Sunday, January 13, 2013

Beyond the winter solstice

Now that winter has officially arrived in the northern hemisphere I'm wondering how everyone is doing.  The changing seasons and weather extremes are known to increase Fibromyalgia symptoms and pain.  Couple the colder weather with more activity than usual through the holidays and the result can spell disaster in the weeks following.  Even if you paced yourself the disruption of your usual daily schedule may lead to increased pain and fatigue.  I'm thinking that most of you are probably wiped out.  In addition, the shorter days have an effect on our bodies as our brain receives less daylight, which triggers a hibernation response.  When shadows grow long a sort of melancholy sets in.  The lessened daylight signals to the brain has an effect on neurotransmitters, those chemical messengers responsible for our feeling of well-being.  I am reading more and more research studies involving the neurotransmitters.  Neurotransmitters are the focus for so many chronic illnesses, which may be the critical key that will unlock the mysteries associated with chronic illnesses that currently have no cure.  Meanwhile, we must manage our daily symptoms during these bleak winter months that follow the winter solstice.

Male Northern Cardinal
I have always celebrated the winter solstice with great enthusiasm.  Despite the fact that winter is in its full glory there will soon be signs that spring is emerging, promising new life.  In the northland where winter is long it is especially important to watch for those subtle signs of spring.  In late January the male cardinal begins to sing his song in the tallest treetop perch, already staking out his territory.  He is easy to spot in his lofty perch since all the trees remain dormant and are leafless . . . and after all he is a brilliant scarlet bird that dares to taunt the predator hawks and kestrels while in such a vulnerable position.  He sings urgently

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The New Year 2013 begins with cars flexing their motor muscles!

Mike Hayden
Mike and his Pit Crew
A New Year's Day tradition that started as a small event hosted by Mike Hayden and The Shafters Car Club kicked off today at 10:00 am.  Over the past several years this event has quadrupled in attendance and the enthusiasm just keeps growing.  Mike builds race motors and he just happens to have a 600 ft drag strip at his house.  This is what you call a hard core car guy!  This event has grown to include a pit crew, an announcer and DJ, and lots of great food cooked outdoors on site.  In addition, the passion that many in the community have for our military men and women has been included in this event as a fund raiser for the Wounded Warriors.  Today $1,700+ was raised to support these courageous men and women.  Last but not least, people bring their cars to flex motor muscles on the drag strip.  This results in lots of smoke, lots of noise and lots of cheers too.  Several guys brought their drag cars, but no nitrous was used this year so we didn't have any wheels coming up off the strip.  A number of people smoked the tires of their family car and that always results in a good laugh too.


There is nothing as rejuvenating as pretending that you're a kid again.  Many of the drag car drivers today are in their 60's, but they have no intention of slowing down yet.  That spark and spirit is what truly keeps people feeling and acting younger than their biological years.  And acting like a kid again helps to ease chronic pain and boost the spirits of those people with chronic illness.  The looming fiscal cliff and all the past year's worries and concerns of a sluggish economy have taken it's toll on people.  People all over the world are feeling a financial crunch, because we are globally connected to one another.  There is only one