Currently Browsing: Daily Shalagh

Happiness Set Point

I had heard about this concept a while ago and then it faded from my memory as life’s interesting tidbits are apt to do. Recently, it came up again, I can not remember where, and I thought, I need to look into this concept again. The Happiness Set Point, aka and related to the Adaptation Level phenomenon and subjective well-being and hedonistic adaptation to positive and negative experiences.

It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that I was a psychology major before I changed to Mass Communications in my Junior year. It may surprise you to know that my Father is a big wig in the psychology world developing his own personality test to aid companies in finding the best people within their own companies to do the job. I have always loved the concept of teasing apart the knot that seems to be our psyche and our behaviors. I’m a dabbler and this was my daily dabble.Happiness Set Point on

When I found the definition to this theory, I was intrigued and horrified all at once. The Set Point Theory of Happiness, as summarized on The Changing Minds site, states that after the initial excitement settles down after you’ve won the lottery, you will revert back to being as neurotic or as extroverted as you were initially. You are who you are, be it your genetic propensity or environmental influences, an external stimulus will effect you temporarily. I say, unless there is some sort of profound spiritual and mental shift or changing of values, you will still be you through most of your life’s ups and downs. Happiness Set Point on

I have been thinking how much of a Lady of Perpetual Discontent I seem to be. I’m always wanting to make it better,  be happier, and see clearer. Under it all, I think I waffle on the concept of “fixing” myself. That is another subject for another day. So it seems to me that my happiness set point, even though I do laugh a whole lot every day, isn’t as high as I’d like it to be. I would like to prescribe to more gratitude journaling, to writing permission slips for myself, and am endeavoring to take myself less seriously while also taking myself more seriously in the matters of my talents. Because using those is what really makes me happy. Even you can see that. And my husband says, if it doesn’t make you happy, then you’re not doing it right. Not so much do I need to fix it but change perspectives a little on how I see the life I am living at any given moment.


PS. I found this subject actually depressed me and I began to feel slightly hopeless. It seeped in me, a general unwellness that said, you’ll never get any better at doing this. And it took a sermon on Hope and sighting a fawn at the end out the window to realize I had in fact begun to feel that way.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Mama Had a Toddler and Her Head Popped Off

I’m chewing my lip again. I’ve returned to that place I escaped so long ago. Toddler-hood. And it’s all the Hell I remember it to be and more. The place that makes the strong feel like failures. And there’s nothing more than live in survival mode to get you through.

This morning, all I wanted to just make the breakfast. Wanted to and had to are synonymous. Maybe I also wanted to take a bathroom break, meditate, write, drink more coffee in an empty house with all day alone to look forward to. But I’m smoking crack if I think I’m getting a soul satisfying amount of alone time in the next 16 years. Presently, at 48, I fear that when Fiona gets dropped off at college, I’ll be dropped off at the retirement village door. Lot’s of alone time there.

Fiona and the goose statue (3)

I had to peel her screaming conflicted self off me and lock her out of the kitchen to finish making breakfast. Seems everyone, family and strangers alike, want to guess why the baby is fussy. Is it/it must be a) She needs to poop, or b) she’s cutting teeth, or c) she didn’t get enough sleep, or d) she’s hungry. This past two weeks, it was each one at the same time AND she’s trying to figure out if she needs me or not and if that’s a bad thing or a good thing. And if she stops needing me, will I disappear or abandon her?

Later, I discovered that silence, although bliss, needs to be questioned and investigated and there’s no such thing as Toddler proof. She’d taken a blue ball point pen and scribbled a 3 inch by 3 inch glob of blue ink on the arm of my chair cover. I pulled her out of the chair and peeled off the cover and promptly sprayed it with Resolve, Shouted it, and added clothes detergent and then scrubbed at it with a scrub brush. It worked but gift horse silences need to be heeded from now on. She’s a member of the loud family. There will always be a price to pay for her silence. 

Fiona and the goose statue (3)

We’ve begun to put her in the time out chair aka the thinking chair, or what my first-born called the Fixing chair. That has done a wonderful job of allowing her some separation from her out of control impulses. She actually seems to be grateful for the time and boundary.

I would be lying if I said I was looking forward to the rest of the toddler years with anything but dread. It’s Clash of the willful Titans and she may be cute to you but she also has no issues with you. It’s my soul she needs to devour before she can move on to toy with yours. She is our little Fuego Rojo. Wished I took naps. Maybe the unconsciousness would distract me from the twitch that’s starting up again under my left eye. Hello irksome old friend.

The Art of Making Do with the Doo Doo

It was a Tuesday, last Tuesday, and I went to drop off Fiona at my mother-in-law’s Mary’s. Fiona had the tail end of a cold so I go to dig for a wipe to dig at her green booger crusted face. And I discover…there are no wipes. In fact, there are no diapers either.

I remember this happening once before with the first child. No diapers in the diaper bag. They must have all been removed at daycare for back-up. Mary says, “No problem, we’ll make due” or “figure out something”. She’s from the old school of hard knocks parenting. You made do with what you had and the kids survived. Grammy and Fiona from Making Do on

I stood there in the realization that I had two appointments in my imminent future and I needed to get hustling to round-up diapers. Then I left to buy the diapers and wipes. Because that little girl was due up for a poopie. No way was I OK with thinking I’d be at my doctor’s appointments and I would be worrying about her nappy necessities. And what my Mother-in-law could possibly be “makiing do” with.

Grammy and Fiona from Making Do on

These older mothers, they know trenches. Making do was what they know and they were masters of the art of not needing. We’re the ones creating high maintenance kids with out hovering and our over-doing. My husband was told to clean his plate because there was no more. Sure he and I share abundance issues but my point is, they won’t die if we don’t snack them every half hour and then wonder why they never eat. And they won’t remember if their Grandmother uses a dishtowel as a nappy. But that will only happen if I am blissfully ignorant of the lack of nappies. I have my limits. And my mother-in-law has hers. They’re just somewhere I’m unwilling to go.

Saigon Noodle Salad

When I lived in Baltimore, I primarily was employed in the restaurant business. I did clean houses as well but there was a lot of restaurants positions on my resume. When I left my employment at the Cafe Hon, I went up the street to a small new cafe called the Golden West Cafe. And Thomas gave me a shot as his first employee and manager of future employees. The place was very hip and Thomas had brought a love of the food he’d experienced in Albuquerque, New Mexico attending college.

The menu included all things green chile. Frito pie and breakfast burritos were bathed in his silky tart green chile sauce. He roasted pork shoulders with red chiles for Carne Adovada and came up with this Vietnamese style rice noodle salad with shrimp that I have continued to make from memory long after I left the café and Baltimore.

I was cruising the site last night and found a pretty good rendition of the salad called the Saigon Noodle Salad. The twist that I enjoyed in the Golden West Cafe’s was the addition of sautéed onion slivers. And I throw the shrimp in at the last to cook. You could use sliced chicken or any other meat for that matter. I like shrimp please.  And I’d just go ahead and use romaine lettuce if I didn’t have Napa cabbage. I also used rice wine vinegar because I forgot the lime at the store. Don’t skimp on any other of the ingredients. The herbs pop in your mouth and the peanuts feel good for you. It’s a Summer feast but it was a little warm out and I was in the mood. Appetite is what you dream about making.

1/4 cup water, or more to taste
3 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar, or more to
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha chile sauce
1 (8 ounce) package (linguine-width) rice
2 cups thinly sliced Napa (Chinese)
1 1/2 cups matchstick-cut carrots
8 ounces grilled shrimp
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise
and cut into thin slices
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 2/3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 2/3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 2/3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanuts


1. Whisk water, lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and Sriracha together in a bowl until the sugar is dissolved.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a full boil; remove from heat and soak rice noodles in the hot water for 1 minute. Stir to separate the noodles and continue soaking until the noodles are tender, about 3 minutes more. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water until cooled. Shake noodles in colander to drain as much water as possible.
3. Mix noodles, cabbage, carrots, shrimp, bean sprouts, cucumber slices, green onions, mint, cilantro, and basil together in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Top with chopped peanuts.


If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Lost and Found : A High School Reunion

High School reunions are notorious. The thought of being in the same room as the people who you well know were your judge and jurors at a time in your life when you were your prettiest and still didn’t cut you any slack. You see/live in your 30 years and 30 extra pounds and surely, there’s no forgiveness for these crimes. You aren’t going to any reunion. Ever. The end.

And then there’s the real story. This is mine. 30th High school reunion with Amanda, Cathering, and Brigid on

I went for four primary years to an all girls school, 7th through 10th grades. This was a smart girl school. During my 10th grade year, my father informed me he would no longer be paying for this education. It was intimated that I wasn’t working hard enough to make it worth the expenditure. I was very distracted by boys at the time and maybe he was right. But then again, I didn’t have parents who were together and I got to act out any way I could. It is also very hard on adolescents when you move them from their primary environment and force them out into the street. The message I heard was that I wasn’t worth “it”.

I suffered in-completion nightmares for years even though I knew I’d graduated from college already. I was happily back graduating with them in the tight-knit community that would be their 12th grade experience. 

I made do with a year at a public high school and requested a transfer to college a year early only needing two credits to graduate high school. I was on a college campus at 16.

30th High School reunion on

Eventually I graduated from college and moved on and up and out of the city. But I never lost that feeling of being lost from that place in my life. Displaced. I would never feel what it was like to walk across the stage and be handed a diploma. Or be asked to a reunion. No completion.

And as I have worked hard to find my truest self these days, I heard about a 30th year reunion for this same high school. And then, I happened upon the yearbook online for that year. There was even a page dedicated to those of us who were lost along the way. Lost at Sea as there was a nautical motif  going that year. And this made me think about the story I’d been telling myself all these years about no one really caring that I’d disappeared. And now, maybe I needed to edit it.

30th High School reunion on

It wasn’t that everyone didn’t care that I had left. Kids just accept that stuff happens when parents make decisions about their kids and families and life. No one really knew where I went. But I needed to find myself to be found. And to be proud of who I have become. Which I really am. All the hard work and writing has made me such a better clearer stronger person. Someone who could walk in to a room full of strangers and become friends again. And that’s just what I did.

Last Saturday night, I drove an hour and a half to show up to the fabulous house of a woman I used to go to high school with. Her girls were the same age as my boy and I could not have felt more welcomed. Over and over, each and every woman who I saw that night was sweet and kind and we all agreed that it was as if time hadn’t passed. We all were healthy and exuberant and young. Even for thirty years later. And I remarked, thirty years more and we’d all be excited to still be standing.

Marion, Me, and Debbie at the 30th High School reunion on

My new story is that I got lost along the way and I found myself in the lost and found box. And I was returned to my rightful place with these gals all on their parallel journeys to see where life and motherhood will take us. It was really just that easy.


If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Page 1 of 10212345...102030...Last »