Tag Archives: moving

Settling In

I am finally—FINALLY!—feeling settled in. I moved into my new place at the end of January, and since then it’s been a madhouse of unpacking and keeping on top of my work deadlines, which have not slowed down at all. They’ve actually expanded, because on top of everything else I’ve been branching out and diversifying my services.

The first few days after the move were more on the depressing side—lack of sleep, coupled with the mess of tons of boxes. My new place is much smaller compared to my past homes, and with the clutter of so many boxes (because … books, right?) it was tough to even find a pathway from the living room to the kitchen!

But I persevered, and unpacked. And unpacked some more. And then some more.

The end result? I’ve decided a minimalist lifestyle is very much to my liking. I ended up giving away boxes and boxes of books, and I’ve also come up with a couple of new rules for myself:

  1. For every print book I buy, I must giveaway TWO from my shelves.
  2. Every month I will go through my bookshelves and pick books to donate or give away.

I ended up getting my living/dining room (it’s all one and the same, rather small, space) cleaned up, and I love it! But I will need to keep my eye on clutter, because I’ve noticed the moment I start heaping books and papers on my coffee table or the dining room table, the place doesn’t feel quite so cozy any more.

On top of that, I managed the feat of clearing/unpacking the living room by lugging all unpacked boxes up to my bedroom/office. These are the “difficult” boxes, filled with papers and miscellaneous things for which I have absolutely no room, so the plan is to slowly go through them one by one, while at the same time brainstorming and implementing some sort of filing system that will accommodate what I need it to accommodate. Plus there will be a whole lot of shredding going on …

And what I am I looking forward to?

  • The implementation of new habits and routines
  • Getting back to reading
  • Getting back to writing
  • Getting back to blogging

Most of all, I’m eager to start blogging about my reading again. And to kick things off, here’s what’s on my currently reading list right now:

Elegance

Elegance, by Kathleen Tessaro. This is a reread for me, one of the books on my comfort reading list. This may seem like a strange choice for those of you who know me and my reading tastes, as it’s neither mystery, sci-fi or fantasy, but aside from these genres, I also adore transformation/Cinderella stories. Since there is, unfortunately, no readily available genre of “transformation/Cinderella stories”, when I do find one I love, it usually ends up in my comfort reading list.

life-changing magic of tidying-up

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. According to my Kobo, I’ve read about 60% of this book. It’s been helping me a lot. Not that I’ve actually been holding things in my hands and asking myself, “Does this spark joy?” (I find this doesn’t work very well with books, because I tend to say, “Yes!” to each one, read or unread). But somehow, just reading this book has made it easier for me to declutter. Things don’t feel as precious anymore, and I’m finding there’s nothing like that feeling of “letting one more thing go”.

Have any of you read Kondo’s latest, Spark Joy? I’m on hold for this one at the library, and I’m expecting great things from it.

miracle morning

The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod. I haven’t started this one yet, but I’ve heard so many good things about it. And I’m definitely in need of a new morning routine, one that will help me build fun, happy and productive days.

Finding My Now

I had the most interesting mini-epiphany this morning. Life has been super hectic for me lately: the usual clamour of winter deadlines coupled with the energy-draining thrills of apartment hunting. It’s been so busy I haven’t even taken the time to do the kind of contemplative thinking about the new year which usually occupies me at this time of the year.

This morning, it really hit me: I have been spending so much time focusing on work and on dealing with the uncertainty of not knowing where I’ll be living next month or the month after that, I’ve totally lost track of my Now.

So much of my life lately has been about the future: Where will I be living? What will it be like? How will Dylan adjust? And I’ve been putting off everything I want to do, postponing it into the future. When I’m more settled, I’ve been telling myself. That’s when I’ll do all these things. When I’m more settled.

I’m talking about all the things that are important to me. Like writing. And going out for walks. And adding more art into my life. By focusing so much on the future, I’ve been willingly postponing all of these things.

No wonder I’ve been feeling so tired. So de-energized. So anxious and on edge. I’ve removed the fun from my life and placed it all within the near future, where it’s only vaguely accessible to me.

And you know what? I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to wait until I’m “more settled”. I have this Now, this moment—it is mine, all mine, and there is no reason why I cannot be here now, truly be here. And all the reasons in the world why I should be here now.

We put in two offers last night. My ex’s offer is more or less a sure thing, as the owners of the unit he’s put in an offer for are very motivated to sign a lease. The unit I’ve put in an offer for has a competing offer on the table already. I was filled with angst last night about this, but this morning, I’ve found peace. Because it would be wonderful if we got the units, but it’s not a disaster if we don’t. If it doesn’t work out, there are many, many condo developments in this city, and there are many, many apartWments going up for rent every single day.

I will find the right apartment for me. My ex will find the right apartment for him. And together they will both be the right apartments for our son.

So I’ve found my Now. For this moment only, and I know I will get all tangled up in the knots of uncertainty again, sooner or later, but that really doesn’t matter, not right now, when I’ve found my Now.

Update:  I’ve just started reading again from Practicing the Power of Now, which is basically composed of excerpts from Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, picking up from where I’d left it back in the fall. And this is from today’s reading:

When the compulsive striving away from the Now ceases, the joy of Being flows into everything you do. The moment your attention turns to the Now, you feel a presence, a stillness, a peace. You no longer depend on the future for fulfillment and satisfaction-you don’t look to it for salvation. Therefore, you are not attached to the results. Neither failure nor success has the power to change your inner state of Being. You have found the life underneath your life situation.

I am feeling quite awed at how accurately these words reflect what I just wrote about minutes ago in this post!

A New Year: No Resolutions (Yet) and More Packing (Hopefully)

Happy new year, everyone! I hope your holiday celebrations were wonderful and everything you wanted them to be. Mine were crammed full of deadlines, as seems to be the norm for me at this time of the year, and when I add that on top of everything else that’s been going on in my life, it’s been quite a busy two weeks or so.

I’ve been so busy, in fact, I haven’t had any time at all to think about the new year. Normally at this time of the year I have all these fabulous ideas about new habits I want to incorporate or fun-sounding challenges I want to undertake. That hasn’t happened yet because I’ve been so busy, so I’m kind of postponing my end of the year thinking to somewhere around the third week of January, which is when my work deadlines start slowing down to a more gentle, manageable pace.

On top of the deadlines, and all the Christmas things one has to fit in at this time of the year, I’ve also been apartment hunting! My ex- and I have decided things would work out far, far better if we found our own individual places, but within the same apartment building.

At first, the plan was to find two units on the same floor. And while we did actually find two such units—and lovely units they were, too, as well as being only two doors apart—unfortunately we put in our offers too late. In the time between us deciding we wanted to put in our offers and our actually putting in the offers (between which basically fell Christmas Day and Boxing Day) a set of earlier, competing offers had come in. So we lost out on the units. Very unfortunate.

After this, it dawned on us how difficult it would be if we continued to confine ourselves only to units that were on the same floor. Not only would we have to actually find such units, but then we’d have to have both our offers accepted, and the fact that one offer would be conditional on the other would make things even more challenging.

So after some thinking things over, and further discussions with our son Dylan—after all, he’s the one who will be going back and forth between the units—the joint consensus is that two units in the same building would work just as well. A quick elevator ride between floors takes mere minutes, and the plan is for Dylan to be comfortable going back and forth whenever he likes.

Anyway, all this means there will be more packing in my near future! The rental market is fast-paced here in Toronto, with lots of units coming up for lease but also lots of units being leased every day, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed we’ll find new places soon. I’m looking forward to truly having my own space, and in many ways I feel like life is on hold until I move.

With all of this going on, you probably won’t be surprised I haven’t done much reading lately. Mostly I’ve been listening to BBC dramatizations of Agatha Christie mysteries while I’m working. They’re great in the background, and since I’ve read each of the novels being dramatized a zillion times or so, it’s like “comfort noise”, and really helps me get through my deadlines more quickly (or at least, that’s what it feels like!).

And then, in the hour or so between work and sleep, I’ve been finding myself watching episodes of Poirot on Netflix. It’s been interesting to see the novels transformed onto the small screen (truly small, as I watch them on my iPad). And while there’s the familiar comfort of plots and characters I know well, I am actually even more in love with the series sets. Poirot is set in the 20s, and to my surprise I am really enjoying all the architectural and design details, as well as the clothes and accessories.

So that’s my new year’s update. How did your new years go? What resolutions or new habits are you looking to incorporate into this bright and shiny new year?

The Big Catch-Up Post

It’s been six days since we moved into our new place in the city, and while I’ve been active on Twitter, I haven’t been here on the blog at all. So I thought it was time for The Big Catch-up Post!

The Move

The actual move itself went quite well. We hired a fabulous moving company that worked quickly and efficiently to move us from the ‘burbs into the city. They do a lot of condo moves, so they were familiar with the ins and outs of moving into a condo.

That night, of course, we were surrounded by boxes. I’m happy to report that our new place isn’t as small as we’d been thinking, and we have TWO walls of bookcases! So plenty of room for all the books we ended up keeping, plus room for more (although I suspect, after all this decluttering we’ve been doing, I will be sticking with ebooks from now on).

Adjustment

So how are we all doing?

Well, I pretty much fell in love with the place from the moment we moved in. I love being so close to so many things. I love the cityscape outside our living room window. I love the lake view outside the office and bedroom windows.

Cityscape viewOur Cityscape View

I was especially thrilled that our furniture didn’t make the rooms feel smaller – the rooms, when empty, already felt smaller than we were used to. But, illogical as it sounds, the place was actually transformed once we got our furniture in. It looks and feels bigger. And of course, very home-like, because it’s filled with our things.

Dylan, our eight-year-old, was very sad the night before the big move. He was born in the house we’re leaving behind, and has lived there all his life. We told him it was okay to feel sad, but to make sure feeling sad didn’t hold him back from also loving the new place if that’s what he felt like.

Children are so resilient. The next evening, even though he was surrounded by boxes and couldn’t get at a lot of his toys, he was proclaiming, “I love our new home!” And he hasn’t stopped saying it ever since.

Night of the Big Move The Night of Our Big Move

And then there’s my husband.

He’s a wonderful man, my husband. As many of you know, he loves to cook, and handles all the cooking at home. He is also a lot neater than I am, so he tends to do most of the cleaning, too. He’s a real gem and I love him to bits.

BUT.

You could say my husband’s not good with change.

And to make things just that much more challenging, the new kitchen is roughly a third of the size of the old kitchen. Not only that, in our old place, we had “the old kitchen” – the room that used to be our kitchen before we renovated and added a new kitchen – and we’d never gotten around to renovating that room to be anything but a kitchen. So in our old place, he had TWO kitchens. TWO fridges. A stand-up freezer. And two rooms full of cupboard space. All of which he utilized.

I wish we had a larger kitchen here! I suspect his adjustment process is going to take a while …

Other Bits and Pieces

Jamie! We’re going to see Jamie Oliver this coming Wednesday! And I’m super thrilled, because Roy Thomson Hall, the venue, is within walking distance from our new place.

This coming week is a deadline-filled week for me, but being so close to the event means I’ll only have to take four hours off. I can squeeze it in! And Ward is happy, because Jamie is one of his favourite celebrity chefs.

NaNoWriMo Fail. At least, I think so. I’m a whole week behind – I realized right after the move there was no way I could do it all. Something had to give, and unfortunately, it has to be the writing. Deadlines, unpacking and getting settled into our new place must take priority.

I’m hoping next year will be different in terms of deadlines!

Tweetstock! Last month I decided to try out my first Twitter conference/event. I hadn’t realized it would fall in the week of our move (since we were supposed to move in on November 1, not 7). On the night before Tweetstock 6, I was actually debating whether I could take the time off to go.

I did decide to go, and I’m very glad that I did! I had a lot of fun, learned a few things and met some really nice people.

It was so much fun, I’m thinking seriously about going to the next BEA and the next Book Blogger Convention! I’ve met so many wonderful book lovers these past three years, and after getting a taste of meeting some Twitter peeps in real life, I would really love to meet some of my book blogger friends in real life too.

So that’s my update for now. I’m keeping my fingers crossed I’ll be able to get back to regular blogging and blog reading in a few weeks!

A Change of Plans

Last week, I posted about the sale of our house, and the start of our housing search in Toronto’s Annex area.

Well.

It didn’t quite work out the way we’d been planning. After an exhausting week in which we traipsed into the city almost daily and viewed several houses, a condo unit popped up in the Yorkville area.

We’d already decided we were going to rent a house, but decided to take a look at the condo anyway.

That’s when it happened.

A Change of Plans

We changed our minds.

You see, we’d spent a week looking at all manner of apartments in houses with all manner of charming imperfections. Nothing felt quite right. Nothing made us say, “This is it! This is the place!”

Then we went to see the condo, and afterward, we both realized something.

We’ve been living for fifteen years with a whole number of charming imperfections. The house we just sold is all about these charming little imperfections.

Frankly, we’re both a little tired of charming imperfections. And there was something very appealing about living with a bit of chrome and glass for a while.

Waterfront, Here We Come

Toronto skyline

If condo life beckoned, the next thing we had to look at was area. The Annex isn’t exactly well-known for its condos.

So we took a look over the past fifteen years of suburban living, and realized that all our trips into the city were almost always for entertainment: live theatre and the symphony were high on the list.

And one of our reasons for moving into the city was to be able to do more of this, and to be able to take advantage of the lower cost subscriptions for matinee seatings.

Once we realized this, everything started to come together. Toronto’s waterfront area is filled with condos, and is within walking distance to a lot of entertainment venues.

Synchronicity!

A friend of ours who lives outside the country recently flew in and purchased a condo for investment purposes. In the waterfront area. Which she wants to lease out.

The condo was bought from plans, but is almost all completed. The occupancy date is in mid-October.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect.

So now, we have a place! It’s not finalized yet – my friend wants us to go to the pre-delivery inspection first and see the unit (we’ve just been going by the floor plan) to make sure we’ll like it.

But we’re pretty sure. After our week of rental search experiences, which included a number of interesting characters who didn’t strike us as being particularly suitable landlord types, yes, we’re pretty sure. The unit is large for a condo, the layout makes great use of the available space, and there are, as my friend says, oodles of amenities.

Packing …

It feels so good to be able to focus on packing now. Ward leaves for Japan in a few days, and we’d really wanted to have a place settled before he leaves.

And now, we do!

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