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A Week in the Duckhood

Early this week about eight inches of snow fell.



I blazed a trail for the ducks so they could leave their enclosure and wander around.  They didn't go far the first day -only to one their favorite napping spots.





Soon, they blazed their own trail.





The snow began to melt.







Then it began to rain.






As far as ducks are concerned, it can never be too wet.





With all that water, it's easy to keep well-groomed.





Looking good and feeling good -time for another lap around the hood.
Join chat on Detroit Lions at 4 p.m. on Thursday

(image)
Join me for a chat discussing the Detroit Lions at the special time of 4 p.m. on Thursday.

With the front-office firings, the departure of offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and two offensive line coaches and the involvement of owner Martha Firestone Ford in the process — it's a lively time for the Detroit Lions.

The 1-7 record has precipitated the changes. Now the team must focus on the final eight games of the season starting on Sunday at the Green Bay Packers (6-2).

Bring your questions, comments and suggestions. It's always fun. — Paula Pasche





How a text message can save a life
In high school, I went through a serious bout of depression when I felt like giving up on life. I wanted to talk to someone about it, but I was embarrassed and I didn't want to worry my parents. I knew if I called a hotline, my parents would overhear me on the phone and ask me what was going on. So, I kept silent. And luckily, it passed without me taking permanent action.

But many others aren't as lucky as I am and, if there isn't a person easily accessible to talk to, this could mean the difference between life and death.

Two years ago, the nonprofit Do Something started a 24-hour free Crisis Text Line to give people access to crisis counselors right at their fingertips. I wish this would have been around when I was in high school. And, nowadays, with teenagers more likely to send a text message than make a phone call, this service is imperative to saving lives.

Do Something's CEO Nancy Lublin said in a TED Talk this week, "The way we communicate with young people is by text, because that's how young people communicate."

(image)The nonprofit, which helps youth create social and environmental change, runs over 200 campaigns each year, and they first started using text messages to broadcast their campaigns to their members and ask for donations.

Lublin said that, often times, they would get texts back in response that had nothing to do with the project and one in particular inspired them to create the Crisis Line.

"The worst message we ever got said exactly this: 'He won't stop raping me. It's my dad. He told me not to tell anyone. Are you there?'"

"We realized we had to stop triaging this and we had to build a crisis text line for these people in pain. So we launched Crisis Text Line. ... In four months, we were in all 295 area codes in America."

Lublin said, because of the privacy of texting, teenagers are more likely to share the most private details of their lives that they would never say aloud.

"We get things like, 'I want to die. I have a bottle of pills on the desk in front of me.' And so the crisis counselor says, 'How about you put those pills in the drawer while we text?' And they go back and forth for a while. And the crisis counselor gets the girl to give her her address," said Lublin.

"The counselor triggers an active rescue while they're texting back and forth. ... And the next message that comes in says (from the mom), 'I had no idea, and I was in the house. We're in an ambulance on our way to the hospital.' ... The next message comes a month later, 'I just got out of the hospital. I was diagnosed as bipolar, and I think I'm going to be OK.'"

In the last two years, the organization has exchanged more than 6.5 million text messages and does an average of 2.41 active rescues each day.

While sometimes I think cell phones, texting and the constant connection to everyone has a negative impact on mental health, I applaud Lublin for finding the benefits of text messaging and using this to ultimately save lives.

"I want to use tech and data to make the world a better place. I want to use it to help that girl, who texted in about being raped by her father. Because the truth is we never heard from her again. And I hope that she is somewhere safe and healthy, and I hope that she sees this talk and she knows that her desperation and her courage inspired the creation of Crisis Text Line and inspires me every freaking day," she said.
Join live chat on Detroit Lions at 3 p.m. on Thursday
Join me for a live chat discussing the Detroit Lions at 3 p.m. on Thursday, just hours before the final preseason game at Ford Field against Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills.

With the final cuts due at 4 p.m. on Saturday, the Lions still have plenty of decisions to be made. They have 75 players on the roster and must get down to 53 by the deadline.

Bring your questions or comments. It's always a fun time ... Paula Pasche




Bisexuals are at greater risk of depression
As a straight woman and gay rights supporter, I have to admit, I haven't given much thought about the bisexual community. I am ashamed to say I have thought, "Just pick a team.”

I was shocked to read that, although bisexuals make up the largest percentage of the LGBT community, they are the most likely to experience mental illness. And I hung my head in shame because I knew that I too had held a stereotype against them.

With this week being Bisexual Awareness Week, I figured it was about time that I educate myself.

Results of a project by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's Social, Equity and Health Unit show that bisexuals experience discrimination from both the straight and gay communities and rarely have access to bi-specific resources.

We live in a world that is more accepting of gay people than ever before. But, still, it's difficult for many to understand what it means to be attracted to both sexes.

Maybe this quote by character Oberyn Martell from "Game of Thrones" can shed some light on how it feels to be bisexual.

When the character Olyver says to him, "Everyone has a preference,” Oberyn responds:

"Then everyone is missing half the world's pleasure. The gods made that, and it delights me. The gods made this... and it delights me. When it comes to war, I fight for Dorne. When it comes to love — I don't choose sides."
According to Advocate.com, bisexual women have a 46 percent chance of being raped, compared to a 17 percent chance for their straight counterparts and 13 percent for lesbians. They also have the lowest rate of social support when disclosing trauma. This is because bisexual women are sexually objectified in media and stereotyped as being slutty and pretending to be bisexual for attention.

Other shocking statistics, according to Health Research Funding:

  • Children who are abused are 6 times more likely to be bisexual than any other population demographic. 
  • In a 2009 survey of self-identifying heterosexuals, bisexuals were tolerated only slightly more than intravenous drug users. 
  • Most bisexuals won’t tell anyone about their sexual orientation until the age of 20. 
  • And, for teens that are bisexual, they are more likely to have suicidal thoughts and feelings than any other self-identified group.
Geez, no wonder they’re more likely to be depressed.

(image)Last week, "True Blood" actress Evan Rachel Wood, who came out as bisexual in 2011, revealed on
Twitter the personal struggles she's faced with her sexual orientation.

"The reality is that bisexual people face discrimination not only outside of our community, but also from within. And that can discourage them from engaging in and benefiting from the work that LGBT advocates are doing to address our mental, physical and sexual health," she tweeted @EvanRachelWood.

"Bisexual adults have double the rate of depression than heterosexual adults, and are more likely to engage in self-harming behavior, including attempting suicide."

She said she has battled for most of her life with not being "gay enough" or "straight enough."

"I can assure you that whatever 'straight privileged' I sometimes get accused of having gets erased by biphobia," she tweeted. "Remember, bisexuality doesn't mean halfway between gay or straight. It is its own identity. ... Point being, its ok. We do exist. Don't let anyone make you feel unworthy. No one knows your journey but you."
Detroit Lions — Nate Burleson sizes up Ameer Abdullah
Nate Burleson, who keeps a close eye on the Detroit Lions, likes what he sees from running back Ameer Abdullah. Really, who doesn’t?

The former Lions wide receiver  shared his thoughts on the NFL Network’s "NFL Total Access'' on Monday night.

Burleson said: “What he was able to do when he got the ball in his hands was exactly what we saw him do at Nebraska … What I loved the most is when he got into the interior and he was able to move in small spaces, he loves to put those feet down, give you a shoulder, give you a head and he doesn’t have a fear when he sees safeties and linebackers in front of him. For a rookie to get the ball and make moves like he does in short spaces, that’s going to carry this running game a long way. With the addition of Golden Tate and a healthy Calvin Johnson, Matt Stafford has a ton of weapons.”

Burleson had a good view of Abdullah, the Lions’ second-round pick, because he was a television color analyst for the Detroit call of the preseason game.

Burleson will also be in the booth on Thursday night with Matt Shepard and Rob Rubick for the Lions second preseason game at the Washington Redskins. It will air at 7:30 p.m. on WJBK-TV FOX 2.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Amazon.com. Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)
Wombat diagnosed with depression finds comfort in teddy bear
(image)Photos from InstagramDid you know that animals can suffer from mental illness too?

Meet Tonka, a 7-year-old wombat whose mom was hit and killed by a car when he was a baby and, a few years later, his home was destroyed by a cyclone.

Although animals can't tell us how they're feeling, Huffington Post reports that, during this time, Tonka lost 20 percent of his body fat. He was rescued by the Billabong Sanctuary in North Queensland, Australia four years ago, where he was diagnosed with clinical depression.

(image)The thing that gives Tonka the most comfort is a teddy bear. According to a press release, him and the stuffed animal are inseparable.

His handler, Samantha Sherman, said, "Many orphaned animals take comfort in cuddling teddies and Tonka just never grew out of it. He's really just a big baby at heart."

According to Everyday Health, humans of all ages can also find comfort in puppets, dolls, and stuffed animals. Stuffed animals play a strong role in therapy as they can provide a sense of security in times of stress.

In an interview with The Dodo, Kenneth B. Storey, a professor of biochemistry at Carleton University, said, "Animals that are clinically depressed likely have the same problems as do humans with the condition. The brains of all mammals are remarkably the same."

For more on Tonka, follow Samantha Sherman on Twitter @sammsherman2 or search #Tonkathewombat.

Monster Update

It's been a few months now since Clover and Lily joined the family here at Bad Dog Ranch.  The Handsome One has dubbed them Monsters.




I often refer to them as The Tall One and The White One. 


 
 
 They're pretty good girls.  Proper toilet habits have been established. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We can leave the bathroom door open now as the thrill of unspooling the toilet paper roll seems to have passed. 
 
 
 
 
 
Their personalities have asserted themselves.  For instance, Clover is inclined to whining.   
 
 
 
 
 
Lily displays stealth tendencies.  For example, as we're all heading down the hall together, she'll casually stop and scratch her ear.  Then she'll turn back and grab the coveted small kong,  This toy, at least in theory, belongs to Henry.
 
 
 


Speaking of Henry.  The Monsters have learned to play a bit less strenuously with him.  He fails to appreciate this kindness and is quite pushy with them.  Napoloen syndrome perhaps?  (Well now.  That's a blog post in itself.)
 
 
 

 
When The Monsters play with each other it's a no holds barred free for all.  The Tall One growls ferociously, seizes The White One's neck scruff and gives it a violent shake.  The White One responds by gleefully throwing herself unto the ground.  (Sigh.  Lately, it has been muddy outside.) 
 
 
 
 
 
The Tall One is able to walk through several inches of snow without getting her tummy wet.  Not only that, she is able to place her chin on the kitchen counter. 
 
 
 

 
The White One has taken over this chair on the back porch.  Notice the smug serenity as she gazes over her domain. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I can't figure out how to get the video on here but if you follow this link you can hear the song I like to sing to The Monsters.  Lucky for you though, Mel Torme' is singing it.
 
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson talks about his battle with depression

Have you ever pursued a dream, only to have it not work out?

Maybe you got denied the job you wanted or maybe someone told you that you weren't good enough.

And, when that happens, you have two choices. To keep trying or to give up.

This same thing happened to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. But obviously, as his 17 WWE championship wins show, he did not let this stop him.

It's hard to picture Johnson as anything but a fierce man with rock hard muscles who doesn't let anything bother him. He's probably the last person you would think suffered from depression. But he did -- at age 23 after he was cut from the Canadian Football League and wasn't drafted in the NFL.

Johnson talked about this time in his life on Oprah's Master Class Special.

"(My) dreams were dashed. You work so hard and then somebody's saying, well, you're just not good enough. ... At 23, you think your life is over," he said.

"I found that, with depression, one of the most important things you can realize is that you're not alone. You're not the first to go through it, and you're not going to be the last to go through it."

For Johnson, something good came out of one of the hardest experiences in his life. He found his true calling -- wrestling. And, he said, even when he was reoffered a spot on the Calgary Stampeders, he turned it down because he knew in his "heart of hearts" what he was meant to do. When his dad told him this was the biggest mistake of his life, he didn't listen.

"It wound up being one of the greatest chapters in my life," Johnson said.

Your dreams may change in the course of your lifetime, but never let anyone make you feel like you're not good enough to pursue your dreams. Keep fighting for what you want.

If you let your critics' opinions define you, you could be missing out on the greatest chapter of YOUR life.
Veterans and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
(image)Photo from silouan.comOnce a year, on Veterans Day, those who served our country are honored. But what about the other 364 days of the year? Do we think about these men and women then?

While serving, military men and women gave up so much for us Americans -- their safety, their homes and being with their families. Many missed the birth of their children, missed holidays and went months on end without seeing their wives or husbands. Yet, when they return home, life for many veterans don't go back to the way it was before they left. They are still sacrificing for us -- strangers they don't even know -- through the effects on their physical and mental health.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, about 11 to 20 percent of veterans who served in Afghanistan or Iraq suffer from PTSD, 12 percent of vets who served in the Gulf War (Desert Storm) and 15 percent of Vietnam veterans.

PTSD can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a terrifying event, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, an accident, war or natural disaster. Some symptoms of PTSD, according to WebMD, are:
  • Reliving: People with PTSD frequently relive their traumatic experience through memories, nightmares, flashbacks and/or hallucinations
  • Isolation: People with PTSD may avoid people or places that remind him or her of the traumatic experience. They may have trouble relating to others and lack the ability to feel or show affection.
  • Changes in sleep patterns and emotions: Many with PTSD find it difficult to fall or stay asleep; be irritable; experience outbursts of anger; have difficulty concentrating; and be "jumpy" or easily startled.
  • Physical symptoms: Some who suffer from PTSD may experience physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid breathing and muscle tension. 

At an event on Wednesday, Marine veteran Silouan Green, a native of LaPorte, Ind., talked about his recovery from PTSD. According to the Times of Northwest Indiana, Green was involved in a jet crash, which killed his co-pilot, left him with a fractured spine and resulted in him being diagnosed with PTSD upon returning home.

Green said that, if a veteran doesn't have a support system upon returning home, he or she may never seek help or know where to go for help. He said it's our job as American citizens to offer support. For Green, it was a man who taught him to play guitar and another man who gave him a deal on his motorcycle who helped him find a way to get help.

He said his healing came from selling all of his possessions except for one car and spending the next two years on the road.

"Riding across our great country, each mile allowed me the freedom to begin to dream again. I felt like a child again. I began to write, to sing, to learn the guitar – all the things I do today to make a living," he wrote on his website.

"Maybe you know what it’s like to be falling down the rabbit hole with nothing in sight but a black hole. ... I want you to live free. I want you to find what I found on the back of a motorcycle – identity, purpose and most of all, passion."

Here's some advice Green gave on his blog, Bound for Freedom, to help those who you think may be suffering from PTSD:

"1. Examine your own life. Don’t be afraid to reveal your own weaknesses so you can say, 'I don’t know what you are going through, but here is what I went through and this is how I did it.'

2. Take your loved one to a place they enjoy and you can talk – a park, a coffee shop, a drive, hunting, whatever they like.

3. After some time enjoying each other’s company bring up my first point, reveal yourself a little – Open this door to talk and tell them you’d like to help them and ask what is going on.

4. Repeat #3 until they open up  – Don’t be too pushy or intrusive, give them space, but don’t give up. I like to call it patiently present. Just be present. If they can’t unlock the darkness consuming them, they will die – literally and/or figuratively."

For those living with PTSD, for more information on how to get help, visit U.S. Department of Veterans Affair's website.
Detroit Lions — Levy, Pettigrew remain out
(image)ALLEN PARK — DeAndre Levy (hip) and Brandon Pettigrew (hamstring) remained out of Lions practice today (Thursday).
Levy hasn't practiced since Aug. 25 while Pettigrew was injured in Sunday's loss at San Diego.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (shoulder) and wide receiver Golden Tate (quad) were back at practice in the portion open to the media. Neither one worked on Wednesday. Both were also injured on Sunday.

Cornerback Darius Slay (ankle) who was limited in practice on Wednesday was back at work.
Matthew Stafford (upper right arm) practiced again on Thursday.

Detroit Lions — Barry Sanders made debut 26 years ago

ALLEN PARK — Twenty-six years ago today, Barry Sanders first worked his magic for the Detroit Lions.

Sanders, who had been the third overall draft pick for the Lions in 1989, was a holdout during training camp due to contract issues. So when he signed, he had just two days to prepare for his first game on Sept. 10, 1989, against the Phoenix Cardinals at the Pontiac Silverdome.

Coach Wayne Fontes didn’t start him since he didn’t know the offense.
(image)Boxscore with Barry Sanders' first series in debut with Lions.

In the third quarter, Sanders made his debut. He ran on four straight plays — 18 yards, 5 yards, 3 yards and then 3 yards for a touchdown.

The official scorer added one line after that Lions’ series: “The roar seemed to be restored.’’

In my years of sports writing I’ve looked at hundreds, maybe thousands, of boxscores and never seen a comment like that.

How fitting it was for a future Hall of Famer.

Sanders finished the game with nine carries for 71 yards.

Ten years later, when he retired he had 15,269 rushing yards and 99 rushing touchdowns.

(Read more about Barry Sanders and the other Lions’ greats, in my upcoming book, “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be published on Oct. 27. Pre-order here.)
How to avoid morning anxiety
Do you ever wake up to the shrill buzzer of your alarm with a tightness in your chest, a rapid heartbeat and/or a pit in your stomach? And you're tempted just to roll over and go back to sleep just so you don't have to deal with this feeling and face the day?

Waking up in the morning after a night's rest should be the least stressful part of the day. Yet, most mornings, I wake up with this inexpicable feeling of panic. Sometimes, shortly after I get out of bed, this feeling of anxiety melts away. Other times, it lasts for hours, even after I arrive at work.

So why does this happen? And how can you prevent it?

Some causes of morning anxiety may be low blood sugar, a fear of being late, nightmares, lack of sleep, and/or a stressful job.

Here are some tips for making the transition from a peaceful sleep to waking up more pleasant, according to trans4mind.com:

  • Switch your alarm clock noise to your favorite music or gradual pleasant chimes that increase in volume and frequency. Right now, my alarm sounds similar to a foghorn, so I'm thinking this suggestion could really help me out.
  • Place your alarm clock (or phone) out of arm's reach so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. I started practicing this last week by plugging my phone into the bathroom wall instead of by my bed. Also, check out this runaway alarm clock on Amazon
  • Put your robe and slippers next to your bed so you can stay warm and comfy as you climb out from under your covers.
  • Keep a snack that contains "good" complex carbohydrates and protein by your bed to eat right after you wake up. You went the whole night without food, so your brain may have "run out of fuel" as you slept. Some good carbs are nuts, whole grain crackers, pretzels or a granola bar.
  • Turn on upbeat music as you get ready for your day. 
  • Change how you perceive waking up. Practice thinking positively when you wake up and say out loud, "What a wonderful day!" 

Here's an example from the TV show "Friends" of how you should be starting your day:
Fluffy and George on Jack-o'-Lanterns
 
 

(image)
The U.S. Dept. of Energy
claims that jack-o'-lanterns
are contributing to global
warming.
 
 
 
 
 
 




(image)
Let me guess.
All those little candles
inside the pumpkins
burning at the same time
super heat the earth.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(image)
No. Pumpkins decaying in
landfills make methane which
is now considered more dangerous
than carbon dioxide.
 
 
 
 
 
(image)
So you can't compost them.
  Because of methane.
  Can't eat them.
Methane.
 
 
 
 
 
(image)
Yep.  More dangerous
than greenhouse gas.
 
 
 
 
 
 
(image)
We seem to be painted
into a corner.
 
 
 
 
 
 
(image)
Good thing the
globe is round.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Day Laborers



There are many grasshoppers and crickets and spiders to be eaten. 


It's a big job.  The staff can barely keep up.
 
 
 
 
 
Some neighbor ducks came over to help out.
 
 
 
 
 
 
This turkey work crew came out of the woods.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Later, the neighbor ducks headed back across the road.
 
 
 
 
 
 
The turkeys went back into the woods. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The staff went to the break room.
 
Don't Tell Me What to Do

The last straw was the vinegar.

The groceries were paid for and bagged.  Time to head out of the store. That's when I saw the jug of vinegar on the bottom rack of the grocery cart.  I'd forgotten to put it on the conveyor belt.  The person behind me already had half of her groceries rung up.  I suggested to Cashier and Bag Boy that they return the vinegar to the shelf when things slowed down.

"No, no," said the cashier, grabbing the jug of vinegar.  "Three isn't busy".  

"You're not listening,"  I muttered, following the cashier and the vinegar to Checkout 3.  She sure wasn't because before I knew it, the number three cashier had rung up the vinegar.  There was a customer on Checkout 3 just unloading the last of her groceries.  I apologized to her.

"Have a nice day," said original cashier.  "Have a nice day," said number three cashier.







I took my puppies to "puppy class".  It's a nice way to expose them to other dogs, socialization, and all that.  Besides, a little brush up on training techniques never does me any harm. (Or so I used to think.)

"You should clicker train your dogs,"  said the instructor, handing me clicker.  (Free with your enrollment in 6 weeks of doggy school!  I've got a collection of them already.)

I explained that I've tried clicker training and find it adds another layer of difficulty what with juggling the clicker and the leash and getting the timing right.  I've found using my voice is more effective.

"But you can teach your dog so much better with a clicker,"  the instructor declared.






One of my neighbors, self appointed social secretary, informed me that another neighbor wanted to meet me and my dogs.  Though I had no particular desire for this confrontation, er, ordeal, er, get together, in the spirit of neighborliness, I agreed that the two women could come to my home for the, er, introductions.

Social secretary neighbor suggested she bring some dessert!  I told her that this would be a brief meeting and we would not even be sitting down during it, let alone eating (though I said it a little nicer than that).






There we were, the, er, pleasantries underway, the resident ducks could be seen wandering around the grounds.

"You should pen those ducks," neighbor told me.  "They could get taken out by a predator." 

Pointing to the duck house, I told her that they are confined there at night when the risk of dying by predator is most likely.

"Foxes come right up, even during the day,"  neighbor said. 

Ducks need to walk around and forage for bugs, I countered.  Yes, there are risks to allowing them free range.  Sure, stuck in a pen all the time might keep them from being attacked by a fox, but I have decided to let them roam, let them be ducks.    

"There are hawks too,"  neighbor added.







I find the Serenity Prayer works best after a rant.



God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.




Detroit Lions blog — Preseason ratings show NFL is king
(image)It’s always curious to see television ratings for Detroit Lions’ preseason games. We’ll get the first numbers after Thursday’s preseason opener against the Jets at Ford Field.

Look, I know the NFL is popular, but even I was shocked at the ratings numbers for the Hall of Fame game on Sunday night with the Vikings against the Steelers.

The 6.9 overnight rating was astronomical. Adrian Peterson and Ben Roethlisberger were not even playing.

According to Pro Football Talk, that 6.9 overnight rating was higher than Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final; the Indy 500;, Game 1 of both the American League and National League Championship Series; and Game 1 of both the NBA Eastern and Western Conference finals.

Think about it. That is amazing.

No doubt about it, the NFL is king.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Amazon.com. Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)
How to stop being a worry wart

I am a worry wart.

I worry about everything from "Does my boss like me? Does he think I'm doing a good job?" to "Did I put deodorant on this morning?"

But excessive worrying can have negative effects on the body. WebMD reports that daily worrying triggers the fight or flight response, which causes the body’s sympathetic nervous system to release stress hormones such as cortisol. This hormone can cause immediate physical symptoms, such as:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches 
  • Irritability 
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea
And, according to WebMD this can led to serious physical consequences in the long run, such as:

  • Digestive disorders
  • Muscle tension
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Premature coronary artery disease
  • Heart attack
So, what can you do to stop worrying so much?


Take a deep  breath.
According to the American Institute of Stress, deep abdominal breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness.

Exercise daily.

My biggest problem is, after I have a stressful day at work, the last thing I want to do is exercise. Instead, as soon as I get home, I plop myself on the couch and turn on Netflix. But this does little to reduce the damaging effects of stress.

WebMD reports that regular aerobic and strengthening exercise is a very effective way to train your body to deal with stress under controlled circumstances. The chemicals released during moderate exercise can also enhance the immune system.

Seek social support.


Stress isn't something you should have to deal with on your own. Talk to a therapist, family and/or friends about what is going on. Spending time with people you care about can be a buffer against stress.

Ask yourself "Is there anything I can do about it?"


With legitimate worries, schedule time in your day to brainstorm ways to fix your concerns. But many of your worries are simply out of your control.

Meditate.


The Huffington Post reports that meditating affects the anterior cingulate cortex and ventromedial prefrontal cortex brain regions (which control emotions, thinking and worrying).

Take a break from technology. 


Sometimes I find myself scrolling through Facebook and, all of the sudden, a couple hours have passed. This doesn't help my mental health, that's for sure. In order to help lower your stress levels, set aside time away from technology. Regain control instead of letting yourself be controlled by your phone or computer.

Get 7-9 hours of sleep.

WebMD reports that, when you are tired, you are less patient and more easily agitated, which can increase stress.

Write down your worries. 


By writing down your worries, you'll feel as if you're releasing them from your brain.

Ask yourself "Will this matter a year from now?"


Most of the things that I thought were the end of the world a year, or even a month, ago, I don't even remember now. Whenever you start to worry, remind yourself of this -- "Will this matter a year from now?" Write a note and tape it to your desk at work or your bathroom mirror. It may help you put things into perspective.

Lady Gaga launches social media initiative -- #IamNotJust
This past weekend, Lady Gaga launched a new social media initiative through her Born this Way Foundation, using the hashtag #IamNotJust. She invites people to fill in the blank -- taking a stand against the way others label them.

Gaga, born Stefani Germanotta, posted on her Instagram account yesterday, "This is about changing people's behavior, changing culture, changing the tone of how we value our feelings."

On the outside, it may seem like Gaga is the epitome of self confidence. But she too has dealt with self doubt and is no stranger to being labeled.

Do you remember when Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro called her a slut? Or when, in 2012, the band Die Antwoord made fun of Gaga for her weight gain?

She says that, in her school days, she was bullied and made fun of for her appearance. Cynthia Germanotta, her mother and president of the Born this Way Foundation, said in an interview with the Daily Beast, "(Gaga) was creative and unequivocally her own person, but her peers didn’t always appreciate the things that made her unique—and different. As a result, they would sometimes taunt, humiliate, or exclude her."

"This mean-spirited treatment did more than sting in the moment—it shook Stefani’s confidence. The persistent, thoughtless cruelty of her peers caused Stefani to question her identity and self-worth."

Germanotta said this self-doubt led to anxiety, depression and self destructive behavior. And, in a recent interview with Billboard, Gaga said she still suffers from depression and anxiety "every single day."

Because of her own struggles with depression, Gaga created the Born this Way Foundation to show teens that they are not alone.

She told Billboard, "I just want these kids to know that that depth that they feel as human beings is normal. We were born that way. This modern thing, where everyone is feeling shallow and less connected? That's not human."

"This is my life purpose, this foundation. This is why I was brought to life, I think."

Despite what others may have said about her in her life, Gaga didn't let that stop her. She marches to her own drum. And, by staying true to the person she is and, as a child, not letting the taunts of other students in school define her, she is now not only a household name but, more importantly, is a role model for others. We could learn a lot from Gaga -- to, instead of letting our past hold us hostage, to use it to help others going through the same thing.

Here's my #IamNotJust:


Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 39

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Today's question involves the whereabouts of a snake named Elvis.  Some Floridian harboring a death wish has been harboring a Cobra.  On or about September 1st the Cobra escaped.



A couple days later, snake boy reported the missing Cobra.  Soon, folks in Orlando tread with trepidation, school children were denied recess.  Snake fear specifically, and in general, reached new heights thanks to a guy who let his highly venomous pet go on walkabout. 

About a month later, the Cobra turned up and was corralled by animal control. Where was the snake finally found?

Bryan?



 
Behind the wheel of a Ford Cobra?
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  incorrect. 
Fluffy?
 
 
 
 
 
In the company of a gang of sewer alligators?
 
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Cyndi?
 
 
 
 
 
In a child's backpack?
 
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  You have to wonder if this guy will get in trouble for endangering people and inconveniencing children.  He was charged by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission for waiting more than two days before reporting the snake missing.  He has pled not guilty.  If it goes to trial, perhaps Elvis will be called as a character witness.
 
 
Where was the snake called Elvis found?
Bryan?
 
 
 
 
 
Working in a pet store in Kalamazoo?
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Molly?
 
 
 
 
 
Hiding in a squirrel's nest? 
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Fluffy?
 
 
 
 
 
In a laundry basket waiting
 to be charmed out of a pile of clothes?
 
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  close enough.
 
 
 
 
Here's what happened.  A woman living about a half mile from where Elvis the Cobra escaped, was doing some laundry in her garage.  She heard a curious hissing sound.  Upon investigation, she discovered the missing snake coiled and annoyed under her dryer.
 
Animal control officers caught the snake but it was too large for their snake cage so they put it in a cat cage.  Elvis is said to be somewhere between 8 and 10 feet in length.
 
So ends another round of Pop Culture Frenzy.
 
 
 
 
 
Round 39 
Fluffy/Molly  17
Bryan/Cyndi   15
 
 
 
 
 
Detroit Lions — SI's Peter King sees them as a surprise in NFC
(image)Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, who writes at MMQB.si.com, visited Detroit training camp last week and saw what I’ve seen all spring and through the first weeks of camp.



Now he has high praise for the Detroit Lions and thinks they could be the NFC’s surprise team.



In his MMQB column published today (Monday), he wrote: “All along, I’ve had this thought that Minnesota would be my surprise team of the NFC. Then I came to Allen Park, Mich., to watch the Lions practice, and saw rookie back Ameer Abdullah run through everyone on defense, and watched one of the two or three most intense practices of our tour, and saw a healthy Calvin Johnson shred the defense like the pre-ankle-injury days. And I imagine that Caraun Reid and others we’ve never heard of can play well enough in the middle of the defensive line to soften the death blow of losing Ndamukong Suh.’’




He’s also changed his mind about Suh. Weeks/months ago he didn’t think the Lions could handle Suh’s loss. He also talked to Stafford about the Packers. Good stuff.

Always interesting to get the perspective of a veteran writer who has been to several training camps.



(image)Brady the goldenKing is a good guy too — known for his love of golden retrievers. So when he stopped in the media work room that day I showed him photos of my golden Brady who I adopted 11 months ago after my neighbor found him sitting in a park. 

Honestly, he sat down and wanted to hear the whole story. I guess it’s better to talk about Brady the golden than Brady and Deflategate. 

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Amazon.com. Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)
Don't Tell Me What to Do

The last straw was the vinegar.

The groceries were paid for and bagged.  Time to head out of the store. That's when I saw the jug of vinegar on the bottom rack of the grocery cart.  I'd forgotten to put it on the conveyor belt.  The person behind me already had half of her groceries rung up.  I suggested to Cashier and Bag Boy that they return the vinegar to the shelf when things slowed down.

"No, no," said the cashier, grabbing the jug of vinegar.  "Three isn't busy".  

"You're not listening,"  I muttered, following the cashier and the vinegar to Checkout 3.  She sure wasn't because before I knew it, the number three cashier had rung up the vinegar.  There was a customer on Checkout 3 just unloading the last of her groceries.  I apologized to her.

"Have a nice day," said original cashier.  "Have a nice day," said number three cashier.







I took my puppies to "puppy class".  It's a nice way to expose them to other dogs, socialization, and all that.  Besides, a little brush up on training techniques never does me any harm. (Or so I used to think.)

"You should clicker train your dogs,"  said the instructor, handing me clicker.  (Free with your enrollment in 6 weeks of doggy school!  I've got a collection of them already.)

I explained that I've tried clicker training and find it adds another layer of difficulty what with juggling the clicker and the leash and getting the timing right.  I've found using my voice is more effective.

"But you can teach your dog so much better with a clicker,"  the instructor declared.






One of my neighbors, self appointed social secretary, informed me that another neighbor wanted to meet me and my dogs.  Though I had no particular desire for this confrontation, er, ordeal, er, get together, in the spirit of neighborliness, I agreed that the two women could come to my home for the, er, introductions.

Social secretary neighbor suggested she bring some dessert!  I told her that this would be a brief meeting and we would not even be sitting down during it, let alone eating (though I said it a little nicer than that).






There we were, the, er, pleasantries underway, the resident ducks could be seen wandering around the grounds.

"You should pen those ducks," neighbor told me.  "They could get taken out by a predator." 

Pointing to the duck house, I told her that they are confined there at night when the risk of dying by predator is most likely.

"Foxes come right up, even during the day,"  neighbor said. 

Ducks need to walk around and forage for bugs, I countered.  Yes, there are risks to allowing them free range.  Sure, stuck in a pen all the time might keep them from being attacked by a fox, but I have decided to let them roam, let them be ducks.    

"There are hawks too,"  neighbor added.







I find the Serenity Prayer works best after a rant.



God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.




Is depression an acceptable excuse to call in sick to work?
According to a survey of 1,000 business owners and CEOs, 35 percent said being depressed is an acceptable reason to call in to work. 

Radio hosts Dave & Chuck the Freak addressed this on a recent show (Listen here at 32 minutes and 33 seconds). They were baffled that anyone would call in sick for being depressed or anxious. Dave said his boss would probably hang up on him after saying, “You’re calling into work because you’re sad?” and “Snap out of it.”

“I would just try to take a Xanax and calm down and deal with it,” Dave said. “I would be judged as the crazy depressed guy.”

(image)Dave & Chuck the Freak
One listener, Cheryl Lynn, wasn’t too thrilled about the hosts’ take on mental illness and made a video response on her YouTube channel.

“I want it to be known that what you guys said is part of the problem. It’s part of the stigma that’s associated with mental health,” said Cheryl, who was in the Final 4 in WRIF’s Rock Girl contest. “I have depression. I have anxiety. … It can be because of a chemical imbalance. There’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t ‘pull it together.’”

“The world needs us all to come together to find a solution and to be OK to talk about mental health just like we’re OK to talk about cancer. … Too many people are killing themselves because they feel like they can’t talk about it because of this negative stigma.”


(image)Cheryl Lynn
She stressed that she is not asking people to boycott the station and that she will still listen to the show every day. But she called what they said on the show “unacceptable.” She said that someone who is depressed or anxious is not any less than anyone else who is sick.

“It is a disease and it does need treatment. It needs to be taken seriously,” she said.

While working at The Oakland Press, I called in sick once because of a rough bout of depression. It was so bad that I physically felt sick. I only got two hours of sleep the night before, I felt like I was going to throw up, and I had a splitting headache. I honestly felt like I couldn’t drive, even if I wanted to.

I told one of my bosses the truth about why I wasn’t coming in to work. And she let me talk to her about what was going on and provided resources for me to seek help. That’s how a boss should react – not say, “Get over it.”


I had four sick days left for the year when I asked for that day off. I feel that, as long as you have sick days available, then it doesn’t matter if you are sick mentally or physically. You have the right to that time off. Sicknesses should be treated equal; you would never be judged for calling in with a flu -- although, I don’t know about you, but I would hands down rather have the flu than depression. 
They Found Me

There are many things about living in suburbia that I do not miss.  For instance, the common occurrence whereby a car stuffed with people parks on the street. The people pile out.  After a brief huddle, they break into pairs and each pair heads off in a different direction.

That's right.  Jehovah Witnesses doing their thing.




Now that I am living rural, I figured the JW wouldn't bother bothering me anymore.




Not so.




Even though my house is some distance from the road, indeed, is barely visible from the road, still they came.  A car stuffed with people. 





I saw the car and went out to see who they were.  The car was pulling away.  A young man in the passenger seat told me they left me a pamphlet.





Sure enough.  There was a pamphlet on the back porch.  "Where can we find answers to life's big questions?" asks the pamphlet in bold letters.

On the next page, you are invited to visit the JW web site for the answers.  JW don't even bother to talk to us non JWs anymore.  They've got a website!  Must be quite the time saver.





The car stuffed full of JWs drove away before I could ask each one of them for their home address.




I was thinking of showing up uninvited at each of their homes and leaving a Rosary on their back porch.
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