Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The catch and release program, enhanced

Is it actually possible that I could give up and sell one of my Dainty Blue Shelley teacups (this one is exceptional because it's footed, and that is very unusual for the Dainty shape)? We shall see.

"Catch and release" means that with great joy and enthusiasm, I have a tendency scoop up a treasure – like a teacup*, for example – from the Sally Ann, or Goodwill, or a garage sale, or an antique show, hang onto it for awhile (like a month or twenty years), and then gently release it back into the Great Material Continuum** (or hang onto it forever). Now, via my upcoming Esty shop.

I'm thinking of opening a little Etsy shop. I've got a lot of beautiful stuff that I don't have room for, and it seems that beautiful stuff is always going to make its way into my home. It's always easier for me to let go of "stuff" if it's going right into someone else's hands.

I spent the afternoon going through cupboards and little wee boxes of treasures. Once I get it rolling, I'll post a link here.

*Note that I didn't pick up this epic Shelley teacup at Goodwill or a garage sale; I found it
at the annual Antiques Show at the Bracebridge Arena a few years ago, the source of many treasures.

**The Great Material Continuum explained


Okay, I can't help myself; here's a sampling (silver is pre-Twinkle).


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Walking and reading: two ways to improve today



My ebullience and enthusiasm, both results of my improved arm and shoulder mobility, have gotten me into a bit of trouble over the past week.

First, I injured myself doing the dolphin pose during a shoulder-shape-up yoga workout. Very, very dumb. I will never do one again. I was feeling nice and loose and simply overdid it. Hurt my shoulder (in a different place), and wing, and neck.

Next, again with too much enthusiasm for improving my upper body strength, I tried too many times to hang and pull-up from our chin-up bar. This morning at physio I discovered that I haven't done myself any permanent damage. Just feels a bit like minor whiplash.

The good news from my physiotherapist: no big permanent damage done. Just keep on keepin' on. Okay, can do.

On the way home, I had a long, quiet walk in the fresh snow, which is one of the very best ways to improve the day.

Then, got some work done and sent off, and did some reading through a lovely, heartfelt, fabulous blog called Sublime Mercies.

I recommend both as ways to improve today.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Improving today - quality time and quantity time


How I'm improving today:

Spending the day with Charlie, with a mind to both quality and quantity of time.

We started off our Saturday morning with this list of chores. Note that he's a great kid, but he's normal, which meant he objected to doing chores – strenuously.

And, just as I'd hoped, he then put equal if not more effort into doing those chores. Including dumping the compost into the big, disgusting bin in the underground parking garage.

The fact is that once this kid gets going on a task, he, like his dad, puts everything into it. 

Next, we had lunch, including dessert, and now we're heading out to see a movie in the movie theatre.

Charlie chose the movie, "Nut Job"
A special occasion indeed.

What you can do to improve today:
Hang out with a family member: your kid, your mom, your dad, your partner, your sibling, your aunt. Spend not just quality time, but quantity.

It improves the day for you (I've received three hugs today already, omg!), but also for your person.

Hope you all come up with a nice way to improve today.

Update: If your kid begs you to climb up with him on all of the gigantic snow hills, do so. Especially when he tells you, "Mom, it'll make you feel like you're on top of the world!" 


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Adding levity

The winter sky is just the bluest!
Happily, I got my outgrown floppy hairdo chopped off today. Unhappily, as I sat in the salon chair this morning wearing the salon smock it was looking like my hair dresser's day was not off to a great start.

Wait, am I the only person I know who still says "hair dresser"? Should I be saying "stylist"? Probably.

Back to her day; she was late, she was wearing a towel so her wet hair wouldn't ruin her (gorgeous) outfit. Then, as she tried to get the music going in the salon, one thing after another went wrong, with the cord, the blaster, the ipod, some little attachment, an inappropriate phone call, and on. Fortunately none of this had to do with my hair.

What I did to improve today
But what I was able to do to improve today was to try to turn her day into a better one. Sitting in the chair with my lank old hairdo wasn't putting me in the position to work miracles, but that's not the point. Just improve today, right?

All I did was chat her up, remind her of how good she always is with my hair, make her notice how nice she looked, tell her how good she had made me feel last time I was in (when I was sad and mad).

It seemed to work. Both she and I were happy with how my head turned out, and there were lots of laughs and smiles, and another fellow there managed to get the blaster working well in a different spot that was making everyone happy.

What you can do to improve the day (if you choose to pay attention to my ideas, and believe me, there's no obligation):

If you notice that someone's having an off day, show them some extra consideration and pay them some attention, even in a small way; in fact a small way might be better than a big way (less creepy; more natural).


Writer writes and tried to right

I think I did a good job today. I had to work on some stuff (copywriting) that's ultimately quite promotional, despite any wishes otherwise, and I wanted it to be great, while also being truthful. I found there to be considerable pressure to go farther over the top than I'm comfortable with, and I resisted, while still making it great.

My feeling is that most rational people have pretty darn good bullshit detectors, and if you venture into that territory, you're going to end up looking like an idiot.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wednesdays get happy with Choir! Choir! Choir!


What I'm doing today to improve today

Two things: one for my spirit and one for the health of my bod.

1. Singing! 

No matter how rotten a day or week I'm having, I can count on a gigantic humungous improvement in my Wednesdays just by going down to the Monarch Tavern at 7:30 and singing my brains out with Choir! Choir! Choir! with a nice cool pint of house draft in hand.

Each week our ChoirDads teach us two songs, which we learn by listening to them singing our parts, and singing them back.

The vid is from last year, with the group of us singing Tom Petty's Free Falling. I could barely speak by the time the night was over, but as you might glean if you have the wherewithall to watch the whole thing (we really like to milk the final chorus some nights), it's a whole lot of fun.

Tonight we're singing two Robyn tunes:  Dancing on my Own, and Call your Girlfriend.

 2. A shoulder workout

As a desk jockey, editing and writing for a quarter century, my shoulders – especially the right one – are giving me grief. I've got exercises from my physiotherapist, and I've got a DVD with an hour-long shoulder workout.

Which leads me to this bit of wisdom: Sometimes the things you do to improve your day make it a teeny bit worse.

I started with the shoulder exercises my physiotherapist gave me. All of them. Good on me! Then I did the entire Shoulder Shape-up yoga DVD.

Yay, right? Well, I guess I shouldn't have done the dolphin pose because I was in the middle of doing it (and it's hard), and a muscle in my neck, going down my back along the inside of my shoulder blade got very upset.

On the positive side, I've learned a valuable lesson on not becoming overzealous in my fitness and mobility endeavours.

Ideas for you (if you're interested in listening to my ideas, that is) to improve today:
• Put on a favourite tune from your formative years, and sing along to it, preferably at the top of your lungs.
• And, if your healthcare professional has given you exercises lately, do them! And don't wreck yourself like I did by going beyond your fitness level and into the pain cave.

Namaste.




Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Improve today

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Happily, this ice storm yielded stacks of twigs and branches, and no frozen cows

After the ice storm of 1998, I experienced a dismal bout of darkness and depression. Seeing that sad pile of frozen cows on the news was unbearably sad. While I can see some absurd humour in the phrase, "sad pile of frozen cows," at the time, the idea of those animals freezing to death was acutely painful and the image of them stayed with me, pulling the rug out from under my feet.

This time around with the big ice storm in late December, I thought once again about that phase of darkness years ago, and it reminded me of one of the things I did back then to improve my reality of the moment and make the world a little better, and therefore make the world seem a little brighter.

Add a drop of goodness to the world
Late one night that January, when it felt as though I was feeling the pain of everyone's misfortune around the world, I suddenly had a small idea for a way to add some goodness to the world. I would enact an addition of goodness to the world.

And even though my action would be only a drop in the very large sea of humanity, it would be a positive drop, right there and then.

I could think of no better way to improve my reality than to improve someone else’s.
I went through my change jar and scooped out all of the quarters I'd been saving for laundry, ran down many flights of stairs down to the building's basement laundry room, and placed my quarters in the coinholders of each of the washers and dryers.

Immediately, things seemed a little better.

Surely if such an impulse had happened to little ol' me, the possibility that others in this world had felt and acted on similar impulses. And that meant there was a whole bunch of us out there. And that meant that the world in its entirety wasn’t totally dark.

Now I’m not claiming that my little epiphany is the answer for everyone. And it wasn’t the total and complete answer for me at the time, but it was the start of the light turning back on.

What I did today to improve today
I did two things; one small thing to improve my own day (by improving my health), and one small thing to improve M3I’s day.
1. For me, I went for a swim, doing 25 minutes of laps. Southbound is breaststroke, northbound is front crawl. My T-Rex shoulders appreciate the workout every time I do it.

2. For my husband, I took Charlie to his martial arts class; M3I usually does it, but he does everything for everyone with no days off.

What you can do to improve today (that is, if you're interested in following a suggestion from me, a total stranger):
• Check out your local swimming pool and go for a swim, either for exercise or just for fun!
• Do someone else's chore to give them some unexpected free time.

I’ve got tons of ideas all stored up; and I can’t wait to improve the days ahead. Not a bad idea for a mid-winter project, amiright? Care to join me and improve today?



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Northeast corner of St. James Park
 I haven't given this blog so much as a thought in the past several weeks, but here it is: the urge to blog.

Restoration and rejuvenation 
It's all about creative energy - I finally got it back. I've got some freelance work, I'm able to work from home sometimes, and I am appreciating being out of the increasingly sucky, uber-political, poo-ridden environment of Jobsite 1.

Choir is still going strong, and hoo-boy, it sure has served as a place of refuge and healing and support after losing my job. Here's our take on Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.

Life goes on, right? Things happen - and not always for any good reason, so, please, I beg you to not tell me that everything happens for a reason. Some things do. Some things don't - at least not for any good reason.

For example. My dad's been admitted to hospital, so I'm worried; he's become very frail over the past year. Next. I heard from my brother this morning - he and his family woke up in shock to a fire in the house. Everyone's okay, but shizzzzz. Last word was that he also has found Mimi the cat, safe and well.


The happy working life

Happy home office
This desk was made many years ago by M3I's grandfather (or was it his great grandfather?) after he lost his sight, so yes, this talented gentleman, whom I never met, built it blind.

And I've raised the height of the surface to make it a standing desk, using the sides of my dad's heavy old oak desk he had to discard after my parents' move to a condo last year.

After sitting to work for the last 25 years, it's nice to have the option to stand; I can sit too, if I want, on my awesome old piano stool that my brother hunted down for me, searching through a number of dusty old antiques/junk stores to find it. A treasure!

A fair bit of my current work, however, is out at an office downtown, on the east side of downtown. This point is extra fun because I've been working around the west side of downtown for the last 18 years, so it's been very cool to explore a part of the city I've barely ever even driven through.

The office is basically locaed in the upper St. Lawrence neighbourhood., an old part of town that still has a lot of the old buildings still standing and still in use. The Market is several blocks to the south and about two blocks west. And best of all, I get to walk through the park beside St. James Cathedral en route, and listen to the church bells every quarter hour.


Also good: the new people I'm working with, all of whom are around the mid-century age. And I do believe that two of them are becoming my friends.








Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ramping up

Today is the day for a new computer and I am practically ecstatic. Ya know, a dividing line between old way of working and new? The newie will actually even play video and have sound! My old laptop was given to me by a very nice IT guy who couldn't fix my old one, which he was gonna do for free.

But first — coffee.