Knit 1, Purl 1, Knit 1, Purl 1…

I’m the kind of person who has a billion hobbies and is always searching for more. I go through phases, or cycles of them. I’ll find something interesting and engaging, throw myself into it wholeheartedly and see where it takes me. I have a lot of creative energy, it makes me feel happy and fulfilled to craft or create. That feeling of accomplishment when you’ve produced something is a rush like no other. It makes me feel interesting and special, crafty and crazy. But most importantly, it’s an outlet. For all the thoughts, feelings, dreams, and internal strangeness that cannot be expressed any other way. If you’re a fellow zany, creative, crafter type, you’ll know what I mean.

A couple of autumns ago, I fell in love with ponchos. It was one of those days where you think it’s going to be warmer than it is, but the season is taking that sharp turn from refreshing crispness in the air to face numbing harshness. D and I planned to be out, walking around the city for a bit. I thought I’d be fine, but I wasn’t. We jumped in a shop and I started looking for an extra layer of warmth so we could carry on with our day. I found this gorgeous navy blue poncho with a cozy cowled neckline and lovely red accent stripes that appealed perfectly to my sense of style. For forty bucks, it was a steal. It started me wanting to buy and wear only ponchos and big chunky sweaters all the time. Shopping is great, but sometimes you find things that you would almost buy, but then not. Because something isn’t quite right enough to merit a purchase. If only something could be done or changed to make it more you.

I started thinking about how awesome it would be if I could just knit my own ponchos and sweaters. That idea simmered in the back of my brain for a while, I was still consumed with wedding plans and other things. It would have to wait, I’d circle back later. And life went on.

Flash forward a couple of years, the weather starting to dip into colder territory again, I was digging into the depths of the closet to pull out all of my ponchos and sweaters for another cozy autumn. I was starting to feel restless with current creative endeavours. It was time to pivot, try something new. That thought of knitting my own things started to heat up again, bubbling and eventually boiling over. I wanted desperately to start knitting, I could think of nothing else. I needed to try it, see if it was something I could do.

I thought I could just waltz into the craft store, grab a knitting magazine and some yarn then get started. I’m no virgin crafter, I’ve seen some shit in my time, man. Trust me, some crazy shit. I got this.

Wrong. I was wrong, all wrong, I take it back. Totally, utterly wrong on all the levels. There is so much to know about knitting! It’s overwhelming actually. And I’m very tactile. Seeing, seeing, and seeing again, then repeating is what I need to process and understand how to do something that’s totally new to me. I need help and feedback, lots of it. So I did some googling and I found this wonderful little shop in the west end that offered classes. I registered right away and I was so excited. So very excited. I’m going to learn something new, I’m going to knit!

I could think of nothing else the day of my first class. I couldn’t wait to finish work and dash off, yarn and needles in tow. I was the first one to arrive, helplessly early, twenty-five minutes early. That’s too early! But that’s who I am, eager and enthusiastic. The instructor was very warm and welcoming. She sat me at a table in the back of the shop and took the skein of yarn I’d purchased a few days earlier. She placed it on this amazing contraption she called a “swift”. Round and round the swift turned, I was mesmerized. It transformed that skein of yarn into a fat little ball that she then called a “cake”. So many new terms!

Other classmates started arriving, mirroring back at me the same mingled expression of trepidation and excitement. There were seven of us total, all women, all knitting n00bs. Everyone was so friendly and encouraging. I loved that, I didn’t know there’d be this great social element.

It was hard at first. Trying to hold the needles in a way that felt right, they were so foreign to me. We started with casting on. The only place you can start. And it was tricky, but I got it figured out. Then we talked about muscle memory and the knit stitch. Everything felt so floppy and uncertain. I felt floppy and uncertain! I didn’t know what to do after I had knit my first row, what was next? The girl beside me told me to just do it again. Move the needle back to my dominant hand and do that same thing again. Mind. Blown. So this is knitting! Huh.

I got home and showed D the few little rows I had knit, I was so proud of myself.

first knit rows

D was excited for me. He loved how happy I was. But I struggled with the yarn I chose. It was too fine for my beginner’s hands. I took it off the needles and “frogged” it, another fun new term meaning that I destroyed all progress and went back to start. I bought larger needles and bulkier yarn. I started again.

bulkier!

That felt better. I could see the stitches more easily and make corrections when I messed up. I started to feel really good about it as the yarn grew longer. I loved feeling the yarn, watching it expand row after row. And I knew this wasn’t just another hobby, it was a lifelong passion.

I had three more classes, one a week. We learned how to purl, how to read patterns, weaving in our ends, planning projects, and so much more. We learned how to make hats using “DPNs” or double-pointed needles. We were knitting “in the round”, “tinking”, and “ktogging” with confidence! It was wonderful.

I’ve been very productive since that class, knitting up a storm. I love the way it makes me feel. It’s so rhythmic and relaxing. I feel inspired by so many things, the possibilities from here are endless.

My first attempt knitting in the round…

in the round

Wearing the first scarf I ever finished…

my first scarf

Crazy leg warmers!

leg warmers!

The infinity scarf I knit for my lovely friend the Magpie for Christmas. She loves it so much and that makes me so happy!

peattie's scarf

The first hat I ever knit, successfully. I gave it to my uncle who is so very proud and impressed with my work. And he’s worn it everyday since I gave it to him, even though it’s purple. He’s so rad.

wienie's cap

A teeny tiny little scarf I knit with leftover yarn for Harv, haha. (He actually hates it so much.)

Harv's scarf

And the project I’m most proud of so far, the seed stitch scarf I made for myself, with that very first ball of yarn I bought. This is a real accomplishment. I had almost written that ball of yarn off altogether because it was so tough at first. But after some practice with the bulkier yarns, my skills started getting better, and I felt brave enough to try it again. Progress was slower, but I had the patience for it now.

my fave scarf

I love this scarf so much. The texture is divine, I’m obsessed with seed stitch. I made this, me. I can’t stop marvelling at the fact that I knew nothing about knitting three months ago, and now I’ve made so many things. Damn, that feels good.

I love knitting, it is the greatest. It makes me feel so purposeful and inspired. And although I’m nowhere near ready to start knitting my own ponchos, I’m headed in that direction and I know I’ll get there eventually. I’m enjoying the journey, I don’t need to rush it. I have a dream that is simmering for now. One day in the near future, when it’s time, that dream will start to bubble and boil over too.

Honeymoon in Cancun!

 

After our whirlwind of a wedding, we have finally arrived at the perfect place to settle down and get the relaxation we need. We’re here in sunny Cancun, it’s 28 degrees Celsius and I just spent the morning frolicking on the beach with my handsome husband. Life is good.

We were so exhausted after the wedding! The dancing, the smiling, the talking, the glo-sticking, and cavorting with all the people we love really took its toll. Sunday was a hung over blur of getting our shit together so we could take off for the honeymoon. We had to get up at 3:30am and hustle through packing to get to the airport in time for our 7am flight. We were nervous that we weren’t even going to get off the ground because of the blizzard that started the night before.

We sat on the plane for an hour and a half before take-off because of the efforts to de-ice the plane. D was tense. I knew he just wanted to get going and be sure that we’d make it to the resort in one piece. We didn’t start feeling like we were truly on our way until the plane roared into the sky.

When we got here, we still had some time before check-in so we popped into the lounge, grabbed the wristbands and left our bags with the concierge. We went to a bar and had ourselves some beers. Weren’t really planning on it, but I started ordering us rounds and they just kept on coming. Who can refuse an ice-cold Corona at 1 o’clock when there’s sun and laughter all around you? Certainly not us.

Check-in was kinda funny. We were standing in line and this lady rushed up to us, noticing our purple wristbands. “You come to this line and we’ll take care of you right away, you’re especial!” Ooo, we liked the sound of that. They rolled out the red carpet and basically explained that we’re superstar baller VIPs while we stay here. And it’s so fucking awesome, you guys, totally worth the extra bit of cash we shelled out.

When we finally did get up to our room, we were stunned. It’s pretty fucking sweet. We’re VIPs, man! Since we’re here as honeymooners we’re treated like a king and queen. We have a huge room with an amazing view of the ocean, and it’s got an enormous jacuzzi tub for naked sexy bubble times. I don’t know if we’ll ever come home.

our room

You all know that I have a little travelling tradition of my own… As soon as I check in to my room, the first thing I do is snap a picture of myself jumping on the bed.

jumping

But now it’s even more fun because I have someone special to jump alongside with me!

 

 

jumping together

I’ve never seen D relaxed, ever. I’ve seen him lounge around in his sweatpants, but that’s usually only when he’s hung over so it doesn’t really count. Last night, I was completely stunned to see a totally unwound D for the first time ever. We had loads of fun in Hawaii, but we didn’t really relax. We had adventures. Here, everything is all laid out for us. It’s all-inclusive and we don’t have to worry about a thing. D seems to like that just fine. We ate a hearty dinner, had some drinks in the VIP lounge, and spent time together. And he was totally content. Not a word I would typically use to describe D, he’s always on the go and wanting to “get shit done”. This is a first for him, I think. And it makes me so happy that we’re off to such a fantastic start.

relaxin' D

 

We’re gunna grab a few more drinks, catch some more rays, and keep reverberating happiness together. Cancun rules!

on the beach

Especially when you’re a superstar baller VIP like us.

 

D’s Old Lady

It was dark out when I opened my eyes this morning, it was early still. My feet were throbbing and I felt light-headed, like I might just float away. I could hear D, sound asleep, breathing softly beside me. Prickles of emotion expanding in my chest. I smiled widely, all through my soul. A rogue tear streaked its way across my face and splashed down on the pillow. It really happened; no I wasn’t dreaming. I have a husband now. We are wed.

I savoured that moment, my first waking moment as someone’s wife. Lying there in the dark, listening to my love slumber and running through the memories of the night before, I realized how truly magical my life is. And I vowed to myself in that moment that I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to keep our marriage and our lives magical, every day. We’re gunna do this thing right, I know it in my bones.

Yesterday was so surreal. The months leading up to the wedding were fraught with stress and discord. But I see now why people are willing to go to such lengths. This is your chance to show everyone the fullness of your coupled hearts and how powerful they can be when dialled to maximum amplification. And we know now that ours can bring down the motherfucking house if we want ’em to.

IMG_4348

IMG_4355

I never wanted perfection. I just wanted something real. And I have that with D.

A Stitch in Time

First off, I’m kind of ashamed of myself. It’s been a bloody long time since I even sat down with the intention to write. I’m so sorry to my precious little bloggy. It’s terrible, I’ve been neglecting you again. But it’s hurting me more than it’s hurting you, believe me. And, even worse still, I’ve been neglecting all of my wonderful blogging chums who I love and adore ever more. I’m sorry dudes! I haven’t been around making my usual cheeky comments on all of your wonderful posts. I’m sorry. I’m a self-involved asshole. Send R.O.T.O.R. to collect on my bounty. And don’t let the execution be a swift one, because I certainly don’t deserve it.

I miss you guys. A lot.

For a long while the best part of my day was connecting over all of our posts. Logging on and having a laugh at EI’s latest cinematic adventure or another one of Brian’s witty comments. I don’t even know who T9 has been crushing on these days, or what Zoe has been reading. Is Mikey still churning out those hilarious podcasts? And Dee, that gentleman across the pond who makes me smile, I miss being enlightened and delighted by your posts. I haven’t been around so much, but trust me when I say that you are all in my heart and thoughts every day.

I don’t want to make excuses for my absence, so let’s just call this an explanation and hope it charming enough that you’ll let it slide, just this one time. There just isn’t enough time, like ever. I have no idea how I’m keeping my head above water these days. It feels like I’m doing a desperate doggy-paddle in the middle of the ocean, no shoreline in sight and I’m gulping down more and more water as I struggle to stay afloat. But I keep struggling, because I’m not ready to give up yet, even though it’s so very very tempting some days.

In short: I’m working like a dog, I’m deep into the wedding planning, I’m trying to keep up with my social life, and there’s just no goddamn time to excel at everything all at once. But I want to, so desperately. I’m a shitty juggler, but there’s a big part of me that just belligerently refuses to accept that. With so much on the go, some aspect of my life was bound to suffer. So blogging and writing have taken this hit. And it’s funny, because one of the things that I do to stay sane when my life is a hectic disaster is write. It helps me find my way. I write to escape. I write for reprieve. I write because it feels good and it makes me whole.

I love writing. It matters and it makes a difference in my life. But if I’m being totally honest here, there has also been a major shift in my creative focus these past months and that will certainly shoulder some of this blame. I’ve been escaping all of my stresses with something else, something other than writing. A demanding an insatiable hobby, a jealous and possessive new mistress in my life. I’ve been doing an absolute fuckload of embroidery projects. Yep, you read that right. In the spare time that I do have for creative pursuits I’ve been putting the thread to the needle like a badass motherfucker and I’ve been stitching until my fingers are throbbing sore.

…and it’s been a super fun time.

I fucking love embroidery. There, I said it. But I do still love writing, too.

I’m creative and I’m zany. My imagination is an ogre. I have to focus it on something to survive, my very life depends on it. Sometimes I feel like I’ll die if I don’t find something for the ogre to do. She’ll crumple my cranium and toss it in the bin like an old grocery list if I don’t. I am compelled to create. Something, anything. A piece of writing, a kitschy craft, a silly doodle, making a killer mix CD, or even the shitty ass job I do of wrapping gifts. All just a bunch of ways that I package little bits of my imagination and send them out into the world so I can live. Really live.

The embroidery thing is something my friend The Magpie showed me. Back in the spring, she sent me a wonderful surprise birthday package and it was filled with supplies to jump-start this new hobby.

embroidery supplies

I was excited, but a little too busy to dig into them until the summer. That’s when this embroidery thing really took off. I started out small, trying something simple at first. A little gift for my darling Joce-force.

star wars embroidery

Then, inspired by those wicked pillowcases The Magpie made me last Christmas, I made myself an awesome little robot buddy. He’s since been framed and now lives on my desk at work.

robot and dog

And then, because I really wanted thank The Magpie for showing me this awesome new hobby, and because I wanted to up the ante a little with my newly evolving skills, I made her a birthday gift.

cheeseburger

It took a lot of time, and my craft still wasn’t perfect. But I loved making this weird little cheeseburger for her. I did it on a canvas, another great inspiration from The Magpie herself.

cheeseburger again

And then when that was done, I was feeling so confident and proud of myself that I decided I was really going to put my new-found embroidery skills to the test. I decided to stitch all of the table numbers for my wedding!

I found some beautiful fabric, bought a bunch of frames to put the finished pieces into, and then got to work.

I spent an entire long weekend stitching tirelessly to get them done.

my table numbers

number 8

nine nine nine nine

It was so much work, but I poured my whole self into every single one. And I couldn’t be happier with the end result.

And now I’m tackling another canvas project, larger scale than the last. The cheeseburger for my friend was an 8 x 8 and this one is a 12 x 12, which is much more challenging. I can’t stitch at this one for very long periods of time because my hand and arm ache if I do it for too long.

peacock

But it is really coming along, slowly but surely. I think I’m going to raffle this piece off at our stag ‘n’ doe party next month. People like that sort of thing, right? They’d want to spend a bunch of money trying to take this bad boy home, yeah? I hope so. Otherwise all of that aching has been in vain.

Looking back over all of these projects, I can really see how much I’ve improved since I started a few months ago. Persistence goes a long way. Also, looking back on how I’ve spent my creative energies this past summer I feel really happy. Because even though I haven’t been writing I’ve still been channeling my creativity somehow. I might be stressed as fuck at work and at home, but I do have an outlet for all of it. I’m not going to suddenly and unexpectedly implode because of all the pent-up pressures. I haven’t been letting them pent. I’ve been releasing my daily anguish in steady streams through my relentless embroidery projects.

So know this, dear readers and friends: Even though I haven’t been around a whole lot lately, I’m still here. I’m still insane. And I’m still every bit as zany and ridiculous as I ever was.

And I’ve still got lots of writing in me yet. My creative focus is just temporarily shifted. Sometimes there are words in my heart just dying to be put to page, and other times there’s a vision in my head that only the needle and thread can bring to life.

It’s hard to strike a comfortable balance sometimes. All summer long I was feeling really fucked up and stressed out. And maybe my feelings were just too tedious to try to pin down. I’m just glad that I’ve been given a really frigging rad alternative means of expressing myself. It helped a lot, especially during all those times this summer when writing just wouldn’t do.

Embroidery rules!

Harvey’s Birthday

Harvey is my special little guy. Coming home to him is always the best part of my day. I get home and no matter what time it is, he races to the door to greet me. He weaves his chubby little body impatiently between my legs, oftentimes tripping me inadvertently as I try to get through the front door and kick off my shoes, because he just can’t wait one damn second for my loving attention. He demands that I crouch down and lower my face to his so he can “kiss” me hello by rubbing his nose up against mine. It’s our routine, it happens every night without fail.

D graciously lets Harv have the first round of kisses and affection every night when I get home. He knows how much I cherish those fleeting lovey dovey Harvey moments, because they don’t last long. Soon after he’s gotten his nightly greeting, he’s all rambunctious and hyper, practically bouncing off the walls. And once he switches to play mode you can’t get anywhere near him without being swatted in the face. Harv gives love on his own terms, and you take what you can get without any ifs or buts about it. So D steps aside, selflessly, and lets Harv get what he wants of my affection first. He’s amazing like that.

It’s been like this for three wonderful years now. Today is Harvey’s third birthday. I can’t even believe how fast the time goes. It feels like it was only yesterday that we brought him into our home and opened our hearts to him. It’s the best thing we’ve ever done, adopting him. Pets bring a special kind of happiness into our lives, a happiness that I can’t live without. The first year that D and I lived together we had no pet. It was sad, for me. I didn’t really realize what was missing at first, but I knew that something was wrong with our situation. Something was off, I felt sad often but nothing was really the matter with me.

Sometimes, we’d be sitting there at night, just watching T.V., and I’d suddenly feel an overwhelming ache. A gaping hole in my heart and the pain of it, so suddenly unbearable, I couldn’t make sense of. And then one day it dawned on me. I needed a pet. I needed something furry to love. There was always a cat or two roaming around in the house I grew up in. Fuzzy friends to play with and adore. I missed that. I missed the soft sound of kibbles being crunched in the next room over. I missed that pins and needles feeling felt in my legs while reading and cuddling a cat in my lap for hours on end. I even missed the constant assault of fur upon my clothing. I’d gladly spend a fortune on lint rollers for the love of a good pet.

So we made my universe right again when we adopted Harv. Because he means so much to me, and because I might be a touch mental, I spoiled Harv a bit for his birthday this year. He’s my special little guy and I dote on him so.

First up on the kitty birthday docket, a bath. We plunked him into the tub and scrubbed him up real good. He smells like a goddamned springtime bouquet now.

Next, an extravagance. A brand new kitty palace for my darling prince.

new kitty palace

harv's new digs

new toy fun

D thought I was being excessive. Harv already has a carpeted platform that he loves to play on and sleep in. But it’s not enough. Nothing will ever be enough for my precious Harvey. So more carpeted cat palaces it is! I’ll fill the whole frigging apartment with them if I have to, just to make Harv happy.

Then, we bought him a fancy can of wet food for dinner. The vet says that he’s a tad too fat so he’s been eating diet food for the past eight months, but we figured it being his birthday and all he was entitled to a diet cheat. We purposefully tried to buy the most expensive can we could find. $2.69 is as high-end as it gets for cats, I guess, because that was the priciest tin we could find. Harv lapped up every bite with the greedy enthusiasm you’d expect from someone who is cheating on their diet. Money well spent.

So maybe I spoiled him for his birthday this year. And maybe that seems crazy to you, but I don’t give a shit. Really, it’s the least I can do. Harvey totally changed our lives. He filled a hole in my heart, and he made us into a family.

our family

little harv and i

I owe him a hell of a lot more than $2.69.

Luck of the Draw

Sometimes in life there are things that are just meant to be. Coincidences and things of that nature. Unexpected little moments of delight that just feel right. The universe talks, and sometimes we can hear it.

D and I met up for dinner one night after work. It was cold and unkind outside, as it has been all winter long, so we didn’t want to wander too far from home. We treaded the well-worn and mostly indoor path to the Pickle Barrel in our hood. I’ve been really digging their breakfast foods lately. We sat down and started to scan the menu. D noticed a promotional ad on the table. D loves deals. He loves to find good “specials” and “deals” at our local restaurants. He files them away in his thrifty head for future usefulness and savings. It’s all about the savings. There are a bunch of pictures on his phone of weekly specials and deals from restaurants all over the city. So that if we happen to feel like dining out on Thursday night we know exactly where to go that particular night for the best deal in town. For D, dining out is partly about having a good meal, but mostly about making a killing when the check comes.

The ad that D happened to notice that night at the Pickle Barrel was for a 1 litre boot of Steamwhistle beer for $15.99. And you got to keep the boot afterwards. A tempting little promo what with St. Patrick’s Day a few weeks away. We hemmed and hawed about this for a while, before finally passing on the deal. That was a sweet fucking boot, no doubt. But beer makes D too full, he doesn’t like to drink a lot of it when he’s eating. He’d rather have some beers a few hours after dinner, if there’s a game on or something. So he can enjoy it without feeling uncomfortable and bloated. And I’ve been off beer for a couple of months now. I’m all about these delicious raspberry vodka and lemonade cocktails I’ve recently concocted. Plus, Steamwhistle sucks. We hate that beer. A lot of people here in Toronto love it, but not us. We even went so far as to ask the server if it had to be Steamwhistle in the boot, maybe we could get it filled with something else instead. A beer we actually wanted to drink.

But sadly, no dice.

So we passed on the boot. We really wanted it, but it just didn’t make sense. Oh well, that’s that.

A couple of days later I had to buy some booze for the weekend, so I cruised on over to the liquor store. In and out, a real smooth operation. I grabbed what I needed and got in line. Some dick was taking forever to pay and holding up the line, as usual. Standing there impatiently, I started to look around. I noticed out of the corner of my eye a bright green Steamwhistle box on the other side of the store. A box with a couple of tallboys and the boot we’d passed up a few days ago at dinner. What a coincidence! But then the line started to move, and a few more people were behind me now. I didn’t want to lose my spot to go and see how much it was. I hate when people do that, gum up the works with their indecisiveness at checkout counters. I didn’t want to be that asshole that puts her stuff down and says “I’ll be right back, I just have to grab something real quick.” They always say that it’s going to be “real quick” and it never is. I decided to just pay for what I had and come back tomorrow to scope out the situation.

When I got home I told D that I had seen the boot for sale at the liquor store. With his interest renewed, he agreed that we would go take a look and possibly buy one tomorrow. We could chuck the shitty beers we hated and then fill our boot with whatever the hell we wanted instead. The more we thought about it, the more excited we got. Das boot!

But tomorrow didn’t pan out for us. We’d gone back to the liquor store only to discover that all of the cases with the boot were gone. They’d sold out already, and we were shit out of luck. It was a desirable little novelty, that boot. People really wanted them. And we were just doomed to carry on wanting, it seemed. I kicked myself for my stupid need to be considerate of others. If only I’d been a teensy bit selfish the night before, I’d be living my dreams, drinking out of that frigging boot like a champion.

I thought about that boot often over the next few days that followed. I wanted it now more than ever, and I’d missed out on it not just once, but twice. Damn. The universe, with its infinite knowing, seemed to sense my frustration. It knew that something hinky was afoot. Some creative correction was needed.

We went to a comedy club last week. My sister won some free tickets and asked us to come along for the laughs. It was fun. She’s lucky and she wins free shit all the time. One time we went to a party and she won four Christmas trees in the raffle. Four! Needless to say, but if she’s ever caught bemoaning her poor luck, we’re all very quick to remember the story of the four Christmas trees. After the show was over, the MC announced that there was going to be a 50/50 raffle to benefit the diabetes foundation. D only had five bucks in his pocket, just enough for a ticket. He likes to gamble, and he’s always had a good bit of luck about himself. I mean, he managed to land this classy babe, amiright?

D bought his ticket and we stood at the bar, waiting for the raffle to start. The MC grabbed the mic, and as I turned to face him a brief sparkle caught my eye. A glimmer of light from above, dancing along the rounded lip of a Steamwhistle boot. Well I’ll be damned! They were about to raffle off one of those bloody boots as a secondary prize. My hopes skyrocketed instantly and I grabbed at D’s arm in excitement. “They have the boot! We’re going to win one, we have to!”

“Pffft, who gives a shit about that boot. I’ll win the big prize babe, and then I’ll buy all the fucking boots we want,” D responded. The big prize was 5 cool g’s, so that would be okay, too. But it wouldn’t be as exciting as winning the boot. Not to me, anyways.

The MC reached into the drum for a ticket, and I held my breath. I looked over D’s shoulder at the ticket, concentrating on his number while the MC read the winning number aloud.

Every single number he read matched the numbers on D’s ticket. And in that moment, I heard the universe talking. Talking to us.

The Boot

We were meant to have that boot, and the universe kindly intervened to make it so. It’s one of those things that I just know.

Cheers, universe! Here’s looking at you.

Overcoming a Bad Day

I’m positive, in general. Always looking for a silver lining to wrap around the bullshit. It’s not often that I falter in doing so. I’m resilient and strong, I can overcome my obstacles.

But sometimes, I have bad days too. Days when my heart hurts too much to try because seeing the good is damn near impossible for all the shit obstructing my view. When it feels like nothing makes sense. When it feels like every option will result in a loss. When my gut does falter because the negativity is overwhelming.

What do you at a time like that? What can you do?

Well, this is what I do:

1. Vent or Wallow 

When the weight of something truly awful presses down on my heart, the first thing I do is react in one of these ways. Maybe I’m so frustrated that I need to scream until my lungs  feel like they’ll burst right out of my chest. Or launch a venomous tirade against whatever it was that sparked my ire. I might need to sob because too many mixed and mangled emotions are struggling to surface all at once. Venting is good for that, releasing all the mounted pressures. But maybe venting isn’t a good option in some instances though, because I’m scared that such an overt reaction will leave consequences in its wake. Revealing those raw emotions to anyone before I’ve worked through them could be dangerous. It could be damaging to a relationship that I value or to my own reputation. In that case, I might need to wallow instead. Run away, shut down, freeze out, isolate. I need to allow myself to feel intense feelings, alone. I have to wallow.

2. Identify

I have to concentrate on the why of it all. Why do I feel this way? What about this situation upsets me the most? I let myself get lost in my thoughts. If I can figure out what it is specifically that I find upsetting, then I can confront it. If I can’t see the hurdle, I can’t ever leap over it, and I’ll just keep stumbling into it. So I need to afford myself the luxury of introspection. What did I do to cause the problem? Does a particular situation that arose impact me directly or does it merely include me? I know what happened that upset me or pissed me off, but I have to understand why it does if I expect to work through it. I’ll replay what went down over and over in my head, trying to see it from multiple angles. From that process, I can decide if this is something that I should address or something that I should internalize for the time being.

3. Confront

Now that I’ve gained some perspective, I have a more whole understanding of the problem and its causes. I can start to resolve it. I can talk to someone, maybe to explain my viewpoint or maybe to apologize for a wrong I’ve committed. I might just need to be heard and acknowledged. Or I might just need to have a moment of recognition for something I did and why it was bad. Denying my involvement in my own unhappiness is a disservice to myself. When I think about the greatest upsets I’ve experienced, most of which in the last three years have been in the work place, I recognize things that I could have or should have done differently to effect a more desirable end result. I can’t change the past, but I can prepare myself for tackling similar struggles more aptly in the future.

4. Accept

I’m very hard on myself. There are missteps I’ve made in my life that I still haven’t forgiven myself for. And it might take a very long time before I ever do. There’s no tongue lashing I could receive from another that would ever parallel the severity of the internal one that I will inevitably give myself when I fuck up. That’s because I expect so much from me. I have exacting standards for the kind of person I hope to be. I’m not hoping for perfection, that would be boring as hell. I’m just hoping that one day I can serve as an example for someone else. That my beliefs, actions, and experiences will be valued. I want to be valued as deeply as I value the core people in my life. This is the hardest step of the whole process, the one that trips me up the most because of how hard I am on myself. But I do my best to come out on the other side, making peace with myself and any current entanglement I face. I can forgive others, that’s easy. Forgiving myself is the hardest thing to do and I’m still learning how to do it.

5. Get Over It

Sometimes a bad day is just a bad day. An accumulation of crappy moments, conversations, interactions, and situations that just bring you down. Stubbed toes, rainy days, being belittled or insulted, having to eat salad, making a mistake on something important at work, jerks shoving me around on the subway, not getting along with D, Harvey ripping up my favourite shirt: if all of those things happened to me in one day I’d probably want to fling myself off the roof. But some days are going to be like that. So doing things that purge yourself of all the negativity helps. I like to laugh with D, or belt out my favourite tunes at maximum shitty singing volume while I jump on the bed, or down a few beers with my cronies. I try to find something wonderful about the right now that I can immerse myself in. Doing stuff like that reminds me that I’ll be on the upswing again in no time, because the bad can always be vanquished by the good. And I believe that, unequivocally, with ever fibre of my being.

I’m happy and positive most of the time, but shit pisses me off and upsets me too. I’m not perfect, and I don’t always shine as brightly as I’d like to. So, if it’s something serious then I need to deal with it. And if it’s just a bunch of crappy stuff that’s dimming my shine, then I need to get over it so I can shine through it. Shake it off and move on, girl! You can’t control everything that happens to you in this life. Good and bad things will happen, most assuredly. But you can figure out the best way for you to deal with the shit so you can move on.

I had a really bad couple of days this week, and I had to face down a very disheartening reality yesterday. Surprised and hurt by the unexpected, I’ve been letting the negativity I feel overpower me. But something much larger than me and my desires is in motion, something that can’t be stopped or changed. So I’ll do the work, following the steps outlined above, because it will help eventually. I’ll come out of this okay, albeit a little sad, because I know that I have the power to overcome the shittiest of days.

And I know that the sadness won’t last for long once I’ve found it within myself to shine again.

retro prom

Smash will shine this brightly again, in time.

Bucket List Snorkelling: Some Day 6 But Mostly Day 7

I didn’t post yesterday, I know. Because we didn’t really do anything remarkable other than get super drunk on the beach. When it was time to post, my motor skills just weren’t up to snuff. Plus, how many different ways are there to say “we got hammered”? Not that many without sounding repetitive. So, we got super hammered and enjoyed some nightlife. Bam, Day 6 complete!

The next day, however, is jam-packed with vacation awesomeness. Blogworthy stuff.

We booked ourselves a snorkelling adventure in Hanauma Bay. When we woke up that morning, we were bursting with excitement. It was a gorgeous day, clear skies and beaming sun. This was gunna be awesome.

Our pickup was at 10:15 and our drop off 3:00pm, so it was going to be a nice full afternoon. We had to pay for the shuttle up to the bay, the equipment rental, admission to the park, and then a locker for our stuff once we got to the bay. It sounds like a lot of fees, but it was actually very reasonable. It was only $18.00 for the shuttle ride and the equipment rental combined, then $7.50 to get into the park and $7.00 for the locker rental.

And the shuttle guy was amazing. He was talkative and funny. He showed us where Jackie Chan’s house is! He kept it light, and he wasn’t too preachy when it came to how to use the equipment. It made us feel great about choosing his tour company.

We shuttled to the top of the bay, and then had to wait for another shuttle down into the bay. The place we stopped had a phenomenal view of Koko Head, another famous hiking trail.

Koko Head

Koko Head

This trail up the mountain is a lot more difficult than Diamond Head. It takes 99 stairs to get to the top of Diamond Head, and the guide told us it takes 1001 to get to the top of Koko Head. And, it’s all up a straight path. With Diamond Head the trail weaved gently all around the crater.

After a brief wait, we were loaded into shuttle number two and on our way. I lost my mind when we got within sight of the bay, it was crazy amazing!

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay

The reef

The reef

Hanauma Bay formed within a volcanic cone and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Oahu. The volcano has long since been dormant. And the reef is a veritable well of marine life diversity. It makes for some spectacular snorkelling.

Before you can get in the water, you have to watch a quick movie about the marine life and the various do’s and don’ts of snorkelling in the bay. It was painful. You just want to get in the water. Anything that stands in the way of that seems like a tremendous chore. But we found it within ourselves to endure.

I’ve never snorkelled before, so I was a little unsure. I felt like I’d be gulping in salt water all day. But it was shockingly easy! Truly, if you can stare and you can breathe, you can snorkel. I did a few little tests to get used to it, and then I was good to go. Snorkelling is awesome! It’s so addictive. We went under and just kept exploring.

We may have been a little overzealous initially. We swam out a good 20-30 feet past the buoys into the deep waters. When we surfaced and realized how far we’d gone, it was a struggle to get back into the shallow waters. The waves were really strong, they kept pulling us out. We had to fight against them with all we had to get back in. We’re both solid swimmers though, so we managed. It just took a lot out of us to do it. And it was a little unsettling right out of the gate. We just willingly got sucked out into the ocean! Going forward, we were much more vigilante about our orientation under the water.

The best thing about it was how much exploring of the reef we did and how much we saw. Everywhere we looked there were fish. Your eyes just keep darting around, seeking out the fish. We saw our first fish when I was doing my initial test of the waters and my gear, and it blew me away! It was so unexpected. A bright blue fish, like Dori, just swimming right in front of my face!

My camera has underwater capabilities which I’d never used before. I wasn’t sure how well the photos would turn out, but I just kept snapping away like some kind of paparazzi of the sea!

one of the brightest fish we saw

one of the brightest fish we saw

bffs

bffs

digging that reef

digging that reef

new friend

new friends

This one is really tiny!

This one is really tiny!

I can’t believe how close we got to the fish and how many we saw. It was unreal. Like we’d been given goggles and dropped into an aquarium!

Navigating the reef was tricky at times. You don’t want to touch it at all. Every time the reef gets touched, it dies a little. There were so many nooks and crannies, tight little spaces that made it difficult to move swiftly through the water. It was like an enormous maze in the ocean. We’d twist and turn, feeling like we were headed in the right direction, only to be confronted with a massive wall of reef blocking the way. D loved being in all the little nooks. You could see a lot more fish in these areas. We saw such a wide variety of the marine life in the bay because we just kept forging our way through the reef.

We heard that there were some sea turtle sightings in our area, but we couldn’t find them. We did see an eel though. A big fat dangerous one!

the eel

the eel

If you look very closely you should be able to see his head and his beady black eye to the left of the picture. A very small portion of the eel was poking out from under the reef. It was hard to get good pictures of him without getting too close and endangering ourselves. But trust me, he was huge and he was not something to mess with. He would fuck you up the second he felt threatened!

Like I said, snorkelling was addictive. We were submerged for a solid 2 hours straight. We loved it. We were a little disappointed when it was time to come out, because we would have done it all night if we could.

view from within the ocean

view from within the ocean

Snorkel D

Snorkel D

This day was by far our favourite of the trip. As much as we loved exploring the city, shopping, playing on the beach, and seeing the sites, there’s nothing like snorkelling in Hanauma Bay.

We were having so much fun, we didn’t even notice how strenuous it had been. Our bodies were sore and we got a shocking amount of sun. I took Joce’s advice and I wore shorts into the water so my ass wouldn’t get burned. My calves and thighs though… it’s not pretty. I was going to wear my t-shirt too, but I’d forgotten to pack my spare! I needed to have a dry shirt to change into when we got out of the water. My back was ravaged by the sun. I’d covered myself liberally in sunblock before going in, and that’s been doing the trick all week. But I guess even the best of sunblock can’t compete with two hours spent in the water.

We were so exhausted when we got back to the hotel. But we had to rally for our last dinner in Waikiki. We showered away all the salt of the ocean and got dressed for dinner. D had to help me with the after sun lotion. We sprayed down my entire body with the cooling gel and let it work its magic.

For our last dinner out in Waikiki, we decided to go back to our favourite place of the trip. Lulu’s Waikiki. The food is delicious and the prices are unbeatable.

I had another strip steak, and D opted for the surf ‘n’ turf. We deserved it. We busted our asses out in the ocean all day, we earned our steak dinner.

surf n turf

surf n turf

After dinner, we walked along the beach and saw the most beautiful sunset yet.

perfect Hawaiian sunset

perfect Hawaiian sunset

blows your mind

blows your mind

We had a great fucking day. The best day so far. Yesterday was our last full day and night in Hawaii, so we made sure to make the most of it. Now, I’ve gotta get packing and prep myself for the trip home.

We’ll miss you Hawaii, you’re a rad dude.

We’ve Only Just Begun: Day 5

Another overcast day yesterday. Totally shitty. It rained a little bit in the morning and then it just stayed cloudy and gray. But we weren’t going to let that stand in the way of our plans to journey through Chinatown.

It’s much further into the city, so we couldn’t walk there. We decided to use public transit, otherwise known as TheBus. Seriously, that’s what the bus system is called here. Not TTC or YRT, just TheBus. It’s straightforward, and I like it.

We rode the bus for about 45 minutes or so to get there. It was actually really busy, and there was quite a bit of traffic. But, it was cheap and effective.

We’re there man.

Chinatown

Chinatown

In the market

In the market

We walked through the markets, checked out the shops, and breathed in that uniquely Chinatown smell. Fresh produce and fish. It was fun, but I was surprised by how different it was from Toronto’s Chinatown. The streets were more spacious, and the markets were a lot bigger. But overall, the area that Chinatown covered is smaller than back home.

D had been looking forward to this trip all week. He kept saying to me on the plane “I’m going to have some fucking awesome noodles!” That’s all he wanted, a big steaming plate of noodles from Chinatown. And that’s exactly what we got.

We stopped for lunch at this delicious looking place. Cheap lunch specials and a nice quiet atmosphere. Aside from us, there were only two other people eating there. We got great service, and we didn’t have to wait long for our food.

We had sesame chicken and chicken lo mein.

sesame chicken

sesame chicken

chicken lo mein

chicken lo mein

It was freaking awesome! This is probably the best lunch we’ve had so far. The flavour of the sesame chicken was light and savoury. And the noodles were to die for. We ate as much as we possibly could, but they were large portions and they filled us up quickly.

We walked around a little more after lunch, but the weather was still crap. It wasn’t very inspiring. We hung out around the strip, I did a little more souvenir shopping, but still we didn’t see much improvement in the weather.

So, we decided to partake in Happy Hour. It really is the best way to cheer up on a shitty day. We went to a place that we’ve had our eyes on since we got here.

This is just the place for us

This is just the place for us

Cheeseburger in Paradise. This place was made for us. Cheap drinks and burgers, oh hells yes!

We got ourselves started on some drinks. A draught beer for D and a Hawaiian Sunburn for me.

fresh from the tap

fresh from the tap

just girly enough

just girly enough

I don’t know what it is about this place. I’m a good Canadian girl and I love my beer. But ever since I’ve been here, I’ve had an unquenchable thirst for fruity drinks and coolers. I guess it just makes me feel more vacation-y.

We drank and chatted, and when we got hungry we knew just what to do.

cheeseburger in paradise

cheeseburger in paradise

it's all good

it’s all good

I hate to be redundant, but daaaaamn that’s good eats! I love it when the bun is soft. A good burger can be ruined so quickly when the bun is toasted to shit. Just the slightest hint of a toasting on the top, that’s all you need. The meat was tender and fresh. Seasoned to perfection. Every bite better than the last. It was messy, I’m not gunna lie. I used an unfathomable amount of napkins while eating.

This burger was worth the wait, let me tell you that.

Things cleared up a bit while we were at the restaurant. When we stepped out again, it was nice enough to walk down the beach and take in the sunset.

breathtaking

breathtaking

digging that sunset

digging that sunset

We sat for a while just taking in the view. It’s so peaceful. Or at least it was until a particularly wild cat-fight broke out eight feet away from us. There was a group of teens hanging out near our benches, and seemingly out of nowhere two of the girls just started pounding each other. There was hair-pulling, punching, knees to the stomach, squealing, and all manner of profanities being hurled. I think there was even some spitting. Finally, two of the dudes pulled the girls apart.

But, we still decided to get up and move further down the beach anyways. Away from all the bullshit. The sun had set, but we still wanted to walk for a bit and enjoy the evening.

We walked a good way down the strip, approaching a long pier out into the ocean.

Evening on the city

Evening on the beach

We walked down the pier, it was secluded and private. It was perfect, or as close to perfect as anything can be.

And then D proposed.

I was totally stunned. Jaw-dropped, just stunned. It was romantic and sweet. It was a dream moment, something out of a movie. I gave him the much anticipated yes, and we couldn’t have been happier. We just couldn’t stop smiling.

We're engaged!

We’re engaged!

Hold onto your hats people, Dballs and Smash are getting married!

Top of the World: Day 4

Chomped down breakfast at the ass-crack of dawn today and got a move on. This is it! The one activity I was most looking forward to. The hike up Diamond Head crater.

You can take the bus, cab, or trolley there if you want. But we’re dangerous. We buck the norms every chance we get. We decided to walk.

It was another gorgeous day in Hawaii. The sun was shining, there was a nice cool breeze, and we were on our way. It was sweaty though. We’d barely made it halfway to the entrance of the trail and we were sweating balls! But hiking is sweaty business, and we knew that going into it.

yup, we're going up there

yup, we’re going up there

We had to go through a tunnel to get into the park and to access the trail entrance. I couldn’t help but think of Wile E Coyote while we walked through.

no anvils on the otherside

no anvils on the other side

It’s a good thing we got there early because the trails are fairly narrow. It started getting crowded as we were making our descent, and I did not care for that. It’s generally an easy hike, gentle inclines. A couple of areas where you’ve got to do a lot of stairs, but for the most part anyone can do it. You will feel it in your legs though. That’s for damn sure.

But the views are breathtaking. I’ll let them speak for themselves.

during the hike

during the hike

mid-way there

mid-way there

ocean view

ocean view

island view

island view

view from the top

view from the top

See what I mean? It’s impressive. And well worth the trek.

We were at the top by 9:00am. And there were quite a few people there. I was kind of hoping that we’d be early enough to catch a quiet moment at the lookout, but no such luck. I can’t complain though, because the views are just stunning. This is what we came for. Adventure.

And if you’re anything like me, you will feel adventurous once you’ve reached the top. Looking out over the island I fancied myself a fearsome pirate. Captain of a mighty vessel. Infamous rogue and irrefutable scoundrel. Having sailed far and wide for the perfect place to stash my bountiful pirate treasure. But that’s just me. You might think otherwise once you get to the top.

Treasures safely stowed away for good, we worked our way back down the crater. Since it was still early, and we had a bunch more energy to spend, we decided to continue hiking through the neighbourhood. I love it. I love walking through parts of the city that aren’t crowded with tourists. Exploring the town on our own.

where the locals are chillin'

where the locals are chillin’

We just walked. Soaking up the sights and sun. Once we’d worked up a formidable sweat, we made our way back to the beach. Another afternoon of swimming and sunning.

You see a lot of shit go down on the beach while you’re there. Part of the fun is people watching from your cozy little towel. The best people watching comes from the kids and old folks. Both groups just don’t give a shit. They do whatever they want, and they have no shame for it.

I saw this group of three older gentlemen, roughly mid-70’s. They were just chatting away, being casual. Cue a young 20-something girl in a thong bikini. They snapped to attention and cranked their necks for a view faster than you could holler “hoochie mama!” They sure made a meal out of looking at this girl. And once she’d finally sauntered off out of sight, they turned back to each other and tsk tsk-ed her ferociously. How shameful! What’s wrong with the kids today? etc. etc.

I just had to laugh. Looked to me like they liked what they saw, but I guess not. Dudes, it’s Hawaii. You’re going to see butts. That’s just how it is. If you’re shocked by seeing someone’s ass at the beach, then maybe the beach just isn’t for you. Oh, and also, women have rights now. We can drive, and vote, and wear thong bikinis if we damn well please. So, you’d better get used to it. Butt floss is here to stay.

Then it started raining. Not just some pathetic spitting that you can ride out either. It was a tremendous downpour. And it just didn’t stop. All afternoon and evening long.

Dinnertime rolled around and it was still pouring out. No sign of letting up. I can’t be rained on. I’ll melt!

We didn’t know what to do for dinner, then I remembered a place super close to the hotel. We could easily dash over there, sustaining minimal rain damage. And as luck would have it, it was the best meal of our trip so far!

I earned this bad boy

I earned this bad boy

I rocked a Teriyaki Strip Loin because I can. And D went with the Schezwan Swordfish.

D's first swordfish

D’s first swordfish

Both dishes scored perfect 10’s in our book!

The broccoli would have been cause for a deduction on my dish, but I passed that disgustingly huge pile of it off onto D’s plate. Broccoli is revolting, and I want nothing to do with it ever in my life. I’d rather eat dirt. Actually, that’s not true. I wouldn’t eat dirt either because I’m crazy fussy about shit like that. I don’t have a particularly discerning palate, but I do know that broccoli is just wrong.

In conclusion, Diamond Head=awesome and broccoli=less desirable than dirt.