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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:

wpid-photogrid_1404482144318.jpg

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?

2014-06-04 12.25.38

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?

 

waiting

After all the craziness of January and February, I thought that slowing down for March would be a welcome change. The chemistry course is done, marks and portfolio have been submitted for the college application, the 4 websites for clients are either done or on track, and all blogs are caught up.

It feels weird. I’m fidgety. I’m laying in bed right now, at 11:23 on a Saturday morning, wondering what it is I should be/could be doing. I’ve been awake since 6, having taken Keith to the airport. He won’t be back until Monday night, so I don’t have him to bump around with.

I am feeling overwhelmed by waiting right now, if that can be a thing, instead of doing. Waiting for mid-March when I’ll find out if I’ve been accepted or not, waiting to find out which way my life is going to go in the short term, Plan A or Plan B/C/D. Waiting for someone, anyone to look at my resume and at least call me in for an interview. Waiting for next week. Waiting until I need to go to tonight’s derby double-header. Even waiting until I get hungry enough to drag my ass out of bed and find something to eat.

Now might be a good time to address some other projects that have been shelved; writing, editing the novel, knitting a sweater. I might even take another course, maybe the grade 12 Writers’s Craft, Canadian History or Philosophy courses.

Now might be a good time to review the referee hand signals and penalty codes for tonight.

Not would also be a good time to stop waiting and just get the fuck out of bed.

Did it!

Feeling quite proud of this.

SCH4U

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

2013 Retrospective

plot twist

 

I’m going to look at 2013 as the year of the plot twist, and move on. I’m not saying that life went wrong, but it certainly had an unexpected detour. I thank my beloved, my family and my friends for all the times they talked me off the ledge by reminding me that I have both mad skills, intelligence and the support of the people around me.

I like this representation of my year, a mosaic of all of the daily photos. Going by this, 2013 wasn’t as bad as all that.

2013 collagesm

Click to embiggen.

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.

map

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

Trading card time

It has been a week of doing that thing I most hate doing – writing about myself.

I know, I know, I write about myself all the time; there’s Twitter, Facebook and here. But those are different, fun. Writing something serious or semi-serious about myself for other people to read makes my procrastination gene work overtime.

This morning, I emailed my portfolio for the Brewmaster application. It’s been proofread and edited by 3 people other than myself, and I still found a grammar issue this morning upon the eleventy-hundredth reading. *head desk. I did the two tricks I was shown when I worked at the print shop – read it out loud (2 more issues) and read it backwards word by word (no more issues). I could re-write sentences forever, so made myself finally hit the Send button. I only checked 5 times before sending that I had attached the right file. And so far, 4 times after sending. Yes, I am that paranoid about it.

Then on to the other one. This is substantially less critical, but still needs to be right. It’s time to write my copy for the Toronto Roller Derby trading cards. I couldn’t help but laugh at the typo on last year’s – it’s so me. What made it funnier was the fact that it wasn’t my typo!

After much thought, this is what I’m going with:

Spirit Animal: Grumpy Cat*

Three Likes: Beer, motorcycles and Doctor Who

Three dislikes: Bad coffee, romantic comedies and To Do lists

Is known for: Refusing to act her age

I’ve decided to go with last year’s picture as it’s one of the few pictures of me that I like. That and the fact I’ve put on weight during my unemployment, and I can’t keep denying how much if I have actual proof, now can I?

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*Keith asked me why Grumpy Cat – she can’t help the fact that she looks so grumpy all the time, and apparently is quite a lovely and sweet cat. Not that I’m saying I’m lovely and sweet, but I’m a damn sight nicer than my Resting Bitch Face  would lead people to believe.

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