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September 16, 2008

From Point A to Point B: Making Art Again

Thanks, Lacey!

I think my recently passed dog Lacey wants to see her Mama doing something she loves. I knew when I heard her ghostly dog tags mysteriously jingling that she was telling me "Get on with things you love- I know you haven't forgotten me".

It's still lonesome here in my computer room/quasi art studio because she always laid under my desk. Still I feel her presence strongly in here, and it keeps me good company, as my other dog Smokey is as quiet as a church mouse. He's feeling the loss too.

As far as getting from Point A to Point B, I joined a collage group seven weeks ago and make a collage a week. I also joined a mandala group a few weeks later. How on earth are those two things related? Well, both involve art, and both are ways I've been expressing my creative urges and my emotions. And recent events have brought the emotions to the forefront.

This week my collage was about art and the spirit it evokes in me, the urge to play. Our animals teach us about this important part of life every day but we often ignore it as silly or childish or foolish. But we really need it. It keeps us balanced and healthy. The animals know it but we forget. So the collage was called "The Point Is Play, Play, Play" and here it is:

I got some good feedback on it and was pleased with it. I had been playing with some new filters for my graphics program today so when I got a challenge to create a mandala with an Autumn feel to it, remembering Lacey and Smokey's past antics, I decided to play.

I got out the central image of the collage, the woman in orange, and used a new kaleidescope filter on it that had all kinds of settings to play with. I dialed away, moved sliders and just had fun, till I finally came up with this image.

I cropped it into a circle, and voila, instant flame medicine wheel. I wanted to do more though. I brought in a second image, a photo I took of some faded yellow Ixoras, seen here.

I cropped that to get the best bits of the flowers. Then I got brave enough to try making a mask with an alpha channel - my first ever - and was successful. I loaded in the flowers as partially transparent and moved them around to look the best with the medicine wheel, using the mask to get rid of the unwanted parts of the flowers.

Last I played with the color and added an edge and a drop shadow, as well as a background. One final cropping and I was done. Here it is, Autumn Medicine Wheel:

You'd never believe one picture would lead to another, would you?

It just goes to show, we have an innate need to play. So go outside (or inside) and do it!

August 27, 2008

Almost 14 Years of Love and Devotion



I lost my sweet, beloved Sheltie Lacey to cancer today. Life had ceased to be a thing of joy and adventure and instead become full of lassitude and pain, so I elected to end her suffering and set her feet onto the Rainbow Bridge. I know she waits for me, happy and whole, and will be wondering what takes me so long.

She was my nurse dog, always first on the scene to investigate and treat any owies with a good licking and gentle nudging. For a long time she shared a pillow on my bed, keeping away nightmares, until arthritis made it too difficult to jump that high up. She was my intrepid adventurer, sneaking out of the fence on voyages of exploration, assisted by kind neighbors returning her home when they found my phone number on her collar. And she was my four-legged alarm system, alerting to any suspicious activity in a two-block area like it was her own personal front yard. Then too she would perform her duties as the welcome wagon at the vets as we waited our turn, going around the room to visit with everyone, two-legged or four.

She taught me patience, unconditional love, and the power of cheese. I will be lost without her. I have her collar in my purse and it will be going up around her picture- it still carries her scent. I got a few strands of her beautiful orange and white fur as a memento as well. But nothing takes the ache away, only time. This poem helps a bit, as well-

The Loss of a Heart-Dog

I stood by your bed last night,
I came to have a peep
I could see that you were crying,
you found it hard to sleep

I whined to you softly as
you brushed away a tear,
"it's me, I haven't left,
I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here"

I was close to you at breakfast,
I watched you pour the tea
You were thinking of the many times,
your hands reached down to me

I was with you at the shops today,
your arms were getting sore
I longed to take your parcels,
I wish you could do more

I was with you at my grave today,
you tend it with such care
I want to reassure you,
that I'm not lying there

I walked with you towards the house,
as you fumbled for your key
I gently put my paw on you,
I smiled and said "it's me"

You look so very tired,
and sank into a chair
I tried so hard to let you know,
that I was standing there

It's possible for me,
to be so near you everyday
To say to you with certainty,
"I never went away"

You sat there very quietly,
then smiled, I think you knew
In the stillness of that evening,
I was very close to you

The day is over,
I smile and watch you yawning
And say "goodnight, God bless,
I'll see you in the morning"

And when the time is right for you
to cross the brief divide,
I'll rush across to greet you
and we'll stand, side by side

I have so many things to show you,
there is so much for you to see
Be patient, live your journey out,
then come home to be with me.

- Author Unknown

That consoles me, that I will see her faithful soul running towards me again up there. It must be a wonderful place. Two things though I hope they got straight: dogs need to live as long as we humans do, and God needs to let dogs sit on the sofa in Heaven. It's much homier that way.

August 08, 2008

12 Foods You Should Alway Buy Organic

From Dr Weil:

The Environmental Working Group (
is a nonprofit organization that advocates in Washington D.C., for policies that protect global and individual health. Among the many valuable services they provide is a Shoppers' Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

It is based on the results of nearly 43,000 pesticide tests performed on produce and collected by federal agencies between 2000 and 2004. Nearly all of the data used took into account how people typically wash and prepare produce - for example, apples were washed and bananas peeled before testing.

Of the 43 different fruit and vegetable categories tested, these had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy organic versions - or to grow organically yourself:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Lettuce
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Pears
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes

Why should you care about pesticides? The EWG points out that there is a growing consensus in the scientific community that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can have adverse effects on health, especially during vulnerable periods such as fetal development and childhood.

A few other notes from the EWG: Nectarines had the highest percentage of samples that tested positive for pesticides (97.3 percent) followed by peaches (96.6 percent) and apples (93.6 percent). Peaches had the
highest likelihood for multiple pesticides on a single sample: 86.6 percent had two or more pesticide residues.

Also keep in mind that maintaining your family's health is not the only reason to choose organic food. Pesticide and herbicide use contaminates groundwater, ruins soil structures and promotes erosion, and may be a contributor to "colony collapse disorder," the sudden and mysterious die-off of pollinating honeybees that threatens the American food supply. Buying or growing organic food is good for the health of the planet.

August 05, 2008


"A failure a day is success on the way!"
- Lin Neiswender

I came up with this meaningful quote yesterday, in a discussion about Redefining Failure at Coach Creative Space. Nick pointed out the vital necessity of frequent failures on the path to success, and that we should be seeking out failures, not running away from them, as they are getting us closer to our goals. That struck me as so profound, and whammo, the quote was born. Thank you for that Nick, and Dan for establishing the discussion.

I used the motivation from the quote to do my first collage - shown above - for an artists' collage group called Collage Play (info about it here) that I just joined. I was nervous about my virgin effort- what if it was awful? What if my style was nothing like anyone else's? In short, what if I sucked at this? But I did it anyway, printing off things I had made that I thought would go together with the required elements, changing some of the graphics, scaling them and altering the colors, playing.

And a funny thing happened. I started getting excited about the process, and started having fun. Isn't that what creativity is all about, the process? The fun? So even if the end product had been ugly, it still would have been OK. I would have had great pleasure making it. The piece is called the Queen of the Meadowlark Palace. And, paradoxically, I don't think it is ugly. Whew!

Well, got to go get busy now and seek out some new failures. Success is calling my name!

July 30, 2008

Take That Tiny Step

Here's a quote I ran across this afternoon in the lung health group I belong to, where they were talking about outliving their predicted mortality and mentioned this strategy: Do something about it. "If it's to be it's up to me."

Many times I find myself whining and complaining and then totally failing to take even one baby step to help myself. This makes all the whining and complaining for nothing, and irritates my friends and family to boot! Inertia is easy; it's the status quo, business as usual. It's when I decide to get off my duff and do something about my situation, however small the step, that magical things start to happen. The universe or God or my Higher Power sends things or people I need into my path, where it is then my responsibility to connect with them and or use them to move myself forward. Don't let depression or inertia or despair hold you back any longer. Take that tiny step today! And make your universe a brighter space.

June 07, 2008

Like Science Fiction and like to laugh? Download "Hal Spacejock" - Free!

"Fast, funny, quirky, enthralling comedy adventure" Tom Holt

Hal Spacejock Cover

The Hal Spacejock series is published by Fremantle Press & distributed by Penguin Australia

To celebrate the release of Simon Haynes's latest novel, Hal Spacejock: No Free Lunch, Fremantle Press is giving away free electronic copies of the first book in the series! Read this free novel on your PDA or computer screen, or print the whole manuscript off and read it on paper. Whichever you choose, you get the whole book exactly as published, completely free.

Even if you're not interested - what about sons, daughters, nephews, neighbours, nieces, grandkids, fellow workers, friends, enemies ... Give them all a treat!

Here's the link:

May 20, 2008

We *Heart* You , Miss Snark

May 20th, 2008, marks the first anniversary of literary maven Miss Snark, the Literary Agent's final blog post. The woman- or was it a man?- made an impact on wannabe writers throughout the country, gathering a following of avid Snarklings who turned to her for writing advice, humor, and a reality check with every delicious post.

I made my goal of getting (anonomously) into the blog with the Killer Yap Sex Toy Contribution ("Killer Yap is not amused" and making Miss Snark almost shoot coffee out her nose. Sorry it couldn't have been for my literary genius, but I took what I could get. I was so saddened when it all came to an end a short time later. I miss her every day. But there is still plenty of writing gold to be mined there, so new writers, do check out the archives. You will be amazed. And amused.

Perhaps the Snarklings' dearest wish will someday come true and Miss Snark will come out of retirement, but then again, I have to respect her wishes if she doesn't want to write us a sequel. Two million plus visitors wore out the welcome mat. It would take George Clooney in red stiletto heels to lure her back out, and I don't think they make them in his size.

March 29, 2008

DreamLand Calls: New Discovery Health Series "In Your Wildest Dreams"

I caught about 45 minutes of a television program today that absolutely fascinated me called "In Your Wildest Dreams" on Discovery Health today, Saturday, 2 PM eastern. In it, three people whose recurring or frightening dreams were impacting their lives received help from professional dream interpreter Lauri Loewenberg in learning to recall, decipher, and ultimately control their dreams. It was eye-opening. If you get a chance to see it on repeat, check it out. I believe it is the start of a regular series. Loewenberg has a dream interpretation book but I haven't had a chance yet to check it out. Her interpretations were right on the money for these people.

March 12, 2008

The Source of Creativity

Some major kewl info on creativity found on the website of Charlotte Rains Dixon called "This is Your Brain When it is Creative", here. At least for jazz musicians, an MRI has shown that creativity is like a dream state: "Creativity in the form of jazz improv utilized the same parts of the brain as dreaming. First of all inhibition switched off and then self expression switched on. The musicians also showed heightened sensory awareness, with areas associated with touch, hearing and sight lighting up."

While the areas may turn out to be different for writing and art, the implications are staggering. Are we at last onto the source of the wellspring of our creativity, and on our way into tapping into it directly, not just by chance?

March 02, 2008

A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

This is a series of four poems on the seasons, each two-hundred and fifty words, to make up a picture worth a thousand words.

I wish you could see it in it's full size format but it's way too big for here.

So here is the text for each season:


Winter’s frosty reign opens cold but serene,
Austere and clear, echoing across frozen lakes
The death of the green and the living
It seems, masked in ice crystals, sleet and snow,
Shivering in the chill air, waiting and still
A dark night creeping upon us in midday,
Something gray and ominous and unwanted
That steals our breath away and freezes it
Unyielding and too strong for us to fight
So we surrender to it and give in as it
Dims our eyes with a storm of stinging white
A cold embrace from an opened door
That sends feet scurrying back within
To seek a warm fire or loving arms
But once more frozen in time, until
One day seeing the beauty of a single snowflake,
As it dances its way down to the snowbank
Or witnessing black bare branches silhouetted
Against a bluer backdrop that heads toward March,
Its beauty and perfection jogs loose memories and we
Realize the earth didn’t die and pass away into darkness,
It just lay asleep, silently dreaming
Nodding and turning over onto her other side, to wait
For the resting time to rejuvenate soil and sky,
Regenerating creatures too, bodies and souls alike
The peaceful, silent days required to
Make all things clean and pristine, culling
The weak and those whose time was at an end
Old feelings and old thinkings both alike
Waiting for the proper time to start
Thawing and repeat the process all over again,
Winter, when all of life begins


Spring time earth soil warming slowly, root hairs
Tingling, stretching out underground, prodding
Earthworms to reclaim dark soil, as grasses’ roots
Push their way to the surface in a burst of green
So shocking it almost hurts the eyes after
All the somber colors of the cold time, stark trees
Put on new garments of fresh color, budding into flowers
While far below tubers prepare to release the blossoms held within
Tulips, hyacinths, daffodils with their pungent scents announcing
Light and color has returned to the world, reflected in pools of rainshowers
Let spirits rejoice with the woodland and the field, drinking in
The rich jewel tones of red and yellow and purple, regal enough for any king
To wear as proud plumage, like the birds that call, announcing their joy
To mate and bear young, replenish the skies with new life as
Flowers and trees and grasses and weeds replenish the face of the earth mother
She is pleased and sends out her blessings and benediction, richness
Overflowing as the flowers set fruit and the eggs are laid,
Cubs and kits are born, the acorn forms in microcosm, and winter
Becomes a distant memory, life is moving fast, a blur, quickly spurred
By a rhythm that tolerates no delay, no pausing by the way, only
The quickening of the earth and all its creatures, including us,
We who would set ourselves apart from this cycle, but really
Are as much a part as any other, observer, participant, and lover

Summer rolls in lazy and soft, her countenance hot and hazy
From a distance, we doze, lying under laden peach trees sucking
Rosy flesh from fuzzy skins, juices running freely down our chins
While bees hum over our heads and butterflies alight to sip nectar
Here in this wilderness garden a thousand plants bloom with abandon,
Lantana with its prickly stems and golden heads of tiny flowers,
Trails of white clover, perfect for threading into blossom
Necklaces, crowns for our heads, bracelets, and rings,
Our little fingers find, digging right down among the grass
Hiding way down low, bright delicate strawberries
Nestling there, from tiny nub to sweet luscious orb, sprinkled
With tiny seeds that shine on the ripe surface sublime
We plunder them too, more juices streaking our skins,
Our leavings attracting the white doves who peck at the bitten fruit
Then we spy not far away, over a low stone wall another delight
With a thousand shades of red and pink and yellow
The rose garden so tangled and wild, a faint path
That winds through sun baked field heady and nodding
With their spicy scent, the two, the fruit and the flower,
Scarlet rose-hips nodding in rhythm while rose petals ruffle
In rare breezes, here we can only look with wonder and breathe deep
The perfume guarded by spiky thorns, stems too strong for surrender
To young hands, they go free of our plundering ways and know
They will survive the end of our pirate summer days


Autumn unfurls carpets of bright wheat, ripening in fields
Rippling proudly by strong northern winds snapping cold
Sharp air that makes the chest expand with joy at being alive
Relief from the heat of the season past, now glowing with energy
Gourds and pumpkins snake their way over land
Yellows and golds, striped, and rusty orange with dark green leaves
Earthy potatoes huddling underground to breed white flesh
Tall gnarled trees dangling shiny crimson apples come to ripeness
People in sweat-stained, worn clothes swarm gardens and fields
Hay falls before machines and rolls into great shocks
Corn stands at attention and then leans into tents of stalks
Harvest is readied to be scythed and bundled, then trundled away
To granaries and silos, to be salted, dried and preserved,
By wise, knowing young or ancient hands, in jars and crocks
Filled to the brim for the empty season that lies ahead
A rich time, a turning time, a winnowing time
When the world waits for the bounty to be stowed away
Red squirrels gather stores of acorns from stately trees
Oak leaves evolve from sage to yellow to burnished amber,
Dark veins tracing patterns in leathery matrix, falling
And spiraling down down down to the damp ground
Wind piling them in drifts of colors all mixed, a blaze
Of fall’s chaotic design, a kaleidoscope that shifts
With every breeze, frost coming on with setting sun
Bonfire burns brother oak’s beauty to soot and ash
Announcing to all, this season is done

February 28, 2008

Stress-Buster Guaranteed

"A little more to the left. Ah, perfect!"

February 22, 2008

Real Age Diet Tips Round-up

This week's health and diet-tips round-up from Real-Age


A must-read on the Healthy Fats needed to balance out the bad ones:

Fruit: Brain Food- Who Knew?

How many steps equal "Active"?

Whole-grain Goodness for your health:

The Power of the Pomegranate:

February 18, 2008

New Collage "Geisha Memories"

Geisha Memories

I quite enjoyed making this collage yesterday 2/17/08 as I was in a mood for some Asian flair and had fun looking for just the right images, one of which I colored myself. I used a weaving technique to unify the two different background papers which worked quite well.

February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Images Hurray!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here is my take on the holiday from the pages of my Art Journal. I'm just a beginner at this and don't have any cool quotes or anything written in, since my handwriting is so totally crappy and illegible. But I had fun with the collage: finding a site with real sheet music- this one was for a romantic waltz which I graphically tinted and printed out, and the images were from various free sites on the web. I am so enjoying my color laser printer but I'm using up yellow toner at a prodigious rate ($$$)! Still, here it is -

February 10, 2008

Double Meme

Got double-tagged for a meme from friend Karen at

Here's the rules:

Part 1

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages.)
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.

I picked up "Self-Editing For Fiction Writers" and guess what? Page 123, including the illustration, only has three sentences! So I'm off the hook. However I would like to mention that I'm learning a lot from the book, like what a conversational "beat" is (ask me!)...

Part 2 Answer these questions:

1. If you could do anything you want to, what would it be?

Live by the ocean.

2. If you could paint the whole world 1 (one) colour - what would it be?

Peacock blue.

3. Would you rather be an animal or a person?

My dogs have it pretty easy so enough said.

4. If you said animal - which one?

5. Do flowers talk?

Only to other flowers.

6. Have you ever known that a spirit from another realm was nearby?

Yes, once in a good way, once in a bad way.

7. Add your own question here.

Have you ever had a dream that later came true?

Now, Link back to the person who tagged you.
That was Karen, above.

Tag five new people.
Tagging German, Carla, Becca, Gail R, and Gail C. Feel free to email if you don't have a blog.

January 22, 2008

That Dieting Thang

That Dieting Thang, Ya'll/Youse Guys


It's the third week of January, pushing into the fourth, and many of us are hitting the diet-for-2008-slump. The new is wearing off both our slimmed down menus and our resolutions. Time to kick it back up a notch as we continue on our weight loss journey.

Here are some goodies I culled from a newsletter and web site. Click on the headings to select. I call it - "The Cream of the Crop" from
National Body Challenge

Calculate Your BMI (Body Mass Index)

A little plug in the numbers and play. Gives you the bare minimum you need to lose to get back in the happy, healthy part of the graph.

Handling Cravings

Strategies for defeating those dastardly cravings that threaten to derail us at every turn.

Eating Mindfully

Pay some attention to what you're putting in your mouth- really! It's good for you...

Healthy Cooking Tips (plus recipes)

Not just healthy but also fast ways to get something on the table so you don't let hunger make you do something stupid.

Stress Eating
Yes, there are alternatives to that late-night double-fudge half-gallon of ice cream!

January 16, 2008

Chris Jordan's Stats: Hits You in the Gut

Photographer/Artist Chris Jordan has a gift for translating icy, dry statistics into art that hits you right in the gut, as these selections from an article by Richard Woodward detail.

Be sure you check out the interactive presentation to see the art in the "Numbers in Art" interactive feature.

The illustration shows a few of the nine million building blocks in the massive piece representing U.S. children without health insurance, a shameful statistic since such children are twice as likely to die from medical issues as those who are insured.

Chris Jordan Numbers Photo Essay -

Running the Numbers

by Richard B. Woodward January 2008 Issue


Photographer Chris Jordan turns cold, hard stats into provocative statements on economics, culture, and the American way of life.

Chris Jordan keeps his eyes open for staggering statistics, and the more alarming the better. What sets his 44-year-old heart racing is some new figure expressing American excess and neglect--the number of disposable batteries manufactured by Energizer every year (6 billion) or plastic beverage bottles used every five minutes (2 million) or children without health insurance (9 million). Think of him as the unofficial artist of the Harper's Index.

The puzzlelike photographs he makes in response to these big numbers are designed to illustrate "the scale of consumption of 300 million people" and what such rampant profligacy, if unchecked, might mean for the future of the planet. He has completed 19 pieces for the sardonic series he calls "Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait," and he has more in the works.

Please check out the rest of the article.

January 06, 2008

Low-Energy Bulbs: Still Need the Old Ones

In light of global warming and our depleted energy resources, many nations, including the US and Britain, are starting the process to phase out incandescent light bulbs in favor of energy-saving ones. Some problems that were not considered are now coming to light, as these excerpts from a British article show. As I take medication that makes me sensitive to light, I hope I will still be able to buy the bulbs I need to remain healthy in my own home!

BBC NEWS Health: Low-energy bulbs worsen rashes

The switch to energy-saving light bulbs may put thousands at risk of painful skin reactions, health charities warn.

Fluorescent bulbs can exacerbate skin rashes in people with photosensitive skin conditions, experts said.

The government is planning to prevent the sale of conventional bulbs by 2011 to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Several groups including the British Association of Dermatologists called for exemptions to allow those affected to continue using traditional bulbs.But representatives of the lighting industry said there would be alternatives to fluorescent lighting available.

Health conditions which can involve some form of light sensitivity, include the auto-immune disease lupus, the genetic disorder Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP), certain forms of eczema and dermatitis, photosensitivity, and porphyria.

Other groups have warned that low-energy bulbs, which use approximately a quarter of the energy of conventional bulbs, cause migraines and increase the risk of seizures in people with epilepsy.

Campaigners want people who have light sensitive conditions to be able to continue to buy conventional bulbs for their homes.

They warned that employers must also be able to purchase incandescent lighting as employees have a right to such adjustments under the terms of the Disability Discrimination Act.

The switch to energy-saving light bulbs may put thousands at risk of painful skin reactions, health charities warn.

Conventional or "incandescent" bulbs are being phased out in a voluntary agreement with retailers and will no longer be on sale from December 2011.

Andrew Langford, chief executive officer of the Skin Care Campaign, one of the charities involved, said: "Incandescent light bulbs are the only source of electric light for many thousands of people with light sensitive conditions.

"Add to this the thousands of people whose conditions or treatments may secondarily cause them to be light sensitive, and you have a large number of people potentially being isolated in the dark.

"We certainly don't want to say no to greener bulbs just that other bulbs need to be available."

Dr Colin Holden, President of the British Association of Dermatologists, said: "It is important that patients with photosensitive skin eruptions are allowed to use lights that don't exacerbate their condition.

"It is essential that such patients are able to protect themselves from specific wavelengths of light emitted by fluorescent bulbs, especially as they are often trapped indoors because they can't venture out in natural sunlight."

Kevin Verdun, chief executive of the lighting association said only two-thirds of incandescent bulbs were being phased out.

"These things have been taken into consideration and there will be bulbs they can still use.

"There are also halogen bulbs and LED bulbs coming in in the next two or three years."

January 04, 2008

You Are What You Eat- COPD and Processed Meats

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is one of several illnesses now thought to be made worse or perhaps even caused by high levels of nitrites in processed meats. If you eat things like bacon, sausage, and hot dogs plus if you are a smoker, you could be putting yourself in harm's way through your diet. You may want to reconsider before stuffing that hot dog in your mouth at the next sporting event. Check it out in excerpts from the article below.

Processed Meats Up Chances of Developing COPD, Emphysema, Other Lung Ailments

Nitrites in processed meats might be putting some people at risk of developing serious lung diseases like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. According to emerging research, men who smoke may be increasing their risk of developing emphysema and chronic bronchitis if they eat lots of cured meats such as sausage, ham, bologna, bacon, and hot dogs which contain high levels of nitrites. Nitrites are added to these meats to prevent rancidity and bacterial growth and to also enhance the meat's pink color. And just like cigarette smoking and air pollution, nitrites generate molecules known as reactive oxygen and nitrogen species that have been linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Dr. Raphaelle Varraso of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and colleagues note.

COPD is a lung disease in which the lungs are damaged, making it hard to breathe because the lung's airways become partly obstructed, making it difficult to get air in and out. In healthy people, each airway is clear and open. The chief risk factor for COPD, which encompasses chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is cigarette smoking. Research by Varraso and colleagues suggests that eating cured meats may worsen the harmful effects of smoking on risk of COPD.

Researchers reviewed data on 42,915 men participating in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, 111 of whom were diagnosed with COPD within 12 years of enrolling in the study. Men who ate cured meats at least once a day were 2.64 times more likely than those who almost never ate cured meats to develop COPD, the researchers found. Cured meat consumption has also been linked to diabetes and certain types of cancer, Varraso noted in comments to Reuters Health. "Uncured" versions of processed meats are likely no better for health, according to the researcher. But regardless of the current findings, Varraso added, the most important way to protect oneself from COPD is to quit smoking.

Another recent study presented new evidence that backed up the theory that eating a lot of red and processed meat can increase the risk of bowel and lung cancer. The study found that those who ate the most red meat exhibited an increased risk of developing colorectal, liver, lung, and esophageal cancer compared with those who ate the least red and processed meats.