October 24, 2015

The Opposite of Lawyers: October 24, 2015

Today I went to a law conference that lasted all day and my biggest takeaway was this: I learned that nearly all lawyers have 4 dominant personality traits:

  1. Pessimism
  2. Thin-skinned
  3. Short-fused
  4. Irritable

How cheerful is that!  All these, of course, are good things when you want to make a living out of imagining worst-case scenarios and sputtering with righteous indignation. Some people seek help for these characteristics.  Other people channel it into lawyering.

Of course, I learned other stuff, too, but no one wants to hear about how to enter business records into evidence in a civil proceeding.  Even lawyers get bored hearing about stuff like that.

After that, I went to a choral concert which was dreamed up by someone who is:

  1. Optimistic
  2. Seemingly impervious to the worst the world has to offer
  3. Suffused with the milk of human kindness
  4. Cheerful.

Can you guess whether this person is a lawyer?  I’m sure he met plenty of lawyers: after all, he’s the guy (Scott Jones) who was assaulted and left for dead just for being a gay man.*  He definitely does not fit the profile!  In fact, rather than tell us all about his horrific experience, he talked about being inspired and buoyed up by the young people he’s meeting and the folk who work hard to make these amazing concerts happen. His experience prompted him to found a choir to spread his “Don’t Be Afraid” campaign.

The music was phenomenal and really diverse – from spirituals, to South African songs, to pop music, and more traditional choir songs.  The choirs were (all 3) wonderfully prepared and gave excellent performances.  The audience was jam-packed and enthusiastic.  It behooves me to mention that 2 of the 3 choirs were the Junior and Senior Annapolis Valley Honour Choir.  They were phenomenal.

What an inspirational experience it was to hear a stage full of youth singing about hope and not being afraid and loving yourself.  Wow.

(Tonight I’m going to let all y’all figure out the connection between the events of today and 5Down.  I know you can do it.)

Day 357 scorecard: 1785 down, 35 to go

* He is paralyzed from the waist down.

October 23, 2015

Bounced: October 23, 2015

So Mike is responsible for today’s list.  On it is an “impulse” item I actually purchased in the past year.  You see, I got it in my head that I would be able to derive lots of benefits from bouncing on a small trampoline.  I figured I would be able to supplement my running with some good old-fashioned jumping.  I imagined 30 minutes of bouncing as an entertaining diversion.

Yeah, not so much.  Trampolining is hard.  And boring.  And very solitary.   I could barely manage 30 seconds let alone 30 minutes.  Instead of a handy new piece of exercise equipment, it became a launch pad for kids to (dangerously) run and take flying leaps from.*  I don’t encourage that, therefore it’s remained mainly unused.

It’s really hard to part with ‘ideas’, though.  I mean, I feel a little silly about the whole thing.  This is likely the story behind many pieces of exercise equipment that are currently being used as drying racks and footstools. A trampoline really can’t even do much more than take up space.  I did flat-dry a sweater on it once…

Instead of protesting, I’m just going to embrace Mike.  Or his idea, at least.  Maybe blame him (if the kids ask)?

Day 357 scorecard: 1785 down, 40 to go

* Did you see how gloriously I split that infinitive?

October 22, 2015

The Final Countdown: October 22, 2015

It’s kind of funny to say this…but I’m almost out of the 5Down habit.  You see, we did the chalkboarding in advance of our trip to Montreal, so the work is done for each day.  All I have to do is write.

“All” I have to do is write.

Honestly, I’m running out of things to say.  Well, I’m not running out of things to say, I’m running out of things to say about de-cluttering.  AND we’re on the last 10 days of this project.

I still can’t believe we’ve made it this far.  It’s been a real struggle at times, and our house is not at all pristine.  I think one of the things I’ve learned is really the magnitude of the stuff we have accumulated. It is remarkable to me that 5 people can gather up so much crap.

As for the balance: we’re still working on it.  I plan to be able to do more thoughtful posts in the upcoming days.

For now I need to balance the kids into bed.

Day 356 scorecard: 1780 down, 45 to go

October 21, 2015

Home: October 21, 2015

Solomon thinks we came back too soon.*

Inside Flower (our kitty cat) things we were gone too long.

I’m just feeling like I’m still driving.  15 hours is too many hours to be travelling.

I could tell you lots more than that, but this will have to do for tonight.  I’m 5Downing more writing because I’m entirely done in.

Day 355 scorecard: 1775 down, 50 to go

* He became completely distracted when he noticed we only have 50 things to go.  His eye got wide and he said “wow!”

October 20, 2015

The Gift of Experiences: October 20, 2015

Today we went to a museum (the Montreal Science Centre) and I was again reminded of how much better an experience is than an object.  That is, I was reminded of how much we have all enjoyed the various non-physical gifts throughout this past year.  I loved going to see Mary Poppins with our whole family and Mom and Dad (it was a Mothers’ Day gift), I loved going to see Ben Caplan for my birthday.  What a great thing to have an experience instead of something I need to put somewhere.

Here’s a way to decide which you prefer.  Ask yourself what you received for your birthday last year.  If it was something physical, you probably have a hard time remembering.  If it was a trip, an adventure, an experience, I would argue you are far more likely to remember it.

Of course, other physical gifts are easier to remember.  For instance, my sister gave her (now husband) chainsaw pants for their first Christmas together. Grandma was extremely excited to hear that he had given her a rock.  Sadly, my sister is not given to the overuse of euphemisms.  Grandma looked at Joan’s hands for the expected diamond; he’d given her a geode.  Joan was thrilled; Grandma, not so much.

In any case, the children are likely going to remember the trip to the science centre, the super-fun restaurant visit with family friends, the Bar Mitzvah party, and hanging out with their “Montreal family” more than the hats, t-shirts, and baubles they each got.

Day 354 scorecard: 1770 down, 55 to go

October 19, 2015

5Down HARPER! October 19, 2015

Talk about an awesome day: first I got to hang out with a dear friend I had’t seen in about 3 years.  It was like no time had passed at all.  Then, the whole family went out with our dear family friends we hadn’t seen in about 3 years as well.  For them, the time change was astonishing: the two little girls are basically women now…gorgeous women.  I could not stop staring at them.

And then.

Then we went back to their house and tuned in to the election results.

I got my wish.

We 5Downed the most awful Prime Minister we’ve ever had.  It’s so perfect, I can hardly stand it (full disclosure: I would very much have preferred an NDP government, but I can live with this!)  Harper is gone.  Justin is in.

Oh happy day.

Day 352 scorecard: 1760 down, 65 to go

October 18, 2015

Pushap = Deliciousness: October 18, 2015

Being away from home is really bad for blogging.

That said, I’m going to tell you all about what makes a great restaurant, in our opinion (“our” being me and Mike: while we got to spend some lovely time together, the kids got to hang out with their Montreal cousins).  There is this little restaurant we love called Pushap.  It apparently started about 25 years ago, originally as an Indian sweets shop.  It morphed into a restaurant, and it’s run by a lovely family.  The food is served on tin plates and with little fanfare.  It’s a friendly place with unchanging decor…and seemingly unchanging prices.  It’s crazy cheap: Mike and I had appetizers (only the best Pakoras ever) and then a 3-curry dinner (the Paneer Korma was kind of the best thing I’ve ever eaten.  Mike claimed he’d join the army if they served Pushap food) followed by 2 sweets each.  It was $20. I know, right!?!  The best part, other than the delicious food, was the fact that it was as we remembered it, if not better.  Sometimes I think I’ve romanticized how great, how cheap, and how friendly the place is…and then we make a visit and we’re enamored all over again.  We reminisced about bringing Max there when he was a wee, fat, smiley baby.  The owner used to hold him and carry him into the kitchen when we visited.  He loved it.  And he loved the Pakoras, too: we remembered him eating them on days when they were particularly spicy and the tears would be running down his face as he reached for me.

Ah, so great.

It’s also a great place to remember what really matters in dining: to us, it would have been a bargain at twice (three times!) the price.  Thanks for being you, Pushap.  We love you.

Day 351 scorecard: 1755 down, 70 to go