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September 2012 (98 posts)
I once read that a house cat will go completely feral within a few days of living outside, a figure I think about every long weekend. It's a common symptom of a little extra time off that we get a bit, possibly overly, relaxed -- those back-to-work emails can be unintentionally snarky, or worse, sound angry when we mean to be jokey. (Or, even worse worse, when we're actually angry.)
We've all done it: written a friend or coworker an email in the heat of the moment, typed out in the garbled language of anger. Or else, sent the boss a note pounded into a smart phone while crossing the street, which you only later realize is characterized by a completely unintentional brusqueness. Thankfully, some smartypantses (smarties pants?) last year invented ToneCheck, a program that makes sure your emails don't sound angry. (That we're only figuring out this now? we're adding to the list of things we wish we were on top of.)
Still: One free download later, your emails will feature this handy key along the bottom:
As your note veers into the spittle-flecked screed territory, the "tone alert" bar increases in concerned red lines. Key phrases are called out, and helpfully labelled with corresponding emotions (over 200 of them, according to the ToneCheck site): "upsetting," "concerning," all the way up to "aggressive." The idea being you'll never accidentally start a digital feud with your sister because she thought you were mad and you thought she was mad and... well, you get the idea.
Increase Your Workplace Well-Being
A Roadmap to Email Sanity
The Email Typo That Led to Love
Q: I recently noticed small, whitish bumps on my forehead; what are they, and how can I get rid of them?
A: If each bump has what looks like a dilated pore in the center, you probably have sebaceous hyperplasia (enlarged oil glands), says Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center. These bumps are very common and usually develop in people over 40. And, from the Things Could Be Worse department: They are benign and treatable. A doctor can cauterize the pores with an electric needle; the cauterization melts the oil gland and a scab forms, which falls off in a week or less. (Doesn't hurt, and it worked for me.) Or she can apply a clear chemical solution to be absorbed by the oil glands, and then activate the solution with a laser treatment, which shrinks the pores.
We all have our September 11th stories. Mine involves a husband who worked at the World Trade Centers.
We were both temping, having just arrived in New York City as fresh as newborn babies. My husband was temping for Silverstein Properties, the company which had just purchased the leases for the WTC buildings; he spent his days – get this – photocopying contracts and leases that would soon mean nothing. Good thing he was perpetually late to work; good thing he stopped to pack a sandwich; good thing he stepped out of the subway that morning just instants before his workplace was getting hit by planes.
So now what? He’s fine. Everyone we knew was fine. We're the lucky ones, we who don’t have anyone in particular to personally mourn. Still, every year I have to squint at the news if I want to not be weepy all day. We’re still traumatized, as a nation – anyone in doubt of that need only to look at the way 9/11 is covered in the media. But this morning, a tweet, of all things, reminded me of how to deal with the day.
Edward Champion includes two links telling two different stories of visits to the sites of tragedies: 9/11, and Pearl Harbor. No doubt the tourist smiling for pictures at the WTC site mean well. But what a good reminder, that when this country suffered a similar trauma at Pearl Harbor, it was commemorated with “remembrance and quiet dedication.”
This is the bag shape of the season. I especially love these neutral colors, which work with everything—think of them as the purse equivalent of a nude heel.
You can't move very fast if you're carrying a lot of baggage. I try to remind myself of that every day. It's easy to get weighed down by bad stuff from your past--an accident, a difficult breakup, family issues, whatever. But if you're tied to the past, you're not going to get very far.
When I was lying in the hospital after the accident, my surgeon, Dr. DeLong, handed me some magazines about the Paralympics and told me to think about it. I had no idea what it would take to be an amputee, let alone a sprinter, let alone a gold medalist. But I told myself, "This is your new dream. Here it is. Take the first step."
Watch a video of April training for the Paralympics
There are only five days until Iyanla Vanzant starts her new reality show Iyanla: Fix My Life. To get ready for what Oprah says is "the best show I've seen in years," start planning your viewing party today. We've provided ideas for the food, drinks, and décor, now all you have to do is tune in to the two-part series premiere September 15 and 16 at 10/9c on OWN.
Each week, we'll be letting you know about the new releases the editors of O and Oprah.com couldn't stop reading. This Monday, we can't get enough of the quiet, moving novel:
By Michael Kimball
The death of a parent is always complex, but it's even more so when a parent has been tough to forgive while living. In this tender, gorgeous novel, Michael Kimball explores how we try to understand even the most difficult family members. The book begins when 38-year-old Daniel goes home to clean out his deceased father's apartment. Big Ray has passed at home in his chair from an as-yet-undetermined illness related to his obesity. Through illuminating flashbacks, we learn about Big Ray's history and marriage (and later divorce) to Daniel's mother, as well as Daniel's childhood. What makes this book so moving isn't raw, graphic violence (physical abuse is described), but the nuanced and honest portrait of Daniel's feelings about his father—his attempts to relate to Big Ray by playing poker, his compassion and disgust for the challenges of his father's size, even his need to know what TV program his father was watching when he died.
Why this rings so true is the conflict in it all. This is how human relationships often play out, especially when it comes to family. We love even those we shouldn't. We love them even as we dislike them to the point of revulsion. "For most of my life, I have been afraid of my father," Daniel says. "I was afraid to be a person without a father, but I also felt relieved he was dead. Everything about my father was complicated like that."
Super reads for this September
Fast fictional mood boosters