Misc Monday ~ in which we wish our Canadian friends a Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, eh?

I was reminded by Lorraine that Canadian Thanksgiving is today. I always forget what day it is, since it’s a different day than Thanksgiving is celebrated in the US, but I knew that it was before Halloween. Personally, I would rather celebrate before Halloween too, so that Thanksgiving got its proper celebration without being eclipsed by Christmas. Oh well.

Hmm. Maybe I can find a way to celebrate both American and Canadian Thanksgivings, so that I get pie twice. Hmm. Must look into that.

Since I’ve never lived anywhere other than the US, I’ve only ever learned the American Thanksgiving traditions. You know, turkey, pilgrims, Indians*, stuffing, Snoopy, and toast. (What?) When I decided to write this blog post, I thought I’d look into it a little.

charlie-brown-thanksgiving5.jpg

Wiki says that Canadian Thanksgiving was a bit more flexible than I remember learning about, but I don’t actually know how long ago the American Thanksgiving dates and traditions and such were set. I do know that I like having it on a Thursday (US version) instead of a Monday (Canadian version) because this way we get more days off work.  😉

Then again, having Canadian Thanksgiving on a Monday means that there’s no Black Friday shopping nonsense afterwards. Maybe they do it the right way, after all.

There are other bonuses to having Thanksgiving in October. It’s still warm enough that you can spend the day outside without difficulty. It’s earlier in the year, so it stays light a little later. And it means you can put up your Christmas decorations right after Halloween without anyone complaining that it’s “too early”.

At any rate, Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends! May you have lots to be thankful for.

* not a proper term to use now, but that’s how it was when I was taught about Thanksgiving in school. I hope that schools these days use the more proper Native Americans / First Nations / Indigenous Peoples.

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Misc Monday ~ in which dreams are not always goals

Let’s talk in a little depth about one of my 101 in 1001 categories today: the Writing category. When I started the 101 in 1001 challenge, I was planning on working on my dream of becoming a published novelist. Therefore, one of the main categories of my challenge is writing. And yet, now that I’m over a year in to the challenge, I find that this is no longer a focus of mine.

The change in my mindset made me start thinking about dreams vs. goals.

Sometimes, your dreams are your goals. You can work toward something that you’ve dreamed about, and it’s both a dream and a goal. Or you can have dreams that float at the back of your mind or deep in your soul, but that you aren’t actively working on, and therefore while they are still your dreams they aren’t also goals.

For me, being a published author has been a dream for a long time, but it’s almost always been something I played at instead of worked at. The only times I’ve done more than play around at it were when I was unhappy in my personal life. (Part of me wonders how much I subconsciously associate success in my writing with unhappiness. Most of me suspects this is a pretty high association, and I need to work on that.) So, I was planning on using this 101 in 1001 challenge to turn writing from a dream only into something that was also a goal.

And then, for one of my other challenge items, I started evaluating my day job. And I didn’t like what I saw. I also didn’t like what I had in mind as a nebulous “while I’m getting the writing career going” plan. So I started to look at what I could do to be more satisfied and more fulfilled in my day job, and realized that my best option was to focus on that instead of on the novel writing.

Yes, being a published novelist is still a dream. But right now I don’t have the drive to make it a goal. I don’t know that I will ever have enough energy to both work on improving my writing and improve my day job at the same time. You have to pick your battles, and choose where you’re going to spend your energy. Therefore, my primary goal right now is to improve my day job to the point where it feels like a career instead of a job. (Yes, I’ve been in the workforce for decades, and still don’t feel like what I have is a career.)

I am not planning on changing the 101 in 1001 list to reflect this change in focus, however. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of your dreams even when they aren’t your primary goals.

What about you? Do you have dreams which are or aren’t goals in  your life? How to you balance the two?

Misc Monday ~ in which my weekend was derailed

Well. Life happens sometimes, you know? And accidents happen.

This weekend’s accident involved broken china, deep cuts, and three stitches. I’m not going to go into more detail that that, since the accident is Mr. Wyrm’s story to tell more than mine. (He’s fine now. Otherwise I would be taking care of him instead of writing a blog post.) However, it did mean that instead of spending my weekend being productive like I was supposed to be, I spent several hours of it sweeping up broken china and waiting at the urgent care clinic.

That did mean that I had some good knitting time. But it also meant that I didn’t have the focus to work on anything super detailed, and so I followed the urge to cast on a brand-new project.

Reyna start

This is Reyna (here’s the Ravelry pattern page) and I’m using Queensland Collection Uluru yarn to make it. So far I love it. It has enough of a pattern that I was able to stay interested in it, but is simple enough that worry didn’t cause me to mess anything up.

Reyna start

I have gotten significantly further than this, but haven’t taken any more recent photos yet. That will have to wait for a WIP Weds post sometime later.

Anyway, I hope your weekend was less interesting and more fun than mine. Have a great week!

Misc Monday ~ in which I join the Hamilton band wagon

I don’t like hype. I am probably less likely to go see an over-hyped movie in the cinema, or to rent it years later. (For example: I still have not seen either “Titanic” or “Avatar”.) So it should be no surprise that I was skeptical about “Hamilton: An American Musical“. And yet, so many friends (and my immediate family) were so excited about it that I decided in this case, if I could get tickets I needed to see the show so I could make my own decision.

Fortunately, I was able to get 2 tickets to the touring show, and at a reasonable-given-all-the-factors price. And so Mr. Wyrm and I went to see what all the hype was about.

Hamilton!

Now, we are theatre people. We watch a lot of musicals, and participate in them (in various capacities) too. We like musicals. But frankly, I didn’t see how “Hamilton” could live up to the hype. There is so much of it. And many, MANY of the people going nuts over “Hamilton” haven’t ever seen the show performed.

Personally, I don’t see how you can judge a musical by the music alone. There are so many factors: the set, the costumes, the acting, the dialogue (in most cases), the staging, the choreography, the lighting, the sound quality… The music is only one part – an important part, but still only one part. But this is exactly what so many of my friends have done. They have listened to the music, maybe seen some photos, and decided they LOVE HAMILTON. Some of them may have not even listened to the entire soundtrack. And I would venture to guess that there are people who haven’t even done that much, but everyone else loves it, and so they do, too.

Well. I was excited to go see the show, but had only heard one song (and a half, because it’s impossible to completely avoid the variations of “not throwing away my shot”) and seen as few photos as I could manage. So I didn’t really know what to expect. (Yes, I knew that the music style was not “traditional musical” music, but that doesn’t really equate to knowing what you’re going to get instead.)

Hamilton!

Our seats weren’t too bad; though we were pretty far back, we were on the Orchestra level and near center. And from where we were, the sound was great. The rows of seats in the Orpheum are completely squished together, though. This is standard for the big professional theatres, but still. Not my favorite aspect of the night.

And then the show started. And I was hooked.

I won’t go into spoilers about anything, in case you are like me and want to experience it as fresh as possible when you see the show for yourself. I have to say, though: wow. It was an amazing show. So worth the time, the money, and the wait. If you can manage it, this is a show to see.

Against all odds, “Hamilton” lived up to the hype.


Giveaway entry: I’m still running my journal stuff giveaway through the end of April 2017!  for today’s entry, let me know what you think of musicals in general or “Hamilton” in specific.

Misc Monday ~ in which there are not enough spoons

Many of you are probably already aware of the Spoon Theory. (Those of you who are not should read up on it. It’s a great way to describe energy rationing for those with chronic illness or disabilities. Even if this doesn’t impact you at all, it probably impacts one or more of your close friends or family members, whether or not you know it.)

Now, usually I have plenty of spoons. However, I do have occasional depressive tendencies. (I think many of us do, whether or not we acknowledge them.) I do not mean “ooh, you get sad a lot” when I refer to depression. I am referring to the more physical version, which comes with fatigue and a complete lack of energy or motivation to do anything. And I don’t mean that I don’t want to do my chores. When I get depressed, I don’t want to do anything. And I don’t have the energy for much, either. There are days when the only reason I get out of bed is because I have to go to work. (I don’t have bad enough episodes to prevent me from going to work on my worst days. I have it comparatively good, and I recognize that. But I have also learned not to belittle my issues just because “someone else has it worse”.)

Anyway, like I said, usually I have plenty of spoons. But last week, I had barely enough spoons for the entire early part of the week. I managed to do what I had to, and only what I had to. Once that was done, I collapsed on the couch, staring at the TV and not even really doing any crafting because even knitting or crocheting took too much energy.

This is something I am both used to and not. I am used to it enough that I know there are days when I am not going to get anything done and have come to accept that there’s no use beating myself up over it; that will only make things worse because guilt feeds my depression and makes it last longer. Sleep is one of the things that helps, but it seems I have to force myself to get sleep because getting ready for bed takes too much effort.

So… all of this is to explain why this blog post is delayed, and being posted in the afternoon instead of the morning. Once my spoons were replenished toward the end of last week, I didn’t have time to catch up on everything and scheduling blog posts was one of the easy things to set aside.

But, I am also writing this post as a reminder. Sometimes people who seem perfectly fine aren’t. And sometimes they need extra understanding or extra help even when there’s no visible reason why they should. If you have enough spoons, and you see someone who is running low, please consider doing something to help them out. Even a small thing for you could be huge for them.

Misc Monday ~ in which I become one of the 3%

I did something this weekend which I have been wanting to do for a while: I donated blood.

No big deal, right? Yay me. But, it got me thinking. (Part of the reason for the thinking was some of the paperwork & promotional material they had on hand at the donation site.) Why had I not donated before? I’ve been eligible (off & on) since I was old enough, and this is the first time I donated.

Well, I guess it’s the same reasons a lot of eligible people don’t donate. Too busy, too much of a hassle to go somewhere to do it, and – the big one for most people – NEEDLES. Ick. Giving blood for lab work is bad enough; you want me to voluntarily get a needle stuck in me?

And yet, I don’t really feel that way about needles. Shots are no big deal. Blood work (now) isn’t much worse. Just don’t make me watch the needle going in, and I’m fine. (When I was a kid the story was different and involved a tech trying and failing to find my vein multiple times, but that was then and this is now.)

Anyway, I finally got there, thanks in no small part to my dad booking the appointment for me. I’d been wanting to go donate, but he made the extra push that got me off my butt to actually do it.

And while I was there, I found out that only 37% of the American public is eligible to donate. Between permanent disqualifications (diseases, lifestyle, medications), temporary ones (shorter term illnesses, international travel, vaccines), and age restrictions, that leaves only 37% of the population who can donate. And of that percentage, only 5% do donate. In my specific area? Make it 3%. Yes. You read that right. Only 3% of people in my area donate blood.

And I hadn’t been… why again? Because it was too much of a bother.

Yeah. That’s gonna change.

With the current political climate, I’ve been trying to come up with things I can do to make a change for the better. This is one of them.

WIP Weds… or not

Okay, this is the point where I’m supposed to share my crafting progress pictures. Except… this week I don’t have any. Instead of doing much knitting (or crochet or sewing or anything else) I’ve been playing Stardew Valley.

What is Stardew Valley? It’s a farming (and foraging and adventuring and mining…) simulator game for many consoles and on PC/Mac. I’ve heard it compared to Harvest Moon, if you know that game. (I haven’t played it.) Time management is crucial here, but it’s pretty good (at least at the beginning – I’m in Fall of Year One) at reminding you about important dates.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some corn to harvest.