Labor Day 2022

Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894.



IT’S LABOR DAY AND I WISH YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES:

Picture courtesy of Google.com

Seeking Legal Help? Find It Here!

I’m generally a person who keeps certain things private and doesn’t talk about them much. Also, I’m not one to scream recommendations into the Northern Hemisphere, but today I’m making an exception for a good reason!

A few years back I needed legal help in a matter that was both, humiliating and embarrassing at the same time. I knew, that without the help of an attorney I wouldn’t get anywhere.

By a fortunate coincidence, I got the name of a classic, respected, and experienced law firm by the name of Donnelly & Warner into my hands and I called them. I talked to a very nice, polite, considerate lawyer, Matthew J. Warner, who listened to my problem and decided to help me through a time and a case that otherwise could have been hard, extended, and painful for me. I’m very grateful for his help and indeed, he helped me again, a bit later. I would entrust him with whatever legal problem shows up in my life, anytime.

I read, Mr. Gregory R. Donnelly got excellent reviews as well! So, whoever you pick, you’ll be in good hands.


Donnelly & Warner is located in  Wayne, New Jersey but Mr. Warner is licensed to practice law in New York State too. Their legal practice areas are mainly:

  • Divorce & Family Law
  • Personal Injury
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Real Estate
  • Foreclosure Defense
  • Traffic Violations / DWI

Check out their Website here:

If you’re located in NJ/NY, and you are facing a legal challenge, give them a ring at 973-696-6770. They’ll be delighted to hear from you!

(That said, please be assured that this is not a common ‘promotion’, and I’m in no way being paid for this blog post. I just happen to recommend and endorse someone who gave me time, encouragement, and legal advice to solve my problems!)

Do You Suffer Without Knowing It? Writer’s Health!

Picture courtesy of Forbes.com

Is your computer screen literally taking your breath away? It’s possible that you are holding your breath while using your computer, without even knowing it. Some people hold their breath while reading emails or messages, some others, during typing, and neither of them knows what they’re doing, or even, that they are suffering from irregular breathing.

You are not alone! We are talking about Screen Apnea.

What exactly is it?

What is screen apnea?

Screen apnea is the temporary cessation of breath or shallow breathing while sitting in front of a screen, whether a computer, a mobile device, or a television.

Studies have shown that over 80% of users suffer from Screen apnea without knowing it. And it’s unhealthy! I went into my personal investigation and found a few things online. What is the problem with shallow breathing?

According to ‘rubmassage.com.au‘ Dr Russell Greenfield believes that over time SA can:
· Disrupt your sleep.
· Lower your energy levels
· Interfere with you ability to think quickly and focus.
· Lead to mood disorders like depression or anxiety.
· Increase stress related disease.

“Screen apnea alters your bodies delicate balance of glasses like oxygen, nitric oxide and carbon dioxide.” Says Greenfield. “ This can cause inflammation and interfere with your immune system’s ability to fight infection.” Amongst a host of other things. (Source: rubmassage.com.au)

Forbes.com’ takes it even further. Most Americans sitting on the computer, or in a car, do that on an average of 10 hours a day, while eating regularly, and moving far too little. Many Americans aren’t aware that getting up, stretching and moving around will reduce stress and take pressure off your body. As many as 40% of the Americans who like being glued to their chair follow the advice of the late comedian Joan Rivers, who said, “I don’t exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, He would’ve put diamonds on the floor.”

Chronic breath holding can harm your health, lead to exhaustion and compromise your work performance. Prolonged sitting in front of your screen has been described as “the new smoking.” (Source: Forbes.com)

Now, what can we do about it? Rubmassage.com, Forbes.com, and an additional source, YogaInternational.com, agree on the treatments of screen apnea:

1. Notice when you aren’t breathing. Check in every so often and take some long vagus-nerve (our primary parasympathetic nerve) stimulating exhalations that last longer than your inhalations. Try humming your breath out, count a long exhale, or useujjayi breath to extend your exhalation.

2. Look beyond the screen from time to time, even if you’re glued to it for work. Try not to distract yourself with another screen when you do this, like your television. You’ll probably find yourself taking easier breaths.

3. Get up and move/express yourself. Dance, vocalize, do simple stretches, take a walk. These are natural easers for the breath.

4. Explore breathing practices that don’t involve breath retention and keep conditioning your breath to maintain a smooth, even, continuous flow; try brahmari(humming breath). Place more emphasis on how your breath feels in the moment than how you think you “should” make it behave. Focus only on breathing a few times during the day.

 5. Put your phone on airplane mode every now and then, or turn off work notifications after work hours. 

(Source YogaInternational.com,)

Breath Mindfulness

Chances are screen apnea causes you to use your shoulders instead of your diaphragm to move air in and out of your lungs. You might even stop breathing or hold your breath and not even realize it. Natural abdominal breathing from your abdomen sends additional oxygen to your brain and activates your parasympathetic system (your rest-and-digest response which offsets your stress response). Notice your breathing right now. Do your breaths come from high in your chest or deep in your abdomen? Are they fast or slow? If you’re aware of shallow breathing higher up in your chest, practice abdominal breathing. Take several deep breaths so that your diaphragm flattens downward, pushing the muscles in the abdominal cavity upward, creating more space in the chest so your lungs can fill up. You can’t get as worked up if you force yourself to breathe deeply. Your body can’t maintain the same level of stress with the extra oxygen you get in your bloodstream when you breathe from your abdomen

Moving Around

Statistics show that just moving around can cut your risk of sudden cardiac arrest by 92%, so don’t park it for too long. When you get moving, physical tension and mental stress melt away, and the solution to a mulled-over problem becomes crystal clear. Experts say being on your feet at your desk instead of sitting can help. Simply not sitting gives you the benefits of exercise.

Stand up, breathe deeply, shake, twist, and stretch out the built-up tension. Take a few seconds to reach high. Let yourself feel the stretch as you elongate your body and notice where you hold tension then release it. Shake the part of your body where you sense tension. As you continue to stretch, bring your attention to each part of your body that has remained tight. Bend over and touch your toes and feel that stretch letting the tension in your body evaporate.

Chair Yoga

You can improve your breathing and posture right at your desk in the very chair you’re in as long as it has a back. Sitting in your chair, inhale and raise your arms toward the ceiling. Let your shoulder blades slide down your back as you reach upward with your fingertips. Anchor your sit bones in your seat and reach up from there. Place your left hand over on your right knee. Place your right arm on the back of the chair. Stretch lightly for sixty seconds with eyes open or closed. Notice the stretch and what happens inside. After sixty seconds, bring your body back to center. Then reverse the stretch. Place your right hand over your left knee. Put your left arm on the back of the chair for another sixty seconds. Stretch lightly again with eyes open or closed. Pay attention to the stretch, and notice what happens inside. After three to five minutes of repeating this exercise, you will notice better breathing, a renewed energy and improved mental clarity.

Take An ‘Awe Walk’

An “Awe walk”—a stroll in nature where you intentionally shift your attention outward to the natural environment instead of inward—is a great remedy for screen apnea. Not only does it get you up and moving and improve your breathing, it also clears your mind and gives you a sense of awe from the natural surroundings. So, you’re not thinking about the tight deadline, the unfinished project or the strain in your relationship with your boss. A new study published in the journal Emotion found that a regular dose of awe reduces your stress and boosts your mental health. An awe walk gets your blood circulating and restores your breathing to its natural rhythm.

Screen Glow And Blue-Light Glasses

Most of the technology we commonly use—such as computer screens, smartphones and tablets—emits blue light, which past research has found can disrupt sleep. Workers have become more dependent on these devices, especially as we navigate remote work and school during the coronavirus pandemic. The media have recently reported on the benefits of blue-light glasses for those spending a lot of time in front of a computer screen. This new research extends understanding of the circadian rhythm, a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours. New research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that wearing blue-light glasses just before sleeping can lead to a better night’s sleep, better career decision-making and contribute to a better day’s work productivity.

The 20-20-20 Rule

Using the 20-20-20 rule can help you prevent screen apnea. The rule says that for every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, you take a 20 second break, move around and look at something 20 feet away, which relaxes the eye muscles for 20 seconds and gives your brain a much-needed respite. Here’s how the rule works: Set an alarm or time popup for every 20 minutes when you’re working in front of a screen as a reminder to get up from your workstation, deep breathe and stretch. It takes 20 seconds for your eyes to fully relax. Every 20 minutes for 20 seconds walk around the room, hydrate yourself, close your eyes or look out a window—perhaps at a tree, squirrel or some aspect of nature. Take off your shoes and dig your toes into the carpet for 20 seconds. And you’re ready to get back to your screen for another 20 minutes.

(Source: Forbes.com)

It’s important that you take care of yourself, no matter where your work takes you. The COVID pandemic has had an enormous influence on our computer/screen behavior and severely limited our free time, outside time, where our bodies can relax and breathe fresh air. Be aware of these changes, and how you are stressing yourself out! Keep writing, under all circumstances! Bu also, stay healthy!

Happy Swiss National Holiday!

731 years ago, on August 1, 1291, in a top-secret conference, Fuerst, from Uri, Stauffacher from Schwyz, and von Melchtal, representing Unterwalden held up their left hands for an oath, their right hands were placed on their hearts. “… We swear, in good faith, to…”

This oath, ever since, has been known as the ‘Ruetli Oath’ and formed the Confoederatio Helvetica,, the ‘Helvetic Confederation’, or how it was called, centuries later, Switzerland.

Picture courtesy of Google.com

The newly formed cooperation and formal protest to enforce the self-governing of the area, including their facilitation to collect the taxes connected to the North-South passage (from Germany to Italy), didn’t go well with the Danube Monarchy. The noblemen, including the King, saw their authority endangered. In 1315, Duke Leopold of Zaehringen sent his army to make those rebellious Helvetic hillbillies see reason after they undermined the royal ruling.

By that time the Confederation wasn’t a secret anymore and its influence had extended. It was no surprise the monarchy felt threatened. The information that the sovereignty wanted to take back the scepter and demonstrate their power with military strength was carried into the Confederation.

The blood-tired members of the Helvetic Confederation decided to stifle the try to take over the royal power in its beginning. And they were successful. The entire planning led to the famous ‘Battle of Morgarten’, which was basically a fight of ‘David vs. Goliath’, and to the noblemen’s surprise, the handful of ‘Helvetic rednecks’ walked away victorious.

It was the beginning of the end. The Helvetic Confederation gained more ‘cantons’ (states) as members and grew into 26 cantons and half-cantons to join and finally turned into that tiny country that forms the heart of Europe, Switzerland.

Switzerland is a country, famous for its chocolate, cheese, and watches… and yes… they are the best. But also, Switzerland gained respect for significant development and progress in computer science, medical discoveries, nuclear, biomedical, and forensic science.

Additionally, it’s the only country in the world with a square flag and four native languages, Swiss-German, Swiss-French, Swiss-Italian, and Rumantsch, a dying language, only spoken by 2% of the Swiss population in the South East corner of the country.

August 1, the day of the ‘Ruetli Oath’ is the day Switzerland celebrates its independence from the Danube Monarchy and its separation from the Habsburg ruled, often cruel and suffocating thraldom.

Happy Birthday, Switzerland, home of the brave defenders of human rights, and the most beautiful mountains, one of them the famous Matterhorn.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SWITZERLAND

Picture courtesy of Google.com

Happy Birthday To My Wonderful Sister

My sister… what can I tell you about her? She’s beautiful, she’s smart, highly intelligent, wonderful, got a great sense of humor, and she’s the best friend anyone can have.

I’m lucky to have her as my sister, and I cannot be more grateful! No matter what, she’s always been there for me!

Today, she celebrates her birthday. I won’t tell you a number, because she is 18 months younger than I am, and believe me, I’m notoriously secretive about my age! But, of course, now, she has to face the fact, that she’s getting older, (wiser too, of course!) and, that she starts looking older than I do… *grin*

But age is, in fact, only a number, and we won’t hold that against her, since we are generous.

Picture courtesy of Amazon.com

Instead, please, celebrate my sister’s birthday with us!


Happy Birthday, wonderful you!! You’re not getting older, you’re just getting better!!

I wish for you to enjoy life with a smile, I wish for you to see the small things in a wonderful light, listen to the birds sing, and watch the squirrels. I wish for you to make a few wishes, close your eyes, send them out into the universe and see them come true! I wish for you to see how amazing and beautiful you are! I wish for you to celebrate your life by eating a piece of cake and enjoying every bite of it! I wish I was there to celebrate and hug you, because you mean so much to me!

I love you, little Sister!

Picture courtesy of Google.com

Happy Independence Day 2022

Picture courtesy of History.com

“The Star-Spangled Banner” is the national anthem of the United States. By the time the song officially became the country’s anthem in 1931, it had been one of America’s most popular patriotic tunes for more than a century. The anthem’s history began the morning of September 14, 1814, when an attorney and amateur poet named Francis Scott Key watched U.S. soldiers—who were under bombardment from British naval forces during the War of 1812—raise a large American flag over Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland. (Source: History.com)

Lyrics

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?


I wish you and your loved ones

Picture courtesy of Google.com

Church Bulletin Bloopers – Reblogged

(This post was originally re-blogged on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ 7/20/2015 – from ‘Nutsrok‘. The blog still exists, but hasn’t been publishing new posts since October 2020)

Thank God for church ladies with typewriters. These sentences actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services:

1. Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight at Calvary Methodist. Come hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.

2. Announcement in a church bulletin for a national PRAYER & FASTING Conference: “The cost for attending the Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.

3. The sermon this morning: “Jesus Walks on the Water.”
The sermon tonight: “Searching for Jesus.”

4. Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 PM in the recreation hall – Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.

5. Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget your husbands.

6. The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been cancelled due to a conflict.

7. Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say “Hell” to someone who doesn’t care much about you.

8. Don’t let worry kill you off – let the Church help.

9. Miss Charlene Mason sang “I will not pass this way again,” giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

10. For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

11. Next Thursday there will be try outs for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

12. Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack’s sermons.

13. The Rector will preach his farewell message after which the choir will sing: ” Break Forth Into Joy.”

14. Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

15. A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

16. At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be “What Is Hell?” Come early and listen to our choir practice.

17. Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

18. Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

19. Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.

20. Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.

21. The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.

22. Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM – prayer and medication to follow.

23. The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind.
They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

24. This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn sing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

25. Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.

26. The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.

27. Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.

28. The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

29. Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

30. The Associate Minister unveiled the church’s new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday:

“I Upped My Pledge ! – Up Yours!”

Picture courtesy of Google.com (and I love it, because it’s so bubbly, bright and friendly!)

A. J. Alexander’s Secret Zen-Handwork

I have been asked if I always write…

Free time? A. J. is writing, right?

Always?

And my answer is: Almost always, yes…

At nighttime, when nobody is watching me, at the full moon, on my birthday, when the wind blows to the East, I can be seen grabbing a crochet needle and yarn and starting to work… And on nights like these, unusual and dangerous things are happening, and strange forms are built…

Picture courtesy of Amazon.com

Yes, you saw that right. I crochet doilies. I learned that handiwork when I was in school and for some undefined reason, I never forgot how it’s done. (Which proves I’m getting old; on some days I cannot remember what I had for breakfast, but I remember how to crochet a doily.) Usually, I can work on those when I watch TV, some TV show, or just relax somewhere while waiting for something or someone. Fact is, once I started, I aspire for completion because the whole crochet thing isn’t only embarrassing, it’s also a waste of time. Don’t even ask me why I do that, I cannot deliver any kind of proper explanation.

I once tried to figure out how to crochet something else than a doily… Ha! I did some research on clothing. I mean, if I’m already sacrificing so much time and effort, at least I would be able to show off something useful, beautiful, and unique… right? Guess, what I found: You cannot crochet something really beautiful (at least not in my size).

Picture courtesy of: Instyle.de

Oh, PLEASE!! Hippie-Look is out… that poor piece of workmanship is outdated since the ’70s! I was shocked. I decided to find another model I could possibly try.

Picture courtesy of Instyle.de

Don’t tell me that doesn’t look like a nightgown that belongs in a nun’s wardrobe? I found it made me laugh. However, I went to the next model, and there I was lucky!

Picture courtesy of Google.com

Isn’t that beautiful? Yes, I thought so too. But: be aware: To wear something like this, you have to be slim! Crochet dresses don’t forgive the slightest ‘chocolate-roll’. Since the patterns include ‘holes’, you have to wear something underneath, otherwise, you’ll look cheap. And last, but not least: If you create your crochet dress from one single running thread, and you got caught in something, like a nail, a hook, or a splinter, you could easily walk away and not realize your entire dress is slowly unraveling, until you’re standing there in your underskirt.

So, as a result: I got stuck with the doilies…

And now, please, keep the secret! It’s getting worse…

Decades ago, I took a course with my mother… and we learned, not only to crochet doilies but also to knit them! Isn’t that the height of shame? Yes, A. J. Alexander learned to master the high craft of ‘art-knitting’… That makes a doily normally look a bit more elegant, the handiwork finer…

Picture courtesy of Pinterest.com
Picture courtesy of Google.com

A project like that might take me up to two years if the doily is a certain size. For small ones, I don’t even make the effort anymore. The work is very exhausting and you have to concentrate well. Every single flaw is going to be seen immediately, while a crochet doily might forgive and hide the one or other mistake…

I know, the world doesn’t use that many doilies anymore. I think I’m one of the last generations that still uses them occasionally. And if someone feels like having one, you can buy them cheap. Can you ask me if I’d crochet or knit you one? Of course, you can… but you will have to calculate ‘big’. A medium crochet doily already costs double. An art-knitted big doily is very expensive. I doubt, anyone is going to spend that kind of money anymore.

Now, you know, A. J. Alexander’s secret Zen handiwork… Don’t tell anyone, please!

Maybe I should stick with the writing, what do you think?

Memorial Day 2022

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

Picture courtesy of Pinterest.com

Memorial Day Prayer

Almighty God

Today we remember the ones who fought for us

We remember them with all our hearts, holding them in our thoughts

We say ‘thank you’ for your sacrifice, to pay the highest price for our freedom

with your blood, with your life, with all you have.

We make sure today, that those who stand on the side of our country and its people

won’t be forgotten. Not now, not day, not tomorrow, not ever!

Dear God, thank you for taking care of your sons’s and daughter’s souls

may they be happy in Heaven, for all eternity.

Amen

(Copyright: Aurora Jean Alexander, May 26, 2022)


The Benefits Of Smiling

The benefits of smiling

Smiling does not only improve the quality of our face, it also benefits us in different other ways. We are more likable. Also, smiling allows us to share our humanity, in sociable settings as well as the work environment, and it also, surprisingly, improves our health. As we age, we smile less often. According to studies, a child smiles up to 400 times a day, as compared to the average adult who smiles only about 20 times within 24 hours. Considering we are truly improving our family and work-life by smiling, we need to learn how to smile and laugh again.

Smiling releases cortisol and endorphins, which improve our well-being by:

  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Increasing endurance
  • Reducing pain
  • Reducing stress
  • Strengthening immune system

If we take all the advantages into account that smiling gives us, and the only con would be a few laughing lines around the lips, I would like to highly recommend: ‘Live your life and smile away’.

Picture courtesy of Google.com

What is it that makes you smile? Tell us about it in the comments.

(Sources: Smiling: Why It’s Important in Your Personal Life and Workplace | Psychology Today & Surprising Health Benefits Of Smiling | Henry Ford LiveWell)