Casual Friday + When Do I Work? When Do I Write?

And just like that, we’re back to Friday.

It’s another snow day…except there is no snow on the ground. So really, it’s just another day off school for the kids (though I’m promised the snow is coming). Appropriate to today’s post, I have some work emergencies to attend to while juggling snack breaks, video consumption for the kids (my go-to for when I have video meetings – I wasn’t expecting to have the kids home today when I arranged my schedule!), and overseeing inevitable sibling fights.

But we’ve already fit in our outside walk and are tackling Wordle next, so the day won’t be all bad.

There were some tough moments this week, especially globally as headlines switch from talk of COVID numbers to missile strikes. One crisis to another; and once again the world feels like it might just buckle under the heaviness of it all. But there is still joy to be found.

This was another week where I’ve discovered that joy can present itself from the unlikeliest of places. It comes in comments about decanting. It comes from poems posted on the side of the road. It comes from the sunshine streaming through the window as I type these words. It comes from lint rescued from the recesses of our pockets. It comes from solving Wordle with the kids at 9 am on a Monday. It comes from bright pink jackets and taco soup. It comes from noticing – and naming – these (mostly) ordinary things that bring joy or delight.

EATING | Maybe if I admit this in a public space I’ll feel more (positive) pressure to act? I’m channeling my inner Gretchen Rubin and giving myself another big demerit on the eating front. I can only ride the excuse of hormones for so long. I had ice cream four times last week. FOUR TIMES! I can have ice cream occasionally without any problem, but I can’t have it four times. Sigh.

I’ve had a good reset the last few days and I’m hoping the worst is behind me?

  • Tuna filling inside nori. Yum.
  • Homemade pizzas; storebought mini Naan, simple tomato sauce, pepperoni, and cheese (pre-shredded, obviously). They are shockingly delicious and I make these several times a month. I had roasted veggies instead (how I love roasted veggies) since I knew I needed to back off the dairy/gluten for a while.

WATCHING | Two very infuriating documentaries centering around human greed.

Downfall (Netflix) about the Boeing 737 Max planes that crashed (before the entire fleet was grounded). Heartbreaking, avoidable, and left me disgusted at how quickly the almighty dollar can trump the value of human life.

The Tinder Swindler (Netflix) – It was one of those stories where truth is stranger than fiction. It was incredibly depressing to learn that the “swindler” is already a free man and history is repeating itself.

We also started watching The Beatles: Get Back (Disney+) documentary. It’s a slow-burn, but I love behind-the-scenes footage…and it’s the Beatles! After the other documentaries, this was much better for my blood pressure.

Oh, and you know what text you don’t want to receive from your husband a day after watching an entire documentary about faulty Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 jets.

This text.

Spoiler alert: his flight went off without a hitch and he told me he used to fly on these planes all the time before they were grounded (not sure if that’s supposed to make me feel better?)!

THRIFTING | I have not been in a regular routine of thrifting lately, but had the chance to stop by my favourite store last week and scored some great finds. When I write more about my wardrobe, I’ll plan to cycle back around to the concept of thrifting because virtually all of the items in my closet are from thrift stores!

In this haul I bought:

  • a robe ($2.70) + cozy leggings ($3.00) for Abby. A ski jacket ($5.25) and snowpants ($4.00) for Levi (these may not fit him for several years but both were in like-new condition and I know he’s always going to need to size-up in snow gear). A very comfy shirt ($3.55) – this is probably my favourite colour for tops and I already own two in this colour, but liked the interesting button detail on the shoulder. A pink puffer coat (the biggest splurge at $7.75).
It looks like I have been partially swallowed a giant bottle of Pepto Bismol, but since I don’t wear many bright colours, it seemed like a fun choice AND it’s very warm. My current puffer doesn’t have a hood so while I would ordinarily choose black or navy, through the wonder of this being the only option at the thrift store, Bubble Gum/Pepto Bismol pink it is!

(OLDER) FRIENDS | Last Friday I was able to visit a friend who is 76; we drained cups of tea and talked and then she made me a delicious lunch (long-time readers might recognize this as being my soup-and-sandwich-oasis; we haven’t seen each other properly since November!). Then, on Tuesday, I met up with a friend (58) for a last-minute lunch at our favourite cafe. Between the two of them, these women experienced a collective 66 years of living before I was even born. I cannot get over how much I appreciate my time with them – they have already lived so much of the life I’m now experiencing (e.g. parenting littles, trying to sort out work-life balance). In addition to being so wise, they’re also just really fun to be around!

*In case this makes it sound like all I do is “lunch” – it was November 2021 since I last had lunch with a friend, so while a very welcome change this week, it is not the norm!

READING | This was a “B” week in the book department.

The Family Firm (Emily Oster) – This was my first book by Emily Oster and I found it…a bit of a snorefest. I appreciate the underlying message but didn’t find the book overly engaging. I read the redshirting section with interest (we’ve already done this and it was absolutely the right decision for our family, but I appreciated her weighing the various pros/cons). It was well written, but it didn’t quite pull me in as I had hoped. My favourite parts were her discussions of decisions related to her own kids. 3 stars

Remodelista – I enjoyed the pictures, but it wasn’t as inspiring as I had hoped. Lots of minimal decor (which I love) but too much talk about decanting (see below) and every other page suggested installing a peg hook. 3 stars

Anne of Windy Poplars (Lucy M. Montgomery) – It pains me to say this, but I had a hard time getting through this book in the Anne series. I love Katherine Brooke, so that part of the book was A+. But, overall, the book felt too scattered and I really, really missed Marilla. 3 stars

Miracles and Other Reasonable Things (Sarah Bessey) – This was okay. I have no idea how this showed up on my holds list. Did someone recommend this to me? Did I happen upon it while browsing new releases inside the library system? 3 stars

Pippi Longstockings (Astrid Lindgren) – I read this over several weeks with the kids. It has some descriptions that show their age (e.g. conversations around maids), but the kids found the book hilarious and I edited some of the content as I read this out loud. 4 stars

As for picture books.

The Bold, Brave Bunny is a family favourite that we checked out once again. The cover gives you a sneak peek at how the illustrations do double duty.

A Gift For Mama and Everybody’s Welcome never fail to inspire us; The Snuggle is Real and T.Veg: The Story of a Carrot-Crunching Dinosaur were the two new-to-us books we enjoyed the most.

Top – A Gift for Mama. We LOVE Alison Jay illustrations. Bottom – Everybody’s Welcome; sweet illustrations and it’s one that has some cutouts that ramp up the interest level.
The Snuggle Is Real – this is a board book and on the younger side of the audience spectrum, but it was sweet.
Mo Willems. I rest my case. Hibernation Station was a gentle, fun rhyming book. Aimed at young audiences, we still enjoyed this enough to read it twice!

joyfinding

  • Going on a long walk with my friend – Joy – last Saturday where we chatted about minimalism and our conversation included the following statement: “So you have to decide – how much decanting is the right amount of decanting?” The fact that our conversations can go from discussing the content of Caste to parenting conundrums to shoe repair to topics like decanting really does bring me joy. On a related note, I had no idea people decanted their DISHSOAP. I know people do this with hand soap and dry goods like pasta and rice. But DISHSOAP? Where does the decanting stop?
  • At the start of the pandemic, a woman on our normal family walking route started posting original poetry on the sidewalk outside her home every week. It became a beloved tradition to stop and read the poems together. We haven’t been walking this loop lately, so what a thrill to see she is STILL updating her poetry (though it does serve to highlight just how long this pandemic has been dragging on).
  • Looking down to see his legs crossed under the table one day. When he sits up with his back straight as a board with those little crossed legs…it melts my heart.
  • A neighbourhood soccer game. The snow and ice are down to a level where soccer games have resumed (at least temporarily) and the kids are in their element.
  • Tree climbing. There has been a lot of tree climbing in our yard lately. What a cliché childhood activity, and yet it really does transcend time. The sense of independence, of being hidden from view (kind of), and of taking some (calculated) risks. It really offers the whole package for kids.
  • Freshly showered kids in pajamas all snuggly and soft and warm, piled in to bed to read a bedtime story. The days can be long, but the snuggles are the end can be worth it all.
  • Receiving a video from a friend of her toddler saying the word coconut. I have to agree with her description of it being – “unbearably cute.”
  • Skating. In a haze of déjà vu, I took the kids to the afterschool skating program in a neighbouring community. For over two years I did this twice a week all winter with Abby. Levi has been on skates less than a dozen times in his life, where Abby used to go that frequently in a month! It felt so, so weird to be back. The first year I took Abby to this skating program, I pushed Levi around the ice in a stroller! It’s incredible how much has changed in the last few years. Joyfinding: seeing Levi fall down and pop up SO fast with a huge smile, saying: “When you fall down, you just have to get right back up.” And then he scooted off again. Right you are, my boy. Right you are.
  • Also at skating: Abby and I used to create games using the advertisements painted on the boards. She asked me if I remembered playing; I did – this is how we had spent hours of our time while skating – but had no energy to be creative and quickly deferred her veiled request. But then, I thought…if not now, when? So a few minutes later I sidled up by her and asked her to find four advertisements that would make someone think of liquid; a few minutes later the quest was to find five adverts that related, in some way, to the automobile industry; then two that contained a picture of a maple leaf. While the inertia in my brain was real, I’m so, so glad we played this game again. I suspect it won’t happen many more times as she grows up so fast…

family/heritage day

Monday was a holiday. Since I was home solo, there were a lot of hours to fill. Part of me wanted to be spontaneous; to pack up the kids and head out on a long drive or to come up with a fun adventure.

But I didn’t have any ideas and I’m getting rather tired of being outside in winter weather. I had a babysitter scheduled, but that fell through. Despite waking up with the remnants of a headache, I was determined to just let the day flow. And it ended up being great.

Abby came to my rescue, planning a schedule for the whole day. (Though at 7:15 am she was literally throwing her plan in the garbage can because her brother was vehement that he would NOT follow her plan for the day. Sigh.) I convinced her to rescue said schedule from the trash and we ended up following it to the letter up until lunchtime, Levi included…

I’m not going to lie – when 8:00 am found me playing a new-to-me version of hide-and-seek (you write clues + leave arrows on Post-It notes leading the seeker to your location), I was not enthused. But at 8:30 am she had slotted in our daily 1 km outside and that both cleared my head and ticked off a big check beside that to-do for the day.

By 9:00 am we had completed the daily Wordle together + Abby had introduced me to Vertex (pictured below) which, I have to admit, is also addictive.

I swore to myself I would stop posting Wordle answers on the blog (#noonecares), but for the record, the kids are getting really good and we got it every day (but Thursday) in 3 tries! I can’t believe how much we’re enjoying Wordle!

They did some screentime. I made muffins.

We had lunch – grilled cheese and apples (Levi, who is quite picky about apples said: “These are really good apples, Mom.” For some reason this made me happy, as if I could take full credit for the superior quality of these Gala’s).

Levi had a neighbourhood friend come over and they did LEGO and lightsabers and Nerf guns; while they played, Abby and I worked together on her Wreck This Journal. ALERT: if you need a gift idea for a creative kid in the 8-15-year-old range, this has been SUCH a big hit in our household. Some of the prompts we used Monday included: writing something with a pen/pencil in your mouth, standing on the book in dirty shoes, and lots and lots of colouring. We also made a paper cup out of one of the pages (prompted + pattern included) and Abby drank water out of it. We collected lint and other miscellany from our pockets and taped it to a page. We stapled two pages together and covered one page in circles and dots; I gave Abby 3 more fruit stickers to add to her growing (prompted) collection. It’s a very fun, interactive activity book. Highly recommend.

This was the “write something with a pen/pencil in your mouth” page.

I took down the faux evergreen swag. It was time. I have never, ever left up a “Christmas” decoration this long but only in the last week did I feel like I was finally ready to set it aside for the year. With the evenings getting longer, it didn’t feel right to still have something that festive up in the living room. I have no idea how to style the mantel – this doesn’t feel like the right fit, but it will do for now!

The boys switched off and went to the friend’s house and Abby went to visit someone she was last scheduled to see before Christmas…when Omicron put the kibosh on that playdate (and life in general). I enjoyed a few quiet hours at home where I did…mostly nothing. I sat on the couch in my new pink puffer jacket, worked on this post a bit, and enjoyed the peace.

I had soup prepped in the fridge ready for supper; we ate, read some books, and I think I crashed pretty early? Surviving a holiday solo (without having an adult tantrum) always feels like a major coup.

when do I work! When do I write?

How I find time to work (and write) came up in a comment section earlier this week (thanks for the prompt, Jenny) and since it seems to have been a question on other people’s minds, I thought I’d delve into the topic a bit further.

(I also partially address these subjects in: How Do I Do It All? I Don’t, and Neither Does Anyone Else + What Do You Do? A Work Q&A + A Day in the Life (Circa October 2021).

But I’ll rehash the main points below.

when do I work?

First, I DO NOT WORK FULL-TIME. I’m not going to get into all the particulars again, but I work between 10-40 hours/week. That’s a big range! I am slated for 27 hours of work/week at a local university divided between two distinct roles + the highly variable work I put in as co-founder of a small business (where my role and responsibilities vary significantly based on current projects and time of year). But I can end up working as little as 10 hours/week. And while that is not ‘nothing,’ I suspect many of my readers consistently work full-time…

So when do I work?

My working hours are flexible. While I do have set deadlines and meetings, in general, I can work at 2 am or 10 pm if I so please. I do not have to clock in or out, and this has been my working reality for over a decade now. For the most part, I have full autonomy over when I set work obligations. And, when I don’t (i.e. an external meeting), things are still remarkably flexible. For example, on Wednesday I had to be on a conference call with a major international company but the last 10 minutes of the call overlapped with me getting my kids off the bus (the same day we went skating). I had warned the chair about the timing issue ahead of time (turns out we finished the meeting 30 minutes early anyway – jazz hands – so it was moot) and simply asked for notes from anything covered without me. I suspect the flexibility I have is atypical.

I work at my own pace with deliverables, not hours, in mind. I have jobs I need to accomplish and when those are done…I’m done (I am salaried for a set number of hours/week, so I get paid the same regardless of whether I go over or under; in October, for example, I had several weeks in a row of going well over my allotted hours). When establishing contracts, my supervisors estimated what they thought it would require in terms of working hours but regularly reiterate there is zero pressure to fill all those hours if I can meet my working objectives in less time.

I work efficiently. Because I know the more productive and efficient I am at getting through work tasks, the more flex time I have, I’m motivated to stay on top of things. I sketch out work reminders in my planner weeks in advance allowing me to stay on top of deadlines and so things don’t sneak up on me. An ounce of planning saves…a lot of time. I circulate agendas before meetings so we can stay on task and to ensure 30-minute meetings don’t morph into an unproductive, scattered hour. I make note of action items while I’m in meetings and draw large highlighted boxes around them so I know exactly what I have to tackle when I get off the call. I honestly believe I could fill every single hour every single week, but I wouldn’t be getting any more done…I’d just be slashing my productivity.

I let work accumulate. Over the last few months I’ve gotten better and better at not responding to emails the instant they arrive. Typically, letting things filter in from various sources saves me a lot of time in the end (questions are often answered over the course of e-mail threads and letting that naturally work out and then reading all the back-and-forth in a single sitting can save a lot of time. I try to work in batches, triaging things as they come in; when enough work has accumulated I dive back into it.

The university where I work is currently on strike. One of my roles involves organizing academic support for students which is not relevant right now as students are not in class. My other position, within the research department, has continued on as per normal.

Another note: while I do not “work-work” full-time (as I refer to paid work), we have essentially no childcare (I just started hiring 2 hours of babysitting every two weeks). Beyond that, and because my children are currently only enrolled in 1 hour of extracurriculars a week…I am a full-time SAHM when they are home (snow days, holidays, weekends, after-school).

In summary: my work certainly doesn’t fit a conventional career mold, but it has worked for our family and has given me the flexibility to start writing over the last year…

when/how do I write?

I posted my first blog post on April 24, 2021 and have published 194 posts since that date.

Full disclosure, my biggest insecurity with writing is how much I write. I’ll start thinking to myself: “These posts are too long.” Or “I should stop posting 5 times a week – that’s too much. People will get tired of my voice.” Or “My posts explore too many existential themes. Lighten up!

It can actually be hard to click publish on much of what I write because it feels “longer than what Laura Vanderkam would write” or “more melancholic than Gretchen Rubin” (these are self-criticisms, not something people have actually said, by the way; and I’m using these two authors as examples because they’ve really influenced my thought process).

But I’m telling myself that, ultimately, I’m writing for an audience of 1. I want to show up the way I do because that’s my style. My writing doesn’t have to strike a chord with everyone (though, if you’re reading this post, you’ve likely gotten used to the fact I write long posts, show up 5x/week, and talk about existential themes). I write for myself – to work through what’s going on in my own brain – and I write because it’s fun. It has to be a pure bonus when something I say strikes a chord with others.

I have wanted to write for so long, it feels like since giving myself permission to provide space for this creative outlet, I have a lot I want to say! This isn’t surprising to me: I have a decade of very long, detailed family updates under my belt and my favourite part of doing research was getting to write my theses and submit articles for publication. I genuinely love to write. I don’t want to knit or play piano or enter poker tournaments – I want to write!


I’m sure people wonder when I find the time or why I post so much. (That’s okay! Very legit questions! I’m not offended!)

In terms of my writing, it does take a lot of time, but maybe less than people expect? I’m a fast writer. I mentioned this in the comment section the other day, but I tend to write drafts very quickly and then let them sit for a while and come back to “polish” them off once I’ve had a chance to digest the material.

I am currently spending 5-20 hours a week on writing. That’s a lot, and another big range! I’m expecting this will slow down as the novelty wears off (maybe?).

So how do I find these 5-20 hours in a week? I covered many of these points in the How Do I Do It All? I Don’t, and Neither Does Anyone Else post but it mostly relates to what I’m not doing.

  • I don’t use social media (I imagine many people could easily spend 5 hours – or more – on social media each the week; I put in precisely 0 minutes).
  • I exercise about 8 hours/week, but at least 7 of those hours are spent exercising with someone. Walking the kids to school with John, going on walks with friends. I know many people that exercise for several hours a day – solo. For me, exercise is a big part of my social life.
  • Our kids do not have structured schedules outside of school hours (a combination of pandemic life + our family mode of operation). This will change some over the summer, but they are currently each in just a single hour of extracurriculars each week + we attend church on Sunday morning. And both of those locations are within 5 minutes of our home. No hockey tournaments 100 miles away. No weekend swim meets. No debating or chess club. They come home from school and we do stuff (friends, adventures, screens, homework etc.). And sometimes I sit at the table and write while they climb trees or play soccer with their friends.
  • Aside from date-nights, I don’t watch TV. I watched maybe 6 hours total of Olympic coverage. I don’t follow any shows other than my annual binge of the latest season of The Great British Baking Show. When my husband is away for work I watch exactly 0 minutes of shows/movies.

In terms of my writing process, I write when I can. I don’t sit down for 3 hours on a Wednesday afternoon and write. I don’t write every morning at 9 am. I might fit in 20 minutes after I wake up, and another 20 minutes before I hop into a work meeting, another 20 minutes over lunch, and then 30 minutes after the kids are in bed while I wait for John to finish his evening calls.

I try to carve out several hours (hopefully strung together) to write on Saturday and/or Sunday. The rest is all sporadic, fitting it in when I can.

And that’s the story! Hope this gives readers a better idea of how and when I write. And thanks for joining me in this space <3

Header photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash


Happy weekending everyone. Next week is an exciting one around these parts (stay tuned) and I’m really looking forward to next Friday. Until then, I’m sure there will be many unexpected sources of delight – whether that’s the lint in our pockets or the joyful luxury of pre-shredded cheese.

27 thoughts on “Casual Friday + When Do I Work? When Do I Write?”

  1. I just want to say that I. AM. HERE. for all of the posts talking about how you fit in anything, schedule anything, juggle anything! Love these kind of posts!!

  2. I love your long posts!!! And I covet your working situation — being salaried with variable hourly commitments sounds lovely!

    The poetry your neighbor posts is so fun! What a cool way to spark joy for others!

    1. Thanks, Suzanne. They are long.
      Yes, I am very fortunate with my working situation. There are always pros and cons (not knowing how much work I’ll have from week-to-week can be stressful/make it hard to plan), but overall it has been a net positive arrangement for you family.
      The poetry has been such a great community boost during this long, long pandemic (to clarify, these poems are not in my neighbourhood, lest anyone was wondering if this is the PB and Banana sandwich/hot chocolate bomb neighbours…it is not…but I can see them doing this very sort of thing)!

  3. Anne of Windy Poplars is easily the worst of the Anne books, in my humble opinion. I discovered that although it takes place between Island and House of Dreams, it was written many years after that, which is why it seems so disjointed. I think that her husband pressured her into writing it for the money. Her life literally sucked.

    That pink jacket is very cute! Nice pop of colour!

    1. I wrote a while back about how I had delved further into L. M. Montgomery’s life; I knew the gist of her background, but further digging was horrible. She had such a sad, hard life. From her mother dying, to a negligent father, to infant death, sons dying in war, and a very troubled husband. I want to imagine she had Anne’s life, but she very much did not.
      And yes, Windy Poplars is very disjointed! It actually doesn’t show up in my “official” Anne series of books which skips right from Anne of the Island to Anne’s House of Dreams.
      Everyone can see me coming in this coat, that’s for sure!

  4. I love the existential themes and the long posts. There are so many pressures around us and finding a voice that resonates can be harder in person sometimes. There are a few families that I’ve known for several years and have kids similar ages to mine that do the full on slate of kids activities and go non-stop with hockey, dance, etc. It’s hard to not feel guilty and worry if I’m making the “right” choices. Getting glimpses of other families who aren’t part of that narrative has been so good for my existential soul!

    I think the only hard part is that I will read a post that I love like the one where you used figure skating as an analogy. I loved that post, there was so many things I resonated with but at the time I first read it, I didn’t have time to comment. I’ve been back to that post a couple of times but I felt like the moment to comment had passed.

    I have a question actually about how you keep track of quotes from books. I always wish I wrote down the quotes that I love but my feeling of disorganization stops me. Thanks Elisabeth!

    1. Thanks, Shelly!
      I think with the extracurriculars, there is such a range in what works for families. There really isn’t a “right” decision, because there is just so much that factors in to what works for a family. One big factor in our household is that my husband has a very intensive job; anything I sign our kids up for I have to basically assume I’ll be the only one doing the organizing/paying fees/communicating about cancellations/driving. He works long hours, including some evenings and, prior to COVID, travelled a lot. It just felt like waaaayyy too much to take on my plate. That said, I also just think because the adults in our house homebodies (I love to be home and settled when supper is done), I prioritize what will fuel me because I know in the end, having me being functional is more important than my kids getting to do ballet or golf. I know other people who THRIVE on being out and active with other parents and interacting on the sidelines. They genuinely want that form of community.
      Also, our kids aren’t that passionate about any one thing. We’ve done drama camps, swimming, tennis, soccer, ukulele, baseball…but no one is driven to keep going beyond short summer stints. I can tell, though, that our youngest is very athletically inclined and now that things are opening up post-COVID, I’m expecting there to be a lot more sports in our future.

      I have a post drafted all about how I take notes, so watch for that soon. I used to take pictures of the quotes as I came across them and then type them up, but now actually mark each quote (dog-ear the page, use a sticky tab) and then go back through when the book is done and type them up. I have a master word document on my computer and I add them in there. Last year I organized all my quotes by theme and printed them off in a little booklet.

      1. Great points! My husband works 12 hour shifts that rotate through working every other weekend. For activities, I’m in that same boat knowing I’m on my own at least half the time. I am also a homebody in the winter so the idea of hockey did not enthralled me and my son wasn’t really interested so we decided not to go that route. We have him in a once a week hockey program now because in our city it would seem really out of place to not know how to skate.

        I will watch for the post on your process for quotes! Thank you for sharing now though. You are super organized! 😉

  5. So interesting! Thank for sharing details of your writing and work routines. I’m so glad you found a creative outlet that is bringing you joy and making you feel good!!

    I’m also glad you realize there is no need to change your writing style to “please” anyone else. I do know what you mean, though. I sometimes have similar insecurities when I write/ have written about positivity/ gratitude themes (which I do often!). I feel like sometimes there is a vibe “out there” in the world that if you share a lot of GOOD things, you are either a) bragging about how great your life is or b) only showing the highlight reel of your life. Sometimes it feels like people like to cling on to negative posts almost more than anything, because they are “relatable”, etc. I get that- we all have our down days and misery does love company. But I just don’t feel like, generally speaking, wallowing in negativity really lifts me up! So I try to make an effort to find the good stuff, focus on that, look for things to be grateful for, etc. But then I worry that people could misconstrue that into me projecting some kind of a false image or something. Does that make sense? Anyway, I try to follow the same advice you gave yourself, to primarily focus on an audience of 1.

    My only issue with long posts is that….I don’t always really have time to read them all. 🙁 So, then I feel bad about that. But, that’s my own problem, not anyone else’s!! I follow a variety of blogs, and fortunately, I feel like the ones I follow have a nice variety of posting frequency and post length. The majority are quite short, so they balance out the few longer ones I read! Which means it usually works out in the end.

    I tend to do most of my blog reading in little work breaks or before work- so I’m personally looking to spend maybe 2-4 minutes at a time reading a post, whereas long 2,000-3,000+ word posts can easily take me 10-15 minutes to read. With very lengthy posts, I just simply sometimes can’t fit it in- or don’t have time to comment. But, sometimes I can break it up into multiple visits/reading over multiple breaks! 🙂 So it’s all good. 🙂 Or, this is a place where skimming skills can come in handy. hahah!! 😉 Like you said- it’s people’s choice to visit a blog, too. If they don’t like the content/ style/ whatever- well, no one is forcing them to click on the page!! So do what feels right to you.

    1. Completely understand how hard it is to fit in reading long posts.
      You know I’m a skimmer and I am NOT in the least offended if people skim my posts!! Maybe I write so much because I assume that others will skim? It’s so deeply engrained in my nature (or better or worse).

  6. I think the “how do you do that?” or “where do you find the time?” questions are almost always answered by priorities. I do not prioritize watching movies or television, social media, or researching our next vacation. Because of this, my time is free to do other things I like – reading, walking my dog, and writing. I am not the kind of person who really questions how people find time to do things because I assume everyone else just prioritizes what’s important to them!

    1. Bingo, NGS. You hit the nail on the head. Laura Vanderkam talks about this regularly, suggesting that when people say they don’t have time for “X” …what they really mean is it’s not a priority. Aside from a few edge cases, I suspect this is 100% accurate. We all make different choices about priorities.
      And as I mentioned before, I think we often superimpose our OWN schedules on top of other people’s schedules and assume they do everything we do + everything they do…and that’s simply not how it works!

  7. Hey, your style is unique. You’re building a base of readers who like your format and schedule. Reading this post did clear up a couple mysteries- well, ,mainly one- you don’t watch any TV. TV is a HUGE time suck, and by avoiding that I can see how you’re freeing up a lot of time. It’s true we all have more time than we think- you just have to know how to use it wisely.
    Love the pink jacket! I also love the “wreck this journal.” I’ve seen it around but never purchase it. Even though my daughter is 13, I think she’s too old for it now (darn!). Your description of the snow day was making me very, very tired- I was glad to get to the part where you had some quiet hours to yourself!
    Have a great weekend.

    1. Nope, no TV (aside from a few concentrated hours on the weekend). It just doesn’t draw me in!
      Monday was a planned holiday and so I felt at least somewhat mentally prepared…but today was an unexpected snow day (it is actually snowing now) and, honestly – it has been an exhausting day! I am so ready for adult backup in the house and bedtime.
      Have a great weekend in your no-snow Florida.

  8. Wow, your thrift store is amazing!! A lot of the boys’ clothing is hand-me-downs from friends but I always make sure to buy their winter wear at Once Upon a Child, which is a 2nd hand store but it is NOT as cheap as the prices you listed. But it’s still far cheaper than buying things new. I’ve also bought shoes there because young kids don’t really wear shoes out, like the 1-3 year age group in general. I don’t buy thrift store items for myself, though, but thrift stores with adult clothing seem to be super overwhelming and not nearly as straight forward as kids’ clothing. I did get nearly all of my maternity clothes at a maternity consignment store. I get really overwhelmed easily when shopping so I need stores that are super well organized and don’t filled with items. Like Banana Republic is the ideal vibe for me!

    I used to blog much more frequently, but now I’m on a 1-2 post/week schedule most of the time. I fit posts in when I can find time during a quiet part of the work day so mine tend to be pretty short, except the ones about the boys stage of life. I’ll do a post about Paul turning 4 next week and it will likely be long but it’s sort of mostly for me. I love going back and reading old posts about Paul, especially now that we have another child! It kind of gives me an idea of what to expect and while I have a good memory, I can not remember the minutia of the stages kids go through!

    1. Thrift stores are NOT created equal. The one I go to is very small and sometimes a bin will only have several dozen items. I find the one I go to tends to have a lot of higher-end clothing, though. Not sure how they manage that! And the prices can’t be beat.
      We have several other thrift stores locally that have SO much stuff and I cannot handle it. It’s like a Costco experience (and I basically need a full day to recover from a trip to Costco my senses and decision-making capabilities have been so stretched).
      There is also a small consignment store (women’s clothing only) in the town where I live and this is small and well organized and I used to visit there a lot, but still prefer to very quiet (I’m often the only person in the store) vibe of this specific thrift store.

  9. I too love Alison Jay’s illustrations, I recognised them instantly as being the same as a few books we own although I didn’t know her name. They always seem to accompany lovely stories too. How I miss reading picture books to my children.

    Vertex looks more like my thing than Wordle. My son did a graphic design module using the technique that is just like the image you have shared, it has a name which I cannot remember. He created an Amur leopard using the same technique for one of his assignments.

    Lovely to read about how you write in this space. I love that writing is so nourishing for you, I am glad that you have found outlets and your voice to record this for yourself and your family. Thank you for sharing. Your posts are long and that is what this blog is all about. I make sure I always have time to savour all the words that you have take such care to put together for us all and to comment when I have read them. If I don’t visit everyday then it is because that time has not been available for me and I will find it later in the week. I hope you have a good weekend.

    1. Thanks for the kind words about my writing, and your comments are always so thoughtful.

      Yes, Alison Jay illustrations are just lovely!

      Vertex was fun; I prefer Wordle because we can do it together, but Vertex is shockingly addictive!

  10. I remember watching and really liking the Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel movie and then being really confused by Anne of Windy Poplars by the time I read it a couple years later. I did read the Anne books out of order, though – my brother had given me a set of the last three Anne books for Christmas one year. I had only read Anne of Green Gables at that point, so I felt a little annoyed that I missed the initial unfolding of the Anne-Gilbert romance. (Though I love those last few chapters of Anne of Ingleside where she wonders if Gilbert still loves her. I kind of want to re-read that book now that I’m ten years married with children…)
    “Collect your pocket lint” made me laugh. I think I might have to get this journal to do with my 10 year old. I’ve tried various journals with her in the past, with little success, but this looks like it could be fun to do together, which might make it more engaging.

    1. I’m currently reading Anne of Ingleside (also written out of order/much later), but it is much easier to follow than Anne of Windy Poplars.
      To clarify: this journal is less of a “journal” and more of an interactive art project? I actually don’t know if there are any journalling prompts, though I suppose there is space for some of this sort of thing. The title is a bit misleading, but it’s a very fun tactile project that has kids/parents thinking outside the box.

  11. I think I gave up on the Anne of Green Gables series with Anne of Windy Poplars. It was so boring and blah! I skipped over it right to House of Dreams. 🙂

    I am consistently amazed by everything you do, and it makes so much sense how you are able to fit in so many blog posts per week when you’re not on social media and you don’t watch TV – two huge time sucks. And yes, it really is all about priorities. We make time for the things that are important to us!

    1. Yes, Anne of Windy Poplars was a slog and I found Anne’s House of Dreams…sad (though I know others love it; I guess I really turn to Anne books for lightness and House of Dreams offered a solid dose of the reality of life).

      Yes, avoiding TV and social media definitely puts a lot of hours into the time I have available for writing!

  12. I enjoy all your writing/posts tremendously – but as you can tell from my batch-commenting, I have a bit of trouble catching up sometimes. I do not mind long posts at all, in fact that’s why I still think blogs are so much cooler than social media because you really have to commit to the writing and consuming process! I will say (as some sort of feedback) that you do put a lot of topics into ONE single post sometimes and I do occasionally struggle to respond to everything that I want to respond to – haha – but that’s on me, not on you! 😉

    I love that you have older friends. There’s so much to gain from these friendships and conversations and I am sure the feeling is absolutely mutual. I have a monthly Skype Date with a family friend who turned 91 (!) today. I look forward to these get-togethers every month and I am in awe that she’s able to use the technology and we can “see” each other on a regular basis. It’s such a wonderful time together.

    Flexibility at work – being able to make your own schedule and fit work around your family life – is one of the most important things to be able to strike a good work/life balance, and it’s one of the biggest advantages that came out of the pandemic for many more people, I think.

    1. Your “feedback” is another of my insecurities. I vacillate between wanting to just write everything that comes to my mind (again, I think some of this verbiage is due to the fact I’ve WANTED to write “publicly” for so long and only started this year so I have lots of get out), while also recognizing that it is A LOT for readers. I’m sure I’ll strike the right balance over time?
      I do think (and I know I’ve mentioned this elsewhere) that I naturally assume other people read like I do which is to say – they skim. When, in fact, some people come here and read every word. And that is a lot.

      Your monthly Skype date sounds so wonderful – and is mutually enjoyed I’m sure. I think we sometimes portray these age-gap friendships as being lopsided in some way (and I know that they can be), but in my experience I’ve found them to be so rich both ways. We just have different things to offer each other!

  13. It is so interesting to learn about others’ days, how they structure them, and how they accomplish what they want to accomplish in a given day. That’s why I read blogs – I love reading about others’ lives that are so very different from mine. (e.g., I work 11-11.5 hours/day, and 8-9/day on the weekends; while I don’t watch TV, working that much does mean much less time for reading and writing… which is why, of course, I am chronically behind on commenting on blog posts… Sigh. But I also do not have kids, or pets, or really any other responsibilities other than keeping myself fed and hydrated. So there is that!)

    Other tidbits…you look fabulous in your pink puffer (and I love that you wore it on the couch!), your daughter’s journal looks like a ton of fun, and Anne of Windy Poplars is, to my knowledge, no one’s favorite. I love the first three, and Anne of Ingleside. Less well-loved are those you mention – House of Dreams and WP – and the book about Rilla, well, it seems more of a treatise on war than a story of her life… That said, I did think of you this morning while dusting my shelf of Anne-and-related books. 🙂

    Finally – I love your long reads, but like others, they sometimes take me multiple return trips to finish. To me, it’s important not to skim (total opposite of you!) and so it just takes me a little…bit…longer… :>)

    1. The pink puffer coat has been a big hit! Abby is already anxious to be in line to get it from me as a hand-me-down. It’s so warm and light; definitely a good thrifted “score.”

      Wow – that’s A LOT of working hours in a week.

      The first three Anne books are just my favourites; Anne of Ingleside was so much better than WP’s, but I do miss the focus being on Anne and all the “scrapes” she go into home in Avonlea. I also miss Marilla and Mrs. Lynde. That said, every Anne book is still such a nice opportunity to spend time with an “old friend.”

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