Thursday Thirteen: Books to be Read


I have seen the “Thursday Thirteen” posts in a few different places. I haven’t been able to figure out who started it first, but credit goes to Part-Time Monster since that’s where I saw it first. I thought it was a good idea. I love lists and thirteen is a lucky number for me. My little sister was born on the 13th, I got my driver’s license on the 13th and I got married in 2013. In fact, my driver’s license was a Friday the 13th! I think all of this overrides any superstitions that may be associated with the number 13 for me.

I haven’t been doing very much reading lately and I’m thinking it’s time to get back in to the habit. Here are 13 books that are sitting on my shelf waiting for me.

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

What is waiting for you on your bookshelf?

Letting Go…

The 2015 Art Project – Week 3

Prompt: Letting go to be free…

Week 3 was the first part of a two part (I think?) “Letting Go” theme. We were instructed to focus on worry. Worry is something we tend to hold on to that prevents us from relaxing, enjoying, being ourselves and essentially, being free. At least, that’s what is does to me. It can make me physically ill too. I do have a problem with worry. I know I over do it, but it just comes so naturally. Part of the instructions were to write down things that we are currently worrying about.

Let’s see….

  • Hubby’s job situation
  • Hubby’s happiness
  • If he gets a job up North, should I go with him, or continue school?
  • Forcing myself to go to work
  • Finishing my Ph.D.
  • Getting participants for my dissertation research
  • Making time for everything that needs to get done everyday
  • My mental health getting worse
  • My mental health never getting better
  • Coping with group therapy
  • Deciding whether or not to have kids
  • I can’t speak French and I live in Montreal
  • I don’t exercise enough
  • I can’t sleep properly
  • What is my medication going to do to me in the long term?
  • Financial
  • 30th Birthday trip planning
  • Doing a good job on everything I do
  • Making everyone happy
  • My sick friends (one has a brain tumor, one has fibromyalgia, one has cancer and one has a son with a bad heart)
  • Touching base with family and friends often enough

Some may scoff at my list, thinking that’s nothing compared to their worries or they may think some of those, like planning a birthday trip, are frivolous and that’s fine. I get it. In the grand scheme of things, my worries aren’t nearly as dire as those who worry about starving or not having a roof over their heads. I am grateful I don’t have to worry about those things, but does that mean I don’t worry, or don’t have the right to? No. Worry is intrinsic in human nature. It stems from the fight or flight response which evolved to protect us from danger and although danger has also evolved somewhat from wooly mammoths and saber tooth tigers, it’s not something you can readily turn on and off. If you are having feelings of distress or anxiety in response to something, those feelings are valid. It doesn’t matter what it is. Worry is different for everyone, everywhere, in every situation.

That being said, it’s important to check if the reasoning behind these feelings is valid. I often react to something and my mind gets all up in arms and stressed before I get a chance to look at things logically and rationalize the worry. That’s what my art journal page is about this week. It’s a reminder to myself to to slow down, to breathe and to think it through with a rational brain. By simply taking the time to do this, I can exhale some of those worries away.

Some worries are more difficult to deal with. These are usually the situations I have no control over. Control is a big comfort. I like to have a path set out in front of me with the detours mapped out ahead of time. I’m not a control freak, I just prefer to know what to expect when it comes to the big, important things. This is not always possible in life. So, the final part of week 3 asked us to pick three worries we have no control over that we’ll take forward into week 4. I’m choosing Hubby’s job situation, getting participants for my dissertation research and my mental health. I know I probably should have control over that last one, but I really feel like I don’t.

Now, for the art stuff….

I gessoed (can that be a verb?) the background white and doodled a girl (me, sort of) exhaling her worries over top.

2015-01-20 08.58.14Next, I shredded magazine recipes into strips. I used Modge Podge to glue them to the swirls of air she is exhaling. I wanted the letters from the recipes to be visible, but not legible, representing the irrational thoughts causing her feelings of worry. Next, I painted the background and the figure with acrylics. I used a Walmart stencil to get the white swirls in the background and then muted them with watered down blue acrylic. The big swirls are outlined in activated Neocolour II crayons. The lettering was done with a black Fude Ball 1.5 pen from Ranger Ink. I was told this pen would write on paint (no problem!) and would be waterproof (haven’t tried yet) so that I could paint over it without it bleeding. The silver bits are from a Sharpie paint pen.

2015-01-22 11.44.54Here is the quote. I can’t remember who it is from. I got it out of one of my old journals, thought it was appropriate.

2015-01-22 11.44.42And here is the full spread….

2015-01-22 11.44.13

One Lovely Blog Award

Sorry for two award posts in one day, but I wanted to get caught up! I’m also not feeling too happy with myself, so thinking about my awesome bloggy/twitter friends cheers me up a bit.

Not too long ago, I was nominated by WeeBlueBirdie from Little Steps to Somewhere for the One Lovely Blog Award. Thank you WeeBlueBirdie! I am honoured. It was a lovely surprise to be nominated.

The Details

1. Thank the person nominating you and link back to them in your post (Thank you again WeeBlueBirdie!!)

2. Share seven things about yourself

3. Nominate fifteen or so bloggers you admire (Too many for me…going to alter this to five.)

4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know

So, seven things about me….here we go…

  1. I should wear glasses. I have them, but I don’t wear them as often as I should. I wear them for driving, watching movies and conferences.
  2. I really like coffee. I drink a lot every morning, but make sure to switch to decaf before noon. It really messes with my sleep. I use coffee to quell sweets cravings too.
  3. I am a lister. I make lists for fun! I’m not kidding. I go through baby name websites and list all my favourites just for fun.
  4. I snowblade. I have learned to ski and snowboard, but I like the blades best. They really are the best of both worlds. Your feet are free, you don’t need poles and you can do tricks 🙂
  5. I love books. Books of all kinds! I could spend hours in a bookstore. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Arts section lately. Did you know there are books on doodling?! 😀
  6. I don’t have tattoos. I’m too indecisive for them. Picking one thing that I would like for the rest of my life is too hard. If I had to pick, maybe it would be a maple leaf…I am Canadian! 🙂
  7. I think bunnies are really cute, but I don’t think I’d ever want one as a pet.

And, here are my nominees…

Calm Kitchen – Hayley writes about coping with anxiety through blogging and healthy eating. We have a lot in common including anxiety, karate and crafts. We’re both doing the Self-esteem Challenge at the moment.

My Own Challenge – Maja writes about how she is coping with anxiety. Her posts are always entertaining!

Normal in Training – Christy is a psychologist who blogs about self-acceptance. I find I can relate to most of her posts. She makes me stop and think about my thought processes.

Part Time Monster – Diana is a fellow grad student who writes about books, girls and monsters. She blogs often, giving me daily features to look forward to.

Princess of Dragons – A creative writer, she blogs about dragons! I’ve been enjoying her 100 Theme Challenge most recently.


Self-Esteem Challenge: Day 4

This blog challenge was developed by If you missed the introduction or want to see a summary of all the questions, go here.

Day 4:
A habit you have that you like.
What do you do to feel better when you’re having a bad day?

Lots of bad habits come to mind. I like my habit of having dessert, but at the same time, I feel guilty for eating sweets so often. Plus it’s bad for my body. I asked my husband to help me on this one and all he said was “You’re not a habit driven person.” A big help he was. For lack of anything better, I’m going to say going to bed early is a habit of mine that I like. There is no down side to it. I go to bed early-ish even on the weekends. That’s one less thing I have to adjust to when transitioning from weekend to weekday. Going to bed at the same time every night is supposed to help with depression too. It also gives me enough time to get the recommended eight hours of sleep (when I actually am able to sleep).

When feeling bad, I try to remind myself of three things

  1. The past does not equate the future
  2. Failures are learning experiences
  3. I can adapt to change

Sometimes this helps me put things in perspective. I also have a list of things that usually make me feel good. It comes in handy for when I’m feeling bad and don’t know what to do. It doesn’t always work, but if I work my way through it at least I’m doing something and not wallowing.

  1. Eat cake with lots of icing
  2. Watch cute cat videos
  3. Put comfy clothes on (lululemon!)
  4. Cuddle Ewok
  5. Put some music on and sing or dance (often don’t have the energy for this one)
  6. Watch a “feel-g00d” movie (Phantom of the Opera, Pride and Prejudice, Memoirs of a Geisha, Definitely Maybe, etc.)music of the night
  7. Get hugs
  8. Find some company
  9. Think of things to be thankful for
  10. Drink something warm
  11. Call someone (this one is usually really hard to do, I often skip it)
  12. Doodle anything
  13. Look up positive or motivational quotes
  14. Bake dessert
  15. Sleep

Self-esteem Challenge: Day 1

I am giving this blog challenge a try because my self-esteem really needs improvement. I also need some blogging prompts and I thought this was a good idea for a blog about mental health (mostly). I am combining two versions of the challenge, so two questions per day. The challenge was developed by If you missed the introduction or want to see a summary of all the questions, go here.

Day 1:
A facial feature you like.
List 10 things that you love about yourself. (Physical or personality)

A facial feature I like? This is hard already! I don’t have many complaints about my face, but something I actually like? It is a rather unremarkable face. If I went missing and the cops wanted some feature they could identify me by, giving them a facial feature would not help. I got complimented on my cheeks recently, two independent times by make-up artists. Yes, it takes two professionals for me to start thinking there might be some truth behind it. I guess, I have good contours? I wonder how many people would say they like their cheeks…. When someone says facial features, I immediately think eyes, nose or mouth. I guess cheeks count though.

10 things that I love about myself is even harder to write. Can I go with like instead? Or maybe just things I don’t complain about would be easiest. This is going to take me a while to come up with. Good thing I’m writing this post ahead of time…I can cheat a bit and get some help. Saying good things about myself feels like bragging. I don’t want to come across as full of myself. There are people that are better than me in all these categories. Maybe that doesn’t matter though. You don’t have to be the best to like something about yourself.

I felt the need to justify everything, so it got a bit long. I’ll highlight just the answers so you don’t have to read my babble if you don’t want to. Here it goes…

  1. My hair. I’d say my hair is my defining feature. It’s long and thick and a unique colour. It’s a dark blondish colour with red in it. Of course, I wish it was redder and that it would curl when I wanted it to, but I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to write about things I like without complaining about their shortcomings.
  2. My nails. They are really healthy. I don’t know why, I don’t do anything special. The have good colour and curve just the right amount, so they look really nice when I leave them alone. The only problem is I don’t leave them alone. I have this bad habit of peeling them off. I call it “picking” my nails. It’s a stress habit, so I basically do it constantly. The only thing that seems to stop me is a manicure. That’s probably because I paid for it.
  3. My feet. Usually people don’t like feet. I wouldn’t say I love them, more like I am grateful for them. Foot problems run in my family. My grandmother had horrible feet. She had to have several surgeries, I don’t remember why. My Dad has had foot surgery as well. I think it had to do with a sports injury. Bunions and wide feet are problems on my mom’s side. This makes finding shoes that fit and don’t hurt very difficult. I am grateful that I don’t have any of these problems (so far…*knocks on wood*). I have slender feet, straight toes and relatively smooth heels.
  4. My intelligence. I have dumb moments, but I think over all, I’d lean more towards intelligent. Intelligence is a rather broad term. I’m going to go with this psychology definition “A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—”catching on,” “making sense” of things, or “figuring out” what to do.” I am academically smart, I’ve made it through my Ph.D. candidacy exams, but I think I am intelligent in other ways too. I can problem-solve and read other people and my surroundings.
  5. I’m artistic. There was always someone who was a better drawer, painter or crafter. I didn’t consider myself artistic until I went into the sciences. In the science world, things are formal and rigid. My posters and presentations always had a little more pizzazz than the average. Not so much that my work wasn’t taken seriously, just more than usual. Over the years my hobbies have also been towards the arts side of things; jewelry making, scrapbooking, doodling, etc.
  6. I’m kind. Most of the time I put other people first. This might be part of my depression, but I like that overall people don’t see me as selfish and find me easy to get along with. I often consider how other people might feel in a situation and try to be as understanding as possible. I think it’s a good thing to be generally pleasant and not snap at people just because I’m not feeling great.
  7. I have a good sense of humor. I can laugh at myself and the situations I find myself in. I have a lot of Murphy’s Law moments. You know, whatever can go wrong, will go wrong type thing. I can either get angry and pity myself or I can laugh at how my actions and random events have all come together and created the current stupid situation.
  8. I’m generous. I like to give gifts and I work in rehab. I don’t know if this counts as generous, but that’s what I’m calling it…it’s not all about me. I ask people about themselves and listen to what people have to say. I think that’s important. I’ve had friends who I’d get together with and they’d talk about themselves, never ask me anything and when I did update them about me, they were looking around the room or fiddling something, so obviously not interested. That made me feel really lousy, so I make sure never to do it to anyone else.
  9. I value my health. It makes it easier to do things like eat vegetables and exercise. I’m grateful that I don’t have any major physical illnesses and I want to try to keep it that way. It also makes me seek help for handling my depression, keeping me functional in life.
  10. I’m determined. I wish I had more determination, but I guess I have more than a lot of people. This Ph.D. business is really hard and I haven’t given up yet. When I was young and something was hard or I wasn’t the best, I’d give up. I’ve come a long way from being that little girl.

zen abstract



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