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Donna Kelley, CNC
1 week ago
Donna Kelley, CNC

Do you wake up in the morning refreshed and eager to take on the day? Or, do you wake up in the morning feeling tired and drained, having to drag yourself out of bed to that cup of java? Would you rather just roll over and go back to sleep? If this is you, please keep reading. I will be sharing some eye-opening steps (no pun intended) that may help your body to get re-energized.

First, are you getting quality sleep? You need at least seven to nine hours of uninterrupted, restful sleep every night, instead of five to six hours...

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Donna Kelley, CNC
2 weeks ago
John and Ellie Grandy hold their sweet potato plant. Photo courtesy of Donna Kelley
John and Ellie Grandy, young at heart and long-time residents of Volcano, have been married for over 68 marvelous years. Their spirited and devoted relationship keeps growing and blooming, just as they have grown, cultivated and nourished this beautiful sweet potato plant with bright green foliage. What? A sweet potato plant? I remember putting toothpicks in an avocado seed and placing it in a glass of water as a science project when I was in elementary school, but never a sweet potato. I love to eat sweet potatoes and now the... [Read more]
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Brent Parsons
3 weeks ago
The view of the Grand Canyon from Tuweep, at the best campsite in the world. Photo courtesy of Brent Parsons

This is the ninth morning of this trip. We are camped at a place we now consider the best site in the world. We reluctantly departed our home of six nights because, if we didn’t, we wouldn’t, until it was time to drive home. We surrendered the best site in the Valley of Fire to the next lucky camper and headed north.

The interchange with Interstate 15 is all torn up, due to torrential monsoon rains and flash floods six weeks earlier. In our years, we have not experienced a gully washer but narrowly missed a few. A couple of times...

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Brent Parsons
10/23/2014 11:28 AM
I’ve been out of touch and unconnected, but reconnecting. Leslie, Bella and I are camping in the desert — again. We were here, not actually here here, but a few hundred miles away in what might look like here, four months ago. The time in between was in the shade, at less than the triple figures that are too hot for even desert lovers. We have been able to shoehorn in a couple of two-week vacations annually the last few years. Mexico, Hawaii, Europe, you might ask? No, the desert canyon country, except for a road trip to Kansas to... [Read more]
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Donna Kelley, CNC
10/14/2014 12:27 PM
Donna Kelley, CNC

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. The statistics from the National Cancer Institute say that one out of every eight women has the devastating probability of being diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. Breast cancer can also afflict men, but to a much lower degree, which is one in every 1,000 men. Can breast cancer be prevented? What are the risk factors and protective factors for developing breast cancer?

Dr. J. Robert Hatherill (1998), in his book, “Eat to Beat Cancer,” states that most women are unaware...

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Donna Kelley, CNC
10/09/2014 12:43 PM

I have always “loved” pasta, as far back as I can remember — creamy mac and cheese as a child, spaghetti and lasagna as an adult. For some of us, our attachment to this comfort food can be very addicting. I’ve noticed that once I start eating it, it is hard to stop — yikes! What’s not to love about pasta?

I want you to know that you can still indulge in your pasta (in a different form) and not feel guilty and not put on those dreaded pounds. What I am talking about is spaghetti squash. My new love is a wonderful-tasting,...

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Mike Sweeney
10/09/2014 12:47 PM
A picturesque old barn shares the spotlight with the showy display of fall color in Hope Valley. Photo courtesy of Mike Sweeney

The autumn equinox took place on September 22, marking the end of summer and the start of the fall season in the Northern Hemisphere. This is the season of cool nights, perfect days, Giants’ playoff baseball, and, of course, spectacular fall colors. It’s the perfect time for a road trip up Highway 88 to enjoy the intense spectrum of yellow, orange and red foliage high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

As you drive east towards Carson Pass, the colors begin near the Mormon Emigrant Trail turnoff about 43 miles from Jackson. Quite a...

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Donna Kelley, CNC
10/07/2014 9:57 AM
Donna Kelley, CNC

I have always “loved” pasta, as far back as I can remember — creamy mac and cheese as a child, spaghetti and lasagna as an adult. For some of us, our attachment to this comfort food can be very addicting. I’ve noticed that once I start eating it, it is hard to stop — yikes! What’s not to love about pasta?

I want you to know that you can still indulge in your pasta (in a different form) and not feel guilty and not put on those dreaded pounds. What I am talking about is spaghetti squash. My new love is a wonderful-tasting, “healthier...

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Donna Kelley, CNC
09/30/2014 7:30 AM
Have Fun Exercising!

This article is a continuation from last week’s column, which focused on carbohydrates and proteins as the first two components of a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you missed that article, please contact me and I’d be happy to email it to you.

Part II will cover the four other components of a healthy diet and lifestyle — fats, cholesterol, fiber and physical activity.

Component No. 3: Fats: consume 20 to 35 percent of calories from total fat (10 percent or less from saturated fat). Fats contain nine calories per gram.

Your brain...

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Brent Parsons
09/25/2014 12:01 PM
I wrote last year about my experience on a competitive basketball court as a player older than all but one. I think it’s time for an update. First, I am now older than all. Rick Smith, my senior by a month, was forced off the court by a very serious health event. We all miss him. He coached many of our Jackson boys and was the man with the gym key for a couple of decades, the most regular of the regulars. Not many now know how good a player he was and the passionate knowledge he had for the game. I remember. We hope for a full... [Read more]
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Donna Kelley, CNC
09/25/2014 11:59 AM

One of people’s most enjoyable activities is eating food — perhaps, also, selecting, preparing and thinking about food. Many of our social gatherings, holidays and events are centered around delicious, fabulous food and, for many of us, it is so easy to overindulge. Is this glorious food supporting a healthy body or causing harmful effects?

There are basically six components of a healthy diet, which will support the human body emotionally and physically, reducing mood issues and degenerative conditions. The six components are:...

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Brent Parsons
09/18/2014 12:29 PM
As I have written previously, perhaps ad nauseum, my wife, Leslie, likes to cook. What makes the pursuit even better is that she does it well. She bakes pizza with a homemade crust and sauce. No two pizzas have been alike. We might have it every three weeks and when it is time again, Leslie always asks for my input. If the memory of the last one is particularly good, I ask for a repeat. It never happens. The toppings might be identical, but the foundation never is. Too many variables, including temperature, moisture and amount of... [Read more]
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Mike Sweeney
09/11/2014 1:02 PM
This swan stayed with Sweeney for a long time. Photo courtesy of Mike Sweeney
Faithful Dispatch readers know that the California Delta is the best place to see a wide variety of birds in a short period of time. September is the perfect month to visit the Delta, after Labor Day crowds have dissipated, and the fall migration of our feathered friends has begun. My goal last week was H and H Marina, at the end of Eight Mile Road, northeast of Stockton. It doesn’t look like much when you pull up, as the cafe is boarded up, and the launch ramp has seen better days, but once you get your boat into the water, you... [Read more]
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Donna Kelley, CNC
09/11/2014 1:05 PM
Athletes and all of us need strong and healthy bones to carry our bodies everywhere throughout our lifetime. Our bones are living matter and require high-nutrient foods and beverages to keep them ‘alive.’ Bones are mostly made up of calcium. We have all heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” Well, this is also true with what we are feeding our bones. So, it would make sense that we would not feed our bones food or beverages that would rid the body of this precious mineral. However, this is actually what many people are doing and... [Read more]
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Brent Parsons
09/11/2014 1:52 PM
I’m not a golfer, but it is almost never too late to become one — if you don’t care about being good. My parents, my brother and my son all golfed, and occasionally I would go with them for some socializing. My game was scattered and I was told my swing was influenced by softball, which is not good. My softball team thought the reverse, which is also not good. I lacked the patience and focus. My most memorable shot was a “birdie” at Mace Meadow. I scorched a drive that gained about five feet in altitude. A blackbird rose from the... [Read more]
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Donna Kelley, CNC
09/04/2014 11:34 AM
There are many elements to living an active, healthy lifestyle, and one of them is clean, pure water. Have you ever noticed what happens when you water a plant that looks droopy and wilted? It perks up, comes back to life and looks great. Well, that is what water does for us, also. The human body cannot live more than three-to-five days without water. The human adult body is composed of about 60 percent water. Our muscles and kidneys are made up of 79 percent water. Our lungs are composed of 83 percent water. Our brain and heart... [Read more]
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Jerry Budrick
08/28/2014 10:35 AM
Yuki snapped this photo from above Upper Blue Lake. His friend, Mark, is the tiny guy on the shore. Photo courtesy of Kautz's friend, Yuki

On Sunday, the 17th, I got an email from my friend Yuki, saying that if I could wait to go to Upper Blue Lakes until Tuesday, he wanted to go. Sure, I’d wait until then to go up. It’s always a pleasure to fish with him. We’ve been doing so since we met at the Camanche Trout Pond some four years ago.

We met at Cook’s Station at 8:30 a.m., and, after picking up coffee, we headed up the hill. We got to Upper Blue Lake and picked a different spot than I usually fish, because we wanted to use our rod holders and most of the shoreline...

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Donna Kelley, CNC
08/28/2014 10:30 AM

A question wassent my way by Margaret A. of Sutter Creek: I’ve been diagnosed with arthritis and heard that nutrition may help with stiffness and pain. If this is true, what foods do I need to be eating or not eating?

My answer is: This is definitely true. Arthritis is inflammation of the joints and connective tissue (cartilage). Cartilage is a slippery material that covers the ends of bones, acting like a cushion, and preventing the bones from rubbing together. As cartilage starts breaking down due to wear and tear, dehydration,...

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Brent Parsons
08/07/2014 1:40 PM
Irma and Jose Fieto and some of their staff stand ready for action at Bella Rosa II, in Sutter Creek. Photo courtesy of Brent Parsons

Leslie and I dine out rarely in the evening, because Leslie likes to cook and I support my wife in that endeavor. Once we are home, we usually stay, and my entertainment budget has always been the last one funded. We do eat lunch out at least once a week and have eaten at Bella Rosa, in Jackson, a dozen times. Our waitress is usually an upbeat and energetic young woman with a captivating accent who sometimes has children upstairs.

A few weeks ago, I noticed a Bella Rosa sign had replaced the Hootenanny’s one in Martell, followed...

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Mike Sweeney
07/10/2014 3:08 PM
One of the many gifts we enjoy living in Amador County is our proximity to one of the outdoor wonders of the world — Lake Tahoe. People travel for days to visit this outdoor icon, but we can get to this largest alpine lake in North America in an hour-and-a-half. Consider these Tahoe facts: 1,645 feet deep (deepest lake in the US after Crater Lake); 22 miles long and 12 miles wide; 72 miles of shoreline; fed by 63 tributaries with only one outlet, the Truckee River. The Lake Tahoe Basin was created millions of years ago by seismic... [Read more]
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