Frances O. Thomas is a Pittsburgh native now transplanted to southwest Florida. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in educational psychology, Fran is also a National Certified counselor.
A study done by psychologists at Carnegie Mellon University has left me going “Duh.” It seems that people with a supportive spouse are more likely to take on challenges and subsequently more likely to continue to have supportive relationships. Oh, really?
The researchers rounded up 163 married couples and gave two options. One person in each couple could either solve a relatively easy puzzle or could make a speech that might win them a prize. Supportive spouses gave encouragement and
What if everything you knew about yourself wasn’t true?
Ever since she lost her sister, Quinn Weller has been in a rut. She goes to the same coffee shop every day and buys the same beverage. She’s avoiding her parents and her long-time boyfriend.
Then one day in the coffee line, the man behind her breaks some news that turns her world upside down. Turns out she was adopted as an infant, and the mother she never knew has left her an inheritance. I don’t want to s
One of the facets of emotional intelligence is the ability to control one’s emotions. Researchers at Michigan State College and the University of Michigan have discovered a simple technique.
Talk to yourself in third person. There is a name for this–illeism. Who knew?
For example, when I’m stressed, instead of my thinking “Why am I upset?” I should think “Why is Fran upset?” You know how it’s always easier to think clearly about someone else’s problems? This works the same way
Whether you call it deferred gratification or maximizing, it will make you happier. So say researchers at the University of Connecticut.
Their study refers to the fable of the ant and the grasshopper. The ant toiled all summer laying in provisions for the winter to come while the grasshopper played and had a good time. The human version of that ant behavior is called maximizing; the grasshopper behavior is satisficing.
For Satisficers, good enough is good enough
If you’ve ever taken Psychology 101, you know about Maslow and his hierarchy of needs. Self-actualization may not be merely an intellectual or spiritual exercise. Researchers at Arizona State University have discovered that biology might be involved too.
They asked 1200 people what being self-actualized looked like. They found it is connected to the desire for status.
From an evolutionary perspective, living up to your full potential gives certain social advanta
Ironically, the first word that comes to mind for by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza is delicious. A deliciously wicked insider view of the fashion and fitness industries.
It’s the tale of an otherwise brilliant woman who is hurt and whose confidence is shaken when her supposed best friend tells her she is too fat. He’s the designer and she the brains behind a bridal gown company.
She embarks on a hilarious but also sad “journey” through every fitness and wei
A new study by researchers at the University of Toronto will have you rushing to your mirror.
They set up an experiment to see if college students could tell if their peers were richer or poorer than average. It turns out many can. Students with family incomes below $60,000 or over $100,000 posed with neutral expressions. Other students could successfully tell the difference 53% of the time, more than they would have by chance alone.
By college age, their habitu
In a job interview, how much should you reveal? Researchers at University College London say that depends on how good a candidate you are.
The research focused on the concept of ‘self-verification’, which refers to individuals’ drive to be known and understood by others according to their firmly held beliefs and feelings about themselves.
The study showed that high quality job prospects who came off as too polished were deemed as inauthentic by interviewers. If
Would you rather be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond. Researchers at the University of Michigan say it depends on your cultural upbringing.
In three different tests, people with Chinese heritage were twice as likely than those with Western European heritage to choose the small fish option. They preferred having less than mediocre grades at a top ten college over high grades at a top 100 college.
Were the Chinese American students more har
A study done at the University of Gothenburg says if you plan to work in your senior years, you should start planning before age 50.
The researchers, psychologists Kerstin Wentz and Kristina Gyllensten, say their participants engaged in what they call career crafting. This meant taking themselves seriously and thinking about what they wanted in life. Remaining employed at least part time allowed them to flourish and avoid boredom while maintaining a social life. They we
Our guest author today is Patricia Preston. She has graciously shared information on her latest book Not Through Loving You.
In the Southern town of Lafayette Falls, a new life brings together a woman with everything to lose and a doctor with everything to prove. When a sickly infant is surrendered at the Lafayette Falls Medical Center, and orphaned soon after, pediatrician Aaron Kendall arranges to adopt him. After a painful divorce, the busy baby doc is about to realize h
Our guest author today is Mike Lord who has graciously shared information on his book. His work is quite different from what I write, but given the life he has lived, that is to be expected. Seems like the appropriate book to feature on Father’s Day.
Mike Lord has spent most of his working life in sub-Saharan Africa, or in South or East Asia. This novel was written by Van Hung and describes six of the first hand experiences involved in
Our guest author today is Lynne Stringer who has graciously shared information on her book Once Confronted.
Blurb: After a normal day turns disastrous, Madison Craig tries to put her life back together. She’s jumping at shadows and finds even familiar places terrifying. Can she forgive the men who hurt her?
Her friend Evan Mansfield sees no need to do anything but hate their assailants. He struggles with bitterness, but Maddy wants to move on. But what wil
Is it possible for Julia Quinn to write a book that is not delightful? I think not.
Cecelia Harcourt has made the arduous sea voyage to Manhattan to find her missing brother. When she arrives, Edward, her brother’s best friend, is in a coma and badly in need of nursing. Only family members are permitted to stay with the wounded. What’s a woman to do?
Second son of an earl, Edward Rokesby has been fighting in the colonies. He wakes up in a makeshift hospital with an a
AnneMarie Brear’s latest novel Where Rainbows End was just released. She graciously provided the blurb and excerpt below.
“I’m not a man, but that won’t stop me. Just you wait and see.”
It’s 1850 and the Noble family have arrived in Australia to start a new life after scandal drove them from their native England. Headstrong Pippa Noble is determined to reclaim their honour by making her father’s plans for a successful stud farm a rea
We’ve all heard the dictum “write what you know.” And most if not all writers use incidents from their own lives in their books. Yet how well do we know ourselves on an emotional level? I read an awful lot of “self-help” books but rarely do the suggested exercises. All that introspection is hard work and brings up too many things I don’t want to examine or re-live.
In Rewrite Your Life, Jessica Lourey bravely exposes her own experiences and relates how she has fr
I dog sat for a friend once. Said dog did not pee on me like the one in this book, and I still did not enjoy the experience, so I have to give props to Lainie. Her supposedly temporary dog sitting turns permanent, and she takes it in stride.
She gets herself into all sorts of complicated situations without even trying. Like picking up a pretend husband in the parking lot of a diner, for example.
Of course, it’s not hard to guess where this marriage of convenience is going
I just got home from the Southwest Florida Reading Festival, an event held each March in Fort Myers. When I attend, I always make a point to go to hear any romance writers who are featured. This year’s panel included Cassandra King, Susan Wiggs, and Lori Wilde. I’ve read and reviewed Wiggs and Wilde, but King was new to me. After hearing her speak, I intend to remedy that situation.
The three women took turns introducing themselves and then answered questions from
The parking lot at the Pine Island United Methodist Church was already full this afternoon when I arrived for the concert of the Fort Myers Symphonic Mastersingers. The chorus presented The Future of Music in the crowded sanctuary. As I squeezed into a pew, I felt a wave of nostalgia since I recognized so many of the singers from past musical collaborations in other choruses.
The program began and concluded with selections by the 70 or so singers. Sandwiched in between were piec
All those records of people’s lives are finally proving useful.
Researchers have tapped into New Zealand’s extensive digital databases to examine the lives of 1000 subjects from birth to age 38. They found that the Pareto Principle, or more commonly the 80/20 rule, holds true for illegal and other non-desirable behaviors.
The scientists from Duke University, King’s College London, and the University of Otago in New Zealand say 20% of those studied accounted for
My husband and I spent a restful hour at the Pine Island Library this afternoon listening to seasonal music played on the harp by Barbara Fischer. Fischer teaches harp and piano in Fort Myers. Her mother is also a harpist.
The selection of music was certainly eclectic. Pieces that I would consider typical for the harp such as “What Child Is This?” and “Coventry Carol” were interspersed with Great American Songbook-style tunes such as “White Christmas” and “Christm
A recent study about bullying caught my eye. Chad Rose, an assistant professor of special education from the University of Missouri College of Education, and Nicholas Gage, an assistant professor from the University of Florida, say that children with disabilities are bullied significantly more often than those without disabilities. This inequality in bullying continues over time. It peaks in third grade, subsides in middle school, and increases again in high school.
If the holidays fill you with nostalgia for the sweeter, simpler days of yesteryear, White Christmas at the Broadway Palm will be just your cup of eggnog. The show is brimming with sequined costumes, tapping feet, and corny dialogue.
It’s also filled with the music of Irving Berlin, and no matter how sophisticated we may think we are, we still long for nothing but blue skies.
Most people have seen the movie version with Bing Crosby a time or two, so the plot hol
Having seen a touring company of Evita many years ago, I couldn’t wait to find out how Broadway Palm would handle such a big production. What I found was that watching the spectacle unfold from the closer perspective of a relatively small venue gave me an even greater appreciation.
The two leads, April Monte as Eva and Mark Alpert as Che, spit out Tim Rice’s reams of fast paced lyrics with stunningly precise articulation. And what do those biting lyrics reveal? An
I live quite a distance from FGCU, so when the opportunity arose to hear two of the Bower School of Music’s ensembles in Cape Coral, I was in. The Jazz Ensemble led by Brandon Robertson and the Symphonic Band led by Troy Jones presented a concert at Ida Baker High School to a disappointingly small audience. With no admission fee, this should have drawn a full house.
A professional jazz musician with a master’s in jazz studies from FSU, Robertson is newly arrived from Tallahassee. He c
Broadway Palm’s latest show, Yesterday’s, (and why is that apostrophe in there anyway?) is a pastiche of music from the ‘50s and ‘60s, one act of each. The six performers confess at the top of the show that they are too young to remember any of what they’re about to sing and dance to. Most of the audience, however, grew up with this music, and some, like me, probably found themselves singing along or at least mouthing the lyrics every once in a while.
The high-energy co
The annual Midsummer Hymn Sing that Sam Galloway, Jr., puts together got a makeover this year. He wanted to prolong Independence Day, and the result was First Celebrates Freedom. The pews at First Presbyterian Church on Second Street in downtown Fort Myers were filled nearly to capacity.
The evening began with a procession down the center aisle of Lee County Guns and Hoses Pipes and Drums. Fort Myers Fire Department and Tice Fire District Color Guard presented the Ameri
Abbey Allison and Susie Kelly embarked on their maiden voyage as the Wild Coffee Duo yesterday afternoon. And what smooth sailing it was.
The very talented pianist and cellist put together a sprightly program titled Bon Voyage: A Musical Trip around the World to kick off their summer concert season at New Hope Presbyterian Church. They included an Italian Baroque Vivaldi sonata, a Spanish suite by de Falla, and three well-known pieces by French romantic composers as wel
It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to undertake a role that will be forever identified with Barbra Streisand. For that alone, I salute Elizabeth McMonagle who is starring in Funny Girl at Broadway Palm Theatre. She’s softer around the edges than La Streisand and her voice, while strong, is not the biggest on the stage. Her performance of the most well-known songs in the score, like “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” is more nuanced than brassy. She’s not a force of nature like Babs,
My former employer Florida SouthWestern State College has a thriving Arts Department. As the spring semester draws to a close, several theater and music performances are scheduled in April.
Stuart Brown directs his theater students in Almost, Maine by John Cariani. The show opened last night and runs through April 9. Matinees are scheduled today and April 9 at 2 p.m. Evening performances are tonight and April 7, 8, and 9 at 8 p.m. at the Black Box Theatre, Building L, Room 119B on the