Monday, June 27, 2016

Monday Morning, Finding Traction. . .

Not gonna lie. That Friday post was an effort of will, written despite a low mood and lack of energy, written because I wanted to wave at you before the weekend. I suppose I was naïve in not having anticipated some negativity, but by Saturday morning, I was seriously contemplating whether I want to continue blogging at all. Over-reaction, I know, and as the weekend progressed, this community once again demonstrated its thoughtfulness, kindness, and wisdom, although I did make the uncomfortable decision to delete one post. I did my best to answer each comment respectfully, but I have to tell you that the work that goes into these responses can be as tough and as time-consuming as what it takes to write a new post.

Meanwhile, the post that I've been trying to write for a week is STILL not completed, and I suspect your interest in my Ottawa/Montreal meet-ups must be waning. I'm trying to balance my commitment to promises I've made here with my own need for writing freedom.  And the post-moving fatigue is giving way to the exhaustion that results from doing too much (fun stuff!) in our new environment. . .

Plus, if you'll permit one more whine, all of this is happening right when I've got more new visitors streaming through (coming to see what I wore, sent by Sue ), and I wish I were better dressed, being more amusing, offering more scintillating perspectives, in order to convince them to join our conversation. . .

Because I know I'll get back on track very soon. Might even figure out a way to take decent What I Wore photos again, in this new space. . .  Might sort out how to channel some of my Instagram energy over this way (because that platform seems to suit my current moods better for the moment). .

Until I get my blogging energies and rhythms sorted, though, you might like to know that in my life off the screen, we're adjusting quite happily to an urban lifestyle. This weekend, besides the two separate overnight baby-sitting gigs, I also managed to

1. See Finding Dory with a seven-year-old (and Pater). Highly recommended, especially the seven-year-old part.

2.
Go to an Urban Sketchers' meet-up with a new friend.Our subject was a Vancouver Biennale sculpture, Trans Am Totem by Marcus Bowcott -- pictured above.  I was pleased enough with my rendition, but I was especially pleased that I pushed aside my nervousness about joining others in an "artistic" activity. Pleased I ignored the self-censorship, and just tried to look and draw, look and draw, look and draw, line after line, methodically. .  . in the sunshine, with like-minded, supportive people nearby. Pleased to be immersed in the process for an hour. So great! (And if you want to see how my sketch turned out, check out my Instagram button, top right column.)

3. Pedal with Pater on my first urban cycle of the year, first of what I know will be many (we're biking again today).

And the fun continues -- we've got tickets for a concert tonight, part of a great lineup of Vancouver Jazz Festival performances. . . a friend's coming to town this week, and there are lunch plans. . . and I think Pater and I might make some forays into some furniture and design stores, just daydreaming about how to feather our new nest. . . .

What about you? Are you easing into the week? Easing into the summer? Easing out of one mood and easing into another? Ease. . . . Transitions . . .  Ease. . . .Hmmmm, let's chat. . .


40 comments:

  1. Replying to comments really does take time, and mental and emotional capacity. I feel badly that I'm not doing so well at it as I used to, because I'm still trying to find a place for my Mom to live, and I admire you for soldiering on. Sorry your last post flared up - politics are so rarely civil any longer:(.

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    1. Family comes first, Lisa, and your readers understand that -- plus you've given so much in the past, that you've got credit! ;-)

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  2. I've just read your last post and the comments. There is a Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times". All we can do is hope and pray that, however this plays out, we will find a solution. Keep blogging, Frances.

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    1. It's true, Marianne, that it's important to keep a perspective on what we can do to repair the whole world (#kiddingnotkidding). For me, hope and prayer will be taking the form of being as kind as I can in my immediate circles, and in continuing to be absolutely intolerant of racism, homophobia, or any kind of hatred based on an individual's identity as part of a visible and/or marginalised minority. I'm also struggling to find ways to be effective politically, even on a very small, individual scale, without being unduly confrontational (which isn't within my comfort zone, and which I doubt is effective anyway). I do keep turning to the Walter Benjamin quotation I cited in a comment last post -- you can read it in the column to the right. . .
      Thanks so much for the encouragement. I'd really miss the blogging if I let it go.

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  3. I can certainly understand how you felt after the last post, Frances. Blogging not only takes a great deal of time and energy, it also makes you so vulnerable because you really put yourself out there. Sort of like the sketching group. I will have to try your Instagram link - I've never gone on Instagram before.

    Thank you for your blog posts and comments.

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    1. You're right, Marie. I do feel vulnerable, both in the blogging and in the sketching. Often, that's a good thing, but sometimes it's really a challenge.
      Let me know what you think of Instagram -- it can be a very deep rabbit hole, but I like it very much at the moment.
      And you're very welcome!

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  4. When you are looking at furniture, don't forget about those leather chairs! I hope to see a picture of you in one of them after your next trip to Rome.

    Oh, the summer...my first summer off since I was last on mat leave 29 years ago. So it feels like I have had a full summer already. Next week, I am heading to the Winnipeg Folk Festival. A friend and I go and camp (in a tent...but with cots!) when we can. I was a volunteer for a number of years but have retired from that too. It is so much fun but requires some thought as to clothing (All hot weather, all cold, all rainy, a mix? And dirt and dust.) and food as we do eat at the campsite as much as possible but don't cook there except coffee.

    I couldn't add anything to your last post that would have helped the conversation (although I thought about it a lot and drafted numerous comments mentally), but I always admire your ability to respond to the comments the way you do. Is it partially due to your experience marking assignments and leading class discussions? Anyway from this end you stay pretty cool. I am sure it is different from your perspective. :)

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    1. Georgia, I'll count on you to keep reminding me ;-) I did actually think of them this morning. . .
      Exquisite to have a summer off after having worked through so many of them -- I love that you'll have a week camping out at the Folk Festival!
      Thanks for saying that about my response to comments. I loved leading class discussions and as tedious as marking could be, I also prided myself on giving thoughtful feedback to essays. I do think I carry some of those skills onto the blog.

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  5. "Contemplating whether you want to blog at all..." Yes, it's going around. Regarding pressure about blog post commitments, in my case I'd rather continue blogging by sidestepping blog commitments. It's the freedom of the process that usually releases me.

    I'm glad you're enjoying city life! Oh yes, Susan has sent people my way too. I second-guess my posts, afraid they're not good enough or I'm offensive. But they are a reflection of me and my own flaws. What can I do? People come here to see all of you, not just what you're wearing.

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    1. It's the freedom that I want as well, so I'm trying to think about being more careful re making those commitments. But sidestepping could work also.
      I was so happy to be included in Sue's post along with you, especially for what she was crediting us. And while I think some people will only stop by to see what we're wearing, I know that the readers I really want are here for something else as well. And I think we pretty much have to be who we are anyway, right?

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  6. Glad your transition to city life is going well and that really is the important thing. I know you love blogging and you have followers who enjoy your posts but you really shouldn't feel obliged to post on a certain day if you're not up to it. Once you start to do that you lose the pleasure and your writing will suffer. Agree with what's been said and always appreciate the effort you make to reply to all comments and keep in touch with your followers(is there a more appropriate term?). You do invite people to disagree and as long as people do so in a courteous way I don't think it should be a problem. It is your blog however and should work on your terms. I'm not trying to tell you how to feel. Reading about your blogger meetings would be interesting whenever you get around to it. Have a good week. Mary

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    1. Thanks for the kind words and the patience and the encouragement, Mary. I suppose part of it is just finding a rhythm that works, with so much of my regular schedule not very, well, regular yet. I wish you a good week as well

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  7. Hi Mater, I had to go back to the last post and read the newer comments. I was heartened to find some which really spoke to me, especially Linda's.

    I does look, though, like you are doing your very best to get over the depression that that post brought about ... that's a lovely list of very positive activities, especially seeing Finding Dory with the 7-year old.

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    1. You know? Really, there are so many lovely comments on that post that some readers will wonder what I was fussed about. Just call me super-sensitive! ;-)
      Life is generally very good -- and even better with Finding Dory !

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  8. It is your space. No reason why you shouldn't disinvite a guest who proves unwelcome.

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    1. Thanks, Diana. I do wish there were more space to explore difference though, in a respectful and kindly way. That particular day, though, I just couldn't handle a particular set of views, although I think there's a very good chance they were only a small and skewed representation of a person I would probably find much compatibility with.

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  9. Music lifts my sometimes sagging spirits. Here's hoping the Jazz fest will reconnect you to the best in life and humanity. Our first trip to Vancouver next month will be after the Jazz fest. Would welcome your views on good local performers and venues.

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    1. Music is very often a guaranteed mood-changer for me. It's hard to resist being shanghaied by rhythm and melody. What kind of music do you like, and I'll see if I can make some enquiries for you? We're still sorting out a side of city life we haven't been able to indulge much in until now.

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  10. I'm just surprised that , at this point in your life , you are managing to blog as much as you are . And you are not a 'token' blogger - there's real depth there , which is reflected in the comments . Sue B is the same , it's like having good pen pals around the world . So don't worry about us , we can wait to hear your news
    Wendy in York

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    1. Wendy, this is such a lovely thing you've said. Thank you!

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  11. You are honest on your blog and one could agree or diagree,in a polite and well thinking way. It could be rude and creepy when unpolite and agressive voices pop-up at once. One asks onself :do they read it all the time,thinking ugly thoughts, staying silent?
    But,here are so many of us who love your blog-so,please,keep posting! Take a break when you need it,we are patient and faithful :-)! Lisa,this is for you,too!
    I am so happy to see you enjoying your city life-you'll be well and joyful in the city all the time!
    Dottoressa

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    1. And Dottoressa, you too, so kind.
      I think so many were upset by last week's news and things got said that might normally be held back. Not that holding back and staying silent is better, but sometimes we need to wait for calmer, safer spaces to exchange these more contentious views.
      And you're right -- we're adjusting very quickly to the city and finding much joy.

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  12. Mater, a long-time reader, somewhat lurker. Your posts are so honest/thoughtful/generous, they never fail to get me thinking, doing, smiling, or just connecting. Our lives are similar- I retired from academia, and am staring down a move in a few months. I wish I would respond more- the thoughtful posts require some rumination, and I find when I come back to write, another post. I'm relating all this to say there are many who for whatever reason don't post comments, but enjoy what you write. Please keep it up in whatever way works in your new life. And that may take some time. I will try to respond more, as I love most of the commenters. Thanks again, Frances.

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    1. Megs, thank you so much for taking the time to say this -- I know exactly what you mean about trying to comment meaningfully within what seems a very short shelf life of a blog post. I sometimes feel as if I'm writing on one of those group retirement or birthday or condolence cards where my not-so-eloquent words have to be scribbled for all to see. . . I'm happy just to know you're back here, reading, but when you find time to add to the conversation, you're very welcome.

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  13. First off, let me say: DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT stop blogging. Pretty please. We would all miss your blog so much.

    I read your last post quickly when I came home from our camping trip a bit early. Stu had a bit of a mishap with a muscle the second day, so after two days of pain we packed it in. Anyhoo... I read your last post quickly to catch up, commiserated silently, didn't read the comments, then went to do laundry. And today I finally read all the many, many comments and your replies. I'm surprised you had time for anything else in the last couple of days. A hornet's nest indeed. I'm not surprised that some of the comments "stung."

    Like you I love comments on my blog but have never had anything like that kind of a response. Well, except for the time I mentioned that I was a young devotee (at twelve years old) of the first Trudeau and remembered fondly Trudeau-mania of the sixties. I was then soundly rebuked by a western reader who did not remember those times so fondly. Come on...I was twelve!! Almost makes you want to stop publishing anything like an opinion. But then, what would be the point of blogging?

    Just to be very clear... we love your opinions and want to hear them. Always. And see what you wear too, of course. xo

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    1. Thanks for the understanding and the encouragement, Sue. Really, if I hadn't already been feeling demoralised, I could probably have fielded comments better, but as it was.
      And that Trudeau! yes! almost as touchy an issue as the Brexit divide -- especially if you're talking to an Albertan. (but I think a 12-year-old's excitement should be forgiven).

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  14. Hello Frances. Similar to Susan, I read your last post, empathized and agreed with you regarding the Brexit results, and focused on your adorable grandbabies blowing bubbles. Then today I read the comments... I do share the concerns you and many other readers raise a out the potential post-factual society and what this vote, a,one wi the current US election cycle, may mean in terms of our future society and world. I also envy your ability to respond uniquely and thoughtfully to each comment. I love sharing your transition journey and look forward to hearing more from you in your own time and in in whatever platform works best for you.

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    1. Thanks, Beth. I really appreciate this kind thoughtfulness. Perhaps the situation in Britain might be a wake-up call ahead of your big election this fall . . Imagine if kindness, thoughtfullness, and discernment could win the day!

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  15. So sorry that the comments to your last post made you feel bad. I sincerely hope mine did not contribute to the feeling. I absolutely agree with Susan, do not stop blogging and do not stop to voice your opinions. They are part of your personality and therefore part of what makes your blog so very special.
    I understand that you are trying to take five minutes every day to draw a sketch. That seems an excellent idea to me. It is definitely going on my after-retirement list.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to reassure me, Eleonore. Much appreciated. And yes, I'm trying to sketch five minutes daily, although I have to admit that I missed today. Plans for tomorrow morning though . . . It's surprising what can be done in five minutes a day.

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  16. I appreciate the courage and honesty of your blog. Even making a comment is hard for me sometimes, especially if I reveal any of my own life.

    But you asked if I was easing into the week - nothing easy about my life right now, I've only got 7 more days of work, 30 projects and the hand off is not happening smoothly. I feel like one of the competitors in Master Chef Canada when the clock is ticking down and they're trying to plate some really complex dish! The buzzer is going to go off and I will have to walk away even though there's more I want to arrange, to see to the end.

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    1. I think that making a comment can be as difficult in its way as writing a blogpost, because it's tougher to set the context, and there's a different awareness of length of posting. Anything that we write in such an exposed, public space can feel unsettling -- we long to be understood, but there are no guarantees that will happen. . .so I do appreciate any comments here (hence the difficulty I had with choosing to delete one, and with not being able to respond positively to others on the last post).
      Yikes! That hand-off sounds very stressful. I suspect though, if it's any consolation at all, that none of this week's sense of responsibility will be with you in a year. Or even six months. Or three . . . ;-)

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  17. I noticed your comment about this being a "post factual universe". A few years ago I read a blog where young women were commenting about whether it mattered if what was posted was true or not. Generally they didn't seem to care, a made up story had as much value as a real situation and they didn't feel the need to mention if it was true or false. Wish I'd kept a link to it, it was fascinating, in a horrifying sort of way.

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    1. My sister's adult child posted on Facebook the other day that "as a true Millennial" they found the virtual world as meaningful and relevant as the real, material world. I'm not sure what to make of that -- jarring, to say the least. Fascinating, as you say, in a horrifying sort of way!

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    2. as a blogger there is a real part of me, which is virtual.
      Or is it a virtual part, which is real?

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  18. Hi Frances ..I feel there's little I can add here, except to echo all the positive and supportive comments and to say that even one unkind comment would upset me if I were you. I think, without a doubt you encourage discussion and not everyone will necessarily have the same point of view. I was really concerned for you after the last post and wanted to add that comments at least should be respectful and kind and not snide or sarcastic! I even discussed comments with my husband, something I rarely do. Your replies were "spot on" you articulated your feelings very clearly, considering how disheartened you must have felt.
    Please don't stop blogging ...but do take breaks when you need to ...don't feel pressured to write as regularly.
    Take care, hope your weeks going well
    Rosie

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    1. Thanks, Rosie, I don't mean to have you worry about me. I tend to talk/write my feelings through fairly openly -- I think what would be really worrisome would be if the blog really did go silent for weeks. As it is, I seem to rally quickly, don't I? Much of that, I'm sure, is because of the kind thoughtfulness of readers like yourself. And I do have many balancing good things in my daily life -- so that, yes, my week is already going very well, and I hope yours is too.

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  19. I think I must have missed the deleted post entirely (I have been behind on blog reading for the past couple of weeks between trip, finals week grading, fundraising, and a day trip), but I hope that you don't decide to stop blogging!! Your posts are always such a lovely addition to my reader - even when you post about heavier things I always enjoy getting your perspective and your writing.

    That TransAm Totem is pretty wild. I hope you might share more about your sketching meet up if and when you feel ready and willing to do so.

    Hugs,
    Ray

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  20. Responding to blog comments can be as exhausting and thought provoking as blogging. Please don't stop, and I say this even as I am currently erratic at both.

    How much fun, to share Finding Dory with a 7-year old. I find my movie dates with my grandson are incredible blessings, and am a little sad that I missed this one as he will have already seen it by the time I get home. Have a lovely week.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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