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Springtime revives me… and my plants!

18 Mar

Spring has sprung! Well, officially not yet, but my tulips, garlic, catnip (that somehow lasted all winter), and daffodils have sprung! I, too, am feeling a sense of refreshed motivation to take on the world and inspire my students!
I am fully aware this may be from my new organic espresso or my spinach protein shake, however, I attribute it in part to the sun, and the lovely green I am beginning to see in my garden!

The thought of the sun actually existing in the sky (in Upstate NY) really motivates me to tackle so much, including re-vamping this old blog! Of course, it will continue to be coffee-fueled, minus the Thesis updates! Although, I have a lot of research ideas (and multiple have-started articles) so there might be some new musings about that in this revived blog, too. Although I’m not sure which direction I will take this blog in 2016, I just know I love to write, so we’ll see how the blog transforms in the next few months. Enjoy the journey with me!

Back to my garden… I have just started, in between grading midterms, plotting how I will organize my plants and expand my garden this season. I do this annually using colored pencils, which makes the planning so much more exciting. You can say it’s my version of the coloring for adults fad going on right now, which is great, don’t get me wrong, just very pricy considering the costs of children’s coloring books are less than half. It’s a good fad to pick up, as it truly can help limit stress and keep areas of the brain that may have become dormant, more active.

I’ve been using colored pencils, pens, and crayons since my major sTBI back in ’07 to help me organize and to keep my amygdala in check (stress-reduction). I find that planning your garden with color is more cognitively stimulating than simply coloring in the lines of a pre-created image. You activate much more of your cerebral cortex by creating your own canvas (garden), organizing by length and width (to account for each plants’ necessity), and finally, in drawing the “full-in-bloom” version of your Spring 2016 Dream Garden.

Now, I’m no Neurologist, but I feel like I know a thing or two about stress and anxiety. (Just read any posting while I was completing grad school and my Masters Thesis and you’ll see! 😛 ) When I brought up the idea last year to my neurologist of plotting my garden like this, making time each day to work in it, and update the drawings, he was impressed with my rationale for doing this as an alternative to staying on meds to reduce stress. Plus, the extra o^2 from the plants can’t hurt! He might have just been humoring me, but hey, I’m definitely less stressed a year later. And, thanks to my indoor plant/planning during the winter, still no daily rx… I might be onto something! 🙂 Continue reading


Fun Fact Friday on Saturday!

10 Feb

Since I didn’t post this yet, the below “Fun Fact Friday” is delivered today, Saturday!

It’s the week-long awaited Fun Fact Friday! So, here are this weeks learning lessons and fun facts!

1. Even though in the winter months (especially in the northeast) sometimes we might forget, getting outside for at least 30-minutes to exercise can give your day a fantastic start, both from getting up early to appreciate the beauty of the outdoors and from getting your metabolism going strong! I also find I have more energy throughout the ready of the day…

2. Exercise in the AM is great… But if you have the choice between losing a few hours of sleep (less than 6-9 hours, or whatever your normal pattern is) or hit the gym/outside it is best to skip the exercise and get your deep sleep!

3. You can negotiate furniture sales like you haggle with a car dealer! This was entertaining to watch as my mother and I looked for a new couch… And who knew? Well, I sure didn’t!

4. Jeopardy teaches you a lot… Of useful or horribly unuseful, yet amusing information!

5. Shamrock shakes are back at McDonalds haha I always get excited to learn of this, yet I do not drink them. Weird, I know!

6. I feel so much better when I drink between 7-10 glasses of water a day! You might too- try it!

7. The National Football League has supported Breast Cancer Awareness in October since at least 2009 when ref flags were colored pink and each willing to participate team held their own fundraising and/or awareness events! 🙂

8. TV is such a distraction in a small house… The library serves as nice alternate location! *obvious, yes, but it took me too long to remember this!*

9. Having to be someone your not around a group of people, whether friends, relatives, co-workers or otherwise takes more energy than it’ll ever be worth! Realizing this, however can take a long time… Lesson- be yourself no matter what. As the saying goes, or something of the sorts….

Be yourself. Those that matter won’t mind and those that mind most certainly don’t matter!

🙂 .happy weekend. (:



It’s Chyna’s Fun Fact Friday!

12 Jan

Hello lovely readers!

Every Friday from this point on, I solemnly pledge every Friday to post 10-15 “Fun Facts of Life” that I have acquired in the week preceding.

Now, if you are on your way to your Google search bar to peruse the World Wide Web for something you think more worthy of your Friday blog reads than Chyna’s Friday Facts of Knowledge… Kindly, stop right there!

These facts of life, both the random and the specific, will be relevant to your life, at some point – I give my 77% promise! If this percentile fails to convince you to return every Friday, I also solemnly pledge that you have the right to sue me after your death should this promise fail to fulfill.


  1. A cat’s nose turns white when it is warm and pink when it is cold. This may or may not be true of all cats, but is of my kittens FreddyBear and TeresaBella. Image
  2. The chain of command in a non-profit organization: The executive director is not always the highest in the Chain. Sometimes the Board Member’s vote rules higher.
  3. The first name you pick for your personal blog most likely will not be the last. My mentor told me this. I’d like to add that I feel the second name stands a better chance for a Mystery book title. The book will not do well in your lifetime.
  4. Median wage earning for a Communication Graduate Student (Masters) is $12,000 more than Bachelor holding students. This is good news to learn from a US News article and Georgetown Center for Education study!
  5. Thrift stores have pretty cool things – especially if you have an overactive imagination! #win Image
  6. A simple smile with an ear willing to listen for 5-minutes can positively alter the outcome of a co-workers day. Try it!
  7. Standing or walking around for 10-minutes every hour at work can improve your life-span! Live longer – stand up!
  8. Post-Holiday dieting? Apparently, just over a quarter of dieters, such as myself at the present time, will become life-long pathological dieters if they are not careful. Keeping a healthy balance between the intake of fruits, veggies, lean meats and moderate, occasional exercise is a key to sticking to a healthier lifestyle!
  9. I am an idea machine when I have too much coffee after 3pm. Need an idea for a paper or a story – buy me a cup-o-Joe and watch my magic.
  10. “Sometimes, changing your mind is the right decision” – I came across this in an article on The Chronicle website. The article was interestingly enough about Ph.D. pursuits, but this line struck me in other areas of my life!
Dennis Cardiff

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