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

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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.

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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.  ;P

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 a 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 nothing 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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kmah’s Tips

I have a tip for you. Or maybe it’s a request.

In general, please be kind. Being an asshole doesn’t serve a higher purpose. Ever.

More specifically, when you visit a restaurant, please be aware of your own mood and mindset before you paint the entire experience in your mind. If you are already cranky, odds are, you’re going to be seeing things in a more negative light than might be reality.

Here’s what happened:

My boss came to me this morning and showed me a screen shot of a comment a customer left somewhere online (IDK where exactly) that they wrote last night after visiting the restaurant I work at. It was a long-winded, inflammatory comment accusing me of basically being a terrible employee. They claimed I was complaining about not wanting to work and saying I wanted to go home early while I was emptying the garbage in the front area where they were standing waiting for their food. Then I supposedly went straight from there to bag their order and touched their napkins and forks with my disgusting, garbage-covered hands. They also said they were waiting for over half an hour for their food.

What ACTUALLY happened was that I went to empty the garbage and mentioned to my coworker that I was doing it early because it was slow and there was a possibility we might close early like we had the night before. My complaint was that I wanted to be prepared because I had very little warning the night before and didn’t want to scramble to get everything I need to do done in order to close. (I’d actually much rather stay and keep my hours.) So they overheard part of a conversation between my coworker and I and jumped to conclusions.

To suggest I wouldn’t wash my hands after taking out the garbage is really odd. (Have we met?) The larger kitchen garbage, where I put the bag from the front, is right beside the sink. Why would I not wash my hands right then? Pretty sure I did! Not to mention, it’s behind a wall where the customers standing in the front can’t see around. There is also a cloth I am constantly wiping my hands on after everything I touch. That aside, I didn’t touch any garbage! I’m not shoving my hands into a garbage can. I lifted a practically empty plastic bag out without touching anything. And, I don’t put my hands all over people’s napkins and forks. I barely touch them either. And we don’t touch food AT ALL.

So, to me, that sounds like a miserable person making a judgement about me, looking for something to criticize, picking something and blowing it up to be something it’s not. They were specifically looking for something to be upset about. That’s what bothers me. IF it had been a legitimate complaint, I’d take it. But this was bullshit.

They also definitely did NOT wait half an hour for their food. It was a slow night. They were the only customers there at the time. It takes as long as the food needs to cook for an order to be ready. Saying that is just an example of how when a person is upset at something, when relaying their injustice back later, things are amplified to sound much worse than they are to garner sympathy. I see people do this all the time! (Not meaning just customers, but people in general.)

Anyway, whether they are in the right about me or not, is not my point. My request of people is that, if you feel like you have been wronged somehow or received bad customer service, just stop for a second and try to objectively think about how true it really is and what you hope to achieve by flaming them over social media. Do you want compensation? Do you want the boss to talk to that person so that they can fix their error and/or do better next time? Fine. Do that privately. Or are you trying to start shit and convince other people to boycott the establishment with you? WHY?! What purpose does that serve you? Do you feel better after doing that? Are you just being a nasty person and spreading your miserable attitude around and infecting other people? In this situation, based on the barest partial truth of the matter… sure sounds like it!

Here’s why I’d like everyone to take that moment to consider their actions: Your actions have an impact. When you make complaints like that – which seems to me like the only purpose is to validate your own negativity – you are messing with people’s livelihoods. Most people working jobs like mine need them in order to survive. They are people who serve customers all day long in order to get a pay cheque to pay their bills and take care of their families.

Thankfully, I’m actually pretty good at my job. I do make the occasional mistake from time to time, but I’m only human. And I admit it. So when my boss got this complaint, he was actually very surprised when I told him it was me they were referring to. He took it with a grain of salt at that point. Because it was me, he figured it was the customers who were spouting some crap. Someone else might not have been given the benefit of the doubt.

It’s not for myself that I ask this of you. It’s for those who aren’t superstars but still work hard and rely on their jobs to live. If you NEED to make a complaint, go for it. But first make sure you get all your facts straight and don’t exaggerate to bring others to your side. If your issue is legitimate, you shouldn’t need to.

Basically, don’t be an asshole.

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