Go with the flow and discover

Huge sandwich
Food Network UK’s chef Tristan Welch unveils his two stone heavy meat monster

I used to be a picky eater. I still have control issues along those lines. Recently, when the fam thought Arby’s sounded good for supper, I decided to just go with the flow and try a sandwich I’ve had my eye on. I usually will be really specific about what I want on a sandwich (“hold the pickles, add mayo,” etc.), but I decided this time, what the heck, just get the Loaded Italian sandwich, and get it the way it comes.

I really liked it, even with banana peppers on it (which I’ve always assumed I didn’t like).

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Love is what you make it


Happy Valentine’s Day! At least, I hope it is a happy one. I hope that you have someone to love, and someone who loves you. That doesn’t necessarily mean romance, by the way. Just that you care about each other–relatives, friends, lovers, it doesn’t matter, and it’s none of my business. But I wish something good for you.

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Bonus: insight into breakthrough thinking

head-rendering from brain MRI

As I read this article on Surprisingly Simple Ways You Can Trick Your Brain Into Focusing, it strikes me how much of this has to do with effective communication strategies! I guess it really is the basic operating system!

Read the whole thing, but I can tell you that the gist of it is this:

  1. Don’t multitask.
  2. Take notes. But don’t try to write down everything you hear. Distill it and summarize.
  3. Consider other points of view.
  4. Take breaks.
  5. Narrow your focus and go deeper.

But get the details from the article. In the meantime, consider getting a copy of Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. (affiliate link)




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Has it really been that long?

abandoned house

I didn’t really mean to stop writing. But I haven’t posted anything here since July. I actually wrote quite a bit since then, but nothing that struck me as worth publishing. There are 25 posts sitting in draft mode. In November, I wrote a skeleton of a post that said, “This is probably my last post.” I remember what was happening then. I had just discovered that my aunt had died–a year earlier. And a favorite cousin had also died–two years earlier.

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Dear “Insurance” Company


Dear “Insurance” Company:

You have once more taken me on a journey of cognitive dissonance. When I went to the pharmacy to pick up my daughter’s new anti-seizure medication, they told me they couldn’t release it yet because you were requiring “prior authorization from the doctor.” Here’s the thing: A medical professional evaluated my daughter’s symptoms, considered all his options, and decided this medicine was the best way to address them. That’s about as close to prior authorization as any reasonable person would require.

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Marking passages

Glass graduated cylinder-50ml pl

If you’ve been around a science or medical laboratory, you have almost certainly dealt with a graduated cylinder, one of those ubiquitous devices marked off for measuring liquids. It is no coincidence that we use the word “graduation” to mark a passage from high school, from college, from graduate work. Graduation isn’t an ending; it’s simply a mark in the larger cylinder of life, though a significant one.

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The 99-cent solution

Flip flops

No getting around it, aging causes some issues. As my bones have gotten creakier and I’ve gotten heavier, I’ve found a particularly painful part of the day to be showering. When I step onto that hard, flat surface, my feet hurt.

I put up with it for weeks until a few days ago when I passed a display at Walmart labeled “99 cent sandals.” They were the kind I used to get to go to the beach, the kind you don’t care if you lose them in the sand or the surf. I picked out a black pair rather than the gaudy ones–after all, no one else would ever see them, but why take chances?

Problem solved. Honestly, I don’t care for the feeling of that thing that goes between your toes, but for 5 to 10 minutes it feels a lot better than the cold, hard bottom of the shower.

There is probably some issue you face that has been nagging you for awhile. In fact, you’ve gotten used to it, and just accept it as part of life. Most of our problems aren’t that simple–but some of them are. Is there a 99-cent solution you are overlooking?

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Connect while you can

Carolyn and Amma

This has been a rough semester.

Three weeks ago today the college’s beloved choral director, Bill Brewer, died after an 18-month battle with cancer.

Yesterday my friend and fellow speech professor Carolyn Buttram died after living with cancer for nearly 20 years.

There’s no way around it. It sucks. But there are aspects around Carolyn’s passing that are sweet, as well as aspects I regret.

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Community fridge gives psychological insights


After a couple of days, I noticed that the level of the creamer I kept in the community fridge in the hospital’s PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) had gone way down, much lower than my own usage would suggest.

My daughter’s health was, of course, of much greater concern, but it still registered in my consciousness. Later in the day, the level was noticeably lower, despite me having had no further cups of coffee.

Obviously, someone was using my creamer, although it was clearly labeled with my daughter’s name and hospital room number. Continue reading “Community fridge gives psychological insights”

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