Friday, July 24, 2009
It's been rainy and in the mid 60s to low 70s all week and I just can't seem to drag my sorry butt out of bed at 5 a.m. to exercise so consequently, I haven't.
And, besides that, I'm kind of bored with my exercise DVDs. Usually in the summer, I walk before work but when it's dark and rainy, that's just not happening.
I've ordered 4 new exercise DVDs from Collage Video so hopefully, they'll be here soon and maybe that will motivate me.
Of course warmth and sunshine would do a lot to motivate me, too, so if the weather wanted to cooperate, that would be awesome!
I'm on vacation the first two weeks of August and I've been telling people that if it's not warm and sunny here, I might just have to go somewhere it is!
Frankly, I find this summer's weather terribly depressing... Sigh...
Monday, July 13, 2009
I was back to work today after 7 days vacation which was mostly spent doing some day trips and lots of reading.
We visited a friend in Turkey Point on July 1st.
And, we hosted a BBQ on July 4th and it DIDN'T RAIN! Thank God! That's always the big worry since practically everyone in DH's family is allergic to our house cat.
And, I had a dentist appointment on the 7th. After which, DH and I went to Toronto to the AGO where they were showing a Surreal exhibit and our favourite painting was a wonderful oil by Salvador Dali called Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish On A Beach. Here's a link of it but it really doesn't do it justice:
We bought a print of it and are having it framed.
On July 8th, DH and I went to Stratford and saw the matinée performance of The Importance of Being Earnest, which was quite funny and very well done and then had dinner at an Italian cooking school afterwards but the food wasn't great, which is always a little bit of a disappointment.
On July 10th, I took my dad to a local potter's place and we bought $500 worth of pieces for my cousin's wedding in August (they're from him, DH and me, my sister and her family) and then we had a lovely lunch in the attached café. We both had quiche and he had a garlic and potato soup and I had the mixed greens and for dessert, he had Earl Grey tea and a slice of raspberry/rhubarb pie and I had strawberry and vanilla ice cream crêpes with Chai tea and it was so yummy.
I was only extremely achy on July 9th and yesterday so that wasn't too bad.
The weather is definitely not hot summer weather and I really missed that during this vacation. I usually swim quite a bit in the summer but I only swam twice during the whole time I was off.
I hope my vacation in August is hotter.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Don't you wish there was a pill you could swallow and instantly you'd be motivated to tackle the project gathering dust on your desk? Or one you could ingest after dinner that would make you grab your keys, jump in the car and head for the gym? You can wish, pray, and hope but as long as you look for motivation outside of yourself, you'll be searching. Why? Because motivation is something that happens inside you that gets you to take action.
Keep in mind this "action" needn't be anything as lofty as becoming the C.E.O. of a major corporation. It could be something as simple as taking a class to increase career satisfaction, spending more time with your children away from the TV, beginning an exercise program or choosing to replace your candy bar with a power bar in the late afternoon.
You'll never get started if you don't believe what you want to achieve is possible. For example, a salesperson won't make the call if he thinks he won't make the sale. A worker won't ask her supervisor for summer flex-time if she thinks the idea will get rejected. Believing creates the initial spark that gets you going.
Everyone is motivated by different factors, so don't expect the same reasons to work for you as they do your friend. You have to figure out what motivates you. Some people sign up for daily blurbs that get emailed to them. These one or two lines become the mantra of the day and put a bounce in their step as they walk out the door, ready to go forth and conquer - whether that's in the board room making a fabulous presentation or in the grocery store, making wise choices. We all need that extra push sometimes.
Some find that keeping a journal on their goals is helpful - that way they can go back and look at what had come before. Seeing how much you've already accomplished is particularly helpful for people fighting addictions or trying to lose weight. A written reminder of the personal struggle you've gone through can be potent. When you find yourself lagging enthusiasm, re-read your prior entries and then write a paragraph reminding yourself of why you chose to take action in the first place.
Visualizing your final outcome and the manner in which you would like to live when you succeed is another way. You can go a step further and keep a cork board with pictures of your ideal life pinned to it. This visualization board is a major motivating factor if kept in a place where you will see it several times a day. Speaking from experience, this helped me lose those extra 50 lbs. I saw a picture in a magazine of a woman's body that was healthy and fabulous. I cut my face out and put it on that body. Seeing me looking that fantastic, and focusing on the feelings that image created many times throughout my day was a powerful inducement. Focusing on your wants is very influential. It becomes a driving force - a matter of want power becoming will power. I want it, I will have it.
Every morning upon waking I encourage you to just lie in bed for a few moments while you're still in a sleepy state (powerful time to influence your subconscious) and see yourself accomplishing your goal. How does it look? More importantly, how does it feel? This emotional connection is the catalyst to ignite your internal motivation and keep it fired up throughout the day. Think it. Feel it. Live it.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Yesterday, we went to Turkey Point on Lake Erie to visit with a friend who was at a cottage there. Now, this friend is actually DH's friend; he works with her but lately she and I talk more (online) than he does with her in real life because they both work at GM and she's been laid off since February and isn't going back to work until October but she and I are friends on Facebook together so we chat fairly regularly online.
And, it was supposed to rain yesterday but it didn't so we sat outside and socialised with her and her family for a few hours but we didn't go to the beach because it was coolish and we had dressed for cool, rainy weather not hot, beachy weather.
And, now we're preparing for our annual BBQ on Saturday. We always host a BBQ the first Saturday we're both off for summer holidays and this year, it falls on the 4th. DH has been on vacation since last Saturday and I just started my vacation yesterday.
It's usually family and our neighbours who come to our BBQ but this year, NO ONE from my family is coming because EVERYONE is away! My dad, 3rd younger sister and her 12-year old son are in France at cooking school. My 4th youngest sister and her DH and 2 kids (11 & 8) are currently in Venice but they started in France and next they're going to Tuscany (they're touring France, Italy and Greece for the month of July), my 2nd younger sister and her DH and 3 sons (17, 15 and 10) are in Poland for two weeks visiting with his family (he grew up there) and my second youngest sister and her family are visiting with her DH's family in Bayfield, Ontario (on Lake Huron).
So, the only people coming are DH's sister (her DH is working and her two kids are at camp (15) and the boyfriend's cottage (17). But DH's sister is bringing her dog (frankly, I'd rather have the kids but I wasn't asked). And, DH's brother and his girlfriend are also coming. DH's brother is flying home from Japan the night before so I hope he's okay. DH's cousin is also coming and the cousin and the brother are planning on camping in our backyard the night of BBQ. And, DH's aunt and uncle are also coming.
And, we've invited some of our neighbours. The only ones we haven't invited are the ones with the evil dog. I like Lynne but I hate her dog. He's loud and I'm afraid that he's going to bite one of us someday.
I'm making low-fat potato salad and a salsa, cream cheese and shredded cheese dip. And, we're cooking hamburgers, sausages, and portobello burgers.
And, the main thing I'm hoping for about Saturday is that it doesn't rain and that I'm not sore.
And, then Tuesday, I have a dentist appointment !
And, Wednesday, DH and I are going to Stratford to see The Importance of Being Earnest and other than that, I have no plans.
I just hope that it gets warm enough to swim sometime and that I feel well enough to maybe play bridge one night with my poor partner, whom I haven't played bridge with since May 8th!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I just read this article comparing Canadian and American health care systems and found it to be enlightening and wanted to share it with others. A blog seemed to be the simplest way.
U.S. citizens have likely seen by now television commercials denouncing health care reform as a plot to create a Canadian-style totalitarian nightmare. Some feel a wee bit scared.
Back in the election campaign, some people spread rumours that Barack Obama might be a secret Muslim conspiring to impose Sharia law on us. That seems unlikely now, but what if he's a covert Canadian plotting to impose ... health care?
Rick Scott, a former hospital company chief executive, leads a group called Conservatives for Patients' Rights. He was forced to resign as CEO after his company defrauded the government through overbilling, and is now trying to block meaningful health care reform by terrifying us with commercials of "real-life stories of the victims of government-run health care."
So here's a far more representative "real-life story."
Diane Tucker, 59, is an American lawyer who moved to Vancouver, B.C., in 2006. Like everyone else there, she now pays the equivalent of just $49 a month for health care.
Then one day two years ago, Tucker was working on her office computer when she noticed that she was having trouble typing with her right hand.
"I realized my hand was numb, so I tried to stand up to shake it out," she remembered. "But I had trouble standing."
A colleague called 911, and an ambulance rushed her to the nearest hospital.
"An emergency room doctor met me at the door, and they took me straight upstairs to the CT scan," she recalled. A neurologist explained that she had suffered a stroke.
Tucker spent a week at the hospital. "The doctors were great, although there were also a couple of jerks," she said. "The nursing staff was wonderful."
Still, there were two patients to a room, and conditions weren't as opulent as at some American hospitals. "The food was horrible," she said.
Then again, the price was right. "They never spoke to me about money," she said. "Not when I checked in, and not when I left."
Scaremongers emphasize the waits for specialists in Canada, and there's some truth to the stories. After the stroke, Tucker needed to make a routine appointment with a neurologist and an ophthalmologist to see if she should drive again. Initially, those appointments would have meant a two- or three-month wait, although in the end she managed to arrange them more quickly.
Tucker underwent three months of rehabilitation, including physical therapy several times a week. Again there was no charge, no co-payment.
Then, last year, Tucker fainted while on a visit to San Francisco, and an ambulance rushed her to the nearest hospital. But this was in the United States, so the person meeting her at the emergency room door wasn't a doctor.
"The first person I saw was a lady with a computer," she said, "asking me how I intended to pay the bill." Tucker did, in fact, have insurance, but she was told she would have to pay herself and seek reimbursement.
Nothing was seriously wrong, and the hospital discharged her after five hours. The bill came to $8,789.29.
Tucker has since lost her job in the recession, but she says she's stuck in Canada -- because if she goes back to the United States, she will pay a fortune for private health insurance because of her history of a stroke. "I'm trying to find another job here," she said. "I want to stay here because of medical insurance."
Another advantage of the Canadian system, she says, is that it emphasizes preventive care. When a friend was diagnosed as being pre-diabetic, he was put in a free two-year program emphasizing an improved diet and lifestyle -- and he emerged as no longer being prone to diabetes.
If Tucker's story surprises you, you should know that Scott's public relations initiative against health reform is led by the same firm that orchestrated the "Swift boat campaign" against Senator John Kerry in 2004. These commercials are just as false, for Obama is not proposing government-run health care -- just a public insurance element in the mix.
No doubt there are some genuine horror stories in Canada, as there are here in the United States.
But the bottom line is that America's health care system spends nearly twice as much per person as Canada's (building the wealth of hospital tycoons such as Scott).
Yet our infant mortality rate is 40 per cent higher than Canada's, and American mothers are 57 per cent more likely to die in childbirth than Canadians.
In 1993, the Harry and Louise commercials frightened Americans into abandoning health reform. Let's ensure those scare tactics don't work this time.
Nicholas D. Kristof is a columnist with the New York Times.
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