A useful idea…

It’s been a very long time, but I haven’t forgotten you. I’ve been out doing lots of birding.

American White pelicans and Caspian Terns

Recently, I took an in person DMV Mature Driver Improvement Course. It took eight classroom hours spread over two days. I thought it would be a good idea as I am 79 now and should be aware of the new rules and suggestions on how to be in good condition for driving. They also offer a 10% discount on car insurance once the course is completed. That will be good for 3 years. I rather like that very much!

Part of the course gave us a list of questions to respond to. The list of things that I had to complete were just three. Get an eye exam, go for a hearing test and buy new tires. All important things to take care of as I aim for my 80th birthday on 27 September 2022.

First, the eye exam pointed out that the capsule that holds my IOL lens had become cloudy. I sort of noticed it, but needed guidance. So I made an appointment to have a laser surgical procedure, capsulotomy, to open up the viewing area. Easily done quickly. So that is handled!

Second, I had driven down Main Street in Morro Bay passing the hearing aid center which always has a sign outstaying FREE hearing test, so I made an appointment and went in. A year ago my son, Adam, said I missed hearing something Livia, my granddaughter, had said. Also, when out eBirding with friends, some said they heard birds that I was missing. Hearing loss can be rather sneaky. It’s so gradual. My hearing test pointed out that I had a high frequency hearing loss in the mild to moderate range. Not a problem when I found out that a pair of Oticon hearing aids solved the problem. I consider the devices just like getting a pair of reading glasses, but at a steeper cost. Medicare doesn’t pay for them! But, I am a saver and shelled out for them. Now I hear the birds fully, the crickets at night, the rain, and voices more crisply. How nice! I also, found a YouTube site by Dr. Cliff to be highly informative when new to hearing aids! So that was handled!

Third, on to my last job… get new tires. Easy, since all I had to do was go to Hinson’s in Morro Bay and get and estimate and have them ordered . That’s handled.

Bridgestone tires on my Chevrolet BOLT EV

So back to life and eBirding. I am up to 261 birds seen this year having learned many new birds that I’d never seen before. Feel free to guess how many birds I’ll have by the end of 2022. The correct guess will receive one of my eBird photos!

A Ruff was the most exotic bird that I saw. Using Cornell’s “Birds of the World”, I found out it is much more showy when breeding in Finnmark, Norway. Oh! how I’d love to see it in breeding plumage!

So while it has taken time to get my three jobs handled while going out eBirding almost daily, I now have more jobs to do like the front and back yard clean ups. Perpetual in California!

But for now I’m going for a swim!

Morro Bay High School Pool

Until the next sketch, peace and health, Heather

Be vaccinated and boosted!

Go plant-based…

Plant Stock 2020

There is an excellent program on your computer right now that I started watching last night. Avoid so many health problems! It runs through the weekend. If you’re willing to spend $97 then you’ll have all the information you can possibly use. Re-watch all the presentations, the ones you want to see again or missed.

If you eat well, you feel well! You are happy, have energy and sleep well.

There is more education here for the rest of your life. Especially for men! I say this because many men depend on the women or partner in their life for what they eat or are too lazy to cook for themselves. Men are just as smart and capable in feeding themselves healthfully. Think about your sex life, your heart, your weight. It’s all about your total health. All information is suitable for men, women and children.

This program is run by the Esselstyn Family Foundation especially Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. M.D. who wrote the book How to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. Others include the well respected physicians in Lifestyle Medicine. Drs. Klaper, McDougall, Barnard, Greger and many more.

Vegan pizza

So eat it fresh and raw or cook it up. Enjoy your good health. Remember that it has taken you years to create habits that have made you sick, fat and miserable. Jump in 100% or start gradually by including plants in place of the animal products you used to eat day by day. So sign in to Plant Stock 2020 Consider it an education and a prescription for HEALTH !

Let me know if you have registered and watched this Plant Stock 2020. I’d love to hear what you thought about the program and all the reruns. Tell me what you’re eating and cooking too! We need to create a plant-based support group.

Until the next sketch… Peace and health, Heather

P.S. Maybe you thought I forgot some hearty food like grains, legumes and nuts. Wait for my next post, friends.


I’ve always been very curious. I had first heard of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in January in a wet market, a place where small animals were kept crowded together in small cages before being butchered. My search was on. I needed to know as much as possible. I learned a little about bats, pangolins and civets. As the days in February crept on I was worried. It was not something we, all around the world, knew how to deal with. The disease had strange and somewhat familiar symptoms in combination with powerful symptoms which could easily kill a person. We didn’t have medicine which could make it disappear.

I found I had to go back to the 1918 Spanish Influenza outbreak. My mother born in 1908 would have been only 10 years old. Her father was a doctor and would have to have treated the people in Pennsylvania. My father born in 1901 would have been 17. Both parents are now gone. A friend of mine who is 98 years old was the closest I could get to 1918, but she was born in 1922… So no one to talk to and ask questions. In 2020, I had no idea what to do except to read a book.

So off I went to the internet to order a hard copy, something that I could hold in my hands, John M. Barry’s book, The Great Influenza, The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History. I love being read to, so when the book arrived Bob and I decided to read it to each other chapter by chapter. We learned about the history of medicine in America and Europe. America was far behind. Many of our physicians traveled to Europe to study. The book told where the assumed first case started, how it spread because of soldiers traveling to be trained and fight in WW1, the sequence of waves of infection, how our body steps up our immune system to fight off an invader and many brilliant men and women who experimented for long hours searching for vaccines and cures.

After reading this extensive book on the 1918 pandemic, I had a much better view of what we are dealing with in these times of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am clear on the following these important points.

Respect the knowledge of the epidemiological scientists. Use common sense. Think how best to curtail the disease as rapidly as possible. Continually self-educate on topics of this disease from reliable scientific sources. Do not be selfish or think you are invincible or immortal. Be curious! Be healthy. Eat your veggies, fruits, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds for a strong immune system. This disease has no boundaries. Be very, very careful to be well educated and stay up to date with the latest information. Do not be bashful wearing a mask. It has two way protection and could save your life and others lives.

Until the next sketch, Heather

Pennsylvania beginnings…

My tulips, irises under the blooming redbud tree, Cercis canadensis
82 Cottage St, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania
White wisteria hanging from the pergola

Just to bring you into my world, I was born in the state capitol of Pennsylvania and lived there for five years, then moved to West Point Island, New Jersey and  moved back to Pennsylvania where I spent the majority of my life.  Now follow me on my personal travels…

There were things in my life that I loved… the out of doors, boats and living near the water, color, science, medicine, travel, learning new things, etc.  I had a lot of curiosity and loved exploring. I always thought that I was doing well in the way I lived my life. I chose to participate in school, college, marriages, work, moves across the country and meeting new friends and so forth. Just to clue you in, I am 77 having been born in 1942, I thought “It was a very good year” as the song says.

But now down to the nitty gritty… My parents worried about me frequently. I was sick with colds, sore throats, fevers and in school came down with most everything that was going around. At six years old, a strep throat put me in the hospital with antibiotics around the clock, my derrière was black and blue with all the penicillin shots. As a child, my energy was low and I took lots of long naps. Mom did too. Every Christmas my sister and I seemed to be sick. We’d decorate beautiful sugar cookies in the shape of angels. Birthdays always included a 1,2,3,4 recipe birthday cake made with lots of eggs, sugar and white flour by Mom with icing any color we wanted. I chose blue 10x sugar frosting. Ice cream or a fruit pie were favorite desserts after a dinner of meat, a green veggie and a starch (potato, Pennsylvania Dutch wide noodles or rice). My father brought ice cream, donuts from the bakery, chocolate TastyCakes, a local Philadelphia favorite. We were never at a loss for something sweet, tasty and delicious to eat.

In the late 1940s and 50s we lived on a barrier island in New Jersey. Looking west over Barnegat Bay, we saw sunsets, blimps and heat lightning from oncoming thunderstorms in the distance. We used to drive into Toms River and through the Pine Barrens for school, doctors appointment and shopping. Mom always knew where to get the best produce, tomatoes, blueberries, corn, etc. from the local farm stands. I still love blueberries and all the fresh fruits and vegetables. We would go crabbing in the bay for blue claw crabs and often drove up to Point Pleasant to buy fish at the Point Pleasant fish market on the docks. Mom asked me what kind of fish I’d like. I’d always say bluefish. Remember “blue” was my favorite color! She laughed when I told her that after eating years of bluefish, not her favorite. In the evening, my father and I often set an eel trap in the channel baited with squashed crabs that I had caught while wading in the shallow water to catch eels. In the evening we’d take the filled trap out to the channel and tied it to  a channel marker. The next morning we’d row out to pull up the line and find our trap filled with eels.  Eighteen was the most we caught. Once we caught a diamond back terrapin which we released.  Rowing back we then we threw the eels into our big sand box so they’d be easier to grab and then worked on gutting and skinning them.  Mom cut them in short pieces and put them in a paper bag with flour, salt and pepper. Sautéing them in butter and serving them for dinner made a delicious dinner for us. Other days, we waded in the bay in front of our house. We could take a crab net and scoop up a “softie,” a soft shelled crab, which Mom then sautéed in butter and enjoyed immensely. Ten years at the Jersey shore covered my most impressionable years of five to fifteen.

I was a skinny child and recall being the last one to leave the school lunch room because I was a slow eater. I did look forward to the hot turkey or roast beef sandwiches on white bread served with gravy and sometimes hotdogs with mustard at the school lunches. 

At fifteen years of age after learning to swim and sail in and on Barnegat Bay, a move was made back to Pennsylvania.  As I grew up, I went to visit friends for celebrations, my palate was expanding to cocktails, exotic cheeses, salami and spanakopita. My travels took me to other countries with strange foods which were unique and worth tasing and savoring. At home, my mother tried to keep us healthy by telling us to clean our plates, not drink Coke, try new foods like the chick peas, spinach that I never really liked. I like it now. My Grandmother grew rhubarb and potatoes, canned peaches and tomatoes at her home in Reading, Pennsylvania. I gathered a love of gardening and cooking from my grandmother and mother. 

At twenty one, I weighed 110 pounds and was 5’9″ and continued to be a light weight (about 125 to 135 pounds) until I was in my fifties when menopause caught up with my metabolism. 

I believed that the food I ate such as chicken, beef, pork, other meats, dairy, yogurt, cheese, milk, ice cream were good for me and wouldn’t cause any problems. I followed the common beliefs  that we needed protein (meat) strong muscles, and calcium (milk) for bone density. Probably, just like you thought. I grew up in the 40s,  50s and 60s when so much was changing. Processed food was on the horizon. Spaghetti O’s, frozen pizza, hot dogs, fish sticks, Carnation Instant Breakfast, Jello, instant pudding randomly found their way into the rest of my diet. I often had a hard time concentrating and napped often and sometimes just felt low on energy. My sister and I frequently were sick around the holidays when we made our special desserts like sour cream pound cakes with candied cherries and a decadent sour cream chocolate sauce called “chocolate goop” that we put on  ice cream.

As a young adult, I loved being out of doors, lived on a cruising sailboat and often rode a bike, swam at the YMCA pool and practiced yoga. Exercise to balance out my indoor, sedentary artwork was something I always enjoyed, thank goodness. 

All that was how I began my life. Because of my curiosity, I continued learning about health, so never fear, I made some very major moves as I came across valuable information. I only wish that I had learned all that I know now. Going in with a good bit of curiosity, skepticism and thought, I found a more healthful path that I’d like to share with you.

Until the next sketch…peace, Heather