Taking Stock

I’ve decided to do something a little different for this week’s Slice of Life.  Inspired by a post by Pip on Meet Me at Mike’s, here is a little snapshot of where I am right now:

Finding: that — three weeks into my hiatus — I’m missing the practical aspects of Facebook (community events, the Teach Write prompts) far more than the newsfeed.  I expect that when I return to the platform on November 11, my time spent there (as well as what has access to my attention) will look vastly different than it did on September 30.

Wishing: myself an uneventful day.  Yesterday’s flat tire adventure has disrupted today’s plans.  So far, this week has felt like organizing loose Jello with my hands.  And it’s only Tuesday.

Cooking: frozen entrées and pizza.  I like baking, but prefer to make meals that require as little little thought and effort on my part as possible.  I’ve always said that if I won the lottery, I’d have a staff member whose primary job description would be bringing me food on a regular basis so I don’t have to think about it.

Making: a small (slightly sweary) cross stitch project.  (It’s like me: mostly sweet, but with an edge.)  I also need to start a new rughooking project.

Sipping: Starbucks black iced tea with raspberry, along with lots of water.

Reading: The Annotated Little Women (Louisa May Alcott and John Matteson) and Magic Lessons (Alice Hoffman).

Looking: forward to shopping for and sending a little care package to one of my writer friends today.

Listening: to CBC Radio, the Fleet Foxes, Duran Duran, and various Can-Con hits from the 1980s.

Enjoying: waking up naturally at 5 AM, savouring the quiet of the early morning, as everyone else in the house sleeps.

Liking: being inspired by the most recent issue of Uppercase Magazine.

Loving: the colours, smells, and rituals of autumn.  Normally I am very busy as a tour guide for cruise ship passengers at this time of year, and it all goes by in a blur.  This year I am noticing more, exploring more, photographing more.

Buying: not very much.  And I’m mostly okay with that.  When I do buy, I’m trying to shop local as much as I can, to support my neighbours and community in these “unprecedented times.”

Watching: YouTube videos of people being creative, as little news as I can while still feeling informed, and Coronation Street.   We just finished The Haunting of Bly Manor, and I enjoyed it.

Hoping: the pandemic ends sooner rather than later.

Needing: some quality time in the woods by myself.  And a tire repair.

Wearing: pyjamas, as much as possible.  😉

Noticing: how late the sun seems to be coming up these days.

Sorting: project ideas for NaNoWriMo.  I have two candidates and can’t decide between the two just yet.

Getting: itchy travelling feet.  I need to see different things than I’ve been looking at for the last month.

Craving: a trip to Walden.  When I go, it’s normally at the end of October, and I am feeling the pull so hard these days.  I miss sitting and writing on “my sit-stump” at Thoreau’s house site, and I miss my Thoreauvian friends.  I miss talking about Thoreau, Emerson, the Hawthornes, and the Alcotts in the town where they all lived.  I miss paying my respects in silent Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, and I even miss the giant catalpa tree at Thoreau Farm.  In the overall scheme of current events, it seems so small, but the sadness in my heart is so deep and so heavy.

Bookmarking: I’ve been playing Google Streetview Tourist a lot lately, including the Isle of Mull in Scotland, New York City, and Green Bay, Wisconsin (GO PACK GO!).

Coveting: This adorable (but pricey!) little house on my favourite island.

Feeling: up and down, and all around.  But still standing, and that’s the main thing.

How about you?




Finding a Routine That Works For Me

I am trying to get a sense of routine back in my life.  It is only recently that I’ve realized how important that is to me.

Between COVID-19, recovering from a concussion in July, and the ever-present autoimmune disease, I feel like I’ve accomplished very little in the last seven months of my time here on Earth.  And I’m the kind of person who needs to feel productive in order to maintain my mental health.

Mornings are generally my best time of day.  If I’m going to get anything done, then morning is when the magic will happen.  Sometimes that momentum will carry over into the afternoon.  But, all too often lately,  I will be feeling borderline-rotten when I wake up, and that will cause me to just go back to bed once my husband leaves for work.

So this week I am trying something new.  I am getting up when my husband gets up, and leaving the house either before or at the same time he does.  It’s a struggle, but I’m half-Viking and half-Celt.  I can do hard things.  I am “hard things.” 😉

Now that the university library (one of my favourite places to settle in and do work) is open once again, I have planned to come here most mornings this week.  COVID-19 contact tracing means that one has to book a seat in advance, and this has proven to be somewhat helpful.  Booking in advance means I’m making an external commitment.  I am saying “I WILL BE THERE,” and it’s interesting how something that small and that simple has flipped a switch in my brain.  I was here yesterday morning, and this morning, and I have also booked some time on Thursday morning.  I will be here.

The university library is very quiet, partly because of it being early morning, but mostly because of COVID-19.  Classes are either completely online or hybrid in most disciplines, and this is a commuter campus, for the most part.

The line-up at the closest Tim Horton’s drive-thru was prohibitively long, so I’m not sure how long I will remain upright on this tall stool.  But I got here, and between yesterday and today, I have already accomplished more than the previous two weeks combined.  So my plan is working.

Now the trick will be to not over-do it.  That is the part that often trips me up.

A Partial Unplugging

Today is Day 3 of a self-imposed Facebook/Messenger hiatus of 40 days — and man, this is a lot harder than I thought it would be.

Right now I’m listening to my favourite radio program, and I’m writing this blog post as a partial distraction to keep me from posting on Weekend Mornings’ associated Facebook page.

I’m doing this in order to cut down on the amount of negativity that pours into my psyche multiple times a day as I scroll through the Facebook newsfeed.

I have deleted Facebook and Messenger (because it’s a slippery slope from the latter to the former) off both my phone and iPad.  Aside from a slight bobble yesterday when a “book-building” client forgot to use email and/or the phone to contact me,  I’ve been staying away.  I will have to check in every so often to get info for Zoom events I’ve already registered, but the newsfeed scrolling and posting are off-limits.

The situations to the south have been really hard on the head and the heart, and it’s only going to get worse over the next few weeks.  As an exceptionally-sensitive person (an empath), there’s a fine line between being informed and being overwhelmed.  It’s easy to ration TV and radio, but with Facebook it’s trickier to control the flow.

Did I mention this is hard? 😉

I’m missing the friends with whom I interact only on Facebook: my Walden-related friends; the sharp wit and wicked humour of my former history professor; the aforementioned radio show community; and so many more.  But once the withdrawal wears off, I’ll be fine.

October is my favourite month of the year.  As someone who loathes winter, I most look forward to March, but October and I simply resonate.

This October is book-ended by bright and beautiful Full Moons as I begin my annual turning inward for a month of gratitude, reflection, and connection.  I plan to use the respite from Facebook distraction to — among other things — focus on one writing challenge (TeachWritetober)  and prepare for another (NaNoWriMo).

I am also hoping to connect more with people I care about via Starbucks dates, telephone, and good old-fashioned snailmail.  The goal is to be more mindful and less mindless.

My Instagram feed is full of beautiful posts by artists and craftspeople, photographs, and glimpses into people’s lives, and is much easier to curate without hurt feelings.  So I am still on Instagram, and — obviously — I’m still blogging.  So I’m still partially connected.

It’s the classic Canadian compromise. 🙂