Favourite Quotes

Every once and a while I like to go back and look over some of my favourite quotes.  I find my favourite quotes to be motivating, for the most part. There are some exceptions, of course.  Like my first quote below.

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.” (Stephen King)

This one is a bit sad, isn’t it? It seems lonely. It’s also the opening line to one of my favourite stories, “The Body”. This is the novella that the movie Stand By Me is based on. The thing is, I know this feeling.  I know this feeling inside and out, having been there so many, many times.  I think if you’re a particularly sensitive type, you’ve probably been there, too.

Next we have

Let go or be dragged.” (Zen proverb)

I really like this one because I have trouble letting go of the past. I hang on and I hang on and I hang on.  It makes life very difficult. When I came across this quote it really spoke to me.  I have most certainly been dragged into moments kicking & screaming. I need to learn how to let go.

I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things (John Green)

This comes from “The Fault In Our Stars”, a great book which I recommend you read, but that’s besides the point.  Why do I like this quote? Because it is very much who I am.  I am very honest and blunt in my feelings.  I tell people how I feel about them. Very few people will go to the grave not knowing what I think of them, or how I feel about them. And if you don’t know it’s because I can’t be arsed to tell you.

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing (Arundhati Roy)

Optimism at its best, wouldn’t you say? That’s why I like this one.  In times like these where it seems everyone is dying and the world is crumbling, I need quotes like this to keep me going, to keep my head above water, so to speak.

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly (Richard Bach)

Once one of my favourite authors, Richard Bach explores spirituality throughout his books.  This one is from “Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah”.  It reminds me that nothing is the end of the world, that endings can lead to beautiful beginnings, and that disaster is a matter of perspective.

…and those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. (Nietzsche)

A famous quote, which I have loved for ages.  It helps to remind me that sometimes I’m the only one who hears the music, the only one dancing, and that’s ok. I am my own person and I don’t need to care about what anyone else thinks,

“Stop looking for happiness in the same place where you lost it.” (unknown)

The first time I read this quote it was like I had an epiphany.  It stunned me. It sounds so simple doesn’t it? But it’s something that I have done over and over. Mostly with people.  I kept waiting for people who hurt me or made me sad to be better, and then I would be happy.  Except it doesn’t usually work that way. Situations and people sometimes need to be left behind if they aren’t making you happy.

And finally:

Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly (Neil Gaiman)

I like this one so much I got the last bit tattooed on my arm. It is spoken by the Sandman to someone about falling in your dreams.  But it is also a good metaphor for life. Like the caterpillar thinking it’s the end of the world, this reminds me that not all falling is bad. Sometimes it can lead to amazing things.

What are your favourite quotes? Tell me in the comments!

 

Christmas

Merry Christmas & happpy Hannukah, and a general Season’s Greetings to all my readers!

Today I am in Barrie celebrating Chritmas with my sisters (and in spirit with my brother in Manitoba) and so far I am having a lovely time. I love spending time with my family, I don’t get to see them very often, as I live in Ottawa, and getting to spend this time with them is important to me.

Of course there’s also the giving and receiving of gifts. It’s always nice to know someone’s been thinking of you, although of course gifts are not an obligation of the day. I received some lovely gifts I must say, well thought of ones that include some of my favourite things like tea and beer. And I like giving too, although I’m not as good at it as my sisters are. I tend to give things to people and hope they’ll like them.

Christmas is full of great music that never fails to cheer me up. Ok, there are a few exceptions, there are definitely some depressing Christmas songs. But generally they’re pretty cheery. The food is good and even the snow is pretty, at least for one day.

But the holidays aren’t always easy for everyone. There’s a lot of lonliness out there in the world, and if you’re single it can feel like you’re the only one in the world that is. Trust me, I know.

And this year is the first year without my Mom, which makes it harder. I will say that it’s been easier than I thought it would be, I hope that doesn’t sound crass. But I miss her something fierce, especially today.

But I know she’s with us in spirit.

Ode to Winter

I’m not the biggest fan of this season, I’ll be the first to admit. It’s hard to walk around in, people forget how to drive in snow, and it’s bloody cold. But winter has it’s good points too!

  • Cute sweaters. Opportunity to wear cute sweaters almost make it worth it.  I don’t get many opportunities to wear cute sweaters because I run hot, but I do have a few!
  • Less sweaty. I love that about winter, because I spend all summer sweating like a crazy thing. Nothing ruins a look like getting all sweaty.  I  once had someone ask me if it was raining I was so gross.  None of that in winter!
  • It’s pretty. Mostly.  Away from downtown. But once you’re out a bit snow is really beautiful!
  • Holidays.  I personally celebrate Christmas and I love it. I always look forward to it.  This year might be different, but we’ll still be ok.

What are your favourite things about winter? Tell me in the comments!

Orleans Pride Dinner

So this past weekend my friend Tracey invited me out to the annual Orleans Holiday Pride dinner.

I do not live in Orleans, you may have noticed. Not that this stopped me. Any excuse to hang with a bunch of lesbians was fine by me. Although now that I think of it there were no cis gay men there, so maybe this was a Lesbians only thing? I really should know this stuff.

Anyhow, while numbers were few (there were maybe 15 of us?) good times were had by all. I got to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in a long time, and got to reaquaint myself with a few others.

Thanks for having me Orleans!

My Christmas List

So, it’s that time of year where we make Christmas lists for our family and friends to ease the shopping for them.  In non-blog life I don’t normally go for lists.  As gauche as it sounds, there’s not much I want, and the things I want I tend to buy for myself.

But in the interests of the season I have decided to put together a list of things that I want. For posterity.

  1. Donal Trump not to be President. I mean really, this man is toxic. The fact that the United States has such a big impact on life in Canada is disturbing enough on its own, let along with this guy in charge. Ugh.
  2. Socks. Yes I am totally serious about this one. Apparently every pair of socks i own is now missing its mate.  If you see me wandering around with mismatched socks, this is why.  Don’t judge! I hate wearing socks, but winter requires them!
  3. An Instant Pot.  No I’m not really sure why either.  But everyone I know who has one raves about them.  Now I’m curious.
  4. Syria to be peaceful. The horror stories I’m reading make me sad and angry and leave me feeling helpless.  Not sure I can get this one, but a donation to Doctors Without Borders is something right?
  5. Notebooks and pens. Always. Because I heart them.
  6. Time with my family, which I will get! Yay me!
  7. A happier 2017. Seriously.  2016 sucked.
  8. Beer.  Preferably craft.                                     .

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t want for a lot. A maid wouldn’t be turned down, but generally speaking a live a comfortable life, stuff-wise.

Here’s hoping you get what you wish for this holiday season!

Favourite Online Tools

So yesterday I talked about my favourite websites.  Today is a variation on that theme, where I introduce you to my favourite online tools.

Grammarly: Grammarly is an online proofreading tool.  Not only can you plug text into the website for it to check, it also has several apps/extensions that you can use.  I use the one for google chrome, which checks almost all of my online writer for grammar and spelling.  They also have a premium option that apparently provides 250 more types of checks.  I am satisfied with the free version, however.

Hemingway: Similar to grammarly, Hemingway checks your writing, but this time for readability.  It gives your text a grade level, tells you when your sentences are too long or complicated, and generally tells you how to tighten your writing.

Writer: The Internet typewriter: I love this tool.  Writer provides a mostly distraction-free writing environment.  It has a green on black interface and very cool typewriter sounds.  I like the sounds because they make me feel like I’m accomplishing something.

WordPress.com: I mostly use the wordpress software rather than the .com site, but the website provides all the tools you’d want to start a blog without the joy of installing the software on a server and then hosting your own site. A powerful blogging platform.

Mailchimp: Mailchimp hosts your mailing lists, and everyone knows a mailing list is key for those of you who want to build an audience. While somewhat complicated at first, once you get the hang of it, mailchimp is a valuable tool for creating and sending your newsletters.

Google Docs: This one needs no introduction.  I love it because it is always available on whatever platform I choose, and is just as functional (for my purposes) as MS Word.

Write or Die!: Write or die (almost) does what it says on the tin.  You set a time, a word count and a consequence or reward and you start typing away.  If you don’t make your goal or you slow down too much you hear alarms, see pictures of spiders and various other not-so fun things. You can try it on the site, or buy it for desktop use like I did.

So there you have it, my list of favourite online tools.  And I promise you none of them have paid me for the accolades.  What are your favourite online tools? Tell me in the comments!

 

My Favourite Websites

I am rather heavily addicted to the internet.  Yes, that’s right.  I said addicted because it’s true. If I had to go without the internet I would probably shrivel up and die.  Ok maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I would definitely get twitchy.

So I thought I would share some of my favourite websites with you.

Facebook: I love facebook.  I spend way too much time there.  Sometimes it can be a frustrating place, but it allows me to keep in touch with my family and friends, so that makes it worth all the annoying game requests and bullshit posts.

Metafilter: I have apparently been a member of metafilter since 2001.  That feels incredible to me. First, because who knew anything on the internet would last that long?! And Second, who knew I had enough interest to keep going somewhere for that long? What is Metafilter you ask? It’s a community blog featuring links to the “best of the web” and members commentary on said links.  I really enjoy the content I find there.

Reddit/r/Relationships: Reddit can be a cesspool of awfulness; I’ll be the first one to admit it.  But if you know where to go, it can also be endlessly entertaining. Reddit has a subreddit (read: forum) for EVERYTHING.  I swear to god if you want to talk about it, it’s somewhere on Reddit. Why do I like /r/relationships specifically? Because Relationships is all about people having relationship trouble.  It is like a train wreck you can’t look away from.  And let’s be honest, it makes me feel good about being single.

Tumblr: For my freakishly huge addiction to all things fandom, particularly for TV show supernatural.

S.M. Carriere’s Blog: The upfront is this is a friend of mine’s blog.  I’d be remiss to not include it though because I check it almost every day.  S.M. is an author of various books and she blogs about her life and writing.  It’s a good, personal read.

Oh No They Didn’t: The popular celebrity gossip site that is hosted on Livejournal. Because everyone needs some celebrity gossip once and a while!

The Maven of Mayhem: Another blog from a fellow Ottawan. Amanda Jetté Knox blogs about her family life, including that of her transgender daughter and wife and the family’s journey in love. Inspiring and addictive.

Bitches Gotta Eat: Samantha Irby’s utterly hilarious blog about life.  Read it.  Go NOW.

Skillshare: A site where you can take micro video courses about many, many things.  Learn how to paint, how to code, how to cook.  It’s all on Skillshare.  Have I mentioned how much I love it? Yes, yes I have.

I feel like I should make it an even ten, but I can’t think of a tenth favourite at the moment.

What are your favourite websites? Let me know in the comments!

Trimming the Tree

So my friend Dan and I have quite the tradition.  Every year we meet up to decorate his parents’ Christmas tree.  I’m pretty sure the first invite came out of pity that I wouldn’t decorating a tree at my own home – I was in University and we didn’t really do a tree anymore. So given my lack of tree decorating opportunities, I snatched this one up. That was in 1998.  We’ve been doing it every year since then.

The context is variable.  Sometimes we do the decorating in the afternoon.  Sometimes in the evening.  Almost always on a weekend if we can manage it.  Dan’s mother will make us brunch or dinner, and it is always fantastic. We’ll eat and chat and drink wine.  Sometimes friends have joined us, now Dan’s partner Phillipe is there, but the consistent thing has always been Dan and I decorating the tree. This takes several hours as Dan’s parents have many, many ornaments.

And there are traditions of course.  We exchange gifts every year.  And my favourite one is Hiding the Airplanes.  Dan’s mother has these two small pink and blue airplane ornaments that are antiques, and were made before the invention of plastic. Every year it’s someone’s job to hide the planes somewhere on/in the tree and the others have to find it. I am wretched at both the hiding and the finding, but it’s always, always fun.

So that is what I was up to this weekend.  Decorating the tree, year # 19.

And it was good.

2017 Canadian Whisky Awards

The story begins about a month ago when I received a random email with the subject “You’re Invited!” I promptly ignored it and figured it was spam. Well, the sender was persistent and followed up with a second email. I googled her company Jesson + Company Communications Inc. and it turned out they were a legitimate company. So that made me pay a little more attention to the email.  Would I be attending the event they invited me too? Looking through my junk mail I found an invitation to the launch of the 2017 Canadian Whisky Awards.  This included a tasting session. Hell yes, I wanted to go!

So on December 1st I did just that.

The event was held at the Association of Canadian Distillers office, and I was in for a treat.  On my way in I discovered that I was invited in my capacity as a blogger and freelancer. That surprised and pleased me. And not only was there whisky, there was an amazing array of food as well.  Too bad I had eaten beforehand.

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There were four whiskies we were tasting that night were all previous Canadian Whisky Award winners and they were:

  • Canadian Club 100% Rye
  • Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
  • Gooderham & Worts
  • Lot 40 Copper Pot

Now I love some whisky, I really do, but I am hardly a connoisseur. I wouldn’t be able to write you tasting notes on what I had because I am a casual whisky drinker. But I know what I like. The Gooderham & Worts was the smoothest to my pallet, and therefore my favourite.  The ryes were far, far spicier. The Lot 40 somewhere was solidly in the middle.   At least to me.

Besides the whisky and the food, we also got to hear from Davin de Kergommeaux, the head judge of the Canadian Whisky Awards! He told us about the origins and how they function. I did not know that it was 100% blind tasting. That’s pretty cool.

To top off the evening they sent me home with a free bottle of Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye! That was very generous of them.

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All in all, it was a really lovely time, and although I felt a bit out of my depth the organizers were incredibly welcoming. I’m still not sure how they found me but I am glad they did!