Saturday, September 26, 2009

Landscape Escape

I'm one of those lucky guys who has lots of hobbies to occupy my time and energy. I am an avid reader and collector of books (as well as tea and turtles). I love to travel and play my guitar. And I stay busy with my writing, videos, and music projects (not to mention this blog and my video site). But one of my favorite hobbies is landscaping. I like nothing better than to take an empty or weed-strewn chunk of land and turn it into a colorful, blooming masterpiece that enhances the natural scenery and makes me smile every time I wander through it.

I enjoy landscaping so much that I consider it therapeutic, one of my great escapes whenever I need some time away from the everyday challenges and all too often stresses of life.


Besides being a terrific form of exercise, landscaping is a wonderful way to get back to nature, to roll up those sleeves and dig your hands into the earth. There’s nothing like working up a sweat with the sounds of birds or squirrels singing and chirping away in the background.

Another thing that draws me to landscaping is the sense of accomplishment I feel when I (finally) complete a project. Life is a journey that should be enjoyed throughout each leg; the same can be said about landscaping. I like the fact that there’s a beginning, middle, and end, and while the finish line can seem a long way off at the outset of any project, the key is to enjoy every minute of the experience--I do this with landscaping, just as I try to do with all aspects of my life.

One thing I always talk about trying to achieve is the Triad of Balance, which is working on finding harmony between the Mind, Body, and Spirit, after first balancing each one on its own. Simply put: in order to lead the most fulfilling and purposeful life, I believe one has to work on the Mind, Body, and Spirit every day, and then balance all three together. If one of these is out of whack, then even though the other two are working fine, you are not complete, not in balance, and, therefore, not living your life to its fullest. Landscaping is one of those hobbies that helps me to stay balanced. My MIND is in constant motion, thinking and planning, focused on the tasks at hand and then executing and achieving. While my SPIRIT feels free as I dig up the dirt, plant flowers and trees, communing with nature. I also feel less stressful: when I am outside with a shovel in my hands I seldom allow distractions to interfere--a good thing. Lastly, my BODY gets plenty of work pushing a wheelbarrow around, freeing up boulders from the ground, and digging, digging, digging. Landscaping is great exercise and a calorie burner.

So what are you waiting for? Summer may be over, but fall is an excellent time to do some planting and work around the yard. Besides being a fun and rewarding hobby, landscaping is a chance to help you find balance between your MIND, BODY, and SPIRIT. Think about it.

Until next time…



Monday, September 21, 2009


I say peace a lot, and that's a good thing (I also say that a lot). For those unfamiliar with my videos, I close each vid with the one-word sign-off: "peace." I got that from my father, who used to say "peace" instead of goodbye, way back in the seventies. I thought it was cool and important as a young man back then, and I still think it is cool and important today.

Today, by the way, is the International Day of Peace, a day dedicated to global unity, with the goal of having one day out of the year free from war, fighting, terrorism, genocide, violence, anger and hatred.

In honor of this great day and as a tip of the cap to my old man, I produced this short video:

To learn more about how you can take action to help create a more peaceful world, please visit

Until next time...

peace (what else?),


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Break a Sweat Every Day

To sweat or not to sweat? Sweating, at times, gets a bad rap, and when you think about it, actually ponder the merits of having your skin break out in a cold (or hot) sweat, it’s a wonder we don’t all go running for the hills. But there’s the rub—if you did head for the hills at a good gait then chances are in no time you’d be drenched in sweat. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, sweating is as important for your health as proper diet, exercise, positive attitude, and the rest of all the good stuff I advocate at this site and

There are many reasons why we sweat—hot weather, exertion, sickness, nerves, anxiety—all sharing one commonality: we need to! Why? Because sweating regulates the body’s internal temperature. When any of those above situations occur, you heat up inside. If you don’t have a place for this increased heat to go, you’re in trouble. But for most of us, the brain recognizes this warm up, sends a signal to the sweat glands, and, voila, in no time your hair becomes a matted mess (not mine: I Miss My Hair), your armpits a river of sorrow, your back and belly, face and neck, hands and even feet are suddenly coated in liquid. Again: This is a good thing!

· cools down the body
· removes excessive heat
· regulates your internal temperature
· removes small amounts of waste (like chlorine)

But even more importantly, if you’re sweating it usually means that you are moving around, exercising, working in the garden, playing with your kids, taking a walk or run, or just fooling around with your significant other. Many studies have shown that some of the healthiest cultures in the world find a way to sweat every day—you should too! Me? I like to:

Break a Sweat Every Day

Is it possible to sweat too much? Or too little? Yes, and yes. Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating, that, while maybe embarrassing or uncomfortable, is usually not a cause for alarm. But anhidrosis, which is a rare disease where one has little or no sweat, can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke because the lack of sweat limits the body’s ability to cool itself down.

Pop quiz:

Q: Does sweat have an odor?

A: Believe it or not, sweat is odorless. It is the bacteria on one’s skin that mixes with the sweat that causes body odor.

So, working out, running around, exercising and frolicking in the sun, getting a good sweat going, is always a good thing, right? For the most part, yes, but you must stay hydrated or you could become very ill.

Symptoms of Dehydration:
· dry mouth
· tiredness
· thirsty
· weakness
· headache
· dizziness
· rapid heartbeat
· confusion

Symptoms of Dehydration

If you have any of those symptoms, you immediately should:
· seek shade
· drink water
· chill out, and drink more water

If left untreated, dehydration can cause a multitude of far worse maladies. Your best bet is to drink plenty of water while breaking that sweat and use common sense. Or, watch this video:

How to...Prevent Dehydration

Breaking a sweat every day is one of the healthiest things you can do, just remember to replenish those liquids you are sweating out to keep dehydration at bay. And, as always, have fun while living life every day in every way.

Until next time…



Thursday, September 10, 2009

Change Is Good

The other day I dropped my favorite teacup, rendering it no longer a safe or viable receptacle for my daily consumption of my favorite beverage. To say that I was a tad upset is an understatement. I have had that green cup for years, thought of it as kind of a good luck charm, a talisman, if you will; it is even prominently displayed on this blog and in several of the videos on my video site. For one awful moment I thought: What am I going to do without my special mug? And then I shook my head and realized how ridiculous I sounded. Eventually I got over my dismay and as I often do, sat down and gave my little ordeal some additional thought. My conclusion was that change, even when it is thrust upon us or may seem bad or ill-timed, is a good thing.

“Things don’t change, we change.”~ Henry David Thoreau

But for many people, the prospect of change, especially major change, can seem daunting, downright scary, at times. This is a perfectly natural reaction. Why? Because most of us do not like being taken out of our comfort zones. We prefer the mundane routine to the new super new CHANGE because our routine is a familiar friend, something that while far from perfect is at least not full of surprises and new challenges. This is okay, unless your desire to do more with yourself and your life.

“If you are not changing, you are not living.” ~ Mike Foster

Unless we are testing ourselves, trying new things, removing that comfortable routine from our lives, we will never see our greater potential. The best bosses or managers or supervisors or leaders will often place their charges in challenging predicaments just to see how they react, to deem if they have what it takes to be all that they can be. Again, this is not a pleasant or even enjoyable exercise, but it is one that is necessary for self-growth, personal development, and living one’s life to its fullest.

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” ~ William Shakespeare

The biggest tragedy is not to have failed or shunned change, but to never have tried. What if by playing it safe you missed out on your true calling in life? Or passed on your potential soul-mate? Change, for the better, is a good thing. But what about change that you are not ready for, or change that is forced upon you? I am one of those lemonade out of lemons guys, someone who is always viewing the glass as half-full. If change comes and you look at it in a negative light I guarantee that the results will be bad. The good news is that while we may not be able to control the changes headed our way, we can control how we deal with them. In this video, I talk about how I dealt with the loss of my special teacup and how I like to deal with other types of changes:

Change Is Good

You can’t turn on the TV these days without seeing and hearing about how messed up the world is: hunger, war, terrorism, obesity, poverty, global warming, genocide, and just plain uncontrollable anger. How can we change the world when the world’s problems seem so vast? The answer is to embrace change and change yourself, to look in the mirror and honestly assess your own individual problems and issues and areas of improvement. While we may not be able to overcome the seemingly insurmountable problems facing the world, by taking important steps in improving self, the world’s issues will be reduced by one.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no on thinks of changing himself.” ~ Tolstoy

One of the biggest fears facing many people is the fear of failure. When facing big life changes or just mini-changes that upset the balance of your world, fear of falling flat on your face, of making mistakes, of failure, is natural. The good news: Failure is okay! Why? Because when we fail we are at least trying, and from that effort comes results, feedback from which we can learn, improve, excel.


“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” ~ Albert Einstein

The other day I thought that my luck had changed in a negative way when I dropped my favorite teacup and was faced with an unexpected change. Instead, I discovered that change, unexpected or planned, big or small, is a good thing. It all depends on how you embrace it.

Until next time…



Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sunflower Power

Here’s a riddle for you: What is colorful and happy and smiling at the sun when empty, but bloated and droopy and falling apart when full? Give up? The answer, of course, is the sunflower. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of driving past a field of sunflowers when they are at their cheeriest, basking-in-the-sun splendor, you no doubt have witnessed them well before they are ripe and ready for harvest. Their flowery heads are tilted toward the sun, soaking in the rays like coeds during Spring Break, full of color and promise. It is a sight I never tire of.

Yet when these stunning flowers are ready for plucking, they appear almost depressed: heads bowed by the weight of their plump seeds, once vivid yellow and orange petals now wilted and brown, leaves shriveled and battered by that same sun they once seemed to worship (like those aforementioned coeds, who right about now, after too much exposure to the sun, are just as shriveled and sun-battered).

The sunflower is one of those paradoxes I enjoy, a mystery of nature—a lovely flower that brings both pleasure and sustenance, beauty and, ahem, the beast. For me, there is nothing as picturesque as a blooming sunflower field, nor as sad as one ready for harvest. But once they are beheaded (ouch!) and have had all of their seeds removed, they change from that ugly duckling into a swan of amazing health benefits and tasty treats.

Here’s another riddle for you: How can a city boy harvest sunflowers without making a mess of things? This is how:

How to...Harvest and Eat Sunflower Seeds

Easy to grow and surprisingly easy to harvest, sunflowers are a popular choice for the weekend gardener while also a booming industry. Sunflower seeds are used to feed birds and baseball players; they are great in salads and in baked goods; and delicious as a snack or to start your day in your breakfast cereals. Sunflower oil is considered one of the healthier oils, high in monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, while low in saturated fats. It also has a higher smoke point which makes it a useful oil to fry with.

But wait, there’s more!

There always is, Mike.

True, especially when it’s about the healthy stuff.

Knew you’d get to that part eventually.

You know me well. Here goes:


1. high in vegetable protein (around 5g per serving)
2. an excellent source of vitamin E
3. filled with good fats (low in sat fats!)
4. fiber! (Need I say more? Yes? Talk to Bernie.)
5. lowers bad cholesterol (because of the phytosterols)
6. loaded with magnesium (which helps reduce asthma, control high blood pressure, strengthen bones)
7. fights cancer (due to the high content of selenium)
8. a heart-healthy snack (low in carbs and calories; high in good fats and fiber)
9. may make you smarter (from the choline, which helps with memory and cognitive functions)

But wait, there’s even more!

What, some goofy video?

Er, um, I wouldn’t exactly call it goofy…

But it IS a video, right?

As I said, you know me well…

Sunflower Power

One of the staple foods for the Native Americans for over 5,000 years, sunflowers were a popular choice then and still are today.

The next time I pass by a field overflowing with sunflowers, either rich in color and basking in the sun or hunched over from the weight of their delicious seeds, I’ll smile a smile of contentment and knowledge, while offering a silent homage to their amazing power.

Until next time…