Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ready to Run!

Last Thursday, I posted my weekly workout schedule. Again, it was an ideal situation, so I don't always hit the gym 5 times a week. But in order to make the best effort to get there as often as possible, I have to make sure the gym fits into my schedule.

For me, I like to go on my lunch break whenever possible. With an hour for lunch, it means some sacrifices -- eating at my desk while working, being rose-y cheeked, not being able to do a full work out.

I like to keep my work out plans to 30-35 minutes. This allows me 10 minutes to get organized before I hit the gym and 15-20 minutes to shower, change and get back into working mode at the end.

I'm also trying to train for a 5K run, along with working with a athletic therapist to get my knees and hips to work, well, the way they're supposed to. Finding good workouts on Pinterest that match my criteria? Difficult.

So I developed my own. I tried this work out last Tuesday when the fates aligned and I got my favourite treadmill -- in view of the sun, out of its fiery heat, with a TV where both the screen and audio work. I threw on The Chew (because subjecting myself to food TV while skipping my lunch is always a good idea!), and ran it. I don't think I'll be doing this too often, as 5K is tough to fit into a lunch break and not be as purple as a beet when you get back to the office. It was a great challenge that I didn't quite achieve... but can definitely work may way up to achieving!

background image source

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Deadline complete


I did it.

Or rather, I'm going to do it, as soon as I finish my orange juice and change out of my jammies.

... And of course, now Scott wants to shower.

It's not easy organizing around this place!

Reorganizing under the bathroom sink should have been done long long long ago. When we started redecorating the place last summer, we moved a small desk into our bedroom for a vanity (Err... yes, I do know I already have an actual, vintage vanity being stored at my parents). It meant a lot of the "mess" under the sink could go into the drawers of the desk.

But it never happened. And then I cut my hair and had to swap out my big (expensive) straightener for my smaller (cheaper) straightener; my volumizing mouse for my pomade, my large round brush for my fine tooth comb. And didn't clean up after myself.

I had lots of excuses, but set myself a deadline.

And in natural Cara fashion, that deadline closed this weekend, when a DIY Easter present for my niece required using a lot of toilet paper to clean a mascara tube. Finally, I could avoid it no longer.


Step one was to go through and get rid of all the expired medicine (yes, I know how bad it is to keep medicine in the bathroom, but until we have space...)

Step two was so sort out what was going to the bedroom.

Step three was to empty everything out of the containers, and, in some cases, restock them with the same materials -- minus the dirt and garbage that sometimes collects. In other cases, find better containers. In a couple cases, it meant corralling partially used bottles and extra full bottles into one container (and discovered that bottle of gel I knew I still had but couldn't find and thus replaced)

Step four was planning how to lay out the remaining items -- and since I think bathrooms are gross and germy (except the ones my mom cleans... because even when they haven't just been cleaned, they still look clean enough to eat in... not that I do), I lay out the space we have using tape on the floor of the living room.

Step five is to transport everything into the actual cupboard and take pictures!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Public and Private Lives

The first place I posted a link to this blog was on my Facebook. A year later, I'd be horrified to do the same. A year after that, I would be mocked for having it. A year after that, I'd try to use it as leverage into a job I thought I wanted. A year after that, the moments when my blog life and my "in real life" life intersect cause me to cringe.

This balance between blog and life is, apparently, complicated and tricky.

Over the last few weeks, there have been a few comments about the blog from people that I know in real life. It's given me the heebies, and in some cases the geebies. But there's the odd time it doesn't.

My aunt and a few cousins? No big deal.

A number of friends I met, and sadly left behind in Regina? No problem. And yes, my dear friends, The Comic Book Couple comment away!

The people I see every day at work... uh... well... hmm.

The blog is an inside view into my life... perfect for those people I don't see on a regular basis, and tend to "keep tabs on" through Twitter and Facebook. It's fairly reciprocal -- new media begets new media. It's fine for those people that are far enough away that should you choose to judge me, I can simply pretend you don't exist.

But sharing my online reflects of my day to day life with people that share my day to day life? That's where it weirds me out.

I won't tell them to stop reading... I'll just continue to cringe when a passing reference is made at coffee. It would be entirely hypocritical to interact with them on Twitter, friend them on Facebook, but ban them on Blogger. It's just something I'm sure, in time, I'll deal with.

And just when I think I've figured out this weird idiosyncratic view of my online life intersecting with my real life... if Scott dare miss a post of mine, his name is mud!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Faking it

Some of you may remember a few weeks ago when I cut my hair, I mentioned some apprehension about what a certain person ("K") would say when she first saw it, certain she'd call me a boy (which she did not). Getting a new haircut (one that is significantly more drastic than a couple of natural highlights, or a 1/4 of an inch off the bottom) often becomes linked with a crisis of self-image.

I've decided to embrace it.

I tweeted a pic of me sporting a faux-hawk the other weekend, but didn't actually make it out of the house. I was going to be hanging out with people that I didn't know to well. While I could take it as an opportunity to experiment outside people that I wouldn't be likely to see for quite some time, I decided instead to not make myself stand out any more than usual. 



Just under a week later, we had plans with friends for drinks at a gastropub (which I'm going to say nice to have in Winnipeg, but I do miss the brew pubs of Regina). I decided now was the time to rock the faux-hawk.

That being said, I knew "K" would not like it. And I knew "K" doesn't quite have that filter installed as tightly as others, especially when it comes to me, having known each other for half a decade now. Sure enough, the look on her face said more than the words that failed to come out of her mouth. For someone who sees me every day, in professional garb, trying my best to appear wise and mature beyond my years, to see me stylin' a drastic hairstyle? I don't blame her.

In fact, I kind of thank her.

Is this me??
I had two choices. I could say: "Ya, I know, it's weird, but I had to try it once." I could blame it on the fact we were already running late and didn't have a chance to change it. I could excuse myself and head to the washroom and stick my head under a tap (all of which almost happened with another hairstyle, but I think the faux hawk was a safer choice over something that may have looked a little more "Jon & Kate Plus Eight" than "great"). Instead, I owned it.

"You don't like it? That's all right, I do!"

Getting in touch with my wild side
It's not my every day style. I did feel more like Megan than me. But sometimes, it's fun to be someone else!

And don't worry, "K," when you peek through our peep hole at work, there won't be a faux hawk sticking out on Monday!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Work out!

Assuming I've timed this post correctly, this post will provide the guilt I need to hit the gym for the fourth time. I always aim for four, am happy with three and consider two an abysmal failure. The occasional week where I hit five? Happens too infrequently to create a benchmark for that success.

Since we are gearing up for running season and or beach season (neither of which feels that close after our recent snow fall), I thought I'd do a feature on what my fitness week looks like. It's more an ideal week than what necessarily happens. I go to a university gym, so depending on the day, sports season and the weather, I have to be flexible and basically use the machines available. And on days like Wednesday when my iPhone slips out of my hand, hits the treadmill and gets flung into the wall, well, those days I just throw in the towel (she's all better now... phew!)

Monday: This Ain't a Scene It's an Arms Race



10 minute warm up on elliptical actually using your arms
Upper body strength training

Tuesday: Run For Your Life



30 minutes interval training or a long-ish steady pace run.

Wednesday: Stuck in the Middle With You



1 mile run
Core strength training

Thursday: Relax (Don't do it)



Take a day off

Friday:Shake Ya Tail Feather




1 mile run
Lower body strength training (including your tail feather)

Saturday: Move Your Body



5k run
Full body work out.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Man Up to Move Up

I'm within a few weeks of my one year performance review. I'm looking forward to it. I enjoy meetings with my supervisor and if we're still charting the same course that we set out in the 6 month "going off probation" meeting, I'm confident that the conversation will go beyond simply how I've done in the last 6 months to starting to chart out more of a career trajectory. As much as I love my position now, I do want to move up and I do want to do it as fast as I can.

At the same time, Scott and I are having very similar "yearly performance reviews" for how things are trucking along at home. Getting this job a year ago finally allowed us enough solid ground to start building a good foundation for what we want out of life. My attitude is much the same for my personal life as my work life: I want to be moving as fast as I can.

While some of those aspirations fall hand in hand -- better paying jobs mean better personal financial situations, ideal for buying a home, traveling, what have you, some fall in stark opposition. Moving up the corporate ladder while simultaneously starting a family (which isn't in our immediate plans, for what it's worth)? Those plans feel mutually exclusive.

Maclean's controversial cover seems to be sparking a lot of angst. I won't say I agree with its message, but I certainly understand where it is coming from. Yes, the upper echelons of corporations are filled with men, but men have never (or rarely) been forced to contend with the idea that having children may compromise their careers, or that careers may compromise the raising of their children. I don't for a minute believe that the glass ceiling is held completely in place by the societal belief men are better then women. I won't even argue it's held in place by the idea that men THINK better than women. There are so many factors that go into that glass ceiling that dismantling it is going to be a slow process, one which I do believe great strides have been made. However, I do believe that some onus should be rightfully put on women: we have the right to decide to sacrifice career for children or children for career.

The cover story itself offers little in the way of meaningful suggestions, beyond the colloquial "Man up." It pokes holes in Sheryl Sandberg's hypothesis of how to have it all, essentially equating her version of "Man up" to be: "Have lots of money, and sacrifice your children" (I may be a bit reductive, but bear with me). Other suggestions were along the lines of: "have your husband sacrifice his career," which at least revealed to me the crux of the issue.

Maybe dichotomy at the heart of the glass ceiling isn't "male vs. female" but "career vs. children." Simply shifting child rearing responsibilities onto the other partner fails to solve the problem. We saw a movement to delay childbearing until careers were established, which seems only to be followed by a movement requiring increased education which delayed the establishment of careers. The strategy of "delay, delay, delay" on both the career and the childbearing fronts will eventually meet an impasse, until biology kicks in and we realize we've spent so much time educating ourselves into careers, and building that upward momentum that by the time we feel cemented enough in our employment to take the time to have children, we have missed our childbearing prime.

But outside of the glass ceiling, the male vs. female dichotomy persists. I don't even have children yet, and already I have been informed that my decision to not put my career on hold for 5-7 years will make me a bad mother. Who is to say their father wouldn't be an equally viable caregiver*?

I've spent hours reading articles (journalistic and scholarly) on the benefits of being a working mother. I know it encourages independence, provides strong role models, allows children to see their parents as equals, provides financial stability. I know it's beneficial to the mother herself, providing self-confidence, self-sufficiency, and more tangible representations of self-worth. Valid arguments that don't even begin to light on factors like the difficulty of finding a job after taking a number of years hiatus, which, in an industry such as IT, could even result in starting back at square one requiring re-education before stepping back into the career you spent so much "cementing" before having children.

But my number one reason for wanting to continue to work as we raise our children is to help bring awareness to the fact that the conflict between having children and having a career isn't strictly a gender issue. And with awareness, hopefully, will come change, and my kids won't find themselves paralyzed by guilt on their couch one Saturday morning at nearly 30 years of age trying to decide between career and children.

*While Scott would not only be as equally viable a caregiver for our children, he likely would be a better caregiver given our personalities. Even with that caveat, I'm still viewed as a bad mother abandoning her not-even-born children. All that being said, Scott is not intending on placing his career on hold for 5-7 years, either. We don't live an extravagant life, and while we do make fairly decent money, we are well aware that in this economic environment, we would be entirely unable to subsist off of one wage and offer our children even the slightest glimpse of the life we were privileged to as children (with mothers who stayed home to look after us).



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Counting to 30

This last weekend, we celebrated my brother-in-law's 30th birthday. Since it was, afterall, my brother-in-law's party, there was the occasional moment where I was given a few moments to think, having run out of people I knew to talk to.

That's when I realized I was less then 10 months away from turning 30 myself. And I smiled.

While my sister has set the precedent for epic 30th birthday parties, and there is always that obligation to keep up (her family is the local "Jones's" if you will), I doubt my birthday will involve a big party bading farewell to my youth. The reasons for this are two fold: first, I was very blatantly told that this year, my birthday was too close to Christmas and New Years so people didn't see the point in celebrating something else (and as far as I can tell, my birthday won't be any further from these days in the future, so why set myself up for annual disappointment from my friends?). Secondly, I don't see the need to usher out my youth.

Sure, 30 is the new 20, but that's not why I'm anxiously counting down the months. I'm just ready to be fully cemented into adulthood. I'm ready to be done with aimlessly wandering through degree programs, moving, futile attempts at finding a job, desperate attempts to get out of terrible soul sucking jobs, barely making ends meet and relying on the generosity of family when it all hits the fan.

A well stocked emergency fund. RRSPs. A financial plan to build the down payment for a house which will build equity. Lazy Friday nights on the couch. Saturday morning household tasks. I crave these things as I once craved a night of dancing at the bar, four a.m. "philosophical" conversations and a responsibility-free life from my twenties.

I see on Twitter, Facebook, etc., comments of those feeling "old" embarking on their mid-twenties, and I feel I have less and less in common with them. There's an implicit drama in their lives that I'm glad is fading from my mine. The stability that I've now found will hopefully be what characterizes my 30s.

 I will not be having a party to bid farewell to my youth, as I am fairly satisfied I have already left it. We'll still mark the achievement (as random as it actually is) in a meaningful way. It'll likely be a trip for just Scott and I (I am from the persuasion that major trips should be few and far between, first as I hate traveling and second as I feel it makes each one more special) a few weeks after the fact, with likely a family dinner sometime around the date. It'll be entering my 30s a little more subdued, but actually representative of how I tend to live my life.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Replacing Your Reader

For a household attached to our constant bombardment by media, the death knell of Google Reader definitely hit hard. Announced minutes before I left for the airport to pick up Scott, it may have been the first blubbery words out of my mouth after our airport hug. Since then, we have spent many an hour gnashing our teeth, alternating between wading through the various options to replace Reader and sinking into the pits of despair.

Ok, I've been wading through various options to replace Reader while Scott has been sinking into the pits of despair. Since I'll have to write up a comprehensive report for him detailing my findings, I figured I might as well share it with you!

I looked exclusively at cloud-based systems, which are systems that can sort of go with you from platform to platform, remembering details like: "oh, you read that post through the reader on your computer, so it will be marked as read when you go to check out your feeds through the (same) reader on your phone!" All of these options allowed me to import my subscription from Google Reader, so yay for that! Here are my 5 attempts at fixing Google's big mistake!

NewsBlur


Platform: web, iOS, Android
Download: only for apps
Price: tested free version with plans up to $24 a month (which will apparently keep Shiloh, the dog, from going hungry?)

The Website Reader:


Design: Barebones, with ugly branding, the basic downfall for the web format is that your "River of News" (which reminds me of the River of Styx for some reason, and not the River of Dreams or River of Life, which is even more strange and I believe it's the "River Styx" anyway) and your article reading space are sized in relation to one another. Want to see all unread posts in your reader? Guess you can't actually read the article!


Functionality: Set up with a side bar reminiscent of Google Reader, there is some comfort to it. However, there is a random orange triangle that moves upwards and downwards along this side bar whenever you move your mouse in the article frame. Small detail, but it drives me friggin' batty. Getting to the original site for the article is fairly easy, simply click on the title, as in Reader.

The App

Design: The colour scheme is fresh yet soothing -- making it feel disconnected from the web-based reader, but that is probably it's best compliment! They set everything up in list format so it's easy to get as much information on the screen as possible, with a good sized font for early morning blog reading!
Functionality: Very easy to use menus keep you in list format until the actual post itself. Everything is laid out logically!

The Consensus: 

I'll start with saying that NewsBlur has my favourite app of all of them -- set up the way I'd do it myself.  But I saved the WORST for last. It only lets you keep 64 sites for the low cost of $0, and see only 10 articles for each feed listed the "River of News". And while it was fairly easy to import subscriptions from Google Reader, it only let me import 12. Import the other 52 manually? And be missing out on 8 sites now, and countless others in the future? No.

Feedly



Platform: web, iOS, Android
Download: Extension for browser, download for app
Price: Free, baby!

The Web:


Design: Customizable between colour themes and display settings, (even changing certain fonts), Feedly lets you do surprisingly a lot.


Functionality:Again, click title to get to article's website? Nice. The integrated social media sharing options? A nice touch (though I rarely, if ever, use them!). Nice side bar with easy access to options like preferences, certainly little to complain about here! I liked the "Saved for later" feature (especially since it integrated my starred posts from GR... but who knows how long that will stay. More on that in Consensus).

The App


 

Design: With only a "night" and "day" theme (but a few more font options than Web... odd), there is nothing to write home about. 


Functionality: Thank goodness you can change the transitions from screen to screen, it's one of those things I'm picking about and the default makes me want to hit it. I do like it does integrate pocket and other offline reading options.

The Consensus

Again, I'm at a No-Go on this one. While there are no major complaints against the day-to-day operating of the device, the kicker seems to be that you have to install an extension for your browser, which is a massive "oh oh" for those of us working in corporate environments where installing even something as small as an extension requires administrative access to the computer. Also a little concerning is that Feedly has been using the Google Reader API as a backend. They also have their own, and say they were "prepared" for the announcement from Google (not likely they had inside information, but simply were planning ahead, so good for them!), but who knows how many features may be affected once the lights go off on Reader.


Netvibes


Platform: Web
Download: None
Price: Free for individuals, packages available for "individual professionals"

The Web

Design: A little square, and a bit basic, the option of having widget based or reader-based, depending on whether you prefer a magazine style layout or a list layout (like me!!).


Functionality: I found it super easy to navigate, even warming up (slightly) to the widget based approach. I even took the time to organize my feeds, which I never do, into categories. My favourite is that you can name your dashboard, (I chose "My Favourite Haunts"). Also glad to see the "Read Later" feature

The App

There is no app for this option. For details on the mobile site, see The Consensus

The Consensus

Based on the standard browser, I would have happily stuck with this reader for all my feed reading needs. While I hoped moving to a new reader might mean a better mobile experience, I was fairly happy just to place a Netvibes bookmark on my homescreen. Until I got on the bus and went to read some blogs. The magazine format is the only setting available on mobile, which means it crops the pictures, as it sees fit, and places the article's texts in them. I will be running from this reader at top speed, unless they fix it.


The Old Reader


Platform: Web
Download: None
Price: Free

The Web


Design: Oh so very basic, but based off of the old Google Reader, so in all honesty, can we really complain? There has been some basic branding, but for the most part, works exactly as Google Reader does, so why shouldn't it have many of the basic stylings?
Functionality: Again, much like Google Reader as it was based off of an early incarnation of it. However, this means it does have the social media connection that the early incarnation apparently had. Somehow, I ended up following 7 people even when I'd only been signed up for a couple minutes -- and all people I didn't know. However, it seemed to be a small part of the reader that is easy to ignore. It has a "liked post" feature instead of a "read later"

The App

There is no app for this reader. The mobile site does function much like Google Reader's mobile site, albeit a little more clunky.

The Consensus


The jury is still somewhat out. While importing my subscriptions appeared superbly easy, there has been such demand from new users to The Old Reader that I estimate my subscriptions will be imported... in 4 days (23222 more people ahead of me!!). However, they were nice enough to leave me 2 subscriptions to play around with the reader. It's in the running for the top three!

Bloglovin'


Platform: Web, iOS, Android
Download: None for web, download for app
Price: Free

The Web

Design: clean bright design, tailored more for feminine tastes. The screen width is quite narrow, however. The grey background is a tad dingy
Functionality: Snippet form with large header picture does bog down the main page for those of us who love the list format from Google Reader. It's hard to see, at a glance, who has new posts and who you want to read first. Does have the advantage of having "blog owner" benefits -- seeing how many people are subscribing etc.

 The App


Design: Much like that of the web, in fact, I'm shocked it's an app as opposed to a mobile website. 
Function: Again, most like the web. However, the blog ownership features are missing.

The Consensus

With the benefit of being the only reader I've heard of prior to the Google Reader death knell, Bloglovin' started a little ahead of the pack. I'm not sure that I can handle the lack of list-form, so I have issued an email off to their support team to ask about the potential for different layout options. If that is resolved, it could easily be my top choice. Despite the poor layout, it still makes the top three.

But Cara, you say, you said "Top Three" and you've panned 3/5 of the options!

Upcoming Options

Announced

Digg has already stopped forward and said they are developing a RSS reader based on the best features of Google Reader, and they are soliciting input on those who loved (or hated) it!

In Various Stages of Development (Conscious or not)

The "insignificant" service was greatly loved and greatly used regularly and obsessively. There will be many many many attempts to replace the services. And since we were given a hundred or so days warning, this list of reviews will be outdated long before those days are up. To be completely honest, I think this option is the best, earning my top spot. Now that the shock of losing our reader is starting to wear off, we have to realize that, like all internet trends, we can't always anticipate what's coming, but there is always something bigger and better coming.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Getting more for my green

I know so many of you love dresses from eShakti. My first experience? Not so great. But everyone else seemed to love them.

So when eShakti offered me another crack at their clothing lines (for free), I decided I'd give them another try.

I still love that eShakti offers primarily cotton dresses. Dresses that can breathe are necessary for humid summer days! And boy oh boy could I use some humid summer days!

eShakti offers a lot of bloggers dresses (have you a few around this week? No? If not, check out H&K Style Journey, Bethie the Boo, Keep Warm... I know I'm missing so many!!), but it does seem like they do actually listen to our reviews... I had been concerned last time that the dress had come only in a relatively thin plastic bag, offering little protection from the international journey it undertook protection. This time, my little dress survived the journey (this time: India, Germany, Cincinnati, then Winnipeg) much better in a super thin box.

The downfall? eShakti seems to be very popular, in that by the time I figured out what I wanted, all of my choices (yes, all of them) were sold out. Oh, kitty cat dress, I would have loved you.

Of course, new dresses seem to pop up all the time. The problem? I wanted a dress for wedding season (3 within 8 days... here's hoping my holidays get approved), and a dress to wear to work, and a dress to replace my beloved green comfy one... narrowing it down to one was so hard! Until I found one that worked for all three!
Wedding Season

Workin' Hard

Chillin' on the Weekend
Of course, I customized the dress. Ordering a dress online with my lack of chest is NEVER a good idea, except when you can say "make it smaller". And I brought the hem above the knee. But I kept the pockets... seriously? Who gets rid of pockets?

The jersey is a bit stiff, so it can't quite replace my "so comfy I can sleep in it" green dress, but really, if I can take a dress from wedding to work to weekend, does it really have to resort to pajamas too?

eShakti, you've moved from: "never buy again" to "meh, I might"... who knows, maybe in a year, I'll be their #1 spokes-model!

And for a limited time, eShakti is offering my readers 20% off using the discount code: CRSCLSET from now until March 20th!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Science... it's sometimes right.

Monday night felt like a big giant waste. I ate a carbilicious meal, wallowed in my blanket watching TV and generally felt sorry for myself (why? I'm not sure). The night just seemed short.

Tuesday night felt like three nights wrapped into one. I got in my athletic therapy exercises, made a balanced supper, meal planned, bought Scott a spiffy spring coat, grocery shopped, prepped veggies for the week, packed lunches for tomorrow, and still had an hour to kill on the internet before I started thinking about bed.

It's hard to believe that there are the same number of hours in my evenings when they seem so drastically different.

The days themselves were quite similar - busier than expected with a satisfying lunch work out popped into the middle. The weather was relatively similar, so I can't blame it on hibernation strategies.

The only suitable difference is the food I ate. We were running low on groceries so I found myself in line at the cafeteria part way through both days. Monday, it was a cookie. Tuesday, it was an apple.

Monday, I went home and ate a poorly balanced meal without any veggies. Tuesday, we had a very veggie-full stir fry (with spicy peanut sauce...mmmmm...).

I know carbs give you the sleepies, and that apples can perk you up (better than a cup of coffee, apparently!) but it always catches me off guard when I see scientific principles working in my day to day life.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Little Bit of Housekeeping

If you've been following this blog for a few years, you'll know we had terrible luck with upstairs neighbours. You also likely know I haven't complained about anyone in our new building. That being said, we did hold our breath when we discovered a mother and her son were moving upstairs from us mid-way through February.

They seem to be perfectly pleasant people -- some noise during daylight hours, but nothing that can't be ignored.

Nonetheless, the apartment lifestyle allows for somewhat of a fishbowl effect -- you become privy to a small part of someone else's life. This new family? We know the furniture they own (having seen them move in), the car they drive, and how often they vacuum.

It's amazing how that last one can impact the conversations we have.

They seem to vacuum their apartment at least once a day. We're talking 2 people in an 806 square foot apartment. While I'm not immune from the odd dash from the door, over the carpet, into the kitchen (or bathroom if it's been a particularly long commute home), we vacuum once a week... occasionally once every two weeks if we've been away for a lot of the week.

Of course, we're also not a pre-teen or teenage boy (I seriously can't tell ages of people under the age of 23 any more. That's a sign of being an adult, isn't it?), so who knows what kind of messes he may get into.

That being said, we've spent a lot of time discussing how much time should be devoted to cleaning, and why some people need to clean more or less, trying to discern whether we are slobs, or they are neat freaks.

How often do you vacuum?

And, perhaps a related question, do you wear shoes in your house?

We are a sock-footed only household, while my sister is always in slippers, and my grandparents have "house shoes". We have heard rumours that the "shoes at the door" lifestyle isn't the norm in the US... give us a glance at what we could see in your fish bowl!

Monday, March 4, 2013

The hair in my eye

"Oh WOW! It's so YOU! You are so brave!"

Never before have those words made me feel so cowardly and lost in searching for my identity.

It's just hair. I believe I actually said that when my hairdresser (the fabulous Ola from Edward Carriere, should you be in Winnipeg) confirmed I was going short. It will grow back, if I need it to.

I've been wanting to go short since at least October of 2010. But cutting your hair short 9 months before your wedding is right up there with getting pregnant on the list of things every bride should NOT do. (In retrospect, since the biggest disaster of our wedding was my hairdresser NOT showing up to work that day, and never finding out why... still boycotting all Winnipeg Aura Hair Salons for that one... it might have been smarter to cut it then!). After the wedding, my Regina hairdresser moved, and then we moved, and it took a while to find someone I trusted.

What made it so much easier was the fact that in the chair beside me, a girl had her hair dyed black, but her roots dyed red, and was buzzing the sides of her head. It looks pretty bad ass. What I was doing, in comparison? Tame, mundane, basic. Different, but safe.

Slipping on my leather jacket, and stepping out into the trendy neighbourhood, I thought: "ya, I can rock this." After driving my family-friendly hatchback home to my suburban apartment, I wasn't so sure.

And the doubt kept coming...

... what if K tells me I look like a boy (She didn't)

... does it make my nose look too big (no more than it did yesterday)

... what if my niece and nephew don't recognize me (they're young, they'll learn to adapt).

As people walked into our office, inevitably they'd comment :"It's so you!" or "You're so brave" or both. I even had two people stop in whom I've never met (but are up and down our hallway every once and a while) to tell me how "me" it was.

Not having seen my reflection in a mirror, and not having the brightly coloured daring haircut in the chair beside me, I couldn't see what they saw.

Saturday morning was the hardest -- waking up with messy bedhead (and not in the good way), but having to wait to shower until after all the cleaning was done. There may have been tears, and curling up in the corner of the couch. But a brightly patterned head band and purposely crazy hair at least made me feel like I was in control of the ridiculousness long enough to get moving.

After my shower, I put on clothes that felt the most me, but it still looked like there was a stranger staring back at me. How was it that everyone could see this haircut was so me if I couldn't?

Towards the end of our crazy around the city errand running trek, I accidentally turned into Ikea's parking lot. As we wandered through the showcase I starred at the strange face staring back at me in every mirror. For some reason, making funny faces made it look a little more familiar (though may have made me look all the more strange to everyone else). By the time we left the mirrors in the marketplace (conveniently right near the end), I finally started to recognize myself... and realizing I don't necessarily look like a boy... 

I'm still a little too self-conscious to leave the house without makeup and a feminine scarf, but I'm also realizing I actually am interested in the more girly patterns and styles, and might even give some lipstick a try. It's weird that a drastically different haircut can actually make you feel like you're starting to get to know yourself a bit better.