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My Thoughts For Today


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lloydcollage

This year there were only 8 of us –the others were t0o far away or had work commitments. The ones who live around Horsefly live only 20 miles apart, but we are all very busy people and we just never seem to make time to get together. It had been months since we’d all gotten together here.

It had been so long since I had cooked for more than the two of us, that I almost felt intimidated. But supper turned out good, and we all agreed that we needed to do it more often.

 

nov 27-1

After supper the dishes were stacked on the island and in the sink, and our three granddaughters who live here decorated the tree while the rest of us grabbed a seat and visited and watched them.

 

nov 27-10

After the tree was done Annie surprised her grandpa with a delicious tuxedo cake for his 78 birthday.  Katie played violin and everyone else sat and enjoyed.

nov 27 -3

nov 27-5 (music)

I love our family tradition! It started when the oldest granddaughter was about 13 years old, and has just grown to include the other two as they became old enough to joy in. It is fun to go back and check out the pictures for each year!

It’s 6:30 am and in Horsefly, British Columbia it is still dark outside. I’m up because I’m on a “prednisone high” right now.  I became an asthmatic when I was 22 years old and after 5 years of fighting a losing battle with the illness, my husband I were forced to sell our farm at Stettler, Alberta and head for the mountains in the Elk Valley in British Columbia, where I became symptom-free.  Then we moved to our ranch at Horsefly, B.C. and the symptoms returned because once again I was in an environment that triggered them. After about 10 years the doctor put me on a regular prednisone regimen and I took followed that for 20 years. It helped me “live,” but I cringed at some of the side effects that I could see; weight gain, fullness in the face, thinning skin that bruises easily or in my case still tears open and bleeds with the slightest contact with a sharp edge. I haven’t used it for a while now and had I almost forgotten what the initial effects of it are. Boundless energy, often sleeplessness, although I did sleep through the night. It also masks areas of aches in pains–my hips are not hurting this morning, my neck is not causing me much pain. It is such a potent and amazing drug, but it also has insidious side effects.

During the past three weeks, I have been struggling with a cold bug that has been going around–sore throat, runny nose, tiredness, chills and increasing cough. Last Tuesday I did something that I never do unless I’m very ill–I went back to bed after breakfast and slept for hours- in fact I spent most of Wednesday in bed also. We were supposed to go to town on Thursday, but I just couldn’t face making the trip. My husband, Lloyd, was wonderful. He took over everything and even became my massage therapist and a safe chiropractor.

Yesterday I felt better, but when Lloyd pressed me to go to the doctor, I agreed. I didn’t get in to see my own family doctor, but I had crossed paths with Dr. Reese, the locum who was working yesterday. He remembered me from seeing me in the emergency so many times in the years when my asthma was totally uncontrolled, and he even commented on my condition at that time.

I was glad I got to see him yesterday because he is also an asthmatic, so he is really current with ideas for living with and controlling the illness. The first thing he asked me was if I had an “emergency package.” I had no idea what he meant, so he explained that I should always have  a 5-day prescription for 50 mg of Prednisone  and a full cycle of antibiotics on hand. These would only be used when I knew I was becoming compromised, and could help to ward of pneumonia and other complications. No one had ever suggested that to me before.  He listened to my lungs and immediately prescribed both. I was so relieved that I actually shed tears

All the way to town I worried about taking the doctors time when it wasn’t necessary, or worse yet, being told that there was nothing wrong with me. I thought about that afterwards and realized that it probably is a subconscious fear that stems from a comment that a doctor made when I first went for help in 1965. He told me that there was nothing wrong with me, that it was all in my head. After that, I clammed up and refused to go for medical help until I ended up in the hospital, under the care of a different doctor.  

Today Asthma is recognised as a serious condition and treatment is changing and improving. Still, when you have a chronic condition, everyone around you gets used to it–including you. About ten years ago I had a life threatening anaphylactic reaction, and at that time the medical team changed all of my medications.  That was life changing for me and although I always have a rescue inhaler with me and avoid situations that I know are dangerous for me, I don’t worry about having a flare up. I have not been to the emergency or hospitalised with asthma for several years (except that it was wildly uncontrolled when I went in for emergency surgery a year ago–but that was exacerbated by extreme pain and stress.)

Just yesterday morning Dr. Art on Global BC talked about the dangers of ignoring asthma symptoms and how many people die each year from flare-ups of the uncontrolled disease.

I encourage anyone who has undiagnosed symptoms of lung disease, or who has chronic asthma to ask their doctor to refer them to a respiratory therapist. I recently visited the one at our local hospital. It had been 16 years since my last visit, and my lung disease has advanced by a small degree, but after so many years I believe that is to be expected. I have learned to live within my limitations, but she suggested that my GP perscribe a new inhaler for me. These people are well trained and will pick up things that your general practitioner may miss. Our respiratory therapist told us that there is a new focus on asthma in the medical research community now, and there are better medications and ways of dealing with the issues coming online all the time.

Don’t ignore this very prevalent disease that often rears its ugly head at this beautiful time of the year in our area.

 

Marketing Tip: Include More than Just Your Book in Your Book

 

 

Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.co

Have you ever finished a great book and thought to yourself, I would love to send a note to the author, only to find yourself at a loss for how to do so? In my opinion, by not including contact information at the end of their books, those authors are missing out on a wonderful opportunity to connect with their readers.

Here are some other things you can include in your books to connect with your readers.

1)   The first chapter of your next book:

2)   A sense of your personality in the acknowledgements:

3)   Your website and/or newsletter information:

To  find out more read Marie’s post in full by clicking on the link below

Marketing Tip: Include More than Just Your Book in Your Book

As we get older, we are reminded of our mortality more frequently. I don’t dwell on it, fear it or deny it because it is a simple fact of human life, and from my point of view there really are things worse than death.

Over the past six months my big strapping, can-do-anything husband’s health has declined. He has kept pushing on, enjoying his gardening and his small orchard last summer, but he found himself to be increasingly tired and short of breath. So during the past 3 months he has embarked on a journey to find out what is causing it.

The first was to address his life-long sleep apnea.  Over the years,  I knew that he stopped breathing at times, but I just got used to that unless it went on for too long and then I would shake him and he would start again. Tests showed that it was happening more than 320 times a night. He was diagnosed years ago and bought a machine, but it was noisy and cumbersome and he ditched it after a few months. Now he has a new one and technology has made vast improvements.  I still don’t envy him when he has to put it on at night, but it is mercifully silent and he doesn’t have to wear a full face mask now.

Then we went through the treadmill and ECG tests.  Not satisfied, the doctor sent him to Kamloops Hospital for another, more in-depth heart test.  They found nothing that concerned them.

But still his blood oxygen levels stayed at about 88% , which is concerning.  The doctor and respiratory therapist ordered home oxygen. The day it was installed, Lloyd was out working in his landscaping planting two Maple trees–shoveling dirt and setting the trees. When the respiratory therapist who installed the oxygen took his oxygen level it remained at 88%.

On Tuesday (Nov 3rd) we went to see a Respiratory Specialist in Kelowna (6 hour drive one way). He had reviewed all of Lloyds test results and concluded that the level of asthma and CPOD that he might have would not cause the significant lowering of oxygen in his blood. He told him to use the oxygen 24 hours a day and now we are back to square one.

More blood tests, more lung scans and more heart tests. When Lloyd asked him what he was looking for he said possibly a blood clot in the lung or weakening of the heart’s ability to pump, resulting in fluid build up around the lungs.

We will be both happy to finally know what we are dealing with and take it from there.

When we were traveling we were listening to Willies Roadhouse on Sirius Radio and the song “If Tomorrow Never Comes” played. I was reminded again how important it is to tell and show all those who mean so much in our lives how we feel–in case tomorrow never comes.

 

Last weekend we went to visit my husband’s youngest brother and his wife. Clif is the baby in the Antypowich family, but seven years ago he began a slowly losing battle with a neurological disease that is similar to Parkinsons, but different and there is no medication that will ward off the devastation that it causes.

Four years ago Clif became pretty much unable to do anything for himself, and two years ago he required more care than his wife could give him at home. It has been–it still is –very difficult to imagine dealing with his lot in life.

Clif still is a brilliant man. He is a very successful businessman, was an avid hunter and outdoors man, he ran marathons and was a champion Crokinole player who organised tournaments and even played until he could no longer do it. His mind is as sharp as ever, but it is trapped in a body that can no longer carry out its commands. He can no longer speak, has difficulty swallowing so eats no solid foods, and is totally immobile except for limited use of his hands and fingers that allows him to still operate his motorised wheelchair, slide a DVD or CD into his player and with a wonderful app on his ipad is able to communicate with others.

clif 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

clif 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am fascinated by this thing, and while it is excruciatingly slow, he is able to communicate and share his thoughts–even make a joke once in a while. He taps the letters to form a word and gradually a sentence, and then he taps SPEAK and the ipad says what he has written. It has many communication short cuts that he can use, but he is also able to create a sentence or make note of a thought, save it and then play it later.  For example, when we came back to the home on Monday morning to visit briefly before we left town, he played a message that he had writen to my husband, Lloyd.  Clif clicked the speak button and the ipad said that he loved Lloyd and he hoped that the doctors could find the answer to his still unresolved health issues. Later he got a twinkle in his eye when he played another message that said something to the effect that if anyone thinks their life is bad, he’ll trade places with them.

It isn’t like talking to each other, but it certainly is better than the alternative that he lived with before.

 

halloween ends

Dont stop having fun

 

The Science of Social Media Automation

On 21.07.2015, by

The Science of Social Media Automation

After you learned about the many benefits of social media marketing automation in our previous blog post, I’m sure that you’re now, more than ever, decided to start automating. But before doing that, take a look at the best practices that will help you get the most out of this project.

#1 Research your audience and see when your should time your posts

One of the most important reason you should start scheduling your posts in advance is that you have the opportunity to reach people that are not online at the same time as you. That’s why you need to study your audience, to see where they live, when they are online and when they’re more engaged with social activities. Based on this data you can choose to schedule your updates at the best times, for maximum reach.

best times to post

You can even decide to re-post some of your updates to be visible to your fans from the other side of the world, that may be asleep when you first post. Especially on Twitter, considering the lifespan of a tweet, you must share your content several times per day to give your followers the chance to see it.

#2 Don’t just set it and forget it

Many marketers are complaining about the fact that social media automation feels too impersonal and mechanical. That’s because of the confusion that social automation means that you plan your future updates, and then you just walk away.

But that’s not the purpose of scheduling your posts and automating some of your tasks. The goal is to scale your social media marketing, to reach more of your followers, to give yourself the time to engage with them instead of dealing with repetitive tasks.

So while you schedule your posts for your social accounts, pages or groups, or you automate tasks such as finding and joining relevant groups in your niche, there are some things that you should still do manually. Like, for example, responding to replies or comments. Or thanking people for sharing your content. These should always be personal.

do not set and forget instead engage with your followers

And of course, you should always monitor your accounts, to prevent mistakes or sharing something inappropriate, especially if you import posts from RSS feeds. You might want to review your updates before they go live, to avoid incidents like Coca-Cola’s #MakeItHappy campaign.

#3 Be mindful of tragic events

Your campaigns should be flexible enough to be able to stop or pause them in case of a tragic event. In case of a disaster that you are aware of, it’s best that you stop your automated campaigns out of respect for the people involved in the tragic incident. You can resume your campaigns when you feel it’s the right moment.

#4 A/B testing: experiment, adjust and repeat

The secret of successful marketing campaigns is: A/B testing.

A/B testing, or split testing, is when you have two versions of a post (A and B, hence the name) that are similar with only one key difference. You choose the version that gets the best results, and then you start testing another element.

use split testing

To improve your automatic campaigns you can test different timings, headlines for your posts, hashtags, calls to action messages or even the images you use. This is an ongoing process, but over time you will get more traffic, engagement, and fans.

#5 Schedule your messages to be posted several times to double your traffic

If you want to drive as much traffic as possible to your online content through social media, you should post your messages more than once.

For example, if you have a blog after you publish your blog post, the first thing your do is to promote it on all you social accounts. You’ll get plenty of traffic from Facebook, Twitter, Google + or LinkedIn. But what happens if you share the blog post again, let’s say, next week? The chances are that you’ll not get the same amount of traffic like the first time, but you will still get enough clicks. And if you share it again a third time, you might even double your traffic.

try re-posting the same content after a while

To master this practice, though, you must know when is OK to share the same message, depending on the social network. On Facebook or Google+, you can share the same blog post again next week and maybe a month from the original post. But on Twitter, you can share the same blog post even in the same day, a few hours later. That’s because of the dynamic of this social network.

#6 Don’t cross the “spam line”

You need to find a balance between the amount of content you share and the number of shares per day. You don’t want to flood your followers with your content and look “spammy”. The best way is to think about what activities would annoy you and just stop doing that.

For example, would you like to see the exact same message, five times in the last hour? I didn’t though so.

Start by researching other brands and see how many times they share per day. Research your audience and see when they are online. Start sharing enough content to keep your audience engaged and then test other scenarios. This way you will gradually improve and optimize your strategy.

never ever spam your social accounts

Choose different types of content to have diversity. Occasionally, throw in some personal insights to show your human side. Don’t automate your replies, comments or direct messages, because that’s perceived to be over that “spam line” that we’re talking about.

#7 Always provide value

This goes without saying, but don’t share content on social media just for the sake of it. Always have your audience in mind and only share your best stuff. You social media updates need to have substance and to be helpful to your fans. If you schedule your posts in advance, make sure you brainstorm ideas and share only content that is relevant to your niche, and that helps building your brand and your community.

#8 Develop a sharing schedule customized for each social network

When developing a sharing schedule, a good practice would be to have customized campaigns for each social network. This way you can benefit from the particular features of all the social platforms.

On Twitter, you are limited to 140 characters, but that’s not the case for Facebook or Google +. So why limit your Facebook posts to 140 characters? Your images can be optimized for each social network, for a better, sharp look to your posts. Here you can see a guide to all the image sizes you need to know.

optimize your post for each social media platform

Another thing you should have in mind is that depending on the social network, you can post your content more often. For example, on Twitter you can post every 2 hours while on Facebook 4 or 5 posts per day are enough.

#9 Create variety in your sharing schedule

Automating your social media posts gives you the opportunity to have an overview of the entire sharing schedule and see if your posts are diversified enough. Try having different types of posts in your schedule: links, image posts or video posts. Even if you repeat your posts over the week or month, you can change the headline or the image, or you can use a quote from the blog post to spice things up.

One rule you need to go by is “never share the same message twice”. The second time you share it, try something new: ask a question, add a different call to action or use different creatives. If you post the same message several times, you look spammy, and you annoy your fans. So, get creative and spice things up!

#10 Engagement with other people’s posts should always be manual

You still need to show people that there’s a real person behind the social accounts. Likes, shares, comments, that should all be done manually. You can’t fake real meaningful conversations with your customers. Social media automation is not supposed to replace humans entirely. It’s supposed to help you get more time for creating relationships with your customers.

To read the original post click here

 

IT’S AUTUMN AND IN OCTOBER WE WHO LIVE HERE IN CANADA CELEBRATE CANADIAN THANKSGIVING!

canadian thanksgiving

Okay–I confess! I intended to post this on Monday but I procrastinated while I enjoyed eating popcorn with my husband as we watched the Blue Jays and the Texas Rangers play a must win game for the Jays.  Things got pretty intense at the bottom of the ninth inning when the Rangers had the last bat. Kudos to Osuna who pitched them out!  I got so involved that I almost cremated our supper which I had put in the oven–turkey breasts smothered in stovetop dressing…ah yes–I admit that I took the easy way out–must admit that I do that quite regularly these days. thanksgiving lloyd and I eating popcorn and watching the bluejaysthanksgiving the bluejays

 

vancouver canucks win - Copy

After supper, we watched the Vancouver Canucks take on the Anaheim Ducks.  When they went into overtime it was a real gut-wrencher: especially when it went all the way through regular overtime to a shoot out! I get just as vocal as hubby does when that stuff happens! OMG–what has happened to me? I swear Lloyd has just worn me down over time. If I want to watch anything with him it has to be sports, hunting, fishing or the news. I love programs like CSI, and all that “rubbish” and I have a TV in my office, but the hide-a-bed in there isn’t nearly as comfortable as the loveseats in the living room. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

I miss the days when everyone came home for Thanksgiving, but life evolves and now we are seldom able to get together as an entire group. We have two daughters and their families who live close to home. The younger one and her husband have a guide and outfitting business and this is is their busiest time of the year. The oldest daughter and her husband who live upstairs also got caught in working shifts. Our son and his wife and family and our grandson and his wife and family live in Alberta and all work and have demanding schedules, so they seldom come home.

My daughter-in-law phoned on the weekend and asked if we were certain that we couldn’t come to Alberta, but the timing just wasn’t right for us to go right now either. Lloyd has an unresolved health issue and set up home oxygen for him on Friday. He looks perfectly normal and he does  lots, but he gets tired (and at his age I think he can expect to be tired when he takes on big projects, like planting two big trees in 3 hours!)–still his oxygen level remains at 88% and the doctors and respiratory therapists are concerned.  They have ruled out the working of his heart. So now we wait for an appointment with a respiratory specialist for a diagnosis and treatment. Hopefully, we will get some answers then and set up a treatment regimen. If he needs to use oxygen all the time, that is what he will do, just as many other do. But he does not have the symptoms that most people who you see walking around with oxygen tanks exhibit. His lung x-rays show a bit of scarring at the very bottom of each lung, but that has not been determined to be the problem and his lungs have always been a strong point for him until the last while.  His blood tests all come back great–he simply is low on oxygen. So now we wait for an appointment with the specialist!

And since I had problems with my  NEW computer yesterday and didn’t get this finished, today we will watch the Blue Jays take on the Texas Rangers in Toronto for the final game in this series.  Ahhh…the life of retirement!

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