I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better – Part 1 (pages 1 – 68)

Welcome to The Word On The Street Book Club!

We’ve selected four great Canadian reads by authors appearing at the 2015 festival as part of our second summer book club. We’ll be discussing the books each week for the next month, and on September 27th, everyone will have the chance to meet the authors in person at Harbourfront Centre.

Share your views in the comments of the blog, using the questions posed by our book club leaders as a jumping-off point for any other thoughts or questions you may have.

Monica Heisey- I Can't Believe-final cover -april 2015I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better
Monica Heisey

Book Club Leader: Michele Daniels
Blog: Just a Lil’ Lost

According to her family, Michele started reading when she was 3 – and she hasn’t put a book down since. Her love of reading and the online world inspired her to start her site, Just a Lil’ Lost, where she connects with others and writes about books and pop culture topics. She enjoys books in all genres; from adult and young adult fiction to non-fiction and graphic novels. When she doesn’t have a book in hand, Michele can probably be found with a coffee in one, and a macaron in the other.

Take it away, Michele!

Part 1: (pages 1 – 68)
“Food” and “What’s Going On With Your Body”

 Discussion Questions:

  1. Based on the first section of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better, it’s evident that Heisey has an interesting relationship to specific foods, occasionally related to particular events in her life. What food immediately stirs up feelings or memories of a significant moment in your life, and how/why?
  1. If I hadn’t already reached my 30s, I would probably be a bit disbelieving at some of the “sneaky” ways that our bodies go through changes once we get older. What has been the strangest/funniest/most unusual thing someone has warned you about that happens as we age?
  1. Heisey talks about learning to self-care – to take time for ourselves and not feel guilty about it. What are some ways that you care for yourself, or would like to care for yourself?

Coming Up:
Part 2: (pages 69 – 126)
“Werk” and “It’s Called Manners, Read a Book”

Part 3: (pages 127 – 178)
“On Female Friendship, aka Everything” and “Fashion”

Part 4: (pages 179 – 231)
“S-E-X-X-X and Love” and “Our Modern World”

18 thoughts on “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better – Part 1 (pages 1 – 68)

  1. First off, I have to say that I really loved this book! Now, on to answering questions!

    1. I don’t have too many vivid memories that are tied to food. One I can think of though happened just last year. I had filet mignon for the first time ever at one of my best friend’s cottages. It was really great. Her dad is a fantastic cook. I also discovered these wonderful oatmeal, chocolate-chip cookies on that trip. They definitely helped make up for how freezing it was up north in early October. (Just realizing that the question said “significant moment in life”, which this really wasn’t, I guess, but I’m still going to share this story anyway)

    2. Again, I really can’t think of any weird warnings I’ve had. To the people in my life, the signs of “getting older” don’t really happen till 40 or later, so most of their comments have to do with menopause and knee problems (both of which are definitely very real and not all that unusual).

    That new movie, Ricki and the Flash, has a line in the trailer though where Meryl Streep’s character talks about how when you get older you have to be on the lookout for gray hairs “down there”. I have to say I’d never thought about that before, though I guess that’s just one more fun thing I have to look forward to (I don’t think it’ll be so bad though).

    3. I take mental health days/moments. When I’m feeling down or overly stressed, I’ll take a day to just do nothing, to relax and binge watch a tv show, to have a bath, to have a nap, or to just do whatever it takes to let my mind rest for a bit (even if that means letting myself have a really good, messy cry). I also take care of myself by rewarding myself or giving myself a pat on the back when I accomplish something. Even if it’s something simple like: I sent those couple of emails I’ve been meaning to send, I’ll tell myself “good job!” and reward myself with an hour or two (or more, who am I kidding?) of doing something I love (like watching TV or playing video games). I can’t really explain or give advice on how not to feel guilty about taking some necessary me-time, because I’ve been doing it for so long now that I really don’t feel too guilty about it anymore. The way I look at it, we’ve got this one life, so we may as well take some time to enjoy it. That and we also must always try to love and respect ourselves because nothing is more important than that.

  2. 1. Oddly enough, the pizza events that she was describing! I almost forgot until she mentioned it in the book. I distinctly remember those order forms for pizza days. And my love for Pizza Pizza slices up until present day. I suppose it’s because the writer is around the same age as I am, and also grew up in the GTA.
    2. More so warnings about post-pregnancy bodies. They’re making me think twice about having children!!
    3. I’ve recently (like the writer), gotten into skin care products. In fact, I was just in Sephora yesterday, getting all sorts of useful tidbits from the Sales Consultants on my daily routine. Also picked up some new items to add to my once-simple 2-step cleansing routine. And I made a promise to never again sleeping with my makeup on. Ever. No matter how tired. Not even for a quick nap. The Sales Consultant was truly horrified.

    • YES!!!! The pizza days at school were great! I also remember we had like a milk program or something.. where you can check off if you wanted white milk or chocolate milk! 🙂

      Oh, I’m totally guilty of sleeping with my makeup on too.. I need to get better at that!

  3. 1. It’s a very ordinary answer, but ice cream cake! I think of all my birthdays growing up. While the parties blur together the times around what felt like a giant ice cream cake are very vivid. It feels wrong now to eat it when it’s not my birthday.

    2. Coming from a family of Hispanic women with serious curves, as a kid my mom told me I could expect to inherit hips. All I know is they appeared suddenly. One day, there they were. I was wider. Very sneaky.

    I also heard our ears don’t stop growing. Can someone explain that to me?

    3. I could list a number of ways I would like to care for myself: more travel, more bread, more shoes, more massages. In an ideal world these would all be happening—at once! A massage after a day of shoe shopping in Italy on my way to dinner that consists of various loaves of bread, then gelato for good measure! Eat Pray Love anyone?

    In real life I take time for myself by doing my nails. It is rather simplistic, I know, but I enjoy it. It only takes about fifteen minutes, but it is a stretch of time when I am not multitasking or glued to a screen.

    • I’ve heard that too about the ears! But it seems so odd because I’ve seen many older people with very large ears! (are their heads getting smaller then!?)
      More travel would be amazing.. though I find the older we get, the more commitments and obligations we have. So figures that when we can finally afford to go traveling, nobody has the time to anymore 😦

    • I agree, I love ice cream cake!

      Our ears don’t stop growing?!?! Thats not really true. … It can’t be.
      EAT PRAY LOVE EVERYONE! Lets hop on a train or a plane somewhere. Meet you in Italy!

  4. 1. Rice paper rolls as it’s something I grew up eating and I still love to eat today plus they’re super easy and fast to make!

    2. This reminds of when OHS professor spent a class telling us all about the changes that occur to you as you get older, I wasn’t surprised by any of it but it definitely didn’t make aging sound any more appealing.

    3. I try not to read books that I actually like and DNF those that I don’t like. I also play “tourist” in the city and treat myself to baked goods and resturant meals.

    • DNFing books is a new thing for me.. I used to feel obliged to finish it because I’ve already invested that much time, but one day I realized there are WAY too many other books I actually want to read and I’m struggling and basically wasting my time not-enjoying the one I’d currently be reading. Great idea about playing tourist in the city! There’s so many things to discover 🙂

  5. 1. Coming from a South Asian family, food and festivals always go hand in hand. Nothing stirs up the feeling of celebration more than my mother’s Biriyani. It’s the best I ever had to this date and I don’t think I’ll ever find something better. Sure there is tons of good food that I love but the feeling of family and community that comes with this particular dish is the best part.

    2. I’m still in my early twenties so I feel like my body is still being sneaky and I won’t fully notice until it’s over. I have been noticing some back issues that I’m slowly realising my family has passed on to me, but that could also be a result of my atrocious posture.

    3. I let myself have a good cry every once in a while, or just feel emotions that I tend to bottle in. It helps to clear my mind and helps me figure out ways to move forward. I also wish that I had the means to travel somewhere really secluded without people or technology and just quietly sit by myself for a few moments and take in the scenery.

  6. 1. There’s something about birthday food that really feels significant, especially if you have traditions you follow year after year! Mine (like Catherine’s) is also cake: my family eats angel food cake on birthdays, and pretty much not at any other time, so it’s always one reason to look forward to a birthday. Birthdays were also one of the only times that my family would eat in a restaurant, so even though the food often changed, there’s a lot of memories tied to that tradition.

    2. The thing that first came to mind was, when choosing a place to live, was to avoid one with a lot of stairs, which will become harder on your knees when you age. Very practical! The other thing is learning more about how bodies age from my parents and older relatives – and I guess that means I’ll get glasses one day (I’ve never had them and always wanted them when I was younger…I’m not the only one, right?)

    3. I’m an introvert, so I like to spend a lot of time alone. Sometimes it’s hard not to feel guilty about turning down plans, but I like to remind myself that sometimes I just need to stay home. Something else I’d like to do is pick up a new hobby, one that’s not home-based, to help balance introvert time/socializing time.

  7. 1 Based on the first section of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better, it’s evident that Heisey has an interesting relationship to specific foods, occasionally related to particular events in her life. What food immediately stirs up feelings or memories of a significant moment in your life, and how/why?

    First and foremost, I loved Heiseys “Note on Double Dipping” on page 13. She said that “as a general rule, if you would hug everyone in the group you are with, double dip away. It looks like I’m actually more of a hug person that I admit! I love double dipping!
    The memory that stirs up emotional feelings is DILL PICKLE FRIES. I know… yes, it does sound disgusting, and I might have shaved… 3 years off my life but I love them! I remember when I was a kid walking to “Fast Eddies”, and sitting outside on the picnic table with some friends eating those mouth watering dill pickle fries. You can’t smell that bag without your mouth watering!

    2 If I hadn’t already reached my 30s, I would probably be a bit disbelieving at some of the “sneaky” ways that our bodies go through changes once we get older. What has been the strangest/funniest/most unusual thing someone has warned you about that happens as we age?

    Alright, I admit it… Im 30 and I am just beginning to understand climbing up the age ladder. Heisey’s witty repartee is exactly my sentiments on the subject, “Oh these? This is just a visible measure of how much happiness i’ve had in my life. On my face, everyday”. Especially that lone wolf dangling chin hair. It isn’t there in the morning when you look in the mirror, but magically by 2pm you look in your rear view mirror and BAM there it is…
    My co worker often says “its our bodies way of rebelling against us”. No matter how hard we work out, or how many times we look away in the ice cream aisle… that pot belly still grows.

    Heres to the days of being asked if we are pregnant or not, by a rude and insensitive co worker.

    3 Heisey talks about learning to self-care – to take time for ourselves and not feel guilty about it. What are some ways that you care for yourself, or would like to care for yourself?
    Self care is a lesson I’ve been learning ALOT about. I think its about listening to yourself… if you are feeling exhausted by all the extra curricular activities you have in your life – scale back. Just because we CAN lean in doesn’t mean we need to lean in so far …we end up falling over.

    One thing I do is YOGA. Yes, I might sound like every other young professional north american girl when I say this but… it balances me out. I really love the way you are encouraged to listed to your body, and strengthen it.

  8. 1. Many foods stir up many emotions! I love foooood! But the first thing that comes to mind is dill pickle chips (as I was just re-telling this story to a friend the other day). “The incident” occurred at a teenage sleepover party in my mom’s basement. We were playing hide and go seek in the dark. Crawling around on my knees in complete darkness, looking for the perfect hiding spot, I came across a bag of chips and decided to take my chances. I reached my hand into the bag with wild anticipation – would flavour would it be?!? – and came out with… a gnarly hairball. Total gross out. To this day, I can’t think of dill pickle chips without the nostalgia of sleepover parties, teen hijinks and hairballs.

    2. Oh, I’ve heard lots of gross things about aging bodies. And yes, the grossest of those seem to follow the act of bringing a little bundle of joy into the world. The ear thing I’ve never heard – that’s disappointing. The lone wolf chin hair is hilarious and sadly, true. Cellulite is something you don’t fully believe until you see traces of it on yourself – how the crap did that get even there and how do I make it go away? Saggy knees though, that’s my cross to bear.

    3. Self care has been huge for me in just the past few months! I’ve been getting up a little earlier each morning to have some uninterrupted “me” time. To read, to write, to get a little yoga on before I go to work. It changes my whole day, starting with things I love, and making time for myself. And I’m more selective about the things I say yes to. Self-loving is such a powerful thing!

    • Ewwww I’m so grossed out by your hairball chips story Sarah!! lol! I can see why that’s forever ingrained n your memory! Getting up earlier than I need to is always such a nice concept for me but I never do it.. I guess in a way, I look at being able to sleep in a bit more as my “me” time.. lol!

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