Welcome to my blog where I share book reviews
and life along the winding road

Friday, May 18, 2018

Clotted Cream Recipe

There are lots of English parties planned to celebrate Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding tomorrow and no English tea party is complete without clotted cream. Below is a recipe I've used for years that is similar to the taste and consistency of clotted cream and works great with berries or scones. By the way there are two views on whether to put the jam or the cream on a scone first. If you are in Devon, it's cream first - in Cornwall the strawberry jam is spread first and then the cream.

Mock Clotted Cream
3 oz cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
3 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Mix first three ingredients together, add cream.
Beat until stiff (peaks stand up)

Note: it works out at approx. 25 calories per tablespoon.

Reading People by Anne Bogel

Reading People by Anne Bogel is a look at different personality types and how to use the information to understand people around you.

One of the comments she made that resonated with me was "I'm in introvert in an extrovert church." For years I've struggled with church. Not the service. If I could find a quiet corner to sit and listen I'd be happy, but they want you to participate, even stopping the service so that people can meet and greet others. For an introvert that's a terrifying moment. Adam McHugh even wrote a book about it Introverts in Church. 

Introverts need regular time for quiet and alone time. They use the sympathetic side of the brain more - their brains are wired differently from extroverts and take a longer path to rest and digest information. Men are slightly more likely to be introvert.

Extroverts think faster and process information quicker, using the fight or flight side of the brain. They take bigger risks and crave stimulation, needing lots of social interaction.

Although we can be both, we are primarily one way or another.

Some personality traits are hereditary: outgoing, reserved, energetic, subdued
Character traits (which I believe are learned): kindness, generosity, honesty, patience.

There are several places to discover personality types:

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - Devised during WWII to help women entering the workforce for the first time to pair them with the type of work according to their type (still used in the work place)
Note: She warns against taking the test without an expert to guide you. There is a simple test, however, at 16 Personalities

David Keirsey defines four personality types.
You can take David Keirsey's test here
Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey

The Clifton Strength Finder focuses on strengths

The Essential Enneagram  test by David Daniels helps to better understand ourselves based on and pinpoints motivations based on nine types

  1. The Reformer - need to be perfect
  2. The Helper - need to be needed
  3. The Achiever - need to succeed
  4. The Individualist - need to be special
  5. The Investigator - need to perceive
  6. The Loyalist - need for security
  7. The Enthusiast - need to avoid pain
  8. The Challenger - need to be against
  9. The Peacemaker - need to avoid
Note: The test cost is $10 or you can purchase The Essential Enneagram to take the test.

Hop on over to Anne Bogel's  blog Modern Mrs. Darcy.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen

I've loved all the books I've read by Rhys Bowen and The Tuscan Child is no exception. It begins in Tuscany during WWII in December 1944 and takes the reader to an English manor house in 1973 and then back to Tuscany in the same period while interspersing with the struggles a downed WWII British Air Force pilot has in the Italian hills, trying to avoid the retreating German army. Some of it is a bit reminiscent of the Captain Corelli's Mandolin storyline. The only disappointment I had was that Rhys Bowen didn't include the delicious Italian recipes talked about and prepared in the novel.

Be warned though, you may want to book a flight to Tuscany after reading The Tuscan Child.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner is about two couples whose lives become intertwined. It follows their marriages, friendships and tragedies, travelling between Vermont and Wisconsin. But that's just a brief summary, the story is so much more with Wallace Stegner's beautiful prose and descriptions that fill all the senses. His love for nature and fight for conservation shows through.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman

Sharon Kay Penman is a word artist and adeptly weaves her words around historical figures. Lionheart is the story of the 12th Century English court and the royal family intrigue at the time. This is the first historical novel I've read by Sharon Kay Penman, but I plan to read many more.

From the Cover:
They were called "The Devil's Brood," though never to their faces. They were the four surviving sons of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. With two such extraordinary parents, much was expected of them. But the eldest son, Hal - charming and mercurial and his embittered brother Geoffrey would die young, and it was Richard who would be crowned King of England. Almost immediately after his investiture, he set off for the Holy Land.
A figure of heroic proportions in his own time, Richard today is shrouded in mystery and seeming contradictions, yet the chroniclers in both the Christian and Saracen camps admired him, seeing even his more abrasive qualities as part and parcel of a warrior king. By their accounts Richard the Lionheart was utterly fearless.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Happy St. George's Day

Saint George, the patron saint of England, never actually set foot in England, but nevertheless his heroism and martyrdom is celebrated in England on April 23rd each year.

Another celebration on April 23rd is the birth of William Shakespeare (Shakespeare is also believed to have died on April 23, 1616). 

Friday, April 20, 2018

In Pursuit of Memory by Joseph Jebelli

Neuroscientist Joseph Jebelli takes us through the scientific advances and failures beginning with Aloysius Alzheimer's discoveries.

Dr. Jebelli's advice:
Follow a Mediterranean diet
Exercise (even mild exercise)
Avoid stress
Stimulate your mind (puzzles and mind games)
Use turmeric spice (people in India who eat a lot of curry have lower Alzeimer's rates)
"You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain."

Joseph Jebelli is confident we will defeat Alzheimer's in our lifetime.

Aloysis "Alois" Alzheimer was born in a small Bavarian town in 1864. After attending medical school in Berlin he went on to work as an intern at a Frankfurt mental asylum where he made changes to release shackled patients and worked on calming them rather than imprisoning. He also studied brain tissue. The first patient he came across with what we now call "Alzheimer's" was a woman aged 51 but with dementia that had previously been associated with normal aging. After her death five years later, a post-mortem showed a large loss of brain tissue and dark particles of plaques and tangles between the nerve cells.

Alzheimer's disease is like a science fiction movie with plaques and tangles infiltrating the brain including frontal lobes that take away the ability to process logistical thoughts and resulting in fear and anxiety. With medication only 3-4 years of stability can be expected with death at about 8 years after diagnosis.

Following are some of the discoveries Dr. Jebelli mentions in his book:

In 1981 Leonard Heston discovered that Alzheimer's could be genetic with relatives of patients with early onset Alzheimer's developing the disease in middle age. He also discovered that many had a high incidence of Down's syndrome in the family. More studies on genes were done in the 1990 Human Genome Project.

In Columbia there is a higher concentration of Alzheimer sufferers than anywhere else in the world. Genetic mutation (Paisa mutation) is the cause. Scientists are hoping a new drug will combat the disease if given at an early age.

Karoly Nikolich found that using blood cells from younger people showed cognitive improvements.

Naji Tabet  Exercise - even mild exercise - can prevent or slow the decline of Alzheimer's patients.

Frank LaFerla states that stress lasting several hours or more might accelerate or worsen the disease.

Stanley Pruisner  discovered a class of pathogens (prions) that become self propogating and cause neurodegenerative diseases. These are immune to normal disinfectant and caused concerns for surgical instruments.

John Collinge shared that Alzheimer's might be transmissible (prions). Despite the British National Health service paying Dr. Collinge a large sum of money to develop a disinfectant to eradicate these (RelyOn), they then decided that the risk wasn't high enough to authorize the added cost within the hospitals (many had died resulting from infection after receiving a contaminated growth hormone)

Paige Cramer, a graduate student, discovered that a skin cancer drug, bexarotene, could reverse symptoms of Alzheimer's in mice.

Kavi Stefansson from Reykjavik, Iceland, discovered many Icelanders have a gene mutation that shields them from Alzheimer's.

Yves Christen and Tom Curran noted that those who develop cancer are less likely to get Alzheimer's and visa versa.

Genetics loads the gun - lifestyle pulls the trigger. . .

Early diagnosis is critical