Merry Monday – Merry Christmas

Well, my pie crust attempt failed again, but at least it tasted good despite it falling apart. That’s a step up from the last two times. The scotch also tasted good. 
I was given several Lego games for my Xbox 360, Blade Runner, Wonder Woman, and an Instant Pot. I’m looking forward to all of that when I get back home. 

My mom watched a lot of Wonder Woman with us and says Linda Carter was better looking than Gal Gadot. I’ll have to finish the old series when I get back to Ottawa. 

I’m not sure when I’ll have time to game or watch anything given all the homework I have, but I’ll manage somehow. No homework today though. 

My parents’s chocolate poodle has been into the tree all weekend. He’s such a character. He couldn’t go to sleep the other night without first coming out to say goodnight to me 🙂

My brother got to just relax for once on Christmas. He’s a snow removal guy and it didn’t snow bad enough for him to have to go in. It was nice having everyone together. 

Except for mom having a red eye and not using her drops, everyone has been in good shape this year.

Off to get my chicken and stuffing ready. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

R~

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Christmas 2016

As usual, I left town later than I planned, but I received a tip on a possible job from a friend and had to submit my résumé. I was shocked that I didn’t have any car trouble on the way as my battery wasn’t making full connection with the terminal, so hasn’t been properly charging lately. The drive there was pretty easy as mild weather kept the roads clear and since I left on Thursday I was able to avoid heavy traffic.

I ordered pizza and decorated the tree after I got to my parent’s. My dad took my car in the garage to begin repairs on a piece I had snagged on a curb. After wrapping a bunch of the presents, my parent’s chocolate poodle was obsessed with the Christmas tree. He settled down after I shifted the gifts enough to give him space to lie on the tree skirt. Silly pooch.

Christmas Eve brought me to sushi then the mall to pick up my ticket for Rogue One. I also got a bacon-flavoured treat for the dog.

Christmas Day brought a few movies, a gift card, and donut pans. I’ve ordered a couple of Miyazaki films with the spoils and the Percy Jackson series as it’s something I think I’ll love and it was on sale. Given my reading list is planned for 2017 already, I’m not sure I’ll get to them soon, but I’m looking forward to them anyway.

The dog liked his gift from me and kept trying to share it with his toys when he wasn’t trying to hide it. I suppose it’s a bit big for him haha

My gluten free pie crust failed. It wouldn’t firm up and stayed like goo. I had a disappointing day in terms of food between edible gifts I can’t eat and recipes that didn’t turn out, but my belly was full.

I visited friends I hadn’t seen in a very long time on Boxing Day. Great conversation and tasty drinks were had.

Ciao,
R~

 

Thoughtful Thursday – A Break


It’s the holiday season. This year has been a tough one. I’m taking a break except for one post about my Christmas holiday visit to my hometown, which will appear next week. 

During this break, I’ll be doing something I’m not great at: relaxing. I think Skyrim may help this. I’ll probably do some fiction writing and clean my condo as well as play various instruments because I haven’t done that enough this year. 

I have no idea what 2017 has planned for me. I’m just going to try some things and see where they lead. 

I hope everyone enjoys the holiday season in a way that feels best to them. 

I also hope my car lets me get to my parent’s house.

Ciao, 

R~

Merry Monday – Socially Spent

‘Tis the season to be jolly, right?

For an introvert, the holidays are extra exhausting. I had three parties over a two-day period. I enjoyed myself, but I was happy to have a warm bath and curl up on the couch with a remote to begin recharging.

It might surprise some people that I’m an introvert. According to the Myers Briggs personality test, I’m INTP and 33% extroverted. That little bit of extroversion is how I survive the holidays, conferences, and seminars. 

Saturday was the annual dojo sushi dinner. Tasty sushi and sake met good conversation. 

Sunday started with another dojo event involving cutting mats with a katana. Next, it was off to a party with other writers where I met an older British woman and had a fabulous conversation about literature. She was also not a fan of Hemingway. We also talked about how you need to read some trashy stuff now and then. Something to read when you’re exhausted or as a palate cleanser. For her that means mystery novels. For me it means mainstreaming.

I was happy to get home when it was done. My Uber driver barely spoke, which was exactly what I needed in that moment. He was rated well.

Tonight, I have gotten a good chunk of my filing done. I’ve also begun making a guitar case out of materials I had on hand. I need edging and a zipper to finish it and perhaps a strap. Since my guitar is smaller, it’s hard to find a hard case anyway. Besides, I’m strapped for cash, so the less I have to spend, the better. Plus, it uses up some stuff that’s lying around my place and thus helps me clean up 🙂

I’ve enjoyed hermitting today. With my library writing group on hold and French off until mid January, I’ve had no reason to go out. Oh, I should be sure to register for level 3…

Anyway, I haven’t had supper yet, so I should probably do that.

Ciao,

R~

Merry Monday – Living Life


Here’s what I’ve been up to while I’ve been spending less time on Facebook:

Writing

I met with my new writers group for the first time on Friday. It’s quite different than my old one as we use Google Hangouts rather than meeting in person. I found it works well. Also, instead of having everyone read everyone’s stuff, the author reads and then everyone takes a turn giving comments from the notes they made while listening to the reading. Overall, it takes less time. With a biweekly meeting schedule instead of monthly, I think it’ll be easier to keep motivated. I’m a little greener than the others, but it seems we all have different strengths and weaknesses, which is a great thing. 

After the meeting, I was inspired to fix the pieces I had read and add some new parts. A Saturday morning fire alarm might’ve turned into going back to bed if I wasn’t still feeling inspired to write.

Christmas Preparations

My first Christmas movie pick of 2016 is Gremlins. A story about conquering the evil you accidentally created is totally full of holiday spirit. I wouldn’t have wanted to be the one that cleaned the microwave. I should’ve popped some corn before it as it made me want some salty, buttery, and crunchy deliciousness.

I put up my tree:

As far as shopping goes, my mom is getting books that have short stories of mine in them and some treat I haven’t bought yet. One brother is done. Dad will get liquor. And the other brother is the hard one. He might get a gift card with a treat. I’m having to spend less this year with my income split in half, but I’m sure they’ll enjoy what they get anyway.

Kendo

I’ve taken up Kendo. This time I think I’m really going to do it. I’ve tried it on two other occasions. My first day ever at the dojo was one. That was after doing two other arts before, which made the day very long and my feet very sore. The second time, I was so out of breath that I felt like I was dying. This time, I lasted the whole class despite struggling with a caffeine overload. I only needed one break to catch my breath. In the cold months, I often have trouble breathing. I don’t have regular asthma or any heart issues, so the cardiologist said to do more cardio. I’m more in shape now than I was in previous years, so it’s time to take up Kendo for real. It’ll help my Iaido in some ways too.

Renovations

I’m slowly pulling up the crappy peel and stick tiles in my kitchen, so I’ll be able to replace the floor later. The fridge is on wheels, so that won’t be terrible. I might have to buy wheels for the stove. 

Life in General

It seems that everytime I want to do something simple, it’s anything but. I wanted to do laundry and needed to add money to my laundry card. Normally, this is easy. Today? Today the machine decided it didn’t want to work. It did it in a way that made me think my bank account was empty, by telling me it was declined. So, I ran back to my unit to check my balance. Not great (mortgage, insurance, and condo fees came out on this pay), but enough to do laundry. I tried again. No worky. I was about to call the company then decided to run out in the snow to the other building to see if I could use theirs. Besides, I figured the office is who should be calling to get the machine fixed. I had to explain to her a couple of times that I needed someone to let me into the laundry room. That machine worked.

Anyway, this seems to be how most things are lately. I got a cupboard for above my toilet to clean up my bathroom. I had to build a platform for it because the stupid toilet is a weird, extra tall model. It would be my preference for a shorter one that doesn’t have the elongated bowl. I really don’t think elongated bowls are necessary. Learn to aim or sit down to pee.

A friend is helping with my kitchen drawers. His tool isn’t working and bad things happened for him recently, so this hasn’t gone smoothly either. 

*Sigh*

I’m just trying to get my place clean and organized.

Anyway, back to work.

Ciao,

R~

Christmas 2015 and Moving Forward

Christmas was pretty low key this year, which is a good thing. No hospital visits and mostly relaxation.

I received an ice cream maker, a tortilla press, bath stuff, and movies. A lot of Star Wars, which is fantastic!

I got a few things on Boxing Day. I found Firefly on blue ray for $10. It’s a great series and I’ve been wanting it. Usually it’s triple the price! I also started collecting the Clone Wars series because I realized there’s so much Star Wars canon I’m behind on.

But Christmas has always been more about people for me. Seeing my honorary brother, hearing about my cousin’s successful proposal to his girlfriend, spending quality time with my family, seeing old friends – these are the things that make my holiday.

But there’s always a limit. There’s a point where I remember that living at my parent’s house for more than a couple of days would drive me insane! I love them all though.

On Sunday, I got to visit with old karate dojo teachers and students. I really enjoyed watching the junior white belt group. It felt really special for my first sensei to call me a sensei!

On Monday, the plan was Star Wars with family in standard. Having already seen it in IMAX, I was curious if it would be any less fantastic. It wasn’t. It was just as wonderful. I love that movie and disagree that it is a repeat of A New Hope. That is all I will say as I’m not one for spoiling things for others.

I was planning on leaving on Tuesday, but it became impossible with the winter storm that blew in from the blizzard that hit Texas.

The drive home was relaxing. I got groceries on the way and it took an hour to unpack my car. I used a trolley, but the wheels kept getting stuck in the snow. Ooh well, the exercise was good for me.

Prior to leaving for Christmas, I got myself set up to put a puzzle together and colour. Seeing that put a smile on my face, as did seeing Winchester the Amazing. I took an epsom salt bath and settled into the evening. I worked on my puzzle while organic chicken wings cooked in my Actifry.

It wasn’t long before I felt the call to do some writing, so that’s how I finished the night up. I worked on The Blood Waitress Club.

As we approach the beginning of a new year, my schedule is filling up. I’ve decided to return to karate as I’ve found a nearby dojo that does shotokan and is not-for-profit. They’re also not into sparring, which is great for me. The karate classes are on days I currently have open.

I’ll also be joining a support group for my autoimmune disease, Sjõgren’s. That runs once per month.

Writing will dominate the bulk of the rest of my schedule.

And, of course, I’ll still be doing iaido because I love it.

I’ll be ensuring to take regular breaks to avoid wearing myself out and manage stress levels. Karate always helped my stress levels and I’m really looking forward to it.

I began the day with bacon and pancakes for breakfast. Next was sushi lunch. I hope everyone has a good time tonight and stays safe. I am ringing in the new year with swords and bad sci-fi movies. What a yummy day 🙂

Tonight is the night to leave the past behind and move forward. Whatever negative and unhealthy things you’ve been holding onto, say goodbye. A new year is a new opportunity!

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ciao,
R~

Christmas 2014

On December 22nd, at 5:13 pm, I received a text from my eldest brother telling me that my father was taken to the hospital by ambulance. My world was turned upside down in that instant. I was distraught. I could barely type an email to my boss to let him know I had to leave town earlier than was planned.

I was texting back-and-forth with my brother trying to figure out if I should head to North Bay that night or wait until the morning. Freezing rain was on its way to both Ottawa and North Bay and I was trying to miss that. Weather sites indicated that the freezing rain was due around midnight in Ottawa, so I decided to quickly finish packing and grab what food I needed from the store and home. It’s not as simple for me as it is with other people to travel as I’m sensitive to a few foods and they’re in a lot of things. I grabbed a quick bite to eat, which was nearly nothing. I had everything packed and ready to go by 7:15 pm and proceeded to leave town, or attempted to. My car wouldn’t start.

I tried to get help from people at my building. A man said he couldn’t because he was a delivery driver and he wasn’t allowed to. Most people overlooked my plight. I called a friend and he had been drinking, so he couldn’t drive over and give me a boost. I called another friend, she was going to come and give me a boost, but it took a long time to get her car started and in the middle of waiting for her, another man saw I was struggling and offered to help me once he was finished helping an older lady with her groceries. He came down eventually and got my car started and away I went at 8:21pm. I had gassed up on my way home, luckily, so I wouldn’t have to stop for that for a couple of hours.

The trip to North Bay from Ottawa is just under 5 hours. I worked a full day before this. It was an extra long drive this time around. My state of mind didn’t help things. I kept saying, “Not Daddy. I’m not ready for that.” My dad is almost never sick. He’d only been in the hospital one other time in the 33 years I’ve been alive and that was for minor surgery from an infection he got. It’s not like he’s never hurt himself. Being a mechanic, it wasn’t uncommon for him to crush a finger or thumb and require a brief trip to the hospital, but he hadn’t been there for anything serious and he’s 70!

Recently, I started learning some meditation exercises, mainly breathing. Those helped me get through the long drive. When I caught myself going 140 a couple of times, I told myself that I needed to slow down as it wouldn’t do to have another Roy in the hospital. The other thing that helped was seeing Christmas lights on people’s homes. Those lights were like little beacons of hope for me on the dark drive. They helped light my path and cheered me up.

I managed to miss all of the freezing rain.

I was hungry and exhausted by the time I reached my parent’s house. I cooked some food while they told me what happened.

He had been acting weird all day–restlessly pacing and looking out the kitchen window, which doesn’t have a view to anything but the side of a neighbour’s house then he’d tire and want to lie down. He started talking funny and it wasn’t jumbled up English or French, though there was the odd French word in the mix. He sounded like he was inventing an entirely new language. My mom sent my brother to the store for the kind of Aspirin you can chew and tried to get my dad to stop pacing around. He kept trying to communicate. My brother returned with the Aspirin and they got him to take it only he probably swallowed it rather than chewing. They called 911 and my other brother who would have beat the ambulance there if he hadn’t had to pull over to let the ambulance get to my parent’s home.

My father went outside at some point during all of this and locked his garage. He had given my mom his wallet before doing this, figuring he wouldn’t need it. He met the paramedics in the driveway and tried to ask whether or not the ambulance would be covered by OHIP! Of course, my mom tried to tell him this was no time to be concerned about money. The paramedic was shocked to find out my dad was the patient given that he was walking around and asking such questions.

The ambulance driver told my brother, who had rushed over to the house, not to follow them through the red lights they would be going through. I’m guessing that’s a standard safety procedure. My mom and brother reached the hospital to discover that my dad was on his way to Sudbury because the North Bay CAT Scan wasn’t working. That was at 5:47 pm.

I wasn’t happy to learn that we had no idea which hospital my dad was in or even what had happened to him. I feel best when I have information and I had nothing other than that my dad was in the hospital and it was probably Sudbury, which is a good place to be if it’s something with your heart.

The next day, we still didn’t know anything until around noon when my dad called us. My dad was brief on the phone and told us he was in Sudbury and that he was going to need surgery. My brother didn’t get a chance to ask a room number or anything. At this point, we knew what city and that my dad was alive. He was expecting to have surgery on Christmas Eve. So we started contacting some friends and family. One couple my dad sees a lot of needed to be updated and we didn’t have their phone number and had no idea how to spell their last name to look it up, so I walked over to let them know what was going on. I needed out of the house for a moment as my family has an inclination to drive me crazy by running through the same information multiple times to try to cope in situations like this, and I’m the weirdo that would rather find something to pass the time until more information comes along or until it makes sense for me to contact someone who has the information we need.

On Christmas Eve, I visited some friends at Ontario Northland while we waited to find out if and when my dad would be having surgery. My brother was at work and I decided it was stupid that we were in North Bay and my dad was in Sudbury. We made a plan to go visit after we found out more information. Dad hadn’t had surgery yet and didn’t know when that would be as he was waiting on the specialist to see him. We had lunch, hopped into my mom’s vehicle, and headed out to see him. I brought my dad one of his presents because I didn’t know how long he would be in the hospital and it was Christmas Eve.

When we got there, we learned that my dad had had a T.I.A. or mini-stroke. We also learned that he wasn’t going to need surgery after all. Apparently, his other arteries in the area had begun to take over the job of routing his blood flow to the brain.

So my dad is going to be okay though he has to quit smoking, reduce his alcohol consumption, take some pills, and do some exercise each day. He’s not happy about the beer. He had reduced his smoking so much already that the nicotine patches made him hallucinate a pizza because the hospital food was so bad. He also saw zombies, which is interesting since my dad never watches anything with zombies in it.

This Christmas I got my daddy back on Christmas Day. We opened presents around 5 pm and had dinner around 7:30, which is much later than usual, but all that mattered was that dad was all right and back with us.

Ciao,
R~