Weight loss, exercise, and improved eating habits are all welcome. So is a wife who is happier inside her own skin.

As for me, I got a nice ego boost the past few weeks flying back from Geneva. Both in December and January I was fortunate enough to sit next to an attractive middle aged female on the flight back. In December, she was a UK citizen visiting her daughter in NY who suddenly took ill. We chatted a little and at the end she thanked me for helping distract her from her daughter's condition. Last week, the woman sitting next to me had a bad cold. She kept apologizing for sneezing and coughing so we got to talking. At the end of the flight she said I was the most entertaining flight companion she had ever sat next to. No, I did not ask for names or contact information for either woman. But it was nice to be treated as an interesting person.

And no, I did not only talk to the women next to me. On the flight to Geneva in November, I sat next to a guy who works as an economist. We discussed his work over breakfast. I asked for his card, and e-mailed him after we got back to the US to ask for a copy of the report he was working on. So I was just as chatty to the males as the females. The only time I didn't chat to my "neighbor" was the flight where I sat next to a Swiss couple who couldn't be bothered to talk to an American too unsophisticated to speak French.

And as for being "territorial", on New Year's Eve we went to a party thrown by a girlfriend of Mrs. Hold. The friend is Swiss, and she wanted me to pick up a few minor items while I was there. I sent a message to her facebook page asking for the spelling of the name of what she wanted. And then when I got back, I sent her a message that the items were in CT, but she would need to talk to my wife about delivery. When I told Mrs. Hold, she got huffy and wanted to know why I was sending messages to her friend (who is married to a dentist who adores her and treats her well and earns alot more than I do so Mrs. Hold has nothing to worry about even if I had any interest in her friend - which I don't). Anyway, I guess possessiveness runs both ways.

When you can see it coming, duck!