Four Things That Are Working For Me This Week #11

  1. My sleep schedule still needs work, but the one habit that’s sticking is showering and getting dressed first thing after getting up. It’s too easy to laze around all morning in my pyjamas, but if I’m dressed, I’m motivated to find something to do. Maybe even get out of the house.
  2. When I do go out, I’m trying to pack food and not spend money. In my Christmas stocking one year, I received Rubbermaid Take Alongs: segmented plastic containers. They’re perfect for lunch on the go. There’s a big compartment and a small compartment, and you can put anything you want in them because they don’t leak.
  3. Another way I’m saving money is growing my own vegetables. My grandmother started the plants, and then I took over. I have big sunny windowsills, but the containers weren’t thriving there. Now they live on my patio where it’s more shady. The basil hasn’t done well, the parsley didn’t survive my landlord power-washing, but I still have chives, kale, and Swiss chard. (The tomatoes aren’t ready yet.) I pick a few leaves when I come home from work, and then figure out what to make for dinner.
  4. Container gardening is so much easier, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how my best work is tiny work. Short stories, blog posts, zines made with a single sheet of paper. Tiny art, tiny books, tiny yoga?

Four Things That Are Working For Me This Week #10

  1. Casual Friday, when I wear leggings, t-shirt, sports bra to work because I teach elementary kids after school, and they literally don’t care.
  2. Last week, I met some of my friends from my yoga teacher training, and we all admitted we haven’t done much practice since graduating. And then we created a class on the whiteboard (“Coming back to yoga”), and it was the first time I had been on a mat since March. As much as I needed that break after the six months intensive, I needed to come back, too.
  3. I had almost forgotten about the OMs and the chanting. They’ve never been my favourite part of yoga, the biggest reason being because they’re in Sanskrit, which I don’t speak. I am not Indian. The chanting feels a lot like praying to me, and I am not religious. But I am spiritual. I do believe in connecting with yourself and the earth. When I meditate, a chant that works for me is, “I am OK.” It’s four syllables, like there are four elements, four directions, and four items on this list.
  4. This weekend, I have no plans. That feels so good.

Four Things That Are Working For Me This Week #9

  1. The French Open is messing with my resolution to keep the TV off in the mornings. But my PVR helps. I only have a few shows set to record (Private Eyes is back!), but it means I’m not compulsively flipping the channels, looking for something to watch. I watch a show after work, and then I delete. I watch less TV, but I watch what I want.
  2. This Wednesday, I biked out to Crescent Beach. It was my first bike ride of the year. I wasn’t sure that the weather would hold for the whole day, and it turned out that it didn’t. It was overcast, and later it got windy. But just the chance to spend an afternoon on the beach, in the sun, in the ocean, made my week better.
  3. My new steno notebooks are working out pretty well. I filled the first one in two weeks. The thing I like most about them is the two columns. It means that the daily log I write at the back of my book takes up far fewer pages. The thing I like least about them is the paper. It’s rather thin and gets caught up on the spiral binding a lot.
  4. The inventor of the Hawaiian pizza died today. Hawaiian has always been my favourite pizza. But now that I’m vegetarian, I don’t eat ham. On my way home from work, I stopped at the grocery store and bought a can of pineapple tidbits, pizza mozzarella (on sale!), some mushrooms, and a tomato. When I got home, I made some dough. It wasn’t exactly the pizza Sam Panopoulos invented. But I made it on a whim, and I have leftovers for tomorrow.

Four Things That Are Working For Me This Week #8

  1. This weekly post is the easiest thing I write every week. As I do more therapy, I’m thinking more about routines and habits. They’ve often been very hard for me to maintain. But I can see (and feel) the difference, the benefit. Every day, I write down my little achievements in the back of my notebook, but this post is a celebration of the bigger things.
  2. One of the hardest habits for me to maintain is a consistent sleep schedule. I used to be an inveterate night owl, but over the last few years, I’ve managed to curtail staying up past midnight. Getting up early in the morning, though, is still hard. So I bought a cheap battery-powered alarm clock to help. I used to use my phone as my alarm, which has its benefits. The alarms are automatically reset, and you can set multiple times. My new clock only has one alarm, and I have to remember to turn it on before I go to bed. But it means I’m not bringing my phone to bed. I’m not looking at the screen last thing before I sleep and first thing in the morning.
  3. I’ve done something else to discourage me from reaching for my phone. I deleted Safari, Wikipedia, YouTube, iBooks, and all games. Not only does it mean I’m more likely to write in my notebook when I’m out than stare at my phone, but the battery lasts longer during the day.
  4. My students got me sick again last week. It’s mostly a head cold, but terrible nonetheless. This is the second time I’ve been sick in a month. This is the risk of working with elementary school students. The cough is proving hardest to get rid of this time around. I hadn’t noticed before that Halls has encouraging messages printed on the wrappers. “A pep talk in every drop.” (en français: “A pastille qui en a dedans.”) Being sick makes being alone so much harder. It’s nice to know the brands are rooting for me.

Four Things That Are Working For Me This Week #7

  1. Weekends. Dude, they’re the best.
  2. A whole week off.  I went on a weekend vacation last week–Vancouver to Seattle on a cruise ship, then Seattle to Vancouver on a train. Because I knew I wouldn’t have internet, I decided not to worry. Then I came home and decided to keep not worrying for the rest of the week. Just take a few days off from making stuff. It was nice.
  3. What I ended up doing instead was a lot of thinking about what I want this website to look like. It was last May that I stopped making a zine a week. I liked doing it. I’m proud I did it. But in the end, it wasn’t working for me. I’ve been experimenting these last few months to figure out what’s going to work for me now. Even if it’s not what I’m doing now, none of this has been wasted. I have to do the thing to figure out if I want to do the thing.
  4. Last Sunday was the first time I’d travelled to the US since the election in November. Washington is literally right there across the bay, but the last time I walked around Blaine, I saw a man run across the street with a rifle.  And that was before the election. I wasn’t scared about being in Seattle. I was worried about being in this city I know well and finding it changed. I was worried that I would find a different America than the one I know from my friends, from my travels, from living in a border city. I was so happy to find that Seattle is well. Seattle is fighting. I took so many photos of the words RESIST, PERSIST, DEFY in shopfront windows: appliquéd on calico banners or written on cardboard in black Sharpie. It felt good to be there, instead of watching on the internet from afar. It helped me to know that we’re going to be OK.

Four Things That Are Working For Me This Week #6

  1. I’ve had Wednesdays off the last few weeks because I’ve had no classes to teach. Of course it would be better to work and get paid, but right now, I’m just going to enjoy my mid-week break. This week, I spent the evening with my 1-year-old nephew while his parents had a night out. Turns out babysitting pays as well as my day job.
  2. I finished reading A DAY OF SIGNS AND WONDERS by Kit Pearson, a novel inspired by Emily Carr’s childhood. It was fine, a quick read, definitely more for kids. The paperback is designed with cover flaps, which do an excellent job as built-in bookmarks. I am vehemently against dogearing a book, especially borrowed from the library.
  3. I spent a lot of time this week working on my websites. Nothing I’m ready to share yet, but I always enjoy playing with code. I taught myself in the early ’00s by finding sites I liked and viewing source. Luckily, my taste is pretty simple, so I can usually make it look the way I want with good old fashioned HTML and CSS.
  4. After I used my last Starbucks reward, I deleted the app from my phone. They make it too easy to spend money. So I’ve been making coffee in the morning with a plastic pourover cone I stole from my parents’s basement. God knows how old it is, but it works great. It fits on the rim of a litre canning jar. It makes as much or as little coffee as I want. (Admittedly, lately, it’s been a lot.) The inadvertent theme of this week is simple and old fashioned. Might just make it the deliberate theme going forward.

Four Things That Are Working For Me This Week #5

  1. It’s been a weird spring, weather wise. I have a quilted hooded sweatshirt that I stole from my mom that is proving to be the perfect spring jacket. Some days I wear it with a quilted vest on top (the platonic PNW uniform). I always have my North Face packable rain jacket for when the weather changes for the worse. Short or long-sleeved layers underneath if there’s sun or clouds in the sky. Layers are essential here, and I’ve pretty much got my spring wardrobe set.
  2. I used to love messenger and cross-body bags, but I’ve been using my MEC backpack as my daily since last summer. It means I always have an umbrella, my notebook, pencil case, but also room for snacks, water bottle, even a few groceries on my way home from work. But this week, I’ve noticed a lot more tension in my neck and shoulders. I’m worried I’m carrying too much every day. So I’ve been doing slow neck circles, matching movement and breath, stretching wherever I happen to be. It’s only technically yoga, but the smallest step back into my practice feels huge.
  3. On Tuesday, I stopped at Nature’s Fare on my way home from work. Because many of their products are local, handmade, organic, natural, they don’t last as long as processed food. If you go before closing, you can find stuff marked down more than half-off for quick sale. I bought some grass-fed chocolate milk and locally-made kefir, then mixed them and made ice cream when I got home.
  4. On Wednesday, a day off, I visited my grandparents. They’re moving at the end of the month, after 40 years in their current house. I saw them on Sunday, too, and brought home a couple of bags of frozen vegetables and fruit from the summer, as well as half a dozen vegetables and herbs in pots. Wednesday, I brought home containers of rice, pasta, and flour. Their new house is smaller (though not by much), but mostly it’s just easier for them if they don’t have to move all this stuff. I’m going to miss my grandma’s garden this summer, but all I have to do is open my freezer to find a reminder of last year’s harvest.

Four Things That Are Working For Me This Week #4

  1. I really wasn’t sure I wanted to watch Riverdale. I adore Archie comics. I grew up with them. I read more Archie than books when I was in elementary school. And this series looked like it was trying too hard to be the “gritty reboot” for a new generation. But it surprised me. I really loved it. I described it in my rec to friends as “Archie comics crossed with Twin Peaks, Teen Wolf, and Gossip Girl.” So if you like those things, you might like this.
  2. Somehow, I had way more Starbucks rewards this month than my stars should’ve allowed. I know one extra happened because the barista voided my order when they ran out of quiche. I finally got the quiche yesterday (lots of spinach), and I tried the s’more frappucino on Wednesday (needs more marshmallow). I know rewards programs are all about tracking consumer spending, but if I’m gonna be spending there anyway, it’s nice to get something extra with my late stage capitalism.
  3. I’ve made five daily videos in a row! It’s been way easier than I thought it would be. And it really helps that nobody is watching right now. I’m not even watching them. I just turn on the camera, talk for a while, then upload without editing (though I have started adding a date title). It’s good to have a goal for my mornings.
  4. I’m really really lucky to be Canadian, and I never want to take that for granted.

Four Things That Are Working For Me This Week #3

  1. The iPhone 5 is the perfect form factor for shooting video. The sides are flat, even with my new case, so it doesn’t roll when you stand it up on a table. I don’t want to buy a bunch of equipment. I just want to make some videos, and this five-year-old phone lets me do that.
  2. Last summer was great for the garden in my backyard. It belongs to the family upstairs, but one day when I was leaving for work, the mom and her two daughters were picking vegetables. I said, hoping to influence some young minds, kale is my favourite vegetable. (Top three, at least.) The mom told me to pick whatever I wanted because it was way too much for them to eat. Nothing new has been planted yet for this summer, but the kale survived the winter. It’s grown two feet in the last month, and there is way too much for me to eat. But I’m enjoying the trying.
  3. The best chemistry on The Newsroom is between Dev Patel and John Gallagher Jr., so of course Sorkin ignores it for a whole host of romantic relationships repurposed from his other shows. I don’t know why I even started watching this (after avoiding it five years ago because I knew it would make me sad and angry), but these two are a bright spot that keeps me going.
  4. I just realised I have a copy of Magic Mike XXL on my external hard drive, so that’s what I’m going to do tonight. You might think it was a bad movie. “No, as I have said twice before, and will now say a third time, it was the best movie of 2015. Please do not make me go over this again.”

Four Things That Are Working For Me This Week #2

  1. On the shelf next to my PVR sits a pewter bud vase. It spent most of its life sitting on my mom’s bookcase, and I don’t ever remember it holding a flower. It’s very mid-century Scandinavian, maybe a little Bauhaus, though if I had to guess, it probably came from my granddad’s frequent trips to Asia. We accidentally inherited a lot of stuff when my grandparents divorced. They moved out of the house, and we moved in. I’ve been picking a new flower from the park each week, a little bit of spring to look at instead of the TV. Today, my pewter vase holds a millennial pink tulip which has opened up and turned south to the sun.
  2. I started anxiety management group therapy this week. Group is two things for me: a reason (other than work) to get out of the house and people to hold me accountable. We set an action plan each week, then report how we did. This week, my goal is not turning on the TV first thing in the morning. It’s so easy to waste the morning doing absolutely nothing. Even though I’ve reached for the remote more than once, I’ve stopped myself each time. Because I know I’ll have to tell the group that I failed. So far, I haven’t.
  3. I have a small apartment, so I have a small vacuum. It fits under my bathroom sink. But because it fits under my bathroom sink, I don’t think about it often enough to vacuum regularly. On Monday, I dragged it out and put it in the middle of my living room, right in front of the door. By Wednesday, I had done the vacuuming. Today, I’ll probably put it back. That’ll be a success.
  4. From the time I was 11 until I was 30, I never had menstrual cramps. Ever. I never had mood swings. I forgave the wildly unpredictable cycles because I thought I got the better deal. Except now my cycle is wildly unpredictable AND I get cramps so bad that they often make me puke. A few months ago, I finally started taking painkillers (I also hate swallowing pills). I bought generic naproxen because it was on sale at the grocery store, and it’s the greatest thing ever. Avoiding stuff you don’t like is so not worth it if you’re in pain. Sometimes you have to do the hard thing because it’s on the way to the good thing. Sometimes the good thing is just being able to sleep through the night.