Tag Archives: John Freed

Are you Depressed?


In my opinion,  psychiatrists should first test their patients for nutritional deficiencies before writing prescriptions for Zoloftor for  antipsychotics, like Zyprexa.  Conscientious doctors send patients to get lab work done prior to prescribing drugs or increasing dosages.  There are times when people do need antidepressants.   However,  other times  spinach would go far to eliminate the symptoms of depression.   Think Popeye.

If you haven’t ever tested your nutrition levels, you might inquire with either your psychiatrist or primary-care physician. Supplements can be expensive, but you can make it back  by not having to see your psychiatrist as often. You should talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you’re on prescription drugs.


Vitamin D

According to my doctor, Vitamin D deficiency is a major epidemic that doctors and public health officials are just beginning to realize. This deficiency has been linked to depression, dementia, and autism. Most of our levels drop off during the fall and winter months, since sunlight is the richest source.   My doctor believes that we should be getting from 5,000 to 10,000 IU  a day.  However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends most healthy adults get only about 600 IUs daily.  Hence, the widespread deficiency and increases in depression.


I am forever extolling the virtues of Magnesium, because this, like Vitamin D, is deficient in most American adults, according to my doctor, and the symptoms are not pretty.  They can, in fact, set off a chain reaction of unpleasant symptoms. Our lifestyles decrease our levels of Magnesium.  Some of the things that contribute are excess alcohol, salt, coffee, sugar, phosphoric acid (in soda), chronic stress, antibiotics, and diuretics (water pills). Magnesium is sometimes referred to as the stress antidote, the “most powerful relaxation mineral that exists,” according to Hyman. It is found in seaweed, greens, and beans. The NIH recommends a daily intake of about 400 to 420 milligrams (mg) of magnesium for adult men and 310 to 320 mg for adult women.  Magnesium Citrate can also act as a laxative, so buy your Magnesium accordingly….and time it well.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

I was surprised when my results showed an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency because I eat plenty of salmon and take fish oil supplements every day. That shows you just how much fish — salmon, tuna, halibut — or flaxseeds and walnuts we need to consume to be at an optimal level. These essential minerals reduce inflammation and play a critical role in brain function, especially memory and mood. The body can’t make them, so you need to either eat them or take supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are just one of the supplements I take every day for depression

Vitamin B Complex

B vitamins like vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 can provide some incredible health benefits, including reduced stroke risk and healthy skin and nails. On the other hand, a vitamin B deficiency may impact your mental health. More than a quarter of severely depressed older women were deficient in B-12, according to one 2009 study.

The best sources of vitamin B-6 are poultry, seafood, bananas, and leafy green vegetables. For vitamin B-6, the NIH recommends a daily intake of 1.7 mg for adult men, and 1.5 mg for adult women. Vitamin B-12 is found in animal foods (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk) and shellfish, such as clams, mussels, and crab. Most adults should need to consume 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B-12 daily, according to the NIH.


People with a low folate level have only a 7 percent response to treatment with antidepressants. Those with high folate levels have a response of 44 percent, according to Hyman. That is why many psychiatrists are now prescribing a folate called Deplin to treat depression and improve the effectiveness of an antidepressant. I tried it and it didn’t seem to make that much of a difference; however, I have several friends who have had very positive responses to Deplin. You need not try the prescription form of Deplin. You could just start taking a folate supplement and see if you get any results. Your daily recommended folate intake depends on your gender, whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, and age. However, most adults need at least 400 mcg daily. You can also get your daily folate requirements by consuming foods high in folate, including dark leafy greens, beans and legumes, and citrus fruits and juices.

 Amino Acids

Amino acids — the building blocks of protein — help your brain properly function. A deficiency in amino acids may cause you to feel sluggish, foggy, unfocused, and depressed. Good sources of amino acids include beef, eggs, fish, beans, seeds, and nuts.


Iron deficiency is pretty common in women. About 20 percent of women, and 50 percent of pregnant women, are in the club. Only three percent of men are iron deficient. The most common form of anemia — an insufficient number of red blood cells — is caused by iron deficiency. Its symptoms are similar to depression: fatigue, irritability, brain fog. Most adults should consume 8 to 18 mg of iron daily, depending on age, gender, and diet, according to the NIH. Good sources of iron include red meat, fish, and poultry. If you really want to get more red blood cells, eat liver. Yuck.


This one is SO important!  Zinc is used by more enzymes (and we have over 300) than any other mineral. It is crucial to many of our systems. It activates our digestive enzymes so that we can break down our food, and works to prevent food allergies (which, in turn, averts depression in some people, since some of our mood disruptions are triggered by food allergies). It also helps our DNA to repair and produce proteins. Finally, zinc helps control inflammation and boosts our immune system. The NIH recommends a daily intake of 11 mg of zinc for adult men and 8 mg for adult women.


Like iodine, selenium is important for good thyroid function. It assists the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone T4 to the active thyroid hormone, T3. It also helps one of our important antioxidants (glutathione peroxidase) keep polyunsaturated acids in our cell membranes from getting oxidized (rancid). Most adults need about 55 mcg of selenium daily. The best food source of selenium is Brazil nuts, which contains about 544 mcg of selenium per ounce.


Iodine deficiency can be a big problem because iodine is critical for the thyroid to work as it should, and the thyroid affects more than you think: your energy, metabolism, body temperature, growth, immune function, and brain performance (concentration, memory, and more). When it’s not functioning properly, you can feel very depressed, among other things. You can get iodine by using an iodine-enriched salt, or by eating dried seaweed, shrimp, or cod. I take a kelp supplement every morning because I have hypothyroidism. The daily recommend amount of iodine for most adults is about 150 mcg.

Rent a Goat


goat9 ingrid

I have extolled the virtues of Portland numerous times on this blog.  Today is no different.  This is about another of this city’s unique, quirky characteristics that you don’t see in a lot of other places….the “rent-a-goat” service.

Today,  we took Ingrid to visit the goats .  There is a herd of about a dozen of them living in an over-sized weeded field with a nice living quarters, plenty of vegetation and a lot of room in which they can move around.


People, (particularly those that are interested in leaving a smaller carbon thumbprint on the planet), frequently rent these goats, one at a time, or the entire herd, to clear off unwanted vegetation.

A lot of folks go there to look at them, but the owners had to put up a sign telling people not to feed them.  They were getting fat; plus the owners had no idea what they were being fed, so they had to ask people to stop feeding them.

goat3I love goats…their playful dispositions, their beauty, chevre, the way they bleat.  I have always wanted to buy one for Ingrid, but her mom doesn’t think it is a good idea, so I haven’t……yet. 🙂

goat6John and I had such a good time watching Ingrid’s excitement as she raced around and talked to and about the animals.  She raced to catch up with John and told him everything she knew about goats.  It was very cute, and we had a good laugh.


Thank you, John.  Thank you, Ingrid.  Was fun creating memories with you two today. xoxo

I Love Days Like Today


ImageI cannot tell you how thankful I am that my husband and I get along  as well together as we do.

Both of us stay so busy with our work and our individual life activities that when we have a day like this one, it really stands out as a pleasant time.

John will never admit just how creative he is, but indeed, he is.  No sooner do I design something, or even suggest it, and he will be on top of it, making it happen.  For instance, right now, he is building a pretty wooden stand to set our microwave on so that my chopping boards can slide under it.

Prompted by  soon-to-be arriving house guests, I  am redesigning the entire kitchen space and storage areas.  Our kitchen is tiny and I have a lot of nice kitchen equipment without dedicated spaces, so am coming up with creative storage ideas that will add more space and ease of functionality.

Today, John  hung our new blinds in the living and dining room.  I have never really cared for bamboo matchstick blinds, but since he put in the new bamboo floors and we bought a mid century modern credenza, they were the best thing to tie those two elements together.  They are replacing some much more formal silvery/blue Dupioni silk drapes that just looked out of place hanging there.   We got some “nicer” bamboo blinds with pretty stitching running down the front and a little built in valance.  I ended up loving the way they look hanging, and John did such a great job of putting them up.  They let in a lot of light while providing the privacy that we both want.


So…this is the “before” picture.  We have bamboo floors now…and a beautiful jute rug…and a credenza in front of that window…shown in the “after” picture of the bamboo blinds below.  Much lighter.  Better.

living room


I went off to a guitar lesson.  When I returned to the scene, he had hung three of the aprons from my handmade apron collection above our pantry.  I collect handmade aprons that were created by famous and semi-famous artists, made  from some very cool fabrics. but until now, I’ve not had the space to display them very well.  They look great  hanging there and I was taken by his desire to help me display them in this small space.  I have many others, but he chose the three that fit there most perfectly.  John is very considerate in that way.  He tries to think outside of the box and to consider what we both would like.  It is nice that I don’t even have to ask him to do these types of things.  We are both on the same page in that respect and we work so well together.


Our next project is to paint the kitchen.  The walls behind me when I took the picture above, are dark blue.  We are going to take them back to their original cream color, and then John is going to add some gorgeous green glass tiles in a couple of places for a back splash.  This will go behind the stove and, perhaps, in a few other places.  There is very limited wall space, so we will have to plan carefully.

John  did the big project in the front yard that I’ve already blogged about….

yard6 rocks1yard8 finale

…….and he transformed our little side yard into a lovely little Zen garden where we can relax and entertain.  Since he did this, we have added more plants and a water feature, so it looks quite cozy.   Image Our goals of doing certain things before our summer guests arrive are getting checked off the list one by one and this makes me very happy.  He’s a go-getter….and I’m very grateful.

The King Returneth… An Uber App Review, Capellini and A Lot of Theatre Talk…



My husband, John,  returned from the 2014 TCG National Conference in San Diego last night  feeling renewed and excited, having learned a lot more about the play writing arena.  He feels that this conference really helped him elevate his endeavors to a more professional level.   He saw many one act plays and worked with some notable Hollywood writers, such as the guys that wrote the HBO series, “Hung”.

It was fun to see how this conference sparked his enthusiasm and breathed new life into his ardor for play writing.  Can’t wait to see what he does next.  He is now urging ME to write a play and to attend next year’s conference with him.  I hope to be able to do that, but since I still have another year of my grad program to do, it isn’t likely that I will be able to accomplish it just yet.

One can dream, however.


Global Citizenship is one of TCG’s four core values (Artistry, Advocacy, Diversity and Global Citizenship), underscoring the organization’s  belief that the future of the U.S. professional not-for-profit theatre requires a connection to the international network of theatres, artists and other cultural leaders.   John loved how the group promotes cultural and aesthetic diversity, and learned about many  of those things as they apply to playwriting in this context.

This was a good thing.  I’m so happy that he went, and I love the fire that attending seemed to have lit under him.  His voice sounded so excited as he spoke of it all, and I was glad to hear that. Can’t wait to see what he does next.  He also got some excellent leads toward production deals for his own work.

In other news, I  had a nice meal of capellini with fresh, organic tomatoes, peppers and basil waiting for him when he got home.  I served it with some pistachio-encrusted asparagus and some of the organic zucchini that we picked last weekend, cooked  in a light white wine sauce with Hawaiian sweet onions.  I also made a nice salad of sliced tomatoes, avocado and other earthly delights.  It was delicious, and John was appreciative of my efforts.


We ate slowly, sipped wine and had a lovely visit after he got home. I loved listening to him talk about his time in San Diego, and I had fun filling him in on everything that has been going on here…and no, this isn’t us in the pic below.  Just illustrating someone else eating FISH, which I, the vegetarian, never eat .


While in San Diego, John tried out the UBER app on his iPhone for the first time.  He is now quite enthusiastic about it, so I think it will be regularly used during our future travels.  The app is one that enlists a network of private drivers to run a cab service that is a fraction of the cost of regular Taxis….and the experience is much more pleasant than that provided by the usual cab service, so he was happy.


It is a little hard to explain exactly how this app works, but the concept goes a little something like this:  Users download the app for either iPhone or Android platforms, and then use it to signal their needs for a ride.  Within a few minutes (John reported less than 5 minutes every time he used it.) nice, shiny black cars show up to take users to their destinations.  Since the user’s credit card is already configured to the mobile app used to call for the ride, the payment and tip are both charged automatically, so no cash is exchanged.  John said service was perfect, and that he enjoyed using this app very much.

John and I both love San Diego.  We stay there from time-to-time, in our timeshare near Balboa Park, but this trip was all business, and I was busy here in Portland, so I stayed behind this time.


I’m glad that he is home now.  He still sleeping this morning, and I am getting ready to make some Meyer lemon pancakes with blueberries.  The aroma will wake him, and when he wakes to the smell of something delicious on the stove, he is in an excellent mood all day…so cooking this morning, is a win-win.

Baby, You Can Drive MY Car!



La Vecchia – Reno, Nevada


René Best guitarist

La Vecchia is a lovely Italian restaurant in Reno, Nevada that is owned by chef Alberto Gazzola.  Let me tell you.  This guy knows what he is doing!    The restaurant is  nestled into the hills above Reno where the view enables one to see the lights twinkling down below during dinner.  The place has been completely overhauled from its former incarnation, and transformed into a posh romantic atmosphere with a much-needed touch of class and refinement.


Since we were in the Reno/Tahoe area to celebrate our anniversary, we thought we’d try something special.  When we asked our hotel concierge to recommend something   romantic and  good, he didn’t miss a beat in telling us that La Vecchia was the best Italian restaurant in Reno.  After two other people told us the same thing, we were sold!  After our experience there, we believed them all.

 First, apologies.  As you can see from my rather bad photos, we were in a low light atmosphere, which was great for a romantic ambience, but not so great for iPhone photography.  Because my phone didn’t do justice to the place, I nabbed a few of these photos from La Vecchia’s website to add with my own.                                      René Best guitarist

La Vecchia  is  lovely inside.  It is well-appointed in a sort of hip decor-meets-modest traditional… with a few mid-century modern touches.   I especially  enjoyed  the cylindrical light fixtures.  I also liked their tasteful  choices in art.  In particular, there were some framed cloth pieces that I suspect were Marimekkos.  They were very nice,  and tastefully placed throughout the restaurant.  Little touches such as these go far to warm up a place and give it a welcoming ambiance.  I had heard that as it dwindled toward its crash and burn state, the former restaurant had a few fish pictures, loud music and TACOS as part of their “Italian”  cuisine. La Vecchia is clearly in a league of its own, and has transformed the place into a fine dining establishment.

 It  was also clearly decorated by a professional.


When we walked in the front door, we both chuckled about the framed photo of Luciano Pavarotti standing with  Enzo Ferrari.   I was (and still am) a HUGE Pavarotti fan….along with most of the rest of the world, I know.    His renditions of Puccini’s work was absolutely unsurpassed, in my humble opinion.  He brought me to emotional tears many, many times…but in a good way.   During his career, I probably saw Pavarotti a dozen times ,  so it was nice to see his smiling face as a welcome to the restaurant.   Paired with Enzo, neither John nor I could think of a more appropriate Italian welcome!    Our granddaughter’s uncle  drives a Ferrari, and named his son Enzo, after Mr. F …..and that is a bit of a joke with us….so we got a private chuckle out of seeing the photo.

 The uber-gracious  hostess showed us to our seats in the main, carpeted dining area.  The place was packed on a Tuesday night, which we heard is typical there,  but a table had just opened up, so thankfully,  we were seated  almost immediately.  We sat by a wide bank of windows in a part of the restaurant that was formerly an outdoor patio.  The current owner had it enclosed to expand the dining room while maintaining half of the open air atmosphere for diners who prefer to dine alfresco.  It added a nice touch.   I had heard that the former restaurant had been rather cramped in that area.  La Vecchia  is nice and spacious with plenty of room between each table.

la vecchia reno

There was a little room on the side as well, that had a more casual feel.  The brick walls lent themselves to a more casual feel than that of the main dining area where we ate.

la vecchia room

One thing that my husband and I noticed right away was how happy the staff seemed to be working there.  This, it seems,  is always a sign of a good restaurant.   The staff at La Vecchia is obviously treated well, or they wouldn’t have been so great at their jobs….and they were.   We chatted with two different waiters as well as the hostess.  All reported that business is great, and this is what we witnessed, too.   Our waiter was gregarious and intelligent and very knowledgeable about the food, which we appreciated.  Everyone who helped us that evening was quite courteous and good at what they did; very professional, yet at ease.

We began our La Vecchia adventure with cocktails, namely the house special martini.  The idea of cheese in my martini did not appeal to me much at first, but I was happy that I tried it.  It was crafted with house-infused rosemary vodka and Absolut citron, served up with a fresh sprig of rosemary and double blue cheese stuffed olives.  The rim of the glass was dusted with some tangy, salty parm.  Delicious, much to my surprise!  Differently delightful.  Wish I’d had two!

While we sipped, our waiter brought us a basket brimming with house made, bread that I *think*

Imagewas salty pane casareccio di genzano.  It was light and crispy and tasted so good with the nice, aged balsamic vinegar and wonderful, high quality olive oil.  Could have made a whole meal out of the bread alone!

la vecchia


Our dinner wine was probably a cheat.  The owner of this restaurant has a very nice collection of boutique wines from Italy, and we should have tried one or two… but we both love Oregon so much that  when we saw our favorite, silky, creamy Argyle Pinot Noir, we had to go for it…just out of a sense of loyalty, I suppose.   This wine has never let us down with its hints of ripe plum and sweet black cherries.  We could taste mushroom and chocolate spice on the back of our tongues .    This is a wine that has a nice, long finish and is best sipped very slowly….perfect for a wedding anniversary celebration.  And…  It is perfect for a one-glass dinner.  Next time, we’ll try the Italian.


We began the meal with one of the best  salads either of us had ever eaten.  Our plates were lined with paper-thin, crispy, house-made parmesan wafers, upon which organic baby spinach leaves gently rested, topped with roasted pistachios, poached pears, and the best red wine vinaigrette either of us had ever had.   Albeit very simple, the salad was absolute perfection!


We both had the Northern Italian wild mushroom ravioli (Ravioli Misto Bosco) as our main course. This is a simple dish, consisting of lightly sauteed shrooms stuffed into rectangular pillows of handmade pasta.  The cream sauce was garnished with fresh chopped shallots. There was absolutely no chicken stock in it….no MSG…nothing nasty at all.    It was divine!    I gave up cooking with cream years ago, but didn’t think it would hurt to splurge this time.  It was, after all, a special occasion.  The flavor was rustic and delicate at once, satisfying, without being cloyingly overfilling.  We dug it, but it left NO room for dessert.

I must apologize for this picture.  The lighting makes this sauce look thick and lumpy and it wasn’t at all.   The effect of my camera in the low light caused it to appear this way.  There was nothing bad about this sauce at all.


We finished off the meal with cups of rich, Italian roast coffee….and kisses.  We will return to La Vecchia!   Until then….addio miei amici!

Oh, and thank you for a lovely anniversary dinner, Dr. Freed.  I might spend another decade or two or three with you. 🙂


I Married a Playwright….



Ok.  I lied.

Well, half  lied anyway.  First, and of course, I did NOT marry William Shakespeare.  In fact. I married no playwright at all…..at least my husband was not a playwright *when* I married him.  He was then, and still is, a brilliant writer and college professor.  However, I am now pleased to announce that after 6 years of hard work on this particular piece, he has just completed his first play, “Love Me, Fuseli”  What’s more, he gave it to me for my birthday, with the following dedication:


To my loving wife, Stacy Alexander,
who taught me the most
about what a woman wants.

The play is about Mary Wollstonecraft, the  eighteenth-century British writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights, her lover, Henry Fuseli,  a Swiss painter, draughtsman and writer on art, and, of course, their friend, William Blake. …and everyone knows who he was.  🙂   The play focuses on the love affair between Wollstonecraft and Fuseli and a lot of the political things they were involved in at the time….how Mary put up with endless B.S, all in the name of love.  I have read bits and pieces of it through the years, but only now have the completed manuscript.  I have yet to find the time to sit down and savor it, but I know it will be great.

I just took John out to dinner at Wafu, to celebrate.  We had a feast and felt…well…festive!   He is now sending the play out to various distributors and producers, trying to get a deal.  It is a long, arduous process, but I, for one, am just happy that he finished it.

Hats off to Dr. J.E. Freed, folks!

A Weekend at Otters Crest by the Beautiful Sea


I took John to Otters Crest Resort on the Oregon Coast for his birthday.    We left a sweltering hot Portland to arrive at a cool, breezy resort situated on the side of a cliff overlooking the Pacific.  We got caught in traffic and it took forever to get there.  When we drove into Lincoln City, we stopped by a favorite restaurant for dinner before driving out to the lovely resort.  The very first thing we did when we got there, was pour two glasses of wine and sit on the balcony to watch the sun set.    The colors were absolutely spectacular!


The next morning, we awoke to the site of gray whales on the Pacific within sight of our balcony.  We watched them splashing around and putting on a show just for us 😉 while we ate our breakfast!


We took a nice walk through the forest to Devil’s Punchbowl and Beverly Beach.  Climbed around on the rocks, took pictures and watched even more whales feeding just offshore.




I enjoyed cooking meals in our fully equipped kitchen.  We had lots of fresh, organic veggies and fruit and pasta and some great local wine that we had picked up on our visit to Carlton winery last month.

W e spent a lot of quiet time together in our room, just reading or sketching or being quiet.

We had many visitors while we were there, too…..for instance:







We explored….


….and found many beautiful things….


…including a few things that were mysterious and compelling…




All in all, we had a lovely time….but it feels great to be back home as well.

My only concern at this time is for a dear friend  who has run into some very bad luck in the hot, hot desert.  Sending cooling thoughts and good wishes his way.  I love him.

Day # 5 – LOGO



Day #5 – LOGO

Photo a Day – AUGUST

Stacy Alexander – 2012


As I write this, I can hear the Pacific crashing on the rocks below, on this cool, breezy August morning. I’ve been contemplating tossing a log into the fireplace and lighting it…but we only have one, so I will save it until tonight.   It appears we left Portland in the nick of time yesterday, as my daughter, Sarah-Lynda, reported that temperatures rose throughout the day, to peak at 103 degrees!  I wish she had come with us.

John just went to the little country store down the road to get a few supplies….coffee, being the primary one.  I can smell it brewing, an aroma, when mingled with the crisp, salty sea air, smells like nirvana.  I brought all kinds of fresh organic fruits and veggies, freshly made pasta, sweets, wine…because we are celebrating his birthday.  Last night was a romantic evening, and tonight will be as well.

That’s the way it rolls around here.



Happy Birthday, Mr. President…..and also Mr. Husband


I’m taking John to the coast for a romantic, 2-day getaway, this afternoon.

Just a line to say that I hope our President has a great day today, on his 51st. birthday.  I also want to wish my beloved husband, John, a happy birthday.  We’ll be leaving for the coast this afternoon, where I am treating him to 2 days at his favorite coastal resort at Otter’s Crest, where we shall try to remain cool, on what is supposed to be a hot, hot day.

Be back on Monday!