Blogs I Enjoy Reading

reading laptop

 

Since I started blogging, way back in April, I spend a lot of time reading on my laptop. In fact, too much time. I’ve decided that I need to take some of that time, and really go through the blogs I follow. I want to share those blogs that I enjoy reading, hopefully three each month. I’ve also sent a request to each blogger, for a direct quote that I can include in this post.

lorrainesvoice

It’s been a while since reading this blog, and once again, I’m pleasantly surprised. I find it’s quirkiness just like a breath of fresh air. Loaded with little bits of humour, some of it expertly hidden so you have to read on to ‘get it’. (Well, I do anyway.) A wide range of subjects for a very happy, fun read.

Lorraine writes plays, short stories, books, and general ramblings about life.

From Lorraine: My inspiration is in the minutiae of life: the impromptu spider hunt in the middle of a committee meeting; the small child picking her nose during the nativity play; tripping up in the theatre aisle and finding yourself hanging onto a bald man’s head. (It’s all happened, believe me!) When I find myself bemused at some stupid, mind-bogglingly weird event or person, I don’t get annoyed. I just think, “Ooh! I can use that!” It’s probably a character flaw.

Half and Half

If you want a good chuckle, this blog is for you. I’m going to go ahead and say, that you will probably enjoy this more if you’re female. It is surprisingly relatable, if you are willing to admit that, and is laced with humour. Posts fall under the headings of Wit, Wisdom, and Nonsense. Bonus: lots of lists!

This would pair well with a bottle of wine and a cheese plate.

middle class fury

A plethora of all the things we think, but do not write about. Composed with a profusion of negativity, this blog had me literally putting my laptop aside so that I could bend myself all the way forward in laughter. My guy even asked if I was going to be alright. An expansive, descriptive, critical look at nearly everything under the sun, will have you doing the same.

Advisement: Visit the washroom prior to reading.

 As always, comments are welcomed, and encouraged! I would love to know your take on these blogs. Do you have any recommendations of blogs you enjoy reading? Why not share them!

If you’d like to browse a few more, click the link below.

July 2014

 

Advertisements

3 Simple Steps: How To Be Your Own Healthcare Advocate

A while ago I shared my thoughts on why it is so difficult to be and stay healthy, with a focus on body weight. You can read it here.

I will be expanding on each of the eight points I made, beginning with the next post. What I write about comes from my own personal experiences and observations. Everyone is different when it comes to health, because of various health issues, body type, emotional stress, coping skills, age, and so on.

As individuals–our health–needs to be approached as such.

I thought I would start off with a very important issue, something I learned a few years back; how to be my own healthcare advocate. This will also work if a friend or family member is unable to do this on their own. I strongly suggest this as a way to improve communication with your doctor. Also, to figure out where you stand with diet, exercise, and your overall health; increasing your level of knowledge.

1. Do you have difficulty remembering all the details that you wanted to tell your doctor?

This is big, and one of the most important points. If your doctor does not know all the details, how then can he help you?

Before heading to the doctor’s office, take some time, lots of time if necessary, and think about what’s going on. Find a quiet place, and bring a pen and paper with you. Really consider your emotional state, because you will want to be completely honest with yourself, for your own safety. Start paying attention to how your body works. If you start imagining or making stuff up, you won’t get the help you need.

Jot down some notes as you remember; what, where, when, and how.

  • What is the most pressing issue? The most recent? Work back from there. Go back years, if you have to, and be specific.
  • Where were you when you noticed the symptoms? What may be some factors that set it off? Perhaps it was a very hot day. What were you doing differently?
  • When did it start? When did it stop?
  • How long did it last? Making a timeline is an easy way to visualize, for you and for your doctor.
  • Does it integrate with an existing health problem?
  • Why do you think this is important? Not everything needs a doctor, so be sure. Ask someone if you aren’t.
  • Know about the medications you take, including supplements. The pharmacy can print out a list of your medications, make sure you or someone you know, has knowledge of why you take them.

2. Do you feel like your doctor is really listening to you?

This is where detailed notes come in handy. The more detail, the better.

  • Google until you can’t Google anymore. There is a surplus of information , so you do have to take your time going through it very carefully; comparing and compiling your notes. Take this seriously, remember to be realistic. Ask a friend or family member for their opinion.
  • This will raise some questions that you can ask; listing symptoms, and giving you solutions. All of this is for clarification. This is not about being a hypochondriac. Getting answers is not always easy, but if you go in with your questions written down along with some possible solutions, they will more likely be answered.

Let’s face it, doctors do not know everything, nor can they remember everything. They have many patients, all with different issues, and they are very overworked. I’ve noticed dramatic results from taking my health seriously, learning everything I can about my own issues, and bringing up my results during the visit. I think it challenges them, keeps them on their toes, and you end up with some answers through an informed discussion. If your doctor doesn’t like playing that way, find another doctor. Some of them can be a bit pompous, but do gather up your self-confidence and go for it. You have nothing to lose.

3. Do you feel rushed through your visit?

There is a simple way to stop that.

  • When you are making your appointment, state that you need to discuss some issues and need some extra time to do so. The appointments are usually 10-15 minute blocks, and they do overbook in advance of probable cancellations.
  • Take with you, two copies of your detailed timelines, questions, etc. One is for you and the other one is for the doctor. If you go into the detail, that I suggested above, then they don’t have to write everything down, and have time to focus on you. This is also handy, as it will be added to your file for future reference.
  • When you hand over the extra copy, tell him what it is, and that you would like to go over it with him. You can also add, if you are feeling brave, that you will not leave until each question has been answered sufficiently.

My health is a work in progress, and I continue to write down, (like a journal), anything new that arises. Essentially, I have created a baseline for ongoing health concerns. I never head to the doctors office without my notes, and I don’t leave until I have my questions answered. I’ve also learned a great deal about myself, during this process.

I’m sure that some of you may find this a bit ‘whiny’ or ‘obsessive compulsive’. Maybe you never ask questions, and just go along with what the doctor says. That’s up to you, of course, but I want to be in charge of my health; looking at the bigger picture and how it all relates.

If you have anything to add to this, please feel free to leave a suggestion below. As always comments are welcomed and encouraged!

 

 

Blogs I Enjoy Reading

reading laptop

 

Since I started blogging, way back in April, I spend a lot of time reading on my laptop. In fact, too much time. I’ve decided that I need to take some of that time, and really go through the blogs I follow. I want to share those blogs that I enjoy reading, hopefully three each month. I’ve also sent a request to each blogger, for a direct quote that I can include in this post.

SimplySolo

I’m sure we have all been acquainted with, at one time or another, the heartache of a breakup. How do we cope afterwards? Do we have some familiar way of getting back on our feet? Did we have some reading material to help us get through it?

Well, now we do! SimplySolo is a great read, even if we have fully recovered from a breakup. Lots of humour, which seems to be an essential part of healing, and articles ranging from ‘breakup songs’ to ‘love lessons’. Very open and honest writing, don’t we all just want to know that we are NOT crazy? That others do and think similar stuff? This ones for you.

She also features guest bloggers, which is a great way to increase your readership.

Jackie Cangro

There is a quote from this blog just below, and I’ve underlined the word ‘quietly’, as this is really a great way to describe her style of writing. Great stories that flow well, and are easy to read. Some interesting topics to choose from, and all done in an uplifting and quiet way.

“…uplifting stories about everyday people who are quietly changing their lives by following a dream.”

She has listed many books that she has read, and gives a little blurb of her opinion on them. I might find something good to read from this list.

All in all, it goes great with a cup of coffee!

Jackie says, “I’m a writer, editor and animal lover. My blog is an effort to live in the world more deliberately.”

Broadsideblog

Caitlin Kelly is a career journalist, which is why her blog reads like a newspaper or magazine. It is full of a wide range of articles, on topics such as; women, business, culture. She incorporates her opinions with lots of detailed reality, and there are many links to expand your reading pleasure.

A well-rounded read for many different tastes.

Here’s a little something from Caitlin:

Broadside, at its best, is a party. My goal is to invite fun, smart, curious readers into a virtual living room (no feet on the furniture!) for lively conversation. With readers ranging from Belongum, an aboriginal man in Australia to Katharina, a teacher in Germany, to Elizazbeth, living in a tiny Cornish town, I look forward to hearing their insights and adventures. I’m moved by what I learn there, and always looks forward to comments.

As always, comments are welcomed, and encouraged! I would love to know your take on these blogs. Do you have any recommendations of blogs you enjoy reading? Why not share them!

If you’d like to browse a few more, click the link below.

May 2014

8 Thoughts on Health

Why is it such a challenge, a struggle, to be healthy? Attitude, society, availability and affordability of healthy options…maybe? I think that the majority of us (adults), are well aware of what we need to be doing to be healthy, and we all use the same excuses, to not be. Myself included. Yes, there are many health reasons that can put some extra weight on us, or make it more challenging; thyroid issues, diabetes, arthritis, and any physical disability. The list goes on, but, we do have control over what and how much, we put into our mouths. That, even over exercise, is a huge component in weight loss and over-all health.

1. Television ads of fast food, cereals, snack bars, etc., entice us with the happy looking, healthy looking, slim and fit looking couple or family; who of course, have the perfect relationships and the happiest of lives. This is wonderful! Don’t we all want that? So lets buy that food, and then we will be happy forever. They convince us that food has a therapeutic value, and yes it does. However, there are many other healthier options for providing therapy, that don’t lead us to more therapy. You will also see how quick and easy it is to cook a meal from scratch, should only take thirty seconds, yes? Turn it off. Have limits on how much you watch per day. Make sure you’ve eaten a healthy meal before you zone out or you will be participating in a little something called ‘unconscious eating’; that hard to break habit of force feeding yourself some sugary or salty snack.

2. Our lives are so hectic (or so we think), that we eat in our cars, while at our computers, or in front of the television. Here’s a new concept; turn the television off, turn your computer off, turn your phone off, and just eat. Savour each mouthful, taste the food, be mindful. Show gratitude for the food you eat. Enjoy some conversation over the breakfast, lunch, or dinner table. Make eating a pleasurable experience. You will begin to build a routine that way, which will only lead to other positive changes. Take charge and be consistent, give it a chance. Nothing happens in a day or two, obviously.

3. We take the road well travelled, not intentionally, but because it feels easier, faster, and fills the gaping hole inside of us, so we can get back to doing other, more fun, time-wasting, mind-numbing, stuff. A sugary snack (instead of a healthy one), can give you a high, and while you are in this high, you can do and be anything. Then you fall from the sky, as if your parachute didn’t deploy. When you hit bottom, your emotions are free to trample your heart and your thoughts, then your high ends on an even lower note than the day before. This is the vicious cycle that so many of us are caught in. I’m looking in the mirror right now. Changing your entire maddening behaviour, is all it takes. Just get out of your head and make the changes. I know, I know, it’s not that easy! It really is though, just your attitude that is holding you back. Your excuses, the lies you tell yourself, become your truth. One day at a time, downhill or uphill. It is a choice.                                                                                                          

healthy fruits and vegetables

4. It can be expensive, the fruit and vegetable isle. Low income presents a huge problem. Depending on our location, we could grow our own gardens, freeze and can the food for winter. That is time consuming, and if someone has a long commute, or has to work two jobs, when would they have time to garden? Or could they have a garden, if they lived in an apartment building, in the middle of a busy city? Would there be enough fresh food to sufficiently feed a family of four or more? It seems that there is always a sacrifice of one thing for another. Depends on what you most want, what is most important to you. It’s the ‘get out of your head’ thing again. New study confirms that eating healthy does indeed cost more…  Even if we eat healthy food, we still aren’t getting all the nutrients required; enter supplements. Even a really good multivitamin is not going to help meet those needs. If you are going to take supplements, choose ones that will address your individuality. –and yes, supplements add an extra monthly expense. Yay!                                                                                                     

floating rock clock in the sky

5. The amount of time it takes to prepare fresh food daily, is mind blowing. The daily routine becomes much longer, albeit a healthier one. You are standing and moving about while slicing and dicing, and not being a couch potato. I attempted this a while back, making huge salads (to last a few days), and preparing mostly vegetables for meals. It literally sucked up my days. I don’t enjoy cooking at the best of times–just ask my guy–but this was ridiculous. I ended up wanting to do anything else but prepare food. Honestly, when will ‘They’ come up with a pill, that covers all your nutritional needs and fills you up? I’m sure I would still have an occasional treat, and my green tea lattes, but I definitely am not a ‘live to eat’ girl. I am an ‘eat to live’ girl. On a positive note, the four days that I completely cut out sugar, white flour, white rice, anything processed, my energy level went through the roof. A hill that might have noticeably increased my breathing, had no effect at all. That lasted a good few weeks, even though I added back a few things to my diet. Why then, since I felt so divine, am I not continuing? Well, that is a good question, isn’t it?

6. Exercise. Some of you may be so far in denial, that you question what that even is. I block out exercise sometimes. I go in stages where I do wonderfully, and then I will get slammed with some physical ailment (could be a cold with a hacking cough), that will put a crashing halt to my routine. I love routine, and right now, I’m searching everywhere for the one I lost a while back. Isn’t there someone, somewhere, that can do it for me instead? It goes back to the time thing again, exercise takes time, so if you can’t find the time, then make the time. If you wrote down all your necessary tasks, including sleep, and the time allotted, there would probably be some time to fit in a few sit-ups, push-ups, or some yoga. You would probably be surprised. Simple. Instead of watching your favourite television show, go for a walk. Yah, that’ll work.

7. We have this grand vision of what we will look like, once we’ve started to eat better and exercise. Forgetting of course, that the changes are small, and stretched out over time. Make your goals achievable, baby steps. Don’t get stressed out if you take longer to achieve a goal or fail to achieve one. Just start again. A daily goal of eating carrots for a snack, and getting in your twenty minute walk, is a start and is achievable. Or, pick one of those, and just start. Then, because you achieved, you feel happy, you want to repeat it. That’s the idea anyhow.                                                                 

people exercising with weights

8. You will most likely fail, if you have no support system. A support system is a must if you are to be successful long term. We seem to need the basic information to health, pounded into our brains on a regular basis. As an example; Weight Watchers holds weekly meetings. Some of the information shared is quite simple, and even silly to some, but nonetheless, very effective. It’s all about showing up, being accountable to yourself in front of others. Knowing that you are not alone in your challenge or struggle. You may even meet some new friends, who by the way, are like-minded people who can be added to your support system.

After all this, we must remember that our attitude holds huge sway, when it comes to our choices. Strength of character? You can do it! We are also the role models for our kids, and if we eat crappy, our kids probably will too. If we are heavy, then our kids will probably follow suit. Why not be the positive example for others, at work, at school, and at home. The more you have on your team, the easier it will become.

Writing 101        As always, your comments are welcomed and encouraged! Don’t be shy!

7 Blog Preferences

colourful-letters-blog.jpg

I know people are creative and show their creativity in vast arrays, but I still get surprised by it. I suppose prior to blogging myself, I never thought of following or reading an abundance of blogs. I will say, I’m thoroughly enjoying going through other’s blogs, and taking in all the original ideas. I do have some personal preferences, and even those can be altered by the mood I am in, or if I’m tired, etc. These are just my thoughts as I read through the blogs.

  1. The simpler, the better. If I open up onto an extremely busy page (theme), I will be distracted, and may just move on to another. If I get past that, which is rare, and the writing holds my attention, then I will give it another chance.
  2. A lot of the themes have smaller printing. I like to be able to read it without looking for my glasses. It’s so much easier on the eyes, in general, if the printing is larger. If the theme is busy, and the printing small, then you are out of luck.
  3. I like to see lots of smaller paragraphs. If I come across a blog that has one huge block of writing, I will move on to another, no second thoughts. Add to this, the above, and you probably won’t see me again, even if the topic is interesting.
  4. I do my best with sentence structure and punctuation. I am learning as I go, and I always proof-read my stuff a few times before hitting publish. I want to put my best foot forward. I suppose I have an expectation that others do also, and yes, I do read blogs that need punctuation, but I find it a wee bit difficult to get through them. If it’s a good topic, then I will stay with it. Please proof-read!
  5. Lighter colours, simpler design, is what attracts me. How easy is it to read, and how appealing is the page? If I open up a blog and the page is dark, I may give it a feeble try, and if the writing is good, I will be back, maybe. The darker backgrounds make it much more difficult to focus on the writing. If you add all the above to this, I will not be back.
  6. I’ve a greater liking for posts that have fewer than 700 words. These will be given more of a chance. I only have so much time, and want to read, share my thoughts, and hit the like button. I know I’m missing out on some great content, and on occasion, I will read a longer post, especially if it is a short story.
  7. The blogging university, and writing 101, and all the prompts, and all the help is wonderful and much used. One thing they mention, is a good title. I would have to agree. A good title is needed to catch my attention.

There are so many blogs out there, many with topics that I’m keen on learning more about. If they are not easy to read, right from the start, then I will move on to another. We all have our preferences, and as I’ve noted, they vary greatly. These are just mine. If I’m going to spend time reading, it must be enjoyable, or my attention wanes. I also do my best, with my own blog, to follow my list of likes and dislikes. I’m sure I don’t always come up to snuff, but I push forward, learning as I go. You may love the dark background, which just happens to have smaller printing, and three or four columns, plus the addition of several widgets along the sidebars; but isn’t it readability that we are after?

 

As always comments are welcomed and encouraged!

 

 

 

 

 

20 More Things That Make Me Smile

just smile

  1. When my son sends me a text message, all on his own.
  2. Knowing that I have some silver, mixed with the gray in my hair. Smiling now! Yay!
  3. Hearing someone shriek at the close proximity of a spider…I’m not the only one.
  4. Julia Louis-Dreyfus in ‘The Veep’.
  5. The gasping sound of my guy, after I’ve dumped a glass of cold water on him while he showers; of course, just returning the favour.
  6. Driving in my car, windows down, sun is shining, Trooper’s song ‘We’re Here For A Good Time’, is playing.
  7. I smile when I open the mailbox to discover I’ve got 2 parcels.
  8. …and then remembering what it was, I had ordered.
  9. The joy on Tia’s (chihuahua), face when Graysee (cat), gives her a quick wash.
  10. Any ‘aha’ moment. Those are delightful!
  11. When the ‘Daily Prompt’ inspires me immediately.
  12. Remembering to set the timer, so my almond milk doesn’t boil over. (FYI 4 min)
  13. When my guy talks in a high voice…I know, a repeat, but it makes laugh.
  14. I get a bit of a high, after de-cluttering a space.
  15. Seeing two real, live, foxes for the first time.
  16. Robin Williams.
  17. When I water my plants, and they come back to life, after being neglected.
  18. The way Tia races around with a torn up stuffed toy, leaping from couch to chair.
  19. When I see a spider…on the OUTSIDE of my window.
  20. Looking at the framed photos of my kids, that clutter the sideboard.

Here is my first list of 20 things that make me smile.

As always, comments are welcomed, and encouraged! Share your list of happy!

Writing 101 

 

 

 

3 Blogs I Enjoy Reading

reading laptop

 

Since I started blogging, way back in April, I spend a lot of time reading on my laptop. In fact, too much time. I’ve decided that I need to take some time, and really go through the blogs I follow. This is the beginning of my list, of blogs that stand out, for one reason or another. I’m hoping to suggest three more blogs each month.

yoonanimous

This blog covers a lot of regular stuff, but, with lots of humour. From the perspective of a wife, mom, and lawyer, she tells stories of her everyday life. I feel like I’m one of her friends, and she’s ranting, and we are laughing about it. There are no details left out, nor are any of them boring. Her writing leaves me wanting more. I just finished her review of, water bottles. I think part of the attraction is, the abundance of truth in her writing. Makes me chuckle!

PostSecret

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard.”

I initially saw this on Facebook, and was immediately intrigued. What is it, about learning other people’s secrets? Some are a bit shocking, some are funny, and some are sad. Maybe it lets us know we are not alone, that all of us carry secrets, of some sort. Secrets, that maybe aren’t being kept as secrets, only because too much time has gone by, and what’s the point. Secrets, that make us feel angry, bitter, ashamed, disappointed, or not worthy. The creativity shown with these post cards, is truly remarkable. It is also on Facebook, here.

Down And Out In The 21st

  • This site consists mainly of think/opinion pieces, the occasional humorous post and my feeble attempts at creative writing.
  • There’s no real thematic concept going on here. I write about everything that engages my attention or moves me in some way and that I think other people may find interesting, as well.
  • As a general guideline, you’ll probably get the most out of this blog if you’re a sensitive, arts and humanities-loving bookworm.

I am drawn to creative writing, expressive words, with an easy flow, that give rise to a vivid imagination. Commentaries, creative writing, and musings are among the categories. There is a more serious tone to this blog, lots of descriptive writing, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed what I’ve read so far.

As always, comments are welcomed, and encouraged! I would love to know your take on these blogs.