Saturday, May 28, 2022



This week I am taking off just to reflect on what is happening in our country. I may tick some people off however, this is my blog and I can say what I believe. 

I do believe that we as US citizens have the right to bear arms responsibly. This means if a citizen (over the age of 21) wishes to own a hunting rifle and/or a personal pistol - after an extensive background check and having it registered then that should be ok. No one's rights have been taken away. Will this stop the already purchased/stolen weapons? No! But if one is used then that person should be prosecuted to the highest degree. Gangs that go around neighborhoods shooting wildly and many times shooting innocent children in their own homes need to be put away; one by one, step by step. Other countries do not have this kind of problem. It is out of control in the United States. 

There is no reason in the world that any regular citizen should need a mass destruction weapon (such as AK-15s) as is used in all of these senseless shootings. Gun laws must be changed. How many more innocent lives must we lose before we learn our lesson? 

The NRA lobby buys their votes to keep these weapons on the streets. We are smarter than this. Go to the polls and vote these politicians out that take money to keep these kind of weapons legal. 

Sunday, May 22, 2022



Many times I have wondered how much sleep we really need for optimal well-being. Of course, research on this subject is ongoing. Most of us do not need research studies to tell us after a night of poor quality sleep or going to bed too late and getting up too early we do not perform at our usual standards. It is harder to concentrate. That is just for a night or two of poor sleep. Decades of bad sleep can actually lead to cognitive decline. It affects our moods and behavior, whether we are a young infant or toddler or an older adult. I started questioning exactly how much sleep does our brain need to operate properly in the long term. Research studies published in Nature Aging, gives us this answer.

Sleep is an important component of maintaining normal brain functioning. Our brains reorganize and recharge during sleep. It is the key for "memory consolidation" which is when new memory segments based on our experiences are transferred into long-term memory. An optimal quantity and quality of sleep enables us to have more energy and well-being. It also allows us to develop our creativity and thinking.

When looking at babies 3 - 12 months of age researchers did note that better sleep was associated with better behavioral outcomes in the first year of life, such as being able to adapt to new situations or regulating emotions efficiently. These are important building blocks for cognition, including cognitive flexibility. This is where we have the ability to shift perspective easily and it is linked to well-being later in life.

There are signs that in adolescents and young adults, poor sleep may be associated with changes in connectivity to sensory information. This is important as our brains are still in development into late adolescence and early young adulthood. Disruptions in this network may therefore have effects on cognition, such as interfering with concentration and memory based processing, as well as more advanced cognitive processing. Alterations in sleep patterns, including difficulty falling and staying asleep, are significant characteristics of the ageing process. These sleep disturbances are highly plausible candidate contributions to cognitive and psychiatric disorders in older people.

So what is the right amount of sleep? The study found that both insufficient and excessive sleep contributed to impaired cognitive performance to a middle-aged to an older population of nearly 500,000 adults. The key finding was that seven hours of sleep per night was optimal, with more or less than that bringing fewer benefits for cognition and mental health. In fact, they found that people who slept that amount performed - on average - better on cognitive tests (including on processing speed visual attention and memory) than those that slept less or more. It was noted that individuals need seven hours of sleep consistently, without too much fluctuation in duration.

We know that we all respond slightly differently to a lack of sleep. There is a relationship between sleep duration, cognition and mental health based on genetics and brain structure. It tends to support other evidence that suggest there is a link between sleep duration and the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

While seven hours of sleep is optimal for protecting against dementia, this study suggests that getting enough sleep can also help alleviate the symptoms of dementia by protecting the memory. A good start is to ensure that the temperature and ventilation in the bedroom is good. It should be airy and cool. One should be careful to not drink too much alcohol and to keep movies, music and books to more of a calmer state. This is to not get our brains on overload. Ideally, we should be calm and relaxed when we are trying to fall asleep. Thinking about something pleasant and relaxing helps. For me, it is my Happy Place, which is at the beach with the sounds of the waves, the warmth of the sun and the sea breezes.

Technological solutions such as apps or wearable devices can also be beneficial for mental health as well as tracking sleep and ensuring consistency of sleep duration. To enjoy life and to function optimally in everyday life, you may want to monitor your own sleep patterns to ensure that you are getting your required hours of sleep on a regular basis. My husband and I use Fitbit technology, however there are many other brands that you can use. 

Another thing that we discovered is when we purchased a particular kind of bed with technology built in that monitors your breathing per minute, how long it took you to fall asleep, your heart rate while asleep and even your heart rate variability which monitors how you deal with stress and your energy level while asleep.

Another fact that I discovered is that 7 hours is not written in stone for every person. Some of us go within the range of 7 - 9 hours. I know. I am one of those people. So, if I miss some sleep (I go by 8 hours for myself) there is something that I can do. By the way, many successful and creative people do this:

Here are some names of just a few of them:

John Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Frank Lloyd Wright, Margaret Thatcher, Churchill, George W. Bush, Aristotle, Albert Einstein, Douglas MacArthur...

These people and many others were aware of the benefits of a power nap. Maybe it is just what you may need. I had to tell myself that it is not just ok for me to take my nap but that it is healthy for me. It is a form of self-care.

When all else fails just remember to keep calm and take a nap! It is good for you!

Sunday, May 15, 2022



When I am feeling tired or wired or even at my wit's end, I try to find ways to turn my brain around and help to make ME feel better. Instead of wallowing in it - trying to help myself out of it; whatever "it" happens to be.

One way is to take a soak in a bubble bath/jacuzzi tub. It can be a special hot tub outside, which I don't at this time own, however, I do have a great jacuzzi tub in our Master Bathroom Suite. 

It is a time to close my eyes and just let my mind stop thinking of the what-ifs and think more of the NOW! Self-care is not selfish. It is called being compassionate with myself.

Another trick that I use is with our dogs. Playing with them, walking them and even spoiling them is a great way to relax and go, 'ahhhh.'

Just taking a walk around the front or back garden is a very good way to take my mind to a different place; a good place; a place where I can just hear, "ahhhh." The beauty of the plants and flowers take me over to another world. I always must have scissors in hand to take a few cuttings inside for a vase. 

Taking a moment to sit and enjoy the sunshine on my skin while I breathe (inhaling anything negative in my mind while exhaling the positive that I have turned it in to.

Listening to good music, whatever yours may be is for you to decide. I have mine, which does change, depending on the mood that I am in. Music is a mood enhancer...I let it take me away!

A very good quote that I try to live by is:

These are things that make me go...ahhhhhh!

Saturday, May 7, 2022




This blog is written by me, Maggie Mae and my brother, Davis. We are golden doodles and can never be separated. Why? We suffer anxiety separation...from each other, as well as some from our humans. Ever since I came home to live with Davis and my human family, the two of us had our own crates to sleep in. Why? Because the male human of the house had some rules. One was the dogs will not be allowed on the furniture. Well, that lasted about 1 day. Partly due to his own fault. He petted us and we just found a way to his heart and before you could say, "Lickity Split" there we were in his lap or curled up to him on the sofa. 

We have our own crates and they are open for us to go in and out as we please. Except at bedtime. Then we are closed in with a little treat and told goodnight. Our humans go off to the bedroom just a few yards away. At around 5:30 - 7:00 A.M. I would yelp out all ready to go do my business. Sometimes Davis would come and sometimes not. (he is not a morning dog) Usually, we were then crated together and snuggled up for another hour or so until our humans woke up. 

This went on for years. You see, I am 3 and Davis is 5. We did go in the bedroom to help put on fresh sheets and oh wow...that bed felt wonderful. I do know that our Lola tried her best to give us a chance to sleep with them. It took a major incident to make that happen. 

Our humans bought themselves a new bed. It was apparently custom made and would take a couple of months to arrive. About 6 weeks before it was to arrive, their bed broke. When I say broke, I mean the metal frame broke and went to the floor. There really was no way to sleep on it anymore. 

There was only one way to solve this problem. There is another Master Bedroom upstairs. It has a wonderful firm mattress. The problem was that they could not hear us when we needed out if we were in crates and they were upstairs. What to do?

Our male human, Smiley, came to his senses and even though he could not believe it, he was allowing us to come up with them. He now knows that he made the best decision of his life. There are research studies that show why it is a good thing to have your dogs sleep with you. Davis and I both overheard him say that he is getting the best sleep ever most nights. He also said that we, as the dogs, seem calmer.

One research study was done by the Mayo Clinic (whoever they are)discovered that sleep quality was not compromised. Dogs in the room or on the bed helped to make for better sleep. Pets did disturb their owners at least as much as sleeping with another person in the bed. Some pet owners found great comfort in having the dogs with them.

Many studies found that sleeping with your pet can actually be good for you. A dog's body warmth, steady heart beat and protective nature can make co-sleeping feel safe and cozy. 

Several groups came up with 13 scientific reasons why it is a good thing:

  • reduces depression - If just simple interaction with us can impact depression in you, just think what sleeping with us can do. Scientifically it increases the flow of oxytocin, the love chemical. This fact actually makes us a living antidepressant.
  • promotes theta brainwaves - On top of increasing the flow of oxytocin, it has an impact on how deeply we sleep. This experience promotes theta brainwaves which are known to occur during the REM stage of sleep. When we are with you our heartbeats synch up. Our heartbeats are in unison. This can give both of us deep, rejuvenating sleep.
  • increases sense of security - When you feel safe it obviously makes you sleep better. We always have your back, and have the instinct to protect you and will let you know if something is not right.

  • eases insomnia - If a human has anxiety induced insomnia then having us in bed with you is the answer.
  • maximizes comfort - We just love lying with you as much as you enjoy having us curling into you. We try to put you at ease just as when we curl into your back and rest our heads on your feet. There is great comfort. I heard Lola say out loud that she felt like she was in 'Doggie Heaven' when she felt one of us prop our heads up on her ankles or knees.
  • decreases loneliness - This is especially true for those who live alone.
  • improves sleep quality - One study showed that sleep efficiency was higher with us in bed with you  because it kept you on a better routine. They used a sleep tracker to prove this.
  • reduces stress - If you have ever heard of The Pet Effect it is the phenomenon which involves reducing the levels of stress and anxiety while we are around. 74% had improvement in their mental  health issues.
  • lowers blood pressure - Petting or touching a dog can lead to lowering blood pressure so what better way to relax and fall into a deep calming sleep than with us by your side?
  • strengthens the bond with your dog -  It helps in the socialization of dogs with humans. Dogs learn that they are a part of the pack. It seems to make us calmer. And, I even heard our male human say out loud that we seem calmer. 

  • promotes a healthy heart - A study from the American Heart Association did find a link between owning a pet and having a healthy heart. It is our calming effect and impact on blood pressure that most likely plays a part in this.
  • reduces allergies later in life - There is an argument that states dogs may bring allergens into the bedroom. One study showed that infants who slept with their pets were less likely to develop allergies later in life. It may not be the case for everyone but definitely worth a try before ruling it out.
  • better overall health - As you can see, having us in the household has a plethora of benefits like lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

I believe as the spokesdog for this blog that I have made the case for keeping your pets near you at all times.

There are some tips that I would like to share for safely sleeping with your dog. Davis feels that he should list those out for the blog. He is usually the quiet one. So for his sake, I will allow him to speak.

The special safety tips are as follows:

  • set boundries - establish where we will sleep
  • don't allow aggression - do not tolerate that as this is a socialization skill
  • keep pets above covers - we all will sleep more soundly if we are on top of covers
  • take us out before going to bed - it will avoid any accidents
  • use a mattress protector - This is for a just in case, as it really does not apply toward the two of us. If pets are not house trained then it is not a good idea to start with them in your bed.
It is all a matter of using good judgment. We are all 4 happy members of this family now. Works well. 

Maggie Mae and Davis

Sunday, May 1, 2022



Loving and liking are two completely different terms. For some of us loving comes easier than liking while it is the complete reverse for others. It is possible to like a person but not love them or you can love a person and not like them. 

Loving seems to be easier for some. You don't need to like that person at all. You just need to be attracted to them at a mental level. Kind of what I feel the lyrics in this song lends itself to. "If you can't be with the one you love, then love the one you are with." Just in my own opinion, I can't buy that. To me, that is not love, that is lust. And you can see that relationship going down the tubes fast.

I did read that the difference between like and love is a complicated scenario. This person felt that there is nobody who can ever find someone that they like as well as love. Really? I find those are the marriages or relationships that really last.


Those little quirks that a lover may have are just that. Little hiccups along the way. Maybe they don't put dishes away. So does that mean you don't like them? There is a play that I once saw called, "I Love You, You Are Perfect, Now Change." Just in my opinion, no, no, no. There was never love there. If so, you can forgive those little imperfections, because believe me...we all have them. 

To fall in love with someone you have to respect and admire them. You can only do that after you know enough about them to respect and admire. Maybe you are attracted to their looks, but when you find out more about them, you no longer respect or admire them, so you fall out of love with them. Actually, you were never in love with them to begin with but may have thought you were. It is true that you can care about someone you do not like if you have spent enough time with them and bonded through experience, but you will never be 'in love' with them.

Every relationship is different. People's needs and wants in a relationship are very different. The one thing that stays a constant is that you want to feel important to that person. You want to feel like you truly matter to them.

There are some who believe that like is largely conditional, and I totally disagree that like is a watered down version of love. We like something or someone if it puts us in a good mood. We like someone if our tastes converge. 

I believe that part of love is also liking. True love does require respect, esteem, believing the person to have qualities worth admiring. If what you are mistaking for love is something else, perhaps lust or infatuation or just a kind of need for attention, you are in for heartache. Love is built upon liking. In my mind, you can like someone and stop short of love but you cannot love without first liking. No matter what the lyrics say in the song, "Love the one you're with."