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Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

14 for ’14

Happy New Year, everyone!

I had a conversation with a good friend of mine today over hot beverages while trying to thaw out our toes. The discussion was about goals versus plans. We pretty much agreed that setting goals can be positive and constructive, but getting too set on specific plans can be negative and destructive.

So on that note, I’m making some New Year’s Resolutions this year. Because it’s good to have goals, even if I fully expect to mess them up, break them, diverge from the path many times over, and hopefully find something better in the process. Here goes:

  1. Always say yes. This was my one resolution last year, and it’s been working pretty well for me so far. Saying yes to new ideas, new opportunities and experiences is rewarding in sometimes unexpected ways. (In the spirit of improv, I probably should amend this to “always say yes, and…” but you get the idea.)
  2. Travel to at least 5 new places. A few travel plans got aborted this year, true. But temporary setbacks aside, my traveller’s spirit will prevail. I have lots of ideas already. Stay tuned.
  3. Blog weekly. There was a time when I was blogging multiple times a day, but Facebook and Twitter largely taken over for short one-off posts and links, so blog posts take longer to write these days. Still, I blog in four different places, so I’m going to aim to update each of them at least monthly.
  4. Learn a language. My many attempts at Spanish have yielded nothing but epic failure, and my Hebrew is getting rustier kol yom. I’m starting an ASL course in a couple of weeks, so maybe I’ll have better luck with a nonverbal language.
  5. Spin, baby, spin. Every year, the lose weight/exercise resolutions go unfulfilled like stale clichés. Instead, this year I’m resolving to sign up for some spinning classes, to stay in cycling shape during the Bixi off-season.
  6. Get at least 15 days on skis. The start of the season was promising, but the current deep freeze has put a damper on it. I’m at 2 days so far in December. Hopefully January and February will be better.
  7. Go camping. It’s been a few years since I’ve been on a camping trip. This summer, I resolve to fix that.
  8. Watch Team Canada win the hockey gold. This worked when I resolved it four years ago for Vancouver ’10. Hopefully it’ll work for Sochi ’14. Not that I’m superstitious or anything.
  9. Win Impossible Montreal 2014. Can the Hunny Badgers defend our title for the third consecutive year? I have no idea, but I sure intend to have a lot of fun finding out.
  10. Do everything in my power to get the PQ out of power. Come on, Quebecers, we deserve better than this sorry excuse of a provincial government. Let’s speak out against divide-and-conquer identity politics.
  11. Ditto for the Harper government. The next federal election likely won’t be ’til 2015, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep calling Harper and his cronies out on their crap whenever I see it.
  12. Fail boldly. More improv wisdom. I will surely make mistakes this year. I resolve to make grand, decisive, epic mistakes.
  13. Be there for the people who matter. I resolve to do a better job of putting family and close friends first in my life.
  14. Take the road less travelled. Because it’s always more interesting than the beaten path.

Well it’s 10 years later and still I haven’t a clue

10 year blog anniversary

When I started this blog a decade ago, it was as an outlet for all of the thoughts that were screaming to get out of my head. It was barely a year after 9/11, Quebec had a wildly unpopular PQ government, Israel was reeling from some of the worst years of the second intifada, I was a recent graduate from a university where campus tensions were at an all-time high, and I felt like I had things I needed to say.

Blogging was a relatively new method of communication at the time. It took off like wildfire because it provided a quick and easy way to frequently update a website. Before I launched the blog (on Blogger at the time on a Geocities domain, no less), I had a website that was coded by hand, in HTML written in Notepad of all things. I’d posted a number of rant-style “thoughts”, but the update process was cumbersome. And nobody much was reading it.

Then, I discovered blogs written by people who were saying smart things about the issues I cared about. Blogs not only provided commentary, but they provided interaction via commenting and trackbacks. It was an early form of social media that created community and led me to discover others — some like-minded, some on other side of the fence — who wanted to discuss, debate and analyze.

I wrote my inaugural post without expecting much. Ten years, 2,500 posts, more than 6,000 comments and countless friends, contacts and connections later, this blog’s still going. But much has changed. I’ve migrated from a hosted Blogger solution to my own WordPress, added my own domain name, and refreshed the look and feel (though it’s overdue for another facelift).

The world has also changed. In 2002 there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram. This blog was the outlet for a lot of those random thoughts, one-off posts, links and amusing images. Today, those social channels have become much more efficient means of sharing that type of content. I blog much less frequently today. Back in 2002 I was posting several times a week or even a day, but now I might post a few times a month, if that. My posts have become lengthier, because the shorter posts tend to be tweeted or shared to my Facebook page instead.

The topics of conversation on the blog have also changed. I’m a decade removed from the happenings at Concordia and can’t really comment on them anymore, and Israeli and Mideast politics make me weary and depressed so I don’t post as much on the subject anymore. These days, I focus much more on Canadian and Quebec politics — and when there’s no lockout, hockey.

Very few of the people on my blogroll from back in ’02 are still at it. Independent blogs have largely been swallowed up by larger corporate-funded media outlets. Some of the early bloggers became media celebrities, journalists or social media gurus. Others have moved onto other things. I have a lot less time these days and I blog in multiple places, so my attention is certainly divided.

But from time to time, this space still serves its original purpose as an outlet for the things I have to say. Even if those things have changed, too.

Ten years. If you’ve been reading since the beginning, thanks for sticking with me. And be sure to check out the Hall of Fame for some trips down memory lane.

Shana Tova 5772

Happy new year to all the MOTs out there!

It’s been a time of new initiatives and new beginnings for me. New job, new outlook, new projects… I do love the fall and the fact that Rosh Hashanah  always seems to signal a renewed sense of motivation in my life.

Wishing you and yours all the best for a happy, healthy and sweet New Year.

120 things to do in 2010: Wrap-Up

With only a day left until the end of 2010, it’s now time to once again pull out this list, which consisted of my 120 New Year’s resolutions for the year.

At halftime in July, I’d managed to accomplish 46% of the things on the list. How did I do in the second half with the other 54%? Well, let’s see.

  1. Go to Morocco. - Made it there, thanks to volcano, almost didn’t make it back
  2. Go camping at least twice next summer. - does camping out on a couch count?
  3. Find my dream apartment and move into it. - don’t know if it’s my dream, exactly, but it’s a vast improvement and I’m officially moved in as of last week – just under the wire
  4. Get my own washer/dryer and finally stop dragging my laundry around like a friggin’ nomad. - new apartment has ‘em both
  5. Get a dishwasher. - new place has got one of those too
  6. Replace my 12-year-old car with something newer and zippier. - zoom zoom :)
  7. …or else get rid of it and join CommunAuto. - opted for the new car instead
  8. Successfully fight that unfair, BS speeding ticket. - court date hasn’t happened yet; stay tuned
  9. Complete and edit my NaNoWriMo 2009 project. – um, not so much
  10. Participate in NaNoWriMo 2010. – sat this year out
  11. …and win. - you can’t win if you don’t play
  12. Buy those new dishes I was eyeing at the Ottawa kitchen store. – and I love ‘em
  13. Buy a spice rack.new kitchen, new spice rack
  14. Paint my kitchen yellow. (I’ve always wanted a yellow kitchen, for some reason.) – not yet, but I intend to this spring
  15. Go skiing at least three times. - I’ve been skiing for the past five days straight, so I’d say I killed that one
  16. Go snowshoeing.
  17. Visit Cathy. – and Casey, of course
  18. Visit Andrea and Jim. - yay Mars!
  19. Convince Andrea and Jim to come visit more often. - mission accomplished
  20. Host Etrek Montreal-fest 2010. – y’all are welcome
  21. Eat breakfast (other than coffee) more days than not. - coffee and a granola bar counts, right?
  22. Buy a vegetable steamer.
  23. Find a new volunteer project.
  24. Celebrate Canada Day someplace where people are actually happy to be Canadian. - yay Mars :)
  25. …with fireworks. - yay Martian neighbours :)
  26. …and some typically Canadian music like Blue Rodeo or Great Big Sea. - when I’m up I can’t get down
  27. Buy new socks and throw out the ones with holes in them.
  28. Reprise Buy Nothing Week.
  29. Roast marshmellows over a fireplace. - does a backyard fire pit count?
  30. Have a board game brunch. - several times over
  31. Eat crepes at CDL. – mmm, crepes
  32. Host a wine and cheese. - mmm, cheese
  33. Host a fondue party.
  34. Make homemade sushi.
  35. Play poker.
  36. …and win.
  37. Finish reading Don Quixote. – I gave up
  38. …in time for the January book club meet-up. - yeah, not so much
  39. Watch the rest of the UK version of Life On Mars. – haven’t had a chance to yet
  40. Attend the St. Patrick’s Day Parade - but of course
  41. …and fail to remember much about it later. - wow, I was far too sober this year
  42. Turn 30. - kinda inevitable
  43. …with minimal freaking out. – 30 actually feels pretty good
  44. Go to New York City. (I heart NY).great mother-daughter trip this past fall
  45. Go to Quebec City. - didn’t make it there this year, sadly
  46. Get through the winter without succumbing to the winter blahs. – it was a short winter, so that helped
  47. …and weighing less than I do now. – hah!
  48. Win tickets to something on the radio. - haven’t really tried
  49. Get a letter to the editor published in the newspaper. – haven’t submitted any. Wow, I’m lazy!
  50. Attend the Salon Passion Chocolat. - missed it
  51. …and the Jazz Fest. - yep
  52. …and the Comedy Fest. - Tim Minchin rules!
  53. …and Bluesfest Ottawa. Great Big Sea
  54. …and Nuit Blanche. – it was too bloody cold
  55. …and the FrancoFolies. – it rocked
  56. …and FantasiaFest. – that film was weird
  57. …and a bunch of other festivals. - Beerfest!
  58. Keep walking to work every day, as long as I live within walking distance. - it’s the only way to travel
  59. Pack lunches and avoid the takeout trap. – managing on average four out of five days – not too shabby
  60. Pay someone an undeserved compliment. – won’t say who
  61. Learn to sew well enough to hem my own pant legs and sleeves. – my tailor can rest assured he’ll still be getting lots of business from me in 2011
  62. Don’t get the flu. - epic FAIL
  63. Call my grandfather. - often
  64. Learn CSS.
  65. …and update the look and feel of this blog so it’s not so ugly. -sorry, folks, still uglyville
  66. Blog more often. -
  67. Read the Israeli news headlines more regularly. - in spurts, but I try to keep up
  68. …in Hebrew, to keep my language skills from going completely rusty. – I think my reading skills are nearly gone, sadly
  69. …and listen to online radio or watch online TV broadcasts in Hebrew, too, for the same reason. - doing better on this score
  70. Update my online (Flickr) photo albums. - mostly up to date
  71. Update my offline (printed) photo albums. – yeah, not so much
  72. Buy fruits and veggies from the farmers’ markets instead of the supermarket. – I heart Marche Jean-Talon
  73. Vote. - there haven’t been any elections
  74. …in an election where my vote actually makes a difference. - yeah, like that’ll happen
  75. Visit the Contemporary Arts Museum on freebie Wednesday.
  76. Go to at least one rock concert.went to three, by my count
  77. …by a band that has been around for less than 15 years. - KT Tunstall in November
  78. Watch the Cannes Lions winning ads.
  79. Carry on an entire conversation with a francophone without letting on that I’m anglo. – this works better in Morocco (and in France) than it does in Montreal
  80. Try 10 new restaurants in Montreal. – I’ve lost count but surely it’s been more than 10
  81. Find a good answer to the inevitable questions about my name that doesn’t involve exasperation, or a long backstory. – it’s like Sara, with an i
  82. Clean the oven.
  83. …using baking soda (?) - sorry Urban Green Girl, but it doesn’t work as well as you said it would
  84. Organize my DVD collection.
  85. Set out to buy clothes and actually end up with clothes. – some of them are even pink
  86. …and no shoes. – I think I did this once
  87. Master the art of the experience brief. - I didn’t, but Jasmin is working on it
  88. Get more (consumer) insightful. - oh, definitely
  89. Retrieve my old electric keyboard and actually remind myself how to play it.
  90. Reduce the procrastination to a manageable level. - Sporcle is evil
  91. Pay my taxes. – they come off my paycheque automatically, so this one has been easy
  92. …and put the refund towards travel. – see #1
  93. Win my 2009-10 fantasy hockey pool. – I placed second
  94. Draft Ovi in the 2010-11 fantasy hockey pool. - sadly, no, and Malkin has been underproducing
  95. Go to at least one Habs’ playoff game – contingent on them actually making the playoffs, of course. – went to three of ‘em. Helped that the Habs made it to the conference finals.
  96. Keep kosher(ish) for Passover. – um… the less said the better. my mom might read this.
  97. Couchsurf. - repeatedly
  98. Host couchsurfers. – several of ‘em
  99. Help at least three friends plan trips.it’s the next best thing to traveling myself
  100. Invent a new smoothie recipe. - bananas and kahlua – surprisingly good together
  101. Watch the Olympics on TV. – glued to the set
  102. …and see the Canadian team win the hockey gold. (Hey, I can hope, right?) - epic WIN!
  103. Improve my Spanish from a 20-word vocabulary to at least a 50-word one. - still on the to-do list
  104. Watch Mad Men Season 4.
  105. Upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7. - on my netbook, but not on my desktop yet
  106. …preferably without losing my mind in the process. - TBD
  107. Go apple picking in the fall.
  108. Sell my old backpacks.
  109. Clear out my closets and drawers. – now I have no clothes left
  110. …and participate in a clothing swap.
  111. …and donate whatever I cannot swap to charity.
  112. Drink more green tea instead of coffee. – I heart david’s tea
  113. Finish the pile of books that are sitting on my “to read” shelf. - I have a new pile now
  114. Get my grandmother’s chicken soup recipe from my mom.
  115. …and learn to make it.
  116. Convince my mom that the world isn’t going to end in 2012, regardless of what the Mayans said. - I’m still not sure she’s entirely convinced
  117. Go karaoking. - we all live in a yellow submafine
  118. Go kayaking.
  119. Laugh a lot.
  120. Spend less time in front of the computer making these lists, and more time actually doing the things on them. - been too busy to blog, does that count?

Grand total? That’s 76 out of 12o items accomplished, or 63% of the list. That’s up from 46% at halftime, making the second half of the year arguably less productive than the first. On the other hand, I did accomplish some biggies, like the new apartment, so I’ll say it’s a wash.

What are my resolutions for 2011? Stay tuned…

Happy New Year, everyone!

120 things to do in 2010: halftime update

Some of you may remember this list, which I created at the start of the year as the mother-of-all resolution lists.

Well, it’s July, which means half of 2010 is gone. So I thought it would be useful to do a quick update, to see what kind of progress I’m making.

  1. Go to Morocco. - Made it there, thanks to volcano, almost didn’t make it back
  2. Go camping at least twice next summer. - does camping out on a couch count?
  3. Find my dream apartment and move into it. - still looking
  4. Get my own washer/dryer and finally stop dragging my laundry around like a friggin’ nomad. - see #3 above
  5. Get a dishwasher. - see #3 above
  6. Replace my 12-year-old car with something newer and zippier. - zoom zoom :)
  7. …or else get rid of it and join CommunAuto. - opted for the new car instead
  8. Successfully fight that unfair, BS speeding ticket. - still waiting for a court date notice; they can take their time as far as I’m concerned
  9. Complete and edit my NaNoWriMo 2009 project. – um, not so much
  10. Participate in NaNoWriMo 2010. – we’ll see
  11. …and win. - well, duh
  12. Buy those new dishes I was eyeing at the Ottawa kitchen store. – not yet, but hoping to shortly
  13. Buy a spice rack. – maybe when I get a new kitchen
  14. Paint my kitchen yellow. (I’ve always wanted a yellow kitchen, for some reason.) – see #3 above
  15. Go skiing at least three times. - went twice. so close, yet so far.
  16. Go snowshoeing.
  17. Visit Cathy. – not yet, but Bluesfest starts soon
  18. Visit Andrea and Jim. - yay Mars!
  19. Convince Andrea and Jim to come visit more often. - mission accomplished
  20. Host Etrek Montreal-fest 2010. – y’all are welcome
  21. Eat breakfast (other than coffee) more days than not. - coffee and a granola bar counts, right?
  22. Buy a vegetable steamer.
  23. Find a new volunteer project.
  24. Celebrate Canada Day someplace where people are actually happy to be Canadian. - yay Mars :)
  25. …with fireworks. - yay Martian neighbours :)
  26. …and some typically Canadian music like Blue Rodeo or Great Big Sea. - when I’m up I can’t get down
  27. Buy new socks and throw out the ones with holes in them.
  28. Reprise Buy Nothing Week.
  29. Roast marshmellows over a fireplace. - does a backyard fire pit count?
  30. Have a board game brunch. - several times over
  31. Eat crepes at CDL. – mmm, crepes
  32. Host a wine and cheese. - mmm, cheese
  33. Host a fondue party.
  34. Make homemade sushi.
  35. Play poker.
  36. …and win.
  37. Finish reading Don Quixote. – I gave up
  38. …in time for the January book club meet-up. - yeah, not so much
  39. Watch the rest of the UK version of Life On Mars. – gotta find season 2 on DVD, anyone have it?
  40. Attend the St. Patrick’s Day Parade - but of course
  41. …and fail to remember much about it later. - wow, I was far too sober this year
  42. Turn 30. - kinda inevitable
  43. …with minimal freaking out. – 30 actually feels pretty good
  44. Go to New York City. (I heart NY). – maybe this fall
  45. Go to Quebec City. – maybe this winter
  46. Get through the winter without succumbing to the winter blahs. – it was a short winter, so that helped
  47. …and weighing less than I do now. – hah!
  48. Win tickets to something on the radio. - haven’t really tried
  49. Get a letter to the editor published in the newspaper. – haven’t submitted any. Wow, I’m lazy!
  50. Attend the Salon Passion Chocolat. - not till the fall
  51. …and the Jazz Fest. - yep
  52. …and the Comedy Fest. - next week
  53. …and Bluesfest Ottawa. - next week
  54. …and Nuit Blanche. – it was too bloody cold
  55. …and the FrancoFolies. – it rocked
  56. …and FantasiaFest. – later this month
  57. …and a bunch of other festivals. - Beerfest!
  58. Keep walking to work every day, as long as I live within walking distance. - it’s the only way to travel
  59. Pack lunches and avoid the takeout trap. – managing on average four out of five days – not too shabby
  60. Pay someone an undeserved compliment. – won’t say who
  61. Learn to sew well enough to hem my own pant legs and sleeves.
  62. Don’t get the flu. - epic FAIL
  63. Call my grandfather. - often
  64. Learn CSS.
  65. …and update the look and feel of this blog so it’s not so ugly.
  66. Blog more often. - does this post count?
  67. Read the Israeli news headlines more regularly. - in spurts, but I try to keep up
  68. …in Hebrew, to keep my language skills from going completely rusty. – I think my reading skills are nearly gone, sadly
  69. …and listen to online radio or watch online TV broadcasts in Hebrew, too, for the same reason. - doing better on this score
  70. Update my online (Flickr) photo albums. - mostly up to date
  71. Update my offline (printed) photo albums. – yeah, not so much
  72. Buy fruits and veggies from the farmers’ markets instead of the supermarket. – I heart Marche Jean-Talon
  73. Vote. - there haven’t been any elections
  74. …in an election where my vote actually makes a difference. - yeah, like that’ll happen
  75. Visit the Contemporary Arts Museum on freebie Wednesday.
  76. Go to at least one rock concert. – does FrancoFolies count?
  77. …by a band that has been around for less than 15 years. - who?
  78. Watch the Cannes Lions winning ads.
  79. Carry on an entire conversation with a francophone without letting on that I’m anglo. – this works better in Morocco than it does in Montreal
  80. Try 10 new restaurants in Montreal. – I’ve lost count but surely it’s been more than 10
  81. Find a good answer to the inevitable questions about my name that doesn’t involve exasperation, or a long backstory.
  82. Clean the oven.
  83. …using baking soda (?) - sorry Urban Green Girl, but it doesn’t work as well as you said it would
  84. Organize my DVD collection.
  85. Set out to buy clothes and actually end up with clothes. – some of them are even pink
  86. …and no shoes. – I think I did this once
  87. Master the art of the experience brief. - I didn’t, but Jasmin is working on it
  88. Get more (consumer) insightful. - oh, definitely
  89. Retrieve my old electric keyboard and actually remind myself how to play it.
  90. Reduce the procrastination to a manageable level. - Sporcle is evil
  91. Pay my taxes. – they come off my paycheque automatically, so this one has been easy
  92. …and put the refund towards travel. – see #1
  93. Win my 2009-10 fantasy hockey pool. – I placed second
  94. Draft Ovi in the 2010-11 fantasy hockey pool. - not yet, but wait till September
  95. Go to at least one Habs’ playoff game – contingent on them actually making the playoffs, of course. – went to three of ‘em. Helped that the Habs made it to the conference finals.
  96. Keep kosher(ish) for Passover. – um… the less said the better. my mom might read this.
  97. Couchsurf. - repeatedly
  98. Host couchsurfers. – several of ‘em
  99. Help at least three friends plan trips.it’s the next best thing to traveling myself
  100. Invent a new smoothie recipe. - bananas and kahlua – surprisingly good together
  101. Watch the Olympics on TV. – glued to the set
  102. …and see the Canadian team win the hockey gold. (Hey, I can hope, right?) - epic WIN!
  103. Improve my Spanish from a 20-word vocabulary to at least a 50-word one. - still on the to-do list
  104. Watch Mad Men Season 4. - it starts in two weeks, can’t wait!
  105. Upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7. - on my netbook, but not on my desktop yet
  106. …preferably without losing my mind in the process. - TBD
  107. Go apple picking in the fall.
  108. Sell my old backpacks.
  109. Clear out my closets and drawers. – now I have no clothes left
  110. …and participate in a clothing swap.
  111. …and donate whatever I cannot swap to charity.
  112. Drink more green tea instead of coffee. – I heart david’s tea
  113. Finish the pile of books that are sitting on my “to read” shelf. - pile keeps growing
  114. Get my grandmother’s chicken soup recipe from my mom.
  115. …and learn to make it.
  116. Convince my mom that the world isn’t going to end in 2012, regardless of what the Mayans said. - I’m still not sure she’s entirely convinced
  117. Go karaoking. - we all live in a yellow submafine
  118. Go kayaking.
  119. Laugh a lot.
  120. Spend less time in front of the computer making these lists, and more time actually doing the things on them. - been too busy to blog, does that count?

So, by my count, that’s 55 items out of 120 that I can cross off the list as having done so far. That adds up to about 46% of the list accomplished, with 50% of the year left. Not too shabby.

Now I gotta start working on finding that apartment. And learning Spanish. (Hmmm, maybe an apartment in Spain?)

120 things to do in 2010

I don’t tend to make New Year’s resolutions, and when I do, they’re usually simple and basic, like these ones. Last year I made mine at Rosh Hashanah, there were only five of them, and I didn’t keep three. Not a great track record.

But, inspired by Andrea’s gargantuan list, I have decided that, new decade, new attitude. This year, I will actually set out some lofty goals for myself, and hopefully even achieve them. So, without further adieu, here’s my list of 120 things to do in 2010:

  1. Go to Morocco.
  2. Go camping at least twice next summer.
  3. Find my dream apartment and move into it.
  4. Get my own washer/dryer and finally stop dragging my laundry around like a friggin’ nomad.
  5. Get a dishwasher.
  6. Replace my 12-year-old car with something newer and zippier.
  7. …or else get rid of it and join CommunAuto.
  8. Successfully fight that unfair, BS speeding ticket.
  9. Complete and edit my NaNoWriMo 2009 project.
  10. Participate in NaNoWriMo 2010.
  11. …and win.
  12. Buy those new dishes I was eyeing at the Ottawa kitchen store.
  13. Buy a spice rack.
  14. Paint my kitchen yellow. (I’ve always wanted a yellow kitchen, for some reason.)
  15. Go skiing at least three times.
  16. Go snowshoeing.
  17. Visit Cathy.
  18. Visit Andrea and Jim.
  19. Convince Andrea and Jim to come visit more often.
  20. Host Etrek Montreal-fest 2010.
  21. Eat breakfast (other than coffee) more days than not.
  22. Buy a vegetable steamer.
  23. Find a new volunteer project.
  24. Celebrate Canada Day someplace where people are actually happy to be Canadian.
  25. …with fireworks.
  26. …and some typically Canadian music like Blue Rodeo or Great Big Sea.
  27. Buy new socks and throw out the ones with holes in them.
  28. Reprise Buy Nothing Week.
  29. Roast marshmellows over a fireplace.
  30. Have a board game brunch.
  31. Eat crepes at CDL.
  32. Host a wine and cheese.
  33. Host a fondue party.
  34. Make homemade sushi.
  35. Play poker.
  36. …and win.
  37. Finish reading Don Quixote.
  38. …in time for the January book club meet-up.
  39. Watch the rest of the UK version of Life On Mars.
  40. Attend the St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  41. …and fail to remember much about it later.
  42. Turn 30.
  43. …with minimal freaking out.
  44. Go to New York City. (I heart NY).
  45. Go to Quebec City.
  46. Get through the winter without succumbing to the winter blahs.
  47. …and weighing less than I do now.
  48. Win tickets to something on the radio.
  49. Get a letter to the editor published in the newspaper.
  50. Attend the Salon Passion Chocolat.
  51. …and the Jazz Fest.
  52. …and the Comedy Fest.
  53. …and Bluesfest Ottawa.
  54. …and Nuit Blanche.
  55. …and the FrancoFolies.
  56. …and FantasiaFest.
  57. …and a bunch of other festivals.
  58. Keep walking to work every day, as long as I live within walking distance.
  59. Pack lunches and avoid the takeout trap.
  60. Pay someone an undeserved compliment.
  61. Learn to sew well enough to hem my own pant legs and sleeves.
  62. Don’t get the flu.
  63. Call my grandfather.
  64. Learn CSS.
  65. …and update the look and feel of this blog so it’s not so ugly.
  66. Blog more often.
  67. Read the Israeli news headlines more regularly.
  68. …in Hebrew, to keep my language skills from going completely rusty.
  69. …and listen to online radio or watch online TV broadcasts in Hebrew, too, for the same reason.
  70. Update my online (Flickr) photo albums.
  71. Update my offline (printed) photo albums.
  72. Buy fruits and veggies from the farmers’ markets instead of the supermarket.
  73. Vote.
  74. …in an election where my vote actually makes a difference.
  75. Visit the Contemporary Arts Museum on freebie Wednesday.
  76. Go to at least one rock concert.
  77. …by a band that has been around for less than 15 years.
  78. Watch the Cannes Lions winning ads.
  79. Carry on an entire conversation with a francophone without letting on that I’m anglo.
  80. Try 10 new restaurants in Montreal.
  81. Find a good answer to the inevitable questions about my name that doesn’t involve exasperation, or a long backstory.
  82. Clean the oven.
  83. …using baking soda (?)
  84. Organize my DVD collection.
  85. Set out to buy clothes and actually end up with clothes.
  86. …and no shoes.
  87. Master the art of the experience brief.
  88. Get more (consumer) insightful.
  89. Retrieve my old electric keyboard and actually remind myself how to play it.
  90. Reduce the procrastination to a manageable level.
  91. Pay my taxes.
  92. …and put the refund towards travel.
  93. Win my 2009-10 fantasy hockey pool.
  94. Draft Ovi in the 2010-11 fantasy hockey pool.
  95. Go to at least one Habs’ playoff game – contingent on them actually making the playoffs, of course.
  96. Keep kosher(ish) for Passover.
  97. Couchsurf.
  98. Host couchsurfers.
  99. Help at least three friends plan trips.
  100. Invent a new smoothie recipe.
  101. Watch the Olympics on TV.
  102. …and see the Canadian team win the hockey gold. (Hey, I can hope, right?)
  103. Improve my Spanish from a 20-word vocabulary to at least a 50-word one.
  104. Watch Mad Men Season 4.
  105. Upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7.
  106. …preferably without losing my mind in the process.
  107. Go apple picking in the fall.
  108. Sell my old backpacks.
  109. Clear out my closets and drawers.
  110. …and participate in a clothing swap.
  111. …and donate whatever I cannot swap to charity.
  112. Drink more green tea instead of coffee.
  113. Finish the pile of books that are sitting on my “to read” shelf.
  114. Get my grandmother’s chicken soup recipe from my mom.
  115. …and learn to make it.
  116. Convince my mom that the world isn’t going to end in 2012, regardless of what the Mayans said.
  117. Go karaoking.
  118. Go kayaking.
  119. Laugh a lot.
  120. Spend less time in front of the computer making these lists, and more time actually doing the things on them.

Yes, I know the original post had 201 things and this one only has 120. But it was all I could think of. Besides, if I manage to do even half of these things this year, it will be a very productive year.

50,046 words

Take that, NaNoWriMo!

nano_09_winner_100x100

100 Years

On February 15, 1909, exactly 100 years ago today, ice gorges dammed Niagara Falls, a New Zealand ship wrecked when encountering penguins, and the Lusitania had a rocky voyage, six years before it was sunk by a German torpedo in WWI.

And in no less important news, at least from a personal perspective, a baby boy was born in Montreal.

My grandfather died four years ago, at the age of 96. He would have been 100 years old today.

We miss you lots, Zaida!

New Year’s Resolutions

My New Year’s Resolutions for 5769 are:

  1. Walk to (and from) work. See the post below. This one’s an easy resolution to make now, and might be tougher to stick to when the minus-30 weather begins, but I’m certainly going to try to stick to it!
  2. Pack my lunch. I’ve lapsed into laziness, and the cost of buying lunch several times a week is adding up fast. Bringing lunch is cheaper and healthier; eating out should be for special occasions only.
  3. Eat healthier. Kinda follows logically from #2, but also includes a clause against sitting in front of the TV eating chocolate chips out of the package. (Yes, okay, we all know I’m a chocoholic!)
  4. Improve my Spanish from Sesame Street-level to semi-conversational. The Coffee Break Spanish podcast is awesome.
  5. Find a new volunteer project. I haven’t been involved in a good project in a while, and it’s time.

I usually end up not keeping new year’s resolutions. But this time, maybe by making them in September instead of December, it’ll be a better time of year to kick off new habits. It’s all about baby steps, anyway, not big leaps.

Shana Tova, everyone!

Night owls: It’s genetic

No more being told that I’m lazy for my night-owl tendencies. Turns out, I’ve got a good excuse: It’s genetic:

After struggling her whole working life to adapt to the dawn alarm that went with Denmark’s 8-to-4 workday, Dr. Kring, whose PhD was on work-life balance, began researching what was so different between her and morning people. She soon latched on to a University of Surrey study showing that early risers are more likely to have the long form of a gene called Period 3, while late risers are more likely to have a short form.

Dr. Kring has labelled the larks A-people and the owls B-people.

“B-people are not lazy,” she says. “It’s genetic.”

This year, Ms. Kring launched B-Society, a group devoted to lobbying companies to stagger start times and better accommodate those whose circadian rhythms are a little delayed. In just six months, the group attracted 5,500 members and sprouted offshoots throughout Europe. The group’s website is adding a job board on which B-friendly openings throughout the world will be posted.

“B-people are just as productive as anyone else,” she says, “but they are productive at different times of day.”

[ . . . ]

Researchers have found that about one in four people carry the short version of the Period 3 gene, a physiological difference that delays their natural wake-up time by a couple of hours. By contrast, little more than one in 10 carry the early-bird form of the gene (the rest of the population falls somewhere in the middle).

I’ve known for years that mornings and I do not get along. I used to write my best university papers at 3am, and schedule all my classes in the afternoons or evenings in my student days.

Since joining the “real world”, though, it’s become blazingly obvious that business is geared to morning people. I drag myself bleary-eyed out of bed in the mornings, oh-so-reluctantly, and usually do my best to stumble through the morning without doing anything too blazingly dumb. After spending my days feeling tired, my energy level finally kicks in around 10pm… right around the time I ought to be going to sleep. Feeling sharp and productive, I tend to stay up far too late, only to smack the alarm clock in anger the next morning, much too soon.

The simple answer that people keep telling me – go to bed earlier – just doesn’t work for someone who’s always tired except between 9pm and 3am, my self-identified productivity window.

For me, being a night owl is somewhat like being left-handed. I can cope just fine as a lefty in a world of righties, just as I manage to cope as a night owl trapped in a day-job world. But sometimes it’s nice to imagine if everyone were forced to accommodate me for a change.

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