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Life Lifters (282 posts)
You don't have to be a Nobel Prize winner to be great: Do small things with great love.
Pea green! Poppy red! What happened to awesome car colors? The answer might surprise you...
Be creative today: the 40 Sentences Challenge inspires and connects aspiring writers.
A free wardrobe update that happens to also be really fun.
The Life Lifter: This blind high school student runs races and challenges assumptions, with the help of a (very adorable) canine companion.
The candy, the costumes, the pumpkin goop: who needs it? This year, outsource Halloween prep.
Why the brain is divided? In this adorable cartoon, neuroscience gets animated,
The ingredients of a life-long friendship: good conversation and luscious desserts.
The Life Lifter: How screenwriter Miranda July got inspired by the Penny Saver. (You may start seeing Craig's List in a whole new light.)
Like most of us, I rely on well-defined rituals to express my support when people I love are dealing with life’s ups and downs. Your great-aunt Hilda passed away? I know to send a bouquet of white lilies to the funeral home. My sister got engaged? I know to start planning the bachelorette party, tiara optional. But when my friends experience smaller – yet still significant – events, like a breakup, it's not as clear how to help.
Recently I discovered Bummer Baskets, custom-designed care packages. The titles include the "Not So Bad Breakup," the "Kind of a Bad Day," and the "Unemployed (But Hated Your Job)" baskets – and even one for the unwitting victim of a bed bug infestation.
Each package is filled with shredded green paper. The contents are decadent (fudgy brownies and an emergency candy bar to save an unemployed chocoholic from splurging on Godiva), uplifting (a “be happy” sunflower planting kit and “here’s to happy endings” wine glass to offset a bad day), mischievous (pocket-sized flask, pack of candy cigarettes, and temporary tattoo for a rebellious pal), and even witty (extra-large chopsticks for eating out of the Chinese food carton, cookies that say “lose my number,” and a “no more nightmares” sleep mask for a girls’ night in with your newly-single friend). The sender’s note is on a card that capture life's little mishaps in images, like an iPod submerged underwater, a heart flattened by tire-tracks, a Scottie inspecting his collapsed doghouse, and a man diving off a sinking ship.
Maybe reaching out to friends in their minor moments of grief will become as much a tradition as putting on a hat made of bows and ribbons at a baby shower?
My idea was that babies were like Pavlovian guinea pigs. If they associated a song with sleep, they would fall asleep the minute they heard the first few phrases of music. I had a lot of ideas about babies at the time, most of the them exhausting, dopey, and just plain embarrassing, but the song one worked. I could make my baby fall asleep with one round of Bateau Sur L'Eau and I used to do for it pure sport during lunches with my friends, so that I would look like The Best Mother Ever as well as spooky mind-control master, when in fact, I just wanted the child to take a nap so I could eat my Cobb Salad.
Many a late night, when I have been up, unable to sleep, running through panic-inducing daydreams and to-do lists, I have tried to sing my children's old songs to myself—to no avail. They do nothing for me. Now, however, the British Telegraph has announced there is song that's been scientifically engineered to relax us adults—if not knock us out. The tune is called Weightless and it contains eight minutes and sixteen seconds of " carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms and bass lines help to slow the heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol."
A study by David Lewis of Mindlab International found that listening to Weightless caused a 65 per cent reduction in overall anxiety and made many women drowsy . "In fact," he said. "I
would advise against driving while listening to the song because it could be
dangerous." I agree. But I do have to wonder what would happen if the song was played in supermarkets and banks, replacing the traditional Muzak. Would we all fall asleep mid-errand? Or would we just move a little slower and behave a more pleasantly to each other? It's hard to be rude when you're relaxed—even artificially.
Men! What are they thinking? We can't always answer that, but we'll be posting our favorite glimpses into their world in this space every Thursday.
* In the above video, renowned Australian chef Ben Shewry passes his father's wisdom about the sea down to his son. (Vimeo)
* And for a slightly less solemn take on parenting, read this hysterical John Jeremiah Sullivan essay about allowing the TV show One Tree Hill to film in his house—and then not allowing it anymore: "And so, for primarily petty and neurotic reasons, I made a decision that negatively impacted our financial future. It's called being a good father." (GQ)
* The many faces of Darth Vader. (Wired)
* How Sal Khan is educating the world, one video at a time. (O Magazine)
* And finally, real men are kind to animals: This gorgeous National Geographic photo of orphan elephants with their caretakers is a guaranteed smile. "It's not for the wages," explains one veteran keeper. "The more you're with them, the more you satisfy yourself. You just love them." (National Geographic)
The inimitable Lisa Kogan on how to handle a bad (very bad) day: 3 ways to stop kvetching and start enjoying life.
The joy of pen on paper. When was
the last time you actually wrote something down?
"I make tart from blackberries, not calls": Living the unplugged life.
This eleven-year-old has a million dollar idea. You can help make it a reality.
Commute times. Green space. Friends. A new report reveals what really makes people happy.
A GPS for career paths: 4 steps to getting your life on track.
The Life-Lifter: After losing one of their company to a roadside bomb, marines work with a New Hampshire shop to pay it forward, sending care packages to others in combat zones.
An Oscar-winning actress gets a new modeling job. At age 64.
"If it brings a moment of happiness or restores health, then for the small amount of time that image is out there, it serves its purpose": Navajo artist fights climate change with graffiti.
The "Change-Back-Attack": How to deal when the people in your life can't accept the new you.
The Life-Lifter: This young man is living with a fatal wasting disease. And he's really funny.
Philadelphia says goodbye to the greatest basketball player you never heard of.
Crazy, sexy, cool (really!): parents before they were parents.
"Your meal was a gift from someone who came before you. To keep the chain of gifts alive, we invite you to pay it forward for those who dine after you." -your bill at the Karma Kitchen.
Don't have time to sleep? Actually, you don't have time not to sleep.
For your daily dose of "awwww": these pets don't let their disabilities get them down.
The Life-Lifter: If only all 13 year olds were like this one, who performed a Herculean feat to support homeless kids.
This may be an unoriginal thought, but it's true: being a parent is hard. You worry. You worry that something will happen to your kid. You worry that the world will make your kid sad. Then today I read a story that made me think: True, but also, maybe your kid will someday make the world happy.
Doug Wells is a 15-year-old Little League pitcher who recently achieved an athletic accomplishments many professional baseball players can only dream of: he pitched a no-hitter. Pretty cool.
Oh, and also: Doug is legally blind.
As an infant, the New Jersey boy was diagnosed with glaucoma, and he has undergone surgeries his whole life to restore his sight, none of which was worked. According to Today, "When he pitches, Doug says his vision is blurry but he can vaguely see the catcher's mitt. When he bats, he only sees the ball a moment before it reaches him." Disability? Doug doesn't seem hampered in the least. (Did I mention he also plays football?)
Reading about Doug, I thought of his parents, of how they must have felt upon learning their baby had a vision problem, of all the worry they have undergone. How lucky (or is it luck?) that their child has seemingly adapted to what the world has given him. And what a good reminder for the rest of us to make the best of the bodies we live in, the circumstances that have chosen us. Now, no more excuses: play ball!
(Read the whole story for Doug's little brother's endearing reaction to the news.)
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