I haven’t posted since February – sorry about that. There were days when I could have but I didn’t. We’re already in summer!

Work is super busy, and though I’m still in an 80% schedule, I’ve been wondering if I should switch back to full time for this project. But then again, I needed today as a downtime day. I’ve already napped with kittens this morning (I’m taking care of a friend’s cats while he is travelling). Right now, I’m sitting in our comfortable chair with my knitting beside me, taking a moment to post before trying to finish off the daily pattern I’m on – I’m still working on the Advent scarf from November /December, and I’m on December 15th (out of Nov 24-Dec 24). That’s how busy and how tired I’ve been. I’ve only been knitting rarely.

I’ll be working tomorrow, for the project. Just for the morning, but that morning is going to start at 7:15am. I’m getting Tuesday off next week as a trade, which means I’ll have a two day week that will likely be intense, since the field team will be heading out to our first site next Saturday.

I’m finding it’s actually really stressful to have shorter weeks when there’s so much to do. I compromise my boundaries in order to meet deadlines. I haven’t mentioned to my boss how I ended up working 16 hours last weekend to submit my ill-timed journal article revisions because I didn’t have those hours available during my work week. I’m sure I will tell her, eventually.

Unfortunately, the increased stress has increased the frequency of my headaches again and my facial tingling is back. Huge reminders to get my health hygiene back on track – get up to stretch, and do yoga, and meditate, and do my physio, and… And knit.

So, I’m going to do just that. Knit and enjoy the silence of the apartment.

Happy summer! I’ll hopefully make some time to post, as I’m sure to have stories. :)

New year, different challenges

And I started the new year with a break from blogging and so closely managing my life. Which was good, because work is super busy right now and I think I would be way overwhelmed if I was also trying to *do* something every day. I’m feeling overwhelmed as it is.

I have been incorporating different things into my downtime and my daily habits from last year’s experiment, though, when I can. I think that the experiment broke some of the road blocks in my head about the amount of time needed to do The Things, or maybe just loosened up my approach to them. It funny because I remember spending more time working on something on-and-off in my student days. Maybe someone convinced me somewhere along the line that I didn’t have enough time to work on things in the evening.

This weekend, I’ve been painting again, which is nice. I’m working on a sunrise over the Mediterranean from December. And I’ve been having tickles of writing urges – poetry or thoughts about a couple of my existing stories. I’m thinking I’ll take my laptop into the living room in a moment and work on something (I’m currently waiting for a layer of colour to dry on my canvas so I can build on it).

I’m looking at my journaling exercise writing and trying not to lose that plan. I have to keep doing my self-care so I can continue to move forward and build toward my goal of taking a new chance and reshaping my career.

I took some exciting training last week at work that made me remember one of my potential options for career reshaping – knowledge translation. I might look into getting more involved with it, and practicing it, so that I have a solid basis. I feel like it’s one of the things I’ve been working towards without really realizing it – communicating appropriately for appropriate audiences to help people access more knowledge.

But first, I have a big project to see through, which is stretching me in uncomfortable ways, and I have another big task to do by the end of the month. I will be asking for at least day off at the beginning of March to maintain my self-care.

Just a quick update with some hope, some struggle, and a reminder that we all need to take care of ourselves. Especially this winter with the cold and the snow, which can wear on the psyche, especially in the dark months. Keep looking for the light, and incorporate some hygge to see you through. I’ll be putting on a stew this afternoon, and maybe some fresh beer bread. :) Happy Sunday!

Pre-holiday madness

I believe Radiohead said it most succinctly, “You do it to yourself, you do, and that’s what really hurts. You do it to yourself, just you, you and no one else.”

Ugh. So in an attempt to get my lead author responsibilities out of the way before I leave on my two week vacation (more on that later), I’ve been pushing myself, working overtime, as well as trying to accomplish all the outside-of-work things. Like baking for holiday celebrations at work, or going to the gym, or socializing. All of which I said to myself, “Self,” I said, “You can totally handle this. There are more than enough hours in a day. Ha ha ha! I dare say, it will be child’s play. Perhaps you should consider adding even more things!” (Imagine that transitioning into a British accent halfway through, because I sure am).

Unfortunately, it seems that the lead author responsibilities may not get fully resolved because of more than just not having two full work days to round out this week. I’m also waiting on the organizers to inform me of a few things and they are likely just as frazzled as I am. So I am doing my part and then, that’s all I can do.

I just did a bit of self-care and declined my husband and our friend’s invitation to join them in a post-game pint. Sitting, wrapped in my favourite fuzzy blanket, on the couch is pretty much what I want to do right now. Not that socializing with them would be taxing at all. But my body is crying out for me to just take this moment to relax and stop. So I’m multitasking by blogging while I sit. Because I’m apparently terrible at relaxing.

Two more days… Two not-entirely-full-because-of-meetings work days to finish everything and then we are on our way. Then two more family Christmas dinners, a friends brunch, hopefully a big movie… Some last minute laundry, cleaning and packing… And we’re on our honeymoon!

We didn’t take a honeymoon after the non-wedding in April, and we wanted Christmas Day to be for us this year, so what could be better than to plan a getaway that was for us over Christmas?

So we’ll spend Christmas in Paris, and then fly back through Iceland to ring in the New Year with almost 24 hour darkness and a trip to the Blue Lagoon spa, hopefully under starlit daytime skies. I’m beginning to get excited about it. :)

I may have time to share our experiences, but I won’t promise because it is supposed to be Us time. :) But I’ll post photos etc when I can.

And just because I started with it, here you go.

Introvert crash

One of those weeks, y’know? When work is bonkers and on top of that, there is official socializing to be done because an important visitor is here. So last week was a whirlwind of crazy preparation, logistics, organizing, re-organizing as schedules got changed. And then hosting, hosting, hosting. Two nights of socializing back to back, plus the stress of uncertainty (the only certainty in life) of whether I would receive approval to travel to a work meeting (still waiting – I only started this process in January /sarcasm) which is quickly approaching and will require plane ticket booking that can only happen after approval is received.

Saturday, I crashed. I woke up so unhappy with my life and the world. There were tears. There was a little bit of curling into a fetal ball. I’m not gonna lie. I sat in the bottom of my tub for a long time just feeling the shower pelting me and breathing.

And my boyfriend was very concerned initially, and very supportive overall. He just wanted me to feel better. We were quiet. We played Diablo III. We did a late night run to the grocery store and picked up Buffalo Bleu chips (family sized bag) and watched a movie while we ate the entire bag.

And by Sunday, I had collected myself enough. My friend J came over and we wrote quietly, each on our own device, while sitting on the couch with a pot of good English tea between us (and eventually fresh veggies as well). I got a chapter edited and another four pages added to my novel. She got to a turning point in her story. Then we all went for dinner at a local restaurant because I didn’t really know what to make.

This week has been a bit rough to go back to work. The rest has laid a thin veneer on, but it’s tenuous. People are surprised that such a result could come from socializing because I’m a friendly, social person, but that’s the thing. I’m an introvert. I can be social, but it takes a lot of energy. Being a part of a social committee at work is important to me, because I’m a huge supporter of work-life balance and improving morale through positive actions. But after a party, I need a rest without socializing because I’ve drained my bank.

I have more intense socializing coming up, but I think I’ll be okay. I’ll just do my best. And breathe. Breathing helps…

Breathe. *Breathe*…

Inhale.  Exhale.  Slower.  Think about it…

I’m in the final weeks leading up to my break, and I’m winding up.  Not just winding up my work so that it will be organized / more complete / easier to deal with for the person who is going to steer my workload for me during my absence, but I’m also winding myself up.

I shouldn’t.  Really.

I know I have my stuff mainly arranged – just one more call to make and some money to exchange.  Heck, I even rummaged through boxes and found my Europe plug converter kit and tossed it in my newly liberated suitcase.  Tonight, I picked up the slightly water resistant, new, zip up black fleece hoodie which will be my base layer for “jacket” type needs.  Ireland things are gathering together!  They’re organizing!

But I had to take a couple breaks today at work to just breathe, walk away and get myself a little calmed down.  There are a number of things going on right now that might be the source of this bother, not just trying to get things worked out and beautifully organized so that my replacement can basically peer into my brain and understand my files without me being there…  I’m a recovering perfectionist, and I’m scrutinizing my own files and finding faults and oversights, and that bugs the heck out of me.  Plus there have been difficulties with the files…  Anyway, that’s enough of that.

During one of those breaks, I continued the little bit of tidying / taking down my decorations in my office (my replacement will sit there and they may want a different decor).  One of the pieces of paper I took off of my wall was a reminder that was shared with me by a friend some years ago (the date stamp on it was 2008!)  It was about positive goals, and how focusing on what you really want will bring it to you, but focusing on the negative things you don’t want will also bring them to you.  It was a good reminder for me to keep looking at the positive things and moving towards those.

So tonight, I had a nice, fresh, chickpea salad wrap for dinner.  I did some chores and then put another layer of paint on a canvas I’m working on.  I listened to The Rural Alberta Advantage all evening, and now I’m updating my blog with a bit about me stressing and trying not to stress.  I just had a quick phone conversation with my boyfriend.  And I’m about to turn in.

But not before I share this with you – my boyfriend introduced me to The Rural Alberta Advantage, and I really really enjoy them.  So I am going to share them with you.

The Rural Alberta Advantage – Drain the Blood