Whales And The "F" Word

It was an all-too-common situation; cocky college kid comes home eager to impress his blue collar parents with his newly acquired knowledge. The topic? Not politics or religion or social values. The topic was…whales. Dad was wise enough to rise from his chair and scurry from the kitchen before Mom and I drew our weapons. In my defense, I had no idea this topic would prompt a yelling match, or that I’d resort to yelling out the “F” word in ...

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused…

“When man unfocuses his mind, he may be said to be conscious in a subhuman sense of the word, since he experiences sensations and perceptions.” Ayn Rand Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused… Driving by in Stockholm Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused… Paris Unfocused… Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused… A gathering of protesters at a park in Stockholm “Psychologically, the choice “to think or not” is the choice “to focus or not.” Existentially, the choice “to focus or not” is the choice “to be conscious or not.” Metaphysically, the choice “to be conscious or not” is the ...

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” Douglas Adams Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime. Salmon Bento Box Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime. Taiko performers Normally, with kids away in college and my recent enrollment in a challenging certification program, lunch is the least reliable meal in my household. If I’m out and about, I eat where I am. If I’m home, I might have some leftovers or a simple fruit and yoghurt dish.  However, when the kids come home for spring break, we eat out ...

Fun Flower Facts: Forget-Me-Not

The Forget-me-not is an unforgettable flower! Just about everyone knows its name! Known scientifically as myosotis, forget-me-nots are plants with clusters of dainty little flowers, about 1 cm in diameter. There are about 50 different species. These popular spring time flowers are commonly blue with yellow centers, but white and pink varieties are also available. Leaves are grey-green, hairy and stalkless. In the wild, they can be found in wet places like woodlands and stream banks. Forget-me-not is a favourite with gardeners. ...

5 Reasons to Start or Join a Community Garden

For many, gardening alone is an enjoyable and relaxing hobby. On the other hand, community garden can be just as rewarding! A community garden is basically a shared space in the community where members work together to grow food, flowers or other plants. The space can be a single community plot or many individual plots. Historically, community gardens were created to provide food during wars or during economic depression. These days, living a “green” lifestyle is becoming increasing important, and as a ...

Trust Yourself: The King Loves His Clothes…

“Don’t take anything personally. As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices.” Don Miguel Ruiz Trust Yourself: A King displaying his finery.... Get Over Yourself: What You Think Is Not Always What You Get… Recently, I was reminded about the powerful ways in which the mysteries of life present themselves. Sometimes we look at events and imagine ...

Nelson Mandela: Madiba R.I.P.

“As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself… Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.” Nelson Mandela Nelson Mandela: Madiba Dead at 95, RIP  1918-2013. Photo via g987fm.com Utata Madiba, Ndilusizi… Hamba kakuhle! Enkosi kakhulu! (Father Madiba, I’m sad… Go well. Thank you very much!) Nelson Mandela’s retirement charity launch Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Tata Madiba, Khulu, Dalibhunga, 95, passed away today. ...

Conclusion: Uncle Sam and Kotex

READ: Part One The lady behind the counter pushed the unbagged box of Kotex in my direction, oblivious to the fact that she held my quivering soul in her hands. My voice was squeaky as a mouse. “Excuse me..?” “Yes, something else you need?” she asked sweetly. “Could you put this in a bag, pleeeeze?” I should have selected a smaller box. Kotex came packaged in different sizes, but unfortunately I’d selected a box large enough to supply an army of Amazons. “Sorry, Hon’, no can ...

Fairness Seems Fairly Unique to Humans…

We found a way to solve that ultimate fairness conundrum between kids – how to equitably split the final piece of cake, pie or brownie between our two daughters without one of them leveling claims of inequality because the other “got the bigger piece.” What we do is we’ll flip a coin to decide which of them will cut the last piece of dessert into two pieces. Then, regardless of who did the cutting, the other child gets to choose their ...

For the Love of Color

What’s your favorite color? It’s a simple question and one of the first we’re ever asked. The answer is quite simple as well. It’s the color that makes us feel good. The one we’re drawn to and never seem to tire. And what better color to use when decorating your home than your favorite color? Color schemes don’t have to be complicated. Using hue variations of one color and mixing it with neutrals can be the perfect choice when you can’t get enough ...

Cupcake Currency???

Cupcake ATM - image courtesy of Sprinkles Cupcakes It’s no secret that the U.S. economy continues to struggle. The country continues to nickel-and-dime its way out of the monetary morass of the past few years, and gold is a favored investment option given the uncertainties surrounding currencies such as the euro, drachma and dollar. However, a recent story I read struck me as a savory solution of sorts. It seems a high-end bakery called Sprinkles Cupcakes in Los Angeles has invented a cupcake (automated ...

The Five Most Dangerous Prayers

At church today, our pastor spoke about the need to find rest in God and he concluded his sermon with a passing mention of three dangerous prayers to pray. [NOTE: If you're interested in hearing his sermon on podcast you can visit the church's web site at www.pvachurch.com.] The first three "dangerous" prayers are borrowed from his sermon - it's probably inappropriate to say that I directly stole them from Pastor John on the Sabbath and all - regardless, that idea ...

A Modestly Monumental Success…

A Modestly Monumental Success...

Today was my weekly WeightWatchers weigh-in. As you may have seen last week, I was within striking distance - losing an additional 1.5 lbs. - of losing a total of -30 lbs. This past week, I was focused on achieving that goal by sticking to the PointsPlus Values plan, closely tracking my food intake as well as "moving" for at least :30 minutes every day.  As a result, when I stepped on the scale before today's meeting.... ..I was down -2.4 lbs. for a ...

My Failed Facebook Marriage….

Facebook ended my marriage (sort of).... You probably don’t know this about me, but I’m a sensitive soul….a petite, genteel flower if you will. I drink Celestial Seasonings sleepy-time chamomile tea as a pick-me-up. All of my under garments must be made out of crushed velvet and infused with Downey fabric softener and other anti-chafing agents. Even my toothbrush bristles are made from 100% baby rabbit fur. Suffice to say that I have a delicate constitution. That’s why it’s so difficult for me to (sob) write ...

Cupid Must Think I'm Stupid!

Valentine’s schmalentine’s, who gives a crap? Is this day just for daters and maters or for the general population? I’ve been married 35 years and I’ve yet to get a valentine gift. Of course I’m not the type to make a fuss. I like to silently seethe. Actually, I come from Worcester County, which happens to be the home of the first Valentine. I think I should be demanding preferential Valentine treatment. And I would, if I thought it would do ...

Me & the Moon

Have you seen the moon lately? That luminous sphere who reflects the sun’s light; for he hasn’t a light of his own. The moon; whose presence inspires howling and kisses, floods and poetry; gazing silently earthward, spotlighting our deeds and dreams, keeping our secrets, making no judgments. Twirling, yet going no where, he is chained to his course; a muted witness whose face pales as our silent tears fall, and blushes pink with desire as lovers fold into each other’s arms, ...

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Cheryl - The Art of Being Conflicted
April 5, 2012, 12:55 pm

The New Improved You

A very interesting blogger over at Older Eyes  has had a couple of posts in which the subject of self-help books were mentioned.   From reading Bud’s blog, I can tell you he is not only a really good writer but a talented artist as well.

I used to be more of an “avid” reader but that has greatly decreased as my preponderance to sit my butt in front of a computer screen the better part of any given day has somewhat diminished the amount of actual “books” I read.  Don’t get me wrong, I still buy a gazillion books with many of them being those that would be listed under the “self-help” genre.

First of all, the category of “self-help” books needs to be divided into two distinctive categories.

The first category is the INSTRUCTIONAL books.  You know….books that are going to teach you something TANGIBLE.  A lot of these books look like this. I buy these books by the dozens.  I kid you not.  At any given time, I have 3 or 4 or more of them on my desk.  I devour these on all manner of topics.  These books are like popcorn that needs to be eaten.

This by the way, leads me to two major conclusions about my life.
 A. I am a Dummy
 B. I am a Complete IdiotIt, also, by the way, has me questioning my total lack of ability on all manner of subjects, or really…why would I need to be constantly reading books telling me that I am both a dummy and an idiot.  I don’t find this helpful.  Kinda counter intuative to the genre, SELF-HELP.The second type of self-help book deals with “INTANGIBLE” instruction such as improving your attitude, alleviating your worries and generally working on your psyche. These are the type of self-help books that I was commenting on over at Older Eyes.  These are, also, the books, that I am suspicious of.

My tendency to not “buy into” the mass produced self-help book  of the intangible sort, became apparent a few years ago when the book Who Moved the Cheese came out.  It’s not that I dont’ think the book’s parable with Sniff and Scurry and Hem and Haw wasn’t clever enough but there was the niggling little thought that kept saying the people were over-reacting a bit.  I mean…REALLY…every corporation in America was having corporate seminars about little mice nibbling on cheese.

At that time, I owned a corporate training company and one of the big communications firms, hired me for 8 weeks to develop seminars that ALL of their employees would be mandated to take on the subject of  “ACCEPTING CHANGE”.  In their case, the seminars were a precursor to a giant layoff that was about to befall them.  I guess you can call losing your job a form of change, but even as great of trainer (**crickets**) as I am, it it hard to spin that as a positive.

This “lack of enthusiasm” on my part,  continued when the company I worked for during the release of The Secret started having seminars where we were to work on our visualization of what we wanted in life.  Somehow it just didn’t seem right that I was visualizing “not having to work there.” Not to diminish thinking good thoughts,  I do believe in the power of positive thinking…I sense that some of you are surprised by this, and yes, I know that is not always evident.

As I am more than willing to try anything once, especially if thinking about it is easier than actually doing anything about it, I did in fact try thinking my way into being rich.  So far I have had minimal success.  According to the film, for those of you that haven’t had the privilege, there is a guy that sits in his recliner and thinks great wonderful thoughts about getting a new car and low and behold he gets one.  As I recall the guy was unemployed at the time, which begs the question,  is he able to afford this car… but leave it to me to question the Law of Attraction.  It is a LAW after all.

So, to summarize:

I do think there are bits and pieces in self-help books that may be motivational BUT ( ya’ saw that “but” coming, huh?) it is a bit of a challenge for an author to write a book in the genre of self-help unless he truly would have knowledge of the “self” that is reading it.

IN OTHER WORDS…I could (if I had any ability what-so-ever) write a book that would tell you that I can improve your happiness level by 100 percent by the end of business today.  That’s right…I have the magic formula to  improve your self-esteem  by 100 percent.  Money Back guarantee!!!!

In my opinion (in most circles “my opinion” is rated  on par at the same level as dog poo) the major hurdle here with my upcoming book and those that are already mass marketed is….we aren’t exactly sure of your level of [whatever the author is pushing].  As we/I don’t know a damn thing about you, it is a little brazen of me to say I can improve, modify, enlighten any of your emotions.  Still, feel free to buy my book and I will give it a try. At least with my book the price is in direct proportion to the quality. Free…which is also, how I can offer the 100 percent money-back guarantee.

Sooooo….for the sake of trying to be a team player here, I am going to write a self-help post.  Well, actually, I am just going to give you a teaser of a self-help post.  For the rest of my wisdom, you will have to buy the book.

So here goes…two things you can do to improve your self-esteem by 5:00.  You will look cooler and feel more self assured.
Number 1…Swimwear for winners.

For those of you that are ill at ease at the beach or pool…I am here to help.

For those of you out there that just are uncomfortable with modern swimwear, there is an alternative.   I know, I know, swimming suits can be  the single most crushing of the ego deflaters.   Clearly, even the most awesome bodies have a little jiggle here and there.

The solution…a wetsuit.  Why wear a revealing suit, when you can look super cool in a wetsuit?  Anyone that is questioning this fashion choice is quickly silenced with the ever useful line:

I AM IN TRAINING…this line is sure to impress and assuage any lingering doubts they might have.

Oh, you think wetsuits are too pricey…no problem.

Cheaper fix…. SPANX.  Say it with me, people…spandex is our friend!!!!  That’s right.  I know you think that Spanx is under-garment shaping but hey…buy the black separates.  Together it will look like a wetsuit.  (Men, you can do this as well, just be careful not to get a top with a built in bra…well unless you need that)

To further authenticate the look be sure to find you old YMCA swimming patch or wear a gold medal around your neck.

Hey, are you in training????

You are now rockin’ the beach!

Another tip that is sure to make you feel good about yourself.   Sunglasses!! Simple fix.  Everyone looks better in sunglasses.

After reading a rather interesting article over at Newsvine, where someone going by the name of Werdoomed made the comment that people’s attractiveness level drops between 10-70 percent when they take their sunglasses off. Frankly, I think Werdoomed is a genius. Truly, everyone looks way more attractive with sunglasses on. I do draw the line when people keep their shades on in dark rooms and at night as that is something else entirely. It’s not about looking good as much as not looking like you are “under the influence” of something.

See, Joe COOL

Even non-cartoon dogs look cool in sunglasses

What's Up

Little grandbabies look great in sunglasses



Maybe the pacifier with the Mr. Potato Head glasses isn’t cool

but it is very cute from a grandparent’s point of view.


OK, I am visualizing him in sunglasses.  See

I can visualize and he is still very cute.

Cheryl - The Art of Being Conflicted

A veteran of corporate moves from which I survived moving 21 times for my husband's job. I currently am a married, middle-aged (if I make it to 116) middle income, mom living in the very middle of the country, with time on her hands to jot down observations, judgements, and musings about past and current events.

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