Stressed out meditation

Life is stressful. So, I recently purchased a meditation CD. But I’m not sure it’s helping. Take a listen and tell me what you think.

stressed out meditation - yoga poseWelcome to this audio relaxation program. Over the next 20 minutes, you will learn how to block out the worries and cares in your life. You will walk away feeling calm, with a renewed energy. Let’s begin. Take off your shoes and sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes.

Now, take a deep breath in through your nose. As you do, notice how it feels a bit harder to breathe deeply than it used to. That may be because of your recent weight gain. Breathe out – through your mouth.

Let all the stress empty out of your body. Remind yourself that there is no point worrying about being woefully behind in your sales quota. Let it go. With just two weeks left in the quarter, you’ll never make it. Breathe in.

Begin to notice how the muscles in your shoulders and neck seem extremely tight. To release the tension, relax each muscle group. Flex your fingers and toes. Let them go completely limp. As you do this, clear your mind of anything that is weighing on you, especially this morning’s news that your son is flunking Algebra and English – and just about everything. Looks like he’ll be re-taking 9th grade. Breathe out.

Slowly raise your arms and legs, flexing each limb and then relaxing. Let all the stress flow out of your limbs, much like your retirement fund is flowing down the river after paying for the new roof that leaked after the storm of the century. It’s only money. You can’t take it with you. Breathe in.

Continue your progressive muscle relaxation and move to your core. Notice how tight your stomach is starting to feel. This is natural when visualizing your wife’s rage that you spent $800 on golf clubs instead of patching the roof before the rainstorm as she told you to do. Breathe out.

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  • Geez! I could have used that CD this past weekend when we held a garage sale. The weather …
    Eleanor Rushworth
  • Published On May. 19, 2015 by TEJ
  • Fifty Shades of White

    50 shades of white - crayonsWhen I was first learning how to color in 1st grade, my art teacher taught us about red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black and white. Pretty much all the colors I’ve needed ever since. Then I got my first box of 64 Crayola crayons. It blew my mind. So many colors I had never imagined. One called Reddish Orange. Another one called Orangish Red. And Indian Red, which I could not in clear conscience draw with until they renamed it Native American Red.

    Recently I learned that Crayola has actually retired 34 colors – including Lemon Yellow, Teal Blue and Thistle. Did you know that for the rest of eternity there will never be anything drawn in either Burnt Umber or Magic Mint? And yet for reasons unfathomable to the normal brain, they continue to crank out that annoyingly wimpy color, Periwinkle.

    They’ve replaced the retired colors with nouveau-sounding ones like Asparagus, Bittersweet, Inch Worm and Tumbleweed. What the hell color is Inch Worm?

    It’s hard enough for my 8-color-palette brain to grasp the difference between Sage and Mint. More astonishingly, for all the colors in Crayola’s 64-color box, I’ve discovered there are literally hundreds of shades of white. When did that happen?

    My artist wife and I were discussing what color to paint her art studio. Apparently, it’s important that artist studios be painted in neutral tones like white – I have no idea why. I had suggested Bubble Gum Pink, but apparently that’s not quite neutral enough pour ma femme artiste. No, she insisted, it had to be a shade of white. A shade of white? Hmmm….

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    • There of course are "shades", then there are "tints" of the same colour. Try white balancing a landscape photo .... …
      Janice Strong
  • Published On May. 06, 2015 by TEJ
  • The joys and perils of working for my wife

    Working for my wife - Tim and MicheleRecently my wife Michele and I started a new chapter in our lives by moving to a lovely, somewhat remote island. We also decided to start working together. We thought, what better way to strengthen our marriage than to spend every waking minute of every single day together – eating, playing, sleeping and now working? What could possibly go wrong?

    Okay, I know what you’re about to say: What were you thinking? But before you question our wisdom, I should point out that our skill sets are remarkably complementary. On the one hand, my wife is an extremely talented portrait artist. And on the other hand, I am the husband of an extremely talented portrait artist.

    My job will be to market my wife’s portrait business. I am an experienced professional marketer. For example, remember the pet rock – a crazy, fun idea from the 1970s that generated millions in sales simply by packaging an ordinary rock in a box with funny instructions about how to care for it? Brilliant marketing. No, that was not actually my idea. But the idea for selling a 25-pound box of litter for your pet rock was mine. Sadly, it never made it to market. Okay, perhaps this isn’t helping make my point about being a marketing guru.

    My wife wanted someone to oversee marketing so she could spend more time painting – and shooting down every marketing idea I came up with. (I still think my idea for her to parade the sidewalks of Seattle in a sandwich board handing out coupons for $10 off a portrait would have worked. But alas, we’ll never know because she squashed that idea, too.)

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    • Luckily, Michele's gorgeous work markets itself, so you can enjoy reruns of "Modern Family." Congratulations on life's changes!
      Lynn Gaertner-Johnston
  • Published On Apr. 22, 2015 by TEJ
  • Better parenting through polling

    parenting by polling - pie chartWhen it comes to parenting, I don’t always make the best decisions. I’m not always sure what the right thing to do is in a difficult situation.

    Like the time our elder daughter begged and pleaded with me to let her drive the car to the mall. It was a sunny day. Traffic was light. And she had behaved extremely well all week long. So against my better judgment, I said okay. Two minutes later, she smashed the car into a stop sign barely 100 yards from our driveway. A part of me can’t help but wonder whether in retrospect I made a mistake giving in to the incessant pleadings of an eight-year-old to drive my minivan.

    Sometimes my wife questions my ability to make the right call. Heck, she rarely listens to any of my opinions unless at least four complete strangers tell her the exact same thing – which got me to thinking: maybe the way for me to make better parenting decisions is to poll the opinions of total strangers.

    In the most recent presidential election, the polls were incredibly accurate forecasters of people’s voting preferences. Nate Silver’s 538 blog accurately predicted the Electoral College winner in all fifty states. Politicians use polls all the time to help them decide how to vote. Should we legalize gay marriage? Poll your constituents. Should we cut defense spending? Do a poll. Should we ban hurricanes during the last week of a presidential campaign? (97% of Republicans resoundingly voted yes.)   Read More…


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  • Published On Apr. 15, 2015 by TEJ
  • Welcome to CatMatch.com

    Exciting news from Match.com, the world’s largest online match-making service. Since our launch in 1995, our goal has been to help men and women find their perfect someone. To date we have found matches for several million people – and successful matches for over 50 of them.

    But why should humans be the only ones supported in finding their soulmates? That’s why we are proud to announce our newest service: CatMatch.com, the first online matchmaking service for cats. No longer will your favorite feline need to prowl the alley for a suitable mate. Check out some of our hottest kitties and subscribe your cat today. Who knows? Perhaps the kitten she’ll be smitten by is just a mouse click away.

    Catmatch - DustyDusty7045 – 11-year old female, Portland, OR

    Seeking male kitty for spooning on couch and cleaning fur 

    ABOUT ME

    Relationship: Single – one owner.                    

    Body type: Furry, light shedder – mostly on my master’s pillow.

    Have kids? Yes, four, but they all disappeared at 8 weeks and I have no idea where they went.

    Litter box trained? Absolutely! (But sometimes I forget when I’m tired.)

    Favorite hobbies: Chasing red laser pointers, licking myself in my privates.       

    Favorite food: Ants, dust, rubber bands – pretty much anything I find on the kitchen floor. Oh, and my own vomit. But no one else’s – that would be gross! 

    More about me: If you like curling up on the bed for 18 – 20 hours a day, I may be just your girl. But don’t ask me to go outside. It looks terrifying out there.

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    • Ack!
      Bill
  • Published On Apr. 08, 2015 by TEJ
  • The Interrogation

    THE SCENE: Pre-dawn on a rainy Sunday in the disheveled office of Detective Drake Marlboro of the Seattle Police Department, 9th Precinct. For the past 3 hours, Marlboro, a chain-smoking, grizzled, no-nonsense gumshoe has been interrogating a middle-aged man with no fashion sense by the name of Tim Jones. Jones was picked up on suspicion of maliciously harassing innocent civilians by posting offensive commentary on the web about parenting, politics and other topics. Detective Marlboro suspects that Jones is holding back the truth. And so our story begins…

    Interrogation - cop and suspectIt was another dark and stormy night in Seattle. The clock on the wall read 3:04 am. And there Tim Jones sat – if that’s even his real name – sticking to his story that all he could be guilty of might be hackneyed writing. But there was a problem. The guy’s story just didn’t add up. I’ve been a detective for 30 years. I knew it was just a matter of time before he would spill the beans. I was going to crack this case before that snake Lieutenant Jaworski in Homicide could spell “collar.” I was sure I was close.

    Jones was fidgeting with his plastic Casio watch – the guy had as much class as a cubic zirconium unicorn. He was looking confused and anxious, wanting desperately to flee the confines of the cold, windowless interrogation room so he could return to the cushy comfort of his suburban living room recliner and watch another episode of The Big Bang Theory he’d TIVO’d. Not tonight, fella. Not ‘til I get some answers.

    I offered him a cup of coffee. “Thanks, but I don’t drink coffee. Do you happen to have any Diet Mountain Dew?” he asked a little too eagerly. What law-abiding adult in Seattle doesn’t drink coffee – and asks for a teenager’s soft drink instead? Now I knew he was a two-faced liar. I was done playing “good cop,” waiting for his innocent, deer-in-the-headlights façade to crack. This had gone on long enough. It was time to tighten the screws. I lit another smoke.

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    • Scoop: Detective Marlboro's real name is Thomas Black or it could be J.P. Beaumont.
      Rey Carr
  • Published On Mar. 24, 2015 by TEJ
  • The Island of Exceptional People

    Island of exceptional - chairsOur girls are grown and living far from home now. So a few months ago, my wife and I decided, somewhat impulsively, to sell our suburban house and move to a quirky but lovely island 75 miles from the world we had known for a quarter century. We now live in an idyllic setting on Camano Island, overlooking Puget Sound and snow-capped mountains. Ah, the island life.

    Camano Island has a well-earned reputation as a haven for artists (one reason my artist wife was drawn here). In our brief time in this new community, we’ve met dozens of people. The one constant among them: They are all exceptional people – which is starting to get on my nerves.

    Seriously, it’s really starting to annoy me. Apparently, in order to live on this island, you must be the next Picasso or Santana or Hemingway – and you must swear an oath to spend at least 30% of your time volunteering to protect the rain forest or bottle-feed orphan kittens. Don’t ask me how I managed to sneak past the island’s security. Some border guard must have called in sick the day I arrived.

    Everybody on this island seems gifted in some way. If you haven’t published a book of sonnets or are unable to play the lute, you’re viewed as, well, a bit of a disappointment.  Last week, I met a novelist, a painter, a sculptor, and a quilter – and that was just in the checkout line at the grocery store. By contrast, my biggest artistic achievement was playing Frère Jacques on the recorder in the 6th grade orchestra. Not to brag, but I totally crushed it.

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    • Heh Tim ... those super nice people are lying. You forgot to mention that the first question they all …
      Janice Strong
  • Published On Mar. 18, 2015 by TEJ
  • Encourage your challenging child – through POSITIVE parenting

    Patient Parenting - angry dad and sonIf there is one thing I’ve learned as a parent, it’s that in the end, your kids will crush your dreams, ignore your advice, join a biker gang, and blame you for everything.

    But if there is a second thing I’ve learned, it’s that you need to be positive. As you know, outside of my immediate family, I am considered a parenting expert. My latest book, A Positive Parent’s Guide to Loving Your Child, even if They’re an Evil, Twisted, Unmotivated, Narcissistic Demon Seed Hellion Who Will Never Amount to Anything is helping millions of frustrated parents around the globe deal with their challenging child. The key? Remain positive at all times.

    This week, I dip into Dr. Tim’s Mailbag, to share how you can successfully apply my powerful patent-pending positive parenting process to help your own challenging child blossom to almost one quarter of their God-given potential.  Read More…


    • Was this written for me? As always, great advice, Tim. Worth every penny I paid for it. K.
      Keith W.
  • Published On Mar. 11, 2015 by TEJ
  • Fashion advice for men who wear shorts

    men in shorts - guy in shortsFew things reveal more about the kind of man you are than how you dress. Fashions go in and out of style, but some things are timeless – like Members Only jackets. They are as embarrassingly out of fashion today as they were when first introduced in 1980. Speaking of fashion, another timeless trend is wearing shorts. Some men prefer to wear them all the time. I am one of those men. And I’m not embarrassed to show my legs in the dead of winter, no matter what my wife says.

    I have always been a pioneer of haute couture. I’m not sure where I cultivated my “road less traveled” fashion sense – perhaps it was my private school education, which required me to wear the same grey wool pants, grey shirt and black tie to school every day for twelve years.  In ninth grade, while my classmates were wearing their straight-legged khaki slacks on a Saturday night date, I was stylin’ in my room in my purple corduroy bell bottoms. The fact that I never had a single date on Saturday night during ninth grade is strictly coincidence.

    Throughout my youth, my fashion sense grew ever more avant-garde. Take my exotic collection of Far Eastern apparel. Strutting down the street in my lime green Nehru and silver Capricorn medallion, I left people speechless with envy. I could tell by the way girls shyly averted their glance as I approached that they knew I was not like other guys.

    Now I wear shorts. And not just when I’m mowing the lawn, wearing my “Support your right to arm bears” T-shirt. I wear them while jogging, doing errands or even clothes shopping for, well, shorts.

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    • Shorts are ALWAYS in fashion when you live on an Island!
      Myra
  • Published On Mar. 05, 2015 by TEJ
  • How to be more spiritual than your friends

    Competitive spirituality - man on mountain topIn order to succeed in life, you have to compete. Some say life is a zero-sum game. And they’re right, of course. There are winners and there are losers. And nowhere is this truer than in the game of your spiritual quest. It’s not enough anymore to be “good.” You have to be the best.

    I am widely regarded as an expert on competitive spirituality. Not to brag, but it’s just a matter of time before I overtake the Dalai Lama on the footpath to enlightenment. The Dalai Lama once told me over a latte at Starbucks, “My religion is kindness.”  Well, I’m here to tell you:  My kindness is better than yours, Dalaiman.

    In order to achieve spiritual supremacy, you have to demonstrate your supremacy. Oh sure, it can sound arduous. You’re probably asking yourself, “What do I have to do? Go on a 2,000 mile trek across the Gobi Desert? Fast for a month in a cave? Climb Mount Everest wearing nothing but a toga and sandals?”  Slow down, Skippy. Those journeys are way more hassle than they’re worth – plus you’d almost certainly miss out on Opening Day of Baseball.

    No, my tactics for achieving spiritual superiority are far less taxing. Many can be achieved while lying on the couch. You see, most people behave passive-aggressively. Outsmart them by being aggressively passive. They won’t know what hit ’em.

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    • Another laugh-out-loud column for me! Thanks, Tim.
      Tracy T.
  • Published On Feb. 19, 2015 by TEJ