Category Archives: this grrrl’s life

1st day of Xmas holidays!

photo(8)And only 2 days until the big day – which means I’ll be frantically wrapping Emma’s presents tonight and tomorrow night, but that’s how it usually goes.

December was a busy month, but then again, most months these days seem to be busy ones. Between final exams, Christmas parties, Emma’s winter singalong concert (featuring an absurdist version of the play Peter and the Wolf), work, and the occasional sleep — December is feeling a bit of a blur.

I’m struggling this holiday season to keep the cheer. I’ve had moments of it, but then there’s a hit of reality that too often follows, and I’m back to feeling Grinch-y and unappreciated.  It’s difficult to even vocalize this struggle, because I know it sounds whiny and ungrateful of all the good things I DO have in my life (and I know that #firstworldproblems applies to much of what I’m dealing with here).

But still, I’m not as content as I’d like to be this holiday season, and I wish there was something more I could do about it, other than beat myself up for it.

Ah well. I have a little girl who is SO EXCITED for the big day that she’s already talking about waking us up at the crack of dawn to open presents that Santa (!!) will bring. Maybe I’ll work harder to look at this time of the year more through her eyes, rather than the tired and resentful eyes of her 36 year old mama.

EDIT: Turns out today is Festivus, so maybe my “airing of grievances” is excusable, if only for today.

Emma and BFF Daphne, meeting Santa

Emma and BFF Daphne, meeting Santa

Our "family portrait"

Our “family portrait”

Mama's new ornament

Mama’s new ornament

A little something for me to remember

Every now and then I come across some wisdom, and I hope I can remember it when the time comes. Today’s two bits of wisdom comes to you from a friend’s Facebook feed and a mailing list I’m a part of.

From a friend’s FB page: “Dr. Carmella’s Guide to Understanding the Introverted.”  Now that I’m fully embracing the “I” in my INFP personality, I’m understanding myself a lot more. The best part of this infographic/illustration is the statement of how introverts gain their energy — rather than becoming energized from people interaction, introverts need time to recharge (mainly because we find interactions to be draining).

YES.

I also love the bit that says “interaction is just expensive and they don’t want to spend it on something annoying (read: wasteful).”

YES AGAIN.

I’m starting to give myself more permission to say no to relationships and activities that I find to be annoying and/or wasteful. Maybe it’s because I’m finding myself more and more drained? I chose a career path that forces me to be out there with people for most of the time, so when I’m home (or on the weekends), my battery levels are dangerously low. I guess I don’t want to bother myself with people who aren’t edifying and are difficult to be with.

The other item I want to remember is from last week’s “happiness tip” from Dr. Christine Carter: Quit Something. I think this tip goes pretty much hand in hand with my earlier “avoid annoying, draining people” realization — I’m trying to get better about only being involved with activities that I love and find important. If I don’t have that driving passion or investment, I’m giving myself permission to quit.

Granted, there still tends to be a lot of activities I find worthwhile and want to be a part of — but I am trying to be more selective about where and what I do with my time.

So – quit annoying people and quit annoying activities. Check.

(sounds easy to type, but I’m sure my people-pleasing tendencies will betray me more often than not)

juːθ

That’s the pronunciation for youth, in case you’re wondering.

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oh the good ol’ days

One of the best experiences I had growing up was being a part of my church’s youth group.  I honestly don’t think I would be who I am today if it weren’t for all the time spent with friends and leaders — going camping, hanging out, traveling, being silly, being serious — all of it. My youth minister and his wife still hold a place in my heart that no one will ever take the place of. I’m still friends with many people I grew up with in youth group.

And despite some of the theological baggage I’ve had to work my way through, I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything — and this is coming from someone who pretty much rejects all of the religion I came out of.

Which brings me to where I am today. I’m back in a youth group! Except this time I’m not a member of it, I’m one of the advisors for it. One of the main ways I’m involved with the local Unitarian group in town is through my volunteering with the youth group. And, I LOVE IT.

It’s different than what youth group was like for me, in a traditional evangelical sense. UU youth are more autonomous, and the adults are there in an advisor capacity, not so much in a “leader”- sense. It’s the youth’s group, which means many of the decisions for activities and topics are directed by what they want to do.

At the end of this month I’ll be one of the facilitators for the OWL (our whole lives) weekend — OWL is the sexuality education program for UUs. This last August I went down to Boston to get trained to be able to deliver the program. The OWL curriculum is great, and I’m already looking forward to spending more time with everyone. (and part of me wishes I could gone through such a program in my formative years)

I’ve only been involved with these teens for a couple months now, and I can already say I’ve had my heart both inspired and broken. I’m inspired by how kind these kids are to each other, and how funny and insightful they can be (often simultaneously).  But I’ve also been heartbroken by seeing some of the difficulties and injustices they have to face — and I wish I could do more to make it easier for them, other than being there and listening.

My heart is full.

 

Progress!

So I could have wasted mucho energy tonight arguing over the internets. Instead, I smiled and just hit the “block” button and walked away.

Progress, people!

I’d much rather spend my 2nd night of my long weekend rewatching the Doctor than butting heads with someone with a hate-on.

‘night :)

Cold confessions

We’ve had snow on the ground for a week, so I guess it’s time to admit the inevitable: Winter is Here.

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One of the favourite pastimes of Canadians is complaining about the cold – so for your reading pleasure, here are some winter realizations that are (and sometimes aren’t) spoken aloud during this time of the year:

  • This time of the year begins the shuffle-walk of pedestrians (read: walk/glide over icy patches of sidewalk). As this is my 12th winter up here, I think I may have finally perfected it.
  • Driving now sucks more than usual on SK roads.
  •  Despite the -20 windchills, you will still see people eating ice cream in DQ. Yeah I don’t get it either, but now I want a Blizzard.
  • Even now, I find that there is something beautiful to waking up and stomping around outside in a freshly fallen, silent shroud of snow
  • …until you go to brush off your car and inevitably get snow inside your boot. Wet socks ≠ fun.

I remembered I wrote a similar list from years ago — here are some gems that still ring true, almost 10 (!) years later:

  • Having any liquid present in your nose instantly freeze, making it feel crunchy
  • Taking off 2 layers of clothes and still being fully dressed
  • Knowing the meaning of “dry cold
  • When you get an “ice cream headache” — just from going outside!
  • Waiting at a crosswalk and seeing a car skid, 20 feet away, in order to stop right in front of you
  • Having to start your car 20 minutes before you go anywhere

And of course, there’s this:

  • Sheer bragging rights for surviving it
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Nothing tastier than the first snow of the year.

go go gadgets

My latest gadgets are my treadmill desk and my Fitbit Flex.

1002621_10153201630420134_166703495_nFirst, my treadmill desk — I’ve had it now for a month and a half, and so far I really like it. The main difficulty I’ve had with it was the rigmarole I had to go through in getting the funding for it from my work. Apparently I’m one of the few people on campus to have a desk like this, so I got to trail-blaze my way through all sorts of administration in order to have them approve my expenditure.  It’s funny, though, most of the admin folk I encountered want me to “report back” about how well I like my desk.

I mainly use it when I’m using my computer for email or other computery work — so far I haven’t figured out how to mark papers while walking (but give me time). I’ve put about 45 miles on it or so, but I’m planning on stepping up (haha) my milage in this next month.

My other fun gadget is my Fitbit Flex, which is a type of pedometer/activity tracker. I’ve set a goal for 10,000 steps a day, and I’m usually able to make that goal pretty easily between my treadmill desk, walking back/forth to school, and working out a couple days a week. I’m thinking I may need to bump up my goal a bit to get me walking more! (today I managed 16,000+ steps, woo!)

Mainly I’m trying to get a little more purposeful when it comes to including activity in my daily routines — these gadgets are helping me stay motivated (which will become more and more important as the school year and winter drags on).

What she said:

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Can I get an amen?

It’s pretty crazy how similar I am to the Piper character in the series (well, except for the whole being in jail bit).