Happy New Year to you all. It is January 3rd, and fortunately, it seems the polar vortex here in Ottawa finished – or maybe I should say, the cold has “snapped.” When I dragged myself out of bed at 8am yesterday and trudged to the office, my metéo app said it felt like -35°C with the windchill. That’s getting close to the crossover point! Nuts! But today, it’s a downright balmy neg eight, or -15° with the wind. Wouhou! Spring is here!
Obvi not. The worst is yet to come, but I’ll take these temps over Siberian cold any day.
Work was supa dull yesterday. I went around to say hello to my coworkers, and none of my supervisors were here! The only person from my team was Sarah, the part-time (master’s) student. I even visited the manager of the other team (Employment Equity) to ask if I could help them out with anything… And there was nothing. So, in addition to being the first day back on the job, there was hardly anything going on. It was a very slow day – which was also made worse by the fact I didn’t take a lunch. I just got back to Ottawa late on Monday night (my flight was delayed), so I didn’t have time to grocery shop. Plus, my roommate has moved out most of his stuff, including the microwave and pots – so I wasn’t able to cook anything I had or heat it up, even if I did. So I just ate oatmeal I had on my desk – two bowls of it. It was a struggle of a day. Fortunately, today was better, as both Vinita (my direct supervisor) and Jeff (a new colleague who I’m very friendly with) are back! Yay.
And yesterday wasn’t horrible, no way. I left at 3:30 because I didn’t take a lunch and immediately went shopping. I was going to rectify my home situation and buy some food so January wasn’t more hellish than I had to be. I hoofed over to Giant Tiger, snatched up a cutting board and 3 pots and 1 pan for ~$30 together (love a good bargain), and then headed to the mall. And picked up… My new 55” 4K/Ultra-HD Fluid TV!
It was my “Birthmas” present, which is what my family has taken to doing for the past 5 years – a larger gift for your birthday/Christmas instead of a bunch of smaller ones. Since I watch so much TV these days (I’m really going all in on reality shows, whatever, #noregrets), I don’t want to deal with a set that malfunctions 50% of the time I turn it on, is relatively small, and has tinny audio. So there was this 55” one on sale on Boxing Day, for $580 off retail price. Insanity! So I snagged it for about a third of its price, brand new, with warranty. Why not treat yo’self, right? Thanks to Bryan Q for the suggestion!
So I get to The Source, give them my name (they curiously didn’t ask for proof of my identity, but whatever…), and go in the back to get it. The guy drags the TV out, and omigoodness, it is enormous. Much bigger than I expected, and a bit intimidating. I was already carrying groceries and friggen pots and pans, so I had to think how I was gonna get this thang home. Fortunately, it wasn’t that heavy, and I had planned to call an Uber anyway.
The only thing is that when my cab arrives… The TV only barely fits! Was too wide to go in the backseat (the doors wouldn’t shut), so the driver put the seats down and we went to put it in the trunk. But then the trunk wouldn’t close, so we had to angle it up on the headrests of the front seats. Even then, it was tight. It wasn’t like it was a SmartCar, either. But we made it work somehow, and now it is beautifully set up at home! Was gonna set it on the toy chest Mum and Dad delivered to me, but it’s too small. So instead, two dining chairs are holding it up. Looks good, but coupling that with my roommate moving out means I need to find some other seating arrangements for my game nights!
Anyway, I love it. Made a spinach salad and thin crust pizza, watched Floribama Shore, then went over to Colum’s for our next attempt at Pandemic Legacy Season 2! We tried the Prologue in December and were one turn away from winning, but got unlucky with drawing the infection cards. But last night, we dove right into the first month, with our four characters: Prince Sass, Raja Jaguara, Jizzlyn, and Tink “Tinky” the Tank. Karma Sutra didn’t make the cut this time. And we won! And discovered some of North America! And had a great time doing it. Love those three lads ❤
And then tonight, I’m watching the season premiere of The Challenge: Vendettas! The 31st damn season (with 3 spin-offs as well), and I am HYPE… Even if the one winner (male or female, not one of each) has already been spoiled for me. I’ll make some delicious nachos (#fitspo) and also watch the penultimate episode of The Challenge: Champs vs Stars. Which has honestly been pretty egregious, but whatever. Tomorrow is yoga and games night with a gaggle o’ gays, Friday possibly other board games with Jason/Chris/Squirtle, and we’ll see what the weekend brings. I’m picking up a microwave from Katie M tonight (Bunz-ing it for a bottle of wine), which means all the things my roomie took with him that I need are now replaced! Yay! And I might buy some marble-looking contact paper, to finally cover those damn countertops.
So that’s this week! Let’s talk about the past couple.
I somehow got ill before leaving for the holidays, so I left work early on the Friday before, and overslept on Tuesday and still didn’t feel good at work, so I left early then – and then woke up at 4am on Wednesday morning and felt completely dreadful. In order to get to NS, I had to rideshare to MTL and deal with luggage and the cold and everything – so I knew I wouldn’t be able to manage if I didn’t get better. I texted the only colleague who would’ve been in that day (Christine) to remind me when my one meeting was, since I didn’t want to miss that and would’ve come in for it, since I live so close. It was with the Executive Director of my sector and another Senior Director, so I definitely wanted to follow through on that. She told me it was cancelled, though, so I kept right on sleeping. (turns out they cancelled it on my behalf – yikes. but it’s not biggie)
Fortunately, all the rest and tea I had helped me feel better, so braving the -25°C temps and traveling on Thursday wasn’t totally execrable. I started listening to the S-Town podcast on the rideshare, got to hang out with Torch and Justin at the Armada Lounge, picked up my custom bowtie and a leather harness and pair of short shorts there, then met Ndaku for coffee, carrots, hummus, and catching up at Anticafé before heading to the airport. Security was no problem, I was enjoying my podcast, and once we got in the air, I took full advantage of the free food and drinks. Glass of white wine and a tallboy of pilsner while I watched the finale of Survivor 35. And let me tell you, I was living for it.
Landed, found Mum, and chatted her ear off on the ride home. About the male gaze, Mr Leather Ottawa, work, volleyball, friends, etc. Much like I write about on here, actually. Also talked with Dad upon arrival to Boutiliers Point, then eventually hunkered down with crackers, cheese, and bologna to finish the Survivor finale. And yes, you best believe that Devon was robbed. I put all my points for the fantasy league/competitive pool on him, thinking he’d be Devon Darkhorse… And then he gets out on a stupid twist? Just like how Shea Coulée got third or fourth because of the twist in the finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9? Annoying. But I still enjoyed the show.
My time back at home was pleasant, if a little dull and slightly stressful. I got lots of sleep, finished Dan Brown’s Origin, played a tonne of Smash Bros (Project M, Melee, and for the Wii U, and schooled Roz most of the time), some board games (predominately Dominion, but also Alhambra, Catan, & Carcassonne – and I wiped the floor with my family members in Dominion, beating them by double for two different games), and ate a bunch. Seriously, my looser pants fit a bit better last night. I was much less active in Nova Scotia (no volleyball, yoga, walking around besides one 2-hour hike, or gym besides one session), and had access to a lot better food. Fancy cheeses, plentiful wine, sweets, and the like. I want to get back into my super active lifestyle here in Ottawa, but I’m still healing up my deltoids, and the gym is crazy crowded soon after the New Year. I postponed my membership until around the 11th, so I’ll just return then. I went once with Dustini over the holidays, and enjoyed myself / got a great workout (was sore everywhere afterward). I’m going to really prioritize form this time, including clenching my abs during squats and deads. And making sure no leg is taking more weight during squats, and taking care to keep my arms even during bench. So, we’ll see how it goes.
Anyhow, it is now Thursday, I just posted #tbt photos I snapped while looking through my high school yearbook back in the Bay, and I’m going to yoga tonight for the first time in maybe six weeks. Looking forward to it.
The Challenge: Vendettas was litticus, as expected. My nachos, however, were not. I think it was the avocado that tasted off, even if it was ripe. All the calories for nothing, but whatever. The show was great (but the episode for Champs vs Stars was not), and it looked wonderful on my new TV 😀
I also picked up a microwave yesterday (thanks Katie!), and a shoe rack, and unpacked and changed my sheets and cleaned my room and rearranged some furniture. Haven’t seen my roomie in days and had no social plans last night, so after the shows, I was a bit bored. But that (and how messy my place was) bred productivity, so it was a good day after all. I even got some reading in! The book (Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty) is fab so far.
K, back to the holidays. Got to see lots of family and family friends (and to a lesser extent, friends) as well. Went to Shirley’s annual party and nommed on all the gourmet food there. Had the extended family out for Christmas lunch (a day late because a storm postponed it), and saw them on New Year’s Day for a goodbye dinner as well. Visited my new cousin, who is growing up quick (she’s already two and a half!) and is super chatty. The best part is when I asked her, “Olivia, can you turn the lights on the tree on?” and she gasped and said, “Oh my gahh!” So damn funny. She loves Peppa Pig now, but my uncle is so tired of it after watching it for two days straight. It was on while we were there, and omg, I can understand why – the stuff is mindless and needs to be played at 2x speed. Unbearable.
Went shopping now and then, and got this great pair of black leather boots from Sears. It’s closing down, so everything is 50% off. Even still, they cost $80 – but that’s not a bad price at all for a good pair, especially for the climate I live in. I didn’t pick ‘em up the first time I saw them and regretted it. There was only one pair left, so I was worried they would get snatched up. But when I went back to the mall, lo and behold – they were still there! So I had Mum and Dad get it for me as a belated Christmas gift 🙂 And now I feel like a legit leather man! Awesome!
(I should’ve just directly asked them for what I wanted in the first place, which would’ve been Dominion: Nocturne, the TV, and/or Breath of the Wild. Minus the television, I feel like they could’ve easily figured it out. I’m a bit salty – completely unnecessarily and undeservedly so – but I was given a fidget spinner, a grip strength builder, a USB lamp, and a bunch of chocolate and licorice. I don’t like sweets and have no need for the other things. Dad started his Christmas shopping literally on the 22nd. I put a lot of thought into my gifts for them. Anyhow. I digress, and shouldn’t be complaining at all. I’m not a greedy person and don’t want much of anything – and simply spend my own money on things I desire – but it’s a bit disappointing nonetheless, the imbalance of it. Sorry.)
Met Fiona for a catch-up with the best coffee I’ve had in a long time – an iced Americano at Lion & Bright (in the North End). Went to an actual mass led by Cate, who is my oldest friend and continues to amaze me. For her to get me to (want to) come to church, you best believe she’s a great person. Then she, Mum, and I went out for a delicious waterside lunch at Boondock’s (in Eastern Passage). It was a great afternoon. Also got coffee with Dustin, in addition to the gym and New Year’s Eve – which we celebrated at the Bus Stop Theatre Co-op, on Gottingen. It was a super hip party, so much so that “cover” was bringing a plant – that you could take home afterward. A bit strange, but I loved it regardless. I wore some leather, as did Dustin, Simon, and their friend Mark. Some people were in drag, others in elaborate makeup and costumes, and others still in… Normal clothes. C’mon! Dress up a little! NYE only comes once a year!
There was an open bar, but because of some vehicular trouble with my parents’ cars, I had to be back in the Bay after the revelry, so I only had two and a toast of champagne at midnight. They were fancy libations, though – one with rose-infused vodka, another with vanilla-infused whiskey, and the third with lavender and pepper simple syrup. I had the first two, since the last was a gin+tonic, a cocktail I can not get behind. The music was great – melodic dubstep for the most part. Cool lighting, a unique setting, different places to sit and talk. And fun, interesting people! I had a wonderful time, so thank you, Dustin + Simon! If it weren’t for you, I’d be home for the big night, probably watching more Big Brother! D:
Hm, what else? Lots of fun bonding time with my sibling, Roz, and the two ‘rents as well, of course. Some arguments and impatience, but going home for the holidays is famously stressful, is it not? Truthfully, I didn’t really think so until this year. And maybe the difference is that I now have a “home” to return to, here in Ottawa. It’s the polar opposite of last year (if you enjoy the pun), when I had only spent a month in O-Town before going home for the holidays. But these days, I have great routines and lovely friends and a comfortable apartment. I was excited to come back – but at the same time (typical ambivalent Libra me), I was sad to leave NS. I hadn’t been back in a full year and only saw Roz through Skype. Mum and Dad came to visit me, luckily, but still. I miss them when I’m gone. Hopefully this year, I can make it back during the warm months – so I can enjoy the province to a higher degree (another pun). And Mum might be working in Hawaii come this winter, so maybe we’ll all meet there for the holidays! That’d be awesome 🙂
The four of us went to a marvelous dinner at A Mano in Bishop’s Landing. Had neighbourhood friends over for hors d’oeurves and some games. Mum, Dad, and I went to see Jumanji together, which was shockingly great. I loved it. And beyond that… Not much else. It was a quiet week and a half, but maybe that’s what I needed. I used the blood pressure checker while Mum and I were waiting at the pharmacy, since the results of my two previous tests put me in the “high” range, despite my fitness/health level and weight (which scared me). But the most recent one came out as below normal blood pressure, for both systolic and diastolic! Wouhou! I’m thinking sleeping more and being away from the stress of the roommate (and the job, probably, though it doesn’t really drain me that much) helped with that. It was a relieving development, in a big way.
It is now 12:45am on Friday night. I just got back home and out of the shower. Was at Chris Parr’s for a games night, and Jason drove me to and from, mercifully. It feels like -35 out again, and I am not feeling it. But it wasn’t enough to keep me inside on a Friday night. Chris, Jason, Matt Wurtle/Squirtle, and I played a game called Agra. Seemed super intense and confusing when Chris was teaching us, and I was honestly overwhelmed. Had no idea what I was doing the first half of the game, didn’t understand the scoring until the last couple turns, but still – I managed to snatch second place, and only four points behind Jason! :O I was pretty surprised as well. And a bit miffed at myself because I definitely could have won, if I only made a couple better moves or sought to understand it slightly earlier. OH WELL.
Yesterday I played some games as well – with Richard, Freddy, and Eric. The first was Funemployed, which was a laugh and a half – seriously, I have some hilarious friends – and then we played some Dominion Dark Ages. Eric left after the first round (which he won, good for him!), so the three of us had to finish two bottles of wine between us. And let me tell you – it was a great time. We had amazing conversations about bisexuality, past lives, star charts, tarot cards, and how Richard & I apparently matched on Tinder way back in the spring. I was having so much fun that I didn’t even notice the hours passing – and before I knew it, 1 am had come and gone! :O What! But it was worth it, even if today was a bit of a struggle. But seriously, they are fabulous guys, and I’m so glad I know them. Much love ❤
And the last thing I’ll say is related to that. Over the holidays, I searched for the star chart I had done way back when, at a Psychic Fair at the Halifax Forum, during some summer spent in Nova Scotia while I was in middle school. I managed to find it after some effort, and I’m so happy I did. Let me reiterate that this document – my “Karmic Insight Report” – was written upwards of ten years ago, so I was shocked at how accurate it was for stuff going on these days. Spooky.
It explained how one struggle I’ll face throughout my life is being a know-it-all and coming across as condescending. Hit the nail right on the head for some of the issues I have, especially when I’m interacting with people from my hometowns (and not most of the friends I have here).
And another issue is how I will often get caught up in and worry too much about what other people think about me. Which is the problem I’ve been having / ruminating over and introspecting about for the past couple months. I’ve written on here about how I haven’t had as much success here in Ottawa socially, as I experienced in Montreal and Glasgow – and how I feel a lack of a ride-or-die or super strong/deep relationships. That’s gotten much better relatively recently, which I’m extremely happy and grateful about. But that doesn’t mean everything is rainbows and gaiety.
A close friend of mine has told me how people find me dismissive, that I don’t give others enough chances. I contend that I don’t owe anybody anything, and if somebody wrongs or disrespects me, or says something offensive – then I don’t have to forgive them. Of course, I’ll be civil and polite if I see them again, but I’m not going to go out of my way to try to befriend this person, who did something I didn’t like. I don’t make snap judgments or jump to conclusions, but yeah, if somebody isn’t working for me – well, I meet so many people here otherwise, and I don’t need that negativity or frustration in my life.
This is even more the case when it comes to Grindr etc. If someone says, “how are you?” or “hot pic,” I’ll respond with “fine thanks” or “thank you.” I don’t believe in ignoring them and I want to be polite – but I don’t believe I need to invest all this emotional energy in having full-on conversations with all these people, especially given how busy I often am. And if that makes me dismissive, well, then… That’s fine. These men don’t have any ownership or entitlement over me. (This is part of the male gaze I was discussing earlier, when talking with Mum on the way home from the airport)
But regardless of that, I do want to know what people are saying / thinking about me, because I’m not in the business of hurting people’s feelings. If I’m making people react a certain, undesirable way, then yes, I want to be made aware. It doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll change myself or act the way they want me to, but it does mean I’ll take it into consideration, mull it over, self-reflect, and decide what the best course of action is.
So that’s what I’ve been doing. Trying to be a bit more patient, kinder, and more forgiving. I already somewhat think I give people too many chances, but whatever – I’m a tough b!tch and can take a couple more people walking all over me / taking advantage. It’ll at least keep my conscience clear. Oh, and I’m gonna try to cut down on the bossiness and fieriness as well. Just be more laid-back.
And of course – the perennial problem – my humour is not always understood or seen as joking, since it is sarcastic and dry and hyperbolic and ridiculous and deadpan. So I’m going to be careful to only really use that humour around people who know me well enough to realize I’m not being serious, that I’m only teasing and being jocular and trying to get their goat. But for those that are new(er) friends or acquaintances, I’ll reduce the sassy comments and/or be very obvious that I’m kidding around. We’ll see how they go.
Don’t call them resolutions – just changes I want to try for myself.
So that’s that, and I’m done. Also – the roommate moved essentially the rest of his stuff out of the apartment today. His room is completely empty, and there’s just a couple things remaining in the dining room. It’s a tad weird, but I’m actually excited about it. And of course, he and the random guy who was helping him carry it all out (a mover?) were stomping around the apartment in their snowboots – getting the floor all wet and dirty, with salt stains everywhere. I’m not happy about it. Can’t wait to sweep and mop and clean the whole place after he leaves.
But anyway. I’m trying to be kinder, right? And, honestly, I do wish the best for him. We just weren’t a good match to cohabitate. So, hopefully I have a better experience with the next one.
Sur cette note (and because it’s nearly 2am) – good night! ❤