Saturday, April 25, 2020



This is all about a YouTube video that did a world of good for me to watch. If you have not seen any of the short four episodes, I encourage you to go to YouTube and watch. You simply do a search for SGN with John Krasinski. There were so many things that I did not know about him when I started watching these such as: he was in the TV show called The Office with Steve Carell, he now plays Jack Ryan in that series and currently he has this new spin off of the news. 

The deal is, like so many of us, we question why is it that the local and national news focus on the bad news?

There is a very good answer to this. Good news does not sell as well as bad news. It is considered too soft and unimportant to be valuable. In the times that we are living in right now, quarantined with strict stay at home restrictions, I believe that compelling stories about humans overcoming tragedy or facing adversity to rescue others much more interesting. I am aware that I need to keep up to date with what is going on globally in order to keep myself and family safe. However, it would be good to hear more about what John reports in his SGN videos. 

It has been proven that we as humans have the urge to seek out the sensationalism in these stories. It also has been proven that our hormones are all affected by our thoughts. I know that I must pay attention to things that bring me joy, such as hearing the good news stories before the negative side of how many more cases, how many more about how many people who have recovered including senior citizens who are over 100 years old?

We are in a pandemic, so I get the fact that we need to be aware of what is happening. Facts. Then end it and focus more on how this is bringing out the good in the world. Our health care workers are being celebrated globally for what they are doing. They can't go home to their families yet they are willing to sacrifice this in order to save lives. John shows clips of different cities across the world celebrating with parades, going out on porches or balconies singing or flipping lights on and off. It is truly emotionally overwhelming the way that the world has responded and I found SGN such a ray of sunshine to watch. 

Some little stories that don't seem to come on CNN, or FOX or NBC and those like them is that there are workers making masks using the fabric that would have been used for making baseball, football or some other sports' uniforms. Then, The New England Patriots gave free use of their jet to get the masks delivered to those cities that needed them. 

This actually gives me a new way of looking at a coach that I really did not like very much. Bill Belichick does have a heart.

John's team just so happens to be the Boston Red Sox, as this is where he is from. He had one of the local hospitals health care workers ride the sanitized Boston Duck bus to Fenway Park, go out and throw the Opening Pitch and then run the bases. Up on the screen pops David Ortiz who tells them that they now have lifetime seats to the home games. WOW!
Even John had to say he is still on a waiting list for his season tickets. David said for him to wait no more.

Joe Buck, who is famous for broadcasting play by play calls, talked about having contests like a wife throwing dirty clothes across the laundry room into the washer. How many could she hit, especially when her husband kept getting in the way? And then there were the two dogs. One having the bone in his mouth, while the other one was staring at it. The contest was called how long could he hold on to it. It was done like a cowboy riding and hanging on to the bull. How long will he go for?  Of course, you guessed it. The other dog finally had enough and grabbed it away.

After seeing how generous individuals were, as well as corporations, he asked A T & T to look into giving a month free cell service to all nurses and doctors. They said, "No. We are giving them all three months of free service." To me, this is what we all need to hear and witness. No matter how dark it gets there is always light in the world.

John gave a side of good news that we all need in these troubling times. He had a brief weather segment and the meteorologist peeked out of his cabin and looked out at the sky and just said it was all good. By the way, the weatherman just so happens to be Brad Pitt.

He shows videos that people from around the world have sent him from a boy playing ball with the next door neighbor's dog over a fence.

People like you and me are going out of their way to try to feed those who have lost their jobs. Signs are put on porches for delivery people to take something if they need it. (cases of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc) One UPS driver asked through the door was it for real? He took one 8 pack of toilet paper. Utility workers dressed as Spiderman and Deadpool powerwashed for some residents and John reported that the rest of the Avengers were at Trader Joes. 

Then what about in a convent. How do nuns stay sane? A video came to him with them dancing and one playing an air guitar.

Like many other parents, he is having to home-school his children and he now believes that teachers are so underpaid. 

Several of his episodes really pulled at my heart strings such as the little girl who was battling cancer and wanted to see Mary Poppins and even more wanted to go to see Hamilton on Broadway. John just happens to be married to Emily Blunt, the current Mary Poppins and she came to join her husband to talk to this child. The little girl had watched Mary Poppins because it was released early streaming. But her absolute favorite was to go and see Hamilton when Broadway opens up again. John at this time said that he would give her the plane ride and tickets to see this show along with her Mom. She was ecstatic. But wait! There is more! All of a sudden, with Zoom, the entire original case came on and sang one of the songs from Hamilton to her. Not a dry eye in the place. WOW! 

In Episode 4 John talked about 2020 seniors missing their prom. A senior sent in a video showing her dancing in her prom dress with her Dad. John creatively came up with the idea of throwing a virtual prom for all of the seniors. And so he did, even though he admitted this was crazy for him to do. A live show? It could go all to pieces. 
You guessed it. It did not. He had Chance the Rapper and the Jonas Brothers, as well as Billie Eilish. Even had a professional dj. Kids sent in their quarantined prom night, thanks to Good News John!

Below is the first episode of SGN and I hope that you will take the time to find it on YouTube and watch. Spoiler Alert: John looks to be in a suit. Don't let that fool you. He stands up at the end of each episode and you may be shocked. 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Positive Spin on Quarantined Homeschooling

Positive Spin on Quarantined Homeschooling

When schools closed due to the coronavirus, parents everywhere were in a panic. How long will they be home? Many had no child care and it was yet to be determined if they could work at home. As it turned out, many could, and on a not so bright side, many could not and their businesses had to close, then there were those in between. Some restaurants and bars could be open for delivery and curbside business but there still was the issue of homeschooling and who would watch your child. 

Finally, it calmed down to a dull roar. Parents started to get in the groove of how this could work. Some parents shared on FaceBook that they were having to Google in order to teach their 6th and 4th grader their math lessons. Other shared social media information that was encouraging. Parents were now seeing just how difficult it is to teach and they are at home teaching one to three children usually, instead of 25. I have even read that some parents are ready to sign petitions for teachers to be paid higher salaries. I agree. Even now without all of the high cost curriculum programs available, most teachers are on line teaching creatively and professionally without having district officials waltzing through their classrooms disrupting the educational process. They deserve our praise and gratitude for continuing to give educational support to their students and their parents.

Then there are more humorous posts such as: Homeschooling is going great. 2 students have been suspended for fighting, 1 has been placed in detention for talking back and 1 teacher has been fired for drinking on the job.  As well as one parent sent out a note asking for help or just more tequila.

My suggestion, for what it is worth, is to put a positive spin on this quarantined homeschooling. All parents say things can get a little crazy even when a routine has been put in place. Kids get out of control and there will be times that you will want to hang them up by their toenails.  (kidding, of course) 

24/7 within your house can take even the strongest of us over the edge.Your goal is to have some kind of routine established so that you can get what you need to do personally and professionally, as well as doing what is most important of all and that is taking care of your kids socially, emotionally and academically. A key word to remember in all of this is to be flexible. Make your schedule with your kids daily. If your child is really going strong with a new math skill, you have the ability to keep it going. That usually can't be done during real time school because there are schedules to follow based on lunch times, class changes, etc. At least you have more flexibility, for the most part.

Use this time while you have it to enjoy and cherish having kids with you. They grow up so quickly and these are memories that you can make last a lifetime. Building a stronger relationship during this unprecedented time should make you think that house arrest is not all bad. Have some humor and be creative. Such as: give each child a sketch pad and pencil/crayons and tell them to sit on the floor. Then you get on the sofa and tell them their assignment is to draw Mommy taking a nap.

Teaching in small chunks instead of overdoing it is the best way. Due to less children to manage than a real time classroom, you can get more done in less time so there is no reason to overdo it. There are so many positives about your child. I have a list of words from The Family Centered Treatment Foundation that can change how you may view your child: 

X                                ~
strong willed                        spirited
stubborn                               persistent
wild                                       energetic
emotional                             caring
dramatic                               expressive
unpredictable                       spontaneous
talkative                               communicative
quiet                                     a thinker
clingy                                    loving
bossy                                    a leader
impatient                              passionate
dreamy                                 imaginative
restless                                 active
fussy                                     selective
shy                                        reflective
aggressive                            assertive

"When you look at a problem with positive frame of mind, you become a powerful source of energy that transforms obstacle into great success." 
Anil Sinha 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Do Colors Affect Your Mood?

When I think about how my mood swings are after we have many rainy and gray days in a row, I definitely know that all of the gloom can and does affect my mood. "Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions," as Pablo Picasso once said.
With the pandemic going on in the world now, we all need to be aware of ways that we can improve our outlook for the future. I work on this day by day, sometimes, hour by hour. 

There are times that I start with what I am going to wear for the day. Truly there is a study at universities that delve into color psychology. Not all psychologists find the research to be sufficient, however most do at least understand that certain colors do seem to have common effects on various individuals. 

From my research, which was based on Leatrice Eiseman, the director of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training, colors symbolize many different feelings. The categories fall into the clothing we wear, how we decorate our homes and where we work. 

Colors fall in either the warm or cool category. Colors actually have temperatures. This is what affects our moods. The cooler tones of blue, blue-green, blue-purples are the more calming while the reds, oranges, yellows are perceived as more energetic and get up and go. There are ways to brighten the cooler tones, for example an electric blue vs a powder blue. 

If I am feeling lethargic, a bit bored, then I search out warmer and brighter tones to get my energy going. On the other hand, sometimes I feel too charged up and therefore I try to move to the cooler tones. It is being aware of how I feel when I wake up. A moment to meditate always gives me the answer. If I wake up knowing that my "to do" list is a mile long, then I need something to calm my jangled self down. If I am feeling just a bit sad or overwhelmed, it is best that I go for more cheerful colors such as yellows and a touch of orange. Sunshiny colors. No...I don't want to look like a banana or a pumpkin, just add a touch with a t shirt under a light jacket or vest. Even a scarf or some jewelry to pull together the outfit. 

For interviews, women and men are given the advice to go with red. A red suit or dress for women and a red power tie for the gents. Red suggests a high energy level. 

It is not to say that the darker tones like brown and black should be avoided. It is the context that they are used in. Hey, Johnny Cash became famous dressed in black. For myself, I love to put on black and then splash some turquoise all around, or even red! 

In thinking about home decor, I like to use these guidelines in helping to choose color. It is not always a bad thing, in my opinion to stick with neutrals and then add pops of color with accents. 

This is more or less my style. We all have our own styles and one is not better than another. There are ones that are better suited to each of our own personalities. I feel almost claustrophobic with too much color going on around me. Just as I could never live in an all white room. It just feels sterile to me, not to mention that I really know that I am too messy for that.

Everyone has their own style and I think that is a good thing. Makes for a livelier world.

The one thing that we don't always have control over is our work environment (unless you are the boss of it all.) Hopefully, you do have some say over certain areas of your space. For example, I worked in a school. Let me add a great school, however, it took a lot of people to come together so that it did not feel like a cold institutional setting. Adding colorful posters, beautiful artwork from the children and teachers decorating with primary colors and pastel work areas...made it all come together. I ask you, which room would you rather be learning in?

I believe that no matter how gray life may seem to get...there is always the promise of color. Marcus Aurelius said it best, "Live in color. The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts."

Sunday, April 5, 2020

It Is a Dog's Life

Dogs have their own way of knowing that something is going on. Animals in general do, however, I can really speak with some authority about dogs in particular.  The following blog has been written in Maggie Mae's and Davis' voice. We can almost see the speech bubbles over their heads.

Davis here, since I am the senior dog in this household. I am not sure what exactly is going on but for the last several weeks strange things are happening. We don't live on an extremely busy street, however, there is usually quite a bit of traffic. People heading to work, coming home for lunch, going back to work, lots of workers going into homes, including ours. But they seem to have lessened in numbers. Recently, I have heard Lola and Smiley use the words, "Stay home!" Well, I know what stay means and when they want me to go to my crate they just say go home. 

Maggie Mae and I just watch out the window waiting for some activity going on in the street. Sometimes a FedEx, UPS, Amazon or USPS delivers to us or another house. Dry Cleaners across the street, and we have our much loved Lou Ann who comes to our home and always brings us treats but otherwise very little traffic. 

We have Bailey and Skylar who come over to play and their Momma, Jen. We have not seen them for ages. We miss their sweetness and playing with us.

The other thing that we have that is hard to understand is that our brother owner, Thomas, is home from his American Airline training waiting to hear when he goes for the next. He has self-quarantined upstairs. He has a media room, his bedroom, the bathroom, dorm refrigerator and microwave, plus we send up dinner on a tray. He is doing this for us, since he has been around people who have traveled, as well as for him. He can't get this and be in training. The way it is for now. Not sure why but we are trusting our humans. We know that Thomas loves us.

When the television is on the news (which is not often) they speak of social-distancing. That is a concept that does not come easy for us dogs. See the picture above and you will get what I am saying. social distance from Lola and Smiley? Unheard of!

They need us. Smiley needed a good laugh with me, a little 62 pound puppy in his lap kissing him. And of course, Maggie Mae curled up on Lola's blanket covered legs to take a nap with her. It is a necessity. 

Maggie Mae took over the writing now. I know that Lola and Smiley want to do the right thing. That is why we can't go to Doggie Day Care right now. It is still open but our humans are leaving it for those dogs who have owners who are essential workers and desperately need a place for their dog(s). They have decided to take us out and we play with them. It is not quite the same but we are smart puppies and we get it. 

We tried social distancing. This is what it looked like:

I tried to social distance myself with my camouflage bed. (Lola did not order this camouflage bed. The company sent the green one she did order without my name. So they generously said that they would send one out to us with my name on it free of charge only it was not green, it was camouflage. She did not have the heart to send it back to them. That is just how my Lola is!)

Then there was Davis who social distanced himself at the front door.

Oh my goodness, is he ever big. He basically goes end to end across the front door and windows. He still lets me be in charge. I think some of Smiley's British charm has worn off on him. When he is trying to chase reflections outside on sunny days he does not even mind that I am pulling on his tail to get his attention.

Alright now. Davis is taking over. Maggie has had her say. Let's just talk about social distancing from a cat that we actually love to pieces. Now that is saying a lot for the two of us to love this cat. Nacho is his name. He loves to taunt us by walking across the street in neighbors' yards but studying us with his eagle eyes. Finally he gets around to coming over to see us. He does not come quite as close as he used to. Maybe he knows what social distancing is, too?

Nacho usually comes up the line from the walk to the front porch, swishing his tail and just smiling at us. We love him so much. This time, he kept his distance. All we could do was talk to him through the windows by the front door. He stays for quite a while. I think he really likes Maggie Mae. He never really did this for just me.

Enough already! Lola is taking over now and I can tell you that I feel that I must apologize that this blog has gone to the dogs. What else can I say?