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Ask Dr. Heartlander

Posted at 6:00 AM on January 12, 2010 by Dale Connelly (54 Comments)
Filed under: Ask Dr. Heartlander

Dear Dr. Heartlander,

I am struggling with the difference in the feeling I get when I'm doing what I want to do as opposed to when I'm doing what I think I SHOULD do.

When I'm doing what I think I should do, I feel disappointed while I'm doing it and satisfied afterwards.

When I'm doing what I want, I feel satisfied while I'm doing it and disappointed afterwards.

All I want is to feel satisfied all the time. It disappoints me that I can't seem to ever get there. Am I asking too much?

Sincerely,

Gil T.

Sigmund_Freud_small.jpg

Dear Gil,

When I was a boy, eating ice cream made me happy and eating beets did not. I did not understand why I couldn't have ice cream at every meal. At first, my mother said it was just too expensive to eat ice cream that often, but I figured that was a dodge and I wouldn't stop complaining about it. Finally, she explained it this way - if I ate nothing but ice cream, I'd get fat, my teeth would fall out, and I'd die. I accepted that grudgingly, figuring mom knew more than I did.

Now that I'm older, I realize that I have eaten beets so many times I don't have any specific memories about them, while every dish of ice cream I've ever had stands out like a beacon in the night!

And I finally figured out that late in life, you get fat, your teeth fall out and you die no matter what.

Think of all the money I saved not buying ice cream!

But that's just ONE opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Heartlander?


Comments (54)

that's a good spin on it, Dale - to make doing what you want a very special occasion and doing what you should do (even if you don't want to) so common that you don't remember it afterward. very.., well,,,, i won't say it, Clyde.

today i should trim Majority's and Niblet's hooves. Cynthia knows how much i dread this. i'll do it to avoid the guilt i'll feel if i don't do it. and then, yes, i suppose i'll feel happy afterward (as i soothe my bones with beer and Aleve)

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 12, 2010 6:19 AM


Well, I suggest you listen to the wisdom of the Rolling Stones: "you can't always get what you want, but if you try real hard, sometimes you find, you get what you need".

Good, solid Midwestern words to live by.

If you give up the quest for satisfaction, you will find it.

I need coffee now. That took a lot out of me.

Posted by catherine | January 12, 2010 6:23 AM


What we ought vs what we want....hmmm. Is that what they call the "horns of a dilemma" (if not, they should)

Too many times I chose the latter.

Barb, trimming hooves is an ought, for sure. But so satisfying (for the human) after...better for the goats as well, but tey don't seem to appreciate that.

I'd say "break a leg" but that probably isn't appropriate in this case.

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | January 12, 2010 6:33 AM


My good German parents thought they were athiests; they did not realize that their god was work. You worked, worked worked, and you did it the right way, too --meaning their way. (Actually it was a good childhood.) I ended up a workaholic. So I did not make my kids do much of any work for a variety of reasons, one of which was is explained above. Of course, I felt guilty about it then. So what are my 36 and 39 year old children? Workaholics. So go figure. What do I know; I'm old fat, and all my teeth are falling out.

Posted by Clyde inMankato | January 12, 2010 6:35 AM


Good Morning All,

Well, I like eating beets, but I really, really, like ice cream. I guess Gil should grow up and accept the fact that every thing isn't going to be fun. However, I can't say I am the best one to give this advice.

At least don't be like one of those Wall Street bankers that don't seem to have any limit on the amount of goodies they want for themselves.

Posted by Jim | January 12, 2010 6:43 AM


ha, ha Catherine!
and Clyde, maybe that hard work is a genetic thing? wasn't there a study about number of heart beats of children of immigrants compared to those still in the home land??
and Cynthia - yes, i try to explain the benefits of a nice hoof to the Goats. it's like eating beets. they may enjoy the benefits of frequent trimming but they don't remember that - they remember that it is discommoding. they truly live in the moment. but if i let them be, they'd be walking on their knees. not a pretty sight. uffda.

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 12, 2010 6:44 AM


Boy, this makes me wish I had actually bought the ice cream last night, after standing in the frozen food aise looking at it at the grocery store!

Several years ago I read something about "oughts" and "shoulds" that helped my perspective. It said to think about WHY something was a should. Usually by the time I've come up w/ 2 or 3 of the reasons why I "ought" to be doing something, I can see some benefit to me. I know - sounds a little too goody-goody and smarmy, but it has made a difference to my life as now I mostly feel like I have a life filled with "wants tos" instead of "have tos".

Posted by sherrilee | January 12, 2010 6:46 AM


How do you all wake up this early so sharp and funny?? It's a good thing I came along to help offset the hysteria.

Recently my son in law said 76% of life is spent doing things you don't want to. I thought that was outstanding. And let me tell you this, if he honestly feels that way then for the rest of us, it's 97%.

It seems like yesterday that I requested a song for daughter's homecoming from Namibia. Today she leaves again and will be there til December. Any sentimental song you might have for a daughter who's loved a lot would be appreciated. OR - I know she'd like to hear throat singing. She told me the other day she didn't know what it was.

A special good morning to Kay H who's in town from Utah!

Posted by Donna | January 12, 2010 7:02 AM


Donna, who says we just woke up? Not only am I old, fat, and my teeth are falling out, but I can't sleep. Say good bye to your daughter and thank her for that contribution she gave us.

This suggests some answers for the RH eight ball (from yesterday):
1. "Oh, grow up. Go out and do what you're supposed to do."
2. Don't worry about it. You're just going to get old, all your teeth will fall out, and you will die."
And from a few days ago:
3. "Take a chance. Hitch your wagon to a goat."

Jim: I believe that all the failed Wall Street bankers, and add Mark McGwire to that list, should be required to something like raising and eating beets, tending goats, and doing office gopher work. Having said that, I now realize that we get old, we get fat, all our teeth fall out, and we end up talking like our parents.

Posted by Clyde in Mato | January 12, 2010 7:18 AM


The saying at our house is "Put your Big Boy Pants on and deal with it"....
Works for just about anything in life.

Posted by Ben in Rochester | January 12, 2010 7:20 AM


How about Child of Mine by Bill Staines for Donna's daughter?

Posted by Clyde, weep ,weep in Kato | January 12, 2010 7:28 AM


Oh...perfect choice Clyde. I teared up as soon as I heard it and then saw your post.
Donna, hope your near tissue:)

Posted by Kate from Eden Prairie | January 12, 2010 7:41 AM


Being a frequently indulgent person - or, with a different spin, believing in a system of rewards for good behavior - if I have to do something I really ought to (but don't want to), I offer myself a reward for finishing the task (e.g., I can get a new book after I go through the stacks of current books and find two bags to donate to the library). Satisfying all around. And I get a treat. (Heck - it works for my 5 year old - why not for me? She earns quarters, I earn books and chocolate.)

Posted by Anna | January 12, 2010 7:42 AM


i don't want no stinkin' Mark McGwire tending my goats! he'd probably just give them steroids - and then one day they'd kill him in a 'roid rage. but poor goats.
now beets, (sorry Jim, one of the two veggies i WILL NOT eat) are another thing.
Big Boy Pants, huh? if one eats enough ice cream one would NEED Big Boy Pants, not?

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 12, 2010 7:56 AM


and hi to Kay and safe travel to Donna's daughter.
and now i SHOULD do my seed orders - and i WANT TO also! yipeeee!

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 12, 2010 7:59 AM


Greetings! Hearing what other parents admonished their kids with reminds me of some of my parents' sayings. My father was a hard-working administrator in the Green Bay school system, responsible for a large maintenance budget and workers, so he made tough decisions based on logic, looking toward the future and just good planning. Needless to say, he was excellent at his job, but not necessarily a popular or congenial man. "Life isn't a popularity contest," was his saying. Those who knew him, loved him. People that didn't know him, feared him because he was somewhat gruff and no-nonsense -- a cover for his teddy bear interior that all his daughters knew was there.

My mother was wonderful -- but an absolutely horrible cook. If we complained about the food, she would say 5 words, "It will keep you alive." As we got older, she would just flick her 5 fingers in shorthand -- we still laugh about it. I miss them both dearly.

In short -- yes, unpleasant things need to be done, but celebrate when it's done and then have some fun. I love the Evelyn Lundberg spoofs on PHC -- "Oh, just get over yourself and grow up, for crying out loud."

Posted by Joanne in Big Lake | January 12, 2010 8:08 AM


I am a very self indulgent person, but experience has taught me that a person can find a balance between getting it all now and waiting for it. I always look for opportunities for immediate gratification that are fairly healthy, and then try to remind myself of the pleasure that can be obtained by waiting. For example, like a good Northern European person, I open presents Christmas Eve, but save the stocking for Christmas morning. Its all a matter of timing and cognitive restructuring.

Posted by Renee | January 12, 2010 8:08 AM


You are right, Barb, we don't want those guys from Wall street or Mark McGwire taking care of goats. They probably wouldn't even make good office workers.

Clyde is right, they should be required to do some kind of work, maybe the chain gang would be best for them, although that might be a little too extreme for Mark McGwire

I think beets are very good , Barb, but I do have a daughter that will not eat them.

Posted by Jim | January 12, 2010 8:19 AM


Ice cream for breakfast. Mmmmmmmmmm.

Posted by Linda in St. Paul (West Side) | January 12, 2010 8:42 AM


Looking back, I see I wrote a very self-indulgent post -- oops! My house is clear evidence of my self-indulging in RH and TB blogging!

Renee - love the idea of "timing and cognitive restructuring"

And I LOVE beets!

"Put your Big Boy pants on and deal with it" should also be on the RH 8-ball. Love that one ...

Donna - my heart goes out to you. My oldest son in Marines is coming back from Afghanistan in 4-6 weeks and I can't wait for him to be home.

Posted by Joanne in Big Lake | January 12, 2010 8:44 AM


Beets, we love 'em. Grate coarsely, sautee with garlic and olive oil and some chicken broth, put them over pasta and top with some bleu cheese.

If you start your children on this at a young age, Pink Noodles will be a requested item.

I've never heard the male version, my friends and I always refer to the Big Girl Panties.

Clyde, thanks for the Bill Staines, a new favorite.

Posted by catherine | January 12, 2010 8:58 AM


Beets, we love 'em. Grate coarsely, sautee with garlic and olive oil and some chicken broth, put them over pasta and top with some bleu cheese.

If you start your children on this at a young age, Pink Noodles will be a requested item.

I've never heard the male version, my friends and I always refer to the Big Girl Panties.

Clyde, thanks for the Bill Staines, a new favorite.

Posted by catherine | January 12, 2010 9:02 AM


Beets, we love 'em. Grate coarsely, sautee with garlic and olive oil and some chicken broth, put them over pasta and top with some bleu cheese.

If you start your children on this at a young age, Pink Noodles will be a requested item.

I've never heard the male version, my friends and I always refer to the Big Girl Panties.

Clyde, thanks for the Bill Staines, a new favorite.

Posted by catherine | January 12, 2010 9:19 AM


Sorry gang, my computer is going nuts on me!

Posted by catherine | January 12, 2010 9:20 AM


Overslept, y'all are saying what I would say, and Sherilee I believe you nailed how I would LIKE to deal with all the SHOULDS.

Joanne - I love hearing everyone's stories, like about your dad and mom, it's part of why I blog.

Gonna buy some ice cream on the way back... Have a good day, y'all.

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | January 12, 2010 9:43 AM


A friend was just referring yesterday to "putting on her Big Girl panties" to get something taken care of...love that one. (It also travels nicely to the "I have on my Cranky Pants today.")

At my prior job we used the phrase "suck it up, Elmer" when we had to do something onerous (long story - but it involved working through pain rather than complaining about it).

Maybe one of these days I'll put on my Big Girl panties and try beets again - but so far I just haven't gotten there...

Posted by Anna | January 12, 2010 10:04 AM


Mmmm ... Beets!
All they need is butter and salt.
The red urine the next day is entertaining as well. Beets have pretty much everything going for them.

Posted by John P. | January 12, 2010 10:17 AM


Mmmm ... Beets!
All they need is butter and salt.
The red urine the next day is entertaining as well. Beets have pretty much everything going for them.

Posted by John P. | January 12, 2010 10:17 AM


OK, I'm DEFINITELY stopping by the store on the way home and plan on having ice cream (right out of the container) for dinner.

And then later this week, I will be having Pink Noodles a la Catherine!

Posted by sherrilee | January 12, 2010 10:18 AM


Beets--sorry, John P. but the perfect way to deal with them is feed them to the pigs along with parsnips.

Dale--I am waiting to hear again the transition from thoat singing to the chipmunks. You have sublime moments mixing music and that was one of them.

Posted by Clyde in Mankato | January 12, 2010 10:45 AM


dang, i missed the throat singing!
but i felt that i should report back. took an hour, but the Boys' hooves are trimmed and very nicely, if i do say so myself :-) tomorrow, the Big Bad Girls. (the Boys' hooves are thicker and tougher to trim but the Boys themselves are marshmallows - well, not the kind one would stuff in one's mouth)
is it too early for a beer? we don't have any ice cream and the nearest store is 10 miles away........

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 12, 2010 12:07 PM


I had a Moment on the way to work the other day. I was thinking about some situation I had to deal with that would be difficult and unpleasant and I really did not want to do it; then I thought to myself "That's why they call it work!"
But now I'll just say "Suck it up, Elmer" and I'll put on my big girl panties and do it. Thank you, everyone.
I love beets.

Posted by Cindy | January 12, 2010 12:07 PM


Barb, it is never too early for beer if you have trimmed goat hooves.

Izzy's in St Paul makes a very fine Guiness Stout ice cream-best of both worlds.

I've been considering the idea of beet ice cream (hey, they make a good chocolate cake) and have decided while it might be very pretty to look at, not so sure it would taste good.

If goats were fed beets, would they give pink milk?

Posted by catherine | January 12, 2010 12:13 PM


that's an interesting question, Catherine. they are fed sugar beet pulp (i don't do that, but it is popular) but sugar beets are white, right? the milk might take on a different flavor, but i think the color would go by the way of kidneys, not mammaries. and my oh my - Guiness Stout ice cream. and then could we put some coffee-infused cajeta on top (just made it yesterday and OMG, it is soooo good.)

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 12, 2010 12:19 PM


When you turn cows loose in the spring to graze on green grass after hay all winter, there is for awhile a green cast to both of the results of the digestive process and in the taste of the milk, but it is not green.

Do you know that one of the most important crops in the history of Europe was the turnip. It was a cheap and easy dependable crop which they could feed to animals, as well as eat themselves if they needed to. It enabled the switch from small grain only dependent peasants to a mix of crops and animals. A huge step in the development of agriculture and human culture, everywhere except France, which then leads to the French Revolution.

Posted by Clyde in Kato | January 12, 2010 12:33 PM


so the French SHOULD have eaten turnips but didn't want to, huh Clyde? interesting case for eating beets i guess.

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 12, 2010 12:45 PM


Personally I'd rather eat cake than turnips anytime, whether I was French or not!

Posted by sherrilee | January 12, 2010 12:49 PM


It was that the French did not switch the agricultural system to more divergent farming (with animals eating the turnips)and so the French peasants were still dependent on wheat, which is a crop which easily fails. Thus they had no bread, and thus the eat cake misquote.
In there is a lesson about monculture, which I think about every time I drive west on Hwy 14 and look at all of the empty barns. I am still amazed that farmers today do not raise even their own wide-based organic meats, eggs, milk, and vegetables.

Posted by Clyde in Kato | January 12, 2010 1:01 PM


Clyde, I have the same thoughts as I drive through southern MN...on any road in southern MN. I have an uncle who farmed for many years in Watonwan County -- he raised beef but nothing else. When I visited him during those years, they brought fried chicken from town when serving guests. Though now we get home made venison sausage when we visit. Some progress...

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | January 12, 2010 1:18 PM


Sustainable farmer friend/neighbor roasts beets in the Weber, sprinkles with oranges and orange juice and goat cheese....YUMMMMMMMMYYYYYY!

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | January 12, 2010 1:21 PM


i agree, Clyde and Cynthia - i see that also going west on highway 5 down there.
a goat lady friend of ours (Cynthia's and mine) has a farm called "potpourri" because they have all kinds and varieties of critters.
it's not an easy way to do things - lots of work. another friend of mine said "it's a calling not a job" to grow things (animals or plants)
when will we begin our imaginary garden this year, as we did last?

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 12, 2010 1:37 PM


Of course, I am a complete hypocrit, buying everything in a store. We moved to an association with a house with no steps for my wife. We live here in Blue Earth County not allowed to grow even flowers in our/their yard because we/they are so busy growing grass to mow.

Posted by Clyde in Kato | January 12, 2010 1:43 PM


My mother had a rule for my father -- no alcohol before noon, supposedly. He was not an alcoholic by any means, but he enjoyed fine spirits for sure. When he felt like breaking the rule, he'd say, "it's after noon somewhere in the world." Go for it, Barb! (in moderation, of course)

Posted by Joanne in Big Lake | January 12, 2010 2:23 PM


Saying not heeded: "Never invest in anything that eats"

And, I agree, Clyde, what is this thing Americans have about growing lots of grass in order to mow it once a week or more often...it has no other reason to be.

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | January 12, 2010 2:36 PM


And whose bright idea was it to put Kentucky Bluegrass in Minnesota tundra lawns? We should just let lawns return to prairie grass, wildflowers ... and hemp.

Posted by Joanne in Big Lake | January 12, 2010 2:42 PM


Our total grass yardage reduces every year since we keep making our flower beds bigger. Our backyard space for vegetables is way too small, and we've decided to dig up most of the front yard this year for a nice looking veggie garden. I think our neighbors will be appalled, but that's what they get for disliking our barking terrier(who really doesn't bark much anymore). Some of the more old-school and truly elderly folks her will sometimes plant their whole front yard in potatoes, but I think that is a way to get a new lawn started. Anyone else ever heard of that? It's most often our residents of
Ukrainian heritage.

Posted by Renee | January 12, 2010 2:48 PM


Catherine - where is this Izzy's of which you speak, with the Guiness Stout ice cream?! :) I'll bet I could manage an errand of some kind in St. Paul...

I was going to agree with John P. about the beets with butter and salt, until I read so many other good ideas from you all. Never thought I'd say I like turnips, either, but there's a mashed dish with half potatoes and plenty of cream and or butter that can't be beat.

Barb - experiment next summer with real beets and let us know if you get pink goat milk. I'd buy some. Sure wish I could taste your cajeta.

Clyde - isn't it ironic or crazy or something how overrated green grass is?

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | January 12, 2010 2:55 PM


well, Joanne - my saying is that when the sun is behind the big red pines toward the west in our front yard, it's ok to pour that first wine or beer. if one stands in the right place, one can almost always place the sun behind the pines. today i just wish i had some aleve (well, and some ice cream) for my aches from hanging upside down for an hour trimming hooves. but i still feel good :-)
pink milk is not a good thing, Barbara. when a doe freshens (with a vengeance) sometimes her milk is blood-tinged. (means the milk came in very quickly some of the small vessels in the udder burst. also could be a sign of infection, so i think we'll stick to carrots (which by the way do not make the milk orange)

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 12, 2010 3:06 PM


My mother grew turnips and rutabegas(called Swedes in England; Ilove that). We kids used to eat the turnips raw with salt out of the garden. Today I use turnips in soup. You never taste the turnip really. But it puts a littl snap in the soup, just a little. Rutabega and potato mashed (rutamoose) is wonderful. Supposedly both are a good source of vitamins and such not common in other foods.

Posted by Cly de Terre Bleu | January 12, 2010 3:13 PM


Barbara, Izzy's is on Marshall near Cleveland. You might want to call first to see if they have the Guiness before you make the drive. I think they also have an Irish Whiskey ice cream from time to time. Trotter's Cafe is around the corner and promotes local food-both good, but hard to do both in one trip!

I've almost gotten rid of all the grass on my little postage stamp yard, and we do try to grow a variety in our tiny and shady garden-if not much of any one thing.

I believe the grass thing has to do with early Americans wanting to live like English lords, but I can't give a reference.

Clyde-thanks for the French Revolution insights!

Renee, I love growing potatoes-maybe the front yard is where I should plant the blue ones I have saved back from a Farmer's Market purchase this fall. Probably too dry and shady out there, but what a thought!

Posted by catherine | January 12, 2010 3:15 PM


there is a wonderful book called The Little Ice Age about much of this and more. Well written.

Posted by Cly de Terre Bleu | January 12, 2010 3:21 PM


Yes, Clyde, I too love how turnips brighten up a soup.
Thanks, Catherine, and
I guess I'll stay away from pink milk after all, Barb!

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | January 12, 2010 3:22 PM


I tried letting my lawn go natural this last summer. I loved it until the wildflowers went to seed...plus I think I might have gotten the Lyme Disease from walking through it on my way to watch the bees come and go from their hive. So...next summer I may have to go back to mowing. The goats and horses did some mowing last summer, but not enough or in the right places.

BTW, I checked my two bee hives this morning and one of them did take a "cleansing flight" in the sunshine yesterday. The other didn't. Not a good sign. (now what made me think of the bees? Oh, the natural lawn...)

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | January 12, 2010 3:34 PM


Back to Dr. Heartlander -
Dear Gil - I just made a phone call I'd been sort of dreading. Interestingly, now a bunch of other tasks that felt like SHOULDS now feel like WANTS. I suppose this might mean to get the unpleasant things done first to fully enjoy everything else?

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | January 12, 2010 4:25 PM


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