The unbarfed-on rug isn’t really worth having

The unbarfed-on rug isn’t really worth having

By Ellen Margulies

I made the decision a long time ago that couches with unclawed arms and rugs that had never been barfed on were for suckers.

I don’t know what else you’d call someone who would pass up a chance at a lifetime of unconditional love with a being who is literally always happy to see you, doesn’t care how often you bathe and never judges you, no matter how badly you stumble. That really only scratches the surface (see what I did there?) of the many beautiful reasons there are to have pets, but they’re among my favorites.

[…] Read More

The Fog of Illiteracy

The Fog of Illiteracy

By Ellen Margulies

This is what the first line of this blog post might look like if you couldn’t read:

Gnkx ix shzg ghd vifxg okjd ov ghix tobk lxxg jktyj oiij okje kv jlj eljkch’g fdzc.

Pretty confusing. Pretty unimaginable for anyone actually reading these words. Yet the statistics about literacy in one of the world’s wealthiest and most educated countries are staggering. Consider the following from

Two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. Over 70 percent of America’s inmates cannot read above a […] Read More

No Smoking, Please

No Smoking, Please

By Ellen Margulies
April 9, 2006. 2 a.m.
That’s the exact time and date of my last cigarette after a 25-year habit that briefly, in my late twenties, peaked at a staggering three packs a day. Seriously, I don’t know how I found the time. I do remember negotiating with the man who wanted to hire me at that time for a smoking office. “Either I get to smoke in the office,” I told him, “or I don’t take the job.” An occasional  smoker himself, he relented. I felt like a winner, even though no one else in that tiny office was […] Read More

Ain’t nothing sweet about “the sugars”

Ain’t nothing sweet about “the sugars”

by Pam Coyle

Actor Halle Berry, politician Mike Huckabee, chef Paula Deen, Randy Jackson, actor Tom Hanks, rocker Bret Michaels.

Which celebrity doesn’t fit with the others?

If you picked any of the six, you’d be wrong. All have Type 2 diabetes. All have what older movies, and some of our older relatives, quaintly call “sugar diabetes” or “the sugar sickness,” or simply, “the sugars.”

But there’s nothing sweet about diabetes. Untreated, it can cause loss of limbs, blindness, and death. In Tennessee, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death. In 2011, the most recent year with complete data, […] Read More

"I walked into a door"

“I walked into a door”

By Ellen Margulies
How many of us have gotten that phone call?

Maybe it was late at night, maybe it wasn’t. A girlfriend, a coworker, a sister in trouble. A man who, possibly right up until you got that phone call, you thought was a perfectly normal guy turns out to be a monster. Punching, kicking, violent jealous rages — or maybe just the imminent threat of those things.

If it’s happening to a loved one, you might help her move out, give her a place to stay and help her make the break. And if you’ve ever done those things, your girlfriend […] Read More

Early Detection - The Devil I Know

Early Detection – The Devil I Know

by Pam Coyle
Monday I will disrobe from the waist up and get squished.

I should be thrilled – it will be the first time in more than five years I’ve gone 12 months without a mammogram.

I was on a six-month cycle for a few years even before being diagnosed with early-stage invasive breast cancer in November 2011. After a lumpectomy, radiation and ongoing hormone treatment I am considered cured.

My story isn’t terribly dramatic but dramatically shows the power of early detection. Six months earlier, the mammogram showed no tumor. Six months later the small tumor would have doubled in size and […] Read More

National Depression Screening Day® - October 10, 2013

National Depression Screening Day® – October 10, 2013

by Diane Gramann
Depression affects all walks of life. From young adults to the elderly and across all races, nearly one in 10 people in the U.S. suffer from depression. Screening for depression allows individuals to identify warning signs early and connect with the appropriate treatment resources. Early recognition and treatment offers the best opportunity for recovery. “Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that about half of American adults will develop a mental illness at some point in their lifetime,” says Tom Starling, President and CEO of Mental Health America of Middle TN.  “It’s […] Read More

It's National Yoga Month!

It’s National Yoga Month!

 by Pam Coyle
That 20 minutes of yoga I do every morning makes a huge difference in how my day goes.

I’m more focused and more flexible. I feel less stressed and know I’m better toned. I start the day with a great outlook.

Ok, I just made all that up. I WISH I started every day with yoga. I’ve done a little yoga, and the benefits of this gentle practice are so vast I want to do more. I believe hope remains for me, and the timing is perfect.

September is National Yoga Month and Sept. 30 is Worldwide Yoga Day. The U.S. […] Read More

National Preparedness Month

National Preparedness Month

By Ellen Margulies
It only takes one.
One storm, one flood, one disaster or one near-disaster, whether it happens to you or a loved one or just someone you know, is all it takes to remind you that when it comes to man vs. nature, it’s all too easy for nature to win.

As a child, I experienced a hurricane in coastal North Carolina, a tornado in Georgia and, soon after my family moved to Middle Tennessee, a flood. At the time, these incidents seemed a lot more like adventures to my siblings and me than events to be feared. We had the […] Read More

Women's Equality Day

Women’s Equality Day

by Pam Coyle

Harry Burn listened to his mother.

In doing so, he gave Tennessee the deciding signature to support women’s right to vote. Tennessee was the final state needed for ratification of the 19th Amendment, “a perfect 36,” as the Volunteer State’s role became known. Extending the vote to women became law of the land nationwide on Aug. 26, 1920.

Since 1971, Aug. 26 has been by Congressional designation “Women’s Equality Day.” A year earlier, women had joined together to demand equal opportunities in employment, education, and 24-hour child-care centers as part of a nationwide strike.

We’ve seen progress, […] Read More