Doin’ Things

There! My updated bucket list is officially complete. Each year around my birthday I review my list and cross off items I’ve accomplished in the past year. I also modify goals that need clarifying or remove ones that are no longer priorities. The list is a hundred items long so there’s usually a good amount to go over and think about. I picked a hundred because

  • There’s lots of room for both big and little goals
  • Little goals are important because they’re easier to cross off and feel like you did something in the last year
  • You’ll run out of easy ideas at some point and have to start reaching or putting weird/fun/unusual things down as they come to mind, which adds some spice and variety to the list
  • I’ll always have a backlog of goals, which is good because I’m afraid that if I ever totally finished my list I would die immediately

No I am not sharing the list. Get your own.

Yesterday evening I was with Cassidy on my own as Lori worked, and it was the kind of evening where I had a terrible time doing right by her. Lots of whining, lots of “No!”, don’t-pick-me-up-but-don’t-put-me-down kinda stuff. She yelled at me until I took her downstairs to play (I was trying to clean up supper) and then immediately turned around and wanted to go back upstairs, after all that.

And you know what? It was fine. Some days I have a greatly diminished capacity to deal, and I have to be very careful to breathe properly, watch my thoughts and control my temper. But yesterday? I just laughed. Maybe that sounds cruel. What I mean is that I had the energy to be gentle and patient with her, and not take any of her frustration personally. I thank God for those days, and for His help. She still seems to surprise us every single day with something new that she knows, or can do and I’m grateful for her.

Thing I Saw Yesterday: Shaggy lil’ outdoor cats and kittens, covered in a dusting of snow, at Cassidy’s daycare place. So cute!

Thing I Learned Yesterday: I read a list of things pertaining to the first season of “The Good Place” and now I want to go back and watch it again.

I’m Grateful For: I already said this, but, my daughter! 

I’m listening to the rest of this album now and it’s just as lovely and calming

Stay Seated

A co-worker of mine has an above-average-loudness voice, and then gets louder when they become animated or are telling a good story on the phone, which they do with regularity. I do have headphones but they’re open-backed so I can hear the comings / goings of the office (and not miss the phone) but it can be really hard, like now, to start a thought when I’m trying not to listen to what’s going on nearby.

(That’s right, I write these at work! I’d say I’m sticking it to the man, but I’m management, so)

Occasionally these conversations that I’m trying not to hear can veer into territory that actively frustrates me. That is, they cover topics that seem wildly inappropriate for a work setting (but what do I know? I’m updating my blog on company time, I just realized) OR the co-worker goes on about contentious topics that I find I’m on the other side of. It’s upsetting because I otherwise have a lot of respect for this person, so hearing them go on about an issue that I’m completely the opposite of is hard. It makes me want to go over and insert myself into the conversation just to say how wrong they are. But that’s rude, and anyway I’m trying not to overhear. Also I’m generally certain that butting in to say “WELL ACTUALLY YOU’RE WRONG” is not how you win people to your way of thinking on a controversial subject. 

I recognize that it’s also not healthy to sit in my office and just seethe and get all caught up in the frustration I’m experiencing, so I’ve got to learn to just face it, say “yes that is frustrating” and then let it go so I can move on with my day too. 

Did I mention I’m a work in progress? Only every post so far? Well it’s still true.

Thing I Saw Yesterday: The gorgeous and detailed rooftop gardens of Golem City in the game “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided”. My new graphics card is working well, and this game is full of cyberpunk imagery that is very much my jam

Thing I Learned Yesterday: Cassidy’s cousins and her Auntie Janet have been working since August, in secret, to teach her to say “I want a brother!” She did this for me the first time yesterday, to everyone’s great delight and amusement. I was genuinely surprised and I laughed a lot.

I’m Grateful For: An inclusive and loving extended family, who welcome not just me but my cantankerous toddler.

By the way these songs at the end of my posts aren’t meant to be thematically appropriate, they’re just whatever I’m listening to or thinking about.

Happy Little Accidents

Lori’s sister Janet was over for supper yesterday and I told them about my plan to leave Facebook for the reasons I’d outlined in the blog post. “Are you still going to use Instagram? They’re owned by Facebook,” said Janet, and I was instantly sad, because I’ve come to really like Instagram. 

So when I deactivated my Facebook account today (:D) it wasn’t for high-minded political reasons. It was just because Facebook makes me unhappy. And that’s the comment I left in the form when they asked. Look, I’m still working through a lot of this stuff.

A lot of folks talk about self-care these days, myself included, and maybe you’re stuck for ideas or want to try something new but don’t know what. I copy-pasted a few different lists from different sites into a big Google spreadsheet, then had it randomly pick one each time you load the sheet. Please enjoy! These lists are unedited and I can’t speak to the quality of every idea, but it’s something.

Oh yes, I changed the header image yesterday, and it isn’t actually meant to be upside-down but I actually like it that way the more I see it. So it’s staying. This picture is from a beach just outside Tofino, BC. We got some extraordinary pics from that sunset.

Thing I Saw Yesterday: A tiny little mountain of snow on our yard, I presume made by Cassidy and Lori, that I somehow hadn’t noticed before. Just a little mark of their presence. Made me smile.

Thing I Learned Yesterday: Putting the duvet back in the duvet cover yourself isn’t actually that bad and I have no idea why it’s so confusing and irritating when Lori and I try to do it together.

I’m Grateful For: Ease of access to good music! 

Exit Strategy

It was the weekend! Lori worked evenings and I got a stomach bug that left me achey and sweaty and freezing and some other good stuff. So Cassidy got to watch a lot of television. Don’t judge. I’m also inching ever closer to actually making the Paw Patrol podcast that I joked about months ago, The Lookout, in which I’d recap and comment upon episodes with my signature blend of humour and insight. I have a Unique Voice* that is now largely missing from the internet! I deserve to be heard!!**

My most popular comic ever had its annual day in the sun on Facebook, thanks (most likely) to the way that FB does that “Do you remember this thing from a year ago??” and people interact with it again. So it’s weird and kinda funny that the Interesting Times FB page lies almost completely dormant for a year, and then picks up a bunch of shares and some likes in a few days. To those who are liking my comics page on Facebook for the first time: you’re too late! The party’s over. 

That Interesting Times FB page is by now the only reason I’m still on Facebook, because you can’t manage an FB page without an account. Reading posts almost never increases my happiness or respect for others, and then last week there was this business about hiring a PR firm to smear critics, and huge problems in general with clickbaity garbage in general. A couple of years ago I named Lori as an admin of the Interesting Times facebook page as part of my exit strategy, and I think it may just be time to go for it. At long last. Maybe.

Thing I Saw on the Weekend: This Gabriel Gundacker video which made me laugh a lot

Thing I Learned on the Weekend: Some modern video cards need a molex-to-8-pin converter (for power inside of your computer), not the molex-to-6-pin converter I already have! And my new card didn’t come with any extra bits, so of course the only place that had one in stock in my town is the super sketchy computer shop on Main that is now 3/4s of a vape shop. That place is so sketchy they installed illegal movie streaming software on Lori’s laptop after she brought it in for service one time. Like, as a service they were providing to the customer. But danged if they don’t always seem to have the super-specific computer thing that I need, in stock, when I need it. >:\

I’m Grateful For: Advil and Immodium, currently

* haha no I don’t, I’m literally a cisgendered heterosexual white christian male. we are a dime a dozen out here
** again, no

Black Hole

Black Friday is upon us! Even here, in Canada, where I’m pretty sure it started just because our retailers wanted to stop people from going southwards to shop in the states. All my life I’ve been the sort of person who tries to fill the hole inside of him with new things. Love new things. I’d love to report that now, with counselling and mindfulness and family and faith, that hole is no longer there.

Nope! Still a consumer! I am however pleased to report that I feel slightly less compelled to Buy Things. For instance I have overlooked many game sales in the past months! And uh…I walked all the way around Canadian Tire today and didn’t really feel compelled to get a single priced-to-move thing, even though we have piles of Canadian Tire money on our card, which means that these bargain goods were essentially free. 

I guess I still have this video rattling around in my head from watching it last week:

My new video card arrived just before I left home to return to work. Guess I have a project this weekend. I’m one of the few people who is actively glad that the value of Bitcoin has been dropping, because that means all those nerds mining their fake internet money have slowed down on buying graphics cards for PCs and I can finally replace the one that died on me months ago.

Thing I Saw Yesterday – Giant inflatable light-up snowman around the corner from a wall of Paw Patrol stuff at Costco.

Thing I Learned Yesterday – There are more tigers in captivity in America than wild tigers in the entire world! This thanks to the podcast “Criminal”, which was about a dude in Louisiana who keeps a tiger at his truck stop as an attraction. 

I’m Grateful For – Financial security.

Live & Let Live

I’m hunting for a better banner photo.

There’s a spider living in the sink in the downstairs bathroom of my home, and for some reason I haven’t done anything about that. It’s been there for days now, occasionally being hit by water when I wash my hands. Nobody else in the house seems to have noticed. I’ve spent many years hating spiders and have often killed them as soon as I’ve spotted them in my home, but this past year I’ve been more…just…letting them be?? There were three giant (for our area) ones living on the deck for most of the summer, and at any other time I would’ve gone out of my way to destroy them and their webs. I was still repulsed by them of course, but I couldn’t bring myself to actually kill them. I think I’m trying to acknowledge that spiders play an important ecological role, and maybe be a tiny bit more mindful about respecting life.

I am going to pat myself on the back real quick for how much more patient I’m becoming during meetings. Last night I took minutes at the monthly music committee meeting in my church. I’m just starting another three-year term, having served six(!) already. I used to get very frustrated and antsy when committee members would bunnytrail away from our meeting agendas and chitchat, before sort of disconnecting from the proceedings altogether and heading into my own little world. But I’ve been working on being more mindful and present in these situations. It’s a work in progress, as am I. 

I think it doesn’t hurt that I make sure to eat a snack just before heading to the meetings, which are always at 5pm.

Thing I Saw Yesterday – “Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II”, actually an episode of MST3K on Netflix. A bad film to be sure, but the riffing was good. 

Thing I Learned Yesterday – Well, okay, so there’s intrauterine devices (IUDs) for women that time-release hormones as a form of birth control. This I was dimly aware of. What I was definitely not aware of is that they can migrate?? and wander off into your body somewhere, sometimes not to be found for years until something gets infected. 

I’m Grateful For – being generally of sound mind and body, and that I don’t have tiny devices going on vacation inside of me.

Just Let It Happen

I have an enormous list of self-care ideas that I keep in a spreadsheet, and it randomly suggested that I start a blog. Again. I’m going to try not to edit too much, maybe treat it like a NaNoWriMo, just go go go and let the words tumble out.

Lately been thinking a lot about the words of Dale Cooper, FBI agent from the cult TV program “Twin Peaks”

I love the idea of little gifts to myself (it’s my love language haha) but I have no idea how not to plan for them. Yesterday I slightly re-arranged my errands route so that I could get a delicious caramel donut from a local bakery. Not sure how to have that kind of spontaneity. Maybe what I’m doing is enough.

Self-care is real important to me lately.

In other news I still need to find a gifty for my MetaFilter Secret Quonsar (secret santa) swap. I have very little information to go on and this person doesn’t seem to have a searchable profile on the site, so I can’t trawl for hints that way. I wrote an essay for my gift ideas section and I expect everyone to do the same :p

Yesterday I Saw: A nearly full display case of donuts at Valley Bakery, which was a little overwhelming. Somehow I usually get there after everything has been sold, which limits my choices in a way that I’m okay with. But it was nice to gaze upon all the pastries.

Yesterday I Learned: Google has a special OS for smart watches (called Wear OS) and there’s a new chip in some new watches that dramatically increases battery life. One of these new watches is by Louis Vuitton and costs $2500 (I suppose USD)

I’m Grateful For: Lori, specifically when we’re both around and can trade off directly interacting with Cassidy when one of us needs a break.