Friday, January 27, 2012

A Braver New World

I’m going. No, wait. Turn back! Go now. Freeze! That’s squirrel-thought. You’ve seen them, those cute,  bushy-tailed creatures that waiver between coming and going in the center of the street, paralyzed in the face of danger. What are they thinking? Why don’t they just keep going?
They’re not unlike us sometimes. Fear can paralyze us when we need to make big decisions, tackle the unknown or try a potentially dangerous endeavor. What motivates a squirrel to risk life and limb to want to cross the road?  
Speaking of mammals, what about those Navy SEALs? If you read the news, you know how our military elite accomplished at least two dangerous assignments during the last several months. Their training involves grueling calisthenics, strength exercises and underwater feats designed to push a solider past the fear factor and the limits of ordinary people. What drives a person to want Navy SEAL status and what can we learn from their incredible efforts? Have a listen:

Are you fired up yet? I know there are dreams you’ve placed on the back burner. Maybe now’s the time to go for them! Reaching your goals will take commitment, confidence, mental toughness, support from your inner circle, and a solid plan. Be brave, the world is your oyster! What ultimate dream do you want to achieve?   

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Got Masks?

Cell phone? Keys? Hand sanitizer? Got them! Why do we feel incomplete leaving home without our stuff? (Is it just me?) It started with the keys, next came the cell phone and now the hand sanitizer takes front stage. Fortunately, we can relax knowing anyplace with four walls will probably offer dispensers full of the gooey, alcohol-laden gel.
If we�re not careful, we can become maniacal about bacteria and germs. Why, years ago I remember cringing when babies and toddlers seated in shopping carts sucked the handle bars. Guess what happened to those kids? I think they�re growing up as the healthiest children in their schools, immunized early by a mouthful of germs.
Given the onslaughts of nasty bugs like H1N1, the avian flu, and the dreaded flesh-eating infection, what�s the outlook for the future? If health professional keep discovering new viruses, I�ll skip the hand sanitizer and tuck disposable rubber gloves and a nice surgical mask inside my purse. Masks have gained popularity in one country. Take a look:

How would a surgical mask cover eyelid surgery? Are they cutting eye holes in the surgical masks and wearing them higher across the face? That admission pushed mask-wearing in a different direction, extending the function way beyond germ-containment. We invest a lot of energy, time and money in changing ourselves. In the spirit of making New Year�s resolutions, what internal or external personal modifications are you striving to make this year?         

Friday, January 13, 2012

Quirky, Functional or Fancy-Schmancy?

You never want to exit an establishment’s restroom and think, “Yikes and yuck!” Some businesses understand the value of providing a completely positive experience and some don’t. In all fairness to businesses, an unexpected spike in customer activity or one sloppy patron is all it takes to ruin a restroom visit.
The kids at our house rate public restrooms. According to their system, the highest rated ones usually include several touchless features. If the restroom contains automatic-everything, including a door that pushes out so you can avoid touching the handle, well, that room could easily rate an eight or higher. Of course, tasteful d├ęcor and cleanliness boost ratings, too. Some establishments put as much thought into designing the restroom as they put into the rest of the facility. Take a peek at a few award-winners:

Who ever thought a restroom could win a contest? Restrooms like the one in the Shoji Tabuchi Theater in Branson, MO don’t come cheap, perhaps it’s too lavish for your style. If restrooms reflected personalities, which type of restroom would reflect you—quirky and unusual, functional and utilitarian, or extravagant and fancy-schmancy? Why?   

Friday, January 6, 2012

What’s for dinner?

Our kitchen is closed, at least that’s what the sign on the refrigerator says. It’s really not closed, but sometimes I wish that were true. My husband cooks and enjoys it, so I’m always happy and relieved when he prepares a meal. Although I’m the only one at our house who prefers not to cook, we are a family of big and little foodies. We like watching the cooking shows, sampling different foods and visiting new restaurants. At our house a commonly heard question is: “What’s for dinner?”
Fortunately, my family doesn’t always expect a gourmet meal. Last week one of our kids raved about a friend’s home-made mac and cheese lunch. Our children like our mac and cheese, so I figured this friend’s lunch must have been great! When I approached the mother about her recipe, she laughed and willingly described her very simple “secret”—jarred cheese sauce poured over wheat pasta.
I froze for a second and hoped that our kid, with the discriminating palate, wouldn’t show visible signs of disappointment about the recipe. No worries. My little munchkin, who has helped make oven-baked mac and understands the complexities of mixing in specialty cheeses for fuller flavor,  grabbed a pen and wrote down both ingredients. Of course, if I try to serve wheat pasta for dinner, I’d hear, “Hey, what is this stuff?” I suppose we can all benefit from expanding our perspectives on creating  simple meals. Watch this:

I probably wouldn’t serve that food combination for dinner. Maybe that’s the beauty of a meal, if it’s quick, healthy and it works for you—go for it. Things don’t always need to be expensive and complicated. What do you enjoy that’s simple, yet satisfying?