Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Gallimaufry for You Today

A gallimaufry for you today, of some new things I learned.

First, the word gallimaufry (gal-uh-MAW-free). Defined on m-w simply as a hodgepodge. But others add that it originally meant "a hash of various kinds of meats." From the French galimafrée (for stew). In Old French "galer" meant to rejoice or to make merry, like, doh, a GALA. In Old Englsih gala + mafrer = to eat much. And from Medieval Dutch maffelen "to open one's mouth wide."

Second, my friend told me they had spent Thanksgiving at Marfa, Texas, staying at the hotel where the stars stayed when filming GIANT (Rock Hudson, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor)but they didn't get to see the Marfa Lights. Something else to put on my "to do" list one day. Go see the Marfa Lights.

Third, I took the "what's your accent quiz" (Facebook) and found out that my accent resembles those in Western New England, New York and the Great Lakes. Isn't that interesting!! In my youth I lived in Chicago, Boston and New York. Quite an accurate little quiz, with just a few questions.

The StrengthsProfile is just that accurate. Have you taken it? If you want to know what your TRUE, INNATE "strengths" are, email me for the resource. This is not "good at writing" sort of stuff, it tests for things like Command (people who are naturally perceived to be leaders, that others look to to lead them), and WOO (for "winning other over") - those people who can effortlessly sell ice to an eskimo.

If you're stumbling around about a career or job right now, it's spot-on. Likewise for relationships. I've used this profile with many couples and it helps them understand one another better and how to work with the strenths for win-win outcomes.

OK, that's enough gallimaufry for now!

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Is this the worst of times? How do you cope?


I remember sitting in sophomore English class, in high school, cracking open a new book and reading "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." You'll recognize The Dickens. Our teacher expostulated what a grand opening sentence it was and naddered on about how that could be said at just about any time. Perhaps not as "bad" as the French Revolution ... or is this THAT BAD?

It meant nothing to me as a high school sophomore. It means a lot to me as an adult.

The full leading paragraph is relevant here:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. Dickens, "Tale of Two Cities"

Many would have you believe we are in "the worst of times," which leads me to ways to cope with what is going on right now:

1. It will change.

This is a big 12-stepper mantra. 'Don't worry. If it's good it will change. If it's bad it will change.' This goes on within us as well, emotionally, because our physical body seeks equilibrium. It's a law of physics: What goes up, must come down. If you've ever experienced a tremendous letdown after a great high (an award, falling in love, an invitation) you know what I mean. Situations change, and so do our emotions.

2. Ignore the DRAMA, the superlatives (as Dickens put it).

I asked a 90+ year old friend of mine the other year if these times were worse than any other and she laughed and said, "No. Just different." She came over as an immigrant from Ireland, back when (as she will never forget), the Irish were not allowed an education.

Keep in mind that the press reports what sells newspapers. If nothing else, notice how each "low" or "high" in the stock market is reported with hyperbole. How can each one be "the economy bleeds," "all time low," "greatest fall in the history of ...". They don't go back and correct what was once an "all time", they just keep pumping it out.

Ask someone 10 years older than you, or 20, or 30, what the fears were at the time, and you will see that most of them, maybe even none of them, ever came about.

BAD NEWS SELLS NEWSPAPERS. (Notice that in a recent medical report, the happiest people said they did not read newspapers.)

Headlines like to catastrophize ... and you're a sucker if you fall for it.

Back in the 60's I became concerned as others did, about the population growth in the US and world, and I became the secretary of the local chapter of ZPG - Zero Population Growth. Their mantra was that the population of the world was out-of-control and would soon overtake food and resources IF NOT STOPPED.

Now the population rate is declining so much in some countries, they are giving incentives for people to have children and in the US we worry about enough young people to support the boomers in retirement.

3. Stay in the present. This brings perspective.

I was listening to someone when the gas prices first went up (and now they are going down!). At the end of his tirade I asked, "How has this effected you personally?" He said, "Not much. I only live about a mile from where I work. And I get a car allowance anyway."

In other words, the gas rise effected some people in a major way, but when you read about these things, stop and take a look at yourself and your own situation. Then forge ahead.

4. Talk with positive people.

Most of my clients who lost a major percentage of their retirement portfolios at 911 had gained it back (before this). Does that not indicate that this will turn around as well? Talk with positive people. And understand that if things were easy to predict, they wouldn't be problems in the first place.

5. If you look around, you might observe something (as said Yogi Berra).

Note that not too many years ago, the anecdote for a spoiled and unappreciative child was for their parent to take them somewhere like a homeless shelter.

A simple conversation with just about anybody today will show you that your own situation is a whole lot better than a lot of other people's.

6. Be willing to let go.

The past is over, as of one minute ago. If things are not the way they were before, that's ok and you are going to be ok. Unless you make a catastrophe out of it, or unless you rigidly defy the course of events. For instance, one solution to the gas crisis would be to give up cars and go back to riding horses. Would you like to do that? The past is only glorified by recollection. Let your own past go, and move forward.

I work with a number of clients who are adjusting to retirement. Retirement is letting go of a lot of things, things they liked and things that had meaning to them. Call me for coaching if you'd like some tips on adjustments you must make.

Take a look at my ebook CHANGING BELIEFS for more ideas.

If course we'd rather be in charge of our own changes, but lets face it, it usually doesn't work out that way. But there are beliefs you can have that can be sustained through change, and in fact make forced-changes easier for you. Why make it worse than it is? Give it a thought!

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The Top 15 Saddest Songs of All


Yahoo's list Cry Me A River: The 20 Most Heartbreaking Songs Of All Time! is getting a lot of comment.

They say:

For the last month Rock's Backpages has offered up a slew of sobworthy classics from all walks of pop. Country, soul, AOR, dance: you name the genre, we've scoured it for heartbreak greats. So get yer handkerchiefs ready... here's our tearjerking Top 20 , from the Everly Brothers to George Jones via Lorraine Ellison and Little Feat. --Barney Hoskyns, Rock's Backpages

It has songs like The Pretenders, I Go to Sleep, and Dusty Springfield's I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself.

Commenter are incensed that their favorite one has been left out. Here's a list from my Club Vivo Per Lei (I Live for Music) and there are 15 more I would add.

P.S. I do love their comment about Roy Orbison, certainly the most under-rated in his own life time, and a real force. He could easily transcend three octaves. On a recent cruise, where the entertainers were willing to sing requests for us, the audience, the wouldn't touch the Big O, who according to yahoo, "gives unearthly voice to what one only call terminality." Listen once again to Leah, which barely registered on ther charts in his lifetime.

Their #1 is George Jones, "He Stopped Loving Her Today."

We all seem to agree on the Righteous Brothers and Roy Orbison. But what about Elvis??? Which one of his would you put on there.

Oh well, we all have our favorites. Send me yours (comments).

(You can find all these one BTW.)

15. Springtime in Alberta/Irving Berlin is 100 Years Old Today, Ian Tyson
14. Till I can Make It on My Own, Tammy Wynette
13. Red, Red Wine, UB40
12. Crying, Roy Orbison
11. You've Lost That Loving Feeling, the Righteous Brother
10. Kiling Me Softly, Robert Flack
9. Always on My Mind, Willie Nelson, Elvis
8. The Big Hurt, Toni Fisher
7. And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda, John McDermott
6. Only Love Can Break a Heart, Gene Pitney
5. I Fall to Pieces, Patsy Cline
4. Core 'NGrato (Ungrateful Heart/Catari), Pavarotti
3. Con Te Partiro (Time to Say Goodbye), Andrea Bocelli with Sarah Brightman
2. The Best I Know How, The Statler Brothers
1. Piscatore 'E Pussileco, Andrea Bocelli
Hymne a L'Amour, Edith Piaf
_______________________ your call (please take survey*)

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Wal-Mart Employee Trampled in Hobbesian Frenzy

I think we have all been stunned to read about the Hobbesian frenzy that killed a Wal-Mart employee today. It might also be called a feeding frenzy. It harkens as well to "The Oxbow Incident."

"A Hobbesian frenzy," refers to the the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes.

Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death reads the headline in the New York Times article, which refers to a "Hobbesian frenzy" that killed Jdimypai Damour, a 34 y.o. temporary employee, no doubt hired for the Black Friday sale at the New York Wal-Mart, a post-Thanksgiving Day tradition for many.

Why is this called a Hobbesian frenzy? Thomas Hobbes wrote: "The condition of man... is a condition of war of everyone against everyone."

From the article:

A Wal-Mart employee in suburban New York was trampled to death by a crush of shoppers who tore down the front doors and thronged into the store early Friday morning, turning the annual rite of post-Thanksgiving bargain hunting into a Hobbesian frenzy.

This article is rapidly making the rounds in emails, sent to me by several people today.

Why? Because it is difficult for us to believe that people would break down a door and trample over other people, and trample over the police trying to give CPR to the victim, in order to get to an ipod, a designer sweater, a TV, or whatever else it was that drove them.

And there are still psychologists who claim that emotions aren't contagious??

The article is a nightmare to read.

FEEDING FRENZY, photo taken by Luc Viatour, GFDL/CC, of Carp competing for food at the pond of the Royal Palace Agdal of Marrakech in Morocco.

Says wikipedia about a feeding frenzy, and read the ominous last sentence:

Feeding frenzy is an ecological term used to describe a situation where oversaturation of a supply of food leads to rapid feeding by predatory animals. For example, a large school of fish can cause nearby sharks to enter a feeding frenzy.

"Feeding frenzy" is also a metaphor often used in a non-biological sense to describe excited involvement by a group over some focal point of attention. [An] example would be shoppers frantically looking for bargains during a sale.

We do not like to read about the dark side of us all. The greed, the lack of concern for other human beings, the competitiveness and aggression, the total disregard of normal boundaries (like a door)... and the sort of mob behavior Walter Von Tilburg Clark wrote about in THE OXBOW INCIDENT. When ordinary people in a group turn into a mob and do something they would not ordinarily do as an individual. Turn into predators.

David Bordwell uses the phrase "Hobbesian frenzy" in his blog on cinema.

Cheang Pou-soi’s Dog Bite Dog: This tale of a hired killer from Thailand and the raging young cop who pursues him presents a world in Hobbesian frenzy, with all against all. The most unrelentingly violent Hong Kong film I’ve seen in years...

Quotes from Thomas Hobbes

During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that conditions called war; and such a war, as if of every man, against every man.

I put for the general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death.

Thomas Hobbes (1588 - 1679), an English philosopher, wrote his book Leviathan in 1651, which, according to wikipedia wikipedia, established the foundation for most of Western political philosophy from the perspective of social contract theory.

In the article you also read that the police were called away from the scene to go to Best Buys and Circuit City, also having problems.

All this for a laptop?

What on earth has happened to our social contracts?

Social contract describes a broad class of republican theories whose subjects are implied agreements by which people form nations and maintain a social order. Such social contract implies that the people give up some rights to a government and other authority in order to receive or jointly preserve social order.

I don't know what to say to conclude this blog entry. I don't think anyone knows what to say. This has to do with emotions and behavior, but perhaps as much to do with values and materialism, and a disrupted economy. I guess. I really don't know what to say. Comments welcome.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Top 10 Replies of Lawrence of Arabia to his Editors

The Top 10 Replies of Lawrence of Arabia to his Editors
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence
Lawrence of Arabia's book, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, is a classic. His replies to his editor's comments on spelling are also classics.

1. In his preface, T. E. Lawrence writes: Particularly it owes great thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Shaw for countless suggestions of great value and diversity:
and for all the present semicolons.

2. Q. I attach a list of queries raised by F. who is reading the proofs. He finds these very clean, but full of inconsistencies in the spelling of proper names, a point which reviewers often take up. Will you annotate it in the margin, so that I can get the proofs straightened?
A. Annotated: not very helpfully perhaps. Arabic names won't go into English exactly, for their consonants are not the same as ours, and their vowels, like ours, vary from district to district. There are some 'scientific systems' of transliteration, helpful to people who know enough Arabic not to need helping, but a wash-out for the world. I spell my names anyhow, to show what rot the systems are.

3. Q. Slip 1. Jeddah and Jidda used impartially throughout. Intentional?
A. Rather.

4. Q. Slip 16. Bir Waheida, was Bir Wahheidi.
A. Why not? All one place.

5. Q. Slip 20. Nuri, Emir of the Ruwalla, belongs to the 'chief family of the Rualla.' On Slip 23, "Rualla horse', and Slip 38, 'killed one Rueli'. In all later slips "Rualla'.
A. Should have also used Ruwala and Ruala.

6. Q. Slip 28. The Bisaita is also spelt Biseita.
A. Good.

7. Q. Slip 47. Jedha, the she-camel, was Jedhah on Slip 40.
A. She was a splendid beast.

8. Q. Slip 53. 'Meleager, the immoral poet'. I have put 'immortal' poet, but the author may mean immoral after all.
A. Immorality I know. Immortality I cannot judge. As you please: Meleager will not sue us for libel.

9. Q. Slip 65. Author is addressed 'Ya Auruns', but on Slip 56 was 'Aurans'.
A. Also Lurens and Runs: not to mention 'Shaw'. More to follow if time permits.

10. Q. Slip 78. Sherif Abd el Mayin of Slip 68 becomes el Main, el Mayein, el Muein, el Mayin, and el Muyein.
A. Good egg. I call this really ingenious.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Essential Travel Tips

Planning to travel for the holidays? Some savvy travel tips can really lessen your stress (a left brain thought). More than that, savvy travel tips can add to your comfort (a right brain feeling). After all, there's more to life than speed and avoiding stress. There's also comfort, pleasure and enjoying the ride.

Yesterday, I came across the article Know Before You Go: Unlock the Secrets of Your Home Airport on The lead-in is, "Every terminal has tricks that savvy fliers can use to save time and reduce hassles." And, say I, add to your comfort and enjoyment. Armed with emotional intelligence (the right attitude, and emotional management), it can again be a rather pleasureable experiene.

Reading the article made me realize how much I know about certain airports that I never really verbalized. Just little tricks, things I've learned in going through them many times. And how helpful they would be to someone else. Why hadn't I ever thought about asking other people what they knew??

The author mentions Sea-Tac first. I used to travel to Sea-Tac a lot when my son was at Pepperdine. A friend of mine called me when she was planning a trip there, and I immediately started telling her the ins and outs, which car rental to use and why, this incredibly convenient and user-friendly affordable motel ... I had it all down to a science.

This man's article talks about speed of maneuvering. Mine would include tips on comfort - restrooms, food, places to rest, where the best food is at O'Hare ... what airport has rocking chairs, and which one has a smoking room inside, and which has a bar centrally located where if you by a drink you can smoke, how bad the food is at XXX, and what airport is set up so you can quickly go outside between flights to enjoy some fresh air and the beautiful scenery.

I'd also talk about all the Emotional Intelligence (EQ) tips I've applied to personnel at airports that have eased my passage through. Together he and I would write quite a book!

For instance, there's security - a fantastic place to practice your emotional intelligence skills for savvy travel. I read in the Dallas newspaper not long ago that the TSA there was going to move their focus from book-learning to intuition. One official interviewed said that we know intuitively when someone's 'suspect.' I know this has caused a lot of discrimination talk (should every 20 y.o. male Arab be searched?), but there it was in print. The TSA agents were now going to receive training in recognizing suspicious behavior, expressions, postures, gestures, etc. If I had time, I'd love to lead the training! There's one trick I use that almost always assures I get 'to the front of the line' in most situations.

When dealing with airport personnel and TSA, I use a lot of nonverbal behavior that greases wheels for me. In contradistinction, I traveled with a friend of mine not long ago who "hates" airports and the "stupid" security stuff, like having to take off her shoes, and therefore becomes hotile the minute she sets her foot in an airport. She really cops an attitude, AND GUESS WHO ALWAYS, ALWAYS GETS SEARCHED??

Savvy travel through what is often a nightmarish landscape: Another compelling reason to study Emotional Intelligence. Take THE EQ COURSE and start learning more now. This is a unique course - nothing like it on the Internet. Find out about nonverbals and intuition, what they're onw teaching the TSA people; find out what can make you your own worst enemy when traveling. What you learn in THE EQ COURSE can be applied to every situation you encounter anywhere, for win-win outcomes.

Nice people finish last? Nope. Nice people get through airports faster, get better service from stewardesses, get help with their bags, get their own special bus to that far-off terminal ...

Special in time for holiday travel: 50 min. phone consultation, $50. Beats the heck out of the $299 you'd pay for a Clear pass.

Also check out the TSA database on security wait times at U. S. airports. (And each airport's own website.)

How long is the wait time at Love Field in Dallas? I maintain it's a lot more important for you to know the back route to the airport that I know (saves at least half an hour and avoids one of the most dangerous left turns ever created by man), and about the cell phone parking-waiting area. Wish someone had told ME about them!

It's emotionally intelligent to get the information you need to prepare for less-stress travel, as much creature comfort as possible, and to maintain a support network for that, and everything else.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Discount Coupons and The Frugal Thanksgiving

Are you looking for discount coupons this year to help you through the holidays?

We're going to talk about The Frugal Thanksgiving, but why not start by taking the Facebook Family Tree Poll about what you plan to do for others this Thanksgiving. Even if it's "the widow's pence, we feel good when we give to others.

Because, yes, the way out is the way up.

I was called by a reporter for a national news service today to be interviewed about cutbacks people are making "due to the current economic crisis." How would their Thanksgivings be different? she wanted to know.

I mentioned that we will all be working through our relationship to money during this time period. What money can buy and what it can't. (Money can buy a house, but not a home. Money can buy a clock, but not time.) And the meaning of Thanksgiving. What does money have to do with it? If there are friends and loved ones, clothes on our backs, food and a roof over our heads, and a job, you have a gathering of gratitufe, and many reasons to be grateful.

Here are some things I've heard going around, and some of my own:

Deciding to drive to the family get-together in another state, instead of fly

Staying at relatives' house instead of the usual hotel

Employer gives them a ham, and they have that for dinner, though they prefer turkey

More pot luck. Everyone brings something.

Concern if the hostess is in economic straits. Just bring a turkey over to her house and say you had an extra one and no room in your freezer. (The good giver makes the recipient feel good.

Simple meals with less expensive ingredients. Want a green vegetable? Green peas will do instead of brussel sprouts on the stalk with hollandaise.

Canned pumpkin pie instead of pecan. And make your own crust.

Serve the plates at a seated dinner, not family style, where people will often heap their plates, not eat it all, and thus there is waste

Operating on cash only basis, not credit cards

Making extra efforts to stay well. Illness is expensive. Flu shots, vitamin C, nutrients, antiseptic hand cleanser

And that means using your emotional intelligence skills. Worry, anger, negative people, hostile attitudes ... they all take their toll on the immune system. "5 minutes of anger suppresses the immune system for up to 8 hours." Want to learn more? Get coaching, and/or take The EQ Course.

Looking for discount coupons - lots of information shared on blogs about this

Cutting back on greeting cards. Sending email instead.

Taking your own Christmas photo instead of hiring professional photographer

Giving homemade Christmas gifts. Like the family I know who has pecan trees. They're giving bags of pecans!

I got the pattern from my friend Julie for knitting the most FANTASTIC CLEANING RAG/DISH RAG you will ever own. I make these for everyone at Christmas. I've always been a "loving hands of home" type Christmas person. If you want the pattern, email me.

Eating Thanksgiving dinner at a budget buffet rather than the Ritz-Carleton, if you like to eat out

Instead of going to the usual expensive caterer, when you don't like to cook, going to one of the discount groceries. Many places will offer pre-cooked meals. Shop around and price them.

Get those leftover recipes ready - turkey sandwiches, turkey hash, turkey soup (using even the bones. Nothing wasted. Email me for my great King Ranch Turkey recipe.

Looking for cheap vacations. More people are ordering my SPEAK ON A CRUISE AND TRAVEL THE WORLD FOR PENNIES ebook. (And I've also reduced the price!)

Not going to the usual movie on Thanksgiving afternoon, but getting a DVD or Netflix

Not buying a brand new Thanksgiving outfit at Saks, but going to Goodwill instead. (This is a win-win as it helps others.)

And so it goes. A little ingenuity and a hearty spirit, and you will have a wonderful Thanksgiving. In any way that you can! :-)


P.S. Go back to the grocery the day after Thanksgiving to pick up the discounted turkey 'n' stuff for Christmas dinner.

And here's a discount coupon for you: Half hour coaching session just $25 through the weekend. Email me at to schedule yours. I'll be working all week.

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Brine Turkey for Best Results. Serve with Emotional Intelligence.

Pam Anderson says in her book The Perfect Recipe (for how to brine turkey) that it's so good you don't need gravy. "This is The Way," she says.

In an article contributed by one of America's Top Pitmasters, Wyndell "Fergy" Fergson, we learn that Anderson roasted 40 turkeys doing the research to find "the perfect recipe."

Are you still reading? You've been cooking turkey for 40 years, that's 40 turkeys, and you know what makes a great turkey!

You know what brine is - you know, salt water?

Or all you stuck on "no gravy." Have you stopped processing information after reading that. I mean gravy is sacred. It's the reason many of us tolerate the turkey. "I cannot imagine a Thanksgiving dinner without gravy," you're saying?

Did you get to the part where another hot Pitmaster, Dan Gill, states that "Many of us have publicly declared we will not cook another turkey without brining it first"?

And you're going to someone's house for Thanksgiving dinner, thinking you may be served brined turkey without gravy . And that (horrors) the same thing may occur at Christmas. And you're also wondering what goes WITH brined turkey. If no gravy, then no mashed potatoes? No cranberry sauce? No stuffing?

Your emotions are stirred, your emotional intelligence challenged. A couple of years ago it was deep fried turkey. You managed to avoid that one at your son-in-law's, but you're afraid you can't be that lucky twice. You've already used the "flu" excuse, and the "other plans" excuse. Their feelings will be hurt.

YOU JUST WANT THE TRADITIONAL TURKEY DINNER: turkey, GRAVY, mashed potatos, stuffing, and your Mom's sweet potato casserole ... well, OK, whatever as long as its not that nasty lime gelatin thing with marshmallows in it.

You call your daughter to check on what you might expect at this year's feast. You can't bear to get into the brined turkey (no gravy) thing right off, so start in asking if you can bring the sweet potato casserole (one way to get something you consider part of a reasonable Thanksgiving dinner), and she starts in ... "You aren't going to put MARSHMALLOWS on it, are you?"

Your temperature is rising, like the brine does for the turkey, conducting heat better, so they say.

So you google brined turkey and it only gets worse. "The meat of a brined bird tastes pleasantly seasoned," it says, "[eliminating] the need to season before and after roasting." WHAT? A brined turkey may be "pleasantly seasoned," but not the way YOU are used to. And who ever minded seasoning it before and after roasting? Is that now a crime?? Or huge imposition??

You gloss down the page ... alarm goes up: you can always use one of those cooking bags, it says, (what the heck is that?) and the pan juices are usually too salty to make a gravy.

Aha, so THERE'S the rationalization. The reason why you "don't need gravy." Because you cannot make gravy from this brined turkey. Because it's so "pleasantly seasoned." Remember? (SALT??)

If you can relate to any of this you are into the emotions of the holiday season ...

You have certain expectations about traditions. They are actually carved in stone, and so emotional, you can hardly deal with them. Food is where we live, after all! It's even more intimate that sex!

The fight is on You know your husband is not going to sublimate this at all. He is going to refuse to go to a Thanksgiving dinner with brined turkey. And you wouldn't have taken it THAT far.

Your sister on the other hand says you're over-reacting and to calm down, so you're mad at her, too. You expected HER to know what a Real Thanksgiving Dinner is like, and to support your outrage.

Next you move into humor and tell a friend about this. You say you looked for the top 10 terms googled on yahoo and found "brined turkey" and had never heard of that. He tells you you're a dinosaur in the age of mammals ... not trendy ... Since when is a TRADITIONAL thing supposed to be TRENDY? you query. The anger rises.

You decide to forget the whole thing for now. You know, from emotinal intelligence, that anger can stress your immune system, and you really don't want flu or strep throat along with your gravy-less turkey-brined Thanksgiving dinner.

Yuo wonder quietly if you are supposed to know the names of people like Fergy Ferguson. Is he one of those cooking channel "chefs" you always see on the TV at your son-in-law's house?

And underneath it, you are so disappointed. You longed for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, meaning the one your Mom had, and that you then copied for your family. Now your kids are ingrates! You get that wordless feeling... you know where you're middle-aged and you're missing your old family, the one you grew up in, and the way things used to be. And when you gave the dinner and had it your way. You dread the confrontation with your husband and son-in-law, but you're not exactly in the mood to be the go-between and talk to your daughter.

Well, this is the holidays, my friends, and this is when we need emotional intelligence the most.

You "know" because you're a grown up that you aren't supposed to "let" things like that upset you, so you're ashamed of yourself too. It's just food, you tell yourself. And the point is to get together, isn't it?

You call your OTHER sister, the one you get along with, tell her about the brined turkey and tell her she and you are going on a cruise next Thanksgiving, and she agrees. And she thinks you're impending brined turkey sounds better than the roast pork she'll be having at her daughter's ... pork??

You think back to your first Thanksgiving away from home. Your mom was a southerner, and you and your husband were off in N. C. getting him educated to be a physician, and you'd accepted an invitation from the couple who were from New England. And silly you, you went into it totally naive. After all, there was only ONE Thanksgiving dinner. Uh oh. On the table was dressing made from bread (not cormnread, not stuffed inside the turkey), and TURNIPS. You were young then, and cried on the way home, and your husband didn't know what to do since he didn't really care what he ate. He made fun of you and then you got mad at him and got into a fight. Didn't anyone understand how you FELT?

CONCLUSION: Just a little emotional intelligence story about the holidays. We are PRIMED for emotional turmoil. If it isn't that uncle you're abivalent about, or actually hate; it's the food - the wrong food; and the travel; and the expense; and your pushy sister/mother/aunt taking charge when you would like to be.

And this year's will include our communal anxiety about the state of the economy and affairs in general.

So you decide next year you are going go on a cruise and avoid the whole thing. "But what about our traditions??" your daugnter cries.

Can you win?

Yes, you can win, with emotional intelligence. It starts with knowledge and preparation. Take THE EQ COURSE - on the Internet, but we dialogue about it. Throw in my HANDLING DIFFICULT PEOPLE COURSE (like your mother-in-law, or crotchety granpa). Get a coaching session ... continual support provided. Get some foundation for all this emotional turmoil. INFORMATION IS POWER.

Of course it might mean changing some things ... kind of what this is all about. The brined turkey, you know. "Tweaking," Thomas would have called it. (I'm a founding member of Coachville.) I served on Thomas Leonard's R&D team.

But trust me, after the emotional intelligence course, you'll have the tools you need to make it all a lot more pleasant for yourself. It's an informative course, but also fun. You'll love it!

Email me at . Ask for my tips on other hot seasonal topics like How to Handle the Office Christmas Party, Whether to give the Boss a Gift ... What to get your new boyriend ... dating at Christmas. I also have ebooks on some of these subjects.

You've read a little and calmed dowm and you say to yourself, "What's the big deal? My mother-in-law used to soak the quail in buttermilk. This isn't a NEW idea." and you get a little arrogant about the whole thing.

Know what I mean?

Want to learn more. Shoot me an email.

P.S. If there's no gravy, it isn't Thanksgiving dinner!!!

Oops there's the phone. It's your son telling you what you'll be having for Thanksgiving dinner. Didn't you train him to ASK people what they might like to have? Where's the Thanksgiving etiquette? WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE??

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Thoughts and Emotional Intelligence

Thanksgiving Thoughts ... and Emotional Intelligence

The energy is getting more charged. From the emailbag today, ambivalence about family get-togethers, worries about the economy, budgets stretched, fears and hopes about governmental changes ...

And here comes a New Moon right on Thanksgiving night.

A new beginning.

As we watch the banking and financial world crumbling, we are invited to rethink our beliefs and attitudes toward money ... what it can buy and what it can't. It can buy a house, not a home. It can buy a clock, not time ....

And on the one holiday we haven't managed to commercialize, we gather together to give thanks, to express and feel our gratitude, to be in community with others.

Let Thanksgiving be a time to remember the strength of joining together, and the attitude of gratitude.

So here we have a New Moon, the time to sow the seeds for NEW - new attitude, beliefs, hope, faith brought into alignment, so that there is honesty.

It's a good time to believe what you already almost-know, that life is what you THINK it will be; that your attitudes and beliefs determine the outcome. ("It's not what's happening to me, it's how I'm taking it.") A good time to make some changes, as the world changes around you. It's a good time to re-examine your projections -- - and remember that "we despise most our own faults in others." It's a call to BE the change you want to see in YOUR world, and in THE world.

All you have to do ... is to change ... develop


QUOTES FOR THIS TIME, all from Mohandas Gandhi:

A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.

As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves.

Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.

Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.

Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.

God sometimes does try to the uttermost those whom he wishes to bless.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Stress Upon Stress

We're all worried now about the economy and jobs, the stock market, our retirement funds, funding our children's educations, and how President-elect Barack Obama will do about solving these problems.

And here come the holidays. Someone told me today, as they stared at the headlines in the newspaper, "At least I already got Christmas taken care of."

I have two helpful things for you here:

First, please take a moment and enjoy this beautiful and inspirational video, and remember that "In the winds of change, we sometimes find our direction."

If you can't access that link, cut and paste: .

Second, call for a coaching session. That's what I'm here for! I work all holidays, and always save extra time for appointments. Email me at to set up a time to talk.

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Make it the Kind of Christmas YOU Want

Feel free to reprint this article on making the kind of Christmas YOU want to have. Please include byline and links.

Are You a Victim of Your Own Christmas?
by Susan Dunn, M.A., The EQ Coach

This article is currently appearing HERE.

We’re coming down to the wire. How’s it feeling to you? This is a time when you can process what you'll do differently next year, or a time when you can pause and remember what worked and didn't work last year ... and change what you're doing. Either way it works.

So, how is it feeling to you right now?

Why do I ask that? Well, whatever you’re celebrating, and whatever your religious orientation, Christmas is a celebration, a celebration that for many has a spiritual basis to it. That is, it’s supposed to be merry, at the least, and meaningful at the most. What’s it for you this year?

There may not be much you can do to put on the brakes now, but note how you’re feeling so you can see how it’s working for you. This has to be tested against the purpose of this celebration, which is personal to each of us, but surely it isn’t to be exhausted, stressed, hateful, resentful, materialistic, imprudent, overwhelmed, obligatory, or “just going through the motions.” If you’re feeling “the thrill is gone,” it’s time to get mindful. Don’t be the victim of your own holiday.

Remember, it’s all about choice. Intentionality is the EQ competency for the holidays. What do you intend? How do your intend to feel? What do you intend to accomplish?

If you feel like you want to stop the world and get off, take note. When Christmas is over, please process for next year.

Ask yourself:

1. What worked and what didn’t? In other words, what makes you feel good. Feeling good can be pleasure, joy, but also the feeling of a job well done.

2. What did I do out of obligation, or to keep up with the Joneses that needs to be let go next year?

3. Did I feel the way I wanted to? If not, what will I do differently next year?

4. Take each element and analyze it - - did you really enjoy it, or were you just going through the paces? Was it “because we’ve always done it this way”?

5. Is there some tradition that’s outworn its welcome? If so, you can eliminate it. Kiss it goodbye, remembering it fondly, but let it go.

6. Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, or uncle or aunt, there are children around. What kind of example are you setting? If you yell at your kid because you’re stressed out over Christmas, ho ho ho?

7. How materialistic were your gifts? How much did you bust your budget? Were you satisfied with how much you spent, or did you feel guilty, and it caused fights with your spouse? You can choose to change this next year.

8. Did you spend time the way you wanted to? Did you spend time with the people you wanted to be with? Whether or not its family, you have a choice.

9. Did you actually have time to enjoy each thing - the smells, the touches, the sights, the sounds? Or were you like a hamster on his wheel? One of my clients says she takes one night off to just sit in front of the Christmas tree looking at the lights and listening to her favorite Christmas music. (Seems like it would be nice to work in more than ONE night for that ...)

10. What part of the negatives was due to your attitude rather than external events or circumstances? Controlling your mood and emotions with emotional intelligence can add tremendously to your life, not just at Christmas time.

The best gift in life is to be able to learn from your experiences and this is a great time to apply this -- either backward, or going forward. If you don’t like what’s going on, don’t be a victim of your own circumstances or attitude. Change one or both!

About the Author

Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach,, . Individual coaching, business programs, Internet courses, and ebooks around emotional intelligence for your health, wealth and happiness. EQ Alive! #1 rated coach certification program, training worldwide. It’s simple, affordable, fast and has no residency requirement. Email for more information, and for fr** EQ ezine.

Let me help you with a free mini-coaching session. Email to set up your time.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Makings of a Teacher: Ray Garrett, Jr., Chairman, SEC

Ray Garrett Jr. served as Chairman of the SEC, 1973-75. We plan to have a table for him, and commemorative page honoring him in the program at the SEC's 75th Anniversary Celebration Dinner for the Securities Exchange Commission, June 25, 2009.

Let us know of your interest in participating. Email me at .
In October 26, 1974, Ray Garrett, Jr. gave a speech at the Dean's Day Program of the NY University Law School, where he received the Distinguished Citizen Award. Ray Garrett Jr. had taught there in the summer of 1950.


An Address by
Ray Garrett, Jr., Chairman
Securities and Exchange Commission

Presented before
New York University Law School
Distinguished Citizen Award
October 26, 1974
New York City

This is a time for remembrance for me. My inclination to reminisce could easily exceed your tolerance, and I do not intend to search the limits of the latter. But I cannot stand here this afternoon, having received this most gratifying honor, without being full of recollections of my brief but rewarding formal association with New York University Law School.

I came down here from Cambridge in July, 1950, as the direct result of the persuasive powers of then Dean Russell Niles. I had stayed on a fourth year at Harvard as a teaching fellow, participating in the development of its group work program for first year law students. Dean Niles was interested in a similar program here, and I therefore had an attraction to him for that purpose. Furthermore, he was offering the then generous salary of $5,000 for the year, plus the opportunity to earn extras. With three small children, my wife and I could not afford to be indifferent to money.

We settled in the original Levittown, where some of my classmates were already living [there], and I made the acquaintance of the Long Island Railroad and commuting from Wantaugh. To help pay for the move, I was allowed to take over the second half of the summer night school course on civil procedure -- my half to be code pleading. Since that subject had produced my lowest mark as a student, the assignment was a challenging one such as only a hungry man with a hungry family would accept.

The course was scheduled for two nights a week in the old loft building around the corner. The older gentleman who had taught common law pleading for the first half of the summer, and who obviously had a strong distaste for such irresponsible innovations as code pleading and young squirts, introduced me to the class with that charming observation that you can always tell a Harvard man but you can't tell him much, and mercifully disappeared -- from my sight if not from my memory. Whereupon the class talked me into collapsing our two nightly sessions into one night a week for three hours.

So I began my formal teaching experience talking from seven to ten p.m. on sultry August nights on a subject that I had scarcely mastered, to 20 or 30 sleepy people, in a dreary room on the eighth floor of the old building with no air conditioning, and all the sounds and smells and soot blowing in through the open window. It was not the best way to teach or learn the law, but it was an effective test of stamina, and it made what came afterwards comparatively easy.

My first regular course for the day students came in the fall, and the subject was contracts -- something I felt more comfortable with than procedure. Here I thought I could start some kids off right with the tough Socratic method. Our first case was Hawkins v. McGee, of loving memory to a generation of law students weaned on Professor Fuller's casebook**, and I called on some poor, miserable soul toward the back of the large class to state the case. Naturally, everything he said was wrong and much of it foolish, which I made very clear to the class as I kept him nakedly exposed and suffering for half the period.

When it was over, I returned to my office in glowing satisfaction at such a fine beginning. Shortly afterwards, then Associate Dean Ralph Bischof invited me down to his office to discuss my first class and how it had gone. I gave him a glorious report which he listened to patiently and then said, "Ray, that first-year student has just left here and won't be back. He just resigned, saying he didn't come here to be embarrassed and publicly insulted."

"Well, Dean," I said, "with such a thin skin he probably would never make it as a lawyer."

"Possibly," replied Ralph, "but Ray, he was a Phi Beta in Philosophy from Columbia and had a very high LSAT score. Please don't scare away all of our more promising students."

It's awful what young and inexperienced teachers can do. No one had really ever been that cruel to me, and I was ashamed. I have often wished since then that young man has found a rewarding life elsewhere and has been able to forgive me.

That was all in the old building. The next year we moved to the new. No one who did not live through the transition can quite appreciate the excitement it produced. It was far more than an improvement in physical comfort. It brought with it the promise of great things to come, and they have come. I left for the practice in Chicago the next year, so I didn't stay around to help very long, but the school has become everything that Arthur Vanderbilt....

For full speech go HERE or copy and paste:

**From a blog about The Paperchase:

Who Was the Basis for Professor Kingsfield? (from Todd)

Can anyone tell me who was the basis for Professor Kingsfield's character in "The Paper Chase"? Kingsfield, of course, does the famous "hairy hand" case of Hawkins v. McGee in the first day of class. So presumably he is using Fuller's casebook on contracts, which as I understand it, used to begin with remedies. To the best of my knowledge during that age, Fuller's casebook was the only one that began with remedies. Did all Contracts professors at Harvard used Fuller's casebook during that era? ...So I assume hat Kingsfield was using Fuller's casebook, but was Fuller the inspiration for Kingsfield's character? See rest of the string HERE.

Ray Garrett, Jr. went on to become a wonderful teacher (ask me, his daughter) ... "While Ray was achieving greatness, he simultaneously taught the rest of us with a kind, measured demeanor. Few men possess such rare abilities and fewer still choose to employ them." (Jim Reynolds, American Bakeries Company)

Ray Garrett was known for his emotional intelligence.

"Ray was infected with the notion that collegiality was something to be sought." (Al Sommers)

ON CHOOSING AN SEC CHAIRMAN: Ray Garrett, Jr., a healer and a consensus builder

'You want someone who is technically proficient,' said Joel Seligman, the dean of the Washington University law school in St. Louis and a historian of the S.E.C. 'This is a very hard job to learn.'

Mr. Seligman pointed to the 1973 appointment of Ray Garrett Jr., a highly respected securities lawyer, after his predecessor, G. Bradford Cook, was forced out as a result of a scandal that made his honesty suspect. 'That is the kind of person you want, probably someone with an accomplished career in securities law, someone who will be a healer and a consensus builder,' Mr. Seligman said...."

Contact Susan Garrett Dunn, for more information. See memorial website here by his daughter, Nancy: .

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What is the One Activity UNHAPPY People Engage in More than Happy People

I eliminated this activity almost completely several years ago - to the surprise of most people! What is it?

Check out the New York Times article "What Happy People Don't Do", or copy and paste into your browser:

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Things to be Grateful for - not from David Letterman

Making the email rounds. Wrongly attributed to David Letterman. Don't know who wrote it ... but it's food for thought.

" As most of you know I am not a President
Bush fan, nor have I ever been, but this is not
about Bush, it is about us, as Americans, and it
seems to hit the mark
'The other day I was reading News week
magazine and came across some Poll data I found
rather hard to believe. It must be true given
the source, right?
The News week poll alleges that 67
percent of Americans are unhappy with the
direction the country is headed and 69 percent of
the country is unhappy with the performance of
the President. In essence 2/3 of the citizenry
just ain't happy and want a change. So being the
knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, 'What
are we so unhappy about?''

A.. Is it that we have electricity and
running water 24 hours a day, 7 Days a week?

B.. Is our unhappiness the result of
having air conditioning in the summer and heating
in the winter?

C.. Could it be that 95.4 percent of
these unhappy folks have a job?

D.. Maybe it is the ability to walk
into a grocery store at any time and see more
food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last

E.. Maybe it is the ability to drive our
cars and trucks from the Pacific Ocean to the
Atlantic Ocean without having to present
identification papers as we move through each

F.. Or possibly the hundreds of clean
and safe motels we would find along the way that
can provide temporary shelter?

G.. I guess having thousands of
restaurants with varying cuisine from around the
world is just not good enough either.

H. Or could it be that when we wreck
our car, emergency workers show up and provide
services to help all and even send a helicopter
to take you to the hospital.

I.. Perhaps you are one of the 70
percent of Americans who own a home.

J.. You may be upset with knowing that
in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of
trained firefighters will appear in moments and
use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames,
thus saving you, your family, and your

K.. Or if, while at home watching one
of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or
prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun
and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you
and your family against attack or loss .

L.. This all in the backdrop of a
neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and
pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where
90% of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

M.. How about the complete religious,
social and political freedoms we enjoy that are
the envy of everyone in the world?

Maybe that is what has 67% of you folks

Fact is, we are the largest group of
ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever
seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. , yet
has a great disdain for its citizens. They see
us for what we are. The most blessed people in
the world who do nothing but complain about what
we don't have, and what we hate about the country
instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the
president who took us into war and has no plan to
get us out? The president who has a measly 31
percent approval rating? Is this the same
president who guided the nation in the dark days
after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to
bring an economy out of recession? Could this
be the same guy who has been called every name in
the book for succeeding in keeping all the
spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist
attacks? The commander in chief of an
all-volunteer army that is out there defending
you and me?

Did you hear how bad the President is
on the news or talk show? Did this news affect
you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't
take a look around for yourself and see all the
good things and be glad? Think about
it......are you upset at the President because he
actually caused you personal pain OR is it
because the 'Media' told you he was failing to
kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day.
Make no mistake about it.

The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have
volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have
died for your freedom. There is currently no
draft in this country. They didn't have to go.
They are able to refuse to go and end up with
either a ''general'' discharge, an 'other than
honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a
''dishonorable' ' discharge after a few days in
the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment
in the minds of 69 percent of Americans?

Say what you want but I blame it on the
media. If it bleeds it leads and they
specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a
car crash with blood and guts How many will
watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The
media knows this and media outlets are for-profit
corporations. They offer what sells, and when
criticized, try to defend their actions by
'justifying' them in one way or another Just ask
why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J.
Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill
his wife, but if he did he would have done it
this way......Insane!

Turn off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New
York Times for the bottom of your bird cage.
Then start being grateful for all we have as
country. There is exponentially more good than
bad. We are among the most blessed people on
Earth and should thank God several times a day,
or at least be thankful and appreciative.' 'With
hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud
slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up
the country from one end to another, and with the
threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, 'Are we
sure this is a good time to take God out of the
Pledge of Allegiance?'

EQ POINT: Feeling gratitude makes you feel good. It's all about wellness!

Offering a gift for thanksgiving - free EQ mini-reading for you if you email me at and mention this offer. Includes brief assessment.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's Here - Get Ready for all Those Relatives


It's that time of year


Take my Handling Difficult People (and Situations) Course and get ahead of the game.
On special for the season - $29.99. Click HERE to register and pay by PayPal. Course will be emailed to you. Includes email support.

Highly recommended!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Web 2.0 Politics and Obama

Tories and Obama embrace web 2.0 while Labour lags behind
an article written by Charlotte Leslie who is the Conservatives' parliamentary candidate for Bristol North West, posted today, Nov. 17.

Says Ms. Leslie:

Gordon Brown's statistical virtual worlds are not the only virtual world in politics....There is another – which New Labour interestingly seems less at home in.

That is the virtual world of web 2.0 – brought to political life recently by the web-world-wizard, the BlackBerrying star with his own social networking website, Barack Obama. And it is completely changing the way politics – and candidates like me – work.

As a candidate in the web-2.0 age, I am instantly connectable to friends and many potential voters. That means people demand very different things from their politicians. They want to know them in ways that were not possible before – they want to know them with their emotional intelligence as well as analyse what they say with their rational faculties.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

An Expert Should Be Knowledgeable, Helpful, Polite and Timely

Rating of Susan Dunn by Emily (from an Expert site I'm on)

knowledgeability - 10
helpfulness - 10
timeliness - 10
politeness - 10

Comment - Those 10's are not accidents. I see the boxes and I'm giving Susan 10's for all of it. Not only did she answer me fast and accurate but she gave me ideas I never even thought of or forgot to write about. Susan Dunn doesn't sugar coat. That puts a film on things that makes it impossible to learn. Excellent expert you have here.

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Are You a Tired Christmas Angel?


I was talking to a woman today who told me she'd decided to break up with her boyfriend and was going to call him right away and tell him. My advice - - I wouldn't make any decision or do anything from now until after Christmas, because of the emotional energy.

We're all either:

--frazzled or numb;

--frantically busy or have given up and are sitting and staring;

--overjoyed or overgrieved;

--eating everything in sight, or refusing to eat anything in a desperate attempt to stem the tide;

--being Father Christmas, or Scrooge;

--hemorrhaging money or have put a tourniquet on it and won't spend a cent;

--working overtime (churches, therapists, physicians, jewelers and retailers, airport personnel, florists) or have nothing to do (most attorneys, dentists, weight loss clinics, car dealers, and those who do elective surgery);

--sick, or taking care of someone who's sick;

--feel like you have "too many" people in your life, or like you're "totally alone"

In other words, it's the rare person who's coasting along and "balanced". The majority of us are a bit strung out and it's no time to decide whether to marry him or not, or what to do about your career or your mother-in-law.

As one wise and over-worked young man told me, "I have planned a Christmas guaranteed to please no one," when in fact, like most of us, he was pleasing some people some of the time, including himself, and ... doing the best he can under the circumstances.

We are all doing the best we can under the circumstances, even when we clearly are not.

Most of us in the US are also coping with a rising level of dissension ee: "Christmas" and "the holidays" that makes whatever this season is to you far from the "peace and joy" it's supposed to be, which is sad.

And, it's that time of year when you long for home, even when you're home ... if you know what I mean. Just a very emotional time - - whether you're dealing with it by expressing it or stuffing it down and trying to ignore it (in which case you're likely to get a big backlash!)

So, please take a moment to relax, breathe deeply, and enjoy something just for you -- a massage, a warm bath, or maybe a beautiful piece of music.

Music can be wonderfully therapeutic with many proven health benefits. Music goes straight to the pleasure center, and for many people is the truest form of joy and relaxation.

It's equally important to guard your health. Please bolster your immune system against the ravages of December, January and February, which brings flu, viruses, bacterial infections such as pneumonia, SAD - - seasonal affective disorder and depression. We eat wrong, do too much, stress out, try and fend off allergies, don't get enough sunlight, forget to exercise and miss our outdoor sports (in the northern hemisphere), and are around other people and their germs!

(Did you know that the telephone in your office, or your desk or anyone else's, has more germs per sq. inch than the toilet in the office restroom??) (cite: Clorox study)

Products such as Arbonne's DefenseBuilder and Get Well Soon Dietary Supplement, scientifically proven to nutritionally support your immune system, are essential. Particularly important if you're vulnerable - old, young, chronically ill, depressed, stressed, or around sick people.

Your immune system is your FIRST line of defense against bacteria, and your ONLY line of defense against viruses, like flu and bird flu. Ask your doctor.

Get your rest, tired angel, and where others are concerned, step lightly!

Consider taking The EQ Course. The EQ Course also makes a wonderful gift for a friend, colleague or loved on.

About the Author
©Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach,, . Individual coaching, Internet courses, ebooks, EQ Alive! program for your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health. Coach training and certification program, training coaches worldwide - fast, effective affordable program with no residency requirement. Now you can shop with Susan online at My Arbonne for neutraceuticals that bolster your immune system and support your wellness. "What you put on your skin gets absorbed into your bloodstream".

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Resilience and Bouncing Back

The latest poll shows 45% of Americans are angry, afraid ... or maybe it's 60%, or maybe just about all of us have some serious concerns about the state of the economy in the US right now.

At my corner convenience store I see people bringing in bags of pennies saying they hope it will buy enough gas to get home. A 26 year old talks about filing bankruptcy. The manager gets 5 or more job applications a weel. And there was a short on TV about how we could now get the right order at a fast food restaurant because there are now so many "over-qualified" people working there.

How RESILIENT are you? You can take the EQ Map and find out. Or you can find out empirically, by taking a look at how you are handling things right now.

Resilience is about bouncing back (with hope!), or "boundin' ". Enjoy!

Boundin - Pixar animation - Pixar Studios

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thankgiving Etiquette: When the Daughter-in-Law Fixes an Inedible Meal

Q: Dear EQ Coach, What do you do when your daughter-in-law fixes an inedible Thanksgiving dinner? This will be my third year over there. They seem to have some actual contempt for "the traditional meal". What arrives at the table is strange (boudin with pesto) and often inedible (chicken that was pink in the center). Often there are only two items (meat and a salad). How can we handle this? I love my son and his wife, but this is becoming an ordeal.

A: Was there a dog under the table? That sometimes helps. No, seriously, this is a disappointment (to you) and a touchy subject (in general). You don't want to stress the relationship or let it ruin"your" Thanksgiving. I'm sure you know the answer - go and grin and bear it, or have other plans. If you go, take along your sense of humor, to be shared with your hubby or friend afterwards. You know the drill.

If you decide to go here are several practical tips:

Eat beforehand
Offer to bring something that won't intimidate the young woman, like appetizers. Then there will be at least one thing you can eat.
Prepare your own traditional feast the next day (if it's the comfort of tradition you crave)
Push stuff around on your plate as if you were eating.
When "finished," cover your plate with your napkin. I have found on the Thanksgiving table, at one time or another, sliced white bread. This makes a handy cover as well.
Say that you are allergic to some ingredient in the -- did you say boudin??
Take small portions, saying you are on a diet. Shovel in one spoonful if you can.
Maybe some child at the table will say they like it and you can offer them yours.
Say it's delicious and so innovative. That's what they want to hear.
Pray for a dog under the table.
Call your sister or coach before and afterwards, to vent.

Keep in mind the meaning of the season. It's a family gathering and a celebratory one. Bring along a good attitude and consider the meal an inconsequential part of the gathering. Do the best you can. Young folks have to learn somehow, and they are also big, these days, on doing it different.

What's one meal in the grand scheme of things.

What's sad is that she apparently has no sensitivity to the meaning of tradition to you, nor does she, evidentally, think to ask you what you would like to have.

As one writer put it, your job as the mother-in-law is to sit on the end of the couch with tape over your mouth and not say anything unless the house is literally on fire.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

One of Life's Most Emotional Events: The First Date


Dating and Emotional Intelligence.

An article on caught my eye. It was titled Emotional Intelligence and Dating and it has some good advice.

The writer talks about the first date. Lets say you met online, then did the email, then moved to telephone, and now it's time to meet him or her in person, for the very first date.

Of course it's an easy time for a flareup of nerves. (Think of it as excitement, not fear, LOL). In fact many of my clients call me just before they leave for a last-minute pump up and it's for sure I'd include the point they make in this article:

"...having higher levels of self awareness and the assurance to take charge of things and correcting yourself before the situation attacks you. THIS is what is called being emotionally intelligent."

You can work yourself up into a case of nerves, or something can happen that makes you upset, or both! I can think of any number of things, I'm sure you can too! A run in the pantyhose, knocking your drink over, spilling salad oil on your sill blouse, forgetting your cell phone and that's how you were to locate each other on the Riverwalk, getting caught in traffic and being late. One of my clients broke the heel of her shoe as she entered the restaurant. Another client's boss kept him late in a meeting and he was a sweaty mess by the time he got to the rendezvou.

So you must know how to recover from these things so that you can make the best self-presentation and give this very important First Date a real chance. In the article the scenario is that she was held up in traffic and late. This was the recommendation:

"In such situations, if you are disturbed by something mentally before meeting your date, it is important to gather yourself and collect your thoughts before facing him. Talk to yourself or take a few deep breaths so that you calm down. Even if he seems a bit annoyed when you meet him, your personality should be such that your assurance and warmth as a person just leaves him awe of you. Giving a genuine smile and a warm hug would have completely distracted him and within no time, your conversation would have hit the pleasant grounds!"

Yes, it's about handling your emotions under stress. And what's more stressful than a first date??!!?? Let me help you with coaching. It's no joke that you make a great showing because The First Date is crucial.

It's also important how you handle your emotions AFTER the first date. Yes, it's sad when there isn't any chemistry there, but it's almost worse when you hit it off! You're head is spimning and you do something like leave your purse on the table, try and exit through the wrong door, babble incoherently, reach to give her a kiss and miss your mark, or, like one client told me happened when the guy she met really fell for her -- he drove off the wrong way down the street and she drove past as a cop was giving him a ticket! Talk about embarassing.

For dating coaching, email me at or call me at 817-741-7223. Coaching by phone, email, IM or in person (in the Dallas area).

P.S. If you're the kind who starts to babble and say things you wish you weren't let me coach you on some opening lines, conversation starters and other ways to get a leash on it and make a great impression!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How (and Why) to Let Go of Your Adult Children

Parents calling their "children" at college to wake them up for class?

A woman on a date with a middle-aged man tells me that their dinner was interrupted 3 times with cell phone calls from the man's adult, married daughter asking for advice on several matters.

A manager tells me she calls her employees to wake them up in the morning. I ask her "Why?" She replies, "So they'll get here on time." As if that were the way things are supposed to be.

What is going on here?

Psychologist Dale Atkins ("Dr. Dale") talks with host Matt Lauer about letting go of adult children and fostering personal responsility in your adult child(ren), and a look at the cell phone as a long umbilical cord.

The upside for the parent of letting go? "You will be able to have a life."

A good discussion of how to change a behavior that is dysfunctional and how to motivate (what's in it for the parent to give up this behavior?).

Letting go of adult children
Letting go of adult children

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Monday, November 10, 2008

How to Shut Down Your Daughter-in-Law - Get the last word next time she insults you

What do you do when your daughter-in-law makes a nasty comment?

Actually, as a mid-lifer you probably learned a long time ago how to deal with things like that, including the fact that you take a moment to check out your impressions v. reality.

And you also realize that, with emotional intelligence and etiquette, it still behooves you to 'pull your punches' because she's younger and all that. Or as they say, "Don't fight with an unarmed opponent." Out of respect for youth, I often hold back. That's because I have good manners. There is never any need to be any more forceful than is absolutely necessary.

That having been said, my point in writing this is because something came up on my screen, after a thunderstorm power outage (???), announcing the article "How to In-law Proof Your Home for the Holidays." I was curious. It brought back memories to me. I never had any trouble with it myself, but I remember being at some friends' house and they received a call saying "the folks" were coming over, and they flew around, hiding the liquor, for one thing, because their parents did not know they drank. I never felt like I had anything to hide from MY in-laws. Or put it this way, anything I would have needed to hide from my in-laws would have been already "hidden", because it wouldn't have been appropriate for either children or other visitors.

I also thought of an article I wrote on house-proofing your home when the grandchildren are coming. Like making sure your husband's nitro is locked away, and all those breakable L'Angeliques have been removed from the coffee table.

Glossing the article, something on the left caught my eye. A link to an article entitled How to Shut Down Your Mother-in-law , with the lead-in, "Get the last word the next time she makes a nasty comment." It was equally tempting to look at the one called "In-law invasion horror stories." However, I opted for How to Shut Down Your Mother-in-Law. Because I'm a mother-in-law, and I simply lack words for a title like that. Do we need, also, How to Shut Down Your Baby, or How to Shut Down Your Sister?

True, the bad relationships get worse, and fester at the holidays, but titles like that don't do anything to aid the situation.

It turns out that the article, by Tina B. Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist and author, and Harriette Cole, a life stylist, author, and host of PULSE, was not incendiary. It gave some good advice, some excellent advice.

It's the media ... with those titles.

So how do you "shut down" your Mother-in-Law"?

The first example was the mother-in-law saying "Hmmm...that's not the way we make stuffing."

Now, I guess if you have a mother-in-law who says something like that, you do need to have some kind of response, because I can't imagine saying that to anyone. No one makes stuffing like I do. I don't like anyone else's as much as mine, but I don't consider the world to revolve around me. Not any house I've ever been in, has the stuffing been as good as mine, or made like mine. And so what. I wouldn't think of making a comment like that, it's so obvious. Would you?

Another statement: MIL: "Oh, you're looking so ... healthy [i.e., fat]!"

Now that one - that's quite a defensive leap from "healthy" to "fat." The recommended response is "Thank you!" and why would you not say that?

In the eternal battle between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law, wrapped as they are around "the same man," a battle so old it appears in fairytales and myths ... "the quality of mercy is not strained."

I had a mother-in-law when I was young :-) and defensive. It's a competitive time in life. "MIL" walked in one day and said, pensively, "That curtain is sagging." Immediately I fast-forwarded to what an inept curtain-hanger, wife, mother I was ... in the defensiveness of youth. I think she just meant - lets leave out the [i.e., you're a lousy housekeeper] - that the drape was hung wrong.

I asked her if she could fix it, and she did.

My mother told me when I was first married-with-baby and she caught me copping an attitude re: my mother-in-law, "You have everything that old woman wants and values. You can afford to be gracious to her."

All my friends are mothers-in-law. I don't know a one of them that means ill. But if you set your mother-in-law up for a lose-lose situation, it's so easy to do, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Let me conclude with a poem written by a mother-in-law. I hope it will bring compassion and understanding where it is needed:


Virginia and I lie awake in the night
Unable to move;
She, because she can't
I, because I have been forbidden.
Our fate is in the hands of Catherine the Queen.

Of what does Virginia dream
I wonder ...
Of venetian blinds and ceiling fans,
And the incomparable shirt of black and white stripes she saw one day,
And of Catherine the Queen and Matthew the Magnificent
Upon whom her life depends.

And I,
Of what do I dream,
As I lie in a bed beside her crib,
A visitor for but a day,
Forbidden to pick her up when she cries in the night
Hoping that Catherine the Queen will be kind to both of us
Who are subject to her whims
And counting on her to make our dreams come true?

Of what do I dream
An old lady who used to dream of dancing with the Prince
In my golden slippers?

Now I dream only of dancing with Virginina
Her tiny breath upon my neck
Her head against my shoulder
A moment or two when she's mine, all mine ...
When it suits the fancy of the Queen.

Unobserved by the King and Queen
Who are busy with matters of State,
Such as ripe avocadoes and salmon steak for the grill
We can dance in the grocery store
With eyes only for each other
Her head flopping, my leg limping
The once having been and the yet-to-be Heads of State,
Our world quite small and whimsical
Lacking money or plans, or might or power
And in service to the King and the Queen.

Be kind, I hope,
Grant our wishes, I pray
You hold our lives in your hands;
And I lie quietly
And Virginia calls in the night

Suddenly she appears!
Her bare ballet feet silent on the floor
Her chestnut hair falling across the back of her gown
The ballerina feet and chestnut hair of Virginia
And in her regal splendor (was I ever so beautiful when young?)
She bends over
And Virginia's wish is granted.

If only she will grant me mine:
To let me dance with Virginia just once more
In my worn golden day slippers
Not with Prince Charming
Or Magnificent Matthew
Who once was mine
And now belongs to Catherine the Queen
As does Virginia.

"She's not going to give that baby to you,"
Says my younger son, the Court Jester
The one who dares to speak the truth.
Because he knows of my coup d'etat dreams;
But they are only the unimportant dreams of an old woman
Not grand or forever-after dreams
But just for a moment
Just for a memory to keep
For when she lies awake alone in the night ...

The memory of dancing with Virginia.

* * *

Would it be so hard?

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