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June 2012 (119 posts)
For more information on why birth defects are up in Iraq, how Preemptive Love is connecting kids with surgeons who can save their lives, and what you can do to help, visit Preemptive Love's website.
Providing School Supplies for Iraqi Children
Healing in a War Zone
Today, June 22 is, as I'm sure I don't need to remind anyone, Take Your Dog To Work Day. Please don't tell my dog, Quimby. She is, if you squint, a lovable mutt, but her proclivity for face-licking renders her palatable to extreme-dog-lovers only. Should your canine companion be of a mellower disposition, you might want to learn more about Take Your Dog To Work Day at the official site, which includes tips for TYDTWD success and, obviously, the official TYDTWD song. (Warning: There are totally dog barks involved. And it's pretty catchy.)
This may seem like a newfangled phenomenon, but dogs have actually been getting involved in people's toils for decades. For example, did you know that dogs helped the Allied Forces during World War II? Whether you are a pet-owner who regularly scoops piles of animal-hair off your floor and jokes, originally, "We could make sweaters out of this stuff!" or just a connoisseur of adorable fluffy animals, please enjoy this vintage reel from the awesome British Pathé:
So there you have it. Dogs don't have to be useless couch-warming face-lickers (ahem, Quimby). This Friday, let your dog feel useful, whether you're taking her to work, enlisting her in a cause, or letting her do her best job of all: being your buddy.
Dog-Inspired Rules to Life By
Why Raising a Dog Changes You
Life Lessons from Pet Dogs
Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk-turned-circus clown-turned-start-up entrepreneur (we're not making this up), founded the British organization Headspace to demystify meditation for the masses. In his book, Headspace: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day (which launched in the US this month), he explains the difference between the "aspirin approach" to meditation, which is using it as an occasional cure for stress--totally fine, but limited, he says--and the more integrated approach of weaving mindfulness into our daily activities. And then he goes on to show us exactly how to do that, with exercises that range from a minute of simply "not doing" to ten minutes of more traditional relaxation (these are also available as guided audio meditations on Headspace.com).
What we like about Puddicombe, besides his self-deprecating British sense of humor, is that he's equally enthusiastic about the scientific benefits of meditation as he is about the more metaphysical perks. We also like his practical approach to mindfulness--he can find a way to work it into just about every part of our daily routine. To see what we mean, check out this "airplane meditation" he shared with us that is designed to discreetly help us relax find peace while in the air.
More mini meditations you can incorporate into your day
So I was gratified to read that Vogue is launching an initiative to promote healthy body images in all its many editions. The Vogue Health Initiative pledges to portray models over the age of 16 who do not appear to have eating disorders. I know what you're thinking: how will everyone agree on what constitutes "healthy" or even "does not appear to have an eating disorder"? But... at least the conversation continues.
Body Image Quiz: Would You Rather Be A Whale Or A Mermaid?
Supermodels Dealing With Their Body Issues
Here are a few:
"I lack the motivation to exercise..However, there is nothing quite like a big dumb dog to give you the kick in the pants. Mine will let me sit on the couch for about 1/2 a minute in the morning drinking coffee. Then it’s so on. She’s a herding dog so magically I become an unruly sheep."
"Set a time limit (I usually give it one day) and wallow. Drink gin. Eat chocolate and junk food. Watch Lifetime movies in bed. Make it an official party and invite friends, if you want. When I give myself permission to be in a funk, as well as a deadline, I’m usually eager to face tomorrow and my ubiquitous to-do lists."
"When we were training our dog, every time she went to the bathroom outside we would have a “puppy party” – dance around, give her treats, lots of pats, and lots of praise. I think we all need to have “puppy parties” for ourselves, especially for some of the small tasks that normally no one recognizes. Clean the kitchen? Organize the closet? Do the laundry? Every once in awhile, I think those all deserve some ice cream, or chocolate, or snuggle time on the couch with an old movie."
"What I have found motivates me is cheating on to-do lists. If I don’t feel productive, then I make a list of things I need to do (broken down into SMALL parts) & I always include a couple of things that I have already (completely or partially) accomplished. That way, my list is not “to do,” but instead “partially done.” It’s a small mind trick (a la my clock being 5 minutes fast), but it seems to work for me."
What about you? How do you give yourself a "kick in the pants"? Tell us in the comments!
So, you're planning to tour the universe. First you'll want to sit down at your computer. Then you'll want to put on your headphones. For this "quick and dirty" tour, you can pack light. Don't worry, you'll be home before dinner. This is a universe tour on grand scale. But also on a tiny scale. Actually, on every scale. As in, which is bigger, a human or a giant earthworm? The United States or Pluto? DNA or a carbon atom? You're about to find out. When you're ready to depart, just click here.
Kind of puts everything into perspective, doesn't it?
It's Blue O'Clock
The Wind Map
Seriously though, when you really consider the everyday things around you, they start to seem like tiny miracles. I had a minor freak-out yesterday about spoons. Who invented spoons? I'm so glad they did! Or, consider the button. Seems like a humble enough object, right? Have you ever given a button any thought more developed than, "Oh man, looks like I lost a button, darn" --?
Jude Stewart's illustrated history of buttons on Slate will have you in love with buttons before you can say, "I don't even know how to sew on a..." Stewart writes, "The button—with its self-contained roundness and infinite variability—has a quiet perfection to it." Of course! Haven't you always thought that, maybe without realizing you thought that? This essay is a must-read for its lush attention to buttons and all they reveal, including the racy side of buttons you may have never considered. Apparently in medieval times buttons were displays of wealth; in the Renaissance smugglers hid stolen jewels in hollow buttons; an unbuttoned sleeve once signaled a love token from a lady. Today, buttons inhabit the virtual world as well, "promising to connect us to marvels with a single click," As Stewart writes. "Buttons, in short, offer everyday pleasures." Yes. Right. You bet your buttons.
How Everyday Objects Could Save Your Life
Rules for Everyday Senseless Joy
Heyyyyyy all my book loving Friends....
So glad you're loving WILD by Cheryl Strayed! Thanks for making it the #1 E-book in non-fiction on the New York Times Book Review this week. I've read so many of your posts about the book. What Loree Libby posted on June 13th sums up my feelings too: "It's a book every woman can relate to on some level." Loree says she's recommending to her daughters and all her friends. That's the beauty of a great book. You want others to share the experience. In this 2.0 world we can do that in an instant.
In one month you can see my conversation with Cheryl about this great WILD experience on Super Soul Sunday on OWN. Make note July 22 at 11am eastern AND simulcast on the web. Very 2.0!
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.
* Adam Carolla started some trouble this week when he said that men are funnier than women, but it was worth it for this sweet, thoughtful (and, ahem, profane) response from Rob Delaney, who writes, "I learned there that the funniest thing in the world is not a group of men, nor is it a group of women. It’s women and men working together." (Rob Delaney)
* Just for fun: Thrill Murray, a Bill Murray coloring book. (Pikaland)
* "He taught me early that the value of a dish is the pleasure it brings you; where you are sitting when you eat it—and who you are eating it with—are what really matter."—Anthony Bourdain on his father. The full essay is truly wonderful, and is accompanied by some terrific vintage photos of the food writer as a kid. (Bon Appetit)