Are you under the weather?

Winter seems to be the season when we are most likely to suffer from a variety of illnesses — flu, cold and stomach viruses. Even if we are not sick enough to visit a doctor, we may feel under the weather.

The phrase, meaning to feel unwell or sick, sounds odd when used in relation to health.

Under the weather almost sounds as though a person has been caught outside in the rain or a storm.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, however, the phrase has its origins with those traveling on ships. Rough seas and winds would send travelers and sailors below deck to prevent them from becoming seasick. Therefore, people were seeking safe refuge in a place that was under the weather.

The complete phrase is “under the weather bow,” which referred to the side of the ship assaulted by the bad weather.

(Illustration by Sira Anamwong, freedigitalphotos,net)

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Fantabulous Friday: Reading Is Healthy!

Scientists have found that reading fiction is good for your health. We knew that already, right?

Scientists have found that reading fiction is good for your health. We knew that already, right?



Whew! I am just back from the Children’s Field Trip morning at the S.C. Book Festival, and the Editorial Assistant, Mom Karen, has put me to work again!

Was it in my contract when she adopted me from Carolina Poodle Rescue that I would have to work? Has it escaped everyone’s attention that I am a Standard Poodle, for gosh sake? I thought I would have a life of leisure! And bonbons, of course!

Anyway, I did my best and let the children hug, pat and kiss me after Mom Karen talked to them about books and writing and me — yes, me, me, me! The children were very smart and asked many good questions. We were very impressed by their smartness!

Besides, someone has to help the Editorial Assistant out, and I guess it’s not too bad of a job. I do get good snackees after all. And I insist on napping when I return home.

It should come as no surprise, however, that Mom Karen has pulled out all the stops to let people know everything about why you should read. She even found an article that tells why reading fiction will improve your health!

A scientist said it was true, so maybe it is.

Read to know more.

You can even have a snackee while reading the article, and it doesn’t have to be a vegetable. But don’t let anyone know I said that!

(Illustration by Witthaya Phonsawat,




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Memorable Monday: The “Power of Age”

PowerOfAgePeople lament advancing age. And it’s hardly any wonder if you look at the world around us!

Advertising for cosmetics, plastic surgery, health care products, fashion, food and travel would have us believe that any age above 20-something renders us less interesting and important. But America’s aging Baby Boomers and “seniors” everywhere certainly disagree and are celebrating Older Americans Month by touting the “Power of Age.”

Today’s “seniors” work longer, volunteer in their communities, remain physically active, take college classes they eschewed in their youth, provide care to grandchildren and make life-changing contributions throughout the world. Pope Francis was named to lead the Catholic Church at  76, Queen Elizabeth of England at age 85 maintains a schedule that would tire those half her age, American fashion designer Vera Wang is a very young 63, and Harrison Ford is one of the hottest actors in Hollywood at age 70. And although you may be thinking, “yeah, but they have lots of advantages,” chances are you know people in your own community who are making substantial contributions well into their 80s and beyond!

Mom Karen says that inventor Henry Ford has inspirational words for those in the second half of their lives: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

Age is only a three-letter word. Don’t allow it to keep you from dreaming and accomplishing exciting new things in life!

This month, “unleash the power of age,” and keep on keeping on!

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Move It Monday: Saving a Million Hearts™

Take care of your heart -- and that of your pets!

Take care of your heart — and your pets’ heart health, too!

Every now and then, I will use these posts to make a special statement.

Today is the language of “red.” On Friday, women throughout the United States donned their red dresses to make a statement about heart disease, the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. Heart disease is responsible for 1 of every 3 deaths in our country. Strokes are the fourth leading cause of death.

Dear friends, this is just unacceptable!

So, during February which is Heart Month, we need to pay attention to the Million Hearts™ initiative. The goal is to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. One of those hearts might be yours! Or mine!

We all know that a healthy lifestyle contributes to good heart health. That means a diet low in fat and high in fruits and vegetables, those great foods that too many of you ignore. You need to stop smoking, if you do. You need to learn the numbers of your  blood pressure and your cholesterol, which your doctor or other health care provider can test for you. And, of course, it also means getting your feet out the door for some physical activity.

That’s why it’s good to have a precious pooch like me. We need walks, too, for our heart health.

Let’s make a promise to get your two feet and our four paws out the door and moving.

By moving it together, we’ll all be healthier and happier!

And, best news of all, some very important people who study all of this have found that pet owners have a lower risk of dying from any cardiac disease, including heart failure! Check this out and see for yourself:

To learn more about the Million Hearts™ initiative, visit

And for my young readers, visit to get some great ideas from First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. What’s the first step that you and your family can make to get on the right track for your heart health?

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