My parents were like two peas in a pod. They went everywhere together. They made breakfast together and worked in their appliance store together. And most of all, they laughed together.


My parents were like two peas in a pod. They went everywhere together. They made breakfast together and worked in their appliance store together. And most of all, they laughed together.

That’s why I could never fathom either one without the other.

But eventually, the inevitable happened. My father, who was seven years older than my mother, died at 62. Leaving my 55-year-old mother alone.

I’m proud to say that after her first inconsolable grief, my mother went on magnificently.

She sold her house and the business in upstate New York and drove 2,500 miles to Edmonton, Alberta, all by herself!

Later, she talked about only two things from that trip. She vowed she would never again drive on Lakeshore Drive in Chicago during rush hour. And as a person who was afraid of heights in the tiny Adirondack Mountains of New York State, she was horrified as she climbed over the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains.

Once in Edmonton, she found a job she loved and rented an apartment. She became good friends with her new landlady, but there was a down side to her new living arrangement.

Her landlady was a wonderful cook, but every dish she made featured garlic.

We love to season our meats with a little garlic, and there’s always some fresh garlic in our fridge. But on the other hand, everybody knows that too much secondhand garlic is not pleasant. So I didn’t blame my mother for complaining on occasion.

I was thinking of my mother’s aversion to garlic last weekend while reading “Squeeze the Day: 365 Ways to Bring JOY and JUICE into Your Life” by Loretta LaRoche.

These 365 ways to bring joy in your life are very helpful and fun. The one about garlic reads like this: “Get rid of the energy vampires. If somebody drains the life out of you every time you talk to them, wear garlic around your neck and move on.”

That tip is a little negative, but not really only realistic. Every tip in the book has a pretty good point, often with a little humor.

“Pessimists are more accurate. But optimists live longer.”

“Don’t wait for special occasions to celebrate. Every day is a special occasion.”

And, “never stop asking yourself what you want to be when you grow up.”

This pint-sized book (4 1/4 by 4 1/4 inches) makes you think about life very seriously in a fun way.

It asks, “Do you laugh at work?"

When you think about it, do you laugh when you are washing the dishes or doing woodworking? For that matter, do you laugh when you’re playing water volleyball or walking with a friend?

Some of the tips are especially helpful for older people like this one: “Every day, be grateful for what you’re capable of instead of what you can’t do. It will give you much more peace.”

Everyone needs some encouragement each day. Life isn’t always easy, but a positive attitude helps.

So if you don’t have an inspirational calendar for 2009, why not invest in your every day happiness? Buy a copy of “Squeeze the Day,” with its 365 inspirational sayings, and bring JOY and JUICE to the rest of the year.

©2009 Marie Snider

Marie Snider is an award-winning health-care writer and syndicated columnist. Write Marie Snider at thisside60aol.com or visit her Web site at www.visit-snider.com.