Category: Real Life

Learning Online (So Much Choice)

I recently wrote about going back to school but I’ve also been browsing different methods of online learning that are offered these days. I’m a big fan of (of course) using YouTube, and almost everything you could ever possibly want to learn is on there – but sometimes I’d also like something a bit more structured, or I want something where I can see in depth reviews. To that end, I’ve looked into two popular ‘learning’ platforms, Udemy, and Skillshare. Both do almost exactly the same thing, offer ‘classes’ for people that typically have a cost associated with it. With Skillshare it’s subscription based, you can access any of their lessons for a fee ($20 CAD or there abouts) each month. Once your subscription ends, you lose access. In fact I can’t even browse skillshare without an activated subscription which I find really annoying. They do offer 30 days free, but I’ve used mine up.

For Udemy, you purchase each class individually. You own access to that class for as long as you need it, and you can learn at your own pace without keeping an active subscription. The classes are much more expensive – but – they also have frequent sales. One example is the classes I purchased above, they were 85% off, and less than $20 each. I have absolutely no issue paying people for their time when they’re teaching me something but I obviously do prefer to just purchase a class outright so I can constantly use it instead of using a subscription. If one class takes me three months to complete and I’m paying $20 a month, vs. that same class costing $20 outright – well, it’s easy to see why I made the choice to just stick with Udemy.

I love that there are these (and other) options out there. I love that teaching, and learning, is promoted. It doesn’t have to be for everyone, but it’s something I personally like to make use of and I’m just so thankful that technology has allowed for this to happen. Of course there are good classes and bad ones, and free ones and expensive ones, so figuring out WHAT to take and WHERE to take it is always a challenge – do your research. If you’re good at self motivating and creating your own schedules, it’s definitely something I recommend.


You are NEVER too old to learn

I recently made the decision to go back to school – at 40. There were a lot of factors that weighed in on this decision but one of them was simply that I love to learn, and I never had the opportunity when I was younger due to the cost. I moved out when I was 16 and paying for a university education was not in the cards. Now that I’m older, some things (financially) are easier, while other things (time) are more difficult.

My kid was diagnosed with autism as well as global developmental delay at age three. His disabilities require care and help for life, and it’s a full time job. Due to our isolated posting I’ve been managing on my own with the help of my husband of course, but eventually we’ll have more resources available to us (I hope). If anything should ever happen to my first responder husband, I want to have skills readily available that I can use to get into the work force and provide for my family. I want to get these skills now, and not be rushed to get them later when I’m going to have more than enough on my plate.

I’m starting off with classes in French, the basics. I already know some basics but it has been years since I was in a classroom situation doing anything official. In Canada French is the official second language. These courses can ladder to a BA with a focus on French, or I can just continue forward taking certificate programs. Or I can decide on a completely different path, and those courses will work towards credits.

At the same time I’ve also picked up a bunch of Udemy classes on sale for some back pocket learning.

These programs don’t offer any certificates but they should still give me some skills (minus the digital painting one, that one is just for me for relaxation hobbies). I just feel better when I’m learning. I like the structure, I like the organization, I enjoy using new notebooks and pens to take notes. Even if I never really focus on anything, I think it’s important to keep pushing forward in that way. I’m not sure if everyone else is the same in that regard, but it’s almost like a bit of self care. Investing in myself. Believing in myself. I wish things could have been different back when I was a kid, but that doesn’t mean I want to just give up on myself. I love my children, and I love taking care of them – but there’s more to me than just that.


DailyCreative Goals – December 2021

Completed:

November was a pretty good month as far as knitting goes. I finished four socks on my circular sock knitting machine (gifts for Christmas) and I also knit a Christmas ball (I know the goal was two, and technically I DID knit two, but the second one just wasn’t working at all and I frogged it) – AND I made progress on my cable crush hoodie. I just have one sleeve and the hood left to knit. I decided to chart out how much yarn I used over the year vs. how much yarn I purchased, and I was pleasantly surprised. If I manage to finish my cable crush hoodie that’s another 2100 yards of yarn out vs. in, and that will put me in a pretty large deficit for this year. That’s going to be the goal for December. Of course I also didn’t make that many purchases this year, and I don’t have any advent calendars going or anything like that, so even with minimal knitting, I would not be far behind. My goal for this hobby is to use more yarn than I bring in – or at least keep it equal. Granted, I already have quite a yarn stash from previous years, but I’d like to keep it (somewhat) under control. I’m also not including spun yarn in this math, because that’s a whole other ball game.

WIP:

  • Cable Crush Hoodie

December Goals:

  • Complete cable crush hoodie
  • Complete 1-2 more Christmas balls
  • Complete one or more other creative pieces (drawing etc)

I know December tends to be pretty hectic and I don’t expect this one to be any different – but I do have all of my gifts completed, so we’ll just have to see. I hope everyone has an amazing month, no matter what it brings.


Some Days are Harder

I’ve talked about multiple sclerosis before here on my blog, but I usually try really hard to just go on with life as normal as I can, and not complain about the hand I’ve been dealt. The problem is, I can only do that for so long, and I don’t really have a lot of constructive outlets – so I use my blog. This post won’t be about gaming, but is more just a general unloading.

A lot of my days are great. I have a steady constant pain that doesn’t go away, but I’ve learned to deal with it. The pain makes me a bit short tempered, pretty tired, but I’m able to function for the most part. This is my life the majority of the time. Let us put the pain at about a two on a scale of one to ten.

Then there are relapses, which is what I have going on right now for the third day. The pain in my hands and feet is so bad that my hands bend into a claw shape and just ache like they’re on fire constantly. It’s so bad I can’t carry anything heavy because I’m afraid I might drop it. Typing hurts. Just sitting doing nothing hurts. I can’t knit or cross stitch and I do my best not to game because resting my hands on my keyboard / keyboard rest – hurts. Using my mouse hurts. It’s a solid 8-9 on my pain chart and let me tell you, my pain threshold is really high. I have a tattoo and it didn’t even bother me to have it done. My husband jokes all of the time because I take scalding hot showers and never feel it, but come out a blistered red. When I say my hands and feet are hurting, it means they’re really hurting.

People can’t SEE this pain though. They just have my word to go by. I have two young kids and a husband who works shift work so I can’t just give up. I have to power through the days and do my best, which means making sure meals are done and the kids don’t hurt one another. Talking on twitter or doing a blog post is usually dictated and is my only real means of escape because we’re at an isolated post, and I can’t game (another reason I play BDO, where I can AFK or just stare at the screen and make progress). Tylenol and other medications don’t help. There’s no inflammation, it’s from lesions sitting on certain sections of my brain and spine, telling my body I’m in dire pain and triggering all my pain nodules. I’ve tried cannabis to ease symptoms but it doesn’t make the pain go away, it just makes me care less and I can’t function like that – and I have to function. I have to be able to take care of my family.

Some days, like today, I’m really angry. I’m frustrated that I can’t do what I want to do. That I can’t use a can opener unless it’s electric. That everyone around me is so loud when I’m just trying not to drown in pain and I can’t focus because MS takes that dignity away from me. I slur my words and just get so frustrated so easily because I’m trying to balance everything and function like a normal human being under insane conditions. Let us add the fact that I have a child with autism and a learning disability, and a second child on top of that, at an isolated post – and well, you have a small window into how life is going for me lately. I don’t like to complain or whine to people because I know that makes it even harder to be friends with me, and I have few friends. No one wants to be around a sad person all of the time. No one wants to hear them moan about how much pain they’re in each day. People don’t like that. Don’t even pretend they do, because I know otherwise. I’ve experienced it.

I’m just so tired. I want a break. I want a single day without all of the pain and confusion and anger that I constantly feel. I haven’t been away from the kids for more than an hour or two since our first was born five years ago. I can’t drive. I feel like a prisoner and it’s not anyone’s fault that this is life. I keep trying to make it better, trying to change it, trying to be a better person – over and over. Today, it’s just not working.

I’m sorry.

Thank you for listening.


Bring on the Spooky

It’s not the best picture, but I decided this year that I wanted some more home made Halloween decorations that I could store in those boxes that sit under the stairs and you bring out once a year. I got out my acrylic paint and some tiny little canvas I bought in the city, and sketched some little scenes. Painted, and used some pen to outline them. I have had some frames kicking around for a bit that had no use, so I put it together as best I could and ta-da! A unique little piece. I’ve got some other activities that I don’t think will be done in time since it takes me so long to do anything these days (a combination of lack of time and physical limitations) but we’ll see how it goes.


A Little Cooking (sorta)

Living at an isolated post means we have no access to any fast food – but we also don’t have access to a lot of fresh food, either. What little there is, is very expensive ($15 for a head of lettuce) and it goes bad quite quickly. Amazon doesn’t deliver to my location, but it will deliver to the town 1h away, which is better than nothing. I’ve learned over the past two years that if I want to have a little ‘treat’ when it comes to food – it’s best that I make it myself.

So I decided some panko crusted shrimp made into sushi rolls was exactly what I wanted. I found sushi rice and wasabi powder on amazon, bought some carrots and cucumber, and had some left over nori from last time we were at an actual grocery store. The powdered wasabi actually turned out much better than I had expected, I made it into a paste and it’s nice and strong. The panko crusted shrimp wasn’t as good as fresh seafood, but it still fit my cravings, and I used a little soy sauce I had on hand for dipping. Not as delicious as actual fresh sushi, but it fit the bill.


Crafts? Crafts!

I have an obsessive love of miniatures. I’m not sure why, but I could spend hours looking at others creations and wandering through miniature towns – anything to do with miniatures, I love. It’s only natural that I want to combine my love of miniatures with my love of crafts. Sadly, my eyes and my MS tend to decide otherwise for me, but that doesn’t mean I won’t still give it a try!

We were recently in the city for a few days on an impromptu holiday, and I stopped in to Michaels to pick up some items to begin my miniatures journey. I have a few shadow boxes, and I wanted to make a miniature fairy village scene using the small leaf mould pictured above and clay, along with some acrylic paints. I also picked up some miniature canvas so I could do some miniature painting. What exactly do I want to paint you might ask – I have no idea. I was thinking some seasonal paintings that I could some how swap out. I have 6 miniature canvas, so maybe three Halloween and three Christmas scenes that join together to create a larger image. I might sketch out some ideas and go from there. I do know for my second shadow box I’d like to create a library with floor to ceiling bookshelves, and then print out books for those shelves. For now it’s all just ideas in my head, and I am hoping before too long to transfer some of those ideas to actual creations.


Relaxation

The family decided on an impromptu vacation to the city for a few days, so we’re tucked into our amazing hotel suite and I’m relaxing with one of my favourite drinks ever. EVER. I love clamato in all of its renditions.

Be safe and happy gaming! I’ll be back in a few days.


New Headphones!

I’ve wanted a nice headphone / mic set for a little while now just for things like discord – and I FINALLY picked up a pair while we were in the city – YAY! I’m very excited about them. I admit, it’s a combination of the pink, and the kitty ears, and the RGB of it all. I already use a razer mouse and keyboard, so it just make sense to continue with them. I was a logitech user for many MANY years, but I found that their stuff was wearing out on me faster than I liked it to, so I swapped. I tried Corsair for a while but the keyboard was insane and way too loud. I know everyone has their own opinions about their gaming peripherals, but that’s mine.

Can’t wait to test these out!


Life Beyond Multiple Sclerosis

I don’t do a lot of real life posts, but this one has been in the works for a while now, so I figured there was no better time to hit that publish button than on the last day of Blaugust. It’s been a heck of a month.

For those that don’t know, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis earlier this year. It’s an autoimmune disease that shows itself through a whole lot of different ways, basically no two people are alike, and that makes it hard to diagnose. For me personally, I have the type that goes away for a bit and lures you into thinking that everything is OK, and then randomly things are very not OK. I had some of the symptoms for years, but thought “oh I’m just getting older” and thought they were normal.

It started with pain in my hands and feet. Gaming some days is almost impossible. I had a bunch of tests and bloodwork done to see if there was any inflammation and there was not. All my tests come back clear which is what makes getting an MS diagnosis so much more frustrating. The pain in my feet is worse in the mornings after sleeping, or after any length of time not moving. It’s bad enough that I have to have support to walk around my house for a bit. A lot of the time I cannot control my hands properly, it makes things like opening containers, holding cups, and other mundane tasks very difficult. I can’t prepare meals easily, I can’t use a knife, and I struggle to do the basics. Since these symptoms are not ALL of the time, but only when I relapse, I thought I might be making them up in my head.

This year cognitive issues started. I often ‘lose’ my words right in the middle of talking. I have short term memory issues where I forget what I ate for dinner even though it has only been a few hours. I get frustrated when I can’t think of a word for something that I’ve said a million times in the past.

I also started getting vision problems. On relapse days/weeks my vision blurs, I see a white haze around everything, and it looks like the house is filled with smoke. My eyes will bother me, feeling tight or heavy. I started writing down all of these things, when they would happen, and tracking them. Sometimes I’m good for a month or two, then symptoms will come back for a few weeks, and then they’ll vanish again.

To say MS is frustrating is an understatement. It’s so hard to explain to people (including doctors) what is wrong when you can’t SHOW them. That’s the main reason why I started writing symptoms down – so I would have SOMETHING to show the doctors besides me saying “well, sometimes I forget my words, sometimes I have pains, sometimes this sometimes that, but not all the time…” Anyway. I’ve had to adjust my life and make some changes. I am a lot slower than I used to be at everything. Walking. Cooking. Gaming. I need a lot of sleep and rest. I need to recognize when my body simple can’t handle any more. I need to be gentle with myself. On the plus side, it is NOT a death sentence. On the downside, it IS (at the time of this post at least) a life sentence. There are medications and things to help slow down progression but there is no cure (yet). It hinders my ability to do very basic things, like drive. On bad MS days I have difficulty taking care of my kids alone. I can’t lift them up, or play outside with them. I always have to tell them to be careful around me. Living in an isolated post makes it even more difficult. It’s frustrating and annoying – but it hasn’t stopped me. It has just slowed me down.

Any way. Why write about all of this? Just to hopefully let someone out there know that you are not alone. That things go on, that you’ll go on, and it will be OK. Maybe not right away, but eventually I found my groove and even though things are really difficult they are manageable. I’m a billion times thankful for all of the support I DO have, and I’m grateful for those days where everything goes ‘OK’ instead of brilliant. Keep trying. Keep pushing forward.


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