What’s Rocked My World This Week – January 29th Edition

For me, the world has become a much scarier place since January 20th. Here in Canada, I am disturbed daily by the things happening south of our border.

It’s hard not to feel powerless at this time. However, the good news is that people are not taking this shit lying down. Nosirree! The Women’s March has started something great – something that promises to continue in other marches and protests. So there’s hope.

For my own mental health, and maybe for yours too – I have decided to round up a listing of things that excited or inspired me this week. Something to change my focus from obsessing solely on all that is going south*, south of the border and other places. Like an online gratitude journal of sorts.

So here goes – the inaugural, “inaugurally-inspired” post:

  1. The amount of silver/white I am seeing in my hair – I have been (not so) patiently waiting for my head of hair to turn a glorious white, as per the females in my family who have come before me. It seems I have inherited my dad’s type of silvering – mostly temples and a sprinkle throughout every where else, unfortunately.
    Lots of white happening here in Temple Land!

    However, lately I have noticed the silvering is accelerating. Excited!!!! I can notice the silver strands quite clearly in my hair’s part now.  It didn’t photograph so well otherwise I’d show you. I am sick of touching-up roots at my temples. I think the time may be right to let it grow out au naturel and see what my real hair really looks like. I may decide to go back to colouring for a bit and try again later. Or I might not. Stay tuned.

  2. Invisalign – Remember that episode of the Simpsons where Lisa is told she needs braces? And she is shown how her teeth will look as she ages? I feel that is going on with my teeth. They seem to get crookeder the older I get. So when I come back from Barbados I am going to begin using Invisalign trays to fix my smile. I have paid off Edward II (my 2nd “Blizzard White” Prius) so those $$ have been freed up for another purpose! Very happy to be starting this journey, even at my advanced age. I’ll be damned if I live the rest of my life with these crooked teeth if I can afford to do something about it. Again, stay tuned. No doubt I’ll have plenty to say as I go through the next 2 years of this particular adventure!

    My car’s namesake. My Edward sparkles just like this when the light hits it. If it’s clean, that is.
  3. Physiotherapy – Since the beginning of the year I have been working steadily away at regaining my long-lost flexibility via yoga and barre exercises. I’m making good progress! However, no matter how diligent I am I know I need more help than this to regain range of motion in my left arm – an ongoing problem I have noticed for about the last 6 months. I was thinking I had strained something and that it would heal itself but that’s not happening. So last week I saw my doctor and got a referral for physiotherapy. So far my homework is a set of exercises to perform 4 times a day. And they hurt! But I am keeping my eye on the prize – 2 fully working arms!
  4. Pussy Hats – I missed taking part in the Women’s March for a multitude of reasons including a long-standing prior commitment for that date and not knowing until way too late there would be Canadian marches to take part in. And I feel really bad about it. So I made myself feel a bit better by at least knitting some pussy hats. I have finished one and am about to finish another (for my cousin). The way things are going, there should be many opportunities to march and wear pussy hats, unfortunately.

    Knitting a pussy hat
    First pussy hat on the needles!
  5. Rogue US Government Employees – I think the rogue or alt Twitter handles/postings that have sprung up in the past week are just brilliant. I can’t stop reading them. Between these and the organized protests, it makes me feel there is some hope of getting through this shit show the US/World is in, after all.
  6. March for Science – If I have any say in the matter, I won’t be missing these upcoming marches. Our last prime minister muzzled our scientists like Trump is doing now. During this dark time in Canada, I was otherwise preoccupied in Crazytown (i.e. OCD/MBA Land) and dealing with a dying husband/subsequent widowhood so I missed out completely on this issue and its protests. Looks like I’m getting a second chance to chime in and make my little voice heard. Why does this shit keep happening?!?!? Rhetorical question…I know why it keeps happening.
  7. My new pan – A couple of weeks ago now I bought a pan at the local Dutch store, very similar to one that I learned to cook in as a young girl. Dutchies call it a “braadpan” – simply put:  a frying pan. It is enameled steel and cooks and cleans like a dream. The high sides keep the mess in. And the heavy lid makes braising a snap. Safe for stove-top or oven use. And induction-friendly. I love it.

    Think Le Creuset – only lighter and 1/3 of the cost. And without the sexy colour choices, unfortunately. Your choice is any colour so long as it’s black, with an ultramarine blue interior.
  8. My new GoPro camera – During Boxing Week, I pulled the trigger on a Hero 5 Black – a camera I had been eyeing for quite a while already. So far I love the features I have been discovering. I’m busy learning how to use it in advance of:
  9. 50 Years of Friendship Trip – by this time next week I will be snorkeling and relaxing with a good friend, down in Barbados. 2017 is the 50th anniversary year of when we first met and became friends – partway through Grade 2  – when she moved to Preston. To commemorate our first 40 years of being friends, we spent a day together at the Elmwood Spa in Toronto. That was a great day, and now this looks to be the makings of a great week.  All I can say about this is WHEE!!!!!! More to come later…

Rock and Resist on,

The WB

*That Canadians like Kellie Leitch and Kevin O’Leary are threatening to bring to our great country as well.

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The CEO of Everything – A Badass Review

The CEO of Everything, picked up at Costco

I have been CEO of Everything for a little over 3 years now and life has never been better for me.
When I heard about this book, co-written by Gail Vaz-Oxlade and Victoria Ryce, I knew I had to read it.

Ms. Ryce I was not acquainted with, but I have been a fan of Gail’s shows for years and still watch her whenever she pops up on the TV – ‘Til Debt Do Us Part, Princess, Money Moron. Her advice and delivery on money and life never gets old.

If I wanted to be a smart ass, I would just use 9 words to state my review of this book:

THEY NAILED IT. I LIVED IT. GO BUY IT.

Gail had been divorced more than once and Victoria lost her husband (like me, also to lung cancer). Each woman combines and brings their own perspectives to being unexpectedly or expectedly single and how to proceed from there.

Having not only been both divorced and widowed, I was completely engrossed by and resonated with everything these women had to say. They were describing my thoughts, my emotions, my experiences, my decisions. The advice they give is SPOT ON.

They even warn you how you will be perceived by others in your newly single state. Hint: some women will either drop you from their circle of couples or give you the fish eye if you so much as acknowledge their men are in the room. Brace yourself for killer-death rays if their men acknowledge you are in the room.

They didn’t cover how men will treat your newly single state in the book so let the WB tell you there may some surprises in store there as well. Some of your men friends will want to be genuinely helpful and others will want to help themselves, if you know what I mean. Just be on your guard with them all until they prove themselves to be honourable. You will spare yourself some nasty shocks that way.

Gail and Victoria urge newly minted CEOs of Everything to look for creative ways to replace missing employees i.e. stuff your SO used to handle. I would like to add to their sage advice that a good contractor is worth his weight in gold, if there are major projects to be completed at your C-Suite (home). Your contractor will organize and run herd on the trades needed to complete the job, freeing you to keep doing what you need to be doing to keep the lights on. A good contractor will fight for you to get the job done to your satisfaction and it is sad but true that some of the trades won’t listen to your complaints but will hop-to if your contractor so much as blinks. Yes. Even in 2017. Even though you are the client and ultimately paying the bills.

The ladies wrap up the book by urging the CEOs of Everything to pay it forward. Which I have tried to do in the past and will continue to do in the future. I had been told by friends I needed to write a book about what I’ve learned and now, well….thanks for nothing, Gail and Victoria!!! 😉

The book has been written and not by me.

Rock on,

The WB

 

 

 

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Mid Month Check-In

So far, so very good!

How’s everybody doing so far in 2017?

Your friendly neighbourhood WB is trucking along, counting the days till she boards the plane to Barbados at the beginning of February. Nah, not really – although it is a constant cheering thought at the back of my wee brain…hehehe!

I am (really, truly) managing to be more active however! I had a plan to be walking daily, but high winds combined with temperatures in the minuses kept me indoors more than I would have liked. So I expanded my plan to include yoga and barre exercises, thanks to my collection of DVD workouts. And, once a week I attend a yoga class in real life; ditto for barre. The stretching makes my muscles hum and I feel so wonderful and wonderfully relaxed that I don’t understand why I don’t make this a daily part of life. Hopefully this is the year that changes.

And this is the year that I devote to artistic pursuits. This month I’ve made some changes to my studio (aka laundry room), moving my big adjustable sit/stand desk from my office, and setting up a much smaller desk that was given to me, in its place. It’s great to have a dedicated surface for drawing and painting, and not to have to share it with computer activities.

View facing the laundry closet
My view, when working at the desk. My office is across the hall. I just love my dollar store vinyl tablecloth!

My year-long study of the mandala has begun and I have started my first-ever art journal.

January is the month of the Void, in Mandala Magic 2017.

Entering the lessons of the Void via Julie Gibbons’ videos and prompts. Heating the last of the Christmas stroopwafels on my tea mug for the necessary “fuel”…hehehe!

 

First exploration into the Void.

To me the Void is a very welcoming place, a resting place, a place to rejuvenate and grow strong again. Some of my fellow Mandala Magicians are not happy working with the Void. I think I can understand that. I am sure I will come up against Mandala stages that will be difficult or scary for me, as the Void is for others in our group.

One of the Void ideas that came to me was a drawing involving the Hindu goddess Kali and the Void.

Pardon the Trump-tiny hands I have given Kali. Definitely a work in progress.

In my head I see a full drawing of Kali with the Void as her womb, as well. I also see the Om symbol and the Void together in another – Om being the primordial noise, the first sound to come out of the Void.

So far I am not doing much journalling in my art journal. Using it more to capture images from my brain. I still have half a month to go on this exploration of the Void so perhaps the words will come to me yet.

I feel like I am living in the Void quite a bit this month…very content to stay in my cozy abode, alone with my thoughts and ideas, dreaming and scheming and napping the month away. Resting and gestating and amazingly not feeling the least bit guilty for spending an inordinate amount of time not being productive, but instead mostly just “being”.

Rock on,

The WB

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A Very Modest Canada 150 Project

This little baby is on its way to me!

My beautiful country turns 150 years old this year. I have been wondering what I could do in this special year to celebrate/commemorate the milestone. I was around when Canada turned 100, though at age 7 there wasn’t a whole lot I remember about it, other than that catchy Bobby Gimby song.

And Expo 67, in Montreal. Not that I visited but boy, we sure heard about it in school. I recall there was a mobile unit that toured the country’s schools, giving us a mini-version of it along with other Centennial stuff.

I’m not likely to be around for Canada turning 200. Or if I am, I’ll be too damn old to do much more than watch others celebrate.

SO THIS IS IT, WB. NOW WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT?

I once had a baby on Canada Day – the lovely Mizz J – but I can’t keep dragging that up as my commitment to/celebration of this country all these years later. Or can I? Hmmmm…

I could have been drinking beer and watching fireworks like everyone else, you know.

I have been stewing away on this for about a month now. Then this morning I heard a DJ on my local (rock, what else?) station mention that Parks Canada was handing out free passes to all National Parks to celebrate the sesquicentennial. EUREKA! Maybe I could visit all the National Parks in my province of Ontario as at least one way of me celebrating Canada 150?

I hopped on Ye Olde Interwebs and quickly ordered my pass from the Parks Canada site. Then I checked out which National Parks were located in Ontario.

Only 6 – 5 within an easy day’s drive (or less) of my usual stomping grounds – totally doable, amiright?

OK, OK – so not exactly the stretchiest goal I’ve ever committed to, but that’s not what I am trying to do here. Part of me thinks it would be so cool to hit every National Park in Canada this year, but that objective is not realistic for this (still) working woman.

I think I’ve only ever been to one – maybe two – of these Ontario parks so far in my life. For shame, for shame!  Shit, I realize I have probably been to more National Parks outside of Ontario than in it.

I’ve been very close to some of them, driven by others…but actually making a point of visiting the ones in my own province? Nope.

So 2017 is the year this is gonna change.

Rock on,

The WB

 

 

 

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Happy 2017!

I hope everyone had a restful, meaningful and thoughtful holiday this year!

Although I tend not to take any additional days off during the “season” due to the nature of my work (cows don’t know it’s Christmas), the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is generally quieter and I can get a fair bit of catching up and tidying done in my office. And thinking about the projects and plans for the next few months while the phone is not ringing.

Outside of work, I use this time to ruminate (cow pun!) on the past year and sharpen up my plans for the new.

On my lunch break, I tried to open up my 10 Year Plan spreadsheet a few days back to review it and add some stuff and IT. WASN’T. THERE. This led to much (inner) screaming and (outer) hair pulling and cursing.

I checked everywhere the damn thing could possibly be instead…every folder in Dropbox, every folder on my laptop…it was nowhere to be found. Fuckity fuckity fuck fuck fuck – to quote a friend.

Then I got home and checked my iMac. Again nothing. I resigned myself to having to create it all over again…from memory (OH SHIT). Then I had a brain wave when I remembered that the last time I opened it up, I was using the for-Mac version of Excel on my home computer. I opened the program and went to Recent…sure enough it was listed! With trembling fingers I called it back up. Success!!!!

Somehow, it had gotten saved to iCloud and, in so doing, the Mac gods removed it from Dropbox instead of making a copy to save (like the PC gods would have done). Hmmmm. I kinda get why this happens…so you don’t have multiple, different versions floating around…but hell-to-the-no…I am not a fan of this enforced document control. I would much rather have multiple versions (backups of backups ad infinitum!) and I WILL MAKE SURE OF THIS FROM NOW ON. Whew.

In happier news, I finally completed my Flower of Life mandala between Christmas and New Years. I am beyond pleased with how it turned out.

Worth all the time and effort.

I kept going back and forth on how to create this. I wanted to use my new acrylic inks but felt I needed to use my watercolour pencils for the effects I wanted to achieve. In the end I used both – water colour pencils for the actual inner “flower”, and acrylic inks and black fine-point marker for the rest.

New years Eve at Chez Badass was a quiet dinner spent with good friends. New Years Day will be Gourmetten – Part 2, with the family.

About to enjoy a meal with my friends. The kabocha squash got a bit burnt when I reheated in the oven along with the roasting potatoes. Green veg still to come to table. Hey, how did Seashell Jesus manage to photobomb us?!?!

 

My friends brought me a date for NYE: Sylvester, their grand-doggy. He was the perfect gentleman.

Looking ahead to the new year, I have some plans, natch. I won’t call them resolutions but they are definitely plans.

Such as:

  • Fitness – The cardiologist recently gave me the go-ahead to resume physical activity, just not to be an idiot about it. OK, not an exact quote but she meant to not go from couch potato to ultra-marathoner overnight. Check! I signed up for more yoga and also added a barre class, both happening down the street from me at the old Town Hall. Very excited to try barre. With yoga and barre, I am hoping to improve my flexibility and gently strengthen my muscles without injury. And to add training with free weights for later on this year. I am having some real problems with my left arm and want to get the full range of motion back. I also ordered a DVD called Essentrics – Toning for Beginners – which is more of the same to do at home. I will incorporate a daily walk back into my life and maybe…just maybe…sign up and train for another half-marathon later this year!

    Looking forward to this arriving in the mail next week!
  • Art/Learning – I’ve signed up for  year’s worth of artistic exploration of the mandala via Julie Gibbons’s marvellous Mandala Magic 2017 course. First lesson arrived in my Inbox this morning, as promised. Yay!!
  • Adventure/Travel – In about a month I will be heading back to Barbados for a week with a good friend, to commemorate 50 years of our friendship. This time, the hotel is fronting a lagoon that is full of reef fish and sea turtles. In the hopes of seeing this ocean life in action, I ordered a snorkelling set to take down with me. I also bought a GoPro camera to take better underwater photos and even videos. Last year’s results underwater with a cheap disposable camera were disappointing, to say the least. I had been dreaming of a GoPro ever since but hesitated to pull the trigger on this purchase because – well – SPENDY! But when I read online about the lagoon last week…what the hell…MERRY CHRISTMAS/BOXING WEEK SALES TO ME, I said. Currently no other definite plans for travel (just some nebulous ones) on the horizon for 2017, but money gets automatically funnelled into my Travel Bucks account every month from my chequing account so I will be ready for whatever the year brings me.
  • Work – 2017 will be an exciting year with an expansion to the lab and bringing on new types of analysis. I live for and love this stuff!
  • Renovations – I did about 3 years’ worth of planned renovations on my building in 2016, so this year there will be much less happening by comparison. Some of the projects I had initially roughed in for this year are landscaping, painting the foyer, renovating the second bathroom on the landing (including adding a shower), and FINALLY putting a railing around my rooftop patio. I have some doubts as to whether finances will allow me to complete all of these this year and that will be OK too. The building is looking good; my apartment is finished; there’s always next year.

That’s about it for me. The sun is shining and a walk outdoors is calling! If you want to share your plans for 2017 in the comments, I am ALL EYES.

Rock on,

The WB

 

 

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