Sometimes, I write things elsewhere

I think one of the reasons why I’ve kept a blog of some form or another for the last eighteen years is because I like to write. It’s a pretty selfish endeavour. When I studied journalism at school, I always toyed with the idea of making a career out of writing.

But then life happened, and writing became more of a tool I stuck in my toolbox along with my ability to develop strategic media plans and wrestle vendors.

I do still enjoy writing. I like to use it as a creative outlet. A lot of the stuff I write never sees the light of day. A lot of it is rubbish. Most of it is self-indulgent.

Snark Squad!

But then, sometimes, I get asked to recap a horrible teen drama from my youth. And I jump at the chance. So go see my writing published elsewhere. This week, I’m recapping an episode of the OC over on the Snark Squad site. Check it out.

 

Tackling home improvements, DIY style

For someone who claims to hate the upheaval that comes with home improvement projects, I certainly engage in that activity often. In the six years since we bought our home, we have undergone four major home improvement projects. And we’ve decided to tackle another one this summer.

For the most part, we’ve been pretty hands-off with the actual work. We know our limits and have hired professionals to install the new vanity and sink in the ensuite and the new kitchen. Last summer’s main level floor replacement was the result of water damage, so again, professionals were involved in that six week process. Painting is something I feel comfortable handling myself and my brothers helped install new floors in all four bedrooms, as well as the main entry way and kitchen. I’ve never been super confident in my own handiness, but this summer, with M back at school, there wasn’t exactly room in the budget to hire pros.

Unfortunately, a leaky toilet, stopped up sink and general ugly gloom of the main bathroom wasn’t going to cut it when we have guests coming to stay with us for a week in the middle of August, so…

This room has been in desperate need of an update. We didn’t paint it when we moved in. I’ve been ignoring the paint stains on the floor from the previous owner. I’ve tried not to look too closely at the out-of-date countertop. I pretended not to notice that the toilet was while and the sink was off-while, caulked with almond-coloured caulk. It’s the only room on the entire upper floor that hasn’t had any work done to it. So it’s time.

Time to tackle another home improvement project. And this one, it’s going to be DIY all the way.

The plans for this hopefully cost-effective bathroom up-date are:

  • Replace sink & plumbing under the sink
  • Replace toilet
  • Update countertop
  • Paint walls & ceiling
  • Update flooring

Fingers crossed that we’ll survive this and that the main bathroom will be useable once we’re through with it…

Stream of consciousness tweets

I love Twitter, but sometimes 140 characters are just not enough for me to properly share what I’m processing. Because of this, I’ll end up tweeting a bunch of things in a row. I’ve taken to calling these my stream of consciousness tweets. This past Saturday, July 10th, a date that had been very significant to me in the past, went by without me evening realizing what day it was. It took me by surprise at first. And then I starting turning it over in my head, and… stream of consciousness tweets was the result. I want to share these tweets here, because I these words are import to me:

 

 

Falling for the public library

I’ve pretty much always been a reader. I would find an author or a series and read every book written, one after another. In the summers, my mother would take my brothers and I to our library to sign up for the summer reading challenges and I’d easily hit the book count within the first few weeks of the summer vacation. As an adult, I rarely visit libraries anymore and had been mostly buying books or borrowing them from my friends. Books take up a lot of real estate in our home, and it makes me a little crazy. I don’t like clutter or to feel closed in by a lot of stuff. So my book habit has dropped off, and with it, so has my reading.
I’ve been wanting to read more. Last year, I read maybe 3 books, tops. For the entire year. I didn’t really want to be buying books again. But I have a confession about borrowing books from a library… Library books gross me out. I have an irrational germophobia around certain things. Library books sometimes come with mysterious stains in them. There was a bedbug outbreak at our main library branch. And I can never seem to get this picture out of my head; the big stack of my friend’s dad’s library books on the toilet tank… So many germs. So my irrational germophobia says a huge nope to bringing those books into my house. Which in turn, has kind of curbed my reading habit of late.

Then, this past weekend happened. It basically rained from Friday night straight through until Monday morning. It was cold and gray and perfect spend the weekend with a stack of books weather. But I didn’t have a stack of books. I was complaining to M about my lack of reading material and he suggested I look into borrowing eBooks from the library. Freaking genius. Through a desktop and iPad app, I had access to my public library’s electronic library. I can finally enjoy reading again, despite my irrational library-book-related germophobia.

Dancing Ron

It also means I can borrow books from the library without having to interact with actual human people out in the world, but I’ll leave my hermit-tendencies for another day.

I love my public library again. And that’s a great thing.

A Quick Thought on Saying Sorry

As you should be, Loki.

When did it become uncool to apologize?

Saying you’re sorry and actually meaning it seems to have developed a whole new meaning lately.  I’ve read countless articles in men’s and women’s magazines alike warning against apologizing.  I’ve seen so many blog posts championing the ‘times you should never ever apologize’ mentality.  Bloggers and columnists are telling us that apologizing for certain things can show weakness, or worse, could cost us ‘winning’ an argument.

Now, maybe my Canadian is showing, but I fail to see how admitting you made a mistake and feeling a bit of regret for effing up is a sign of weakness. Or that winning every argument is the most important thing when it comes to conflicts.

Sure, apologizing is not always the most comfortable thing to do in the world. It can be awkward. It can be hard to admit you’ve made a mistake. It can leave you feeling vulnerable, and as a general rule, we humans do not like that so much. But sometimes, a genuine, authentic apology is the first step to letting go of your fuck ups, of working through hurt feelings and, most important of all in my opinion; an apology requires the reflection on a situation that helps you learn from your mistakes.

 

 

 

Hashtag Freelance Life

self five

Reality of freelance life: There is only you to high-five you.

For the last few years, I’ve been freelancing. Being a freelancer isn’t all Starbucks coffee runs and working from your bed while you marathon TV shows on Netflix. When I tell people I work as a freelancer, I always cringe a bit, waiting for the inevitable comments and questions… That range from mild curiosity to things that make me want to Hulksmash. Here are some of the frequently asked questions and comments I get about freelancing — and my responses to them.

How do you actually get any work done?

It’s called the desire to not be homeless. Because if I didn’t meet deadlines and get work done, I wouldn’t be paid the pretty, pretty money that helps me pay the bills. It’s amazing how motivating that can be. Not to mention the fact that as a freelancer, so much of your job comes down to making awesome relationships with awesome clients so that they will hire you again and refer you to their friends. I’ve always worked hard to do my best work, but when you freelance, the pressure to be your best sky rockets. You learn to focus, buckle down and not only get the work done, but make sure it’s your best. Because there really aren’t any other options.

It must be nice to work from home!

Yes, it can be. It can also be the worst thing ever. There is very little home-work separation. I find it’s really hard to end my day, because my work life and personal life live in the same place. So yes, while I’m working, I can use my work breaks to do chores around the home, it also means that there is no home life-work life separation.

Be honest, you don’t actually work full days, do you?

I rarely work a traditional ‘full day’. Sometimes, I work sixteen hours a day, sometimes I work four. Freelancing gives me the opportunity to set my own work hours, to an extent. Sometimes, I don’t have the work volume that requires a full work week, sometimes, I feel like I need more hours in my day to meet deadlines. If you enjoy the chaos of having your schedule in constant flux… Hashtag freelance.

I’d love to not have to face my coworkers everyday– You’re lucky!

I find sometimes freelancing can be incredibly isolating. When I’m knee-deep in an assignment or contract, I don’t get out much. I don’t readily have people to brainstorm with or collaborate with. It can be lonely. That’s actually the one part of freelancing that has really surprised me– I actually miss the comraderie and energy of having coworkers.

How often do you turn coffee shops into your office?

That tends to be a personal choice. I have some freelance friends who work out of a cafe, diner or coffee shop a few days a week. I don’t do it that often, mostly because I have trouble focusing in that environment. I’m much more interested in the people around me, the music playing, that bird over there… I do find it useful when I’m meeting with clients or need some normal human interaction with people.

Being your own boss must be awesome!

Okay, yeah. Being your own boss is kinda awesome. It’s also a lot of pressure and pretty damn scary. As a freelancer, and as your own boss, you’re basically responsible for every aspect of your work and your job. Landing new work, scheduling, managing complaints or challenging clients, collecting on invoices, juggling the finances– it’s all on you! So yes, while it is pretty awesome to be in charge of it all, it’s also equal parts stress and pressure. The perfect balance, right?

Do you freelance? Or want to freelance? Have you worked with a freelancer before? Tell me about your experiences, I love hearing all about it.

 

Monday, Currently.

Oh, hey, remember that I used to blog? I just did. Gearing up for another week, I figured I’d take a few moments to record what’s current in my life right now (see also: a quick update on the world of GFM).

Currently

watching:

Just finished watching my beloved Raptors getting swept in the first round of playoffs last night, so I can tell you what I won’t be watching. Otherwise, it’s Agents of SHIELD and Blacklist, all the way.

reading:

The Saga Series. Fantastic artwork, captivating story. I highly recommend it.

listening:

Walk Off The Earth has a new album coming out soon and I’m obsessed with their new single ‘Rule the World’.

Hozier’s Take Me To Church, because, well… I just feel it in my bones.

And Riptide by Vance Joy, still. Always.

making:

I’m not, actually. I’m feeling a bit creativity-starved. I need to figure out what to be getting my hands dirty with. Not a euphemism.

feeling:

Pretty good, actually. After being so sick through the winter, I’m feeling better and getting stronger everyday. It’s an awesome feeling.

planning:

A birthday brunch for next weekend. Have fallen down the Pinterest rabbit hole a few times with that one. I’m also pumped for spring cleaning and getting some projects done around the house. We’re coming up on six years of being in this house… So it’s about time to get some home renos on again.

loving:

Work right now, it makes such a difference having great bosses. The hope of spring weather on the horizon. Feeling better. …Would it be too cheesy to say ‘life in general’? Cuz, yeah, that.

What’s current in your life right now?

Real Tips to Survive the Winter

I know I say this every year since moving back to a country where it snows during the winter, but this has been the longest, coldest, most terrible winter, ever.

No, fuck you, Game of Thrones guy.

But seeing as I’ve decided to make this frozen tundra my permanent home even after enjoying the balmy winters of Perth, I’ve decided I just have to suck it up, create a winter survival plan and get through this season that lasts 6 months longer than it should.

If you need help getting through these terrible winters, I’m sharing some of my best winter survival tips today. I hope they help you make it through to the other side of one of Mother Nature’s crueler jokes.

    • Denial: For as long as humanly possible, deny the fact that another winter has arrived. Wear those sandals and spring jackets long after the temperature has dipped below freezing. If you ignore it, maybe it isn’t really there.

    • Get a winter appropriate wardrobe: Once winter has settled in, you do know deep down in your heart that it’s here to stay for six to eleven months, so it’s best to prepare for it. Stocking up on layers of long johns, singlets, long sleeve t-shirts, sweaters, parkas and wearable blankets is the way to go. At least you can feel warm on the outside, because your cold, frozen heart won’t thaw til at least July.

      • Subscribe to Netflix: Sign up for one of those streaming TV services. There are a bunch cropping up in Canada, trying to compete with Netflix, each with a more ridiculous name than the last (Showmi? REALLY?). I’ve stuck with Netflix, but any service that allows you to binge watch works, because you won’t be going outside for at least half a year.


        Sleep

      • Hibernate: Bears have the right idea: just skip the whole winter experience by sleeping through it. It’ll be like it never, ever happened.


soup belly

    • Eat all the comfort food: Comfort food is different for everyone, but nothing helps you ignore the harsh, cold winters like baked mac and cheese or tomato basil soup.


    • Drink: Nothing makes me forget the sixty feet of snow, slick sidewalks and cold wind that chaps my face and lips than a drink. Hot chocolate, tea, or my favourite… whiskey. Nothing makes me feel warmer on the inside than whiskey.


    • Cry: When winter’s going into its fifth month and you just don’t think you can take another twelve feet of snow or another day of -40 before the windchill, do what I do: cry. Just be sure to do that in the warmth of your home so your tears don’t freeze to your face.


      nelly-hot-in-herre-1421775412

    • Think warm thoughts: Sunshine, beaches, summer, fire, David Tennant, Chloe Bennet, temperatures above zero. Eventually, those longer, warmer days will come back and soon we’ll be able to complain about how damn hot it is again.

Only nine days until the official start of spring! How have you survived this winter? Or are you one of those people who love winter (you weirdo)?

 

 

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