Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"Emotional labour" and childless women

Cathy at "Slow Swimmers and Fried Eggs" recently wrote a thought-provoking post about "emotional labour" -- the social expectation that we will be attentive to the needs and feelings and comfort of others. There's a whole list of examples of emotional labour in one of the articles I've linked to -- things such as remembering birthdays, anniversaries and appointments;  noticing that we're almost out of soap and adding it to the grocery list; planning family get-togethers (even with a small, informal gathering, you want to make sure the house is reasonably tidy and that you have some refreshments on hand to offer your guests); listening to a co-worker's problems; remembering your kid's bake sale is this week at school and making sure they have something to bring for it. All the little details we take care of that, individually, might not seem like a big deal, but taken collectively, can be exhausting.

I was familiar with the concept of "emotional labour" -- and the argument that women do the vast majority of it, often to the detriment of their own personal and professional well-being (not to mention the idea that failing to do it makes us "bad" or uncaring in the eyes of some -- while men who fail to do this kind of labour are just "busy, important, or pre-occupied.”). 

But then Cathy made a really great point, something I'd never really considered (at least not in these explicit terms) -- an "ah-ha moment" for me:  "To me [she wrote] the social construct can certainly be expectations of women (as nurturers) versus men, but also of parents versus non-parents."  She points out that people without children are expected to provide a great deal of support to parents -- "yet there is a lack of reciprocity towards those struggling with infertility who are not parents." This, she says, reflects the importance of parenthood in our society -- which is highly publicized, idealized and celebrated -- versus the invisibility of infertility, a loss that is not recognized or deeply understood by others.

Shortly after Cathy's post, a blogging friend posted an article on her Facebook page which has nothing to do with emotional labour specifically (let alone infertility or childlessness), but which included a highlighted passage that I thought was thematically resonant with Cathy's article:  "I am constantly asked to consider the full humanity and emotional circumstances of women who are never asked to consider mine. If they do it at all it is magnanimously. I have to do it to survive."

Around the same time, Jody Day of Gateway Women flagged an article on Facebook outlining "50 Ways People Expect Constant Emotional Labor from Women and Femmes." As I read through, I kept thinking about what a similar list specifically about childless women might look like. Here are a few points that I came up with:
  • If women's time is considered less valuable than men's, childless women's time is devalued even more so. For example, there is an expectation that we will cheerfully pitch in to cover for parenting coworkers who need to stay home with a sick child or leave early to attend their child's school event.  Our own requests for flexibility are often deemed less important or "legitimate".
  • In the same vein, there's an expectation that childless women will be available to care for aging parents, help them with errands and take them to appointments, more so than our siblings with children (even if they live closer to Mom & Dad than we do).
  • Parents assume that, because we don't have children, we have a lot of discretionary income to spend as we please.
  • We are expected to show interest in the children of our siblings, friends and relatives, and to listen attentively and sympathetically to parents' problems and stories about their children -- while our own interests and problems are often dismissed as less worthy of attention or ignored completely.  
  • We are expected to defer to parents in all matters related to children, even if we have our own knowledge and experiences to guide us and to share (e.g., childless teachers are often told they don't know anything about children, even though they spend the entire day a room full of them, 9 months a year, year after year).
  • Parents expect us to attend gender reveal parties, baby showers, christenings, first communions, confirmations, graduations, weddings and birthday parties to celebrate their children and the milestone events in their lives (oh yeah, and bring gifts!). Yet our own birthdays or other milestones are not always marked or celebrated in the same way.  
  • If we decline invitations to these events or fail to show sufficient enthusiasm for them, we are expected to provide explanations and/or made to feel like something is wrong with us. 
  • We are expected to justify our decision to continue living without children, while parents are rarely expected to justify why they decided to have children. Similarly, we are expected to explain why we didn't pursue this or that path to parenthood ("Have you thought about adoption? surrogacy? donor eggs?") -- even within the infertility community, where childless living (still) remains an unacceptable outcome for many pursuing treatment or adoption.  
Thoughts?  (On emotional labour generally, and/or how it relates to infertility and childlessness specifically?)

Monday, February 27, 2017

#MicroblogMondays: Oscars edition

I had planned to write something about the Oscars today -- but I never expected they would end the way they did.  That was pretty wild, huh??  I felt bad for the people from both movies -- "La La Land," flush with victory, only to discover, through no fault of their own, "oops..." -- and "Moonlight," no doubt disappointed to lose, only to find out, "hey, we screwed up, you won after all."  Not exactly the way they pictured winning, I'm sure. I thought the guy from "La La Land" was very gracious, all things considered. 

As I've written before on this blog (here and here, especially), Oscar night has always been sacred at my house. Since I was a kid, I've always cut a ballot out from the newspaper (or a magazine, or these days, I'll print one off online) & ticked off the winners as the show progresses, keeping track of how many Oscars each movie wins. The only thing missing this year from my usual routine was the popcorn:  I usually have a big bowl beside me to munch on as the show opens (along with a big glass of Coke, with ice -- we normally don't keep soft drinks around the house, but we make an exception for Oscar night) -- but I broke a tooth on Monday (!!). I got it filled the next day and will be getting a crown just as soon as the insurance company provides an estimate of what it will cover, but I'm trying to be careful in the meantime. So I had potato chips instead. ;)  This was the fourth tooth I've broken -- and apparently, it's one I broke in the past too (I thought it was the one next door), so hence, the recommendation to cap it. The very first tooth I ever broke was on a piece of popcorn on an Oscar night past;  I also broke a tooth while eating popcorn at the movies (perhaps ironically, it was "Something's Got to Give" with Diane Keaton & Jack Nicholson), and the third time was on a piece of Werthers candy. 

Anyway, envelope screw-ups and potato chips vs popcorn aside, I thought it was a pretty good Oscars, right up until the very end. I thought the dresses were just the right mixture of "Wow!" and "Seriously??"  (Charlize Theron's gorgeous metallic silver dress was probably my favourite.) There were some great speeches -- and actually a lot fewer political comments in them than I thought there would be (and most of what was said was pretty restrained and well put). I thought Jimmy Kimmel did a good job as host -- and wouldn't you have loved to be one of those people from the tour bus that got to walk through the auditorium & take selfies with the front row?? I thought it was the best Oscars stunt since Ellen ordered in pizza a couple of years ago. 

And, best of all, being retired, I didn't have to get up and go to work this morning. ;) 

Did you watch the Oscars and what did you think?? (Of the snafu at the end, and/or anything & everything else?)  (And, Oscars aside, have you ever broken a tooth??)

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here        

Friday, February 24, 2017

"Shoulder the Sky" by D.E. Stevenson

"Shoulder the Sky" (also known as "Winter and Rough Weather") by D.E. Stevenson is the third volume in a trilogy my DES Yahoo group has been reading and discussing, including previous selections "Vittoria Cottage" and "Music in the Hills."   

Newlyweds James & Rhoda, whose on-again-off-again romance unfolded in the pages of the previous two books, return to the Scottish border country to run Boscath Farm, adjacent to Mureth, the sheep farm owned by James's aunt & uncle, Mamie & Jock.  It is beautiful but isolated, and a huge change in lifestyle for Rhoda, an artist who has been living in London, but gradually, she adapts. She & James make friends with the new young doctor in town & his sister, and she takes a special interest in Duggie, the son of Mamie's housekeeper and a budding artist himself.  A big winter storm becomes the catalyst that brings several conflicts and mysteries to their resolution. 

Like many DES novels, not much really happens in "Shoulder the Sky."  It's a light, fast read from a different, simpler time (first published in 1951) -- but it's engaging writing and endearing characters. It's just the thing to curl up with on the couch on a cold winter's day, with a cup of tea close at hand. :) 

This was book #5 that I've read so far this year, bringing me to 21% of my 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 24 books.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Et tu, George?? (Odds & ends: The celebrity pregnancy edition)

  • George Clooney (age 55) & his lovely (and highly accomplished) wife Amal (age 39) recently announced that they are expecting -- not just A baby, but (of course!!) twins -- a boy & a girl.  I have to admit, I groaned when I heard. (Et tu, George?) 
  • Factoring in the ages of the parents & the fact that it's twins, I'm going to take a wild guess and assume it's likely that fertility treatments were involved. In other words, definitely not an "oops" pregnancy. 
  • Until now, of course, George had been famously adamant that he was not cut out for fatherhood -- and I believed him. Of course, he was also once famously adamant that he would never get married again, so perhaps we should have taken his other "never" pronouncements with a grain of salt. :p  ;)  
  • Both Laura & Karen at The NotMom posted recently about the Clooney pregnancy. (Both worth a read.)  As Laura said, "We’re looking for others who share our experiences. Women without children, whether they’ve made the choice for themselves or had it made for them, are just looking for others who understand. And when those others are celebrities, we feel proud and excited... we don’t have that any more. We feel betrayed even though we have no right or justification to feel that way."
  • I am not going to begrudge anyone a baby if they really, really want one... and I realize that everyone has the prerogative of changing their minds.  But it would be really, REALLY nice to see a celebrity who says they are happy without children... and stays that way. (Jennifer Aniston, I'm looking at you... ;) )
  • The other celebrity who is pregnant with twins right now is, of course, Beyoncé. I will never forget how she announced her pregnancy with Blue Ivy at the MTV awards in 2011, ripping away her jacket to expose her pregnant belly -- which, in case we didn't get the picture, she proceeded to massage with a huge, self-satisfied smile on her face. 
  • This time, she announced her pregnancy by releasing a series of over-the-top photos that showed off her expanding belly (including lingerie, veils and enough flowers to stock a small florist shop). 
  • As if that weren't enough, she turned the recent Grammy awards show into a celebration of pregnancy & motherhood (hers most of all -- her outfit & performance were obviously designed to show off her pregnant belly to the max).  I didn't watch, but I saw photos & clips later.   
  • "At the Grammys, Beyoncé and Adele Talk Up Motherhood," the New York Times noted, gushing that "Beyoncé was a serene fertility goddess, her gold headdress and necklace sparkling, exulting in the bonds of maternity and the power of a woman’s body to give life."  "Stunning," read other headlines that I saw. (I was stunned, all right...)
  • Yes, I have a bad case of sour grapes. :p
  • As Karen wrote, "I like to think that I am “past” the grieving that childless-by-chance women endure. I’ve found acceptance, right?... And yet, Beyonce’s news made me think, “Good Lord, does she have to get everything?!” "
  • I do realize that she had a miscarriage before Blue Ivy... and the presence of twins, and the age gap between them & her daughter probably indicates that they are the result of infertility treatment. Somehow, though, that doesn't make me feel better. 
  • Please tell me I'm not the only one to react to these celebrity pregnancy announcements like this... 

Monday, February 20, 2017

#MicroblogMondays: Family Day 2017

It's Family Day here in Ontario (& several other Canadian provinces) -- a holiday which (as I have often complained in the past ;) )  the politicians made up about 10 years ago so that we could have a much-needed mid-winter break (OK, I can live with that... ;) ) -- but then slapped a label on it to demonstrate their "family-friendliness." And you know when they envisioned "Family Day," they weren't thinking about families that deviate from two parents (preferably one of each gender) and at least one kid. Certainly not "families of two," such as dh & me.

So I was grateful to one of my Facebook friends (whom we met through our pg loss support group) who posted this definition of "family" earlier this morning:

Much more inclusive, don't you think?  :)

I hope most if not all of you (at least those of you in North America) have a holiday today, & that it's a good one. :) 

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.        

Thursday, February 16, 2017

"The Lost City of Z" by David Grann

The Lost City of Z:  A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann had been languishing in my to-read pile for the last few years. I was finally prompted to pick it up when I learned about an upcoming movie adaptation (to be released in April) (and I love that, in the trailers I've seen, they pronounce "Z" as "Zed," in the British/Canadian fashion!).

I don't know why books like "The Lost City of Z" (and, for example, "Into the Silence" by Wade Davis, a few years back) fascinate me so much. I loved learning about North American explorers such as Samuel de Champlain and Pierre de la Verendrye and Alexander Mackenzie when I was in school -- and Daniel Boone was my childhood hero! -- so maybe it's the allure of discovering new worlds. (Or perhaps it's because I know it's something I would never, ever do myself, lol.)

"The Lost City of Z" tells the true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who made multiple trips to the Amazon jungle in the early part of the 20th century -- first to map the region for the Royal Geographic Society, and then to pursue his growing obsession with finding a lost city of untold riches. Some called it El Dorado;  Fawcett called it Z. Fawcett, along with his son Jack, disappeared into the jungle for the final time in 1925 in search of Z. The book also tells the stories of subsequent expeditions mounted to learn what happened to Fawcett -- including the author's personal journey to pick up the trail, more than 75 years later.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. Having said that, I'm debating whether to see the movie. Be forewarned, this is not a book for the squeamish (it doesn't overly dwell on the "ick" factor -- but it's there...), and I can just imagine how it will translate onto film...! Reading about the bugs, snakes (like Indiana Jones, I HATE SNAKES), parasites, piranhas, cannibals (!) and other creatures that have made exploration of the Amazon so difficult was cringe-inducing (and reminded me why I haven't been camping in 40 years, let alone trekking into the Amazon).  Fawcett and his men (not to mention their poor horses and other animals) endured incredible hardship, and it's amazing to me that he returned not just once but several times over the years (he came to believe he was invincible). It was also sobering to read the author's descriptions of what's happened to the Amazon in the years since Fawcett first explored the area:  huge swaths of the jungle have been clearcut or burned in the name of commerce, altering the ecosystem, perhaps irreversably.

The ending was not quite what I expected, and still leaves many questions unanswered -- but it was satisfying in its own way.  (Kind of like life after infertility & loss, lol.) 

This was book #4 that I've read so far in 2017, bringing me to 17% of my Goodreads Reading Challenge Goal for this year of 24 books.

Monday, February 13, 2017

#MicroblogMondays: Things I am happy about today

Okay, I will admit I've been wallowing in my annual "I hate February" mode lately, perhaps a little too much. ;)  Time for some positivity!  Taking my cue from Mali, here are some things that are making me happy today: 

*  Aunt Flo is taking her leave after her latest visit (and good riddance, lol). (I suppose it's too much to hope that it might be for the last time??)
*  Watching America go gaga over our prime minister as he visited Washington today ;)  (and, more importantly, watching him more than hold his own in his public appearances with The Donald).
*  It's after 6 p.m. as I type this... and the sun is JUST starting to set -- i.e., it's staying lighter longer again. Progress! 
* There's even a bit of a sunset visible tonight :)  -- something we haven't really seen in a while.
*  We even saw some sun today, after snow all day yesterday.
*  (While I'm getting pretty tired of the snow, it WAS kind of pretty, watching it coming down yesterday.) (AND -- we don't have to shovel it!!)
* Living close enough to BIL & family that he can call us to come over for coffee (as he did last night after supper) -- and we can hop in the car and be there 15 minutes later. 
*  Being able to stop by to visit with SIL regularly as she recovers from surgery, and bring her the occasional treat from Starbucks or soup for lunch.
*  Chatting with an old friend on the phone today.
*  Looking forward to a trip to the mall tomorrow.
* Tomorrow is also Valentine's Day :) 

What's making you happy today?

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here     

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The best-laid plans...

Pretty much...!!  ;)
(A Facebook find from Intelligence is Sexy)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Now is the winter of our discontent

Let me count the ways... (I know, I'm mixing my Shakespearean metaphors here...)
  • Aunt Flo is here. Again. :p  (Day 30, more or less right on schedule. At age 56!!!)
  • We had freezing rain on Tuesday (I'd rather have a blizzard, quite frankly :p ). Today there is actually some sun, but it is cold (-13C, -20C windchill when I got up this morning). And it looks like we may be getting more snow tomorrow.
  • I love our condo, and I love how our floor to ceiling windows let in so much natural light -- but damn, the floors near them get pretty cold...!  :p  (Laminate  in the main areas, ceramic tile in the kitchen, entryway and bathrooms.)  (Granted, even the carpeted floors near the windows in our old house could get pretty cold too sometimes...)
  • The leak in the sprinkler system in our front hall closet has been fixed for almost two weeks, but there's still a hole in the ceiling to be patched (and thus, all the stuff we removed from the closet remains on the floor of my spare bedroom/office). :p  Dh messaged the property manager earlier this week and asked him to arrange to have it fixed. He said he would, but so far, the hole remains.  
  • I am going stir crazy. :p
  • While I was happy to see my girlfriend on Monday night (and get out of the house, lol), I was sad to learn she is moving. Not right away, but eventually, probably within the year. Back to our mutual home province, where she still has lots of friends & family. She was widowed a few years ago, and her stepchildren don't have much to do with her (she has no children of her own), and the cost of living is lower there. We only saw each other a few times a year, since we live in different parts of this vast metropolitan area (albeit I've moved closer to her now), but I knew she was always game to meet me for lunch, an outing to a craft show or sometimes a matinee at the theatre. And she is one of the few people hereabouts who knew me from "back home." I will miss her. :(
  • Matching the gloominess of the weather, the political news from the U.S. is enormously depressing. Although sometimes you just have to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.  I saw an article yesterday speculating that Sarah Palin may be a candidate for ambassador to Canada!!! (Geez, America, what did we ever do to you to deserve THAT??!!) 
  • On a somewhat related note, I noticed earlier this week that someone had quietly unfriended me on Facebook.  I have been unfriended a couple of times before, but either the relationship was not that important to me or the circumstances were such that it didn't really bother me. Without getting too specific -- this time it does. :(  I don't know for sure why I was unfriended, but I am pretty certain it's related to our opposing political views. I haven't posted a lot directly that's politically inclined, but I have posted some items on specific issues that are important to me, related to freedom of the press, "fake news" and how to spot it, and the Women's March. I've also "liked" a lot of news articles from the New York Times and other such sources that may have turned up on people's news feeds. I only wish this person had simply "unfollowed" me -- they wouldn't have had to put up with any posts from me that they found offensive or contradictory to their views, and I never would have been the wiser. Dh has encouraged me to just send this person another friend request and see what happens. I may or may not. I'm not in a hurry -- I think a bit of a cooling off period will do both of us good -- I don't want any big confrontations. 
  • It's the Family Day long weekend here in Ontario. :p I know it's a long weekend (in February), but bah humbug. :p 
Thanks for reading/listening to me whine!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

#MicroblogMondays (on a Tuesday): Inspiration from Down Under

I'm late with my #MicroblogMondays post this week, but I have a good excuse. ;)  I went into the city last night with a girlfriend to attend the first lecture in this year's Unique Lives and Experiences series. (We also had dinner beforehand, along with some great conversation!) 

Our speaker was Julia Gillard, former (and first woman) prime minister of Australia. I don't know much about her politics, but I was predisposed to like her -- first, because I realized she is exactly my age;  second, she is an unapologetic feminist;  and third, she has suffered untold slings and arrows for being not only a woman but a childfree one at that (as I wrote here in 2010).  She told us that she & Barack Obama had joked about which of them made the most unlikely leader -- he, the first black/biracial leader of the United States, or she, an unmarried, childless, atheist woman as prime minister of Australia?

Gillard was an excellent speaker, moving away from the lectern and only referring to her notes when she had statistics to quote or a quotation she wanted to read. She spoke for almost an hour, and then answered questions from the audience for half an hour. I wish had taken notes! -- but here's some of what I remember she said:
  • Bias and misogynistic attitudes towards women are ingrained and pervasive (and she backed up her observations with statistics and academic studies).
  • Education is the key to greater success in life. Gillard loved school, and is emphatic about the role education (and free state university tuition) played in her own success. She's now the head of the Global Partnership for Education, and is passionate about educating girls, particularly in developing countries.
  • Women need to be bold, try new things and not hold themselves back.
  • Women must call out sexism and misogyny when & where they see it. (Gillard did so, memorably, in what's become known as "the misogyny speech," where she blasted the (male) leader of the opposition for hypocrisy. She had the audience groaning -- and gasping -- when she related some of the horribly sexist things that were said and written about her -- including, after the death of her father, that he had probably "died of shame."  She was also compared to a "barren cow" and reminded that infertile cows inevitable get slaughtered and turned into hamburger meat.)(I kid you not.)(!!!!!)
  • She said the most valuable political advice she received (which she encouraged the audience to do too), shortly after becoming prime minister, was to write down her purpose -- what she wanted to achieve during her time in office, what she wanted her leadership to stand for. She said she carried that increasingly dog-eared piece of paper with her in her purse every day and looked at it often. 
  • She encouraged women to carve out some quiet time regularly to think and rejuvenate themselves. (She would tell her staff she was going "into the Cone" -- as in the Cone of Silence -- a "Get Smart" reference that had those of us of a certain age chuckling).
  • She firmly believes in the value of quotas (in both the political and business worlds) as a way to level the playing field and uncover new talent that might otherwise be overlooked.
  • Being the "first woman" is an honour -- but even better would be to watch as the second, third, fourth and so on emerge and succeed. :)  
  • There is life after politics. :)  Gillard spoke with pride about her family, and how she had moved back to Adelaide to be closer to them (hmmm, this sounds familiar...), including her 89-year-old mother, sister, niece and nephew (she hosted his wedding in her back yard) -- and now a great-niece and nephew.
  • Most important, Gillard urged women to develop a strong sense of self/self worth. She worries about young women in particular, growing up under the influence of social media and deriving their self-worth from the opinions of others.
She left the stage to a standing ovation. :)

What women have inspired you lately?

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here    

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Odds & ends

  • It's February!  My least favourite month (although November usually runs a close second).  February 8th will mark 19 years (!) since Day One of the cycle that resulted in my pregnancy with Katie (my LMP date). And there's also "Family Day" (gag) to (not) look forward to. :p  Not to mention the continuing chaotic barrage of bad news from south of the border. :(  At least: (a) the sun was out yesterday (makes a HUGE difference -- it went back into hiding today, though... :p );  (b) there's Valentine's Day to look forward to (not if you're dh!! lol);  and (c) it's a short month...  
  • Yesterday (Feb. 1st) marked one full year that I've been officially retired (after losing my job 18 months earlier, in July 2014). Things have changed so much since then, I still sometimes find it hard to believe that this is my life now. Not that it's a bad life (not at all!) -- just very different from the way I imagined it would be, and certainly different from this same time last year (although we were already beginning to look at condos then).
    • Sometimes I feel too young to be retired. Sometimes I do get a little bored/stir crazy (especially at this time of year). But it's a good life overall, and I feel very fortunate that I was in the position to do this now.  I never got to be a SAHM (or a mom, period -- the stay-at-home part was probably just a pipe dream, finances & mortgages being what they were/are...);  why can't I enjoy some time as a homemaker a little later on in my life? 
  • Our front hall closet is still dry (knocking wood!). I still check several times a day. The drywall/ceiling still needs to be repaired, though. So the stuff from the closet remains in the spare bedroom/office for the time being.
  • Construction work on the townhouse site behind our condo building resumed yesterday, and they're back at it again today. I don't know anything about construction, but it looks to me like they are still working on sewer installation & road building. They started clearing the site around the same time we bought the condo last spring, and there are still no foundations dug let alone any actual building construction underway. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the schedule -- they have been gone for up to several weeks at a time, and then they'll show up & there will be a flurry of activity. If there's rain or snow, there's no point in them working;  the site becomes a muddy mess.
    • In some ways, it's a pain in the you-know-where... they start work precisely at 7 a.m. (& often arrive earlier) so the noise usually wakes us up. And if the noise doesn't wake us up, the vibrations will -- it's like a mini-earthquake sometimes! Sometimes I think it's no coincidence that we had a leak;  I often hear things rattling around when there's a big "BOOM!"  :p  I have to admit, though, it's been fascinating to watch the process unfold.  I've been taking photos regularly of the progress (or lack thereof, lol) and sharing them in their own photo album on Facebook.  I'm not sure anyone else finds it as interesting as we do, but hey, my page... ;) 
  • I found some pretty new placemats today that go well with our décor. Some supermarkets in Ontario have just (finally!) started selling beer & wine (previously, you had to go to a government-controlled liquor or beer store) and we each bought a bottle to be opened for dinner tonight (red for him, white for me). We'll use my crystal wine glasses that sat packed up in our basement for so many years and are now displayed in the beautiful china cabinet we had custom-built last summer. So even though it's February ;)  life is good. :)   

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Right now

Right now... (an occasional meme, alternating from time to time with "The Current"): 

Reading:  Mostly online articles via Facebook & Bloglovin re: the new administration in the U.S.

Enjoying the new Oscars preview issue from Entertainment Weekly, my favourite magazine. When I was working downtown, Thursday was the day that new magazines would arrive at the downstairs newsstand, and I would buy a copy to enjoy on the train home later that afternoon. Since I stopped working, however, I've been finding it harder to find copies, nevermind in a timely way. I finally decided to subscribe (which is actually much cheaper than buying individual copies at the store). I now look forward to getting my copy in my mailbox every Tuesday or Wednesday. :) 

Still only partway through "Mr. Churchill's Secretary" by Susan Elia MacNeil, a mystery set during WWII Britain.

And, of course, the to-read pile continues to grow (insert red-faced icon here). One recent purchase: "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right" by Jane Mayer (seemed timely...!). 

I've also retrieved "The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon" by David Grann from my gargantuan backlog of unread books. Moving it up in the pile, as I understand there's a movie adaptation coming out this spring. :)

Watching:  CNN, ad nauseum, for the last few weeks. It's like a train wreck;  it's hard to look away, even though it makes you feel ill sometimes. :(  And it's exhausting, even from north of the border. :( 

On a happier note: I've been enjoying "Victoria" on PBS. Although last week's episode, where Prince Albert produces a knife and slashes his shirt in front of Victoria not just once but TWICE, was a little ludicrous at times, lol. 

Listening:  For any drip-drip-drip sounds in the front hall closet (or anywhere else in the condo, for that matter)(do you blame me??). So far, all has been silent, and hopefully it will remain that way (knocking wood!!). 

Feeling: My chair shaking from the heavy equipment at work on the townhouse construction site behind us (which started bright & early at 7 a.m.!). With these not-so-good vibrations, I sometimes wonder if it was such a fluke that a pipe sprang a leak...!

Drinking:  Can't do without a cup of tea, first thing in the morning and later in afternoon. :)  (Especially at this time of year.) Sugar & lots of milk, please. ;)      

Eating:  A lot of soup for lunch. Comfort food!   

Wearing:  Long-sleeved waffle-weave T-shirt from Old Navy and Hyba yoga pants from Reitmans.

Smelling:  Some new essential oil blends that I bought for our diffuser recently at Saje, including Citrus Dream, House Warming and Refresh. It is fun trying different ones, although you can't always tell how they're going to smell just by sniffing the bottle.

Visiting:  SIL, most days right now, as she recuperates from surgery. Taking her lunch & treats from Starbucks, keeping her company and seeing if we can help in any way.

Figuring out: Twitter. :p  Dh is an addict. ;)  I don't think I'll be tweeting anything myself anytime soon ;)  but adding a few people & sites to follow here & there. Why I need another social media app on top of Facebook, Instagram & Bloglovin, I don't know, but we'll see...

Despairing: Whether we'll ever see the sun again. :p  (Although today is sunnier than it has been -- thank goodness!!)  The media has been reporting that this was the darkest and gloomiest January in years, with less than half the amount of regular hours of sunshine, and I believe it. :p  I grew up on the Prairies where (as I often tell people here who like to tease me about the extreme weather there) it may be -30C, but the sky will be blue and the sun will be shining, so I find this all more than little depressing. :(   (And of course, the news doesn't help either...!)