Monthly Archives: January 2013

10 Healthy Habits

First of all, I don’t like articles on the top XX reasons for anything.  We are all so different and what works for one is not going to work for another.  Be that as it may, I found an article yesterday on the top 10 healthy habits to try in a week.  Here they are … see if anything fits for you:
Exercise 150 minutes this week:  They (who are they again?) say that it doesn’t matter how you divide the time, just work out for 150 minutes in a week.  That works for me.  That means I can cram it all into a couple of days and sleep in the rest of the time!
Cook dinner every night:  NO WAY.  This may be healthy based on caloric intake but I am here to tell you that it will not be healthy for my psyche or my children.
Make a water goal to hit every day: This article says I need 91 ounces or 2.7 liters of water a day.  Are you kidding me?  I am in the bathroom more than 1/2 of my awake hours.  I’m going to add to that.  Not happening, I don’t care how healthy they say it will make me.
Drink green tea:  Ok.  This is reasonable.  It will boost my metabolism and fight disease?  I’m in.
Eat a healthy breakfast every day:  Now that I am trying that gluten-free thing, I can handle this.  But, once a week I need to have those waffles!
Stretch:  Does it count when I have to reach across the table for the syrup or butter?  How about when I bend down to clean the floor after my kids have eaten.  I think I get this on a daily basis without even thinking!
Eat a salad every day for lunch:  This would be a great idea if I had the time or energy to make a salad every day.  Can I count the lettuce on my sandwich?
Take a break:  To all those moms out there … “yea right!”
Say no to empty drink calories:  Shoot.  That’s my wine, my juice, my extras in my fancy coffee?  See water above.
Get more sleep: This is the best one.  It tells you to get more sleep to give you more energy, boos your immune system and helps you lose weight.  Then it sends you to another website, “20 simple ways to get better sleep.”  If I have to go to one more web site, then clearly, this is not going to go well!
Have a great day!

Just when you think you are headed right … you are forced to turn left. (no political pun intended)

You can’t have a silver lining without the experience of the dark clouds. Many times in my life, and again most recently, I thought I was heading in one direction and then realized that I might be heading another direction, albeit unintended.  Sometimes I find myself focused on the dark cloud of the change but I should focus on the fact that I will eventually find the silver lining around the cloud.

These are no bad turns or forks in the road. There are simply turns, changes, adjustments.  These are elements of life.  All of us experience change. In fact, change happens regularly. Some people consider it a challenge and embrace it by looking forward to what is ahead.  Others (like me!) resist change because we are comfortable and secure with things the way they are.

Yesterday, I was having lunch with a friend when something came up that shocked both of us – quite simply we realized that there was a deep issue between us.  At first I wasn’t sure what to do. I could see how big it was and I began to immediately worry about how to analyze and fix it. I got scared, angry and defensive.  He did the same.  I let all my tapes play so loudly that I’m surprised I’m not deaf!  I ran to my ever beautiful cave.

Yet, when I sat back afterwards and just allowed his words to float in front of me, I realized that we are all good at pushing “issues” in our caves, closets or out the door.  But those issues come back (usually sideways instead of straight forward).  And, regardless of the outcome, talking about it will eventually bring the silver lining of compassion and  a new understanding of the person or possibly a new direction.  Of course, some things just are going to hang there and it’s better to at least lovingly acknowledge those issues (if they can’t be discussed) rather than stuffing them in a closet.

Good things often come from the challenges we face. When you focus on those challenges you are less likely to get swamped by the darkness of anger, frustration and confusion. When things in life become fearful or they push the play button on your tape player, you can ground yourself by being very clear about who you are, your strengths, weaknesses and priorities in life — With the clear understanding that you are not perfect nor is your partner, child or friend.

These things happen for a reason.  Usually to force us to obtain more clarity about ourselves (critical) and others.  So, rather than focus on fear and anger, I’ve decided to focus on the silver lining.  There’s a plan, a reason why this issue came up, a reason why we both stumbled (badly) in the discussion.   I am going to learn from this.  I am going to keep my eye out for the silver lining!  I know it’s there.  It always is.

Have a great day!

I am not a lover of those big box grocery stores …

We all love deals. This is especially true when it comes to grocery shopping (certainly when you have teenage boys).  Plus, the idea of clipping, saving and actually finding any coupons in my purse is a pipe dream.  The megastores (you know what I am talking about) make you think you’re saving money by buying in bulk, but are you really getting a deal?

From my limited knowledge about this bulk-food thing, I think it’s a mixed bag (pun intended).  Some items clearly seem worth it.  Others, not.  Frankly, while I am a frequent shopper, I don’t have time to comparison shop and if I am shopping for an item, I will just buy it rather than waiting for the next store.  Here’s my opinion on the megastore/big box deals:

Produce: We do eat lettuce but buying six heads of lettuce at one time?  They will rot before we get through one head.  Not a deal.

Condiments: There is absolutely no way that a family can use one of those ketchup bottles before it expires.  And, if you can, I am in awe of you!

Milk:  Short of having a cow hanging out in our garage, this is a good deal as we go through milk like it’s water.

Eggs: We do not host omelet parties and do not throw them at cars, so this is not a deal for us  … they expire too quickly.

Meat:  Really? Can anyone eat a whole salmon in one sitting?  Who are these people who buy this stuff and where are they storing it?

Candy and Gum:  Now you’re talking!  This is right up my alley – we can’t keep candy or gum in the house long enough to go bad.  Yea!

Paper Products:  For a family where it seems like the bathroom doors are constantly closed (with someone in there), we just can’t get enough toilet paper.  I am buying tons!

So, while I am not in love with these megastores, with the fluorescent lights, lack of carpet and no grocery bags, I have been known to make an appearance and walk out with a few bags of dried fruit, beef sticks and candy.  I heard they have swim goggles too (geeze, they have everything!).  I think I might swing by for some and pick up a bag of mangos along the way!

Have a great day!

What’s the deal with lying?

The dreaded question: “Do these pants make me look fat?”  What’s he to say to that one?  Should he lie about what he really thinks?  Should he tell you the full truth (even if he thinks they do make you look fat)?  Or, should he say something in between?

Given the Lance Armstrong “confession” I’ve been thinking about this issue.  It did give me a foray into the discussion with my kids but they asked questions that I struggled to answer.  We all tell white lies, but when we do, are we being irresponsible?  We tell lies about the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause. to encourage our kids imagination – but they are still lies.

What about the other “little” lies.  Like telling your boss that you have to leave early for an appointment and you really are going to a soccer game.  Or what about the many (I’d rather not call them lies, I would rather call them protection-statements) … protection statements I’ve made to my kids about when I had my first drink, my first kiss, etc.  Plus, I realize that I’ve even encouraged my kids to “lie”  by suggesting, for example, that they tell a relative that they loved a gift that maybe they didn’t love!

Thankfully (for my current level of guilt), there are studies that say small white lies are ok (I feel weird even typing this).  They are called “pro-social” lies and they help kids develop sympathy and empathy, both of which are important aspects of a child’s development.  Yet, I am still struggling with when a white lie is not longer white.  I watch some politicians tell lies and I am struck by how much they believe their own statements.  I depose people who tell lies that have really become their own personal truth (this is part of my profession that I don’t like).

Here’s an illustration of my point:

A man who loses his bike outside his synagogue, goes to his rabbi for advice. “Next week come to services, sit in the front row,” the rabbi tells the man, “and when we recite the Ten Commandments, turn around and look at the people behind you. When we get to ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ see who can’t look you in the eyes. That’s your thief.” After the next service, the rabbi is curious to learn about the advice and asked the man if it worked. “Like a charm,” the man answers. “The moment we got to ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery,’ I remembered where I left my bike.”

Funny, sort of, but what does it tell us?  How can we expect honesty when we are doing things that we shouldn’t do? This is the $64,000 question.  We will never be able to stop people from lying. The thing we can do is focus on ourselves and our own internal code of conduct, which must be in order so we can each make our world a better – more truthful – place.

Have a great day!

Ten Things Better Than Money

Inc.com had a short article recently talking about a Gallup poll.  The poll itself was interesting.  However, the article laid out 10 things that can bring happiness – other than money.  Shocking, right?!  Here’s a portion of the article:

1. Life

It’s easy to forget that the mere fact of conscious existence–that you are alive–is itself a miracle. As the old saying goes “every day above ground is a good day.”

2. Health

Rather than thinking of illness as something bad that happens to you, start thinking of health as something good that’s happening to you.

3. Purpose

There is nothing more conducive to long-term happiness than knowing that your actions are making the world a better place.

4. Friendship

Almost everyone has friends, although it’s easy to lose track of them in the rush of events. Take a few minutes–today–to reconnect with some of them.

5. Family

If you’ve got a good relationship with your family, rejoice! You’re experiencing one of the deepest sources of happiness on the planet.

6. Self-reliance

Feeling secure that you can count on yourself to accomplish what you set out to accomplish creates a quiet but potent happiness.

7. Community

Having the support of a wider group makes you more aware that you’re part of something greater than yourself.

8. Gratitude

Rather than focusing on what you don’t have or what’s out of reach, be thankful for the wonderful things already in your life.

9. Laughter

It is impossible to laugh and be miserable at the same time. Regular doses of laughter are more than medicine… it’s the flavor of life.

10. Love

Enough said.

I think it is safe to say that these are fair game for all of us.  I’ve printed this out and put it on the refrigerator just in case someone in my house needs a reminder!
Have a great day!

This is what I did while I listened to the reasons for our flight delay.

So, I realized that when the pilot told us the plane’s engine had broken into little pieces, we were clearly not going to get very far on this plane.  I also realized that there was probably a long list of “reasons” for flight delays – which, I’ve decided is likely to be funny (but for another blog).  Instead, as I sat there on the plane I decided to create a list of words to give you a birdseye view into the definition of “my world.” 

Acrasia – Lack of self-control; when you act against your better judgment.  I would suggest that this is occurring on a frequent basis in my house with three teenagers and a mom going through menopause.

Accismus – When you pretend to be not interested in something or someone, when you really are interested.  This is how teens behave on a consistent basis.  This is how I behave while I listen to their “private” conversations.

Autophoby – The fear of using the pronouns “I” or “Me.” A good example is Elmo of Sesame Street.  He never says those pronouns and I want to go back to those Elmo years!

 Epagomenic – This is when you notice or celebrate something that’s not on the calendar.   Like the Hallmark holidays.  They are  holidays that are not (or shouldn’t be) printed on calendars.  This is simply a way for a company to make money and for significant others to get in trouble when they miss said holiday.

Kakistocracy – A government that’s run by its worst citizens.  That my friends, is my household.
Mungo – A person who retrieves valuables from the garbage. Today we call them a dumpster diver.  Some people call them pets.
Nihilarian – A person who deals with things of no importance. I want that job.  No, really.  I want this job.
Nudiustertian – It means the day before yesterday. This is a great word. My kids use it when they are trying to confuse me about when (or whether) they practiced their instruments.
Petrichor  –  After a dry spell, this is the nice smell that comes after it finally rains.  Perfect word to think about during this freaking cold snap.
Pregustator – A person whose job it is to taste meats and drinks before serving them.  This could again be your pet or maybe your spouse (no judgement here).
Rawky – Foggy, damp and cold.  Isn’t this just a perfect word?  I sometimes feel this way when I wake up, walk into the kitchen and realize that I was up in the middle of the night eating.
Testudineous – To be as slow as a tortoise.  This is what happens to my speedy children when I say one of the following: “Time to do homework.” Or “Time to do the laundry.” This is not what happens when I say, “Time to go to SmashBurger.”
I have many more, but that’s all for today!  Have a great day!

Sorry SIRI – we’re going to pay a little less attention to you.

Lately I have been distracted.  Well, let me say this … I allow myself to be distracted.   Yesterday I was walking back to my office, from getting a cup of coffee, and I was doing what 99.9% of all people do in this world … I was emailing on my phone – while I was walking.  I was completely looking down and ignoring the world around me.  Great, right?

As you might expect, I bumped right into someone.  I began apologizing before I even looked up.  When I did look up, he said, “Hi Jessica.”  I was shocked –  it was someone from my teen years.

I wasn’t in a hurry and neither was he so we moved over toward the wall to chat a bit.  We joked about how geeky we were in school, I reminded him that I was dead last in every race and that I became a cheerleader to avoid sports.  He said that he remembered me as the girl who was always happy and talked with her hands (nice, right!).

The point I want to make here is not how weird I was as a kid (I was weird) but to remind us all to pay attention.  I would have missed this guy because I was looking at my phone, not up at the world around me.  Not that anything big came of the meeting – but it’s one of life’s niceties … seeing and talking to people.

I notice that in the grocery store now so many people pull their phone out instead of talking to the check out person.  At one of my favorite stores, there’s a guy who bags the groceries and is always singing while he’s doing it … out loud!  I can’t tell you how many people ignore him – don’t even acknowledge him.  I love it and remind him of it every time I see him (he really does have a great voice!)

Maybe I am rambling today.  But I’ve got to tell you that in the last few days, I’ve had so many nice little experiences because I decided put my phone away, make more eye-contact with people and just plain pay attention to my surroundings.

So today, just for one day, put down your phone and talk to the people around you or just make eye-contact and smile!  You can’t imagine how many cool things will happen.

Have a great day!