Friday, January 18, 2013


So 42 is officially over and done with, which is kind of sad. Not because "oh God, I'm older now and this sucks", but because 42 was a pretty interesting year in the life. And I think 42 is a bit of a mystical geek number, thanks to Douglas Adams. I didn't get the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything, but I did have a year of more ups than downs.

It started off crap. A friend of mine died and I found myself dealing with a medium-sized case of depression for the first time in my life. That was unexpected and rough, both on me and Cathy.

But after that, it was a year of remarkable things. After failing several times to lose weight, I managed to stick with it this time. I'm down about 65 pounds as I write this and if I don't lose another ounce, I'll be annoyed (80 is the goal), but I can hardly complain. I'm the healthiest I've been in my adult life right now, which is a good place to be. That being said, I had homemade macaroni and cheese for the first time in about a year this evening and Cathy made ice cream cake for I'm not entirely sure I'm going to bother stepping on the scales tomorrow.

For the first time since I've moved to Nunavut I have a permanent, full-time job. No more contracts, no more taking things on spec and hoping they become something permanent. I have a job, it's one I like with more responsibility than I've had before and I seem to be doing a well with it.

And finally, there was the travel. I got to go back to Newfoundland twice (one of them for a funeral, granted), a week in Florida, 10 days sailing around the Baltic followed by nearly a week in Scotland. We went to Greenland for the weekend, and I went to New York for a week, which ended up with me going to the New York Comic Con. And that's just the broad strokes. There were so many awesome moments in each of those trips.

So it was a good year. It started off awful, but it ended well. I'll miss it. But onwards and upwards, as they say.

I believe more in birthday resolutions than New Year resolutions these days. So what's the plan for year 43 on the planet?

1. Read more books. Seriously, I've fallen off the wagon on my book reading. Lots of newspapers, magazines and comics, but not so much with the books. So I need to get back to that, even if I have to make the switch over to ebooks because I'm running out of space for regular books. I think I might give more biographies a try.

2. Write more. The first novel is probably dead, but I have a bunch of freelance writing that I need to do, the blog could use another kickstart or even if I start writing short stories or something. I should be keeping a journal of my travels. I think I'm going to regret not writing down more of what I did this past year. It feels like my writing muscles have seriously atrophied over the past couple of years. Time to jump start that a bit.

3. Shift from losing weight to maintenance. There's a real drive and a sense of purpose that goes with losing weight. It's nice to step on the scale and see you're down two pounds. For 43, the goal is to find satisfaction that my weight is pretty much the same, give or take a pound, week in and week out. Not as much satisfaction, but quite necessary.

4. I read in the past year that you only have so much energy in the run of a day to make effective decisions. After a certain point, you're run down and you make bad choices. Also, that too many of us squander that energy on stupid decisions. President Obama is apparently a big believer in this, which is why he tends to wear the same clothes and doesn't get involved in deciding what he would like to eat. He's saving his energy for the big decisions. As he should.

I think in the past year a lot of my energy has gone into trying to change my exercise and eating habits. I like to hope that's going to fall into routine this year, so I won't need as much energy to focus keeping myself on track. So 43, I'd like to find a new place to focus that energy. Not sure where yet. Maybe on my writing or maybe on something completely unexpected. But I'd like to make smarter decisions.

So there we go...four things. I think that's doable. Check back in a year and I'll let you know how it worked out.

Last Five
1. Little earthquakes - Tori Amos
2. Kissing girls - Hawksley Workman
3. Don't you remember (live) - Adele
4. Here lies Lenora Jennings - Ron Hynes*
5. Love at the end of the world - Sam Roberts

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Surviving Christmas

In fact, we did not die over the Christmas holidays, despite our best efforts.  The last two times I went home for Christmas I swore never again. It was like running a gauntlet. You were constantly running around, trying to see family and friends, plus get some shopping in. The two previous times we came home utterly exhausted and managed to leave a few people behind pissed off that they didn't get to see us, or spend enough time with us. I wasn't expecting this time to be much different.

But it was. Not entirely sure how that happened. Perhaps we're getting better organized when we travel. I actually had a master list of things that needed to get done when we were home and all but one of those things got done (never did get that lunch/coffee with one of my friend's and his new lady, but I did get to see him twice, so it was all right). But we got through the list of things to do and see, managed to get pretty much a new wardrobe, eat out at the places we wanted to go and still find some time to go to the gym and even some downtime. It was easily the best trip back to Newfoundland I've had in years.

Almost as miraculous, I was only up 1.6 pounds after the holidays and Cathy managed to lose almost a pound. I have no idea how that happened. After everyone congratulated us on our weight loss it was almost immediately followed by a plate of food or an offer to go out for supper. "It's Christmas! It doesn't count if it's Christmas!" Newfoundland, the place where weight loss schemes go to die because of love and kindness, I swear to God...

Not everything was perfect, of course. Spending about 90 minutes getting my teeth scoured by the dentist was not fun, but after three years kind of necessary. I'm also getting used to my new glasses. After years of being...lovingly reminded...that I should go and get my eyes checked, I caved in. And I do need glasses, albeit a very mild set of lenses (the optometrist called it a "standard middle-age man prescription." Lovely). They're called progressives and they are, frankly, a pain in the ass to try and master. I'm constantly bobbing my head up and down trying to get things in focus.

The only other downsides were being asked when we're moving home and having to tell people that's probably not happening anytime in the foreseeable future. Both our parents, and a lot of our friends, would like to have us close to Newfoundland. But we just don't see it happening. We also have to remember that Christmas in Newfoundland is not reality. There's a lot happening, people have time off from work, everyone is excited to see you. But about a week after Christmas, people start getting on with their lives. Back to work, back to school, back to the routines.

The really hard one to answer was when were we going to be back again. Well, for Cathy's that's always a straightforward answer - this summer. Once we finish our travels (After a friend's wedding in Kingston we're off to California for a few weeks), she heads back to St. John's. But for me, it's back to Iqaluit. I honestly don't know when I'll be back. I could get there in October for a week, but the organization I work with normally has their AGM that month, so it's dicey. It won't be Christmas as I suspect we're staying put in 2013. It could be the summer of 2014 before I return.

I've said in the past that I'm all about travelling these days...that I spent most of my life in Newfoundland and now that I have the chance to travel and see some of the world, that's what I want to do. But I confess, not getting back to Newfoundland for 18 months or so...that's proving to a surprisingly unpleasant thought. We'll have to see.

Oh, and for those tuning in for a Republic of Doyle review, I think the show finally broke me. I had a friend who works on set swear this season was better, but then I saw the first episode and watched pretty much every Irish stereotype imaginable run across the screen and wanted to hit my head against something. I assume the reason they didn't have actual Irish people playing the characters (as opposed to Mainlanders with ear-bleedingly brutal accents) was that they might have murdered people on set once they were given the script.

I'm not sure how many times I can write "there's some potential there, but they really need some smarter scripts and to tighten things up because it can be really stupidly sloppy sometimes." I've been saying it since the first season. We're on season 4. I'm resigned it's not going to happen. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, then I think reviewing Doyle might be as close as I should brush with it.

On the upside, that new CBC show "Cracked" wasn't half bad. The initial ads for it were brutal, but once they switched their campaign, I was intrigued enough to give it a look. There's some potential there. I'll try and catch it from time to time...

Coming up, some New Year resolutions, the next trip, a few thoughts on Cape Dorset artist Kenojuak Ashevak, an idea to make some money from the blog and hopefully something resembling a semi-regular posting schedule...

Last Five
1. Glad rag doll- Diana Krall
2. Top of the world - Van Halen
3. Big bop/Hey diddle - Paul McCartney
4. We walk - The Ting Tings
5. Citizens of tomorrow - Tokyo Police Club