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Shipwreck 101!

"The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that ......... more »

A Perfect Time to Talk

The holiday season is well underway, and many of us will be visiting with family and close friends in the coming days. While you have your loved ones gathered near, why not take advantage of the time get everyone on the same page about your end-of-life desires? It doesn’t have to be a depressing conversation! In f......... more »

Do You Want to Be Right or Happy?

Choices, Choices, Choices All of us face decisions every day that potentially affect our emotional well-being. Some of these decisions are small and insignificant (i.e., chocolate or vanilla ice cream?) Other decisions appear to be much more significant (i.e., should I retire at age 65 or 70?) Research has found two p......... more »

Ask Dr. Tim: Help…I have Alzheimer’s and I am 69-years-old

Q I have been married over 40 years. I have been a professional in the business world and am now retired. I was diagnosed a couple of years ago and things are getting worse for me. As if the diagnosis wasn’t bad enough, how it effects with my family is the worse part. My husband and my three adult children all don......... more »

Mindfulness and Mental Flexibility

This piece is about one of the virtues of having a Mindfulness practice. It is an effective way to gain mental flexibility. When I was younger I heard stories of older people being on the ground with the inability to get themselves off the floor. I remember thinking how odd that must be…just get up…right? Later,......... more »

On “Going to Hell in a Hand Basket”

Three of my friends suffered much in the last year: one woman grieved the unexpected loss of a spouse of several decades; another suffered permanent disability in a bicycle accident; and a physically active, heath-conscious man was hit with a severe medical diagnosis. Although very painful and life changing, these e......... more »

Jumping Through Hoops

Thursday morning we left Port Townsend for a long getaway weekend in Walla Walla, Washington. As we were traveling East on I-90 we began to make our way up the rain soaking mountain pass (please contain your shock at us having rain in Washington) when we came upon a military caravan. The vehicles appeared to be much......... more »

Hey Sweetie…

We have all hear it. We all know that added sugars and syrups fuel obesity, trigger excess insulin secretion and boost inflammation, elevate triglycerides and cause cardio woes. But as our ole friends Drs. Oz and Roizen explain, they can also increase our risk for mental health. Roizen and Oz drew our attention t......... more »

Caution: Retirement Ahead

The very first patient I saw in my new practice when I moved to Sequim, Washington was a lady I will call Mary. After a few initial pleasantries I asked her why she was here. Without a moments hesitation she said, “I woke up in the middle of the night again last night. I had the kitchen knife in my right hand looking......... more »

Leadership

Even in retirement we find ourselves in leadership roles, anything from a neighborhood social group to a national philanthropic organization. We have all experienced the effectiveness of good leadership and the ineffectiveness of poor leadership. Whether during our careers or in retirement, there is great value in thin......... more »

Ask Dr. Tim: Every since my husband retired 15 months ago our marriage has had more conflict

Q Every since my husband retired 15 months ago our marriage has had more conflict. In the prior 37 years we had our ups and downs but nothing like this. I can’t figure out what has gone wrong. We were looking forward to spending more time together. Well, that has certainly happened. I wonder if we are spending too m......... more »

IT ALL STARTS WITH SCIENCE [Part 1]

A little context first. This will seem on the surface a tempest in a teapot, where the tempest is the age-old conflict between science and religion, and the teapot is a middle-sized conservative American Christian denomination. It is those things, but it is also as universal as The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas ......... more »

Ask Dr. Tim: My 52-year-old husband was seen by one of my friends last week with another woman…

Q My 52-year-old husband was seen by one of my friends last week with another woman at a restaurant out of town. It appeared not to be a business meeting since they were reported to be holding hands and smiling at each other a lot. We have only been married for six years and I am devastated. I knew things have cooled ......... more »

The Physicality of Writing Scenes and Characters

Outer story, the physical world, is also its own effect, its own reaction, its own comment. Outer story shows us things, and as the outer story grows and gathers, we can begin to see the constellations of our meanings. There is no need to comment on each facet of a scene. The sunset went from yellow to purple in a mome......... more »

Shadowlands

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.” So C. S. Lewis begins his book, A Grief Observed, about the death of his wife, Joy. A few weeks ago, travel......... more »

The Gulf

I had an experience the other day that made me very sad, both for myself and for the future of our country (and this was before Charlottesville). I was in the parking lot at the Sequim Safeway. Deborah and I had come up from Seattle after a day at work.  That meant I was a little dressed up; nothing fancy but in c......... more »

Yep It Has Been a Perfect Day…For Me

This fourth day of our vacation to the Grand Tetons in Wyoming started out pretty much like the other three preceding it. But as Jane and I were sleeping in our trailer, I was gently awakened by pressure on my leg at 6:00 a.m. As I peered down to the bottom of the bed I saw the big brown eyes of our golden retriever Po......... more »

A Letter to Grandpa Jack

Dear Grandpa Jack: My finger-tips still whence with the blazing memory of watching you snuff out the used-up Marlboro butt with your bare finger tips. I still hear myself scream silently in horror at the nonchalant act of my real Marlboro Man hero. I know I didn’t have that many years to actually be with you, b......... more »

On “Making a Difference”

Do I make a difference? For men, facing this question at some point in life seems almost inevitable. More so, perhaps, when it’s time to retire. Inevitable, yes, but also understandable. Because many men still feel a subtle pressure to measure their value by success at work—what is accomplished, and how much is ear......... more »

The Anthropology of Aging: Biking Across Kansas

“Miles later and the heat is just ferocious. Sunglasses and goggles are not enough for this glare. You need a welder’s mask.” Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974) by Robert M. Pirsig.   In our culture, as we grow older the process of negotiating transitions with ourselves and others is a cons......... more »

Reframing Anxiety

Attached to the back side of our garage is a built-on storage “cabinet” about four feet in height. When we moved into our place about four years ago, I noticed that cabinet had considerable wear and tear, but I continued to store unimportant and miscellaneous items in it. Then THE tree struck it. Actually, two y......... more »

Ask Dr Tim: HOW was I supposed to be the one who ended up “killing” my husband?

Q My 73-year-old husband died last week. He had been in a coma for several weeks and was on a ventilator. The doctors said there had been no brain function for about two weeks. I kept hoping against all odds that he would miraculously just wake up. Then the day came when the doctors had “the talk” with me. My husb......... more »

On Making Retirement Satisfying…for Men.  It’s not what we do… It’s what we experience.

  When I began talking about my own retirement a few years ago, I got one response more often than any other. “Oh, congratulations; what are you going to do?” Always, the emphasis was on the word do.  It gradually dawned on me this question was familiar, not new. When men meet, it is common to begin by ......... more »

‘SEENAGER’

I just discovered my age group! I am a Seenager (Senior teenager) I have everything that I wanted as a teenager, only 50-60 years later.   I don’t have to go to school or work. I get an allowance every month. I have my own pad. I don’t have a curfew. I have a drivers license and my own c......... more »

The Elwha River Restoration: A Story of Hope and Inspiration

Bill Bradley was an All-American basketball player from Princeton, a Rhodes Scholar, an NBA star and a Senator from New Jersey. He was also a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2000. Senator Bradley was chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Committee and sponsored the Elwha Restoration Bill in......... more »

And Then There’s The Grandkids

As Terry has said, the most contentious issues most couples face include: sex, money, in-laws and children…not necessarily in that order. And then there’s the grandkids. For some older couples, there’s the heartache of grandchildren longed for, but never conceived or born. Or those born to an estranged chil......... more »

Dealing With Anxiety…Naturally

How Much Is Too Much? Anxiety is part of life -- we all feel it from time to time. In fact we would be in trouble if we felt no anxiety whatsoever. However, the majority of we Americans deal with anxiety either in ineffective ways or get hooked on powerful and addictive medications/substances. Once hooked, many report......... more »

Finding the Right Emotion Word

Over and over, men hear some version of the same question: “What are you feeling?” It’s a question many men finding annoying, unnecessary, even accusatory. From boyhood on, many men (especially older men) have been socialized to not pay attention to their emotions. Their rationale: if they express an emotion like......... more »

Ask Dr Tim: My son is a 19-year-old college student here in Texas…

Q My son is a 19-year-old college student here in Texas. I say he is sleep deprived but he doesn’t think so and suggests I don’t know what I am talking about. He usually gets to bed between 2:00-4:00am. He is either on his computer playing games (self report: “I am very good”) or up talking with his with frien......... more »

UNEXAMINED NOOKS AND CRANNIES

First the inventory, then the point. In the smallish cupboard below our built-in micro-wave and regular ovens there is the most interesting and curious assortment of stuff. There are two white plastic baskets, same size, side by side. The left-side basket is completely unremarkable and thus uninteresting: Plastic ba......... more »

Coming to Your Senses: hearing

For those of you who have been following my last three posts, you know I have been writing about Mindfulness. Our last article was on Mindful “seeing”. This time I would like to suggest you experiment with another sense… your hearing. Again, I would like to suggest a simple Mindfulness exercise. Just go for a ......... more »

Keeping Secrets

I had gotten a new motorcycle about eight years ago and wanted to test it out on a curvy road close to our house. I went down the road to check for law enforcement people. No one there so I took off and all of a sudden, the flashing red light behind came on. I think the young officer was surprised to see this old guy t......... more »

Ask Dr. Tim: You may not believe this but I am a 45-year-old virgin…

Q: You may not believe this but I am a 45-year-old virgin…well sort of. I have been married eight years now and have never had an organism during intercourse. We have three children. I was a “good protestant girl” growing up and was told that I would go to hell if I had premarital sex. I have been able to have a......... more »

Coming to Your Senses: sight

My last two posts were about this thing called Mindfulness. At this point I would like to suggest a simple Mindfulness exercise. Just go for a slow walk of about 15 minutes. You can be anywhere: your yard, your neighborhood, in the woods, along the shore, or in a city. Step 1 Simply focus on the various colors and sh......... more »

Mindfulness:  Two Main Branches of Meditation

  #1       Concentration Practice (sometimes called Samadhi) This is where most people begin their meditation practice. Here we practice focusing our attention on something neutral (i.e., our breath, sound/mantra, candle flame, etc.) We assume the so-called “regal posture” meaning not slouching or......... more »

Fitbits On the Amazon

I was reminded of the importance of daily exercise when I read the article titled "Heart Healthy on the Amazon" (NY Times, April 6, 2017). An article by the Times regular writer on fitness Gretchen Reynolds summarized an anthropological study of the Tsimane people, a group of subsistence hunters and farmers living deep......... more »

What Is This Mindfulness Stuff?

“There he goes again. Every time I ask him to take the trash out he throws a fit!”                                                        or perhaps “Ok doc so my blood sugar is elevated. That just makes me a sweeter lady doesn’t it…what’s the big deal?” These are just exa......... more »

Openings That Make You Continue Writing

Often, we feel we can’t start writing because we are not inspired. Or we feel that we have become “flat” as writers when we look at what we have written. Here are 10 writing prompts inspired by the opening lines of novels, films and a short story. I believe that working from any of these prompts will allow you to......... more »

Once More, With Feeling…  Good Communication begins with Empathetic Listening

  Last month I wrote about the fifteen different ways Cognitive-Behavioral expert David Burns suggested that we can communicate badly, beginning with the need to defend our “truth.” Not to worry if you don’t remember more than 2 or 3 of those 15 communication “potholes. “ The details are less importan......... more »

Ask Dr. Tim: I am 53-years-old and have been married four times…

Q I am 53-years-old and have been married four times. My sister calls me crazy but I think I would like to finally find a good wife. I have checked out the main bars in town but the “crop” of women doesn’t look to good for this season. Any ideas? Billy A Dear Billy, I think I see a couple things wrong wi......... more »

An Oscillating Fan is Better Than a Roller Coaster

I am a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer. I sue insurance companies, corporations, individuals, and the government when their reckless, careless, or even intentional, actions harm people. Accusing people of wrongdoing creates tension and discomfort. People (and organizations) don’t like to be held accountable for ......... more »

How Do I Activate My Inner Core?

In my daily practice as a Physical Therapist, I spend considerable time teaching patients "inner core exercises". In this article, I hope to share this concept with you. If you haven't read my two prior core articles, it may be helpful to review them before reading this entry. They cover key concepts including the comp......... more »

640 on your AM dial

"From the front page of USA TODAY, Wednesday, May 3, 2017 – “World War III:  Americans are thinking about the unthinkable.” So it’s not only me!  All this macho missile rattling. It’s not that I think that the US and the People’s Republic of North Korea are really going to throw down plutonium, but, th......... more »

Life in the Middle

An accordion. That’s what my life feels like right now, with pressure from two sides. I reflected on this in my first “Fine Winer” article, that I’m feeling the “middle” in “middle age.” My wife, Joy, and I are dealing with the growing pains of our young adult kids, and with aging parents. We worry a......... more »

Too much time on Facebook?

A new report published recently in the Washington Post analyzed the sexual habits of 26,000 people. It turns out that this group had sex 53 times in 2014, down from 62 times a quarter a century ago. The drop off was most pronounced among married people, who now have sex 55 times a year, down from 73 times a year in 199......... more »

On Becoming A Quitter…Or Not: Part 2

Perhaps the reason I was never given the opportunity to get on the football field in high school was because I had no talent. I don't know how any coach would know that, since I was never allowed to try, but it was certainly one explanation. However, I had suspicions that it may have been related to my 8th grade experi......... more »

Men and Emotions

Men are often lampooned for their reluctance to express the full range of emotions. “Why can’t he just tell me what he’s feeling?”   Or, “I wish he wouldn’t clam up when I ask him about something emotional!” Though it may not seem like it sometimes, men are born with limbic systems – the parts of t......... more »

Ask Dr. Tim: The other day my son accused me of having OCD…

Q The other day my son accused me of having OCD.  While I have heard the term, I don’t really know what he is talking about. I don’t wash my hands more than I need to. Beside I have no idea what to do about it anyway. Hank A Dear Hank: As Dr. Travis Osborne of Seattle says, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (......... more »

MY FRIDAY MARTINI: A Play In 3 Acts-Act Three

Act Three – Ingestion, and Postlogue Raise the glass. Inhale. What you smell is cold, with a light scent of lemon, and maybe, maybe, a little sharpness from the alcohol. Your mind, in a conditioned response, sets off on its journey even before the chemistry catches up with it. My soul is past the point of no retur......... more »

On Becoming A Quitter…Or Not: Part 1

It was June and I was a16-year-old getting ready to enter my sophomore year in high school. I made the decision to go to the try-outs the following day for football. I remember how hot the morning was there in the locker room where I received my helmet, pants, pads, and jersey with #11 on it. To say I was anxious was a......... more »

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