The Rockwood Files: The Name Game

rockwood files colorBy Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

In Dale Carnegie’s famous book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” he wrote that you should use a person’s name when you’re talking to them because “…a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

I’m not here to argue with Dale Carnegie because five million books sold can’t be wrong. But I do wonder if the sound of your own name is always as appealing as he says it is.

The other day I sat across from a woman at the orthodontist’s office who was running my credit card so I could pay for our son’s braces. She glanced at the name on my card and said, “Oh, that’s a nice name. I really like it. It’s not a name you hear very often.”

I thanked her for the compliment. But what she doesn’t know is that a name like Gwen rhymes with way too many common words used in normal conversations – words like “when” and “then” and “in” and “pen” and the list goes on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spun around to answer someone who wasn’t even talking to me and just happened to be within earshot. For example:

Stranger 1: “Hey, did I tell you I’m going to Hawaii?”

Stranger 2: “Oh my gosh! WHEN?”

Me (turning around to face them): “Yes?”

Strangers 1 and 2 (who are confused and assume I must be a weirdo): “What?”

Me: “Oh, I thought you said my name.”

Stranger 2: “Um, no.”

So I say “Oh, sorry” and then I act like I’m in a big hurry to get somewhere important, which is true because I’m in a huge hurry to be anywhere but there, dealing with my mistaken name shame. This has happened more times than I care to admit.

So my new policy is to ignore it when I think I hear my name because there’s a good chance I’m wrong. And if the person really is calling my name, he or she will probably repeat it a few times or just give up and send me a text, which is the more practical way to go anyway.

My mother once told me that she had planned to name me “Gwendolyn Jane,” but my father didn’t like it and made fun of it so often while she was pregnant that she shortened it to “Gwen Ann.” My maiden name, Rule, was also very short so the whole thing together was three stupid syllables. Drove me nuts.

jennifer keychainI wanted a sophisticated, multi-syllable name like Elizabeth, Jennifer, Kimberly or Christina – the kinds of names you could always find on key chains at the Six Flags gift shop. (I never once found a key chain with the name Gwen on it, but my best friend Jennifer had key chains out the wazoo. Not that I’m bitter.)

Names are also great tools for teasing attacks on the elementary school playground. One day in second grade, this jerky little boy came up to me and called out “Gwen, Gwen, the big fat hen!” which was ironic because I was the kind of kid who was so awkwardly skinny that you could count my ribs anytime I inhaled deeply. And even though it’s ancient history, I can still sometimes hear that sing-song chant in my head. (Do you think people named Jessica or Jonathan ever have these issues? I wonder.)

But the good news is that the years have taught me to appreciate my short, not-too-common but rhymes-with-everything name. It’s simple and unassuming, and so am I. And as fate would have it, I married a man with a two-syllable last name which made me feel downright fancy.

Who needs your lousy personalized key chain? My last name has not three, not four, but eight whole letters and rhymes with almost nothing! Life is good.

gwen headshot 2014Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

Funny Friday: Must-see motherhood videos

Well now… here’s something you don’t see every day — a woman 40 weeks pregnant (and on her due date) trying to trigger labor to start by doing the dance moves from Michael Jack’s Thriller video. (The women who have gone beyond their due date will understand this completely.)

And for ALL the hard-working mamas out there who get so frustrated when they work so hard — all freakin’ day — and still feel like we’ve got nothing to show for it. This video is for all of us. (Share it with any husbands who might not even have a clue what goes on during a normal day with a baby or toddler.)

Marathon Mama: What’s next, runners?

running people

By Beth Gallini, marathon mama of 2

With the Hogeye Marathon races just a few days away, you may have started to wonder what to do after the race.

If you haven’t started wondering about this yet, chances are you will soon! In my opinion, the two most important things to think about are your recovery alongside your post-race plans.


How you recover from a race will have a huge impact on how you feel over the days following the race and how soon you will be able to get back on the road.  What you do immediately following a race and in the first few days is exceptionally important. 

Stay on your feet. While the instinctive thing to do may be to sit down, try to stay on your feet.  If you ran a half marathon or marathon, try walking around post-race.  If you ran a shorter distance race you may want to go on an easy run of 5 to 10 minutes.

Get something to eat and drink. It is important to get a mix of carbohydrates and protein (3:1 ratio) in your system within 30 minutes of a race to reduce muscle stiffness and soreness and to allow your muscles to begin the repairing process.  You’ll also want to be sure you drink some water or a sports drink.

Ease back into running and listen to your body. A general rule of thumb is that it takes your body one day to recover for every mile you raced.  The longer the distance of your race, the slower you want to ease back into running.  I always take a full week off with no running following a marathon and then do a reverse taper.   The amount of time required for a full recovery will differ from person to person and even race to race, so it is important to listen to your body during this time.  If you do too much too soon, you will set yourself back farther in the long term.

Get a massage. Getting a massage within 24-48 hours after a race will help reduce soreness.  Using a foam roller on any sore areas will also help you feel better.

Take a bath. Ice baths are the common go-to for runners, but I personally prefer Epsom salt baths (Epsom salts are sold at drug and grocery stores, are very inexpensive, and do wonders when mixed with warm water [and bubbles!]).  Regardless of which you opt for, taking a bath will help you to recover and reduce muscle fatigue.

Make a plan:

Runners are funny people. Many runners approach their first half marathon or marathon as a bucket list item – “one and done.”  And many runners will swear off ever running another race of “x” distance mid-race. But as something happens as soon as they cross the finish line and they start planning their next race.

Find a race. If you are searching for a full or half marathon, is a great resource with a full calendar and reviews.  For local races, lists races of all distances in Arkansas and some races in border states.

Don’t jump right back into hard training. Give yourself some time to run for fun without feeling as if you need to follow a strict training plan.  Go for a run without your watch, arrange to meet some friends, or simply run when you feel like running.  If you jump back into a structured training plan, you increase your risk for injury and/or burn-out.

Think about your goals. You may want to find a race of the same distance and see if you can improve your time or maybe you want to tackle a new distance.   Think about how your training went, where your fitness level is, how motivated you are, what life events you may have coming up, and give yourself time to make the decision.

Good luck to everyone running the Hogeye this weekend and thank you to all of the spectators and volunteers!  I have thoroughly enjoyed writing the Marathon Mama series and I always love receiving your questions. Keep them coming!

Beth Gallini runningAbout Beth: Beth is mom, runner, running coach, and the blogger behind RUNNING around my kitchen. She and her husband adopted two boys who are a month apart and are 1 year old. Beth serves on the board for the Hogeye Marathon and is interested in helping other moms with their training and answering any questions you have. Be social, connect with other Hogeye runners, and let them hear from you by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!  #hogeyemarathon

Healthy Mama: March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

We know this isn’t always an easy topic to discuss, but it’s an important one and this month is the perfect time to talk about it. March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month which means it’s time to march yourself to the clinic for this important screening test, if you haven’t done it already. Why is it such a big deal? Because colon cancer is the SECOND LEADING CAUSE OF CANCER DEATHS in the United States.

We interviewed Dr. Natasha Nathan, a gastroenterology specialist with Mercy, to find out what we all need to know about the risks of colon cancer and about colonoscopies.

What factors increase a person’s risk of colon cancer?

The factors that increase your risk for colon cancer are:

  • Age
  • Diet
  • Lifestyle
  • Family History

colon cancer posterWhat types of lifestyle changes can lower a person’s risk of developing colon cancer?

There are several good things you can do to lower your risk of developing colon cancer, but these three are the most important:

  • Eat foods high in fiber
  • Eat less red meat
  • Exercise MORE

What are the symptoms that might indicate a person has colon cancer?  (Are noticeable symptoms always present in someone with colon cancer?)

The symptoms you might notice include seeing blood in your stool, having an unexplained weight loss or seeing a change in stool size. Some patients might also have abdominal pain.

But it’s very important to know that some patients may not have ANY symptoms. That’s one of the reasons why testing is so important.

When should a person have her first screening test for colon cancer?  How often is it necessary to repeat the screening tests? 

Have your first test when you turn 50 years old, unless you have a family history of colon cancer OR you have had polyps or cancer in the past. If there’s past cancer or a history of it in your family, start having screenings at age 40.

What are the latest advancements in the detection of and/or treatment of colon cancer?

Some of the latest advancements in this field of medicine include improved stool tests as well as genetic tests. The great news here is that, with early detection, people with colon cancer live longer lives.

What do you say to patients who are fearful about getting a colonoscopy?  What information helps them overcome the natural tendency to procrastinate doing something that seems so unpleasant?

I let them know that our sedation methods have improved over the years which means there is much less pain associated with this test.

It’s also good to know that the preparation method required the night before the test has also improved. Some patients found it difficult to drink all of the prep liquids the night before their scheduled colonoscopy. There’s a new “split dose preparation” method that lets patients drink part of the liquid the night before and then the remainder the next morning. Ask your doctor about the split dose preparation method to see if this would be a good fit for you.

The most important thing I can tell patients about this test is that colon cancer is a PREVENTABLE cancer, and this test is the best tool we have that helps us Thusha_Nathan_1295718211prevent this cancer from taking a patient’s life. It’s as simple as that.

We want to give our thanks to Dr. Nathan for taking the time to answer our questions. For more info on Dr. Nathan or to schedule an appointment with her, call the Mercy Gastroenterology Clinic at 479-338-3030 or click here for more info. The clinic is located in the Physician Plaza at 2708 S. Rife Medical Lane (Suite 300) in Rogers.



Good Gossip: Updates on celeb wolf and shark!

good gossip celebrities

Yes, we do love a little celebrity gossip but we also know it’s not cool to do something we teach our kids NOT to do. It’s never okay to indulge in stuff meant to humiliate or hurt another person. That’s why we came up with the concept of “Good Gossip,” which is celeb news minus any mean stuff. Have as much as you want because this “dish” is all guilt-free.

As always, this feature is sponsored by Great Day Farms, a national brand based right here in NWA. Look for their products at the Walmart Supercenter. Click HERE to like them and get coupons on their Facebook page.

taylor lautner 2015Our favorite Twilight wolf, Taylor Lautner, is staying busy these days starring in a new movie called Tracers. During a recent interview in People magazine, Taylor said his celebrity crush when he was younger was Jessica Alba. He got the chance to sit next to her at the Super Bowl several years ago but was too nervous to even say hello when she talked to him. (They got to know each other later during the filming of the movie Valentine’s Day.) Taylor also said he is really into Christmas and starts listening to Christmas music and making a list of what he wants to buy for friends and family way before Halloween.

kelly rowland 2015Kelly Rowland, former member of the pop group Destiny’s Child, is featured on the cover of Essence magazine with her husband and their new baby boy named Titan Jewell Weatherspoon. (He is SO cute!) Kelly said that their new son is already showing a love for music and often giggles when they sing and dance with him. “When Titan laughed for the first time, I cried,” she said. “It was the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.” Her son is bringing some much-needed joy back into the singer’s life after her mother unexpectedly died last December. Congrats to the new parents.

josh brolin 2015Actor Josh Brolin was on vacation last month in Hawaii and happened to be in the right place at the right time to save a fellow surfer from drowning. There’s a video showing the actor bringing the surfer and his board back to shore.

robert shark tank 2015Who’s your favorite shark on Shark Tank? If it’s Robert Herjavec (who is also a contestant right now on Dancing with the Stars) be sure to read the moving article about him in the latest issue of People magazine. The father of three kids (ages 21, 18 and 17) went through a painful divorce last June and became suicidal when his children sided with their mother and refused to talk to him. He called his pastor who suggested he go immediately to the Seattle Union Gospel Mission, a homeless shelter, and start serving others. He took the advice and started working in the soup kitchen and then helping homeless people out on the streets. “Nobody knew who I was,” he said. “People thought I was a recovering addict.” Robert said helping the homeless has helped him make peace with his family’s situation and recover emotionally. He said one of the reasons he agreed to be on Dancing with the Stars is because it was his mother’s favorite show and he watched it with her in 2007 while she was dying of ovarian cancer. His professional dance parter, Kym Johnson, said Robert has great energy and is “laser-focused.”

naomi watts insurgentDo dirty dishes in the sink make you nuts? Actress Naomi Watts feels the same way. She said her pet peeve is seeing dirty dishes in the sink from the night before. “I’ve always been like that. Growing up, I spent a lot of my childhood living with my grandmother, and we all had to do our bit.” Naomi’s newest movie, Insurgent, is in theaters now.

Source: People magazine, March 30, 2015 issue

Good Gossip is sponsored by CCF Brands, a Northwest Arkansas company which makes Great Day All Natural Eggs. These eggs are produced by happy hens who are fed premium vegetarian diets with no animal fats, animal by-products, or antibiotics. Great Day Farms also offers hard-boiled eggs, which you can find in the deli section of the Walmart Supercenter. (Love the hard-boiled eggs because they’re peeled and ready to eat! Perfect in salads.)

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