All alone

Christmas Eve, and I'm home alone. And it's a good thing, because alone is different than lonely.

I had all my Christmas/Holiday shopping done so headed up to Wellington Street. It was a cold, but a sunny day - no more snow and the sidewalks are now walkable. I stopped to buy a loaf of bread from the bakery and some coffee beans from Bridgehead then dropped by O'Connell's pub. Shared a couple of beers  and some laughs with friends that were there, and had a pleasant phone call from my little sister. She wanted to know where/how she could get my book (iTunes) and just chat, Then it was handshakes and hugs all around and off to one of my other favorite haunts- the Carleton Tavern. Tomorrow is the annual Christmas dinner there, with free food, as well as gift parcels - for anyone, poor or not. I dropped off a couple of more of my books for the gift pile, then visited with the more friends. And got waylaid into helping, in between beers - rearranging furniture, folding cutlery and paper napkins, and opening a case of Stove Top Stuffing boxes. Last call was 6, but we stayed longer to help with last minute odds and ends, then finished off with some turkey sandwiches - courtesy of Sam. Finally headed home, past all the closed up shops, to a bowl of chili from the freezer, with toast. Not that fancy a meal, but still enough to encourage a bit of a nap. 

CBC2 is playing "Christmas Night Stream" now - non-stop classical Christmas music. Beautiful music, but my only regret was that there wasn't a playlist, so I didn't know what I was listening to. Then I remembered Shazam on my iPhone. Yay for technology! Nice music to browse the interwebs, share greetings with online friends, and sip some red wine. 

Tomorrow will be another visit with my daughter (and hubby and new baby) then an early dinner at the tavern and back home for the Doctor Who Christmas Special. 

All in all, a nice balance of time with friends and family, and time for me.

Merry Christmas Eve to all.

Happy New Year - 2013

... or New Years, if you prefer.

Once again, many of us will think of of resolutions, statements of intent, suggestions, vague possibilities - whatever we choose to call them.  2013 01 01_0002
Perhaps your process is to just take last year's to-do list, still full of tasks, relabel it 2013, and put it away again. Perhaps you start afresh with all the things you've always wanted to do in life. Perhaps you have only a few minor areas to focus on.
My suggestion would be to think small, do that Bill Murray tiny steps thing. Later on, when that task is done, or maybe when it's put aside - nothing wrong with recognizing a change in priorities - go ahead and pick something else.
I used a site last year for writers, called A Round of Words in 80 Days. The blog for the site describes it as 'the writing challenge that knows you have a life'. You decide on some SMART objectives, mostly related to writerly things, publish them on your blog, and report back on there and to the site twice a week - for 80 days. The cycle repeats, four times a year, with about a 10 day rest in between.
There is a strong community of writers via the site, as well as many on their Facebook site, a community always willing to praise and nudge as you work on developing new habits.
Seems a good way to effect change: pick some SMART objectives, commit to them publicly, gather a support group, repeat until a new habit.

As for my own resolutions - health has bumped up the priority list a bit. After putting out my back December 16, and spending days in bed, on painkillers, I eventually dragged myself out and started (or re-started) some back exercises. They are ones I got a few years ago last time this happened, ones I did a while, then stopped. Also added into my mornings some yoga routines, just to limber up. Plan is to exercise, write, take a break, then work on editing and publishing what I've done so far. Then - rest of the day for whatever.  

BTW - photo is view from my kitchen window, nice place to sit and write. Or just stare out and think - that's allowed too. 

New Beginnings

Surprise, surprise, the world did not end this morning. It was scheduled for UTC 11:11, but delayed due to technical difficulties. I was up then (6:11 local time), to see what CBC would say about it - nothing much, although their signal did drop for a few seconds at 6:11. Spooky. Turned out was related to the terrible weather out there, the feed had more drop outs over the morning. This was a Winter Solstice thing too, related to Earth's orbit around the sun, so would have happened for everyone at the same time.

But, of course, it didn't. Today, in spite of a vicous winter storm, marks the start of our slow climb back to longer days, celebrated in ye olden days as the start of a new year. A good opportunity to look at the past year and re-focus. As such, I've some new beginnings to think about.

Continue reading "New Beginnings" »

Happy Canada Day!

Here it is, July 1st. The year is now half over, the days are getting shorter. Soon summer will fade into the blustery days of fall, then the dark and dreary winter months. But do have a happy day.

While waiting for my apartment to cool down last night, I headed over to a local pub, the Carleton. A/C, cheap draft, good fries, free wi-fi, and a live band, Random. They were quite good, but also quite loud. Their amps were set for a full room, but it was almost empty. I suspect they had cranked them up to 11. I retreated to the room next door - a bit quieter and I could appreciate the music as I browsed through RSS feeds with my Feeddler reader.

Earlier on I'd dropped by the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair, at Jack Purcell Community Centre. It was mainly a collection of authors, but there were a few small publishers there, including Deux Voiliers Publishing. They are a small imprint, with a loose gathering of authors, artists, copy editors, and designers. Not a co-op, yet. Talking with them was inspiring, and motivated me to get back into the editing of my two draft novels. I need to edit enough so that I can decide if I should publish them or trash them. 

But not today. I'm heading out to celebrate the day - just NOT downtown. Been there, done that, fought the crowds. Today I'm just walking over to a friend's place, with a knapsack of wine, crackers, creton, and brie. Maybe watch some soccer, chat with friends, enjoy the fresh air.

Tomorrow the writing starts again in earnest, as it's the first day of round three for this year's ROW80. I still have to work on my objectives for this round, but will leave that until this evening. Tomorrow is also the first day Ottawa will start enforcing the new changes to the no-smoking bylaw - banning it on all outdoor patios and city parks. Have heard much talk of people staying home, of pubs shutting down, of smokers defying the bylaw. We'll see what happens - the fines are for both patrons and business owners.