Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One

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A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That


Yes, those are roaring Lion King slippers…

This week was a little busy so I didn’t have a lot of time to plan or put some thought into this entry, so you are going to get a little of everything…starting with more decluttering!  Today’s clean sweep included:

Items for Donation

  • 2 camisoles
  • 1 pair of roaring Lion King slippers – fabulous, yes, but never worn
  • 1 cape
  • 1 top
  • 1 pair of glow in the dark Disney boxer shorts (never worn with the tag to prove it)
  • 1 pair of pjs

Items Tossed

  • 53 orphan socks.  I finally realized, that they are never going to be found and it was time to give up the dream of reuniting them with their lonely mates and stop the clutter that this huge pile of singles was creating
  • 7 pairs of socks – even though they were happily paired off, they were old and ugly and it was time to put them (and me) out of their misery
  • 1 pair of slippers – remember Isotoner slippers?  Well, neither do most people – it was time to say good bye
  • 2 camisoles – as loved as they were, they were faded and pilling which means saying adios!
  • 1 pair of pjs
  • 2 bras and 7 pairs of fine washables – enough said

That’s a lot of lonely socks!

I reached my goal of going through all of the clothes in my bedroom by the end of September.  Now comes the fun part – going though all of the other knick knacks, jewellery, papers, music, memories and who knows what else that is cluttering my apartment and my life.  That’s what’s going to take the remainder of the year.  Thanks Dr. Oz, for this project – it’s time consuming, but rewarding at the same time.  If it’s something that you have been putting off, I highly recommend it – it really has helped with stress.  It’s a mindless task, so in it’s own way, it’s meditative and it makes me feel, every week, like I’ve reached some self-imposed, yet attainable goal.

This week, my niece also celebrated her birthday.  It was so nice to get to celebrate with her on the actual day.  Watching her become an opinionated, ethical and hilarious adult has been one of my greatest joys.  She is really something else.  I’ve gushed about her before (the blog about her graduation), but I can’t say enough about her.  She’s talented (a great writer), has great beauty tips, is my IT support, my own private stand up comic – no one makes me laugh more and a great person to have around when I need a life check.  Telling me to stop humiliating myself over my fear and disgust of fruit flies is just one of her nuggets of wisdom.  Happy Birthday to you Jess, you are fabulous and I’m very proud to be your aunt.  I would have written an entire post about you, but I didn’t want you to think I was a total marshmallow.

Decluttering and time with family are two very healthy things that are Oz approved that you can do for yourself to make your life better and healthier.  I’ve had a little of both this week and I’m very grateful for that!


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Happy Birthday Bestie!


Bad pic of me, but the birthday girl looks fab, so I’m willing to make the sacrifice.

I met my “bestie” in a huge communal washroom at a campground in Germany.  It was one of those “If it’s Tuesday, it Must Be Belgium” Contiki Tours.  I was freshly washed after my first experience with a pay-as-you-go shower.  All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a girl with soapy hair, crazy patterned pants and foggy glasses popped out and asked me for change for the shower, much like a homeless person.  Her first impression of me, was that I was a bit of a princess – she met me after the death of my blowdryer – two weeks without one was almost devastating to me.  I wish I could say that I knew then and there, we’d be friends for more years than I can count, but it just wasn’t my first thought.  In fact, throughout the tour, we barely hung out.  I was too busy with people from Australia and places afar.  We did hang out on the last day, when many of the Canadians were going to be on the same flight.  I still have that picture from the London Dungeon. That was when I decided – why not hang out when we get home.  One night, not too long after, we went to a gross Chinese Buffet for dinner.  We talked all night and closed down the place.  That’s when I knew that eating at buffets was kind of sickening, but also that we would be long lasting friends.

Over the years, we’ve both changed a lot of things – jobs, opinions, other friends, but my bestie has been my constant.  We’ve watched ridiculous amounts of horror movies together – who doesn’t need a little “Saw” in their life, travelled to far flung destinations – California, Greece, Innisfil (ok maybe not that far) and Australia (really, really far).  We’ve stayed in grubby hostels, nice-ish hotels and we’ve always had a blast – although I can tell you, that I’ll never go to a campground again AND hostels are very much a thing of the past for me.  Whenever I’ve had one of my hare-brained ideas (let’s do a tour of a fire station) – I’ve always had a willing accomplice.  Nobody laughs with me (and at me) quite like she does.

It hasn’t all been fun and folly.  We’ve both had our ups and downs.  When I was going through a family illness, she was there for me every step of the way – supporting me when I’d call her crying (or more embarrassing – when it would happen in public), knowing when every appointment would be to see how things were going, being there when I needed to talk, but more importantly, just treating me like she always had which gave me a little bit of normal in a bad situation.  I know we’ve both been there for each other, as friend’s should, but I’ll never be able to thank her adequately for that.  When we talked briefly about it, she simply said, you have been there for me too.

There is a true comfort in having someone know you really well – and she does.  She’s the one who pointed out that I was Type A long before I came to terms with it myself.  She knows that I’m goal oriented.  She knows what I like and hate.  She is the most easy going person in the world.  The things that I most admire about her are that she is content with life, she doesn’t need a lot (and isn’t needy), and that she is simple.  Simple doesn’t mean that she isn’t brilliant and witty – we both point out spelling mistakes in each other’s texts and emails – it means that she can be happy just people watching on a bench at a park, she can enjoy a moment, she doesn’t complicate life more than it needs to be.  She just simply gets it which means that she has an insight that most people don’t – making her upper echelon in terms of smarts.  She is my all-purpose friend who I can do anything with and have a fabulous time.  She is like family to me and always will be.

Dr. Oz did say that gratitude is important – and today, I’m grateful to you, bestie, for always being that all-purpose friend.

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Never Can Say Goodbye – Except to These Things


Bye Bye shoes and other assorted goodies…

It’s never easy to say goodbye to a beloved friend or family member, but letting go of things is surprisingly easy for me.  I’ve kept a promise to myself to get rid of clothing every weekend with the goal of being finished by the end of this month and I’m almost there.


Time to toss these items…

Here is my tally from the last two weeks:


  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 1 bathing suit cover up
  • 1 skort (not a typo – a fabulous combination of the best of both worlds for skirt loving short wearers)
  • 3 tops
  • 3 coats
  • 1 scarf
  • 6 purses (not a typo either)
  • TOTAL = 18 items!!!

Part 1 of the donation pile – I should have donated the Tigger purse a long time ago. I’ll miss it, of course, but maybe it’s time to make a toddler happy.


I hope that these coats help keep someone warm this fall!


  • 1 top
  • 1 t-shirt
  • 2 sports bras (I know – TMI)
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 baseball hat
  • 1 watch box
  • 1 egg cup
  • 1 camera case
  • 1 dreidel
  • TOTAL – 10 items
  • GRAND TOTAL – 28 more items out of my place

Time to toss…

You may have noticed some knick knacks creeping their way in…as I come across these items, I take a look and see if they make the cut.  Some of the items including the baseball cap are associated with fond memories.  I’ll always have the memory, but I no longer need tangible proof of it.  I never look at these items, so why keep them?  Yes, the Easter dinner that I was invited to many years ago was a lovely memory, but an egg cup isn’t needed to remind me of it.  Dr. Oz and his colleagues are right – decluttering your physical space is emotionally healthy.  There are, for sure, sentimental items that I will keep, but that’s because they are associated with a particular person or milestone, not just a distant memory.

If you have coats, particularly winter coats, now is a great time to donate them.  Many people can’t afford cold weather protection and would greatly appreciate your cast offs.  This brings me back to my usual moment of gratitude.  Today, I am grateful that I have the means to buy a winter coat when many other can’t afford one.

I’m back to being…

Gratefully yours,


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One Last Dose of Ingratitude

I never thought it would take 3 whole days to review my top things that I’m ungrateful for, but it does take some thought.  Here are my last 5 items:

21. I’m not grateful for wasps – the buzz-buzz kind that can sting you, not the politely clapping, handkerchief-carrying kind that can also sting you, just not in the same way

22.  I’m not grateful that every day feels like Groundhog Day – like I’m living the same one over and over again.

23.  I’m not grateful that my dear friend asked me if I was having a mid-life crisis when it’s perfectly obvious that I’m no- where near middle age.  Everyone knows that I’ll live to be at least 110, so I have more than a decade before I hit it.

24.  I’m not grateful that when I had to go to Shoppers Drug Mart yesterday, my friend got excited about their toilet paper prices, not their fabulous array of cosmetics.  Maybe I am middle-aged.

25. I’m not grateful that saying please and thank you has become a dying art, not the right thing to do.

I am grateful that I finally finished this list.  It’s difficult to think of all of things wrong in the world when it’s apparent with the struggle that I had with this list, that there is a lot more that’s right.

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Even More Ingratitude

sad face

Bah humbug – here are more ways to be ungrateful – I have 15 more to get to you!

11. I’m not grateful for fruit flies – they gross me out, and they’ve been flying around the office like they own the place.

12.  I’m not grateful for the zit on my chin that’s the size of a satellite dish.

13.  I’m not grateful that I had a bad hair day.

14.  I’m not grateful for the screaming child on the elevator today.  Really kid, if you are going to bawl your eyes out because your hair looks bad, it’s not looking good for your being able to cope with what life is going to throw your way.  I know you are only 4, but toughen up.

15. I’m not grateful for days when the difference between joy and misery is weather a :05 second billboard ran in the right place in a show.  The joy of working in media.

16.  I’m not grateful for people who don’t say please and thank you.  It’s a courtesy that we should follow.

17.  I’m not grateful that I have to take my computer into the Future Shop because my Office 365 won’t load onto my computer.

18.  I’m not grateful that my left ankle is killing me, and I still have pain in my right heel and that I couldn’t wear my cute new boots today.

19.  I’m not grateful that it’s almost Friday, but I will be grateful when it’s Friday after 6.

20. I’m not grateful that my bills came in…

But I am grateful that I for to see my frousin – AK, and that he made me laugh.




For those of you that read my blog regularly, you know I try to end on a note of gratitude.  Dr. Oz likes us to be grateful saying that it’s good for your health.  I’ve seen quite a few “Five Days of Gratitude Challenges” on Facebook – it’s nice to see people think of all of the positives in their lives.  It’s uplifting, it’s wonderful, it’s…nauseating.  I’m having one of those months where the stars just don’t seem to be aligned, so I thought, why not embrace it and write down 25 things that I’m not grateful for.  I’d rather vent and call it like I see it, than try to be so FREAKING grateful for the fact that I’m living.  Yes, everyone is entitled to a day or two when they get to be a Debbie Downer and today’s the day for me.  Here are the first ten items on my list (more tomorrow):

  1. I’m not grateful that Joan Rivers is dead and that the idiot doctor took a selfie with her in the operating room.  She was the funniest person ever, and she had a lot of life left to live, and that, along with the dignity that she’s entitled to as a patient were taken away from her.
  2. I’m not grateful that Rob Ford has cancer, mostly because I feel too guilty to laugh at him anymore.
  3. I’m not grateful for fall.  Face it little Mary Sunshines, it doesn’t mean crisp beautiful days, it means it’s a short passage to bare trees and blustery winds.  Give me summer any day.
  4. I’m not grateful for the NFL regulations that cost me a Longchamp bag last fall (it didn’t meet their measurement requirements).  You may have taken my purse, BUT, you didn’t get to take my dignity.  Hey Steelers fans, I was going for the Baltimore Ravens anyway (not that I know anything about football). Is it wrong that I’m still holding a grudge?
  5. I’m not grateful that I forgot to watch my favourite show, “The Mindy Project” last night.  It was the season premiere and it’s the best half hour on TV!!!!  Please watch the show – I’ll be totally ungrateful if it gets cancelled.
  6. I’m not grateful for the homeless man who was totally ungrateful himself.  I left work this evening after a very long day.  A man stopped me saying that he needed a meal.  I was feeling weak, so I said, can I buy you a hot dog (it was right next to us).  He said he wanted healthy staples – ok, well, I like to eat the Dr. Oz way when I can too, so I fished a toonie (a two dollar coin) out of my wallet.  He looked at me in disgust and said, I need at least $4.50.  I said this isn’t a negotiation and I needed the money for parking.  Not only did my good deed go unpunished, but a homeless man made me feel like a cheapskate, made me lie and told me how much money to give him.  I know Pollyana, I’m lucky to have a job and the means to give away money.  Today, I didn’t feel like being grateful.
  7. I’m not grateful for Twitter.  It’s where you put something out there hoping that anyone, anywhere will answer you.  It’s kind of dumb, but you can follow me @jillschnei anyway : )
  8. I’m not grateful when I lose a Twitter follower – it’s like a tiny death every time I lose one, even though I have no clue who most of my followers are.
  9. I’m not grateful for people who bring their breakfast sandwiches or scrambled eggs on the elevator at work in the morning.  The smell nauseates me and it doesn’t make for a great start to the day.
  10. I’m not grateful for early morning meetings or calls – they suck.  Yes, I know, be grateful that I have a job.  I’ll get right on that when my alarm goes off at 5:40 tomorrow morning.

Today, I’m grateful that you read this list – and I’m hoping that you’ll tell me a few things that you aren’t grateful for!


I’ve Avoided It Long Enough…


Hiking to a glacier in Norway.

I have a love hate relationship with exercise.  Some of it, I love!  I also love the way that I feel after I finish.  I HATE the guilt that I feel when I don’t want to exercise, having to get there and even thinking about it.  I tried to avoid writing about physical activity, alas, it’s part of the theme for this month.  I’ve avoided it long enough.

I am one of those annoying people that will try anything once unless I’m so totally freaked out by it that the stress on my heart would be too much for me to take.  Basically, we’ll say anything having to do with getting on a bike is not going to happen for me (unless it doesn’t move) or anything else where the threat of injury is too great.  Here’s a quick peak at just a few things I’ve tried and my yay or nay to them:

  • Indoor Rock Climbing – Nay.  It smelled like the inside of a jock strap (don’t ask me how I know this) and I got stuck in a group where one of the girls kept crying that she was scared, so she got the easier part of the wall.  My friend and I were put on a more advanced wall even though we were newbies too.  I was too short to reach most of the rocks and it just wasn’t the most fun thing I’ve ever done.  I may try it one more time, but I’d really need to be persuaded.
  • Kangoo – Yay and Nay.  If you haven’t heard of Kangoo, it’s a high-energy, interval work out.  You get to wear these fabulous boots with “bouncers” on the bottom.  You jump through an entire work out to really fun music.  You get very dew-y (my lady-like way of saying you sweat like a beast) and it’s a lot of fun.  It does, however, take a lot of practice and it was really hard for me to master.
  • Zumba – YAY!!! – I love Zumba.  It’s a really fun workout.  If you love to dance, you’ll love Zumba.  You get very dew-y, but you feel great after.  If you ever do decide to try it, you are constantly moving and it does require some form of coordination.  The first time I tried it, I never thought I’d get the hang of it, but I did it regularly for a year, and after about three sessions, I felt like I could follow along.  The place I went to closed, and I have been looking for the better part of a year and a half for a place that’s close to me.  I’ve finally found it so I may take it up again.  WARNING – the “warm up” isn’t a gentle way to ease you into the class – it’s more like “on your mark…get set…and go”.  Find a place with air conditioning.  I tried it again just a few weeks ago, and as much fun as it was, the lack of air conditioning was unbearable, and I’m a person who is almost always cold.
  • Spinning – Yay and Nay.  I like it but am not in love with it.  The pain in my tush was a bit unbearable and I had pins and needles in places that shouldn’t have them.  I’ve done it twice in my life, and would do it again…with some encouragement.
  • Hiking – Yay and Nay.  I thought I hated hiking.  After my daily 5 mile hike at the Biggest Loser Resort in Malibu, I thought I’d never willingly try it in the history of my life.  OOOPS I Did it Again in Norway and I LOVED it.  I also think I secretly liked it in Malibu too…but I can’t see doing it in Toronto.  It’s something I’ll do on holidays when I can see things like glaciers, whales, amazing vistas…
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    I hiked up this hill after an hour of walking on the beach – it was painful, but really gorgeous.

    I’ve saved the very best for last.  I’ve always loved dance and have belly danced for 10 years.  It’s a huge YAY for me and as soon as my foot heals, I’m looking for a class.  If you’ve never tried it – it’s fun and therapeutic.  It’s the one workout/hobby that I’ve ever done where I could actually turn my brain off and just focus on what I was doing in the moment.  I miss it.

According to Dr. Oz’s partner in the “You” books and Sharecare, Dr. Michael Roizen, the optimal amount of cardio is 30 minutes of walking daily and 60 minutes of sweating per week (a high intensity work out).  I definitely walk at least 30 minutes    a day, but I do need to start doing more intense cardio again – both for my physical health and to de-stress.  I’m getting into the habit of living to work again, and I need to find a way and reason to leave at a reasonable time at least twice a week.  I already go to a trainer once a week – I need to make an appointment with myself to leave another day a week and get on the Oz approved elliptical.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Today, I’m grateful for knowing how to take a day for me when I need to.  It took me years to figure out that I need this every once in awhile.