Monday, December 31, 2012

Expect More In 2013

Yes, let's expect more from others and more of ourselves. Those people we elected to office? I expect them to stop creating false crises. You know, the "cliffs" we're gonna "fall off" of. The "debt ceilings" the media goes nuts about.  Only to resolve it, and move on to the next crisis. Stop it! Or next time your going to be out of office. I've already started changing the TV channel when they go overboard with this.  I'm going to expect more.

Also people that I pay.  I need to get the service, the courtesy, and dang it, I'm also looking for a smile.  Or else you're not getting my money.  I'm done.  If your partner is being mean, your kids are being rude, or your neighbor (or coworker) is not being nice.  Don't talk to them.  See if that makes a difference. Let them know you expect more from them.

And let's expect more of ourselves in 2013.  More patience. More tolerance. More compassion. Expect more happiness. Don't settle for less than you deserve. You do deserve more than you usually get.  Expect more.

Expect that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.  Don't limit yourself, nor allow others to limit you.  Expect 2013 to be a happier, more fun, more peaceful, and more productive year.  It will likely take more work on our part.  But what do you expect?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I talk (and write) a lot about managing stress. And by now you know the reason for that, which is that it can contribute to problems with health, relationships, and just about any other aspect of your life. I think that a lot of people are not as prepared as they should be for the stress that comes with the holidays. I want to help with that. I do love these holidays for a lot of reasons, mainly because it's an opportunity to celebrate. But we are all affected by the stress that can accompany the "good time." Thanksgiving for example. A time for us to "give thanks". If you are unhappy in your life, the holiday can tend to emphasize that there seems to be very little to be thankful for. Christmas too. Everyone's supposed to be happy, sing songs, and give gifts. Aside from the annoying over-commercialization of the holiday, if things are not going your way its hard to feel the Spirit. So, the answer is to take these holidays as an opportunity to escape reality (which I rarely suggest), and enjoy.

I know, easier said than done. Let me talk more about some of the specific stresses of the holidays, and make some suggestions about how to handle them. For example, a big issue for some people is getting together with family to "celebrate." Somehow these gatherings become a time to relive some of the old family drama. Not fun to look forward to, and not fun to live through. You've got to have some kind of family truce for the holiday. Plan this before hand, because once in action, the family "forces" are sometimes too strong to resist. Just be aware if the conversation starts heading towards a sensitive topic, change the subject; or take that time to go get yourself some cider. All you can really do is control your role in it.

You may not have the opportunity to avoid holiday family scuffles because you don't have any family around. Find friends to spend the time with. Do something fun! Another stressful situation that some people deal with is spending these holidays without a loved one who's been lost. Holiday times tend to trigger memories of family celebrations, and emphasize the absence of someone you spent past holidays with. Try not to focus on their absence (though it makes sense to acknowledge the sadness, but not to dwell on it), but focus more on the enjoyable memory. Use old photos to stir up those memories. Smile. The idea is to take these opportunities to be happy about family and friends. Give Thanks even.... 

Take this time to be more tolerant of people, more forgiving, less angry. Stress tends to make people less patient and tolerant.  Be mindful of this, and actively work to maintain your inner peace.  This will help relieve your stress in a big way. Whatever your religious or non-religious persuasion this is a good time to focus on the positive aspects of the Season, and live the Spirit. 


Tuesday, October 30, 2012


     These are some of my favorite recipes from my blog over the past few years.  Just in time for the holidays. Here is 1 appetizer, Hot Artichoke Dip; 1 entree, Seafood Lasagna; and 1 (great) dessert.  Linda usually makes these, and they are easier to prepare than they look .  For more information about each 1 check the original printing (the date is provided).


2 15 Oz. cans unmarinated artichoke hearts
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
2 cups parmesan cheese (grated)

Preparation Instructions:
Drain the artichoke hearts and shred into small pieces. Place in a casserole dish. Mix in mayonnaise, then parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve hot with crackers or bread of your choice.

That was easy!
(reprinted from Jan. 24, 2011) 
1 (16 0z) pkg. whole wheat lasagna noodles (white noodles will work too)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
1 lb. sliced portobello mushrooms (I like mushrooms, but we chose not to use them in this dish)
2 (16 oz.) jars Alfredo-style pasta sauce
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb. bay scallops
1 lb. chopped imitation crab meat (we used 2 6-0z. cans of crab meat)
20 oz. ricotta cheese
1 egg
black pepper (to taste)
6 cups shredded Italian cheese blend
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute garlic and mushrooms until tender. Pour in Alfredo sauce. Stir in cooked seafood. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes, or until heated through. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg and pepper.
3. In a 9x13 inch baking dish, layer noodles, ricotta mixture, Alfredo mixture and shredded cheese. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used, ensuring that there is shredded cheese for the top.
4. Baked uncovered in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Cover, and bake 15 minutes.
Servings: 12
(reprinted from Mar. 3, 2009)
Butter a deep baking dish. Put in it:
4 cups sliced tart apples (peeled)
1/2 cup water

Mix with a fork:
3/4 cup flour (we use whole wheat flour)
1 cup brown sugar (unless you prefer white)
1 teaspn cinnamon
1/2 cup melted butter
(optional: chopped walnuts)
Spread the mix over the apples. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees until the apples are tender, and the crust is brown. This recipe serves 6 to 8 people, but you're all going to want a second serving so plan ahead.

It's good, and it's easy
(Reprinted from Sept. 25, 2009)

Friday, July 6, 2012


It's mango season!  Linda has done some wonderful, tasty things with mangoes the past few years (see my Easier-Than-It-Looks recipe postings of 7/15/2010, Mango Avocado Salad; and 9/12/2008,  Mango Bread).  Her friend Cindy gave us mangoes from her trees again this year, and Linda didn't disappoint with these cookies.  You have got to try these, and she says they are VERY easy to make.

1  mango, peeled and mashed
1  cup packed brown sugar
3  tablespoons butter, softened
1  egg
2  cups rolled oats
1  cup flour (we used whole wheat flour)
1  teaspoon baking powder
1  teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1  teaspoon vanilla extract
(walnuts are optional, and suggested)
Preheat the oven to 350 F.  In a large bowl, mix the mango with egg, butter, sugar and flour.  Add the rest of the dry ingredients slowly while stirring constantly.  Mix the mango into the cookie dough.  Spoon the cookie mixture onto a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes.  Allow to cool, and EAT.    
These mango oatmeal cookies taste very good.  Try them.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Have A New Kid By Friday by Dr. Kevin Leman

          I just read this book Have A New Kid By Friday,  by Dr. Kevin Leman, and I liked it.  It was easy to read and understand, and will help you be a more effective parent especially if your kid can be difficult sometimes.  This is for parents of kids (young and old) who are still living in YOUR house. And his plan actually describes what to do each day of the week (Monday through Friday) to see dramatic changes in your child's Attitude, Behavior and Character.  Here is his "Top Ten Countdown to Having a New Kid by Friday."

10.  Be 100% consistent in your behavior.
 9.   Always follow through on what you say and what you do.
 8.   Respond, don't react.
 7.   Count to 10 ask yourself, "What would my old self do in this situation? What should the new me do?"
 6.   Never threaten your kids. 
 5.   Never get angry. (When you do get angry, apologize quickly.)
 4.   Don't give any warnings.  (If you warn your child, you're saying, "You're so stupid, I have to tell you twice.")
 3.   Ask yourself, "Whose problem is this" (Don't own what isn't yours.)
 2.  Don't think the misbehavior will go away.
 1.  Keep a happy face on, even when you want to ... do something else.

You're right if you are thinking this won't be easy for you.  It will mean changing some of your parenting habits.  Believe me, IT WILL BE WORTH IT!  This book uses a lot of examples of difficult situations, and solutions using this approach.  If you need for your child to change their behavior (and feel better about themselves), try this. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Glass Is Not Empty (reprinted from 3/11/2008)

As you know, I like to look at the glass as being half full, rather than half empty. I am an optimist. I want to focus on what I've got, rather than what I don't. Think positive. That's me. Nowadays that gets difficult. In addition to my Miami Heat losing all the time, there's been some really bad things happening in the world lately. First of all, the war, the bad economy, and the other things that need to be fixed in our country, seem to be taken for granted. That's sad. Also very sad is that people are leaving their houses, maybe to go to a Wendy's, meeting misfortune, and never returning home. And college students are going to class, and randomly being shot dead. I'm sorry that this brings you down. It makes me sad too. Unfortunately, there's too many of these stories, daily. How do you keep from getting depressed about this state of affairs? How do you stay positive and optimistic when there's so much sadness that we seem to have no control over?

I think that part of the answer is that we have to make happiness happen in our lives, daily. Make the relationships work that are supposed to be loving and happy. Stop tolerating behavior from people that is unacceptable (this includes family and friends). Do good things, big and small. The fact is that there is actually more good happening in the world than there is bad. The bad gets more publicity, and bombards us daily through the media. But there is good out there, even close to us. See it. Feel it. At least be aware of the good stuff enough to balance out the bad. After all, the good is really more important and meaningful than the bad. If you can't allow yourself to see that the glass really is half full, at least acknowledge that it's not totally empty.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Don't Text While Driving

PLEASE don't text while driving. OMG !! I'm sure many of you have heard of the train crash that occurred last week in California. Reportedly the conductor was text-messaging when he blew through the red light, which resulted in the crash. Twenty-five (25) people died, and many other people were seriously hurt. The worst train crash in California history. You may be wondering what this has to do with mental health. Well, as a mental health expert, I can tell you that it is bad for you (and your family) if you die or get hurt in an accident because you weren't paying complete attention while you were driving. And it's not just texting. Too many people are talking on the phone, or doing other things that distract them and are causing accidents. Now I'm not too old-fashioned. I know how important it is to have those phone conversations while driving around town; or eat that slice of pizza; or check the Internet on your laptop (or I-phone!). But you gotta keep at least one hand on the wheel and one eye on the road.

I am all in favor of multi-tasking. I think people don't realize that driving itself requires multi-tasking, though after a while it seems to become something that you can almost do without thinking. Too many people do that. And then you throw in there other activities that do require your attention, and before you know it someone else makes a mistake that requires your attention and quick reflexes and it's OVA. My suggestion when you have something else to do when you're driving, is to pull over to the side of the road, stop the car, and do what you gotta do. That would be safer for you and me. Now if you get a text that you have to answer (of course if it was an emergency they would have called!), pull over and quickly text them: IDN (I'm driving now) TTYL!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I think mothers are some of the most important people in the world. So it's great that there's a Day to celebrate them. They do so much for us, and have throughout life. So I thought that I would try a little poem to help commemorate their day. (Also as a reminder. My Mother's Day blog of May 6. 2007, reminds us to cut out the drama this Mother's Day.)

Mom's Day

Becoming a Mother is a dream come true for many people today.
Those who have had their kids for a while, have mixed views they say.
Moms start out with unconditional love, for the infant that they have.
They'll love and protect their child. Cuddle them as they cry and laugh.
Their flowers blossom. The child grows.
Mother's love and compassion flows.
Then the kid becomes a teen. What was once cute can be less so today.
You learn you have to change the way you relate to your kid. Okay.
Nothings "changed" except their age, but they seem to act so weird.
Uh-oh! My son's not only telling me "No," but he's now growing a beard.
All I'm saying is that we all had Mom's. We need to show the right appreciation.
And every year, we get this chance to offer them celebration.
The things they've done. The things they do.
Mom, we're much better off because of you.
You deserve the Day. You deserve a year
Of love and gratitude you deserve to hear.
So roses are red, and violets are blue.
Mom, you ARE the best. Happy Mother's Day to you!


Thursday, January 26, 2012


Help is on the way.  Mom's, do you ask these questions about your teen or young adult?

  • How come my son doesn't want to talk?
  • Could my daughter be depressed?  Suicidal?  What are the signs?
  • Even if their over 18, don't they have to follow MY rules in my house?
  • I want my child to finish school.  Get a job.  How do I help?
  • How much privacy should I give my daughter?  
  • Should I limit their internet time?  What about Facebook?
  • How do I get my son to be more motivated?  Improve my daughter's self-esteem?
  • Do I have to agree with their dad?  What if Dad's not around? 
  • How can I tell if my teen is using drugs?
          We will be starting a Women's Parenting and Support Group next month.  A lot of parent's have asked about getting more help and support while raising their teen or young adult. Parenting a teen is a very difficult job.  This group experience will help you learn everything from managing crises, to helping your child develop career goals and a life plan, to requiring respectful and responsible behavior from them.

          This is an opportunity to overcome some of the obstacles that exist between you and your child.  Two groups (1 for mothers of 12 to 17 year-olds, the other for mothers of 18 to 25 year-olds) will begin in February.  Call or e-mail me soon to sign up. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Teenagers, ... What Can I Say?

Teenagers are an interesting species. Sometimes they even seem like they're from another planet. Don't they? What's funny is that we were all teenagers once (or are now, or will be soon), for several years. Remember that? So then why is it so hard to relate to them sometimes? I have a few ideas about that. I'm sure you figured that.

We get used to our children for 10+ years as little (sometimes cute) kids. They do what we tell them (mostly). We always know where they are. They do a lot of stuff with us, and seem to enjoy it. Also, with young children we get to be the type of parents we always expected to be. Totally in charge of their lives. They are totally dependent on us. But relatively quickly things change. Actually the kids start to change dramatically. Us, usually, not so much. Not only that, but the world has changed significantly since we were teens. For example, whereas our parents may have been forward thinking enough to limit our television viewing, we have to be aware of not only tv (with 500 channels), but the Internet, video games, and cell phones. And even though we may be creative enough to figure out where they are most of the time, we can't always know what outside forces they're being exposed to in person or via telecommunications. Remember, your parents didn't always know what you were doing. Now multiply that by a hundred. Yes, it is scary. But we survived, and so will they. How can we help most?

Well, as you know Parenting is an Art (see my blog of 3/23/07), and you have to work at it. You have to grow as a parent as your child grows into adolescence. Prepare for your child's adolescent growth spurt. You have at least 10 years. You can be ready by the time your child gets there. At least as ready as any parent can be. The most important thing you can do is to prepare your child for you to be a big part of their life when they get to be teens. Then they won't fight you as much, it will be a part of your regular routine. You're not looking to be their best friend, and in fact you want to be able to give them as much space as you feel safe with. They have to get out in the world, make choices, make mistakes, while you are still involved enough for them to come to you for help and support. If they don't feel you close enough emotionally they will go elsewhere for what they need. When you're the one who should be in the best position to give it to them. This means that from the very beginning you develop good communication (learning to listen when they're young REALLY pays off here), trust, expression of unconditional love, modeling good decision-making and conflict resolution, setting realistic goals and expectations, mutual respect, teaching personal responsibility, and modeling the family values that are important to you. Do this stuff, and your child's teenage years will be a blessing. Well, at least you won't go completely crazy.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I want your 2012 to be happy, yes.  But I also want it to be healthy, prosperous, fun, and everything good.  I'm not talking about "resolutions" this year.  I'm revisiting last years'. I've written about resolutions in some of my previous posts ('Twas The Night After Christmas, Part 1 - 12/2/07, Part 2 - 12/12/07; A New Year's Jingle - 12/22/08; No Resolutions For 2010 - 1/1/10; 2011 - 12/12/10).  

I want this to be a Mindful 2012 for me, and I recommend it for you.  To be more aware of things that I sometimes do automatically, including my emotional reactions. I'm going to  I found this poem in the book The 4-Hour Workweek (by Timothy Ferris), written by a psychologist David Weatherford.  It describes my goal for this year.


Have you ever watched kids
on a merry-go-round?

Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.

Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day
on the fly?

When you ask: How are you?
Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done,
do you lie in your bed

With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?

You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.

Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child
We'll do it tomorrow?

And in your haste 
Not see his sorrow.

Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die

Cause you never had time
To call and say, "Hi"?

You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.

Time is short.
The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower.

Hear the music
Before the song's over.