Monday, November 25, 2013

Take Five

Meditation.  I know, I know.  You don’t have time.  You’re too stressed.  It’s weird.  But, before you roll your eyes and zoom off to Black Friday sales, take five.  Why?  Because a recent neuroscience study reported that just five minutes of meditation a day can reduce anxiety by up to 22 percent, not to mention reducing stress levels and increasing immune function.  Just the ticket for these super-charged weeks coming up.
So, quick – how do you meditate in just 5 minutes?  First, set a timer for 5 minutes so you don’t have to worry about time.  Then follow the steps below.
Step #1:  Breathe.  Get into a comfortable position (no, you don’t have to sit cross-legged) and simply breathe in for a count of 4 and out for a count of 6.
 Step #2:  Breathe at your natural pace.  Stop counting your breaths.  Try to experience your breathing from nose to belly.
Step #3:  Stay focused on your breathing.  If random thoughts zip through your head, refocus on your breathing.  You will have the rest of the day to think.
Step #4:  Relax tight muscles by focusing your breath into tight areas.  Concentrate on typical tension zones:  jaw, neck, shoulders, stomach.
Step #5:  When the timer goes off or when you are ready to transition out of your meditation, think about something or someone in your life you are grateful for.
Step #6:  Tackle everything else.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Stop the Princess Machines

Just in time for the holidays – a kick-butt, fun, alternative to “pink stuff” and Barbie.  GoldieBlox is a toy company that makes construction sets and other cool engineering-inspired toys geared toward girls.  The company was started by Stanford-educated engineer Debbie Sterling, who was frustrated by how few women there were in her field, and by how few options there were for girls to fall in love with engineering through their toys.
Check out this powerful GoldieBlox ad (that is going viral) Click here , and visit the GoldieBlox website Click here to order some amazing toys for the girls on your list. 
Then, sit back, all smug, and drink a toast to future gender equality in EVERY professional field.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Slow TV

It’s called “slow TV” and Norwegian public television, or NRK, says it just might be the next big thing.  Ratings, apparently, are good for shows that depict live log-burning (12 hours from kindling to ashes), start-to-finish steps to making a sweater (sheep shearing, spinning, knitting – the whole shebang), and the wait, wait, wait-and-see moments on a salmon fishing boat.  Programmers maintain these shows promote serenity in our harried world and let people, vicariously, experience the peacefulness of these traditionally calming experiences. 

What serene practices do you think would make for good slow TV?  Watching someone do dishes?  Meditate?  Make soup?  Run along the ocean?  Chop firewood?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Space Debate

First of all, let's all agree that the lone picketer on the right who advocates a line break after every sentence is dead wrong.  That bald and lonely caricature belongs with people (ahem, mostly students looking to "stretch" a paper) who use line breaks after every paragraph -- also maddeningly wrong, in my humble opinion.

Now to the real issue -- one space or two after a period.  This debate is more heated than one-lump-or-two tea table conversations.  Oh, the judgment that ensues.  The animosity!

Personally, I am old school.  As you study this blog, it will become painfully clear to you that I use two spaces after periods.  I cannot help myself.  My fingers just do it.  And, yes, I also admit that every single piece of work that I've had published is edited and the number one edit always always always is to change my double spaced wastefulness into the more prudent, and popular, single space after periods practice.  In fact, lately, after typing in my old-fashioned way, I run a find-and-replace and usually fix the issue myself, in order to look more low maintenance to editors.  But, I still love the look of the two spaces.  I think it allows the writing to breathe a little.  To pause.  See?

What about you?  Where are your battle lines drawn?  If you'd like more information about this great debate, check out this thorough blog post, and be oh so informed:  One Space or Two?  (Don't say I never gave you fascinating dinner conversation topics!)