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 Yorkies 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, we 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.

Part 3 here

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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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No Like

Things You Should Be Aware Of If We Are Social Media Friends
(in other words, Why I Don’t “Like” Your Stuff):

1. I will probably never like any animal pictures, your pet or otherwise. Don’t take it personally.

2. I HATE the Boomerang app and refuse to like any post that was created with it, regardless of content.

3. I am annoyed by the style of Tasty videos and won’t like those either, even if I think the recipe looks good.

4. I tend to not check my Instagram feed for several days at a time so when I do, I scroll through so quickly that I miss a lot. Or I just don’t scroll back far enough to see everything I missed.

5. I log in to Facebook with the intent of catching up on my feed but have a reduced attention span and usually give up after a few seconds. I don’t even bother with Twitter anymore.

6. Blame the Facebook and Instagram organizers who arbitrarily decide for me on whose shit to show me and whose never shows up in my feed.

7. I don’t think the like button means “I have been online and am acknowledging that you have also”. I think it means I legitimately LIKE what you have posted.

8. I literally forget to hit like most of the time.

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To PSL or Not to PSL?

I have always been the type of person to hate something outright just because it’s popular. Over the past few years, I’ve been trying to break myself of this tendency towards snap judgements like that. I often use the phrase “50 million Elvis fans can’t be wrong“. If everyone else seems to love something, it must have at least some redeeming qualities, no?

Maybe.

But the REAL reason I try to force myself not to turn up my nose at something just because the mindless masses are all about it is because I “missed out” on the first few years of Twilight fangirling for that very reason. It was everywhere so I avoided it. Then I caved, tried it, loved it, and regretted not falling in sooner. That was a life lesson for me, as dumb as it sounds. Stop being so stubborn!

So, with that mindset, I feel it is my duty to honour my own culture – as a millennial white girl – and NOT take a stance again the ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte. I figure I should probably try it, right? It’s been “a thing” for several years already. Perhaps resistance is futile.

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I very recently finally tried chai tea for the first time and am on board with the millions of people who are in league with Oprah, loving the chai. Hot, iced, or in frappuccino form, tap a vein and plug me in. I love that shit.

Since I don’t drink coffee, apart from the occasional mocha, PSL has never really been approachable for me. Alas, Starbucks just introduced a PS Chai with their annual re-release of PSL. I discussed it with a friend (I never take these decisions lightly, you know.) and we agreed that if I am to succumb to pumpkin spice addiction, the chai version is a good gateway drug.

I’m sitting in a Starbucks right now as I write this, sipping on my very first pumpkin spice beverage.

It’s… not bad.

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I’ll probably try the latte at some point, just to fully commit to my personal experiment but… Yeah, I don’t get it. I’m not convinced, Elvis-lovers.

I will go back to my regular chai lattes with no regrets.

There is another aspect to this subject. The whole ‘white girls, wearing Uggs, drinking pumpkin spice lattes’ rage that I see all over my social media feeds. What is that?! My Facebook timeline feels like equal parts “I’m so happy PSL is back” and “the obsession with this shit is the downfall of society”. Why the hell does what someone chooses to drink make other people SO angry? I get it that it can be kind of annoying to see a trillion posts about one thing, but this drink seems to make a bunch of people happy. Shouldn’t that be a good thing? They aren’t forcing anyone else to drink it. Why should it matter to the non-PSL drinkers? Just ignore the posts if it bothers you that much.

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It’s like hating vegans for the choices they make about what they want to eat or not and making nasty comments to them or belittling them or judging them. Yeah, there are the few that make it difficult for the rest but none of the vegans I have ever met are like that. Same as not all Christians are narrow-minded homophobic racists. Not all Middle Eastern people are terrorists. Not all Twilight fans are psycho celebrity stalkers. Not all [fill in the blank] are [pick a stereotype]. It’s actually an extremely small percentage of any one group to fit a preconceived idea of them. Yet that is how society treats everyone. I hate that.

Wow. That went off on a tangent. (Just accept it. Love me.)

My point… You go ahead, you pumpkin spice loving enthusiasts, and spread your joy and passion all over the internet. You won’t hear any complaints about it from me.

And haters, sit the fuck down and shut up. Channel that conviction into something you love rather than giving someone shit for talking about what they like. We don’t all need to agree. Don’t be stupid.

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Love and Loss

Sometimes, I say too much. I’ve always been a reflective (self-obsessed) person and I’m very open and honest about my shortcomings. I usually think the worst of myself and am very blunt and brutal when I talk about my own behaviour. I am finally beginning to realize that it can be very off-putting for other people to listen to my self-flagellation. I never really understood that. I guess because the reasons I freely shared those things was not for someone to correct me or turn it back around and compliment me. I was never fishing. And in fact, I’m quite uncomfortable when someone disagrees with my negative view of myself. I suppose I was just putting my thoughts out there as a way to release them from my mind and have someone understand.

More and more, I have come to find that we aren’t supposed to do that. And people don’t understand because I seem to be alone in how I feel about myself and the willingness (or even need) to share it. Most people don’t like to see themselves that way or try to hide it.

When I was younger, I spouted off stuff like that (and other inappropriate things) all the time. As I grew up, I started noticing other’s unfavourable reactions and tried to rein it in. I don’t think I figured out the why part until much later in life, and am still struggling with that. All I knew was that I shouldn’t talk so much, especially about myself.

I learned to be silent.

I gradually stopped telling people how I felt about anything. This has ended up hurting me much more than having some people misunderstand me. At least I had had a handful of people who sort of got me, even if they didn’t fully get my feelings. It’s gotten to the point where I have distanced myself so much from others that when something actually matters, there are only a few people I feel I could turn to.

I lost many friendships. I let a lot of really great people leave my life. I didn’t get rid of friends because I didn’t like them. There were no big fights. I just slowly let them fade away until we didn’t have contact anymore. I did that because I didn’t know how to keep talking. It was never for my benefit, always the other person’s. I didn’t want to make anyone else uncomfortable by forcing my presence on them.

I’ve done this to so many people over the years. One particular case stands out and hurts me the most.

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Tara was my best friend in high school. We were pretty much inseparable. I even lived at her house for my last few months before graduating. Her family was like my other family (and in some ways, I was closer to hers than my own). She was like a sister.

After high school, I moved away but we still talked almost every day. We did our best to stay close and keep each other up to date about what was going on in our lives. But over the years, we slowly began drifting apart. We stopped calling each other, we made seeing each other less and less of a priority. It got to the point where we would only send a message or two back and forth once every few years.

I guess that happens with a lot of friendships, but I feel like the reason why is different. I could legitimately say that we just grew up and developed different daily lives and drifted naturally. That’s true. And I am okay with the fact that our priorities changed and other people became more important. But if feels like there was more than that. I always felt like she was upset with me for being such a crappy friend and that she didn’t want to make any more effort if I wasn’t reciprocating. I felt like it was all my fault and if I had only called her back, we’d still be in each other’s lives.

I know this is an immature viewpoint and that I’m probably being a lot harder on myself than reality demands. But I still feel it and can’t help it.

I would often think of Tara and want to check in with her to see how she was doing and what was going on with her, but for reasons I don’t really understand yet, I felt insecure and uncertain of how my messages would be received so I hardly ever did it. I reasoned that if she wanted to hear from me, she’d ask. That if I left the last message, not to bug her again until she responded. I felt like I should reach out, but rarely did and always felt guilty about that. I was sad that I didn’t really know her as an adult. I loved and missed my friend but I didn’t say so. Now I don’t have that chance.

Tara was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago. Although we all know cancer is serious, due to the fact that her mom also had cancer several years ago and was fine, I guess I just thought she would be okay. And she was, for awhile. She was in remission for what seemed to me to be a long time.

And then she messaged me at the end of February – only 5 months ago – that the cancer was back and had spread and she was now Stage 4. You hear that and the fear floods through you. We know Stage 4 is not something people live with very long. But the thing about Tara is that she is ferociously positive and it’s infectious. She knew that her time was limited but I don’t think anyone realized how quick her time would pass.

Her battle with cancer ended one week ago.

And now I realize, too late, that regret is a horrible, horrible thing to live with.

 

I was taken aback at how intense the sadness immediately hit me. I was devastated. Even though I knew it was coming eventually, since we hadn’t been close for the last 10 years or so, I thought, sure, I’d be sad –  but I had no idea just how sad. I was not prepared for the effect her death would have.

I felt like a complete asshole for wallowing in how it affected ME when there were so many people who were still in her life that would be altered completely – her husband, her children, her parents and her brother, and all the friends she was still close to. I felt like I had lost the right to be as sad as I was because I hadn’t made an effort when she was alive. I wasted all this time. I didn’t even tell her when she was sick how much I missed her or how I felt about it. I kept my mouth shut. I think that’s the worst part – she died not knowing that I even cared at all. I hate it and I have to live with that regret now for the rest of my life.

 

I guess it’s human nature to make shitty things into something we can learn from. I know now how awful it feels to have something you truly regret and wish you could fix but the person is gone. I want to do whatever it takes so that I never feel this again. People in my life will continue to die but I can see now that it must be easier to let them go if you have a good relationship with them rather than to have your grief added to with all the things you left unsaid.

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Just a few days before she died, she left these words. She knew the most important lesson of life and shared it with everyone. I’ve taken these words to heart and will be doing my best to live better.

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The First 30

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To start my happy days challenge, I wanted to take a picture of the one thing (person) that always makes me happy in any situation and, truthfully, is the only reason I’m still alive a lot of the time. My husband.

I also wanted to do something fun so after work, he picked me up and took me out for bubble tea. I’m sure everyone who reads this will also already be fully aware of my love for bubble tea. We actually went to a place I hadn’t been before, on the recommendation of my coworker. Bubble Tease is the chain that’s found in malls and generally isn’t the greatest. I was unaware that they even had standalone locations until I saw one downtown on Dundas Street. I had no idea there was one in Mississauga but my coworker promised me that it was good, so we decided to “try something new”.

So, day 1 combined two of my favourites. Just look at that face! How can you not love him?! 😛

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I noticed the other day on Facebook that multiple people were talking about the TV show 13 Reasons Why. I knew it was a book – back when I was writing about reading more, I had gone to Chapters with my friend Abbygail and she pointed it out as one she had read – but I didn’t know they had made a show based on it. When I heard about the book, I looked it up to see what it was about. I read through the entire Wikipedia page and thought that was enough for me – reading the synopsis rather than the entire book. There was nothing in the chapter summaries that jumped out that made me think I wanted to know more about that. But there were alllllll these posts on Facebook about how great the show was and how everyone should see it. I didn’t want to read it but I could envision it being interesting to watch. I was bored and didn’t want to go to bed just yet, so I decided to check it out.

OMG. So good! And yes, everyone should see it. I actually think it should be something they show in high schools to all students. Suicide is a topic that should be talked about openly. I myself have a million opinions about it~ but I shall spare you and won’t get into them here.

I started the first episode just before midnight. I ended up staying up until like 5:30 or something and then went to bed for a few hours and then came back and watched the rest all day long. The reason it made me so happy to find a TV show I loved so much was because that’s so rare for me! I am so intensely picky about what appeals to me and I lose interest so quickly.

It was a nice way to spend my day off, marathoning a great TV show, eating the leftover piece of Truffle Royale cake I got from Bubble Tease yesterday, and, as always, there’s the ever-present cup of tea.

Plus, I love my living room. I am proud of the way it turned out after we finally painted and got that wall unit. It’s so comfy in there.

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It was so nice out. Cloudy and cool. Perfect. Most people enjoy sunshine and warm weather, but I am NOT looking forward to the return of summer. I wish it would stay like this all the time.

After work, I decided that I would take advantage of the weather and go for a walk. There is a pond and a wooded area behind a school not too far from our house so I thought I’d go explore that area further and see what was there. I was delighted to find out there is a paved trail following a creek that leads all the way through this area of the city. I hopped on just behind the pond and followed it for about an hour to see just how far it went. It just so happens to lead almost directly to where I transfer buses for work. I made a plan that I would use this trail for my walks home – much more scenic and peaceful than the busy street.

Even still, I can’t describe how or why it made me so happy, but I was smiling and practically skipping the entire time. Something about being with nature, even just that little bit, is so relaxing and to find something like that so close to home and in a direction I go so often just seemed perfect.

I ended up posting a whole bunch of pictures into an album on Facebook, so if we are friends, you can look at those for more views of the trail, if you’re interested.

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I started selling my Twilight-inspired crafty things on Etsy a few years ago as a way to help fund my trips to do Twilight-related things. I made quite a few sales right away which helped out tremendously. There was a point where I had more orders than I had time to make and had to turn some down. It’s something I like doing, but at one point, with the extras I was making to take with me to sell in person as well, it was getting to be where I was sick of it. Each one is a lot of work! So I stopped ‘pimping myself out’ and the sales tapered off. Every once in awhile though, three years later, I still get the occasional order. Since they are spread out now, I am back to enjoying it. Doing one at a time, here and there, is nice. And I’m always grateful for the few extra dollars.

This particular sale I pictured made me smile because the buyer lives in the town I lived when I was little. It’s a small world.

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I pretty much explained everything about Kawehi in the caption, but the whole day was a happy day. Hubby and I went downtown and we had bubble tea twice – first at Gong Cha, then again at Chatime, he had ramen and I had gyudon at Sansotei, I got my favourite treat and a matcha latte at Tsujiri, and we stopped by the Toronto sign. It’s always a fun time with him, no matter what we do.

Kawehi herself is adorable. I have been following her a bit on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram since I saw that Nirvana video posted on one of those sites… Buzzfeed or something. I like that she’s who she is without apology. Not that she should have to apologize for anything because she’s not abrasive or controversial. She’s just a “little girl” with a potty mouth and likes to turn famous songs into something new and make them her own, and for some reason, some people have a problem with that.

Because I wanted to document it for Happy Days, we waited around after the show to get a picture with her. I briefly explained it to her and then we had an epic mini-photoshoot. She was hilarious and awesome.

(P.S. The date on this one is off because I posted it at 12:05am. We had to wait to talk to her for quite awhile.)

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Another perfect weather day. I’m relishing the temperature and gloominess for as long as it lasts, because I know it won’t be long before I feel like dying in the heat and sunshine.

For the entire day, I sat at my kitchen table, working on my blog and organizing my iTunes while taking long stretches of time just staring out the window, watching the rain. I LOVE rain. I love the sound of rain, the smell of earth when it rains, the colour of the sky when it rains, the sound of tires splashing rain on the street… I love lazy days when I can do all the things I enjoy that “waste time”. I love sitting and staring at nothing, drinking my tea, and being contemplative about life.

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I’m really, really lazy when it comes to getting my hair cut. It had been almost a full year since I cut it last. Luckily, my hair is pretty healthy so I guess I can get away with it. It was pretty gross at the ends though. And getting too long again! Since I’m not growing it to donate it this time (too much dyeing going on), I can keep it at whatever length I want. I think it looks best when it’s just below my shoulder blades. The actual process of getting my haircut is extremely unenjoyable for me. I don’t know how people find going to the salon a relaxing thing to do. First of all, the salon is always too bright and too noisy. Then you have to feel awkward making conversation with the stylist. Plus having her all up in my personal space for an hour or two (no matter how nice she is)… It’s draining for me. But the end result is worth it. I like how the cut ended up and left feeling pretty pleased.

Instead of taking the picture at the actual salon (‘cause I probably just forgot to), I took it right in the middle of the mall, with a bunch of people staring at me, presumably judging me, for having a selfie session. But the “chandelier” behind me changes colours and it’s so pretty! So screw them and their shifty eyeballs.

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Hubby called me at work in the morning. He was so excited. For those that don’t know, it’s really hard to get tickets for Comic Con. They are given out on a lottery basis. You have to sit in a virtual waiting room and hope you’re going to be able to buy some. I don’t really understand how it works but usually people only get them for one of the days. Hubby “won” the ability to get us tickets for all 5 days. So we’re going to San Diego in July! (For his sake, I’m going to be excited about it and not try to worry too much about how hot it’s going to be.) And I’ll get to see some friends there too, so that will be great.

Hubby asked me what I was going to cosplay as and I laughed in his face. (He was just kidding, ‘cause he knows me. Haha.) I DO NOT, as a rule, dress up. Ever. That’s why I’m wearing a Rilakkuma kigurumi onesie in the picture. To be funny.

I mentioned in the caption how I don’t believe in luck. I think this is going to needs its own blog post at some point. For now, I stand by that statement and I’ll just say that it’s not luck, it’s perspective. I have been working my butt off to see everything in a positive light lately, especially since doing the happy days challenge. I believe that when you put positivity out into the world, it comes back to you. This is one of those instances when something good happened and I feel like it was like a karmic reward.

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I said it all in the caption. Change your perspective, change your life.

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Vacation! I don’t work that hard, so it’s not like I need a vacation from work but just a vacation from the norm is nice. And necessary. A change in scenery and schedule is a break from the monotony of life and sometimes seems like all that’s worth living for.

Before I went to Japan last time, I am somewhat ashamed to say I had never had actual sushi before. Just the westernized things, like California rolls. Never anything with raw fish. I grew up hating fish (force-feeding is a horrible thing!) and assumed raw fish would be even worse than cooked. BUT~ since I also grew up hating steak and it’s now my favourite thing and because of my experience with avoiding things for stupid reasons (like Twilight), I decided to try it. I had some salmon nigiri at Genki Sushi in Tokyo and was pleasantly surprised. I don’t think I could work in a Japanese restaurant and not feel like a fraud if I didn’t actually eat sushi. Since working here, I’ve tried many things I would have passed up before because they looked or sounded gross. In my experience, you miss out on some great things that way… Just sayin’. It’s gotten to the point where I not only know which fish I like raw and don’t but also how I like them prepared. My current favourite is just plain old salmon as nigiri with no wasabi. (Haven’t gotten to the point where I appreciate wasabi yet.) No soy sauce, no ginger. Just the salmon and a bit of rice. Yum.

I’m not just being biased when I say that Toshi has the best sushi in Brampton. (I’d even say all of the GTA, but I haven’t tried enough restaurants downtown to be sure.) It’s really good. High quality fish, well prepared by experienced chefs with attention to detail. I wanted to have a little treat on my way out the door because over the next 3 weeks, I’m sure I’ll miss it.

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I love having all my favourite colours in my hair. It’s just so much work so I don’t touch it up often. Something about looking at those colours in combination makes me happy. Like a mermaid or a peacock or something. So pretty. I wish it would last but I know they’ll start to fade in less than a week.

For those that are curious, I used six different Manic Panic dyes: Green Envy, Enchanted Forest, Siren Song, Electric Lizard, Atomic Turquoise and Purple Haze.

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It’s going to be a super busy trip. Our first stop is Winnipeg. Nephie and SIL are getting baptized on Easter and we want to be there for them. There is always way more to squeeze in to our visits to WPG and we never get to it all. I do have to go out to Morden to see my parents and my sister and her kids (and have a filling repaired). From there, we are flying out to Edmonton to see Hubby’s dad and other sister and her kids. Both FIL and my nephew have birthdays then. And THEN, the part I’m most looking forward to, Hubby and I are going by ourselves to Jasper National Park to spend a few days surrounded by gorgeous nature and celebrating our ten years married together. Then back to Edmonton for a few more days before we return home. It should be lots of fun.

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One thing I always manage to fit into my Winnipeg trips is meeting up with my friend Courtney (because she leaves me no choice! LOL) and going to Kawaii Crepe, one of my favourite places for a delicious crepe and bubble tea. It’s usually just CW, Nephie and I, but for once, we had Hubby join us. I always get the same thing – a ‘make your own’ crepe with banana, condensed milk, and chocolate chips and I usually pair that with lychee bubble tea. CW always gets honeydew. Always. I don’t think she’s even tried any other flavours in the whole 15-20 years we’ve been drinking it. I like her consistency.

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Years and years ago, I was introduced to bubble tea. It sparked an immediate and intense, lifelong love affair. Shortly afterwards, I introduced my friend Courtney and together, we sought out whatever we could in Winnipeg. Then I met Hubby and introduced him. We started in WPG and moved together to discover many bubble tea places in the Toronto area. There, we introduced SIL to bubble tea too. (There have been a ton of other people who we have pushed our bubble tea love on, some successfully, some not so much.) Years later, Nephie came along and we started dragging him with us out to various bubble tea establishments with us. Today, Hubby, SIL, Nephie and I went to a Chatime in WPG and each had our favourites. Neph Jr. was with us. He is not the kind of person you can push anything on to. He’ll try it if he wants to but more often than not, you can delicately suggest something to him, but he’ll turn you down flat. Today, he was more amenable to try something new because he was the only one in a group that didn’t have something. He had his very first bubble tea this morning. It was a proud auntie moment. (I doubt he’ll get another one again for at least a really long time, but that’s not the point right now.)

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Nephie and SIL got baptized today. They were both really excited about it and I know it means a lot to them. I have my own issues with church and religion and all of that, but that wouldn’t stop me from being there for them for something that was that important to them.

I am so proud of Nephie and all he is learning about himself and the world. That’s truly one fantastic kid and I’m looking forward to knowing the man he grows into.

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We went out to Denny’s for Easter breakfast with SIL and her family. I ate so much and was so satisfyingly full. Then we spent a quiet day at their house before my parents came to pick us up and take us out to their house in Morden. Lots of quality family time spent on this trip!

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I only get to spend a day or two with my sister each year. I miss her so much! She’s so fun and my favouritest human on the planet (right up there with Hubby). Time with her is always so short but I look forward to it and relish every moment.

We went bowling with her and her kids. It was a blast. They are all so funny and cute – and really great kids! Well done, B! You are raising some wonderful little humans.

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Hubby and I were surprised how often we were able to go for bubble tea on our trip. Winnipeg has way more options than it did when I lived there. I think we were able to have at least one every single day so far. (Don’t judge me. I’m on vacation.) We went out with Nephie and SIL (and Neph Jr. but this time he just had apple juice. LOL) for one last bubble tea before we move on to Edmonton to see other SIL and her side. I had never been to Panda Tea before. It was really good.

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We went out for a yummy steak dinner with SIL, BIL, Nephew and FIL to celebrate two birthdays. Nephew’s was on the 16th and FIL’s on the 17th. I cannot believe how huge Nephew is every time I see him. I wonder if he’s going to stop growing anytime soon.

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Awhile ago, probably somewhere around the time I became obsessed with nature and hiking, I added a new point to my bucket list, which is to see all of Canada’s National Parks. We went to Banff 2 years ago and I grew up going to Clear Lake in Riding Mountain National Park. Now we’ve added Jasper to my completed list. There are 39 altogether – a lot left to get to but that gives me a lot to look forward to.

Jasper is really beautiful. It’s still mostly covered in snow and we weren’t expecting that, but that also gives us a reason to come back someday so we can see it looking different in the summer as well. It’s nice now because it’s not too crowded and not too hot to walk around and see everything.

In the picture, we are standing on a bridge in Maligne Canyon. I wish photography could accurately capture what I see with my eyes because this view was stunning. Depth is one of my favourite aspects of nature and it just doesn’t come across in the picture. It’s still gorgeous though.

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A few months ago when we were trying to decide how to spend our 10 year anniversary, we came up with the plan to go to Jasper National Park. Our actual anniversary is May 5th but since we were already heading to Winnipeg for the baptism, we decided we would save airfare by flying directly to Edmonton from Winnipeg instead of going home in between the two trips. It meant going 2 weeks earlier than our anniversary, but that doesn’t really matter. We still spent this special time together celebrating us. It was wonderful to be together and doing new things as a couple.

This particular picture was taken in front of Athabasca Falls which was probably my favourite location within Jasper. So gorgeous, even 95% still frozen. It’s a place I had seen in pictures awhile ago and had hoped to eventually see it person. Mission complete. And sharing it with my number one person made it even better.

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Hubby wasn’t sold on the idea of ‘hiking’ when I suggested it, but~ he loves me and wanted to make me happy so he agreed to this whole trip thing. We had driven past Maligne Lake and saw that it was still frozen over and completely covered with snow so we were going to skip it but part of me wanted to go and walk the trail around it anyway, just to say I’d been. It’s actually quite difficult walking a footprint-wide path in the snow, but we made it out to the first lookout point. We saw a few interesting things and had a lot of laughs. It was a wonderful afternoon, in my opinion. I’m glad we did it.

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We were going to go to Elk Island, another National Park, but it was like a blizzard outside so that ruined that plan. Instead, we just spent a quiet day with SIL’s family, which included bubble tea. I can never say no to that.

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When we were in Winnipeg, we brought Nephie his birthday gift (even though that’s not until November). He had been reading the Tokyo Ghoul comics and was really into it so Hubby thought he might like the anime too. He’s only 13 and Hubby had heard it was pretty graphic (neither of us knew anything about it) so he checked with SIL that it was okay for him to watch it. She gave the go ahead so we got him the first season. After we gave it to him, we cracked it open and tested out the first episode. We quickly realized within the first few minutes that the anime version was absolutely unsuitable for him. I think he felt bad saying so but his discomfort was all over his face. (I felt so bad!) Hubby is awesome and so easily said not to worry, that we’d take it home and keep it for ourselves, and take him out the next day to buy him something else. We took him to Toys R Us and let him wander around to find something else he wanted. He was just going to get some Pokémon cards but instead ended up picking out the Empire version of Monopoly. We ended up playing it all night and had so much fun. Hubby and I liked it so much that we wanted to get one for ourselves. We’re into playing games and have game nights with family every time we visit as well as with a few friends anytime they come over. We decided to wait until we got to Edmonton to buy it (to save room in our suitcases which we still laden with gifts to deliver for (other) nephew and Niecey’s birthdays) and introduce it to them as well.

We own several different versions of Monopoly – most are just themed versions of the original but a few are condensed, “easier” versions for kids with various themes. Apart from original Monopoly, Empire is our favourite by far. It is easier (or at least quicker) than regular Monopoly but has its own complex rules. It’s a unique twist to the original and it’s really fun. It’s based more on chance and less on skill so I’m actually not always the loser either. 😛

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Niecey started dance when she was pretty little – maybe 6 or 7? She started going to a dance school that is pretty intense. She does all different kids (ballet, jazz, modern, etc.) and goes to lessons several times a week and to many camps throughout the year. When she was little, it was cute to watch, as little kids often are. As she’s gotten older, I can see a real talent emerge. I hadn’t seen her dance in person for several years so I was absolutely blown away when Hubby and I accompanied SIL to pick her up from her class and caught the practice for a routine her class will be performing in an upcoming show. Her movements are so precise and exact and she’s so graceful and elegant. I took dance for a few years when I was a bit younger than she is now but I was never even close to half as good as she is. I think she could have a future as a professional dancer if she wanted it. It was a treat to watch her and I wish I had the opportunity to watch her perform on stage in person.

Hubby said that the routine, which was modern choreography set to emotional music, actually brought tears to his eyes. And he’s not a crier. Neither of us are really, but I knew exactly what he felt. It was powerful and Niecey is captivating.

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By the end of a long(ish) trip, I am always ready to go home. I had a good time, of course, and I am not looking forward to going back to the drudgery of everyday life, but I am looking forward to getting back to my comfort. My home is my sanctuary from the parts of the world that hurt me or overwhelm me.

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I think I’ve tried to talk about this before~  It seems simple enough that I just came back from vacation, am tired, and was glad I could spend the day in my bed, catching up. But it goes deeper than that. I am very blessed to be in a position that I can sleep all day if I want to. Hubby is the “bread winner” in our family. I work but only part time and make peanuts in comparison. I’m not really helping. And for many years, I didn’t work at all. One thing I’ve always been aware of and always grateful for was how unusual that is and how, dare I say, lucky I am that I am not in a position where I have to work full time. And it’s a good thing for ME especially. I have… issues. I think if I absolutely had to work FT hours every day, like most adults… I think it might crush me. I honestly don’t think I could do it at this point. Even though I am working a little bit now, I still have my days where I can spend them doing nothing. I need that. It keeps me from freaking out and ending up hospitalized. So, not only catching up on sleep made me happy but having that luxury where I could is so appreciated. It’s never something I take for granted.

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After my fun-filled holiday, where it was easy to find things to post about for Happy Days, my first day back at work was not easy. My job itself is not difficult and, for where I am in my life right now, it’s ideally suited to me. I still don’t want to work though. Like most people, I think, I’d really rather not. I try to stay positive and focus on the good things, but I can’t help wishing things were different sometimes.

I came home from work, feeling low, and just wanted to lie on the couch and do nothing. I couldn’t think of anything really that would be a good option for HD and I was tired and sore and cranky. Hubby didn’t protest when I asked him to rub my achy feet for me. He hates doing it and often refuses because he’s also tired and sore, but I think he realized how I was feeling and put his own feelings aside for me to help me out. I was so grateful. It had to be my picture for the day, even though I hate feet. Haha.

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Oatmeal is yummy and I’ve become obsessed with it lately. It makes a great, quick breakfast.

I was so impressed with myself for getting up early and leaving time to eat and relax for a few minutes before I started my day. It might sound strange but I’ve always had this vision/fantasy thing where I’m a responsible, “normal” adult who wakes up in the morning, sits down at the table, eats breakfast and has a cup of tea and spends those few minutes collecting myself on a regular basis. One might say, ‘if you want to do that, then just do it’. Why do I have to just dream about it? Yeah, well, crack my head open with a shrink and maybe you’ll find an answer to why I can just seem to do so many of the things I want to! (I hate to be cryptic in my blog posts and say this so often, but this is something I actually want to touch on at some point in the future. I’ve come to realize a whole bunch of things about myself in the last year specifically that all relate to the same thing… but I’m not at a point where I can comfortably share yet.) Such a mundane thing but to me, it was special.

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I love cherry blossoms. Of course, they are a Japanese thing but I also love what they symbolize – the impermanence of life and how fleeting beauty is. Sakura also hold memories for me of the times Hubby and I spent in Japan. But, Japan aside, they are just really pretty. I can’t believe I have lived here for so long and never realized there are many parks that have annual sakura viewing events. High Park is probably the most publicized of those. I kept seeing posts on Facebook of people enjoying the blossoms while we were still away on our vacation and I was worried that they’d be gone by the time I had a chance to see them. Even the night before we went, there was a huge rain storm that had knocked down a good portion. We got there just in time to see the last of them on the trees. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it turned out to be.

Hubby and I spent the morning walking through the sakura (there’s an album on Facebook if you want to see more) and then went out for lunch at my favourite restaurant. A lovely day.

Part 2

Part 3

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I Did It!

You know how mothers always say that they have a second (or third, whatever) child two years after the first because it took them that long to forget how difficult it was? Yeah, apparently the 100 Happy Days challenge is like that too. I forgot how hard it was! But, I’m done. I finished up my last day a week ago, but let me tell you, it was a struggle. Like last time, some days are easy. You go out, do something fun and snap a picture. But there are days when you just go to work and come home and just want to crash. Or there are days when you spend the entire time in your jammies and do nothing at all.

I could legitimately just take 100 pictures of tea and call it a success – a good cup of tea always brings me joy. Or take 100 pictures of Hubby. He knows how day-to-day life can be especially difficult for me and always tries to make me smile. But, like with most things, I have to make things harder than they need to be. I was challenging myself to do 100 unique things. And I had to post them all by midnight. And they had to be of things that happened that day. And I had to make the pictures somewhat interesting. *Sigh*

Whatever. I finished it. I knew I would complete the challenge but I also figured I’d cheat or compromise what I was trying to do just to get it done. Yay for me for not doing that, I guess.

Looking back on it now, I’m not sure it was as beneficial for me as it was the first time around. It was good to have that refresher of looking for things daily to be happy about, but the first time, that was a totally new concept to me and, I didn’t realize until this time, I actually adopted that practice fairly well and honestly do it without really thinking. I am, in general, a much happier person than I used to be. Not perfect, of course. And of course I still do have really shitty days. But I think, even in my darkest moments, I have perspective now that I didn’t have several years ago. The bad days are temporary.

So it wasn’t life-altering in the way it had been in 2014. And, because of those criteria I imposed on myself so rigidly, I actually created a certain amount of stress in my life that I didn’t need. Nothing horrible, but the extra stress was unnecessary and avoidable. (Hubby and I both agree that I won’t be doing this challenge again. If I ever attempt a happiness challenge again in the future, it’ll be something different.)

Don’t misunderstand me. The 100HDC is a fantastic thing and, if you’re up for it, I think everybody should try it. Once. The benefits doing it the first time were amazing. For me, the second time – not a waste of time, but not as great.

Yeah, I accomplished what I set out to do, and that feels nice. I learned a few more things about myself too. But I’m just not feeling as thrilled as I was before. That could also have to do with where I am mentally lately… IDK.

I guess, essentially, once I learn a life lesson, mini-refreshers would be a better idea than going through the whole thing again. Those 100 days could have been better spent trying something new.  Which will be where I focus my attention next! I’m sure I’ll share a ton about it when I figure out precisely what that is going to be, but I have a few ideas…  (Update: Wish I knew what those ideas were now, ’cause I have no clue!)

Anyway~ Pretty much everyday, there was always way more involved in each picture than what I briefly shared on Instagram/Facebook. Some days, I was wordier than others but usually was quite short, if not only a couple words. It can always just be assumed that, with each and every single thing I do or say (or don’t do or say), there is a list of carefully thought out reasons why, usually multi-layered and complex. Oh yeah, I’m tiramisu! Ha. The sad state of my existence is that, 95% of the time, I’m the only one who is aware of it.

I’m rambling…  Stay on target!

So. Originally, I was going to post longer explanations of what each picture meant to me. That didn’t happen. Whether it was laziness or being busy doing other things or I got distracted or just moved on to the next day… Whatever. I’m going to do it now, but in chunks. I’ve got the first 30 days done and then second half started. I’ll post the first now and you can just sit tight for then rest. It probably won’t take me a year, but I make no promises.

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