100 Things I love Part 2: 21-40

Welcome to part two of my new self care project. These are items 21-40. This next bunch was a bit trickier to come up worth. I think this is going to get more difficult as I continue!

  1. A good movie drama
  2. Teddy bears/stuffed animals
  3. “Character” – as found in old buildings
  4. My family – even if they sometimes drive me crazy from time to time…
  5. My new computer
  6. Tea! (loose leaf)
  7. Helping friends when I can
  8. The people I work with – they are some truly great and kind people
  9. Radiator heat – so warm and cozy!
  10. The first snow of the season
  11. Not owning a car
  12. Being able to live (relatively) comfortably on my income
  13. Comics
  14. Feeling valuable, like my work/effort is appreciated
  15. Being free to do what I want, when I want
  16. Productive days
  17. Sailor Moon
  18. Crochet
  19. Shopping for gifts (mostly for others, but sometimes for myself too)
  20. Cat snuggles

100 Things I Love Part 1: 1-20

Welcome to part one of my new self care project. These are items 1-20. These first few were pretty easy to come up with. I’m not sure if it will stay this easy!

  1. My cat Tobi
  2. My apartment
  3. Living alone
  4. Coffee
  5. Sunshine
  6. Tacos
  7. Cozy blankets
  8. Doctor Who
  9. My blog – even if I don’t post as much as I would like anymore. It’s been a 5-year labour of love so far.
  10. Playing games (both video games and board games)
  11. Books/reading
  12. Pens
  13. Tragic Toys
  14. Feminism
  15. Trying/learning new things
  16. Pizza
  17. The colour grey
  18. Sci-fi TV
  19. Stars
  20. Lilacs
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*sings* These are a few of my favourite things… *sings*

Some Thoughts on Self Care

I’ve been publishing mainly regular life and personal posts and I’ve also been thinking it might be time to change things up a bit. I want to write a bit about self-care.

Self-care is the thing I never knew I needed until I started seeing my therapist in August 2014. With her help I learned that self-care is key to managing mental illness, especially anxiety and depression, as is my case. It’s also something I’m not very good at, or at least feel like I’m not very good at. Self-care can be as simple as taking a nice hot shower after an especially trying day, or curling up with a good book on a weekend afternoon. Simply put, it is taking the time to check-in with and look after yourself.

Some of the things I do for myself are take baths in the evening, read, play World of Warcraft, and have a regularly scheduled weekly movie night with a dear friend of mine. She struggles with her mental health as well, and the movie nights keep us both social even when we are having a hard time getting through the day. It also gives us both someone who is there and supportive. Basically, it helps us to both feel like we’re not alone and going through things on our own. The movie nights have gotten me through some pretty tough times.

The point of this post is something of a self-care exercise in itself – something outside of my ordinary realm of self care. I can across it on Pinterest, in a pin about practicing self care when things are especially tough, and I think it is a beautiful idea. The idea is to compile a list of 99 things you love. I’ve decided I am going to do this… with a slight modification just because of my own idiosyncrasies: 100 things I love.

I am going to create a list of 100 things I love. I wont share them all at once… It might get overwhelming, and it might take me awhile! I will probably share twenty or so at a time as I come up with them. The goal is to remind myself and maybe you as well, that there are great and beautiful things out there to keep us going. For those of us that live with mental illness in our daily lives, it is something important that we shouldn’t forget.

So, stay tuned for it. It will be coming soon:

100 Things I Love

 

Keeping Busy

I’ve had my new computer up and running for just over two weeks now and I must say that it has made a world of difference in my life. It is wonderful to have a computer that is fully capable of doing all the things I need it to do. Programs are opening within seconds and not taking close to a minute like they used to on my old MacBook Pro. I understand it was 7 years old, and its age was catching up to it, but it doesn’t make those kinds of things any less frustrating. I just have a few things left to transfer from my MacBook to the computer, but I need to get my hands on a flash drive, as I seem to have misplaced both of mine. I have started playing my games again though, and it feels fantastic to be back at it. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I started playing again!

I was back in World of Warcraft within days of getting things all set up, and I admit, I was quite surprised at how much the game has changed, meanwhile at the same time having not changed at all. Talents and specializations are completely different now, but the overall gameplay and the quest grind is the same as it ever was. I started a new Horde toon on a new server because that’s where my friend who is still playing the game is now playing. No one else I used to play with is left! That’s okay though, as long as there is someone! Because of the changes though, rather than use the Level 90-character boost for my first new toon, I am leveling it from the beginning to become familiar with the game again. Two weeks in and I am at Level 38. Not too shabby for working full-time, and doing school part-time as well! I created an undead Warlock and I am playing it in the Destruction spec. I love me my warlocks and I also love playing the Destro spec. It’s just so darn much fun! I haven’t run through any dungeons yet, but that is up next on my list of things to do in-game.

I’ve also downloaded Path of Exile, so I can play with Jen and possibly Wayne as well. I haven’t started on that one yet, but hopefully we will get to once our final exam is done. That’s happening next Wednesday morning, and we will get about a month break before our next class starts. Hopefully we can get some game play in during that time. It looks like an interesting game; I am excited to try it out.

Next step will be to get Steam going so I can try out a few other games I’ve been keeping my eye on! Looking forward to doing that hopefully early in the new year.

Tobi seems to have taken a liking to the new computer as well. She is always laying near it, probably because it’s a bit warm. I’ve also caught her licking it a few times, which was just kind of funny to me. I imagine the novelty will wear off soon. I will just have to wait and see. She’s a kitty after my heart, though. Even for all her oddities, she’s still my baby and I can’t imagine my life without her. We have been together since she was just a tiny kitten – over 8 years, and I hope we have many more years together ahead of us. Sorry. Always the cat-ramble. I just love her so much I can’t help it.

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Things are starting to look up for me these days. I mean, sure, I am super broke now, but after this month, everything will finally fall into place. And here’s the best part: starting early in the new year, I will start saving for a down payment on a house! This is a very exciting thing for me, because I never thought it was something that would happen. I honestly thought I would end up renting for the rest of my life. It just goes to show how far I really have come in the past year. My goal is to have a minimum 20% down payment when I start looking. It will probably take me a couple of years to get to that point, but it will totally be worth the wait. Now some may ask, “But what if you’re in a serious relationship before then?” Well, on that, I’m not actively looking for a relationship these days, and I’m going to make plans for myself as things are now. If things change somewhere down the road, I will change my plans accordingly. It’s as simple as that!

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Final exam for my course is in less than a week, and I’ve now been studying for it for about a week. Needless to say, I am a bit stressed about it. I am hoping all goes well, and I pass, but these courses are like nothing I have ever taken before. They are NOTHING like the courses I took in university! I have taken an extra-long weekend off this weekend to study and catch up on things, and I can only hope that it helps me out in the end. I will just have to keep preparing and then hope for the best when the time comes. My goal is to pass the course. I don’t want to have to rewrite the exam!

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The busy Christmas season is about to begin for me. My work Christmas party is next week, and then I am babysitting for some friends that weekend while they attend a work Christmas party as well. Then comes the family Christmases. I still must figure out how I’m getting to them all, but I have time to figure that out. I am hosting a Christmas dinner of my own on Boxing Day and I am kind of excited about it. I’ve already started planning dinner! I never plan things this far in advance… Usually not more than a week before for something like that usually. Probably better that I am planning now though. Things are pretty busy for the next month!

Happy Happy Happy

A beautiful thing happened the weekend before last. Something that has kept me waiting for quite some time. I know I have mentioned it a few times in the blog (mostly in passing), but I’ve never gone into too much detail… All because it came down to money, and I needed to save up enough to accomplish said beautiful thing. I am thankful to some awesome friends for helping me make this happen.

The time has come to share my new baby. I finally have my new computer! The best part was I came in under budget! WITH A VIDEO CARD UPGRADE!!!!!!!

The only things missing from it are a few files that I have backed up on an external drive and I’m not overly worried about those making it on. It would be a backup of a backup of a backup at that point, and that’s kind of redundant even for me. I have my first couple of games installed (World of Warcraft and Hearthstone) and am planning to install more soon. I can’t wait to really get things going! The fact that the gaming possibilities are almost endless now makes me SO happy. I’ve been nerding hard since I brought this big piece of joy home.

I started playing World of Warcraft again last week and started a new character on a new server. She made it to level 20 on Friday. I haven’t been able to play much since because of my class, but once that settles down I will be back at it! It will be a nice way to pass the time on the chilly winter nights.

I am so happy this has finally happened! I’ve been waiting for a long time.

 

Shining The Light

I was volunteering tonight, and on my walk home, I saw something beautiful and felt compelled to take a photo. Upon completing this action, I started thinking about it. I had forgotten until that very moment.

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The photo I felt compelled to take.

It’s November, and that means the Shine the Light on Women’s Abuse Campaign is happening. In our city, part of this campaign means that the municipal buildings are lit up purple to raise awareness. Trees and lights in the park downtown are purple as well and many commercial buildings take part, all to raise awareness of woman abuse. The thing I felt compelled to take a photo of was the Tree of Hope lit up purple in Victoria Park. Realizing what this meant started me thinking. It made me realize how important this is to me.

I was…am an abused woman. I am still recovering from my own personal experiences. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was emotionally abused for several years. My actions were dictated to me, and I was made to feel like I was less than. I was yelled at for making minor mistakes, and was called a liar and accused of betrayal when I became afraid to own up to those mistakes because I knew what reaction to expect. If I didn’t do things a certain way, I was punished by various means. The means were never physical, but it took its toll on me. I was left with severe social and generalized anxiety, and a struggle with the worst depressive episodes of my life. I tried to talk about these things many times, and I was shut down every time. I was made to feel like my feelings didn’t matter, like what I needed didn’t matter. I’m not sure he even realized he was doing it. I’m not angry at him, but leaving was the best thing I could have done for myself. I am still recovering from my experiences, and over a year later, I am still afraid to date. I know logically that it isn’t the case, but I fear that the next person I date will be exactly the same and I will just end up in another relationship like the last. I’m not okay with that. I am healing slowly, but this is the nature of the beast. It leaves scars.

I hadn’t thought about it until now, but this has become something near and dear to my heart. Awareness needs to be raised about men’s violence against women, and I appreciate the things my city does to try to do so.  The reason the colour purple was chosen is it stands for courage, honour, and survival. It has become a symbol of the fight to end woman abuse. If you are interested in learning more about this campaign, you can visit the following links:

London Abused Women’s Centre

London Free Press Article October 14, 2016

Halton Women’s Place

Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women

Shine the Light on Women’s Abuse is an Ontario-based campaign, but it is something that should be happening worldwide. It’s an important issue and there can never be enough awareness raised.

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Buildings lit up purple in Downtown London (rear left – London Life office, front right – London City Hall) with the Tree of Hope in the Background.

FINALLY

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

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.

Milestones

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!