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Why I Won’t Ever Marry Myself

Just MarriedI recently read about a new trend called SOLOGAMY. This is where longtime single people (primarily women) decide at a certain point in life that they are not going to find their soul mate, so they hold a marriage ceremony where they invite guests and recite vows and marry themselves. (I’m not making this up-it’s a real thing!)

The reasoning is that these folks want to make a public declaration that they are “complete and enough,” even if they are not partnered with someone else.

OK- Let’s review…I am the first one to applaud women believing in and cherishing themselves, in fact much of my work centers around helping women grow their self-awareness and confidence, but even for me, this behavior crosses a line into Sunset Boulevard territory… with Gloria Swanson’s final line…“Alright Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close up.”

 I get it, we all want the chance for our own “close-up” but  really – Am I the only one seeing the pitfalls of this idea?

21 Reasons Why I Won’t Ever Marry Myself:

  1. What if the chemistry just isn’t there?
  2. How wouId I separate the finances, so I didn’t hold all the control?
  3. Division of labor in a marriage is tantamount to success- where would I even start?
  4. The idea of walking myself down the aisle in public to recite vows to myself, is just plain sad.
  5. I guess the song, “Where two or more are gathered,” is out.
  6. I’m a Gemini- I don’t even think this is a realistic possibility for me.
  7. What if after I say “I DO,” I find out I don’t really like the person I married?
  8. I don’t want to have to worry about myself cheating on myself.
  9. It’d be hard to find wedding cake decorations with just one bride and I’d hate to pay for a groom I don’t need.
  10. I hate giving myself away.
  11. I’m afraid it would look less like a wedding and more like an over-dressed, confused woman talking to herself in front of her friends.
  12. If I were going to have a wedding ceremony and I couldn’t find a groom, I think I would at least marry my cat. (Luckily, he’s a Tuxedo.)
  13. I think the honeymoon might be disappointing.
  14. No matter how much I love myself, I can’t carry myself over the threshold.
  15. I think the proposal might be anti-climactic.
  16. Having to feign surprise as I pick out the engagement ring – “Oh, I think I’ll love it.”
  17. Some right-wing group would probably mount a protest and try to tell me it’s illegal.
  18. Not knowing how to handle the moment when they say, “You may now kiss the bride”- Personally, I don’t think that’s physically possible without a hand mirror.
  19. I think it would be tough to surprise myself every anniversary – and what would I tell people? “Yes, I’ve been together for 15 happy years now, and they said I wouldn’t last.”
  20. And if for some reason it didn’t work out, I don’t even want to think about the ramifications of a messy divorce from myself.
  21. The upside – I’d save on rice.

Karyn Ruth White is a “thought-laugher” in the exciting field of Human Potential.  She calls herself a Success Humorist (a job title she made up.) She energizes Conferences around the U.S. with her hilariously poignant Keynote talks. She is also an Author, a Comedian, a Keynote Coach and the proud owner of Laugh and Learn Productions, LLC, an enterprise helping people to marry their best selves with their best work. Visit her on-line at karynruth.com or email her at info@karynruth.com.

How Low Can You Go?

bad-157437_1280This month the standard for customer service was lowered beyond my imagination by United Airlines. 

As a Humorist and Keynote Speaker, I present HILARIOUS talks to companies on the Do’s and Don’ts of Customer Service around the country. This month I have added a very big DON’T to my story list!

Whenever I travel, I have a mental checklist I go through; Will the plane be on time? Will it take off and land safely? Will my trip go smoothly?  But, I have never had the following pre-travel question pop into my mind until this month:

“I wonder if I will be bodily dragged off the plane if it is overbooked?”

What in the Hell is going on?  In what scenario did the crew/management at United think that this was okay?  Where in the operations manual does it suggest; “bodily dragging a non-violent, paying customer off the plane,” as an acceptable policy. I am appalled! 

In my several decades of travel as a Speaker, I have been a frequent United customer and I have spent A LOT of money with them over the years. Based on their recent bad behavior and incredibly poor judgement, I will now go OUT OF MY WAY to see if there is any way to get to my destination without flying on United. (Even if it costs a bit more.)

Kudos United, you’ve done it…you’ve sunk so low that you’ve made Frontier’s Customer Service look good by comparison.

UA in my lexicon no longer stands for United Airlines, it now stands for Ugly Act.

Two thumbs down United.  You blew it big time!

Karyn Ruth White is a Success Humorist, Keynote Speaker, Author and Comedian. She helps companies remember the importance of treating their customers in a civilized manner.  Visit www.karynruth.com, info@karynruth.com

Leave It Better Than You Found It

littering-3Between political pundits and power leaf blowers, there sure is A LOT of hot air blowing this month.

Tomorrow we elect a new president. I know who I am voting for and why, do you?

I am amazed at how many people seem to look to leaders to “fix” the problems in their own lives.  Sure, great leadership is an asset, but the ultimate responsibility for your life and your happiness lies in your hands alone.

There is a little old man who walks in the same park I walk in.  He always has a white plastic bag in his hands and he stops to pick up litter as he walks.  I love that he has taken it upon himself to better his immediate environment.  My prayer for him is that he doesn’t let his anger toward the litterers eat him up inside.

When I see him, I am reminded of the power of individual initiative. If each person on the planet just decided to do the best they could in their own realm of influence, the world would transform.

Instead of cranking up your leaf blower and blowing leaves off of your lawn into the street and making them someone else’s problem, instead of leaving a shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot and creating chaos for the rest of us– we could decide to become a more mindful people.  We could think about our actions and the consequences they create, and we could exercise our freedom to make a grander choice.

Never, ever, ever underestimate the power of personal accountability as a change agent for peace and progress.

The boy scouts have a great mantra- “Leave it better than you found it.”  This applies to camping, living and voting.

I love America (faults and all), and I will do my part, and more, to keep her great. Even if it means walking those five extra steps to put away my shopping cart…because…hey, that’s just the kind of patriot I am.

Karyn Ruth White is a thought-laugher in the exciting field of Human Potential.  She calls herself a Success Humorist (a job title she made up.) She energizes Conferences around the U.S. with her hilariously poignant Keynote talks. She is an author, a comedian, a proud American and the owner of Laugh and Learn Productions, LLC, an enterprise helping people to live and work from their greatness  Visit her on-line at karynruth.com or email her at info@karynruth.com.

No Question, I Miss You Terribly

question-1500086_1280Remember…Ah…I remember…

The days when you could have an actual conversation with another person?

No little screen to distract either of you, no beeping interruptions.  Just pure, wonderful, intoxicating, give and take conversation.

For those of you who don’t remember what that was like, it would go something like this:

You would start by telling the other person something about your day or your life, or your thoughts on a particular subject, and while you were speaking, the other person would give you their full attention, including eye-contact, (that’s right – people used to actually look at one another when they spoke,) and then they would ask you…wait for it…a follow-up question.

THAT’S RIGHT! A FOLLOW-UP QUESTION.

…and here’s the incredible part, their follow-up question would refer in some way to what you had just shared. (This is why it’s called a follow-up question.)

For those of you who have never been on the receiving end of a follow-up question, here are some examples of a few of my personal favorites:

“What was that like for you?

How fascinating, would you tell me more about that?

How did that make you feel?

So, then what did you do?

What happened next?”

You might want to re-read these questions over and over again, because this is the only place you are ever going to see or hear them.

Because…it is official…the follow-up question is dead! Stone Cold Dead.

I am not sure when this happened exactly, but I think it’s safe to say that it drew its last breath within the past three years.

Perhaps the “Conversation Coroner” could provide us with the exact time of death.

There is a reason it is called: The ART of Conversation.

It is not called, “You mindlessly talk about you, I wait until you’re done (maybe), and then I mindlessly talk about me. Repeat.”

I have had to release several friends and colleagues over the past several years because when I talked with them, I didn’t feel like anything “stuck.” I call it having a Teflon™ Conversation. 

Most unaware people define “having a conversation” as; I’ll talk, you nod.

The “art” in the art of conversation, refers to the give and take involved.  Good conversation should flow from one person to the other and then back again. It should have a natural back and forth rhythm, kind of like great sex.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of verbal masturbation going on out there. And frankly, I don’t think anyone is satisfied.

There’s no more give and take. I am appalled at how many encounters I have had lately, where the dynamic is clearly take, take.  Where people continuously hijack the conversational ball and mindlessly bring all the focus back to them. 

I pour out my soul, and when I finish, rather than getting a follow-up question from the other person, which would indicate:

a) They are listening to me

b) They have processed anything I’ve said

c) They give a rip about me as a person.

instead, what I get is a blank stare, a short pause, and then they’re off to talking about themselves again. I want to reach over the table and smack them.  I just tune out when this happens and go into my own mind.  They no longer have my respect or attention. Because, as far as I am concerned, there is no chance that this is ever going to turn into a real conversation.

You want to look like a superstar in your relationships? You want to stand out at networking events? You want to close more business? Then do this…

ASK A FOLLOW-UP QUESTION. 

I know, I know, this is unfamiliar territory, but give it a try. Try it, see what happens. Watch how people respond to you, notice how the quality of your interactions improve, and then report back and tell me, 

“How did that feel for you?”

Karyn Ruth White is a thought-leader in the exciting field of Human Potential. She is a Success Humorist, Keynote Speaker, Author, Comedian and Speaker Coach. She is the proud owner of Laugh and Learn Productions, LLC, an enterprise dedicated to helping people live and work from their greatness. If you have a follow-up question, visit karynruth.com or email info@karynruth.com.

Round Up the Round Uppers

lasso2When did it become OK to ask me for extra money at time of checkout?

I don’t recall getting a memo announcing that this was to become accepted practice?  Did any of you see a memo?

I am already supporting your business by choosing to spend money with you. Isn’t that charity enough?

Apparently not. Apparently now, the actual sale isn’t good enough. Now you’re not happy unless I cough up a little something extra every time.

I could live the rest of my life very happily without ever again hearing those six annoying little words:

“WOULD YOU LIKE TO ROUND UP?”

I am so over dealing with the same irritating ritual every time I buy something;

“Would you like to round up today to support…Children without IPHONES?

Would you like to round up today to help…Women Who Are Mayonnaise Intolerant? 

Would you like to round up today to help find a cure for…Clowns with Turrets?”

ENOUGH ALREADY!!!

I want to say to the checkout person;                                                         

“Um, No.  Today I would prefer to “round down and donate the difference to my favorite charity…The Karyn Ruth White Kaaching Kaaching Fund. So… how much would you like to contribute today?”

And it’s not just happening at the physical check out, it’s also common practice online. Retailers like Go Daddy, Amazon and others ask this question at point of payment, “Would you like to round up for charity?” I “donate” plenty of money to Go Daddy and Amazon every year. I am not inclined to send them any “extra” coin.

Do I think that this practice has garnered some good results? I’m sure it has. But if you wanted my full participation, you should have consulted me first, before foisting this social shaming on me in a public place.

When I am asked the ubiquitous: “Would you like to round up today?”… my usual response is… “Not today, thanks.” In an effort to be polite, I hear myself actually thanking them for annoying me.

If I’m cranky and not in the mood for this bizarre ritual, I usually say NO before they can get to the word UP. So it sounds something like….

“Would you like to round.” “NO.”

 Sometimes just to keep life interesting, I surprise myself and them by saying,

“Oh sure, what the heck? Let’s Round’er Up.”

I think what bugs me most about this practice, is the subtle implication that if I choose not to round up, that I am somehow a bad person.  After I say “No,” I imagine all the people in line behind me shaking their heads in judgement.  I am pretty sure I have even heard an occasional “Tisk Tisk” from a fellow shopper.

What’s next? Automatic sirens and a voice coming over the loud speaker saying: “Security, you’re needed in Lane 3.  We have a customer who refuses to round up!” And you hear the whole store gasp in unison, and then let out a collective “Tisk Tisk.” And you are mortified. Few people ever fully recover from their first public Tisking. It’s powerful stuff.

I am perfectly capable of choosing and contributing to the charities of my choice.  In fact, I sent a donation check to a charity this very week…on my own…without any public prompting. Turns out, I don’t need the checker at Whole Foods to pick my charities for me after all.

Karyn Ruth White is a Success Humorist, Keynote Speaker, Author, Comedian and Presentation Coach. She is the proud owner of Laugh and Learn Productions, LLC, an enterprise dedicated to helping people live and work from their greatness. She has pretty much always been able to “round up” the courage to say what’s on her mind. Visit karynruth.com or email info@karynruth.com.