Sunday, June 28, 2009


Divorcee on Board: A New Form of Road Rage?
As Posted on FIRSTWIVESWORLD.COM by Deborah Mecklinger on Sun, 06/28/2009 - 11:57pm

Should there be a "Duty to Declare Divorce" to the Department of Motor Vehicles? Are the newly separated a danger to themselves and others when driving under the influence of divorce and its associated trauma? No doubt the onset of divorce is often akin to flying head-on into a Mack Truck, but does that mean you need to actually drive into one?

On a daily basis, clients share stories of their most recent fender benders, collisions and sometimes major accidents — all noted as a direct consequence of overwhelming distraction and their distraught state. In particular, men and women report that in the early stages of separation they encounter an out-of-body experience and have little recollection of how they got through their day, managed their children or performed their job.

They say that driving when fatigued is like driving while intoxicated. While it is difficult to attribute sleepiness to car accidents as there is no standardized test for fatigue like there is for intoxication, data shows that fatigue slows reaction time, decreases awareness and impairs judgment. The newly separated not only report inability to sleep and the ensuing fatigue but an overall feeling of emotional and physical exhaustion in the early stages of divorce or periods of extreme conflict.

So how do the newly separated get from point A to point B in their cars? Many have no idea. In fact, it is not uncommon for those in the throws of divorce to report locking keys in their car, driving in circles, passing their destination, forgetting where they are headed and getting lost on their way. Divorcing drivers have even commented that it was luck not presence of mind that allowed them to drive without incident.

If you or a loved one are driving under the influence of divorce consider the following strategies before getting behind the wheel:

1. Call a friend and ask for a ride. Finally, a way for someone waiting in the wings to be helpful.
2. Take a cab, public transit, or walk. Not only will you be safe, but you will have the opportunity to clear your head.
3. If you are going to drive, put your cell phone in the back seat. Resist all temptation to call your lawyer while driving, vent to a friend while at light or call your EX and rage. Eliminate an additional distraction.
4. Write down directions, get a map and put an extra set of car keys in your purse, pocket, office or other convenient location.
5. When you park the car, write down on a piece of paper the exact location of where you parked. Take the paper with you and pay attention to where you put it. Leave a pack of POST IT notes in the car to make this easy.
6. Make sure you are well rested and take a coffee, tea, or bottle of water along for the ride.
7. Never drive yourself to court. You are sure to be stressed to max on your way there only to be trumped by how you may feel on your way home. Follow 1 or 2.
8. The same can be said for driving to meetings with your lawyer.
9. If you feel like you are driving recklessly and cannot resist, give your car keys to a friend.
10. Slow down. Turn the music down. Turn the noise down. Turn the DVD player down and drive with extreme caution and care. Be aware of your distraction and focus.

If driving under the influence of divorce is on your radar, remember that it is not a chronic condition but rather a phase that can be navigated strategically and safely. At the very least, shake hands with your divorce distractions and your distress and drive with caution and care.

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Big Night Out: Celebrating Big Brothers and Big Sisters......AS FIRST PUBLISHED ON WOMAN.CA

Big Night Out: Celebrating Big Brothers and Big Sisters
Friday, June 5, 2009 Posted in Career - Mentor Profiles
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Co-Host Debra McGrath Gets Personal with

altWhat's better than a big, beautiful summer night out of "pay-it-forward" fun with Deb McGrath and Colin Mochrie?

Generations of young Canadians have benefited from the tireless work of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Toronto (BBBST).'s Career Section Columnist Deborah Mecklinger connects with Debra McGrath on this big festive occassion. The exclusive annual event took place June 4th 2009 at the Liberty Grand in Toronto. McGrath and her husband Colin Mochrie lent their talent as hosts of this spectacular event. The gala celebrates the organization’s stars – the adult volunteers and their Little Brothers and Sisters.

The dazzling event glittered with celebrities and paparazzi. Some of the stars that walked the red carpet in honor of BBST were: Michael Labinjo (Calgary Stampeders), Sony recording artist Eva Avila, ET Canada Host Cheryl Hickey, Recording Artist Sean Jones, Olympic champion Donovan Bailey, CFL Player Mike Labinjo and Gemini and Genie Award-Winning Canadian Director Peter Raymont. Honours Big Brothers Big Sisters

Our own Deborah Mecklinger meets the multi-faceted actress, comedienne, writer and performer extraordinaire over coffee.

There's only one problem, one cup of coffee is not enough – I now want Debra McGrath to be my friend and so would you. Deb is a woman’s woman. She's warm, engaging, real, intelligent, soulful, witty and anchored. Rooted in family, community, friends, marriage and motherhood – Debra takes all that to her writing, television and the stage. She also brought it to our meeting at Starbucks. Lucky me.

Among McGrath’s accomplishments are: Women Fully Clothed, Paradise Falls, Getting Along Famously and Little Mosque on The Prairie. Writer, director, actress and comedienne are only some of Deb’s hats. As local evidence of Debra’s talent, she recently received her star on the Scarborough Walk of Fame. Debra described the overwhelming emotion she experienced as she received this honor with her life-long friends, extended family, son and husband there to celebrate with her.

I decided to take the interview to a place that Google did not steer me to. McGrath, a very open and wise woman’s woman, was gracious enough to open up and share. Here are some words of wisdom we can all benefit from.

On living your best life: “Take a good look in the mirror and be so appreciative of your body and how it looks and how it feels and love what you see. I promise you will look back and say, why the hell didn’t I know how good I looked?”

On risk-taking: "Go for it, take chances. Don’t be afraid. Take risks. I do it now in my way and am no longer afraid of making a fool of myself. Don’t be afraid to fail, don’t play it safe – don’t settle for middle ground."

On happiness: "Give yourself permission to do what makes you happy. I am no longer doing anything in my life that makes me miserable, and if it does, I am getting out of it. I am doing what makes me happy.”

On friendship: “Surround yourself with those who bring something positive to your life. I have weeded out or been weeded out by those that don’t bring me pleasure or add to my life.”

On marriage: “I am proud to say that I have a stupendous marriage of quality and joy. We laugh all the time. Say what you like and don’t like, apologize, accept criticism if it is done constructively, do things together and change it up. A good marriage involves falling in love over and over again with the same person.”

On laughter: “Laugh at each other, laugh with each other and laugh at yourself.”

I left my meeting with McGrath feeling positive and empowered as she shared her approach to living her best life. I could think of no better woman to share the stage as host of the Big Night Out Gala than a woman who is a role model and mentor for learning how to live their best life.