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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

jinx puppy turned nine

Fancy dress for his birthday dinner

Somehow, Jinx Puppy has grown up. It’s like we’ve blinked and he got old. But he’s not old. Yet, on February 28, 2014, our little puppy turned 9-years old! Shawn and I spent the last week of February shaking our heads in disbelief. This little guy – the best wedding gift ever! – was only 4 months old when we met him. How did he grow up so fast?

Looking through photos, I noticed that he celebrated his third birthday in this house. This also means we’ve had the house a long time. Not to mention the fact that we’ll be married nine years come July.


Next year will be 10.


Shawn and I both still think of Annie as being 7 years old and yet it’s been three years since we lost her. Jinx will forever be our Puppy. Our gentleman puppy. Protector of All Things Proper.

Are you really trying to take a selfie with me? Do you want to be THAT person?

Jinxy sleeps a lot now. He also snores very loudly. He limps a little when he gets up from one of his naps, as I think his hips are possibly bothering him when it’s damp. Once outside, he’ll happily romp around with Sophie in the snow (he loves to pull her tail) but he’ll quickly plop himself down at the bottom of the stairs, in the snow, and chomp away on pieces of ice he has found.

He’s not as spry or sure-footed as he used to be, and really, most of these changes have happened in the last year. Funny how that can happen.

Don’t panic, Mummy. I’m right here. I just need a little more blanket though…

As much as Jinx loves his comforts, and pretty much all of my fuzzy blankets, these days, he’s always there when I desperately need some love. If I’m crying, or really sick, and if I’m having an anxiety attack (as I often do these days) he’ll be right there. Next to me. He’s not a huge snuggler, not like Sophie. But when he knows I need that extra comfort, Jinx is there. He’ll put his paw on me, or sneak his head into (or at least, squished up right next to) my lap. He’ll beg me for pets and snuggles by pulling at my arm with his paw. He’s sensitive and caring. He’s my protector. He’s my comfort.

Wild party times for Jinx’s 9th birthday!

My little boy is technically a senior now, but he’ll always be our puppy. He looks like a puppy and most of the time acts like a puppy (a very well behaved one!) What a weird reality to accept!

Happy birthday, Billionaire Jinx Puppy! There were no party hats, just a nice tie. I know how much you like things to be proper. I love you, you big goofus.

diary of a non-jogger – first run of 2014

1.35 km out of 1.92 km

February always makes you feel like winter will never end. The warm(er), sunny days are few and far between, so when you find yourself gifted with a rare perfect, winter’s day, you need to take advantage of it! I will admit that I haven’t been taking advantage of the nice days as much as I should have. I haven’t been doing so great with the PTSD thing and I recently returned to work and that hasn’t gone well at all. I only worked three days last week and I ended up a huge mess.  I was supposed to go into work for 4 days this coming week, but I’ve worked it out so that I’m only going to be working 2 days. Even those two days are filling me with dread but I’m going to do the best I can.

I was such a mess last week that I didn’t even go to my fitness class on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I have been hiding in my house, sleeping through the days and trying to occupy my brain with anything and everything that wasn’t what I was supposed to think about. Even school work has been too overwhelming but I gave myself yesterday a free pass on my work and hunkered down today.

The call of the sunshine was a little too loud this afternoon though, so I took a break half-way through my module (adjectives before lunch, adverbs after!) and laced up my runners for the first time this year. I haven’t been out for a run since November 16th and before that, mid-September. I have been feeling the urge to go out but I am too chicken to run on ice and snow. Today the streets are clear and I needed help to get out some of the pent-up anxiety so off I went!

My goal was to see what I could do before I needed to take a break and although I didn’t make it a full kilometre before I had to stop (darn!) I did run for a full 7 minutes which is a personal best! When I stopped I met up with Shawn and the dogs and walked for a bit until we reached the spot I stopped running. I started running again from there and made it home (with one 15 second walk stop)! I was quite proud of myself!

I might start the Couch to 5k program again as the spring makes its way into my life, but I might just try shorter distances (like my almost 2km route) and see how long it takes before I can run the entire thing without having to walk. I can build up endurance from there. This year I think I was to focus less on the distance and focus more on my endurance. This is the first time I have run this much without feeling like I wanted to die. I think if I give myself smaller distance goals I will feel more like I am accomplishing something as I reach them (because I WILL reach them!)

I’m just enjoying the feeling I get from running and exercising and I am becoming some strange Fitness Girl version of myself. It’s helping my anxiety and I really hope that eventually it’ll help when my PTSD gets too overwhelming. I’m now working on trying to make myself healthy both physically and mentally and that’s something that makes me happy these days.

Meanwhile, for my first run in 2014 (and my first ever winter run!) I’m pretty happy with how it went!

the healing power of snuggles

I go back to work tomorrow after having been off since the end of November. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I am doing much better than I was three months ago and I can actually go out into the world without having a nervous breakdown. On the other hand… I don’t know how I feel about going back to work, my job in particular. Part of it has a lot to do with the fact that I have to continuously walk by the building that the guy jumped from last March. I can’t help it. It’s right next to my office. I am just so over down-town, big cities in general lately. The jumper guy just added to my original dislike of cities. I’m also at the point where I’m ready to move on to a different job. Something that I really, truly enjoy. I just don’t know what that is yet – besides moving into the publishing world. I’m not ready for that one yet though. Still have some schooling to finish. Either way, I’m back to the real world tomorrow morning.

Besides missing not having to wake up to an alarm clock in the mornings, I am seriously going to miss snuggling with Sophie.

Snuggle Selfie

This dog, this tiny, vocal, fluffy little girl has been a huge part of my healing process. I didn’t even realize how much she’s been a part of it until recently. Whether it was the middle of the night, or during a crying fit, or just sitting quietly on the couch while I browsed the internet, Sophie will jump up beside me at least 10 times a day just o squish her face into mine, give me kisses, let me rub her belly and just hug her tightly for ever. She is a champion snuggler and I have never had a dog that loves to cuddle as much as she does. Sophie just loves to be loved and to share that love with her humans. She’ll alternate being beside me on the couch and then wandering over to Shawn at the table and stare at him, climb up onto his lap and give him kisses. She bounces between the two of us snuggling away. I’m a little worried how she’s going to be once we’re both back at work full time. I’m at least going back progressively while Shawn is hopefully on his way to finding new employment. I’d like to think there will be a decent enough transition period that Sophie won’t freak out about being alone (with Jinx) for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Normally Sophie doesn’t DO selfies.

I realized this evening, as Sophie and I were smooshing our faces together, that it’s going to be impossibly hard for me to be gone all day tomorrow and not have snuggle moments with her. She’s been the best hug, the best comfort while I have been home. When I am anxious or sad I just bury my face into her fur and hug her while she grumbles at me. She’s vocal. She sings, she grumbles, she’ll occasionally bark at me when she thinks I’ve not paid enough attention to her (or paid her the wrong kind of attention… she might have told me off after the Olympic Ice Dancing routine I tried with her in the kitchen this weekend…)

Go, Team Canada!

But she’ll come right back up to me, tail wagging and jump up on her hind legs, stretching her JAZZ PAWS! up in the air at me so I’ll bend down and hug her. And hug her, and hug her and love her. She’s a bundle of love and affection that’s kept me together at times I was sure I’d fall apart. She didn’t care that I thought I was broken. She didn’t think I was broken, she just loved that I was on the couch next to her.

Jinx is great when I am down and out, he is. He’ll stay close and keep a watchful eye on me. He’ll curl up on the couch next to me, but he won’t snuggle. He doesn’t like kisses. “Boys don’t get kisses, Mummy!” is his stance on the matter. But he’ll protect me and he knows when I’m sick or sad. Sophie however, will jump right into that fire and smoosh herself right into your heart if you let her.

The best part about you exercising at home, Mummy, is that I can Downward Dog with you!

Both dogs stay near me constantly, but Sophie likes to be touching me as much as possible. She’ll take any opportunity for a cuddle. She’s not clingy or needy, don’t get me wrong. She likes her space well enough! Sophie just seems to know when I might need a little extra love and a giggle in my life. If I’m trying to hold a one-minute plank, or get 25 sit-ups in, she’ll sometimes come right over and stick her nose in my eye (thanks) and give my nose a little lick. Then she’ll slide down into play-mode and hang out with me as I giggle up a storm and take a break from the exercise.

Once I’m on the couch, she’s up there waiting. SNUGGLE TIME! Don’t play that computer game too long! Don’t watch too many hours of Buffy or Veronica Mars without stopping for a CUDDLE BREAK! Don’t forget to LOVE ME!

Sophie is my little snuggle bug and I’m almost in tears to have to leave her home while I’m at work the next two days. She doesn’t sleep in bed with us anymore (preferring to claim MY spot on the couch overnight!) so I won’t have as much snuggle time between getting home, eating dinner and then bed. I’m not sure who will miss whom the most. Thankfully she and Jinx will have Shawn to snuggle for most of tomorrow – although he’s got an appointment in the morning so he’ll actually be leaving the house with me at ten to eight tomorrow morning. Poor dogs, they’re in for a bit of a shock.

If I could get these dogs certified as therapy dogs for myself, I would. Having them – especially Snuggle Sophie – around me all day has been one of the best things I could possibly have asked for while dealing with my PTSD.

What I Read in January

Ok folks, I seem to have forgotten how to blog. Or, rather, I can’t seem to get my blogging mojo off the ground. In my defence I’m going through some stuff and there are too many things that are overwhelming me. Being online, blogging, social media… those are a big chunk of the GAH! feelings so I have been avoiding the internet as much as possible. It’s helping me so that’s good. On the other hand, I miss blogging and having handy reference of what I read online, so here I am with a mini update!

I managed to read 7 books in total throughout January! This was surprising to me since I didn’t think I’d actually gotten that many read! I read some great books and some not-so-great books and here’s my rundown in one post because I’m just not up to multiple blog posts right now.

Reconstructing Amelia
by Kimberly McCreight

In Reconstructing Amelia, the stunning debut novel from Kimberly McCreight, Kate’s in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from Grace Hall, her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Amelia has been suspended, effective immediately, and Kate must come get her daughter–now. But Kate’s stress over leaving work quickly turns to panic when she arrives at the school and finds it surrounded by police officers, fire trucks, and an ambulance. By then it’s already too late for Amelia. And for Kate.

An academic overachiever despondent over getting caught cheating has jumped to her death. At least that’s the story Grace Hall tells Kate. And clouded as she is by her guilt and grief, it is the one she forces herself to believe. Until she gets an anonymous text: She didn’t jump. (goodreads.com)

This book was the first Featured Book from the 50 Book Pledge hosted by The Savvy Reader. It sounded pretty interesting and I was looking for less YA novels and more adult ones. I’m feeling mystery or suspensy these days and very little is holding my attention, I had hoped that this book would be a nice change of pace – I wasn’t wrong! This was a great mystery to read and I think it would be a prefect bridge-book between adult and YA fiction since the story is told in two points of view – that of Amelia and her mother. This has the added bonus of a Prep school. It’s not a boarding school, but there are still rich kids being all mysterious and secret societies! I love that stuff. Woo!

Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum, #19)
by Janet Evanovich

New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is certain of three truths: People don’t just vanish into thin air. Never anger old people. And don’t do what Tiki tells you to do.

I saw a bunch of complaints about this nineteenth book in the Stephanie Plum series, but I didn’t think it was that bad. I am seriously hoping for some sort of character progression in Stephanie’s case over time, but ultimately this book made me laugh. Laughter is something I seriously look for in one of these mystery novels. I also love me some steamy Ranger scenes and although he was in the story a lot, there wasn’t a ton of steam. I don’t know if the love triangle will ever be resolved, but Morelli is getting a tad boring for my liking. He used to be a bad boy and now he’s just feeling like an old man. Hmm. At least Stephanie seems to be slightly more competent in her bail bondsman job. She’s not always failing miserably and I will admit to a certain amount of glee every time one of her cars blows up! Hee!

The Gospel of Winter
by Brendan Kiely

As sixteen-year-old Aidan Donovan’s fractured family disintegrates around him, he searches for solace in a few bumps of Adderall, his father’s wet bar, and the attentions of his local priest, Father Greg—the only adult who actually listens to him.

When Christmas hits, Aidan’s world collapses in a crisis of trust when he recognizes the darkness of Father Greg’s affections. He turns to a crew of new friends to help make sense of his life: Josie, the girl he just might love; Sophie, who’s a little wild; and Mark, the charismatic swim team captain whose own secret agonies converge with Aidan’s. (goodreads.com)

This one was sent to be by Simon & Schuster Canada after an email exchange I had with my pub rep. Once she told me it had been one of her favourites I admitted I was extra curious about it. It’s certainly a subject that’s pretty taboo and not often written about. I didn’t see many favourable reviews on goodreads for this one so I was apprehensive as I began it but I was surprised by how much I liked it. Maybe it’s my Catholic upbringing (now majorly lapsed) but this story was pretty riveting and I thought, well told. I liked Aidan a lot, too. As troubling as the story itself was I found the book to be quiet and calm, sort of like a snowfall. It was sort of nice to read an “issue novel” from the point of view of a male protagonist, too. I am very happy that I was able to have included this novel in my 2014 reading.

The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy, Book 1)
by Marie Rutkoski

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. (goodreads.com)

Release date: March 4, 2014

You might have seen photos of the epic packaging floating around the internet for the ARCs of The Winner’s Curse – they came with a dagger! I didn’t get the epic packaging, but my friend did send me an ARC and although this doesn’t come out until March, since I was so desperate to read a book that I could connect with I tried this one out. It’s an easy read and a nice fantasy but my problem with it was the constant pining between Kestrel and Arin. I wrote this on Goodreads, “I’d really like someone to write a YA fantasy novel that isn’t just a romance in disguise. I wanted to like this one more than I did but there was just too much pining between Kestrel and Arin and it overshadowed all the rest. 🙁” I KNOW Rutkoski can write an amazing fantasy novel because I adored her middle grade  Kronos Chronicles trilogy. I think the problem here is that YA novels always have to have this stupid OMG I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT YOU UR SO PRETTY ZOMG! theme to them and I am so, so tired of that crap. Do I want to continue with the series? Probably. Mostly out of curiosity though.

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, Book 2)
by Sarah J Maas

Eighteen-year-old Celaena Sardothien is bold, daring and beautiful – the perfect seductress and the greatest assassin her world has ever known. But though she won the King’s contest and became his champion, Celaena has been granted neither her liberty nor the freedom to follow her heart. The slavery of the suffocating salt mines of Endovier that scarred her past is nothing compared to a life bound to her darkest enemy, a king whose rule is so dark and evil it is near impossible to defy. Celaena faces a choice that is tearing her heart to pieces: kill in cold blood for a man she hates, or risk sentencing those she loves to death. Celaena must decide what she will fight for: survival, love or the future of a kingdom. Because an assassin cannot have it all . . . And trying to may just destroy her. (goodreads.com)

Oh, look. Another YA fantasy novel that’s 80% PINING! This sequel to The Throne of Glass might just have ended the series for me. The first half of the book is all about how Celeana and Chaol can’t be together because OMG THE LUST and OMG THE DISTRACTION! And let’s not forget about how Darion can’t even look at her because OMG SHE WANTS CHAOL! Ugh. Then (SPOILERS) there’s this entire section of the book that’s nothing but sexsexsexsexsexsex all of the time and I just wanted to throw the book across the room in disgust because it added NOTHING to the story. Nothing. Nada. The last quarter of the book things got more interesting but then we’re totally thrown for a loop with a plot twist that I am still trying to decide between it being obvious and unoriginal or a surprise. Jury is still out on that one. I didn’t even like Celaena anymore. I’m not sure if I’m going to continue with this series or not. We’ll see how I’m feeling when the next book comes out.

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
by Teresa Toten

When Adam meets Robyn at a support group for kids coping with obsessive-compulsive disorder, he is drawn to her almost before he can take a breath. He’s determined to protect and defend her–to play Batman to her Robyn–whatever the cost. But when you’re fourteen and the everyday problems of dealing with divorced parents and step-siblings are supplemented by the challenges of OCD, it’s hard to imagine yourself falling in love. How can you have a “normal” relationship when your life is so fraught with problems? And that’s not even to mention the small matter of those threatening letters Adam’s mother has started to receive  (goodreads.com)

Now THIS book was FANFREAKINGTASTIC! I picked it up for my Kobo with some gift cards I’d gotten at Christmas. I bought this one on the recommendation of my naturopath of all people. When I went to an appointment in January she mentioned having just read a great YA novel about teens with OCD and that totally piqued my interest. I am so happy that I found out about this book because it was just amazing. Yes, there is romance-ish between Adam and Robyn but it’s not the over-the-top swoony kind that you get in most novels these days. This book is so raw and real and just heartwarming you are rooting for Adam the entire time. This was a great story about mental illness that will make you laugh and cry and feel uncomfortable but also happy and hopeful. It even has a bit of a mystery within the story that kept me on my toes until the end. I know I’ve only read seven books (now 8, since I just finished one in February) so far, but this is the best one I have read so far.

so, thirty-eight happened

Unusual for me, I didn’t chronicle my birthday this year. A lot of it has to do with what’s going on in my life (and my head) these days, although I can’t really say why I haven’t blogged in 20 days. I guess I’m just not feeling it much lately.

On January 23rd I turned 38 years old. What a strange age to be. I find it very surreal to be closer to 40 than to 20. In my mind, I’m still closer to my teens than I am to being a grown-up. I’m not sure when this feeling will change, if it changes at all.

I woke up on my birthday and came downstairs to find a hand-made card waiting for me and a gluten-free birthday cake. These wonderful items were both courtesy of my amazing husband. Since it was my birthday, I was turning old, and I have been home on medical leave and feeling sort of out of sorts, I decided that my fancy party t-shirt was the appropriate attire for the day. Shawn got me that shirt for Christmas. Have I mentioned how wonderful my husband is?

In a surprising turn of events, I didn’t want to celebrate my birthday this year. It had nothing to do with age and everything to do with the PTSD crap I’m going through. I didn’t want to see anyone, go anywhere, do anything,or even really talk about my birthday. Two days before my birthday I woke up feeling excited that it WAS ALMOST my day. That was the first sign that I was starting to feel better and I have medication to thank for that.

Anyone who knows me knows how much of a birthday person I am. Generally I start counting down the shopping days until January 23rd in November. I used to write these helpful countdowns in my friends Val’s and Jill’s agendas. I’m helpful like that. This year I didn’t even tell new people I’d met that it was going to be my birthday. I realize this probably doesn’t matter to most of the world, but it’s a huge sign of how Not Myself I have been. I’m getting better but I still feel like I missing a big chunk of myself and I’m a little bitter about that.

So my birthday was spent with my husband and it was pretty quiet. We went to a movie during the day (Frozen) and then we had take-out for dinner. I braved the world and went downtown the next night to have dinner with my boss because I wanted to see her and I miss her a lot. That was nice and it was nice to know I could actually hear about work and not have a major panic attack start. Again, medication to thank for that. Not a huge dosage, but enough to erase the anxiety and fear I have been living with for the last handful of months.

I didn’t even see my in-laws until the start of February. I just wasn’t feeling like being around people or having any attention paid to me. Heck, normally I love attention. heh… I just wanted to be quiet this year. Reflect. Spend time with Shawn. The fact that we’ve both been home for the entire duration of my leave from work has been a blessing in disguise. I don’t know how I’d have gotten through what I was going through if I had to be alone with my thoughts all day.

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to digest the fact that I’m two years away from turning 40. It’s not that I think 40 is old, except in my head, I do think 40 is old. I know it’s not. I know more people in their 40s that I would think were in their late 20s if I didn’t know their real ages. I guess the idea of 40, the one that I grew up knowing, my parents’ 40.. or my grandparents’ 40… is still stuck in there somewhere. I have all these questions – when I’m 40 am I too old to keep having rainbow coloured hair? Am I too old to have pigtails when my hair is long, or too old to get more tattoos? Can I still wear t-shirts with cartoons on them? Will I still be cute? Hmm.

Most of this is completely in my head and I don’t totally believe it. It’s another one of those “two people in my head with completely logical and true ideas that do not get along” things. Like how I know I can succeed at school and at the same time think I can’t do school at all. Two differing opinions all living in the same space. It’s enough to make a person dizzy, yo!

So, I had a birthday in January. It’s now February and I’m not sure where the time went. I start back to work this coming Thursday and although it’s a progressive return, I’m not sure how I feel about going back to reality. I’ve been pretty happy in my cocoon at home doing things that I feel like doing when I feel like doing them. Alas. I still need to pay the bills.

When I left work in November I was 37. When I return to work this week, I’m 38 and honestly? It does feel like an entire year has passed in the last 2.5 months. I just hope that 38 treats me better than 37 did.