Saturday, August 26, 2006

Divorce a Big Issue

I find it interesting that our divorce podcast with lawyer Lauren Strange-Boston is our most popular podcast with over one and a half million downloads so far. Many listeners and readers have emailed to say that her legal advice was good and that the advice was helpful to themselves or a friend. If you have not listened to the podcast yet or know someone who is thinking of divorce or going through one--take a listen.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Only the "Tolerant" need Apply

I love this ad at Craig's List (Hat Tip: The Only Republican in San Francisco Blog). Apparently, the person placing the ad is an open, tolerant San Franciscan who loves yoga, theatre etc. who is looking for another tolerant roommate to share a space. The requirements for the roommate look anything but tolerant: "No men, no meat, no Republicans, no TV, no smokers, no pets, no plants." Sounds like a winner-I wonder what other rules this tolerant individual will have for whatever sucker--I mean roommate--decides to rent this den of democracy?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bag Lady Syndrome

I was at the car dealer today waiting for my car to be fixed and got stuck watching the news on CNBC. The topic was a new study on women, power, and money that discussed how 46% of the women in this study fear they will become a bag lady. I googled the study and found this Washington Times article that looked at the study more in depth:

A "startling" 90 percent of women say they feel financially insecure, according to a survey of almost 1,925 women released yesterday by Allianz, a Minnesota-based life insurance company.

Almost half are troubled by a "tremendous fear of becoming a bag lady" -- 46 percent of women overall, and 48 percent of those with an annual income of more than $100,000. An additional 57 percent are sorry they had not learned more about money matters in school.

Such concerns foster an array of behaviors and thoughts. Women, for example, are twice as likely as men -- 18 percent to 9 percent -- to set aside a secret stash of money, the study found. Roughly the same number counseled their daughters to do the same.

The amazing thing is that by 2010 (less than four years away), the article says women will control 60% of the wealth in this county. With all this wealth, what the heck is with this bag lady syndrome? Perhaps because women do not know how to deal with money, they feel more nervous about it than men. I never felt nervous about money because I had a number of wonderful teachers who taught me the value of a dollar. Mr. Claxton, my sixth grade health teacher, taught me how to budget, Mr. Baum in eighth grade taught me about the stock market and compound interest and my father taught me how to read the Wall Street Journal and play the stock market in college.

I can't remember ever feeling like I was going to be a bag lady--and what is with the secret stash of money these women are hiding and telling their daughters to hide? What is that about? Why hide money and who are they hiding it from--their husband? This has always struck me as odd. Is money so anxiety provoking that women have to hide it?

Update: Along related lines, here is an article in Forbes entitled, "Don't Marry a Career Woman." Frankly, the article seems rather sexist to me--using as their criteria for "career girls" those women who make more than $30,000 a year, have a university degree or higher, and work outside the home over 35 hours. The article says such women are more likely to cheat, be unhappy, not have kids or if they do, be unhappy with that, and to get divorced more readily and to keep a dirty house. Wow, I never knew we "career girls" were such losers. Read the article and decide for yourself.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Podcast on Real Food and Crunchy Cons

Today we talk with Nina Planck, author of Real Food: What to Eat and Why and Rod Dreher, author of Crunchy Cons, about what appears to some to be an oxymoron: conservatives who care about organic gardening, farmer's markets and saving the environment. We talk with both guests about how politics and food are tied together and why all Americans of different political persuasions should care about what they eat, farmer's markets and the environment.

There is also discussion of the emptiness of McMansions (mine is great--thank you very much), the irony of it costing a freaking fortune to buy an artichoke at a health food store (while the pamphlet next to the counter touts the horror of third world poverty) and how to shop for real foods on a budget.

You can listen to our podcast by clicking here or subscribe via iTunes. And there's a lo-fi version for dialup right here. You can see our past episodes at the Glenn and Helen Comments and suggestions can be left below.

Update: Dave at the Crisper blog tells how he ate real foods to lose 51 pounds.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Are Women Creating their Own Pay Gap?

I read with interest this article from MSN Money on how women may be sabotaging their salaries and pay by charging less for some services: "A new study finds female professionals lower their bills to maintain client relationships."

I have certainly found this true in psychology--I remember that even when I was looking for an internship that paid a reasonable rate, I was told that there were many students or post-docs willing to do the job for almost nothing-mainly, these were female students being supported by someone other than themselves. I balked at the pay and tried to set up something more lucrative but it was hard. Later, in practice, I found the same type of behavior where many of my colleagues were charging very little around my area or would not fight back when pay levels dropped with managed care etc. One of my colleagues, a male, just shook his head and said, "A PHD in psychology is a rich man's (or woman's) game." I think there is some truth to that. I now see my field as a hobby and take cases that are of interest but rarely for the money. I can make more doing almost anything else.

I think it is fine to care more about your relationship with clients than you do about money, but with that, comes the responsibility of realizing that you have chosen to do so and are willing to live with the results of your decision rather than blaming men and the rest of society for discrimination.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Tips for Middle School Girls

Do you have a girl starting middle school this year? I do and so far, it has been a difficult first week. However, one book that has helped tremendously is A Smart Girl's Guide to Starting Middle School: Everything You Need to Know About Juggling More Homework, More Teachers, and More Friends (American Girl Library (Paperback)). My mother-in-law, who is a school librarian, dropped this book off last week prior to the opening of school and my daughter read over it and so did I. The book offers some great tips on how to navigate the world of middle school and as a psychologist, I must say, I was impressed.

Rather than harping on "empowerment" and "girl power," this nifty little book gives direct advice to eleven-year-old girls on how to control their emotions, learn math, and get along with others without taking everything personally. The beginning of the book starts with a quiz for your middle schooler asking her the question, "how do you deal?" If she answers all questions with an "A" answer, she is termed a "holdout" who tries to hang on to the way things used to be. New things tend to make this girl feel she is losing control. The author's advice here is good: "And there is something you'll always have control over: how you handle and react to things." I sure wish the older "girls" who got the vapors when Larry Summers made a few remarks about women in math and science had learned this lesson earlier in life. Perhaps if these overly-reactive women had taken the advice from this little American Girl book, they might have made more leeway in the hard sciences.

The American Girl book gives good advice about how to get help from your teacher with math problems, telling girls to be direct and exact with what kind of help they need. For example, asking the teacher when after class she might be available to help with positive and negative integers, instead of just stating that she can't do math. Other advice has to do with how to make friends and whether or not to swim with the crowd or against it. The author uses rational decision-making techniques such as weighing the pros and cons of one's actions. The advice given on how to deal with "tough times" with mean girls is priceless. The author seems to understand the bullying process and gives advice like, "Shrug it off. Look bored, avoid eye contact, and think to yourself, 'Whatever' or 'I don't care.'" She tells girls "not to let the bully know that she's getting to you" and gives further steps to girls for what to do if the bullying is excessive.

Overall, I highly recommend this book for your new middle school girl. If anyone has any other book reccomendations for parents of middle schoolers, or advice in general for girls in middle school, drop it in the comment section so that we can all learn something.