Home alone

There are a couple of major influences happening in my internal world right now. One, as stated above, my home alone status is really starting to sink in. Two, I go back to work tomorrow. Neither of them is terrible on its own, but let’s just say, they’re on my mind.

I love being alone. I often tell people that if I didn’t force myself to go out, I could stay home for far longer than would probably be healthy for me. I might not ever get social again. Seriously. Everyone says that, but I actually mean it. I’m convinced I could stay home for weeks. But here’s the thing: I need Kevin here, too. If he’s out working or at a game or with friends, he at least comes home later. If he’s gone for a few days, it’s just so boring around here. And it seems like he’s going to be away a lot more with some recent opportunities that have come his way.

I also love my job. There are a few people I am really looking forward to seeing tomorrow. What I’m not looking forward to: setting an alarm, being confined to my office, wearing proper clothes. I’m also not really feeling the I have to go to bed at a decent hour (aka now) business that goes along with it.

I think it would be really great if I could have totally flexible hours and they’d probably even end up looking just like my already somewhat flexible hours, but not having the annoyance of structure feels heavenly right now.

Today, I went to Car Free Day in Port Moody. A few friends had booths there and I wanted to check them out, also it was nice to get out to my old ‘hood.

It was a good vacation. We had a blast in Toronto and I miss Summer Slam so much. I read three and a half books, two that I absolutely loved. I had a little time to fully relax without any obligations, to reset before getting back into the groove. I even came up with a few solutions for problems I’d put on the shelf when I left the office.

But as usually happens, I’m starting to look forward to our next trip, just over six weeks away from now.

Just get a damn haircut already

Everywhere I turn, I feel like I’m having the same conversation and it’s about hair. It isn’t the style or even technique related, but it’s simply a whole lot of established, hard-working, articulate, together women who really want to get a damn haircut. Heck, I’ve been talking about it since March and even then it was probably already close to a year overdue.

Here’s my confession: I haven’t had a haircut in over a year. When I did finally go whenever it was that I went – I’m pretty sure it was late winter/early spring 2018 – it was a stop at Magicuts on my walk home from work. Was it the best haircut I’ve ever had? No, probably not, but it wasn’t bad and you know what I loved most about it? I didn’t have to make an appointment. My friend Mark swore that I would regret it, but I didn’t. Not one bit.

My hair is getting really long and people have been commenting on it more and more. And every time, it’s like a tiny stab in my heart.

I’ve never been a long hair person. In fact, as a woman in my early twenties, I declared that long hair is for women who’d given up. Now, that isn’t entirely true because there are some really beautiful long-haired women out there, but let’s be honest, very few of the women who wear everyday long hair actually do anything with theirs. I am one of those women. And being reminded of that statement young me made hits a little harder and closer to home than I’m comfortable exploring. Next session.

So, as my hair has become a greater focal point for people I see throughout my life, the conversations about wanting to get a haircut has come up again and again. And more often than not, the people I’m talking to about the haircut are parroting the same desires back to me.

So far, there have been a few common themes that are preventing my friends from just getting a damn haircut.

Among them:

  • I don’t want to have to talk to anyone. I feel this one. So hard. I don’t want to pretend we’re friendly, I don’t want to tell my story and I don’t want to listen to yours. Pleasantries are okay, but I’m comfortable with silence beyond that and my favourite practitioners – of any kind – are, too.
  • I don’t want to make time for it. We can say we’re busy all we want, but we’ll also make sure that we get to that party or watch an episode of Southern Charm. We could make time for it, but we hide the fact that we really just don’t want to. For me, I don’t really care about hair. If it was really important to me that I had nice hair or if I felt particularly pampered by the experience, then that might get me moving a little more.
  • I don’t want to make an appointment. Okay, this one is mostly just mine. Here’s the thing: hair salons are busy places, especially when they’re good. If I have to book an appointment a month or even on week in advance, how am I supposed to know that I’m going to want to go when the day finally rolls around?

Finally, I’m happy and proud to announce that this morning I finally made an appointment. I booked at a studio nearby that has had mostly positive reviews among people I know. I had thought about looking at their website on the weekend and it offered a couple of perks that really sold me on it. First, it had online booking which is an absolute godsend and second, I could make an appointment for tomorrow. Game changer.

I joked with a friend today that my only expectation for tomorrow is to get my hair cut short enough that I won’t need to worry about getting another haircut for at least a year. If things go smoothly I might just be willing to go back more regularly. For now, I should really start thinking about what I’m going to ask for!

Resolutions for a new week

I used to start every week with a plan. Just a few little notes on things I wanted to focus on or improve. I decided today that I need to get back to that and make a few adjustments to my habits and what better time to start than a Monday? I’ve been feeling *really* good as a result of my focus on digestion over the last several months and it feels like a really good time to build on that.

This week ahead is going to be about three things.

  1. Steps
  2. Hydration
  3. Sleep

I’ve enlisted the help of a work friend to squeeze in some lunchtime walks, I’m going to focus on drinking even more water and my goal is to get to bed early (for me) and max the shit out of my time there to do what I can to “catch up.” I know, I know. I’ve read the science that you can’t actually make up for time lost, but I feel like every sleep goal begins with resting until you can rest no more then developing a pattern from there. At least that’s how it goes for me.

What are your plans for the week ahead? Are you adopting any new goals?

Season of sacrifice

Gretchen Rubin introduced me to this phrase. Perhaps she coined it or it’s possible it existed for and by others first. Basically, it’s a happiness boosting strategy to get through periods of time when you’re busy, stressed or working particularly hard. The suggestion is to frame the time as a season of sacrifice. You’re giving up some of your regular routines and expectations for the greater good of the ultimate goal. In recognizing the season of sacrifice, you put some boundaries around the devotion it requires and that helps to always see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Interestingly, every time I’ve heard it discussed on her podcast, Happier, I’ve wondered to myself where and how I could apply it in my own life. Somehow I’d always come up blank. Duh!

Just today, I came to realize that I’m in it. Right now.

Every spring, lacrosse season creeps in and so does my growing resentment. We can’t eat well or at home, we constantly have someplace to be, someone to follow up with, something to pick up or drop off. My concern over the stresses that are related to it blur out all of the enjoyment.

I’m not sure what has happened this season that’s made for a way more enjoyable start (winning helps!) but I’ve had a totally different response – and I like it. After thinking about it today, I’m also armed with the acceptance of this season of sacrifice will someday – and probably much more quickly than I’m ready to accept – come to an end.

Spend out

This is a phrase that Gretchen Rubin uses. I’ve always understood it because I have the same habits as she does. I get something new or special and my instinct is to want to save it. For what, I don’t know. Here’s her spend out advice from her most recent book, Outer Order, Inner Calm.

Spend out

Do you have the impulse to save things, to hold back? I sure do.

I loved my delicate white wedding china so much that I used it only a handful of times during the first twenty years of married life, for fear that I’d break a plate or chip a bowl. Finally, I decided to face my fear, use the china, and enjoy it as long as it lasted.

Beautiful stationery, fancy bath salts, fine cooking ingredients, fresh new white t-shirts, sharp tools, piles of enread books…these things are meant to be put to work.

It’s satisfying to use the things we own, and it’s wasteful to save them for a day that may never come.

Recently, I had to toss an expensive scented candle, still untouched inside its wrapper; I’d “saved” it for so long that the oils had separated and leaked. Why was I saving it?

Put things to good use. Spend out.

I love where she said things “are meant to be put to work.”

I’ve gotten better over the years, but I did just use up the bath salts I got last Easter and a bath bomb I got for Christmas so I’m not totally cured. To her point, the wait didn’t make them any more luxurious or enjoyable than they would have been at an earlier time. And having them unused and in my possession didn’t do anything for me in the meantime.

Except that it kind of did, but I think that’s the dysfunction. I often like things a little more when they’re in their pristine pre-used condition. Just like I like presents most before they are unwrapped.

Here are the most common things I could spend out on:

  • Notebooks
  • Bath supplies
  • Essential oil diffuser blends
  • Markers
  • Cards and stationery
  • Drinks
  • Bars of soap

Do you have a habit of hanging on to special things when you could be putting them to good use instead? What kind of things do you do this with the most?

No photographic evidence

I’ve inherited a trait I consider really bad. I rarely remember to take photos of people. Meals, cats, totally out of focus and way too zoomed in moons, I have a thousand of all of them. But when it comes to spending time with other people, I almost never remember to capture the moment.

This isn’t really new. I mentioned it to my mom earlier this year – that we have never really documented our holidays and experiences – and she just kind of shrugged. My Grandad, her father, used to take great photos of all of us. We spent a ton of time at my grandparents’ house when we were little, but eventually as we aged, we got busier and got over there less and less frequently and, as such, our photo documentation decreased.

As we grew into adulthood that continues on. I didn’t take photos, but neither did anyone else. Every so often, someone in the family comes out with a handful of photos from a Christmas past or a summer barbecue, but they’re usually of just a couple of people and don’t tell much of a story.

In recent year, we’ve started going on family vacations pretty regularly and this is one of the only photos that we have from any of them.

I’m used to it, but that doesn’t mean I like it. In fact, I almost always make an internal resolution that today I’m going to take lots of photos. Today, like all the rest of them, I often don’t. In fact, I didn’t take a single one over our near four hour family Easter celebration.

We had a great time including:

  • A little gift and goodie exchange
  • Badminton in the back yard
  • A delicious meal
  • Watching an intense double OT hockey game and debriefing on the earlier one
  • Deciding on and booking the next family trip

But we also had a great time just hanging out together and catching up.

I came home feeling really warm and happy about the family time. Then I remembered that I’d utterly failed in my plan to record some of the festivities.

On one hand, it makes me happy because it means that I’m somewhat successful in my pledge to be the woman whose phone is virtually invisible. On the other, however, I would really like to be able to look through more photos, to share them, print them. I want to have photos of loved ones up in our home. I want to be reminded of good times whenever I look around and I think that would be a real happiness booster.

I just don’t know how to make taking photos when I’m in the company of others a habit, but I want to try.

Are you good at recording time spent with loved ones? If so, what’s your secret?

The strategy of scheduling

I wrote earlier this month about my Passion Planner and how much it has helped me to set and realize goals each day and each week. As we blaze towards the end of this month, I’m getting ready to do the end of month/beginning of next exercises that are found in there, too.

At the time I wrote that, I truly felt I used that paper planner and nothing else, but in thinking about it over the last couple of weeks, I have come to terms with the fact that I actually schedule a lot of things – both personally and professionally.

Remember in Martha Stewart Living where she would (and perhaps still does – I had no idea that magazine was still in circulation) publish her schedule for the month? The one below has been labeled gentle reminders, helpful tips and important dates. And this is how I approach scheduling.

Does she really sharpen and oil the garden tools on the 9th of February every year? Or even on the second Monday of the month? I choose to believe she doesn’t, but that this calendar represents all the things that she makes a point of doing every February (or perhaps every month or second month) to keep everything running as smoothly as she’d like it to. Am I comparing myself to Martha Stewart? Generally, no, but I think we do have this approach to scheduling in common.

I like to put a lot of reminders in my phone for home and in my Outlook calendar for work. They’re in there and when it’s time to do each, a reminder goes off. If something comes up that conflicts with doing at it at the originally scheduled time, I just move it someplace else. I’m not rigid on sticking to the outlines dates and times, but I do stick to getting things done in the ballpark of when I’d planned them – and not letting myself lose track of them.

These are some of my at home reminders that pop up in my iCal (Do they even call it that anymore? Is it just Apple Calendar now?):

  • Clean washer (I use this method)
  • Birthday and anniversary check (where I check the calendars for upcoming events that we want to acknowledge)
  • Buy two items of clothing (have I mentioned how much I hate shopping for clothes?)
  • Cut cats’ nails

My work calendar is a variation of the same – daily, weekly, monthly reminders to stay on top of the tasks I need to stay on top of. Since I know I can’t rely on myself to initiate the routine, I have made my calendar the gatekeeper.

And now I want to get a subscription to Martha Stewart Living again!

Things I do every day

Routine. It ain’t my thing.

My friend Greg is going through what he calls “the year of being uncomfortable.” He’s doing it on purpose, doing things that help him grow, trying things that he doesn’t necessarily like, but that might be good for him, putting himself to the test by living outside of his established norm.

He’s been creating this reality since well before 2019 started. He’s invested his time into making it all come together and designing the challenges that he wants to experience or meet along the way.

I identify with that. Something that makes me uncomfortable (as we have covered a zillion times) is routine. But I wanted to really try to do some things that don’t always come easy to me and I wanted to experiment to see if consistency was the key to making them easier or maybe even more enjoyable.

Here’s my daily checklist over and above any plans or commitments that I have:

  1. Write a blog post
  2. Post a photo on Instagram
  3. Meet my step goal
  4. Complete 100 Duolingo XP
  5. Daily Lumosity workout

And next month, I’ll add the task of decluttering on a daily basis.

All of those things as one are easy. As five they get a little more challenging. Often I’m laying in bed doing my language training immediately before I go to sleep. Or trying to write while we’re watching a favourite tv show. Or taking another lap around the block to catch up on steps I missed while stuck at my desk.

It’s been 25 days (well, it’s been 162 for #1 – !!) and I’m really starting to feel the challenge. Funnily enough, the writing has become second nature. I can manage that rather easily, but the other stuff? That’s getting to be a drag. I don’t know whether it is that I can post to my blog every day because there is enough freedom and break from the same old, same old that it feels just new enough to keep it fresh. Maybe the language and brain training is too much the same, day in and day out?

Whatever it is, I’m definitely feeling, like Greg, a little uncomfortable this year and I am starting to wonder if this is a sign that I should give up on my daily tasks and Be Carly (who happens to defy routine) or if it is a sign to keep pushing through past the discomfort and see if the routine becomes enjoyable (a la daily blogging.)

Routine followers declare that the only way to be successful is to follow a strict routine, but I would challenge them in saying that I think we may quite possibly have very different definitions of success.

I discovered this quote today and I think it’ll become a new favourite.

Full Moon in Leo Lunar Eclipse

Today is a big day – and not only if you’re a Rams, Patriots, Saints or Chiefs fan. I am none of those things (thank GOD!), but I am keenly aware of the fact that today we’ll experience our first Full Moon of the year, a Full Moon in Leo or Wolf Moon and at the same time it’s a lunar eclipse, also known as a Blood Moon.

One of my goals for 2019 was to maintain my New and Full Moon rituals and I wrote about my first one the day before the New Moon in Capricorn on January 5th. At that time, my focus was on Capricorn ambition, balancing success and failure, stubbornness and motivation.

With the Moon now full and in the sign of Leo, we turn our thoughts towards some of the Leo traits: strengths, power, courage and respect.

This was the draw that I did today, guided by the Leo card in the tarot deck, Strength, and a spread that I found on the Labyrinthos website.

1. What is my greatest inner strength? Ten of Wands

2. How can I step into my own power? The Sun 🌞

3. What parts of myself can be more celebrated? Knight of Wands

4. Where can I take bigger risks? Knight of Pentacles

I rely on a few people for guidance through the lunar phases and, as always, they came up big for me.

Here were some of the highlights as I prepped for this Full Moon.

Megan Skinner:

It is not unusual to FEEL intensively during this time. If you can embrace your feelings and emotions, whatever is illuminated for you now, without judgment, there can be a great transformation and awakening.

Please see her post for her gorgeous explanation of the relationship between Aquarius and Leo and how this event can influence your life at this time.

Stephanie Gailing: Here is her post about today’s big events. That link includes everything below and much, much more.

Remember that even if we can’t see an Eclipse in the sky, these celestial events are potent harbingers of illumination in our lives. Eclipses are often associated with the unfolding of life-shifting events and/or awareness.

And to give you a sense of what today’s lunation really means in an astrological sense,

One of the questions that the Leo Full Moon may pose is how we can authentically be ourselves while at the same time being part of and contributing to something larger than our individual selves.

Staying true to myself has been an ongoing theme for me for over a calendar year now and I feel stronger and better for my commitment to myself, to Be Carly.Personally, I’ve had a couple of themes at play in my life recently. One has been related to friendship and the other career. In both, I am contemplating the meaning and value in my life, the things that I desire in each and the things I am willing to tolerate or sacrifice for those values. In the Full Moon spirit, I am moving on from both in some ways.

In friendship, I’ve starting to release the ties to relationships that were no longer serving me, to accounts that were making more withdrawals than deposits, to paraphrase a quote I shared on Facebook the other day.

When it comes to career, I sometimes get carried away in thinking about the type and volume of progress I’d like to make. I love my job, but if I listen to my heart, I want to grow my position without necessarily moving “up” in my company. I like the level of responsibility that I have. I work hard and I work long hours and I don’t really want to commit more than I already do. In a corporate setting, it’s hard to hold onto that internal truth without being swayed by the currents swelling upward.

Happy Full Moon! Don’t forget to leave your crystals out by the light of the Moon to cleanse and charge them. 🌕♌️

Nineteen for 2019

Looks a little different up there in the title, huh? I mentioned it a few weeks ago, but after 122 days (139 now) of writing I’ve started to feel a little more confident and comfortable in my writing so it feels like time to get back to naming my posts with words instead of just numbers. Now here we are and…


Yesterday, I looked back at the year that 2018 was and what it meant to me. Today, I’m looking forward.

I wrote earlier this month about one of my resolution strategies for 2019 and my desire to make a 19 for 2019 list of things to do. I even put it on my December things we’ll do this month list. To sum it up, it’s a list of things to accomplish in 2019. Some are habit changes, sure, but others are little tasks I’ve been putting off or that I haven’t been able to follow through on. Some are trying something new or expanding on something tried and true.

Here is my 19 for 2019 list, in no particular order.

  1. 100 days of running
  2. Get an eye exam and new glasses
  3. Create and submit a piece to the Anonymous Art Show
  4. Track spending
  5. Get married…or decide not to
  6. Complete a full month of Yoga with Adriene x2
  7. Pay off my credit card
  8. Give strength training a chance
  9. Read 60 books
  10. PR a half marathon
  11. Daily blogging
  12. Monthly offline date with Kevin
  13. Get hard drives removed from old computers
  14. New and full Moon rituals
  15. Complete French and Czech Duolingo courses
  16. Set aside time each week for goal setting, planning and review
  17. Celebrate minor holidays
  18. Read one book at a time
  19. Post something on Instagram every day

I started to add a little context to each of these goals, but for some there is so much to say. For others, it’s exactly what I’ve laid out. I just decided that, for the ones that have a story, I’m going to plan a deep dive into them separately and at a later date. Watch for them and for updates throughout the year.

Have you done a 19 for 2019 list or did you choose a different way to plan some New Year changes? Are resolutions something you roll your eyes at?