Thursday Thoughts on Friday — Memory, Travel Plans, and the Best Smoothie Ever!

Long title but bear with me. This actually kind of flows.

I was totally planning to post yesterday but The Husband decided to bring out a bottle of wine with dinner and, well, that was the end of that. Plus the 6-Year-Old is smack dab in the middle of a mushy stage. ALL he wants to do is cuddle and I’m totally happy to oblige. We’ve also been working on his reading before bed, so that usually takes a big chunk out of my night. Six-year-olds are notoriously slow readers if you didn’t already know.

Anyway, it’s been a pretty good week overall. I will be posting my workout update tomorrow because I still have one more day to complete. I decided to give my muscles a break yesterday morning and run instead of weight lift. It was a nice change of pace and it’s something I want to continue to work back into my schedule. I’m hoping to add at least two runs a week of 2 miles or more.

Yesterday I had so many more things I wanted to mention but now I’m having a hard time remembering what they were. I’m learning I need to write things down immediately anymore. I just don’t have the capacity to hold on to information the way I used to. Interestingly, this article from the American Psychological Association backs me up on this:

The brain’s volume peaks in the early 20s and gradually declines for the rest of life. In the 40s, when many people start to notice subtle changes in their ability to remember new names or do more than one thing at a time, the cortex starts to shrink.

However, the good news is…

Challenging oneself by learning a new language or playing a new musical instrument may be a solution to preventing memory problems or the development of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

This brings me to my LACK of guitar playing since I started my new job in February. I started taking lessons last year and then I just stopped. I couldn’t figure out time to work with my instructor anymore and I totally used it as an excuse to just stop cold turkey even though I could have continued to practice on my own.

I need to commit to it but I’m so maxed out at the moment. I think it’s time I just pick the damn thing up and practice, so I’m setting that goal for this weekend.

In other news, I think I picked next year’s Mother-Sons adventure and it’s a doozy.

I’m seriously considering flying the three of us to Costa Rica to take family Spanish lessons for a few reasons:

  1. I really want to learn Spanish, I took it in high school but of course, it was pretty useless without any practice or immersion. Plus, ummm, I want my brain to stay young!
  2. The 12-Year-Old is taking it now in middle school and this would help him immensely.
  3. The earlier we expose the 6-Year-Old to other languages the better chance he has of actually learning it, right?

I checked flight prices and I almost have enough points to cover the flight with Southwest, and the cost to actually take the classes is pretty affordable if you stay with a host family, which I think would be an AMAZING experience for the kids and me.

I haven’t completely committed or booked anything but I’m 90% sure this is what we’re going to do next year. The end of the year is travel planning time for the following year. So I hope to have more specifics before the holidays.

While I’m on the travel topic, I am still taking the travel agent training course although I have had a hard time getting back into the groove after Mexico. I have, however, been spending some time building my virtual travel map.

I still have a lot of trips to add but I thought this would be a fun way to track my travels. I also bought some paper maps to use with pins but I’m more crafty digitally than traditionally.

Changing gears, I’ve been wanting to share my latest smoothie obsession.

I know it doesn’t look like much, but this smoothie is the best one I’ve ever made. I don’t measure anything but it comes out perfect every morning. Here’s what I use:

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • Handful of frozen cherries
  • Chunk of frozen coconut milk (I freeze leftover milk from canned flat in zip-lock bags)
  • A few almonds
  • Dark and regular cocoa powders
  • Enough pasteurized egg white to cover most of the ingredients

I will measure everything on the scale one day and share more specifics because this thing is the bomb. I’ve been wanting to add spinach, too, but I haven’t had any on hand recently.

There’s so much more I want to share but this post is getting too long already.  I’ll be back tomorrow with a workout update.

Oh! And if you don’t follow me on Facebook or IG you may not know I totally geeked and started a fun daily project for myself. May I introduce you to @PunnyOfficeBored — what can I say? I needed a creative outlet something fierce at work or I was about to go insane.

3 comments On Thursday Thoughts on Friday — Memory, Travel Plans, and the Best Smoothie Ever!

  • Try Duolingo to brush up your Spanish before heading off on your adventure.

  • Your Costa Rica trip sounds amazing, but I have to be a downer about the foreign language thing wrt Alzheimer’s. I just attended a seminar by the Chair of Neurology of Stanford, whose clinical practice is with Alzheimer’s patients (and my boss’s boss, full disclosure). The research shows that, by far, exercise is the most effective at changing the brain in ways that are consistent with better cognitive function, followed by diet. The most often cited type of exercise is the 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, moderate type, and the diet in question is the Mediterranean diet. Brain exercises just haven’t proven to be very effective, especially compared to diet/exercise. This is the case especially if you have the Alzheimer’s gene. The question about foreign languages came up, and while there isn’t really much research adult acquisition of a foreign language, Dr. Longo speculated that since the brain starts at birth with many more neural connections than it needs, and much pruning takes place during development into adulthood, if you are multi-lingual as a child you have much less pruning and therefore many more connections to start out with when you hit your 40s, so you have more to spare as degeneration sets in. His thinking was that it is best to be passionately engaged with something, rather then fixating on the foreign language thing. There’s a 2015 lecture on YouTube, which is very similar to what he presented recently if you are interested in more detail. Our recent lecture also included info on his potential treatment that just entered Phase 2 trials, that was the cover feature on Time Magazine last year.

    • Fascinating! And even better since I already workout 5-6 days a week! lol

      That said, I’m also passionate about the language. I think it would be just so cook to learn a different language later in life anyway. I think I’m more excited about the challenge of it.

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