That organizing thing…

… It’s harder than it looks.

I keep doing it at work, where it is needed, but then I just don’t really have the urge to do anything about it when I get home. Maybe it’s because I’ve been busy, with season-ending things in all of my activities. Maybe it’s because the weather is finally getting nice.

Or maybe it’s just because I’m lazy.

I had originally thought that I would try to do one room every weekend, and be done in short order. But I think I’ve got to lower my expectations, and try to just do some every week, and hope that by the end of the summer, things are cleaned up.

Other plans indeed!

There have been a lot of them.

I started a second blog (that has gotten as much attention as this one, I promise!).

There have been lots of changes at work (New job! New boss! Retirements! People leaving! Eventually, new people coming in!)

I moved. Not far. Still in Winnipeg, still loving it, but wasn’t loving the downtown life as much as I would have 10 years ago. Now I’m downtown-adjacent. Still close enough to walk to work (or home, which is more likely), or bike. Close enough not to have to drive to events downtown, which is a blessing. Far enough, though, that it takes more than 3 minutes to get to work.

I’ve been lazy lately. Not taking as good care of myself (exercise, food, even good reading and entertainment), my place (cleaning, discarding), or my car (wash, basic maintenance) as I could. Time to change that.

Starting with real spring cleaning. I’ve been using up all my organizational energy at work for a while, so things at home are a bit of a shambles. Time to recharge. Each room in my (tiny) place is getting (almost) emptied, so that everything that goes into it gets a place of its own (“A place for everything and everything in its place” is working out OK at work – time to bring it home, where I’m the only one who can make or break the system). Getting the car into shape will be easier. Garbage out, tires checked, hand car wash gone through (needs one more time – I can see where I missed), and an oil change, and we’re back in business.

I’ve already got a good pile of clothes and other items that are still in decent shape but no longer have a place in my life. Going to keep at it for a bit longer, then make a plan for a run to a place that accepts donations. Unless of course the Free Giveaway weekend happens first.

Plans being what they are… we’ll see how this goes.

Back in the swing of things… or not.

If you’re like me, coming back to work after a holiday (or the holidays) feels a little surreal. the days meld together, and it takes you a week or so just to remember without thinking about it that it is indeed… Tuesday. That’s right. Last (work) week may not have had one, but this week does.

The short weeks, to me, are a good chance to work on some smaller projects. You know, the ones that will only take a day or two, or less, but that aren’t important/time sensitive enough to get on the radar in a regular week. It can mean that I feel like I accomplished something in the shorter weeks, and necessary work gets done, but it still makes them feel disjointed, somehow.

So, I’m back in the swing of things… sort of. Next week, maybe.


Can you belong to a city? Can a city belong to you?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to belong to a place.

I went on a job interview recently to a province I have never lived in before. The interview came up very very quickly after I applied for the job, and it surprised me. The job is very interesting, but I hadn’t really had the opportunity to research the city before going. While the city itself was pleasant and the people friendly (I wasn’t there long enough to get any more of an impression than that), what has struck me the most since the interview is that I haven’t ever really considered what it would mean to not be a resident of the City of Winnipeg.

How’s that, you ask? Haven’t you lived in a couple of other cities, much further away than the one mentioned above? Yes. I have. But I haven’t ever had to really cut ties with Winnipeg any other time I’ve been off on adventures. I went to France on an exchange program. I lived in Montreal while going to school. I had a summer job in Ottawa (twice). Through all of that, I’ve also been a resident of the province of Manitoba. I voted here. I used my Manitoba Health card. I had a Manitoba driver’s license and auto insurance (benefits and curses to that one, for sure!).

It’s not just the hassle of changing health cards and driver’s licenses that I’m talking about… It’s about the mindset. It’s about the deeply ingrained “Winnipeg-ness” that permeates anyone who grew up here. I’m sure there’s a similar feeling for other people who come from other places. I remember once, listening to the Vinyl Café, and hearing Stuart McLean explain it perfectly (he, of course, was talking about Montreal, but it’s the way I feel about Winnipeg) : “Montreal is my mother tongue.”

My life, up til now, has been more or less analogous to going to a French immersion school. I live in Winnipeg (English), but get to immerse myself in other places (French) on a regular basis, without ever having to really cut ties. Moving now, as a working adult, would be more like waking up in a world where everyone I know now speaks Italian, and having to adapt. You get some of the way things work, and can probably figure out what everyone is talking about (I do speak French, remember), but still spend a lot of the time confused until you figure things out. And eventually, you realize that you haven’t spoken English in quite a while.

I belong to Winnipeg, and Winnipeg, in its own way, belongs to me. Wherever life takes me, whichever place I end up in, and however amazing that place is, in its own way (and I’m sure that each and every place is amazing, once you live there), I suspect that moving might set me adrift for a while.

Turns out that I didn’t get the job, so I don’t have to think about it for now.

That reading list of mine…

… I just shake my head. It fell off the wagon a while ago. It was (and still is!) a daunting task to cut it down to a manageable size.

My original plan was to try to make it short enough that it would be conceivable for me to read everything on it in a 12-month period. I can see now that that is quite simply not going to happen. Too many books, too many authors, too many genres interest me. Of course, I could always change the parameters, and make it about a particular subset of books (books I should have read in high school but didn’t, for example).

Instead, I’m going do a final cut and post the whole shebang asap. Sure, it’s 600+ items. But if I never post it, it will never get read. I don’t usually go in for the New Year’s resolution (too easy to make and break, and never really had anything particular to resolve that I thought I could/would actually stick with for a year or more), but I think (assuming I can take some of the days I have off over the holidays to get the list in order) that 2012 will be the “Reading List Resolution” year.

other plans be damned!

yep. Thought it was about time to resurrect this blog of mine, and a new title seemed appropriate. Plans being what they are, and all, mine tend to have changes forced upon them usually before they’re fully formulated to begin with. I seem to be living a little too much in the physical world, and ignoring the online world (not just this blog, I promise!).

It is impressive how a seemingly little change can effectively change the whole feel of your life…

I joined a jazz band in October. It’s great, I’m pretty much back up to having enough stamina to make it through an entire rehearsal now without my lips wanting to part ways from the rest of my body (It used to be so easy… why did I ever stop playing?), and my music reading skills are getting sharper again. You’d think one day a week wouldn’t be that big a deal… but it makes me feel a lot busier. Unlike most of the other things I do outside of work, it is every week, same time, same place. (Is it just me, or does that feel a little like a “same Bat-time, same Bat-channel kind of sentence?)

I also technically joined a gym. The City of Winnipeg offers a pretty great deal for certain groups, including employees of MPOW, on fitness passes. I paid for it in September, and it was activated at the beginning of November. However, since I 1) am lazy, 2) was impressively busy in November with a couple of big volunteer activities that I had been working up to, and 3) have had a series of horrendous colds since Halloween, I haven’t really taken advantage of it, which is a shame, since I love to swim (and will tolerate other gym-based physical activity when I get to it). Here’s hoping the last of this cough goes away over the next few days so that I can get to it!

All that to say that life really is what happens… when you’re busy making other plans.

Reading list update

I’ve been struggling with this book list lately. I had every intention of having it up and going by the beginning of May at the latest, but I’m still having problems bringing it down to a manageable size.

Currently, the full list sits at just barely under 600 items – far too many for me to reasonably attempt to read in a year, even if I wasn’t working and could devote all of my time to reading. Especially considering that some of these books are very, very long (War and Peace, Ulysses, David Copperfield, most of the science fiction and fantasy, to name but a few).

So I’ve been weeding the list. I’ve crossed off the books I’ve read since graduating from high school. For authors who have several books appearing on the list, I’ve chosen one that will be kept on my list (the others likely to be read later, especially if I actually enjoy said author). For the big names, I’ve tried to keep their most well-known work, but that is sometimes really difficult (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Dickens, Dostoevsky, D. H. Lawrence in particular were tricky). I’ve also deleted any picture books for kids that made the list, and chose to remove the non-fiction books that were on the ALA list of challenged books because they were about human sexuality in some form. Not that these books aren’t worthy of being read, just that I had to do something to get this list under control!

For other authors, more… material… concerns made the decision. I love buying books and supporting good causes, so every year, I spend some time (and more money than I mean to!) buying books at the Children’s Hospital Book Market. I tend to buy books that are nice looking (hardcovers, quality printings) – ones that I could never afford to buy new – and ones that I think I should read. So, there are quite a few authors on my list whose work of choice is just going to be the one that I own.

For a couple of authors, I’ve left more than one book on the list. This is usually because the books are ones that are a) relatively short, and b) ones that I’ve been meaning to/wanting to read for a long time. Or, at least, ones that I cannot believe that I didn’t read when I was younger (Judy Blume is one of these authors). Other times, it’s because I really don’t know how to choose one book (usually because I’m not familiar with the author), and plan on making my decision based on what’s available in the library when I go. This is the case mostly with the books I took from a list that a friend of mine gave me, who reads a lot more contemporary French books than I do (my reading in French has usually been school-based, and tends towards the classics that I have so studiously avoided in English).

To facilitate my final decision-making, I plan on checking the library to make sure that these books are part of their collection before I finalize this list – it makes my task a little easier if I know I have access to these books without having to buy all of them. With the exception of titles that were known to me (and that I’ve wanted to read for a while), if I can’t get the book from the library, it is likely to be dropped from the list. That will be the primary reason why an author whose name is on the long (very very long) list will disappear from my final list. I already know of one that will be gone, and I’m hoping there won’t be too many more, but that’s work for another day.

Right now, as it is sunny and (relatively) warm for the first time in over a week, I’m going outside.

Happy reading!