Top 5 Movies for When You Are Sick

So I am sick. That sucks. One of the few highlights of being sick is cozying up with my doggies and watching some of my favorite movies that just make me feel better.

Qualities for a good sick day movie are:

  • Feel good movie. Happy endings are important here.
  • Something you can fade in and out of as you nap and let the NyQuil take over
  • Clever humor
  • Characters that you feel like are your friends keeping you company
  • Must be available on DVD or Blu-ray

So without further ado, here are my top 5 movies for when I am sick and some close runner ups.

  1. 80’s Flicks
    OverboardOverboard – That crazy redneck family in Overboard crack me up. The story line is perfect for a congested head – rich snotty woman falls off her yacht, gets amnesia and is tricked into believing she is the wife of a poor carpenter she had wronged only a scene earlier. Voila! Fall asleep whenever you want but wake up when the kids start throwing food in her face and for the final boat scene.

    Runner up: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – I wish I was a better person and could put this above Overboard, but I just can’t. It is a great movie though if you are sick and not just pretending to be sick.

  2. Music lover flicks
    O Brother Where Art ThouO Brother, Where Art Thou? – How can you go wrong with a Coen Brother’s movie, set in the deep south, in the 30s, based on Homer’s The Odyssey and starring George Clooney? O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a great flick. Actually the first time I watched it was in a college classroom but it has done me well ever since. The story is clever and funny but with a pace that can handle a mid-flick nap. The music is also wonderful and won a Grammy for Album of the Year. NPR just did a story on the massive impact of the soundtrack, 10 years later.

    Runner up: If you haven’t seen It Might Get Loud, you should do that now and not wait until you are sick. This music documentary is about the electric guitar and what it means to three legendary musicians with unique sounds: Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White. This is a good one for the day you are starting to feel a little bit better and want a little rock and roll with your Alka Seltzer.

  3. Disney movies
    Finding Nemo – I am a Disney kid, so you knew it would creep in the list. Finding Nemo is a perfect movie for a sick day. I could listen to Ellen DeGeneres’ fish character all day. It is a classic Disney story line of triumph, growth and love. It is just so darn cute.

    TangledNew contender runner up is a tie: Tangled has definitely moved up the ladder of sick movies. It is what I watched the day we got Brody home from his amputation and I have watched it 4 times since. What a neat movie and I will take a strong female princess any day!

  4. TV Series
    Sex and the City Hot YankeeSex and the City – Doesn’t matter the season or the episode, catching up with the Sex and the City ladies is always fun. Following Carrie and the ladies is a perfect way to forget about the pile of tissues beside your bed. Forget runny noses and get caught up with these NYC ladies chasing men, breaking hearts, getting their hearts broken and falling in and out of love.

    Runner up: My So-Called Life – Ahh Jordan Catalano… pre your screamy angst band. When this series came out, it was one of the realest displays of teen life that I had seen and I was a teen at the time. It resonated more with people I knew than the young Saved by the Bell and the surreal 90210. The series didn’t last very long but they are fun memories to visit every now and then.

  5. Holiday themed

    ElfElf – We all get that around the holiday cold so a few holiday movies thrown in seemed important and both are perfectly fine to watch not during the holiday season. Elf if you are not aware is the story of a man who was raised as an elf at the North Pole who heads to New York City to find his real father. The story is laugh out loud funny but yet very sweet. Cozy up with a hot chocolate with extra marshmallows and enjoy this great movie for a day home sick.

    Runner up: Love Actually is a movie set during the holidays and it follows multiple story lines about love. It is sweet and I could watch it again and again.

  6. The Best of the Best
    The Princess Bride if my favorite movie ever. Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles… and don’t worry it isn’t a kissing movie. I could quote every line and I could watch it every day. Love it! Nothing makes me feel better than a grilled cheese, tomato soup and watching the Princess Bride – Inconceivable you say? Well I say I do not think that word means what you think it means. Just watch it!

    Runner up: Labyrinth. David Bowie in tights and Muppets – I think that about sums it up. Great movie.

So there it is my top 5 movies and runners up for when I am sick. Just in case I ever get sick again or sick of my movies, I would love to hear some of yours!

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

social circle fortune cookieSo we are on month eight of this blog, but I have been around the blogging block for about four years officially and before that I wrote and published some random stuff here and there. If you are building up your online presence, starting a blog, trying to get more Twitter followers or fans of your Facebook page – I have a little advice for you: give credit where credit is due.

If someone shares something with you, gives you advice, lets you use their equipment, sponsors your event, suggests a book that changed your life etc. give them the credit for it. It doesn’t have to be grand fanfare but a link or a nod or a mention should suffice.

I had an interesting conversation this past weekend about bloggers and playing nice in the sandbox. The folks I was talking to were beyond frustrated at helping someone out only to see their advice posted on that person’s blog without even a nod in their direction. They will probably not be helping that blogger again.

Your network is sexy

Many blogs, especially business blogs, are written to teach you something and for the business to prove they are an expert in their industry. There is pride in having all of the answers and speaking in an authoritative voice. Being smart is awesome and it does close the deal but you know what is even more sexy? Having a huge network of people that you can collaborate with and call on for help in an instant.

In the blogs I write for and in my work, I will always tell you that if I don’t have the answer… I bet I can find the person that does and I can usually get it very quickly. Does that make me not as smart? I don’t think so. I think people, friends and customers value that honesty.

We are in a new world where barely anyone is solely responsible for their work and knowledge. We work in teams. We Google things we don’t remember. We carry our networks in our pockets (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Email). An answer is within reach, at all times.

Adam is in week three of medical school and he was telling me even how surprised he was at how collaborative the learning process is. We heard horror stories of students stealing books from each other or sabotaging study guides so other students would suffer. Adam is learning that with online tools students share notes, resources they find online, practice tests and more (all legal and all on school resources). My first impression is yes, they need to learn all of this stuff but even how we practice medicine is different – their are new tools and resources online for doctors to use and collaborate.

So if someone does you a solid, or sparks an idea – give them the credit they deserve. I don’t care if they have 45,000 Twitter followers or 45, give them the nod they deserve and show your network how connected you are. If not, your network will eventually catch on slight after slight and you may find your network of good people shrinking, not growing. Oh and there is always karma.

Photo credit: Jeff Hester

Donating What You Want, When You Want

Donation boxAs most of you know, Brody (my dog) has bone cancer. During each of his chemo treatments, I was a complete mess. Mind you this was merely weeks after his horrible accident and amputating his hind leg so I shouldn’t have been allowed out in the real world.

At his second chemo appointment, I decided to run an errand instead of waiting. The treatment itself was going to be about 45 minutes. Instead of waiting there and panicking, I decided to run to PetCo to pick up some of his new food.

I gathered my items and went to check out.
After my items were scanned the teller woman asked me:
“Would you like to donate to the Pet Cancer Awareness Fund?”
“No thank you, I am already quite aware”, was my curt response.
She looked at me with a disappointed grimace. I grabbed my things and left.

As I left the store, I was surprised at how angry I was. I am using most of the energy I have to hold myself together, I just wanted to run a simple errand and I was again bothered to donate to another cause. She obviously had no idea where I was coming from, or what was going on in my life but it felt like some type of invasion.

How many other people have been made to feel this way as they check out of the super market, at a movie theatre, while at an event? Why are we pushing issues and causes at people while they shop?

I bet these campaigns are really successful. Catch people in public, where they will be judged by their peers if they say ‘no’. Catch people when they are spending money and they might be willing to lose their change or one dollar more to help a cause. Yes, I bet they work – but they are uncomfortable too.

I am not rich, not even close, but I actually donate a good amount of time and money to causes that are important to me but I do them on my own time. I also love to donate to friends who are running a race, completing a triathlon or a bike race for a cause. Not just for the cause to but in support of my friend’s effort.

Shameless plug: Feel free, if you are in the mood right now to donate to my ‘bail’. I am being ‘arrested’ this Wednesday and need to make my bail to get out. Proceeds go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association to send two kids to Pine Tree Camp. Not a bad cause.

Should we be able to donate what we want, when we want?

In a better world, yes. As I said before, I bet these at-the-checkout campaigns are effective but what do you know about these organizations and where is your money going? Like the Pet Cancer Awareness Fund I was hit up for at Petco… what the heck is that? Is it to educate owners on getting xrays more regularly? Where would my money go? To making pamphlets about cancer or to making more boxes to put at more checkouts?

Should you donate? Of Course! If you have something, you have more than someone else. I am a firm believer in donating to an organization in need. If you don’t have money, you at least have your time and talent to give and everyone has blood… you can always at least donate your blood 🙂 But what I like to do is select my cause, my amount, and how and when I donate it. What I have decided I don’t like is being asked at the checkout to donate to mysterious causes.

Donor’s Choose

If you are new to donating or if you are wary because you want to know where your hard earned money is going, you should check out Donor’s Choose. With this special organization donor’s choose what public school projects and supplies they want to give to and how much. They also get updates from the student on what their contribution did for these children. Pretty cool ‘eh?

My friend Marc Pitman told me about donorschoose.org. I thought this was a great idea. No more wondering where your money is going when you write that check – now you can choose exactly what you want your money to be used for. There is a short video below with some more information.

Should I have been so abrupt with the poor girl at PetCo? Probably not but for the first time the cause that was being shoved in my face at a checkout was something I was way too close to and it made me think about how many times this has happened to other people. Should you donate to causes and funds and nonprofits and charities etc., of course you should and maybe if they all meet their quotas they will stop bugging us when we are buying our toilet paper.

If you do want to make a donation, I would still recommend going straight to your cause and researching them and what they do with donor dollars. Something tells me when you cut out the middle man at the check-out line, the organization gets the funds more directly.

Obviously this is my opinion spurred by an uncomfortable situation but I would love to hear from more of you on your thoughts on the matters I brought up… my mind can always be changed.

Photo credit: Mindful One

Picking Your Head Up

My head downPretty crazy week over here in my world. Our life just carried into the next chapter – Adam started Med School this week at UNE. We have quite a journey ahead of us. I am now the bread winner for the family and Adam is going to pour himself into school for the next 8 years or so.

I am so excited to move forward, especially after a year or two of a semi-holding pattern. But, being the control freak I am – all this change has me in a tizzy.

Adam is at school about 45-50 hours a week and has lots of studying to do when he is not. We traded cars, I handed over the keys to my Jetta that has done me good for the past 7 years and he handed over the reigns to his Jeep Wrangler (see you later good hair days). We are going to have to get used to a smaller income and the dogs are going to have to get used to not having someone home with them all day. Big week… big week.

So I have had an exhausting week between trying to run the dogs each morning, keeping up with housey stuff, a busy week at work and gearing up for the Beach to Beacon (10k that was yesterday). The most exhausting part though has been the roller coaster inside my head. I am a worrier, a planner and I can deal with ANY situation as long as I know what I have to deal with and right now… I am not in control of any of those things.

Picking my head up

By now you know I run but you may or may not know I joined a running group last winter. I can run a 12 minute mile for ever. I have done 3 half marathons and plenty of other long runs. 12 minute miles and I can just do it. What I can’t do is run faster. I get nervous and panicky when I run faster and I am terrified that if I run faster, I will burn out and not be able to complete my distance I am supposed to run.

With this running group, I have a coach. Our group’s running coach, Ziggy, is a true legend to Maine running and probably the sport itself. Going into this I thought he would tell me I held my arms wrong, my stride was too short, that I leaned forward too much – nope. The biggest advice Ziggy gives me at races, timed mile trials or 880 repeats is “Pick your head up Amanda!” I run with my head down.

I heard the advice and I tried a few times but changing your ways is difficult so I think I accidentally gave up.

Smoke from White Birch FarmI recently started taking horse back riding lessons again. Every other week I head up to White Birch Farm and have a lesson. It has been great and I have forgotten so much since last time I rode. There are hundreds of little things that I need to relearn and I need to get to know these horses, my instructor and the ways of this farm.

A few months in though and I already have had my biggest weakness pointed out (repeatedly), I need to pick my head up! I ride with my head down, pretty much looking at the horses head. If we pick up the pace and are trotting or hopping a fence, I will never make it – we will be running into the fence before I even look at it.

So I need to pick my head up

I have started picking my head up when I run and I have noticed a few things:

  • It is an empowering feeling to see what is ahead of you. It makes you immediately feel stronger.
  • You are taking on the road versus the road coming AT you. With your head up you are like ‘I will run over there and then up there’ but with your head down, literally you just see asphalt coming at you. You are almost playing defense on the road coming at you versus taking charge of where you are going.
  • It makes me a little sick, almost like motion sickness. I have to assume running with your head down versus up does something to your breathing. Right now I just now it makes me a little light headed but I think that will get better.

For horseback riding, by picking my head up it makes the horse know that I am in control of our situation. I am going to have an eye out and we are headed over this way and it is going to be cool.

In this next chapter of my life – I can keep my head down and internalize, over analyze every situation and make myself crazy (like I did this week). Or I can pick my head up and look at our future. My husband is getting to study to do something he loves. He is achieving his goals. I am acheiving my goals and we are going to have better lives because of it. Just like running and riding, I need to look ahead to where we are going and not drown in the details of getting there. There will always be ‘what-ifs’ but they will always work themselves out.

“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”
Wayne Gretzky