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Lists Help You Not to Forget

22 Oct List

Did you know that pilots learning to fly must always use a checklist to avoid catastrophes each and every time they prepare for a flight? Lists are not just for housewives! Lists have become so popular that now there is even a show called The List. If you thought the grocery list was the only list you needed before leaving home, think again! Doesn’t it seem like these days there are more things we need to remember? Passwords, cell phones, keys, water bottles, “the list” is endless. That is the reason I’ve written this post: to remind us to write lists. Lists help us remember what we need to do.

 

Specifically in this post, I’m writing about an exercise list but this post can help you to write other important lists too. For example, there was nothing more aggravating than when I forgot my lock for a gym locker after I stashed my clothes in a locker at my health club. I’ve forgotten other things too like my flip-flops which I like to wear in the shower. Forgetting these items meant that the change of clothes and the towels, etc. I lugged in my bag were for naught and I had to go home. Once home, I had no intention of going back to the gym that day so it was a waste of time. Don’t you hate when that happens?

 

After I had forgotten items a number of times, I resolved that the last time was going to be THE last time I forgot anything when I headed for the gym.

 

Write a List

For an exercise list it’s so simple. Just write down all the things you need for your workout on a list. Keep the list near your gym bag or at a place where you will see it. It took me several days to write my list because it’s surprising how many things I need to remember to bring with me!

 

My List

Hair dryer

2 bath towels

1 small towel (for when I work out on the strength machines)

Plastic hair cover (for when I don’t want to wash my hair)

Flip-flops

Water bottle

Plastic bag (for wet towels, sweaty clothes)

Clean change of clothes

Tissues

Barrette and bobby pins, comb, hairbrush, lipstick (I keep these in a small zippered purse inside my purse)

Shampoo & cream rinse

Exercise pants

ID tag (I wear it around my neck to check in)

Car keys

 

Where to Keep Your List

I keep my list on the kitchen table. You may want to tape it to the door you use when you leave the house.

 

Tip

The key for this list to work is that you must mentally or out loud check off each item before you go out the door. I find saying it out loud is best. The most likely time you will accidentally skip over an item on your list is when you are in a rush, so be advised!

 

You may want to add or subtract from my list when you write your own list, but trust me, this is a no-fail system to a happy workout at the gym. The goal is to be relaxed after working out at the gym which is beneficial to your health, not frustrated because you forgot something and had to go home!

 

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Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook – The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home – REVIEW

9 Oct Cleaning

Martha Stewart never does anything half way. The Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook – The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home was started by Martha but it apparently took on a life of its own. So she formed a team of people who helped her with  researching and adding their own homekeeping experiences to produce the ultimate of all homekeeping handbooks.

 

The copyright of the handbook is 2006, so as you might guess, there are a few tips that are outdated. There are 744 pages which makes it a hefty book and I guarantee that you will learn a few things reading it! It’s a very readable book.

 

Martha and her team divided the book in an interesting way. From page 31 to page 477 it’s broken down room by room. The rooms are as follows:

 

Kitchen

Dining room

Living room

Home office

Library

Entryways, stairs, and hallways

Bedroom

Bathroom

Closets

Laundry room

Utility spaces

Outdoor spaces

 

So, if you only want information on everything kitchen, you could browse the kitchen chapter.

 

She doesn’t stop at room domesticity. The next section covers Throughout The House which is further divided by Routine cleaning such as dusting, sweeping, mopping, etc. then Periodic Maintenance such as Floors and Floor Coverings, Ceilings, Walls and Woodwork, etc.

 

If that wasn’t enough, the next section covers Comfort and Safety. This includes Lighting, Electricity, Pest Control, Water systems, Home security, and more.

 

The next section covers Moving. After that is a section called Materials Guide. That would be diamonds, lucite, pewter, taxidermy, tortoiseshell, terra cotta, vinyl records…she didn’t leave any stone unturned. She didn’t include stones per se, but she did include onyx which well, actually is a stone!

 

Finally, she included a Reference section.

 

Martha is nothing if not thorough and I think that’s one of the things I like about her. I also like that you can rely on her advice. She has some amazing tips and hints that I’ve never heard of. For example, it is best to store paint cans upside down (after sealing them carefully) so that the paint will form an airtight seal around the lid. I was very interested in her paint insights since I have been doing painting projects around my house recently. So far I’ve painted a coat closet and the trim around my garage door and back door. I’d like to do a lot more but if I start thinking about it, I’ll feel overwhelmed!

 

There are many photos in Martha’s handbook and she is not shy in showing photos of her own brand such as Martha Stewart latex paint. All photos are in black and white and are of high quality.

 

You can find the most basic help such as How to Wash Dishes by Hand, or Sewing on a Button to more complex help such as How to Fix a Compression Faucet or How to Replace a Wall Switch. Anything electrical has always been something I’ve shied away from but with Martha’s step by step instruction…I might be tempted!

 

My only criticism of this book is her “cleaning calendar.” If I cleaned all the things she suggests you clean daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonally, I would probably die of exhaustion and would never need to exercise! Maybe these are the things I should be doing when I wake up at 3:00 am and can’t get back to sleep! That would be the only way I could fit in all the cleaning. Other than that, I highly recommend Martha’s handbook. It would make a great gift at a bridal shower or for a young person getting their first apartment if you don’t mind spending $45.00.

5 stars *****

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High on the Stress List: Divorce, Moving, Job Loss, and Death (of your Refrigerator).

22 Sep https://marcellarousseau.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/my-frigidaire.jpg

Good health encompasses stress; some of it good, some of it not so good. You can lessen stressful situations with good planning. A little luck doesn’t hurt either. Exercise can help control stress in most situations, but maybe not this one!

 

Stress denial: On Tuesday, I noticed that the packaging of my store-bought pastry in my freezer seemed a bit soggy. I ignored it. While dozing off to sleep that night, I noticed my refrigerator often making a clicking sound. Uh-oh I thought, and fell asleep. On Wednesday morning I tried vacuuming the refrigerator coils since I neglected them for several months. No change in the clicking noise. I pulled the plug and then plugged the fridge back in one minute later. No change. I turned off the fridge and pulled the plug. No change. The refrigerator kept clicking. By Thursday morning, I realized that all my frozen food was defrosting in my freezer.

 

Full blown stress: I decided to buy several bags of ice to help save my food. I didn’t sleep well Wednesday night because I couldn’t make up my mind if I should buy a new refrigerator or call a repairman. The last time I called a repairman for a refrigerator I learned that he would charge $100 just to come out to look at it! I called the Whirlpool number to get a repairman for my Whirlpool. The gal I spoke with asked me how old my refrigerator was and I told her, eleven years. “Oh!” she said. “If it was me, I would buy a new one.” I asked her how long they usually lasted. She said between 10-13 years. I didn’t have time to do research online to find out if what she said was true and I didn’t have time to research refrigerators to see what would be the best deal for me unless I wanted to let all the food in my fridge go to waste while I did my research. So, I went to H.H. Gregg and asked the saleswoman if the sale coming up included the week before because they were advertising 30% off! Frankly, I didn’t understand her answer but I think I got a good deal anyway!

 

Stress ebbing away: I wasn’t charged a delivery fee or one to cart away my old fridge. I was able to open up an H.H. Gregg charge account for 5% off the cost. The best news was that they could deliver my new fridge the next day!

 

After I left H.H. Gregg’s, I went straight to Meijer to buy ice. One 7 lb package was $1.67. They also had 20 lb packages of ice but that would be too unwieldy. So I bought two of the 7 lb packages and put one in my freezer and one in the refrigerated section.

 

On Thursday evening, I got a call from H.H. Gregg’s telling me the refrigerator would be delivered between 3 – 6 pm on Friday and they would call me 40 minutes before arriving. That was perfect because I would use those 40 minutes to remove everything from the fridge.

 

I had my Rubbermaid container ready for the refrigerated food, and a clean, cardboard box which I lined with heavy plastic for my freezer food. In hindsight, I needed a bigger box. I also learned from this experience to not put foods in plastic bags. They become sloppy wet. All my cheeses which were wrapped in plastic wrap got wet. All my frozen vegetables and frozen cherries in their original plastic bags were soggy, defrosted and I didn’t feel safe using them. I had to throw them away since the bags were opened. Although I previously thought wrapping a rubber band around the plastic bags after I had opened and used them was fine, it was only good like that if your refrigerator doesn’t die! I will be on the lookout for tightly sealed plastic containers.

 

Stress comes in all shapes. If you handle it calmly, you can get through it easily enough. I won’t recommend exercising to get rid of refrigerator stress because just moving food from the refrigerator to other containers is a workout in itself! Not to mention that I had to wash the floor three times due to items dripping and the fact that a piece of thawed fish leaked all over everything due to a small hole in the plastic packaging. Hence, the need for plastic containers!

 

I am enjoying my new refrigerator, a Frigidaire, even though when it runs it sounds like a cross between the boiler room of the Andrea Doria and LaGuardia airport. I don’t care. Sometimes denial is a beautiful thing!

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My Experience Transitioning From Paying for Internet Service to Free Internet Service – Part II

10 Jun books-of-owl-1279612-m

This is the second post covering my experiences transitioning from paying to use my AT&T Internet service provider at home to using free library Internet service.

 

In the Part I post, I covered “Expected Snafus” such as: password issues, library hours, reserving computers, help, my computer background, and I touched upon using a Flash drive and a To Do list. I linked articles in Part I covering these topics in depth which are included below.

 

This Part II post covers problems you might run into at your library branch that make life interesting! I’ve included Updates below.

 

The Unexpected Snafus

Children should be seen, not heard. As with everything, this library adventure has had its negative situations. Take children for example. They haven’t been barred from the library. Perhaps they should be. There is a separate room for them with children’s books but they sometimes stray into the adult computer section – standing next to their family member who is on a computer.

 

Here’s how that went:

Child: bla, bla, bla, bla.

Family member: Shhhhhhh.

Child: bla, bla, bla, bla.

Family member: Shhhhhhh.

This went on for 20 minutes. I felt sorry for the guy sitting next to the chatty kid and I don’t mean the family member! I was on the other side of the computer banks and tuned them out.

 

The computer chairs.  They’re very light weight (you can push them with the tip of your pinky) and they’re comfortable for metal chairs. But, they’re on wheels and they offer no support for when you are trying to get up out of them! Case in point, on one of my visits, an elderly, obese man went crashing to the floor one chair away from me knocking over the chair next to me. He could have landed in my lap. As it was, the noise scared me because I was concentrating on my work. He stayed down on the floor and just about everybody on a computer went over to ask him if he was all right and offered to assist him. He didn’t want any help. Apparently, he was fine. The reference librarian who happened to be a young man, came over and asked the man if he was ok. This librarian was smart to wait – he might have gotten trampled in the mad rush to help the un-chaired man!

 

When Harry Met Sally. My library branch is open every day although the hours change. On Sundays, they open at noon. I went there at 11:30 am on Sunday, thinking it was Saturday. Since the doors were locked, I dropped off an audiobook in the drop slot. I went home and called the library asking why it wasn’t open. I was told they open at noon on Sunday. I said, “Today is Sunday?” Note to self: try to remember what day it is.

 

Finances This is a somewhat more complicated issue. AT&T bundled my landline phone and Internet service together June, 2013. I put it on my charge card. Then, on April 8, I asked that my internet service be canceled, as followers of my blog know. When I checked my statement, the amount for the Internet and phone weren’t there anymore. They disconnected my internet service as I asked and they didn’t disconnect my phone service (Hallelujah!) But what are they planning to do about billing me for my phone service? So, if I don’t get a bill in the mail or some notice soon, I will have to call them to find out what is going on. It would have been nice if the AT&T representative told me what to expect regarding my phone, but she was too busy trying to sell me more products. If all continues to go well transitioning to library computers, I plan to drop my landline phone service too, saving even more money.

 

There were other finance issues that had to be addressed. The question of whether I could or should do financial transactions on a library computer is a sticky issue that I need to investigate. For example, I have a PayPal account. Is it safe to do PayPal transactions on a library computer? How can you be sure someone isn’t standing behind you watching or if the person sitting next to you isn’t looking? This could make you paranoid!  Certainly there are people who use public computers not just at the library but in airports and at Internet Cafes who may feel safer using PayPal via a phone rather than the Internet which is the only way you can use PayPal now.

 

Update

My son told me he did his taxes on library computers and other patrons did too!

 

Benefits of Using My Home Computer Minus Internet Service

 

Since it has turned out that I’m splitting my work between my home computer (without Internet service) and the library computers (with Internet service), I can still enjoy the benefits of working on my home computer such as, getting up to grab a snack, taking a long break and then coming back to it later, listening to music while I work if I feel like it, and, my favorite, putting away the work and taking out one of my exercise DVDs to do a workout! Yesterday I did a 55-minute weight workout and I’m a little bit sore! These things I can’t do at the library!

 

So dear readers, these are my experiences after six visits using library computers. This library is in a good location and in a good neighborhood. It’s certainly not as peaceful and quiet as using the Internet on my home computer but it’s not raucous enough to prevent me from returning.

 

More Updates:

I have now had more than 20 visits using my library’s computers. I no longer feel stressed because I am super organized. I’ve created a To Do list and explain how I use it in both of my articles, “10 Easy Steps Transitioning to Free Internet Service at Your Library” and, “10 Short-cuts Saving Time (and Money) on Your Library Computers.”

 

I had written in this post that you couldn’t listen to music while using a library computer. That turned out to be not true! On more recent visits I noticed that you can use ear buds and a portable CD player. Just don’t play it so loudly that you annoy other patrons! Also, you can take a break on a library computer but you’ll want to make it a short one, like for a bathroom break. The computer screen shows you how to set the screen for “reserved but on a break” so nobody else can take it.

 

Both of the article links above contain valuable, time-saving and money-saving tips that would be worth your time to check out. Let me know what you think of them! Also, let me know if you foresee any obstacles for you if you are thinking of making the transition. Happy surfing on your library’s computers and enjoy the time and money you’ve saved!

Saving time and money is good for your health!

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My Experience Transitioning From Paying for Internet Service to Free Internet Service – Part I

23 May Library Books (sxc.hu - alko)

Some of you expressed an interest in my experience transitioning from using home internet services to library internet services. So, this post covers my early experiences (and updates) transitioning from my home computer using AT&T Internet service to using free Internet service on library computers. There are two parts to this post, Part I and Part II. I will post Part II soon.

 

At the bottom of this post, I have added some important updates as I continued to use my library computers since April 8, 2014. It was a little bit rough in the beginning, but nothing that I (or you) couldn’t overcome. Change isn’t easy but it’s manageable. It’s helps to have an adventurous spirit!

 

But that doesn’t mean that I gladly accept every bump in the road that change brings! For example, on my second visit using the library’s computers, I forgot my list of passwords to get on certain websites. My passwords are so tough that I can’t remember them so I keep them on a Word document. I have a lot of passwords and I printed them out and slid the document into a sturdy, see-through, plastic sleeve. I was planning to take it with me every time I went to the library but on my second visit, I forgot it. Lots of cursing went on in my head. None of them out loud because I didn’t want to be kicked out of the library this early in the game! I tried to remember some of them. I sat there straining my brain. No go. The visit was almost a waste of time except for the audiobooks I was able to return and new ones I was able to pick up. Since the plastic sleeve is pretty big and it is unwieldy, I decided to put the password document on my Flash drive. So far, I haven’t forgotten my Flash drive. Problem solved. (More about a Flash drive below.)

 

The Expected Snafus

You have to expect some snafus in the beginning but you can definitely avoid most of them by reading my posts AND the articles I’ve written in the links below.

 

My library’s computers usually are all taken by 11:30 am at my branch. This means I have to leave the house by 10:15 the latest so I can get my favorite spot. (Some areas are drafty near a vent and I want to avoid them.) I need at least an hour to eat, get dressed, and be presentable. Usually, I can do that but not always. Hey, I’m retired. I don’t have to get up at 6:00 am anymore! Using the library computers in the mid or late afternoon hours when the library is less crowded renders the computers more accessible, but I prefer to do my computer work in the mornings. This is not a problem. Read on.

 

If no one is sitting at a computer and the computer screen says, Available, you can use that computer. You can also reserve a computer just like you can reserve a book or anything else at the library! Library card holders can stay on a computer for 1 hour and non-library card holders (guests) only 30 minutes before receiving a time notice. However, you are allowed 800 minutes per day.

 

Each computer is numbered. When you reserve a computer, which you do on a computer assigned for that purpose only, you get a small printout with the time the next computer is available, the date (that same day), and a computer number that is assigned to you. The first time I tried, the software didn’t bring up a field for me to scan my library card number. I simply asked the person in line behind me. I needed to double-click the scan gun. I had only single-clicked. Sometimes, double-clicking still doesn’t work. It’s finicky. Then I click the computer space bar. That worked. One of the two does the trick and the printout prints speedily. This is a small issue but sometimes enough small issues can become frustrating!

 

When you’ve found your reserved computer and used all your time allowed on it, the computer gives you a 10-minute warning beforehand. Then a little later you get a warning to save your work because you need to get off the computer for the next person who has reserved a computer. If no one has reserved your computer, you instead get 15-minute increments at a time and can stay on longer. Once I was on for three hours before I got bumped off. So, the fewer people on the computers, the longer you can stay on. This is nice. My son told me he used to stay on for eight hours at a time when he was looking for work! He used a different library branch that was less busy than mine.

 

On one visit to my library, I didn’t get any 15 minute increments after I used my 60 minutes. Instead I got the warning that my time was almost up. Someone had reserved a computer and mine was in the queue to be next. I had gotten most of my work done but I would have liked to do more. I could have easily reserved another computer and got the next one in the queue, but I didn’t want to wait around. On another library visit, I decided to reserve a computer and had to wait 10 minutes for my reserved computer to open up (for the person who was using it to leave). Anyway, the computer was ready before the 10 minutes were up because the person left that computer a little bit earlier than his time limit which is usually what happens.

 

On another visit I had trouble transferring a photo from my Flash drive to my blog. You are not permitted to put photos on the computer desktop of any of the computers and I couldn’t figure out how to transfer the photo. I asked the assistance of the reference librarian and she showed me how to do it, but it didn’t work. I realized that what she showed me made sense and told her I would try it again and she went on her merry way. Sure enough, when I tried it again, it worked. The reference librarians are always there to help and most of the time they can solve whatever issue you have.

 

Some Background About Me

I thought you might like to know some background information about me relating to computer work. I consider myself computer savvy so if you are thinking about canceling your Internet service as I did to use library Internet service instead, you may want to make some comparisons to your own computer experience. Several years ago, I had a part-time job similar to what these reference librarians do regarding computer help except that I was working at a university. My title was computer consultant and I helped students in a computer lab with their computer issues.

I also taught computer basics in these computer labs, such as how to use Word, Excel, email, ftp, how to use a PC and/or Mac computer, how to create a web page, and whatever else was asked of me. As they say, the best way to learn something is to teach it! Computers and software can be frustrating to learn. I supplied tissues to students who crumbled. People respond differently to the frustration: some cry, some become angry! Computers don’t seem to have a positive effect on people is/was my observation.

 

As far as my home computer, I’ve also taken apart my CPU and vacuumed it. I replaced my DVD-ROM drive, and I’ve replaced memory chips on a previous computer. I don’t let computers intimidate me. You shouldn’t either! I have even more of a background in computers but I think this is enough information for the time being. You don’t need to have as much background in computers as I had to transition to using library computers. It helps to have the confidence though. The way to get that confidence is to practice, ask for help, read about it, then do it. Most computer mistakes can be undone.

 

So far, you can see that this transition from home Internet service to library internet service not only calls for confidence but also some organization: leaving the house at certain times, moving password documents to a Flash drive, and probably more things that I haven’t realized yet (I cover them in the links below.) I can also foresee that I will need to have some kind of reminder or list of things that I need to work on when I get to the library. I can’t just leisurely work on whatever I feel like as I could when I was strictly using my home computer. I’ll need to do the most important things first. If I don’t, I may not get the chance to do them during that 60-minute time period, OR I’ll need to reserve a computer to have access to more time. The plus side is that I’ll get things done quicker. The minus side is that I will feel rushed and stressed. I’m feeling a little stressed already but some of that will pass when it all becomes routine. It’s just like starting a new job! These things are to be expected.

 

Update:

I have now had more than 15 visits using my library’s computers. I no longer feel stressed because now I am super organized. I’ve created a TO DO list and I explain how to use it in both of my articles, “10 Easy Steps Transitioning to Free Internet Service at Your Library” and, “10 Short-cuts Saving Time (and Money) on Your Library Computers.”

 

As I said above, I am planning another post soon. Part II  will cover things you need to be aware of using your library’s computers and also some strange situations I have experienced! Both of the article links above contain valuable, time-saving and money-saving tips that would be worth your time to check out. I get my work done in half the time now! Let me know what you think of them. Also, let me know if you foresee any obstacles for you if you are thinking of making the transition.  Happy surfing on your library’s computers and enjoy the time and money you’ve saved! Saved time and saved money is good for your health!

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Book Review – Gone Tomorrow

21 Apr Audiobook Review (sxc.hu -169419 Rene Cerney Vyolett)

This will be my first post on my blog for a book review. This particular book is an audio book. I have become addicted to them. Depending on the author and the performer, an audio book can be as good as watching a movie! The difference is that you are seeing the “movie” in your mind instead of on your computer screen or TV. It saves fatigue on your eyes!

 You can do other things while listening to an audio book like ironing, sewing hole-y socks, (or hole-y anything) knit, paint a picture, cook dinner, eat a meal, or just about anything that doesn’t involve heavy thinking while you are listening! Some people listen while they are driving. I don’t recommend that. You’ll either miss a turn or worse, or you’ll miss parts of the story and have to go back. Sometimes I miss parts of the story and I’m not doing anything! If you are a passenger in a car and you have a personal CD player, that would be fine. I’ve even thought about bringing it with me when I’m in a doctor or dentist’s waiting room.

Now that summer is just around the corner, you can bring an audio book with you to the beach, or the pool, or the lake. You get the picture! I find that an audio book helps me fall asleep. It’s like listening to a bedtime story. That is my introduction to this new recurring post on my blog for book reviews. I will only publish posts on books and audio-books that I have enjoyed and can recommend. I hope you enjoy these posts and I hope they encourage you to read or listen to my audio book and/or book selections.

Today’s review discusses Gone Tomorrow authored by Lee Child and performed by Dick Hill which is on 12 audio discs (14 hr., 30 min.)

I will also rate these books and audio books on a 1 – 5 star rating. Gone Tomorrow rates 5 Stars

Continue reading here.

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Spring Blows Away New Food Friday

21 Mar sxc.hu Sindala Spring

Spring is now here, at least according to the calendar. Here in Indianapolis we are having a cold snap with freezing temperatures and cold winds!

I have been having a nice “rest” (???) this winter because we have had little snow so there was no shoveling of the pretty white stuff (or in my case, sweeping because I use a straw broom that I prefer over a shovel.)

Spring means opening the windows and letting in the fresh air while I pollute my indoors with cleaning products to do my spring cleaning!

sxc.hu julosstock Super Woman

Super Woman Marcella in Cleaning Gear  sxc.hu julosstock

It means getting my lawn mower fixed (finally). Or, shopping for a new one if it can’t be fixed. It means:

mowing

planting

transplanting

weeding

pruning

sawing (the more stubborn branches)

edging

digging

hauling (dead limbs, trees, etc.)

watering

mulching

fertilizing

shopping (for seeds, tools, fertilizers, etc.)

gluing (my bathroom wallpaper)

painting

sanding

sweeping (the garage, the leaves, etc.)

Whew! Did I miss anything? I’m sure I did. I’ll be busy as a bee.

sxc.hu YOdesigner Busy Bee

Busy Bee Marcella   sxc.hu YOdesigner

In other words, the sad truth is that New Food Friday is going on hiatus.  Instead of every week, New Food Friday will now be every month, unless I find a product or new food that I just can’t wait to tell you about. You can expect the next New Food Friday April 19th.

New Food Friday may be on hiatus but what about me?

The upside of all this spring cleaning is that it means more exercise for me. I know, for me it’s an upside, can you imagine that?

Whirling Dervish Dancer

Whirling Dervish Dancer (Photo credit: Sarah_Ackerman)

With any luck, I also hope to have more time to write about articles concerning a variety of health issues.

I wonder if I could hire a Whirling Dervish to do my windows?

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