Making Things Better

Wow! At last count, my photo is still in the lead with 135 votes so far! Voting ends Sunday night at 11:59pm, so if you haven’t already, please go vote! Mine is the CN Tower reflection on page 8, and you can find it by scrolling to the bottom of the photos on the first page, then clicking on page 8 in the list. You’ll see my photo at least halfway down the page, if not closer to the bottom. And I think it’s still in the middle of the row, though people keep adding more pictures at the front, which shifts things around every once in awhile. Anyway – please vote for mine! I’d love to win that GoPro, among other things!

In related news, a co-worker asked what the first place prize was, and when I showed him, he started mocking the GoPro, because it’s not the latest model, or something. He didn’t even look at the rest. I was, like, “Well, it’s more up-to-date than the none I have now!”

Not that I actually said that. I thought it, though. At least he’d already voted for my picture by then.

Moving forward with planning a radio play reading for next week, as well as the beginning stages of a proposal for applying to set a new Guinness World Record. My bear should be visit-able any time now, my new legit credit card should arrive any day now, I started my day with a spoonful of buckwheat honey and honey butter (okay, not a spoon-FULL, but a taste), I have to find time to get my thoughts on Carving The Light together before I meet with the Writer in Residence next weekend, and follow-up on a few more projects that I’ve started but haven’t really moved on for quite some time. I’ve realized that I could probably do well at a couple of things if I really focus on them, but I keep spreading myself too thin in trying to do bits of too many things. So if I can force myself to really do it, I will hopefully trim down my list of projects and things to try and just starting focusing much more deliberately on the ones with which I think I can have the most success.

Part of my difficulty is that I like trying things. I like learning and experimenting and I love accomplishing something, even when it’s something small. From breaking a Guinness World Record with an event I’ll always be proud of, to a sweet little display of Star Wars (mostly Luke Skywalker-themed) stuff in my apartment, to raising wildflowers from seed for the first time…I find I’m always trying to make my world – my every day life – better. More me, if you will. More attuned to the thoughts circling through my mind.

I don’t know if I’ll be good at something until I try. Unless it’s sports or otherwise requiring athleticism and/or grace. Then I know I’m not going to succeed at all.

On another note entirely, I think I expect too much of some of my friends, and should get back to seeing my therapist regularly. Maybe that will help me be a better friend all round.

Another Busy Weekend Ahead

Alright! Had a huge long bout of insomnia last night (as in, more than usual) so am feeling a tad rough and headache-y today, but have managed to be at least a little bit productive at the start of my day!

Cancelled both Guinness World Record attempts I’d been approved to make – Largest Online Photo Album of Animals (my plan was to highlight the Toronto Zoo’s residents to help raise awareness as well as give zoo-goers a place to showcase their photos), and Longest Chain of Paper Hearts. My plan for that one was to get a Mind Reels booth at Toronto Comicon in March, and coincide that event with a launch of my children’s book about hearts. I wanted to get visitors to our table to help cut out paper hearts all weekend, and assemble them into a huge chain together at the end. The attempt/book launch was to tie in with other ideas we have for a con table, rather than be a stand-alone event in and of itself.

Speaking of which, I really need to find an artist one of these days, to help flesh out a few things with me.

At any rate, neither attempt was ever likely to happen, at least not any time soon, so I’ve scratched them off my long and vague To Do list. As well, I cancelled a subscription, which will save me a bit of money, and declined this month’s feature title in the Disney movie club.

Another packed weekend is staring me in the face, but at least I’m feeling physically better than the past couple of weeks. Not much, mind you, because #nosleep, but better nonetheless.  Do not be surprised if I don’t post much or at all over the next few weekends, actually.  Maybe next month sometime my schedule will go back to something normal-ish (for me).  I’ll be glad when I’m not writing this anymore and have time to focus on different, more useful (for me) writing, I think!  But if it gets me into the habit of writing every day, regardless, then it will have not been a complete waste, at least!

Will be sending out invites to start casting the next radio play soon – probably early next week, if not later today. I want to do it before the end of the month, though I am frustrated with our inability to go live with anything.

I’m frustrated with a lot of things.

I’ve taken to envisioning shooting people lately. Just random people who piss me off. It feels a bit like a cathartic release to imagine it – firing little rage bullets at the guy wearing his backpack on a crowded subway, or strolling along on the wrong side of the sidewalk (walk on the right, pass on the left, people), or driving too fast on residential streets in particular. Not in a they-deserve-to-die kind of way, but in a releasing of anger from inside of me. I mean, we’re all going to die whether we deserve it or not, but my imagination is more along the lines of a mental slap in the face, but more violent, and thus more satisfying. I never picture it as a hail of bullets spraying everywhere, either. I’ve often maintained that a gun is the weapon of a coward, but at least in my mind each shot is deliberate, and focused and up close. It’s personal. Each individual knows they are my target, and sometimes I even tell them why, like that scene in Dogma when Matt Damon wanted to smite everyone in the boardroom because they didn’t bless him when he sneezed. Only in my case, because everything happens in my mind, I keep my mouth shut and move on with my day, but carry less anger around as I do so.

I’m so completely not a violent nor confrontational person in practice, but the scenarios which play out in my head are everything I’m not. Which I guess is a good way to be, really. Much better than the opposite, anyway.

I managed to fall asleep for 45 minutes or so this morning, I think, before my alarm went off. Naturally, I had a really stressful and emotional dream during that time, to ensure I awoke even more exhausted than necessary for a Friday. I was moving slow, left late, but still got to work on time. The rest of the week I’ve been leaving early and getting to work late, so even that much went better this morning than it has been the rest of the week.

I just…need to get through the weekend without being even more of a mess by Monday morning!

Wednesday Thoughts

Before I woke up this morning, I was dreaming something mundane – I think I was just getting ready to go to work, actually. I’d found a new pair of jeans, which I’d forgotten I even owned (because in real life I actually don’t). They still had those plastic sizing strips on them, but an abundance of them, which I had to peel off first, because it’s just embarrassing to find out you’ve been walking around with tags and the like still on your clothes.

Whoa – I just typed “clothes” as “close” and had to correct it. Sleepy much?

Anyway, it was taking me longer and longer to get ready to leave, and I kept checking the time and getting more and more stressed about how late it was getting. I was excited to wear my new surprise jeans, though. They were still going to be a bit big, but better than most, and not full of holes like my real jeans are. I remember trying to decide which belt I should wear, too. As in, which one is falling apart the least. It’s a real-life dilemma found in even the barest wisp of a dream.

Anyway, the thing is, when I actually woke up, I remained confused about what I had to do with my day in real waking life. That sense of disorientation continued on far too long for my liking. It was actually a struggle to remain focused on getting ready for work without thinking about the new pair of jeans I didn’t really have, if that makes sense. My brain kept going back to the dream life and I’d have to consciously force it back to real life. Weird.

In other news, there was an impromptu puppy party on my street last night! Brody and I were out after work, as usual, and it was not only a nice evening, but also the time of day pretty much everyone is out with their dogs. We ran into one of his treats ladies, and she was already talking to another lady with her dog, and then more people and dogs just kept coming by to join in! We had a good 6 or 7 dogs on the go at one point, all greeting each other and each other’s people and Brody could often be found in the middle, gazing longingly at the treats lady in case more treats came his way! He’s taken to pre-sitting in anticipation of possibly getting a treat now, instead of waiting to be asked to sit for one. Silly puppy. Silly clever puppy. ❤

Tonight is The Mind Reels’ almost-all-girl rendition of a Flash Gordon episode from 1935! And the Reelie award winners announcement! So excited! One girl had to back out, unfortunately, but since it’s because she booked a gig on a new show, it’s not really that unfortunate! We’ll just have to get her back when she’s able! There are still three lovely ladies joining us, however, and I think it’s still going to be pretty epic. Or hilarious. Or both. I’m really looking forward to it!

I’ve been thinking about something Gord said during the Hip concert on Saturday night; about how we’ve been trained our whole lives to ignore Canada’s northern Aboriginal people, and how we’ve learned not to listen to anything that’s happening up there. He said he thinks it’s maybe even worse now than it’s ever been. I got this idea suddenly to maybe do something with The Mind Reels blog page about it, specifically with high school kids, perhaps. It’s a vague notion, and I don’t know if it would really work or be beneficial to anyone in any way, but there’s a seed of a thought I want to talk to Tim about. If it doesn’t work out with Mind Reels, then maybe I could still reach out and make something happen with this blog, or set up something else entirely. I was reminded of a simple exercise I’d done in teacher’s college with the kids in the Grade 7-8 classes I was teaching during my practicum. I hadn’t really expected it to go as well as it did. Not that I thought it would go badly. I just hadn’t anticipated how willingly some of the kids would open up about themselves and their home lives once they knew someone was listening. Not even that, really – I think it’s more that someone asked them. I’m learning that we all generally do like to talk about ourselves and things we are passionate about and the dreams we have for ourselves. Not in an ego way, but rather in a someone-is-interested way. Even the quietest kid in our Grade 8 homeroom – the kid who opted out of pretty much every assignment because he wasn’t feeling the participation vibe ever. That kid filled out a sheet of questions about himself…told a whole story about something that happened when he was living on a reservation up north before coming to the city. Then he actually spoke at length about some of it – out loud – with the whole class listening. We had to listen hard because he was speaking so quietly from his desk at the back of the room, but still. He was talking, and we all were listening. It was probably the only time all year that you could hear a pin drop in that room, because every kid in there knew what a rare occasion it was, and for once no one felt the need to spoil it.

So we’ll see. Maybe there’s a way I can help give kids an outlet; a space in which to discover and share their own voices.

I’ll just, you know, add it to my To Do list.

Hodgepodge of Nothing to Say

You know, I was feeling pretty good this morning – not physically, of course, but in every other way. Then I got to work and between how that’s going, and people and the internet and just, like…what the hell, Universe? I don’t even eat cornflakes, so why ya gotta go pissin’ in ’em, anyway?

Ridiculous.

Labels – do they bring us together and give us community? Or further divide us? Because how it feels when you don’t fit into the labels you define yourself with and/or with which others define you, would suggest the latter. And yet we keep coming up with more. We oversimplify and categorize and ignore less and less of the unique individual beneath the groupings.

It’s weird.

This is what some online comment/arguments/conversations look like to me:

Person 1 – I sometimes enjoy watching fish swim around. It’s calming to me.

Person 2 – I can’t believe people like you actually exist! I love the colour orange! In fact, oranges – which are MADE from orange – are super healthy, and you’re obviously an idiot who doesn’t deserve to live.

Note how they aren’t even talking about the same thing. Not on the same page, not in the same book – pretty sure not even on the same planet. It’s not even an argument at that point, because two completely different things are being said. Tearing a strip off someone without bothering to understand what you’re responding to is just silly, people.

At best.

Today has gone so awry in tiny ways that I can’t even remember what I wanted to say. I’m hungry, though, so I’ll eat shortly and maybe just look at pictures I took, or something.

I went through my budget this morning, because I realized I’d miscalculated last week by forgetting one of my more major expenses. I knew I wasn’t as well off this month as it had seemed. I don’t know if I can make it work now, but I’m definitely going to do my best! We’ll see what happens over the next two weeks!

I keep coming up with more things I should perhaps cut out of my to do list, but I’m not sure which ones I’m most okay with ditching. This whole skipping antidepressant doses is messing with my mind and heart, so I’m trying to be careful about which doors I close right now. Trying not to make too many regrettable mistakes, but sometimes it’s hard!

Plus, I keep coming up with more things to add to the list, which is ridiculous, but that is how my brain works. Always thinking of more.

Sometimes I don’t quite know why I do as much as I do, when those I am supposed to be doing them with are actually doing so much less.

Maybe I should just do more for me.

But maybe that would be a mistake, too. So I’ll wait a while and not make any hard decisions until I feel more confident in my ability to make them.

Where possible, anyway!

Learning To Make New Choices

I love the sound of a cold can of pop being opened. Or beer. Or pretty much anything cold. Popping that tab just sounds refreshing in my brain.

And coconut rice from the place down the street, which I am eating right now.

Not sure what to talk about today. Haha

I’ve been thinking more about how I can’t do everything. Like, obviously, because few people can, if any. I mean, we spend so much time doing things that we don’t necessarily want to do, that we don’t have enough time to do more of the things we want. Factor in finances and it seems pretty much impossible sometimes.

I think part of my problem is always trying to do too much. I spread myself too thin and then can’t fully enjoy some stuff. I try to do little bits of lots of things. I still make choices – let go of some things in favour of keeping others. More and more sacrifices have been made in the past couple of years, but they don’t really seem like sacrifices, which is good. It’s usually been a choice between something I’ve always done, like TIFF, for something I want to do more, like break a Guinness World Record or spend more time with friends or go to the zoo or a baseball game more often.

I think another part of the problem is in my ability to plan realistically. Like, I used to have everything mapped out for the year. I knew when the time would come to buy TIFF packages or Fan Expo passes, and I knew how those things fit into my budget on an annual basis. But lately there are so many different things coming up; things I didn’t do before. Things I didn’t know to plan for before. My priorities have shifted, and I find myself making different choices than I used to. Which is great, definitely. It’s just that I have a harder time planning far in advance now, I think. I’m okay saving for short term goals, but the longer term is more difficult, because so much changes in the meantime. I knew last year sometime that I wouldn’t be able to go to the BLT’s 15th birthday party this summer, for example. At some point, I realized that any money I had been saving had gone to other things. I wasn’t always thinking, “It’s this or the BLT but not both”, but I’m not sure it would have made a difference. It might have, but definitely not in every case.

I can’t even remember which specific moment caused me to actually choose between getting there this year or postponing it another year. It might have been renewing my zoo membership, or something Fan Expo-related. I think it was in the fall when I realized there wasn’t enough time left to start saving for a trip that would last longer than a day or two. There was whatever I was paying for at the time, and then the holidays stretching out before me, and birthdays and anniversaries and…it just got to be too late. I have very little to work with that it’s one of those things I have to commit to saving for WELL in advance; as far in advance as possible, really.

But I also think I need to change what I’m deciding between. Like, some of my monthly expenses can be altered or disposed of, and that would make a little difference each month, but a large difference overall. I think changes need to be made more in lifestyle than in individual expenditures. I need to actually figure out what’s most important to me, and focus more on those things.

Last year was the first time I didn’t go to any TIFF screenings because I couldn’t afford it, I didn’t take the time off work like I usually do, and there was just so much going on that I couldn’t even think of adding more to my plate. And yet, was it the end of the world? Not even remotely. I hadn’t even really looked into what was screening (except Midnight Madness because I wanted to go to one with my friend, Jen, but couldn’t even make that much happen), so I didn’t feel like I was missing much. I was focused more on other things; things which took priority over film screenings. Hard to imagine, even now, in a way, and yet there you go. There was too much on my To Do list so I whittled it down to something more manageable, and I didn’t feel like I’d really lost out, or gone against my instinct. I’d just changed some, and had other things calling to me more.

Things like that are all short term, too. By not spending money on a TIFF pass, I had more left over to do other smaller things, instead of that one big thing. And it was okay. I enjoyed myself.

It does, however, bother me that I won’t be at the boys’ birthday party next month. Something has to change just so that I don’t feel this way again next time.

Now I just have to figure out how to transfer that over so that it’s the other way around. Give up some little things and save up for the larger thing. It’s harder now because the little things are all kind of new, and I haven’t had a chance to really prioritize them into what I can and can’t do without. That in itself is a good exercise, whether there’s an end goal in mind, or not. I’ve been cruising along on my path of always-the-sameness for a long time; afraid to deviate lest I make a mistake and have to file for bankruptcy again, or something. However, I think I can make some changes and move things around without having things suddenly go that far, and some of the always-the-same things aren’t things I can’t do without, anymore. They served their purpose, and got me through when I needed them, but I’m not the same person, and I should spend less time trying to still be that, and more time trying to sort out what kind of person I am now.

I can be worth knowing. 🙂

The Done List

It’s kind of crazy sometimes, how much you can get done when you find a way to balance your focus.

I am less on my game today compared to yesterday, but still pretty impressive. Yesterday I managed to get a ton of invoicing done at work, and put up some Guinness World Record clips on Youtube (tagged and labelled, of course), organized the list of links, etc for that, posted an album on Facebook of pictures from my trip to the zoo over the weekend, wrote a blog post, edited my short story down to just over the maximum word count for the TO Star contest (so will take a bit more out when I have a chance to go over it), joined a team for one of the BBBS Bowling For Kids Sake charity events (and grabbed a few others to join us, as well), cut more clips of GWR footage to get posted, and watched the new X-Files episode as it aired. Along with all the usual things, like walking the dog, feeding everyone dinner, etc.

A lot of those things I did at once, and work was especially insane because I’d had Friday off, and there were a ton of backorders that needed to be pulled, transferred, and billed. Our computer system at work is still fairly new, so the time it takes to do anything also still comes with a bit of a learning curve.

It just basically feels like my brain was running on all cylinders, like, pretty much the entire time I was awake! haha

Today is not much different. I can’t actually tell if it’s the same, better, or worse, because my mind is spinning on several different things at once and I am finding it difficult to concentrate on writing this.

So maybe that makes it worse. I definitely don’t feel like my focus is quite as balanced as it was yesterday, but I am also eating now, so maybe that will help. We shall see!

In the meantime, I was thinking this morning about how much I managed to get done yesterday, and was kind of blown away by myself. Not exactly in a “gee, aren’t I impressive” kind of way, but in that feeling of – like, it’s stressful, trying to do so much at once, and do it all well. But it’s also kind of a rush. More after than during, but even when you’re in the middle of it, you can feel everything sort of working, and even though you don’t have time to make even a mental To Do list, you can feel your mind sort of checking things off, anyway. Maybe not so much a To Do list, as a DONE list. It’s like locking into the zone and not freaking out too much about what you still need to do, but rather acknowledging what you have already done, and moving on without dwelling on any of it.

Until the next morning, apparently, when you feel the need to write a quick blog post about your feelings with regard to said Done list.

I will need to think on this further at another time (lunch break is over), but I feel like this might be the kind of shift I need to adopt more regularly into my life – balancing my focus while multi-tasking, and perhaps getting more done during a given timeframe than I would by listing what I need To Do ahead of time, by instead noting what I’ve already Done.

The Done List! It definitely feels much better to consider than any To Do list, that’s for sure!