Catching Up: A Whole Year of Events and Happenings #amwriting #nonfiction


Good morning. I hope you’re all well. One of the things I have not written in an extremely long time is a personal update. A lot of this had to do with my disability case and the fact that social media was initially used against me to say that this made me capable of work at forty percent of my former job as an administrative assistant.

That was nine years ago, and I was on long-term disability for eight years. However, after a year of dealing with lawyers and the insurance company through my lawyers, I’ve settled and I’m so glad to not have that hanging over my head. I can finally, relax!

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(Credit: Tao Heftiba via Unsplash.)

However, there are a few thoughts I have been thinking about sharing with you guys from the past year and currently. I think I’ll begin after I first hired the lawyers for my case and initially signing all these forms and files after Christmas. The first thing I learned was to cut my budget from 60 percent of what I was bringing in before, and that took a couple of months for me to become used to, having less available funds. I learned to carefully budget my months beforehand and where to cut spending. Even if I could save ten or twenty dollars and hold off on buying an item until the next month, often this helped my monthly budget a great deal. As well, if you’re in Canada and searching for a great Disability Law Firm, you can contact Share Lawyers. They are awesome if you are initially, denied disability or if your insurance company cuts you off.

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(Credit: Tao Heftiba via Unsplash.)

As well, I began freelancing on a site called Upwork.com and it took about three months for me to find steady work for a two to three hours some days. I do a lot of academic writing, and that was a learning curve, as writing pays terrible. But even what I earned was better than nothing at about $5 US per page. I continue to do this although I’m taking a break right now for the holiday season and it brings in from $200 to $250 on average per month in Canadian dollars.

So, that’s not bad, and I enjoy the academic research a great deal, and I have written on many topics. Dealing with difficult clients online can be frustrating as face to face communication and affirmation of instructions is much easier than messaging each other. And of course, if the client did not provide clear instructions, to begin with, that’s your fault, not theirs. However, on the other hand, I have some great communicative and thoroughly clear clients too.

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(Credit: Green Chameleon via Unsplash.)

I tend to enjoy English Literature, Creative Writing projects, Psychology, History, Philosophy, and topics related to these areas the most. Also, although they are rare, Art History and any kind of Design topic or feature is great fun to research and write. I have learned a great deal about American History after the Civil War and into modern times and how that effects present-day America and immigration and other foreign policy. Also, I love writing on favorite poets such as Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, along with various new poets. Also, I have written on poetic works I know well such as “Beowulf” and “Dante’s Inferno” but compared these to Modern Superhero’s such as Superman or Iron. And I’ve written on feminism and the development of Disney princesses, for example.

As well, from June until September, I did do a couple of blogs per week for a company from Upwork.com on beauty topics including anything to do with eyelashes — falsies, extensions, Mascaras, growth treatments, and natural lash treatments. Also, I reviewed hair straighteners on Amazon and wrote for a business that does non-evasive cosmetic procedures such as Botox, dermal fillers, dermal lip fillers, laser skin treatments, CoolSculpting, and many other fascinating procedures to help people shed excess fat cells or to improve their youthfulness. The neat fact is that many of these cosmetic procedures have medical applications as well.

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(Credit: Johncoutu.com.)

Moreover, I learned a great deal about blog writing for companies, how conversational and informal it is compared to academic writing. At first, I had to learn to ‘dumb down’ my writing in a sense to write at a grade six to eight level at the most. I learned about a couple of tools that help me both in freelance blog writing and in academic writing. Grammarly is an awesome tool for any type of writing and is worth paying for the add-on monthly, and it works on WordPress too, to polish your writing and save time.

Also, Readable is an awesome tool to see where you need to make your writing simpler for blog or magazine type writing. I wouldn’t pay for it unless you use it 24-7, but you can use it for free a few times a day. As well, since Upwork.com charges you for working through them, you have to keep that in mind, and I would recommend if you work for a client you can trust, work off of Upwork.com, unless they’ll raise your wage. You can both save money after initial jobs on the site. For instance, I made $20 a blog piece and Upwork would take $2.50 off that. Invoicing through PayPal or another system works much better if you have clients you can trust.

Moreover, in a strange way this careful budgeting and knowing I needed to earn an extra two to three-hundred a month quickly, became apparent to me and gave pushed my boundaries. If I wanted to continue to buy my preferred skin care (Clinique), foundation, concealer, and the occasional other items that I could not find in quality drugstore makeup brands, then I had to earn more than what I was before freelancing.

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(Credit: Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved– At my friend, T’s, June Wedding.)

Actually, the most important aspect of why I needed to make more money each month was to save for the wedding and the wedding events of my two best friends who had wedding events in June and in later fall. Even if I wanted to go out and visit friends, especially because a long bus trip would leave me exhausted before I even had a chance to visit, I knew I had to earn some kind of income. It had to be no more than $300.00 per month at the most to still receive my government benefits as a person disabled from working, and that amount was enough to buy extras and see my friends most vitally.

Both weddings were a ton of fun, and I have many great memories from Bridal showers, Stagettes, and for my one friend T, the wedding itself. Freelance writing permitted me to pay for presents, take taxis, and buy a couple pairs of dresses and shoes. LeChateau outlet is amazing for this kind of event in Canada while staying on a budget. They are an awesome trendy Montreal based clothing store in and not only an outlet.

My second friend, S, had her Bridal Shower at the very end of September and her shower Theme was a ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ theme and her Stagette, a ‘1950’s Rockabilly Theme.’ They were a lot of fun, although, I did not make it to her actual marriage celebration or the following Pub night as I was having a terrible day (health-wise). While T had a traditional wedding which was awesome and a lot of fun, S’s wedding occurred on the field of our Home Canadian Football League (CFL) team field and her actual wedding for all those who could travel was in Varadero, Cuba.

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( Credit: Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved).

I was looking forward to attending the Cuba wedding initially, but my settlement had been so close to the wedding that it wasn’t possible and even making a couple of extra hundred dollars a month I couldn’t have afforded Cuba in November this year.

Anyways, both brides are deliriously happy, and my friend T is pregnant with her first child who is due in a couple of months now. I received the baby shower invite but already had the gift put together. It’s difficult not knowing if the baby will be a girl or a boy but at least her nursery theme of woodland/jungle animals is quite ‘in’ and I found outfits and blankets along with a couple other great items.

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Unknown Unsplash

Another friend found out she was having twins and twins are a great deal to handle along with her almost two-year-old. My Mom and I attended a ‘The Handmade Revolution’ craft-show, ‘MakeIt‘ and I received the business card there from a lady who makes these soft terry blankets/towels perfect for swaddling a baby and carrying a larger infant/toddler. Later, they work as towels for kids from three to five years old. I got two bundles with cream good for chapped skin, especially where babies feed. You can check out these handmade goods below if you’re interested. Here’s the online shop called OneBerrie.

Finally, one of the things I had been saving up for was a tattoo, and lucky I had saved it before my income went down last December. I found a great tattoo artist through friends at a place called Eye of Lotus. Megan is amazing, does watercolor tattoos and has a six-month waiting list at least and that’s always a sign of a talented artist along with Megan’s years of training, tattoo portfolio, and the personal artwork around her working space.

So the tattoo took two sessions and was three hours along with a touch-up session which was about thirty minutes but truly brought my tattoo to life. The touch up was only $25.00 but the other three hours were regular price for most tattoo places of repute where I live. Eye of Lotus was also rated highly as a tattoo place in Edmonton so there are also other talented artists there. Megan specializes in watercolor. Anyways, below is the final result.

The tattoo is on my right side and hip. It was not that painful. I mentally psyched myself up for much worse and truly it was pain much less worse than waxing certain areas of the body. The black lines barely hurt at all. Where the color was filled in felt like it burned at first, but I got used to it quickly. Only when the tattoo went right into my side did it hurt. The words of the tattoo have personal meaning and refer to the Bible verse in Romans 5:8.

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(Credit: Mandibelle16.(2017) All Rights Reserved).

Last but not least, I wanted to share some odds and ends with you guys. I can still apply for my MFA in Creative Writing, and I’m thinking about it. I have to act fast though as I only have a month. I’ve wanted to work on a short story for it, but it’s been hard with freelancing. Also, I do plan to work on my book now shortened to the title How Was Last Night?. I’m still on my second draft, finished until about Chapter 20 or so, maybe a bit further.

However, I’m attending a writers conference next August with my friend who is also writing a book. I have learned a great deal more in a year and want to have the third draft done for this event or at least the first quarter of the book for the conference as we do have the opportunity to pitch our work. Here’s the conference website if you are in the area for When Words Collide. Of course, there are many speakers and a fun Galla at night so I’m looking forward to this as it’s all at the hotel we’re staying at and I think the conference will be educational and fun.

(Credit: Whenwordscollide.org.)

Also, I have a story that is going to be part of a Cinderella Anthology. The Anthology is still being edited and I’m excited about its release. Moreover, if you want to read what I have of my novel in the second draft, it’s on Wattpad under my pen-name ‘A.M.Wilson’ and @mandibelle16. It’s still rough, even the two-thirds of it that are edited from the first draft, but unfortunately, this year has not left me much time work on it except after last Christmas.

But that will change as I’m not paying off debt anymore, due to my settlement. I do not have to freelance as much if I do not want to. Here’s the link to my unfinished novel How Was Last Night by A.M. Wilson. Any tips, thoughts, or constructive criticism can be left in the comments after each chapter so please don’t hesitate to speak up.

Lastly, something neat I found on Indigo this morning that you all might enjoy when searching for something good to read: Indigo’s Best Books of 2017. This list is their top 50 books.

Have a Merry Christmas!

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©Mandibelle16.(2017) All Rights Reserved.

Writing 101 – White Wedding


www.weddingvenice.com
http://www.weddingvenice.com

Many people don’t like weddings, they think they are tedious and a waste of time and money. But not me. I love weddings. The events leading up to weddings are exciting and I adore seeing how happy all of my friends have been as they walked down the aisle in beautiful,lacy,beaded, silky, and tailored wedding gowns.

The second event for Korinda’s wedding and by far the funnest  (we thought) was the stagette at Northland’s Race Track. I arrived about 3:00 pm in my new navy and white striped and fitted dress and patent navy pumps to see the girls who had arrived before me betting on the horse races at the race track. More girls arrived and everyone was wearing a fascinator and lovely dress to go with the racetrack theme of the stagette.

There was a wonderful dinner of delicious food and toonie drinks at the bar. We were all tipsy and having fun playing games and as 6:00 pm chimed, we all got onto a school bus stopped at a liquor store and drank as we drove to the Legislature grounds for stagette pictures. There were many wonderful water features as we took pictures, often our feet were bare in the water as we held up our dresses so they wouldn’t get wet. We giggled and all climbed into a giant pool where we took a group picture of all of us holding up our dresses half way up our thighs and smiling. It was a picture that captured a wonderfully fun and lovely moment for all of us invited and for Korinda.

I think it was because we were having such a good time that we didn’t notice the men in suits and sunglasses as we were all tipsy and giggling like fools. We started to notice them when they closed in around us and it seemed a bit weird to us that there were so many of them. They looked corporate and Korinda was extremely upset that they were imposing on her wedding event. Her mother Annette and some of the other Moms who had come along went to talk to some the suits to see what their enclosure around us meant.

” The young women and yourselves aren’t allowed in the fountains,” said a dark-haired man in a pinstripe black suit. His tie was dark purple and his shirt a dark purple too. To anyone else, he and his colleagues would’ve looked like members of our wedding party, but they weren’t.

Annette got angry at  the suit in the purple tie and shirt, ” Listen, you, this is my daughter’s wedding, and there is no law against going in those fountains and even if there were I’m sure no one would mind for stagette or wedding pictures. It’s a special time, people aren’t going to care.”

The suit shook his head and grabbed Annette’s arm and held it hard. ” Listen lady, this is corporate and government property now and your trespassing. Not to mention your daughter needs our permission to get married and to have wedding events, something she and her husband haven’t done.” Annette looked confused. The purple shirted suit spoke on, ” We are the law now, we are in control, and we say what you can and cannot do. We’re the government, and this is no longer a democracy. This is a corporate military state, and in a military state, people who are smart fall in line.”

We all heard what the man articulated to Korinda’s Mom and both Korinda, her Mom, and her bridesmaids were angry and ready to take the lying *ssholes in suites on. But a wisp of fear also passed through those of gathered at the stagette on the Legislature grounds. Where was the military this man talked about and who was the man in the purple shirt who addressed us?

As if to answer our questions, another man wearing a purple shirt and tie asked one of the bridesmaids named April, where we were going next, ” to a club, downtown,” April mentioned scathingly. The man nodded and took a fuming April by the wrist. He pulled out a handgun, as did the rest of the corporate men in suits, and lead each of us onto the bus. They took away all our liquor, dumped it all in the grass, and sat on the bus with us as us girls silently looked at each other and bit our lips in fear. The men accompanied us to the club Korinda had chosen. They stepped outside the bus and watched as we all entered the club. We could not quite comprehend these men as they put their guns away and told us have a safe time.

The first man in the purple shirt, wrote Korinda a ticket for taking her stagette pictures on Legislature fountains. No one was allowed on government property without permission or proper identification, apparently. The ticket was a warning and he advised Korinda to apply to one of the newly appointed judges for her marriage license as her wedding was coming up in a month and bit. He told her a bit of cash would get the license through on time on top of the regular fee.Her old license was null and void.

The men holstered their guns and got into black Sedans that had suddenly appeared out of nowhere in front of the club. We all watched in awe as the men in suits drove away and we were left standing in front of the club not sure what had happened. Apparently, overnight their had been coup and Alberta was now an independent state-run by a corporate militia. How strange and terrifying was that realization and poor Korinda, her stagette had started off so well.

Catching Up


Hey everyone! I know my blogging has been sparse lately, sorry about that. I have had a real decline in my health this summer and it’s been difficult to concentrate on activities such as writing and brainstorming  blog ideas.

I’ve been extremely fatigued and tired. For 2 weeks I think I just about spent most of my time sleeping. Maybe, I was sick, I think, as illness seems to hit me harder with whatever larger illness I have. Although, sleeping 24-7 has passed I still find my health declining to a place it was at about 2-years after my first episode.

I managed to enjoy my birthday “month” and this past week hasn’t been an exception despite extreme fatigue. I had a lovely dinner with the ladies at Earls Tin Palace last Tuesday and thank goodness it was $4 Bellini night because I needed alcohol. It was great to see everyone who came even though I couldn’t be involved in the conversation as much as I wanted to be.

I’m sure no one noticed but I notice these things and hope that soon I will be able to be more chatty again and less tired. By 9:30 pm I was so so sleepy and by 10:15 pm I just had to leave and take a cab home. It was fine with my friends but I felt sick the cab ride home until I went to sleep. As I often do when I’m fatigued-out, I get flu-like symptoms that go away when I become rested. It’s something I always had but am just recognizing what it is now. I think I have days that are just bad days that I feel like I have the flu but really I’m just so utterly fatigued I feel ill.

But thanks everyone who came out I really did have a great time despite my symptoms. I was so happy to see you all there and hear all about your lives, especially those of you who are travelling to fun places and having or have had kids recently in your lives.

I was also very blessed to have a ride to a friend’s Wedding shower that Sunday via Tara. And the shower was great. A beautiful bride got to be around all her best girl friends, bridesmaids, and women relatives and she seemed to enjoy herself immensely. The weather was perfect and I felt good that day ( which hasn’t been happening so much) and everyone was so nice. The bride received many nice gifts, particularly kitchen based. I decided to go with a couple sets of dishware for the shower and the wedding, the bride picked out a beautiful light blue color for her dishware. It is the same color I would have chosen. 25-years from now everyone will know when our dishes from because we all like light blue dishes.

I can’t wait for the stagette night and only hope I feel as good for that night as night’s have been particularly tough me at times. I more worried about lasting the entire night so I think I will arrive around 5;30 pm for a couple left over jello shots and the comedian and probably take off a bit earlier then everyone else from Cook County on Whyte Ave. I am so excited to go to a country bar it has been so long and my 2-stepping is probably worse than it ever was but I might be able to figure out some of the line dancing again.

Moreover, I am finally going to see my psychiatrist tomorrow. I have to tell her all about how much worse I’ve felt this summer and get her to look into Chronic Fatigue as a definitive diagnosis for what I have. Basically, Chronic Fatigue is going to sleep and never ever waking up feeling rested. There are different degrees of Chronic fatigue and I received the definitive diagnosis definition and charts/symptoms for Canada from the M.E. Society of Edmonton. I now have to take this information, along with filled out charts/symptoms (why I think I have CF) to my doctor. I printed out a list of Doctors that deal with CF in Edmonton, but I’m hoping my psychiatrist who knows my situation best can diagnose me.

If I actually have CF I’ll tell you all about it and how my individual symptoms fit in. I don’t know that this makes treatment any easier but it does tell you that yes there is something physically wrong with me that I can tell people and use for health disability status/AISH etc. I’m positive I fit the criterion, or else I don’t know what disease I fit and it could open new possibilities I haven’t thought of. Possibility can be a great thing sometimes.

— 2 days later — I have visited my psychiatrist and presented my research. Apparently, CF is very difficult to diagnose because of all the other illnesses you have to rule out first. I feel we have ruled out plenty of illnesses but my psychiatrist sent me for some blood work and she is going to send me to a rheumatologist who specifically deals with CF and Fibermielga — 2 similar diseases. It might be a whole year before I see him but I am very excited to start the process and finally get a real diagnosis on what I have dealt with fatigue wise. I may have initially had a psychotic episode caused by depression but sometimes illnesses can result in other illness such as CF. You can get better from CF but you also cannot. I hope that the fact that I was young when the fatigue first hit me (23-years-old) means that might be possible someday or that there is some treatment being developed out there that can someday help me. Although CF has been written about since the early 1400’s the medical community has only recently begun to deal with it and try to come up with ways to help patients.