Frankly Freddie – go bonkers

I’m worried.  Peggy & Judy are promoting a recreational drug.

Did you know that some cats get euphoric, others are sedated and EVEN drool when they sniff catnip?  Some veterinarians think that the moans cats make while exposed to catnip are responses to chemically induced hallucinations!

When a human has hallucinations and drools it’s a problem but when cats take recreational drugs humans think it’s cute.

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Consumer Reporter

I looked up catnip and here’s some startling information I found:

  • Smoking catnip became popular as an alternative to marijuana in the 1960s. When the herb is smoked, it produces a low level, legal high complete with audio/visual hallucinations and a relaxed feeling. Concentrated doses of Nepeta cataria brewed as a tea can also produce a mild, short-term sedative effect in humans.”
  • Leaves from Nepeta cataria or nepetalactone oil extracts are used by cat owners to provoke their pets. 
  • Catnip, in large enough quantities, will also work as an attractant for large cats like lions and tigers.
  • Europeans in the 1400s regularly drank teas made from catnip, with the herb earning a medicinal application for treatment of colic and flatulence. Nepeta cataria is a member of the mint family, with tea brewed that possesses a flavor and smell similar to mint tea
  • Made into a tea, catnip has calming properties similar to chamomile.
  • Concentrated nepetalactone also makes for a powerful mosquito repellent. However, it lasts just a few hours.

Catnip serves no real purpose other than allowing owners to watch their cats go bonkers

Catnip should be a controlled substance and this blog name should be changed to FreddieBlog

I rest my case.

 

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The RIGHT way to kiss

An international research team suggests that humans are hardwired to favour leaning to the right while kissing their romantic partners, which may have wider implications for neuroscience and cognitive sciences.

“According to the new academic study, just published in the journal Scientific Reports, over two-thirds of the kiss initiators and the recipient of the kiss have a bias to turn their heads to the right and men were about 15 times more likely than women to initiate kissing.”

“Psychologists and neuroscientists at the universities of Bath Spa and Dhaka, Bangladesh, invited 48 married couples to kiss privately in their own homes, and after kissing they were asked to go to different rooms, open an envelope and then report on various aspects of the kiss independently of each partner.”

“The setting for the study was significant as kissing in Bangladesh is not typically observed in public and may censored from television or films. That means similar results from the western countries could be attributed to cultural factors or having learnt how to kiss through influences on TV or film.”

“According to a press release on Monday, building on the previous studies from western countries, which have involved couples kissing in public places, the new study is the first to investigate an inherent bias for turning the head to one side while people kiss in a non-western context. And it is also the first study in the world to show that the kiss recipients have a tendency to match their partners’ head-leaning direction.”

“Head turning is one of the earliest biases seen in development – even in the womb a preference for turning the head to the right is observable before that of favouring the right hand or foot. Whether this fundamental bias is innate and extends into adulthood is a lingering question for neuroscience and psychology,”

Dr Rezaul Karim, lead author from the Department of Psychology at the University of Dhaka

“The new research suggests that the act of kissing is determined by the brain splitting up tasks to its different hemispheres. Different hormone levels in each hemisphere and neurotransmitters might be unevenly distributed to each hemisphere as giving rise to a bias to turn right, researchers say.”

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-07/18/c_136451252.htm

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Do you think you are open-minded? Take this quiz

First of all,” he said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. 

– Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird.

As therapists we walked a fine line between trying to understand and sympathize with clients’ points of view while not taking on their pain.  It taught us to be open-minded.

When I took this short quiz I realized that open-minded is not just defined by “understanding” but can also be about taking action on behalf of others.

 

Here’s the quiz to find out where you stand. Score each answer using a 3 for “often,” a 2 for “sometimes,” or a 1 for “rarely.” Add them up and see where you rank.

  1. I like trying new things, such as foods, restaurants, music, and activities.
  2. I like traveling to places I have never been.
  3. I’m comfortable meeting new people.
  4. If my parent/child wanted to marry someone outside of our race I would be supportive
  5. I’m respectful of people of different cultures, genders, races, sexual orientation and religions.
  6. I’m comfortable if I am the only person of my race in a large gathering.
  7. If someone is being bullied, I speak up for them
  8. I  listen patiently to another’s viewpoint, even when I disagree
  9. When I hear gossip, I get the facts and make up my own mind before making a decision
  10. When I hear racist comments, or see racial injustice, I speak up
  11. I treat everyone with equal respect
  12. I learn about world events and believe we are all connected to some degree
  13. I am open to new ideas

Scoring:

39-33:  Congratulations! You are a world citizen, with an open mind.

32-26:  You try to keep an open mind, but might consider expanding your horizons.

25-13:  You might be closing yourself off too much from the rest of the world.

There are some studies that indicate open-minded people tend to be happier, more successful, and more charismatic than those who close themselves off or isolate.

 

This quiz and the six suggestions below came from a Baha’i blog that I  read to help me think . . . and rethink . . . about my place in the world, my beliefs and whether I am behaving in accord with spiritual tenants.

woofer head:meowi body

Here are the author’s six suggestions:

1. Be more approachable

Being honest, vulnerable and authentic will facilitate more genuine and lasting friendships. Your body language can be an important factor, making you look closed off or open to others.” 

 

2. Let go of your preconceptions about other people and give them a chance

“We often surround ourselves with people like us, but there is a lot to gain from enlarging our social circle. Being respectful of others is the best way to receive it in return. 

3. See things from another perspective

“Walking in another person’s shoes helps to open our minds and makes us less likely to be critical. When we judge less, we are less likely to be judged.”

Meowi head:Woofer body

 

4. Be more flexible and curious

“By being more flexible we trust that we can handle new situations. Being flexible and curious are perfect opportunities for growth.”

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change. – Albert Einstein

Be curious, not judgmental. – Walt Whitman

5. Be more trusting

“Human beings are all basically the same—in fact, we are far more alike than we are different. We share 99.9 % of our DNA. We all have insecurities, fears, talents and beauty. Focus on the positive in people and show them your best:”

 

O children of men! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other.  – Baha’u’llahThe Hidden Words, p. 20.

6. Don’t make snap judgements, especially when it comes to people

“According to Business Insider, people typically form a first impression within 7 seconds of meeting someone new. Therefore it takes a conscious, concerted effort to not judge hastily. Try to see each person or situation with unbiased eyes—without letting prejudice, superstition or tradition get in the way. Make your own decisions rather than listening to other’s opinions. Trust yourself once you have investigated for yourself.”

“… every individual member of humankind is exhorted and commanded to set aside superstitious beliefs, traditions and blind imitation of ancestral forms in religion and investigate reality for himself. Inasmuch as the fundamental reality is one, all religions and nations of the world will become one through investigation of reality.”  Abdu’l-BahaThe Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 433.

 

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Prolonged feelings of power can damage the brain

How many times have you heard the quote?

Absolute power corrupts absolutely

19th century British politician Lord Acton.

During my schooling I was taught that people who have little or no ethical or moral compass, who are so ego driven they are not able to see other’s positions or have no empathy for others had a “personality problem”.   There’s new research that shows “personality” may not be the whole “problem”.

Researchers have found that Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and other leaders may suffer damage to their brain as a result of their rise to power.

“Brain activity of CEOs changes as they climb the career ladder, causes them to lose the ability to empathize.”

Meowie, Chief Executive Cat by Peggy

“The damage results in the loss of the ability to read other people’s emotions, which could explain why people who achieve great power lose their ability to feel empathy for the less powerful.”

“Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, made the finding using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) – a technique that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in specific regions of the brain.  This showed that the areas of the brain that deal with empathy were significantly less responsive in people in power.”

“The results are down to the brain’s neuroplasticity – an ability that allows the mind to rewire itself in response to experiences.”

“The researchers, led by Dr. Sukhvinder Obhi, said: “Many people who have witnessed a colleague get promoted to an executive level have probably seen some changes in their behaviour, and not always for the better.  Our current work aims to integrate previous work from social psychology with the techniques and methods of cognitive neuroscience to gain a better understanding of exactly how power affects the brain and social functioning in a variety of environments.”

The good news is people who wield power, who want to avoid this brain damage, can take positive steps, according to experts.

Steps that include keeping people around who have the power to call you out on bad behaviour, rewarding honesty while discouraging flattery, and maintaining social connections.

Earmark this post for the next time you find yourself in a position of power.  Wouldn’t want your brain to be damaged!

Read the full article here:  https://guardian.ng/features/prolonged-feelings-of-power-corrupt-mind-say-neuroscientists/

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The HeART of Chronic Conditions (including life)

Curious to the Max blog has been the place where I’ve shared more of my personal journey.  CATNIPblog has largely been dedicated to information Peggy & I have accumulated on emotional & physical health and happiness. (wealth we leave to those who have experienced it!)

Today, I clicked on the blog of a new subscriber, Savannah’s  One Mountain at a Time .  What she shared about her journey with Lupus resonated:

“Though mine is said by my doctor to not be life threatening, my immune system is prone to attacking my healthy joint tissues systemically . . .  pain comes whenever it feels like it. Flares come and go, as do my exhausted days. Describing the pain is difficult but when a flare happens or I’m in pain, it feels like bruises anywhere inside my body, and someone is either jabbing needles in them or pressing them for long periods of time. . . . I take medications and go for jogs. I live a normal, active life despite pain.”

judy’s visual journal

Like Savannah my diagnosis is not life threatening, only life altering. Unlike Savannah, who was diagnosed at 23, I was blessed in my first forty plus years with relatively good health.  In 1995 that changed for me with the diagnosis of fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue.  I admit it’s been a struggle trying to ignore, over-ride or giving in to the daily fatigue, pain and various other “irritants”.  The older I get the harder it’s been.  The best I can describe is feeling like a sandy beach being worn away by unrelenting waves and occasional pounding storms.

In public I look fine and only those who intimately know me would know if I were feeling exhausted, in pain or depressed.  When I’m feeling particularly bad no one knows as I shelter in place – stay home and lick my wounds.  Any contact, even a phone call, can feel overwhelming.

collage by judy

CATNIPblog has been my in-home companion:  A way to connect to the world and my incredibly understanding friends while expending minimal energy;  posts that remind me to eat better, be grateful, and most of all Peggy and her delightful drawings that make me smile.  

Savannah’s faith, above all, is what seems to sustain her.  Me too.  Even on my worst days my question is never “Why me?”.  I ask God for guidance, the wisdom to understand that guidance and the where-with-all to carry it out . . . one day at a time . . . sometimes one hour at a time.

judy’s visual journal

Personally and professionally I learned early on that each of us, in ways large and small, carry physical or emotional pain.  Each of us searches, longs for answers, respite and meaning.  Savannah has found meaning at an early stage in her life.  I salute her.

https://pourforpoverty.wordpress.com/

Pour for Poverty: Savannah makes bags filled with sustainable essentials that she feels serve a beneficial purpose for people living in poverty filled with clothing, food, and hygiene products, written letters, prayers, bible verses and love. She distributes to the poor throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and occasionally other cities when traveling.

“Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity.

Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face.

Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge.”

(Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 16, The Baha’i World Faith)

 

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Frankly Freddie – Why you can’t herd cats

Dear Humans,

I continue to struggle with the fact that canines have been relegated to a lessor position than felines on this blog.  In an effort to educate Peggy and Judy I submit this article which I’ve:

  • edited for precious blog space
  • emphasized (in black) the scientific proof and
  • pointed out the obvious (in blue) 

How hard can it really be to herd cats?

“Ask Daniel Mills, professor of veterinary behavioural medicine at the University of Lincoln, UK. In a recent study, Mills and his colleague Alice Potter demonstrated that cats are more autonomous and solitary than dogs. Carrying out the research for the project was as difficult as the cat’s reputation might suggest.”

“They are challenging if you want them to do certain things in a certain way,” says Mills. “They tend to do their own thing.”

“Cat owners (with the exception perhaps of Peggy) everywhere will sympathise. But why exactly are cats so reluctant to cooperate, either with each other or with a human? Or to flip the question around, why are so many other animals – wild and domestic – willing team players?”

1. It’s a well known that cats are greedy and don’t share.  That’s not nice.

” . . . domestic cats . . .  hunt small animals. “You don’t want to be around somebody else when they’ve just caught a mouse, because they’re going to eat it whole,” Packer says. “It’s gone. There is not enough food to share.” 

Proof by Peggy

2.  Cats are gate-crashers which is rude.

“All domesticated cats are descended from Middle Eastern wildcats (Felis silvestris), the “cat of the woods”. Humans did not coax those early cats out of the woods; the cats invited themselves into our grain storehouses, where an abundance of mice fed unchecked. Gate-crashing this mouse party marked the start of a truly symbiotic relationship. The cats loved the well-stocked storehouses, and the people appreciated the pest control.”

3.  Cats are stubborn at best and unsociable at worst.

“They retain a large degree of independence and approach, or stay close to us, only when they want to,” says Dennis Turner, a cat expert and animal behaviourist at the Institute for Applied Ethology and Animal Psychology in Horgen, Switzerland.”

“Cats have evolved lots of mechanisms to keep themselves apart, which aren’t exactly conducive to herding,” says Mills. Cats spray their territory to help avoid awkward meetings with each other. If they do accidentally come face to face, the hackles rise and the claws come out.”  I mark my territory to leave a friendly calling-card.

More Proof by Peggy

“In some circumstances it can appear that domestic cats have embraced group living; for instance, a colony living in a barn. But do not be fooled . . . “

“They’re very loose aggregations and they don’t have any real group identity,” he says. “They just have a common place they come to keep their kittens.”

“In keeping with their solitary, uncooperative reputation, cats turned out to be neurotic, impulsive and resistant to being ordered around.”  I didn’t say that the SCIENTISTS did.

4.  Cats are uncooperative which creates unnecessary tension in an already tense world.

“In fact, even in the face of extreme danger, which often brings animals together to form a defensive unit, it is unlikely cats would cooperate. “It’s just not something that they typically do when they’re threatened,” says Monique Udell, a biologist at Oregon State University. Cats just do not believe in strength in numbers.”

“A study published in 2014 in the Journal of Comparative Psychology saw scientists probe the personality traits of domestic cats. In keeping with their solitary, uncooperative reputation, cats turned out to be neurotic, impulsive and resistant to being ordered around.”  SCIENTISTS know.

Lions live together, unlike other cats (Credit: Images of Africa Photobank/Alamy)

Lions live together, unlike other cats (Credit: Images of Africa Photobank/Alamy)

I rest my case.  Please let Peggy and Judy know you want this blog to, at the VERY LEAST, give equal voice to cuddly canines not just to those who raise their hackles and have claws.

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CCT, RET

If you don’t believe me here’s the full article: It is Almost Impossible to Herd Cats Thanks to Evolution

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