Category: Real Life

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.


Lessons Learned

It’s just about time to wrap up another Blaugust – and it’s been a great one. I have all sorts of amazing sites to read (I tend to refresh the ones I follow during this event and discover new and amazing blogs) and I managed to keep up to the best of my abilities (I say to the best of my abilities because I post date things to fill in missed days and I don’t see anything wrong with that). This week the topic was ‘lessons learned’ – and I’ve learned my fair share of them over the years.

The main one I learned is that you care more about what other people think of your blog / content than anyone else does. What I mean by this is I used to stress that the few sponsored posts I get would affect my site and I worried that I’d lose readers, and I was concerned that my audience would leave (what little I had) and all sorts of negatives. Turns out, none of that was true, and none of it mattered. I do accept sponsored posts from time to time, it helps pay for my hosting and in good years it gave me a bit extra to put towards game subscriptions or whatever other cost I had. Aside from people asking if I had been hacked or asking if I knew I had sponsored posts, it didn’t change much of anything. I know not everyone agrees with putting ads up on their blog, but for me it’s something I no longer stress about at all. I will always be more invested in my site than anyone else, and that’s probably how it should be. Stop worrying so much about what everyone else thinks / says / does and just focus on how you conduct yourself – be true to yourself, whether that’s monetizing your blog or not.

I learned that being consistent with content is more important than what you’re blogging about, and you will find your people.

I learned that people will like what they like. That means if I spend 3 hours putting a carefully cultivated post together – chances are the post that took me 5 minutes will get more traction. I try not to care about that too much these days, but it used to really bother me.

I learned that I don’t need a different blog to encompass all of my interests, but instead I make use of categories, tags, and other tools to separate everything. Maintaining a blog can be quite a task, and when I was first writing I thought that I had to keep everything in its own little section. I still feel that way, but I can do that within the total writing space instead of creating an entirely new one. This helps me keep consistent, and shows that I’m more than just abcxyz thing. Sure, I’m a gamer, but I also knit, and I spin yarn, and I have other interests. There’s no shame in that and it took me a long time to learn that it’s OK to expand my blog to showcase those other interests.

If you’re looking to blog, it’s never too late to start. If you’ve ever wanted to there are free tools out there to help you get started, and even if you don’t stick with it at least you gave it a try. I hope my posts have given a little bit of insight, and if not, welp, that’s OK too.


Weight Loss / Health Update

TW for anyone who might be dealing with mental health / weight issues, please remember that my journey is not yours.

I set a goal for myself for this year to get below 200lbs. After two kids and moving to a remote location, weight and health have become an issue for me. My main reasons besides just naturally wanting to be healthier is also because I have multiple sclerosis, and being overall ‘healthy’ means that when I relapse, it might be a bit easier for my body to cope. So far I haven’t found that to be the case, but I have a lot to go, so we’ll see.

Anyway, I started 2021 at 250lbs. Not even my heaviest. I believe in holding myself accountable – and for people who want to hate on me or judge based on weight stuff, big deal. They’re not important. Anyway, I didn’t really get serious about things until April of this year. I had only lost 10lbs, wasn’t doing anything of any note. April 15th, one day after my 40th birthday, I decided to give it an actual go – and my hard work started actually.. working. Who would have thought.

Now it’s almost the end of August, and I’m down to 210lbs. I was hoping to lose a bit more this month but it has been a particularly difficult one as far as mental health goes, and I’m constantly reminding myself that this is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s supposed to take time. I’m not really proud of what I’ve accomplished so far, and I still can’t really “see” the weight I’ve lost, but I do plan on keep up with it, and I am absolutely determined to get below 200lbs by Christmas. I know eventually I’ll need to add more exercise, but I’m hoping we’ll be at a new post by then and maybe things will be easier. As it is, right now, being at an isolated post with two young kids is just really hard. I’m doing my best, but I can’t help but wish I could do more than my best. I know that sounds silly but we’re all our own worst critics, after all.


Experimental Cooking

When I’m having a particularly good week it shows in the kitchen. I love to cook. Growing up my family ate pretty traditional meals, meat and potato. Spices were not a thing I ever learned about, and we didn’t try a whole lot of cultural meals or really eat outside of our comfort zone. We had a lot of meat and potatoes, spaghetti, Sheppard’s pie and things like that. My family was also pretty strict when it came to meals. If we wanted a snack, we asked first. I didn’t experiment a lot with cooking, and groceries were not the exciting times that they are now. None of this is ‘bad’ per say, I know money was pretty tight and my parents both did the best they could with three kids but it’s the background as to why I get so dang excited now when I cook or buy groceries.

Lately I’ve been watching some pretty amazing ASMR type cooking videos on YouTube. Some are Japanese, some Korean. They’ve got millions of views and they make cooking look simple and relaxed which it rarely ever is in my house. Best of all, the food looks amazing.

With this newfound interest, I bought a bunch of basic Japanese cooking ingredients last week and I’ve been experimenting with my own flavour profiles. I made chicken tonkatsu, and udon noodle miso soup (pictured above) that turned out incredible. I made onigiri. I have plans on doing some fried rice, and some shrimp balls, and all sorts of other yums. I’m experimenting with different types of heat – the heat you get from one spice can be very different than another. Take franks buffalo sauce and sriracha for example. Both are ‘heat’ but they’re very different in flavour profiles.

It has been amazing to experiment and play and explore. Not everything turns out, I’ve definitely had some failures, but it’s all a lot of fun and I’m having a great time learning what types of food I actually truly enjoy vs. those that I’d rather stay away from.


Fall, Blogging, and Comforts

In my neck of the woods, the temperature is almost at the freezing mark, geese are flying South, and I know that snow is just around the corner (in case you’ve forgotten I only have three months of the year without snow, June, July, August. The rest typically have a little or a LOT of snow). Seasons showcase my gaming habits VERY well. Every single time this fall weather comes, I start getting nostalgic for my ‘usual’ games. Hence the screenshot above that shows off Wurm Online. My ultimate favourite MMO. In the stand alone version of the game I have over 5,000 hours logged (thanks steam) and I can’t even begin to imagine the hours I must have in the base MMO version of the game. I have 12 characters, three of those are premium right now. I have two deeds that span across the newer steam-released servers and the old school servers. I’ve met some incredible people through this game that I remain friends with to this day, and it’s probably the first MMO that I played for me, and not because everyone else was playing it (in fact these days maybe only one or two people I know still play it, no one else likes it any more for a variety of reasons).

It also explains why I subscribed to FFXIV. A game that I love for so many reasons, but can’t actively devote the time to playing right this second. It’s a busy time of year for my husband and that means I’m with the kids 24/7 (no childcare where we’re at). I’m incredibly excited about the expansion coming out in a few months, but I’m not even at the part of the story I need to be. I go in with big ideas about catching up, but I don’t know if that’s feasible. I do want to remind people who are also trying to catch up that there are pay options to skip the first few expansion MSQ if that’s more to your liking. It won’t let you do that with the current / final expansion, but you can pay for both levels and MSQ unlocks in the shop.

Let’s talk about that a second. It’s obviously an option that is not for everyone, and not everyone is comfortable with doing that – but it doesn’t HURT anyone, and so if someone else has chosen to go that rout I really wish the community would rally behind them and appreciate that they’re playing at all instead of begrudging them for the fact that they skipped content. Not everyone plays the same, not everyone has the same time allowance, and allowing people to skip the MSQ on older content lets more people in the door and that is good!

Now what does all of this have to do with blogging?

Blogging for me, is comforting. This year I’ve made an effort into writing every single day, or at least posting an article up every single day and I’m really happy and proud about that. When my kids were born I found myself learning how to balance everything and I knew some things would have to take a step back especially if it was a particularly difficult week. Blaugust has been a great reminder on reassessing the balance in my life, and making time for the things I love – and that includes writing. While I still have to work on the community aspect and making time for that, it’s a start. I think each year I participate I learn a little bit more, I grow more appreciation, and I discover some amazing blogs while doing it.

It’s OK to do what’s comfortable – but there’s also something to be said for pushing yourself a bit, and growing. Whether it’s as a gamer, or a writer, or some other aspect.

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!


Let’s Get Real – I’m Lonely

TW for mental health

Let’s face it, the past almost two years have not been “normal” for anyone, and I don’t believe there is any such thing as “normal” as we know it any more. I feel like the covid pandemic has changed things forever, and we’re best moving forward instead of trying to go backwards to what things used to be like.

If it was only the pandemic had happened, I might find myself in a slightly better mental health state than I do today – but for me, things are a bit more complicated. Turns out, I’m lonely. Lonely to the point of being depressed and spending a lot of days a mixture of angry and sad. Not only has the pandemic happened, but for the past 1.5 years I’ve been posted to an isolated post in the far North of Canada. For those unfamiliar, I live on a reservation, there’s nothing but dirt roads for 200km in any direction. Our internet on the best of days is 5mb/s and our upload speed is .02. There’s no grocery stores within a 6h (3h each way) drive, and I had incredibly high hopes of getting involved with the community and learning the culture, except the pandemic happened and then well, people don’t like my family (even though they’ve never met us) because my husband is RCMP. A lot of people don’t like me, either.

Let’s talk about that a bit. I’ve always grown up thinking that you should speak your mind – but that is not true. You should NOT speak your mind if you want friends. People do not like it when others speak their mind. I always thought ‘hey, it’s OK if your opinions differ, people will see past that, and you’ll come out alright’ – NOT true. Arguments are what break friendships apart. I’m not talking opinions like whether or not we should all get vaccinated (we should, I’m not even willing to discuss that) but simple things. Being confrontational is not a friend trait that others admire. Humans also tend to be pretty self centered. They want to talk about themselves (I’m a fine example of that this AM) and getting them to look past their own nose at the greater picture is a difficult task. There is no real point to this post except to say yeah, I’m lonely. I find it difficult to make friends, I am not used to ‘playing nice’ and that usually ends up backfiring.

I have lots of acquaintances, and people I ‘talk’ to in an online sense and have for years now. I am fairly certain that I know more about any of them than they know about me. In real life, I’ve made attempts to be friendly and make friends and then I get screwed over and hurt, and I know it’s because I’m difficult to handle, I’m not overly social, I’m not overly friendly, I’m confrontational. I get angry quickly and cool down just as fast. I love to argue and debate and to me it typically means nothing much and five minutes later I’ve moved on, but for most people it turns into something a lot more complicated.

I don’t work, and am a full time Mom, so my hours of when I’m available or online are sporadic at best. I cannot expect anyone to instantly be around when I need them, and I have no idea how to make friends as a grown up. So I sit here and write this blog in case there’s someone else out there going through the same thing. We’ll be OK. We always are. But it sure is lonely.


Welcome to Blaugust

I know, I’m a bad person for not starting the week with my ‘yay it’s Blaugust‘ post – but honestly there have been so many incredible starter posts that mine would have only gotten lost in the pile anyway. That being said, this theme (we’ll call it that) of the week is as follows:

The idea behind this week is to give folks time to spread their wings and get used to that daily blogging idea. For the Veteran bloggers, it is a great time to make a few posts related to helping New bloggers get started. These could be tips or tricks or just discussions about what helps you get started. Additionally it is a great time to get connected to the Blaugust Discord and meet the community as a whole.

I am on the discord! I don’t talk often because I’m shy, and a part of a bunch of other discords so managing my time is always something that I have a hard time with. Despite all of that, I’ve been blogging here for over 15 years, and I’ve learned a thing or two.

Don’t let someone else tell you what blogging is / is not, or how to run YOUR blog. See, I tend to go many days without posting anything, and then I’ll write 7-8 posts all at once, and I’ll back date them and assign each post to a day to fill out my weeks. That’s what I prefer to do. That doesn’t make me any less of a blogger (or more) than anyone else and how they decide to handle things. So find a schedule and a method that works for you and your life style. Adapt it. Be flexible.

Don’t get boxed in writing about a specific theme / subject if you’re not feeling it. This site started out as MmoQuests, and I wrote about MMOs in specific for many MANY years. Turns out, I have more interests than just video games! I knit, I read, and I draw. If I only wrote about video games some months would be very dry content wise. Instead, I’ve opened up my blog to my other interests. Sure, my audience may not always enjoy every single post I put out there, but I love having a record of what basically amounts to my entire life. Do you.

If you’re really interested in blogging, don’t worry about your audience. It will come with time. Instead, get into those good habits. Even if you’re not writing novel sized posts every day, try a bit of something. I feel good about myself knowing I’ve taken care of my ‘chores’ for the week, I try to pre-write or jot down ideas any time I have them to make up for the times where I don’t feel like writing at all. It all counts, and no one is judging you except (you guessed it) yourself.

I know some folks like to run their site with the end goal of making money, but this isn’t one of those blogs, so I have very little advice to give on that subject. Do what you like, and don’t let anyone else change your mind. You’re going to know yourself best.


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