Sunday, March 18, 2012


Everyone wants to be happy. Happiness is more precious than gold. We want to hang out with the happy people - and be like them... How can we get happy, too? Let's begin by asking happy people how they got that way - then shamelessly copy them.

Happiness is attitude. It's all up to you! Abraham Lincoln said, "People are about as happy as they decide to be..." So, when you open your eyes each morning, your happiness is your decision. With a new day comes a clean slate to create your own pictures, acknowledgements and accomplishments. Take time to really see the people around you, to smell the roses and taste that breakfast coffee. Every small awareness adds happiness to your brain's pleasure monitor. Take a minute to identify five (at least five) things you are grateful for at this very moment; a shower, family, pets, job to go to, clothes to wear. As a result of this precious minute of review, tense muscles relax as energy expands; you will be encouraged to notice the beauty and friendliness in the world around you. Treat yourself to the same admiration and appreciation you have for a best friend (Woman's World 2/27/12).

Happiness is physical. Happy people do not slump or slouch. They stand tall. Here's how: Stand and stretch upward from the top of your head - bringing yourself to your full height. With chin and shoulders relaxed, you feel lighter, your walk is smoother. The easy flow of movement creates a feeling of confidence, relaxation and happiness - it makes you want to smile. Being more aware of the beauty and joy in ordinary things makes you feel like dancing to the sound of music. Use all your senses. Happiness is the fragrance of shampoo or smell of a new car, it is kisses and hugs of a loved-one. With little encouragement, a feeling of happiness insists on expanding your horizons. Want another healthy excuse for happiness? Laughter, even giggling, lowers blood pressure and improves the immune system (AARP Feb/Mar 2912).

Success is happiness. Happiness is contagious. People are drawn to happy people. M. R. Kopmeyer says, "Radiating personal magnetism is a technique which surely should be used by everyone who wants to be popular and successful." He says there are three ingredients to radiating success: 1. Generate an inner 'glow,' 2. Radiate an outer 'glow,' 3. Smile with your eyes! Begin by learning to generate and feel a 'glow' within yourself by imaging these elements: alertness, excitement, exhilaration, anticipation, confidence and emotional power. Practice these feelings until you can draw upon them at will. With practice, you will feel an aura of magnetism surround you. Practice the powerful technique of projecting your magnetic personality to influence and attract others. To 'smile with your eyes,' be sincere and genuine in your desire to smile. (We all recognize a phony smile when we see one.) You have to feel a smile before you can express it.
Kopmeyer, M.R., Thoughts to Build On, pub.1970

Looking for happiness? It is in you, in front of you, all around you. Like everything in life worth achieving, happiness has always been within your reach....practice, practice, practice. Want to multiply your happiness? Share it ...

Are you happy? Tell me about it. I'd like to know.


"Smile and the World smiles with you...." is what one wise old saying tells us.

You feel better and everyone around you feels better when you smile. Try it. You'll like it.

A fitness guru recently suggested smiling while doing exercises and especially during your 30-minute-a-day walk. He said it doesn't burn any more calories, but it makes you feel lighter....

Creative people believe inspiration and problem-solving is often sparked by something they find to be amusing. (Prevention; May 2011)

Laughter is good for your health. It loosens up all the tight facial muscles and tightens up loose body muscles while stirring up brain chemicals to boost your mood.

Humorous TV shows and videos were recommended therapy for patients suffering pain during illnesses and recovery because patients who could laugh required less pain medication.

Laughing lowers blood pressure, according to another study cited in AARP magazine (Mar 2012) and laughing out loud is more beneficial than just giggling.

Families laughted together while watching Jim Henson's "The Muppets" on television - mine did. Different family members, of different ages, also have individual preferences of humor. Some prefer the oldies, like "Laurel and Hardy" or "The Three Stooges" while the younger folks prefer the cartoon-generated humor of Disney characters and LooneyTunes, or "SpongeBob SquarePants" and Nickelodeon's "Dinasaur Train."

There's a reason newspapers devote an entire page of 'comic strips' in each addition. Everyone wants (and needs) a daily bit of humor - and newspapers drtbr oy i[ daily. (Some people even read comics second....)

The person who can smile and laugh will be happier and healthier than the person who does not.
A gathering of people of good humor can accomplish great things because good begets good.
So, smile at the world and it will want to smile right back at ya.....

Want to learn to smile with your eyes? I'll tell you how in my blog "Visualize Your Success."

What's your experience with smile power? Tell me. I'd like to know.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Our world is filled with beautiful animals and obnoxious smells. Sometimes the two are entwined. Skunk is the best example of this dichotomy. Even the scales of justice are out of kilter in this matter - Lady Justice is blindfolded. Her sight thus impeded, she sees no beauty and must weigh skunk findings based on smell. One day, you, too, may have to weigh the facts, although you'd rather run away with everyone else.

There are mildly undesirable smells, like souring milk or stinky diapers and unpleasant smells like the Koi pond gone scummy. Chemical and burning smells are often powerful and overwhelming - and so is skunk stink. It is hard to appreciate the beauty of a sleek and shiny, black and white skunk when its repulsive odor invades your olfactory senses - a problem everyone deals with at least once in their life.

After one whiff, skunk smell is cataloged in some mysterious brain cells which allows people to recognize the unforgetable odor on every new encounter. How quickly we forget these beautiful animals are quiet and solitary, mind their own business and don't interefere with people. They eat insects and field mice, making human life more comfortable. A skunk's defense system is to stand its ground by posturing in a threatening manner before spraying - which doesn't work with automobiles! Being early risers, they begin roaming highways and byways in the wee hours. When they play 'chicken' with motor vehicles, they often lose, leaving their beautiful dead carcass befouled by their own distinguishable (and lingering) aroma to mark their foolishness.

"Hold your breath," is the command of one traveler to another when recognizing skunk stink. While that works for a few moments while traveling, a car-and-skunk or dog-and-skunk encounter requires a different resolve. Once sprayed, nobody will come near you, your dog or your car. Your spouse doesn't want the vehicle near your home as children and dogs run as far away from you as they can get. You are shunned!

There is hope. Here is a simple and easy recipe to use on clothes and inanimate objects: Stir together one quart of peroxide with one small box of baking soda and add one teaspoon of dish detergent. Spray or pour on skunky area. This will not hurt cars or grass. For your dog/animals, douse and soak in a mixture of tomato juice and vinegar (one large can of juice with one cup vinegar). For people, Compassionate Action Institute recommends using Carbolic soap and water followed by a lot of rinsing in clear water.

Living at the edge of a preserve, skunk are regular visitors. They are quiet, slow and graceful neighbors. Their right to exist here is not challenged. Just once in twenty years did we have to holler, "Skunk" because my beautiful black and white cat wanted a closer look at the visiting skunk. (Perhaps she thought it was her cousin come to visit...)

I still think skunk are beautiful animals. So, it is my job to simply respect them and to appreciate their true beauty....

What is your skunk experience. Tell me. I'd like to know....

Monday, March 5, 2012

'COOL' an essay

There are a lot of 'bad' words in popular use that need to be eliminated from the English language. 'Cool' is about the worst of the bunch! It is frustrating when politicians interject 'look' in their speeches, and disturbing when people say 'seen' for saw, when they use I or me incorrectly or say don't when they mean doesn't. But, to consider getting rid of the worst 'bad' word, let us begin with 'cool.'

As a reader, writer and proud English language communicator, I am appalled at the frequency with which 'cool,' this useless, misused and overused word, is spoken. I am flabbergasted when intelligent and educated people flagrantly or casually mouth it. It is no longer just the ignorant, uneducated and unfortunate using 'cool' to mean anything, everything and, consequently, nothing at all. I am reminded of Andy Rooney's explanation of people using "obscenities... dumb people do it because they can't think of what they want to say and they're frustrated. A lot of smart people do it to pretend they aren't very smart - want to be one of the boys." Cool has become an obscene word. It's time for a replacement!

Yes, there are correct uses for the word 'cool.' According to the American Heritage Dictionary of English Language, cool refers to something moderately cold. It indicates the feeling of coolness due to lowered temperature. It is something calm and controlled. Cool means dislike or disdain; bold or impudent. It may be the metaphor of colors like blue or green. In slang, cool means indifferent, aloof or excellent. The list goes on: less intense, slowed down, to be kept waiting, a state of composure. It is synonymous with collected, unruffled, nonchalant and detached. None of these definitions seem to fit the common usage of 'cool' as we hear it in today's popular vocabulary.

'Cool' is not a good word. It means anything a speaker wants it to mean while the listener if left to assume the speaker is saying something meaningful - sort of. Won't we all, speakers or listeners, feel better about ourselves when we use real and appropriate words to express important thoughts, fantastic ideas, exciting experiences and true feelings?

Tell me what you think. I'd like to know.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Do you want to be a success? Everyone does.

What, exactly, do you want to succeed in doing or being: concert pianist, CEO, farmer, teacher, artist, composer, actor, inventor, cook, parent, politician, just being rich or simply being a loving human being? Your success is up to you. Here are five suggestions designed to help you reach your goal:

1. Describe your success in detail. Imagine successful people who reached similar goals. What did they do to become successes? Notice how they look, stand, speak, dress and move. Imgine yourself as a successful person and copy all the good and positive things you see in others. Learn to speak, move and dress in a like manner. Seek the education needed to succeed in your field then practice, practice, practice whether piano, public speaking or attitude. Yes, attitude. It is not always what you do but how you present yourself that determines success. Build the image in your mind of yourself as that successful person you are working to become.
2. The road to success always begins with a burning desire. If you don't know where your goal is, you'll end up somewhere else. Keep focus on your goal as you gather information, absorb knowledge, meet the people who can help you. Join the clubs, groups or organizations which enhance your own steps toward success. Dress the part, gain the knowledge and stay alert to opportunities.
3. Reinforce your dedication to succeed on a daily basis. Keep your burning desire hot by establishing a mantra and an image you can hear and see every day. Keep a token or a picture of success in your wallet or purse... One young man, determined to be a pilot and astronaut, kept a feather in his wallet and in his pocket and as his doodles while he studied and focused on his goal until he succeeded.
4. Practice... visualize your success, see it, feel it, wear it, develop it, mean it! If you want to be an actor, visualize yourself being interviewed on the red carpet or on television. How do you move, walk, sit? Do you dress the part? How do you intend to appear to others if your goal is to be a doctor or politician? Practice being the person you imagine as your successful self. Be ready.
5. Reach for the brass ring... When opportunity presents itself, grab it... The knock of opportunity may be loud and persistent or faint and timid. Sometimes you will need to be knocking on doors. Success doesn't arrive as a surprise package; it is a distinguishment sought and earned.

Alas, in a lifetime expectancy of about eighty years, you may have time to be a success in several arenas. I know one successful lawyer who is also a successful politician is a licensed pilot; a pediatrician I worked with was also a Black Belt in martial arts and an award-winning photographer. Perhaps 6. should be an encouragement to expand and diversity your successes. The lawyer and doctor did, I did, and so can you!
Tell me about your road to success. I'd like to know.