27 March 2020

Episodes of Comfort

Last year, around this time, I discovered the most delightful series: Corner Gas. Not the animated version that's around now...but the original series that started up in 2004.

Last year, it was included with Amazon Prime and was free (and without ads!). I spent most of my Spring Break holiday watching it...and laughing my ass off. I even got a few co-workers hooked. And after it left Prime, I ended buying the first season, although I suspect I will end up getting all of them over time. The episodes are all so familiar and comforting at this point that they are one of my favourite things to have on when I drift off to sleep.

I've seen the movie and the animated series, too. I like them all, but recommend starting at the very beginning. I tell people to try one episode. If you like it, you'll like the whole thing. The characters are who they are from the very beginning and the structure of the writing and episodes remains the same across the years. This is not to say that it's dull. I find it to be very smart. But I know that people have different tastes when it comes to comedy. So, try one and see for yourself. And couldn't we all use a reason to smile these days?


This year, I am selecting a tweet from a list provided each day by On This Day as a prompt to get back into blogging.  You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account.

26 March 2020

Washing the Greys Away

This is best I can do for a tweet from today's date:

I am almost 10 years older now. I can tell you that that one grey hair in my eyebrow has several friends now. I jokingly refer to them by the name of one of my co-workers, as they multiplied after he was hired. But at the time the first few started appearing, I hadn't realized they were a sign of more than just age. The fact that they all showed in one brow was a sign of thyroid issues. I've addressed those, but the hairs remain. Fortunately, I know a talented esthetician who shapes and dyes them for me so everything matches and blends together.

I started going grey, in terms of the hair on my head, when I was 20. This was more a function of being autoimmune (I have RA) than stress. It was many more years before I felt the urge to dye my hair. Most recently, I've been going a bit more red (see image at right for my current choice). Red has always suited me, but this particular shade is a bit bolder, and I often get compliments from both people I know, as well as strangers, on it. At Thanksgiving, I woman I'd never met came up and hugged me because she felt like red heads had to stick together.

Someday, I won't colour it anymore. I'm not sure when that will be. I just know that I'm not ready to be grey yet. I'm sure it will be another transition...and a relief to not have so much upkeep and maintenance. Right now, though, it feels like my secret power can be applied and refreshed for a few dollars a month. It takes away the grey in more ways than one.

25 March 2020

Little Things Mean a Lot

Before I moved a couple of years ago, I rented a house from a lawyer who owned and lived in the house next door. She ended up starting her own practice, after many years of working for others. She was even able to pull a paralegal up and out with her. The landlady had both inherited money and made a good salary. She was very smart, and yet she had a husband who was a mess. He was quite content to live off of her money. I'm sure he must have had some charms, but from where I sat, I didn't see that he had much to offer her in terms of supporting her as a person or the goals she had in mind.

One day, she stopped by to collect the rent check and wanted to ask a question. She said that she didn't know very many women, like us, who had professional careers. She told me that she was struggling to find balance in her life...and that she thought I had it all together. How did I manage it all?

I assured her that I don't have my act together more than anyone else—I'm making it up as I go along, too. I said that when I start to feel overwhelmed, my favourite thing to do is this:


It's nothing big. It's just a moment. But to go sit at a counter and be anonymous...where no one expects anything from her other than she pay the check and tip well...brings it all back to center. I told her that she didn't have to do this exact thing, but she needed to identify the small thing that would help her the same way. She seemed to like this.

Right now, I could use that little thing. It would be reassuring in these times where it feels like nearly everything is outside my control. Instead, I will put on coffee to brew and refill my cup and maybe even my sense of self.

This year, I am selecting a tweet from a list provided each day by On This Day as a prompt to get back into blogging.  You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account.

24 March 2020

Aesthetically Pleasing

Don Norman has stated that Pleasant things work better. And while he was referring to objects, I believe that this philosophy could be applied to other relationships as well. But I will use today's tweet from this date to reflect on physical stuff.

I don't wear these glasses very often—I only need them when my contacts are out—but they are gorgeous. I found them on Etsy as NOS (New Old Stock). This means that since they were first manufactured in the 1950s, they were never used until I had lenses added six years ago. I love having a bit of the past and being able to appreciate it now.

In the back of that photo are a few other of my favourite things...from the miniature chair and ottoman, to a desk lamp with mosaic polka dot tiles, a red Swingline stapler (I was in the cube farm), gold paperclips, and my former calendar/notebook.

Over the years, my personal style has evolved. In my 20s, when I first had money to spend, I was far more focused on acquiring stuff then thinking about what sort of stuff was important. In my 30s, I started figuring out that part. And in my 40s, I let go of a lot of stuff that I had acquired over the years and made an effort to just have things in my house that have a place and purpose...and are pleasant. I am ever vigilant about keeping things pared down to just the ones that make me happiest. I am appreciating that all the more as I am limited to home over the next couple of weeks.

23 March 2020

Hello, Newman...er, Monday


While I am not quite at the level of the comic character, Garfield, in my low opinion of Mondays, I have to admit that some are more challenging than others. Maybe it's just when Mondays fall on March 23 (full list of tweets from this date here)?

Today wasn't too terrible...even for the start of the workweek. But I admit that I am not as productive as usual right now. My head is full of too many "What ifs..." and even more "Why aren't we's..."

This evening, the governor issued a 2-week stay-at-home order...and I feel very relieved about that. I know it is not enough to stop the spread of the virus worldwide, but it will help so many people that I know and love. It's a start. And if others follow similarly, maybe it will make the larger impact we need.

I will sometimes start my musings with "If someone died and made me Queen..." I think my biggest wish tonight in my imaginary kingdom is simply that work stops for two weeks. For two weeks, I think we should allow families everywhere to just focus on what they need to be safe and healthy. After that, we can start getting back to business. For now, I wish we could just take the time to mentally adjust to this whole new situation. Reading, writing, and arithmetic will still be there in 14 days. Maybe that will be a Monday that won't suck.

22 March 2020

See also: Compound W and Travel Toothpaste


You may be wondering if I learned this particular lesson the hard way and ended up gluing my lips together. In fact, I did not...but I often needed to double-check the item in my hand. I have to admit that I was awful close to sticky lips more than once.

This year, I am selecting a tweet from a list provided each day by On This Day as a prompt to get back into blogging.  You can see my full list of tweets posted on this day, or start seeing your own by following that account.

Not a lot to choose from today!

21 March 2020

Out of Office

I started telecommuting on Wednesday, much to my relief. Only two in my office (out of eight people) made this choice. To me, this is all the more reason not to be there. Comments I've heard include statements like "I won't live in fear." and "The flu kills more people." feel both shortsighted and selfish. I heard people this week bragging about how the parking lot at Home Depot was full with everyone who wanted to get a jump on yard work while the weather was nice, as well as the full aisles at Costco and Walmart. I have tried to physically (let alone socially) distance myself from them as much as I can. I understand that they don't care if they get sick. I can't understand that they don't care if others do by their actions.


To be sure, I am not out on a very long holiday (like the statement in the tweet from this date)...and I am checking email regularly during work hours. I haven't added an out-of-office message. I figure that most people aren't expecting me to be sitting at my desk when for the most part, no one is sitting at theirs for now.

I am keeping busy...for now. The reality is that if school is out until the end of April, I can probably string things along. I am just moving all my summer work up into this time slot. But, if school ends up being canceled for the year (which I suspect is a strong possibility), then I do not have enough to keep me going for six months. And maybe that's okay.

My mind keeps returning to two major themes.

First of all, on a work-related level, this is an opportunity to make something new. I don't know when there will be enough energy for that, however. Right now, nearly every conversation I am hearing is about how to maintain the status quo during a situation in which is going to have long-lasting impacts across all areas of life. It's not tenable to say we're just going to carry on like usual. But the PTB have to get to that place in their minds, too. I don't know when that will happen. When it does and we start to move in that direction, it's possible that my job and how I earn my paycheck will look very different than during these few weeks. I might not like what is on the other side of this, but being in this mindset at least lets me look for opportunity vs. letting something just happen to me.

And, second of all, on a personal and social level, everything is going to experience a hard reset. Families are going to learn to be together in ways they haven't had to be. Neighbours and businesses will interact differently. When kids come back to our buildings some day, parents may have some very different expectations for us. Maybe after experiencing distance learning, unschooling, or whatever happens in the next six months (or year), they will not be content with kids experiencing school in the same way parents did at those ages.

I was telling someone recently that the biggest lesson I've learned in this life is that instead of spending energy on trying to hold everything together, sometimes you just have to let it all fall apart. Because then it is revealed which things were worth holding onto in the first place. And you can take those pieces and create a new future with them.

If others haven't learned that lesson, they soon will in the coming weeks and months. I also wonder how many out of office messages I will be seeing in the coming year that seem as out of date as the one I saw four years ago. How many will be set before people become sick, are laid off, or even pass on? The bottom line is that we're not out of office...we're journeying to a very different world.