Ask Emma

Advice on love and sanity for the 21st century

Last Minute Gift Panic? Here’s Fail Safe Advice

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Let me start with my father. Now, I love my father of course. He’s a good man. What he is not — and I am not the only one who says this — is particularly colorful, or say, imaginative. My father has given me a scarf for Christmas, or gloves, for the last 13 years. […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Holiday Stress Part 3: Sleep

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Someone sent me this blog post from the Huffington Post on how to get better sleep. The tips come from a “life coach” named Geraldine O’Keefe. I’ll save my little rant on “life coaching” for another time of year. I do find that this time of year makes sleep very difficult for me and I […] [Read More]
Categories: General

A Great White Shark Ate My Leg: And Other “Experiences”

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I’ve written before about the “Experience” project at the British newspaper The Guardian. It is a remarkably simple and powerful project, and a wonder that nobody else has pulled it off as well in all the magazines and newspapers and blogs that one looks at. Simply put, people tell their experience to a journalist who […] [Read More]
Categories: General

The Holiday Blues Part Deux: More Challenges, More Ways to Deal

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So, in my last installment I discovered — early on — my burgeoning emotionality as the holidays approach. Not bad. At least this year it didn’t come gurgling out in the car in the parking lot of the Stop and Shop. I’m sort of kidding, but you know what I mean. I was in a […] [Read More]
Categories: General

The Holiday Blues: Here they Come. Some Tips to Stay Ahead of the Game

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Boy am I slow on the uptake. I was watching television on Sunday night (“In Treatment” if you want to know) and I started running my hands over the top of my head and then, yup, cried. So what’s the problem? I can’t cope. I feel overwhelmed. There’s just too much to do and nobody […] [Read More]
Categories: General

The Election and Our Narcissism: Why we vote like children

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I don’ t think I’ll stray into politics very much but the mid-term election was fascinatingly disturbing. “Change,” they cried. Isn’t that what we heard in the last election? Doesn’t it strike anyone else as odd that everybody, all the time, is going to change business as usual in Washington, give America back to the […] [Read More]
Categories: General

More Reasons to Step Back From Your Job

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I don’t think there’s any question that job stress is on the increase. Here’s the downlow. They don’t need us anymore. They really don’t. I believe it was French President and former general Charles DeGaulle who, upon being told that he was indispensable, remarked that “graveyards are full of indispensable men.” Not that I think […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Helicopter Parents: Are you a drag on your children, or their only hope

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If I haven’t mentioned this before, I do some of my work at a University that shall go unnamed. I know that I’m getting old. I know that. Still. I find as I walk around the campus that at times I want to grab the unsuspecting child by their sweatshirt and say: “You poor thing. […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Lying to Ourselves: The “Convenience” of Memory

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I was interviewed last night by a writer I know who is working on the biography of an eminent friend that we share. I anticipated how it would go. This “eminent friend” was very influential in my life in my 20′s. In many respects, I modeled my career on her achievements and outlook, and she […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Leaving Home Part Trois: When a Parent Dies

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I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to leave home, and how hard this is to do. I was in some ways unfortunate growing up in that we moved around all the time. No sooner had I found my feet with a group of friends, and come to understand the culture — what […] [Read More]
Categories: General