30 Before 30: Nearing the End

This post is a few days (4!) later than I planned, but as you read I think you may see why.

The timeframe for my 30 Before 30 project is nearing the end. I have just shy of three weeks left, and I have come to a realization: I’m not going to complete my list!

A month or two ago, I might have been upset that I won’t be completing everything on my list. Today, I have accepted that I gave myself a lot to do with this list and while I haven’t managed everything, I have learned and accomplished much more than what was on this list.

First of all, these are the things I didn’t manage to accomplish:

  • I didn’t go on a picnic.
  • I didn’t go for a hike.
  • Bird of Hope WIP remains unfinished.
  • I still can’t drive standard.
  • I didn’t read the books I own that I haven’t read yet; however, the number of books managed to increase!
  • I read only 1 non-fiction book.
  • I didn’t lose 15 pounds, instead I gained 30.
  • I only made 1 “new, healthy, interesting” meal.
  • I only noted 11 specific new things I have learned.

As I mentioned, a short time ago this list would have sent me over the deep end with an anxiety attack of epic proportions; but I can handle things like this a bit better these days. It’s in keeping with my promise to be more kind to myself and to not hold myself to a ridiculous double standard as I have so often in the past. So no, I didn’t complete everything on my list. But I also recognize that I learned and did so much more than the things on this list. This list does not define me!

That all being said, let’s take a look at what I’ve learned during the same time period:

  • Cross stitching is out for me right now and that Bird of Hope WIP won’t be getting done anytime soon. Crocheting is my jam right now, and I’ve made many things to be proud of including dish cloths, coasters, scarves, and my now half-finished blanket.
  • I’m not at all adventurous when it comes to cooking. As much as I love food and trying new dishes, it’s just too much work to try and find new recipes and test them. I’m also not a baker.
  • Losing weigh is HARD, gaining it is much easier. ESPECIALLY when dealing with many months of an emotional rollercoaster. I feel like telling anyone who judges overweight people to just fuck off, because you have no idea what they are dealing with, myself included. Also, the next episode of the day’s TV show is MUCH more enticing to me than any kind of physical activity…but that might also be my depression talking.
  • The Winter Blues is a thing. I have been officially diagnosed as have persistent depressive disorder with seasonal worsening. And OH BOY does it ever worsen! It starts in October for me, and there went a good chunk of my list completing time. Another thing I am learning to accept about myself. Things sometimes don’t happen because of things are that aren’t completely within my control. I can’t control or fix my depression, I can only manage it. And during the fall and winter months, that usually means that getting my dishes done is a huge victory, let along doing something like going for a hike.

Some of these things are minor things and some of them are pretty huge; however all of it is indicative of my getting to know myself better. This is a huge deal considering I have spent a good chunk of my life trying to make everyone around me happy and be what they think I should be rather than make myself happy and be who I want to be. Not living like that has made my life much easier, and much happier. It has led me to accomplishing so many more things outside of my 30 Before 30 list, just general life-things. Things even bigger than the list:

  • I made a very difficult and life-changing decision over the summer (as you, my readers well know) and my life has taken off and been a bit of a whirlwind ever since.
  • I moved into a place that is truly my own, and I am living completely on my own for the very first time ever.
  • I’ve reconnected with many friends and made many more. I have a real social life.
  • I am spending more time with family than ever, and am finally getting to know my nieces and nephew.
  • I wrote a short piece of poetry that I continue to be proud of.
  • I crashed emotionally and have built myself back up slowly but surely to be stronger than ever.
  • I GOT A NEW JOB!

The items in this list include so many different things, small accomplishments that were stepping stones to the large. I’m still learning and accomplishing as we speak. I don’t think it’s ever going to end! There has just been so much change in the past year, it’s hard to believe, even for myself. I am so proud of EVERYTHING I had accomplished in this past year. This year, I am convinced, will only be full or more. More accomplishments, more experiences, more learning, yet more self-discovery. More everything. As I embark on this new journey that starts with a new job on February 16, I couldn’t be more excited for what is to come. I think the 30 Before 30 list has been and is a raving success. It has really been an experience in personal growth. It got me started, and just look where I am now!

 

Keeping Busy with an Eventful Week

Well, I have to say it has been a somewhat eventful week. I am in a bit better place this week, as I spent some time with my therapist developing a self-care plan that has made the difference. I haven’t been able to stick to it 100%, but I have stuck to it enough to feel like I’m not losing my mind, or losing everything, for that matter. I still have concerns, but I’m okay right now. Onto that eventful week…

So, on the 1st, I went to see the CP Rail Holiday Train. It was a lot of fun, and the crowd is just positive and happy and it just all around feels good. My dear friend Alice met me there, even though she was feeling somewhat ill. She brought something I practically begged her to pick up for me. She’s the best. For those of you who must know, it was the Magic: The Gathering Gift Box. Boy, did I get surprise when I opened it!

IMG_1732
This card is worth approximately $90!!!!!!

It’s a mythic rare land card. I posted a photo of it on Instagram, and the artist who created the art for the card HIMSELF congratulated me! How cool is that?! It’s been placed in a Dragon Shield now, and I will probably never play with it. It’s something of a novelty now.

On Thursday the 3rd, in keeping with my 30 before 30 list goals, as well as the sense of mastery that comes from volunteering (as discussed with my therapist) I donated blood for the first time. I did it through a Canadian Blood Services donation clinic that took place at a church nearby my home. I had no idea what to expect, but I was determined to do it. All of the people there were very kind and it was overall a very positive experience. I will definitely be doing it again. IMG_1756I have veins that are deep and small as well, and the nurse who set me up managed it in one try. Considering the size of the needle I was very impressed. The whole process from beginning to end took about an hour, but the actual donating only took about 10 minutes. I had no idea it would be that fast! Next time, I should have my donor card and the process should be quicker. I am excited to do it again. It felt great to know that I could potentially help so many people with this single donation.

This past week has overall been positive, but also exhausting. I hope to be in an even better place next week.

Forest City Comicon 2015

What an amazing day today was.

 I cosplayed for the first time, and my costume was a hit apparently.
 I met Peter Williams (Apophis from Stargate SG-1) and got his autograph!

 I saw John Noble in his panel discussion; he is a brilliant, kind man and so down to earth.
  I walked a packed vendor floor, and sat in on some more great panels. My friend met and got a picture with one of her childhood heroes! 
 I even saw my friend compete in the cosplay contest. Today was amazing. I can’t wait until I can do it again!

Geek Art By Moi!

I moved into this place and quickly determined that it needed a bit of a personal touch and a splash of colour. One Saturday morning, I went out and bought a few cheap canvasses and some paint and brushes and went to town. I spent my entire first weekend in my apartment painting pieces to hang on my walls. It was a lot of fun, and a great way to pass the time considering I didn’t have internet yet.

I ended up with four very different and very fun pieces: a fez and bowtie, a TARDIS, a pair of 3D glasses and a leaf blowing in the wind; all four are geeky references to some of my favourite things (think Firefly/Serenity and Doctor Who). They are now adorning the walls of my bedroom and my bathroom and I love them. They are so bright and colourful and they make me so happy.

Here are photos of two of them:

  
Who knows, maybe I’ve discovered a bit of a hidden talent here!

Summer’s End

On Labour Day, Jess and I went on a bit of an all day outing. On the last holiday Monday of the summer, we decided we needed a beach day to end the summer with a bang. We ended up getting off to a bit of a late start, but that was okay. It was closer to 11:00am before we started off. It’s not a bad thing to be a little bit lazy sometimes! After a stop at her place to grab some bottles of water and snacks, we were on the road. We made a short detour down memory lane, driving past the house I grew up in, and visiting an old friend from high school for a short time. After that, we continued on our way. Somewhere along the way, between Aylmer and Straffordville or somewhere around there, we ended up getting lost…for like an hour. It was actually kind of fun getting lost out there in Norfolk County; a definite departure from what I am used to. Eventually we got ourselves back on track and finally made it to Long Point in the early afternoon.

DSC_0125

We drove around Long Point a little bit upon our arrival. I’d never been there before, so Jess took a little bit of time and showed me some of the familiar spots, like the docks she uses and the bait shop she stops at when she is in the area fishing with friends. Afterward, she took us into Port Rowan, a small town nearby. Normally their Bay Fest happens on Labour Day weekend, but it was already over when we got there. imageWe did, however, stop at the local ice cream parlour. Twins Ice Cream Parlour is a proper vintage ice cream parlour even more true to the vintage form than Broderick’s in Port Stanley. They even had glass bottles of pop and a vintage bottle opener which I took the time to play with a little bit.image

After that, we headed back down to the beach. We parked down a sandy road off the main street. The dry sand was almost burning hot to walk on, but it was lovely closer to the water where it was more damp. We walk along the beach with our cameras and it was quite a nice walk. We missed the noon day sun so the lighting was quite pleasant. It also wasn’t excessively hot, temperature-wise. I easily took a couple hundred photos, and I am sure Jess managed the same. It was enjoyable. After the walk, we hung out around the breakwater for a bit, admiring some wooden Muskoka chairs. I didn’t sit in one because I struggle with sand and being dirty, but they were quite nice to admire. We then continued our walk back in the other direction. DSC_1178The beach sand had some really beautiful red tones in it. I tried to take some pictures of it, but none of the photos I took really did it justice. Que sera sera, I guess.

The afternoon continued on with a bit of a drive. We stopped at an abandoned house and did a little bit of exploring. It was a ramshackle old house, but it must have been nice back in the day when it was still lived in. It was full of broken windows, falling down plaster, and was incredibly weathered in its appearance. Many people had partied there and vandalized it in the process. My exploration of the inside was very short-lived as I got a little bit paranoid about the structural integrity of the floor and the building as a whole. We heard buzzing when we first arrived, a sure sign of a bee hive somewhere, so I decided to turn my attention to tracking down the hive while Jess continued to explore the inside. It wasn’t difficult to find! The bees made a home for themselves inside the walls of the house itself. The outside of the house was board and batten and the bees found a way behind it and started to build their nest. There were easily a few thousand bees in the hive. I spend several minutes photographing it from as many different angles as I could find.DSC_1183 It was very neat to observe a natural bee hive up close like that. We spent probably 45 minutes there, and decided that it was time to head back toward home.

Luckily, we didn’t get lost on the way home. We made a quick pit stop in Aylmer for dinner, and then we continued to my place in London. We settled down and had a glass of wine; a great ending to a great day. And with that, my beach day item on my 30 before 30 list is complete!

O”zen 

Recently, my friend Alice and I had a bit of a girls’ night out. We went out for dinner and dessert just to change things up a bit. We tried a restaurant neither of us had been to before on Richmond Row. It’s called O”zen and it serves Korean and Japanese food. It is a cute little unassuming place from the street, but when you walk in, it is really quite beautiful. I was rather taken aback. The menu wasn’t too big, but the selection was excellent. I already had in mind what I wanted and they had just what I was after.
 I ordered a vegetarian sushi platter, and it was absolutely delicious. It came with a cute little garden salad and a bowl of miso soup, also delicious. It was an excellent meal overall and it was beautiful to boot! I am looking forward to eating there again and trying another dish.

Ice Cream, anyone?

I went out for a kind of impromptu outing yesterday evening with a friend. None if it was really planned, outside of meeting up in the evening after work. We had a good time, and it was great to catch up again. We went to Port Stanley and strolled around a bit as the town is quite picturesque.  As a last-minute decision, we went to Broderick’s Ice Cream Parlour for ice cream. She got chocolate chip cookie dough in a regular cone, and I got cherry cheesecake in a waffle cone.   It was good fun and I hope we can do it again soon.

Broderick’s is a bit of a Port Stanley icon. It has an old-timey feel that is really fantastic.
Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream…with real bits of cherry and cheesecake. Yum!

And with last evening, yet another item was crossed off my 30 Before 30 list. This is getting exciting!

I Made It This Time

It’s official. As of Monday, my second attempt at a writing course was finished. And I finished right along with it.

Strike that one off the list. I have completed my writing course.

I get my certificate for completing the course in a couple of weeks and along with that I will get my final grade. I know I passed, but I am curious to see how well I actually did. I will write about it when I find out.

Until then, that’s another item on my list completed, and that feels good.

Two New Foods

Over a week ago now, I went to Sunfest with a good friend. She comes from a Latin background and so she suggested I try some of the Latin food options available at the festival. As a result of this suggestion I tried two more brand new foods I had never eaten before: pupusas and tamales.

Pupusas are handmade corn tortillas filled with a blend of cheese, refried beans, and/or pork.

Tamales consist of meat and/or potato wrapped in a cornmeal dough and steamed or baked in corn husks.

Both were delicious, and the tamale had a very interesting texture. I’m looking forward to the next time I can eat Latin food again. It also means I have crossed an item off the list completely: five brand new foods have been tried.

Can you find the pupusa and the tamale?

A 30 Before 30 Update

It is about five months into my 30 Before 30 project, and I thought it’s about time I wrote an update. Not all items on the list are easy to write about, and not all are worthy of posts of their own. A few of the items are quite difficult to write about while they are in progress. So here I am, writing an update post so I can include all of those things. A lot has happened and I am excited to finally write about it all.

As written about in earlier posts, I have learned to crochet. As of a couple of weeks ago, I started my blanket! It’s a bit of an eclectic thing, this blanket I am crocheting. I am using a random collection of yarns scraps and small balls of yarn I have acquired over the past few months. They are different colours and textures, and I think this blanket might end up being the ugliest blanket I have ever seen!wpid-wp-1435100108442.jpgBut it has already proven great fun to crochet, and it is also teaching me how different each yarn is, so it has been an excellent learning experience so far as well. I think it is something I will be very proud of when finished. I am using the corner-to-corner afghan pattern I practiced before. It’s a very pretty pattern and I feel I have made the right choice in choosing it. Starting this blanket was a big accomplishment for me, and it’s just the beginning!

wpid-wp-1435100119716.jpgSeveral weeks ago now, Jay designed and printed an art piece for me for the bedroom based on something he included with my Valentine’s Day gift. I love it. It now sits on my nightstand, but it may move. That’s still to be determined. Either way: mission accomplished. I have more art in my bedroom!

You know, it’s really exciting to say that I have money in a savings account now. It isn’t a lot, but it is definitely there. It will come and go as I save up and buy various things, but just that there is a plan in place for saving money for one purpose or another feels pretty great. Strike that one off the list!

As of yesterday, I officially started attempt number two at a writing course. This course isn’t a “creative writing” course, but rather an effective writing course. I’ve completed the first module, and I already feel like this is a good choice now. I definitely won’t regret it. It’s a course  reviewing the basics of speech, writing and grammar; the “tools of the trade” so to speak. I figure it never hurts to review the basics periodically. This course will give me a good foundation for future writing attempts.

Reading a lot is also very good for writing, and so far I have managed to read two contemporary fiction novels out of the goals of five I set for myself. They were The Luminaries by Eleanor Carton and Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. I also have two now  in progress: The Quest by Nelson DeMille and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I have actually surprised myself with how quickly this item on my list has moved along.

I find I am always learning new things these days. It’s hard to find just one thing I’ve learned to share on my list. I’ve found that a lot of the things I have learned have been about personal growth. Others are interesting facts or skills. Here is my list so far:

  1. The Bystander Effect – the more people there are around, the less likely a person will react to a situation (i.e. seeing someone being attacked) (Jan 2015)
  2. I can control my path. I’ve just kind of let things happen for so long. I know now that I have complete control over where my life goes and what I do with it. My confidence has increased since I learned this. (Feb 2015)
  3. I have a lot more value than I think I do. I don’t often think about the impact I have or have had on others’ lives. A few conversations have taken place recently to help me have a better grasp of the value I do have – to myself and others. (Mar 2015)
  4. I learned the basics of building a Magic:The Gathering deck! (Apr 2015)
  5. Set backs do not equal failure. I had a major setback this month, with the help of Jay and my therapist, I have come to better understand that a setback is just that: a setback. It doesn’t mean I have failed at the task at hand. (May 2015)

I will soon be adding June’s item. Not sure what it will be yet!

I’ve added another local restaurant and new food to the list as well. I wrote about them both just last week. Here are the lists so far as a recap:

Try 3 local restaurants I’ve never tried before:

  1. The Byron Freehouse
  2. The Early Bird Cafe

Try 5 brand new foods:

  1. El Diablo hot chocolate – Feb 14, 2015
  2. “The Closer”: a deep-fried chicken sandwich – Apr 18, 2015
  3. Turducken Deli Club – Jun 13, 2015

I will be sad when these items are completed. It has been so much fun so far.

This next item, I am not at all surprised that I have crossed it off the list. I have watched twelve new movies already. It was incredibly easy to complete this item. I didn’t even have to try that hard. These are the movies I watched:

  1. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Jan 11, 2015)
  2. The Fault in Our Stars (Feb 6, 2015)
  3. There Will Be Blood (Feb 21, 2015)
  4. Jupiter Ascending (Feb 28, 2015)
  5. Kingsman:The Secret Service (Mar 6, 2015)
  6. Anna Karenina (Mar 7, 2015)
  7. 21 Jump St (Apr 20, 2015)
  8. X-Men: Days of Future Past (Apr 25, 2015)
  9. The Host (May 16, 2015)
  10. Mirror, Mirror (May 16, 2015)
  11. Legion (June 6, 2015)
  12. The Great Gatsby (June 8, 2015)

I enjoyed some more than others. My favourites were probably The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and Kingsman: The Secret Service. Watch them!

As I wrote about way back in February, I am  still hoping to host or at the very least collaborate on a proper game night at some point this summer. I had originally discussed planning it as a joint venture with my sister, but I am unsure. Currently the time and place is yet to be determined. I also hope to have more games to play along with Forbidden Desert, even though it is a great game.

As you have read here, a lot of movement has been made on this list, even though it doesn’t seem like many things have been crossed off. The items I have made progress on are the ones that tend to involve many steps, and may seem kind of daunting. Thankfully it wasn’t! It has been quite fun and enjoyable so far. I look forward to continuing to tick things off my list, and sharing more of my progress here on the blog.