The "Whiz-ard" That Is Dr. Oz

And Other Stories


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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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Barcelona for Dummies and Type As (Primera Parti)

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Some years ago, I’m not sure how many to be precise…scratch that – it was November 2012, so 3 years and 10 months and two days ago, I visited Barcelona for the first time.  It’s called Barcelona for Dummies and Type As people, and I’m no dummy.  I can’t forget a thing, but that’s a story for a different blog.  Anyway, back to Spain…so I visited this city, and fell in love with it’s unique combination of old and new and totally unexplainable.  This is a city that Gaudi helped to popularize, and you will never see anything as amazing as his architecture.   I want you, my furry friends, to love this city like I do, so I’m giving you all my best tips and tricks whether you have one day, or many!

Where to Stay:

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Image courtesy of hotelclaris.com

This time, I stayed at the very lovely Hotel Claris, conveniently located less than a block away from the tony Passeig de Gràcia area.  I always wanted to use the word tony in a sentence – thank you for making my dreams come true.  Anyway, this hotel is really well situated, it’s absolutely  beautiful and they have the best service of anywhere that I’ve ever been.  The Bell Hop doesn’t let you lift a finger and couldn’t be more helpful.  I needed a drug store and he practically walked me there.  The rooms had the fluffiest towels that I’ve ever experienced, and who doesn’t like a fluffy towel?  They had the best shower…ever…seriously…I never wanted to get out.  You had turndown service at night, and they left you with a fresh pair of slippers AND a chocolate on your pillow. The decor was fab and very modern.  I can’t recommend this place enough.  It wasn’t horrifyingly expensive either, but book in advance for the best prices (the executive room is probably your best bet).

Getting Around:

I can only speak for me, but the first time I went, we pretty much walked everywhere.  The one time we didn’t walk, we took a cab to the Miro museum.  I’m sure transit is easy, but remember, the best way to see a city is to walk, and walk and walk some more.  This time, we took a private tour which was great.  We got to see so much of the city and really got to understand the history of it.  A great option for tired and weary travellers is the trusty “Hop on Hop Off” tour.  The buses are everywhere and they’ll get you where you want to go.  They can also help you orient yourself in the city.

The Weather:

The first time that I went, it was in November, and it was still around 20 degrees celsius.  This summer, it was 28 degrees (celsius) during the day – more than pleasant.  If you are bringing your smart phone, download a weather app.

The People

The people are different than you expect.  They are polite and direct.  They never make you feel like they are in a rush, but there is an unusual efficiency there.

Wireless Connections

These were spotty at best.  The hotel wasn’t great for wireless connectivity, my suggest it to get yourself a decent data plan.  If you can’t roam like home, take a cyber break.

What to do:

Check back for everything that you need to do rumble down Las Ramblas in Barcelona!


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Satanic Starbucks and More Kon-fessions

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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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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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Organized Hair-iness

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Today is one of those days where I feel like covering two topics.  One is another episode in “Reformed Hoarders” and the next is something a little hairier.  Having gotten rid of reams of paper in my big office move inspired me to tackle some papers stored neatly in my room.  That was the job for today, along with my jewellery box and my hair doodle drawer.  I’m one of those sentimental people that likes to hold on to every card, note, and even test that I’ve ever gotten and today was about getting rid of some of those memories plus tossing a few other goodies here and there.

As I reviewed tests and essays from high school and university, I was struck by one thing – what was the purpose in holding on to these memories?  Was it so I could look back and feel smart – because I didn’t feel any smarter looking at them today.  Was it the fear that someone may ask me to trace the flow of blood through a frog’s circulatory system, because I haven’t been asked this question since Grade 12 Biology and somehow, I don’t think it’s going to be coming up again.  I’m probably not going to get many questions about my paper on the Political Economy of Canada either.  Like many other things, these all got tossed along with various versions of my resume (many that I was hanging on to were hopelessly out of date).  The picture just don’t do it justice – I easily got rid of about 500 sheets of paper (or more).  I did keep a few cherished assignments, but most didn’t make the cut.  Here is a quick list of a few other things that were tossed today:

  • 1 pair of pants
  • 2 bracelets (ugly and I’ve never worn them)
  • 1 watch – it was falling apart and there was no point in trying to donate it
  • 6 pairs of earrings – I never wear them or I get ear infections from them
  • 5 orphan earrings – much like my orphaned socks, their mates were never coming back and it was time to accept that
  • 1 box of candles – a thoughtful, yet really ugly gift that it was time to get rid of
  • hair elastics, clips and other hair accessories too numerous to count
  • 1 mirror
  • 1 bottle of dried up shoe polish

Again, it was all very cleansing and the extra room in my cupboard is also very nice.

Now on to a little fun Dr. Oz Test I tried.  It was to see how healthy my hair was.  It’s a simple test – you just pull about enough hair that would fit in a straw.  Start at the base and gently pull up and see what’s in your hand.  I had no hair come out and this is a good thing.  As we age, our bodies don’t produce hair as often, so you lose strands more often.  If you happen to do the test and say get three or more hairs, you are aging a little faster than you may want to.  Check out the video from doctoroz.com for more information – http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/could-antibiotics-meat-be-making-you-sick?video_id=3819362833001.  Being a bit obsessive about my hair, I did this test over and over again, and not one piece came out.  My next goal is to stop myself from repeating this test every single day.

This weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada and as always, I do have a lot to be grateful for.  Mostly I’m grateful for my family and friends.  I am also grateful to be learning a couple of important life lessons through this blog.  That memories can be captured in ways that don’t require physical proof and that throwing away a few papers isn’t going to diminish my good (or bad) memories.  It’s just going to create more space which will ultimately relieve stress and allow me to focus on the here and now.  If you aren’t living in the past, which I never do anyway, stop hanging onto things that aren’t even important reminders of it…those little words of wisdom exhausted me, so until tomorrow, I remain…

Gratefully yours,

Jill


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Movin’ On Up

I’m relocating desks this week – from the 7th floor to the 11th floor.  I’m happy that it’s 7/11 – just like the store…only different.  Like most people, moving desks can be a bit of a trial, especially when it’s ridiculously busy at work.  As mentioned, it’s back to living to work, instead of working to live.  I realized this week that part of the problem is really the number of meetings that I go to each and every day.  Tomorrow, I have 8 starting at 9am.  Yes, 8 and I have to try to get some work done in between.  Not that I’m complaining.  Ok – I am a little.

So what’s the upside of the busy week (weeks really) that I’ve been having?  I’ve taken my decluttering project on the road and as I’ve been packing boxes, I’ve been streamlining my work belongings, much like I’ve done with my closets at home.  So far, I’ve ridded myself of:

  • one pair of shoes that I leave at the office – it was time
  • 5 small recycling bins filled with files
  • Several magazines
  • Unlimited amounts of paper
  • Several posters (we give them out to agencies)
  • 3 notebooks filled with scribbles that I no longer refer to
  • Extreme Makeover Home Edition Keychains (again, agency giveaways).  The show has been off the air for years – what was I keeping them for?
  • An outdated free face cream that I never got around to taking home
  • A really ugly lunch bag that feels like diapers

I still have a two small drawers and one big box left, but it has been very cleansing.  I even threw out a few more things as I unpacked my boxes.  It’s really hard to count out the number of items, but lets just say, it would fill a big blue box of recycling.  It may have taken a forced move, but another area of my life is getting organized.  This is one of the best of my little Oz projects.  It’s really helped me evaluate and let go of things that once seemed important.

I won’t miss anything that I just threw out, but I will miss my little desk – I spent countless hours there.  As I packed today, I pondered the important questions that have been plaguing me – who am I?  Well, it’s on my name plate – Jill Schneiderman.  Where am I going in life?  I guess to my new floor.  Where do I belong?  See previous answer.  How did I get here?  On the subway – with the annoying humming passenger in the morning and the annoyingly loud women on the way back.    And here is the BIGGIE – why in the heck do I have 9 pairs of shoes at work?  SERIOUSLY –  I hardly put them on.  What a waste of space – they are staying there, but still…Tune in tomorrow for more of my deep thoughts…and I’ll still be…

Gratefully yours (especially since my eye didn’t twitch once today),

Jill


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A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

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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
  • TOTAL OF 7 ITEMS

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
  • TOTAL OF 73 ITEMS!
  • GRAND TOTAL – 80 ITEMS
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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!