Latest Posts

Fandamonium: Is it good for us?

Fall means football. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit this, but I love it. Especially the Green Bay Packers. Yup, I’m a Cheesehead. I love watching Aaron Rodgers stay cool under pressure and throw a perfectly placed ball to a receiver who manages to hurl his beefy body into space, grab the ball, and come down with his feet in bounds while another equally beefy boy’s only job is to knock him down out of bounds. How can I like this brutal sport? Of course I don’t like the injuries but if I’m going to watch it, along with 64% of Americans I might add, I have to admit that brutality is part of the game. I feel sheepish again and yet I know what I’ll be doing this Sunday. Whether it’s football, baseball, soccer, or any one of many sports, we love our teams. And science shows it’s mostly good for us. Continue reading…

Is Complaining Always Bad?

Nope, it’s not always bad. There may be times when you complain but in reality you have a genuine concern that needs attention. In that case, complaining is more like an appetizer, not the main meal. You may need support, or the listener’s thoughts on the matter, or perhaps even their advice. There are also times when you need to complain in order to get action on something. This is complaining in the service of change.

Other days you may just need to kvetch. Although this has become almost illegal among the super positive, highly motivated crowd, I personally am fine with a little collaborative complaining. It can be fun and cathartic to share the injustices or annoyances of the day with a friend, however, there need to be some guidelines or you risk becoming a grumpy grouser that makes people want to stuff socks in your mouth. Continue reading…

Halloween: Fantasy Fun                                                                “lobster and chef”

It’s October and that means Halloween is just a few short weeks away. It falls on a Friday this year which portends more parties than usual so perhaps you’re thinking about costumes. In our consumer culture Halloween has become a massive spending orgy. A survey from 2013 showed that Americans spent $1.04 billion on kids costumes, $1.22 billion on adult costumes, and $330 million on their pets. And that’s just the costumes. In spite of the fact that I think we spend too much money on unnecessary plastic objects and other trendy junk, I’m going to be a total hypocrite in this case because I love Halloween. Who wouldn’t love a holiday that involves play acting, candy and very little family drama? Besides I need a break from ISIS, Ebola, and miscellaneous mayhem.  Continue reading…

Daily Hassles Got You Down? Five Strategies to Reduce Reactivity


It had been a bad day. Well actually the whole week had sucked. So at the end of a nasty ass day I went home eagerly anticipating some down time – my couch, a movie and a little peace and quiet. I got home, reached for the remote, pressed on, and NO TV. Cable, yes. DVD player, yes. TV? No. I fell apart. Full on fight or flight. Adrenaline and cortisol flooded my system. I felt over-the-top frustrated and started spewing. Dock workers at the shipyard would have covered their ears at the language that was coming out of my mouth. Then I felt like crying.

Over reaction? Well duh, of course. Believe me, I get it. I know that not being able to watch TV is no big deal in the overall scheme of life. But it was the last straw. I couldn’t cope with one more thing. Ironically, if it had been a big crisis I would have been better equipped to deal with it. When faced with a major life event, or urgent situation, everything else comes to a halt. We pull out all the coping resources we have and let everything else go. We take action. But it’s the little things that will bring us to our knees.

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Listening 101: 5 Simple Skills You Really Need

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

What do many dogs and therapists have in common? They listen. They cock their head and look at you when you’re talking. They don’t interrupt. They attend. Hopefully therapists will have a better understanding of your words and dogs will have cuter ears but they both listen which is more than you can say about lots of people.

Are you a good listener? Listening is harder than you think. Many of us listen to persuade or we make it about us in some way. Or we’re not really attentive at all. And it’s especially difficult if you have an emotional reaction to what you’re hearing. Read on for the basic skills of listening 101: Continue reading…

Aging: What’s so bad about it?

     “Twenty-three is old. It’s almost 25, which is like almost mid-20s.” ― Jessica Simpson

Am I old? Well, if 23 is old, I should be dead but I don’t think I am. So far so good. So what IS old? It’s a slippery concept. If you’re really young, like just learned to read, you’d probably agree with the United Nations which generally uses 60+ to refer to the “older” population. But if you’re 60, you’d probably agree with Bill Crosby who said “old is always fifteen years from now.” Researchers differentiate the “young-old,” roughly 65-75, from the “old-old,” all the others. However you define it, aging seems to cause many people a lot of stress and probably, premature aging. A change in perspective can reduce stress so let’s reframe this whole aging thing.
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Feeling Poorly? Time to belly up to your bacteria.

The past couple years I’ve been experiencing some symptoms that you don’t discuss in polite company. They have to do with my GI system and let’s just say I really increased the sales of Charmin. Those symptoms led me to read in areas I usually don’t and try alterations to my diet that I normally wouldn’t. Along the way I learned quite a bit about my little friends within. Don’t be disgusted, you have them too. They’re part of our second brain. And no, it’s not in the penis, it’s in our gut.  Continue reading…

Holy crap, is the world as bad as it seems?

The recent beheading on YouTube of U.S. journalist James Foley was so grotesquely horrifying I couldn’t begin to make sense of it. I immediately recalled the beheading of another U.S. journalist, Daniel Pearl, in 2002. Just thinking about these terrible deaths led me to conclude the world is going to hell in a hand basket as my grandmother used to say. There’s death and destruction, murder and mayhem everywhere. Whatever happened to the “good old days?” Is the world coming to an end or do I need to keep saving for retirement?                              Ann Boleyn before she lost her head

Maybe the good old days weren’t actually that great. We’re appalled by the beheading of James Foley but between 1076 and 1697, 159 people were beheaded in England alone. Two of those were wives of Henry VIII. At least today most people separate from a spouse by divorce rather than separating their spouse from their head. Continue reading…

Six Life Lessons

Peter Kramer / NBC

Peter Kramer / NBC

Al Roker turned 60. I know this because while slurping coffee and trying to pry my eyes open the other morning, I checked the Today show to make sure the world was still in existence. It was. And there was Al smiling and sharing his 6 lessons for 6 decades.

Being of a similar age and with a birthday on the horizon, I wondered what my lessons have been. Here’s what came to mind and what I need to keep mindful of: Continue reading…

“Nice” is not a dirty word


I’ve become increasingly alarmed at how little nice behavior I see around me. Of course there are the news stories of national or global atrocities that show people being anything but nice to each other. I seriously doubt the suicide bomber at the cafe said excuse me before blowing everyone to teeny bits. But I’m actually thinking about my own little corner of the world where I see people with scowling faces and short fuses being demanding and downright obnoxious. People who don’t get off their cell phones in check out lines to acknowledge a fellow human being is helping them. Drivers who won’t let you merge or worse who drive with full on road rage. (People please, commuting does not have to be a competitive sport.) A general lack of niceness is everywhere or as writer Amy Alkon put it, I See Rude People.  Continue reading…