Monthly Archives: May 2008

Conquering the Fear of Flying – Valley Scene Magazine

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Here is my latest piece in Valley Scene.
 
 

It is notably doubtful that there is a single human alive who has not experienced fear. Maybe it was that spider in the bathtub making it’s way to your foot. Perhaps it was the loud backfire of the neighbor’s van. Or possibly you have a fear which is profound and lasting. If so, this may be more of phobia than just a "Yikes, that freaked me out" kind of fear. Phobias are typically a specific, intense and irrational fear. And phobias are under the umbrella of anxiety disorders.

The real difficulty with phobias is when they disrupt your life or the lives of those around you. If Mary has a fear of dolphins and she lives in Indiana, this phobia is likely not going to cause much disruption for her. But if Jim has a fear of flying and he is a Traveling Sales Manager for a Fortune 500 company, then poor ole Jimbo has got himself an issue.

The fear of flying, also known as aerophobia, is fairly widespread phobia which can have some devastating consequences. Edmund Bourne, PhD. stated in his Anxiety and Phobia Workbook that this fear is so common that approximately 10 percent of the population will avoid planes all together and another 20 percent will experience significant anxiety while flying. A person with aerophobia in all likelihood is afraid of the plane crashing. But there are also could be many other components such as, heights, enclosed spaces, turbulence and maybe the most common contributor – the lack of control. The anxiety that arises from a specific phobia such as a fear of flying does not only occur when a passenger is belted into her flotation device, but the anticipatory anxiety usually reeks havoc for sometimes long periods prior to the event itself.

According to Bourne there are several ways to treat a fear of flying: Relaxation Training, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and/or Exposure Therapy.

Relaxation training is just what it says – training a person how to relax. Not only the mind, but the body must learn how to intentionally and consciously relax itself. Mindful relaxation or even meditation is not only very helpful in anxious phobic situations, but practicing these exercises can be quite beneficial to a person’s overall health. When learning to relax oneself, the practitioner will coach to the patient on the uses of abdominal breathing and muscle relaxation.

Cognitive behavior therapy sounds fancy and complicated, but it is really just a matter of replacing negative and irrational thoughts with realistic and calming thoughts. With many anxiety disorders, Catastrophic Thinking is a huge part of the problem. "The plane is too heavy, it will certainly crash." "I know I will flip out in the plane and embarrass myself completely." "I am flying to New York; there will probably be a terrorist on the plane." These are examples of catastrophic thinking. With cognitive behavioral therapy, the patient will learn how to replace these thoughts with ones which are more supportive and healthy by challenging the negative statements with facts. "Have I ever devastatingly embarrassed myself in public before? No. So, what are the chances of it happening this time? Little to no chance." "Hundreds of flights into JFK a day and how many terrorist situations have you heard about? One. Then what are the chances it will happen to THIS flight TODAY? Little to no chance."

Exposure therapy can sound scary in itself, but it is an extremely effective long term tool to eliminate the fear completely. We hear all of the time, "It is best to face your fears." And essentially, that is what exposure therapy is all about. However it is done in a way that is more controlled and on a gradual scale. For example: A patient and his therapist may tackle the fear of flying by slowing exposing the patient to all of the steps to flying. They may first simply drive to the airport. A few days later they may actually walk into the airport. And next, get onto a plane only for a moment without actually going anywhere. While reassurance is slowly gained and confidence is being built – the fear begins to fade.

Most of us probably know someone who has a fear of flying. Many celebrities have admitted to this fear. Whoopi Goldberg (who takes her bus everywhere – even over seas), Aretha Franklin and Bob Newhart are just a few. Unless one has Miss Goldberg’s kind of cash flow, this fear may need to be dealt with in order to get through life more comfortably. Avoidance is not always possible – nor healthy – and being panic stricken is no way to live. So, know there are ways to get past this dilemma and even the most fearful fliers may just one day pocket their very own pilot’s license.

The Origin of the Tricycle

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Here is a story I wrote for Valley Scene Magazine (was assigned – I didn’t CHOOSE the topic LOL). The link below is only good for a couple weeks.
 
 
 

Ah, the wind in your hair and the burn in your thighs produce nothing but smiles across your face as you speed through the neighborhood.  You try to maneuver faster and faster to impress all those who look on admiring the coolness before them. The chrome reflects the summer sun and the smell of the rubber on the asphalt are like nothing else.  Behold your awesome new bike. Tricycle bike that is.

 

We have all experienced that childhood joy of the tricycle and if not we certainly have become accustom to seeing them blazing around parks and your local vicinity. But I am willing to bet that not many of us thought much about from whence these strange little vehicles came.

 

Today, in America, when we think of ‘tricycle’, most of us likely imagine the little red and chrome three wheeled vehicles with plastic ribbons on the handles and the little ‘ching ching’ bell.  But the tricycle has come a long way baby. In fact, in years past, these little bikes were not for babies at all, nor were they little.

 

In 1680 there was a paraplegic German man who found himself in need of transportation in order to make it to church on Sundays. Stephan Farffler was his name and he painstakingly created the very first known tricycle which was powered by a hand crank.  This really puts my under deserving pride into check after beating my chest for skillfully putting together my daughter’s Radio Flyer.

 

Later in 1789, two men by the names Blanchard and Maguier invented a foot pedaled tricycle. This gained enough popularity for the Journal de Paris to define the words tricycle and bicycle for the very first time. The first patented tricycle was in England by Denis Johnson in the year 1818.

 

As the evolution of the three wheeled bike continued, James Starley created the Coventry Lever Tricycle which was a side driven lever variety and this is the one that started a trike craze in England. By 1884, Great Britain was over run with 120 various models of the tricycles.  Many believe that the greater love of these bikes over the two wheeled bicycles was due to safety and convenience.  The added third wheel gave the bike more stability thus preventing injuries.

 

During this tricycle bonanza, children were finally figured into the mix.  Most were homemade out of wood for the kiddos. And this product idea quickly made its way across the ocean and became a part of life for the American children.  Later in the 1880s the tricycles started being made from steel.  Also, during this time, it was discovered that front steering and chain driven tricycles were the better way to go – again for safety concerns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is typically (but not always) one of three types of tricycles:

 

  1. The Delta. This is the most popular with 2 wheels in the back and 1 in the front.  The back wheels drive the bike while the front wheel is for steering.

 

  1. The Tadpole. This one has 2 wheels in the front which do the steering and one wheel in the back for the driving. Essentially the opposite from which we are familiar.

 

  1. The iL3. This tricycle is a 3 wheeled inline bike. 2 of the wheels again are for steering and one for driving. 

 

 

In the US, most of those reading this have probably always considered the tricycle to be a child’s toy. But as you can see, it certainly did not start out that way. And we seem to be entering a new trike era as adults are now beginning to see their appeal once again.

 

Aside from being used for load carrying and freight (including the trike rickshaws – why does Kramer pop into my head?), recumbent tricycles are becoming all the rage for American adults. Whether it is the comfort, the greater stability or the ability to turn on a dime – recumbent trikes fulfill a desire for many enthusiasts across the country.  And they also provide a source of transportation for those with special needs.

 

Some say that the invention of the wheel was the single most important development in human history. But I have a feeling that putting three of those wheels together is what is truly appreciated by quite a few – from that bell ringing kid down the block to the avid racer whizzing by daily. After all, how much fun can you really have with just one wheel?

 

Thursday May 15, 2008

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Hey all. Hope everyone is doing well. I am – well – breathing. That is good, right? Seriously though, I am okay.  I SHOULD be better considering we went on a short getaway last weekend. We stayed in Madison for 2 nights. I wanted to just relax and be well rested upon returning to our loud, fatiguing lives. And the trip WAS relaxing. But well rested, I am not.  Charlie gets up at like 4am and I am a super light sleeper, so I do not get much rest after that either. I have a hard time getting to sleep and he has a hard time staying asleep. A good pair that does not make. But the trip was still nice.

 

We went to a comedy club on Saturday night and that was fun. We saw a comedian known as “Uncle Lar”, Larry Reeb.  He was pretty funny and I remembered him from various TV shows. 

 

On Sunday we went to the new Sundance Theatre which was opened just last year by Robert Redford.  It was nice. Definitely not the typical movie houses I am used to.  You actually pick your seats (an NO Mom, I do not mean pick the underwear out of your butt) when you buy your tickets. The concession stand carries Pellegrino, Cappuccinos, Smoothies and FRUIT!! Fruit?? While watching a movie?? What kind of sac-relig is that shit?? So, risking the damning looks, I insisted on still ordering popcorn. The popcorn was WHITE!! White popcorn? Weird. And the butter? Real. That whole concession stand fiasco was a doozey.

 

We get to our plush reclining seats in time for the usher to enthusiastically announce the movie as the curtains open. Not a single commercial was shown, only a couple trailers for some foreign films. Thankfully, once the movie started, everything was once again right with the world. And it was a wonderful movie, The Life Before Her Eyes – one of the best I have seen in a long, long time. I wrote a review about it – check it out.  Anyway, the movie made me VERY emotionally. It really struck me on several levels. So we actually had to sit in the theatre after the ending for a while so I could regain some composure and wipe my salty, snotty face. I was so drained. We walked around the mall there for a bit, bought some gifts and then headed back to the hotel for some hot tub and room service and good ole TV.

 

All and all it was a good little – I stress LITTLE – trip. Next time, I need more days and my own room!!

 

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I am a wee stressed at the moment.  My husband is buying a boat today. Can we afford it? Oh how you make me laugh. No. No, we cannot afford it.  But he just wouldn’t let up on it. Been harping for years.  Then, he figures out how to really get me. He brings up taking the kids out on his little piece of crap, 3 inches from the top of the water boat. Well of course I said ‘no freakin’ way’!! Then, in a moment of weakness…I tell him if he can find a decent used boat with a cuddy cabin for 5k or less, he can get it.  So, he found this one on Craigslist. It happened to be 5 mins from our house. It ALSO happens to be $6800 bucks!! We were finally at a point where we had a savings and living fairly comfortable. Now we will be back to where we were – with debt. This is so not cool. But what’s done is done and I just have to deal with it I guess.

 

Here is the boat we are buying – It is a 1994 20′ Rinker Captiva:

 

 

 

 

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I am FINALLY just beginning to get over this horrible allergy, sinus, sickness, infection thing – whatever it is!! Ugh. About 2 weeks ago my allergies were going nuts. I was sneezing like a crazy person and my eyes were watering like faucets. I guess the “Oak” pollen count was really high. Well, then I started to get this nasty cough, sore throat, congestion and a bunch of really attractive, lovely symptoms. My Zyrtec helped, but not completely. I can tell now that it is finally getting better. Thankfully!! It was gross. Seriously. I will spare you the details. You’re welcome.

 

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Okay…so Monday is the beginning of suck ass time. Why suck ass? Because I am starting a new diet and fitness plan on Monday. I hate diets. I hate fitness. Both suck ass. Thus the beginning of suck ass time. I am thinking this will be a couple months worth of suck ass. So, expect much complaining and whining and general bitchiness.

 

I joined E-Diets Deliciously Yours Meal Delivery Plan. Every week I will get my meals Fed-ex’d to me. Each day I get a prepared Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snack. I add 3 fruit servings and 2 fat free dairy servings to that daily menu. And that is what I get to eat. Hooray.  I also have a totally planned out fitness program which includes treadmill, hand weights and resistance exercises. This is going to suck (ass) and I know it. But I HAVE to lose this weight. I am not a fat girl and I refuse to have the body of a fat girl. I will likely always be big. I never expect to wear bikinis again – at least I won’t look the same in them!! But I want to lose at least 20 lbs. I will keep you updated. In fact, I may have a separate section on my page just for my diet journal.  I will think about it.  If you check out the link and decide to join yourself, tell ‘em I sent ya…maybe I will get a discount or something LOL.

 

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So, I don’t think I told ya yet…but I am going to see John Edward again in August. I am very excited and EXTREMLY grateful that I am getting this chance again.  I really do promise this time not to get so disappointed if I do not get a reading. Just the whole experience of being there is spectacular and there really is no room for disappointment!! My mom and I are going and staying in a hotel for a couple nights as a getaway. I think it will be nice. I am really looking forward to it.

 

Well, I think that is about it for today’s bloggy poo. I am exhausted and I need to make some dinner for the kiddos. Talk at ya soon!!

Controversial P.E.T.A. Commercials

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Here are a couple commercials made by P.E.T.A.  While I sometimes find their tactics to be wacky and out of hand, I have to admit that I do like these commercials. They are pretty funny and make some really good points. What do you think? Apparently they are being banned in certain cities and from certain stations.
 
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The Life Before Her Eyes: A Review

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This past weekend I went to the Sundance Theatre in Madison, WI and experienced a movie which…well… knocked me on my butt (for lack of a better explanation).  Before entering the fancy, upscale theatre, I knew nothing about the film I was about to watch. I had not seen a trailer or read even a single a word about The Life Before Her Eyes.  A movie directed by Vadim Perelman and starring Uma Thurman, Evan Rachel Wood and Eva Amurri was indeed about to surprise and envelop me in a way I have not savored in quite some time. 

 

This will not be an easy review to write as I almost want others to go into it with the same blindness and blank slate which I possessed.  I think that the lack of expectations or predictions really helped put it on an entirely different level for me. But alas, this is indeed a review – and review I shall.  However, I will certainly do my best to keep spoilers at bay.

 

The Life Before Her Eyes was not only gorgeous and gripping visually with stellar artistic direction and cinematography, but was also soulfully beautiful.  The writing was kept so familiar and recognizable. The acting was subtle and appropriate. I cannot think of a single complaint and I assure you, I will be seeing this film again and for more reasons than those I stated above. You will realize those reasons after watching it yourself.

 

As the film begins, we quickly recognize that Uma Thurman’s character, Diana, is a 30-something married woman living the would-be storybook life as a mother and an Art History Teacher in the town where she grew up. We also learn that in her senior year of high school she experiences a horrifying and gruesome school shooting. Throughout the movie we witness the tragic heartache of this woman dealing with a great amount of survivor’s guilt and post traumatic stress disorder – which Thurman portrayed authentically.

 

The story does go back and forth from “past” to “present” every few minutes and typically I would find this far too distracting and annoying. But Perelman succeeds at making these transitions very smooth and beautiful and at just the most perfect moments.  The use of flashbacks and metaphors are a true gift the Director gives to the audience.  He lets us think. And it was not condescending to the viewer in the least.  We are given images and allowed to see their meaning for ourselves.

 

In the “past” visions, we see a rebellious Diana who smokes, has sex and smarts off whenever she gets the chance. We are also introduced to her best friend, Maureen, played by Eva Amurri.  There friendship is one many girls can familiarize with – and the ones that can’t, wish they could. As different as Diana and church-going Maureen are – they are connected by the hip throughout the flashbacks…and forever by the heart. 

 

Diana is a complicated mess of a teen who desperately needed the support and balance Maureen could provide.  And as we see teenage Diana unravel, grown up Diana begins to fade into a similar emotional tunnel.  And soon it is evident that the movie all comes down to a choice. A choice made by teenage Diana during that fateful day of the shooting.  How does that choice affect her future? How does it affect Maureen’s? The whole concept of “Wings of a butterfly…” has been done before, sure.  But never in such a moving, gut wrenching and so strangely real way.

 

I used all of my tissue before the end of the movie.  And this ending was one that not only dropped my jaw, but also had me using my sleeve as a Kleenex substitution.  After sitting in the theatre regaining my composure and catching my breath, I was left in a very contemplative and thoughtful zone.  I still cannot seem to get the movie out of my head, days later. If that is not a sign of a good flick, then I do not know what is.

 

TRYING to win this darn contest with a bunch of cheaters!!

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Update Wednesday May 14th – Tho I did make the Top 20 and will receive a nice gift, I did not win the contest. But thank you to all who voted for me…it truly means SO much!!!
 
 
UPDATE Sunday May 11th –
 
Hi all!!! Happy Mother’s day!
 
Soooo…I made the top 20 on the Philosophy contest. Which is great and thank you so very very much to all of you who voted for me. But I have to ask you just one more favor. Today, and today only, there is one more vote to choose the top of the 20 entries. Each person gets to vote once for their favorite story. If you have the time today – by 11pm – can you please visit the link below and vote just one last time? I would be eternally grateful!!!!!
 
Thank you so much. Love ya and have a great Sunday!
 
Heather
 
http://www.yourmomsphilosophy.com/viewstory.aspx?rid=1888639&p=1 This link should direct you to my story, if not – Make sure it is Rebecca From Wisconsin 🙂
 
 
 
 
Okay, so IAm trying to win this contest at Philosophy.com. I wrote a little essay about how my mom’s philosophies of raising me have aided me thru life. Well, this contesthas turned into a death match. Intead of voting people up, there are a number of people on there who are voting people down over and over again. You can vote as many times as you want as long as you close the browsers and keep clicking the link. I went from the middle of the top 20 (where you need to be to have a chance of winning this Sunday – May 11th) to wayyy off the list  in one night. And there are people on the Top 20 with one sentence entries. Ridiculous.
 
So, if you are bored – I would reallllllyyyyy LOVE to have your votes – as many as possible. You have to scroll over all 5 angels to highlight them and click. I will love you forever!!!!!