I also like to share a little about my life through various cultural activities such as art exhibits, gastronomy, and travel. Why? Because they are all sensorial experiences!
In memory of my mother, Nancy Sutcliffe, who passed away in early February 2016 from dementia-related causes, I want to share some of my best, heart-felt memories of her with you: From Hawaii to Arkansas: My mother was a strong-willed-inside and soft-spoken-outside tiny 5' lady of Japanese American decent who was raised on the beautiful island of Kauai, Hawaii. She was one of a few fortunate Japanese Americans to not have been put into an internment camp during WWII, but were carefully watched anyway, as I vividly recall seeing an old black and white photo of her with a soldier standing nearby. Regardless of my claims, my mother was fiercely proud to be American and never admitted to being treated as an outsider. After the war, she travelled to Chicago, where she met my father, and gave birth to my older sister, brother and I. My family eventually moved "out of the rat race" to St. Louis, and then to Eureka Springs, Arkansas where my paternal grandparents had retired. The family homestead included several acres of lush green pastures and woodlands, and so my father was determined to use this land to become a farmer while earning a meager living as a schoolteacher. We raised goats, chickens, rabbits and pigs, grew a garden and picked apples, pears and peaches from our trees to "live off the land". Life was hard on the farm, but it taught me a lot about nature, animal life and about sacrifices my mother made in her life in order to devote herself to nurture and care for her family. When mom aged and had to go into an Assisted Living Community, she refused my offer to come live in Connecticut with me and my husband saying: "Arkansas is my home." She was always loyal. Church, Farm, and Home: I had two pairs of shoes growing up: One for farming and one for school, but my mother let us purchase a new pair of shoes each spring for Easter Sunday and special occasions. I looked forward to that time when I could open and smell the freshly printed pages of Sears Roebuck or Montgomery Ward to select my new shoes! We went to church almost every Sunday, and I loved being able to put on a pretty dress that my mother would often make, wear my new shoes and get treated to fruit punch and cake in the hall afterwards. My mother often sewed our dress clothes on her black metal Singer Sewing Machine and I would stand next to her and watch as her hands guided the fabric for stitching, while smelling the warmth and inimitable odor of the machine's engine while it its needle worked with the pressure of her foot of the peddle. Our home was small and simply furnished, and like many homes our lives were spent mostly in the kitchen which was the hub of most activities, and where the smell of my mother's coffee percolating became our alarm clock each morning. The aroma of coffee meant that it was the start of another day and time to get dressed, then go to the barn and tend to our selected chores of milking goats, feeding the pigs, rabbits and chickens and collecting eggs. My siblings and I would often argue about what chores we had to do, and so it was my mother who was the referee, the coach and the judge on who was to do what. Barns have bad odors and I was particularly happy to leave them behind when I left the farm for New York to search for a career in fashion. Although those odors were left behind, they are immediately recalled whenever I take road trips to the countryside, and can usually decipher whether I am passing a pig, chicken, or cattle farm just by its smell. My mother made all meals and desserts in our kitchen from scratch. We seldom used anything that came in a box or a can, unless it was winter time and all of our frozen vegetables or stock of preserved fruits were consumed. Planting season came when father turned the soil and we'd go and plant seeds in allocated plots of almost every vegetable imaginable. Summertime meant going out to weed nuisances like alfalfa grass that choked the young growing vegetable plants, so pulling i...
It's been a particularly busy month for Essential Awakenings™. I've had some exciting new clients including a University. But that's only a portion of what else happened this month!
I am so excited about road trips because it gives me a chance to see parts of the country that I don't usually get to see. I have driven 4 states today: From my home state of Connecticut, through parts of New York, New Jersey and all the way through Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh. I had my CD deck with old rock and roll biggies such as The Who, Neil Young and the mellow Cat Stevens. Peter Gabriel's double CD took me through most of the state of Pennsylvania and I really loved hearing his big hit "Sledgehammer" again! When I take my road trips, I make several rules for myself: Drink plenty of water so I HAVE to stop, and do not drive after dark. I went from sunny 40 degrees in Connecticut to lower than 25 degrees and snowfall when traveling through the mountains of Pennsylvania. My keen sense of smell caught the odors of everything from frying oil, pizza, and soap at the rest stop to the smell of animal manure while traveling through the Pennsylvania farm land. I arrived in Pittsburgh just in time to take in some fantastic pop art at the Andy Warhol Museum 45 minutes before they closed, and then found my hotel. Art first! Now settling down for the night, I'm anticipating a good day of travel tomorrow as I head for Louisville, KY. I passed through Louisville on my last road trip to the midwest, but did not have a chance to discover enough of what this city has to offer. Most know Louisville for The Kentucky Derby and the Slugger Museum, but I think I'll go to The Muhammad Ali Center and pay tribute to this great human being. I will then find a restaurant downtown to feast on some spareribs rubbed with good ole Kentucky bourbon! Most people do not know that Louisville is also the 29th largest city in the US and appears to be a new center for healthcare that includes The Thrive Center, where I have an appointment on Friday with the CEO to present the Essential Awakenings ™ Smell and Memory Kits. I am so excited about this appointment, and will tell you all about it in a few days. Here is some information I found on the internet about the center: The Thrive Center Inc. is a nonprofit 501©3 technology innovation, and educational center designed to enhance the quality of life for those aged 50+. Located in the heart of NULU in downtown Louisville, KY, the center occupies 7,500 square foot space that features innovative technology, specialized programming to enhance elder wellness and a series of educational programs for the community. Through its innovative products, dynamic programming for elders and clinical assessment tools, the Thrive Center is poised for global impact as a cutting-edge innovation facility to promote healthy aging. Aging well is the ultimate goal! Creative solutions to everyday problems are solved with innovative technology and collaborative partnerships, which benefit all. The 50+ market has a significant impact on the global economy.According to AARP, one hundred and six million people, aged 50 or older account for $7.1 trillion in economic activity, $3.1 trillion in consumer spending and $1.3 trillion in healthcare spending. Thrive is the logical connecting point where entrepreneurs can offer feasible solutions in a challenging market.
Last month, The Scent Guru Group sent a young woman an Essential Awakenings Premier Edition kit for her to use after she lost her sense of smell after having had an aneurysm. Her father and son helped give her the "smell testing" on the 6 different smells. In the beginning, she did not recognize any of the smells, and now, she recognizes all but one (cinnamon). With a little more time and blind testing, we are certain that she will recognize cinnamon as well. We are sharing her testimonial here from Rosie Rosario of New York City: Essential Awakenings Smell And Memory Kit – Premier Edition About me: I’m a 4 time aneurysm survivor. These aneurysms occurred between May and July of 2017. After 3 craniotomies and one pipeline stent, I am happy to be alive. In the process, I experienced some challenges post surgeries….one being that my olfactory nerve was damaged. This had initially impacted my sense of smell and taste. Initial thoughts: I received the Essential Awakenings Smell And Memory Kit – Premier Edition on July 31st, 2017. Loved the packaging. The kit comes with six labeled rollerball scents, cards and scent strips. Initially I could only smell one scent, Mint. I used the cards, which notes each scent and gives examples of where we would associate such scent – example, Mint, “It grows in gardens.” I associate Mint with tea, therefore, I would remember a moment in time where I’d be sitting drinking this tea. My process, conclusion and my “scents” of it all: Thorough daily sampling, at least 10 min each day, I am happy to say that I can smell five out of the six scents. Cinnamon still presents a struggle for me. To make testing fun, I sometimes made it a game. I would engage my son to help me tests the scents. He would randomly pick a scent, roll some of the scent onto a scent strip (provided also in the kit) and would place it under my nose to detect which scent it was. When I had any trouble, he would say a few words to help me evoke a memory to make a connection with the scent. This method help me and it also helped me connect with my son, which is really great. I use this kit to help me pause, reflect, and to help strengthen my sense of smell. Think of it as muscle training. Through practice, and constant testing, this kit helps stimulate my brain. This gives me, “me time,” reminding me to continually work on my recovery; for that, I highly recommend this wonderful kit. To get to the point of smelling five out of six scents, it has taken me a little over five weeks. Never knew how much I took my sense of smell for granted. Hope this kit helps you and helps you bond further with your family.
This past weekend, my husband made French Toast. I have never liked pancakes, waffles, or French Toast because they are usually served with maple syrup and, as a youngster raised in the midwest, we only had the syrup made primarily from the fake stuff - high fructose corn syrup with flavoring - the type that turned my stomach when I smelled it. However, for the past 10 years of our marriage, I have developed a new found love for this wonderfully delicious syrup that comes from the maple trees in the northeast where we live: Vermont, New York, Maine, and Canada. Whenever we travel to these areas, we often go to street fairs and little county shops, where we will most often find and purchase a sample of local syrup as long as it was easy to carry back and we treat our maple syrup like it were a precious souvenir from that area. So on Sunday while I was up on the 3rd floor of our home tinkering around, the aroma of egg-battered whole wheat toast sprinkled with cinnamon traveled up to my sensitive sensors and immediately lured me to the kitchen with the taste of the velvety smooth maple syrup on my tongue. I devoured my little 1/2 slice of toast, but secretly wanted another, but since I am always counting calories, I did not even ask for more. That 1/2 slice satisfied my wanting. Smell and taste are housed in the olfactory system, and housed in the oldest part of the brain where memory is stored. With my new found obsession for natural and pure maple syrup, I can finally help erase my memories of the smell of mass produced maple syrup for the wonderful smell and taste of "the real stuff". Natural is always better.