Day 1 - 04.01.2019 - It’s going to be a hard day
Today I noticed it was going to be extremely difficult to keep my eyes opened. Don't get me wrong, I think this almost every time I wake up but the feeling passes after a warm shower. Today though, I knew right from the start that it was going to be a hard day. I went to bed quite early for me, around 10:30pm because I was freezing and started reading in bed, quite comfy and cosy under my duvet. I had 10 pages left to read of "Oracle night" from Paul Auster which I just couldn't put down. Ced, my better half, came to bed 20 minutes later and let me finish the book. Once I finished it, I had mixed feelings about the ending because Auster didn't go the way I was hoping he would and therefore I didn’t have the answers to all of my questions and I despise having questions left hanging. I loved reading the book though and I will probably read it again someday. Maybe I will be ready then to fully appreciate this work at its fair value. Once I put the book down, I felt Ced coming closer. He obviously had something in mind and I'm weak! But I dare anyone to have been strong enough to resist his subtle and seductive approach that night. I certainly did not. I fell asleep around midnight which is my usual sleeping schedule, the difference being that I had decided to get up earlier than normal this week so I could accumulate hours at work and start off the year with a peak in my schedule. So if I figured if I fell asleep right this second, I'd have 6 hours of sleep and that was not so bad after all. Of course, that was without counting on our three cats. Simba, the grumpy 18-year old jumped on my side of the bed and took his time to get comfortable on MY pillow, pushing me progressively aside and without any shame. Once his royal highness was in the desired position, Neo (5 years-old) arrived and took place on the pillow between Ced and I. He was installed rather quickly and fell asleep almost immediately but started snoring almost quite immediately as well - wonderful! Then came the little one, Ash, 4-months old. He is so cute I couldn't resist petting him for a while - I already mentioned I was weak, right? - and he was so excited he couldn't stop purring... fantastic! I was stuck with one cat on my head, another one snoring in my ear and the third one, as cute as he was, purring like a mad cat. Needless to say I didn't fall asleep right away as expected. Around 5 am, another distraction arrived, the kind of distraction you can't ignore or push away and one that is even cuter than a baby cat, our 7 year old daughter Céleste, who was just diagnosed with chicken pox the day before. She wanted to sleep with us and arrived with both her favorite plushes and best friends ever and climbed in our bed and took place between us, Neo having left the spot right on time for her arrival. For the remaining hour I had left to sleep, she did not stop moving her legs and turning around, and throughout all this turmoil that went on all night, Ced slept like a baby. I woke up, vanished. It's going to be a hard day.
Day 2 - 05.01.2019 - Shitty memory
Today I noticed I have no trusting memory and I learned a great lesson: always write down your ideas as soon as you get them or they’ll fly away so far you’ll never be able to reach them ever again. Next thing to consider is to always carry a little notebook with a pen everywhere you go because you never know when genius will strike. This morning, I thought of a great idea for this “today I noticed” entry but I thought it was too soon to write it. This day had just barely started and it could still bring a better idea. The worst part is that I actually did think of writing it down but I had no paper nor pen at my disposal at that moment and the idea was so great I told myself there was no way I could forget it so I voluntarily decided not to make the extra effort to go get a notebook and a pen to write it down. Well, guess again genius! I’ve been searching for this idea for quite a while now and impossible to remember anything related to it. I remember it came suddenly, out of the blue in the bathroom this morning before 10am. I remember it was linked to my natural clumsiness and quite fun to tell. Besides that, nothing. I thought maybe it would come back after writing a few lines about it but still nothing. I really have a shitty memory or maybe this idea wasn’t as great as I think it was. Well, remembered or not, great or not, told or not, it’s still on that idea that I wrote today’s entry, it was worth something after all!
Day 3 - 06.01.2018 - Painting
Today I noticed that drawing is as important to me as writing. I had this urge this morning of drawing this new character I had in mind. I mainly use Instagram to follow artists of different horizons and I follow one in particular that struck my attention because of her characters that are similar to mine. What really appeals to me are the colours she uses. She knows exactly which go well together and she has a perfect sense of balance and harmony in her composition. I have never really painted so I watched a few tutorial she posted on Youtube and this morning I tried to apply it to my new piece. It didn’t quite go as I had imagined but I am quite satisfied with the result anyway. Painting is not as precise as pens and I had to find a solution to add texture to it because it looked unfinished otherwise. It was a challenge but I managed to get it done and it was very satisfying to have been able to overcome all these difficulties I hadn’t imagined. I’m not done with painting! I’ll try it again and again, until I feel more at ease with the medium. I really enjoyed the texture and the different aspect I was able to give by only adding or retracting water to the brush going from a thick paste covering everything to this translucent liquid barely touching the paper. The possibilities seemed endless and I loved that. It is such an amazing feeling to approach new ways to express oneself. I can’t wait to give painting another try!
Day 4 - 07.01.2018 - Mother Nature
Today I noticed a Delivery Status Notification (Failure) email. I had planned notifications on January 7 because it’s Ced’s feast day and I received the error message because I had programmed it on an old email as well as one I still use today. It made me realise I have been using tons of different email addresses over the years. Ced and I have been together for 11 years now and I can’t remember the number of email addresses I’ve used on that time period. Why do we create, delete, switch email addresses so often ? Is it because we don’t trust that system or is it simply economical? We regularly go from one operator to another because the offer seems more appealing elsewhere then we come back because it was cheaper but not as convenient. Where does our loyalty go? I remember my dad telling me stories when he was young and how things were back then. He always says it was better back then and that nowadays products don’t last, they’re only made to be replaced and to make a profit. They don’t make products to serve the people and help them in their daily lives, they make products so they can get more and more and more money out of it. Who’s they exactly, we don’t know. It’s always they do this, they want that, etc. Making profit, that’s this century’s reality. Nobody cares about loyalty or people anymore. The economy is the only important factor on this planet. Everything turns around how the economy is going. Well, how about asking humans how they are going? When will that be taken under consideration? And how about the Planet, the Earth and all of its inhabitants, not just humans? When are we going to care enough about that to actually make the changes that are necessary and not just the changes we are willing to make without making any sacrifices, without really changing anything. I could scream when my boss tells me not to worry, that we compensate our travelling habits with a tax. I’m sure Mother Nature appreciates that good fat check we make every year so that our little conscience feels better. But when She’ll be sick of us treating Her like a total moron, She’ll give us Her huge middle finger and will show us what She’s really capable of and when Mother Nature unleashes Her power, it can get nasty. So yeah, let’s keep taking the same bad decisions over and over again and let’s only care about our wallet and what’s in it instead of caring about the real stuff that matters and we’ll have a huge surprise one day, but I’m not sure we’ll appreciate it that much. As of right now, I’m going to change the alert for Ced’s feast day so I won’t get the same trauma next year. Happy feast day my love!
Day 5 - 08.01.2019 - I love this exercise!
Today I noticed I had to better organise myself to write everyday. I’m going to state the obvious, but it takes time to write. I challenged myself with this class and I promised I would complete the assignment without missing one day. Today was limit. It’s 11:30pm and I’m just barely starting today’s entry. I had a long and challenging day at work and I’m exhausted which is not helping since I'm not a native English speaker. I definitely need a better organisation. I watched a movie tonight, thinking I’d still have plenty of time to write afterwards. Next time, I’ll do the opposite. I’ll write the article and if I still have some time left, I’ll rest and eventually watch TV or better yet, I’ll read. I’m aware I’m not writing a novel here, but the fact of writing everyday creates a habit and we are governed by habits. Writing for ten days in a row shows me I can dedicate time and energy to this task. The more I write, the more I want to write and need to write. I’m half way through the exercise and I already know I’ll keep writing what I notice everyday. I feel this urge to write something and I think of finding a topic for this article all day long. After my previous disillusion of losing a great idea, I now write down every single one of them, not matter how small, weird or ridiculous it might be. I also truly appreciate the constraint of those three words “Today I noticed”. Some days I just wanted to write “Today I realised” or “Today I thought”, but the constraint pushes my reflexion further and helps me concentrate and develop my sense of observation. I love this exercise!
Day 6 - 09.01.2019 - The deadline
Today I noticed I had no idea of what day it was as I was emerging from sleep, slightly woken up by a semi-nightmare. I call it semi-nightmare because it was frightening but not to the point of screaming and sweat of fear. At first, I thought we were on Saturday for some reason and I almost persuaded myself to fall back asleep but something felt wrong, I couldn’t figure out what. I can’t really say it didn’t feel like a Saturday because I have no clue what a Saturday should feel like. No, it was something else. I wasn’t completely awake yet, kind of like in a cloud, fuzzy, semi asleep state. I was trying to collect rational facts in that Swiss cheese memory of mine to figure out which day this was and I concentrated on work. How many days have I worked this week? It didn’t seem like many, I had barely no memories of it but I knew I had this deadline for a brochure to design yet I couldn’t visualise the final product so that meant I wasn’t done and I should have been done if this was Saturday. That doubt was like an electroshock. What do you mean the brochure is not done? Are you kidding? I became quite agitated and the brochure project started to take shape in my mind. I started to remember the discussions about it with Ben, my boss. I saw him give me the final notes on the text and we discussed the position of the various logos on the cover. I then saw myself work on the document, then more specifically on photos, illustrations and maps. I then saw myself send a first draft to Ben. Yes! A first draft! I did it! No wait, I received an email asking for minor modifications and
- oh yes, one second please, it’s in my pocket I heard myself say to the train controller.
What? Oh crap, I was checking my emails on the train back home, which means I’m not done with the brochure and that I only covered two days of work. Then it all came back quickly, the train arrived on time - quite amazing actually that it must be mentioned - I caught the bus in extremis and walked home. Ced and Céleste were playing with the cats, we played, we talked, we laughed, we danced, we ate and then I remember we told Céleste it was time to go to bed, that she needed to get a good night of sleep because it was her last day at home tomorrow, that she would go back to school on Thursday. Oh man! So this is Wednesday! What a relief, we still have 2 days left to finalise the brochure.
Day 7 - 10.01.2019 - Come on, think!
Today I noticed I have so many things on my mind right now that I can’t find one topic to write on. This day was hectic from start to finish. I could write on all the things that pissed me off today and that went wrong but that would only make more negative energy out and more than enough were already spread. I mostly worked today and didn’t really get a chance to think about this entry at all. I was concentrating all day long on the visuals that had to be done but other demands kept on coming in and we were completely submerged by noon. Even right now, I’m wrecking my brain to find something worth writing that I might have noticed throughout the day but I don’t seem to recall anything at all. A total blank. If I had to trust my memory, all I did today was work, that’s all I can think of because that job is not done and that bothers me. I probably won’t get any rest tonight because that brain of mine won’t switch off. I am way too stressed out to write. I rarely get this way. I’m usually the one who loves to brag about how I can disconnect from work in a second, but not tonight. Even as I write these lines I feel I’m not fully concentrated at what I’m writing. I can feel my brain wander, trying to find a solution to get my visual to weigh less than 44MB! Why am I still thinking about that? What is it about this project that worries me that much? I put way too much thought into this, that’s not like me at all, there’s got to be something else underlying, something more personal. I have to identify the reason. Come on, think! What’s so important that could get you to worry like crazy? Easy. My family, Céleste in particular. That’s it! Tomorrow is my work-at-home day and I’m afraid if I don’t resolve the issue I won’t be allowed to work at home on Fridays anymore. It is so important to me that’s got to be the reason, even though it is totally unfounded. Working at home on Fridays allows me to take Céleste to school and it’s the only day of the week I can do that. She really counts on me on that day so I can’t let her down. That’s why I put so much pressure on myself. It’s not the job, it’s risking to disappoint my daughter.
Day 8 - 11.01.2019 - I can win!
Today I noticed it was freezing way before I set a foot outside. I’m never fond of getting out of a warm and cosy bed but it was particularly difficult this morning. I had an arm out of the duvet and I love that feeling when you tuck it back inside when it gets chilly, right before shivering, and your whole body warms up instantly. Today was like that and when the alarm clock went off I was at the peak of comfort. There was no way I was getting out, I was not even disposed of letting a finger out but that alarm clock wouldn’t shut up and it started to get annoying. It’s the kind of alarm clock that won’t shut up, no matter how long you wait. It does its job to perfection unfortunately for me this morning. It became so intense and detestable that I wasn’t feeling so comfy anymore. Ced was already in the shower so he couldn’t help, I was on my own, not willing to give in to that irritating machine. I was gonna win, I am an evolved being and I can concentrate enough and make abstraction of that obnoxious object. We’ll see who can last longer! I then spent the next few minutes trying to empty my mind of that exasperating sound in order to replace it with pleasant thoughts. As I was just about to succeed, Ced arrived in the room and looked at me, wrapped in the duvet with my head buried in my chest, and calmly asked as he turned it off
- hmm…why exactly won’t you shut down the alarm clock?”, already imagining I had a wacky reason as usual but didn’t dare speculate.
Once the device was off, I bursted out of bed, relieved, and screamed
- Aha! I did it! I beat you, you evil piece of…”
But before I finished that pathetic nonsense, I saw Ced observing the scene, not surprised a bit and rather slightly amused
- Congratulations my love, unfortunately it’s the kind of device that never learns its lesson and I fear it’ll go off again tomorrow. But I’m proud of you” and he left the room guffawing, leaving me alone and jaded with the vanquished object.
Day 9 - 12.01.2019 - The line and the dot
Today I noticed a book on Céleste’s nightstand I knew absolutely nothing about. The book is called “The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics ” by Norton Juster and starts like this: “Once upon a time there was a sensible straight line who was hopelessly in love with a beautiful dot. But the dot, though perfect in every way, only had eyes for a wild and unkempt squiggle.” Needless to say the title startled me, Céleste only being 7 years old.
How did it get there?
Who gave it to her?
What did it talk about?
Since I had no clue I immediately started to read it and found it quite appealing, although I thought the end a bit disappointing. Since I didn’t purchase this book it was obviously one of Ced’s. That’s as far as the investigation went since we’re only three living in this apartment and that I check every book that’s offered to Céleste as the control freak that I am. I shouldn’t even have searched that far, it’s totally the kind of book Ced loves to introduce to Céleste. He has this instinct on finding extraordinary golden nuggets like this one. Ced must have found it once again as he was reorganising our bookshelves last week. I love going through a bookshelf I haven’t checked in a while. I often discover forgotten books and take great pleasure in reading them once more. That’s what must have happened to the dot and the line. It’s a small book and it must have slid in the back of the bookshelf as well as of our memory. I can understand why he read her that story. It’s a cute book for all ages and nicely presented. The moral of the story is positive and encourages not to give up, even when the situation seems desperate. The format is small with few colors, the cover is attractive in cyan blue, the dot in magenta and Cupid arming his arrow.
I really enjoyed reading this cute little book I found very poetic. I only wish one day the line will realise she deserves better than the dot.
Day 10 - 13.01.2019 - Be a mom
Today I noticed we ask too much of teenagers. We keep on saying they are just kids, yet we expect them to make well-considered decisions. My niece Salomé is 15 and is attending her last year of high school. There’s a test at the end of the school year and kids have to make “wishes”, a fancy word for establishing a list of secondary high schools (which lasts 3 years) they wish to go to. Salomé was talking to her mom this afternoon about the different schools she had selected and the tone was tuned up a notch because she was giving frail arguments for one school in particular. She tried to convince us it was a good school but we knew her sole motivation was that most of her friends had applied there. It was quite fun to see her defend that project with such energy, unfortunately, my sister didn’t see the humorous side of the situation and instead of calming things down, she made them boil. My sister, the adult here, started to counter-argue Salomé’s defence aggressively like she would have done with an adult. She blamed Salomé for not thinking clearly and being influenced by elements outside her studies. She then completely lost it and went into an incomprehensible diatribe, telling her that with this kind of attitude she was not likely to ever succeed in school and she shouldn’t even think of going to college. The discussion turned into a settlement of scores. It ended with my sister telling her to apply wherever she seemed fit, that she didn’t care. What?!? How did it become so nasty? I was playing with Céleste and was not paying close attention to them at first. Salomé is only 15 and it’s quite normal she’s considering going to the same school as her friends. It’s human and comforting and if she was thinking clearly and thoroughly she wouldn’t be called a teenager but an adult and that’s precisely why she has a mother. The role of a mother is to make her 15-year old daughter realise why it’s not in her best interest on the long-term to make that choice and to give her all the reasonable arguments why she should go to the other school. If that discussion is directed calmly without judging and criticising, Salomé, who is a smart kid - I insist on kid - who already has a precise idea of what she wants to do later on and she would have understood and seriously considered applying to the best school for her. Instead, she closed on herself, airtight to any adult trying to converse with her, gritting her teeth. The teenager was unreachable, no need to even try. Well done, sis’! What got into you anyway? Teenagers, especially on these days in age, may physically look mature and speak with confidence and logic but they remain kids and we, adults, have a responsibility to act as such. Our kids are not our friends. Kids grow too fast and adults refuse to age, this world is completely insane. Note to self: Never forget this incident, be patient at all times, listen to Céleste and understand her needs and fears. Don’t jump to conclusions nor judge her. Be present and take responsibility. Love her. Be a mom.
Day 10 was just another entry to the diary, definitely not something I want to write further on but it bothered me so much I had to write about it. I loved the exercise, thank you Emily!