Complaints, blog updates and taxing times

Throwing caution to the wind, this post is not going to follow a specific theme or be carefully read and reread. It’s also going to be more personal and more related to daily life. Here goes!

delicious new Pocky flavour

milk cocoa flavored Pocky from Kumamon (Kumamoto City’s mascot)

The Comfort of Complaining

Taking tentative steps towards blogging again after my hiatus, I’ve been reluctant to make any promises about a posting schedule to myself or on the blog. My plate is definitely bigger than my stomach and I want to post so much more. While I know my reality is mom to a toddler and that comes with limited time, I continue to fight deep down against this. I complained about how I didn’t have time to learn Japanese or read other blogs or post on other blogs or write for my own blog.

After a particularly hard weekend a couple of weeks ago complete with our toddler getting sick, a disastrous mini road trip, hurt feelings, and me announcing that I felt like I was in prison, I had an epiphany. Hours, every single day, were being wasted reading the news. When our little peanut was napping or falling asleep, I was becoming “informed” in ways that were hardly necessary for my existence. While it was fun and killed time, it also killed time!

This egg is the winner!

My winning egg from our Easter egg cracking contest! Now, *this* is news.

And so I quit cold turkey. Once baby’s eyes closed tight, the tablet came out like normal but for 30 solid minutes, I studied Japanese. I could study longer, but 30 minutes minimum was the deal. If I fell asleep, I had to pick up the studying later. If I was bored and didn’t want to study, I had the options of staring at the ceiling or sleeping but nothing else until the studying was done. Pretty soon, I was looking forward to nap time to study because I was seeing results.

What did I do with the rest of the time? Once those 30 minutes of studying were up, I could keep studying or read and comment on other blogs until I hit my fill or baby woke up. Two problems solved!

As for finding more time to write on my blog, I’m trying to write a post or update a page twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays. Once is the minimum and twice is icing on a delicious cupcake.

Bloggy News

A new year identity crisis with the blog led to a new name, Hilary’s Global Cafe. That name was retired last week and Japan Can(ada) Mix is back full-time. I still love the café name and idea that I had behind it but now isn’t the time for it.

With the identity issues came the desire to clean up the Author Info/About page and the Blog Info pages. I’m happy to announce that the Author Info page has a new story. It’s more personal and I think it fits where the blog is now and where I think it’s going to go.

couscous on quick cook

couscous experiment from last week – Israeli couscous failed on the quick cook setting on our rice cooker. Now I know.

Taxing Times

April 30 is the deadline to submit taxes in Canada. Almost everyone has to send in a return for every year of life lived on this earth, usually once you start earning money. Once you die, someone else still needs to do a final return and hopefully wherever it is that Canadians go next, there is no tax office. (Or if there is, that’s hell?)

While I jest, doing my taxes is actually fun for me. When I’m up to my eyeballs in documentation, trying to understand whether I’m a deemed resident or non-resident and having to redo my taxes for a third time, I’m not pleased. But in average cases, tax time is not a pain and I’m sure there are more like me out there. Hubby is not one of them. Perhaps we’ll do a post about the differences in tax reporting in both countries and only I’ll be interested in reading it.

treats from Japan

Hitoshi recently won a contest from a podcast based in Japan. Here’s our haul!

Here’s to a fabulous new week! Have you had any epiphanies lately? If you have a blog, are things going well or are you ready for a change? And if you also love doing your taxes, let me know and we’ll start an exclusive club.

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28 thoughts on “Complaints, blog updates and taxing times

  1. Hi Hilary,

    Here’s my epiphany – Don’t forget to declare Hitoshi’s win on your tax return.

    Surely it’s large enough to qualify as earnings. 🙂

    Clare

  2. I agree, the welcome page is great ! Very entertaining.

    Concerning the blog, I’m thinking about going self hosted. But.. I’m scared to loose my audience as 98% are not email followers 🙂

    • Thanks much!
      Self hosted sounds like a great idea! I can understand being worried though. I wonder if others can give you advice?? I was following a blog that made the switch last year and she made a post or two about it before and then more after since she lost her subscribers in the switch. Ack! I figure the readers who are checking you regularly now will likely keep checking you after. What about doing some switch posts before and remind readers they can add you back into their reader once you make the switch??
      On another note, thanks again for all your advice about blogging. I’ve been starting to use it, like commenting and reading on more blogs lately and it’s not only been fun but I’ve been getting a little more traffic. Maybe that’s from posting again but maybe from me checking out other fabulous sites! I still want to have a good read through yours. It’s been a long time!

      • I’m in touch with someone who moved her blog a few days ago and it seems to have worked ! I’m also worried to loose the alerts from the blogs I follow, because I’m not sure self-hosted blogs still have a reader where they can read the blogs.

        I’m glad it worked out 🙂 Visiting other blogs and commenting help building relationship for sure 🙂 But it takes time.

        • Hmmm… I don’t know about self-hosted blogs having any sort of a reader. Is there any info on the WP.org boards about that?? I suppose one way to do it is to keep your WP site active, transfer everything to self-hosted with a different name, see how things go with your readers and then still follow your other favorites in the WP.com reader?? I’m sure it helps a lot to have someone who is only a little ahead of you fill you in on the switch!

          Yes! I believe it will definitely take a lot of time. I had grand plans to check in with blogs I like once a week but it’s probably going to be more like once or twice a month. That’s okay though. Slow is fine. Or I should say, I’m not in so much of a rush!

          • Everything is explained but it sounds so complicated 😀 I will wait a bit before making the big plunge I think 😀 The problem is you have to transform your wp.com so it won’t be accessible anymore I think .. oh well, I’m not so sure 😉

            Have a good weekend !

            • Is there anything to stop you having a WordPress account, and hence reader, without having a blog. I once signed up to blogspot with a view to using their version of a reader. Of course I never got round to it!

            • Good luck with that! And I agree… it *does* sound awfully complicated. Having to do everything myself is one reason why I’m not so keen. I have full confidence in my ability to figure it out eventually but not the time nor energy at this point. And it took me ages just to figure out the wp.com site!

  3. Great post. I have taken a break from blogging, both putting up posts and reading blogs. It was initially just for a week whilst on holiday but somehow the week turned into two, three… Oh well, sometimes life just gets in the way. Am actually starting again this week but probably a bit less often than before.
    Now off to read your new bio 😊

    • Thanks! I think breaks are important. My sister has a horse and has been riding her horse and it’s grandpa before and other relatives at shows and she often has taken breaks here and there to get reinvigorated. I agree that life does get in the way. Sometimes that has really annoyed me but I’m trying to focus now on enjoying the blog for what it is and not get too hung up on achieving goals, like I pronounced back in January. 😀

      • Sounds like a sensible approach. That’s also a reason why I never put up a blogging schedule as I just know that I would not be able to stick to it.

  4. I like your new author info! I sometimes struggle to keep up the blogging schedule (and mine is twice a week) too. I struggle most when I am away and strangely also when I am the least busy with other things.

    • Thank you! And have I ever mentioned that I *adore* your intro? I think it’s witty and engaging. It’s a model for me! I hear you about having trouble getting things going when you have fewer things going on. I think sometimes I am so used to being busy that when things slow down, I don’t know what to do with myself. My time management skills are not great and this has been an issue for as long as I can remember. Having a baby has helped but I still have a ways to go!

  5. Hey Hils hun, what a good post. Honest and open and humorous. It sounds like you have a good achievable plan.
    Like Lucile, I’m doing writing101 as well and it’s hard to know whether to post my usual photo posts as well as the writing prompt posts. So far I’ve generally been doing both but I’m traveling for the next two weeks so it might prove tricky!! I completely get how overwhelming it is as times, and I don’t have a little BB like you do!

    • Thanks, dear! Ha ha! Yes, BB has changed my life so much and things keep changing. All. The. Time. The more I fight against it, the more miserable I am. My other epiphany of late was acknowledging that I don’t need to bring home a pay cheque to know that raising my child is something of value. Of course I knew this on one level, but it’s taken a while for me to not feel guilty about choosing my child over work for now.
      That’s great that you’re doing Writing 101! How are you finding it? How are things going with your readers seeing perhaps something different? I imagine you’re getting a lot of new visitors??

      • Oh absolutely it’s of value. My mum was a stay at home mum and I am forever grateful to her for that and I love her dearly and completely.
        Writing101 is great although keeps me very busy and it’s very hard while traveling for work since work is 15 hours a day when you include team dinner after. But yes, lots of new visitors and lots of new people to interact with. It’s great!

  6. Welcome back, Hilary!
    I enjoyed immensely reading about your journey,?and the determination to accomplish your goals.
    About the taxes: I hope it stops in this life!! Loved your humor.
    As to blogging. I’m following writing 101 course and it’s been a great effort to keep up with reading and commenting, besides handling the regular posts and also reading and commenting.
    Wish you all the best!

    • Thanks, Lucile! That’s wonderful about doing writing 101! I can imagine that it’s hard to handle your regular content and the assignments. How is the writing 101? I had thought about doing the course but will have to wait for a while. Do you feel like your skills are changing or is it more for fun or something else?? By the way, the tiny fraction of your photos that I have caught are dreamily outstanding. It’s an absolute pleasure to see what you come up with.

      • You are welcome, Hilary.
        It has ben tough to keep both running.
        I am enjoying the course because I am learning new things, and stretching my ‘hands’ muscles’, by writing things I would not normally do.
        Contrary to our past course, there isn’t much of a community in The Commons and people don’t comment often on each other’s posts.
        I haven’t seen much of the editor either except from delivering the daily assignment.
        One of the most important features of the courses is missing, as I described above. I am getting more feedback from my regular followers.
        The course tasks is the daily post and you can try some of the tasks too, without registering for the course. It won’t make a difference!
        Thanks for visiting and for such a lovely comment! Always nice to have you here.

        • Interesting about the course. I wonder why that community is not there? I agree that having people comment and support each other is really important. The commons was my favorite part of the courses when it worked and having interaction with the course leaders was a treat. It felt like, well, a community!
          That’s a good point about doing the course tasks without signing up. I want to try writing shorter pieces anyway. I tend to embellish, which I enjoy doing, but then it takes me a couple of days to finish a post and sometimes I simply want to post!

          • I am still wondering! Might be just a coincidence.
            I do miss the same type of community spirit we had, there.
            I really recommend doing the tasks alone. You can even do it in your way, without feeling pressure.
            If that’s how you like writing, relax, and do as you want!! It should be fun.

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