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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

so long 2013, don’t let the door hit you on the way out

In 20 minutes this year will be over. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d still be awake by now but we watched two episodes of Buffy in a row and then it was suddenly after eleven. I took a shower and now I’m just waiting.

Not sure why.

I think it’s because I’m just eager for this year to finally be over.


And I am pretty sure I’ll be kicking myself  a year from now, but I just don’t have it in me to do my yearly wrap up on the blog. This isn’t particularly a year I want to remember. It’s been one of the lousiest years I can remember and some pretty Big Stuff happened that wasn’t altogether pleasant.

So, I’m ready for a “new year”. For the first time in ages I even bought a calendar year agenda. I’m so used to following an academic calendar – even at work. To me, my year begins in August/September.

But this year, August and September weren’t fantastic and were still too closely associated with the earlier part of the year. I’m just completely over 2013 and I think that might be why I was so drawn to this agenda.

I don’t know.

I don’t even know what to expect or hope for in the new calendar year. I’d like a lot less major traumatic events in my life. If that’s possible? Please. But honestly, I normally have lousy even-numbered years and generally I do not get along well with the number for and 2014 has all of that and more.

Then again, I normally do well in odd-numbered years and the number 13 and I tend to play well with each other. And that just didn’t work out the way I’d hoped.

Honestly, I’m tired. I’m tired of sadness and darkness and negativity and disappointment. No matter how fiercely I fought to stay positive I only succeeded in finding myself exhausted. I want to hope that 2014 is brighter and lighter. Not just for myself but for everyone because I’m not the only one who’s had a rough year. I know too many people who were kicked in the pants by the last year and I’m fairly certain I’m not the only one happy to see that calendar change at midnight.

Fifteen minutes…

…until the numbers change and you have to start thinking about the date as you’re writing it down. Betcha a lot of rent cheques will bounce tomorrow as people forget to change the year when they date them.

For all my pain and darkness I did manage to accomplish things in 2013. I’ve been very active (for myself) and have kept it up. I have managed to be healthier physically – even if I need to focus on the mental health now. I have learned a lot about myself in the last year and I am slowly learning that I am not alone. No matter what happens I am not alone. I am surrounded by a strong, supportive and loving group of family and friends who will not let me suffer in silence and will help me get through anything.

I’ve even managed to keep a 4.0 GPA in my program at school. It’s slow and I could have done better this past semester had I not been suffering from PTSD (without realizing it) but I am still hanging in there and I have more faith in myself and my ability to not fail than I did a year ago.

I didn’t read much but I did many other creative things and realized that I need to keep up the artistic stuff to keep my brain and soul happy. And I enjoy it.

Ten minutes…

This year was exhausting and not the best of years but I know I have come out stronger and with a better sense of who and what is around me. I know I am lucky. Extremely lucky.

One thing I’d like to do in 2014 is be less connected. Whether that means I delete twitter and facebook from my phone or ONLY even use those platforms on my phone and not on my computer, I don’t know. I know that they make me unhappy. I miss only having blogs to visit and getting to see people through random posts as opposed to constant streams of chatter. I’m a culprit, too. I talk all the time, often too much. I need to be less all over that and more in my pen and paper journals and here, on the blog. Social media makes me tired. Very tired. And angry. And sad. And annoyed. And I need to cut back.

I need to colour, paint, draw, sticker, GLITTER and write more. Maybe take my guitar out of the closet and tune it and practice playing it again.

I need to BE more and DO more and be less nosy about other’s lives.

Five minutes…

And now I’m done with my blog post. My final of 2013.

Don’t trip on the way out, 2013. You’ve worn out your welcome and I am happy to see you go. I’m ready for something shiny and new.

Until next year and tomorrow, internet. Happy new year.

This Song Will Save Your Life

This Song Will Save Your Life
by Leila Sales

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing. (goodreads.com)

I had tears in my eyes by the second page of this book. I knew just by Elise’s voice and the words on those first two pages that this book was going to resonate so deeply within me and I was right.

This Song Will Save Your Life was the book I ended the year with. After the year that I had, I think a book like this was the perfect ending. There is something so genuine and piercing about Elise. Her words. Her fears. Her actions. Although I couldn’t exactly relate to the sneaking out and DJing at an underground dance party, I did connect with the other parts of her. The parts that “knew” being different was wrong. That being yourself and not fitting into the cookie-cutter cutout rules and norms of the rest of the teen world would result in being punished.

It was almost like Leila Sales took parts of my actual life and wrote them into a story. Obviously she didn’t because she doesn’t know me from Adam, but there were so many things in there that were my life. Starting in the 4th grade. It was scary and fascinating all at the same time.

Elise was rescued from her life though, so many others aren’t. However so many others are too scared to take the leaps and chances that can find them refuge among the wars that wage between high school walls.

The idea that some idiot can make a fake blog and write as someone else in a way to bully another kid is just terrifying to me. I don’t know why that idea never crossed my mind before because I’ll bet you it’s common. It’s just another example that has me pretty certain I’d have not survived growing up if the internet had existed back then.

This story is one of the few that gets the teen voice right. The struggles, the fears. And it’s not completely depressing, there’s humour among all of the angst and the angst isn’t superficial. I was just about bawling when Elise tries to save her sister from the same fate she feels she’s had. The lesson here is don’t be different. Don’t be yourself. Blend in. 

Honestly for most of my life I had the same mantra although it didn’t ever work. I’m still learning that being myself and being different isn’t something that deserves punishment. Unfortunately it took me 30 years to get to the point that I could start understanding and trusting that.

I thought this was an amazing book. I’m still thinking about it three days later and I’m still full of emotion over it. This book might have been one of the best gifts I have ever received and I am so happy that someone chose to send it to me. It was exactly what I needed to end my 2013. It helped me settle down my energy for 2014. It moved me. It made me laugh and cry. It made me want to check out the other books written by this author.

Mostly, it made me happy to be ME.

hourly christmas – part 2

I ended the first post at 2pm Christmas day as we were on our way to my in-laws’ for dinner once our own festive shenanigans were done! So here’s the second half of my Hourly Christmas in photos!

It was extremely cold outside and of course we realized we needed gas in the car before we left. I got to remain bundled up in the car with the dogs as Shawn braved the freezing temperatures and got us enough gas to get to his parents’ place. Heh. Nothing says Christmas like, “Car Selfie with Dog in Background”.

We arrived and Jinx was very happy to see everyone (he looooooves is Pawpaw and Maw) and sniff all of the bags around the tree. We also had a surprise gift that was cleverly disguised so we didn’t know what it was.

This is probably the best hat anyone has ever given me. It’s from my father-in-law. I proceeded to wear it the entire night. (Although I did take it off during dinner because I didn’t want the tassels to fall into my gravy! Mmm gravy.) I think this was a secret tactic to keep me from trying to steal one of his hats as I am prone to do every Christmas. I can’t help it if he buys himself a new (and nice) winter hat almost every year. I like his hats! And they look good on me. 😉

My plan had been to take a photo of our dinner, but I forgot because I was starving and it was delicious! So I was going to take a photo of the ice cream Yule log dessert. Obviously that didn’t go as planned either.

By 7pm we were all lounging around the living room while Shawn helped his dad with his laptop and chatting away. Bellies full (but not TOO full in my case!) and I was happily wrapped up in my new fuzzy blanket and warming myself by the digital fireplace. (Please note that my in-laws’ actually have a wood stove in their basement but it was too hot down there because of that! ;))

Since my husband had dressed up so nicely I had wanted a photo of the two of us before we went home. It’s hard to take photos of us with just the cellphone because all I can get is our heads. So I had my father-in-law use his fancy camera and then showed him how to use my phone. Family portrait!

Just before 10 we were home and I was tired and my Christmas was done. From Finnegan and I – Merry Christmas!

I am becoming quite the expert in digital fireplaces. Since everyone was amused by how amused I am by the one on Netflix, we turned on the one that comes with their cable station. It plays actual commercial Christmas music. We kept it on the entire evening. hee!

Once I got my new hat, my Santa hat came right off (since I generally wear a Santa hat all day Christmas day!) and Shawn took it. Here’s our Festive Hat Selfie!

Since my parents moved away, I have not received Birthday Toilet paper in a couple of years so my in-laws’ thought they’d help me out. ha! This was completely wrapped, too. Nothing says “Best Present Ever!” like toilet paper!

And that, internet, was my Christmas. And now on to a new year…

Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends

Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends (Ever After High, #1)
by Shannon Hale

At Ever After High, an enchanting boarding school, the children of fairytale legends prepare themselves to fulfill their destinies as the next generation of Snow Whites, Prince Charmings and Evil Queens…whether they want to or not. Each year on Legacy Day, students sign the Storybook of Legends to seal their scripted fates. For generations, the Village of Book End has whispered that refusing to sign means The End-both for a story and for a life.

As the daughter of the Evil Queen, Raven Queen’s destiny is to follow in her mother’s wicked footsteps, but evil is so not Raven’s style. She’s starting to wonder, what if she rewrote her own story? The royal Apple White, daughter of the Fairest of Them All, has a happy ever after planned for herself, but it depends upon Raven feeding her a poison apple in their future.

What if Raven doesn’t sign the Storybook of Legends? It could mean a happily never after for them both.

First I saw the dolls in a store flyer. It was love at first sight. Then I saw the book in the store and I promptly told my husband he was buying this for me for Christmas. Then I discovered the website and the theme song and the webisodes so it’s pretty safe to say I have become slightly obsessed with this series.

I knew that this book was going to be for kids even before I watched the animation. But I also knew I was going to love it to pieces and I wasn’t wrong.

The book is pretty. The pages are pretty. It’s full of puns and life lessons and Morals of the Story and just so much fun, fairy tale goodness. I keep thinking it’s Disney, but it’s Mattel. It’s my Jem and the Holograms obsession for this decade. I don’t care about Monster High, but I was instantly drawn to fairy tale legends. What can I say?  I like fairy tales.

There is mystery and deception and friendship and broken friendships. There’s hope and whimsy and humour and gossip.

I loved everything about this book. It is an exceptionally light and fun read but it’s just what I needed after Christmas and the months I have been having. It was FUN. I laughed out loud. I rolled my eyes. I smiled A  LOT while reading this book. It’s fun.

And the theme song isn’t so bad either. It has a good message.

They told you everything was waiting for you,
They told you everything was set in stone,
But now you’re feeling like a different ending,
Sometimes you gotta find it on your own.

It’s an open book,
A road in reverse,
A brand new hook,
Forget that curse!
It’s a Rebel cause,
With a Royal heart,
Rewrite, ignite, restart!

Cause it’s your life,
It’s your time,
Go forward or rewind!

And it’s a pretty freakin’ catchy bubblegum pop song. Even my husband dances to it with me. Heh.

Shush now. Let me have my whimsy. =P

hourly christmas – part 1

It’s been a rough year but we still managed to find the joy in Christmas morning. Sure our Christmas Eve was spent eating Kraft Dinner on the couch while (re)watching the first two episodes of the 5th season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer but really, what else was there to do? This evening we’ll head over to my in-laws’ for Christmas dinner and more gifts, but so far we’ve had a pretty relaxing and happy Christmas morning here.

I thought I’d do a photo an hour today and have been posting them on Instagram. I have taken many other photos, too and even took the passcode lock off my phone to allow easier access to my camera without having to log in each time and miss the photo op. heh

I haven’t been sleeping (again) and so I managed to catch a couple of hours between 6 and 9 am. I left Shawn sleeping and put on my Christmas jammies to come down and let the dogs out. I need new Christmas pj bottoms because these are a) falling off and b) pretty much worn through in the thighs. Alas. I loved these Snoopy Christmas pants.

We were through with presents by about 10:30. We had our lovely Netflix streaming fireplace (with Christmas music!) playing in the background as we exchanged gifts. We learned that Sophie is scared of all things Christmas. She might be curious about a lot, but I guess she’s just a Grinchy when it comes to Christmas anything. Jinx was VERY curious and especially excited about his stocking.

Once again Shawn surprised me with some awesome fun t-shirts. I don’t think many of my In Person friends will get the references to two of them, but internet-savvy friends probably will. Gotta love the doge meme and Krieger from Archer. The purple shirt, well, that’s just self-explanatory and rather autobiographical.

I’d be remiss if I made cards for everyone else and left out my darling husband. Much glitter was used in this card making process because… GLITTER!

He got me a Finnish Lapphund card! Thanks Finnish Lapphund Club of Victoria for making such cute cards!

Super duper exciting – I am going to see the Nutcracker on Sunday!!

I have never seen this ballet live. I remember watching it on PBS when I was a kid. I think Baryshnikov was in it or something? We’re going to the last performance on December 29. I can’t wait to dress pretty and watch people be all magical on stage!

Also exciting – I got my Ever After High book. Yay! I’m still having way too much fun for a person in their late 30s to have on their website. But LOOK HOW PRETTY THIS BOOK IS!!!

Stickers (yay, doge! And Alice in Wonderland!) and a new agenda (better photo further down this post) and some exciting new shirts. I am a happy camper!

I also got a FitBit Force – which I am currently wearing. I am looking forward to tracking my LACK OF sleep. And steps. Although since I had it charged and started wearing it, I have gone about 70 steps. Mostly I have been on the couch. *cough*

Jinx and Sophie are pretty tuckered out and we haven’t even left for my in-laws’ yet. Sophie spent a lot of this morning trying to hide from Christmas things and Jinx spent much of the morning trying to see what all of the Christmas things WERE.

I like this new stocking, Daddy. Can I play with it?

Wookie Stocking! This will be Shawn’s new stocking from now on but this year it was a surprise. I filled it with goodies and then wrapped it up and put it in a bag.

Stocking goodies! Doctor Who sticky notes (I might steal some Dalek ones…) and a Mjölnir bottle opener! Possibly only Thor will be worthy enough to open beer in our house from now on.

It’s very heavy. Surprisingly heavy. Good thing I don’t drink beer.

And lastly, my shiny new agenda!

I even made a little ribbon bookmark for it. (Thank you double-sided tape!) I have also added in all of the appointments and birthday coming up. I’m a little bit nervous switching to a calendar year agenda since I have been so used to Academic year ones, but something about this one just spoke to me so LOUDLY when I was in the store shopping for Shawn. I thought about it for three days and went BACK to the store to look at it again. That’s when I told Shawn I think I needed it for Christmas. I had been dreaming of it since then so I was super excited to open it up today. Time to add all my stickers and birthday notes to it. But I spent about 40 minutes adding to it this afternoon.

And now I’m at 3pm and I haven’t taken a photo yet, but I’m going to go get dressed and ready to go to my in-laws’ for Christmas Part 2! I get to see my parents in 3 days and I’m looking forward to that!

I hope you’re having a lovely Christmas, too! A lot of people needed something good to happen this year and I wish you all the best day ever with loved ones.