Archive for the ‘goals’ Category

First Socks

One of my goals for 2017 was to attend a knitting class to learn how to make socks, and I did it! It was a 3-part class, which I wrote about more here.

I finished them today, and here’s the final product:

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I really love knitting socks, and I think I might do another pair right off the bat next. Maybe yoga socks like these (source):

I’m signed up to do a shawl knit along in April. We’ll be working on the beautiful Waiting for Rain pattern (get here on Ravelry):

The Activist In Me

I grew up in Calgary, Alberta  – a pretty conservative area of the country, by Canadian standards, anyway. So,  I therefore grew up with fairly conservative views that were common at the time in the 80s (pro-oil/gas, anti-union, the homeless should just get jobs, feminists are “feminazis”, left-leaning people are “bleeding hearts”, etc.).

Those views followed me to Manitoba, where I did my Masters degree. Even though I mostly held strong to those views, I was beginning to be exposed to more left-leaning views (mostly the inequalities of the education system when it comes to First Nations communities, and inner-city schools).

I moved to Ontario in 2005, and noticed my views moved slowly from right-leaning to centre, then to the left. I began mostly with finally being able to see  (I’m sure it was there in the past, I just had my eyes closed to it) the sexism in the academic world, which turned into me caring about women’s rights in general.

That started an avalanche in me and I’ve learned more about (and have started to care much more about) the inequalities in the education system, the environment crisis, the struggles and burdens of other marginalized groups, the poverty in our own cities, and what privileges I am automatically given because I’m white, middle-aged, middle-class, able-bodied, and cisgendered.

Though I’ve tried to be more vocal and open with my views in recent years, this past year I’ve felt like I’ve been pushed become involved in a more visible way: our family walked in the Pride Parade, and I marched in a Sister March on January 21st, with 2.5 million other women from around the globe. To keep that momentum, I sent letters to the leaders of all the federal political parties in Canada outlining a call to action for them to commit to ensure women’s rights are part of their agenda (want to do the same? Find a template here).

One of my goals for this year is to become more involved in my community, and I feel taking part in these events that mean so much to me is a step in the right direction.

I think my political evolution has to do with several factors:

  • Political geography (Alberta is right-leaning, Ontario is more left),
  • Who I interact with (Alberta: I was young, so family and other adults in their sphere + other teenagers/20-somethings – we knew nothing; Ontario: mostly academics/teachers/other professionals)
  • I’ve gotten older, and therefore empathize more with the struggles of others, and am finding what’s important to me (I assume this happens with age, but maybe not?)
  • Learning, reading, and trying to keep on top of current events

Regardless of the reasons, I have witnessed and evolution in myself but  I am trying my best to be unapologetic about it. I’m sure some see the change as negative and others as positive, but it shouldn’t be US vs. THEM, or LEFT vs. RIGHT. We should find ways to work together to solve the issues facing our world today.

Yes, I’m a feminist! Yes, I care deeply about our environment! Yes, I am troubled by how marginalized groups are treated as second-class citizens! Yes, I think everyone should have a minimum income level! Yes, I think many of us in Canada are privileged and refuse to acknowledge it and the problems it causes!

So….Yes, I’m a bleeding-heart liberal! And I’m not sorry.

Let’s Do This, 2017!

Each year I make a list of goals that range from relatively straight-forward to “dream-on” achievability level.  Here is my list for 2017. It’s longer than in years past, but I’ve tried to make my goals more specific this time around.

  • Continue to learn and practice mindfulness, including
    • daily meditation
    • yoga 1-3 times per week, and
    • regular self-reflection, at least once per week
  • Continue to minimize clutter in our home
  • Choosing happiness
    • Read at least 1 chapter of a book a day
    • Complete at least 3 knitting projects
    • Begin participating regularly in at least 1  additional physical activity
    • Have a date with DH once a month
    • Write a minimum of 1 blog post per week (here or on my education blog)
    • Spend more time in nature
  • More direct interaction with real people
  • Get more involved with local community
  • Learn how to deal with difficult people
  • Give less fucks [mostly about my (perceived view of?) what others think about me]
  • Get in the local school board (3rd time’s a charm?)

I won’t be taking an “all or nothing” approach when assessing my success. These are all things I want to incorporate into my life, and if it takes many years, that’s okay.

Any tips, suggestions, resources or starting points are welcomed! What are your goals for the upcoming months?

Bye-Bye 2016

I have been doing year-end reflections on this blog, and really wanted to do it this year again (even though I haven’t been writing nearly as much). To start, here were my goals from the beginning of 2016:

  • I  would like to make progress toward a more stable work situation ✓
  • I would like to get back to spending more time doing (and enjoying) things I love like knitting, reading, and cooking ✘
  • I would like to move more and feel more energized ✘
  • I would like to enjoy the time with my family more ✘
  • I would like to either make our home more livable or move to a house that suits us better ✓

Family

E started grade one and is learning how to read. C has entered his threenager stage. DH and I found two awesome babysitters who kids like, and we’ve been doing date nights more often (but not enough). We stayed at a hornet-infested cottage in the summer, but had some good times too!

Home

After looking at our options, we decided that we’ll stay put. So, instead of looking at real-estate listings, we began thinking of how to improve our home. We added serious colour in our kitchen, DH built a mudroom area in the basement,  we replaced the huge bed & desk in the office with awesome Murphy bed/desk, and we took down hedges at front of our property.

Health

I played soccer this summer, but have decided it’s just not the sport for me. I signed back up at the YMCA, and have been using it much more for swimming and yoga. I’d like to start playing badminton this year and get back to riding my bike.

Mentally, things really went downhill in the Fall, and I stopped doing all the things I know I need to do to have a happy life (eating/sleeping well, exercising, reading, knitting, time with friends). With my time off, I’ll be focusing on making this a priority.

One good thing with my long drive to work (1hr15min each way), I got through a LOT of audiobooks, and hit 13 books for 2016. Check out what I’ve been reading here.

Career

I began the year by teaching at university/college levels, and I quite enjoyed it, but realized quickly it would not be a sustainable career option (low pay, limitations on how much I could work, nowhere to grow).

In the summer, I took 2 additional qualification courses to make me more marketable to public school boards. I got hired by one board as a supply teacher, but didn’t get on to the local board (which is the goal).

I did get my first public high school teaching position in September (what’s called a long-term occasional assignment, where supply teachers fill in for permanent teachers on leave). I was teaching grade 11 and 12 physics, and the contract was until the end of January. Unfortunately, I had to leave early due to overwhelming stress/anxiety. I’ll get back into the game when I’m ready, but will only be supply teaching.

 

There’s my 2016 in a nutshell! Stay tuned for what my hopes are for 2017.

Hopes for 2016

As you read in my last post, 2015 was pretty meh. So, I’m hoping things will change in 2016. Here are my hopes:

  • I  would like to make progress toward a more stable work situation
  • I would like to get back to spending more time doing (and enjoying) things I love like knitting, reading, and cooking
  • I would like to move more and feel more energized
  • I would like to enjoy the time with my family more
  • I would like to either make our home more livable or move to a house that suits us better

What are your hopes for 2016?

Home Wants/Needs

My theme for my goals this year is re-evaluation, and one thing that led to my choosing this theme was a constant battle in our minds: whether to stay in this house or move.

Our house is old, like 1910’s old. That means we a) have a tiny kitchen, b) very little storage, c) a creepy basement we’ll never use for more than laundry/workshop/dumping grounds, and d) have tiny bathrooms (we’re lucky we had space to put a 1/2-bath  on the main floor – a hot commodity around this neighbourhood).

When I get in one of those “GOD, I HATE THIS HOUSE!!!” moods, the things I dream about are:

  • a more open floor plan on the first floor
  • a kitchen with more cupboard space and an island between it and the dining room
  • a large mudroom/laundry combo off the front (MORE SPACE for all our clothes/bags/gear/etc)
  • a MUCH bigger upstairs bathroom
  • a finished attic, so we can have a second living area (and a place to move all the kids toys so they’re not the first thing we see coming in) — which could house a THIRD bathroom!
  • being on a much quieter street (I know I can’t change this, but I’m DREAMING here!)

During and after these moments, we often start perusing through the MLS listings, searching for houses. We talk for hours  about whether it’s worth it to stay here and do the renovations, or would it be better to try and find a house that hits all our “must-have’s”. It’s our own personal “Love It or List It”, without any help from professionals.

Sure, we can easily find homes that have everything we want…for a much heftier price tag than what we paid for this house.

And, just like Cloud wrote about recently, these things are much more WANTS than NEEDS. When I really thing about it, we’re pretty darn lucky with our life (and house) as it is now. Why do we feel like we NEED more room, or NEED a bigger bathroom, or NEED to have main floor laundry?

We look at bigger, newer, more “fancy” houses – with their huge kitchens, giant walls of windows, massive master suites, and living room/family room/game rooms – as though that is what we NEED.

Yes, we could afford to go with either of these options, but then it hits us: what are our priorities in life? Do we want to spend money for years on making or getting a bigger/”better” house, or could we spend that in a way that could really make a difference in our lives in other ways. Like,  being able to do more of the things we enjoy like golfing, going to baseball games, going on family vacations, or taking art or music classes.

We get so tied up in what we WANT in a house, as though having an island in our kitchen or a walk-in closet would make us happy.

So, we are trying to keep these things in mind and we move forward with these types of decisions. We will constantly be re-evaluating our goals and aligning them with what our priorities really are.

How do you reconcile between what you WANT and what you NEED.

2015

We spent the last week and a bit of 2014 down in Arizona with my family (hence the quiet on the blog), which was a much-needed break from the realities of life here!
C managed to get some sort of killer cold the first day out, and the rest of us ended up getting it to some extent over the holiday. Despite that though, we managed to enjoy the nicer weather, spend some good family time together, and I even got in a round of golf – on Christmas Day even (first time I’ve been on the course since before I was pregnant with E)!!
2014 was a good year for our family with lots of changes and growth! What about my goals from last year? Here they are and how I did:
1. Get the okay to drive from doctors.
– This was done early in January, but completely official by April (though I drove since I got the initial “okay”, because the winter would have been all that worse if I couldn’t get around!).
2. Knitting: finish afghan, and choose some new (smaller) projects
– I did finish the afghan in June! I started a sweater for C, did a garland for Christmas, and have just about finished a scarf for E.
3. Begin to learn to play the piano.
– Not even close to an attempt.
4. Decide on next step in my career.
– Done! I am half way through my B.Ed to teach high school!
5. Read at least 1 book per month.
– Just snuck in at 12!
6. Find ways (and time) to exercise.
– I did very well with this one until my first practicum in October, and then it totally fell off the radar. I will be getting back to swimming now that classes are starting again.
7. Find new and fun things to do with the kids.
– We bought a fish tank (and fish) in January, and that held our interest for a while!
– We built a big playset in the backyard
– In the summer we started geocaching, and really like to do it al together!
8. Figure out some storage solutions for our house.
– We got a couple new storage systems for toys/books/games
– I did reorganize some of our closets which has helped
– We bought baskets for the cubby by our front door
– Am using small flower pots in the pantry to store my excess kitchen utensils
– DH refurbished a storage cubby by our side entrance and it looks great (and is functional!)
9. Keep trying new and different recipes
– Didn’t keep up with this so much, but have added a few more regular meals to our rotation (sausage pasta, chicken parm)
10. Get Evan fully potty trained by the time he starts school.
– YAY we did this one, and much earlier!
11. Find a way to be an advocate for or work with other stroke survivors
– I did a few local media interviews to share my experience, but haven’t done anything specific (though have been looking into it).
12. Take care of myself (specifically in terms of progressing in my recovery).
– Taking care of myself will always be a work in progress, because I tend to drop to the end of my priority list. I know that I need to keep this up because I’m a better person when I’m eating, sleeping, exercising, and have time to relax.
I think I did pretty awesome, so go me!
What about for 2015? Instead of a list, I have chosen a theme: re-evaluation. Basically, just checking in with myself (or ourselves as a family) about how/why/when we are doing things and if any changes need to be made.
Sometimes we find ourselves doing things simply because we have in the past. For example, I’ve been keeping track of our finances the same way for years, and I think it’s time to update with all the technology that’s available. Other things that come to mind is what we spend our money on (being more mindful would be good), how we organize our lives/house, and how we spend our time.
On top of these, I have my usual goals in terms of reading (keep up with at least 1 book a month) and knitting (finish C’s sweater, learn how to make socks, and take a class).
Looking forward to seeing what 2015 brings on every level for us!
Happy new year to all my wonderful readers and hope that it brings you much joy and happiness!

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