About Betty Risteen Hasselkus

I am an emeritus professor of occupational therapy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Ah — the Wild Things Again

I wrote a posting, maybe a year ago, about the presence of wild things in our urban neighborhood — a deer in the yard next door, turkey vultures roosting in the big spruce tree in our neighbor’s back yard on their way north in the spring, a fox making the circuit in our back yard one morning at breakfast time.  Our neighborhood blog includes sightings of coyotes, opossums, and raccoons by others in the area.  There is something life giving about having wild creatures right here in our daily lives. Such sightings are often moments of gentle excitement and pleasure for us (apart from the opossum, which is not a thing of beauty by any stretch of the imagination).

Well, here is another kind of wild thing.

Corydalis ochroleuca

This little beauty planted itself in the depths of one of our window wells — a spot with very little exposed soil and little or no direct sunlight.  I noticed the flower and photographed it through a window in our basement (that’s the window sill on the bottom of the picture),

There is something very cheerful about this wayward plant.  We have some Corydalis planted by design in our backyard garden, but this little lady wanted to pick her own site, overcoming hardships of marginal soil and light to take root at the bottom of a window well.  A sign of an adventurous spirit and escape from the planned boundaries of the garden.  I felt a surge of “gentle excitement and pleasure” upon discovering it, and I have been daily finding enjoyment in its presence since.  A small example of the beauty that we can find in our everyday lives.  .

Putting Food on the Table

Gone are the days when most people have kitchen gardens from which they can harvest seasonal fruits and vegetables for their daily meals.  I got to thinking recently about the many other possibilities that now exist here in Madison, and presumably in many places, for getting food on the table.  Meals on Wheels, probably the earliest and only food delivery service to people in their homes, is now one of an amazing variety of other services and businesses, many that bring food to the neighborhood or front door.

Probably pizza delivery was one of the first options for home delivery, its arrival signaled by the sound of the doorbell.  Since those early days, many other restaurants deliver meals as well.  In the newspaper last week was an article about two young entrepreneurs who are starting a meal delivery business for a whole list of restaurants — well beyond the pizza delivery model.

Grocery stores now have large deli sections filled with fully prepared salads and pasta dishes and twice baked potatoes, all ready to put on the table.  In addition, there are hot entrees ready to go — rotisserie chickens, pizza slices, sesame chicken, macaroni and cheese, meat loaf, etc.  Some of the large grocery stores also offer a service by “personal shoppers;” these shoppers are employees whose job it is to do the grocery shopping for people who can no longer get to the store themselves. These customers submit lists of what they need and the shoppers gather all the items into carts, bag them up and send the groceries to the people’s homes in a van.

If not to the front door, then foods may be brought to the neighborhood, such as the farmers’ markets that are wildly popular — at least in the Midwestern part of the United States.  We have a huge farmers’ market here during spring, summer and fall, all around the capitol square on every Saturday morning.  And there are smaller neighborhood Farmers’ Markets as well on other days of the week.

This past summer, somebody organized a weekly Food Carts night in our neighborhood park, just two blocks away from our house — another alternative to cooking the evening meal.

Recently, friends of mine told me about a “fresh ingredients and recipe delivery service” called the Blue Apron.  They have signed on for 3 recipes a week.  The Blue Apron has videos on line that offer instruction in the preparation of the recipes and the  recipes are never repeated in the same year.  The Blue Apron website declares that it “delivers everything you need to cook incredible meals at home.”

And now I’ve discovered that my son and daughter-in-law have signed on to a non-profit agency– Community Supported Agriculture —  that supports local farms by pairing up households with specific farms.  The farm owners deliver bags of fresh vegetables and fruit, and sometimes eggs, cheese or  herbs, to a household station for pickup weekly or biweekly during the growing season.  I have seen signs for CSA at pick-up points around the city.

All of this awareness of food and meal sources has led me to think about the time spent as rehabilitation occupational therapists, working with patients to help them function in an adapted kitchen — to enable them to prepare, cook and serve meals when they are discharged home.  Such a focus in therapy remains valued and needed, but information about other ways to go about getting a meal on the table can also be helpful and an eye-opener.  At the very least, we as occupational therapists need to be well informed about what all the options are in our home territory. We want to be able to appropriately provide information and guidance on the best way for each person with whom we work to put food on the table when he or she goes back home to resume life in the community.

From Standing Balance to Shooting a Rifle

ResearchGate is a network that seeks to connect researchers around the world by posting information about others who share your interests, who cite your research, who follow your work. etc. I’m not very skilled at using the network, but sometimes I am able to track down the connections that are offered.

So, now hear this:

In 1975, I published my master’s degree study in the Journal of Gerontology, 30(6), 661-667, “Aging and Postural Sway in Women.” It was a study comparing postural sway in 2 groups of women — young adults and older adults.  I was interested in aging and the central nervous system and falls in older people.

Well, recently ResearchGate sent me information about a study done by a group of researchers from Belgium and Italy in which my 1975 publication was cited. I was a little startled to find that my findings were serving as a resource for recent research on standing balance as related to shooting performance. Shooting — as in shooting a rifle.  More specifically, body recoil when shooting.

The melding of these two research areas of interest — standing balance in aging women and standing balance in rifle shooting — made me think about how interconnected our world is today,  Like, how everything is related to everything.  And how my master’s thesis study, innocently carried out some 40 years ago in the photo lab of the Women’s Physical Education building at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is contributing to current research on the body’s recoil when shooting a rifle.

Just saying …………

Scataglini, S., et al. (2018).  Assessment of human balance due to recoil destabilization using smart clothing.  Advances in Physical Ergonomics and Human Factors.  DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-60825-9_20