chaos.  About 1,000 yards from the beach, Bob’s landing craft – an LCM (Landing Craft Mechanized) holding 71 Big Red One (1st Infantry Division) troops and four Navy Beach Battalion crew – hit aTeller mine and exploded.  55 men were killed instantly, body parts flying, and Bob was thrown out…After submerging for some time due to the heavy kit all soldiers and sailors hitting the beach were wearing, his flotation device brought him back to the surface gasping and in shock.  Quickly he was picked up by a Zodiac ferrying floaters to the beach.

Responsible for 1/18 of Omaha Beach, which is a little over five miles in length, the 6th Beach Battalion lost 25% of its personnel on the way to or on the beach.

When Bob touched the sand it was about 7:47 a.m.  Terror and chaos reigned.  Saving Private Ryan’s depiction of the scene could do only faint justice to the true horror American servicemen were experiencing on the beach.  Everything was on fire. Landing craft were burning, their ammunition blew up, bodies and parts of bodies littered the beach, and the Germans, who had excellent equipment and training, poured on the machine gun and artillery fire.

As beachmaster, Bob’s job was to “keep the troops, materials, equipment and vehicles moving up the beach.” He forged ahead and helped an Army medic, fired off rounds, and commandeered a bulldozer to clear debris and cut in a road for troops and vehicles. That’s when the bulldozer hit a bouncing Betty anti-personnel mine. Bob survived that explosion too. He stayed on at Omaha Beach for 28 days.

But how did I come to meet this amazing person last Saturday?

If my grandson wasn’t celebrating his 7th birthday in San Diego; if his party wasn’t delayed by an hour; if I wasn’t hopelessly curious and then amazed at the size of the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier on public display as a museum; if I did not park my car in this one lot of many, many parking lots for the museum—just to kill some time; and if USN Beachmaster Bob Watson wasn’t unloading his display that he sets up in the museum as we approached the entrance; and if I probably didn’t reek of a volunteer-type, I never would have had the absolute honor of this older gentleman’s question posed to spouse and me: “You look like nice people. Do you want to get into the museum free?”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe helped Bob get his gear out of his car while he slid into his blue camo jacket, laden with purple and gold medals. We followed him thru the massive ship’s maze as he told officials, “They’re with me,” and the officials waved the three of us thru.

For the next 45 minutes we helped Bob carry and set up an 8-foot table next to a roped-off vintage airplane; I covered the table with a blue cloth that read “ USS Midway Museum,” and Bob said, “You’re definitely a volunteer. How can I tell? You know how to set up a display.” I laughed as we each broke out a sweat in the warm innards of that massive WWII vessel. A crowd began gathering around the display of priceless photos, and news clips. Like a magnet, young and older folks circled Bob, asked questions and listened as he shared his tales of an American youth’s exceptionalism 70 years back.

 

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Nov
16
Jacquie Mackenzie
Life Transitions – His Health Says We Have to Move
Home & Garden, Love & Sex
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The last six years have been heaven on earth for me. I always wanted to “get back to the ranch;” I grew up in New Mexico. I found another ranch on which to retire in Central Mexico six years ago. All our savings went into making it the best place I could imagine. We brought all our worldly goods here. We both have a car and the ranch has a truck. I have driven my new (used) car just 3 months. We have six dogs, four horses, chickens, rabbits, a pool, hot tub, and an organic greenhouse (I’m vegan). I also have countless friends in a nearby city, and 150 economically marginalized kids that I volunteer teach. I have watched them grow and glow these last six years.

 

However, I also have a husband (73) of 20 years who I (66) adore. I not only think he is the finest man on the planet for me, but I deeply honor the fact that he is a Purple Heart Vietnam Veteran who has 100% service connected disabilities. My deceased father served in WWII and Korea, my deceased beloved uncle in Vietnam, and my son in the Army. I feel honored to make his life easier.

 

Unfortunately, my beloved ranch is at 6,700 in a cool, arid, high desert climate with industry not too far away; not the cleanest air, and also very dusty. In August, seven doctors said that my husband’s heart and lung issues have caused him to need warm, moist, oxygen-rich clean sea level air to have any quality of life. He blossomed recently when we visited Ecuador for five weeks at seal level. He seemed 20 years younger, and looked at least 10 years younger. Today, he wears an oxygen “leash” as we are not moving for 50 more days. He is on oxygen about 20 hours a day.

 

His new healing space is in a 9th story condo, with a view of the ocean. I will have to walk two dogs several times a day, and adapt to a new lifestyle. Many animals, plants, and other “treasures” will be left behind. This is really hard.

 

Please share any equally hard life transitions with a spouse, but not involving a divorce.

Oct
4
Flower Bear
The Real Question
Spirituality
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I’m not going to go into a long discussion about the behavior of the United States Congress this week, or the government as a whole. I’m not going to rant and rave because there is enough of that going on now to last a lifetime. I’m not going to point fingers or play the blame game because that’s already been done to death. However, this week there was one moment when one man’s question stopped the whole merry-go-round for me.

There was a news story about a group of World War II vets who had traveled a long way to see the WWII Memorial. There aren’t many of these brave men and women left, and to have them travel so very far so they could find some peace and closure only to be turned away because the memorial was closed due to the shutdown was a national disgrace. However, these are folks who have faced much bigger obstacles in their lives than any of us are ever likely to see, and this was no exception. They stood their ground and would not leave until a Congressman managed to get the memorial opened for them. It was the least this country could do for them.

One man in a wheelchair was interviewed about the incident and, with an expression that was clearly looking within rather than out at the reporter or the camera, he asked this question: “What are we fighting for? I used to know what we were fighting for but I don’t know now.” Wow. What a powerful statement. This is a man who put his very life on the line when it counted and did it without complaint or argument. He understood what this country was about, what was important, and what was not.

It’s a shame we can’t get that group together in front of a camera and let them all share their wisdom and experience with the rest of us (and especially our elected representatives who seem to have forgotten why they are there). This is a country that ignores one of the most precious and priceless gifts it has: the wisdom of its elders.The children of indigenous people the world over know from birth that their elders are the wisdom keepers of their people and their greatest teachers. Perhaps if we could shut off all the political rhetoric for a while and just listen to the ones that have protected and defended this country for decades, we might all be able to figure out the answer to his question.

As for me, I only wish that I can be half as wise as this man so that I can answer that question for my grandchildren and great grandchildren when it is their turn to ask it.

And so it is.