Friday Favourites

Essay Writing... © by mortsan

Today starts Reading Week for me, which means that most students are traveling somewhere exotic or sleeping the days away until they can go out partying. Unfortunately, between spending all my money on taxis in the past couple weeks and having tons of projects to do, I’ll be staying at home all week and trying to be as productive as possible. I’m looking forward to so many things right now, even though I don’t know when they’ll be. What can I say? Life is frustrating sometimes. At least I can escape for a bit to read some fun things online!

How to Survive when Everything Sucks feels pretty fitting right now. I’m so frustrated and so exhausted, and being sick hasn’t done much for my mood lately. Regardless, we must keep on keepin’ on!

It seems like every week I add something in the list from Yes and Yes, but I can’t help it! All the posts are amazing, and Learning To Love Your Body, Regardless of Your Size is no exception. This is something I’ve been working on for so long – I know it’s a process, and I’ll get there eventually.

The Culture of Entitlement is something that I’ve noticed more and more lately, and I’m so glad that it was written about. I’m so tired of seeing selfish, self-important people who have no respect for others. I wish we could go back to a time when people were, well, nice.

I’m a sucker for romantic proposals – especially creative ones like this infographic. What would you do if your proposal became famous on the Internet?

I love Questionable Content. They’ve outdone themselves with this comic, though. It’s now my computer’s wallpaper. ELEPHANT!

For the record, elephants are my favourite animal. What’s yours?

Cough, cough.

H1n1 © by kodomut

It’s official – I’ve caught Mark’s cold. It’s all the same right now, since I’m pretty much stuck at home because of the transit strike, but I hate being sick anyway. All the sneezing and coughing and sinus headaches and inability to sleep – it’s awful!

I sometimes feel a bit like the little sneezing panda. See, Lilo likes to follow me around when she’s concerned by me, and lately she’s been sleeping at the top of my head when I’m curled up in bed. Whenever I sneeze, though, she jumps so quickly that you’d think someone poked her! It’s super cute.

One unfortunate thing that has come of this cold is the fact that when Mark was still sick, he took all of the pill-form cold medicine. Sadly, this means that we only have Neocitran in the apartment. If you’ve never had it (or heard of it), it’s basically a hot lemon-flavoured cold medicine. I now have mixed thoughts on it, because I’ve finally been sick enough to suck it up and finish my first two mugs of it. (Not at once, obviously.)

It tastes more bitter than just about anything I’ve ever tasted. I think at one point in my sleepy haze I mentioned to Mark that he finally got me to drink a “mug of the poisony lemon tasting stuff”. (Yes, I’m intelligent when I’m half-asleep and sick!) Taste aside, though – this stuff works. Within a half hour of finishing my mug, I was fast asleep. So I guess I’ll suck it up until I can sleep on my own again without waking myself up sneezing!

Housebound

Where's this bus going?
Where's this bus going? © by Iguanasan

I miss the buses.

I sometimes go off on an angry rant to poor Mark, who is also feeling the bus strike as much as I am.

I’ve gone to class only for midterms and to turn in assignments, because I can’t afford the $50 per day to travel there and back for each of my three days of classes per week. I paid for a bus pass in my tuition, and I certainly don’t have enough left over to be spending $150 per week on taxi fare – I have to pay rent and bills and buy food, too!

Mark struggled with getting his work to change his schedule to match the only person who lives anywhere near us, who was willing to drive him to work. They finally changed it, and her car was stolen. Because of this, he’s now used up his last sick day of the year. In February.

There are lots of “facts” flying around about why the strike is still going on. The union blames the city, the city blames the union, and nobody’s been talking since last week.

People are losing their jobs. I’m getting lower grades because every one of my classes has a participation and attendance mark that I no longer can afford to receive.

I just wish it would end. I hate being tied up in the apartment all day.

Friday Favourites

Beach © by Moyan_Brenn

Can someone book me a spot in that chair, right there? I don’t need long. Maybe a week or so? I’d love to get away from here for a bit and just breathe in the salt air – and relax.

For now, though, most of my relaxing comes from reading blogs! Here are some of my favourites for the week.

Last week, Caity linked a fantastic-sounding recipe for Stuffed Pepper Soup. I definitely have to try it – one of my favourite foods growing up was stuffed peppers! Of course, I also loved stuffed cabbage (or Gołąbki, to my Polish family) so maybe I just love stuffed foods. Yum!

My Friends Are All Married With Kids. Will They Adandon Me? is another fantastic gem from Yes and Yes! Sometimes I feel as though I’m living in the in-between ages. I’m too old to be partying with the teenagers, but I don’t want to settle down and have kids and be totally domestic, either. This article showed me that I’m totally not alone in this!

How To Love Yourself In 17 Ways is yet another article about self-love, but in the dead of winter, we could all use a boost, am I right? I know sometimes I take myself for granted, and this is a good thing to look at when I’m feeling especially low.

Speaking of winter, how about this Winter Wellness Guide? Mark seems to realize some of these intuitively, having followed me around for the past couple weeks offering to light candles for “mood lighting” while I try to relax and stop stressing about one thing or the other.

On that note, tell me: how do you take extra care of yourself in the winter?

Yawn.

Yawning cheetah cub © by Tambako the Jaguar

Yep, that’s pretty much how I feel right now. Exhausted. Mentally and physically.

See, I had to take a cab today, because the bus strike is still on. I’m currently waiting for Tim’s to open so I can get a tea and something to eat, because I’ve pretty much been up since 4:00 – after getting to sleep around 1:30. I couldn’t avoid coming to school today; I have two assignments due, as well as having to take a midterm for my Marketing course. So to try to avoid being late for my 8:30 class, I decided I needed to try and skip the traffic (see this Twitter post from Haligonia to get an idea of what I mean) in case it was still bad. Because of this, I took a cab at 6:30. For an 8:30 class. On the bright side, I only had to pay around $20 for it, when I expected it to be much more. On the downside, that trip would have cost me $2.25 at most (and I’m ignoring the fact that I have a U-Pass and that my bus fares are paid for with my tuition – and heavily discounted), if the buses weren’t on strike. Ehh, it’s only nearly 10 times the amount. Clearly, for an unemployed student, that’s totally doable.

I’m trying to keep a bit more upbeat than I have been, because I know how low I got earlier in the week. Monday evening I had a full-blown anxiety attack because of some issues we had dealing with carpools and taxis and Mark’s job, and between the release of that (yes, it’s a bit of a release, even though it’s miserable) coupled with the fact that I let myself post about my depression definitely made me feel a bit more human, and more alive. Yesterday, I tackled all the assignments that I needed to do for today, and tried to relax. Today, it’s around 12 hours of classes (oof!) followed by a second cab drive home (yuck), and then I’m free until Friday. Friday, I’m stuck coming back here again, whether the buses are or not – I have another midterm.

I guess, even though I said I didn’t want to put too much in about my opinion when it comes to the bus strike, it’s impossible to avoid it entirely. I think I’m probably biased, since it happened right when I needed buses the most for exams, but it feels unfair. Why should an entire city suffer? I’m jealous of people who can actually carpool – or who even have cars at this point. As much as I was glad to sell my car, I do miss it a bit. Oh, well. Maybe things will look up in the near future. One can only hope, right?

The Scary Post

items we carry © by jronaldlee

I have avoided talking about this since the blog was restarted because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try to keep things upbeat and positive all the time, instead of dwelling on the negative stuff going on with me. However, that came at a bad time, because I had so many bad things going on that I didn’t have much to say – which explains all the posts about what other people had to say. Not that I want to stop doing my Friday Favourites, but I don’t want that to be the bulk of what I write about.

Instead, I’m going to come clean. Most of the people reading this have known me for some time, and already know that I have severe depression. The problem is, I haven’t been coping with it very well. I just kept taking more classes, and giving myself more of a burden – then hating myself and giving myself horrible guilt-trips every time I couldn’t handle it all. Last semester, I skipped half my classes – not because I was sick, but because there were so many days that getting out of bed in the morning took more energy than I had.

The worst part is that I get so frustrated about it all. While I know it’s not my fault, and I can’t control it, I just wish I could fight past it. So many people are dealing with so many things, and here I am sad about everything and nothing, all at the same time. It’s exhausting.

I finally had enough of it, though – I went to see a psychologist last week about some therapy. I hated making the appointment, though. It felt like giving up the control that I should have over my brain, and over my emotions, and over my life. The therapy will help – I know this – but it’s hard for me. I don’t remember what it’s like to not feel sad or anxious all the time, and I don’t know what it’ll be like when things start to change.

I’ll probably talk a little bit about what I’m feeling throughout this process, because otherwise I might not get everything out the way I need to. Not only that, but this blog will dry up horribly if I just try to hide all the bad stuff. Like I said – anxiety and depression aren’t things that I can exactly help. I can only learn how to deal with them, which is what I’m trying to do.

The big problem now is the Metro Transit strike. Not only will I have to pay nearly $100 in cab fares next week alone for the two midterms that I have, but I’ll be missing most of my classes, and I am not able to make another appointment with the counselling centre or with the doctor that I need to see to evaluate whether I need medication until it’s done. I hate that once I finally put one foot forward toward “fixing” what’s going on with me, something jumps in to throw a wrench in it. That said, I’m not willing to walk four and a half hours, across a bridge and on the waterfront, in below-freezing temperatures. I can’t imagine that’d be any better for my health than postponing my appointment until the strike is over with.

Note that I’m not putting my opinion in about the strike. It’s not that I don’t have one – I do, and poor Mark has had to hear it – it’s that I don’t want to rant about something like that any more than about how it affects me. There’s obviously something going on under the surface of those negotiations that we’re not being told. I just wish they’d done this in the summer, instead of in the winter. Our city is pretty screwed up until this gets fixed.

Friday Favourites

quotes © by emmasen

I had a bit of a rough week this week, which I’ll be posting about next week in a bit more detail. (Sorry for being all cryptic on ya! I promise it’ll make sense soon.) It’s weeks like these, though, where reading encouraging posts on the internet and seeing how happy people are helps – a lot. Here are some of my favourites for the week!

What fantastic, uplifting things have you read this week?

My Favourite Minecrafters

The Village in Minecraft © by post-apocalyptic research institute

I have to admit: I watch a lot of Minecraft videos on YouTube. I especially like the series videos, like Let’s Play-style or long challenge survival maps. Here are some of my favourites!

Etho’s Lab: He’s got a fantastic Let’s Play series and he’s playing through one of Vechs’ survival maps, Legendary. It’s interesting, because every time I watch one of his videos, I learn something new!

Docm77: I picture him a bit as the “mad scientist” of the Minecraft world. He’s always trying new things and pushing Minecraft to its limits, and in the meantime, has built an amazing world in his World Tour series!

Zisteau: I’ve watched through all the current videos for his Legendary series (the same map that Etho, above, is playing through) and am filling my time now watching through his Kaizo Caverns series. He approaches the maps in a different way: intent to break all the rules. The best part is that the kind of maps he’s playing actually reward that behaviour, so it always ends up working out.

Avidya Zen: This is a channel I watch not only for his “Avidya’s Adventures” series (a Minecraft Let’s Play), but also for his old Terraria series, since that’s a game I’m getting more and more into these days. (More on this later!) He’s also got fantastic tutorials that really break things down to a manageable level.

Vechs: I’ve already mentioned him twice, since he’s the creator of the Legendary and Kaizo Cavern map – among many other amazing maps. However, he’s taken it to the next level, and is playing through one of his newest maps, with a developer commentary along the way. It’s so awesome to see what kind of thought goes into making the amazing maps and traps and structures.

Do you watch any Minecraft videos on YouTube? I’m always on the lookout for good new channels!

Relax.

relax © by twicepix

It seems that 2012 is the year of “choosing a word”. So many of the blogs that I read have people choosing their one word for 2012, explaining that it’s the one thing they’ll focus on instead of a New Year’s resolution.

For example, Goddess Leonie is focusing on “fun”. Anna of Curvy Yoga is focusing on the word soften. Jo from August Empress has chosen the word Flourish. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

For me, I think I need to relax more. In focusing on this idea of relaxing, though, I think putting expectations out there to be the most relaxed person ever would be counterintuitive, so I’m trying to go about this in the easiest way possible. Mark always catches me when I start to stress, stops me, and tells me to relax. I need to remember to do this on my own.

As humans, breathing is obviously one of the first things we intuitively know how to do. It’s much harder to remember to stop and do so when you need it most, though. Once I start tensing up, I stop breathing slowly and calmly, my headaches flare up, and I end up in a situation where I’ve had the same migraine for a week and don’t know how to get over it. No amount of headache pills help, but sometimes sleep does. It’s obvious why: I’m relaxed.

So this year (and future years, too!) I plan to relax. I can handle everything that comes to me if I just take it on one step at a time.

Friday Favourites

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Our cat Lilo is pretty funny. She acts mean, but she’s a softie. In fact, most of the time, if she and Stitch (our other cat) are playing, she’s the one who instigated it! It’s moments like these that really warm my heart though – she had no idea I’d wander in and see them cuddling. All together now: Awwwwwwwww. And now on to some fun links!

I’m a total pushover sometimes, but I loved this article from Lifehacker about How to Say No (Without Being an Asshole).

I may have quit playing World of Warcraft for now, and I may be focusing less on trying to lose weight than I was before, but I can always appreciate a good comparison between real life and an RPG. Bonus points for the focus on baby steps – killing a couple of (figurative) rats never seems too difficult!

As someone who doesn’t have tons of friends, I value the ones that I have more than they probably even realize. I completely agree with this article about the value of female friendship – no matter how happy I am in my relationship, there are some things that require a female friend.

I love cupcakes. I think someone should make me some of these gorgeous colourful cupcakes. I’d be forever grateful!

I often find myself looking at other women and how put together they seem, and wonder how they do it. It turns out, I’m not the only one!

Just a reminder to myself, as well as to all the other awesome women out there: You are Lovable at Any Size.