Proud, Excited and Thankful list 2014

Hello 2015,

How have you been doing? It has been a lovely one month since I disappeared. Where have I been? Mostly in the kitchen doing dishes. (again) We also had family get-togethers, I sewed stockings for everyone, there was some crazy Settlers of Katan playing, Zsolt and travelled to CUBA . . . and then played more board games by the beach.

Cuba Kiss

It was a holiday. A beautiful freaking holiday. Now we’re well into 2015 and there are projects ahead. But first and foremost, I think this is a good moment to stop and reflect. While on the beach in Varadero, I took out my notebook and scribbled out my Proud, Excited and Thankful list for 2014.

(I also scribbled down a few observations of Cuba. Here they are: A boy runs down the beach not checking for jelly fish – scanning the crowd of sun thirty Canadians crowding along the shore; Girls in cargo mini skirts and black fish net stockings who scan luggage as you pass through customs. Black hair, no smiles and thick black eyeliner; How do you recognize a Canadian in Cuba? They have a whooping cough; don’t trust friendly Cubans in Havana who want to take you to a ‘free salsa festival’ . . . you’ll end up in a cafe playing for all the drinks; Late night tango with couples on the Paseo del Prado, not a show – just life; bright old cars and explosions of diesel dark exhaust; casas from an age where the remote is still in the wrapping; Coconut taxis; turquoise water and shallow waves; laughter, kisses, and sun burns.)

So, 2014 was a really lucky year for me, and this is a list definitely work making

What I’m proud of:

  1. First and foremost I’m proud of my husband, Zsolt. He put a lot of work into his company this past year and pushed far, far past his comfort zone. It’s not easy for a Hungarian physist with zero business training to go into the world and advocate for his business. It’s just not. But he did it. He is doing it. I am so damn proud of him. (Of YOU Zsoltster!)
  2. Ottawa Writes. It’s a podcast about writing that my friend and I started for fun. I think we’ve been producing great content, and I think it’s only getting better in 2014 as we rebrand and reshape the show. Weird. I’m on a podcast? Weird. But cool. Frankly, I’m also proud of myself for saying “yes” to something so totally new.
  3. NaNoWriMo! That’s write. I did it. Now . . . to keep on doing it. BAH!
  4. Getting up and getting on. It’s not easy. To be honest, despite really awesome scans this past year, I haven’t made it easy on us with plenty of emotional breakdowns. But hey – we get up, and we get on. That’s something to be proud of.
  5. Magazine Article Writing – Hey yeah! I got to share some Vanier loving in Ottawa Magainze, plus I wrote one of my best articles ever in LIVES affected by Cancer.

What I am/was Excited for:

  1. Little trips. Since Big Z and I decided not to travel this past year, we’ve instead taken little weekend trips here and there. So, we have gone here and there and I love that. 2014 has been a year for little adventures – so that 2015 can be the year for AWESOME BIG adventures. Look out Hungary, we are coming for you again!
  2. Hair! I’ve got a lot of it now :)
  3. Ottawa Writes again! We are rebranding in 2015 as Write Along Radio – and that is a big new challenge. Every Tuesday evening Kevin and I record an episode. It’s such good fun. It’s exciting good fun.
  4. Cottaging. *See more in ‘Thankful’
  5. Christmas Stockings! I sewed amazing stockings for my whole family (not including the Samsons) and they are freaking darling. Seriously beautiful. It’s really wonderful to create with your own hands, and know it’s something that not only looks good but is clearly filled with love.Family Picture
  6. Annnd Pic Monkey. Seriously, I love that program.

What I was Thankful for in 2014:

  1. *Board games: What? Well, you see, last year my family and I began playing board games while renting a lovely cottage in Quebec. We played Settlers of Katan, to be specific, and I think it’s giving us a thread of connection. Since that cottaging time, we’ve gotten together over and over to play more. It’s so fun and to be honest, I’m so grateful for this time with them. So, that tops my list of gratitude.
  2. Health. 2014 was the year of good scans. I don’t need to say more, do I? This is a blessing. Now listen up 2015, I want you to learn from 2014 and keep on trend. Man, it’s nerve wracking business, but I am very thankful for this year of health. (Which included the Vitamin C infusions, by the way. My veins won’t let me do it anymore – they keep collapsing, but I am so very, very grateful for every infusion.)
  3. Facing Cancer Awesome Ladies
  4. FacingCancer.ca. I have worked with them for over two years. They made me community manager and took a chance on my social media skills. It’s been such an honour to work for them. My gratitude just pours out for all they have done by letting me do what I’ve so enjoyed – chatting online with friends, reading stories, being there for others. In 2015 I’ve officially stepped back from that role, and will now just be a happy blogger over on their site. That’s a big change, but of course they were so wonderful about it. They’re wonderful plain and simple.
  5. Hair. I’ve been growing it, it’s long now. I love it. LOVE IT.
  6. An AMAZING book launch!
  7. Cups of tea! With my mom, my dad, and my amazing friends who are always happy to trek out to Bridgehead.
  8. ZSOLT!!!! He’s my most wonderful of wonderful. My Zsolt

So there it is, my 2014 Proud, Excited and Thankful list, as crafted on a beach in Cuba. My wish and prayer for 2015 is more good scans, and also to bike along the shore of Lake Balaton, sail in the Queen Mary, be at home in Pecs, find a beautiful new apartment in Ottawa, grow my podcast, build Zsolt’s business, write more stories and have fun, fun, fun. Bottom line: to enjoy life.

Wishing you a wonderful year to come.

Till the next post!

Catherine

P.S. I’m also grateful for The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Thank you so much, S.C.!

My Reading from Blog Out Loud

Not so long ago, the Ottawa International Writers Festival had welcomed Lynn’s Blog Out Loud event to their venue. I was lucky enough to be chosen to read at the event. Well, now you can see the reading – ifyou like. :) There are some great blog posts read during this evening, so I encourage you to watch the whole video and do feel free to watch the other segments. If you want to skip ahead, I come onto the screen around 16:45 and read an old blog post “Riding the train in Hungary

The video has been acting a bit wonky, so I’ll add the click-to-link here as well: http://vimeo.com/111226494

Life between the scans

So, upon my request, my oncology and CT appointments are being moved.

It’s funny, a lot of this business with cancer really does take place in the mind. I happen to be in the very fortunate circumstance where there isn’t any pain. Many others don’t have that luxury, but I do and I am thankful for this moment. The pain in my chest has quieted down, and I only get that wheeze when my anxiety kicks in. Actually, as I’ve said before, different moods seem to trigger different reactions in my chest.

Anyhow, all that to say, the appointments are being moved. Some may say it’s risky to move the scan back five weeks. But there are always risks in this “game” of health. There’s the risk of over-treating, the risk of under-treating, the risk of too much radiation, the risk of not knowing what is happening, the risk of knowing too much, the risk of knowing too little.

Or I guess you could say, they are the choices. There are a lot of choices, and yet sometime it also feels like I have no choice at all. This shit is happening and I am dealing.

little bug

Lady Bug. She’s happy to offer a distraction from the swearing in this post.

I have chosen to move my CT scan by five weeks so that for just a little window of time, it can feel like life isn’t all about cancer. This isn’t a cowardly decision, it’s a brave one. That’s how I see it. What is life all about anyhow? Is it about the terror of scans and the waiting for results? Fuck no. Those are not the benchmarks I want to live by. I get the need to be aware and be strategic and yet I need my dose of “normal” too.

Anyhow. Don’t get me started :)

The scans are postponed and I’m happy about it (and apparently defensive). They aren’t gone, but they will keep. And then, once they arrive, life will reboot and we’ll start again from scratch. That’s what it feels like after each of these tests, it feels like starting again from scratch – for better or for worse and no matter what the news, I need to recover and rebuild.

In the meanwhile, I’m dreaming again. It’s a possibly bad habit that I am associating my happiness with my busy project creation, but ever since last year I’ve been compelled to go-go-go.

There is the book, my Literary Love, which I will leave alone for a little while apart from a book signing in June.

And I’m also working on a project to help local writers find one another more easily within Ottawa. Kevin and I are creating a podcast to go with the #OttawaWrites venture, and that is rather exciting. More news to come.

Zsolt and I maintain our big dream of living in both countries, though I’m honestly scared sometimes we won’t get to realize those moments if we keep putting them off. Next year is our ten year anniversary and Zsolt wants us to go back to Nice where we met. :) He is awfully romantic. And I just want to make it there. I want to make it there, and then I want to make it much, much further for years upon years of growing businesses, travelling to Hungary and back, visiting new places, writing in this blog and so much more. Maybe we’ll get a dog?

I’d love to start planning writing retreats for writers, bloggers, authors, etc. Can you imagine going somewhere beautiful and being encouraged to write, write, write while also having a group of like-minded folks to bounce off ideas? A special time made just for you and your passion? That’s what I’d like to do, and I have absolutely no idea how to start that rolling!

Hello gorgeous place to write and retreat! This is from Le Nordic outside of Ottawa, it’s a cabin in the woods by a spa with about 10 different saunas, rest spaces and excuses to live in your bathrobe.

I’d like to also maybe one day set up a writer’s house – which would work just like those shared office hubs – where people could book time to come and work/write and have resources for editing, designing, printing etc. And this place would be in a gorgeous location that feels like a retreat even though it’s really connected to town. :) I don’t know. I just feel like creating and entrepreneuring :)

Plus, I want to give myself time for my own personal creativity – whatever that may be. My next project may not be a book, or maybe it will be . . . I don’t know until I find the quiet space in which to experiment. I have this mental image of throwing spaghatti against the wall till something sticks. That’s kinda the way it goes with me and my mind.

So many ideas.

So many ambitions.

There is so much life to live in between the scans. Putting them off five weeks is a good compromise, I guess. Ideally I’d run away from everything and go live on a beach with Zsolt somewhere. But since isn’t an option . . . five extra weeks, and then we’ll start again.

P.S.

Holy Moly, look what just landed in my inbox today (1 day after the post). Did some sophisticated cookies or internet spiders do this? I swear I didn’t google Nice, France, I only wrote it in the blog. I’m quitely freaking out now as I read way too much into this as a sign . . .when it could simply be very strategic marketing. How is a girl meant to distinguish a sign from the universe from google ninja internet crawlers?! Now I’m all “maybe we should jump on a plane now while we can!” vs “be practical, you are saving for big dreams!”  Air Canada, you done confused me. Probably best to ignore the coincidence since it’s most likely google ninja crawlers. . . I hope, hope, hope.

Air Canada