January 2nd, 2018

Resolving: 2018

I didn’t ever write the 2017 in review post. I wrote some drafts in December and they were all rather grim and hysterical, because it was a legitimately hard year but also probably because I was exhausted. Then I went on vacation for two weeks and, for the first time since I graduated from undergrad, didn’t do anything. No fooling: I had time off from work but I didn’t travel by plane or train or even car beyond a few km radius, I didn’t do freelance or personal projects or school assignments, try to pack for a move or reorganize my life. I just slept 9 or 10 hours a night, hung out with my husband and cats a lot, occasionally went out to see a friend or a movie, and ate some nice food. I built a little fort on my couch out of pillows and blankets (my apartment is cold) and read books in it, dozing off when I was tired, bringing food in there when I was hungry (my fort was full of crumbs). I saw the Dior exhibit at the ROM. I cooked a bit and had a NYE party. That’s it.

Now I’m a lot less grim and hysterical. 2017 is never going to glow with good times in my memory, but when I’ve had enough sleep it need not seem worse than it was. Instead of enumerating everything that was wrong with the previous year, here’s my resolutions for the next one, which do in fact kind of elucidate what I’m seeking to fix about my life (I’m still not in the sunniest frame of mind–it’s going down to -22C this week).

1) Ballet class: I signed up in December for the most introductory of introductions at the National Ballet School and it cost enough that I think I’ll actually show up. I’ve taken some drop-in ballet classes before and know that though they’re beyond my comfort zone I enjoy them if no one makes me feel bad about my lack of skill (including myself; mainly myself). Exercise, new people, and a reason to leave the house in winter: this seems like something I can use.

2) Mindfulness: This is not so much a resolution as something assigned to me by my neurologist. Part of why 2017 was such crap for me was that I was often ill. I have appropriate drugs for my migraines now, but I often don’t know when to take them or which ones to take–taking migraine medication too late in the game is often worse than taking none, because it has no affect and causes side effects that it wouldn’t normally have if taken at the right time. Then you’re really sick AND you have crazy side effects. Vertigo played a role in my autumn. According to the doctors, I’m not in good enough communication with my body to know what meds to take when, and mindfulness can teach me that. So I’m going to download an app and hope the app can help me, because I’m otherwise pretty much at sea. [Edit: I got Headspace and did the first session. It seemed ok. I liked the coach’s British accent.]

3) Take my blood pressure twice a week and record results: The many fun medications I’m on could cause my blood pressure to spike, so I’m supposed to be tracking this, but I’ve been lax. No more!

4) Say less on social media and listen more: I get a lot out of posting little thoughts, jokes, snippets of dialogue, requests for info, book-related announcements and general ephemera on social media. Most people are so supportive and wonderful, and the fun chatter helps me get through the day. AND YET–is that the most social media can do for me? I am so good at ducking hard news, and now here is yet another medium where I have completely blinkered myself from sadness. Well, not completely–it creeps in, and it should, especially the state of the world being what it is. In 2017 I started deliberately following folks on Twitter who made me uncomfortable, mainly activists for various forms of social justice, and I’m going to keep on doing that as much as my comfort-loving mind can stand. Another, more selfish side of this is that despite the overwhelming positivity of my FB feed, I do get a bit of snark now and then, and I can NOT take it. It’s not even bad, just someone scrolling quickly and saying the first thing that comes to mind. I simply don’t have 623 good friends, and expecting all those vague acquaintances to care about my feelings isn’t reasonable. If I say less, people will snark less back at me, and I’ll have room in my head for weightier issues than “did she really mean to make fun of my cat?”

5) Get rid of stuff I don’t actually use or want; organize stuff I want to keep in a reasonable manner: I would like to actually move house in 2018, but that’s not a resolution but a plan. In service of that, though, I’d like to start the decluttering and organizing now. Rubbermaid tubs figure prominently in my future. I love Rubbermaid tubs.

6) Finish the 3rd 1000 things we like. I can do this!


I think that’s all the resolutions I’m going to make for now, though there’s certainly more I could: about exercise and diet (who couldn’t?), about writing and reading (but those are my career–I feel like accountants and engineers don’t make resolutions to work hard at their jobs), about all kinds of stuff I could stand to improve on. But this is a good start.

PS–If you know someone challenging and wise to follow on Twitter, I would be happy to hear about it. Or a cheap and plentiful source of Rubbermaid tubs, for that matter.

April 21st, 2017

The Making Room Anthology and Out in the Open on the CBC

Oh, you guys, the Pivot at the Steady reading was so nice. Every reader was great (even me, if I do say so humbly–I lived up to the evening I think!) the host was great, everyone that I spoke to in the audience was great, the vibe in the room was great, even the temperature was great. I wish I went out to readings as often as I used to–it was about once a week, more or less, in my late twenties and I just went to anything my friends suggested or that sounded cool to me. Now 10 years later it’s less than once a month unless I am myself reading and I really miss it. Stupid increasing decrepitude.

BUT I am reading a lot these days in support of So Much Love and while that in itself is a lot of fun, it’s also wonderful in that it gets me out listening to all the talented folks who are on the bill with me at readings. Like Saturday night, for example, when I’ll be reading at the Toronto launch of the Making Room anthology with so many brilliant and talented women like Amy Jones, Ayelet Tsabari, Eleanor Watchtel and tonnes more. It should be an amazing night. If you can’t make it or don’t live in Toronto, you can still order the anthology, which is huge and amazing and well worth reading. $26 is a steal for a book that covers 40 years of female and feminist writing in Canada. I’m not all the way through yet but I’m just floored by the strength and diversity of the gathering.

Sunday will be a day off from me and my book, but if you miss me, you actually hear me on the radio talking about the only other thing besides books people ever want to talk to me about–my big crazy jaw surgery! I’ll be on Out in the Open with Piya Chattopadhyay at 11am on Sunday morning, 11pm on Tuesday, or you can listen online at the link above. It’s an interesting show concept, on personal transformation, and I’m looking forward to listening to all the interviews myself!

January 5th, 2009

Resolving, finally

Arigatou gozaimasu.

Ah-ree-gah-toe go-zy-ee-mass

Thank you very much (if you take out the “gozaimasu”, it means the same thing, but more informally. There is no one in Japan that I am on informal terms with, however, so I’m not dwelling on that option too much.

In 2009, I have resolved to learn one word/phrase a week in Japanese, at least until I actually go there. I have no hope of learning grammatical constructions, and less of learning how to read any of their alphabets (they have three, apparently). The best I can hope for is enough nouns and polite expressions to stay out of trouble. We’ll see how it goes.

That’s my only Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely goal. Normally I make a lot of these (what? HR training courses can be used for good as well as evil), but my helpful friends have been particularly forthright lately in pointing out that many of my SMART goals are in fact, stupid (not an acronym). Maybe I could achieve them, but they say, to no particular purpose.

And then there are the things that are too important to make into resolutions, things that would frighten me to try to push into 2009 if in fact they turn out to feel like more 2010 type things. So I’m not resolving those either.

So far, the only goal other than the Japanese resolution that has received universal approval is one that meets none of the SMART criteria, which is to be braver. Obviously, this is something I need to work on (or I wouldn’t be so fretful about something as trivial as new year’s resolutions), but I have no idea how I’ll know when/if I get there.

Learn Japanese and be brave. Sure. No problem.

2009, you are a very daunting-looking year.

Say goodbye to grace and virtue

December 29th, 2008

BIRT 2008 (review)

I had a little head-down-on-the-table moment a few weeks ago, when I realized that my 2008 Resolution tally came to about 15% achieved. Not very pretty. The wise council I received, once I pulled my face up from the wood-grain, was that actually, my 2008 resolutions were mainly stupid, so I shouldn’t feel bad about not achieving them, although possibly I should feel bad about making them in the first place.

So, fine, whatever, I’m not even linking to the 2008 resolutions–there were some “interesting” ideas in there. A few were actually ok, though: I succeeded on “attend more readings,” in the best way possible: I had much fun, heard much great poetry and prose and met many lovely folk. I am so addicted to hearing readings now that I don’t think that resolution needs to be repeated.

I came most of the way on “floss every day,” “eat healthily” and “buy non-corporate,” but not fully-completely, so those go back on the list. And then I failed utterly on “stop eating gelatin”, but in retrospect, I think the cosmos aligned to expose me to an abnormally huge amount of gelatin in January and February 2008, making it difficult to get any traction on that particular resolution. So I’m going to try it again, despite some heckling from the peanut gallery.

Ok, so that’s one resolution success, four resolutions to repeat, nine failures and six new resolutions to come up with before Thursday. Not a problem. Just let me rest my cheek here on the desk for a moment.

Tried it in my very own dreams

So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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