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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I think I need to try harder…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tobi: “Is this all for me?!”

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

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

31…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A New Addition to the Family

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

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

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Huxley 

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

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

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

I love my new house panther!