Catnap 101

Filed Under All Posts, Cathy Fischer, Health | 17 Comments

painting of woman sleeping in hammock
Gustave Courbet, The Hammock, 1844

Cathy beholds the benefits of the siesta and the true meaning of beauty rest

I was talking with my BF Leslie—an acupuncturist by trade and a healer by nature—when she told me how in her practice she finds that midlife women don’t allow themselves enough time to de-stress, decompress, pamper, or just relax. She also pointed out that this non-stop lifestyle eventually leads to all kinds of disease.

Hmmm. Women doing too much? Imagine that. It is my experience that this overdoing syndrome is passed down from generation to generation (martyr much?) So what to do about it? How do we recharge and reboot without it taking too much time or costing too much money?

One word: CATNAP! Yes, I believe that just might be the cure to what ails us.

According to an article in The Boston Globe aptly titled “The Lifesaving Potential of an Afternoon Nap,” a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine concluded that “napping was more likely than diet, physical activity or [not] smoking to lower the incidence of heart attacks and other life-ending heart ailments.” A 20-minute nap or brief non-REM sleep (no more than 45 minutes) enhances concentration, alertness and memory, elevates mood and can sharpen motor skills.

Beauty rest is not just the name of a mattress and napping is not just for vacations or cranky children. Read more

Art That’s as Hot as Haiti

Filed Under All Posts, Travel | 8 Comments

Artist Pascale Monnin
Artist Pascale Monnin

On a recent visit to Haiti, art dealer, museum curator, Haitian native, and Fifty is the New contributor Carine Fabius seeks out light and joy amongst the desperation and darkness.

(Originally published in The Huffington Post.)

It’s hard to find joy in Haiti today. I’m just back from a three-week trip to my native land and words will never convey the range of emotions encountered in the core of my being and among those who live the day-to-day grind that is Haiti today. People are stressed, traumatized and depressed. In a place where some 250,000 people perished, it seems everyone knows at least five people who died. The force of Mother Earth has left many in a state of shock unnoticeable at the surface level. But dig just a little and a familiar faraway look and haze steals over the face of anyone recounting what many refer to as bagay la, “the thing” in Haitian Kreyol (bagay rhymes with sky).

For a couple of days I stayed at a tiny house just outside of Jacmel (a coastal city in the south which was reportedly destroyed by 70 percent, although that figure is slightly exaggerated) where the caretaker recounted what residents there saw just after the exact hour and minute forever emblazoned in his mind: 4:52 PM. He said that after the shaking stopped, they watched the ocean recede 200 feet with a terrible force, as if fueled by an enraged and giant jackhammer. Flapping fish, stunned lobsters and other sea life remained stranded on what looked like a post-apocalypse beachscape. Fears of a tsunami-force return prompted them to head for the hills, but for naught in the end; because, as he relayed in a hushed, still-bewildered tone, the ocean returned at a chilling pace—creeping back in at a strangely measured tempo over the next day and a half. Read more

What Happens in Ireland Stays in Ireland

Filed Under All Posts, Humor, Prudence Baird, Travel | 15 Comments

From Dunmanway to Dingle, summer vacation with Prudence and family is as unpredictable as the weather.

What on my Streetwise Dublin map looked like a ten minute stroll from the Grafton House B&B on Great George Street to the car rental agency across the Liffey River turned out to be a bit longer—45 minutes longer, to be exact. This wouldn’t have been a bad thing if the rain hadn’t blown in, turning a blue sky dotted with cotton ball clouds into a grey, oppressive canopy pushing pinprick rain into our faces.

“How cheap is this umbrella?” my husband asked as the mini-brella I bought back in the States turned inside out in front of Christ Church Cathedral and the medieval ruins of a Norman chapel built in 1230 A.D.

“Mom, how could you?” protested Casey, whose raincoat zipper went off track on a busy street corner and had to be fixed while being jostled by groups of tourists and umbrella-wielding Irish businessmen.

Ah, family vacations, where everything that goes wrong—including the weather—is mom’s fault, and everything that goes right goes unremarked. Read more