Monday, November 10, 2014

Flu Shots ... My Theory

It's that time of  year again, when people contemplate whether to get their flu shots or not. 

One of the reasons people give as to why they don't want to get the shot is that they had it once and then got the flu. They are convinced that the shot made them sick. We know that's not technically possible since there is no live virus in the vaccine, but I now think I have a theory on what happened to make them believe that.

Last year I had the Shingles shot, and later the shingles themselves. I didn't get the Shingles from the shot, and I know I had a much milder case than I would have if I had not been inoculated against it.  I also had a flu shot and a pneumonia shot last year. I not only ended up with the Shingles but when the flues came though here, I caught each and every one of them, one after another.  Three different kinds of influenza, even though I had the shot. 

This year they are saying that the inoculation is not for the flu we are expecting to pass this way. People wonder why they should bother to get it.  A nurse once told me that if you have the shot for five years in a row, you are pretty well safe from just about all of them.  And yet, I had three flues all in the same year. What gives?

I'm not a spring chicken anymore and I believe that my body was busy building antibodies for all the things I had shots for, and that's what lowered my resistance. When I caught the first flu, my resistance was down even further, so I quickly caught the second one, and then the third. I have never in my life spent so much time indoors.  With all that illness I had no time to get outside in the fresh air and flush the bugs out of my system. I just kept catching everything that got transported home from the very public places where all of my family work. 

So, am I going to take a chance on the shot this year?  You bet I am.  All I have to do is think how quickly we all turn our heads to see who happens to be coughing when we're in a public place these days.  We never used to pay any attention to that. People coughed and sneezed around us all the time.  The flu shots have eliminated so much sickness in our society, we are quick to notice any sign of it now. That's proof enough for me that the shots are working.  I'll be getting mine later this month. I've got the date posted on my refrigerator already.  I just don't think I'll try for multiple immunizations all within a short period ever again. I'm convinced that's what the problem was.

So, if you are healthy, stay that way and go get your shot. You aren't just protecting yourself, you are protecting those of us whose immune system may not be up to snuff. Stop the spread.  Just do it.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Shopping For Friends

It is often hard to make new friends

In my experience two types of people I can count on to be friendly are Newfoundlanders and people involved in the martial arts.  Newfies are warm and welcoming and martial artists are generally nice people who quickly embrace others in the field as if they were family.  Today we met a man who turned out to be both, and though we met him in a shopping mall, I feel like we have a new friend.

We had gone to a large mall that we had not been to in many years and got confused as to where to find the food court. The signs pointed us in directions that didn't work, and when we back tracked, and tried again, they simply didn't make sense.  My hubby approached a man and woman and asked if they knew where it was, and we were told to follow them as that was where they were going too. The reason we were confused was that you actually had to walk though the middle of a store to access the food court if you were already on that floor. From the floor below, it would have meant a simple ride up the escalator.

During that short walk through the store we discovered the man was the lady's father and that he had come from Newfoundland to visit with her. We also found out he had spent some time as a martial artist in the past and knew someone my hubby also knew. We parted ways and had our lunch.

Later, while shopping and exploring this huge mall we ran across them again, and stopped for another chat. Before parting we had his name and address and an e-mail address and a new friend. It was that easy. 

I wish it always was.

Maybe I should go shopping for friends more often.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Buried Alive.....But What a Way to Go!

When I was growing up, I heard my mother say, more than once, "I'm afraid I'll die before I read all the books." 

Now, that sounds crazy, I know, and I didn't understand what she meant at the time. I'm getting a much clearer picture of it now though. 

My name is Karen and I'm a bookaholic.  I love books, not just to read, but to have and to hold. I like to own them.  I cannot seem to pass up a good book or a good bargain on books.

It used to just be magazines. I would subscribe to as many as 7, maybe 9 different publications all at the same time.  I read them in the order they came in, stacking them on a specific shelf in my office, so I'd know which one to read next.  No cheating allowed.  

I had no time to read real books because if I stopped to read one, (as I did as a treat from time to time) I'd fall behind in the magazines. I hate reading magazines that are a month in arrears, especially if there is a holiday involved.  There would always be some craft or recipe that I would have loved to have made, but found it too late. 

If I bought books, (and I was always buying books), they were non-fiction on the topic of whatever I was interested in at the time. I have a library full of books on Writing,  Photography, Tai Chi, and Painting.  This is fine as it's not necessary to read all of these books from cover to cover. They can be accessed when you want to solve a problem or learn something new. I likely have too many painting books now, but will often put sticky notes as flags on various pages in 3 or 4 at a time, to give me hints on how to handle whatever I'm thinking of trying next. I'm never sorry to have invested in books. 

I promised myself that I would stop subscribing to magazines for a while, as I really do enjoy reading a good story that lasts for a few days....or sometimes weeks, depending on how busy I am.  The library had moved to a new location clear across town, so I started gathering ones I'd like to read at home.  I belonged to a club where they would mail you four new ones each month. Sometimes I wasn't keeping up with those very well, so I'd quit, but they would offer me a "Welcome back" package that I just couldn't resist, so I ended up with a box full that are waiting to be read.

In recent years I've been winning a few books each year from either or the publishers themselves. This year I've been extremely lucky and have won a lot more books than usual. I do get those read as I tend to review books I win. The thing is, in the meantime, I have picked up a few that I wanted to read at yard sales, and then one of the local churches held a huge book sale and I got a whole lot more. Well hey, they were selling them for a dollar or so. How could I pass up a bargain like that?  Books can entertain me for quite a while for that small investment.  Besides, have you seen the price of books in the stores today?  I'd have to mortgage the house to feed my habit!

Then I discovered that Amazon and other sites sometimes offer digital books for free. I downloaded a few of them.  I now have several of those stored too, waiting to be read. Luckily I also discovered that I'd really much rather read books with real pages, so I've pretty well stopped accumulating the digital ones.
Suddenly I realize I have a problem.  I've become a book hoarder.  I have more books now than I can handle, even if I sat and did nothing but read for an entire year. I have not even started these ones I got from the church book sale.

I finally understand how my mother felt.  I'm going to die before I read all the books.....likely even just the ones I've accumulated here.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

All A Glow

In August I got an e-mail informing me that I had been chosen to take part in Glow Magazine's November You Tried It program. That meant they would send me a box of products to test and comment on. 

I was expecting samples, but what I got was five full sized items.  I don't know how I got so lucky, but I have to say I was thrilled when I opened the box.  Inside were some things I was very excited about, and other things I had never heard of.

As I only had two weeks to test the products, before submitting my feedback, I was confused about how to test two of the products in particular. One was a day cream and the instructions on the other said to use it day and night. I sent an e-mail to ask for guidance and received a prompt reply, with suggestions on how to solve the problem. I decided to use the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Cell Renewal  during the day and the StriVectin SD Advanced Intensive Concentrate for Wrinkles & Stretch Mark at night.

At the end of the test period, I filled out the following report and sent it in.

Product #1: NIVEA Crème Care Shower Cream 
My skin is really silky smooth after using NIVEA Crème Care Shower Cream.  I didn’t even have to use any body moisturizer after bathing with this.

Product #2: NIVEA Sensitive 3-in-1 Micellar Cleansing Water 
NIVEA Senstive 3-in-1 Micellar Cleaning Water is capable of removing dirt left behind by normal washing.  No matter how carefully I washed first, it would still manage to find enough dirt to discolour the cotton ball.  I trust it to get my face really clean.
Product #3: L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Cell Renewal
I was very excited to see L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Cell Renewal in the package. It absorbed well, and left my skin soft, with a fresh dewy look.  It did, however, tend to turn my face red for a while each time I put it on.  I think I’ve gotten used to it now as it doesn’t seem quite so bad anymore. 
Product #4: RapidBrow Eyebrow Enhancing Serum 
RapidBrow Eyebrow Enhancing Serum is a quick easy way to groom my brows.  If it were to make them any more full though, it would be better suited for my mother than more me, as she over plucked hers at an early age and they never really grew back.  I like the controlled look it gives my brows as that helps them  frame my face better.

Product #5: StriVectin SD Advanced Intensive Concentrate for Wrinkles & Stretch Mark 
I had never heard of StriVectin SD Advanced Intensive Concentrate for Wrinkles & Stretch Marks before, and when I first saw the package I thought I’ll test it and then pass it to someone who needs it.  Now that I’ve tried it, I know I will not be passing it on. This stuff is magic. I put it on my face, neck and chest and see an instant transformation.  My skin never looked so good. It actually makes me look several years younger. It has even done wonders for the wrinkles that had appeared on my upper chest in recent years. Of course, that was the one place I always forgot to moisturize, but with this, I know I’ll never pass up a chance to do it.  Amazing!

Now that I've had a couple of months of using these products, I think I'd happily buy the RapidBrow Eyebrown Enhancing Serum. It goes on with a wand, much like mascara, but it's clear and just lets me sweep my eyebrows into place, and then helps make sure they stay there all day. I now feel that it lifts them nicely and gives my face a finished look.

I have had a chance to search for the StriVectin and discovered that this one product alone would cost me $139 to replace the size of tube I was given. That's definitely out of my price range, but this may be one product that proves the theory that you get what you pay for.  I'm wondering if I'll ever be happy with the cheaper products I've always used ever again. As I said in my report, this stuff is pure magic.

Back when I was doing this project, I checked to see if I would be allowed to blog about it, and was asked to wait until after October 20th as the results would be published in the November issue of Glow magazine.  I checked today, and the new issue is out. Upon closer inspection, I found they quoted what I said about the NIVEA Crème Care Shower Cream on page 44.  I'm hoping that might give me a chance to do this sort of thing again sometime.  I really enjoyed getting to try things I might never have thought to buy otherwise.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Thanksgiving Pilgrimage

I like to spend Thanksgiving by celebrating Mother Nature's last hoorah, wandering around some forest trail, looking at the pretty leaves. I didn't think I was going to get to do that this year, but we did go off towards Mayberly to check out part of the Perth Autumn Studio Tour. We only had time to do a few studios this year as we were due at a dinner later in the afternoon.

 We could have done some of the studios closer to Perth, but opted to go to the far end of the tour, so that we could, once again, visit Fieldworks, an art installation we found when we did this tour last year.

All three of the studios we visited were actually barns with several artists represented in each one.  There was glass work, and pottery, woodwork and weaving,  and purses and even garden elements, as well as the usual paintings.

Though no one mentioned The Fieldwork Project this year, it was indicated on the map, and we remembered it from last year, so we stopped by to see what was new there.  Not too much has changed, and some of the older stuff is getting a bit bedraggled, but the area is still fun to wander around, and we did find a few new things.
 The first new thing we spotted was this jumble of plastic tile drainage pipe. It's called the Knot, and is meant to represent the tangle of inter connectivity that is so prevalent in our world today.

While the knot is rather an ugly thing to see in the wilderness, a Mayfly seemed to fit right in.
 This giant bird, perched on some suitcases was here last year, and seems to have stood up well to the weather.
The biggest surprise, was finding this stack of books in the woods. It's called "Speaking Volumes - In Memory of a Book" It makes me a bit sad to know that 1500 books are being sacrificed to the elements.  The idea is that they will slowly return to their source as they disintegrate and fade away.

This was the most colourful of the displays, and just like the autumn leaves, they deserve one last look, before they are gone .......

I hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Finding the Silver Lining

One day last week I planned to take the senior's shopping bus into Ottawa for the day.  I got dressed and walked the half mile to where I would catch the bus. I chatted with a friend for a little while, before being left alone to wait. Then I waited and waited, and waited some more. It was strange that the bus wasn't coming. It was even stranger that the others who normally catch this bus were not there either. I decided that they had changed the pick up point once again, and that I just had not heard about it. This bus only runs once a month, and I don't often take it.  Obviously I wasn't going to be able to take it that day either. I wandered over to the local Drop In centre, and joined the gang there for some treats and a cup of tea.

Someone said, "I thought you were going into Ottawa today."

I admitted that had been the plan and that they must have moved the pick up point as the bus never came. They asked what time the bus comes to pick us up, and that's when I realized my mistake. I had gone to wait for the bus a full hour late. Most everything else I tend to do starts at 10am, while the bus leaves here at 9am.  I was ready on time, but I was on auto pilot, and didn't leave the house until I normally would if I was going to go somewhere. I started wondering if I was going senile or something.

This week I attended a function in a nearby village, where a lady who sometimes rides that bus into Ottawa asked me if I had gone last week. I told her I had intended to, but somehow managed to miss the ride. She told me that the bus had broken down on the way, and everyone had to sit on it for a couple of hours while they got a replacement bus to pick them up and continue the trip. They didn't get to Ottawa until noon. I'm so glad I missed the bus as it would have been lunch time when we got there and after eating (which I'm sure I would have done) there wouldn't have been a lot of time to shop before the bus was ready to take us home again at 2pm.  I would have felt I'd spent too much on the trip for the amount of time I would have had in the mall.

Sometimes it pays to be absent minded.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Autumn in Ontario

Three of us went on a little photo expedition last Friday. The weather couldn't have been more perfect, and one of my friends knew of the perfect spot for us to wander around. This week, I think I'll just share what nature had to offer.