Day 11

Hey, thanks Google Photos for reminding that I had the worst (IMHO) interview in my life two years ago today. (Yes, I know bigger things happened on September 11, but not to me and not in my country. Forgive me if I’ve moved on.)

I’d had other offers, but this was the one I wanted, the job that would be best for both Keith and I. I was so sure I had blown it, that I drove to the Collingwood Terminals, stared at the bay and cried for a half hour.

I got home and sent the thank-you-for-your-time email, and proceeded to wait. I’m not sure exactly what happened between then and getting an offer other than getting an update from Robin, but I remember it being long and rollercoaster-ish…just looked back at Google and it was a month+.

It feels odd that it’s been only two years; it feels like it should be longer. The changes in our lives have been huge: urban to rural; renter to homeowner; getting by to happy. there were crappy moments like Keith feeling that this was never going to be home, my anxiety ramping up, the lack of friends, the speed at which I feel off the radar. But the joys are frequent, from small ones like watching birds at the feeder and eating a tomato out of our garden to having the pleasure of watching our relationship grow stronger.

It’s a good life.

Day 6 & 7

I didn’t last a week. (insert image of me shrugging) Whatever. I make the challenge, and I can bend it or break it however I want. I am long past the point where I can be bothered to feel guilt for failing a self-imposed deadline.

Call it self- care. Call it laziness. Call it coming to grips with how my mind works. It truly doesn’t matter.

Friday was a long and almost difficult day. I bailed on the Wellington Cask Fest because once all was said and done, it seemed too far to go to hang around by myself. Better to come home and be with Keith and the cats.

Today was the pleasant normality of shopping, cooking, canning and baking. It has not escaped me how much I enjoy and am deeply satisfied by the activities that I mocked so thoroughly for so long.

Middle age is finding out just how wrong you were about everything.

School, Day 0, in which I thank a lot of people

How to explain how I felt yesterday as I sat in a classroom for orientation, listening to people talk about the program I spent so much time and effort getting into. I think giddy covers it best.

(We’re going to gloss right over the nerves, anxiety, self-doubt and near-crippling panic that I experienced in the preceding 48 hours. The less said about that the better.)

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Yes. We drank beer during the orientation info session. I can safely say we were the only program that did. They had 5 styles, but I felt that trying all five with no breakfast might be a mistake so I settled for samples of the NC Teaching Brewery saison and Septemberfest. Both made me wish I’d had breakfast.

I met most of my classmates. It appears that I am the only estrogen-based life form, which should make the next 16 months interesting. As well as from Ontario, there are two guys from the US, one from Calgary and another from Fredericton. I was as chatty as a nervous former teacher could be, so I’m pretty sure they know more about me at this point than I know about them. Note to self: sshhhhh.

Today is the first day of classes, and a fairly light one at that; an hour of Math of Finance at 11:30 followed by two hours of Computer Applications, which seems to be basically a self-learning software to guide one through the basics of MS Office. As someone who has taught it for the last 12 years, I am really hoping I can fast track through it.

I should go and have breakfast then shower and get dressed. But I can’t help but linger here over my coffee and think about how fortunate I am.

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First and foremost, I have to hand it to my beloved. He was the one that planted this little seed in my mind by replying “Brewmaster Goodale has a nice ring to it” when asked what I should be when I grow up. He has been nothing but supportive and wonderful throughout the last year while I was recovering from having the rugged pulled out from under me and then planning and working toward this next stage. He is quietly sacrificing much. He is shouldering a larger financial burden while I’m a student, has seen his vacation cut short from 2 weeks as planned to 5 days to accommodate some work that came up for me, and is keeping the home fires burning solo while I’m at my mid-week home across the lake. He is, in a word, wonderful, and I am quite lucky to have him in my life.

While Keith keeps telling me I made it this far due to hard work, I could not have done it without a lot of help in one form or another from just about everyone I know.

  • my brothers Brian and Doug, and my sister-in-law Linda. They have been my cheerleaders in unexpected ways and have offered much needed moral support and offers of financial assistance (which I hope I don’t need). I am grateful for how they have my back.
  • The Moose, our friend who is graciously renting me a room in his house in Winona. I hope he still wants to be my pal after being my mid-week landlord for the next while!
  • The “beer girls” – Erica at Black Oak, Jen Murphy at Beerlicious and Jen Shute. I met them at the Prud’homme beer course and they have been invaluable sources of information and assistance whether it be a letter for my Second Career application or connecting me to beer folks so I can make some extra money doing LCBO tastings. You guys rock!
  • Bella Dodswell of The Career Foundation, who helped me navigate the paperwork minefield that is a Second Career application. My application would not have been successful without her cheerful advice.
  • Juliette, who is still willing and able to pick up the phone and talk me off a ledge, even though we live on opposite sides of the world from each other and are separated by a half a day’s worth of time zones. The woman has mad skills and I am proud to call her friend.
  • Lori is another friend from far away who is kind and generous with her time and herself. I appreciate her more than I can ever say.
  • Caroline, aka the Hoppy Beer Witch, who is funny and interesting, and who has been instrumental in whetting my interest in the BJCP.
  • Robin Le Blanc, the Thirsty Wench. I have only spoken with her a few times, but we have many common thoughts on social justice and equality. She has given me much to think on in terms of working to expand the diversity of brewing, while introducing me to people in the industry.
  • Toronto brewers, who helped my application by taking time to complete my survey: Steve at Liberty Village, Tomas from Spearhead, Jeff from Indie Alehouse, Mary Beth at Granite, Mandie at Left Field, Dave at Kensington and Doug at Junction Craft. Shout outs to Tina from Junction Craft and Paul from Flying Monkeys in Barrie who has allowed me to ask incessant questions about the business on several occasions.
  • Nate Ferguson and Alan Brown of Niagara College, for giving me a tour of the college and patiently and promptly answering all of my email questions, no matter how big or small.
  • The women at the Admissions department of Niagara College. They gave me invaluable advice during the application process and their emails were always fun and friendly.
  • my derby pals, my former colleagues, former students, friends and friends-of-friends, and perfect strangers, all of whom said “wow cool” when I told them of my plan to become a brewmaster. No one said I was too old, too female, too unexperienced or too anything; everyone has been amazingly supportive and interested.

And for this, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I quite honestly could not have done this without you and I am grateful.

Let me buy you a beer next time I see you.

 

Long day

july 9

 

My feet are tired and my face hurts.

The feet are sore from all the mileage that Keith and I put in around downtown today as we walked between venues at the Toronto Fringe Festival. See those six gaps in the FitBit activity log? Those represent the six shows we saw in one day. All but one was very funny, and even the one that wasn’t very funny was still pretty funny. Which is why my face hurts.

We laughed. A lot.

More tomorrow, as right now all I want to do is drink the beer that is included in the above MFP log before I fall asleep.

Where I’m at today.

I’m sick (a wee bout of food poisoning thanks to eating at Swiss Chalet after swearing to never go there again after the last wee bout of food poisoning). I’m just a tad PO’d about it, as I was to go to Hamilton and help with the beer judging for the Because Beer Festival. So much for that plan.

I AM NEVER GOING TO SWISS CHALET AGAIN!

The cat’s sick. The 18-year-old feline has kidney stones, a fused arthritic spine and now hasn’t pooped in about 4 days in spite of a vet visit and 2 enemas.

And Keith is away. Lucky bugger.

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“I wish you hadn’t written that.”

Yeah, so do I.

I am taking a sabbatical from social media, again. Again. Facebook was proving once more to be a wonderful time suck that enabled me to not do the things I don’t want to do. Plus, I was getting a little too invested in three of the private groups I belong to. Time to step back (again) to breathe, write, and get shit done rather than sit with the iPad hitting refresh too many times. I’ve deleted FB and Twitter off both my mobile devices, and have resolved to check both once in the morning over coffee (I follow a lot of beer and derby groups as well as the fitness one), check but not post for a week.

We’ll see if I actually get shit done.

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One of the groups is a private group of people wanting to get fit and lose weight. The accountability of posting every day was definitely keeping me on track, so will be posting the screen shots here instead. Who knows, maybe this will morph into a fitness blog (cue hysterical laughter here).

This was yesterday:

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The top section is from MyFitnessPal that I use to track food, the bottom is from FitBit, the software that syncs to my Zip step tracker. The idea is to post this every day, with daily fitness goals. My usernames are BadKatitude on MFP and Katitude on FitBit if you want to connect on either of the sites.

I started using both daily (when possible) on June 9th. I was 93.9 kilos then (207  lbs). I weighed myself today and am at 91.2 kilos (201 lbs). Woohoo! 2.7 kilos in 3.5 weeks! AND I don’t feel achey and sore the day after a long walk and working! Pausing for a quick happy dance.

The weight goal is 85 kilos (187 lbs) to start. The real goal is to be fit enough so that I don’t throw my back out when I have to lift 25 kilo bags of malt when I go to school in September. Looking better will also be nice!

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Speaking of school, it’s flattering how many people think it’s a great idea and are supporting me. Keith is being the biggest pillar for me to lean on. That doesn’t stop me from stressing the hell out and worrying like it’s my job. I am super mondo stressed right now and was actively searching for anything that would stop me thinking about money for even ten minutes (hence the social media addiction). In spite of budgeting and hiding it in a different account where I couldn’t access it easily, my settlement from the school is now officially gone, and my EI benefits are over next week. I have two part time jobs, but they certainly don’t bring in enough for rent AND living expenses, and my hours will necessarily be reduced once I start school. Keith keeps calmly saying, “don’t worry about it, it will all be fine,” but I am who I am and my brain works the way that it works.

So I worry and lay awake at 3am with that little voice nattering in my ear.

I think I may have mentioned before how much I hate that little voice.

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So that’s me right now. My plan for the day is to wait for the Gravol to take effect, wait for the vet to call me back about the cat, shower, mail a letter*, drop the third revision of Second Career financing application off to my career counselor, Bella (who is awesome personified), take the cat to the vet, do some writing, maybe another post here, definitely a post on the beer blog (HopKat.com) and catch up on the photo-a-day blog (katitude.ca).

Instructions for a perfect day

There’s a certain feeling that accompanies a planned Thanksgiving long weekend away to a Northern cottage when the weatherman says words like sunny, unseasonably warm, Indian summer. The dawning realization that you can take the motorcycle rather than the car brings with it an anticipation of joy that is exactly like what you felt the night before Christmas or your birthday.

I can ride up on Thursday, you think. And smile.

You grab the sidebags and start playing packing Tetris, trying to get as much in the two hard cases as possible, paring it down to that which is absolutely necessary. One sweatshirt, one long-sleeve shirt, one book, etc. You roll jeans and shirts around two growlers of beer and pull out the extra pair of shoes; beer is more important than shoes.

thanksgiving rideYou open up old maps of your Dad’s, folded and unfolded so many times that the folds are close to dissolving, leaving you with so many loose rectangular puzzle pieces. You compare the layout of the old highways to the new ones on Google Maps to see if there are any places where the old roads remain to be explored. You plan a route by finding the roads with the most curvy squiggly lines and connecting them, and so are able to make a trip that would take 4 hours by car on 4-lane highway turn into something that will be closer to 7 hours from door to door.

Continue reading “Instructions for a perfect day”

the Trip

We booked the trip in April, exactly 3 weeks before I was let go from my teaching job. I can’t tell you how many time’s I’d thought we should cancel it as more and more resumes went out with less response. I did bring it up to Keith a few times, that we should maybe cancel it as there was no way I could pay for any of it, but he just smiled his Keith smile and said, that’s what nest eggs are for, isn’t it, and we found ourselves at Toronto Pearson International Airport on December 22, our 10th anniversary and also the day of one helluva ice storm.

I’m pretty sure you don’t care to hear about our flights that got cancelled (2), the lines we waited in (4), or the people we talked to (lots). We watched the departure board as flight after flight got cancelled and watched people being ushered through the doors that would lead them back through Canadian customs and then home again. I wish I’d taken a picture of the departure board – everything was cancelled except for our new flight to Cleveland. Which we got to just as the much-delayed flight to Vegas was boarding. Our luggage didn’t make the transfer in time, but we got to our room a the MGM Grand exactly when we thought we would.

All we had to do is swing by McCarran the next day to get our suitcase that had come in on the next flight, and the road trip started. So glad we had unlimited mileage on the rental car.

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Our road trip: Vegas > Grand Canyon > Monument Valley > Zion National Park > San Luis Obispo > Half Moon Bay > Ridgecrest > Vegas

I’ve had people ask me when we got back, what was the best part of the vacation, and I try hard to answer it but it was all so great. Of course there were all kinds of standout moments, like drinking a nice stout while watching the sun set from our hotel room in Monument Valley, challenging my agoraphobia by standing 10′ away from the sans-guardrail edge of Horseshoe Bend, walking along Lone Rock Beach aka Lake Silencio from Doctor Who. There was the amazing Christmas dinner at Zion Mountain Ranch and the starlit walk back to our cabin, where we awoke to a view of grazing buffalo outside our window. The drive along Highway 1 from San Luis Obispo north along the coast was incredibly lovely, and was capped off in Half Moon Bay by the best sunset I have every seen and the best pizza I have ever eaten. The drive back to Las Vegas through Death Valley was surreal and stark, and we finished the trip with the after dark tour at the Neon Museum.

In the end, I’m glad we didn’t cancel it. We hadn’t gone anywhere together for a while, and we needed it.

Some of the trip photos; more can be found here
Some of the trip photos; more can be found here