Monthly Archives: February 2012

Why I’m Racing in PV 2012 – Part One

This Friday, March 2nd, my crew and I are racing in the 31st Biennial San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Race (PV 2012).  This is a biennial event which starts off San Diego’s Shelter Island and finishes off Punta Mita in beautiful Banderas Bay, Mexico.

After that, we’ll be participating in the 22nd edition of the MEXORC (Mexican Ocean Racing Circuit) regatta and the Regatta Copa Mexico.  MEXORC and the Regatta Copa Mexico are a joint effort between the Mexican Government and the Mexican Sailing Federation.  We’ll be participating in 7 one-day races then.

Over the next few days, I’ll be answering some of your questions regarding this next adventure…

Why did you choose to do the PV 2012 race?

For about five or six years, I was only doing buoy races and wondered about what it would feel like to have a big sailing adventure. I decided I wanted to have one and came up with idea of doing the Cabo race where you sail from Newport Beach to Cabo San Lucas. I put together a crew with one pro and assumed we were going to lose because we weren’t a bunch of pros. Lo and behold… we took everything and won in all three categories.  It was so much fun!

I had never been out in open sea before and I wanted to see if I liked it. At that point, after we won in Cabo, I decided to do Trans Pac. Trans Pac was extremely difficult – physically and emotionally – with the squalls, not being able to eat and being dehydrated. It was very tough.

But it was an incredible experience, feeling the team work together and at one point we were the farthest you could be from land in the whole world. It was a sobering experience… it felt like we were in a fishbowl. There was no land anywhere and we were alone on a boat with a bunch of people and we had to keep each other alive.

Trans Pac was an amazing experience emotionally. We went the wrong way, didn’t place and afterwards I was determined to do it again — and do it better.

The PV 2012 race is a hard one; it takes eight and a half days.  This race and the other long distance races I am doing this year are all preparation for next year’s Trans Pac.

We are much better prepared for this race to Puerto Vallarta and for future races. There is enough food and water;  I have noise-isolating headphones so I can sleep better; and I am well equipped with loads of snacks.

So, the reason I’m doing PV 2012 is 20% adventure, 80% prep for Transpac.

What are the different challenges in this race versus Transpac 2011?

This race is a lot easier, and takes half the time. Overall it is less grueling physically because it’s much shorter and also we are closer to land. The second part of it, called MEXORC is a five-day series of day races that are sponsored by the Mexican government. This time around, my son Deryk is going to be a grinder on the MEXORC races, and is also coming along as part of my security.

Carol’s Baby Blanket Reward – UPDATED

UPDATE: Photos of Carol, her daughter, and granddaughter:

Carol called in September needing help for her intense fear of leaving her home (agoraphobia) as she was missing out on her family.  She had a daughter in Holland who was pregnant and due in January.  Her agoraphobia also prohibited from getting a plane.

I made a deal with her that if she went into specialized counseling for this issue, I would knit a yellow baby blanket for her grandchild.  (Listen to Carol’s call.)

Carol left us a voicemail recently to let us know the baby girl was born and she has booked tickets to go to Holland to meet her.  She sent in her itinerary, including her seat number!  This blanket is the “reward” for “Carol” in CT and since she’s leaving soon – it’s going in the mail today. 

I am so proud of her.

I machine knitted the blanket with cotton/acrylic yarn.  It is a fancy tuck stitch with needles “out of work” to create lattice effect.  My friend, Martha, hand-crocheted the beautiful edging because I have no experience with crochet and she is the “queen” of crochet!   She worked the edge while in bed recovering from three breaks in the bones above her foot – a good distraction!

 

 

Quote of the Week

First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.
               – Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee III
                 9th Governor of Virginia and
                 Revolutionary War officer
                 1756 – 1818
                 From his eulogy for George Washington, presented to Congress on
                 December 26, 1799

George Washington

Dad Shoots Daughter’s Laptop

You probably know about it or have seen the YouTube video that has millions, and millions of people viewing it — probably again and again.  This dad shot “dead” his teenage daughter’s laptop.  If you aren’t aware of this video, watch it below; I think seeing the dad is important:  he’s a trim-looking, cowboyish-type dude.  He looks like an easy going guy.    And he had a cute hat on too.   

I looked around on the TV shows to see what psychologists had to say about this incident.  And please, never call me a psychologist; call me a psychotherapist – I don’t want to be even accidentally identified with some of the unbelievably stupid comments I heard from them regarding whether the father did the right thing…

Warning: if there are children around, there are some bad words in the video, but I think they are important because of the context and because of who said them.

The only difference between that dad and me?  I would have re-loaded.  There is a point at which you’ve more than got to draw a line in the sand. I was impressed with him. I think what he did was completely right on. 

I think some of the folks who are against it, are against it because they’re freaked out by the gun.  If he had put the laptop in a trash compactor, there would probably be less reaction to it.  I think a lot of people who don’t handle guns got freaked out by it, but if you see his demeanor through the entire video, there’s no “psycho” behavior there.  He’s totally in control.  He’s very relaxed.  You can tell he’s in pain as a parent and he’s had enough.  I stand 100% by what he did, including the posting of it, although I have no idea what’s going on in that family right now. 

I’ve got a feeling someone’s going to offer him a television show! 

And if you’d like to have a laugh, there’s a mom who did a spoof of the laptop- shooting dad.  By the way, she totally supports what that dad did.

 

The Secret to a Long Life

A study known as “The Longevity Project,” concluded conscientiousness was the best childhood personality predictor of longevity.  It appears by being prudent, persistent and well-organized, you increase your life span.  Their conclusions came from 10 million pieces of data collected by generations of researchers at Stanford University starting in 1921.

Cheerfulness and having a socialable personality were relevant, but the prudent, dependable children lived the longest.  Such people were more likely to obey the rules, (that is take care of their health), and not engage in risky behaviors such as smoking They are the types who take every dose of medicine their doctor prescribes.  I’ve got a funny story about that…I had a painful shoulder at one point –  myofascial disorder, and it  took me 3 years to resolve it. .   The physical therapist said, “Do these 5 stretches, 10 times apiece, 3 times a day.”  So I went home and did it exactly the way he said.  I came back the next week and said, “The pain is worse.”  And he said, “Well, did you do your stretches?”  And I said, “Yes.  I did each one of them exactly the way you told me to do it.”  He looks at me like I’m nuts and says, “You weren’t supposed to do that.”  “What the hell do you mean I’m not supposed to do that?  It’s what you told me to do.”  And he goes, “I always over-tell because most people don’t follow my directions and do about half, maybe.  So you over-stretched and hurt yourself.”  I wanted to kill him…but it did bring up my personality trait because once you tell me to do it, it’s going to happen. 

Once I’d read this, I decided to look into other research that tries to pinpoint what  makes people live longer.  And a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health says daily shopping trips were associated with increased survival.  Elderly people who shopped every day had a 27% lower risk of death than the least frequent shoppers.  This finding was adjusted for a host of variables, by the way. Men who shopped daily were 28% less likely to die, compared with a 23% reduced risk for women, and it didn’t seem to be correlated with whether or not you bought anything. 

Elderly people may window shop, obtain prescribed drugs, bank, walk for exercise, seek companionship, and avoid loneliness.  Fulfillment of these purposes may generate various health benefits.  At least they’re off the couch, walking around.  Buying something isn’t the main point.  It’s the getting out there, being social, walking around and looking at things. 

People over 90 years old were asked in one study “What is the secret to long life?”
Herbert, who’s 91, said, “I attribute it to a good marriage and luck.” [Laughs] Yeah, there’s a little bit of luck in there.  But the good marriage is more important:  men who lose their spouses die a lot younger than they would have.  Women are a guy’s basic moral support in life.  (When my husband had his cardiac frenzies the doctor told him point-blank, “It’s because of your wife that you’re still alive.  She nags and nudges and makes you do stuff…get out and walk, get out and do this…”  Yeah, guys left to their own sort of sink.  We’re very necessary, ladies.)

Ruth, who’s 97, says, “I’ve always been active.  I hiked 2 miles a day into my 80s and I’ve always swum.”

Esther, who’s 96, “I’ve stayed active…” (You realize how articulate they are — I mean, their brains are in gear). “I have stayed active all my life.  I bowled until I was 80 and I worked in my husband’s business until I was 85.”

Eugene, who’s 90 said, “I was never a carouser.  I do drink but not in excess.”

Last, but not least, is 93 year old Gerta, “It’s best not to have too many worries.” 

Well, as we know from the current research, that’s not true.  People who have things to worry about and problems, therefore, to solve are keeping their brains very active and are “chewing” through life rather than “bobbing through life like a cork”, or standing there, looking like they just got electrocuted.  So, everything has it’s moderation point, I guess.  And (according to all of this list) I am going to be immortal without being a vampire.  How cool is that?

Baby Shower for Shack-Up Honey

Two people get to know each other through dating.  They develop awe, respect and love for each and then decide to marry.  The next step is usually creating another life which should be celebrated as a blessed event.  But what about attending a baby shower for a “shack-up pregnant honey”?

Watch: Baby Shower for Shack-Up Honey
Read the transcript

Or watch other videos at youtube.com/DrLaura

Till Death Do Us Part

I heard this story a few months ago, but wanted to bring it to your attention again right before Valentine’s Day as an example of true and deep love.

The headline from last October read: “Iowa Couple Married 72 Years Dies Holding Hands, an Hour Apart,” and the article went on to say that their passing “reflected the nature of their marriage where…everything was done together,” according to their daughter.  Here’s more about them:

Gordon Yeager, 94, and his wife Norma, 90, left their small town of State Center, Iowa, on Wednesday to go into town, but never made it. A car accident sent the couple to the emergency room and intensive care unit with broken bones and other injuries. But, even in the hospital, their concerns were each other.

The most important part of the story is what comes next.  I really want you to think about it.

“She was saying her chest hurt and what’s wrong with Dad? Even laying there like that, she was worried about Dad,” said the couple’s son, Dennis Yeager, 52. “And his back was hurting and he was asking about Mom.”

When it became clear that their conditions were not improving, the couple was moved into a room together in beds side-by-side where they could hold hands.

He joined his right hand to her left hand, and that’s how they died. 

The key to the whole story, however, was they were concerned about each other up to the moment they passed away.

I wrote a book several years ago entitled “The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage,” in which I talk about waking up each day, looking over at your spouse and making the decision to make their day worthwhile and to make them happy that they are married to you.  In other words, instead of waking up with all your bitchy thoughts, all your self- centered thoughts about what you’re not getting, what you’re not feeling,  wake up thinking  what you do for him/her to make his/her life worth living and worth living with you.  That is the key to this couple.  And that’s the key to them dying together.

There are more stories that illustrate this point: Couple Die Together After 62 Years of Marriage

Eighty-four-year-old Robert, whose health had declined steadily in recent years, always expected to go first. His 80-year-old wife, Darlene, had been his steady caretaker at home they built with their own hands, until she was diagnosed with cancer and given only a few weeks to live.

When Robert learned Darlene was terminally ill, he quickly grumbled: “I’m terminal, too.”  While family members and caretakers just chalked off that statement to the emotion of the moment, as his wife lay beside him in her last moments, he, too because to die.  Only six hours separated their deaths.
It was a bittersweet moment for the couple’s five children and extended family.

While they’d lost their mother and father, they knew their parents, the couple who lived and breathed love for one another, who spooned together every night while watching the news, who even walked to their mailbox in tandem had received their last wish.

Their story of love and long-term devotion showcases an aspect of humanity that even modern science has a hard time explaining: that sometimes strength of will decides whether we live or die.

Their chemistry was magical, the family said. They got up from bed together and always waited for the other to get in bed at night. Mornings over coffee together developed a mutual plan of attack for the day. Darlene always made sure Robert’s lunch was packed and clothes folded for him to wear.

They eventually had nine children, and it’s safe to say they proved their doctor wrong.

Robert suffered strokes, kidney troubles, congestive heart failure and other ailments following, but he never complained.

“I’m fine,” he’d always say.

In retirement, they never left each other’s sides. If a check needed depositing, they went to the bank together. Grocery shopping was done in tandem. The pair even ventured to the mailbox together everyday unless one was too ill to do so.

In the days before their deaths, hospice had a special bed put into the couple’s bedroom, where youthful pictures of Robert and Darlene hang above their respective bedsides. Robert, in their own bed, held her hand tight as she began to die.

Not long after, the nurse came to check on Robert. Astonishingly, his vital signs began to fail. His breathing became broken. He was actively dying, the nurse told the family. There were no drugs or methods he’d used to quicken death; it just began to happen.

They gave him two days to live, tops. Instead, he joined his wife in death only six hours after hers.

Robert and Darlene, whose services were held Thursday, will be buried in the same way they lived their lives together.

In the same casket.

Dying beside the love of your life and passing into eternity together is the stuff of legends, but it’s well documented around the world.  It’s some connection.  It’s some special connection.  In some cases, research shows that one person’s heartbeat can affect and even regulate another’s (working as a type of life support).

Now, in none of these cases where spouses died within minutes or hours of each other was there a suicide.  I think the amazing thing to take from these stories is that these relationships lasted that long. But it’s a simple fact (and one to remember when you find yourselves crabbing and whining about each other):  these husbands and wives lived to make sure the other was happy.  And, in doing so, they were happy. 

It’s really not that complicated, and it’s something very special to think about this Valentine’s Day.