tomfromhr.com a blog on tech, politics, life and zombies

12Nov/120

Pawnee, Ontario

Watching Parks and Rec has gotten me a bit interested in the goings-on around my own home town. Is the Parks and Recreation department of my suburban town as exciting and awesome as that of Pawnee, Indiana? Is there an up and coming Leslie Knope running for City Council in my town?

The thing about this is that, I don't really feel like the place I live now is my town. I never have, really. When I was growing up I couldn't wait to get out and see the world. I saw no redeeming value in this city. I wanted to get out to the big city or, barring that, the small town I went to university in.

I've been living back in my birth town the last few years, expecting to move any day now and, well, failing at that. As the move becomes more real, as I spent this evening poring over listings sent by my realtor while the oven slowly cooked my dinner, I started to think about the fact that I'll likely leave this town again and take up a brand new one. And even that town, I suspect, won't be my final resting place, so to speak.

I've kept myself untethered, I think in part, because I was scared of putting down roots. Roots are hard to dig up and I want to be mobile. For whoever my future wife may be, I want to be able to be there for her. I want to be able to say "Let's go, hun" when she gets a new job, or a new opportunity, or when the mood takes us and we decide to move to Iceland. 

I also still don't feel like I've really found that place that speaks to me. I loved Guelph and every now and then I'm tempted to say "fuck it all" and move there, despite how difficult (read: impossible) it would make my commute and how much it would limit my job opportunities. 

Of course, buying a house is certainly one way of putting down roots and that scares me, too. I feel like I haven't found that place where I belong.

I've found people I belong with, though. People I want to make sure are in my life for years to come. I think that's part of it too. For so many of my friends mobility is the name of the game. I am so connected with them, in so many ways, that where we are is unimportant. 

This is a little rambley, and I can't say I have a solid conclusion to share on this. I don't know why I've never really put down roots or felt like I belonged somewhere. I don't know if it's a reticence for fear of moving, or just a lack of need, or what. I kind of doubt I even will wherever I end up next, be that still in my home town (though houses here are still smaller and expensive) or somewhere else.

But, those are some thoughts for you on a Sunday night. If you have those roots, that connection to a city, a street corner, an arena, a bar, a house…I'm a little jealous of you, cause I don't have that.

Maybe that's my choice, though.

1Nov/121

Wine and Love: 14

5641043482 6f577b210d mToday I'm doing Wine and Love again, hosted by Suki! Here we talk about the things making us reach for the wine glass (or alcoholic beverage of choice) and the things we love this week! It's hard to keep track, I know, but do try to keep up!

Wine

  • No word on the iPad, so I think it is likely gone. It's still possible it may turn up in the lost and found, but at this point I have my doubts. On the plus side it does appear someone just wiped it straight away, which in the grand scheme of things is the best I could hope for, in terms of data integrity. I don't quite understand the mentality that could take something like that, even carelessly left behind, and not feel a pang of pity. I almost wish I could talk to the guy/girl who picked it up and made the conscious decision not to turn it in. Maybe they sold it to feed their starving family, I'm not sure. So that sucks but, really, if I'm gonna have something bad happen, losing a non-essential item is hardly the worst. I am realizing how much I use it, though, and I did order a new one (though a cheaper model than before).
  • Work stress continues unabated. It's partly just the time of year, partly that they keep expanding my job duties, partly that we have some major projects, but overall it means I'm often leaving work exhausted and unhappy. I've been leaning into WoW a bit heavily lately but, truthfully, I'm glad the outlet is there.
  • I love my parents, but I get some judgment from them on leaning into WoW, at staying locked up in my room, at my more introverted nature. When I try to open up to them lately I've gotten interrupted with "solutions" and, truthfully, I feel like it may be time for us to part ways. More on this in the section below.

Love

  • Tying in with what I said before, I am having such a blast in WoW these days it's not even funny. I'm learning to tank on my monk (who's level 86), I'm taking my time going through the Mists questing and it's just been so much fun kind of losing myself a bit and forgetting my cares. And smashing mobs with kegs of beer, obvs.
  • After I finish this post I'm emailing my realtor. Period. No more excuses. No more "I'll wait until"s. It's time to start. I keep putting it off but, I also have to realize that it's not like tomorrow I'm gonna find my place and move. This will be a long process of finding the right place, for the right price, and it's time to get started. My finances aren't 100% totally perfect, but will they ever be? I'm tired of waiting. Course, I'm emailing my realtor to say "can you refer me to someone else?" because I'm pretty sure he doesn't work in the area I now want, but hey, still! Progress. A start. My goal would be to host a birthday party in my new house, but I'd rather find the right place than the quick and easy place.
  • Therapy has been going well. There haven't been too many huge and amazing break-throughs, but I'm making quiet, small changes that seem to be helping. I'm catching myself before I'm spiraling into bad thoughts. I'm stopping myself before I read too much into things. One of the big things has been reminding myself that, often times, when someone criticizes me or speaks harshly to me, it's more reflective of them than me. I'm trying to stop myself from taking such things personally, and instead just shrugging and saying "ah well, buddy is taking out his/her bad day/insecurity on me. Next."
  • As much as I may have some issues with my parents, they have been pretty good about letting me be and recognizing I'm stressed and need some time. My mom has been really good about helping me out, which I'm grateful for, and my Dad's been pretty good too, they just don't quite get it. They grew up in big families; privacy and introversion are entirely foreign concepts to them, as are the ideas of just wanting to talk things out and not really solving problems.
  • My friends continue to be awesome people, and I love them all for it. Positive, supportive and awesome. The only problem is that so few of them live nearby. MOVE TO CANADA YOU PEOPLE.

What are you loving this week? And what's making you whine?

25Oct/121

Wine and Love: 13

5641043482 6f577b210d mTwo weeks in a row! Blogging win! Today I'm doing Wine and Love again, hosted by Suki! Here we talk about the things making us reach for the wine glass (or alcoholic beverage of choice) and the things we love this week! It's hard to keep track, I know, but do try to keep up!

Wine

  • I left my iPad on the train sometime on Monday. I've been worried sick about someone getting into my data, harassing friends or doing God knows what with it. So far I believe we're safe; it looks like whoever got it either turned it into the lost and found or has wiped it. Using the iCloud stuff I can tell it hasn't been online (at least without being wiped) at least since Monday night, which means either it's been turned off since then (which is the lost and found's standard procedure) or wiped. I've set it to wipe the next time it comes online for data integrity. All signs seem to be pointing to it being in the lost and found, but since all that stuff has to be processed I won't know for a few days.
  • Honestly that's been the big one, and some of the fallout and worries from that. Besides that, work's been busy, but I could practically leave that on here permanently!
  • I haven't been sleeping well lately. Part of it is just bad habits, part of it is the myriad things I'd rather be doing than sleeping, part of it is iPad and work things on my mind a lot. I've been trying to get to bed earlier, but it's not easy when there's so much I want to do.

Love

  • Mists of Pandaria continues to delight and entertain, which is great. I said this last week, but I cannot overemphasize how glad I am to have this awesome outlet and the wonderful people that come along with it. We ran dungeons last night and, even though they didn't go super well, I had a blast. If you've ever thought you might enjoy WoW, do give it a try, and let me know so I can bring you into my awesome group of people there.
  • My friends have been amazing. GFM especially has been a big help and is great at keeping me grounded and keeping things in perspective. Thanks, GFM.
  • I bought a ticket to VidCon! Still figuring out the flight and everything, but it'll be awesome to meet and hang out with people I've blogged around with and whatnot for so long.
  • I'm generally eating healthier and feeling better these days. I've had one person ask if I lost weight; I haven't checked in a while, so I'm not sure, but that was nice. I feel like I see a little bit in my face, but that could be imagination.
  • Therapy has been going well. I feel like I'm making real progress, which largely means breaking down a lot of the things I had thought I knew about myself. It's fascinating, and a tad bit scary, but good.
  • I've moved some money around and cleared up some financial stuff, which is a huge weight off my shoulders. I'm getting close to being ready to tackle the move. Not quite there, but close.

What are you loving this week? And what's making you whine?

18Oct/124

Wine and Love: 12

5641043482 6f577b210d mBack at it after a break! Today I'm doing Wine and Love again, hosted by Suki! Here we talk about the things making us reach for the wine glass (or alcoholic beverage of choice) and the things we love this week! It's hard to keep track, I know, but do try to keep up!

Wine

  • Friends are having problems, and I'm trying to help, but I find I say the wrong thing all too often. I almost want to try and find a book on it, but I think each person is different. I just wish I could help more, that I knew what to say and do.
  • I'm failing a bit at adulting these days. It feels like the money is just slipping through my fingers, and I have no idea where it goes. I've been using Mint to track and keeping an eye on my bank account but it just all seems to slip away, and with that a lot of my goals get a little further off. I'm doing my best, but it just doesn't seem to be good enough.
  • Work gets busier and busier, with more and more things being heaped on my plate. I know largely there isn't much choice, but it still is making for some stressful days.

Love

  • Mists of Pandaria continues to delight and entertain, which is great.
  • I've discovered an easy, healthy dish that I can cook and vary a bit in order to keep it new and interesting!
  • I've been chatting to folks on GChat more often, which has been nice, getting to know some blog folks a bit better.
  • I had a lovely second Thanksgiving with Matt and Lauren at their new house. It's looking amazing. Their family is so welcoming, and I got to do a nice mini road trip with some friends. Overall, a fantastic weekend. More of that, please.

What are you loving this week? And what's making you whine?

30Jul/122

City Living: A Review

I spent not quite a month living in the city of Toronto.

In short, I didn't like it.

I'm struggling a little bit to explain exactly why, because it's not entirely clear in my head. I liked seeing friends, for sure. I liked being closer to them, being able to pop out for dinner at a moment's notice. I liked being able to leave work 5 minutes late and only be 5 minutes later, not 30. 

I'd also say I liked cooking for myself. I liked not having anyone waiting for me at home and being able to eat dinner at 8 if I felt like it. But those are things that would be solved by living on my own no matter where I lived.

What probably bothered me most though is something that I think is a key part of living in Toronto, and something that you likely get in any large city, which is the sheer speed of it. Everything moves quickly. Everyone rushes past you. No matter how fast you're walking (or even running) you're not moving fast enough for someone else. Everyone packs into everything tightly, squishes together, in their rush to get where they're going. And that bugs me. I'm a slow walker. I like to take a moment and smell the roses. To pause, sigh, and text someone. 

I didn't feel like I could do that comfortably in the city.

I felt constantly rushed and out of time. 

I'm sure there are areas of the city where this is not true. Emma was kind of enough to show me a quieter, nicer area of the city, that I could definitely see myself living in. But it would still mean crowding onto the street car. It would still mean dealing with the hubbub of that city and, honestly, I don't think that's where I want to be.

I've started to feel like I want to build something. To sound a little New Age for a moment, build the life I want, to attract the things I want. And I think that's primarily space. A nice porch. A backyard for a dog to run in. A place to keep a BBQ and learn to cook, like the neighbours beside me as I write this. A place to sit out with friends (those who will make the trek to visit me) and talk about life's important things. A room to meditate, to sleep and to play WoW (one for each, ideally). A garage to park my car. A house. A home.

Places like that exist in Toronto, I know. But they are likely 3 times my budget, or so far out that I may as well be living in the suburbs.

So, for now, I'm thinking suburbs. We'll see in a couple months, as I get things moving. Toronto did a number on my finances, so things will be moving a little slower than I had hoped, but I've also realized that finding the right place may take time. Which is good. I want to enjoy this time, now. 

Photo

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3Jul/120

Sleep is for the weak!

I didn't sleep much last night.

There are a few reasons for this, and probably more I can't really identify. It was hot, for one. One of those nights where I couldn't seem to get comfortable in my own bed. I woke up to having pulled the bedsheets into knots from my tossing and turning.

I was worried about going back to work. Not for any particular reason. There's the baseline worry of the various projects that are behind, that I can never seem to get a handle on, but it was more the simple change of going from 4 days of relaxation back to work, and just feeling a little worried about that.

I was worried about moving. There's a lot I have to do before I move in to my friend's apartment (referred to here on in as The Sublet, even if that is technically inaccurate), some of which could wait til I'm there, some of which can't, most of which has to be done tonight.

I was worried about my Dad. Last night when I talked about it he seemed vaguely…perturbed. I don't know whether this is because he offered to drive me into the city with some of my stuff and I accepted, or because he doesn't want to be left alone for the rest of the week while I'm gone, or if I'm just entirely misreading it. I know he'll miss me, and I'll miss him too, but having some space will be good for me (and probably my parents too, truth be told).

It was also one of those nights where some part of my mind decided to bring up every insult, every hurtful comment that had been directed at me, every failure I'd had in my life. Which is, you know, always fun.

But, I got up this morning. I got to the train early to buy my new pass, and I'm almost at the subway station now to buy my subway pass. I've never had one of those before. I've ridden it, but never had the fancy swipe pass. Little things like this make me happy.

This month will be a taste of what's to come, and I've been reminded that it won't all be sunshine and rainbows and independence. But there will be joys. I'll make sure there are.

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1Jul/120

A Good, Long Weekend

It's only now hitting me that, this time next week, I'll be sitting in a place that will be my own. Not forever, mind you. But for a month, which feels like forever in the summer. In ways I think I'll miss the company. This surprises me a bit, as normally I'm not the happiest about the relatively constant stream of interruptions my parents tend to offer (which GFM often correctly reminds me is a small price to pay for free room and board) but without them it would be very easy for me to get all my socializing done online and not see a living soul all day.

Is that common now?

I worry a bit about this, but also about balance. Making sure I'm spending time with the people I love online, and the people I love offline. Admittedly, I'm probably not the best at that now. But I really love the online folks, you know.

There is also the worry that this isn't introversion, and that I'm just a grump who's going to have trouble living with anyone. Don't think that thought hasn't crossed my mind.

But I'd like to think it would be different if my partner came home, and I could yell out "Hi honey! I'm in a dungeon right now/Skyping with 5 other people, I'll talk to you in a couple minutes!" I'd like to think I'd have a partner who would get that. Someone who would come and watch, maybe, or even say "Sweet, let me hop online and join you!"

Anyway, forgive the navel-gazing, if you will. It's been a nice long weekend, mostly hanging with my Dad, but I'm excited, and nervous, to be in my own space this time next week. I think I will try and vlog and blog a good bit during that month, just to keep some records.

AND THEN COMES VEDA!

Aren't you a crafty one, hovering over this?

21Jun/120

Wine and Love: 9

So today I'm doing Wine and Love again, hosted by Suki! Here we talk about the things making us reach for the wine glass (or alcoholic beverage of choice) and the things we love this week!

Wine

    • I feel like whenever I get ahead in one aspect of my life, others fall to the wayside. I'm exercising and eating better, but now I don't seem to have time to read blogs or watch videos, or blog myself!
    • While I'm excited about moving out in a few weeks, I am a little nervous. Lots of stuff to deal with. I've lived on my own before, but never while working full time. I know it will be good for me to learn, but I'm still worried I'll leave the stove on or the door unlocked or wake up and realize I have no clean clothes or something of the sort.
    • It's hot! Although not terrible, still a little unpleasant. Though I am grateful most places I'm in have AC.

Love

 

  • I have been running pretty regularly most weekday mornings. Not far, and not long, and with lots of stops for walking, but still. I've coupled this with calorie counting. It's amazing, when I realize how much latitude I gave myself and just how much I was eating. I do miss that, being able to eat whatever I want, but it wasn't healthy. I'm down around 4 pounds already since last week, which is excellent.
  • I'm excited about moving to the city for a little while. I'm still a little iffy about the idea of living there permanently, but this will be a good test of that. I'm looking forward to cooking for myself more and having more control over that.
  • Podcasts. I've been listening to some at work while doing some data entry work and, not only has it improved my productivity, but the time seems to just fly by, and I feel like I'm getting something done both work and personal-wise. Lately it's been Comedy Bang Bang and the Nerdist, but I'm open to other recommendations.

What are you loving, and not loving this week?

5Apr/123

6 Months? 2 Weeks! Let’s do it 2 Weeks!

The title is an Arrested Development reference that may only make sense in my head.

I'm moving. The sooner the better. My goal would be to be moved by June, at the latest.

What prompted this was thinking about my 12changes change for April. I started to think about trying to be a bit more adult, doing things for myself. I live with my parents now and, for convenience sake, my Mom is a very traditional mother. She cooks, she cleans, she tidies. She doesn't mind doing this, and we offer to help out, but in the end it's just easier with one person doing this. But it means that I have a lot of little embarrassing moments, when people ask me about my life, and I'm forced to either lie, or talk about how much my Mom helps me out. Cause it's a lot. Far more than I'm comfortable admitting on this blog.

And it's easy to say "start doing things yourself." But there are practical and emotional concerns. To cook for myself I basically have to not eat with my parents, which would be rude, I would say. And on the practical side, it's very, very tempting to just fall into the habit of letting someone else take care of your laundry and lunches. Can you honestly tell me you wouldn't let someone else do it if they offered? If so, you're a strong person than I.

With the help of some friends, I realized that none of this, none of these adult things, are going to stick until I actually have to do them myself. I'm never going to learn to manage my money until I have to. Never going to cook for myself until I have to.

I keep waiting for the time to be right. To save up more, to get my weight under control, to get a new job. I keep thinking that I can gain the confidence that I am my own man, that I am capable of all the things I think I can, under my parent's roof.

But I can't. There's some shit that's not all internal, folks. Positive thinking doesn't solve everything. It may for some people, but not for me.

For my own sanity, for my own development, I need to move. More on the where, how, and when later.

17Feb/122

6 Months

"So the minimum commitment is 6 months starting in March. You still want the space?"

I paused for a moment as the man said that. I was rushing to get things done, it was around 4:45 on a Friday, and I didn't want to make this decision now.

The man had called me from GO Transit because, a few months ago, I had applied for a reserved parking space at the station I go to every morning, and one had become available. As it stands now, I get driven every morning, as finding a parking space is increasingly difficult there.

However, 6 months is a long time. In my head, I was moving away next month. Getting an exciting new job. Maybe even giving up my car and living in the hip downtown. I hadn't decided yet. All these were possibilities of the next 6 months. Committing to this meant either throwing away good money, or staying with my parents, at the same job, for 6 months.

But here's the thing. I like deadlines. I like having an end. I like dates that force me to think about things, to limit me, to say "this is when this has to be done." So this is a little arbitrary. But it's a good start.

So in the next 6 months I hope to work on a few things. I hope to have a new job lined up. I hope to be well on my way to moving out of my parent's house (perhaps with a closing date exactly 6 months from March 1). I'm going to have a new blog, and a new blog identity set up. And I hope to be more physically fit and, ideally, have lost 60 pounds. I know, that sounds like a lot, but if I'm going to be at my medically ideal weight, it's gonna be around that kind of loss.*

I've already made good strides. I've started applying for jobs. Somewhat haphazardly, but at this point I'm just trying to get my name out there. I've been keeping up with my Whole Foods challenge, though not perfectly, but it's been on my mind and I've made some small changes (more fruit and salads, so far). I've been looking into starting CrossFit, and I'm actually really excited about that, as it seems like it might be the answer to weight loss I've been looking for. It will be physically challenging, but that in and of itself I have no problem with, particularly if it will bring me results.

So I'm excited. I feel like this little thing is a way of giving myself a goal, an endpoint. I have 6 months to work with what I have now, to get the most out of it, and get myself ready for the next stage of my life. I'm starting it a little later than I'd like, yeah. But I'm starting it.