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A Second Dose Of Kool-Aid (25+5) 1 comment

Recently on Facebook, people are tagging each other with the request to list 25 Random Things about themselves. This may seem odd to non-Facebookers, but it is just something that happens from time to time in that particular social networking site. And, as one friend of mine states, it is a fun way to get to know one’s friends in a way that one wouldn’t in the normal course of human events. The Internet is kinda funny that way. Over-sharing is rampant and occasionally welcome.

The zenith of tagging activity happened for me this past weekend with several friends doing the Facebook equivalent of nudging me to write my list of 25 things. I’m usually game and started to turn over the possibilities in my head.

Maybe that is what did it. I was promptly cut down Monday by a pretty horrendous migraine accompanied by a wicked sore throat. I thought at one point that my head was in labour, the pain was coming in waves like contractions. Or what I imagine to be contractions. At the height of all this, there wasn’t a creative cell in my body – it was all I could do to just lie still and suffer. Later in the day, as the pain started to drift away, I started to pluck out my rather uninspired list of 25 Things. I was writing a few lines at a time between moments of dull throbbing. I wasn’t at my best.

In the interim, feeling much better these last few days, I realized that I left a few things off that I shoulda, woulda, coulda included if I’d had my act together. So, I present the original 25 + 5 bonus Random Things.

1.    I hate (hate) feeling rushed. I especially hate rushing through things early in the morning. Throws me off balance.

2.    My hair is longer now than it has been since I was 21. It feels both awkward and liberating at the same time. I have no idea how this is going to turn out.

3.    One of the most valuable things I did in high school was take typing class in Grade Nine with Mr. Traxler whom I adored. Although I nearly failed, I am so grateful that I can type reasonably well without looking at the keys.  I wonder if there will be curriculum developed to teach keypad texting. If there is, I know someone who could teach it and it wouldn’t be me.

4.    I can, and frequently do, watch movies and tv shows multiple times.

5.    I find cooking and dreaming up recipes very grounding and relaxing.

6.    Ian Turnbull was my favourite all-time Toronto Maple Leaf.  He was Borje Salming’s defence partner. He scored five goals in one game, on February 2, 1977, a record for defensemen that still stands. I remember watching that game, 32 years ago today, and also watching the awards ceremony the game afterwards. I try to wear his number, #2, when I can but that doesn’t seem to happen often. He autographed a hat of mine before he retired. I still have it.

7.    I may have a Scrabble addiction.

8.    I may have a popcorn addiction.

9.    The thing I miss most in my new diet regimen is pasta.

10.    One of my grad students was griping last week about feeling out of the loop on something we were discussing in class. I had overheard him say earlier to his buddies that he was born in 1986 and that his earliest recollections were from 1993. He asked me if I remembered 1993. I had no response. This whole exchange bothers me more than I care to admit.

11.    My family experiences genetic hearing loss. I am not immune to this phenomenon. I’ve been advised that more sound, not less, will help preserve my hearing. In other words, the audiologist has prescribed listening to loud music regularly.

12.    I love playing hockey. I wish I could play more than my schedule currently allows.

13.    There are a few people on FB that I’ve known since we were all learning how to print with big fat pencils. They all look fit and well and happy as grown-ups. When I look at their pics, I see soccer balls and Christmas pageants and endless winter bus rides home.

14.    I have a first cousin in England with exactly the same full name (first, middle, last) as me who also insists on being called “Liz”. We were completely unaware of each other’s existence until 1999. The number of things we have in common is rather astounding and includes our sexual orientation. Beware. There are two of us.

15.    My least favourite vegetables are Brussels sprouts and lima beans.

16.    There are at least two people on my FB who should understand, first hand, why I really don’t like cucumbers. I often wonder if they had the same response to that particular summer job.

17.    I think too much. I worry too much.

18.    I have terrible luck with houseplants. My favourite colour is green but my thumb is not green in the slightest.

19.    I am often overly optimistic about how much I can get done in a day.

20.    I used to love to read and I have stacks of books around that I have started and will one day finish. I just can’t sink into a good reading rhythm anymore.

21.    When I was a pre-teen, and probably on into when I was a teen, on warm summer days, I would take a stack of 7-8 books out and sit under the gigantic maple/willow in our front yard and read. I don’t know why I felt I had to take 7-8 books for an afternoon’s read. I generally stuck to one when I got there.

22.    I love where I’m living now. I miss living in the country. Somehow, these two ideas don’t feel in opposition to each other in my head.

23.    My dream, until Grade 9 science class, was to be a veterinarian. After that, I wanted to be a rock star.

24.    I have recently concluded that if a thinking person living in this crazy messy world doesn’t find themselves challenged by something like depression from time to time, they are not to be trusted.

25.    I was not close to my father but I do find some of his weird idiom creeping into my vocabulary, such as “Put a little English on it” (elbow grease, umph) and “Do you need to look after little Mary?” (are you hungry?) and “My head is here, my ass is comin'” and “Heeeh???” (speak louder, I didn’t hear you).

26.    I have my M (for motorcycle) as well as my G class licence. At one time I owned a Kawasaki 454 LTD bike that I adored. Absolutely adored. I toured solo around the northern edge of Lake Superior on it one summer when I was about 24. I had to sell it in a moment of “let’s grow up and get serious” career focus. It is one of the few times in my life that I remember sobbing uncontrollably. My bike looked something like this:

Kawasaki 454 LTD

Kawasaki 454 LTD

I suspect that if I acquired a bike again now that I’d have to re-certify my licence or something since I haven’t ridden since 1988.

27.   In 1997, I flew to New York for three reasons. a) to see Julie Andrews perform, again, in Victor/Victoria on Broadway. b) to meet up with a bunch of Internet buddies, also Julie Andrews fans, and attend the Tonys at Radio City Music hall. c) To pitch my idea for Julie’s next big project to her producer, Tony Adams. I achieved all three.  I saw the fourth last performance Julie did before her surgery cut her singing career tragically short.  Being present at the Tonys was a thrill-of-a-lifetime. Radio City Music Hall is very big. Famous people are just regular-size. Tony Adams was charming and patient. He bought me lunch and suggested a way I could get my proposal in front of Julie herself, which of course I followed up on. But the surgery interfered straightaway and messed with destiny. Still, it was a pretty terrific weekend!

28.  I think that the experience of growing up on a farm in RURAL southwestern Ontario colours almost every aspect of my life.

29.  I believe every dog deserves one hot meal a day. My dog gets her dinner with warm water and “gravy”.

30.  I am hard-pressed to think of anyone whom I know reasonably well who has not expressed at some point their feelings of exclusion, of “feeling like an outsider”.  I have heard many people express this of their relationship to a family of origin, as well as chosen family, community, workplace, social groups, etc. I wonder what we do to each other to make this phenomenon of “not fitting in” so pervasive.

Days Alive 1 comment

According to this site, I’ve been alive for 16,537 days!

My 10,000th day was February 13, 1991.
My 15,000th day was October 22, 2004.
My 20,000th day will be July 1, 2018.
My 25,000th day will be March 9, 2032.
My 30,000th day will be November 18, 2045.
My 35,000th day will be July 31, 2059.

Based on this, I estimate the following:

15,260 days – The number of days Julie Andrews has been on my radar.

13,434 – The number of days since I first picked up a guitar.

11,792 – The number of days of my longest active friendship.

9,237 – The number of days I’ve been a one or two cup a day coffee drinker. Wow – that could mean as many as 18,474 cups of coffee. Just a sec while I set up the coffee maker for cups 18,475 and 18,476.

8,631 – The number of days I’ve been “out” as a lesbian. At least to myself. More than half of my days, now.

8,393 – The number of days since I was last physically intimate with a male partner.

8,242 – The number of days since my first (of o so many) bone-crushingly achingly painful heart-break. (Cue Melissa Etheridge.)

4,589 – The number of days since the first time I saw Julie Andrews perform live on Broadway! 🙂

3,989 – The number of days since my creative mentor, Warren, died.

3,912 – The number of days since my sweet (ha!) Sidney, cat of 1,000 dreams, soulcat, hellcat, myforevercat, was euthanized due to complications resulting from feline diabetes. He was approximately 5,475 days old.

3,869 – The number of days that have passed since my Mom died. (It was a bad few months, early 1998. The days number off the same, but they sure felt heavier then.)

3,464 – The number of days since I went to the UK for the first time and discovered my lovely lesbian cousin with the same name as me!

2,604 – The number of days since the end of my last long-term relationship.

1,642 – The number of days I’ve been living at my current location.

54 – The number of days I was alive before John F. Kennedy was shot. For some reason, I’ve always wanted to know that number. 🙂

Retrospective 2008 2 comments

One of the odd little perks of being a habitual blogger is that you have a record of time passing, reminders of how things were, how they felt. Perhaps some wouldn’t see this as a perk – I do. Sometimes, I go way back. I like to see trends, shifts. Threads of commonality. I counted my blessings at the end of 2005 and 2006.

At the beginning of 2006, I talked about having an “everything, extra pickle” kind of year. See, the thing is, I’ve never really let go of this image as something I want to hang onto in my life.

Everything, Extra Pickle
It was New Year’s Eve and I hadn’t yet developed the head cold. I was planning a party for the evening and, as you do, I thought, “I need a new drill before the party.” Thus, I found myself at Homo Depot around lunch time on New Year’s Eve. If memory serves, I had skipped breakfast that day thinking vaguely that I’d be stuffing myself will all manner of food and drink later in the day. Of course, by lunch I was starving. I found the “drilla” my dreams – not a wimpy cordless piece of crap this time – and wandered over to the Harvey’s lunch counter. When asked what I wanted on my burger, I responded as I always do … “Everything, extra pickle”. In some ways, I’m so predictable.

I sat down at one of those little plastic table/chair things and unwrapped my prize burger, piled high with goodies. Somewhere around the second bite of a Harvey’s burger with “everything, extra pickle”, the juices from all the condiments and the extra pickle can’t help but start running down one’s palm, trickling down the wrist and eventually the forearm unless you are quick with the napkin. Eating an “everything, extra pickle” burger can be a full body experience, if you let it, involving all the senses. If you let it.

I decided then and there that I wanted this to be my theme for 2006 – I want an “everything, extra pickle” kind of year. When this year is over, I want to have to take a shower from being covered with all the run-off from the tasty, indulgent, spontaneous treats I discover. Especially the tangy pickles that cross my path.

There is something in this image, for me, about having a sense of sensual abundance even in the simple everyday moments. And about being in the moment, and “getting the joy of it”, in the moment.

At the beginning of 2008, I didn’t do a “counting blessings” post. The end of 2007/beginning of 2008 was difficult, save for the scrumptious trip to Mexico at Christmas 2007. That was a welcome break. At the beginning of 2008, I was gearing up to quit my one and only contract, an extremely lucrative one, with no specific prospects in sight that appealed to me. It was a mental health decision, weighing my self-esteem and healthy self image against very satisfying financial gain. There are some things I can’t stomach and having an abusive supervisor who is threatened by me for some reason is one of them. It was a very very tenuous entry into 2008. Instead of a “counting blessings” post, I did a reflective retrospective via Kaivalya’s format.

2008 has felt momentous in so many ways. The only way in which I am not in a better place now than I was a year ago is financial, and I’m committed to changing that in 2009, damn the economic torpedos! Which brings me to my resolutions for 2009.

Resolutions for 2009

November, 2008

November, 2008

To continue with my body alteration project and reach my target weight loss of 90 lbs. To date, just prior to the holiday food fest, I had lost 69.5 lbs. This project started on June 29, 2007. Over this past summer, I added strength training and regular cardio to my hockey-playing routines. Thus, my body has significantly re-shaped itself and the weight loss probably looks more dramatic than it actually is. Although 69.5 lbs isn’t anything to sneeze at. I’m happy with that, and very happy with my changed diet and activity routines that make it possible. I do want the full 90 lbs, though. I’ll get there in 2009. (Thanks, Miriam, for the great crop on this pic!)

To end 2009 in a better financial position than it begins. To be specific, I will have created avenues for “passive” income via my various online ventures. More on this later. I have more resources at hand than your average person to make this happen. I write, I observe, I teach. People seem to like to read what I write. I can parlay these elements to my financial advantage while also feeling fulfilled creatively, by having an outlet for expression, while also “doing good by doing well”.  This is my ultimate personal integration project, I think. Stay tuned. 🙂

This seems a good point for a Melissa Ferrick quote, dontcha think? MF has this great song, Everything I Need Is Right Here In My Hands. I remember hearing this while at the depths of a deep depression following my “divorce”. This would be early 2002. She reminded me of one of the most important lessons my mother taught me – that the only person I can count on is me, and that I possess all the tools I need to succeed. I need for nothing. It lifted me then, while in the depths. Now, when absolutely everything in my life looks rosy, except for that niggly long-term financial outlook, it reminds me again that I am so very blessed with everything I need to look after myself and be happy. I need only to trust myself, my instincts and my abilities.

Well I got money in the bank
And I got a car to drive
And I got a working set of hands
That my guitar seems to like

Cause I got a love that won’t quit
And I got time to rest
And I got a clear and able mind that sees my life
Going fine

Yay
Cause everything I need
Is right here in my hands
Right here in my hands
Right here in my hands
Everything I need
Is right here in my hands
Right here in my hands
Right here in my hands

Everything I need

And I got a floor to dance on
And I got a phone to laugh in
And I got a tub to cry in
And I got a bed to hide in

Oh but sometimes I only see what’s wrong
Sometimes I’m convinced my god has up and gone
I’ll never write a hit song
My love is going to leave me
Hanging

Hey
But everything I need
Is right here in my hands
Right here in my hands
Right here in my hands

OK – enough with the musical interlude … back to the resolution programming …

To continue to grow my hair longer. My hair is longer now than it has EVER been! It is wild woman hair!  It falls in my face when I least expect it to and, lately, against the back of my neck, especially when I’m at the gym. This has never happened before. I’ve never felt my hair against the back of my neck.  I have no idea how this is going to turn out and I guess that is the point.  Referring to the “trust” element in the note above, I just need to trust that my new-found comfort level with longer hair is going to take me in the right direction. (And, it’s kinda fun, this longer hair … 🙂 )

To read more. Seems almost every year I resolve to read more and I just don’t seem to make it happen. I miss it and it has been missing from my life since tackling the MBA (too much reading!), coinciding with the invasion of the Internet into my life. The natural “reading” time for me, bedtime, means that I can read about a page and a half before keeling over. As I start to snooze and drift, I find myself reading the same paragraph over and over and getting not one ounce of meaning from it. Frustrating. My days are too busy and to filled with other “noise” and information for me to “make time” for this. And there are SO MANY books on my shelf that require my attention. Dammit … I must make this happen!

To take what I’ve learned these past few years and continue to be strong with regard to who I let into my life, and who I do not. I’ve been too trusting in the past and kept “friends” close to me who really were not friends. It is sometimes a really really hard call. I’m getting better at it. I need to keep getting better at it.

To live a simpler existence. I “own” too much. I have too many “things”. I throw things away too easily, opting to replace rather than repair. By the end of this year, I want my living space and storage locker to have the “stuff” in them reduced by at least 50%, and to have given away or donated all of it. Before I toss anything that is broken, I will consider having it repaired. I’m so tired of my “stuff”.

Reflective Meme:

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

In January, I walked away from the most lucrative “job” I’ve ever had. I was asked to return in various forms (short-term retainer, facilitating meetings, one-off projects….) making the ending of that relationship quite jagged. But, in the end, it ended. And I’m better for it. I still remember the level of gut-wrenching anxiety I had about this, exactly one year ago today. I realize I’m almost taking this day “off” as an anniversary of sorts to write and reflect on just how strong and brave this decision was. I have turned down opportunities before. This was the clearest, strongest choice I’ve ever made in favour of “me” vs. “money”.

I also went on a cycling trip around Manitoulin Island that was pretty darn cool.

I bought and wore a dress for the first time in 25 years. OK, that isn’t “never”, but pretty darn close! I actually wore it twice. By choice. On purpose. Whoa.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions?
According to this post, my resolutions for 2008 were as follows:

– continue to work towards my optimal weight target and, as I get there, work on conditioning the healthy body I’ve been blessed with.

– work on self-confidence. Seriously. Present circumstances have dealt me a serious blow in this area and I need to work on getting my mojo back, so to speak.

– more music in my life … more reading … move towards a simpler existence

I did well with the first two and part of the third. The optimal weight target is so much closer, and I’m in much better condition than I’ve been since I was 18. I’m feeling stronger and more confident, for sure. I’ve had more music this year than in previous years – check. My previous note about reading speaks for itself. A simpler existence? Hm. I’ve had moments of this but, wow, it sure feels like a stronger impulse now – hence the related resolution.

3. Did someone close to you give birth?

No.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No. (Knock on wood.)

5. What countries did you visit?

Barbados.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
Last year, I answered this with these words: A sense of personal stability, confidence. Happily, I managed this. In 2009, I need to top it off with a better financial picture.

7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Bringing my total weight loss to 69.5 lbs.

8. What was your biggest failure?

Losing interest /momentum in self-employment. I think I’m just not cut out to do it full-time. Also, my pastry-making skills suck.

9. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Thankfully, no.

10. What was the best thing you bought?

My new watch. Both of them. Also, there are some new clothes that are pretty cool to wear.

11. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Gosh – where do I start? So many people I admire in my life. The following people deserve the Venus Award of Merit for Bravery in 2008:

Danica

Cheryl

Ewa

Miriam

(Remember … fortune favours the brave!)

The Venus Award of Merit for Complexity Grounded in Humanity goes to Cate.

The Venus Award of Merit for Most Adorable New Couple goes to Rhonda and Mary-Ann.

The Venus Award of Merit for Keeping One’s Sanity, Intelligence and Compassion Against All Odds goes to Angela.

The Venus Award of Merit for Perseverance In The Face of Crap goes to Hillary Clinton.

The Venus Award of Merit for Surprising the Hell out of Me (in a good way) goes to my brother David.

12. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

There are a few in my personal life. Names aren’t important. No Awards for YOU!

John McCain, Sarah Palin and the entire Republican caucus get a giant raspberry. Those who supported Proposition 8 in California have forgotten the meaning of the word “freedom” and “equality” – I feel both pity and anger when I think of them.

13. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage.

14. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Barbados.

Pride. Before, during and after. 🙂

Working @ MaRS.

Manitoulin Island.

Planning my next business morphing.

Christmas.

New Year’s. 🙂

15. What song will always remind you of 2008?
This one is easy – Viva La Vida!!! Although I tend to say it, “Viva La Vida, baby!”

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier. (phew)
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner! 🙂

iii. richer or poorer? Financially poorer, but this is a temporary situation. Emotionally, socially, spiritually? So much richer.

17. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Reading.

18. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying.

19. How did you spend Christmas?

I did a lot of baking and had some lovely social times leading up to Christmas, including a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner. My family arrived for Christmas Dinner on the day itself – eight of us here and I cooked the whole thing. I hosted a lively little party here on Boxing Day. Loved the whole thing!

20. Any one-night stands?

Not exactly. Actually, no – I’m going to say no to this. Except … well … This is harder to answer than it looks at first glance!

21. What was your favorite TV program?

Don’t really watch TV. Still love watching West Wing on DVD. I’m a creature of habit.

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate is an ugly word and I don’t have room for it in my life. Are there people who have plummeted in terms of my opinion of them? Yes. Does this make me sad? Yes. Am I in mourning for them as part of my life? No. This is the part that has shifted for me. They can return anytime they decide to accept me as I am rather than trying to force me to be someone I’m not.

23. What was the best book you read?
Sad to say, I didn’t finish, to the end, a single book. I started many. The one I enjoyed the most and am still trying to find time to finish is called Hold Me Tight and is about the complex emotional territory of relationships, specifically, life partnerships. What I like about this book is that it asks us to set aside our obsession with the concept of emotional co-dependence. Personally, I think any human behaviour, taken to extremes, can be regarded as a pathology. I also think we have gotten carried away with pathologizing our own complex human behaviours. When we start getting suspicious of people “needing” other people, especially within a life partnership, then something has gone haywire. By the time one has reached a place of partnership with another person, it should – I think – feel like you’ve reached a comfortable interdependence. A mutual “needing” at some emotional place. This isn’t pathology – this is life. And, one hopes, love. I like the way this book approaches this topic, asking couples to draw closer together and find comfort and safety in the “needing” rather than ask them to stand apart in individual analysis and to question their own humanity and vulnerability.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I re-discovered ColdPlay when their new CD came out. Also discovered the Puppini Sisters and have been recently turned on to Queen Latifah.

In preparation for my birthday party, I had such fun downloading artists from my past from iTunes and assembling their tunes into playlists. The Pretenders. Talking Heads. David Bowie. Huey Lewis and the News. I’m just LOVING having this stuff on my iPod.

25. What did you want and get?

New watch. Twice. But I’m not bitter.

26. What did you want and not get?

See previous whining about financial stability.

I wish there was a category for “smartest decision of the year” in which case I would answer “going back to teach at the college”. Given the current economic times, I can’t imagine trying to drum up work to keep myself going, especially since I dislike that part so much. Teaching pays less than consulting, thus my current angst. This too shall pass.

27. Favorite film of this year?

Milk is amazing and Sean Penn is a tour de force. I strongly recommend that folks moved by Milk watch the documentary that came out in 1984, The Times Of Harvey Milk. Also brilliant, and equally as gut-wrenching to watch. Mamma Mia is just such a joyful, campy romp of a film, beautifully lit and spectacularly filmed, and it doesn’t dodge the aging of women, nor does it regard older women as sexless creatures. Au contraire … ! Last Chance Harvey was the sweetest little film and I highly recommend it. I also enjoyed Men’s Group, an Austrailian cinema verité that knocked my socks off, and Austrailian films don’t generally do that. There are a number of films I didn’t see and should have, Slum Dog Millionaire being one of them.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Turned 45. Had an awesome party, as one should when one turns 45, I think.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I honestly can’t think of a single thing. (except for the resolution of that niggling money thing … I sense I’m not alone with this particular issue)

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

Triceps.

31. What kept you sane?

Remembering, sometimes quite specifically and dramatically, everything my mother taught me. Except, I should have been paying much closer attention during Pastry-Making 101.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Emma Thompson. I mentally toss my undies and hotel room key at the screen whenever she is on it.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

The US Election, particularly when Hillary and Obama were facing off. I found the media’s treatment of Hillary to be abysmal and shockingly retrograde. Obama rocks, don’t get me wrong, but the vilification of Hillary showed us how far we have to go to have women regarded as fully qualified people with actual leadership qualities.

34. Who do you miss?

My mom.

Warren.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

This is an impossible question to answer as 2008 has brought a host of new, vibrant, amazing, breath-taking and beautiful people to my life. I am truly blessed. An embarassment of riches, one might say.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

This was the year of making peace with some of my control issues. Of letting go of a lot of them. Of learning to take big risks again and knowing, ahead of time, that I could live with any outcome. Of remembering that fulfilled expectations aren’t as important as the journey one takes towards them. Of taking it as it comes. Of “living the life” that is at once my own creation and a bundle of serendipitous coincidences and bolts from the blue.

Retrospective 2007 Click Here To Comment!

I’ve been stalling a bit on this, hesitating. Hesitant. I just took care of that last night, ritually burning my hesitation and second guessing of self, so here goes with a look back at 2007. I do have to thank Kaivalya for giving me a structure to put to this, to get me started …

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?
Most recently, zip-lining through the canopy of the tropical forest in Mexico. Earlier in the year, I took a leave of absence from my teaching position to work in a smaller organization – something I’d certainly never done before.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Sort of. According to this post, my three resolutions were:

– Go to the gym 3x a week

– Less e, more me.

– Remember to consider the source.

If one reads the first one as “get in better shape / improve health”, then I have certainly achieved that this year, although I’m dragging my heels a bit on weighing in after the holidays! I believe I’m also doing much more phone and in person contact than I did the previous year and it has certainly made my life richer. Present circumstances aside, I’m much better at “considering the source” than I once was, but stuff does still get to me that shouldn’t.

Will I make more? Hm. This year, I plan to:

– continue to work towards my optimal weight target and, as I get there, work on conditioning the healthy body I’ve been blessed with.

– work on self-confidence. Seriously. Present circumstances have dealt me a serious blow in this area and I need to work on getting my mojo back, so to speak.

“Present circumstances” refers to the fact that my job shift, while positive in many respects, is not working out. The last time I felt like this involved eight months of trying to leave a complex and mildly abusive relationship. Walking around most days with a knot in my stomach. So … step one is getting outta there … and step two is healing the damage. Once this all unfolds, I’ll see more clearly the positives that have come out of this. And they are there – I can sort of see them through the murk. Stay tuned …

– more music in my life … more reading … move towards a simpler existance

3. Did someone close to you give birth?
Yes – welcome Arden Collins to the world!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No. (Knock on wood.)

5. What countries did you visit?
US – Hawaii in March … US – Chicago in October … Mexico in December … my attitude towards visiting the States has changed so much in the last 18 months.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
A sense of personal stability, confidence.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

“Etched” seems a strong word … memorable? Will that do?

January 27/28 – Beth’s Recitals

January 30 – Blind date that led to a relatively short-lived but intense relationship that took up a chunk of 2007

March – Hawaii

June 29 – Start of weight loss project (forecasted end date, sometime in May 2008)

November 16/17 – Fundy Boy Christmas

November 19 – the day my boss totally crossed the line and the beginning of the end

December 23-30 – Mexico!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Losing almost 40 lbs.

Having the chutzpah to step out of security into the void.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not correctly reading the situation I was walking into in the new workplace.

Not adequately protecting myself emotionally from said situation.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope and I am profoundly grateful for this. In 2006, I had some lovely close-ups of my reproductive system taken – all clear. In 2007, I had my lower GI series done … and then re-done. So very done with that … all clear … perhaps this is the year of the mammogram. Yikes.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I want to say my new car, but truth be told I’m not as happy with it as I wished I were. I foresee another change. I think my new camera that I bought before I went to Hawaii. It is smallish, waterproof to 10 ft, shockproof and takes really terrific shots. Oh – and my new bike brought, and will bring, great joy! What a way to feel like a little kid again! I’m also fond of the new rug and new cupboards in the kitchen hall.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I have a friend who, after the horrid political fallout from a non-profit organization I was once part of, wound up on the other side of the, shall we say, chasm. To her credit, after over a year of no contact, she reached out to me and asked if we could meet up. She apologized, asked me about my side of things, gave me her side, and apologized again. I’m guessing that 2008 may bring her back into the fold. It took some guts for her to do this, and some humility. I want to honour that here. It meant a lot to me.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
My boss’.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The shinny tournament last January. 🙂

Hawaii

Chicago

Mexico

Briefly, I was excited about the new relationship that quickly tanked.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
Sunday Morning by Maroon 5

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Wow – that is complicated. Happier in some ways … more angst ridden in others.
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner!!
iii. richer or poorer? Richer, I suppose, but anticipating taking a hit in the pocketbook soon. HOWEVER, I feel absolutely and undoubtedly blessed in 2007 with fantastic friends. This has been the year of me finally coming to understand and trust that I have a rich and strong support system here. This rocks, and makes me feel very rich indeed.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Reading.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Wasting time on my computer.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Spent with friends on the beach in Mexico!

22. Did you fall in love in 2007?
Hm. No. Hindsight isn’t always 20/20 tho …

23. Any one-night stands?
No.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Don’t watch much TV, but I’m starting on DVDs of Six Feet Under, House, 24 and Grey’s Anatomy. They are being mailed to me in sequence, so I suspect I’ll get through them by the end of 2008.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate is an ugly word. Are there two people who have plummeted in terms of my opinion of them? Yes.

26. What was the best book you read?
On Beauty – Zadie Smith. Also enjoyed Dame Helen Mirren’s autobiography, the little tart …

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Maroon 5

28. What did you want and get?
new car / bike / camera

29. What did you want and not get?
a new relationship

30. Favorite film of this year?
Gone Baby Gone

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I am 44. Spent the weekend with my extended chosen family in Ottawa – great fun. Then I went to Chicago.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
a satisfying / rich new relationship

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
Starting to lean towards more shapely clothes.

34. What kept you sane?
My friends, gods and goddesses bless’em!

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
No one comes to mind.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Still trying to process the reality of the loss of Benezir Bhutto. What a tragedy.

37. Who do you miss?
Martina – she moved away!!

My mom.

Warren.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
My ex’s daughter.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007.

Wow … so many … it would have to do with listening to oneself and for paying attention to the red flags earlier. Both at work and in relationships.

Another Matter of Record Click Here To Comment!

[Cross-posted from Vox.]

I must love these things … I hereby tag anyone who reads this and wants to play … this one was harder than I expected.

three physical things you like about yourself:
hair, shoulders, hands

three physical things you don’t like about yourself:
double-chin, tummy, butt

three things that scare you:
someone breaking into my home, a beloved person or pet being injured or killed in an accident, falling from a tall building

three of your favorite musical artists:

Beatles, Jane Siberry, Eric Clapton

three of your favorite songs:

only three? Is that possible?

Picture in a Frame (Tom Waits, covered by Suzie Vinnick)

Book of Love (covered by Patricia O’Callaghan)

This Is The Night (Lynn Miles)

three things you want in a relationship:
humour, truthfulness, not too many layers between superficial and substance

three lies and truths in no particular order

LIES:
There is a lid for every pot.
Love means never having to say you are sorry. (gag)
Hockey is only for boys.

TRUTHS:
Love is not everything, but it sure makes the journey easier.
Perception is reality.
I get to choose my point of view.

three physical things about sexy people that appeal to you:
Lively eyes
A “real” smile
Curves

three of your favorite hobbies:
hockey … music … is there more? … oh … scrabble

three things you want to do really badly now:
make popcorn, watch the hockey game, sleep

three careers you’re considering/you’ve considered:
veterinarian, actor, musician

three places you want to go on vacation:

Italy, Sri Lanka, Zanzibar

three kid’s names you like:
Cameron, Leah, Justin

three things you want to do before you die:
Live near water; travel through South-East Asia, understand my impact (positive or negative) on the world, if any

three ways that you are stereotypically a boy:
I’m competitive; I drive, er, in a deliberate manner; I can get frustrated and impatient over little things

three ways that you are stereotypically a girl:
I love to cook; I’m big on communication although I’m not always good at it; I’m more interested in talking about “feelings” and “process” than I care to admit

three celeb crushes:
Annette Bening, Emma Thompson, Angelina Jolie

Simple Pleasures Click Here To Comment!

[Cross-posted from Vox.]

I don't know if this is a meme or my own personal QotD … but here
goes … list 10 simple joys in life that give you a small hit of
pleasure when you experience them.

Mine would be …

1. Sunshine
2. A decent audio system (not an iPod) with good speakers and rich bass
3. A breeze through open windows
4. Soda crackers
5. Receiving a sincere smile of appreciation
6. Candle light
7. Watching baby animals cavort
8. Fresh basil
9. A hot shower
10. The scent of flowering trees in the air

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