Sunday, May 10, 2009

Our bucket lists, our bodies

ROBERTA: Last week we had great fun chatting about our bucket lists. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm a little worried about keeping my mind and body chugging along so I can keep checking items off my list. To that end (and because my dad suffers from the disease,) I've become a fan of Vincent Fortanasce's THE ANTI-ALZHEIMER'S PRESCRIPTION. He maintains that while you can't control your genetics, there is much you can control--diet, exercise, stress, sleep, social support, brain boosters... Doesn't this all sound familiar? Anyway, I'm chipping away at my bad habits and adding these: pilates or yoga three times a week, walking as often as I can make myself do it, blueberries and flax seed on my cereal, a mostly Mediterranean diet. And my hub and I have been trying to work on our faded memories--practicing phone numbers from memory rather than hitting redial and so on.

HALLIE: (who didn't have much time to ponder as she's off on one of her dream trips!)Eat well but not too much. Exercise. Spend lots of time with friends and loved ones (nourishment for the soul). And have extraordinarily good luck.

JAN: Roberta, I'm a big fan of both Pilates and Yoga - which work on brain and importantly, posture. I also meditate every day, eat well, walk a lot, weight train, and play way too much tennis. But I lost a friend this week to a massive heart attack, and he did all the right things, so I can't help but think that the real benefit of any of this stuff is to calm yourself by THINKING you have control. The lesson I've learned is: have fun NOW.

RO: I try to exercise - hiking and kayaking when weather permits and weight training, rowing machine and boxing when it doesn't. Just as important I try to sing, dance, laugh, see friends, play with my dog, work in my garden, and not take it all so seriously.

More specifically...calcium, flaxseed, lots of fruits and veggies, not much red meat (except for pepperoni pizza which I indulged in at Mystery Lovers Bookshop!)

ROBERTA: Okay, Ro you've hit upon a real weakness for me: Pepperoni pizza. My stepdaughter now lives in Wooster Square (New Haven, CT), home of Peppi's Pizza, home of the most amazing pepperoni pie ever. Irresistible!

HANK: What was the question again? There was a hilarious button some people were wearing at the Malice Domestic convention--it said something like: "Don't worry, I don't remember your name, either." I wish I could wear that every day. I can NEVER remember names, and no matter what tricks I try, they don't work. SO, so much for that.
But as for self-preservation: I try to keep moving. I don't eat white food. And I try not to agonize over things--most things we worry about don't actually happen, right? SO I try not to worry in the first place.
Sometimes it works.

ROBERTA: Now it's your turn to dish special secrets about keeping mind and body in top form! Or as Jan put it more succinctly, how to have fun now... And then, don't forget to check back in on Wednesday and Friday, because it's guest "hunk" week on Jungle Red! (And thanks to diamondmountain and the pizza review for the photos)


  1. Hank, I love that button. I have one. In fact, I have two, but I can't find the one I bought last year. What does that mean?

    It's hard to eat healthy when living with a 24-year-old daughter who thinks she's immortal and has inherited my affection for butter. But she does insist on green vegetables, thank goodness.

  2. I think brainwork is part of that prescription, as Roberta mentioned about the phone numbers: taking up new activities whether physical or mental, working the crossword, challenging your neurons. I always do the math in my checkbook in my head rather than with a calculator, so those arithmetic dendrites don't atrophy. And one side benefit of losing my job and getting new one is that I've had to learn lots of new stuff. Sometimes my brain aches by the end of the day.

    But what could be better for our brains than writing? ;^) Writing creatively, keeping away from cliches, upping the suspense, varying syntax: it's all a neuron stretch, in my view!


  3. In this year after great sickness, I've had to figure out how to rebuild, and it's been a slow process. But running after a search dog keeps me in exercise, certainly, and flying (especially IFR) is a good mental stretch. I was in fast food and retail as a teenager and always had to count change then. I find I still do it now, and am happy to recognize $3.58 is the change I'll get back from a ten when something rings up $6.42--before the current teenager at the cash register can get the screen to tell him so.

    I've been a healthy eater since my 20s -- vegetarian, no fast food, no sodas -- but I do have a high-risk relationship with my sweet tooth. I think *that's* gonna be a thing that I'll have to watch in coming years. Like ...say ... now.

  4. Edith, I HOPE writing is a neuron stretch since we all spend so much time at it. I was a little disappointed to hear that reading really isn't considered to be brainwork, unless you discuss and dissect a book after you're finished. I have to say reading the A-A's Prescription was a good wake-up call--worth it just for food reminders. I'm making a lot of small changes that are not too painful.

    And Susannah, with your diet, hard to imagine sneaking in a little dessert will hurt:).

  5. Sorry I didn't get to this in time to chime in earlier. My new Molly book is finally ready to be mailed today. Yeah, and pfew!

    I've almost cut out red meat too. Luckily I never liked it too much and half a cow on my plate was a real turn off.

    And names--I'm bad at them as well. The trouble is that in our profession we meet people all the time. They remember us well and obviously they are hurt when we don't remember them. But when we meet a hundred or more at a convention, some names just won't stick. Of course I always remember if someone's been very rude to me.
    (and have a little doll at home full of pins... just kidding...)

  6. Hooray for finishing the new book Rhys!

    Names are hard, and getting harder. What's even worse is not recognizing the face of someone you've met before. I met Cherie Blair a couple of weeks ago (Tony's wife.) We were introduced, and then introduced about ten minutes later. She clearly didn't remember meeting me--until she recognized my paisley pants and recalled having admired them the first time:). So that makes me feel a little better...

  7. I once forget the name of a newspaper editor whose opinion I used to live and die for -- after that, I realized remembering a person's name has nothing to do with how you value them. So, Rhys, I'm never insulted when someone can't remember my name. It's all about mental file access. Even in the case of the editor, I KNEW his name, but blanked in the pressure moment. After the opportunity to say his name passed, there it was, open in the file.

    So Sheila, where can I get one of those pins. And can I wear it ALL the time?

  8. So, Rhys, congratulations! Hurray and much champagne. You'll give us the whole inside scoop on the new Molly, right? When?

    I'm truly asking--anyone have any ideas on the "remembering names" thing? I'd be so relieved if I were better at it...

  9. It's a good thing we wear nametags at SINC-NE meetings and CrimeBake, isn't it? But if I ever see you at a non-nametagged event, Hank, I'll remind you of my name every time!

    I stopped doing names at about age 40, and can forget a name in the space of 10 minutes of meeting someone. In that case, I just ask them again. It's forgetting at the third or fourth instance that is embarassing. Unfortunately, I haven't really found anything that helps.


  10. Oh,Edith--you don't need no stinkin' nametag.

    Susannah--you're so right. The change thing is hilarious. The checkers have no idea about such things--the computer does it all. They don't even know how much things they are selling cost. If you ask: how much is a--say, Whopper?--they have to punch it in to the computer to find out. (NOt that I'd be asking that...)

    Roberta--it's hunk week? Can you give us a hint??

  11. Give you a hint? Hank, haven't you been lecturing us about teasers for years?

    Okay, tomorrow, do check back to meet a former CIA operative and smash hit thriller writer...and find out why he always carries a mirror...

  12. I know! I know!
    But I'll keep quiet.

  13. ...let me guess..he always carries a mirror because he's so darn cute?

  14. He carries a mirror to monitor all the fans who are following him around?