Considering What Unites Us

While I read Alex George's A Good American I thought a lot about what it means to belong -- to a church, a town, a country, a family. Frederick didn't belong to Jette's social strata, so they had to leave their homeland in order to be together. When they reach America, they do not end up in the town they intended to settle in, but they put down roots there....more
I think I belong to a lot of different communities that are united by different things. I have ... more

The Redemptive Power of Song

We've discussed how music plays a big role in Alex George's A Good American when we talked about how he described Jette's life as an opera. It's more than that the family just liked music, it was woven into the fabric of their lives. It was what they used to learn about themselves and about life. ...more
Music is so important in my life - when I'm in a funk, I generally like to listen to music that ... more

Is Your Life an Opera?

In Alex George's A Good American music is important to the lives of the characters and is integral to the plot. Jette and Frederick meet when he serenades her in a park. They find help in New Orleans from someone that Frederick met through music. This same man will come back into their lives and greatly impact their future. Frederick and Jette's sons and grandsons are all singers....more
My life would probably be a comedy TV series - mostly humorous with poignant episodes here and ... more

Gastronomic Mosaics & Culinary Road Maps

Food quickly becomes important to the story in Alex George's A Good American. Before the Meisenheimers ever open the restaurant, Jette finds herself homesick. She turns to the meals she ate in her homeland for comfort. She didn't have recipes passed down from her mother or even a cookbook to turn to. Through a process of trial and error, she made her way through the food in memories until they existed on her table. ...more
Oh dear - my gastronomic mosaic? I'm not much of one for cooking, and neither was my mother. My ... more

Is My Willpower Challenge Over Now?

When we first starting talking about Kelly McGonigal's book The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It, I was intrigued but I wasn't sure how I'd feel about actually doing my willpower challenge. What would I learn? Would be be scary? What if I failed? Well, I've learned and I've struggled. Does that mean I'm done now? ...more
I think that my willpower challenge (or challenges, as I've added to it) will be ongoing for ... more

Discovering My Challenge Within My Willpower Challenge

I have to say that my willpower challenge is still going well. If I learned anything at all from Kelly McGonigal's The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It it's that paying attention to why you are -- or are not -- doing something is really important....more
To be honest, I'm not sure I've thought of it this way - what do I get out of continuing to ... more

What I've Learned (So Far) From My Willpower Challenge

I was scared when I announced my willpower challenge last week. While I totally understood why Kelly McGonigal suggests that you do one while reading her book, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It, I was wary. I was concerned not only about what I might learn about myself -- what if none of the strategies worked?...more
I would say the main thing I have learned - thought I admit I haven't been sticking with my ... more

What Is Your Willpower Challenge?

In her new book The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., suggests the best way to learn about the self-control methods she discusses is to take a willpower challenge. I hesitated. I am not big on resolutions, perhaps because I never stick with them. I was also intrigued because her book offered me some new perspective on willpower and self-control. ...more
I struggled deciding what I was going to do, too - I thought about giving up Diet Coke, which I ... more

The Magical Post-Breakup Makeover

After a breakup, particularly one you did not initiate, your self confidence can take a bit of a beating. During this time my friends and I frequently turned to the magical healing powers of a post-breakup makeover. We would change our hair or buy a new outfit and they became our new armour against the hurt....more
I can't even begin to count on BOTH hands how many times I've felt the urge to re-invent my ... more

How Soon Is Too Soon For Couples Therapy?

Since I had not read Bared to You, the first book in Sylvia Day's Crossfire series, I was surprised to find that Eva and Gideon were in couple's counseling. Based on what I had read to that point in Reflected in You, their relationship still seemed young and new. By Eva's own admission, they hadn't been together that long:...more
You know, I don't think I'd given this aspect of the book much thought, but I think your comment ... more