Getting Over the “Get Over It, Already!” People

If you have ever suffered the loss of a beloved person or pet, lost a job you depended on, or lived through a life-changing incident, you know how hurtful it is to hear someone say dismissively, “oh, get over it, already!” Many may also be haunted by trauma experienced years ago, and still may be having trouble dealing with it. There is no time limit on grief or pain; it is very personal to each of us.

I once read about a tribe of people who grieve in this way: when they have lost a loved one, they garland themselves in the large and fragrant leaves of a tree that only grows in their land. As long as the leaves are worn, it is understood that those wearing them are mourning. When the leaves began to wither and fall away, it means that the time for grief has passed. Simple, right? However, we have no such device in this country, and we all have our own ways to cope–or not.

I won’t waste time here talking about *therapy or meditation; obviously we have to do what we can to help ourselves. My point is that no one but us can decide time limits on our feelings. I try hard to live by this rule: if no one asks me directly for my opinion, I don’t give it. I might think that this, that or the other thing may be perfect to help the other person–but that’s an assumption on my part. I’m not in that person’s skin, nor can I see inside their heart. I might think that what is bothering another person is silly or trivial; but to that person, it’s dead serious. I don’t have the right or authority to judge anyone’s feelings but my own.

It wasn’t until my own heart was laid wide open and I was utterly helpless in grief so deep and dark that I really got it. It was an ‘aha’ moment that changed me forever. I was forced to take the time necessary to heal. Since that time, my outlook has changed completely, and I know that you can’t always just ‘get over it.’

The “get over it, already!” folks may mean well, but it is a slap in the face to someone who is suffering. Their attitude and words assume that there is something deeply wrong with you, and that you are both weak and stupid if you can’t handle it. It also assumes they are somehow better than you because such things don’t bother them. However, it is far more likely that those people either haven’t suffered or have not delved into the depths of their own pain. I also believe that these folks may be so uncomfortable around grief or pain that they really don’t know what else to do; they keep on believing that you can move on.  This alone keeps me from getting too upset with them–they don’t get it and they are doing the only thing that they know how to do. Best to forgive them and go forward.

Trust me on this: you can bury your hurts and fears for a long, long time, but sooner or later they will emerge and won’t go away until you deal with them directly. I covered up my pain for decades; when I finally faced it, it was far easier than I thought to work through it.

Look, I come from generations of strong and determined people, and they believed in hard work, helping themselves and not relying on others.  Most would rather have died than ask for help. My genealogy includes hard-headed and tough women who took their destiny in hand and scraped out their lives as best they knew how, mostly on their own. So naturally I felt terrible when something came up in my life I couldn’t seem to handle. But comparing ourselves to others is a slippery slope, and will only make you feel worse. Just concentrate on you and give yourself credit for taking baby steps.

We  can’t blame ourselves for our pain; that’s really pouring salt in the wound. From my experience, it’s better to turn away from the people who assume that they can live your life better than you can. Let that ignorance roll off your back, and please don’t let it add to the pain you already feel. Let the “get over it, already” folks go on their way, and try your best not to let them get under your skin. They really don’t know any better way to bridge the gap between their ignorance and/or fear and your suffering. Let them go, and go do what you need to do for you.

*Do get the help you need when you need it, whether it’s therapy or medication. There are some things you need help with to get over, and there is wisdom in knowing who to ask for help and when.

Just For Today

Frankly, I don’t remember where I found the following, but this is a great lesson plan for life in general.

“Come Sit With Me

There comes a time in your life when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh.

Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy.

Falling down is a part of life; getting back up is living.

Quote: “Today may there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”

I don’t know about you, but I am taking this to heart today. Just for today–I can’t know what will happen tomorrow, good or bad. But I can do this just for today.

Have a great TODAY!

Whatever Works for You – Do It!

I don’t know about you, but there are times I feel like my skin is too tight, my mind is too full and all I can think of is how much I’d like to be at the ocean. You know how there’s a special place or restaurant or town or mountain or lake or <fill in the blank here> that just soothes you and makes you feel as if you really can go on when you think you can’t? The ocean is what does it for me.

Here in the Northeast, we don’t have those long, lovely white sand beaches with heartbreakingly turquoise waters you find on the west coast or tropical isles. Our ocean up here is rough and angry, steely blue-gray with flecks of yellowish foam. The waves are short and choppy, the water is eyeball-freezing cold, and the beaches are filled with shards of shells, gray-green seaweed, and pointy little pebbles that love to dig into your feet. Even the seagulls have bad attitudes; they are as aggressive as bullies in a schoolyard. It’s never a good idea to have a picnic on the beach, either–Heaven help you if you dare to eat a sandwich in front of them (go head, try it–I dare you). That said, the pound and roar of the waves are hypnotic, and the smell of the salt sea is what loosens the knot in my stomach–every time.

I have walked the beautiful beaches of Florida and California and have admired their singular beauty. Compared to our roughshod oceans here, they are peaceful and placid. They politely offer up pretty treasures like a duchess presenting a teacake on a bone china saucer; a whole unbroken sand dollar, an orange-bellied whelk, a pristine white angel wing or a barnacle-encrusted fragment of startlingly cobalt blue glass. The very pebbles are smoothed and shiny, and never so much as dent the bottoms of your feet. Long translucent blue waves roll lazily in, giving you plenty of time to move if you don’t want your feet wet. The sun is always perfect, and the waves lull you along with their quiet and steady susurrous.

No question, these beaches have it all over the Atlantic ocean for beauty and grace. But, having been born in ME and raised in NH, my heart belongs to the rough and tumble chant of my ocean. The salty sting of its harsh breath on my face is astringent and vitalizing. It’s the slap I need to make me remember who I am and why I’m here. It scrubs away the cobwebs and refreshes my spirit in a way that nothing else can; reminding me to take a deep breath and go on.

If you don’t already have a “go-to” place to rest and rejuvenate, find one. This may be one of the most important things you do for yourself and your peace of mind. Your go-to place can also be in your head if you like; it’s up to you. You will know you have come to the right place when that knot loosens. And when it does, just enjoy it and let it do its own brand of magic on you. You are worth it.


Why ME? Why NOT Me?

Oh, the number of times I’ve cast my eyes to the heavens saying, “why ME??” When bad things happened to me, I took it so personally; as if no one else in the world had troubles or worries. (Ha–that was in my 20s, and I only wish my troubles now were as easy as those then!) I grumped and moaned and swore and kicked pillows and stomped around with a black cloud over my head, having a lovely case of Poor Me. What an awful waste of time!

With the luxury of all those years ahead of me, I felt perfectly justified to weep and wail. Did I ever consider that other people had problems, too? Probably not. And I was raised well, too–I was told often that I wasn’t the center of the world and that it would be well for me to remember that I wasn’t the only person in the world. But we never really learn until we get older…

I was talking to a dear friend who had just found out she needed surgery. Bad enough, but she also suffers from some chronic conditions as well, so this is just the poisonous icing on a s***cake. This kind of thing puts everything in proper perspective; how the little things cease to matter in the face of such awful news. The sad fact is that most of us will probably catch the bullet at one time or other. Some of us have been very lucky to have dodged broken bones, a serious car accident, fires, floods, etc. This does not mean that we will never have something bad happen. But conversely, we may also live lives of pleasant enterprise and never face any serious difficulties.

So how do we go on, knowing that bad things may happen? Here’s how: we take the next breath, the next step, the next challenge. We take the usual precautions; don’t leave a candle burning in the house before you leave, don’t leave the doors unlocked, be sure you have a roadside emergency kit for your vehicle, don’t text and drive, and so on. While we can’t live in perpetual fear, we can’t live in blissful ignorance either. We need to strike a balance between fear and preparation, and live our lives the best way we can. The old saying, “prepare for the worst but pray for the best” is a good reminder.

Here’s an effective device I’ve used for years now that you are welcome to try–*positive affirmations. Don’t laugh; they work! What is a positive affirmation? It is a simple phrase uttered out loud at least 15 times. How does it work? Take something that is currently worrying you–for example, say a loved one is in the hospital. You of course want that person to be healthy and well and to be back home soon, correct? You can say something like this: “<insert name here> is completely healthy and well and is home.” Say this phrase with utter conviction at least 15 times out loud. Why out loud? Because positive (and negative) energy has a physical effect. Without getting into what I or you or anyone else believes, positive energy causes positive results. Does it work every time? No, of course not. Positive energy and affirmations don’t mean that automatic healing happens in the case of the loved one in the hospital, but it does cause positive energy rather than negative energy.

Here are a few affirmations I use daily, along with the results:

Positive Affirmation (PA): “Everything today is going to go GREAT!” Positive Result (PR): Things do go well and smoothly.

PA: “All the bills are paid in full.” PR: All bills DO get paid in full, often in ways you could never have foreseen.

PA: “I always get a great parking space.” PR: Nine times out of ten, you DO find a great parking space.

This one worked for me BIG TIME:

PA: “I have the perfect job, in the perfect location and with the perfect salary.” PR: I actually got the perfect job, in the perfect location and with the perfect salary.

Look, this isn’t a magic carpet ride to everything going our way always. Stuff happens. But what can really ease the way is to keep as positive an outlook  as possible, and do try one or two of the positive affirmations. The “perfect parking space” is a great first exercise, so try it out. When you say it aloud, say it with conviction and absolute belief that you will get that perfect parking spot. When you get that space, DO say “Thanks!” Do NOT say “wow, this kind of thing NEVER happens to me!” That will insure that it won’t happen again. Keep your affirmation simple; don’t add too many details. All you need to do is to put that positive intention out there. The universe will handle the details.

So, back to the original question: why me? Well, why NOT me? As we are all part of the human race, we can expect both good and bad times. In order to roll with it all, stay positive, stay alert and focus on all that is good. Two of the greatest gifts we humans are given is free will and a working brain. How we use them is up to us, so let’s make it positive.

*I first learned to use positive affirmations from taking courses from the wonderful Noreen McDonald, who teaches several metaphysical courses in Wolfeboro, NH. Check out her web site at

Dos and Don’ts After 60

As I get older, I tend to write myself little Rules of the Road for this stage of my life. I find that, instead of a rapidly dwindling amount of choices, there are many I never thought about. Generally I’d say that you couldn’t write me a check big enough to be 20 again, but of course if I knew then what I know now….but we all know how that one goes. As the wise Penn-Dutch say, “We grow too soon old, and too late smart.” Ain’t THAT the truth?

In my 20s, anything went–I could wear anything and look fabulous, I could wear makeup or not and look wonderful, I could try my hand at riding a unicycle, fall off it and look adorable, I could make great statements about the world at large and be more-or-less listened to (probably just patiently indulged), I could dye my hair purple and be cute, and so on. I could get away with damn near anything. Youth gives you some pretty major leeway that you don’t get later on in life.

WARNING: Way before you even get to spitting distance of 40, don’t make beauty your only ticket to the show called Life.

But things do change when we get older, say 60-ish. There’s a lot to be said for acting your age, but as “60 is the new 40,” there is no need to be an old poop, either. There are a whole lot of options for us now that weren’t before, such as:

  • Travel–even taking a day trip up in the mountains will give you a refreshing change of pace.
  • Devote yourself to a really fun hobby–you pick.
  • Mentor someone.
  • Read at least one great classic.
  • Listen to some really good music each day.
  • Change your attitude and bloom where you’re planted.
  • Never tried surfing  or paddle boarding? Try it now. If you fall, you’re only falling into water.
  • Join a book club.
  • At least once a day, put yourself first.
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter or wherever you like. The rewards are tremendous.
  • Start walking, either alone or in a group. Not only is it good and gentle exercise, but you start noticing so much around you. I call them Appreciation Walks.
  • Speaking of the above, invest in some really good walking shoes. They are well worth the cost.
  • Speaking of that above, buy better-made (read that more expensive) shoes. They will feel better, last longer and be comfortable far longer. Better to have one great pair of shoes for $100 than ten pairs of cheap shoes for $10 each.
  • Make a date at least once a month with a few of your best friends. Go out to lunch, go shopping, pack a lunch and sit on the rocks facing the ocean. Before you go your separate ways, make the next date.
  • Get a pet.
  • Keep a journal.
  • This is the age around which we begin to lose our parents. We may end up caring for them ourselves. This is a tough and often heartbreaking job, but it can be a time to make peace, let old issues go, enjoy simple conversations, and so on. When the parent(s) pass on, take the time to grieve and breathe. This is a time when not only your family, but your old friends as well can be your safe harbor.
  • Go through your home and weed out the clutter (Note to self: this one’s for ME). Make a Donate pile, a Yard Sale pile, a Throw-away pile and a Give to Relatives pile. This, along with making your will and getting your important papers in order, is a gift to your children.
  • Move on! Don’t waste your time on a bad relationship, a bad job, a bad book or movie, or a bad situation. You don’t get points for hanging on.
  • Always wanted to dump your late grandmother’s old fur coat? Donate it. Where Grandma is now, she’ll not only understand, but approve.
  • If you’re comfortable with it, become a hugger.
  • Treat yourself to a good massage at least once a month.
  • If you are able, dance and sing as much as possible.
  • Take some classes; Chinese cooking, painting, Tai Chi, gardening, pottery, jewelry-making, etc.

There are, however, things that really should be avoided at this age, such as:

  • Do not under any circumstances try the latest dance craze in public. You will embarrass yourself, your children and grandchildren. People watching will feel uncomfortable pity for you. If you persist and do this anyway, you’d better have a one-way ticket for Costa Rica for the next day. You won’t want to be around for the backlash.
  • Do not wear ridiculously high heels. You’ll fall and break a hip.
  • Do not wear bright red, orange or purple lipstick–you’ll look like a creepy clown.
  • Do not put a mirror on your lap and look down. (Trust me on this one–do it by yourself and you will be horrified by how cruel gravity can be.)
  • Do not natter on and on endlessly about how much better things were when you were growing up, or at least choose your audience well. This is a great topic for old friend get-togethers.
  • Do not put your butt over your head unless you are 1) extremely limber, 2) practice yoga on a daily basis, and 3) do not have low blood pressure.
  • Do not be surprised when you fart each time you bend over. That’s the true sound of the 6os.
  • Do not believe those ads that promise you that their gel/cream/serum/lotion, etc. will make you look instantly younger. They won’t. The only thing they will do is to lighten your wallet.
  • Do NOT use teenage lingo, and quit saying “Awesome!”
  • Stop whining about how pretty you used to be. You’re fabulous the way you are RIGHT NOW.
  • Do not bring up hot flashes, night sweats or prolapsed bladder issues with anyone other than your true friends. Believe me, no one else wants to hear about them.

Most of all, let’s embrace our age, and let go of the my-oh-my-how-my-looks-have-changed attitude. Ever hear this apt little verse by Edward Lear?

“As a beauty I’m not a great star,
There are others more handsome by far,
But my face, I don’t mind it,
Because I’m behind it.
It’s those out in front that I jar.”

So let’s make friends with the mirror and enjoy who we are right now.

Do You Remember Your First “Aha!” Moment?

Do you remember your first “Aha!” moment? Mine came when I was about 10 years old. I went to a Girl Scout camp every summer, a place I loved unconditionally. I had camp friends and camp traditions and camp clothes and a whole camp persona. At home, I was just me with all my faults and insecurities. No one at camp knew my history or the dozens of embarrassing incidents at school and at home. (When you grow up in a small town as I did, everyone knows everything about you. If you peed your pants in second grade, then at your 3oth high school reunion, you would still be called “Pee Pants.”) But at camp I was a leader; fearless, confident, ready for anything.  At camp, I could truly be who I wanted to be.

Camp was a glorious blur of learning new things, making new friends and enjoying the company of old friends, and just plain fun. I slept fully and deeply, ate hugely, ran and swam and biked and sailed and canoed and fished and hiked and built camp fires. I made up ghost stories I told around a flickering camp fire, and for the first time in my life, found I had a talent for storytelling. Encouraged by all those frightened faces, I made the stories scarier and more bizarre. One of the counselors, Jinx, whom I adored, took me aside after a night of ministering to terrified kids suffering from nightmares. She told me that it’s one thing to entertain, and quite another to show off. Gently, she explained that, in my desire to be popular, I had caused her and another counselor to lose their well-deserved sleep to comfort the scared girls. Not only that, but the same girls begged their parents to come take them home. The enormity of what I had done overwhelmed me and I felt truly guilty. (But I never lost that thrill of creating stories out of my head.)

One of the many attractions of being in camp was the gently-enforced rule to create your own nickname. This would be your “official” camp name. Mine was Spider. I hated spiders (still do), and although the nickname made sense to me then, I’ve forgotten why it did.

Our camp was across the lake from a Boy Scout camp, and once a summer, our camp visited their camp. There was horseback riding, crafts, a contest of camping skills such as building a camp fire in record time, making lean-to shelters and canoe races. There was a big dinner, and a dance at night.

My “Aha!” moment came while we were visiting. I was talking with a boy who had beaten my time at camp fire building, and we were comparing notes. I remember thinking that all boys weren’t horrible; this one was actually pretty nice, even if he had beaten me. Suddenly we both felt the ground shake beneath us, and one of my tent mates, a tiny girl from Bath, came galloping by on a horse. In the time it took for me to register that 1) the horse was out of control, 2) my friend was screaming in terror and in trouble, I ran up to the horse, grabbed the bridle and hung from it to slow him down. To my amazement, the horse actually came to a halt, and one of the three counselors who had come running down the hill after the horse was able to rescue my friend.

One of the counselors checked my friend over, determined she was not hurt, only badly scared. The first counselor gentled the horse, and lead him back to the barn. The last counselor took me by the shoulders and asked if I was all right. I nodded; I couldn’t seem to speak right then. He asked how I had known to do the right thing to stop the horse; I stammered that I really didn’t know–I had been just scared that my friend would be hurt. I don’t remember much after that, although a girl I still keep in touch with told me later that “everyone” was talking about how brave I was. All I remember to this day was dumbstruck wonder that I did what I did.

That happened decades ago, and, as Wendy told Peter Pan when he finally came for her; “My dear, I am ever so many years past 20.” I don’t understand why we get these glimmers of greatness any more than I did when I was 10. All I know is that that was my first moment of knowing that I was capable of more than I knew.

Do you remember your first “Aha!” moment? You probably do on some level, and maybe you never gave yourself credit for it. Believe me, these are the unexpected gifts we receive all through our lives. They seem to come out of nowhere, and there is no predicting them. We have all read about mothers who, after a car accident, were able to lift that car off their child. There are so many stories of men and women who put their own safety aside to help or carry another person down the stairs in the World Trade Center buildings during 9/11. There is the policeman who ran toward a car fire on the highway, reached through the window to pull the unconscious driver out before the engine blew. So many people, both First Responders or simply ordinary people, rushed into the street during the Boston Marathon bombings to help the injured and get them out of harm’s way.

Perhaps your “Aha!” moment hasn’t come yet. Trust me, it will. And trust me, you will know what to do.

Finding the Happy

You know how it goes; you wake up in a grumpy mood and say to yourself, “it’s going to be an awful day.” And surprise–it IS an awful day. Coincidence? Nope, not at all. It’s the old ‘glass half empty, glass half full’ state of mind, and it’s up to you to decide which glass you have. Having a good day, or just finding the “happy” in any situation is entirely up to us. You can decide you’re going to have a great day, and, despite what happens in the day, you will have a great day. Or, you can go the other way, and have a lousy day.

Case in point: I have never just loved hot and humid weather, and have griped about it for years. So I dreaded every summer because I kept on saying how much I hated hot and humid weather. I just made it worse on myself, and suffered far more than I needed to, and probably was a big downer to those around me who do enjoy that kind of weather. So I decided to take my own advice a few years ago–I decided I didn’t hate hot weather, and instead embraced it. I would think of how cold I had been the previous winter and how many layers of clothingI had had to put on to stay warm. All of a sudden, the summer–even the sticky days–felt great. Oh, I still retreat to the A/C when we have a stretch of steamy weather, but I no longer complain. The attitude shift made all the difference.

The Crankee Yankee (my husband) and I were recently picking through a big coffee can of fresh blueberries (courtesy of the abundant blueberry bushes that grow in and around the swamp on my brother-in-law’s property). We carefully picked out all the green berries, stems, twigs and so on, and I started thinking. What if changing our attitudes about the good vs. bad in our lives was as easy as picking through berries? I mean, it’s  easy to see the leaves and twigs along with the berries–could it be that weeding out the not-so-great things in our day, our lives, our situations could be that easy?

I started to think of good things vs. bad things  in my life. For example, I have a great part-time job with a great company. This job puts me smack in the middle of a gorgeous part of northern New Hampshire, I work with wonderful people, I’m doing work I truly enjoy, and I’ve made some good friends there. The company regularly hosts fun events for its employees, such as seasonal barbeques, chili cook-off contests, pizza lunches for various reasons, family days at the local park, and on holidays there are Yankee swaps, cookie parties and cube-decorating contests. Each Christmas we are given gift cards to our favorite grocery stores. The building is designed to let in plenty of natural light, and as you walk down the corridors, you can watch the seasons change in all their glory. It really is an ideal place to work. All these good things are the “berries.”

The “debris” is that it’s a 145 mile commute from my door to theirs, I travel along three major highways to get there, and I spend a lot of money on tolls, gas and car maintenance for my 12-year old vehicle. So in my job situation, I have a whole lot more berries than debris.

So what’s the secret to finding the “happy” in any situation? We can start by asking ourselves a few questions, such as:

  • Is there anything positive about this situation? (Even if it’s a job you hate, you still get paid, right? So that’s positive!)
  • Is my own attitude about this situation making things worse or better?
  • Can I do anything to positively affect this situation?
  • Am I so steeped in my own unhappiness that I may be bringing others down?
  • Can I afford to leave this situation? If I can, will I? What’s holding me back?

When you can answer those questions to your satisfaction, you will end up with a list of berries vs. debris. You will have to decide if the berries are worth the debris. This kind of thinking is how we start to change our lives. We have to remember that we really do have control over how we feel, how we perceive the world around us and what kind of people we want to be. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is doable. Remember that little victories, such as saying to yourself, “hey–I’m not that crazy about this current job, but it pays for my <insert whatever hobby, etc. you love here>!” Find and enjoy the smallest victory, the smallest good feeling, the smallest sense of happiness. It will keep you looking for more, therefore making more happy happen.

This is how we find the “happy” and keep it. For good!

How About We THINK Before We Speak?

How many times have we had something wonderful happen in our lives and we just couldn’t wait to tell people about it? And how many times have we broken our amazing news to someone, only to have them say, “Well, that’s nice for you….but how about all those people who aren’t as lucky as you?” ……Really? I’m not sure that this type of response meets the official passive-aggressive title, but it sure is a big old downer. Buzz-kill city!

I know it’s tough if we personally are struggling with money problems and the person next to us has just hit it big in the lottery, but does it hurt to just congratulate them and walk away? This is one of those times when it is NOT about us, but about the OTHER person. Can we not lay aside our own fear, anxiety, jealousy, and sourpussed-ness to just be happy for that person for a brief moment? Seriously, how hard is that? And selfishly, it actually lifts us up in a way. You can walk away from that happy person knowing that:

  • You shared their joy.
  • You put yourself aside to congratulate that person.
  • You became bigger than your own concerns.
  • You didn’t sour their happiness with your own problems.

This is another one of those situations where laying aside our own cares and worries can actually benefit us. It’s a lot like seeing a feel-good movie (I suggest “While You Were Sleeping,” “Love Actually,” “Frozen,” etc.)–you walk away uplifted and in a great  mood and with a lighter spirit. We SO want to say “Why couldn’t this (wonderful thing) happen to meeeeeeeeeeeee?” But if we can just manage to look that happy person in the eye and say sincerely “I’m so glad for you,” it’s a win-win.

Imagine that this amazing thing happened to us and not them. Would we not want our friend/relative/neighbor to magnify that joy for one brief moment? The old saying goes, “sorrow shared halves the sorrow; joy shared doubles the joy.” How about we start doubling some joy instead of heaping crap on top of someone else’s good fortune?

Remember the karmic law: “Put out good, you get good back. Put out crap, you get crap back.” Not only that, but the backflow is much stronger than the outgo. When we lift up others, we go up with them. Let’s choose our direction wisely!

Prepare the Solution

  • Keep the sprayed animal outside. The odor will rub off on furniture, rugs and other items that will then have to be cleaned as well.

    Collect the following ingredients for a small or average-sized animal, and mix them in an open bucket or container: 1 qt. of 3 percent solution hydrogen peroxide, 1 tsp. of liquid dish washing soap and 1/4 cup of baking soda. Double the amounts for a large animal.

Apply the Solution

  • Do not wet or bathe the pet before applying the peroxide solution. Pour the solution evenly over the animal, avoiding the face. Work it into the fur and skin. Leave the solution on the dog for 10 to 20 minutes. To clean the face, dip a toothbrush in the solution and carefully rub it into the fur. Thoroughly rinse the pet with warm water after the 10- to 20-minute waiting period. Repeat if some odor remains.

After the Application

  • Give the animal a normal bath. Do not save any of the peroxide solution, which can explode if kept in a closed container. Pour it down a drain with warm water. Within 48 hours, reapply topical flea and tick medications such as Frontline or Advantage, which will have been stripped from the fur by the peroxide solution.

Read more :

What To Do When You’re Down and Out

Although I do my best to be upbeat, positive and cheerful most days, there are “those” days when I feel like roadkill. I couldn’t put on a happy face if you offered me diamonds. If I really can’t be positive that day, I’ve learned to give in. I accept that 1) It’s just a bad day. It will pass. 2) These feelings won’t last forever. 3) You can’t be happy all the time (well, I can’t. If you can, good on ya!). 4) We are allowed to have the occasional bad day.

Thanks to a dear friend who gave me a Eckhart Tolle CD (check him out at, I learned from him to be “in the moment.” That is, if you’re going to have a bad day and you can barely get out of bed, DO NOT:

  • “Should” on yourself, as in “I should get up and DO something.”
  • Hassle yourself.
  • Worry that you will never be positive again.


  • Give yourself permission to really BE in that bad day. Make no excuses, and don’t beat yourself up for not doing anything.
  • Stay in bed. Read a trashy book. Snooze. Watch “Bridezillas.” Eat cinnamon toast.
  • Be unashamedly un-guilty.

That’s it and all; my magic formula for a bad day. Instead of forcing myself to ‘just DO something productive, already,’ I don’t. I give myself complete and total permission to be loaf around as I please. It’s the best cure for losing the blues I know of–well, that and counting all the good and great and wonderful people and things in my life. But you know how it is; sometimes you just can’t get your chin off the ground. So when that happens, give yourself permission to have a bad day and ENJOY it.

The last bad day I enjoyed was epic: I never even washed my face or brushed my teeth. I spent the day in my pajamas alternately napping, reading an old Stephen King book, and making my standby comfort food, Vegetable Spooge:

  • Make a small pot of quinoa and/or bulghur wheat (it’s easy; the directions are on the package)
  • Get out your trusty food chopper and chop up as much carrots, onions, celery, etc. as you want
  • When the quinoa is ready, dump in the chopped vegetables and add *cheese if you like
  • Enjoy (it’s not only tasty but good for you, too)!

*For dietary reasons I use goat cheese, which is surprisingly delicious

The next day, I was back on top of the world and ready to be productive. I had had my day of permissive laziness and self-indulgence, and felt better for doing it. Just remember that when you do sink down, know that the next day will be better, and you WILL feel good again.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are really having some severe depression, anxiety, etc. issues, then by all means see someone–a doctor, therapist, counselor, etc. Needless to say, on-going bad days can lead to bad things, so if you are having more bad days than good, get help. This post just addresses the occasional bad day we all have from time to time.


Life Is Too Short To Read a Bad Book

I am a reader and come from a family of readers. My favorite pastime is, was, and ever shall be reading; it’s the first thing I want to do in the morning, and the last thing I want to do at night. At this time in my life I have read enough books to fill a fleet of dump trucks, and will keep on reading as long as my eyes hold out. I know what I like, and when I like an author’s book, I will read everything that the author has written.

So what do you like to read? Are you a mystery reader, do you love SciFi, can’t get enough romance novels, do time travel books light you up, or do you like biographies? There are so many genres to choose from, and after a while you begin to zero in on your favorites. Do you ever find yourself so immersed in a book that you literally cannot hear what is going on around around you? These are what I call “yeah, yeah” books, as in when someone is trying to talk to you while reading, you just wave them away with a “yeah, yeah?” (The meaning of the “yeah, yeah” is “Don’t bother me; I’m in the middle of a really good book–go away now.”)

When I come to the end of a book that has held me in thrall for days, I mourn it like a lost friend. I miss not “being” in that book, and it’s hard for me to start another one. There are some books that have changed my life forever, some that have become so dear to me that I will read them again and again, and some that have made me laugh or cry out loud. On the other hand, there are some books that, once started, I lose patience with–to be fair, I will give an “iffy” book 75 pages of my attention. If after that I don’t love it, I stop reading. It doesn’t go on my booklist (I keep track of all the books I’ve read).

When I love an author, I forgive them anything. Stephen King is a favorite, and I’ve read everything the man ever wrote, and wait anxiously for his next book to come out. I even forgive him for grossing me out in many books. (This is why I warn people about his books, telling them “do NOT eat while reading!”) The following are authors I will read without question:

  • Anne Rivers Siddons
  • Elizabeth Berg
  • Chris Bohajalian
  • Adrianna Trigiano
  • Pat Conroy
  • Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  • Mary Kay Andrews
  • Diane Chamberlain
  • Gillian Flynn
  • Dean Koontz
  • Isobelle Allende
  • Lucinda Riley
  • Whitley Streiber
  • Helene Wecker
  • Dan Brown
  • Ann Hood
  • Dorothea Benton Frank
  • Lee Smith
  • JoAnn Mapson
  • Elin Hilderbrand
  • Luanne Rice
  • Louise Erdrich
  • Peter Straub
  • Sandra Dallas
  • J. K. Rowling
  • Anne Tyler
  • Kate Jacobs
  • Sophie Kinsella
  • Joshilyn Jackson
  • Jodie Piccoult
  • Anna Maxted
  • Ellen Gilchrist
  • Connie May Fowler
  • Cathy Pelletier
  • Jill McCorkle
  • Rebecca Wells
  • Kristen Hannah
  • Michael Lee West
  • John Irving
  • Fannie Flagg
  • Alice Hoffman
  • Olivia Goldsmith
  • Gaelen Quinn
  • Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Anne Quindlen
  • Wally Lamb
  • Stieg Larsson
  • Anne Lamott
  • Mary McGarry Morris
  • Fred Mustard Stewart
  • Alice Sebold
  • Alan Brennert
  • Philipa Gregory
  • Diane Hammond
  • Donald Harington
  • Rita Mae Brown
  • Stephanie Meyer

…and there are many, many more. Some books I have loved so much I re-read them (this, according to my mother, is a crime against the world of writing. “There are so many books to read–don’t waste your time re-reading one you’ve already read!”) when I need to. If I am having a stressful day, I automatically reach for Anne Rivers Siddons, Pat Conroy or J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter is a never-ending comfort and delight).

By the way, I have never read a book on a Kindle or Spindle or Pindle or any tech gadget. Not that I’m against them per se, it’s just that I prefer holding and reading a real paper-and-print book. Over the years I have had to cull out a great many books I liked but didn’t love, so the ones I have now are precious to me. Unfortunately some of the books I now own started out as library books; lesson to us all: do not eat or drink anything while reading a library book. At least a half-dozen times I have had to confess my crime to a librarian, pay the full price for the book and had to slink home with the stained copy under my arm. These books will have a note written in the front confessing my crime, such as: “I just had to have another cup of coffee/a bowl of tomato soup/a chicken taco/a glass of red wine/etc. while reading this library book. Now it’s mine.”

Yes, life IS too short to waste time on a bad book, but there is time enough to re-read the books you really, deeply, truly love. Reading them will put you back in that wonderfully serene place that is timeless, stressless and full of promise and hope. A good book is a pathway to a meadow filled with sunshine, fragrant flowers, gorgeous sunsets and heavenly moonrises, while a bad book is a slippery slope to a nasty pond full of leeches, evil bullfrogs, slimy mud and sharp clam shells. Choose wisely!