To do list is shrinking, but obviously the largest tasks remain…

… thanks to the joys of procrastination! That and not feeling well rested when I wake up in the mornings. Bed was nice and comfy since I remade it after doing ALL THE LAUNDRY (this is significant as I own a LOT of clothing!). I'm bringing a remarkably small amount of CKI and Kiwanis branded clothing to New Orleans (my tendency to like wearing dresses constantly overruled my desire to be swathed in Kiwanis family logos, gosh knows I own enough of 'em!), and am somewhat packed (or rather the contents of my suitcase are strewn about the room ready to place inside the suitcase). A perk of being a Kiwanian is a desire to be less formal with regards to dress codes (of course my natural dress code is in dresses anyway, so whatever), and the CKI dress codes have gotten a lot less uh… varied and stringent over time.

I'm hoping to do a little bit of shopping while I'm there. There are a few birthdays of friends happening while I'm gone and I'm hoping that New Orleans might live up to hype for finding ever so particular type things for them there. Regardless, my finances are a little less scary (not much less scary but a little) because I know I'll get a pretty decent pay cheque while gone and a good sizable reimbursement for some previous travel expenses too, but that doesn't mean that the temptation to spend money on board game kickstarters isn't still there, or that I haven't suddenly gotten the urge to someday visit some more geeky conventions (yeah yeah, I'm a known convention/conference junkie as it is, thus this is not surprising)… but I am looking forward to seeing a lot of Kiwanis Family friends in the coming week.

This summer does not seem like the kind that includes a lot of sleep however.

Slowly, getting things done…

… as I'm leaving for New Orleans on Sunday. And slow is the right word. I'm not sleeping terribly well lately (not having issues falling asleep but I'm waking up before my alarm repeatedly, and often not feeling well rested), and took several short naps yesterday. But yesterday was a good day: I got most of what I needed to accomplish done. I did attend a fabulous Edmonton Girl Geek dinner at Mill Creek Cafe. The food was unspectacular, but it certainly wasn't bad; I rather enjoyed my salad and my dessert and the chicken was remarkably tender and moist! But I wasn't there for the food (nor was I there for the door prizing, this time I didn't win anything, though the graphic novels were darn tantalizing!). I was there to socialize with the awesome girl geeks (like Brittney and Dana, the two hosts of Edmonton Girl Geek Dinners!) and listen to a great talk about female action heroes (what female action heros?)… the talk was EXCELLENT but it really made me sad about the state of movie watching these days: women being more sex objects, window dressing, and victims rather than the powerful Ripleys, Thelmas and Louises of the early 1990s… Some light was seen in the Girl Action Heroes (such as Katniss or Hanna) but I dunno, this is frustrating.

Today however has been less frustrating. I've been reasonably productive, and am currently waging war on laundry. I have also realized that I'm going to get some of the funding for one of my trips sometime in the next month or so… with other funding likely not coming until August at the VERY earliest (darnned waiting game!) and I've run about to mailboxes and run other errands. It's a beautiful summer day complete with the sound of thunder. I'm also trying to eat the perishable food in my fridge (I will fail to eat it all in all likelihood, but I won't waste too too much). Whittling my to-do list down at a reasonable pace is really part of the plan.

After work last night…

… I got to play with my The Guild Munchkin cards for the first time. It was rather excellent as I hadn't played Munchkin in a rather rather long time. And The Guild Munchkin cards are pretty darn awesome! I mean, all the Zaboo lingo, and other turns of phrase, the fun artwork, and the monsters… oh the monsters!

Yes, indeed that helped make yesterday an awesome day. That and playing with an adorable kitten (among other things) [thanks Laury!]…

Today looks to be an awesome one as well. I did a taste panel (like I often do) which paid me to taste some microwavable pasta dishes, and then got some cash for my trip to New Orleans (I leave on Sunday, yikes!), before checking out the National Aboriginal day festivities by RBC downtown, buying a bison burger (plus juice and chips) for $5 and watching Francis Whiskeyjack beat the drum (as he did at the Key Leader camp last fall), along with the great student dancers from Amiskwiaciy Academy, and drummers from a Cree group which I cannot remember the name of… ah well, it was a good time for the first full day of summer…

… and the day's not even over! 🙂

Thesising for the next however many months…

It's coming down to my crunch time people… which means that I'm going to be ONE BUSY woman. *sighs* I still hope to finish my thesis this fall, but that's going to mean a LOT of work when I'm not out traveling and whatnot. And after the last several months, I know that the difficult part is going to be maintaining a semblance of balance. I need to stay active, do things with friends, get enough sleep, eat reasonably well, work at least enough to not pull on savings more than there is, and take some 'me' time now and again to read graphic novels and whatnot.

But I think things like playing board games, Kiwanis, picking up graphic novels (thanks to Brandon and others), and seeing friends is going to help me maintain that balance that I need. I just need to have productive days like yesterday more often. And that means I need to get back into a transcription and thesising mood on a somewhat daily basis. And that means not lazing about so much. But I *can* do it, and I really will. 🙂

A busy but AWESOME day! :)

So yesterday one of my friends from my CKI days (when I was a member that is) came to visit all the way from Alaska where he now lives! And it was great: we went to Famoso for lunch, followed by browsing at Wee Book Inn for books (he found one), to the Sam Steele exhibit at Enterprise Square (which was awesome if you're at all interested in North American history — we both learned a lot and saw lots of interesting items from Sir Samuel Steele's very adventurous life), and finally to my place where we talked board games, video games, kickstarters, redditgifts and more geekery. It was so great to see Josh again and good to know that we still have much in common!

In the evening I walked to Wizard's Comics for their first Ladies Night event (co-hosted by YEG Girl Geek) where I came away with quite a few great looking graphic novels thanks to Brandon's awesome suggestions (and Britl's too! I also picked up The Guild Munchkin cards (which I have wanted since they were announced). It was a splendid evening of conversations, geeky moments and more. These are the days that I relish, really. And I hope that there will be many more of them!

Cycling can be truly awesome…

… even if my body is sore afterward! This time it's not even my wrists (thank goodness!), and I had a great time. It was my second bike ride of the year, and I rode after work, to Cha Island Tea Company to visit with Basil and friends (he was visiting from out of town, and I'm so glad I got to see him!). It did rain at some point in the evening apparently but I was indoors at that point, so all is well. We mainly sat on the patio and caught up. It was a great group of people.

I was thankful for my bike lights as I rode home near dusk. But it was a great Sunday evening bike ride, little to no traffic and the weather was good. My windbreaker is still holding up well (and got lots of compliments)… it's definitely one of my favorite purchases from last year, even if it was perhaps a bit pricey it is so perfect for cycling and whatnot! Stylish and reflective!

Bus ride awesomeneses… or not?

Sometimes watching the folks who take the bus is a pleasure (such as when I'm watching the antics of some smart cute kids and babies as I did on one bus ride yesterday). Sometimes it's just plain bizarre (like when I was greeted by an overly friendly bus driver who constantly joked and teased with the kids on the bus… and who reminded me of Fidel Castro)… and sometimes it's on the verge of creepy (there was that guy carrying an unguarded axe like 10 years ago… or the people you suspect are drinking alcohol on the bus or the men who sit too close and leer and/or want to hold conversations…)

But what saddens me the most is when I'm seeing what looks like eating disorders, drug abuse, prostitution or other folks down on their luck. And when the bus passes through certain neighbourhoods in the city these aspects are much more visible than others. Just as I don't particularly find fakeness appealing (as in fake bodies for clubbing or otherwise) I don't find abuse of one's body or otherwise appealing. But people watching on the bus is quite eye opening, and interesting just the same. Yesterday was filled with it, after having taken 4 different buses through at least 5 different neighbourhoods, I can certainly say that some busing adventures are more interesting than others!

One great thing about 2012 is…

… board games.

Sure there are other great things, like having met some new people, having some new great friends, and having solidified some other friendships a bit better. But my love of both the social aspect of board gaming and the mental aspect of learning new games and game mechanics has really helped me through frustrating times both emotional and otherwise, has helped me be a happier person and generally has helped me have a great time! 🙂

Last night was no exception! We played Tsuro (and no I didn't win), and 7 Wonders (didn't win at that either, but performed respectfully while trying out a few new strategies and cards that I hadn't played with, really).

I didn't walk to campus today…

… though that was sort of my plan. To run errands. Instead these plans were derailed by a desire to watch the social media storm unfolding surrounding the shooting deaths of three armoured car guards, the severe injury of another guard, and the manhunt that has since followed. Sure I was online last night until the wee hours, but I didn't really find out what was going on until the morning when a belated text message (at 8:58am) from the University of Alberta informed me that HUB mall would be closed until 7pm and that residents could leave but wouldn't be able to return until it was reopened. Seeing as I had planned to walk through HUB (it being my area of campus) to run said errands) this led me to pay a lot closer attention to twitter and whatnot… which I read avidly until a reporter called me for more information about my tweet click here for her article.

After talking to her (being careful as to what I was saying), I returned to the Internet and went on my merry day insofar as I could, highly distracted by all that was unfolding. I was thinking about my fellow students some of whom were writing exams today, others of whom worked on campus, some lived in HUB and others still were finding out about this from afar. I was also thinking about how the University of Alberta would look on media reports all around the world today. This was no regular University campus shooting afterall: it was an armed robbery and targeted killing… and now they're looking for the suspect, the other staff member who was with the 4 victims last night.

The suspect, who is quite young, went to high school in the town that I did. And I have friends who live near his abode tweeting about the manhunt going on near their homes. Talk about close to home… well it wasn't until they publicly listed the names of the victims, showing photos, that I paid much attention to Facebook and the fact that I knew of one of the victims (I didn't know her well, but I had met her, talked to her) through one of the circles of friends that I move in. And so I worry about and wonder about those friends of mine too who are much more directly impacted than I am.

Social media has been great at keeping me informed about what's going on in the world these days, even if this world happens to be the world that is in our collective backyards, the world that is my own city, or my campus… my alma mater, the school I've attended for the past twelve years now. And it's been great pulling us together, letting us know about things, connecting us across distance and time and reminding us of just how small the world is.

Because really, on days like today, I like to remember who my friends are, what advantages I have in life, and really be thankful for the chance to live my life to its fullest.

Not sure I've mentioned this…

But I guess I've worked at the grocery store for more than 11 years now. Yesterday was my annual review, hence why I guess this struck me as being significant or something. Sure I've done a bunch else in the last bunch of years, particularly as I only work part time there, but that is still a huge chunk of my life.