1. It really is awesome to have a potty-trained child. Arguably, we have traded one set of inconveniences for another: instead of leaving the house with diapers and wipes, we now leave with at least one change of underwear/pants, wipes, and a folding toilet seat. We also have to suggest (sometimes strongly) that Gwen use the potty before we leave home, daycare, Gramma’s, or anywhere else we happen to be. This still seems easier to me, and I am very happy not to have to change (or pay for) diapers anymore. This new regime has slipped rather easily into our routine, and I am really proud of Gwen and happy that we took on this onerous task.
2. I read this incredible book called The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness which was recommended by a dear friend of mine. Ever since reading it, I look at money in an entirely different way. It’s been very eye-opening and definitely not always pleasant. I encouraged Chris to read certain sections of it too and we are working on our own money makeover now (made slightly more challenging by the unemployment and the unknowns surrounding his EI eligibility, etc.). The way I look at it, the next 1-3 years are going to be incredibly hard for us no matter what we do. But if we take some positive steps during that time, we will be in a better situation than we were before this crisis.
3. On a related note, I spent about $800 last year on weight-loss products. That doesn’t count my gym membership, either. I don't regret any of that spending but I can't afford it anymore, so I am working on finding new (cheap or free) ways to deal with my disordered eating and my love of sitting above any other activity. I do not currently have a goal to lose weight or even fit into a particular outfit. I just need to feel like I am looking after myself, without spending a ridiculous amount of money to do so. I bought Just Dance 2 for the Wii on Boxing Day which I have been calling my “cheap gym membership”. From Dec 26 until Jan 11 I danced/worked out every single day, then I got that nasty cold and stopped, and of course I have not yet resumed. That’s a pretty short-lived habit, even for me. Like anyone else, sometimes I need to say things out loud/publically in order to stick with my commitments, so I might be putting some of that stuff here. Here’s what I’ve got so far: Starting immediately, I'm back to dancing 6 songs/day, 7 days/week. Starting January 24th I am going to add sit-ups. In the Spring, I will start walking to work at least twice a week. I am not ready to make any chocolate-related commitments yet but I can see possibly giving it up for Lent.
4. I am just about finished my “Psychology and the Mass Media” course and will soon be starting “Understanding Media Literacy”. Electives are fun, but challenging: social science courses require a completely different set of writing skills from that used for humanities courses, which is my major. (I have finished the core English requirements for my degree, so I have to take some different stuff for my last few courses.) My recent term paper was about the power of advertising: I got to analyze ten different ads of my choosing to determine what types of persuasion techniques were used. I choose to examine ads from a parenting magazine because guess what, I have a few of those lying around. The results were interesting (perhaps only to me) and can be summed up thus: advertisers will use any and all persuasion techniques available to sell their products through the exploitation of the parent-child relationship. You knew that already, though. My exam in this course is next Thursday, please wish me luck!
5. I still really love my new job, which isn’t all that new anymore since I have been here for 10 months. For a long time I didn’t want to write or talk about anything negative about my job because it was so much hype and upheaval and hand-wringing to come to this position from my last one, and I thought any negativity would be met by “I thought this was your dream job?!” But I’ve now come to realize, even in your dream job there are bad days. And those bad days don’t make it any less your dream job. Kind of like how fighting with your partner doesn’t automatically mean you’re in a doomed relationship or that you don’t love that person. Unfortunately, lately there have been several bad work days close together, and that has not been very enjoyable. The weird thing is that despite the badness, I really do love this job.