Top Ten Reasons for Not Exercising

Swanson Works Out


1. Every time I have “booked exercise time into my schedule” I am suddenly seduced by other more vital tasks such as liberating the toaster tray of crumbs and giving the side panels a really good going over with Windex.

2.  I persuade myself with incredible ease that buying work out clothes online is exactly the treat I need to really jump start the whole process.

3. Perusing celebrity “secrets” online is particularly deadly – the search results are endless, depressing and ultimately not applicable AT ALL to myself. It’s basically useless to know that Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Anniston both start the day by downing a liter of fresh, filtered water because that is not what makes them beautiful – it’s called DNA. (Buy a case of San Pellegrino though, just in case).

4. Music makes working out so much easier – why not construct the perfect playlist? In fact, why not test drive most of the songs by viewing the original artists performing them on youtube? (Actual time lapse: 1.5 hours oopps, no time to exercise now …)

5. Take several work out books from library to peruse at my leisure on the couch with a tube of Pringles and some Pinot Grigio; this is true research and not to be mocked. Next week really will be different.

6.  Never underestimate the power of a man who smells amazing and presses his chest hair against you just as you are preparing to get up early – in the chill air only available at 6 am. This is the worst temptation of all. Mental note to also switch to a lower, less wonderful thread count …

7.  Just before work out begins, regard self in full length mirror in most flattering light available. Squeeze buttocks till they are raised to their previous glory and feel affirmed enough to avoid exercising. Till tomorrow.

8.  Remind myself that last time I began working out in earnest, I nearly put my back out. (Do not remind myself that chiropractor also said it was important to start really slowly …)

9.  Spend inordinate amounts of time brooding over facebook friends who are posting their running stats, awards and marathon t-shirts. Would a fitbit help me? Make terrible judgements about the state of their inner spiritual lives and intellects whilst enjoying some mature cheddar.

10.  Literally forget that I promised myself to exercise. Suddenly, become so immersed in making crème caramel or cleaning out that really grimy place beneath the stove that I totally avoid the gaze of my new running shoes which are now regarding me dolefully from the door …

Why Reading (At All) Still Counts …


Dana Girls


Frasier ( Son #1) has often told me that people are not reading less now but rather, reading differently. He cites his own reading habits here – and many of his hipster friends – who may dip in and out of many respected, intellectual websites and blogs/instagram accounts daily but not necessarily read an actual book with any degree of regularity. But is the ability to settle down and enjoy a longer body of work for pleasure gradually being edged out by all these shorter blasts online?

Is there a case to be made about our attention spans atrophying since the onset of the internet?

I’ll try to keep this brief …
Continue reading

The Year of the Mat


Perhaps it’s because I myself have worked in public service for many, MANY years that I have a certain expectation of how I should be treated by store clerks or basically, anyone behind a counter. Firstly, no matter what kind of slack-jawed, no eye contact person I encounter, I will never be rude or do the whole store meltdown thing but what I will do is happily return home and send a detailed email about “how we did today.” (Which incidentally, is a universal way to get management excited, especially if you send it to someone with a real name at HQ. Just saying.)

And no, I am not a curmudgeon(ette) or even remotely uptight I merely expect to be treated fairly and hopefully with a few jiggers of respect and understanding thrown in if I am trying to resolve an issue.
Okay so last week I presented at a certain store carrying a mat under my arm for a print that needed re-framing. I knew the exact colour I needed which was plain, olive green. I would also have been fine with black.
The woman behind the desk was occupied with other presumably more important framing projects for a good five minutes before looking up and when she did, she did not speak.

Her expression suggested that I had interrupted an instore writing of her LSAT and she only had a few minutes left.
I said that I would like to get an estimate for having a mat cut and that I had brought the correct size with me (here gesturing to mat I was holding).
She pointed to another counter, final-spirit-Christmas-Carol style – still no words – and then joined me at the new counter. Continue reading

My Heart Belongs to Dyson


About 15 years ago, a friend of mine bought a Dyson vacuum cleaner. I didn’t really pay much attention; I mean I vaguely knew the name but vacuum cleaners are not really something that I find exciting to discuss in most social settings. But she talked about this thing with all the zeal of an evangelist, using body language to show how the carpet fibers were now totally upright and what about the dirt you could actually SEE in that clear canister. Why even bother cleaning if you are just spreading the dust about, she reasoned with open palms. (This from a professional and highly educated woman who does not vacuum for pleasure –usually).

And so it came to pass, with several shedding pets in tow I got one myself …
The first time I used the Dyson, I was astonished that after a few broad sweeps of the carpet there was a swirling core of ginger cat hair in the Dyson’s Oz-like clear canister.

And since we have never actually owned a ginger cat , this was especially impressive. Continue reading