Posts Tagged ‘life’


It’s been proven: Shopping is actually good for you!

April 14, 2009


Who doesn’t love to shop. Well, I do know a few people who don’t like going to the mall, but they’re not  a lot of fun, so we won’t talk about them. For those of us “normal” folk, here’s why we love shopping: because mentally and physically SHOPPING MAKES US FEEL GOOD! In his article “How Manolos Can Save Your Life”, Dan Tynan, who’d prefer his wife didn’t see what he wrote, says:

In a paper published last year, researchers at the UK’s Brunel University noted that shopping is associated with increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that has been linked to pleasure and positive thinking. In fact, levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter released during pleasurable experiences including sex, can rise sharply even when you’re merely window shopping. In another study, published in the journal Neuron, researchers at MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and Stanford strapped volunteers to an fMRI machine and showed them photos of products. When shoppers saw something they wanted to buy, a flood of dopamine to the nucleus accumbens–the brain’s reward center– lit up their fMRI images like a dashboard.

 Shopping keeps you younger

And it’s not only about pleasure. Shopping may also help women maintain their mental acuity in old age, says Guy McKhann, M.D., a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University and a co-author of Keep Your Brain Young. “People who are doing really well as they get older tend to be mentally engaged, physically active, and socially involved,” he says. “And women are all of those things when they shop.”

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What’s worse: being unemployed or in a job you hate?

April 9, 2009

Now wait! Before you accuse me of being blonde, think about it. Really think about it. A friend of mine just asked me if I could write about him being “deeply depressed in his ever-lasting job”. Let me clarify. He lives in Israel, ergo the ever-lasting job situation. And he works for the airlines: people, complaints, complaints, people. Every now and then something goes right (the plane is on time, the passengers are on time, there’s no terrorist attack, the pilot is not drunk) but nobody seems to notice, except him. Celebrations are few and far between. ·you’re hating it for as long as you show up for work. That could lead to ulcers, heartburn, psoriasis and a pot belly, not to mention hypertension, depression, anxiety (I used to work for a behavioral health company. I should know.) and the need to make like Spiderman and crawl all over the building walls. True or true?

That got me thinking. Really thinking. What’s worse, being unemployed or working at a job you hate? (I know, I asked that already. I’m just trying to make a point).

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All I want is all there is and then some redux

April 3, 2009

As promised, here’s my money song: Eartha Kitt’s “All I want is all there is and then some“. A great way to end the non-work week, wouldn’t you agree?

Happy intransition, everyone! And keep singing!


Ever been scammed by a landlord or property manager?

April 1, 2009

If you have, believe me, I feel your pain. This morning I took Arbor Property Management, Inc of Garden Grove or Westminster or some such Southern California city (They don’t have a physical address. May I say more?) to small claims court over our deposit. Not only did we never receive it — and it’s been oh, four months since we moved out — but now they’re claiming deductions of $1300 for items which the judge argued could be considered “wear and tear” and a few other fees she thought verged on “usury”. Well, at the end of our lengthy dispute, she promised to think about the case and mail us her decision, which I welcome.

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All I want is all there is and then some!

March 30, 2009

earthakittAs I was listening to Eartha Kitt’s “All I want is all there is and then some” for the umpteenth time, it finally hit me. (Ok, I admit it: sometimes I’m slow.) It’s not about having “40 men who want to date each night or a mansion on a million acre lot” (although that’s not too shabby, either), but it’s about allowing ourselves to wish and desire without bounds. Like she says “Why not? If I’m gonna want, I’m gonna want a lot!”, and why not indeed? Why settle? Why put a cap on what we can be or what we can achieve? It’s akin to when a few years ago people were applying for mortgage loans. (Remember those days?) Some went in thinking they could afford a $150K home. But why think small, the bank countered? We’ll give you a $600K mortgage! Go get yourself a MacMansion on the hill. (Ok, so maybe this isn’t the best example…). But, you know what I’m talking about. I’m sure you do because, like me, some of you have sold yourselves short for no other reason than we believe we don’t deserve any better. And … may I ask who told us that? It’s not like when you’re in the reincarnation line ready to dive down and invade a sperm, a higher being hands you a number: 43. That’s your aspirational quotient. Jump, but remember on Earth you cannot aspire to anything above 43. Talk about mediocrity! Why, that’s not even 50%. Forget it! I’m not going in. I’ll stay here until I can get a better number. But being in the hands of a higher power, you’re pushed off the heavens and you land head first into you know where. Nine months later, a perfect 43 is born. Wouldn’t make a bad screenplay, actually: people walking around with their aspirational quotients on their sleeves. But, wait! We already do this. I told you I was slow.

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March 28, 2009

Recently, my son shared some troubling news: he no longer was interested in playing classical guitar. What do you mean? The kid’s a natural, a genius! He could be the next Julian Bream, Christopher Parkening, Andre Segovia! But no, he’s had enough. Too busy texting his friends. Ahhh teenagers! More than angry, I was terribly saddened. I still remember when as an eight year-old he announced he wanted to play guitar. Sure, I said. Up until then I had no inkling of his artistic inclinations. He loved math and science, doodled a little, and had a lead foot capable of landing a goal from the other end of the little league soccer field, but a musician? Who knew? Well, after about the second month of taking private lessons, his teacher – a musician himself and an instructor who’d seen a lot in forty years – informed me that he was, well, you know, a natural. He grasped the notes, the chords, even started creating his own music. Pretty soon he was performing in recitals and winning over anyone who heard him play.

OC Guitar Circle Recital with his current teacher, David Grimes, Director of Guitar Studies. CSUF

OC Guitar Circle Recital with his current teacher, David Grimes, Director of Guitar Studies. CSUF

You should have seen this kid! He thrived under pressure! Anyways, it’s all over now. He’s lost interest and, of course, I’m devastated. Not that I expected him to make a living off his music necessarily, but I do love and respect the arts (H-e-l-l-o, I’m a writer!) and music is very dear to me. I always thought that, if nothing else, this instrument could be his pal, his buddy, the one to turn to during hard times: you know, college exams, first rejection, crash of first car, etc. Everyone needs a beer, a song, etc., right?
But after careful consideration, I realized that 1) as I always preach, you can’t lead your life based on other people’s desires, and 2) who knows if this is a bad thing or a good thing. And I remembered this short Chinese story*:

Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer whose horse ran away, and all the neighbors came around to commiserate that evening, saying “So sorry to hear your horse has run away. That’s too bad.” And the farmer said, “Maybe.”
The next day the horse came back bringing seven wild horses with it and everybody came around that evening and said, “Oh, isn’t that lucky! What a wonderful turn of events, you now have eight horses!” And the farmer said, “Maybe.”
The next day the farmer’s son tried to break one of these horses to ride, but was thrown off and broke his leg. And all the neighbors came around and said, “Oh, dear, that’s too bad.” And the farmer said, “Maybe.”
The following day the conscription officers came around to draft people into the army and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. All the people came around again and said, “Isn’t that just great!” And the farmer said, “Maybe.”

So! Moral of the story: If you’re down and out because you just lost your job, or worse, it’s been a while since your layoff/resize and you’re getting desperate, just think about the Chinese farmer’s wisdom. Sit yourself down, grab a cold one, and strum a few bars. And remember, good or bad, it all comes down to “Maybe.”

*Play to live by Alan Watts


Call it what you may, you’re still unemployed!

March 27, 2009

This morning I received my business word of the day from
(I get the jargon, too. It’s a lot more wicked!).  The word was rightsizing and the definition was -no lie:

A perversion of “downsizing,” meant to showcase the wisdom acquired by the “sizer” since his/her last foray into the re-scaling jungle. It sounds better than “layoffs.”

 Now, I ask you, who cares what it’s called? The important thing is what it does. So, great, the marketing department of a great corporation you have been performing at the top of your game for decides that the right number of employees is say, a bit off, and well that needs to be remediated (another great business term), so you and your whole group or part of your group or just you and someone in Wichita have to go. And after your meager severance package is paid and your Cobra benefits announced (ha! Are they kidding? You wouldn’t have been able to afford Cobra while you were employed, much less now. What are they thinking?) Well, of course, they’re not thinking, otherwise they would have known a long time ago the optimum (great word!) size of their operations and saved you the pain and agony of getting laidoff, oh sorry, rightsized.

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