The "Whiz-ard" That Is Dr. Oz

Following Dr. Oz's Advice For A Year


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Happy Birthday Mummy! Welcome Back to Ottawa!

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Mummy – age 5

Mummy – I wanted to do something a little more special than just the usual “you are wonderful” blog (although you are) to help you celebrate your birthday.  I did a little digging, and here are some pictures of you, your family and some memories from Ottawa.  The little girl in the front row of the picture above to the far left is you!  You are still a brat : )

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Your Uncle Morris’s wedding invitation

When you said Uncle Morris was the oldest – you weren’t kidding!  Here is his wedding invitation…from 1912.  Zaidie was still in the Shtetl then.

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Auntie Irene on her wedding day to Uncle Wally.

I thought this was interesting!

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Your favourite place for Challah, Rye Bread, Cinnamon Buns, and everyone’s favourite – Seven Layer Cake.

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Zelikovitz Bros. and their wives circa 1936

If you look carefully, you’ll see our favourite Zelikovitz’s – Bobbi, Zaidie, Auntie Becky, Uncle Dave, Uncle Max – only Auntie Tessie seems to be missing!

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Remember how Bobbi used to have crates of Pure Spring in the basement?

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Painting of Zelikovitz Bros.

A painting of Zelikovitz Bros.  You must be so proud of your father!

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Mummy and her cousins – Purim

Whose the little princess, or should I say Queen, in the front row?  Why, that’s you!

Mummy – I hope that you liked your little photo tribute.  Dr. Oz always says family is so important and that you should tell them how you feel.  You are the best mother in the world.  You have handled all of life’s challenges with a sense of humour and more bravery than someone of your little stature should. Lately, especially, you have been the epitome of grace under pressure.  There is nobody that I admire more.

Love to you on your birthday and always,

Your very proud daughter xoxo


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Good Bye Sweet Harley

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“There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.”

Rudyard Kipling – The Power of a Dog

The picture above may be blurry, but this is the Harley that I knew and loved.  A merry little dog who couldn’t get enough love or attention.  Today, Harley joined his sister Snickers, adopted brother Mookie and my dog Rascal in what I hope is a better place.  He was a silly little goof ball who until he was almost 13 didn’t realize that he was no longer a youngster.  A dog that woke up every morning expecting attention and toast – in that order.  A dog that lived his life to the fullest and who really only changed when his sister was no longer there to protect him.

Harley was not a tough dog.  He was a lover, not a fighter.  I’ve written about this before, but anytime that I saw Harley, he was always beyond excited to see me – so much so, that he’d spray me with pee, but how could I be mad at someone so happy to see me!  He was a sweetheart that was playful but never really got the hang of playing.  Throw a ball to Harley and it would roll on past him.  Instead, he’d look at you, with his big brown eyes, wagging his stub of a tail (even for a Cocker Spaniel it was a little small) wanting attention, not game play.  Put a stuffed animal in front of him, he moved away.  Harley cared about treats and attention – he didn’t have time for anything else.

I wrote about Harley before, in a blog entry called “Harley and Me”.  From that entry:

“I always wondered why dogs live such a short life compared to humans.  The best answer that I’ve ever heard came from an article on lgd.org courtesy of vet Linda Bobo.  She was putting down a family dog and after, she and the family wondered about the very same thing.  The family’s four year old son came up with the following: “Everybody is born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody and being nice, right? Well, animals already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Today, my sister, niece and nephew are experiencing the heartbreak that comes with losing a cherished family member.  As hard as it is, I hope that knowing that they did the right thing for little Harley will bring them comfort.  They loved the dog with all of their hearts.  I’ll miss him too.  But, it’s still worth “giving a dog your heart to tear” for all of the unconditional love and joy that they bring.  I will always be grateful to have had Harley for a furry nephew.  Good bye my sweet Harley.


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You’re The Inspiration – Story One

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Image courtesy of the Cranston Herald

I know, it’s a cheesy Chicago song, but I love cheesy music and theming blogs around them.  There is so much bad news out there that I was feeling the need for something inspiring.  Turn a TV on any day of the week and your likely to see:

a) a plane crash

b) a beheading

c) a storm of some sort that leaves hundreds of people dead or homeless

d) a multiple murder

e) all of the above

I know that feel-good stories may not garner the ratings or interest that the more controversial news does, however, I don’t live and die by rating points, so I decided that I needed to seek out some of life’s more uplifting moments.  I love when ordinary people, like you and me, do EXTRAORDINARY things.  People that inspire me, and hopefully inspire you to do more to make the world a better place to be.  The one common theme?  It’s people that I know.

Back in the fall of 2014, police officer Julie Furgasso, in Cranston, Rhode Island, responded to a call check on Alfred “Fred” Bettencourt.  Fred, a then, 88 year old WWII veteran, had to walk to medical appointments and to any other errands.  He often, didn’t have enough money for food and other essentials.  Taking him under her wing, she enlisted the help of Fire Captain Chuck Pollock (I met Chuck several year’s ago).  Together, they connected Fred with services and programs through the Cranston Senior Enrichment Center, including transportation to VA Hospital appointments and other locations around the city and more importantly, showed a senior, and a war hero, some much needed kindness and friendship.  They set up a donation drive to help Fred and showed him the ultimate kindness by “adopting” him as family.

But wait, there’s more!  Fred never received the medals that he was entitled to as a World War II wounded warrior, including the Purple Heart.  His service records were destroyed in a 1973 fire.  Chuck and Julie worked tirelessly to get Fred the medals he earned for his service and on March 9, after more than half a century, Fred’s sacrifice was finally honoured!  He received: the Purple Heart, Bettencourt was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one Bronze Service Star, the Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award and the Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII.  AND – Julie and Chuck have arranged for Fred to take part in an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., in May to visit the World War II Memorial.  How amazing is that?

When I read the story in my newsfeed on Facebook, I immediately reached out to Chuck.  He’s an amazingly kind and humble person and the first thing he said was “it was the right thing to do.”  The next thing he said was that he and Julie didn’t do it for any type of acknowledgement and when I asked if it was ok to write about it, he wanted to make sure that Julie was given the kudos that she deserves.  This is a humble guy who just really cares about people.  I cried when I read these stories, and I hope that you find them just as touching as I did (just click the links below to read more).  Chuck – Julie – you are inspirations to all of us.  If you really want to honour Fred, Chuck and Julie, you may not need to do something quite as grand as they did.  It can be as simple as giving up your seat on the subway or bus; helping a senior across the street; volunteering at a senior’s home or making time for an older person in your life.  Everyone has a story to tell if you take the time to listen.

http://www.cranstononline.com/stories/Im-not-alone,98546?search_filter=bettencourt&content_class=1&town_id=3&sub_type=stories

http://cranstononline.com/stories/After-more-than-50-years-Cranstons-Bettencourt-89-receives-Purple-Heart-other-awards-from-WWII,100671?category_id=4&content_cl

 


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I Get So Emotional…

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…well not really, all the time, but I thought it was the perfect Whitney Houston song to use as the title for today’s blog.  2015 is not a year that I am going to have many fond thoughts of, in fact, in the words of my home girl Queen Elizabeth  (Her Majesty to you), this is fast becoming a year I shall not look fondly upon.  It has turned out to be an annus horribilis.  For those of you who think that I’m referring to someone more cheeky, annus means year in Latin.  

A lot has happened over a very short period of time, and I’ve seen the best and worst of people.  The one thing that I have discovered in all of this, is how important it has been to use my emotions productively.  This is something that Deepak Chopra talks about in his latest 21 Day Meditation Experience and you know I like to remind you that Dr. Oz highly recommends meditation to alleviate stress among other health benefits.  I still suck at it, but why quit trying?

In my favourite meditation to date, Deeps talks about what you should do in a time of difficulty.  I love that he says that being emotionally productive isn’t about “positive thinking as a solution or constantly trying to maintain an optimistic disposition.”  Rather, he wants us to make our emotions part of our support group.  How can we do this?

  • Be aware that emotions are tied to every choice that you make and you can’t always be rational.  I like being rational, but yes, I would say that in the scheme of things, emotions rule the day
  • Deal with emotions as a contestant companion and advisors.  In other words, don’t try to suppress how you feel – many decisions, good and bad, are made based on feelings and it doesn’t help to try to bury your emotions.  The one thing I have to say is that good or bad, I get everything out.  If I need to cry, which isn’t often, I do it.  If I’m angry, depending on how much something is bothering me, I tell the person.  If I’m happy or grateful, I say so.  Life is far too short to choke down feelings and I’ve noticed, at least for me, that there is something very therapeutic about getting things out into the open…and a good cry never hurts.  Deepak says that it is important to remember that every situation has an emotional component
  • “Pushing down emotions” or try to stifle emotions, they get “stuck” meaning, they just sit in your subconscious like a ginormous unhealthy dinner gets stuck in your tummy

There were a few other deep thoughts, but this was the gist of it.  I loved that he didn’t stress positive thinking or fake optimism as a solution.  I hate when people tell me to look at the bright side or that things happen for a reason.  I think I’ve written about this before, but I think that sometimes bad things happen to the best people and sometimes, you see karma in action.  I’m seeing both of these situations at once – but coping with each is less difficult, because I know exactly how I feel and today, that is what I most grateful for.


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Happy Birthday AK (AKA Frousin)

Aaron Blog

Who doesn’t love AK?

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The Glacier we hiked to in Norway!

You may remember some references to AK/Frousin throughout my blog.  He is my brother from another very nice mother (and father).  AK – two of my very favourite words in the English language are “YOU’RE RIGHT” (does a contraction count as more than two words?).  In honour of your very special birthday, I thought I’d share a few things that you were right about: 1. As you breathe you need – or should I credit this to Auntie Tessie? 2. Killing people’s dreams can be very funny – in fact, they are some of my favourite stories of yours. 3. Sea days are the best days…ever 4. Pizza Libretto isn’t bad, but it isn’t the best in Toronto 5. Sting is amazing in concert 6. Concerts are amazing in general 7. You should be able to sit in the Maple Leaf Lounge if you buy a Rouge plane ticket – maybe I shouldn’t bring up painful memories 8. Some people can be very annoying (especially at tea time) 9. Starbucks can be a beacon of hope when you are lost and afraid in a foreign country 10. Having a pedicure is a G-d given right! 11. So is wearing cashmere – scratch that – you can’t wear it and that is one of life’s little tragedies 12. You should always, always take your glasses off before getting your picture taken 13. Marrying your cousins should be illegal even if others think “It’s allowed” 14. You should always have another cookie 15. Angela Lansbury is a living legend Today, if you haven’t guessed, I am so grateful to my frousin, the birthday boy.  It’s so great having you as not just a likeable family member, but a true friend as well.  You are the best of both worlds and I am so happy to have you as one of my closest friends.


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Sleepy-Time Stress

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Keeping one eye on the time…

I admit it – I’m a clock watcher and always need to know the time.  It’s productive during the day, so that I can get to meetings on time or meet people pretty close to the time we agreed on, but when you have insomnia, clock watching is just plain stressful.  You think you are the only one awake, in the world, and it’s a very lonely place to be.  I was reading an article in “Dr. Oz – The Good Life” and was a little disappointed.  Not because the article wasn’t well written and totally useful, but the cover tease was “Turn Off Stress So You Can Sleep-Pill Free”.  That is right up my alley – I hate taking sleeping pills, and not sleeping is a huge cause of stress.  When I eagerly flipped to the article, it was all about women who can’t get back to sleep…not my issue at all.  When I do have insomnia, it’s because I can’t fall asleep.  If I fall asleep, and wake up in the middle of the night, I can always fall back into la-la land – after I check the clock of course.

When I first started blogging, in January 2014, my first topic was all about insomnia.  In general, I do sleep better than I did a year ago.  Here are a few things that I think have helped:

-Eating more nuts – for real – I still eat two brazil nuts a day for the selenium and I eat almonds and walnuts every day.  Think I’m nuts?  It seems to work

-I’ve learned, the hard way, that as soon as I get an inkling that I’m about to fall asleep on the couch, I have to get up and go to bed – immediately.  If I fall asleep, for even 5 little minutes, my shut eye pattern is off, and I find it impossible to sleep

-A cool room helps – really, but freezing cold isn’t great.  Once I’m that cold, no matter what I do, I can’t warm up

-Dr. Oz’s sleep experts say you shouldn’t check the time, but I have to, and it helps me fall back to sleep knowing that I still have a couple of hours that I can get in

-There are times, when I just can’t sleep, that I do get out of bed and walk around, watch TV or read, just to get out of my room

Here are some new recommendations from “Dr. Oz – The Good Life: Your Fall-Back-Asleep Prescription (page 108):

1. Do some belly-breathing – I know I’ll never do this on my own, but I am doing Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey’s latest 21 Day Meditation Challenge, and I can always do one of the meditations to get in some deep breathing.  I still can’t do the meditating part properly, but I do deep breathe when I listen to D-OPRAH’s latest

2. Get Out of Bed – see above

3. Note and release your worries – this is a great idea – I’ll try this one.  Sometimes, I may have to type it into Outlook, so that I know that I have time set aside for the tasks, but I think knowing you have your “to-do’s” listed somewhere is comforting, at least to me

4. Take a mental stroll – you are supposed to visualize places that bring you peace – I’ll try it, not sure if I buy it, but it’s worth the effort

5. Listen to something calming – This works – I know you aren’t supposed to have iPads in your room, but I listen to podcasts and they put me to sleep and yes, I am admitting this here, Reality Steve’s (Bachelor Spoiler extraordinaire) Live Video Chats are a must listen an my own brand of Nytol – I fall asleep every Thursday listening to them.  I don’t watch unless he is talking to his dog Maddie – which is cute and priceless.  He’s never boring, but there is something soothing about the way he speaks.  Whatever works right?

6. Call in the pros – AKA see your Dr.

Today was a pretty good day with a lot to be grateful for – I’m off this week from work, I got to see my niece and I got to speak to the Shoe (not her real name, but a really close friend).  Not too bad – and no stress : )


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My Favourite Books

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Image courtesy of Harper Collins

I’m an avid reader – I even keep a book diary to record a list of all the books that I have read.  I only started keeping it in 1991, but if I were to guess, I’ve probably read well over a thousand books.  Why do I bring this up?  I was thinking about meditation, which is really being able to tune things out, and listen to nothing, not even your inner voice.  Well, it’s more than that, but that’s the gist for you newcomers to my deepness.  As much as I can’t do this, and I get distracted, I was thinking, I do that sometimes, about how when I read a book I love, I am able to tune things out.  Yes, I’m still listening to my inner voice, but it’s how I relax and de-stress which Dr. Oz and my home boy Deepak Chopra would both approve of.

I’m reading a book that I really like right now, “Wild”.  It’s not the best book that I’ve ever read, but it’s very well written and definitely worthwhile.  It’s the first book in a book club that we are starting at work and I definitely recommend it.  It made me enjoy reading again and also made me think of the ten books that really affected me – here they are:

  1. Charlotte’s Web – my top favourite book ever!  It’s the only book that I kept from my childhood.  Ironic, since I’m terrified of spiders, but it has so many important messages…you may be scary outside, but you can be beautiful inside, unlikely twosomes can become the best of friends, true friendship can last a lifetime, no matter how short that lifetime is, and more.  I always loved and identified with the underdog and this book, read to me in grade 2, was the start of all of this.  Even my beloved, and deceased dog Rascal was the runt of the litter and I loved him as much as Fern loved Wilbur.  I bawled my way through this book (driving my sisters crazy when I was a kid, reading it out loud over and over again) and bawled my way through the movie as an adult.  If you haven’t read it, it’s never too late.  My favourite line?  “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.  Charlotte was both.  THE END.”  Charlotte has always been my inspiration.
  2. The Last Lecture – this is a must read – there is simply no more inspiring, joyful book out there.  Yes, Randy Pausch was dying when he gave his last lecture, but he still loved life.
  3. Memoirs of a Geisha – just beautifully written – it’s as simple as that.
  4. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving is a quirky writer who isn’t for everyone, but this story is amazing.  So many things happen throughout the book, and you wonder why, but it all makes sense in the end.  The book’s protagonist is also an underdog, and you know I love an underdog.
  5. Angela’s Ashes – so good!  You’d think the poverty would depress you, but it’s written with humour and you can get lost in the story.  I loved ‘Tis too!
  6. The Harry Potter Series – trying to pick a favourite is like trying to pick a favourite child – you may have one, but whose dumb enough to tell the world about it?  It’s amazingly creative, shows that good does triumph over evil and the books become more sophisticated as the characters age – what’s not to love?
  7. Marley and Me – You may not agree with this one, but as a dog lover, I adored this book.  Especially the part SPOILER ALERT when the author is getting ready to say goodbye to his beloved pet and he does what I did – strokes his dog in all of his favourite places to memorize how he feels (I did this to my dog when he was trying to sleep, and as always, he was patient with me).
  8. The Book of Negroes – this was a difficult read, but so well written that you feel like you were on the slave ship.  It should be required reading in schools and for members of the Ku Klux Klan and other racists.
  9. The Book Thief – Classified as a Young Adult book, there is nothing about this book that meets that classification.  It was also a difficult read, and you have to understand a little metaphor, but a very important book, at least in my opinion.
  10. Julie and Julia – I know, autobiographical fluff, but it’s one of the books that inspired me to start blogging.

Those are the books – the ones that I remember and had the most impact.  I’m grateful to have read each and every one of them.  I’d love to hear your favourites too so leave them here, or tweet them to me @JillSchnei!

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