What a Wonderful Thought

So, today is day two of “Three Days, Three Quotes”.  If you missed yesterday’s, or aren’t sure what I’m referring to, click here!

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Today’s quote is also one that has been sitting towards the top of my “favourites” album in my phone for a long time.  It’s so optimistic and pretty and it’s also really true.  It doesn’t matter how perfect your life may be right at this second, things can change so quickly (as I’ve learnt first hand this year).  It’s easy to get bogged down in negativity and thinking things will never get better.  It’s hard to let go of things that were so amazing, things you thought would always be there.  It’s difficult to believe you’ll ever be that happy again.  This quote reminds me that it’s possible…in fact, more than possible, it’s definite.  There are great days ahead, days you can’t even imagine, with people you probably haven’t met, in places you never knew about it.  Change is constant and sometimes for the best, even if it seems scary.  Six months ago, I’d never in a million years think I’d be where I am today.  If someone had of told me, I’d have laughed at them and told them they’re joking.  Instead, I’m not only there, but really enjoying it.  That’s why I picked this quote for today.

Today’s three nominees are blogs I just found within the last couple of days.  I hope you like them as much as I did 🙂
Stephellaneous
Life of an El Paso Woman
What Makes Me Amber

Come back tomorrow for my final thrilling installment 😉

Courage

So, I’ve been nominated for the “Three Quote, Three Day” Challenge.  I’m not sure if that’s the actual name or whether it’s just gotten lost like Chinese whispers but anyway, you get the idea.  One quote a day for the next three days.  This has probably been my favourite nomination so far, mostly because my phone is stuffed full of quotes that I’ve screenshotted or saved.  Now I have to narrow it down to my top three!  It’s made harder because it depends what mood I’m in.  My favourites change constantly.

Before I get too lost trying to pick one, I want to thank the very talented The V-Pub for the nomination.  If you’ve got a spare couple of minutes, check out his blog.  It’s great!

Anyway, today’s quote I’m posting is this.

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There is a couple of reasons I chose to post this.  Firstly, I love that it’s so simple yet so true.  When we’re little, we’re told stories of superheroes battling baddies and saving the world, all without fear.  While that too is courage, it isn’t real.  Plus, if you had magic powers like that, you probably wouldn’t be too terrified.  So I guess it actually isn’t all that courageous at all.  No, the best kind of courage is when you’re stuck in a terrible situation/event/drama and all you really want to do is run away, or build a pillow fort and hide in it with a scribbled note in pink crayon stuck to the doorway “leave me alone!”.  Instead of doing that though, you get up out of bed, pull on your shoes and face the issue with a brave face and a strong mind.  You get through it.  You survive it.  It doesn’t matter if it wasn’t fun, or if it hurt, or if you wished it had never happened.  The fact that you got up and got through it is courage.  It’s admirable.  It’s brave.  To anyone who has done that today, or yesterday, or anytime – you rock!  And to anyone having to face it in the future – you can do it, I know you can.
The second reason I chose this was because it seems appropriate.  It’s the first quote I put on my Instagram account and the first quote I set as a “favourite” in my iPhone.  And now, it is the first quote posted in this challenge.

The second part of this challenge is to nominate 3 bloggers.  As I’ve seen one blogger just do three and leave it at that, and another do three per day, I’m not sure which is correct (again, Chinese whispers happening).  To make it seem more matchy-matchy, I’m gonna run with three per day.  I love giving shout outs to different blogs, so this works okay for me.

Today’s nominations are:
Solo Mama Life
I Am Just Audrey
Kaboodle Mum

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s quote!  (It’ll probably take me that long to chose the next one ;))

-JD

“What was the Last Game You Played?”

The last game I played was my lifelong love, the Sims.  I was introduced to the game when I was about twelve, and I’ve never looked back.  One of my favourite childhood memories was playing the Sims 2 when I first got it.  There were so many amazing new features and adjustments from the original game and my sister and I spent hours exploring it.  There are always families you make that stick with you.  For TS2, it was Hayden and Alyssa and their brood of offspring.  As TS2 didn’t allow for the whole neighbourhood to age up simulatatiously (that was introduced in the Sims 3), I spent many hours playing Hayden’s family, then Alyssa’s.  I started with Hayden’s parents.  I saw them meet, fall in love, marry, get pregnant with him then his siblings.  Then I played Alyssa’s family and oversaw the same progression.  As these were some of my first families that were able to age up (the original Sims didn’t have an ageing feature), I got very attached to the families.  When I finally got Hayden and Alyssa to meet and marry, I was so happy.  It had taken so long to get the two families to become one, so it was really special.  They had kids, and I played through them too.

Anyway, I digress.  The game I played most recently was the Sims 3.  I have the Sims 4 but I just don’t like it.  I don’t like that the neighbourhoods are segmented, that it doesn’t age together, that it’s so complicated to get job promotions and romance happening.  I just feel like it’s a lot of hard work.  I especially don’t like that everything seems to have taken a backwards step – the babies are attached to their crib (the Sims 1 did that!), the neighbourhood doesn’t age together (the Sims 2 was the last to do that), no toddler age – my favourite age group (the Sims 1 was the first and only game prior to skip this).  This is why I’ve stuck with TS3.  It has massive amounts of expansion packs, custom content and is basically the best of all the games combined.

As I’ve played the game for so long, I’m always on the hunt for different ways to play.  The family I’m playing right now is the Johns.  I started with Aubrey, a young adult.  I put her on a vacant lot, used a cheat to completely wipe out her funds, and sent her to go fishing.  The only way she was allowed to earn money was from making it herself – she wasn’t going to get a 9-to-5 job, but she could do things such as fish, paint, write or steal.  For a long time, her day consisted of fishing from mid-afternoon to midnight, then inviting herself over to a random person’s house, then stealing 3 items from their house (as a kleptomaniac, she could steal 3 items every 24 hours, but I can’t control what she steals, only who she steals from and what room it’s taken from).  Slowly but surely she started to build her funds, and her house.  At first she was forced to used her local gym for toilet and shower usage, and she’d nap on one of the couches there.  She’d buy fruit and vegetables from the grocery store and snack on that.  It was great when she was able to afford things such as a bar fridge, toilet and bath.  It was even better when she could afford to build walls so she didn’t have to live under the stars.

Her whole young adult life was focused on building up her money and house.  When she aged up to adulthood, she had a small house with a few rooms, and a little bit of money tucked away.  She was driving a flashy car that she’d managed to steal, so that was nice.  The second part of this family challenge was she was to adopt all her kids, not get pregnant.  I did this as I’m so used to the old meet-marry-reproduce routine that I decided I wasn’t going to do this any more.  I also decided I’d use coin flips to decide the gender and age of the kids she’d adopt, and I’d use babynamegenie.com to randomly pick a name for them, as I liked in TS2 when you’d adopt, they’d come pre-named (something that doesn’t happen in TS3).  To add to the rules and to tie into the first part of the challenge, she had to have enough money to be able to give each adopted child their own bedroom.  She adopted her first – Logan, a toddler-aged boy – a few days after her birthday.  It was a lot of fun, though challenging, as she still had to fish and steal, along with teaching him how to walk, talk and use the potty (oh, that’s another rule too – all adopted kids must be taught the basics!).  She managed it though, even if it meant she was almost always in a constant bad mood and state of exhaustion.  After Logan aged up into childhood and went off to school, Aubrey adopted another boy, this time a baby named Owen.  This was an even bigger challenge as not only did it mean he was really young for longer than Logan was, but he needed care around the clock.  Aubrey began skipping her fishing trips more often, though still kept up stealing which was the higher-income-generator of the two.

After Owen aged up and was taught everything, Aubrey adopted Quincy, another male toddler.  Having two toddlers and a child and very little money was definitely tough, but I tried to get her back into fishing as much as possible.  On top of that, I also had to get her too cook dinners for Logan (she’d been living off quick meals until then but kids get hungry a lot more quickly with those).  The house was filthy with rubbish everywhere but she just didn’t have enough time to clean on top of everything else.

It was great when Owen aged into a child as it took the pressure off Aubrey a little bit.  She taught Quincy everything, and stole some quality stuff so she could afford to upgrade her house a little and build another room.  From there, she adopted her first daughter, a child named Tess.  It was great to finally adopt an older kid, as it’s a lot less work.  It meant that Aubrey could focus on fishing a lot more, and she soon had a lot more money than she’d had for a long time.

She then adopted a toddler named Boston.  Thankfully Logan was now a teenager, so he was a great help with the latest addition, and between the two of them, Boston was taught the basics very quickly.  The family was starting to really take shape and get everything together.  The kids were doing well in school, the money was flowing in steadily, everyone was in good moods.

Aubrey didn’t adopt any more kids for awhile, focusing instead on juggling the family she already had, earning extra money, cooking meals to feed all those mouths and keeping the house clean.  It seemed like her life was finally becoming easier and less of a struggle.  The kids all started to age up, they got good grades and had friends in school.

After awhile, Aubrey decided to welcome her final two additions to the family, two children – a girl named Rachelle and a boy named Shaun.  The house was at bursting point, but Aubrey didn’t want it any other way.  She achieved her lifetime wish of “Surrounded by Family” and aged up into an elder.

Currently, all the adoptees are teenagers.  Three of them are dating, all of them are doing well in school and the house (which started from an empty lot) is now 13 rooms big.  As per the challenge, each kid has their own room.  They’ve each got a desk in their room, and a bookshelf.

The family also found and adopted an unicorn named Pepper, who is a fantastic racehorse and super pretty.  It wanders around the neighborhood at will but always comes back to eat and sleep.  It’s a crazy household but it’s been a great challenge and is definitely different to how I usually play!

My favourite moment so far was when one of the boys accidentally set the kitchen on fire.  Fires are always dramatic in this game, and it spreads pretty fast.  All the household runs towards the fire (logic, right?) and stress and scream and basically just get in the way.  Well, Boston got too close and went up in flames.  Luckily, being a child-friendly game, he casually walked out of the flames, got his sister to extinguish him and he was good as new.  It was a stressful moment though as I don’t like any of my simmies to die!  After that happened, the fireman rocked up, and his name was Jeffery Jeffrey.  That’s one of the more amusing names the game has randomly generated!

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Do you play the Sims?  What’s your favourite family?

This prompt, and many more, can be found here

#loveme challenge – Day Twenty-Two

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Day 22 – What Makes You Unique?

Hmmmm.  Another question I’m not sure how to answer.  I tried to answer this last night but I actually couldn’t think of anything.  I guess because it’s all the small, trivial things that add up to big things that make me unique, so it’s hard to put it into words.  I don’t think I have anything big that sets me apart.  I actually don’t have a better answer than that. 😦

-JD

#loveme challenge – Day Twenty

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Day 20 – Something You Love to Wear

Ah, this one is definitely my favourite prompt!  I have a giant collection of Converse shoes in all different colours, patterns and designs – the crazier the better!  I have roughly 40 pairs and once I start having a steady income again, it’ll no doubt grow from there.  My favourite pair are my purple hi-top platforms, as they’re not only eye-catching but super comfortable as well.  When I was at my old work, I used to (naughtily) get away with wearing whatever shoes I wanted to (the bottom half of our uniform was jeans so it didn’t look terrible) so I got to make use of my collection.  This new job isn’t gonna be quite as flexible as that unfortunately, so back to weekend-only wear they all go 😦

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-JD

#loveme challenge – Day Nineteen

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Day 19 – Something I Feel Strongly About

Another very broad statement.  I feel strongly about a lot of things.  In fact, I’m sure my tangents drive people crazy sometimes.  What I feel strongly about today though is something that has divided nations and dinner tables everywhere.  We’re all firmly on one side of the fence or the other.  It’s a controversial yet oft-spoke about topic of debate.

Pinapple does not belong on pizzas.

There, I said it.  Fruit should not be touching my ham and cheese deliciousness (I know, I know, except for tomato, which is technically a fruit but is also an honorary vegetable in this instance).  Fruit should be kept until after the meal!  As a dessert, preferably in pie form.  Mmmm, pie.

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For those firmly on the opposite side of the fence, don’t tell me to just “pick it off”!  Pineapple is juicy, everyone knows that, so just because the little yellow devils aren’t on the bread any more, doesn’t mean we can’t still taste that it was there!

Way to ruin a good pizza, Hawaiians!  What side of the fence are you on?

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PS Yeah, I skipped yesterday.  Sorry.  Just picking up where I left off again!

#loveme challenge – Day Eighteen


Day 18 – Something that Feeds Your Brain

I think the best thing to feed my brain is reading.  It’s something I don’t do anywhere near enough of, but I can feel myself getting smarter (or at least, some of my smarts returning after magically disappearing once high school let out).  It’s something I did religiously as a kid.  I always had stacks of books waiting for me from the library, and I’d devoure story after story.  I remember I started with Grug as I was just beginning to read, then moved to Goosebumps and the Baby Sitters Club.  When I was a bit older I got into the Mary-Kate and Ashley books, then John Marsden’s the Tomorrow Series.  Then someone introduced me to the Sims and suddenly reading wasn’t so important any more.

I got back into it a couple of years ago, re-reading the Artemis Fowl books (which are awesome!), then getting lost in the back catalogues of Catherine Ryan Hyde and Jodi Picoult.  I finally got into Harry Potter as well.  So many wonderful stories and characters!  As much as I love video games and cartoons, nothing makes my brain tick like a good book.  I really do need to make more of an effort to keep reading.  It’s so easy these days to chuck on the TV instead.

-JD

#loveme challenge – Day Seventeen

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Day 17 – Something that Feeds your Soul

Whenever I’m feeling sick or sad or I can’t sleep, the best remedy I have is to put old episodes of The Simpsons, Rocko’s Modern Life or Rugrats on.  Cartoons – especially ones filled with nostalgia – make me feel like everything is okay.  It helps me switch off and relax, more than almost anything else can.  It takes me back to childhood and the sweet innocence of it all.  Plus, a bit of light comedy is always a good idea!

#loveme challenge – Day Sixteen

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Day 16 – Something You Like about Yourself

This is probably the hardest prompt I’ve had so far.  Although nothing immediately comes to mind (like a lot of females in this day and age probably), I guess I’m going to go with my inner strength.  Is that a strange answer?  Probably.  Honestly, it was a struggle to think of anything at all, which is kind of sad really.  I suppose that’s what this challenge is all about though!

Anyway, I chose my inner strength as I feel like over these past 5 years (especially this year) I have changed from a timid, shy person into someone who can deal with almost anything.  I’ve been dealt a lot of bad hands, met a lot of nasty people, made a lot of mistakes, lost family members and friends…and it’s all made me stronger.  I guess it all comes down to my mentality, and I’ve always been a believer in “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”…after this year, I’m proof of that.

I’ve had nights where I’ve shivered uncontrollably (to the point it probably would have almost looked like convolutions to outsiders), I’ve had days where I cried for hours, I’ve had moments of weakness where I’ve word-vomited my problems to a kind set of ears…but I always manage to pull myself together.  There’s always a strong voice shouting at me through the fog “okay, enough is enough, time to shake this off and get back to it”.  I don’t think anyone would blame me if I fell apart.  In fact, I’m sure some would expect it.  I haven’t though.  I’ve taken hit after hit and I’m doing okay.  I’m still standing.  I’m still fighting.  I’m refusing to let it all get to me.  I suppose part of the reason for that is if I do fall apart, I’m worried I won’t get back up.

Another reason though, is my amazing friends.  Being an introvert, I don’t have a lot of them, but the ones I do are so supportive and amazing.  I don’t have a particularly close relationship with any of my family, so without my friends I don’t think I’d be anywhere near as strong as I am.  Tying in with that, I’ve learnt in these past few years it’s okay to ask for help.  It’s okay to tell people you’re hurting or upset.  It’s okay to let people know you’re issues.  In fact, I’ve sort of come to rely on it.  Everyone knows my problems because I’m always looking for advise or a different outlook.  It’s part of my coping mechanism and while sometimes I wish I kept things to myself more, ultimately it helps me see things more clearly and to move forward with my life.

This was a tough post and it was a bit all over the place, but it’s the best I could do.  I’m trying to have more self-love and self-confidence but it’s a slow process.  I’m sure one day I’ll have a better response to this kind of question, but not today.

#loveme challenge – Day Fifteen


Day 15 – Something I Have Done Right

Another broad topic.  Why are the broad ones always the hardest?  Shouldn’t they be the easiest because you have so many options? Oh right. I’m indecisive.  That’s why.

I think the best thing I’ve done in a long while was move out of home.  This happened over three years ago now.  Ever since I was a pre-teen I was convinced I’d move out of my parents place the second I turned 18.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad place by any means.  I had food in the fridge when I wanted it, two little doggies, my own room and a Foxtel box all to myself.

Why would you ever move out? I hear you ask.

My sister has the right idea.  She’s staying there as long as possible, from what I can gather.  Once again showing just how opposite we are.

I’ve always been fiercely independent.  I don’t like being told what to do, or that I’m doing things wrong, or basically to even be spoken to when I’m in an introverted mood.  My mum is opinionated, talkative and somewhat bossy – I say that in the nicest possible way.  Everyone loves her.  She has heaps of friends and even my own friends adore her.  I’m only telling it like it is – we were just incompatible with living together.  The older I got, the worse our relationship became.  Almost every weekend, we’d have screaming matches over stupid things and one – or usually both – of us would end up in tears.  My dad was always stuck in the middle, seeing both sides and not really sure what to do to help.  He really tried, but truth is, he couldn’t fix it.  You can’t fix incompatibility.

While house sitting while the next door neighbours were away, I got a taste of freedom I couldn’t go back from.  I decided right then and there I wasn’t going back to my parents place.  I couldn’t.  I’d had a much better headspace away from them and I couldn’t put myself – or the rest of the family – through our volatile relationship any more.

I found out that my colleague was looking to move out too, and we quickly decided to find somewhere together.  At this stage I didn’t involve my parents at all.  I don’t know why.  I mean, I had this fear they’d tell me I can’t move out.  I was 21, it’s not like they could stop me, plus I’m sure they were enjoying not having to walk on eggshells while I wasn’t there.  Regardless, they didn’t know we were going to inspections every weekend.  We found a couple of places near our work and applied for them, not having any real clue of how it all worked.  We thought it was like job hunting, and you got knocked back more than accepted, which might be true in some areas and for some properties, but apparently not for the ones we applied for. Or maybe we were just ideal  candidates? Either way, we got accepted for both and had a difficult choice.  A flashy new apartment with a higher cost, or a not-so-new flat with slightly more space and less cost?  We went back and forth and eventually decided the extra money was worth it.  The apartment was walking distance from work, had a beautiful walking track, overlooked a lake and had a bus stop right outside (which was lucky because my house mate didn’t drive).

After we signed the paperwork I had to tell my parents.  I knew it would be awkward, just springing it on them, but I guess they saw it coming or didn’t mind, because they took it pretty well.

Neither of us had lived out of home before and for some reason, I decided I was buying absolutely everything new.  I had the savings for it so it wasn’t a big deal, but I guess it shows how naïve I was going into it.  Who buys everything brand new when they move into a rental?  Anyway, we hit up a long row of shops and I bought everything in one go.  Some stuff – like my dining table – I now hate and wish I’d taken more time on.  Most things though I haven’t had second thoughts about (luckily).  I love my squishy comfy couch and my smart TV and my hand chair and my washing machine.  Plus buying everything at once meant a got a good deal on a lot of it, so it wasn’t all bad.  I’d driven my dad’s van that day (thankfully) and came back with it filled to the brim with new goodies.

Then came moving day.  I’d never experienced one before, though I’d heard the horror stories. It went okay, though it was long and exhausting.  Some of the stuff (like the dining table, TV unit and couch) weren’t being delivered til later, so we made do with what we had until then.

It was a lot of fun, once we got settled.  It was amazing to sleep in until 8.30 and still be early for work at 9.  Prior, I’d be leaving at 7.30 to get there on time.  We saw beautiful sunsets almost every night, and we’d often sit on the porch overlooking the lake and talk.

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The best part is, my relationship with my mum improved ten-fold almost overnight.  Now that we weren’t constantly suffocating each other and pushing each other’s buttons, things became easier.  I got my independence, she got her daughter back.  Definitely the thing I’ve done most right in recent years, and I’ve never looked back!

-JD