Category Archives: Personal Life

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: What You Do When You’re Not Feeling Well

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

This week’s prompt didn’t specify what sort of illness we might have, so I’m going to assume it’s a contagious and common one like a cold or the flu that we’ve all experienced multiple times in life as opposed to diseases that only a small percentage of people have personal experience with.

These are the steps I tend to go through when I feel these sorts of viral illnesses sneaking up on me:

A thermometer and some pills lying on a white surface.

Step 1: Denial

No, of course I’m not sick! My sore throat and stuffy nose must be due to allergies of some sort even if it’s the middle of winter and everything here in Ontario is frozen solid.

This stage usually only lasts for a few hours or a day at most.

 

Step 2: Why? Sigh! 

Why did I have to get sick this week? Doesn’t my immune system know I have 1,043 things to do (or, even worse, that I was looking forward to a relaxing vacation)?

 

Step 3: Grudging Acceptance.

I suppose I will give in and accept my fate as germy sick person, but I do not agree to be cheerful about it. Harrumph.

 

Step 4: Naps and Soup

Schedule permitting, let’s squeeze in as many naps and bowls of warm, soothing soup as possible.

I almost never eat soup when I’m healthy, and of course I do eat other foods when I’m sick, too. There is something about soup that’s extra appealing when I’m sick, especially if it’s chicken noodle or a soft version of beef vegetable that’s friendly for a sore throat or upset stomach.

If my symptoms include a fever, this is when I start taking my temperature a few times of day and writing down the results.

 

Step 5: Ugh, This Cough Is Never Going to End

Is it pneumonia, consumption, or maybe even something worse?

I think I should spend inordinate amounts of time on WebMD looking up every symptom and seeing what the worst case scenario is for them just in case.

 

Step 6-9: Slightly Better, Slightly Worse 

Why am I coughing more today? Why am I coughing less today?

How soon can I exercise? How much can I exercise? What does the Internet say about how quickly I can go back to normal habits without risking the rare cases of heart damage that happen when people exercise too soon after a viral illness?

Shall I google it all a dozen different ways over the next couple of weeks until my cough disappears completely?

 

Step 10: I am Actually Well Again! 

I think this one is pretty self explanatory. There’s nothing like feeling like your old self again.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: A Unique Talent You Have

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

A sketch of a heart in an otherwise blank notebook Not everything in our world is poetic or beautiful by any means, but my unique talent is finding the poetry and beauty in situations that at first glance do not seem to have a silver lining in them at all.

I’ll give you all a few examples of what I mean.

Years ago, I needed to go through some medical tests for a potentially life-threatening health condition that I was ultimately found not to have. While the technician was performing the ultrasound and taking notes of what she was finding, I quietly came up with pleasant thoughts about how the thump of my heart on the monitor sounded like something you’d expect to hear in a submarine as it dove deep into the calm, blue sea.

When my spouse and I went through financial trouble many years ago and had no money to spare for frivolities of any sort, I made taking long walks my chief form of entertainment and imagined that all of the trees were whispering delicious forest secrets to each other as the humans passed by unobtrusively below. It was honestly just was much fun as going to the movies or buying junk food and other things we couldn’t afford!

More recently, there were some protests here in Toronto earlier this year that clogged up some of our most important streets in the hospital district of the city. I imagined the sound of their angry voices on megaphones and the incessant beeping of their vehicles passing down the street while on their way to their destination were a warning from some future version of Toronto where such things were now commonplace.

This isn’t to say that i ignore the very real troubles we all go through or expect other people to think about scary life events the same way I do by any means. I simply find it easier to deal with them if I can make up whimsical stories about them in my head once I’ve done everything I can to change the situation.

Why worry excessively if there’s truly nothing else you can do in the moment? I think it’s better to look for the good in those moments if you can.

 

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Something “Lucky” That Happened to You

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Toronto Ferry at Toronto island. The CN tower and the city landscape are in the backrground. It is a semi-cloudy summer day and the lake water is nice and placid.
Toronto Island and the Toronto Ferry with the city of Toronto in the distance.

About eight years ago, my spouse and I spent the day at Toronto Island with some relatives who were visiting from out of town.

If you’ve never been to Toronto Island, know that it’s a large public park  that also has other amenities like a petting zoo, beaches, restaurants, bike and boat rentals, and a small amusement park.

It’s the quintessential place to spend a day with your entire family when the weather is nice. There is something to do there for everyone no matter your age or interests.

After spending several happy hours exploring the island, we hopped on the ferry to back to the mainland. There were between 50 and 100 other people on the ferry, including infants, disabled people, and senior citizens.

The ferries here move quickly on the water to save time, and they only slow down right before they approach the dock.

For reasons I’ve never been able to ascertain, this ferry didn’t slow down. It slammed into the dock instead, sending multiple people crashing to the floor because they were either standing up at the time or weren’t physically strong enough to remain seated. One of the people who fell was my own father!

My mother, who was a nurse back then, immediately leapt up to see if anyone needed medical assistance. We feared the worst given how hard and abruptly the ferry slammed into the pier and how many people were onboard who could be at higher risk of being seriously hurt by falling.

Miraculously, no one needed first aid. A few people who fell might have woken up with a bruise or two the next morning, but that would have been the absolutely worst of it to the best of my knowledge. No one needed my mother’s help after all.

I was very lucky that day, and so was everyone else onboard.

(Yes, I have taken the ferry once or twice since then. Don’t let this story scare you off if you haven’t tried this form of transportation yet. It’s usually perfectly safe, and you get a marvellous view of the city during the ride as well).

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Something New You Learned Last Year

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Salted almonds in a white bowlClick here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Last year I learned some new tricks that helped me avoid fainting after receiving vaccinations. My body has never liked needles, so I have a long history of swooning like an nineteenth-century heiress whenever I need a blood test or an injection.

Honestly, swooning is only amusing in historical romance novels. In real life, it’s a little frightening and embarrassing, especially when you feel like it’s out of your control.

Here are the steps I took to avoid that fate this time around.

I can’t guarantee they will work for you or that they will work every time, but they’re certainly worth a shot (so to speak) if you’re also a fainter:

  • Have a snack and something to drink beforehand. If caffeine is something you imbibe, this will work even better. If you can’t or don’t drink caffeinated beverages, consider picking something a little sugary or salty if you can eat those things.
  • Ignore any embarrassment you might feel and talk openly about your history of fainting with the medical professional. They might have additional suggestions!
  • Lie down if at all possible. If you must sit, try to have a kind friend or relative standing nearby to catch you.
  • Relax all of the muscles in your arm (or whenever you’re about to feel the poke) to help reduce the pain.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply.
  • Focus your gaze on something in the opposite direction of the needle.
  • Clench your stomach muscles as the needle enters your arm.
  • Have another snack or drink as soon as you can after the procedure.

Basically, you want to be well-hydrated, relaxed, and distracted. The snack can help keep your blood sugar and blood pressure at steady, acceptable levels.  I suspect the stomach clenching idea works because it provides yet another distraction.

There’s something about the combination of all of these things that makes it easier to avoid passing out.

 

 

 

 

Search Engine Questions From 2021

Man looking quizzical as he holds a cup with a string attached to it up to his ear. Every year I take the last two weeks of December off from serious blogging to recharge. One of the lighthearted topics I write ahead of time and save for the end of the year is related to answering search engine questions.

The phrases and sentences in bold below are the most amusing and thought-provoking queries that have sent new readers to this site over the last year that didn’t quite warrant their own blog posts.

There are a few mild spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale, The Others, and The Little Stranger in this post, so reader beware. Oh, and this post will be a long one, so settle in for about two thousand words of frivolity.

 

Hope Santa brings you lots of presents

This one is about a week late, but I was pleased with my haul this year. It included the perfect amounts of chocolate, tea, and warm socks. Ha!

 

What does autumn taste like?

I think autumn tastes like candy corn, fresh breezes, fun-sized Halloween candy bars, apple cider, all of the produce that ripens then, and, if you catch any of the illnesses that are so easily passed around during cold and flu season, cough drops.

 

 If you liked the fall you will like….

I was going to say Halloween, but I know that not everyone loves that holiday the way I do.

I think people who like the fall might also like:

  • The mild, friendly temperatures of spring
  • Places on Earth that have mild temperatures in general like Vancouver or Seattle
  • Endings (since autumn happens at the end of the year)
  • Looking back at your accomplishments
  • Long, dark evenings
  • Rainy days

 

 

How much perfume is too much

Too much cologne

Strong, heavily-applied scents can make me wheeze and, even worse, trigger a migraine.

I hope that anyone who wears them remains mindful of how much they use and how their choices affect others. A little spritz or dab is plenty.

Ariana Grande spraying copious amounts of perfume on herself

 

Don’t brag about your morals.

Agreed. I’m always a little suspicious of people or organizations who loudly proclaim how moral and upstanding they are.

Shouldn’t that be self-evident through their actions? Why are they drawing attention to themselves Iike that? Are they trying to divert our attention away from something with all of this humble bragging?

 

Wholesome succubus

Someone needs to write a story about this immediately! I’d never think to put these two words together.

 

Man meditating while sitting on a blue yoga mat How long should I meditate each day?

My name is Lydia, and I might be the world’s worst meditator. That is to say, I only do it occasionally and generally not for more than 10-15 minutes.

How long you should meditate depends on your attention span. May it be better than mine in this scenario!

 

Does baby Angela die in The Handmaid’s Tale?

In the book, a medical professional discovered birth defects in baby Angela soon after she was born. She did not survive them, although it was never clear if the birth defects alone killed her or if someone helped that process along.

In the TV series, she was born healthy and has thrived so far.

 

Is voting worth it? 

Yes, I’d say that it is.

Voting is not a panacea or a quick fix, but it is one of the ways we can share our wishes with elected officials. I mean, would there really be so many attempts to suppress voting if it didn’t work?

 

A frothy pineapple drink in a pineapple. The pineapple is sitting on sand at a tropical beach. Fantasy winter holidays

Is this question asking what my fantasy winter vacation would be like? Is it asking which winter holidays I like? Or maybe it’s asking what the winter vacations and/or winter celebrations are like in fantasy worlds?

My fantasy winter vacation would involve bringing my side of the family to somewhere warm and tropical for a few weeks. I miss them terribly, and what better place to connect than on a beach or in a villa that has never so much as heard of words like freezing rain or blizzard?

I don’t really do traditional celebrations of any winter holidays, but I do like to take note of the Winter Solstice due to my Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s nice to know that more sunlight is on the way. I also enjoy things like eating feasts, baking cookies, and pretending that the socks and chocolates I gave to myself on Christmas morning came from Santa.

As far as winter vacations and celebrations in fantasy worlds go, it really depends on the fantasy world and when exactly you visit it. Narnia was a very different place when the White Witch made it perpetually winter there for a hundred years in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe than it was, say, when her spell began to break down and Father Christmas was finally allowed to visit once again.

 

The Little Stranger plot explained

An elegant, old mansion might be haunted by the malevolent ghost of a child who died from a disease that young infants are now routinely vaccinated against.

Then again, the people who live there might be imagining things and/or accidentally misinterpreting perfectly ordinary accidents. (Go read my review of it for a deeper analysis).

 

How to say jólakötturinn?

This site gives a pronunciation guide, but to heck if I know how accurate it is. Icelandic readers, can you help?

 

The Others husband explained.

He most likely died in battle. His spirit eventually returned home to be reunited with his wife and children, but he was too traumatized by his last moments on the battlefield to reconnect to them.

I choose to believe he eventually healed enough emotionally to seek them out again. (My review of it is here).

 

National bird of Canada 

Canada has no official bird, although we tried to change that in 2017.

I think that pigeons should be our national bird. They thrive here in Toronto, and I think they’re kind of pretty.

Pigeons walking on a cobbled stone path

 

Is it unprofessional to not wear makeup?

Y’all, I mentioned this once on my blog about a decade ago and still get hits on the topic. Isn’t the Internet a funny place?

In some workplaces, it would be considered unprofessional for a woman not to wear makeup. Those companies are sexist and ableist in my opinion. Some of us are allergic to makeup, or have sensory difficulties with it, or have any number of other medical reasons why we can’t wear it. No one should be pressured to wear (or not to wear it) no matter what their sex or gender identity happens to be.  It has nothing at all do with how effective someone is at answering calls, stocking shelves, frying eggs, writing TPS reports, or making sales goals.

If someone enjoys wearing makeup, good for them! However, I think we should all be judged on the actual metrics of our jobs instead of what colour our lips are.

 

The Land of Painted Caves movie

On several occasions, I’ve blogged about my desire to see a miniseries or film series on Jean M. Abel’s Earth’s Children. I would still love to see the first few books in this series brought to the small or big screen. If the later books could be transformed into scripts that explored the themes and conflicts that were present in the beginning, I’d happily watch them as well.

 

 Is being late acceptable in your culture?

No. I grew up in a family that was generally 10-15 minutes early for everything. It was interesting to grow up and meet people from other cultures who have completely different thoughts on what it means to arrive on time. I’ve met some people who will show up at 3pm when you originally agreed to meet at 1 or 2pm due to assumptions they make about the meaning of time and how closely it should be kept track of!

If these things are clearly communicated ahead of time, I’m cool with it and will simply mark down a later time in my calendar because I am a stickler for arriving when my calendar says I ought to even if the people I’m meeting have a much more flexible interpretation of our meeting time.

I don’t socialize with people who are habitually hours late, refuse to communicate about it, and will make me miss something like dinner or a movie because they can’t arrive on time for things that only happen at certain times or that will cause my blood sugar to crash. (I’m a bit hypoglycaemic, so skipping meals makes me feel sick).

 

Fairies with fangs

Wouldn’t that make them tiny little flying vampires?

 

Describe me in a gif

I have no idea how to describe someone with a gif when I don’t know who I’m describing or what they’re like.

My brother once said that Merida from the animated cartoon “Brave”  reminded him a little of me.

Merida from Brave tossing her curls around.

 

Maybe my readers will respond to this post with gifs that are somehow similar to their looks, personalities, interests, or hobbies?

 

schoch soda

I have no idea why anyone would search for this, but I do have a cute family story about it.

When I was a kid, we’d sometimes ask my dad to open cans of soda for us. He’d always agree so long as he could have the first sip of it. Seeing him drink a little bit of our treats gave us the motivation to learn how to open aluminum tabs as soon as possible!

 

A toy robot walking ominously on a reflective black surface. What happens when computers get smarter than we are?

I’d argue that some of them already are more intelligent than some of us. Eventually, this will happen more routinely. It’s nothing to worry about so long as we program them correctly and treat them kindly.

 

What rhymes with Lydia

Plenty of words rhyme with Lydia, but most of them aren’t words you’d hear in most ordinary conversations. For example, telosporidia or Numidia both rhyme with Lydia.

 

When mindfulness is a bad idea

Anything can be a bad idea in excess.

I’d say mindfulness is a bad idea if you dwell in a moment that needs decisive action. For example, if someone is choking or if you’re in some other situation that requires you to get up and do something about it right now.

 

Tips and hints for aspiring writers.

Stop calling yourself an aspiring writer.

if you write, you’re a writer.

You don’t have to be traditionally published, hybrid published, or self published.

Writers write. That’s all you need to know.

 

Is William Golding still alive?

Only if you’re a time traveler from 1993.

 

Let’s end this very long post on a cheerful note.

 

There’s always hope gif

Aragorn saying “there’s always hope” to another character in Lord of the Rings

This is the perfect gif to end this post and this year with.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Wintry Gifs and Photos

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl I’m going to be achingly honest with all of you here. The winter holiday season is hard for me for a few different reasons. One, I have seasonal depression that usually kicks in by early November when Ontario’s days grow short and our sunlight is weak and brief at… Read More

A Photo Essay Update on Damaged Toronto Trees

Last year I shared photos from one of the parks in Toronto once a month to show my readers what our landscape looks like throughout the year. This is an update to two trees in that series that were badly damaged in a winter storm in early 2020. Click on February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October,… Read More

Why I’m Reducing My Blogging Frequency

Content warning: this post includes references to seasonal depression, people who died from Covid-19, and people who are permanently disabled from Covid-19.  I’ve been blogging for many years now. It’s been my experience that blogging can be a cyclical hobby or profession. Sometimes bloggers have plenty of time to write and so many topics we can’t imagine how… Read More