The "Whiz-ard" That Is Dr. Oz

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The Serenity of Unemployment

Serenity

Image courtesy of me and a trip to Norway

Last May, I had a conversation with a now former colleague that I’ve known for many years.  She put a bug in my ear about how much I would love a contract job, or just some needed time off.  We talked about it for quite awhile, and she made me think of the excitement of possibility.  I know that not having a job isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and it wasn’t something that I was sure about either, but as time went on, I became more emboldened and couldn’t get the idea out of my little head.  I’m not alone, but I worked very hard for so many years, the thought of taking some time away really sounded like a dream.  Some health issues with someone that I’m very close to also helped me see things  very differently.

You are not going to get any employer bashing here.  If you are reading this in your twenties or even early thirties, please take some very valuable advice from me,  every job has it’s ups and downs, but you should never be open about the downs or reveal anything confidential about the ups in social media or the blogosphere.  It’s not professional and it’s really not ethical unless you are a female Fox employee or work for United Airlines. For a very long time, I got to work with an amazing bunch of people, and for that, I will always be grateful.   There just comes a time in your life when you need a massive change and this is my time.  I need to find my next decade job, meaning that it will be long term in a company that I can grow with.  I’ve reached a place where I need to be a student rather than a teacher.  Learning is growing, and that can only come when you shake yourself out of your comfort zone.

In the last 6 weeks, I haven’t had a single moment of boredom.  Granted, I’ve been busy helping with a sick family member, which has taken up quite a bit of time, but I also made a conscious decision to say yes to everything, even if I wasn’t sure about it and to do things to better myself.  I’ve signed up for a digital marketing course to brush up on my skill set, agreed to volunteer for a marketing association and signed up for unlimited belly dance lessons and dance workshops so that I could get back to where I was eight years ago when I was part of a professional dance company.  I agreed to give a talk on social media and blogging at a local college’s marketing class.  I’ve met up with former colleagues and friends that I haven’t had the chance to spend anytime with over the past year.  I’ve said yes to every invitation that has come my way – there really is no excuse now for me to say no.  I’ve done some jobs around the house that I’ve been putting off – who really wants to clean venetian blinds slat by slat?  I’ve done stupid things that people have suggested so if you need someone to do that Flight Simulator or Edgewalk with, I’m your girl.  I’ve come up with theme days that I want to do once a week while I’m off that include but aren’t limited to:

  • Gift Card Day –  what better way to go on a shopping spree than to use up all of the gift cards that I haven’t touched!  My Master Card has points for a department store gift card in Canada, so I’ll cash those points in too.
  • Free Day – look up fun things to do that cost absolutely nothing.
  • TV Day –  a day to binge watch one show.
  • Magazine Day – you guessed it – read a bunch of magazines, all in one day.
  • Book Day – I signed up for a fifty book pledge this year, so I need to finish one book in a day.
  • Decluttering Day(s)- do I really need to explain this?
  • Kijiji Day – a day to photograph and post some of the things that I want to see if I can sell on Kijiji and other similar sites.
  • Neighbourhood Day(s) – every week, pick a neighbourhood in my city, either on my own or with friends and fall in love with Toronto all over again.
  • Culture Days – I’ll fall asleep if I go to multiple museums in one day, so I’ll spread this one out.  I went to see Strictly Ballroom this weekend with my sister and some friends – I’m counting that.  I’m going to see if I can convince someone to go to an art exhibit that’s in Toronto too.
  • Movie Day – I’ve never been to a movie by myself before, and I think it will be a good experience.  Once I’ve gone, I’ll come back and binge watch movies on Netflix or TMN.
  • Bad Job Day – doing all the ugly jobs and tedious errands that I need to do.
  • Spa Day – to recover from all of these brainiac ideas.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve felt more like myself than I have in a very long time.  I’ve started paying attention to my surroundings because I no longer have to have my face buried in my cell phone while I’m walking so that I can get one more email off of my plate.  I actually listen to the people that I’m with when I’m out instead of doing a mental to do list.  I’ve talked to strangers, got to pat some cute dogs on the subway and don’t fret while waiting in line, because I know that my turn will come.

I know that soon, I’ll have a new job  because that’s the way that life goes, but retirement practice has been fulfilling.  People may not be in the same headspace about this as me, and I totally respect that, but if you find yourself unemployed, whether it’s your choice or not, try to make the most out of the time.

 


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Happy New Year and Admitting Failure

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Yup, I’m a failure.  I failed at my year of challenges by not really doing any, and I failed in my reading challenge by only reading 22 of 35 books.  I can actually tell you why I didn’t finish this – it comes down to three books 1) Outlander – it was long (almost 1000 pages) and it took me 500 pages to get into it, 2) All the Light You Cannot See or as I like to call it All the Books I Didn’t Get to Read Because I Had to Finish This Dud.  I know a lot of pretentious people who are going to judge me for not liking this one, that’s OK, I don’t mind. 3) Wicked or as I call it Wickedly Boring – too long and only about 50 pages were at all enjoyable.  Here is where I netted out:

A book about an animal – Emory’s Gift (a lovely book)
A book based on a fairytale, myth or folklore – Wicked (ugh – see above)
A book based on people from a religious text
A book based on true events
A book considered a ‘classic’ – Oscar Wilde’s Plays
A book considered a ‘modern classic’ – A Thousand Splendid Suns (a truly splendid book)
A book from a series – Top Secret 21 (I read all of the Stephanie Plum books – hilarious and fun)
A book from one of the “Must Read” lists – When Breath Becomes Air (Unforgettable and deeply touching)
A book from Oprah’s book club
A book involving religion
A book involving royalty – a king, queen, prince, princess etc.
A book picked for you by someone else
A book published this year – London Belongs to Me (Memorable, fun and written by a fantastic person – please read this)
A book someone gave you – After You (Well written chick lit but not as good as Me Before You)
A book that a relative or friend loves
A book that everyone is talking about
A book that you can read in a day – Complete – If I Stay
A book that’s less than 300 pages long – Complete – Where She Went
A book with a cover that drew you in – Fear Dat (A must read if you are going to New Orleans)
A book with a creative title – Year of Yes (LOVE – check out my 2017 blog coming up tomorrow or Monday for more details)
A book with a short title – E2 (HOOEY)
A book with a title that describes your life – Rude Bitches Make Me Tired (they really do)
A book with a title that has more than five words – All the Light You Cannot See (See above)
A book written by a politician – Crippled America (in my defence, it was a gift and I was too embarrassed to return it to the bookstore)
A book you borrowed – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Amazing)
A book you could use as a doorstop (ie. 700+ pages) – Outlander (see above)
A book you own but haven’t read
A book you would normally read on holiday – Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married (not bad, but completely forgettable – I don’t remember anything from it)
A book you’re embarrassed to read in public – Coreygraphy (It’s Corey Feldman’s biography – need I say more?)
A book you’re excited about – The Rainbow Comes and Goes (Anderson Cooper – need I say more?????????)
A book you’ve always wanted to read but haven’t
A book you’ve been putting off reading
A classic children’s book – I Love You Forever (if you can read this without crying, you are dead inside)
A humorous book – Why Not Me? (Mindy Kaling is my spirit animal and home girl and this is a fantastic book)
A play by Shakespeare

The Type A in me says that I have to try for 35 books again, so I will.  I’m going to switch some of the categories up since I found some too similar.  Plus, I really want to get rid of more books!  I’ll update you on the challenge for 2017 when I figure out which categories to swap out.

2016 wasn’t all about failure, I did get to travel a lot which you’ll hear more about, I enjoyed my city a bit more and I did get a few things off of my bucket list.  It also had it’s challenges, and no, it’s not about Princess Leia, Prince and George Michael dying, although that’s very sad.  The one ability that I have is to know when to pull up my big girl pants and make a decision, even if it’s a tough one.  I think that sometimes knowing what path that you need to take is half the battle.  I was told that 2017 was going to be a year of change for me, and I welcome it!  I hope that you all have a Happy New Year’s Eve and challenge yourself in 2017.


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Satanic Starbucks and More Kon-fessions

starbucks

Image courtesy of starbucks.com

I know, I know, I’m late to the party, but I just wanted to add my thoughts to the recent craziness around Starbucks latest holiday design.  Umm…can we say, get a real problem?  There are people being starving all around the world, there’s homelessness, there are terrorist attacks, there are children being trafficked and abused (at least Jared the Subway guy is safely sandwiched away in prison) and animals being tortured or abandoned and there is Donald Trump!  The best that people can do is come together to protest that Starbucks didn’t put a snow flake – a sign of precipitation not Christianity – on it’s cups this year?  I would understand the upset if year after year they put the Nativity Scene on their cups – which to me, a Jewish person, is the true meaning of Christmas – but they don’t.  I looked back at designs of yesteryear and they included, but were not limited to snowflakes, reindeer, skating scenes, snowmen (or since we are politically correct snow people, snow women or snow people that may be transgendered) and a Christmas ornament.

I wish people a Merry Christmas or best wishes on whatever holiday they are celebrating (I’ve written about this before – remember my rant last year about calling a Christmas Tree just that?).  If I don’t know what religion they follow, it’s a generic happy holidays.  I believe that people should be able to celebrate whatever they want or not celebrate at all.  A coffee cup to me doesn’t signify anything other than a vessel for holding my tall, no foam, skinny vanilla latte (sometimes I ask for it extra hot, because I can).  If you followed the true meaning of the holidays then the people so up in arms over Starbucks would spend their $4 on a charity and put their money to better use.  If a red and green snowman less cup is your biggest problem, I’d gladly trade you – it’s been a rough year.

Now back to more Oz related pursuits AKA decluttering.  I’ve continued the KonMari method outlined in “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”.      I can see why she says it takes up to 6 months – it’s been a huge job.  In the last few weeks, I’ve had to go slightly outside of her order – I’m supposed to be working on papers – and moved to CDs, tapes, VHS tapes, DVDs, etc.  Worry not, I did still manage to get rid of a big bag of paper (shredded) and a small recycling bin of notebooks and other paper-like sundries,  but I still have a bit of ways to go on that project.  I did manage to get rid of the following:

  • 84 cassette tapes – who needs them?
  • 16 CDs – just the ones I never listen to – I haven’t digitized my other CDs yet – that may not happen for awhile
  • 3 old VHS movies – I’m going to try posted my Disney movies on Kijiji
  • Assorted knick knacks
  • More dishes

This week, I’m posted more stuff on Kijiji to see where I net out with the collectibles and I’m going to finish off my papers.  Next week, it’s skin cream (easy), make up and accessories.  I know – fun times – right?  I’ll keep you posted on my progress, but see below for the load from two weeks ago:

Value Village is now the proud owner of 5 more boxes from Casa Schneiderman.  In case you are getting sick of my decluttering posts, I know I am, tune in for an exclusive 3 part series with a Dietician.  You learn…actually, you’ll have to come back to read more…

 

 


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The Sadness of Soft Toys and The Royal Treatment at Value Village

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Decluttering means saying good-bye to old friends.  I’ll miss Melvin, Pookie and Pink Poodle, but every once you have to let go of something that you love to make room for more peace in your life.  Ok, that was me trying to be deep.  The truth is, Melvin’s sunglasses were falling off, Pookie doesn’t exist and Pink Poodle may be unimaginative, but I’m also the girl that gave her stuffed animals classic names like Teddy, Pink Bunny and Blue Bunny when I was growing up.  Nothing wrong with being literal.  The stuffed animals didn’t seem to mind.  Pink Poodle was given to me by one of my dearest friends to remind me of the time that I gave myself a really bad bang trim.  She also bought me a giggling, burping beanie baby that sounds vaguely like me.

It was more than time for me to give away my soft toys to a loving home.  It was also time to get rid of dishes that weren’t being used, glasses that were collecting dust and knick knacks that were more nicked than knacked.  Where did the 5 cases and one garbage bag of home clutter go?  Value Village.  I have to say – dropping my old dishes and toys off was an amazing experience – they treat you like royalty.  Just stop at the donation drop off entrance and out come a couple of big strong men to take a load off your hands.  All I did was point and I got to have everything carried away.  All of the proceeds from Value Village go to charity and they help keep your worn items out of landfills.  They even take orphan socks – who knew?  Check out https://www.valuevillage.com/donate/what-we-take to see what you can donate.  Best experience at a charity ever.

In addition to the 2 sets of dishes, dozen glasses, 16 stuffed animals, etc. that left my abode, I also noticed that my building was doing a hazardous waste drop off.  I scurried down with 5 cans of old paint.  Remember, as freeing as it is to declutter, you also should be environmentally responsible dear readers.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get this little project finished.  Next on the list is sorting papers and even I can’t make that task fun and interesting.  I may have to combine it with something a little more entertaining…maybe Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest health advice?  Stay tuned to find out more.


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KonFessions

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After reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and learning more about the KonMari method, I have dedicated the next few months to decluttering like I’ve never decluttered before.  Dr. Oz and Marie Kondo are both right – you feel less stress when you have fewer items clogging up your life (and surroundings).

As you can see from the above tower of clothing – this weekend, in between outings, I continued to work on my clothes.  I’m no longer a smugly mcsmuglord like I was last year.  I’ve had to stop saying look how much I’ve gotten rid of you peons and take a really hard took at what I was hanging onto – which Kondo forces you to do.  I had t-shirts from university – granted that was only a couple of years ago, because I’m so young, ok maybe more than a couple of years, but I never wanted to get did of them because they represented some of the best times of my life.  As I read the book, I became aware that even if the sweatshirt and t-shirts go, I’ll still remember everything.  That was also true for some t-shirts that I got on trips when I first started travelling.  I never wore the shirts, even when I was younger I knew that they were Glamour Fashion Don’ts, but I held onto them like a dutiful pack rat.  I’m happy to say they are all gone, along with a whole bunch of other clothes that fit into 4 garbage bags for donation and 1 for actual trash.  For those of you that are curious, and no judgment if you are, here is a tally of my dearly departed clothes:

  • 5 coats
  • 1 scarf
  • 2 pairs of gloves
  • 4 purses
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 pair of boots
  • 1 blouse
  • 1 dress
  • 1 shawl
  • 2 bodysuits
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 13 camis and tank tops
  • 9 pairs of socks
  • 26 sweaters
  • 22 tops
  • 21 t-shirts
  • 6 sweat shirts
  • 1 belly dancing belt

I didn’t talk to my clothes like Kondo suggests in her book, thanking them for their service.  I also played music which she doesn’t recommend.  I did enjoy the process and it’s nice being able to see my colour coded clothes (something that I’ve always done) – don’t laugh, it makes life easier.  I feel like my clothes can breathe, and that because they aren’t jammed together so tightly, maybe I won’t have pilling on my favourite sweaters.  A girl can dream right?  I probably didn’t get rid of enough to pare my wardrobe down to KonMari standards, but I’m very happy with what I kept and don’t miss a single item that I threw out or donated.

The next item on Kondo’s list, and I am going in order, is books.  I got rid of 29 books in total.  Konfession – I still had books from my PR days, a few other text books and a number of books that there was no hope that I’d ever read.  All text books are now disposed of – I realized that I thought, perhaps, that I may refer to them, and guess what?  They’ve never been opened – they sat on my shelf like sad orphans wishing that I’d sold them to another student.

BIG KONFESSION (spelling intended-it’s a play on KonMari)!  I finally realized that I wasn’t going to ever read “The English Patient”.  Bigger KONFESSION – I hated the movie.  I can admit it now, but way back when it came out, it was frowned upon to not rave about the snore-fest, I mean film.  So as a dutiful snob, I went out and bought the book thinking of how sophisticated I’d look reading the book as the weirdo next to me on the subway clips his nails (yes, it happens).  More books than I can write about are being donated to my condo’s library and Value Village.  I thank them for taking space up on my shelf, but now it’s time to set them free.  I feel very KonMari saying that.  See below for what is affectionately known as “the pile”.

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Until next time, happy decluttering!


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Driving Miss Daisy, KonMari and Other Things to be Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians!

This weekend was a very busy one with Frousin time, Family Thanksgiving on Sunday and Thanksgiving with friends that are like family today.  In between, I also had my fifth and sixth driving lessons and have started to take the advice of Marie Kondo – author of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”

Conquering fears, trying to de-stress and decluttering is really what my Dr. Oz journey has been about this year.  Driving is another fear that I am conquering – especially driving in a big city.  It’s an adjustment driving again, but every time I get behind the wheel, I feel a little less Miss Daisy, and a little more like I can do this – I can drive faster than 60 kilometres an hour!  I can do a 3-point turn!  I can drive without running anyone over!  I still have a ways to go and need a little more confidence – don’t we all – but I believe I’ll be ready for my road test in December.  Wish me luck – or wish yourselves luck if you happen to be a Toronto driver.

In addition to driving, I also have spent a good deal of time starting my next round of decluttering.  I know that I wrote many a post about this last year.  Like a Smugly McSmug Lady, I bragged about all of the things that I was getting rid of…then I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” and realized that my work has just begun.  The book divides your home into different categories (part of the KonMari method) and suggests that you tackle one category before you move on to another.  You don’t purge rooms – you purge categories.  I’ve started with tops, as Marie Kondo suggests starting with clothing and even tells you down to the item, what order you should do this in.  Some of her suggestions are hooey – I’m not going to say hi to my home or thank my clothes for serving me, but I do see her point about getting rid of things that you no longer love or have no use for.  I also understand her advice about getting rid of things that you may have an emotional attachment to  – the memory will still be there, but the item of clothing or knick knack no longer needs to take up space.  So far, I have a mouton of clothes, literally, that I’m either going to donate or toss.  It’s a lot more than I expected after last year…but it’s been cleansing in more ways than one.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress, with photos.  Dr. Oz will be very proud of me, and in a weird way, it is relaxing.

As it’s Thanksgiving, I should express some sort of gratitude…but I have to say, it’s been a bit of a challenge this year.  I’m always grateful for family and friends, but I think that right now, I’m the most thankful for the life lessons that I’ve learned this year.  Right now, the lesson that I’m learning is that it’s ok to get rid of possessions but it’s also ok to keep what you really love.  It doesn’t seem like a big deal, until you are in the process of it yourself.