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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.

 

Day 19,108

I just can’t help but feel that my day would go so much better if I could just get out of my bathrobe, shower and get things done. Here’s hoping I manage it in the next hour or so, since I have to be at work 4.

Somehow, I don’t think fuzzy red bathrobe is part of Bulk Barn’s dress code.

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I watched a trailer for 20,000 Days on Earth, a documentary with Nick Cave, and it got me thinking, how old am I days? Hence the title.

And FYI, I’ll be 20,000 days old on January 1, 2017. I think that might be a good day for a big party.

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I know, I know. I haven’t posted the fitness things for a while. I went great guns for a month, lost 10 lbs, then the enthusiasm waned. I have to rekindle it, as I would really like to be below 190 by the time I go to school in just over 5 weeks.

5 weeks. Fuck.

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.

yeah, whatever day

july 8

 

Today was not good from a physical fitness perspective, but pretty damn fine in terms of self care. I call it a yeah, whatever day. I know I should be doing something else, but yeah whatever. My dad would call it being logey.

My GI tract’s reaction to the grocery store sushi kept me up most of the night, and I spent most of the day on the couch alternating between watching Penny Dreadful and napping. I felt better by dinnertime, so we went and joined BrainMc and his wife Stacie for poutine as a last visit before they moved on in their travels. There were a few more steps than 28; I decided to leave the FitBit at home because, yeah, whatever.

And after the poutine, a stop for an ice cream at Ed’s Real Scoop seemed like a brilliant idea. A much better one than grocery store sushi, that’s for damn sure!

 

Grocery store sushi

Grocery store sushi only sounds like a good idea, until it isn’t.

Honestly, I should know better, but I was at work and could not look at another crappy 5 Guys burger or crappy Tim Horton’s sandwich. The sushi tasted good at the time, but let’s just say that there is not one area of my gastro-intestinal system that is currently happy with my good idea at the time.

The plus side is that I do not feel like my usual late night snacking. There will be NO PROBLEM keeping under my allotted calorie limit today.

Sharp contrast to yesterday when all I really did was snack. Actually, I’m going to use the term graze. It just sounds nicer. Oh, and drank. Brian and Stacie, friends from Atlanta, are in Toronto being tourists so I met up with them in the evening and went through some of the $5 Sunday pint menu at BarHop. I am both sad and happy that I do not live closer to BarHop.

I hit the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition at Nathan Phillips Square before meeting them to scope out all the lovely creative pieces I cannot afford. There was the usual same-old-same-old (oh, look, another painting of the Great Canadian Shield done in the style of one of the Group of Seven), but there were some truly spectacular artists that piqued my interest.

One is Becca Wallace who does some great photography with old toys (robots!!). I showed Keith some of her work, and we’re going to commission her to shoot some of our old childhood toys in the same fashion.

Another artist I spoke to for a while was Blair McKean who does scorched wood art – think kid’s woodburning kit all grown up.

But the one exhibitor that really fried my noodle were these wire work sculptures by James Paterson. Words fail to express how full of delight they are.

Yes, I know it’s sideways. Believe when I say it will be easier for you to tilt your head for five seconds than it will be for me to remain seated long enough to find and apply a fix. Someday I will learn to rotate my phone 90 degrees.

It’s pretty nifty though, eh?

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And before I forget, here’s my tracking for the last two days.

Yesterday:

july 6

 

And today:

July 7

 

Now I’m off to bed in the hopes that the Imodium and Gravol I’ve taken start working soon. Fucking grocery store sushi.

Too late?

It’s 10:30 pm, and I’ve had a busy, active day according to my FitBit:

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I have eaten healthy all most of the day according to MyFitnessPal:

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So I find myself at home at the end of the day, feet up, watching Netflix and sipping one of the delicious beers I brought back from Quebec in March, looking at the extra calories remaining, and thinking

Is it too late in the evening for a bacon sandwich?

Sick day

I was sick. The cat was sick. No, yesterday was not a good day. I did manage to only check Twitter and Facebook 4 times, which is less than I thought I would knowing my lack of self discipline as I do.

The high point of my day, other than taking the cat to the vet and then picking her up again, was to read a book. No TV, no Netflix, no music. It was great.

The book was Lucifer’s Hammer , written in 1977 by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, it’s #96 on NPR’s top 100 Sci-Fi/Fantasy list. Another end-of-the-world tale with the earth’s demise coming from a comet rather than a nuclear war as in the ones written in the 50’s, with the POV coming from various survivors. Think Stephen King’s The Stand. I’m glad I read it, but am also glad it’s a library book and I didn’t have to buy it.

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I didn’t get much exercise in because I was feeling crappy, only a little bit in taking the cat the vet and dropping yet more revised paperwork to Second Career. Then again, I wasn’t that tempted to each much. I still went over my “limit” though. I think 1200 calories is crazy – even when I’m sick I can’t meet it. It does give me good incentive to get out there and walk around more however, so I’m leaving the settings the way they are.

july4

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).

Summer reading

I’m behind. I signed up for a Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge and am 6 books behind my self-imposed schedule of one-a-week. I found myself going through old posts tagged books for inspiration when I came across my science fiction reading project post from 2012. In it I wrote of wanting to get through all of NPR’s Top 100 Science Fiction & Fantasy books.

As of right now I have read 78 on that list (Note: I count a series as read if I’ve gone through at least 2 books. Some series I will or have finished. Some I won’t). I have stalled a bit, but maybe I can put a dent in the 22 remaining this summer, which are:

38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings *
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven *
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan.
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle (Kindle)
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke (TPL)
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson *
96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis (TPL)
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis (Kindle)

All are downloaded or ordered through the stellar Toronto Public Library system (TPL) and ready to go. Maybe this time I can get through The Dispossessed. Wish me luck.

* I think I’ve read these already but I could be wrong.

catching up

Yes, I did get in to the Brewmaster Program at Niagara College. And yes, I’ve almost got my Second Career application ready to send off to see if I can get any help to pay for it. Accommodations and transportation have been sorted out. I’ll be renting a room from our pal Moose during the week and commuting with our old car (Keith bought a newer Mazda 3 for him to use). I’m kinda looking forward to being back in the place I grew up – Moose’s house is about 2 concessions away from my old high school. Plus his backyard has a hammock and a firepit, so what’s not to like?

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Moose’s backyard in early spring. Looks much greener now.

I have a new blog, this time one related to all things beer-y. It was called Goodale and Beer, but I have forsaken that for the much snappier Hop Kat. For anyone still counting, this brings the total number of blogs started since 2005 up to 9, with three still being active: HopKat (beer), Katitude (photo-a-day), and this one.

I’m working part time now at the Bulk Barn. I was given a promotion and a raise after about 3 weeks, and am  now a cashier supervisor. It’s close enough to walk to, so between walking there and back, and being on my feet for most of a 6-hour shift, I’m over my 10,000 step fitness goal every day that I work. I come home smelling of candy and spices, which is not nearly as nice you would think it would be.

I’ve signed up to take the Fresh Meat skating course again through Toronto Roller derby. This is the third time. I have informed The Knee that I will be finishing it this time whether it likes it or not. It replied by pointing out that I will need to get my ass off the couch and away from Netflix if I want this to happen. I am taking its advice as I wish to keep walking when I get old(er).

The motorcycle is uncovered and I’ve been out on it a few times. I’m noticing that the anxiety and borderline panic is returning. Awesome.

Putting together my summer list for 2014. There’s lots to do. I would really like it if “worrying about money” didn’t make it on the list, but I fear that’s the only given.

Overall, life is good. There are flies in the ointment, but when isn’t there?

 

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