Happy New Year!

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

Hello, everybody! I know it’s a bit late, but I just wanted to start this post by wishing everyone a belated Happy New Year and apologize for being MIA for the last couple of weeks. Suffice it to say, 2016 ended on a rather frantic note and so far 2017 has been just as hectic.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

And I swore this would be the year in which I would be less stressed and more relaxed — even if it killed me! So much for New Year’s resolutions… Still, 11 days into 2017, there are some I haven’t broken… yet.

This year, I am determined to be:

  • More positive
  • More tolerant
  •  More patient

This year, I will:

  • Get rid of all the toxic people in my life
  • Listen more and talk less
  • Keep a lid on my temper
  • Make time to do the things I enjoy…

Speaking of which, as most of you know, I love to read. And with that in mind, I am once again participating in the annual reading challenge on goodreads.com. Although I fell well short of my goal last year, I once again set the same target: 100 books. And so far I’m off to a great start, if I do say so, myself. (I’ve already read three books, and I’m halfway through my fourth…) So I’m actually ahead of schedule! But we’ll see how long that lasts…

So what’s on my reading list?

So what am I reading? I guess it will depend on what’s available at the local library, my local “book bin,” and how much I want to spend on adding to my digital book collection.

One thing is for sure. With more than 100 books on my “to read” shelf on goodreads, I’ve got plenty to choose from. Here’s a small sample:

  • Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey
  • Unleashed by David Rosenfelt
  • The Girl in the Basement by Dianne Bates
  • Where there is Evil by Sandra Brown
  • The Abbey by Chris Culver
  • The Last Letter by Kathleen Shoop
  • Beneath Outback Skies by Alissa Callen

Unfortunately I won’t be able to share my opinion about everything I read here. But if you’re curious, you can always find links to reviews on my personal Twitter page.

Yet another good reason to stop smoking

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

I know it’s hard to believe, but another year is almost over. That means it’s almost time to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. And for many smokers, that means it’s time to start thinking about quitting — again.

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

Of course, there’s always plenty of incentive to quit. Smoking is a filthy, dangerous habit that affects not only smokers, but everyone around them. It even affects their pets.

According to published reports, dogs and cats  inhale secondhand smoke directly, and ingest chemical particles from smoke while grooming. Exposure to the material can worsen existing health conditions and cause new illnesses in our pets.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the ways in which secondhand smoke affects dogs depends largely on the length of the dog’s nose.

Because more toxins tend to get trapped there, dogs with longer noses, such as greyhounds and Dobermans are more likely to get nose cancer, the FDA says. On the other hand, breeds with comparatively smaller noses are at greater risk of getting lung cancer from exposure to secondhand smoke.

Cats that live with smokers are also at risk for serious and potentially fatal illness, but for different reasons. Because they are obsessive about cleanliness, cats can ingest toxic residue from tobacco smoke while grooming.

“Studies show that cats living in smoking households have a two to four-times increased risk of an aggressive type of mouth cancer called oral squamous cell carcinoma. The cancer is often found under the base of the tongue, where the thirdhand smoke particles tend to collect after grooming,” the FDA says. There is currently no known cure.

Citing additional research, the FDA says that cats “that live with people who smoke more than one pack of cigarettes a day have three times the risk of developing lymphoma, a cancer of the body’s immune system similar to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in people.” Most cats with this type of cancer live for just a few months.

So there you have it. If you don’t care about your own health, and you don’t care if smoking affects the people around you — quit for your pet. You’ll both be better off.