Stripes24's Blog

A single mom, raising two boys, living life as it comes

30-Day Blog Challenge

Nov. 30 – 5 goals for the next 12 months

This final blog post had me thinking for a few days.

Sometimes on December 31, I think of resolutions for the new year. Nothing too serious — losing weight, eating healthy, volunteering more time, looking for good things in your life every day — but when you put the word ‘goals’ into the question, I feel it changes everything.

After days of thoughtful consideration, here are my five goals for 2015:

  1. Travel — I have never been on a train or an airplane. I have never visited a tropical island or a beach outside Ontario, for that matter. I think it’s time to discover the world . . . one trip at a time.
  2. Driving — I have also never driven a car. Next year I will turn 40 years old and I always promised myself if I didn’t have my licence by then, I would just do it. So — I’m just going to do it.
  3. Learn to run — This past year, I have spent time cycling on my stationary bike in the basement. I bought brand new running shoes (with extra pay from working OT) but have yet to use them to run. Since I love being outdoors and walking through the forest, my goal is to start running through that same forest.
  4. Housework — This will be an ongoing goal for the new few years. In order to ready my house to sell, there are many things that need to be fixed or replaced and I will need to budget my time and money to get these things done. And I will. Eventually.
  5. Be happy — Sure, this may be a goal that everyone has. But I’m going to be working on it every single day. During the past few months, I have learned a lot about myself — what truly makes me happy, people I need to surround myself with, and how to enjoy the little things in life. My final goal is to continue doing this today, tomorrow and every day of the rest of my life.

— — —

Nov. 29 – Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Looking ahead five years, I can see many changes happening in my life.

My boys will both have graduated high school and either be attending post-secondary schools or beginning their work lives.

I’m hoping they are living on their own (or with roommates), as I see myself selling my house within the next five years. I’ve never lived on my own, but could definitely see myself living in an apartment downtown, or possibly in the north end of the city 😉

I cross my fingers, hoping to still be working with the company I’m with now. I truly enjoy the work I’m doing and have made some really great friendships over the past 17 years . . . so why not add another five years?!?

I see myself continuing volunteer roles, possibly becoming even more involved . . . if that’s even possible! I would also love to spend more time on my hobbies, and once the boys have moved on with their lives and I’m all alone, this could be a good thing to keep me busy.

In every situation I dream of, I see myself completely happy. Isn’t that an amazing thing — to picture your days ahead in such a positive way?

— — —

Nov. 28 – How you have changed in the past 5 years?

My life has changed so much during the past five years. Sure, I still work at the same company and volunteer with the same organizations, but otherwise, my life is very different than it was in 2009.

I’ve had to make some life-changing decisions — but stand by every one I’ve made. Every decision I make, is made with my children in mind first. Having a roof over their heads, food on the table, happiness in their days — that’s what really matters in life.

I’ve become more aware of who I am and what my likes and passions are in life. In the past, I had kept these to myself, not having people around me to share them with. Now, I feel comfortable in being that ‘geek’ who likes superheroes and sci-fi. That’s who I really am and I accept that — and appreciate those around me who accept that as well.

I look forward to tomorrow, where in the past I had always longed for how things ‘used to be.’ Not being happy in life makes you stop living essentially, just hoping for things to be how they were five, maybe 10 years earlier. Being happy in life now makes me excited for what’s to come tomorrow and the next day and the next day . . .

I really appreciate the little things in life. Every day I look for the things that make me smile, and try to share these things with others. You never know for sure how long you will be here, so enjoying each day and what it has to offer, is the only way to live. Five years ago I just lived my life day to day, not noticing or looking for anything that made me smile. And I wonder why? It’s so important to smile and be positive, and I’m very thankful I’m like that now.

— — —

Nov. 27 – 5 pieces of advice to your younger self

I’m not sure my younger self would even listen to me! I was married young. I had children young. Not sure how open I’d be to advice, but here goes:

  1. Learn the value of saying thank you to those who stand beside you through life and cherish those friendships made. Be nice to others along the way — kindness is self-generating.
  2. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Learn from them and use what you’ve discovered about yourself to move forward. Don’t be so afraid; cautious yes, afraid, no.
  3. Don’t let the hardships of life make you forget your dreams and passions.
  4. Don’t change yourself to meet other people’s needs. Be happy and proud of who you are right now. And don’t waste your time doubting yourself — ever.
  5. Love, laugh, cry, sing, help, teach, listen, learn and contribute in every way possible.

— — —

Nov. 26 – What’s inside your fridge?

So lucky I stopped at the grocery store today for a few items, or else my fridge would have been pretty bare. Probably only filled with pickles, salad dressing and margarine.

Truthfully, there’s still not a lot in my fridge. Food doesn’t last very long in my house (living with two teenage boys!). I usually have more items stocked in the pantry, but everything in the fridge usually only lasts a few days and it’s difficult keeping it stocked.

On my top shelf, I have margarine, cream cheese, feta cheese, spinach dip and nanaimo bars, which I bought today as a treat. Pretty sure these won’t be here tomorrow!

My middle shelf has two boxes of yogurt tubes (banana flavoured are always wanted in my house), sour cream, cheese and a carton of eggs.

The rest of my fridge has the usual milk, fresh veggies, jam and of course . . . salad dressings. Wouldn’t be a fridge without them 😉

— — —

Nov. 25 – Favourite movies you never get sick of watching

Watching movies is probably one of my most favourite things to do. I enjoy many genres of movies — action, sci-fi, comedy. Anything that tells an interesting story or makes me connect with the characters really makes the experience enjoyable. Here’s a short list of movies I can repeatedly watch and never get tired of:

Superhero movies (The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Batman, Captain America)

Sci-fi/Fantasy (Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, Harry Potter)

Space movies (Star Wars, Aliens, Star Trek, Serenity)

Action (Die Hard, Transformers, Mission Impossible, Bourne movies, James Bond)

Comedies (Four Weddings and a Funeral, When Harry Met Sally, Airplane, Elf, some Adam Sandler movies)

— — —

Nov. 24 – What do you miss (person, place, things, time in your life)?

Sometimes I miss being a child. Having no worries, no stress. Thinking everything in life was so exciting and new. I remember wanting to try everything, go everywhere, see everything I could possibly see. I think I was a pretty creative child, always wanting to draw and colour and paint, and I miss those times where I could create anything I wanted to and someone always said it was brilliant. (It never was!) I also miss sleeping, or rather, not ever feeling tired. Naps were the best 😉

But thinking about it today, I still feel a lot of those same things. I still want to try new things and visit new places. Adventures are still waiting for me to experience . . . I’m just not young enough to think that they are all good things. I can still be creative when it comes to more adult things, like cooking or gardening. And maybe I don’t get enough sleep . . . but sneaking in an afternoon nap once in a while is a pretty amazing thing!

— — —

Nov. 23 – 5 amazing ____

Let’s talk games. I enjoy playing a number of board games, card games and sometimes even video games. Growing up in my family, our weekends were spent playing Monopoly, Clue or Sega with my siblings and when my parents joined in, we switched to poker, rummy or euchre. Even today, if it’s raining outside, what better way to spend your time with family and friends, than by grabbing a game and having some fun?

My list of 5 amazing games to enjoy:

  1. Munchkin — Love, love, love this game! Best with three or more players, this card game features monsters, magic items, treasures, backstabbing and more. All in the name of fun.
  2. Dominion — I’ve played this deck-building card game with two players, as well as more, and it’s different every time. Quick rounds keep you guessing what your opponents are doing.
  3. Blokus — Two-player strategy game which reminds me of Tetris, which is why I adore it. Also, I pretty much beat anyone I play against 😉
  4. Chess — This is a new game for me, as I’m still learning the rules and trying to figure out good strategies. It’s really addicting though…especially when you can practice with an app.
  5. Yahtzee — An old-time favourite we played growing up. Can be noisy, but the different editions you can play (ie. Doctor Who) can be a lot of fun.

— — —

Nov. 22 – Something you find fascinating

If you let dachshunds sleep in your bed, they will do insanely cute things . . . like sleep underneath the blankets; must be touching you at all times, whether it’s against your legs or with a paw on your arm; and sometimes may pull themselves halfway out from under the blankets and lay their heads on the pillow.

— — —

Nov. 21 – What’s your favourite flavour of ice cream?

Ice cream is amazing! Whether it’s in a waffle cup, smothered in chocolate sauce and pineapples and coconut, or three-scoops high just begging to be licked. I love it all.

But my absolute favourite flavour? Not sure I can choose just one. I am a sucker for anything described as double-chocolate or has brownie chunks. Honestly, anything chocolate could be a favourite.

When I was growing up, it was definitely a treat to order an ice cream cone somewhere and mint chocolate chip was my favourite. As I grew older and moved out of my parent’s house, I remember buying a lot of Heavenly Hash ice cream, which I had never tried until then. Recently, I have fallen for the plain berry flavours of both ice cream and frozen yogurt (ie. strawberry, cherry).

And to be honest….it’s been quite some time since I’ve actually had some ice cream. Maybe something to look forward to this weekend 😉

— — —

Nov. 20 – 5 random acts of kindness that inspire you

Small random acts of kindness mean everything . . . to the person on the receiving end. These small acts have definitely inspired me every single day.

  1. Paying it forward — pay for the coffee/drink for the person behind you. Such a small thing to do, but I’ve heard so many stories from the people on the receiving end, to whom this has happened and has literally been the highlight of their days. It also inspires them to do it for someone else.
  2. Let the person who seems rushed cut in front of you. I have done this so many times, I actually look at the people who are standing behind me in line all the time. Sometimes people are in a hurry and you can only imagine why. When shopping, if someone only has a few items (compared to my cart full) and I can sense they are anxious to hurry, I don’t mind at all in letting them go ahead of me. Hopefully I have relieved a little bit of stress from their day.
  3. Hold the door open for someone. Sure, this can be called ‘good manners’ and everyone should do it, but when life is busy, little things like this seem to slip the mind. For an amazing story, check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E40nAWiIFuc
  4. Say ‘thank you’ . . . a lot. People are appreciated every day, but sometimes never hear it. Just knowing (and hearing) someone thank you for something as simple as giving directions or picking up something you’ve dropped, can make them feel amazingly good.
  5. Leave a note for someone. You don’t have to write a five-page letter and mail it to them. Just write  a quick sentence that you know will make someone smile, and leave it for them to find. Nothing cheers up a person (and makes them smile!) than finding a secret note addressed to them.

— — —

Nov. 19 – Something for your kids to know

One thing I want my children to know, is that you cannot do everything on your own and you should never expect that from yourself. I know you will think you can handle anything that comes your way — and you probably can! But there will be times in your life where you may need help, and it’s okay to ask for it. Sometimes you will fall, but know that there will always be someone who will help pick you up.

People who have chosen to be part of your lives will be there for you — whether you need them now or not. These friends and family members will be around to guide you, motivate you, listen to you when you need them to, help you get through the tough times and share life’s journey with you all the way. You are never alone. And you’ll always have me 🙂

— — —

Nov. 18 – React to this: Positivity

I tend to look for positive things and surround myself with positive people in my life. There must be something good in every day you live — you just need to look for it. Look for the good in people and in your experiences. Not to say that you won’t come across bad people or experiences — just learn from them and move on.

Keeping yourself positive does take some effort, especially if you have been negative at different points in your life. It takes time; you definitely won’t change overnight. Be honest with yourself. If you’ve done something good, celebrate it. If you look good, tell yourself.

And sharing your positivity with others will also help bring positivity to your life. Be nice to people. Give people compliments. Say thank you more. Tell those closest to you, you love them. Share your happiness with others.

— — —

Nov. 17 – 5 recommended reads (books, websites, blogs)

Reading is definitely a favourite pastime. I love getting comfortable on the sofa, under a nice big blanket and getting into a good book. Here are some of my favourite reads:

Ender’s Game series by Orson Scott Card. My favourite character is Bean, seen in at least six of the books.

Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I usually tend to read them when the series is on TV.

Civil War, graphic novel (comic). Just finished reading the first book (comics 1-7) and it was amazing!

The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. Definitely look into reading The Silmarillion (I’m almost through it) and Unfinished Tales (which I’m looking forward to starting!).

As a fifth recommended read, I’d suggest checking out stripes24.wordpress.com . . . but you probably already are 😉

— — —

Nov. 16 – Dinner party list (anyone dead, alive or fictional)

I am not one for throwing dinner parties . . . or dinners . . . or parties, for that matter . . . but I do have a few people in mind if I ever were to.

William Shakespeare, to find out if he really did write all those plays. And if so, what was his inspiration?

J.R.R. Tolkien, for a conversation on ancient cultures. And maybe to watch LOTR with after dinner 😉

Christopher Walken, as I’ve heard he’s also a chef and could help make dinner. And bring a cowbell for musical entertainment.

U2, obviously for musical entertainment, especially if we had too much cowbell from Walken.

Captain America, Spider-Man and Batman, just to hang out with all three for a night.

Three of my brothers.

My two sons.

And my best friend.

— — —

Nov. 15 – 10 songs you love

I remember times when we would have the radio playing first thing in the morning, while the kids were getting ready for school. I would have a music station playing on the TV as I did household chores throughout the day. But as the boys grew older and interests have changed, the TV is still on — but usually playing video games. The radio is only ever used as an alarm clock and never stays on for more than half a song. Everyone has music on their iphones/ipods, but it’s not usually shared. That’s pretty much the only music I listen to (and truth be told, I don’t have very much music on my iphone!).

Here are my Top 10 songs on my iphone right now (and yes, I really like U2):

  1. Song For Someone (U2)
  2. Demons (Imagine Dragons)
  3. Come As You Are (Nirvana)
  4. With or Without You (U2)
  5. Californication (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
  6. Hooked on a Feeling (Blue Swede)
  7. Where the Streets Have No Names (U2)
  8. The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) (U2)
  9. Under the Bridge (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
  10. Sweetest Thing (U2)

— — —

Nov. 14 – Share your bucket list

I actually don’t have a bucket list. Sure, there are things I’ve always wanted to do or places I’d like to visit, but I’ve never taken the time to add them to a bucket list. Recently I was talking with my 14-year-old son, who thought it was a little morbid to make a list of things to do before you die. I thought about it for a short while and wonder why people have to think about dying in order to do things they want to do?

So I am now beginning my ‘life list’ . . . things I have yet to do in life, that I really hope to do someday. Hopefully I can continue adding things to my life list 🙂

–Travel outside of Canada (somewhere with a beach)

–Learn to drive

–Go zip-lining

–Travel on an airplane

–Take a train ride somewhere

–Wear a bikini(!)

–Visit the following U.S. cities (in no particular order): New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Diego

— — —

Nov. 13 – Favourite fairy or folk tale

As a little girl, I really enjoyed reading. It didn’t matter what type of book — if I could get my hands on it, I’d read it. Fairy tales were no exception.

My absolute favourite was Snow White. I just felt it was amazing for someone like her to be so connected to the forest animals. The rest of the story didn’t really mean too much to me as a girl (and it wasn’t until later on I even discovered the ‘love’ part of the tale!). Living near the forest and spending days outside with the animals was something I just really loved reading about, and seeing in the Disney movie.

Fast-forward approximately 30 years . . . and you find me as an adult, living at the edge of a forest, mother to three cats . . . and, you start seeing similarities. One early morning when leaving for work, I saw a skunk looking through a neighbour’s garbage; two baby rabbits running across someone’s driveway; a family of squirrels chasing each other from one lawn to the next; saw a number of robins sitting in the trees; and heard blue jays squawking in the distance. Just call me Snow White 😉

— — —

Nov. 12 – React to this: Letting go

I think some people believe it’s easy to let things go and move on. Personally, I never found something like a life-changing experience ‘easy’ to do.

I spent years of my life, hoping someone would change; hanging in there, remembering the good times from the past. Unfortunately, people don’t always change, especially if you’re expecting them to. You can change your own self or where you are in life, but never expect someone else will do the same.

Looking back, I feel like I wasted so much time before finally deciding to let that person go and try and move on with my life. Once I accepted the fact that it was time to do this, to stop reliving all the bad times, stop feeling so much guilt over my decision, it was truly the point of letting go. And it didn’t happen overnight. There were months and months of second-guessing my decision — was it the best for everyone involved; would I ever be able to live my life on my terms ever again? Not such an easy thing to do.

Luckily, I came to a point in my life where I had to think about me. I had to stop regretting my choices and believe in them . . . and in myself. Letting go is a difficult thing to do. But it can be done.

— — —

Nov. 11 – 5 people who inspire you

I’m sure I could list a page full of people who inspire me, all for different reasons. But when I think about my everyday life and the people I’m surrounded by, that list gets quite smaller.  I’d like to share that list:

1. Amanda Stark — This young Londoner (and cousin!) has started a new venture on her own, the Friendly Visitor — which is absolutely amazing — but her incredibly positive outlook on life is what’s most inspiring about her. And her hugs 🙂

Here’s a story all about Amanda and her new business:
http://www.lfpress.com/2014/09/08/crash-survivor-turns-hurt-into-an-asset

2. Patricia McCoy — I have been reading this woman’s blog for some time now and I’m always impressed with her writing, especially her poetry. She can paint a picture or tell a story with her words, that stays with me for days after reading. She may be a relative (another cousin!) but she inspires me to continue writing.

Here’s Patricia’s blog, if you’d like to check it out:
http://highfiveandraspberries.wordpress.com/

3. Sheena Davis — We’ve only known each other for the past seven years, but sometimes when we’re together, it feels like we’ve been friends forever. We share many of the same interests, including reading (Harry Potter, Ender’s Game series), watching TV (Doctor Who, Game of Thrones) and movie genres (Hunger Games, Divergent). Sounds like we are young, no? Maybe we’ve just never grown up completely!

But then how would you explain our dedication to volunteering within parent groups, to help better the experiences of children in our schools? Sheena is an incredibly dedicated woman, volunteering literally hundreds of hours throughout the school year. When she thinks of our children and wanting only the best for them, she is not thinking of her own children, or my children for that matter. She is constantly going out of her way to ensure every child at our school, and other schools in the Thames Valley region, is creating good memories of their time there. Such a caring, compassionate woman. And inspiring to other parents 🙂

4-5. Bill and Betty Jacklin — An inspirational list would not be complete without my parents. Today they celebrate 53 years of marriage. I’m sure they’ve had many ups and downs, adventures to remember, events to forget — but they have lived their entire lives together and choose to be together through it all. If there was ever a secret to living happily ever after, they probably know it.

— — —

Nov. 10 – What’s in your office desk?

No one has ever asked me this question . . . not even my children.

Actually, just thinking about it, I really have no idea. At my office, I am the only person who has to share a desk, along with my coworker. Our shifts never overlap, so it made sense . . . sort of. We had to have separate phone lines installed at the desk and I have to change the chair setting every time my shift starts. Not to mention I’ve had to hide a pen for the past week or so, just so I’ll have one available when needed. Seriously. Oh, and we get half the drawer space, which are locked up . . . because we share the desk. Hmm. This explains why I couldn’t tell you what’s in my desk drawers right now, without actually opening them. Which I’m doing as I write . . .

The bottom drawer: An extra umbrella from the dollar store; 3 expired Cineplex online movie vouchers; deodorant in case I ever forget to put it on before leaving the house (yes, I forgot once); and a pile of old Golf Guides (an extra project I work on for The London Free Press every spring). I have not looked in this drawer since bringing the extra umbrella to work in the spring.

The middle drawer: A Nora Roberts book (unread); a bottle of water; an empty water bottle; and a few personal notes I was holding onto, which should probably be recycled. I know. Very exciting items. I have not accessed this drawer in years . . . literally.

The top drawer: This could be interesting . . . or not. This drawer was always handy in throwing in things I thought I’d need someday. I guess you could call it the ‘junk drawer’ at the office. Let’s see what’s inside (as I open the drawer): Various papers, sticky notes and rubber bands; two apple sauce cups that expired May 2013; one packet of soya sauce; Tylenol (probably the most-used thing in this drawer!!); two quarters; Harry Potter valentines (?); and . . . wait for it . . .  a Zune. Honest.

 

— — —

Nov. 9 — 9 guilty pleasures

I’m sure everyone has at least one guilty pleasure — whether it is a certain treat they enjoy having, or a television show they just can’t live without. On this 9th day of my blogging challenge, on November 9th, here is my personal list of 9 guilty pleasures:

  1. Chocolate. Definitely had to be #1. Brownies, milkshakes, cookies, and especially those Guylian chocolate shells at Christmas (!), a chocolate treat is the one thing that can make me smile at any point in time.
  2. Hot showers. I’m sure some people would just say this is part of their every day, but those days when I’m working the night shift and the boys have left the house for school, enjoying more than a five-minute shower is a blessing…and a guilty pleasure.
  3. Doctor Who. Game of Thrones. The Walking Dead. Television shows you can watch strictly for entertainment purposes may seem like a waste of time to some. But to me, I look forward to new episodes and new adventures to enjoy.
  4. Listening to U2. Sometimes it’s during my morning shower, other times while I’m cooking in the kitchen. Road trips should always have access to U2 songs. Just hearing the first few notes of a song can make me catch my breath. Even their new album 😉
  5. Foot rubs. Well, to be honest, really any part of my body being massaged. Last summer, I was gifted my first experience having a mani-pedi. It was a super amazing experience, and the foot/leg massage was the most relaxing thing I had felt in ages. But nothing beats having your feet rubbed while laying on the sofa watching Doctor Who.
  6. Tetris. It was one of my favourite video games when I was younger, but I haven’t been able to find it to play on our console. My son told me about an app for my iPhone and I have become quite addicted to Tetris Blitz. Still hoping to find it in video game form soon!
  7. Burgers. So many burgers to try…so little time… I thought I had found the absolute greatest burger in London, On, at The Works restaurant, until I tried one at Prince Albert’s Diner. Then a friend told me to visit the Church Key Bistro-Pub (which I haven’t yet!) and my mind just isn’t made up. I will not stop my search for the best burger ever. Ever.
  8. Harry Potter movies. Once a year, usually around Christmas time, my son and I set up a weekend where we watch a Harry Potter marathon. All eight movies within two days. I’ve seen them all numerous times, but always get excited to watch them over again. Same can be said about The Lord of the Rings movies 😉
  9. Twitter. I had used the social media site for a couple years for work, before I ventured joining myself. In the past couple years, I have made amazing friendships and have learned so much about my city and the people who live here, through Twitter. I check it first thing in the morning and it’s one of the last things I read at night. Maybe I’m just hoping for those late-night early-morning DMs….

— — —

Nov. 8 — Your favourite childhood books

The first book I remember falling in love with as a child was Good Night, Moon. I had that book for years, before I could even think of throwing it away, even after the pages had torn right out of the book. (That was one book I knew I would have to buy again, once I had children of my own!)

As I got older, I read the Little House of the Prairie book series, as well as some of the Hardy Boys books.

When I started walking to our closest public library, it was amazing how many books I could borrow for free! I started with some junior chapter books, making my way up to Sweet Valley High. I would go on the weekend and borrow as many as I could carry home, until I had read every single book in that series.

I have always loved reading….even from such a young age. I’m currently in the middle of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series, the Game of Thrones series (which I usually read as I’m watching the TV series!) and would like to start reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books soon 🙂

— — —

Nov. 7 — 5 ways to win your heart

The obvious things that first leap into my mind are: chocolate, good morning/night texts, flowers, back rubs, milkshakes, hugs and kisses. Then I think about the not-so-obvious things:

Consider me and my boys as a complete ‘package.’ It’s really amazing to have someone care for you, but it’s super amazing to have someone think about your children at the same time they are thinking about you. And it only makes sense if you will be sharing your heart with your children AND a partner, although different parts of it, obviously 😉

Be yourself. I want my heart to fall in love with the same person I met that very first time I got butterflies. Pretending to be someone you think I ‘might’ like probably won’t work out. Be who you are. If someone doesn’t like you for being you, then at least you know it wasn’t because you were trying to be someone else.

Okay…milkshakes HAVE to be on my list. I’m not a coffee drinker and I don’t drink tea either. If you’ve taken the time to get to know me and discovered my love of milkshakes, don’t ever forget it! (It may come in handy someday…)

Surprise me. In my life, I have rarely ever been surprised. Christmas presents, vacations, you name it, I’ve probably known about it. There was even a ‘surprise’ birthday party in which I knew every little detail, down to my birthday cake and party favours. Truth is — I absolutely love not knowing where I’m going or what the plans are ahead. Every day is new. Keep it exciting. Adventures are cool!

Hold my hand. When I was younger, this wasn’t something I did. And I’m not quite sure why. Holding hands — while walking along the beach, or driving in the car, or just sitting on the sofa watching a movie — means everything. It means that even if you are spending time together, you still feel the need (or want) to be closer. It means that you are thinking of holding onto me as long as you can, and maybe you don’t want to ever let me go. Well, that’s how I think when I’m holding hands…hopefully everyone feels something similar 🙂

— — —

Nov. 6 — Happiness tips: spread the joy around

Earlier this year, I took the #100happydays challenge. I started looking at things in my life that made me happy — whether they were smells that took me back to fond memories, feelings I felt after hearing favourite songs or music, the five-minute hot shower I could squeeze into my day — and it really made me more appreciative of everything in life.

In order to spread the joy around, you need to share these thoughts and experiences with others, so they can then take a look at their everyday lives and find something that truly makes them happy. And pass it along to others as well 🙂

Read my happiness journey here: #100happydays | Stripes24’s Blog https://stripes24.wordpress.com/100happydays/

— — —

Nov. 5 — 5 film or TV shows you would recommend and why

These recommendations won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows how much of a sci-fi fan I am.

I have always loved reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings‘ book series. The first time I watched the LOTR movie adaptations, I was in awe. The special effects were just eye-popping and the cast members were simply perfect for each of their roles. When The Hobbit came to theatres, I was excited to see how it would turn out — but it stayed mostly true to the book and the outcome was incredible. Definitely recommend these movies to anyone interested in fantasy or medieval era.

More recently, I have become a fan of The Walking Dead TV series. Now in its fifth season, there is talk about the show pulling more and more story lines directly from its comics series. This is good news for those who know the comics, but for fans who only know the show, the gory, suspenseful episodes are still keeping them hooked. Everyone seems to enjoy watching ‘regular’ people living in a post zombie-apocalypse world.

Netflix is amazing for finding television series you may not be aware of. Their original series Hemlock Grove and CW’s The 100 are two recent favourites of mine. Hemlock Grove is more of a horror thriller series and I found the first season entertaining. I’m a few episodes into the second season and will have to wait to see how it turns out. The 100 is a sci-fi drama based on a book. Survivors of a world nuclear war have lived for 97 years on a space station called The Ark, until support systems start to fail and they are forced to send ‘grounders’ to Earth, to see if it is habitable again. I’m very excited to see the second season has just started being posted on Netflix!

The genre of sci-fi movies is very broad. This would include superheroes movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America and X-Men, along with traditional movies like Alien and Aliens, as well as the incredibly popular Star Wars movies. Admittedly, I am a huge fan of all the movies mentioned above. No matter your age or expectations, these five series of movies have it all.

A final, highly recommended show to watch is Doctor Who. During the past 6 months, I have watched almost eight entire seasons of Doctor Who and can honestly call myself a Whovian. I love the characters, the adventures, even the villains (although the Weeping Angels do scare me!)…and can’t wait to see new episodes each week. Doctor Who began in 1963, well before my time, but I remember the opening theme music from when I was a young girl and my dad had it on TV. Once I was introduced to the new shows from 2005-present, I was hooked — almost instantly. I know fans of the show who have watched it from the beginning and I also know fans who are younger than 10 years old. Seriously, a show for all ages.

— — —

Nov. 4 — 10 things about you that people won’t expect

This took quite some time to create, but here’s my personal list of surprising things people may not know about me:

1. I am a fan of NASCAR racing

2. I have never driven a car

3. I once won many awards for playing the recorder.

4. I am a huge fan of superheroes (movies, books, comics, etc.)

5. My favourite music is still from the 80s big-hair band groups (Poison, Def Leppard, Kiss, Warrant)

6. I never feel comfortable speaking in front of people

7. I still have a baby tooth

8. I am a sci-fi fanatic

9. I have never owned a passport (but secretly want to travel everywhere!)

10. Most people I meet think I look younger than my age (next year I will be 40!)

— — —

Nov. 3 — 5 super cool things about your city of town

Since I was a baby, I have always lived in London, Ontario. I chose to go to school here and found my current job here as well. I absolutely love this city and am always finding great new things about it.

My most favourite thing about London is the fact you can take walks in the forest — in the middle of the city. My backyard actually backs on to a forest in the middle of our neighbourhood. It connects to two elementary schools and is used by so many people in the area. Children ride their bikes through it, couples take long walks with their dogs, families go geocaching in the forest as well. It’s just really amazing to have the beauty of these trees right outside my front door.

Another cool thing about London is the number of markets that can be found here. There is Western Fair Farmers Market, open Saturdays; Covent Garden Market has outdoor markets on Thursdays and Saturdays; Trail’s End is just outside the city and is open Saturdays; Gibraltar Trade Centre is open weekends; and there are other one-day markets in the north and south ends of the city as well. With everyone talking about buying and eating local, these markets help out tremendously. (I personally like going to the markets and people-watch!)

The sports in and around London are very cool. We have the London Knights OHL team, the London Lightning NBL team, London Majors baseball, FC London soccer, Western Mustangs football (and other university teams) as well as Fanshawe College sports, roller derby teams, and even Delaware Speedway is located nearby for the auto racing fans. Honestly, throughout the year there is always something happening in London.

When you hear the name of the city, London, you probably think about London, England. There are very similarities between the two cities. But the best thing we have in common, is the Thames River. The river basically runs through the city and right downtown you can find yourself at the Forks. It’s such a beautiful site, in the summer and in the winter. The best photographs can be taken with the fountain spraying behind you 😉

One last cool thing about London are the festivals held throughout the year. In the summer, you can almost guarantee a festival to be held every weekend. Some include: Sunfest, Home County Folk Festival, Rib-Fest, Children’s Festival, Food Festival and many more. There are many multicultural festivals held like Festa Italiana, Colombia’s Independence Day Celebration, Mexican Fiesta, Oktoberfest and the like. Other events include a dragon boat festival, Fringe Festival, Pride week which includes a parade, a three-on-three hockey day, and community/neighbourhood events galore. Most events are free to attend and so many memories are made. I really love a city that can make memories 🙂

— — —

Nov. 2. — List 3 online friends you’ve never met in real life, but hope to soon

Over the past year or so, I’ve met many new friends online. I had felt so alone for the past few years and just being able to use social media to have conversations with ‘real’ people, was simply incredible. Not that I don’t enjoy the conversations I have with my teenage boys . . . but talking to adults was something I was missing.

Twitter was instrumental in helping me become more social in life. I have met a few people through Twitter and have started some really fantastic relationships. I am really thankful to have met such amazing people, living in the same city as me, but without Twitter, we probably would have never met. There are still a few people I’ve really wanted to meet, but just haven’t had the chance to:

Shelley — who I share many interests with, including the love of cats 🙂

Bonnie — who I share a love of playing board games with (and I think we have the same taste in music!)

Kathy — who I’ve wanted to meet for quite some time, ever since our days of watching/talking about Game of Thrones and sharing our gardening ideas

Here’s hoping I get the chance to meet these people, and many others, someday soon!

— — —

Nov. 1 — What’s your earliest memory?

I’m not sure what it says about me (or my brain!), but my earliest memories are when I was in kindergarten (approx. age 5). I honestly don’t remember anything before attending school, but I’m hopeful they were fun years of my life!

I have a few vivid memories of being in kindergarten — laying on the cold floor of the classroom, having a nap in the afternoon; visiting the hospital on a field trip and experiencing an elevator for the first time; walking home by myself after school, but stopping at a friend’s house to play on his swings first.

New experiences as a child are so memorable. As a parent, I took many photos of my children when they were younger — riding bikes for the first time, playing sports on a team, their first days of school, and everything in between — so even if their memories are like mine and they don’t remember their early experiences, I can always show them the photos.

— — —

In recent months, I have drifted from blogging. Life is too busy, work is hectic, I don’t have enough time for myself . . . I have many excuses. Writing has always been a hobby of mine — not something I’d expect people to read daily, but thoughts I hope my children will read one day. This 30-day challenge should get me back on track, allowing me to share my ideas on life in general — and maybe leave some interesting stories for my children to share with their children 😉

 

 

2 thoughts on “30-Day Blog Challenge

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: