About Kristine Bruneau

Hi. I'm passionate about writing and inspiring others with storysharing. For more than 20 years, I've made a career from writing and marketing communications. My commentaries, stories, and interviews have appeared in a variety of publications, including "Rochester Magazine," HerRochester.com, "Rochester Democrat and Chronicle," "Rochester Woman Magazine" and "DaKa Magazine." I post fun and insightful lessons to MommyMusingsBlog.com and at Blogs.DemocratAndChronicle.com/Moms. And I'm working on a book inspired by these lessons and their resulting conundrums.

Celebrate your neurosis everyday

Halloween candyWhat’s your neurosis?

Now that Halloween is over, you don’t have an excuse to obsess over candy, costumes, and creepiness, but you still have your neurosis.

Neurosis, as defined by the dictionary, is a “relatively mild mental illness not caused by organic disease, involving symptoms of stress… ” You might know it as a behavior like: worrying about the amount of candy you need to buy. And then realizing, if you give two pieces to each child, you don’t have enough candy for the entire neighborhood. Of course, you need to buy more, but rationalize that you’ll only buy the brands you like just in case the horde of kids don’t show up, you might as well eat what you enjoy. But don’t eat too much candy, you remind yourself because the sugar will expand your middle and eventually cause diabetes. And then you’ll die.

Or you might picture yourself as the obsessive compulsive “Fright Night” decorator like Claire Dunphy in the latest Modern Family episode. When she tries to out-decorate her obnoxious, medical marijuana-selling neighbor to win a scary house competition, leave it to precocious teen Alex, dressed as Tess McGill from the movie Working Girl, to “help her mom realize that putting on a scary Halloween is what helps Claire feel like an edgy, not boring mom.”

Even if Halloween didn’t raise up any neurosis from the dead, the holidays should do it for you. Thanks to retailers and grocery stores like Wegmans, staff was stocking shelves with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hannukah-themed decorations on Halloween. I know because I was at Wegmans searching the aisles for one more bag of candy (I bought two).

With Thanksgiving in 25 days at this writing, many moms get hostess neurosis in an attempt to recreate a Norman Rockwell-style dining experience. We stress ourselves to the point of tears just to achieve Martha Stewart perfectionism – though it doesn’t exist – and in hope of avoiding a repeat of last year’s dysfunctional family drama.

The good news is that you haven’t lost complete touch with reality; you’re just a little “bent.”  Or as my son would say, “Mom, you’re cray-cray.”

Like many people, I strive to become more mindful by practicing meditation and yoga. What really happens as I cleanse my inner windows of perception, is that my neurosis tends to bubble up anyway.  Despite my wish to remain open, I hold tight to my old ways. It’s unavoidable, according to Pema Chödrön. The point is not to use meditation and yoga (or even medical marijuana) to avoid feelings of inadequacy or uncomfortableness, but embrace your neurosis.

“We can’t stop or control our thoughts, but we can decide how much attention to give them.”  writes Deepak Chopra in his 7 Myths of Meditation post. In this spirit, I’m going to embrace and celebrate my neurosis today, and everyday – right after I get rid of all my leftover Halloween candy.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends or send me a comment. Don’t forget, you can also post a comment on my blog, like it on Facebook, or tweet to your followers.

Awake in this very moment

Awake“Awakeness is found in our pleasure and our pain, our confusion and our wisdom. It’s available in each moment of our weird, unfathomable, ordinary everyday lives,”  writes Pema Chodron in Comfortable with Uncertainty. 

I believe the perfect teacher is this very moment. Are you awake? What do you see?

This is an experimental series of brief reflections in pictures and words. Do you have a favorite quote, tidbit of wisdom, or picture of your own? Then share it with the world! If you like this post, please share on your favorite social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

The Korean War legacy

American Soldiers-detail-sqFrom 1950 to 1953, the United States military fought to protect South Korea’s capitalistic democracy from communist North Korea’s invasion on the Korean peninsula, which was divided after World War II. More than 33,000 American soldiers lost their lives during the Korean War in the name of freedom, according to U.S. Department of Defense statistics. Joining the list of casualties were thousands of soldiers sent by 16 nations and millions of Koreans turned refugees in one of the most deadliest wars fought in the 20th century.

Betty Perkins-Carpenter, 83, a local Korean War veteran has been searching for matches of Korean War soldiers in a collection of 138 black-and-white, glossy photographs she received about two years ago from the Monroe County chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association. The photos were commissioned by the U.S. Department of Defense at the beginning of the Korean War.

Recently, I followed up with Perkins-Carpenter when she received a second match from a Rochester-area family in response to the Democrat and Chronicle’s Snapshots from the Korean War project.

“Somewhere in Korea on August 9,1950, 34-year-old William Michals held out an empty tin cup to receive pop from a fellow American soldier. In the photo, Michals, wearing a cap, is standing to the left of Crawford Flynn, previously recognized by Tiana Stephens of Rochester as her grandfather. As Flynn served the cool, sweet drinks to Michals and other servicemen who gathered during a break in fighting, a photographer snapped their picture.”

 To read the full story online at the Democrat and Chronicle click here.

Not only was the Korean War a vicious battle in an effort to protect freedom, but also it leaves America with a lasting imprint.

  • “More napalm was dropped on the Korean Peninsula during the Korean War than on Japan—a country that launched an attack on U.S. soil—during all of World War II,” according to Jongwoo Han, Project Director of the Korean War Veterans Digital Memorial.
  • A ceasefire treaty at war’s end holding the 38th parallel is still in place today. North and South Korea continue their separation by a heavily fortified 2.5-mile-wide demilitarized zone (DMZ), and tensions remain high, particularly over the North’s fledgling nuclear weapons program.
  • With approximately 28,000 troops at the contentious DMZ, America continues to be South Korea’s defense shield even as it has emerged as the world’s 13th-largest economy and a massive exporter of popular consumer products.
  • Approximately, 5.7 million Americans served in the Korean War. About 2 million veterans are living in the U.S. with an average age of 80. So, Perkins-Carpenter is on a mission is to get these snapshots into the hands of veterans and families of veterans as quickly as possible.

Find connections and search the snapshot database online.

Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends or send me a comment. Don’t forget, you can like this post on Facebook, tweet to your followers, or post a comment on my blog.