Sunday, January 31, 2010

Resolution #5: Relax

Word of the day: wor-ry (verb) To torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret.

If it's good enough for Frankie Goes to Hollywood, it's good enough for me.  I need to learn to relax more.  Not that I'm not already the queen of laziness.  Oh, believe me, I win at lethargy.  It's more that I need to learn to not freak out and get worked up about things, whether they're big or little or somewhere in between.  I need to be able to chill out more and just take things in stride.  More importantly, I need to learn to not dwell on things that have happened and worry what people might be thinking about me because of something I said or did or didn't say or didn't do.

(There are things that happened years ago that I still think about and that still make me feel all anxious because of how I acted or what someone might have thought at the time.  I'm talking about things that happened in university.  I graduated in 2002, just to put it in perspective.)

There are certain things in my life that help me relax.  Like crossword puzzles.  I am so at peace when filling in those little white squares with the correct letter and I feel so proud and so complete when I gaze lovingly at my finished puzzle, all done in capital letters and in ink.  (Yes, I'm a crossword puzzle snob who flat out refuses to use pencil.)  So I shall do more crossword puzzles.

The beau's cat also helps me destress.  When that sweet little cat face appears at the side of the couch and she just looks at me and then gently pads over to my lap to curl up and start purring like a feline lawn mower, well, my brain melts and suddenly the only thing that matters is making sure I scratch her chin just right.  While I generally only see her on weekends, those are pretty great weekends so I'll have to be sure to keep that up.

And - what do you know? - working out also helps with the relaxing.  Doesn't that tie in so nicely with the running resolution?  Even if the running doesn't pan out, I'll just make sure to keep going to the gym.  If I can do this right, I'll be the most blissed-out person by the time 2011 rolls around.

Resolution #5, then, is to R-E-L-A-X.  Of course, if none of my other tactics work, I'll be able to justify shelling out for an all-inclusive trip so some swanky Caribbean spa.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Resolution #4: Renovate

Word of the day: pret-ti-fy (verb) To make pretty, esp. in a small, petty way.

Okay, so not really renovate, as I don't own any kind of dwelling to renovate, but I'm enjoying the alliterativeness of my resolutions so I'm going with it.

What I have to renovate may not be a kitchen or bathroom or roof or anything quite that fun but it's still stuff that I need to do.  I've got various pieces of furniture - side tables, shelving units, a vanity-type table, an ugly plastic drawer unit - that I've been meaning to make pretty and just haven't yet.  So when I move into my fabulous new apartment it will be high time I make those things look fabulous too.

In fact, I discovered this today, which will be the inspiration for my vanity table.  This table is ugly faux-pine and needs to not be ugly and this is one renovate-y idea I not only like but I can actually accomplish.  As for the other stuff, I'm not sure yet what I want to do but I've got a couple months before the move to figure all that out.

Resolution #4: Renovate all that ugly furniture into something pretty.  Yay pretty!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Resolution #3: Run

Word of the day: run-ner (noun) A person, animal, or thing that runs, esp. as a racer; a tackle or part of a tackle consisting of a line rove through a single block and fixed at one end. (who knew?)

I want to be a runner.  I have this lovely image of myself jogging along the tree-lined side streets of downtown Toronto on a beautiful springtime Saturday, feeling all fit and athletic and proud of myself. 

Thing is, I'm not a runner at all.  I blame it on my asthma, which might sound lame but I was officially diagnosed with exercise- and environment-induced asthma.  When I was a kid, the environment wreaked the most havoc on my breathing; spring and fall were killer, when all the pollen and weeds and stuff were out full force.  But exercise never seemed much of a problem, probably because I was always riding my bike or jumping rope or skating or swimming or doing whatever seasonal activity seemed appropriate.  Although I do remember that when we had to run in gym class, I was pretty useless.

Nowadays, it's the opposite: even in the middle of a humid, smoggy Toronto summer, I can breath just fine.  Sometimes the damp, chilly winter weather gets to me but that's rare.  It's the exercising that can leave me gasping.  But I still haul my ass onto that elliptical and I recently got myself a Ventalin inhaler, which keeps my airways from closing up when I overdo it.  This means I have no more excuses for not trying to run.

In fact, this past week at the gym I keep saying, "Maybe today I'll hop on the treadmill for a little jog" but then I chicken out.  What if someone sees me?  (Of course they will - it's a big gym.)  What if I look silly?  (Really, who cares?)  What if I fall down gasping for air?  (Well, then people will see me and think I look silly but if I take a pull on the inhaler, all should be good.)  So I'm going to try.

This is one resolution that I might actually get to before April 1.

Resolution #3: Stop running from the idea of running.  (Heh, pun.  I'm awesome.)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Resolution #2: Read

Word of the day: lit-er-a-ture (noun) Writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays.

I'm an avid reader and I've got a pretty solid start on what will eventually be a pretty great library.  And I love my books.  Love, love, love them.  They're so pretty and interesting and fun and mostly genre fiction.  Not that there's anything wrong with genre fiction (Terry Pratchett!  Reginald Hill!  Jasper Fforde!) but for awhile I've felt that I should read more literary books.  I've got Life of Pi on my shelf; it's been there for five years yet it remains unread.  I've got gobs of Alice Munro but again, haven't read as much as I should.  And to go with Alice Munro, I really want to get into Margaret Atwood.  I haven't read nearly enough of her and I want to be an Atwood fan.  I should also really revisit Edgar Allan Poe.  I mean, I've only got three versions of his works (one's even illustrated!).

So resolution #2: read more literary books.  There will still be genre fiction consumed because there are new mass market paperbacks by Terry Pratchett and Reginald Hill coming out this year and those just have to be bought and read as soon as they are available.  But that likely won't happen to the fall so I've got lots of time to get into some Alice and Margaret and maybe even some Yann.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Resolution #1: Write

Word of the day: nov-el (noun) A fictitious prose narrative of considerable length and complexity, portraying characters and usually presenting a sequential organization of action and scenes.

I want to write a book.  I have wanted to write a book since I was in grade four and I've been thinking a lot about it lately.  What kind of book, you ask?  Well, I've got a couple young adult books bouncing around in my head, as well as ideas for a collection of short stories, a detective novel in the style of my favourite British author, the fabulous Reginald Hill (READ HIM!) and I think I could churn out a pretty tawdry Harlequin.

However, what I really need to do is write.  And by write, I mean start formulating some sentences that extend beyond random blog posts and witty Facebook status updates.  I bought a lap top a couple of years ago with the express purpose of using it for writing my many tomes but so far that has been a fail.  So I would do well to start there and who knows what might happen?

I'd also like to read Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James, because she's a pretty great author and because it might help light a fire under my bum and get me started on my own brilliant detective novel.

So resolution #1: Write more - and maybe write that novel.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I think I can...maybe

Word of the day: re-solve (verb)  To come to a definite or earnest decision about; determine (to do something).

I never make new year's resolutions; I just say, "I resolve not to make any resolutions" and people giggle a little bit and the conversation moves on.  Do you want to know the real reason I don't make resolutions?  Because, deep down, I know I'm likely to fail out.  It's not that I don't want to follow through on my resolutions; it's just that I know I won't so I don't want to embarrass myself by making some claims that I won't see through to the end.

(I'm really bad for starting things and not finishing them or saying I'm going to do something then not followintg though.  It's not something I'm proud of; it's just who I am, for better or worse.)

Despite the fact I never make new year's resolutions, I always feel like I should make resolutions at some point in the year and try to see them through...or at least make some small lifestyle changes that will make my life overall a little bit better.  And considering I'm bored with the routine of my life right now, that might not be a bad thing.

I was also inspired to make some resolutions after reading a former classmate's blog post on the same topic.  And it just so happens that many of the things she's resolving to do, I also want to (try to) do.  So I'm going to make some resolutions.

The most important part, though, is deciding when to start these resolutions.  I've picked April 1 as my start date, for two reasons: first, because I'm moving that day and what better time to start new things than when in a new place?; and second, because April means spring is coming and bringing with it warmer weather, brighter days, greener trees and that whole notion of rebirth and new beginnings.  So it works well.

I'll list my resolutions in their own posts this week.  I'd like to aim for five, but we'll see how much I actually feel like I can resolve to do.

The words of another: Katrina Onstad

"The two weeks of the Olympics undoes, just a little, the onslaught of absurd images of women's bodies that make up the four years in between.  In ads and entertainment and at salons, our bodies are pumped with chemicals, peeled and waxed and maintained and worked out, but are they ever really triumphant?  Are they driven toward any goal but beauty?"
-- Modern Times column by Katrina Onstad, Chatelaine, March 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

'Round and 'round

Word of the day: rou-tine (noun)  Regular, unvarying, habitual, unimaginative, or rote procedure.

I've become bored with the routine of my life. 

I'm not really sure where this came from, it just kind of ... showed up.  Maybe it's the mind-winter blues.  But it's strange to feel this way because I'm the queen of creature comforts and routine.  I like to know what I'm doing and going to be doing, what I'm getting myself into, where I stand, that kind of thing.  I like to know what's expected of me at work, what I need to do at the gym, what's on TV each night and whether it's a new episode.  And my life has very much been like this, which had, until now, been just fine.

But now I'm bored with it all.  Really?  Really? 

"I am a visitor here.  I am not permanent."

That might have something to do with it, feeling a bit like a visitor.  Or more like feeling nothing is permanent.  I really like the idea of putting down roots, of being in one place and building from there.  Sure, one could argue I've put down roots in Toronto, but I've moved around far too much to really feel rooted.  And I'll be moving again on April 1 and who knows how long that will last?  Yes, I've got a full time job but that doesn't mean a whole lot these days. 

I just feel like everything is temporary and could go away at any time.  I guess that's the reality of life though; you never know what's going to happen or what could suddenly change.  I just want to feel like what I'm doing is moving towards some kind of permanency.  And I don't feel like I'm doing anything like that.  Which could explain why I'm bored with the routine of my life - I really don't feel like it's leading anywhere. 

My life = hamster wheel.  Fun.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Coming full circle

Well, kind of coming full circle.

When I started my job at Rogers I was excited to enter the world of consumer magazine publishing.  I had worked in custom publishing for two years and it was great but I wanted to see how the rest of the magazine world worked.  (And I have no interest in trade magazines so I don't feel a need to ever work on that side of things.)  Let me tell you, consumer magazine publishing is AMAZING.  In Production, we do these neat things called schedules.  I like making schedules.  They represent order and timeliness and structure and I like that (at least in my work environment - please never look in my bedroom).  In consumer publishing, a crazy thing happens: schedules are followed!  Dates are met!  Things happen on time!  It's the craziest thing and I love it.  I really, truly love it.

But consumer magazines can meet schedules because they are driven by the internal magazine team.  We create the content, we design the pages, we approve everything.  It's pretty great and I love working on consumer books; the fact that I get to work on Chatelaine makes things all the better.  But the entire time I've worked at Rogers I've also worked on a custom publication for Rogers Wireless and I'll soon be taking on another custom book.

And this is where I come full circle.  Not only am I back to my custom roots, but the magazine I'll be taking on is Air Miles, which was published by Redwood, back when I worked at Redwood.  Even though I would rather stick with the consumer side of things (scheduled MET!) custom publishing is growing and it will provide me with a better chance to move up in the world, which is really what we all want in our careers.  No one wants to toil away in an entry-level position for 40 years.

So here I am, back in the custom saddle.  It's not that custom publishing is THAT bad; it's just that it's more of a what-if?/if-then type of system.  For example, "What if we provide files to you whenever we feel like it, because that's the way we roll?"  Answer: "If you supply them whenever you want then I will punch you in the neck but still get them printed and mailed on time because I'm a production rock star."

But custom publishing keeps me on my toes and has much more variety than what I've encountered in consumer publishing.  I really don't care if my consumer book wants to do a cover flap (yawn) but when my custom books want to explore variable data printing and lenticular printing and direct-mail packages and laminated inserts, well that's the stuff I live for!  You need FSC paper?  I'm on it!  You want to do a perforation?  No problem!  You need to know incremental postage costs?  For sure!  You want a Z-fold cover with a cover flap?  Absolutely!

Stuff like that is better than chocolate.

So maybe my schedules won't be met, maybe waiting for approvals will make me want to pull out my hair, maybe asking the printer for extensions will become tedious, but it always works out in the end.  And where my position and duties with Chatelaine haven't changed much and won't change much, the custom side of things will keep things interesting.  I'll just end up drinking more.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Almost but not quite

Word of the day: fail (verb) To fall short of success or achievement in something expected, attempted, desired, or approved.

I suck at losing weight.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

You're a kitty!

Word of the day: kit-ty (noun) A pet name for a cat.

My beau has the cutest cat in the world.  See, isn't she adorable?

Her name is Tansi and I'm more than a little bit in love with her.  In fact, I will freely admit that my brain goes all goopy when I see her.  And it doesn't help that she is easily the cuddliest kitty I have ever encountered.  She prefers to either be on you or as close to you as possible (except when eating and, thankfully, pooping).  This is a most wonderful thing - until bed time, when she can't understand why you're asleep and not scratching under her chin.  She will quickly remedy this by poking you in the face until you wake up and acknowledge her, which is fun for about sixteen seconds.  But that is her nature and I still love her.  (Of course I can say that because I don't live with her.  The beau may think otherwise from time to time...)

Here she is again, because she's so great.

Anyways, I decided that a cat as adorable as Tansi required a theme song.  Since I'm not musically inclined I couldn't come up with any proper kind of melody so I just changed the lyrics to the Spiderman theme song.  My inspiration, though, came from The Simpson's Movie and Homer's Spider Pig song:

And here's my song:

Tansi Cat, Tansi Cat
Does whatever a Tansi Cat does
Can she swing from a thread?
No she can't 'cause she's a cat
Look out!
Here comes the Tansi Cat!

Is she cute?
Listen, bud
She's got cuteness in her blood
Will she sleep on your head?
Just you wait 'til you're in bed
Hey there!
Look, it's the Tansi Cat!

In the still of night
In the dish of her food
She will sneak a bite
Which will later be pooed

Tansi Cat, Tansi Cat
Friendly tolerant Tansi Cat
Everyday she's adored
Snuggling is her reward

To her, life is a great big cuddle
Wherever there's a snuggle
You'll find the Tansi Cat!!!

However, today I decided that one theme song was not nearly enough and felt it best to let The Simpson's inspire me once again and to adapt the words of "See My Vest" to be about a loving cat, rather than killing puppies.

So, yeah, here we go again:

Some pets are ferocious
Some pets become food
The only thing I’m looking for
Is a pet that will be good…

See my cat, see my cat
She seems to think that she’s a hat
She will sleep upon your head when
You are wrapped up in the beddin’

She’s so sweet, on her feet
A little thing who’s made of meat
But at night when you think you’re safe
She will sneeze right into your face

Overall, she’s so small
You can hug her like a doll
Just don’t forget she’s still a pet
And a brat (?!)

Try a chin scratch or two
She’ll be in love with you
See my cat, see my cat
See my cat

Like my kitty?  She’s so pretty
Even when the bed gets shitty
If only she would let me sleep
I’d be glad

She’s a snuggly delight
Who’ll keep you up all night
See my cat, see my cat
Oh please, won’t you see my cat!

(I really love the cat.)

Here's Mr. Burns' version:

So there you have it.  Kitty theme songs.  I'm not ridiculous at all.

And one more picture of the kitty, just for good measure:

I love how she's hugging the beau's hand!