Grandma Was Right: Sunshine Helps Kill Germs Indoors

I wait for windy weather to clean house.  I open all the doors and windows and let mother nature blow all the dirt out.  Luckily, I live in Southern California where it is breezy and sunny most of the year.  Luckily, I live in a house that has large glass sliding doors in every room (with the exception of bathrooms which I have to clean myself without mother nature’s help).

Turns out my house may be more microbe free than yours . . . .

Letting Sunshine In by Peggy

University of Oregon scientists used real dust from inside homes around Portland to test the effects of sunlight, UV light and darkness on bacteria found in the dust. Researchers “. . .  set up a study of dusty, dollhouse-size rooms to compare what happens in rooms exposed to daylight through regular glass, rooms exposed to only ultraviolet light and those kept dark.”

“After 90 days (because that’s about how long it takes most people to get around to vacuuming, they said), they sampled the dust and analyzed the types of bacteria present.”

“What they found surprised them and confirmed what your grandmother already knew: Rooms exposed to daylight have fewer germs. In fact, the study showed that the lit rooms had about half the viable bacteria (those that are able to grow), compared with dark rooms. Rooms that were exposed only to UV light had just slightly less viable bacteria than ones exposed to daylight.*

This study found 12 percent of bacteria in dark rooms were viable compared to 6.8 percent in rooms with daylight and 6.1 percent in rooms exposed to UV light only.

While it may not sound like much, “6 percent of millions of cells is still a lot of microbes,” “Until now, daylighting [illuminating a building with natural light] has been about visual comfort or broad health. But now we can say daylighting influences air quality.”

The daylit rooms in the study also had less of the types of bacteria associated with human skin, which people shed as they move around indoors, and more closely resembled outdoor bacterial communities. Some of the human-associated bacteria species that didn’t survive in the lighted rooms are known to cause respiratory disease.


*Research was published in the journal Microbiome.”


This Happiness “Hack” works like a Charm

Your brain can not tell the difference between what you imagine and what is actually happening.  Use it to your happiness advantage!

Remember a time you felt happy:

  • Recall what you looked like, the sights, sounds, scents, colors and how you felt. If a time doesn’t come to mind pretend you are someone else and daydream. Your brain can’t tell the difference!

  • Find an object, picture or trinket that represents or symbolizes that time. If you don’t already have a souvenir keep your eyes open for something that helps you recall that time & place.

  • Carry your object in your pocket, put it on your desk, hang it on the wall.

Your “charm” will help you reconnect with and trigger happy feelings.

Check out other Happiness Hacks.  Eventually we’ll put them all together in a booklet for you.

Freddie’s Favorite: Pet a Pet

A Happiness Hack you already do – BREATHE

Pawsitively Tuesday – Rx for Gratitude

Guaranteed* to decrease moping, malcontent and feeling blue. Gratitude is now available over-the-counter, but should not be used off-label for conditions other than dysphoria.

Rx for Gratitude by Peggy


Adverse Side effects

  • Only take as directed, no more than 100 gratitudes a day, or may induce euphoria, resulting in dancing nude on the beach which can lead to skin cancer.
  • Can cause lightheartedness in individuals with pre-existing conditions of joy
  • May impair balance and equilibrium with danger of falling in love with yourself or others.


Any and all information, directions, inferences, enticements, and/or opinions on this site are not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only.
Peggy, Judy or their representative felines and canines make no representation and assume no responsibility for the accuracy of information contained on or available through this site or any other web site, and furthermore such information is subject to change without notice, depending on our mood.



Brain Plasticity is not Just for Cats

 Movement therapy Rewires the Brain

At the Taub Clinic set up by Edward Taub, patients are restrained from using the parts of their body that work so they have to try to use the parts affected by stroke. The patients are given exercises and unrelentingly pushed to try doing them. HIs program is an intense 6 hours a day for 10 days. Eighty percent (80%!) of stroke victims improve, and not just the ones who have had a recent stroke.

Taub’s methods are also used for spinal injury, and people with MS or arthritis.

Patients start out doing small things such as lifting cans or “washing” tables, writing the ABCs. Slowly, fine motor skills come back.

If you’ve read the Catnipblog page   “Maui’s Healing Tale”

you know  about brain plasticity and that CATNIPblog was inspired by and dedicated to Peggy’s cat Maui who lived to show us the brain CAN be rewired and healing IS possible.  

If you haven’t read the page .. . . after losing the use of his back legs Maui didn’t need a physical therapist, a coach, or a professional of any kind. He had his own reasons to use his back legs again and he just kept at it. Peggy wrote and illustrated a children’s book  that tells Maui’s story: “The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of Maui and His Back Legs”.

With encouragement from family and friends (a LOT of encouragement) Peggy has make the book available on Amazon and Kindle.

Maui never heard of The Tuab Clinic and proved through sheer determination the brain is plastic.   He also inspired Peggy and I to blog about neuroscience and mind-body health!


Check out “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge for an interesting and scientific read

Is Your Style at odds with Your Sense of Self?

My wardrobe has seldom reflected my inward sense of self.  I dressed “appropriately” when working . . . relatively conservative, mostly mono-chromatic colors.  Even though I’ve always been attracted to the unconventional, whimsical and wildly colorful, comfort was my main criteria.  Sessions needed to focus on my clients not on my “decor”.

The most audacious thing I did was dye the back of my hair purple.  One day, the husband of a couple I’d seen for several months remarked about my purple hair to his wife .  She responded defiantly, “She doesn’t have purple hair” (she was often defiant).  I turned around to show her that he was correct.  That was the last time I saw them.  I let the purple grow out.

Fashion Style by Meowie

Now that I am retired and don’t have to be concerned about scaring away clients I’ve given little thought to my “appearance” and opt for jeans, running shoes and baggy t-shirts.  

Serendipitously I clicked on this video.  The speaker not only moved me but made me stop and think:  Do I inwardly “FEEL” casual and baggy . . . ?

“If you think style is superficial, then Stasia’s personal story of how she redefined style might just change your mind… and your wardrobe.  In this moving and highly personal talk, Stasia shares how she tried to protect her 5-year-old daughter — who had physical differences — from the pain of not fitting in by dressing her in “the cutest little bootcut jeans and capped sleeves you’ve ever seen.” But it was her daughter, and her request for a button down shirt and bowtie, that transformed Stasia’s understanding of how crucial style is to our sense of self.”

 I admire people who dress themselves artistically, in broad strokes of color, design and pattern. 

My conclusion:  My outward appearance is not congruent with how I view myself

. . . maybe a bit of purple with the grey?

How do you want to present your”self” to the world?




Buying happiness: How to get the most bang for your buck

There’s a lot of press on the misery that comes from winning the lottery and a lot of research showing that having more money doesn’t make you happier (if you can afford necessities like food and shelter).  Along comes happiness researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky who maintains that money CAN buy happiness. It turns out it is all in how you spend it. There is also a catch.

How money CAN make you happier*

1. Develop yourself; pay to get a new skill, or to master an old skill or ability.

2. Connect with others; celebrate achievements of friends and family or take some one on a trip.

3. Buy things that relate to mastery or goals; buy new musical instruments, sports gear or software to advance a project.

4. Donate to worthy causes

5. Buy time with your money; relieve yourself from long work hours or chores that consume your time.

 Here’s the catch:

Money spent on other people brings the most happiness. A study by Elizabeth Dunn and others at U of British Columbia found a bonus raised happiness to the degree it was spent on others.

Spending your money on OTHER PEOPLE instead of on yourself gets you the most happiness for the buck.

*“The Myths of Happiness”by Sonja Lyubomirsky