Month: February 2013

InCoWriMo

At the very end of January, I (attempted to) resubmit my PhD thesis to Sheffield uni, having attacked all the revisions. This was an extremely complicated process, as it relied on file-sharing with a friend still at the Uni the other side of the Atlantic, persuading her, out of the kindness of her heart, to print 650 pages of the thing and get it bound for me, and meanwhile here in Canada, I had to print off a few important documents, sign declarations, then physically post my signature to England, along with a digital copy of the thesis on CD, then my poor supervisor has to collate the whole thing, sign his part of the forms, then distribute three copies to two examiners and the graduate research office, all without anyone involved actually being able to talk to each other!

So, as far as I was concerned, that was the last major hurdle. I feel like there is nothing more I can do to the bloody thing now. It is done with! And so, coincidentally, is Project B, but more on that in a sec.

This has of course left me a Gaping Hole in my evenings. I don’t actually like not having any projects or deadlines looming!

So it was by happy coincidence that I came across InCoWriMo! A total stranger’s post on Google+ led me to the page of International Correspondence Writing Month. The same principle as National Novel Writing Month – as in, inflicting a deadline and a structure to motivate you into writing something. In this case, it is writing 28 letters, one for every day in February. The emphasis is on handwriting though, and trying revive the dying art of writing real letters and sending them by snail mail.

Sadly, I only found out about this on 7th Feb so I had a week’s worth of letters to catch up on already, but I am making progress and I am now only two letters behind. The main difference between handwriting letters and sending them abroad, and emailing people or commenting on their status updates, is that digital/virtual correspondence is Free. Even if I only send these prepaid postcards to friends in the UK, twenty-eight of them are going to cost me in excess of $60. So, I am aiming to write 28 letters, but some of them may not be international, and some of them may be hand delivered….

Here’s some of the ones already sent!

Yes it’s from Someecards, and it was to Rachel Chapman Millinery, but I printed it out, handwrote on the back, and posted it in a real envelope!

One goes off to DarloBikeGirl in... erm, Darlo, the other is headed towards Nicaragua. First time I've written anything in Spanish for ages!
One goes off to DarloBikeGirl in… erm, Darlo, the other is headed towards Nicaragua. First time I’ve written anything in Spanish for ages!
Ok, so maaaaaaaaybe, just maybe, I might have given in to the tackiness of Valentine's Day
Ok, so maaaaaaaaybe, just maybe, I might have given in to the tackiness of Valentine’s Day
Flag going to an American living in England. The postcard says it depicts "Canada's natural beauty" - implying the flag is the best bit?!
Flag going to an American living in England. The postcard says it depicts “Canada’s natural beauty” – implying the flag is the best bit?!
I wrote a very tongue-in-cheek love letter entirely because there is a chance of me winning stationery - guess who it's to?
I wrote a very tongue-in-cheek love letter entirely because there is a chance of me winning stationery – guess who it’s to?
2013-02-12 19.31.05
My last blog post featured Alanis Morrisette. It’s not fair to deny her the cross-eyed bear!
Much like Nanowrimo, there is nothing to say the correspondence has to be a good read. Sorry for my inane waffling, Mark
Much like Nanowrimo, there is nothing to say the correspondence has to be a good read. Sorry for my inane waffling, Mark
Recounting recent highs and lows for Caz..
Recounting recent highs and lows for Caz..

This final one was not sent by me directly, but it is written typed by me, and it is from me. This is the aforementioned Project B: my new book. And some lovely, lovely friends have already bought it off Amazon! Mark tweeted this picture of it arriving in the post. Isn’t it SHINY?? 😀

Available here: http://amzn.com/1481049313
Advertisements

Sigue Buscando!

That means, “keep searching” in Spanish….

The other day was my birthday. I am 30, and I am HAPPY.

It is a bit crazy to think back, but this time last year I was on the beach (!!) in Redcar eating lemon tops with the Chapmen, with Miri and Nyx in pushchairs waiting patiently outside the tattoo shop. The year before that, I was trying not to freeze in my very new cafe in Darlington. Before that I was throwing up a lot with Miranda-related morning sickness and probably commuting to Sheffield on the train. February 2009, I was on a boat crossing Lago Nicaragua on route to the coffee lands of Costa Rica. Four Years…. gees!

Image
My birthday, 2009, in Picoteo cafe, Matagalpa, Nicaragua. The sign says “Sigue buscando” – keep looking.
(with Andie Reynolds, Emma Navarro and my personal one-man mariachi band! )

I did once write a sort of bucket list, or rather a “30 Things to do before I am 30” list. I do still have it, and I am not going to publish it on here (to protect the guilty) but I can say that it contained things like opening a cafe, getting published, having a baby, and moving to Canada. In fact, I’ve completed 28 of the 30 things. The missing two were “Visit Laos and Belarus because they have funky names” and “learn Welsh or Finnish”.

For my thirtieth, much beer was involved as usual, only mainly homebrewed stuff! We saw some friends, Miranda proved herself a hardcore party girl and stayed up until 12.40am and I learned a lot of weird and wonderful things. For example, over here, heather (as in, the plant) is an exotic, hard to come by luxury; “nh bashtr sardyn” is “no more omelettes” in Farsi (Persian); I know somebody geeky enough to have programmed a Raspberry Pi to accurately measure and adjust the alcohol content of his homebrew beer, and that talking microwaves not only make great flatmates but also keen babysitters. Just the normal sort of conversations then…

It got down to -49 degrees celcius (with windchill) the other week. When I posted this online, I was instantly set upon by a friend calling it INSANE and therefore I must be insane for *wanting* to move here. Well, it was a bit cold, I admit. But I get into work every day feeling very proud of myself for having survived walking in it. In all seriousness though, I couldn’t be happier here.

My mood was lift greatly (yep, it was possible) by having gotten myself a new job of sorts. I took great pleasure in quitting the restaurant as soon as I was able (work permit renewals allowing!). Keen readers may well have read between the lines of this blog, or at least, read meaning into some conspicuous absences. I have not written much about my job here for good reason: if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. That place will not get any more free publicity from me, negative or otherwise, so I won’t go into too many details. Suffice to say, one of the sillier conversations recently was about co-authoring a book with a friend who endured a similar situation, called “Vampire Jobs: Sucking the Life out of Employees”! But now, I am back behind a fantastic espresso machine in a proper coffee shop, and also starting a little venture into self-employment again. See link in my blogroll>>>

So, life is generally brilliant, and Regina is definitely cathartic (*snigger*). But even though I am now thirty and therefore OLD and my list is complete, ‘yo seguiré buscando‘. Life is good, but it is not over! I will continue searching… This is just the start. Who knows what I’ll find next?

[The following song is included for relevance and to fulfill your daily CanCon requirements!]

Good ol’ nekkid Alanis!