Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend

Also, check out this quote. I think it fits Kelly McGonigal’s theme:

Dr. Karl Menninger, the famous psychiatrist, once gave a lecture on mental health and was answering questions from the audience.

“What would you advise a person to do,” asked one man, “if that person felt a nervous breakdown coming on?”

Most people expected him to reply:

“Consult a psychiatrist.”

To their astonishment, he replied:

“Lock up your house, go across the railway tracks, find someone in need and do something to help that person.”

Source unknown

Caught in the Middle by Danny Quintana

I finished reading Caught in the Middle today, a sort of family history and political opinion piece written by Danny Quintana, a Salt Lake attorney. Danny Quintana and I were in law school together, some 30 to 33 years ago, but we’ve hardly spoken more than a few words to each other in all the time we’ve been acquainted. It took me by surprise when I learned he had been writing books, but he’s been doing it for a decade or more now.

I so enjoyed Caught in the Middle that I’m ordering some copies for presents. A few days ago I sent away for Danny’s other books.

What’s amazing about Caught in the Middle, at least to me personally, is how many parallels and odd little similarities there are to Danny and my lives. From the discrimination we’ve both felt firsthand, to his stepmother being from the same tiny town where my father settled us after he retired from the military. Danny and I were both born in New Mexico. Lived dirt poor. Spent part of our growing up years on farms. Moved to cities as we left the nest and went out on our own. Both wrestled. Spent time in Mexico. Went to the same law school. On and on, the odd little similarities continued as I turned the pages.

I love family histories anyway, and Caught in the Middle would be a great book without the similarities. But it was fun to read something that could have been my own family speaking, or to have something that Danny said stop me, because that could have been me who did this or that.

Caught in the Middle has some technical problems. It could use an editor, and a proof reader. But don’t let those minor flaws detract from you buying a copy. I loved every moment I was reading it, even when a few of his clan were saying that what’s wrong with America is the government doesn’t let them beat their children anymore. (I’ve actually had one of my own clan say that exact thing: “What’s wrong with America is they don’t let me beat my children.”)

Caught in the Middle is a thought piece. It’s a walk down one man’s family lane, true, but also the history of parts of New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. It’s a wonderful book that leaves one with a feeling that the future of America will be great, with less hate, more problem solving, and a melting pot population. Generation Y will take over and most likely successfully continue the freedom and invention that has defined one of the most unique and influential experiments the world has ever known.

Thanks to Danny for writing Caught in the Middle. I can’t wait to read more of his books.

Written by Waine Riches

The Big Year

I bought The Big Year a while back but have been avoiding watching it because, well because.

I finally watched it tonight. It went instantly into my top 100 list of all time great movies. Maybe higher.

It’s subtle, it’s fun, it has a laid back cast of great comedians, Jack Black, Steve Martin, Owen Wilson.

I absolutely loved it. Who knew bird watching could be such a feel good experience.

Written by Waine Riches

The End of Men by Hanna Rosin

I finished reading The End of Men by Hanna Rosin Saturday. It’s one of those books that takes everything which we know is already happening and puts it into words, and by doing so at just the right moment, becomes a monumental event.

I’ve certainly been seeing the changing roles of men and women in my everyday life. Of course, I’m in a somewhat unique position. I meet with and receive emails from a whole lot of people going through family law problems. Ten and fifteen years ago, there would be one or two men who had been the stay at home dad’s in their marriages to a doctor or other high wage earner. These men would ask if there was a possibility of them getting custody, and perhaps having the court order their wives to pay alimony. The answer of course was, yes.

In recent years these numbers are increasing. But they are not really a full indication of the phenomenon that’s occurring. A family break up for most people will be years down the road from the point where they actually agree to their roles in the new family order.

More to the point is the daily lives of people around me. There’s been a tidal wave of marriages where the woman is older than the man, in many cases significantly older by ten to twenty years. And in marriage after marriage, the woman is the main breadwinner. In many instances, the man stays at home taking care of the kids. In fact, of the marriages of people I’m personally acquainted with, far more fit this new mode than the so called traditional marriage.

I was surprised to see that Hanna Rosin was taking so much flak from feminists. I guess it’s understandable. They feel that women are not yet fully equal to men and they need to keep pressing on with the fight. True enough. But that doesn’t detract from what is really happening in the changing roles we are seeing before our eyes right now.

In her book, Hanna Rosin says one of the women critical about The End of Men has been Stephanie Coontz. I happen to be a fan of Stephanie Coontz, and think that her Marriage, a History was at the time it was written, a monumental accomplishment in its own right. But from my personal observations, I’d have to go with Hanna Rosin on this one. It’s true that women have a long way to go, especially at the top. But unless there is a swing of major and epic proportions in the path the world economy is headed, it’s a foregone conclusion that women will soon not only be holding top positions in business and government, but women will be dominating those positions. And if the two main political parties in the United States don’t run women as presidential candidates in 2016, they will each do so at their own peril.

Hanna Rosin didn’t say that the changing role of women is a train roaring at us at full speed. But it is. There is always the possibility it might be derailed. But it’s highly unlikely. As most of us common folk who have not been involved in the long feminist struggle know, there’s no sense in continuing to wage a bitter battle when the war has already been won. There is a quiet revolution occurring in homes and families throughout the world, not because of ideology but because of simple necessity. This is a change that’s taken place because the old economic model is no longer available to the masses. Most of the people actually living in the new family order have no connection to the feminist movement. They have begun structuring their family in the way that makes the most sense to them, whether they are in single parent households, or women selecting male partners who will best fit into the new male role as a more fully participating member of a family with children. The stay at home dad is likely to become less of an exception and much more the general rule as women literally take over educational institutions and workplaces. It’s as simple as that.

Closer to home, here in Utah, the President and counselors of the LDS church should take a few hours out of their busy lives and read The End of Men. Perhaps the natural change that’s occurring is a message from higher authority. It’s time that women were given full equality. The church is bleeding members at a pace not seen since the Kirtland Bank fiasco. The church leadership needs to be asking themselves how it is that a family with a woman as the main force and breadwinner will last when the church continues to teach and in every way support the ideology that the man is the single important member of that family structure. If they want to save the church from its rapid decline, it’s time to rethink the entire concept of patriarchy.

But I digress. I highly recommend The End of Men for everyone who, as with me, sees this vast sweeping change in the roles of men and women which is occurring throughout every aspect of our lives. Hanna Rosin has put words to this implosion of long held beliefs, and the rapid onset of a new world which we are experiencing right in front of our eyes.

Written by Waine Riches

I Finished it!

Those who know me, know that I love to write. Yesterday I finished the rough of the novel I’m working on. There’s a hard to describe excitement about having done that. It’s not the first book I’ve written. In fact, I have three completed manuscripts waiting for illustration. I call them my Dream Stories series. There are arount 120 short stories in the three books, all starting from actual night time dreams.

But this novel is different. Getting a single story this far is always exhilarating. If I had Champaign, I’d celebrate.

Actually, I’d probably drink a beer if I had one. I’m not a Champaign kind of guy.

The story is about a fictitious boy in a fictitious town in rural Utah in the late ’60s and early 70’s. There are a lot of Utah authors writing about the Utah experience. But what they write always seems so filtered, so sanitized. Even Rocky Olsen writing his excellent true account of his Vietnam experience self censors, doesn’t include cuss words.

These writers don’t seem to capture the experience I had. My goal in writing this novel is to create something much closer to what it felt like when I was a teenager in rural Utah.

I’m sure it will take years from here before the general public gets a chance to read what I have written. There’s still a lot of work ahead. But I’m feeling a certain sense of accomplishment nonetheless.

My son makes movies. He’s been asking me when I’d have the rough manuscript done. He wants to use it to write a movie script. When I sent him a text yesterday, he sent one back: “Awesome!” He’s in Corpus Christi, Texas, for a film festival screening of our movie “Must Come Down.” I hope things are going well. This is the fourth festival to invite us this year, including one in Germany. Which is good considering we’ve already released and last year was our year for film festivals.

But damn! I’m feeling good about finishing that rough draft.

Maybe I should celebrate.

Posted by Waine Riches