23 April 2013

Legally Happy

Get it while you can. Tylenol not only dulls physical pain, but takes the stings out of social rejection, too. Study results indicate acetaminophen goes straight to the neural center controlling physical pain and emotional distress. If you find yourself feeling those existential blues, take two Tylenol.

Drinking and acetaminophen don't mix. Too much even without alcohol can lead to an overdose.  Hundreds die each year from too much acetaminophen. If two tablets don't  perk you up and the existential downer lingers, you may have to make a change in the people with whom you associate.

Depression can "rub off" on others. Recent studies show that cognitive vulnerability is contagious. If your friends respond with pessimism, angst, and a mood slump to less than perfect situations, you may find yourself needing to take two Tylenol to lift your spirits.

20 April 2013

Life With a View

In the fictionalized account of JFK's assassination, one of Stephen King's characters says, "Life turns on a dime. Sometimes towards us, but more often it spins away, flirting and flashing as it goes: so long, honey, it was good while it lasted, wasn’t it?" Not many people embrace the kind of change described in that line. Some people avoid change at any cost. I live somewhere in between the two, ordinarily waiting for change to come to me, which happens more often than not. This time I chose change on my own. One week later, I have no regrets.

My reasons for leaving (what to some would appear) a good job made sense to me, though articulating the rationale for others has not been easy. Maybe the main motivation came from my gut--an intuitive knowing that life needed to turn. So I tossed the coin and let it turn.

Several articles written about knowing when to change jobs helped me discern whether my gut reaction had value. The best one lists six reasons to quit a job, all of which were a near perfect fit:

  • You dread going to work in the morning.
  • You truly dislike the type of work you're doing.
  • You can't shake the feeling that you just don't fit in at the company.
  • You are getting passed over for promotions.
  • The work has become so routine you could do it in your sleep.
  • You have serious concerns about the financial stability of your organization.
Two other articles had more than a few statements that rang true for my experience. Every friend I have knew I wanted to leave and probably wondered when I would stop complaining and jump. They all seemed to know better than I knew what a poor fit the job had become.

I have the dime in hand and have taken a good long look at the other side of change. Not bad. The journey of life often goes uphill, requiring more than a dime's worth of effort and risk. At the top of the hill I don't expect to see anything except a new view, another hill, maybe a ravine to cross or a steep cliff, and many more hills to climb. The last hill was good while it lasted. And the view from the top? It's worth a million!

[Photos: Vancouver] 


19 April 2013

If It Feels Good, Must Be Dopamine

Did they spend a lot of money on this study to find this out?
And who gets to participate in these studies?

"If you take just a sip of beer, and moments later—before you’ve had close to enough alcohol to get intoxicated, perhaps even before the beer has hit your stomach—feel a distinctly pleasurable sensation, it might not be strictly due to subtle aromas that result from the beverage’s blend of malt, hops and yeast. The cause of your pleasure might be due to tangible changes in your brain chemistry—specifically, a surge in levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine."

Do they know about other things leading to surges in dopamine? Will there be more studies? They could just pay me to tell them how to increase the dopamine and pleasure in life.

Or they could just guess, like this: "The researchers believe this could be a clue as to why some people are predisposed towards alcoholism—and why it’s more difficult for them stay on the wagon if they’re trying to quit." Yes, a clue!

14 April 2013


the journey has begun
it's the first weekend
of the rest of my life
and all the people who want to tell me
who i'm supposed to be
have been left behind

a new dawn
a new day

and i'm feelin' good

do you know how i feel?
 sing along

I've always liked the time before dawn because...

On the First Day

on the first day
of the rest of my life
i did not take out the trash

i had a second latte

the first day 12 April 13

09 April 2013

Do you have a doppleganger? I met mine when we lived in Indiana. People stopped me in stores to talk about upcoming dinners, meetings, our children. Except.... I had no idea who they were. Soon I learned that they had  mistaken me for Gayle, a woman who looked enough like me to confuse just about everyone. Since I was new in town, I suppose it is more correct to say that I looked like her. We moved from Indiana in 1996 and I have not seen Gayle since then. I wonder if, as we've aged, we still look alike.

Mirror Art

Self-portrait on bathroom mirror

Self-portrait on mirror
Watercolor markers make great art on bathroom mirrors. And as long as the art holds up (steamy showers don't help) the mirror doesn't have to be cleaned.