Friday, December 30, 2011

My favourite faces

Having this week off between X and NY is a true gift. My employer, Jobsite I, gave us the whole week off, paid. Paid. PAID! Whenever I dream about going back to freelance, I try to remind myself of having paid time off, give my head a shake, and then go get some prescriptions filled and make a dentist appointment.

My favourite thing about the week is the precious time that my lil family and I get to just hang with each other. Charlie and M3I are playing Gnip-Gnop behind me on the floor. Next up, marbles. It also gives me time to just look, nay gaze, at their beautiful, handsome faces.

No, I'm not drunk. Unless you mean on love <3

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Revolutions

Okay. Life's good. Work's good. Family's good. The decluttering of 2011 has gone great, with lots of good stuff to come. In many ways, I feel like I'm On The Right Track. But it's so much fun to progress and grow, right? Here's what I want to do or improve in 2012.

#1. Get rid of my back pain by strengthening the hell out of my abdominal muscles. With physio and massage, I'm on the right track. For example, I can roll over in bed again. Pretty good for a 48-year-old, eh? Got to beat this. Because if I've had to go to freaking physio just to be able to roll over in bed at this age, I've got a ways to go. 2012 is the year of the abs.

#2. Continue the decluttering. Done in 2011: Charlie's closet (which was full of my office stuff), my bedroom closet, my clothes, the china, books, excess craft material, and so many, many magazines. All cleaned up. To do in 2012: cull photos, declutter under the bed, get office stuff (which is organized) into filing cabinet drawer.

#3. What was it again? I was just going to google ab exercises, and, M3I just gave me a bite of turkey, and what was it. Oh yeah. Focus on focus. I think I'm a pretty good editor and copywriter, but all my working life (which includes school), I've struggled with maintaining my focus. It's like running. If I can make myself work solidly for about 10 or 15 minutes, I'm in the groove, I'm engaged and productive. But the internet, that wonderfully diabolical distractinator, is becoming a problem for me.

#4. Start a blog about menopause.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A tonic for a writer

The tonic? Occasional solitude.

I'm working from home today, as I'm on Charlie drop-off and pick-up duty, which also means I'm not in the office until the new year and I have to say this is a major, major treat! While I loove my colleagues and podmates, I truly do, and feel very lucky, truth is throughout my life I've craved and needed time alone and I've had very little lately. The company's gotten so big over the past two years, and from time to time I just need a buffer from people.

A buffer, like for example a door, which unfortunately due to the collaborative nature of our work, ain't ever going to happen. So I use my headphones as a buffer. Most of the time I'm not even listening to music. But especially when I'm writing I need just a leetle bit of uninterupted time. Please. I beg you.

So my small bit of ettiquette advice to those out there, if you work with a copywriter and she's got her headphones on, come back later. Even 10 minutes later will help a lot. I promise you your work will get done a lot faster.

Happy Solstice! Let there be light, indeed!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Simplify this sweet season

I love the Christmas season (usually when I'm about 75% done my shopping). I definitely romanticize it, but I just the whole mood and atmosphere. Of course, the only way I can get to this point is by letting certain things just not get done. For example, Christmas cards.

As much as I love them, with work being so busy for both me and M3I, and with a 2-hour commute (including to and fro), I realize with the wisdom that comes with being outside the target demographic, that I can't do it all. I can't accept every invitation - even for stuff I really want to go to - the fact is, I'd rather spend as much time as possible at home with Charlie and M3I, wrapping presents, having hot chocolate, being silly, maybe listening to Johnny Mathis, and then turning off all the lights but the ones on the tree.

Other simplification strategies: I'm cancelling 99% of my email newsletters. Since I write them, I like to subscribe to them to see what other people and companies are doing. But my inbox runneth over, so I'm unsubscribing and opting out.

Also, between my brothers, we just buy gifts for the kids (and the grandparents).

Even an inkling of feeling overwhelmed sucks the joy out of what really can be a lovely, special time of year. I think that's a good indicator: the beginnings of feeling overwhelmed. A good sign to take measures to get control of a situation.

That's all. I'm just feeling happy. I better get back to work so I can leave on time to night and zip into Oink Oink and get a cute tea set for my adorable 3-year-old niece.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Remembering Bruce MacDonald

Bruce died just over a year ago, and he's in my thoughts tonight. As my friend Lynne writes, there's lots of focus on bullying these days. Also, I happened to watch the wretched Rick Perry's unbelievable ad today, bizarrely called "Strong" (I ain't linking to it, especially in a post about Bruce).

I'm going to re-post what I did last year. Here 'tis:

A good man is gone - we as a society need to do better

We're all trying to figure out why Bruce chose to end his life. But I don't know what he, personally, was going through. All I know is that it had to be pretty bad.
I found out some of his thoughts when I spent several hours later that night reading his blog, Canuck Attitude [update: which, unfortunately, was taken down soon after his death]. This post, in particular, was so full of pain, sadness, rage and disappointment it made me weep for him and every person who's gone through anything like what he describes.

Here's just a bit:
There was a time when I couldn't see myself living beyond sixteen because I couldn't believe that a life so full of hurt, actually it wasn't just the hurt, it was the hatred that was directed toward me that made me feel that maybe being born wasn't such a great thing after all.

Imagine that, eh. You're you. And you're making your way through your childhood and youth, learning that a significant proportion of the world hates you. You've done nothing to deserve it. Nothing!

He also said,
As much as I'm impressed and heartened by Dan Savage's It Gets Better Project and the incredible response it has generated, I can't shake the feeling that all we are doing is patting kids on the head and sending them back to the dungeons while telling them to be patient. I'm sorry, but that's still a kind of tacit approval of bullying.

No Surrender
No Surrender
Bruce designed this flag, put it on his blog, and encouraged people to copy it. In his words, "This flag has no meaning beyond declaring self-purpose about one’s individuality. It’s a testament to the fact that no matter what, we all have to get up every morning and live in and share this place no matter who we are."

How cool is this?

YOU can light up a wee light on the tree at Union Station by sharing.

Watch live streaming video from canadiantire at

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More letting go of things - they're just things, right?

2011 has been the year of decluttering. Still a ways to go, but holy smokes, what progress.

Every couple of weeks this year, I've been able to take 2 or 3 or 4 boxes of stuff to Goodwill or Salvation Army. It feels great!

The latest: I've culled a bunch of old photos. In the theme of keeping my favourites, I'm dumping the extraneous, or else the number I have will continue to take up valuable space. Space I want to be empty.

I also finished cleaning out my bedroom closet. I've got roughly 1/3 the number of pairs of shoes I had. The shelves above the rack have my sweaters and cycling clothes, neatly stacked and organized.

And here's the bit I'm most proud of: all the clothes in my closet are items that
a) fit
b) I like

That's basically the first time in my life it's ever been that way. Sure makes getting ready in the morning easier and more positive.

Almost all of my jewellery is out, where I can see it, so now I wear it. Necklaces are hanging on hooks along the wall above my dresser, or on an iron candelabra my brother made me years ago.

Scarves and belts are on the back of the door.

Got rid of my crappy old socks and I actually have enough bras - quite a few, actually, in different colours. ALL Liz Claiborne.

And last weekend, I dropped off some BIG stuff, emotionally:
My bubbie's dress - the one she wore to my parents' wedding. I kept it for awhile. Tried it on a couple of times - we sure were different shapes! Then I decided to give it to a consignment store - because it's quite in style again - it's beautifully made, a lovely turquoise, and was made in 1961.

But as a few months passed, and I didn't go to the hip consignment stores again and again, I decided last week to send it to my two favourite stores mentioned above. I have found so many great treasures at those stores, like my long tweed Brooks Brothers coat, and I just started picturing someone coming across this dress and getting it for a steal, and it made me happy.

And don't tell me the staff grabs stuff for themselves. Truth is I don't care whether it's just a rumour or whether it's true. Plus I've found enough treasures to know that tons of great stuff gets onto the racks - which is why I love those locations and why others do too! (My Goodwill was in the Scott Pilgrim movie, oh yes it was - which means I'm much hipper than I even realize.)

I also dropped off my old, though pristine, high school ski team jacket. It's rather cool and kinda gorgeous, but I look like a dork in it. No way a 48-year-old woman should be wearing stuff that's not just reminiscent of her high school days, but actually has the school name on it and the big Broncos logo on it. Also in that bunch of stuff, a velvet teal 1950s dress that belonged to my mom and will make some quirky young 20something very happy (it seriously doesn't fit me - mom's shorter in the body than me), and the dress my mom wore to my brother's first wedding.

I just have to keep reminding myself it's a process.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Folks, if you're "for" this hateful "Go back to where you came from" post & email that's been going around like a bad smell, give your freaking head a shake.

How come? Well, lotsa reasons. The least significant reason is that the Australian Prime Minister didn't actually say it, so it's a made-up quote, pandering to xenophobes and trying to convince people that being an asshole is patriotic. Check it out on if you feel like it. There's lots of hateful stuff on there, created by people who want to legitimize their xenophobia and racism.

More imporantly, you should give your head a shake because the whole thing is simply about hate. If you're all about hate, then I'd like you to go back to where you came from, which is under a big wormy rock. But if you're not, read this bit again and give your head another shake, because if you've ever sent this thing to anybody or posted it on facebook, you're an idiot.

'This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'.'  

'If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.'  

Nice, eh?

Now look around you. Maybe even look at your list of facebook friends. Look at your co-workers. Look at your clients and customers. Look at some of your family members. I think you might owe a few of them an apology.

Never mind that Australia, like many countries in the developed world (Hello Canada!) wasn't actually founded by your fellow whities. It was really "founded" by the folks who lived there first - ya know, the first peoples. In fact, Australian Aboriginal culture goes backat least 50,000 years.Then the so-called Christians came along and screwed them over big time 200 years ago. 50,000 years versus 200 years. And guess who wants the newcomers to leave. Yep, the so-called Christians. Yeah, Jesus woulda liked that, eh? Not bloody much.

My friend Lynne has weighed in on this too - in X is for Xenophobe. One of the many reasons I love her.

Hatred's a big commodity out there these days. It's fun, cool, and profitable to court the powerful, and to pander to the majority. Give some thought to your actions and beliefs. This "go back to where you came from" bullshit panders to the powerful, the incurious and those too lazy to get to know anybody who's not exactly like them. It's got nothing to do with who "founded" this country.

Just ask the folks in Attawapiskat. They were here first. The big white (so-called) Christian majority isn't embracing their now-fucked-over culture, are they.