Be Kind to Your Mind

The brain needs new challenges in order to keep learning and adapting.

Here are a few ideas, ranging from the simple to ones that require a bit more investment.

Jumpstart your brain by

  • rearranging your desk drawers
  • driving to work via a different route.

Challenge your mind with stimulating activities such as:

  • puzzles
  • brain teasers
  • arts and crafts.

Use the “wrong” hand to open your bottle of water.

Instead of reaching for your calculator, do mental math.

Learn a new language.

Learn how to play a musical instrument.

Turn your shopping list into a rhyming poem.

Laugh out loud twice a day (up to five different areas of the brain get into the action when we laugh).

Be curious.

Anything that you do out of the norm engages the brain.

Bread Bags

I have recently taken to wearing plastic bags inside my snow boots. They make the boots easier to get on and they add a layer of insulation. Someone, when they saw me doing this, cracked: “You need Wonderbread bags, not grocery bags, like we used when we were kids.”

Except in my family, we didn’t eat Wonderbread. We were a Millbrook family. There was a Millbrook bread bakery on the north side of the city. One could smell the bread baking when whizzing by on the interstate. My Girl Scout troop took a tour of the factory, where we learned that at least part of their advertising campaign was true: Millbrook Bread was baked to music.

 

What is Love?

People have been chasing love forever. This guy, Ovid, has most of the tricks in his book, which was written 2AD.

Just ask this guy.

Which is all fine and well if seduction and sex is all you’re looking for. But I think our culture too often confuses sex with love.

My faith teaches that “love” is “giving.” In our true relationships, there is mutual giving. Giving allows us to connect, creates, and sustains love. No relationship can endure without giving of ourselves.

Yeah, sex (in a sense) is giving, but love is deeper. More abiding.

 

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House Proud

Many years ago, when I was a single, career-minded young woman, I read an article in Cosmopolitan magazine that changed my life. No, not a piece of the “how to satisfy your man” ilk. “How to Be House-Proud” by Rita Barnett struck such a deep chord in me, I cut out the article and re-read every couple of years.  The article became a guide in my quest to build a life I loved.

I am a homebody by nature, a nester, as one friend described me. What the article made me realize was that if I took care of my home, my home would take care of me when I needed it. When unexpected company dropped by. When I had a food craving. When I was sick. The mind set served me well for many years.

But life changes. Marriage, children, career advancement, career loss, new job, serious pursuit of my writing, and so on. Besides, when one lives with others, one has to accommodate their concepts of home, too, which might not always coincide with one’s own.

Some habits, however, are worth clinging to.

The habit I developed of keeping certain nonperishable foods on hand is one I’ve maintained. In upstate New York, winter weather can be uncertain. I feel secure (and even smug at times) knowing if my family and I get snowed in, we wouldn’t go hungry. To me, that’s what home is: hearty, (mostly) healthy meals.

Are there days when I wish I could come home from my day job to a clean house? You bet. But I’m not the only one who lives here. And serious pursuit of my writing career meant serious reappraisal and restructuring of my available time.

Being house proud, as the article states, is not about mopping and dusting. It’s about the making of a home.

Helping Others

My Day Job has come up with an interesting way to encourage employee giving: wearing jeans to work.

  • Every home game for one of the local university’s men’s basketball team, donate $2 to a specific charity, employees can wear jeans and university logo clothing to work.
  • Donate at a certain level to the Thanksgiving Turkey Drive, wear jeans between this date and that one. Level 2, the window gets longer.
  • Donate to the 1st responder fund on 9/11, wear jeans to work!

And so on.

Some may consider this bribery. But if it helps us to give back to our community, then I’m all for it.

Even if I do think my “work” clothes are more comfortable than jeans.

#UpbeatAuthors