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Posts tagged ‘coping’


It’s Thursday, January 15, 2015, and in the news,
•Al Quaida in Yemen takes responsibility for Paris Attack; Belgium thwarts attack
•Gas leak on space station forces US astronauts into Russian quarters.
•Puppy piddles a puddle during premier appearance on the Today show.

It’s a tough world out there, and sometimes, you just need to laugh. I’ve rewritten this blog 3 times, unsure about which direction to take. We’re on top of the Paris situation, in a “wait & watch” mode and we’ll never grasp ISIS’ mentality. But the puppy. Now there’s something we can use. The teaser previews made us anxious. I mean, who doesn’t love a Lab pup, in training for service? Jeff stepped closer to the TV. Impatiently, he said to Matt Lauer, “C’mon, nobody cares about the gas leak. GET TO THE PUPPY!” And the laughter was good.

After much thought, I’ve decided to ditch the heavy stuff and share some observations of our recent trip to Europe.
•Hint: don’t use “GEEK FARE” for tickets. We were routed from Chicago to LaGuardia, NYC, then JFK to London. What, pray tell, is enough time to jaunt across NYC? But, we made it. And that’s a BIG but, because we almost didn’t.
•At Buckingham Palace’s changing of the guard, everyone jockeyed for position. The best place for me was to squat down and peer through others’ legs. A guy above observed me and barked at me. The nerve.
•Liquor store signs in Cracow/Warsaw, Poland are called, “ALKOHOLE”. Yes, some people are Alkohole’s, too.
•12/26/14, everyone in Warsaw walks. Nothing is open for business, so where’s everybody going? Not even TK Maxx is open.(Yes, it reads TK). We learn it’s “Walking Day.” Just get out and walk. To nowhere. So, we did. Great concept after a holiday laden with too much of everything.
•Our French kids – Chloe, Charlene, Valentin and Amely- shared their Paris apartments for the week. Get this: Chloe’s was just 17 sq. meters. Charlene’s was a mere 15 sq. meters. The other two apartments were a smidge larger. Convert meters into feet and it sounds bigger, but it’s not much. These tiny spaces are so efficient. Nothing’s missing. Except wasted space. There’s a teeny-tiny bathroom, teeny-tiny kitchen, teeny-tiny washer and an itty bitty closet. Sofa = bed. Even coffee pots are petite. And, yet, it works. Charlene loves the size, “Less to clean,” she says. We laughed at the surfboard, in Chloe’s apartment. Of all things, right? And the elevator. Oh, that elevator! Picture two average sized Americans in a Campbell’s soup can. Lid on. Tight, very tight.
• New Year’s Day meant ten of us for breakfast. Jeff sends me out for paper towels. Outside, I ponder direction. Left I went; walking in a square, as much as you can on Paris streets, so as to find my way back. No stores were open, so I took a side street. Big mistake. Oh, I found paper towels, all right, but was now off course, with no clue how to get back. I looked at the sun, certain I was on track. Walking with positive expectancy, I was sure our street was nearby, so I kept walking, wondering if anyone was worried about me yet. I can DO this! But I can’t. After 1½ hours, I texted Korey. “I’m lost, I’m afraid.” I gave her the intersection and she demanded, “DO NOT MOVE!” So I waited, like a small child, lost in WalMart. Ironically, a couple approached me for directions and I set them straight. In a bit, Korey found me. I followed her back, head hung in shame. She wouldn’t talk to me; I wallowed in my pity and I missed breakfast on top of everything. So I ate cookies and chocolate.
• And sadly, I left my pants in Poland. So if you happen to go abroad and you see someone in a grey, comfy, one-piece jumpsuit, it’s mine. It wasn’t expensive, (TK MAXX), but I was down to one pair of jeans. We pack light and throw half of it out, so we can carry on our bags. Because if you’re going to transfer between New York airports you’ve got to grab your bag and go!


Depression: Yuck to the Muck

Each October, as Mama Nature paints our trees in perfect shades of orange, gold and red, I always recall October, 2000. That was the fall I colored my world after wiping away the gray. I’m not talking about my hair, but my life. In October 2010, I first wrote about my depression, and seriously, I’ve never had more feedback, comments and questions. It’s four years later and just like the Olympics (every four years whether you need them or not) it’s time to bring this topic up.

I told you how I got my joy back after beginning treatment, and that’s the truth. And while millions of people resort to medication, there are some of us who really need it. For others, I suspect, it’s a crutch or an escape from a dastardly situation, with which they can’t step up and be honest. Before my main point, please think of people on medication not as athletes on steroids, but rather, medication brings us up to normal, so that we may compete, work, live and play with the rest of you. I like that explanation. For years, I thought I was cheating as a professional speaker. I thought to myself, “Well, sure, it’s easy for me to find the humor in life and laugh at the little things. Heckfire! I’m on medication!” Well, so are most humorists and comedians. Laughter comes from pain, remember? I wonder, still, how my keynote of tips and tools resonates with attendees who are struggling through their own Olympics of depression. If someone is struggling, then perhaps they haven’t sought out help. There is help out there, whether you have insurance or not. Just do it.

New angle… Those of us under the cruel hand of depression are so wrapped up in our own muck, we forget about our loved ones who had to live WITH us. In my self-centeredness, I had no idea, until my husband shared his experience and that of our children, who I thought were oblivious at young ages. Were not. Jeff has reminded me more than once at what a bitch I was. Moi? Oui! How he didn’t know which mood was going to enter the door after work. He started dinner so many nights –bless that man- because he didn’t think I could handle it, kids homework, dog and house and and and. He was right. His blood ran like ice water, each time I ran errands and was out too long, for fear that I had finally gotten to the edge of some cliff. Reflecting back, I was never THAT close to the edge that I would end it all, but I did kind of wonder how I would survive the next twenty to thirty years feeling like crap. And truthfully, I nearly ALWAYS outrun my ETA with errands. Still do. I’m bad that way. Jeff still worries about relapses when I’m gone too long.
If you’ve lived with a depressed person, will you share your experience, from any perspective: spouse, child, parent, friend and etc? We all need some insight to get beyond our own pain. And please share this post if it moves you in some little way. Empathy gets the gold medal when we can understand the other person’s position. Jeff assures me they’re better people for having gone through this with me. Love you guys. Thanks. I’m sorry. Yuck to the muck. bw

Fear: The Breakfast of Champions

Last post, I challenged you: WWDD? (What would different do?) What did you do different in September? Please share! (1) comment here (2) Facebook (3 email: bobbe@trylaughter.com or (4) send smoke signals. Just share it!

Here’s my September different. My kids sent me to South Carolina, as a gift, to see Debbie – a sister-kind-of-person. What good news! The REAL good news? The kids told me it was a one-way (?) ticket. Imagine Debbie and Fred’s elation, “WHAT? She’s never leaving??”

One day, we ate fear for breakfast. We paid $54 to scare ourselves to death at the U.S. National Whitewater Rafting Center. We rapid rafted with 6 strangers and a guide. We prayed to remain afloat during 4 runs: two on the intermediate course and two on the competition run. Oh, yay. I paddled so hard, my right arm, the dominant arm for paddling on the right side of the boat, was aching. A woman in the position ahead of me had a knee scar from seven (7!) surgeries (volleyball.) But the team counted on each person. No pain-no-gain. Or end up wet.

Next, Zip-Line. Holy zippers! What’s better than bonding in line with strangers who are equally as nervous? The attendant looked about twelve. As she secured our harnesses, we hoped she wasn’t at the end of her shift (i.e. tired/burned out) Hanging by a harness, hooked to a cable wire isn’t exactly a warm, fuzzy feeling. Stepping off the dock was unnerving, but the zip trip was grand; I wished it’d never ended! Even Deb, who’s afraid of heights, enjoyed the ride! Sort of.

Next up: rope course. (i.e. Flying Wallendas.) Who doesn’t love floating sidewalks and swinging bridges, strung between trees, again, while hanging from wires, attached to the cable. Honestly, I’m surprised there aren’t more deaths at the circus.

Finally, I climbed a telephone pole and jumped off. Yes, I did. I almost didn’t. The attendant instructed: “At the top, step off the platform in the red arrow direction. DON’T THINK ABOUT IT VERY LONG!” I felt faint and queezy at the top. But, there were few options, so I stepped off. I paid good money for this? Geesh, I could been shopping for a cute $54 top at J. Crew instead. I felt like Peter Pan; looked like a yo-yo. It was like a bungee jump, but with more floating than bouncing. Actually, very nice!

We left the Whitewater Center tired, more emotionally than physically, but proud. So proud. I’m not wild about mid-air insecurity. I don’t even trust carnival rides and yet, we were suspended by a wire -our thread of safety- between us and the ground. The $54 fee was a paycheck, more than a fee, because we bought c-c-c-c-c-c-c-courage, guts and glory.

The good news: we didn’t break from cables, fall in rapids, throw up, wet our pants or faint dead away. The really good news? I found out yesterday that my 2014 deductible has been met and my physical therapy for my impinged bicep will be 100% covered. Woohoo. Next time, I’ll paddle from the raft’s left side, not the right. When the caller yelled, “FORWARD, 2 STROKES!” I delivered my best paddling, of course. You’d expect nothing less from a competitive person. Why? There’s no i in team, especially mid-stream.

Now for October’s WWDD? I hope it’ll be something to test my resolve, stimulate my nerves, curiosity or creativity. What it won’t be? Paddling on the right, for sure. Won’t you join me in WWDD? Maybe I’ll take the Assertiveness 101 course for team members on the right, who need to be on the left… bw


Blog June 2014


We tag our trash with stickers for Friday pick-up, but first, you must buy them. I grocery shop a minimum of 27 times a week. Okay, 5, but I keep forgetting stickers. Our trash waits patiently, like kids you forgot to pick up from summer camp. Two consecutive Fridays with no stickers purchased. The trash needs to go away and I’ve no time to go to the store on Friday morning. How can I get the truck to take the trash?  Rubberband $5 bucks around 2 bottles of water and a mercy note, that’s how. Nevermind that the stickers would’ve only cost $3.00.  Hopefully a two dollar tip – and water – will be enough incentive.

It seemed like the best way to spend $5 bucks. On the way to work, I dropped off the car for detailing and would pick it up at 5:30pm. They’d be there until 6:00 p.m. Now,why would I think that in ten hours, I’d remember? As predicted, I left work and headed to my car that was not there. Ugh. I’d have to hoof it 8 blocks to the Detail Shop, seeing as the entire staff had, in mass exodus, fled the parking lot.  In 91 degrees – and equal humidity – I trudged;  my arms loaded with work, flowers from my birthday and my purse, which is more like a carry-on bag barely meeting requirements.

I wanted to call the shop to let them know I was on my way, but didn’t have the number.  It was new and I had given the business card away earlier. Feeling tired, hot, and discouraged, I pushed on to avoid locked office doors at the Detail Shop. My demeanor brightened, however, when I found a five dollar bill on the sidewalk. Finders keepers prevails after a quick look around.  The $5.00 stickers had just been offset. Woohoo! My next piece of luck occurred with one block to go; Kris, my hair stylist saw me walking and said, “Who is that? Wait! I recognize that hair…it’s Bobbe!” He offered me a ride for a block and I took it.

In my very clean car, I rounded the bend and a first glimpse of the curb. It’s like Christmas. Or, rather, Trashmas.  The trash is gone! So is the $5.00 bill and luke warm water. Success! I’m more than appreciative and vow to buy stickers soon. Yep! Best $5 bucks spent and found. Finally, I suit up Lily White, the black Lab, and visit my neighbors garage sale. I find a couple of things and promise to bring money over for the granddaughters, who were helping. Sort of.  Alaina was thrilled with making a fast $5.00  And THAT was the best $5 bucks spent all day.

Since it’s summer, let me remind you this is the same premise as driving by a child’s lemonade stand. Or rather NEVER driving by. Seriously, vow to not go by without purchasing a cup. Even if you dump it out around the corner. Pay the kids handsomely. Reward their efforts. Heck, give them $5 bucks for a 50 Cent beverage. Best $5 bucks you can spend. bwImage

At Least I Made My Bed!

Some days are like that.  Your efforts are exhausting; patience runs thin, nothing goes well. Everything  you try, goes wrong.  Remember Dudley Do-Right? (Circa Bullwinkle) You feel like Dudley Do-Over.  Or the movie Groundhog Day? You’re having a Monday on a Tuesday…or, pretty much every day feels like a Monday. Ugh.

Sound familiar? Hark! I hear a resounding “YES, YEAH, OUI, SI, AGREE, YEP, THAT’S ME!” Here’s a simple tip to use when you’re having that kind of day, week, month, or life. Just make the bed in the morning. That’s all.  Just make the bed. Pull the spread or comforter tight. Plump up the pillows. Then step back and admire your work, because you have just completed one task that you have done well. Exemplary, actually.  Yes, it’s a small thing, but, hey, it’s ONE thing. One and done.  And, no matter what else you do today, regardless of what may go wrong today, AT LEAST YOU MADE THE BED!”

This is your mantra when that heart-sinking, hair-pulling feeling rises into your subliminal consciousness.  It’s subliminal because, you don’t realize when the negativity takes over.  It creeps in, over and through you. When you say, “At least I made my bed!” you’ve had a positive moment, which in turn triggers your system to release endorphins.  Endorphins are natural hormones in your body that are released when you do certain activities. In turn, endorphins naturally combat stress. And daily combat with yourself is flat out, not healthy.

Five years ago, I was given a new marketing supervisor. I’ll call her Liz. Because that was her name. She probably did a good job, but I was not used to being micromanaged, unheard, and made to feel  inadequate. She graded my press releases like Mrs. Long graded my second grade papers. Lots of red ink. I was stressed to the point of four letter words. Co-workers noticed my sad, stressed demeanor. My husband, Jeff, suggested I wait her out. “She won’t outlast you,” he promised.  Cliff jumping sounded more feasible than waiting her out.

Several things happened to improve my course. Our daughter, Korey, was studying abroad for a year in Versailles, France. For her two-week winter break, I would be traveling with her. We’re talking Rome, Florence, Paris and Geneva. We’re talking trip of a lifetime. Except I wasn’t looking forward to the trip. “Self,” I said, “This is not right. This is not the way. Make a change. NOW!”  First, I moved my office furniture because the desk butted up against a wall; which I took as a sign. That’s exactly how I felt. Next, I framed the picture above to make me smile/laugh daily. (Giddy-up endorphins!)  Finally, I requested a department change, which gave me hope again. Off I went on my dream trip with the knowledge that I would return to a different position. Luckily, there was a position open, because that doesn’t always happen when one needs it most. Whew.

Jeff was right (duh). I outlasted Liz. She moved on to babies and a new job closer to home. I am blessed with fun co-workers and a supervisor who treats me well. I wish I had known to just make my bed back then, before every work day with Liz; that would’ve helped too. Bw