Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Joy Spot

This week while waiting at a red light, I watched a crossing guard help four little students cross the street. I don’t know if they anticipated Christmas or appreciated being with friends, but their trip across the street made me smile. One kid trotted, one skipped, one leaped, and another ran to the other side of the street. They were bursting with joy. For some reason, it’s easier to identify a happy kid than a happy adult.

We’re at the end of another year, maybe it was a tough one or your best one yet. Check out this person's perspective:


In order to celebrate the present, it helps to see past struggles as learning opportunities to triumph over new challenges. Isn’t that the greatest advice for us all? Regardless of the circumstances you face, what gives you joy?        

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Following

No one noticed that I wore one blue and one black sock this week. It wasn’t planned. That’s what happens when you get dressed in dim lighting. One time, after a busy morning, I accidentally wore mismatched shoes to an event. Again, no one noticed. In my own defense, both pairs of shoes were identical, except for the color. In college, I sported mismatched earring—on purpose. It was my attempt at unconventionality. Apparently, a well-known fashion magazine now calls it a new trend. Fashion is a weird thing. Sometimes what seems so different at first winds up becoming popular, like these:


Maybe you’ve seen these on the street. Don’t laugh. I heard they’re making a comeback, and before long you might own a pair, too. Once a group of high profile people latch on to a trend, we’re more likely to try it.

What trend did you decide not to follow, and still won’t?   

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Tools, Talent and Time

I have a talent for spotting tools—on the street. Not long ago, I saw a man strolling down the street carrying a chainsaw. The scene resembled something out of a horror movie. This week, I spotted a man crossing the street with a drill in his hand, holding it like a gun. Maybe it’s me, but if you need to transport a tool, put it inside a bag until you've arrived at your destination. Brace yourself when you see people using tools in unconventional places. Here’s an example: 


The manufacturer didn’t make the saw to spread salmonella. Tools, designed for particular purposes, belong in specific situations. Tools are like talents and gifts, they require proper care.

If you’re a singer, you develop your gift by enrolling in vocal classes to learn how to stay in tune. If you’re a serious singer, you protect your vocal cords from the cold with a scarf, and do exercises to warm them up before performing. Although you’ll find outstanding singers singing in subway tunnels, you don’t usually find them singing while roaming neighborhoods. That would be as peculiar as exposing a tool in the streets.   

There is a special gift tucked inside every one of us. When it’s time to unveil yours, who will it benefit?  

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Who’s Your Trainer?

I joined a gym. My initial visit turned out well, or at least I thought it did until I told my family what I did. Judging by their puzzled looks and laughs, my workout routine “exceeded” their expectations.  
I used the normal equipment like weight machines, the treadmill, and the stationary bike. The overall program sounded fine, but I think my family had a problem with the execution. Apparently, experienced exercisers don’t do fifty reps per machine. Apparently, they use more weight and fewer reps. Apparently, I need a trainer to provide some guidance.

Given my recent gym experience, here’s my advice for workout newbies: be careful when you increase the treadmill’s speed, and don’t overlook the importance of the handrails, if you want stay on your feet. And, if you want to zoom past your workout goals, ask for help. Above all, don’t be this guy: 


At some point, we all need training about a certain part of life. In what area do you need guidance and from whom will you get it?  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Not Just Leftovers

Usually around mid-afternoon, I start thinking about dinner preparations. When I’m especially unmotivated, I dig in the freezer for leftovers, hoping to heat up a quick meal. Anyone foraging around in their freezer long enough might uncover a hidden treasure, maybe some spare burgers or chicken breasts. If not, there’s an app to help out. See for yourself:


When you tire of holiday dinner leftovers, order something more exotic through the app. Who doesn’t enjoy sampling food from their neighbor’s plate? In many cases, it helps to know who’s providing the bounty. What surprise have you received, but discovered a bigger surprise in  learning who provided it?       

Saturday, November 21, 2015

From the Mouths of Babes

Doesn’t everyone enjoy a good massage? When our kids were younger, I offered them money for back massages. The agreement worked well, until they got older. I thought the days of two dollar massages had passed until one of our kids complained about muscle soreness from sports practice and talked about needing a massage. Jumping at the possibility of swapping services, I said, “Me, too.” And then, before I could negotiate a deal, our sweet child added, “I guess we’re both dreamers.” 

Talk about crushing a dream. If I want a professional massage, I better start saving for it. Someone (Mike Phillips) once said:  Money will come when you are doing the right thing. Check out the right moves these students are making:


They say you can tell what people value by where they spend their money. Barring the necessary expenses like rent, utilities, and transportation, how would you prefer to spend most of your money?   

This one’s too cute too miss.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

They Said What?

You probably wonder how statements that begin with, “You know what they say… get started.”  They who? You can tell they get respect because people quote them a lot. Maybe “they” is a group of folks who’ve been there, done that, and are willing to hand over the benefits of their experience to everyone else. 

Believe it or not, last week someone claimed to be part of the great “they” mystery. The admission came as a surprise. In the middle of a conversation at our house, someone quoted a theyism, like “You know what they say, you can’t judge a book by its cover.” We all stopped to think about who “they” is. And that’s when a voice said, “I am.” And there you have it—mystery solved—one of our kids is “they.” You know what they say, “Out of the mouths of babes….” 

I never would have guessed that “they” lived in my house. Go figure. You probably thought theyisms came from people like this:


And that’s what one group of “theys” had to say. I hope you found a few words of wisdom for yourself. Who’s the “they” you turn to for solutions to your difficult questions and situations?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Tell Us What You Think

It seems like stores want our feedback on everything we buy. When they send us online surveys immediately after our purchases, it’s like going on a first date and being invited out for a second date before the first date begins. After buying an item, we need to wash, wear, and live with it for a while so we can give accurate feedback on our experience.

As a former market researcher, I recognize the risks of a slanted survey. For example, I saw one customer satisfaction questionnaire that offered two possible ratings—good or very good. That’s not a legitimate survey. In fact, it crosses the line. Customers want their views valued, not manipulated. 

I don’t mind completing good surveys, but I do prefer to skip the rambling and repetitive ones. Checking off a lot of little boxes and filling out boring forms is no fun. A focus group is a whole different situation, especially when you toss in a couple of celebrities. Have a look:  



What major cultural issues do you want addressed and with which influential person do you want to voice your concerns and opinions?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

No Need to Fear?

I’m an avid supporter of the underdog, even when it comes to life on the Serengeti. I saw an animal show where five baboons chased down a baby gazelle. The babies aren’t much of a meal, but I guess food was scarce. The baboons played a gruesome game of Keep-Away, while the mother tried to rescue her baby. Finally, one of the baboons carried it up into tree. The mother stopped, looked around, and ran circles around the tree. Looking confused, she ran from one spot to the next, searching for the little gazelle. 

I felt like snatching the baby from the baboon’s mouth and handing over to its mother. But, there’s the other perspective. Maybe the baboons were close to starving. Life is hard for both sides. Consider another scenario. Who would you cheer for in this match up? 

Although the lions’ faces made me feel bad for them, I’m in favor of the men feeding their families.  Considering all the facts, the hunters did leave part of the kill for the lions, and they get loads of bonus points for their bravery. Kudos to the first guy who decided to use that hunting technique. In the presidential run-offs and elections, what key, underlying factors determine who you support?       

Friday, October 23, 2015

Hijack the Future

This week’s beautiful weather almost made us forget what the future holds. Ignoring the red and orange leaves, the high temperatures nearly convinced us to anticipate a second summer. But, we know the truth, right? Get ready to smile if you enjoy cold weather because, based on normal patterns, winter is on the way. No doubt about it. Or is there?

In addition to the cultural and political turmoil, the weather’s turning chaotic, too. Think about the monster hurricanes, record heat, and unprecedented snow accumulations we’ve seen. Forecasters think they can predict the weather until this happens:


Given the unexpected news stories, the future is as unpredictable as ever. One of the best ways to impact the future is to manage the present. If we want to see ourselves at a specific place in the future (call it point C), we need to be prepared to execute points A and B. What steps can you take now to impact your future?               

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Crucial Talk

Look around and you‘ll see Halloween decorations popping up throughout the neighborhood. It’s the time of the year when people who are eager for Christmas decorations put up black and orange lights instead. And it’s the time when neighbors complain about the master decorator whose creativity makes the adults scream. Take a look:


This squabble could continue for years. While the master decorator enjoys the holiday, his neighbors may think about “Halloweening” the decorator. Next year, if the two sides talk to one another instead of talking to other neighbors, police, and the media, maybe they’ll work out their differences. Talking begins with a civil, face-to-face conversation. What’s the crucial conversation you’ve avoided until now?      

Saturday, October 10, 2015

What Do You Mean?

Kids say the funniest things. They surprise us because we forget about the amount of thinking that goes on in those little bodies. If you have a child or small relative, then you probably have an own experience of when a kid’s comment caught you off guard.

I remember the story about a relative who was heading off to work. She stopped in her tracks when her straight-faced second grader said, “You look like a clown.” Her outfit, in all of its polka-dotted glory, ended up back in the closet.

Yesterday I asked one of our kids a question about doing homework. I got a blank look, so I said, “You look as though I asked you to eat a cow.” Our youngster replied, “I probably could if it was seasoned right.” You never know what kids will say. Here’s more:


The one little girl offered serious advice: You don’t need a raise. Problem solved. Wouldn’t it be nice to get the “perfect” advice for every situation? We all need someone to tell us the truth without tip-toeing around an issue. What advice have you been hesitant to give?      

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Controlling the Country

Wind and rain are two of our most powerful elements. Based on past hurricane seasons, we’re familiar with the destruction they cause. Scientists discover and invent so many incredible things, why can’t they control the weather? Maybe they can. See:

For a fee, one company offers weather–modifications, claiming to give you clear weather. Cloud-seeding enables them to cause rain the day before your special outdoor event, leaving you with sunny skies the next day for a wedding ceremony or company golf outing. We’re closer to manipulating the weather than ever, and we’re making progress in other areas, too. Take a look:  


Fascinating, huh? Oh sure, those experimental findings seem beneficial—until scientists use their powers for evil. Some of our greatest books describe what happens when others control what we think, believe, and how we behave. If you had mind-controlling powers, what thought would you implant in everybody’s mind?              

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Time for Class

I glanced in our backyard and discovered a deer staring toward the street, and I could tell by the expression on its face it was calculating the odds of making it to the other side. Before I could stop it, the deer sped off toward danger. I ran to the front window to see if it would survive.

It probably sensed my concern because instead of crossing the street, it headed down the block. Frightened by cars whizzing by, the deer panicked, dashed across the street and lunged into the bushes. Seconds later, it leaped from the shrubs with a branch lodged between its antlers, turned, and galloped into thicker woods.

Too bad deer can’t take street-crossing classes. If that sounds absurd, take a look at some of the incredible classes our schools offer: 


It’s good marketing when teachers use popular class titles to attract students, but it’s a waste of money when the classes lack any real value. In your opinion, what type of class should everyone take?        

Friday, September 18, 2015

Words Have Power

After pulling into a pay-for-parking lot, the attendant asked for my license plate number. I recited the first three letter/numbers and couldn’t remember the rest, so I quickly added, “something, something, something.” I guess the attendant wanted more details because he decided to read my plate for himself. I bet most people can’t recall what’s on their license plate—or am I the only one? 

Of course, personalized plates are easy to remember. Think about the strange descriptions you’ve seen on vanity license plates. People use the space to describe themselves, their pets, their hobbies, and other surprising activities. Many times, no one—except the owner—can read the seven-character message. Try to guess what these people had in mind: 


Maybe people don’t care whether other drivers understand their vanity plates. Still, it seems like a great spot to broadcast your views. If you could create a free vanity license plate, what public statement would you make?        

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Where Are You Now?

Relationships float through different stages. Last week, I overheard an interesting exchange between a parent and a couple of kids. The parent kept making funny faces and singing popular songs written long before the kids were born. Judging by the kids’ expressions, they wanted no part of the performance. Undeterred by their eye-rolls, the parent added to the torture by singing off-key.

After several minutes, one of the kids pulled a question from the childhood memory files. Questions always make good diversions. The kid said to the parent, “Do you want to play a game?” The second kid followed up with, “Yeah, let’s play the quiet game.” How many times had the kids had fallen for the “quiet game” tactic? Eventually kids will borrow their parents’ tricks and criticize parenting logic. Watch this:


As kids grow up, they’ll offer their parents advice on everything from fashions and hairstyles to insurance and investments. Through the usual ups and downs of life, parent-child relationships deepen and evolve. What’s your most important relationship and how has it developed?              

Saturday, September 5, 2015

A Chain Saw Reaction

Would you play an extra in a scary movie? Early one morning while driving through the city, I spotted a tall, muscular man walking down the street. Judging by his stride, he intended to arrive at work on time. Based on his tool belt and work boots, I assumed he worked in the construction industry. Here’s the interesting part: he carried a chain saw. It looked like the scene from a scary movie, but there were no movie cameras in sight.  

I didn’t call the police. Maybe the man borrowed the chain saw from work to repair a project at home. Maybe his job required him to bring in his own tools. He should have hidden that tool in a bag. You can be the best construction worker in the world, but when you walk down the street with a chainsaw, it’s not a good first impression. Check out these impressions:


One expert said first impressions are formed in seven seconds. They say perception is reality, and once established, “reality” can be difficult to change. Is the first impression you give consistent with how you want people to see you?        

Saturday, August 29, 2015

What’s Scoop with Poop?

A local museum’s ad reminded me of a family vacation we took years ago. I told our kids that, during the trip, we visited a museum that focused on wildlife and conservation. On an outdoor exhibit walk around the building, we saw animals living in the grasses, bushes, and in the river. Signs along the elevated walkway displayed pictures of the animals’ “output.”

One of our kids wondered why our local museum advertised an exhibit on “output.” I explained that you can identify an animal by it, and added that the museum thought the topic would attract kids who giggled at that sort of thing. I thought the conversation was over until one of our kids asked, “Are we kids or barbarians?” Barbarians—like the ones from the Roman Empire?  Someone paid attention in history class. Maybe this helps explain the museum’s topic choice:


The scoop on poop: Is it entertainment or education? Who knew output deserved so much scientific attention? It can be helpful to discuss the scoop on poop, or any other topic. How we say things and why we’re mentioning them will show whether we’re speaking like decent people or barbarians.

Political correctness shouldn’t force us to bury controversial topics, but it should encourage us to speak on them without using pie-in-the-face words. What national conversation do you want to defend without it turning into a big stink?          

Friday, August 21, 2015

If You're Captivating

Help! I’m stuck on You Tube and I can’t get off. Yeah, it happened. I tried to send an S.O.S. text to the kids to come get me, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen long enough to type it. Who doesn’t get trapped on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and the many other captivating social media sites?  

I got online to look for a music video, migrated to (Name a Country’s) Got Talent, and ended with my favorite—flash mobs! It was that kind of evening. Here’s one of the time-stealing videos I watched: 

Hilarious! The judges’ expressions seemed to say, “You’re singing what?” How does a huge voice like that come from such a small mouth? The little singer seemed matter-of-fact, but she had an extraordinary gift to share.
There was no English translation on the initial video I saw. This one packed more power because it explained how she found her song. I want to know how she found that voice. Her video collected over fourteen million hits. That’s huge! If you could make a video guaranteed to attract millions of viewers, what would you share with the world?  
P.S. I typed the last word in this post, glanced up, and saw this face flash across the TV screen:  What a gift!          

Friday, August 14, 2015

Shunned, But Not Forgotten

It’s over. For more than twenty years, I boycotted a designer. I passed on purchasing coats, pants, shoes, and all kinds of cool apparel. Here’s the back story:

For years, I’ve enjoyed art and advertisements. I worked at an ad agency, and usually pay close attention to magazine ad campaigns. One day, while browsing through a fashion magazine, I noticed one designer’s ad for apparel or perfume. Over time, I forgot the particular product, but the use of nude models stuck with me.

Nudity in magazine ads, in films, and on TV feels like an artistic cop-out. If a product or project is fantastical and compelling, does nudity need to be part of the picture? It feels like a cop-out for a lack of creativity. And so, without circulating a petition or making a scene, I started my personal boycott of a fashion designer.

The designer has suffered long enough. It’s time to end the boycott. Let bygones be bygones. These days established designers manufacture apparel for all price levels, and so I finally bought a dress by the designer whose products I had avoided for so many years.
Boycotts have a place whether public or personal, short or long-term, silly or serious. You never know what people will want to boycott:


Every morning people flock there for a morning fix. When we’re on vacation, we’ll visit that establishment about five times a week for breakfasts, beverages, snacks, or restroom breaks. I’m against genetically-modified products, too. I sympathize with Mr. Young’s position, but another boycott? It’s too soon! I’m not ready to make that sacrifice. 

That’s the problem with protests. Despite your best intentions, there will be non-supporters. Regardless of how other people feel, what position would you defend for twenty years or more?             

Friday, August 7, 2015

Who’s on the Throne in 2016?

Can you believe it’s time for political debates and discussions about presidential elections? After I updated our kids about the presidential candidates’ recent comments and decisions, our youngest child remarked, “This is like a bad dream.” Let’s hope the dream gets better—for us and for our children.
Young people always offer interesting insights. Kids, no matter where they live, often surprise us with their ideas about politics. Have a listen:


Kids may not know everything about being president, but talking about politics is the first step toward raising future voters. Let’s hope kids realize their voices can make a positive difference, despite the political behaviors they see. Based on the current political environment so far, we’d better strap ourselves in for the bumpy ride to Election Day. Maybe during the 2016 election campaign, there'll be less bickering and more talk about  solutions for the nation's problems. 

Financial status, upbringing, and other personal experiences drive the candidates’ political positions. You probably have one or two key issues that drive the kind of candidate you’ll follow. Thinking about those topics, which of your personal views cause you to support those issues?   

Saturday, August 1, 2015

When Your Door Opens

Remember that satisfied feeling you get after traveling a distance and finally checking in at the hotel desk? You made it. With a key in hand, you head for the elevator, hoping for a clean room and a comfortable bed. Your heart might skip a little as you slide the key in the lock because the last thing you want to do is find a problem with the room, forcing you to trudge back to the front desk.

We lived that situation last week. With high expectations, we slid the key in the lock, opened the door, and…surprise! Someone had turned on TV, but not only that—he was seated on the bed, enjoying a show. Not good, and not what we expected. The front desk goofed. Bewildered about how we received the key to an occupied room, we plodded back downstairs for a new room. You never know what’s behind a closed door. Look what goes on at one resort:

Conspiracy theories will always accompany closed door gatherings. We’ll find one of two scenarios behind closed doors: the expected or the unexpected. Is there a “closed door” in your life? When it opens, what do you hope to discover?    

Friday, July 24, 2015

Uprooting the Weed

What’s the story with weeds? Why is it that the things we dislike the most become the hardest to eliminate? Regardless of how many times we forget to water or fertilize the flowerbeds, the weeds still thrive. Look around. They’re our sturdiest plants. They protect themselves with prickly leaves, so when we try to uproot them—ouch! They’re sneaky, too. As soon as they’re tall enough to be an eyesore, they sprout pretty flowers to blend in. In a last ditch effort to bug us before we yank them from the ground, they release fluffy, white seeds to birth future weeds. Face it. Weeds are tough to eliminate, but if we keep them around, we’ll be sorry.

Who knows what lurks behind your weed stalks? Given what that lady could face, she has to be prepared. Her leave blower is on-hand, and when normal weeding tools fail she gets serious. Did you hear about her back-up weeding weapon? Stay out of her way.     

 Weeds are like bad habits. Both can be dangerous to our well-being. If we don’t eradicate them, our lives can become a total mess. It might take extreme measures to uproot the firmly entrenched ones. What’s your best plan for eliminating the weediest parts of your life?               

Friday, July 17, 2015

Calories? They’re Worth It

How much do you like breakfast? Would you eat it several times a day? I bet you’re wondering, “Who does that?” Well, on a trip to the west coast, our family ate breakfast three times.

 We picked up the first meal at a local convenience store on the way to an early morning flight. Several hours later, after boarding the plane, the airline served “breakfast.” The flight was wonderful. The breakfast? Not so much.
The flight attendant offered us a choice of a cheese blintz or quiche. It was a lose-lose proposition. Do people still eat cheese blintzes? I chose the quiche, which seemed to be a mixture of egg and the crust that’s usually found under the egg. Believe me, the texture of blended egg and flour didn’t work. To be fair, I did like the fruit, the biscuit, and beverages.

We ate our third breakfast during a brief layover in Arizona. When I say “we,” I’m referring to   my family. While it was ten-thirty in the morning in Arizona, it was lunchtime on the east coast.  I bucked the trend and ordered a tuna sandwich, but we laughed as the rest of the family ordered pancakes. So, that’s how we squeezed in three breakfasts. In additional to the food, guess what else we enjoyed?

We didn’t plan to eat that many breakfasts. It just happened. Although great things can happen by accident, they’re often the result of intentional planning. That’s one of my words for the year—intentional. If we want to change, grow, or improve, it’s going to take intentional planning and focused work. Your goals are worth it. What’s your plan for reaching your most important goals?   


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Free to Fall

Banking on the GSP’s promise of a gas station not far down the road, we set out on an unfamiliar, alternative route toward the Californian beach. The road twisted and turned through a mountainous region. Before long, we realized we picked the road with only  occasional guardrails separating us from heart-stopping, sixty feet drop-offs. Besides that, directions for the “promised” gas station led us to a right hand turn and a sign that said “road closed.” Duped by the GPS again.

 So, we inched along a long, windy mountain road with only a quarter tank of gas, and due to the elevation, no GPS reception. But, after several more miles, we located a gas station, regained the GSP signal, and exited the harrowing mountain road. Looking back, I’m glad our drive on I74 looked nothing like this:

It’s amazing what we’ll endure to get to where we want to go.  As you heard, thirteen guys in   China paved their own road, although several men didn’t live to see the end. Robert Frost’s well-known poem implies that choosing our own road takes courage. What’s the scariest road you’ve taken?


Saturday, June 27, 2015

When You’re Incredible

Can you hear or smell colors? I considered the question when our kids mentioned how they enjoyed visiting the AAA Travel agency because it smelled like travel. Really? When I visited a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t notice a travel smell. Maybe I missed it.
The kids’ comment reminded me of a story I heard about someone whose senses reached beyond our normal experiences. I could tell you about it, but it’s more astounding if you “see” it for yourself. The first video explains the phenomenon, and the second one gives a personal account.



When last week’s post asked you to name something incredible, I hope you thought about yourself. Our lungs inhale and exhale, our hearts work non-stop for about seventy or eighty years, pumping a vital liquid into tiny tubes throughout our bodies. That’s incredible!
If your four-year-old daughter or son, niece or nephew asked you what makes people special. How would you answer?        

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Hot Potato Matter

What can you do with a hot potato, besides eat it? At dinner last week, instead of eating their baked potatoes, our kids rolled them over their faces and wondered why hot baked potatoes  haven’t replaced heated rocks for massages. They explained how, after a relaxing massage, the potato could double as a nutritious snack. Leave it to kids to find new uses for foods they don’t want to eat. Here’s another idea:

Who knew potatoes could change from glowing, squishy balls to liquid messes, dripping off the palm of your hand? No wonder the video has millions of hits. But, wait! There’s more….
One website stated how a scientist created ice cream that changes colors when licked. The ice cream is made from natural ingredients—maybe it’s potatoes. Scientists make fresh discoveries every year, and we can’t wait until the next, new thing. The more unusual, the better.  What’s the most incredible thing you’ve seen or heard?    



Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Fault in our Stars?

Is it going to rain or not? All day the clouds blow in; the clouds blow out, but no rain falls. The weather forecaster’s stormy promises raise many questions. Should we grill our dinner or play it safe and use the stove? Should we water the flowers and vegetables, or wait for the rain? Sure, we get an occasional misting here and there, but nothing like the downpours promised.

The weather forecasts remind me of the dire warnings for predicted disasters. No one wants a crisis, especially none like these:

The predictions may continue for years. Researchers say “a big one” could occur within the next thirty days or in the next thirty years. We’ve seen the cracked tectonic plates, and heard the geologist’s testimonies. Experts are convinced the big one is going to happen, but what about you? Are you concerned about catastrophic events? What makes you believe one will occur?      

Friday, June 12, 2015

Your Authentic Self?

How well do you know yourself? You’ll see a whole, new side by playing a game I call “Impersonate Me.” Our family has played it a few times. Each person adopts the mannerisms of their selected person. What an eye-opener. You never fully know yourself until you see someone imitate how you sit, eat, or talk. Try it and see what happens.

Over the weekend, I felt sucked into a modified version of “Impersonate Me” when our kids decided to describe the “the things I do.” They said sometimes, during casual conversation, I launch into foreign accents—which I doubted—until I did it. In the car this morning, one of the kids decided to mirror back the facial expressions I made as I talked. Nice. I predict a long  summer. But then, this video gave me a new perspective on the coming months. Take a look:

If I copy these facial expressions and throw in a couple of Julia Child and Scooby Doo voice impressions, within a week, the kids will be extremely annoyed with my shenanigans. If I'm fortuntate, they’ll grow bored with me and move on to someone else. I better warn my husband.

Given the number of roles we fill in our families, in school, and at our jobs, it’s easy to lose track of our true selves. What about you? Do you offer people your authentic “face,” or do you give them the one they expect to see?

Friday, June 5, 2015

A Pre-Dawn Call

Welcome to my experience with a relentless telemarketing company. This particular company chose to call me at 2:00, 4:30, 5:15, and 5:45 this morning. Was that their “surprise strategy” for catching groggy households off-guard? They crossed the line.

I sent them a text that said, “This is ridiculous. Stop calling.”  A return message said I texted to a landline, but a verbal message could be sent to the line for a fee. No thanks! Instead I registered with the Do Not Call registry. I’ll keep you posted on what happens next. In the meantime, check out this tactic:


If your telemarketer is a human, they are no match for a child because kids possess special skills for winning telemarketing phone wars. If a child is shy, talkative, or too young to speak English, the telemarketer will beg to speak to an adult, and eventually hang up in frustration. Perfect! You’ve won the battle—until the next call.  

We can address our problems head-on or minimize them with a change in perspective. In any case, we win. What has been your most persistent problem, and how was it resolved?          

Friday, May 29, 2015

Your Last Chance

Consider this your final notice. I receive “final notice” phone calls a least several times a 

week. Telemarketers won’t leave me alone. They say push “3” on my phone to pass up on 

the exciting offer. Well, I pushed “3” last week, and pushed it again this week. Maybe 

next week I’ll yell my response. Since the voice on the other end is a 

recording created by a merciless telemarketing company, my requests are ignored and the 

calls keep coming. At least this guy gets a conversation and a little bit of fun:       


I didn’t know what a cute and creepy laugh sounded like—until now. Why won’t she 

answer the question? I think we know why.  Do companies believe that, after bugging

us for months, one day we’ll change our minds decide to sign up? If you’re 

trying to sell someone a product, service, or idea, don’t make them angry. You’ve 

participated in a heated debate, what helped you change the other person’s mind?