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New Year Resolutions… Again

New Year Resolutions... Again

New Year Resolutions... Again

Here we go again. It is the time of year when most people are either making resolutions about how they are going to be in the year ahead or they have given up on resolutions because they have disappointed themselves by making promises that they haven’t kept. I recall my article from last year called Time to Make Some Changes and I see that I have not been very successful in implementing and sticking to the life changes that I wanted to achieve.

Although I may not have accomplished all my goals, a lot of positives were achieved during the year. I traveled to Ohio and Tennessee. I graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Legal Studies. I spent time with my mother and granddaughter. I completed many quilting projects. I welcomed my husband home from Kuwait. 2010 was a good year.

If you plan to make New Year’s resolutions, be sure that they are realistic. Psychology Professor Richard Wiseman created a quiz to assess whether or not the techniques that you plan to use will actually work. You can find it at www.resolutionquiz.com. I scored in the medium range.

I am looking forward to 2011 knowing that I need to make time for me. My health, both mental and physical, is important. Working on my goal of being fit may take some time and I may slip up, but if my ultimate goal is to improve my life and I keep that in mind, it will help keep me going. Even when I slip up, as long as there is an overall improvement, it is a success! Isn’t that the whole point of this resolution thing?

Happy New Year!

Family Togetherness is Making Me Sick

Family Togetherness is Making Me Sick

The Common Cold

Yes, I love my family and I love the time we spend together, but all of this family togetherness is making me sick, literally!

Traveling in the tight quarters of the family sedan to Grandma’s house is the best way for Cousin Bobby to give you his cold. Let us all gather in the dining room and hold hands for a prayer before Christmas dinner; thank you little Suzie, I now have your sniffles!

When you work outdoors or mostly alone as the adults in my home do, then you aren’t exposed to as many germs that cause illnesses, I suppose that makes my immune system a bit weaker than other people’s. And these Christmas gatherings are making me sick.

I hate to catch a cold, the sniffles or the flu!

    -If you have a fever stay home. If you or your child has had a fever within the past 24 hours, stay home!
    -Don’t use your hand to shield a cough or sneeze, use your elbow. Since it is difficult to open a door with your elbow, this will reduce germs spread on doorknobs, lightswitches, remote controls and keyboards.
    -Use disposable drinking glasses. When you have company over for several days, just use disposable drinking cups and throw them away! Not a big tree-hugging initiative, but you will reduce the chances of catching their cold.
    -Take vitamin C and increase your vitamin D!
    -Get plenty of rest. It is easy to over extend yourself physically during the holidays. You do not have to do it all… call it a day and get to bed at a reasonable hour. Remember, this is your holiday, too!
    -Drink plenty of fluids.
    -Encourage your guests to scrape their plates and put their dirty dishes in the sink. You shouldn’t have to touch everyone’s dirty napkins and eating utensils!
    -Avoid white sugars. This is harder to do this time of the year with so many delectable tidbits lying about.
    -Don’t drink alcohol to excess. This is also hard to do with the in-laws visiting this time of the year.
    -Continue your exercise routine unless you have already contracted a severe cold.

The weather does not make you sick. It is the behavioral changes that often accompany weather changes that may cause you to get exposed to cold and flu viruses. Staying rested and healthily active will keep you feeling your best into the New Year… and if you must, it is ok to avoid your sister’s snot-nosed kids if they have been ill!

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Battling the Holiday Season Weight Gain

Apple Cider Vinegar to the Holiday Weight Gain Rescue?

Between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, the pressure on the waistline of your pants or jeans seems to be accelerating quickly. Too many Holiday Parties, dinner events, office party hors d’oeuvres and snacks in the cupboard.

I have lost count of how many times in recent weeks we have gone out to restaurants and on the way back in our car, loosened the top button of our pants, while having discussions on how, come January 1st life will make a big turn for the gym, diets and no more alcohol.

So when I read a story about how vinegar, or more precise the acetic acid in vinegar, is capable of inhibiting the body’s ability to store fat. It turns out that vinegar does double-duty fat-blasting, especially around the middle where the body likes to stock up on the stuff.

It also doesn’t seem to matter what vinegar — white, apple cider, balsamic or even red raspberry — you use. What’s critical is that you use the vinegar that has 5% acidity (acidity is typically marked on the label). The antiglycemic effect is greater the more vinegar you consume: The bare minimum for lowering your blood sugar is 1 to 2 tablespoons. It’s not the most chuggable liquid, so I think the best delivery system is as a dressing. I make a killer cucumber salad with an assortment of vinegars but in combination other fat burning foods such as asparagus, celery, onions. beets, brussel sprouts, cabbage, tomatoes and carrots, it can do wonders for your waist.

For a salad dressing it suffices to mix your favorite vinegar with olive oil at a 2 (vinegar):1 (oil) ratio, and serve with mixed leafy greens, crucifers like watercress and arugula, and other veggies or even potatoes. Be creative.

Another recent study revealed that obese people who took in 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily melted significantly more body fat and especially belly fat than a group taking a placebo — despite being on the same diet and exercise plan.

Oh, and listen to this, vinegar also seemed to help lower bad-for-the-heart triglyceride levels and systolic blood pressure as was discovered at the end of the 12-week study. That’s what I would call a Sherpa’s load of health benefits for one little flavor maker.
Piece of advice, start getting your daily dose of vinegar (don’t overdo it or you may get negative side effects from low potassium and low bone density) and maybe you won’t have to get the 2 sizes bigger clothes out of the winter wardrobe chest.

And even though some dietitians and “health experts” call it irresponsible for celebrities like Megan Fox to endorse the vinegar diet, citing potential damage to the liver, I don’t hear them calling drug companies irresponsible, even if their pharmaceuticals cause potentially debilitating side effects. I did a vinegar diet about 7 years ago and lost close to 50 lbs – actually the only thing I did was eating my daily serving of lettuce and greens with a oil and vinegar dressing.

Past 200 Years Show Huge Human Improvement

Hans Rosling on TED

Sometimes all the news coming down on us is depressing; as if we have lost our humanitarian direction. Bad news, economic frustration, violence all around and life in general is tough. It’s the small picture. A much broader picture can only be the quantifiable result of time comparison.  And when a larger picture is presented that shows how far we have come in the past 200 years, a picture presented by numbers; statistics to be precise, it turns out that we have accomplished magnificently.

Even when I studied econometry (the statistical application of data into an understandable process)as an integral part of my economics schooling, I never got quite excited about the crunching of numbers into an understandable picture.
My mindset could not foster the enthusiasm to really portray something of global understanding. But a professor of international health in Sweden, Hans Rosling has a long history of exploring the facts and figures that surround our changing world and what’s more, he can make it come to life with exuberance. In a segment of a BBC series, Rosling gave one of his most famous lectures with a new twist, while using 120,000+ bits of data and augmented reality, as he takes us through the last 200 years of global history and its supposedly uneven growth of wealth and health.”
In less than 5 minutes he shows us that we do have a lot to be thankful for and that the global picture of our accomplishments in the past 200 years are quite admirable.
No one makes statistics sound quite as awe-inspiring as Rosling. When you check out the video, you’ll see what I mean.

While this isn’t the first time that Rosling has given this lecture, it is the first time he’s used augmented reality technology. Pretty cool update, if you ask me, and fitting with Rosling’s approach to statistics. He has continually struggled to find new ways of presenting data that speaks to and engages the audience. His Gapminder site makes public data easily accessible, colorful, and meaningful to people who would otherwise ignore graphs as boring and inconclusive. In Rosling’s long history of amazing lectures (many of which can be found on YouTube) he has shown the importance of understanding the history of global changes if we want to plan for a better future.

After watching this, I am seeing that short term frustrations with a world not picking up quickly enough on needed improvements, are okay as long as we also understand the magnificent accomplishments by our human race over the past 200 years.

This is really worth watching. Seriously.

Facing My Black Friday Demons

Thanksgiving dinner is not cleared yet when Black Friday becomes main dish

While the kids were planning a nighttime Black Friday routing that would make them benefit best from the various early opening hours from Wal-Mart and Kohl’s to other Black Friday ‘Targets’, right there at the Thanksgiving dinner table, my mind was working on my own Black Friday demons.

My brother Thom, our friend and webmaster died on a Friday morning exactly 17 weeks ago at the far too young age of 51. A completely unexpected massive heart attack was the doctor’s  definitive ruling and since that day in late July I have woken up every Friday morning with a dull, aching feeling in my head and stomach.  Fridays had become dreaded days for me, especially in the early morning hours and I was hell bent to lose that before I enter the great age of the Sexagenarians tomorrow. (The word alone already sounds like magic)

But this Friday, Black Friday for many Americans, wasmthe day I was going to face my Beast of Burden by testing what I could still accomplish.

And I had the perfect project to do it.

My good friend Lila Keim, who was one of the first ones who came to console us on that dreadful day, recently joined Team Werling from Prudential Chaplin Williams Real Estate, had asked me to take and post pictures of some of the team’s listings to her website; 22 to be exact. Seven of them were off island so those were done earlier this week, but 15 were left on the roster, stretching from Atlantic and Fletcher South to the Omni Amelia Island Plantation, while meandering like a high strung river through the heart of Amelia Island. A perfect opportunity to combine the need to loose the Thanksgiving starches and attempt to clean up the cobwebs in my head.

The forecast called for a cloudy afternoon, so I took my $40 mountain bike, a bargain I acquired about 7 months ago at a garage sale and by 8:45 I got on my way. There is irony in this as I realize that my mountain bike, with a $100 saddle I have come to appreciate tremendously in recent months, requires constant pedaling. The 3 inch wide tires do not allow for inactivity; sitting in the saddle resting for 3 seconds on acquired speed means you have to bend over and stand on the pedals again to gain speed from zero. Great on the beach, bad on the road!

The Team Werling Route

My Nikon D200 around my neck, a backpack with spare equipment and a water bottle, a wad of chewing gum to chew away the pain when my upper thighs start burning holes in my shorts and off I go to my starting point 3 miles north on Atlantic and S. Fletcher.

The whole time pedaling there I was thinking, tomorrow you turn 60 but what is there to hold you back. What does it mean when people say “act your age”. Eleanor Roosevelt once said:
“The Secret of eternal youth is Arrested Development.”

My thoughts went back to last night’s Thanksgiving Dinner, with the kids and their spouses and a grand child and another on the way. As they were excitedly planning their Black Friday purchases, the laptop sitting right next to empty plates and leftover turkey, my mood started to turn upbeat again. “Black Friday is soon going to develop into an all-night party with live music performances, dancing and food and beverages,” I envisioned, as my legs mindlessly kept pushing the bike forward on Fletcher.
Live evolves, rejuvenates and re-invents itself and that is good and a smile slowly spread across my face.

I had been confronted with a harsh reality that hit home; losing my brother, partner and friend was harder than I was ready to admit. He was my younger brother; I was in a weird way responsible for him, until on this bike ride I truly and deeply realized that we all make our own choices. I chose to quit the smoking habit this year, I chose to join Club 14 and get serious with becoming fit, I chose to walk our little dog on the beach every morning – why else live on the beach?-; I chose to pursue a bicycle as my means of transportation when bureaucratic blunders robbed me temporarily of my driver’s license; I chose to temper my daily wine intake and eat better balanced meals.
I chose all this because I realized that their was much in my life to be thankful for and it was up to me to stay in the best possible health to enjoy the hopefully many years to come.

My photo trip measured a little over 28 miles and took almost 3 hours with a minimum of 300 thoughts going through my mind. The result was actually that it helped me becoming acutely aware of the fact that I am very happy and grateful for my family, my friends, my clients and my life here on Amelia Island. I am a baby boomer on the eve of 60 when I write this and I still have Rock and Blues running through my veins.

To the notion that Sixty is getting up there, I’d like to say: “Bring it on, I’ll keep on rockin’.”

Thanksgiving Holiday Safety Message

Thanksgiving Holiday Safety MessageFernandina Beach, FL – Across the country, Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires caused by cooking equipment. As family and friends come together to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, the City of Fernandina Beach Fire-Rescue Department would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone in our community to make safety one of your top priorities.

Along with remembering all of the things that we are thankful for, the Thanksgiving Day meal is typically a highlight of everyone’s celebration. It is very important that we practice some basic safety measures as the kitchen becomes the center of activity and a gathering place for our family and friends. Please review the following safety tips as part of your holiday preparation.

• Never leave anything cooking on the stovetop unattended.
• When cooking your turkey, make sure someone is always in the house. Also, remember to check your turkey frequently while it is cooking.
• As the kitchen becomes the gathering area for family and friends, be certain that children are watched carefully and kept at least 3 feet away from the hot stove.
• As food gets hot it becomes very dangerous. Steam or a splash from vegetables, gravy, or other hot liquids will cause serious burns.
• Keep the floor of the kitchen from becoming a tripping hazard by keeping toys, pocketbooks, and bags off of the floor.
• Don’t leave knives within the reach of children.
• Make sure that all electric cords are not left dangling off the counter within easy reach of children.
• Keep matches and lighters stored safely away from children locked in a high cabinet.
• Make sure your smoke alarms and detectors working properly.

Also please remember, most cooking fires in the home involve the stovetop and the leading cause of these fires is due to unattended cooking.

Please have a healthy and fire safe Thanksgiving holiday.

Add a Variety of Vegetables to Your Diet

Add a Variety of Vegetables to Your Diet

Fresh Vegetables

Getting enough vegetables into your daily diet is something we all want to do, yet we find ourselves eating the same old things week after week. Adding a variety of vegetables to your diet is as easy as selecting a fresh vegetable from your color palette.

Think of your veggies as colors, not specific vegetables. When shopping, pick fresh, new vegetables by trying to use all of the colors. Consider trying a vegetable you have never tasted before. I know my categories may not be the same as what a professional would use, but it certainly works in my family to reduce the, “Oh no, not green beans again” comments.

Green Beans
Greens (Turnip, mustard or collard)

Sweet Potatoes
Bell Peppers

Black Eyed Peas

The Salad Stuff
Green Beans


When shopping, I think of a color we haven’t had for awhile. I will also try to make a conscience effort to buy (in order) fresh first, then frozen and finally canned.

Here are some other ideas:

Sliced and steamed zucchini, squash and onions are a great alternative to plain old cabbage.

Try slicing up sweet potatoes into strips, then toss in a large baggie with olive oil and and your favorite spices. Bake them in the oven for a suprisingly healthier substitute for French fries. (Are French fries a vegetable?)

Our entire family likes salad, so we tend to add it as a side dish several times a week. Consider serving salad as your main course by setting out olives, onions, boiled eggs, peppers and garbonzo beans along with the standard salad of lettuce, tomatoes and carrots.

Looking for a healthy alternative to mashed potatoes for your Thanksgiving dinner this year? Try smashed cauliflower. You won’t be disappointed and if you don’t overcook the cauliflower the kids may not even notice!

Think of your family’s vegetables in colors and you will be sneaking in a variety of nutrients!

Five Days in January

Building a network online

On July 21 of 2010, social networking site Facebook topped 500 million members, or the combined population of North and Central America and then some… In a geographical context Facebook is as a virtual country, the third largest country in the world.
Last January that number was “only” 350 million and now in early November we’re looking at a possible slowdown with 530 million, give and take some undisclosed double registrations. Not even history’s biggest conquerors such as Attilla or Alexander the Great can boast these numbers.

Twitter is looking at 175 million users and YouTube has announced the latest upload data; every minute that passes, over 35 hours of video is uploaded to the video sharing website. In other words, YouTube gets over 50,400 hours (2,100 days worth) of new video content every day.

In my daily confrontations with customers and friends I keep insisting on not forgetting to put some effort in Twitter as most people don’t quite get the usefulness of Twitter. In today’s technology based world however I have learned to follow in the footsteps of those more in the know than I can possibly be. If Apple boss Steve Jobs interlinks his new iTunes baby “Ping” with Twitter, allowing Twitter users to connect their accounts to iTunes, than I know that mySpace is writing its obituary and Twitter has found its longterm momentum.

Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said it a while back: “We didn’t design Facebook to be cool, we designed it to be useful.”  Some 500 million people, 20% of which are homegrown USA, agree with that statement. As long as these subscribers trust that Facebook will treat their data info responsibly, there is no reason for the Internet success story (so far) of the 21st century to wane or collapse.

More than 30 billion pieces of content (including web links, blog posts, news stories, and photographs) are shared through the site each month and its members spend roughly 700 billion minutes there.  The average Facebook user has 130 friends and is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events.  And it’s not just the Y or Z Generations using Facebook.  According to a study posted by Pingdom, a significant 61% of its users are over age 35, putting to rest the idea that Facebook is just for the youngest, most tech-savvy generations.  Surprisingly, the average Facebook user today is 38 years old.
Here are some more interesting data:

•First Compare how forcefully Facebook overtook mySpace between October 2008 and October 2010

Skyrocket on the Internet

• Another interesting piece of information is that Facebook has about 1/3 of the US population as subscribers, but even that accounts only for less than 20% of its total global subscriber base.
Imagine that countries such as Indonesia, Turkey and Malaysia rank high on their list. Also imagine how important this could be for travel and tourism attraction.

This was the status in January of 2010

Travel and Hospitality

The personal pages on Facebook are pretty much leveraged, yet many of the business pages are having a hard time getting people to “like” them.  I get the remarks quite often that business owners either don’t have the time, the technical or creative knowledge or the belief that being active in social networking makes a difference for their business. Especially in the hospitality industry there is a major disconnect. So here are a few observations that apply… thankfully not all, as some hoteliers and innkeepers do a splendid job.

For those who don’t, here are  some suggestions:

1. Your posts are boring because you’re doing all the talking.

Get your customers involved and ensure they feel a part of your hotel community.  The dictionary defines community as “a group of people with a common background or with shared interests within society.”  Encourage your guests to post comments, pictures and videos of their stay at your hotel. A successful Facebook page listens to and actively engages its customer with organized, quality content and brand new, up-to-date information from not only its administrator but also its followers.  How well do you know your customers?  Are you asking them what they like, what they need, what they want?

2. You put a GPS in your car, so why not on your Social Media?

Why don’t you have a social media roadmap? If you don’t have a map, electronic or otherwise, chances are you won’t make it to your destination, especially if it’s in an unfamiliar area.  Social media works the same way.  No plan and, before you know it, you’re lost.  Every marketing plan should have a section dedicated to web presence and social media.  Here, by outlining your objectives, you can coordinate your marketing efforts and cross-utilize the various social media applications that will work best for each of your targeted market segments.  It is essential to know what you plan to do, how you plan to do it and, most important of all, why you are doing it in the first place.  All many people know for sure is that they should be participating in social media because everyone else is.  This reasoning didn’t work with your mom and it won’t work here.

3. You’re pretty much just like everyone else.

There are more than 5 million active Facebook business pages.  How do you stand out from all of the others?  Avoid using Facebook simply to post all of the packages you have on your website.  That’s generally a Romance package, Bed and Breakfast package and a Shopping package. You’re getting bored already?  Give your followers special perks and discounts that they can’t get anywhere else.  What about a free upgrade for the first 10 people that redeem the coupon?

4. You have not given your Guests a reason to keep you in their primary news feed.

Remember “If you build it, they will come.”  Step in your customers’ shoes and take a long, honest look at your business page.  Are the posts lively, compelling, unique, timely?  There’s nothing more deadly than a dull Facebook page.  If you take photos of your followers attending events at your hotel, tag them.  Most people have notifications that deploy an alert when they have been tagged in a photo album.  Make the most of your page’s tab settings by distributing special offers and coupons or holding contests and sweepstakes (be sure to follow Facebook’s full terms and conditions).  The idea of winning something, anything, is a great incentive to keep fans coming back for more, not to mention attracting new fans.  Reward your loyal supporters and don’t forget to remind your users to like and share.

5. Don’t even get a Facebook page if you can’t commit the time to work it.

There are enough excuses around why people can’t commit.  My advice is don’t do it if you can’t commit! Your Facebook page is a daily commitment, so if you aren’t ready, don’t go there.  For business pages there is a direct correlation between frequency of posts and number of followers.  If you strive for one post per day, you’re on track to creating a successful page.  Watch the activity on your page and post when your followers are most active, usually between mid-morning and mid-afternoon.  Don’t know what to post?  There is a story in everything, just mix it up with observations, tips, travel-related topics, breaking news and, without fail, open-ended questions to inspire observations from your followers.
Remember that if you want to be liked, you have to be likeable.  Show your personality and have fun with your page.  It will create that sense of community so essential to social networks.

LinkedIn News

Oh and by the way, there are other social media sites to support your business…

Beginning of this month, LinkedIn rolled out its new Company Pages, enabling businesses to develop more robust presence on the site, as well as more control over those pages. Here is some information to help you take advantage of these new features.

Setting up a company page is free and the news is that LinkedIn added tabs that businesses will be able to populate with information at will: Careers and Products & Services (services previously at a cost) .On Company Pages, administrators can add content to the Products & Services tab and each brand will have a greater extent of control over what is displayed on their pages. These various products’ lists will be able to be showcased dependent upon which industry category your LinkedIn account is a part of. Businesses can also modify their pages to display the strongest recommendations to prospective customers in an attempt to exhibit the trust in their brand and accelerate the growth of their product.

Companies can also add videos of products and services to their pages and feature particular products more prominently than others. In turn, LinkedIn members can recommend and review a product or service on a company profile and their recommendations will surface on their own profiles as well. Company Pages will list the people who have recommended a particular product as well.

Five Days in January.

I would not be surprised to learn that you are confused and overwhelmed by the options and opportunities vs. the amount of time available to commit to a well laid out social media action plan.
If you are interested in learning how you can, you may keep the week of January 17-21 open for a very special “Five Days in January” program that team SearchAmelia is conducting at Amelia Hotel at the Beach, in which you will walk in with limited or no knowledge of an internet presence and social media plan, and walk out with a completely optimized internet business you are in absolute control of.

Among many other features the program includes a segment that explains and sets you up for Hootsuite, a social media dashboard for individuals and teams (companies) using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and more.
Stay tuned for details next week.

Great American Smokeout 2010

Great American Smokeout 2010

Great American Smokeout 2010

Smokers, you have one week to prepare for the Great American Smokeout on November 18th and Baptist Medical Center Nassau is ready to help you kick the habit!

Meet the folks who can help you quit!

All smokers and tobacco users are invited to begin the process of quitting on Thursday, November 18 with Sheryl Gerhardt, RN, MS, tobacco treatment specialist. Gerhardt will explain the hospital’s new treatment program, Addicted to Life, which is available at no charge to all Nassau County residents.

Stop by anytime between 8am and 5pm for games and prizes. Visitors can have their lung capacity and carbon monoxide levels tested, sign up for free tobacco cessation classes, and trade tobacco products for treats to help manage a full day without tobacco.

No appointments are necessary. For information, call 321-3892 or visit www.addictedtolife.info.

American Cancer Society marks 35th Great American Smokeout

Atlanta, GA – In preparation for the Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 18, the American Cancer Society encourages smokers to put their health first by making a commitment to quit smoking for good. At www.cancer.org/Smokeout, the American Cancer Society helps with that commitment by providing smokers online resources and tools such as a guide to quitting smoking; desktop helpers such as the quit-clock and crave button, and support from trained counselors through the American Cancer Society Quit For Life® program operated and managed by Free & Clear® at 1-800-227-2345.

According to an American Cancer Society report, smokers who quit can expect to live as many as ten years longer than those who continue to smoke; and smokers who quit, regardless of age, live longer than people who continue to smoke. Research shows that much of the risk of premature death from smoking could be prevented by quitting. Smokers who quit reduce their risk of lung cancer – ten years after quitting, the lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker’s – and lower their risk for other major diseases including heart disease and stroke.

“Quitting smoking is a very important step in reducing cancer risk, as tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and death in the U.S.,” said Edward Partridge, M.D., national volunteer president for the American Cancer Society. “The American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout is a great first step for smokers to take charge of their health by quitting or making a plan to quit, and the Society can help smokers through a variety of resources including personalized telephone coaching by trained specialists.”

The American Cancer Society created the trademarked concept for and held its first Great American Smokeout in 1976 as a way to inspire and encourage smokers to quit for a day. One million people quit smoking for a day at the 1976 event in California. The Great American Smokeout encourages smokers to commit to making a long-term plan to quit smoking for good.

Important facts about tobacco use:

– Tobacco use remains the world’s most preventable cause of death.
– Cigarette smoking accounts for about 443,000 premature deaths – including 49,400 in nonsmokers.
– Thirty percent of cancer deaths, including 87 percent of lung cancer deaths, can be attributed to smoking.
– Smoking accounts for more than $193 billion in health care expenditures and productivity losses annually.

About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.5 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, about 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

Mark your calendar today!

November 18, 2010 – The Great American Smokeout!

No Light until Valentine’s Day

Longyearsbyen 1999

As our days are getting shorter and we’re once again struggling to adjust to a one hour time change just to squeeze a bit more light out of the day, there is a town on Northern Norway’ s island of Spitsbergen, that just entered its annual 4 month long night…Polar Night to be exact.

The 2,000 or so people in Longyearbyen, the earth’s most northern town, located at 78° north latitude inside the Arctic circle, saw the sun set on October 28 and the next time it rises it’s on Valentine’s Day in February, three and a half months later. Of course 2 months after that the town goes into 4 months of Polar Day when the sun doesn’t set.

But for now people living there experience perpetual darkness four months out of the year and even though I usually wake up when it’s still dark outside, even in summertime, I am sure that this extended period of darkness would affect my life and moods.

Dutch electronics giant Philips is conducting a science experiment with a 4 year old product that helps people wake up to increasing light levels, imitating natural sunlight. If it works, people in this arctic town will migrate much less south when wintertime’s polar nights are nearing every October.
72% of Longyearsbyen’s participating population validated Philip’s experiment by claiming that waking up during the polar night was a real daily struggle, while 94% expected the Wake Up Light to improve their daily lives during this period.

Island History

A Coal Miners' Town turned to tourism

Longyearbyen, situated on the westcoast of the island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard Archipelago was discovered by Dutch Navigator Willem Barentsz in 1596. Even though the island were frequented for many reasons by different nationalities, it was never settled, even though its economic importance in mining and hunting,whaling was quite promising. It remained No Man’s Land (terra nullius)  – until 1920 when as part of the Treaty of Versailless, which officially ended Worldwar I, the Treaty of Spitsbergen was signed. This treaty made Svalbard part of the kingdom of Norway, but allowed citizens of other signing nations equal rights to residence, property, commercial activities and research. As a result, people from many nations live on Svalbard today.

With coal being the early energy source behind the industrial revolution, the coal mines on Spitsbergen became of real importance and Lansing Michigan born American Businessman John Munroe Longyear with several investment partners bought assets in coal research and exploration in 1906 and established the Arctic Coal Company (operated from Boston) and build a settlement for workers that became Longyear City, later turning into Longyearbyen (byen is Norwegian for town/city).

The attraction

Due to the discovery in the 1930’s that bodies buried in Spitsbergen were not decomposing, because the permafrost preserved them, people cannot be buried there anymore.
This discovery created the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, an Arctic safe capable of storing millions of crop seeds, is located near Longyearbyen. Global Crop Diversity Trust administers the facility. The safe has been designed to protect against natural and human disasters, including global warming, floods and fires, and nuclear holocaust. The site was chosen for both its remoteness and ambient temperature of the permafrost.

Longyearbyen: The Northern Most organized town on Earth

As a result of these developments, an important University Center opened in Longyearbyen in 1993, providing lectures in geophysics, arctic biology, geology and Arctic technology as well as bachelor, master and PhD positions. The faculty consists of 20 fulltime professors, 21 assistant professors and 120 guest lecturers. English is the official language of work, and currently about 350 international students take at least one course per year at UNIS. The student body consists of 50% Norwegian and 50% international students; there are no tuition fees, and most students live in six renovated mining barracks in Nybyen.

In 2009 the airport served 150,000 passenger movements and tourism is becoming a major source of income, in spite of  chilly summers and bitter cold winters.

Let there be Light

As medical science has pointed out the importance of light to human wellbeing, Philips Electronics introduced the Philips Wake Up Light as an experiment to the community, which by those who are participating, is hailed as a fantastic experience which helps alleviating the usual condition of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), thought to be caused by light deprivation and a growing number of mental health specialists are recommending Light Therapy to patients with symptoms of depression.

Philips claims that light gradually increasing in 30 minutes before your set wake up time will positively affect the energy hormones as they are preparing your body to wake up, a statement that is corroborated by most
The Philips Wake Up Light uses a 300-Lux lamp with 20 brightness settings, which is rated to last 6,000 hours.

Interesting is that the experiment is already 4 years old in a digital world that is supposed to instantly get the word out.
The 325 households (people) in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen who got the light that retails around $130, said almost unanimously that at times it was almost too soothing, coaxing them back to sleep to the relaxing sounds of playful birds or wind chimes, an extra that is build into the gizmo, which for a small surcharge can also accommodate an iPhone or iPod for sounds and music of your choice.

I think I just found the perfect Christmas gift.

Lovemaking Tips For Seniors

Sexy Senior Barbara Eden

Sexy Senior Barbara Eden

This “Lovemaking Tips for Seniors” came via email from my 90 year old grandmother. While I am not quite there yet, there does seem to be some good advice included in the following:

The Original Author is Unknown

1. Wear your glasses to make sure your partner is actually in the bed.

2. Set timer for 3 minutes, in case you doze off in the middle.

3. Set the mood with lighting. (Turn them ALL OFF!)

4. Make sure you put 911 on your speed-dial before you begin.

5. Write partner’s name on your hand in case you can’t remember.

6. Use extra polygrip so your teeth don’t end up under the bed.

7. Have Tylenol ready in case you actually complete the act.

8. Make all the noise you want… the neighbors are deaf, too.

9. If it works, call everyone you know with the good news!

10. Don’t even think about trying it twice.

October Walk with AVA

October Walk with AVAThe Mouth of Amelia has been kind enough to send us information on AVA’s October Walk.

WHEN: Saturday, October 9th, 9:00 AM to noon

WHERE: Last Pavilion at Main Beach, 95 N. Fletcher Ave.

WHAT: Greenway Walk


WHY: To stay fit and healthy!!! Walking is good for everyone!

COST: Please call organizers below for information.

The walk is through the Egan’s Creek Greenway and an AVA regular event, so 5K and 10K walks are available. Walk for the fun of it or walk for AVA credit. Everyone is welcome to walk!

Meet at the last pavailion at Main Beach in Fernandina Beach, at the corner of Fletcher and Atlantic Avenues. For more information contact Dyanne Hughes at 904-206-4417 or Jane Bailey at 904-261-9884.

2nd Annual Y Kids Tri

2nd Annual Y Kids Tri

2nd Annual Y Kids Tri

The McArthur Family YMCA presents the 2nd Annual Y Kids Tri on Sunday, September 29th from 6:30 to 9:30 AM.

On September 19, children ages 4 to 13 will be able to experience the thrill of a triathlon right here in Fernandina Beach at the local YMCA.

This is their 2nd Annual Y Kids Tri and it includes swimming, running and biking at the Y and in Amelia Park off of Citrona Drive. If you drive in that area please watch for children this Sunday morning.

Ages 4-7
Swim = 25 yards
Bike = 1 mile
Run = 0.25 mile

Ages 8-10
Swim = 50 yards
Bike = 2 miles
Run = 0.5 miles

Ages 11-13
Swim = 100 yards
Bike = 3 miles
Run = 1 mile

Registration forms are available on the Wellness board at the YMCA, but there is limited space, so register early! There will be a pancake breakfast served after the event!

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You Can Help End Childhood Obesity

Youth Fitness Ride

Youth Fitness Ride

In 1996, Club 14 Fitness (then “Amelia Wellness Center”) organized a 1 day cycling event one of our interns dubbed, “The Pirate Pedal”. This event gave it’s proceeds to various kids fitness causes, including Operation Skate (now the city skate park), The Boys and Girls Club (non-existent then but now in a beautiful facility) and The Journey Church Youth Club. Over the past several years we have again felt called to affect change in the community.

In 2008, with the growing issue of general youth fitness conditioning and adolescent obesity in mind, the Youth Fitness Ride was “re-born”. This new ride would be a kind-of reincarnation of the Pirate Pedal.

The first two years of the Youth Fitness Ride, we partnered with a couple of different worthy beneficiaries, including the Police Athletic League and X-Change Student Leadership, but weren’t 100% sure that we’d found the BEST way to directly promote fitness in our youth.

This year will be different! We really believe we’ve found our niche. In 2009, Doug Lane and Harvey Newton established LIFT Florida (www.liftflorida.org), a division of Authentic Impact, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with the purpose of reaching out and touching the lives of those less fortunate and those who are in need. Leaders within LIFT Florida have identified a need among middle and high school age student athletes for professional coaching and assistance with regard to their athletic development. LIFT Florida serves as an avenue through which student athletes gain professional athletic instruction, equipment, facilities, uniforms, supplies, and access to organized competition at little to no cost to them.

The Youth Fitness Ride will be one of two annual fundraising events to benefit LIFT Florida.

So, how can you help? First, we need your support! This can be through simply registering for the event, manpower for the ride, financial support to get the project up and running, or just thoughtful consideration to help spread the word. Help us… help the youth within our great state.

For more information and registration visit www.Active.com Search Youth Fitness Ride.

Doug Lane, BS, CSCS
CrossFit Coach
USAW Coach

Focus is Key

Focus is Key

Focus is Key

My success, part of it certainly, is that I have focused in on a few things.
Bill Gates

Being focused is the key to accomplishing any goal or project. Ideally, summer should be the time to slow down the work pace a little, enjoy time with family and friends, and take on that project that has been languishing on the to-do list way too long. But rarely is that the case, as summer ends and the time for school to start flies by we realize that the long overdue project or family trip we hoped to undertake this summer will have to wait another year.

Managing our time requires focus. I was impressed by an article I read recently that basically said it would be a mistake to believe that just because we are busy, we are doing the best things we should be doing. Or put more succinctly, if we’re busy, we should be busy doing things that matter, not simply filling time with ersatz activities that don’t leave us fulfilled.

According to the article, Dan Rather, who probably had one of the busiest schedules during the height of his broadcasting career, is said to have asked himself a single key question several times a day to help him stay focused: “Is what you are doing now helping the broadcast?” As the author of the piece indicated, Rather discovered early on that if he did not focus his time he would end up in a job that left him underutilized and dissatisfied.

All of us can heed his simple example. Whether it is developing a question that helps us focus on work, or family, or some other area of our lives, by putting a thoughtful and firm handle on all the noise and activity that encroaches on our daily lives, we can begin to focus on those events and activities that will help us cross things off of the to-do list and leave us fulfilled.

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