Child walking in water / Photo by Nancy Lovering — All rights reserved

Where they’ve never been seen before

An image of a slide of bone marrow, featuring two megakaryocyte cells
An image of a slide of bone marrow, featuring two megakaryocyte cells
A slide of bone marrow featuring two megakaryocyte cells | Wbensmith, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons | Original image modified to include arrows

If you don’t know what a megakaryocyte cell is, you’re not alone. I didn’t either until I Googled after reading about their potential culpability in COVID-19 related brain fog.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor — just an enthusiastic reader and diligent note-taker. I read medical and health content for fun even when I’m not researching something. With that in mind, let me share what I read recently about brain fog and megakaryocyte cells.

First, what are megakaryocyte cells? You may already know that platelets are blood cells that promote clotting, a vital process that prevents uncontrolled bleeding. …


Photo Hacks for Writers

Why you’re never finished after taking just one photo

A dog digging and splashing in a wading pool
A dog digging and splashing in a wading pool
Photo #1 — Husky digging in water | Samsung Galaxy S20 | Photo by Nancy Lovering |All rights reserved

If you’re a writer looking for images that haven’t been used by anyone else, the easiest solution is to take the photos yourself.

Stocks sites have quality images shot by professionals with high-end SLR cameras, but if your sole purpose for using an image is to illustrate a web article, you may be able to get the results you want with your smartphone. You’ll have full creative control, and best of all, your image won’t have been used previously by another writer or designer.

Before you start scrolling through your gallery looking for article images, keep in mind there are…


Creative

A dog walk story

A dog brush lying in a pile of dog fur
A dog brush lying in a pile of dog fur
Double coat dogs like huskies shed a large volume of fur. Photo by Nancy Lovering — All Rights Reserved.

“I love your dog — he’s so beautiful!”

She was young and dressed impossibly well for someone doing light gardening in her front yard. My Siberian sensed he had a fan and leaned against his leash to get as close to her as he could.

“His eyes — they’re so neat! They’re different colors! Aw, I love these dogs — I want one!”

Her husband stood behind her, smiled at me, and nodded.

“They shed a lot, you know,” he warned.

“Oh, it’s ok. I don’t mind that!” She slowly extended a flat palm for my dog to sniff and…


What I’m hoping my spreadsheet will tell me

A 3.5 cm pencil sharpened at both ends lying next to a ruler
A 3.5 cm pencil sharpened at both ends lying next to a ruler
This was my son’s sharpened-into-nonexistence pencil, and yes — I measured it. Photo by Nancy Lovering — All Rights Reserved.

I’m a data nerd. I track stuff, and I make excel spreadsheets. My kids have learned to avoid me with certain types of questions because they know I’ll hand them a blank, dollar store composition book and say “write this stuff down so we can see if there’s a pattern.”

If you’re one of my tribe you may have made your own COVID-19 spreadsheets in the spring of 2020. This was doable for a few weeks until the numbers eventually overwhelmed me and I abandoned the project. I’ve since switched my focus to my Medium story stats. …


Questions to ask yourself about the time you’ve just spent online

A woman with her head in her hands, staring at her laptop
A woman with her head in her hands, staring at her laptop
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

The internet is an interesting place. We use it to socialize, order things, educate ourselves, and make money. Sometimes we even let it think for us, without reminding ourselves that it’s a widely inclusive place where almost anyone can publish a website or post an article without anyone else’s input.

Poorly sourced quasi-facts are bad enough without internet platforms and their feeds that manipulate user behavior. Unless you think about this as you enter the stream, you’re vulnerable to the pull from the current of someone else’s design.

How do you know what you’ve read is true?

It’s all there: incorrectly interpreted data, misleading arguments, questionable premises, and outright…


Connecting with nature for at least 20 minutes each day can help with symptoms.

A young boy watching a deer eat grass in a field
A young boy watching a deer eat grass in a field
Attitude.com theorizes that time outdoors repairs attention fatigue by replenishing prefrontal cortex neurotransmitters. Photo by Nancy Lovering — All Rights Reserved.

Green time is time spent outdoors in a natural setting, surrounded by plant life such as grass and trees.

Research indicates that it’s the green space setting, not the activity, that can reduce ADHD symptoms for both children and adults. As little as 20 minutes can be of benefit, but more is better. Green time is particularly beneficial when that time is spent before you attempt tasks that require focus.

Ways to increase green time:

1. Schedule regular park time.
2. Take a greener route to school or work.
3. Choose nature-oriented vacations like camping.
4. Play green field sports like soccer.
5…


The quiet space between commands that allows your dog time to think

A closeup of the eyes of a labrador retreiver
A closeup of the eyes of a labrador retreiver
Dogs need time to think about our words, but we interrupt this process when we continue speaking. Photo by Nancy Lovering — All Rights Reserved.

Do dogs understand our words? It can certainly seem that way. Some estimates place their receptive language capacity at around 150 words or more. Whether it’s those words, or our body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, hand gestures, or varying combinations of any of these elements used in the right context, our dogs’ behaviors suggest that they’re trying to understand us.

I work as an education assistant (EA) supporting students with diverse learning needs. One of the things I’ve discovered is that I can apply classroom strategies to dog training. …


My teen’s insight into the human experience of storytelling

A red play station game controller against a black background
A red play station game controller against a black background
Photo by Garrett Morrow from Pexels

My son’s final project for a high school English class involved the creation of a piece of literary work. Students were given a list of submission options that included choices like a collection of poetry, a short story, or a novel chapter. He chose to write a short story, and when he had reached the word count limit without a successful wrap-up, he changed his format choice to “the first chapter of a novel.”

“There’s been too much character development and not enough plot advancement to resolve this in a short story, and I don’t want to take anything out.”


Face it to erase it.

A young woman wearing Everlast boxing gloves looking into the camera lens
A young woman wearing Everlast boxing gloves looking into the camera lens
Photo by Jermaine Ulinwa from Pexels

Good stress isn’t the problem.

The stress of beating the timer on my phone is helping me write this rather than mindlessly scrolling through social media. I also have four pending deadlines for my favorite client, which boosts my productivity. Deadline stress is good.

It’s the harmful stress we should eliminate, like toxic interpersonal relationships, upsetting world events, financial worries, and workplace conflict.

The American Institute of Stress paints a bleak picture of the ubiquitous nature of stress, stating that as of September 2019, 83% of workers in the US are plagued by this burden.

Bad stress isn’t just about…

Nancy Lovering

Writer, Photographer, EA (K-12) and T1D mom

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