Blue Light Special

I watched a documentary some time back about how the hues of light that come out of different things affect the brain in different ways. For example, TVs, computer monitors, cell phones, iPads etc all exude light in shades of blue. These shades of blue trigger the brain to wake up, be awake and stay awake (think flourescent lights in a factory for night shift). Alternately, shades of red such as campfires, are shades that trigger the brain to remember that it is time to sleep.

The rule of thumb is to actually refrain from viewing your tablet or phone for at least one hour before bed. Now, for me at least, this is a tough one as it is in that final hour that I actually stop doing things, crawl into bed, allow myself to relax and look forward to seeing what I missed on Twitter, Instagram etc.

I figure so long as I don’t “slide to unlock” if and when I DO wake up in the night, then I should be OK. The documentary scared me enough to never touch my phone or flip on the TV if I am having trouble sleeping. Knowing it will have the opposite effect, I refrain.

Losing it before bed though? That’s been tougher.

In an effort to reduce tech-time and reclaim an easy drop off to Slumberland, I believe it is high time I venture back on out to the bookstore.

I used to read voraciously but with the influx of all-things-at-the-touch-of-a-button, I have not made the time lately. I plan to change that now.

I admit I often DO judge a book by its cover, though the blurb inside the dust cover must prove itself intriguing enough to capture the sale.

While technology has made a multitude of everyday things more available, there is sometimes nothing more simple, nothing that gives more joy, than curling up with a hot cup of coffee and losing yourself in a good book.

 

In the one pic above I have pulled four of my favourite books. They were all full of adventure and escape and far away places, the three key elements to hold my interest.

What are some of your favourite books? Do you have any that you have read more than once? Comment up near the top, maybe your favourite book will be the next one on my list!

 

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Trio

We sat, watching Better Call Saul, thinking of how weird it was that McKinley wasn’t just totally ignoring us upstairs in her room, but that she was 4 hours away on a ski trip. The difference was palpable.

Most nights when I get home I visit with Pat for a bit, then I visit with McK for a bit, hoping to get some morsels of how her day was, how she was. It usually takes me  heading back downstairs to start supper for her to follow, headphones on, and join me in the kitchen. She’ll sit at the island while I chop and dice and slowly but surely more details of her day emerge and suddenly I am privy to the ins and outs of her circle of friends. I try and stay steady on the line of asking enough questions to keep her talking but not so many that she shuts down and retreats back into her headphones.

Yesterday at 5:45 am (yes, AM) she boarded the bus that would take her on her first ever overnight out of town with her classmates. I was super proud of my little homebody who has shown ZERO interest in sleepovers and craves the creature comforts of her own bed in her own house. She had a long bus ride ahead of her followed by 5 hours of learning how to snowboard, and ending her day with 2 hours in the pool. Needless to say when I finally got a text back it was 8:40 pm and she sounded wiped.

As we sat together last night, just Pat and I, we commented on how weird it was that not only was she not there, but that she was a 4 hour drive away. I mentioned that it was really no different than some nights where she heads upstairs to hang with her favourite You Tubers instead of us but still, agreed it felt like something was missing.

She is back tonight, 6:45 to be exact, and we cannot wait. She will be a bear, no doubt, after 2 long bus rides and two solid days of fresh air, sunshine and physical activity, but she’s MY bear, and she’s home.

Our trio will be complete again.

Simple things.

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Pic from Etsy

 

A Letter to Myself

No. This isn’t the type of “letter to myself” you have come to expect from the internet. No lessons to my younger self. No resolutions sent to my future self. Rather, its an in-the-moment-note to me right now, so the me-who-is-busy-later won’t forget.

If you took a peek in my sent folder, I would hazard a guess that the highest volume of outgoing emails are directed at this chick, right here. I write myself notes all day long. I write them in the morning when I am fresh out of the shower and had to keep repeating the one thing I didn’t want to forget as I rinsed out the conditioner until I could dry my hands enough to unlock my phone and send the email to myself. I write them while I get my kiddo ready for school in between making her hot chocolate and changing out her lunch items because “grossssss  mommmm!”. I write them when I am safely parked while waiting for her to ever-so-cautiously cross the road to get to school.

I write them mid-invoice payment, mid-travel booking, mid-meeting planning because if I don’t write them down that instant, they are gone.

I don’t think I have a terrible memory. In fact, I’d say its quite the opposite. I can remember how to get somewhere by noticing the sign painted on the side of a building. I can tell you what you wore to a certain occasion 4 years ago. I can remember facts and figures about multiple sports and multiple players at any given time. But if you want me to remember to put the boots in the car that someone wants to buy from me off Kijiji in the morning or to check the Funko Pop website to see if the have The Outsiders figures, into an email it goes. (Yes, those were literally my last two emails to myself.)

I get that this won’t work for everyone. Some people can’t be bothered to write stuff down, on paper OR keyboard. Some people can remember the mundane little tasks like picking up dish soap or looking for ski goggles.

But me? I want it in writing.

I want to see that I have one unread email that tells me what I am supposed to do next.

These emails to myself are yester-years little scraps of paper. Some tidbits get added to the calendar (just like my mom used to do), some get taken care of and deleted, some get replied to over and over again as more items are added to the list.

But nothing gets forgotten.

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She’s digging in her purse for her scraps of paper!

 

With so much seeming to go on at the same time, and a bunch of tasks that are perhaps not date-focused enough to need a calendar notification, how do you keep track of everything? Leave a comment up near the top and share your tips!

 

Quotable

I read a quote the other day that made me think.

It rung so true that I really sat with it for awhile.

And it dawned on me that the truth it spoke applies to many things, not least this blog, this work of the heart if you will.

One never truly knows when something of this nature is “ready”. Should I hit post now? Should I tell people it exists? Should I just bite the biscuit and launch it into the big wide world full of not-always-pleasant opinions?

When you have something that is special, something you have worked hard on and is both important and valuable to you, there is real fear in opening it up to the eyes of others. The fear that they will think your thoughts and words are ridiculous. Or boring. Or unnecessary.

But then you slowly start to realize that you love your thoughts and your words and while you certainly hope to reach people, to entertain people, or even allow your words to make a difference in the lives of those who choose to read them, you claim no responsibility for those who are disinterested.

You write for yourself. You write to engage. You write to reach the people who need to hear your words and learn from your stories. That is what blogging is to me. And if you waited for that perfect time to hit post, that perfect time to tell people your blog exists, or that perfect time to launch it…you never would.

Read these words and these stories. Love them. Hate them. Be challenged by them. Learn from them. Pass them on. Share them. Talk about them. Think about them.

They are, after all, just words.

And if you find you don’t like the words, by all means, carry on about your way and keep searching for words that ring true to what you are seeking.

I’ll still be over here, pecking away at the keyboard, telling stories, sharing lessons, knowing that perhaps they are not perfect but they are mine.

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Down Set

Football. Not something typically addressed on many blogs managed by women that don’t appear to have a sports related theme to them. But if you are to know me at all, then you must know of my undying love for football.

I support two teams emphatically, win or lose, good game or bad game, embarrassment or victorious. My love for these two teams stems back a few years, not as many as some of the other fine women I know, but long enough to know both joy and heartbreak at the highest and lowest range of the spectrum.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have, of late, been nothing to write home about. High hopes abound at the start of every season only to be dashed by injuries of key performers or poor execution by the team as a whole. This year feels different. It feels like there is a chance. We have invested in some pretty great players who look to bring us back to a level of greatness long since forgotten.

The New Orleans Saints went from being the team that brought New Orleans hope in the rebuild after Katrina and a Superbowl title a couple of years later, to the team with the worst of pretty much everything last year, save for their quarterback who still managed to rake in records in more categories than the teams season record would have you believe. And yet, as with every year, the assumption of being playoff bound still remains.

So how does being a diehard football fan translate into making a life less complicated?

Well, its simple.

Joy.

I get great joy out of watching a solid game of competitive and close-scoring football. My mum once asked me what I love about it so much and my answer was simple. While it appears to be a somewhat Neanderthal-ish endeavor (throw ball, catch ball, don’t get hit), there is so much more to it than that.

Take just the quarterback for example…you must know the routes and locations of every person on the field for each and every play of which there are copious amounts, you must anticipate what every player lined up across from you will do upon the snap of the pigskin, you must have eyes ahead of you, eyes downfield, eyes in the back of your head, and you must be able to change on the fly and do something completely different than what you just told your entire team you were going to do if that door closes and leaves you scrambling for a new door.

It’s a science. And it’s awesome.

So for those of you who also experience the heart attacks in the pressure moments, the “don’t talk to me for awhile” mood in the losing moments, and the IN YOUR FACE joys of the winning moments, I have posted the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 2016 schedule below for you to enjoy. I’ll post the Saints schedule when it comes out.

It won’t help you organize your life or reduce your clutter or simplify your closet, but you’ll find yourself rooting for the underdog, feeling pride in your city and giving the nod to the guy in line at the grocery store who is wearing the same team gear on any given Sunday.

Joy. Get after it.

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My focused face…with a dash of concern. Watching my Bombers play.

 

Who do you root for? What makes your heart pound in your chest? Got a favourite team that you will defend to the end? Share in the comments at the top of the post and let the trash talk commence! (Kidding, be nice)

To download and print your own copy of the 2016 Blue Bomber Schedule so you too can cheer your heart out, click here -> 2016 Schedule!

Greetings

Back in the day, many moons ago, we lived in a big old house with plenty of odd shaped rooms and nooks’n’crannies. The closet in my brother’s room had a door within it that led into a different bedroom. The long dark hallway outside of the living room led to a big wooden door that took you into the kitchen. The “walk in closet” in the room I shared with my sister did not appear to be a walk in until you actually pushed past what looked like a normal bar to hang your clothes on and then lo, like Narnia, tons of space appeared. And it was in this house that I first stumbled upon my mum’s stash.

Tucked away, in the little wooden drawer of the side table next to the bed in the master bedroom, I found an inconspicuous brown paper bag. Intrigued, I peeked inside and that’s when it all began for me. I would sneak what I needed from her squirreled away stash whenever the need arose. I felt bad occasionally but it didn’t stop me. You could visibly tell the stockpile was shrinking but that too, didn’t stop me. I knew she had spent her hard earned money but again, didn’t stop me.

Greeting cards.

My mum was a greeting card hoarder. She likely still is based on the number of cards we get in the mail for just about every occasion under the sun. And I love it.

I have always prided myself on remembering birthdays. I will sometimes slip up and be a few days late but for the most part, I am on the ball with card sending. There was a brief moment in time where I tried to embrace technology and send e-cards and things of the like but it just didn’t feel right. You can’t sit your phone or laptop on the mantle and display the sentiment for all to see. It just wasn’t the same.

So I went back to the tried and true. Snail mail. No matter what technology is raging hot at any given moment, or how many million ways that tech can improve your personal efficiencies, writing a note on a lovingly chosen card, popping it in the mail and knowing someone has something to open on their special day beats all.

I have even taken to sending out cards of appreciation to people who are important to me, just to let them know it. In today’s day and age, the only mail we seem to get is bills, bills, bills….and flyers. So imagine, after sifting through all of the money you owe for the month and tossing all of the weekly advertisements, you stumble upon a simple little envelope with your name written across it. In handwriting!

In my efforts to bring simple joys and remove anything overly complicated and unnecessary from my life, I have promised myself that I will mail a card for every birthday on my list and not fall back to an e-card, even if I’m a bit late. I have promised myself to send reminders to those I love, reminders of how much I appreciate them, what I value about them, why they are special to me, all wrapped up in a beautifully written card with my own words to compliment the commercially fabricated ones.

I am about to update my simple list and transfer the information into my new Greeting Card Planner sheet. Having the dates written down keeps me on track so I don’t miss a thing.

I know how it feels to open an envelope and place that card on the mantle alongside others.

It feels like love.

 

How do you communicate with your friends and family when occasions roll around? Are you a die-hard card sender? A belated card sender? A Facebook greetings giver? E-cards your thing?

Leave a comment (up near the top of this post) and let me know your tricks and tips to remembering all of the important dates in your world!

To download and print your own copy of the most simple way to track the occasions you want to remember, click here -> Greeting Card Planner !