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!




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.


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?!

30 Before 30: Nearing the End

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Volunteering Season Begins Again

Today was the first day of volunteering at Eldon House for the 2016 season. 2015 events were pretty much finished for the season after the Summer Tea Program ended in September, aside from Christmas and New Year’s activities. Today’s event was a tea tasting workshop hosted by the owners of The Tea Haus. I had the opportunity of meeting the owners of The Tea Haus, Stephanie and Mike. They are great people and they educated me even more about tea. I already thought I knew a lot, but I was wrong. Today, as a lucky volunteer, I learned the differences in flavour between Sri Lankan, Chinese and Indian teas, as well as different types of these teas. I can now distinguish between Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Orange Pekoe and Assam Meleng teas; all black teas, but all very different. It was a fun and educational day. All I had to do in return was help to serve tea and refreshments and help with the clean up afterward. Pretty fair trade-off, I think!

I was aware of The Tea Haus for some time before today, and I have been there a few times and had a couple of pots of tea there. I have found the shop to be quite intriguing, and I love the idea that it is a local shop, not attached to any chains. Now, having met Stephanie and Mike, I can’t wait to go again. I think the next tea I buy and potentially the rest of my tea from now on will be from The Tea Haus! Their knowledge and kindness has converted me, I think!

After my volunteer duties were finished, I decided to take a quick stroll through the house. I never fail to be amazed by the house and its artifacts. It is absolutely beautiful, no matter the season.







I was also trying to prolong my walk back home. The weather walking to Eldon House was rather nasty, a mix of rain and snow that had me rather wet upon my arrival in the Interpretive Centre, the event venue. The wind was a bit gusty, and it wasn’t a pleasant walk. My umbrella turned out to be completely useless, thanks to the wind. During the event, the rain and snow mix turned into straight snow, but the wind picked up and started gusting quite significantly. The trees surround the museum were swaying with abandon. It looked a little bit dangerous, I will admit. After the event was over, the wind was still very gusty and the snow was coming down quite heavily.

This photo doesn’t even begin to convey the amount of blowing snow out there.

I bundled up, braced myself for the walk home, and thankfully the traffic was very light so walking was fast. I am now home and cozy in my apartment listening to the gusting wind, dreading what the morning is going to look like when I have to walk to work… But it was fun while I was there! Volunteering can be so fulfilling, even when it is something small like helping with an event at a museum.

A Little Project

One can’t help but notice that people have a serious tendency to focus on negativity in everyday life. I have paid a lot of attention to this lately, mostly recognizing my own tendencies, and I decided to do a little week-long project. I’m very guilty of this, and in casual conversation it is easy to recognize when other people are as well.  To see what the difference could be, and to hopefully become more in tune with myself and potentially others, I decided that for an entire week I would keep track of all the positive or good events and happenings and put no emphasis whatsoever on the negative or bad things. I knew from the beginning this was going to be an eye-opening and interesting project.

Today marks the end of this project, and it has been VERY eye-opening. Here are the things I documented through the week:


  • Celebrated my good friend’s daughters first birthday
  • Went trick-or-treating for the first time in years, and for the first time on the other side (taking kids out, and not being the trick-or-treater)
  • Spent an entire day with my friend Courtney for the first time in years


  • Went and purchased my Davids Tea advent calendar with Jess (even standing in line for almost an hour was fun!)


  • Woke up to sunlight coming through my window
  • Cards Against Humanity arrived from Amazon in the mail


  • Finished a book for the first time in a very long time
  • Had a movie night at Alice’s, complete with Speckles (her cat) snuggles
  • Tattoo is almost healed; the scabs are all gone!


  • Did a lot of extra walking, and it felt amazing


  • Helped to make a coworker’s last day in the office as pleasant as possible
  • Had sushi!


  • Attended the Dirty Dancing live show at Budweiser Gardens with my mom and sister IMG_1392


  • Saw my nieces and nephew
  • Played Cards Against Humanity for the first time
  • It was a very comfy day


  • Celebrated my niece’s third birthday at her birthday party today (the first one I have ever attended)
  • I held my nephew Lyndon for what I am sure is the first time

Okay, so I kept track for an extra day. I think that’s a testament to how easy it became by the end. I found it very interesting how profound a difference making a minor change like I did can shift your perspective and outlook on just about everything in your life. It can happen incredibly quickly too. I found that by Tuesday, I was already generally happier and was finding it easier to dismiss the things I usually found upsetting or made my feel like the world was crashing down around me. And believe me, it happens relatively often. Putting no emphasis on those negative things and purposely focusing on the good things that were also happening at that time, made it so much easier to cope with the other things. I could almost just shrug them off.

I actually have a funny little story that can be an example to shed some light on this: I was away from home all weekend. I was out-of-town at my parents’ place because there were a few events going on and it just made more sense that way. I arrived home this evening, and pulled my dish drying mat out from under the sink because I was about to start dishes. There was a hole in my mat, and a tear on the back and little bits of the foam from the inside all over it. Clearly, I have a mouse.  IMG_1440Just over a week ago, I would have been very upset over this and probably would have started to cry; however, today I was able to laugh it off, and I even found it a bit funny. I live in a century old mansion that has been converted into apartments. You really can’t expect there to be no mice around whatsoever! I found the place where it got in, and quickly figured out there is no way for it to get out from under the sink to wreak havoc anywhere else. I will cover up the hole where it got in, and I have a solution to deter anymore mice. I will go and buy a new mat in the near future. I found myself able to laugh it off and figure out a solution to the issue in no time at all because I didn’t get worked up over the fact that it happened in the first place. It was something beyond my control and probably would have happened anyway. I couldn’t know it would happen, and it is something that is easily fixed. Something that was no big deal really wasn’t a big deal for the first time in I don’t know how long. Pretty cool, right?

This little project didn’t take more than a couple of minutes each day, and I highly recommend anyone give it a try. I’ve found it to be a very positive experience in itself!

A 30 Before 30 Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Try 3 local restaurants I’ve never tried before:

  1. The Byron Freehouse
  2. The Early Bird Cafe

Try 5 brand new foods:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Attempt at a Writing Course

During the month of April I attempted my first writing course. It is one of the goals I want to carry out for my 30 Before 30 list, and the opportunity for one that was free and online came to my attention so I jumped at it. Funny enough, it was a course hosted through WordPress’ The Daily Post. It was part of the “Blogging U” segment called “Writing 101”. It ran from April 6, 2015 to May 1, 2015. Each day there was a new prompt  on the community site and emailed to all participants. The idea was to write a blog post using the prompt and share it with your peers on the community site and get feedback on your writing from them. Publishing and sharing your work, however, was not a requirement for this course. I was never brave enough to share my work. I did well enough in keeping up with the posts for the first couple of weeks; writing but not sharing with the community. I struggled to keep it going though.

The prompts were interesting and fun to work with but I found that there wasn’t enough with the course to keep me accountable. Yes, there were prompts daily, but there were no goals, no due dates, nothing to keep me motivated. I missed prompts on many days. It didn’t help that the prompts were delivered in UTC time, so I would get them the night before just as I was going to bed and I’d forget about them by the next day. I learned that I need a lot more structure. I find that I thrive much more in a classroom-type atmosphere. I do better with structure. Concrete assignments, due dates and a proper forum if it’s an online course are what work for me. Things that will keep me motivated to continue on. A course in my time zone may help the cause as well.

So attempt one was not a success. I have not given up though. I am currently searching for a course that is a better fit for me, whether it be online or otherwise. I am looking into something through Coursera, and if not, I will continue my search. I would like to avoid paying for the course as I don’t have much in terms of disposable income. It’s something I will complete before I am 30, I just need to find the right course format. Onward and upward!

Crochet Progress

I’ve been busy on the crochet front. I’ve now learned double crochet along with the rest of the stitches I’ve learned. My repertoire now includes chain stitch, slip stitch, single crochet, half double crochet and double crochet. Knowing these, I now know enough stitches to start working patterns.

In fact, I’ve already learned my first pattern! Last time we were out for a drinks and games night at our friends’ place, my friend Ashley taught me my very first pattern. It’s the corner-to-corner afghan, and it’s super easy to learn. It’s all chain stitch and double crochet and it didn’t take long to learn at all. After she taught me, I used the YouTube tutorial by The Crochet Crowd to clear up anything I was unsure of. It turned out to be a great pattern to start out with. It can also be easily modified to any size.

I modified the pattern the first time around to be about the size of a dishcloth. I used black yarn, and it turned out great.


I’m not completely sure yet, but I think I just might use it for my blanket. The completed project is now on the back of my toilet looking great. I’m just about ready to start something a bit bigger.

Learning to Crochet

On Valentine’s Day weekend I picked up the supplies necessary to begin my venture into crocheting. I bought a set of eight crochet hooks in the most common sizes and three skeins of yarn: two small and one larger. The smaller ones were black and multi-colour, and the larger one was a beautiful heather grey.


That very day I searched for crochet tutorials on YouTube and began to teach myself how to crochet. My good friend who was going to teach me was very helpful and provided links to some very high quality and effective how-to videos. I’m sure she would have been happy to teach me in person, but I got impatient and decided I would teach myself instead. So far so good though, I have to say!

It has been a lot of trial and error at this point, but I think I have successfully taught myself a few of the stitches. I’ve been able to complete a few very small projects using chain stitch, single crochet and slip stitch. The projects I have managed to complete so far are a very small dish cloth, and two cup sleeves like the cardboard ones you get from Starbucks.


I am pretty confident at this point in my ability to complete the stitches I’ve learned and have started learning half double crochet and started an even bigger and more fun project: a new place mat for my coffee table. I am using the beautiful and very soft heather grey yarn for it and so far I am loving how it is turning out, even though I am only about half-finished.

After that, I will keep learning more stitches! I also need to start thinking about my 30 Before 30 blanket. The large skein of yarn I purchased included a really appealing blanket pattern on the inside of the paper band. I think it might be the one I use. I’m looking forward to the day I start my blanket. I love blankets. They’re so cozy. As always, I will continue to post periodic updates on my learn and progress.