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Around the house Diversions Health Politics Reading

June 2022

And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days.

James Russell Lowell

I seem to always love the idea of planning but then, stress hits and my most well-worn response is avoidance. I plan to get things done and then they don’t and the next thing I know it’s bedtime and well, that’s about it really.

Yesterday (June 4) there was a “Daily Jay” on the Calm app about “time confetti“; about how little things add up to disrupt your plans and goals and break up your day and cause irritation. Prioritizing is definitely not something I am good at – but it’s comforting to know I am not alone and that there are so many external factors influencing this that I have no control over at all. Thankfully my work is one of those places that really is not there when it’s not supposed to be there. I don’t get messages on my personal phone etc. So that’s terrific. Work is also flexible enough that when I need to take breaks during the day, that’s fine, the work day doesn’t have to be precisely 9 to 5 but also understands that work is not all consuming.

white background with lots and lots of little coloured pieces of paper
confetti 😉

Okay – so back to trying to plan, think about what’s important, not necessarily going off on all sorts of new and fun directions. I mean, new and fun directions are great. But I don’t have to follow the path RIGHTNOWTHISVERYINSTANT. I can make a note, and follow up later.

One of the ways I thought I would do this would be to think of big themes for the month and if something pops up that fits into the theme – yippie! and if not, and it looks cool, I can make a note and maybe use that to come up with another month’s theme.

THEMES FOR JUNE

There are some easy ways for my brain to group things and also a few topics I want to learn more about which themselves have lots of subheadings so the big overall groups are:

SELF

OTHERS

HOME

NATURE

SELF focus for June:

❶ schedule – a day

❷ mindfulness – being present

❸ health – menopause

Schedule: I’m trying to figure out what I would like “a day” to look like. Three different days actually: in-office work day, WFH work day, non-work day.

Mindfulness – just something I’m always working on; whether it’s a bit of reading about stoicism, the Calm app, yoga. Something.

Health – read the damn menopause book. That time is creeping up slowly but surely and I really want to be sure I have some sort of idea about what’s going on. We don’t talk about this stuff enough and I need to learn.

Also move more. I have an appointment with a specialist about weight management and stuff also.

OTHERS focus for June:

❶ reading – neurodiversity

❷ support – volunteering? politics?

The idea here is to not lose myself in my own little bubble. The Ontario election annoyed me to no end – the lowest turn out in years, maybe ever? WTAF?!? The cons killed people during the pandemic no less than if they had pulled a trigger on a gun and you will not be able to convince me otherwise. And they were rewarded with another majority? @#(P YPVDLI but rather than retreat to the safety of my world with only my people in it I want to do more.

Concrete tasks here:

① deliver egg cartons to the food bank

② bring black take out containers to the farmers’ market for re-use

③ chat with Laura about how to _do something_ about the politics stuff that’s frustrating me

④ read this: recommended by a friend:

Picture of book titled NeuroTribes

HOME focus for June:

❶ minimalism – organize/declutter

We live in a fairly large house. The problem with this of course is that we acquire enough stuff to fill the large house. And then some. This will really probably be the focus every month for HOME but key tasks for June:

① Lisa’s Stuff – organize jewellery; what do I want to keep; offer the rest to family / friends and then sell / donate what’s left

② Q’s Stuff – a big goal for the entire summer is to get everything out of Q’s rooms and really clean and maybe repaint them etc. So we’ve got to start whittling his stuff down too

③ Art – hang more of the art I love and offer up the stuff we no longer adore. This has already started which is great.

NATURE focus for June:

❶ birds – pigeons

❷ tree – northern red oak

Y’all know I’m weird right? I wanna learn more about birds and trees but I keep going off on all sorts of tangents and, while fun, it’s really not sinking in. So, thanks to a random chat with the wonderful Abby, I fixated on pigeons for June. I know nothing about pigeons but they’re everywhere. So I’m gonna learn about pigeons.

A stack of four books about pigeons
Sometimes I wonder what the librarians might be thinking…

Same with trees. There are a bazillion trees out there. So overwhelming to know where to start. But we just planted Tom in the fall – Tom is the name we gave to our northern red oak (Quercus rubra) – so that seemed like a good place to start.

Tom – June 5 taken from the balcony
Categories
Diversions

Half way through January

I thought I ought to check in with how I am doing with my habits and goals and stuff. You know, those daily, easy/hard, things?

Okay first, clearly drinking more water is actually easier than I thought it would be. Even when I did nothing for a couple of days post-COVID booster shot, I still managed to drink at least two of my water bottles full each day. That’s about 1.5L so not loads but more than I was drinking.

Okay – so booster was in the late afternoon of January 5. That first light blue box is January 5. I was soooo wiped out for the 6th and 7th at least.

picture was actually taken on January 21 – but yea, didn’t want to wait till the end of the month for an update

Moving – I was on a good roll there. That booster shot though really wiped me out. You see that lonely red box in there? I got the shot on Wednesday afternoon. On Saturday I figured I should be able to go for my walk – so I did: 40 minutes woohoo. And within 15 minutes of getting home I fell asleep. And napped for 2 hours! So then I guess I just lost my mojo? Will be working on that.

Yoga – ahhh yoga. Again. 5 days straight. Then wiped. And after a couple of days off I realised that my shoulder was actually NOT appreciating all the table top / cat-cow / downward facing dog poses. You’ll see at the bottom of the chart that I thought maybe yoga would take the place of physio maybe? Turns out I was wrong. So I am going to add a physio break to my work day to get me up off the computer at least. Ideally by the end of the month there will be a lot more of that line filled in!

Reading – ahhh reading is one of those things that’s on the list so I get the joy of crossing it off. Actually from the 12th to the 14th I did reading instead of “creating” because I needed to finish this amazing book by bell hooks and get it back to the library. (And yes, it will have it’s own post soon too). But I am also prone to not picking up a book for days, weeks even. So the ability to check it off (or fill in the box) is nice. Same with contests. I haven’t won much lately but it’s a small group of people I’ve known online for almost 20 years!

Ohhh and I made this today for tracking my books. A bookshelf! In my journal 😊

And at least the cats can’t complain much 😉

So creating – the plan from the beginning was:

☐ 1 x each easy list item per week

☐ 3 x each hard list item per month

Well, mostly I’ve been cross-stitching. Once I coloured. A couple of times I’ve written blog posts. Definitely not spreading out the easy list items.

And the hard list? No painting, no trumpet, and no knitting as of yet. At least we baked once before the 15th! Q asked for – and to help make – chocolate cheesecake for his birthday so I got one hard list item done in the first half of the month! Yikes.

And – I managed to bake twice again since the 15th so baking is okay. But none of the other stuff. You’ll see my little note to myself that CREATE is going to get it’s own chart in February and we’ll see if that helps any.

Categories
Diversions Uncategorized

Planning for…uhm the planning?

This post really shows a deep-deep-deep dive into my brain. You should probably know I am often told I over-think things. On the other hand, I know I work best when I have a plan. I can stray from the plan, update and tweak the plan, but I need the structure within which to do that.

For my purple journal I’ve been trying to brainstorm what sorts of things I want to keep in there – like in a bullet journal format.

Details for cross-stitching (and maybe knitting, ohhh I would love to carve out some time for knitting again) will be in the Stitching Journal but the “habit” of stitching will be tracked in my purple journal. And I plan on using the Reconciliation day planner as a gratitude and writing prompt as well as for the action steps and other great info it contains.

But my purple journal will be my main go-to for the year.

Daily Habits

I’ve been trying to think of the things I want to get done each day (or at least as close to daily as possible):

drink more water than coffee (and more water than beer but also drink way less beer generally)

move – walking, maybe swimming in summer, learning to ride my bike again like I promised I would last year…

mindfulness

yoga – yes, different than move OR mindfulness

reading for pleasure

entering contests

being creative – more on this below

write – in the journal and stuff for sharing on the blog

Here’s another example of a past weekly tracker. Back when I actually tried to keep up with Duolingo…

Chores

Then there are the chores that I’d like to track as well, mostly because of the little rush of checking something off of a list:

laundry – honestly not sure – this isn’t daily but definitely not weekly either! But I don’t want to not do it for days and days and then have to do nothing but laundry on Saturday to catch up

kitty litter – daily

dumping the dehumidifier (less a chore in winter but twice a day in summer)

changing the bed sheets – weekly

cleaning the dishwasher – monthly

a household fix that needs to be done – monthly; stuff like take inventory of the baking cupboard; fix the side storm door; take a car-load of things to the donation centre; box up things for donation

cleaning the washer – quarterly

– I’m sure there are LOADS I am forgetting but those are the ones that jumped out at me as I am writing this

They are beautiful and I love them even though I have to clean their litter

Less Frequent Reminders

And things I want to remember the last time I did:

changing toothbrush

tracking periods

bathe – I don’t mean for cleanliness (those are showers); I mean having a long soak with a bath bomb and a book. I love doing this but always push it off (“I just don’t have time”) and then find it’s been four months since the last one.

Time to be creative

And I still want to carve out time for being creative and crafty and stuff. So I brainstormed a list of what I want to do:

cross-stitch

knit

paint

bake

colour (I have some awesome pencil crayons and some amazing colouring books)

play an instrument – there are three in the house I have my eye on: piano, trumpet, and, uhm, I’ll just keep the last one a secret for now.

lego!

But I obviously cannot do each of those every day. And I don’t want to just happen to notice that I haven’t touched the watercolours in weeks. So I thought I would put them into two categories: EASY and HARD. Now it’s not the activity itself that is inherently easy or hard. Playing piano is under EASY (though I find it challenging) – because it takes no time at all to set up and when I am done, I just close the key cover. Watercolours would be HARD – I have to prep the work space, I have to figure out what to do and why etc, then do the thing and then I have to clean up after the thing.

Make sense?

EASY LIST

Cross-stitch – the task itself is easy (though time consuming lol) once I get the stuff I need all put together. But the putting together of the pattern, fabric, hoop, and floss only happens once. Then it all stays together in a kit bag until it’s done.

Piano – as noted: open key cover, play, close key cover

Colour – pick a book, pick a spot, colour. Put it all away after.

Lego – I do have loads of this. And I love working on it. It’s almost a form of mindfulness for me really as I have found I cannot fret about the future or dwell on past screw-ups when I am building. Even just following instructions etc. (right now this is still sort of medium instead of easy because of a lack of space and organization in the basement so maybe that should be an early chore…)

HARD LIST

Paint – lots of prep and clean up involved. And keeping the cat away from the work space. And finding a work space. And looking up a lesson. You get the idea.

but with less beer remember

Bake – lots of prep, including shopping ahead of time. Then often lots of clean up as well.

Trumpet – not really hard but not really easy either. Okay, never mind, maybe I should move this over to easy because it really is just open case, open book, play, put it away. But I have to do it in the basement to save my family and neighbours. And look up lessons? Okay, maybe it’ll stay here for now.

Knit – I’m putting this here basically because I haven’t given it any thought at all in the past 2 years really. So I would need to sort out my yarns, find my needles and do all that prep work before I can get started. But once I get that done then maybe it’ll be a medium-ish task? Like the trumpet 😉

The other instrument – this is completely new to me so I’m putting it under hard. I have to look up you tube stuff on how to play. I have to find a book. I really should put “clean basement room” as a top chore for January…

Now what?

Now that I have developed this amazingly comprehensive classification system (hahaha!) I’m still thinking about what to do with it. Maybe each item on the HARD LIST has to be done at least once every week?

But that seems like a lot. And once every two weeks feels like not enough. You know where this is going right? My goal is gonna spend time on each item on the HARD LIST at least three times in each calendar month. Maybe some months I’ll do more, maybe some I’ll be short but that’s the goal.

The goal will be to do stuff on the EASY LIST at least once a week. At least for stitching and piano and colouring. I’ll be a bit more flexible on the lego.

Categories
Diversions Get Crafty Health Reading

Trying to focus

How do you pick what you want to focus on? I mean, seriously – there are so many things I want to do, and help Q with, and I have no idea how to fit it all in.

Right now I’m trying to fit in – in addition to working-from-home-mostly-full-time:

  1. improving my French – mostly this involves the Duolingo app. My French is pretty abysmal for someone who took it for 13 or so years through elementary and high school;
  2. reading more – like actual books. I’m doing the Toronto Public Library’s reading challenge again this year and while I’m doing okay, I’d like to be more consistent with it. For example, I haven’t read anything not work related in the last two weeks. I’d like to work it in;
  3. cross-stitching – it’s fun and calming. Mostly it’s calming. I found an awesome group on facebook to stitch with and they have little games and competitions and while that helps me stitch more it also sometimes ups my anxiety. Thankfully they’re pretty laid back and chill and if I have to drop out of something there is no problem. I’m also VERY careful to follow through on the ones that actually require preparation and participation though;
  4. helping Q learn Morse Code – I’m not sure how much he wants to do this but we’ve worked our way up to E (and also SOS and the letter T);
  5. 2 x 10 minutes of my mindfulness app a day – why twice a day? The app is Calm and it has a “daily calm” of about 10 minutes on a different topic each day. Then it has different series that you can work through – right now I’m listening to a series called “relationship with self.”
  6. moving more – hard to do when we’re in a state of emergency I think; but we’ll try.

One of the benefits of not being at home right now is I can at least ignore most of the “housekeeping” stuff – no cleaning, no yard work etc. I am still doing laundry but less really. Also no piano to make me feel guilty for not practising!

So let’s see:

  • 10-20 minutes for Duolingo;
  • 20-30 minutes for Calm;
  • 30-60 minutes for reading;
  • 30-60 minutes of cross-stitching;
  • 30-60 minutes of moving more;
  • 30-60 minutes of helping Q with school, games, Morse Code etc
  • 6.5 hours of work (M – F)
  • 7 hours of sleep (ideally)

At the high end of everything and assuming some buffer for changing activities and that equals 19 hours. Plus eating and showering. I’m gonna try this schedule for this week or two. It has the decided benefit of being easily marked down as “yes or no” – isn’t that the hallmark of a “SMART” goal?

  • Specific – yes
  • Measurable – yes  
  • Attainable – not sure
  • Relevant – well, relevant to me
  • Time-bound – trying for a week, hopefully two and then I’ll see how I’m feeling about it all.

Wish me luck!

What are you choosing to focus on? One or two things or 50bazillion like I’m trying to do?

Categories
Diversions

It’s been a week

So let’s see – first ever (written) submissions made to a particular court; spent the night at my grandmother’s house probably for the first time since I was a child; had a wonderful house guest; reorganized the craft-area part of our room; also at least four loads of laundry and practised piano every day except the day I wasn’t home. Whew.

And yet I still am not sure I did everything I wanted to do. It turns out lists can be pretty helpful eh? I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep that up on here but it seems as though it’s a big help for me so there you go. That’s the only incentive I need.

It’s a long weekend in Ontario this weekend:

I have a love/hate this with holidays that move. In this case, Victoria day is the Monday before May 25. Regardless of the actual day – which can be anywhere from the 18th to the 24th – it’s sort of known as the “May 2-4” weekend. A 2-4 being slang for a case of beer as well. And it’s kinda funny as Queen Victoria’s actual birthday was May 24th. And it’s one of only three holidays in the Federal Holidays Act.

I’m trying my best to rest this weekend. To just chill.  To eat ice cream and drink beer and knit and spend time on Monday planning out the upcoming week or two, including getting back on the keto-wagon.

Have a great weekend all!