Some Good Questions (For Once)

Back in May, I was reading through Myth Schaber’s Tumblr blog, going way, way back and came across this quiz-y thing. I don’t do the Tumblr so I was unaware of this but I guess it’s a thing to do asks from a list. Like, there is a whole list of questions and each one corresponds with, maybe, a colour or a feeling or whatever, and you choose the colour/emotion/whatever in your ask and the blogger responds with the answer for that one question.

Well, that seems partially unsatisfying to me because I want ALL the answers. And all the questions. And because this is my blog and I do what I want… and because I can’t get anyone to engage with me even in the best of times, I found the list of questions and answered them all for you.

You’re welcome. 😏

This one is the “flower” ask and I found it here: (There are many more I found afterwards and also filled out but… let’s pace ourselves.)

(I filled this out May 3rd, 2020 at 5:12am but am not backdating this post for now. I’ll move it later.)

How old were you when you had your first kiss? 💋 

With tongue? LOL. 

I was 17. 😱

I had “boyfriends” that kissed me, like on the cheek or even *GASP* on the lips many times before that. The first, I was 7. Haha. Many awful experiences followed. 

If I handed you a concert ticket right now, who would you want to be the performer? 🎫 🎤 🎶 

I’ve never seen P!nk and I’d really like to. Otherwise, I would LOVE to see Bobby Long again sometime soon. I just adore him. 

Always down for more Muse too.

Supposed to be seeing Weezer and Green Day (with Fall Out Boy) again this summer, but with the Covid interruptions to life… Who knows if that will still be happening. But I already have the tickets so… that doesn’t count! 🤪

What color looks best on you? ⚫️🟤🟣🔵🟢🟡🟠🔴⚪️

Turquoise, I guess. I think it’s a universally flattering colour.

Name three facts about your family? 👩‍👦👨‍👧‍👧

1️⃣ We moved a lot.

2️⃣ We descend from Brits.

3️⃣ We all have blue eyes. 

(To qualify these statements, I am referring specifically to my immediate family, pre-marriage.)

What’s the best thing you can cook? 🍳🍴

I can’t cook much. I do 2 dishes, neither of which have I made in the last 5 years. They were equally edible – Chinese beef & broccoli and Japanese hamburg steak.

If you could pick the gender and appearance of your child, would you? 👤

No! I mean, it would be appealing for me if our child was more on the Asian looking half (Hubby is so cute!), but to CHOOSE it is a weird thing.

As for gender, no matter which gender they were born with, I don’t think I’d raise them with much of a concrete idea of any gender at all. That would be a statement they’d have to make on their own. *I’M* not telling my kid what they are. 

If you died right now, what song would you want to play at your funeral? 💀⚰️🎵 

Skinnamarink

Favorite holiday dish? 🎉🍽

🤤🍗 turkey

Would you ever get into a long distance relationship? 🛩🌎 

I have been in 2. They aren’t easy. (One ended sort of badly, the other one went well… and I eventually married him.) But my answer is complex, more so than I think I can (or want to) succinctly answer in this quiz. And I’m married so… 🐮Moooooo.

(IF I were unattached, I wouldn’t turn down the possibility if it came to it – wouldn’t be a deal breaker – but I wouldn’t go looking for it.)

Favorite kind of soup? 🍜🥄

butternut squash 

What’s the most thoughtful present you’ve ever received? 🎁💭💡 

???  I’m going to take the easy way out and say the fairytale Hubby wrote for me with the accompanying necklace OR a pack of my favourite brand of hot chocolate he bought me when I came to visit.

Are you currently in love with someone? 😍👩‍❤️‍👩👩‍❤️‍👨👨‍❤️‍👨💞

yes 

Would you ever become a vegan? 🌱🥬🥒🥦🥑🍅🍆🌽🥕🥗🌿

Yes. I would be one already if I weren’t so goddamn lazy. (I’m terrible.)

What’s your favorite hot beverage? ☕️

🧐 ….   C’mon now.

For your birthday, what kind of cake do you ask for? 🍰

cherry chip

Do you like going on airplanes? 🛩💺

Not even a little bit. They are sensory nightmare boxes.

Did you ever play an instrument? 🎼🎹🥁🎷🎺🎸🪕🎻

I played the piano for 7 years (as in regularly with lessons – more after periodically for fun).

I played the recorder in elementary as most kids do. (Fun Fact: In the US, kids start recorder in early elementary. What is it… Grade 2? By Grade 4, you’re promoted to band instruments. In Canada, kids don’t start until Grade 5 or 6. Since I moved back to Canada for Grade 6 and up after spending 1-5 in the States, I already knew how to play the recorder… fairly well. They put me in a special “Recorder Ensemble” and made me play the tenor which was waaay to big for my tiny hands.)

In Grade 4, I started the saxophone for band, which I completely SUCKED at. It was almost bigger than I was and I made my Kindergartener little sister carry it for me. I “played” it all through Grade 5 also.  

In Grade 9, I played the trumpet for music class but switched to vocal music only from Grade 10 onwards.

I bought a ukulele with the intention of teaching myself but the strings hurt my fingers too much.

Who was your best friend when you were six years old? 👯

I didn’t have a best friend when I was 6. I had left my favourite friend, Matthew, behind when we moved from Canada. I didn’t meet my next best friend, Becca, until I was 9.

I had a frenemy who lived across the street when I was 6-7 named Kristin.

What color was your childhood home? 🏠 

I lived in 6 different houses from the time I was 5-12. The very first one was a beigey-yellow stucco with dark brown trim. My parents built it. I loved it and I was very sad to leave. 

Starbucks order? 🥤

My most common is a grande chai tea latte. I also drink London Fog and matcha lattes often. They used to make a “Blossoming Peach Tea Latte” every year for Chinese New Year and I loved it but they discontinued it for good several years ago and I’ve never gotten over the heartbreak.

Do you like where you’re from? 🗺 🌎🌍🌏

Earth? Yes, it’s a lovely planet, although I’m undecided about the dominant species inhabiting it.

🇨🇦 Canada is very pretty in many places.

What was your favorite book as a child? 📚📖 

Childhood spans a long time! 1/4 of my whole life. That’s a lot of books. 

Off the top of my head… “The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear” (had good pictures and a funny ending), “House by Mouse” (a mouse architect designs intricately drawn living spaces for various animal clients), and “The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher” (no words at all but my mom ‘read’ it to us often).

Funny that 2 of them have to do with strawberries despite the amount I loathe those.

What’s the scariest dream you’ve ever had? 😴😱😣

anything involving sleep paralysis 

Would you rather carve pumpkins or wrap presents? 🎁 🎃 

I am very good at wrapping presents so people always make me do it and now it’s a terrible chore and I don’t like it. I still like carving pumpkins though (even though it’s slimy) because I don’t do it often. 

Favorite kind of candy? 🍬🍫🍭 

Why does the fact that it says “kind of” throw me off? I love Smarties, Fuzzy Peaches, and Swedish Berries. (All of those are Canadian. I’m so patriotic.)

Would you rather be cold or hot? 🥶🥵 

COLD! I can always warm up when I’m cold. Or at least fall asleep. When I’m hot, I lose my freaking mind. I HATE it.

Do you listen to what’s on the radio? 🎧📻🎙

No. It’s beyond annoying.

Do you like when it rains? 🌧☔️⛈

My very favourite thing!

What’s a movie you cried while watching? 🎥📽🎞📺📼🍿😢

An easier one to answer would be name a movie that DIDN’T make me cry. I cry anytime I see someone cry.

The first one that pops into my head as exceptionally sad to me is the Korean movie, Shiri. It’s actually an action movie but the end is so heartbreaking.

Do you think you’re important? 🥇

No more than any other soul in the universe.

(Myth had the best answer to this! They said, “I know I’m not, and I totally down with it. Embrace your tiny drop-ness and raise the ocean.” 🥰 I love that!)

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Celebrating My Twilight Anniversay with Midnight Sun and the Playlists

Disclaimer: I’m a huge Twilight nerd. If you didn’t know that, now you do. And if you don’t like reading gushy fangirl stuff, you can skip this one.

I posted this on Team Fireball’s Facebook page a few hours ago and thought I’d share here too, since the Twilight section of my blog gets no love anymore.

It was exactly 9 years ago today that I joined the Twilight fandom. Yeah, I had a VERY late start… but I think the force of my love more than makes up for that. 😀 (For those of you who are interested in that type of story, it’s detailed here.)

But here we are, many years later, and I’m just as invested as I was back then. And, just like a million other Twilight fans (Way to go, Stephenie!), I am fully immersed in NEW CONTENT – pressing pause on regular life to live in TwiLand while I read Midnight Sun. What a way to celebrate my anniversary!

I love seeing all the posts from my friends and fellow fans about their thoughts on Midnight Sun and I’m ecstatic to be able to discuss it at length again with so many people. I like seeing pictures and hearing stories of people wrapped up in their Edward blankets, headphones on listening to the soundtracks, wearing their favourite Twilight t-shirts. Being a ‘nerd’ never felt so fun.

Since I love to talk about all things Twilight and find out how other people bask in their TwiLove – tell me about your thoughts and experiences with reading the new book. Are you finished or still reading? (Or still waiting for your copy to arrive?) Did you like it? LOVE it? Hate it?! Not sure? LOL. What did you do while you were reading? What did you listen to? Did you have to juggle the real world at the same time or were you able to shut yourself away with no distractions?

As for me, I’m about ¾ done reading. I still have work and other things going on so I haven’t been able to devote every waking moment, like I would like to. I also have to pause frequently to just put the book down, close my eyes, and absorb everything and organize my own thoughts, so it’s slow going. I started out listening to the soundtracks as accompaniment but I’ve switched to the Midnight Sun Playlist.

Some of you might already be aware of my appreciation for the book playlists – the music Stephenie used as inspiration during her writing process, which she shared in both the Illustrated Guide and on her website. And because I’m a hoarder and organizer, I made a specific blog that covers the entire thing (and the soundtracks), ‘cause… that’s how I roll. I just finished adding all the new songs for Midnight Sun. I think it’s pretty great. Haha. Each song has its own post with the artist and album info and the lyrics and I’m working on adding YouTube links for everything now too. Stephenie hasn’t yet shared the accompanying quotes that go with the songs for MS yet but all the previous songs for the other books all have those quotes included too. If that’s your thing, take a look.

Who has listened to the new playlist? (Stephenie shared it on her website earlier this week.) What do you think? Which songs are your favourites?

Share with me so I can fangirl with you!

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Permanent Alien Resident

I’ve mentioned only several hundred times before how I feel different than everyone else. The way I conduct my day-to-day life, the things I’m interested in, the things everyone else seems to like but I don’t, my reactions and opinions on basically every tangible (and sometimes the intangible) things around me like the weather, temperature, light and smells, my innumerable quirks.  …There may be a very concrete reason for all of this. But, perhaps there isn’t. Maybe I am just super quirky. Totally unique. *shrug*

My favourite saying used to be, “I’m unique – just like everyone else.” There is a certain meaning in that that I liked. Yes, every single person is a unique being, but because we are different, we’re really the same. It’s a common human conundrum to want to be a special snowflake and also to fit in with those around us. We want to stand out, but not too much. I used to find that phrase comforting.

I used to.

Okay, here we go~

I have been thinking over how to do this – and if I want to do this – for the past 2 years. Even as I write this, I’m not entirely sure.

There aren’t many things in this life I’m a “firm believer” of, but one of those things is that in order to be truly happy and at peace with one’s self, you gotta stand in your truth. I think that part of the reason I have been so discontented for these past two years is that I’ve been hiding something.

I thought at first that hiding may perhaps be too strong of a word. It’s not though. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I came to a realization about myself, and because of my fear about the way people would react, I kept it to myself. (I discussed it briefly with only a very small handful of people, purely for my own sanity, and then left it alone. I haven’t even told any of my family, other than my husband.) I not only didn’t bring it up but when opportunities arose in conversations – I actively avoided it or changed the subject. Even with those I had originally told, I hardly ever broached the subject again. I shoved it down inside myself, just like I do with all my big emotions. Because this brings up HUGE emotions.

Let me start with this screenshot.

andy.png

This post changed my life.

I had never seen myself so clearly in someone else’s words before. Something dawned on me. Could autism be that thing that made me feel so different than everyone else?

I have always felt different. Always. And since I was a young teenager, I have been trying to answer the question “what’s wrong with me?” I thought I was depressed, bipolar, insane… I thought I had my very own psychological condition that just hadn’t been discovered yet. Nothing I read or heard about ever quite fit. I even considered the possibility that I could be autistic back when I was just 15 years old – something I read in a book was similar to my view of the world – but I quickly dismissed it because the girl in the book wasn’t anything like me and, of course, everyone knew that autistic people couldn’t conduct themselves like regular people.  :/ *eyeroll*

Andy’s post brought this idea back up to the forefront of my mind so I decided I’d look into it.

As Andy says, there is so little information, even now, on what autism is and how it presents in each person. There is no firm consensus. Medical and professional (mis)information was of little help but my obsessive internet searching lead me to blogs written by autistic adults. I read voraciously everything I could find. The words I read online had me in tears. I saw myself. Finally. After a few weeks, I was almost entirely convinced that I too was autistic.

*sigh*

It has been a long time since then. My little journey of self-discovery has taken me to quite a few different spots. One of those was a psychologist’s office. I was practically desperate to know, one way or another, if this was the diagnosis that would bring me peace of mind. Was this the yes or no that would answer my lifelong question? Oh, that’s what’s “wrong” with me!   ???

Silly me.

It did not go well. I mean, I guess it could have been worse. But it went as badly as I could have imagined it would. The doctor knew NOTHING about autism. And instead of admitting that she didn’t know, she belittled me and told me I had something else instead. Something I believe she pulled right out of her ass! (I made her pull out the DSM-5 and showed her both the criteria for Austism Spectrum Disorder and for her “expert diagnosis” and went point-for-point about why I completely disagreed with her.  I ended up being too upset, ultimately unable to speak anymore, and couldn’t make a case for myself.)

Without spending $3000 to have the actual tests from someone who does know what they’re talking about, someone who deals regularly with autistic patients and knows what to look for and how to interpret what’s going on, I’m out of options to explore this possibility any further. I’ve had to make my peace with not knowing. For quite awhile, this pushed me even further into hiding what I thought could be true about myself. I had no diagnosis to back up my claims. No one would ever take me seriously. You can’t just come out and say “I’m autistic” and expect people to believe you right away.

There are people who do that. I’ve read their blogs and their books. And there is an acceptance in the ASD community for self-diagnosed people – they are supporters of the notion that ‘no one will ever know you as well as you know yourself’. But those people are armed with clearly outlined backup. When someone would ask them “why do you think you’re autistic?”, they would have their answer prepared and be ready to do battle.

I am so overwhelmed and horrible when put on the spot like that. If you gave me time to produce all my evidence and organize it in a precise way and be willing to educate yourself a little, I may convince you. (As it is, I have written many long-winded diatribes about this but just haven’t posted any of them. Yet.)

So for now, I have to be okay with “I might be autistic”. You can take my word for it or not.

What I have to deal with on my own is that, autistic or not, I am different. I have a set of traits that put me apart from others. Sometimes, it’s a nice thing. Other times, it’s horrible. These traits mean that daily life for me has its own considerations that other people may not have to deal with or ever even think about. It means I have to push myself to do things other people just do naturally or without batting an eye. It means I have to give myself leeway to not do certain things. In the best of times, it means I have an easier time doing something than other people.

It’s my life though. It always has been. I’ve developed tricks and hacks to go through my day-to-day existence, just as any other person has. There are things about me that are a little different than others, but I live my own life, just like everyone else. Most of the time, I don’t think about it. I don’t walk around the world, thinking in my head how I’m not like other people. There are times though where I’m slapped in the face with it.

I tried to formulate an explanation of how it feels to be me. I’ve often heard autistic people described as ‘living in their own world’. I can’t say if that’s true for them. But I can tell you, for me, it’s not that way. Not quite. I tried to compare it to being in the same world, but a parallel universe. Or like walking around in the Matrix – the same world but different experiences of it. Or like I have an Instagram filter over my view.

I am definitely here in your world, although I don’t feel a part of it. It feels kind of like being an immigrating alien. I’m living here, doing my best to adapt to the customs and culture of this world, but I don’t quite get it. Or it feels false. Like I’m playing a role that isn’t authentically me, even though sometimes I’m pretty good at it.

alien.jpg

So why talk about this now? You know, other than to live my truth and be happier? *snort*  Why right now?  I’m leaving in a few days to visit my family. I don’t want to post this and not talk to them first. That’s kind of rude. I make no promises but I feel like I’ve kept this to myself long enough and should probably fill them in on where I’m at and what’s been going on with me. I will try to make an opportunity to do this while I’m there. And I’ll sit on this post until then. (If you’re seeing this, congratulate me for having the guts to go through with it.)

Or I’ll just have them read this.
Hi, Mom and Dad.  Hi, siblings.  You’re daughter/sister is one of those “weird people”. Surprise!

 

Update: I wrote this post back in the summer of 2018. I never did tell my family. That trip, which was another 2 years ago now, did not go well. ASD was brought up at one point, but not by me, and I was horrified at the course of the conversation and actually had to leave the room. So, in the highly unlikely event that they ever stumble across my blog, they’ll find out, but I’ll probably never tell them myself. That kind of sucks.

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Japan Again

It’s official! WE’RE GOING BACK TO JAPAN. Again.

The first time was 10 days, last time was 15 days, this time… over TWO MONTHS!

This is super exciting, you guys. And also extremely stressful and difficult when it comes to planning. Like with the first two trips, I’m figuring out all the details on my own. Why? ‘Cause I’m insane, apparently. And an extreme control freak. And also, because for a trip of this length, who could possibly help me? (Any takers? Anyone at all? No. *sigh*)

But the plane tickets are booked and we’re now working on securing accommodations in various places. We’re going to go all over Japan instead of only seeing Tokyo and Kyoto this time. It’s going to be epic!

Even though I promised I’d blog everyday while we were there last time, and I broke that promise (made it to day 4 during the trip and have taken the past 4 years to fill in to day 9 – still working on it and still have 6 days to add) and have a similar track record for the first trip. And for my month in Hong Kong. 😦  BUT, Hubby and I have big plans for making videos this time. (More about that in a sec.)

Part of the problem for the previous attempts was that I take thousands of pictures. (Perhaps you’ve noticed that.) At the end of the day, sorting through them, choosing which to post and which to leave out, and then editing them, is WAY too much to take on, especially after having worn ourselves out with exploration and adventure. So, this time around, we’re going to focus mostly on quick videos to keep our friends and family up to date and then have extra footage to edit into “how-to” type of videos for the interesting places we go. I’m sure there will still be lots of pictures to share too.

I also bought a 360 camera a few months ago and want to take as many of those as I can of my favourite spots. (I tested it out on my last vacation to Oregon and Washington so if you want to see what they’re like, check them out here, here, and here.)

Hubby and I together are starting a new YouTube channel to handle all of this and we have Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts to go with it. I want to be able to create the best content I’m capable of and share as much of our experience as I can, so I’ll be documenting my planning/pre-trip preparations as well as “practice”.

 

We’ve shot and edited one practice video so far about a Japanese park near-ish to where we live and that’s going to be going up on the new channel right away.

As with everything I do, I don’t really care how many subscribers, views, and likes we get but if you want to do any of that, it would make us both happy to entertain/help out anyone out there who is interested in Japan and/or wanting to travel there in the future. Please take a look and, if you like what you see, do all that stuff. (And feedback would be great too!) If it’s not your thing, no worries.

Oh, right. Almost forgot. We also have a separate blog where the how-to informational posts to go along with the videos will be. I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll post the rundown of what we do daily on there… (Probably will, because, as I’m sure you know, I am running out of space here.) So, just to be safe, better follow that blog as well. LOL.

While you’re doing all that following and subscribing, how ’bout, if you aren’t already, sign up for the email alerts for when I post on this blog (over there on the right hand side the computer view or at the bottom of your screen on your phone), if you haven’t already. You know you don’t want to miss a single word of what I have to say. *snort*

All the new Japan 2019 trip social media links:
Japan Without Japanese – the blog
the YouTube
the Facebook
the Instagram
the Pinterest
the Twitter

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The 10 Films Challenge

Yep, it’s another viral Facebook challenge. Maybe this one wasn’t as popular as the Black & White Photo Challenge from 2017 – I only had a few friends participating in it. That could be perhaps because there was a very similar one from a few years back. The first one was 15 movies and it was just a list in one post. This one sort of combines the original movie challenge and the black and white challenge.

The rules are basically the same as the photo challenge – post one picture a day for 10 days and offer no information. As usual, you’re supposed to tag a new player each time. (And as usual, I ignored that part.)

Again, my blog, my rules ~ so you get the extra info as to why I chose these. And also why I strategically started on the day I did.

Day 1: Spirited Away

spirited away

My second favourite movie of all time. The very first Studio Ghibli movie I saw, which introduced me to a whole new collection. Without Ghibli, my world would be missing much of its magic.

Day 2: Being John Malkovich

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Granted, I haven’t seen this movie for years (Time for a rewatch!) but when I first saw it, I was enthralled with the idea of entering someone else’s mind and living their life, seeing what they see, sensing everything they sense. I have come back to this idea time and time again. It’s something I’ve tried to explain when I talk about how everybody has a unique view.

Day 3: The Princess Bride

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Another favourite. Like the grandfather says to wee Fred Savage, ‘it has a little bit of everything’ – action, adventure, romance, comedy, fairytale, fantasy, magic. And some of the best quotes ever!

Day 4: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

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Another gateway movie. I wouldn’t say this one started an obsession but it definitely fell into it. The fact that it was a mainstream hit was nice because it made a lot of subsequent releases from China much easier to obtain. It’s also another favourite of mine that has a good blend of action, fantasy, and romance. And my favourite quote – “I would rather be a ghost drifting by your side as a condemned soul than enter heaven without you.”

Day 5: What Dreams May Come

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This movie single-handedly convinced me that suicide is probably not a good idea. Kept me hanging around a lot longer than I planned. (Kind of … curious and slightly distressing that the star of the movie ultimately committed suicide himself.) There are actually quite a few really big ideas in this one that 15 year old me really took to heart and thought pretty deeply about and that I still hold to this day. I believe the idea that we create our own realities and ‘the afterlife’ will probably be also of our own creation and unique to each of us.

Day 6: Anne of Green Gables

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The nerdy part of me loves the period/literary side of this movie. I’m also a fan of the love story. But the main reason this title is on the list is because my best friend in junior high, Meaghan, and I were obsessed with it. Neither of us felt that we fit in well with our contemporary peers and something about our (maybe somewhat self-made) ‘outsider’ status made us gravitate towards both the period and Anne’s ‘romantic’ sensibilities.

Day 7: You’ve Got Mail

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From a superficial standpoint, I just love this movie. Straight up guilty pleasure. But, like the last one, means something a little bit more to me. My best friend in high school, Tara, and I had a weak spot for super girly, over-the-top romcoms. We watched them all together. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks as a duo were the epitome of the genre and this movie came out right when we were all about it. I miss my friend.  😢
There’s also an aesthetic of NYC in the 90s that I will always love. (Think Friends.)

Day 8: E.T.

ET.jpg

In my top 5 of all time favourites. Actually, it was number one for many years. I ADORE this movie. I was only 2 when it came out but I remember all the merchandise around my house. (We even had a bottle of ET bubble bath and I remember twisting his head off. Very weird.) I think it was the first VHS we ever owned too, when my parents finally caved and bought a VCR. It’s almost always been a part of my life. I love it for the purity and for the nostalgia and the 80s aesthetic and for the magic and the story.

Day 9: Original Star Wars Trilogy

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Like with many beloved trilogies (or sagas…), it’s impossible for me to pick a favourite so I’m including the original trilogy as one long movie. Similarly to ET, Star Wars has always been a part of my life. It’s a near perfect story that has become a legend and phenomenon.  And P.S. I love Han Solo. My first fictitious crush.

Day 10: Twilight

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This should go without saying. Twilight changed my life. And it has continued to grow with me over the past 7 years. And again, I’m referring to the entire saga.

I picked today to post this one specifically because, in a few hours, I’m leaving for my (likely last) trip to Forks to do my dorky Twilight-related geeking out for 10 days. If we’re friends on Facebook or if you follow me on Instragram, look forward to those pictures. 😀

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Alone

I have a few friends with whom I commiserate about the struggles of daily living and desires to grow and be a better person – you know, girl friends – and a couple of them are super into Rachel Hollis and have been hardcore recommending that I read her book “Girl, Wash Your Face”.

I’ve been in a baaaaaad place for a long time now and have been utterly unable to hear anything positive and uplifting because it makes me angry or feel defeated. But the last few weeks, I started to feel just slightly better so they said maybe now I would be open to giving this book a try.

They did give me the disclaimer that it’s a little churchy – that rubs a lot of our group the wrong way for various reasons. I’m currently at a point where the mention of anything religious is very off-putting but Ang said if she could handle it, she was sure I could too. (Girl, your tolerance is a lot higher than you give yourself credit for ‘cause…. damn. Ugh. Blech. It was too much. WAY too much.)

Well, anyway, I just finished the audiobook and… I’m actually feeling apprehensive about my friends asking what I thought.   I… did not enjoy it. (Sorry, Ang and Jodes.)

I don’t want my distaste for it to be a letdown for them because they loved it so much. I know that’s silly ‘cause, as a group of friends, we’re always emphasizing that other’s opinions don’t have any bearing on our own. But, there’s still that underlying desire to have others feel passionately about the things we do. We want to share our joy and excitment about things with the people we’re close to. I know this more than some perhaps, because I am alone in a lot of my interests. (That’s why I’m always so appreciative when someone gives something I really like a try, regardless of their final opinion.)

And, sadly, that sums up the feeling that this book left me. Alone. It had the exact opposite affect than what Rachel Hollis was intending. The whole purpose in her writing the book, she states throughout, is by talking about her own life, other women would feel a sense of camaraderie or solidarity or something by being able to see themselves in her stories.

I did not feel that. I didn’t relate to her hardly at all. We seem to have only 3 things in common – we’re both the daughters of preachers (she embraces a life of faith whereas my experience has left me with almost none), we’re both fans of Twilight, and we both shave our toes. 😝

She’s a workaholic. She is successful. She’s a mom. She’s busy. I am none of those things. Those differences wouldn’t be such a big deal except that she made statements about the fast-paced life “we all live” over and over.

I already have issues with feeling like a freak about my lifestyle. I’ve yet to meet anyone I have a life trajectory in common with. And for someone to talk about this lifestyle everyone else has, apparently EXCEPT me, and make that the main thread of her book, just further reinforces my feelings of being alone in how I go through life. I feel apart from everyone else. I always feel that way but tonight, I feel that even more than usual.

Just to be clear, I didn’t hate the book. There were some good parts. She had some interesting, insightful things to say, some of which did apply. (She says “we don’t see life how it is – we see it how we are” and that is right in line with my basic philosophy.) I just didn’t connect with it at all.

I guess there is no such book that I could ever fully relate to. Maybe I’ll just have to write that book myself…  🙂

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The Second 30 (Plus 1)

In true kmah fashion, it’s been a year and I’m just now getting around to continuing…

On with my daily breakdown of 100 Happy Days… (Part 1 here.)

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When I first heard about the new live-action Ghost in the Shell and then subsequently saw the trailer (on purpose! Haha), I was excited. It looked like it was going to be something I’d enjoy. I have the anime and liked it well enough. The story is different and weird but not too weird to be off-putting. I was nervous though when I heard that the general audience was not impressed with it. Not deterred though, since my opinions often tend to be the opposite of everyone else’s.

I am happy to say that I loved it! I think that the people that don’t like it just don’t get it. Not that they are dumb and don’t understand (that could be the case though :P) but this type of thing is not their preferred genre or they were expecting something different or just don’t have an appreciation for a typical Japanese sci-fi fantasy storyline. Nothing wrong with that. I got it though. Something about the story was identifiable for me. Plus, I love those future-type movies. What I wasn’t expecting was that Hubby really liked it too. That was a definite bonus. It’s always more enjoyable when you aren’t alone in your admiration and when you can share it with someone you’re close with.

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I was going to write that ‘whole essay’ on what I loved about the grass, but I thought it all out in my head and no longer felt the need to. I’ll try to sum up~

It was one of those days where I was sitting around doing not much. There wasn’t anything that was jumping out as “something to be happy about”. I was sitting at the kitchen table, like always, on the computer, occasionally staring out the window at nothing. The “view” isn’t much. My backyard is just a square of grass. We’ve lived here for almost 10 years and have done absolutely nothing to the outside. It’s enclosed by a fence and behind that are the backdoors of my neighbours. It’s plain and boring. There wasn’t much to actually focus on so I was just staring at the grass.

As I’ve shown in several previous days’ pictures, I’ve been spending a lot more time that I usually do outside. I’ve always had an appreciation for nature but mostly from a distance – or more accurately, from inside. It’s not a secret that I don’t like the sun or heat. I’m also freaked out by bugs. I’ve been trying to get over the bug thing and have been taking advantage of the weather so that the sun isn’t a problem. Apart from those issues, nature itself is one of my favourite things. I love the sky, clouds, trees, etc. In the right conditions, I find being outside soothing and peaceful.

I opened up the backdoor and stepped outside to get a closer look at the grass. And by closer, I mean right down in it. I basically put my face at ground level to stare into it like I was myself a tiny bug. I had said to Hubby just recently that I felt bad for tall people and was happy I was short. I think the world looks so much better from a lower perspective.

I can’t really explain this~ I like… the insides of things. ??? Or maybe, being enclosed/surrounded. For example, when I was little, I would sit in front of the Christmas tree and put my face really close to the branches and pretend I was a little fairy that lived in the branches. (Okay, I still do that…)

When I saw the movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, I was enthralled. It was seeing something boring like a mundane backyard from that perspective I enjoyed so much. And recently, I was watching Planet Earth 2 and they did a segment following a mouse running through a field. It was the same thing. Everything was big and somehow so comforting.

Yeah, I’m not going to try to explain that any more. It’s getting too long…

And the colour! My favourite colour is green. You might think of grass as one shade but you can see in the picture that there are a multitude of greens in each blade. Green makes me happy. It’s a visceral reaction.

Another aspect about the picture is the water droplets on the grass. It had been raining earlier. Obviously, I love rain. But it also reminded me of being a kid, walking through the grass in the early morning to catch the bus and being enchanted by the dew. (Until it made my shoes wet and I got upset. Haha.)

The last thing about the picture that makes me happy can be summed up in one word. Detail. That’s how my brain works. I don’t really see “the whole picture” most of the time. I am drawn to one aspect of whatever I’m attending to at a time and generally pick one thing (subconsciously) and focus only on that. The more intricate minute detail is, the more… squishy and warm inside I feel.

Haha. So much for summarizing. I guess I did end up writing a whole post worth. Uhhhhh…. *shrug*

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Another day off spent in my favourite spot, surrounded by my favourite things, doing my favourite hobby – nothing.

I have a long list of little projects I like doing that I bounce back and forth from during my down time. The priority is given to a few specific things lately. One, my iTunes crashed late last year and I’ve been working at re-adding and editing all the music I had accumulated since 2014 (when the last useable file had backed up from). Two, editing and posting the pictures from my last trip to Forks. (It wouldn’t be such a feat if I hadn’t taken 1500 pictures.) Three and four, writing the posts and editing pictures for my trips to Japan and Hong Kong.

In this picture, you can see all the paraphernalia related to one particular day from my last trip to Japan I was working on today. The scrap books and travel guide I made, all the pictures that are stored on the hard drive and USB, the iPad to help edit as I go, J-Pop music to keep me in the right frame of mind, the actual draft of the post… and of course, tea, to keep me caffeinated during all those consecutive hours in one spot. It’s a labour of love.

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My mom was visiting overnight during a layover on her way to England and she wanted to take Hubby and I out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary. We went to Fionn MacCool’s since we drive past it all the time but had never been there. It was less “Irish” than I was expecting it to be but the Mini Forkies I had as an appetizer were delicious.

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He’s my whole world.

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Apparently, Overnight Oats are a huge thing online. Since I’ve been eating so much oatmeal lately, I thought it would be wise to make it myself rather than the prepackaged instant ones. I made a whole Pinterest board dedicated to oatmeal recipes and bookmarked several videos. (These are my favourites – 1 2 3 4). I strongly dislike cooking, even something as easy as oatmeal, so the overnight thing is ideal for me and my lazy ways. And it turns out, it’s pretty simple to keep it healthy. My favourite version so far is the French toast oatmeal recipe. I use rolled oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, vanilla extract, maple syrup and almond milk.

I’m trying, in my slow, half-assed way, to be healthier in my choices and to lose some weight. I hope this combined with my plan to not eat after 8pm and walking more with start to pay off.

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Hubby makes chicken soup in the crock pot and it’s yummy. It’s cliché but it really is comfort food.

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Part of doing this challenge is not just noting the things that occur throughout the day that make you happy but teaching yourself to create your own happiness. There are some days when, without you taking action, nothing particular makes you happy. Yes, there are always things that I’m grateful for – the basics – but most days just blur into one another unless I actively do something to give myself little snippets of happy. You could say that’s “cheating” but I don’t see it that way. I see it as training myself to turn my own mood around when I’m not feeling great. I have a list of prompts or ideas I can try out for days when something to make me happy isn’t obvious. Some of them are specific and others are more vague concepts. I had written down “make a space that soothes all five senses”. Ideally, one day, I’ll create this place permanently somewhere in my home.

This little space turned out to be so much greater and more powerful than I ever could have predicted. This is another one I could write another essay about!

Sight – It was pretty easy to gather things I like to look at. I started with the wall colour. With the lights on, my kitchen is bright and orange. I like it but it’s so nice in the dark, like a cocoon. I knew I wanted my tree in my happy space. It was a wedding present from my friend Tara and her parents and I think it’s probably my favourite gift ever. I love to look at it. It’s similar to the thing I said before about Christmas trees. The lights in among the leaves make it magical. Then I added some candles and a lamp that I really like. The colours and the soft light and the movement of the flame are all things I like to see. I also put my little weeping Buddha in there for two reasons – it’s Buddha and he’s peaceful and symbolic of carrying away your worries and because it’s wood and I love the look of wood (along with the piece of wood some of the candles are resting on). Apart from the taste and texture aspects of the cappuccino and almonds, they are nice to look at too. I received that little mug in a gift exchange and I love it so much. It’s so pretty.
Sound – Probably the easiest sense to appeal to, I knew exactly what I wanted to use. Every night, since I was a pre-teen, I listen to what I call “bedtime music”. It started with one or two Solitudes CDs I stole from my dad and now I have over 200 albums. (I’m not exaggerating. I counted them.) I have several that are favourites that I listen to regularly but the one I chose is my number one.
Smell – Controlling what scents are in your space can be really difficult, especially if you’re sensitive like me. I chose all these candles very carefully. The three on the right are from our guest room, but the three on the left are from my bedroom and I’ve had them for almost as long as I’ve lived in this house. Originally, I was drawn to them because of the colour (It’s hard to see in the picture because of the lighting but one is a deep cranberry/burgundy, the other a dark mossy green, and the other an orangey brown.) but of course, because they are kept in my bedroom where I sleep, they had to smell good. (The red (pomegranate & mango) and green (olibanum, olive blossom & sage) in particular are perfect! Until tonight, those ones were all still wrapped in plastic and had never been lit. The smell is so strong, I can smell them still in the packaging. They are from a discontinued brand so I was afraid to waste them but that’s something I have been trying to get past lately.)
The cappuccino also smelled really good but that wasn’t even planned. I had just thought that it would be nice to have a warm drink in my pretty mug, but I sprinkled some cinnamon on top to make it even nicer to look at and every time I brought it up to my mouth to sip, I’d take a deep inhale. It was blissful, actually!
Touch – I think it probably happens to most people without them realizing it but my sense of touch is linked to my sense of vision. Texture is very important, not just with feeling something but by how it looks. Everything that had a tactile appeal was visually appealing for the same reason. The wood of the tree, the Buddha, and the slab under the candles, the texture of the mug (It’s half raw, exposed clay, and half rough glaze.), even the feel of the almonds… All lovely. I used the two blankets for both their feel and their cozy warmth. The candles also gave off a nice heat. The room itself was nice and cool. I think in these personal spaces people create, they might overlook the importance of temperature.
Taste – This was pretty simple too. I chose cappuccino over tea this time because it’s got a thicker, richer feel that gives me a particular comfort. And the almonds were my snack of choice because they are simple and natural and clean. When people are feeling low, we tend to reach for something unhealthy like ice cream, cookies or burgers or something like that. In my experience, this leaves me feeling even worse afterwards because it makes my tummy hurt and because of the inevitable guilt. Something healthier and tasty gives the same soothing feelings but without the pain and then I can feel good about the choice after.

I was taken by surprise of how such a simple thing made me feel so much better! Even as I was setting everything up and arranging things and taking pictures, before I even stopped to sit in the space and just enjoy it, I felt a huge shift in my mood. I went from sulky and blah to elated. I would definitely recommend this exercise for anyone who is having a hard one.

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I discovered that I don’t just love listening to music – I NEED music. I bring my iPod and my portable speaker to work with me every day. It helps me concentrate and regulate my mood. This was reinforced the other day when my speaker stopped working and I had to get through a shift in silence. I had a customer who, to put it mildly, was a bitch. It really rattled me and I couldn’t seem to move past it. It basically ruined my whole day, which of course made me even angrier because I couldn’t control it. I realized how I really rely on music to help me deal with life. It’s a coping mechanism to get lost in sound.

Not only was my speaker working again but I just finished fixing my iTunes after “The Big Crash”. I was finally able to sync it again for the first time since October. Now I have access to all the new music I’ve accumulated since then. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to be able to say I finished one of my projects, no matter how pointless other people might view them as.

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Not every day has to be full of excitement to qualify as a happy day. Doing the normal stuff I do all the time can evoke the same feelings. I really enjoy the days we just laze around, doing our own thing but in each other’s company.

I made us smoothies that were pretty good too! Mango, banana and avocado. (Mine also had some matcha in it.) Yum.

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Awhile ago, my friend showed me some examples of compass themed tattoo that she wanted to get and asked me to draw some variations for her. I was so honoured that she would even ask. I did some more research and played around with several different designs to come up with some elements that I think could work. It’s still a work in progress but it was a fun exercise, regardless of whether or not she actually uses any of them. I really like drawing and I’m not sure why I don’t do it more often.

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I love technology and how far it’s come throughout history. Sometimes I marvel about how momentum seems to increase as time passes. If you consider what life was like in the early 1900’s and compare that to the mid-century and then again to how far it jumped to when I was born and then further to all that has been invented within my lifetime and about all the things we take for granted now that didn’t exist even 10 years ago. It’s mind-boggling. I can’t even begin to fathom what will be dreamed up and become commonplace in the next century.

(The post from 16 years ago I mention.)

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Self-explanatory.

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Mother’s Day is tough for me. My own relationship with my mom is not what I wish it was. That disappointment is compounded with the fact that I don’t have kids of my own.

When we grow up, with make assumptions about our futures and sometimes life doesn’t happen the way we thought it would. I always thought I’d be a mother someday.

Most days, that’s fine. I would have liked to have a baby and raise children with Hubby but it looks like that was not destined to be and I can be okay with that because I have so many other things in my life that I love. And many aspects of my life are possible because I don’t have kids.

Still, Mother’s Day is a reminder of that life that was never lived. Going on any form of social media is a terrible idea. It’s like a slap in the face. So~ I do my best to avoid it and focus on other things.

I have a lovely home. I have a husband that I adore and who loves me unconditionally. And I have freedom to do a lot of things most people can only dream about. I am blessed.

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I ended up staying up all night – a horrible bad habit of mine. Instead of berating myself for it, I decided to do something positive. I grabbed my tea to-go and headed out to the trail to enjoy the morning and a bit of nature.

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After work, I wasn’t really sure what I could do to make myself happy. Most days when I come home, I’m spent and I just want to crawl into bed. I was planning to do just that after I had a nice big comforting cup of tea. It was a nice night, weather-wise, so I decided to drink it outside. Just as I settled down, I noticed I wasn’t alone.

We get a surprising amount of visitors in our backyard, considering it’s just grass and in a fairly loud, busy neighbourhood.

I sat there on the back step for over an hour just watching this rabbit nibbling on the grass. At first, she was frozen in place but when I stayed quiet and still, she started doing her own thing and completely ignored me. Eventually it got dark and Molty hopped away and I went inside feeling much more peaceful.

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Hubby gets really excited about the rabbits in our backyard, which is pretty cute, but it was over-the-top adorable to see him peep out the window, spot Baby Bun, and jump up to get the camera.

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I have always wanted to check out the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. Not because I’m into shoes – I’m not at all – but because it’s weird. Hubby and I had the day off so we headed downtown and crossed this one off my list. It’s interesting enough to do once.

The highlight for me were the golden lotus shoes – the teeny tiny shoes worn by Chinese women who had bound feet. I knew they had a few – the professor of my East Asian Civilizations class had talked about them – and I had read about them in several different books (like Wild Swans and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan). It’s one of those things that is disturbing and fascinating. It was kind of cool to see them in person. Horrifying to think about, but a definite curiosity.

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There are days when the only thing to look forward to is going to sleep and having it over. I love sleeping and I love my bed. I pretty much came home, took a shower, and crawled into bed. After a cup of tea and a few chapters, I was out.

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Hubby golfs a lot. It’s like his second love (me being the first, of course). It’s not something we share. I am not an active person and don’t like sports at all. I have been trying to add more activity into my lifestyle and walking is one of the only forms of exercise I don’t loathe. So, when Hubby said he was going golfing after he picked me up from work, I suggested that I join him and walk the course while he played. He was really surprised I wanted to do that and it seemed to make him really happy.

I think it’s part of a strong relationship to be able to participate in each other’s hobbies together.

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I’ve been wearing Fresh Sugar Lychee perfume for over 10 years. I often have people comment that it smells “like me”. It’s become a signature scent. Firstly, it’s uncommon. I’ve never met another person who wears it. So when people smell it, they know it’s me. It has somehow become inextricably linked with thinking of me.

Secondly, it might seems like a strange concept for a scent to reflect a person’s personality, but I feel like this one does. At the very basic level, it’s subtle, which is important for me because of my sensory problems, but also because when I’m being my truest self, I’m not an overbearing, loud person. I blend in. I’m there, but in a quiet way. There is a comforting aspect to the scent. It’s clean and sweet, but also slightly unique and unusual.

I’ve had several ‘signature scents’ over the years. In high school, I wore White Musk from The Body Shop. After that, I wore Gap’s Blue, then Alfred Sung’s Shi. All of these, over time, were discontinued or changed so that they don’t smell the same anymore. As with most things, it takes a long ass time before I can find something I can stand on my body foremost and something I like that suits me. All of these previous smells had aspects of “me” to them, but nothing has quite suited me so well before the Lychee.

And now, of course, I’m terrified they will discontinue it soon. I used to be able to buy it easily from Sephora, but I noticed within the last year that they no longer stock the 100mL bottle at the store – only a smaller one. The only place I can get it now is online. I was so glad to actually find it. I still feel uneasy only having this bottle. This new one will probably last me for 2 years but Hubby won’t let me stock pile it like I do with my hand soap. It’s over $100 a bottle, so I can’t blame him, but I feel naked without it so I don’t know what to do! At least I’m good for now.

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It’s been so long since I saw fireworks. I can’t even remember the last time I went. Hubby and I aren’t much into celebrating holidays and being “part of the community”.  😛  Yet, this year, for some reason, I decided I needed to see some.

Growing up, when I lived in St. George, my house was just down the street from the arena where they would hold the May 2-4 and Canada Day fireworks displays so I’d always go. I really don’t think I’ve been since then. Usually, our city holds some festivities in the big park, but not this year. The closest place that was doing a Victoria Day celebration was a small town called Nobleton about half an hour from us.

I don’t know what fireworks shows are like where you live, but here, you grab a blanket – or if you’re fancy (which I never was), a lawn chair – and find a good spot to sit with a couple of friends or family and wait until it gets dark, then watch a 20-45 minute set, depending on what your town could afford. You’d bring snacks and drinks, or if you lived in a bigger town, they’d have carnival-y type stalls with food (Beaver Tails, if you’re lucky!) and maybe a few dinky rides. Then afterwards, you’d fight the hoards to get to your car and crawl back down the streets or walk back to your house, if you were fortunate to live close, like me.

The streets were already filled beyond capacity when we arrived so we had to park pretty far and walk over. There were already a ton of people sitting but we got an okay-ish spot and huddled together because it was damn cold. The fireworks themselves were mediocre – a lot of repetition of the same type over and over, but it was a nice treat after so long. We wanted to beat the traffic on the way back so we didn’t stay until the very end but had a good time anyway. We’ll probably make it a yearly thing now to see some sort of fireworks somewhere nearby.

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From the time Nephie was 4 months to 4 years old, I was his nanny. Officially, it was my job title but it was more like I was a second parent. I spent almost every day with him and many nights as well. He had his own room at my house. Since I don’t have kids of my own, this was as close as I’ll ever get to that.

During those times he’d sleep over, or sometimes if I just I’d put him to bed at his own house, we’d have long talks before he could fall asleep. He had a lot of the same fears many kids do about bedtime and going to sleep and nightmares and stuff so I tried to think of ways to make it fun for him. I thought about adapting something Hubby and I used to do when we were a long-distance couple. Since we couldn’t be together, we’d plan to have “dates” in our dreams. We’d pick a place to meet up at and agree to dream about the same thing. (Cheesy, I know.)

I started doing this with Nephie as a way to make him feel like he’d have someone he trusted there with him even when he was sleeping. We’d think up fantastical places to go and decide on amazing adventures we could take. It seemed to really work. He looked forward to coming up with our ‘dream dates’. So did I, actually.

He’s 14 now but we still do this. Every time we talk at night or especially when one of us is visiting the other. (He moved away after he turned 4 – and I was HEARTBROKEN!) Since our last visit to Winnipeg, he has been calling every night before he goes to sleep to work out our dream date plans. I know it won’t last for long but I’m enjoying it while it does.

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Today is my anniversary at the Japanese restaurant. Yes, I only work part time and it’s a super easy job, but I know myself and where I am currently – what I feel like I can manage, what I feel I can offer, and the skills that I have that are compatible with that. Someday, I hope to have a job where I actually do something that matters, where I make use of more of my skills, and where I find some fulfillment and maximize my potential – but for this moment in time, I’m pretty happy with my job. I have freedom in making my own schedule. I can work as much or as little as I want. I can take vacations when I want. I don’t have to deal with a corporation or strict policies. I don’t have to be in charge of anyone but myself. I don’t have to take my job home with me. Customers in general are pretty nice. My boss loves me. The other staff look to me as an example. And, like I said, I get to organize a lot of things and it’s actually appreciated. Someone actually pays me to do the things I used to get in trouble for doing at previous jobs – stuff I do for free and for fun elsewhere in life. It’s a pretty sweet situation.

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Existence has been a bit rough lately. Not for any specific reason. Just because sometimes my brain works against me. Days like this used to be hell. They still aren’t fun at all, but over the years, I’ve come up with a few coping strategies. Basically, be kind to yourself. Treat yo’ self!

I put on my fat pants, made a big ass cup of tea, threw Spirited Away in the PlayStation and cuddled up with Hubby on the couch, and felt a bit better.

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There are days that no matter what you do, it’s hard to extricate yourself from your own thoughts. The only thing I know to do in those instances is to replace my own thoughts with someone else’s. Bury myself in a good book or a movie. Live someone else’s life, just for awhile.

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Part of my ‘being kind to myself’ plan requires some pampering. Guilt-free. Some advice I would dispense to everyone would be never to feel bad about treating yourself well and to do it whether you feel like you deserve it or not.

I often feel guilty about being too nice to myself because I think I haven’t earned it or that I can only indulge every so often or that I need a specific reason to do it, other than “I’ve been feeling down lately”. Really though, objectively, that’s the best time to do it!

The great part is it doesn’t have to be a big thing. Everyone always says that it’s the small things that count the most.

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I have been trying to eat better. Food is a constant struggle. I’ve been looking online for ideas of snacks that are both good for me and palatable for my narrow tastes. Something I’ve been coming across quite a lot is sweet potato toast. I was curious. I figured that I’d try it out today and was pleasantly surprised. This little ‘sandwich’ I made myself was delicious. A great alternative to bread. (I actually hate bread, so I’m giving nothing up. All gain.)

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I had a really tough mental day. Some days, for absolutely no reason, I struggle with even being alive. It sucks. But no matter how shitty I feel, I’m always aware of my blessings and appreciate that I have been able to craft my lifestyle to give me a break when I need it. I slept most of the day away and then finally dragged myself out of bed, only to lounge around on a different bed in the guest room. I tried reading for awhile but gave up shortly afterwards. I was in one of those moods where I was bored but agitated and didn’t want to do anything at all. I guess nature decided to help me out a bit and treated me to a nice rainstorm with a rainbow finale. I just sat on the floor, staring out the window, for about 2 hours. I know it’s not the norm for people to be able to take that time to succumb to their emotional state. I never take that for granted.

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Poor little snails! I always wonder how they get crushed. Do people walk over them without looking? Do they get too dried out and get stuck and then get run over? How is it possible for their to be so many snail corpses in such a small area?

It was kind of surreal to see thousands of them at one time. I hope most of them made it back to safety after the rain cleared.

This is the interview I referred to. #savethesnails  (I didn’t actually do anything to help them… I’m all about non-interference. I just sent out my good wishes for them to the universe. 😛 )

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Hubby has been really helpful, supplying me with ideas for what to post each day if I can’t seem to find anything I deem worthy. When he’s at a loss as well, he just does something goofy to put a smile on my face. I put too much pressure on myself sometimes but he’s always there, being his cute, dorky self, so that I regain focus on what’s truly important.

He is definitely one-of-a-kind and I think his affection for his stuffies proves that. LOL.

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I Know Better

I wonder what ever happened to that young, idealistic girl I used to be that would say shit like ‘you gotta talk out your feelings ‘cause they’ll just fester and drive you crazy’ and would laugh at songs like Simon & Garfunkel’s I Am a Rock, knowing it was satire and no one can actually cut themselves off from emotions and other people. She was smart.

Orrrrr, she was just an idiot who didn’t know that theory and application are two vastly different things.

Or, I’m still her, and just a huge hypocrite.

Fuck.

I’m, like, literally drowning in emotions today. (Or I guess that’s impossible and I really do mean figuratively… but it FEELS literal.)

My MO in the past few years, more and more increasingly, is to ignore every little thing I feel, box it up tight and push it from my mind. I have gotten very good at compartmentalizing. Like, dangerously good at it. To the point where I don’t even know how to feel things anymore, good or bad. When something happens, it’s like I’m just watching it happen rather than experiencing it myself. Like watching a movie.

Of course, it’s not flawless. I feel shit all the time. Stupid, unimportant things – a customer annoys me at work, someone makes an offhand comment, Hubby doesn’t stack the Tupperware properly… I fly into a rage. Rage is one emotion I can’t seem to seal up. I bypass sadness altogether these days.

It’s the big things I don’t feel. The things I know I should deal with before they drive me crazy – the death of my friend, the difficulty I’ve had with medical professionals, the precarious relationship with my family… All these things that I won’t allow myself to feel because it’s too much.

I am weak.

I can’t find the strength I need to face any of it. It’s exhausting to even think about thinking about these things. So when something reminds me of one of these issues, I shove it from my mind as best as I can and I distract myself by immediately switching activities.

I give up.

Like I said, most days, this works well enough. I have a mild, niggling sensation of discomfort but I pretend I don’t and carry on. That part of me that knows I can’t do this, that I shouldn’t do this – that young girl – is buried under all those boxes.

But then there are days like today. Something mundane pops up and reminds me of all I’ve neglected and makes me feel like shit. It opens up ALL the boxes, not just the one related to the memory. I’m left to drown in feelings and choke on all the mistakes I’ve made, and the knowledge that I’m here in this place because of the person I am and the choices I’ve made.

This is all my fault.

The sensation of feeling this crap is extremely unpleasant. I referenced it before – of being rubbed raw and soaking in acid. It’s feeling like I want to rip off all my skin. I want scream until my voice gives out and I want to vomit all over the place.

But it’s all internal. On the outside, I guess because I’ve trained myself so well, I am frozen. Expressionless and still, so that if anyone is near me, they have no clue. I can’t help myself, I can’t ask for help, and no one will ever offer it.

‘Cause… I’m fine.

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The Black and White Challenge

Almost everyone on the external side of the proverbial rock probably encountered this challenge on Facebook. The rules were fairly simple – for 7 days, post one picture a day in black and white that relates somehow to your life. They weren’t supposed to have any people or animals in them… so scenes. Scenes of your life. And you weren’t allowed to offer any explanation for your choices. And you were supposed to tag a new person to play with every post.

Yeah, well, I’m not awesome at following rules and I hate tagging people in shit like that. I make up my own rules.

So, yeah, I followed the basic rules by posting a daily b&w of scenes from my life but I didn’t tag anyone and I didn’t even post any words at all to say I was participating in the challenge. I just posted the picture. I had a hard time narrowing it down from 30 to just 7 but these were the ones that made the cut:

The best part about having my own blog is that I have complete control and answer to no one. Therefore, if I want to offer you explanation, I can. So… I will.

I could alternately name this collection of pictures “My Favourite Things”.

Day 1: a close up of one of my newer P.F. Candles – ’cause I like the dark and I like fire and I love the smell of these candles. The avid readers of this blog (I love you! <3) will already be well aware of my difficulty with finding things I can actually stand the smell of, so to stumble across something I’m so fond of is a treat.  (This particular candle is their Teakwood & Tobacco scent.)

Day 2: rain – I thought this was an obvious choice… I adore the rain, cool temperatures, and cloudy skies. This particular picture was an outtake for Day 6 of my most recent 100 Happy Days Challenge.

Day 3: bubble tea – Another pretty obvious choice. Can never get enough bubble tea! This particular cup of tea was from Icha Tea in Toronto when I went this summer with my niece and nephew when they were visiting. Icha is cool ’cause it’s a slightly different experience from the usual BBT place. It’s like art. If you’re downtown, definitely give it a try.

Day 4: the drive to Forks – So many things I like about this picture. First of all, I took it while we were on our way to Forks in 2016 – one of my favourite vacation places. It’s also very green, and filled with trees and mist and mountains. Can’t go wrong with any of that. It also has that ‘layered’ look of depth that I love so much. Perspective is everything.

Day 5: sushi – Yet another obvious pick, right? Working at a sushi restaurant, I see a ton of the stuff but I don’t actually eat it all that often. I’m still pretty picky with what I like but the kinds I do, I really, really like. This picture is from my favourite restaurant, Sushi Inn in Yorkville in Toronto. I always get the same 2 rolls there – their spicy tuna and their kani salad. So yum. And a lot of great memories at that place too.

Day 6: shrine detail, Tōshōgū – Of course, something Japan had to be in there. This picture was taken at one of my favourite places in the entire world, Nikko, Japan, on a very rainy, very mystical day.

Day 7: sunset on First Beach – The ‘other’ of my favourite places in the world, La Push, Washington State. I like this picture a lot. People should pay me for it. 😉

Thanks to my friend Adrienne for tagging me. (Although I don’t like tagging other people, I do enjoy being included in other people’s thoughts.)

And sorry it took me a month to get to it. ….Maybe that’s why I got so few likes on the posts. Hmmm.  LOL.

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Dark Spaces ~ The 9th Tattoo

I guess I should finally get around to writing something about my most recent tattoo, since I keep saying I will. It’s not even new anymore. I got it in April of last year.

There was a Twilight event that a few of my friends were planning to go to in Gatlinburg, TN and I wanted to go with them, but had no way of getting there ($$$), so since they were already planning to meet up one-by-one along the way, I purposed that they include Toronto as one of their stops and spend a few days up here so we could all roadtrip down together. Lucky for me, they thought this was a brilliant idea!

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We did a lot of fun things in the five days they visited, one of which was a stop at the place downtown where I get all my piercings and got two of my previous tattoos, Yonge Street Tattoos. Ang wanted to get a piece on her arm that our other friend Tami had drawn for her. Tami is a fantastic artist so make sure to give her a like and a follow on Facebook and Instagram. (She also writes – and I beta for her. I mentioned her current WIP before. There are only 4 chapters left to post. Don’t miss out!)

Jodi had only one other tattoo – the stars on her ankle that we got together a few years back. We were always hassling her to add another. (Still are, in fact. I’m helping her plan out her third!) Since Ang was getting hers done, Jodi decided she’d get one of the semicolons that several of us already have (including Ang, Tami, and of course, me). She decided to get it behind her ear.

Ames was planning a tattoo for later on (which she came back up to Toronto later that month) but decided that, since we were there already, she’d pierce her nose.

Well, I didn’t want to be the only one NOT getting something that day, so I pulled up my want list and picked the one that held the most meaning for me in the moment.

I should know by now that spur of the moment tattoo plans aren’t the greatest. I didn’t have the art I had worked so hard on with me – only a blurry Instagram picture of it. So I screen shot that and tried to get it big enough to get some detail from. I also did a quick Google search to find some inspiration to add.

That’s what it should have looked like. Meh.

Anyway, against what I should know by now, I went ahead with it. I got a soot sprite (AKA makkuro kurosuke or susuwatari) from my favourite movie, Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbor Totoro. I’ve been trying to get a video clip up on YouTube where they explain what that is for years, but because of copyrights and laziness, it’s not there yet. (If I get around to it, I’ll link it later.) For now, here’s the quote:

“Normally, you can’t see soot gremlins, but every once in awhile, when you go from a bright place to a dark one, you can catch a glimpse of them.”

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I like the idea of that – that there are little creatures who exist in the dark spaces that you usually can’t see. So, like Jodi, I also put my tattoo behind my ear. Get it? 😜

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It’s not the exact shape I wanted, and it’s a little big, and it does have that “sticker” look that I was trying to avoid… but it’s still cute. And I get compliments on it more than any of the other visible tattoos I have. That always catches me off guard. (There was one time, while I was going down an escalator to catch a subway with my earbuds in and music up loud, that a girl tapped me on the shoulder and pointed behind her ear and gave me a thumbs up. It wasn’t long after I had it done and it took me much longer than it should have to figure out what she meant. LOL.)

I’m now officially on tattoo hiatus. As I wrote exhaustively about before, I have very strong desires to spend a significant amount of time in Japan. Each and every tattoo I get makes that more difficult (covering up wise). Also… *sigh* I’m in a weird brain space lately where I’m not loving any of my tattoos. I’m kind of actually sort of a little bit regretting getting any of them. I don’t think it’s the tattoos themselves but probably more my dissatisfaction with the person I’ve become in the past five or so years. I thought I was headed into a better space, but… I’ve made many choices I’m now pretty unhappy with.  ~Anyway, there will be no more tattoos until I am away from those feelings, obviously.

That’s a sad note to end this on. Welp. What are you gonna do?

The experience of getting the tattoo done with a group of friends continues to be a happy memory and something I don’t regret at all. That’s what matters.

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