Tuesday, April 21, 2015

motivate me

one of the biggest dilemmas about being an adult: making the realization that you don't have to do something if you don't want to.

this is obviously within reason - you do have to go to work, you do have to pay the rent, you do have to abide the law, etc. - but if it's smaller things that only affect you, then it's fair game. once you realize "i'm an adult, i can do this if i want" or "i'm an adult, i don't have to do this if i don't want", there's no going back from the slippery slide of de-motivation. it's like how i was warned that, in university, once you discovered that there were no consequences if you skipped a class (unlike high school, where the school would call your parents if you skipped), it was all over. you'd be skipping classes all the damn time. and guess what i did. (to be fair, i held back on skipping as long as i could, but once my music journalism really ramped up, in second year i was skipping classes to go interview bands all the time)

pertinent example: my gym routine. i am a gym-going person, although i am not a gym-loving person. i go to the gym 4-5 times a week for 1.5-2 hours (mostly cardio). i stick to this routine because it keeps me disciplined and focused and responsible, and also because it helps keep my moods stable and my health in check. really, once i get there and i'm in the middle of it, i feel good about what i'm doing. but there are some days - a lot of days, honestly - when i wake up in the morning and think, i don't want to go to the gym today. the dangerous part is when my subconscious replies with, you're an adult. it's your choice. you don't have to go if you don't want to.

those are the days i usually end up spending playing with my ipad on the couch.

so the trick for me, then, is to not let that thought creep in whenever i'm approaching doing something i don't really want to do. it's absolutely easy in life choose to do only the things you want to do; that's not where personal growth lies, however. that old adage "do one thing every day that scares you" is a bit overblown for my tastes, but it's got the right idea. if you only ever do things you want to do and nothing you don't, you'll never push yourself out of your comfort zone.

also, for me, it feels good to hold myself accountable to something. that makes me feel like a goddamn adult, every bit as much as the realization that i can make my own decisions. when you can make your own decisions, and you decide to hold yourself to something, then fuck yeah, that's empowering. but even when i don't, i try to find a positive side out of it -- i like being productive in my day-to-day, so if i do skip the gym, i try to use the newly freed-up time to do something like laundry or cleaning my apartment (if i don't feel like leaving the house), or grocery-shopping, or just going for a walk. that way, i feel like although i didn't hold myself to my plans, i still made use out of the day. that's something, right?

but yeah, motivation and accountability are both huge things and basically the same side of the coin. when you don't have the motivation to do the things you need to do (but may not want to do), then it can all just fall apart, and then it's hard to get back in the saddle again. i go through peaks and valleys when it comes to this -- some weeks i'll be super-charged and motivated and feeling good about myself and what i'm doing, and then other weeks i'll just let everything slide and end up feeling stuck in a cycle of doing nothing and feeling like crap but not being motivated enough to change/fix things. (this is usually brought on by a number of factors, including the weather, how tired i am, and where i'm at in the monthly hormone rollercoaster)

i don't know. it's tricky.

do you have any tips for holding yourself accountable? please help, i've been putting off doing my taxes for months now.

[ music | justice, "dvno" ]

Monday, April 20, 2015

spring cleaning

been busy, been doing stuff. hello!

in yo' face. with doritos.

then again, i haven't been super busy - mostly trying to quell the pangs of jealousy when i see how many of my friends are on vacation in cool places right now; i get supremely itchy feet at this time of year - but there hasn't been much going on that's called for blogging. also, i occasionally get into moods where i feel like keeping my life to myself, which i know is at odds with the whole "publicly blogging" thing i've been doing since, oh, 2000. but sometimes i would rather keep the details of things (because most of it is happy contented fuzzy feelings, and who wants to read about those? blech). plus, let's just say i have a decent sense of who keeps checking up on me and my life. hello.

however, having some fortunate free time in the blooming pre-spring does afford the opportunity to smell the roses:

enjoy beers on a sunny wednesday afternoon:

and stop to pet neighbourhood kitties:

(here is also a video shot by the boy, of the friendly floofcat who lives a couple streets over from me. video also featuring me saying "are you recording?" and laughing stupidly in delight as floof chats with us)

yep, spring is coming to this big beautiful city of mine, if the gross drizzly weather outside this morning is any indication, and with spring comes that venerable hallmark holiday: mother's day. this year, my father was strangely insistent that i spend that weekend in kingston to see my mother, which was weird to me since 1) my mom isn't elderly or sick and 2) i never go to k-town for mother's day (except for once, way back in 2009 -- also the leonard cohen weekend!). so after checking in with my mom to ensure that she's not on her deathbed (she's not, and was puzzled about my dad's sentimentality, but he's like that), i scored super-cheap train tickets to kingston on thursday the 7th, staying til monday the 11th. it was actually decent timing, since i've been missing my family a lot lately, and also kingston starts getting pretty around may. it's pretty brown and dead and boring right now. (hopefully i'll be able to keep the boredom at bay during this trip -- it would have been way better if sean could come too, but it's projected to be a busy work weekend for him, sighhhh)

here's the uber-appropriate mother's day card i picked up yesterday:


gotta say though, i'm more looking forward to the week before kingston -- because i'm getting a haircut on the wednesday, and then i have tickets to the 7 p.m. showing of avengers: age of ultron on its opening night. stoked.

by the way, believe all the hype you've been hearing about netflix's daredevil series. i'm down to the last two episodes, and it's taken a lot of restraint on my part to not binge on the entire series at once. way, way better than i was expecting. i was never a huge daredevil fan but i definitely am now, especially after this:

who's a sucker for a badass smirk? this girl. right here.

(still not sold on ant-man, though.)

what else? hmmmm well, i already posted about this on my tumblr (which generally sees more action than this blog, but likely because it can be updated quickly and it's mostly pictures, so check there if you really want to keep tabs on me?), but as part of spring refreshing, i tend to add a bunch of new songs to my ipod. makes for good listening. here's what i've recently added and/or been playing repeatedly as of late -- lots of sunny happy tracks for sunny happy walks:

the 1975 - the city
queens of the stone age - 3′s & 7′s
magic man - texas
st. lucia - closer than this
arkells - come to light
tokyo police club - your english is good
css - jager yoga
brandon flowers - can't deny my love
ms mr - hurricane
the xx - together
justice - dvno
walk the moon - shut up and dance
charli xcx - boom clap
golden coast - break my fall

and many more beyond that, obviously. (my ipod isn't even half-full, though, which i ought to remedy at some point. i'm picky, though.)

i need more coffee. heart u.

[ music | cold war kids, "first" ]

Sunday, March 29, 2015

it's only in the blood

here's a thing: i've been anemic for at least six years now.

i was first notified by my doctor in 2009, who called me after doing some bloodwork to say that my iron levels were "incredibly" low; normal levels for women are between 35 and 45 percent, and mine was like, 6. i'm not sure how i wasn't dead. anyway, this made sense given i was coming off of my ill-advised couple years of being a vegetarian, and clearly not taking enough vitamins to compensate.

being anemic isn't uncommon for women, since we bleed once a month, and it can be worse if we're in the gym a lot too (something about sweating out the minerals). my lifestyle in particular has never been conducive to a healthy iron level -- too much working out, not enough red meat because i can't afford it, sometimes crap diet in general. also, it's tricky to get your body to absorb iron, since if you're eating something high in iron, you generally need to pair it with something high in vitamin C in order to absorb the maximum amount of iron available. (so like, eggs with tomatoes, or spinach salad with red peppers) all told, it's a lot of work to not be anemic, basically.

so as a mild hypochondriac, i was pretty alarmed by my doctor's diagnosis way back when, and really did make a valiant effort to fix my health for a while. i took iron supplements (palafer) continuously for a couple years, but eventually dropped off because 1) i didn't want to keep paying for them (they're not covered under ontario health care); 2) they're difficult to take; 3) the side effects are painful and gross. at the time, it really felt like the cure was worse than the disease, so i figured, why bother? my anemia wasn't life threatening and it wasn't interfering with my day-to-day life, so i let treatment fall by the wayside and put on a sheepish grin every time my annual physical came up with "your health is fine, aside from the fact that you're anemic". whatever, it was fine. it's easy to be young and stupid.

but lately - and as i've gotten older - i've had a harder time putting my crappy blood aside. i can get tired pretty easily, and i occasionally have heart arrhythmia, where my heartbeat sort of speeds up or flutters in my chest (i had it checked out at the doc's years ago and my heart is fine and normal, so the anemia is the only explanation). also, and more annoyingly, there's now usually a day or two during my time of the month where i feel so exhausted from loss of iron that i nearly faint. which...isn't a good thing. it's alarmed my poor boyfriend enough that i figured i better start taking care of myself again, less he keep wringing his hands over my health. (he worries about me a lot.)

so i'm back to taking palafer, as recommended by my doctor, even though i hate it (the pills, not my doc). i take it dutifully every night before bed, on an empty stomach, with a glass of orange juice, then i lie back and wait for the weird burning sensation in my stomach to cede. then the next day can potentially include bloating, gas, and other unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects. if i skip a pill during treatment, i usually have headaches the next day. again, it does feel like the cure is worse than the disease -- but i know from past experience that once you're taking it regularly, the side effects lessen and everything evens out. which is a good thing since you need to take palafer for at least three months to notice any difference in your health/energy levels/what-have-you. anemia, man. it's a tricky one.

at the very least, it gives me the excuse to occasionally put together very nice meals for myself:

red wine as standard.

as i said in my last blog post, march has been - and april will continue to be - months of self-improvement and care for me. when you don't have health coverage (which i currently don't, and i try not to think about it), you really need to make sure you do stuff for your health like take vitamins and exercise often and drink a ton of water and floss every day. (dental health is suuuuuuuper important, you guys. when i lived in vancouver back in 2007-08, my job didn't give me health benefits, so i didn't go to the dentist for like two years. i think i had three cavities that needed to be filled when i got back to my dentist in toronto.)

aside from actively trying to fix my anemia for the first time since 2009-10 (because honestly, i don't want to be exhausted and fainting anymore), i'm attempting to wrangle my budget and take better care of my finances. i'm committed to going to the gym for an hour and half four days a week, including two spin classes and walking 10,000+ steps a day. i'm doing an anti-aging face mask once a week. i'm trying to get at least eight hours of sleep a night. i'm doing a lot of laundry. i'm paying all my bills on time. and i'm flossing. all the little things that are within my power to make me feel satisfied that i'm not a complete fuckup at being an adult. because sometimes that's all you can really do, right?

[ music | holy ghost!, "wait and see" ]

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#Reverb15: Spring Favourites

Cleaning out the closet, updating your beauty regime, tackling DIY projects. What are your favorites this spring?

hilariously, this question was posed just as i'm going out later today to buy one of the most boring of all tools: a squeegee with an extendible handle, so i can wash my apartment's windows. because yes, spring is coming, and the outside of my windows are filthy with what i can only assume is caked-on smog. i've determined that the only solution - aside from standing on one of my balcony chairs, which is a terrifying prospect at 18 storeys up - is to purchase an expensive sponge on a stick. wheeeeeee.


other than that, for me it's the typical spring-cleaning business: open up all the windows as much as possible to air out the apartment, keep things tidy and vacuumed, do tons of laundry (except for this bullshit yesterday), and perform general upkeep that makes me feel like a responsible, productive adult. because no matter how fucked up my life gets, i can at least feel proud that i'm able to keep my clothes washed and my floors clean. yay?

also, it's mostly a time to take stock of current habits and try to improve things, because the only motivation i have in the summer is to find as many patios as possible. so right now in the last days of winter, i try to take better care of myself - face mask once a week; iron pills once a day; floss every night; try to get back in shape so i can fit into my cute spring/summer dresses - so the only thing i have to worry about in the summer is not sweating to death. (i've mentioned i don't like the summer, right?)

[ music | pj harvey, "bad fortune" ]