I Won

Sometimes I feel the need to look back and reflect. To see how far I’ve come. To remind myself that even when I feel like I’m at my lowest, there is always hope. And light. And life.

Two years ago, I was in the midst of a MAJOR DEPRESSIVE EPISODE. So major in fact, that I had barely left my apartment in 3 months. So major that I had no idea how to cope with it and I wanted nothing more than to go to sleep and never wake up again.

Two years ago I was alone, struggling to live. I felt worthless, helpless, hopeless. I felt like nobody would miss me if I was gone. I felt invisible. So I stayed in my apartment and hid. I fought panic and doubt and self-hate every single day. And for almost 6 months, panic and doubt and self-hate won. But I kept clawing back, fighting them. Determined that one day I was going to win. That I would return to myself again.

Here I am two years later and I honestly don’t recognize the person I was in 2017. That version of Kathleen was an impostor. A poor, sad impersonation of myself. Today I can say that I am so glad I didn’t let that version stick around. I didn’t let the panic and doubt and self-hate win. My true self won.

I won.

Hope Victorious

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Hello Mr. Robin, Harbinger of Spring

Today I saw a robin, that Harbinger of Spring. And even though the day was grey, dreary, and cool, I couldn’t help smiling as I watched Mr. Robin Red Breast hop along the grass.

First Robin sighting of Spring 2019

Robin Red Breast, Harbinger of Spring

Catching a glimpse of his bright red breast feathers is enough to remind me that Spring is here. And that soon the days will warm up, the sun will shine, and flowers will emerge. Because I am SO TIRED of Winter. I’m tired of the cold, the snow, the low-lying clouds that make me feel gloomy. I want to go for walks and not worry about slipping on an icy sidewalk.

So for now, I’ll rejoice in the small signs of Spring and enjoy each one as they appear.

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New plants, from a local florist that had just received their first Spring shipment. Plants ALWAYS bring a smile to my face.

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Never mind Year of the Pig. This is the Year I Adult.

Turning 40 apparently triggered something in my brain. A switch has flipped on, and I find myself doing all sorts of grown-up, adult things. I’m making life-altering choices. None of which involve moving to Barbados. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. I’m really wanting to put down some roots.

green tree photo

Putting Down Roots (Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.com)

Remember the goal I had of reaching $500 by the end of February? I did it. I reached $600. I’m now playing phone tag with my finance guy to get that money invested and get it working for me. Because I have a goal for that money. And it’s not my retirement right away. I want to buy a car.

 

Yes, you read that right. A car. No, I don’t drive – yet. But I will. Yesterday I went out and bought myself the Ontario Driver’s Handbook. And in the next 2 weeks, I’ll go write that test and get my G1. Of course it’ll then be a good 8-12 months before I can drive on my own, but at least I’ll have the process going. Because this is the Year I Adult.

Adulting Meme

P.S. I’m also going to casually mention that I’ve been dating someone for the past 6 weeks or so. Without gushing too much, it’s going well. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in my life. I have a lot of fun with him.

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Local Business Spotlight: Art Noise

Since diving into drawing and painting, I find that I have questions. Lots of questions. Questions about technique. Questions about tools. Questions about my ability to even do this. Of course, Google is helpful and I’ve definitely made use of YouTube videos. However, there is something to be said about human contact. So in today’s blog, I’d like to shine the spotlight on an Art Supply Store here in Kingston.

Allow me to introduce you to Art Noise, a fun and funky shop located at 290 Princess Street, in the heart of Kingston, Ontario. They sell art supplies, audio products, and offer classes. So far I’ve only delved into the art supply offerings but I hope to take a class there soon. Part of what draws me to Art Noise is the staff. I’ve been in three times (since November) and all three times the staff has been incredible. It doesn’t hurt that they have a great selection of items and the prices seem really reasonable to me. Oh, and there’s a loyalty program too! In fact, I got $10 off my last purchase!

My first visit, I had no clue what I was doing, what I was looking for, or even the right questions to ask. I wanted to buy some actual drawing pencils and I was rather overwhelmed by the available options. But luckily Fiona was there to help me out. She patiently explained the different types of pencils and what the numbers and letters on them mean. She showed me some pre-made kits, as well as the individual pencils. I gave her a budget of $20-$25 and she put together a great little starter kit for me. I walked out of Art Noise that day with the supplies to get me started drawing and painting. Another thing that impressed me about Fiona was that she didn’t try to oversell stuff to me. She understood that I was a total beginner, didn’t want to spend a fortune (only to discover I didn’t enjoy this hobby), and didn’t make me feel stupid for my questions, or the fact that I am using a sketchbook from the dollar store. Or dollar store paint brushes.

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My first actual Art Supplies, purchased at Art Noise, Kingston

My other two visits have been equally as awesome. I’ve bought new paintbrushes (yes, I upgraded the dollar store brushes) and more watercolour paints. I also want to point out that Art Noise carries Tri-Art Mfg. supplies that are LOCALLY MADE HERE IN KINGSTON! I have 4 tubes of Tri-Art’s watercolours and I love them. With my limited experience, I find the colours are rich, easy to mix and blend, and they have a great selection to choose from.

The only unfortunate thing about Art Noise (and I say this totally tongue in cheek), is that they don’t have an online store. However, I think the awesome selection, bright and clean layout, and the AMAZING STAFF make this a store worth checking out.

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Saving for the Future

Today I achieved level “Financial Planning Grown Up“. I had reached this level once before, but with my bankruptcy and some not great life choices, I backslid a bit. Ok, so a lot. But today I put myself on a path to not having to work full-time until the day I die. At least I hope that’s the case.

This morning I met with a Mutual Fund Representative at my bank. We discussed my goals, my current financial situation, and what my best options were. After about an hour of discussion, I walked out of the bank with a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) that will invest into a Canadian Dividend Fund. At the moment, my immediate goal is to save the $500 I need for the initial investment into the fund. So for now, my regular contributions are simply going into my TFSA and when I hit that magic number, I’ll purchase units of my fund. Of course, I’ve spent the evening tweaking my budget to get that $500 sooner rather than later. And if I’m careful, smart, and frugal, I will have it by the end of February. Challenge accepted!

I’m excited. Because I am finally in a place (and situation) where I have the ability to do this. I am so grateful for what my sister and her boyfriend have done for me over the past year. But I’m 40 and I don’t want to live with my sister forever. So it was high time I started working towards getting ahead.

money pink coins pig

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

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Returning to Routines

There’s definitely something to be said for consistent routines. Over the past 3 weeks, the household’s routines have been all over the place. And I am really looking forward to Monday, January 7th when they return to normal.

The kids are getting on each other’s nerves, as they’ve spent so much time together during the Christmas Break. The oldest wasn’t happy with some of the toys he got for Christmas, so he keeps asking the youngest to play with his toys. And while the youngest almost always says “yes”, I wish he’d say “no” more often. Of course, the youngest isn’t without his annoying quirks either. He’s developed this irritating baby talk squawk thing where he’ll walk around going “Meh, Meh, Meh.” It’s hard to explain in writing, but let me tell you, it’s annoying as heck.

I’m also trying to develop some routines of my own. Primarily making myself sit down to spend some time on my hobbies. I try to set aside 15-30 minutes in the evening  to do some sketching. I’ve joined a small group on Facebook where the administrator posts a daily prompt. At this stage in my art journey, I find it very helpful to be told what to draw. So I’ll look at the prompt, and then for 15 minutes, I make some sketches. At the end of the first 15, if I have any sketches that I really like, I’ll take another 15 minutes and try to flesh out my favourite. So far my sketches aren’t really for public viewing, but I have created a few pieces I’m quite proud of.

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Some of my tulip drawings

I’ve also decided to try again to stick to a budget and make scheduled savings contributions.  I sat down on New Year’s Eve and got it set up. I want to have a small savings cushion by the end of 2019. And I’m ashamed to admit that I have no retirement savings. I haven’t exactly been rolling in money to be able to save anything. But that changes this year. With the budget I created, I can easily indulge in my hobbies (like buying fabric, plants, and art supplies), AND manage to have both a savings account for larger purchases (like train fare to Ottawa or Montreal or Toronto) and set up an RRSP. I will be phoning my bank this week to go in and get that account opened.

How many of you are looking forward to your regular routines again? Anybody adding anything new to their routine?

 

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So I Took 6 Months Off and Didn’t Write a Word

Apparently I decided to take a hiatus for the last half of 2018. And that’s ok. Because I didn’t really have much to write about. Crazy online dating stories can only account for so much of my blog. And I’m not creating many new recipes these days, as most of my cooking is geared towards a 3 and a 5 year old. And they don’t care how gourmet something is.

I know at the end of 2017 I wrote a blog with some goals for 2018. Something about saving some money, running a few races, and some other things I can’t remember. Obviously, I accomplished none of them. However, I did accomplish one thing that has blown me away. I came to the realization that I AM FABULOUS. I turned 40 back in October, and I feel AMAZING.

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Feeling Fabulous at 40

Over the course of 2018, I’ve also picked up a couple of new hobbies. Well, I guess one is just expanding on a previous interest. I’ve gotten back into collecting houseplants. I currently have 40 or so. Here are a few of my planty babies.

Houseplant Collection on a Baker's Rack

A portion of my Houseplant Collection

 

I’ve also started learning/teaching myself how to sketch, draw, and paint with watercolours. It started when my nephews found a book at the library, teaching how to draw dinosaurs. My nephews are obsessed with dinos and keep asking me to draw pictures for them. I think I’m getting better.

T. Rex and Spinosaurus pencil sketches

First Attempt at Sketching a T. Rex and a Spinosaurus

Coloured T. Rex Sketch

Another T. Rex Sketch, this one coloured with pencils

And just to show off a little bit more, here’s one of my watercolour “masterpieces”. And yes, that is sarcasm. But I love playing with the paints and I find it very soothing to mix colours in my palette.

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A Watercolour Countryside

I’m hoping to blog more again this year. But we’ll see what 2019 brings.

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