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So, I was surfing around various blogs earlier this week, and came across what I’m hoping will be another fun blog hop that I wanted to try out.

It’s called Wednesday Hodgepodge over at From This Side of the Pond and I found it via Donetta’s World (a blogger I discovered through Jen Kehl’s fabulous Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday Hop).

Hodgepodgebutton

Anyway, Joyce is kind enough to post the questions the day before – and so gave me something to mull over all day today.

Here’s where I landed:

1. The USA will mark Columbus Day this year on Monday, October 14th. What’s something you need or want to explore (literally or metaphorically speaking)?

First off, I just feel the need to point out that up here in Canada, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving on Monday – so it’s parties all ’round North America on the 14th.

As for something I need to explore?  I’ve decided I need to have a good hard look at the whole idea of work-life balance and figure out if it’s all just a bunch of crap.

What I mean by that is, I’ve been hearing about the need to achieve “work-life balance” for well over half a decade.  In that time, I’ve gotten married, had two kids, and continue to work full-time.  While I need to work, I also have a graduate degree – so I’ve invested quite a bit in my education – and subsequently in my career.

I’m basically the target audience for the “work-life balance” koolaid.

And I’m “working” at it.  But mostly I’m just kind of exhausted.

Then I came across an article about a book called “Off Balance” by Matthew Kelly.  In it he apparently reframes the question of work-life balance into a question of personal satisfaction.  He argues that the whole idea of work-life balance was a mistake because we don’t really want balance.  What we really want is satisfaction – both in our work and in our home lives.

Apparently over the past few years he has asked over 10,000 people if they had to choose between balance and satisfaction, which would they pick?  And to date?  No one has chosen balance.

Framed that way, I don’t think I would either.  So yeah, I’m looking for that new world.

2. The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz, Ursula from The Little Mermaid, or Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty…who do you most love to hate?

No contest here.  I know every word to Poor Unfortunate Souls.  Ursula.

Best. Villain.  Ever.

UrsulaTheLittleMermaid

3. Is open-mindedness a virtue?

Yes.  Life is richer when you appreciate the perspectives and experiences of – and friendships with – those who are different, or see things differently than you do.

I have this really distinct memory of a Contiki Tour that I went on through Europe in my early 20s.  We were on the bus entering Paris and our guide was pointing out where McDonald’s was.  Then he stopped and explained that he was doing this so we’d know where there were free bathrooms; not so we’d know where to go eat.  He said you’d left the comfort of home to come on this tour to experience new things, meet different people, and see new cultures.   So explore and be open to new possibilities.  And don’t eat at McDonald’s.

Sometimes I like to think remember that speech when I find myself getting too comfortable with myself.

4. How often do you weigh yourself?

Ah yes!  The scale!  A curse on the instrument of my oppression!

So while I avoided weighing myself for years because weight is just a number and all that bunk, as of January of this year, I do it once a week.

I lost 30 lbs in the first five months of this year, so weighing myself regularly keeps my views about my weight in the realm of reality.  Without being obsessive about the number, it helps in maintaining my weight to KNOW WHAT IT IS. That way I also know from week to week what I can and cannot do/consume if I want to maintain at a certain weight.

5.  Costa Rica was recently named the happiest country in the world on the Happy Planet Index. What’s the happiest country in the world to you, and what makes it so?

I’m a homebody – so I’m happiest at home – and that’s Canada.  My family – and most of my extended family are here.  We have everything we need and while life can always be better, when I remember to be grateful, I thank the powers that be that I was born where I was.  To name just a few things I’ve benefited from in recent memory: I’m thankful for a year’s worth of maternity benefits.  I’m thankful for job security while on maternity leave.  I’m thankful for full-day kindergarten.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to raise my daughter in a bilingual family and to have the public school supports to do so.  I could give you my list of “wants”, but I think I’ll stop with my list of “thankfuls” for now.

6. Besides The Bible, what is one book you think should be mandatory reading for high school students? Why?

As a note, we never read the Bible in school.

I had to give this one some thought.  Upon reflection, I’m going to say the Diary of Anne Frank (or more formally “The Diary of a Young Girl”) because it allows students to see that period of history through the eyes of someone their age and can serve as a launch point for many discussions on issues raised in the book.

Anne_Frank

Having gone through French Immersion in Ontario, Canada, I’d also like to do a shout out for French Canadian literature – and recommend that either Jeanne Fille du Roy and/or Maria Chapdelaine make required lists, but that then the whole “French Canadian farm girl” literature obsession be a) explained and b) done with.

Maria Chapdelaine

Briefly, every second French book I read in high school seemed to be about romanticizing the ideal of rural living and featured a French Canadian farm girl.  At the time I found the complete lack of variance in the stories both boring and exhausting.  But if I had to choose (and trust me, there was a LOT to choose from) these two were the best.

Jeanne

I also found the whole repetitiveness peculiar enough that I did a graduate paper on it for a gender studies class in University.  Suffice to say the reasons for the repeating “myth” now make sense to me (ie: basically maintenance of minority culture) but it would have been nice at the time to have had it explained; and then move on.

7. I went shopping at some nearby outlets last week, and while I was there, I picked up a couple of Christmas gifts. How about you? Have you started your holiday shopping yet?

No.

Heck no.

We just got through homecoming and my daughter’s 4th birthday (so two parties – kiddy, then family).  Next up is Thanksgiving and then Halloween.  So we have some pumpkin patches, pumpkin carving, and costume finding ahead of us first.   Also, I generally don’t turn my attention to anything Christmas until after Remembrance Day and after that not until the Craft Show season starts in mid-November (my mother knits for local craft shows so I grew up around them and love them).  I figure that’s the beginning of the Christmas season.  There’s no rush.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I need to coordinate to get out to a pumpkin patch soon.  We also have a tradition of carving our pumpkins with close family friends, so hopefully we can set up to do that soon.  Now that we’ve made it through birthday weekend, I should get on that.  It’s fun – but I can’t help thinking it would be MORE fun if someone ELSE organized it…  There’s also this 10K Halloween run I’m thinking of signing up for again this year, but thinking maybe I drop that due to life being hectic.  But they noticed I hadn’t registered yet and sent me a reminder offering me a two for one sign up price if I brought a friend.  Which means I now also feel compelled to find a friend to do it with me if I decide to go.  Maybe I need to get myself famous so I can hire me a personal assistant.  Work-life balance be DAMNED.  THAT would be satisfaction!

One year's effort.  Too bad not EVERYONE was looking at the camera...

One year’s effort. Too bad not EVERYONE was looking at the camera…

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