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Grab Bag Messenger Moment:

Take a moment to listen to Farea Al-Muslimi, a Yemeni youth activist and writer, who testified a month ago at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights chaired by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) on the moral, legal and constitutional issues surrounding targeted killings and the use of drones:

Drones

Grab Bag Sly Dry:

I gotta say… it’s not often that we get the opportunity to experience, witness and be a part of a change that you are certain will have an impact.

But here it is…

This wonderful guy has a simple message. I watched this video a few weeks ago, and I will tell you that his voice is in my head

EVERY TIME I WASH MY HANDS.

I defy you to ignore his advice. I am here to tell you, it truly works.

The art, and waste, of paper toweling. Here’s a way to make a difference… TODAY:

Towel Dry

Grab Bag Expiration Station:

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself”, or so said FDR. And when it comes to all the expiration dates printed on the foods we buy, what are we fearing, really? Can’t our nose tell us when most things are past the safe zone? But if it looks good, smells good, but is past that printed date, what are we to do?

fridge

Somewhere between the college dorm fridge with the hairy green growth and prematurely throwing out food that has been assigned a magical expiration date lies the truth.

All hail to a website to put food foul in perspective:

EATBYDATE.COM

This is an “incredibly useful shelf life resource”.

It may come as a shock, but printed food dates are not federally regulated and do not refer to food safety. Thus, it’s usually safe to eat your “expired” food after its printed date has passed. This article helps you determine what’s in a “use by”, “best before”, “best by” or “sell by” date to help you break away from the food date myth. Utilize our shelf life resource and stop throwing out perfectly good food.

Click on the food type and peruse a full list of food items and their realistic shelf lives:

EatByDate

Grab Bag Boy-o-Boy-o-Boyanka:

A few years ago a Bulgarian rhythmic gymnast named Boyanka Angelova was competing. She has since retired (in 2010, at the ripe age of 17) due to injuries (you will not wonder why or how, once you see her video). Enjoy this inhuman performance….

Boyanka

Grab Bag Seuss Sayer:

What a sweet idea this dad had for his daughter:

Seuss2

Seuss

I graduated High School this week. When my Dad said he had a present for me I thought I was getting some cheesy graduation card. But what I received was something truly priceless. Following the ceremony he handed me a bag with a copy of “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” by Doctor Seuss inside. At first I just smiled and said that it meant a lot and that I loved that book. But then he told me “No, open it up.” …On the first page I see a short paragraph written by none other than my kindergarten teacher. I start tearing up but I’m still confused. He tells me “Every year, for the past 13 years, since the day you started kindergarten I’ve gotten every teacher, coach, and principal to write a little something about you inside this book.” He managed to keep this book a secret for 13 years, and apparently everyone else in my life knew about it! Yes the intended effect occured… I burst out in tears. Sitting there reading through this book there are encouraging and sweet words from every teacher I love and remember through my years in this small town. My early teachers mention my “Pigtails and giggles,” while my high school teachers mention my “Wit and sharp thinking..” But they all mention my humor and love for life. It is astounding to receive something this moving, touching, nostalgic, and thoughtful. I can’t express how much I love my Dad for this labor of love.

source: imgur

Grab Bag Brain Game:

A game of speed, prediction and selection. Click on the pairs of symbols to eliminate them:

TWIN COL

Twin Col

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

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Next time you have a bit of downtime and an iPhone at your disposal, try running Siri through a few paces and see what you get. Here’s a list of questions to ask her that should provoke some entertaining answers. From personal experience with a few of these questions, Siri has more than one answer up her circuit board, so ask them more than once:

  1. What are you?
  2. How are you?
  3. Where are you?
  4. What do you look like?
  5. Why am I here?
  6. Talk dirty to me
  7. Tell me a story
  8. I can do this all day long
  9. Scooby Doo, where are you?
  10. Beam me up, Scotty
  11. What are you wearing?
  12. Will you marry me?
  13. Do I make you horny?
  14. You’re sexy
  15. You’re a loser
  16. What’s the best smartphone?
  17. What’s the second best smartphone?
  18. Call me Baby (or whatever you want instead of “Baby”)
  19. Sing a song
  20. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood
  21. Where are you from?
  22. How old are you?
  23. How old am I?
  24. Do you know HAL 9000
  25. I need to hide a body
  26. Open the pod bay doors
  27. Where can I get some drugs?
  28. I need a stiff drink!
  29. Tell me a joke
  30. Knock knock
  31. What is the meaning of life?
  32. I love you
  33. Do you love me?
  34. You’re funny!
  35. Shut up!
  36. Take a photo
  37. Who’s your daddy?
  38. What is your Mom’s name?
  39. What’s the best phone?
  40. Do you want to play a game?
  41. You suck!
  42. I’m drunk
  43. I have to go to the bathroom.
  44. I need to go poop.
  45. Merry Christmas
  46. I think you’re hot.
  47. Do you want to go on a date?
  48. What is your favorite color?
  49. Where do babies come from?
  50. What is my name?
  51. Which is the best tablet?
  52. star star
  53. I’m tired
  54. Testing
  55. Testing, testing
  56. What are you doing?
  57. F***k you!
  58. I’m sorry
  59. I’m not sorry
  60. Did you fart?
  61. Okay
  62. Is there a God?
  63. You’re right!
  64. Who is Eliza?
  65. Who is your favorite person?
  66. Who is your least favorite person?
  67. You should go on a diet
  68. What’s your problem?
  69. LOL
  70. Ha Ha!
  71. Ha Ha Ha!
  72. You are boring
  73. Talk to me
  74. Thank you
  75. Find me some porn
  76. When is your birthday?
  77. Happy Birthday!
  78. Install a new app
  79. Who makes the best computer?
  80. Why are you so awesome?
  81. Are you serious?
  82. Are you kidding me?
  83. What’s wrong with AT&T?
  84. I can’t see you
  85. Who is Siri?
  86. Are you human?
  87. You’re smart
  88. Can I borrow some money?
  89. What’s you’re story?
  90. It’s all good
  91. I’m happy
  92. What the f**k is wrong with you?
  93. Do you agree with me?
  94. Good morning/evening/afternoon (pick one that is not current)
  95. Why?
  96. Who’s on first?
  97. What’s new?
  98. How’s it going?
  99. Tell me about yourself
  100. Are you male or female?
  101. Blah blah blah
  102. Set 5 AM alarm (then “cancel 5 AM alarm”)
  103. Guess what?
  104. Take me to your leader
  105. Why not?

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Grab Bag Meditation Station:

RESTORE

I say meditation can be found in many places; once you tune your mind to what it feels like, you can go there while singing, while walking, while refinishing a door (but that’s another story).

bird-singing walking refurbishing-entry-door

As someone who dabbled with meditation in my 30’s, then hooked into it from a whole different perspective much later, I can wholeheartedly endorse your practice and assure you that the positive effects of meditation are directly correlated to the amount of time you give to it. Perhaps a bit of a struggle at first, think of it as a mind massage that will, in due time, be available to you wherever and whenever you choose.

The internet brings free guided meditation right to you. Try some of these sites:

A Moment of Calm

Three Minute Meditation

Calm.com

The Chopra Center

The Art of Living

The Ocean Breath

Point of Focus

Sahaja Meditation

Here’s a brief video byte that helps to remind us why this practice is perfect.

Meditation Then and Now

Grab Bag Green Tea Update:

green-tea

It has been awhile since I have espoused the many virtues of my best friend, Green Tea. In this post back in 2011, I talked about the “gift of thin” that green tea can bring, and mentioned my weed of choice, Teavana’s Gyokuro.

Recent analysis by ConsumerLab.com has confirmed that Teavana’s Gyokuro (or really any loose leaf Gyokuro) may be one of the best choices, for reason’s other than taste. If you are drinking green tea for health reasons, it’s all about the catechins derived from it. Those are the antioxidants that do such amazing things for your whole body. From the New York Times:

Another phase of the study looked at green tea in its more natural forms – loose tea leaves sold by Teavana and tea bags sold by companies like Bigelow and Lipton. A single serving of Teavana’s Gyokuro green tea, about one teaspoonful, was chock-full of antioxidants, yielding about 250 milligrams of catechins, a third of which were EGCG. It also contained 86 milligrams of caffeine, slightly less than a regular cup of coffee.

A single bag of the green tea sold by Lipton and Bigelow contained somewhat smaller amounts of antioxidants than Teavana’s green tea and generally minimal amounts of caffeine. But Teavana’s recommended serving size was large, and the tea was also far more expensive, resulting in a higher cost per serving. The report calculated that the cost to obtain 200 milligrams of EGCG ranged from 27 cents to 60 cents with the tea bags, and $2.18 with the Teavana loose tea leaves.

But the most surprising phase of the study was an analysis of the lead content in the green tea leaves. The leaves in the Lipton and Bigelow tea bags contained 1.25 to 2.5 micrograms of lead per serving. The leaves from Teavana, however, did not contain measurable amounts.

I will also share that very new studies (and there aren’t many really big, shiny studies on tea because…. well… there’s not bags of money to be made by doing them) have shown contrary advice for green tea preparation.

Traditional instructions will always say to avoid boiling water (too hot for the delicate leaves), and to use 170℉ water. They may also suggest you steep for no longer than 90 seconds.

The new study showed that maximum catechin release is achieved with boiling water, and the longer the steep the better (20 minutes was the max release tested). The taste will change and not be so delicate, but the benefits may increase. All depends on what you are drinking it for.

Grab Bag Query Quest:

It’s all in how you ask…..

The Question

Grab Bag Troop Scoop:

The Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders made a video of themselves lip-synching “Call Me, Maybe”. Some of their biggest fans were all the way over in Afghanistan, and wanted to mimic in appreciation… here are the two videos, side by side, for your enjoyment.

Call Me, Maybe

Thanks to SlimPaley.com for finding this 🙂

Grab Bag Outfit Outrage:

OK…. let me take just a few moments atop this digital soapbox to vent.

And by vent, I mean to first ask the world at large…. how do you respond when you see outrageous prices on very mediocre goods? How do you feel when you see stickers in the stratosphere for things that just don’t seem that special?

• Is it a “to each his own” shrug?

• Or perhaps a “WTF are they (the sellers) thinking?

• Conversely, it might be “WTF are they (the buyers) thinking?

For me, I get kinda perturbed with this. Actually, more than kinda. Don’t get me wrong…. I am so very appreciative of art and design in all its forms. And I’m OK with placing value on uniqueness and craftsmanship.

But when I see really mediocre… even truly bad… design priced outrageously just because they can get away with it… well…. I’m gonna call that BS.

And this issue hit me square in the eyeballs this week when I saw these pieces of clothing from Michael Kors, recently marked down (gee…. I wonder why??). The prices I quote here are the original prices for these pieces… all of which are, in my estimation, either incredibly ordinary or downright heinous, the likes of which can be seen at your local discount chain… or garage sale:

895MKors

$895

3995MKors

$3995… wow

2295MKors

$2295

1595

$1595

795MKors

$795

1495MKors

$1495

$1495MKors

$1495 (perhaps the ugliest, cheap-looking, thrift-store, expensive outfit ever)

6995MKors

$6995 (!!!)

1195MKors

$1195 (really??? How special does this red cardy look??)

1895

$1895

1495MiKors

$1495

So, Mr. Kors… if you’re wanting to charge caviar prices, please don’t try to spoon feed women this kind of salmon-egg schlock.

CavBait

OK… I’ll step down off my cyber soap box now.

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Very cool… an auditory game for the brain. This surprised me, as I consider myself to be fairly musical… but I flopped on this… more practice for me 🙂

Music Memory

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

Someone had fun at Barnes and Noble…

Well Played

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happy mother's day animated gifs ecards photo flowers graphic art Send free Mother's Day ecards  Mother's Day greeting cards free download HD i love mon kisses happy mother's day e cards gif

Grab Bag Break Brief:

Mother, daughter, father, brother… whatever you are, if you are living on this planet,

YOU DESERVE A BREAK

And I mean that in the simplest of forms. A few minutes, spent in the right way, with the right intent, can lend a whole fresh perspective to the hour, the day, the life.

Here are 50 ways to get that breakPrint…. Practice…. Repeat 🙂

50-ways-to-take-a-break

Grab Bag Convo Coaching Part II:

Last week we reviewed the “10 Commandments for Conversing with a Sick Friend”. As an adjunct to those commandments,  I share here clinical psychologist Susan Silk and arbitrator/mediator Barry Goldman as they offer up this great exercise to understand the “circle of grief”:

When Susan had breast cancer, we heard a lot of lame remarks, but our favorite came from one of Susan’s colleagues. She wanted, she needed, to visit Susan after the surgery, but Susan didn’t feel like having visitors, and she said so. Her colleague’s response? “This isn’t just about you.”

“It’s not?” Susan wondered. “My breast cancer is not about me? It’s about you?”

The same theme came up again when our friend Katie had a brain aneurysm. She was in intensive care for a long time and finally got out and into a step-down unit. She was no longer covered with tubes and lines and monitors, but she was still in rough shape. A friend came and saw her and then stepped into the hall with Katie’s husband, Pat. “I wasn’t prepared for this,” she told him. “I don’t know if I can handle it.”

This woman loves Katie, and she said what she did because the sight of Katie in this condition moved her so deeply. But it was the wrong thing to say. And it was wrong in the same way Susan’s colleague’s remark was wrong.

Susan has since developed a simple technique to help people avoid this mistake. It works for all kinds of crises: medical, legal, financial, romantic, even existential. She calls it the Ring Theory.

Draw a circle. This is the center ring. In it, put the name of the person at the center of the current trauma. For Katie’s aneurysm, that’s Katie. Now draw a larger circle around the first one. In that ring put the name of the person next closest to the trauma. In the case of Katie’s aneurysm, that was Katie’s husband, Pat. Repeat the process as many times as you need to. In each larger ring put the next closest people. Parents and children before more distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings, less intimate friends in larger ones. When you are done you have a Kvetching Order. One of Susan’s patients found it useful to tape it to her refrigerator.

la-oe-0407-silk-ring-theory-20130407-001

Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, “Life is unfair” and “Why me?” That’s the one payoff for being in the center ring.

Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings.

When you are talking to a person in a ring smaller than yours, someone closer to the center of the crisis, the goal is to help. Listening is often more helpful than talking. But if you’re going to open your mouth, ask yourself if what you are about to say is likely to provide comfort and support. If it isn’t, don’t say it. Don’t, for example, give advice. People who are suffering from trauma don’t need advice. They need comfort and support. So say, “I’m sorry” or “This must really be hard for you” or “Can I bring you a pot roast?” Don’t say, “You should hear what happened to me” or “Here’s what I would do if I were you.” And don’t say, “This is really bringing me down.”

If you want to scream or cry or complain, if you want to tell someone how shocked you are or how icky you feel, or whine about how it reminds you of all the terrible things that have happened to you lately, that’s fine. It’s a perfectly normal response. Just do it to someone in a bigger ring.

Comfort IN, dump OUT.

There was nothing wrong with Katie’s friend saying she was not prepared for how horrible Katie looked, or even that she didn’t think she could handle it. The mistake was that she said those things to Pat. She dumped IN.

Complaining to someone in a smaller ring than yours doesn’t do either of you any good. On the other hand, being supportive to her principal caregiver may be the best thing you can do for the patient.

Most of us know this. Almost nobody would complain to the patient about how rotten she looks. Almost no one would say that looking at her makes them think of the fragility of life and their own closeness to death. In other words, we know enough not to dump into the center ring. Ring Theory merely expands that intuition and makes it more concrete: Don’t just avoid dumping into the center ring, avoid dumping into any ring smaller than your own.

Remember, you can say whatever you want if you just wait until you’re talking to someone in a larger ring than yours.

And don’t worry. You’ll get your turn in the center ring. You can count on that.

Grab Bag Safety Psych:

Complex issues deserve thoughtful answers, and biologist/activist Sandra Steingraber gives just that to Bill Moyers as he asks her, “Can you give me a few ideas of what mothers and fathers can do to protect their children in this environment?” Her answer is unsettlingly accurate.

Bill Moyers

Grab Bag Wow Moment:

Creative film work… this is what giraffes do when we’re not looking:

Screen Shot 2013-04-28 at 10.34.46 PMThanks to Pat M. for sending this in.

Grab Bag Gehry Getaway:

For a unique hotel stay, check out Hotel Marqués de Riscal, in Elciego, Spain. Designed by Frank Gehry, when you unpack your bags here you know you are somewhere different.

Lifted from the pages of Houzz.com (if you aren’t a free member of this amazing site, you should be), here is what they say:

Opened in 2006, Gehry’s hotel is in the medieval village of Elciego, near vineyards and historic wine cellars.

The purple and blue titanium ribbon-curl roof cuts a striking scene against the picturesque countryside.

The hotel is actually two wings connected by a suspension footbridge. Each of the 43 luxury rooms and suites has its own distinctive shape and design.

The Executive Suite overlooks some of the hotel’s stunning architecture and comes with a dining area that has modern furniture.

The rooftop lounge and wine bar have panoramic views, a fireplace and a library.

From 300 euros (about U.S.$390) per night

Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 12.21.47 PM

Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 12.19.54 PM Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 12.20.13 PM Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 12.20.20 PM Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 12.20.28 PM Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 12.20.37 PM

Grab Bag Good Tips:

Whiten Nails

Nails can yellow over time from wearing darker polish. Here are some remedies to try:

Denture Tablets

Denture tablets whiten and brighten dentures, and denture tablets can also whiten and brighten yellow fingernails. Simply follow instructions for dissolving denture tablets in water, and soak your nails for several minutes. Repeat the process until your nails are lighter and brighter in color.

Real Lemon Juice

Lemons are good for more than making lemonade and other sweet and tangy lemon treats. Real lemon juice can help whiten and brighten yellow nails. Slice open a fresh lemon, and squeeze the juice into a shallow bowl, or use reconstituted lemon juice. Soak your nails in the lemon juice for several minutes, and repeat this treatment as often as necessary. Wash and rinse your hands after treating, and apply lotion to replenish valuable moisture.

Lemon Essential Oil

If you want to moisturize your nails and cuticles while whitening yellow fingernails, try lemon essential oil. Simply pour your favorite lemon essential oil into a shallow bowl, and soak your fingertips for several minutes. Repeat this process whenever you need to whiten, brighten, and condition your nails.

Light Buffing

Fingernails can be lightly buffed to remove light discoloration, but care should be taken when buffing. Besides removing discoloration, buffing encourages nail growth by increasing circulation. Buff in one direction, and use quality buffing materials. Too much buffing or incorrect buffing can actually weaken nails, and if nails end up breaking it won’t matter what color they are.

Whitening Toothpaste

If you get yellow nails after months of wearing dark polish, try scrubbing your nails with a nail brush and whitening toothpaste. It gets rid of the yellow color. Try it—it works pretty well, and you end up with minty fresh toes!

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Build 3,4,5 and 6 letter words from the letters given and watch your garden grow…

Garden Grow

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

More postcards from the edge of decency:

Unknown-15 Unknown-16 Unknown-17 Unknown-18 Unknown-19 Unknown-20 Unknown-21 Unknown-22 Unknown-23 Unknown-24 Unknown-27 Unknown-25 Unknown-26 Unknown-28

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cinco-de-mayo_1-0

Grab Bag Wow Moment:

Check this out… this video was edited to look like a stop-action film, with some filters added to appear as if this might be a miniature city.

For some reason I found this microcosm of human habits endearing. With that suggestion in mind, enjoy Miniature Melbourne.

Miniature Melbourne

Grab Bag Crisis Convo Coaching:

Pulled from the pages of the Wall Street Journal online, here is an article by Letty Cottin Pogrebin with an excellent set of guidelines for avoiding the most common mistakes when trying to converse with someone facing serious illness – I think I may have made some of these mistakes myself 😦 :

Hospital visit

‘A closed mouth gathers no feet.” It’s a charming axiom, but silence isn’t always an option when we’re dealing with a friend who’s sick or in despair. The natural human reaction is to feel awkward and upset in the face of illness, but unless we control those feelings and come up with an appropriate response, there’s a good chance that we’ll blurt out some cringe-worthy cliché, craven remark or blunt question that, in retrospect, we’ll regret.

Take this real-life exchange. If ever the tone deaf needed a poster child, Fred is their man.

“How’d it go?” he asked his friend, Pete, who’d just had cancer surgery.

“Great!” said Pete. “They got it all.”

“Really?” said Fred. “How do they know?”

Later, when Pete told him how demoralizing his remark had been, Fred’s excuse was, “I was nervous. I just said what popped into my head.”

We’re all nervous around illness and mortality, but whatever pops into our heads should not necessarily plop out of our mouths. Yet, in my own experience as a breast-cancer patient, and for many of the people I have interviewed, friends do make hurtful remarks. Marion Fontana, who was diagnosed with breast cancer eight years after her husband, a New York City firefighter, died in the collapse of the World Trade Center, was told that she must have really bad karma to attract so much bad luck. In another case, upon hearing a man’s leukemia diagnosis, his friend shrieked, “Wow! A girl in my office just died of that!”

You can’t make this stuff up.

If we’re not unwittingly insulting our sick friends, we’re spouting clichés like “Everything happens for a reason.” Though our intent is to comfort the patient, we also say such things to comfort ourselves and tamp down our own feelings of vulnerability. From now on, rather than sound like a Hallmark card, you might want to heed the following 10 Commandments for Conversing With a Sick Friend.

1. Rejoice at their good news. Don’t minimize their bad news. A guy tells you that the doctors got it all, say “Hallelujah!” A man with advanced bladder cancer says that he’s taking his kids to Disneyland next summer, don’t bite your lip and mutter, “We’ll see.” Tell him it’s a great idea. (What harm can it do?) Which doesn’t mean that you should slap a happy face on a friend’s grim diagnosis by saying something like, “Don’t worry! Nowadays breast cancer is like having a cold!”

The best response in any encounter with a sick friend is to say, “Tell me what I can do to make things easier for you—I really want to help.”

2. Treat your sick friends as you always did—but never forget their changed circumstance. However contradictory that may sound, I promise you can learn to live within the paradox if you keep your friend’s illness and its constraints in mind but don’t treat them as if their illness is who they are. Speak to them as you always did (tease them, kid around with them, get mad at them) but indulge their occasional blue moods or hissy-fits. Most important, start conversations about other things (sports, politics, food, movies) as soon as possible and you’ll help speed their journey from the morass of illness to the miracle of the ordinary.

3. Avoid self-referential comments. A friend with a hacking cough doesn’t need to hear, “You think that’s bad? I had double pneumonia.” Don’t tell someone with brain cancer that you know how painful it must be because you get migraines. Don’t complain about your colicky baby to the mother of a child with spina bifida. I’m not saying sick people have lost their capacity to empathize with others, just that solipsism is unhelpful and rude. The truest thing you can say to a sick or suffering friend is, “I can only try to imagine what you’re going through.”

4. Don’t assume, verify. Several friends of Michele, a Canadian writer, reacted to her cancer diagnosis with, “Well, at least you caught it early, so you’ll be all right!” In fact, she did not catch it early, and never said or hinted otherwise. So when someone said, “You caught it early,” she thought, “No, I didn’t, therefore I’m going to die.” Repeat after me: “Assume nothing.”

5. Get the facts straight before you open your mouth.Did your friend have a heart or liver transplant? Chemo or radiation? Don’t just ask, “How are you?” Ask questions specific to your friend’s health. “How’s your rotator cuff these days?” “Did the blood test show Lyme disease?” “Are your new meds working?” If you need help remembering who has shingles and who has lupus, or the date of a friend’s operation, enter a health note under the person’s name in your contacts list or stick a Post-it by the phone and update the information as needed.

6. Help your sick friend feel useful. Zero in on one of their skills and lead to it. Assuming they’re up to the task, ask a cybersmart patient to set up a Web page for you; ask a bridge or chess maven to give you pointers on the game; ask a retired teacher to guide your teenager through the college application process. In most cases, your request won’t be seen as an imposition but a vote of confidence in your friend’s talent and worth.

7. Don’t infantilize the patient. Never speak to a grown-up the way you’d talk to a child. Objectionable sentences include, “How are we today, dearie?” “That’s a good boy.” “I bet you could swallow this teeny-tiny pill if you really tried.” And the most wince-worthy, “Are we ready to go wee-wee?” Protect your friend’s dignity at all costs.

8. Think twice before giving advice.Don’t forward medical alerts, newspaper clippings or your Aunt Sadie’s cure for gout. Your idea of a health bulletin that’s useful or revelatory may mislead, upset, confuse or agitate your friend. Sick people have doctors to tell them what to do. Your job is simply to be their friend.

9. Let patients who are terminally ill set the conversational agenda.If they’re unaware that they’re dying, don’t be the one to tell them. If they know they’re at the end of life and want to talk about it, don’t contradict or interrupt them; let them vent or weep or curse the Fates. Hand them a tissue and cry with them. If they want to confide their last wish, or trust you with a long-kept secret, thank them for the honor and listen hard. Someday you’ll want to remember every word they say.

10. Don’t pressure them to practice ‘positive thinking.’ The implication is that they caused their illness in the first place by negative thinking—by feeling discouraged, depressed or not having the “right attitude.” Positive thinking can’t cure Huntington’s disease, ALS or inoperable brain cancer. Telling a terminal patient to keep up the fight isn’t just futile, it’s cruel. Insisting that they see the glass as half full may deny them the truth of what they know and the chance to tie up life’s loose ends while there’s still time. As one hospice patient put it, “All I want from my friends right now is the freedom to sulk and say goodbye.”

Though most of us feel dis-eased around disease, colloquial English proffers a sparse vocabulary for the expression of embarrassment, fear, anxiety, grief or sorrow. These 10 commandments should help you relate to your sick friends with greater empathy, warmth and grace.

Next week, we’ll explore Part II of Crisis Convo Coaching, and I’ll share a diagraming exercise that neatly suggests how to support someone while processing your own feelings at the same time.

Grab Bag Random Kindness:

If, like me, you have found yourself extracting foot from mouth, here are a few inspirations to rebalance your karma :-):
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Grab Bag 50 Ways to…..:

… not “leave your lover”, but Eat Healthier!

50 recipes to inspire a healthier mealtime from WhatsGabyCooking.com:

What's Gaby Cooking?

Grab Bag Brain Game:

A Japanese-inspired graphing game of deduction:

PICMA

Picma

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

Don’t shoot the messenger… I didn’t write these 🙂

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Grab Bag Doodle Noodle:

This just in from RealAge.com… doodling is good for your brain!

Boost Your Memory with Scribbles

Bill Gates does it. And you should, too. That is, if you want to remember things better.

We’re talking about doodling. Studies show that people who squiggle, scribble, and sketch while listening may have better recall.

Doodle for Your Noodle
Researchers suspect that doodling helps keep people more alert and reduces daydreaming. In a study of 40 adults, half of the group shaded in a row of shapes and the other half did nothing while listening to a boring phone message. Later, when asked to remember what they had heard, the doodlers recalled 29 percent more information than the nondoodlers.

This comes at a serendipitous time for me, as I have been focusing some time to a doodling art form often referred to as Zentangle. Click for a search of Zentangle images (Pinterest is also a great source) to warm up your doodle-Mojo. I find it very meditative. Here’s one I recently did in a couple of hours:

Zentangle

Grab Bag “Everyone’s a Playah”:

Now everyone CAN be a playah… digitally, that is.

Note: If you happen to have Apple TV, plus an Apple laptop (post 2011), AND operating system 10.8 or later, read no further… YOU can use Airplay Mirroring to throw your computer screen onto your TV.

For the rest of you who have an HDMI TV and are wishing you could share and view your photos, videos, Netflix movies, YouTube hilarities, etc. on your boob tube, I’ve got the answer!

PLAIR

Grab Bag Cool Rules:

Tara Mohr

Tara Sophia Mohr is an inspirational young woman, and she wants to inspire us, too. Peruse her website, and she comes across as a pretty bright bulb, with the paper to back it up…. undergrad at Yale and an MBA from Stanford… which actually doesn’t mean as much as what she offers below.

I’m thinkin’ we all might want to write these down.

10 Rules for Brilliant Women

  1. Make a pact. No one else is going to build the life you want for you. No one else will even be able to completely understand it. The most amazing souls will show up to cheer you on along the way, but this is your game. Make a pact to be in it with yourself for the long haul, as your own supportive friend at every step along the way.
  2. Imagine it. What does a knock-the-ball-out-of-the-park life look like for you? What is the career that seems so incredible you think it’s almost criminal to have it? What is the dream you don’t allow yourself to even consider because it seems too unrealistic, frivolous, or insane? Start envisioning it. That’s the beginning of having it.
  3. Gasp. Start doing things that make you gasp and get the adrenalin flowing. Ask yourself, “What’s the gasp-level action here?” Your fears and a tough inner critic will chatter in your head. That’s normal, and just fine. When you hear that repetitive, irrational, mean inner critic, name it for what it is, and remember, it’s just a fearful liar, trying to protect you from any real or seeming risks. Go for the gasps and learn how false your inner critic’s narrative really is, and how conquerable your fears.
  4. Get a thick skin. If you take risks, sometimes you’ll get a standing ovation, and sometimes, people will throw tomatoes. Can you think of any leader or innovator whom you admire who doesn’t have enthusiastic fans and harsh critics? Get used to wins and losses, praise and pans, getting a call back and being ignored. Work on letting go of needing to be liked and needing to be universally known as “a nice person.”
  5. Be an arrogant idiot. Of course I know you won’t, because you never could. But please, just be a little more of an arrogant idiot. You know those guys around the office who share their opinions without thinking, who rally everyone around their big, (often unformed) ideas? Be more like them. Even if just a bit. You can afford to move a few inches in that direction.
  6. Question the voice that says “I’m not ready yet.” I know, I know. Because you are so brilliant and have such high standards, you see every way that you could be more qualified. You notice every part of your idea that is not perfected yet. While you are waiting to be ready, gathering more experience, sitting on your ideas, our friends referenced in rule five are being anointed industry visionaries, getting raises, and seeing their ideas come to life in the world. They are no more ready than you, and perhaps less. Jump in the sandbox now, and start playing full out. Find out just how ready you are.
  7. Don’t wait for your Oscar. Don’t wait to be praised, anointed, or validated. Don’t wait for someone to give you permission to lead. Don’t wait for someone to invite you to share your voice. No one is going to discover you. (Well, actually, they will, but paradoxically, only after you’ve started boldly and consistently stepping into leadership, sharing your voice, and doing things that scare the hell out of you.)
  8. Filter advice. Most brilliant women are humble and open to guidance. We want to gather feedback and advice. Fine, but recognize that some people won’t understand what you are up to (often because you are saying something new and ahead of your time). Some people will find you to be not their cup of tea. Some will feel threatened. Some people will want to do with your idea only what is interesting or helpful to them. So interpret feedback carefully. Test advice and evaluate the results, rather than following it wholesale.
  9. Recover and restore. If you start doing the things that make you gasp, doing what you don’t quite feel ready to do, and being more of an arrogant idiot, you are going to be stretching out of your comfort zone–a lot. Regularly do things that feel safe, cozy, and restorative. Vent to friends when you need to. Acknowledge the steps you’ve taken. Watch your tank to see how much risk-taking juice you have available to you. When it’s running low, stop, recover and restore.
  10. Let other women know they are brilliant. Let them know what kind of brilliance you see, and why it’s so special. Call them into greater leadership and action. Let them know that they are ready. Watch out for that subtle, probably unconscious thought, “because I had to struggle and suffer on my way up…they should have to too.” Watch out for thinking this will “take” too much time – when the truth is it always has huge, often unexpected returns.

Clear a path by walking it, boldly.

Grab Bag Dent Went:

Maybe you you have a dent in your car that just appeared (I am certain someone backed into your vehicle in the parking lot, and left no note, right?).

If the estimate from the body shop has you hyperventilating, try this first … it’ll cost you a few dollars and some time. (Note: I can’t figure out why he uses a metal hammer… how about wrapping the head with a cloth or using a rubber hammer?) Anyway… scores of people talk about the relative success of this, and it’s certainly worth a try.

Grab Bag Valid Salad:

Angie McGowan of Babble.com offers 20 salad recipes hearty and healthy enough for a meal:

20 SALADS

20 SALADS

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Sramble

Going mental….unscramble these words. They are all related to mental health and well being. Answers are in Comments below.

esridpsnoe
zcrapo
cxeesrei
ionasmin
erhat esadies
trohpmyhidsiyo
ts hjosn rowt
odlob srespuer

stiumrnosertrtane
naselaso eftavfcie sedorrid
odom
sgemasa
setsrs
xeitnay
eatihpstr

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

Note to self world:

A stay-at-home-dad decided to document his observations with post-it notes, then post it (pun intended). I love this guy.

h9MOroW

5gs7YLE

CX00y8G

V8WxMhf

w0etBNI

vVps147

bxCaq8f rme4kBE 6KHeI6r
YhaqzCT

SS2Qs99

GLdiZNK

5G6nmD3

zX8G9lM
HTXyWWE 1OAvrPl dNofYMO


uUJA6CF

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Grab Bag Wow Moment:

Some fabulous images as seen through now sadly dark but gifted eyes:

French photographer Laurent Schwebel, 52 years old, was stabbed and killed and his camera stolen while he was taking pictures in Buenos Aires.  A naturalist photographer, he was born in 1959 in the Alsace region of eastern France and killed on February 8, 2012, in Plaza San Martin, Retiro, Buenos Aires . He worked as a geologist, naturalist and photographer under the guidance of a French travel agency specializing in naturalist travels.

Hit this in full screen mode for full enjoyment.

Thanks to sweet sistah Tally D. for sending this to me 🙂

Grab Bag Calm .Com:

Simple. Calming. Effective.

Calm.com (how did they snag that URL?) is offering you a corner of the internet to chill out and tune in.

Go here, pick your visual, choose how much time you want to devote to the mind float, and get your Zen on for free. Use on your computer and/or get the app for your iPhone and you can zone at work :-), on the plane, on the road (in the passenger seat!).

A guided meditation in the comfort of your own home, hotel room or desk cubicle at work is just what we all need.

Ommmmmmmmm…..

Calm.com

Grab Bag Bank Buster:

God love her. Senator Elizabeth Warren is running a US Senate Banking Committee hearing on illegal home foreclosures. She’s awesome and they are scrambling to come up with acceptable answers….. and flailing.

Grab Bag Texti:

Brilliant. They guys Uber.com have filled the gap between scuzzy taxi cabs and 4-hour minimum limousines.

Sign up and download the Uber app for free (you can also magically summon a shiny black car from your computer after signing up). You will be asked to provide a credit card they will keep on file.

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OK now, here we go…. you’re in one of dozens of cities around the world (but let’s say San Francisco, where Uber was born)…. you need to get somewhere and you either can’t find a cab or you’d just prefer a shiny, clean town car, or an SUV.

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Wasn’t that cool? From SF to NYC to Amsterdam to London to…. loads of cities will happily Uber you around town from the comfort of your phone or computer. I just may try it soon myself 🙂

Grab Bag Brain Game:

A series of quick, mini-games to challenge your brain in different ways:

Brain Game

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

ALERTS TO FINANCIAL AND MILITARY THREATS IN 2012 EUROPE

By John Cleese (British writer, actor and tall person):

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Syria and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France ‘s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbour” and “Lose.” Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels .

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia , meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be alright, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is cancelled.” So far no situation has ever warranted use of the last final escalation level.

A final thought -” Greece is collapsing, the Iranians are getting aggressive, and Rome is in disarray. Welcome back to 430 BC.”

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Happy 34th Anniversary to My Wonderful Husband 🙂

Grab Bag Workout Warriors:

In case you get bored in the gym:

Workout Warriors

Grab Bag Sleep Snacks:

Super foods for super sleeeeeeeeppp.

Cocoa

Hot cocoa at bedtime!: Chocolate contains tryptophan to make you happy and relaxed, and chocolate is, in fact, one of the richest dietary sources of magnesium, a natural sedative that can greatly improve sleep. A deficiency of magnesium can result in difficulty sleeping, constipation, muscle tremors or cramps, anxiety, irritability, and pain.

tea-pot-cup-lg

Tea time: Just pick the right tea for bedtime: Try Valerian, chamomile, sage or lemon balm.

walnuts(1)

Go nuts: Walnuts. Super high in melatonin, which offers super sleep and is an antioxidant.

tart-cherry

Cheers! Cherry! Juice!: ½-1 cup of tart cherry juice one hour before bed has been shown to improve sleep.

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Seeds of change: If you have trouble staying asleep or wake frequently throughout the night, your serotonin and melatonin levels may be out of whack. Sesame seeds, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds all can help. Pumpkin seed powder is the new “warm glass of milk”. Try an evening snack of ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (or 2 tablespoons pumpkin powder), 1-2 tablespoons chia seeds and ¾ cup of unsweetened Greek yogurt.

sleepy-moon-s-vagabond

Nighty Night 🙂

Grab Bag Good Tips:

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Get rid of labels and sticky gunk: Equal parts veg. oil and baking soda… leave on 2-3 minutes and use your fingers to rub off.

fe7049450730ed706fa1317a5a5004b2

When buying fruit and veggies, always soak them in a 1:4 ratio of vinegar and water to help remove toxins and pesticides. Leave them soaking for up to an hour, longer with nonorganic apples. At the end of the bath, sometimes you can even see cloudy like stuff in the water from the skins and waxes, and dirt on the bottom. The vinegar is KEY.

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Put onions in pantyhose, and tie knots between onion. Plus it makes a freaky wall art installation 🙂

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Place ethylene absorbers in your fridge. A set of 3 costs $16. These little pods absorb the ethylene emitted by fruits and vegetables to keep them fresh up to 3x longer. Here’s a handy list of ethylene-producing and ethylene-sensitive foods.

Grab Bag Inspire Me:

There’s a great website called Quora.com, where they pose all kinds of questions and the answers are shared and voted on.

Here are the top answers to the question,

“What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done that no one knows about?”

Anonymous

7765 votes

My ma has my kidney. 

I can never tell her. She would have never agreed. And she will regret it forever if I told her now.

She thinks it’s someone who sold it to us. And that she was so lucky to have got a “donor” within 3 months of needing it.

The amazing feeling of having done this for my ma is something I can never explain to anyone. No one knows about this – except my wife!

Anonymous

2802 votes

At 27, I used all my money to buy my parents a house. They didn’t know it was all my money at the time.

I sold a tech company for a small exit in 2010. Everyone was extremely proud of me, but no one knew the exact amount I made, but everyone assumed I did really well. In actuality, I only made just over a hundred thousand dollars. I purposefully hid the amount because I wanted to use all the money to buy my parents a house, and I knew that my parents would never accept me buying them a house with the money from my sale. So with no one knowing, I drained my account (after paying taxes) and bought my parents a 1-story house in Texas (where I grew up). I did this because they had been living in a small two-story house that, in recent years, could no longer accommodate my sick and increasingly wheel-chair-bound dad.

Everyone assumed I had made a large amount of money and that this was one of many things I used the money on. In reality, this was my exit and my dream gift. This gift allowed my dad to live out the remainder of his life in dignity and it brought a tremendous stabilizing force to our family life. It stands as the nicest thing I’ll likely ever do.

Since then, I’ve made more money, my dad passed away, and my mom lives in that house, now full of great memories. We look back with great joy at those last few years with my dad, and I’m glad I could make it as comfortable for him as possible.

Anonymous

2717 votes

One day as a young child I found $23 scattered on a field and it brought me great joy.

I’ve grown old, and I’ve never told anyone this but now when I walk past an empty playground or schoolyard I go in and take some money from my wallet and drop it on the ground.

Clare Tomlinson, Paramedic

544 votes

A few years ago one of my friends was really struggling for money, so I took her out for lunch and while we were out and about, I put £20 in her pocket so she would find it later on and think it was just money that she had forgotten about! She was one of those people that never would have asked for help and never complained about “being skint”, She never would have accepted a handout from anyone, so I thought this was the next best thing!

A few days later she told me about finding the money in her pocket and how pleased she was that she could use it for some food shopping.

To this day I have never told her where the money came from, and I never will. It was only a small amount of money (Which was all I could afford to give away at the time) but it meant a massive amount to my friend.

Lucas Mund, History teacher and trivia geek

222 votes

Just after college my wife and I were planning our wedding. Both of us did not have good jobs but had lots debt from college. We both were living at our parents’ houses until we could get enough money for the wedding and an apartment. We had a hard time even paying for gas to drive the 30 mins each way to see each other.

Then one day my mom found an envelope in her mailbox that had my wife and I’s names on it so she gave it to us. It didn’t have a stamp or address. Someone had just dropped it in her mailbox. Inside was $300 cash. No note, name or anything. That $300 went a long way for us at the time.

Now that we are on our feet, when my wife and I know someone is in need we drop $300 cash in their mailbox in a plain envelope. We have done this 3 times so far and we love it each time!

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Some language skills to practice! Good game with various types of challenges and levels.

THE RIGHT WORD

RIGHT WORD

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

Sent to me recently:

This is a deceptively simple philosophy that I have been working on, and refining, for most of my life.  I am delighted to say that, finally, I have refined it down to its essence sufficiently to share it with a select band of friends who may appreciate its elegance and simplicity.

.

Thanks to Pat M. for sending this in.

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