TED Conversations

greg dahlen

Alumnus, academy of achievement


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what do you do for fun?

just curious. I go to the movies (haven't owned a television for the last 30 years.) Like to sit at the kitchen table and talk with friends. Like to dance wherever I go, dance in line at the supermarket, dance while lying in bed before I go to sleep. You really don't need music to dance.


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    Oct 18 2013: Hi Greg:>)
    For fun, I live life with gusto.....in the moment.....enjoying people......enjoying the process of the life adventure, which includes LOTS of things....talking with people....theater.....arts.....sports........reading....gardening....hard labor and "chores"....everything in my life is an opportunity and I live it joyfully:>)

    I spent the last couple days with my brother at his home, after being in the hospital again. He is 84 and has COPD (lung disease). He thanks me all the time for helping to care for him, and I assure him all the time that it is a pleasure to spend time with him....which is true for me....and apparently for him as well. We talk about the old days, we laugh, and he shares a lot with me that he has probably never talked about before. Although we talk on the phone all the time, we probably would not spend as much time together in person, if his situation was different, because he lives in another town. So, it is fun to spend the time with him:>)
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      Oct 18 2013: Theater you haven't mentioned before, Colleen. What is it like there? Sports, how do you participate (here we're all rooting for the Dodgers in game 6 against the Cardinals tonight.) Arts I don't think you've mentioned before, what is your involvement? Nor do I think you've said what you read, at least not where I've read. Is hard labor something different than gardening?

      Nice that it's a pleasure to spend time with your brother. What did you do in the old days when he was healthier?

      I'm going to see if I can get a ticket to a Katy Perry concert this week at the Hollywood Bowl, I generally enjoy pop music. I actually saw a wonderful documentary in Hollywood last week, it was about Diana Nyad who just swam from Cuba to Florida. It so happened that her nephew, who directed the film, was present and took questions afterward. Good times.
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        Oct 18 2013: I haven't mentioned theater to you before Greg? Must be I'm holding out on you....LOL:>)

        What is it like there? Well, I enjoy theater productions as an audience member, and I was a professional actor for about 10 years. It is always a great learning experience:>)

        I bike, hike, kayak, cross country and downhill ski, snowshoe. I have, in the past, played competitive tennis, volleyball and sailboat racing, scuba diving, swimming, snorkeling........

        My involvement in the arts is simply to enjoy:>)

        Gardening is sometimes the same as hard labor......great exercise:>)

        My brother and I didn't spend a lot of time in the old days because he's quite a bit older than I am and he was leaving the house when I was little. He was in the service out of the country for awhile, then came back and was stationed on the other side of the country.

        That swim from Cuba to Florida was amazing wasn't it? She is not a youngster either!!!

        The concerts I attend are usually classical, although I like all kinds of music, and have friends who play jazz/blues, so I go to see them play occasionally.
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          Oct 18 2013: thanks, sometimes I picture your life there as being a little like the Gilmore Girls, if you've ever watched that show. When you say arts, Colleen, do you mean art museums? I occasionally go to them out here, I believe I last went to ...well it might be MOCA, anyway it's in "Japantown" in Los Angeles, because they had some Warhols. We also went to LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), they had a funny piece down at floor level at the wall, it was a richly detailed little elevator door starting from the floor and rising 10 inches, "an elevator for the mice."

          Oh, the swim was fantastic, she failed three times and made it on the fourth, she had to contend especially with jellyfish which have a powerful sting, each time she swam it she commissioned new equipment to be created that would protect her, for example a plastic mask that covered the front of her face except eyes, nose, and mouth, because previously she'd been stung in the face by a jellyfish and had to stop the swim. One thing I thought about was how challenging yourself can be a way of loving yourself, pushing yourself to be creative and solve the problems that arise, learning about yourself, the world, and life.

          Damn, Katy is sold out, not too surprised, though.

          Do you dance, I was hoping to see Katy and dance at my seat.
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        Oct 19 2013: I don't know who the Gilmore Girls are Greg....how are we alike?

        Yes, I like museums, and generally go to the ones locally when visitors are in town. Other than that, I like to visit museums when traveling. Always important to have an elevator for mice....LOL:>)

        I noticed in the photos taken when she was coming out of the water, that she was all swollen.....probably partly from the water and partly from jellyfish stings. Some of the jellyfish can produce pretty bad stings.

        I totally agree Greg, that challenging our self, pushing ourselves to be creative, solve problems and learning, can always provide strength and self confidence which is a HUGE gift gained from our challenges.

        Yes, I LOVE to dance, and I know that you do too! I studied dance for years, danced in musical theater, and just LOVE it anytime.....it feels freeing....doesn't it?
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          Oct 19 2013: Gilmore Girls was a television series, I believe it was set in a small town in a Maine-type environment, in other words a little cold, foresty, etc. It was about a single mother raising her daughter while running, oh, some kind of business, having some romance. My mother is a big fan. Are you actually near the ocean where you are?

          Yes, had you told me what you like to read? I read a medium amount, actually I'm quite interested in true crime and thus could tell you a lot of serial killers, rapists, etc. Also the history of rock music. And a little about environmental matters.

          Well, in the last six months I've articulated an idea that I can dance anywhere, to anything, without music. I'm not a very inhibited person (for example, you can look at my profile picture with the tongue), so it's not so ....well, it probably is somewhat freeing, but for me it just develops my grace and coordination and muscle tone (particularly my stomach as it seems to come very naturally to do belly dance type movements.) And it makes me feel more alive than just standing there, or lying there ( I particularly do this while lying in bed before falling asleep.) What sort of dance do you do, where and when, do you agree you don't need music to dance? I would guess most people would feel too inhibited to dance in line at the grocery store (when I say I dance there, it's fairly restrained, but it's definitely dance), when I do it I see people looking at me with interest and I think longing, wishing they could do it. Which of course they can, but perhaps feel inhibited. I hope at least a few people will be inspired by me to do it themselves.
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        Oct 20 2013: Hi Greg:>)
        I don't watch much TV....not familiar with the Gilmore Girls. Vermont is similar to Maine in that it is cold and foresty...not near the ocean.

        I'm almost always reading something... it depends on the mood, or my intent at the time. I like historical novels & history books, biographies/autobiographies, mysteries...if I'm planning to travel, I read books about the country. If I'm researching for information regarding some of the roles I've been in with social service or planning/development organizations, that is what I may be reading about. My mother was an avid reader and I guess I caught the bug....books are wonderful, and I like actually holding a book.....I don't have any of the new devices.

        I've read about your dancing adventures in other comments of yours, and I love it! I agree that it can help develop grace, coordination and muscle tone. The other practices I do are yoga and tai chi, which also contribute to grace, coordination, strength, muscle tone and balance. I often assume a simple yoga or tai chi pose while standing in line, talking on the phone, working/playing in the gardens, etc. I agree....it feels more beneficial than simply standing there. I also love observing and interacting with people, which happens often while standing in a line:>)

        I remember standing in a long line in Paris, and a gentleman in front of me turned around and said hello. He was Italian, speaking that language, and I have a little bit of Spanish and French. We had a conversation with snippets of those languages as well as a few English words. It was really fun, and by the time we got to the front of the line, we knew quite a bit about each other, our families, countries, etc.! I love those interactions and find it to be "fun", while often very educational:>)

        Yes, I agree that we do not need music to dance. I took tap & ballet as a kid, danced in musical theater and took ballet & jazz classes during that time, did some ballroom dancing.....I LOVE it all!
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          Oct 20 2013: thanks, Colleen, very nice to read your thoughts and experiences. Well, my mom loved Gilmore Girls, but she's a TV lover whereas maybe you're not? Now are you retired, why would you read about jobs you've done in the past?

          Yes, doing yoga would be nice, to a slight degree perhaps yoga and dance are related. I did get to do yoga because my brother bought me some sessions as a gift once, but I tend to like moving, like walking, whereas in yoga you strike a pose and hold it, correct?

          Yes, you can have adventures in line. Once I was catching the Greyhound bus from San Francisco back down to my folks' home near L.A. for Thanksgiving. Three people came up to me and said "They've sold out on tickets to L.A., would you like to rent a car with us and drive down." So that's what we did, it was nice, two of the people stayed at my folks' home and had Thanksgiving dinner with us, one was a Japanese tourist, the other was participating in some of game show down here.

          I can see the pleasure in all those forms of dance. They all involve established steps? Did you ever dance to rock where you make it up as you go? Do you listen to music much, what sort? What sort of art museums do you go to?

          I had said that noone has ever followed me dancing in a non-dance environment but that's not true. I was an extra on a TV show called "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" (with Danny Devito?), and between takes I was dancing while they gave us instructions. One of my fellow extras picked up on and started dancing between takes too. I like it because I don't like this thing where we kind of separate exercise off, like you go to the gym for an hour or two and then don't exercise otherwise. But dancing everywhere you can exercise here and there throughout the day. I often drop down and do some pushups here and there during the day too.
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        Oct 23 2013: Nope.....not a TV lover Greg. I think it's another tool, and I watch some things that are good (in my perception), but don't watch it just for the sake of watching something. There are SOOOO many interesting things to do!

        I am retired from a couple adventures, and still volunteer, so those volunteer positions (regional planning and development) sometimes require some reading...not much anymore though:>)

        Well, I think yoga can be done on several different levels. I used to work out with a yoga instructor/friend, and I can tell you, we DID NOT simply strike a pose and hold it.....we were moving and working up a sweat!!!

        Great story about renting a car with people you just met......yeah.....I have experiences like that a lot......more when I was traveling extensively. I've met some lifelong friends in airports, on busses, etc.......it's fun:>)

        Yeah.....I dance and just make stuff up when in night clubs, and that sort of setting. I listen to mostly classical. What sort of art museums do I go to? I like to visit museums when in another country, to learn more about the culture.

        It sounds like you have a very healthy lifestyle my friend:>)
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          Oct 23 2013: yeah, gardening is cool, but lately I've been eating a lot of grass, as I walk around town I'm bending over and pinching off some grass, it's less work than tending a garden (well, of course I'm eating other people's grass.) Eating grass goes with my interest in cows and milk.

          One nice thing about eating grass is it's taking me into different routes. Before I was always walking in the business districts, but there's not so many lawns there, now I'm heading for the sidestreets where the lawns are.
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          Oct 23 2013: how did you get interested in classical music, colleen? It probably isn't the most popular.

          what are the divisions in musical theater, in film acting you have your principals, your day players, and your extras, but I don't know about theater. Did you have major roles in the musicals you appeared in?
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        Oct 24 2013: Greg,
        I notice in another comment thread, someone mentions the possible danger of eating grass as you walk around town....contamination. Do you know where animals urinate? Are you aware of who puts pesticides on their lawn? Be careful my friend!

        I think I've always loved music.....took piano lessons as a child, and played classical, as well as popular tunes, show tunes, etc. My mom played the piano too, and we used to sing and play a lot....that was fun:>)

        In theater, there are also principals, supporting roles and "extras"...usually called the "chorus" in musical theater. I played major roles, supporting roles and chorus. In the beginning of the theater exploration, I also worked on costumes, props, etc. It was ALL fun to be part of a production, whether acting on stage, or doing some of the other supportive jobs that are just as important to the production.
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          Oct 25 2013: thanks for replying, Colleen. Well, grass gets cleaned with dew, rain, sprinkling systems. The sun evaporates some liquid contamination. If there is some tiny contamination left, I don't worry so much because our body filters out bad stuff, doesn't it, I mean even with the safest man-made supermarket food, our body still eliminates some of it in our urine and stool.

          Thanks, I can kind of picture you having fun working in theater with your positive attitude.

          C, someone told me yoga increased her core strength, can you understand how it could, wouldn't you have to lift weights to increase core strength?
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        Oct 25 2013: Greg,
        You're right, the body can filter out some "stuff".....not everything, so be careful. While traveling years ago, I picked up an intestinal parasite, and when I returned home, it took about a month to get rid of it.

        Yes, I can understand how yoga increases core strength:
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      Oct 19 2013: If I worked for an airline I would give you one of my free passes to go see him. I can't understand if your are saying his is far away or not.
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        Oct 19 2013: W.D.
        That brings tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness. My brother lives in a town about an hour and a half drive from where I live, which is not a big deal. The weaker he gets, however, the farther I feel from him. We lost another brother 9 months ago.
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          Oct 20 2013: I'd go further and give him one as well and both of you could travel to a place he aways wanted to visit in any country the airline went to. I have a thing for making others last days here as pleasant as possible. If I had the resources and the available technology to make this possible I would do this all day long. In todays world one of the pilots would be over 65 (this is when they are not legal to fly in the airlines anymore) and the other a well trained student with less experience.

          I had an Aunt whom passed away before my first interview. I asked her if she could go anyplace in the world where would it be. She said Rome. I was looking forward to helping her get there. Unfortunately, her time ran out before I could make this happen.

          Many pilots sell them, go figure.
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      Oct 21 2013: colleen, just wonder if my diet might help your brother. As you probably know, I practically live on skim milk, close to two gallons a day, 365 days/yr. It has been very good for my health, I've lost a lot of weight (I'm 6'2" and now weigh about 165, which puts me in the middle of normal on BMI), but also I think it goes in very smooth, your body breaks up solid food as you eat it but never, I think, breaks it up quite as thoroughly as milk, I believe the solid food irritates your cells as your blood carries it around your body.
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        Oct 23 2013: Thanks Greg for thinking of that. By the time solid food gets in the bloodstream, I don't think it is solid anymore.

        Anyway, my brother can eat and digest food fine, it is breathing that he has difficulty with. I appreciate your thoughtful suggestion though......thanks:>)
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          Oct 23 2013: no, it's not solid any more, but I'm thinking it's not quite as fluid as milk.

          During the five years I've been living on skim milk (2 gallons a day, 365 days a year), I decided for two weeks I would try a nutrition "establishment" diet. At that time the "gold standard" was the USDA food pyramid, where the tip of the pyramid is some class of food you eat one serving of, the next row are two or three classes of food you eat 2-3 servings of, and so on. colleen, I felt lousy on this diet, my eyes ached and I was taking far more naps, and there was no evidence after 2 weeks that things would improve. Then I returned to milk, and felt acceptable again. Since I don't think my body is terribly different from anyone else's, I take this experience as some evidence that a milk diet is better for everybody.

          I would think what you eat would affect your breathing, as i think the respiratory system is formed from cells that get nourished by your food like every other part of your body. I'm not trying to push you, but I somewhat doubt your brother would be hurt by trying my diet. But of course there are other issues, maybe he doesn't like things that are different, or really enjoys a variety of food, etc.
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          Oct 23 2013: you know, colleen, I was saying that certain issues might affect your brother trying this diet, such as his enjoyment of a variety of foods. But if he felt better on this milk diet, maybe he'd be willing to forgo the variety of foods. I know having now drunk thousands of gallons of milk, I still find it utterly delicious and satisfying. In my case I now drink all my milk from gallon containers, it slowly dawned on me that of all the different size containers, the gallon one is most like a breast, round and full at the bottom, tapering to something like a nipple at the top. It works out, I drink in the morning, skip lunch since I don't want to carry a gallon container, and drink at night. This is the natural pattern cows are milked on, the morning and evening.

          You know, I'm in kind of a delicate position whenever I talk about this diet on TED, because this diet hasn't been validated by the authorities, so there might be some concern that someone would try the diet, be harmed by it, and blame TED. So far TED hasn't scolded me for mentioning the diet, though I usually say whenever I do mention it that it hasn't been approved by the authorities. I am in in a correspondence now with two people at the National Institutes of Health in I believe Bethesda, Maryland. This is the largest government health research center. I am trying to get this diet approved as an acceptable diet for human beings as I believe it could help many people. NIH's last statement has been they're afraid if someone stays on this diet eventually they will be harmed by the lack of certain nutrients in it. My comeback to them is that I've been on the diet for five years and I haven't been harmed in any way whatsoever, and I don't think my body is too different from other people's. I'm waiting to see what they say back.
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        Oct 25 2013: Greg,
        Your exploration of changing from a milk diet to a regular diet for two weeks and feeling lousy, doesn't surprise me, because once the body adjusts to certain kinds of food, it probably will "protest" when bombarded with different foods. I experience that with beef now, because I don't eat it any more. If I have even a tiny little piece of it, the stomach lets me know that it is not used to this kind of food! My vegan friends say they experience the same thing if they even eat a tiny bit of meat. It is very common when traveling in different countries, changing the diet, for the body to be "upset" with the change. I don't personally think my body was designed to eat/drink ONLY milk, but if you feel good about it, and it works for you.....so be it. I think a milk diet lacks nutrients that the human adult body needs, I LOVE a variety of foods, and my brother enjoys a variety of foods as well....thanks for your concern:>)
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          Oct 28 2013: well, it is hard for me to argue too strongly for my diet, Colleen, on TED's website, since the diet hasn't been approved by the authorities, and is somewhat different from the typical diet the authorities recommend. I will say that I don't think trying the diet could hurt anyone, I mean, it's milk for Chrissakes, could we agree that milk is the most benign substance in the world, can you think of a more benign one?

          I don't think in my case the problem was that my body had gotten used to the milk diet, I think the fact is that milk is just easier on the body than solid food, I think maybe the mammary gland of the mother gets the softest, most easily digested portion of what she has eaten, and that is the milk she then gives to her baby. I will admit that a nearly all-skim milk diet is missing some portion of some nutrients, but I feel better on this diet than any other, I think maybe the main thing one wants from one's food is protein, and milk has that in spades.

          I do understand people enjoying a variety of foods. Sometimes I'll somehow acquire some food other than milk, like someone may give me some. Then I'll put it in my milk and consume it with the milk, for instance if someone gives me peanut butter, I'll take a funnel and chopstick and stuff it down the mouth of the milk container. And I enjoy that little bit of variety. But for me milk tastes wonderful, and I can sacrifice the variety in most of my diet in order to feel better and to have a normal weight. I can't strongly push it, Colleen, but I bet your brother would feel better on my diet. How tall is he, and how much does he weigh? When I asked my doctor if she'd tell her other patients about my diet and my success, she said she would, she said she couldn't exactly recommend it to them, but she would say "I have this patient, Greg. Here is what he is doing, and he is having some good results."

          I'm still waiting to hear from NIH.
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          Oct 28 2013: And, at the risk of repeating myself, skim milk is fantastic for weight loss, if you drink two gallons of skim milk in a day that's only about 2500 calories, which is a reasonable amount for an adult male to intake.
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        Nov 2 2013: I see no reason to "argue" for or against your diet Greg. If it works for you and you feel healthy, so be it. It is not my preference:>)
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          Nov 2 2013: Well, thanks, Colleen, no, I'm not arguing, I'm still thinking it would help your brother. I believe the reasons it works for me are reasons it would work for and help anybody. I would think that sick people would be much more motivated to follow this diet than well people, you've never complained about sickness so you might not be motivated, but since your brother is sick he might be motivated. I really can't see it harming him, it's milk, as I say, it's the most benign substance in the world. And if he found it helped him, wouldn't that be wonderful? If it didn't help, he could easily just return to his previous practices.

          One thing that helps me stay on this diet is a saying the Masai have: "If a man drinks milk and eats meat on the same day, he is a glutton." Since I believe this saying, every day I have to choose whether I'll drink milk or eat beef. Since milk is more refreshing, I always choose milk.

          By the way, you sure participate in a lot of sports, it's really great. I wish my mom was active like you, as her obesity will probably shorten her life. Does it just come naturally to you? What about walking, I don't think we've ever talked about walking. I think by now in my life I've probably walked....50,000 miles total?
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        Nov 3 2013: Greg,
        You used the word "argue" in your previous comment..." it is hard for me to argue too strongly for my diet".

        Again, I appreciate your concern for my brother, and again, his appetite is good, he LOVES a variety of foods, and his eating habits and digestive system are healthy. It is his lungs and his breathing that are challenged with COPD/lung disease. I have shared with you my feelings about the milk diet, and it feels like we are going over and over the same dialogue with this topic, so could we please put the milk diet topic to rest Greg?

        Yes, sports and physical activity have always come naturally to me, and my interest in sports intensified at age 30, when I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in the spine. It is a common disease for older people, but I was pretty young when it began. Being in traction, wearing a neck brace, and meds temporarily relieved the pain, but it did not permanently support the back, so I was seeking ways to live with the disease without fusing the spine with surgery, which was suggested by medical professionals. I started playing sports more to strengthen the muscular system to support the DDD, which is a progressive disease and often disabling. It worked!!! Over the years, I keep changing the activities to fit the body condition.

        Walking is GREAT, and I do it all the time, when not engaged in another activity. I have a couple 3-4 mile loops I do regularly, walk to destinations in the village... grocery store, post office, hardware store, library, etc., and between the biking and skiing seasons, my buddies and I go geochaching once a week.....that is lots of fun! It is usually a couple miles of walking in various terrains, a treasure hunt with clues, good camaraderie, and we usually go to lunch after our "play time". There's usually about 10 of us, and it really is a LOT of fun!

        Good for you and your walking!!!


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          Nov 4 2013: Thanks, Colleen. Yes, to some degree we can put it to rest, but it's hard for me as I don't think I've made my case well enough. I would say that all the bodily systems are affected by what we eat, in my case my eyes, in your brother's his lungs (and in your case, I would say, your disc.) Milk is simply easier on all those systems than any other food.
          I actually got to talk on the radio about my diet last night with Lisa Ann Walters, who hosts a popular radio show here. She was interested but said it would be hard for her to follow.
          Yes, sports came naturally to me as well, and I understand that my mother ran around a lot when she was a little girl, but as she grew she became adverse to sweating. I'll have to ask her at what age that happened. I'm sorry you had to go through difficulties with the DDD, glad you've found a solution. Do you follow sports other than your own activities, for instance did you follow the World Series at all?
          Wonder if I'm a walking fool. On each of three of the last 14 days, I've made a 10-mile walk. In two cases I was walking to see movies that weren't playing in my hometown. Right now in fact I'm at the public library in Pasadena, having walked ten miles this morning from hometown Glendale. I'll work at the library a while, then go to the Laemmle Theater and see "Spinning Plates."
          You sure have an active life. Do you have a best friend who shares some of these activities?
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        Nov 7 2013: Greg.....trust me.....you have made your case for the milk diet, and I simply do not agree....it is not appealing to me in any way.

        No, I don't regularly follow sport events, although once in awhile it's fun to watch something. I used to LOVE watching sport events when my kids were playing several sports:>)

        I don't perceive you to be a "fool" for walking....if it feels good to you....do it! I listen to the body/mind regarding what I eat, and what activities I engage in....if it feels good, and feels like it supports the body/mind systems, I do it!

        Yesterday, I did a little hike with a buddy, which felt FABULOUS! I was with my brother again for a couple days....sitting a lot....so moving the body and exercising out in the fresh air and sun felt WONDERFUL!

        I feel like I have LOTS of "best friends", and share different activities with different people:>)
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          Nov 8 2013: well, nuts, Colleen, I feel like if I keep talking about it I'll alienate you, and if I don't talk about it I'll alienate myself. I will say that you're making a decision on low information, in other words, you've only tried one diet, the diet everyone eats; whereas I've tried both, and I'm sure you can guess which I'll say is better.

          Thank you for your support of my walking, of course your attitude is the correct one.

          Did you ever feel guilty watching sports as I do, knowing that by watching you are encouraging the athletes and some of them will suffer injuries from their game?

          Love your attitude of having many best friends.

          I did get an email today from David Katz, an M.D. at Yale who I'd written to about my diet. He said it is interesting and there are theories that would both support it and not support it. I should say that I had told you about trying an establishment diet for two weeks and feeling lousy, and you said that was only because my body wasn't used to it. I think that is wrong, Colleen, after two weeks your body has had a chance to get acclimated. The reason I felt bad on the establishment diet was because it is inferior to the milk.
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        Nov 8 2013: Yes Greg....I am aware of your milk diet and how much you like it. I respect your choice, and it is not my choice. Saying that I am making a decision based on "low information" is not accurate.

        No, I have never felt guilty about watching sports. I am conscious of how and why I choose to watch certain sporting events, and if I feel bad about that choice for some reason, I don't watch it.

        Greg, I do not know for sure why, or how a different diet affected your metabolism.....I simply offered an idea, which is well known. If you think/feel it is "wrong"....so be it.
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          Nov 9 2013: well, in general colleen I was hoping your brother would try it, I am sure you have some aches and pains and this diet would help you too, but your brother has a rather severe illness, right?, he really stands to gain from this diet.

          I started this diet at age 48. Up to age 48, I had eaten the standard American diet, but that last year I had eye discomfort that there really seemed to be no good solution for. Then I found this diet, and my eyes immediately felt better. So you see, it was a case where I was very used to the standard American diet but my eyes hurt on it, and then when I changed to milk they felt better. I believe this is not unique to me or to my discomfort, I believe the reasons it helped me are the same reasons it would help anybody with any discomfort--that being, that it helps with weight loss, and it's very easy to digest.

          Yes, after I wrote colleen I realized that while pros often get injured playing professional sports, the injuries do generally heal--so perhaps I won't feel as guilty in the future.

          This week I saw the movie "Big Sur," made from a Jack Kerouac novel. Are you any fan of Kerouac? His very famous novel is On the Road, it helped start the beat (or beatnik) movement, which led to the hippies, which....really changed American society?

          Colleen, do you have any thoughts on why it's enjoyable to read true crime books? I hear it's the most popular section in the library. True, they often have a happy ending in that the criminal gets caught, yet there's so much misery in the stories, people murdering people, raping, etc.
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        Nov 9 2013: I realize you were hoping for that Greg, and it's probably not going to happen, so how about letting it go?

        What do you mean by "the standard American diet"? I don't think I've ever eaten the standard Am diet......I eat healthy!!!

        I am not aware of Kerouac, but I WAS a hippie flower child, playing the guitar and singing songs of peace:>)

        I have no idea why people are attracted to true crime books....it does not appeal to me in any way.
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          Nov 9 2013: Well, it's hard to let go, Colleen, because as far as I can see you don't respond specifically to my specific points. For example, I say the milk diet helps with weight loss, and I think there is general agreement that weight loss helps with any disease, but I don't see you saying anything back to that. I say that milk is very easy on the body because it's already broken up, and I don't hear a specific response to that. You don't owe me a response, but it does seem like you're not really grappling with the story I'm telling you. It is true that the milk diet lacks certain nutrients, but I can say that I've done much better on this diet than I have on diets that have all the nutrients one supposedly needs--and I don't think my body is very different from other people's, therefore I think they will do much better as well.

          By the standard American diet, I mean meat, milk, fruit, vegetables, bread, and different combinations of these.

          Wow, how cool that you were a hippie. Where were you living at the time? Ever live in a commune? Did you protest the war? What interesting stories do you remember from that time?

          Nuts, you're such a good-thinking person I was hoping you would explain the appeal as it's something I would like to understand. I think one does learn a lot about the system from these books, how the police work, how criminals operate, how the justice system works, prison.

          I guess the reason I go to a lot of movies is because it's something you can do during the day, or a kind of fun or entertainment you can have during the day, most things like concerts and plays take place at night. I generally follow a natural schedule, going to bed about at sunset and rising very early. Have you ever raised animals for food, I know you do the gardening.
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        Nov 9 2013: Greg,
        I have responded to your comments about your milk diet to the best of my ability MANY TIMES. You are correct....I am not "grappling" with the issue. I have my own information and preference, which I've shared with you several times.

        Mostly, I was living in Vermont during my hippie days.....in San Francisco a couple times. Never lived in a commune. My only protest of the war was with songs. Interesting story.....I was in SF when the song was released......"if you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair...if you go to SF....you're gonna meet some gentle people there....all across the nation....there's a new generation....people in motion.....".............remember the song Greg?

        There are books about real crime, and there are people incarcerated because of real crime. I volunteered with the dept. of corrections for about 6 years facilitating various programs. I heard the true stores all the time.....didn't have to read the books.

        I have not personally raised animals for food, but my brothers have done so, as well as lots of friends.
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          Nov 9 2013: well, I certainly do appreciate your talking with me about it, Colleen. I think a lot of people recoil from the diet because they think it would be boring, and I would have thought that too before I did it. But now, having drunk thousands of gallons of milk, I can say it tastes more delicious to me than ever. And it is so damned nice to feel good and be a healthy weight. I believe eventually I'll be proved right and it will help many people will all kinds of disease, but it would be nice to see your brother be the first.

          What was hippie life like in Vermont compared to San Francisco? As far as that goes, what was your hippie life like in San Francisco? Did you meet your husband during hippie days? I have heard the song on radio, it's a lovely thought to wear a flower in your hair, of course it's kind of depressing to think the flower died so you could wear it in your hair. Are you like me, Colleen, do you get depressed in flower shops seeing all the flowers that are going to die just so you could enjoy them for a week.

          That's kind of heavy that you worked in prisons since you seem very light-hearted. What led you to do that?

          Oh, had you said you're vegetarian now? For moral reasons, if it's for moral reasons I suppose you would disapprove of people eating meat?

          Well, I walked to my mom's house today, about two miles, now I'm just playing on her computer. She has gone to some kind of gettogether with teachers she taught elementary school with before she retired. It's kind of nice and quiet.

          Have you ever made a Youtube video, Colleen, or do you go on youtube? On the videos on YouTube it is also possible to leave comments and get into conversations, it's fun to do those as well as the TED conversations.
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        Nov 10 2013: Greg,
        Hippie life in Vermont was much more subdued than in SF:>) I had a regular job, and on weekends, I went to Stowe (ski area) where I skied in the daytime and played the guitar and sang in lounges at night. At that time, a person working for a Stowe business, got free ski passes in addition to a little pay:>) Yes, I met my wasband (was my husband) during that time.

        No, I do not get depressed seeing a flower die, because I perceive it to be part of the life/death cycle. In Vermont, the flowers in the garden die back every year with cold weather....it is part of the cycle, which I accept in flowers, and in myself.

        Where better to have a "light-hearted" attitude than in a prison? It seems like it is needed there as much as it is needed anywhere else in our world.....don't you think?

        What led to volunteering in prisons?
        I volunteered in a shelter for women/children, and observed....
        We tried to empower women regarding violence and abuse. After about two years of doing this, I realized that the challenge was deeper than simply educating the victims of violence and abuse. I decided it might be helpful to go further into the exploration of violence/abuse. So, I started volunteering with the dept. of corrections... facilitating programs for offenders of violence/abuse.

        No, I am not a vegetarian and never have been, but I seem to be leaning more and more toward that all the time. I eat very little meat any more. The other night I went to a friends house for dinner and was served meat, which was delicious. However, my stomach was not happy all that night because it is not used to meat. What I have been telling you about changing diets, is from my own experiences, as well as what I am told by my vegetarian friends.

        I have not made a YouTube video, and it is not something I have a desire to do. You know that I was in the acting/modeling profession, and appeared in videos all the time....that was enough:>)
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          Nov 11 2013: thanks, Colleen, something about the hippies captures my imagination, it's very cool to have known someone who lived the life. It is interesting to think why San Francisco became the world capital of hippiedom. What broke the two of you up?

          Well, what I meant is when you cut a flower to put it in your hair, you kill it before it would naturally die, you shorten its life. Since I believe plants have some consciousness, I think this causes them suffering.

          In theory yes, a lighthearted attitude would work in prison, but most lighthearted people seem to avoid grim places. What did your volunteering actually involve?

          Well, I really have nothing against people eating meat. Even for someone who is used to it, I believe it is hard for the body to process because it has much iron.

          Well, I have one on YouTube, and it's quite a nice feeling to have one there. I have also left many comments on different youtube videos, and sometimes I will get comments back, which are often very interesting and lead to interesting exchanges. Usually, however, conversations on YouTube don't continue past one or two exchanges, they could on my end, I'd like to keep them going, but the other person drops out. But I don't feel bad leaving a comment even if it isn't replied to, I still figure somebody reads it and is touched by it.
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        Nov 12 2013: The hippie era was interesting....just as any stage of the life adventure is interesting for me Greg:>)

        What broke the two of you up? You mean my wasband and me? In my humble perception, it was communication....or lack of communication. I LOVE exploring thoughts, feelings, ideas, perceptions and beliefs, and I married a person who didn't like to do that. I tried for 24 years to encourage more communication, and it did not happen. Interestingly, since we have been divorced (23 years), we are better friends than we were in our 24 years of marriage!

        In case you have not noticed Greg, I do not avoid "grim places". Those are the places that most need a light heart, so I take mine with me as I face some of the grim places in our world:>)

        My volunteerism with the dept. of corrections involved several different "jobs"....first I served on the Reparative Board, which is a court ordered program involving regular citizens who evaluate an offender and with his/her cooperation, design plans that might help keep him/her out of jail....paying for damages, physically repairing damages, community service, educational programs, etc. This program was modeled after the "Real Justice" program, and I was trained through that program to be a mediator. One of my favorite programs was co-facilitating "Cognitive Self Change" sessions with groups of offenders, and I also participated in a one-on-one similar program.....etc.

        I watched your YouTube video a long time ago when you posted the link in a conversation:>)
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          Nov 12 2013: thanks, Colleen. Yes, I was born in '60, so I was a little late for the hippies. I agree that one can enjoy all eras, to me there was something particularly liberating about the hippies, it seemed to me that it opened up America to a certain kind of playful, free creativity that maybe hadn't been there before. This had to do with rock music, freer attitudes about the body and sex, and so on. I think we benefit from it today, even on TED.

          Funny, are you saying wasband didn't like exploring? Cause really if you aren't exploring you aren't alive, are you?

          I hadn't noticed one way or the other whether you avoided or went into grim places. Come to think of it, you're right, those places could use a light heart. But do you ever fear losing your light heart? How are you using the word "mediator," and what was the training for that? What did a cognitive self-change session entail?

          Well, YouTube can be useful for learning things, and also entertainment. Lately I've been watching videos on grass, trying to learn more about it. I'm just dying to make videos about eating grass, and my milk diet, but I hold back because some people think those things are bad, and I don't want to get flagged and get the video removed and blah blah blah. I enjoyed learning as I made my first posted video, the first time I shot it there was a carving of a naked woman on the wall behind me, so we took it down and reshot because I didn't want to get flagged for it. So I learned something about awareness of the set.

          Had I asked you whether you sing, Colleen, a couple of Asian women I've talked with have said they don't dance, but they sing.
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        Nov 12 2013: I agree Greg, that the hippie era might have presented a new paradigm....more freedom to explore new ideas and behaviors:>)

        I believe people can be very much alive and willing or unwilling to explore on various levels....various topics or ideas, etc.

        No, I do not fear losing my "light heart" because it is a very strong light heart which has been nurtured for over 60 years. I would not think of giving it up, because to me, it is much more enjoyable than the alternative:>)

        I mediated with offenders who were incarcerated, and also the mediation practices helped with facilitating programs. The basic practice is to try to get people to actually listen to each other, stay focused on the issue and seek resolution. The cognitive self change sessions simply asked the offenders to genuinely think and feel....understand thyself.... because many of their actions/reactions are kneejerk reactions based on fear.

        I mentioned in a previous comment that I sang and played the guitar during the hippie era, and singing was the main reason I started doing musical theater....to get back to singing:>).
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          Nov 13 2013: well, I hear that prior decades were more repressive, more gray. But then I also have the idea that "the more things change, the more they stay the same," so many the prior decades were freer than I think?

          So you are saying your husband was willing to explore certain topics but not the same as you? So what were his topics, and what were yours?

          So in these prison programs were you hearing horrible stories of crimes committed? These didn't bring you down?

          I'm hanging up on the word mediation. Mediation means mediating between two parties, like you might mediate between the prisoners and the prison administration. Or between different prisoners in their conflict with each other. Is this what you mean?

          Yes, I'm sorry, Colleen, you have mentioned singing. I probably was more thinking do you sing now, like around the house? I sometimes do, or hum when I'm doing my belly dance (for example, I like a song called "Darkness, darkness," by the Youngbloods, which has an Arabic sound.) Were you doing originals or covers as a hippie performer? What is the pleasure of singing, perhaps the sound is sweet in our own ears?

          My mom and I went and saw "Bad Grandpa" yesterday, it is Candid Camera like, where this actor made up as an old man says various outrageous things to people who don't know they're on camera. It was okay, I guess, amusing though rather raunchy. I've generally enjoyed raunchy, this morning I was feeling overloaded on it, perhaps the feeling will ebb away.
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          Nov 13 2013: colleen, here is a link to darkness, darkness by the youngbloods: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-CYWbfFoXY. It's rather pretty. When I'm washing my hair in the shower, I spend some time thoroughly massaging conditioner into it, so i dance while I massage, it makes the time pass more interestingly. And I might be humming this song.

          Wonder why people like to sing in the shower? Maybe for one they think others can't hear them that well, or maybe it's because they're alone and don't have to engage with others?
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          Nov 14 2013: colleen, in case we don't talk back and forth again before this conversation closes in 13 hours, thanks for conversing
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        Nov 14 2013: Greg,
        My husband excelled at conversations about business, and although I like conversations about business too, I also LOVE conversations about feelings:>)

        Yes, in the programs with the correctional facility I heard lots of stories about crime. It did not bring me down.......it reinforced my resolve to do something about it. The mediation I did was between offenders who had issues with each other and/or correctional officers, and also mediating with offenders and victims of the offense as a member of the reparative board.

        I did not do any originals...although I improvised a lot, I never wrote a song. I suppose singing draws different people in different ways....to me, it just FEELS good...been doing it since I was a wee little lass....singing with my mom:>)

        It's kind of fun that you and your mom went to a production.....nice!
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        Nov 14 2013: Thanks for the link to that song Greg. It reminds me of some of the songs I did back in the hippie days. I have enjoyed the conversation, which brought back a lot of fond memories....thank you for that, and I'll see ya around TED again, I'm sure:>)

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