This list is mostly for my mom.

But if any of you happen upon it and it results in gift-giving, more power to ya!

You know the drill: my birthday is almost a week away, and then shortly after comes Christmas. Here’s a little help with the “what to get Rachelle?” dilemma.

Nerdy stuff:
-Portal 2 coasters
-this geeky, sciencey shirt of awesomeness
-Portal companion cube for me to love and squeeze and NOT incinerate
-Portal earrings
-Lego!!! (hint: I really like the Sydney opera house or the really big bridge one, if you’re a big spender. Think $300-400 :P)
-several thousand piece puzzle (like 7000-10000 and beyond)

Video games:
-Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
-Last Window: The Secret of Cape West (DS) this game probably has to be ordered on eBay from a UK seller.
-Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (3DS)
-The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
-Tomb Raider (PS3, the newest one)
-Pokémon X (3DS)
-Castlevania: Mirror of Fate (3DS)

Books:
-C. S. Lewis’s Narnia series in one large storybook form, preferrably with gold leaf edging, ribbon bookmark, and hand drawn pictures throughout

Kitchen gadgets:
-a traditional bamboo matcha whisk + spoon and a really nice stone matcha bowl to mix in
-bowls like this (at least 4)
-cast iron skillets that can go in the oven (ie: no wooden handle), a small one (got the big one last year!)
-the classic whistling teakettle by Le Creuset in Carribean blue. The reason being, my gas range heats my current kettle, which doesn’t have a rubber handle, so hot that I can’t touch the handle without burning my hands off. This kettle is really cute and has a rubber handle too!
-really nice salt & pepper grinders (not electric)

Clothing & related items:
-really fuzzy onesie pajamas. With feet. And a butt flap. And maybe a hood. (Hint: there’s a new store in Guildford mall that sells them. And I saw some cute ones at Bluenotes)
-boots
-flats (take me shopping, I’m picky!)

Other miscellany:
-a really nice yet compact easel
-among other pieces that I really love by this artist: this one, this one, and this one. Available on Granville Island or by direct order from the artist :D
-a portable mini book light/reading light for reading at night or in the dark
-boxed Blu-ray set of all the 007 movies
-Cards Against Humanity, plus (in?)appropriate expansion packs. I’ll invite you over to play…!
-and if even this list can’t stimulate you to be creative with a gift, I do accept cash, in any denomination, but bigger is always better!

Let the gifting begin!

Goodbye

The past month has been an emotional one. There was shock, anger, anxiety, stress, hatred, reflection. Now there is just a constant feeling of sadness that lingers over every day. It’s draining. It dulls the rest of my senses. I don’t know how to deal with it. I wish I could just turn it off and make it disappear. I’ve always done it that way. Running and hiding from things so you don’t have to deal with them. Because, eventually, everything takes care of itself, right? This chapter of life will wrap itself up for me and I can just sit back and watch, right?

But, I’m starting to wonder if this time the only solution is to face it head-on. Fight through. Ask the difficult questions, find the even more difficult answers. Learn things about life, deal with them, learn about yourself. After all, isn’t this what life’s all about–experiencing things and learning from them? Taking the bad and reworking it until there’s only good left? Actually putting an effort?

Through all this pain I have learned a lot. I have learned a lot about certain people in my life, that they are more than I ever conceived they could be. I have learned the true value of friendship, family, and love. I have learned about sacrifice, time, and influence. And I have had to adjust some of my own personal views on these things based on what I have seen. I have learned that some of the clichés in life really are true, that “life’s too short” and “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”. I have been broken down, but I’m trying to allow myself to be rebuilt. And that rebuilding will be reinforced with the love of my family, the realisation of how much people mean to me, and the choice to live my life differently so that I can be everything he didn’t get the chance to be and so I can maybe help prevent something similar from happening in the future.

We are forever changed. And it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. For now, I don’t know when it’ll get easier. But it has to. Eventually. Don’t run from this. Embrace it. Learn. Grow. Remain together; because at the end of the day the two constants that always remain are family and love.

Hugs and strength. I miss him so much.

Jez

This post is dedicated to a beautiful life. My cousin, Jez.
February 25, 1990 ~ June 13, 2013

————————

We run, faces to the wind,
It’ll get easier when you breathe it in.
Fall, gently give in,
Swallowin’ the air and rain on skin.

Hurts will come undone,
All that we’ll become -
Rise and fall behind,
Weightless in rewind.

Materialism: It’s that time of year again!

It may seem a bit selfish, but I was told that the birthday/Christmas gift list I made last year was very helpful, because apparently people don’t know what to get me. And it didn’t hurt that I got 90% of the items that were on the list. So, here it is again: the great and wonderful list of things I want, now sorted for even greater ease!

Nerdy stuff:
-Portal 2 coasters
-this geeky sciencey shirt of awesomeness
-Portal companion cube for me to love and squeeze and NOT incinerate
-Portal earrings
-Lego!!! (hint: there is an AWESOME Lego store in Oakridge mall, and I really like the England-esque set)
-several thousand piece puzzle (like 7000-10000 and beyond) which you can buy at this store in Central City mall that sells all kinds of card games and board games

Video games:
-Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
-Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (3DS) or any other Professor Layton game except Professor Layton and the Last Spectre
-Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS)
-Need For Speed Most Wanted (PS3)
-Crush 3D (3DS)
-Last Window: The Secret of Cape West (DS) this game probably has to be ordered on eBay from a UK seller.
-Myst (3DS)
-Journey (PS3)
-Sonic Generations (PS3)

Books:
-C. S. Lewis’s Narnia series in one large storybook form, preferrably with gold leaf edging, ribbon bookmark, and hand drawn pictures on every few pages
-“The Casual Vacancy” – J. K. Rowling
-“Wild” – Cheryl Strayed
-“The Time Keeper” – Mitch Albom
-“Where We Belong” – Emily Giffin (paperback)
-“The Hobbit” – J. R. R. Tolkien (I do particularly like this cover of the book)

Kitchen gadgets:
-a traditional matcha whisk + spoon and a really nice stone matcha bowl to mix in
-bowls like this (at least 4)
-a couple of these really cute owl tea cups to match my owl teapot
-cast iron skillets that can go in the oven (ie: no wooden handle), a small one and a big one
-the classic whistling teakettle by Le Creuset in Carribean blue. The reason being, my gas range heats my current kettle, which doesn’t have a rubber handle, so hot that I can’t touch the handle without burning my hands off. This kettle is really cute and has a rubber handle too!
-this butter dish, also by Le Creuset and also in Carribean blue.
-a really good, non-manual, high-powered milk frother. Mine doesn’t really froth so much as whisk…
-really nice salt & pepper grinders

Other miscellany:
-a tin of Forever Nuts from DavidsTea
-a really nice yet compact easel
-an external hard drive that is at least 1TB
-among other pieces that I really love by this artist: this one, this one, and this one. Available on Granville island or by direct order from the artist :D
-really cozy & comfy slippers for around the house (emphasis on cozy, and extra emphasis on comfy, my feet get sore after standing on wood floors all day!)
-I left my glass tea tumbler behind when I moved *sadness*. But then I discovered this beautiful glass tea tumbler from Teavana! It would make a suitable replacement.
-a portable mini book light/reading light for reading at night or in the dark
-onesie pajamas. With feet. And a butt flap. And maybe a hood.
-and if even this list can’t stimulate you to be creative with a gift, I do accept cash, in any denomination, but bigger is always better!

Let the gifting begin!

Give and ye shall receive (much gratitude from me, that is)

My birthday is a mere 4 weeks away from today. So with that in mind, I give you my birthday wishlist:

-a really nice mortar & pestle thanks mom (bday)
-mandolin (the one for slicing food really thin, not the instrument) thanks mom (bday)
-Portal 2 coasters
-this geeky sciencey shirt of awesomeness
-Portal companion cube for me to love and squeeze and NOT incinerate
-Portal 2 (PS3) merry Christmas to me from Sammi <3
-The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii) with compatible Wii-mote we bought it! & Jonathan hates it :P
-Need for Speed: The Run (PS3) both my mom and Jonathan’s mom & sister got me a copy of this for Christmas…great minds! Gonna exchange one, possibly for Skyward Sword :D
-cast iron skillet (small one and big one)
-“Sisterhood Everlasting” by Ann Brashares thx Jo :) (xmas)
-3DS + games (Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 3D Land) thanks Jonathan, you spoil me! (bday)
-Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
-Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (SNES) birthday gift to myself :D
-the new Lights album Sammi spoils me :) she also took me to see Lights before my birthday and went mug painting with me
-manual pasta maker thanks mom, yet again. I’ll have to cook you guys up some fabulous food soon (bday)
-C. S. Lewis’s Narnia series in one large storybook form, preferrably with gold leaf edging, ribbon bookmark, and hand drawn pictures on every few pages
-immersion blender thanks to Dani, Kevin, Sam, and Alex for yet another awesome gift (bday)
-Lego!!! (hint: new store in Guildford mall downstairs across from Starbucks & Below the Belt)
-several thousand piece puzzle (like 7000-10000 and beyond) which you can buy at this store in Central City mall that sells all kinds of card games and board games
-a really nice yet compact easel
-cozy PJs (like, COZY. I get cold easily, especially at night) Zack got me the softest, coziest, Mickey Mouse PJs ever!!!! yay (xmas)
-a traditional matcha whisk + spoon. if you’re feeling particularly gifty you can throw in a tin of some good quality unsweetened matcha too :)
-the complete plays of William Shakespeare (ideally a very nice and expensive complete WORKS, if you love me), either in one nicely bound volume or in a set, each individually bound probably my favourite gift, a three volume set of the complete works of Shakespeare, with printing press style text and illustrations every few pages. I am in love. Thanks mom & dad!! (xmas)
-Apple Magic Mouse the scroll ball on my 2007 Magic Mouse no longer scrolls down :( I caved in and bought a new one as the old one was beyond frustrating!
-mini muffin pans again, thx mom :) (xmas)
-cash
-

If you don’t find the opportunity to purchase one or more of these items for my birthday, not to fret, Christmas conveniently comes just over a month after my birthday.

Commence appropriate procurement and showering-upons of birthday gifts!

Update: I am spoiled. Also, even though Christmas & my birthday have both come and gone, please feel free to finish this list up :P

Free money anyone? Not for long.

<rant>

So, I open my mail and gratefully pull out my $182.50 quarterly HST credit from our lovely government. Fondly, I think of how this is going to be one of the last few cheques of this nature that I will receive. Soon it’s going to go back to GST and PST credits.

I’d like to point out the following:

HST credit: $182.50 x 4 = $730/year in free money

GST credit (how it was before HST): $67.50 x 4 = $270
+
PST credit (how it was before HST): $75 annually
= $345/year in free money

Notice how the HST credit is more than twice the GST & PST credits. Oh and, the amount you receive varies per person. Some people receive twice what I receive quarterly. Think of all the free money!

Now, let’s think about this for a minute. First, I’d like to point out that in order to receive the tax credits from the government you have to make LESS than a certain amount of money each year, ie. come from the poorer demographic. Now. Who are usually the type of people to be mad at the government, always nit-picking on the way the government does or doesn’t run things, always complaining about taxing, blah blah blah? Usually the people who are less informed, have nothing better to do, make less money, in other words the people who come from the poorer demographic. (Not trying to be disrespectful, I know there are some well-informed people out there who care about our country and the well-being of its citizens).

I know there are other facets and pros/cons to how HST and GST/PST work. But for my rant I don’t have the energy to get into those. I’d like to thank all the uninformed idiots who blindly voted the HST out. In the end you were just screwing yourselves. You’re in the poorer demographic, and really, unless you have 72034 credit cards you’re not really gonna spend more than $730 worth of tax in a year. $730 in tax is approximately $6000 in taxable goods and services each year (not including food). That’s a lot of stuff for a poor person to justify buying in a year. I know I spent less than $6000 on taxable goods and services last year, so the $730 from the government MORE than made up for all the tax I spent. And if you do have 72034 credit cards your debt should be more of a concern to you than how the government chooses to tax us. Oh and another thing, if you’re spending more than $730 worth of tax in a year and are in the poorer demographic then you’re probably forever gonna be in that demographic (ever want to move up in society?). So you just screwed yourself out of more free money from the government. I thought you guys liked handouts? Hmm…

And I don’t even want to get started on how the whole ballot was worded for the HST. It was designed to confuse people and get them to accidentally vote the wrong way. My boyfriend checked the wrong box because it was worded weird and confusing and thus wrecked his ballot, discounting himself from the vote. I wonder how many other people did that.

Also, it may seem like a better idea to not have the HST, but think of the deficit that was created by cutting out that tax system. Now the government is just going to have to think up a new system of taxing somewhere else to make up for that deficit. And who’s gonna get angry about it and put up signs and petitions to get rid of that tax? All the same people who voted out the HST in the first place. Nice move.

I’m just a bit irked at the way this country is run sometimes and how the stupid idiots who live in it are never satisfied unless there’s some sort of handout or immediate fix for a problem. They’re never thinking about the consequences or long-term effects of anything. And somehow these same stupid idiots get away with everything, whether it be this issue or anything else (think “justice” system, among other things).

Anyway. That’s all I have to say. I’m off to put my cheque into the bank.

</rant>

Happy Failing: How to Turn Your Failures into Successes

My boyfriend Jonathan, who is the brain behind In The Limelight, recently posted an interesting article called Learning From Success Versus Learning From Failure and it got me to thinking. He states that learning from failure is an ineffective way to learn and that often times people don’t even learn anything when they fail because they are too discouraged by their shortcoming to even try to see the positive side.

I agree that failure is an ineffective way to learn something. However, it is at the very least an opportunity to learn something. One can take a failure and just stare at it and think “I’m such a stupid person, all I can do is fail, fail, fail. I can never do anything right. This must be a sign that I just suck at life.” And then from there, they choose to lead a very unfulfilling life because they have “learned” from failure that they are incapable of becoming anything great, achieving anything of significance, or meaning anything at all to another human being. And so they invest everything in this way of thinking and begin a downward spiral of not allowing themselves to try anything at all because there is even a risk of failure. They allow the failure to take them over and stagnate their lives. This way of thinking is, in a sense, failure.

On the flip side, if one experiences failure and confronts it head on and decides that, yes, they can learn something from this, then I think they are allowing themselves to become more as a person. They have recognized the failure, realized that they did something wrong and chosen to move beyond it instead of letting it be a permanent obstacle. It is through admitting that you were wrong and acknowledging the fact that sometimes you don’t necessarily do everything right the first time that you are not allowing failure to get the better of you, thus allowing yourself to live a more free life. This all takes a lot of humility because who wants to admit they were wrong? However, if you step back and have that humility, in the end, it is so worth it compared to the alternative.

I know this is true because I have experienced some pretty big and significant failures in my life. And at first I allowed them to consume me. I turned into a depressed, unmotivated person. I didn’t want to try again because I was afraid that I would only continue to fail and I didn’t want to experience the feeling of letting yourself or those around you down again. Luckily I slowly began to realize that this way of thinking would never allow me to even go back to where I was in life before I failed, let alone ever go beyond that. That was when I took hold of my failures, saw them for what they were, admitted I had failed (which by the way is very hard, if you are not a humble person by nature, like me) learned all the intricacies of each one (the whys and the hows), and made peace with myself through recognizing that I had failed and not allowing myself to continue in the downward thinking of never being able to succeed. Through that process I turned those failures from obstacles into opportunities. And the feeling of making peace with yourself and your mistakes is such a huge relief.

Of course, you’re probably thinking, it would be nice to have never had to deal with those failures in the first place. But then, those things wouldn’t be a part of our lives, and I honestly believe that everything we experience shapes us into who we are at this very moment. You can go through life with an “avoidist” kind of attitude, keeping yourself away from any chance of failure, but I think that kind of lifestyle only makes boring people who don’t take risks. I believe the better option is to can go through life taking those risks and when failure does come to learn from the mistake. Or better yet, take the risk and reap the joys of the great successes that came as a result, because without those risks, there would never even be a possibility of success.

Sure learning from failure is an inefficient way of learning, and I most certainly wouldn’t suggest going out and trying all the options you have knowing you’ll fail in the off-chance that you might learn something. No. But it’s all in how you look at it. Approaching all things in life with an open mind and trying to pick yourself up each time you do something wrong. Taking risks and hoping for the best. Putting value in the lessons you have learned from failure and rejoicing in all of your successes. I guess it’s easier said than done, but then again, I am an eternal optimist. In any case, I wish you, with the greatest sincerity “happy failing”.

Inspiration, Finally

I am a different person.

Let me be more specific: I am a different person than I was two months ago.

Two months ago I was searching, meandering through life. Doing everything and anything with the hope of finding some form of meaning or self-worth. I had lost many pieces of myself, pieces which made me into who I am. Things I valued, things I loved, things I wanted, things I didn’t. I was pursuing valueless things with disregard for any moral implications or social consequences. I was living for myself, not in a good way, but in a haphazardly selfish way.

Then something happened.

I cannot describe exactly what it was, because it was truly an experience that could not have happened had not each piece of the puzzle been placed exactly where it was. Somehow, I stumbled upon something so supremely unique and wonderful. I don’t know how I was privileged enough to have had this happen to me, but it did.

I met someone. Someone who, over the span of the past few weeks, has quickly become my world. Someone who means everything to me.

Now you may be thinking, ‘hah, this is typical. Girl meets boy. Girl falls for boy. But it’s just lustful infatuation. They’ll be together for a while but it won’t last.’ I can say wholeheartedly that this is not the case.

How do I know? Many reasons.

No one has ever inspired me on so many different levels. Since I have gotten to know this person, I have rediscovered things I used to value, chosen new paths to follow, closed doors that should never have been opened in the first place, found reason to seek after things that used to drive me, and reevaluated what truly matters to me.

To give this a bit more meaning:

  • I have rediscovered my love for food and cooking
  • I have learned that meaningless relationships with no future are pointless and demeaning, and that meaningful relationships with commitment and care are the only kind of relationships that truly satisfy in all spheres of life
  • I have decided to make certain lifestyle choices to make me a better person, including spending less frivolously, drinking less caffeine, developing better sleeping habits
  • I have found new inspiration with which to express myself through the art of music, which, by the way, I had completely lost until now
  • I have chosen once and for all to become drug-free and remain so for the rest of my life (this decision helped me really search myself and find that I never really liked drugs. Somehow it got buried along the way with all my other values when I stopped caring and went on my whole selfish eff-the-world-attitude spree)
  • etc.

Along with all of the above, I have also begun living my life without just myself in mind. I have fallen so deeply for this person that I am beginning to care so much about them that I want to do everything I can to make their life happier. I evaluate my decisions less from a selfish point of view and more from a point of view that takes others into consideration as well.

I cannot describe how much this person means to me. I cannot try to describe how much I care for this person. In such a short period of time, they have turned my world upside down and turned me inside out. And guess what? I like it. My life has never been in a more positive place.

———————————————————————————————————————-

I have made a choice
today and always
to be a better person

You have given me reason
to become,
something new and beautiful

And yet, it isn’t really new
it is something that was
there all along

You have helped me
rediscover who I am,
what really matters most.

That which I had lost,
you helped me find
and I found even more than I originally had

I am inspired,
I am renewed,
I am finally, truly, me.

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