Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Face in the Mirror

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Seriously. What do you see? A tired, worn out GenSandwich face or a joyful person?

My life seems to move three times as fast as I'd like it to. Like you, I juggle work, school, family, and an aging parent. What I noticed was that my face had taken on a permanent droop. The edges were turned down into a permanent scowl. I wasn’t really mad – just looked mad. And old.

So I made a decision. I was going to smile. I was going to look happy whether I felt like it or not. No need to make everyone else miserable, even if I was. Throughout the day, I'd remind myself to SMILE. And you know what? I not only looked better, I FELT better.

At first it was hard. I was using muscles that hadn’t been used very often. But not it’s almost second nature. No, I don’t smile all the time, but I sure smile more and longer than I used to. Feels good.

I've heard that you can’t smile and be unhappy at the same time. That it’s a physical impossibility. That a smile actually activates something in the brain that requires a mood to match the face. I don’t know if that’s true, but I know that as soon as I make my face smile, my mood improves. And I look a lot better too. Try it. Let me know how it works.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Spring!

Today is the first day of spring, and boy, am I ready for it! Unfortunately, in California, we’re still having rain. Lots of rain. We even had hail last week! We’re considerably over our moisture needs for the year, but the rains just keep coming. Rain is forecast for every day this week. Ugh!

When I talk to Mom each day, she goes on and on about how depressed she is. The rain depresses her. She can’t go out, she’s going stir crazy, and she’s cold. In the process, she seems to have lost her ability to solve problems. Things as simple as turning on the lights and heat seem beyond her. She winces at the potential cost of the electricity and can’t make the connection that more heat and light would make her feel better. So she sits in the gray cold and mopes.

I keep trying to teach an old dog new tricks. And praying for sunshine. I hope you’re enjoying spring wherever you are.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Fiction Friday: When the Devil Whistles

If you like suspense with lots of twists and turns, you’ll love When the Devil Whistles by my friend Rick Acker.

Allie Whitman is a whistle blower. She and attorney Connor Norman love to make devils of the corporate giants pay for their crimes. But this time, they may have gotten in too deep and their lives are at risk. As the plot thickens, Allie must face her own giants and decide what’s important in life. And of course, there’s a hint of romance just to keep things interesting.

Acker has done a masterful job of developing both plot and characters. While he stretches reality in a few places, the story holds together and is a real page-turner.

Acker is a Deputy Attorney General for the State of California’s Department of Justice. His unit prosecutes corporate fraud lawsuits like this one, so he brings a lot of real-life credibility to the story.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

The mother of one of my friends just passed away following a week in the hospital and several years of rotating in and out of the hospital with a variety of ailments. The 97-year-old mother of another friend went into the hospital with infected bedsores. She was expected to die, but she rallied and is back in her assisted living facility. Their experiences reminded me of the days my step-dad was in the hospital, and in fact, the years he was in the nursing home with occasional excursions to the hospital. And to a lesser extent, it reminds me of my relationship with Mom. Perhaps it’s something you experience as you care for your aging parent.

I liken this to waiting for the other shoe to drop. When we’re caring for our kids, they can do crazy things and even get hurt, but our mental attitude is that everything will be OK. A broken bone, a cut, even an illness. With kids, we assume recovery and life, and we’re usually right.

With our parents, however, we know that time and the odds are not on our side. They’re on the downside of life. We know things will only get worse. We just don’t know when or how.

My mom makes bad decisions every day. I'm always waiting to see which one will result in a catastrophe. I know it’s coming. I just don’t know when or how…

I also know that as executor of her estate, I have a huge job in my future. I don’t know when. I don’t know the circumstances. All I know is that at some point, my life will go on hold as a clean out the house and deal with the details. I just don’t know when or how…

I realized as I supported these friends that this unknown expectation affects my ability to plan my own life and business. I realized that I hold back, never knowing what lies ahead. Never knowing what I can actually plan for. Yes, it’s realistic but it’s also a distraction. It keeps me less effective than I might otherwise be. That has to change. Can it?

What do you do to keep your life moving forward, even while knowing that the other shoe will drop?

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