Monday, April 13, 2015

Book Lady

I was in a wonderful new library a couple of weeks ago.

Now, I am partial to those old, smelly libraries where the stacks reach the (low) roof, and go on forever and ever. Where the silence is a touchable thing, and has a life of its own. And where you could wander for hours and only cover two rows.

But this brand spanking new, shiny, still-with-the-glossy-wrapping intact library was cool too! I wandered a couple of aisles, and touched the spines of books that have never been touched, that have never had their spines cracked, or their pages dog-eared.

And I started thinking about the types of books I read, and how I choose them.

I am one of those people whom you would expect to be in a book club, but am not. I read a lot of books (as evidenced herehere and here), but I never plan out my list ahead of time. And I don't put any rules or guidelines on my reading. I just wander aimlessly through the world, and pick up books that look interesting.

And I don't necessarily think about who deserves my precious book-reading time, which authors I want to support. In my online puttering around, I have been finding many articles about female writers, and how often they get shit on just for being women. (A lot of women in traditionally "male fields" have that problem I think...).

There's that quote about "being the change you want to see in the world". Well, I want to see women succeed where traditionally they haven't, and I want to support and encourage that progress. And I want to learn from women with different backgrounds than myself, so I can be a better listener, and be more compassionate for those difference (and more appreciative).

In that vein, I have decided that I am going to finish out the year reading books by female authors. And I am so FRICKIN EXCITED!!

Any recommendations?

I've got these on my list so far...
Life Drawing and If I Love You I Would Tell You This by Robin Black
That second title sounds so delicious...

Irritable Hearts: A PTSD Love Story by Mac McClelland

Ongoingness by Sarah Manguso
The author laments about her failed attempts at keeping a diary (and her lost memories)

Her 37th Year: An Index by Suzanne Scanlon
I will be 35 this year, and I am kind of freaking out about it. I am hoping for some insights here! HA!

The Unraveling of Mercy Louis
Rape in small town America. I think this one is going to get me all riled up...

Anything by Judy Blume. I think Dude's school library has a bunch.

Unfortunately, this means I will have to put The Book of Negroes away again. But I have a feeling I will find some awesome, amazing, glorious titles and I won't feel so bad.

Further Reading on the Subject
Why Don't Men Read Books by Women?
Why I Only Read Books by Women in 2013
On Learning to Spell Women's Names While Men Buy My New Book For Their Wives
Read Her Like An Open Book


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Unsolicited Gym Tips

I have been thinking alot lately about my connection to my body, and to the gym, and to working out and eating "right" and making it stronger, faster, awesomer.

I don't have all the answers, but a comment my sister made the other day about her first trip back to the gym after many years away checked off a box in my brain. I've got some answers, and I definitely have reassurance.

You see, I never thought I would be a "gym person". But after years of going now (years! yay me!!), I can say with pride and satisfaction that I most definitely LOVE going to the gym. I feel comfortable there, and I know what I'm doing now. Hell, even when I don't precisely know what I'm doing, I pull it off with aplomb and grace and only fall over once or twice. HA!

Anyhoo, here are some "reassurances" for any of you out there reading this who might want to try a gym, but are feeling a smidge discomfort

1) You don't need fancy gym clothes to go to the gym! I wear this damn ugly, falling apart shirt. See those patches? Those are covering some mighty fine holes. But this shirt keeps me cool, doesn't stick to my body, and reminds me of how far I come. This used to be a shirt that fit me perfectly...

2) You don't need to have some sort of fancy routine. I LOVE Pinterest for good workout routines, and there are a couple of sites I rely on heavily. Maybe I'll do a separate post for those, if anyone is interested. Look at the pictures on the sides of the weight machines. They show you how to use the machine. Do some bicep curls. Everybody should know how to do those! Google "simple weightlifting moves" or something. Print it out, Pin it, and bring it with you. I've seen a guy with a big binder full of notes and routines printed out. That's a little crazy, but it's also totally fine! My one recommendation is to have everything in the same place and easy to access. There is this one young lady I see quite often and she has to scroll through dozens (and dozens) of photos to find the exercise she wants, so she ends up spending more time on her damn phone then anything (it's a plank dammit! you don't need a diagram!)
This one is from "POPSUGAR Fitness" and aside from some of the terrible titles on these printables, they are actually pretty amazing. Sorry for the shitty screen shot...just, go to their damn website. Or better yet, search for them on Pinterest!

3) You don't need to lift anything heavy. Start with a low weight, and a low set of reps, and don't be embarrassed about it! Everyone has to start somewhere, and starting slow (and safe) counts more than not starting at all! And you don't want to injure yourself...that's the most important thing.

4) If you don't know what you're doing, or how a certain machine works, ask somebody for help. Gym people are generally nice people! The trainers and staff are there to help you. And if they're bitchy bitches *cough*SpaLady*cough* then get yourself to another gym!! I hear that the Meadows (that's the new Rec Centre in Mill Woods) has like a "Gym Guy" that just walks around and helps people out! That's fucking awesome!! Use the "Gym Guy"!

5) You should probably break a sweat...just sayin... There's this one lady I see at the gym all the time, and she bikes slower than my grandma. And then she gets on the machines, and it doesn't seem like she is making an effort at all. She kind of just floats around. She's hilarious, and I love her, but this seems like a waste of an hour!

6) You can spend as little amount of time in there as you want/need/are able. I go during my lunch "hour". It takes me a couple minutes to drive there, then park, then get suited up. And I like to shower when I'm done (see point 4...I definitely break a sweat. I break all the sweats.), which takes another 5 minutes (I timed myself this one time). And then I have to drive back to the office. Overall, I get about 40 minutes of actual workout time. This includes warm up and stretching afterwards. When I was going to Spa Lady at the end of the day, I got maybe 20 minutes on the cardio machines and then they had to close. And you know what, that was better than nothing. On the weekends, when I have a little extra time, I like to go for an hour or more. And I love that extra time there, and I make the most of it. But I make the most of my 30-40 minute workouts too. It all counts!

7) There will be people there that are stronger than you! Or leaner. Or faster. Or whatever. And they might be intimidating. Just focus on YOUR workout, because they're just focused on theirs. Trust me.
And you know what's really cool? If you keep going, and putting in the time and effort, one day you will be that person at the gym who intimidates the newbie.

Everyone has to start somewhere.

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's lunch time and I'm off to the gym.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

SIMPLIFY: My Office Space

Making goals doesn't need to be fancy or complicated. You don't need a special work book or day timer, or lesson plan, or whatever else.

Sometimes all you need is a coloured marker, and a scrap piece of paper (from a Ramada Hotel notepad apparently...), and a goal.
This is my new approach to making goals. Make an "I WANT-I NEED" statement and answer the following: Where, What, How, When.

And then work on it every day. EVERY DAY. I think that’s the key. A little bit at a time, and a due date that’s just far enough away to be do-able and not forgettable.

This is my "before". This is my space that is not working for my life. But I have already made a lot of progress, and I am feeling buoyed by how fast things are changing and starting to look the way I want them to. And all the crap that I am getting rid of! Feels so good!

I still have some emotional blocks when it comes to my photos, but I am pushing through. And when I am having a rough day already, I don’t open those boxes!

And here is a progress shot. I got so much accomplished in this space last weekend. I every piece of furniture around, save one. And as soon as I laid down in my bed for a nap afterward, I knew I had made the right choice.

Can I just take a moment to ooh and ahh at the sunlight filling my room?


It feels good to have a goal again, and to know what I need to do to get it done. It is empowering, and it gives me the inspiration to DO MORE in other areas of my life.

I still have lazy Sundays where I just watch entire seasons of Veronica Mars on Netflix, but I'm okay with that too!

Friday, January 30, 2015

"Scrapbooking" in 2015

I thought I would share a little bit here about my "scrapbooking" plans for 2015. What I should say is my NON-scrapbooking plans, cause I am done with that shit once and for all.*

*I'm talking about full layouts, traditional albums, that sort of thing. I will still be creating mini albums like it is going out of style. Which it isn't, just so you know.

I have a two-fold process for documenting my year in photos and words.

ONE: A PHOTO ALBUM! I know, it's crazy right?! Absolutely revolutionary! It's like the Original Project Life! (I'm being facetious here, but I hope you already figured that out...)

I am going for one photo per day. Or Less. Or More. Print the photo. Write on the back. Put it in the album. Easy peasy.

TWO: The Weekly Story. This one is still a work-in-progress. In that, I'm not sure how I want it to look. I know I want to capture ONE STORY PER WEEK. I know I want to include at least ONE PHOTO. I know I want to be able to include MEMORABILIA that goes with...a drawing, a ticket stub, etc. But I don't want it to be fancy, or take up a lot of space, and I don't want to have to "embellish" anything. I'm getting back to B.A.S.I.C.S. with this one.

OMG I JUST HAD A REVELATION! Wheee! More to come...

And that's that.

You know what's really going to be tough about this? Seeing all my friends' beautiful layouts pop up on their IG feeds and blogs, and wanting to continue to be part of that creative community. But I KNOW that this is not the right thing for me.

I just have to "stick to my guns"...and find other ways to continue to connect with these women that are in my life thanks to scrapbooking.

I'm sure there must be other things we have in common.

Beer, for example...

And now some LINKS. This is the stuff helping me along the way!
Part of the process for simplifying my memory-keeping is going to be getting more organized with the photos I take (and keep). Enter One Year to More Organized Photos. This blog series is going to be so much help!

I really enjoyed Elise's write-up on how she is changing her documentation for the year. Very inspiring!

My Weekly Story Book will probably come from here, or maybe here. I am very excited to get started!

And finally, if you take out all the talk about God, this post summarizes exactly what I want to see in my scrapbooking future.

And that is all...I wanted to add more photos, but this is just my Blog and not my Blog-Job so we're good!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Making My Word Work For Me

I have learned over the years that the One Little Word exercise is different for everyone.

For me, the One Little Word exercise is about opening your mind up to all the possibilities to allow yourself to fully experience, learn from, and grow from the expression of your word over the year, while at the same time being REALISTIC about those possibilities as well.

I follow a site that focuses on the "Capsule" wardrobe: Project 333. Part of my "Simplify 2015" process this year is to tackle my closet and eliminate a lot of the stuff I don't wear/need/use/love. (See yesterday's post) She offers other advice and courses on simplifying other aspects of your life. A recent post on her blog includes a link to a course she is offering called "Simple Year". Essentially, you get expert advice every month on simplifying different (all) areas of your life.

At first glance, this seems like the perfect "A-HA" moment!

"I chose my word, and now this year-long workshop to help simplify my whole entire life falls into my lap! It was meant to be!"

Except I hate classes like this. They stress me out, they overwhelm me. They always seem to ADD to the complexities of my life instead of help alleviate them. And while usually do end up taking away some useful tips and strategies, I cannot justify all the baggage that seems to inevitably accompany them.

I am not making excuses to avoid the hard work involved in a class like this.

I am listening to myself and my experiences, and proceeding accordingly.

I may or may not find something that clicks and helps guide my "Simplify 2015 Journey" this month, or next month, or at all.

Sometimes it just doesn't work that way, and that's cool.

But I'm keeping my eyes (and heart...feelings aren't lame) open all the same!

Happy Friday Yo! This weekend I am looking forward to:
- Printing my December Daily photos and putting that baby to bed!
- Working on my 2015 Stories Album (my memory-keeping project for the year...perhaps a post is required)
- Farmer's Market!
- Swimming!
- Cleaning my living room... #onedayatatime #babysteps
- Starting construction on the record storage legs for my plant shelf!