Go Oilers!

Hello from Rogers Place!

Hello from Rogers Place!

With all the awfulness going on in the world these days (and boy oh boy is there a lot of it), I’m trying to remind myself that it’s still ok to experience joy. In fact, it’s probably more crucial than ever.

I’ve spent a lot of time and energy lately on following the news of the world and doing my part to be heard and make sure my home country doesn’t continue down the road to fascism. (Though we’ve already hit every item on the list at the US Holocaust museum. Sigh.) This has been exhausting, both physically and mentally.

So I’m trying to reserve time for things I love. Things that just make me happy. Hockey is one of those things. Specifically, my now-home team, the Edmonton Oilers. And that’s what tonight is all about. Steven and I are taking in a game at the swanky new rink.

We even got here early and sat in the lower bowl to watch the warmup.

We even got here early and sat in the lower bowl to watch the warmup.

Sadly, we’re down by 2 going into the first intermission, but there are 40 minutes of hockey left, and that’s an eternity in hockey-time. Anything can happen. And the most important thing is to be out and having fun. Because it’s ok to have fun. It’s ok to recharge. I need it. I deserve it.

The view from our seats.

The view from our seats.

So if you’ve been working hard to defend the republic (or anything else), don’t forget to take some time for yourself. If you don’t care for yourself, you’ll run out of steam to care for others. The world needs you, so treat yourself well.

#LoveTrumpsHate #resist

Permission to Do Nothing

Today is my first day back at work after more than a week off. I had such grand plans for that week — a whole list of tasks which I’d use all that free time to accomplish.

Oh foolish me.

I got one of those tasks done. One. (And that was rearranging my sock drawer. Possibly the most immediately helpful thing on the list, but certainly not the most important!)

This is just the drawer. There are also four boxes of nicely sorted tights and pantyhose in the closet that used to live in this drawer. Such an improvement!

This is just the drawer. There are also four boxes of nicely sorted tights and pantyhose in the closet that used to live in this drawer. Such an improvement!

It’s amazing how your time can fill up with random bits of nothingness and long chunks of relaxation. I can’t believe how fast the time went by. And I spent all of it with a vague sense of unease because I knew I wasn’t doing all the things I should have been doing. I kinda half-decided that I felt more like lounging around or cooking or going out to eat or … whatever, than I felt like Getting Things Done. (And unfortunate mental health issues didn’t help with that at all.) But I didn’t fully give myself permission to treat those days like a proper vacation.

Oh foolish me.

Sometimes a vacation needs to be a vacation. However, for me to get full rejuvenation from such a break, I need to commit to it. I didn’t do that, so I’m not back at work feeling as refreshed as I should. Not only is there a lot of day-job work ahead of me, but I’ve also decided to work on getting back to my “clean living” lifestyle that seems to have degraded over that last few months. (Note: This is not a New Year’s resolution. It’s simply an attempt to return to what I consider my baseline lifestyle.)

Some of the items I’ll be working toward are exercise (on my elliptical trainer while watching Arrow and The Flash), diet (not a weight-loss diet, but a healthy one with no gluten or dairy and FAR less sugar), and general productivity (using the two hours after I get home from work to Get Things Done before I run out of steam — leaving things until later in the evening never seems to work).

But…

I’m not ready to start that today. (See? It’s not a New Year’s resolution!) One mistake I often make is trying to start too many things at once. This always backfires. So today is simply about getting back into the routine of getting up early and walking to and from work. I was much more sedentary during my time off, and holy buttons, did I sleep in late! (11am or noon wasn’t terribly unusual, so 6:30 felt mighty painful this morning.)

Thus, today, I am officially giving myself permission to Do Nothing.

When I get home, I’ll plop down on the couch with my spouse and some reheated leftovers. We will watch the Oilers game. After that, I will do whatever the heck I feel like, even if that is nothing but play Candy Crush while the TV plays in front of me. In addition, the plan for tomorrow won’t be decided until I see how I feel tonight. If I’m totally wrecked, I’ll give myself another couple of days to ease back into the general grind before I add anything to the routine. (It’ll be two days minimum because there’s another early Oilers game on Thursday. #priorities)

This is me, trying to avoid the pitfalls I’ve dived into before. I’m taking it slowly and hoping that being thoughtful and methodical will result in more success than my sudden headlong rushes have in the past. I’d appreciate it if you’d wish me luck.

Fame Is Relative

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No, this is not a treatise on North American culture and our fascination with/addiction to celebrity. The internet is littered with thinkpieces about that. This is simply a personal observation inspired by events of the past weekend. I attended the terrific Now Hear This Podcast Festival in Anaheim, California. It was a fabulous weekend for many reasons, and one is that it really made me think—and brought me to a realization, which boils down to this tl;dr:

It’s all relative.

Early in the weekend I tweeted this:

It was 100% true. We did have a happy listener track us down to hang out with us at the con. And I did have a serious fangirl moment myself mere moments before that. I listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour every week and admire the people who make that show happen. I did not go up and talk to them at that moment because A) they were just checking in to the hotel, which is a shitty time to accost someone, and 2) I am, at heart, a shy introvert. (Despite any perceived evidence to the contrary.)

What I did was attend their show and enjoy every minute of it—perhaps especially when Linda Holmes gave special recognition to Jessica Reedy for producing the show—as someone who does a lot of the unseen work for several podcasts, I’m always thrilled when the hidden engine of a program gets recognition. Afterwards, Steven walked up to Jessica, shook her hand, and thanked her for all her hard work. I was like “Why didn’t I think of that?” (Answer: shy introvert.) But I smiled and thanked her as well. Being at the same con all weekend, I wandered past the PCHH crew more than once, but didn’t get up the courage to say hi (or to thank them for inspiring our “happy things” segment on Verity!) until they were literally on their way out of the hotel. (And thus I missed meeting fellow Wisconsinite Stephen Thompson.)

Anyway, the point is not how nice they are or how cool they were or even the fact that Glen Weldon knew my name:

The point is this: Continue reading

An Apology and a Promise

Doctor Who notecard apology

When you talk on the internet, especially in a free-form conversational podcast like Verity!, sometimes you stick your foot so firmly down your own throat it’s a wonder the mic doesn’t pick up the sound of toenails scraping molars. I am not immune to this phenomenon.

A few months back, I made an insensitive comment about the 9th Doctor giving hugs. Taken out of context (which it literally was, as it was briefly one of the “pull quotes” in the cold open of the podcast), it sounded like I was saying all people who don’t like hugging are somehow emotionally damaged. YIKES. SO WRONG.

In the context of the podcast, the statement bore more resemblance to what I was thinking (that emotional damage can lead one to change their behavior and stop hugging, and the 9th Doctor wanted to prove that hadn’t happened to him in the course of the Time War). So I replaced the line in the cold open because, wow, was that shitty, and I explained and apologised in a series of tweets. (I appreciate all the folks who called me on that. Thank you!) And of course, I’ve tried to do better since.

Trying doesn’t always mean succeeding.

Welp. I’ve done it again. In today’s episode of Verity!, I talked about how I didn’t like the way series 1 of Doctor Who changed the Doctor from (what I’d always seen as) an asexual character to one who is pretty explicitly sexual. (We were talking about “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances”. Dances, you guys. It’s a metaphor!) I equated being a sexual creature with normality and humanity and ohmigod I want to go back in time and slap the mic away from my face.

But I can’t. Time doesn’t work that way (except occasionally in Doctor Who).

There are two parts to this. Continue reading

Let Me Be of Service

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Just so I don’t bury the lede, it’s official, I am once again employed! But that’s only partially the point of this post.

I’ve been on the hunt for work for quite some time. If you’re like me, when you’re looking for a job, you do a lot of soul-searching. You spend a lot of time thinking about what you like to do, what you don’t like to do, what you’re good at, and what you struggle with. You spend a lot of brain-energy trying to encapsulate your good qualities in pithy little sound bites.

Eventually, if you’re lucky, you discover (or create or stumble upon) a personal motto — something that sums you up as a person, or at least sums up the way you interact with the world. For me, that motto is the title of this piece: Let me be of service. Continue reading

You Can’t Go Back

As I compose this, I’m sitting on the couch next to my spouse, Steven. We’re watching TV together. This wouldn’t be a weird thing, except that it’s during the day on a weekday.* That doesn’t usually happen. Or it didn’t usually happen. It certainly can now because Steven was laid off last week.

This was completely unexpected, though not entirely surprising. (He worked in the swiftly-sinking television industry. As he put it “I caught the first lifeboat off the Titanic.”) The lack of warning made it quite the heart-stopping day. The fact that I’m also between jobs leaves us with little in the way of a safety net. And that’s scary.

My greatest personal struggle right now is to keep from beating myself up. If you’ve been reading this blog regularly, you know I chose to leave my job last year because it wasn’t a great fit, and I wanted to pursue something that would make me happier. That was the right decision at the time. I knew the job market in Edmonton was tough, but I felt it was worth the risk.

From this angle, that risk looks much worse than it did back then. But blah blah hindsight blah blah. As my wise mother told me when I called to tell her the news, “You can’t go back.” Continue reading

Post-crastination

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There’s a patron-inspired post I’ve been putting off writing. For a long time. A very long time. Why? Because it terrifies me. Okay, “terrifies” is a strong word. Maybe it just intimidates me. Yeah. That’s it.*

Brandee is one of my favorite people in the world. Like several other of my favorite people in the world, she’s a librarian, and when she started supporting me on Patreon, she requested a post on libraries or librarians. I love libraries. And librarians. So, in a way, it’s a match made in heaven. However, I’m far from the first person to write a blog post about the glory/importance of libraries.

That’s what’s so intimidating. Knowing what I write is following (and thus, may be compared to) the likes of Neil GaimanThe Bloggess, John Scalzi, and many many others? That gives me the impostor-syndrome shakes.** Which, I suppose, makes this post a bit of a two-in-one for me. Continue reading