01.05.19

What I’ve been up to: 

We spent a quiet Christmas at a cabin in Skykomish, watching the snow fall on the river and listening to the wood stove crackle in between walking the dogs, and doing very little else. It was blissful.

And then we spent a busy weekend visiting family rounded it off with some bubbles on the couch.


Last month I also had a couple of really special dinner parties (and brunch!) with some amazing people in spectacular locales that I am still relishing, went roller-skating a bunch of times and of course worked on my goals for 2019.

What was beautiful:

Some beautiful pieces of artwork, vintage pinball machines, wintry PNW landscapes, and my hair!

What I’m reading and listening to:

One for my psychoanalytic travel journal – How Personality and Place affect Personal Flourishing

A lot of success is just picking something and sticking with it

What to do when we’re checked out and withdrawn

On microdosing

Powerful ways to treat depression without medication

On giving up booze for a year

How your phone contributes to your loneliness

On letting go of your baggage

What lonely humans can learn from lonely mice

When Self Help makes your life worse

How to be more patient

12.10.18

What I’ve been up to: 

 

The 4th annual Rainier Ravens Holiday party – about as Christmasy as I get these days but it is always a lot of fun and this year Matt came out and manned the piñata.

 

Afterwards I, got to deliver the gifts we collected for the women at Jubilee Women’s Center and that made me really happy.

And then it was my flamenco dancing debut at our studio performance! The dogs were very involved in helping me practice.

 

What was beautiful:

 

What I’m reading and listening to:

Incredibly inspiring notebooks of a traveling artist

Farm animal donation

Corporate mediocrity

Baking Bread in Chefchaouen

02.22.18

What was Beautiful:

All this wintry sunshine. It’s my favourite weather and I wish I had more time to just soak it all up.

Dinner at Anna Lena in Vancouver. Amazing spread and seriously good service.

What made me Laugh: 

Going through my grandmother’s brooch collection with my sister.

What I’ve been up to: 

Art class – and actually making some art at home too!, running up and down I-5 to go diving / dining / visiting / snowbaording, etc., and trying to get the yard to look like less of a disaster before the tulips come up. Also what feels like a lot of Work.

What I’m reading:

Portraits of Retired Sex Workers: The Gaze Turned the Other Way – an utterly amazing photo essay at Medium

Another, also involving the elderly – You & Me on a Sunny Day

The secret lives of Narwhals, because duh. Who doesn’t want to know what the unicorns of the sea are up to?

New Poetry by Indigenous Women. I’ve been on a super poetry bent lately and was grateful to come across this.

A request for “fun facts” about me prompted a Google search for Canadians and “Degan” and returned these gems:

36 Delightful facts about Canada, Weird Facts about Canada that prove it’s the Most Interesting Country Ever  (did you know we eat 55% more Kraft Dinner than Americans do? That must be in the prairies. Or all those communities that are too far away from grocery stores),  Urban Dictionary entries for Degan that suggest my name means, “to put hos before bros; to ditch friends to be with a girlfriend” or “A fucking idiot who copies people’s words and drives an accord”. Ouch! At least I am from the most interesting country ever and I know that Accord should be capitalized.

Icicle Creek, a poem by EJ Koh (along with many other poems a friend sent me in response to a request for new poetry recommendations).

The Gift & Power of Emotional Courage, at TEDx. I’m always going to click that link and this is a good one.

Rebecca Solnit on the #MeToo Backlash. I deeply respect her thinking and writing and this is a subject that I can’t let go of yet either.

What Cross-country Skiing Reveals About the Human Condition…timely because of the Olympics but relevant to me because poetic. Via Nicole Gulatta, a poet, and it is indeed poetic, “Every winter sport is — in addition to being an inspiring triumph of elegant majesty — also a total hassle. It is not easy to convert your soft, frail, squishy, warm human body into something that can survive in the hard world of frozen water. It requires all kinds of logistics: fitting, strapping, buckling, bundling, clomping, shivering. But the effort is worth it, because the frozen water unlocks superpowers we would never otherwise have. It allows us to glide, slide, soar, whoosh and hurtle. Skiers go flying over moguls at 75 m.p.h. Speedskaters shoot over the ice, leaning and pumping, weaving through competitors. The payoff for the ridiculous logistical nightmare is the gift of fluid speed.”

Does Marriage Even Make Sense Anymore? at Medium. “People marry to show their family and friends how well their lives are going, even if deep down they are unsure whether their partnership will last a lifetime.” “This (often illusionary) feeling of security is enhanced by the legal binding of one to another. It makes it more difficult to leave, and thereby relates to possessing. In short, we want to marry so we can hold onto another.”

Comfort is a Silent Killer, linked from the article above.

8 Things Everyone Should Do Before 8 AM. I hate titles that tell me what to do but this does make sense. Wake up, get in the zone, get moving, put the right food in your body, get ready, get inspired, get perspective, do something to move you foreward.

Are we post lifestyle? at Medium. “The alpha and omega of modern advertising is that we want to be the person with the thing pictured more than we want the thing.”

Winter

Blackie Spit

“The winters were cold and bitter now, like the brothers of kings.” – Anne Fleming

This has been the coldest winter in a while, certainly in my lifetime and in fact in the last 66 years. Our friends from anywhere else in Canada laugh at us but we have no winter coats, we have no snow tires, we leave the house without gloves or boots and even though I once got the Hardiest Camper award in Girl Guides, I have been complaining a bit.

Trout lake

My grandfather used to send me letters occasionally, almost until he died at 97. He lived most of his life in remote parts of BC and for as long as I’ve been alive he lived alone in a log cabin on a huge acreage in Crawford Bay. So when he sat down to write a letter, they were like little paintings of a world he knew very well; the deer have come down to graze on the driveway, the hummingbirds are active now, it should be snowing soon. I think of his letters often when I look out our window onto the tree on Water Street and notice that the crows are nesting or that the leaves are budding. It seems amazing that we can take notice of such small details when we have all of this information and input flying at us, but I am glad we do and I make a point of doing it often.

My friend just posted this status on Facebook: “The sunset is amazing! The sky looks like it’s on fire. Standing in a crowded bus so cannot take a photo. Look now if you can.” That’s the spirit!

Whistler

We had a bit of snow on the weekend but it’s warmed up enough now that we are sure to expect grey and rain the rest of the week – much more typical for a Vancouver winter but it means that we have come inside. It turns out that as long as the sky is not dishwater grey and just as wet, I am happy to be outside. I decided to take a photo every day of 2014 in an attempt to have a visual record of what I’ve been up to and also to improve my photography skills. But even looking back on two months’ worth, the vast majority of them are outside. I’ve been up to Whistler boarding a few times,  diving pretty regularly (even cleaning out trash from lakes!), and hiking (or at least walking or dog-parking) with Riley. My drysuit decided that the dead of winter was the best time to fall apart so there were a couple of really short dives before I got a sexy new suit but even that was ok. I like being outside.

Crab park

This is old news. When I was a kid I was always playing outdoors –  first in the driveway, then the yard, then the creek behind our house and then the mountains and ocean behind the city. And this year I’ve had lots of time to play outside. My career coaches / books / websites keep asking ‘what would you do if you didn’t have to work?’ and I have determined that I do absolutely have to work. I don’t like have endless amounts of time on my hands but when I do, I fill it with reading and writing and playing outside.

Crab park

I’ve been reading a lot about the change cycle and finding your dream job and I think I will write a separate post about that but after months and months of thinking about it, I feel like I am finally getting close. It’s been an interesting journey (and I will write a post about that too) – almost interesting enough that I considered being a career coach myself but in the end I am back at digital communications and media. It’s the only thing that makes sense and I am enjoying digging in to it, but I am glad of the process that has led me to volunteer at the David Suzuki Foundation and the Museum of Vancouver, taking a Cabinet of Curiosities museum class at UBC and a whole whack of other classes online, going to Seattle for the IN-NW social media conference, putting on a whisky tasting and all the things I’ve learned along the way. And it’s been fun but I am anxious to get going.

Sea

Last month I attended an award’s dinner where my dad received a lifetime achievement award with his business partner. I am so proud! And so envious. He has worked hard all his life and loved every minute of it and is an absolute inspiration to me in my search. We are still moving to Seattle in the summer and I am focusing forward, checking out companies and careers as well as diving, hiking and networking groups. I’m really looking forward to the refresh but first I have a whisky tasting to put on and Riley’s first birthday to celebrate and then we are off to go diving in the Revillagigedo Islands (Socorro) off the coast of Mexico.  This is a life dream of mine and has been in the works for quite a while but it will all be worth it to dive with giant mantas, humpback whales and their calves, dolphins, eels, tuna and sharks (hammerheads, Galapagos, silky, white tip, silver tip and maybe even whale sharks)! Check this out: https://vimeo.com/64876316.

Trains

What I’m Reading and Listening to this month: