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I often find myself telling my patients what not to do, instead of what TO DO. Frankly it’s easier to dole out restrictions than recommendations. Here’s an example: Don’t eat sugar. That’s easier than trying to tell a patient under what circumstances it’s okay to eat sugar. But here’s one on the TO DO list:

Do single leg standing exercises! They improve balance and help prevent falls.

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My desk faces a large window and I’m blessed with a beautiful view of two large pine trees that are home to dozens of birds. From early spring, through late fall, the birds are loud and active. Staring out at those trees this morning there’s too much wind, too little sun, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s too late for spring.

Recently my doctor, in his most serious tone, told me I tested positive for Celiac Disease, and in the same breath, told me I had symptoms of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. If I wasn’t careful, SAD could lead to clinical depression.

I couldn’t help but laugh. Mother Nature has one heck of a sense of humor!

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Image by Loren Javier via Flickr
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Isn’t it funny how one thing leads to another, and the next thing you know, you’re off down the rabbit hole? I heard a great song on my sweetie’s country station the other day, “Your Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert. It’s about going a bit crazy over a break-up, and the refrain made me laugh because her mama’s advice was the same advice my mother always gave me.

A lot of us probably had the same mother, back then, when the biggest concern was “saving face.”

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When I was in my 20’s, a hand lettered sign on the checkout desk of an Austin, Texas, motel made a big impression on me. It’s always cracked me up, but now when I think about it, the words on the sign are as telling about the people who stayed there as they are about the owners.

NO CHECKS, NO DANCE BANDS, NO UNMARRIED COUPLES

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I discovered the benefits of being alone as a young child. Oddly I often misbehaved so I would be sent to my room. On the second floor of our Cape Cod style home I had the most beautiful view of a tall Mimosa tree with the most beautiful pink flowers and the largest lilac bush I’ve ever seen. I’d open the window and close my eyes while breathing in that heavenly lavender and my little world was perfect. Lying on my bed with a notebook and pen or reading the latest Nancy Drew mystery, uninterrupted, was pure bliss.

People in my life often assumed I was lonely and sad. My answer has always been, “Have you ever been in a room, crowded with people, yet felt so alone?

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ME AND MY FIRST HUSBAND ON A TRAIN IN SWITZERLAND. I WAS 22.
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So many of you have left comments on my blog, Instagram and Facebook and even sent me emails, telling me how much you like my writing and urging me to write my story… a memoir. Thank you, sweet friends, for supporting what are sometimes difficult things to write, but that’s what I do. I’m a writer, and our stories are not always pretty. While I haven’t decided whether writing a book is something I want to do, you’ve made me think about it. In the meantime I found a piece I wrote 20 years ago for a writer’s workshop. The assignment was to write the first page of your memoir. For your consideration… xoxox, Brenda

I’ve often wondered if he liked to possess me just as some men like to own fast cars. “This week she landed on an aircraft carrier, cooked a gourmet dinner for 12 and won a race at Texas World Speedway.”

I was fast and sleek and hung my ass out over the edge. A risk taker. A reflection of him.

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I’ve been chased out of two stores—on two different continents—by store owners, wielding meat cleavers. The first time was in San Francisco’s Chinatown when the owner nodded at my camera and screamed, “Not in store! Not in store!” then proceeded to run out from behind the counter and chase me down Stockton Street.

From what I could surmise, I’d insulted the dignity of a row of headless ducks in the window.

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We all need competent, compassionate doctors who listen and then give us thoughtful answers and next steps. Most doctors are great about writing down complicated medical terms or drawing diagrams of things like the hypothalamus, although we’ve all had doctors who, at the very least, were arrogant jerks.

Like the doctor who, before introducing himself, slipped my x-ray into the light box and said, “This will probably result in the amputation of your right foot.”

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A couple of weeks ago while I was in South Florida, filming my new TV show, Food Quest, on the Food Network, I went for a run. As I pushed open the front door of the hotel, I realized how windy it was outside.

Like any good runner, I decided to head into the wind on the first part of my journey so I could take it easy on the way back.

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