Quite a lot of things happened over the past few months, and then today a whole BUNCH of stuff happened.
Today some things happened that were planned, some simply the hearing and processing of news - but a very eventful day it was. I’ll try to do today justice, but the last few weeks have been very crazy.
But first, let’s recap the last month or so. I had a financially good couple of months, and that’s meant some small changes.
Upon sharing about my iMac’s demise back in May and June, my awesome bro-in-law said he thought it sounded like a malfunction in a certain adaptor part in my upgraded Mac. I finally had enough money to find the $20 USD specialty part and spend $25 USD getting it shipped and $17 USD on duties from the dumb government, who is taxing me on something I can’t actually even buy in Canada… /Rant. Long story extremely short, after spending over $125 on a $20 part, and all that hullaballo, I took apart my computer for the umpteenth time, installed a new part, and now I can squeeze some more life out of this ancient beast. (Seriously, I’ve had it longer than I’ve been married, it’s almost 7 years old.) So that’s back in my life, and now we have somewhat of an entertainment system set up in the living room with my new portable bluetooth speaker, new monitor, and various other small upgrades. So that’s big news.
The other big piece of news is that my car got totalled in June, not my fault, and long story short I am now driving a nice newer silver Elantra that has some awesome attributes, like a handsfree stereo system and bluetooth, which up until recently seemed practically futuristic in a car. I really like it as a car, but in all honesty I really loved both of my Mazdas, and both were totalled by others and ended in me getting another model of car I didn’t like quite as much. Not to say I don’t love the Elantra, but I do have nostalgia for my Mazdas. Hopefully I’ll get another one some day.
A few months ago I asked Paul if we wanted to see if we could just a little bit of money, about $500, to just try and have more fun this summer. after scrimping and saving and struggling for several years, I have been feeling the strain of a constantly tightened belt. I wanted to let loose and do some fun things. We're just past the middle of August now and there are only few fun things left this summer, but I have to say that this has been the summer of fun, and my soul and my marriage have greatly benefitted.
Before I launch into a list of fun things, I have one thing that might not seem like fun to everyone - more of an educational, long term investment of our time and money sort of thing, but a big part of our lives.
I should take an aside and talk about that. In May I went to a business conference in Vancouver where about a dozen speakers who are very well respected by my main business mentor made presentations - and one of the men who has made a fortune in Warren Buffet-style investing offered his investing courses to us as a gift - no strings attached, and with a guest. So Paul and I took a full self-directed online course in June, and in July we set aside a weekend where we learned a completely fresh style of investing. We both feel we have different strengths to pursue this kind of investing with, and where Paul has always been interested in financial investment I started to become more interested in the past few years as I have become more financially savvy in general and learned a lot more life skills when it comes to budgeting and planning for the future. There was also a class I took in high risk investments a few years ago. So that’s been an exciting journey, and we’re still researching various companies that we have an interest in like entertainment companies and those that sell consumer products.
Okay, now the fun stuff.
It’s summer blockbuster season at the movies, and Paul and I snagged a great movie deal that’s keeping us in movies for a few months! So far we’ve seen X-Men: Apocalypse, Captain America Civil War, Batman vs. Superman, Now You See Me 2, Star Trek, Nerve, and Suicide Squad, the last of which was our first time in the VIP theatre, for which we ALSO landed a deal for dinner and a movie for Paul’s birthday, a few days late. There’s another 4-6 movies coming up in the next few months we’re looking forward to as well including the Ghostbusters reboot, Ice Age, Bourne, and Ben-Hur, though I’m certain that won’t beat the original at much of anything. Honestly I’m probably missing a swath of movies, I remember 2015 was like a constant wait for the next movie at a crawl and this year we can’t actually keep up with everything we want to see in theatres.
My brother-in-law added me to his Google Play Music account, and I really like the format - plus the song names all get displayed in my car now. I've really expanded my music collection since, with BØRNS definitely being the best new addition to bands that I enjoy.
Last weekend we headed out to One Rock, a Catholic music and faith festival. It's a huge festival with something like 3000 people who attend, lots of families are there, there's no age limits or anything so even though it’s sort of a youth event, it’s mainly a family one. A lot of the bishops and even the Archbishop were there speaking and they even had a Bishop's Panel where they answered questions like how to marry the right person and deal with distractions in prayer. Hearing so much absolutely fabulous teaching from the Bishops was one of the best parts, and reconciliation and spiritual direction was really eye-opening for me as well. Feeling very happy to have been a part of it. There was also a few other awesome things.
First, this was the first time Paul and I have ever gone camping! We borrowed a tent, and I bought us a nice little high-power LED flashlight, and Paul roughed it and slept for a few days without his sleep apnea machine. I wouldn’t say we really roughed it properly though, because we brought our futon mattress so we wouldn’t have to sleep on the ground!
Second, there were some really cool food trucks there, and we knew about them in advance, so I happily planned for us to eat there. One of the food trucks was selling Mojito Lemonade, which I promptly became addicted to and hope to try and recreate at home. We also had some specialty asian burritos, delicious Pho soup, and terriyaki and noodles for other meals, not to mention all the delicious snacks we brought with us. All in all, it was a great experience food-wise.
Third and Fourth, we met up with one of Paul’s Aunt’s and Uncle’s family and their two kids, who are both much older than when we first met! It was a pleasure to spend some time with them at supper one evening listening to the performance of an all-family bluegrass band called the Trudel Family from small-town Saskatchewan! I’m looking forward to seeing them again, I really loved their sound.
So basically it was a pretty eventful weekend last week.
I know, I know, I know I need you
Paul has become hugely into podcasts over the past year or two, and I have about ten that I listen to off and on myself, especially a couple of comedy ones or personal interest ones. Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids probably remains our favourite, but lately I’ve been getting into Revisionist History and Myths and Legends. This American Life remains my most enduring favourite, as I’ve probably listened to 40 or 50 hours of it now on various road trips, especially while I was commuting to Calgary every few hours.
We started playing Pokemon Go when it officially came out in Canada a few weeks ago and we’ve been having fun going for walks and collecting cute animals ever since. Of course it’s in my blood to get obsessed, so I’ve been looking up training videos and charts about how to do the best in the game. I’ve walked a lot more than usual since having it and since we’ve been going to so many events this summer. Paul asked to go Pokemon hunting on his birthday, so we went to the Alberta Legislature grounds, which are now constantly full of Go trainers. The best part of Go for us is walking around in the real world. I love going to various locations around Edmonton and taking walks now, and I don’t usually love taking walks. So it’s good for my health as well as being overall a fun game.
Tonight was a big milestone for us with Pokemon go, because (for anyone familiar) we set up a couple of lures in two close-together pokestops at the Fringe, turned on the incense, hatched some eggs, leveled up, and then after the show we saw at the Fringe, we went to a pokemon gym and both of us were able to defeat the incumbent Pokemon and take the gym for a bit. For those not familiar, suffice it to say that we had a super fun night of gaming that involved high fives and grins and enjoying the game and each other.
Out on the verge of the rest of our lives
The main event was our fourth of five Fringe plays. We’ve now seen Anatolia Speaks, a monologue based on the true stories of war refugees to Canada, based on a Bosnian woman’s experience, Harold of Galacticus and Kill Hard, which were two male duos performing improv on a theme of a superhero’s life and an action movie respectively. Both were funny, but the superhero one was one of the best improvs Paul and I have ever seen - we ended up with Snowglobe Man, who can capture and change moments in time vs. his creepy evil nemesis whose name I can’t remember. All I know is that my gut hurt from laughing afterwards, and we laughed pretty hard at the other show too. Tonight’s show was Dirk Darrow, a mentalist magic show mixed into a film noir era detective story. The best part was that there was a fair bit of audience participation and both Paul and I ended up being chosen to be part of the magic show, which was an absolutely excellent time. Paul said, “When he called you up there, I was like, ‘This is going to make Twyla’s night.’ and then when he called me up there I was like, ‘Now this is REALLY going to make Twyla’s night!’” He was totally right. I was thrilled to the marrow of my bones. The show itself was also truly excellent and highly recommended, even if you don't end up participating.
I just wanna set you free
Come on, come on, come on
You and me can make it anywhere
For now, we can stay here for a while, ay
'Cause you know, I just wanna see you smile
No matter where you go
You know you're not alone
I'll be there to save the day
Superman got nothing on me
I'm only one call away
While we were gaming later in the evening, we received news that a good friend of ours got engaged after a long wait, and within minutes of that bubbly and excited phonecall, we found out on Facebook that a close couple friends of ours were experiencing the grave sorrow of delivering their first near-term baby as a still birth tonight. So it was kind of a roller-coaster of very up and very down at the close of the evening as we headed to our car on the bus (this year there’s a bus to the French Quarter down Whyte from the festival about 15 blocks, and there’s ample parking down there, so we’ve been parking and taking the free festival shuttle bus - which also gives us entry forms every time to enter for some awesome prizes, so I’ve got my fingers crossed about that! Basically no downsides. (Plus there’s at least 6 pokestops on the bus route both ways.)
Now I’m home and trying to record just how enjoyable life is. Still to come this summer - one big meetup with some new people in Edmonton going gaming at the Board Games cafe tomorrow - Paul’s first time gaming at a Board Game cafe, much less the one on 75th. Then we’re catching our last Fringe performance, a musical, and heading to Saskatoon for the weekend so I can shoot a couple of awesome family photo sessions. We're also going to try learning how to do axe throwing in a few weeks.
So life continues to be full of interesting things, and I am doing well. Paul and I feel close and we’re having a lot of fun, it’s been a good summer.