Guess what is FINALLY finished after approximately 15 months?!

That’s right, my very first Crochet blanket! 

I am so happy with how it turned out. The colours looks great together. Not to mention I am rather proud of the fact I finished it after all this time! It is now being put to very good use.

I should also mention it is very cozy and Tobi-approved! 


September has turned out to be a very busy, very interesting month to say the least. A lot has been going on and a lot has happened, and I’ve been doing a bit of adjusting.

The biggest thing that has happened is I finally made the decision to speak to my doctor about medication for my depression. My doctor was very receptive and listened to my concerns and asked appropriate questions. He agreed that medication was a reasonable option, and I walked out of my appointment with a prescription he felt would be a good fit for me. I started the medication that very day and haven’t looked back. I started noticing improvements around the four-week mark, just as my doctor said I should. Here I am almost 6 weeks later, doing better and feeling better than I’ve felt in a very long time…

…Aside from my stupid foot! Earlier in the summer I did something to my foot and initially it was no big deal, but it progressively got worse (mostly because I kept walking and didn’t rest it; my fault, I know). Earlier this month I finally started taking it easy and lo and behold! It started feeling better! Then, just shy of two weeks ago, I had to run to catch a bus to make it to an appointment on time. As I was running (of course I was wearing flip flops), I felt a horrible twinge in that very same foot and it starting hurting again just as much, if not worse than before. I felt like I just couldn’t win! So, as it turns out I strained my foot. Bye bye flip flops for the rest of the season! It has been less than a week wearing my cute and comfy polka dot shoes and my foot is already feeling better. it is amazing how a minor change can manage that! Anyway, foot is officially on the mend and I will be walking 10,000 steps a day again in no time. That makes me very happy.

Unlike the close call I’ve had with Tobi this month! My poor sweet fat cat has had a rough go. Tobi started acting a bit unlike herself, agitated and such. She was also a lot less snuggly, but she was eating and drinking fine so I just kept an eye on her. THEN she had a couple accidents. It was time to go to the dreaded vet, as she NEVER does her business outside of her box, nor does she leave it uncovered. I knew something was up and had a pretty solid idea of what it was. It’s not a new issue for her. She needed or bum squeezed again (a.k.a. her anal glands expressed). Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like and it is exactly as gross, but it helps my baby. She went in two Saturdays ago, and I am SO thankful I talked a friend into coming with me. The tears started flowing as soon as I heard her start to cry. It had to have been painful. THEN the veterinarian came out and told me that when she expressed them, one of Tobi’s glands was about to rupture it was so full. It was a super close call. The vet put her on antibiotics to prevent infection, and a new food to help with the root of the issue. I felt so bad for her. It was a lot to go through. The good news is a week and a half later, she is back to her old self and is more snuggly and active than ever! I am hoping for no more close calls with her. I’ve had 8 great years with her and I want a MINIMUM of 8 more!

In other news, I started a bullet journal earlier this month and I freaking love it. Not only is it helping me keep better track of appointments and events, it is helping me to keep track of daily tasks, habits, and the nice little things that happen in a day that we often forget. It is also allowing me to get creative with decorating it! October is almost upon us, and I will be making a few tweaks for October that will hopefully help keep my reboot on track. It’s a small thing, but it has created a huge positive change for me. I like positive change.

I also started my second course for my CIP (Chartered Insurance Professional) designation. Let me tell you, this one just dove right in! There is a ton of material being covered, and I already have my hands full. I am pretty sure I will have to put in a lot more effort than I did for the last one. That’s okay though. It’s nice to sort of have that feeling of being in school and learning again. Especially that learning part…Even if it is the driest subject matter know to man… I kid, I kid. Or do I?

And guess what?! My new computer is close at hand! I had a small setback in timeframe due to Tobi’s impromptu almost emergency trip to the vet, but things are back on track again and I dont have to wait too much longer before I have the money available – probably only a month or so. It will be VERY exciting to have a computer I can play games on and use Photoshop and Office without it freezing on me every little while. Don’t get me wrong, my MacBook has served me well these past several years, but it has done its time. I am ready for a change (and a computer I can play World of Warcraft on again)!

Along with the resurrection of weekend MTG nights with Steph and reading more than I have in a long time, and weekly Alice visits, I have managed to keep incredibly busy. Super awesome nerd-friend-coworker is doing the CIP class with me, and I think it’s going to really help with motivation and keeping up my studies for this term’s class. Some apple-y goodness may also be in the near future now that autumn has arrived, and probably a trip to Sparta too. In all reality though, I am looking forward to the fall wind-down and some cozy nights in. I want to get back into blogging more regularly and I think that just might be the time to do it.


Today is a big day for me. Today marks one year in my apartment, and therefore a full year on my own. I can’t help but think about how far I’ve come, and I can’t help but be proud of myself. It has been a learning experience and some things are still a challenge, but I feel confident in my abilities to handle anything that may come my way at this point.

A year later, I still love my apartment and have no intentions of moving anytime soon. I am ever thankful to my dear friend who found the ad for it on Kijiji and encouraged me to check it out. It is Tobi’s and my home sweet home and my favourite place to be.

I still don’t feel like I am ready to date again, but I am okay with that. I am still rather enjoying being single! And I have met and made some amazing new friends that really make my life worthwhile. I have also become closer with friends who have been in my life for years and that just makes things even better.

I have a bit of excitement ahead of me over the next few weeks. I will have my new computer soon! In a couple of weeks, I will be going with some friends to purchase the parts and then they will be building it for me. I am SO looking forward to being able to play PC games again. I already have a monitor courtesy of a wonderful coworker, so aside from my tower all I will need is a keyboard. I will be retiring my 7 year old MacBook Pro as soon as this all happens. The battery has started bulging again, and with the age of it I decided I would no longer be worthwhile to just replace the battery again (a third one!), when I’ve been talking about upgrading for ages. It will be a happy day when I can log into World of Warcraft again! 

Anyways, I am going to enjoy the rest of my anniversary evening. I will probably watch some Merlin, maybe read a bit…

Oh! Before I go, I haven’t introduced the latest in my POP! collection:

Tuxedo Mask, Luna and Sailor Moon!

Aren’t they just the best?!

Life Reboot Take Two – An Update 

It’s been two months since Life Reboot Take Two was published on May 15, 2016.The first few weeks were off to a great start, especially regarding food and eating and physical activity. I made it to 10,000 steps in a day for the first time, and actually lost about five pounds! Alas, in June and early July it all fell apart. June was the busiest and most stressful month of 2016 for me, and it really had a detrimental effect. I gained back the weight I lost and then a bit more as a result. I also had some very frustrating issues with my Fitbit which now seem to be resolved. I struggled a lot with having no real consistency in my routine. I wrote the final exam for my CIP course on July 4, and took a few days to recover. This week I am ready to get things back on track. Let’s take a detailed look at how I did with each item I put on my list:

Drink less pop

I did really well with this in those initial few weeks. I only had at most a 591ml bottle once a week; usually just a can. This was in comparison to 2-3 per week or maybe even more. Unfortunately, during June it all went out the window. I turned to pop for a caffeine boost over coffee. It was less intense and I was out of coffee for most of the month anyway. It was just a bad scene all around. 

Goal: Get back down to a maximum of one can of pop per week. 

Read more

This item went completely the opposite way of my first item. During the first few weeks I read a few pages here and there, which was already more than I was reading previously. It seemed like as I got more stressed, the more I was inclined to read. By the end of June I had finished three books, and made a good dent in The Goldfinch as well.

Goal: Read 100 more pages of The Goldfinch by the end of July.

Write more 

I tried, but didn’t write quite as much as I’d have liked. I worked at journaling a bit, but I didn’t have a whole lot of luck. Through June, I stopped writing completely aside from jotting down the odd to-do list. I picked up with the journaling a bit post-final, but not by much. 

Goal: Write a minimum of half a page each day in my notebook, publish one more blog post in July.

Sleep better/more

I have not been sleeping better OR more all along. The more stressed I got the later I stayed up and the more poorly I slept. 

Goal: Find a sustainable bedtime and wake up time and keep it up for one month. 

Practice better self care

I really need to do a better job at this. It just isn’t happening at this point. 

Goal: Take a minimum of 10 minutes each day to check in with and look after myself.

Eat better foods in more reasonable portions

I did great initially, but again, fell off the wagon once the pressure mounted. I started taking the easy ways out again – ordering take out and the like. I’m still not completely comfortable with cooking for one, and that needs to happen as well.

Goal: No more ordering in/eating out in July and no more than twice in August. 

Exercise more

I got off to a great start with being more active and I really enjoyed it. I started with my main focus being a 10,000 step per goal. That went pretty well until around mid-June or so, when I started encountering some serious issues with the accuracy of my Fitbit. Step goals faltered then, but according to my phone I was still managing about 7000 steps each day without really trying. I even added some periodic workouts. This has continued to slow down and decrease though as it has been quite hot and not exactly ideal for walking. 

Goal: Work back up to 10,000 steps a day, 2 workouts per week (yoga or otherwise).

July 11th was the first day I really focused on turning things back around. On that day alone I grocery shopped, cooked a healthy dinner, did a workout, wrote a bit in my notebook, didn’t drink any pop, and read a few pages of a new book borrowed from a coworker. I am working now to find a new balance, and hopefully one that sticks. I have been writing on a daily basis since the 11th. It is just journaling, but we all need a starting point right? This is a good sign!

I had a lot of other thoughts over this period of time that seem rather pertinent to this reboot. Firstly, that I am thankful for my coworker and super awesome need-friend Jen for being so supportive through all of the stress and whatnot throughout June. I was struggling and had it not been for her, I don’t think I’d have managed nearly as well as I did. I am going to try a new approach going forward: smaller goals that work toward the main goals of this reboot. I am hoping that smaller concrete goals will be more effective than the all-encompassing goals of the reboot as a whole. These smaller goals are what I wrote down after my recap of each large goal above. I may even come up with some small daily goals to keep me even more motivated. 

On another note, this week I am one year single and on own. Some of the memories popping up on Facebook right now are hard to see. I am keeping my head up however, and doing well overall. I have my home (which I love), I also my cat (whom I love arguably more than life itself), I am doing the things I want to do and that make me happy, I am happy at my job (even if it does get stressful at times), and I am (mostly) happy with myself. I have nothing of substance to complain about! 

Anyway, stay tuned for another update in the near future! 

Catching Up

The last few months have been a whirlwind. Event after event has taken place, and I have just had so much going on I haven’t found the time to sit down and chronicle it all. That is the case, yes, but I also made the conscious decision to be as present as I could possibly be for it all. There were happy and fun moments, frustrating moments, stressful moments… I experienced it all through the eyes of someone who was actually there for it all and not worrying about something like writing a blog post about it just to stick to a schedule I created for myself in my head. Things have slowed down, and now I am finally back to enjoy the summer and get back to some of the little things I do really enjoy like blogging. It’s time to catch up now! And catching up takes us back to the end of April…

On April 30, an event took place in London called the London Game Crawl. It took place on International Table Top Day and it was all quite fitting. It was my first event with a new friend: Jen, a coworker at my new job whom I discovered is a) super awesome and b) a fellow nerd. Since then we have done tons of things and had lots of fun together… But back to the Game Crawl now. Several local shops participated and we played lots of games and even collected a free London Game Crawl edition of the game Love Letter for attending. It was a lot of fun.

On Friday May 6, I met several more new people as I went to see Captain America: Civil War with Jen and her husband and daughter and several of their friends. GREAT MOVIE and great company as well. The next day was Free Comic Book Day and I met up with Jen and a few others bright and early in the morning for the festivities. I pulled out the TARDIS dress and my light-up headband and didn’t feel the tiniest bit out-of-place. We managed to make it to every comic book shop that was participating in FCBD, while also avoiding the rain, and discovering a great local restaurant. I even ran into another friend from my old job who was dressed up as well! It was a great day all around.

Next up was my first game night with my new friends. We played a game we had discovered at the game crawl called Camel Up. Basically, you’re betting on a camel race and you win money based on how well you bet. It is a ton of fun with the right people, and I was definitely playing with the right people! I ended up live-tweeting the game because it was so hilarious. You can find those tweets looking back in my twitter feed to the right of this post.

Things just kept getting busier from this point on. I think June of 2016 was one of the busiest months I have ever had in my life. I wrote a midterm for my CIP class at the beginning of the month which I did very well on. I attended the Gathering on the Green in Wortley Village, I went to my first Paint Nite event with my friend Ash, I went to a couple more game nights, I went to see a live band on the beach in Port Stanley, I planned and executed a surprise birthday party for my Mom’s 50th with the help of my sister and my stepdad, I took my dad to a baseball game and then my sister and I took him out for dinner afterward for Fathers’ Day, I attended the Ingersoll Relay for Life for the first time as a member of my niece’s team, I went to my first Staff Appreciation Day with my new employer, attended the London International Food Festival and a cookout at a friend’s place, and all the while I was studying for my final for my CIP course which took place just two days ago. Oh, and I donated blood somewhere in there too. I have been a very busy girl! But it was all a ton of fun and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The reasons for my long absence…in a nutshell. I’m nervous about my final, but I won’t find out how I did for probably a month or so. Since I have to wait so long, there is really no point in working myself up over it. I have a life to live, though hopefully not so crazy a one as I have been living up to this point this summer.

I have also been trying to focus on my second attempt at a life reboot. As you can probably imagine, I have been doing well with some things but not with others. I am attributing much of it to the stress I was putting myself through while trying to study and prepare for my exam. Turns out that after a seven-year break from writing them, I get some massive test anxiety when they come back around! That stress made a number of other things harder as well.I am hoping though, that now I know what to expect, the next one won’t be so bad.

I’ve been crocheting a bit, but I haven’t made much progress on my blanket for quite a long time. Most recently I have been working on dish cloths: a set for my mom for her birthday, and a set for my sister as a housewarming gift since she moved recently.

Work has been going well; I am transitioning a bit as the way things work was changed just this week. Tobi is doing well too! She is as snuggly and adorable as ever. We have had a great time just chilling out together over the past couple of days.

Oh! And I can’t forget the latest little bit of geek that has joined my collection! Here they are:

Here’s to the rest summer of exciting weekends and being busy, but not TOO busy.

Life Reboot Take Two

About six months or so ago, maybe more now, I was inspired by Wil Wheaton to reboot my life just as he did his. While he has been successful overall, my own reboot was dismal. I have fail pretty miserably on all but one item: using my phone more appropriately. Yay for me, I guess?

I’m feeling worse physically than I did when I set up my original version of this. This time I desperately need to start making some massive, very drastic changes in my lifestyle. It’s time to genuinely live for myself and my health and try not to let my anxiety and depression get in the way of things like I did last time. It’s funny (funny-frustrating not funny-haha) that these are things that will help me improve my overall mental health, and yet my mental illness doesn’t want me to do these things. Mental illness, especially depression is an asshole, yo. But this is my time to win, to beat this asshole for real. I want to not only feel better, I want to BE better, and happy and healthy in my body. It was a huge eye opener for me when I realized that doing laundry was a struggle for me when it wasn’t not so long ago. I really wanted to cry about it, but didn’t and I won’t. I’m fixing it instead.

As a first step in fixing how I feel, I want to try this again. Sadly though, I’ve really been beating myself up a lot over it, and the self-loathing is hanging like a massive dark cloud over the whole project. I hope that writing about this will help me work through those feelings, I know I can’t possibly be the only one struggling with this sort of things. I’m really hopefully that writing about both the struggle and my progress will help me work through the whole larger problem – working through severe lack of motivation due to depression…anxiety…illness…feeling bad physically…etc…etc…etc…

So, let’s start with a new list of things in my life that need rebooting:

Drink less pop

In my original reboot, I had “drink less pop and coffee” on the list. I was drinking far too much of both. Caffeine in the coffee was doing bad things to me, and pop is…well, pop. It’s basically a ton of sugar and is completely detrimental to what I am trying to accomplish for myself here. Looking back, I was actually very successful in cutting back on coffee. I now only drink caffeinated coffee periodically on weekends or on especially bad mornings, while I normally drink decaf coffee most of the time I choose to have a coffee. The struggle now is cutting back on drinking pop. I drink far too much of it. I am having a can or a bottle of it two to three times a week. That is far too often. My goal is to make pop more of an occasional beverage, rather than a regular one. I intend to replace it with water and/or tea. I have started buying lemon to spice up the flavour of the water, and the majority of the teas I have are decaf and/or herbal and overall very healthy. I also intend to increase my daily intake of water to approximately 2 litres ideally. Putting less sugar into my body should have a multi-faceted result: decreased anxiety, and helping jump-start weight loss. Drinking more water should help get my metabolism going as well as decrease water retention. I struggle with swelling hands and feet periodically. The whole change should be a winning one.

Read more

This one was on the list for my original reboot as well. I’ve been trying to read more for ages, even after it was apparently my original reboot was an utter failure. It has been shockingly difficult even though reading has been one of my favourite things since I first learned how to read. Over the past months, I did start paying attention to possible reasons WHY I was reading as much as I would like. I came to a surprising realization, something I didn’t expect: I spend a lot of time in front of the TV watching/catching up on TV shows. Somehow TV had become a higher priority than reading. I’ve also developed an annoying habit of starting books and then forgetting about them. I think, to be successful with this list item, I need to focus on changing these habits. I need to and will be focusing a lot less on watching television and more on trying to read a few pages here and there when I have a free few minutes. I also plan to finish the books I’ve started and forgotten before I move on to the rest of my to-read list. I have high hopes I will be more successful with this list item since I have pinpointed the major issues that were curbing my potential success in the past. Next will just be making time regularly to pick up my book/e-reader.

Write more

I have had a bit more success with this list item relatively recently, actually. From early March to early April, I actually participated in a 30-day writing challenge. Over those 30 days I wrote at least a few lines every day and it felt great. I haven’t done quite as well as that since the challenge ended, but I have found myself putting a lot more planning and passion into posts for my blog, with some of them taking days or even weeks (like this one! I’ve been working on this post for close to a month now!) to be written to my satisfaction. I guess you could say I’ve been feeling something along the lines of “inspired”, and when it comes to writing from and about life. I also think the quality of my writing has greatly improved. With this list item, I would like to start writing at least a few lines each day, as well as publish posts to my blog on a weekly basis at least. It’s a tall order for me, but I think it is something that will be easy to keep up with once I get into a routine. I’m excited to pick things up with this because it’s another thing I love.

Sleep better/more

I feel like the general consensus on this one is no one seems to get enough sleep or good quality sleep. I can definitely say I am one of those people who doesn’t get nearly enough good quality sleep. I’ve been working on that in general because sleep is super important. I’ve been trying to get to bed at a reasonable hour, and not consume any caffeine of any kind (if I do that day) after noon. I have noticed some improvement, but I feel like I still have a long way to go. I plan to try some different things to try and be successful with this list item – they include aromatherapy, and creating a bedtime routine to stick to. I am also hoping that I will be able to find a way to keep track of the quality of sleep I get. Adding these, or variations of these to my plans for better sleep will be a winning combination.

Practice better self-care

This is something I don’t do well with. I never seem to take great care of myself and it’s something that causes me a lot of problems along the way. Not practicing self-care leads to breakdowns related especially to my anxiety; it leads me to isolating myself from my friends and family when things get bad, it leads to not eating well, not sleeping well, and a boatload of other things. It’s just not pretty when I don’t practice self-care regularly. So, for this list item I will be putting more effort into self-care; doing things that are good for me, good for my body. In putting together this new collection of things to reboot in my life, I did notice an interesting overlap: all of the things I will be doing fall under the umbrella of self-care in one way or another.  Adding the specific list item though, creates intention to work harder at it in the other ways that are not included in the list. I need to remember to do more things that make me feel good about myself: hair appointments are a perfect example. If I don’t love my hair, I am definitely less happy with myself. I love experimenting and trying new things with my hair, so it’s something that is important and therefore something I can’t forget to do. There are other things, but this is a very easy example. I am also going to revisit the list of self-care items I developed with my therapist, as I found it very helpful. Self-care needs to be a priority and I intend to make it happen!

Eat better foods in more reasonable portions

This exact item was on the previous list. It makes its return because I have failed this one miserably and continue to do so. Living on my own has made this one incredibly difficult because it is SO hard to find the motivation to cook for one. I’ve done tons of reading on ways to make it easier but they haven’t done a thing to motivate me. At this point, I think I have to find/develop the motivation from within. This is going to be hard. It also seems, through a bit of research (admittedly though, not a doctor diagnosis) that I may struggle with disordered eating, so this list item is two-fold: eat better by cooking more for myself, and create new healthy eating habits by overcoming this disordered eating. I don’t think this item will be easy for me at all. To help me get started though, I made myself a colourful little poster with a list of reasons why I should cook for myself at home rather than order take out. I think it is a good jumping-off point for me. The first step is to get me to stop ordering and cook for myself. I’ll admit though, this item may be one of the most difficult.

Exercise more

This final item was also on the previous list. It’s also another item I miserably failed at for a number of reasons. For one, I am not an athletic person.  I’m much more the clumsy type. And the biggest reason: again, with the lack of motivation. I’ve done many things in many attempts to get moving more. I bought a gym membership. That was the biggest step I’ve taken toward exercising more. Turns out, I do not enjoy the gym and therefore hasn’t worked out so great so far. I am going to give it another go though, I think. Most recently though, as in within the past couple of weeks, I think I discovered the key to keep up my motivation to move. I am in a fitness group on Facebook, and not only are they very encouraging, but a large number of people in that group swear by their Fitbits. About a week ago, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I installed the Fitbit app, which can still be used with just my phone and no device linked to it. I found it to be excellent. Through my phone it was able track basic stats like steps taken (as long as I keep my phone on my person) and distance travelled. It was really neat to see. Having these stats at my fingertips seems to be the key to keeping me motivated. I also participated in my first couple of challenges. I was in a challenge last Thursday with seven other people, and WOW, all I wanted to do was move! It felt fantastic. With the success of it using my phone only, this weekend I went out and bought an actual Fitbit device. I mulled over which model to get for several days and finally settled on the Fitbit Alta. I’ve been using it since Saturday afternoon and I LOVE IT. In the short time since I’ve been using Fitbit I have already increased my average number of steps per day from 4000 to 5000. I have a long way to go to the doctor-recommended 10,000 steps per day, and I also need to start exercising and sweating much more frequently. The cool thing is Fitbit can track that too. Awesome! It seems that I have found the key to getting me to move more, and that is so important right now. It’s a great start to exercising more.

And so, there we have it: a new and improved life reboot list. I am going to keep track properly this time because I want to make real progress. I want to be happier and healthier, and it has become such an important thing for me. I’m 30 now, and if I don’t take control of things nothing is going to get better. I will continue to feel terrible, I will gain weight, my health will deteriorate… I don’t want any of these things to happen. My goal is to be the happiest and healthiest I have ever been and to develop new healthy habits to keep it going. Being successful in this, I will also be in a much better mental and emotional state than I have ever been and that is definitely something to look forward to. Here’s to my second stab at a life reboot!

Probably the most recent photo I have of myself. I don’t feel great about it, but I am ready to change that with this “reboot”. We’ll call it the starting photo…



Mothers’ Day

This is a particularly particular Mothers’ Day for me. No, I didn’t become a mom… That’s just not in the cards for me. I mean, sure, I’m a fur-mom, but I’ve been one for over a decade. I’m talking about in regards to MY mom. 

A lot, and I mean A LOT has happened over the past several months. I think, we are looking at 10.5 months… Oh hell, let’s just go with the past year. I went through a lot. I became single again, I had to get my financials sorted out, I was temporarily homeless, I had to move out completely on my own for the first time (in the past it’s always been sharing a place with a roommate or significant other), I had to find a new job because my job at the time wasn’t a) paying me enough or b) making me happy, and I grew a lot as a person. And you know who was there by my side for it all? MY MOM. 

She was there to move me and my things on the day I moved out of the apartment I shared with my ex, she was there when I talked to the bank to get everything sorted out financially, she helped me look for a new home, she looked after my cat while I was in between places, she gave a me a place to stay, she helped me look at potential new homes, and once I got a place, she helped me move in. She was a huge support in my job search, which successfully landed me a new job very quickly. A job where I am much happier. Without my mom, I couldn’t have done any of it. Without her total support, her encouraging words, none of it would have happened as quickly or as successfully as it did. Because of her support, I was in a position to be able to provide some similar support to my sister when she needed to move herself. And I don’t think Mom realizes how much that all means to me. 

So, Happy Mothers’ Day, Mom. And THANK YOU for being so supportive and for everything. Period. I love you. 

Busy Busy Busy

I’ve had two great blog posts in the works for the past few weeks, but I just haven’t had a chance to put the time into them to really make them great. I’ve really been putting a lot into my posts recently and I’m really proud of them. I don’t want to publish something I don’t think is worthwhile. 

Anyway, to the reason WHY I haven’t had a chance to put the time into those posts I’d like to: homework! I am currently taking a class that is work-related, working toward my CIP (Chartered Insurance Professional) designation. While I’ve taken free online courses over the last couple of years, this course is the first course to come close to my single class workload from when I was in university! I have a three-hour virtual class to attend every week, two assignments to complete over the time I am in the course, I have to write a midterm and a final exam as well. Not only that, but my anal-retentiveness over having perfect notes still stands. I submitted my first assignment last weekend and received a perfect grade on it, and that has helped me get back into the saddle with studying. When my course began three weeks ago, I had no idea how things would go as I hadn’t been in a proper class setting for almost seven years! I’ve been stressed about it, but I’m ready to take this class by the horns now. My next assignment is due in a week and a half and I write my midterm at the beginning of June. The tricky part seems to be balancing working full time with the course load as well as still having a life. Tricky, but doable with effort. I debated taking two classes this term, but I am SO glad I didn’t. 

I guess, in essence, what I am saying is if I’m not working on homework for this course, I’m trying to relax a little bit with what little free time I have, or I am sleeping! Since this class started, I’ve taken two days off from it. I’ve done work on it every day aside from those two. I’m hoping over the next week I can put some more work into at least one of the posts I’ve been working on. I’m so excited for you all to see these blog posts I’ve had up my sleeve. 

Tobi has been a huge help with all the school work. I just thought I’d add…

Family Outings FTW: Ripley’s Aquarium

This weekend past was a whirlwind. A lot happened and it was way fun, especially Saturday. Months ago I was approached by mom asking if I would be interested in a trip to Ripley’s Aquarium. I have never been, so I of course said yes. Turns out my stepdad’s work was organizing a group trip to the aquarium by bus and it was open to employees’ families. It cost the very reasonable price of $20.00. It was very easy to get on board with, as regular admission is about $30.00 for the day. This $20.00 also included transportation by fancy road coach.

The date for the trip was this past Saturday: April 16. In preparation, I decided to rent a car so I wouldn’t be dependent on my mom and stepdad for transportation to and from Ingersoll. Since my sister is now in London as well, having started her new job here, I ended up being chauffeur to her and her boyfriend for the weekend too. I picked up my rental Friday evening after work, and discovered just how tricky my parking sport actually is to get in and out of. A bit of practice would have had me parking like a pro, but I had places to be… like a hair appointment. My hair dresser worked her magic yet again, and then I took the care out to get some more practice driving since it’s been months since I last drove. I went to St. Thomas and visited Jess and we drove around for awhile to get a feel for my car. I then headed home and chilled and packed for the weekend, as I spent the night at my mom and stepdad’s Saturday night.

We woke up bright and early Saturday morning to head to Ingersoll. Luckily, my sister’s boyfriend just came here after he was done work so we were all in one place.  We were on the road by 6:30am and made it to Ingersoll in good time. We were able to pick up some breakfast and coffee at good ol’ Tim Hortons before we arrived at the house. We waited for my stepsister and niece at the house and then we all made out way out to the plant together, where we were meeting the bus. img_3161We arrived with plenty of time to spare and we all boarded the “cool” bus (a.k.a. the London Knights bus). This trip was also cool because it was the first time our whole blended family went on an outing together. My mom, stepdad, both step sisters, my sister, her boyfriend, and my two nieces were all there. The only person missing was my nephew, but he was ill and wasn’t able to come.img_3233

The buses departed shortly after 8:00am and we made our way down the 401 to Toronto, and then into the downtown core where the aquarium is located. It was all very exciting. We were able to skip the lines and head right in thanks to our advance tickets. Right from the very start my youngest niece was mesmerized by all the colourful fish. That was kind of short-lived, because once she turned around and realized there was more to see, she forgot all about the tiny aquarium in the entrance. It was the cutest thing!

We went through the first half of the aquarium and saw some pretty cool stuff. There were eels, and lobsters, and octopi…among many many others. img_3176The highlight for my oldest niece was the “Dory fish”, actually a royal blue tang or surgeonfish; the name of which was one of img_3213the many things I learned that day. The highlight of the first half of the aquarium for me were the sharks and the sea turtles. They had many species of sharks and it was very cool to see several species that I recognized. I managed a great “shark selfie” and took a beautiful photo of one of the turtles. img_3217It was easy to focus on the life around us while we were going through, as we were on a nifty moving sidewalk for the majority of the exhibit. It was all very cool.

After we finished going through the first half of the exhibit, we took a break for lunch in the lounge/canteen/play area. Food was for the most part reasonably priced, and not terrible either. We ate and chatted, as it felt good to sit down even if it wasn’t for too long. After she was done eating, my youngest niece wanted to go play, so I went with her so her mom could finish eating. We touched horseshoe crabs (well, I touched, she watched very intently), we went into a mock-submarine and watched the fish swim around us (and she posed for a cute little photo), and we went down a huge lobster-shaped slide. Well, it was huge for her, not so much for me. She insisted that we go down together, so i popped her into my lap and down we went. I bumped my head a few times on the way down, but her reaction made it well worth it. She was laughing so hard by the time we came out the bottom of the slide! After that, we rejoined the crew and continued on to the next half of the aquarium.

img_3247We saw sea horses and sea dragons, anemones and sea stars, rays and jellies. It was really quite impressive.  Part way through, we even had a family photo taken! By the gift shop, we were even able to touch the rays (stingrays with their barb removed) that came to the surface of their tank. It was around this time my youngest niece passed out in her mom’s lap. She was exhausted by all the excitement! The rest of us browsed the gift shop, or hung around the ray tank touching the rays as they went by. I purchased a stuffed sea turtle and a very pretty, very large wine glass for myself. I can’t wait to use the glass!img_3266

The whole crew was flagging a bit by this time, so we went for a bit of a walk in downtown Toronto looking for somewhere to get coffee. Luckily we found a Starbucks not too far off. We had coffee for us “adults” and juice for the kids, and we sat and chatted and rested a bit. A lot of people were in the area because the Raptors were playing basically next door to where we were having our coffee. Tons of people were surrounding the big screen outside the Air Canada Centre. They were just starting to disperse as we started to walk back to the aquarium to wait for our coach to pick us up. We sat outside and enjoyed the sun until it did arrive, which wasn’t long after.

The bus ride home was longer and very quiet as everyone was exhausted. I even had a short nap. It was a very fun day for everyone involved. Something we will hopefully be able to do again in the future.

What’s Up on the Gaming Front

I’ve been gaming on my Xbox 360 a lot more lately, and I’ve been enjoying it quite a lot. I have been splitting my time between two games for the most part. The games are: Shadow of Mordor and The Witcher 2. Neither game is particularly new; The Witcher 2 was released in 2012, and Shadow of Mordor was released in late 2014. I’ve been buying my games used due to budgetary limitations, something I love about the 360. $20.00 per game is A LOT nicer than $60.00 or more! I’ve been focusing on console gaming because my laptop is getting on in years (purchased in October of 2009), and though it still works great, it no longer meets the minimum requirements for the PC games I want to play. In that past, I’ve preferred PC gaming, and gamed solely on PC up until my laptop was unable to do the job. These days the console gaming is really growing on me. I’m really loving my Xbox 360 and am now planning to upgrade as soon as  I am able, as I am also planning to do with my PC. THEN I will have the best of both worlds!

In terms of console gaming, Action RPG games seem to be my jam. I have a lot of trouble with first-person shooters because playing them makes me nauseous… Motion sickness or something. The gameplay in The Witcher 2 and Shadow of Mordor is very pleasant in comparison. For a long time, I was afraid I would never be able to play console games! It’s a bit of relief for me that isn’t the case.

I was thinking of reviewing these games and sharing my experiences, but I think I am going to wait until I am finished playing them. I guess I mostly just wanted to share the direction my video gaming has gone lately.

I haven’t been solely playing video games, by the way. In tabletop gaming, I’ve been a lot less busy than I have in the past, but things are starting to pick up again. I’ve introduced some more friends to Cards Against Humanity. Yay! They, of course, knew of the game but had never played it before. It was a great time. I have since bought the first expansion, so the next time I play the game (with whichever friends I end up playing with) things are sure to get interesting. I’m excited that there are blank cards in the expansion so we will be able to add our own if we have some awesome ideas, which WILL happen! I think the regular game nights will be picking up as well. Last weekend I was back at Magic: The Gathering at my friend at her place, involving lots of wine. It felt great to be playing again after what felt like ages. The typical little weird things happened, including her kicking my ass for the first time! img_3086But that wasn’t the really interesting weird thing: We each use a D20 as a life counter, and we roll them to see who goes first when we start our first game of the night. Whoever rolls the highest goes first. This time, we both rolled and on the first we each rolled a 16, so we went again. THIS TIME, we both rolled a 12. It was super strange. Finally, we both rolled a third time and I rolled and 5 and she rolled a 4. Even the third roll was only one number off. It was just strange. It ended up being a great game though, so I really won’t complain about it. I can only hope things are this interesting the next time we get together to play again.

I’ve been talking to some friends and it sounds like game nights will be happening more often overall. I’m looking forward to it. I love having people to play my tabletop games with. I especially love having reasons to expand my collection of games!