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  • midlifelove 11:53 pm on March 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bored, Boredom, dangerous to health, , heart risk, raise blood pressure   

    Bored To Death 

    My Grandma used to say boring people are bored people – but sometimes a touch of the old ennui is unavoidable.

    Waiting for web pages to load, getting stuck in traffic, watching someone play video games – they come high on most people’s Top Five Most Boring Things to do list.

    They’re all things that test your patience, but they’re not terminal you say.  Until now, that is, because according to new research, you really can be bored to death.

    Boredom Bad For Heart

    It seems the more bored you are, the more likely you are to die early, although scientists caution it’s probably not the boredom alone that will kill you, but the risky behaviour – drinking, eating, inhaling the wrong things – that often accompanies it.

    It doesn’t hurt to be just occasionally bored – that happens to everyone. It’s the chronic kind of boredom that’s dangerous.

    In the study 7500 London civil servants aged 35 – 55 were questioned about how bored they were at work the previous month, and then those who were still alive were followed up 20 years later.

    University College London researchers Annie Britton and Martin Shipley found that those who reported they had been very bored were two and a half times more likely to die of a heart problem than those who hadn’t reported being bored.

    But when the authors made a statistical adjustment for other potential risk factors, like physical activity levels and employment grade, the effect was reduced.

    Boredom As Dangerous As Stress

    Researchers point out someone who is bored may not be motivated to eat well or exercise, and boredom is often linked to depression, which has long been recognized as a risk factor for heart disease.

    Others said boredom was potentially as dangerous as stress.

    “Boredom is not innocuous,” said Sandi Mann, a senior lecturer in occupational psychology at the University of Central Lancashire who studies boredom.

    She said boredom is linked to anger suppression, which can raise blood pressure and suppress the body’s natural immunity. “People who are bored also tend to eat and drink more, and they’re probably not eating carrots and celery sticks,” she said.

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  • midlifelove 4:30 am on March 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ballina, Bass Coast, , Bribie Island, Copper Coast, Echuca, Geraldton, Inverloch, Kadina, Mandurah, Moonta, Murray River, New South Wales, Perth, Phillip Island, Port Macquarie, Queensland, South Australia, St Helens, Tamar Valley, Tasmania, Toowoomba, Torquay, Tweed Valley, Victor Harbor, , Wallaroo, Western Australia, Wonthaggi   

    Best Places To Retire in Australia 

    You’re thinking of escaping from the big city for a more peaceful, less polluted life in a country town or beachside community. You want to avoid the known – and unknown hazards – like man-eating koalas and deranged gunmen. So before you sell up and move, it’s a great idea to do investigate your options. And there’s no better guide on how to avoid disaster than Jill and Owens Weeks’s well-researched retirement advice.

    For more than a decade, they’ve investigated Australia from north to south, east to west, for their best-selling publications.

    Here’s their pick of the best places to retire.

    New South Wales

    The state with “by far the greatest number of ideal retirement locations.  North of Sydney, the entire coastline all the way up to Newcastle is popular, particularly as retirement trends change in favour of semi retirement.”

    Port Macquarie – “vibrant and dynamic area which offers many of the services and culture of a large city.”

    Ballina “good for those who want to get away from capital cities and can live without many of the facilities they offer.”

    Tweed Valley “offers most of the good features of the Gold Coast without many of the downsides . .  and close to Coolangatta international airport just across the border in Queensland.”

    Victoria

    Torquay (near Geelong) “There’s a buzz about the place . . . close to Geelong’s facilities. Fastest growing non-metropolitan area in Victoria and a clear favourite with retirees.”

    Bass Coast (Inverloch, Wonthaggi, Phillip Island) or Echuca (on the Murray River) “Cost of housing reasonable and a compelling list of positive features with few if any down sides.”

    Western Australia

    Mandurah (south of Perth)  – “Special appeal because of the number of services focused on retirees,” or Geraldton.

    Queensland

    Toowoomba “affordable housing, good facilities, relaxed pace, and not over-crowded with tourists in holidays. Not as humid as the coast, and Brisbane is accessible.”

    Bribie Island “preferred destination for those who want to get away from the congestion of the Gold coast.”

    South Australia

    Victor Harbor “Outstanding geography, access to Adelaide, vineyards and fine food. Holiday destination for over 100 years, town is full of well-preserved buildings, museums,” or the Copper Coast Yorke Peninsula  (Kadina, Wallaroo, Moonta.)

    Tasmania

    St Helens “Ideal climate on the Sun Coast, an affordable and relaxed lifestyle that few places in Australia can match,” or the Tamar Valley

    Checklist for Retiring

    Jill and Owen Weeks suggest:

    • Consider renting in the location of your choice. House-sit or even caravan-sit before you buy.
    • Subscribe to the local newspaper for at least 12 months before you move. This provides a good source of jobs, real estate and what’s happening in the community.
    • Research the utilities and services. Does the mobile phone work? Is there internet connection and educational services? This is particularly important if you are running a home-based business. Also check local services such as the nearest mechanic or electrician.
    • Will your new home require major renovations? Is it ‘older body friendly?’ Will you eventually need to move because of stairs? What happens if your mobility is impaired?

    See also Where to Retire in Australia for additional advice.

     
  • midlifelove 11:02 pm on March 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 70th birthday, All-Starr summer tour, Barbara Bach, George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Ringo turns 70, The Beatles, vegetarian, YNot 15th album   

    Ringo: Great Form Facing 70 

    With a new album, an enduring and happy marriage, and a zest for life that’s the envy of many 30-year-olds, Ringo Starr enters his 70th year with high spirits.

    He’s the eldest of the famous Beatles – he will hit his 70-year milestone on July 7  – and he’s got the newest music.

    He’s not missing a beat as he embarks on a three-week promotional tour for his just-released Y Not album, his 15th solo outing on which fellow Beatle Paul McCartney plays bass on the song ‘Peace Dream’.

    And he plans to mark his 70th by flashing a two-fingered peace sign at noon and playing an evening gig at Radio City Music Hall as part of a summer tour with his latest All-Starr band.

    Last year on the Larry King Show, Starr noted: “I work out. I have a trainer. And I watch what I eat. That’s it really. And I’m in love with a beautiful girl, so it keeps me young.”

    Turning 40 was Harder

    And as he told Randy Lewis of the Los Angeles Times, 70 is “not as big as 40 was. Forty was: ’Oh, God, 40!

    “There’s that damn song, ‘Life Begins at 40.’ No, it’s not so big anymore. I am nearly 70, and I’d love to be nearly 40, but that’s never going to happen.

    “I feel the older I get, the more I’m learning to handle life,”

    Notes Lewis: “His charming Liverpudlian accent is nearly as strong as ever, even though he’s maintained a home in Los Angeles for the last 34 years — the majority of it with actress Barbara Bach, whom he married in 1981 — along with residences in England and Monte Carlo.”

    God Now ‘My Life’

    He’s trim – like McCartney and his late pal Harrison, he’s an avowed vegetarian – looks 15 years younger than his age, and as the years roll by spiritual issues have become more prominent, he says.

    “Being on this quest for a long time, it’s all about finding yourself,” Starr says. “For me, God is in my life. I don’t hide from that. … I think the search has been on since the ’60s. … I stepped off the path there for many years and found my way (back) onto it, thank God.”

    There’s no secret to his successful marriage to Barbara, Starr told USA Today.  “I’m just blessed that she puts up with me. I love the woman. She loves me. There’s less down days than up, and we get on really well. We do spend a lot of time together. That’s the deal.”

    Many Artistic Projects

    Starr says he also needs diverse creative outlets to keep him engaged when he’s not making albums or touring with his All-Starr band. In the 1970s it was acting, now it’s art — a selection of his photos appears inside the album.

    “I am always painting,” he says. “I love photography. It’s easy to take shots. But if you have to choose, it’s music. I love music, I love playing.”

    Ringo was three months older than John Lennon, who would have turned 70 this year. Lennon was 40 when he was shot dead in New York City.

    Paul McCartney will be 68 this year. George Harrison would have been 67.

     
  • midlifelove 10:22 pm on March 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Ask Sam, Father of the year, Gordon Ramsay, Gordongate, infidelity, married man, mistresses, , other woman, Sarah Symonds,   

    Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Ex’: Tips for the ‘Other Woman’ 

    Is it a case of “Mistresses of the World, Unite?”

    Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s newly reformed ex-lover Sarah Symonds has written what she describes as a “taboo-busting book “– and she’s passed it on to Tiger Wood’s mistresses in the hope they’ll “learn something from her mistakes.”

    A bit late for them perhaps, but self-proclaimed “infidelity expert” Sarah is undeterred. She’s also gone on Oprah peddling a non-profit organisation “Mistresses Anonymous” (which includes a 12-step program to recovery).

    Why She Went Public

    Sydney Morning Herald sex and relationships blogger Ask Sam was wondering in print what it was with the abundance of mistresses going public on their affairs, so she asked Sarah why she’d decided to spill the beans on her seven-year-affair with the F-word maestro.

    As the British tabloids were quick to point out, Sarah is the debonair bleached-blonde babe who shouted from atop the pages of every British celebrity tabloid about her affair with Father of the Year Ramsay.

    As Ask Sam notes, “we also quickly learnt that this wasn’t the first time she bonked a married man, with the media dubbing her as “making a career out of sleeping with other people’s husbands”

    Other Woman “Can’t Win”

    “Outing” Ramsay, – she calls it “Gordongate” – had nothing to do with wanting to see her name in lights, she told Ask Sam.

    “I went on record to tell my true story after I heard that Gordon was so hurtfully denying it and me, and lying about our affair,” she told Sam.

    In hindsight (and after much trial and error) Symonds now realises high profile public men like Ramsay and Woods are never going to leave their wives for their mistresses.

    “A married man will 99.9% never leave his wife, and uses a mistress as his crutch to stay in an unhappy marriage,” she says.

    From her recent realisation, she feels her job now is to warn all women against dating a married man and being used in another person’s relationship. So here it is, Sarah’s golden rule for singles.

    Top Five Tips For “Other Women”

    1. Never date a married man! Why be second best?
    2. Do your due diligence when you meet a guy to find out if he is married or not. Some men slip their wedding rings off.
    3. Empower yourself enough to not settle for the crumbs of a married man’s time. Find a SINGLE man.
    4. Wives, act more like mistresses to stop your husbands from cheating on you!
    5. Never believe a word any man tells you. Basically, “if his lips are moving he is lying”.

    Ask Sam (Samantha Brett’s) new book The Chase; Everything you need to know about Men, Dating and Sex is available from February 1 at Booktopia.

     
  • midlifelove 4:24 am on March 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Baby boomers, , Bette Davis, Jill and Owen Weeks, London Marathon, retire, Richard Branson   

    Where To Retire In Australia 

    You might sympathise with Hollywood star Bette Davis when she said “I will not retire while I’ve still got my legs and my make-up box.”

    Many Baby Boomers see age as “just a number” and like Virgin boss Richard Branson (64) – who’s added training for the 2010 London Marathon to his punishing work schedule  – they’re busy packing more life into their years.

    But even for those to whom “retirement” is a foreign concept, changing lifestyle, moving home, or splitting their year between two places, can be tempting as a mid-life option.

    Looking For A Change

    The children are independent, you don’t need to worry about climbing the corporate ladder any more, and you can take time out to think about what you want to do with the rest of your life.

    If you‘re living in Australia or thinking of moving there, Jill and Owen Weeks have done a heap of research to help with your decisions.

    Their book Where to Retire in Australia is a great resource for anyone in “the Moving Generation” looking for a change of lifestyle.

    • The Weeks’ golden rule is: the most successful moves are usually  less than 200km or no more than two hours from the old location. Why? So people remain in easy reach of old friends, family and social networks.

    Key Issues To Consider

    They’ve identified the key issues to decide on when making a change:

    • Taking care of yourself; Consider closeness to doctors, hospitals and specialist medicine if required; social life – how easy is for family and friends to visit, will you find  your others who share your interests, do you want to spend part of your year in another location?
    • Weather; Check out the climate before you buy. If you’ve only holidayed at the location at certain times of the year rent for 18 months before making a permanent move while you decide if the climate is for you.
    • Keeping the Body Moving; Ensure you can pursue your interest, hobbies and sporting activities.
    • Keeping the Brain Active; Access to the Internet, opportunities for further study, or part time work, libraries.
    • Let’s Go Shopping; Proximity to a reasonably large shopping centre will have impact on your cost of living. Can you use “Loyalty “programmes like FlyBuys and discount cards.
    • Can You Afford to Move; Consider real estate, tax and social security implications, any cost of living changes.
    • Social Compatibility; Moving away from close friends and family may be painful. They may not visit regularly even if they promise they will. Are you good at making new friends and does the place you are moving to welcome new residents.

    Part 2: The Best Places in Australia to Retire.

     
  • midlifelove 1:00 pm on February 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: adultery, , Kara Wilson, Paul Burrell, Princess Diana, Shirley Valentine, Tom Conti   

    Adultery ‘No Big Deal’ – Tom Conti 

    There are worse things than being unfaithful, according to movie Lothario Tom Conti in an interview with the Times in which he says sex is nothing more than “an extension of a handshake”.

    The Scottish star of  Shirley Valentine who is rumoured to have had an affair with Diana, Princess of Wales, said he believed that of all the things people could do to one another, sexual infidelity was “probably one of the least terrible”.

    ‘Don’t Upset the Applecart’

    Conti (68) who has been married to Kara Wilson, an actress, for 42 years, says it’s “all about degrees. Of course, if you upset the whole applecart that’s a different story.”

    Conti and his wife are said by actress daughter Nina to have an open marriage in which both have had a string of affairs, and Conti finds some people’s sensitivity to the idea puzzling.

    “The slightest sniff of infidelity and they are reaching for the lawyer,” he said. “I remember a very famous actor with whom I was friendly who, when he was in his seventies, married a girl of 23.

    “He came home unexpectedly one day and she was under the decorator. He phoned me to tell me he was getting divorced. I said ‘the girl is 23. You are 70. You can’t satisfy her every night. Do you want her to live like a nun? Why don’t you just close your eyes to it?’

    “He said he would always worry that she was being unfaithful. I said ‘so worry a little’. But they divorced. It was very stupid. It cost him millions and the woman he is now married to is an absolute bloody nightmare.”

    The Player and the Princess

    In 2003 it was speculated that Conti had had an affair with Diana after Paul Burrell, her former butler, revealed in his memoirs she’d been involved in a relationship with an unnamed actor. The pair were known to have enjoyed a string of lunch dates and Conti attended her funeral in 1997 but has refused to discuss their relationship further.

    “She was delightful, she was lovely,” he said. “It was so sad for the boys because they were such children. A child losing his mother is vulnerable beyond description.”

    He said the secret of his long marriage was “tolerance on both sides” and denied suggestions that his real life mirrored that of the men he has portrayed on screen.

    Is Fidelity Important?

    Do you agree with Conti’s cool assessment of the dangers of adultery? Have you been betrayed and hurt by it? Or do you agree with his “turn a blind eye and tolerate it” approach. Share your views – we’d love to hear what you think.

     
  • midlifelove 12:06 am on February 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: beam radiation therapy, Dr Richard Valicenti, , radiation treatment, sex life after cancer, sex life good after cancer, sex life normal two years later   

    Radiation for Prostate Cancer Won’t Hurt Sex 

    If a man’s sex life was strong and happy before being he got prostate cancer, it’s likely it will return to similar good levels within two years of radiation treatment for prostate cancer.

    That’s the conclusion to be drawn from a new study on how sex is affected by the effects of prostate radiation treatments.

    While sex is likely to decrease over the first two years after treatment, it then stabilizes, according to US research reported by UPI.

    Satisfaction Four Years Later

    Researchers at the Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia and University of California, Davis, School of Medicine evaluated 143 prostate cancer patients receiving external beam radiation therapy who completed baseline data on sexual function before treatment and at follow-up visits.

    Senior author Dr. Richard Valicenti of the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, said patients were analyzed on sexual drive, erectile function, ejaculatory function and overall satisfaction for a median time of about four years.

    Past Performance Best Predictor

    The study authors found the strongest predictor of sexual function after treatment was sexual function before treatment and the only statistically significant decrease in function occurred in the first two years after treatment — and function then stabilized with no significant changes thereafter.

    The findings are published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics.

     
  • midlifelove 1:00 am on February 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Air France-KLM, obese passengers, pay more per seat if you are obese, United   

    The Perils of Flying Economy 

    Former US vice president Al Gore has quipped that “Airplane travel is nature’s way of making you look like your passport photo.”

    But after you’ve had a trip like the one in this you probably age by ten years!

    Obese Fliers to Pay More

    Air France-KLM has joined airlines like United in requiring obese passengers to pay more.

    United announced last year it would bump severely obese passengers off sold-out flights and require them to buy two seats on the next flight or upgrade to business class, where the seats are larger.

    Chicago-based United decided to adopt the tougher policy after receiving more than 700 complaints last year from passengers “who did not have a comfortable flight because the person next to them infringed on their seat,” the airline said.

    Now Air France-KLM has announced that for “safety reasons” from April 1 obese fliers who were unable to squeeze into a single aeroplane seat would have to pay 75 per cent of the cost of a second seat.

     
  • midlifelove 1:29 am on February 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: best places to retire, Country Brand ratings, Forbes magazine, medical care costs, retirement   

    Best Places To Retire 


    Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

    — Mark Twain

    Author Twain’s advice applies at any age, but especially for those in their middle years looking ahead to possible “retirement”.  You maybe won’t ever want to “retire” like your parents did, but chances are you’ll be changing locations, changing your means of earning income, and maybe even changing countries.

    There are stacks of “Best Places to Retire Lists” around, all using different criteria. CBS’ Moneywatch has done a good analysis of some of the more popular list sites get their ratings.

    But now Forbes magazine has compiled its own list of the 10 best retirement havens for US citizens, based on a wide variety of criteria ranging from safety to retiree-friendly visa requirements to decent medical care.

    Forbes’ Top Ten Places to Retire

    Austria – A “lower-cost Switzerland” with mountains, the great outdoors, elegant architecture and trams that run. Vienna offers the highest quality of life on the globe, according to Mercer, and medical insurers say its private clinics are world-class.

    Thailand – Expect a warmly welcome, ideal for seniors on modest budgets. Considered Asia’s best buy for quality health care at reasonable costs, but the good private hospitals are in Bangkok, so make sure your beach retreat is within three hours of the capital.

    Italy – Warm Mediterranean sociability and one of the world’s best health care systems.  Great bargains in the South in Puglia or Sicily, or in cities like Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast.

    Panama – Year-round sun, low taxes, massive discounts for seniors, first-world amenities, quality private hospitals, bird-filled rainforests, a dollar economy and easy flights from the U.S.

    Ireland – Stunning countryside, cultural affinity, low taxes and many rebates for seniors. Overpriced Dublin reachable in a couple hours from anywhere in the country, so look for housing inland.

    Australia – The world’s best place to live, according to the Country Brand Index. The highest quality cities at the lowest cost, claims Mercer. The famously friendly Aussie has created a first-world country with low Asian costs.

    France – offers perhaps the friendliest of policies toward American retirees of any European Union nation. Considered most affordable quality health care in the world, plus low taxes for American ex-pats. Paris for wealthy, but Brittany, Normandy and the Dordogne, a short train ride away, are more affordable.

    Malaysia – Welcoming to retirees, low costs and spectacular coastline make it a strong contender for the budget-conscious, but also increasingly for the wealthy wanting an Asian tax haven. For health care reasons, avoid straying too far from Kuala Lumpur.

    Spain – The ‘Florida of Europe’ has long been a magnet for sun-starved Brits, so retirement infrastructure all in place. Coast overdeveloped but great value in lesser-known interior cities like Salamanca or Burgos.

    Canada – Cities from Vancouver to Montreal consistently score among the best in the world, both on quality-of-life and value-for-money benchmarks. Friendly policies toward retirees, affordable medical care and a natural cultural fit for Americans.

    Nowhere Is Perfect

    Says Forbes: “No place is perfect. Some countries rank high in one area but lower in others. Australia is by one well-regarded rating, the Country Brand Index, the most livable place in the world. But if you plan to return to the U.S. frequently, Australia makes for a long slog.

    “Canada is No. 2 in the Country Brand ratings and certainly convenient for Americans, but its harsh winters are well-known.

    “Italy scores high on quality of life, medical care, and cost of living and climate  . .  . But its complicated taxes and bureaucracy require patience.

    “So, the key to any decision: Know yourself and do your homework.”

     
  • midlifelove 3:52 am on February 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cancer, Coffee good for you, Coffee health benefits, Harvard Medical School, , longevity, ,   

    Coffee Brims With Health 

    Drink up, coffee lovers. Not only is coffee aromatic and delicious, it’s good for you.

    Who says? None other than Harvard Medical School.

    Once considered questionable for your health, it turns out that the beloved beverage is actually healthful in moderation. That means a few cups a day.

    At about 20 cents per 6-ounce cup, coffee is a good deal if you brew it yourself.

    Harvard researchers say drinking coffee may help prevent diseases such as:

    • Cancer: Some studies have found coffee drinkers have lower rates of colon and rectal cancers, better survival rates with prostate cancer, and are 50 percent less likely to get liver cancer than coffee abstainers.
    • Type 2 diabetes: Coffee is thought to contain chemicals that lower blood sugar because heavy coffee drinkers may be half as likely to get diabetes as those who drink little or no coffee. Coffee also may increase your resting metabolism rate, which could help prevent diabetes.
    • Parkinson’s disease: Coffee seems to help protect men from Parkinson’s disease, but not women. The difference might be due to estrogen, researchers say.
    • Heart disease: Coffee is not linked to the development of heart disease. In the past few years, Harvard scientists say, coffee has been shown to be safe even for heart attack survivors. Scientists think antioxidants in coffee may reduce inflammation and protect blood vessel walls.
    • Life span: Recent studies suggest that drinking coffee decreases the risk of premature death, especially in women. Women who drank at least five to seven cups a week had a death rate 26 percent lower than non-consumers, a large investigation by researchers in Spain and at Harvard Medical School found.

    Three Or More Cups Good

    It’s not only Harvard researchers who are touting the brew’s benefits. As the Palm Beach Post reported, in September a study led by Neal Freedman of the National Cancer Institute showed that people with chronic hepatitis C and advanced liver disease who drank three or more cups of coffee a day cut their risk of the disease progressing by 53 percent.

    Although caffeine might be considered the “active ingredient” in coffee, coffee is only 2 percent caffeine and 98 percent “other stuff,” including more than 1,000 different compounds such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

    It even contains fiber. Each cup contains from 1.1 to 1.8 grams of soluble dietary fiber, the kind that dissolves in water and helps prevent cholesterol from being absorbed by the intestines, according to researchers at the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid.

    But Not If You Are Pregnant

    Do researchers have any words of caution? Yes — although regular coffee drinking isn’t harmful for most people, that might not hold true for pregnant women. Research has linked miscarriage to caffeine consumption of 200 milligrams or more per day. A typical cup of coffee has 100 to 150 milligrams, Harvard reports.

     
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