Waiting For January 2nd

It is hard to not make New Years Resolutions.

The same force that compels us to have the Christmas spirit is the same that makes us want to promise all kinds of things for next year.  It is not our fault.  It is a very real energy.

When all that energy wears off however, usually by January 2nd, we wonder, what were we thinking?  We spent way too much money, ate till we near burst and we made resolutions that will inevitably just not happen.

The reasons why we don’t change, can’t change or won’t change is because it is no fun.  

I stopped making resolutions many years ago because I got tired of beating myself up.  They are very ego bruising.

We are pleasure seeking creatures, like most animals, we don’t excel with misery.  If resolutions mean work, well, that means misery and that means we are not going to do them, at least, not for long.

Therein are the secrets to keep resolutions, after the thrill is gone of making them. The first secret is to make them pleasurable.  We make everything tedious work.  Make it play and you will easily do whatever needs to be done – well, almost.  You may need a bit of discipline once in a while, after all, old habits die hard.  However, if you continually make it an effort, you are done, you won’t budge, you won’t do it.  The second secret is to be open and try many things.  There is always more than one way to an end.  And trying many things – guess what – is fun!

Exercise.  Ugh.  How many of us are going to make that promise?  Off to the gym we trudge like we are doomed.  Who says exercise has to be the gym?  There are hundreds of different ways to get physically fit.  You could try every single one of them and still have plenty of choices left for next year.  Perhaps one of them will click with you and you will – oh my goodness – enjoy it so much you’ll keep going!  You can walk, run, swim, do karate, ballet, boxing, rowing, tennis. . . or do everything if you have the energy!

Diet.  Oh, how many times have I been down this dead end.  And hated every single minute of it.  Instead, I learned how to cook healthy and found healthy foods I actually enjoy eating.  There are many ways to get into the spirit of good food – cooking classes, seminars given by nutritionists, beautiful healthy food cookbooks and magazines, the internet is bursting with thousands of recipes and ways to make your favourite foods with substitute ingredients for all the bad stuff.  And I also learned to like my body, lumps and bumps and all.  It is way better to feel good inside than to look like a model.  When I feel healthy and strong, well, I’ve met my goal!

Changing a personality trait or behaviour can also be fun as you try on new ways of being.  We are very flexible and adaptable creatures.  As always, I only support positive changes never destructive ones.  There are infinite ways of being a better person than you are now.  But perhaps, you are already good enough.  None of us are perfect.  Maybe you are trying to be who you are not – somebody else – and forgetting what a great person you already are.  Any destructive behaviour however, is worth making a resolution to change it for good and forever.  Not just for you, but for everyone.

My only thoughts for the New Year are to keep on doing what I love and do more of what matters to me.

No, I’m not going to make a resolution now.

Animals Are Not Humans

I want people to know this when they bring home a pet this Christmas, or at any time.  Animals are not humans.

So many people expect their pets to behave as a human would.  Now sometimes they do.  Mostly, they do not.  I ask you to allow your pet to be who they are and enjoy their perspective on life.  Maybe even learn a thing or two from it.

Many animals are simply not meant to be domesticated.  Exotic pets are not pets, they are animals far removed from home, and this makes my heart very very sad.  How much better to leave them in the wild and enjoy them from a distance.  It is mans nature to want to own things and collect things and when this extends to wild animals I am uncomfortable with it.  Some animals have a truce with us, such as cats and dogs and the like.  But others do not belong in our human world.

If I had my way everyone would have to take a course on how to properly treat animals before they could have one.

All animals respond to love, and this is a trait shared with humans.  If you can only remember one thing, remember this.

If you treat your pet with love, you never tease or punish it, it will trust you and soon learn what is acceptable and not in your world.  Your job is to be a responsible person; to protect and provide for them.  In return you will have a companion like no other.

You have to adapt to their modus operandi to successfully blend your two worlds together so both of you are safe and loved.  Pets are meant to be companions, not slaves and forced to exhibit abnormal behaviours, to do tricks for you or wear costumes.  They need to be appreciated for who they are, and be certain, they will not change for you.

An animal can live well and be well adjusted if you understand and accommodate its needs.  You will be surprised at how well an animal can adapt to your environment when it is treated with respect and love.

Ditto, by the way, for humans.


Ahead of me a very old and tired looking man carries a big empty box with the word Stroller on it in large white letters.  He looks back, not at me, but at the woman and said stroller behind me, replete with screaming child, tethered securely in.

Strollers are a bad thing for children.  I realize, for many a busy, harried adult, they are a godsend.  But when these restrained children grow up, they are going to have plenty of leg, hip and back problems.

Strollers only compound a problem we already have with our youth, who sit for long periods of time in front of electronic devices.

Young children scream and squirm when in strollers because they need to walk, run and move around.  Sadly, I see many children who have now resigned to their fate and sit sadly in the stroller.  I have never seen a happy child in one.

As a child I walked everywhere with my Mom.  I loved stairs and would run up and down to my hearts content.  I am sure I wore my Mother out!  In later years she told me that it was the stair climbing that got to her the most.  She added however, that this is what parents are for – to look after their children, often at the expense of their own well being.   Her duty was to keep a watchful eye on me and keep me from harm, and to let me be a kid.  And kids are boundless energy.

Once she tried to put a harness on me and discovered I completely wound myself up in it the one second she looked away.  That was the end of that.  Instead both parents taught me to know restraint by using my brain, so I sat still on buses, and did not run off across the street.  They taught me to respect other people and their property so I restrained my curiosity and used my imagination instead.

I know that how I feel is an unpopular stance, but I think too often parents are only thinking of themselves and their own well being and forget what it means to be a child.  Let your children be free, and let them be children.  We restrain them in so many ways, not just with strollers.  They cannot explore or run, or even be on their own.  They miss all the magic and fun of growing up.

Let them be kids this Christmas.  I know for many it is too late.  They will spend all Christmas staring at blue light, instead of merrily ripping open pretty packages and delighting in toys and play.  Will there even be a Christmas tree?  Or music and laughter and dancing?  Will there be any activity other than fingers skipping madly over keys?

Throw away your strollers, open up the door and go out in the snow.  Have a snow ball fight, build a fort.  Decorate a Christmas tree.  Play with your children.  You might just find the kid in yourself once more.

Remember the true meaning of Christmas.  This is the time a saviour was born.  It is a time to celebrate, be joyous and active.  The spirit fills many of us with cheer because someone came to save us from ourselves.  Jesus loved little children and admonished those who would not let them be who they are.  Check it out for yourself.

To Tell The Truth

I work fortunately, and unfortunately, a block from an art supply store.  Next to hardware stores and bookstores, this ranks as one of my financial undoings.

However, I am still somewhat frugal.  I amassed my supply of inks and pencils by buying a couple a week until I have the whole set.  It took a long time.

I applied the same thinking to buying my supply of winter socks.  Buy a pair every week until I had a adequate supply.  Ditto for food items I stock up.  I’m like a bear about to hibernate, or a squirrel I suppose.

Time goes by fast and next thing I know I have enough.  I don’t have to have everything all at once.  It is also kind of fun, collecting with an end goal in mind.

Some people can save up for things.  If I put money in the bank I find it way too hard to withdraw it.  It was so hard to earn in the first place.  So I budget how much I can spend per week on something, and then do it.  Unless a sale captures me!

The thing that put me in debt this year was my health.  That was a lot more dollars than a few colour pencils and ink.  If there is such a thing as good and bad debt, I suppose this is good.  But I’d rather have been in health and bought an SUV to tell the truth.

Just Because

I am not a diamond girl, I am silver.

As a young woman, I would save up my money to buy sterling silver jewellery.  A long time ago (a long, long time ago!) I saved up gold bond stamps to get a sterling silver ring, and have used points cards.  I am frugal.

Nothing fancy, I like simple things.  I wore a plain silver ring with a few designs on it for a long time.  

Jewellery has not been my favourite form of silver however.  As I’ve gotten older I seldom if ever wear jewellery any more.

I once bought my Mother a silver bar for Mother’s Day that had a rose etched on it.  I like silver that is also art.  Stuff I could look at instead of wear.

Every year I by a maple leaf coin from our mint.  Nice classic design on a large coin.  As you know, maples hold a special place in my heart.

For my birthday I bought myself a silver coin I’ve been wanting for a year.  I could not afford it, but I did it anyways. (Black Friday madness – but I did save some $).  It has beautiful pictures of our countries flora and fauna on it.  It is a big coin – I like big!

I feel a bit guilty, as this is a luxury gift.  I appreciate the beauty of it however, and can gaze at a good work of art for hours.  It beats the heck out of the usual gift to myself of sock and underwear.  Definitely an upgrade from that!

So why ramble on to you about this?  Well, Christmas is coming (this coin is a dual purpose gift) and I want you to get yourself a ‘just because’ gift.  It doesn’t have to be extravagant, or practical or useful.  It is a gift to yourself because you are worth it.  

And perhaps if someone is asking what you would like as a gift, you will actually tell them what you want, and get your ‘just because’ gift.