2016

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This is it, guys!  My final post!

Thank goodness!  haha

In recent previous years, I’ve made a list of things I’d accomplished over the year, the number of which would match whatever year it was. This year, though, the general populace seems intent on bringing me down, so I’ve altered the plan a tiny bit.

Oh, I know it’s not intentional, necessarily, but regardless – y’all are ruining my zen thing, man.

So this year, I’ve instead made a list of the 16 best things to happen for me in 2016.  The original list was quite a lot larger, but I’ve managed to whittle it down to the following, in no particular order:

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  1. Mark Hamill

Luke Skywalker is my earliest and longest-running heroes, from about the age of 5 years, or so.  I mean, it all kicked into high gear when I was about 12, but my love for Luke and Star Wars had already been brewing for several years before that.  So it was a near-lifelong dream come true to finally be able to meet the man who brought the character to life.  I’d rehearsed everything in my head leading up to those few precious moments I’d get to spend interacting with him – and ended up doing none of it when the time came.  But everything that did happen was so much better than I could have hoped, and even the group photo op I had done with my awesome niece and nephews was perfect and priceless.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

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2. Hudson

It’s impossible to explain to another person my absolute love for this polar bear.  When he was a little guy, I found myself getting up in the morning after an injection night (they were terrible – not much could get me out of bed the next day) and trekking out to the zoo just so I could spend some time with him; watching him, and getting to know him.  There’s just something that happens to my heart every time I see him.  When he was moved to Winnipeg, I was devastated, and knew that, even if I ever saw him again, it wouldn’t be the same.  I wouldn’t be able to see him all the time anymore.  Until now.  2016 saw the return of Hudson and his brother Humphrey to the Toronto Zoo, and I have been out there almost every week since their quarantine ended.  I spent some quality time at the window with him one day, and since then, he’s back to greeting me upon arrival, just like he used to!  He’s now the biggest bear I’ve ever seen, but that thing still happens in my heart when I see him.  When we make eye contact, I pretty much explode.  The giant fool is truly my spirit animal, and even though our time together is temporary, I am making the most of it.  No regrets this time.

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3. Dark Matter Set Visit

Mind Reels on a spaceship, guys!  Every bit as amazing as you’d think…and more!  Of course, that’s really all I can say right now.  Keep an eye out for the S3 premiere, when we should finally be able to talk about our day on set!

4. Bowling For Kids Sake

An all-star team put together by actor Ennis Esmer challenged fans to help raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters Toronto by donating and/or building teams to compete against one another in the Superhero-themed bowling night event!  Two “civilian” teams took on two all-star teams and basically had such a ridiculously good time that we have been thinking ever since of trying more things like that in the future!  So much fun, and all for a great cause!

5. Good Credit

When I learned that my bankruptcy would be cleared from my record with one of Canada’s two largest credit agencies after just 6 years instead of 7, I went online one day to find out how I was doing.  I’d gotten myself a secured Visa so that I would have SOME credit, instead of no credit, once the 7 years after my discharge had passed.  I got my credit report done, and was surprised and excited to find out that I was already squarely in the GOOD section of the scale!  Before I knew it, I was pre-approved for far more credit than I wanted, so I talked the guy down to a $500 Scotiabank Scene Visa, and have been happily earning more Scene points AND improving my credit rating ever since!  That’s so huge, guys!

6. Hands On Exotics

I had tried to volunteer at the Toronto Wildlife Centre, because I really wanted to feed baby squirrels in the nursery, but the schedule didn’t work out for when I was available, so I went a different direction, and began volunteering at an exotic animal shelter, instead.  I was taking it week to week for a long time, as I wasn’t sure how I’d do over the winter and such.  Plus, it’s a lot of cleaning poo.  Then there was a boatload of upheaval, and I wasn’t sure what was going on or how things would work moving forward.  The past couple of months, things have settled down a bit, and I am doing better with the routine.  I’m getting to know some of the animals, and they are getting to know me, and to be honest, it’s starting to feel a bit like therapy now.  My usual team and I work well together, and we get things done quickly so there’s a bit of extra time at the end to visit with our favourites a little longer (an in the example photo below, with young miss Cricket, the baby kangaroo).  And oh, the stories I can tell!  I’m hoping to continue to make new ones as we move into 2017!

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7. Grandma

This is a story I don’t wish to go into, so I’ll just say that I’ve started writing letters to my grandmother.  By hand.  At least once a week, but usually more.  That’s all I have to say about that.

8. Reconnecting with old friends

2016 was a good year for me in terms of reaching out and reconnecting with people who used to be in my life with much more regularity.  I started going to some WLU Toronto Alumni events, which – I graduated in 1995, and have been in Toronto since late 1997 – why have I not been going to these?!  So much fun!  Especially with my gal, Izzy, and her guy, Phil (who went to Western – boooo!  haha), and my hope for further reunions with my fellow Laurier alum may actually come to pass!  As well, I got reacquainted in a big way with one of my Rogers boys from back in the day.  We fell into our same old rhythm with each other – and then changed things up a bit, as well.  Right from our first conversation, it was obvious to me how much I’d missed him, though, so now I’m doing my best to make sure he and I don’t drift apart like that again.

As well, I started seeing my therapist on a regular basis again.  We also fell into our same old rhythm, but this time it seems like everything is more heightened.  We are connecting on a much deeper level than ever before, and as difficult as it is, I couldn’t have asked for more.  It’s exactly what I need.

What’s more is that I’ve spent more quality time in 2016 with more recent friends, and made at least one amazing new one, to boot!  Maybe my obsession with stronger connections is starting to pay off.  Also GO HAWKS GO!

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9. CSA’s Red Carpet

The Mind Reels has covered the Canadian Screen Awards (aka The Candys) to some degree each year since they began.  We’ve been extremely fortunate to have been invited to do so, and to have as much access as we’ve been given each year.  This year, however, was our first time on the broadcast gala’s red carpet, chatting with the talent as they arrived for the big night.  We were squished into a spot at the very end, and while many of the big names walked right by after having done their required time with the big media outlets, just as many amazing peeps actually stopped to talk to us – and many of them weren’t people we already knew!  This was our most incredible year at the CSA’s by far, and I am eagerly awaiting the chance to apply for accreditation again for 2017, because it’s quickly become one of my favourite events in the city all year!  Besides, we were told by one wonderful woman that we’re a relief to see at the end of the red carpet – that people feel like they can just relax and enjoy themselves while they’re with us, and that’s got to be one of the biggest, most humbling compliments I think I’ve ever received.  More chances to make that happen, please!

10. Crown

This may seem like a weird thing to include on a Best Of list, but I was finally able to have my first dental crown put in, and I couldn’t be happier.  After a root canal, gum surgery and getting my mold taken just under the lab’s holiday deadline, I am now – for the first time in years – pain free.  Well, as far as my mouth is concerned, at least.  And for me, that’s a huge good thing!

11. Creativity

Figured I’d lump a couple of things into one spot, just to help whittle down my list!  From my Etsy store (where I sold my first felted item), to my meeting with the Toronto Library’s Writer in Residence (who made me excited about my book again), to my first attempt at shooting footage solo throughout my day for the Canada In A Day film that gets broadcast next year.  I was pretty disappointed with how mine turned out, but I still got a few emails saying that some clips may or may not make it into the final film, so I signed all the required releases and sent them off into the ether.  We’ll see what happens, but either way, I learned a lot just in that one day, so with any luck I can carry that forward to bigger and better things soon, too!

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12. The final 10-15 lbs

The majority of the weight I gained following The Betrayal was lost slowly over the course of the following decade.  I’d resigned myself to just staying at one particular point because I couldn’t seem to get the scale to budge any lower – until late January 2016.  Suddenly, the weight started coming off and the final 10-15 lbs – also the most dramatic pounds – dropped away by the end of March, or so.  Not only am I now back to my pre-gain weight, but so far I’ve kept it that way without too much trouble.  Okay, fine, maybe not the past couple of weeks, but it’s the holidays.  If all goes well after this weekend, things will get back to normal soon.  It’s nice to have a glimpse of my former swagger back, too!

13. Melissa O’Neil on stage

The weird thing about this is that I watched Mel on Canadian Idol back in the day, and may have had a little crush on her even back then.  Seeing her in Dark Matter has been an absolute joy, and getting to chat with her via The Mind Reels was a bit of a dream come true, as well.  The fact that I get to know her a little in real life is just…above and beyond.  So you’d THINK I would have taken the opportunity to see her perform on stage – to sing live – at any given point before now!  However, better late than never.  And so completely worth it that she gets her own spot on my personal Best Of list for the year.  Also, the wee crush lives.

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14. Ole Timey Radio Plays

These are pretty much the best thing ever!  For Mind Reels, Tim and I started bringing in random handfuls of actor friends and reading old radio play scripts from the 30’s and 40’s!  So much ridiculous and hilarious fun – to the point where we all but stopped doing regular interviews, even!  Don’t worry, though, I intend to get interviews going again, AND radio plays, AND maybe a few other ideas I have all put into play in the new year.  those radio plays, though.  We knew they’d be fun, but everyone continues to go above and beyond, every time, and that I am always in need of facial traction due to the amount of hard laughter each time is indication of exactly how special these things have become.  I can’t get enough!

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15.  Kate Tattoo

I’d seen an ad on Facebook for a new local tattoo parlour with a deal for small black and white tattoos available for $50 for a limited time.  A friend suggested we get one for “our girls”, meaning our doppelganger cats, both of whom have passed on and who are deeply missed.  I thought that was a great idea, and then, thanks to my very best friend in life, the whole experience ended up being more than I could have hoped for!  I love, love, love my homage to wee Kate the Kitten, and am naturally itching to get more ink done as soon as I have some kind of extra cash again!

16.  Lil Bub

Last but certainly not least, 2016 was the year I finally met Lil Bub in person.  I barely managed to hold back the tears, but I got to pet her wee head and we took terrible selfies on my phone and I love her so much I have a need to see her again someday!  What a remarkable little beast she is, that Lillian Bubbles.  She has no idea how much, really, which just makes her even more incredible.  I’m so grateful I got to spend those few wonderful moments in her presence!

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So there you have it!  My best moments of 2016!  Honourable mention goes to the ongoing shininess of my Firefly LootCrate subscription.  And the daily joy of living with my three wonderful cats – and this guy:

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I’m not going to say I’ll never post here again, but it definitely won’t be as often.  I’m sure I’ll get the urge to write once in awhile, though.  It’s who I am.

To that end, I am starting a new blog project, which I hope will work better for me moving forward.  It’s called My WildLife Awakened, and you’ll be able to follow along with it here.

I’ve been thinking, and will leave you with this one tidbit – almost advice-ish, really, though I hope I can take it, myself, as well.

As we cross into 2017, there may or may not be much to look forward to, so I’m going to try instead to make great memories to look back on this time next year.

Let’s see what happens!

Oh – and happy new year!

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Nothin’

I feel, as we drawer closer to the end of the year and, thus, the end of this blog, that I should be saying something more…profound. Or meaningful. Or enlightening. Or something.

But I’ve got nothin’. Sorry!

I sent a particular tweet to Carrie Fisher’s dog, Gary, last night, and was both pleased and heart-broken when whoever is running the account “liked” it. It did make me snuggle Brody all the more after, though.

As if I could snuggle that guy more than I already do. Haha

I love that puppy dog so much.

I did a tiny bit of work on my resume yesterday, which was fun. Well…not FUN, exactly, because I sort of hate it. But as I’m not planning to go out and find another job any time soon, re-vamping my “brand” feels kind of fun. Coming up with new ways of expressing my innate awesomeness. Kind of fun. Part of me wants to craft an amazing resume, then send it to my HR department, just to add to my file. You know, since they don’t really know the extent of my awesomeness yet. Neither do I, of course, but still. I wonder if they’d think of me any differently?

I made a cursory list of great things that happened in 2016, and will whittle it down to the top 16 in time for New Years. Like, great things that happened in my life, I mean. I don’t care about what the world thinks was great. Certainly not about making anything great again. #justsayin

Anyway, unlike a lot of people, I am not excited for the year to be over. I’m not “done with it” or blaming the calendar for all of my woes. Remember when everyone was freaking out about the end of the Mayan calendar, because the idea of it starting all over again at the beginning was unreasonable, but vague impending apocalyptic doom was probably on the horizon? Flash forward four years to 2016 and people are freaking out about celebrities getting older and dying (apparently Gen X is just realizing now that we’re not immortal), and praying for the year to come to an end already. Because…I guess…no one will die in 2017?

I’m doubtful. But what I do know is that a) my rent is going up again, b) the cost of a metropass is going up again, and c) my income is not going up. Still.

So screw everybody who’s clamoring to race into the new year. For the moment, at least, I am over YOU. 🙂

Life Goes By

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Halloween was my favourite holiday for a long time. Probably for the longest period of the time I’ve had favourite holidays.

Now I don’t think I do anymore; have a favourite. They all just kind of go by without me noticing. I mean, the ones that make a long weekend, I notice. But even then, it’s mostly in terms of what’s still open, store-wise, and occasionally seeing if I can do a thing or two for myself on one of my days off.

I experimented with giving myself additional long weekends from work this past summer, and pretty much failed completely at making them work in my favour. So even those aren’t as great as they used to be in that sense. Holidays that everyone gets are usually worse, somehow.

And even though it’s Halloween and not a day off kind of holiday, the fun seems to be gone from it, for me. I’m not even excited about cheap candy day tomorrow, because I can’t afford any even then.

However, did a pretty great interview with an actor from Star Trek that we’d never met before. He was very awesome, and friendly, and not at all difficult on the eyes! AND we scored new Star Trek mugs! What?! So much fun, and a nice break in an otherwise Monday-y morning!

I got to put my feet up for a bit yesterday. Not at all as much as I needed to, but still…it helped. Especially with Flynn, who is still sick today but seemed to be in a good mood yesterday, just because I was around more. I haven’t been home much lately, and it’s taken a toll on all of us, I think. Even Brody was bringing me his ball to play with last night, something he hasn’t done in months! It’s good to feel like my company is wanted and appreciated, and I try to make sure they know that I want and appreciate theirs, as well.

I even got a couple of important tasks done, though the laundry is piling up again, and I am not sure when I’ll have the chance to do that. But still, the things I did accomplish are good, and hopefully positive steps moving forward.

We’ll see. I’m going nowhere fast, but after Friday and Saturday were big enough that I haven’t had time to fully process them yet even now, I feel like I did still manage to get a bit of a break yesterday, and that’s the main thing, I guess. Sometimes even a little bit of something positive is better than nothing at all. Not enough to balance out the overwhelming-ness of everything else – not even close – but I’m halfway through today and still going, so that’s something.

Please Support My Stuff, And Other Goings On

If you are on Facebook, please go vote for my photo in this contest: http://snaptoit2016.pgtb.me/m3SM8X/lnt7l

Scroll to the end of the first page of pictures, then jump to page 8 of submissions. Mine is the CN Tower reflection. I really want the GoPro, so please vote and help me win it! I could put it on Brody sometimes to get his view of the world, even! I think I am tentatively in first place at the moment, but I have to keep that going until Sunday night at midnight! So please help!!!

#GoPrody! 😉

Also, if you can spare $2 per month (or even $1), please consider supporting the Patreon page I created to help fund some of The Mind Reels’ expenses: http://www.patreon.com/TheMindReels

We’re just over halfway to our first goal, and if everyone chips in even a little bit, we’ll be able to accomplish so much more moving forward! As well, the higher tiers become progressively more involved in our programming, which should be fun! But mostly I just need help getting the word out, especially because I’m so busy trying to organize more content for our show that I have been remiss in getting my promoting hat on more regularly! Haha

Now that’s out of the way…I think something bad happened at the place where I volunteer. Like, internally, I mean. A huge shift in management and many of the staff are gone – almost everyone I’d met so far, in fact. Some of the animals are also gone, I think. Lots of changes. I don’t know what happened or why, but it was a very different vibe when I was in the other day, and I am not sure how things are going to go. We’ll see. I’d already missed the previous two weeks due to gum surgery, and was considering just not going anymore, but I’m glad I eventually did. I at least wanted to see how things were there now. I knew the other volunteer who was in when I got there, but everyone else I met for the first time. I also got to give Edward the Micro Pig some love, and gave a few quick pats to Willow the Capybara after her bath. I miss the animals when I am not there, but…yeah. I don’t know how things are going to go. It’s always such a struggle and battle with myself to go in every week as it is. We’ll see.

I took Brody to get groomed for the first time by myself over the weekend. I think we did pretty well, but I hated leaving him there, and was counting the minutes until I could go pick him up again. I also learned that I should actually plan distractions for myself while I wait next time, because I think I ended up getting a new credit card. Which…I was going to apply for this particular one next year, after the bankruptcy is completely off my credit history, so I guess it’s okay. I kept saying no but the guy kept offering different cards, and once he hit on the one I wanted anyway – and gave me the lowest possible limit I asked for – I decided to go ahead and accept it. Assuming nothing changes in the meantime, I should have my first actual credit card since declaring bankruptcy within the next week or so. My plan is to activate it and use it, then cancel my current secured card, get the deposit back, and put that towards getting a crown for the tooth I’ve been trying to save.

Will have to see how that goes, too. So many things up in the air. So many half-started projects. So much uncertainty.

Ain’t life an adventure and a half, sometimes?

Sun and Sweetness

Do people who work for the Sun Group grow up hoping to hone their careers as hate-filled sell-outs with zero journalistic integrity someday?

Is that the copper ring they were reaching for from the time they were wee tator tots, dreaming about how they could be anything they wanted to be and do anything they wanted to do? Was this their dream?

In completely unrelated news, found some honey I think I am going to order online. If either or both of the items I order are as awesome and nostalgia-inducing as I hope they will be, that part of life will be sweet.

Speaking of sweet, #BrodyGraham is the king of sweetestness. He just is.

 

Some Changes On My Mind

I don’t know, man. Sometimes I feel like it might soon be time to abandon ship. I’m not sure how much longer I can stand to be around so many people all piled into one place, and keep thinking I might soon decide to just get out of the city once and for all. I probably won’t, because it’s been on my mind for years and I haven’t done much about it yet, but I guess we never really know what the future holds. I just know my past experience with success has been…I haven’t really had any. Haha

Sometimes life just happens and we do little more than hold on for the ride. I’m definitely a passenger, through and through.

Been able to slowly watch things off my PVR the past few days. Checked out Designated Survivor (of course) and liked it okay, but the premiere was definitely all about setting up the story and introducing the characters. Which is really all it can be, but I look forward to seeing where things go from here. Note that “look forward to seeing” could also be read as “impatient to see”. Haha

I really, really liked the series premiere of Pitch! I like the format of fluid movements between past and present, I love the characters so far, particularly the protagonist and the team’s catcher. I love that they found kids who could actually have been the lead actress at different stages of her life – like, they’ve time-travelled to the present so they could play her earlier years. I love that it came out swinging and set the tone and – for the premiere, at least – isn’t treating the series as a one-act play. Young black woman becomes the first female to play in major league baseball. I’d seen comments about how it should have been a movie because there aren’t legs for a series, but after having seen the first episode, I have to disagree. Well, I already disagreed, but now I disagree more. More than 2 decades went into the moment she stepped onto the field for the first time, and that moment wasn’t the beginning of her journey. There’s more to come, and there’s more that has passed, and that it’s engaging thus far bodes well, as far as I’m concerned. I’m on board.

Speaking of coming out swinging – holy returns for Quantico and How To Get Away With Murder! So so good! I’m right back in love with both shows, and actually a little afraid to find out who died at the end of the season premiere of HTGAWM. I suspect I’ll watch the next episode with a drink in hand. Or a few.

I was asked recently about what I want to do next; what my dream would be, to do with my life. I don’t have an answer for that yet. Some vague ideas, but nothing I can pin down. I used to think I would be a teacher. Sometimes I still do, but I’m not really meant for a public school classroom, I don’t think. Maybe something a little different, but still education-related.

I’ve also been enjoying some small event planning, media marketing, public relations and…I don’t know what to call it…pseudo producing? With respect to The Mind Reels and interviews and radio plays and breaking a Guinness World Record. I have so many ideas for taking even larger steps, and some seem to be coming to fruition, which is encouraging. I would need to narrow my focus to see if I could actually succeed in any of those environments, but there’s definitely something there worth considering, I think. I’m just not sure what yet.

And then there’s the non-human animals of the world. I need to find a way to stop feeling like I need to save everybody, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find a way to work with and/or for them. Even after a rather bad day at my volunteer shift this past weekend, getting to spend time with Marley the ring-tailed lemur before I left, and then taking Brody the Munchkin out for a long walk when I got home did a lot to heal my mood. As did talking about it a bit the next day – but that was like the final step I needed. Mostly it was the good animal interactions that brought me the balance I’d lost from the less desirable ones. My relationship to animals has changed in countless ways since meeting Hudson the polar bear, and as a result, I think they are actually becoming more of a daily focus for me than less of one. I imagine that can only be a good thing, really, but if I can figure out a way to pursue that environment more regularly in my life, I think that might feel like the most right path for my spirit. Maybe not for my pocketbook, nor always for my heart.

But I don’t own a pocketbook, anyway, so what have I got to lose?

General Thoughts From A Foggy Mind

Got an email last night for members from the Toronto Zoo. As predicted, Inukshuk, handsome papa polar bear to Hudson, Humphrey, Juno and two others, is heading up north to Cochrane sometime next week. I figured he’d be going up to the Polar Bear Habitat, because he usually does spend his winters there.

What I didn’t realize until I got the email was that he’s going indefinitely this time, and I won’t have a chance to say goodbye.

That hurts my heart, because I’ve come to love that sweet beautiful giant so much, and I always miss seeing him when he’s not here. The idea of never seeing him again is not okay with me, so I’m thinking a trip north next year sometime might be in order.

Regardless, I’m gonna miss that guy.

At least the Polar Bear Habitat will post lots of pictures and updates, though. They are GREAT for that! I’ve never even met Ganuk (Inukshuk’s son whose paw print painting is on my bedroom wall) or Henry (the new guy from Australia), but I kind of feel like I know them, just from the amazing updates I see online!

So it won’t be all bad, at least. I feel bad for Hollie because she has an extra soft spot for that particular bear, but I guess changes are afoot, and something exciting and new might come out of all this one day, too.

I’m out of it today and feeling like I can’t really figure out what I want to say. I’ll miss the bear, I’m excited for the WLU alumni homecoming event tomorrow, my weekend is super busy but hopefully I will get things done, my PVR is filling up with new fall shows and new seasons of returning series. Well…not really filling up, but definitely getting used more! And all to be watched on my shiny new TV.

It’s funny – I’m not used to it yet, but at the same time, I’ve settled into it so comfortably that I feel like it’s been here for longer than it actually has been. Still giddy, yet comfy. I like it.

So much to do; so much to doooo.

I think Brody and I will have popcorn for dinner tonight. I won’t be able to have any for a bit after my dental surgery thingy next week, because my gums will need time to heal before I introduce crunchier foods again. So stove-popped corn – probably with cheese – tonight, and hopefully some delicious movie theatre corn with one of my best friends on Sunday! That should realistically tide me over for a week or two while my mouth heals, but we’ll see.

I can always just focus on chewing on one side, right?