Laughter And Alzheimer: A Necessary Contradiction

Laughter and Alzheimer’s: Really?

I write about Alzheimer’s because, it seems, I can’t not write about Alzheimer’s. This wretched disease shows up, one way or another in so many of my essays, even when I don’t plan on it. There are times that I’m clearly writing about Alzheimer’s and the ravages of its footprint on people and family. Then, there are times I’m writing about memory and it’s purpose in our lives, as I did here when performing in the Listen To Your Mother series. I, somewhat humorously decide, in my reading, why we only remember fails of parenting-grace instead of the highlights of our childhood. There is a lot of laughter in that performance but it’s laughter borne of pain.

My grandmother had Alzheimer’s and now my mother does. Before my mother had Alzheimer’s she was a professor of gerontology and cared for the elderly through her nursing career. And, like mother like daughter, so am I.

There are two things I wanted to accomplish when writing about the plight that is Alzheimer’s. read more…

Life Isn’t Fair & That’s A Good Thing

Life isn’t fair. It doesn’t keep score, track, or have any kind of real give-and-take order to it. We lose jobs even when we are good employees, we’re nice but we still get sick, we stub our toes, fall down, and forget to zipper our flies even though we didn’t flip off the person who tailed us all the way to Summer Fest.

It ain’t fair, the life.

Nope. It ain’t.

That’s the bad news.

Here’s the good news: Life isn’t fair.

Thank God, life isn’t fair. Because say it was fair, say we knew the rules: lose your temper and there is no more princess parking for you. Think an evil thought about your neighbor and boom, there goes your job promotion. Forget your Mom’s birthday and you can say ‘goodbye’ to winning the lottery.

What if there was a long list of tradeoffs printed somewhere?

Think how long it would have to be. Super long.

So long that before you did anything you’d have to Google behaviors, read the consequences and then decide if the deed was worth the cost. Pro and con aps would spring up. Ethics classes would be filled at the community college and a whole new bunch of coaches would be born and they would be called the Woulda-Coulda,-Shoulda coaches.

There would be paralysis.

An even worse scenario would be, that life is totally fair and you have to pay back all the wonderful things in your life with equal and opposite not wonderfulness. *Shivers. Moving on.

Instead we have this…. read more…

I Think Everything Is Funny And A Little Bit Sad

I Think Everything’s Funny And A Little Bit Sad
Last week, I met one of the elementary-school students my daughter tutors. We were in the produce section in the grocery store. Our conversation went like this.
Girl: “Hey are you Meghan’s Mom?”
Me with a playful grin: “Yes, how did you know?
Girl: You look like her but wayyyyy older.
Me: *grin fades. “Yes, I am older. So very much older. Yes. Old.”
Girl: “Meg says you write funny books.” (but the girl says it like she doesn’t believe it)
Me: “I do write funny books,” I insist. But, my books are kind of funny and sad.”
Girl: “Sad isn’t funny.”
Me: “Sometimes sad things are funny.”
Girl: “No.”
Me: “Haven’t you ever laughed when someone falls over?”
Girl: “That’s not very nice.” read more…

There Are No Others: a more excellent state of being

There Are No Others: A More Excellent State of Being…hard but true.

Something happened that turned me from someone who cares about others to someone who cares for others

; from someone who lends a hand when asked to seeking out situations to offer a hand. Something so common, something millions had done before me, something that I should not get any congratulations. read more…

5 Ways To Spend Less Time With People Who Annoy You

5 Ways To Spend Less Time With People Who Annoy You (because if you do these things you won’t need a 6th way).
*this was originally published at Happily Ever After

I just spent the weekend in fundraising activities with my ex-husband. In short exposures this has been a fine thing to do. Enjoyable even. I always liked my ex. He is smart, funny, we have a lot in common, and he still makes me laugh. Sometimes, I even look at him and wonder what went wrong.

In the midst of the fundraising, he saw the title of my new book, I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around and said,

“Honestly Ann, is any book you write not about me? I should get a percentage of royalties.”

The happily ever after music receded something by Adele replaced it, slow and on repeat reminding me all too well. Yeah, I liked him a lot but mostly when he wasn’t around. read more…

Which Character Are You? Take the Quiz.

Which Character in I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around are you?

(Take the Quiz here

Are you the winsome, lovely yet hard to pin down Wendy? She’s a character and you either love her or hate her all day long.

Or, are you the practical, devoted mother Hallie Monahan who was a working, single mom who never deviated from her path in life.

Maybe you are the character of Macie our lovable receptionist who is a mix of Hello Kitty and Lady Gaga all rolled into one.

Jean Harmeyer might be your spirit animal as she is all class, brains and business.

Tig Monahan is the therapist who is both selfless and wise but sometimes not at the same time and sometimes when she isn’t even trying.

It could be you are soul mates with me because I’m in this quiz too. Take the quiz here 

Haven’t read the book yet? Here’s your chance then come back and take the quiz!

Amazon –

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Indiebound –

Leave a comment here and be entered in to win the book! I’m dying to give one away.


What’s The Best Exercise?

Give it to me straight. What’s the best exercise? As an exercise physiologist, I often get the question from people who want to start exercising, “What’s the best exercise?” I know where this question is coming from.

People want to use their time wisely, they want to maximize their exercise time – get a good workout and do it in the least amount of time.

Imbedded in this query is also, “How long do I have to do it?” and “Can I just not do it at all?” –which sounds a little like a middle schooler’s questions about sex but that is another topic altogether.

So let’s make this simple people. What’s the best exercise? The exercise that burns the most calories, the fat-burning, booty-kicking, Beyonce-shimmying, 8-pack ab-giving workout that will change your life?

What’s the best exercise? read more…

The Hard Thing About Teaching Nutrition

The hard thing about teaching nutrition to college students is that, as far as eating healthy is concerned, they’ve heard it all before. In fact, Michael Pollen’s phrase, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”– is about the best 3-second nutrition message around. I find myself wanting to repeat this phrase to my students and dismiss class for the semester.

I don’t, though, because “Not too much” is the dirty bomb of nutrition. Whenever I ask my class if they have eaten a Hershey’s Chocolate Kiss in their lifetime, I already know the answer. It’s always 100% hands raised.

Hershey’s has our number. They exploit our psychology of eating and here’s how. They know people will eat more of one kind of food if we perceive that there is variety (even if there is no real taste difference in that variety). Case in point, in a 2004 study people offered M&Ms in 10 colors ate 43% more than those offered the same number of M&Ms in seven colors. That is the difference between 91 and 63 candies over an hour. Same flavor, different color, more eating. Hershey’s knows this and in the sixties they started adding color to the silver foil wrapper. Red and green for Christmas, pastel colors for Easter, orange and brown for autumn and what did we do? We ate more Kisses. Perception is everything and can overwhelm judgment in the sneakiest of ways. read more…

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Read an interview with Ann at Brava Magazine

The One Reason Why we remember only the hard memories as children. Funny and sad with a tear. @Listen To Your Mother.

The Dog Year on the Morning Blend

Ann Garvin is a small book girl trying to make it in a big book world, hoping you'll get a cup of coffee and stay awhile.

Another place you can find Ann's Health advice is at the Unreasonable Institute where she helps entrepreneur's stay healthy while they save the world.

Read Ann's Unreasonable blog.

Unreasonable Institute is a mentorship program for entrepreneurs tackling global challenges. Every year, Unreasonable handpicks 25 entrepreneurs from around the world to unite in Boulder under 1 roof for 6 weeks. There, they receive guidance from 50 mentors. They build relationships with over 25 investment funds, scores of other funders, and a network supports them as they work to scale to 1 million beneficiaries.

Buy Now: The Dog Year!

'The Dog Year' is Ann Garvin's new new novel released by Berkley-a Penguin imprint.

'The Dog Year' is Ann Garvin's new novel by Berkley-a Penguin imprint. The Dog Year brings to life new characters that we fall in love with through their everyday happenstance and lively interactions. Meet Ann here in a brief video about her novel, 'On Maggie's Watch' available through these retailers.

"I know of few authors who are funnier or more sympathetic than Ann Garvin, and I know of few heroines more in need of comic relief and sympathy than Dr. Lucy Peterman. This novel will make your stomach hurt with laughter and your heart ache with sadness. The Dog Year is a kind, gentle, honest look at a woman whose life has come apart and a survivor who puts it all back together."

New York Times best selling author Wiley Cash Author of A Land More Kind Than Home & the upcoming This Dark Road to Mercy

Ann Garvin is published by: Berkley/Jove