Author Archives: The Resident

Living a balanced life

“Self-acceptance must come from within.”

By Roger Zotti

Psychotherapist and motivational speaker Diane Lang says what she learned from writing her book, Creating Balance & Finding Happiness (Kendall Hunt Publishing), was “to re-use my own tips and tools when I had a major illness. Sometimes you write about something—even teach it—but it’s harder to follow your own advice. When I got very sick last year, I had to take my own advice, which was tough.” In fact, the reason Diane wrote her book because “the information, tips, and tools I write about really helped me. I wanted to share what really worked.”
Diane says writing her first book, “The Path from Motherhood to Career,” and her latest weren’t overly challenging. “I had the basic information I used to help myself and others, so I found writing the books therapeutic,” she explains. Her third book, which she’s now writing, “is more challenging because it’s a process I’m still working on, which is releasing my addiction to fear and living a life of trust and faith.”
One concept Diane kept in mind while writing “Creating Balance & Finding Happiness” was gratitude. “I talk about it in my book and in my workshops. I can’t stress how important it is to live a life full of gratitude. I’m constantly saying thanks for everything.” She suggests a daily “gratitude check,” which for her takes “2-5 minutes.” Then she begins her day by asking herself, “What I am grateful for in my life?” Then at night she asks herself, “What am I grateful for that happened today?”
A recurring point in “Creating Balance & Happiness” is that in our fast-paced world most of us seek instant gratification: “Society has come to a point where everyone wants a quick fix…but that doesn’t happen and sets us up for failure,” Diane asserts. Positive changes in a person’s life “will take time,” patience, and “trial and error.”
Diane’s views about being selfish may surprise readers: “The selfish you….is good because it means a better, healthy you for everyone around you.” She recommends making “a verbal or nonverbal commitment—whatever it takes. Just make ‘you’ the most important person in this world. Now, you can go out and give the world your all….Don’t ever hesitate to be selfish if it means a better you!”
Another standout point is self-acceptance. “I have caught myself many times looking for approval from others, but once you become aware that you can see the pattern…stop it dead in its tracks by knowing it doesn’t work,” she writes. “Self-acceptance must come from within. Looking for acceptance and approval from others is a sign of low self-esteem.”
In straightforward and unpretentious language, Diane’s book offers common sense suggestions—which some people may have forgotten and about which they need reminding—about how to live a balanced, happy life. She considers “Creating Balance & Happiness” “a journey” for herself, for her daughter, and “for everyone who reads it. Also, its goal is to help herself and “others to be the best people they can be by using the tips in the book.”

Diane’s book may be purchased at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, www.kendallhunt.com, and www.dlcounseling.com.

Emotional Availability Builds Trust

by Neil Rosenthal

neil rosenthalDear Neil: Regarding your article about how to spot an emotionally unavailable person, I can understand your recommendation to avoid people like myself who have these deep personal flaws. But not one of us who are damaged people want to be where we are. From lousy childhoods to a series of failed relationships, our lack of progress about becoming emotionally more available is quite depressing.
Let’s assume your message is taken to heart by the mentally and spiritually unblemished. What about the rest of us? Many of us lack the resources on multiple levels to become the beautiful souls that professional therapy might promise. Your column is usually easy to nod in smug recognition. I felt this one with a painful recognition. In the future, would you please offer those of us on the other side of the relationship tracks some words that will help us grow toward having a happy relationship?
Despondent in Colorado

Dear Despondent: Deep down, if I feel inadequate and fear that I don’t measure up, then sooner or later I’m going to be afraid that you’ll find out about me, agree that I’m not good enough, and eventually dump me. So if I remain distant from you, aloof, disengaged and I don’t give you a whole lot of my time, it won’t hurt as much when you tell me you’re going to leave me. I have retreated into a web of self-protection and safety so I won’t get too hurt when things don’t work out, because deep down I don’t feel I deserve to be loved.
Such half-hearted attempts at love will keep me safe, but they will sabotage my ability to create a connected, loving and trusting relationship. How close am I going to allow myself to be when I’m secretly trying to be less emotionally invested because I fear you’re going to reject me?
I am also insecure and have low self-esteem. That means I get threatened and/or jealous easily, and I’ll get defensive or angry if I feel you’re putting me down, criticizing me, telling me I’m inadequate in some way, or being disrespectful toward me. This means you can’t actually tell me what you think or feel if it goes against what I want to hear, because if you do, I will make it very emotionally costly for you. And I feel empty enough that most of the time, I’m needing to tend to my own needs, interests and desires, and I may not be able to devote time and effort to your desires and needs.
This description is at the heart of why I am emotionally unavailable. You can see I have a lot of battles I’m fighting, and why I might not be there for you the way you want me to be.
If I were going to become a more emotionally available person, here’s what I will need to do:
First, I have to examine my feelings of not feeling worthy of a close, loving relationship. I would have to challenge my assumption that if you really get to know me, you will eventually reject me, and I would have to discover and embrace why I am lovable, and why I am deserving of your love.
Second, I would have to tune into your feelings and needs, and be very careful that I don’t place my needs and wants above yours. I would need to develop a greater level of empathy and compassion for your feelings, desires, needs and requests.
Third, I would have to act trustworthy, accountable and responsible. I could not afford to permit myself to have a secret life, or someone else on the side, and I would have to offer you complete transparency (access to my computer, phone, text records, and so on) in order to clean up any trust issues that I generated in the past. I would have to keep no secrets at all from you.
Forth, I would have to make time for you. I would have to treat you (and our kids) as top priorities in my life, and I would make myself assessable and available to you the vast majority of the time.
Fifth, I would have to cease being volatile, losing my temper, acting mean-spirited or saying hurtful things to you. I would never again threaten to end the relationship if I didn’t get my way, or use anger in order to get my way.
Sixth, I would commit to letting you in, by sharing my inner dreams, hopes, fears, disappointments and emotions with you. I would quit walling my inner self off from you, and allow myself to be known–warts and all.
Finally, I would become a better listener, gain control over my addictions, commit to being more of a giver than a taker, and cease being so judgmental and critical of you and of myself.
Email Neil Rosenthal through his website: www.heartrelationships.com. He is not able to respond individually to queries.

True Leadership Has Many Styles

Bryan Golden 

Author of “Dare To Live Without Limits”

Bryan Golden

Bryan Golden

The typical view of leadership is one person in charge of many. “But” there are many forms of leadership and leading takes place at many levels. You begin leading your life by taking a proactive approach to what you do. A leader makes things happen rather than waiting to see what happens.</span>
A leader doesn’t look for problems. A leader seeks to find solutions rather than complaining about issues. Successful leaders become experts at overcoming obstacles. Additionally, a leader inspires others to also take control of their own lives.
A leader doesn’t blame others for his or her situation. He or she takes full responsibility for succeeding. If something doesn’t work out as planned, leaders don’t give up. They endlessly persevere, adjusting strategy when necessary.
One can lead more effectively by asking questions rather than by making statements. The power of a question lies with its request for input. Conversely, a proclamation is more likely to cause a defensive reaction. When a person provides an answer, it is as if they thought of an idea themselves. Questions enable leaders to encourage cooperation instead of dictating.
Leaders are excellent listeners. They invite input and pay attention when someone else is talking. Leaders understand that listening is essential for effective communication. They can only offer a meaningful reply after they have heard someone else’s thoughts.
A leader develops their strengths while working to overcome weaknesses and helps others to do the same. Every person has specific aptitudes. Everyone has areas that need improvement. These are opportunities to grow, not limitations.
Leaders always keep an open mind. They are receptive to new ideas. They understand the reasoning, “that’s the way things have always been done,” is not legitimate justification. Leaders recognize the power of innovative thinking and constantly search for better ways of doing things.
A leader understands the importance of education. They recognize that learning is a life long endeavor. Regardless of how much someone knows, there is much more waiting to be discovered.
Leaders are receptive to dissent. They listen to a variety of opinions. Leaders recognize the value of ideas, understanding one person can’t think of everything. Although they may not agree with all they hear, leaders are constantly looking for pearls of wisdom.
A leader is always courteous and polite. They say please and thank you. Leaders respect others and make every effort to help people feel good about themselves. A leader will praise in public but criticize in private. They never belittle others.
Leaders earn respect, they don’t demand it. People gravitate to leaders because of the way they treat others, their attitude, their actions, and the positive energy they radiate. A leader doesn’t step on others to elevate themselves. Instead, a leader helps others to attain more.
A leader brings out the best in the people around them. They set good examples, act decisively, are sincere, and live by their own words. Leaders motivate through their actions.
We can learn a lot from the great leaders throughout history. Their actions are an inspiration to all. Leaders don’t have anything unique within them. Inside you, is the same potential. It’s a shame that more people don’t tap into their own capabilities.
You lead your own life. Regardless of your age or occupation, you are a leader. There is no limit to how many leadership traits you incorporate into your life. Act like a leader, and you will experience more satisfaction and happiness.
NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit <a href=”http://www.BryanGolden.com” target=”_blank”>www.BryanGolden.com</a> or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper. © 2008 Bryan Golden

How Wine Criticism Is Changing

How Wine Criticism Is Changing
By David White

Twice in the past three months, the wine world has been rocked by news from Robert Parker, the world’s most famous wine critic.

In December, Parker announced that he’d sold a “substantial interest” in the Wine Advocate, the influential magazine he founded in 1978, to a trio of Singapore-based investors — and that he’d relinquished editorial control. In February, one of Parker’s top critics, Antonio Galloni, said that he’d left the publication to start an online enterprise.

Parker, who popularized the 100-point scale for reviewing wine, is nearly 66. So he can’t be faulted for wanting to slow down. But thanks to this pair of stories, oenophiles finally seem ready to admit that wine criticism is changing. Consumers don’t need — or want — centralized gatekeepers telling them what they should or shouldn’t drink. Consumers still need advisors, of course, but when today’s consumers want information, they’re willing to look past professional critics and instead turn to friends and trusted networks.

With travel, restaurants, movies, and so much else, this trend would hardly be worthy of commentary. TripAdvisor long ago supplanted paper-based guides like Frommer’s. Yelp is now the holy grail of restaurant reviews, and local blogs are increasingly influential. With movies, opening the local newspaper for commentary no longer makes sense when you can check out dozens of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

With wine, however, this shift runs counter to so much of what’s sacred. Everything about wine — the bizarre tasting rituals, knowledge of obscure regions and varietals, and identifying good values — is supposed to be handed down from on high. Consumers are supposed to decide what to drink based on the advice of prominent wine critics — not mere amateurs.

But it’s obvious that consumers are growing comfortable dismissing gatekeepers.

Look at CellarTracker. Ten years ago, Eric LeVine, a Microsoft executive, built a data-management program for his wine cellar. When he showed the program to some friends, they begged him to share it. So he put the program online, where friends could track their personal inventories and share tasting notes. LeVine then decided to make his program available to everyone, for free.

Today, about 800,000 people visit the site each month, and more than 2,200 wines are reviewed on the site each day. This means CellarTracker users review more wines in just six days than Robert Parker reviews in an entire year.

The site isn’t just used by wine junkies — about 90 percent of its visitors aren’t registered. As wine writer Jeff Siegel once wrote, “this means people aren’t going to CellarTracker to mark off a wine after they drink it; they’re going to CellarTracker to read wine reviews written by amateurs.”

Just as CellarTracker is becoming more popular, scores are becoming less important.

Across the country, boutique wine shops are taking off. Many don’t post scores at all, as the owners see scores as an obstacle to consumer interaction. Once upon a time at high-end restaurants, it wasn’t unusual to see scores on a wine list. Today, such a concept is laughable — top restaurants employ sommeliers who are eager to educate their customers.

The wine media is also changing. While consumers can still subscribe to publications like the Wine Advocate or Wine Spectator, they can also turn to blogs and message boards.

And then there’s social media. Facebook has eclipsed 1 billion active users; Twitter has half as many. Earlier this year, Instagram announced that it has over 100 million users. People are utilizing these platforms to share everything — and one of those things is wine. There’s even an iPhone app — Delectable — that enables users to remember, share, discover, and even purchase wines, just by snapping a photo. It’s becoming extremely popular among wine enthusiasts.

Today’s wine drinkers are an adventurous bunch, confident in their own palates and willing to trust the advice of their trusted networks. With Parker’s decline, this trend is only going to accelerate.

David White, a wine writer, is the founder and editor of Terroirist.com. His columns are housed at Palate Press: The Online Wine Magazine (PalatePress.com).

Work Vessels’ Colleague Wins Citizens Medal

by John Stratton

President Barack Obama presents Citizens Medal to Veterans Farm founder Adam Burke.

President Barack Obama presents Citizens Medal to Veterans Farm founder Adam Burke.

The Noank-based Work Vessels for Vets has long supported a Jacksonville, Florida, veterans-support organization, Veterans Farm, and celebrates a national  honor with its founder.
At a White House ceremony on February 15, Veterans Farm founder Adam Burke received the nation’s second-highest civilian honor, the Citizens Medal.
“Work Vessels for Vets is honored to assist Adam and all the veterans he is mentoring on the three farms in Jacksonville, Florida.  We will continue to provide land, fencing, equipment, irrigation and support as needed to continue the expansion and assist Adam in any way,” says WVFV.
“We could not be more proud.”
Veterans Farm shares many goals with Noank’s WVFV. The farms “help disabled combat veterans reintegrate back into society through the use of horticulture therapy, while working together in a relaxed environment. Veterans work on teams to overcome physical and mental barriers..
In Connecticut, since its inception in the spring of 2008, WVFV has assisted some 500 veterans transition from military life to a civilian career by helping them receive the “Vessels” they require to enter a new career path.

Dime Foundation Awards $13,000 to Westerly Area Rest Meals (WARM)

Dime Bank Foundation has awarded a $13,000 grant to Westerly Area Rest Meals (WARM) for a walk-in refrigerator and freezer for their new facility located at 54 Spruce Street in Westerly. The grant will be funded over two years.
The new facility almost doubles their current seating capacity to 45 and allows them to serve 5,000 more meals, including the number of bagged lunches delivered each year through the Children’s Summer Lunch program.
Russ Partridge, WARM’s executive director, said that, “WARM is very grateful to Dime Bank for its generous donation, which allowed us to purchase new refrigerator equipment for our new kitchen”.
In addition, the new soup kitchen has room to implement a planned food-service training program. WARM and other organizations have identified food-service as a growing industry in need of entry-level workers. Local chefs will volunteer their time and expertise to the new Hospitality Training program.
WARM was incorporated in 1987 with a mission to “offer each guest three basic expressions of hospitality; a warm meal, a warm bed and a warm welcome.”  WARM has since become a social-service center with eight programs.  These programs implement a 19-bed shelter and community soup kitchen and a Community Critical Needs program, which helps some of the most vulnerable with utility bills, rent, prescription assistance, gas, and other basic needs.
For more information about Dime Bank, visit www.dime-bank.com/dime-foundation.php

Mystic & Noank Library Receives Rotary Grant

The Mystic & Noank Library recently received a $250 grant from the Rotary Club of Mystic to purchase new children’s books on DVD, which help develop pre-reading skills as children listen to stories and read along with the video on their television or computer screen.
The Library has over 300 children’s and teen’s books on DVD and updates its collections regularly.  “We are grateful for the Rotary Club of Mystic’s ongoing support of our programs,” said Roberta Donahue, Children’s Librarian.  “Since we have been adding books to our online e-reader library, we need extra funding to continue to add to our DVD collection in the Library.”
The Mystic and Noank Library is a public association library established in 1893 by Captain Elihu Spicer, who donated the land and building for the communities of Mystic and Noank.

Charter Oak and Quiet Corner Seek Merger

Charter Oak Federal Credit Union and Quiet Corner Community Credit Union, Inc. have filed an application for the merger of Quiet Corner operations into Groton-based Charter Oak. The merger would provide Charter Oak with additional members, assets, and growth opportunities in the upper portions of Windham County.
The proposed merger of the Putnam-based Quiet Corner union needs federal and state regulatory approval, as well as approval by Quiet Corner’s membership. The merger would create Charter Oak’s 13th branch in New London and Windham counties.
“Quiet Corner is a true community-focused credit union,” said Brian A. Orenstein, Charter Oak’s Chief Executive Officer. “It serves an important growth area for us, and its Putnam operations provide the perfect complement to our existing Windham County branches in Dayville and Willimantic.”
The proposed merger offers Quiet Corner members with access to Charter Oak’s extensive branch network in New London and Windham counties. It also provides a broader range of products and services, from long-term certificates of deposit, to debit and ATM cards, VISA cards, real estate loans, member business loans, electronic banking services, and investment and insurance services.
Audrey Lefevre, Quiet Corner’s Manager/Treasurer, would continue to lead Charter Oak’s new operations at the Putnam branch.
Quiet Corner Community Credit Union, Inc., is located at 107 Providence Street in Putnam; it was established in 1955 and serves members within the Putnam, Thompson, Grosvenordale, Pomfret, and Woodstock areas with assets of $1.5 million and 611 members. Charter Oak, with assets of $764 million, already has a strong presence in Windham County, with more than 11,800 members.

Old Lyme Historical Society Holds ‘Vintage’ Appraisal

“Vintage!” The very word unlocks desire in collectors and designers, as well as the merely curious.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School’s History Club member Ian James looks on as Carol Brevard of Brevard Appraisal and Estate Services examines an antique lamp at the Old Lyme Historical Society’s antiques appraisal event “Vintage!” in March 2012.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School’s History Club member Ian James looks on as Carol Brevard of Brevard Appraisal and Estate Services examines an antique lamp at the Old Lyme Historical Society’s antiques appraisal event “Vintage!” in March 2012.

To deepen and educate that desire, the Old Lyme Historical Society is holding an antiques appraisal on Sunday, March 17, from 1-5 p.m. at the Old Lyme Town Hall on Lyme Street.

This year Steven Lutar of the Guilford Coin Exchange will join appraisers Isaiah Griffith, Curt Wendler, Nancy Hoffman, and Carol Brevard from last year’s event. Their expertise covers books, toys, textiles, farm tools, precious metal jewelry, artwork, and coins. Each verbal appraisal costs $5 per item and there is a three-item limit per person.

Isaiah Griffith’s expertise is in vintage toys, hunting, fishing, and military items, current and antique gold, silver and precious metal items, jewelry, flat- and hollow-ware and decorative items. He is the owner of Griffith’s Antiques in Centerbrook.

Curt Wendler has been buying and selling fine used books for over 30 years; his background includes experience with firms in New York and New Haven, ten years as co-owner of Centerbridge Books in Essex, and more recently as the owner of a private book company in Old Saybrook. He will examine books, autographs, photos, posters, and ephemera. Old Saybrook resident Nancy Hoffman is a longtime antiques dealer specializing in textiles and early country items. She will appraise textiles, linens, coverlets, quilts, sewing, kitchen items, farm implements, and primitive country furniture.

Carol Brevard of Brevard Appraisal and Estate Services has been certified through Rhode Island School of Design and ASA to handle valuations. In addition to antique items in general, she will appraise paintings, prints, engraving, and other artwork, pottery, ceramics and related items.

Proceeds benefit the Old Lyme Historical Society’s scholarship fund. To make a donation, send a check to OLHS, PO Box 352, Old Lyme, CT. For information on how to apply for the scholarship, email info@oldlymehistorical.org. For further information about “Vintage!” contact the Old Lyme Historical Society at 860.434.0684.

“Stand for the Troops” homecoming concert to benefit our heroes

image001_optBy Don Church and Tony Schillaci, Critics On The Aisle ™

There are times when a heart-breaking story has a Good News ending.
And when it comes to our ever-increasing, homeward-bound troops there will never be enough that we can do for these American heroes. Perhaps many of them are not only suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but at last count 22 of these brave men and women are committing suicide every day, and that tragic number is growing.
What can each of us do to help these PTSD casualties? First, check out Stand for the Troops (www.sftt.org), which is dedicated to providing the best medical and emotional care services to all who may suffer from this severe anxiety disorder.
Another way to show support is to see the professional entertainers who are putting on a concert, “Spring Fever,” a musical evening and silent auction at the Unitarian Church, 10 Lyons Plains Road, Westport, Connecticut. at 7 p.m., Friday, March 15. All proceeds will benefit the Stand for the Troops PTSD Initiative.
The performers include Connecticut-born James Naughton, a two-time Tony Award-winning leading man in the musicals, “City of Angels” and the revival of “Chicago.” His many movies include “The Paper Chase,” “The First Wives Club,” and “The Devil Wears Prada,” opposite Meryl Streep.
He has directed several plays in New York, including the 2002 revival of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” as well as the TV movie version starring his close friend Paul Newman. Also on the bill is Leslie Orofino, an acclaimed and award-wining cabaret singer. One critic wrote, “I was breathless from laughing…and great vocals too. Leslie has starred at the Waldorf Astoria, the Plaza Hotel, the Algonquin’s Oak Room, Opia, and Danny’s Skylight Room. Her act, “Red Hot and Blues,” included the songs of Alberta Hunter, Eartha Kitt, Carolyn Leigh, Peggy Lee, Edith Piaf, Sophie Tucker, and many others.
Robin Batteau is an American Grammy-winning, Emmy-winning, Clio-winning, and Oscar-nominated composer, singer-songwriter-soloist, and music producer. He is best known for the jingles he’s created, such as “I’m Lovin’ It” for McDonald’s, “This is Beer” for Budweiser and “The Heartbeat of America” for Chevrolet. David Buskin, after selling five songs to Mary Travers for her album, “Morning Glory,” toured with her for several years as her opening act and they became lifelong friends.
Some of the other artists who have recorded his songs include: Astrud Gilberto, Judy Collins, Peter, Paul & Mary, Johnny Mathis, Tom Rush, Roberta Flack, Dixie Carter, and Tracy Nelson. Chris Coogan is a multi-talented entertainer who, as a composer, performer, teacher, choir director and producer, is rooted in the jazz and gospel traditions. He has played with Ronnie Spector, James Naughton, Phoebe Snow, Jose Feliciano, Bette Midler, Donna Summer, and Kristen Chenoweth.

For tickets go to http://sftt.org/sftt-events or call 203.629.0288. All tickets include music, gourmet food, and fine wines: $100 single, $175 couple, $125 preferred seating. The Westport Inn has a special rate for concertgoers who would like to stay overnight in Westport.

Basic Submarine Officer Course Graduates 64

Sixty-four officers in Class 13020 graduated from the Submarine Officer Basic Course February 22; the ten-week program teaches officers the theory, instruction, and operation of nuclear-powered submarines.
Captain Dale Green, USN, Submarine Group 2 Shipyard Representative, was the guest speaker. Ensign Alexander Wunderlich received the L.Y. Spear Award and a gold watch in recognition of his performance as the Basic Course Honor Graduate.
Ensign Patrick Quealy was recipient of the Admiral Andrew I. McKee Award, given to the graduate who displays excellence in the submarine-systems and diving-trainer portions of the course and who demonstrates superior performance in submarine design and safety.
Ensign Erik Hunter was awarded the Naval Submarine League Tactical Excellence Award for achieving the greatest understanding of Target Motion Analysis (TMA) as measured by demonstrated proficiency in plotting mechanics and fire-control operation.
In preparation for their first submarine assignment, officers receive intensive instruction in shipboard organization, damage control, submarine safety and escape procedures, submarine weapons, fire control and sonar systems. On graduation, they are fully contributing members of a ship’s wardroom from the day they report aboard.