Diversions Reading Shopping

Being Disgruntled

Nothing like being annoyed by something to rekindle the desire to write and share my experiences!

As much as I try to support local shops (especially, as you may know, local bookshops) it can also be an easy decision sometimes to stop shopping somewhere as well.

Me: reads bookstore’s book review newsletter; sees glowing review of Robert Galbraith book

I e-mail the bookstore:

Ugh very disappointed to see any promotion of any of Rowlings’ work – she is an ardent transphobic voice and needs no further accolades of any sort. If any of your readers happen to be trans, or just like me are supportive of all people regardless of sex, orientation, gender etc, then it’s easy to see that you didn’t consider the effect on them of seeing her lauded, yet again.

I’m not sure what I was expecting to receive as a reply but it definitely wasn’t what I did get!

Hello Lisa,

Thank you for your note.

According to the Canadian Energy Centre, Canada imported over $26 billion worth of oil from Saudi Arabia between 2010 and 2020. So, since you have used some of that oil—in your car or taking public transit or your last winter holiday or maybe to heat your house—shall I reach for the same sweeping conclusion that you care not for journalists nor that they get dismembered and killed?

Keep safe.
[initials removed]

P.S. Perhaps you should unsubscribe from the newsletter and not risk being offended by some author who might offend your sensibilities.  

I included a link to the Wikipedia article on whataboutism in my brief reply:

Thank you for making my decision much much easier.
also you may wish to review:

But maybe it is just me? Am I the only one who thinks that the reply was way out of line? I shared the above on FB – because I really was so taken aback.

I got almost immediate responses back like:

“Which bookstore am I never to step foot in or order from”

“Holy crap!”

“How is that a proper professional response by the shop?”

“That’s quite a shocking and disappointing response”

“What a needlessly offensive retort.”

Two friends made the following points for which I am very grateful:

Promoting Rowling is a choice. Using Saudi oil is not.

So tired of people reducing responses like yours to “being offended” you were clearly trying to voice care and an opinion, not whining about being offended. Advocacy is not being offended.

To be clear – this exchange was not with any of my favourite bookshops: Book City, Queen Books or A Different Booklist (or even the Bookmark in Charlottetown) – all of which I have mentioned at one time or another and definitely do not want them tarnished by this brush.

First – it’s amazing to me that the shop doesn’t see the difference between selling the damn book – fine do that if you must – and promoting it!

Second – really? Saudi oil? I mean maybe they were expecting me to also include my voting record and charitable receipt printout when I write to a bookstore about a book review they wrote and distributed?!?

p.s. A friend is the Exec Director of Journalists for Human Rights and I cannot pass up this prime opportunity to share that work too.

p.p.s. A couple people who matter to me said that I should just name the bookstore – so it’s Sleuth of Baker Street in Toronto.


Piecing it together

I love puzzles – most especially word puzzles (oh gosh I was over-the-freaking-moon when wordle became a thing!) but also logic puzzles, sudoko, crosswords, and jigsaw puzzles.

I did a terrific jigsaw in January manufactured by Galison – a US company that started out by working with museums to make art more widely available for people to use like in note cards, posters and so on.

They have a wide variety of licenced art – from Adler to Wharhol; from 100 pieces to 2,000. For March they have a “Celebrating Women Collection” featuring female artists. They also have a BIPOC collection – there’s a Quilts of Gee’s Bend that looks lovely!

The one I did was a holiday gift from my in-laws – it’s almost as if they know me: A BOOK STORE!

the box

It’s actually called A Day at the Bookstore by Michael Storrings. I had a lot of fun putting it together – even all those bricks.

The pieces fit well together and although there was some dust in the box after I dumped all the pieces out from their bag, there wasn’t any noticeable while I worked on the puzzle. The pieces also felt sturdy and held up to being stolen by the cat and knocked around a bit. I liked the way they felt – like they had some substance and a bit of texture.

As you can see below, there was a bit of glare – but that’s also likely due to where I was working on the dining room table (Toby is so accommodating) but if glare is a concern for you – then know that it’s sort of semi-gloss (not matte).

Naturally, I went down a little rabbit hole of jigsaw manufacturer reviews – there is literally a reddit for everything isn’t there? The blogger behind My Jigsaw Journal cannot stand Galison whereas loads of people on that reddit page really enjoy them. I definitely would do more puzzles by Galison at this point.

all done!

The goal is a puzzle a month for 2022 so here’s the January post. I did another puzzle in February so I’m just behind on posting about them not the actual doing lol

Oh and you might note I tagged this with “mindfulness” as well as “jigsaw puzzles” because I think this is true. My goal for meditation is to try and stop regurgitating the past or fretting over the future for a bit. And I find that when I’m working on a puzzle that’s definitely the case!


Compliments File

mindfulness day 2 part 2

it’s amazing how motivating voicing my goal about the mindfulness posts out loud is.

So mindfulness day 2 part 2 – the idea here is a little bit of “fake it till you make it” and a little bit of “see yourself as others see you.”

It’s not always easy to be self-loving and self-confident and generally I know I am WAY harder on myself than I am on others – especially those I care about. Couple that with being very self-deprecating, brushing off praise with self-put-downs, and it can be a hard habit to break.

Step 1 – accept the compliment. No “it was nothing”; no “I could have done better”; just “thank you.”

Step 2 – start a compliments file. Last year I did this in my journal (for like 2 days or something). This year I am going to try and keep it on my phone – so if someone sends a text or message or posts something on my fb or ig I will screen shot it and save it in an album.

Step 3 – review the file – pretend you actually believe the kind things your friends / co-workers / random strangers / family say. Pretend you said “good job” to yourself. Eventually you’ll be able to say it and mean it!

You're the best
found on dribbble by Katie Daugherty

Next up is thinking about your values. I know this is hard…



an (irreverent) aside

Last week I did a “daily calm” session focused on loving kindness.

You start by saying to yourself:

May I be happy
May I be healthy
May I be at peace

Then the idea is to say the same about someone you love / care about:

May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you be at peace

Then someone less central to your life, or a stranger, or the squirrel looking at you through the window.

Then someone you find annoying or difficult to deal with.

So this is where some people may have difficulties. I never do. I can genuinely want the person who cut me off on the highway or the neighbour who parks his car and blocks access to our garage to be happy, healthy, and at peace.

And also to stop being an asshole.

That’s normal right? 😉

two fluffy cats snuggling in an old wing-back chair
loving kindness

Emotional Decluttering

mindfulness day 2 part 1

…la di dah we’re just gonna waltz on in here like it hasn’t been a month since my last post and a month and a half since my last mindfulness post…

There are a couple of activities on “day 2” and there’s no way I can do even one of them in a day so there are gonna be at least 2 “day 2 v.2” posts. I guess I should re-name this one day 2a v.2? Or maybe day 2 v.2a… Or just day 2 part 1 – y’all know it’s not the stuff from 2021. …anyway, back to the regularly scheduled programming.

Everyone knows what physical clutter is right? The stuff hanging around that really serves no purpose except for getting in your way, or making you feel guilty, or worry about unnecessarily. Well, it turns out emotional clutter is pretty similar.

That tchotchke isn’t inherently bad – it only becomes clutter if there are too many and they overwhelm you and don’t serve their intended purpose anymore (i.e. reminding you fondly of someone or some place). Negative thoughts and emotions are also not bad – fight or flight is a survival tactic. BUT most people don’t need survival tactics every damn day.

Feeling guilty about something is the same – you can use the feeling to see how to change and grow OR it can cause you to seize up and freeze and never evolve.

My “emotional decluttering” focus is definitely centred on guilt. It’s so easy for me to absorb any and all blame. My train of thought recently, as an example:

“We’re in a pandemic and we were going to go visit the family in BC but another pandemic wave hit and so we can’t go and it’s my fault I never thought we should move to be closer to the BC family.”


So this is my focus: Forget the mistake and learn the lesson. Don’t hold on to regret and guilt.

Toby took this awesome picture during a visit to Balmy Beach.

I got tested on this too soon though. I offended someone last week. I was trying to process something about how I felt after an online conversation and I forgot the cardinal rule that really there is no nuance online and while the second conversation would have probably happened very differently if it was in person, I made a mistake. I didn’t think through what I was saying before I said it and I completely missed an obvious interpretation.

I’ve given myself a couple of days to wallow and while I wish I had done it differently, I cannot go back and change it. I’ll consider a bit more about what I can learn from this and how to avoid – or at least minimize the chances of it – it in the future.

as an aside – I am going to try and make time for this. It’s important to me even if it isn’t (and probably because it isn’t) easy. So my calendar says I have to post something about this every Tuesday from now on… *fingers crossed*