A Most Ingenious Paradox

Watching television makes me twitchy and kills my creative juices. It’s a bit like a drug. I watch some and then I want more and by the time I’ve convinced myself to stop watching TV, all I want is to stare at the ceiling and wonder why my life sucks.

This is something that I know about myself, that I’ve proven at countless opportunities, starting from when I was very small and my parents let me watch Saturday morning cartoons so that they could sleep in.

It’s something that I realized when I was somewhat older and went to my aunt and uncle’s house for Christmas, where the TV is on every hour of the day that anyone in the house is awake. They use TV like others use the radio, as a soothing background noise.

I found it like another version of hell, where I hated what was on the TV, but I couldn’t stop watching.

This is something that I know about myself, so why is it that  I routinely convince myself that the thing I need to relax after a stressful day is… just a little bit of TV?

It’s really puzzling.


Yesterday, I heard that a friend of mine was having depression issues due to a stressful work environment caused by a failure of management. Today, I heard that my best friend’s mother was having depression issues due to a stressful work environment caused by a failure of management.

As some background, my mother had an early retirement because of depression issues due to a stressful work environment caused by a failure of management. A few years ago, my best friend had depression issues due to a stressful work environment caused by a failure of management. A few years before that, I had depression issues due to a stressful work environment  caused by a failure of management.

Seriously, managers. Figure out that the environment in your work unit is stressful BEFORE people want to kill themselves.

Not cool.



It’s like if you were to go into work one morning, excited to work on your latest project and get it out the door before your vacation the next week.

It’s like if you sat down at your chair and turned on your computer only to have the fire alarm in the building go off.

It’s like not being allowed back into the building after the evacuation is done.

It’s like being sent home, because the building won’t be open for the rest of the day.

Distractions. It’s those little things that prevent you from getting stuff done.

No TV… For me…Except Today…

I currently have as a goal that I won’t watch any TV/YouTube/Netflix/ whatever medium that can fling television shows at my eyeballs.

How’s that going?


Pretty well, until I got stressed out and sat at home, curled up in bed watching YouTube clips and stuffing cheese curds in my face.

To be fair to myself, cheese curds ARE delicious, and sometimes it’s good to be decadent.

Of course, I also remind myself that when I watch too much TV, then I find it hard to do things where I have to use my brain. As on cue, it happened this time.

But that’s OK.

A Smell Tour of Ottawa

There is something magical about the smell of Ottawa in the spring. Here is a description of the climate of Ottawa from climatemps:

“Ottawa, Ontario has a humid continental climate with severe winters, no dry season, warm summers and strong seasonality (Köppen-Geiger classification: Dfb).
According to the Holdridge life zones system of bioclimatic classification Ottawa, Ontario is situated in or near the cool temperate moist forest biome.”

What does this mean?

This means that there are swamps just about everywhere, that it rains consistently nearly every month of the year, that it’s as humid as it can be every month of the year, that you feel the winter’s cold WAY more than you would in a drier climate… and that it smells amazing.

Every season of the year, there’s a fantastic smell relating to be outside. There’s a smell for Halloween, there’s smell for freshly fallen snow, there’s a smell for the warmth of summer and there’s a smell for spring.

The thing is, every year I forget about them and every year I’m reminded when they come around again. I used to go on trips for my work. I would leave the city and go travelling and I would end up on an airplane with its cold, stagnant air. I’d go to airports which try very hard not to smell like anything. I’d end up in different cities. (Like that time that I went to New York and could only smell urine and garbage the entire time that I was there. I understood why people would go to Central Park, at that point.)

Then I come home, and it’s almost better to do that, because then it’s like a happy reminder.

I decided to say this here, because every season I’m like a broken record. “Oh! I love this smell, don’t you love this smell! Look, it smells like spring/fall/snow/lilacs!” And then the people around me roll their eyes. I don’t think that a lot of people appreciate smells the way that I do.

The point is, that it smells like spring, finally. We had some late March/early April snowfall, but it’s melting. I can see my driveway!

Oh well, at least it stretched out the Maple Syrup season. One must always appreciate a good Maple Syrup season. (Not for the smell, but for the taste)

When bad is good

Tonight, I’ve been sewing and crafting all night. Basically, I got home from work, decompressed, ate an early dinner and then… 5 hours later here I am.

I’ve been doing this thing where I watch YouTube. When I say that, I mean that I just watch it. It’s like the TV in the background, switching from video to video to video.

(I wasn’t actually watching it. I was mostly listening to it as I stared at the sewing machine. Looking away whilst operating machinery is a good way to lose digits or worse.)

For about an hour, I watched Stephen Colbert, until I wanted to punch the computer in the face if I had to hear his voice again. Then, it was countless cast interviews with the actors from Game of Thrones. Then, it was Honest Trailers.

What is the point of this?

The point is, that I normally avoid TV. Normally, TV distracts me and annoys me, especially when I’m trying to concentrate.

Today, some background noise was just what I needed to focus on the task at hand.

All this to say, trying new ways of working can turn out well. And early dinners mean that you can get some pretty sweet focus going, and get a lot of stuff done in the evening.

Skype: What could go wrong?

Today, I called my sister to say happy birthday to my now-3-year-old niece.

They were so happy to hear from me, that they wanted to do a Skype call.

Great! We both hung up.

And then… the tablet that I use for Skyping was out of batteries. Even when I plugged it in, it wouldn’t turn on for 5 minutes.

And then… it had been so long since I used Skype that I forgot my user name.

And then… the password I typed wasn’t the right one.

And then… it was working. It was great! And then the tablet restarted.

And then I threw my tablet out the window. (No, I didn’t. Like a chump, I just waited for it to reboot. Argh.)

Finally, I logged in… and all of my contacts were gone.

Somehow, just as everyone was losing all hope. I received the Skype call.

So I got to wish my niece a happy (belated) birthday.

Delaying Gratification

It was 3 hours until lunch, and I was already craving it.

There was egg salad in my bag, sitting there just beside my right ankle.

I wanted it.

I wanted it bad.

I looked at the 3 Litres of water that was sitting on my desk, that I refill every day so that I have no excuse to not be hydrated.

I told myself: “You can eat your lunch when it’s 12, or when you’ve finished all of the water on your desk. Whichever comes first. But not a second earlier.”

Then I drank 3 Litres of water in 3 hours and spent the rest of the day dashing to the bathroom every 20 minutes.

But I ate my lunch at lunch hour.