It’s been a tough few weeks, with anxiety over the state of, well, everything, once again wreaking havoc, so I’m going with my “usual” I’d-like-to-post-but-am-feeling-rather-stuckish-and-maybe-this-will-get-the-ball-rolling-once-again kind of post:

Walking: My streak of early morning walking-on-the-treadmill now stands at an uninterrupted 255 days. Moderation is clearly not my thing, and the phrase Once Is A Habit (which got me going) has worked wonders at keeping me going. (Even when I woke up feeling decidedly flu-ish on Christmas morning, I STILL walked, a bucket set on the floor beside me, just in case…)

Reading: Making my way through Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (for the third time). Since Christmas, I’ve read The Ninth Hour, by Alice McDermott and The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn. I loved both of them. Next up will be Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, because this introvert needs all the encouragement she can get.

Borrowing: Asterix comic books from the library for my 12-year-old son. We currently have 25 volumes checked out. As they’re $13 each, I’m enormously grateful for public libraries.

Watching: Glitch, Death In Paradise, this TED Talk on the gift and power of emotional courage (and the tyranny of forced positivism), and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power.

Agreeing: Forced positivism sucks. Can we please stop pushing happiness and belittling ourselves and others for having normal but “bad” emotions? And: Al Gore gets quite hot-under-the-collar in An Inconvenient Sequel. I can empathize…

Acknowledging: Clothes make the man. Or the woman. After years of *needing to*, both my husband and I bought new winter coats this fall: a classic black woollen coat for him; a classic black woollen coat for me. We both look and feel like grown-ups now. It’s rather a nice feeling and we don’t want winter to end.

Knitting: Scarves to tuck into the V of my double-breasted coat. Socks are always on the needles, and I finally bought yarn and began knitting this sweater.

Darning: My daughter’s favourite pair of cross-country skiing mittens. Knit by me years ago, they’ve been darned at least twice before (by me), and once by her boyfriend’s grandmother, who just happened to see a hole in the thumb as they were hanging to dry at their cabin. Although my latest fix would have looked neater had I cut away her boyfriend’s grandmother’s darning, I’m a person who finds metaphor in stitches, and I simply could not bring myself to do it.

Cooking: Why do we only eat Indian food nowadays, Mum?  This from my 12-year-old son. It’s not entirely accurate, but yes, I can see his point. My answer: Um, because it’s so damn good…and because I’m in a rut and completely lack the gumption to seek out new recipes…?

Approximating: Taking my no-longer-vegetarian 19-year-old son’s request for butter chicken and naan bread and completely bastardizing the meal: omitting both the butter and the chicken and healthy-ing-up a flatbread recipe by adding whole wheat flour. I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that I am NOT to proclaim to friends who hail from India that I have cooked butter chicken and naan bread.

Buying: Fenugreek from Amazon because I can’t find it locally in our small city. This will allow me to *finally* make something from the cookbook I bought my husband for Christmas (Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen), which will expand our repertoire but will only make matters worse for both sons.

Tweaking: I need to add bamboo toothbrushes to that Amazon order. I’m looking for even more ways to reduce our consumption of plastic. I was hoping to find vats of eco-friendly laundry detergent and dish soap at Bulk Barn so I could bring in my containers and go zero-waste with these two items, but unfortunately, they don’t stock either. This means I need to look up recipes for laundry detergent…

Baking: I’m trying to get back to the regular baking of bread. My favourite recipe is the peasant french bread from The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book. It makes a delicious couple of whole grain loaves and helps with my goal of plastic-reduction.

Listening: My new favourite band is The Decemberists, discovered when driving with my 19-year-old son. Love The Wrong Year, A Beginning Song, Make You Better, Don’t Carry It All.

Podcasting: Not making, just listening. Harry Potter and the Sacred Text (the deep-thinking, humanistic production I cannot seem to stop raving about). They’re currently making their way through The Goblet of Fire, and it’s both lovely and spooky that each episode seems to somehow address the very things I’m pondering.

Wondering: Whether it’s okay for me to bring up the fact that I’m wondering about all the outrage that’s been expressed over the news that an adopted pig ended up on the dinner table. Why is it that some animals are worthy of protection but millions of others are not?

Editing: I removed a 300-word rant about wanting to let loose and lecture someone about egregious plastic bag use. (Yup, I was *this close* to causing a scene in a store last week.) Perhaps this will become a post all on its own. Perhaps it’s best if it doesn’t…

Do share: tell me what you’re —ing these days…the good, the bad, the ugly; it’s all allowed here…


4 thoughts on “—ing

  1. I’m sorry you’ve been struggling, but it was nice to see all these other –ings going on. (And I’ve been similarly blocked, so I’m wondering if I should just write a similar sort of post.) You are the second person I’ve encountered recently objecting to the tyranny of forced positivism. You are both quite dear to me, and I’m sure part of that is your stance on this. There’s a mighty thin line between choosing a positive attitude and denial, if you ask me. Also, I didn’t know that there is such a thing as a bamboo toothbrush. I always learn the most interesting things from you! I hadn’t heard about the dinner table pig. I guess I missed it in all the other outrage going on these days. Between being sick and processing another school shooting (each one a little harder than the previous), my bandwidth for hard stuff has been at full capacity for weeks. Looking forward to spring (but we got a surprise snow that closed school for 3 days last week). And your next blog post. 🙂


    1. I feel like writing (and posting) even just ONE of these —ings might have been enough to break through and get moving again (or, at least, I’m hoping it is) — which is to say, yes, write a post like this, Rita — selfishly, I’d love to read words from you again in the not-too-distant future 🙂 .
      When you get a chance, that TED Talk is well worth watching. (And is only 16 minutes long.) Not only is Susan David a very eloquent speaker, but I think you’ll find a lot of wisdom/confirmation in what she says — some of the things she raised (we are not our feelings; our feelings are data) are the exact things you told me, several months ago. (The talk also made me feel I had not been completely out to lunch with my More Math, Less Hope post of several months ago. I admit it felt pretty darn good to have my ideas validated!)

      The Florida school shooting…I nearly wrote an —ing addressing that but couldn’t come up with a word that sufficiently expressed my anger and outrage. My “wondering” at the outrage over the dinner table pig is quite complex and encompasses several arms of thought, one of which is most definitely why are people so outraged over one pig getting served for supper when millions of other pigs are also being served for supper AND kids are getting shot at school AND Trump is suggesting arming teachers (who never ever ever get angry?) AND bulletproof backpacks are now an actual thing, AND the world is going to hell-in-a-handbasket, AND, AND, AND… Ugh.

      I hope you’re now over whatever made you sick, Rita. And spring is definitely on its way, which is nice — the quality of late-afternoon sunlight shining into our house right now is lovely…
      Wishing you well, Rita 🙂 .


  2. I can’t wait to see the progress pictures of the sweater! I’m currently knitting socks and dishcloths because they are small and easily to pack up and get out of the way (an important thing when you’re a long term guest in someone else’s home). And I’m so jealous of the cooking and bread making. I can’t wait to have a kitchen again. I’ve been stockpiling recipe and craft ideas that I’m going to tackle immediately after I’m finished.

    In regards to forced positivism, I think anything forced sucks. It’s not real or honest. But a lot of my post yesterday was saying that while our circle of information has become global, our circles of influence (at least mine) have stayed pretty regional. When I start worrying about everything everyone else is doing and thinking, I tend to spin myself out. It isn’t good for me, or my family, and it’s EXHAUSTING. When I focus on my responsibility – my little circle of control – I tend to feel more empowered and more capable. It’s something I’ve been thinking about lately. (But all of that comes from a woman who swings between being a Pollyanna and obsessive worry wart tendencies.)

    Two last things: You KNOW I love your thoughts on saving the darning.

    And congrats on the walking. It’s quite inspirational!!!!!


    1. I totally knew you would understand about the darning 🙂 !
      It’s too bad you lost that post — I would have been interested in reading your thoughts on circles of influence. I know that my own circle of influence is very small, and I mostly do try to work within those confines — to do my absolute best to make sure I’m taking care of what I’m supposed to be taking care of, and in a manner that upholds the things I believe in — but I do sometimes feel really constrained by this. I know (in my head) that a stranger in a store is not within my circle of influence. But if we extend the idea of what circle of influence is — if we take it to mean not just the people we can affect and influence, but also the environment we can affect and influence — then it strikes me that we all actually have a much larger circle of influence than we might imagine. (The butterfly effect, essentially.) And then it follows (for me) that it’s incredibly unfair that there is so much apathy about caring about our collective circle. I’m not sure I’m doing a good job of explaining myself here. All I know is that everything I do, is done with my children in mind (wanting them to have a future) and it strikes me as so unfair that the actions of thoughtless people are (collectively) putting them (all of us) at such risk. (I would have much better mental health if I could stop thinking this way…)
      I told Rita that she would find confirmation in that TED Talk, and I know you would too, Kate, because I remember you told me the same thing: we are not our feelings. I’m all about being real and honest; I wish everyone was.
      (Thanks so much for taking the time to rewrite your comment after it got lost, Kate — I always appreciate your input here 🙂 .)


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