Categories
Diversions Reading

Turning 50 (in 2023)

This is quite possibly the most “all about me – look at me” thing I have ever done but once I got the idea (years ago now actually) I couldn’t forget about it. I figure I really want to do it and I will risk the consequences of someone thinking I’m being all grabby or insensitive or rude or something.

So anyway, here we are now, about a year-and-a-half until I turn 50 and I have the most awesome idea for my birthday but it would require other people to do a bit of work. Am I allowed to do that? Am I allowed to ask for a specific present? I know that most people might not want to buy me anything anyway but someone might think it’d be fun.

Basically, for the longest time I’ve wanted a full set of Agatha Christie books. Like all of them – and there are a lot of them (almost 100, more than a 100 if you consider different versions as different books).

A collage of ten different covers from Agatha Christie novels.

At first I had it in my head that I wanted them all to match – so the same series from one publisher. But then I had a brilliant idea. Instead of them all to match, I want them all different – new, used, plain paperbacks, fancy hardcovers, whatever. AND so I thought for my 50th I’d ask people to buy me a book and write a message in it (or on a bookmark/card inside) and send it to me.

I’m still trying to think out the logistics and how to do it. Naturally, I have a spreadsheet of all the books. You can send me a copy of your favourite (if you have one; and really I would find it amusing if I end up with 10 copies of murder on the orient express!) or ask if you want to know what has already been received. Maybe you have a dog-eared copy that you know you should get rid of but feel bad for just tossing? Or a copy that an ex-partner left on the bookshelf? Or you stumble across a Russian copy in a used book shop in New York or whatever.

I don’t think it would work if I had to wait until March 2023 to open them all – so if that would upset you then write “WAIT” on the package. Otherwise I’m just gonna open them and share what I’ve received as I get them.

The scene below is what’s going through my head of course – so do please forgive the imposition of my request. There is obviously no obligation at all on anyone to play along; there will be no score card; I will not think you love me any less – I’m pretty good at assuming that if you read this blog and we’re friends on FB or whatever that you love me as I am – foibles and all.

Categories
Book Diversions Indigenous Politics Reading Review

Bookish – 30 Aug 2021

Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

– Beverly Daniel Tatum

I just finished the 20th anniversary edition of this book – with an updated prologue and epilogue. Like my last Bookish entry (Memmi) this one is going to take a while to digest.

The first thing to say is this really shouldn’t be your first book on race and racism. Or even your third or fourth. It’s dense. It requires a lot of unpacking. And although she explains that she decided to write the book when she realised she needed to “bring an understanding of racial identity development to a wider audience” (pg77) the book is not something that most people will find easy to digest.

I should probably start with explaining that it’s not about “race” but how one’s own identity – encompassing race – develops. I learned a lot but I am stubborn and carried on through the stats and took notes and had the luxury of time to sit and think and read and sit and think and read. I think that for most people it’ll just be beyond them in terms of time and energy to invest. And that’s a shame. I think it’ll just be too much for all the people who could really benefit from learning what is in here.

Here are some great, big picture lessons though:

Race is a social construction.

Race is a human-invented classification system no different than the Dewey Decimal system. Geneticists agree.

Society is important

A big part of defining yourself can come from what the world around you says about you and about others like you. Everyone needs to see themselves reflected in the world.

We need to talk about race and racism

If we want to move past a racist society we all have to step up – and white people most of all. You have to work to identify your own sphere of influence and consider how to use it to interrupt the cycle of racism.

Racism doesn’t just harm Black, Indigenous, People of Colour – though obviously it effects them most directly.

We all lose – when human potential is left by the wayside because it doesn’t seem to fit with the perceived norm.

We need to talk about racism – the break the silence. White people might be afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing – I am always concerned about this – but the work cannot always fall on the shoulders of Black, Indigenous, Asian, Middle Eastern peoples (to name but a few). The consequences for me to speak out are far less harsh than for some others.

I cannot wait to know all the information out there; I can no longer wait for perfection; I have to keep taking my small, deliberate steps each and every day. In those steps I find hope.

Categories
Health

Determining my values – mindfulness day 3

Well, I’ve spent a lot of the last week thinking about my values. From lots of the websites I looked at (whether meant for school planning or changing careers or mindfulness) the basic idea seems to be to look at bunches of lists of values and see what resonates with you; what is most important to you.

I’ve just started reading Brene Brown and this really resonated.

Someone said they figured out their core values by asking themselves “what is the thing I want in X area of my life?” Then they asked “why do I want that?”. After asking why a few times they figured out their core values.

Some friends were kind enough to share theirs with me to give me thoughts on what they considered important.

And a while back an artist wanted to make me a picture as thanks for supporting her work and asked me a bunch of questions including: “use three words to describe your personality.”

I turned to three of my closest friends for help. I told them the first three that came to mind for me were: curious, kind, stubborn. They suggested changing “stubborn” to “determined”; and added: thoughtful, ‘often slightly drunk’, and generous.

I asked Toby and Q as well. Without hesitation Q said that his family and friends were the most important things to him. Then added health. Toby agreed with this and his first thought was ‘kindness’ – which I think is kinda sweet because it was definitely one of the first ones I thought of.

So back to figuring out my own values. I approached it like I do most everything really – I threw a bunch of stuff on the page and tried to figure out what should stay 😊

THE BIG LIST

Family – there should be no doubt that Toby and Q are my world.

Cleverness
Curiosity
Diversity
Empathy
Fairness
Generosity
Happiness
Honesty
Humour
Kindness
Knowledge
Learning
Love
Openness
Reliability
Security / Stability
Trustworthy
Warmth
Well-being
Wisdom

After a bunch of thought and to-ing and fro-ing (just me, or does that just always look wrong? toing and froing is no better), I decided that the ones in bold are the most important to me. Apparently you’re supposed to narrow it down to two eventually but I figure these are a pretty good start. I might write more in the future about what they all mean to me (like generosity isn’t just donating money and maybe over time I’ll become more comfortable with generosity or kindness and only keep one of them bold) but this is where I am now.

Here are some lists of values for you to look at if you like:

Brene Brown – PDF link: https://daretolead.brenebrown.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Values.pdf

Psychology Today online list: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/click-here-happiness/201807/39-core-values-and-how-live-them

The University of California Berkeley has a checklist too (lots of other unis do if you poke around a little). https://career.berkeley.edu/Plan/Values The nifty thing about the Berkeley page is it also as an “end of career” activity which asks two questions:

How do you want to be remembered? Similarly, what do you want to be remembered for?

What evidence (e.g. accomplishments, relationships, achievements, etc.) would exist to prove that you led a meaningful life and a successful career?

I thought that was a pretty interesting framework. Especially the first question.

Categories
Book By Q Diversions Review

Bookish by Q

4 August 2021 – Our Skin

My mom made me read this book but I liked it.

I think this is a good book for young kids. I am 10 years old, so I mean someone younger than me.


The pictures displayed lots of different kinds of people: Black, Asian, African-American, white, different genders, people of different ages, people using wheelchairs.

There was even an elephant and a dog.

I think the main message of the book is to treat all people equally. Some people and some systems are still racist. We are in a new time now, we should start progressing beyond past mistakes and so we should start treating people equally.

It’s important to say something. It’s important to have your voice heard.

Categories
Health

Accepting compliments – mindfulness day 2

I’m starting today with some housekeeping.

First: the person who set up the 28 days on FB is Brittany Terotta. She is a clinical social worker and refers to what she does as holistic therapy. The stuff I’m posting here are my thoughts and digressions and things I found using her prompts as my start. Blame me though, if you don’t like something, not her 😉

Second: I’ve realised there’s no way I’m going to do this as a daily thing. Also a part of Brittany’s day two was thinking about values. I’ve been thinking and poking about online (psychology resources, career planning, budgetting pages! they all talk about figuring out your values) and it’s going to take me a while just to digest that. I’ll still subtitle the posts “mindfulness day X” where X equals the last mindfulness post plus 1. And they will all be tagged “mindfulness” and “mental health” so they should be all easy to see together.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program….

This day pairs nicely with the positive affirmations – this time the idea is to make a commitment to accept compliments you are given. No deflecting, no “it was nothing,” none of that. Say thank you instead.

Then write it down. Keep a list. Read the list whenever you need some reminders.

I’m setting up my journal for August today (yes, I know – but at least it was the 3rd when I wrote this!) and I will have a page to write things down on.

I did a bit of this back in February – it’s lovely to see. And because I am me, I wrote down who said it and in what context lol

I have to remember the point is to become the best version of me that I can be. And I am grateful to be here.