Sunday, September 16, 2018

How to Get Rid of Magazine Clutter

A lot of people these days look at their news and entertainment online, but many folks, like me, still enjoy getting comfy on the couch and flipping through the pages of an actual magazine. I am subscribed to about three or four magazine titles, and I am happy to see a new issue in my mailbox. I mean seriously, with friends and family communicating via email, text, social media, and instant messaging, it's rare to see anything in the box besides bills and junk mail, so it's a welcome diversion. It can also lead to magazine clutter, though.

For example, what do you do if, after reading a magazine, you don't want to throw it out? Each issue may have several articles, recipes, or maybe some book. music, or product recommendations you think would be useful to go back to. In my case, sometimes there are good photos that I want to use for reference in my artwork or in my art classes.

So, you could save all those issues (they do sell holders to archive magazines), but they pile up, month after month, and not only does that take up space and clutter up your house, it makes it harder and harder to find those individual articles that you wanted in the first place! So here's a tip that will reduce the clutter and save you space and time: Tear out the specific stuff you want and put the rest in the recycling bin. Out of any given magazine, you will probably only want about a tenth of the pages, at most. Instead of having those thick stacks of magazines, you can have much thinner stacks of articles, which you can then organize in folders by subject matter, making them easier to find in the future.

Simple, right? Now you can get rid of pounds of unnecessary paper out of your house. Enjoy all that extra space!

Image credit:

Saturday, August 11, 2018

What Does it Feel Like to Pass Out?

I have seen a lot of questions posted on forum sites asking about how it feels to faint, or "pass out". If it has never happened, to you, I'm sure it's something you would be curious about. Some people try passing out on purpose just to see what it feels like, but that's very risky, and I wouldn't recommend it. I will tell you about my own experience with unconsciousness, which I remember very clearly, and I hope that will help satisfy your curiosity. 

I have fainted twice in my life, both on the same occasion. I had broken my leg very badly and had been hospitalized. While there, I found that I could not eat very much--the food was actually very good, but after just a few bites I would feel full. Not getting enough nutrition made my blood sugar very low (hypoglycemia), and when the physical therapist came in to start helping me work on walking again after being flat on my back for a few days, I fainted as soon as I stood up from the bed.

It was a very interesting experience. I was somewhat conscious of my surroundings--I could hear the therapist and the nurses exclaim, "Whoops, we lost her", but I couldn't open my eyes or communicate with them. When they popped a vial of ammonia under my nose to revive me, the popping sound seemed extremely loud. It did the trick, and I snapped back to consciousness. We gave it another try, but as soon as I stood all the way up, down I went again. It was the same as before; I heard them talking again, heard the vial pop, and the ammonia smell jerked me right back awake. They decided to try again later after getting my blood sugar up, and eventually everything was fine.

I've never fainted since. Although it was not at all a scary experience, I am aware, and grateful, that I was in a safe, comfortable place, in the company of trained medical personnel, and that I received immediate treatment. I would certainly not want to pass out under any other circumstances. Also, while it was interesting, I certainly would not do it on purpose! 

Image credit:

Saturday, April 21, 2018

How to Celebrate a Green Mother’s Day for an Eco-Friendly Mom

Some Environmentally Friendly Ideas for Your Favorite ‘Earth Mother’

These days, more moms are environmentally aware, and since it comes so soon after Earth Day, Mother’s Day is an excellent opportunity to keep the green spirit alive. Here are some eco-friendly alternatives to typical Mother’s Day traditions:

BREAKFAST IN BED: We always started Mother’s Day off right with breakfast in bed for Mom. This year, make it an environmentally friendly and socially responsible meal with fair-trade coffee or tea, vegetarian bacon or sausage (meat production uses far more of our precious natural resources than vegetable production), organic orange juice and fruit, and eggs from a local farmer’s market (if they are raised locally, no fuel has to be used to truck them long distances, and they are less likely to be from ‘factory farms’). Mom will be touched by your thoughtfulness and impressed with your responsibility.

THE CARD: Everybody knows Mom appreciates a card from her family and will especially treasure a homemade card. So, why not be green about it and make a card out of recycled materials? The back panel of a cereal box makes a nice, sturdy support that can be covered with all sorts of neat stuff, from pretty pictures cut from magazines to interesting little origami shapes folded from receipts, catalog pages, and even colorful junk mail. Use your imagination and give Mom a surprise and a laugh while saving all of that stuff from going into the landfill!

FLOWERS: Moms like flowers, but the traditional bouquet of cut blooms can pose significant environmental problems: exotic blossoms may be grown out of season in energy-sucking hothouses, or inorganic fertilizers and pesticides may be used. They are usually transported long distances, burning much fuel just to get them to your neighborhood florist. If you want to present Mom with a bouquet, try to get local, organically grown flowers. Better yet, why kill flowers when you can present Mom with a healthy, living plant that she can enjoy for years to come? If you have a backyard, choose a nice shrub to plant that is suited to your local climate. You can even make your backyard more nature-friendly by choosing a plant that will provide shelter or food for wild critters. My top recommendation for this purpose would be the buddleia, known as ‘butterfly bush’. It grows about 5-6 feet tall, blooms profusely and offers shelter to plenty of little birdies and beasties. And as you might guess from the name, butterflies go crazy for it. Mom will be reminded of your thoughtfulness year after year as she watches the butterflies dance around these gorgeous shrubs.

GIFTS: There are all kinds of gifts to please a green mom’s heart, from the large (Energy-saving appliances! New low-e windows! A hybrid car!) to the medium-sized (Solar-powered outdoor lighting! Thermal window blinds!) to the small (Recycled paper stationery! Organic cookies and treats!). Here’s an idea: Get Mom a pretty canvas tote bag filled with organic and cruelty-free (no animal testing) bath and beauty products. When the products are gone, Mom can take the tote bag to do her grocery shopping instead of having to use paper or plastic bags!

ACTIVITIES: A nice stroll-and-picnic in the park sounds more green and serene than a gas-burning drive to a crowded restaurant for brunch, doesn’t it? Mom gets to relax and take in some fresh air with the family, nobody has to stress out about table manners, and everyone gets to appreciate nature and get some exercise, to boot. If Mom is more of an activist type, you might plan something like an afternoon of planting trees or cleaning up a streamside or park. These activities are more about spending time together than spending money. After all, those are the memories you’ll really appreciate, and it’s nice to know that going green doesn’t require spending much ‘green’.

Now that you’ve read these suggestions, I hope you’ll be inspired to have a wonderfully green Mother’s Day, because there’s another special mom you should always keep in your heart—Mother Nature!

Image from Pixabay

Friday, March 2, 2018

Spring Forward: How to Acclimate Your Body to the Time Change

Spring brings longer days, and we get to jump the gun a little with the start of Daylight Savings Time (DST). Okay, jokes have been made about how we cut off the top of the blanket and sew it to the bottom and then act like it's a longer blanket, and it's true the day doesn't actually get longer, but it sure does feel great to have an "extra" hour of daylight in the evening.

What doesn't feel so great is losing an hour of sleep on Saturday night. But with a little advance notice and planning, you can adjust your body to the change in just one week of very small, easy steps.

Sometimes we attempt to go to bed an hour early the night of the time change, but that's usually unproductive, as you most likely will be bored and frustrated, unable to fall asleep until your normal time, and so the next day, you'll be up and annoyed because not only did you lose an hour of sleep, you lost an hour lying in bed fruitlessly.

The key to success is an incremental approach that addresses your wake time as well as your sleep time. The week before the time change, start off by going to bed 15 minutes early and waking up at the normal time. The next night, go to bed at the same time as the night before, but get up 15 minutes earlier, then repeat the pattern until you have made the full transition, which will occur the night of the time change.

In other words, if you typically go to bed at 10pm and wake up at 6am, then:

On Saturday night, go to bed at 9:45 and wake up Sunday at the normal time (6:00)
On Sunday night . go to bed at 9:45 and wake up Monday at 5:45.
On Monday night, go to bed at 9:30 and wake up Tuesday at 5:45.
On Tuesday night, go to bed at 9:30 and wake up Wednesday at 5:30.
On Wednesday, go to bed at 9:15 and wake up Thursday at 5:30.
On Thursday, go to bed at 9:15 and wake up on Friday at 5:15.
On Friday, go to bed at 9:00 and wake up at Saturday at 5:15.
On Saturday, go to bed at 9:00 and wake up on Sunday at 6:00 (which will feel like 5:00, but you got your 8 hours!)
From Sunday on, you can go back to your normal times of 10pm - 6am. 

So, always give yourself the 15 minutes first, and then make the adjustment the next night. Don't worry if you can't make yourself sleep the extra time; just getting relaxed and in bed will give your body the signals that it is bedtime and will help you adjust. The second night, you will be more used to it, and the third night, you will have gotten up early, so your body will be ready for that extra sleep! This also works to combat "jet lag" if you are planning to travel. You may want to change your sleep in larger increments, but always give yourself the extra, first; no sense in being exhausted. 

As for getting up earlier than you "need" to for a few days, use the extra time to pack lunches, iron a shirt or two, have a real breakfast instead of a cup of coffee and an energy bar, do some gentle stretches to get limbered up, or hey, just take a little extra time to enjoy not having to rush!

This year the time change will occur Sunday, March 11th at 2:00 am (that's Saturday night to most of us). So hey, live it up tonight--you have an early bedtime tomorrow!

Image from Pixabay

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Osprey, a Beautiful Bird

Ospreys are birds of prey, or raptors, so-called in reference to their powerful, taloned feet, which they use to grab and grip prey to carry aloft. These birds are frequently called sea hawks or sea eagles because they typically live in coastal or wooded areas around either salt water or fresh water. This is because they mainly eat fish, which they catch by diving down to the surface of the water and snatching up with their strong, taloned feet. They are found in all parts of the world except for Antartica.

The birds are a lot like eagles, with bodies about two feet in length but wingspans up to six feet, which is longer than MY wingspan (for the record, a human's outstretched arms, finger-to-fingertip, almost always equals their height, so if you're shorter than six feet tall, the osprey's probably got you beat)!

Image of osprey from Pixabay

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Environmentalism for the Cheap and Lazy

Wow, saving the planet sounds like a big, expensive job, doesn't it? Well, yes and no. When everybody pitches in, it gets done with very little individual effort or expense, which should suit those of us who'd like to make a difference, but have financial or, uh, motivational challenges. For example, here's something simple: If every home in America replaced just one light bulb with a compact fluorescent, in one year it would save enough energy to light three million homes! It's amazing how even little things like that add up, so pick your category and get your cheap, lazy self to your own pace, of course.

Cheap, Not Necessarily Lazy 

1. Volunteer. This might cost a little bit, perhaps, in transportation or meals--or maybe not! I've been fed handsomely and also carted around in exchange for my time and effort, so git in where you fit in, as they say. Your degree of laziness determines what you may choose to do, from spending time on the phone coordinating a streamside cleanup to hosting a fundraiser for a community garden to helping dig holes for a tree-planting project.

2. Agitate for Change. It won't cost you much money to write, call or email local, state and federal authorities and ask them to support eco-friendly initiatives. Get your city's buses running on bio-diesel! Pester your state into allocating funds to fit a proposed new museum for solar power! Make your voice heard in Washington whenever legislation comes up that will effect the environment! Get yourself a soapbox--a blog counts--and start a movement!

3. Walk More. Instead of driving your gas-guzzling car to the artificially-lit gym to walk on the power-sucking treadmill, why not just walk to work, school or on errands? You'll get your exercise and get some fresh air, made fresher by not having your exhaust all up in it.

4. Grow Your Own. Save money and a trip to the grocery store by growing your own produce, from fruit trees to green beans and even corn (be aware, corn takes up a lot of space, but your neighbors won't whine if you give 'em some). If you don't have a back yard, many plants do just fine in containers, like strawberries (yum!) and cherry tomatoes. Follow organic gardening practices for extra green points!

Lazy, Not Necessarily Cheap 

5. Buy the Right Thing. With so many environmentally friendly products out there, you don't have to break a sweat looking for a green buy. Depending on your degree of cheapness, you can purchase anything from organically grown produce to energy-efficient appliances to (woo-hoo!) a houseful of recycled-fiber carpet, low-e windows, and solar panels for the roof (all delivered and installed for you, of course). With eco-minded web stores like, you can order all your green provisions without even leaving the couch!

6. Stock Up. If you buy things you frequently use in bulk at warehouse stores or just when they are on sale, you will be able to save trips to the store for weeks, or possibly months, to come. With prices continuing to rise because of fuel costs, this makes economic sense, too. There is obviously an up-front investment, but you will save time, gasoline, and plenty of money in the long run.

7. Write a Check for a Good Cause. You know, the Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, the Audubon Society and Greenpeace would love to hear from you, and I think you know how little physical effort goes into writing a check.

Cheap as a Thrift-Store Suit and Lazy as a Cat in the Sun 

8. Recycle. It costs nothing and is as easy as tossing your cans, bottles, and papers in the bin beside the wastebasket instead of in the wastebasket. I know you can handle that.

9. Switch Your Light Bulbs. Okay, compact fluorescent (CF) bulbs are still a bit more expensive up front than the regular kind, but they're less expensive than they used to be, and they're way cheaper in the long run. Lighting accounts for almost 20% of a home's electricity bill, and CFs use up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Not only do they cost less to operate, they last much longer than regular bulbs, so the savings keep coming. You can be lazy about making the switch, too. Do what I'm doing: Buy a big economy pack of CF bulbs and stick 'em in a cabinet. Each time one of your regular bulbs burns out, replace it with a CF. Easy, simple and downright uncomplicated!

10. Do Less. Gosh, does it get any cheaper and lazier? I think not. Yes, my friends, you can do right by the planet by taking it easy. For example, instead of zooming off in the car every day to a different store, combine your errands on one or two days to save time, gas, money and Mother Earth herself. Don't drive or fly somewhere when you can have a nice, relaxing weekend at home in your garden or curled up on the couch with a good book. And buy less stuff, too: Save money and trees by checking books, DVDs and CDs out of your local library. Trade magazines with friends or coworkers. Shop yard sales and thrift stores for used (I mean, recycled!) clothes, toys, furnishings and other bargains. Not only will you save the waste created by the fabrication of new products, you will save things from going to the landfill. Who cares if it's not brand new? It's new to you!

Other easy things to not do:

  1. Don't stand in front of an open refrigerator. You can ponder your next gastric adventure with the door closed, too. 
  2. Don't let the water run pointlessly while you shave or brush your teeth.
  3. Don't let the hose run while you soap down the car. 
  4. Turn off the a/c when the windows are open (seriously)! 
  5. Don't run the dishwasher or the washing machine until they're full. Fewer chores make for a happier planet!
See how easy it is, after all? Now rush right out--okay, mosey right out--and do some planet-saving! 

Cheap and lazy hammock guy from Pixabay, free-use image

Friday, October 27, 2017

Your November Birthday: November Holidays, Traditions and More

Though skies may be getting grey and the days getting chilly, November is warm with family traditions as folks get together to celebrate Thanksgiving. But November babies have much more to celebrate besides this best-known holiday. There’s lots of patriotic stuff going on, such as the Marine Corps birthday on the 10th, Veteran’s Day on the 11th, and of course Election Day (not always the first Tuesday, but the Tuesday after the first Monday). The Great American Smokeout is on the 20th, so give your butts the boot! Here are some other things to celebrate:

Monthly Observances

November is National Adoption Month, and also the national month for AIDS awareness, Alzheimer’s disease, American Indian heritage, COPD awareness, family caregivers, Georgia pecans, home care & hospice, impotency, inspirational role models, life writing, marrow awareness, novel writing, peanut butter lovers, pet cancer awareness, pomegranates, roasting and scholarship (or is it scholarships?)

Furthermore, November has also been chosen the official month of diabetes, aviation history, epilepsy awareness, family stories, gluten-free diet awareness, and military family appreciation, as well as being something called Celebrate Empty Nesters Month, so take some recently unburdened parents out for a night on the town!

Weirdest Holiday: This month, there is a three-way tie: Plan Your Epitaph Day (2nd), Cliché Day (3rd), and Abet and Aid Punsters Day (8th), so plan to include a pun on a cliché in your epitaph, is what I say. Sample: Here lies John, a vegetarian and pacifist. All he was saying is give peas a chance.

November Traditions

Flower: chrysanthemum – cheerfulness, friendship
Birthstone: topaz, citrine - fidelity Scorpio’s gem: smoky quartz

Zodiac sign: Scorpio (1- 22) and Sagittarius (23-30; see December for details). Despite its sometimes fiery nature, Scorpio is a water sign, with the characteristics of intuition and adaptability (think of water quickly taking the shape of its container). Scorpios are passionate and loyal, but tend to be sensitive and oh, that tail has a sting! Try not to take things personally, now. Best friends: Pisces and Cancer. Best love matches: Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn.

Famous Birthdays: Aishwarya Rai (1st), Marie Antoinette (2nd), Adam Ant (3rd), Erasmus James (4th),Vivian Leigh (5th), Sally Field (6th), Marie Curie (7th), Katharine Hepburn (8th), Nick Lachey (9th), Tracy Morgan (10th), Demi Moore (11th), Grace Kelly (12th), Paul Simon (13th), Condoleezza Rice (14th), Kevin Eubanks (15th), Maggie Gyllenhaal (16th), Rock Hudson (17th), Owen Wilson (18th), Indira Gandhi (19th), Robert F Kennedy (20th), Voltaire (21st), Scarlett Johansson (22nd), Billy the Kid (23rd), Katherine Heigl (24th), Tina Turner (25th), Charles M Schulz (26th), Bill Nye (27th), William Blake (28th), Vin Scully (29th). Mark Twain (30th).

Catholic Feast Days

1-Feast of All Saints, St Marcel of Paris, St Mathurin
2 – Feast of All Souls
3- Feast of Ste Alpais, St Hubert, St Malachy O’More, St Martin de Porres, St Pirminus, St Rumwald, Ste Winifred
4 – Feast of St Americus, St Charles Borromeo
5 – Feast of Ste Elizabeth, St Kay
6 – Feast of St Leonard, St Winnoc
7 – Feast of St Florentius, St Willibrord
8 – Feast of The Four Crowned Martyrs
9- Feast of St Benen, St Theodore the Recruit
10- Feast of St Aedh Mac Breic, St Andrew Avellino, St Leo the Great, Ste Nympha
11-Feast of St Martin of Tours, St mennas, St Astericus
12-Feast of St Emilian, St josephat, St lebuin
13-Feast of Ste Agostina Pietrantoni, St Brice, St Diego Alcalá, Ste Francis Cabrini, St Homobonus, St Nicholas I, St Pontian, St Stanislaus Kostka
14-Feast of St Lawrence O’Toole
15-Feast of St Albert the Great, St Leopold, St Zachary
16-Feast of Ste Gertrude the Great, Ste Margaret of Scotland
17-Feast of Ste Elizabeth of Hungary, Ste Hilda, St Gregory the Wonder Worker, St Hugh of Lincoln, Ste Rose Phillippine Duchesne
18-Feast of St Odo of Cluny, the Blessed Miguel Pro
19-Feast of St Nerses I, St Anastasius II
20-Feast of St Bernward
21-Feast of Mary, Queen of Peace (El Salvador); St Gelasius
22-Feast of Ste Cecilia
23-Feast of St Clement, St Columbanus
24-Feast of Stes Flora & Mary
25-Feast of Ste Catherine of Alexandria, St Mercury
26-Feast of St John Berchmans
27-Feast of St Maximus, St Francis Antony Fasani
28-Feast of St James of the Marches, St Stephen the Younger, Ste Catherine Labouré
29-Feast of Dorothy Day
30-Feast of St Andrew

Don’t have a November birthday? Check out these other months:

January -
February -
March -
April -
May - 
June -
July -
August -
October -
December -

Image of chrysanthemum from Pixabay