Monday, 22 September 2014

Podcasts and Productivity



I'm sure I've written here about a dozen different schemes I've tried to get a handle on my housekeeping.  That is one of my biggest struggles.  I don't enjoy cleaning my house, plus I didn't have a Martha-Stewart-esque example growing up, so I'm often oblivious to the dust piling up or the hot spots of clutter or the gross smudges of who-knows-what on the walls until right before we have someone over.

And having people over is happening less and less frequently.  But, quite accidentally, I may have discovered something that could help motivate me to get stuff done.

Podcasts!

Listening to something interesting gives my brain something to do as I'm scrubbing the bathroom or folding laundry.  And it's something that doesn't involve my eyes.  Have you ever noticed that folding laundry in front of the TV makes the task take three times longer?  I use a running armband while I listen, which keeps the phone secure and out of the way.

The two I've been listening to are The Art of Simple, and Sexy Marriage Radio.  And I'm looking for more shows, so feel free to post your favourites in the comments.

Unfortunately, my new-to-me iPhone 3 can't get any more iOS updates so I can't use iTunes' Podcasts app, and haven't yet found another free app that lets me manage podcasts.  So I've been listening on Safari.  Which mostly works fine.  When I'm ready to move on from this phone though, I'm pretty sure I'm switching to an Android phone.  Apple products are all too expensive, and they purposely make things outdated too quickly.  My iPod is only 2 years old and I can't get any new apps on it because of the iOS.

Ok, sorry for the rabbit trail there . . .

What podcasts do you listen to?  And what do you do while you're listening?

PS: Thanks to my friend Chelsey for letting me know about Canva, which is where I created the graphic for this post . . . too much fun!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Articles

A few people have asked to read the articles and columns I've written for FellowScript magazine.  Here are a couple of them.  I'll post the August column once the November issue comes out.  And maybe one of my other articles too.  Click on the image to zoom.  And if you have any ideas that I could write about for upcoming columns, let me know!




Saturday, 30 August 2014

Fall is Coming - Oh dear.

I was taking photos of my son's birthday party games, and this sunflower was right next to my face.
 I turned to take a picture, and this bee turned up!

I find it very hard to believe that summer is over (before my kids were in school, summer lasted until the official first day of fall...now it ends when school starts).  How can it be over when I have only checked one little thing off my summer fun to do list? (Raspberry picking.  It was so much fun, as usual!)

As I wait for school to start, I can't help but feel overwhelmed at all the stuff that I have to do in the next three months.


  1. My son starts Kindergarten.  That alone breaks up my day, since I have to go to the school three times instead of two.  My daughter is beginning grade two, and without her BFF, who she's been in the same class with for the past two years.
  2. My next editing contract begins.  I took the summer off, so now I'm back to work.
  3. I am determined to finish the novel I'm writing.  I am 31 years old, and have been trying to write a novel since I was 8.  I can do it, right?  Lucky for me, I have a cheerleader, a new friend who is a positively brilliant writer and will soon have her first book published.  I can't WAIT to tell you all about it.  She has been a wonderful encouragement to me.
  4. I have to get fit.  That involves walking and boxing.  The boxing will likely take up my new-found time to myself while my son is in Kindergarten, at least Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Unless I go in the evenings.  Which would take a lot of organisation on my part, to either be done with supper early, or have it cooking in the slow cooker while I go at 4:00.  I'll be walking to and from school as much as possible three times per day, which I'm quite looking forward to (as long as I don't think about the inevitable -30 days that are coming).  I walked every day when we were on vacation, and did not have any headaches.
  5. On top of all this, I signed up for a free university course on the writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  It should be fun, but I may have to drop it if things get too stressful or I fall behind.  My family comes first, after all.


In order to do all this, I need to get my housekeeping sorted.  I'll probably try again with the same system as I had last year, reserving one weekday for each main thing (Monday for cleaning, Tuesday for editing, Wednesday for writing, etc.)

Wish me luck?  I am a little bit (ok, a lot) stressed out about all this.  Thank heavens soccer season isn't until the spring!

What are your plans for the fall?

PS: Let me know if anything in the new layout doesn't work for you.

New design

I suddenly decided today that I needed a new blog header.  This one is a lot closer to the look I want, which is great!  I will eventually turn it into an image map so the menu at the top and the social media icons will actually work, but my headache is coming back...



What do you think?  I'm way too much of a control freak to have someone else design my blog.  so I keep the template simple, and change the header whenever I feel inspired (or frustrated, for that matter).



Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Diary of a Newlywed

I found this in my files today, and it made me laugh.  I was a 19-year-old newlywed when I wrote this, and I love the innocence and optimism I had.  It shows me that nothing much has change.  I struggle just as much now with keeping house now as I did then.  At the time, we lived in a 400 sqft apartment. (Although now I struggle a lot more with snacking).

November 15, 2002 It’s funny, the way I thought I would be living away from Mom.  I was sure I would be a TV junkie, and eat too much, get fat, etc.  But really, I only eat at meal times, except when Kevin is snacking with me, and I only watch TV when he turns it on.  I may watch a little at other times, but I’m not obsessed with it like I had feared.
I’m actually quite happy with my life.  I have a wonderful husband, who tries to do what makes me happy, or even just more comfortable, even if it does not come naturally.  I have a sweet little apartment that feels like home.  Though I long for a house, I’ve really got quite enough to handle right now as I learn to keep house. 
Learning to keep house.  That is hard!  I go to work, then come home and don’t feel like making supper, much less tidying the linen closet or sweeping the floor.  I am trying to get on a schedule, but I haven’t the energy, because I know that if I make a schedule, I will constantly feel guilty for not following it or getting behind.  There are really few things that need to be done, but I feel like I have to do them all by myself.  It’s not like Kevin refuses to help, he just really doesn’t know what is required.  I don’t think he knew that bathrooms need to be polished occasionally.  When we got married, the bathroom hadn’t been cleaned since he moved in and I did it.  True, it was only a month, but still.


You would think that after 12 years I'd have figured out the whole housekeeping thing.  But then I have tripled my square footage (more if you count the basement) and doubled my family size since then.  I still struggle with asking for help, from either Kevin or the kids.  Although both kids are getting really good at washing dishes.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who is still battling the same things for the past decade!