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Exercise, the Elephant and the Rider

Imagine, if you will, a man perched on top of an elephant. The man is holding reins, steering the elephant down a road, and it seems, at first, that the man is in control. But the elephant is a large animal, three tons to be exact, and if it decides to disagree with the man’s directions… well I’m sure you can guess...

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30 Days of Exercise

I used to be a gym rat. A hard core, gung-ho workout fanatic. But ever since the baby, I haven’t been able to get back into a groove. Granted I’m sleep deprived, hormonal and always on the go, but the truth is, I’ve gotten lazy. Last week I drove to the gym, walked inside, looked around, and left. How sad. Exercise...

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A Lesson in Acceptance

“Jesus Murray why can’t you be normal!” I hissed. My neighbor had just popped by to drop something off, and Murray wouldn’t stop barking. A normal dog. What does that mean anyway? A dog that doesn’t bark incessantly when guests are in the house? Who doesn’t freak out every time I get ready to leave or shakes in terror when we...

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Less yelling, more praise: reinforcing positive behavior at home

It was an ordinary Sunday morning. I was sitting in the living room with the kids drinking coffee when to my utter shock and surprise, my husband got up and started cleaning. He rinsed dishes, took out the garbage, collapsed boxes and started a load of laundry. It’s about time, I muttered to myself. I share this story because in learning about behavior modification and positive reinforcement...

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Can you heal and train an old dog in 30 days?

This is my dog. His name is Murray and he’s 8. Cute huh? I can still remember that cold winter morning when we drove out to the Chicago suburbs to meet him for the first time. There were actually two Maltese puppies to choose from. Both adorable. One was mellow and laid back. The other was a hyperactive little yipper who wouldn’t...

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Allora, let’s talk about the Italian challenge

Eight weeks ago, in anticipation of my Tuscan vacation, I decided to learn Italian. I wanted to be able to carry on a simple conversation in Italian, so I took a few lessons, made flashcards, practiced with native speakers, and prepared cheat sheets. Then, I got on a plane. I am home now, and can report that my command of the language fell short of expectations....

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Deep work: how to find focus in a distracted world

Italian is not going well. That’s my challenge for the month – learning Italian before my trip to Tuscany. I’m practicing every day and I’m even taking lessons, but I’m struggling. Yes, language learning is difficult (very difficult), but the bigger problem is that I’m not giving it the attention and energy that it deserves. This seems to be the...