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Remembering Dad, and Living Life

Two weeks ago I started a post which was to be dedicated to the fifth anniversary since my dad suddenly passed away. Needless to say, that post didn’t get very far. It was an emotional day for me, but I made the best of it.

My sisters and I had talked about getting together but hadn’t really figured anything out. I decided to throw together a quick meal and took it to my younger sister’s house, where we all got together. It was a simple meal, a beer to toast him and we parted ways. Sometimes the quick meals and get-togethers are the most memorable.

The following couple of days were spent vehicle shopping, and I settled on a 2016 Jeep Patriot. Let’s just say I have Dad to thank. I just wish he was here to see it. I’m sure he would have liked my choice. (Photo below.)

Last week was a work week; and I never seem to get much else accomplished when it’s a work week. I did take Wednesday and went to visit my best friend; something I need to do more of. We used to call each other regularly, and visit frequently when our kids were little. As the kids grew, life got in the way and our time together was all but nonexistent.

Losing both of my parents in less than three and a half years of one another made me realize just how quickly life can change. My best friend lost her mom and step-dad in an accident in April of this year, and so many lives were affected. What I’m saying is we never know what tomorrow will bring, so we need to take advantage of today.

We all have such busy lives, although technology was supposed to make it easier. I think we need to all take a step back sometimes and put the phones and computers away, and just go visit family and friends. No one is going to regret not working, but they will (and so often do) regret not spending time with each other. I know I have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to spending time with friends.

Something else I did today was surprise my daughter at work. Seeing her eyes light up when I walked into the office was so worth it. And it probably didn’t hurt to have an Iced Cappuccino in hand for her either. 🙂

It’s those moments that really count, and make life worth living. I can burn the midnight oil and get my work done (current WIP is a reference guide for romance authors) after the house is quiet. Enjoying my time with my kids is worth losing sleep over.

Photo by Diane Ziomek. My new SUV.

Do you take time to visit family and friends?

Mastering Time Management

Stock image courtesy of Canva.

The week has flown by, and the weekend is already half over. The scariest part, is July is almost over. Where has our summer gone?

My work weeks never seem to be productive at home, because after spending all day on my feet I just don’t feel like doing much. I probably shouldn’t let it bother me, but it does.

I hate to admit it, but something I struggle with is time management. When I’m working my shift at the library, I seem to get a lot done in a day. But when I’m home it’s a whole different story.

I have been using a bullet journal for about a year and a half (give or take). I have tried several different layouts and have decided simple is best. Sure, the bujos on Instagram are nice to look at, but they must take a lot of time to make pretty. When I started out, I followed the pretty layouts but soon found myself spending more time journaling and planning than doing what I was supposed to be.

I borrowed a copy of Ryder Carroll’s The Bullet Journal from my local library (yes, the one I work at) and his method is super simple. Granted it doesn’t look as fancy and colourful as others I have seen, but there’s something to be said about the simplicity.

I have added a habit tracker this month to mine, because I found myself rewriting some of the same things day after day. I stepped away from the habit tracker for several months, but found it’s something I benefit from. This way I can keep track of how often I do my morning pages, water my plants, vacuum, do laundry and so forth. Plus, I also have the bottom half of it as a health tracker. I like to keep track of how often I walk in a month, how many nights I get to bed before midnight, do my yoga/pilates and even lady days.

Not all planning and time management systems work for everyone, which is why I like the flexibility of my BuJo. I like the concept of the future log, as pictured below. I can plan the major events a year in advance if I like, then add to it each month as occasions and appointments pop up. It’s looking pretty empty right now, but it will fill up as time goes on.

In previous months, I have actually drawn out a calendar but am finding Ryder’s method much easier. The days of the month are listed, one per line, and events, holidays and appointments are added as the month goes on. It not only takes up less space, but I can see at a glance what I can schedule for when.

When it comes to the daily pages, I had been dedicating one page per day, but found some days the pages were almost empty. Now I’m filling the pages with one, two or even three days worth of tasks/notes. I haven’t been doing a task list for each week anymore, but the daily pages take care of what needs to be done each day. I’ve gotten into the habit of filling it out right before bed, or first thing in the morning. That way, I don’t miss anything.

The photo below shows a couple of entries for days earlier this month. The tenth has a list starting on the previous page, but notice what was scheduled, what was done and the notes added to the days.

I know I still have a long way to go to manage my time perfectly (or even relatively close), but having it in writing has been positive for me. I find the more things I have going on, the more I need to schedule them in. One thing I haven’t scheduled in is novel-writing time, and have thus not touched it.

My manager and I were checking out Lynda.com yesterday; an online resource for courses available to library patrons. One of the first I will be taking is on time management. Since I work from home more than the library, I really need to learn some tricks to keep my household obligations separate from my work time (side hustle). I may be doing a follow up post after I take the course, providing I find it helpful.

Do you have trouble budgeting your time? If not, what system (if any) do you use to stay on track?

Photos (Copyright Diane Ziomek 2019) were taken specifically for this post, and are intended for single use only.

The Bounty of Nature

I’m not sure about you, but I love picking wild berries. Saskatoons are my favourite, and right now is prime picking time.

We have several bushes of wild berries on our property, which aren’t the easiest to get to. I’m seriously considering relocating some of them into what I hope will become a small orchard. A couple days ago, I went down the road to a good spot that is easily accessible from the road. I was not disappointed, because I had picked almost a bucketful in less than an hour.

My Blue Heeler was quite excited to go with me, and he explored while I picked. I took him along for protection as well as company. I know he would do his best to ward off a black bear if it decided to go berry picking at the same time.

I’m very fortunate to live in an area where wild berries are bountiful. Once the saskatoons are done, the chokecherries will be ready for picking too. I’m going to try to get enough this year for chokecherry jelly. If I’m able to get more saskatoons this week, I will make a small batch of jam.

Our forecast doesn’t look promising for berry picking on the days I don’t work, which is a little disappointing. Today was a beautiful day, but by the time I was finished with yard work, I was too hot to go pick berries. Our weather has been a little unusual this summer; July is over half over and we have had rain almost every day.

I love living where we do, because nature provides us with berries, nuts and even mushrooms. I’m very careful with the latter, because aside from morels I honestly don’t know which are safe and which aren’t.

I found a small stand of hazelnut trees, but I think the squirrels will probably beat me to them like last year. I guess they have more rights to them than I do, because they have less resources than people.

I think for me, the best part of picking wild berries is going out and getting fresh air, plus knowing the berries I pick haven’t been sprayed with anything. Sure, I can go to the grocery store and buy frozen ones, but fresh are so much better.

Not only are they healthy, but I get a little exercise while I’m picking them too. And that is worth something to me.

Do you enjoy picking berries? If so, what’s your favourite?

Photo taken by me after cream and sugar were added to the bowl full of fresh berries. Yes, I know; probably not the healthiest, but oh so good!

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