Merry Monday – Labour Day Weekend

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In retrospect, I should have suggested Wednesday as the first day at my new job.

This weekend was amazing, enlightening, and reassuring.

I was fortunate enough to spend the bulk of it with four fabulous women that I am thankful to have as friends. I got to know several of them better outside of the training environment and I learned we have more in common than I could ever have guessed.

I was blessed to be part of a taikai (tournament) team that won bronze, so I have another medal to add to my collection which includes my Catholic school graduation (I was never actually Catholic, but that is a story for another time) and the bronze medal I won at the last taikai I competed it. I have yet to receive even one flag, but I expect if I work harder to improve, they will come in time.

Today, one of the wonderful Sensei from Japan told us that taikai is often judged more on strength and that ability to show strength is good for little else because ranks are not given for that but for much more.

We were punished for improper etiquette. This was a problem with people from most divisions. Indeed, many failed their gradings this weekend either because of something small or because they went over time by 1 second.

There are quite a lot of little things I learned that I think will help me greatly improve. The slightest incorrect foot placement can have a profound effect on hip placement, which results in a bad cut and possibly means having missed the target completely.

Also, something from my past came full circle this weekend and I am finally able to leave it behind me. I’m very happy about this.

I was able to start my next short story. Despite never having heard my editor’s voice, I hear her in my head each time I write something to vague, so I put questions that need answering in parentheses and keep writing the first draft.

Well, I must be getting to bed as I start my first day as a content producer tomorrow. That is a fancy title that means writer plus a few other things.

Ciao,
R~

Merry Monday – Sitting Around

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I spent a lot of today at a doctor’s appointment. Telemedicine is wonderful except when there are technical difficulties. If the chairs were comfortable, I think  people wouldn’t mind being stuck waiting as much. Do medical offices ever test the chairs before they buy them?

They say that sitting is as bad as smoking now. I suppose streaming services have contributed to this. Before, I might watch one episode of a TV show at night and during the commercials, I would get up and do something in between like put a load of laundry on. I would get up several times during an hour long show. Now, I watch several episodes in succession only getting up to use the washroom or grab a snack.

But I’m an active person at heart. I like taking walks. I love skating. I’m a passionate martial artist. I like geocaching. When I play my guitar, I’m almost always standing.

As a writer, I sit a lot. It’s on my mind, lately. It has affected my posture to some degree. I notice it at martial arts.

I’m going to start writing from a standing position at least part of the time.

I’m going to take more walks too. I got out of the habit because of the heat waves, but those should be ending soon. I like walking with the Charity Miles app. It’s the perfect thing for me because I have a hard time choosing between charities. I can pick a different one each time I go walking. It could use a random button, but I think I’ll pick a charity for each month.Since it’s nearly 11pm, I’m going to wait until tomorrow to start regular walks. My neighbourhood can be dangerous once the sun goes down and I like all of my bits in their current configuration.

Off to do some research for my next short story. It’s working title is, “The Language of Love.” It’s a Steampunk Romance. For research tonight, I will begin reading “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” as I’ve not written a Steampunk story yet. I’m going to have to watch my tendency to turn romance into erotica as I don’t think this publisher is looking for that. What can I say? I can get a little carried away in my writing…

Oh, and I forgot to post Friday’s post on Friday. Sorry for that. It’s up if you want to read it too.

Ciao,
R~

Fortifying Friday – Limbo

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I’m in limbo right now. The job application and interview process is a slow one. Companies take months to get from advertisement to selection. I know this. It doesn’t make me feel better, though. I don’t want to end up on EI, even if it would be nice to get a little of it back after paying into it for so long.

My days are currently taken up with job searches, applications, etc. And otherwise, I’m trying to get a martial arts seminar booked into a location, which is more difficult than one might think. Some places give preference to organizations that have booked with them before even if it’s not a recurring weekly event or they haven’t yet booked with them. Seems odd to me. Why wouldn’t you go with the guaranteed income? Maybe they’re friends.

My job coach says that this period where I’m waiting to hear about jobs is normal. He recommends going to more networking events.

I have an appointment tomorrow to get professional photos done. I need them to go with my writing bio (rather than a selfie) and my LinkedIn could use it too. There’s a promotion on at this place a couple of blocks away, so I’m going to try them out. I was told to bring two outfits, no black. Apparently, black thins you in person, but does the opposite on camera.

I got a few more outfits from the thrift store today. They had $2 off pants, skirts, blouses, and blazers. My lucky day. Now I need to do laundry, though. I also need a couple of camisoles as two shirts are a little see-through. For $30 I got 1 pair of pants, 2 blazers, 2 scarves, 4 blouses, and 4 skirts. One blazer needs a small repair. The back hem has come out in one area. That’s not a big deal though. I have to get fixing my fancy martial arts pants before seminar and taikai next weekend anyway.

More edits have been made to my mystery story Sandra’s First. One was left over from before. I couldn’t decide which way to go with it then. The other, I think was missed because of the mess of tracked changes markings all over.

Ciao,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – Stir Crazy

I haven’t felt myself most of this week. The job hunt is ongoing and it is emotionally taxing.

On Monday, I felt anything but merry. I realized I was going stir crazy and the weather was absolutely perfect for a visit to Papanack Park Zoo. I took more videos than photos as my camera is not a DSLR and isn’t so great at taking action shots. I spent the bulk of my time there admiring the big cats. Perhaps a strange thing to do for someone with a cat allergy, but they were fascinating. As I walked toward their cages, I could feel the danger in the air. Some of the enclosures reminded me of a wooden version of those found on Jurassic Park. Lions act rather like a mixture of house cat and dog. They pounce if you turn your back on them and jump up excitedly when they see their feeder. This doesn’t go on for long as they wear themselves out quickly. They were surprisingly adorable. I never heard any roar, but would have liked to. Tigers are more active and are surprisingly hard to lose sight of despite their orange colour. During the feeding, I didn’t get much chance to take pictures of the tiger, so I went back alone and watched it until it snapped at me. At that point, I told myself it was best to leave it alone if that was what it wanted. I had left the tiger as I was following the feeding tour. Our next stop was the snow leopard. What a fluffy kitty. It had a pretty relaxed demeanor and I swear it was walking by the cougars on purpose to rile them up. The cougars were right next to her and they were nasty. One female cougar in particular was terrorizing the male. The other female left the two of them to fight while she stayed hidden from the crowd. The male let the other female push him around until food came and he was hungry. He snapped back and she threw herself to the ground and tried to act all sweet. He wasn’t buying her act, though. I visited the monkeys and realized their poop smells the most like human poop. There were a lot of them too. The squirrel monkeys only did cool things when I didn’t have my camera out. Figures. Now for some pictures… The first is of a pair of owls. The one on the right wouldn’t take its eyes of me and turned its head around more than 180 degrees. It was a bit creepy.

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There were creepy bald eagles too. Somehow I didn’t notice until after I took my picture that there were three in the cage that were all in the exact same pose. Other birds were so still I wondered if they were alive or even real.

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There was a capybara, which I thought looked rather like a giant beaver.

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I also got to see cute things like a wallaby. I fantasized briefly about having one as a pet.

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There were zebras too.

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I felt better after the zoo visit. It surprised me how much the wild dogs looked like regular pets. I did not find them scary, but should have. I did start sneezing after a while, but by then it was time to go home anyway. I didn’t spend much time looking at the North American animals. I was more interested in the exotic ones and had only so much time.

On Tuesday, I finished the edits on Sandra’s First and sent them to my editor. I was dreading my afternoon appointment with Dress for Success. I felt like there wasn’t much point to getting clothes for interviews as it seems I haven’t been selected for any. At the start, I wasn’t confident in some of her selections for me. She gave me a mint green shirt to try, which was as awful as I expected. Shortly thereafter we found two outfits that I can mix and match. They make me look great. Also, older and taller. I can’t wait to wear one to an interview!

Tuesday evening was somewhat frustrating. One member of my martial arts club was being subtly jerky to me by uttering comments meant to make me feel stupid. I will defuse that situation in due time. It caused me to lose a lot of sleep and I won’t let that continue.

Because of the lost sleep, I was barely functioning yesterday. I couldn’t even manage to use my scanner properly, but I also couldn’t nap. I caught up on Supernatural and picked up a package. I also got an ergonomic cushion to make my office chair better and did some shredding. At least I got more than nothing accomplished.

Today, I’m still a little sluggish, but almost back to normal. Caffeine helps. I’ve been watching more TV than I should, though.

Back to working on the to-do list.

Ciao,
R~

 

 

Thoughtful Thursday – One Month

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Today is an anniversary. I have been without a job for one month.

Here are my goals:

  1. Become bilingual.
  2. Write.
  3. Become an independent contractor.
  4. Get my home clean.
  5. Get fit.

I’ll break down the status of each of my goals below.

Become Bilingual

  • I have registered, paid, and been placed into French level 2. I’m really happy that I found a budget-friendly place to learn French. It is something I’ve always wanted to do as many of my family members only speak French and I want to be able to talk to them. Family reunions are seldom enough that it’s entirely possibly that I will be fluent for the next one!

Write

  • I am currently editing a short story for publication in an anthology this fall.
  • I will be doing more edits on my urban fantasy erotica novel before submitting it to a publisher.
  • I will be writing another short story for winter.

Become an Independent Contractor

  • I am registered with a recruiter thanks to a friend I will owe dinner to.
  • I have created a website.
  • I have met with accountants.
  • I am getting my financial advisor to talk with the accountants to get them on the same page.
  • I have begun applying to contracts.
  • I will be reading to refresh some of my skills because that never hurts.
  • I should get business cards and a logo drawn up.

Clean the House

  • I bought a small bookshelf to organize my things better.
  • I bought a proper shoe rack for my closet to make better use of the bookshelf I had in there and now I can see the floor in my dining area.
  • Did some recycling though there is more left to do.
  • Did some dishes, but there is more left to do.
  • This item will take longer as it is a lower priority than everything else.

Get Fit

  • I’ve gotten some smaller plates and bowls from the dollar store to get better control over my portion sizes. My other ones will be left for special occasions.
  • I’m aiming for 30 minutes of cardio each day.
  • Every 2 days I’m doing other exercises.

Other than those specific goals, I’m continuing to do my martial art. There is a seminar and taikai (tournament) coming in a couple of weeks that I am preparing for. I came in third at the last tournament. I’m hoping to improve upon that. I’ve been working hard on my core strength, my focus, and my hip alignment. There is so much to coordinate between one’s body, mind, and sword that it is not easy.

What is on my mind, though? Well, for a while I felt like nothing was improving. As I’ve been editing this short story, for example, I had 10 pages left no matter how much new content I added. Today, I finally broke through that and have 7 pages left. I’m stuck at the current place and need to do some thinking to get out of this spot. And on the job front, all the contracts available were asking for much more experience than I currently have. One came up today that I am missing some things for, but not as extremely outmatched as the rest. I was also informed of a potential writing job, which if I can’t get a contract, at least I would be working in the interim and adding to my business writing skills portfolio.

I have some upcoming appointments through my job coach as I’m still unemployed. I am certainly not just sitting around. Tomorrow, I have a workshop on interviews. Next week, I meet with people regarding my clothing. I also have to put in another EI report. Due to severance, I haven’t begun actually collecting any money from EI yet.

There is condo drama that is also on my mind, but I’m refusing to get involved.

As I’ve spent the bulk of the day editing, I am taking the night off from that. Dishes, laundry, and a movie are calling to me.

Ciao,
R~

Merry Monday – Going After Your Dreams

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I took in some 2016 Olympics this morning. I’m not an avid watcher, especially of the summer olympics, but a man I went to high school was competing and I wanted to see how things went. I enjoyed watching someone else from my hometown chase their dreams. That was a bit of a pun as he’s a runner.

When I was growing up, it seemed a common belief that no one from my little hometown could amount to anything. Also, that everyone would invariably move back there. Many in my generation have refused to give that credence. Many of us are entrepreneurs, artists, top athletes, etc.

I’ll be an entrepreneurial artist soon. I’m excited about this, but I’m not in a rush. I’m using this downtime to better organize my home and personally grow. I want to be sure that I’m back in the driver’s seat.

Part of that growth has made me realize that I should be a little selective in my writing projects. One of my upcoming opportunities I backed out of because with the job changes, my novel, language learning, and other life priorities, I realized I could not get it done in time. I’m not one of those writers that can get 2000 words down in a day. Maybe one day I will be, but I’m not there currently. I didn’t have an idea for the story yet and it was stressing me out. I’ll  be happily working on the story for the next one once I finish the edits for the fall story. Editing has been an adventure. It’s teaching me a lot and I should be able to improve my writing because of it.

Anyway, I have to get back to the job stuff and the editing.

Ciao,
R~

Fortifying Saturday (Oops)

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I missed Fortifying Friday! For good reasons, though.

Friday was extraordinarily busy. I met with my Job Coach for an hour. Then I did some shopping in preparation for my final project in my Graphic Design Fundamentals course. That took me to lunch time. Had food. Worked on my graphics homework for unit 3, which I still have to finish. Next, I drove my Sempai to my Sensei’s house so they could share a cab to the airport. Then, I worked on editing my short story.

Having comments from an editor is a mix of frustration and elation. Some parts are confusing. Some are, “Damn, she’s right,” or “As if I did that!” And other parts are finding a way to make a change that works for the author, the story, and the editor. Hopefully, I’m accomplishing that. Yesterday, I was stuck on page 2 and feeling like things were hopeless. Today, I’m stuck on page 11. Most of the comments make sense and I agree in some way with them. Some changes I make exactly as suggested and others I don’t because I have the whole story in my head and know what I’m trying to do.

I struggled a lot writing that story. It’s mystery, which isn’t my thing. Also, the words didn’t want to come at the start. Hopefully, the next one goes smoother.

I also spent quite a lot of time on Friday working towards getting employed again. I’m connected with a recruiter now and will be getting a business number to work through them. I will be getting incorporated as that is how they do things. It took a lot of time to input residence information for a security clearance request. Hopefully, that all goes through and I’m with day job once again. I don’t like worrying about food or shelter as you can probably understand.

I didn’t get everything done. I wanted to relax a little more and play some videogames. I also need to finish the profile with the recruiter to get all of my experience logged into their system.

So today I made a lot of progress on the editing, but I needed a break. Despite that it has been pouring all day, I headed out to buy a bookshelf. Bookshelf acquired, I huddled with others in the Walmart entryway hoping the rain would cease or lighten enough to make an easy dash to the car. No such luck. I had forgotten exactly where I had parked. It was far enough away that my keys couldn’t honk the horn. Well, I waited. I waited some more. It lightened a little and I made my move. Then it poured harder while I ran across the parking lot. I had put my hoodie over the bookcase to protect it. It slid further into the cart during the run. I reached the car and the rain was so fast by now, I tossed my car keys into the driver’s seat. I proceeded to grab the bookcase and get it into the car. My grip was hampered by the hoodie on top of it, so that was chucked into the car too. I wrestled the shelf out of the cart and into the car. Then I grabbed the rest of my groceries and put them in the car too. I was going to bring the cart back, but I needed my keys to lock the car. Yes, even in the rain I try to be considerate with my carts. I carefully placed the cart so it wouldn’t roll into any place it shouldn’t then got into my car. I couldn’t find my keys! I took a breath and searched around. Still, no keys. I began feeling about under the driver’s seat, grabbed hold of one of the keychain cards, and rescued them from the dark underbelly of the seat. Relieved, I left the cart where it was and went home because the rain was even worse now. The bookshelf will stay in my car until the rain stops, which is *supposed* to be in an hour.

Time for dinner then graphics design homework. Dinner mostly doesn’t require electricity, which is good because it’s starting to storm.

Ciao,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – Another week already?

thoughtfulWell, here we are at Thursday once again. Things are looking up. I hope I’m not jinxing myself when I say that.

I’ve nearly finished editing my novel for its next submission attempt. I’m checking through the grammar before submitting it. I expect I’ll include a synopsis in the email to them.

I continue to apply for jobs, but having gone to a workshop I learned that Networking is how most jobs are acquired, not applying for them. As such, I’ve been switching tactics. The hidden job market is accessed through who you know and accounts for most of the job market, apparently. Through a friend I’ve gotten a meeting set up with a recruiter. The meeting is later today. I hope it goes well.

My severance was more than I expected. I’m hoping I won’t have to use all of it to survive and can dump some into RRSPs. We’ll see how this all goes. One day at a time.

I’m meeting with my job coach tomorrow morning. We’ll see what the thoughts are for me in the coming week with respect to job applications.

Once I’ve submitted my novel, I will take a day or two off to clean my house and then delve into the next short story as I have another deadline. Oh, I should probably let them know I intend to submit a story for that anthology 😉

Alright, it’s time to shower and have lunch. Meeting is at 1pm.

Ciao,
R~

 

Fortifying Friday – 2 Weeks Later

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What is my life looking like two weeks after being laid off?

Well, I have a job coach that is hopefully going to help me become reemployed. He’s set me up with this job site that emails me new jobs everyday. He has also informed me of a place to take French at reduced costs and I’m trying to get registered for the fall session.

I’ve had some really low moments where all I could do was cry about the unfairness of it all, but I don’t languish there because I know that won’t get me out of this situation.

There are some really good things happening for me with my writing. I have 2 short stories placed into anthologies and opportunities to write more of them. There are 10 chapters left to edit on my erotica novel before I submit it somewhere new.

I’m really enjoying seeing more of my friends and of the city. Also naps are wonderful.

My spirit is not as high as it usually is, but I’m working on it. I have always been a mostly optimistic person who sees opportunities or work arounds rather than total blockages.

My house is very slowly getting cleaner. I hate cleaning.

I better do some homework on my graphics course if I hope to pass it. This module is due by Sunday.

Ciao,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – One Week Later

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Well, it’s been one week without a job, but it hasn’t been a week without work. I’ve been very busy applying to jobs and even busier with my writing. I’ve also been quite busy reducing expenses and calculating how much money I actually need to live. What I’ve discovered is that I can live on less.

I’ve been getting responses from recruiters and may have some interviews soon. It may be contract work ahead and that is just fine. A writer friend mentioned to me that I could take writing breaks in between contracts. Contracts often pay more than regular jobs. If I’m smart with my budget, I could take time off when I’d rather do something like travel.

I have options for benefits with my previous plan or once I am published through the authors association. Whichever plan costs me less is what I’ll go with as they are about the same.

I’m less scared today. I know I’ll get through this.

Sadly, Winchester the Amazing Betta fish is no longer with us. I found him in his tank. It was as though he was heading down to the bottom of the tank and he died mid way. I conducted a private burial at sea for him last night.

I took a writing break to call Daddy for mechanical advice on a part of my short story. Back to it now. I’m on a deadline!

Ciao,
R~