Preparing Your Home for Spring



It may seem like winter lasts forever, but in most parts of Canada, it’s over and gone in 4-5 months. That means those April showers and spring flowers are on the way, and it is time once again to freshen up your home.

Here are some projects you should undertake when the snow finally melts and spring is in the air:

Spring Cleaning

This is the big one for most people. When it is cold and gloomy, cleaning often falls by the wayside. However, a wonderful way to freshen up your home is to give it a good cleaning. Studies actually show that you are happier and less stressed in a clean and organized environment.

Don’t just throw things in the garbage. Recycle where appropriate and donate other items that are still in good shape. You can also put aside objects for a garage sale.

Fix Up Your Exterior

Winter winds, moisture, and even salt sprayed up from the road and driveway can take a toll on your home’s exterior. Perform repairs where needed (watch especially for cracks and other openings that could allow vermin to get inside) and decide whether this is the year that you give the house a fresh coat of paint.

Check Your HVAC System

It is common for homeowners to thoroughly check their furnace before winter starts, but what about the air conditioner? Don’t you want to make sure it is in working order when you need it? If your A/C does need repairing, it will be faster and cheaper to deal with it now than in the dog days of summer.

Clean Your Windows

When doing that spring clean, don’t forget your windows. Do both the inside and outside; you will likely be surprised by how much nicer the view is without that accumulated layer of grime.

Tips on How to Avoid Compassion Fatigue



Most people are patient, compassionate, and ready to help our fellow human beings. Those are wonderful qualities, and yet they can cause problems for some. This is due to the common issue of compassion fatigue. Even the kindest and most giving among us can only extend such generosity for so long before it takes a toll.

If you are a family caregiver, or work in a role where you deal with people who are under considerable physical or mental strain, consider the following suggestions, which can help you avoid compassion fatigue.


Caregivers give so much of themselves, they often cross the line and end up paying the price. It is imperative to find time in your schedule, no matter the responsibilities, where you can just relax, forget your problems, and do something that you find interesting and fulfilling. This will allow you to maintain the physical and mental stability needed to continue providing quality care.

Maintain Boundaries

If you are a compassionate person, it can become easy to get caught up in other people’s problems. There needs to be a clear line in place dividing a desire to help from getting too emotionally involved. As with self-care, such boundaries are necessary to maintain your own well-being.

Have Coping Strategies in Place

Have you ever felt particularly down and desperate? If so, what did you do? It is important to know where you can turn if you ever reach such a dark emotional place. Know which friends and family members are eager to lend you emotional support when needed. Which community agencies can you contact, if need be? Keep their phone numbers handy.

Take these positive, proactive steps instead of relying on short term, feel good fixes like drugs or alcohol. Relying on crutches like these is the equivalent of putting a band aid on a major wound.

Maintain Your Interests

As mentioned above in the self-care section, it is important to maintain as much of your “normal” life as possible. Stay in regular touch with friends, maintain gym and club memberships, get together with others who have similar hobbies, etc. There is a world going on outside of your caregiving duties; make sure to stay a part of it.

Tooth Care for Pets



Do you have your teeth periodically cleaned? Most of us go to the dentist a couple of times a year, sometimes for vanity sake, but mostly to maintain our dental health because we understand how important that is. We’ll bet that very few of you out there brush your pet’s teeth, even though it is an important part of their well-being, too. Here are some reasons why you should have your dog or cat’s teeth checked annually:


Just like with humans, a rotting tooth can lead to considerable discomfort. Also, if the problem reaches the point of no return, the offending tooth has to be extracted, leading to more difficulties with chewing. If a vet doesn’t perform the procedure, the tooth can come out on its own, which is a far more prolonged and unpleasant chain of events. Can you imagine how your eating pleasure would be compromised if you were missing several of your teeth? The same is true for animals.

Future Problems

Removing a bad tooth is not necessarily the end of the problem. The decay is caused by bacteria and that can remain in the animal’s system, leading to further illness. These can be quite serious and debilitating, like pancreatitis, leading to many treatments and hefty bills. You want the best for your pets, so that means being proactive, rather than reactive. It makes sense for both their quality of life and your finances, plus spares you both the stress of home treatments.

Also, decay can spread, so the longer the affected tooth remains in the mouth, the better the chance that others can be affected.

Bad Breath

Have your noticed the cat’s breath being rather foul lately? That can happen for a number of reasons, including tooth decay. Once the tooth is dealt with, the issue should resolve itself.

Other Ways You Can Use Your Library Card

You might be surprised to learn that as few as 3% of American citizens have a library card. Undoubtedly, the Internet has a lot to do with that. Instead of having to go to a physical building to do research, all you have to do is log into your computer at home. We will admit that we do not go to libraries much to be used to, and that is actually too bad as there are many things you can use your library card for. Here are just a few that you might not have considered:

Attend library events

Many libraries offer events for patrons who have library cards. These include movie nights, game nights, instructional classes, and more.

Get free movies

Yes, you can buy or stream movies quite easily these days, but did you know that your local library probably has a large selection of them that you can take out for free?

Meet authors

Many libraries will host talks given by authors discussing their work. Have a literary hero? You may have a chance to meet and converse with them.

Try out a 3D printer

Chances are you have probably heard about 3D printers, but have you ever actually used one? Many libraries have them available for use by patrons.

Discover new hobby

Some hobby groups have their meetings at libraries. Check the library schedule and you may learn about a past time that could become a regular part of your life.

Fun and learning opportunities for the children

Many libraries have special programs for kids. Here is a way to keep them occupied and learning new things during the summer and on weekends.

Get help with your homework

Many librarians are happy to assist students in finding materials that will help them do well with their homework. Just stop by and ask.

The Science Behind Monitoring Your Own Thoughts

There is no definitive proof that telekinesis exists, but it is actually possible for your thoughts to influence an outcome. We do not mean in the sense that you can psychically will someone to do something, but you can will yourself into doing things. By this, we mean letting negative thoughts impede and ultimately choose our course of action in life.

It is natural to be afraid of a tangible threat. For example, if you are hiking and a grizzly bear crosses your path, it is safe to say that virtually anyone would experience fear. This makes perfectly logical sense because the wrong action in the presence of a bear could result in great physical injury or even death. However, since there is no way we can definitively tell the future, if you fear something that might happen, it does not make rational sense. If you continue to display such anxiety over an event that is not definitive, it can prevent you from doing something that would be beneficial to your life or even make harmful choices. While there is nothing wrong with self-preservation, letting anxiety take over our decision-making process to such an extent can have grave consequences.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a form of treatment used by psychologists which has the goal of teaching clients to dismiss thoughts do not have a basis in reality. One way this is done is through the use of a CBT Thought Record. These forms allow clients to write about a particular situation, noting the degree of emotion or feeling they experience as well as the negative thought that automatically results. There is also space for them to put the evidence they feel supports the validity of that negative thought.

The rest of the form has sections where the user lists evidence that does not support the thought as well as alternative thoughts of what else could possibly happen. The process of writing this information down forces the user to think about alternative outcomes, instead of just the negative one that automatically popped up. With the new information in mind, the client is more likely to consider alternative possibilities and dismiss the negative one that automatically appeared. Once the client does enough thought records, the hope is that the process will automatically occur in their mind, allowing them to dismiss negative and/or irrational thoughts before they can dampen their emotions and cloud their judgment.

Veterinary Costs

A very large percentage of the population owns either a cat or dog, and most of us consider our pets to be very valuable family members. In some cases, animals represent children for people who have lost them or cannot have kids. However, while the Canadian health system covers many of the costs for the country’s human population, veterinary expenses can be quite substantial depending on the overall health of your pet.


Many people consider the cost of visiting a veterinarian to be excessive. However, when you buy or adopt a pet, it is your responsibility to ensure for their ongoing health as well as such basics as neutering. Even pets that are in the prime of health during the first half of their lives, can develop debilitating conditions much like the way human seniors must battle the health problems that often come with aging.


Also like humans, you can help to lessen the chances of problems down the road by having an annual vet  checkup. During these appointments, they will examine your animal and see if something unusual or unwarranted is occurring. If so, the vet will recommend a course of action that can help to prevent an unpleasant condition for the animal and a hefty bill for you.


However, no matter how diligent you are in maintaining your pet’s health, there is always the possibility that they can develop a severe and debilitating disease at some point. That can mean a large bill down the road, and you should prepare for the possibility of it happening by putting some money aside. Talk to your vet about his or her feelings regarding how much it might cost in the years to come to maintain your pet’s health. This should give you a good idea of how much you need to budget.

Is It Time to Take That Vacation?

No matter how dedicated you are to your job, no one can go week after week after week without needing a break. The human mind and body both have limits and once you start to class those limits, both your mental and physical performance will suffer. However, not all of us are willing to admit that we are only human and need to take some time off. If you are one of those people, here are some irrefutable signs that you need to start using some of those vacation days you have banked.

You are making mistakes

Does your job rely on you to be as accurate as possible? If so, finding yourself making more errors than usual is a pretty obvious sign that you are not performing to the best of your abilities. When that is the case, one of the easiest and most effective remedies is to take some time off.

You are having physical problems

Suffering from a sore neck, headaches, and/or muscle strain? This is likely your body telling you that it has reached its capacity and you need to give it a bit of a break.

You cannot sleep or you are sleeping too much

Has your sleeping pattern changed? Are you sitting up awake at night unable to sleep? Or do you find yourself spending more time in bed and yet you do not feel all that rested? These are pretty sure signs that something is off and you need a change of pace, as in a slower pace that you would get from a vacation.

You just do not feel well

Having trouble with your energy levels? Do you feel angry and unhappy? Do you just feel off, but cannot find out the reason why? These are all good signs that it is time to take some time off.













Asking for a Raise


When you do well at a job, it is customary to get a raise. However, this is not always automatic: sometimes the employee must be proactive and ask for one. Depending on your personality, this can be a difficult proposition. Some people worry about being turned down, while others fret that it might cause the company to think that it is time to cut a potentially expensive employee loose.

There is a right way and a wrong way for everything; here is the right way to ask for a raise:

Do Your Research

How much does someone with your accomplishments make at a company of similar size? Know the numbers going in because this will influence the amount that you should realistically ask for. Conversely, the numbers might indicate that you are making more than the average person already and this may not be the time to request more money.

Think About Questions

Your supervisor might have some questions for you after you have made the pitch. Try to anticipate what they might be so that you will have an appropriate answer.

Demonstrate Your Value to the Company

Just showing up on time everyday is not enough; you have to show your supervisor that your presence is making a positive difference to the company’s bottom line. When speaking with them, discuss examples of how you helped to make/save money, how your ideas led to new approaches that were adopted, etc. Make it clear that they would be foolish to not grant a raise to someone so valuable.

Accept That the Answer Might Be “No”

Even if you have done all of the research and laid out all of the facts in a professional manner, your request might still be denied. Accept this going in and do not express any inappropriate emotions. There is always a next time — or another job.

The Importance of Pain Management

Pain can be a highly debilitating thing affecting us in both our work and personal lives. Chronic pain can strike various portions of the body, such as the neck and back. When this happens, it is important to develop a strategy that will effectively reduce the discomfort and improve the patient’s quality of life. Otherwise, it is quite possible for a person to become addicted to pain medications which can lead to further problems as the current opioid epidemic demonstrates.

The regimented treatment of such pain issues is known as pain management. Such a treatment program is undertaken under the supervision of a properly qualified physician who will usually recommend a combination of physical therapy and prescription pain medication.

First, the doctor must thoroughly examine the patient in order to identify the exact cause of the problem. This knowledge provides the necessary clues for planning both physical and drug therapy. Detection methods can include fluoroscopy and other types of x-rays that provide the necessary data. The type of pain being experienced can also provide valuable clues as to what needs to be done.

With this knowledge, the doctor can not only tell the patient what they should not be doing, but also what types of physical movement could be beneficial in their recovery. Such exercises are often performed under the supervision of a licensed physiotherapist. These professionals know the human anatomy intimately and can best create a regimen of simple, but highly effective therapeutic exercises.

The Doctor, meanwhile, will prescribe a series of painkillers that will reduce patient discomfort, but avoid becoming habit-forming. It is up to the patient to take the drugs as prescribed and perform their physio exercises regularly and in the correct fashion. This will allow them to heal at a rate that is advisable and likely to provide lasting positive results.

Facebook or Twitter?

Social media has revolutionized the way we meet and keep in touch with both the people in our lives and  vendors that advertise their products online.


Although MySpace came first, the two predominant social networks are Facebook and Twitter. While they both essentially do the same thing, they do it in different ways, and that has helped to make one preferable to some people, though there are also quite a few that regularly use both.

The king of the social networks, Facebook is also the one that really laid the groundwork for social media as we know it. An early version debuted in February 2005, while the version we know now appeared online in September 2006. Twitter preceded it by two months.


While Facebook posts had a word limit that was fairly restricted, that has now changed. Thus, if you have a lot to say and don’t want to break it up over multiple posts, Facebook is a better choice than Twitter, which has a 140 character limit.


In order to connect with someone on Facebook, you must be approved by that person, unless their account is set to Public, which means anyone can view it at any time. You can follow anyone on Twitter without permission, unless they block you. For those wishing to have more privacy options, Facebook has more settings than Twitter, which only has Private and Public.


Facebook uses an algorithm that aims to make the posts you see line up with areas of interest, while Twitter does not, meaning that you will be exposed to a wider variety of information.


If your aim is to connect with people you already know, you will find more of them on Facebook as it has the bigger user base.  If you would like to meet new people, and not worry about having the same degree of social connection with them, Twitter is the one for you.