A Weight Lifted

My car loan is paid off. I received the mail showing a zero balance today! It took nearly seven years, but there were a lot of bumps along the way. I think those bumps have been character building though. I’ve certainly learned a lot and am stronger.

Things are looking up!

And since getting that statement, I’ve felt super motivated. I finished reading a book and started another, did laundry, put my tires in my car (which was way easier than previous years), and did a load of dishes all tonight!

It was the third Percy Jackson book I finished. I’m now reading, “A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind.” I got it from the library booth at the Japanese festival on the weekend. I often don’t get books from the library because I’m a slow reader, but I think this one will be easy to finish in time.

It feels great to be making progress again.

WRITING

Here is where I having made progress. I intend to do nothing but cleaning and writing this weekend though! Oh, I may watch a Ghibili movie because I got it out from the library booth too.

I have been getting some ideas about my other projects, but I haven’t been pursuing them, only writing them down to prevent forgetting. I may focus on a more dramatic story after this one.

  • The Page & The Magician: 71,969/80,000

FINANCES

With my car paid off, I’ll be better able to focus on the credit cards and OSAP Loan. First, I have to deal with changing my tires, which I’ve been putting off for a year because I couldn’t put money aside to buy new tires with. Now I can. I’m booked in for Saturday morning as I found a place near home that is open on the weekend, which is extra awesome as I’d rather not miss work for tires. And soon I’ll probably be getting some dental work done. It’s also past time for an eye appointment. I also want to save up for a chaise that has storage space in it, though that’s really probably going to be my Christmas present. I should go to IKEA soon just to try them out and ensure the one I’m eyeing is actually comfortable. I’ll feel better about driving out there with proper summer tires! And when I visit my family next month too. I haven’t really been wanting to go anywhere because of them.

  • R. Card: 73.22%*
  • S. Card: 4.7%*
  • OSAP Loan: 6.86%
  • Savings: TBD**

*This is a bit misleading because the one that is less paid off actually has a lower balance.
**My adviser and I will meet again in the fall to get things rolling here.

FITNESS

  • Gym: 0/3*
  • Iaido: I guess I better start really training for my Sandan if I’m going to challenge it in December.

*This will probably be in September.

HOME

  • General: I’m tweaking my chores list to find what works best. I can’t wait until my tires can be put away! I smashed my knee on the cart the other day 😦
  • Office: I intend to get my desk set up to transition easily between sitting and standing, so I can do some work standing and be healthier.
  • Bedroom: I think I can grab a curtain rod and curtains this weekend for my closet, but it’ll depend on how much my tires set me back.
  • Bathroom: I might start the cutting of the bathroom vanity this weekend. This will let me move the new one into the room instead of it hanging out in my hallway.

FRENCH

No news here.

  • Read: 9/30 (I should get back on this.)
  • Class: I haven’t heard anything. They could be on vacation though.

MUSIC

  • Piano: I’m really enjoying Let it Be. Damn, scales are hard. My right hand is decent, but my left is so clumsy!

R~

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My World is Shrinking

Lately, I’m realizing Ottawa is much smaller than I thought. It began on my birthday when I found the access to the Rideau Canal, which has been close to my workplace all this time. Buildings I’ve known the addresses of for over a year, but never seen are around the corner from my dojo. The sempai, or senior student, at my dojo works in the same building as me. My friend’s dojo is around the corner from the park where Prose in the Park was held a couple of years ago, which is also a short walk from the bus station I frequented during school. All of these things I’ve only discovered this month and many were on the weekend that just passed!

Speaking of the weekend, mine was packed. Friday was spent making a Fukuro Shinai. It took about 4 hours and I still have to finish the handle wrapping. It has been the hardest part to make look nice. My fingernails were a bit sore on Saturday. Some of my fingers still hurt. Leather-working is pretty hard!

Otherwise, this weekend I battled my air conditioner as another heat wave struck Ottawa. For some reason, the exhaust tube keeps coming off and spewing hot air back into my condo instead of out of it. I’m hoping Gorilla tape will settle the matter.

Saturday brought my first piano lesson with my new teacher. She was really nice and I felt pretty comfortable with her right away. I think it’s a good fit. Because I’m only doing lessons biweekly and she has vacation during what would be our second class, I actually won’t have another until mid-August. That gives me plenty of time to perfect the piece and scale she assigned me. I really like the contemporary book we’re working with too.

WRITING

I haven’t made any progress since Wednesday as I’ve been too busy on the weekend. I’ll be back at it in force soon though.

  • The Page & The Magician: 71,969/80,000

FINANCES

Nothing new here though I think my car might be paid off by now, so yay?

  • OSAP Loan: 3.17%
  • Savings: TBD*

*My adviser and I will meet again in the fall to get things rolling here.

FITNESS

  • Gym: 0/3*
  • Iaido: I was nervous for the demo, but I got a bit of practice time before we went up that helped to calm the nerves. It went really well and there were a few interested people, so maybe we’ll have a couple of new students.

*This will probably be in September.

HOME

  • General: I’ve got another box of stuff ready to go. I hope to be done cleaning sometime in this millennia.
  • Bathroom: Nothing much yet, but I have started some little things like a basket for the things I use everyday. I plan to get a couple more like it to put on eventual corner shelves. One will be for my hair dryer and flat iron.

FRENCH

No news here.

  • Read: 9/30
  • Class: I’ve reached out about assessment at work. After that, I can find out about training.

MUSIC

  • Piano: I started classes and I really like this teacher. She has me working on Let it Be by The Beatles. Also on my homework list is the C Major scale.

R~

Two Steps Back

I’m still getting back into the swing of things at work. The earlier mornings and travel are making it hard to get as much done as I’d like, which was expected. We’ve also been having heat waves fairly regularly. This has made dishes and cooking difficult!

This week is a big martial arts week as we have our demo on the weekend at Natsu Matsuri 2019. I’m also attending a workshop a friend is running on building a Fukuro shinai. That’s a bamboo sword, which has a leather covering (for those who aren’t in the know).

Other than that, I don’t have much to report. I’m pretty much just working for the weekend right now, but I expect that will calm down soon enough. I did manage to watch Stranger Things Season 3, which was awesome and I’m sad that I’ve run out of episodes!

WRITING

So far, these changes have me losing words, but I have faith it will eventually work out. I’m through chapter one. There are only twenty-five more chapters to go…

  • The Page & The Magician: 71,969/80,000

FINANCES

I have started tackling the credit card debt though I’ve only had one pay and a half one at that.

  • OSAP Loan: 3.17%
  • Savings: TBD*

*My adviser and I will meet again in the fall to get things rolling here.

FITNESS

I’m a little frustrated here. Apps tell me I’m not getting enough calories to lose weight and I don’t have much of an appetite lately. I think that may be due to increased caffeine intake, so I’m going to calm down on that and see what that does. I may have to go see a doctor about it.

  • Gym: 0/3*
  • Iaido: Sunday’s class was excellent. We decided which katas to do for the demo and after practicing the whole set, we split them up among us and worked on our own parts. I’m a little nervous as I’ll be doing kata I don’t usually demonstrate.

*I’m going to hold off a moment as my exercise level is currently higher than my calorie intake and may be causing me issues.

HOME

  • Living Room: I got the bookshelf bench and put it in place. It has helped that part of the room, but it seems like there is still so much else to handle! I did find a place that does tires on Saturdays, so I think I will be able to put my tires away soon and that will help too.
  • Bathroom: Nothing yet.

FRENCH

  • Read: 9/30
  • Class: I’ve reached out about assessment at work. After that, I can find out about training.

MUSIC

  • Piano: I start classes this Saturday and I’m pretty excited about it!

R~

Late, But Not Forgotten

WRITING

As I was riding the bus home on Monday, I started planning out these next novel changes. Changing the setting is major, but I think it will be the best rewrite yet. I’ll talk about it a lot more once I really dive into it, but it’s going to take some research.

I went through and made notes like:

  • What chapters will this affect?
  • Where should “event” happen instead?
  • Things might have to be edgier in this new setting.
  • Do they even have Pages?
  • Research locations, parks, the culture…

It’s going to be a pretty massive overhaul, but one that I think will really improve the story. Overall, I think I can show a bigger impact that Josy’s moving to a new city will have on her. It presents more opportunities in a lot of areas. There are good literary tools that become available. I can also get rid of the boring parts I wrote because it seemed like something needed to be written and replace them with something better.

I’ll have to rename it, but that was likely going to happen if I convince a publisher to publish it anyway.

I’m really excited about all of this!

  • The Page & The Magician: 72,051/80,000

FINANCES

All right, so I have a bit of credit card debt to deal with as I wasn’t making quite enough on EI. It’s not what I would’ve liked, but it is what it is.

  • OSAP Loan: 3.17%
  • Savings: TBD*

*My adviser and I will meet again in the fall to get things rolling here.

FITNESS

It’s almost time for the annual demo at the Japanese Festival (Natsu Matsuri)!

  • Gym: 0/3*
  • Iaido: I’m doing Tuesdays at home because it has me up too late otherwise.

*I’m going to start this after my birthday.

HOME

For my birthday, I may purge one of my chairs and replace it with that bookshelf bench I’ve been wanting. Giving myself extra work to do probably seems like an odd thing to do for my birthday, but I’m working towards eventually having a chaise for reading books/screenplays and watching TVs/movies. The bench is vastly cheaper and will get more of the clutter handled sooner. Then when I can get the chaise, I’ll be able to enjoy my space more.

  • Bathroom: Nothing yet.

FRENCH

  • Read: 9/30
  • Class: I’ve reached out about assessment at work. After that, I can find out about training.

MUSIC

  • Piano: I’m going to take classes bi-weekly on Saturdays as having too many events during the week makes me tired for work. This actually works out better because I feel like I need more time in between classes to practice in order to get the most out of lesson time.

R~

Unsettled

With a big change to my daily routine, it’s been hard to focus on things like writing, so I really didn’t this week. My schedule is still in flux in other areas, but I’m working on it.

I installed my air conditioner in my bedroom on Friday as I needed it to survive the plus 40 C humidity. I had to go buy tape in order to finish it, so I stopped by the sushi place as a little celebration of finishing my first week back at work. I changed up what I usually get by reducing the amount of rice some. I feel good about that change.

I started tracking my food in an app. The first one I tried, I got rid of pretty quick when I realized all the calories were wrong and it forced me to eat more food than I need to. Every item it reported as less than they actually are. Bad! Also, I swear they focus too much on the wrong things. Yes, I’m a woman. But I’m a woman who is under 5 foot tall and I am trying to lose weight. If I’m not active in a day, I really don’t need a ton of food. It made me eat until I was bloated just to fill it’s own metric claiming I wouldn’t have had enough calories to function properly. The “strange” thing is that when I ignored it the other days, my digestion improved and I felt great. I’m now using MyPlate and it seems accurate and doesn’t try to force me to do anything. It also doesn’t tell me to eat more because I did a little exercise. I can just eat extra if I’m hungry instead and have less if I’m not hungry, which I think is a much better model.

I was thankful when the extreme heat broke last night and I could air out my place as I couldn’t get the main part of my condo to cool down. Today, I’m working on catching up on dishes as it’s been too hot to run a dishwasher until today. I was also able to use the stove and have some leftovers for weeknights.

And I tried a new church today. It was a little overwhelming as the sermon was about a lot of the things I’ve been struggling with over these last few years. Plus my allergies have been bad too. It was good though. The group has a decent amount of people around my age. It’s also really close to home and they like playing music. There were a lot of friendly faces and at least one from my building. My nose was running, so I didn’t stick around after. Next time!

I got a few things today like a cute blue dress that was on clearance for $9. I’m going to add some ties to it as it’s currently pretty shapeless, but I’ve been having trouble with the ones that zip up the back lately. I either can’t contort my body to reach enough or it gets caught on itself while zipping. They need to make more side zip dresses in my opinion.

WRITING

I’ve done virtually nothing here. Though I did get inspired by a weird encounter at my library while trying to return some learning materials. I’ll be adding a scene when I remember which chapter it fits in. I have a NOTES tab in Scrivener for those things that need placement.

Since things have changed on the music front, I expect I’ll have more time to just come home and write at the end of the day most of the time though, so I’ll be kicking butt here soon.

I’m thinking about a major change to the setting. There was a companion story published, but it’s not like there are a lot of copies out in the world. I could also revise that and re-release it at a later time. Or that could just be a fun little trivia bit about the story.

  • The Page & The Magician: 72,051/80,000

FINANCES

This week is my first pay week! I’m looking forward to this job and the ability to do a little more than just surviving.

  • OSAP Loan: 3.17%
  • Savings: TBD*

*My adviser and I will meet again in the fall to get things rolling here.

FITNESS

  • Gym: 0/3*
  • Iaido: I skipped out today. I wasn’t feeling great.

*I’m going to ask about this stuff this week as we get a small fitness incentive.

HOME

I tackled my shredding, which has been a long time coming.

My tires are currently in my living room, which isn’t ideal, but I had to move them to get my air conditioner. I might as well leave them here until I can get them on my car because they’re not fun to move around repeatedly.

  • Declutter: This weekend I’ve gotten rid of:
    1. bras that don’t fit
    2. a storage container I emptied out
  • Bathroom: Nothing yet.

FRENCH

  • Read: I’ve read 9 chapters while waiting for my equipment and accounts to be available.
  • Class: I’ll look into this this week too.

MUSIC

  • Piano: I’ve decided to try and go back to my old school as the lessons are half the price and they can also teach me the stuff I want and have the same other opportunities once I’m not such a newbie to the instrument. Scheduling was too difficult at the new one and I don’t have a lot of time to monkey around.

R~

ROW80 – Round 3 Begins

A new round has begun. It’s hard to believe it’s already the beginning the third quarter of 2019, but here it is. I have one major writing goal, one major music goal, home goals, and fitness goals.

It was Canada Day when I began this post. A day which celebrates our independance as a country. Lately, it feels like we’ve been stepping backward in that area, but I won’t get into that. I’m not a political blogger and have no wish to become one.

All right, so I didn’t really stop on the home goals. I felt that the more I got organized before going back to work, the better. And the cleaner my home becomes, the better I feel even despite dust allergies. Speaking of that, I really have to vacuum under my bed more often. There was a dust forest under there…

Normally on Canada Day, I would be partying. I didn’t for two reasons. Number one, I was getting over a cold. Number two, it was my first day of work the following day and although I already knew my coworkers, I didn’t want start a new position hungover.

WRITING

  • The Page & The Magician: 72,051/80,000

A paltry amount of progress, but better than none.

FINANCES

I don’t have much of an update here. My biggest goal for the year was to secure permanent, full-time employment and I achieved that. Now I’m waiting to push further on these for about a month until I’ve had a couple of pays.

  • OSAP Loan: 3.17%
  • Savings: TBD*

*My adviser and I will meet again in the fall to get things rolling here.

FITNESS

  • Gym: 0/3*
  • Iaido: I’ve generally been doing better at going to class lately. I’m getting over a cold and felt like rest was more important on Sunday. Tuesday has me out too late, so I’m mostly practicing at home instead.

*I haven’t joined yet. Like my finances, I’m holding off until likely August to get on this. My trap muscles are doing well with all the decluttering though! If I can figure out how to replicate it for my belly and thighs…

HOME

Declutter: I’ve gotten rid of:

  • a loveseat
  • the closet doors from my bedroom
  • some clothing
  • sporting and exercise equipment I don’t use
  • extra backpacks

I’m now collecting more items for donation. I think I’m becoming addicted to decluttering. I keep seeing things I really don’t need. Part of me wonders if I will ever be done!

Decor: After reorganizing my sheet music into containers based on the instrument they are for, I repurposed a storage cube for exercise gear and moved it into the living room. I’m now using my cable storage bench as my piano bench in my bedroom. It had to leave my living room as I have plans for a bookshelf bench to hold the remaining books I currently have in cardboard boxes.

I also rearranged the last nightmarish part of my bedroom. There’s still a lot of junk to go through, but it’s quite a lot better.

Bathroom: Nothing yet.

FRENCH

  • Read: I have finished the first five chapters of Charlie et la Chocolaterie. I’m getting the gist of things. I expect I’ll reread this one a lot to see how much more I understand with each level I complete.
  • Class: Holding off until I can work it out with my supervisor.

MUSIC

  • Piano: I’m excited about my trial keyboard lesson tonight! I hope it goes well. I’m looking forward to getting back to music in a big way. I’ve made a list of songs I’d like to learn as that is what the owner suggested I do. And then I remade it because I misplaced where it was saved. I emailed it to myself this time!

R~

ROW80 – Round 3 – Goals Post

This round, I’m mostly reducing in order to improve my focus. I will to stick to one writing project. It’s easier to stay immersed in the story’s world that way and to get into a routine. I’m putting my project management skills to work some by treating other activities like my declutter effort as a project.

WRITING

The Page & The Magician: 72,027/80,000* – I intend to focus on this novel and nothing else for awhile. I let myself get caught up in other things and didn’t get where I wanted with this one.

*Hey, my progress is a palindrome!

FINANCES

OSAP Loan: 3.17% – Since my car is pretty much paid off (there’s 1.5 payments left), I’ll be focusing on paying this loan off.

Savings: TBD – I’ll be putting in a plan shortly with my new financial adviser for retirement savings.

FITNESS

Gym: 0/3 – With my home in declutter mode, it has been hard to find space to workout, so I’m heading back to the gym soon. The gym is near home and will be very close to the train station if the L.R.T. ever gets completed. I plan to get a bike soon and it’s a reasonable biking distance for me on nice days. I lost my Fit Bit yesterday, but with Harry Potter: Wizards Unite out I’ll be walking plenty! It feels good to be getting back to a healthy routine. I’m aiming to go to the gym 3 times per week, but I won’t be keeping a count of attendance. Instead, I’ll be logging what I did in terms of the activities and the repetitions. That way I can track whether or not I’m improving.

Iaido: Of course, I’ll be continuing martial arts. I don’t know how often I’ll make Tuesday classes since they run late. The body needs time to calm down after working out to get proper rest. I will fit in practice at home on Tuesday, which can be done before dinner. Like the gym above, I intend to track how many repetitions I do of kihon (fundamentals).

HOME

Declutter: I’ll be continuing this effort. Other than chores, this is my main goal for my home. One of the wild things I’m doing? Changing out my closet doors for curtains. The doors don’t allow full access to the closets and it’s been frustrating me for way too long. This may be more complicated in the bedroom as I need something sound deadening, but I’m looking forward to being able to fully access both of my closets. I’ve already done the hall closet and it was so easy to clean up the area after that I couldn’t help but do it! The area feels bigger now too.

Decor: Eventually, I plan on changing my living room furniture as what I have hasn’t been working for me. I also want more pictures of loved ones above my desk. I even made a little project plan for this effort. It includes tasks for the declutter too.

Bathroom: This will be continued a little bit at a time. There’s no real rush, though I’d like to get to the point where I have space for my new vanity even if it isn’t hooked up because it’s in my tiny hall right now.

FRENCH

Read: 12/211 – I’m reading Charlie et la Chocolaterie for the summer.

Class: TBD – I intend to jump into more lessons at some point once I know what’s happening with my workload at work.

READING

Books: 4/8 – I’m halfway through my Goodreads Reading Challenge, so I’d like to move that forward. I’ve started reading Essentialism.

Screenplays: 0/3 – I want to read at least one screenplay per month. That’s not much, but it’s more than I have been doing.

MUSIC

Piano: 0/3 – Learn 3 songs by heart. This might change as I’m reaching out to a music place to ask about lessons.

R~