Stress & Things

March was a heck of a month in terms of happenings, moods, and health. April got off to a great start too… I am actually just getting back into a regular work routine after three short weeks in a row due to varying reasons, including being sick and writing exams. I still cannot place whatever illness I had, but I am thankful it is over. I am thankful the first of two final exams is over as well.

It was a wild month overall. I wrote a midterm at the beginning of March, and delivered a presentation at work as a part of a major project within the branch.  That week was a hectic week: studying (poorly, I might add), presentation preparation and then both the presentation and the exam rounding out the week on the Friday. Did I mention my birthday fell in there somewhere as well? It was a less-than-ideal week for my birthday to fall in. I failed the midterm, but I rather expected it. Something had to give that week, and studying definitely fell to the wayside. My instructor for the course was terrible to begin with so the motivation to do well just was not there. The good news is I had the opportunity to make it up on April 3, when I wrote the final exam.

Outside of work and school stress, I have been working to maximize the use of space in my apartment, which is never a bad idea, since it is so small. I used my St. Patrick’s Day this year to trek to IKEA and buy myself a larger desk, a file cabinet, a boot cabinet, and a wall-mounted coat rack. I used my desk far too often and for too many things to keep such a small desk. The new one is almost double the size, and I now have enough space to do everything I want to at my desk. The things being studying, writing, working, and gaming.

Shortly after, I replaced my desk; I discovered that my wireless keyboard stopped working. I had not used it for about a week, while I was building my new furniture. I discovered it on the Thursday while I was trying to get set up for my online class. No matter what I did, it would not work, and I ended up having to replace it. I bought the keyboard I have wanted for ages, and am very happy with my decision. It sounds cool, and looks pretty too. It was money I did not plan to spend, but it is what it is. The result should be a keyboard that lasts me for many years to come.

While all this was happening, my car was mysteriously being covered with a weird sticky clear substance I could only assume was tree sap. It made opening doors and windows quite annoying for just about two weeks or so. The first proper spring rain-washed it all away, thankfully.

The end of the March brings us to Easter Weekend. There were no big family dinner plans this year, because everyone just seemed to be busy. It happens with most of us being on our own and doing our own things. I agreed to help my mom tile the tub surround in her bathroom. Tiling is something I have never done before, but I am game to try anything once so long as it does not involve extreme heights. We started on Saturday morning and worked through the day, and finished off with grouting on Sunday morning. The result looks great, and we are super proud of our amateur tiling job.

I headed home from my mom’s around lunchtime on the Sunday and made the decision to do a quick run through the McDonald’s drive thru to grab some lunch so I could focus on studying for the afternoon. As it turned out, that was not going to be what happened at all. While I was in the drive thru, the person in front of me backed into me. Me, in my brand new car with less than 1,500 kilometers on it. I was so frustrated and upset. Thankfully, the person who hit me was cooperative and he is paying for the repair. The car goes in tomorrow to repair the cracked bumper. I will be happy when the whole process is over.

I wrote the first of two final exams for this term on Tuesday April 3. I am happy it is over, even though I do not think I did particularly well. I am hoping I passed the exam. As long as I pass the exam, I pass the course. I should find out my grade in the next couple of weeks.

Huxley’s anxiety also has not let up in any way at all. I took his shirt off early this week because it needed washing, and by the next morning, he had barbered himself a brand new bald spot complete with raw skin! I feel so bad for him, but I am also at my wits’ end in terms of ideas to help him. I bought him a Thundershirt, and I am hopeful it will do the trick. Keep your fingers crossed, mine are!

In other news, I spent this past weekend at home focusing on self-care and studying for my next exam. As a result, my house no longer feels like a complete disaster to me, and I have managed to stick to the study schedule I have created. I am super proud of myself for both of these accomplishments, however small they are. I feel like I am in a better mental space. All of the stress of the past month took its toll on me. In an effort to help myself feel better physically and mentally, I have joined a book club that meets once a month at the Starbucks about three blocks away from me. I am excited. This month the book is Animal Farm by George Orwell, my favourite type of fiction! I am looking forward to some stimulating discussion around the themes of the book. Finally, I have signed up for a 9-week beginner yoga session starting next week. I found it for a VERY reasonable price through the city parks and recreation department SPECTRUM program. It was very affordable, which excited me, as it is hard to find affordable yoga classes around the city without being aware of the existence of this program. I love yoga, but have trouble sticking with it without the benefit of attending class. The SPECTRUM program seems to give the perfect solution!

So, here’s to a slightly less stressful April. I hope that it doesn’t take the same turn March and the early part of this month did!

 

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An Eventful June 

June has been a busy month in the land of Lindsay. As a result I have been exhausted almost perpetually this month. Hoping for a relatively quiet July, and in turn time to recover. Time to recap the craziness! 

The beginning of June came with a midterm to study for and to write. I probably didn’t study as much as I could have, but I at least managed a 75% on the exam. I am okay with that. The quizzes for this class have continued to happen every week or so, and has kept me on my toes. My last class is tonight, and studying for the final exam commences tonight as well. 

Mid-June came with a big trip for my cousin’s wedding. The family came from far and wide and converged on Brandon, Manitoba for a long weekend. We flew out on Thursday, and returned Monday afternoon. Mom and I tried Airbnb for the first time, and it was a great experience. We saw family we haven’t seen in ages, and we had a fantastic time at the wedding. My cousin looked absolutely beautiful, and the wedding was a fun laid back affair. I was sorry to part with everyone again, but I was very happy to be home again Monday! I was also very thankful for my neighbour who acted as cat-sitter as well. The cats were much better for having someone able to look in on them twice a day! 



Traveling to and returning from Manitoba did a number on me. Luckily I haven’t gotten sick or anything, but I have been exhausted on a whole new level. No amount of sleep has had me feeling rested until today finally. This past weekend I took a few extra naps totalling 5.5 hours of extra sleep. I guess I needed it! 

This past Sunday night brought the Eagles of Death Metal concert at London Music Hall. I took a friend for her birthday. It was a super great time, even though I was crazy tired to begin with and even more so after… I did sleep well that night. A deep and satisfying sleep, even if it was short. It was one of the best shows I have been to in a very long time. Maybe I will get lucky and catch another great show sooner rather than later. 

Well, I’m broke now too, so the excitement has to slow down regardless. Time to rest!

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!

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.

Blessings

Today’s Prompt (March 19, 2016): Write about five blessings in your life.

  1. Having a safe place to sleep and to come home to at the end of the day
    • I love my apartment. It’s small and cozy and perfect to Tobi and I. We are both safe and secure and happy here.
  2. Having family to support me
    • I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish the things I have, especially in the past eight months if it wasn’t for my family. They have come through and supported me when I needed it most time and again.
  3. My cat
    • My life would be so empty without her. Nothing more needs to be said.
  4. Friends
    • I may not have many friends, bur the friends I do have are amazing!
  5. A job where I’m happy
    • I was unhappy in my old job for a long time, and it is so refreshing to be at a job where I am happy, that also offers great perks and benefits as well.

So You Want to Win My Heart?

Today’s prompt: Five ways to win your heart.

Winning my heart can be easy or hard depending on how you approach it. The following list is all or nothing:

1. Liking similar things is helpful, or at least accepting me for the geeky person I am and respecting that these things I love will always be a part of my life.
2. Don’t try to change me. Like everyone else I have flaws and personal issues I have to deal with. Accept that those things are a part of me. Please please PLEASE don’t try to change them. They are a part of who I am. Also, do not tell me how to live my life, or who I can associate with.
3. Be understanding and supportive of my mental illness. It is a part of me that I don’t much like, and it is hard to deal with at times, especially on bad days. My anxiety and depression aren’t going anywhere, however unfortunate that clearly is.
4. Fall in love/become attached to my cat. Or at least make a concerted effort. We are a package deal.
5. My family is important to me. Do not disrespect them. Do not give me a hard time for wanting to spend time with them. They aren’t perfect. And no one is. But I love them and they are an important part of my life.

A Board Game Wish List

The more tabletop games I play, the more I enjoy them. I have discovered, especially recently, that board games are a great way to bring friends and family together and have tons of fun. Just last weekend I played Cards Against Humanity with my family (yes, my family!) and it was a great time; so much laughter and enjoyment. I can’t wait to play the next game with them. I’m also looking forward to my next Magic: The Gathering night!

This past week I’ve made up a bit of a board game wish list. I would love to hear your thoughts on these, as well as what board games you wish you could have!

  1. Firefly – just because I love the show…
  2. Monopoly – it’s a classic!
  3. Forbidden Island
  4. Concept
  5. Settlers of Catan
  6. Love Letter
  7. Concept
  8. Carcass one
  9. Splendour
  10. Tokaido

  

Thankfulness

On this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I have so much to be thankful for. These past few months have been difficult, but they have helped me to realize what I have and how lucky I truly am.

So here goes… The cliché “I’m thankful for…” list:

  • Friends: for giving me a reason to laugh again, and in one specific case, a temporary home while I got my shit together.
  • The support I have received from coworkers over said past few months. I wouldn’t have come as far as I have without it.
  • Family: for coming to my rescue emotionally, and being there first to help me pick up the pieces and get started on starting over.
  • Coworkers: specific ones, you know who you are; for being so patient with me while I was struggling and upset at work, and for helping me with tools to begin again.
  • My small but faithful group of readers: you keep me wanting to write.
  • Discovering groups and forums online where I can be the real me, without judgment. (Team Hooman, I’m talking to you!)
  • Tobi, my cat: I love her so much. She makes the quiet nights on my own bearable.
  • Everyone in my life, you have given me so much faith in humanity. You are the best of the best.
  • Meeting my hero, Felicia Day, back in August. It was one of the best days of my life.

So there you have it. I really do have a lot to be thankful for. And I am so incredibly thankful for everything.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Byron Freehouse

A week ago Sunday my Grandma and I got together for our traditional birthday lunch. Every year she takes me out for lunch on my birthday. We visit and talk; generally enjoying each other’s company for the afternoon. My Grandma’s birthday is actually less than a week after mine, so it is a bit of a treat for both of us. This lunch doesn’t always happen near our birthdays, but it always happens eventually. A couple of years back it didn’t happen until June, but that was okay. It is always a great opportunity to spend time with her, no matter when it happens.

Last year, we went to a restaurant she had never been to before and she really enjoyed it. She always has me choose where we go, so this year I decided we would try another new place since last year was such a success. I chose a smaller local restaurant called the Byron Freehouse.

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The Byron Freehouse isn’t far from where I live. It is located in Byron, a suburb of London, on the “main drag”. It’s not a big place, and it has a nice laid back atmosphere. It almost has the feel of a bar and grill, but not quite. It still feels a bit more like a restaurant. Their colour choices of teal and red for the decor are fun, and really add to the atmosphere. We had a good first impression upon arriving. We arrived around 1:30pm and were seated right away. Menus were provided and our drink orders taken moments later. The choice on the menu was varied, but not too large. Grandma and I both had trouble choosing just one option from the menu. After some discussion, we settled on some deep-fried pickles to start, a beef and swiss sandwich with fries for Grandma, and a southern fried chicken sandwich with fries for me. We received our food in a very timely fashion and it was piping hot. Our server was very on top of things. We had no complaints about the service whatsoever.

The food itself was excellent and the portion sizes were generous. The deep-fried pickles were crispy but not overdone. My sandwich was flavourful and the lettuce and onion on it were fresh and crisp. The fries were seasoned just right. Grandma was equally happy with her own meal. I would go back again and try something else on the menu for sure. Grandma agrees. We both left the Byron Freehouse full and very satisfied. I am looking forward to our next lunch date.

The added bonus to this fun day with my Grandma is that it allowed me to start working on another item on my 30 Before 30 list: one local restaurant down, two more to go! It has become so exciting to cross new things off the list. So far, this list has been an excellent idea.

A Visit with Dad

It has been a few weeks already, but at the end of September my dad flew in from out west for the first time in a couple years for an extra long weekend visit. I booked some time off work for it, and I have to say we had a pretty good time.

We spent the time catching up, visiting some of my favorite spots locally, revisiting some places I hadn’t been in years and also catching up with some family. We also participated in Doors Open London, which was a lot of fun again this year.

There were lots of chats, lots of walking (we took the bus almost everywhere) and generally a lot of fun was had. I am looking forward to another visit sooner rather than later.

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Riding the bus
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Visiting Eldon House – a favourite place of mine in the city.