Saturday 18 May 2024

I Need to Start Writing Down My Random Thoughts

 Because I've had quite a few good ones, and now they're gone. 

And, not just singular random thoughts, but thoughts that lead to other thoughts and then it's just a big random train, and I'm grinning and possibly giggling, and my kids, who are in the car with me, are like, "what are you smiling about?" and I'm like, how do I possibly explain this without coming off as a crazy person?

When we're driving somewhere, my husband often asks me what I'm thinking about. 

I'm daydreaming, obviously, but do I tell him that I'm daydreaming about how I'm a character in Supernatural, but the character is actually my character that will be in a book one day, and she's just been inserted into an episode (an episode that doesn't exist by the way), or maybe Sam and Dean have been inserted into a chapter of her book? And oh look, the trees along the highway are all pretty and gold!

Yeah, Sam and Dean have messed up royally and now my character has to save their asses. Actually, someone else messed up a spell, but they still need help saving the day.

What I say, of course, is that I'm thinking about how much I enjoy hanging out with the kids.

Tuesday 5 March 2024

Planner Prompt 2024 Week 10: Savings Tracker

 This week it is suggested that if we are not currently using our Savings Curator (Saint Belford's Curation planner has a hefty section devoted to saving money, including an expense / earnings tracker, with sections on problem solving how to get more money coming in), then we could use the monthly expense tracker to track online purchases.

I love this planner so very much. This right here is one of the best things about it. Not the Savings Curator, specifically, but the fact that the creators know that you aren't going to jump in and use all the features to their full extent right from January first. No, because that would be a great way to set yourself up for failure.

Instead, suggestions weeks in on how to use part of a section help build those little habits a bit at a time. My cat is being so cute right now.

I personally am using the savings curator to track a debt payment, so really I'm only using the first page of it (it has a progress bar).

I could use the monthly bit for tracking budgets for recurring expenses, but I already have a lovely little budget in Excel that tells me what all my regular bills are, and is my paycheque enough to cover them etc.

What I could use the monthly part for, though, is planning out the random "bigger" monthly expenses.

For example, I have a couple hundred dollars each month for things like clothes, shoes, etc. So I could map out who gets new clothes or sporting goods when in the year. It's not budget friendly when I need to replace my bras and get new hikers at the same time that my kids sign up for hockey at the same time that my husband needs five new shirts and so on. We need to take turns.


Saturday 2 March 2024

Planner Prompt 2024 Week 9: Time Buffers

This week's planner prompt, which I've just now read, is to give yourself a time buffer to minimize stress: give yourself an extra 10 minutes to get to all your appointments.

This week has been exceedingly blah. Maybe because it was the last week I could go to the gym, or maybe it was because I'm fighting off whatever Spawn2 has right now. I thankfully didn't have many appointments this week. But I did make it on time to the one I did have despite the horrendous road conditions.

As a child I remember my mom drilling in to me that you always left the house a half hour before any appointment, which as a kid always feels super early. We were never late for anything. 
What I didn't connect at the time is that we lived a good 15-20 minutes out of town, so the half hour was necessary. And parking downtown wasn't as big a deal back then. I think.

We had family friends who were consistently an hour late for everything. One time Mom planned having them over for dinner, told them it was for 5pm, and planned it for 6pm so that the food wasn't ruined. Family friend was so mad. 

In my twenties I had a friend who was late for everything. I experienced so much anxiety when I was with her and we had somewhere to be.

Then I had kids. Sometimes lateness just happens when you have kids. And it still gives me huge anxiety to this day.

I've gotten better at planning exit strategies. If we need to be downtown at 4pm, it's 10-20 minutes to get there depending on time of day and weather, then 10-30 minutes to find parking, then 1-10 minutes to walk to where you need to go, so we need to leave either an hour ahead of time, or at 3:45 and drive like a mad woman.

And then if you're on time for the appointment and it's for the doctor or chiropractor, you could be waiting for another 10-120 minutes, so bring a book. And I feel like my chiropractor sees patients in the order that they arrive regardless of appointment time, so if I'm on my lunch and plan accordingly and arrive right on time but the guy whose appointment is after mine arrived first he goes first and so then my lunch hour is over and I'm still waiting. 

It is so much more relaxing to get somewhere on time, with a few minutes to breath. Or read. Or nap. Sometimes I even close my eyes for five minutes when I get to work.

Next year both my kids go to the same school, and I can drop them off early enough that I would start work at 8am like a normal person (vs. 9am due to current drop-offs), meaning my work day would end at 5pm vs 6pm. 
Walking it backwards, though, means leaving the house a good ten minutes earlier than we do, and I think that that puts us in a heavier traffic pattern, so more like fifteen minutes earlier, so then I have to weigh the anxiety of trying to get out the door so early vs. maybe starting at 8:15.

How early, or late, are you?

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Planner Prompt 2024 Week 8: Reflect on How You Want to Live Each Day

 This is the week that we journal our intentions for the year ahead.

I'm caught up to the weekly prompts. I've blogged more than once in a month. Or year. As intended. Now I just have to maintain that.

How do I want to live each day?

If I'm going to be honest, like my cousin. Let's call her Pippi.

Now, I don't mean that I want to be Pippi, or live exactly like Pippi, but she is an inspiration for sure.
She gets a lot done. Like, a LOT. I know that she's genius level at everything that she does, and she always has been, and there have been times in my youth where I've felt less than when I'm with her, but it's never been because of anything she's said or done. She's never judged me.

I've judged me. I've compared me. I'm the only one who's found myself lacking.

What is it that I judge about myself?

There are so many things that I want to do, but don't. And I can fall into pits of self-loathing about it. 
I think, am I just lazy? Mentally unable to do? Am I really that exhausted, or am I just grasping onto excuses?

I want to write. Get into better shape. Eat better. Crochet. Go hiking more. Go camping more. Garden. Be efficient. Keep a cleaner house. Prepare for my work weeks better. Meal plan more. Be more crafty. Paint my house. Organize my house.
Etc., etc.

That's a lot. And it's so overwhelming that I just don't do it.

So how does Pippi do it all?

She just does it.

I had the opportunity to stay with her last year for a week. 

And she is busy, but not frantic or stressed about it.

She's actually very relaxed. All her movements, in everything she does, is relaxed and calm. But she just does it. And gets it done.

And the secret? 

She doesn't watch a lot of TV, and she's not on social media a lot.

The big take-away: 

Stop procrastinating.

If I want to live my life every day, I need to stay off social media (not usually an issue at all, but sometimes I get stuck in Reelsville and can't get out). Mostly, I need to watch less TV. That is my biggest time killer.

I don't feel the need to knock projects out every day, but I do think that I can pick one small thing, whether it's a task on it's own, or a small part of a bigger project.

I want to enjoy more life, live more life, and relax about it.

Monday 19 February 2024

Planner Prompt 2024 Week 7: What Does My Body Need This Week?

 Sleep.

"Ask yourself: what does my mind and body need this week? Use your Daily Self-Care Planner (the heart symbol on your weekly spread) to schedule activities and rituals that address those needs."

I went to CrossFit a couple times, and worked out or read on my lunch hour. 

I mostly want more sleep, though.

Planner Prompt 2024 Week 6: Build a Habit

 Commit to building one small habit that will support your goals and intentions this year.

This week (which was Feb 5-11) Saint Belford prompted us to use the Habit Curator and daily habit tracker to assist in this goal.

It was supposed to be a small habit, which for me would have been walking the dog every day, or doing yoga every day. 
My dog actually helps with the walking habit. She works me hard when I get home from work. Stares at me imploringly. Gets excited when I so much as look at the stairs to the front door. Gives me her toys. Playing with her in the back yard, or getting the kiddos to walk her is not nearly good enough.

I would love to make blogging every day, or a few times a week, even, a habit, but we can all see how that one's going.

What I do feel like I'm nailing down is the #800g Challenge, which is not necessarily a small habit, and takes up a lot of the Personal Planner / Tracker section. 

Baby steps. One habit at a time.

And that is the point.

Sunday 18 February 2024

Planner Prompt 2024 Week 5: Sign up for a trial class or activity

 This week's Curation Weekly Self-Care prompt is to sign up for a trial class or activity that you've always wanted to try.

There are no creative writing classes, nor any groups, in my area. 

Pottery would be cool, but I can't afford it, or the classes are all full. 

I also did the opposite: I unsigned up from my CrossFit gym, mostly due to cost. So, maybe down the road I can afford to try the pottery.

I also want to learn how to knit, and I think the library has a free group. 

This one feels like a later thing, for sure, so I'm taking the pressure off myself, and that is also self-care.

Planner Prompt 2024 Week 4 - Start a Jar of Awesome

 Start a Jar of Awesome. Write down one daily awesome thing that happens on a slip of paper, fold it up, and deposit it into your jar of awesome.

Again, I am a little bit behind my weeks.

We also donated our Memory Jar because we never used it. Wonderful idea. Collected more dust than memories, unfortunately.

For this week I will write down one awesome thing every day. 

Or at least that was the plan.

I did write down a few awesome things, and I do find that the Gratitude Reflection part of the Curation is awesomeness in itself. The memory bank is good, and I reflect in my head quite a bit. 

But I think that I will endeavor to write down an awesome thing in the daily part of the planner each day, whether it's an awesome thing, or a gratitude.

Sunday 28 January 2024

Planner Prompt 2024 Week 3 - Create a Physical Vision Board of your 2024 Goals and Intentions

 They must still have newspapers in Australia.

This week's task (I know, I'm late. I was sick) is to use cutouts from magazines and newspapers to create a physical vision board of my goals and intentions for the year.
I do love this section of the Planner.

You get to jot down your desires, changes you want to make, how you want to live and feel every day, achievements you want to make, and whatever else you want to manifest for the year.

On the next page you group them into four categories (of your choosing).

My categories this year are:

Family and Friends. I want more (board) game nights, impromptu outings (bowling, beaches, hikes), and weekend camping trips. I want to write actual letters to friends, and make photo books of our adventures and life. I want to make my dog's life less boring (for her).

Health and Fitness. I'm all in for the #800g Challenge this year. Lazy Macros are next. I want to keep going with the CrossFit, swim more, hike more, and do more yoga (you do not get bendier with age if you don't try).

Home Life. Gardening - I have some hardscaping projects to do so that I can grow more vegetables. I have to somehow convince my husband that the deck is the best place for growing food. So maybe we build a ground-level patio for the table?
I want to paint the walls inside my house. Light-sucking mushroom is not a happy colour. While I'm at it, a good Spring Clean and Purge would be nice.

Writing. I want to read more I want to find a creative writing group. I want to write more. Even if it is just this blog. Building habits.
The goal is a novel.

The Vision Board:

I don't have the money to purchase magazines for the sole purpose of cutting them up, and I'm pretty sure the library would complain if theirs were missing pictures. And do we even have a newspaper anymore?

So I made a Pinterest board with pictures representing all of the above. Then I tried to organize it and managed to delete a bunch of it. 

That, my friends, is as artistically creative as I get.

Sunday 14 January 2024

Planner Prompt 2024 Week 2 - Pick a New Self-Care Activity to Try This Week

When you go to saintbelford.com.au/selfcare to pick a new self-care activity to try, you land on a very lengthy PDF full of suggestions for your Mind, Body, & Soul, complete with links to their resources. 
I picked Practice Saying No to Things that Don't Serve You.

I'm not sure how old this PDF is, but the links for this topic land on the main pages of the sites and I couldn't find the specific blog posts / podcasts.

What I did find, though, was a podcast on Spotify: Lori Wheeler's Positivity Xperience, and the July/23 episode Unlocking Happiness: Prioritize Saying No to Others and YES to You!

I come from a very society-minded background, and serving others and being mindful of the community is a big deal on Mom's side of the family, so even though I like doing things for myself despite all that, at first I found Lori to be swinging a bit to the selfish side of things, even in other podcasts. She does eventually say that she's not saying to be selfish, but that you need to take care of yourself so that you are able to take care of others. I know at least two people who are taking care of others who are not a beneficial relationship partner, without taking care of themselves. Their lives are somewhat to completely bound to this person, and they're getting nothing but duty out of it. Duty with no reward.

One of the risks of telling people no, especially if you never do, is that they get very put out and offended that they are no longer your #1 priority. Even though Mom says that she expects to go in to a home at some point, she may also be expecting daily visits.

I love spending time with Mom, and I love my alone time, and I love my family time. So finding a balance for all of that is key. Me first, without being a selfish twat.

Overall I found the podcast affirming how I've been feeling lately. I have been wanting to let go of a couple current responsibilities to make room for new things (like blogging more than once a year), so that's in the works.


This coming week's self-care tip is: Use magazine and newspaper cutouts to create a physical vision board of your 2024 goals and intentions.

Wednesday 10 January 2024

WWW: Write Facebook Status Updates for the Year 2017

To refresh your memory:
I found a book called 642 Things to Write About by the San Francisco Writers' Grotto.
I bought it in either February 4th or April 2nd, 2015. The receipt's still in it. I think I've looked at it every now and then, and probably thought, "these might be good writing exercises." At least someone else would be coming up with the ideas.
642 things. One thing a week. That would only take - -no that can't be right - 12.35 years?

I've done three - that's right, three - stories so far, and you'll have to go back to 2016/2017 to find them. I wouldn't write them the same way so I want to start over, but at that rate I'll be 100 before I finish, ha. Ha.

The book was published in 2011, so I suppose they were thinking, "What does six years in your future look like?"

Six years from now is 2030...

I don't even use FB that much right now; it's only for group info, and this summer I was camping long enough in a "dead zone" that I came to enjoy not logging onto FB every day. 

With all that in mind:


The cursor on Spinny's Facebook page blinks desperately, wanting so very much to report in to the Watchers: What's on her mind.
But it's not to be. She's logged in, sure, for the first time in months (has it been that long since she's shaved her legs? One time those things were concurrent), but she's just checking in on some stupid group post. All the cursor can do is nudge some cookies along to report in on that activity. 
But there is no personal report. 
She doesn't even see the fun new colours available for a post. The goblin shouting through the megaphone for Announcements. The smiley faces that still try to make all your friends think you're happy. The new flowers. Still a rose, because what better flower is there, but still new. She doesn't see even the fun little kittens frolicking around your words.

The cursor is a little sad, but then it doesn't matter because it goes dark when she logs out.

Sunday 7 January 2024

Planner Prompt 2024 Week 1 - Create Your 2024 Bucket List

This week's prompt (posting this at the end of the week counts, right?) is Create your 2024 Bucket List.

(I have found bliss in St. Belford's Curation, the best planner ever (for me, anyway), and they have weekly prompts for things to do that are good for you.)

My bucket list for this year includes:

Snowshoe a popular winter trail that ends at a spring that never freezes.
Go camping more. 
Go kayak-camping.
Cross-country ski more.
Compete in a CrossFit competition.
Stand up on a paddleboard. And not promptly fall off.
Do the Adventure Challenge book (Family Edition) that we got last year and haven't even opened and do I even know where it is?

What's on your bucket list this year?

The Best Planner Ever - Curation by St. Belford

I have found it. The very best planner. Ever. One that I actually used all year last year, and liked so much that I pre-ordered one. They're not cheap, and this year I splurged on the tabs and more stickers (because you can never have enough stickers), so it was my Christmas gift from Santa. 

It focuses on Self Care, which is excellent, and St. Belford even provides lovely podcasts supporting your self-care.


The Sections:

1. Self-Care Menu: what can you do for 10/30/60 minutes for your mind/body/soul?

2. Bucket List for the year: what fun, satisfying adventures do you want to have?

3. Set your Intentions for the year: how do you want to live your life? What do you want to change, achieve, do?

4. The next section is hefty: Missions: what do you want to accomplish this year? And you don't just write "Paint my house". You also give yourself a target date, tell yourself Why you want to do it, Overcome your fears about doing it, lay out the (manageable) Steps with their individual target dates, note your Milestones, your Rewards upon completion, and you even get a lovely Progress Bar that you can decorate to your heart's desire. It's like a big Project Plan on a two-page spread, in your planner, not in a separate notebook. Awesome.

5. Less daunting is the Habit Curator: What habits do you want to incorporate into your life? What are their benefits, the steps to doing the habit, the cues that help trigger you to do it, and a checklist for starting it. In other words, I'm not just listing my habits, I'm setting myself up for success in doing them.

6. Savings Curator: What are you saving for, how can you re-budget or make more money to do so? This section also includes monthly Income and Expenses tables.

7. The Monthly section: All the monthly spreads are in one section, so you can plan your monthly items, write in all your birthdays, see what's going on in your schedule at a glance instead of flipping through pages to find the next month. It should also be noted that every day is a full square. None of those useless diagonal half-squares!

8. Then, and this is the best, the Weekly Spreads: Each week gets two full two-page spreads. 

Pre-Week Planner: The whole month is laid out at the top, and the week you're in is bolded. There is a Gratitude Reflection for the week, a Drawing Board (your mini bullet journal for the week, or for whatever), your week's Priorities / Mission Progress, and a Personal Planner / Tracker (meal planning, workouts, moods, whatever you want). At the very bottom is a prompt for the week - something that will make you feel good.

Weekly Spread: Every day has it's own full block, and each block has an appointment/task section, a checklist section, and a Self-Care line. The spread also includes a space for reminders or notes, and the Habit Tracker for the week.

9. One of the last, and also best, sections, is the Memories section:

Yearly Memory Bank. It's where you write down all the things that you want to remember, like when did you have coffee with that random friend, when and where was your vacation, when did your car go in for service, etc. It has 54 spaces for the things that you don't want to shuffle back through the whole book to find, and it's great. 

Yearly Reflections: prompts help you look back at your year; who/what made you happy/unhappy, and what can you change to make next year better?

10. At the very end are plain lined note pages. Not a lot, but they get the job done. And, new this year is next year's calendar.


That all sounds like a lot.

But the very best part is that St Belford themselves give you permission to not use all the spaces, do all the things, and they even tell you to give yourself permission to not accomplish all the missions etc. that you've set out for yourself. Life happens, and your self-care and mental health are more important than checking all the boxes and doing all the tasks and meeting all the target dates.

I certainly did not do all the things and meet all the dates. Not one of my missions made it off the page last year. I only have one or two habits that I manage to do 50% of the time. I didn't do everything on my Bucket List. And I'm okay with that because I can see what I have accomplished in my general life. Because it was actually a lot.

I finally finished crocheting a dishcloth that I've been working on for a couple of years. Now I want to crochet more.

I exercised a lot more and ate more vegetables this year. I prepped better lunches for work, more often, this year.

I was a better President for a Group this year.

I was less hard on myself for not getting things done this year. And this, right here, is motivation to do even just one more thing this year. And to be okay with not doing it, if it's too much.