March: the Month in Photography

MARCH 6TH

I went to the beach and tried to fly a kite yesterday! It was a really bad kite, I got it when I was ten and never learned how to fly it. As a kid, I thought every single one of my minor hobbies was going to turn into a global career, so I got this ridiculous stunt kite and thought I was going to be, like, so good at flying a kite. But it’s awful, it just nosedives into the ground at the slightest change of the wind, and I ended up breaking it, but it was still a fun time.

MARCH 13TH


Today was the first day of spring break, and I actually had a really good day. I went on a walk in the woods and took a bunch of really pretty pictures, I got everything done on my to-do list, and talked with both of my friends on the phone for a really long time. It’s not often my brain decides to cooperate with me like this–and I can just, like, do things without having to coax and bribe myself into the smallest task, or act of self-care. Oh, I made this really good chocolate chip banana bread! That was pretty awesome.

I finished up editing the second episode of that audio drama I’m working on, too! I really hated this script for a while, but listening back through it and doing the final edits, I… actually kinda felt proud. And that was pretty awesome.

MARCH 21ST


So, I just got back yesterday from this super-remote, middle of nowhere cabin. There was no WiFi or anything, I didn’t see a single other human being except for other cars on the road. It was really nice, I took lots of pretty pictures, and I had a really great time.

I’ve been getting into a really bad habit of just scrolling and scrolling and scrolling through social media for hours and hours, and feeling really miserable but still going back at it, because social media is very addictive, and it was really nice to get away from that for a while, and the constant anxiety the internet causes me. I’ve been trying to spend less time on my phone, and, like, be mindful of how being online all the time effects me? I don’t know, it’s nice, here’s a photo I thought turned out cool.

MARCH 23RD


This is a picture I took at the beach today, I thought it looked really pretty! I can’t believe it’s almost April, time just feels like it’s going by so fast. I’m almost done with tenth grade now, and before I know it I’m gonna be a high school junior, and that’s pretty wild!

MARCH 27TH


The cherry trees are starting to bloom here! I love spring so much, it’s really exciting to see everything coming together, and extra-fun/but also kind of stressful because my gardening job has just resumed in earnest, and everyone wants work to be done on their yard. But I genuinely do like helping other people out, and after a little while I get acclimatized to that schedule again, it’s just a lot to adjust to after three months off. I went on this really pretty walk today, and the ground was nice and dry, and it wasn’t too cold. I put on some music and wandered around the woods, and took this photo.

MARCH 31ST


Okay, so I meant to write/finish this post up earlier, but you know me, I guess I just have to always do things last-minute. Because it is fun. (No, it’s not, I really need to stop, but that is another story.) I took this picture on another forest-walk with a friend a few days ago. It’s been so pretty and sunny out of late, and honestly it’s really been helping my mental health. Things feel like they’re looking up, somehow, which is… a really weird feeling, but a good one.

Hopefully it’s not going to crash and burn in a few days. It probably will. Oh well. I’ll see you next month!

Lots of love,

Lorna

My favourite books/podcasts/tv shows

Hey everyone! So, I haven’t done one of these posts for a while–not because I was any busier than usual, I just I don’t consume media at that fast a rate I can put together a good post every week. I hope that makes sense! Anyway, here are some of my favourite things from the past god-knows-how-long-by-the-time-I-post-this, hopefully you enjoy. 🙂

Gideon The Ninth

Okay, so my friend let me borrow this book and oh my gosh, it is so cool. The worldbuilding! The characters! The prose! This book just kinda ticks all the boxes for me.

Simply put, it’s about lesbian necromancers in space–it’s wild and chaotic in the best way possible, without feeling poorly planned, unapologetically lavish and dramatic, and all at the same time manages to absolutely chew up your heart and spit it out on the floor. It follows Gideon, a servant indentured to the Ninth House–one part of a futuristic necromancer cult. (Or maybe they’re just a whole society? It’s never made clear if people exist outside of the cult, or this is just all that’s left of humanity, in this book anyway, I’m still reading the sequel.)

Gideon’s character is so interesting, because she’s bitter and sarcastic and deeply wounded by her past, but deep down has such a big heart, and is also just absolute chaos, I like her a lot. Anyway, her and her longtime nemesis Harrow–basically the princess of the Ninth House, and an incredibly powerful necromancer who’s been raised for glory and power and glory and power alone– are forced to team up, and I think you can see where this is going. Their relationship is so well-written, and. But there’s also, in no particular order: murder, like a lot of murder, political intrigue, super cool worldbuilding, the most gorgeously written fight scenes, and a lot more. This book has something for everyone, and I can’t recommend it enough.

The Left Right Game

Okay, so I just finished binge-listening to this podcast yesterday and HOLY SHIT! This is one of the most polished, elegant (for lack of better wording) shows I’ve listened to in ages. Now that I’ve worked on producing some audio stuff myself, I have such a deep respect for how much work must have been poured into every aspect of this show’s production.

I don’t want to spoil too much, but: this show follows Alice Sharmin, a twentysomething journalist working on what should have been a small, fifteen-minute radio piece on something known as the Left/Right Game, where you get in your car, take the nearest left, then the nearest right, and so on, until you reach the end of the road–checking up on reports of strange happenings that follow, should you follow this pattern for long enough. It’s fast-paced and full of exciting twists and turns, absolutely terrifying at times, but there are some real moments of beauty in between too, and the ending absolutely destroyed me, oh my gosh. You need to listen to this show!

The Dangerous Gift

So, as we’ve established, middle grade fantasy was pretty much my entire childhood, and where almost all of my positive memories of that time rest, honestly. Wings of Fire was one of those series that kinda raised me, I wrote a ton of fic for it when I was in middle school and I still do for fun sometimes. The world has always been this really safe, warm place for me to run too when my own stories were too wild and crazy to handle, and I’m really grateful to these books for giving me somewhere to figure out who I am, and grow up as a writer, I guess? I don’t know, they make me feel things, and anyway, the new book came out on March 2nd, and I’ve been absolutely losing my mind over it ever since.

For some quick context: Wings of Fire is this book series about a world full of dragons, who, rather than being magical props, have their own inner worlds and adventures, etc. And this one follows a young queen, Snowfall, who was forced to take over her kingdom after her mother was killed by a deadly plague. She struggles with anxiety about whether or not she’s a good enough queen, and doesn’t have a clue how to go about ruling her kingdom, which she loves so much, and just wants to serve as best she can. Her whole arc is about learning how to empathize with others, and become more secure in her own abilities. I don’t know, it really hit home for me, I could definitely relate to a lot of the things she goes through. We get some really interesting backstory in this book, too, and setup for the finale of this story arc. After I finished, I just kinda sat there for a while and stared at the wall, it was just so good, and made me feel all the feelings.

Like I said, these books have helped me through so much–I don’t know what exactly it is, but pretty much all of the characters I can connect to something I’ve gone through, which is either a wild coincidence, or a testament to how well they’re written. I don’t know where I’d be without them, and I’m just really glad they exist in the world.

Infinity Train

My friend got me into this show, and we finished the third season about a week ago, but I’ve kinda just been processing it ever since, because oh my god, it was so good. Infinity Train follows an endless, magical train designed to, essentially, force character development for the passengers, all of whom are taken aboard at some kind of impasse in their lives, and only let out when they feel better It’s definitely not as wholesome as it sounds though, or in any way a kids show, but I really love it–the worldbuilding is so cool, the characters are really well done, I love the art style, and also holy shit this show knows how to do horror good. It has some really interesting themes too–the source of a lot of the show’s horror is the idea of any one person being able to revoke another’s status as human, something that keeps coming back throughout each self-contained season, following one of the passengers on this train as they work through their issues. Its fourth and final season comes out in April, and I’m super excited!

Okay, I think that’s about all I have to gush about today! I don’t know how long it’s gonna take me to consume enough content to make another one of these posts again, but hopefully it’ll be soon. I’m gonna be offline this Friday, and I decided to take a break, but normal poetry posting is going to resume the week after this one.

Lots of love,

Lorna

February: the Month in Photography

FEBRUARY 6TH

It’s been actually, like, sunny here again?! So, that’s wild. I’ve been getting really into my Biology 12 course, it’s actually super interesting, especially the stuff about DNA. We’ve been learning about cloning and gene therapy and stuff–which is objectively terrifying, but also really fun to think about, love me a good moral dillemma. And I have a story idea that vaguely involves it too. This is the first time I’ve actually been interested in schoolwork in a while.

It’s just been a week, honestly. Time feels like it’s flying by way too fast, and way too slow at the same time. I haven’t been sleeping good, which isn’t helping either.

FEBRUARY 17TH

I made myself so tired last night, I felt like I was gonna throw up. (Which is a thing you can do, according to Healthline.com, so yeah.) I got eight and a half hours of sleep, which is downright luxurious compared to what I normally ge, and still kinda feel like shit. I’ve been getting waves of nausea all day today, and I keep getting headaches, and kind of vaguely feel like I might pass out, which is fun. I’m gonna try and go to bed early tonight, which hopefully should clear things up.

FEBRUARY 25TH


So, full disclosure, I did not actually take this picture on February 25th, but deal with it–it snowed, and I took enough pictures to easily last me through the rest of the month, and as a bonus, presents the illusion I actually experience this much snow. (When in reality, I think we’ve had like four days of snow this year, and lots and lots of rain.)

I’ve been working really hard on a bunch of different projects, and trying to get better at taking care of myself. For the first time in, like, pretty much forever, doing this stuff doesn’t make me feel like I’m pulling out my own teeth or something–attempting to get enough sleep, making myself nice meals, drinking enough water–you get the idea.

I’ve been going on long walks, just wandering around and exploring on my own for hours on end, and thinking about my life, and for the first time, it doesn’t feel like a bad thing.

I’m gonna be going back to work, starting to garden for people again in a few weeks, which I’m actually really excited about, I might have a new client? The weather is finally warming up, the sun isn’t setting at four in the afternoon? Honestly, things are looking up.

FEBRUARY 27TH

I can’t believe the month is almost over!

I don’t really have anything exciting to write about, not much is going on right now–but I really like this picture, I went on a walk in he woods the other day, as one does, and found lots of cool things, including but not limited to: this puddle, a punch of sticks arranged in a Pentagram, a bunch of branches the wind had blown over, a cool tree, and some weird animal prints. (But I don’t have pictures of those, because my phone died.)

MARCH 1ST

So, full disclosure, as I write this it is very late at night, and I’m tired, but I need to get this post done, so if this turns out absolutely incoherent or really weird, now you know why.

I’ve been wandering around the forest some more of late, and listening to music on my phone, and writing an honestly concerning amount for one of my projects, and sort of neglecting the other, which is probably not too great, but at least I’m having fun.

Also, I just rebranded the blog a little bit–since in the next year, I’m hoping to expand this site beyond poetry, although I don’t quite know what that’s gonna look like yet. But I can’t wait to figure it out.

Okay! I will be back next month, so until then, I guess. Here’s hoping March won’t be too terrible? I guess?

Lots of love,

Lorna

January: Month in Photography

JANUARY 3RD

So, I’m starting off this year the right way: very, very tired, and totally terrified for going back to school tomorrow.

I’ve made my breakfast in advance, I have a few outfit options planned out in my head, and I’m gonna try and get up really, really early so I’ll be there on time. (Which is a thing I want to do, probably. I can show up whenever I want, technically, I’m just doing online courses at the school computer lab, but getting there after the bell always makes me feel icky and gross.)

I just want things to be better, you know? I want this time to be different! I want to finally feel safe in a stupid school building! But… I probably won’t.

JANUARY 8TH

There’s only been one week of 2021, but it feels like two months have already passed somehow. I’m in a weird headspace. Bouncing between giddy and ecstatic to self-destructive and miserable, which is probably not the healthiest thing, but it’s just how things are right now.

Things are really coming along, with the podcast. I just have to cast for extra roles, but other than that, I’m done! And I’m gonna be done editing the scripts first season in a month or so, which is nice.

It’s been weirdly warm around here, like springtime already. Which actually made a river flood by my house, but you know, I’ll take any sunlight I can get at this point.

JANUARY 13TH

Things have been pretty rough of late–I’m not gonna lie. My sleep schedule is a mess, and I’m really tired. I don’t have enough to do right now, and it’s driving me insane. Everything is coming just a bit too easy, and I don’t like that. I need a challenge, I need something to keep my crazy brain energy focused. I’m gonna try and tackle a project I’ve been procrastinating on tomorrow, so maybe that’ll help.

I’m wrapping up a project for school, next week I start Biology 12.

It’s starting to get lighter, now. My mom told me we get eight minutes more of daylight every day. I don’t know if that’s true, but I like how it sounds.

JANUARY 17TH

Sometimes, I feel okay. I feel like I’m doing pretty good given my circumstances, and things are gonna be fine. When I close my eyes, and I can picture exactly where I want to be in ten years.

But then there are… the bad days. When I just kinda zone out, for hours, and watch TV or read a book or whatever, and suddenly two hours have passed and my room is dark and depressing, and I have a thousand things to do, but instead I spent my whole morning binge-watching The Queen’s Gambit.

I feel like I’m not going fast enough. Like I’m running out of time.

JANUARY 22ND

I think I’m starting to feel better. It’s probably just because of all the nice weather of late, and the fact that the sun is starting to set just a little bit later every day–but I have been feeling better. I’ve been working really hard at some projects of late. Been thinking a lot about my old writing, and rereading through some old stuff– which has been a bit of a rollercoaster.

I kinda have a gag reflex type thing with my own writing, where I read two words and decide I hate an entire project on instinct.

But it’s not the end of the world. I can get over it.

JANUARY 31ST

Everything feels like it’s slowing down. Like my brain has gone into hibernation.

Last night, I deep-cleaned my bathroom, vacuumed my room, started a laundry load, made my bed, washed my face, and played guitar. Put on my headphones and worked on writing for hours on end, letting all my thoughts slip away. It was nice. I really felt proud of myself–felt calm, and safe, and relatively all right.

Like a girl with her shit together. To some degree, at least.

I only hate myself a good half of the time. And the pressing, constant anxiety is still there, of course it is, hammering at the edges of my skull. I see what-ifs, I see nightmare scenarios, I cringe at mistakes I haven’t even made yet, I live half in the future and half in the past. Honestly, sometimes I just want to throw my computer out the window and forget about any of this stuff.

But I don’t. And I guess that’s something, you know?

Low-effort meal ideas for bad brain days

So, because I’m at home most days, I usually make breakfast and lunch for myself. Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty all right at cooking (I like to think, anyway) and specifically, cooking when you’re struggling to hold your shit together as is. I’m vegan, so all of this stuff I would make without meat and whatnot, but I don’t think any of these are Vegan Food ™, or really that rigid, and could be customized to whatever your diet is.

For me cooking can be really helpful on bad days–it’s not always fun or easy, but it is an act of caring for myself that I’m forced to do, even if I don’t feel like it. And sometimes, just doing the exact opposite of what my brain wants me to do can help me feel better.

From an anxiety side of things, I also really like feeling self-reliant, and knowing I can take care of myself at a basic level if I need to, it’s very soothing. I don’t know, that might not be your thing, but for me it’s been really helpful, so anyway–here is my unsolicited advice for cooking on bad days.

Breakfast

Some form of toast

This is sort of a no-brainer, I don’t know if I even need to write it down, but come on, it takes five minutes and some peanut butter, it’s relatively filling, and makes me feel like I’m six years old again, in the fun, nostalgic way, which I’m not complaining about. Avocado toast is also a great depression food, beans on toast can be nice if you have a bit more energy, you get the drill.

Smoothies

I’ve never been a smoothie fan, even now I have them all the time I’m not a huge fan of them–they always vaguely remind me of baby food, and for some reason I can’t put my finger on, I just don’t trust them? But they are objectively, very practical, relatively healthy, and they only take five minutes to make, and for those reasons I have learned to tolerate their presence in my daily life.

They’re also great for winter, since you can just use frozen fruit when everything else isn’t in season. I like to make mine a night ahead, so if I need to sleep in, I can just grab it, run, and finish my smoothie on the ride to school, which means ten more minutes of sleeping. (I know that doesn’t sound like much, but trust me, it is.)

Fruit salad

This is really just a reiteration of a smoothie, but you get to chew things, so I don’t feel like a hospital patient or a newborn baby or something, which is nice. It takes five minutes to chop up whatever fruit you have in your fridge and shove it in a bowl–it’s not gourmet, but it works, and you can change up what fruits you use so you don’t get bored of too fast. And there’s not much cleanup afterwards, which is a huge plus.

Overnight oats

This is another one of those foods I have a very mixed relationship with. To be honest, they don’t taste all that great, they’re kinda overhyped–but they are tolerable, and easy to prepare in advance for school mornings when I don’t have time to cook, so for that reason I will list them here. Here’s a recipe that looks all right–I assure you there are no shortage of these out there though, so feel free to try out a few if that’s your thing.

Lunch/Dinner

Pasta salad

There’s something about literally any kind of pasta that’s so comforting to me? That might just be a weird me thing, but either way, I’m not fighting it. You can usually throw pasta salad together in twenty minutes or less if you really simplify it, and the cleanup isn’t too bad. For some reason, when I’m having a bad day, having to cook lots of things is way more intimidating than having to chop lots of things, since if you get overwhelmed, you can take a step away without risking the smoke alarm going off or a pot boiling over. (And also, chopping things is really soothing, at least for me.) Here’s a recipe I use for reference, honestly you can pretty much wing this, but here you go anyway.

Quesadillas

This might just be because I’m going through a huge anything-you-can-make-with-a-tortilla phase right now. (Burritos, wraps, tacos, etc.) But I’ve made these a few times, and they’re surprisingly pretty simple, and pretty damn good if I do say so myself. This is a fairly simple recipe I’ve been using–it says it takes half an hour, but I’ve done it in twenty minutes. (Maybe because my cooking style involves turning the heat really high and barely avoiding burning things in the hope of saving myself, like, ten minutes.) Here’s a non-vegan recipe that looks pretty simple.

Lemon-broccoli pasta

This is another food I weirdly associate with being a kid, even though I don’t think I had it that often. But it used to be my favourite thing when I was, like, six, and now it’s my comfort food. Anyway, it only takes me about ten to fifteen minutes, I can usually wing it and have it turn out pretty okay. This is way more complicated than what I’d usually do, but this recipe looks okay for a vegan take on it, and here’s a regular one. You can get fancy with this if you really feel like it, but you really don’t have to.

Any kind of bowl

So, I used to think bowls were kinda dumb, but my friends’ mom makes super good glory bowls, and she kinda changed my mind about them. They’re super easy to assemble and usually don’t make too much of a mess. Basically, the whole concept of a bowl is that you have a protein, a starch (rice, quinoa, couscous, etc) and some vegetables, all shoved in a bowl together with pretty assembly and some nice dressing. There are lots of different takes on this, but as a starting point, here’s some ideas for rice bowls that look okay.

Soups

So, soups are very-time consuming to make and very stressful to make, but they’re super comforting to have on a bad day, at least in my opinion, and you can keep them in the fridge for a while too. So if you have about forty minutes to spare, and feel like you can take it on, they’re not a bad option. If you’re not in the mood for something complicated, my favourite thing to do is homemade tomato soup, which only takes about twenty minutes and reminds me of being five, in a good way. 🙂

A few miscellaneous tips

  • If you don’t have any cookbooks in your house, you can print out pretty much any recipe online for free. Food blogs can be very cheery and obnoxious at times, but there are some pretty good ones out there, and they kinda grow on you. All the options can be overwhelming, which is a drawback–and you will end up with a few weird recipes, but overall it works pretty well for me, because I’m too cheap to buy actual cookbooks and all the ones my family has are really old, and I’ve made all the recipes far too many times over.
  • Something that’s really helped me out of late is making meals ahead, and having at least a rough meal plan for the week. It helps make cooking feel much less monumental and all-consuming somehow, and takes away the stress of having to decide after a long day what you’re going to eat, which is half the battle in my experience.
  • This is something I still struggle with–but try to start cooking before you get hungry and your sanity goes out the window, it’s not a good idea. If you’re already having a bad day and then your blood sugar is crashing and the smoke alarm goes off and then you realize you don’t have an ingredient, you will cry, and end up spending way more time in the kitchen anyway.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. At least for me, I tend to commit to making things at a much larger scale than I can handle, because I’m an overachiever, and half of the time it works out and half of the time, I have a mental breakdown. There’s a place for pushing your boundaries, and there’s a place knowing your limits and respecting to them.
  • It doesn’t really take more time to cook tons of something in one fell swoop, and just save a bunch of leftovers for later–so whenever you have the energy to cook, capitalize on it and make a ton of food so it’ll last you the next few days. Just knowing that you’ve got that taken care of takes some stress out of your day, and if you already have limited energy and are dealing with a lot, that’s super important.

Holding your shit together when you’re having a hard time is not easy, and I’m sending all my love your way if you’re in that situation. I hope this post can be of some help to you. Take care of yourselves, and stay safe!

Lots of love,

Lorna