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Project updates

Posted by on Jul 9, 2015 in Life in Writing, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Every now and again, I like to give an update on new or current projects I’m working on. This may come as a surprise, but I actually have quite a few things on the go right now! Retail Hell I’ve started a webcomic! I’ve been wanting to do this for several years now, but always had been searching for an artist to collaborate with. After about 3 years of asking around to no success, I decided I’d do it on my own. I used to draw all the time, after all. So far, I’m having a blast with it! The comic updates every Wednesday. For now, I’m hosting it on Tumblr, but I hope to have a domain name for it eventually. Population: 1, Redux Population: 1 was an experimental interactive blog project I did from 2012-2013. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about Twine at the time, as it would have made a much better Twine game. Thus, I have decided to re-imagine and re-release the project through Twine! This will be my first full, finished game, and the scope of it is pretty large. It’s been going well, so far, though. Look for Population: 1 to be finished later in 2015. Tutoring I’ve been taking on clients for English tutoring. I’d love for this to be my new job, so I’m trying to promote this home business of mine as much as possible. If you know of anyone in need, please get them in touch with me! Amelia She’s not the same as other projects, but she does take up most of my time! She’s six months old now, which I’m having a hard time coming to terms with. She’s happy, healthy, and just the ray of sunshine my life needed. I’ve worked a lot of jobs, but being a mom is my favourite, by far. I mean… just look at that FACE. NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge Back in January, I entered NYC Midnight’s Short Story Challenge, and when I saw the registration for this one opening up, I knew I had to enter this one, too. Feedback comes with entry, also, which is worth the fee in itself! The challenge is that entrants are assigned objects, locations, and genres, and they must write stories based on what they’re assigned. The Short Story Challenge was a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to this one! Maritime Fan-Demonium I have been working on the editing and some articles for this magazine project. As usual, I’m still open to collaborations, so please shoot me an e-mail if you have anything in mind! Please follow and like...

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Dear Nightwish: please forgive me

Posted by on Jun 17, 2015 in Life in Writing, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Dear Nightwish: please forgive me

I mistakenly said, in this post, that Kamelot had dethroned Nightwish as my favourite band. I’d like to formally retract those words. I’m sorry, Nightwish! Please forgive me! I was feeling somewhat jaded and, yes, a little heartbroken over the fact that Anette was gone. After going through the heartbreak and uncertainty of Tarja’s dismissal, then coming to love Anette and having the same thing happen, I was, somehow, still worrying about the lead singer. I got caught up in the drama and the personalities, when any true Nightwish fan knows that the band doesn’t revolve around the lead singer at all. I’m a little ashamed. Because I reacted that way, I needed a good reminder that Tuomas was and still is the mastermind behind the whole project–that the music hadn’t changed, and, despite the talents of the various singers involved, that it didn’t really matter who sung. That reminder came this past March, when Endless Forms Most Beautiful was released. I could get into a story about how excited I was for the album. How I had listened to live shows, featuring Floor at the forefront, for months in preparation. How I was waiting for the album, forgot about it, then my husband surprised me with a copy of it after coming home from work on the day of its release. How I put Amelia to bed that night and raced downstairs to put my headphones on and blast the whole thing uninterrupted while in a state of awe. How, later that week, I’d wake up in the middle of the night to feed the baby and put my headphones in and use the music to keep me awake. Yeah… I could get into a story like that. But I’d rather just gush at oh my God, you guys, this album is so freaking good. After the first few listens, I decided I had to see where it fit with the rest of their discography. So, I listened to every Nightwish album, from beginning to end, in order. It took about a month and a half, because of baby duties. Despite this, I also decided to watch every live DVD/documentary, also in order. And now I’m reading the book. My final verdict on Endless Forms Most Beautiful is that it’s kind of like Once’s older sibling. It has hints of a more hopeful, organic Century Child. A sequel, of sorts, to Imaginaerum. And, actually, the perfect transition from the latter (“Interstellar/Theatre play/The nebula curtain falls/Imagination/Evolution/A species from the veil” – “Shudder Before the Beautiful”, the opening track). You see, I was initially disappointed about Anette leaving because they had just gotten into their groove with her. Imaginaerum was a masterpiece, and it was written specifically to suit Anette’s voice. There was even a jazz track on there that managed to fit perfectly. So, yes, her departure may have hit me a bit harder than it should have. After Anette brought my doll onstage and had been so kind the three times I met her, I took her separation from the band the wrong way. As much as I loved her voice, I was so attached to her as a person that I refused to see that her departure was the best thing for her and the band. My perceptions have since changed. You’d think I know all these people personally, wouldn’t you? I don’t. I’ve met them a couple of times, but their music has been a part of my life for more than half of it, so I’m allowed to be a little emotional about it. I’m a Pisces. Emotional is kinda my thing. I love Kamelot. I was living in the moment to an extreme when I wrote that original blog post. I had just been fresh from seeing them play, meeting some of the band members, and was obsessing over Silverthorn. On top of it, I was still reeling from the news about Anette. But there’s something about Nightwish that I’ve never been able to find in another band, even if I had a year or so that I lost hope. Their music inspires...

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The real problem with today’s parents

Posted by on Jun 9, 2015 in Life in Writing, Uncategorized | 1 comment

You know, I was going to take a break from the parenting posts to let them space out a bit. Parenting is all I’ve been writing about for the last 5 months, so, I thought, let’s withdraw from the subject a bit. But, after reading a couple of articles about what’s wrong with “today’s parents”, I decided I needed to throw my two cents into the pot. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: today’s parents coddle their children. Today’s parents spend too much time on their cell phones, and not enough time playing with their kids. Today’s parents let their kids watch too much TV. Back in my day, we did X, Y, Z, and we were fine. Today’s parents don’t let their kids play outdoors anymore. Today’s parents don’t teach their children to be respectful, kind, generous. Today’s parents suck, essentially, and the generation before was better for 939573 reasons. The list goes on forever. Everyone seems to have an opinion about the state of our children and the way they’re being parented. A two-minute walk from my house is a playground with a sign listing all the rules a child must follow in order to play there. One of those rules is that children under 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult, and at the bottom of the sign, the phone number for the RCMP is listed.  What this is saying to me is that, when my daughter is ten years old, I could have the police called on me for trusting her to go to the park, which is just 5 houses down, by herself. I could be prosecuted. Worst case scenario, they take my child away from me, or try to. When I was a child, I would walk down the road to the store by myself on the daily. I imagine this started somewhere between the age of 8-10. What I’m getting at is that parenting has become everyone’s business, and people who disagree with your methods will have no trouble telling you, telling on you, or finding ways to undermine you. Helping? Nah–that’s for people whose methods we agree with. We live in a time that parents are constantly vilified. No parent can do anything right–everyone is watching. Passing judgment is as simple as looking at a picture on Facebook. The worst part is: we do it to each other! On Tumblr, I caught myself looking at a note a parent left their child and scoffing “I hate when people refer to things like this as a parenting win”. The truth is, I didn’t know the circumstances. And yet, I, like so many others, was quick to assume the parent was in the wrong based on a simple photograph. We judge parents for letting their kids play with tablets. We judge parents who choose to look at their cell phones while their kids are at the playground. We judge parents for choosing, for whatever reason, not to breastfeed, or how long they breastfeed. We judge parents on their decision whether or not to cloth diaper, how to get their babies to sleep at night, the forms of discipline they use, whether or not to give allowance, gift-giving over the holidays, attachment parenting, co-sleeping. Every single thing has become a discussion on why one method is better than the other and how one method will make your child entitled, dependent, unhealthy, depressed, socially awkward, withdrawn… the list goes on. There is no magical perfect formula for parenting. Your child will not be perfect, no matter what. Every parent chooses the method that works bet for him or her–that’s so important, because parenting is hard enough without having to fit into someone else’s idea of what you should do. We’re obsessed with trying to be the parents who love their kids more than the next person, but I don’t think it’s entirely our fault. Our society currently revolves around that. If you look, you will find something wrong with parenting in every era. Every single one. I know that may be hard to...

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Even more unsolicited advice for parents-to-be

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Life in Writing, Uncategorized | 0 comments

1. Don’t Google anything–ESPECIALLY related to baby sleep patterns Here is what my life was like for the first two and a half months: The baby wakes up every hour for a two-week period. Why is she doing this? TO GOOGLE! “8 week old wakes hourly”. Read. Oh my God, my baby isn’t normal. Oh no. Wait. What do you MEAN I’m supposed to be putting her down awake but drowsy?! Google “when should I be putting my baby down awake but drowsy?”. Use a swing?! My baby hates her swing. Google “how to help baby like swing”. Lather, rinse, repeat. I say “don’t do this” knowing full well you’re going to. I told myself daily that I wasn’t going to Google anything else. Five minutes later, I’d typed “wonder week leap 2” and “9 week growth spurt?” into the search engine. The truth is this: you’re going to Google things, but at the end of the day, you know your baby. Yes your baby is normal. Every baby is different. There is no magical reason or solution to a lot of things newborns do–often they simply do them. Newborns are new to the world–they have literally no context for anything that happens to them. In the first three months, try (and I know it’s hard!) not to think you’re doing anything wrong. You’re probably not. You’re probably doing amazingly. 2. Don’t ever go into any night expecting you’re going to sleep well I know this one may seem like a no-brainer. No new parent goes into this thing thinking “I’m gonna get so much sleep!”. But, man, you’ll find yourself hopeful. “Maybe this night will be different”, you’ll say. And yes, it likely will be different, but probably not for the reason you want it to be. Maybe your newborn will wake up hourly. Maybe he won’t sleep between the hours of 1:30 – 4:30 AM one night (or several). Maybe he’ll sleep for five hours straight one night, only to be followed by a night that he wants to party with you at 2 AM. Maybe he’ll sleep through the night one night, then two days later wake up every two hours. Don’t be hopeful. Prepare for the worst. You’ll be less disappointed this way, and if your baby sleeps a longer stretch, it will feel like Christmas. 3. Keep your phone well charged for the night shift The nights can be very, very long, unless you happen to have a unicorn baby who sleeps through the night at 6 weeks (you’re welcome, Mom and Dad). Nights are also lonely, especially if one of you is exclusively taking the night shift. I’ve whiled away the deep sleep waits on Reddit and playing Puzzle and Dragons, mainly, but I’ve also managed to do some work on creative projects and, let’s face it, talk to my Mom. Thank goodness she’s a night owl. 4. For the love of God, hold that baby You can’t spoil a newborn. You can’t spoil a newborn. YOU CAN’T. SPOIL. A NEWBORN. Keep in mind that your little one was being held in a cozy, warm environment for nine whole months, and she just got into the harsh, loud, freezing cold world where suddenly hunger is a thing and she isn’t being constantly rocked or swayed to sleep. You can’t expect her to just adapt immediately. There’s a reason the first 3 months of a baby’s life are often referred to as the fourth trimester. If someone says that you’re spoiling your baby by holding her too much, politely inform them that they’re incorrect. If they argue with you, remind them that this is your baby and they’re welcome to have their own if they feel so strongly about it. Also, if anyone says “why don’t you sleep while the baby sleeps?”, punch them in the face. Okay, don’t actually punch them. It’s really good advice, and the people who say it mean well. But if your baby wants needs to be held all day, you may find that you can’t sleep while the child is sleeping. Sleep deprivation is very real...

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Adventures in Breastfeeding

Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Disclaimer: I am about to talk about my boobs. I’m not really the type of person who ever thought she’d be sharing this online, but breastfeeding is hard and I want to share my experiences, especially with those who might be struggling in their own way. Please feel free to share your stories, too. I think it’s really important to talk about struggles, because often people try to silence mothers who dare to express any frustration or difficulty.  Difficult experiences are still as valid as the happy, positive ones, and getting support is important.  I hope it goes without saying that I have been incredibly grateful to be able to breastfeed at all. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I’d want to breastfeed. There are health benefits for both mother and baby, and that was and remains my number one reason, but on top of that, it’s also free. For some reason, despite being told by several people how difficult breastfeeding was, I expected the biggest hurdle to be establishing a good milk supply. I had no idea that a good supply would actually be the least of my problems. I had so many friends and acquaintances that weren’t able to breastfeed due to supply issues, so the concern was at the forefront of my mind–I didn’t understand the variety of problems that could come with breastfeeding and really thought, for some reason, that it wouldn’t be difficult. As you’ve likely guessed by this point, I was very wrong. Here’s where the boob-talk comes in. I’ve had an inverted nipple for as long as I can remember. This was a slight concern when I was pregnant, but for some reason, I thought the issue would magically correct itself when Amelia was born. I was a little too optimistic, because… yeah, it didn’t. Moments after Amelia was born, I tried getting her to latch to no avail. I was whisked into my room in the obstetrics unit of the Moncton Hospital, and before I knew it, a nurse was in the room trying to get her to latch. I was both physically and mentally exhausted from labour, but I knew my baby had to eat, so we tried–but my inverted nipple had other plans. The nurse left the room and came back a few minutes later carrying a nipple shield. And, with that tool in hand, Amelia successfully latched, and our nursing relationship began. If I any illusions of simplicity remained at this point, they were shattered pretty quickly. The shield and I developed a love-hate relationship pretty quickly–and I understood when fellow nursing mothers looked on with sympathetic familiarity when I brought the shield out for a feed. It seems it’s a common tool, and while it’s useful, it’s easy for the baby to form a dependency on it, and can cause problems of its own. I had follow-up appointments at the breastfeeding clinic–twice in the first week–and discovered that Amelia wasn’t gaining any weight, at first. When my milk came in, I had a huge oversupply, to the point that I was informed I could likely feed twins with what I had, but Amelia just wasn’t getting to it. So, we tried a few things. I had been trying to wean off the shield, but because my oversupply had been filling it up, Amelia had just been sipping on the excess. Thus, when I tried to nurse her without the shield, she wasn’t trying hard enough to extract the milk, and, because of that, she ended up losing weight. We were back on the shield, and until she gained again, we were checked in at the clinic every two days. After a month, she got back to her birth weight, at last, and we only had to visit every two weeks. I kept with the shield, because it was working well, even though I had to pump daily to maintain my supply. She gained reasonably well for a couple of months–about the minimum of what would be expected, but still steadily gaining. One day, one of the lactation consultants told me that, given my supply,...

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Having less money is better–for me, at least

Posted by on Mar 12, 2015 in Life in Writing, Uncategorized | 0 comments

When I left my full time job to go back to school and finish my degree, I was concerned. My husband and I have a mortgage. We have a car. Though we didn’t at the time, we now have a daughter. We have two cats. We like eating every now and then and we have utilities to pay. It always made sense for us both to be working full-time, even if it seemed like I always had a little extra money to burn each paycheck. I had been able to save up quite a bit of money as I wasn’t in debt, and I bought some nice clothes for myself. I also had a bad tendency to blow quite a bit of cash at work, because I genuinely liked the product I sold. Upon going back to school full-time, I dropped work to part-time in a different job,  and I quickly had to begin budgeting based on necessity. Suddenly, I didn’t have the luxury of the extra $200+ a paycheck. I had no money to burn. Every dollar was accounted for in some way or another. Coupons became more important, I used any discount I can get (10% student Tuesdays at Sobeys became my new best friend), and I saved up various loyalty points from any shop that offered them. Most “wants” dissolved entirely. We stopped going out to eat and eliminated expensive or unnecessary items from our grocery list. I started cooking and meal-prepping more often. Cooking quickly grew into a hobby as a result–it was already something I did fairly often and enjoyed doing, but the frequency with which I was now cooking meant I was constantly trying new things and making an effort to have a variety of foods on-hand, as well as challenge my burgeoning skills. Another interest of mine is money management. I love budgeting, and the tighter the budget is, the more fun I have distributing funds. Putting my budgeting skills to good use was a bit of a side-perk of needing to drop the money a bit. It obviously wasn’t a factor, but kind of a nice bonus. Dropping to part-time work was also a life choice for me, and not just in order for me to get my degree. I decided that rather than focusing on working or finding a career, I wanted to spend more time with loved ones. This especially rang true for me when I found out I was pregnant, knowing well that I would want to spend as much time as possible while the baby is still a baby. My grandmother’s death in October would confirm this for me. I wanted the flexibility to see people when I could. Since my daughter Amelia’s birth, this has only been further affirmed. My writing also influenced my decision to work part-time only. My one overarching goal in my life has been to do something with my writing, even if it’s to a small degree, and I’ve been trying to focus on it more and more in the past year–the launch of this website is a testament to that. I’ve had less and less time for my writing, with school at first, followed directly by the new baby, but since January, I’ve already managed to write a short story that placed in the first heat of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. Even with Amelia taking up most of my time, I’ve managed to work sporadically on blog posts, and I’ve been keeping a journal to keep track of my experiences as a new parent. I’ve also been working as a copy editor for Animaritime when I have a few spare minutes. All of this is to say, in part, that I don’t always like the person I become when I work full-time, and I tend to build up a number of work-related resentments while I work. I am much happier if I only have to work part-time (or, as with the present, not at all). The time away from full-time work has helped me to realise that making more money wasn’t making me happier–having the freedom...

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