Handy person?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Canadian holidays, we just celebrated Victoria Day, or “May 2-4.” It’s the first long weekend of the summer season, and usually marks the beginning of summer festivals locally. A lot of people go camping, others party, and still others use it as an opportunity to start gardens or plant fields and the like. I, on the other hand, used this long weekend to build a long-awaited headboard for my bedroom. 

With the help of my dad, we built a headboard from scratch. From buying the raw materials (wood, stain, screws, etc.) to cutting, sanding and finishing the wood, all the way to assembly and installation. It was fun and exciting, but also exhausting and much more physical work than I have been used to. I am only just getting back to semi-normal energy levels, so it still took a whole  lot out of me. I am, however, very happy that it’s done. I can assure that the cats are happy about it as well. They are finally starting to relax again and so am I. 

See the journey in photographs from end to start below! 

Superhero Weekend 2017

This past weekend was what I like to call “Superhero Weekend.” Not only does the latest big superhero movie usually open on this weekend every year, but it is also Free Comic Book Day on Saturday. Hooray for the first weekend in May being so awesome! And now, to chronicle it: 

It all started on Friday night after work, from which Jen (super awesome nerd-friend!) and I left a bit earlier than usual. We went to pick up her daughter and another friend before we picked her husband up from work and headed off to dinner. 

We had dinner at Under the Volcano, a local Mexican restaurant that makes some pretty delicious food. Because we had the movie to make, we called ahead and had a table reserved for us so we could get in and out quickly, which we did. Service was excellent, and the server was even jealous of what were up to that night. 

From Under the Volcano we headed straight to the theatre for our opening night viewing of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. We settled into our comfy reclining seats with our awesome movie theatre popcorn and drinks, for the one of the most anticipated movies this year. 

The movie was fantastic. Very enjoyable, especially with Baby Groot stealing the show! I won’t go into detail, because spoilers. 

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The next day was Free Comic Book Day, however, the weather was less than ideal, and Jen’s husband was unwell. Nevertheless, we three women took on The day ourselves. We did get off to a late start, but that was okay. We did things backwards from what we normally do and it worked in our favour. We avoided a few lines in Old East at Neo Tokyo and The Comic Collector, and stood in a shorter line at Worlds Away – we were in line for a half hour tops. Things went rather smoothly. 

Just as we were about to get into Worlds Away, my dad called, and we ended up meeting for lunch once we were done at the shop. Jen and Jose took the opportunity to go home and check in there to make sure all was well. 

We met back up downtown, where I got a “Joker” frappucino while I waited for them to join me in line at Heroes. It was delicious, and I hadn’t been in line long before they found me! The dreary weather worked in our favour again here, in the longest line also. Short wait times were the only reason I think we were able to complete the whole Comic Book Crossover! After finishing at Heroes (where I won a prize!), we made our way down the street to visit a friend at Über Cool Stuff and then around the corner and down the street to LA Mood. There was no lineup here, so we were in and out quickly, and were able to make our way to the last stop: the library. 

Unfortunately, we missed all of the activities at the library, but we were able to get our final stamps and submit our ballot for the prize draw. From there, we made a quick pit stop for a fun purchase and headed home. Despite the weather, it made for an excellent day. 

Hooray for Superhero Weekend  2017!

I think I need to try harder…

Wow. I am really not delivering on my goal to publish at least twice a month… At least I have an excuse this time, I guess? Sorta?

Most of the month of April involved dealing with some (what I originally though were) minor health concerns: fatigue, lethargy, semi-unusual aches and pains, etc.  They were causing me enough problems to affect my daily life, so I figured I should probably get checked out just in case. What I expected to be a simple, by the books doctor appointment ended with me having to go for testing for several conditions, including but not limited to rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. My doctor even booked my follow up appointment for me before I even left the exam room. This in combination with his urgency that I go get the blood work done as soon as possible, had me freaked right out. I went for my blood work the following morning and settled in to wait the LONG week before my follow up appointment. During that week, after researching (THANKS, ANXIETY), I almost had myself convinced I had lupus! It was good news, however, when I walked into my doctor appointment the following week. As it turns out, I am quite anemic. Who knew an iron deficiency could actually have serious effects on your life! Since then, I have been on some heavy duty iron supplements, and I am finally starting to notice improvements. I don’t think I have ever been so relieved as I was on that day. Knowing that I am dealing with something that can be fixed with a supplement is a huge stress release.

Before the doctor scared the poopers out of me, I actually made some minor upgrades around home. A new dresser, a bookcase replaced, a new vacuum cleaner… things of that nature. It has felt really good to make these changes around my home and update it a bit. I’ll have lived here for two years come July, and it was time for some little changes to be made. I also have plans to build a new headboard for my bed sometime this summer. I think it is going to be amazing. I can’t wait to have things exactly how I want them!

Along with these minor upgrades, the cats received some extra goodies as well. They now finally have a cat tree to climb and play on! Tobi loves it, and I’ve yet to really see Huxley use it, but I am sure he will in time.

Huxley has turned out to be an absolutely wonderful addition to my little family. He and Tobi play so well together, and he has taken to me as his human as I could have only hoped he would. He is very much a part of the family, and I love to my two babies as much as if he was always here. He has started snuggling in bed with my at bedtime each night, and it makes me so happy. As I always seem to be telling him, he is the best decision I have made in the past two years. He is very comfortable here and he knows he is loved.

Tobi went to the vet this month as well, she was overdue for vaccinations and I felt she needed a proper check up as well. We tried a different one this time, a new veterinary clinic that has opened up a short two minute drive from home. They took to her right away, and were impressed with how chill she was. She was given a clean bill of health, aside from her usual issues, and she got her shots as well. The highlight, however, was her weigh in. She weighed in at 6.6 kg, which is approximately 14.5 lbs. This is the lightest she has been since she was about a year old! After several years, she has finally attained a healthy weight. This new vet had absolutely no concerns about her weight because “she is clearly a large cat.” It felt so nice to have someone else understand that there was NO WAY Tobi could possibly weigh 10 lbs and still be considered healthy. We left the appointment that day with Tobi feeling sufficiently traumatized and me feeling completely satisfied with the service we received. It seemed just the news we needed to gear up for Tobi’s 9th birthday this past Tuesday. I bought the kitties a Meowbox to celebrate her birthday this year. It was enjoyed by all.

Tobi: “Is this all for me?!”

I am home from work today, not feeling well at all. I am taking this opportunity to practice a bit of self care, which included some blog activity, because I do miss it when I don’t write for it. It gets some feelings out there, and it helps me feel more social, being an introvert and all. HOPEFULLY I do a better job of staying on top of things in the future.

In the meantime, I will keep on playing World of Warcraft and reading up a storm. Since I finally  finished the train wreck that was The Goldfinch after a year and a half, I have been reading up a storm and it feels great.

31…

Two weeks ago on Monday… I turned 31. What a lame/boring age to turn. No milestones, nothing. I DID, however, have a GREAT weekend leading up to my birthday. I was able to spend some quality time with a lot of special people, and wouldn’t you know it? I took maybe two photos the entire weekend… SO out of character for me, I KNOW.

I hosted a game night on Saturday night (February 24), which turned into a great way to catch up with people I don’t see nearly enough. We played Cards Against Humanity, and my new game Bang!, which was a birthday gift. We ate nachos and those of us who didn’t have to drive drank. We were all merry. My friend Steph, took me out to buy birthday party supplies earlier in the day as her birthday gift to me, and it really made the day and night great. We played games and joked and laughed into the wee hours.

On Sunday, I planned a birthday dinner with some of my closest friends. Sadly, one was unable to make it due to work, but I saw her the very next day for our weekly movie night on my actual birthday. I invited my dad, my sister and her boyfriend, my super awesome friend Jen from work, along with her husband and daughter, as well as Wes and Ash and their cute kids. The food was awesome, and the atmosphere was pretty great too. It was so nice to be able to celebrate with a dinner surrounded by some of the people I care about the most. It was a really enjoyable evening. I went home that night very happy.

After an awesome (and exhausting) weekend leading up to my birthday, my actual birthday was very run-of-the-mill. I went to work, I ate free pizza from a local pizza place that offers a free birthday slice, I went home, I napped, I went to my friend Alice’s for our weekly movie night, and then I went home to bed. It was a good day, but very normal.

Overall, it was a great a 31st birthday, and it was awesome to celebrate it with as many people as I did.

****

Since then, I’ve been working through some other things. I have been really tired and lethargic and sleeping poorly for weeks. I figured out that my B12 was low again (which was the cause last time it happened) and had to go back on my B12 supplement. I think it is safe to say that I have to keep taking it and can’t stop again; not if I want to function at least semi-normally. I’ve been on it for just about a couple of weeks now, and I am noticing improvements progressively as the days pass. I have started sleeping better incrementally, and I am able to come home and complete tasks that were falling to the wayside previously.

I am also working extra hard to get on track financially. I have a long road of breaking bad habits ahead of me, but I recently listened to an audiobook that is poised to change my life in big ways in terms of money management and savings and the future. I am excited about getting on track for real, for the first time. In the past I always dreaded having to deal with money, and I feel like I am finally not afraid to deal with it anymore. It feels pretty great. As a result, I am feeling more positive about other aspects of my daily life as well. I am getting more physically active again, slowly but surely. In no time, I think I will be working out and doing more healthy things in general.

I find it really interesting how making sense of one very important aspect of your life can make a difference in a multitude of ways, including translating into other seemingly unrelated parts of your life. I am already taking much better care of myself mentally – practicing self-care on a semi-regular basis as compared to barely ever before. And I have been much kinder to myself in general.

Things are also coming together for the two trips I have planned this year. The first is in June, to attend a family wedding, and the second will be a trip to visit my best friend who moved away last October. The flights and accommodations are book for the trip in June, and I will be planning for the second trip happening later this year just as soon as flight schedules come available.

Huxley, or The New Guy as I like to call him from time to time, has made himself very comfortable and is already friends with my friends who have met him. It’s funny how quickly it feels like they have always been here. I can’t imagine my home without him now, and it has only been 5 weeks. I’m not complaining whatsoever! He has been a great addition to my little family here and Tobi has accepted him also, which makes me feel happy inside.

I have an exam coming up in less than a month, and I spent my day today getting caught up on all of my reading. After 4 hours, I finally got there! Next step will be going through the study guide, which will start tomorrow. I am determined to do better than my previous two courses, where I ended up with C’s. I am thankful to have a study buddy, that’s for sure! I am also thankful for my bullet journal, which has done wonders to keep me on track especially during the toughest days. Maybe one day I will do a blog post about that. It’s not as creative and fancy as some of the others out there, but it works great for me.

This post kind of became a jumble of overall updating, which was not my original intent. It’s not very often that I have so much to say as I did today. Hopefully the next one will be more coherent!

A New Addition to the Family

It has been two weeks since I wrote about my frustrations over cat rescues and adoptions. It is truly amazing how much can change over two weeks!

Long story short, I have had my newly adopted cat, Huxley, for a week as of today. He has been such a joy. He is so handsome and chill and purry. He really is a great fit for my little household here. So far, it has also been the smoothest transition for a new cat I have ever seen! Tobi and Huxley have only swatted at each other once. It feels like he was truly meant to be a part of our family.

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Huxley 

Huxley was the black cat I applied to adopt through A.R.F. Ontario after the adoption of the kittens from Toronto didn’t pan out. He was the one I had basically given  up on hearing back from the rescue because it had been over a week and I hadn’t even received an email confirming my application had been received even though I should have received it within 72 hours. On the day I finally gave up hope, a week ago Thursday, that was the day I finally received a phone call from the coordinator for the rescue. She left a message for me around midday that day, and I was unable to answer the phone because I was away from the office with my team visiting some of our brokers. I called her back as soon as I got home that night.

She apologized up and down for not getting in contact with me sooner. As it turns out, her entire adoption team was out sick with an illness in one form or another. She herself was dealing with the very same cold I am STILL dealing with. She conducted the phone interview with me on the spot, and told me at the end that she thought I would be a good fit for Schwarz (now Huxley). She sent my information to his foster mom who was in touch with me within a couple of hours to make arrangements to meet him on Sunday last week. I went prepared with my carrier and the adoption fee, and after I met him, we sealed the deal. I signed the contract and brought him home. He took to my bedroom for the most part, and was unsure of Tobi. Even with dealing with new surroundings and a new cat, he was lovey and purry and made himself at home under the bed to start with. As much as Tobi was unsure of him in the beginning as well, she has done wonderfully. She is acting exactly as she was before he arrived, if not even happier. I’m sure that even though they aren’t quite buddies yet, she is enjoying not being alone all day when I am at work.

A week later, Huxley is moving around the apartment with no issues. He seems to know its home! He is eating great, and found the litter box right away. He has even accepted me as his new human! We are working on cuddling and snuggling right now, but he is still more comfortable beside me than he is on me. Tobi took time to adopt her snuggly lap-cat ways as well after we moved here on our own. He is a wonderful boy and he is making us so happy. I am so glad that the coordinator at A.R.F. Ontario ended up getting in touch with me. Huxley has even met a few of my friends, and they fell in love with him too!

I love my new house panther!

 

 

On More Cats and (Still) Being Sick

It has been a bit of a roller coaster over the past couple of weeks, both in regard to my health and my emotions.

I have been struggling with this nasty lingering cold for the past month. Last week, I thought I’d kicked it, but nope. A nasty cough has no reared its ugly head and I’m now back to not sleeping at all well during the night. It has been a very frustrating experience overall, especially since I am so infrequently ill. I just want to be health again. It’s been over a month now! I’ve been trying to take it easy, but I am still trying to do some things, because not having a life just sucks. This weekend though, I ended up missing something I really wanted to go to, and that was disappointing. I would be very happy if that didn’t happen again. I’ve spent a lot of time playing World of Warcraft, when it doesn’t give me a headache.

The personal emotional roller coaster of the past few weeks has been intense, but not necessarily a bad experience. It has been an interesting one at the very least! A bit over two weeks ago now, a friend of mine tagged me in a photo of the cutest kitten that was up for adoption at a rescue a couple of hours away in Toronto. I investigated further and learned that he had a brother as well, and the rescue wanted to see them adopted together. Naturally, I fell in love from their photos, being the cat lover that I am. On a whim, I filled out an application to adopt them.

Over a week later, I finally got a message on Facebook asking me to call them, and I promptly returned the call and left a message as there was no answer. I called again around noon the next day and found out they had not chosen me, sadly. Because I live two hours away and it would take time for me to get there, I was declined. But it made sense to me, and I did my best to consider that possibility logically. I was disappointed, but it is what it is. It solidified my plan to adopt a second cat, but I opted to wait a little while – until the spring. In the spring, the shelters seen to have an influx of cats that need adopting, so it seems like a prime time to actively look. Funny enough, early mid last week I found another cat with potential, this time locally. I applied for him and am waiting for a response as of this post. I am hopeful, but I am not getting my hopes up too high. I will hopefully hear back about a phone interview this week sometime.

It’s Sunday night now, and I have a massive headache thanks to this cough, and I didn’t have hot water for the better part of the day. After I finish the cup of tea I have on the go, I am going to take a much-needed shower and then curl up to read for a while before bed. I am hoping that this week will be the end of this cold and cough and I can really start working on getting things back to normal.

The Ups and Downs of 2016 – The Year in Review

2016 was…a year. It was harder than some others were. It was a year of growth for me. It’s early in 2017 and I am feeling optimistic so far. It’s early days, and I though it would be fitting to review what happened to me in 2016. The year had its fair share of ups and downs. There were many things learned and a lot of positive change.

Let’s start with the “ups”:

  • I truly enjoyed celebrating my birthday this year with the impromptu plans that came about. It was great to be surrounded by awesome people.
  • I didn’t increase my debt-load.
  • I reconnected with some old friends.
  • I started a new job and it is the first job I’ve had where I truly feel respected and appreciated.
  • I made an amazing new friend as a result of starting the new job. I can’t imagine not having her as a friend.
  • I learned to love living alone. I’m not so sure I could live with someone again unless they’re REALLY special!
  • I became a lot more comfortable with who I am as my own person.
  • Tobi is a happy kitty and is well on her way to being a healthy weight.
  • I saved up for and built my new computer. (Built with the help of said amazing friend and her husband!)

And now for the “downs”:

  • My best friend moved across the country – This is kind of bittersweet because it was an amazing move for her personal happiness, but I miss the shit out of her.
  • I didn’t pay down any significant amount of my debt.
  • I didn’t manage to save any money that stayed saved. (see “ups” above)
  • Some pretty influential celebrities in my life died. Carrie Fisher was the hardest for me because she is such a strong advocate for mental health. She was a bit of a hero, and not just because of Star Wars.
  • Tobi had a health scare. We caught it in time, but it is looking more and more like the issue will crop up again. It’s almost time for another visit to the vet to avoid the scare again in the future…

I created a few goals for myself at the beginning of 2016 and they included getting healthier and being kinder to myself. I think I am definitely better at being kind to myself than I was. Getting healthier is still a work in progress, but I feel like I will make some serious headway with that one in 2017.

A lot of changes were affected in 2016, including these:

  • I went on antidepressant medication. I was in a really terrible place when I finally went to my doctor to ask about this. He was more than happy to talk about it with me and suggest some options. I stand by this as quite possibly the smartest decision I made in 2016. I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t done it.
  • I am finally started doing a better job of looking after myself and working on finding the work-life balance that works for me. I also starting improving at practicing regular self-care.
  • I came to terms with a lot of things and I feel like I finally started to heal. This is especially true in the last half of 2016.

Because of these changes that took place in 2016, I also noticed small things about my habits:

  • I started listening to music again.
  • I started wanting to read again.
  • I was more present in my life than I ever was in the past.
  • My weight started to finally go in the right direction (DOWN instead of UP!)
  • I was able to manage my spending well enough to make the new computer happen and get back into playing PC games again.
  • I finished my big blanket project that I started in the summer of 2015. (I finally finished it in the summer of 2016.)

I started a few projects, however, that were not so successful. I won’t beat myself up over these because being kind to myself is so much more important. The kind of things that I am listing below used to cause me a lot stress and upset, but no longer.

  • Life Reboot and Life Reboot 2.0 were almost complete failures in terms of accomplishing the goals I set out for myself. HOWEVER, the items I listed in these projects have slowly become incorporated into my daily life and continue to become easier as time goes on.  This is why I refuse to call my “life reboot” a complete failure.
  • I got rid of my gym membership that I was so excited to have at the beginning of 2016. Frustrations and bad experience with the gym over and over again prompted me to bite the bullet and cancel my membership early. I have found that home workouts and yoga are a much better fit for me. This isn’t so much a failure or not a success because it was something that I learned about myself.

In 2017, I will continue to be kinder to myself, and focus on getting healthier. In addition to this, financially I am determined to pay down a chunk of my debt and start saving for a house. I also have a reading goal of 25 books and want to pick up my camera again. I miss taking photos. The only times I picked it up in 2016 were for Mason’s and Sloane’s birthday parties. I want to get the creative juices flowing this year. Because I am in a much better place mentally, I think these will be easy to manage. 2017 is shaping up to be a good year around here.

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I had more fun in 2016 than I’d had in years!

 

100 Things I Love Part 5: 81-100

Happy New Year! I wish you all the best in 2017. I am feeling a lot of positivity about this coming year and am looking forward to seeing what it brings. In the meantime, I bring you the last installment of my little self-care project. 100 Things I Love, has been really uplifting, and I have found that I have generally been able to keep a more positive attitude versus before. I am calling this self-care project a success!

  1. Watching my friends’ and my sisters’ kids grow up
  2. A freshly tidied space
  3. Scented candles that smell like baked goods
  4. Breakfast
  5. Scarves – I hate having a cold neck!
  6. A nice hot bath
  7. That I can take medication to help manage my depression
  8. Super hero movies
  9. My antique desk
  10. Being able to play PC games again (It’s been years.)
  11. Organizing my clutter
  12. Coming home after time away
  13. Sleeping in my bed after I’ve been away for a night or two – it really feels amazing
  14. Being able to drink tea from a travel mug!
  15. A sense of accomplishment at the end of the work day
  16. Writing when I can; when I feel inspired (however rare it may be)
  17. Curling up in bed right before I fall asleep when I am good and tired
  18. Fresh starts
  19. The amazing friends I have in my life
  20. Coming up with this list

And there you have it. 100 things I love, complete.

2016 was a heck of a year. There were a lot of changes, and a lot of things that stayed the same. I started a new job, and as a result I made an amazing new friend. The new job also resulted in working at the first job I’ve ever felt appreciated and respected. She is truly wonderful. I finally started loving living alone, and that has resulted in being able to focus on things I wasn’t able to before. My best friend moved across the country. I am thankful however, that we are able to keep in touch thanks to Apple! I had a health scare with Tobi, but we weathered it and she is healthy now, aside from the continuous issues she has had to deal with for most of her life.

I have big plans for 2017 though. I plan to travel! I plan to meet people! I will be starting my house savings. I will be improving things around my apartment, a plan for which has already been set in motion. I will be taking better care of myself and my health as well. I have many goals I have set out to accomplish. I am excited for these things, and will of course be sharing what I can.

Happy New Year!

100 Things I Love Part 4: 61-80

I know it’s been a little bit since I last published for this project. Family Christmases got in the way! I have a break from gatherings now, and thought I would continue on.

Welcome to Part 4 of the 100 Things I Love project. Reflecting over Christmas and being away from work made it a bit easier to come up with some additions for the list, which was pretty awesome.

  1. Any kind of cool nerdy coffee mug
  2. My TARDIS collection
  3. Wiggling my toes in new warm grass
  4. Sitting around the table chatting with the family after a big holiday dinner
  5. Sitting on my back patio/landing reading a book in the sun
  6. Finishing the latest project
  7. Wayne’s snickerdoodles – Gluten Free and AMAZING
  8. Quiet days to myself with no expectations
  9. Yummy-smelling candles
  10. When plans go off without a hitch
  11. Feeling prepared (this one is helpful for my anxiety too!)
  12. A glass of ice-cold water
  13. A nice, brisk walk.
  14. Great conversation
  15. Bookstores
  16. Having a library card
  17. Collecting Classics (the books, that is)
  18. Holiday leftovers
  19. Learning to manage my money effectively
  20. Treating myself from time to time (It’s just good self-care.)

I hope you had a great holiday! I did, for the most part. I find it a bit more difficult these days to really get into it as the majority of my family are adults or are nearing adulthood. There is less emphasis on the excitement of gift-giving, and more on just being with family. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really great. It’s one of my favourite parts of the season. It’s just hard to get pumped up and in the “holiday spirit” when that’s the case. I am back to work for the rest of this week, and then we are on to New Year’s Even this weekend. I have plans to go see some friends and spend the night playing board games and eating and drinking lots of wine. I am very much looking forward to it. I hope you have some exciting New Year’s Eve plans as well!

100 Things I Love Part 3: 41-60

Welcome to part three of my self care project. These are items 41-60. This bunch was quite a bit more difficult to come up with. It seems to be more difficult as I get deeper into it. The rest of these are going to be a challenge to come up with!

  1. Dark chocolate
  2. Hand dyed wool
  3. Geeky memorabilia – autographs, pop figures, art, etc.
  4. Leaving work early
  5. Owl-themed décor
  6. Travelling to new places
  7. Sleeping in
  8. Sleeping in general
  9. My comfy green wing chair (It’s vintage!)
  10. Not having to cook if I don’t want to
  11. Adult colouring books
  12. Pen pals – the old-fashioned kind!
  13. Receiving letters and packages in the mail
  14. Candy canes
  15. Wine
  16. Sleepy kid/baby snuggles (while babysitting)
  17. Tabletop game nights with friends
  18. Video gaming with friends (World of Warcraft, Path of Exile)
  19. Wrapping gifts for others at Christmas
  20. My Batman coffee mug

It should also be noted that today is my blog’s anniversary! I have been active on this blog in one way or another for five years. It feels like a real achievement!