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.

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.

****

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!

****

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!

****

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.

 

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.

What’s Up on the Gaming Front

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

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

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


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

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

 

5 Things That Make Me LOL

Today’s Prompt (April 4, 2016): Share 5 things that make you laugh out loud.

  1. Tobi’s antics… Her snores included!
  2. “bahbeesnakes” – This will forever make me laugh after this past weekend. I created a character in the mobile Nintendo game Miitomo, and my friend and I named it Babysnakes because I couldn’t think of a nickname that was only 10 characters or less… and “bahbeesnakes” is how my character in the game pronounces it!
  3. Funny gaming streams – I’m looking at you Ryon Day! You’re streams are always a great time.
  4. Cat games on my phone like Neko Atsume of Kleptocats – They’re so cute and ridiculous I can’t help but laugh!
  5. A handful of TV shows make me laugh out loud. An example would be The IT Crowd. I just love that type of comedy… Which I guess would be British comedy…

Inspiration

Today’s prompt: Write about someone who inspires you.

There is one person in particular who inspires me in several aspects of my life. Her name is Felicia Day. For those of you who don’t know, Felicia is an actress, entrepreneur, and all around very talented geek. She plays video games and streams on Twitch when she can. She also created Geek and Sundry, which you should check out if you haven’t already.

So why does she inspire me? Well, for one, she is a fellow woman who loves many of the same things I do. A lot of the things  I enjoy are not necessarily typical things a woman would like, comics and video games being among them. I guess in that regard she affirms that it is okay to like the things I like and there is no reason I shouldn’t, regardless of society and its stereotypes. Having someone like her to look up to as a role model is actually quite empowering. She’s also an author, and her book is an inspiration in itself. I learned that she struggles with anxiety which I do as well. Knowing that she has accomplished everything she has while living with anxiety helps me to realize I can accomplish the goals I set out for myself. Because of Felicia, I have more confidence in my abilities, even if my anxiety sometimes makes it not feel that way.

It was also through Felicia that I discovered Team Hooman. Team Hooman is a group of like-minded people who are quite possibly the kindest, most accepting people in the world. Being a part of Team Hooman reminds me that there are quite a few good people still out there in the world. That in itself is an inspiration.

I met Felicia back in August when she did a book signing at the Indigo store at the Eaton Centre in Toronto. I wrote a blog post about it if you’re inclined to browse my blog archives. Felicia was so nice and down-to-earth and so fun and adorable. She even tried to crack a joke with me, but we both dropped the ball with the punch line. She even personalized my book, even though I didn’t go through the proper process (mostly because I wasn’t aware there was a process…). It was a pretty amazing two minutes, and I am SO glad I have some pictures to remember the experience by.

image

I don’t know if you will ever read this, but Felicia, THANK YOU for being you and doing all of the amazing things you do.

Geeking Out About Dice

I have recently come into possession of the most beautiful dice I have ever seen. I love them, and I can’t seem to stop looking at them. I haven’t been able to play with them yet but I am impatiently waiting. An added perk is they match my Dragon Shields!

My New Chessex Cirrus dice.

They are a set of 36 12mm six-sided dice in aqua and white with silver markings for the numbers, called pips. I love the colour of the dice, and I love the white swirls. The silver pips are pretty great too. I think it is a perfect combination. I could look at them and play with them for hours and never get sick of  them. The other great thing about these dice is the bag I store them in, which was a bit of an unexpected but totally awesome purchase.

The dice are from a company called Chessex, a leader in making dice for gaming. They have many designs, and it’s hard to choose just one set. I was torn between two when I bought these, though I don’t regret my decision one bit. Matching my Dragon Shields was definitely a factor in the decision-making process though.

wpid-img_20150705_180623-01.jpegThe dice bag is Doctor Who themed, the exploding TARDIS to be exact. It’s a perfect match to the scarf I received for my birthday and fits in quite nicely with my ever-growing collection of Doctor Who memorabilia. It’s a rather small thing to get excited over, this dice bag and set of dice, but if we can’t get excited over the little things what is the point of getting excited over anything at all?

I am totally geeking out over these!

 

A Little Bit of Magic…

No pun intended. Well, maybe.

Over these past couple of months, Jay and I  started playing Magic: The Gathering. He is getting into it again, as he played it years ago. I’m just getting into it myself for the first time, though I have played it a few times in the past since we have been together.

For those who are unfamiliar, Magic: The Gathering is a trading card game published by Wizards of the Coast starting back in 1993. Each game is a battle between opponents playing as “planeswalkers”, a type of wizard. The cards themselves are spells. Each player starts with 20 life, and the object of the game is to kill your opponent or cause them to lose the game in some other way. There are millions of players worldwide. Wizards of the Coast released new card sets every four months or so, and there are a few different formats based on the cards you choose to use when building your deck for play. Most local gaming shops host an event called Friday Night Magic or FNM every week where players can gather and play against each other, sometimes in a tournament format.

Since Jay and I started playing, we have focused on the Standard format which includes the current core set and the 6 most recent sets which are divided into two “blocks” of three sets. Standard format is more fair generally, because there are fewer cards available than the rest of the formats. The standard format will be changing soon as they will no longer be publishing a core set each year after the one they are releasing in July. After that it will end up just including cards from six sets divided into three two-set blocks in standard play. We chose a great time to get back into things: the time when they are going to change everything! It took us a lot of time to fully grasp how it will all work, so I don’t expect anyone to understand right away. That’s not really the point of this post.

wpid-fb_img_1425748349856.jpg
It’s Ugin, the Spirit Dragon!

We started out buying a “fat pack” for the Fate Reforged set. Fate Reforged is the second most recent set. A fat pack has nine booster packs, a limited edition life counter, two deck boxes, all along with the fancy box it comes in. A booster pack is a pack of fifteen randomized cards from a set. It was thrilling opening all the booster packs, and I even got my very first planeswalker with this first MTG buy. It was a nice surprise and made it even more exciting.

I had so much fun with this that we budgeted to allow for me to buy three new booster packs each month when I go to buy my new Doctor Who comic. I’ve looked forward to “new comic book and booster pack day” each month since. It has happened for two months now, and May will be the third. When it was released at the end of March we also bought the fat pack for the newest set Dragons of Tarkir. We didn’t find a planeswalker in this set, but it was still enjoyable to open. I love the element of surprise in opening each pack. At this point we each threw together a deck in the colours we felt like a the time. I built a black and green one and Jay built a blue one. I guess at this point I should clarify that there are five colours to play in Magic: black, white, red, green and blue. Each colour has its own abilities and you can choose what you like. You can play multi- and monocolour decks to your own personal preference. I didn’t really know what I like so I chose the colour that had the names of cards I liked best. Turned out I liked the abilities too. After our first couple of games, a few won on each side, we set out to refine my deck. My deck is complete now in the sense that it is playable, but we are still refining it and I think we always will be.

We have spent many a weekend after that first gameplay “single-hunting” at our local gaming/comic shops looking for the ideal cards for my deck. It is a really enjoyable and stimulating process. We have come to know the employees in the stores better and have had many great Magic conversations with them and other customers alike. I guess you could say we are now “regulars” at one shop in particular. We had trouble finding a few specific cards, so we ordered them online from Face to Face Games, a Canadian store that deals in Magic and other trading card games like Pokémon. It was a really easy way to get cards that were proving difficult to find.

wpid-img_20150517_145058.jpg
This guy has saved me in many games!

On April 26, we played my deck as almost complete against Jay’s blue deck that has beaten me many times. My deathtouch, life gain and larger creatures decimated his deck. It was a good game though I did lose a few more times again after that. I can’t wait to play my deck again after we tweak it even more. And maybe in the future my Planeswalker won’t be countered every time!

We actually “finished” my black and green deck just yesterday. There were few more changes to be made to make it really great, and we bought a few more cards to help augment my deck. Jay and I also discussed the direction of my deck and ultimately we went with a slightly different direction, which seemed to make all the difference when we played it in the afternoon. Four hours and about seven games later, we were both very satisfied with the state of my deck. I will play with it in its current state until I start losing again. Today, I only lost once. I impressed myself. I never expected it to perform as well as it did, and neither did Jay for that matter. I can’t wait to play another game again soon.

wpid-img_20150517_150041.jpg
Tweaking my deck.

I’m going to play this deck for a little while. Maybe I will get adventurous and try this one out at Friday Night Magic. While I play it I’ll be thinking about my next deck.

Our collection of cards just keeps growing too. It’s really neat watching our collection expand as we build new decks!

wpid-img_20150517_201810.jpg
The “finished” product: my black/green control deck.