Category Archives: Writing

Working from Home When You Have Pets

You bite the bullet and decide working from home is the next step in your career. Maybe your company’s head office is remote, or you’re working on the next great Canadian novel, or you’ve launched your own company making dongles for doohickeys. Whatever the circumstances, you are happy to announce, “I commute downstairs wearing yoga pants,” or the even more obnoxious, “My barista is da bomb.”

Anyway…

The great part is now your fur babies won’t be abandoned eight to ten hours every day.

You’ll play at lunch…

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And cuddle in the afternoons…

cat cuddling, puppies, GIF, dogs, cats, funny, humour, working from home, Working from Home When You Have Pets

And in between, there will be hours and hours of productivity while Jake the dog and Boots the cat look on adoringly…

pugs, puppies, GIF, dogs, cats, funny, humour, working from home, Working from Home When You Have Pets

IT. WILL. BE. PERFECT.

productive, puppies, GIF, dogs, cats, funny, humour, working from home, Working from Home When You Have Pets

But first the cat needs to go out…

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And come right back in…

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And the dog found a new toy…

playing, puppies, GIF, dogs, cats, funny, humour, working from home, Working from Home When You Have Pets

So you send him out to chase squirrels…

squirrel, playing, puppies, GIF, dogs, cats, funny, humour, working from home, Working from Home When You Have Pets

While you pound out a few minutes of work…

angry typing, squirrel, playing, puppies, GIF, dogs, cats, funny, humour, working from home, Working from Home When You Have Pets

Or not, because now the cat’s being an asshole…

dog door, squirrel, playing, puppies, GIF, dogs, cats, funny, humour, working from home, Working from Home When You Have Pets

And the dog is flapping his gums…

squirrel, playing, puppies, GIF, dogs, cats, funny, humour, working from home, Working from Home When You Have Pets

Meanwhile, war is brewing…

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And you try pleading for peace…

squirrel, playing, puppies, GIF, dogs, cats, funny, humour, working from home, Working from Home When You Have Pets

But cats have their own agenda…

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And dogs are too busy doing dog things…

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And you want to smash all the things because you only managed 58 new words…

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Until this happens…

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So you call it a day because you have your priorities straight…

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After all, tomorrow is another day…

house, squirrel, playing, puppies, GIF, dogs, cats, funny, humour, working from home, Working from Home When You Have Pets

 

 

Essentials: The Perfect Travel Journal

Our phones are great for all kinds of things — and if you’re like me that’s primarily for taking photos and to text my near and dear ones — but they’re lacking the appropriate weightiness and romance with which to record our travel observations. Can you imagine Graham Greene or Bill Bryson or Peter Mayle furiously thumb-typing their humorous and evocative stories on palm-sized, soulless electronic devices? Of course not. They likely had or have a collection of notebooks, journals, or at least torn bits of paper on which to write.

There’s something satisfying about opening a new notebook, letting our fingers skim over leather-bound covers, imagining all the brilliant stories we can put down on paper. Or maybe we’ll just doodle in it as we sit at an open-aired bus depot in the northern reaches of Laos, in the middle of one of the country’s coldest winters on record, while one more delay is announced and all we want is to tackle the 12-hour journey over half-paved mountain roads back to a hot shower and a big bowl of pho. Journals are flexible and they don’t judge the merit of their content.

Every traveller needs a journal; you don’t need to aspire to publish a collection of books or a magazine article to own one. It’s enough to be away from routine and in a different place for new thoughts and inspiration to strike. I know people who use their journals as sketchpads, others to write descriptive paragraphs about glens and mountains, and still others who detail the flavours of each meal. It is literally your book to create.

I’ve pulled together a selection of five that make the cut for size, beauty, and fun.

travel journals, notebooks, travel, journal, humour, writing, sketching, writer, travelling, list, travel essentials

My Favourite Five:

1. Vintage Inspired Paris Notebook Journals from Luulla.

2. You’re Awesome Journal by Raincoast at Chapters Indigo.

3. Passions Travel Journal by Moleskin at Chapters Indigo.

4. Laccio Refillable Journal by Natalizia S.A.S. Di Luca at Chapter Indigo.

5. Personalized Travel Journal by Twinebindery on Etsy.

Hi, my name is Katja and I’m addicted to notebooks and journals. Who’s with me?

Back On Track

Like many parents I saw my kids off to school today for their first day of grades five and ten. I’m now reaching up to kiss one child and trying to keep up with another who’s a whirlwind.

Like many parents there’s a part of me that is a bit melancholic about the end of summer and what it entails: the knowledge that our time together grows shorter or is changing, fewer days of sleeping in and eating late, cooler nights that herald colder days. I relish a return to more structure for my work because pulling all-nighters to write and edit so that I can spend the day at the beach with my kids takes days to recover from, but the last few days of August and the early days of September are my time to wallow in a bit of sadness. After several days the wallowing will get boring and I’ll return to normal, but for now….wallow wallow.

I’m not fond of strict schedules and haven’t raised my kids that way, but structuring my days while they’re at school flying solo is good. More daylight hours in which to write + time away from my desk to get outside = a more reasonable bedtime and fewer bags under the eyes. Guys, my under eye bags aren’t delicate or cute, they’re the size of hockey bags.

beach, kids, girls, morning, rocks, shore, beach combing, water, lake, Lake Ontario

We start every school year with a bit of beachcombing before school drop-off, but just so you don’t sit there thinking, “How does she have time to get ready AND go to the beach and mygawd she’s one of those moms who creates fruit and hummus art for her kids’ lunches,” our morning went something like this:

Me: Wake up, kids.

Them: …………..

Me: C’mon, time to get up.

Them: ……….glurghbrrhumpph

Repeat steps three and four another few (countless) times.

Me: WAKE UP!

Them: Yawn. OKAY, we heard you.

Me: Seriously?

They stumbled to the shower, back to their rooms, downstairs, upstairs, outside — it’s a wonder nobody tripped during all that stumbling — and then they were so rushed that we had to leave for school without breakfast, so this morning the kids ate scrambled eggs, raspberries, and drank juice out of plastic containers in the back of the Jeep while D and I drove them to their first day of school. And so it begins.

We dropped off Bou at his high school and I hopped out to say hi and bye to my niece who was also being dropped off, and because my primary role as the mother of a teenager is to embarrass him whenever I can, I offered to give him a big smooch as his friends were arriving. Sadly he doesn’t embarrass enough — or at all — and he leaned down instead to hug me before going off to find his friends. I’ll hang on to this victory for the days when our primary form of communication consists of him eye-rolling and shrugging and me huffing.

We have almost one hour between the two school start times, so we’ve made it a tradition to head down to the beach for some play time; it’s the calm before the excitement.

The summer sped by; we had family from France for a visit in August, went camping a few times, one of my closest friends came for a sleepover with her family (More of that please!), I took 5 trillions photos, we spent countless hours at the barn, and I spent zero hours working out — Oh, hello, tight pants. — and generally kept a very poor, but full schedule. Sandwiched between all that I still wrote, just not here.

You can make my chocolate, coconut zucchini bread and bacon and cheese jalapeños recipes, which could explain the tight pants, and read about conquering the meeting new people jitters at Yummy Mummy Club.

Over at Life In Pleasantville I wrote host and houseguest posts that will guarantee you less pre-visit preparation angst and score you repeat invites.

So…the moral is, I’m back on track. Are you getting there? Or were you always there, in which case I don’t want to hear about it and we likely can’t be friends.

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