Some updates

Writing is tough. It requires discipline, consistency, creativity and skill. I have some of those traits but not enough. I suppose these will improve with training and experience as will judgment. Writing a story is like going down different paths strewn with debris, obstacles and traps. Once you get through them you discover you’re still not on the right path and have to double back. I’ve been stuck for a couple of weeks in writing. I’ll let my thoughts wander around a bit and try again in a few days.

In other news… I’ve now eaten inside a restaurant twice. The first time was a couple of weeks ago and unexpected. I thought we were getting take out with my siblings but ended up eating inside. This weekend I went for dimsum with J (it’s his first time eating inside a restaurant too). He’s been holding off since I won’t eat in one. But his family and extended family have been. My brother has also been eating in restaurants a few times now. I’ll test myself later this week just to make sure. I’ll also be scheduling myself for the fall booster shot.

It Was a Good Morning

I woke up around 5:30 the other morning. That’s unusually early for me but I was awake and alert, not the usual “why am I up?”. I decided to go out for a walk even though it was dark and drizzly. There were people out there already. Some joggers, a few dog walkers and others likely heading to work. I had my umbrella out and avoided puddles that were painted by the lights of the surrounding buildings.

Sometimes I’m too lazy to get out of bed for my morning walk. When I don’t, it somehow screws up my sleep cycle. I also feel tired mid day and will succumb to a nap. So these past few days I’ve been putting more discipline to get my butt out the door. I like the city just as it’s waking up. There are still pockets of silence. It takes a bit of time before my body stops to bicker and complain. I just trudge on until it goes quiet.

About halfway through that walk a feeling of peace and calmness came over me. I’m not sure why. It’s never happened before but I’m grateful for it. It’s nice when things go your way.

I know life can be very challenging. Sometimes you wake up and it feels like you’re thrown into a gladiator pit. Everyday feels like a battle without any respite. Don’t be afraid or hesitant to look for help. It’s very difficult dealing with these problems and challenges by yourself.

Sentimental Clutter

In one of my kitchen drawers, there are a couple pieces of scrap paper. One is a list of dishes to order for takeout in Chinese. Another was a taped to a soup container. If I was ruthlessly decluttering, they would have been gone ages ago. But I can’t because these were from my mom. There’s even a frozen container of soup that she made that still sits in my freezer. I’ve tried to throw that out a few times but it still sits in the corner of my freezer.

This is my mom’s handwriting. Her writing is shaky because her fingers were ravaged by arthritis by this time. But she still liked to cook and was worried that I won’t have time to make my own meals.

It’s illogical. My memories and love for her aren’t tied to those items. Sometime in the future, I know I’ll figure out a way to dispose of them. Perhaps I’ll have a drink or two afterwards.

As for those gnats, they are still here but in reduced numbers. It’s hard to tell because they spend part of their life in the soil before they start flying. A few of my sticky traps are covered with gnats. The other day I added another one to the same pot that has quite a few of these things. But as I was doing that, another trap filled with those things got stuck on my hand. Ugh.

Now a couple are flying around me…. like flies around a pile of dung. After I post this, I’m getting my axe and hunting knife out. There will be bloodshed tonight in gnat land.

Fungus Gnats

A few weeks ago, I notice a bunch of fruit flies in my condo. I thought maybe there’s an onion or banana that had gone bad. But they were all good. I checked my compost bin and there wasn’t anything buzzing around. Then I noticed a bunch of them hanging around my plants. I looked up what they could be and they were fungus gnats. I had repotted a bunch of plants with very rich potting soil recently. And because it’s been hot, I’ve been watering them a bit more frequently.

Fungus gnats lay eggs in the soil. When they hatch, they eat the rotting stuff and fungus and eventually fly around to lay more eggs. One fly can lay up to 300 eggs. Yikes! I set out some vinegar traps. It caught a bunch but that wasn’t enough. I ordered some sticky traps. But these won’t kill the ones in the soil. I probably have to order something called Mosquito Bits that kills them in the soil without harming the plant.

My sister had them after I repotted her orchids. So she banished the orchids to the porch. I’ll have to repot them and check if the pot is draining properly. I will check each of my pots to see if they are draining properly too. These bugs are a pest. They’ve landed on my drinks, meals, flown into my nose, ears and eyes. It’s a war.

Repairs Done

So my last entry about going for an extended period of time without a laptop was uhm… premature. Although the tech guy gave me a long estimate, the shop called today and said they have all the parts, confirmed the diagnosis and if I give them permission to proceed they will get it done before the end of day. I was prepared for a call with bad news. It was an expensive repair though. I had to replace the top case (where the keyboard sits). They explained the battery is glued to the top case so it can’t simply be removed and replaced.

When I picked up my laptop I told the tech (another person) that I was pleasantly surprised that it was ready so soon. She seemed surprised when I told her I only dropped it off yesterday. I think the sad face I made when I dropped off my laptop made a difference. I’m glad I didn’t have a slice of onion inside my face mask. Tears might have been overkill.

As I was preparing to move my personal data off my machine, I noticed my filing system wasn’t the best. I have documents spread all over the place and some that haven’t been downloaded yet (eg. bank statements). I’ll have to spend some time to sort all of this out. They also include things I’ve downloaded but never filed. Ugh.

IT issues

My laptop is in for service. The screen won’t shut tightly and I think it’s because the battery has expanded and caused the frame to be slightly bent. The battery has been replaced before and I didn’t think it needed to be replaced again but I guess that’s life.

I should be grateful that my laptop is still in decent shape for a mid 2015 model. It’s done everything I’ve wanted. The tech who took in my laptop said Apple might soon put this model at “vintage”. I think parts won’t be available or will be very limited.

When I left my laptop with the tech guy, I wanted to say goodbye. I was going to give it a couple of pats when the guy said “you can leave now.” I guess he wondered why I paused. It’s been strange today without my laptop. My routine has been disrupted. I also thought I couldn’t write. But I figured it was just a bit of laziness creeping in. I’ll just write using my pen and notebook.

Sometimes I think it’s sad that we’ve become so dependant on our computers. I feel badly for low income families who likely need these phones, tablets and computers but may not be able to afford them.

For the next couple of weeks I’ll rely on my phone. It’s not the end of the world and it’s really a first world problem. Ok, I feel less stressed about this now.

Sleep – Where Did You Go?

I had another rough night sleeping. I finally got to bed as the sun began to pry the dark sky away. The city was just starting to wake up. About 4 1/2 hours later, I dragged myself out of bed. As much as I wanted to sleep in, I know it would cause a lot of confusion to my body clock.

On my list today was groceries. But that will have to wait as I didn’t want to drive today. So I did a couple of chores around the house. I don’t know why my brain is so active at night. I took some melatonin an hour ago. So I hope things will be a bit better tonight. I know it will take a few days to reset my sleep cycle.

Maybe I need someone to read me a bedtime story or sing a lullaby to me. Although with my luck, it’ll be Stephen King that will be reading a horror story and a heavy metal singer will be screaming his lungs out at me.

Some pics

A couple of photos since I’m too lazy to write today.

I went down to watch a practice session of the Toronto Honda Indy last week. It wasn’t easy to take pictures because of all the fencing, poles and wires. But I got a few. One thing I like about this location is the cars are braking hard to make a right turn so you can see the brakes glowing on the front tire.

This guy locked up the rear tires going into the turn. What I should have done was to use a lower shutter speed so that there’s a bit more wheel blur. It will show that the car is moving. Right now it looks like it’s just exhaust coming out but it’s the rear tire smoking.

I passed by this garden and saw these bees flying around. They were all attracted to these flowers. I couldn’t resist and had to take some pictures.

The other night I was heading home after taking pictures and went to get some take out food. While I was waiting for the food, the waiter asked about my camera and what I do for a living. He was a young and good looking Chinese guy. I had just put my camera away but took it back out and let him hold it. He was wondering what camera to get since he was on a low budget. I think he’s still a student. We chatted briefly and it’s too bad the food came so quickly.

Ups and Downs

I’ve had a few low energy days last week. I didn’t go out, stopped writing and didn’t even take any pictures. I notice that just before I get into this phase, my condo is a lot messier than usual. This is almost my first warning. I also don’t eat well and definitely don’t sleep well.

The only way I’ve learned to get out of it is by going out for long walks and to get some sun. It’s not as simple as getting out. I have to force myself to go outside. The power of inertia can be quite strong. The other day, I bribed myself to go for a walk by telling my body I needed to get a haircut and we could pickup some dimsum on the way home. That 6k of walking helped a lot although it was quite warm that day. I walked a total of 9k the other day. It’s not a continuous walk, it’s just a slow pace with lots of stoppages to take pictures. But my feet were sore at the end of the day.

Once I get through this first hump, I then have to boost my mood by using affirmations, positive thinking and listening to high energy music. And then I do a bit of cleaning. Somehow that seems to help even though I’m not the greatest at cleaning. Blogging and writing helps get me back to an even keel. Somehow the mere act of getting words on the screen (or paper) does something to my brain cells. Writing is usually the last thing that I do. Once I write, I know I’m more or less ok.

One of these days, I’ll understand how my brain works or doesn’t.

Pics from Pride

I debated with myself if I should attend Pride this year. I wasn’t too worried that it was outdoors but I know it can get crowded and public transit can also get crowded. I figured my chances of getting good pictures from the parade were limited but if I went early perhaps I could get some decent shots of people.

In the end, I went a bit early, took some pictures, found a spot behind a gay couple to take some pictures. One of men kept checking on me to see if I was able to see ok and offered his shoulder to rest my lens. I wore my mask on and had lots of sunscreen. I left early when it got too crowded. I kept getting jostled and it was also hard to get a decent shot. So I walked around a bit before leaving.

  1. Most people associate the parade with guys in skimpy outfits, loud music, colourful costumes and floats from various companies and organizations. But there are alsof many people from health care organizations who are there to support the community.

2. There was a small lineup of people wanting to have their pictures taken with this person. It was in front of a major insurance company and there was a photographer there. I tried to stay out of the way and got a couple of shots without the people. I included the balloons to give it some context.

3. She (I don’t know what pronouns this person is using) was posing for a couple of other photographers and graciously turned to face me for a couple of shots. I thanked her afterwards. I believe this is Filipiniana dress (Philippines).

4. I just pointed my camera at this guy and he paused for a couple of pictures. I think most people in costumes expect to be stopped. I told him he looked great and thanked him. There’s no way I could have worn those boots without spraining my ankles.

5. I loved the big, yellow hat. It was a bit tricky editing this because the face was in the shadows. I used a radial filter to bring out the shadows.

6. He couldn’t stop smiling and I succumbed to his seductive beauty.

7. As I was leaving, I saw a bunch of people on the scaffolding. I’m sure it’s not meant for them to climb up – the building is undergoing demolition. Every so often I would hear a loud metallic cracking sound.

I wanted to get a shot of the billboard and the sign on the building along with the rainbow flags. I chose this shot and only noticed the rainbow flag had some corporate logo from a brewery. These parades started as protest movements and we should remember that.

From a photography point of view, it wasn’t bad. Some of the shots weren’t sharp and I don’t know if I moved a button or a setting. I’ll have to double check them later. I did recognize a few local photojournalists and photographers who were given accreditation to walk the route. I still have a long way to go before I can get there but it’s a nice goal to set.