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September 2011 (131 posts)
Monday is too stressful. Wednesday is already hump day. But Tuesday is "you" day: a day when you have the energy to do—or plan—something fresh and unexpected that might just turn your whole week around.
Celebrate being who you are—honestly. Read this woman's account of how her life will change today, the first day of the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell
Summer is coming (weep, bawl) to an official end. Mark your calendar for this Friday, the Autumn equinox, and use this handy guide to learn how to calculate the exact time it happens in your time zone and what in the heck, scientifically, it is.
Honor this Thursday, Dear Diary day, by revisiting your private notebook. How to reinvigorate your journal writing with 3 essential, attitude-changing questions.
Look back on all those bands whose songs you love but whose names you can't remember (the Divinyls? The Chords?) this Sunday, also known as National One Hit Wonder day. How to scan the top 100 One Hit Wonder songs of all time, or search for your favorite songs by decade (check out the 1980s!).
Coming to terms with painful situations can have a power that verges on miraculous. We've all heard the classic tale of, say, the woman who gets pregnant (after years of trying) once she reunites with her estranged family or the sick mother who gets better after a visit from her long-lost son. The Washington Post's story last Thursday about 9/11 widower Floyd Rasmussen begins like such story. After his first wife, Rhonda, died in the attack on the Pentagon, Rasmussen moved out west and started his life over by marrying another woman (the frank, insightful tale of how these two faced the losses in his past is itself reason enough to read the article immediately). Unfortunately, he also developed renal failure, which made travel not only difficult but perhaps fatal.
Regardless of the danger, he refused to skip the tenth anniversary event in Washington DC. He flew across the country, attended the ceremonies, and even met with President Obama to talk about what had happened that day, including the fact that he had only been two floors away from Rhonda and yet had escaped the wreckage unharmed. On the plane back home Rasmussen had trouble breathing, and, a few days later, passed away—but not before talking with his mother, other family and friends, to whom he declared that "he no longer felt any need for vengeance, no longer felt hatred for the men who had blown a hole in his life."
In the traditional miracle, he would have arrived home and found his condition cured. But that doesn't make his experience any less amazing. The forgiving of the unforgivable still qualifies as a marvel in my book—perhaps the kind most worth remembering and repeating, since we all can try to make that particular kind of magic happen in our own lives.
Making peace with yourself—no matter what
How to say good-bye
"You don't step out of the stream of your life to do your work." Lessons on writing -- and life -- from best-seller Ann Patchett.
One chore made easier! Escape the PBJ rut and pack delicious lunches for the whole family (even you).
The Life Lifter: 46 moms shave their heads for kids with cancer. "When tragedy strikes, you have a choice, you can either let it defeat you or you can take action."
What would it take to change your life for the better? It may be less than you think—we've got mini-makeovers to help you upgrade everything from your workout to your weekend. #29: Bold lipcolor transforms your look in a single instant.
A sheer peach gloss is lovely, and a soft pink stain has its place. But for an under-a-minute total transformation, you can't beat a bold, bright lipcolor. Here's how makeup artist Denise Markey says anyone (including you) can pull off a poppy red or fuchsia mouth: Use a brush to apply lipstick in the center of the lips. With your finger, tap the color out to the corners of your mouth. This ensures that the color isn't opaque, which can make it too intense and likely to migrate beyond the edges of your lips. Limit the rest of your beauty routine to tinted moisturizer, mascara, and a sheer cream blush.
Every Monday, we're rounding up the things, small and big, that us stop and think. Today, we're inspired by...
•"I saw and began to realize that, if you have the right glasses on, there are a lot of absurd, funny things that happen in connection with being as old as we are."
-90-year-old nursing home resident Jan Slepian, whose self-published book on aging has been adapted into a play.
•"When women root for each other, we get so much further.
-Kate Hudson, in this month’s Elle.
•"I knew what I had to do: I had to become the Avenger of the women's section."
-The Wall Street Journal’s Lucette Lagnado, writing in her new memoir about attending a traditional divided synagogue
•"We really just got angry...[We learned that] you die anyway. You die sitting down. So let’s die trying. And when we stepped out, fortunately we didn’t die—we changed the course of history."
-Liberian revolutionary Leymah Gbowee on confronting then-dictator Charles Taylor in 2003, speaking at last week’s Women in the World Foundation Launch.
Ever since I read the brilliant poet David Whyte's description of our "need to overhear the tiny but very consequential things we say that reveal ourselves to ourselves," I've been trying to listen more closely to what comes out of my mouth. But doing this is more difficult than it seems, due the chatter going on in life and in my own head. In his essay, Whyte describes a woman who sings her thoughts to herself in order to recognize the feeling and meaning behind them. I actually tried this once, to the horror of my kids, who were also in the car with me.
Now I'm beginning to think I need to buy a cockatoo. Yesterday, Australian Geographic revealed to the world that wild cockatoos were learning the art of conversation—including curse words—from trained cockatoos who had escaped their cages or had been set free. In the article, the site included this clip:
It's hard to hear, but listen to what the bird is saying: "What are you doing?" (in a frustrated, annoyed, on-the-edge mom tone), followed by "Look at that!" (in a wondrous tone, as if he'd just seen his baby stand up and walk for the first time), followed by "Uh-oh. Uh-oh," over and over (in the classic child's I-just-broke-the-family-champagne-flutes tone). Clearly, this is a family pet.
I tried to imagine what such a cockatoo might repeat after spending time with my family—or even me. Would it say in an exhausted voice, "I have so much work!"? Or, crossly, "Be quiet! It's 4 am!"? Or would it say, "God I love you so much," or even "Thank you"? Two out of the three things the bird learned above were negative. Would my ratio be the same? Or worse?
A snippet of repeated dialogue does not define the emotional character of a person's entire existence, but it is still a window into the kind and quality of messages we give each other. I not only want to start talking as if a cockatoo were about to speak my words back to me, but I also want to fill my life with all of the other sounds I would wish such an bird would imitate: laughter, doorbells rung by neighbors, violin notes from my son, the fizz of ice cream when it hits the soda in a root beer float.
This is not a completely idealistic thought. The same Australian Geographic article describes certain lyrebirds that still make the noises their mother birds and grandmother birds and great-grandmother birds learned while in captivity: the chopping of axes and the clicking of old shutter-box cameras.
David Whyte's 10 questions that have no right to go away
Are you listening to your life?
A: If you have very deep-set eyes (as I do), you might find that brushing an eyeshadow primer (like Too Faced Shadow Insurance Lemon Drop, $18; toofaced.com) over your lids does a lot to keep liner from migrating. A few other good suggestions from makeup artist Pati Dubroff:
• Before applying liner, blot your upper and lower lids with a tissue.
• Use a waterproof eyeliner pencil.
• After lining your eyes, lightly dust your lids with either a translucent powder or a powdery eyeshadow, which will set the liner.
Keep in mind: A heavy eye cream will sabotage all your efforts against smudging, so use a lighter cream during the day (and save the rich one for nighttime).