Monday, February 20, 2012

Here's to My Health.....Coffee? Really?

Feeling jittery about whether to drink coffee? Percolate on this: Coffee's benefits considerably outweigh its negatives, researchers now believe. Although caffeine can cause anxiety and insomnia in some people, the beverage's unique properties -- such as more powerful antioxidants than from any other source in the American diet, including fruits and vegetables -- can do a lot of good. Just be sure to spring for organic coffee, says Beth Reardon, director of nutrition for Duke Integrative Medicine, since coffee beans are among the most heavily sprayed crops (all those chemicals can undo the benefits).

Here are the top five reasons to sip coffee:

1. Coffee slashes your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The health benefit: The more coffee you drink, the less likely it is you'll develop type 2 diabetes, numerous studies have shown. For example, postmenopausal women who drink at least four cups of coffee a day are less than half as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as those who don't drink coffee, according to a 2011 study of more than 700 women by the UCLA Schools of Public Health and Medicine.
In fact, every additional cup is thought to reduce the excess risk of type 2 diabetes by 7 percent, according to Australian researchers in a 2009 Archives of Internal Medicine meta-analysis of 18 different studies, which linked coffee drinking and diabetes prevention.
How it works: Coffee is thought to improve the body's tolerance to glucose by speeding metabolism and improving insulin tolerance.
The UCLA researchers discovered one possible molecular mechanism for this. Coffee consumption increases blood levels of a protein called sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which seems to offer protection against type 2 diabetes in those who have a certain type of genetic mutation. (Decaf coffee didn't show this effect, however.)
If you're already showing signs of prediabetes, of course, you'll want to refrain from dunking doughnuts in that joe.

2. Coffee can counter cancerous cell damage.

The health benefit: Coffee was once believed to cause cancer -- but that was before researchers factored in such related behaviors of frequent sippers as smoking and drinking alcohol. Today, there's mounting evidence that coffee may be protective against certain cancers, possibly by enhancing DNA repair.
Some of the best evidence concerns liver damage and liver cancer, which strikes more than 18,000 Americans a year. Multiple studies have found an inverse relationship between coffee consumption and liver cancer risk, including a 2007 meta-analysis of nine different studies.
Cancer-prevention researchers are finding similar benefits of coffee drinking versus other forms of the disease. In 2011, for example, a Harvard team found that women who drink several cups of coffee a day (caffeinated or decaf) have a lower risk of endometrial cancer. Another 2011 Harvard study reported that for men who consumed six cups of coffee a day, their risk of lethal prostate cancer was fully 60 percent lower than lesser coffee drinkers, and their risk of any kind of prostate cancer was 20 percent lower.
Other studies have linked coffee drinking to a reduced risk of colon cancer, rectal cancer, oral cancer, and esophageal cancer.
How it works: Coffee contains hundreds of chemical compounds -- among them antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can decrease markers for the damaging process of inflammation. The highly active antioxidant compound methylpyridinium, for example, is found almost exclusively in coffee (both caffeinated and decaf types), due to the beans' roasting process. Espresso has two to three times the amount of this anticancer compound as a medium-roast coffee, according to the German researchers who identified it in coffee.

3. Coffee may lower your risk of dementia.

The health benefit: Scientists still don't fully understand what causes the brain changes associated with Alzheimer's disease, but they're learning more about risk factors for dementia -- and a hearty coffee-drinking habit seems to lower the risk.
When researchers in Sweden and Denmark tracked coffee consumption in a group of more than 1,400 middle-aged subjects for an average of 21 years, they found a clear connection. Those who quaffed three to five cups a day were 65 percent less likely to have developed dementia than the two-cups-or-fewer crowd. (Drinking five or more cups a day also seems to reduce the risk, although this group was too small to allow researcher to draw statistically significant results.)
How it works: Researchers believe the antioxidant properties of coffee may work to reduce vascular forms of dementia. Drinking coffee is already known to be protective against type 2 diabetes, a chronic disease that raises the risk of dementia. (Having diabetes together with depression, for example, doubles dementia risk.)
Another theory: Animal studies indicate that the caffeine in coffee may improve the efficiency of the blood-brain barrier, thwarting the negative effects of high cholesterol on cognitive functioning. Caffeine added to rats' watering improves their cognitive functioning and reduces by half the amount of abnormal amyloid protein in their brains, which has been linked to Alzheimer's disease.
It's also possible that coffee drinkers simply have more energy and move more; researchers point out that exercise is protective against dementia, too.

4. Coffee protects (men, anyway) against Parkinson's disease.

The health benefit: At least for men, it seems pretty clear that coffee helps lower the odds of developing Parkinson's disease. Compared with abstainers, guys who down two to three cups of caffeinated coffee a day have a 25-percent lower risk of Parkinson's.
That's the conclusion of a review of 26 published studies looking at coffee consumption and Parkinson's. It echoes an earlier body of studies. The link hasn't been shown to be as strong for women.
Why it works: Researchers aren't sure what the protective mechanism at play is, or even whether it's the caffeine or other protective compounds that are behind the benefit. Genetics may play a role: One 2011 study found that subjects who carried certain types of a gene called GRIN2A received more neuroprotective benefits against Parkinson's from coffee (although coffee drinkers with all forms of the gene still had a lower risk of developing the disease).

5. Coffee may buffer depression.

The health benefit: Another large study links long-term coffee use with a reduced risk of depression. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health tracked 50,000 nurses in the Nurses' Health Study for more than a quarter century. In 2011, they reported that those who drank four cups of coffee or more per day had a 20-percent lower risk of developing depression, compared with those who rarely or never drank it. Those who downed two to three cups a day had about a 15-percent lower risk.
A much smaller study in Finland linked coffee consumption to a decreased risk of suicide in men. There's also some evidence that coffee protects against depression in men, too.
How it works: Nobody's sure, but one theory is that coffee drinking causes a short-term boost to energy and mood. The caffeine in coffee is probably the substance causing this effect -- the Harvard researchers saw a similar decrease in depression among those who drank caffeinated soft drinks and ate chocolate, both of which contain caffeine.
Brain receptors that respond to caffeine are found in the basal ganglia, the part of the brain where neurotransmitters critical to depression are concentrated. Repeated low-dose stimulation of these receptors may help protect against the development of depression.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Running away from Paris

Once we finally received our rental car we were VERY ready to leave Paris.  I think it was the transition to the new country ( And Europe in general) and the fact that we didn't have much money.....but without a doubt they were pretty rude to us.  I guess that is what they always say.....True! Gas was crazy high and sold by the metric liters. So, the road journey begins.

The beginning of our wine and beer list. We tried to fit in to the area with what they ate and drank.

Grocery shopping experience. This was way crazy.

Finally getting a chance to settle down and study some of all the architecture.  Yes, as simple as the shower stalls at our campgrounds.  There were some pretty neat details everywhere.  This is what I came for.....the study of architecture.  It is still taking me some time to get used to sketching.  I can tell I am way to slow and need to get more loose. I will get there.

I realized I am not going to be ale to sketch everything at this pace, so cut a paste is an option as well. I also decided to sketch most of the building and then go back in later at the campsite and finish each night.

More details just on the doors!

Home Alone

Well it is just me and Mavrick this weekend, Home Alone. The girls headed off to Tennessee for the annual Winterfest Youth Rally in Gaitlinburg. So pup and I have just been hanging out.  Not really accomplishing much at all either.  I have been working on a few rendering and a few new models for potential projects. Other than that, I have just been roaming the house looking for snack food.....there is none! My wife did a good job of keeping the fatty foods away from me.

Truly bored though. There is only so much old television, rendering, and wandering a person can do. Funny, the house used to be a thriving bustle of noise but now the noise of kids just comes from the neighborhood kids playing out in the evening on probably one of the last warm days before the snow hits.

So Mavrick and I watch some TV, eat called food and SLEEP.  Mavrick sleeps alot....and takes up too much room on the bed.  He sprawls out everywhere.  I rolled over on my side last night on the edge of the bed and he rolled up right against me.  I could even roll back.  He was dead. I had to drag him by his paws to move him over.  Funny dog.  The rest of the time he stole my wife's spot.  I guess he misses her too.

Sleeping in Mom's spot
This is one of those weekends where I really could have got some things accomplished but I already knew I was going to be swamped with work next week.  I have four jobsites that I need to field measure and one of them is in Raleigh. I will be wiped out I am sure.  So, I am taking my rest time now. I could have played a little bit of XBox Kinects but wasn't really into it.  I could have played a bit of Sim City....I did...just a bit. I love that game. I could have exercised.....really? I know I should.  I will run today...I promise! Other than that, I plan on being lazy.

Taking a nap on the fancy pillow
The girls will be home tonight so I will need to make sure I clean up a few things.  I didn't make much of a mess or dirty any dishes...... (Mavrick cleaned the dishes for me)....Maybe I can make a nice treat for them when they get back as a surprise. A snack treat or something since I am not sure when they will get in exactly.......I guess that means I will have to go to the dreaded grocery store otherwise the only thing I could probably make is a dry sandwich or salsa favored popcorn.  By the way, why do we have so much salsa in this house but nothing to put it on? Take care my friends.  I believe I should be rescued from this solitude and saved from having to survive on Triskets and Laughing Cow Cheese. Don't worry, I wont let the girls know we missed them.....we will play it up like it was the best guy's weekend ever! Take care my friends....Stay lonely....NOT!

Monday, February 13, 2012


Forgiveness in a powerful yet difficult word. Powerful for those that yield it….and yet it is illusive. We often times casually offer the phase, “Please forgive me.” And we nonchalantly reply, “no problem.” Oh that is just too easy. That is the everyday no big deal stuff. What about the serious things that we are asked to forgive? What if those that offend us never ask to forgive them? Do we have to? Well, they didn’t ask. Can we ever really forgive?

I think it is easy to offer up the words but much more difficult to actually forgive. Forgive but never forget. That is the tough part.  If we cannot forget, how in the world can we ever forgive? Are there certain things we don’t HAVE TO forgive? If we never forgive, how can we expect to be forgiven ourselves?
The scriptures tell us in Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Ok, so I guess that tells us we better be careful of our actions and feelings towards others…..because it can come back on us….from others. How about this one? Luke 17:3 “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.” So here you go…..if they ask, you need to forgive.
That is what you need to do but it may not be what you want to do.  Not always are your wants important because you should WANT to please the Lord…..therefore, forgive….because he wants you to forgive. Remember, you will also want to be forgiven. On the surface, these things are insignificant.  Down deep we have to think more about how far this forgiveness should go.  If someone kills a loved one, can you forgive them? It can never be altered or changed. That loved one will always be gone and simple words won’t change that. A scar like that carries a lot a weight and is difficult to overlook. Jesus on the cross even prayed to his Father in heaven and asked him to forgive those who persecuted him…..because they didn’t know what they were doing. Luke 23:34
Pain is a difficult emotion to overcome.  Adding the pressure of carrying the burden is just one more load to weight of burden. Yes, it is a bigger burden to yourself to carry that hatred, anger, suffering etc. around with you all the time. Can you just imagine your legs buckling under the weight? Can you imagine if that weight was lifted off your shoulders, how much more you could do? How much more you could accomplish? How much more that lays at your feet because your offered up forgiveness? Just think of all the time and energy is wasted inside your head, body and every part of your body just harboring that negative attitude.
I know, it isn’t really easy to accomplish.  Easy to say, but more difficult to do.  It is a struggle that more and more of us carry as we go throughout our lives.  Imagine how much weight we have been carrying around for years with all the built up pain towards others. I know I have done that…..and still do.  I struggle with forgiveness.  But I am sure that I would plead for forgiveness from others if the opportunity arose. It has….I am sure of that. Just vanishing from our memory doesn’t it.  Funny how that works.  We seems to forget all the horrible things that we have done and asked for forgiveness but we cannot forget about what others have done to us. Can you say Hypocrite?
Until we forgive, we cannot be forgiven.  Maybe this little thing has been holding back God’s blessings for you.  Is your pride in the way? Lay it down.  Forgive…..and forget.
Yes, I am preaching to myself…….but this is what I believe……and if it is, then I need to act upon it and follow through. My friends…..please forgive me too.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Snow ...... In Virginia Beach?

Christian with all the ladies
It doesn't happen often, but it does happen.  Last night we got a bit of the flurries late and it stuck around until this morning. Since we have moved down here 18 years ago from Pennsylvania we have had a handful of snow falls.  Most of the time it is just like last night with about 1/2 inch or so.  It is pretty and then disappears quickly.

When it snowed in PA, we had to also get out there and shovel the snow on the sidewalks and clear the paths.  The first time it snowed right after we moved down here I ran out immediately and shoveled the sidewalk and drive.  I was the only one doing it.  It felt awesome. Of course, I had all the heavy gear we used in Allentown so I made quick work of the light fluffy stuff. Then I realized why nobody else was bothering to shovel their sidewalks........sun came out and in 15 minuets is was GONE! Bummer! All that work for naught.

Preparing for the snow battle
We have had other snows that were more significant and found out that the area isn't really prepared for heavy snow....everything shuts down.  As a matter of fact I believe one year the schools shut down just for the THREAT of snow......DEFCON SNOW didn't snow at lol.

I don't miss going out in the snow myself anymore, but it is fun to watch the kids play in it.  Here are a few crazy snow pictures from days gone by.
Sneaking up for the attack
Wondering what in the world this stuff is......just a pup!
On the sneaking!
Running away from Christian
run and hide.....fashionable in my sweater!
They got Christian!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I Want your Soda Bottle

I have been wanting to write about our pup, MAVRICK. Yes, I spelled it correctly, my daughter named him and spelled it that way. And......we adopted him. It is a crazy long story and I wont go into all that now but he has become our next child.  I cant say that a dog is cheeper either.  We speed way too much on grooming, dog treats, dog toys......and replacing everything he eats. Eyeglasses, iPhone cables, sunglasses, reading glasses (can you tell that he likes glasses), leather shoes, leather belts, corner of the cabinet, table leg on dining room table...and on and on.

But today we are not going to talk about that, I am going to share a few photos of MAVRICK begging for my soda bottle.  That seems to be one of his favorite toys.  He used to wait until we were done and then he would grab it.  Now he doesn't even want to wait.....He begs to have it RIGHT AWAY. This afternoon I was sitting on the bed watching some television after lunch and finishing off my soda. 

Apparently I wasn't drinking it fast enough.
He has pawed at my bottle, stretching to get it away from me. And then looks at me like I am being so cruel that he cannot have it. He is a best....but a cute one.

He says, pleaseeeee. I really need it!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Superbowl...sort of a Superdud?

Honestly, I wasn't impressed so much on the Superbowl Sunday. Yes, my team had already been knocked out in the playoffs...Go Steelers! But really I had hoped for a great rematch between the Giants and the Patriots. I didn't care you won, but was sort of cheering on the GMEN. Often in the past we plan a big get-to-gether at our house with big TVs all over the place and food and friends. This year no plans for such an event. Actually, I was looking forward to the commercials! Even if the game was bad, the commercials are always something to talk about the next day.

Game and commercials (in my opinion) came up short. There wasn't any awesome great plays in the game that would keep you talking or watching the highlights over and over. The commercials seemed to play it safe as well.

First, we will talk about the commericals. There were a few chuckles I made during the game. The M&Ms were sort of silly.  Those candies always embarrass themselves. Wrong kind of party Red M&M! I liked the Doritos "dog killed the cat" commercial. Funny....and even better when I found out a local made the commercial.  I guess everyone else liked it also since it became the big winner. No good beer commericals, no good car commercials (there were plenty...just none that I thought were that good) Maybe the vampire headlight one was funny.....but come on...too much Vampire stuff these days everywhere.

Bad commercials, Tired of E-Trade babies, Tired of and Detroit is still a place that is a less than desirable place to live, work or play regardless of any rap star or Clint Eastwood promotions. I do like Clint Eastwood....."Make my day punk"....."You need to ask yourself, Do you feel lucky today, well do yah?"

And of course, the game.  Yes of course it was a close game so that made it interesting.  I can probably say that all the Giant's fan thought that it was an awesome game. And all the Patriot's fans thought a bit less about it.  Honestly, the biggest play was the 38 yard pass by Eli down the sidelines in the last few minutes of the game.  A great catch, a great pass but hardly a play of all time.....I am talking about great plays like David Tyree's catch or Antonio Holmes catch right after the Cardinals endzone catch or even a defensive play like Harrison's interception and run back 90 some yards for a TD....or close to a TD...I cant remember get the idea though.

All the plays were safe by both teams....the most memorable play will be the Bradshaw "tried not to score play". Worst part is the media had nothing to talk about afterwards other than, "Eli, how was it to win in the house that Peyton built?" or why didn't Bradshaw stop and kneel down on the 1 yard line......and then why didn't New England let them score on first down instead of second.......come on guys......really. And who care what the supermodel QB wife says? Not much for us all to talk about the next day....except......I cant wait for the draft.  We can never get too much football!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


"History has a terrible habit of completely deflating
one. I don't think I have ever had an idea or
thought in my life that I didn't find later on that
someone else had had it first -- and expressed it
more clearly."

William W. Caudill   02 April 64