11 December 2010

Mission #77: Get a Playstation 3 Slim

 .Accomplished. Yesterday.

My husband bought me a PS3 for Christmas. Obviously it's not Christmas Day today, or even yesterday. It's not even time to open presents this week. But after Clifford opened the present I bought for him earlier this month I was given the opportunity to open mine early as well.

Neither one of us knows if we’ve violated some sort of Christmas Karma, like getting seven years bad luck for breaking a mirror or what. But after Clifford threw some hints my way, I couldn't help but crave the tearing of the wrapping paper. That, and if it was true was he was hinting at, I wanted to set it up this week so I wouldn't waste time setting it up the following week when I should be getting my house organized for the holidays.

Since I found out that Final Fantasy 13 was going to be released for the PS3 I’ve wanted one (Sad but true). And even though I have a PS3 now, I've decided I am not going to be selling my PS2. There are still too many games that I have and like to play for the old system. Also, the PS1 games still are playable on the PS2. Honestly, I didn’t want a PS3 for a long time because of its lack of backwards compatibility that the PS2 was famous for and gave it the edge over Nintendo for a while.

I don’t have Final Fantasy 13 yet, but it’s not going to be too long before I will obtain a copy. Particularly since I know that there are no country codes on the games.

Watch out pawn shops and second hand game stores!

10 December 2010

Mission #54: Learn How to Cook 20 New Recipes

Completed on December 7, 2010 in the "welfare flat" in Northern Ireland.

Over the past year I've posted a few recipes that I've tried and I was going to keep them up, but I've never followed them 100%. It's like the best laid plans... I think to date, the only recipe that I have followed to the T was the beer bread.

Go figure.

I feel like I can’t post the recipes I've tried here because I have this bad habit of changing the recipes too much. They don’t even end up being anything like what I had set out to do even from my first attempt at trying them.

I made pin wheels, or tortilla roll ups, or whatever you want to call them for the first time on Friday. After reading a few recipes on them I realized that you could get pretty creative: there was no set rule as to how to construct them. Any combination of dressing or sauce, cold cuts, and anything else that comes in slices: cheese, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.

The other day I downloaded a recipe book app from Betty Crocker. I think it's brilliant as it has hundreds of recipes the access at your fingertips AND you can input up to two main ingredients and it’ll bring up several recipes. Super handy if you need to use up a few things in your house.

In my browsing I came across a tortellini soup. It had some sort of broccoli cheese sauce as an ingredient, the name of which I forgot to write down when I went out shopping here in Northern Ireland. It dawned on me that the Betty Crocker app is American, and American products don’t necessarily exist in the UK (like, duh, right?).

This time I was actually forced to improvise and it didn't turn out so well... My husband choked down the soup with a smile and said it was tasty. I've come to admit that it's a lot harder to learn how to cook properly and cook something well, particularly when you dont' have a kitchen of your own. Going from a friend’s house, to my parent’s house, and going to my brother’s place who has no interest in cooking kind of puts a damper on culinary experimentation. Having a kitchen and tools of my own in Omagh is one of things that I’m looking forward to as a part of moving permanently to the UK.

And maybe making a point of following the recipe in the future....

09 December 2010

Mission #56: Learn How To Use Blush and Eye Shadow Properly

I’m taking a great risk moving my laptop from its place and onto, well, my lap. Finally managed to get to a Three store, the provider of my internet while I’m in the UK and stuck on this army camp. The “stick” as we know it in North America is called a “dongle” here. Take that word how you will.

Northern Ireland... somewhere.
Back to what I was actually going to say, I completed my 56th goal on November 24, 2010.

It happened at Britney's place, where I was staying when driving up to Stettler for shifts as I don't have a place of my own anymore. She hosted a "Girls Night In" party with home vendors and we invited various co-workers and girlfriends to come around. I think the purse lady, the sex toy lady, and the makeup artist had the most success. My friend, Jen, was the make-up artist, so I could be biased in saying, she had the most success.

I'll admit, up until this Girls Night In, I could put on eyeliner and mascara, but not confidently. The assumption is that (most) women in their mid-twenties would know how to wear all the different sorts of make-up, or at least could pull off all the basics. The truth is I've never had the patience or interest to learn how to do this properly. In fact, it wasn't until I was about 19 that I even learned how apply eye liner from a couple of friends (YouTube tutorials wasn't really a thing at this time...).

I guess the foundation of my lack of interest was that my mom never really wore any make up: once in a while I would see her wear some lip gloss. The girlfriends I had in high school weren't really girly in the make-up, mini-skirts, and pink accessories sort of way. Oh sure, we talked about the boys we were crushing on but we never did anything about it except try to pretend we weren't as socially awkward as we were when we spoke to said crushes. Naturally that backfired.

When I got to college and University I started to develop the confidence to experiment with eyeliner it typically ended up being bold, messy, and bright. I'd try any trend that would let me stand out and get noticed. By the time my student days began to draw to a close I recognized that I needed a more professional appearance if I was going to use any sort of eye make-up. I tried toning down it down by emulating what I saw other girls do but I had to be honest with myself and accept that I just didn't have a foggy clue what I was doing.

So I gave up. I haven't worn anything for the past year unless somebody else did it for me.

Until last month where Jen had an amazing amount of patience with me as she did my eyes, showed me a number of products, and how to use them for day and night looks. For the first time I used blush, powdered eye shadow, and make-up brushes to apply those products and liquid foundation. I bought a number of products afterwards as Clifford's Christmas Party was coming up this month.

Not too shabby if I do say so myself.
For me it was good to finally learn how to use all these beautification products. I don't regret learning how to use them when I have, even though there have been various people in my life who have given me the impression it was my failing as I could have experimented on my own. While this is true, that judgment lacks the understanding what kind of an influence a peer group can have, and there was maybe 10% interest.

Interest sparked by Capt Jack Sparrow's eyeliner
Now that the door to make-up is open to me I can make an informed choice on how much time and effort I will put into my appearance from here on in, and let me tell you, it's not going to be a whole lot more than it has been. I really do prefer to spend my time blogging, reading, writing, traveling, and so on. I guess what I want is for people to stop judging me (especially my co-workers) for not wearing any make-up because I don't judge them on their use of the products or how they spend their time.

07 December 2010

Guest Blog Post: Terias McKlay

So I've spent the last 10 days in England due to a family emergency... unbeknownst to my Uni. I had almost no internet for the whole stay and no way of blogging, so my on and offline friend Terias McKlay has agreed to write a guest post for me.

(Oh, and this means Goal #95 has been completed from my 101 Things in 1001 Days has been completed.)

- - -

While your usual host, Christiana, is over playing at my blog, you have to deal with the likes of me, Terias McKlay. Poor, poor you. And on a Tuesday, no less. If this were the Whedonverse, somewhere on the horizon an apocalypse would be galloping towards you at full tilt. It would probably be wearing Jane’s hat, carrying Vera.

Run while you still can. (Except you there, in the back. Yeah, the newbie in the red shirt. You may as well not even bother. )

Because I’m pants at being able to come up with blogging subjects (if it were up to me, all you’d see is a little geek waxing poetic about the intricacies of Terminator),  Christiana was nice enough to pull up a topic of discussion. Today’s topic of discussion will be: What's on your wall? Prints, posters, photos, paintings? What makes you want to hang something up?

Well, go ahead, discuss.

…Okay, okay, I’ll start. Naked people. No, not really (really). My walls are a mind numbingly boring shade of beige. I’d paint but that smells a little bit like work and I’m rather allergic to that. Therefore (Yeah, I’m using ‘therefore’. Capillary put a minimum word count on me and I’m going to chew it up with every two penny word I can find), I combat such boredom by letting my geeky little heart rule. Oh, I’ve got the obligatory photos of some nifty places but that’s not where the meat is.

To start this wonderful recipe that we call ‘my walls’ we first add a healthy dose of Batman wall decals. Every moderately bare patch of ceiling or wall was given the privilege of uber ass-kickery in either Batman or BatSymbol form. No Robin though. Creepy little pixie boy. Put on some damn pants. Or at least let Stephanie Brown have her job back.

We continue our tour with various pieces of my art taped over the litany of nail holes. A ‘Joker’ poster hides (no it doesn’t, but I tried) the GAPING hole in my ceiling which I put there while punching it to get the damn mice to stop running marathons over my head (which also failed, check for them in London’s upcoming Olympics).

I have recently acquired (or at least somewhat lately acquired and more recently hung) a large Superman flag which is proudly displayed over my bed. And thus completes our tour.

Yes, I know, I’m a DC whore. Which I hear might get me shot in these parts. I know someone around here has a particular love for some genetically mutated beings whose team name falls somewhere near the end of the alphabet.

As for the ‘what makes you want to hang something up?’ part of the question, it’s actually pretty simple. I put up stuff I like. Arguably, that’s why there is little rhyme or reason to what’s hanging around.

One Batman is slapped up next to two ‘Got Milk’ ads (Marg Helgenberger and Mariska Hargitay for those keeping track).

My whiteboard full of projects hangs just over a comic that implies ‘The Flash’ might not get his name from his super speed (think about it, you’ll get it.)

If it’s something that’ll kick my ass out of writer’s block, make me giggle whenever I see it or remind me of the types of values I want to stand for (ooh, deep thought moment), it gets its own little place in the beige.

- - -

Born in Montreal, Quebec and having had her fill of infant poutine, Terias moved to various locations in Alberta where she tipped cows, joined the army, and learned to drink beer. In an attempt at higher education, Terias headed back east to Toronto, Ontario to attain her bachelor’s degree in Sociology. When working a research job didn’t produce the expected results of creating a league of super villains, Terias moved on to more physical ventures. She currently holds a personal training certificate and spends her days moulding her clients to be her personal super soldiers.

Terias caught the writing bug in high school and never seemed to shake that monkey from her back. Thanks to 'Bedazzled Ink', she’s now ready to unleash her debut novel, ‘The Surrender’, on an unsuspecting world. Terias’ non-writing time is divided between playing rugby for the Yeomen Lions, playing video games, or regenerating in her sleep pod.

Terias can be found on the internet via website, or Twitter @TeriasMcKlay, or on Facebook as Terias McKlay

04 December 2010

Mission #1: 50k Words. Finally.

So, obviously I failed at keeping up blogging during NaNoWriMo... But I did make it through NaNo and my word count ended up being 50,086!

I almost didn’t make it because of all the travelling, the partying, the drinking when I should have been writing. I’m not sure if this is the lifestyle that a writer normally has?...

Even though I reached the 50k words that were required to complete the challenge last month the story isn't finished. It's very close. I'm writing the last few chapters and probably need another 5000 words but obviously not writing at the same pace as I have been. And if I do this right I can leave myself open for a sequel.

But now that I've accomplished that epic goal I feel like I can give myself permission to let my mind wander to other writing projects. There's a short fanfic I have in mind that I'd like to work on. But for now I'm going to revel in the fact that I have accomplished NaNoWriMo once more and broken my writing curse for not finishing.

15 November 2010

Catching Up

The last few days have been productive with my word counts. Not only have I been making the 1667 words per day, but been hitting 2k a day. Fingers crossed I can keep that pace up and sneak in a 5k day here and there before the end of the month.

I'm finally on a roll with my story as well. The last couple days it has felt good to fly by the seat of my pants for this novel and when I'm finished I can just leave it be for a while. I think because I haven't done any planning for the book I haven't been as heavily involved as I have been with my other novels. Kind of like, "seeing" someone as opposed to "dating" someone: it feels good right now and we'll see where it goes.

I'm at work so I'm a little limited as to what I can do in terms of writing until my break. And instead of working or writing I've been browsing the NaNo forums and have stumbled across a clever little idea what I kind of wished that I had stumbled upon sooner 10 Chores in 10 Days.

It's the kind of prep that I could have done as either a planner or a panster. And would have brought a few things into focus for my novel, which is what I had lacked at the beginning of my story and have now found. I suppose that is the stress of being a pantser. And what I take from my pantser approach this year is that I need to find a balance between the planning and the pantsing: Flexibility is good, but some focus in necessary.

Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to fly through the word count for a few more days before I lose this steam and have to fire up the coals a bit.

10 November 2010

Writing Cliches

Two nights ago Terias McKlay and I spent the majority of the evening writing and catching up on our word counts. She told me I wasn't allowed to blog until I made the daily word count.

OK, OK, so I'll admit that it was good to have someone keep me on track for writing today and make some progress towards my ultimate word count.

But. I still found my way to the NaNoWriMo forums, with one of the forums called "Reaching 50,000" ironically had a thread about dealing with cliches.

I may not have mentioned this before, but I set out writing my NaNo for this year totally last minute and with no planning. I also decided I was going to go through the NaNo Dares thread and base my story completely on what I came across. This involved a lot of cliches, or currently popular ideas such as vampires.

Going back to the thread regarding cliches, it was a really good read as the points people brought up was from everything to using cliches shamelessly to being really careful to avoid them at all costs. I often write with cliches in mind, not just for this NaNo. Vampires may be something everyone's reading, writing, and talking about this year (even yours truly), but I wonder how I can make these cliches my own. How I can tell this story differently because there's only one person that thinks like me, and that's well, me.

Sounds a bit of a cop out as cliches are easy to write, even if you are trying to make it your own, but are there really infinite ways to tell the stories of Man vs Man? Or Man vs Nature? or Man vs Himself? etc etc

Ok. Right. Stop talking and get back to writing. 15 minute blocks throughout the day until you get past this tricky spot and to the word count!

08 November 2010

Starbucks Write-In

Totally not neglecting this blog, but I've really had nothing to update about. I tried my darnedest to complete at least one goal before NaNoWriMo started, but alas, no.

With work having been busy and having a bunch of life stuff happen simultaneously I am sorely behind on my word count. And instead of writing my story I am blogging. Yes, I really know how to prioritize.

My only saving grace is that I'm at a Write-In at Starbucks and I'm able to work on two goals simultaneously: completing NaNo and ask the barristas what their favourite drinks are.

So yes, pathetic blog post to let everybody know I'm still alive and that I'll probably be MIA for the rest of the month here.

05 November 2010

Character Profiles

My word count for the end of Day 4 is 5505. I'm about a 1000k behind. That isn't bad, considering I only came in on this about 7pm on Day 2.

After staring at a computer screen all day today to make the word count I feel like my steam's gone for the day. I had to even go clean my room and hang up laundry before I could will myself to blog a little.

I will try to write about 500 more words before I go to bed tonight. That is if I can figure out what I'm going to do now. My MC has fallen out of love with the male lead for my story, and I was kind of using that to drive the whole plot.

So now I have no plot.

I could try to find a way for her to fall back in love with him again, or find a different dude for her to fall in love with. She still has to fend off the vampire and the alien who seem to just look at her throughout the whole story.

Oh, the dilemma.

I had to resort to the NaNo Forums to get some random inspiration to pump up my word count a little. The post was originally supposed to help you get to know your characters. It did this along with getting another 700 words out of incorporating the interview into my novel.

I think if I were to bother editing this story I would go through the character profiles link posted in the NaNo Forum to really get to know my characters. They're all sort of random at the moment with not much depth or background to any of them. The link is quite extensive, so I would probably just pick the most important sections to focus on.

28 October 2010


I don't know what that was for. I just came off my night shift and drank a cup of coffee.

"But you're a tea drinker!" my internal monologue begins.

"I know self! But I want to win the McDonald's Monopoly game! Sacrifices must be made!"

"But coffee after your night shift???"

"I never said it was a good idea!"

I mean, really, McDonald's daily just to get the Monopoly stickers? Maybe I'll win $100: You have to be in it to win it (Although my chances don't look that great right now). I have a feeling it'll be a nice way to procrastinate when November rolls around.

"What's that? I have another 1000 words to write and it's 23:00? Time for chicken nuggets!"

There was no real point to this entry... Carry on.

17 October 2010

Straight Through My Heart

I drive a lot. Across the prairies.

If you know anything about prairies they are generally flat, few rolling hills, and the industry is agricultural so most of what you see tends to be livestock or crops. People live far apart, even groups of people so towns and cities tend to be further apart. If you can imagine that in your brain, then you can imagine that it can get very boring.

My life is pretty complicated right now which is the only explanation why I drive over 700km per week, so you can understand why I might need a lot of good music, or good company while I drive across the mostly flat and sparsely populated landscape. My music requirements for driving is energetic, fast-paced music to counteract the lull of the land. I have created a driving play list that typically consists of the latest Medicine Hat clubbing songs, or loud and angry rock songs.

Over the years I've come to accept that I'm crap at making playlists. They're so eclectic in tempo and styles and moods that when people listen to my mixes people are left scratching their heads a bit. Probably why I am not a DJ, though, if you're ever in my hometown and go out to The Club (yes, the club is called "The Club") I'm fairly certain I can do a much better job. I also don't recommend appropriate music for certain moods so I've just started to recommend music I like and let people get what they want out of it.

I don't need iTunes for this!

After purchasing an iPhone I was obligated to get iTunes. I didn't want to give into the Apple trend, but since I discovered the Genius feature it's been hard not to like it. I pick a song I like and BOOM. Playlist. And it's been really easy to create lists of songs for moods or situations... I'm referring to writing here, not having a sad playlist for my self-pity.

Regardless of whether I'm listening to a self-made playlist or using a Genius playlist, sometimes it's that one song that inspires me for a scene. I've been making notes of what songs I listen to at that moment so when I come back to it I can get lost in my head and then focus on what I was writing and where I wanted to take that scene or chapter. Sometimes it makes it into the "soundtrack" of what I'm working on.

I think everyone can agree that nothing beats a well placed song, or a melody that captures a mood perfectly, or a theme that we can recognize anywhere (Star Wars anyone?). Reading the forums on NaNoWriMo about music, and tunes that inspire, the competition of who is listening to the most Indie or most Alternative music gets more fierce with every response. Who has the better play list, who can recommend the most unknown bands, etc etc. Let me say this: I LIKE THE BACKSTREET BOYS AND I WILL ALWAYS RECOMMEND THEM FOR YOUR PLAY LIST.

13 October 2010

Mission #75: Complete My Latest Fanfiction Project

Completed yesterday!

My fic is called "Only The Top Matters", posted to Fanfiction.net.

I wrote it over a year ago based off a prompt from one of my LiveJournal friends. I'm not sure why I didn't get around to it sooner, but Sunday I finally sat down, took a red pen to my paper, and finally typed up the last changes.


It's based on one of my favourite female characters in the X-men comic series: Marrow. She has such a fascinating, complex story and character that I can't help but not love her. Though some of the recent changes Marvel is making with her and her character leaves you scratching your head in confusion...

It was good for my self-esteem to finally follow through on a project and finish it, even though it was a small fic. I finally feel like I can concentrate fully on the upcoming NaNoWriMo next month, and after this competition is complete I think I'd like to commit to my many other unfinished projects.

10 October 2010

How to Write on a Sunday

Step One: Make a clear, manageable goal.
Step Two: Create Zen-like environment.
Step Two-B: Eliminate as many distractions as possible.
Step Three: Make a cup of tea.
Step Four: Complete goal outlined in Step One.

Optional Step Five: Keep making tea until Step Four happens.


09 October 2010

Happy Turkey Weekend!

Happy Turkey Weekend everybody.

It's bizarre to be back at my parents' house again. My TV's on, in my old room, in its old spot. I'm using a computer in the old spot. It feels like I never left. Even my husband is still not here for Thanksgiving, just like every other year.


Like really.

07 October 2010

Not Settled

My head's all over the place. I'm not settled anywhere, I'm not happy with my employment situation, and I'm missing my husband. I guess that's why I'm throwing myself into NaNoWriMo a bit more than I would normally.

I have been really stressing on whether or not I should publish my NaNo chapters or portions of it as I go. There are a couple problems with this:

  1. I open myself up to the risk of having someone plagiarize because there wouldn't be an official copyright on it
  2. If I ever did want to publish the novel a publisher may never pick up the work because it could be seen as "previously published". Apparently that doesn't sell.
  3. The quality of the "publish as you go" would be really shit, and is that how I want to attract publishers/agents? Probably not. (Also aware that this is a pipe dream)
  4. Doing this might (most likely) demotivate me. When I publish anything on FF.net an I don't get any feedback or favourites I become really disappointed. Like, really. I know this isn't a good thing but if I can't get any acknowledgement on the playground how am I supposed to get any when I work? 
I  could be over thinking all of this as well. Like I said, I'm a bit all over the place personally at the moment. I could be just being hard on myself because I feel like I should have written more in the last couple years and have written more in the last couple months period. But it's hard to find a writing routine when your life just has no routine: I feel like I'm just couch surfing at the moment with no familiar nook to call my own. 

But sometimes I get these looks and responses when I tell people I am trying to write a novel that give you the impression that you should just give up. Night shifts make life really difficult and I know I get cranky and extra sensitive after a couple shifts, but sometimes I feel like it would be easier to cave to the pressure to give up on my hobbies and do what every other nurse does... which seems to be gardening in the summer and baking in the winter.... 

My last thought on my life is: why do people call getting married "settling down"? I feel so far from feeling settled. Like, what does that even look like? 


04 October 2010

Getting Excited for NaNoWriMo!

So October is upon me and I have nothing to report where my progress is concerned. I have less than 100 days to complete the remaining 40 odd goals I had set out to do two and a half years ago. October is a significant month because it's the month before November: National Novel Writing Month. It will be my fourth year doing this but I am feeling a little torn between finishing my 101 Things and starting up a new novel.

A person would think that 101 Things would take priority, however, I can't just ignore National Novel Writing Month. My online circle is already buzzing and getting started on their novels and practicing their word sprints and I'm right there with them with planning my own story in my head already. I've even did my very first word sprint two days ago!

I am really aiming to meet the 50k words that I made the first year I participated, as well as make it to a few write ins. I've convinced my Mom to lend me her Acer laptop for next month so that I have a better keyboard to work with while I'm on the road. Don't get me wrong, I love my iPhone, and the touch screen is super handy (who doesn't love a QWERTY keyboard at their finger tips?) but the size of the screen and auto-correct frustrate me sometimes.

I'm really glad this is happening this time of year because it really takes the edge off the doom and gloom of fall and winter for me (read: hate winter). I'm not so secretly hoping my friend Denton will host his online write-ins again because they were very motivational and helped me to be efficient when I made the effort to write.

I encourage everyone to participate, even if you have no vested interest in becoming a novelist, author, writer, etc. It's good fun and really challenges you: National Novel Writing Month.

27 September 2010

Mission #25: No speeding for 2 weeks consecutively

Goal completed September 25, 2010.

I was really tempted to declare this goal complete halfway through August. As you know, I was in Northern Ireland getting married, and also, as you know, people in Ireland (North and Republic) drive on the wrong side of the road. So I didn't drive, and no driving means no speeding!

Although I did try driving once.
Of course, this good streak didn't hold up once I got back to Canada and had to start driving again. In a city I'm pretty good at observing the speed limits, even if people behind me get irritated and start to tail gate me. Driving on highways is a different story: I tend to put my brain into autopilot. I'm sure that wouldn't happen as much if there was actually something to look at! But as it's mostly straight on the #1 my foot gets a bit heavy on the gas pedal.

After I put this goal on my list it felt irrelevant. I readily admit I drive too fast on highways but I had never gotten a speeding ticket. But after eight years of driving, being in a rush, and feeling over confident of that fact that I've never been caught, I didn't get pulled over by the police once, but twice.

Leaving the not speeding goal on became a test of my integrity I suppose and once I consciously started to complete this goal I found it harder than expected. My first few attempts I wouldn't speed for 3 or 4 days before catching myself speeding, even within city limits. I kept careful note of where all the RCMP and police favourite hiding spots were along the highways and Daniel felt pity for me and wanted to give me his radar detector. But I declined, I wanted to prove to myself that I had the discipline to see this goal through honestly.

And while there is not tangible reward for completing this goal, I feel pretty damn good about it.

15 September 2010

Mission #48: Do not check FaceBook for 7 days consecutively

Goal completed August 30, 2010.

From August 23 at 08:00 to August 30 at 08:00, I did not check my Facebook account once. OK, so I checked it once before eight, but then shut it off.There were a number of reasons I decided to go with this challenge, but the biggest reason was that I got a bit addicted and started to get upset about little things.

It wasn't hard at first because Clifford and I were busy driving various family and friends back to the airport after our wedding. And then Clifford and I had to fly off on our own (first time in Business Class too!) to Malta. We had purposely not taken his laptop with us on our trip even though it would have been handy to have had it to check the bus schedule and book tours. But traveling with a laptop can be a massive pain in the rear: it always feels heavier and clunkier in your hand luggage than when you were inspecting it at a store before purchasing.

Besides, our honeymoon was about us, no about taking pictures for Facebook.

I didn't actually miss Facebook or being on the internet in Malta. I had never been there before and it was such a busy place that there was plenty to see and do, never mind finally having some quality time to spend with Clifford after all the hustle and bustle of the wedding.

The only day I struggled with staying away was the night we got back from Malta. Being disconnected from the world for a little was fine while there were distractions, but when access and availability is just plopped right in front of your face it's hard to resist. Kind of like waving candy in front of a diabetic's face: you can tolerate a steady stream of input, but this is an explosion.

That last 24 hours of resistance wasn't as challenging as it could have been. I mean, I didn't have to stare at a computer screen or have constant access to a smart phone. That would have been definitely a test of my will, and perhaps a challenge for the future?

Let me know if you've ever challenged yourself to cutting out or down on social media. What was the most challenging moment? What aspects did you enjoy about it?

14 September 2010

Mission #29: 101 Things That Make Me Happy

After a really mentally and physically draining June, July, and August I finally decided it was time to write this list. The first 50 items on the list came relatively fast to mind, and to paper, and my hand was having a hard time keeping up with my brain. The last 50 I spent most of my time comparing to the first 50 because I kept coming up with variations of the first.

After a few hours I did complete my list with a few read throughs. I thought about my list a little and realized that really, the first 60 things really brought me the most amount of happiness. In brief, I concluded that if you really need more than 50 things to make you happy, then maybe a re-evaluation of what makes you happy is in order?

After traveling around as much as I have, and moving around as much as I have, you realize you don't really need much to be happy. Clean clothes, daily showers, good food, and good company.

1. Clive
2. Daniel
3. my parents
4. Renee
5. pouring rain all day
6. getting postcards in the mail
7. drinking a hot cup of tea
8. playing the Final Fantasy games
9. Watching/Reading the X-men series
10. listening and watching live music
11. Ashley
12. Reading a good book
13. watching good action movies
14. learning something new
15. drinking wine
16. traveling in trains
17. obtaining a new pair of shoes
18. speeding down empty highways
19. sunshine
20. finding someone that enjoys my old clothes
21. traveling in air planes
22. cuddling
23. kissing
24. Canada day
25. watching the Olympics
26. watching a team I support win their game
27. napping in the sun
28. babies
29. being a rebel at work
30. organizing my collections
31. eating good food
32. having good discussions
33. Susi
34. going to church
35. working out
36. making a recipe and having it turn out well
37. hearing a song on the radio that has been stuck in your head all day
38. eating sushi
39. waking up without a hang over
40. private
41. my car's excellent mileage
42. finding awesome clothes on the sale rack
43. going on road trips
44. getting massages
45. burning candles
46. eating honey on toast
47. eating raspberries off the bush
48. eating fresh pineapples
49. constructing something with my hands
50. writing
51. paying my bills before they are due
52. getting pedicures
53. hearing a good joke
54. farts and farting
55. writing with other people
56. making people laugh
57. Twitter
58. surfing the Internet
59. eating my mom's cakes
60. completing a parallel park on the first try
61. sleeping on a firm mattress
62. hot showers
63. singing along to a song and knowing every word
64. cooking for Clive
65. taking a picture and then realizing it's really cool
66. thunder and lightening storms
67. drinking cold beer on a hot day
68. working with co-workers that I can joke with
69. BBQ's
70. dancing to my favourite song at a club
71. landscaping
72. accomplishing a goal that I set out to do
73. Reading graphic novels
74. realizing that I have more money than I thought
75. Haribo gummi bears
76. finding a cheap flight
77. being awake at 3 am with someone
78. eating toast with salami and mustard
79. having a good skin day
80. My Grandparents
81. hearing Clive's voice
82. painting
83. Marlon
84. making bracelets
85. making Clive happy
86. going to a big venue concert
87. Reading in a library
88. playing video games with other people
89. having a clean room
90. finding a band/musician where the whole album is filled with good songs
91. Getting new tech toys
92. visiting a historical location
93. standing in 1000 year old churches
94. traveling with Clive
95. meeting new people
96. going out with my good friends
97. swimming outdoors
98. pleasantly surprising people
99. hiking in the mountains
100. Reading/watching something about pirates
101. my computer

08 September 2010

Mission #20: Pick up a hitch hiker

Mission completed July 19, 2010.

I picked up two hitch hikers just outside Brooks on one of my many trips between Stettler and Medicine Hat, moving my stuff. Granted, as a female driver, it's not advisable to pick up any sort of hitch hiker, let alone two. But then we wouldn't have this story now, would we?

My car was pretty packed with all of my stuff, but when I saw the guys and stopped I thought I'd give them the choice to squeeze into my car or not. They were game for the ride, but ended up having more stuff than I originally thought. They must practice stacking their belongings to look like just a backpack. Needless to say, it was a tight squeeze to get them in.

Shortly after me and these two fragrant young men carried on a rain rain storm hit that lasted until just about we got to Medicine Hat. Both of the young men were very grateful for the lift. So then we started talking, as you do when you're in a cramped space with strangers. One man was from BC, and had never been outside his province before in his 21 or so years. As he talked a little bit about his life he sounded more or less homeless and without a lot of money. The second man was Ollie, and from Quebec. This was his second time hitch hiking BACK across Canada. He was all about the music.

Though I had to keep my AC on for the whole trip I was glad fro the company for the "homestretch" (the stretch of road between Brooks and Medicine Hat) of my journey. When I dropped the two off it was a quick and awkward goodbye. We didn't really know each other and I'm not sure we would have been friends had we met under different circumstances. I guess it was no different from when I meet people on airplanes, the brief conversations we have that connect us, and potentially leave an impact on us.

I had quickly dropped them off when I got to Medicine Hat, race home, change, and go to my job interview for that day. The weather remained miserable and I have often wondered how far across Canada they managed to get.

Have you ever picked up a hitch hiker? If you have, any stories to tell?

07 September 2010

Mission #16: Invite the family out and pick up the bill

Goal completed on June 4, 2010 at The 502 restaurant in Medicine Hat.

Clive and I always go out for supper at least once with my parents every time he comes for a visit. We always have contributed to the bill, but this was the first time we picked up the whole bill ourselves. It quite shocked my parents, and myself, really.

For Clive it wasn't really anything unusual: He left home at 17 and has had a career since, and has taken his mom and siblings out for supper many times. But for me I felt very grown up, and was another reminder that I was actually an adult.

Yes, yes I know, at 24 I should be well acquainted with adulthood, but I only (truly) moved out on my own at 23 and only started my career about 3 months before that birthday. It's still a novel feeling to do something mature and adult like.

I was going to put a plug in here for The 502 and the accompanying bar, The Ottoman, but both appear to have been shut down since Clifford and I took my parents out. I had found out in a roundabout way, the same way when the management had changed hands. I actually find it sad that this place has gone down the hill and is closed. I've had some really good times there, but I guess it's life holding up a sign saying that “This happened, it was good, time to say goodbye. Don't feel bad.”

05 September 2010

Mission #65: Get a couples massage

Goal completed on August 25, 2010 in Malta.

Just to recap the second half of August, because it gets confusing for me as well. August 13: Booked last minute weekend away and honeymoon. August 21: Got married. August 23: Flew to London. August 24: Flew to Malta.

I've never stayed in a 5 star hotel in my life before, but Expedia gave a sweet discount (that would be Clifford's Irish luck... or his expert wheeling skills) on the Radisson Blu in St. Julians Bay. The hotel was less than 20m away from the water's edge and our balcony was totally enclosed, like a cave opening, so it was very private ad I had the most romantic mindset I've probably ever had.

The view for 7 days.

In the spirit of romance, I pursued the opportunity to get a couples massage with Clifford from the hotel spa, Marion Mizzi Well Being. Clifford isn't really pushed either way to get massages, but after I convince him to get one, he's always grateful and again he humoured me.

Our masseuses were French or Belgium and they were far from shy about the usual awkward places that rarely get massaged in Canada. Both our or rears were totally exposed and massaged, and the same went with my pecs. Not to say she was a bad masseuse, she wass actually quite excellent. Without a clock she managed to give me a head to toe massage in 50 min flat. It was fast and furious and totally not as romantic as I thought. It was simply a massage, with Clifford in the same room. I don't really think it would have been any different if I had wanted the 125 min couples massage.

Would I do it again? Probably not. I had relaxing, soothing, and a romantic experience in mind and I have to say it was none of the above. I'll just have to find other romantic things to do with the husband.

Dinner at little local restaurants with patios and local wines. <3 br="">

04 September 2010

Mission #53: Play Mini Golf

Goal completed on August 15, 2010 in Bundoran.

Clifford and I had finally a weekend to ourselves and made a point of getting away so we could definitely not thinking at all about wedding stuff. After much arguing and making faces at each other, Clifford and I finally booked a B&B and surf lessons in Rossnowlagh in the Republic of Ireland.

But Mission #3: Try surfing will have to stay incomplete. Before Clive and I even left for Rossnowlagh, we got a phone call from the surf school saying they couldn't do the lessons. Something about the waves not being right. I was disappointed. I really wanted to learn how to surf, and this was probably my last chance to attempt surfing.

The view from our B&B
The beach in the morning.
However, we still made the most of our time on the west coast of Ireland. The The Gaslight Inn (Ardnamara B&B) was also a restaurant and pub for the locals. Clifford was in his element chatting to other patrons and staff (and getting smashed in the process), I had the biggest platefuls of fresh seafood I could ever ask for. The breakfast the next morning was a hung over person's dream: a homemade full Irish breakfast.

We were also blessed with fabulous weather: there was not a cloud in the sky and sun was shining the brightest I have ever seen it in Ireland. The most shocking part? It lasted the whole day. After we had started off the day with a walk to the main beach, we were directed to a local, more secluded beach, by the B&B owner. Apparently Tony Blair had learned how to swim there.

Private little beach.

After spending the morning there and getting sunburned (I know, sunburned? In Ireland. Apparently it can happen), we made our way to Ballyshannon, and eventually to Bundoran, where I discovered PIRATE MINI GOLF!

I am a terrible golfer but I managed to get the only hole in one!

03 September 2010

Remember Your iPod

Yesterday I had a really bad day. I felt like a disappointment all around and after a long hiatus from being on the internet properly because of traveling and getting married. I looked back at my list of goals and realized I hadn't really gotten anywhere with them and I promptly not completed one.

I felt quite down in the dumps because it was a goal I totally thought I had covered, the Nike+Active goal. Like an emo loser I sat at Starbucks in Antrim the other day and wrote "Woe is me, I suck." for a whole page because Nike had said the old Nike+Active goals that I had started would become unavailable as of September 1.

Well, imagine my surprise this morning when I sync'd the few steps I had managed to accumulate when I actually remembered to take my iPod and turn on the pedometre on my walks. I had enough steps to complete the goal I had been working on and start on the next goal: the Pinata.

I'm was like "Yesssss!" but quietly because Clive was still sleeping.

The Pinata will be my last goal to complete before this set of Nike+Active goals is complete and I'll be able to start on the next one. I'm looking forward to it now because it's like I have a second chance, even though I'll have to walk about 200k for steps to complete it. On the other hand, it will be 14,000 or so calories and after this honeymoon I will definitely need to get back into the swing of things sooner than later.

And note to self: bring your friggin iPod with you so you can prove you've walked more than 600 steps a day.

18 July 2010

Donating & Administrating

If you may recall that one of my goals was to donate blood at least once a year?

Well, at work I have a patient that requires 3 units, and I have to administer the units. She is even O rh+ like me.

I was just thinking that of the whole chain of blood donation I participate in two of the chain: donation and administration. As an RN I have only to participate in the collection of the blood before that chain is complete. And then I got to thinking that my patient could, in fact, be getting MY blood.

This moment felt more profound than I could make it sound.

- Posted using BlogPress, the iPhone App

17 July 2010

Mission #40: Give away 202 things

Goal completed on June 21, 2010.

I just sat down to write this blog post about giving away earthly possessions and was hit with a wave of nostalgia: "Demons" came onto my iTunes by Guster. I felt like I was simultaneously moving forward and backward in my life.

I decided to change an old goal to this one around April or May time. Around that time sort of hit me that I'll be making the big move in a year. I was looking around my apartment I realized about 90% of what was in the apartment I couldn't be taking with me across the Atlantic. My options for my possessions would be either buy it again in the UK or live without them.

I decided to live without, so I started to give my stuff away.

A lot of stuff I haven't looked at once since I moved to Stettler. When I started the cull I asked myself, "Do I really need this?" or "Am I really going to miss this?" A lot of the time I answered with "No."

So off it went.

First, I gave clothes to various friends that I knew specifically would appreciate it. Secondly I started leaving toiletries, body lotion, hair products and such in the staff change room at work. Then the rest was dropped off at charity stores. At first I had to say a little goodbye to some of my possessions; they had accumulated sentimental value in the end. My art supplies, my clothes, books, etc. But once I got stuck into the process I forgot about the goodbyes and couldn't get rid of my belongings fast enough.

I was surprised how fast I managed to get to 101 things, and then 202 things (I'm sure I could have managed 303 things). But once I was in that mindset of cleaning up and giving away it was hard to stop just at 202: I'm sure in the end I gave away around 500 items from my apartment.

It's almost been a month since all has been said and done and it kind of surprises me that I don't miss my things. I wouldn't go so far as to say I feel lighter, less burdened, or rid of baggage. But I do feel  a certain freedom of not having all sorts of reminder of good times gone, of missed opportunities, and mistakes. 

But it's funny what songs can do to you. 

Despite having gotten rid of so many visual reminders of people, places, and things (NOUNS!), hearing "Demons" after so many years still brought back those memories. I felt really nostalgic throughout the song and couldn't stop myself from listening to the song twice. 

But this nostalgic incident was far less intense as others. I had too many things to do? I threw out those visual cues to my memories? My life is different from then? Or it's still the same? Or I'm OK with how things were then and how they turned out? I don't know, but these constant feelings of nostalgia make me wonder why I still long for the days of 6 or 8 years ago when I was most unhappiest. I'll probably have to find out what it is about wanting to be 16 or 18 again if I'm going to stop getting caught up in all of these memories. 

15 July 2010

Back to The Hat

So I'm moving from my Stettler apartment back to Medicine Hat. I'm living with my parents again.


The only thing that makes this significantly less awesome is that I have to move all my stuff that occupies a 2 bedroom apartment back into one single bedroom.

My other dilemma is, what am I going to do with all this food? I've cleared out a bit, but there's still 3 weeks worth combined in my freezer and pantry. I'm sure my mom doesn't want my peanut butter containers full of rice or flour or sugar.

So my brilliant plan is to cook everything away so that it's all sitting in my freezer. This is a good plan because when I go to work I will need my nicely portioned meals again. And buying/making all those again will be a significant cost.

So tonight I decided to make an apple crisp. The only problem was, I didn't have any apples. So I used mangoes and strawberries instead of apples, and Oh. My. Gosh. It was yummy. It totally tasted like a pop tart, but better.

10/20 recipes complete.

23 June 2010

Mission #12: Watch a sporting event at a pub

Goal completed on June 14, 2010 at the Fiddler's Courtyard in Calgary.

In February I was totally stoked for the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Then NHL playoffs were to follow, but when it was determined that neither the Edmonton Oilers nor the Calgary Flames would be in the playoffs I stopped paying attention to that. sporting tournament. So when FIFA started to get notice in Canada (way too late) I felt like I had had my fill of sports.

Or so I thought.

Daniel started talking about it, then my friend Susi in Germany started talking about it, although she supports Italy (...what?), Shalon (who supports Spain) and my dad mentioned FIFA in separate conversations, so I thought, "Huh. What do I have to lose by following a team?" Since Canada wasn't in the running (again) my default team ended up being Germany.

I was in Calgary for a BBQ on Saturday and with Daniel's enthusiasm, dragged myself out of bed to watch Germany's first game on Sunday against Australia. Daniel and I were prepared with swag:

With Canada being such a hockey and winter Olympics nation, I always figured that the first sporting event I'd see at a pub or bar (and I don't mean the NFL or CFL that plays in the background when I've gone out with friends) wouldn't be a soccer game, never mind a match for the World Cup. It was quite amazing to watch Germany win, 4-0 over Australia. Since then I haven't been able to stop watching the FIFA 2010 World Cup.

And I finally get it.

I get why people go to pubs, if not each other's houses to watch sporting events. Even though you're surrounded by total strangers you're all sharing the hype, the disappointment, and surprise of a game or sport. It's like having that team camaraderie without actually being on the team or playing the sport.

It was kind of fun.

21 June 2010

Mission #17: Donate blood at least once a year

Goal completed on June 2, 2010.

This goal has certainly taken me longer to complete than I anticipated when I had first made it. After moving to Stettler I only had a very limited time frame as to when I could donate. One of two situations would arise: I was either working when Canada Blood Services would make their way from Edmonton or I ended up working the day after a donation, which I've discovered is a big problem for me.

Losing 610ml of blood (a pint) really lands me on my ass, and increasingly so the more often I donate. I feel weak and tired following a donation, especially the first day, and then for the next seven days. When I try to go back to the gym I feel like I've thrown myself into oncoming traffic, never mind what it feels like to work a 12 hour shift.

I find myself waiting longer and longer between donations because of this, and because the experiences I'm having donating blood aren't nice. OK, being a little dramatic, they're not awful, but I feel like it's a sign to slow down or stop (you know, because feeling ill isn't a big enough reason to stop). Clive has come with me for two donations, both in Stettler and both times something has gone wrong. The first time, a nurse missed my vein. Yes, missed my vein. I mean, really? Me? My big and juicy veins?

OK, when my hands are warm and I'm not nervous I have big and juicy veins. 

The second time Clive is with me somehow I don't manage to tolerate the blood loss at all. Apparently I can look paler than my already pale self and I had about four nurses come up to me and ask how I was feeling and constantly reassess me. I felt fine the whole time. One nurse, obviously older and experienced, was more forceful assertive than the rest and made some executive decisions.

Experienced Nurse: How are you feeling? You look a little pale.
Me: I feel fine.
Experienced Nurse: I'm just going to put your feet up. [to Clive] She looks pale doesn't she?
Clifford: A wee bit, aye.
Young Nurse: Why don't you grab her something to drink. I'll just bring some cool clothes over for your forehead and neck.
Me: Cool clothes? I'm cold. [whispering to Clive]Thanks for the support.
Clifford: [laughs and kisses my hand]

What a sweet man... I am never taking him to a donor clinic again.

So while I maintain that donating blood is a really noble thing to do and that everybody should do it, I think I will give it a miss for a year. 

19 June 2010

Book Review: The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Finished book 7 of 25. Its called "The Memory Keeper's Daughter" by Kim Edwards.

The story begins in the 1960's where it is still socially acceptable to institutionalize children with birth defects and mental retardation.

The first fifty pages are good and they drew me in, but the following 200 pages were such a drag. The story just seemed to observe this dysfunctional family and be overly dramatic.

The last 150 pages the book picks up the pace dramatically. And while the ending was good, and it did make me cry, I didn't quite grasp the point of the book: Secrets, assumptions, and expectations (and those unfulfilled) fueled the plot, but I missed the purpose behind the book, of telling such an emotional story.

To challenge our definition of family? To show the importance of communicating? To let our children grow up uninhibited of societal expectations?

Someone let me know, because I feel like I've just dragged myself through an emotional roller coaster for the last 2 weeks and I've been left empty handed of a moral.

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18 May 2010

Book Review: Bones to Ashes

As part of one of my goals I decided to read 15 fiction books. I made this one of my goals because throughout my first couple years at college all I did was read for necessity, never for fun. Maybe once. And maybe once or twice I actually enjoyed reading some of the required reading. But really, I was just cramming my head with technical information on how to be a nurse that I never had time to just enjoy the written word any longer.


I finished reading book number 6 of 25 last night on shift: It was "Bones to Ashes" by Cathy Reichs.

I have never been much into crime dramas or mysteries, particularly not in the book format. I tolerated it when I was in high school and my mom would turn on the TV on Sunday nights. My dad would be away for work and we could get away with more noise and less talk, though my mom was still in control of the content. "Cold Case", "Law and Order", "Miss Marpel" or "Prime Suspect" was usually on the menu and you did learn to appreciate a good crime drama and mystery when you saw one.

Same with reading one.

It took me a while to get into "Bones to Ashes". It's not the first of Kathy Reich's Tempe Brennan's books, so I was unfamiliar with the character and the history between the characters. But Cathy Reichs did a good job of bringing me up to speed. The personality of Temperance Brennan was quirky and a bit odd, but she seemed well suited to her environment. I kept thinking to myself that if Temperance Brennan had any other job, or worked in any other field, she would be a social misfit.

For me, the best part of her novel was that the story took place in Canada and involved a large chunk of Canadian history. As a Canadian, there just aren't that many successful books or series that involve Canada. Kathy Reichs was also wonderful at interjecting a candid amount of French into the interaction of her characters. It really gave you a sense of atmosphere and that the characters could be real.

The different story lines of the book were well crafted and connected, and I was shocked how intense the book got. Add that with Tempe's personality it made for an excellent read. The only thing I was put off by was the ending. Kathy Reichs ended up summarizing a number of the loose ends for some major plot points. I know endings aren't easy to write but it was a bit of a let down.

Overall, I have to say Bones to Ashes a very recommendable book, though I don't know how keen I am to read the rest of the Temperance Brennan series of books. Maybe one crime/mystery/drama book is enough to last me a while.

13 May 2010

Mission #88: Try acupuncture

Completed today, May 13, 2010.

For once, an update the day I completed something. This is only because I have finished everything else on my to-do list. Like, EVERYTHING.

I got acupuncture today for the first time at Performance Physiotherapy in Stettler. I switched to their gym because it was twenty-four hours WITH security, unlike the hospital gym where one of my co-workers runs and the gym and doesn't think any security measures are necessary. No, the gym is just in the basement of an old hospital, there is no communication to the upstairs, no cameras, no panic button, nothing. But that's OK because this is STETTLER, nothing bad is going to happen here.

I digress.

It wasn't until about two weeks ago that I finally saw a physiotherapist about my knee pain while trying to run. A co-worker of mine who only recently go into running herself encouraged me to do so. One session has already helped considerably, which is awesome. Despite my hate for running, I miss it.

As part of today's treatment, I received acupuncture.

It took me by surprise because I wasn't expecting it: I had only mentioned briefly as part of my initial treatment. So I all of a sudden became anxious. I'm not scared of needles to the point that I'll avoid them (I do donate blood, after all), but they do cause me some anxiety. More so since one nurse while donating blood missed my ACF and then started digging an 18 G need around in my arm.

The first few pokes of the acupuncture needles hurt more than they probably should have being a little anxious and all, but by the time the last need went in I was pretty calm. They were in for about 20 minutes and it was a pretty strange feeling. It was like my skin was stretched tight between the needles. I'll give my legs a rest today, but I'm looking forward to running again.

But before I get too serious with that, I'm going to purchase a new pair of runners. The ones I bought three years ago? Giving me blisters now and I need to get rid of them. Sad.

Edit: Just noticed that the picture really makes my calf muscles look fat. Bummer.

10 May 2010

Mission #61: Attend a ComicCom

Completed on April 24 to 25, 2010 in Calgary.

The event was actually called Calgary Entertainment & Comic Expo and it was probably the single handedly most geeky thing I've ever done in my life. Besides the usual video gaming, comic reading, and internet tumblring.

It was definitely one of the most worthwhile too. Not only because I caught glimpses of various celebrities but I could see the industry display its finest. I could see where the bar was placed in terms of comics, artists, collectables, and retailers. I was able to see where I'd have to set my sights if I really did ever want to pursue any sort of niche in the industry. But then, I had always had a hunch the bar would be this high.

It was also interesting to see an artist's reactions as I approached them and just looked at their work, and asked them to sign the ComicCon art book. I think they expected networking on my behalf as I approached them and waited for them to stop sketching.

I'd say the best hour of that weekend was the Brent Spiner panel. I never would have thought him to be so hilarious (clearly I'm not enough of a fan). It was just one smart ass comment after another, and I suppose after several decades of fans saying/asking the same thing, you'd have come up with some pretty good responses.

I'd like to go again next year. Hopefully I'm somewhere next year where some kind of ComicCon one is being hosted.

Mission #101: Complete Script Frenzy with a partner

Goal completed on April 30, 2010.

The point of Script Frenzy is to write 100 pages of script in 30 days. The prize? Self-accomplishment. The point? To get you to write more than you would have otherwise.

I've completed Script Frenzy on my own before, but I wanted to try it with another person. Actually I just wanted to work somebody else on a project for once and it was a challenge in different ways.

I was able to write my part, and then when finished, pass it over to my partner, and I could rest my brain for a few days, and then pick up where my partner left off. But then I'd have to figure out which direction she went in and kind of pick that up and run with it.

Then Terias and I realized we were running out of time in April to make it to the hundred pages. We then took some time to work out the overall plot and then divvy up the scenes. I have never written something so disjointed at once before. It will need some heavy editing, but we made it!

Of course, the other obvious challenge is script writing itself. My typical medium is fiction writing and requires a different skill set than script writing. I'd say there are just about as many technicalities with scripting as there are novel writing. But it's always a good challenge to try something different from the norm.

22 April 2010

Mission #85: Get a Pisces tattoo

Completed April 15, 2010.

This mission caused me the most anxiety out of all them so far, even though I've wanted a Pisces tattoo for years now. Also, from what I gather, most people don't have more anxiety with their second tattoo as they did with their first.

However, when I got my first tattoo, it was on a whim. I didn't have time to think about it, and I certainly didn't have time to get anxious. This tattoo? I had about two weeks to go over and over in my head "Yes! I'm getting it!" "Damn, is this really what I want?" "Yes, I really want this tattoo!" "Is this really what I want?" "I can't wait to get it!" "Maybe I should wait..."

It was awful. But I'm glad I got it.

My next hurdle of this tattoo was getting my mother to accept the ink since a tattoo on my foot isn't something I could easily hide. The first tattoo I got was on my ribs, so she didn't find out for several months that I had it.

But then she flipped. 

To my mother the human body is perfect the way it is so "Body art" is "body mutilation" in her eyes. I think that having had all three children get a tattoo and essentially mutilate their bodies is one of the biggest disappointments. On one hand I can see how she would take it pretty personally since she did help create our bodies to begin with.

On the other hand, I realize I'm 24 years old, and am quite independent from my parents and it is my own body and I can do what I like. But I'm really close with my mom. She's probably one of the coolest moms out there and her opinion means a lot to me, even if I appear to blow her off. I find it quite upsetting to have her mad or upset with me.

So I sent her a text, and when I saw her next her reaction it was about what I expected.

She's OK about it now, but I'm sure the disappointment still lingers. And maybe I'm not as independent from my parents as I thought I was: it's my mom's opinions, her constant expressions of disappointment, and praise that keep me trying harder and push for more. Is that such a bad thing?

08 April 2010

Mission #51: Get NRP Certified

Completed on April 7, 2010.


NRP stands for Neonatal Resuscitation Programme. I'm putting that out there because I've already had a number of people ask me what it stands for. I am now legally certified to save babies.

Now isn't that a scary thought?

The first time I took the course I had no clue as to what I was doing and I had 2 nurses teaching the course. They knew what they were doing, and they were knowledgeable, and they encouraged me to take part in the class anyway. It was good, but when they encouraged me to take the two parts of the test, I was a bit put off. They would have set up the test in a way that I would have passed, which doesn't make sense. If I had found myself in a situation the really required me to resuscitate a baby, I would have been screwed.

This last time, while I only got in a little more studying, I had an anesthetist who regularly was present with deliveries. It made it more realistic to have her teach us and set up the scenarios, and be the one intubating the babies, instead of nurses pretending to, because well, intubation isn't part of an RN's scope of practice. Though, sometimes, it would be cool if it was.

It was a nerve wracking exam because I knew the Doctor wouldn't just hint and help me pass. But I did, and now it's onto my next course.

01 April 2010

Nike+ Active Challenge

I started a Nike+Active challenge over the weekend!

Last year around this time I was finishing up a Step Challenge at my last place of employment. I faithfully stuck my pedometer on my hip and went to work where I was on my feet for pretty much the whole eight hours. I diligently walked on my days off as well. I liked that this Step Challenge provided equivalent step values for other forms of physical activity such as gardening, yoga, house cleaning, swimming, etc. It gave me the freedom to walk if I wanted or go swimming which I often preferred.

Since then I've wanted to do another step challenge and see it through to the end (I'm pretty sure my team had won on the basis of my effort alone, but I started in Stettler before I found out). But there's really nobody I can challenge or would want to do a step challenge so I felt quite jealous that a friend of mine working in another hospital told me that her work place is doing a site-wide "Biggest Loser" style challenge. I know for a fact that nobody I work with would be up for organizing or doing this challenge: they all shudder whenever I suggest that they come along to the gym with me.

When my brother broke up with his girlfriend and offered to sell me his iPod Nano that she had given him for a Christmas present, I jumped at the chance. It has a built in pedometer which syncs with the Nike+ Active WEBSITE that presents you with about 20 goals. The goals are accomplished by steps taken, but in a more tangible way instead of "YOU MUST WALK THIS MANY STEPS OR ELSE YOU LOSE." it's more like "If you walk 6000 steps you've walked off a donut." Or walked up a ten story building.

Which is great if you've eaten a donut that day.

For a lot of self motivated people who get out and run, swim, or lift weights every day this might not seem like a challenge, perhaps a bit tedious or redundant? Or perhaps it might feel too restrictive in terms of activity: what are swimmers supposed to do? However, for those people who have never or have struggled to make physical exercise a part of their lifestyle this might be the incentive to start and/or keep going with that sense of fun and accomplishment as they walk off a burger and fries, or walk up Mount Everest.

For myself, I'm somewhere in the middle. I'm active but sometimes I need that extra little incentive after a string of night shifts or after a hard day at work. I have to say it's an odd feeling to walk off a donut or hot dog that I've never eaten, or walk up a building I will never see, but a step challenge usually brings out a little bit of my competitive nature. I like to walk, I like to walk fast, and I walk every day at work. And it's rather amusing to have my co-workers ask me why there's an iPod strapped to my ankle.

It's also interesting to note that following my explanation they aren't shuddering at the thought of exercise. They're even asking me how many steps I've walked that day!

I've completed about 5 goals now on the Nike+ Active challenge. Right now I'm working on walking off that burger and fries I never ate. Who would have thought that you would need 2 days of walking to get rid of that?