Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One

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Happy Birthday to Kiwi’s Mom


Today is my frousin GK’s (also known as Kiwi’s Mom) Birthday.  Some people may think that aging is for the BIRDS, but not my frousin.  Mysteriously (yours), she thinks that birthdays are a time to SHAKE YOUR TAIL FEATHER.  Well, GK TOUCAN play at that game.  I know, you are all thinking, am I HERON her right, or is this blog filled with bird puns.  Yes, it is, because my frousin loves birds, none more than Kiwi, her little budgie who I affectionately call “50 Shades of Green”, so this is my tribute to you!

It gets HAWKWARD sometimes telling someone how glad you are that they moved to Toronto.  I know it can feel like a BIRDEN to be away from your roost, but you’ve adapted so well!  We’ve all tried to PIGEON and help you get to know the big city, but you’ve managed to do so well on your own, flying here and there without any help from anyone.  You’ve found a lovely NEST to call your own and made it such a precious little palace.  You find fun things to do, and even though you are always out and about, you manage to SPARROW some time for your frousins.  We always have a h-OWL with you!  You are so much fun to be around and a delightful shopper as well.  I never realized how much there was to DODO in TO until you FLEW here and reminded me.

You are always so caring and so PHEASANT to be around and the closeness and respect that you have for your parents is so nice to see!  You enjoy your family and you don’t take them for granted.  You’d share your last worm with them, even AK who is ever so slowly, learning to share.  Sorry AK – not trying to RUFFLE YOUR FEATHERS, just tweeting you, I mean teasing!  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say how much I can admire someone who has made so many life changes in such a short period of time.  You are no CHICKEN – you are brave and capable!  You had to give up FLYING SOUTH FOR THE WINTER (ok, 3 weeks in January) but you’ve really made an amazing life for yourself here.  You’ve been everywhere from FINCH to King Street and back again!  Remember, you aren’t ROBIN anyone, so just enjoy and be happy.  I know winter can be FOWL, but we still have a lot of fun planned.  I promise we won’t ever have to FLY THE COOP at another concert after listening to “Isn’t She DOVE-ly” ever again! Just stay healthy and don’t get the BIRD FLU, but if you do, CHICKEN soup should do the trick.

GK – I hope that you enjoyed this little tribute to you and birds that you love so much!  I WAS JUST WINGING IT!  I could continue RAVEN about you, but that would take all NIGHT-INGGALE.  In case you weren’t HERON me (yes, I know I already used that bird, but sometimes you have to PARROT yourself), today, I’m grateful for GK, the BIRD-day girl : )

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It’s Snot Fair


Image courtesy of rhymes.yakaberry.com

We all hate being sick and I’m feel rather babyish right now.  I’ve tried everything to get the sleep that I need to get rid of this nasty virus that I have but to no avail!  I toss and turn all night, coughing and sneezing.  My sinuses feel like they are about to explode.  My lungs feel raw – like someone sanded them down with an emery board.  My nose is beyond red – in fact, I think the skin is falling off.  My eyes are small are weepy.  Ok – they are always small and weepy, but still!  I’m just an ugly sick person.  I’ve gone on about this before, but this time, I look even worse!  I look like I have two black eyes and I can’t even blame it on Jian Ghomeshi – sorry – too soon for that one?  It’s all just snot fair!

Today, in keeping with trying natural remedies, I not only bought RICOLA (image me in my newly raspy voice yodelling this) but I remembered that I also have a nasal irrigation system!  Pretty hot huh?  I bought this last year on the advice of two of my work friends and it really helped with last year’s cold.  I used it tonight.  Don’t be afraid to try it, but read the directions and follow them exactly and for heaven’s sake, speak to a pharmacist just to make sure it won’t cause you any problems.  You have to use distilled water.  It was the first time I ever sought out Dasani water, I’ll tell you that.  You basically squirt half a bottle of liquid up one nostril, then do the same to the other.  I’m not going to lie – it feels like you jumped into a pool without plugging your nose, and it’s a little weird, but it worked for me last year.  So far…there is just a teeny little difference, but I’ve only done it one time.  Here is a more professional definition of this sexy little cold remedy from Dr. Oz’s Sharecare.com:

“Nasal irrigation is a technique some people use to help with chronic sinus or allergy problems. Essentially, it is a process using a saltwater solution to flush out the nostrils (or nasal cavities). There are several products used to do this, the most basic including bulb syringe, squeeze bottle or neti pot. The fluid flows into one nasal cavity through to the other nostril. The idea behind nasal irrigation is to help thin out any mucous and debris in the nose and help the nasal cilia (tiny hair-like structures in the nose that defend against infectious materials) to work better. Overall, nasal irrigation has been shown to be an effective way to relieve sinus symptoms. It may be used instead of, or in addition to, other treatments such as antibiotics or nasal steroids.” (University of Nevada School of Medicine)

UGH – just hearing about nasal debris makes me shudder.  I’d rather do this though than take medicine that doesn’t work and I refuse to take antibiotics until further notice.  We become too reliant on them and you have to have a bacterial infection for them to be effective.  To get some sleep, I’m going to avoid cough syrup and stick with herbal tea and honey.  The honey does seem to help a little and according to doctoroz.com, it naturally suppresses coughs.  I also found the following information on the good Dr. – “One of the many soothing properties of raw honey is its ability to help provide sleep relief. Honey may help facilitate the action of tryptophan, which helps make people sleepy. Plus, if you are suffering from a cough that keeps you up at night, a teaspoon of honey could help soothe your throat while you sleep.”  It’s also supposed to boost immunity.  Wish me luck and even though I’m feeling miserable, I will very soon be healthy and…

Gratefully yours,


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…my throat that is from a really annoying cough and nasty cold.  It’s the kind that when you sneeze, it hurts your chest because it’s so strained from coughing so much.  So what natural treatments have I been using to treat this annoyance:

-I’ve been trying to sleep – it hasn’t worked, mostly because I’ve been coughing so much.  Last night, I slept for a grand total of 2 hours.  I had to get up to have some tea and honey.  I even stayed at home all day from work from my annual sick day – I’m one of those annoying keeners that has to be on their death bed to not go to work and today, I felt that way.  Plus I’m so hoarse talking is painful.

-Obviously tea and honey.  Honey is somewhat soothing, but I’ve had more honey in the last 3 days than I usually have in the course of a year.

-Water – I’ve been drinking as much as I can to help sooth my irritated throat.

-I turned my humidifier on and have had it going on all day.  I can’t sleep with it running – it’s too noisy.

-Echinacea – but I think I’ll stop for now.

-Chicken soup – also soothing, but not a cure all.

So what do I think the magic cure is?  Time.  I know that we are all used to the quick fix, and I was trying everything that I can think of, but being smart, staying in and trying to drink a lot (not alcohol) and rest is really all we can do.  I am breaking down and taking cough medicine, mostly to get some rest.  Sorry – I was that I had better news for you and for me.  On a brighter note, I did manage to reach my goal of getting through the holidays and through my sisters’ birthdays with hardly a sneeze.  Now I must go and hack up a lung.  I still remain though, even through sickness,

Gratefully yours : )

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Humanity and Positivity


Today’s outpouring of support and humanity in Paris was truly one of the most inspiring things that I’ve ever seen.  People held pens in the air and signs that said “Je Suis Charlie, supporting the right to free speech and freedom of the press.  A Muslim woman held a sign that said “Je Suis Juif” and said she was doing so because hate is wrong and that the city must stand together.  World leaders linked hands and walked down the street showing no fear, but likely causing a security nightmare.  It actually brought tears to my eyes to see people, for one day, forget about hate, forget about ill feelings, forget about race and colour and religion and realize that “Nous Sommes Charlie” – we are all the same.  A few people should be called out for not showing up – our Canadian Prime Minister  and Barack Obama, you should have been there.  Not that either is reading my little blog, but I thought I’d put it out there.  The important people showed up though – the people of Paris, the most beautiful city in the world.  I’ve had the opportunity of travelling to the City of Light three times, and will go there again and I encourage you to go there too if you have the means and the interest.  Don’t be afraid to travel – that’s how you learn about other cultures and how we learn embrace differences.

I feel weird talking about myself on a day like today, but yesterday was a little positivity experiment for me.  I wasn’t allowed to complain once.  I may have slipped and said it was cold – but is that really a complaint or is it an observation?  It’s not hard to be positive on a Saturday when the stresses of commuting and work are almost non-existent and you get to hang out with some of your favourite people (more on that in my next blog).  I avoided the news at all costs, because other than today, there hasn’t been a lot to celebrate in the media.  It was a little harder than usual to not complain because I wasn’t feeling 100%, but it actually felt good to hold my tongue and to be more mindful about what real problems are.  It really made me think about what was truly worth complaining about and how many times a day that I’m tempted to whine.  I’ll be trying to have another complaint free day next Sunday – wish me luck.  Thanks to Dr. Oz and Deepak Chopra for also inspiring the experiment.

Today, it’s hard not to be grateful when you see something so positive come out of something so horrific, so today, I’m grateful to the people of France for standing together and showing the world the meaning of Liberté, Égalité et Fraternité.

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Bad People

care bear

Image courtesy of Google

Ever had one of those days?  You know the kind – when it feels like the world is out to get you? OR even when you look at the world and the sunny part of your disposition wants to think that the world is filled with good people, but the Grumpy Bear part of you knows that it’s really filled with BAD people?  Well, today Grumpy Bear got the better of me – it is one of those days.  All that I’ve done all day is deal with issues at work that are more political than real (not that I like to use this as a forum for venting about work).  I won’t get into detail, but suffice it to say, I understand that everyone is under pressure and that times are challenging, but why people can’t just try to work with some degree of respect and with the understanding that we are all in it together is beyond me.  It’s one of the few times that I’ve ever felt like crying because of work, but I just can’t give into that type of emotion, especially when I’m not PMSing.

Deepak and Dr. Oz would tell me to meditate, and I’m choosing to write (and vent instead).  Then, to make matters even worse, have you picked up a paper today or yesterday for that matter?  Freedom of expression was attacked with the shooting of 12 people at a satirist newspaper in Paris yesterday, then a couple of angry anti-Islamists decide that it’s ok to beat up a pregnant woman in retaliation?  Is that for real?  A man held up the drug store next to my work yesterday and he was shot trying to escape police, a mother just killed her children AND Kim Kardashian had to stay up all night with Kanye to review her wardrobe – will the tragedies ever stop?

It makes me feel like never reading a newspaper again. Why can’t we have a newspaper that only focuses on good news and positive thoughts?  Why can we use the news ever to inspire people who do good instead of glorifying those who don’t?  Why do we continue to build people up only to relish the moment when they are stripped down to what they really are – human?  Why do we always want to know more about the killers than to sympathize with the victims?  Why do we watch people going through untold tragedy and then make it worse by shoving a camera in their face and asking them how they are coping with the fact that their loved one died in a plane crash, was the victim of a heinous crime or just the sadly sick person who committed the crime themselves.  Every once in a while, it would be nice to give people their privacy but we live in a high consumption, social media driven world and that won’t happen.

Stress is one of the number one causes of disease and we constantly push people and ourselves to take on more instead of reaching out and helping someone take on less.  I wish the world could be a kinder, gentler place.  A place where people felt appreciated and valued.  Where good deeds were the lead stories in the news, not constant tragedies.  Where people were allowed to go to a party and act like a bit of a fool and not have to worry about it being posted on social media the next day.  A world where victims weren’t shamed, but lifted up and helped overcome their sadness.  Where bad people were punished, but maybe, just maybe given the chance to rehabilitate.  Where we respected the environment and the non-human creatures that are part of it.  Where no innocent child or animal was ever treated with cruelty or neglect.  It’s a nice thought…

I think I need a negativity break and I think Dr. Oz and Deepak Chopra would agree, so, for one day per week, for the next four weeks, I’m not going to say one negative thing.  I’m not going to complain about or criticize anything or anybody.  I’m not going to read the news on those particular days and I’m not going to go online (except to answer messages from friends).  Let’s see if taking a break from negativity will make things feel a bit more positive.  AND to all of the bad people out there – maybe you should join me – on second thought – only good people need apply : )  I’m picking Saturday as positivity day – how can a weekend day be bad?

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A Special Birthday Deserves a Second Blog


Maichie, it’s a special birthday – don’t worry – I’m not going to mention how special, but I thought you deserved another blog to celebrate the occasion.  Here are ten more things that I’m grateful to you for:

  1. When I was little, and our grandmother never sent me a birthday card, you sent one so that I wouldn’t be disappointed, and because I was always a little gullible, I thought that the two of you had the same handwriting,  Thanks for that – it was very thoughtful.
  2. I was deathly afraid of Frankenstein when I was a kid.  Up until the time I was 13, I used to think that he was coming over the hills of Cape Breton right to our house to find me.  I spent many a night sleeping on your floor – thank you for not making me feel like a baby.
  3. You are a master when it comes to killing bugs.  No matter how big, or juicy – nothing frightens you.  While I squeal and cry little a girl, you calmly pick up the offending creature with one-ply Kleenex and tell me that I’m an idiot.  Point well taken.  You were especially handy on a bus in Scotland, killing one fly after another with your bare hands while I covered my eyes and wished that I was somewhere else.
  4. When I had the flu a few years ago and was so cold that I couldn’t stop shaking, you covered me with extra blankets and heated up chicken soup for me.
  5. We’ve been through some challenges together Maichie – and sometimes, at the very worst of times, it’s nice to look at someone who knows what your going through and crack up because if we didn’t laugh, we’d cry.
  6. You try every year to get our mother to stop interrogating me about the gifts we buy her.  I always slip and she gets it out of me, and you always say that you are never telling me anything again.  The next year, we go through the same thing again.  Thanks for having faith in me, however undeserved it is.
  7. You are great to shop with – need an honest opinion – ask Maichie.  You’ve saved me from wearing colours that wash me out and for that, I’m grateful.  Plus, you tell me if something looks awful on me.
  8. You always try to take care of me from telling me the weather for the day (no matter how many times I tell you that I check it) to calling me if it’s slippery out and always checking if I need anything.  It’s like having another mother without the guilt trips (just kidding Mommy).
  9. You always try to be kind to the underdog – it shows a sensitivity to people and is a really nice trait.
  10. I know that if I ever needed it, you would give me the shirt off of your back.  If I’m ever in that position, just make sure it’s a tasteful black shirt with a minimum of bling.

Happy Birthday Maichie – I hope that you have a wonderful day and that this year brings you everything on your wish list and then some.

Love your baby sister

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You Say Good-Bye, I Say Hello!

Happy 2015 Everyone!

I just wasn’t ready to say good-bye yet, so you’ll have to put up with more of my Dr. Oz-ing.  It’s my blog’s one year anniversary and I’m going to have to change some things over time.  I have to make it look prettier, make the writing a little snappier and spare my Facebook friends by setting up a blog page on the social media giant rather than clogging their news feeds with my musings – stay tuned for that in the upcoming weeks.  I’ll also be interviewing people that inspire me, and hopefully you.  Lastly, I’m doing away with the monthly topics.  I found them too hard to stick too and sometimes, it just didn’t interest me by the end of the month or I wanted to explore the topic a little bit more but it didn’t fit the format.  Sometimes being a little more free flowing is better.

Since today is the first day of a brand new year, I thought it only fitting to do a little fun research.  Did you know that there are more than 1 billion search results for “New Year, New You” – you read that right.  Think about this for one minute – “New Year, New You” – is there anything truly wrong with the old you?  “You…Only Better” enjoys more than 682 million search results.  That tells me that no one is happy just being “YOU”!  Maybe if we stopped pressuring ourselves to magically change every January 1st, those dastardly New Year’s Resolutions could just change into small improvements that could lead to healthier, happier lives.  The reason why resolutions rarely work is because people get frustrated when they can’t achieve a goal immediately – that’s why gyms clear out January 31 and only those that are truly dedicated stick around.

Why not make small changes to your habits throughout the year to help you meet your own personal objectives?  Or even just make one or two resolutions that are achievable?  Losing weight isn’t truly an objective, sure it’s measurable but it’s not specific.  It becomes an end game for people and when it’s not coming off quickly, they give up.   Last year, when I decided to make 2014 the year of being healthier, I broke it down into components:

  • Get my blood work re-tested after my first physical since I was 21
  • Get annual mammograms which reminds me, I have to make an appointment for a physical
  • Be more mindful of my iron intake because after being tested, my iron levels were a 7 – normal is 70 – it’s way too low
  • Eat much less processed food – I can count on two hands the number of frozen dinners that I’ve had since March – they are way too high in sodium and shouldn’t have been part of my weekly diet
  • Eat more whole foods – this was pretty easy for me – I’m a vegetable lover
  • Keep up with my good habits like flossing every single day – it really makes a difference
  • Recognize that with the pursuit of good health, it’s not all or nothing, it’s a lifetime of forming good habits, and sometimes enjoying a few bad days here and there

Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but the end game is good health, not arbitrary numbers on a scale that can be pretty fickle.  We’ll see how everything goes after my annual physical.  I’ll keep you posted.

Today, I’m grateful that I decided to be very unproductive.  Every once in a while, it’s exactly what’s needed. New year, lazy you!