Survive & Thrive, Bucket List, Vitamins & Death

Look at my blog post title. All the topics for today seem to be linked. Don’t you agree? You can sum it up as follows:


Purpose: it’s meant to bring awareness of disease prevention and early detection regarding medical conditions that may be averted or treated if caught in the early stages. Our desire is to motivate people to go in for early screening, and if a condition is caught early and treated, then our world just became a little better place to live.
The topics are wide open. You can post about a particular cause you support. Or you can share a personal or family experience that is near to your heart. What’s great about this blogfest is you can inspire people to take care of themselves and their loved ones early enough to make a difference in their lives.


I often feel that we stress the physical and forget about the mental health which is equally important! REMEMBER – the neural pathways are MORE important than physical muscles. Without neural pathways there wouldn’t be a physical one.

There are numerous simple “brain” exercises that you can perform, to keep you “mentally sharp” as your brain ages. You can work the following into your daily routine, with minimum effort:

1. for improving memory skills – choose a song you don’t know and then memorize the lyrics. I do it all the time as part of my work in entertainment. We perform up to 30 songs during a gig. I use lyrics for some songs, and others I know by heart, having performed them over and over. I’m always learning lyrics of new songs, to add to my ever-increasing repertoire. I love learning new lyrics. It’s exciting, because I also stumble upon new words/phrases!

2. for improving attention – routine changes work well; vary your route to work or re-organize your desk; combine activities such as listening to an audio book while you jog/fold the laundry.

3. for improving visual-spatial ability – walk into a room and identify five items and where they are located; two hours later, try to remember the items and their exact locations…this one is quite challenging…

4. for improving logic-reasoning skills – all you video gamers out there should have no problem in this respect! I’m not one for video games…but I DO love a good crossword puzzle. I purchased a crossword puzzle book (actually a few of them) but I need to put them to good use! LOL

They say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away; I say, a crossword a day keeps Alzheimer’s at bay!                                                           

                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *
                           BUCKET LIST BLOG HOP
At one time or another we have all experienced the loss of a loved one or know someone who has had to go through a life threatening illness. Sometimes that makes us reevaluate our lives and what we want to accomplish before we die. Some people make a bucket list to help them rethink about what is important to them.
What’s a bucket list? Simply put, it’s a list of things that a person wants to see or do before they die or “kick the bucket”.
This blog hop is being co-hosted by Sherry Ellis at Mama Diaries    and Susanne Drazic at Putting Words Down on Paper.

In no particular order…here’s a list of 10 activities:

1. Visit Paris…again! I last visited in 1988 so I’m LONG OVERDUE *le sigh*
2. Learn to speak French. When I was a teen, I purchased an English/French pocket-book dictionary (I think it still exists…hidden somewhere in the back of my mom’s cubby hole…)
3. Ride in a hot air balloon.
4. Publish a book.
5. Learn to swim…this one is the SCARIEST…the blood-curdling anecdotes I could tell you of my failed attempts…he!he!
6. Swim with the dolphins (this is linked to no.5)
7. Ride a bicycle.
8. Go on a month-long cruise…the Mediterranean would be nice…
                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *
YA Contemporary, Prizm Books
Release Date December 10, 2014
Deidra Battle wants nothing more
than to be invisible. After her mother, a public school teacher, engages in an
embarrassing teacher-student affair at Lincoln High, they relocate to a
different neighborhood and school. Being her mother’s briefcase, Deidra joins
her mother at her new workplace, Hodge High.
Since her mother has reverted to
her maiden name and changed her appearance, Deidra thinks no one will figure
out they’re the Battles from recent news and that they’re safe. Neither of them
is. Hodge brings a fresh set of bullies who discover details about the scandal
that changed her life.
Feeling trapped at home with an
emotionally abusive, pill-addicted mother and at school with hostile classmates
who attempt to assault and blackmail her, Deidra yearns for freedom, even if
she has to act out of character and hurt others in the process. Freedom comes
at a price.
Find Medeia
Congrats to Medeia!
By the way,  I won Medeia’s blog prize last week, a Kindle copy of SNIP, SNIP REVENGE. Seems like I was one of the few who guessed correctly about Tabby’s haircut–a taper cut. YAY! It’s already on  my Kindle! Thanks Medeia!
                  Whacky Words will return next week Monday!
                                                  I’m off to visit some bloggers!


  1. Crystal Collier on October 20, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Okay Michelle, all you need to do is move to Florida. There’s so much water you can’t NOT learn how to swim. Seriously. I’ll even loan you my floaties. 😉

  2. J.L. Campbell (@JL_Campbell) on October 20, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Hey, Michelle,
    Love the quote about keeping Alzheimer’s at bay. I need to try some of those exercises you mentioned.

    Swimming … need to learn that. I live on an island – not good!

    Congrats to Medeia!

  3. Susanne Drazic on October 20, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Hi, Michelle. Great brain exercises. I’ll have to give them a try. Awesome bucket list! I have ride in a hot air balloon and swim with dolphins on mine. Thanks for participating in the Bucket List Blog Hop!

  4. S. L. Hennessy on October 20, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    My mom suffered from memory loss due to a heart attack. It’s so important to take care of our brains and do everything we can to keep them sharp. Wonderful post for a wonderful bloghop.

  5. Susan Gourley on October 20, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    I think mental health is so ignored. I do jigsaw puzzles and indulge in the crosswords too. I need to get my forgetful husband to do more.
    Wouldn’t mind seeing Paris too. Maybe someday when all the kids are done with college.

  6. Birgit on October 20, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    You give great advice for exercising the mind. I love these exercises and will give them a shot. My mom has dementia (she suffered major brain trauma when 21). One thing she never did was do crosswords, puzzles or any brain games and I think that is important. Love your bucket list

  7. Chrys Fey on October 20, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    I like that you put learn to swim because I was terrified of swimming when I was little. I still can’t swim that well because I still get scared. I can swim underwater a little but that’s it.

  8. Hilary on October 20, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Hi Michelle – there’s lots of interesting things here – but I agree that balance between health and spiritual well-being is an essential .. keeping active with the brain and body …

    Love your bucket list – just don’t let that balloon drift over water?! I’m glad I was given the opportunity to do loads as a kid and learning to swim, though I do it badly …

    Still great mix of information here .. and then Vitamins and Death by Medeia … just to get us thinking .. cheers Hilary

  9. Alex J. Cavanaugh on October 20, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    You need to learn to swim or those dolphins will have to carry you.
    Congratulations to Medeia.
    I memorize new songs almost every week and perform them as well. And let’s hear it for us video game geeks!
    Thanks for participating in the blogfest.

  10. KaTy Did on October 20, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Try land first with that bicycle. Once you get the wind in your hair you may want to overtake the water in a shallow 3′ pool 🙂 My bet is on you!

  11. Sherry Ellis on October 20, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I just read an article about an adult learning to ride a bike for the first time. That’s definitely one you should do! Thanks for participating in the Bucket List Blog Hop.

    I liked your advice for improving memory. Memorizing song lyrics is a great idea!

  12. Beth on October 20, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    I love your bucket list! I swam with dolphins in Hawaii with my brother when I was 16 and it was surreal…I should post my pics to my blog sometime because I always mean to talk more about that and I forget–I was saying over on Crystal’s blog I seriously have THE strangest bucket list ever lol. I always talk about improving memory with my grandma–word puzzles are a really fun way too!

  13. Susan on October 20, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Enjoyed reading your list. I’d much rather swim, with or without dolphins, than ride in a hot air balloon!!

  14. Medeia Sharif on October 20, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing my cover. 🙂

    I’d like to do more puzzles. Sometimes I feel like my brain is sluggish.

  15. joylene on October 20, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Love your list. I haven’t made one yet. Not sure why. Isn’t Medeia’s cover stunning.

  16. Heather M. Gardner on October 21, 2014 at 12:53 am

    Just make sure you learn to swim before you go on the cruise too!

    Great list. Best of luck!

  17. Carol Kilgore on October 21, 2014 at 3:21 am

    Great tips and suggestions for exercising our mental muscles. Thanks!

  18. Michael Di Gesu on October 21, 2014 at 4:47 am

    Hi, Michelle,

    This is great! Mental games are a great way to stay sharp. The body is a WHOLE and we need to exercise all of it!

    Thanks for the great suggestions. I will definitely try some of these. I remember when I could remember all my friend’s phone number by heart, plus I NEVER forgot anyone’s name, even if I had only met them once. Boy, do I miss those days.

    Congrats for winning Medeia’s new book! AND Congrats to MEDEIA!

    How’s the writing coming along? it’s been a while. We need to catch up! Hope all is well!

  19. Shannon Lawrence on October 21, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Ha, I like your alzheimer’s ditty. I like logic puzzles, so I keep a couple books of those around and found a free site that offers them. I’ve been varying my route lately, though it wasn’t because I knew it would help my brain. I’d just noticed I didn’t even remember half my drive, because I drove the same way so frequently that my brain would block it out (I forget the term, but there is one for that–everyone does it!) Thanks for your suggestions!

  20. Patricia Lynne on October 21, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Nice to see mental health highlight in the hop. I should give those tips to my boss. Her memory has been a bit bad lately and I’m sure she’d love to improve it.

  21. C. Lee McKenzie on October 21, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Some great ideas for tuning up the old brain, Michelle. I’m going to reorganize my desk after I comment. You’ll hear from me later when I can’t find anything. 🙂

    You must learn to swim. Essential whenever you go near water.

    Another congrats to Medeia on her new book. Love the title.

  22. Anna Simpson on October 21, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    I’ve heard that swimming with dolphins is very therapeutic. For the severely depressed it can lighten their heartache. It has something to do with acceptance and interacting with nature on such a personal level.

    I guess what I’m trying to get at is I hope you get swim with them. 🙂

    I’m noticing that no one wants to swim with sharks though. One of my items on my bucket list. 😛

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

  23. Rhonda Albom on October 21, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Swimming with dolphins in the wild has always been on my bucket list, but somehow I forgot it when I did this blog hop. I learned to swim as an adult so I could SCUBA dive. It’s not really that scary with the right teacher.

  24. Lynda R Young on October 22, 2014 at 12:59 am

    See, I knew playing video games was good for me 😉
    Congrats to Medeia!

  25. Diane Burton on October 22, 2014 at 2:49 am

    That’s a great quote about Alzheimer’s. However, my mom did crossword puzzles every day and still Alzheimer’s stole her mind. Hopefully, keeping our minds active, learning new things, will at least prolong the emergence of that dreadful disease.

  26. Jen on October 22, 2014 at 3:15 am

    I’ve always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon. Not one of those tethered to the ground carnival gigs but an honest to goodness REAL hot air balloon ride! Oh learn to swim! I LOVE swimming. It’s the only sport I can do without having relapses of chronic conditions. Plus I just love the water. Once you learn, you’ll be so glad that you did! You can do it!!!


  27. krystal jane on October 22, 2014 at 6:07 am

    I LOVE crossword puzzles! Swimming with dolphins is such a great thing to work towards. Once you get the knack of swimming, it’s like riding a bike, you won’t see how you ever didn’t know how! You can do it! ^_^

    Thanks for passing along the brain exercise tips! 🙂

  28. Julie K Pick on October 22, 2014 at 7:13 am

    Great brain exercises! It does take me much longer to remember the words to a song than it used to. Now I’m happy if I can just remember the chorus. I would love if you shared a video of you performing! Even just the audio would be a treat! Fun bucket list too! Congrats to Medeia, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy her book!

  29. Mina B. on October 22, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    I agree about mental illness. More and more people struggle with this whether its a personal battle or one within the family. Great post, Michelle.

    And that’s on heck of a bucket list.

  30. Loni Townsend on October 22, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    I like the improving attention trick!

    Great bucket list. I hope you make it!

  31. stephen tremp on October 22, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    I love crossword puzzles! Been doing them all my life. A great way to keep the brain in shape and one’s vocabulary always improving.

    Thanks for participating in the Blogfest. Hope to see you again for next year’s event!

  32. LD Masterson on October 22, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    The memorizing song lyrics is almost an auto-response for me. Always has been. But I love the challenge of puzzles – crosswords, jigsaw, Sudoku, and those “take apart and put back together” kind. Love ’em all.

    I like your bucket list. FYI, you don’t need to know how to swim to swim with the dolphins. At least, not at those commercial places. They insist everyone wears a life jacket. I got to do this a few years ago and it was great.

  33. Misha on October 23, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Ah… yes… Paris. I so wish I was there right now. 😀

  34. Mary Pax on October 23, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Mental health is extremely important. Mood can color all.

    Great list. I have yet to be in Paris once.

  35. Jocelyn Rish on October 23, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    These are great mental exercises to incorporate into our daily lives – thank you for the reminder! And I know you can totally learn to swim – especially if getting to swim with dolphins is your reward. I got to swim with wild dolphins when I was visiting New Zealand, and it was an incredible experience.

  36. Celine on October 27, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Reading your bucket list made me want to write one! Which I may well do.
    Speaking of learning to speak French, have you checked out this blog?
    Kelli is American but she has learnt French through Skype lessons, and she is blogging about a really cool one month adventure she did through France , including Paris. That way you can start with a little vicarious visit 🙂

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