Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One

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The Stress of Blogging…And Other Stuff

I don’t think that blogging is all that stressful. In fact, I enjoy writing my blog.  I rarely get writer’s block.  Researching, checking out videos and other Oz-worthy information is a little stressful though, but not enough to add to inflammation in my potentially riddled body.  The only real stress is finding the time to blog…and the lack of really great recent Gwyneth Paltrow quotes.  I do have faith though, that I will always find the time to write and that Gwynnie will say something really dumb….soon.  I have to give her props for the Jailbird Cake in response to Martha Stewart’s own nastiness – there is nothing more stinging than a WASP feud (pun intended).  Check out the linkhttp://goop.com/recipes/sweets/jailbird-cake.  I personally will not be making this cake – it calls for a mix master and I don’t own one.  I’ve been banned from using the mixer at my mother’s house ever since the gingerbread man incident of 2008.  Talk about stress!  It was my first time using a mix master since I was a wee one and it was a bit of a disaster that resulted in a set of broken beaters and a warning never to touch my mother’s kitchen equipment again.  Since then, she has relented and lets me use the kettle and the dishwasher.  I’ve also been upgraded to stove top usage since I’m the only person in the family who can make a good pot of rice, but every time I even think about getting close the the mecca that is the mixer, I’m given a stern warning that it has to last the rest of my mother’s life and that she is down to her last set of beaters thanks to me.  OOOPS….sorry!

Getting back to the stress of blogging, most days, I barely have time to answer my work emails.  I’ve stopped answering most emails from friends just due to lack of time – sorry friends!  I still do get joy from writing my little blog so I do try to make an effort where I can.  Bizarre fact – last week, when I blogged just once, I had more views than almost any other week.  Another interesting fact if you do blog, and I’m not sure that this happens to everyone – I get WAAAAYYYY more views on weekdays than on weekends which is the best time for me to write.  Lesson – just get it over with during the week and party on during the weekends.  When I write about travel, I also get more followers…interesting….I love travel and could write about it every single day.

In terms of stress relief, my daily Deepak Chopra/Oprah 21 Day Meditation Experience is going off just as expected – I listen raptly as DOprah speaks and as soon as it’s time to meditate, I lose it.  Fortunately, Deepak always assures me that the goal isn’t perfection.  I’m sad that it’s winding up but to tide me over, I’m reading Chopra’s “The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire”.  It makes me feel deep that I’m reading it!  It’s actually really well written – it’s all about the role of coincidence in your life.  Ever read the bore that is “The Celestine Prophecy”?  That book lost me after chapter one which was the only good chapter in the whole book.  It was all about coincidence (just that chapter) – I blocked out the rest of the book since it qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment.  Chopra’s book on the other hand, is all about coincidence – it’s the central theme – with some quantum physics to make you feel especially smart.  He explains everything so well, it doesn’t even lose me when he starts talking about molecules and atoms – check it out if you are interested in the topic.  You won’t be disappointed unless you only like horror and chick-lit – then you are out of luck.

Last but not least, a moment of gratitude.  Today I am grateful to my over 70 year old mother (I’m not going to share her full age – that’s a not very carefully guarded secret).  My poor little mother who has health issues of her own, got up and offered a heavily pregnant woman a seat on Toronto’s subway.  I sat comfortably watching this, thinking – YAY Mom!  Give up your seat instead of me…just kidding – I wasn’t even there.  I just can’t believe that people today let my mother give up her seat while they sat there.  It’s common courtesy to give up your seat for an elder, a pregnant woman, someone that is blind, uses a cane, is in a walker, etc.  I see people everyday pretend to be asleep or lost in their book so that they can stay comfy.  All I have to say is shame on you!  Let’s be a little kinder to one another, and offer someone who needs to rest a place to do it and not make someone who isn’t old at all (like my Mummy) but who may be more advanced in years than you, give up hers.

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Southern Fried and Dignified


As part of my plan to de-stress a bit, I went away to North Carolina to visit my good friend Claudette.  The Type A in me usually does my research on any destination that I go to.  This time, I decided to do no research.  I was simply putting my faith in a local who knew exactly what she was doing and I LOVED the experience.  Instead of doing every touristy thing out there, I got to experience Winston Salem and the surrounding counties the way they were meant to be seen – almost like a local.  I felt at one with the people in this lovely little place.  I think I was meant to live in the south.  I loved the pink cowboy hat I tried on, the hospitality, the fact that my hair was bigger and bouncier there and the fact that I felt really understood by the women there.  I was chatting with some people at a restaurant (they are so friendly there, which I love) – I told them about my HORRIBLE experience at a Pittsburgh Steelers game last year  when my Longchamps purse was cruelly (and unusually) taken from me and I was forced to put the contents of my bag in a hideous Steelers clear plastic bag and they were outraged.  I was told that no one takes a Southern Ladies’ pocketbook – nobody – I felt like I had come home.   If I have to beg, borrow or steal (not Steeler) –  no one will ever take my pocketbook again!


Dr. Oz has a black Labrador Retriever and has commented on the stress relief that pets provide.  My friend had a beautiful Golden Retriever/Labrador Retriever cross.  It was just the sweetest dog ever (aside from the dog that I grew up with) and having the chance to be around a dog for 3 days was also very soothing.  This dog loved attention, but was so gentle.  He was an 80 pound marshmallow.


It was also nice to go to a place where the pace was slower.  Just being able to stroll instead of rushing from place to place was nice.  The only complaints?  Hot tea is not a big deal there and I’m a tea drinker.  Sweet tea to me is just torture in a glass, I’m a British subject  and I need a steamy hot beverage.  It was also unseasonably cold, but you can’t control the weather.  It’s a small price to pay for the fabulous experience that I had.  Check out some of my favourite pics…


Old Salem


Old Salem


Chapel Hill (UNC)

So what am I grateful for?  That’s simple.  I’m grateful I got to see my friends – I even got to catch up with a friend from junior high who happened to live in a nearby town.  I was touched that she drove all the way out to see me.  I’m grateful that Claudette took us to such great places.  I’m grateful that I had a chance to spend time with such a special doggy and I’m grateful that I had a chance to get away from it all for a few days.

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Fly Away From Stress


Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got!  Takin’ a break from all your worries sure would help a lot…before I get sued by the writer of the theme song from “Cheers” I’ll stop and tell you I’m heading away on a little holiday. I’m going to North Carolina to visit some friends – can’t wait!!!  Before I get there, I have to deal with the stress that flying causes me.  I leave for the airport in 7.5 hours so, that’s stressful.  The fact that I’m packed and ready to go and my work is in ok shape relieves some stress.  I hate flying so that’s stressful.  I love seeing places that I’ve never seen before so that relieves some stress.  I hate the take off so that’s stressful…but I get to see friends that I rarely get to see…

As you can see, sometimes, there is balance in a stressful situation.  I’ve written about my fear of flying before, and it hasn’t gotten any better.  The option is not to travel at all and that’s not really an option for me.  The good news is that this time, I’ve had less time to fret and knowing that I have everything that I need to keep myself comfortable for the flights does make me feel marginally better.  Having a bit of time off of work is probably also very healthy – I think even the over-worked Dr. Oz would agree.

I think the life lesson that I’m trying to impart is that sometimes, you have to do things, even if it causes you stress…but if you are going to put yourself through that kind of torture – make sure that it’s for something that you love to do – that’s what makes it worth your while.  Today, I am grateful that I am able to take this trip.  I know people that let their fear of flying keep them grounded – I’m lucky that I’m not one of those people,  but I sympathize completely.

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The Stress of Tummy Trouble


Image courtesy of days days.deviantart.com

Nothing is worse than a tummy ache – that icky bloated feeling that we all get from time to time.  It can be soooo stressful especially when you look about 8 months pregnant and you have absolutely nothing due.    When I eat Oz-ily, which I have been for the most part (not perfect but close) this past week and a half, I feel much better.  I’ve written about this before, as much as it saddens me, bread can be painful for me.  Not bloat-y – it just seems to cause heart burn if I eat more than a slice or two a day.

Back to bloating though for a minute or two.  This morning, I watched a recent episode of Dr. Oz where he covered this painful topic.  A simple test to see if you are bloated, or if it’s just fat is as simple as slipping into your jeans in the morning, then again at night.  If they don’t fit in the morning, sorry, it’s fat, or you are an optimist and bought the pair of jeans that you’d like to fit into.  If the same pair that fit you in the morning, doesn’t fit later in the day, it’s the dreaded bloat.  I eat a lot of vegetables, chick peas and black beans and they cause no bloat.  It’s when I eat bread or pasta or cheese that things go awry.  Again, the better I eat, the less this seems to be a problem.  Apparently, women have curvier colons than men, and this leads to some bloating.

Here are some things that Dr. Oz and his expert sited as bloat inducing:

  • Chewing gum – apparently this can make you go up two dress sizes
  • Talking on the phone – ha – what a gas – what’s a girl to do?
  • Sports drinks – um – who actually likes these?  You can have my share

With every problem comes a solution and here’s what the good Dr. recommends:

  • Chewable ginger – well, if it helps with nausea, it may be worthwhile – I get car sick constantly
  • Fennel seeds – cheap and portable!
  • Drink water instead of juice or sports drinks – done!  I don’t drink either.  They also suggest coconut water but I find it tastes like moody socks but if you enjoy that taste, please feel free to enjoy bloat free!  I did notice that when I gave up Diet Coke that I was much less bloated.  TMI – but I barely burp now – drinking water is so much less entertaining!
  • Eat earlier – have a big breakfast, big lunch and a small dinner since your digestive tract is supposed to stall when it gets dark.  It actually does make you feel better.

Really, the best thing that I’ve tried is to limit bread.  I don’t have celiac disease, and I don’t think I’m gluten intolerant, but there is no doubt that at the very least, eating bread causes me to have heart burn and it’s very unpleasant.  I haven’t had any in 8 days, and I’ve been following the Dr. Oz plan for 8 days – what does that tell you?

I know that this is an odd place to stop, and reflect on the things that I am grateful for today, but what else can I say about the stress of bloat?  Today is Remembrance Day in Canada.  It is a time to honour the people that fought in the various wars that Canada participated in, most particularly World War 1 and World War 2.  Today, I am very grateful to soldiers that laid down their lives for Canada and for the fact that I live in a country that continues to honour our veterans.

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A Good Friend – The Ultimate Stress Relief


I was speaking with a friend at work the other day about an issue that he has with his once closest friend.  Instead of interrupting (I’m a girl, it’s what we do best), I let him finish his story from start to finish with the odd nod, a few ohs so that he knew that I was listening and wasn’t dead, and a couple of I sees.  He was friends with someone that he met in his late teens for twenty odd years.  The best of friends, they had so many amazing times together – he was the best man at his friend’s wedding, helped him through the hardest of times and then poof, it was all over.  He barely hears from his friend and when he does, it’s really superficial.  I had to adjust myself to the fact that he wanted a deeper conversation with his friend.  Sorry – sexist I know, and I also had to stop myself from referring him to my blog to read “A Reason, A Season, A Lifetime”.  This guy wasn’t going to have any part of that, and it felt self-serving, so I kept it simple.  I said, “Wow that sucks” – he said “Yup”.  Then, and only after, he gave me the impression that he was looking for more, did I give him a piece of my mind – in four sentences or less.  I basically asked if he misses his friend – he does…if he can get past his disappointment – he thinks he can and why does he want this friendship – it feels like a comfy shoe when it works.  He is going to give it one kick at the can and see if he can talk to his friend.  I’m pretty proud of his for reaching out.  It’s the hardest thing to do.

It reminded me that I owe my own friend Babs a little blog mention.  Yes, friendship can be stressful, because people can disappoint,  but sometimes, when you know someone as long as I’ve known Babs, you get to a place in your life where you can just laugh at everything.  For example, work has been causing me a little stress lately, but Babs gave me an excuse to leave early (meaning 6pm) by asking me to a play that she got free tickets to.  We had some much fun chatting before the play started, I almost didn’t want to watch it, but no two people in the world are a cultured as this Torontonian (via Montreal and Cape Breton) and the true Cape Bretoner that I was sitting beside.  The play started and I knew, from the first line, that it was going to suck.  I was right!  The only entertainment that I had for that long hour and a half before the intermission was looking around at the sleeping people around me and looking at Babs and cracking up.  I laughed, not at the play, but because we were thinking the same thing – let’s leave at the intermission.  Sometimes, the best part of friendship are the words that you don’t have to use.

My next moment of de-stressing this week, was today.  I went to my former dance teacher’s for lunch and saw some ladies that I used to dance with.  It was so nice catching up with people that I don’t see nearly enough.  It wasn’t just talking about our history – what’s the most enjoyable was hearing what is going on in people’s lives right now.  For me, the added bonus, is that my former dance teacher knows me in a way that can only happen when you see someone three times a week, almost every week for almost ten years.  It was also a nice reminder of some of the best times of my life.

Last, but not least, my conversation with the friend at work reminded me of a friend that is like an old comfortable shoe.  She is much older than me (7 whole months – hey, in dog year’s it’s 49 months) but I still like hanging out with her.  Sometimes, having someone know you so well, that they know when you’ve been politically correct in your blog is a stress relief.  It’s always nice when someone knows you so well, that they catch the smallest nuance, even when they aren’t speaking to you and for that, and all of the stress relief that she and the other friends that I’ve listed today have provided, I am…

Gratefully yours,


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Just A Little Post…

Wanna hear something funny?   Remember, this is rhetorical and I’m going to answer whether you like it or not – so stop reading if you don’t want to know…

Still with me?  It’s Stress Awareness Day – for real!  I saw it on Huffington Post!  How is that for picking a timely topic?

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The Stress Questionnaire


If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ve seen this diagram before.  It’s all about inflammation.  One of the root causes of inflammation is stress.  I stumbled across a little something on doctoroz.com – it’s a stress checklist so that you can see what the major causes of stress in your life are.  There are about 40+ items – http://www.doctoroz.com/article/stress-questionnaire – try the test yourself to see what’s inflaming you!  Here are my items:

  • Change in health of an immediate family member – always stressful
  • Work more than 40+ hours in a week – some weeks it’s 60+
  • Business or work role change – my role has been changing since April of this year
  • Sleep less than 8 hours – the quality of my sleep has increased, but the quantity has stayed between 5-6 hours – somedays it’s close to 6.5 but no where near the perfection of 8 hours
  • Change in responsibilities at work
  • Vacation – I love travel, but I guess getting ready to go away can be stressful and my next vacation is coming up quickly
  • Change in personal habits (diet, exercise, etc.) – I’m always trying something a little different with this blog and I’m doing the Dr. Oz 2 Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan again more to help myself feel better
  • Change in work hours or conditions
  • Presently pre-menstrual – I know TMI – but it’s a fact of life.  Yes, once a month, I like many women are aware that the whole world is out to get me

Nine out of about 44  – not terrible…but it is evident to me, that work causes the majority of my stress.  Some of the stress factors will be eliminated as time goes on.  Some, I’ll have to learn to cope with. Getting better sleep and more of it, has to continue to be a priority.  I’m not giving up travel though, just because it causes a little bit of stress.  It’s my top favourite thing!

One thing that has alleviated some stress has been my decluttering project.  This week, I began the process of Kijiji-ing/Craigslisting some of my items and I’ve sold a purse today.  So far, I’ve posted 6 items, and as I sell one, I’ll post more.  I’ve also started another pile of things to throw away.  Seeing my progress has been very satisfying, but I can’t wait to finish this little project even though I still have a lot of things left to do.

Today, I’m grateful for the stress questionnaire.  It’s a good little check list to see where your stress lives and it will help me address my own issues and for that, I’m…

Gratefully yours,


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Stupid Stress Followed By Calm and Serenity


Doesn’t this look serene? I took this in Norway…

Remember the book  “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff?  It made me sweat the small stuff…a lot…Why you ask?  Or you don’t, but I’m going to answer anyway – because I am the type of person who can cope with pressure when it’s big but when it’s small, that’s when I start feeling stress.  Everyone copes differently, so here is my top ten list of REALLY STUPID THINGS that cause me stress and how I’m going to cope with them:

  1. Sitting on a seat that’s really warm on the subway – and I mean really warm.  I’ll cope by reminding myself that people spend thousands of dollars to put bum warmers in their cars and this is a special gift for me to get it for free.  I’ll also tell myself (in my inside voice) that it wasn’t a smelly person who sat there before me and they definitely didn’t have bum sweat.
  2. Getting stuck on the subway.  I can’t really do anything about it – it’s beyond my control, so I’ll do what I always do, pull out my book and enjoy the mini-break from work.
  3. The fact that the best show on TV, “The Mindy Project”, may face cancellation.  I’ve already told everyone I know to watch the show, I blog about it and bring it up in casual conversation where I can.  There really is nothing else that I can do but wait for the ax to fall and enjoy it while it lasts.
  4. Winter in general and being cold in particular.  It’s going to happen, whether I like it or not.  I have a really warm jacket and dress for the weather, so I’ll have to just accept it.  I also have to accept that it’s November, and all hopes of 20+ degree weather are gone.
  5. Cooking.  Although I am much better than I used to be having mastered the art of the stir fry and a couple of pasta dishes that I don’t really eat anymore, I have to stop getting intimidated by fancy terms.  By the way – did you know that “reserve” means to set aside?  I bet everyone knew that but me – you are all so much smarter, better people and much wiser!  There I go stressing again.
  6. The fact that there are at least 14 country songs that I know and like (mostly Lady Antebellum.  It doesn’t make me a Hee Haw Honey – it makes me open minded when it comes to music.  Just don’t tell anyone that I like it – ok?
  7. My fear of bugs.  I’m never going to deal with it, so I just embrace the fear and enjoy the entertainment it provides to people.
  8. The fact that Google can track my every move online.  I’ve just come to accept it.  Facebook does the same thing.  I always wonder how The Huffington Post always posts doggie pics and deeply touching animal stories on my newsfeed – well, I get it now.
  9. The fact that every day, I gain and lost almost an equal number of Twitter followers.  I don’t love Twitter anyway – somehow, I’ll cope.
  10. All of the things that I have to do in life.  I still have half a lifetime to finish them – so maybe I should just stop stressing?

So, what am I doing this month to help ease the stress of these and other pressures?  I’ve signed up for another Deepk Chopra/Oprah 21 Day Meditation Experience – it’s free so try it yourself https://chopracentermeditation.com.  Dr. Oz is a big believer in meditation which I may have mentioned about 21 times!  I’m also going to scour his website to find other solutions to de-stress myself and embrace a semi-relaxed new me (likely not going to happen, but worth a try).

Today, I’m grateful for November – I’ve never loved October and am so happy to see a new page on the calendar.