Please pass the Hydrox!

Last Friday, while visiting a friend in Connecticut, I walked into a grocery store and there they were: stacks of boxes of Hydrox cookies!

Even as a child I preferred Hydrox to the cloyingly sweet Oreo. The Hydrox chocolate wafers were not very sweet, and biting into a Hydrox produced a subtle but distinct contrast between the not-very-sweet cookies and the sweeter (but not nearly so overwhelmingly sweet as Oreo) creme filling. Oreos, and other products like them, have contributed to Americans’ desire for overwhelming sweetness in everything: cookies, cereals, fruit drinks, even toothpaste and over-the-counter medications.

But for the more discerning palate, Hydrox cookies are back, at least for a little while. Kellogg Company has reissued them for a limited run in honor of their 100th anniversary.

Hydrox cookies were introduced as the first creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookie in 1908 by Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company, which later became Sunshine Biscuit Company. Looking for a name that went well with sunshine, the company combined the beginnings of hydrogen and oxygen, the components of water with its connotations of purity and cleanliness. In 1996 Keebler purchased Sunshine Biscuit Company and renamed the cookies Hydrox Ddroxies. In 1999 Keebler reformulated the cookies and called them must Droxies. In 2003 the company stopped making the cookies but, in response to public demand, has brought back Hydrox for a limited time in honor of its 100th anniversary.

Find out more at

And in the meantime, get to your local grocery store. When they’re gone, they’re gone for good.

As I Turn 60. . .

Happy birthday to me! Sixty years ago today, I was born–on the first day of a heat wave, as my mother delights in pointing out nearly every year.

Having now reached the age when wrinkles traditionally denote wisdom, I’ve accumulated a few nuggets of knowledge. Since it’s my birthday, I’m going to claim the right of self-indulgence and share them with you:

  1. True friends are rare and special, and I should cherish each one.
  2. Contrary to the American myth, you cannot be whatever you want. I will never be an artist. Although I’ve done some drop-dead gorgeous needlework in my time, I cannot draw a lick. But I have learned to look for my strengths and then maximize them.
  3. We are not all created equal. Some people can draw. I can’t. I’ve learned to live with this shortcoming.
  4. No matter how good I am at something, there’s always someone else who’s better. I’ve learned to live with this, too.
  5. Freud may have been wrong about infant sexuality, but he was dead on about our psychological defense mechanisms.
  6. You cannot have it all. You would not want to: You’d be overwhelmed. Figure out what’s important to you, then go after it with zeal and passion.
  7. There are always as many sides to every story as there are participants.
  8. You cannot overcome every obstacle in life by sheer willpower. Learn how to figure out what help you need. Then learn to ask for that help. When you refuse to ask for help, you deny someone else the opportunity to be helpful.
  9. We are what we do. Actions speak louder than words. We demonstrate our true character through our behavior. Try to perform more good than bad actions.
  10. When I find a rut I like, it dig in deep and stay put as long as possible. Such routines are comforting, but change will occur whether we want it to or not. In fact, the more we want things not to change, the more they probably will. I try to view these occurrences as opportunities and embrace them.
  11. The world is a big place, and it can sometimes be scary. But you have to be willing to put yourself out there [apologies to Dr. Phil], to meet new people and try new things.
  12. However, it’s also OK to enjoy being alone. What’s important is to find a balance that’s comfortable for you.
  13. “If you want something done right, do it yourself” is not always good advice. Learn to delegate. Then learn to be happy with “good enough.” Perfectionism causes ulcers and high anxiety.
  14. Love and friendship are never wasted. Even when formerly good relationships go south, having experienced the good times is priceless [apologies to MasterCard].
  15. Say “I love you” to the people you care about. Say it out loud and say it often.
  16. Despite the lack of visible welts or scars, verbal and emotional abuse of children cuts just as deeply as physical abuse and should be equally condemned.
  17. Once you begin to look for meaning, synchronicity will occur.
  18. Trust your gut. Every time I’ve ignored my intuition, I’ve regretted it.
  19. What you send forth into the Universe is what the Universe will ultimately give back to you.
  20. Embrace life’s mysteries. Expect to be surprised.

© 2008 by Mary Daniels Brown

Novel Journey: Author, Psychotherapist Dennis Palumbo ~ Interviewed

Novel Journey: Author, Psychotherapist Dennis Palumbo ~ Interviewed

Former Hollywood screenwriter Dennis Palumbo is now a psychotherapist, book reviewer, and author of both nonfiction books about writing and crime fiction. In his psychotherapy practice he specializes in working with creative people.

Here’s what he has to say about writer’s block:

Funny you should mention writer’s block, because I hold an unconventional view about it: namely, I think that writer’s block is good news for a writer! In my view, a ‘block’ is merely a stage in your growth in craft as a writer, similar to the developmental stages we all go through as we mature in life.

Just as a toddler needs to struggle—risking and failing over and over, as he or she learns to walk—so too does a writer experiencing a ‘block’ need to learn to navigate and master that particular developmental stage in his or her work. Perhaps the writer is trying to write a more complicated plot than usual, or is delving into difficult personal/sexual material for the first time. Whatever.

And I think the proof that a block is a necessary developmental step in a writer’s growth is that, in my experience, after writers have worked through a block, they report feeling that they’ve grown as writers, that they’re more confident about their craft, or that the work has become more personally relevant.

There’s much more of interest here, so jump on over and read the entire interview.

Former Football Player Writes Book about His Dissociative Identity Disorder

Walker on mission | Denton Record-Chronicle | News for Denton County, Texas | Local News
Herschel Walker, winner of the Heisman Trophy (an award for college football players) and former member of the Dallas Cowboys, has written a book about his experience with dissociative identity disorder (DID, commonly known as multiple personality disorder) and his efforts to overcome the disorder. He has been touring to promote the book, Breaking Free: My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder. This article reports on his appearance in Denton, TX, in association with University Behavioral Health (UBH) of Denton:

‘He [Walker] has a mission for himself of bringing a message out to people who have mental health issues, that it’s a strength to ask for help, not a weakness,’ said UBH of Denton Chief Executive Officer Susan Young. ‘He wants people to know he’s had issues and he sees that as something very positive. He doesn’t want anybody to be uncomfortable or ashamed.’

Walker’s own condition surfaced about 10 years ago, when he suddenly developed anger problems. His search for the cause of his problem finally led to the diagnosis of DID. He wants to let people with mental health issues, including substance abuse, know that it’s all right to seek help. He is critical of the National Football League’s substance abuse policy, which, he says, suspends players for abuse without providing treatment.

Freedom of Speech

From today’s Writer’s Almanac, an epublication of The Poetry Foundation:

It was on this day in 1934 that the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that James Joyce’s novel Ulysses was not obscene and could be admitted into the United States.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Is Dead at 89 – Obituary (Obit) –

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Is Dead at 89 – Obituary (Obit) –

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Nobel Prize-winning author whose books chronicled the horrors of the Soviet gulag system, has died of heart failure, his son said Monday. He was 89.

Famous Writers and Their Work Spaces Come Together in a Mural –

Famous Writers and Their Work Spaces Come Together in a Mural –

This short piece discusses a mural painted by New York City artist Elena Climent for New York University’s Language and Literature Building. “Completing the mural took 18 months, much of it devoted to researching the rooms, conditions and rituals of each writer’s work.” The mural is 10 feet high by 30 feet wide and depicts the workspaces of six writers who spent at least part of their lives in New York City:

  • Washington Irving
  • Edith Wharton
  • Zora Neale Hurston
  • Frank O’Hara
  • Jane Jacobs
  • Pedro Pietri

Be sure to click on the sideshow button to see details of the representations of the first four writers’ homes.