I Have Moved!!

Hi everyone – I haved moved this Blog back to Blogger. Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t do all the cool stuff Blogger does :(.

Here’s the link http://cottageheaven50.blogspot.ca/

See ya there

Jane

 

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Summary of Month 2 of My Happiness Project – Marriage

happy marriage

Well, the 2nd month of my Happiness Project – working on my marriage – kind of worked and kind of didn’t.

I did manage to nag less, but when I got frustrated or angry, I was still yelling.  I had resolved not to do that and I hadn’t quite managed to achieve that – yet.

When thinking about happiness in marriage, I have an almost irrisistible impulse to focus on my spouse, to think about how he should change in order to boost my happiness. But the fact is, you can’t change anyone but yourself. This past month has put the focus on what I need to do in order to have a happy marriage and, overall, I think I have changed enough to achieve that. Or at least now I am aware of it every day.

When you give up expecting a spouse to change (within reason), you lessen anger and resentment, and that creates a more loving atmosphere in a marriage.

I am happier in my marriage? Since I’ve stopped focusing on the small things that used annoy me about Mr. Lifeology, and letting them go – yes, I am, overall, happier.

Next – Work

– Spend more tme on my Blog

– Focus more on growing my own business and my Etsy Shop

– Ask for Help

– Enjoy Now

I really don’t want to work for anyone but myself anymore, and so this month I’m going to concentrate on growing my own business. I have learned so much in the last two years about fabric paint and heat setting it so that it doesn’t fade when washed – and I have some great new ideas.

I can’t wait to get started!

Cheers!

Jane

Sunrise on the way to work

A New Year!

Happy-New-Year-06

Happy New Year eveyone!

Did you see the New Year in? We managed to stay awake until 10:30 :). I didn’t even wake up at midnight when the fireworks, honking of horns and pot-banging took place! It’s been a long year.

I gave up making New Year’s resolutions a long time ago, because I never really stuck to them. But this year I have a few things that I’m determined to improve on and do more of:

1.  Save more money

2.  Entertain more often

3.  Have fun.

Those sound like something that I can achieve. They also sound like fun … well the 2nd two, anyway 🙂 and I guess having more money leads to fun also.

Mr. Lifeology and I want to make this year a year of trying new things and finding new hobbies. It seems we got into a rut of spending our leisure time, in the colder months anyway, wandering around malls. Honestly! What made us think that roaming around a mall is entertainment? There are so many wonderful things to do and places to see in Vancouver – and we intend to find them.

Cheers for now!

Jane

Sunset in mirror

 

A Whirlwind Christmas

 

Jasper 2014Hello everyone! I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year.

We went to Edmonton where our children are and what a whirlwind trip it was – in the middle of winter no less! We couldn’t get any time off from our respective jobs, but I got off work at 2pm on Christmas Eve and we attempted leave as close to that as we could. It soon became obvious that we had forgotten how to travel because we had to go back a few times to get stuff – like winter boots and winter jackets! It’s much warmer in Vancouver than it is in Edmonton, so we’re not really used to packing gloves, hats, winter boots and things, but that’s no excuse! We were just plain disorganized!

Things finally got underway at about 4pm and we spent some hours commenting on the lack of snow over the Rockies.

No snow 2014 No snow2 2014

Usually by this time, everything is completely white!

At around midnight, we stopped in Hinton, Alberta and slept for 5 hours or so, and then continued on our way. We got to Edmonton at around noon on Christmas Day. After a brief period of freshening our tired bodies up, we sat down to the business of gift-opening

My daugher had bought us all stockings as well as Christmas gifts which was fun.

Presents

It’s always wonderful to see the pleasure on people’s faces

Opening presents

Alex & Na-mee

Mat

Tori's present

After we opened all our gifts, the preparation and cooking of Christmas dinner got underway. It seems that the men cooked the Turkey

Mat & Alex2 making breakfast Mat & Alex making breakfast

And the girls took care of the vegetables

Na-mee & Clare

ClareI think quite a bit of wine had been consumed by then 🙂

In the end, a beautiful Christmas dinner adorned the table

Xmas turkey Xmas dinner2

After stuffing ourselves silly and drinking some more wine – we had some family love

Alex & Jane

Alex, Clare & Mat

Finally, the lack of sleep and the long drive got the better of us and we went to bed. The fun continued downstairs with my camera

Na-Mee, Clare & Lisa2

All in all, it was a wonderful evening with good food, good company and lots of laughter.

Candles

On Boxing Day, and our last day in Edmonton, our kids took us to the famous West Edmonton Mall. Of course, it was chaos, being Boxing Day, and there were wall to wall people, so it wasn’t long before we left for less crowded places. We split up – the kids going to other stores and Mr. Lifeology and I going for a drive. Mr. Lifeology lived in Edmonton in another life and so he showed me all the places he frequented.

All too soon, it was over and Saturday saw us packing up and leaving Edmonton. We stopped in Hinton for coffee and supplies and settled in for the long drive home.

Hinton 2014

We spoke too soon about the lack of snow and it wasn’t long before we were driving in this

Snow Storm 2014

Snow2 - 2014

Snow - 2014

Driving through Jasper National Park was magical. We came across and frozen lake

Frozen Lake2 - jasper 2014

A beautiful emerald green river of glacier water

River2 - Jasper 2014

And some Elk

Elk - Jasper2 2014 Elk - Jasper 2014We took a little detour through Jasper Village. Very Alpine-like. Unfortunately, the only photo that turned out well was the one of the Steam Engine!

Steam Engine - Jasper village 2014

We got home that evening around 8-ish after a wonderful Christmas.

Angels

Talk to you soon!

Cheers!

Jane

Summary of Month 1 of Happiness Project and Beginning of Month 2 – Marriage

believe dream

Hi everyone!

Well, I’m off to a promising start, but do I feel happier? It think it’s too soon to tell if I’m happier overall, but I’m enjoying walking on the treadmill. So much so that I’m going to speak to our personal trainer about adding strength training next month. I do feel more alert and calm and when a shipment goes wrong at work, I don’t feel as panicked, initially as I used to – I am able to handle the problem more rationally.

I did notice a decline in my order-maintaining zeal by the end of the month, but I got myself back on track again which is something I wouldn’t have done previously.

December 1st, I started the next thing I wanted to work on – Remember Love – Marriage. My resolutions for the month:

  • Stop nagging
  • No Yelling
  • Fight Right
  • No dumping
  • Give proofs of love

One alarming fact jumps out from the research about happiness and marriage: when a marriage experiencing money troubles, love goes out the window. Fortunately, that didn’t happen for Mr. Lifeology and me, but our relationship has certainly been tested by it. About year after we met in 2007, I lost my job along with thousands of other people in the 2008/2009 recession. About 3 months later, Mr. Lifeology lost his job. It would be 6 months before I found another job and in between that time there were days when we didn’t know whether we would be able to put food on the table. A couple of times, a good friend left a $100 gift card to a supermarket on our dining room table. Those gift cards saved our lives and we will never forget his kindness. During 2009, we lost almost everything – my car, Mr. Lifelology’s motor bike – and we sold tools and other things of value in order to pay the rent and basic bills. Our lovely landlord was very patient and understanding when our rent was late more than a few times.

After 8 or 9 months, we both got new jobs, at considerably lower wages. But we were grateful for it.  My brother sent me money to buy another car so I could get to work. The bus system didn’t operate in that area all that well. It took us another 4 years before we had paid off all our debt and were back on our feet.

By that time we had been together for 6 years and I was certain that our relationship was solid for it to have survived that financial stress. But sure enough, the incidences of low-level bickering had increased significantly during those lean years. I’d started doing too much complaining, nagging and foot-dragging. It was time to do something about that.

Our relationship isn’t in trouble. We show our affection openly and often. We handle conflict pretty well. We don’t practice stonewalling. We sometimes indulge in defensiveness and criticism, but never contempt.

But I have fallen into some bad habits that I want to change.  A good marriage is one of the factors most associated with happiness. But marriage itself also brings happiness, because it provides the support and companionship that everyone needs.

Yet, although my relationship with Mr. Lifeology is the most important factor in my life, it’s also the one in which I am most likely to behave badly. Very often I focus on small gripes and a do quite a bit of blaming. If I am feeling overwhelmed by a messy house, if the garbage hasn’t been taken out or even if I’ve had a bad day at work, I blame Mr. Lifeology. I feel resentful if I feel that I’m doing all the housework while he relaxes on the couch watching TV. Yet I forget that he’s just spent a week working 14 to 16 hour days. When I get upset, I raise my voice – a very bad habit and one that I needed to break this month.

So on the days Mr. Lifeology has been home – about 5 days in the past 11,  I have gone about the house work without nagging him to help, without loudly complaining and I discovered that Mr. Lifeology cooked all the suppers and cleaned up behind himself and generally did his share of the household chores. Our life became much more peaceful and we were generally much happier.

Then, last night we were discussing our trip to Edmonton for Christmas. Trying to make it all work – the Christmas presents, getting the animals looked after and the thought of driving all that way in winter conditions – has had me a little, er, stressed, to the say the least. I found myself raising my voice and the discussion was fast turning into an argument. In the middle of it all, I realised what I was doing and immediately lowered my tone. The argument almost immediately turned back into a discussion and I’m glad I didn’t resort to yelling and complaining. It turns out that my imagination was getting the better of me and things are easier than I thought.

More next week.

Cheers!

Jane

Steveston Dyke4

 

 

Little “Luxuries” Give So Much Pleasure

Steveston Dyke7

Hi Everyone,

On Sunday I attended a Champagne brunch with my Red Hat Society ladies. I’ll tell ya, I almost didn’t go because I was so comfortable in my sweat pants and slippers on the couch. But I have resolved to say yes to every invitation and so, I put on my dress and make up and did my hair and off I went. And boy am I glad I did. It was such fun with lots of scrumptious food, champagne and laughter.

I was still feeling the happiness of it all in the pit of my stomach yesterday morning as I drove to work. It was great to feel so good on a Monday morning. It got me thinking that there are so many little luxuries that we take for granted, we forget to simply stop and look around and notice them. So, I made a list of small luxuries that are part of my days which kept me feeling good for the rest of the day. Here it is:

My comfortable warm bed

Coffee

Warm slippers

Fluffy towels

A reliable and comfortable car to take me to work

Home made soup for lunch

A cosy home

A glass of wine at the end of the day

Chocolate

A cup of tea

What’s your list of everyday luxuries?

 

Jane

Tea Pot2

 

Happiness Project Update – Energy

DSCN0247

I read somewhere that good things happen and abundance flows into our lives if we are positive and optimistic. Since I started this happiness project, I won a week of free lunches at work! The owner of the company I work for also owns a restaurant which is situated in our building. When we buy lunch we can put our receipts in a draw for a weeks’ worth of lunches – and I won!

Then, a couple of nights later, Mr. Lifeology and I went to Nando’s for supper. We love Nando’s and go there often. They have just renovated and we love the new decor and atmosphere even more. The manager brought Mr. Lifeology a free Americano coffee as he was trying out their new espresso machine. It came in the most beautiful pottery cup, together with a little sugar bowl and milk jug for one. We commented on how lovely it was and he gave us a cup, saucer, sugar bowl, milk jug and espresso cup and saucer! That has NEVER happened to us before and we’ve eaten at a lot of restaurants. Of course, it’s also good management because it ensures we’ll be back again and again.

Tea set2

After a slow start, I eventually managed to start on the treadmill on Thursday the 13th. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it since exercise has been a bore for me in the past. It helps that they play the coolest music in the gym – but it enabled me to totally zone out for 30 mintues and think about not very much, which was very relaxing. Before long I was taking my Kindle and reading while I walk. I have a lot more energy in the afternoons and no longer want to take a nap at 3 o’ clock every afternoon. I find I’m thinking more clearly also, which is a good thing since the afternoons are when problems arise in the freight industry – and I also do my invoicing in the afternoons. I weighed myself this morning after a huge breakfast. I’ve lost 3 lbs!

I’ve been keeping up with starting the bedtime routing at 9:30 most nights. I find that on the nights that I don’t do this – the next morning is extremely rushed and chaotic. And then I come home to a mess from the night and the morning which takes me double the amount of time to clean up. Because I’m cleaning every day, I don’t have to do so much on the weekends and have more free time for … weekend enjoyment. The cleaning routine has become a habit and I found myself doing dishes at the kitchen sink on Friday with no prior thought. I thought that was pretty cool. Aaah life in the fast lane! 🙂

Next week is the final week of More Energy month. I’ll evaluation my happiness level next weekend.

Hope you all have a great week.

Cheers!

Jane

Tea Set

Month One of My Happiness Project

believe dream

Hello all,

So, this month I decided to start with Energy, since I’m probably going to need it for all the other months 🙂

These are my resolutions for November:

Energy

Get organized

Go to bed earlier

Exercise on the treadmill at least 4 times a week.

So, on Sunday I set everything up to be more organized this week. I cleaned the house, did all the laundry, cooked dog food for at least 3 days, set up a slow cooker meal for Monday, packed my breakfast/lunch, packed my gym clothes.

Yesterday morning I went back to what I call “magic minimums.” I started doing these some years ago in an effort to make my life easier. A few small things I did every day to keep the house clean and so avoid spending my weekends doing it. I shower in the morning and while I’m in the shower, I wipe down the bathroom tiles. Then, when I brush my teeth, I clean the basin and do quick swoosh of the toilet. Once in the bedroom to get dressed I do a quick tidy and make my bed. Before I left for work yesterday, I turned on the slow cooker and off to work I went. Feeling pretty smug so far.

Then, I discovered, around coffee time (10am) that I had forgotten my running shoes! So, no treadmill for me today and it was raining cats and dogs, so no chance of walking around my neighbourhood. Oh well – tomorrow.

I have read that the more grateful and positive and “happy” we are, the more the Universe is able to send us. Well, yesterday, I won a week of free lunches at work! We have a restaurant here at work and if you buy a meal (or two or three) and put your receipt with your name on it into a box, you can win free lunch. I thought it was only one free lunch, but I discovered yesterday that it’s an entire week! How cool is that?

This morning I remembered my running shoes but while researching the fitness centre at work around 4:10 pm this afternoon, I discovered that I couldn’t work out untill I had filled out all sorts of forms to say that I wouldn’t hold the company liable if I drop dead from a heart attack or some such exercise-related thing. The gym instructor goes home at 4pm, So I managed to get out of exercising for yet another day. Aaaah, that’s too bad :). And tomorrow evening I’m going to the hairdresser, so I guess I’ll have to exercise on Thursday.

I’m still keeping up with magic minimums – it’s so easy and my house is clean and tidy all the time. I haven’t been sleeping well as my brain is wanting to work out how to modify the wedding dress.I have a Red Hat Society function on December 15th where the theme is Victorian. I found a wedding dress at a thrift store that will be perfect once I’ve altered it a little and dyed it purple. I took a look at it tonight to shut my brain up, It’s a little too small, so I’ve decided to use the skirt and discard the top. I felt terrible cutting such a beautiful dress up, but once I’d done it, I could see myself in the skirt and I’m getting quite excited about the whole thing. On the weekend I’ll sew it up and then see if I can find some dye and a huge galavanized bucket to dye it in..

So far, so good with the happiness level. I am certainly much calmer when the house is clean and tidy and it really doesn’t take too much work if there’s a system in place. I love coming home to a clean house – this makes me very happy.

I’ve been starting the preparation for bed process at 9:30pm. Setting my coffee maker for the morning. Finding George, the cat, and then settling into bed and reading for 20 minutes. This process ensures that I actually go to sleep at 10pm instead of 10:30 or later and I’m getting 8 hours sleep which is helping a lot. I wake up feeling, well, happier. Getting a good night’s sleep makes me work better and I had a really productive day a work today where I could think clearly and everything fell into place for a change. I didn’t have to work in the usual ‘fog’ that I’ve been having to deal with in the past and wasn’t as tired at the end of the day.

And now, I think I’ll have a cup of tea!

Cheers for now

Jane

2nd Red Hat outing2

Getting out of a Funk – My Happiness Project

rhythm of life

Hello All

Well, I know it’s been some time since my last blog post. The truth is, I’ve been in a bit of a funk these past few months. After 18 months of change – from quitting smoking to moving house to going back to school and getting a new job – at the end of it all, I have ended up feeling not quite an elated as I thought I would feel. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but disappointed is the word that comes to mind. There have been some disappointments that came with the good and wonderful changes.

When I quit smoking, I thought that I would feel much better. I thought that I would have way more energy and I would be able to do all sorts of things because my lungs were smoke-free and I could, at last, fully breathe the oxygen this Earth provides for us. And at first I did have a whole lot of energy. But then I put on 15 lbs, which isn’t in itself a bad thing because I was a little on the skinny side. The problem I have with it, is all the weight is on my stomach giving me a pregnant look. I’m 52 years old, so I can’t pull it off!.

After I graduated school, I was offered what I thought was an amazing job. The pay was more than I had ever earned in my entire life and this was going to set me up for retirement. Finally, I thought smugly to myself, I have arrived. I am here. Life doesn’t get any better than this. I can afford … anything. But, after a week or two, I didn’t feel like I loved my job. I have loved my job before and this wasn’t the feeling. Someone wasn’t right, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. But – the pay was great and I could learn to love my job – right? Wrong. After 2 months I decided that I was kidding myself that I am going to be happy here – the people were rude and condescending and made me feel like crap. There is no amount of money in the world that’s going to make me work for a company that treats it’s people that way. So I left. I guess the smart thing would have been to find another job before leaving the old one. I’d used up all my unemployment insurance and so now I had no job, no money coming in. No problem, I thought. I’ll just get another job. And get another job I did – I actually managed to get an interview with a freight forwarding company that I had wanted to work for for some time – they pay well and treat their staff well. I got the job. A little less money than the last “dream job,” but more than what I was earning before, so I felt better, but still the disappointed feeling remained.

Then one evening I was thinking about calling a friend and going on a girly night out, when it suddenly hit me that all my friends – the ones I could go on girly nights out with anyway – had moved away from Vancouver and settled in other parts of the country. Which is funny because they made the move over a period of 4 or 5 years, but I only really noticed last month, how completely alone I was. And none of my children live in Vancouver anymore either, my youngest only recently moving to greener pastures in Alberta.

The feeling of mild disappointment turned into sadness.

Then … my cousin passed away suddenly. One day he was there large as life, making me laugh with his funny comments on face book, and the next day he was gone. Just like that. In my grief, I spent many nights wondering about the purpose of life and the cruelty of life. Brian left behind a partner who adored him. They were soul mates and he was devastated. Is devastated. I felt wretched for him. And for me. It made me realize that life is too short to feel mildly disappointed all the time. The time had come for me to take action.

Life is meant to be lived with joy and love and laughter. I read somewhere that our purpose here is to have a rockin’ good time. To enjoy every moment, to be happy and to love everyone and everything. Love is the key. I’ll admit I wasn’t feeling any of those things. I was feeling very disillusioned with life and wallowing in self pity.

So I bought a copy of Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project and started my own Happiness Project – for one year. One thing a month for a year

Here’s my list –

I have learned that the most important element to happiness is social bonds, so I resolve to tackle “My Relationship with Mr. Lifeology” and “Friends.” I’ve also learned that my happiness depends a great deal on my perspective, so I add “Eternity” and “Attitude” to my list. Work is crucial to my happiness, and also leisure, so I include the topics “Work,” and “Play” and “Passion.” “Energy” seems like a basic ingredient for my project. “Money” is certainly a subject I want to address. And “Mindfulness.”  The 12th month will be a month in which I will try to follow all my resolutions perfectly. So I have my 12 categories.

I started October with the “Friends” resolution.. I joined the Red Hat Society. I’ll tell you why I picked the Red Hat Society. I find it hard to make friends because I have a ‘different’ kind of personality and a sense of humour not understood by many people. I don’t fit into most people’s neat little boxes. Anybody who is crazy enough to wear a red hat and a purple outfit and lots of eccentric, ugly jewelry nobody else would be seen dead in – in public, has got to fit in with my personality. And I was right. I fit right in – I have friends.

My first outing with them in my new red hat and purple dress.

REd Hat

It turns out that this outfit was very conservative, and so my next outing, a Halloween parade, I tried a bit harder to look a bit more eccentric

2nd Red Hat outing2

 Getting better, right? I still have some work to do.

November, I will work on Energy. I figure that having more energy will be the starting point to help me tackle the other topics. I decided this yesterday morning and so I had one more day of indulgence before I began the serious business of eating better, exercising more, acting more energetic. I had a siimple day of doing things just for me. Complete pleasure. I think everyone needs a day of complete pleasure – often. And it was the springboard for making me feel good again – you know, that butterfly, feel-good feeling in the pit of your stomach when you see something you love, or do something you love. It was a perfect Fall day today. Clear blue skies, crisp col air, bright sunshine streaming through every window of my house at various times of the day. I stopped to take a look at it often and every now and then, I went outside and breathed it in – and it made me feel good. I puttered all day long doing things to the house that would make me feel comfortable and loved – a blanket on the couch, fresh linen on the bed. I cleaned and laundred, indulged in tea and chocolate – I didn’t even think about the calories much – watched a chick flick with a bowl of buttered popcorn, indulged in a supper of seafood pasta and a glass of wine and talked on the phone with my daughter.

I’m feeling … better.

Next post – Energy.

Cheers for now.

 

Jane

Decluttering (again?!) and Re-painting Tatty Furniture

Hello again,

Well, I guess I’ve had way too much time on my hands – and just as well. I don’t know about you, but I get so busy with the busy-ness (is that a word?) of day to day life, that I don’t really notice how tatty and worn things are becoming and how the clutter and junk piles up so quickly. I thought I had just decluttered our spare room, but when I started side-stepping over stuff, I realized just how much stuff we accumulate over the months. I really have to be more careful about bringing more stuff into the house before getting rid of the old stuff.

junk room

Lovely isn’t it? Not! I took 5 garbage bags out of here and one of the end tables. Now at least I can walk across the floor without falling over something!

So while I was in the mood, I took stock of the other rooms in my house that had been neglected over the months – especially the dining area. This corner in particular.

RackHonestly! What was I thinking putting that basket thingy there? It looks so ugly in that corner. So I shopped around my house and found these for this corner and put the basket thingy by the opposite window out of the way but still functional.

Kitchen corner

 

Of course to do that, I had to move this table which was doing nothing but gathering dust and getting in the way. You may recall that this was my old coffee table in the living room

george coffee table

Not even George liked it all that much!

So, having no use for this table anymore, but not wanting to simply throw it out, I decided to turn it into a chalk board.

New Chalk Board

I could fit quite a long ‘honey do’ list on this 🙂

For some time, Mr. Lifeology and I have been saying that we are not so keen on the green and white dining room furniture any more. We painted these chairs about 6 years ago now and are in need of a change. Also, the chairs are looking very tatty and sad

Old green chair Old green chair2 Old white chair Old white chair2

I have some leftover paint from other projects, so I painted three of the chairs this soft gray

New white chair New white chair2

And three of them this aqua colour

new blue chair

I tried to paint a bus blind onto the panels of my kitchen cart, but it looked horrible, so I painted it over with the soft gray and added chalk board paint to the drawers. Over the next few weeks, I’ll find a lovely picture to paint on these panels.

DSCN0222

Next – new cushion covers for the dining chairs and curtains for the living room.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Talk to you soon.

Jane

rhythm of life