Casual…Thursday?

It’s Thursday…and I’m going “casual”? This is almost as disconcerting as DST!


While my faith doesn’t overtly permeate my writing in this space, my relationship with Jesus does permeate my life and I’m going to share more about this topic tomorrow, Good Friday.

Which means I decided to show up a day early and stake claim to Casual Thursday.

Without further ado, a recap of the week:

FRIDAY + SATURDAY | This was a very busy 36-hour period of adventuring. I’ll share the play-by-play action next week but any guesses where we went? Here are a few pictorial hints (bragging rights to the first person who figures it out).

If you’re still stumped…here’s one last hint. On Saturday morning I completed my daily 1 km walk on a trail called The Haunted Woods.

SUNDAY | We arrived home late on Saturday absolutely exhausted. But a night of good sleep left us all energetic enough to go to the early service at church. For regular readers: “The Knitter” ended up sitting in our row. New 2022 goal – introduce myself to “The Knitter” so I can stop referring to her as “The Knitter.”

Before lunch, I made a giant pot of soup for Monday’s supper while other members of the household played video games and mini-sticks (I have drawn a hard line and refuse to participate in either of those activities).

A little post-concert exploration; this building has been closed to the public for almost 2 years!

Abby and I took advantage of a free concert series just down the street. Side note: I wish I loved classical music…I like it, but don’t love it. Nevertheless, it was a fun time together and you never know what exposure to the arts might spark some delight when she’s older? We both agreed our favourite piece was Liszt’s Ballade No. 1 in D-flat major S170. The pianist played this new-to-me work beautifully.

After we got home I walked exactly 1 km in the rain; I had debated skipping the day and officially stopping my streak, but why?

It was date night, so I read to the kids while they ate supper; after the disappointing “duds” from the previous week, the kids loved every single book in this set. Success!

After the kids were in bed, John and I watched The Outfit. I had no idea what to expect going in but thought Mark Rylance was brilliant, as always.

We also finished Peter Jackson’s Beatles documentary. It took over a month for us to get through all three parts of the miniseries, but I found it fascinating to watch their final album come together. I got goosebumps when it showed them walking away from the rooftop recording session and the text overlay said it was the last time they ever played together publically. If you like the Beatles and enjoy behind-the-scenes footage, this is a gold mine.

MONDAY | I tackled work first thing and opted to show up an hour late to my book discussion group. I was home in time to run 3 km with John, eat some lunch, and then worked until supper time.

We came agonizingly close to getting Wordle in two tries (a new family goal for 2022).

We watched 2 episodes of the sand-sculpture competition Race Against the Tide as a family before bedtime.

When John started his sabbatical, we opted to stop getting help with housecleaning (for the last 18 months we had someone come 2 times/month for 2 hours). I think a lot of this has to do with my personality, but I ended up doing several hours of work in advance of each cleaning session. I’d do all the dusting, pick up the furniture so our lovely housecleaner could be very efficient with floors and bathrooms. But it also meant I was doing things like dusting and getting my floors cleaned more than needed, and the timing wasn’t always convenient.

Ironically, I’ve really enjoyed not having to prepare for cleaning as often. But, as you can probably guess, things have gotten a bit…lax. So after the kids were in bed, I mopped a few rooms and listened to the recent Best of Both Worlds podcast episode with Oliver Burkeman. I planned to do the whole upstairs, but after my initial burst of energy wore off, I gave myself permission to quit for the night (there have to be some perks to being an adult, right).

TUESDAY | We woke up to one of those perfect spring mornings. It was crisp but sunny with not even a hint of wind. What a beautiful setting for our walk to school!

I did a bit of work, but really wanted to fit in a walk with my best friend and between conflicting schedules and rain forecasts this was the only slot that would work. We ended up having a great walk (and talk) and I left the conversation energized for the day.

Home by 10 am, I powered through a lot of work tasks. My post on not rushing was very timely – I had to remind myself not to rush through a rare creative work project; I was getting frustrated with how long it was taking, but reminded myself this is actually something I really enjoy doing. I managed to finish it by the end of the day and submit it for revisions.

I had a work call at 1 pm which went much better – and ended much earlier – than expected. Always a nice feeling.

I’ve been working after the kids come home from school a lot lately, but signed off when they walked in the door. I made ants on a log (chocolate chips and walnuts on a banana with PB) and read Levi facts from a big book about pandas (his Grade 1 research project topic). He had a neighbourhood friend come over, so I made muffins and did dishes while Abby read me poems from a completed Language Arts project. The poem readings continued while I mopped both bathrooms to complete my mopping work on the main floor! Parenting AND mopping simultaneously. This felt like a very big deal, somehow.

Levi’s friend ended up staying for supper; I happened to have an allergen-friendly meal prepared, and spontaneous invites tend to work best anyway.

We read books in bed – another set of winners! The Button Book would be perfect for 4-5 year olds. And the groundhog book was especially enjoyed because the author was ABBY LEVIne…in a fun nod to the kids’ names.

I rarely watch TV during the week, but we opted to close the loop on Elizabeth Holmes and watched the HBO documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley. It was interesting, especially having just finished watching The Dropout.

Continuing on with an entrepreneurial theme: I finished a slightly dated (2015) book about Elon Musk. Because of personal experience with startups, these topics resonate. While we’ve never been involved with something of this scale, the relentless pace, the incredible number of moving parts that all have to fall into place behind the scenes – I get it. And it feels…like it validates (?) how exciting and exhausting our quasi-related experiences have been!

More broadly, these people – Musk, Holmes, Jobs, Page, Gates – whether they experience meteoric rises and/or falls they all come with, as the book describes, “accessible eccentricities.” It requires a very specific sort of individual to carry out these feats, and I find it fascinating to see the common themes (and divergent outcomes) among entrepreneurs.

[About Musk]: “One night he told me, ‘If there was a way that I could not eat, so I could work more, I would not eat.’” [These people don’t seem to eat or sleep much.]

He doesn’t say: ‘You have to do this by Friday at two P.M.,’” Brogan said. “He says, ‘I need the impossible done by Friday at two P.M. Can you do it?’ Then, when you say yes, you are not working hard because he told you to. You’re working hard for yourself. It’s a distinction you can feel. You have signed up to do your own work.”[I find this to be an important distinction with parenting too; when my kids feel like they have ownership over a task and/or choice they are far more motivated to participate.]

[Larry Page, from Google]: Good ideas are always crazy until they’re not. [And it’s hard to know from the outset when an idea is just going to stay crazy versus end up being genius…]

WEDNESDAY | Walk to school, work, run (with a quick stop at the library to exchange books), lunch, work.

Highlight: When I discovered a 2-hour morning meeting was optional (and I didn’t need to attend), it gave an unexpected boost to my whole outlook for the day!

Last-minute a friend texted to see if I wanted to meet at a playground after school and we wound up spending a happy hour watching the kids entertain each other, basking in the spring sunshine!

#joyfinding

  • The birds singing in the morning. Most of the time I involuntarily tune it out, but what a rich backdrop it provides if I just…pay attention.
  • Our living room blinds. Having these up after almost a year really does bring me both satisfaction and joy.
  • Watching a friend’s toddler colour on a piece of paper. Such a simple task, but to watch the concentration on his little face was breathtaking, in a way. Especially now that my own kids write and it no longer feels like I have a front-row seat to the miracle of learning. But, of course, it is still wonderous at any age!
  • Watching the kids sleep. It is always, always a source of joy.
  • Our beloved librarians. On Wednesday, one saw me walk in the door and immediately got my stack of holds off the shelf before even saying hello! They know me so well.
  • When John brought over our favourite maple syrup candle for me to smell (unlit!) while I was working at my desk. (Our love of maple syrup runs deep; this is my go-to teacher gift. It smells divine).
  • Running to a random 170 bpm playlist from Spotify; it ended up being a great combination of songs that felt motivating and whimsical.

Phew. A busy week, albeit short. How was your week? Is Good Friday a holiday where you live?


25 thoughts on “Casual…Thursday?”

  1. Visiting the Maritimes is on my list of travel destinations. PEI included! I love that I can refer back to your blog for places to visit. I’m interested to hear more about your adventures.
    I think the entrepreneurial spirit is something I don’t have. I love variety in my work and flexibility around how I do my work. I love ideas and sharing about topics but I think really I’m in a career that suits me, with directing that through teaching. Although I do some advising to students who take an entrepreneurship class. The only thing I don’t like about my career is having zero control over my teaching schedule. Every semester it is a source of stress wondering how I’m going to make life work around my schedule.

    This week is wonky for me as we are in the midst of a “storm of decades”. Schools within our city actually closed yesterday and today. I am still teaching from home so it means regular days for me although I shifted some Thursday class items in case we lose power, so far so good. We are in a never-ending winter that is really demoralizing. Plus my kids school division decided that instead of snow days the teachers could do remote teaching! Only ours, not one that a friend works in. Why?! I get that now we have the technology to do this but what about allowing for the unexpected fun of snow days where you can relax and have fun. Good moments within that – my daughter begrudging went outside yesterday in a break in the storm and then really enjoyed building a snowman. We made last night a movie night while we ate breakfast for dinner!

    1. Oh no!!! More snow. And a “storm of decades” at that. Ugh – the ultimate level of demoralizing. This did feel like a winter that never ended for us too; I am feeling relatively confident last week’s snow day was the last of the season. Knock on wood. I am SO glad our school board hasn’t instituted remote learning on these days; honestly, the kids get so little out of online learning at this stage and there is something still magical about a “snow” day to them.

      The Maritimes are beautiful, especially NS (in my opinion). I know New Brunswick has some great spots, and PEI is pretty, too…but Nova Scotia is truly stunning.

      I would never have thought of myself as having any entrepreneurial spirit and, in truth, I kinda came along for the ride after marrying an entrepreneur…but there are elements of the lifestyle that are wonderful. There is definitely a misnomer that working for yourself means having total flexibility over your schedule but, really, what it usually means is having so much on your plate there is just no schedule outside of work!

      I don’t miss the “life-in-the-trenches” days, but do think I learned a lot of lessons from that experience and do enjoy watching documentaries/reading biographies about entrepreneurs.

  2. I’m so excited that you’re getting spring weather! I know (from growing up in the midwest) how exhilarating that feels. And you’re running, yay!!!
    I LOVE the photos from your two-day vacation. Of course I have no idea where it is- I’m assuming I would have to be familiar with Canada. But it looks beautiful.
    Good Friday is a school holiday here, so my husband and daughter will be off, but I’ll be at work (grr.) I’ll be interested to read your post tomorrow.
    Sounds like you’re having a great week!

    1. I was shocked a few years ago to hear my brother-in-law (in the US) works on Good Friday. It is a holiday for…everyone in Canada. Many things are closed Monday as well! I just assumed it would be a holiday across NA.

      The spring weather has been so, so nice. I think I appreciate it this year more than ever after having such a long winter (and walking outside in snow gear EVERY day). It still feels so special to pop outside in just a coat, sneakers, headband and finger gloves – which would be your definition of winter gear…but is about 10 pounds (literally) lighter than the boots, snowpants, and heavy ski coat!

  3. I do not know your region of Canada at all so don’t know where you visited but it looks gorgeous!!

    I am glad you liked Interrupting Chicken because I think you got that recommendation from me! I always go straight to my library request page when reading your casual Friday/Thursday posts and request what you’ve read. I was delighted to see there is another Van Dusen book we haven’t read. We love his work!

    The financial markets are closed on Good Friday so Phil and I both get the day off and the boys’ school is closed. It is going to be a COLD Easter weekend which I am bummed about as long weekends are better when we can be outside a lot… But we will make it work. I am battling a really awful cold, too, so that isn’t helping matters as I feel like crud. But surely I have to be almost done w/ this string of illnesses. Everyone has a cold in our house right now (not covid – we’ve done at home tests) but I am the most sick of course, but probably because I’m on immune suppressant drugs. So I just don’t have a chance to fight off these bugs!

    1. You’ve caught everything this winter, Lisa!
      Ugh. And sorry the weekend forecast is for cold weather. The sun is coming, right?!
      Yes, Interrupting Chicken was your inspiration and the kids love them. I just ordered the third book from the library yesterday and I’m expecting them to love that one, too.
      Happy Easter!
      The pictures will make sense next week…To Canadians the pictures are a bit of a giveaway (I hope!) but it is an obscure reference that still fits with some recent book discussions on the blog. (Hint).

  4. Your photos are gorgeous, and thank you for the kid book recommendations. My youngest two are 5 and 7 and I’m always looking for new ideas 🙂 I’m not sure how I found your blog, but I’m sure glad I did. Adding you to my blogroll right now!

    1. Welcome, Colleen!
      I try to post our favourite picture books each week. I love picture books as much – if not more – than the kiddos and so I’m squeezing every year of their childhood I can into the great book options.
      When they finally tell me it’s too much (please, never), I’ll start volunteering at the library and elementary school? How I LOVE picture books…

  5. Your photos are just SO gorgeous!!!

    I am pleased that you are having spring weather… and that you are getting closer (at least proximity wise) to The Knitter!

    1. Ha. Yes, The Knitter who has no idea her knitting has brought so many smiles to my face.

      It was a very photogenic destination <3

  6. You sound like you had a full enjoyable yet productive week. I’ve never read any biographies about any big time tech nerds who’ve made billions. I doubt that I think like they do, I like food and sleep. Good Friday is celebrated around here, but not in a significant way. Now Easter Sunday? That’s a big deal.

    1. Food and sleep are two of my favourite things; I still find their crazy “genius” so intriguing.

      Hmmm. Aside from church events, I’ve never really been in the loop for traditional Easter activities. We never had big special meals, that I recall?! I feel like ham is the traditional go-to for Easter? But Friday and Monday were always holidays – and remain holidays for schools/banks.

  7. prepare for the cleaning? that’s a new concept. so intriguing to me.
    it’s so nice that you kept the walk streak, and have BFF to walk with you. the chat must be the best part.
    Love your travel pics. so calming and fresh, and no people. I miss pandemic travel already when beaches were empty. now it’s bad to full force.

    1. Ha! I will admit I prefer open spaces without a lot of people; though the beach is pretty cold in April!!

  8. I have no idea where you have visited but it looks beautiful, I hope it was a good holiday. We have a four day weekend here in the UK and it gets very very busy where I live for those four days. I live in a touristy area and being a small country that means we get a lot visitors to the area and the roads get very very busy (which is far from the norm for us outside of tourist season). We usually hide a home and don’t go very far.

    I love Classical music, I learnt to play violin (from aged 5) and piano (from age 11) and still play them both. My piano teacher used to take all her pupils to London on the train to the Children’s Proms which were music concerts aimed at young people, lots of short pieces which I loved. As a teenager we used to go to many of the Proms which were musical concerts where you could get a really cheap ticket if you were standing rather than sitting. It was a day out as you had to queue for the tickets on the day and the earlier you got there the closer to the front you would be. The Proms are an institution in this country, it is an eight week series of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London, I suspect they have been going for over 100 years.

    1. One of my biggest regrets in life is not keeping up with piano lessons.
      I’ve heard so much about The Proms; how wonderful you’ve been able to attend! What an incredible experience.

  9. My mom went on a streak of getting Wordle in two tries! So now when she gets it in 4 or 5 tries, it’s almost a disappointment, haha. Isn’t it so demoralizing when you get those first 3 letters correct and you THINK you’ve done it…. that magical 2-try Wordle day… only to get blacked out. Ugh! I’m ready for my 2-try Wordle day!

    I had a whole classical music playlist that I would listen to in the office when I needed to focus. I really love it for that. But I don’t know if I would ever go and, like, LISTEN to classical music on its own.

    Since I am behind on your blog (what else is new?!), I already know the special place you went to and I can’t wait to read all about it and drool over the pictures.

    1. I know you’re a big Anne fan, too!!

      A STREAK of getting Wordle in two tries. We have a long way to go. We’re averaging something like 3.9 now which is very disappointing because we had a long streak of 3 tries, but I continue to argue that the words are getting harder? (We did get “flair” in 3 tries today, which made me disproportionately happy.)

  10. Ohhhh….so, so jealous. So jealous. Did you say hi to my namesake for me? 😀

    Your week sounds like a good balance between work, kids, activities, and friends. I’m also glad that spring seems to be nudging its way into your world… we had some snow on Monday and then it’s supposed to be near 80 on Saturday. Whiplash weather!

    Also? Your kids’ school (if that’s the building with the cupola?) is just … the epitome of what a school should be. 🙂

    1. Ha! No Anne’s traipsing around in the off-season, I’m afraid.

      The cupola is actually in a building at the university where I work; we went for a concert and this is the view looking down into the room where the musician was playing. Generally, it’s full of students, but they do a series of Sunday concerts “In the Garden Room” and Abby and I went together. So it IS for a school, but for bigger kids 😉

  11. That looks like a lovely getaway, although I have no idea where it is (but since I am commenting here so late – I know by now!).
    It sounds like you had a great and productive week.

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