Quick Post: Things to love on a rainy Friday in Vancouver

  • Getting off work  – no question the best part of Friday night
  • Gastown – my stomping grounds

my stompin' grounds

Best cocktails in town

  1. Dine Out Vancouver – simply amazing meal at Cobre for $28
  1. Truly excellent wine from Desert Hills Winery on the Black Sage Bench in Osoyoos, BC

so yummy

  • The best dessert I ever ate – it was (oops, I almost said “oral”) sex in a martini glass
  • Stopping at the Starbucks by the Black Frog for tea and they have Joy!   Great music and the coolest location except maybe the original Starbucks at 1st and Pike
  • Arriving at the bus stop just as the #210 came around Cambie Street
  • The ride home through East Van is always a study in contrasts – it keeps life interesting
  • Dizzy Up the Girl on my iPod – oh Johnnie, one more vapid model added to the tally, but sweet cars!
  • Someone left a Georgia Straight on my seat – best personals, best music listings, crap music critics – really, get over yourselves  – but I  laughed all the way home
  • My fireplace
  • Writing my blog:   I know I can do that anywhere, but would it be as interesting (at least to me)?
  • A good night’s sleep
  • Tomorrow I get to paddle on False Creek

And, of course, the company of good friends.  Sometimes I wonder if there is anywhere  better  to live . . .there are for sure so many awesome places to visit . . .but living in Vancouver is THE BEST.


How Many Chargers are Necessary? An Electronic Packing List

At the end of February I will be going on a week-long combined business and personal trip.  I leave on Wednesday headed to Phoenix for a conference and then on Saturday fly to Calgary and drive to Edmonton on a  road trip to see a couple of Goo Goo Dolls concerts.  

So much fun, so little time.  It’s going to be a crazy schedule – there are way too many days that I have to be up at 4:00am to make the first flight out and as soon as  I’m wheels down in my destination  it’s on to either the next adventure (not so bad) or into work (doable, but harsh).    I get back into Vancouver the following Tuesday, leaving Calgary on the 7am flight, into YVR at 7:30am (time change!) and I’ll be at my desk by 8am (all going well).  

And no rest, we have a couple more Goo’s shows to go – Vancouver on Wednesday and then Portland and Seattle the following weekend.   Whew – epic trip.   But the Goo’s don’t tour out here that often, so we want to see all the shows we can. 

Now some of you might think this is crazy  – well actually it probably is – but it should also be a ton of fun and I can’t wait.   Having to organize a conference the week before this came as a bit of a surprise, but heck, anything that will buy me a few days of warm sunshine is fantastic.  Also they didn’t really give me the option of saying no . .

So in anticipation of this whirlwind of work, frivolity and good times,  as I was coming  home tonight I was mentally making a list of the electronics I would be packing to take with me.  Maybe because I will have a lot of details to be responsible for at the conference, or because  it was a day fraught with computer issues at work, or maybe because it’s only a month away and I’m super organized (or really obsessive or other less flattering adjectives . . . ) I like to start making my mental packing lists early.  Which leads me to the subject of my post tonight – all the electronic devices and peripherals I have to pack. 

  1. Laptop – must remember charger, external backup and various USB keys. 
  2. Printer – rent at conference or courier ahead of time. 
  3. Blackberry – essential work communication device when you are on call 24/7.  Remember charger – wall and USB.
  4. Camera – my own.  I want to make a video blog of the Goo’s concerts, so I need the battery charger plus the USB cable for same day transfers.
  5. iPod – never leave home without it.   Makes hotels bearable.  Maybe I can load my iTunes onto my laptop and run music from there – but the speakers are crappy . . . .hmm, more stuff to figure out.  Remember charger and earbuds.
  6. Smartphone – my own front line of communication with the fam and friends.    Charger and USB in one – a bonus!  Could also put music on Smartphone – but needs additional memory card plus all my music is on iTunes and I have an Android phone.   And it’s supposed to take amazing high def photos and video – but I only got it a week or so ago . .don’t know how reliable I will be with it . . . yet more stuff to figure out.
  7. Tom Tom GPS?   Ok so this is a maybe.  As in maybe I can use the GPS on the smartphone for finding my way to random casino’s outside of Edmonton – why oh why Johnnie are you playing the Pacific Northwest Casino Tour??????   But I digress, that’s a whole other subject.    So the GPS is a maybe, given that the  BB and smartphone both have built-in maps.  

So that makes a total of 7 electronic devices plus all their peripheral charging cables etc.  Oh My God.  I am going to need a separate carry-on just for all that crap.   And where am I going to put my shoes?    

Here’s the Goo’s latest video, Not Broken, which is particularly appropriate coz it looks just like the old iPod commercials.  Short and sweet post. 

Stagettes and Other Forms of Urban Education

Stagette’s are a lot of fun.  Sure there is a bit of wreckage to be cleaned up the next day, but most definitely as a social convention they are hard to be beat for full-on, take no prisoners good times.  We held a stagette for two friends on Friday night and it was hilarious . . . and strangely education.   If you are hoping  – or fearful – that there will be salacious stories involving male strippers, inappropriate hook-ups, misplaced friends or tigers, you can read on (or stop) because  it wasn’t The Hangover,  although I’m pretty sure we were all a bit the worse for wear on Saturday morning – or afternoon, depending on when you got to bed and got up – personally I fall into the latter category.   So in no particular order, here are some of the things I learned on Friday night:

My “rules of life” were stupid and I should have ditched them a long time ago.  One of those rules was that I should keep my work and personal lives separate, so I have not done a lot of partying with my friends from work outside of corporate events.   Stupid mistake.   They are a ton of fun and I’ve been missing out on some good times.   One more rule on the junk heap.   Thank god I’m slowly but surely getting rid of all of those damn rules and thank goodness they still invite me, even if I don’t work there anymore.   There is a birthday party at the end of the month I’m betting is going to be a good one!

Guys from Yellowknife are a lot of fun.  Especially if they came into town to write their final constitutional law exams that day and are now intent on blowing off some steam.  Mix that group with a stagette . . .yup, it was a sure recipe for a crazy night.  Lots of laughs, lots of dancing and lots of shooters.  

Mickey D’s on Granville Street is a sight to behold at 3:00am.   I suspect it’s a lot funnier to be there than to be working that shift, but it’s certainly a study in social interaction.   The bars empty out, everyone is hungry and Maccers seems like the ideal place to go.   Mayhem.   But  then you get to watch all the potential hookups that are still in the “undecided” category and see how they fare under harsh flourescent lights without pounding music.   I suspect that some of those beer goggles get a bit clearer, but a lot stay firmly in place and off they go in search of  . . . ?    

Getting to a party is somehow always easier than getting home.   For those not on the hook-up trail, a lot of that dance energy starts to dissipate around the same time you finish your order of fries and you realize it’s now 3:30am, you may, like me, have been up since 5:00am the day before – 22 hours straight, not bad . . .just saying   . . .and there is no more transit  – even the night buses have stopped running.   So it’s the seemingly endless walk to Georgia Street to find a cab and you are now very cold and very tired.    My emergency fallback for a cab is to head straight to the Four Seasons, or other convenient high-end  hotel and grab a cab there – the only time it has ever failed me was on New Years Eve, but that was New Years after all.   I got lucky on Saturday night and got one right away.  Thanks be, cause I was about out of steam.

People meet their husbands-to-be in all sorts of different ways and circumstances.   We were in that conversational zone where people are prone to share confidences (it falls between the addition of copious amounts of booze but before the guys and dancing part really kicks off) and out came the stories about how people had met their husbands or partners.  The best story, hands down, and one that stopped all conversation for a minute (it took us a while to process) was “Oh yeah, I met my husband at my stagette in Vegas”.    Huh??  If you were at your stagette, weren’t you already getting married to someone . .wait a minute – you met SOMEONE ELSE at your stagette?   OMG.  True story.   She met the guy she is now married to while at her stagette in Vegas.   It took a while for the whole story to come out  – they lived in different cities, she was engaged  – you know, there were a few issues – but now she has moved to Vancouver and is happily married.   She did say that there was no stagette for this wedding – gee I wonder why!

Meeting your spouse/lover/partner through online dating is REALLY common.  Although no-one could top the Vegas stagette story,  another woman at the table, who was sporting a really huge diamond ring, fessed up that she met her fiancée through an online dating site.  They are getting married in a couple of months.  And I have another friend who met her partner through online dating  and  he didn’t even live in the same country at the time.   But he’s moved to Canada, they have bought a home together where they  live happily and I’m sure a wedding is not far off.    And in case you are harbouring any nasty stereotypes of the woman (or men) who might be online dating, both of these woman are  educated and have successful and well-paid careers, they are beautiful, funny and entertaining.  In other words, really good catches.   Maybe online dating is the way of the future.   Maybe it’s something I should consider further . . . .only I’m not looking for a partner, just a really good friend – hahahaha – there’s a name for that!!   Or maybe I should move to Yellowknife . . .it’s another thought.

Final thing I learned – and this is a not an uncommon piece of knowledge in Vancouver – Chad Kroeger (yes, that Chad – Nickelback Chad) is a nice guy, very approachable,  lots of fun and a dog.   In the same confessional conversational vein as meeting your husband-to-be at your stagette, once one of the gals dropped her “how I met Chad” story, out came the rest of them.  Hmmm, there were a surprising number of those stories and of them were  remarkably similar.  They were out at a bar and met Chad, he was super nice, very approachable, they had a couple of drinks and then next thing he’s headed to the bathroom and they are invited to come along.    Since none of the gals accepted the very chivalrous invitation (or at least were not smashed enough to admit to that!) we were left to wonder just what, exactly, would have happened.  Not being completely naive we figured it involved sex and/or drugs, but what combination of those was the subject of quite a bit of speculation and a lot of laughs.  Gotta love those bad boys.  

One post with Nickelback music is enough and since I’ve already crossed that barrier, today’s musical offering is from Spirit of the West.    We were at Ceil’s all night and  no quasi-Irish band worth it’s salt would close out a night in Vancouver without a SOTW song and Home for a Rest is one of the all time faves.   And with all apologies to SOTW, this  is a version of Home from a show called Hardstock 2008 that was held at the Commodore and features a “just for tonight” compilation band called the Hard Ones – if you look you will recognize a lot of local musicians.  And the young redhead is John’s son, Harlan – obviously a showman like his Dad.   It was a fundraiser for another local musician, Scotty Harding, who was terribly injured in an accident in New York and, like a lot of these guys who give up so much to entertain us, he had no medical insurance.  So the Vancouver music community got together and threw a huge fundraising bash –  it was an amazing night of music, a ton of fun and raised a lot of money to help out one of their own.   It brought back a lot of good memories watching the videos and it certainly says something about my life that I keep coming across YouTube videos of shows I’ve been at – you can decide for yourself, but for me it says I’m doing something right!

Patience: A Minor Form of Despair Disguised as a Virtue

The past month has been a lesson in patience for me.   I have been in the long process of unraveling myself out of  one job, and my life within that company, and moving on to a new one.  Who knew it would be such a complicated process.  But I guess after almost 7 years  I should not be so surprised.    I know I’ve been anxious about it because I find myself unable to concentrate on one task for any length of time, I”m impatient and irritable – classic anxiety.  I’ve had to give myself task lists and make deals with myself to complete one thing before flitting off to the next – leaving a trail of disaster behind me – and more anxiety over all the half-completed stuff lying around – just to try to stay semi-organized.  This is me, the Queen of Organized.  My closet is organized by item and colour (no, I’m not kidding) it’s a character trait (not a flaw) that makes me REALLY good at my job and I try not to impose it on the people around me – hahaha – good luck with that one!!

I am also not by nature a patient person, so it has been a month of anxiety, upheaval  . . .and learning.     The quote I used in the title of this post “Patience. A minor form of despair disguised as a virtue.” is by Ambrose Bierce, a prolific  journalist and short story writer of the 19th century American West.  Bierce was known most famously for The Devil’s Dictionary  a satirical reinterpretation of many common terms in the English language.   So while most people would have you believe that  patience as a virtue, I am with Ambrose on this one, it’s been a minor form of despair for me to simply wait for this new stage in my life to begin. 

To keep myself sane I’ve been doing a lot of running, paddling and hitting the gym hard.  If you’ve read any of my recent posts you will know that I’ve been pushing the exercise envelope – a lot.  And it’s great.  Rather than idling away the time in front of the TV or maybe indulging in some alcoholic stressbusters, I’ve been working off my excess nervous energy with long runs and harsh workouts.  And what a bonus – I’m  in great shape and loving it.

I also had a long list of projects to complete on my fixer upper (that’s my house . . .)  but somehow the time has managed to just slip by and here I am into the final weekend and my bedroom is still only half-painted and the shower is still sporting the old caulking.  Ok, so I had a minor painting disaster, and then I said f** it and just packed it in and went skiing.   If I ever meet Shell Busey in person I will probably kick him in the shins – or maybe a bit higher.  Just saying Shell, look out.   I am painting my room a gorgeous chocolate brown (it looks just like chocolate milk) so I decided to do the “proper” prep work, including washing the walls with TSP, filling all the holes and taping off the trim.  But once I started painting, the paint was not adhering, just dripping down the walls.   Grrrrrrr.  I’ve done lots and lots of painting and never seen anything like it.  A bit of research at my local hardware store unearthed some interesting information.    Turns out that TSP (which is great for removing greasy deposits off walls) unless mixed carefully and rinsed off very thoroughly,  actually acts as a repellent for paint.  OMG.  Who knew.  So back to the buckets of water, sponges and towels – the entire room had to be washed down again.   Like most of my reno projects, it takes twice as long as I think it will and involves at least one or two return trips to the hardware store.   But today – success!   First coat is on and it looks fantastic.  I should be done this weekend, barring any further disasters.  I can hardly wait to find out what surprises await me when I decide to tackle the shower caulking.  

To reward myself for all this effort (and maybe in a fit of WTF over the painting) I took myself and my daughter off to Whistler for 3 days of skiing and hot tub relaxing.  It was so much fun.   Got a great deal on a HUGE 2 bedroom condo off Craigslist that was ideally located right on Northlands and Lorimer.  Sweet location and comfort plus.   Monday morning we threw the last of our gear in the car and headed up the Sea to Sky Highway.  When we arrived it seemed a mite chilly so we threw on an extra layer of fleece and uploaded.   By mid-mountain upload we started noticing the signs saying “It’s -15 today, wear lots of layers” . . hmm.  We headed up 7th Heaven, where the snow was simply amazing and the signs there said “It’s -19 today – cover all exposed skin” . . .hmmm some more.  It didn’t seem that cold at first, but by our third or fourth run – yup, it’s was cold.   Had to buy a fleece bandana for face coverage at lunch.  But you know what, the snow was fantastic and there was no-one on the hill.  Jeez, I wonder why??   Day 2 was slightly warmer, only -10 but the snow was getting really bulletproof.    Day 3 – BONUS DAY!!!  It dumped 25cm of snow overnight.  We were skiing in boot deep and higher powder.  In the trees it drifted to mid-thigh (ok so on me that’s not very high) but it was freaking fabulous.  A truly epic day of skiing and so much fun.  We were utterly exhausted by the end of the day. 

Both my daughter and I have been really busy and we have not had a chance to get away together since last February when we went diving in the Florida Keys.  We genuinely enjoy traveling  together and have a great time on all our crazy adventures.  She keeps me honest and pushes my boundaries.   And I pay the bills . . it’s a pretty fair system.   So as well as great skiing it was also a real treat to have almost four uninterrupted days with her to just hang out.  Truth be told, she is now a way, way  better skier than me.  The days of me holding her between my skies and helping her down the bunny hill are long gone.  But isn’t that’s why we teach them new skills – so they can give us attitude when they are older.    Not really, she is a true gem and we have a lot of fun.  

Here are some photos from our condo and on the drive home – I don’t have any of us skiing because the first two days all our electronics froze (even inside our jackets) and it was too freaking cold to take your gloves off.  And powpow day was way too much fun to spend time taking pic’s.   But it gives you an idea of the amount of snow the dumped in 24 hours.  And no, they are not shot in black and white – these are high res colour shots.  Whiteout. 

Because this started out as a “patience” themed post, I will leave you with a few of my favourite quotes on the subject:  

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions  Rainer Maria Rilke

“Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow – that is patience.”  Unknown

“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity”  Carl Jung

“Patience is passion tamed”.   Ralph Marston (my fav)
And because it’s Friday night, I’m heading out now to a show at the Rickshaw – Ninjaspy and Fake Shark, Real Zombie.  It will be hardcore, loud and fun.   Here is some Ninjaspy  – they bill themselves as hardcore/ska/punk.   I call them awesome.  How could you not enjoy dancing to this!!!

Endorphins are the Ultimate Drug

There is nothing that running hard for 10 kilometres, especially on a cold winter day, can’t improve.  Or if you are having a bad day, try going to bootcamp and getting your ass kicked for an hour and half of brutal exercise – I guarantee you will feel better – well at least till the pain sets in!   Those were my Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday activities.  Saturday morning was our first dragonboat practice of the new year.   Try paddling a 1.5 kilometre race piece, with full start and full finish – twice.  A normal dragonboat race is 500 metres – paddling full race pace for 3 times that distance, than just for fun doing it all over again – well that’s just plain crazy. But wow, talk about building endurance.  Our coach decided this morning that there was no such thing as easing into the new year, he wanted to set the tone for the remainder of our winter practices.  It was fantastic.  I’m in a world of pain now, but I know that’s only temporary, it was a challenging, but very satisfying morning.

In case you don’t know what a dragonboat, or dragonboat racing is , here is a photo of our team, Deep Cove Perfect Catch, racing in Whistler.    

 And one of me racing in San Francisco this past September.  Competitive much? 

Strenuous physical exercise makes me feel fantastic . . .well other than the pain part from being a sloth over Christmas.  . .but I digress . . .  that’s temporary.   For me, running has always been the ultimate stress buster and sanity saver.   When the going in my life gets tough I throw on my shoes, turn up the iPod and burn off some tough kilometres.  I live in a very hilly area of North Vancouver, so my runs involve not only distance, but hills, lots of hills.   Busting up a few steep hills is guaranteed to drive the cares of the day out of your head.   And instead of feeling worn down, depressed, stressed out – its like a miracle, I’m energized, jazzed up, happy.  After a good run I always feel there is nothing I can’t tackle.   And the same goes for bootcamp.  It’s a tough class, there are no “easier” alternatives.  It starts out hard and the only alternatives are harder . . . and harder.   Not for the faint of heart, but a ton of fun.  

I’m training over the winter with another dragon boat team that is going to an international competition in Hong Kong in the spring.  They want to do well and they are pushing really hard to train for that.  It is the toughest paddling I’ve ever done, but it’s exhilarating.  Even my fingers hurt today (death grip on the paddle – I know coach, poor form) but I love being pushed that hard, way beyond what I thought I was capable of.  

And there are scientific reasons why pushing yourself that hard makes you feel so damn great.   Those wonderful things called “endorphins”.   I expect that most of you will have heard about endorphins at some point and about the so called “runner’s high”, but to physically experience it is, well, addictive.    Wikipedia, the bloggers best friend, has this definition of endorphins:

Endorphins (“endogenous morphine”) are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters.[1] They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during exercise,[2] excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love and orgasm,[3][4] and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being.

The term “endorphin” implies a pharmacological activity as opposed to a specific chemical formulation. It consists of two parts: endo- and -orphin; these are short forms of the words endogenous and morphine, intended to mean “a morphine-like substance originating from within the body.”

I knew about the endorphin release during exercise, but that they are also released because of pain, excitement, spicy food, love and orgasm really blew me away.  It maybe explains why I also love spicy food . .and a few other things!  Who knew.  That bit of information pretty much made my day.     Wikipedia also went on to say that deep relaxation and acupuncture can trigger the release of endorphins – well call me a junkie because I have been  hooked on the deep mediation aspect of yoga (as well as the physical benefits) for years and have had great success with acupuncture in treating a number of injuries.   What I didn’t realize is that it was rooted in the same biochemical reaction.  

I’ve run for a long time, it’s got to be close to 10 years now.  When I first started, I was so unsure of myself that I didn’t even have the confidence to join a running group.  So I cut the training schedule for the Vancouver Sun Run out of  the newspaper and, without telling a single person, I started following it on my own. I had no expectation that I would ever be able to complete a 10km run.  Well I did, and I cried as I crossed the finish line.  To this day I remember the feeling of empowerment that came from that.   And I was hooked. 

A long time friend who was privy to the difficulties of my marriage at the  time once asked me if I was running out of that marriage – but I realized that I wasn’t running out of it, but to survive it.  It was my solace and my sanity.  Over the years I ran not only more 10km races,  but longer distances as well.  I love the half marathon distance (21kms)  and I’ve done a bunch of those.  There was the brutal 16km Khatsalano race in West Vancouver  – it’s basically 8kms uphill and then 8kms downhill.  Nasty, nasty, nasty.  And 3 years ago I undertook the ultimate runner’s goal and finished the Vancouver Marathon.   Sweet, sweet day to cross the finish line after running 26.2 miles.   Here is a picture of my good friend Janice, who I did all the training with and ran the entire race with, as we crossed the finish line.  

There are few accomplishments in my life I’m prouder of them completing a marathon.  The race itself was fantastic from start to finish, I enjoyed every second of it, but it’s the dedication and hard work that goes into the training that I’m most proud of.    You give up a lot, but it was worth every second and every sacrifice. 

And with each distance that I surpassed, with each goal I completed, my self-confidence increased in lockstep with my physical fitness.   It quite literally changed the person that I was, into the person that I am; mentally, physically and emotionally.   

Not everyone will want, or need, to run a marathon.  It’s a very personal decision.  And not everyone will love running.    But if your resolution this year was to “get fitter or get healthier” then find something that you really enjoy, or even better a couple of things, make a plan and stick to it.   

The most successful changes come from setting goals for ourselves that are concrete, measurable and realistic.   So instead of saying “I want to get fitter”, set a specific goal – it could be something as simple as “I want to participate in a physical activity three times a week from now until Spring Break”.   Or make it more concrete by specifying exactly what you want to do and where and when you will do it.   And get a workout buddy.   There were lots of times I might have bailed on a training run, but knowing that Janice was counting on me to be there made me drag my  tired butt out of bed at 6:30am and go meet her for that run.  Buddies keep you honest!!   And make it realistic.   Don’t go to the gym 5 times this week if you haven’t been for a long time.  You will be exhausted, sore and burned out.  The likelihood that you will decide it’s too hard and quit is so high.  Make it reasonable for whatever works in your life – not only your level of fitness, but the time and commitment you are able to give.  But do carve out some time for yourself – it’s the biggest favour you can do not only for yourself, but your family.   They will enjoy the happier, healthier you as much as you do.   And don’t forget – it’s fun!!  Some of my best friends are my training partners.  You will meet a lot of new and great people, so make the most of it. 

In Heavy Rotation:   The three most important things I have for running are my shoes, my rain jacket (it’s Vancouver after all) and my iPod.   I love, love, love cranking on the tunes really loud and heading down the trail.  And I listen to entirely different music when I run – call it my guilty pleasure.  I like stuff that has enough kick drum to kick my ass and for that – can’t beat Nickelback.  I can hear you laughing . . .I know . . .but it’s fun, it’s loud and  the lyrics are so nasty they make me laugh out loud.    I also listen to a lot Hedley when I run . . .you see the theme?    Here is Jakey and the boys in one of the funniest vid’s ever.   They are totally irrepressible. 

2010: A Personal Best in Books (via Rash Elvis Chants)

This amazing, eclectic list of great reads came up on Freshly Pressed.   It’s a great starting point if you want to challenge yourself to read more non-fiction.  I also loved Jon Krakauer‘s Where Men Win Glory: the Odyssey of Pat Tillman, which isn’t surprising since I’ve always loved Jon’s writing. 
My personal favourite books this year were fiction; The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo series by Swedish writer Stieg Larsson.  I just finished The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, the final book in the trilogy, and I was so sad to say goodbye to Lisbeth and Mikael, although the fact that I identify so strongly with Lisbeth is a just a wee bit worrying  . . .   And I will not be seeing the Hollywood remake movies.  Spare me that, please.   

My writing challenge this year is to write one quality post a week and not just churn out any old thing on a daily basis, just for the sake of posting every day.   And reposting this one doesn’t count – my real post is almost ready for publishing tonight, but I really liked Rash Elvis’ reading list.   Don’t wear out your library cards!

2010: A Personal Best in Books I like the WordPress challenge to write one blog post a day, or a week.  This is my attempt at getting off to a good start, with a quick post wrapping up 2010 in books.  I had started off the year hoping to read 50 books, or at least surpassing my previous record of 40 books.  I passed the 40 book mark in September, breezed past the 50 book mark in O … Read More

via Rash Elvis Chants

I Don’t Do New Year’s Resolutions

The impetus for this post was a story I read today in Pete McMartin’s column in the Vancouver Sun.  It was a story that will make you feel better about your own holiday indulgences, no matter how bad you think they are, about a woman named Donna Simpson from New Jersey who has said publicly – she has her own website – that her goal is to become the world’s fattest woman.  She currently weights 650lbs.   But what really got my attention (as if this wasn’t enough) was that she celebrated Christmas by eating a stunning 30,000 calorie (that’s not a typo – 30,000 calorie) Christmas Dinner.   I wondered how that was even possible, so I went online and found the answer.  

Here is what Donna ate for Christmas Dinner:

  1. Two 25-pound oven-roasted turkeys
  2. Two 15-pound maple glazed hams
  3. 10 pounds of roast potatoes
  4. 5 pounds of mashed potatoes
  5. 5 pounds of chopped carrots
  6. 5 pounds of sweet corn
  7. 5 pounds of roasted butternut squash
  8. 5 loaves of house-baked bread
  9. 4 pints of cranberry relish
  10. 4 pints of home-made gravy
  11. 5 pounds of herbed stuffing, and
  12. 5 pounds of mixed green salad including salad dressing

This was followed  by a “salad”  of cream cheese, marshmallows, cookies and whipped cream – though maybe that was dessert because it doesn’t look like any salad I’ve made. It took her two hours of steady eating to put all this away.   I had Christmas with about a dozen people and we didn’t eat this much.   It’s horrifyingly impressive.   

So this made me think about all the people who will make  New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight, get fit etc.  And as you can see from the title, I don’t do New Years resolutions.   I think that if you are going to effect real change in your life, you can’t just say “ok tomorrow I’m going to do XYZ”.   For the change to really stick, you have to make the changes incrementally and incorporate them into your everyday living .  And it’s not just about losing weight, or getting healthy, it’s any sort of change you want to make to how you live your life, for better or for worse.  I’ve been changing pretty much my entire life  – it’s taken me 3 years and I’m not done yet.  But the changes that I’ve made to how I think, what I want to accomplish, the lifestyle I want to lead, my goals and aspirations, have come about bit by bit.   First I had to take baby steps, then with a bit more confidence you step out with bigger and better stuff.  And pretty soon you are ready for the big leagues.  But it doesn’t all happen in one day, or even one week or one month.  Real, positive, stick to it change takes time and commitment.   You have to really want it.

And while I may be in danger of sounding a bit like a Grinch, I get REALLY annoyed every year around this time because the gym will be so crowded for the next 3 weeks – all those people who  make resolutions and then stick to them for less than a month will be crowding me out.   Oh well, there is some solace in knowing it never lasts for long, by February the regulars will have the gyms back to themselves again as all those hastily made resolutions fade away. 

But hey, I guess anything that gets people up off the couch is better than nothing.  So if your resolution is to get fit, get healthy, start exercising or anything like that, good for you.  But make the changes slowly and make them part of your everyday living.  Don’t go to the gym 5 times next week and then give it up as impossible.  Go a couple of days and see how that works for you, then add another day or maybe a walk or a run and slowly build being fit and healthy into an everyday lifestyle that you can maintain.  Adjust to healthier eating habits gradually.  Instead of throwing out everything “bad” in your fridge and buying diet foods (that don’t work), change one night a week to a vegetarian option. Have a salad one day for lunch instead of fast food.   Little changes, but add them up and stick with them and they start to count. 

So to everyone who is determined to make a positive change in their lives, good for you.   But make it realistic and workable for you.  And no matter what you do, you can take some comfort in knowing that whatever resolution you make (and keep or not)  it’s better than eating 30,000 calories for Christmas dinner and then proudly publishing that fact.  I usually add photos to my posts, but I’m not going to put any up for this one.  There are lots available  – just google the name, but really, I’m not into encouraging that sort of “15 minutes of fame”  attitude.   

Happy New Year to all and thanks to everyone who has been reading my little blog and sending me comments.  It’s the most unexpectedly satisfying thing I’ve taken up in a long time.   I’m looking forward to a very different and exciting 2011, I hope that you are also excited about the possibilities of the next year of your life.   It’s not a dress rehearsal. 

Today’s musical interlude – Impossible by Anberlin from Dark is the Way, Light is a Place.  I was just loving  it when I was out running this morning – the lyrics are fantastic.  Then I YouTubed the video.  OMG,  it may be the stupidest video I’ve ever seen.  But still loving  the song – guys just need a better video producer – seriously.