Thanksgiving Weekend

The boyfriend was able to finish work early, so we left mid-afternoon for the 6-hour drive to Montreal, grateful we weren’t a part of the car crashes that delayed us, stopping a few times for gas and at The Big Apple for supper. Even though I told him a million times how delicious their apple bread grilled cheese with bacon is, he still chose some smoked pork sandwich and must have regretted it the whole time we were eating.

On Saturday we had a First Aid Class at my grandparents’, so we would all know what to do in case something happens. The boyfriend was awesome and stayed for the whole course, even though he had no interest in it.

Saturday night we had pizza and played games at home, which is always a lot of fun.

Sunday morning we went to Jiu-Jitsu at Lee Villeneuve’s. Instead of curriculum, Lee taught us a bunch of moves, then we rolled for 7-minute rounds. We were dead by the end of it, but promised to be back at Christmas.

After a lunch of homemade apple bread grilled cheeses with bacon, we went on a hike with my mom. Someone was under the impression that walking and hiking are only exercise for really old people, so it was nice to show them that while it isn’t the most intense workout, it also isn’t as easy as a walk in the park. And it is so beautiful up there.

We had Thanksgiving dinner at my grandmother’s with my honorary uncle, then the boyfriend and I drove back to Toronto. We had originally planned to leave on Monday, but I got asked to work on set and you gotta hustle.

I did manage to get some writing in on set, then had another Thanksgiving dinner with the boyfriend’s family last night. I ate so much delicious food this weekend that you would think I didn’t have to eat for years, but that is not the case. Smoothies for breakfast it is 😉

 

“Love doesn’t make the world go ‘round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.”

-Franklin P. Jones

~*~ Full ACTRA Member ~*~

Most of this week has been spent wearing my writer and producer hats. We had 3 production meetings for Little Bird (which goes to camera next week!), and I am pushing through a new draft for Prophecy (which comes out next month!). I also made time for a tiny but momentous acting task…

 

Getting my FULL ACTRA MEMBERSHIP!!! For the non-actors out there, ACTRA is the Canadian actors’ union (on the English side). There are multiple ways to join (background work, theater school, a role) as an apprentice, but then you need 3 credits to be a Full Member (unless you get in through a reciprocal agreement with SAG or Equity). I applied for my final permit yesterday, then filled out the application and officially became a Full Member with a new number and everything. I’m a bit of an eager beaver so I’ve already done the online training stuffs, but I have a very busy week ahead of me once we go to camera.

I rounded off my week with some Jiu Jitsu classes and visits to the dentist, then I’m ending it tonight by going home for Thanksgiving. With a shipment of Gata from my boyfriend’s mom because she is the best. Hopefully there’ll be some left by the time we get there 😉

 

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Montreal Sets and Little Bird

Even though I was in Montreal last week, I still spent 3 days on set (okay, 2 days on set and 1 in holding). One of them (the day in holding) let me get so much writing done, while another transformed me into a cartoon. I have no idea how this will work or what I will look like, but I am excited to find out. After working for my uncle and spending the evening with my parents and brother, I spent my last day on set as an actor. I didn’t have any lines, but I got to catch up with friends, hang out with actors and act! I also attempted to ride a very vintage bike, but I’m not sure how successful I was in that department.

After my acting gig, I drove to Toronto for steak night, which was fun and made me really excited for class tonight. On one hand, I’m sad I keep missing class, but on the other, it’s really nice to be busy and working.

On Saturday we had brunch with my brother and cousin who were in town for a wedding, and I got to write a bit more before heading to work in Hamilton for a few hours. When I got back, I made chicken parmesan and attempted to make pumpkin pie. I have a very sweet boyfriend who lies to me about how good it was, but I either don’t like pumpkin pie that much, or didn’t do the recipe justice.

On Sunday I worked all day at a job where we can’t have cell phone, so I got a lot of planning and figuring out done. I hopefully have my writing and launches planned until my next birthday, and even have a list of all the stories I want to someday write, so I can procrastinate better in the future 😉

We had supper at the boyfriend’s parents’, bringing home some delicious leftovers.

 

Some pretty cool news I’ve been waiting to share is that I was cast in Little Bird, a beautiful short film that goes to camera in less than 2 weeks. This is a passion-project spearheaded by the TAWC co-chairs and featuring some incredible storytelling and amazing actresses. I will also be production managing it, which is a little scary, but honestly, I would be doing anything to be a part of this story.

 

Here’s a little blurb on it:

 

“Written and directed by Tee Schneider, produced by Joanna Swan, Little Bird is a film about tenacity- having it, keeping it and finding it again when it gets lost. It’s a film about empathy and connection, compassion and sacrifice. It’s a film about women who care enough to make the hard choices. It’s a film about women who brush themselves off and put one foot in front of the other even when the world around them is completely out of control. It’s most certainly about the resilience of girls. Little Bird explores invisible illness, the long-term fallout of unmanaged depression and the unimaginable horror of interrupted adoption. In the end, it’s a film about the choices we all have, big or small, at any age, in any circumstance- even the ones we can’t control.”

 

You can check out the indiegogo at: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/little-bird-movie-help-fund-our-film#/

 

 

“Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all.” 

-Emily Dickinson

Find a Job You LOVE

Boundless Cast and Crew, taken from Boundless facebook page 🙂

Last week I had the honor of being one of the female Air Force pilots in Boundless, a short film set in the 1940s. They are hoping to turn it into a miniseries, which I really hope happens, because these stories deserve to be told and I would love to be a part of telling them. I also spent another 4 days on set, meeting all kinds of cool people and having really interesting, deep conversations. There is something about movie sets that sometimes makes strangers feel like trusted friends. My guess is it has something to do with early mornings and exhaustion, but I’m one of the weird ones who loves every aspect of it. One of the days I got to be SSE (Special Skills Extra), hired by the stunt coordinator, which really makes me want to get back to the badass I was becoming last year.

TAWC, the Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee, had its first meeting of the 2019/2020 year. It is always so awesome and inspiring to meet with these women, make plans and hear what they are up to. I will be in charge of the Content Development Sessions again, hopefully with help, and volunteered for some extra tasks that have me majorly excited. I’ve been focusing a lot on my writing lately, and this meeting (as well as the ACTRA conference) are reminding me how much I love stepping into someone else’s shoes and creating.

When we wrapped on set Saturday evening I drove to Montreal, then spent Sunday morning with my family. That evening, I attended the Yes Let’s Make a Movie film festival. I was at the door, greeting people and checking names off a list, so I got to interact with nearly all of the guests. A lot were new faces, but so many were the talented and hard-working Montreal actors I know and love so much. I love a lot of things about Toronto and all of its opportunities, but I definitely miss the Montreal acting community. They are so filled with dedication, determination and support that I am convinced we can do absolutely anything we put our minds to.

The screening itself was nearly 3 hours, and kicked off with clips from interviews Danny did to promote the festival. I should backtrack here and explain that Danny Malin is the one who puts this festival together. It used to involve creating teams for a film race and screening the films on the Sunday, but has evolved into an international film festival where he watches all the submissions, curates the selections, hands out awards and swag and door prizes. The festival itself is an amazing accomplishment on his part, but he is also out there writing scripts, shooting and producing shorts and features, acting and auditioning, filling the background on Montreal-filmed content…he is a jack of all trades and a master of all. I am so lucky that he is also my friend.

Back to the screening, the clips from the interviews featured friends of mine, but they also had a few snippets of advice from me. Who am I to give advice to aspiring actors, right? But at the same time, the girl on the screen knew what she was talking about. And the girl in the audience had forgotten some of it. I am working a lot more in Toronto, and creating my own content, but I was involved in a lot more projects when I was in Montreal, hustling more to get agents and headshots and roles. I love being on set, even for background, so it’s easy to feel like I am accomplishing something when I’m on set at least once a week, but I also want to have speaking days on set, which I sort of gave up on lately.

The shorts that we screened were funny and touching and horrifying. I saw beautiful performances and was haunted by some. A lot of them were written by, produced by and starring my friends. I am so incredibly proud of all of them and hope I get to someday work with them.

So far this week I went on an early morning hike with my mom, worked on the next draft of Prophecy and spent an afternoon hanging out with my cousin, which was a highlight of my week.

They say if you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. If I can spend all of my days like this, I will never need a vacation. Except from the cold. Or to see places. But I’ll be excited to get back to my job once it’s over.

Books, BBQs and ACTRA Con

After finishing a new first draft of Prophecy as the first book in a trilogy, I spent last Monday reading it with a notebook to keep track of things. I find it really useful to write down any important information I reveal about characters (eye color, likes and dislikes, dates, etc.) or the story, so that I don’t contradict myself. It is especially useful when you are writing more than one book in the same universe. In addition to facts, I make myself a list of things that need to be changed or added. This can be for mistakes (if I wrote that she was 12 a decade ago, then say she is 26, I have some math that needs fixing), creative decisions (removing a character, changing their name) or missing information (not enough background on a character, they come out of nowhere, she suddenly has a car that wasn’t there in the last scene…). I do this chapter by chapter, then add notes in previous or later chapters (mention x before they meet her, bring up y so we know she hasn’t forgotten him). Sometimes I’ll just write questions, like “Did she know this?”, “Who is Spencer?”, “Why did he do that?”, so I know I need to figure that out before I write the next draft.

Once I have answered all of the questions and figured out where everything goes, that is when I’ll start the next draft. Right now I am also waiting on my Alpha Reader (my mom), to let me know what she thinks about the story and the characters, so I know if everything is coming across like I want it to, and if the story is interesting for people who are not me. In the meantime, I am working on the novellas, character backstories and some compulsive planning, because that’s how I roll.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday I did background, each of them an awesome experience. I was referred to as ‘our hero’ on one set, booked as SSE and learnt a whole lot on the next one, and wrapped within 2 hours on Friday.

I only went to Jiu-Jitsu twice, which sucks, but was also the smarter thing to do. On Thursday I did some Brand Ambassador work on a van, which was a lot of fun, but I sort of fell through the cracks in the early morning. I was praised for my acrobatic abilities in catching myself and preventing what could have been a lot more damage, but I still ended up very bruised with a slice of skin missing (a very thin, small one, don’t worry). I probably still would have gone, but my foot was swollen and gently brushing three-quarters of my legs brought pain, so I decided to wait until the swelling went down to go back to class.

On Saturday I attended the Fall Member’s Conference with ACTRA, which is an awesome opportunity to learn valuable information while mingling with old friends and new acquaintances who share your interests. The day started off with a screening of some TiP projects, which are low-budget, ACTRA-approved films like Get-together and Touched. These are both in post-production stages and waiting to go through the festival circuit, but I would absolutely love to have them screen at ACTRA once they’ve made their way around. It was really inspiring to see what you can accomplish when you get a bunch of actors together.

Next I went to the TAWC (Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee) Page-to-Pitch Session, where we had industry leaders share how they got their projects off the ground before 3 brave souls went up and pitched us their ideas. It was really interesting to hear these new ideas and then get the feedback that the experts provided, which was sometimes a question I was asking myself, but other times something I completely missed because I don’t get pitched to all the time and just heard the awesomeness of the ideas.

Next, we had lunch, where I caught up with some friends and slightly kidnapped a baby. I had the mother’s permission, but I also claimed her for the next 20 minutes or so, as she tried to devour my hair and my shoulder. It is moments like this (and when the childcare workers bring a baby to the door of our classroom so a mother can breastfeed and not miss anything) that make me realize how incredible and badass mothers are. They get it all done. Everything that I have to do, plus a million other things because they have tiny humans that depend on them for everything. They’re superheroes.

After lunch we attended the plenary session to find out what’s going with ACTRA this year, then I went for round 2 of Page-to-Pitch. This time, 10 ‘presenters’ went to another room with the executives and they pitched in private (with the knowledge and comments from this morning) while we got a presentation on being an entrepreneur, an often overlooked facet of our industry, and figuring out how to analyze your idea and build on it, how to network, etc. Very interesting.

At the end, both groups merged and we got comments and a Q & A session with the executives who went off to hear the pitches.

I learned a lot from these sessions, including the fact that I don’t think I want to be a showrunner. Or write a TV series. At least not for now. I loved the ideas and information and tried to transfer it for books, but I am no Mindy Kaling. Even when I produce a short film, I need to no longer be in charge while I do the acting part. Ideally, I would like to write a book series while acting in a TV series. And producing films with amazing people. Wouldn’t that be perfect?

There was a wine and cheese thing to finish off the conference, so I met a few new friends and said goodbye to my people before heading home for date night. After supper, we watched Murder Mystery, which was filmed in Montreal so I got to see some of my Montreal friends. I enjoyed it, but possible spoiler alert, I went in knowing Gemma Arterton is not 4 years younger than me.

On Sunday I did a few hours of ultrasounds then went to a Barbecue. There was delicious food, excellent company, we watched some of the Emmys, and I got a beautiful notebook from Venice to write some stories in.

 

“Treat your family like friends, and your friends like family.”

Hikes, Trains and Prophecy

Monday morning my mom and I went for a very early morning hike, then I went home and wrote for a bit before we tried a new Body Pump class with my aunt. I did not like the class, at all, but I must have gotten a good workout because my thighs hated me (and stairs) for days afterwards.

I spent the afternoon cooking and doing a bit of writing before going to hang out with my grandparents. After supper I hung out with one of my new favorite people for an hour or so, definitely overstaying my welcome, but it made my day/week/year/life.

When I got home I watched American Ninja Warrior with my parents. This show is so inspiring and really reminds me that I need to up my game and start training again.

On Tuesday I did background in a spa, where I spent half the day reading a magazine in a lounge chair and the other half writing books on the floor in the hallway. I don’t need much to be entertained, but I do need to see the words I am writing.

That night we watched Otherhood when I got home and I really enjoyed it. It’s the kind of movie you should watch with your mom on mother’s day if you’re lucky enough to have her. After you’ve remembered to call her and bring something to let her know how much you love and appreciate her of course.

On Wednesday the weather did not cooperate with our hike, so I stayed home and wrote before a little family outing. I spent more time with some of my favorite people, then had lunch with mostly the same group, plus or minus a few people.

Wednesday evening my brother and his fiancée had me and my dad over for supper while my mother went out. It is always good times with them, but I also learned a lot about my father that I did not know. I had bits and pieces, and knew things that would imply others, but never put it all together. I basically discovered that he is amazing, and I am beyond lucky to have him as my dad. To have two parents who love me unconditionally and support me in all of my endeavors…I don’t think I always deserve it but I am eternally grateful.

On Thursday my mom, my aunt, my cousin and I hiked Mont-Tremblant. It took us a little over two hours and I tried to keep up with my cousin who is taller and in way better shape than me, but it was hard. The views were incredible and the company was top-notch, but I think I need to do it more often. It’s a beautiful and fun way to get a workout in 🙂

Once the hike was done, we went to Mucho Burrito for supper. I only mention this because you might be thinking, like me, that they have burritos and rice and refried beans and a bunch of heavy, TexMex food. I didn’t explore the entire menu, though I’m sure they have all that, but they also have delicious bowls. I had half-rice, half-quinoa with beans, chicken, fresh corn, pumpkin seeds, fresh peach salsa…it was fresh and yummy and I would definitely recommend.

I took the train back to Toronto, meeting a man from Poland and getting some writing done, even if I accidentally got a rear-facing seat and slightly got carsick. I have yet to take the bus for my back and forths, but the train was a wonderful way to spend nearly six hours writing instead of listening to podcasts and singing along to the radio.

On Friday I got to have breakfast with the boyfriend after being away forever, then got a bunch of writing and admin stuff done before going to set for 2:30. It was at a studio and a really nice set to be on, but a short DAY shoot turned into working past 2 am. It just goes to show that you never know what to expect. I made new friends, caught up with some old ones, got some writing in and even did some knitting. A very productive day, if I do say so myself.

On Saturday I mostly did writing until a fitting. It’s for background on a short film about Female Air Force Pilots and I am so psyched to be a part of it, in any capacity. We went to open mat at 4 points afterward, where the boyfriend helped me go through all of the moves I was worried I had forgotten during my absence.

We spent the evening with Ali and Gözde from the gym, which is always a wonderful time. We tried Monga Fried Chicken, which was very yummy, with mochi ice cream for dessert. I was first introduced to this delicacy back in August and I definitely approve. The black sesame had a pretty strong taste, but it was very good, and you can never go wrong with vanilla. We were going to watch a movie, but got carried away with the talking, which I’m pretty sure is a good thing.

On Sunday I finished a new First Draft of Prophecy, taking into account all of the changes I have been making to the story. I also did some Brand Ambassador work and had supper with the boyfriend’s family, which I love to do.

Another awesome thing that happened this week and I almost forgot is the options for my cover! I received 3 possible covers for Prophecy and am currently going through them to figure out which version, or combination of them I want to use for my book. I know the expression is “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, but we’re also aware that it’s how most people decide if they want to read a book, or at least the back of it. Here’s to more books with awesome covers!

 

“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”

-Hugh Laurie

How I Published My First Book

Monday marked my first month as a published author, so I thought I would share my experience with self-publishing 🙂

Pre-

My writing process for Shards of Glass was not typical. I came up with my characters back in 2003. I know the year since I originally made Rachel 13, my age at the time. I started with random snippets of her life, such as conversations with her siblings and an essay that reads like a diary entry.

I discovered Nanowrimo in November 2014, so I decided to make a book out of Rachel’s stories in July 2015. The campnanos don’t have a word limit, so I set mine at 75000 and surpassed it. I started editing it that year, but as soon as I sent it to my mother, I discovered that she is actually a very objective and unbiased alpha reader. She didn’t give me a lot of notes, but their implications were substantial. Like removing a bunch of characters. I am really not a fan of Killing Your Darlings. That’s probably why I spent the next few years casually editing it, but never getting to a point that I felt ready to publish it.

Finally, after years of putting “Publish a Book” on my list of resolutions, in 2019 I took it seriously. I spent way more time than I should have on creating a publishing schedule and planning insignificant things. I reread my latest version, made notes on what needed to be fixed, and gave myself the arbitrary deadline of August 11th.

There was a point where I wanted to publish the book anonymously because I didn’t think I would ever be confident enough to publish it under my name. I met with a friend, J.F., who is a published author, and suggested I instead focus my energy on making the book the best it can be, so that I can publish under my own name and be proud of it.

I eventually bit the bullet and set up a pre-order for Shards of Glass on amazon, with a publication date of August 9th because I felt confident that I had a final version that just needed some proofreading. I sent it to my mother, thinking she would give me some final notes to fix it, and then I would send it to an editor and it would be wonderful. Instead, my mom told me it was great, but there were too many characters and it got confusing and I basically had to rewrite the whole thing. She didn’t tell me that last part, but it was the only way I could fix her notes.

Usually, when I am writing a new draft, I copy and paste a lot of the original one. To avoid that (especially with the character removals), I wrote a new draft in a notebook, made a list of everything I needed to fix, then typed it up for a final draft.

I did the editing myself, then my mom and I spent a week reading it out loud to fix any mistakes we didn’t see.

For the formatting, I used some that looked like the ebooks from a decade ago. The Reedsy one was very nice, but there was something about having it say that it was formatted by reedsy.com that made me feel like it looked self-published. After lots of research and debating (meaning I asked my mom to tell me what to do) I decided to invest in my career (and myself) and purchased vellum. It’s over 300$, but it was very easy to use, the inside of my book looks like a real book and the ebook is beautiful. Plus, I plan to write a lot of books, so it will eventually pay itself off.

A lot of marketing programs will tell you to have somewhere to send your readers so you don’t lose them, so I put my next book up on pre-order and put a link at the end of Shards of Glass. It’s intimidating and terrifying, but I work a lot better with a deadline than if I am left to my own devices.

The last piece was the cover, which my friend JF did for me. I made a placeholder version for amazon, but had absolutely no idea how to do anything more than that. JF literally had to send me about a dozen files before I figured out the bleed and the spine and all that suff. You live and you learn, right?

Publishing and sales

My goal was to sell the ebook exclusively through amazon’s kindle unlimited for the first 90 days to see if that was a good fit. KU is a program where your ebook is sold exclusively through amazon, but you get the run promotions and make a higher royalty rate. For the paperback, I wanted to use amazon and ingramspark. I decided not to go exclusive with amazon because I felt like bookstores would rather order books from someone other than their main competitor.

Since it was a pre-order, I had to have everything uploaded by August 5th. I made the paperback available immediately so that the pages could link and the book could launch with reviews, but that didn’t happen. It nearly took 2 weeks for the ebook and paperback to be linked on amazon, and my first review was from someone I don’t know who got her ebook on launch day. She read it in less than 24 hours and gave me 5 stars, so she is now one of my favorite people.

The ebook went live on Friday, August 9th and that is when I started posting about it. I made my author page on goodreads and filled out my Author Central profiles for Amazon in Japan, Germany, France and the UK in addition to the U.S. site. I posted about it on Facebook and Instagram, made a blog post and sent out a newsletter. I was shocked and amazed by the response I got. SO many people shared the post or commented congratulations and how they were excited to read it. I was beyond touched.

 

I knew my immediate family would buy a copy to support me, but in one month I sold 85 copies (33 of them were free ebooks, but they are still readers and I am so grateful). One was even purchased from Germany!

I had issues with the cover on ingram, then it was released as an ebook when it shouldn’t be and I was removed from Kindle Unlimited, but everything is fixed now.

Currently, the ebook is solely available on Amazon. The paperback is available on amazon and Barnes & Noble as well as to any bookstores or libraries that want to order it.

There are a million things I could have done better, but this was my first attempt. This was me proving to myself that I could do it. And I did. I have the most amazing family and friends and am floored by all of the support I have received. Shards of Glass was a resounding success. Thank you to everyone who made it so. I can’t wait to share more stories with you.

 

Happy reading!

 

P.S. Some podcasts I really enjoyed listening to were The Creative Penn, Author Like a Boss and the Self-Publishing Show (among many others). I listen at the gym or when I am driving, so I am never taking notes, but I feel like it’s more about the motivation and inspiration that I get from them. To hear about other people who’ve made it and how they did it. Listening to them every day was part of the motivation that got it done.

P.P.S. I tried not to go too in-depth for the people who have no interest in publishing, but I can also go step by step, like a how-to, if anyone is curious about the publishing process. Or we can chat over tea/ice cream. This is all just my personal experience though, and Amazon makes it really easy with lots of videos and tutorials.

Sets and Rents

Being on set every day last week was only part of what made it awesome. I played a high school student, a cop, a bookstore patron then wrote my book in holding without ever being brought to set on the fourth day. Not a single one of them lasted the full 8 hours, so I made it to Jiu-Jitsu on Tuesday and Wednesday, got a whole bunch of writing done and had supper with my parents. Their visit was the other thing that made this week so much fun.

Throwback to my Tactics on Set training with the incomparable Gary Foo. Fellow trainees are Samy Osman and Kiriana Stanton 🙂

My parents drove to Toronto on Friday to hang out with me, so we had supper before I asked my dad to check out my car because I felt like one of the tires was low. Turns out it was completely flat with a nail sticking in it, so we (okay, he) replaced it with the spare so I could drive home.

On Saturday we stopped on our way to a celebratory lunch so I could attend a Go-See. I had never been to one before, but here is my assessment. When a show needs a lot of background or stunt people, they hold a go-see, where everyone who fits their broad categories will come and either hand in their resume (for stunts or dancers and such) or get their picture and measurements taken (as I did). I got a star in the corner of my sheet, so I think I’m good.

I want to mention that although right now I am focusing a lot on the writing and taking a lot of background work, I have not given up on the acting dream.

Lunch was fun and delicious, at Glenn Abbey golf course, then we went back to Toronto and I dropped my car off at Canadian Tire. I just had time to walk home before my parents came to pick us up for supper at my boyfriend’s parents’. It was their first time meeting each other (my parents and his) and I think it went fabulous. We had so much delicious food, excellent company, and only a few embarrassing stories.

On Sunday I tried to get some writing done before we went for brunch at Mars Diner. It was too loud for us to hear the music, but the food was yummy as always 🙂 We got my car and I drove back to Montreal with my parents and got to see an almost-finished version of get-together, which is looking amazing. I am so proud of what we have accomplished with this project, and can’t wait to share it with the world. Or work on the next one 😉

“Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness.”

-Frank Tyger

Babysitting, Holters and Catching Up

On Monday I had a meeting with the cardiologist, to try and figure out why I fainted. I did a stress test first, where I had to walk on the treadmill at increasing speeds and inclinations while they measured my heart rate. Then I got hooked up to a holter heart monitor that I got to keep with me for the next 72 hours. The holter monitor wasn’t so bad, it just kind of felt like I was wearing a purse 24/7. I kept reaching to take it off and remembering it wasn’t a satchel, it was my heart monitor. The worst part was definitely the stickers. The stress test involved disinfecting my skin, then scratching it with sandpaper before applying a multitude of electrodes that were taped on. For the holter, I needed a complete different set, so after ripping those off my skin, we repeated the process. As in rub alcohol onto the skin that had been scratched and torn, then scratch again and tape some more. As I write this post, 4 days after I returned the equipment, my chest still has marks and scabs on it.

Once I had the holter monitor, I drove to Montreal, where I met up with a friend and his girlfriend for ice cream. He’s the uber talented author/designer of my book cover, so we spent an hour or so walking around and talking about books and publishing, which was awesome. I got home and finished the last of my masterclasses before going to bed.

On Tuesday I was babysitting my niece, so I went to get her and hung out with her sisters for a bit before spending the day at my house with a new family member. She is the easiest baby, but I still realized how much harder even the simplest tasks become. Sure, I could strap her into her bouncy seat, but if she sits up enough, she can flip it over and get around. Cooking lunch, folding laundry, going to the washroom…everything had a new difficulty level. I’m not saying this to discourage anyone, but can we all appreciate how awesome parents are? They do all the adulting we do, but with a tiny human who is constantly demanding and requiring their attention.

Trying to write a bit while she took a nap…

Tuesday evening I went shooting with my dad and brother, then out for supper for Sam’s birthday. Siam was delicious, but the service took absolutely forever. Luckily, I had really good company so I didn’t mind.

On Wednesday I went on a hike with my mom and aunt, then went home and got some writing done. In the afternoon I hung out with Chelsea, walking around in the rain and having tea, then went to Rikki’s for a delicious supper and some catching up. Sometimes I have trouble justifying the trip to Montreal when I’m not working and there’s no big event, but when I get in this much face time with the people I care about, how can it not be worth it?

I finished off the visit with some American Ninja Warrior with my parents, then headed out very early on Thursday morning. I could have left much later and still delivered the holter monitor on time, but I got to have lunch with my grandmother and her sasters along the way, which I would wake up at any time for.

Thursday night the boyfriend and I went to see Good Boys, which was hilarious. Really well written and fun for…probably not the whole family, but we both enjoyed it.

On Friday I had a late call time, so I got a bunch of writing done, took a nap and showed up in holding at 8:30. When they told me they had no 8:30 call times, they looked at my email and informed me 22:30 is 10:30. Which I knew, I just didn’t think of at the time. I very much regretted not bringing my laptop, but still managed to clarify some plot points and work on writing and admin stuff until my actual call time. They gave me a costume, did my hair and put makeup on, then we went back to the holding I spent hours in and waited a while. I was a passerby, so it was mostly sitting on the stairs and writing, waiting for my cue to walk for 30 seconds, then going back to the stairs to sit and write. We wrapped at 4:30, so I was exhausted, but it was a really easy day as far as working goes.

I slept as much as I could on Saturday before going to the Blue Jays game for some costume work. I brought supper home when I finished and tried to get writing done, but I mostly just typed up what I had written the night before and during breaks.

On Sunday it was another day at the Roger’s Center before spending the evening with the boyfriend’s family for some delicious food and discovering Charlie Chaplin. Me, not them. I know exactly who he is and can tell you exactly what he looked like and was known for, but as far as I know, that was the first time I watched any of his work.

On Labor Day Monday I finally caught up on my word count, and even got ahead. Not to mention, the cover has been ordered. That might be the wrong terminology, but I filled out a form that asked a bunch of questions about what I was looking for in the cover and they should be sending me something within a week or so. I am nervous and excited and can’t wait to see what they came up with.

Once I was far enough over my word count, the boyfriend and I tried another Italian restaurant in our area (I think we’re on a mission to try every single one and find the best pizza and pasta) then hunkered down to watch IT. I hadn’t seen the original or the remake and the sequel is out this week, so we went for it. I was never really afraid, and it bugs me when there’s a villain that can’t really be defeated, but there were definitely moments of great worry for certain characters.

 

How was your week?

 

“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

-Dale Carnegie

Island Escape

On Friday I was slightly procrastinating with the book writing and cover ordering, so when I got the opportunity to have a masterclass subscription, I decided to go for it. Because I haven’t given up on the acting dream and am interested in producing and directing as well, I had a whole lot of classes to explore. I’ll write a full post on the classes once I have a chance to go through my notes and absorb them, but I am definitely learning a lot and getting inspired, which is often the most beneficial part. I don’t think anyone watches Gordon Ramsay’s masterclass and immediately wins competitions and becomes a Michelin-starred chef. But they might try a new recipe, submit an application, or have the confidence to believe it’s possible.

On Sunday I took most of the day off. I slept in, then the boyfriend took me to Toronto Island, because I had never been, and he said he would show me Toronto. We walked along the harbourfront while we waited to take the ferry across. It wasn’t a long ride, but it is definitely colder up on the upper deck.

Once on the Center Island, we followed the crowds to the little amusement park, which is geared towards children. The lines for each ride were short, but there was a big lineup to get tickets. We opted against rides, but the line probably took less time than the Beaver Tail one that we did join. You can’t go to an Amusement Park without some form of really unhealthy treat, right? Plus, we got bananas and Nutella on it, so we basically got nuts and fruit.

Instead of the rides, we rented bikes and rode around the island. It is really well designed with a lot of paths, and it was nice to just explore. The boyfriend had so much fun he might get a bike for next summer, or come back to Montreal with me to do it again.

It was a really great morning and we are looking forward to going back for some Stand Up Paddle Boarding soon 🙂

We opted for lunch in the city, ended up at a brunch place after walking around for quite some time.

It was mostly back to work when we got home, but it was a perfect Sunday to end a really productive and inspiring weekend!

 

“Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down the rainbow.”

-Douglas Pagels