Blogging pet peeves

cat with annoyed face

I absolutely love blogging, and I love the blogging community.  But sometimes a little bit of complaining feels good, so here are some of the things that sometimes get on my nerves.

  • Comment “like” spam (consisting of a website address typically containing the word sexy): these likes are extra annoying because, unlike comments, you can’t delete them
  • Legit comments that end up in spam
  • People who leave a comment saying I’ve followed you, please follow me back, along with a link to their blog.  But their blog has nothing even remotely to do with the topic you blog about.
  • Things that make it hard to read a post, whether that be a wild font colour or über-long paragraphs.  Sometimes I end up giving up on trying to read a post because it’s just too difficult.
  • You come across a cool blog, and you want to follow it… but you can’t for the life of you find a follow button!
  • Weird messages via the blog contact form: I like getting messages from other bloggers, but sometimes I’ll get messages from random other people that just leave me scratching my head.
  • Say you see a notification in WordPress that someone has followed you.  You want to check out their blog, so you click their site address in your notifications.  Then you get a message from WordPress saying the site doesn’t exist.  What the hell?
  • The occasional waves of blogging insecurity: It seems like for a lot of us these come along every so often, and I wish I could build a nice little mental barrier reef around my blog to keep them away.
  • Writer’s block: I have a blogging spreadsheet that includes my idea farm, so the ideas are there, but sometimes the brain is just not interested in thinking about what to do with them.
  • I have a small social media presence related to my blog.  Since it’s all blog-related I avoid some of the common pitfalls of social media, but because I’m not on there much there’s a lot of things I don’t understand, and it makes me feel old.  From made-up words I’ve never heard of to hashtags I don’t understand (I just discovered what #ff on Twitter is, which explains why occasionally I would get a large pile of notifications), it’s a regular reminder that I grew up in the days when The Oregon Trail and Super NES were cutting edge, and now I’m puzzled by the young whippersnappers these days.


Are there things that go along with the blogging experience that bug you sometimes?


Image credit: manfredrichter on Pixabay


A little reflection

castle reflected in Lake Bled

Yesterday I saw that I was only a few followers away from 1000.  And instead of feeling excited, I wasn’t feeling very good about it.  All along I’ve tried to take the approach of looking at and thinking about numbers as little as possible.  It can be hard to avoid, though.  One of those things I couldn’t help but notice is that in the month of May my number of views has gone down compared to the previous month for the first time since I started blogging.  And that is what it is, but decreased views plus increased followers is a bit of a weird combination; enough to trigger various uncertainties and self-doubt in my head that I don’t think I’d be having if it weren’t for that odd mismatch.  I’ve never intended to try to monetize my blog, so that’s not an issue.  It seems utterly ridiculous to be questioning my place in the blogging world when I’m at almost 1000 followers; how arrogant is that?  Yet if all these people are following me but only a small percentage are actually looking at what I write, does the follower number actually mean anything?  In a word – no – but throw depression into the mix and self-critical thoughts flow oh so easily.  And I guess it goes to show that insecurity is less about absolute numbers and more about how the mind twists things.

In the end, I decided to comb through and remove the followers that were clearly just link spam (male enhancement, topless waiters in Melbourne, etc.).  And, like I always try to do whenever I get mired in this particular rut, I just need to bring the focus back to the stuff that actually matters, and consider what I have (some really, really awesome followers) rather than whatever I might perceive that I don’t have.

Is there anything that tends to trigger blogging insecurity for you?  How do you overcome it?


Image credit: 12019 on Pixabay

Real Neat Blog Award

real-neat-blog-awardReal neat blog award

Life Is Too Short Lick the Spoon and Being Bipolar, Trying to Break the Stigma have nominated me for the Real Neat Blog Award.  Thank you so much!!!

The Rules:

  1. Put the award logo on your blog.
  2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
  4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
  5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

Questions from Life Is Too Short Lick the Spoon:

  1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?  The most come from the United States, but also I’ve had visitors from some rather random countries including Mongolia
  2. What is your favourite sport?  I’m not that keen on doing sports, but my favourite sport to watch is hockey.
  3. What has been a special moment for you so far in 2018?  The time I’ve spent with my Grandma, who’s 101 years old.
  4. What is your favourite quote? One of my favourites is from Nelson Mandela:“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up.”
  5. What was your favourite class when still at school? I quite liked dissecting things in high school biology, which is maybe a bit gross, but I’m a science geek.
  6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?  That I should not stick around when people treat me like crap.
  7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?  I tried learning the flute on my own and managed to do not too bad.  I think that wood-frame apartment/condo buildings are a very bad place to learn to play instruments… there’s been many a time when I wanted to track down whoever was learning to play the violin and smack them over the head with it!

Questions from Being Bipolar:

  1. If you only had one book that you could take with you, which one would that be?  Probably Pride and Prejudice.  I’ve read it many, many times and still enjoy each re-read.  Elizabeth Bennett is so delightfully feisty!
  2. What are the positive aspects of blogging according to you?  Blogging has given me a sense of connectedness that I haven’t been able to find in the “real world”.
  3. Do you find writing therapeutic?  Absolutely.  Preparing a post helps me to find more clarity, and I get great input from my readers.
  4. Do you believe writing is the best vector to translate your thoughts?  I express myself best when I have the time to think over what I want to say, and I’m not a visually artistic person, so yes, writing works well for me.
  5. What do you enjoy reading the most?  I like to be exposed to a variety of different ideas, experiences, and viewpoints, and I like reading things I can learn things from, whether that be factual information or personal experience.
  6. What do you wish the most to accomplish with your blog?  I don’t really have any concrete goals; mostly I just want to keep being able to interact with people in the blogging world.
  7. Besides writing, what is/are your other(s) passion(s)?  Because of my depression I have a hard time being passionate about much of anything, but travelling is something that’s always been very important to me.

My nominees:  Please don’t feel pressured to do an award post.  Mostly I just like being able to point out to people some of the cool blogs I’m following.  You can pick from among any of the questions that I was asked by Lick The Spoon and Being Bipolar.

Again, thanks so much to Life Is Too Short Lick the Spoon and Being Bipolar, Trying to Break the Stigma for the nominations.  I hope everyone will check out the blogs I’ve linked to on this post, because they’re fabulous 🙂

Liebster Award

Liebster Award nomination badge


I was nominated for the Liebster award by A Guy Called Bloke and Doodlepip’s AdventuresBipolar Barb, and Being Bipolar.  Yippee, it’s time to play!



Rules:  This version of the Liebster Award has five rules. They are:

  1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions your nominator asked.
  3. Nominate 11 other bloggers.
  4. Ask them 11 questions.
  5. Let them know you have nominated them.

 Questions from A Guy Called Bloke round 1:

1. What breaks and never falls and what falls and never breaks? dawn and water
2. A farmer had 752 sheep and took one shot that got them all. How did he do it?  Some crazy Russian 190-proof vodka.
3. What’s your favourite morning drink?  tea with milk, no sugar
4. What is your favourite number plus 16 times 5 minus 7?  That would depend on if you do those calculations sequentially or if 16×5 is calculated first.  Ah, memories of math class…
5. Well done, you have made it onto the local baseball team, which position are you? The person drinking cider out of a water bottle in the dugout.
6. What will your favourite colour resemble once you have added pink, green and orange? I feel like I had that outfit in neon when I was a kid in the 80’s.
7. All-time favourite sweet/candy’ … why?  Reese’s peanut butter cups, and if you need to ask why then that’s just a whole other issue.
8. You are offered a meal out at a restaurant of your choice, what do you pick?  A local chain called White Spot that has yummy burgers.  Simple pleasures…
9. Who comes first? A close friend in need or a distressed family member? That wound depend on my non-existent magic eight-ball.
10. If animals could talk – who would be the rudest species?  Camels.  They’re grumpy motherfuckers.
11. Which is the best head wear style to date?  If you’re not Canadian you might have to Google this, but the combo of hockey helmet and Jaromir Jagr’s mullet.  Gets me tingly all over just thinking about it.

Questions from a Guy Called Bloke round 2:

  1. When wearing socks, which foot do you dress first?  That depends whether the foot is being dressed in slippers or sky high heels.
  2. If we count sheep to fall asleep, what do they count?  Guinea pigs.
  3. Why do we HAVE to keep up with the Joneses?  I would like to throw rubber chickens at the Jones.
  4. What is the ‘secret of success?’  Big Mac sauce.
  5. What would be better than the fountain of youth?  The fountain of chocolate.
  6. How much do you exercise and does it help?  Does lifting cup of tea to mouth count?
  7. Why do they say ‘drown your sorrows’ – what happens if they can swim?  They might be able to swim, but depending on how massive the shitstorm is, those poor buggers might not make it.
  8. How do we truly know that the world we live in is the real one and that we are NOT just the finger tip of some giant?  I’d be more inclined to think a wart on said giant’s ass.
  9. If you had one week left of life as we know it, how would you live it?  I would eat and drink the most unhealthy yummy things I could come up with.
  10. Jolly Green Giant and the Big Friendly Giant are fighting over beans, who is going to win.  The Friendly Giant.
  11. … and why?  Because he would lull the other two into such a peaceful state that they’d hand the beans right over.

Questions from Bipolar Barb:

  1. What is your favorite holiday, and why?  The one that I happen to work and get paid double time for.
  2. Do you prefer to travel or stay close to home?  These days I prefer to not leave my cave.
  3. What’s in your fridge?  Well, what’s maybe kind of gross in my fridge is fish sauce that’s been in there for a whole lotta years.  I figure there’s so much salt and chemical stuff in there that it’ll last until the end of time.
  4. How many e-mail addresses do you have? 2 work, 1 blog, 1 alumni, and 3 personal.
  5. Do you have any siblings? How many?  One younger brother.  He’s 3 years younger but he’s more millennial and I’m more gen-x (I think those are the right terms, but I’m kinda out to lunch about that sort of thing).
  6. What is one thing you cannot live without? copious amounts of water
  7. Do you like to cook? yes but I’m lazy at the same time
  8. Would you rather lose an arm or a leg?  That would depend on whether I could choose which arm
  9. What is your favorite thing about summer?  Sun, sun, and more sun!
  10. If you won $1 million playing the lottery, what would you do?  Save it.  Sounds boring, but if my genetics have anything to do with it I’m not dying anytime soon.
  11. Where did you grow up?  Oliver, a little town of around 4000 in western Canada.  Now they have good wineries there, but back in the day there was sweet bugger all.


Questions from Being Bipolar:

  1. If you could do it again, would you choose the same path or take another one?  I would be living in a yurt in Kyrgyzstan married to a yak.
  2. What sort of music do you like?  Mostly pop, i guess.  Although I suppose in the yurt it’ll be the snuffly noises of the yak.
  3. Do you see the glass half full or empty? It varies, but mostly empty.
  4. What is your passion? I think my passion got run over by Kim Jong Un’s secret green train.
  5. Do you have a “bucket list”?  I did, and it consisted of travel destinations.  But it will be no longer required once I’m living in yurtland.
  6. Is creating something concrete or abstract, therapeutic for you?  I think it’s most helpful when I try to fit my mental diarrhea in some sort of more concrete form.
  7. If you could take only one book with you, which one would it be?  I feel like I should pick something profound, but instead I’m going to go with Pride and Prejudice.
  8. Does the weather affect your moods?  Yes, to some extent.  When it’s dark and rainy for days on end it’s hard to see any glimmer of light.
  9. Are you more of a cat or dog person?  I am a guinea pig person!
  10. Do you have a tendency to drive fast or slow?  Fast.  I’m lucky I’ve only ever gotten a few speeding tickets.
  11. What is your most meaningful dream?  I rarely remember my dreams, so I think my most meaningful is probably locked away in my subconscious.


My nominees: I hope you’ll join in the fun, but no pressure!  Feel free to pick whatever questions were posed to me that grab your attention the most.


Thanks again to A Guy Called Bloke and Doodlepip’s Adventures, Bipolar Barb, and Being Bipolar for the nominations.  I had fun with this one 🙂

My blogging evolution

diagram of human evolution

When I started blogging in October 2017, I had no idea what I was doing.  Yes, I’d written about my illness before, but I’d never blogged, either on the writing or reading side of things.  These last 6 months have been quite a learning experience.  My relationship with my blog and with the blogging community has evolved over that time and I’m sure will continue to evolve.  Here are some of the things I’ve observed and learned through my blogging life.

Followers and following

After the first few posts, followers gradually started trickling in, and I remember how excited I was when I hit 30 followers.  After a little while I clued in that a good way to get followers was to follow lots of other blogs, so I’d do searches in the WordPress reader to try to find blogs.  Then I discovered that blog awards posts were an even easier way to find blogs to follow, so that became my strategy of choice.

My number of followers increased more quickly once I started posting every day.  Once I hit around 400 my numbers started growing even more steadiy.  Now I get several new followers every day, although I’m not actually sure how they found me.

The number of blogs I followed was always higher than the number of people following me until I hit around 500-something.  When I get new followers I try to check out each of their blogs, but I generally only follow back if there’s some sort of mental health connection.  There’s a part of me that feels bad about that, because I’m missing out on some really good blogs, but I get overwhelmed pretty easily, so I need to keep my WordPress reader feed as focused as I can.  I generally spend several hours every day reading blogs.


When I first started blogging, I posted twice a week.  I was a bit worried about running out of ideas, and I wanted to get a better feel for what blogging was all about before I started doing a lot of writing.  As I got settled in and more comfortable with the blogging format and my blogging voice, I started posting a little more often, and for the last couple months I’ve been blogging pretty much every day.  The majority of my posts are scheduled about a week ahead of time.  There are some days I’m not writing at all, while others day I may write several posts.  I’m comfortable with the post a day pace for now, but I haven’t set any firm expectations of myself.  Sometimes I’ll post more than once a day, but usually only if I’m participating in a tag or another blogger’s challenge.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I have a blogging spreadsheet, and to be honest I have no idea how I’d keep track of anything without it.  Whenever I have an idea for a post it goes in my spreadsheet’s idea bank.  There are definitely times when the spontaneous well of ideas temporarily runs dry, but I can always draw from my idea bank.

Social media

I wasn’t on social media at all pre-blog.  I had used Facebook in the past, but then deleted my account because it just made me feel shitty about myself.  When I started blogging, I created accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest, and published my blog posts on all of them.  Initially I thought I should try to be somewhat active on social media, but I just wasn’t feeling it.  I do actually like Twitter because there’s some great content, but I find it pretty overwhelming, so I don’t spend a lot of time on it.  I occasionally use Pinterest, but I never did spend much time on Facebook and Google+.  I get a trickle of blog traffic from Pinterest and Facebook, but I’ve only ever gotten 2 blog views from Google+. Given the recent privacy issues with Facebook and the fact that I’m really not using Facebook or Google+, I recently decided to delete those two accounts.

WordPress stuff

I use the free version of WordPress.  At this point I don’t have a pressing need to go to a paid plan or self-hosted via, so I’m going to stick with free for now.

WordPress has its quirks.  Things will sometimes randomly stop working, there will be brief bursts of spam, and legit comments occasionally find their way into comment spam.  I find WordPress Reader gets bogged down periodically and I’ll need to clear my web cache to get things working smoothly again.  Sometimes the little orange dot will show up on my notifications icon right away when someone has liked/commented/etc, but other times it takes its sweet time.  And even though I’ve spent a lot of time on WordPress, there are still things that puzzle me.


I decided from the beginning that I wasn’t going to get into a habit of checking my stats, because I was concerned that could lead to a lot of self-doubt.  I’m glad I established that pattern early on, as I’ve been able to maintain it.  I see the stats that show up in my notifications, but I rarely look at my stats page.


When I started blogging, I had no idea what the comment vibe was going to be like; I was just hoping not to deal with trolls.  I certainly wasn’t expecting such an amazing sense of community.  I had cut my friends out of my life and had minimal contact with my family, so I was very socially isolated and felt far removed from the “normal” world.  As I began to engage more with the WordPress community and “meet” more bloggers, I found a social support network that I just didn’t have in my “real” life.  A support network that was truly supportive.  I was never an emoji person and I doubt I’d ever used a single heart emoji before I started blogging, but on WordPress there are heart emojis flying around all over the place.  I would never have guessed that blogging would give me access to something like this.

Assorted other stuff

I started off my blogging life fumbling around trying to figure out the best place to find images.  I’ve settled on Unsplash as my first choice for photos and Pixabay as my first choice for other assorted graphics.  My free WordPress plan doesn’t let me post video files, but after a little bit of flailing I figured out how to embed Youtube videos.  I’m reasonably computer competent, but this website stuff has been brand new to me.

There was more fumbling early on in terms of looking up what you “should” do to put your blog out there to the world.  This ended up in many ways being a big time-waster because it really didn’t fit with how I was wanting to approach my blog.  What was useful was identifying a number of different places that publish mental-health related guest posts (you can find my post about that here).

Creating that internal link in the last sentence reminded me of something that puzzles me on Google Search Console.  I got set up on that in the early days of my blog, but some of the things it tells me just aren’t accurate, and I’m not sure why.  The biggest thing is that tells me that only one of my posts has internal links pointing to it; it doesn’t seem to recognize any of my other internal links.  I don’t actually care that much, but it seems odd.


So there you have it, my blogging evolution over the last 6 months.  Have you found that your blogging experience has evolved over time?  What are some tricks you’ve learned along the way?


Image credit: Kyrnos on Pixabay

Mystery Blogger Award

Mystery blogger award logo

Something mysterious is in the air…  I was nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by Midsummer DaydreamerDiscovering Your HappinessThe Colour of MadnessGirl With the Paw Print Tattoo, and A Guy Called Bloke and Doodlepip’s Adventures.  Thank you all so much! ❤️

Why Was the Mystery Blogger Award created?

“I created the award because there are a lot of amazing blogs out there that haven’t been discovered, yet. And, most of these blogs deserve recognition. For that reason, I decided to create my own award; and nominate people who can also nominate others; and so on. This is one of the best ways to create a friendly community and build a link between bloggers in the blogosphere; as everyone gets nominated and they too can spread the fun by nominating more people for the award.” – Okoto Enigma

Mystery Blogger Award Rules:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

3 things about me:

  1. I have ridden several kinds of animals: horse, donkey, camel, elephant, and dolphin
  2. I have tried sky diving, bungee jumping, and parasailing.
  3. I don’t like onions, which is annoying because they’re everywhere.

Questions from Midsummer Daydreamer:

  1.  What game or movie universe would you most like to live in?  For the most part video games haven’t been my thing, but I liked playing Legend of Zelda on my brother’s Super Nintendo because I thought the Zelda universe was cool.
  2. What would be your first question after waking up from being cryogenically frozen for 100 years? Given my potty mouth, probably something along the lines of “What the fuck is going on?”
  3. What TV show or movie do you refuse to watch? My ex used to like watching the show Robot Chicken.  I found it so obnoxious I couldn’t even be in the same room it was on.
  4. What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives? Visit a foreign country.
  5. What is something that a ton of people are obsessed with but you just don’t get the point of? Snapchat.  Maybe it’s because I’m too old, but I just don’t get it.

Questions from Discovering Your Happiness:

  1. What is your 2018 goal?  I’d like to go on a trip to Europe.
  2. What is one of your biggest accomplishments?  I’m proud of getting my masters degree in psychiatric nursing.
  3. If you could pack up & move, where would you go? I’d stay in Canada, but maybe move to a farm in a rural area.
  4. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?  I truly have no idea.  I feel like my life is too uncertain to predict that far in advance.
  5. What is one of your biggest fears?  In a physical sense spiders, and in a psychological sense bering unable to feel safe.

Questions from The Colour Of Madness:

  1. How do you see a glass, half full or half empty?  I would likely drink it very quickly, so it would be just plain empty.
  2. What do you prefer, to read a book or to listen to music?  Read a book.  I like music in the car, but otherwise prefer quiet.
  3. What do you like most about mother nature? The random assortment of amazing things all thrown in together.
  4. What is your favorite movie?  Dirty Dancing.  No one puts Baby in a corner!
  5. What do you like most about traveling?  Almost everything, so instead I’ll answer the things I don’t like: assorted nasty bathroom situations, and various intestinal beasties that necessitate frequent trips to those nasty bathrooms situations.

Questions from Girl with the Paw Print Tattoo:

  1. What actor/actress would you want to play you in a film about your life?  I’ll say Natalie Portman/Keira Knightley/Anne Hathaway.  Somehow, despite the fact that they are all 3 distinct people with very minimal resemblance to each other, in my mind they are fused into one.  And therefore I can’t pick just one.
  2. You have just woken up from being cryogenically frozen. What is your first question?  Where’s my cup of tea?
  3. What type of movie would your life be? Romance? Drama? Comedy? Horror?  I wish my life was a cheesy 80’s movie, but in reality, if I Google lists of most boring movies they’re all more interesting than my life right now.  So even though I’ve never seen it and am going entirely based on Elaine’s reaction in Seinfeld, I’ll say something along the lines of the English Patient.
  4. What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?  The all guinea pigs all the time channel!
  5. If you were famous, what would you want to be famous for?  Kicking some serious mental health stigma ass.

Questions from A Guy Called Bloke:

  1. If you were trapped on an isolated hilltop after your plane had crashed with your family and friends, would you resort to starvation or cannibalism?  Probably starvation, not so much out of some kind of moral stance but more a matter of major ick factor.
  2. If your best friend had murdered someone would you help bury the body?  Depends on how likely I thought it would be that I’d get found out for aiding and abetting (and speaking of which, is there actually a difference between aiding and abetting?)
  3. Do you ever wonder – what next – after the end of your time? if so, what is next?  I’m hoping for nothing.  One life is plenty.
  4. You know in the movies when the victims are being chased by the terrible nasty and they hit them, and think they are dead, but look back and discover the body gone?? If this was YOU how would you ensure the thing stays dead?  I’ll go with Tesla’s death ray; I googled death ray because I thought it sounded like a thing, and turns out it (except not really).
  5. What’s the meanest thing you have ever hoped would happen to someone ……….. eh??  I feel like it might be breaking some sort of law to tell the truth on this one, so I’ll go all Ronny Jackson on y’all and plead the Fifth.

My nominees: Please don’t feel pressured to do an award post.  If you do decide to join in the fun, pick the 5 questions from among those that I was asked that grab you the most.


Thanks again to Midsummer DaydreamerDiscovering Your HappinessThe Colour of MadnessGirl With the Paw Print Tattoo, and A Guy Called Bloke and Doodlepip’s Adventures for nominating me. ❤️   Please check out all of the blogs I’ve linked to in this post, because they’re all well worth a read!

Blogging chums award

Blogging chums award

Yippee!  Thanks so much to Emilia at My Inner MishMash for nominating me for the Blogging Chums Award.

The Blogging Chums Award is given to particularly brilliant bloggers who are really providing something special to the community, either through their writing or the way they engage with other people: they’re just brilliant!  The award was created by Robert at The Non-Alcoholic Student.

Here are the rules:

1. Be sure to use the award image!
2. List the rules & about paragraph!
3. Thank whoever nominated you!
4. Write a letter to someone who means a lot to you to spread some positivity around the Internet – anyone will do!
5. Nominate 5-10 more people for the award and go let them know about it in their comments!

My letter:

Dear Grandma,

Thank you for being one of the most important figures in my life.  You’ve always been 110% on my side, and frequently tell me how wonderful/smart/beautiful I am.  Your home has always been my 2nd home, where one of the bedrooms is designated as “Ashley’s room”.  You never took anything too seriously, and you could always see the humour in everything.  Much of our time together is spent laughing, and when my brother and I were young we had the most fun when we were staying at Grandma’s house.  I have learned so much from you about the history of our family, and I feel like I know well all of these people that I never had the opportunity to meet.

Back in the day when it wasn’t considered acceptable to do so, you walked out on your husband because he was putting you down rather than lifting you up.  That must have taken so much courage.

It’s truly amazing that you’ve made it to 101 years old.  I know that means I won’t have you around for much longer, but I try to avoid thinking about that.  Age has taken its toll on your memory, but you still have the same spark and readiness to laugh.  Some of my favourite moments have always been those times I’ve spent with you.  You have truly brought light to my life.

Much love forever,




Thanks again to My Inner MishMash for nominating me.❤️  Happy blogging everyone!

Sunshine Blogger Award

Sunshine Blogger award badge

I swear, it’s raining sunshine!  I’m so excited to be recognized by fellow bloggers Sibple: My not so simple bipolar lifeOrange Walls, Midsummer DaydreamerBlooming Bipolar, Blue Sky Days 365Imayormaynotkillmyself, and MentallyNotReyt, who’ve nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award.  If you aren’t familiar with these blogs yet, please check them out, because they’re awesome 🙂

The rules:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger(s) asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award Logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Questions from Sibple:

  1. Do you write anywhere else besides your blog? (other blogs, websites, journal, etc.)  Before I started blogging I had some work published in a few nursing and mental health journals.  Now I mostly write on my blog, with the occasional guest post on another site.
  2. Where is your favorite place to write? (your desk, outside, etc.) Sitting on my bed.
  3. Do you share your blog with friends and family or do you remain anonymous? I’ve told people that I blog but haven’t shared my blog name/site with them.
  4. What other topics have you considered writing about?  I feel like all the important stuff I have to say is somehow connected to the topic of mental health.
  5. If you could be granted a new talent, what talent would you like to have?  I would like to be good at job interviews.
  6. When the mood strikes…is it to sing or to dance? Dance
  7. What song(s) can affect your mood in a positive way?  Fun favorites from the 80’s, like New Kids on the Block.
  8. What is your ideal vacation spot? Somewhere off in a foreign country where everything (culture, landscape, etc) is totally different from home.
  9. What bad habit do you have that you wish you could break?  The skin on my hands can get scaly from eczema, and I pick at it.  It’s really quite gross, but that hasn’t stopped me yet.
  10. Where is the first place you would go or travel to if you won the lottery? Tibet.
  11. What household chore do you hate the most? Taking out the garbage.

Questions from Orange Walls:

  1. What/who inspires you to blog? My own experiences as well as what other bloggers have to say.
  2. What are your favourite self-care tips and tricks? Aromatherapy is a fave.  And time with my guinea pigs.
  3. Where do you see your blog in 5 years? Hopefully still going!
  4. What is the hardest part of your illness(es)?  This is a tough one.  I’d say that while there were various symptoms that felt really tough at the time, probably the biggest thing is the extent of its effect on many different aspects of my life.
  5. What thing(s) can you celebrate about yourself?  I make learning a priority in my life.
  6. Do you have any hobbies? If not, what hobbies can you see yourself doing and why? Blogging and guinea pig mothering.
  7. Where do you blog/write (i.e at a desk, in the kitchen…) and why?  Sitting on my bed because it’s comfy and I have the guinea pigs nearby.
  8. What kinds of tips can you give to someone who has recently been diagnosed? Be open to learning from as many different sources as you can find.  No one’s illness is going to be exactly like yours, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn valuable things from them.
  9. What is your favourite season and why? Early fall, because I like the warm golden sunlight and the leaves changing colors.
  10. What keeps you blogging when barriers exist?  The WordPress community.  This is an amazing group of people we’ve got here.
  11. If you have 1 thing to say to your readers to inspire them, what would it be? Find your passion and follow it wherever it will take you.

Questions from Midsummer Daydreamer:

  1. What fictional place would you most like to go? The world of My Little Ponies 🙂
  2. What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue? I would travel more and fly first class.
  3. What job would you be terrible at? Probably a lot of them, but I’ll go with telemarketing, because I hate talking on the phone and I’d hate feeling like I was bugging people.
  4. Are you usually early or late?  It stresses me out to be late, so I’m always early.
  5. When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?  School/course-related stuff.
  6. What are some small things that make your day better?  Five small things: my pet guinea pigs!
  7. What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?  I’ve gone pretty far afield, maybe the farthest being India or Tanzania.
  8. What is something that a ton of people are obsessed with, but you just don’t get the point of? Various social media.  A lot of that stuff I don’t even know what it is.
  9. What would you rate 10/10?  The movie Dirty Dancing
  10. What fad or trend do you hope comes back?  Hmmm…  There was a lot of pretty fun stuff in the ’80s, but it’s probably best that it stay there.  I loooooved my acid wash jeans wish slouch socks and bright blue Converse high tops, but somehow I don’t think it would translate that well in the present day.
  11. Where is the most relaxing place you’ve ever been?  Various beaches, but also Luang Prabang in Laos – even the souvenir sellers would be sprawled out napping in the middle of the day.

Questions from Blooming Bipolar:

  1. What is your favorite book? Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
  2. Do you have a pet, what do you have? 5 guinea pigs!
  3. What is your ideal vacation spot? I’ve answered this one above
  4. What’s your favorite meal? Cheeseburgers 🙂
  5. Which TV character do you identify with the most? Not sure, but some similarities with Monica on Friends.
  6. What did you want to be when you were a child? A cardiologist
  7. Who would you love to see in concert?  I’m actually not all that keen on concerts.
  8. How long have you been blogging? 6 months
  9. Which time period would you love to live in?  If we’re talking recent past, I’d say the 80’s.  Going further back, I’d say the Jane Austen era.
  10. Which movie can you watch over and over again? Dirty Dancing and Top Gun.
  11. What do you do for self-care? I love afternoon naps.  I don’t usually sleep, but I love to just lie there and turn my brain off for a while.

Questions from Blue Sky Days 365:

  1. What is your favourite time of day, and why?  I’m an early riser, and I like being awake while the rest of the world around me is still sleeping.
  2. Which country have you visited most often?  The United States because it’s close by; otherwise, there’s too many new places to go to do repeats.
  3. What one thing would change your life for the better?  Remission!
  4. What decade did you enjoy most and why?  I was a kid in the 80’s, and it was so much fun.
  5. What would you spend a £1000/$1000 prize on? Travelling!
  6. What was your favourite band as a child?  I was a huge New Kids on the Block fan, particularly around grade 4-ish.  I had an awesome NKOTB t-shirt.
  7. What could you not live without?  Some type of internet-accessing device.
  8. What is your favourite play/musical/theatre show?  Hmm, not sure.  But Phantom of the Opera was the very first musical I ever saw, and I loved it.
  9. Which movie character do you identify most with?  I can’t think of a serious answer so I’m going to go with April O’Neil from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
  10. Which person living or not, would you invite to dinner?  I think I’ll go with the Dalai Lama, although I’m not sure what I’d cook for him.
  11. What is your favourite ice cream flavour? Ben & Jerry’s peanut butter half baked.  Haagen Dazs chocolate peanut butter is a close second.

Questions from Imayormaynotkillmyself:

  1. What’s you’re favourite song and write a lyric from it that makes you love it so much.  My current favourite is Praying by Kesha.  A lyric I particularly like: “I’m proud of who I am.  No more monsters I can breathe again.”
  2. If you could change your name to anything what would it be? At one point when I was in university I wanted to go by my middle name (Leia).  I told my TA  for math tutorial that I went by Leia; probably was, he’d say that name and it failed to catch my attention.
  3. Would you rather fly ,be invisible or be invinsible?  If I could fly like Superman and avoid airplanes that would be very nice.
  4. Finish this sentence ” I would never ever try to ……  eat an insect.  I saw fried critters being sold in Cambodia, but I am not that daring.
  5. If you only had 24 hours on this earth who would you spend it with? My grandma, who’s 101.
  6. Which 3 words would you use to describe yourself? Guinea pig mama!!!
  7. which 3 words would you think others would use to describe you? I would rather not know.
  8. Truth or dare? Truth, like letting it all hang out on a blog…
  9. Tell the truth now have you ever cheated on a test? No, but in 3rd year anatomy I could see that my buddy sitting next to me was stressing out, so I intentionally tried to let him see my answers but he was too caught up hyperventilating to notice.
  10. I dare you to write a quirk that you have. It’s been a while, but socks on during sex.  Icy cold feet are not sexy.
  11. If you could let others know one thing about you what would that be? I think by the end of all these questions you’re thinking no more!  No more!

Questions from MentallyNotReyt

  1. What inspires you in life? It’s been really inspiring to read how other bloggers have taken on all that life throws at them.
  2. What small thing makes you smile?  My youngest guinea pig is very energetic and she’ll go tearing around the cage like a bat out of hell.
  3. What is a memory you can never forget? Well, my grandma is 101 and dementing but still remembers things from when she was 10 years old, so probably I’ll always remember my childhood home.
  4. What is your favourite taste? Chocolate.
  5. Where is your ‘happy place’? My bedroom.
  6. Who has your heart?  My guinea pigs have their mama and her heart wrapped around their little feet.
  7. Revenge or forgiveness? On a good day, forgiveness.  On a bad day, revenge.
  8. Do you think lying is ever acceptable?  I think “white lies” are acceptable.  If there is no benefit to anyone in telling the truth, there is no chance of the truth coming out later, and the white lie could make the person feel good and the truth would make them feel bad, I would tell the white lie.
  9. What is a quote you love?  “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius
  10. Where would you love to visit before you die? I would really like to go to Lhasa in Tibet.
  11. Is there an afterlife?  I imagine that the energy within us goes back into the earth to support the creation of new life.

My nominees:

I’ve done a few of these award nomination posts before, and I’ve decided to try to nominate new people each time to spread the love around as much as possible.  Please don’t feel obligated to do an awards post; I know they can be a lot of work, and I’m still not that confident I know how pingbacks and stuff work.  As for questions, I figure why wrack my brain for new questions… instead, you can pick whichever 11 of the various questions I was asked that grab you the most.  And as a side note, I wasn’t feeling sure if “wrack” was the correct spelling, and it seems that wrack vs rack is kind of po-TAY-to vs po-TAH-to.  Anyway, back to business.  The nominees are:


So there it is, sunshine galore!  And if you’re sick of learning things about me after all of these questions, that’s ok, I won’t hold it against you!  Thanks again to Sibple: My not so simple bipolar lifeOrange Walls, Midsummer DaydreamerBlooming BipolarBlue Sky Days 365, Imayormaynotkillmyself, and MentallyNotReyt for the nominations! xoxo  Happy blogging everyone 🙂

I blame Putin

Vladimir Putin

Today I got quite the spam-blast.  All of my comments were liked by a plethora of website addresses, all of them involving “sexy” and most of them involving a Russian .ru domain.  While my blog is not on quite the same scale as a US election, I still blame Putin.  Maybe he’s just trying to tell me I’m a sexy lady, in which case I say please, Mr. Putin, get your priorities straight; you’ve got ex-spies to try to poison.  I appreciate the compliment, but I’ll have to say a respectful nyet.

And a thought for WordPress…  Maybe adding functionality to block likers would be a worthy undertaking?

Mystery Blogger Award

Mystery blogger award logo

Woot woot!  I’ve been nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by Eternal ConversationsTherapy BitsMy Inner MishMashThis Girls’ Got Curves, and Scarlett’s BPD corner.  Thanks so much!  And for anyone who hasn’t already checked out these blogs, you should most definitely do so.

What I like most about doing these award posts is hopefully being able to give people some new ideas of great blogs to follow.  To those I’m nominated, please don’t feel like you have to do an award post.  I know they can be a lot to take on, and I certainly take my sweet time doing them.

The Mystery Blogger Award:

Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts.  Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates.  They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get.  This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.  – Okoto Enigma


  • Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Tell your readers 3 things(facts or anything you want to share) about yourself.
  • Answer the questions you were asked(if any)
  • Nominate 10 – 20 people & notify.
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions(optional) of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).


Question from Eternal Conversations:

If you’re supposed to become an animal, then what animal on this whole planet you would like/choose to become ?!  I would pick dolphin.  They’re smart and they get to frolic around in the water – sounds like a pretty good existence!

Questions from Therapy Bits:

  1. How do you view your past? I try to avoid looking at the past, which is probably not a good thing.
  2. How do you view your future? I used to have a fairly clear idea of what my future might be like, but now I have no idea.
  3. What is the most gooey, cheesy thing you like to eat?  Mac and cheese with bacon.
  4. If you changed careers for the love of it, what would you be doing?  I love my career as a nurse and wouldn’t change that, but I would like to change up where I’m working.
  5. Do you consider yourself to be good at math(s)?  I’m good enough to do basic math in my head, but it’s never been a subject that really interested me.

Questions from My Inner MishMash:

  1. What’s your biggest fear? Spiders.  If I’m watching a movie or something that shows a spider I need to cover my eyes until it’s gone.
  2. What’s your biggest accomplishment in life? I was really proud of getting my master’s degree in psychiatric nursing.
  3. How many Jacks or Jackies do you know and do you like them (this weird one).  Hmm, the only person I can think of is a girl I knew way back in university.  She had a nice alliterative name (jackie Jarvis), and yes, I did like her.  
  4. Do you like your job? If you’re not working, what job would you like to have?  I love being a nurse, but my current jobs are just so-so.
  5. Do you write anything else besides on your blog?  I’ve done some guest posts on other sites, and in the past I’ve written about mental health in several nursing journals.

Questions from This Girl’s Got Curves:

  1. What do you want to be doing five years from now?  I really don’t know.  I used to have a much clearer idea of where I wanted my life to go, but the future has gotten a lot fuzzier.
  2. Who do you most look up to and why (alive or dead, famous or family)?  I really admire the Dalai Lama and the message he puts out to the world.
  3. What do you do first in the morning?  Feed the guinea pigs.  Sometimes they can tell I’m awake because they hear me shifting around in bed and they start squeaking to demand their food NOW.
  4. What is your favorite song?
  5. (Silly) What is the oldest thing in your fridge? Probably fish sauce that I use for Thai cooking.  I don’t know why they make the bottle so big when you use so little at a time.  I figure there’s so much salt and who knows what else in there that it just never goes bad.

Questions from Scarlett’s BPD Corner:

  • What was the most important experience in your life?  Probably my first episode of depression when I got really sick and spent 2 months in hospital.  Not important in a good way, but it hugely impacted the direction my life has gone in since then.
  • What makes you keep going?  Probably inertia, mostly.  My pet guinea pigs are also helpful in this respect.
  • If you had to choose between streaking and eating the same meal for 5 years, what would you choose? That would depend on so many factors, but probably the same meal.
  • What was the post you enjoyed writng the most? Talk a bit about it and why it made you feel so much enjoyment?  I think I get the most satisfaction out of posts that involve ranting about stigma.  There’s just something satisfying about a good rant.
  • What is your favorite topic or theme to talk about in your blog?  Anything mental health-related.

My nominees:

I’ve picked as nominees blogs that (at least according to the vast wisdom of my blogging spreadsheet) I haven’t nominated for awards before.  Rather than give you new questions to answer, feel free to pick from whichever of the questions I was asked that you find the most interesting.


So my friends, there you have it.  Thanks again to Eternal ConversationsTherapy BitsMy Inner MishMash, This Girls’ Got Curves, and Scarlett’s BPD corner! xoxo  I hope you’ll check out all of the blogs I’ve linked to in this post, because they are fabulous.


My fav – animal!

What's your favorite tag

What's your favorite animal?

It’s What’s Your Favorite #wyf day over at Revenge of Eve.  Today’s theme is fav animal.  This is a no-brainer for me.  I’m crazy guinea pig lady, with five little balls of fur that rock my world.  I’m temporarily distracted by the family of woodpeckers roosting on my balcony, but guinea pigs will always be #1

Cookie, Oreo, and Casper begging for food

When they want food, the girls stick their faces out the cage door and make loud squeaking noises.

Squeaky sitting on top of Zippy

Double-decker stack of guinea pig boys.


Guidelines 4 #wyf:

  • Title your post My Fav!
  • Give your answer to your favorite and why it is so.
  • Link to Monday’s, What’s YourFavorite? post for pingbacks
  • Use the hashtag #wyf

Liebster and Versatile Blogger Awards

Liebster Award nomination badgeversatileblogger3

It truly warms my heart to be recognized by fellow bloggers.  Love you guys!!!  LivinglifewithmentalhealthBipolar – Notice Me Aliens, and A Guy Called Bloke nominated me for the Liebster Award, and Life With an Illness and The Jessica Effect nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.  If you aren’t already familiar with these blogs, definitely check them out, because they’re fabulous.

These awards are a fun way to get to know each other and also to spread the love around.  I’ve picked as nominees people that I haven’t nominated for awards before (at least according to my all-knowing blogging spreadsheet), and hopefully I can give you some ideas of cool new blogs to follow.  For those I’ve nominated, please don’t feel obligated to do an award post, or take your sweet time doing one…  I know they can be time-consuming!  Oh, and if you’ve already been nominated for the one that I’ve nominated you for, please feel free to switch your nomination over to the other award.  As you can probably guess from the alphabetical order, no thought went into which award to nominate you for 😉

So, time to dive right in.

Liebster Award

“The Liebster Award is an award for bloggers that is given by other bloggers. It exists only on the internet and gives recognition and exposure to new and promising blogs. Liebster is a German word that means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. The winner is chosen and awarded at the end of each year.”

The official rules of the award are as follows:

  • Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you and display the award logo.
  • Answer 11 questions that the blogger gives you.
  • Nominate 11 blogs that you think are deserving of the award.
  • Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Let the bloggers know of their nomination!


Questions from Livinglifewithmentalhealth:

  1. When you are old, what do you think children will ask you to tell stories about?  When I’m old I dream of having a farm with a bunch of  critters, so kids will want stories about the critters.
  2. What animal would be cutest if scaled down to the size of a cat? A komodo dragon.  That’s not actually the cutest, but it just popped into my mind.
  3. What weird food combinations do you really enjoy? I’m sure there are a few, but what’s jumping to mind isn’t actually a food combination, but a combination of pancakes and cold temperature.  I love cold pancakes.
  4. What are some red flags to watch out for in daily life? Guinea pigs who aren’t interested in food.  Huge red flag.
  5. If your job gave you a surprise three day paid break to rest and recuperate, what would you do with those three days? Chill out at home.
  6. What’s the most creative use of emojis you’ve ever seen? I’m a bit baffled by emojis beyond the basic ones.
  7. What “old person” things do you do?  Go to bed by 8pm.
  8. What’s something you really resent paying for?  Parking.
  9. What riddles do you know? None that I can think of.
  10. If someone narrated your life, who would you want to be the narrator? Sean Connery because he has a cool voice.
  11. If you were moving to another country, but could only pack one carry-on sized bag, what would you pack? Laptop, passport, wallet, pills.


Questions from Bipolar – Notice Me Aliens

  1. What is your favorite hobby/passion? Probably travelling.
  2. How many languages can you speak?  Just English, but any time I travel I learn a handful of words in the local language.
  3.  You like animals?  Yes!!!!!!
  4. You ever play a videogame? If yes what is your favourite?  I haven’t played video games since I was a kid, at which point I liked Legend of Zelda (or whatever it was called).
  5. You have any piercing?  I have both ears pierced, but don’t actually wear earrings that often any more.
  6. You have any tattoo? I have 3.  My favorite is a large phoenix tattoo.
  7. The last book you have read? The Introvert Advantage.
  8. Your goals/dreams for the future? Do more travelling.  Find a job I like (same career, just different job).
  9. What you think about the “stigma” to mental illness?
  10. Favourite flavor of pizza?  “Canadian”, i.e. pepperoni, bacon, and mushroom
  11. Morning or night? Morning morning morning


Questions from A Guy Called Bloke:

  1. What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened to you?
  2. Do you own a pet if so, what? I have 5 guinea pigs, which may officially make me a crazy guinea pig lady.
  3. What is your favourite game – this can be old fashioned board games all the way up to current? Colonel Mustard with a rope in the dining room… Clue!
  4. Have you ever had to make a decision that you didn’t like? Discuss if you wish or simply answer Yes/No?  Yes.  Quit my job or continue to be bullied.
  5. What animal would be cutest if scaled down to the size of a guinea pig?  It doesn’t get any cuter than a guinea pig, so that’s that.
  6. What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of? Dirty Dancing.  Patrick Swayze just keeps getting sexier and sexier every time.
  7. Where are some unusual places you’ve been?  Riding on horseback and staying in a yurt in Kyrgyzstan.
  8. Do you think that aliens exist? I think the chances of Earth being the only planet with life are very slim.
  9. What mythical creature do you wish actually existed? A unicorn.  and I would braid purple ribbons in its hair.
  10. Which of your teachers at school resembled the dragon or a dragon? Who is the dragon?  I feel like I’m missing something….  But my grade 6 teacher was Maori and he struck me as a warrior-like individual who could kick some dragon ass.
  11. If magic was real, what spell would you try to learn first?  Making icky people disappear.


My nominees:

I like the questions that were posed to me, so for my nominees I say pick at random from the 33 questions above.

Versatile Blogger Award

The rules are simple:

  • Give 8 interesting facts about yourself.
  • Nominate few versatile bloggers and you’re done.

Facts about me:

  1. I have one grandparent still living: my grandma, who is 101 years old.
  2. Longevity runs in the family, and I have little hope of dying of natural causes before I’m 90.
  3. I’m thinking about getting a new tattoo of a Celtic oak tree design.
  4. I’m a notorious plant killer but I have 2 happy prayer plants in my bedroom.
  5. Bedtime is often my favorite time of day.
  6. At this moment I can see my iron sitting in my closet, and realize that it has been several years since I last used it.
  7. I have cold feet so I prefer to wear socks even in the summer.
  8. I’m glad that I’m part Arabic, because it means I tend to tan rather than sunburn.


My nominees:


So, there you have it!  Thanks again to LivinglifewithmentalhealthBipolar – Notice Me Aliens,  A Guy Called Bloke, Life With an Illness, and The Jessica Effect for the nominations.  Please have a  look at these blogs and the blogs I’ve nominated…. they’re well worth a read!

Spreading your writing wings


So, you’re loving writing your own blog but you’re looking to try something new and expand further out into the world?  Well, there’s actually a lot of opportunities to do just that, so I thought I’d share with you what I’ve been able to find.

Guest posts

There are lots of sites that publish guest posts related to mental health; some are looking for your personal stories, while others are open to writing focused on various mental health topics.  There are blogs on WordPress where you can do this, but here I’m going to focus on sites outside of WordPress.  My impression is that you don’t have to be an experienced blogger or have lots of followers to get a guest post published; what matters is writing something that will resonate with people.

  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Lifesavers Blog: publishes posts that educate people about suicide and convey hope/healing/resilience
  • Bring Change to Mind: share your personal story in writing or on video
  • Buddy Project: share your story as part of the You Are Not Alone campaign
  • Defying Mental Illness: share your story in the form of a loosely structured interview
  • Healthable; accepts articles on a variety of topics
  • I am 1 in 4: tell your story; prompts are provided to help give you ideas
  • Mental Health Matters: informative posts related to mental health.  They’ve just published an article I wrote about supplements for depression that are supported by research evidence.
  • Mental Health Talk: share your story and become one of their Superhero bloggers
  • The Mighty:  The Mighty is a very popular site with some amazing content.  I haven’t felt confident enough to submit an article to them yet, but it is a goal of mine.
  • Mind: This UK-based mental health charity gives you the opportunity to share your story on their site, and offers lots of guidance on how to go about it and what to write about.
  • Mind Body Green: they’re looking for articles related to wellness
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): share personal stories
  • NoStigmas: share your voice in the fight against stigma
  • OC87 Recovery Diaries: share your mental health recovery story
  • Outrun the Stigma: looking for personal stories, and provides prompts to guide you
  • Pick the Brain: welcomes posts on self-improvement for their community blog
  • Respect Yourself: publishes guest blog posts related to mental wellness in youth.  They published a post I submitted on youth suicide prevention.
  • SANE: this UK-based mental health charity has monthly blogging themes
  • #SickNotWeak: tell your story
  • Stamp Out Stigma: share your story
  • Stigma Fighters: share you personal story.  They published a story I submitted about experiencing stigma in the workplace.
  • This Is My Brave: share your recovery journey in written or video form
  • Time to Change: publishes personal stories geared to the general public with an aim of changing people’s views of mental illness.  They published a story I submitted for their #Inyourcorner campaign about how a friend with mental illness and I supported each other.

Other ideas

  • Feedspot: The cool thing about Feedspot is they do ranking lists, including a top 60 mental health blogs list.  When I submitted my blog to their directory a few months ago they offered to feature my blog if I paid them (which I didn’t do), but then this month I ended up on their top 60 list (I’m not really sure what the criteria are for this, but presumably you need to have submitted your blog to them).
  • Psych Central: Psych Central has a lot of great content of their own, but they also have a resource directory that includes links to mental health blogs that have been submitted.

It’s easy to stay in my comfort zone and write for my own blog, but I’m glad that I’ve pushed myself to try new things   There’s a fear of rejection that goes along with submitting a guest blog, but that’s probably good practice.  Hopefully it will help move me forward towards my goal of submitting more work to academic journals.  And really, any excuse to write is a good thing.


Image credit:  John Fowler on Unsplash

#wyf – My fav – scent!

What's your favorite tag

#wyf tag: what's your favorite scent?

It’s What’s Your Favorite #wyf day over at Revenge of Eve.  This week’s fav is scent.  Make sure to check out Eve’s post, because her pick is definitely something unexpected.

There are lots of pretty scents out there, but I think my favorites have got to be food smells.  Burgers sizzling on the bbq, stew bubbling away in the oven, bread baking, cookies and other sweet treats baking….

freshly baked chocolate chip cookies


Image credits:

Revenge of Eve

Photo by Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash

3 Days, 3 Quotes: Day 3

"Maybe you have to know darkness before you can appreciate the light"

“Maybe you have to know darkness before you can appreciate the light” – Madeleine L’Engle

Thanks to A Guy Called Bloke for tagging me for 3 days, 3 quotes.  We’re both on day 3 🙂

The rules are simple:

  • Thank you note to the person who nominates you
  • Post one quote per day for 3 consecutive days
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

Rather than tagging specific people, I’m going to invite anyone who wants to participate to join in and spread a little hope and inspiration.  The more the merrier!

3 Days, 3 Quotes: Day 2

"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat... and have found their way out of the depths"

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Thanks to A Guy Called Bloke for tagging me for 3 days, 3 quotes.  We’re both on day 2 🙂

The rules are simple:

  • Thank you note to the person who nominates you
  • Post one quote per day for 3 consecutive days
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

Rather than tagging specific people, I’m going to invite anyone who wants to participate to join in and spread a little hope and inspiration.  The more the merrier!

3 Days, 3 Quotes: Day 1

"When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength"

“When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength” – Mahatma Gandhi

Thanks to A Guy Called Bloke for tagging me for 3 days, 3 quotes.  This is day 1 for him as well, so you can look forward to 2 more days of inspiration from both of us 🙂

The rules are simple:

  • Thank you note to the person who nominates you
  • Post one quote per day for 3 consecutive days
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

Rather than tagging specific people, I’m going to invite anyone who wants to participate to join in and spread a little hope and inspiration.  The more the merrier!

On a side note, I used Canva (for the first time) to make this quote image.  Does anyone have any favorites they like to use for this kind of thing?

Blog awards mashup 2

Liebster Award badgeVersatile Blogger Award BadgeBlog award badge

I feel very honoured to be recognized by fellow bloggers with award nominations.  I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Funky Chrissy, the Blogger Appreciation Award by A Balancing Act, and the Versatile Blogger Award by Scarlett’s BPD Corner and Therapy Bits.  Thanks so much to all of you – you’re amazing!!!  I like doing these award post because they’re a great chance to spread the love.  The blogs that nominated me are all fabulous, so please check them out if you haven’t already.  With the nominees I chose I’ve tried to pick blogs I haven’t nominated before and that I think you might not be familiar with yet.  So definitely go have a look!  And for those I’ve nominated, please don’t feel in any way obligated to do an award post – I know they can be a lot to take on.  And if you decide to do an award post, feel free to take your sweet time 🙂

Ok, here we go!

Liebster Award

This seems to be the magically morphing award.  I’ve had a few of these, and it’s always a different award image, rules, etc.  Sometimes it’s an award for new bloggers, and sometimes it’s not.  Maybe it should be renamed the kitchen sink award!


1.) Acknowledge the blogger who nominated your blog.
2.) Answer their questions.
3.) Nominate 11 other new bloggers to encourage them.
4.) Ask them 11 questions.
5.) Let them know you have nominated them.

Questions from Chrissy:

1.) If you were to own a prehistorical animal, which one would you choose and why? A pterodactyl, because flying could be fun.
2.) If you had the chance to go to school for free, what would you study to be? Probably a PhD in nursing.
3.) What movie do you not want to see a remake of?  I think they never should have made a remake of Dirty Dancing.  Nothing could have possibly lived up to the original.
4.) Would you rather live way back in the past or in the future…and why?  I think I’d be inclined to think the past, before I got sick.
5.) What moment of your life do you wish you could relive forever?  I don’t think I have a single moment, but probably my most interesting experiences have been while travelling.
6.) If you had to perform your least favourite song on stage, what song would it be?  If it was me performing, it wouldn’t make much difference whether it would be least or most favorite song, because it would all sound equally bad,
7.) If you were to give your best friend a pet name instead of a person name, what would it be?  One of my pet guinea pigs is named Cookie, or Cookie Monster for short (ok, I know it’s not actually shorter, but whatever).  I think that would be a good person name.
8.) What do you think you are much better at than you actually are?  Possibly driving, because other people think I drive too fast.
9.) If mythical creatures existed, which group would you hang out with? Which group do you think would be the A List group?  I guess it depends what we mean by mythical.  In terms of old school mythical, phoenix all the way.  And I don’t know if this counts as new school mythical, but the whole She-Ra/He-Man situation sounds like a fun little gang.
10.) What are you interested in that most people aren’t?  I am a geek and like to learn new things.  I watch continuing medical education webinars and read research papers just for the hell of it.
11.) What TV show character would it be the most fun to change places with for a week and why?  Jem from Jem and the Holograms.  Yes, I know I’m dating myself what that reference.

My nominees:  I’m not very creative at coming up with questions, so I’m going to pass on to my nominees the same questions that Chrissy asked me.


Blogger Appreciation Award

The rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their site.
  • Write a paragraph of something positive about yourself.
  • Nominate and notify as many bloggers as you wish.
  • Use the Blogger Appreciation Award Image.

Something positive:

I am a good guinea pig mom.  I have 5 little munchkins, and I give them a happy home with lots of love and lots of fresh vegetables.  They are active, chatty, and engaged, all signs of healthy piggies.  It’s the one area of my life where I feel like my level of functioning isn’t impaired at all, which is reassuring, and I get a lot of benefit from my informal emotional support animals.

guinea pig sitting in a hay manger

My nominees:


Versatile Blogger Award


  1. Thank the person who gave you this award and link to their blog.
  2. List 7 things about yourself.
  3. Nominate 10 to 20 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.

7 Things about me:

  1. As I write this I’m visiting my grandma, who is 101 years old!!!
  2. I could happily eat cheeseburgers and cheesecake all the time.
  3. I try to be very organized.  I rely on a spreadsheet to keep track of all things blog-related.
  4. I have cold feet and wear socks all the time.  Yup, even in bed.
  5. I will be turning 40 in just over a year.  I used to think it would be a big deal, but now I realize it’s just another number.
  6. I don’t own a suitcase.  Backpack all the way!
  7. I think my next trip is going to be to Slovenia and Croatia.

My nominees:


Alright folks, there you have it!  Again, thanks so much to Funky Chrissy, A Balancing Act, Scarlett’s BPD Corner, and Therapy Bits for the nominations ❤️  Please check out the various blogs I’ve mentioned because they’re all wonderful 🙂


TMI tag

I’ve been tagged by the fabulous Therapy Bits for TMI Tag.  So, off to the races!

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WEARING? Yoga pants and a tank top.


DID YOU EVER HAD A TERRIBLE BREAKUP? Yes.  I broke up with him, he got high and showed up at my work and created a scene.  Cops were involved.  Despite that,  we reconnected as friends later on.


HOW TALL ARE YOU? 5 foot 8 inches

HOW MUCH DO YOU WEIGH? I haven’t weighed myself lately, but around 185 lb.


DO YOU HAVE ANY TATTOOS? Three.  Small ones on each hip, and a large one on my left side.

WHATS YOUR FAVORITE DRINK? It’s not the most interesting, but I’ll say water because I drink so much of it.

WHATS YOUR FAVORITE SONG?  Don’t really have one.


HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO SHOWER? From 5-15 minutes, depending on if I’m shaving or exfoliating or anything like that.

WHATS FAVORITE SHOW? The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

WHATS YOUR FAVORITE BAND? Don’t really have one.

SOMETHING YOU REALLY MISS? My close friend Ron who passed away a couple years ago.

WHERE DO YOU GO WHEN YOURE SAD? In my bedroom with my guinea pigs.


HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN A PHYSICAL FIGHT? No.  Just wrestling with the guinea pigs – they like vigorous play.



QUALITY YOU LOOK FOR IN A PARTNER? Accepting, non-judgmental, kind.


LOUD MUSIC OR SOFT? Usually loud, especially in my car.

FAVORITE QUOTE? There’s a few, but a favourite from Confucius is:

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

FAVORITE ACTOR? Matt Damon comes to mind first.

DO YOU HAVE ANY FEARS? WHAT THEY ARE? Spiders.  Gives me the heebie-jeebies even thinking about it.

WHATS THE LAST THING THAT MADE YOU CRY? Yesterday I cried feeling scared being vulnerable.

MEANING BEHIND YOUR BLOG NAME? It’s something I’d thought of as a name if I were to start a private mental health nursing practice.


LAST BOOK YOU READ? The Introvert Advantage.



LAST PLACE YOU WERE? I’m in my bedroom right now.

LAST SPORT YOU PLAYED? I guess that would be softball a couple years ago, although “played” is perhaps an overstatement of my contribution.

WHOS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO? My doctor this morning.

LAST SONG YOU SANG? Nothing today, but I sang several songs in my car yesterday.

FAVORITE CHAT UP LINE? I don’t even know what this is…

DO YOU HAVE A CRUSH? When I think crush I think crazy, obsessive, and unreasonable, so by that definition, not right now.


FAVORITE FOOD? Cheeseburgers.

PLACE YOU WANT TO VISIT? Lots of places, but for my next trip I’m thinking Slovenia and Croatia.

WHATS THE LAST TIME YOU KISSED SOMEONE? at weekend I kissed my mom.

LAST TIME YOU WERE INSULTED? The last thing that stuck in my mind was being insulted by my boss last year.


WHAT INSTRUMENTS DO YOU PLAY? I have played piano, clarinet, and flute in the past, but it’s been quite a while since I played anything.

FAVORITE PIECE OF JEWELRY? I don’t wear much jewelry.

LAST TIME YOU HUNG OUT WITH ANYONE? Had dinner with my brother last week.


So, there you have it!  Rather than tagging specific people, I’m going to say if you want to join in the fun, consider yourself tagged!

What’s Your Favorite?



It’s What’s Your Favorite day over at Revenge of Eve, and today’s topic is room in the house.  For me, like Eve, it’s definitely my bedroom.  It’s south-facing, so it’s nice and bright on sunny days like today.  My girl guinea pigs live in the bedroom, and the boys are next door in the bathroom.  The guinea pigs kick up lots of hay and bedding so the floor is always dirty.  I like to sit on my bed to write and have a big soft cushion for that purpose.


Blog award extravaganza


Liebster5Blogger Recognition Award badgeSunshine blogger award badgeMystery blogger award logo


Wowza.  I have been nominated for 5 different blog awards recently, and I feel so incredibly honoured to be recognized by my fellow bloggers.  This is an amazing little love-fest we’ve got going on in the WordPress community.  Since I get overwhelmed easily, I’m going to combine them all into one big adventure.  I’m using the spreadsheet I have for all things blogging to try to make up for my brain being not very on the ball, but if any of what follows gets jumbled and makes no sense, it’s the brain’s fault, not the spreadsheet’s 😉  And the take-home message in all of this is please check out the blogs I’ve linked to in this post, because they are all fabulous.

It’s always hard to figure out who to nominate for awards, and a lot of it comes down to who happens to be at the top of my WordPress feed when I happen to be working on the post.  I try to mostly nominate people who aren’t already in my spreadsheet as blogs I’ve nominated, but I’m generally pretty discombobulated.  If I haven’t mentioned you, it’s not because I love you any less!  And for those I have nominated, please feel free to ignore the nomination, accept it and leave it at that, or join in and do your own award post…  whatever feels right for you.  I know these award posts can take a lot of work, so no pressure to take that on.  And on a side note, if anyone’s not familiar with pingbacks yet, if you link to a blog’s website (not the blog’s page in WordPress reader), the blogger will get a pingback notification that you’ve linked to their their blog.  It definitely took me a while to figure that whole situation out.

Alright, time to dive right in!



The lovely Sweet Summer Online has nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.

The rules:

  • Write 7 interesting facts about yourself
  • Nominate 15 amazing bloggers for the award.

7 Facts about me:

  1. I have 5 pet guinea pigs, 3 girls and 2 boys.
  2. My middle name, Leia, comes from my great grandmother rather than Star Wars.
  3. My ancestors are a hodgepodge of English, Scottish, Danish, and Lebanese.
  4. I am a plant killer extraordinaire, but I have a prayer plant beside my bed that’s doing well and does a lot of moving around, which is cool.
  5. Dance has always been my favourite form of exercise, and I’ve done everything from ballet to ballroom to hip hop.
  6. The only famous person I’ve seen up close was Penelope Cruz in Cannes.
  7. My favourite book is a tie between Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) and Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens).

My nominees:



I was nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by the fabulous Hyper Child Chill Mom.

What is the “Mystery Blogger Award” ?

It’s an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.  It appears to have been started by Okoto Enigma


  • Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  • Share a link to your best post(s).


  1. What is the weirdest scar you have and how did you get it?  I have a round indented scar between my eyebrows from chicken pox.
  2. Shark diving, bungee jumping, or sky diving? I’ve already tried bungee jumping and sky diving, so next up would be shark diving.
  3. What is one of the weirdest things you used to do as a teenager? I was a geek and had a pretty tame life in high school.
  4. In your opinion, what is the best Disney movie to come out since Disney’s Golden Age?  I’m not so up on my Disney and don’t actually know what the golden age was, but I’m going to say Lion King.
  5. What is your favorite Wikipedia article? I don’t think I have a favourite, but I do use Wikipedia a lot.  A few years back I went through a phase of doing a lot of Wikipedia article editing (which, by the way, anyone can do).

My nominees: I pass on to all of you the same questions I was asked by Hyper Child Chill Mom.



I was nominated for the Liebster Award by the very cool former Rude Girl in an Aspie World, who’s now blogging at Discovering My Authentic Self.

The Rules:

  • Write about your blog and thank the person who nominated you. Share a link to their blog and write a little something about their blog too.
  • Display the award on your blog
  • Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel would enjoy blogging about this award.
  • Answer the questions provided.
  • Make a new set of 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  • List these rules in your post
  • Inform the people/blogs that you nominated.

The Questions:

  1. What inspired you or why did you start blogging? (This could also be related to writing. You choose)  I was looking for something to give me a bit more sense of purpose, and I think it’s really important to talk about mental health.
  2. What is the reason behind your blog name and/or url?  It was something I’d had in mind as a potential name if I start a private nursing practice at some point down the road.
  3. In your personal opinion, what is your favorite blog or best blog you have posted so far and why?  I honestly don’t have a favourite, because they’re all about topics that matter to me.
  4. What are some of your favorite tips for new bloggers? Write about what moves you.
  5. How has blogging changed your life? It has absolutely changed my life, making me feel much more connected to the world.  Plus it means I’ve always got something productive to do with my time.
  6. Do you like music? If so, what are some of your favorite artists or songs etc?  I like to crank up the tunes while I’m driving, but I’m not really that attached to any particular artist.  Favourite song tends to rotate based on where my head is at.
  7. Do you read? If so, what are some of your favorite books or authors?  I do like to read.  I used to read more fiction, but for the last while my concentration hasn’t been that great, so non-fiction is easier.
  8. What are some of your hobbies? Blogging and being a guinea pig mom.
  9. What places do you really want to see, experience or visit? I really want to visit Lhasa in Tibet.
  10. If there was one thing (anything) in humanity or the world you could change without question ifs or buts, what would it be?  I would make people more compassionate.

My nominees:  I pass on to you the same questions as I was asked by Discovering My Authentic Self.



Functioning in my dysfunction and Little Lost One Blog nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award.  Interestingly enough, I discovered both of these lovelies through the award post nominating them on Scarlett’s BPD Corner.


  1. Shout out to the blogger who nominated you with a link to her/his blog.
  2. Answer questions given by the blogger.
  3. Nominate 11 bloggers for the sunshine award, with links to their blogs.
  4. Don’t forget to notify your nominees.
  5. Come up with your own questions and tag 11 other bloggers nominating them to do the same.


  1. What is your favorite animal?  Guinea pigs – I have 5.
  2. You’re streaming Netflix, what are you watching? Lately I’ve been watching true crime stuff.
  3. What’s the biggest goal you want to accomplish this year? I’ve got a paper about bullying that’s almost finished that I’ve been to nervous to submit to an academic journal because I worry about negative feedback from peer review, but I’d like to move forward with that later this year.
  4. If you had the chance to travel the world, what’s the first place you’d visit? I think my next trip will be to the former Yugoslavia area.
  5. What’s your dream profession and what made you choose it?  My dream profession is being a nurse.  I love my work, I just don’t like the politics and the crappy management that tend to go along with it.
  6. Who is your biggest role model? I don’t have one in particular, but there are a lot of amazing people out there.
  7. What are the top 5 songs on your playlist? Right now I’ve got a couple of John Legend songs in heavy rotation.
  8. What do you do for fun?  Fun?  What’s that?  …. Unfortunately, I don’t really remember.
  9. Why did you start blogging? To add to the conversation about mental health.
  10. What keeps you focused?  My meds.
  11. What do you hope people take away from your blog posts?  That it’s ok to talk about difficult things.

My nominees: I pass on to you the same questions that I was asked.



I was nominated for this award by my dear name-sister Ashley at Practicing Imperfection.

Here’s how the award works:

  1. Post the Blogger Recognition Award Rules.
  2. Use Blogger Recognition Award badge on your website.
  3. Share the reasons why you blog.
  4. Share two tips for new bloggers.
  5. Nominate other bloggers for this award and notify each of them about this nomination.

Why I blog

The more we talk about mental health, the better things will be for all those of us living with mental illness.

Tips for new bloggers:

  1. Decide on an intention or purpose for your blog, and bring yourself back to that regularly, because it can be easy to get swept away.
  2. Write about what matters to you, and don’t limit yourself with what you think you can’t or shouldn’t say.

My nominees:


If you’ve made it to the end of this epic post, good for you!  This post is all about spreading the love, so I hope you’ll check out the blogs I’ve mentioned.  Thanks again to the wonderful bloggers that nominated me – hugs to all of you.

TMI tag


Barb at Bipolar Barb tagged me for TMI tag.  So, here we go:

Q: Have you ever been in love?

Yes.  Who hasn’t been in love at some point, even if it was unrequited?

Q: What is your favorite drink?

Water.  Not the most interesting, but I drink a ton of it.  I’m also a big fan of hot chocolate that’s made from actual chocolate rather than powder or syrup.

Q: What is your favorite song?

It varies depending on my mood.

Q: What is your zodiac sign?


Q: What is your favorite show?

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.  He’s such a cutie pie, and humor makes a good distraction.,

Q: What is your favorite band?

Don’t have a particular favorite.

Q: Something you really miss.

Being well.

Q: Where do you go when you are sad?

My bedroom.

Q: Have you ever been in a physical fight?

Not as far as I can remember.  I’m more of the run away and cry type.

Q: What is your favorite colour?


Q: Loud music or soft?

I mostly listen to music in the car, and crank it loud.

Q: Favorite actor.

Don’t have one.  Brad Pitt and Leonardo Dicaprio were a couple of my favorites back in the day.

Q: Do you have any fears? What are they?

Spiders.  I get torn between needing them to be dead but not wanting to get close enough to kill them.  The technique I’ve settled in is sticking my hand in a boot and using the boot to smash them.

Q: Meaning behind your blog name.

It was something I had in mind as a possible name if I were to start a private nursing practice at some point in the future.

Q: Last time you said you loved someone.

It’s been so long that I don’t remember, which I guess is rather sad.  Although I do tell my guinea pigs that I love them all the time.

Q: Last book you read.

Strong at the Broken Places by Richard M. Cohen, which is about living with chronic illness.  I’m working on a review that I’ll post soon.

Q: The book you are currently reading.

A Fearless Heart by Thupten Jinpa.

Q: Last sport you played.

Softball.  But I can’t catch, throw, or hit, so really I was there for decoration more than anything.

Q: Last song you sang.

I sing along a lot (and very badly) while driving, so something from my current playlist.

Q: Favorite food.

Cheeseburgers and cheesecake.

Q: Place you want to visit.

Lhasa, Tibet.

Q: Favorite flavor of sweet.

Peanut butter-chocolate combo.

Q: What instruments do you play?

Back in the day I played piano, clarinet, and flute.

Q: Favorite piece of jewelry.

A ring from a close friend who has passed away.  It lives on my left pinky and I never take it off.


Rather than calling out specific people to tag, I’m going to leave it up to my readers.  If you’re interested in playing along, well then tag, you’re it!