mousme: A text icon, white text on green, that reads Zathras trained in crisis management (Crisis Management)
It's a statutory holiday here today, so that means I get to wear jeans to work! I have come to deeply loathe and resent having to wear "business casual" office clothing, so God help me if I ever end up having to work in a regular office setting again. Right now I only have to wear the hated clothes about five days a month, often less, when I'm working day shifts during the week, and the rest of the time I can wear comfy jeans, which is my favourite thing to do.

Not much has happened since I last posted. I have been procrastinating like crazy on unpacking the house and doing anything remotely productive when it comes to keeping my life together.

Instead I've been playing Stardew Valley, which is entirely the fault of [livejournal.com profile] fearsclave , who, as usual, is a terrible influence. It's a horribly addictive little farming sim game, which is normally not at all my bag, but on top of the farming there is a significant emphasis on social relationships and community building in the game: the goal is not just to become good at farming, but to integrate a small community and become a respected member of society. The village, called Pelican Town, is also disturbingly realistic in some ways when it comes to depicting small town life, and the otherwise cute and lighthearted game has gotten dark on me a few times. There are characters with depression, suffering from isolation and alcoholism, people on the fringes of "civilised" society. Anyway, it's been weirdly compelling, and it has occupied a lot of my free time in the past three weeks. I finally reached some of the artificial goals the game sets this past weekend, so hopefully my fervor for it will die down a little now, and let me be productive in other ways.

I took Sergent to the vet last week for his shots, and also for our third ride on the "Does the Dog Have Cushing's Disease?" merry go round. I was worried because he's been having accidents in the house ever since I moved. I had attributed it to stress at first, but since it had continued for a month after (though with diminishing frequency), and he's been presenting with other symptoms (panting, less energy, whatnot), a lot of the signs pointed to something else going on. $1,000 later, and the good news is that he still doesn't have Cushings. The bad news is that I'm almost out of savings now. *sigh* I have a new vet, one who is much closer to home, which is much better news for both the pets, who hate being in the car for extended periods, and for my sanity, because my previous vet was an hour away by car, which meant that a vet visit before this meant basically writing off the entire day. It will be nice to be able to do other things on Vet Days now.

In more uplifting news, my new friends L. and J. managed to sell their house, and as of last week no longer live right next to the people who harassed them and made their existence a living misery for two years! I'm so excited and happy for them. They're still looking for a permanent place to live (they both suffer from severe mould allergies. which means they have to be very careful about finding a new home), but at least they now don't have to orchestrate their lives around making sure a vehicle is always parked around their home and that they're not alone for extended periods of time. They no longer have to wear their hoods up to keep their faces covered, or be afraid to leave their house during the day (they did most of their moving in the dead of night), or have their neighbours rev their truck engines at them half the night or point floodlights at their house at all hours, or leave threatening notes on their car windshield. In short, this is fantastic news for them. They sold their house to a heterosexual white couple who already have ties in the neighbourhood, so they're confident the new people won't also be the target of harassment, so it's good all around.

This past weekend ended up busier than any other time since I moved. I ran D&D on Saturday for the first time in over two months, and it went pretty well. I planned a non-combat session for my players: a solstice festival which would allow them to roleplay and just have some fun without worrying about getting killed or having larger moral decisions to make. It was a good way to get back into the swing of things, and give me a bit of breathing space to try to plan out the next arc of their story. In a way, Levels 1-5 were there to help them figure out who their characters are, but now I want to try to start pulling things together and introducing them to the larger world I've been creating. It would likely help me if I worked out more of the details of my world, I guess. :P I don't know if they'll make it all the way to Level 20, but I have plans for them if they do, that's for sure. I just have to figure out what I want to see happen in the interim, and how to make it as much fun for them as possible, too. I have a lot of their backstories to play with as well, which ought to be fun.

Sunday I went to Meeting, after missing two weeks due to work. Now that I'm a Member I'm finding it more difficult to arrange my life with so few free weekends. I'm the clerk of First Day School, which means I feel obligated to lead FDS at least once a month, which means I have only one Sunday a month to attend Meeting, and therefore that's usually the Sunday I will sacrifice if I have to make other plans (like go on a trip, or what have you), but it means I sometimes won't attend Meeting for several months, and I feel really bad about that. I have no good solution to this, unfortunately, short of finding a job that doesn't require me to work weekends, or winning the lottery so I don't have to work at all anymore. :P

Meeting was more stressful than usual, too, because we had an elderly Member become unresponsive during worship. I feel especially bad, because I noticed early on that he appeared to have fallen asleep during worship, and was drooling a little at the time, and I debated with myself if I should go check and see if he was okay and decided against it. This happened to him last year (the only two times I've ever seen him attend Meeting, for that matter), and I wondered if it might not be happening again, but I worried about overstepping my bounds, as I don't know him at all. If I end up in a similar situation again, I'm damned well not going to worry about being told to mind my own business, so long as it means I'm not possibly sacrificing someone's health and safety in the name of social delicacy. It was a poor decision on my part not to interrupt Meeting to check on him, and I regret it.

When worship was over, it became obvious that something was wrong, and people were oddly reluctant to call for medical help for the man. A few of his friends said they would just take him home, and so I stepped in then and put my foot down. He was slumped over in his chair and completely unresponsive, his skin was clammy, and his breathing was extremely rapid and shallow. "I'm calling an ambulance," I told them, and then got them to move chairs aside so the paramedics would have room to work, and employed my best crowd management techniques to get well-meaning but unhelpful people and the looky-loos out of the way. An ambulance arrived within about three minutes, which was great, along with a policeman, who was helpful in getting people to move back and also to have someone to act as a point of contact with the gentleman's family, whom we were having trouble contacting during the emergency.

The funny thing is, because I was the one who essentially took charge of the emergency, everyone at Meeting decided I must know everything there was to know about the gentleman who'd collapsed. People kept asking me what his medical conditions were, if I'd contacted his children, all sorts of things, when the truth is that I didn't even know the guy's name. I'd never met him properly: I just knew from last summer, when he'd also collapsed at Meeting, that there was a history of this happening. Anyway, in light of this latest event, I approached the Meeting clerk and told her we should suggest that everyone volunteer to give us emergency contact information, for cases such as these. We got lucky that a few of the Members in attendance that day not only knew the man, but had phone numbers for his children in their cell phone contacts, but those Members could just as easily not have been there that day, and then the children would not have found out for hours or perhaps even days that their father was in the hospital.

Everything turned out okay, as far as I know: the gentleman was already awake and more responsive by the time the ambulance took him to the hospital, so I'm sure he will be fine. Still, it could have gone much better, and I have learned quite a few lessons from what I did wrong yesterday.

Back to better news: I'm slated to go to a fandom convention next week, which I'm really looking forward to. It has changed names, from Wincon to Confabulation, but it's basically still the same con. I'm looking forward to seeing all the friends I made there last time once more, just to hang out and geek out about fannish stuff. It's a convention run by fans, for fans, with no celebrity guests, which keeps the prices mercifully low, and lets us have panels and round tables to discuss all of our beloved things in depth, which is one of my favourite things to do! So I'm pretty psyched about it, even though it's coming at a time when I no longer have the kind of money I thought I'd have before going, due to unexpectedly having to move and two very hefty vet bills in a three-month period. Still, I can swing it, only because I'd been carefully putting money aside for this convention since last year. I just wish this year had been less expensive.


And that's it! Things are starting to happen in my life again, so with any luck I will be around more and posting.
mousme: Two open books, one lying on top of the other at an angle (Books)
I seem to have a feast-or-famine approach to this journal. If I don't post every day, I end up not posting for weeks or months, so I try to post every day, but there inevitable comes a day like today, between two night shifts, when I have absolutely fuck-all to say. I mean, I came home early from work (yay!), slept eight hours (more yay!), and played Stardew Valley (even more yay!) until it was time for work (not yay). Not exactly thrilling, you know what I mean?

I suppose I could try to force my brain to come up with something, like, I don't know, plan out my week, or talk about the fact that I just obtained the first few trade paperbacks of The Walking Dead, but I haven't read all of them yet, so I'm holding off until I can report back. I read many of them several years ago, just before the show started airing, on the recommendation of [livejournal.com profile] bullonir , who also recommended another comic by the same creator which I quite enjoyed, Invincible. I will probably try to pick those up as well, maybe once I'm caught up on TWD. It's been interesting so far seeing the similarities and differences between the comic and the TV show, and seeing just how much my memories of the comics faded over time. It feels weird reading a story without Daryl in it, even though I knew he wasn't in the comics.

Okay. Time to get back to work. I will attempt more interesting posts next week, I promise. :)
mousme: A text icon in pale blue that reads Winter is Coming (Winter is Coming)
 I got absolutely nothing of value done today. I don't know why I'm in such a contrary mood lately, but I think it might be attributable to the fact that I had no choice but to pack and move house in the last couple of months, and now I'm in a "you can't make me!" phase as a reaction to that. Is it productive or reasonable? NOPE. But there you go.

In short, there's not much to report on. I decided to treat myself to several trade paperbacks of The Walking Dead, so that's my light reading sorted for the next couple of days, I hope. There are also a bunch of new TV shows that I want to try, as well as some that I'm not caught up on. I haven't yet watched Critical Role from last night, and I probably have a few episodes each of Criminal Minds, Elementary, and Blindspot left to watch.

Speaking of Criminal Minds, a few weeks ago I decided to give Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders a shot, and dear God, it is BAD. Not even Gary Sinise can save that Americano-centric, xenophobic piece of garbage. If any of you were planning on watching, do yourselves a favour and avoid it like the plague. I am reasonably tolerant of rah-rah-MURICA stuff when it comes to police procedurals, but this takes it to several new levels of shit sandwich, and it was way too much for me to stomach.

Oh, and on the topic of trash fires, allow me to extend my condolences to my US friends on the passing of the AHCA, in which apparently being a woman is a pre-existing condition and precludes you from getting medical insurance of any kind. I exaggerate only very slightly, which is the sad thing. I can only hope it will be heavily amended in the senate, and that in 2018 all the Republicans who voted for it will be booted out of office. If any Democrats had voted for it, I'd say boot them too, but none of them did, so. I've done most of my yelling about this on Twitter, so that's all I'll say about it here.

Back to TV! 'Cause that's way more interesting... or something. Anyway, yes, lots of new TV shows coming up: Sense8 Season 2 just landed on Netflix, and I'm pretty excited, although an Indian friend of mine has indicated that it is handling the Indian politics aspect of the show in a very worrying way. I've been trying to do my own research as a result, just so I don't come at it with a completely uncritical eye. I am pretty happy about the queer representation, but the fact that many Indian people are indicating that it appears to be supportive of far-right religious extremist politics in India means that the queer representation should not give it a pass.

 Less politically worrying (thus far) is American Gods. I loooooved the book by Neil Gaiman when I read it, and so I really hope that the show will be just as good. The casting appears fantastic, anyway. The same goes for The Dark Tower series (Idris Elba, y;all!). Both of those have either just started or are scheduled to start soon, I'll have to check the dates to be sure. Of course, there's also The Handmaid's Tale, another book I loved (even though it made me want to slit my wrists), but I may need to watch that with a lot of alcohol, given the current political climate.

My summer popcorn shows are coming back, too! Killjoys is coming back for Season 3, and Wynonna Earp, which I just discovered a few weeks ago, is getting a Season 2! They're from the same Canadian showrunner, the one who brought us Lost Girl, and they both do well as low(ish) budget genre TV, with good overall representation and quirky, fun writing. I am looking forward to seeing the stories unfold!

And now, work calls. I'll be working night shifts all weekend. Whee.

New Leaf

May. 1st, 2017 08:48 am
mousme: The face of a green woman forest deity against a black background (Green Woman)
 I am not going to even try to catch up on the last few months. Well, I might, but it will likely end up in bullet point form. ;) I'm going to try to get back into my good habits of posting every day, or most days of the week, at least. There may be some hiccups on days when I'm extra busy, but I was doing pretty well up until two months ago.

I finished the Move That Would Not End yesterday, after weeks of moving small things and running into minor problem after minor problem. I am swimming in an ocean of unpacked boxes, but my parents came to visit this weekend and helped me unpack about 75% of the kitchen, which is fantastic. So I can now at least make myself a cup of tea in the morning, and I can see my whole kitchen! I have stuff all over the counters which needs to be sorted out, because my new kitchen is WAY smaller than my old one, but at least I've got the basics down.

Yesterday the old house got professionally cleaned, and I took video of the house before I left, and photos of one room because I ran out of space on my phone for video. Bah. This morning I was extra vindicated because I found some old photos of the dog I took when I first moved in in 2014, and those photos show the stain on the floor my landlady claims I made. So now I have *proof* that the "damage" wasn't done by me. I mean, I knew that it wasn't me, but the gaslighting was starting to take a toll after all that time. Anyway, I dropped the keys in the mailbox, and Cruella de Froot Loops, as [personal profile] blackmare  has dubbed her, should forever be out of the picture. Hurray!

I quite like my new house, overall. The one disappointment is that my sofa bed didn't fit in the stairs, and thus can't go in the house. I have decided to donate it to a refugee organization. Hopefully they will be able to make good use of it. I am pretty disappointed, because it was a good sofa, and now I have nowhere for my guests to sleep if I invite them over. I haemorrhaged money these past few months due to the move (moving by yourself is an expensive proposition folks: take it from me, don't be single and mostly by yourself in a strange city), so I can't afford to buy a new bed just yet. My parents have made noises about giving me the two single beds they have in storage, but that would mean moving them from Montreal, and I'm not sure it's worth the cost, honestly. We'll see.

I don't know if I mentioned it, but the adoption-from-foster-care plan is in the toilet, mostly due to my landlady. The CAS wants a stable environment, and apparently moving house makes me unstable. Also, my case worker, after being AWOL for nine months and never answering my emails or phone messages, took exception to the fact that it took me several days to answer one email and decided that I wasn't fast enough for her liking, so they've closed my file. It's not permanently closed, as she told me to reapply in a few years, but I think maybe it's a sign it wasn't meant to be. I've had a bad feeling from her from the start, and I strongly suspect she was just looking for a reason not to accept me as a candidate and just couldn't find a good enough one until now.

I'm going to give myself some time to recover from the financial shock of moving (it was a doozy this year, for several reasons), and then look into other avenues. I think I can still make a great parent, regardless of what CAS thinks. Private adoption is an option, but a very expensive one for a person on a single income. Or there's always artificial insemination, which is also expensive but far less so. The thing with that is by the time I'll be ready to start, I'll be 39, and that's kind of old for a safe pregnancy. It worries me quite a bit.

Since that Big Life Plan™ is on hold for now, I'm looking at smaller plans for the upcoming summer. The move meant I didn't get to start any seedlings, so I'll be buying my plants again this year. I don't know anyone local who has spare seedlings. Hell, I barely know anyone local. I can count the people I know on my fingers and have some left over, and 90% of those are married couples. I should probably feel bad that I have so few friends, but if I had more friends I'd just feel bad that I can't see them most of the time due to work. So that's some consolation. ;)

Anyway, I still have my plot at Vanier Community Garden, and I'm going to hang onto it for as long as I can. I can still get there easily from work, so I can pop by when I'm working, and it's a 20 minute drive otherwise, which is totally doable. I need to be more vigilant about going every day this year, because last year all my edible produce got stolen, and the rest died, which was very sad. Of course, this year I'm not suffering from massive burnout, so I'm cautiously optimistic that I'll be better about things.

I'm also going to try to start writing again. This is probably a terrible idea, but there you go. I haven't written much in well over three years, and what little I do write is basically garbage, but I have this fleeting hope that maybe someday I won't write garbage anymore. I'm going to start out small, maybe 100 words or 10-15 minutes a day. I have some ideas for original fiction, since I haven't yet found a fandom that's making me want to write the way my old fandoms did. I miss having a fandom to be super excited about, frankly, and I hope I can find a new one soonish.

Last but not least (for now, anyway), my trip to Paris has served to remind me how much I love travelling. So I have decided to start putting money aside each year for a trip somewhere. I adored by weekend foray into Scotland, so the plan next year is to go back there and do some more thorough exploring. Two days wasn't nearly enough, if you ask me.

Okay, I think that's it for today. Catch you all later!
mousme: A picture of the muppet Forgetful Jones from Sesame Street (Forgetful Jones)
I've had two late nights in a row (my own fault), so tonight I'm heading to bed early instead of updating. There will be more tomorrow. :) 
mousme: A text icon, dark green text on pale green, that reads There is no normal life. There's just life. (No Normal Life)
It feels like things are super busy lately, but they haven't been, at least not when viewed from the outside. I did some housekeeping yesterday and early this morning, so the house is looking more decent than it usually does. I thought I'd start packing up my "office," but my attempts to get to the shed in the back yard met with failure. I may go to U-Haul and buy some of the small boxes specifically designed for books and start with that instead.

My new friend L. came over to help me shovel this morning, too, which was nice. Well, due to her horrible neighbours it was a whole production, of course. I first drove there, took their parking spot on the street, and then J. drove the two of us back to my house. Still, it was nice to have some help with the shovelling, although I appear to have pulled a muscle in my hip in the process, because I'm old and didn't warm up before doing strenuous lifting. Owie.

I spent the rest of the morning at L.'s place (we walked back after we were done shovelling), and in the afternoon I zipped out to Cantley to pick up some dishes! In a moment of extreme klutzdom I broke another of mug from my favourite dinnerware set, which was a major bummer, as the set has long since been discontinued. Undeterred, I took to the internet to see if I could find it second-hand, and lo! On kijiji was a woman with a dinner set for TWELVE people for sale! So I went and got myself all the dishes, and she had an extra mug, to boot, so now I feel like my life is complete again (I exaggerate only slightly). It's very nice. :)

I stopped for groceries on the way home and managed to completely forget to buy milk, which is just typical. I have enough to last me until tomorrow, though, so it's not the end of the world. I will pick some up upon returning from the paralegal's office.

Okay. Time to go find some heat to put on this pulled muscle. Maybe a hot bath.

mousme: A picture of Darth Vader, captioned My Fandom Destroys Planets. (My Fandom Destroys Planets)
 I don't want to make this the All Landlady, All the Time journal, so I promise to try keep it brief. I have been in touch with two paralegals today. The first is actually on maternity leave (she was recommended by a friend who obviously wasn't in the loop), but she gave me some good unofficial advice and then recommended a couple of other names for me to try. I have now secured the services of one of those firms, and will be having my first meeting with the paralegal on Wednesday. She wants me to come in with all paperwork and pictures of my house, so that she can see for herself that there's no damage to the house. Shockingly, she can't take my word for it. ;)

So, for now, I'm exploring options. While a huge part of me wants to just rip off the bandaid and get out of this place ASAP and just have done, already, I am coming to see that there are more reasons for me to just grit my teeth and bear it for a couple of extra months. If nothing else, moving in early spring will be easier than trying to dig out my barbecue, patio table, and a lot of gardening stuff from under 3-4 feet of frozen snow, not to mention that I have to dig my packing boxes out of the shed, which is also buried under the same 3-4 feet of frozen snow. As much as I am loath to deal with extra landlady shenanigans during that time (and shenanigans there will be, I am quite sure of it), moving in the spring would be much more convenient.

There are a few avenues open to me, all of which have some drawbacks and some advantages. We shall see what comes of the meeting with the paralegal and go from there I guess. Yes, that's the royal "we." ;) I can ask my landlady for a 

In the meantime, my job is changing categories, starting April 26th, if all goes according to plan. This was all put into motion years ago, when it was decided that Civilian Members were to be eliminated from the RCMP. So we're all being converted to the public service. I think I mentioned this in a previous post many months back, but I can't be bothered to go find it right now.

Anyway, none of the Civilian Members are happy about this, because it means we're losing a ton of the benefits we enjoyed before, including unlimited sick time, which I don't think is offered by anyone else in Canada. Instead we're going to be getting the same amount of time as the other public service employees, which is 120 hours a year. For most employees, that's the equivalent of fifteen days of sick leave. If, like me, you work 12-hour shifts, though, suddenly you find yourself with ten days of leave instead. Granted, most of us don't use that many days in a year, but every now and then it's to be expected that you *will* find yourself in need of long-term leave. Right now, what that means is that if you get seriously ill, you imply stay home and concentrate on getting better, at full salary. Once the "deeming" happens (as it's called), it becomes a lot more complicated. First, you have to burn through your sick leave, then any vacation time you have. Then you have to claim unemployment insurance (thus guaranteeing a not-insignificant interruption in your revenue while they determine if they're going to accept your application), and after, IF that goes through, your insurance kicks in after a year. Needless to say, unemployment and insurance is a lot less than your actual salary.

So if, for instance, you get cancer, you get to also worry about keeping your kids fed or a roof over your head as well as worrying about whether or not you're going to die. Before you say "But lots of people have to worry about that!" let me hasten to assure you that I know. The point is that we had a more progressive set of benefits, and we are going backward. The goal should not be to remove our benefits so that we're like everyone else, the goal should be to give everyone else the same security we have. Of course, that's not what's happening, and I can all but guarantee you that it will end up costing the government more in the long run than they are saving in the short run.

The other part of this is that, thanks to Bill C-7 and the elimination of Civilian Members, we also now have to unionize. Now, I'm generally pro-union, so this isn't terrible news, but I will confess that, having never been part of a union before, the unionization process is breaking. my. brain. We have several unions competing for our attention, and none of them appear to understand our jobs or see the whole picture or even be able to give us a straight answer to any of our questions. It's bloody well disheartening. 

I keep meaning to talk about watching The Clone Wars, or my continuing re-watch of Deep Space Nine, or any of the other shows I'm watching, but my brain is currently being consumed by anxiety about my living situation. When that's not happening, my brain is being consumed by anxiety about the entire world being a political trash fire. There is, of course, the living nightmare going on in the United States, but even Canadian politics are being depressing, with Trudeau going back on his promise of electoral reform, which was basically the platform on which he was elected. It's such a disappointment, even though I have to admit I'm not entirely surprised he's reneging on it.

Okay. I am off to find more painkillers in the hopes of making this lingering stress headache go away. I have fish in the oven for dinner, so at least healthy food is in the offing. See you on the flip side, LJ!
mousme: A turquoise twenty-sided die that has landed on "1." The caption reads: "Shit." (Natural One)
This entry is literally just me blathering on about my D&D campaign. Feel free to skip it, since it won't mean much to anyone aside from me.

D&D adventures )In other news, I'm leading First Day School again tomorrow (which reminds me, I should post about my Clearness Committee at some point. Fodder for tomorrow's entry, I guess), and have officially run out of ideas for nut-free, gluten-free food that I can easily make with a group of children ranging between five and thirteen that will also take 45-60 minutes to prepare. The list is shorter than you'd think. It's either too fiddly for the five-year-old (requiring lots of knife work or stovetop cooking), or it's a ten-minute assembly kind of project (too short to keep them all busy during Meeting), or else it involves gluten or peanut butter (the latter, at least, can be replaced with Wow Butter). I tried three-ingredient cookies last time, but the children all ran off while the cookies were in the oven, and since I was busy chasing them down and trying to corral them, the cookies ended up burning. So anything involving baking is off-limits too.

I'm torn between trying chocolate-covered fruit (likely super messy) or gluten-free Rice Krispie squares (which I've already done before). *lays head on table* I'm kind of hoping the children won't show up tomorrow, which is terrible of me, but it would spare me having to keep them under control when the thirteen-year-old with ADHD and ODD inevitably decides he's bored and starts revving up both his sisters instead of participating in the activity I have planned.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Default)
... that my life is too boring for me to post an update every day. I mean, absolutely nothing has happened since the last time I posted. I went to work, I slept, I briefly played a video game, I Skyped with my parents, and that's that. I didn't get as much sleep as I would have liked, so tonight will be an early-to-bed night. Exciting times, amirite?

Tomorrow I'll be running D&D for the first time in nearly two months. Well, the actual campaign, anyway. We had a "battle royale" on New Year's Eve, which was a lot of fun and involved a lot of math (who knew the Pythagorean theorem would come in so handy twenty-five years after I learned it?), but it didn't require any prep on my part. Now I have to find all the D&D notes I put away before the holidays and try to remember just what the hell I'd come up with next for my players. My memory is terrible as it is, so a two-month-plus gap is going to wreak havoc with my story-weaving skills. :P

Oh well, I will muddle through. I always do.

So, that's that. Literally nothing new to report. Maybe I'll have something more interesting by later this week.
mousme: A text icon in pale blue that reads Winter is Coming (Winter is Coming)
The insomnia appears to have resolved. I think. I went to bed late because I ended up watching Critical Role, but I slept soundly for seven hours, and then had a two-hour nap before work without any issues (other than I got really cold, for some reason). So, yay for that! Insomnia sucks.

Today was kind of a not-much-happened day. I got my hair cut (no pictures, sorry) and am quite pleased with the result. I sort of knew my hair had soft curls, but the kind of minimal styling I've always done to it usually let to it hanging straight. No longer! So now my hair curls, which feels super weird. I got used to thinking of myself as someone with straight hair. I mean, don't get me wrong, I don't have the kind of curly hair that people with actual curls complain about, with frizzing and hairbrush issues. Still, it's definitely not straight. Which, I suppose, is fitting, since I'm not straight either. ;)

That aside, I went home and played a video game that I am basically terrible at, called 7 Days to Die.
In which Phnee goes on at length about gaming and zombies )

After the video game came a nap, and then work, which has been very work-like the whole evening and into the night. It finally started winding down about an hour and a half ago, when I was able to head out to grab something to eat (the nap resulted in a poorly-planned meal, alas, but I think I needed the sleep more). 

So there you have my wild adventures of the day.
mousme: Two open books, one lying on top of the other at an angle (Books)
I had all sorts of good intentions about errands yesterday, and then my entire body said "Hey, you know all that running around and socializing and wrangling kids and generally doing a lot of stuff that you did last week? I'M DONE."

I finished my post yesterday, and after 45 minutes of telling myself I would get up "any second now" and staring blankly into space instead, I gave it up as a bad job. I still have the luxury of doing that on my days off, so I'm taking advantage of it. I stayed home, read two books, played a video game, and even took a bubble bath. It was the most clichéd self-care day ever. I don't usually do self-care that way. Self-care to me usually involves cleaning the house I've been neglecting, paying that one bill I've ignored, making sure I cook nutritious food for myself, etc. It doesn't usually involve bubble baths. :P

Anyway, I finished Junior Nzita's book, and, uh, it was bad. I am not sorry to have read it, as the contents are important, but dear Lord was it badly written, and poorly edited, to boot. Rife with spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, to the point that it actually made the book difficult to read. I think I said yesterday that the one mercy is that the writing was so bad that it actually shielded me from the worst of the horrors recounted in the book, because they were never described, only talked about in passing every time (including a story about how one of his army mates was split in half by automatic gunfire). *checks entry* Actually, I apparently didn't say that. I must be conflating it with my Goodreads review.

I will confess, I was pretty torn about the book in general. It's this man's story, and he is entitled to tell it any way he wants. That being said, the tone of the book was a mixture of childish and preachy, and I was dismayed to discover that Junior has the same tendency to self-aggrandize and paint himself as a kind of godly saint as he did when I spoke to him yesterday. He may have been a child soldier, he says, but every second page in the book there is a reminder of how much he prayed, how much God saved him, and how he never, EVER, had a moment of doubt, or succumbed to the vices of the flesh (alcohol, drugs, or women), and despised the other soldiers for not having faith or escaping from their terrible reality any way they could find. I just... I find it hard to believe that he never had a single moment of doubt. It also troubles me how he never once mentions in the book any feelings of regret or sorrow at killing other people (except in the dedication, in which he asks for the forgiveness of those he wronged). In person, he kept insisting on telling me how many important people he'd met, and how vital he was to the cause he was championing, and how he was personally responsible for saving the lives of thousands of children, etc., etc.

Now, some of this is likely cultural. I grew up in a family and a culture where it's just not done to "brag" about your accomplishments in that way. This is probably not the case in his culture (I hope!). Nonetheless, I found it extremely off-putting, both in person and in the book itself.

I also had a moment of personal revulsion at what is probably a throwaway sentence to him, discussing the horrors that were visited upon the children when they were first kidnapped and forced to become soldiers. Trigger warning: rape )
Okay, enough about that. I think I've covered all the basics, and it was important for me to read the book, even if I didn't find it enjoyable per se. This sort of book is not meant to be entertainment (although it helps when they are well-written!).

Today is a Do All The Things™ day. I want to get some new pants, because I am tired of having ones that are at least two sizes too big for me. That's the problem with taking up exercise and losing weight: you need a wardrobe overhaul. I mean, some people would love to have my problems, but it's still an expensive proposition, as I'm still considered "plus-sized," and thus have to pay a fat tax on all my clothing.

I also broke one of my favourite Christmas plates yesterday, and I really want to try to fix it, so I'm going to look for some epoxy and give it my best shot. No idea if it will work, but unless I do it myself, I don't know of a place where I could get it done. So it's either try my hand at home repair or say goodbye to the plate, which I'm not willing to do yet.

After that, I have therapy at 5:30. I'm not sure I want to continue, as I don't feel I'm making much progress. I know that I get as much out of therapy as I put in, but self-awareness has never been my problem. What I need is the opposite, in a way. A method of letting go of my tendency to over-analyze everything I do and say, as well as everything other people do and say when they're interacting with me.

I had other stuff I wanted to do today, but I forgot to write them down, so I guess they're not getting done until I remember what they were. Memories issues are GREAT, y'all. So much fun. I will make an effort to remember before the day is out, but sometimes trying to remember things doesn't actually result in the memories coming back.

:::ETA::: Ooh! I just remembered one: pet store. Excellent. I can do that one first, since it's the closest.
mousme: A picture of Darth Vader, captioned My Fandom Destroys Planets. (My Fandom Destroys Planets)
I have so much to write about that I feel a little overwhelmed. I know, I know, some people would really like to have my problems. I keep wondering if I should write about all of it at once and let future entries worry about themselves, or if I should try spacing things out a little bit. In the end I decided to start typing and let the chips fall where they may. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Migrating my entries to Dreamwidth and then posting from there has reminded me of the difficulties of crossposting from DW, which is why I stopped doing it to begin with. Not difficulties, per se. I guess "inconveniences" is a better term. All of my stuff is on LiveJournal: my tags, my photographs, and of course my icons. I've had a permanent LJ account since 2003, while my DW account is a free one, and I am not *quite* ready to pay for a service I'm not sure I'll be using on a regular basis. On DW I only have six icons or so, which does make it easier to pick one, but limits my selection considerably. I can always go change the icon manually on LJ afterward, of course, but it's an extra step that I hadn't taken into account. Not the end of the world, like I said, but nonetheless somewhat inconvenient. So I fervently hope that this is all a tempest in a teapot and that LJ will carry on as it has for many years, with glitches and outages here and there, but nonetheless steady.

I've tried to work out how to transfer my pictures, and haven't found a way. I suppose I'll have to do it manually at some point. I lost all my original icons during one of my many hard drive adventures (alas), but I can at least download what LJ kept, I suppose. I'll add that to my ever-growing to-do list.

Aside from my non-post yesterday, I've at least been doing okay with my "post once a day" resolution. So far, anyway. I never did come back with my feelings about Rogue One, but let me assure you, there are many. Many, many feelings. All of them sad. SPOILERS AHEAD: Spoilers behind the cut )
So there, those are my thoughts on the movie.

Tomorrow I have Meeting for Worship, and the plan is to hand in my letter of intent, requesting to become an official Member of the Meeting. Right now I'm an Attender only, but I had been planning on requesting membership last year. I didn't for a few reasons, and now seems like as good a time as any to pick up where I left off. I wrote an uncharacteristically (for me) short letter, mostly because I didn't know what to write, and I'll be giving it to the Clerk tomorrow, in order for my request to be brought to Meeting For Business, which is next week. If it has to wait for next month, so be it, but at least then it will be out of my hands. I am a little nervous about this, but I am trying to get my act together on a number of fronts, and this is one of them. 

Tomorrow I'm also leading First Day School. Since it's sort-of-kind-of the first Sunday of the month (not really, but we're pretending it is), it's Potluck Sunday, which means the children help prepare a dessert for potluck. Of course, anyone who's ever tried to cook or bake with children knows that this means the adult in charge has about ten times the amount of work to do, but the kids love it, and it means I don't have to come up with a curriculum-based activity for them. I'm still pretty shaky when it comes to being able to talk about religious/Quaker themes with the children, although we once had a really great (but accidental) conversation about Quaker themes in How To Train Your Dragon. Cooking or baking with the kids means the added complication of needing to meet a lot of specific dietary requirements: one child is gluten-free, and since it's a kids' activity I make sure that it's also nut-free, which suddenly reduces our possibilities by quite a wide margin. So far I've done apple "biscuits" (cutting apples into discs and decorating them), fruit skewers, and gluten-free Rice Krispie Squares.

I am honestly starting to run out of ideas, but tomorrow we'll be making "peanut butter" cookies using Wow Butter (it's soy-based and tastes pretty much exactly like peanut butter, which flummoxes me to this day), sugar, and an egg. Three ingredients, no gluten, no nuts. Any of the parents who object to egg or sugar can bite me, which is, admittedly, not a very Christian sentiment. ;) 

I have other thoughts, mostly about writing/not-writing, but perhaps I will indeed save those for the next post. Or never, depending on how chicken I'm feeling about writing about writing.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Carpet Ship)
It's time for my anniversary bout of vertigo, apparently. This one doesn't seem as bad as usual, small mercies, but why it always picks my birthday to strike is beyond me. I need a better vertigo icon, as Snooch is having way too much fun in my current icon for it to be representative of how I feel.

On the plus side, since I took tomorrow off work for my birthday, I'll have plenty of time to recover. I'm also getting my sofas professionally cleaned tomorrow. The poor sofas have taken a beating since I got them nearly five years ago: they've survived a dog, eight cats, and a toddler. They've been peed on (toddler), thrown up on (toddler and cats), bled on (don't ask), sat upon (me and everyone else), shed upon (dog and cats), and generally abused all around. So they are overdue for a thorough cleaning. I should have gotten them scotch-guarded back when I had the option, but I guess hindsight is 20/20.

That's it for now. I have thoughts on writing and other projects this year, but I should probably give up before the vertigo gets too out of hand for me to be able to type and hit "post" on this entry. Stay tuned for more riveting sofa updates! :P
mousme: A text icon, white text on green, that reads Zathras trained in crisis management (Crisis Management)
I used to be able to find stuff to talk about on LiveJournal at a moment's notice. Now that I've sworn to myself I would update once a day, I'm finding that I'm woefully out of practice when it comes to that particular habit. Truth be told, the idea of updating is kind of exhausting these days. Still, I made a commitment, and I'm going to give it the good old college try, at the very least.

Work is slowly getting back into the swing of things after an exceptionally quiet holiday season. I was a little bored by the end, and while busy days can be their own kind of stress, I'd rather be steadily busy than twiddling my thumbs at work.

There's been both tragedy and drama at work, too.Trigger: death of a child )

As for the drama, well. Dramatic drama is dramatic. We have an employee who's been having... let's say he's been having personal and professional difficulties. He's been disgruntled at work for the better part of a year, if not longer, and is already the kind of person who entertains paranoid fantasies about how everyone in the office is secretly against him, and that the organisation is horrible and corrupt, etc., etc. That compounded with problems with his home life (both objectively and subjectively) has led to him missing a lot of work in the past few months. Like, calling in sick roughly half of his working shifts. Right now in our office you don't need a doctor's note unless you miss more than four days of work in a row, so he's been able to "get away" with doing it.

As a result of this, however, his direct supervisor (not me) decided to call him to the mat for it. Now, while I agree that his absenteeism was beginning to be a problem, I disagree with her approach, which was to tell him how "disappointed" she was. Not surprisingly, he took it poorly, and left the office, never to return for the rest of his shift. He came in the next day instead, tossed his security pass at another employee without a word, then emptied his locker into a trash can before storming out again. He's a very large man, and is the kind of person who, wittingly or unwittingly, tends to use his size and his temper to intimidate others when he doesn't get his way. I myself am not particularly ruffled by temper tantrums thrown by adult men, but the two female employees who *were* at the office not only felt intimidated, but worried for their safety. They flagged it to our boss' boss, who has suspended the employee until further notice, and until we can work out if and when he can come back to the office.

So right now the office is a-flutter with rumours and gossip, which I have been doing my best to quash, with little success. There's a supervisor's meeting on Friday, so hopefully we'll be able to figure something out at that point. Part of me is glad it's not my employee, but part of me (and I flatter myself) thinks that if it *had* been my employee, we wouldn't be in this mess right now. You don't take an emotionally volatile person who's in the midst of a personal crisis and tell them you're disappointed in their absenteeism. There are better, more constructive, and more compassionate ways of going about it, even if you think he's being a giant man baby holding everyone hostage with his tantrums.

Argh.

Anyway, it's all academic for now. I hope he'll get counselling, figure himself out, and come back in a few months with a better perspective on things. I'm not holding my breath, but you never know.

I will attempt a more upbeat entry tomorrow, I promise. Maybe I'll update about my new Fitbit, or the nifty bracelet I got myself as an early/late Christmas present. :)
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (White People)
Partly because they were on sale, and partly because I've been thinking about getting one for a year and a half, I finally caved and got myself a FitBit. It's blue and quite shiny. Thus far it's rather fun, and I'm mostly looking forward to using it to track my sleep more than anything else. I'm interested to see if it registers how much I move around/how restless I am, or if it will default to "asleep/not asleep." When I start running again, it will be nifty to see my actual stats, rather than extrapolations based on averages. Too bad it's not waterproof, but it's at least water resistant, so that's something.

Today's entry is just a quickie, enough to note my latest acquisition. I have to get up for work in less than eight hours now, so that's all I really have time for. If I can manage it, I'll make a longer update tomorrow. See you on the flip side!
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Happiness)
I used to to a meme at the end of every year, but when I went back to look for it, I found it no longer really applied to my life enough that I'd want to re-use it. So I guess I'm on the lookout for a new one (maybe shorter than the one I was using before, too).

The New Year seems like as good an arbitrary time as any to take stock of one's life and see about making changes. It helps that my birthday falls close to the beginning of January, so it gives me another excuse to revamp my life a bit every year, and see about living in a way that's more in line with my values. 2016 was a year of up and downs (so many downs, what the hell), but it helped cement one thing in my mind: there is work to be done. So, this year, I'm taking a page out of Jillian Holtzmann's book:


holtzmann_letsgo.gif


On a personal front, I think I'm already on the right track, and just need to keep going in the same direction. I've been overall doing better in terms of taking care of myself, though I still have work to do. I'm going to carry on making efforts at going to bed at a decent and mostly regular hour (work schedule permitting), eating as well as I can without getting punitive about it, and exercising. I've been slacking off on the latter because I dislike exercising indoors, and we've had so much snow that I've found it hard to go running. I need to get back out there, even if I walk and don't run, if nothing else. This year is also the year I plan to write my letter of intent to join the Quakers. I still have no idea how I'm going to do that. Darling Quakers and their "There's no wrong way to do it!" approach to this. It's very stressful. ;) I had planned on doing it last year, but I ended up not being able to go to Meeting for several months because of the classes I was taking, and it felt a little weird to apply for membership and then fall off the face of the planet for a quarter of the year or more. So this year it will be.

I have a long list of personal projects I want to pick up, too, but those are less resolutions and more "Wow, it would be so cool to do X!" kind of things. I think two very concrete resolutions I can make to keep myself balanced is to a) write one LJ entry per day, no matter how short or how boring I may think it is, and b) update my bullet journal every day, to help me keep on top of things. I'm still working on my bullet journal, to streamline it so that it's a mix of useful and happy things without becoming overwhelming (which is what happened in December), but I'm optimistic that it will become the reliable tool that it's meant to be if I work at it a little.

On a more social front, well, I need to get myself into gear. The good folks to the South of here look like they're about to have a fascist regime take over, so if that happens I am determined not to be a bystander, not to let the tank of oppression crush everyone under it without at the very least trying to do something. I've been trying to find LGBTQIA activist groups in Ottawa, but I must not be looking in the right places, because all the websites and information I've found have been defunct or obsolete or at the very least not updated in months. I don't suppose any of my local friends know where I could find an active group? In Montreal I always knew where to go and who to talk to if I wanted to get involved, but I will confess that in Ottawa I am all at sea when it comes to this, even after living here for two years. Basically, I think I've done the bystander thing long enough, time to get myself more actively involved.

In short, I'm trying to find a balance between making changes and continuing on with the changes that are already in progress, all without burning out. In an effort to keep posting here, I may pick one project to talk about per day (with some repeats as I progress--or fail to progress--on said projects).

:::ETA::: Hm. Not sure why that gif isn't working. All my tests indicate it should be. Oh, well. I'll see if I can link to it in the comments.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Bad Day)
Just as my resolution to post more kicks in, LiveJournal starts to have problems. I wanted to post something with images, but LJ isn't letting me do 90% of the stuff I like to with posts, so I guess I'll hold off until they fix it.

Sorry, everyone.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Bad for Zathras)
Little did I know yesterday that my kind of crazy day would continue. I was planning to spend the day cleaning, but as we all know, man plans and the universe laughs.

So around 10:30 I started feeling a familiar, strange pressure in my chest. I experienced the same thing about two weeks ago at work. It lasted for four hours, and I felt like I couldn't quite take a deep breath the entire time. It was super uncomfortable. Still, it passed, and I didn't think about it after that, until yesterday. Yesterday it was the same feeling, only accompanied by a sharp, but not particularly terrible, pain. Annoyed by the inconvenience, I googled to see if this might be a medication side effect. Sure enough, Abilify can cause chest pain, and a host of heart problems, too.

I figured that I would call the Ontario health line and ask if it was okay for me to stop that medication until I see my doctor in two weeks. Turns out, if you call and say the words "chest pain," they transfer you automatically to 911. *sigh* The only way I could convince them not to call me an ambulance was to promise to go to the hospital and get myself checked out. So three hours of my life later, the doctor agreed with my original assessment and told me to stop the medication until I saw my GP.

I know the statistics, I know women tend to underreport or otherwise downplay symptoms of a heart attack, but it would have been really nice to have people not invalidate what I was saying at every turn, until I got to the doctor. I knew it was nothing, but I suppose the HealthLine was covering their asses and thus wasted half my day on nothing.

I decided that the day wouldn't be a complete waste, so I went grocery shopping, and returned to find that one of the cats had peed on the dog bed. The house reeked. So I stripped the bed and put the batting in the wash, to be followed by the cover. No dice. The stacked washer/dryer died mid-cycle, leaving the batting to soak in soapy water, and me to contact my psycho landlady. She said she'd be by today, but there's been no sign of her, and I'm scheduled to go to work in an hour and a half or so. We'll see. I don't know what she thinks she can do, anyway. She's a hairdresser, not a repairperson nor a plumber.

Of course, all of this meant that I never got to have a nap before work, so I was awake for 22 hours, and THEN I had to stay late at work to write a report no one had told me I needed to write, which sucked. By the time I came home and went to bed, I'd been up for over 24 hours. I ended up waking up every two hours today, too, expecting my landlady, who never turned up. So I got about six hours of broken sleep, which makes me not all that functional.

Surprisingly, I spent most of that time in a good mood, except for a few brief minutes this morning when one of my coworkers tried to rush me into doing something while I was still working on my report. I may or may not have made a murder face at them. :P

Today I ended up doing less cleaning and more breaking of the ice outside, so that my mother won't slip and fall and kill herself when she comes to visit on Thursday with my father. I did get the litter boxes, though, so that's something.

So that was the past 36 hours. May the following go a little more smoothly.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Gone Out)
Life has been a whirlwind of stuff now that I'm back at work full-time, and on meds that seem to be allowing me to have more energy. I've been playing catch-up on life, and it is ridiculously busy as a result.

I have said before that I am not a fan of the Cult of Busyness™ that has infected our culture. I don't like using "busy" as a positive descriptor for myself, as if my levels of productivity are a measure of my worth. Nonetheless, I have a lot of shit to catch up on that I didn't get done while I was recovering from burnout. There have also been landlady and her useless handyman shenanigans, which are both energy draining and time consuming.

In short, I shall endeavour to write a post by the end of this week (so by next Saturday at the latest) in which I shall explain (no, would take too long, let me sum up) everything that's happened since I last posted. Almost all of it is positive, exciting stuff. It has been time-consuming, however, and has kept me even away from Twitter most days, which is where I hang out the most.

There have been finance developments, fitness developments, pet developments, career developments... all sorts of things. For once, the curse of 2016 appears to be lifting for me, though sadly not for many others. Though I haven't been posting, I have been reading faithfully, and I do commiserate with all of you who are having such a rough time of it right now. The good part about burning out this summer is that since I've been on a similar roller coaster before, I kind of knew what to expect, and I knew there would be a light at the end of the tunnel (which wasn't a train), which kept me going pretty steadily. So, that's a useful psychological skillset I wasn't aware I had.

On that note, I have more Things To Do, so I shall see you on the flip side!
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Clever Canadians)
As I mentioned before, I got inspired by [livejournal.com profile] toughlovemuse to try out bullet journaling. I had tried it back in April or May, if memory serves, but I didn't stick with it for more than a few days at best. Having seen her beautiful notebook and nifty pens and washi tape, I decided to give it another go. It's only been a few days, but I'm having a lot more fun with it this time, now that I know that I can experiment with different layouts and fun things like that.

I'm going to try to use it to track new (good) habits and old (bad) habits, and see if I can't become more organised and productive in the future. I mean, I've been doing this dance for as long as I've lived on my own, so honestly it probably won't work. At least it'll be fun while I'm doing it. It's allowing me to indulge in some more artistic pursuits, even though I have basically no artistic talent. I've looked up a bunch of different ideas online, and am using the plethora of users and communities that have sprung up around this phenomenon for inspiration. I've got several pages done already, and managed to mess up my first weekly layout (my weeks start on Sunday, but I was copying a layount and accidentally started the first week on Monday), but at least it should be relatively easy to alter it later on. Here's hoping it sticks, but if it doesn't, it's not the end of the world.

Bullet Journal pictures behind the cut )
In other news, I'm heading back to work starting next week. I'll be doing a month's worth of Gradual Return to Work. By the time October rolls around, I'll be back on shift full-time. I'm a little wistful, but it's not like I can spend an indefinite amount of time on sick leave, especially since I'm mostly functional these days.

I also start the dog training on September 11th, so it looks like the fall will be a busy season for me. My parents are coming for a visit this weekend, so I'm going to try to bake a cake for my father's birthday. It'll be a bit early, but better that than nothing at all. It's his 75th birthday coming up, so we're planning a big party with his family the following weekend, but it's meant to be a surprise(ish), so having a small celebration here is a way to throw him off the scent.

On that note, I'm off to figure out what to have for dinner. I'm supposed to be making attempts at a normal meal schedule, for whatever that's worth.

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mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Default)
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