Archive | November, 2010

Current Issue November/December 2010

Current Issue November/December 2010

You can now view Lifestyles of Denton County online!

Welcome to the Denton Holiday Season
- America Recycles Day – find out what you can do to make Denton a better place to live.
- Live the magic of The Nutcracker
- Denton ABATE Toy Run – Local Bikers who give from the heart

Click here to view the current issue.

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Just Say Ahh…

Just Say Ahh…

by Taryn McColpin

Ahhh…whoa, wait!  We’re out of months!  All the months have been dissected and commented on and poked fun at over the past couple of years, so it must be time to find a new topic…let’s see, what is there in Denton County, besides taxes and traffic and trees, that needs attention?

Attention is “selectively concentrating; the act or faculty of attending.” Consideration, courtesy, care – all of those words convey attention. We hear it every day: Pay close attention, Don’t attract attention, Give attention to detail, Catch the waiter’s attention, You have my undivided attention, Attention please!  (The “please” is definitely an option not afforded to the military.)

Paul Blouet said that “flirtation is attention without intention.” Richard Moss believed that “the greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.”  And one of the greatest minds in history, Albert Einstein, made this observation: “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”

A big part of our lives is spent deciding what is in need of our attention and what is not. What makes one thing worthy and another unworthy? Our attention is a limited resource, we can only pay attention to so much.  It is also an investment to be made carefully and thoughtfully, to garner the most valuable results. If you have the ability to influence something in a meaningful way, then it’s more attention-worthy than something you cannot influence much.

In so many ways, lack of attention is the source of quite a lot of the problems in both our big world and our little worlds.  If we don’t pay attention to the politicians who run our governments, we end up losing our rights and our freedoms.  If we don’t pay attention to our environment, rainforests disappear and species become extinct.  If we don’t pay attention to those we love, we will regret it in many ways in the future.

Our children need more than the food and shelter we provide to them, they also need our hugs and our time…our attention. But in the big picture, we must consider our love for all of humanity, and children other than our own.

Here in Denton County, there are thousands of children who would be worthy recipients of our attention: members of underprivileged families where the parents are in financial need. With the holidays advancing, that need is even greater.

The annual Denton ABATE Toy Run and Food Drive is November 20, 2010, leaving at noon from the Stonehill Center.  All of the new, unwrapped toys collected go to the Denton County Toy Store, monies go to the Shop with a Cop program, and the Food Drive benefits the Lake Cities Community Food Bank.  Toy collection boxes are also located in all Denton County offices.

To the huge Denton County biker community:  You have big hearts.  You have motorcycles.  You have a few dollars to spare for something important. If you have never been on a toy run before, please take this opportunity to participate in something you will never forget, something that will put a toy under a Christmas tree where one might not have been and food on a table that might have been empty… something that needs your attention.

For more information on the Denton ABATE Toy Run, call Mandy Trapp at 940-368-7189 or email tarynwithat@hotmail.com.

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Letting Go

Letting Go

Answers to dealing with the loss of a pet

What exactly happens when an animal is euthanized?
Your vet has special training to provide your pet a humane and gentle death. Most often, a two-step process is used. First, the pet is injected with a sedative to make him calm and comfortable, and then he is injected with a special medication that allows the animal no awareness of the end of life. The process is similar to general anesthesia, and takes about 10 to 20 seconds.

Is there a “right time” to euthanize an animal, and how will I know when that is?
If your pet has obvious episodes of suffering, it is appropriate to plan a euthanasia promptly. Sometimes your pet will continue to eat/drink in spite of pain or disorientation. If you are not sure how much your pet is suffering, keep a daily record of the good times versus bad times. Ask your vet for the exact signs of suffering likely to be associated with the condition or disease that your pet has.

Is it normal for me to feel so sad after my pet has died?
There are many forms of grief that are completely normal, just as you would mourn the loss of a human family member. Often, some pet owners feel guilty and confused about the choices they made regarding the end of their pet’s life. The most important thing to recognize is the loss of a beloved pet is a serious event, sometimes one that society does not always respect. Your first task is to take care of yourself, and make sure you get the rest and nutrition you need, even when you feel distracted, or sad. Grief is a normal process, and time really does heal.

Sometimes it helps to create a special place in your yard to which you can go when you want to remember your pet. Although remembering may be painful at first, eventually that pain will turn into sweet memories. Even though your house feels very empty, and your young children may be asking for a replacement pet right away, it is best to wait a few months before bringing home a new pet. When you’re ready, check out the pets at the Denton Animal Shelter or other rescue groups. If you find a new pet, don’t worry that it is a betrayal of the lost animal. Your ability to give a good home to a new pet is really a compliment to the previous relationship.

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Trends Fur the Fall

Trends Fur the Fall

by Lauren McKelvey

This season fur isn’t just a luxury—it’s a lifestyle.  From classic fur coats to boots, hats, dresses, purses, and all things furry, this trend has taken the runways and retail stores by storm.  Whether it’s real or faux fur, this trend is one of the more noticeable and influential of the season.  With the dozens of different style combinations that this trend achieves, fur is a must-have look this fall that can be worn by anyone.  Traditionally, fur was seen as one of the more luxurious fashion choices, but today it has made its way into all different product markets and has become an affordable requirement for not only the fashion-forward consumer, but also the everyday shopper.

“Boots with the fur” takes on a whole new meaning this fall as we see such a vast assortment in fur boots.  Fur covers the inside, outside, tops, and laces of this stylish trend in footwear.  There are so many combinations in these shoes—from ankle to thigh-high and high-heeled to flat—that there is something that will look fabulous on everyone.  Perhaps the most controversial of these fashionable shoes is the Mukluk, a boot covered almost entirely by fur.  These boots were conventionally made from sealskin but have shifted to a more environmentally friendly version of the original.  Although Mukluks can be spotted on the runways of Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, and many more, this does not mean that everyone can pull them off with such ease.

Here are a few tips and tricks to looking fabulous in fur this season: Keep it simple.  One eye-catching piece of fur is generally enough to get the desired look across but not grab too much attention while doing so.  Pair a piece of fur clothing or fur accessories with other trendy fabrics this season such as leather, wool, tweed, or a simple cotton fabric.  If you are daring enough to test out the Mukluk boots, team them up with a simple skirt, tights, leggings, or a few layers of flowing fabrics for a more bohemian-chic look.  Even if we don’t see snow this season, we will undoubtedly see a substantial amount of fur.

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Smartpen

Smartpen

by Reese Grey

It’s really smart to use it when you take notes at a meeting or lecture. With special paper, Livescribe’s new Echo records everything you write, plus it records all of the audio in the background. Later, you can hear everyone’s words as well as seeing the notes you took.

You plug the pen into a computer via USB cable to access the digital file and you can share files on the Livescribe Web site.

The new Echo priced at $170.00 to $200.00 has 8 GB of storage.  The pen is flat so it won’t roll away and has a rubberized grip and is lighter than earlier models of predecessor pens.

The coolest thing about the Echo (and the Pulse before it) is its ability to record and play back audio–with an innovative twist. Instead of requiring you to cycle through your recorded audio to find the clip you want, the Echo ties audio to your written notes. By tapping a Record button on a printed page, you start recording a lecture or other spoken words as you write. While you’re scribbling your notes, the pen records audio that’s linked to whatever you’re writing.

As you read your notes later, you can tap your written words with the pen to hear the audio recorded at the moment you wrote them. Livescribe includes a standard 3.5mm headphone jack on the top of the Echo–as well as an embedded speaker–for listening to your audio clips. The pen is perfect for classes and interviews.

You can’t use just any legal pad or notebook, the Echo works only on special dot paper. A high-speed infrared camera at the tip of the pen captures your movements on the special paper, which is also the secret for connecting captured audio to written text.

The pen comes packaged with a 50-sheet starter notebook containing perforated, lined dot-paper with various controls printed at the bottom of each sheet. Tapping the printed controls activates various functions of the pen.  Additional paper supply can be purchase online at the Livescribe store ($20 for a four-pack of traditional-style notebooks, or $25 for a two-pack of hardbound journals).  You can print your own dot paper with a color laser printer that can print at a resolution of at least 600 dots per inch.

You also get 500MB of free storage on the Livescribe Online service as part of the package. For archiving your notes, the Livescribe system includes Livescribe Desktop 2.1.1 for Windows or 2.1.2 for Mac OS. This downloadable desktop software (available via the Livescribe site) enables you to digitize, organize, and share your handwritten notes via Livescribe Online once you’ve connected the pen to a Windows or Mac computer.

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How Sweet It Is!

How Sweet It Is!

Artificial Sweeteners

Dr. Jane Torrie, BS, DC

Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners are all used to sweeten food and beverages.  Let me share my quest in what to use.

First, let’s look at the basics about table sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  One teaspoon of table sugar weighs 4 grams and has 16 calories.   According to the US Department of Agriculture, the average added sugar consumption per person per day is ½ pound, much of that in processed foods and sugared drinks in the form of high fructose corn syrup!  (Added sugar means sugar beyond what occurs naturally in food such as milk or fruit sugar.)  Because consuming too much sugar means too many calories and too many calories mean being overweight with the possibility of such chronic conditions as cancer, heart disease and diabetes, the American Heart Association (AHA) established guidelines on the amount of added sugar including HFCS we should eat.  For women, the AHA recommends no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams or 100 calories) of added sugar per day.  Men are allowed 9 teaspoons (36 grams or 150 calories) per day.

Well, you may be thinking the answer to this problem is using artificial sweeteners to replace that excess sugar in our diets.  Think again!  Artificial sweeteners offer a sweet taste, no nutritional value and zero to very few calories.  That sounds fine so far but research at Purdue University links weight gain and decreased metabolism to the use of artificial sweeteners.  It seems that the sweet taste makes the body expect high calories and when that doesn’t happen, the metabolic system slows down and fat is stored.  Several common artificial sweeteners are also linked with side effects including headaches, allergic reactions and premature births in some studies.  Although there are persistent concerns among consumers about cancer, the FDA monitors artificial sweeteners and finds no evidence that they cause cancer in humans.

OK, what about stevia, it is a natural sweetener that is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar.  Since it doesn’t provide calories, only sweetness, stevia likely has the same metabolic effect as artificial sweeteners, leading to increased weight.  However, researchers have not found evidence of side effects with stevia, as they have with artificial sweeteners.  It seems it may be safer but still have the effect of increasing weight gain.

So, what do we make of all of this information?  Moderation is the key.  We have to learn to savor the natural sweetness of foods.  When we can appreciate their natural sweetness, we are more likely to be able to follow these simple action steps:

1.    If you don’t already, read labels.
2.    Avoid foods which have high fructose corn syrup listed as an ingredient.
3.    Avoid the use of non-nutrient sweeteners, artificial or natural.
4.    Use sugar sparingly.  Follow the AHA guidelines for added sugar.
5.    Use stevia in moderation if a non-caloric sweetener is needed.

Just imagine, if we all stopped drinking calories in sugary drinks, the obesity epidemic in America would see a major reversal and we would all have better health.

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