Monthly Archives: June 2011

Picture Of The Week – Flag Face

Do you see the face?

In honor of the 4th of July, I thought I would be patriotic and put up a flag picture that I took on a trip to Florida. It wasn’t until much later that I saw the distinct face in the waving flag. The flag was far away and the it was dark and windy so the picture was blurry and I discounted it for being blurry. Now, I really like it. I learned a lesson from this project that I want to share: Don’t be so eager to dislike or criticize something without giving it a good hard look. You might find that in judgement, you missed something like I did.

10 Things To Do To Improve Your Day

1) Forgive the person who cut you off or took your parking spot. Let that stupid or insensitive comment go, even if it hurt you. Rise above hurtful talk and poor behavior and just let it vaporize.

2) Tell the people in your life how much they mean to you. Do something unexpected like come home from work to play with your dog and/or kids, take your spouse out for lunch, or something as simple as a love poem and a hug.

3) Call a friend that you think of often but haven’t spoken to for awhile. Don’t put it off anymore.

4) Do at least 3 kind deeds a day whether it is complimenting someone, opening a door, or helping a neighbor with their computer troubles.

5) Share some helpful  knowledge with others, either through an email, Facebook, Twitter, phone call, or in person.

6) Give the animals in your life extra time for affection, play, and grooming. You both will appreciate it.

7) Make the last thing you say (and say it slowly and clearly) on a voicemail your phone number so the receiver has easy access to your number.

8) The next time you  get angry, try replacing that feeling with compassion for someone else.

9) A simple smile can brighten your day and other’s too.

10) Laugh as much as you can.

Timing in Parkinson’s Disease May Be Everything

Do you find yourself losing track of time? Do you ever miss a dose of your medicine because you get  distracted from the task at hand? Well, you are not alone. This is a common problem with Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients as we somehow find keeping track of time to be a challenge.  Multi-tasking for someone with this illness is probably a mistake but if an orderly and defined task list with a defined time of completion is stated, there is a much better chance for that task to be fulfilled, as long as the individual is capable of performing.

So much of being capable is scheduling your medicines appropriately to your day. Keeping up on your daily regimen can be a full-time job in itself.  The longer that you have this illness the more important it is to remain diligent in monitoring how your body is reacting to your medicines. Too little medicine in your system and signs of PD show through and too much medicine unleashes unwanted side-effects. On top of the maximizing of your medicines add the variables of how you slept the night before, how much stress you are under, what you ate and how much, and even your mood and state of mind. Even the weather can play a part in how you are functioning today. As I write this, I have no empirical research to back this statement up, but I know for me, weather has an impact on my condition and how the meds work or not.

Here are 5 tips or suggestions to getting more out of your medicines and your day:

1) Something as simple as wearing a watch that beeps on the hour can keep you aware of the day and alert you to when you may be due for your next dose. There are some elaborate and helpful timers and pill box systems to keep you on track for sale. If you are interested , Google “electronic  pill box” or “pill timers” for more information.

2) I find a little caffeine with my medication speeds the uptake. This may not work for everyone and if you have heart problems or a problem with caffeine, don’t try it.

3) Calm your mind and body for at least 5 minutes a day with a meditation. As you get more used to meditation you can do it for longer periods. Try different types and see what works for you.

4) Keep as fit and active as you can be. Build a regimen that you can stick to. Try to incorporate stretching, balance, walking, and maybe weight training. Consult with your doctor and a qualified physical therapist or trainer who understands PD.

5) Challenge your mind daily. A daily crossword or Sudoku can be a wonderful way to get your brain going for the day–but keep track of your time!

This is my 50th posting. I would love to hear from you, the reader.  If you enjoy this blog, please pass it on to others who may find value in it. Please subscribe to this blog and you will be automatically notified when this site is updated.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this. http://www.asoftvoice.com

20 Films Worth Watching That You May Have Missed, Now On Netflix

I don’t endorse products but I will tell you this, “I love my Netflix!” Thousands of movies , classic television shows, and documentaries  all conveniently ready to watch anytime you want. It really is remarkable!

As an avid film buff and movie-lover, I wanted to share some of my favorite films that are available on Netflix. Many of these films are timeless. Some hold memories or were just for pure enjoyment. If you can’t decide on what to watch tonight or this weekend, give my list a try. Let me know if you watch something on my list:

The Black Stallion – An inspiring story of a boy and his horse. Incredible photography and cinematography! I find it captivating. Drama

Things Change – A seemingly light movie with a deep meaning. The movie flows well and the dialogue is just plain fun. Joe Mantegna and Don Ameche are superb together. Comedy/Drama

My Bodyguard – An early film on bullying and a creative solution to fighting back. Not a great masterpiece of cinema but it was a childhood standout. Worth checking out. See Matt Dillon in one of his earliest roles. Drama

Tender Mercies – One of Robert Duvall’s finest big screen performances is in this film. If you enjoyed Crazy Heart, then  you are sure to enjoy this precursor. I put this film in my top 10 favorite films of all-time. Drama

Good Will Hunting – Matt Damon and Ben Affleck teamed together to make this film happen and succeed. Robin Williams shines in this film. Chemically, the cast gels and the dialogue is fast and furious. It may be a little dark at times but it is also clever and playful too!  Drama

Super Size Me – The documentary maker from West Virginia, Morgan Spurlock, cleverly and with great wit shows the results of what too much fast food can do to your body. This movie makes you think about what we choose for sacrifice of time. Documentary

Apollo 13 – Ron Howard’s epic film on the Apollo 13 mission that was so valiantly saved due to the bright minds of NASA.  It may be a long film but it is a good one. Great cast with Tom Hanks, Ed Harris, Gary Sinise,  just to name a few. Star studded and well-done. Drama

Blazing Saddles– Mel Brooks classic western comedy. Always good for a laugh.  Comedy

Stripes – Bill Murray in the Army–enough said. Very funny! Comedy

The Graduate – Dustin Hoffman is so perfect in this role. The movie is an eternal classic with the best in directing, acting, music, etc. You can’t go wrong with this film. Drama

Sling Blade – Billy Bob Thornton in his best role ever. A dark and simple character who is misunderstood by everyone but a  lonely boy who he befriends. Dwight Yoakum  and the late John Ritter are excellent as supporting cast members. Drama

Blade Runner – Harrison Ford in a truly unique sci-fi thriller. This movie grabs you and won’t let you go. Sometimes this movie is visually stunning.  Science Fiction/Action/Thriller

Searching For Bobby Fischer – A father and son learn to communicate through the child’s gift for the game of chess. I love Joe Mantegna in this movie.

Die Hard – Bruce Willis in the role that made him a box office star. Fun popcorn and chocolate covered raisin shootem’up!  Action

This Is Spinal Tap – A nonstop laugh fest of gags and hilarious chatter between the boys of Spinal Tap, a fictitious  hair metal rock band. This rockumentary  takes you behind the scenes of this band and provides insight to who they really are.  A really clever and just plain funny movie!  Comedy

La Bamba – I love Ritchie Valens  music and if you watch this movie you may become a fan too. He was one of those music makers that died far too young. Lou Diamond Phillips does a good job with the role and the movie moves at a good tempo. Worth checking out. Drama

Bite The Bullet – A classic fast-paced Western with a great cast including Gene Hackman and Candice Bergen.  This one deserves a look if you like westerns. Western/ Action

Hud – Paul Newman in one of his best roles. A real classic film.  Drama

Giant – An epic film with some of the greatest actors of all-time: James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, and Rock Hudson to name just a few. It’s a long flick but you’ll never notice. Western/Drama

Field Of Dreams – One of the greatest baseball movies ever, but a movie that transcends sports. A sentimental movie that has meaning and thought behind it. The kind of movie you can watch more than once and still get something out of it.  Drama

This is a smattering of movies that cover a wide genre of themes. I hope that if you are looking for a suggestion that you might just take a chance and try one of these oldies but goodies, even if you have seen it once.  These films are mostly PG/R rated and should be approved by parents of underage viewers.

Parkinson’s Disease Is But A Detour On The GPS Of Life

If Parkinson’s disease teaches us anything it is the virtue of patience, the beauty of compassion, and the ever-present outpouring of sympathy for those who are less caring than ourselves. This is not said or thought out of any pretention but of years of strict observance.  Life, if you let it, allows us to become obsessed with trappings and incidentals, losing sight of the big picture. There are those who are too encumbered in their own egos to make the necessary changes in their lives to realize that not everything is about them. To the uninitiated, Parkinson’s disease appears to be but a curse when in reality this illness opens a window that for many of us was never there prior to being ill.

The Parkinson’s patient sees with different eyes, more sensitive eyes.  An enhanced perspective is gained when forced to dissect one’s past and speculate even more so on the future. No future is certain whether the individual is healthy or not. One may succumb to a host of unforeseen and unpredictable encounters that are or may be beyond our control. In reality, there is no true control and the future is but a hopeful myth. The present is what you make it –within reason. Beware of the unexpected roadblocks and pitfalls of our Candy Land childhood. There isn’t always a prize at the bottom of the cereal box but sometimes that just may be the prize itself. Rewards  are a bonus  without a guarantee. When one feels owed there is likely a chance for upheaval and discontent. Often, our expectations  set us up for disappointment thus throwing  our mental and physical balance out of whack. 

More often than not, I hear people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease express how he or she worked for so many years and had planned out the golden years and now felt cheated out of retirement and the plans that they had made with their spouse, children, or others. Planning and dreaming can be wonderful fun but when reality and the potential and unexpected pitfalls of life step in, detours must be made. This is the reality of flexibility that comes with Parkinson’s and any other major life-changing illness.

  All that any human can truly hope for is to make a positive and lasting impact. Great thinkers and true visionaries have proven that the unconventional manner of thought often leads to innovation, and through innovation ultimately comes change. I don’t know where the innovation will come from and I can’t say when it will come about, but I do know that a greater understanding of those with and without illness need far more leniency, acceptance, and credibility.The road taken by those with illness is a journey far more challenging and sometimes more enlightening than that of the unchallenged life.

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