Thursday, July 28, 2011


Kitty: (Sighing with pleasure)Day 2 of our new routine!
Me: New routine? Maybe we should review day 1.
Kitty: Okay. I convinced you to save time and bother getting me back into the apartment before you went to bed. I spent the night in your house so that you didn’t have to crawl into small spaces, waste your breath calling me, and make me spitting mad by carrying me over to my place.
Me: And then …
Kitty: And then, about an hour before it was time to serve my breakfast I jumped up on your night table and purred in your ear to wake you softly. Then I walked on your face to ease you in gently and I let you pet me until you got up.
Me: And the consequences of that were …
Kitty: You saved the time and bother you would have had putting me to bed, had the pleasure of petting me, and I got breakfast half an hour earlier than schedule. Just another success story from the Kitty Cat school of Behavior Management.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Kitty: They’re packing the camping gear into their backpacks.
Me: Yes, I know.
Kitty: I suppose that means they are planning a trip.
Me: Yes, it does.
Kitty: I suppose that means you’ll be looking after me again.
Me: Right again, Kitty.
Kitty: You remember the routine? Remember how I don’t eat for a day, and then I eat, but not when you are there, and then I eat when you are there but I don’t let you touch me for a day, and then I sniff you from a distance for a while and then I rub your leg and then after a few days I jump up on your lap?
Me: Yes, I remember that routine?
Kitty: Looks like they’ll be gone for about a week.
Me: Yes Kitty. That’s right.
Kitty: Well, I was thinking that under the old routine, you had to wait almost a week for attention from me. So this time, instead of putting you through all that, I’ll just rub your leg today and jump on your lap in an hour.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


From the University of Chicago Press, media release

An article to gladden the heart of a hope lady, or anybody else who strives to enhance hope. I’ve printed the release here in full. The original source is named at the end.

Happy people are more likely to eat candy bars, whereas hopeful people choose fruit, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. That's
because when people feel hope, they're thinking about the future.

"Most of us are aware that we often fall victim to emotional eating, but how is it that we might choose unhealthy or healthy snacks when we're feeling good?"
write authors Karen Page Winterich (Pennsylvania State University) and Kelly L. Haws (Texas A&M University).

Because previous research has explored how feeling sad leads to eating bad, the authors focused on the complicated relationship between positive emotions
and food consumption. "We demonstrate the importance of the time frame on which the positive emotion focuses and find that positive emotions focusing on
the future decrease unhealthy food consumption in the present," the authors write.

To understand why someone who is feeling positive would be more likely to choose a candy bar versus a piece of fruit, the authors teased out the difference
between positive feelings that arise from thinking about the past or the present (pride and happiness) and hope, which is a more future-oriented emotion.

In the authors' first study, hopeful participants consumed fewer M&Ms than people who experienced happiness. In a second study, the authors found that consumers
who were more focused on the past chose unhealthy snacks, even if they felt hope. In the third study, the researchers shifted the time frame of the positive
emotion (having participants feel hopeful about the past or having them experience pride in the future). "That is, if someone is anticipating feeling proud,
she prefers fewer unhealthy snacks than someone experiencing pride."

Finally, the authors compared future-focused positive emotions (hopefulness, anticipated pride) to future focused negative emotions (fear, anticipated shame).
They found that the combination of positivity and future focus enhanced self-control.

"So, the next time you're feeling well, don't focus too much on all the good things in the past. Instead, keep that positive glow and focus on your future,
especially all the good things you imagine to come. Your waistline will thank you!" the authors conclude.

Karen Page Winterich and Kelly L. Haws. "Helpful Hopefulness: The Effect off Future Positive Emotions on Consumption." Journal of Consumer Research: October
2011 (published online March 18, 2011).

Monday, July 18, 2011


David had already left for his early morning work out at the gym when I awoke to a house dark and deathly hot. Surprised, with the clock reporting not yet 5:30, I stumbled downstairs to open some windows. There was an eerie
feeling about the place. With windows opened and little else to do, I went back to bed.
Within moments the world was whirling. Rain was pelting and veranda
furniture was on the move. Pirate, never one to miss an opportunity to snatch what is forbidden, leapt trembling on to my bed and dug his paws into my
breast bone as the first brilliant flashes consumed the sky. With the walls vibrating in a thunderous massage, Mark came out of his house, closely followed by Kitty, to report
that the heat had awakened him to a sky of brilliant orange that lasted about a minute before the storm hit. Lawrence, displaying a family solidarity reserved
for the few seconds before and after an event of doom, rushed up the stairs to evaluate and commiserate.
The sleepy radio morning crew took up their Monday post. Ignoring the forecast in hand they resorted to reporting that something cataclysmic was going on downtown. They'd get the updated weather report later, they promised. They were shaken, but willing.
A reluctant Monday began to take shape. Rain filled the barrels depleted by yesterday’s watering. The phone rang. By 7:20 I had turned down two offers of a ride to work. The sky was clearing. The tempest had moved on. The trees were dripping. The edges were muddy on the path up the hill. At the office we gathered, each with our own story of awakening.
The sun is out now. The pavement is steming. The air is sweating. We are left with the memory of a surprise, the drama, the unmistakeable reminder that the world is an uncertain place. It is impossible to deny the magnetic power that draws people together in the wake of an unanticipated Monday morning storm, and that is a good thing.