Ask and you shall receive

There is no such thing in anyone's life as an unimportant day. Alexander Woollcott

There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day.
Alexander Woollcott

The word “prayer” conjures up all kinds of scenarios in the mind. At best, it’s an oft-neglected spiritual practice. At worst, it’s a formulaic duty prescribed to us by some religious authority. As it turns out, prayer is much simpler than most of us realize.

You are a spiritual being in physical form, and in order to animate your physical body, your vital force energy, also known as chi or divine spark, is present with you here in the physical. The non-physical realm is where the fullness of who you are, or your Higher Self, exists. Along with an entire team of Spirit Guides, Teachers, and Angels, your Higher Self guides you every day through impulses, synchronicities, and dreams.

When you consciously ask for guidance or assistance, some of this creative vital force energy is transferred to the non-physical plane, and your Higher Self can take your intention and manifest the desired outcome. Without your conscious intent, your Higher Self cannot create for you, as doing so would override the free will of your physical incarnation. This conscious asking, this transference of power, is all that prayer is.

Prayer is simply the process of setting an intention and asking for help. It does not have to heavy, formal, or even directed at any particular Being. The more you pray, the closer the relationship between you and your Higher Self becomes, bringing you more into alignment with who you really are at soul-level.

A friend of mine begins her prayers this way: “Anyone, anywhere, anytime who has love for me, please help.” I encourage you to find your own way to pray. Experiment and see what feels good. There’s more support available to you than you could ever imagine. All you have to do is ask.

 Quotes-About-Mistakes-KrexyShameless

In the early days of Facebook, I posted a series of notes called “Midnight Confessions,” humorously detailing my history of juvenile petty crime.

I chronicled a dine and dash, the time I stole an ornament from the Christmas tree at the Governor’s mansion, and that I had been the mastermind behind the tortilla incident of ‘95. “They flew like Frisbee’s over her yard,” I admitted, “all five hundred of them.”

People thought it was great and kept asking for more, which propelled me to dig even deeper into the things I’d hidden for so long. Hey, I had an audience to please.

I realize in retrospect that the midnight confessions marked the beginning of my getting real and honest about who I am. Because it was funny, I felt safe to explore it. I could turn some of my most shameful moments into Facebook fodder, and it was healing.

Do you have moments of shame that would shift if you could see them through a new lens? Is there something from your past that you could start to laugh about? It doesn’t have to be an announcement on Facebook; it could be a phone call to a friend.

What I’ve found is that many things I’ve done that I consider “bad” were in my best interest after all. What better way than through experience can you learn what resonates with who you are and who you want to be?

Could you take a long, tender look at your darkest places and see them outside judgement? See them as evidence that you were crying out or lost or beautifully bold or following your instincts. Then could you forgive yourself?

It might be too scary or overwhelming to face the motivations of a lifetime of behaviour. That’s okay. Maybe for now all we can do is stop judging ourselves, stop judging each other, and start laughing. And maybe that’s enough.

For more inspirational moments, you can find Laura Geiger (Intuitive and Artist) at SweetReunionStudios.com

Like a good wine, Jim Cuddy only gets better with age

Jim Cuddy

“I’m not interested in going solo full time. I like it as a sideline, but I like my main act the most.” ~ Jim Cuddy

I get the opportunity to spend time with and write about a wide variety of celebrities and artists, but none has excited me more than Jim Cuddy. 

Being a fan for more than 20 years, travelling across country to enjoy sold out concerts, and having a crush on him that even my husband knows not to challenge, it’s an honour to be able to give our readers a glimpse of the man behind the singing/song writing legend.

Jim Cuddy is one of the most talented and kind musicians I know in the music industry. Toronto Maple Leaf fan, devoted husband, wine connoisseur and lover of crossword puzzles; Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo fame and frontman for the Jim Cuddy Band is a proud Torontonian.

Born December 2, 1955 in Toronto, he has been happily hitched to Canadian actress Rena Polley for over 30 years, and father to their three children; Devin (born 1987), Emma (born 1988), and Sam (born 1992).

He fondly remembers that special day in 1978, while out on a jog. “This girl (Rena) jogged by me – I was immediately smitten. I found out who she was and asked her out on a date. She agreed to meet me the next day for breakfast at Morrison’s Restaurant.  We spent hours upon hours chatting.  We’ve been together ever since.”

With 3 solo albums behind him; All in Time (1998), The Light That Guides You Home (2006) and Skyscraper Soul (2001), the sexy Jim Cuddy seems to only get better with age.  Claims Cuddy, “I’ve always appreciated that I’m in a profession that won’t put you out to pasture just because you’re getting old.”.  As I get older, I’m just more vulnerable and that’s reflected in my songs”.  His voice is as strong as ever, and he’s hitting ranges better now before surgery removed some nodes from his throat that were challenging some high notes than a handful of years ago.

Jim Cuddy Band

A photo op with Jim Cuddy. Eeeek!

With a mix of romantic ballads, country soul, country-rock, and upbeat diddy’s – Jim is enjoying his solo career, but says; “I’m not interested in going solo full time. I like it as a sideline, but I like my main act the most”

“When I write songs for my solo material, the songs tend to be a lot more personal than what I write for Blue Rodeo. I sit down with all of these instruments and work at building the ideas until a song emerges.”

Influenced by such artist as Gordon Lightfoot, The Beatles and Rolling Stones, Cuddy says however that he’s a lover of all music.  “Music always completely captured my attention.  If I was talking to somebody, and a song came on that I liked, I could no longer talk to them, I just became so distracted by what was playing.”

Cuddy’s most recent solo single is one of my all-time favourites, Everyone Watched The Wedding, a song he wrote about a ordinary people and their thoughts on the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate.  This song and his album really takes us on a journey of perspective from many views.

Jim Cuddy

I’m star struck again with Jim Cuddy.

If you have a chance to see the Jim Cuddy Band on one of their various tour dates, I highly encourage you to do so.  Cuddy and his band put on an incredible show for their fans time and time again.   The show and Cuddy himself – are simply spectacular.

For more on Jim Cuddy and the Jim Cuddy Band:

Website:  www.jimcuddy.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jimcuddyband

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jimcuddy

Help! My dog eats cat feces ….

This is what I love about dogs.  They really have no shame! 

This is not an unusual behavior and I’ve dealt with it many times. 

Any change in appetite could indicate a medical problem, such as a nutritional deficiency, so a visit to your veterinarian for a physical examination, and possibly blood work, would be prudent.  However, I have rarely seen this indicate a medical problem; it is most likely a behavioral issue. 

This could have developed for any number of behavioral reasons.  Most likely, he could have discovered it recently and just likes the taste.  It’s possible he used to be afraid of the cat and after becoming friends, he is now brave enough to enter the cat’s private territory.  Some other household disruption could have incited it, such as the litter box becoming accessible, a spat occurred between them, or he stopped receiving other treats.  You can think about whether these things have happened, but if they haven’t, it’s probably just a new taste that he has come to enjoy.

It is best to restrict the behavior.  Cat feces has bacteria that could cause digestive upset and it can also carry parasites, the most common being one called giardia, that can transfer between them.

This is all very preventable with just a little strategic effort; so here are a couple ideas.  Restrict access by moving the litter box.  For example, install a cat entrance flap in the door leading to a utility room or place the box in a tight spot like behind a large appliance.  Cover the liter box with a hood that the dog can’t fit through.  Place the box on an elevated level that the cat can jump to but the dog can’t.  If you can’t do this, you can get serious and use taste aversion.  You could spray a few pieces of cat stool with bitter apply spray, but this is risky because the cat could be turned off by the odor and stop using the litter box.   Hopefully one of these plans could work for you.

Good luck and in the meantime, I recommend avoiding any face licks from the dog!!

Dr. Clayton Greenway B. Sc DVM

Westhill Animal Clinic – (416) 282-8516- www.westhillvet.com 

Mmm-Maple Smoked Ribs

Ingredients: 

2 lb pork side ribs

1 cup pure maple syrup

3 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate

3 tbsp ketchup

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp curry powder

1 clove garlic, minced

2 green onions, minced

Maple Smoked Delicious!

Maple Smoked Delicious!

Directions: 

Soak maple planks in sink or clean bucket filled with water for at least 1 hour. (this can be done during first stage of cooking the ribs)

Light one side of your grill, and preheat until temperature gauge shows 350°F. Place ribs meat side up in a roasting pan. Cover pan tightly with foil and place on the unlit side of your grill. Bake for 1 1/4 hours.

In a saucepan over MEDIUM heat on the stove or on the side burner of the grill, combine maple syrup, orange juice concentrate, ketchup, soy sauce, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in curry powder, garlic and green onions. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove ribs from roasting pan, and baste completely meat side and bone side with still warm sauce. Retain 1/2 of sauce for additional basting. Place ribs on soaked maple planks bone side down. Put the planks with the ribs on them on one side of the grill with LOW heat setting directly underneath them. Turn the other side of the barbecue to HIGH and close lid. Keep temperature around 350°F. Planks should begin to smoke within a few minutes, and produce a sweet fragrant smoke in your grill. Adjust the amount of smoke you would like to add by increasing/ decreasing direct heat underneath the planks, and opening/closing the lid. Do not allow planks to catch fire. Allow ribs to cook on the planks for 25 minutes. Use remaining sauce to baste ribs several times throughout cooking. Remove planks with ribs on them from the grill and place the planks directly on a plate or tray for serving

The Cost of Pet Health

Pet Care
 
 
Pet owners often underestimate the cost of pet care, and more so when a medical or emergency situation arises.
When the average Canadian sets out on the path of adding a furry friend to their family, they think the typical food, vaccinations, spay or neuter, grooming should be a handful of dollars of an investment at best per year.
 
 
In actuality:

Your Dog: The life expectancy of a dog varies by breed, but in North America you can expect your dog to be your companion on average of about 13 years. Based on Ontario Veterinary Medical Association calculations, owning a 40-pound dog for 13 years will cost more than $28,700.

Your Cat: Like dogs, cats’ life spans vary. The average house cat lives for 13 to 17 years. Using OVMA’s statistics, a 10-pound cat that lives to 15-years-old will cost more than $24,000 in vet bills, food and other costs.

Dr. Mitelman and Dr. Samson of Kingston Road Animal Hospital/Vets Toronto have both seen many clients in their years of practice struggling with emotionally charged financial decisions on moving forward with treatments with the actual high costs of quality medical care for their pets. Being business partners and running not only a daytime clinic, but a 24 hour emergency clinic, that is fully equipped as a hospital setting, they have seen the struggle owners face when their pet becomes ill and have been targets to client feedback:
 

“Vets are only in it to take my money, they don’t care about my pet”

 
“Why do you charge so much for x-ray’s and ultra sounds, my human Doctor doesn’t charge me like this?”
 
“Run expensive tests?  You’re a Doctor, just tell me what’s wrong with my pet, without running tests” 
 
 
Pet owners need to understand that when it comes to pet medical care, especially emergency care it can’t be compared to human care.  We are fortunate as Canadians to have an outstanding health care system, where we are rarely aware of the costs of MRI’s, Ultra Sounds, X-Ray’s, even blood work.  While human medical costs are covered under our health care system; including hospital overhead, staff, facilities, equipment and maintenance, our pets don’t have that luxury, unless you’ve stayed a step ahead and have purchased pet medical insurance.

It’s also crucial to remember the next time you want to condemn a Veterinarian about the cost of your pets medical care, like human doctors; Veterinarians have invested a lifetime of schooling, as well as facility and equipment expense out of pocket to care for your pets that aren’t funded by any government agencies.

A vet clinic is also like any other for profit business, and must maintain a positive bottom line. Sound harsh to you?  Maybe, but it’s a reality.  Like any other business, vets have bills to pay; clinic mortgage or rent, electricity, gas, equipment (a single x-ray machine alone can range from 40,000 – 100,000), staff to pay (staff in the vet world are typically severely underpaid vs. the quality of work they assist with.  A typical vet tech is paid between 10.00 and 18.00 per hour and carries very similar responsibilities that a human nurse would have, yet nurses range in pay scale from 20.00 to 35.00 per hour).  Why aren’t vet technicians paid more in the industry?  Clinics would have to raise their prices to afford to pay them more.

The Vets must be taking home all the money right?  Wrong!  A Veterinarian can have a salary ranging anywhere from 50,000 per year to upwards of 110,000 depending on years of experience and expertise.  What do comparable professions generate for salary:

Family Doctor: 75,000 – 250,000
Dentist: 60,000 – 200,000
Surgeon: 70,000 – 350,000
Oncologist: 100,000 – 300,000

 
Let’s add to that that Veterinarians are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than the general person on the street and twice as likely than others in the health industry according to a recent British study and backed up by studies in the USA, Australia and Europe.  Women Veterinarians, and women in general, are at a far higher risk to anxiety and depression, and studies have proven that female Veterinarians are even at a higher rate of suicide than male Veterinarians. Add to that a 14+ hour work day, grief counselling appointment after appointment to clients emotionally distraught over their pets, taking lives daily as clients can not afford treatment, and a severe lack of family and work balance.  A sad reality of the Veterinarian profession.

The next time you want to debate the high cost of your pet’s bill, we urge you to keep some of these facts in mind.  It’s also suggested you be proactive in your pet’s health and consider pet insurance, or put aside an average of 30.00 a month in case of a pet emergency, and establish a relationship with your Veterinarian (though clinics rarely offer payment plans, this may be an option if you know your Vet well through regular visits), speak to family and friends before an emergency and know when to draw the line when it comes to life saving costs for your pet so they can support you through this difficult decision if needed.

In summary, everyone sympathizes with those facing a high vet bill. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if Veterinarians could just save every single life that walked through their door without a concern over ability to pay and not a care in the world about their business bottom line?  Sadly that’s not the world we live in, so please keep all of this in mind the next time you want to scream murder from every rooftop about the cost of your animal care.