Saturday, June 30, 2018

Taking Care of Life

I hung and rearranged curtains and Bill dug out weeds. Then I steamed corn and kale and carrots. Sometimes the most fun is taking care of your life.

Summer Cravings for Hot Spicy and Vinegary


Heat Blizzard

My husband would rather be out there clipping and attacking the overgrown garden weeds than going to the gym. I get it. But I'd rather hide from the heat blizzard altogether by being indoors near the fan.

Old Shirt becomes New Dress


Heat Wave

I'm not sure if it's just my mood but I love to hang my wet laundry out on the line when there's a heat wave. Today I washed all four dog bed covers and my regular laundry. The heat makes me want to clean.

Cultivating Oxygen

Our yard is a jungle. I've decided rather than apologize I am telling myself that we are cultivating and generating oxygen.


Last night during music in the park I said hello to a few of our public officials. The fire chief gave me a hug. "You smell like smoke," I said, "but not like a house fire, like a delicious hardwood BBQ. It's your cologne. Do have a shelf of colognes at home labeled dumpster fire, barbecue, brush fire?"

Patting his Head, Licking his Ear

As families become more fractured and distant, and many use Facebook and email to communicate instead of picking up the phone, our pets increasingly fill the gap, and I can see that this might not always be entirely healthy. Could I be neglecting my long-suffering boyfriend? Perhaps our relationship would be more loving and closer if I preferred to sleep with him rather than our dogs?

“Darling, would you like it if we slept together, without the dogs?” I purr, patting his head affectionately and licking his ear. “No, I like it the way it is,” he retorts.

Dog in Bed

Streamlined and Efficent

adjective: efficient

(especially of a system or machine) achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.
"fluorescent lamps are efficient at converting electricity into light"
(of a person) working in a well-organized and competent way.
"an efficient administrator"
synonyms: organized, methodical, systematic, logical, orderly, businesslike, streamlined, productive, effective, cost-effective, labor-saving More
"efficient techniques"
competent, capable, able, proficient, adept, skillful, skilled, effective, productive, organized, businesslike
"an efficient secretary"
antonyms: disorganized, incompetent
preventing the wasteful use of a particular resource.
suffix: -efficient
"an energy-efficient heating system"


I am no gardener but I would like to grow some basil and tomatoes!

Rock Climbing

I had to wake up at 6 a.m. and go rock climbing.

I learned the basics of rock climbing in two days. I went back the weekend after that. I’ve been hooked ever since.

My skills, such as they are, developed through countless belays up difficult climbs. I never thought of climbing as something to take seriously or something to be studied. I saw it as a stress reliever, a way to laugh, play, and hang with a bunch of people who like to push their limits.

Then I had a climbing lesson with my new boss. She looked over my technique and gave me a few tips and exercises.

Instead of forcing my way up the wall, she suggested, I could use my strength more efficiently. In climbing, it is so easy to use your arms to rip yourself up crimpy holds and feel accomplished. It is another thing to have the efficiency, intelligence, and endurance to climb effortlessly.

My boss once won a competition for who could climb up an intermediate (5.9) route the most number of times. The two guys in the competition climbed it 40 to 50 times. She did the same route 150 times in a row by eliminating extraneous body movements. The only reason she stopped was because she had to pick up her mom from the airport.

For the first time in my climbing career, I began to trust the opinion of someone who knew exactly what they were doing. In the past, I’d brush off advice because, “I’m just doing this for fun.” Now climbing cleaner is my new kind of fun.

As someone living with bipolar, I have discovered in myself an incredible ability to survive emotional upheaval. Still, I would rather not exercise that ability on a daily basis. “Living cleaner” comes by trusting those around you.


From a Dusty Jail Cell to a Colorful Playground

The strength that truly loving and supportive people give me…is greater than anything I could conjure on my own.

For most of my life, I was ruled by expectations about what I was supposed to do or who I was supposed to be. One of the biggest changes I’ve made on my healing journey is to stop worrying so much about what others think of me, or even what I think of myself.

That attitude transformed my life from a dusty jail cell to a colorful playground. It led to sharing my writing, running my first marathon, and everything else I do these days. As a result, I have been significantly happier.


Early Morning Walk

I woke up early 6:AM and took Romeo out for a walk at 6:30. After a day full of people I needed a long stretch of quiet space. The air was cool and the world was still asleep. I walked along the shadow side of the street onto the newly poured sidewalks in Blackstone. I saw three long-haired double pawed pregnant Persian cats in cages in the State Line Fire Extinguishers shop window. One was all black and loose in the store meowing at me against the picture window. The big oak tree at Saint Teresas has been cut down and the remaining tall trunk looks like Venus de Milo. I passed the tiny light blue Quonset hut house. Half a dozen car engines were piled up in the backyard. I kept walking admiring people's compact gardens, flags, furniture, grills, umbrellas and flowering annuals. Jackie has 6 pots of basil and 4 pots of lavender on her front porch. I found a small heavy steel ball with threaded end. This seems important, I thought so I carried it. I found a bottle of water and gave water to Romeo by cupping it in my hand. He drank it up! When picking up trash, I found an unopened package of SUNMAID RAISINS. I rinsed the dirt off the package with the water and carried them in my pouch. The gods are giving me water and sugar. This means I can keep walking all the way to the river. When we got to the shoreline I found a curvy stick. I threw it into the river. Romeo could easily see the bumps and swam out after it and then returned dropping it at my feet. I threw it a bunch of times. On my way home I picked an albino raspberry and a red one hanging on a fence and popped it in my mouth. I arrived home at 9:30 AM. My husband admired the metal ball. "That's for towing a trailer," he said. "I had a feeling it was important," I replied. "That's why I towed it home."

Friday, June 29, 2018

My Husband the Genius

Flip Turn

Last night I showed a tall Indian man how to do a flip turn. He learned it in 3 tries!

Male Self Pardon: Apology Culture


Women are simply exhausted from being insincerely managed.

This is why fixing our apology culture matters. Moving as it can be to watch men move past the things they’ve done, it usually feels redemptive because we don’t have to see the people they did things to. That’s not the case anymore. We all need ways to heal and be healed. Forgiveness may take a while; it may not come at all. But a reckoning can’t begin and end with the self.

Pallas Hupé Cotter

It's becoming ever more clear how much we try to zone out in our society: with alcohol, or drugs, or food, or screen time or digital devices. I'm as guilty as the next person of not wanting to face up to difficult emotions or of sometimes feeling trapped and craving ways to escape. I've had some marathon box-set binges.
-Pallas Hupé Cotter

Shadow Hunter

I woke up from a deep sleep this morning when I heard bunch of kids in my backyard. I turned off the fan and looked out the window. I saw six kids and an adult. They were in the parking lot next door. It was 3:30 AM.

This morning at 6AM I spotted a baby red-tailed hawk on top of the telephone pole in front of EA Marcoux and Sons. I watched him for a while as he was being heckled by a black starling. Romeo and I continued walking. I admired the shadows. I especially love the shadows cast from fire escapes and clapboards.

My cotton Pepin Lumber nailing apron was strapped around my hips filled with my keys, asthma inhaler and a stash of poop bags and my coffee thermos.

My long shadow makes me look like a tall slender cowboy with my straw hat. Romeo is my miniature horse and the leash looped around looks like reins.

I ran into Roger napping on his knapsack in front of Rite Aid, waiting for the store to open. We got talking as usual. He saw my fist full of trash.
"My obsession," I confessed.
"Let me take that from you," He said. "We need more trash bins downtown and more benches for the elderly and more concerts in the park." I agree.
"Write a note to the Mayor. You have great ideas," I said waving goodbye. "It's already too hot, I have to get to the shade."

The hawk and the heckler were still up there as Romeo were finishing our walk.

When I got home I turned on the AC in the office and replaced two 23 year old curtains and hung up the beautiful heavy cotton yellow checked ones made by my mother-in-law, salvaged when she moved out of her house. They still smell perfumed from her liquid laundry soap.

Thursday, June 28, 2018


“No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich.”
― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

“In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.”
― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success


“Achievement is talent plus preparation.”
― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

“Insight is not a lightbulb that goes off inside our heads. It is a flickering candle that can easily be snuffed out.”
― Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Emotional Energy

“To be someone's best friend requires a minimum investment of time. More than that, though, it takes emotional energy. Caring about someone deeply is exhausting.”
― Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference


“We live in a world that assumes that the quality of a decision is directly related to the time and effort that went into making it...We believe that we are always better off gathering as much information as possible an depending as much time as possible in deliberation. We really only trust conscious decision making. But there are moments, particularly in times of stress, when haste does not make waste, when our snap judgments and first impressions can offer a much better means of making sense of the world. The first task of Blink is to convince you of a simple fact: decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately.”
― Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking


“In the act of tearing something apart, you lose its meaning.”
― Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

“Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning. Once it does, it becomes the kind of thing that makes you grab your wife around the waist and dance a jig.”
― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

“Courage is not something that you already have that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover they aren’t so tough after all.”
― Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

Engage You

“Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else's head.”
― Malcolm Gladwell, What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures

Malcom Gladwell

“It's not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It's whether or not our work fulfills us. Being a teacher is meaningful.”
― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

Gehry In his Own Words

Gehry: . . . I think people are better educated about architecture in Europe. . . . If you’re rejected in Europe, you’re rejected intelligently. Here, you’re rejected because people are scared.

Frank Gehry in His Own Words

[Excerpted from The Gehry Towers Over Eisenhower: The National Civic Art Society Report on Frank Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial by Justin Shubow.]

Among contemporary famous architects, Frank Gehry is to be commended for being unusually frank about his philosophy of design, his motivations, and his strengths and weaknesses. Below are some relevant quotations from him. We would be interested to see whether he said anything like this in his statement of design philosophy in the Memorial “competition.” All emphasis is added unless noted otherwise.

Frank Gehry

For me, every day is a new thing. I approach each project with a new insecurity, almost like the first project I ever did. And I get the sweats. I go in and start working, I'm not sure where I'm going. If I knew where I was going I wouldn't do it.
Frank Gehry

There is a backlash against me and everyone who has done buildings that have movement and feeling.
Frank Gehry

There is a backlash against me and everyone who has done buildings that have movement and feeling.
Frank Gehry

Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.
Frank Gehry

The game is if the orchestra can hear each other, they play better. If they play better and there's a tangible feeling between the orchestra and the audience, if they feel each other, the audience responds and the orchestra feels it.
Frank Gehry

A well-designed home has to be very comfortable. I can't stand the aesthetes, the minimal thing. I can't live that way. My home has to be filled with stuff - mostly paintings, sculpture, my fish lamps, cardboard furniture, lots of books.
Frank Gehry

Fatoumata Diawara - Bissa

Fatoumata Diawara - Bissa

Swimmer's Body

Martha Graham

“To me, the body says what words cannot. I believe that dance was the first art.”
― Martha Graham

“The body never lies."
Martha Graham”
― Martha Graham, Blood Memory

“I never set out to create a technique. I started out on the floor to find myself, to find what the body could do, and what would give me satisfaction - emotionally, dramatically and bodily. But I did not ever dream of establishing a technique. I still can't believe anything like that happened.”
― Martha Graham

“Dancing is very like poetry.”
― Martha Graham

to Keep the Channel Open

“It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”
― Martha Graham

An Athlete of God

“I am a dancer. I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living.... In each it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one's being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God.”
― Martha Graham


“Think of the magic of the foot, comparatively small, upon which your whole weight rests. It's a miracle and the dance is a celebration of that miracle.”
― Martha Graham

Go Forward

“Looking at the past is like lolling in a rocking chair. It is so relaxing and you can rock back and forth on the porch, and never go forward. ”
― Martha Graham, Blood Memory


“Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery.”
― Martha Graham

None of Your Business

“What people in the world think of you is really none of your business.”
― Martha Graham


“I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one's being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes, in some area, an athlete of God. Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.”
― Martha Graham

“All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.”
― Martha Graham

A Blessed Unrest that Keeps us Marching

“The unique must be fulfilled.”
― Martha Graham

“No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
― Martha Graham

“I feel that the essence of dance is the expression of man--the landscape of his soul. I hope that every dance I do reveals something of myself or some wonderful thing a human can be.”
― Martha Graham, Blood Memory

“No artist is ahead of his time. He is the time. It is just that others are behind the time.”
― Martha Graham

“Dancers are the messengers of the gods.”
― Martha Graham

“You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost.”
― Martha Graham

Yes We Can

“Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can.”
― Martha Graham

Beloved Body Barometer

I read memoirs of athletes and dancers. My body is the center of my truth and sanity. I walk, I dance I swim to find my way in this life. Some of my relatives feel this way and some do not. I consider it vital to who I am. Beloved Body Barometer.

Martha Graham

Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body.
― Martha Graham

Movement never lies. It is a barometer telling the state of the soul's weather to all who can read it.
― Martha Graham

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”
― Martha Graham

“Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.”
― Martha Graham

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others”
― Martha Graham

Fatoumata Diawara - Fatou (Album)


Know Thyself

The ancient Greeks had it right, inscribing over the Greek temple at Delphi: “Know thyself.”

Self-discovery is a powerful tool, especially when coming out of a dark chapter. It paves the way to a more authentic existence, one full of clarity and meaning about who you are, what you need and what you want.

Maybe the process starts by answering some questions: What tends to bring you joy? What could you do each morning to set a positive tone for the rest of the day? What do you wish others knew about you?

“Ask yourself: ‘What invitation—to greater wholeness, greater wellness—is life issuing to me today?’”

Romeo Cameo

Thunder and Lightning

Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain. Patchy fog before noon. High near 76. South wind 8 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.

Meditative Power of Swimming

‘There is nothing like swimming up a mist-covered river, as the sun comes up. The light is amazing and you feel totally connected to nature.’

For Anna Goldrein, an online travel journalist from London, it’s all about what she describes as the meditative quality of swimming. ‘It’s a very peaceful form of exercise,’ she says. ‘I have a busy job, surrounded by people all day long. Going for a swim enables me to switch off from everything. I’m not being told what to do, like in an aerobics class, and I’m not being bombarded by stimulation as I am for the rest of my day. It’s just me and my mind moving through the water, which is very liberating, and because swimming is so rhythmical, it’s like doing yoga in water.’

There’s another advantage of water exercise. When you’re working out in the gym, everyone can see you. But in a pool you become virtually invisible, so you’re not self-conscious.

Water is so much more than a simple medium for exercise. Alexander McQueen, the late fashion designer, was quoted in Vogue as being ‘happiest when he was scuba-diving’. Underwater, he could be like Peter Pan, untroubled by the issues that plagued him on dry land. It’s a sentiment that all swimmers and water babies can relate to.

Ruth Meyers: Minimal Lifestyle Helps Reduce Stress

How creating a minimal lifestyle helps reduce stress
Jul 19, 2016
/By: BMH Magazine Contributor
Ruth Myers is a professional counsellor in Sydney’s Blue Mountains. She has worked in a range of roles involving family support, mental health, trauma, early childhood and disaster recovery. She believes in identifying a person’s strenghts and and assists in creating personal change through the use of their own strengths and hopes.

She is a mother of two children who continually teach her about life; the joys as well as the challenges. She also continues to study in the field of Psychotherapy with a particular interest in loss and grief. She enjoys bushwalking, yoga, long drives and good coffee.

What Swimming Can Do For Your Mental Health…

What Swimming Can Do For Your Mental Health…
May 10, 2015
/By: BMH Magazine Edior

mental-benefits-of-swimmingGood mental health impacts just about every aspect of our lives. The way we deal with situations, such as stress, or manage physical conditions, such as chronic pain, can be improved significantly by maintaining good mental health. A big aspect of that is our physical health and wellbeing. Nutrition and physical activities are two aspects that we include in each issue of the magazine.

Many of us think of physical activity as something difficult or onerous. Going for a run or to the gym are fantastic but (if you’re anything like me) just too much like hard work. But it doesn’t have to be. A close friend of mine likes to swim. She prefers ocean swimming. An hour or so of swimming against waves in the open water is something she finds challenging physically and mentally. She was telling about it and I shook my head and admitted that it wasn’t for me. She laughed and said it didn’t have to be for me, but swimming even in the calm of a public pool is a great exercise.

She went on to ‘lecture’ me about all the benefits. Swimming is a great form of exercise. It’s good cardio and gets your heart going while being low impact so doesn’t cause physical strain on joints. It’s great for your muscles, heart and lungs. And it’s an all-over, full-body, complete workout that you can do at your own pace.

That’s all good. But swimming is also great for the mental health and wellbeing. It can be a relaxing and meditative exercise, it reduces stress (so long as you don’t have aquaphobia!), the weightlessness of water can have a calming effect on the mind, and it helps provide a distraction from life to improve mindfulness. And, for many people, it can be readily accessible without high gym fees or lots of equipment.

Swim Book: Track Your Workouts

Science: 5 Proven Reasons Tracking Your Workouts Will Make You a Faster Swimmer

Swimmers invest a lot into swimming well.

We shave our bodies (some more successfully than others). Obsess about how to beat the drag imposed on us by water. And of course, spend a hysterical amount of time staring at a black, unblinking line.

And yet, for most swimmers, if they spared a couple minutes each evening to sit down with pen and paper, they could maximize all that time spent in the water.

When it comes to swimming faster there are not many things as powerful and as motivating as the simple act of writing out your workouts.

Not only does it give you a powerful sense of accountability and ownership over your swimming, but it is also proven to ultimately help you swim faster. Which, if you are the kind of swimmer who enjoys going super fast, is right in your wheelhouse.

Here are 5 research-backed reasons that spending a couple minutes each evening after practice with your log book will help you become a faster swimmer:

5 Proven Reasons Tracking Your Workouts Will Make You a Faster Swimmer
1. Writing down your goals makes you more likely to achieve them.

Our goals tend to float along with the current of the rest of our thoughts.

One day we think we are invincible and can do everything, and as a result we visualize and think about how far our talent and dedication could take us. And yet the next, fresh from a setback or a bad swim practice, we sink back into low expectations and hopes.

Writing out your goal makes it more real. It yanks your goal from the ebb and flow of your mind and throws it into reality.

Research shows that those who write their goals down vs those who simply think about them are significantly more likely to achieve them. How much more? A stunning 42%.

Here’s how to make this knowledge work for you:

Write out your goals for the big meets of the year. Figure out what the splits have to look like. Place this prominently.
On Sunday night write out the goals you have for the week ahead. Attendance, effort, performing little extras after practice.
Have goals for each practice. Spend a couple minutes before each practice and write down 1-2 things to absolutely crush during that session.

Everybody thinks about the great things they’d like to accomplish.

But if you are serious about wanting to see them through the first step is in writing it out on paper in order to inspire some action.
2. You’re twice as likely to be successful.

If there is a way that doubled the likelihood of you being more consistent with the things you set out to do, you’d jump all over it, wouldn’t you? This is the power that journaling your workouts can have.

During a study of over 1,700 people at John Hopkins and Duke researchers found that the participants who recorded their daily food intake in a log lost twice the amount of weight compared to those that didn’t.

Which makes sense, when you think about it.
Ready to start a training journal? YourSwimBook is the best and most popular training journal for faster swimming. Designed by competitive swimmers, and used by programs like Auburn, NCAP, and more, it features a ten month log book, a full goal setting section, and a bonus mental training skills guide. Giddyup! Click here to learn more about how YourSwimBook will help you become a better swimmer.

If you are writing out your swim practices you are more likely to see the patterns and habits in your training, as well as your lifestyle outside of the pool.

It provides a measure of objectivity to our training that can only help us be more honest with ourselves about how hard we are actually working.
3. You’ll take responsibility for your swimming.

Oddly enough, the mere practice of tracking your workouts has the effect of making you want to take responsibility for your swimming. Knowing that you are going to have to write out your next swim practice later on is enough to make you want to give a better effort.

A meta-analysis of weight loss studies from 1993 to 2009 found that participants who were asked to self-monitor their eating and fitness regimen were more likely to exercise more. In other words, knowing that their behaviors and actions were being measured was enough to push them to give an honest effort.

Just from personal experience I cannot tell you how many times I have been mid-practice, struggling along at a C+ effort, when the very thought of having to write out a mediocre workout in my logbook nudged the effort dial up a bit.

The idea of disgracing my log book with an awful workout was often enough to salvage what was otherwise a waste of a swim.

Will tracking your workouts guarantee you A+ workouts every time you dive into the water?


But it will help turn enough of those D and C workouts into C+ and B workouts to make those couple minutes of logging totally worth it.
4. Planning your training makes you more likely to stick to it.

If you use a training log to its fullest, this means that you are setting (written!) goals for your training as well as the season.

Another way to supercharge your swimming goals is to affix a deadline.

For some swimmers this might be intimidating or imposing, but research has shown that when participants stated where and when they would complete a specific task they were more likely to complete it.

It’s easy to think and dream about the things we would love to do in order to improve in the water.

After all, these probably sound familiar:

One day I will start doing more core work. When I am up to it I’ll start doing extra dive work after practice. When I feel like it I will start kicking out to the 10m mark on all my push-offs.

Instead of wishy-washy goals sit down with your log book and write down when, where and how you are going to do the things you want to do.
5. It will give you regular and immediate motivation.

One of the most mentally challenging aspects of being a swimmer is the patience that is required to excel.

We train our brains out for a couple workouts and are disappointed when things don’t immediately improve.

We work hard for months on end, often getting slower in practice as the fatigue and work accumulates, creating a situation where we are creating gains but they are buried under levels of fatigue.

In these circumstances it is easy to see how we can get frustrated and disillusioned with the process.

After all, we live in a culture that demands instant gratification, so why should it be any different with our swimming?

Tracking your workouts in your log book from day to day gives you an immediate sense of gratification and comfort in knowing that you showed up, worked hard, and are staying true to the long term game plan.

The results are right there on paper for you to see and feel good about.

Seeing the work you have invested in the pool will help you feel confident, knowing that those big-time performances are coming.

Sure, these little motivational jolts might not be as deep as when you go a best time, but the momentum that comes from regular “small wins” builds up into a tidal wave of accumulated action and results.
The Takeaway

If you are serious about your swimming, you gotta be measuring it.

It’s as simple as that.

Our focus and energy will always be directed towards the things we track and measure, so sit down with your log book, write out some goals, track the biggies in your training, and unleash some faster swimming.
About YourSwimBook

YourSwimBookYourSwimBook is a log book and goal setting guide designed specifically for competitive swimmers.

It includes a ten month log book, comprehensive goal setting section, monthly evaluations to be filled out with your coach, and more.
It’s the ultimate mental training guide for swimmers, including 76 stacked pages of the latest research on goal setting, habit formation, motivation, staying focused, mastering self-talk, controlling anxiety levels, and everything in between.

Here are just some of the things that you will learn with the “Dominate the Pool” eBook:

How to create a routine and schedule for your swimming goals that you will actually stick to this time.

Find yourself getting too stressed out before big races? Try this quick and proven trick to getting yourself calm and focused on performing at your best.

Did you know that there is a very right and a very wrong way to set goals? (Fun fact: the right way has been shown to work twice as well.)

How this two-minute mental exercise each night will make you less stressed out and will even help you sleep better.

Discover the best practices of visualization so that you are doing more than just fantasizing about your goals, but actually turning them into reality.

Stop negative self-talk once and for all with these three powerful methods of turning your mental frown upside down.

How master the subtle art of the hardest part of doing anything tough…starting.

How doing this one thing can increase the likelihood of staying on track by 200-300%.

Worksheets that will help you put the information into practice so that you can take action on your goals immediately.

And so, so much more.

Strive for Balance

This is my goal.

Transmit Mode

When I go into transmit mode I think about making sourdough pancakes and waffles. I think about buying colorful cotton fabric and sewing blouses, napkins, skirts, tablecloths. But I never do it. I am easily distracted. I think about taking day trips preferably with my dog on ferry boats or to the ocean but it never happens. I feel cozy in my body and in my home and neighborhood. I walk my dog in other directions. I bake and cook and write and drink coffee and cocoa. I feel cozy and energized and hyperactive and lit up from within. Last time I went into transmit mode it was February and I blew off my swimming for 3 months and just baked and cooked and cleaned and walked and wrote and ate too much.

This time I hope to keep swimming and stay grounded and focused even if I swim earlier or later than in receive mode. "Just one lap!"

Last night I hung an old bed sheet behind the muslin curtains in the studio window to make a temporary thermal curtain for blocking out the afternoon sun. The night before I vacuumed the bedroom and washed the blankets and sheets. Taking care of things little bit at a time is the balanced way.


I was in a room with my swim friend Joanne with a view of the city street. I saw a crane drop a car on tree. Then it fell onto a flat roof and caught on fire. Then my flat roof caught fire and I picked up the phone to call the fire chief but there was a customer call coming in for my husband. I have to get you off the line, I need to call the fire department, I said.

Urban Jungle

My yard is an overgrown jungle! It's quite lovely because it is green and shady with a picnic table and umbrella. I haven't used it yet. The neighborhood cats are enjoying it as their own private sanctuary. If my dog roams free in the yard he eats cat poop and gets sick so we don't let him in. It's better for us both to walk around the city anyway.

Side Effects of a Mermaid

After swimming a mile I am always surprised that my neck is not 2 inches longer because I feel like a 6 foot tall ballerina!

Bakers Envy

This morning I saw my neighbor Lisa's two big clay pots of basil and I was envious. There's nothing like fresh basil. She has a green thumb and her front steps are covered with colorful annuals. I dream about plants but I continue to bake and cook and drink hot cocoa during summer months.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Cool Gray Windy Day

Today the felt like we live on the ocean versus an inland mill village.

Jerry Seinfeld

“I never saw someone ruin their entire career with one button push. That was fresh.”
- Jerry Seinfeld

Fear Factor


Currently she is homing in on how fear and anxiety interact in particular types of rats. The BNST, for example, is one of the few structures in the brain that is different for male and female rats. While most of her experiments so far have been done with male rats, Bauer is starting to look at female rats to see if they process fear and anxiety differently.

Most of her experiments to date have been conducted using adult animals. But Bauer is also examining differences in fear learning among adolescent rats. For humans, adolescence is often a time of increased stress as well as increased risk for developing anxiety or depression. Bauer has already shown that adolescent rats exposed to stressful situations are less able to extinguish fears than adult rats, which could possibly explain why adolescents are more susceptible to long-term anxiety than adults.

In continuing experiments like these, Bauer hopes to get us closer to an understanding of how our fears develop in the brain, ultimately providing some possible strategies for how we might better deal with them. “That could include new drugs or behavioral therapies to affect the brain’s fear-learning processes,” helping people conquer their fears and anxieties and live more productive lives.

Jennifer Finney Boylan Column

I was born in a country where people said, “I Like Ike.” I turned 60 in a country led by a man who doesn’t appear to like much of anything — excepting, of course, himself.

Who is to blame? In large measure, my generation.

Jennifer Finney Boylan (@JennyBoylan), a contributing opinion writer, is a professor of English at Barnard College of Columbia University and the author of the novel “Long Black Veil.” Her column appears on alternate Wednesdays.

Kathy Shaw

Measured Time has Immeasurable Space

The only way I can swim daily is to say...just do one lap....
and make it be the same time each day...
same is true for nearly everything I do...
schedule makes space

I knew, from having watched my father hack down the incredible amount of work he accomplished day by day and year by year, how supportive a routine is, how the spirit moves around freely in it as it does in a plain New England church. Routine is not a prison, but the way into freedom from time. The apparently measured time has immeasurable space within it, and in this it resembles music.
- May Sarton, Plant Dreaming Deep

Yoga for Swimmers


Teaching is Learning

Every time I share something I've learned I am both the teacher and the student at the same time.

Who Do You Work For?


Cultivating Awareness: Write it Down

I have a calendar in my kitchen to keep track of pet meds. I started jotting down my daily swim tallies on it. Now as we approach the end of the month, it's a sight to behold.

I started jotting down my daily meals and snacks and beverages on a memo pad since I have a tendency to have second and third helpings when I am in transmit-mode. Writing notes is my favorite tool for cultivating awareness.

Changing Habits

Reversing bad habits is possible if you keep a positive attitude, stay committed and focus on small, doable changes.

Big lifestyle changes take time, but keep at it. The mini successes you'll achieve along the way will be enough to keep you going, and the new habits that were challenging at first will start feeling more natural before you know it.


another article

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Chocolate Milk for Swimmers!

The Harlem Honeys and Bears

Members of the Harlem Honeys and Bears, a synchronized swim team for seniors, describe the freedom of the water and the creative wonders of staying vital dancing afloat together. The community, sensory expressiveness and pure fun of swimming together keep loneliness and isolation and other of the challenges that sometimes come with old age, at bay.
About the FIlmmaker

Veena Rao is a filmmaker “interested in revealing the extraordinary in the everyday.” She loves film “because it allows us to dream and empathize with each other.” Her films have screened internationally, been featured on The New York Times Op-Docs, The Atlantic, National Geographic, Vimeo’s Staff Picks, and have also been supported by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). She’s an alumna of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a member of Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective and New York Women in Film & Television.


What do you hope UnLonely Film Festival audiences, trying to make sense of loneliness and isolation and navigate a path forward, take from your film?

“I would hope viewers take away that joy can be found in activities one loves to do, with friends/peers who are part of the same team.”

Faulty Circuts or General Anxiety Disorder

What Are the Causes?

The genes passed down through a family may put some people at a higher risk for anxiety, but that's not the whole picture. Your background and experiences also matter. Brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, as well as a pair of structures inside the brain called the amygdalae, seem to be involved.

How Psychotherapy Helps

One kind of talk therapy is very effective in treating anxiety. It's called cognitive behavioral therapy. A counselor helps you identify your negative thoughts and actions. You may do homework, such as writing down the thoughts that lead to excess worry. You will also learn how to calm yourself.

Anti-Anxiety Medicine

Medicines may be part of your treatment plan. Some newer antidepressant drugs work well to lower anxiety. It may take about 4 weeks to feel better. Your doctor might prescribe a benzodiazepine during this time or for a short while. Some of these drugs carry a risk of dependence. Sometimes, older types of antidepressants can treat generalized anxiety disorder if your symptoms include depression or panic. Talk with your doctor about pros and cons.

Taking Care of Yourself

A few simple changes can help. Avoid caffeine, illegal drugs, and even some cold medicines, which can boost anxiety symptoms. Try to get enough rest and eat healthy foods. Use relaxation techniques, such as meditation. Also, exercise! Research shows that moderate physical activity (like a brisk walk) can be calming.

Herbal Remedies: Caution

If you are thinking about trying a supplement, talk to your doctor first to find out if it’s safe. Kava, for instance, has been reported to cause liver damage. St. John’s wort can affect other medicines, including antidepressants and birth control pills.

When It’s More Than Anxiety

People who have generalized anxiety disorder may also develop depression, alcoholism, or drug addiction. It's also common for people with GAD to have another anxiety disorder. These can include panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social phobia.

Panic Disorder

People with panic disorder have sudden attacks of terror. Symptoms can include a pounding heart, sweating, dizziness, nausea, or chest pain. You may think you're having a heart attack, dying, or losing your mind. It's one of the most treatable of all anxiety disorders.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Some people develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after living through a terrifying event. The symptoms include vivid flashbacks and a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. People may also have trouble being affectionate. They may feel irritable or even become violent. Treatments include medicine and counseling.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have troubling thoughts they can't control. They may feel that they need to repeat rituals, such as washing their hands or checking that the door is locked. They may get dressed in a certain order or count objects for no good reason. It’s often treated with medication and psychotherapy.

Social Anxiety Disorder

People with social phobia feel panicky and self-conscious in ordinary social situations. Symptoms include a sense of dread before social events and sweating, blushing, nausea, or trouble talking during the events. In severe cases, they may avoid school or work. It can be treated with psychotherapy and medicine.

Other Phobias

A phobia is an intense fear of something that is not likely to cause you any harm. Common ones include heights, closed-in spaces like elevators, dogs, flying, and water. Many people don't seek help because it’s easy to avoid whatever they fear. But phobias can be treated.

Where to Get Help

Start by talking with your family doctor. If an anxiety disorder seems likely, he will probably refer you to a mental health specialist who is trained in psychotherapy. It's important to choose someone you're comfortable talking to.


Listen and Connect

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
- Albert Einstein

“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.”
- Rachel Naomi Remen

“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
- Marianne Williamson

“The spiritual path is not a solo endeavor. In fact, the very notion of a self who is trying to free her/himself is a delusion. We are in it together and the company of spiritual friends helps us realize our interconnectedness.”
- Tara Brach

“When people go within and connect with themselves, they realize they are connected to the universe and they are connected to all living things.”
- Armand Dimele

“Spirituality is allowing compassion and love to flourish. When belongness begins, corruption ends.”
- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

“Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection – or compassionate action.”
- Daniel Goleman

“Throughout our lives we long to love ourselves more deeply and to feel connected with others. Instead, we often contract, fear intimacy, and suffer a bewildering sense of separation. We crave love, and yet we are lonely. Our delusion of being separate from one another, of being apart from all that is around us, gives rise to all of this pain.”
- Sharon Salzberg

“Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect…”
- E. M. Forster

“Only through our connectedness to others can we really know and enhance the self. And only through working on the self can we begin to enhance our connectedness to others.”
- Harriet Goldhor Lerner

“The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.”
- Frederick Buechner

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” ~ John Muir
“We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone… and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something.”
- Sandra Day O’Connor

“Each contact with a human being is so rare, so precious, one should preserve it.”
- Anais Nin

“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”
- Herman Melville

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
- Albert Einstein

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
“We are all connected to everyone and everything in the universe. Therefore, everything one does as an individual affects the whole. All thoughts, words, images, prayers, blessings, and deeds are listened to by all that is.”
- Serge Kahili King

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”
- John Lennon

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
- Brené Brown


“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
- Buddha

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
- Jack Kornfield

“Lack of forgiveness causes almost all of our self-sabotaging behavior.”
- Mark Victor Hansen

“If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others. You will not be able to love others. If you have no compassion for yourself then you are not able of developing compassion for others.”
- Dalai Lama

“Self-acceptance is my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship to myself.”
- Nathaniel Brand

“The fact is that when you make the other suffer, he will try to find relief by making you suffer more. The result is an escalation of suffering on both sides.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh

“A second quality of mature spirituality is kindness. It is based on a fundamental notion of self-acceptance….”
- Jack Kornfield

“The art of being yourself at your best is the art of unfolding yourself into the personality you want to be. Learn to love yourself, be gentle with yourself, to forgive yourself, for only as we have the right attitude toward ourselves can we have the right attitude toward others.”
- Wilfred Peterson

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
- Joseph Campbell

“When you are compassionate with yourself, you trust in your soul, which you let guide your life. Your soul knows the geography of your destiny better than you do.”
- John O’Donohue

“There is only one success – to spend your life in your own way.”
- Christopher Morley

“It’s not your job to like me – it’s mine.”
- Byron Katie

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”
- E. E. Cummings

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him keep step to the music which he hears, however measured or however far away.”
- Henry David Thoreau

“Accept everything about yourself – I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and the end – no apologies, no regrets.”
- Clark Moustakas

“I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent. They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.”
- Dr. Kristin Neff

“The degree to which you love yourself will determine your ability to love the other person, who will be reflecting back to you many of your own personality traits and qualities.”
- Sanaya Roman

“Love brings you face to face with your self. It’s impossible to love another if you cannot love yourself.”
- John Pierrakos

“Loving Yourself is Healing the World!”
- Jaymie Gerard

Sarah Schuster

Forced Drugging of Immigrant Children Highlights an Issue We Don't Talk About

The country watched in (almost) unanimous horror as immigrant children were separated from their parents at the U.S. Southern border. A lawsuit filed by the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law has only added to the outcry, alleging children staying in government-funded facilities have been routinely forced or tricked into taking psychotropic drugs without their parents’ consent.


Brené Brown

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
― Brené Brown

Cognitive Diffusion


What is Cognitive Defusion?

Cognitive fusion means getting caught up in thinking and allowing them to dominate our behaviour, whereas cognitive defusion allows us to directly experience the word. In the book, The Confidence Gap, Dr Harris says that cognitive –

“defusion is the ability to seperate from your thoughts and to let them come and go, instead of getting caught up in them, or allowing them to dictate what you do. Defusion provides a powerful way to deal effectively with painful, unhelpful or self-defeating thoughts and beliefs.” (p.178).

I find comfort HERE...

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
― Rumi

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
― Kahlil Gibran

“Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

“There is the solitude of suffering, when you go through darkness that is lonely, intense, and terrible. Words become powerless to express your pain; what others hear from your words is so distant and different from what you are actually suffering.”
― John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

“We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full.”
― Marcel Proust

“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.”
― James Baldwin

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
― James Baldwin

“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
― James Baldwin

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.”
― James Baldwin

Monday, June 25, 2018

Circadian Rhythm in Fruit Flies

In 2017, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young "for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm" in fruit flies.

Courageous Family Doctor

When an Iowa Family Doctor Takes On the Opioid Epidemic

Few primary care doctors are willing to do what Nicole Gastala has: endure the challenges of prescribing buprenorphine, a medication for opioid addiction.


Trauma of Family Detention


Hollow Bone

Elder's Meditation of the Day June 25

We are called hollow bones for our people and for anyone else we can help, and we are not supposed to seek power for our personal use and honor.

Fools Crow, LAKOTA

In order for us to use our power well, we must become a hollow bone. We must prepare ourselves to become a channel. Our channel must be clean before we can use our power well. We must be free of resentments, guilt, shame, anger, self pity, and fear. If these things are in us, we cannot be hollow bones. These things block us from our power. The cleaner we are, the more power we move. We must become a hollow bone so the Creator can use us to do what he wants us to do.

My Creator, remove from me today all resentment, anger, fear, guilt and selfishness. Do not let my weaknesses stand in the way of my usefulness to You. Make me a hollow bone so Your power can flow through me.

Don L. Coyhis, from the book Meditations with Native American Elders: The Four Seasons

Donald Hall, 1928 - 2018 Affirmation

Another friend of decades estranges himself
in words that pollute thirty years.
Let us stifle under mud at the pond’s edge
and affirm that it is fitting
and delicious to lose everything.
-Donald Hall, Affirmation


To grow old is to lose everything.
Aging, everybody knows it.
Even when we are young,
we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads
when a grandfather dies.
Then we row for years on the midsummer
pond, ignorant and content. But a marriage,
that began without harm, scatters
into debris on the shore,
and a friend from school drops
cold on a rocky strand.
If a new love carries us
past middle age, our wife will die
at her strongest and most beautiful.
New women come and go. All go.
The pretty lover who announces
that she is temporary
is temporary. The bold woman,
middle-aged against our old age,
sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand.
Another friend of decades estranges himself
in words that pollute thirty years.
Let us stifle under mud at the pond’s edge
and affirm that it is fitting
and delicious to lose everything.

Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. Copyright © 2002 by Donald Hall. All rights reserved.

Donald Hall, My Old Heaven

“I read poems for the pleasure of the mouth. My heart is in my mouth, and the sound of poetry is the way in."
-from an interview in Narrative magazine”
― Donald Hall

"My body causes me trouble when I cross the room," he told Fresh Air's Terry Gross in a 2012 interview, "but when I am sitting down writing, I am in my heaven — my old heaven."

“When I was nineteen,
I told a thirty-
year-old man what a
fool I had been when
I was seventeen.
'We were always,' he
said glancing down, 'a
fool two years ago.”
― Donald Hall

“IT IS SENSIBLE of me to be aware that I will die one of these days. I will not pass away. Every day millions of people pass away—in obituaries, death notices, cards of consolation, e-mails to the corpse’s friends—but people don’t die. Sometimes they rest in peace, quit this world, go the way of all flesh, depart, give up the ghost, breathe a last breath, join their dear ones in heaven, meet their Maker, ascend to a better place, succumb surrounded by family, return to the Lord, go home, cross over, or leave this world. Whatever the fatuous phrase, death usually happens peacefully (asleep) or after a courageous struggle (cancer). Sometimes women lose their husbands. (Where the hell did I put him?) Some expressions are less common in print: push up the daisies, kick the bucket, croak, buy the farm, cash out. All euphemisms conceal how we gasp and choke turning blue.”
― Donald Hall, Essays After Eighty

“[O]ver the years I travelled to another universe. However alert we are, however much we think we know what will happen, antiquity remains an unknown, unanticipated galaxy. It is alien, and old people are a separate form of life. They have green skin, with two heads that sprout antennae. They can be pleasant, they can be annoying--in the supermarket, these old ladies won't get out of my way--but most important they are permanently other. When we turn eighty, we understand that we are extraterrestrial. If we forget for a moment that we are old, we are reminded when we try to stand up, or when we encounter someone young, who appears to observe green skin, extra heads, and protuberances.”
― Donald Hall

He was a staggeringly prolific writer who chose freelance work over teaching — a decision, as Mr. Collins put it, “to detach himself from academic life, with its slow but steady intravenous drip of a salary.”

In “Last Days,” a poem in “Without,” Mr. Hall describes how he and Ms. Kenyon chose the poems for “Otherwise,” her posthumous collection. Then,

. . . he saw how weak she felt,
and said maybe not now; maybe
later. Jane shook her head. “Now,” she said.
“We have to finish it now.”
Later, as she slid exhausted into sleep,
she said, “Wasn’t that fun? To work together? Wasn’t that fun?”

Startled + Soothed

Last night while walking through the park at dusk, a nearby firecracker exploded. My super sensitive dog, Romeo was understandably terrified darted ahead. Luckily I was able to grab the leash with my other hand (two hands on the leash at all times is my rule) but nonetheless my left hand got a slight rope burn. I've been holding a frozen plastic water bottle wrapped in a rag to soothe it.

Laura Zera

No One Helped My Mentally Ill Mother, or Me

The child in me still collapses from the imprinted sorrow of years of isolation.
By Laura Zera

June 22, 2018

When I was 12, my mother cornered me in the bathroom of our suburban Vancouver home. “Your teeth are too yellow,” she said, handing me a can of Comet.

Though disappointed that little about me ever pleased my parent, I understood from past experience how to get through the current predicament. I sprinkled green powder on my toothbrush and did my best to not let any of it go down my throat while I scrubbed.


I walked Romeo downtown at 5:30 this morning holding my thermos mug of coffee. Downtown was clean and quiet. I looked up. The sky was swirling with a million shades of blue and white clouds. I felt like I was up there with them. This is why people fly in airplanes. I must be lifting. After ten weeks I usually do. I would love to take a ferry boat with my dog just to feel the ocean wind and the hum of the engine. The trick is to stay grounded in my routines and patterns even though everything feels new and different.


I was looking through an oval cutout in my window curtain. Two eyes looked back at me. I called 911 and a Jamaican woman tried to decipher my panic. My dog was not barking so the eyes were not inside my house, I explained. I was calling because the eyes were watching me. I woke up with my heart pounding.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Romeo Loves Round

I have to hide my apples and grapefruits because Romeo thinks they are toy balls. We can't walk by the basketball courts or the baseball fields in the park while people are playing because of his yearning to get the balls. If he gets a ball he'll destroy it in seconds. One day he found a yellow ball in the bushes on our street. He carried it home and obsessed over it not letting it go until he was exhausted. It was a super durable lacrosse ball and it survived his relentless chewing.

Last night I froze a head of cabbage when I took it out of freezer Romeo lit up like a light bulb as if he was shouting ball, ball! Recently we taught Romeo how to fetch a stick from the pond. He lets go of it on the shore and we toss it again and again.

I Fall in Love with Fabric

I fall in love with fabric. I fantasize about sewing blouses but never do. If I make dinner napkins I can never use them. I fall in love with fabric.

Swim Muscles

Cardio fitness

Front crawl: Swimming uses all major muscle groups and boosts cardio fitness and endurance. Despite being the fastest, most continuous stroke, crawl is more economical in energy.

Upper body

Front crawl: Predominantly recruits the deltoids, latissimus dorsi (down the side of your back), trapezius, triceps and biceps muscles. It's a fast way to a taut, toned upper body.

Lower body

Front crawl: The flutter kick is the key to keeping your body high in the water, and this works the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Your abdominal muscles will also tone up from stabilising you in the water.

Front crawl: Shoulder overuse or impingement injuries are most common because of the overhead motion, but this is more likely to happen to a professional swimmer than to a recreational one.

Philtrum Groove Between Nose and Mouth

Philtrum - Wikipedia

The philtrum or medial cleft, is a vertical indentation in the middle area of the upper lip, common to many mammals, extending in humans from the nasal ... survives only as a vestigial medial depression between the nose and upper lip.


Petricor and Geosmin

These would be great cat names.
The term was coined in 1964 by two Australian CSIRO researchers, Isabel Joy Bear and Richard G. Thomas, for an article in the journal Nature. In the article, the authors describe how the smell derives from an oil exuded by certain plants during dry periods, whereupon it is absorbed by clay-based soils and rocks. During rain, the oil is released into the air along with another compound, geosmin, a metabolic by-product of certain actinobacteria, which is emitted by wet soil, producing the distinctive scent; ozone may also be present if there is lightning. In a follow-up paper, Bear and Thomas (1965) showed that the oil retards seed germination and early plant growth.


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Freeze the Head

Trick for making stuffed cabbage.
note: freeze the whole cabbage raw in a sealed bag or the contents of your freezer will smell like cooked cabbage!

Early Bird

This morning on my walk with Romeo I picked up a few stray bits of trash. When I went to toss it I spotted a stack of 11 x 17 white paper on top of a large Styrofoam box right beside the big blue dumpster. I was about to heave the paper inside the dumpster so it didn't blow all over the city when I noticed that the pages were in pristine condition except for one drop of dried blood on the side. This must've been why they decided to throw it out. I carried the heavy ream of loose paper draped over my arm on the whole downtown walk. I was also carrying my thermal coffee mug and guiding Romeo on his leash with the other hand. It started to rain. I worried that the paper would get ruined. I should ask the window lady at the Burger King drive though for a plastic bag, I thought, but then the rain stopped and I made it home. On Wednesday morning, at 5AM I found a ten dollar bill in the Walgreen's parking lot. The early bird does get the worm.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Good Citizen

This morning when I stepped out with Romeo at 5:30 AM there was a dead chicken on the sidewalk at the intersection in front of the variety store. I wondered what that was about. I walked downtown admiring the morning light illuminating the tops of the buildings, thinking about the chicken. When I came back I saw Sandy, the lady with the skinny silver braid carrying the dead chicken by the feet. I watched as she walked up the street and disposed it in a trash barrel. What a good citizen!

Stairway to Heaven

This morning I had to walk over and admire the new staircase in front of tenement 628. The stairs have been rebuilt and painted and a pressure treated railing installed with an inside handrail. Over the past few weeks I watched the workers working with a wheelbarrow mixing cement and carefully rebuilding the stairs. For nearly a decade the front stairs had been blocked off by two by fours. The cement had crumbled and the landlord didn't want to fix it so he blocked it off closing the front porch. The tenants no longer had proper access to their building. They had to go in on the side. It was not just an eye sore it was a story about the slum landlords ruining our neighborhood. Well now there's a new landlord and he knows what he's doing. Amen. Thank you, Anthony. And thanks to the City for finding him.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

David Wagoner Poem


by David Wagoner

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

-David Wagoner

An Elephants Nose

Elephants have a keen nose. They have more smell receptors than any mammal – including dogs – and can sniff out food that is several miles away. A new study tests their ability to distinguish between similar smelling plants.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Paul Krugman

Wise words


My neighbor Alice tears up stale bread and sprinkles it on the sidewalk in front of her apartment for the birds. "One morning I saw two young kids down on their knees picking up the bread scraps and eating them! Apparently they weren't getting enough to eat at home. I told them that's for the birds let me give you something to eat, and I gave them packages of cheese and crackers. Whenever I see them I give them food," Alice said.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Romeo Swims

We just took Romeo swimming in the river behind Harris Pond. We threw a stick and he swam out and brought it back and dropped it on the shore. We did this about six times. We enjoyed watching him swim and he loved it. Then we walked the path because it was in the shade and we forgot to bring a towel to dry him off. He is such a good dog and he learns so fast.

Abusive Narcissism

Abuse takes place when one person fails to see the humanity of another, taking what he wants in order to experience control, disordered intimacy or power. It is the symptom of an illness that is fundamentally spiritual: a kind of narcissism that allows him to focus only on sating his need, blind to the pain of the victim. This same narcissism caused the editors of our sacred stories to limit the rape of Dinah to only nine words in a book of thousands.

Refraining from troubling behaviors is not enough; abusive narcissism must be unraveled through a transformation of heart and mind. A shift in the larger culture depends on putting the stories of women front and center. We must create space for them to be heard, not only by women but also by men, who are steeped in a culture that valorizes those behaviors. Seeing women as the rightful owners of their own bodies depends, first, on encountering women as fellow humans.


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Romeo's Big Bone

We call Romeo's big Nylabone bone leg of mailman. Our mailman is named Liam. So we also call this bone leg of Liam.

Editorial Cartoonist Rob Rogers

I should’ve seen it coming. When I had lunch with my new boss a few months ago, he informed me that the paper’s publisher believed that the editorial cartoonist was akin to an editorial writer, and that his views should reflect the philosophy of the newspaper.

That was a new one to me.

I was trained in a tradition in which editorial cartoonists are the live wires of a publication — as one former colleague put it, the “constant irritant.” Our job is to provoke readers in a way words alone can’t. Cartoonists are not illustrators for a publisher’s politics.



Where Female Elephants Without Tusks Roam — and Poachers Stay Away

South Africa’s Addo elephant park has few females with tusks, a trait that has died off because of hunting but also keeps poachers away.

Reported by a Prisoner-Journalist

Comedy Writers Today

On an average day, Baze says, the Late Night writers’ room comes up with 500 jokes. Eleven make it on the air. “I tell the writers, ‘Look, you’re basically writing your jokes into a shredder, and every once in a while one of them will get plucked away and it’ll get to be on TV; don’t fall in love with your material.’”

“It’s incredibly hard, I think, to be funny when you’re really angry and sad at the same time,” McNearney adds.

Library Fines

Cities like New York and Los Angeles abandoned fines for children in recent years — and librarians across the country are joining the cause to do away with fines entirely, arguing that they’re discriminatory to low-income residents and a barrier to engagement. While circulation is on a downward trajectory nationwide — decreasing 3 percent across American libraries over the last five years, according to a survey from Public Libraries Online, in part because of the internet — library systems that have cut out fines entirely have in fact seen usership increase. In Salt Lake City, which ended its late fees last May, checkouts have risen by over 10 percent. Other cities, including Columbus, Ohio and Nashville, Tennessee, report similar spikes in circulation after abolishing fines.

And while it’s easy to imagine $10 in late fees being a burden for some families, doing away with fines doesn't seem to make a dent in the overall budget of library systems. In Baltimore, for instance, fines accounted for only .25 percent of its $40 million budget, according to The Baltimore Sun. That’s a small price for the city to pay in order to keep libraries open and accessible to those who need them most.

Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid is…

A health literacy program
About people helping people, one-on-one
For individuals who do not have any background as a mental health professional

A Fertile Chiaroscuro


I was in reality confining myself to a narcissistic prison, and preventing myself from loving and being loved.

I pledged, with an intensity I’d never known before, to do whatever I could to open my heart to my child, as well as my wife. I started a regimen of individual psychotherapy and medication. During the ensuing months, the war in my head occasionally calmed to where I could quietly survey the destruction and envision its cessation.

One morning, just after Una had turned three, I was reading William Blake and came across this passage: “Mutual Forgiveness of Each Vice / Such are the Gates of Paradise.” I understood that forgiveness need not be simply the letting go of anger; it can also be a way of experiencing beauty and wonder, the earth’s infinite, exquisite intricacies. In forgiving, I concluded, we no longer subject the world to our selfish judgments but instead expose ourselves to what exists regardless of our appetites: a reality now gloomy and now luminous, a fertile chiaroscuro. To trade the egocentric “ought” for the generous “is”—this is forgiveness.

Stripped of its dark powers, my bipolar has become more than an affliction. I can see it now as indispensable in the shaping of my identity—the root cause of my flaws, yes, but also the source of my productive sensibilities: my love of contemplation, my honesty about life’s troubles, my willingness to endure confusion and discover solutions.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Working Out

People thought I was a charlatan and a nut. The doctors were against me -- they said that working out with weights would give people heart attacks and they would lose their sex drive.

- Jack LaLanne, "Jack LaLanne, Founder of Modern Fitness Movement, Dies at 96", New York Times, January 23, 2011

One Thing

I have one thing in my mind. How can I get people to start taking care of themselves? That's all I think about.

Jack LaLanne, interview, Alive Magazine, March 2007

Jack LaLanne

I'd rather take a beating sometimes than get in that gym every morning. Anyone who gets up that early and says he likes it is a goddamned liar. The only good thing about it is that when I'm finished, I look at myself in the mirror and say, "Jack, you've done it again!"

-Jack LaLanne

Be Strong

"Thoughts are things. Negativity is what kills you... It's tough to do, but you've got to work at living, you know? Most people work at dying, but anybody can die; the easiest thing on this earth is to die. But to live takes guts; it takes energy, vitality, it takes thought. . . . We have so many negative influences out there that are pulling us down. . . . You've got to be strong to overcome these adversities . . . that's why I never stop."
- Jack LaLanne

My Obligation to Life

"I train like I'm training for the Olympics or for a Mr. America contest, the way I've always trained my whole life. You see, life is a battlefield. Life is survival of the fittest... How many healthy people do you know? How many happy people do you know? Think about it. People work at dying, they don't work at living. My workout is my obligation to life. It's my tranquilizer. It's part of the way I tell the truth--and telling the truth is what's kept me going all these years." - Jack LaLanne

Paul Krugman


James Baldwin

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”
― James Baldwin

“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
― James Baldwin

“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.”
― James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

“Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death--ought to decide, indeed, to earn one's death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.”
― James Baldwin

“I can't believe what you say, because I see what you do.”
― James Baldwin

“People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead.”
― James Baldwin

“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
― James Baldwin

“The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated. ”
― James Baldwin

“People can cry much easier than they can change.”
― James Baldwin

“It is very nearly impossible to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.”
― James Baldwin

“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word "love" here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace - not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“People don't have any mercy. They tear you limb from limb, in the name of love. Then, when you're dead, when they've killed you by what they made you go through, they say you didn't have any character. They weep big, bitter tears - not for you. For themselves, because they've lost their toy.”
― James Baldwin, Another Country

“The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”
― James Baldwin

James Baldwin

“People can't, unhappily, invent their mooring posts, their lovers and their friends, anymore than they can invent their parents. Life gives these and also takes them away and the great difficulty is to say Yes to life.”
― James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

“There are so many ways of being despicable it quite makes one’s head spin. But the way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other people’s pain.”
― James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

I LOVE Ram Dass

“We're all just walking each other home.”
― Ram Dass

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”
― Ram Dass

“We're fascinated by the words--but where we meet is in the silence behind them.”
― Ram Dass

“It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed.”
― Ram Dass

“The most exquisite paradox… as soon as you give it all up, you can have it all. As long as you want power, you can't have it. The minute you don't want power, you'll have more than you ever dreamed possible.”
― Ram Dass

“I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion--and where it isn't, that's where my work lies.”
― Ram Dass

“The heart surrenders everything to the moment. The mind judges and holds back.”
― Ram Dass

“In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight.”
― Ram Dass

“Be here now.”
― Ram Dass, Be Here Now

“Your problem is you are too busy holding on to your unworthiness.”
― Ram Dass

“As long as you have certain desires about how it ought to be you can't see how it is.”
― Ram Dass

“Treat everyone you meet like God in drag.”
― Ram Dass

“The most important aspect of love is not in giving or the receiving: it's in the being. When I need love from others, or need to give love to others, I'm caught in an unstable situation. Being in love, rather than giving or taking love, is the only thing that provides stability. Being in love means seeing the Beloved all around me.”
― Ram Dass

“Suffering is part of our training program for becoming wise.”
― Ram Dass

“What you meet in another being is the projection of your own level of evolution.”
― Ram Dass

“The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal. It can't be organized or regulated. It isn't true that everyone should follow one path. Listen to your own truth.”
― Ram Dass

“Let's trade in all our judging for appreciating. Let's lay down our righteousness and just be together.”
― Ram Dass

“Only that in you which is me can hear what I'm saying.”
― Ram Dass

“The next message you need is always right where you are.”
― Ram Dass

“Everything changes once we identify with being the witness to the story, instead of the actor in it.”
― Ram Dass

“We are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we are so deeply interconnected with one another.”
― Ram Dass

“A feeling of aversion or attachment toward something is your clue that there's work to be done.”
― Ram Dass

“I would say that the thrust of my life has been initially about getting free, and then realizing that my freedom is not independent of everybody else. Then I am arriving at that circle where one works on oneself as a gift to other people so that one doesn't create more suffering. I help people as a work on myself and I work on myself to help people.”
― Ram Dass

The Way of the Wizard

“The most creative act you will ever undertake is the act of creating yourself.”
― Deepak Chopra, The Way of the Wizard

Soul Silence Solitude

“To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions.”
― Deepak Chopra

The River

“Don't try to steer the river.”
― Deepak Chopra


“If you obsess over whether you are making the right decision, you are basically assuming that the universe will reward you for one thing and punish you for another.

The universe has no fixed agenda. Once you make any decision, it works around that decision. There is no right or wrong, only a series of possibilities that shift with each thought, feeling, and action that you experience.

If this sounds too mystical, refer again to the body. Every significant vital sign- body temperature, heart rate, oxygen consumption, hormone level, brain activity, and so on- alters the moment you decide to do anything… decisions are signals telling your body, mind, and environment to move in a certain direction.”
― Deepak Chopra, The Book of Secrets


“You will be transformed by what you read.”
― Deepak Chopra

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Jack LaLanne

"Most people, when they reach a certain age, let down and talk about what they used to do. Well, who gives a damn about what you used to do? It's what you're doing now."
- Jack LaLanne

"It’s not what you do some of the time that counts, it’s what you do all of the time that counts."
- Jack LaLanne

"Your muscles know nothing. It's your brain. Exercise is something you've got to do the rest of your life. It's a lifestyle. Dying is easy. Living is a pain in the neck. You've got to work at it."
- Jack LaLanne

"You see, you don't get old from age, you get old from inactivity, from not believing in something."
- Jack LaLanne

"The most important thing in your life is your health and your body. You can have all the education and you can have millions of dollars in the bank, but if you've got headaches every day, if you're fat and you are out of shape - what good is your money? Your health account and your bank account, build them both up!"
- Jack LaLanne

"If you want to change somebody, don't preach to him. Set an example and shut up."
- Jack LaLanne

"Physical fitness takes commitment to exercise just as it requires good nutrition. But it doesn't have to be painful. Just the opposite: Vigorous exercise actually is stimulating. It boosts your energy levels, invigorates your mind, and just feels good afterward. The hardest part, of course, is getting started."
- Jack LaLanne

"Everything you do in life, I don't care, good or bad - don't blame God, don't blame the devil, don't blame me, blame you. You control everything! The thoughts you think, the words you utter, the foods you eat, the exercise you do. Everything is controlled by you."
- Jack LaLanne

"There is no fountain of youth, What you put into your body is what you get out of it. You would not feed your dog a coffee and doughnut for breakfast followed by a cigarette. You will kill the damn dog."
- Jack LaLanne

"Those who begin to exercise regularly and replace white flour, sugar and devitalized foods with live, organic natural foods begin to feel better immediately. Exercise is king, nutrition is queen -- put them together and you've got a kingdom."
- Jack LaLanne

"Thoughts are things. Negativity is what kills you... It's tough to do, but you've got to work at living, you know? Most people work at dying, but anybody can die; the easiest thing on this earth is to die. But to live takes guts; it takes energy, vitality, it takes thought. . . . We have so many negative influences out there that are pulling us down. . . . You've got to be strong to overcome these adversities . . . that's why I never stop."
- Jack LaLanne