A beach walk with my husband in the distance during our recent vacation.
I found a powerful article written by Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey in the Wall Street Journal called The Power to Decide How You Feel. I think it’s exactly what I needed to read.
Here’s an excerpt:
Feelings, in the enterprise of your life, are like weather to a construction company. If it rains or snows or is unseasonably hot, it affects the ability to get work done. But the right response is not trying to change the weather (which would be impossible) or wishing the weather were different (which doesn’t help). It is having contingency plans in place for bad weather, being ready, and managing projects in a way that is appropriate to the conditions on a given day.
The process of managing this weather is called metacognition. Metacognition (which technically means “thinking about thinking”) is the act of experiencing your emotions consciously, separating them from your behavior, and refusing to be controlled by them. Metacognition begins with understanding that emotions are signals to your conscious brain that something is going on that requires your attention and action. That’s all they are. Your conscious brain, if you choose to use it, gets to decide how you will respond to them.
The idea in this article is that we can separate our thoughts and view them as though the emotions are happening to someone else. What would we tell them to do? If they feel trapped in a job they don’t like, they can make a change.
For example, let’s imagine you have a job that is really bringing you down. Let’s say you are bored and stressed, and your boss isn’t competent. You come home every day tired and frustrated, and you wind up drinking too much and watching a lot of dumb television to distract your mind. Tomorrow, try a new tactic. During the day, take a few minutes every hour or so, and ask, “How am I feeling?” Jot it down. Then after work, journal your experiences and feelings over the course of the day. Also write down how you responded to these feelings, and which responses were more and less constructive.
Do this for two weeks, and you will find you are feeling more in control and acting in more productive ways. You will also be able to start seeing how you can manage your outside environment better, perhaps making a timeline to update your résumé and asking a few people for job market advice, and then you might actually start looking for something new.
Thinking about thinking, separating ourselves from emotional outbursts or feelings sounds like a positive approach. I do think journaling has helped me through the years to feel more grounded.
Have you heard about metacognition before? What are your thoughts about “thinking about thinking?”
The photo above is Waffles the pug. No he doesn’t bite. His snaggle teeth weren’t built to do that. This is a story about another dog from a morning walk last week.
We headed out the door around 5ish a.m. The sun rises after 5:30, but the sky glows pink and gray, waiting for the intense sun to peak over the horizon.
At this early time, we see a few dog walkers in the neighborhood. One is a petite blond lady with a pit bull named Star. We’ve known Star since she was a puppy about a year and a half ago. She’d lay down submissively so we’d come over to her for a pat. Often, she’d roll on her back so she’d get a belly rub from my husband.
I’m not a pit bull fan. As Star grew older, the owner kept to her side of the street. Often Star would lunge, growl and snarl at us. The owner apologized and didn’t know what to make of the new attitude.
I said, “Maybe Star is getting older and more protective?”
Sometimes, she’d say, “Star wants to come say hi.” She’d walk Star over to us with different results. Sometimes Star was good. Other times she’d start sweet and then snap.
From then on (several months ago) we gave up on communicating with Star.
Last week, we spotted the woman across the street. Star laid down. The owner said something to us from across the street. My husband couldn’t hear what she said. I kept walking away from Star at a brisk pace.
My husband walked towards Star and the woman, but stopped six to eight feet away to not invade Star’s space. Star was on a thick leather leash, held by the woman.
The woman was chit chatting about how hot it was and how we have to get out early to walk.
Then Star, without warning or provocation, lunged, snarling from the ground at my husband and bit his hand. The woman didn’t have the strength to pull Star back.
Fortunately, my husband jumped away with only a puncture wound. When he caught up to me his hand was dripping blood. “If I didn’t move away, I would have lost my hand,” he said. “What was really strange is she didn’t say anything to the dog. Not bad dog! or anything!”
I reported the dog bite to the HOA board but didn’t hear back immediately. I wanted to let other families in our neighborhood be aware.
We looked up dog bites on our County website and my husband decided to file a complaint. He had a picture of his hand, the dog bite broke through skin, which were requirements. We don’t want to get the neighbor upset, but we worry about what could happen. Especially because most the people in our neighborhood are older. They might not get away as quickly — or even worse get knocked down.
The dog will be under house arrest for 10 days and tested for rabies. Other than that, I don’t think anything will happen to Star. We may have made an enemy in Star’s owner, but hopefully saved other people. Since reporting, we have heard that someone two houses away from the pit bull was bitten, too.
What would you have done in our place? Would you report the dog and/or ask the HOA board for restriction of some kind? How do you think the owner should corrected Star?
“Don’t you use dividers anymore?” the cashier said to me with a grunt while I was waiting to check out at our local big brand grocery store.
The woman in front of me had just pointed out two items rung up on her tab that were not hers. My Tater Tots and loaf of bread.
The cashier looked agitated as she had to remove my two items off the other woman’s bill.
“You’re the one who removed the divider,” the woman in front of me told the cashier as she plunked her credit card on the reader.
Now it was my turn to check out.
The cashier, who I usually chat with and has only been pleasant, starting throwing my items into plastic bags. It was sloppy and filled with anger. The metal rack that held up her plastic bags fell down to the floor.
Angrily she slammed the bag holder repeatedly into the rack to hook it into place. She muttered to the employee who was helping her bag, “Take this or I’m going to throw it!”
The woman calmly replaced the bag holder and returned to placing my grocery bags into my cart.
“Can you believe this?” an elderly woman behind me said with her eyes.
When my groceries were rung up and I was paying, the cashier took the plastic divider and threw it down the conveyer belt where it slammed into two other dividers.
“Just because you’re in a bad mood doesn’t mean you have to take it out on us!” the woman behind me said.
“I didn’t say nothing to you!”
I pushed my cart away and the older woman who was behind said “Wait. I’m reporting this to the manager, please come with me.” We were out of hearing distance of our disgruntled cashier.
I hesitated because I knew the cashier’s attitude and actions were unacceptable, but for the past two years, she had been professional and friendly. I didn’t want to get her in trouble.
Another employee mopping the floor overheard the word complaint and said loudly with fear, “Complaint?”
The employee who was bagging in our lane ran over and said, “I’m the manager and I witnessed what happened to both of you. I have no idea what is going on, but I’ll pull her aside and talk to her.”
If you were in my shoes would you complain to the manager? What would it take for you to complain if you were at a restaurant or store?
P.S. I’ve changed my blogging schedule to Monday, Wednesday and Friday as of this week.
Prices of Sriracha sauce are as high as $70 on eBay as people look to snap up the spicy sauce — and they’re even steeper on Amazon, up to $124. Huy Fong Foods, which makes the rooster-adorned bottled sauce, has been dealing with a years-long shortage of the chilis, which is hurting production and causing some shortages.
The company recently told CNN that it’s still experiencing a shortage of raw materials. “Although some production did resume this past fall season, we continue to have a limited supply that continues to affect our production. At this time, we have no estimations of when supply will increase,” a Huy Fong spokesperson said.
The story of David Tran, founder of Sriracha Sauce in Irwindale, Calif. is one of success by an immigrant. Not to say he hasn’t had his troubles.
I remember reading about neighbors complaining about the smells coming from his factory and he being at odds with the City Council.
From NPR in 2014:
Sriracha hot sauce-maker Huy Fong Foods has been tussling with the City Council of Irwindale, Calif., near Los Angeles for months now over whether the factory’s spicy smells harm its neighbors. There have been legal action and suggested fixes, but also pleas from other cities for the company to consider moving there.
David Tran, the CEO of Huy Fong, says he escaped from Vietnam almost 35 years ago to be free of the communist government there and its many intrusions.
“Today, I feel almost the same. Even now, we live in [the] U.S.A., and my feeling, the government, not a big difference,” Tran says.
Irwindale’s city attorney, Fred Galante, says the city loves having the cult condiment factory but must pay attention to the health of residents.
“It’s difficult to tell a resident that suffers from asthma or their child that suffers from asthma, ‘Sorry, we do not want to be considered business-unfriendly; just keep your child indoors,’ ” Galante says.
It’s a tough call, because Sriracha is a glamorous commodity. Bon Appetit named it one of its favorite foods last year. Chiliheads began to hoard it when it looked like Huy Fong might be forced to stop making it.
The other day my husband asked me to buy some sort of Clorox stick to get out stains on something white. I looked at the store and couldn’t find any. He looked online and a single stick was $65.
Then he went to the pharmacy to pick up an Rx and was told it was on backorder. They expect it in September. Of course, he didn’t take that as an answer, but shopped around other pharmacies to find it in stock — sometime soon.
We woke up to two inches of snow yesterday, which quickly melted.
My kids went to Palm Springs High School, one of several high schools in our district. They had a longtime principal who was popular with students and teachers alike. I think the main reason the teachers liked him is he left them alone. He didn’t get in their way of creating curriculum or classroom management.
He retired and a principal was moved from another high school in the district. The new principal immediately made changes. His first move was to tell established AP teachers they would be moved to general ed classes. He was going to appoint new teachers to the AP classes.
He wanted the excellent AP teachers, who had been there for years, to help students who were struggling. The kids in College Prep and AP would do just fine no matter who taught them.
However, he didn’t realize that some courses like AP Calc or AP Chem could not be taught by anyone!
The teachers were furious. They had taught their courses — in some cases — dozens of years. They had developed their curriculum and loved what they were doing.
Parents were asked to go to a meeting with teachers and the superintendent. The teachers wanted our support. It was one of those meetings where parents and teachers voiced their concerns, but we realized the superintendent and principal’s minds were made up. The meeting was a weak attempt to appease us.
Two excellent teachers, the AP Chemistry and AP History teachers, resigned. They decided to retire.
Then the new principal announced reassignment of the Latin teacher to teach English. She had created a four-year Latin program which was used as a model throughout California.
The other high schools in the district didn’t offer Latin, so it would be eliminated at Palm Springs High School. That’s only fair, right?
We had a standing-room only meeting with the school board. Here’s an excerpt from an article in the local paper The Desert Sun about the controversy:
The Latin language isn’t dead, at least not in Palm Springs. Some community members are fighting to keep it that way.
Parents, teachers and current and former students showed up to speak at Tuesday’s Palm Springs Unified board meeting, outraged by the reassignment of Palm Springs High School’s beloved Latin teacher. Svetlana Lazarova has been teaching all levels of Latin for more than two decades, and according to students and parents, Palm Springs High School administration informed Lazarova of her departmental transfer on the very last day of school.
“My greatest concern is how it was handled,” said Anne Hebert, a teacher at Palm Springs High School. “She was told within one hour before the end of the school year that she would be an English teacher.”
Lazarova joined the Latin program at Palm Springs High School in 1993. When she started, there were eight students in her class. Twenty years later, enrollment was up to 200 students across six classes. According to a 2013 interview with the California Teachers Association, she gave up her prep period to accommodate the high demand.
But students say the popularity of her class never prevented her from mentoring students individually. Lazarova’s first year students start with the basics of Latin grammar and vocabulary. By the end of the fourth year, they’re able to navigate the worlds built by Cicero’s prose and Virgil’s poetry.
We spotted three mule deer in our front yard over the weekend. I’m hiding in our courtyard looking through the gates to take photos and this beauty is staring right at me.
I sat down Saturday and went through our bank accounts to collect info for taxes. Ugh. Not my favorite thing to do. But, with nothing else to do on a Saturday — except walk, go to the gym, clean house, carry dishes from the kitchen to the casita, watch TV and read — somehow I managed to sit down and get to work.
I’m always shocked at how much money we spend during the year and I look for ways to cut back.
One thing that hit me right in the eyes were subscriptions on our monthly credit card statements for things we no longer use. It’s tricky because some are billed annually. They aren’t that much, and somehow I let them slip by me.
Then there are monthly ones that are billed monthly. Those are easier to catch during the year, but I was negligent with some of those, too.
Some things I cancelled yesterday were useful to me in the past. Like LinkedIn. I used that when I was writing a weekly column and I got requests from companies to write for them. But what surprised me is that I had an annual charge for LinkedIn. I never signed up for a premium membership and I thought it was free. Apparently I was wrong.
Another one was for a newspaper attached to Ancestry.com. I don’t remember signing up for it. I was able to log in and checked out my account. It said I was a guest and didn’t have a subscription, yet they charged me $74.95! I couldn’t cancel it online because the website said I don’t have an account.
A few newspaper subscriptions I signed up for, I’m not interested in anymore. Yet I couldn’t find a way to cancel them. So today, I’ll be making some phone calls.
What a waste of time and money!
What is your experience with subscriptions billed annually or monthly?
The building itself is an old Embassy Suites. It has security from Homeland Security as well as their own security staff surrounding the building.
I was impressed that it had it’s own medical office. They said they want to check the victims out physically within a day of them entering the program. Often human traffickers keep the victims documents like driver’s license or social security card when they escape, so it could take 45 days to get new documents and a doctor’s appointment. They lost one young woman to organ failure and felt that they could do better. So, they built their own medical office and doctors volunteer their time so there is no need for documents or insurance.
The girl who died said she was at peace, because she was free and felt like the Dream Center was home.
The center also has a dental office and optometrist office.
I cleaned out my closet the day before my visit and found they have two rooms for men’s and women’s clothing that were clean and organized. Residents can go into the clothing rooms and pick whatever they want off the racks for free. Residents also are responsible for maintaining the clothing rooms.
There’s a garden which is healing for the residents to work in. They also have a chapel, therapists and psychiatrists.
One of the eye popping statistics was that unlike the drug traffickers who sell their product and then need to find more to sell, human sex traffickers can sell their victims from 12 to 16 times a day for years. Young boys around 11 years old can earn $300,000 a year for their traffickers.
We were told that 95% of the residents grew up in the Phoenix area, they are not coming from the southern border. The number one trafficker is a Romeo, who a vulnerable young woman falls victim to and is manipulated into sex trafficking. They may meet their trafficker online or in person.
It was a worthwhile day, but I’m emotionally exhausted.
I thought human trafficking was a border issue, but it turns out it’s not and it’s throughout our country and the world.
What are your thoughts about human trafficking NOT being a border issue?