Sunday, December 31, 2017

I'll write you a postcard, I'll send you the news.

I'm hanging out at home, drinking a little bit of sparkling wine, and reflecting on the year that was the year of Our Lord 2017.  (I find it funny referring to years this way. Please humour me.) I was going to do a thread on Twitter, since I never blog anymore, but they I thought, shit, I have too many thoughts for evened threaded, 280-character Twitter... So here I am.

Ahhhh, 2017. Globally, this year was a garbage fire. Checking the news was an exercise in masochism.

Personally, this year had high highs, and really low lows too.

I started this year in the Dominican Republic with my friend Nadine. It was a lovely vacation, but I was a bit of a hot mess. I had a lot of fun, but looking back, I realize that the tropical sun may have infused me with some loneliness, which I dealt with by texting a boy who wasn't worth my time. I'm so glad that was just a blip.

Other than that trip, 2017 was filled with other fun travel too. In July, I went to Costa Rica for a week of touring with my friend Jane, and I loved it. The biodiversity of the country is breathtaking. In August, I flew out to Chicago with my Jays' Girls to see our beloveds take on the Chicago Cubs and lose (the final game they blew in painful fashion). On top of two games and a tour of Wrigley Field, we did lot of other fun stuff too, including spending the solar eclipse at the Planetarium.

Of course, those weren't the only ball games I went to. I spent baseball season watching *almost* every game on TV (NERD!) and went to over 20 home games. It was a disappointing season but the rhythm, rituals, and moments of the game soothed me.

Baseball is a old love of mine from childhood that I've rekindled big time since 2014. But what about my constant love of live music? I lost track of the concerts that I went to in 2017, but I went to some good ones. I saw old favorites like Stars, Sloan, Ben Folds and Tori Amos but also dabbled in pop music a bit with Mariah Carey and Katy Perry shows. They were all fun; I don't think a single show disappointed me. I also saw a show in April with my dad! That was fun.

The most difficult thing that happened in 2017 was the illness and death of my dear cat Rilo. Her illness hit me like a four-ton truck out of nowhere. Watching her struggle through her last days and having to make the tough decision of when to put her to sleep was so traumatic. Even thinking about it now brings me to tears. She was a special cat. She was a soul cat. I will treasure the almost nine years we had together.

In October, I made the decision to get a new cat friend. It took quite a few visits to various shelters in the city, but I found my Cleo (then named Carmine) at Toronto Humane Society - the same shelter from which I adopted Rilo in October of 2008. She's a tiny playful grey tuxedo cat who has quickly figured out how to wrap me around her paws.

The best part of 2017 was that after so many bad decisions/experiences when it comes to dating (see January), I unexpectedly met someone I adore in March. Like seriously, how did that happen? I decided to tip my toe back into the dating pool in January, and after avoiding some dates that I knew were going to be awful, I showed up to a date and sat across from someone and thought "I think this is my person."  Of course, as soon as that went through my head, I panicked and told myself to settle down, but that instinct has proven to be true.  In fact, he's my date for New Year's Eve!

And with that, I should go put some Brussels sprouts in the oven and put on my makeup. (We're staying in.) If anyone actually reads this, happy new year and all the best in 2018!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Worst Day

Today I took Rilo to the vet because there has been some changes to her over the past week. She's been very lethargic, not eating much, and anti-social. She seemed a bit more active today so I was optimistic that she was getting over a "bug".

It turns out that she has a tumour, and it's terminal. 

I'm shattered. The loss of your pet is a deal you agree to when you sign up as a pet owner. However, it feels like it's so far down the road that you don't worry.

I thought we'd still have lots of time together. I adopted her almost nine years ago, and it was estimated she was between three and five years old. That actually puts her at the average age for the illness she has.

I'll find out more tomorrow, but it looks like she'll be on pain meds to help for the rest of her life.

I'm in a lot of shock and extremely sad. I couldn't have asked for a sweeter caf. I'll miss her so much.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

It's May!

Okay, it's been May for awhile. My stress levels at work have gone down slightly. I still have loads of marking and planning but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Life is good these days. This paradoxically causes me a bit of anxiety. I keep waiting for the other metaphorical shoe to drop.

Luckily last week a newsletter about baseball helped me with this. I subscribe to Stacey May Fowles' Baseball Life Advice.  Last week's newsletter was about anxiety and it contained the advice "there is no other shoe" and I've been chanting that in my head as of late. Instead of worrying about something bad happening and mentally preparing myself for that, I need to live in the moment and enjoy the good.

I also finished the book of the same name last week. It's a must-read for anyone who is a Jays' fan, especially if you followed during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. I loved it.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Lessons From A Rough Start

Even though every year I swear I'm going to figure out a way to plan things so they don't all pop up in April, it always turns out to be the busiest month of the school year. There a lot of extracurricular stuff going on in addition to the planning, the marking, and so on.

It's also the start of baseball season!

However, my beloved Toronto Blue Jays are off to a rough start. As of this writing, they are 6-13 and that's actually a bit better than it was a few days ago.

No lie: I was feeling down about this and actually stopped watching a few games. My sports therapy wasn't very theraputic. But then there were a couple of games that brought me complete and utter joy, despite the hovering spectre of 13 losses and being in last place. (Not to mention four injured players on the DL.)

On Sunday, Marcus Stroman pitched a wonderful complete game against the Angels. For awhile, the game was actually quite dismal: a ridiculous call by the umpire lead the Angels scoring one run, and for a long time it looked like that was all there was going to be, and lack of offense was going to sink an amazing pitching job.

But then! A trio of homeruns by Travis, Pillar and Goins cemented a healthy lead and Stroman got a complete game win! I had fun watching a baseball game again! It was glorious.

Last night, the Jays were in St. Louis, which is my second favourite ball park after home. The lineup was released a few hours before the game, and Russell Martin (my favourite player and everyday catcher) was slotted at third base. What in the world?? It was confusing, but strangely delightful.

The game went up and down with Jays continuing to lose the lead. But there was a moment of baseball magic: Chris Coghlan dove over the catcher at home plate to score a run. Despite that, the game had to go into extra innings. In the 11th, Marcus Stroman, a pitcher (!!!) was put in to pinch hit and got a double that would win the game. In it was a night of the strange being magical.

I am recapping these two games because they've taught me a lot. Yes, times can get rough, and even if they are mostly down, you really have to hold onto those moments of joy and light to keep you going.

I think I've fallen for baseball so hard because it's a game where there is always almost tomorrow, and you can hope for better. You also know there will be more losses, no matter who you are; but even so, you end up losing with your friends by your side and in the end, it's the teamwork that counts more than the win anyway.

(Note: tonight's game was rained out.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Oh yeah, I have a blog.

I've forgotten to update in awhile.

The beginning of baseball season has been dismal.

I had an A+++ Easter weekend. Plaskett concert with my dad. Wine tour in Niagara with my pal AlieMalie. Other good things too.

I have to wake up at 5 am for work tomorrow so I should be sleeping, not blogging.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Spring Break!

Well, we don't really call it that in Canada. It's more often referred to as March Break.  Calling it Spring Break is too risky because it might just turn out to be a week of freezing cold snowstorms.  Looks like this year is taking that approach.

I didn't go away this year because it seems like I got back from my Christmas trip to the Dominican Republic just yesterday even though it was two months ago.  I'm saving my cash for summer trips.  So far a baseball trip to Chicago is confirmed.  I have tickets to see the Jays play the Cubs at Wrigley on a Friday afternoon and on a Sunday afternoon in August. On top of that, I plan to stick around for another day so that I can catch a White Sox game and knock two ballparks off in one year.

The week before March Break kind of sucked.  I was having an exceptionally good Wednesday: I went with a friend for a tattoo consultation (I'm getting inked on March 31st... ugh do people say that?) and then I went to see Matthew Good play his 1997 album Beautiful Midnight in its entirety. I'd been waiting to hear some of those songs for twenty years.

My phone buzzed in my pocket.  I thought it was Becca T texting me from Vancouver. She is my closest friend who likes Matt Good, and I texted her during the show because I was nostalgic from back in the day when she and I would see Matt Good shows together. Checking my phone was a bad idea because I got some shitty news that I had an inkling would be coming my way, but COME ON. What ever happened to checking if someone was out before unloading crap on them that isn't even suitable for a text message?

Let's just say my life is playing out like the situation with David Price in Boston. He left the Blue Jays for a big contract in Boston, but since he had a rough season, he feels sad because the whole city has been so hard on him and don't even care about him as a person, and ignore his charitable works. Now he's injured, and might be on the DL for Opening Day, and the Jays have one of the strongest starting rotations in baseball.  If you apply this analogy to my life, I am Toronto.  My analogy breaks down because Toronto did not make Price an offer (so he didn't really have the option to stay here), and the "Price" in my life is no effing David Price, that's for damned sure.  Anyway, I just look forward to my starting rotation having a great 2017.

Oh baseball, is there any problem you can't solve?

So, as my sad little heart is recovering, I've been having a chill March Break and it may be what I need. I went home to visit my parents for a couple of days, and had a nice time watching some World Baseball Classic games. Who know I loved the WBC so much? It's great! It's more exciting than spring training, that's for sure.

I'm now back in the cold, snowy city and after a killer workout, I've decided to stay in with Ms. Rilo and watch a movie and drink some red wine. I have social appointments for pretty much every day until the end of the break, so I think the quiet night will be a blessing, especially in this weather.

Maybe after "spring" break, we'll see some spring.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Another spin around the Sun.

Today is my birthday. Thanks to the luck of having a birthday around a newly made-up holiday (Family Day) and a PD day, I haven't actually had to teach on my birthday in quite a few years.

It was a good day though. Many of my students from last semester remembered the day and made the trip upstairs to the third floor to wish me happy birthday. Some of them also came back from a trip to BC and bought me a burrowing owl hand puppet, because they know that I love owls.  (Little did they know that the burrowing owl is a favourite species... I should dig out my burrowing owl tshirt.) One of my colleagues made sure that my current classes knew that it was my birthday so that they would treat me well (they always do anyway).

My pals organized a nice birthday lunch with unbelievably thoughtful gifts. I love my friends/colleagues/people who keep me sane.

I'm lucky.

I called my parents as is the tradition on my birthday.  My dad and I have a running gag (based on the Simpsons) where I thank him for driving my mom to the hospital to give birth to me.

Tonight is dinner and then a play.

Birthdays are nice.  I'm glad we celebrate them.