Monthly Archives: July 2012
Last week, while I languished at home in front of the tv with a spectacular summer cold, one of my coworkers complained to another that she had too many tv shows to catch up on.
This prompted (I imagine) my other coworkers to make fun of her and then devise a plan to cut back on the amount of griping they/we do over the course of a work day.
To that end, for the next week, for every complaint we make, we have to sacrifice a quarter to the whine jar. The rules, which I was appraised of today, are as follows:
1. No complaining about the weather.
2. No complaining about being tired/hungry/thirsty/otherwise mildly uncomfortable.
3. No complaining about work, including annoying calls!
4. No complaining about money (or lack thereof).
5. No complaining about people of any kind.
6. No complaining about first world problems such as getting champagne on one’s cashmere or having too many TV shows to watch.
7. Occasional sarcasm is allowed as long as it is funny and could not be misconstrued as a complaint.
8. No complaining about not being allowed to complain.
9. No complaining about the printer.
10. No complaining about Rob Ford (Toronto’s mayor).
11. Basically no complaining about anything!!
I don’t know if I’m convinced yet that this little experiment will be anything more than one more thing to complain about, (which incidentally is against the rules) or that my brain won’t implode from a lack of ventilation, but one of my coworkers swears she already feels like cutting back on the complaints has made her days a little brighter. “It’s like a diet, but for your attitude!” she claims.
And really, I’m already a fairly positive person at the worst of times, so how much can this really set me back, change-wise? I figure, why(n) not?
I might have to add “No complaining about Sarah’s awesome old man puns/jokes” to the list.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress at the end of the week, but meanwhile, what do you guys think? Is it better to try to keep grousing to a minimum, or to air out your complaints regularly and make sure you’re not bottling things up? And how do you determine if something is worth complaining about?
It’s that time of the month again! No, not that time of the month. The wonderful time of the month when it’s my turn to post a little something for the fantastic collaborative blog, Pooping Rainbows.
A bright voice sliced through my morning daze as I stood waiting for the light to change on my way to work.
“Hello,” I responded, taking out my ear buds and rejoining the world as I turned towards the source of the voice, a young man with a backpack, ball cap and Down syndrome.
I smiled uncertainly as he looked at me appraisingly, eyes finally settling on the bright teal tights I had managed to wrangle up over the unsightly, blistering compression stocking I wear every day, an external reminder of the constant danger lurking in my own veins. Was the damned thing showing through the tights?
“Imagine if your whole body was that colour.”
I laughed. “That would be…something all right.”
Click here to read the rest and check out some of the other great bloggers involved while you’re at it!
I’ve come down with a fairly epic sore throat, so it looks like my weekend will consist of pretty much the contents of this photograph, and nothing else (don’t you love those Joe Fresh nail colours?)
Maybe if I’m feeling really ambitious/driven to madness by boredom from lying around waiting to feel better, I could take some inspiration from Worn and try a little of this:
Although that might be best left to the professionals/people not zombified by Neo Citran.
Anyway, if you haven’t yet checked out Toronto-based, Worn Fashion Journal, I highly recommend it. It’s one of the almost no fashion magazines I can read without feeling like I’m supporting an industry that relies heavily on women being perpetually dissatisfied with themselves.
They take a smart, thoughtful look at fashion from every angle and they host fun, quirky and always colourful events in the city. So check them out!
And if that’s not your thing, then just go forth and enjoy the weekend on behalf of your fallen comrade!
When I moved to Toronto I brought a world of uncertainty with me. I had been downsized out of my small-town reporter gig, and as much as I tried not to take it personally, my confidence took a knock out hit.
And it stayed down.
It stayed down for a good five months in fact, the time it took me to find a job here. Looking back, it shouldn’t have been a shock that my self-esteem was so tied up in work.
While it lacked a certain glamour, I loved being a reporter. I loved listening to and sharing people’s stories and I felt proud and lucky to be working in the field I had trained for.
Combine that with the severely limited social life I was barely able to cobble together while living in relative isolation, (I got REAL good at crocheting, y’all.)
And I had an excellent recipe for winding up at a loss for what on earth to do with myself.
Without my deadlines, I was adrift.
Fortunately I already had some wonderful friends in place here who helped me occupy my time and eventually find work. With a couple of ugly bumps along the way, it’s pretty much been uphill from there.
But those five long, unemployed months are still fresh enough in my memory that now, with plans for another even bigger move on the horizon, I’m determined to do things differently.
I just don’t want to let that blanket of depressed inactivity snuggle up and settle over me until I’m all but suffocating on it. I’m determined not to spend my days sitting around waiting for my fella to get home and entertain me, resenting him for my boredom all the while.
So. This time I’ll go with a plan.
A plan to make friends, stay active, and make the best of whatever free (ahem, unemployed) time I have.
I think one of the biggest mistakes I made last time was that when I stopped writing professionally, I stopped writing. Period. While I knew rationally that my competence as a writer had nothing to do with losing my job, there was part of me that was just utterly squelched by the whole experience.
This time I am determined to keep writing and blogging. Because I love it, and it’s good for me. It keeps my brain sharper and has been known to help with the friend-making as well.
Last time around, my hobbies were fairly solitary (by necessity really, but still), and it took me a while to develop any that might lead to meeting new people and feeling a part of a community.
This time, luckily, I’ll be moving from city to city, so my Barreworks and rock-climbing will barely need to miss a beat.
Last time I kept putting off volunteering for various causes and activities in the hope that I might soon have steady work and wouldn’t have time for whatever I might have volunteered for. Well. Five months later, that fear appeared to have been pretty unfounded.
This time I will not make that mistake.
Plus, it’s unlikely that I’ll be downsized out of my current position (knock wood). So this time won’t be such a mad scramble.
This time I’ll go with a plan.
This time I’ll go on my own terms.
And until then, Toronto? I’m going to enjoy the heck out of you.
Paloma Faith, that is.
I don’t know if I’m totally behind on this one or if she just hasn’t made much of a mark in North America yet, but I am seriously digging Paloma Faith and her quirky-yet-soulful throwback sound and can’t believe I’d never heard of her before coming across this video this weekend:
“Just Be” and “Streets of Glory” are both on heavy rotation in my ipod just now as well.
Check them out!
I’ve never been an early morning person.
It’s not that I’m particularly cranky or awful (there’s no one here to refute that, so I say it confidently) in the morning. I’m a DELIGHT first thing. Probably. I just have a really hard time convincing my body to get up out of bed any earlier than I absolutely have to.
I’ve always positively marvelled at people who somehow dug deep, found some kind of motivation and not only got up with the sun, but got up to do physical activity. I always suspected some kind of hormonal imbalance (in them, not in my perfectly normal sluggish self, of course), to be honest. The mind boggled.
Until now, that is.
This morning I found myself, for the fifth Sunday in a row, hopping out of bed, well, not exactly at the crack of dawn, but certainly well before my usual 10:30/11:00 on a weekend. Not for love or money, my friends, but for exercise. And I was happy about it!
What has prompted this transformation, you ask?
Well, about a month ago, after a prolonged search for something to replace Bikram for the summer, a friend came across Barreworks, a studio that had just opened downtown. We weren’t sure what to expect, and I had some concerns after checking out the preposterously fit-looking women featured on their website, but I remembered my determination to shake things up and figured, “What’s the worst that can happen?”
Turns out it’s burpees.
Fortunately, as with the rest of the ballet-inspired class of core-strengthening, resistance training and cardio, right when you’re pretty sure you’ll actually die if you do even one more rep, it’s time to switch to something else.
The whole thing is done to music (key for my enjoyment) and lead by friendly, knowledgeable and encouraging instructors in a beautiful, airy studio.
And it has completely tricked me into thoroughly enjoying using things like “abs” and “biceps” and um, “muscles” in a way that makes them, you know, exist, for the first time since I quit doing gymnastics over a decade ago.
I leave with a burning in my thighs and a smile on my face and enough energy to light half the city.
And I guess that’s worth getting up for.
He’s rude/dismissive to wait staff and tips very little or not at all.
Odds are, you would discover this fairly early on. Maybe he feels that only truly exceptional service deserves to be rewarded, or maybe he just doesn’t realize how much people in the service industry (in Canada, at least) rely on tips and that their wages are low to reflect the expectation that people will pay gratuity. Or maybe he’s just real miserly.
Would you consider this a quirk to overlook, or would it bother you enough to say something or even to not see him again?
Into most of our professional and/or scholastic lives, a few meetings/presentations must fall.
Some of these meetings will be highly relevant to you and your work.
Some of them will be lively and interactive.
Some of them will be scintillatingly (or at least not un)interesting.
Then there is the other kind of meeting.
This kind typically takes place about an hour after lunch, around the time when I imagine everyone in a truly civilized society would close up shop and lie down for a well-earned siesta.
It’s the kind of meeting where you quickly start to wonder if the addition of your name to the list of attendees was a cruel, cruel accident.
Said meeting will undoubtedly be held in either the absolute hottest or absolute coldest room of whatever building you happen to be in. The individual making his or her presentation has spent years honing the most soothing monotone ever to buzz by your ears.
And while you have the best of intentions to try and glean at least some small portion of helpful information, no matter how obscure or well-hidden it might be, eventually the last earnest spark of interest is extinguished from your left pupil.
Your focus gets a little…slippery.
Your spine rounds, your breathing slows and your shoe finally gives up its tenuous grasp on your big toe and crashes, screaming to the floor, prompting your eyes to snap open. You wonder how long they were closed.
Multiple office jobs and my time spent as a reporter in many an 8-hour town council meeting has given me time to come up with a number of coping mechanisms for this kind of deadly meeting ennui.
1. Drink water. A splash of cold water can do wonders to wake up the brain. HOWEVER, do not overdo it. The one thing that can make time crawl by just a bit more slowly is if you are clenching every muscle in your body and praying for a natural disaster to strike so you can just go ahead and pee your pants already.
2. Determine what kind of animal each person in the room most closely resembles.
3. Take notes. It’s harder to fall asleep when you are actively engaged in putting words on paper. Plus it looks like you are paying SO MUCH attention, even if you’re really just on autopilot.
4. Create your own crossword.
5. Perfect your ability to sketch a dragon.
6. List all of the countries in Africa.
7. Decide who would win if the meeting suddenly turned into the hunger games
8. Couldn’t hurt to draw another dragon.
And hey, if all else fails, write a blog post.
What about you? Any other foolproof staying-awake through extreme boredom tips?
There’s a lot to be said for being polite. Society rolls along more smoothly when people smile, wait their turn, hold doors, offer assistance, and just generally mind their p’s and q’s.
Canadians are famously polite.
We certainly have our share of detractors from this stereotype, but I have to say, I’ve heard enough of my fellow Canucks apologize to someone who has bumped into them and seen enough of them go otherwise out of their way to be what some might term excessively polite, to know that there is at least a modicum of truth to this old chestnut.
This commitment to politeness has never been more evident to me than this weekend.
A couple of friends and I decided to make our escape from the blistering heat that has descended on the city like firey locusts as of late, and head to the beach. And, in the spirit of “trying new things” we decided to set up camp on the side of the fence labelled “Clothing Optional” at Hanlan’s Point.
While we didn’t take full advantage of this option, -there are just some bits I don’t want to risk getting sunburned, you know?- I can tell you it is WAY easier to change into/out of swimwear in public when you know no one’s going to call the authorities if you accidentally drop your towel.
So, after taking a moment to adjust to the sight of non-airbrushed men and women happily, comfortably strolling around, swimming, or, my personal favourite, playing bocce, naked as jaybirds, we slathered on some sunscreen, splashed around a bit and settled in for an afternoon of lazing about in the sand.
No sooner had we made ourselves comfortable, than a shadow fell across our blanket and we found ourselves up close and personal with a decidedly naked gentleman holding a volleyball.
Why does nudity always seem more pronounced(and hilarious) with an accessory? Naked with socks? Funny. Naked with a bucket hat? Laugh riot. Naked with a backpack? Stop. I’m crying.
Ever the polite Canadians, we strenuously avoided eye-contact with each other and anything below our new acquaintance’s chin, while shaking hands and making introductions.
He explained that he was visiting from Russia and trying to get a volleyball game going. We thanked him for thinking of us, but told him we would be unable to play as we were fully committed to alternating between floating around in the water and lying around in the sand. I suggested he try asking some people further down the beach who were actually already playing with a volleyball.
Except he didn’t leave.
Instead, he crouched down in front of us, and started quizzing us about places he should visit while in the city, carefully recording our answers in a little notebook.
Gradually our answers became shorter and our tones more clipped as he failed to read any of our social cues and move on. One of my friends fully went back to reading her book, while I wracked my brain to find the politest way to get him to take off.
Eventually, I think I just said something like, “Well, good luck!” and engrossed myself in the contents of my purse.
We all breathed a sigh of relief when he finally moved on to similarly quiz another nearby group of sunbathers, and I had to laugh as I watched them go through the same struggle with wanting to be polite, but wanting a little more distance between themselves and this nude volleyball-toting stranger.
I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt and believe that he wasn’t intentionally going around trying to make people uncomfortable, and I do understand that not everyone has the ability to read what I would consider common social cues, especially in a culture where many of us would rather suffer through extreme awkwardness than say an impolite word to a stranger.
But looking back, what I don’t understand?
Where on earth did that notepad and pen come from?
There’s something going on with me and birds lately.
Two weeks ago, I had a ridiculous standoff with a pigeon (for my thoughts on pigeons, see here) that had weirdly hunkered down, blocking the narrow shortcut I take around the building I work in. I sidled by slowly, back pressed to the wall, eyes locked on beady eyes while speaking to it in soothing tones. “That’s right. You just stay there. No sudden movements and we’ll all be just fine,” before dashing for the safety of the parking lot.
The next week, on my early morning walk to Barreworks, I had to duck (heh) to avoid, not one, but three different birds: a sparrow, another damn pigeon, and a GIANT HAWK.
Not only did the hawk swoop down in the middle of the city, but it actually let out one of those haunting hawk screams as it dipped by my ear. It was spooky. I might have convinced myself I was still dreaming if not for the fact that there was an equally stunned, middle-aged woman in a floral housecoat putting out her garbage, who witnessed the whole thing.
Last night I dreamed that I ate an owl. I don’t really remember the context, or maybe in that dream way, there wasn’t any, but I promptly regretted it, and projectile vomited owl bits all over the place.
I woke up with a stomach ache.
I’m not sure what it all means, but I think I’ll avoid Swiss Chalet for a while anyway.