Don’t eye the basket of bread; just take it off the table

bread-basket-food

Pamela Druckerman interviews Walter Mischel, a professor of psychology at Columbia, in Learning How to Exert Self-Control:

…Self-control can be taught. Grown-ups can use it to tackle the burning issues of modern middle-class life: how to go to bed earlier, not check email obsessively, stop yelling at our children and spouses, and eat less bread. Poor kids need self-control skills if they’re going to catch up at school.

…Adults can use similar methods of distraction and distancing, he says. Don’t eye the basket of bread; just take it off the table. In moments of emotional distress, imagine that you’re viewing yourself from outside, or consider what someone else would do in your place. When a waiter offers chocolate mousse, imagine that a cockroach has just crawled across it. “If you change how you think about it, its impact on what you feel and do changes,” Mr. Mischel writes.

…He explains that there are two warring parts of the brain: a hot part demanding immediate gratification (the limbic system), and a cool, goal-oriented part (the prefrontal cortex). The secret of self-control, he says, is to train the prefrontal cortex to kick in first.

…Self-control alone doesn’t guarantee success. People also need a “burning goal” that gives them a reason to activate these skills

Read the rest of Druckerman’s column here: Learning How to Exert Self-Control

Find Mischel’s new book at Amazon here: The Marshmellow Test: Mastering Self-Control.


Image Source: Foodspotting

Hushed and heavy

winter-mountains-morning-sunrise

…soon will the winter be on us,
Snow-hushed
and heavy.

~ Sara Teasdale, from September Midnight

 


Credits: Photograph – The North Wind. Poem: Lit Verve. Sara Teasdale Bio: Poetry Foundation

Good Dawn Friends!

rain-window-bubbles-morning-train

This is to say nothing against afternoons, evenings or even midnight.
Each has its portion of the spectacular.
But dawn — dawn is a gift.
Much is revealed about a person about his or her passion, or indifference,
to this opening of the door of day.
No one who loves dawn, and is abroad to see it,
could be a stranger to me.

— Mary Oliver, from Long Life: Essays And Other Writings (Da Capo Press, 2005)

 


Credits: Jianwei Yang – photograph of morning rain from train window. Quote – metaphorformetaphor

 

Monday Morning Meditation: Swim along…

polar-bear-gif-swimming

Good news: Our friend Mr. Polar Bear is taking us on a soothing, rhythmic swim in the frosty arctic waters.


Less good news (and defeats the entire zen purpose of this post: Climate change is pulling the sea ice out from under polar bears’ feet, forcing them to swim longer distances to find food and habitat. Long-distance swimming puts polar bears at risk of drowning due to fatigue or rough seas.)


Source: Biomorphosis via Carol @ Radiating Blossom. (Thank you Carol)

 

Monday Morning: Breakfast Time!

gif-photography


Source: Kangaroo sleeping and eating via biomorphosis

I can’t do anything / Contradictions / Blown by the wind

cow-calf-mother

8:06 p.m. on Friday evening.
I’m getting off the train returning home from a long work day in Manhattan.
T.G.I.F.
Susan and Zeke greet me at the train station for our walk home.
Zeke’s tail is wagging wildly, his head on a swivel searching for a present to bring to Dad.

“Eric had a bad day.”

I’m still winded from walking up the stairs from the platform.
The weight of the work week lifts, and anxiety flushes in.
My pulse starts to race. I’m gulping for air.
Bile rolls up my empty stomach and sits gnawing in my throat.

No. Please, no. Not my Son.

“He went to a bull fight with his friends.”

Panic begins to ease. Ms. Drama’s overstatements, or my fatigue misinterpreting degree of “bad day”?

“They left before half. He said there was one bullfighter. The matador has six ‘assistants’, 2 mounted on horseback, three flagmen and a sword servant. Six men looking to kill a single bull. He said it was barbaric. Sickening. He had to get out of the stadium.” [Read more...]

Turkey / / 55 sec to Jump


Saturday Morning: We immerse, slow down

read-morning-coffee-saturday

“… to read, we need a certain kind of silence, an ability to filter out the noise. That seems increasingly elusive in our overnetworked society, where every buzz and rumor is instantly blogged and tweeted, and it is not contemplation we desire but an odd sort of distraction, distraction masquerading as being in the know. In such a landscape, knowledge can’t help but fall prey to illusion, albeit an illusion that is deeply seductive, with its promise that speed can lead us to more illumination, that it is more important to react than to think deeply, that something must be attached to every bit of time. Here, we have my reading problem in a nutshell, for books insist we take the opposite position, that we immerse, slow down.”

- David L. Ulin, The Lost Art of Reading


Notes: Quote – Litverve. Photograph: Amoris-Causa

 

SMWI*: Start me up!

mick-jagger-gifMick-Jagger-gif-2

mick-jagger-gif-3exercise,fitness,stretch,dance,fit,diet

Mick-Jagger-gif-4dance,exercise,fitness,stretch


SMWI*= Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Source: Moneygoround

5:00 PM Bell: Hit the gates!

funny-gif-bunny-island-running-scary


Rabbit Island in Japan (via Themetapicture.com). Read more on Rabbit Island at the Guardian: Rabbit Island: A Japanese Holiday Resort for Bunnies

Drive up the Nostalgia Bus

album-gif


Source: Rudyscuriocabinet

T.G.I.F.: It’s Been A Long Week

penguin-funny-fall-gif


Source: gifak-net

What’s he thinkin’?

teddy-bear-cute-adorable


Source: Teddy Blue by Marko Mastosaari via Steps on My Sunlight Floor

Peace

September 11, 2001


Source: Madame Scherzo

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

hump day, wednesday,caleb,geico,camel

Whole Wheat. Strong Teeth.


Source: trekearth. Hump Day Related Post: Hit it Again.

Driving. Just another morning. Rollin’ down I-95.

driving-gif

6:30am.

Traffic is building.

I turn the corner to the I-95 on-ramp. Man in coveralls is standing next to his graffiti stained Seafood Delivery truck. He glances up at me, pauses briefly, and then continues to flick through a bulging wad of bills in his right hand. (You declaring that income, Friend?)

There’s a semi truck in front. A Friendly’s ad adorns its back door: “Eat More Ice Cream.” (What kind of cruel joke is this? You friend, need no more ice cream. Saliva begins to build up, quicker than the traffic flow. I’m worse than Pavlov’s dog. I could use a tall, thick Coldstone Vanilla shake. Right now. I’d skip lunch if I could indulge. I would. I might.)

I come up on a gargantuan, two-trailer Fed Ex semi. Driver sitting up high. The truck gleams in the morning sun.  (Bucket list: Need to drive a Semi cross-country. Is he delivering new iPhone 6+s to Manhattan Apple Stores? Gadget man starts to twitch.)

I pass downtown Stamford and see the RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) logo towering over the city.  (Well laddies. Is it time to cut the cord from Mother England?) [Read more...]

Some days, some days…

lynx-cat-paws

…after a long day, you need to hug a big kitty.

and don’t miss a look at this fella’s paws.  Incredible… [Read more...]

Untouchable deliciousness

black and white, photography,portrait

I confess that I consider life
to be a thing of the most
untouchable deliciousness.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke


Sources: Poem – Make Believe Boutique. Portrait: Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom

R.I.P. Birdie

bird-sun-conure

This morning, I shared a gif of a parrot taking a shower.

I then check my emails and receive this message, the first of the day.

Good morning. I am very sorry to tell you that Birdie passed away this morning. She had been just fine until about 6 months ago when she began having occasional seizures. We are assuming she had one last night. Jessica found her at the bottom of the cage this morning and it seemed like she was hanging on for her to get home. She died shortly after Jessica picked her up. She spent most of every day on Jessica’s shoulder or inside her shirt during the winter months. Jessica is devastated. She lost her best animal friend.

In case you missed the original post on the background of Birdie and our family, you can find it here: “I Miss Birdie.”

Sad Day. Yet, what incredible joy this little creature brought to our family.

RIP Birdie.

All the variety,
all the charm,
all the beauty of life
is made up of light and shadow.

~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina


 

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: Shower Time

gif,photogr  bird-shower-bath-cute-adorable-2


Source: thesensualstarfish

Running. As a Witness.

head down,tired, fatigued

R. Dass: “Everything changes once we identify with being the witness to the story, instead of the actor in it.

6:31 am. September 6, 2014.

76° F.  Humid.

He’s wearing black shorts, above the knee.

He has two bands on his left wrist. Both black. A Garmin GPS, tracking time and distance. A Vivo Fit, another Garmin tool, tracking his step count.  His head bobs, no, it tics, checking progress on his devices every 30-40 seconds.

His shirt is canary yellow, sleeveless. The sweat stains are darkening his shirt, spilled black ink creeping down his chest.

His running shoes are off-the-shelf new, with hyper-green florescent laces, tied with symmetrical bows on each foot.

His head is down but for the presence of oncoming traffic, when he’ll steal a look up, and offer a wave to the driver who gives him wide berth.

He’s heavy footed. Solemn. A hulking, Dutch plow horse, blinders blocking out peripheral vision. The furrows behind him, turned and plowed over and under and over again. [Read more...]

Just when you’d begun to feel you could rely on summer

beach-walk

Just when you’d begun to feel
You could rely on the summer,
That each morning would deliver
The same mourning dove singing
From his station on the phone pole,
The same smell of bacon frying
Somewhere in the neighborhood,
The same sun burning off
The coastal fog by noon,
When you could reward yourself
For a good morning’s work
With lunch at the same little seaside cafe
With its shaded deck and iced tea,
The day’s routine finally down
Like an old song with minor variations,
There comes that morning when the light
Tilts ever so slightly on its track,
A cool gust out of nowhere
Whirlwinds a litter of dead grass
Across the sidewalk, the swimsuits
Are piled on the sale table,
And the back of your hand,
Which you thought you knew,
Has begun to look like an old leaf.
Or the back of someone else’s hand.

George Bilgere, “August,” The Good Kiss (Akron, 2002)


Notes: George Bilgere Bio.  Poem Source – The Journey of Words. Image: Precious Things

7 weeks old. And hearing for the first time.

baby-hearing-1

baby-hearing-2

baby-hearing-3

baby-hearing-4

baby-hearing-5

baby-hearing-6

baby-hearing-7

Do NOT miss the video clip of this miracle: Lachlan gets a hearing aid


Image Source: sizvideos

Kneel for prayer. Why?

photography,portrait,black and white

Why must people kneel down to pray?
If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do.
I’d go out into a great big field all alone or
in the deep, deep woods and
I’d look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky
that looks as if there was no end to its blueness.
And then I’d just feel a prayer.

— L.M. Montgomery


Lucy Maud Montgomery (1875-1942) was born in Clifton, Prince Edward Island. Montgomery, was a Canadian author best known for a series of novels beginning with Anne of Green Gables. Montgomery went on to publish 20 novels as well as 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays. Most of the novels were set on Prince Edward Island, Canada, and places in the Canadian province became literary landmarks. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935.

Her mother died of tuberculosis when Lucy was 21 months old. Stricken with grief over his wife’s death, Hugh John Montgomery gave custody over to Montgomery’s maternal grandparents.  She was raised by them in a strict and unforgiving manner. Montgomery’s early life was very lonely. Despite having relations nearby, much of her childhood was spent alone. Montgomery credits this time of her life, in which she created many imaginary friends and worlds to cope with her loneliness, as what developed her creative mind.


Notes: Photograph – bigdaddyk. Poem Source – The Sensual Starfish. Bio: Wiki.

SMWI*: Stretch

black and white-climb-stretch


SMWI*: Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Source: Your Eyes Blaze-Out

Freed

woman-bliss-breathe-peace

“Maybe poems are
made of breath,
the way water, cajoled to boil, says,
This is my soul, freed.”

- Dean Young, from “Scarecrow on Fire,” in Bender: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2012)


Image Source: Black and White

Saturday Morning

dog-puppy-bliss-happy-breathe


Source: Mme Scherzo

5:00 PM Bell: Run Walter, Run


Walter, a lab, loves the sea. And he’ll stop at nothing to get there. The footage was captured on the coast of Siracusa, Italy. (Source: GrindTV)

A morsel of gratitude for (my) Readers

read-book-woman-portrait-black-and-white

One of the questions I always try to keep in the front of my mind is to ask why would anyone want to read this, and to try to find a positive answer for that. People’s time, if you bought it off them, is expensive. Someone’s going to give you eight or ten hours of their life. I want to give them something back, and I want it to be an enjoyable experience.

~ David Mitchell, The Soul Cycle

 


Notes:

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week

funny-gif-dog-showering-wet-cute-adorable


Source: themetapicture.com

Truth: I am a habit machine. I suffer from character sclerosis.

Six-figure advance: Vincent Deary sparked a bidding war for his book.

Carole Cadwalladr, ‘Vincent Deary: ‘Are you living the life you want to lead?’

At the age of 40 Vincent Deary jacked in his job as an NHS psychotherapist, sold his house in south London, moved to Edinburgh and locked himself in a small room for two years to write a book. Or, more accurately, to think about writing a book. He spent the first year mostly writing Post-it notes. By the fifth year, having turned 45, he finally finished it and called it How to Live

…What comes across most strongly in How to Live is just how bloody difficult it is to change. Or, as is more often the case, to handle change. Deary had a choice – to stay in London or to go – but many of those he cites in the book don’t have a choice. Change has been thrust upon them – partners leave, work dries up, people die. “There are many ways our worlds can end,” he writes in the book. “It may start as a distant rumour, a noise outside your small world, or an unexpected intrusion within it… sooner or later your current world will change, the present season will end.”

And even the perfect people of Facebook, with smiling kids and sunny skiing holidays, are not immune. “They will fall for their lover, their dog will die, they’ll have to move house, they’ll go bankrupt, they’ll die, they’ll age and if they stay the same their circumstances will change so their old responses won’t produce the same response from the environment. So even if they stay the same, that will mean change.” The problem is that we are “habit machines”. We suffer from “character sclerosis”. “Left to [our] own devices, the result will be the downhill slide of a life dictated by whatever happened last, by happenstance and habit.”

Read entire column at The Guardian


 

 

130 Seconds: August Flashback


We loved Marc Mazur’s short retrospectives on June and July.  He doesn’t disappoint with August.


 

Stalking Friday

funny-gif-cat-slowly-showing-window


Source: themetapicture

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel-wednesday-hump-day

It’s Hump Day & Beach Day! Dig your toes in and chill.

Don’t miss amazing facts about Caleb and camels: HumanKind. AnimalKind. OneKind.


Source: onekind.org

 

Choose. McEwan.

nuvo-magazine-autumn-ian-mcewan-page-image-book-1918752997

And if he had to choose between his books and his family? There’s no hesitation.

Family.
I adored having children.
Work and fatherhood have kept me sane.
The impulse to work is like a survival instinct.

~ Robert McCrum with English Novelist Ian McEwan


Don’t miss Robert McCrum’s great column on Ian McEwan in the Guardian here:

Ian McEwan: ‘I’m only 66 – my notebook is still full of ideas’

Ian McEwan, 66, is an English novelist and screenwriter.  In 2008, The Times featured him on their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.” He won the Man Booker Prize with Amsterdam (1998). In 2001, he published Atonement, which was made into an Oscar-winning film starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. (Source: Wiki)


Quote Source: The Guardian. Photo Source: Fansshare. Bio Source: Wiki

Tuesday Morning Wake-Up Call: Up, Up, Up

bird-fly-rain


Source: Thisiseverthing

Are you ready this time?

black and white, close-up
Going too fast for myself
I missed more than I think I can remember
almost everything it seems sometimes
and yet there are chances that come back
that I did not notice when they stood
where I could have reached out and touched them
this morning the black shepherd dog
still young looking up and saying
Are you ready this time?

- W. S. Merwin, “Turning”


Credits: Photograph by Sharon Heron of German Shepherd Dog. Poem: Litverve

Sunday is for…Pancakes

chocolate-pancakes

Double Chocolate Pancakes. That’s right. That’s what we’re talkin’ about.

Creator: Angie Dudley, a.k.a Bakerella, is the author of the New York Times best-selling book Cake Pops and creator of Bakerella.com. Check out her recipe here: Cocoa Nuts! Make Bakerella’s Double Chocolate Pancakes.


Source: People.com

 

En dansant sur la terrasse


“En dansant sur la terrace” (Dancing on the Terrace) is performed on a rooftop in Paris. The choreographer is Tarek Aïtmeddour.  You can find the the music titled “Charms” by Abel Korzeniowski from the movie W.E. (co-written and directed by Madonna) on iTunes here: “Charms

Related Post: Evgeni’s Waltz (and background on W.E. and another Korzeniowski composition.)

There is only one way to live your life. It’s all a miracle.

monarch-butterfly

The butterfly’s brain,
the size of a grain of salt,
guides her to Mexico.

~ Jim Harrison & Ted Kooser, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry


Notes: Photo Source: nathab.com. Poem Source: Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry. Post title inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Running. A bucket in the rain.

running-path-mountains

6:01 am.

Crickets. Birds. And me.

Humidity 90%, but cut by a cool morning, 57º. Running weather.

I check my exercise log. Last running entry: August 3rd. I scan the page. More white space than entries. Ray is down 36 lbs in 7 weeks. I’m, well, you know, Up. And, staring at white spaces.

I’m out the door.

It’s Thursday. Evening.
(Another) last supper with the kids before they depart. It’s a short week, I’m off from work on Friday. Heaviness lifts. Weariness lingers. Gratitude drifts in. A peaceful, easy feeling sets in over dinner. Family. Our family dines together.

It’s Friday. Morning.
Departure Day.
Eric comes up to the attic. “Why are you a hermit, Dad?”
We exchange fist bumps. As he turns, I jump him from behind and we wrestle. He’s become unmanageable. I pull up before things break, on me.

It’s Friday. Early afternoon.
We’re in the car to JFK.
President Obama visits Weschester County on Friday afternoon – the same Friday kicking off the long Labor Day weekend. His security team has shut down I-95, 287 and all major thorough ways, snarling traffic. The result: A 2.5 hour drive to JFK. Purpose of the President’s trip: Fundraisers. [Read more...]

SMWI*: Get up Dad. Get up. Let’s go for a walk.

dog-funny-wake-gif


Notes: SMWI*=Saturday Morning Work-out Inspiration. Image Source: gifak.net

Saturday Morning

saturday-morning-window-breeze

But the pleasant thing is to wake early, throw open the window, and lie reading in bed.

- Edward Fitzgerald, from a letter to W. F. Pollock, May 3, 1840


Credits: Image Source: thesensualstarfish. Quote: Just Saying

T.G.I.F.: I made it!

Puppy-adorable-jumping-cute-gif


Definition of Insanity:

Doing (watching) the same thing over and over and over again expecting a different result.


Source: thesensualstarfish

My escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant

reading-book-alone

Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.

― Paul AusterThe Brooklyn Follies ( Picador, 2006)


Credits: Image – youreyesblazeout. Quote: Journey of Words

 

Breathe. Beachy Head. 1:38 min.


Above Beachy Head in East Sussex, England.

To hell with old school. Here’s to fist bumps.

germs, bacteria,

A strong handshake is almost twice as effective as a weak one in transferring bacteria such as E. coli from one person to another, according to a study conducted in the UK and reported in The New York Times. A moderately strong handshake, in turn, transfers about twice as many bacteria as a high-five. A fist bump is even more hygienic than a high-five.

~ A Firm Handshake, a Lot of Bacteria from The Daily Stat via NY Times: The Upside of a Wimpy Handshake


Image: Frenchfalpal.

Related Post: Running with Howie

 

NOW. Breathe.

swim-swimming-black and white-breathe


Source: Preciousandfregilethings


That’s the factory whistle. The shift is over.

tired-fatigue-black-and-white

The best thing you and I can do at the end of the writing day is to stash our work gloves in our locker, hang our leather apron on a hook, and head for the workshop door. If we’ve truly put in our hours today, we know it. We have done enough. It won’t help to keep at it like a dog worrying a bone.

I forgot who said this (I think it was John Steinbeck in Journal of a Novel):

Let the well fill up again overnight.

~ Stephen Pressfield, The Office Is Closed


Credits: Quote – Stephen Pressfield, The Office is Closed. Photograph – ufukorada

 

1 and 2 and 3, all together now.

bubbles-cute-dog


Source: gifak