Monthly Archives: May 2012

5 Ways to Make Decision-Making Easier

Have you ever tried to make a decision and found yourself paralyzed because you had not too few options, but too many?

Here’s one example that resonated with me:

As the cultural pressure mounts for us to have perfect weddings, I keep seeing brides (and sometimes myself) freezing like deer caught in the headlights. How can we make a decision on a florist until we have researched every possible floral designer working in our area, and found the one whose style and vision best meshes with ours? … It’s our wedding day, it has to be the best, and it has to be right for us. With so many options and so much pressure how on earth can we choose?

I do this all. the. time, with big decisions and little ones. It drives me bonkers, it drives my loved ones bonkers, it causes stress and heartache I don’t need. This week alone, I have struggled mightily with the choice of paint colours and ceiling fans for our new old house. Nice problem to have, yes. But I bet it’s happened to you — maybe not with a house, but with a restaurant menu or the choosing of a college major or anything in between.

Or maybe it hasn’t. Maybe you’re the decisive type who walks into a store and buys the first pair of pants he tries on (ahem) and then doesn’t second-guess the decision afterwards.

So how can those of us who aren’t hard-wired for decision making jury-rig our systems and circumvent our fears of Being Wrong to do what comes so naturally to others?

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Author Spotlight: YA Writer Megan Crewe

In this Author Spotlight series, I’m talking about other writers you might not be familiar with, or you may have heard of but not read. The aim is to give you enough information to decide whether you might enjoy their work.

Megan Crewe author photoToday’s featured author is Megan Crewe. She’s a Canadian YA author who writes in a variety of speculative fiction subgenres, including (so far) a virus survival novel and a paranormal novel. If those descriptions make you think of heart-pounding thrillers with breakneck pacing, you’d be wrong — her stories are quieter, more character-oriented, but they build to page-turning finales. More after the jump…

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Friday Link: Queen Victoria’s Diary

Today’s nifty historical discovery: Queen Victoria’s diary is now online. Sounds like an invaluable resource for historical writers, steampunks, history buffs, Anglophiles, and anybody whose curiosity leans that way.

From the Toronto Star:

The ruler who reigned over the British Empire for more than 60 years gushed to her diary about meeting her future husband and how “delightful” it was to go swimming.

For the first time, the public can access those passages and others from Queen Victoria’s diaries with a few clicks of the mouse. A website featuring the personal journals of Britain’s longest-serving monarch, who wrote exhaustively during her 63 years on the throne, was launched on Thursday, the 193rd anniversary of her birth.

Previously, the journals were only accessible by appointment at the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle, meaning it was mostly academics who read them.

“It’s quite unusual for the entire journal of a leader who reigned over the country for over 60 years to be made available,” said Suzanne de la Rosa, head of communications at the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University.

Read the rest of the article, including some choice quotations, here.

One line that caught my eye: “Only 13 of the journal volumes are in the Queen’s handwriting. After her death, her youngest daughter Princess Beatrice spent more than 30 years transcribing and redacting her mother’s diaries.” Which makes me wonder how much Beatrice changed…

Happy long weekend to my American readers! It’s just a regular weekend here in Canada, so I’ll be blogging on Monday as usual. So long for now.

How to Make Every Weekend Feel Like a Long Weekend

The first long weekend of summer is just finished here in Canada, and just about to arrive if you’re in the United States. It’s a time to relax and unwind from the whirlwind of daily life. But have you ever noticed how fast that feeling of relaxation disappears once you’re back at work?

Today I’m looking at some ways to recapture the feeling of a summer long weekend — anytime.

The lakeshore of Toronto

Even the heart of a city can hold wide vistas of nature. | Copyright Siri Paulson, 2009.

1. Get outside. Summer evokes beaches, parks, and long walks. Or gardening and barbecuing in your backyard. Or maybe hanging out on an urban restaurant patio. Whatever form of the outdoors makes your heart sing, don’t wait until a long weekend to go looking for it. Maybe you can’t get out of the city, but even the city is full of hidden gems of nature: green and sunny spaces — or even a lake or river — that can give you the feeling of a mini-holiday.

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Books: Exploring Science Fantasy

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffreyAs a reader, I’m all over the spectrum of speculative fiction. I’ve been known to enjoy everything from hard science fiction, like Peter Watts‘s Blindsight, to epic fantasy, like George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones. (I’ve written a pretty big variety of stuff, too. I also read and occasionally write outside speculative fiction, but that’s beyond the scope of this post.)

One thing that has always fascinated me is the way subgenres nudge up against one another, how the lines are drawn, where they grow fuzzy. Is a zombie story science fiction or horror? What about a time travel story or a superhero story? How about things like Star Wars, whose genre classification depends on whether you prioritize scientific accuracy over the presence of spaceships? Today I’m looking at one of my favourite areas of genre-bending — science fantasy and variations thereof.

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Friday Video: Baby’s First Bath

It’s been a long week, so here’s a peaceful video to reactivate your sense of wonder and relaxation as we head into the weekend. Enjoy!

(via Elephant Journal)

Norway: A Murderer’s Trial and a Royal Wedding

Norwegians parading in national costume before the palace in Oslo

Norwegians celebrating in front of the royal palace in Oslo. Photo by Morten Johnsen

The seventeenth of May is the equivalent of Independence Day in Norway. The country has been in the news recently because of the trial of Anders Breivik, the mass murderer who shot up a youth camp. But on the eve of Syttende Mai, there are other things I would like to remember about my ancestral home. Continue reading