Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Oldie but Goodie

Here's the link to one of my Ottawa Sun articles -


Tortoise Power

I finished The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo yesterday (GREAT read!) and am on the library's waiting list for The Girl Who Played With Fire!

For anyone looking for a fun read, I recommend Jessica Grant's Come, Thou Tortoise. I'm 1/4 through the book and enjoying its wit and humour, struggling not to laugh at loud on the bus.

Heroine, Audrey Flowers, lives in Portland, Oregon with her tortoise, Winnifred. When her father falls into a coma (or "comma" as Audrey keeps calling it), she leaves her faithful companion, Win, behind with her friend, Linda, and Linda's boyfriend, Chuck, and heads back home to St. John's, Newfoundland. Like heroine, like author. Audrey's father dies as she flies over the continent, and matters are further complicated when her Uncle Thoby (did I mention that Audrey isn't the world's greatest speller?) takes off for England. Separated from Win, Audrey stumbles on a mystery that becomes more puzzling as she interviews more suspects.

Two of the best Winnifred lines so far?

"But I do wonder, how long before she meets a Canadian tortoise she cannot say no to. And builds that tortoise a new fireproof castle with a state-of-the-art heat lamp. But oh. Wait. The Canadian tortoise will not require a heat lamp because Canadian tortoises embrace the cold. Oh yes, I can see it now. The new castle flies a Canadian flag from an unsinged turret. Audrey and the new tortoise frolic in the snow. Make snow angels. Yes, the new tortoise is more dog than tortoise."

Oh, Winnifred also has the tendency to ponder the nature of exponents and Shakespearean speeches. She resents Chuck for picking her up and leaving her on the coffee taking holding open his copy of the Bard. "This is what I've been reduced to. A bookmark. Shakespeare's bookmark."
Two words: tortoise power!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Joy of Helping Others

The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?" - Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one - Mother Teresa

Helping others should come naturally to us. Most, if not all, of us have have needed some form of help at one time or another. Living during the current recession, for instance, has affected many people.

Today, Saturday, June 26th, however, I chose not to focus on myself but on those less fortunate than I. As someone once wisely told me: "No matter how bad you think you have it, there is always someone who has it worse." The Loblaws where I shop at was having a drive to help out the Ottawa Food Bank.

Between shopping at Loblaws and PharmaPlus and taking some things from my home, I filled three medium-sized paper grocery bags with items that included baby formula, diapers, canned goods, pasta and sauce, fruit cups, granola bars, and personal hygiene and cleaning products.

I had tears in my eyes when I told my husband, feeling particularly good when I thought of the formula and diapers for the little babies whose families were struggling.

Although I have volunteered at three CIBC Runs for the Cure in the Ottawa-Gatineau Region, I don't have time to volunteer anywhere at the moment.

Instead, I donate money to the important causes of mental health, freedom of speech/press, and cancer research when my financial situation permits me to do so.

Some causes I have proudly donated to in the past include The Canadian Women's Foundation's national Shelter from the Storm campaign, Project Tembo (Educating Girls, Empowering Women, Creating Project Sustainability in Northern Tanzania), The Snowsuit Fund (Ottawa), and The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).

Others, like an old friend of mine, donate their time.

A "self-diagnosed volunteer junky," she says, "I can't help it. If I can help, I do."

The three causes dear to her heart are music, providing face-painting for children with juvenile diabetes, and rescuing dogs.

I never really understood the meaning of joy, but I know that helping others has allowed me experience it. That and being married to my best friend and the love of my life: my husband!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Two More Article Links

These two links are much longer ones:

Fill your favourite mug with coffee or tea and enjoy some evening reading courtesy of yours truly!

Links to Some of My Articles

Since I write more than just blog postings, I've included links to some of my articles.


The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

I think therefore I am - Rene Descartes, Discourse on Method, 1637

I write therefore a writer I am; I read therefore a better writer I am - Dahlia Liwsze, 2010

As a writer, I love reading different genres. Some of my favourite authors and poets include Jane Austen, D.H. Lawrence, Kathy Reichs, Michael Crichton, Tess Gerritsen, John Keats, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

I, however, am not always fond of books that "everyone's reading" or that make The New York Times Best Sellers List. The Lovely Bones and Eat, Pray, Love are two such books that immediately come to mind. I also am not usually swayed by Heather's Picks, and my eyes glaze over the minute I hear the words "Oprah's Book Club List."

I do confess though that the NYT Best Seller to recently have caught me in its wonderful literary grasp is Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Not only is Larsson's novel a hit in the States, but it is an international bestselling novel as well.

Action. Intrigue. Investigative journalism mixed with private investigation. Jail time. Revenge. Sex. Family secrets and feuds. Murder. A mysterious disappearance and possible murder. Pure intensity. Sound writing. Interesting and multi-dimsensional characters. Great plot. Beautiful location - Sweden. What more can a reader ask for?

Although I found the beginning of the novel started off a bit slowly, I was soon captivated by the lives of Lisbeth Salander (or "Salamander" as I usually read it!) and Mikael Blomkvist. Troubled woman (with many tattoos and piercings) in her 20's turned private investigator meets financial journalist in his 40's turned biographer and investigative journalist. Enter business tycoon and concerned uncle in his 80's turned financial magazine partner and even more concerned uncle, and you have the recipe for a fantastic story.

I confess that it is books like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Aayan Hirshi Ali's Infidel, and others that remind me how it is sometimes good to check out what is presently popular.

I guess I'm sometimes hesitant because I know what I like and what I don't like and have never been a follower. My Dad has always said, "If the crowd is running one way, go the other because they're usually wrong." I've learned though that this is not always the case with literature.

Until my next post, I'll keep reading about Lisbeth, Mikael, and Henrik.

If you haven't read Infidel or The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I strongly recommend that you do so! Happy reading!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Reclaiming Your Body!

My boyfriend just dumped me. I'm so stressed at work. He's been depressed for a long time. I can't control myself. The excuses are endless.

No matter how discouraged, lazy or apathetic you are, you should keep in mind that it is NEVER too late to reclaim your body!

I remember as the months rolled by and my weight continued to climb. I was apathetic, rarely went to the gym, and ate what I wanted.

As a result, I found myself getting out of breath quicker, having aches and pains in my joints, and having to buy bigger clothing.

What finally gave me the incentive to begin working towards a healthier and fitter Dahlia was when I received a phone call informing me that I had won a free health consult and personal training session. I knew that this was an unexpected blessing because I needed someone to challenge and encourage me as I could not do it on my own.

Earlier this month, I met with the owner of the gym, and our energies jived well. I signed up for eight sessions and he added some extra ones for free. He told me that he liked my realistic goals and that by Christmas 2010 I'd be my ideal weight!

Now having completed my third week of training and following my meal plan as best as I can, I'm happy to report that I've lost SIX pounds! I blinked thinking the scale was lying to me before I realized that it wasn't!

In a few weeks, I'll be training and walking three times a week.

I'm encouraged and focussed on my goal. I have the support of my wonderful hubby, trainer, doctor, family, and friends. And most importantly? I FINALLY *BELIEVE* in myself!

If I can do it, you certainly can!

So, what are you waiting for? May 2010 be the year of the new healthier you!