Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye 2016

Six more hours and 2016 will be gone forever. As always there were some ups and downs and, for some unknown reason, I'm looking into 2017 with real excitement.

Last January I started the year with minimalism challenge. The idea was to remove what wasn't adding value in to my life and to make room for stuff that is. And let me tell you -I have so much room now that I must to start 2017 with maximalism challenge (if such thing exists).

Definitely I have a lot of room for more love, more compassion, more friends, more money, more finishes, more fun, practically more of everything. I read very few books this year (just 33) and I made very few blog posts (56). Can you agree that I have plenty of room for more?

I'm not setting any goals and I'm not making any resolutions. Instead I'm making an action plan!

As for the stitchy part... I DID IT!!! I finished sixth page of my Guardian Angel and I'm ready to start another one. Here is the finished page:

So long my friends,

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas!

How was your first day of Christmas? Mine has started awesome! We were driving to our friends for Christmas dinner and there it was... a Santa fishing on our beautiful Cameron Lake.

After dinner we were driving through Ladysmith and enjoyed festival of lights. In reality it was spectacular!

I'm not doing so good with my Guardian Angel and I do not think I can finish that page by the end of the year...

I guess this time Christmas got in the way of accomplishing my goal.

So long my friends,

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


It looks like all of the sudden my tunnel got longer, much longer. Santa's 12 Days of Christmas went to the 'to do' basket and Guardian Angel again is brought to the light. I really would like to finish two columns of pages by the end of the year. Here is where I'm now:

There is about 7700 stitches to accomplish my goal for the year. If I can stitch just little over 400 a day I can do it. What do you think?

So long my friends,

Saturday, November 26, 2016

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

I've started stitching Santa's 12 Days of Christmas in January 2015. I thought it never be done...
I was wrong! I finished Santa #9 and#10, now I'm working on the #11 and it looks like I will finish all of them by Christmas.


So long my friends,

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Rain, showers, scattered showers, more rain...

It is pretty wet on the West wet coast, perfect time for relaxing, stitching, reading or updating the blog. Nothing very exciting has happened in my life lately other than sailing. Last Sunday the sky was cleared for a while (it actually turned blue!) so we jumped on the boat and spread sails. We had a lot of fun with sea lions. It looked like they were playing with us. They were sticking their heads above the water, making some kind of noises and as soon as I try to catch them on the camera they made a perfect flip and hide under the water only to show up in a different spot. Here are couple of my attempts to capture the fun.

And, of course I was stitching some. I promised to myself that I will work on one project at a time and now I'm keep stitching my Santa's 12 days of Christmas. Santa number 7 and 8 are finished, now I'm working on Santa #9.

Colours are showing depending on the light. The closest to original is Santa #7. I hope I can finish Santa #9 tonight and then I will have to finish three more Santas before Christmas. Can I do it? What do you think?

So long my friends,

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Life is good!

Summer is gone, September is almost gone - time for an update! Let's start with stitching. My Woodland Santa is done

and Santa #6 is done

and that makes the whole project half done

And let me tell you about biggest surprise - we bought a yacht. Yeap, a 40 footer sailing yacht. I have never sail before, I'm a glider pilot but Freddy is the sailor and I figured that us and mom can have fun together and add a little adventure to our lives.

This baby will be ready to sail tomorrow to her new home.

So long my friends,

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

It's about time to post an update. We had extremely hot weather, I was stitching but had no energy to do anything else. I put on the side my Honest, Kind and Good  and, to keep me little cooler, I decided to work on one of those past January Crazy Starts. I was working on one of the Woodland Santas by The Prairie Schooler.

That's where I left it off in February 2015

and this is where I'm now.

Santa did not help much with lowering the heat so I jumped in the card and went north to Telegraph Cove. It was lovely cold there, just 16 degrees Celsius (where in Port Alberni was 35 degrees). It was so chilly that I needed a jacket. And I got the most beautiful sunset there:

This week is much cooler and I should go back to Honest, Kind and Good but I think I will finish this little project and then will go back.

So long my friends,

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Couple days ago I mentioned being a part of Jane Austen festival in Port Alberni. Here is a little more about it and you can see me here and there all dressed up. It was the first JA festival held in Canada, next year we are planning to break Guinness world record for attendees in regency costumes.

So long my friends,

an hour a day

Yesterday I came across Emily's Cupboard who joined Meredithe in a "1 hour a day" challenge.
It's easy:
  • you can use your time for any crafting project; knitting, sewing, quilting, whatever you want
  • the “1 hour” is a minimum! You can stitch/knit/sew to your heart’s content, all day if you choose, or until your fingers wear out!
  • this is not a competition; it’s a challenge with yourself to get a minimum of an hour’s work done on whatever project/s you choose
Why not to join? Of course I'm in! Below is my progress of the second day (yesterdays stitching I'm counting as a day one).

Monday, July 18, 2016

I have survived Jane Austen festival and my birthday. Both occasions were a lot of fun and all went well. There was time when I celebrated my birthday much longer (twelve days to be exact) but now with my mother-in-law around I'd lost desire to do long celebrations. It looks like only stitching helps me to stay sane and, oh gosh, sometimes I feel so ready just to spread my wings and fly somewhere far away from my current situation. When I was younger I had so many dreams - some of them came true but so many did not...but, after all, I do not feel that all is lost. I strongly believe that I can still dream and, who knows, some of my dreams maybe will come true.

I was faithfully working exclusively on Honest, Kind and Good. Here is the progress:

So long my friends,

Monday, July 4, 2016

Half a year gone

So it is time to evaluate our year so far with our goals and objectives (never mind the new year’s resolutions which likely didn’t last until February…) and to take action to get back on track if necessary. It’s a great opportunity to do some hard thinking over our finances, our diet, our career and other aspects of our life that we might want to improve. Let's make the second half of the year count!

 I start to walk more and I'm trying to make 10,000 steps a day starting this month. So far it happen only once but every day I do around 8,000. I think when I get more fit it will be easier. Frosty loves our longer walks!

On the stitching front I was working on Kind, Honest and Good. Here is my progress:

So long my friends,

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Surprise in the mail!

I've got a lovely surprise in the mail:

Kim from Wisdom with needle and thread is celebrating her 60th birthday this year by sending out 60 RAKs (Random Act of Kindness). I absolutely adore this little pouch and gorgeous pin keep and a little sampler. She even included some floss to go with the sampler. Thank  you so much dear Kim. I'm smiling from one ear to another. Have a fantastic birthday!

So long my friends,

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

New adventure

Back in January during my 30-day minimalism challenge I was planning to discover one hiking trail a month. I completely forgot about it but Universe did not. Just recently I met a new friend who loves taking her dog on long walks through the nature. I was going with Frosty Girl to the doggie park until Frosty got sick. Nobody knows what happen, even vet doesn't know what caused the sickness. Frosty had fever and very sore behind. After vet shaved her she looked like a baboon (sorry, no pictures). Now (well, after $400 vet bill) she is perfectly fine and (just in case) I'm not going to the doggie park again. Instead we are going hiking and discovering new trails. Krystyna, my new friend  (she is Polish too!) knows most of them but for me they are new. The last three days we spent hiking Rogers Creek Nature Trail. Here is a little video of our doggies playing in the creek yesterday. It was a very hot day, over 30 degrees Celsius (or 90°F ), but surely they had fun.

Today we went to same spot and our doggies met some friends:

On the way back Frosty disappeard from my eye sight and I panicked. All of the sudden I had gloomy pictures in my head, something like a cougar attack or an accident. I almost had a heart attack and she just was waiting for us by the car.

So long my friends,

Monday, June 6, 2016

I found color of kindness

I was thinking for a while what the color of kindness might be... I received many suggestions from you, thank you kindly. Then I had a moment of enlightenment - who was the kindest person I have ever known? My paternal Grandmother of course!  She was beautiful, kind and loving, my thoughts started drifting towards memories...

I took forty skeins of floss and tossed them to the pot. Then I added some tea bags, some herbs, a few drops of food coloring and some vanilla. I boiled the mixture for a few minutes

and voilà! I fund the color of kindness:

I loved the look of wet floss, after I dried it it became much lighter but it looks beautiful in my project.

I frogged all black floss and started all over again. This is my progress so far, a loong way to go...

I decided to make a few changes since my project I'm dedicating to my Grandma.

There are two letters: D and O, I will replace those with Grandma's initials M and Z (for Michalina Zamana). I will also change the dates. Under M will be her year of birth (1891) and under Z 1990 (year of her passing). On the bottom in the middle I will stitch my name and the year of finishing this project.

The second week of Kindness Challenge was about observing kindness. To tell you the truth I was impressed discovering how much kindness is all around us. I'm not watching much TV lately and since I'm not bombarded by all the horrible things happening around the world I'm noticing more smiles, kind words and little acts of kindness, like letting someone in into the traffic or stopping for a jaywalker, or holding the door for someone. Life is good around me.

So long my friends,

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Color of Kindness

What color is kindness? Since I'm in the kindness challenge I decided to stitch Honest Kind and Good. The model is done in black on white

Last year during our Super Duper Challenge I started this project on a lovely 36ct Smoky White linen with Antique Black silk.

And I'm not impressed with the result at all! I would like to change colors just have no idea what to choose... It's all about kindness... What do you think? What color is kindness?

So long my friends,

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Kindness challenge - week one

Last week (my first week in the challenge) my focus was on being kind and mindful to myself. To my surprise it went very well. Not even once I was angry with myself. Every morning I spent a few minutes meditating and stretching my muscles. I paid attention to feeding my body with enjoyment and taking care of it. I went for a short road trip. I even stitch some! Look, I have finished Santa #4 and #5, right now I'm working on Santa #6.


And this is the whole project with four Santas done.

It looks like I will work on Santa's 12 days of Christmas for some time (until it is done!) and then I think I will go back to another lovely project that I started during Super Duper Crazy Challenge 2015
called Honest, kind and good. It will fit well with my kindness challenge.

So long my friends,

Monday, May 16, 2016

Revolution of Kindness!

Time goes so fast... it is a first time I did not finish the A to Z challenge but the life goes on and brings new challenges. Today I was reading Deborah blog - it was all about kindness. I was impressed by the way she is treating herself and even a little jealous. Then I thought of me... Somehow, somewhere, I do not know when or how, I have lost the importance of loving myself, be kind to myself. I guess her post was there for me for a reason. I decided to follow her steps and join Niki of The Richness of a Simple Life in a seven week Kindness Challenge. Each week Niki will be offering a prompt and inviting people to work with that focus and then post about it at the end of the week.  Now is the right time for more kindness to the world, I hope you will join us too.

So long my friends,

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Q for Questioning (A to Z Challenge)

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.
I do not know who said that but I do have an issue with that questioning. I'm so tired of it and for some reason I can't find answers to many questions. Am I really doing the right thing? What would happen if I wouldn't interfere with my MIL life? Well, I know the answer to this one. By now she would be locked up in nursing home just like her mother was. She would be sitting on the wheelchair with her head hanging down, over medicated in the LaLa Land. Who knows, maybe by now she would lay peacefully by her late husband. I know I have extended her life and gave her more joy. But... what about me? I had to give up my dream, I had to close my business, my daily life is all around her and she isn't even my mother, she is the mother of my partner. I had a growing, profitable business, I was well respected in a professional world and now I'm broke trying to make sense from my life. You see, Theresa's mother also had Alzheimer's and not Theresa nor her brother quit their jobs to take care of her. Theresa's mom end up in the nursing home and she lived there for about ten years.
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Fine, I get it. I must have a 'bad' day...

So long my friends,

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A to Z Challenge: N-O-P

Oops, I am a little behind but I'm still in the challenge. To catch up today I will do all three letters. Let's start with N for Neurofibrillary tangles.

These tangles, are due to  a protein (beta-amyloid) that becomes abnormal inside the neurons rather than outside.

You see, neurons have a system of specialized filaments called microtubules that transport nutrients, organelles, and other essential materials from the cell body to the tip of the axon. These microtubules are somewhat like a pair of rails on a railroad, and the protein that acts as the ties that hold these rails together and keep them parallel is called the tau protein.

In people with Alzheimer’s, the tau protein molecules disaggregate into filaments that form tangles. Thus the “rails” lose their “ties” and can no longer stay straight and properly transport the materials essential to the neuron’s survival.

The nerve endings at the very tip of the axon are the first to degenerate as a result of this lack of sustenance. As a result, communication with the following neurons in the circuit is reduced and, once the entire neuron has degenerated, cut off completely.

If you would like to know more about brain's anatomy here is the link to the  'Brain Tour'. The tour explains how the brain works and how Alzheimer's disease affects it.

O for Obesity and links between body weight and dementia risk in those over 40.

Lately there is so much in the news about harmful effect of obesity, I was pleasantly surprised to find this article:  Does midlife obesity protect against dementia? (I love comments posted below article)

This article was published a year ago and contradicts research by Dr Rachel Whitmer published on April 29, 2005.

I want to believe that fat is good for the brain. What do you think? Please tell, I want to know.

P for Plaques
Those darn proteins not only killing neurons from inside but also from outside by building up between nerve cells. That build up is called plaques.

In a healthy brain, these protein fragments are broken down and eliminated during our sleep. In Alzheimer's disease, the fragments accumulate to form hard, insoluble plaque.

Many researchers believe that accumulations of proteins are generally only the final manifestations of diseases with earlier causes, and that amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles are no exception to this rule. Some researchers even directly question the harmfulness of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, arguing that they may in fact represent a defensive response by the brain to harmful processes that precede them, such as oxidative stress, inflammation, and dysfunctions in the cellular cycle. Some studies have shown that this protein plays a protective role against microbes.

So, go figure... all is clear as mud. There is a lot of study and research yet to be done...

So long my friends,

Friday, April 15, 2016

M for Me (A to Z Challenge)

Today I will share with you why I decided to help Theresa. After all she was living in Ontario we were in the Yukon 3,000 miles apart. In Ontario she has two of her children: a daughter who lives just about 35 minutes away and a son who lives couple hours away. Both of them highly educated, financially very well off - I was sure that their mother was happy and properly cared for. I was very surprised when she called and ask us to come and live with her. After a while those phone calls became more frequent and I realized that she wasn't joking, she was very serious.

I wasn't ready to move across Canada, I just started my firm and my dream was coming true. I spent five years taking accounting courses and I loved the north. I was happy.

Topaz (my doggie) was getting old and I decided to get a puppy. I had an idea of Topaz teaching new puppy good manners and I thought it would be fun to have two big white girls. I called the breeder and a little white fur ball was ready by the end of April. Of course the puppy was in Ontario and, since there wasn't a direct flight possible, it was easier for me to jump on the plane and personally pick her up than to ship the little critter. And there was another benefit to my trip - I could visit Theresa!

And this is how it all started... I found her extremely lonely, somewhat lost, with many little things not being done. My heart was breaking. When we were in trouble she was there for us, now she was in a big trouble and I did not see anyone there for her. She needed someone every day on a regular bases. I came back home with a puppy and a story for Freddy (my other half and Theresa's oldest son). Both of us were kept in a dark about her circumstances. We knew she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's but we did not know that her younger son pressured her to change her will. And, oh my! There were so many things we did not know... We were in shock. 

In August Theresa fell in the garage and that was the turning point. Freddy flew to Ontario and stayed with her for a couple weeks. Things turned very ugly between her and her other two children (the ones in Ontario) and I made an executive decision: "Honey, bring Mom home. She can stay with us until things cool off".  The rest of this story is for a very, very long post or maybe even a book but I can tell you this - two and half years passed and we still are living together.

So long my friends,

Thursday, April 14, 2016

L for Loneliness (A to Z challenge)

Did you know that lonely individuals may be twice as likely to develop the type of dementia linked to Alzheimer's disease in late life as those who are not lonely? Social isolation, or having few interactions with others, is associated with an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. Loneliness is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, not an early sign of the disease. I wish that the mechanism that does link dementia and loneliness was more clear. After all humans are very social creatures and we need healthy interactions with others to maintain our health.

Here is a link to '5 ways to beat loneliness'.

So long my friends,

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

K for Keeping routine (A to Z Challenge)

Daily routines are sacred for most people. For individuals with dementia, sticking to a routine is not only sacred, but a necessity. Change is difficult for those with Alzheimer's disease and keeping routine can relive a lot of tension. I like to plan my day too. During my 30 Day Minimalism Challenge I leaved a whole day unplanned - it was terrible!

Our daily routines can make a huge difference to how healthy, happy and productive we are. I'm in the process of adjusting my own routine in the hopes of getting more done and wasting less time in-between tasks or activities. So I started searching for routines of successful entrepreneurs and I really like the one of Benjamin Franklin. He starts his day with a question "What good shall I do this day?" and in the evening he asks himself  "What good have I done today?" I absolutely love this and I'm borrowing these two questions for my daily routine.

So long my friends,

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

J for Joy (A to Z Challenge)

Believe or not there is a joy in caring for person with Alzheimer's. I don't know if there is anything that could sound more confounding than finding pleasure in Alzheimer's. People with dementia have good and bad days. I'm very lucky because Theresa most of the time has good days and only sometimes 'bad' moments. She knows that she has the disease, her mother was affected by the same. She fully understand what future holds for her and she is a fighter. Together we are doing a lot of brain exercises and is a real joy to see her accomplishing things. She memorized her new address, new telephone number, she remembers names of our new neighbours. It's a fun to go out with her - this lady knows how to enjoy life, believe me. I know that Alzheimer's is progressive and not reversible but I hope she stays the way she is for a long time.

So long my friends,

Saturday, April 9, 2016

H for Healty Living (A to Z Challenge)

I wrote about importance of healthy diet, exercise, keeping your brain active - today I would like to mention benefits of socialization.  

Including meaningful social activities in your day is important for everyone but especially for people with Alzheimer’s disease and caregivers. People living with the disease can become isolated and lonely. Finding opportunities to interact with the people around you will help you stay engaged. Talking to someone you trust about your feelings, your hopes and worries or simply sharing a good laugh can provide the support and encouragement you need.
  • Call a friend or family member – take someone to lunch or chat on the phone.
  • Engage in conversations with acquaintances such as neighbours, store clerks, bank tellers.
  • Accept invitations. 
  • Find an outlet to discuss your feelings and frustrations; consider joining a support group.Enjoy yourself – share activities you love with others. 
So long my friends,

Friday, April 8, 2016

G for Genetics (A to Z Challenge)

As I mentioned earlier, Alzheimer's disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease. It is characterized by the loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain; and the death of these nerve cells. There are two types of Alzheimer's—early-onset and late-onset. Both types have a genetic component.

I will not bore you with too much science but for those interested here is more info.

Thank goodness that this dreadful illness doesn't run in my family but no one in my family has vitiligo either - I do...

Now, something that is not in the A to Z Challenge but something that put a big smile on my face. Look what Royal Mail brought to me

I didn't decide yet how I will stitch those lovely garden lasses. They aren't very big, just 62 x 154 stitches each. Should I stitch them separately or on one piece of fabric, what count? Decisions, decisions, decisions...

Oh, and my Asian pear tree is in a full blossom (with Ragnar in the center):

So long my friends,

Thursday, April 7, 2016

F for Facts (A to Z Challenge)

I had an urge to write today about families of those affected by Alzheimer's but I decided to leave this topic for later. So let's see some facts. Did you know that:

The number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease is growing – and growing fast. (For Canadian facts click here. I like to use quick method: we are about 10 times smaller so the numbers should be10 times smaller too).
  • Today, 5.3 million Americans are living with  Alzheimer’s disease, including an estimated 200,000 under the age of 65. By 2050, up to 16 million will have the disease.
  • Nearly two-thirds of those with Alzheimer’s disease – 3.2 million – are women.
  • Within the next 10 years, 19 states will see a 40 percent or greater growth in the number of people with Alzheimer’s.
  • Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s every 67 seconds. In 2050, someone in the United States will develop the disease every 33 seconds. 
Most people living with Alzheimer’s are not aware of their diagnosis – or have not been diagnosed at all. 
  • Less than half (45 percent) of seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or their caregivers are aware of the diagnosis, compared with 90 percent or more of those diagnosed with cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  • Among individuals diagnosed with the disease, only 33 percent are aware they have it.
  • Among all people living with Alzheimer’s disease, only about half have ever been diagnosed.

Alzheimer’s is not just memory loss - Alzheimer’s kills.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and the 5th leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older.
  • In 2013, over 84,000 Americans officially died from Alzheimer’s;in 2015,an estimated 700,000 people will die with Alzheimer’s – meaning they will die after having developed the disease.
  • Deaths from Alzheimer’s increased 71 percent from 2000 to 2013, while deaths from other major diseases (including heart disease, stroke, breast and prostate cancer, and HIV/AIDS) decreased.
  • Alzheimer’s is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed
So long my friends,

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

E for Exercise (A to Z Challenge)

Exercise is good for everyone, and it’s especially important for people with Alzheimer’s disease. It won’t cure the condition, but it can help ease some of its symptoms.

Exercise helps people sleep better and feel more alert during the day, so it can promote a normal day-and-night routine for people with Alzheimer’s. It also can improve mood. Repetitive exercises such as walking, indoor bicycling, and even tasks such as folding laundry may lower anxiety in people with the disease because they don't have to make decisions or remember what to do next. They also can feel good knowing that they’ve accomplished something when they’re finished. The type of exercise that works best for someone with Alzheimer’s depends on their symptoms, fitness level, and overall health.

I'm taking Theresa for daily walks and almost every day we are driving to a doggie park. MIL absolutely loves doggie park. She plays with all dogs (on a good day we having there about 10-15 of them). Here is our short video (Theresa wears red hat and Frosty is the white doggie). 

So long friends,

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

D for Depression (A to Z Challenge)

Stress and Depression are two words that are often understood in one and the same sense, there is a difference between them.

Stress is good for you. It keeps you alert, motivated and primed to respond to danger. As anyone who has faced a work deadline or competed in a sport knows, stress mobilizes the body to respond, improving performance. Yet too much stress, or chronic stress may lead to major depression in susceptible people. And I can't express enough how depression can damage our lives. Did you know that older people who suffer from depression have nearly double the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia?

It is very difficult to identify depression in someone with Alzheimer's because dementia can have same symptoms. Here are some examples of symptoms that are identical to dementia and depression
  • Loss of interest in activities and hobbies
  • Social withdrawal
  • Isolation
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Impaired thinking
In addition, the cognitive impairment experienced by people with Alzheimer's often makes it difficult for them to articulate their sadness, hopelessness, guilt and other feelings associated with depression.

My mother-in-law (Theresa) was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2010 and, in my opinion, the depression was a major cause of it. Of course many disagree with me because this disease 'runs in the family', her mother had an early offset of Alzheimer's.

I know Theresa since late 1993. She is a very gentle and sweet lady loving gardening, music and chocolate. She never was a decision maker, that was her husband duty. They have traveled a lot, spend every winter in sunny Florida. They loved sailing, wine, good food and dancing. Unfortunately Jo (her husband) was diagnosed with cancer. It was fatal and he left us in 1996. Theresa was only 65 years old. She never remarried, she missed him terribly. She was living alone in a three bedroom home spending time mostly gardening and taking care of the house. Not noticeable at all, I think, that was a very beginning of her slipping into depression.

In every post I will continue to write her story, who knows, maybe some day it will turn into a book.

Yesterday I promised to write a few words about brain food and diet. Just like everything else, food is extremely important. I'm including a few links below if you're curious about food influence on the brain power:

So long my friends,

Monday, April 4, 2016

C for cerebrospinal fluid (A to Z challenge)

Yesterday I mentioned importance of sleep and today I would like to talk a little more about brain 'self-cleaning' miracle.

The brain produces about 2 cups of cerebrospinal fluid (CBF) per day and that fluid is constantly reabsorbed during the day leaving about quarter of a cup at any one time. It acts like a cushion for our brain during the day and at night the miracle happens...  In the deep-sleep mode the brain turns on the cleaning cycle, much like a dishwasher.

When awake, neurons fire constantly to keep the brain alert, causing the brain cells to expand to about 86% of the volume of the brain. During deep sleep brain's cells shrink, leaving more space for the brain and spinal cord's fluid to move and pickup toxic waste. A sleep-deprived brain has reduced efficiency in garbage removal. And as we get older we sleep more lightly, getting less of deep sleep and as a result we are having more often those 'senior's moments' (that's my own very personal opinion).

Now,  just in a few words about our sleep stages:

Stage 1 (5-10% of total sleep in adults) - Your eyes are closed, but it's easy to wake you up. 

Stage 2 (45-55% of total sleep in adults) - You are in light sleep. Your heart rate slows down and your body temperature drops. The body is getting ready for deep sleep.

Stage 3 (15-25% of total sleep in adults) - This is the deep sleep stage. It's harder to rouse you during this stage, and if someone woke you up, you would feel disoriented for a few minutes. During the deep stages of sleep, the body repairs and regrows tissues, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens the immune system. (The brain shrinks and turns the cleaning cycle).

Human sleep occurs in periods of 90 minutes on average and usually we have four or five cycles per night. There is a stage after deep sleep when we are returning to stage 1. It's called REM (rapid eye movement) and takes 20-25% of total sleep in adults. During this stage most muscles are paralyzed, and heart rate, breathing and body temperature become unregulated, the sleeper may experience vivid dreams. The function of REM sleep is uncertain but a lack of it impairs the ability to learn complex tasks. Functional paralysis from muscular weakness in REM may be necessary to protect organisms from self-damage through physically acting out scenes from the often-vivid dreams that occur during this stage.

Stay tuned, tomorrow  I will talk about brain food.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

B for Brain Health (A to Z Challenge)

The human brain is one of our most vital organs. It plays a role in every action and every thought, and just like the rest of our body, it needs to be looked after.
Can Alzheimer's disease be prevented? I do not think so. There are so many famous people affected by this.This page mentions some of them. There are no guarantees, but healthy lifestyle choices will help keep our brain as healthy as possible as you age.
My big eye opener was a conversation with MIL specialist, Dr Passmore. During one of the check-ups I mentioned that Mom is doing much better and asked how this is possible since Alzheimer's is a progressive disease. He smiled and said: The Alzheimer's isn't reversed but her depression is and that's the reason for her well being. On Tuesday I will dedicate entire post to this subject. Now let's get back to our brain health. So, by making better lifestyle choices now, we can improve brain's ability to sustain long-term health and fight illnesses.
We must be good to our brain:
  1. Sleep! Just recently I've learn that during our sleep brain is flushing himself from toxins accumulated during the day. 
  2. Eat fish. 
  3. Spent some time in nature (walking in the park, gardening, hiking the trail etc.)
  4. Challenge yourself, learn something new: new language, new art/craft; play games
  5. Reduce stress!
I'm sure there is more points to keep brain healthy but, in my opinion, those are the most important.

Have a lovely weekend everyone,

Friday, April 1, 2016

A for Alzheimer's Disease (A to Z Challenge)

Alzheimer's is a dreadful disease. Isn't just memory loss (once in a while we all have those 'senior's moments' or 'brain farts'), the disease affects all of our body.
Most Canadians are unaware that Alzheimer’s disease is just one form of dementia. Dementia
is the term to describe a group of brain disorders that are progressive, degenerative and eventually, fatal, impacting 747,000 Canadians today. In less than 20 years, 1.4 million Canadians will be affected. The risk of dementia doubles every five years after age 65, but people in their 40s and 50s can also develop the disease.
My mother-in-law was diagnosed over five years ago with Alzheimer's and she came to live with us over two years ago. This month I'm dedicating to her and to her struggle with disease.

So long my friends,

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Guardian Angel update

I stitched about 2,000 stitches since last update and so far I'm not bored with all that gray. I think I will have a page done in a couple weeks.

So long my friends,

Friday, March 25, 2016

Easter Treasure Hunt blog hop

Thank you Jo for hosting this blog hop.

Here is your letter


For next letter go to

Happy treasure hunting!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


This time I'm right on time for the WIPocalypse. It is a night with a full moon and I have a finish!  An Irish Prayer is ready for the framer:

 I had some difficulties with deciding what to stitch next, so many projects were calling my name. I think the loudest was Guardian Angel. After all he has been waiting since 2011. Yep, I started this lovely project in January 2011 and I stitched on and off, you know - a little bit here and there... Last time I laid my eyes on it it looked like this:

Now, since I'm stitching only one project at a time it was a major decision to be stuck to same piece for a long time. The whole thing is on 18 pages and I have done 3 of them - I have a long way to go... If I can commit to 400 stitches a day I could be done before Christmas...

So long my friends,

Monday, March 21, 2016

A to Z Challenge - theme reveal

Oh, my! It's that time of the year again - time to reveal my theme for the challenge. In prior years we were traveling and stitching. We went back in time to ancient Egypt and I told you about my heroes and heroins.
This year I will invite you to explore with me Vancouver Island and Alzheimer's Disease. I have passion for both, Vancouver Island because I live here (not too long, we just move here a little over a year ago) and AD because I'm taking care of my mother in law who is affected by this disease.
To tell you the truth, I'm using this challenge to force myself to write and I hope you will like to read what I write.

So long my friends,

Friday, March 18, 2016

On the other side of the window

Last couple of days were just lovely. Blue sky, sunshine and singing birds - the island is a heavenly place. Here is a view from my window

In the garden flowers are blooming

And here is progress on An Irish Prayer

I really would love to get back to Guardian Angel or Divine Grace but first I must finish this piece.Who knows, maybe this weekend I'll do another happy dance.

So long my friends,

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Happy dance!

As of last Thursday Madonna Dolorosa is all done and I'm doing happy dance. To tell you the truth, I have no idea why I'm dancing and why I'm happy. I'm very proud of every finished piece, I feel that I have accomplished something beautiful but on the other hand I also feel a little empty...

Below is my lovely Madonna ready for framing. I stitched her on 18 ct Aida with DMC floss.

I'm not Irish but I do love Irish prayers and I love to celebrate St. Patrick's Day... maybe I was Irish in past life? Well, this March I decided to finish something from my UFO pile. Here is An Irish Prayer by Homespun Samplar.
It looks like I purchased this chart in November of 2012 and started stitching on November 3 and for some unknown reason I stopped on  November 19, 2012 . This is where I left it off:

 I picked up this piece last Thursday right after finishing Madonna (to kill that feeling of emptiness) and I have made a nice progress. Look! I'm half way done! Maybe, just maybe I can have this prayer done by the end of March. I'm stitching on 36 count Smokey White Edinburgh Linen with Carrie's Creation hand-dyed floss in Peacock. It is a gorgeous floss but unfortunately isn't colorfast... In the picture below the colors are more true than in the pic above. So here I am as of today

So long my friends,