Are you kidding me? Why didn’t anyone tell me?

Every now and then, I get a wake up call that serves to show me that what I had always suspected is true. Sometimes it’s an accidental wake up. Other times, I go looking for it. And sometimes, it’s forced upon me after willfully hiding from it forever.

It’s no secret that I have a long-standing fear and avoidance relationship with having my picture taken. I can sometimes take one of myself, and if I do, I’m usually surrounded (read: protected) by my children, but generally, as soon as someone wants to take my picture, or there is a video recording being taped, my anxiety begins to rise and I start looking for a way OUT. I could spend an entire post psychoanalyzing WHY I’m photo-adverse, but that’s not the point of this post, so I’ll leave that for another angst-filled day.

No, the point of this post is to say “what the fuck, guys?!? Why didn’t any of you tell me that I have gotten THIS far out of control and that I’m walking around looking like a frumpy, middle-aged, worn down and tired out sack of shit?” But that was too long for the title, so I’m just putting it out there now.

Seeing myself on video, without the protective shield of my children was painful, embarrassing, uncomfortable and just plain, UGH. The fact that the video was for a school assignment made it just that much more UGH because I had to share it with other, SIGHTED people

But, you know me (or, if you don’t, you’ll quickly learn that) I’m not one to hold a grudge (ha!), so I’m just going to take it from here and start turning this ship around. No more complacency in my own gluttony and sloth. No more convincing myself that I can eat “just one slice/square/cookie/tub of ice cream.” I can’t. My willpower and self-control is not that highly evolved yet and it is time that I take ownership of that fact and stop being a victim of circumstance and emotions.

So, that said, I’m also a realist in a  lot of ways. I know that the best way for me to fail is to completely swear off sugar, white flour, junk food, pizza, and desserts forever. So I’m not doing that. I’m going to take a more mindful approach to food and what my purpose is in eating whatever it is that I’m about to stuff into  my gob. I have found that more often than not, if I stop and really think about what I’m eating, why I’m eating it and what effect eating it will have on my health, both physical and mental, I can easily resist the urge.

When I was younger, my weight struggles were about vanity and appearances. Now that I’m older, my weight issues are about health and mortality and being fully present for my family. You see, I have this goal to live to be at least 106-years-old and to share a beautiful, triple-layered chocolate cake frosted with pink vanilla buttercream with my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and I am painfully aware that it is going to to take more than a wish and a prayer to get there. It’s going to take mindful, willful, determined effort, and only I can make it happen.

I am a mindless eater. Awareness is half the battle. The other half of the battle will be choosing to switch my modus operandi from mindless to mindful and I’m calling today day one. And I may call tomorrow day one as well. And I may call every day from here on out day one, because as long as I’m trying, I’m not failing. As long as I’m trying, there is hope. As long as I’m trying, I will, eventually, figure out my way through even the hardest of obstacles.

Yes, for some of us, even stairs are an obstacle.

 

It’s time to change my relationship with food. Ugh.

Coming out of a three-day long headache, I was met with the realization that I have some changes to make and for once, they are not to my personality. No. It’s time to come up with a fitness/diet/don’t-be-such-a-slug plan so that I never again have to endure the embarrassment and pain of hearing one of my kids tell me that I look like I ‘have a baby in there’ while patting my un-pregnant stomach (which, for the record, is big but does not protrude or hang down, is NOWHERE near my lady garden or knees and is still not bigger than my boobs. TMI? I don’t care. It needed to be cleared up in order to proceed).

Aside from sparing myself from the mortifying truth of looking pregnant while not actually being pregnant, I do actually want to live for a very, very long time (I’m a glutton for punishment, go figure). And it would seem that I have children who, like it or not, need me and will continue to need me well into adulthood. Not because I’m planning to raise them to be incompetent nincompoops but rather that despite what my teenage-self thought, we always need our parents around. Even when they drive us crazy. Even when we want to throttle them. Even when we move away and don’t see them every day. We need them and we need to know that they are okay. So, it’s my job to live as healthy a life as possible so that my kids know that I’m okay and will be there for them — whether to drive them crazy or help them out of a jam.

It was this line of thinking that lead me to figure out that what I need to do is break up with  my shitty eating habits and find a new way to relate to food that will not end up killing me as soon. And that lead me to think that my best bet may be to start eating the way I feed my smalls. Which lead to thinking that the very best idea would probably be to just eat exactly what I feed one of them in a day. Since none of them drink pop (and I’ve been known to hurt a Diet Pepsi or two during the course of a day), they all eat breakfast every morning, the majority of their snacks are fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and popcorn, I would,  by my estimation, lose weight (way fewer calories) and I would be healthier (by default even as they eat very little to no sugar, sweets or over-processed food on a normal day).

But can I do that? Could this be a real thing that I could do? I mean, has the answer to feeling better, looking better, having more energy and managing my weight been right here the whole time and I’ve been too blinded by fads, popular advice and other people’s opinions to see it? ????

I feed my smalls a very healthy diet (my eldest son is making his own food choices and those are outside of my control – ugh)????. As a family, we do sometimes order pizza. We do sometimes eat fast food. But the majority of the time, my kids eat real food, prepared by me using ingredients that I carefully choose. Their school lunches are not packaged in a factory or found in the frozen food aisle and almost never contain ingredients that I cannot pronounce. Their dinners almost always are 80% vegetables, and yes, they eat meat, but not in obnoxious, artery clogging amounts.

So, then question becomes, why has it not occurred to me to feed myself this well?

I suppose that I hide behind being an adult (and yes, I am using that term very loosely. The chronological definition really). I hide behind the excuse that my body is already “contaminated” from years of sugar, sweeteners, fat and chemicals. I hide behind the science that shows that detox diets just do not work. I hide away from the truth that I use food to self-sooth and manage my emotions. I use food to mask my feelings, to help me to feel happy when I can, confirm for myself that I’m no good when I need to and  entertain me when I’m bored. ????

I use food for everything except what it’s meant for, which is to keep me alive and my brain and body functioning and strong. Like my kids are and I hope continue to be. So, I’m going to take the next few days to wrap my head around this, iron out the kinks, figure out the rules and get myself mentally prepared to eat like a seven-year-old with a  killer metabolism and a strong attachment to raw fruit and vegetables.

Who knows? May could end up being the month I finally shed my ????slug exterior and interior and graduate into something closer to an ant ????. Those things are stupid strong and able to do all kinds of smart shit. And if being an ant is out of reach, I’ll settle for finalizing my

But just in case I fail to metamorphosize, I’m keeping Pizzaville on speed dial. ????????

#SlugNoMore #WhatIfWeAllAteWhatWeFeedOurKids #WouldWeEatBetterOrWorse? #RaisingHealthyHumans #EatLocal #EatReal

Is social media holding us hostage? Nope, not me. Bye, Felicia.

On the topic of social media, volumes have been written, discussed, debated, studied and meme’d. Until now, I have not taken the time to throw my thoughts on the subject out there for discussion, but I feel that it is time. And I am also overdue to make a change in my life.

I was late to the social media party (big surprise, right?). Everyone had a Facebook account before I ever logged onto the site. Everyone had Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ long before I decided to look into what they were all about. And honestly, it is all bullshit. Sadly, the memes are true. The articles citing how much time people waste on social media are true. The studies showing how social media is adversely effecting mental health are bang on the money. Social media is not only documenting, but encouraging, promoting and accelerating the demise of the basic principles of human decency.

#Truth

#Truth

I consider Facebook (never even looked into that Myspace thingamajig), and Twitter to be the O.G.’s of social media being as those are the sites with which I am the most familiar. Facebook, to me, was a way to re-connect with people I grew up with or people who I had met along the way but who, because of circumstance or geography, I could no longer see face-to-face. It was a way to share family pictures and have a laugh. It was a way to be nosy without being obviously nosy (less obvious anyway than binoculars and a Whisper2000 headset). It satisfied the voyeur in me and it was never supposed to attempt to encroach upon other areas of my life. It was entertainment.

Twitter, I have come to conclude, is mainly an outlet to complain about everything. 140 characters of hate. 140 characters to tear other people down. 140 characters to make yourself sound cute or funny or kind or clever or hard done by or tough. It is not a site that I’ve ever been a big user of personally (the blog has an account), but it is also not a site that has ever provided me with anything other than sadness, aside from Jimmy Fallon’s links to The Tonight Show (❣) clips. I had one Twitter rant about some blatant law-breaking not being enforced one night but in hind sight, I should have blogged that story. Next time.
IMG_3665Everything that is wrong, (and in fairness, very occasionally a few things that are right) with humanity is laid out for all to see on social media. For every “thanks for paying for my coffee at the drive thru this morning, you made my day so I paid it forward!” post, there are fifty “thanks for cutting me off on the highway, motherfucker. If I see you again, I’ll run you and your family off the road, shitdog.” posts. And that truth, that naked hatred,rage and ugliness is what makes me cringe. It is what makes my stomach hurt. It is what makes me want to shut it all out and not see it anymore. But not seeing it does not make it go away. Not reading the petty or dishonest posts does not make them less ugly or vicious. Knowledge is power, the more you know the more you grow, keep your friends close and your enemies closer, karma is a bitch, and so on and so on. Sure, these ideas can be applied to social media, but what power does it give me to know that people are behaving horribly to one another? Does knowing that there is a ‘pay-it-forward’ movement in the Tim Horton’s drive thru this morning make up for all of the fake, ugly, angry or merciless posts? For me, it just does not. And so I am (willingly, happily and a little bit shakily) walking away from all of it for a while.

When she wrote this, the magnitude of ways to waste time was beyond the scope of the imagination. No matter how much we tell ourselves that we're enjoying zipping around (anti) social media, it's still wasted time.

When she wrote this, the mindless multitude of ways society would invent to waste time was beyond the scope of the imagination. No matter how much we tell ourselves that we’re enjoying the time we spend zipping around (anti-) social media, the truth remains that it IS still time wasted.

I am reclaiming my time. I am reclaiming my hobbies, interests and heart. I am reclaiming my leisure time and my right “not to know.” In the end, I am reclaiming the substance and depth in my life over pettiness and superficial bosh.

Until further notice, I will not be on Twitter. I will not be on Facebook. I may not even be on Instagram very much. I will continue to write and of course blog (because I love writing, blogging and connecting with like(wonky)minded people and I need to continue to do so as part of taking care of myself). Links to new blog posts automatically publish on social media sites, without my involvement, but if you need to get in touch with me, text, email, or comment on the blog because I am now on a social media hiatus for an as yet undetermined duration.
IMG_3666

❤️
~A

I was in the middle of another post – confession

Mildred the asskicking peacockI was in the middle of writing a different, somewhat happy post when I had to run across the street to pick up kids after school. Putting on my running shoes, my heel was met with something hard, as it has been for the last few weeks now. Only this time, it was particularly uncomfortable. So I made a mental note to really LOOK at my shoes when I returned.

Now, I should disclose that while they are running shoes, I seldom, if ever, actually run in them. But I do wear them daily (except during flip flop season).  And yes, I’ll give you that they are not terribly chic or fancy (which is completely unlike me *smirk*) but they have been comfortable from the first time I slipped them on so I have remained faithful and true to them in return.

But times, they are a changing, and now, I am forced to conduct an intervention on myself because it’s time. I have to let these shoes go. I was hoping to make it until Spring, because who wants to go into winter wearing shiny new shoes (which I already own thanks to a sale at Costco a year or two ago and they reside in my closet, waiting for me to notice them – ha!)? And I am weak. If I don’t publicly ‘out’ myself on this one, I will keep wearing them because 1) they are already by the door, ready and waiting for me 2) they are familiar and broken in, and 3) we have history, and in this day of throw-away-everything, I’m fighting for that to mean something. I also know myself well enough to know that only the possibility of being on the receiving end of ‘those’ looks while I’m out running errands is the motivation I need to make the change. Yes, I do realize that the fact that the skin is being rubbed off my foot SHOULD be plenty motivation to pitch them, but it’s just not. My loyalty is stronger than physical pain (apparently).

Conclusion: I am left with no choice but to break up with you, shoes. And no, we will never, ever, ever get back together. It's been swell. Thanks for the memories.

Conclusion: I am left with no choice but to break up with you, shoes. And no, we will never, ever, ever get back together. It has been swell, but now you’re making my appendages bruised and swollen, so thanks for the memories. Adios, old friends.

Between Mildred’s no-nonsense stare and this public confession of weakness and avoidance, I feel confident that I’ll be able to retire (read: throw out) these shoes. Finally. But first I have to remove my friendship pin because I haven’t become completely callous in this process, just weepy and blue (and just a little bit excited to wear new shoes *grin*)

Now, back to your regularly programmed Thursday afternoon.

The results of my 30-day spending freeze

Are not so much good. But I did learn some things over the past 30 days that have been helpful and I can use to re-evaluate my budget and spending.

I realized that the only way our family functions without accumulating debt is largely due to:

1) Mr. KB’s amazing talent of being able to fix anything and everything for a fraction of the price of hiring the job out or buying a new beebob;

2) My constant awareness and ability to plan for and predict future needs for our family and, for the most part, have provisions in place to cover these needs;

3) Stockpiling food and other consumables through price-matching, couponing and attention to detail (even though this means that I make the actual shopping trip(s) less about fun and more about function);

4) Ensuring that I maintain separate budget lines and accounts to cover most expenditures – both expected and unexpected, large and small. My one oversight, I have learned was not having a new-to-us car fund started to buy a replacement daily driver. Getting on this now so maybe when the need arises (as we expect it to in the near future), there will be some money available to help fund the purchase.

5) Our combined efforts to make purchasing decisions based on function and price/cost rather than impulse and glitter.

We are so fortunate that we can largely be a one-income household (because can you believe that no one is paying me to write? No, really. I can’t believe it either. Gaw.) Our combined contributions and talents make this possible and while we don’t pack up the family for a week in the Caribbean or Disneyland every winter, we do have family vacations, go to movies, go out for dinner, the kids participate in school pizza days, we hit at least one town fair a year, have swimming and dance lessons, take in a couple of big Rogers Centre events a year, and summers include cruise nights and beach days. And we do it all without racking up expensive, soul-crushing, consumer debt. We use credit cards for the points, gas discounts or other freebies and never carry a balance. If Murphy has been a particularly big bastard, I cut back in other areas to make up the difference without tapping into credit.

These past thirty days have not been the big money-saving adventure that I envisioned it would be. But, staying aware of our family spending and making sure that I’m creating balance, between saving and shopping has been useful. Did I follow all of my original parameters? No. I didn’t. When I find flip-flops for the kids at 75% off, spending 25% of the money now, rather than 100% of the money next summer just makes sense for the way our family and budget works.

Luckily though in terms of reducing the amount of ‘stuff’ I did quite well this past month. We tossed and donated a lot of clothing, household goods and toys. We still have more to go through, but we made a great start at it. Was I sad to say good-bye to some of the clothing that I’ve been hanging on to for ‘one day’? Yes, but the lightness I felt seeing my newly tidied closet and easily closing drawers more than made up for those sad feelings.

The next 30 days, I’m going to work on continuing to reduce our ‘stuff’ Broken or outgrown toys need to go, VHS tapes that no longer play need to go, outgrown clothing needs to go. With this many people in a house, hanging on to every single thing is not reasonable or plausible. I’m all for fame and fortune but the last place that I need to find that fame is on an episode of “Hoarding: Buried Alive” 🙁

Another day, another self-inflicted challenge designed to increase my awesomeness. Or to reduce my already limited sanity. Same thing.

I know. It sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Increase my awesomeness? Reduce my sanity? It just cannot be done. I hear you, I do. But stay with me on this one, just for a minute.

Ha! I jest because I’m a fool. But it is another day. And I have decided to challenge myself to do something for the next 30 days. But it has nothing to do with my awesomeness (or lack thereof). No. This challenge has a few objectives, but mainly:

  1. To slow the rate of speed at which things (stuff, crap, treasures of little to no value) accumulate in our home;
  2. To use or re-purpose items we already own rather than introduce something else into our space, and to widdle down our current stockpile without adding to it;
  3. To save money;
  4. To follow through with an initiative that I decide to start (other than marriage, kids, work, etc) for longer than two weeks. I’m committing to 30 days initially, and then will re-evaluate to see what’s working, what hurts, what I need to change and what I need to continue going forward;
  5. To prove (to myself) that I can stay on task and on point when it comes to something not terribly fun but still important.

The challenge? No shopping. The only exceptions are: groceries (within budget only), prescriptions (if needed), back-to-school or seasonal clothing or shoes to fill in the gaps that their constant growing has created in the kids’ wardrobes (I have an abundance of ‘nothing to wear’ in about eight sizes, so I shall survive no matter what the weather throws at me). Also excluded from the spending freeze are items NEEDED to repair the house when I break it (as happens a little far too often). Other than those exceptions – no shopping. No picking up that clearance tee-shirt, cute picture frame or that awesome Hello Kitty notebook. No toys, no clothing, or knick knacks or kitchen stuffs. No electronics or entertainment. If it costs money and is a tangible doo-dad – it’s a no go for this chica for the next 30 days. Now, in the interest of fairness, I am going to have to host a birthday party for two my boys during these thirty days, but I have that cash set aside and it should not result in any non-consumables coming into our home.

Believe me, I would love to make the challenge longer, but I’m a chicken-shit at heart and while I feel fairly confident that I can pull this off for 30 days, the thought of trying, at least at this moment, much longer than that makes me feel nauseous and anxious. So, in the spirit of being a bit more gentle on my pathetic, wimpy self, I’ve decided to start with 30 days and go from there.

It will take better planning on my part, a little more creativity, and a lot of willpower to stick with only the necessities and not load up on the ‘deals.’ I’ll just need to remind myself often that the deals will still be there in thirty days. And then sob like a baby when that amazing hair conditioner never goes on clearance again and I missed my last chance to get it for nearly free (with a coupon!). But I’ll recover. It’s what I do.

This challenge is to begin on Saturday, September 26th and finish on Monday, October 26th. I will document just how many times I struggle to stay on track and how it is making me FEEL to not spend, to miss a deal, to have to leave something behind, to have to let a coupon expire, unused. Because I suspect that I am using accumulating things to avoid dealing with my FEELINGS. Because dealing with feelings is no fun and buying five bottles of dish soap for next to nothing is SO much fun.

And so let the adventure begin.

 

Summer 2015 Bucket List – The Final Update or The post in which I come clean about all of my shortcomings.

I’ve put off this final update as long as I could. My babes go back to school in five days (insert this mama’s tears here) and while I’m working on cramming as much as I can into those five days, I think we all know me well enough by now to know it’s just not going to happen.

So, here’s the final update of my Summer 2015 Bucket List – my triumphs, my failures and my in-betweens:

1. Go for daily walks (not strolls) for a minimum of 45 minutes.
FAIL. I’m a slug.

2. Organize and declutter the linen closet.
FAIL – But nothing is falling out of it, so maybe just a tiny bit of a win?

3. Go for a bike ride with the kids three times a week (at least).
FAIL – One family bike ride does not 30 planned bike rides make.

4. Go to the library weekly.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner! We SLAYED this one, my friends. Oh yes.

I'm so incredibly proud of how all four of my smalls worked so hard to improve their reading. And how the slightly bigger smalls helped the smaller smalls.

I’m so incredibly proud of how all four of my smalls worked so hard to improve their reading. And how the slightly bigger smalls helped the smaller smalls.

5. Do a family field trip to see a Blue Jays game.
Ha ha! Another one deserving of a poultry dinner. We’re going to see the Jays play Baltimore on Saturday!

6. Paint the laundry/powder room, including refinishing the cabinets.
In progress. Walls are painted, trim is installed in the laundry area and the cabinets are primed. Also, the door is back on, so privacy is possible again – yay for not seeing that which you cannot unsee!

7. Take my minion army to a splash pad at least once a week.
Splash pads have been a tad disappointing this year. The smalls didn’t have as much fun and I expected, so we changed it up. They played in the sprinkler and earlier this week we hit De La Salle beach for the morning. So, overall, the water play goal isn’t a total loss.

8. Deal with ‘Draft’ blog posts once and for all.
This one is a bit of a draw. I dealt with quite a few ‘draft’ posts, but, of course, I also created more. The scales may be tipped a little bit towards having fewer ‘draft’ posts than I started with so my beaten and bruised ego demands that I call this one a non-failure.

9. Do a big field trip to the ROM, complete with GO Train rides.
Done! Except we skipped the GO train and drove to my mum’s house and parked at the subway station. But we’ll do the GO another time, so giving myself a pass on that one. And bonus points for everyone surviving and having lots of fun! Yay, us! I didn’t lose a single small (for longer than five minutes) the whole time. And the kids LOVED taking the subway. Granted, we didn’t ride during rush hour, so they weren’t privy to the whole aromatic experience that summer on the TTC is famous for. Baby steps. 🙂

This is a good summary of our trip to and our day at the ROM ;)

This is a good summary of our trip to and our day at the ROM 😉

10. Go and visit with Nana once a week.
Except for this week and the weeks that we were out-of-town, we have done pretty well with this one. Happy all around.

11. Create, frame, and hang individual chore lists for each of my minions.
FAIL. I did buy the frames for the project though. That counts, doesn’t it? No? Ugh. Slug.

12. Go for one lunch and one dinner picnic each week.
FAIL. Just did not happen. But we had lots of yummy dinners and lunches, and a couple of my smalls now love eating tomatoes and cucumbers right out of the garden, which is just almost exactly like having a picnic. But alone. And with fewer picnic table splinters and less work for me.

13. Blog twice a week.
I fell down a bit of this one as of late. I have been updating the blog’s Instagram and Facebook pages but putting together actual BLOG posts has eluded me the past few weeks.

14. Set up a new bed for Pax, re-arrange the furniture all the minion’s rooms to optimize their spaces.
FAIL. Pax remains slumbering in his old bed and the furniture all remains as is. This does need to happen, so it’s still on my ‘to do’ list for September.

15. Make sure we get some family time at the cottage.
Done! I haven’t gotten around to blogging about it yet, but our time there included lots of sunshine, thunderstorms, swimming, fishing, roofing, plumbing, repairs, and destruction. There were books read, puzzles built and wild raspberries consumed on a daily basis. There were bites, stings, and a quiet afternoon spent in the ER (everyone is fine!). All in all, we packed a\lot into our cottage time and can’t wait to do it again (perhaps this time skipping the destruction, stings, and ER 😉 )

16. Read one book a week (for myself, no pictures, no large font 😉 ).
I’m working on this one, I’m nowhere near a book a week, but I’m still pleased that I’ve made a bit of time to get through a few books.

Bad Monkey at the beach. I just can't get enough of Hiaasen's writing - it just never gets old.

Bad Monkey at the beach. I just can’t get enough of Hiaasen’s writing – it just never gets old.

17. Go for nature walks weekly.
FAIL. No excuse. I may have previously mentioned that I’m a slug.

18. Wash the car with the kids twice a month.
FAIL. Mr. K.B. washed it that one time and it looked so good for quite a while. Until the kids and I drove home up Warden Avenue, which is all torn apart and a big water trunk drove past us while wetting the dirt road to keep the dust down. The state of the van was pretty much written off at that point.

19. Re-vamp the basement space.
Mostly a big, juicy FAIL. Maybe once I get Pax’s new bed set up and out of the basement I’ll be all inspired to get the rest of it overhauled. But probably not. More likely than not, I’ll get as far as creating a hiding spot for myself under the stairs…

20. Crochet blankets (lapghan or better) and/or scarves for my minion army.
FAILY, MCFAIL, FAIL. It’s just so stinkin’ hot! But, excuses aside, this also needs to happen, so on the September ‘to do’ list it goes.

So, at the end of it all, I may not have pulled off “Supermum, Superwife, SuperHomemaker, SuperBlogger, SuperCrafter, SuperFitness, Superwoman” status, but I know that my smalls had a good summer, I know that we had some really, wonderful family times, mum-child times, and summer times. So, in my whole touchy-feely, itchy-bitchy, be-nicer-to-myself way, I’m going to forgo the mental and emotional self-flagellation and instead make myself some brownies for managing to keep everyone happy, healthy and alive for another whole summer.

Can we have just six more months of this, please???

Can we have just six more months of this, please???

Now, to start my Autumn 2015 Bucket List, because my winter bucket list is easy. It consists of one thing. Just SURVIVE IT.

Bucket List update – Six weeks in and the results are not so much pretty.

Yikes! I had better step up my game and quickly! I only have four weeks left to get four months worth of challenges done. Oh yeah. I got this.

The many moods and personalities here this summer.

The many moods and personalities here this summer.

Or, maybe I don’t. Here’s the rundown so far:

1. Go for daily walks (not strolls) for a minimum of 45 minutes.
This has fallen by the wayside. While we were away, we were doing a lot of hiking daily, but since we’ve been back, walking to pick up the mail and over to the park is about as much walking as I’ve managed (aside from ‘normal’ walking!)

2. Organize and declutter the linen closet.
I’ve tidied it up, but it’s still basically the same, in terms of being an abyss of fabric.

3. Go for a bike ride with the kids three times a week (at least).
The kids are on their bikes almost daily. My bike remains hiding in the back of the shed, hoping I won’t remember it. Need to dig it out.

4. Go to the library weekly.
We are killing this one. Aside from the week we were away, we’ve been there every single week borrowing more books and movies. Miranda is addicted to the ‘Fun with Dick and Jane’ series. What’s old is new again.

5. Do a family field trip to see a Blue Jays game.
No progress on this one yet. Need to get tickets and a date sorted if we’re going to do this.

6. Paint the laundry/powder room, including refinishing the cabinets.
I was thinking to start emptying out the cabinets this weekend, but need to talk to Mr. K.B. about it because I’ll need some help from him to take the cabinets down and figure out the baseboard etc.

7. Take my minion army to a splash pad at least once a week.
We’ve been a few times, but they it’s been chilly every day we think of it and other days it’s not fitting into our schedule. But hosing them off in the backyard has worked out well!

8. Deal with ‘Draft’ blog posts once and for all.
Still slogging my way through the list. I’ve deleted a few more, since they were time-sensitive and don’t make sense anymore. And a few that were little more than a sentence or two and I no longer remember where I was going with them. And I’ve finished and published a few. Of course, I’ve also added a few new ‘Drafts’ to the list, but I think I’m still coming out ahead on this one so far.

9. Do a big field trip to the ROM, complete with GO Train rides.
This is happening this month. And Nana is going with us, so we’ll omit the train ride but add TTC buses and subways to the roster. First time for my minions, about the jagillion billionth for Nana and I, but it’s been long enough since I’ve ridden it, that I’m sure it will  be fun. 😉

10. Go and visit with Nana once a week.
We’re doing well with this one too. Again, aside from the time we were away this summer, we’ve made it into the city to see Nana every week. Is there ever an age when we don’t need our mama’s? I really don’t think that there is.

11. Create, frame, and hang individual chore lists for each of my minions.
I admit that I had forgotten about this goal. I’ll work on it while they are at day camp. Should be able to get all four done tickety-tock.

12. Go for one lunch and one dinner picnic each week.
Has not happened weekly. May need to adjust this one a bit.

13. Blog twice a week.
I’ve been blogging more consistently, updating the blog’s Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages with micro-blog posts almost daily. So, I’m calling this one a win.

14. Set up a new bed for Pax, re-arrange the furniture all the minion’s rooms to optimize their spaces.
Not done. But it needs to happen this month, so it’s time to pull out the calendar and start scheduling these bigger-type jobs so that I create time to get them done, instead of trying to fit them into ‘leftover’ time.

15. Make sure we get some family time at the cottage.
Done! I haven’t gotten around to blogging about it yet, but our time there included lots of sunshine, thunderstorms, swimming, fishing, roofing, plumbing, repairs, and destruction. There were books read, puzzles built and wild raspberries consumed on a daily basis. There were bites, stings, and a quiet afternoon spent in the ER (everyone is fine!). All in all, we packed a\lot into our cottage time and can’t wait to do it again (perhaps this time skipping the destruction, stings, and ER 😉 )

Cottage kitchen table. Sums up things well - book, puzzle, bananas, pump manual, water bottles, notebook and pen.

The common view of the cottage kitchen table. Sums up things well – a great book, a difficult puzzle, ripe bananas, a pump installation manual, fresh water bottles, a dead moth, a notebook and a pen. What else could we possibly need?

16. Read one book a week (for myself, no pictures, no large font 😉 ).
I have read TWO complete books – cover to cover. Doesn’t sound like a lot, I know, especially since I was once a book-a-day reader, but two books in five weeks beats the hell out of my last year record of one book for the year…

17. Go for nature walks weekly.
Since we’ve been back, we haven’t ventured too far into the forest, but we’ll likely rectify that this weekend.

18. Wash the car with the kids twice a month.
Nope. Haven’t done it once yet. I think the kids and I will tackle washing the van the week after next, since Mr. K.B. just did a top to bottom wash of it last night. It looks so good now!

19. Re-vamp the basement space.
I have not gotten to this task yet. I did tackle the storage under the stairs, but there is still the kids area, the dance room, the winter gear and kitchen overflow to manage, sort and organize. So far, I’ve pretty much just avoided interacting with the basement.

20. Crochet blankets (lapghan or better) and/or scarves for my minions.
Really need to get on this. Not sure what my issue is, but I just need to pick up the hook or loom and GO. Starting this on Sunday evening.

image

This sums things up nicely.

I’m apprehensive to really do an objective analysis of my progress so far, so I’m slipping on my rose-coloured glasses and deciding that I’m going to be happy with what I’ve done so far but also still strive to do more, do better, and have fun with the summertime we have left this year.

P.S. Don’t forget that we’re still updating the Facebook, Instagram and the Twitter pages fairly regularly, so feel free to stop on by and leave a Like, Follow, comment or suggestion or just come by and see what other Keswickian randomness is brewing up in here.

Almost three weeks in, time for a 2015 Summer Bucket List Check-In

I thought today may be a good time check in with my Summer 2015 Bucket List and take stock of how I’m doing, where I’m winning and where I’m tanking.

1. Go for daily walks (not strolls) for a minimum of 45 minutes.
I’m calling is a partial – 50/50 win/tank. Room for improvement, so a good walk is on tap for later today. Get ready for it feet!

Keswick sunsets are simply breathtaking. I love walking in the evening, even if I am a mosquito magnet.

Keswick sunsets are simply breathtaking. I love walking in the evening, even if I am a mosquito magnet.

2. Organize and declutter the linen closet.
Not yet. Although I did get the suitcase put away in there again, but organized and decluttered the closet is not.

3. Go for a bike ride with the kids three times a week (at least).
The kids have ridden their bikes almost daily. My bike is still hiding in the shed. Probably terrified at the thought of having to cart me around the block a time or two. But I did buy a helmet, so I’m on the right track on this one.

4. Go to the library weekly.
We are rocking this one! The smalls are loving the summer reading club and have been reading like mad. Once or twice a week to the library is our norm so far. Yay, us!

Miranda's rocking her library swag! The kids want to wear these bags everywhere now - LOL!

Miranda’s rocking her library swag! The kids want to wear these bags everywhere now – LOL!

5. Do a family field trip to see a Blue Jays game.
Not yet. Am thinking this will be an August event.

6. Paint the laundry/powder room, including refinishing the cabinets.
Not even close. I still need to empty the cabinets, take everything off the walls and as Mr. K.B. to sort out the baseboard situation behind the washer and dryer before any real painting can start. So, am thinking this will end up being an August project as well.

7. Take my minion army to a splash pad at least once a week.
We went to the Whipper Watson splash pad. But it was one of the colder days of summer, so it wasn’t quite the fun we were anticipating. Running through the sprinkler the following week was a much bigger hit though!

8. Deal with ‘Draft’ blog posts once and for all.
I’ve been hammering on this one left and right. I think that I have either finished writing, trashed or published eight posts, previously known as ‘Drafts’ since deciding to make doing so a priority.

9. Do a big family field trip to the ROM, complete with GO Train rides.
Another August event, methinks.

10. Go and visit with Nana once a week.
We’ve done well with this one. And we’ll see her later this week as well. So far, so good.

11. Create, frame, and hang individual chore lists for each of my minions.
Need to get on this one. Chores are one of those slow, agonizing things around here unless there’s a great deal of crying and whining involved and I really want to bring the volume down around here. And regain some of my dignity. My children are beginning to think that I’m just a big baby with all of my whining.

12. Go for one lunch and one dinner picnic each week.
We’ve done well picnicking on the weekends, but so far, all of our weekday lunches have been at home. I’ll need to start setting up picnics in the backyard for them.

13. Blog twice a week.
This has been happening. At least twice a week. Plus I’ve been miles better about posting regularly to the  blog’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. 🙂

14. Set up a new bed for Pax, re-arrange the furniture all the minion’s rooms to optimize their spaces.
Have not yet set up the bed but some furniture has been re-arranged and we have done a preliminary clean out and purge of some high-risk areas (desks and closets).

15. Make sure we get some family time at the cottage.
Hoping to get some cottage time later this month, but we shall see.

16. Read one book a week (for myself, sans pictures and large font).
I’m working my way through a book at a snail’s pace, but I’m reading, so I’m claiming this one as a quasi-win. It’s hard to take/make time to read for myself, but I do so enjoy it.

17. Go for nature walks weekly.
We have yet to get into our forest, it’s been buggy as heck lately, but we’re exploring nature on our regular daily and weekend outings.
IMG_6052

18. Wash the car with the kids twice a month.
Hasn’t happened yet. Maybe a fun Friday activity. We shall see.

19. Re-vamp the basement space.
Have gotten some clearing done in the dance room and bar area, but I’m still miles from being able to call this accomplished.

20. Crochet blankets (lapghan or better) and/or scarves for my minions.
This one I haven’t touched yet, but really need to get on or else I am running the risk of not having them all completed in time (I crochet s-l-o-w-l-y).

Next Bucket List check in will be the first week in August. I’ll try to have some impressive results by then. I’m a slow starter, I suppose. Also, I need to remember to bring out my camera more often – I’ve just realized that I’m super light on July pictures this year. 😉

 

I’ve reached new heights of procrastination

Well, I did it. I finally forced myself to look at the list of my blog posts. WordPress very helpfully (read: spitefully) indicates the status of each post. And, noticing that there were no less than FOUR posts on page 1 with “Draft” beside it, I decided to dig a little deeper. Going through the most recent four pages, there were TWENTY posts with that mocking label slapped on the end of them. I stopped digging at that point. Because, well, twenty. That’s why.

Unfortunately, the truth is that I work in a fairly chaotic way. I usually have six or more things on the go at any one moment and bounce around between them. My mind is always at work either in constant dialogue or composing, planning, dreaming, and scheming (in a non-sociopathic way, of course). And rather than working on one thing from start to finish and moving on, a job well done, and all of that, I start things, work on them, walk (or run) away from them either out of frustration, necessity or distraction. And then I get wrapped up in doing whatever else catches my eye and I’m (clearly) very remiss at returning to finish up what I was in the middle of when I turned away (although it continues to live in my mind, nagging at me at weird times throughout my day).

I hate finding out things like this about myself. These things just do not reinforce my self-image of not being a total doofus. Eh. Moving on. I’ve decided to tackle two of those ‘Draft’ posts a week until they are all either written and published or deleted and burned in disgust. I figure this will solve two problems. One, writer’s block will not be a problem because I have a tonne of work already started (yay me!) and two, it will help me clean things up and get back on track working on projects that I want and need to in order to keep mind and soul together and not be bogged down with such a menagerie of thoughts, projects and ideas.

There are so many things that I want to do with these last 50 years of my life and I really do not want to waste a moment (after all, realistically, I’m only really figuring on having a smidgen over 18,000 productive days left) dealing with clutter, literal or figurative, that does not promote health, happiness or a sense that I am fulfilling my purpose on this planet. Because:

Or just do laundry. Or just be sad. Or just eat. Or just sit around and wait. Or follow someone else.  (image found on Pinterest)

Or just do laundry. Or just be sad. Or just eat. Or just sit around and wait. Or just follow someone else. Or just cry about my dress size.Or just constantly struggle. Well, you get the idea. (Image found on Pinterest)