Isn’t it Time to Move Beyond Our Mysterious Weight Loss Barriers?

With 2009 behind us, we may want to compassionately assess how much impulse control we exhibited regarding the overwhelming number of temptations that were offered to us during the onslaught of holiday cheer (sometimes morphing afterward into holiday jeer!). The good news is that this fresh New Year may serve as an opportunity to take a serious look at what has been blocking us in reaching our healthy weight loss goals. I’ve heard many inquiring new clients say things like—You’re my last resort! I’ve tried everything and am still struggling with my weight…and I absolutely hate looking in the mirror.

In my private practice, I offer tools and strategies for people who are ready to get to the bottom of what mysterious barriers have been blocking them from losing their excess unhealthy weight. So, before we declare that we are simply unmotivated and are “weak-willed” people, let’s consider the fact that there may be some complex issues unconsciously driving our overeating impulses. Often, clients are surprised by what they learn about themselves in our sessions. For instance, here is an experience that a client graciously gave me permission to share:

Several years ago, I went to see Trina with a goal of losing weight. I appreciate how she took me deeper in our individual sessions—beyond the ‘making healthy choices,’ ‘strengthening will power,’ and other self-hypnosis exercises that are on her weight loss CDs.

During one of my private sessions with Trina, I discovered the link to my mother and grandmother’s way of leaving life…by not eating. This new awareness beamed a light through a window that I didn’t know was closed! What I realized was: I thought of dieting as ‘not eating’ and I thought of ‘not eating’ (unconsciously) as leading to death. For that reason—I couldn’t diet. When I recognized the faulty connections in my conscious and unconscious, the overeating challenges disappeared.

“Now, as I continue to watch my weight, I quickly notice when my waistband feels tighter, and I realize that it’s time for a booster shot of listening to Trina’s weight loss CDs. I know I have the tools to maintain my desired weight and I have. Thanks Trina!” —Babs Bee  

What I love about offering hypnotherapy is that, through deep relaxation, my clients have an opportunity to explore underlying issues that may be sabotaging their goal reaching. Exploring under the surface of a challenging issue, and addressing the roots, can be extremely productive. As illustrated by many of my clients’ successes, unhealthy habits often lose their power when unconscious issues are brought into the light where conscious understanding and integration can take place.
During the personal growth process, in addition to focusing on releasing our excess weight, we often explore how to:

  • stop using food in an attempt to manage emotions
  • love ourselves from the inside out—at any weight
  • uncover negative core beliefs

Early in my work with weight loss clients, I often ask, “Do you have any limiting core beliefs?” A core belief is a positive or negative perception you have about yourself. For example, a positive core belief would be that you feel intelligent and competent. A negative core belief would be that you feel like an imposter. Residing at the core of an “Imposter Syndrome” are often feelings of being incompetent. I explain to clients who suffer with an Imposter Syndrome that a common critical inner dialogue might include some of these thoughts:

“If you really knew me, you’d know that I’m not intelligent, not attractive, and not worthy of praise. My accomplishments and successes have all come from good timing or from luck.”

The Impostor Syndrome is a term educators and psychologists use to describe someone who is unable to internalize their past or current accomplishments. People struggling with an Impostor Syndrome don’t believe that they deserve their successes—and at a core level they feel like a fraud. For this reason, deflecting compliments is a common response from someone who has an Imposter Syndrome.

We all have various core beliefs about ourselves. Some of us feel good about ourselves, and sadly, as illustrated by the Imposter Syndrome, some of us feel a sense of shame about ourselves. Our positive perceptions add to our self-esteem, creating a strong foundation for our sense of self. By contrast, our negative perceptions give us a rocky foundation that can leave us feeling “less than” others.

If we haven’t uncovered or addressed our negative core beliefs, then they may lead to a weak or shaky feeling in our foundations that can result in low self-esteem. Unfortunately, negative core beliefs can sabotage our weight loss success by keeping us stuck in an unconscious cycle of supporting and fulfilling our negative beliefs.

For instance, if we keep saying to ourselves: “I know I’ll always be overweight, and I don’t have any willpower to change,” then guess what? If we’re not using tools to unravel, weaken, and counter this negative core belief with opposing positive evidence, then this belief is likely to become stronger and stronger.

Eventually, unless interrupted, our limiting core beliefs can become self-fulfilling prophecies. Uncovering negative core beliefs can be a way to address our “unconscious self-sabotaging.” For example, believing:

  • I’m unlovable
  • I am permanently stuck at this unhealthy weight
  • I don’t deserve to be happy

Negative core beliefs can keep us stuck in overeating cycles. These self-destructive cycles can perpetuate retaining our extra weight and create a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. Unfortunately, when self-destructive cycles are uninterrupted, they can lead to depression, which, is sometimes referred to as anger turned inward.

In my private practice, in addition to hypnotherapy work, I offer clients a take-home educational worksheet that they fill out when they are feeling stressed. The steps on the worksheet help people interrupt their stress responses, identify negative core beliefs (sometimes referred to as “stinkin’ thinkin’), and lower their anxiety levels in the process. I receive great feedback from clients who regularly use this tool. (And yes, I admit that I use this wonderful worksheet in my own life too—when I’m feeling stressed!)

So, now that we’ve explored the topic of unconscious blocks that can inhibit goal reaching, are you aware of any unhealthy core beliefs that may be sabotaging your success? If so, then moving beyond these unconscious barriers may enable you to achieve your healthy goals this year.

Finally, why not step onto a path of action today? Call me if you’d like new tools, resources, and a “power partner” for your exciting journey. After all, isn’t it time to move beyond any mysterious weight loss barriers…and claim the healthiest mind-body possible in 2010?

Trina Swerdlow, BFA, CCHT, is a certified clinical hypnotherapist, an artist, and the author of the 2-CD Set, Weight Loss: Powerful & Easy-to-Use Tools for Releasing Excess Weight. She is also the author of Stress Reduction Journal: Meditate and Journal Your Way to Better Health. Her CDs and her book are available directly from Trina or from John Muir Women’s Health Center online store:
Trina has a private practice in downtown Danville. She soulfully shares her creative approach to personal growth and passionately supports her clients in reaching their goals. You can reach her at: (925) 285.5759, or

Next time you’re online, check out Trina’s inspiring website!

Certified Clinical Hypnotherapy services in California can be alternative or complementary to licensed healing arts, such as psychotherapy.

I Resolve to Fulfill My New Year’s Resolutions This Year

Maybe, because it’s the year 2010, I feel a responsibility to raise the level of my game when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions. It’s hard to believe that it was just nine short years ago that we thought the world’s economy, or at the very least our home and work computers, might experience a meltdown of epic proportion as a result of the Y2K apocalypse. Fortunately, that little millennium snafu never came to be. Unfortunately, the bottom did eventually fall out of the financial markets, beginning in late 2008.

Come to think of it, I have been having trouble with my PC when surfing websites such as Craigslist, Facebook and Suburban Perhaps we were just off by a few years and it was actually Y2010K? I will admit that I’m also more than a little concerned about this new movie, 2012. In my experience, Mayan predictions aren’t anything to trifle with and the end of the world is a pretty significant premonition. Oh well, that’s two years away, lets just focus on the here and now, 2010.

For the past couple of years, I’ve relied on the traditional classics when it comes to my New Year’s resolutions. My goals and objectives tended to center around losing weight, being a more involved parent, attending church, working harder, communicating more regularly with friends and relatives, community efforts such as giving blood or other bodily fluids, and of course, to stop beating my pets. I don’t physically beat them mind you, but occasionally I am sarcastic and condescending to them. Just the cats that is—the dog and I get along fine.

If I were to revamp this traditional resolution list it’s got to be more accomplishment oriented. There’s got to be an action plan not just a mission statement behind my resolutions. Knowing this, please feel free to follow along as I lay out the groundwork for a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

I resolve to be a better father, if it’s possible to be better than perfect. I’m only kidding. I know there’s always room for improvement. I could be more patient. I tend to raise my voice after just the 8th time making a simple request of my daughters. Next year, I’ll wait until the 9th request. I could also be more understanding of “tween” girl issues such as vampire love, procrastination, texting, hair/clothes/shoe styles, mumbling, slouching and the intense dislike of sisters.

I shouldn’t be so offended when, despite the countless hours spent driving, attending, helping and cheering at their various activities, that they would rather stuff iPod buds in their ears than actually have a conversation with their father. Life lessons, advice, quality time= BORING, at my house. I hope my tears don’t fry the computer keyboard. This year, I’m determined to reconnect with the demon seeds I’ve spawned and be a better Daddy.

I resolve to be a better husband, if it’s possible to be better than perfect. I’m only serious. I cook, I clean, I mow, I watch what I eat and workout to make myself desirable. I………I……..Ok, I don’t actually do any of those things, but I could, I mean I will. Marriage is a two-way street and lately I’ve been letting someone else drive. We all know that marriage takes work. Unfortunately a lot of us have jobs that also require that we work. After I put in a long day at work-work I don’t have the energy to come home and put in another couple of hours relationship work. Marriage work requires more effort than real work. It’s emotionally draining and doesn’t pay as well. I’m not saying that relationship work doesn’t have it perks (wink, wink, nudge, snicker), but last I checked, there’s only 24-hours in the day, and as you know from past articles, I need my “me” time. This year, regardless of the conflicts and my own limitations, I am determined to reconnect with my beautiful, wonderful wife and be a better domestic partner.

I resolve to take better care of myself. I’m not implying that I could transform my 47 year old desk jockey body into one of those Werewolf boys in the New Moon movie, but there’s certainly room for improvement. After trying the crazy diets, the boot camps, Bikram Yoga, spin classes, Dancing with the Stars Home Edition and the high colonics, I’m convinced the well balanced approach is the only tried and true method for maintaining good health and fitness. I’m confident that if I initiate a daily regime of healthy eating, 8-10 hours of nightly sleep and exercise with Wii Fit, in time I‘ll feel good about wearing a Speedo at the beach again. This year, I’m determined to live a less deep-fried lifestyle.

I resolve to take no medicine that has side effects worse than my illness. If the prescription or over the counter medication could cause blindness, deafness, muteness, open sores, migraine headaches, paralysis or impotence then I refuse to swallow it, inhale it, drink it or secrete it! I don’t care if I have teenage facial acne, double vision, start growing hair on the bottom of my feet and crave the taste of human blood, the medication prescribed can’t be the cause of a more serious aliment such as, oh I don’t know…….death. This year, I’m determined to read the packaging for possible side effects before trying to feel better.

I resolve to be a better writer. I’m well aware that my writing style is amateurish and sophomoric, often relying on “bathroom” humor for laughs. In fact, a recent poll determined that most of my articles are actually read in the bathroom. I acknowledge that I tend to be a little wordy, not knowing when to end one sentence and begin another, but that could be considered a style and not a deficiency of the content………oh, I’m doing it again. I’m also not a very strong proof reader. Candidly, I don’t know if anyone actually reads the monthly drivel I put out. There hasn’t been a lot of reader feedback. I don’t know why I even bother. Would anyone even notice if I took up some other creative hobby, such as pottery or gardening? If only there was a health club like studio for all of us artsy folks living along the I-680 corridor, where we could drop-in and spend a few hours channeling our creative energy into tangible goods. That would be cool. This year, I’m determined to put more thought into the content of my writing… or take up needlepoint.

I resolve to generate additional income by opening up a health club like creativity studio for all the artsy folks living along the I-680 where they can drop in and for $50/hour pursue their creative desires. We’ll offer classes in pottery, gardening, needlepoint and magazine writing—sophomoric pieces emphasizing bathroom humor. As depressed as commercial real estate is in the Tri-Valley, I shouldn’t have any trouble finding a vacant retail or flex unit. I’ll find someone to negotiate a sweet deal for me. There’s got to be at least one landlord out there willing to trade stock options for rent. This year, I’m determined to supplement my income (never ruling out multi-level marketing as an option).

I resolve to dress better and pay attention to my overall hygiene at work. Somehow Casual Friday became Casual Everyday. While it used to be acceptable to sport Dockers and a Polo Shirt on the last workday of the week, I may have recently crossed the line. Last week, I wore my wife’s Victoria Secrets bathrobe and UGG boots to an inner office Power-Point presentation. Granted I looked “hot”, but my boss still wrote me up…. for being late. On those Friday’s before a long holiday weekend, I often took the liberty of not shaving, brushing my hair or applying cologne……or deodorant. Apparently, the term “going green” doesn’t apply to one’s teeth. This year, I’m determined not to scare off clients or co-workers with my impersonation of a UC Berkeley tree sitter.

I resolve to fulfill my New Year’s Resolutions. It would be easy to stick my chest out and brag to my bowling group about my resolutions list. I’m relatively certain that most of those guys didn’t make a list of New Year’s Resolutions. They would rather sit about and mock me. They are so jealous of my bowling abilities, my good looks and my celebrity status. At least that’s what my mom tells me. I bet no good Carl and Damon and Marc and Jeff and Tommy and Craig…….note to self, add stop being so competitive with guys in the bowling group to next year’s resolution list. Where was I? Oh yea, Resolution + Action Plan+ Execution = Results.

A resolution is by definition a thing determined upon, decision as to future action, a formal statement of determination by an assembly. If I truly resolve to change my life by accomplishing my resolutions I could move mountains. Isn’t that what Brett Farve did? Look at him. 2010 is going to be the best year ever and 2011 will be even better than that. I resolve to bring up my game and live life to the fullest for the next two years.

I might as well since the world is going to end in Twenty Twelve. Just ask a Mayan.

Happy New Year?

It was my first New Year’s celebration in San Francisco, California. I’d long dreamed, back home in Charleston, South Carolina, that I would someday move to California and live the good life in sun, temperate climates and just a little bit of Melrose Place-like drama, and here I was. I had a bottle of champagne cooling. I had friends and my partner and some good music. I thought I was set. Suddenly I began craving “Hoppin’ Johns,” Collard Greens, and – even though I am a devout vegetarian – the smell of a baked ham. What was going on?

New Year’s celebrations can be traced back about 4000 years. For centuries, literally, mankind has fulfilled their need for renewal with pageantry and ritual and in the American South, where I come from. Most of that ritual takes the form of food. The aforementioned “Hoppin’ Johns” is a combination of white rice and black-eyed peas, available in some soul-food restaurants throughout the Bay Area. It typically contains a penny, the tradition being that the penny would bring you prosperity in the upcoming year. Similar to how the Japanese side of my family exchanges little red envelopes of crisp, fresh bills around January first, or how my Persian friends who do a similar thing in March.


I had always grown up around a wide variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds; so, I’ve always been aware of the fact of different calendars. In fact, I still fondly remember sitting with friends trying to plan a going-away party, in 10th grade, with the Hebrew, Muslim and Christian calendars in front of us, trying to find a date on which everyone could eat all of the food we would have available. Of course that ended in a compromise, with our Jewish friend having to wait until sundown for chowdown, but we all had a good time, in any case. Even with all this multiculturalism – at least, I liked to think of myself as extremely cosmopolitan – I always assumed that New Year’s was one holiday we could all count on, and count on it being, for the most part, at the same time. Since then I have definitely grown up and have learned to deftly wish “Happy New Year” to my Wiccan/Pagan friends around Oct. 31st at the “Feast of Samhain (pronounced “sha-wen”);” my Jewish friends on “Rosh Hashana” (which is the first and second days of the month of Tishri, sometime in September); my Muslim friends on “Muharram” (which migrates through the calendar as the Muslim calendar is about 12 days shorter than the one we use); my Baha’i and Persian friends on “Noruz” (pronounced “Naw-rooz,” occurring at the Spring Equinox, around March 21st); and still have time to get some fireworks shows in.

A Dazzling Brief History of the Calendar

So, the question that rose, naturally, is “Why the heck do we celebrate New Year’s at all these different times?” In order to get an answer, it’s important to know the history of the Calendar we use. “Calendar” comes from the Latin “calendarium” meaning “account book” which comes from “calendae” which was the first day of the Roman month, when accounts were reckoned. The calendar, at that time, was controlled by priests who were able to add or remove days to extend or shorten the terms of politicians that they liked or disliked, or to stretch or increase coffers. Around 45 BCE, Julius Caesar “fixed” the calendar to put a stop to the havoc which had been wrought by the tampering the priests did on a regular basis. Unfortunately, his calendar – known as the “Julian Calendar,” was still off, so in the 16th century, Neopolitan Physician Aloysius Lilius introduced a new calculation which was adopted by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 CE. So, the calendar we use today is known as the “Gregorian Calendar,” or “The Christian Calendar.”

Caesar, when he instated the Julian calendar, decreed that the first of January would be known and celebrated as the start of the new year. Prior to the Julian Calendar, the Roman year started on March 1st, which was reckoned on the first day of Spring, following a completely unnumbered “Winter” period. It was ten months long. You may notice that the roots of the numbering are in the names of September, October, November and December. But, when it was recognized that there were too few days in the calendar, two months named January and February were inserted between December and March. Caesar’s decision to start the year on the first of January, rather than March, distanced his new calendrical system from the priests’ more malleable one.

The Julian calendar’s celebration of New Year’s on January 1st was abolished in Medieval Europe where the practice of celebrating New Year’s was considered pagan and unseemly. Instead, the Church viewed Christmas Day as the start of the year and, throughout Europe and the European colonies. The year was reckoned to start on either December 25th, March 1st or at the “Feast of the Annunciation” on March 25th. It was the Gregorian reform, mentioned above, which reestablished January 1st as New Year’s Day, but it did not, at first, apply to non-Catholic countries. For that reason, it wasn’t until about 1752 that Britain, and by extension, the American colonies, switched from March 1st to January 1st.

Comparative Calendrics

So, our celebration of the New Year on January 1st is rooted, somewhat, in a nose-thumbing to that ancient priestly calendar that was so imprecise. But what about the other calendrical traditions? Why do they celebrate the New Year when they do? I decided to delve into three specific calendars and see if some sort of conclusion arose from them.

First: the Persian calendar. Still in use as one of the three official calendars of Iran – the other two being the Islamic and Christian calendars – this calendar could be called “the Zoroastrian Calendar.” It consists of 12 months named for Zoroastrian angels, with the first day of the year falling on the first of Farvardin, which corresponds with the start of Spring. The month is named after the “Fravashi” which is a collection of “angels” meant to guard one whose “urvan” has been sent to the material world to fight in the battle of good and evil. In this way, the celebration of the New Year is also a celebration of the renewed fight between Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainu who represent forces of good and evil, and light and dark respectively. It is fitting, then, that it start on the longest day of the year, when the forces of good and light, are seen as conquering the forces of evil and darkness. Traditionally, Noruz is celebrated with a 13 day long celebration, the last day of which is spent outside, and the setting of the “Sofre-ye Haft Sin” or “The Table of the Seven Seens” with seven items whose names begin with the Perso-Arabic letter “seen” and which all have a special meaning. Furthermore, this time sees the rebirth of the natural world with plants sprouting and crops beginning to show.

Second: the Jewish Calendar. The first thing to note about this calendar is that it is purely lunar, which means that there is a natural 11 day “drift” in its correlation to a Lunisolar calendar (for example, the Christian calendar). To correct this, a 19 year cycle was established in which the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th,17th and 19th years have 13 months instead of 12. This means that the first of Nisan, the first day of the Jewish year, drifts 11 days more into winter in years one, two and three before jumping a full month – 33 days – later for the start of year four. All this complication is really just to assure that the year start in Spring so that the celebration of Passover – referred to in the Bible as “Chag he-Aviv” or “Festival of the Spring” – will also occur in springtime. Important to note, however, is that while the first of Nissan is “technically” the first of the Hebrew year, since Nissan is the first month, it is not the day when the year’s number changes and, therefore, not when “Happy New Year” is said. That occurs on the “molad” (pronounced: moh-LAD) or “New Moon” of the month of Tishri (the seventh month of the year, generally occurring sometime in September or October), and corresponds to the time of the Harvest. The complexities of the Jewish calendar are great, indeed, and a fascinating area for future study, but suffice it to say that their year has two “New Year’s Days,” one in Spring, and one in Fall.

Finally, the Pagan calendar. Modern pagans, known as Wiccans, tend to follow either the conventional “Christian” calendar, or a reconstruction of what is known as “the Coligny Calendar” which is a 12 month lunisolar calendar, meaning it is based on both the lunar rotation from new to full and back to new, and the solar migration across the sky. The year begins at the Feast of Samhain, or the first of Samonios (the old Gaulic name for the month) which roughly corresponds to our modern Halloween. It was believed to be a time when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its thinnest and the memories of loved ones past were to be most cherished, a fitting air in which to start a new year. It also occurred on the new moon after the Autumnal Equinox – an equinox being one of the two days of the year when the day and night are roughly equal in length – which is known as “Mabon” in the neo-pagan traditions, but was called Alban Elued in the Mesodruidic tradition and is sometimes called “The Witch’s Thanksgiving” as it is a celebration of the completion of the second, and final, harvest. This New Year also falls on the new moon before Yule, the Winter Solstice and the beginning of the time of little. The celebration, then, falls between a time of plenty, and a time of hunger, and at a time when memory of the past is the most important, and yet it was the start of a new year cycle, making The Feast of Samhain a fascinating mixture of the dualities which the pagan, Druid-based religion sees as paramount.

So, What Does it All Mean?
There are hundreds of other calendars out there, that all stand as “account books” of the year for a wide variety of people. Each calendar celebrates its own New Year’s Day which, interestingly enough, always falls on the same day: the first day of the first month. As we, the followers of the Gregorian calendar, face the year ahead, it is important that we, like the Pagans, remember to think of those we’ve lost in the past year, and, like the Persians, celebrate the renewal inherent in each day. Regardless of tradition, regardless of whether it is early, late, or right on time, I wish each of you a “Happy New Year” in all of its varied meanings!

If you’re interested in exploring calendars, a good place to start is the Web. For the Persian Calendar, is a pretty good starting place, in that it will give you all the words you would need to Google to find out more. For the Jewish Calendar, provides some great introductory information, and there are more detailed discussions if you’d like them. For the neo-Pagan/Druidic Calendar, has some great information, but I recommend looking even further. These traditions were fairly well eradicated by the Holy Roman Empire so they will take some more research to get good, solid information.

For quick reference, here’s a list of the names of the first months in a variety of calendars throughout the world, and the name, if any, of their Celebration:
Christian: January, New Year’s Day
Persian: Farvardin, Noruz
Jewish: Nissan or Tishri, Rosh Hashana in Tishri
Muslim: Muharram, Islamic New Year
Druid/Pagan: Samanois, Feast of Samhain
Indian: Chaitra, Holi (this isn’t, technically, a New Year’s celebration, but occurs around this time)
Baha’i: Baha’, Noruz

How to Go Green with Your Calendar
Calendars run in cycles of 6 and 11 years, so the trick is to find one that matches dates with days of the week for the current year. For 2010 the most recent matching years are 1999, 1993, 1982, 1971, 1965, 1954, 1943, and 1937. You can also save your 2009 calendar and reuse it in 2015, 2026, 2037, 2043 etc. Of course, an easy calendar is the Hourglass! Simply turn it over 8,760 times and… you will be one year older!

Looking Ahead to 2010

On The Green

January is a good time for reflection and projection for the year ahead. I asked 12 golfer’s, some friends and some students of mine, from beginner’s to professionals, what their goals were for the year ahead. Here is what they had to say: “Get into better physical condition; lower my handicap; win the Club Championship; not embarrass myself; stop getting so frustrated; improve mental toughness; practice more; take more lessons; improve mechanics.”

Some had a road map on how they would proceed toward their goal. These are all successful individuals who play, or want to play golf. I think looking ahead to the year in front of us is a great time for goal setting and to create a clear picture of what we want to accomplish.

To improve at anything, it is helpful to assess, as accurately as possible, where we are and where we want to go. Improving requires action, if only just a tweak here or there.

Let’s start with conditioning. You can’t play if you are incapable of swinging a club or getting around the course. Strengthening, increasing range of motion and just general health is vital. I know that many of my students will see improvement if they set conditioning at the top of their priority list.

Next, there is practice; not only finding time to practice, but working on specific areas that will reflect most on the scorecard. I think people have a general idea what they need to do to improve. The short game stood out the most from those I asked to participate in this article. They believe working on the short game will have the greatest impact on their score. I agree.

For the new golfer, get help. Find a teaching pro who you enjoy learning from and develop a partnership with them. There are many things the new golfer will need to learn, so it is essential to find someone you are comfortable working with.

If asked, most professional golfer’s would agree that improving is their top priority. How they go about that might be different from one to the next but improving their score is their number one goal. They are making a living at golf and the lower they shoot, the more successful they are.

I would like to share my 2010 golf goal with you and that is to simply have more fun when I golf. This means I want to enjoy the golfing experience more then I did in 2009. That could mean that I need to do a little of everything that was noted by all the golfer’s and friends I conversed with. Maybe this means to enjoy myself, the game, my playing partners, the challenge golf presents and the golf course and surroundings more.

My attitude will allow that to happen or not. Make sure that you don’t overlook this. Golfers tend to sometimes get a little frustrated. Make sure that your attitude is part of the solution and not the problem. Yes, I want to have more fun when I play and it’s probably going to help my score as well.
I wish all of you Happier Golfing for 2010.

Swing, Swing, Swing!

Big Band music at its best

The ‘Big Band Era” music of the 1930’s and 40’s are some of the most memorable and recognizable songs ever written. Swing music, also known as swing jazz, developed in the early 1930’s, by 1935 was the hottest music in the United States.

Much of the jazz music before and during the 1920’s was based on improvisation in the style of musicians in and around New Orleans. Musicians formed small ‘pickup’ bands and played mostly by ‘ear’ without written music. In the late 20’s and early 30’s bands began to grow and use written arrangements, making it possible for Swing Jazz music to spread across the country, becoming the popular sounds we still enjoy today.

The typical swing jazz band consists of five saxophones: two altos, two tenors and one baritone (all doubling on clarinet) three to four trumpets, three to four trombones, guitar and a strong rhythm section of string bass and drums. Piano is also used extensively.

Although some jazz historians place the beginning of the swing era on the appearance of the Benny Goodman Band at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles in 1935, no one band, incident or location can be accepted as the official start of the Big Band Era.

From 1935 into the mid 40’s, big band jazz was indeed king. This style of music was not without its critics. Some objected to the fast tempos, swing dancing, questionable lyrics and cultural connotations. When swing spread to other countries, for example, Germany, the Nazis banned it because of its relationship to African and Jewish musicians. The Soviet Union outlawed swing music because of its political implications.

Bands and Leaders of Note
Benny Goodman (1909-1986) known as the “King of Swing” was certainly one of the most well-known and respected ambassadors of this new style of music in the 30’s. Trained first as a classical musician, Goodman was equally at home with both jazz and classical styles.

Glenn Miller (1904-1944) was dubbed the most popular band leader in America. However, it only lasted a few years due to his untimely death while flying from England to Paris during World War II. An original trademark of his band was the clarinet lead with the saxophones playing an octave lower. Familiar tunes, In the Mood, String of Pearls and Moonlight Serenade are still popular today.

Harry James (1916-1983) was an outstanding trumpet player. He played in Goodman’s band and later organized his own group. By chance, James hired the young, unknown singer, Frank Sinatra to sing with his band – the rest is history.

Tommy Dorsey (1905-1956) with his brother, Jimmy, created the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra until 1935 when they went their separate ways with their own bands. Later they got back together. They worked with top musicians and arrangers which led to success as one of the top bands of the Swing Era. Along with Benny Goodman the Dorsey brothers helped usher in the Swing Era making recordings with Bing Crosby and Edythe Wright among other great singers.

Artie Shaw(1910-2004) played with many bands and eventually formed his own in the mid-30’s. Hits included the memorable Begin the Beguine, Stardust and Moonglow. His band featured some of the greats including Billie Holiday, Mel Torme and Buddy Rich.

Other notable band leaders include; Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Earl Hines, Gene Krupa, Louis Prima, Kay Kyser, Eddy Duchin, Buddy Rich, Jack Teagarden, Sammy Kaye, Guy Lombardo, Bob Crosby and Les Brown and his Band of Renown.

These and other great musicians and band leaders are gone now, but for swing band lovers, they and their distinctive brand of music will live forever in the memories of their millions of devoted fans. Fortunately their music has been recorded for generations now and in the future to enjoy and remember.

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It’s Snow! 12.7.09

A Photo Journal by Susan Wood

A rare sight—snow in the Bay Area. It’s been more than 30 years since we’ve seen this much snow here. Local images include the landmark Summit Building atop Mt. Diablo. The Summit Building and Museum was constructed in the late 1930s by the California Conservation Corps. The sandstone for the building was quarried from Rock City and remnants of ancient fossils can be found on the building.

At 3,849 feet, Mount Diablo has spectacular (unblocked) views of the Golden Gate Bridge to the Farallon Islands, Mount Hamilton, Mount Loma Prieta (in the Santa Cruz Mountains), Mount Saint Helena, Mount Lassen (in the Cascades), San Joaquin & Sacramento Rivers forming the Delta waterways, and the Sierra Nevadas.
All photos by Susan Wood. Photos of Mount Diablo made possible by CALSTAR in Concord, California.