Welp, I did it.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I wasn’t really excited by the new MacBooks that were announced this year. And the more I read the less compelling they seemed… As I talked with my co-workers, I heard some really good reviews of a couple of models of Windows computers, and since 90% of Firefox’s users are using Windows it’s probably not such a bad idea if I use it, too, both to help me understand the problems they’re running into, and to make sure that the code I’m writing will work for them.

Read more…

I Gave Up Social Media

In December 2015, I stopped reading Twitter. It was the school Christmas break, the girls were home and I wasn't working so I wasn't on my computer much, and I was too busy to read Twitter on my phone.

Then I just... didn't get back on again.

Read more…

How to Work Out Every Day (Kind Of)

I work out every day. Hah, no I don't. I do work out most days, though. I didn't used to be a workout-every-day person. I got to this point through years of incremental changes and adjustments in my habits and attitudes.

People are impressed that I work out. They say, "I'm so impressed that you work out so often!" They say, "That's great, that you go to the gym every day!" It's one of the few things that I get randomly acclaimed for. (Of course, that says less about the magnitude of the accomplishment and more about what we value as a society.)

But valued or not, exercise is profoundly important. If there is such a thing as a panacea, it's not aspirin or vitamin D or fish oil, it's exercise. It's good for your body, it's good for your brain, and it's good for your mood. Apart from the actual doing of it, there is no downside to exercise.

That's the trick, though, isn't it? The actual doing. The taking time out of your day, the sweating, the special clothes. It's a bit of a drag.

If you want to enjoy the benefits of exercise, you need to minimize the drag. This is how I manage it.

Read more…

Forty-One: An Appraisal

This Monday I turned 41 years old. It came as a bit of a surprise. All my life I've felt a particular age, usually not my actual age, and it's always been younger, as if I got stuck. For example, I felt 34 for at least three years after I stopped being 34, and I think the one before that was 27. This is the first time I've gotten ahead of myself: I feel like I'm about 44, and I keep being surprised that I'm only 41.

It has been a rocky year. My last birthday was marked by picking up my family from the airport in Saskatoon, and picking up my mother's ashes from the crematorium on the way out of town. Then we stopped for burgers at A&W.

This birthday was marked by sharing a traditional memorial feast for (and with) our ancestors with good friends who also lost a grandparent on July 31. We had burgers.

Read more…

Looking Back: 2015

I'm going to go out on a sturdy limb and say 2015 wasn't one of my best years. It wasn't an unqualified disaster, though. Let's start at the beginning.

The year started off phone-free, because I dropped my phone down a drain in December 2013. I stubbornly tried to manage without buying a new iPhone, but I finally gave up and blew the $600 or whatever on an unlocked replacement. I'm much more careful with my phone outside, now, so I guess I grew as a person.

Read more…

A Letter to My Mother on what would have been her 81st Birthday

Dear Mum,

Today would have been your birthday. It’s been three and a half months since you died, and I thought you might like an update.

I know that of all the places you’re likely to be (and I expect you’re probably not actually anywhere, although Shirley thinks you’re in the blue jays) the Internet is the least likely, so I’m not sure why I’m posting this online. Maybe, like everything else post-mortem, it’s for me, not for you --- on account of you’re dead.

I hope being dead is working out for you. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were really a heaven, and you could be with your dad and your sister again? Maybe even your handsome first husband, who you loved so much. (I didn’t find any pictures of him in your stuff --- but there were pictures of Dad’s first wife. You were way prettier.)

Read more…