Posted in Authors, blog challenge

#LifeBooksWriting Blog Challenge: A Day in My Life

blogchallengegraphicupdatedThis week’s blog challenge is about A Day in My Life. Sophia Valentine of Lifestyle and Literature created this challenge (see graphic for topics and dates if you have a blog and would like to participate. If you’re a reader, I’m sure you’ll enjoy learning about some of the great participating authors).

My day usually begins at 5 a.m. when I wake up, feed my cats, and make coffee for my husband in that order. Then I check my computer for emails, Facebook messages, and my handy Google calendar, so I know what else is on the agenda for that day. I spend the next hour writing and eating breakfast which is usually a high fiber cereal with bananas or blueberries and coffee with skim milk. At 6 a.m., after my husband is out of the shower, I wake up my 6th-grade daughter who takes an hour dressing and using the bathroom. While she is getting ready, I put one of my Leslie Sansone walk-at-home DVD’s into my computer and exercise for a half hour. I then make breakfast for my daughter who, like my husband, grabs something quick because they are both running late all the time.

hicksvillelibraryWhen everyone is gone, I shower and dress for work. I like to get there at 8:30 even though I start at 9. I work at my local library as a librarian. The best part of my job is ordering the new fiction and mystery books, but it’s also the hardest because I want to read them all and don’t have the time. I also enjoy helping people find new books and authors. I’ve been writing and editing the library’s monthly staff picks newsletter for the last three years.

2016-05-09 20.39.46I work at the library from 9 to 5 four days a week and from 1 to 9 once a week. I also work two Saturdays a month. When I work a Saturday, I usually get a Friday off. On my days off and on weekends, I try to catch up on household chores and social media/writing. But if my daughter is home, too, I try to spend time with her. She’s at the age where she’d rather be with her friends than her mother, so I usually take her out somewhere with a friend. Last weekend, we went to Old Westbury Gardens, a place she particularly likes, as she’s into nature. However, it was so hot that both she and her friend wanted to leave before we were there long. A week ago, my daughter unexpectedly asked me to read a book with her. We used to read together all the time when she was younger but, as she started getting more homework and I became involved in writing, there was less time for us to do so. The book she chose, The Bad Unicorn, is one of those pre-teen dramatic works with a mysterious ancient codex and a seventh-grade hero. I had to admit I found some of the parts funny, and she laughed through a lot of it, too. Despite its crazy plot, the book was written on a level that would help increase a middle-schooler’s vocabulary, and I was glad it was something we could share.

maseThis weekend, I’m headed to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut for MASE (Mystic Author Signing Event) where I’ll be meeting authors and readers and signing both of my books, A Stone’s Throw and Cloudy Rainbow. My husband is coming along, so we’ll also try to fit in some much-needed together time. Most of the time we’re both too busy with our jobs and daughter. The single exception is the one night a week, usually on a weekend I’m not working, that we watch a movie or TV show together on Netflix while our daughter plays virtual games on her computer with her friends.

There’s not much more to know about my days except that I try to fit in reading and some time with my cats.2016-02-24 10.18.29

 

 

 

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Posted in Monday Blog

Do you want to be happy, lose weight, and have a better memory?

sports-1050966_1280I started an exercise program a few months ago. I’d tried to make exercise a habit many other times in my life, but I always ended up making excuses and falling back into a sedentary lifestyle. A few factors made it harder for me to adopt a fitness routine. The first was that I grew up in a family that didn’t exercise regularly. My father’s favorite activity when he was home was sitting in front of the television watching his favorite shows. My mother enjoyed walking but had some issues with her legs and couldn’t keep it up. Another strike against me was my weight. I was an obese child and, although I lost weight in my teens and early twenties, the pounds crept back on as I entered my 30’s.

I became a member of a gym, but like most people, wasted the money by always finding a reason not to go. I purchased a treadmill and only used it a few times. I even hired a personal trainer to come to my house, but I found it too costly and could barely do the exercises she suggested. When I joined Jenny Craig to try to lose weight, I expected the program to include exercise. However, they stressed following the diet first. As the pounds started to come off, I felt more able to perform even the basic moves of getting up from a chair, walking up and down stairs, etc. When my counselor suggested I try some Leslie Sansone walk-at-home videos, I took the beginner ones out of the library and then purchased a few that I liked. I alternated them and, as my counselor suggested, followed the recording twenty-minutes three times a week to start. When it was nice, I also took walks outside. Eventually, I felt that I could exercise longer and increase my pace. I also started to add short jogs to my walks.

After 18 months on the Jenny Craig program and having lost 60+ pounds, my weight loss is slowing down, but I’m now walking 30 minutes every day. There are days I have to push myself and days I can hardly make it through the half hour, but most of the time I feel great afterwards. I especially like a morning routine that helps wake me up and get my day to a nice start.

jackbenimbleBesides helping to keep one’s metabolism high to help weight maintenance and loss, exercising has many side benefits. Everyone knows it’s good for you, but not everyone is aware of all its benefits. Like the nursery rhyme, “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick,” exercise can truly help you clear any hurdle. It’s a safer stress reliever and mood lightener than any anti-anxiety pill or anti-depressant. It has even proven to aid one’s recall and brain function. It is even believed to slow aging and prevent many illnesses from heart attacks to strokes to high blood pressue and even cancer.

circleI’m not a doctor, but I recommend starting slow and always consulting your physician before you start an exercise program. If you are severely overweight or lead a very sedentary life, you need to build up your endurance slowly. The  main thing is to keep at it. Set up a routine. Schedule a time to work out. Thirty minutes a day is all it takes, even if you break it up or begin with 20 minutes three times a week as I did. Another important tip is to keep moving throughout the day, not only when you exercise. I have one of the Apple watches that monitors your daily activity. It requires you to try to close three circles that measure the amount of exercise you’ve completed: the additional calories you’ve burned through activity; and the optimum of standing you do during the time you wear the watch. It even alerts you when you’ve spent too much time sitting which has also been found unhealthy even for people who exercise regularly.

Below are some links to articles about exercise benefits. After reading them, I hope you consider making exercise part of your life so that you live a longer, more productive one.

http://greatist.com/fitness/13-awesome-mental-health-benefits-exercise

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389

https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/how-exercise-can-help-you

http://www.iphoneincanada.ca/news/apple-watch-activity-circles-motivate-users/