06 April 2008

Yet Another Update

Hey hey hey...it’s been a while.

I thought it would be a good time to write a quick update of some sort. I had very good intentions on catching up with y’all last weekend but it simply did not happen. And for good reasons at that.

It looks like the bitter end of winter is finally here. The days seem sunnier and warmer. I would like to believe we are out of the blue where snow and cold is concerned. I’m keeping my fingers crossed because this winter seemed to drag on and on. The brightness and that certain smell of spring in the air is definitely improving my mood and those around me.

I’ll be honest. Winter was rough, especially from mid-February and on. I don’t care for airing too much dirty laundry via my blogs so I’ll keep it short and sweet - my anxiety was sky high. Sure, I was stressed in several areas of my life - work, health of myself and of others, and so on. I’ve always been the nervous kind but this bout of anxiety was far from fun. I don’t think it was ever this bad - it came to the point of affecting me physically. However, this time taught me something - it showed me that I do have the strength to get help. And I’m not saying that I’m weak and frail either. Bottom line is - I have anxiety and I want to learn how to control it so every day events shouldn’t be stressed over. I don’t ever want it to get to the point where it was at the end of February and early March. I don’t want to be shaky at the thought of leaving the house. I’m much more conscious of it though and I have talked it through with friends and professionals. I’m trying to get out and get a little more active (I tried Pilates tonight!). I’m trying to find the things that make me happy and challenge me. I’m trying to feel less isolated (which I’m beginning to think is part of the problem since moving to Quebec).

So, do you want the good recent news or the bad recent news? Let’s get the bad out of the way first.

Just when I thought my anxiety was on the mend and I was going back to work (I took a bit of a stress leave, if you will), my dog ended up getting in a really nasty fight with another dog last weekend (though the more I think of it, the more I think he was attacked first). Hence no blog update - I was busy mopping up eight bleeding wounds and trying to not cry my head off. Of course, last weekend was the weekend the boyfriend went out of town. Of course! That’s always when shit happens. Anyway, I don’t want to go into details.

My dog got bit about 8 times, very badly. I felt like it was my fault. I didn’t know what to do because I panicked but I tried my best. I couldn’t get him to see a vet immediately because he couldn’t walk that well and we leave on a second floor (refused to walk down the stairs). We couldn’t carry him. He didn’t want to eat or drink. We managed to get him antibiotics the day after, by the persistance of my friend’s mother. When the boyfriend finally got home, we got him (the dog, haha) to a vet. He had a fever, poor thing. They cleaned, drained, and flushed his wounds. We are continuing to clean/flush the wounds at home and give him peanut butter coated pills. After a day or so, there was such an improvement. The swelling is down and he is affectionate again, he has his appetite and he’s smiling at everything. He’s my silly, goofy dog again - back to his ol’ ways. I’m so grateful, so incredibly grateful. I thank my friends that kept me company on Saturday, my friend’s mom who bent over backwards to find help and talk me through my anxiety, and those who called to check in on me and to give me pep talks. We truly appreciate it. :) Toshio is happy and on the mend! Yippee!

And onto the good news....

I’m learning my first instrument. No, it’s not a piano. Le sigh. It’s still cool and awfully quirky! It’s a ukulele, which is a lot more affordable and easy to store than a piano. It’s a cool little instrument too - it’s a metal-bodied resonator ukulele. It has a very bright tone and it’s loud. I got it last night so I’ve been fooling around on it ever since. The boyfriend has been showing me a few things he knows, general music "stuff", and little lessons I can do. I strummed along with him (badly) to a simple song he was playing on the guitar. With the limited chords I am comfortable with right now, I can play the chorus to Aha’s Take on Me (which is not cool, but whatever) and I can also play along with Johnny Thunders’ Sad Vacation. As well, doing some fingerpicking exercises to that riff in Wipeout. Before you know it, I will be tip-toeing through the tulips. But seriously, I’ve discovered that it is a really underrated instrument. It’s actually really cool to play even though you have to hold it high up and the boobs get in the way.

Other than that, things are good. I’m feeling happier. My dog is happier and healthier. Spring is here and it’s causing me to have weird dreams that guest stars ex-boyfriends and Big Brother contestants. I have a brand new shiny ukulele and another week off work between projects. It hurts the bank account but I’m looking forward to warm days and good books and ukulele lessons and home-cooked meals. And maybe, just maybe, another go at Pilates.

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17 February 2008

Shopping Frenzy!

It was recently my birthday and I treated myself to a beautiful cardigan. I found it online with much searching. It probably wasn't the greatest deal but I thought - I deserve it!

I came across a website that is much like Sephora but deals with many different shopping departments, if you will. It's ShopWiki! You can find everything from electronics to cosmetics. It is great for comparison shopping and finding product reviews. Maybe I'll find myself a Wii one day! You'll find low prices and good deals. What more can you ask for!?

20 January 2008

New Year

It's been a while since I've written - once again! It's already the middle of January. I have the place to myself this evening and I thought it would be a good chance to catch up on everything I have wanted to do - namely work on a new blog idea I have about conquering goals. Heh, all I conquered tonight, it seems, was the fine art of curling up on the couch and napping. Ah, I think I deserve it.

I've been okay, thanks for asking.

January has been a busy one so far, especially concerning work. And I don't know if it's for all the right reasons. Things, I must say, have been a bit confusing and chaotic as far as work goes. Not necessarily the work itself, just the people working there. I wish I could go into details but that wouldn't be fair or cool of me. Let's just say it's been a little too dramatic for my liking. I've tried to stay away from it and distance myself from it. Things have come to a head - not concerning me - and I hope that it will eventually smooth itself over. Basically, all I want is to go to work, do my job, and come home at the end of the night. I don't think it's too much to ask for. Due to this issue, work has been canceled for five days. And that sucks. Though I was scheduled for over fifty hours this week, my pay cheque is now cut short and it hurts. I have bills just like everyone else.

I have to admit, I did need this "me-time". This so-called issue has been draining and I have been putting in a lot of hours. It's been a little rough on me and my health.

Speaking of which, my health is alright. I've been dizzy since the middle of December - or since I started working a lot of overtime. I'm getting another series of blood tests come Tuesday so check my thyroid and anemia. As well, what I thought was an allergic reaction to something turned out to be a wicked case of acid reflux. Sexy, huh? I've discovered the triggers of it though. And it's all the tasty things - beer, wine, and - gasp, my favorite! - lemon tea.

I haven't had much of a social life since starting work again. My days off have been booked solid with appointments to see doctors and dentists and more doctors. I had coffee with Toly the other day, which was nice. I ran into him as I was coming out of the pharmacy near work. That's what I miss about Winnipeg. You can walk around the village or downtown and simply run into someone which eventually leads to going for coffee. I hope to see some friends soon. Timing has been bad - my days off don't corresponde with theirs, people have been sick, etc.

I had a very quiet New Year's Eve at home. We had my in-laws over for dinner. I cleaned up the place. My partner cooked a fantastic meal. That's that. No pressure and relaxed - just how I like my New Year's Eves to be.

Christmas was lovely. I went back home for the holidays from the 18th to the 28th, I believe. My flight was canceled for the 16th due to a massive snow storm, which was disappointing. I spent a lot of time at home, when I went home, and I didn't really mind. Maybe it was just winter or maybe it was being so run down from working so much. I just wanted to be at home with my parents and my cat, watching bad television (which is a treat since I rarely watch TV in Montreal) and laying low. I did have a few fun nights with friends but I only made it into Winnipeg a couple of times. A bunch of us saw Walk Hard in the theater, which was a treat. It's been years since I saw a movie in a theater (before that movie, the last one I saw in a theater was Kill Bill). I went for coffee. I stopped in at a few friends places for coffee or tea or eggnog paralizers (a tradition of ours, to see Tricia at Christmas and get our fill of eggnog paralizers!). A few of us hung out in the mall, laughing at people and being jerks. It was a fun trip, but a quiet one. Some of my plans fell apart though, which bummed me out. I didn't get to see Nicofelia. I didn't get to see the PostSecret exhibit at the WAG. I didn't get to see Rachel that much or Parris, for that matter. I suppose it's to be expected when I come out to visit at the most busiest time of the year and when my trip is cut short. Le sigh. It was nice to have so much time with family though. I played Scrabble with my mom. I played televised bingo with my dad. I saw my grandmother a lot. I got to play silly video games on Christmas eve with my sister and brother-in-law - I tried my hand at Guitar Hero (it's hard!) and played a round of American Idol on PS2. Good times. Lots of laughs. It was cool to see my brother-in-law. It seems like before this trip, I'd only see him for a good 45 minutes out of two weeks, ha ha.

I've been away from home for three years now. I always mentally prepare myself when I am about to fly back to Montreal. And I always end up having a semi-meltdown in my old bedroom. It is so hard to leave, still. I like my life in Montreal, especially since getting Toshio. I like my routine. I still miss home and I suppose that's normal. I miss being there for my family and for friends. You'd think by now I would be used to leaving but it still hurts. I put on my best face though. No one sees the semi-meltdown. Not only that, it's coming to terms that many of the friends I know - life has moved them in different directions. I don't have as much place in their lives, I'm not so much in-the-know now. I'm a little left out of the circle. Maybe I'm not as important. And I do understand that. It's normal to move on, go in different directions, have new circles of friends. My circle of friends is very small here in Montreal and I notice it gets smaller and smaller each time I go back home too. It's kind of a lonely feeling. Saying that, there are some friends that I see when I go back home and it's like I have been away for three days, let alone three years. We catch up and then we laugh like we always have. That's a really precious feeling. It sounds cheesy to say but it's reassuring to know that these old friends still consider you an important part of their lives.

Anyway, it is getting late. What else can I say before my face hits the keyboard?

Toshio is good! He's happy and healthy. He still pulls on the leash though. He's such a blast, a real joy in my life. He makes me laugh all the time just by doing nothing. He keeps finding ridiculous things in the snow - pants, a small pair of track shorts, jackets, a bagette, a head of romaine lettuce, a grocery bag that was full of bread loaves (which he "killed" and sent loaves of bread flying everywhere). Oh, a frozen pizza slice that he killed, a frozen fish. It makes you wonder what kind of people visit this park, ha ha. We've also discovered that Toshio HATES snowmen and likes to destroy them.

My birthday is coming up in a month. Normally, nothing really happens. Oh! However, this year.....my friend Ren will be coming out to visit me! Yippee! I'm excited. I booked the weekend off - and that better be valid still - and we have plans on going to a show. It should be fun! I hope it will be a good distraction for her!

17 November 2007

Written Last Night

All this work has really caught up to me. It's my first day off of my weekend and I feel like a monster of a cold is coming on. I'm heavy-headed, I'm slightly feverish, and all I want to do is curl up on the couch with a blanket. I'm emotional. I need sleep and soup and kisses on my forehead. Sigh.

The man is out of town, playing in Quebec City tonight. He'll be back very early in the morning as they are driving back after the show. I was left in charge of the dog today. I discovered what fun it is to walk a dog when it's cold and you are feeling like pure crap. At least, seeing the dog act silly and run around makes me smile. Yet, I have to say, I'm not looking forward to going out to walk him tomorrow morning and I doubt my partner wants to take him out if he only sleeps for three or four hours.

It's been a weird couple of days. Not weird, amazingly weird. Just weird; emotionally, regarding people, etc. On Thursday, on my way to work, I was laughed at by some teenagers in the metro station. This was not the first time. For some reason, teenagers laugh at me in this city. And no, I'm not being paranoid either. It was almost something out a movie. This chick pointed at me and laughed a big belly laugh, "HA HA HA, LOOK AT HER!". I didn't say anything, as usual. However, I walked away thinking that this really doesn't bother me. And I was grateful that I didn't let such a comment bug the hell out of me like it did in the past. Moments later, I was standing on the escalator. The man beside me, who sounded a bit drunk, turned to me and said, "I just want you to know that you are very beautiful and I hope you have a wonderful day." That was sweet.

An acquaintance from back home passed away today. It's made me a little sad, even though we weren't close. I will always admire her strength and positivity regarding life and her illness.

I'm done like dinner. Must curl up in bed or drink hot tea....

Travel Blog

The best advice usually comes from someone else's mouth. Being online allows everyone to voice their advice and opinion, whether it is good or bad. When we travel, we usually talk to others that have been to those particular places. Word of mouth. We avoid the "bad areas", we frequent the "good" restaurants, and we discover all the "must-sees" from those who have already been there.

I found a cool travel blog online. You can read the reviews and opinions of cities and destinations, gathered by the editors at RealTravel. The travel blog is somewhat of a best of; regarding travel stories, recommendations, and travel news. I always think it's kind of cool to read about others traveling experiences. Not only does it give me ideas of where I am fantasizing about going next, but you know what to avoid (especially regarding hotels - once I stayed in a hotel in New Orleans that was chock-full of cockroaches!). Anyway, it's a good travel blog to spend a little time over and reading.

What's cool too? You can create your own travel blog there as well, to share your own stories!

11 November 2007

Boring

I do apologize for doing some website promotion in my blog but I need all the extra cash I can get! I cannot reveal my sponsors - ooh, how mysterious am I? Anyway, I thought I would write a real blog even though it seems as though commentary from friends are limited nowadays. I have to wonder if others are as sick of being online as I am or has everyone moved to Facebook?

I hope you are all well. Happy autumn!

There is not much new at my end of the world. After a long stint of not working, I am back at my job. My work is funny that way. Not "ha-ha" funny either. When there is no work, it's scary. The time off is intense and all my bills stresses me out. I slack off on my sad attempt at budgeting. However, when work starts up again...I transform into a machine. When it rains, it pours - as they say. It seems as though I have been working like a madwoman. I have some regular eight hour days and then I have a monster of a day - nine, ten, eleven hours plus. I can't complain - I do need the money, especially at this time of year. By the end of the week, I am toast. Done like dinner. All I want to do is go to sleep for a good two days. Therefore, my social life is non-existant. I don't have one.

And I can't really say that I mind. Of course, it would be nice to go out on the town and paint it red or get dolled up for an adventurous night. Yet, at the end of the week, all I can think about is being home and comfortable - spending a night curled up on the couch with my partner, the dog at our feets napping away, having a nice homemade meal that I am not in a rush to make. Oh, how domestic I have become!

I can't believe it is November now. Christmas is almost a month away. It is also a month away before I go home again. I have yet to book my flight because I do everything last minute. I feel bad about going, abandoning my dog and my partner. When I went home in the summer, I cried when I left Toshio...knowing that he's sitting there all bummed out and knowing that mommy's leaving. Ugh, it's heartbreaking to leave him when he is giving me that face that says, please don't go.

Anyway, what else can I tell you....

I'm reading here and there, watching some good and bad movies lately, making some wicked autumn meals (like veggie chili and homemade bread and cake), brainstorming for unique and inexpensive Christmas gifts, listening to a lot of Japanese instrumental music from the 60s, still plugging away at my gratitude photoblog, and playing one too many games of online Scrabble on Facebook.

Yep, I'm going through a boring phase.

05 November 2007

Easy Travel

Ah, it's getting to be that time of year again. The time when it gets frosty cold and you don't want to get out of bed unless it's to take a trip somewhere scenic or tropical. I admit that I am not the kind of person who craves a hot tropical vacation - I much prefer an old city full of culture and museums and interesting little cafes to waste the days away in.

I came across a website called Easy To Book. I know I have pointed my readers to those types of sites before, so pardon me if I am beginning to sound repetitive. It's a cool little site much like Expedia but for hotels only. You can find listings for hotels in many cities including Barcelona, London, and Rome.

Check it out - you might find yourself a deal!

21 October 2007

Books - July to September 2007

It's been a while since I have babbled on about the books I read (and the ones cannot remember reading). Tonight is the perfect night to check that off my list of things I have been putting off.

1) Red River Story - Alfred Silver
This was a thick and hearty read. I found it for a buck at the used book store in my 'hood. It was a great slice of Canadiana that I just ate up. It is about the first settlers to the Red River area in Manitoba, who came here from Scotland. The characters in the book were real, living people once upon a time. The major events happened in true life. The writer breathed life into these simple people and often complex situations. I read it before going back home to Manitoba and it was perfect timing.

2) The Zahir - Paulo Coelho
There is something I adore about South American writers. The language and the words seem much more delicious and intriguing. And this describes the book - delicious, intriguing, and perfect for a hot summer night.

3) Darker Than Love - Kristina Lloyd
When I went back home, my saucy friend Courtenay gave me the gift of an erotica paperback novel. Insert lusty smile here. Well, what can I say! It was kinda hot. It was kinda saucy. It's a historical piece of smut; full of corsets and bondage and dungeons and spanking. Sweet baby Jesus! I've notified Courtenay and suggested that whenever we exchange gifts, it has to be "an erotica paperback gift exchange".
4) Dying Hour - Rick Mofina
I'll be completely honest with you. I cannot remember this book for the life of me. I think it may have been about cops and murders. Regardless, my mom picked it up for me at a garage sale for ten cents and I rated it as simply okay.

5) When the Wind Blows - James Patterson
Once again, a forgettable read. I want to say it's about murders in Cape Cod but that could be another novel that I read months ago and didn't care for very much. I didn't enjoy it, whatever the case.

6) All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten - Robert Fulgham
Shut up. I needed a lighthearted read about the simple things in life. It was summer and I don't have much of an attention span when it's sweltering hot outside. It's a sweet observational book yet a little preachy for my liking.

7) The Commitments - Roddy Doyle
I read this book when I started working again. I wanted something short and sweet for the metro ride, for my breaks at work - something not too heavy but enjoyable. And I have to say, I did enjoy this book. It's fun, amusing, and there are some great musical references in it. It's a little unrealistic but it kept me entertained.

8) 1000 Pin-Up Girls
This was not so much a read rather than looking at amazing pieces of pulp fiction magazine artwork. It's full of cheese for all the right reasons. What I liked most about this coffee table book was all the old-school advertisements for joke books, gags to play on your friends, high heeled glamour shots of pin-ups, and how to be a hit with ladies.

9) You Are a Dog : Life Through the Eyes of Man's Best Friend - Terry Bain
This is by far the best book I read during these past few months. I bought this book for one of my best friends and I was a bad gift-giver by reading the book before I mailed it to her, oops. I'm glad I did and I don't think she minded. Books are meant to be shared! As you all know, I am a first-time dog owner. This book is written in the point of view of the dog; what they are thinking when they jump on the bed, what they feel when you leave the house for a short while, so on and so forth. My words are not doing this book justice. I may sound cliche. This book made me smile a huge smile. This book made me laugh out loud. This book made me look at my own dog a little differently. And this book, this book made me cry...especially when the dog panics at the thought of what if she-who-feeds-me doesn't ever return home (I always want to be there for my Toshio that once had a boo-boo in his heart! This dog of mine has seriously turned me to mush!). Terry Bain also has another book called We Are The Cat. Check his website at You Are A Dog and his photography groups on Flickr for Dogs and Cats.

On a side note, unrelated to books:
I've recently discovered Ane Brun. Look her up on Myspace. She's a great singer, if you are into singer-songwriter stuff. I'm not a huge fan of female singer-songwriters but I can't stop listening to her work!


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