The Happiness Project: Advocacy

I had big plans this month. Mental health is a topic really close to my heart so for Mental Health Awareness Month, which is in May every year, I wanted to up my advocacy. Some of my plans didn’t happen as I planned a lot of this before COVID. For example, I was supposed to be going to a writing festival this month where I would have been on a panel about mental health and writing. Obviously that didn’t happen but some other things still did. 

I’ve had a mental health podcast for about a year now. We normally release an episode biweekly, but this month my cohost and I decided to release an episode every week. We started the month with an interview with Holly Forness on grief. All three of us have experience with the topic and we were able to discuss how different it is for everybody. Our second episode of the month was on mental health depictions in Disney movies, which was a really fun episode to record. On top of Mental Health Awareness Month, its also Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month, so our third episode was a special episode where my cohost interviewed me on living with BPD. Lastly, we ended the month with an interview with Callyn Dorval about routines and self-soothing toolboxes. You can listen to all these episodes (and our full library of episodes) here

I also planned on upping the social media for the podcast as well this month to spread awareness. I was only successful for a while. After a couple of weeks, I just didn’t seem to have the energy for it anymore.  Balancing my own mental health with wanting to be an advocate was tricky. It was triggering my anxiety too much to do some of the social media so after a couple of weeks I just accepted that we weren’t going to post much and I tried to be okay with that.

I also tried to write another piece for The Mighty for this month but it wasn’t accepted. After my luck of getting three pieces published in a row by them, it’s been hard to deal with rejection after rejection but I’m working on it. 

Join me next month for fear. An interesting topic in the time of COVID-19.

The Happiness Project: Humour

When I planned out my theme for every month almost a year ago, I had no idea that humour would be the perfect theme for this month. I had intended to go see any live comedy I could this month, but due to circumstances that didn’t happen. However, I still consumed plenty of comedy this month. So let’s break it down. 

Podcasts: I love podcasts so much and I already listen to a couple of comedy podcasts. I’ve gotten really behind on podcasts this year so I used this month to get caught up on Dumb People Town and How Did This Get Made. Along with those I also started a new podcast, Oh, Hello: The P’dcast. I loved Oh, Hello: On Broadway on Netflix so I thought the podcast would be fun too. I was correct, it’s very fun. 

Comedy Special: I had already seen it, but I thought this month would be a great time to rewatch John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch. It’s fun and ridiculous, and I just really enjoy it. John Mulaney is one of my favourite comedians and I’ve watched her standup specials more times than I care to admit to. So it was nice to make sure that he was a part of this month as well. 

Comedy Albums: This was something completely new for me. I had no clue where to even start so I asked my friend Andrea for recommendations. I didn’t love all of them (though I loved most) and that’s okay. Not every comedian is everybody’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. The comedy albums I listened to this month were:

 

  • Ivan Decker: I Wanted to Be a Dinosaur
  • Daniel Van Kirk: Thanks Diane
  • Sklar Brothers: Poppin’ the Hood
  • Rhea Butcher: Butcher
  • Christian Finnegan: Two for Flinching
  • Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive
  • Danny Bhoy: Subject to Change
  • Christian Finnegan: Au Contraire 
  • Elvira Kurt: Kitten with a Wit
  • Aziz Ansari: Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening

 

TV Shows: I already love comedy so most of this category was just keeping up with shows I already watch. Schitt’s Creek and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are two of those. I love them both so much and I’m sad that Schitt’s Creek is over and that B99 is over for the season, but I’m happy they got to be a part of this month. Shows are another thing I was behind on so this month I also started catching up on Sex Education. Another show I watched is one I’ve been meaning to watch for ages but then ended up saving for this month on purpose. I binged all of Big Mouth and I actually liked it way more than I thought I would. Though the fact that I love John Mulaney and Nick Kroll probably helped. Last but not least, as I’m writing this, it hasn’t aired yet, but on the evening of April 30, Parks and Recreation is coming back for a one-episode COVID special. I’m so excited. 

Books: I listened to Amy Poehler’s book Yes, Please which was hilarious and just made me love her even more. I read Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman which was funny and heartwarming. I also started (but haven’t finished yet) Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore, which is weird and ridiculous and so much fun. 

Standup Specials: Since the majority of the comedy albums I listened to were by men I tried to focus more on women for standup. I even gave a comedian I haven’t been fond of in the past another try and found that I quite enjoy her now. This month I watched:

 

  • Fortune Feimster: Sweet & Salty
  • Iliza Shlesinger: Elder Millennial
  • Pete Davidson: Alive From New York
  • Tig Notaro: Happy to be Here 
  • Jenny Slate: Stage Fright
  • Leslie Jones: Time Machine

 

Movie: I only watched one comedy movie this month but I really loved it. I watched Wine Country because after listening to Amy’s book I really wanted to watch something with her in it again. 

Documentary: I love Tig Notaro as a human being and comedian so this month I decided to finally watch her documentary Tig. She’s just so inspiring. 

Improv: Since I couldn’t go see any shows this month I didn’t expect to be able to see any improv, so I was pleased when Middleditch & Schwartz was put on Netflix. I really enjoyed it and found them to be very impressive. 

Clips: I don’t have tv which makes watching some things hard, but I was able to watch clips of SNL: at Home, Seth Meyers, and Jimmy Fallon on Instagram. In fact, Seth Meyers is the only place I get my American news now. 

This month was what I really needed. Everything is really tough right now and it was so nice to just be able to focus on things that make me laugh. I never used to be a fan of comedy, and I’m so glad I changed my tune and really love it now. 

Join me next month for Advocacy month. 

 

The Happiness Project: Adapt

If you’ve been following along with my happiness project, you know that “play” was supposed to be my theme this month. I was planning on writing about Emerald City Comic Con and all the cosplays I was planning on doing there. As soon as ECCC was cancelled, I knew I needed to change my theme. So what better theme to adapt to than the theme “adapt” itself. 

I don’t even know where to start. This month has been trying, to say the least. We were bummed out about missing ECCC so we had a Lord of the Rings marathon and went to a distillery. This was only a few weeks ago (back when we were actually allowed to leave our houses) but it feels so much longer. 

It’s been hard to adapt to this new way of life. I already worked from home half the time anyway, so that wasn’t too difficult, but everything else seemed to be. Not only am I isolating, but I’m in the process of moving and finding a new job at the same time. 

My girlfriend and I signed a lease together and she recently moved in. I’m not officially moving in until June 1, just do to financials and giving my roommate time to find a new place (which might be impossible right now), but I’m staying here for a few weeks since we’re self-isolating together. This would have been a big change even without us being stuck together during a pandemic. It’s going well though. 

Now my job. So, I’m no longer job hunting since no one is hiring anyways. Luckily my contract at work has been extended again so that’s one less thing I need to worry about. 

I’m learning to adapt to not seeing my friends. I’ve been calling people more. Zoom meetings are a thing I’d never heard of and am now using all the time. Podcasting is now a thing we’re doing remotely. I miss going outside and seeing people but all these things are so necessary. 

I’m making sure to keep up with my routines and good habits to keep up my mental health. Just like everyone else, I’m just trying my best to adapt to this new way of living. 

The Happiness Project: Remembrance

Remember back in November when I said that month didn’t go how I thought it would? Yeah, that was cute. I had no clue what February had in store for me but it certainly didn’t turn out as planned. 

I didn’t have a whole lot planned for this month other than my usual tribute to my mom. Since 2016 I’ve been getting tattoos on the anniversary of her death. I’m not really sure how it started happening but considering she always wanted one but was too afraid, I thought it was fitting. She died on February 3, 2010, so this year was the ten year anniversary and I was going to get a special tattoo for her. My very first tattoo was a rose and I was going to get a sunflower (her favourite flower) to go with it. However, the date rolled around and I didn’t have the money for a tattoo and also I wasn’t as in love with the idea as I once was. I still want a sunflower for my mom but I think it’s going to be in a different style than the rose on my arm and in a different spot. 

I didn’t realize this month was going to have so many romantic milestones that meant so much until they happened. If my girlfriend is reading this, I apologize in advance but you were warned. So I have a tendency to dwell on the negative so if something happened with my ex that was bad or bittersweet it affects how I view it now. Confused yet? Let me give some examples directly from this month. One thing my ex did was say she loved me before she actually meant it. Not saying she never did, but she didn’t the first time she didn’t. My current girlfriend and I exchanged these words recently and it was so different. It was thought out and we were both sure. It felt so nice to actually feel confident in this. 

If anyone has read this blog for a while, you know how I feel about Valentine’s day. I mean last time I tried to be romantic before this year, I just about cut my finger off. (Please see that story here) This year we had a nice Valentine’s day and I didn’t feel the bittersweet feelings of the past. Why? Cause I’m finally healing and that’s amazing to me. 

Another thing I have issues with is trip planning because it’s bitten me in the ass before so when Angela (the girlfriend, in case I haven’t mentioned her name on here before) mentioned we should go to Montreal for our one year anniversary I was more than a little hesitant. Trust me, I want to go but also what if she changes her mind? Well! I’m happy to say our flights are booked so guess she’s stuck with me now. 

The last thing to do with relationships this month was bowling. Why bowling? Let me explain. So bowling was something I used to do with my mom because she was competitive as hell and she liked to beat us all. And she did. Every. Single. Time. So anyway. A couple of years ago I thought I would try it again since it never seemed the same without her. So on the day that would’ve been her birthday, my ex and I went. And then she broke up with me the next day. So yeah. There went my idea to get back into bowling. However I recently went with my girlfriend and my best friend and we were all terrible, but also we had so much fun! 

It sounds like I’m speaking negatively about my ex, but I’m really not. I think there’s always been a part of me that feels like I don’t deserve to be happy in my relationship though because my last one ended less than well. That’s not her fault. That’s my own mindset. And I think I’m finally to the point where I can remember the past and also realize I deserve the present and future. 

Changing lanes now, in a month I thought would be about my mom, it ended up not being about her a lot at all. However, it became a lot about family. I actually made an effort to talk to my parents and grandmother more. I’d like to say this was a conscious effort just because I should, but it took a little bit of a wake-up call first. My best friend’s mom (who I consider family) had a stroke. She’s fine, honest, I just saw her and if it wasn’t for the walker you’d never know. However, it reminded me that life is short. So I’m trying to remember all the good times now. And maybe call my parents more often. 

Join me next month for March’s theme “play”, which hopefully actually goes the way I intend it.

The Happiness Project: Power

It’s a new year and I thought power would be the perfect theme for January. I have a friend who always calls me a superhero, and I never really believe her but I’m trying to. So this month has been all about taking my own power back and taking care of myself. In fact, Andrea and I did a podcast episode about how we’re going to take better care of ourselves in 2020, that you can listen to here.

Back in 2018, I got really into makeup. I’d also been into it, but I got really into it. I would spend hours watching makeup tutorials on Instagram and youtube while trying to perfect the perfect cat eye and learn what the hell highlighter was. 2019 was the year I got slightly obsessed with skincare. Suddenly I did more than just wash my face and slap some moisturizer on (if I even remembered to do that). I had a routine and more fancy skincare products than I could even name. This year it’s going to be oral hygiene and haircare. I brush my teeth daily (though twice a day could be iffy sometimes), but that was about it. I’ve been trying really hard to not only make sure I brush them twice a day, no matter what but floss and use mouthwash as well. For low spoon days when choosing between showering and brushing my teeth is just too much, I have a travel toothbrush and toothpaste in my shower so I can do both at once. I’ve set a reminder on my phone every night so I actually floss. It may seem overkill, but oral hygiene is really important and I’m just trying to get better at it. Is JVN proud of me yet?

As for hair care, I’ve been pretty brutal to my hair over the years. It’s already curly and very dry and damaged, to begin with, and then I’ve also spent the past ten years of my life, dying, bleaching, straightening, and doing everything else that’s bad for it. I’ve finally decided to give it a break. I’ve been bleaching it blonde for cosplays for a long time now, and I’m finally letting it grow out into it’s natural mousey, dishwater blonde state. I bought satin pillowcases, were are much better for curly hair. I regularly do hair masks and use products designed for damaged curly hair. Another thing I’ve been doing is trying to be more mindful of how I tie my hair up. With unruly hair, it’s so tempting to just throw it up in a tight elastic and forget about it. I’ve switched to gentler methods of putting up my hair such as these types of ties, or the fun spiral ones that look like old telephone cords. I’m also trying to wear my hair down more. As for bedtime, if my hair is wet I put it in a braid, but I’m trying not to sleep with wet hair as often, which is a bit of a challenge since I’ve always been an evening showerer.

Food and fitness is another goal of mine. Not going to lie, I’ve been failing at fitness this month. I’ve kind of been working out, but not really. So that’s a thing I definitely need to work harder on. As for food, I’m cooking at home more and really loving my new crockpot as well as sheet pan recipes (both are incredibly low spoon). It’s snacks I’m more focused on though. I always buy good food for meals, but I never think to buy snack food and then when I get hungry between meals I end up resorting to going and getting junk. So I’ve filled my kitchen with nice healthy snacks, and am eating a lot more fruits and vegetables. I feel a lot better and it also has the added bonus of seeing my pet rats happy because I share my healthy snacks with them.

I’m trying to make more healthy choices for my mental health as well. I usually watch all the movies nominated for an Oscar (you can read my blog post about lasts year’s here), but this year I’ve finally decided to not even attempt to watch them all and to just watch what I want to watch. First of all, the Oscars are earlier this year so there is less than a month between when the nominations are announced and when the award show airs. It’s a lot of work to watch 30 something movies in a month and it’s kind of stressful. I wasn’t about to do it this year in like three weeks. Also, there were movies this year that were nominated that I didn’t even want to watch because I knew they wouldn’t be good for my mental health (I’m looking at you Joker!). I’m not saying I’ll never watch all the movies nominated for Oscars again, but this year I’ve just decided it’s not for me. Besides, it might be fun to just guess what’s going to win at random.

I’m also starting to prepare for some big life changes. I’m looking for a new job since my contract is up in April. I honestly don’t really know what I want to do yet, so I’m doing some self-searching to see what might be a good position for me. I’m also starting to clean and purge my apartment since I will be moving in with my girlfriend over the summer. I know that’s a ways away, but I’m a bit of a hoarder so it’s going to take a while to go through all my stuff. Anyways, big things are happening.

The Happiness Project: Joy

I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas. I love it but also it majorly stresses me out. I feel so much pressure to make it perfect and to enjoy it. The money aspect always stresses me out and I usually choose to make Christmas gifts late enough that I’m scrambling to finish on time. 

Then there’s the family aspect. I love my family, I really do but they can also be a bit… Much. I’m from a small town in the interior of BC and things are certainly different there than they are here in Vancouver. I get annoyed with small-town life and none of them seem to understand why I love the city so much. I love visiting my family but it’s also exhausting. So many people and so much going on. I always know that I’m thoroughly exhausted by the end of the holiday season, so I wanted to make it a nice and relaxing month with a lot of things that bring me joy. 

My month was filled with Christmas activities. I kicked it all off by decorating my apartment and my rats’ cage with all my decorations. I treated myself to two advent calendars this year. One from Lindt now that I can eat chocolate again, and a tea calendar from David’s tea. We had our annual craft exchange at the caffe I hang out at. I crocheted a friend a blanket for it, and even though I was a little disappointed that I ran out of time and couldn’t make it as long as I wanted it to be, it still turned out pretty well. My girlfriend and I went to Glow, which is a Christmas light display, and even though it was disappointing, it was a lot of fun. She also surprised me with tickets to go see my first Cirque de Soleil show, which was absolutely amazing. I went to my first work Christmas party. It wasn’t for my own work but a friend invited me to go with them and it was great. It helped that the food was free and that there was a lot of wine involved. My friends and I also held our annual bad Netflix Christmas movie and gin night. Another tradition I did this year was Sistermas. Andrea, my self-proclaimed sister, and I spent the last couple of Christmases together but this year since we were both going home to our families, we decided to have it earlier in the month. I stayed over after Gin night and we went for brunch the next morning before doing some Christmas shopping and going back to Andrea’s for cat cuddles and some Christmas movies. The following weekend was the annual Christmas party with the nerds at the caffe. As per usual we all ate too much food, were forced to watch the worst Christmas short film known to mankind (if you feel like being tortured like we were, go check out “Treevenge”, but honestly, don’t do it), and had a super fun white elephant gift exchange. The last Christmas event I did before going home to my hometown was going to the Burnaby Heritage Museum with another friend. I’d never been and it was so much fun to go with her since she used to volunteer there and told me so much information about it. Naturally, I did celebrate Christmas with my family once I got to my home town, but really all my Christmas activities happened while I was still in Vancouver. 

It wasn’t just holiday activities that brought me joy this month. I tried to find joy in all the little things. Self-care was a huge deal for me this month. I made a self-care advent calendar and didn’t follow it every day but followed it as much as I could. I also continued reading a lot and finished out the year with a total of 140 books read in 2019. Along with reading, writing and podcasting were other things that not only brought me joy in December but brought me joy in 2019 in general. Between this blog, my writing for WWEST, and my writing for Sartorial Geek, I published 31 blog posts. I also launched my own podcast with my co-host Andrea, and we published 16 episodes. 

The last thing that brought me a lot of joy this month was Star Wars. Everyone who knows me knows how much I love everything to do with Star Wars, so between the new movie and The Mandalorian (I love you Baby Yoda!) I was in my own nerdy heaven. I have a couple more posts on the go about Star Wars, so I’m not going to say any more about it here, but it certainly brought me a lot of joy.

I ended the month spending New Year’s Eve with my girlfriend and a friend watching movies from our childhood and eating too much junk food. Not the wild party that’s expected, but I preferred this so much more. 2019 was a year full of challenges, but also a lot of joy. Join me next month for “power”.

The Happiness Project: Solo

I’ve never been a person who’s had problems doing things alone. When I lived with my parents I would go to the movies by myself every week. I don’t mind going to eat by myself or go sit in a coffee shop and write. So I thought this month was going to be a breeze. I went into it with a plan. Both my best friend and my girlfriend were going on vacation at the same time and I thought that would be a great opportunity to take myself on some nice dates. I’d go to the movies, out for dinner, stuff along those lines. 

Then November came around… With Christmas coming around, funds are a little low, not to mention time. I’ve been spending a lot of time working on Christmas gifts and all my money on the rest of them. So dates by myself weren’t exactly going to happen. 

Then there was the other factor. For anyone who listens to my podcast, you’ve probably heard my episode on Favourite People. I’m not going to sum it up here (but I recommend you go listen to that episode if you want to learn more). Anyways, Andrea is my favourite person and I was really struggling with the idea of her going away for a week and a half. Everyone else was so excited and happy for her, and I was too, but underlying it all was an overwhelming sense of panic and abandonment. Yes, I’m aware it was only a week and a half. I know most people would think I’m being completely unreasonable, but it was a big deal to me. I was talking to another woman with BPD beforehand and she completely got it. 

Anyways, before Andrea left she made sure to remind me that there are other people who love me and that I should leave the house every once in a while. I like to think I succeeded. I went to my friend’s Caffe one night, went to a show with one friend, out for coffee with one, for lunch with one, and I even hung out with a few friends to watch a movie. And yes, I did end up taking myself out for dinner one night too. I also let someone help me when I was having a really hard day. She came over and really lifted my spirit. It’s hard for me to admit when I need help, so I’m really proud of myself for admitting that. 

I’ve really been working on expanding my support system. Reaching out to more people, taking on a lot more myself. It’s hard but therapy, DBT, and CBT are working wonders.

I thought this month was going to be about me doing things by myself, but it wasn’t at all. It ended up being about doing things without Andrea and also accepting help. The theme of the month may have been solo but even my childhood hero Han Solo needed help sometimes. He had Luke and Leia and I have my friends too. Now, I don’t need validation for doing this. I needed to do it for myself. 

Join me next month for joy. Yes, an appropriate theme for December, I’m aware. 

The Happiness Project: Passion

Let me just start by saying that this month didn’t go exactly as planned. I love October and I love Halloween so I had planned to dress spooky all month and live my best witchy life. I tried but over the course of the month, I had a bad migraine, the flu (well, flu-like symptoms from my flu shot), and food poisoning. So, I spent a lot of time at home in bed instead. 

My love of Halloween stressed me out this year. The past few have kind of sucked so I decided to go all out this year but it just ended up putting too much pressure on it. I found myself getting upset if things didn’t work out my way. My costume, spooky makeup, making my rats’ cage spooky (they destroyed that real quick). I’m writing this before October 31, so I’m not sure how actual Halloween is going to go yet, but so far I’m disappointed. I was having way too much social anxiety to enjoy the Halloween party this year, and I couldn’t help but be disappointed with my costume. It was fine, I guess, but everyone else had far better costumes. I’m a cosplayer, you think I could up my Halloween game a bit. That’s fine, I’m not going to give up and you won’t believe what I have planned for Halloween next year.

Okay, that’s enough of me sounding petty and bitter. I promise there were good things this month too. I decided to watch as many fun Halloween movies as I could and even though I didn’t completely get through my list, I watched a lot of them and got to live my best witchy life. 

Now the real highlight of my month was how many books I read this month. I love reading and I wanted to read 50 books this year. Well, after I passed that number, I had a new goal. I wanted to pass the 100 books mark during October since it’s passion month and I am very passionate about my reading. I am happy to say that as I write this I have officially read 117 books so far this year. 

Another thing that happened this month was a couple of blog posts of mine got published. I finally published the first of my own makeup dupe blog posts on my blog: Cult Classics vs. Dupes: Skin. Even more exciting, I had an article on Disneybound makeup for Halloween published on the Sartorial Geek website. I was so excited when I got accepted to be a contributor for the website and I’m even more excited now that I have an article published. You can read it here

Anyways. It wasn’t the best month but it’s behind me now. Onto Solo month. 

Bonus Adventure: Rats

I mentioned in my September Adventure blog post that I got rats. I intended to talk more about them in that post but then getting them ended up being such an adventure in itself that I knew they needed their own blog post. 

I decided while we were in Powell River that I was going to get rats so I started researching and found three little girls from the Vancouver SPCA that I was going to adopt. I’ve been wanting a pet for a long time, I just had to wait for payday and I was going to make this all happen. 

So I found a cage for $75 on FB marketplace and Saturday morning  Andrea offered to go to Aldergrove to get it. After retrieving the cage she came over to my place and we set it up and headed to the Vancouver SPCA to pick up the girls. Here’s where we ran into the first roadblock of the day (literally) and we got stuck in traffic. When we finally got there we found out they were adopted 15 minutes before we arrived. I was on a mission and I’m really stubborn when I make my mind up about something, so we searched on the website and found out Surrey had some. 

Not only did we get stuck in traffic on the way to Surrey, we got stuck behind a truck that had caught on fire. Because of course, we did. I called up the SPCA and said that even though I know you can’t reserve or put a hold on animals, I wanted to make sure that they still had rats there. They did. As soon as I walked in there and saw them, I fell in love with three girls. I filled out the paperwork and we were good to go. Except for the fact that we had to catch them. Two were difficult enough but the third one was fast and sneaky and she escaped from the cage and Andrea had to catch her (and traumatize her slightly in the process) from running around the floor of the SPCA. 

We brought them back to my place and set them up in the cage and left to pick up a few things. We left them for less than an hour and when we got back I saw one of the girls sitting ON TOP OF THE CAGE. Great. We caught her and a second one and put them back in the cage and started looking for the third. Meanwhile, the first two CLIMBED BETWEEN THE BARS again. So we put them back in the cardboard box from the SPCA and hunted for the third girl. Finally, we found her in my closet. So we went back to the pet store and bought another cage. $200 later and half an hour of assembly later the girls are safe in a new cage. So yup adventure.

Anyways, I love the girls dearly. I named them after the Schuyler sisters from Hamilton. The bravest of rats is Angelica. The shy one (yes the one that escaped in the SPCA and hid in my closet) is Eliza. The other one is And Peggy. No, not Peggy–And Peggy. 

You can follow the girls on Instagram @Hamil_Rats

The Happiness Project: Adventure

I tend to play it safe and lead a kind of boring life so I thought a month of adventures would be fantastic and my friends were more than happy to comply. 

We started the month by going away for the long weekend on a wine trip to the Okanagan. I can’t even express how excited I was for this. I grew up in the Okanagan but since I moved away from the interior when I was nineteen, I never got to experience all the wonderful wineries and tasting rooms. This was the year we were finally going to change that. Myself and three friends did a 4 day trip over labour day long weekend and went to 29 different wineries and 4 different distilleries. Friday was Summerland and the Naramata bench and then we went back to the hotel for a dip in the pool before we went for dinner. Saturday we covered Penticton and Okanagan Falls as well as doing the market. That evening we ended up in a lovely little pub where karaoke was happening. Sunday was Oliver, and I got drunk off red wine (oops?) before we headed to a friend’s place in Naramata for dinner. Monday was Osoyoos and then we headed home. I learned a couple of things over the weekend as well. Before this, I had no idea that winery dogs were a thing and I was so happy to discover this. I can’t remember how many of them there was or what all their breeds and names were but I got to pet A LOT of dogs so I was very happy. I also discovered my love of a couple of wines I didn’t know I loved. Apparently I really like Syrahs and Viogniers. It was so lovely to get to see parts of my province that I hadn’t really seen before and it was even lovelier to get away for a few days. Between good wine, great friends, good food, beautiful views, and amazing winery dogs, it was an all-around great weekend. 

The beauty of adventure is it doesn’t necessarily need to be a big trip like the wine trip was. Sometimes adventures can just be little things in the everyday. Not long after the wine trip, my girlfriend was coming over for a wine and pizza night that led to an accidental adventure. She told me she was going to pay for the pizza but she only had too big of a bill for delivery. So instead we decided to go pick it up since Panago isn’t that far from my apartment. So we get halfway there and realize that Angela left the money back at my place. At that point, we didn’t want to turn back so she said we could pay for it with her credit card and we kept going. When we got there we discovered that they had messed one of our pizzas up so they offered to give us one for free and make us a new one. While we were waiting, the bright sunny sky turned into pouring rain and naturally we didn’t have any umbrellas with us. So Angela decided to call a cab on her phone and when she couldn’t get an answer, she decided to call another one on my phone as well. After waiting on the phone with two cab companies for over half an hour, the rain started to let up enough that we decided to give up and book it back to my place. I mean, I would’ve walked from the get-go, but I can’t deny that this made for a better story.  I also argue that the pizza was extra worth it by the time we got to my place, warmed it up in the oven, and finally got to eat it. 

Work in itself was a little bit of an adventure this month. We were an office of three people and my coworker just moved to Edmonton and my boss went off to get married and go on her honeymoon. Luckily we did hire someone before they both left but I was still going to be holding down the fort more or less by myself. That didn’t worry me too much since I’ve handled it before and I know what I’m doing at work. However, there was going to be an event while my boss was gone and I was going to have to handle a table by myself. We have a funding partners program at work where we fund projects that focus on women going into STEM careers and one of those projects was a film screening of four short films about women in science. I’m a pretty anxious person so the idea that I was going to have to sit at a table and tell people who we are and what we do all by myself terrified me. I survived though. I had a really good time watching the films and I even networked with people at the table. The scariest part was during the q and a session when someone asked how we can encourage women and girls to go into STEM careers and I was handed a microphone because that is exactly the mission statement of the non-profit I work for. I think I answered it pretty well and I didn’t pass out in front of a room full of people, so hey, big win for Alicen!

I don’t know if anyone else would consider this an adventure or not but I got to go to a lot of things this month which I consider adventures. I went to Bard on the Beach twice for both Shakespeare in Love and Taming of the Shrew and both were lovely. I’m a big Shakespeare fan and a fan of live theatre so I’m always eager to go to Bard. I also ended up going to the White Caps charity soccer game for the second year in a row. For those of you who know me, you know that sports aren’t my thing at all, but a friend invited me and we had a good time anyway. This month was also the beginning of the Broadway Across Canada season and the first show was Rent. I personally really enjoyed it because I’m familiar with the show, but I know others that were less than thrilled because there was a lot of sound issues and sometimes you couldn’t hear what the actors were singing or saying over the music. 

Another thing that happened this month was a surprise birthday party for a friend. He and his wife live in Powell River (which is two ferries away from where I live so that was a whole adventure in itself) so a group of us went over to surprise Peter for his 40th birthday. It was so nice having him show us around the town and give us his version of a tour. I love all the random little facts he’d throw in whenever we went anywhere. It was also just so nice to see the two of them because I really miss them. Plus, I got to hang out with their cats. Another mini-adventure that happened during the weekend was I went mini-golfing for the first time and I even got a hole in one! Now, I’m not saying I’m good, I’m definitely terrible at it, but I had a lot of fun which is what matters. We also went to a market and a few thrift stores and I definitely came home with even more yarn and some new clothes. 

I’m not going to get too into this right now because I’m going to elaborate next month, but I’ll tease you a little bit first. Next month I’m launching a passion project (how appropriate for passion month of my happiness project) but this month I got to do all the research for it which was quite the adventure and also made me very happy. I won’t say anything else except that there might be makeup involved. 

I made a big decision this year. I decided to get rats. I’ve been wanting to get pets for ages, and rats were my best option. My roommate isn’t allergic to them like he is cats. They’re smaller and less work than dogs–not to mention they’d actually fit in my apartment, unlike a dog. They’re small, cute, affectionate… And it’s something for me to take care of. So that is going to be an adventure in itself that carries on longer than just adventure month. 

Join me again next month where my theme will be “passion”. You can find the full list of all the wineries and distilleries we went to, here: 

Summerland:
Alchemist Distiller
8th Generation Vineyard

Naramata Bench:
Legend Distilling
Van Westen Vineyards
Lake Breeze Vineyards
Moraine Estate Winery
Lock&Worth Winery
Ruby Blues Winery
La Frenz Winery
Poplar Grove Winery
Monster Vineyards

Penticton/OK Falls:
Pentage
Crescent Hill
Blasted Church Vineyards
Liquidity Wines
Blue Mountain
See Ya Later Ranch
Nighthawk Vineyards
The Dubh Glas Distillery

Oliver:
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
Desert Hills Estate Winery
Platinum Bench Estate Winery
Maverick Estate Winery
Kismet Estate Winery
Rust Wine Co
Road 13 Vineyards
Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery
Intersection Estate Winery
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
Oliver Twist Estate Winery

Osoyoos:
Nk’mip Cellars
Moon Curser Vineyards
Tumbleweed Spirits