Research You Need to Know

True fact: Psychologists have found that if you are deeply involved in a romantic relationship, you will be almost "REPELLED" by "highly-attractive romantic alternatives," namely, people you might have found really good looking if you weren't in love.

Here's how they did it. They had people try and keep track of flashing shapes on a screen. Occasionally, all these faces would pop up in the opposite corner. Single people would slow down when any face showed up. People in love would slow down if "average-looking" faces appeared, but if it was a "highly-attractive" face they did not slow down, so basically they wanted nothing to do with the highly-attractive face.
Front cover of True Life Romance #3Image via Wikipedia

The researchers concluded that, from an evolutionary standpoint, you are primed to find "romantic alternatives" less attractive when you are romantically involved with someone else.

But couldn't it just mean you are afraid of being tempted? Don't look. Don't look. Don't look.

Either way, it seems like this is research you can use. Thank you science.
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Goddess of the Week: Hera

Hera Campana. Marble, Roman copy of an helleni...Image via WikipediaJosie is getting married! So, of course, she needs a goddess. I've got the perfect one: the Greek goddess of marriage, Hera.

Now, hold onto your hats. Some of you are thinking: Hera? Isn't she the crazy gal who went around turning her husbands' many mistresses into farm animals. Yes! She was!

Am I suggesting that Josie may encounter problems with fidelity or feel a sudden yearning to start raising alpacas? No! I am not!

Hera totally has a bad rap. Some people think it's because she predates the Greek pantheon of gods and was, like, the most favored and worshipped of deities before, like, MEN took the whole worship business over and made Zeus top dog. And, of course, they couldn't make Zeus top dog until they made Hera look foolish, so people had to invent this whole jealousy thing and wrap her up in it.

So don't believe a word of the ancient propaganda, Josie. Hera was not some harpy. She was a goddess, and if you look at the ancient Greeks, you'll see that they loved her, especially in Crete and Samos, where they made her fantastic temples. Why? Because they knew that marriage was not just about the god. It was also about the goddess. She didn't stop being one just because she got married. She just got better jewelry and help with the housework. (You don't think Zeus did laundry? Believe me, Zeus did laundry. Gods do laundry. They also vacuum. If your husband doesn't, you should think about what you've signed on for.)

You take your Hera, Josie, and you be proud. And if the day comes when your Zeus is out there tangoing with some sow, you just remember that you were a goddess while Zeus was still playing with Tonka trucks. (I'm joking! It'll never happen! Your guy is perfect! I'm sure! You're a match made in Olympus! It'll be great! Live large and have a good time!)

Channel Hera: When you are getting married, of course. She's also good for childbirth, and 4-H clubs.

Need a goddess? I got goddesses. Post a comment identifying your need. Or give a goddess: Post a comment identifying the need of someone you know. I'll find what you need.
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Meet My Blog Friend Deb

heart shaped rockImage by Pash Photography via FlickrMeet my friend Deb. She visits here often. She has her own blog too. It's called Paper Turtle.
Deb is like Martha Stewart, but younger and way more mellow and cool. She will tell you she's a crafter, and she especially loves scrap booking, but, really, she's an artist, and every part of her life is her art. That's what I like: every part of her life is her art. You can see that on her blog.

But here's why I really like Deb, and why I think you will too. Deb is amazingly positive, but not in a Krispy-Kreme-Hurt-Your-Teeth way, and she is always having fun with her adult daughter, while I occasionally count the days until my children (please, please, please) leave for college. It gives me hope on the days when I am silently sniveling and moaning along.

Anyway, you might want to give her a visit.

PS: I thought it might be nice to slowly introduce you to the bloggers and readers who tend to comment on my posts. That way we all get to know each other a little better, and you might discover another blog that you really like.

PPS: Deb likes heart-shaped rocks.
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Goddess of the Week: Bastet

Cat mummies at Louvre museumImage via WikipediaPasadena Adjacent recently posted a fascinating tale about Egyptian cat mummies. (Read it here.) Then, lo and behold, I'm watching a documentary about ancient Egypt with the kids, and there's this part on Egyptian cat mummies. How much more serendipity did I need? None! It was obvious that the goddess Bastet, to whom cats were, alas, sacrificed, was trying to commune with Pasadena Adjacent. So, PA, this goddess is for you.

As goddesses go, Bastet is a good one to have in your corner. She has the body of a woman and the head of a cat. These days, she is considered a goddess of play and recreation, but during her heyday she protected people from disease and illness. She was also good with fertility. Her priests would sacrifice cats to her and then mummify them. People would then buy these mummies and bury them with their dead loved ones.

But talk about Buyer Beware, a quarter of the mummified cats were all wrappings! Not a drop of cat inside! Some mummified cats were only, like, a quarter of a cat. If you didn't have much money you got fake or only partial mummy cats. Only if you had a ton of money would you get a real cat, but even then you couldn't be too sure. In some tombs, people placed a whole bunch of mummy cats and only some were really mummies. So the old adage, "if it sounds to good to be true, it probably it is," is timeless and even holds true for mummified cats.

Personally, I'm having a hard time understanding how a cat goddess would really want you to kill a bunch of cats for her, but that's probably just my twenty-first century cultural blinders talking. (Plus, also, you know, I'm more of a dog person.) Still, sacrificial cats besides, if you're into cats, I still think Bastet is your gal.

Channel Bastet: If you love your cats but would prefer them to be a bit more cuddly; If you love your cats but would prefer they not throw up on your rug; if you love your cats; Also, it couldn't hurt to sacrifice her a hairball if you've got a bad cold.

Need a Goddess: I got goddesses! Post a comment describing your need or want and I'll see what I can find. Post! It's fun!

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My Mental Conflict

NYC: Bergdorf Goodman's 2008 Holiday window di...Image by wallyg via FlickrI was going to tell you how much I loved The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman. It is smart, funny, poignant: everything good.

But then I looked at her website and learned that she had her first short story published when she was seventeen. She got her acceptance soon after she started Harvard. She has accomplished parents--professors--who she clearly admires and likes, and she has four children--four! She writes when they are at school, and clearly, she really does because this is, like, her fifth novel and her stories often appear in The New Yorker.

So I think I have to hate her.

But, I am working on this new thing where I don't hate accomplished and talented people that I would like to be like. Instead, I am trying to wish them only well because, truly, suffering befalls all of us and who knows what crazy drama people endure in private. Grab your joy while you can. That's my new motto.

So, now I am conflicted.

How's this: Read the book. It will make you happy, and YOU, I am not conflicted about at all. I only wish you the best. Always.

PS: You're probably thinking: Boxing polar bears? No idea. I just liked it. Maybe it's my conflicted psyche.
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Time for a dip in the pool, is it?

Back view of fashion models in swim suits, two...Image via WikipediaIt's January. So, of course, my local Target is full of swim suits. God help you if you want a sweater or--worse--a coat. But swim suits they got.

I, for one, am always buying my swim suits in January. My thighs look so beautifully fleshy and pale this time of year. Plus, naturally, I'm getting ready for my winter cruises, of which I take many.

Bon voyage.

P.S.: That's me in the hat.
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Goddess of the Week: Durga

Goddess Durga, fighting Mahishasura, the buffa...Image via WikipediaDaisy asks for a goddess who can remove obstacles. I give her Durga, the great Hindu mother goddess.

Durga is way fierce. You don't want to get in her way. She has eight arms--sometimes ten, which is handy in the kitchen. In each hand she carries a weapon to kill the demons that confront her.

This one time, this buffalo demon guy came and threatened all the gods. Even the great gods Vishnu and Shiva were all scared and didn't know what to do. But Durga had total confidence.

She rode out to meet the demon and he charged her in all his buffalo glory.

She was all, "Oh, yeah, I'm really scared of a buffalo. Total yawn."

So he changed into a lion. With sushi-maker speed she chopped off his legs.

So he turned into an elephant.

Wham! Off came his trunk.

He threw mountains at her (with his tail maybe?). She walked right up and just sat on him. Then she thrust her spear into his chest and killed him.

In our multi-tasking lives, we may not face demons, but we face a ton of annoying, gnat-like obstacles. They throw themselves at us like desperate girls at a Justin Bieber concert. They hi-jack us. They trip us. Sometimes they even blind us to what we really care about and what we are driven to do. Durga reminds us that we must be tough. We must chop off the legs of the inessential tasks that slow us down. We must keep our eyes on the prize. We must find our way to the finish line.

Channel Durga: When obstacles overwhelm you. They will drag you down if you let them. Don't let them. Be Durga-strong. Be Durga-determined. You can do it.

Need a goddess: Let me find you one! Post a comment describing your need. I have yet to find a need for which I could not find a corresponding goddess. I totally I have you covered.

(P.S.: Daisy sweetly requested this goddess for me, and I want to thank her for that, but I want to share Durga with all of you).

(P.P.S: I have a new short story posted at a pretty cool website called Chamber Four. I like this story a lot. Check it out here. Leave a comment so they know you read it.)

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The Scout Report: Trends for 2011

All signs continue to point to a mixed market this year.

Dropped food is up way up. Yesterday alone saw both spilled broccoli and a bonus half scoop of vanilla ice cream. However, recent inability to zip up pants in the adult sector has led to grumbling about forced food shortages, although experienced speculators say that they will believe it when they see it.

Research suggests that the luxury market is worth watching. The growing accumulation of household "softees," including the holiday acquisition of a fluffilicious bean bag chair, hint that the uncertain economy is encouraging a nesting habit in consumers. This can only bode well for high-end napping opportunities.

Winter is always an iffy time for walkies, and recent rainstorms have definitely driven them to an all-time low. Nevertheless, hope springs eternal among the canine set, and wise investors will remember that what is bad for walkies is often good for tug-of-war and hide and seek.