Keeping a Psychotherapist in your Back Pocket

Wouldn’t you love to have an on-call psychotherapist…someone who when you are having a stuck moment in your day can give you a 30-second reset?  Well that is what Catherine Aumen’s book, “Shortcuts to Mindfulness: 100 Ways to Personal and Spiritual Growth” is all about.  

Nationally recognized mental health expert, Auman, has collected her observations and tips over the years and collated them into a handy dandy guide for those of us look longingly at the self-help aisle in the bookstores and online.

What this is not?  A deep foray into your psyche.  What it is?  A delightful collection of her observations and thoughts from a psychotherapist perspective.  Who wouldn’t love to understand their and everyone else’s subtext?  We all need a boost and these small boosts pack a wallop.  If you are like me, you’ll flip through and land on the one that catches your eye.  When it does, it is guaranteed to resonate.

Her short essays are great for our fast-paced lives.  Feeling down in the dumps about your existing relationship?  Bored of each other in bed after too many years?   Flip to “The Quickest Route to Tantric Sex” for a 1 minute primer on perking up your love life.

Don’t have a therapist, but could benefit from some stress-busting time?  In her page and half essay “There’s an App for That” Aumen delivers a handful of apps that can head you on the right direction for your day/week/year.

Fun, fast, fits in your pocket (or on your Kindle or e-reader) and will boost your spirit as often as it needs a lift.

Head to her website for more info or to see her other publications.

Little secret about blogging

One of the little known areas about blogging is the PR machine that tries to reach the bloggers.  I thought it might be amusing to open the curtain a bit.  When I started blogging in 2004, it was still a relatively new medium.  I actively wrote for about 5 years and developed a large readership.  Before the meltdown of 2008,  baby boomers were still trying to find and keep jobs and reinvent themselves as they heading into their 50’s and 60’s.  Very few of us talked about boomers…it wasn’t “the demographic” that advertisers were looking for.  However, because the small group of us were very niched, anyone who was trying to sell anything to those edging to gray, reached out.  And quite creatively at the beginning, too.  Companies wanted their products to be authentic and I was inundated with cell phones with large numbers, boomer-geared music, books, movies, lingerie…from electronics to mobile homes to funeral offerings…marketers wanted a real picture to be shared on the web.

By 2009, Yelp and other user-reviewed sites had started to gain traction and marketing moved away from sharing of true experiences, and twitter parties, contests and user stories, to a search for reviews.  So publicists started offering their CEO’s, writers, talent, inventors and experts for interview, so that they’d have their online “quotables”.

I slowed down my blogging in 2009 for various reasons.  First, it was depressing to try and help others find work when there really was no work available for anyone…let alone anyone over 45.  Secondly, my business (a pet care services company) was taking off and I really didn’t have the time to devote to the hours I needed to write thoughtful posts.  So I laid back, but always kept a finger in here and there when something interested struck me.

From 2009 to today, every day, I am inundated by press releases from agencies who would like my reviews.  And clearly, they just want a review, because in 2015, there is no doubt…an online review by someone who has a good audience carries more weight than almost any other venue of advertising. How do you choose a restaurant today?  Usually Yelp or Google reviews guide the way.  Find a gardener or handyman?  Angie’s List, Nextdoor Neighbors.  How does a movie gain traction?  Rotten Tomatoes will make or break it, along with what fans are saying on Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr.  Because I blogged for a long time, I’m on a lot of lists.  I don’t mind that at all.  But I’m finding it a rare day that something comes across my laptop screen that compels me to dig deeper.

If I were a publicist today I’d be focusing the same way, probably try to be a bit clearer about my targets and try to be a bit interested in who I’m trying to connect with.  I’d also get rid of market speak.  “Hello!  How are you?  I’m reaching out to you today to….”  or “Hi. Our CEO would love to connect with your readers…” or “Hi! Following up on our communication last week to see if…”.

Anyway, I do read all the plugs because you never know what’ll be interesting to you.  So, if I do share my thoughts on something with you, or review a product or a bit of literature, it’s because I felt it was something worth sharing.

Hope you enjoy the window into this funny little world.


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Today is Rosh Hashanah.  This year is 5776 in the Jewish calendar.  The Jewish new year.  New.  Shiny.  Bright.  Filled with promise.

What I love about the ritual of this particular holiday, is that, unlike most things in life, your contract with your own vows from the prior year is wiped clean and you create a new contract for the year ahead.  Kind of like a purpose statement, or a strategic plan for an entrepreneurial small business of yourself.
If you’ve not experienced the tradition, basically, when you go to service, you start off the Days of Awe, at Rosh Hashanah, casting away your old contract and spending the next 10 days in reflections.  At Yom Kippur, 10 days later (the day of atonement), your contract gets sealed and you start your work toward being the best you that you can be in the year ahead.
There is something both challenging and terrifying in looking at your spiritual and emotional naked self and assessing where you’ve been and where you want to go.  Not in comparison to anyone else, but against only you, yourself.
This past year has been a particularly challenging one for me personally, and it is with welcome relief that I embrace the next 10 days.
I have always believed that if you keep your mind open, you’ll see opportunity where you may have been blinded in the past.  I like to look for coincidence, apparently random connections, and common themes.  Just as when a woman becomes pregnant the whole world around her is suddenly filled with pregnant women at every corner, when you open your mind to randomness, common themes start to take shape and emerge.
Given that I’ve been through a tougher year than I’ve experienced in most of my past life, and given that randomness and a blank slate are both on the horizon, it’ll be particularly interesting for me to try to clear my mind and get rid of whatever is clogging my emotional and spiritual drain and see what emerges.
I’m blessed to have a mom who in later life became a Rabbi (as in started Rabbinic studies at 72 and ordained at 79- you can check her out at and she did two very interesting exercises with her Sunday morning study group this past week.
The first was to visualize where you wanted to be in the next 5 years.  But to write a paragraph in the present tense as if the 5 years was now.  “I am…”
The second was to really, deeply ponder what you wanted your life purposes to be.  This one was left open for the next 10 days of reflection.
My “I am..” statement surprised me (as I think it did for most of us).  And delighted me.  I really do have a vision for five years from now and I didn’t quite realize it.  And I suspect will be lending shape to my statement of purpose for the coming year.
So that is what I wanted to leave you with.  Rabbi Corinne’s spiritual exercise to help set your tone for the next 5 years ahead.
L’Shana Tova…wishing you a good year.

Super Zoo 2015

The biggest pet retailer show in America is just around the corner.  My mission — to source out the newest and most exciting products coming out on the market.  Last year, I discovered Delca Corps amazing indestructable Think! toys. This year, I’m hoping to find the best in dog treats, rugged toys, “smart” dog and cat games and bedding options.

If you are going to be there, let me know.  If you are looking to find something specific, send me a note at and I’ll see what I can “dig up” :).

For more info head to SuperZoo 2015.

Walking with the Stars

20140208_113725Every Saturday I take my daughter to Hollywood for her Second City Teen Improv class.  I then have 2 hours to kill, so after I drop her off, I continue on my drive, to a little restaurant I love for a great breakfast, just a couple of blocks away.  I park there, eat some fabulous something-or-other while reading my Kindle (and losing myself in another world) then head back to pick her up just before noon.

 This past Saturday, I felt like a bit of a physical stretch (I tend to be pretty active, so driving hours on end is a day-killer for me), so I parked in front of the theater and walked the couple of blocks to the restaurant.  And I realized that I was walking on the really old part of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  


The first star was Frank Sinatra and as I continued along this really dirty, smelly sidewalk, I kept company with Alfred Hitchcock, Count Basie, Edith Head, Lucille Ball and countless others.    I’ve lived in LA since 1996.

I’ve been to this area and on this street countless times over the years, and like most Angelenos, I just walk along the stars (which go on for blocks and blocks) without ever really looking down.  In LA, where time is ALWAYS of the essence, parking spots are gold, and cars are a must-have, not a nice-to-have, it was randomly wonderful that I decided to walk and look down.

Natural, Organic, She’s Ba-a-ack….

We are all on our personal journeys.  I went walkabout.  I’m back for now and thanks for your patience and so many kind words along the way!

Apparently I’ve still got a lot that I want to share and I have a bit more time in order to do so.  My interests are still 50 plus, but as you’ll see over the next few months, some of the areas that inspired me over the past few years have taken hold in a more urgent way.  When I went on hiatus, I just felt there were too many bloggers and facebookers, tweeters, tumblrs and pinterests that were too focused on all the things wrong in the world and I couldn’t continue to be a part of the ranting and raving when so many people felt hopeless…I couldn’t see how another complainer would be helpful to any reader.  There are enough political pundits without me having to give my 2 cents.  There were too many people out of work for too long for any of my suggestions to really be helpful…there were not enough jobs.  Period.

I had to go out and do.  So I did and now I feel that I’m ready to contribute again, in a positive and meaningful way, to the online world.  Hopefully most of you are still around and will be interested in a different, more attuned, and hopefully more joyful perspective on the planet.

In my journey, I’ve had periods of motivation, inspiration as well as the downs that come from change unattained.  The past 6 years have been filled with change and all in a positive way (even though it often felt negative and unempowering along the way) — from corporate executive to continued presence as a  well-known blogger on issues affecting the 50 plus generation, to the development of my other businesses — consulting and a successful pet services company.

Most of this new direction was  accomplished in my late 40s and now my early/mid-50s.  Where the energy came from was a surprise to me.  I was SOOO tired in my 40s.  And the ripple affect across the world from the 2008 meltdown really knocked my emotional socks off….too many friends and co-workers that were so horribly affected.  But I ultimately realized that the overwhelming feeling of fatigue and frustration was anger at myself for not taking positive action in my life.   So, I pulled up my socks (well…took them off, actually, and planted my feet in the grass) and turned my world around.

My new life, now, is the one I’ve always wanted.  I still consult to business, but I’m not bound to concrete.  I’m out of the corporate world on a daily basis and into the animal, natural world.  I spend a great deal of time in the outdoors, with animals and the people who love them. I’ve discovered that I’m a horrible gardener (yet I still plant every year), find delight in swimming every day I can in the summer, love to look at other people’s flower gardens, and can make some terrific breads and baked goods (and a killer chicken curry salad and a salmon with fennel and red grapes that is to die for.)

I’m still infuriated and get enraged at social injustices, but I’ve also regenerated my inner strength by reconnecting with the planet as a creature of nature, by having the time to spend with my daughter, by realigning my priorities in life and being true to myself.  I spend my days in shorts and sandals, or yoga pants and Asics (my sport shoe of choice) and T-shirts and fleece jackets. My suits are reserved for consulting meetings. My dresses, heels and mineral makeup, for going out and having a great time.

Early on, in my pet services business (Poochbuddies if you are curious), as I was getting more exercise, I gravitated to natural products.  Better food, more fruits, vegetables, organics, grass-fed beef, free range chicken (I’m not a vegetarian…still like the meat, but I prefer the meat that has lived a better life).  I like to eat (I think you’ll have figured that out), I like to cook (also obvious).  I love the outdoors.  I love food bloggers and product bloggers and tech bloggers and natural offerings.  I like exploring and traveling and anything that connects me to the world is all good.  I love my smartphone (Galaxy S3…can’t live without it.) It’s all contributed to my better sense of self, a resurgence in vitality, and a reminder that I’m part of the planet.

I’m heading to Expo West this year (totally non-tech!), a massive natural products expo to see what has really changed over the past decade.  A lot, I know…organic, natural has gone almost mainstream…but there are 3 huge floors of exhibition.  Certainly more than one person can walk in a day or two or even three, but I’m going to give it a shot.  3 floors, hundreds of exhibitors, one day.

If any of you are going to be there, feel free to let me know!  Love to meet you.

I’m glad to be back and I hope you’ll continue with me on the journey.




Hi all…as you’ve noticed, I’ve gone “walkabout”.  Yes, I’m on a writing hiatus.

My business commitments are heavy (entrepreneur, growing service business) and my focus is on my business at the moment rather than blogging. I still consult on social media, however my main focus is on my daily business.

As for writing,  I’m  waiting to see what the latest and greatest new iteration of online communication holds.  I have my own ideas of what I want to generate, but I’m not ready to launch yet. You’ll still find me on Facebook and Twitter from time to time, although I have to admit to FB fatigue at the moment.

I’ll be back online writing away in whatever the new format will be and I’ll let  you know via this blog as well.  Feel free to leave comments with issues you’d like me to look at down the road.  The Gen Plus blog will stay posted and active.  The thousands of articles from over the years are filled with some great goodies and strategies for challenging job seeking issues.

Thanks for being a great readership.  It’s been a pleasure getting to virtually know so many of you over the years.  Ciao for now!


One of the challenges with using open source websites (Gen Plus is created on is that you are a bit more open to hackers.  And hacked I was.  For that past couple of days my site carried a site advisory, that malware was resident on the site.  No more….it’s been cleaned, but it was quite the effort.

For those of you who run  your own websites, here is what I did to get clean.  First, Google is fantastic…you receive a notification that your site has been hacked and on the webmaster tools are all sorts of tips and tools to clean it yourself.  I could have hired a specialist for $200, plus another $150 to hard code the site, but it turns out that I was able to clean the site myself, with a little help from WordPress plugins, a very helpful tech at my host (, and customer support at SiteLock (you’ll now see the little SiteLock certificate of security on the bottom right of the home page.

There are two issues to address when your security is breached.

1) Get rid of the malware

2) Get your site reviewed by Google once it is clean so that you are again considered a “safe” site.

For issue #1:

I immediately changed all my passwords — both on email and on the entry port to WordPress.  Then I ran reports on Google webmaster tools to find out what the malware files were.  As soon as I had that info, I went into WordPress and made sure all my files, plugins and upgrades were taken care of — this got rid of the malware files pretty quickly.

SiteLock and WordFence (a WordPress security plug-in) both identified all the corrupt files, which I removed…basically deleted the posts or just deleted all the links so that no hidden malware could be lurking around.  I had to run scans several times to ensure all the posts were clean.  I also removed all the links from my Gen Plus List.  Sadly, I’ll keep the list off the site for now, since those links were hacked.

It does take a few hours to clean up all your files, so it might be worth it to spend the few hundred dollars and have a specialist do all the work for you.

For issue#2:

After the malware and flagged files were taken care of, I ran a final scan and got a “clean” report from WordFence and SiteLock.  Once I had the clean reports, I posted the certificate on my site and then (again in Google Webmaster Tools) did a site index and requested a site review.

Happily (as of today), the review worked and my site is back up and running.  I’m hopeful I was able to resolve all the issues.  If not, I’ll be plugging away, again, at finding and removing malware before I know it.

Thank you, also,  to the fine folks out there who let me know about faulty links and bounced email.

Whoa…possible LinkedIn password breach

There is an as-yet unconfirmed report that about 6.5 million LinkedIn passwords have been breached.  If you are a LinkedIn user, it’s a good idea to head over to your LinkedIn account and change your password.  Even if the report turns out to be unsubstantiated, there is no point in taking a risk of having your account (and your online rolodex) hacked.  Here’s the article:

“Mom, what do you want for Mother’s Day?”

Every year a week or so before Mother’s Day my daughter asks me what I’d like for my special day. Usually I tell her that every day is Mother’s Day. That I’d like a beautiful card & maybe breakfast in bed.

This year my kidlet headed me off at the pass. “Mom, don’t tell me that my love for you its good enough. I want to buy you a GIFT!”

So, now  just days before Mother’s Day, I have to think of what my daughter can get me that won’t break her little bank.  I’ve received tons of press releases with suggestions/promos but none personally float my boat (I’ll post them later).

I’m taking her to La Boheme the following week, so I thought about suggesting she treat for our lunch. Or perhaps a joint mani-pedi, but I think I may want to go back to our earlier years & ask her to make me a coffee mug. The one she made me 4 years ago is a bit cracked & definitely worse for the wear, but I’ve enjoyed every sip of coffee I’ve ever taken from that mug.