Testing Out Different Apps

For more than a year, I have tested a several meditation or relaxation apps and websites. I have found that I am smitten with a few that are working for me. My favorite are: Headspace, Meditation Oasis, and white noise. The white noise I get from either Relax Melodies or my Nursal White Noise Machine that I bought via Amazon.ca.

I have had problems sleeping for more than a year and part of the issue was my anemia. Repeatedly I was advised to do yoga, meditate, and change my sleep routine so that I could ease into sleep. Some of the advice worked. I have tried numerous apps and websites, but Headspace and Meditation Oasis are my favorites.

I find that waking up, meditating and doing yoga works well for me. Then, I end the day doing some relaxation poses and more meditation. I prefer the Nursal machine’s ocean mode. With Relax Melodies, I have tried a few of the settings, but find that the underwater or ocean sounds are the most soothing for me. I do not have the paid version of Relax Melodies, but do have the premium Headspace account.

Which apps, sites or YouTube channels do you like for your meditation or relaxation routine? Please share!


A long weekend has started here in Canada. Technically it starts after work today for me, but campus sure is more quiet today. This is the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, and I am pausing between meetings to share thoughts about gratitude. 

1. I have gratitude to the team of people who have kept me healthy this year, and this includes the family doctor, physiotherapist, dentist, and oral surgeon. 

2. I have gratitude for my family. I am noting that this is for my kin and my made family. My family supports me and I do not thank them enough. 

3. Deep gratitude for my in laws. I could not manage my week without the help that they offer. I am extremely lucky to have them five minutes away from us. Our family Excel spreadsheet is a thing of beauty and if they did not do a drop off or pick up it would make things more difficult for me. Thank you. 

4. I have gratitude to my co-workers. Here I am thinking those who I report to, later colleagues, my staff, and other colleagues across campus. I know that I am lucky to have a job that is my career. I have a privileged life enjoying my work, and feeling satisfied. 

5. I cannot finish this list without thanking about my students, and other students across campus. Thank you for making all of this worth it. Your energy makes me smile. Your questions motivate me. And, working with you is a pleasure. OK. It’s a pleasure most of the time! 

6. Thank you to my many mentors! I include a photo of Dr. Kathy Jones. I worked with her at SDSU–back when I was an undergrad and we have kept in touch. She’s one of the many amazing mentors I have had. Thanks, Kathy! 

It might not be Thanksgiving for you, but what is in your gratitude list? 


Fri Fun Facts: Welcome Back!

I took a few months off during the Summer Session and then Summer Break from my weekly Friday Fun Facts! This week’s Fri Fun Facts is about finding balance. Oh, now, stop that smirk or snort! You can find balance or attempt to do so.

1. Schedule in your lunch, workout, and study/reading time. You need to protect your time and part of this is investing in your sanity. If you have more balance–you are happier.

2. Related to the above point–do make sure that you are eating right, sleeping enough, and getting in some exercise. These are all building blocks for your health and happiness.

3. Schedule in some down time or fun time. It might be the gym, fun reading (what’s that?), and time with your family or fictive kin.We schedule in our dates. And, my family uses an Excel Spreadsheet to track our schedules and the kids’ after school activities. It keeps us organized.

4. Be organized. Work smart and not too hard. Maybe use an application that turns off your  internet access or the fun social media apps that suck away at your time. Set a timer for your writing or studying.

5. Find a network. This network might be from your seminar, department, or other colleagues on campus. You need people around you to occasionally bounce ideas off or to chat with about the insanity of higher education.

I hope that this first installment of Friday Fun Facts is useful to you. Welcome back to the Fall term.

Maclean’s Article about Dutch Women: Class and the Welfare State

Last week Macleans ran an article by Claire Ward, “The Feminism Happiness Axis: Are Dutch Women Powerless, or Simply Smarter Than the Rest of Us? The article can be found: http://awe.sm/5RZQ1 The first thing that I find most interesting is the immediate connection to feminism with work, family life and happiness. I’m so thankful that feminism has made my life complete and I embrace my politics head on, but why must the media make the knee jerk connection to cookies, family and feminism. While I enjoy cooking and especially baking, it has nothing to do with my feminist politics. This is where we see how strong stereotypes are about the alleged man-hating, mother, children hating, angry feminists. If I had a dollar for every feminist I met like this, I wouldn’t have a dollar.

The media needs to get clued in to the fact that feminists comment or write about institutions that have not given women a fair shake. Nowhere in Of Woman Born does Adrienne Rich say that she hates mothers (like herself) or that she hates her children. No. Her classic book is a wise, provocative rumination about the institution of motherhood and the lack of choices that women have or had for her generation. It’s not quite as sexy to say that we feminists are cultural critics or public intellectuals. No, it’s easier (lazy) to say that we hate men and that we judge other women for “opting out” of the workplace. The opting out discussions typically miss the inclusion of a class analysis and how women who can opt out have class privilege thanks to their partner’s income. Likewise, there is an assumption that these women are opting out forever, when some are taking time off to raise their children until primary school. Like most issues, there is so much here.

Getting back to the Macleans article, though, what is really missing is a class analysis. I’d also like to see an immigration/refugee and race analysis, as well as the basic demographic analysis. There is more to this study and our understanding of what is going on for women. I want women to feel happy–happy in the home, workplace, parliament, congress, farm, university, etc. But, I want a full picture of what this will take. And, I do not want to see the scapegoating of feminisms. If we want to point fingers, we have to look in the mirror. We have to also think about what constitutes success.  And, we have to look at social welfare programs, education rates, leadership rates, and so much more. This is a rather detailed, important conversation that it going to sell lots of magazines!

What Macleans has artfully done is offered data from an interesting study and spun it about feminism-blaming and guilt. Here, we have a small country with a strong welfare state. This is not a fair comparison to the US or Canada for that matter. As  social scientist, I want to see the study and I want to see demographics disaggregated and then compared to other nations. This study offers us food for thought and no more. But, alas, the spin cycle is whirring.