Friday, 17 April 2015

What Did I Do?: This and That

I'm taking some time to write a real quick update on the last week. I'm really busy right now with lots of things going on and a to-do list more than a page long. So I'm keeping things simple.

April 9: On Thursday, I tried a plain butter tart at work, which I determined isn't quite my preference. It didn't have pecans in it; only a little bit of coconut. And although the syrupy filling is good, that much at once is a little too much. Then I dumped popcorn all over the floor, when I tried to pour it from a big 50lb bag into a bucket. The bag was almost empty, so it should have been easy. But no, not for me. I found myself laughing as I looked at my mess of popcorn all over the floor. When I got home, I found out what bicoastal meant: "of or relating to or living or working on both the east and west coasts of the United States." I don't think I will ever afford to be bicoastal.

April 10: April 10 is National Sibling Day. I rely on Facebook to inform me of days like this. I only found this out after I noticed a number of friends posting pictures of themselves with their siblings. I didn't know there was such a thing.

April 11: A friend told me about Worldometers, a site that provides real time data on a ton of different facts. A lot of those numbers change way faster than I can keep up with. I picked something random out of all of them. When I checked on April 11, over $164 million had been spent on video games so far on just that day. That baffles me, that this world collectively spends hundreds of millions of dollars on just video games in a single day.

April 12: At a book study with a group of believers, I got to try some monkey bread, and was also offered a double salted "dropee", which I said I had to try. You may have seen my video earlier this year of eating a regular Dutch salted black licorice, but this was a double salted variety. I can't describe how horrible. I would maybe eat one of the regular coins again, but I think that was my first and last time eating a double salted. I looked down at the coffee left in my mug, and sadly knew it would not suffice to wash the awfulness down. But I survived.

April 13: On Monday, I discovered how depressing of an endeavour redecorating can be, especially finding bedding for a twin bed that had an adult design and matches the other colours I have to work with in my room. I walked from store to store and was unsuccessful in finding something satisfying, And then I got hungry. So I drove out to Farm Boy, a newer market in London to check that place out and get some supper. I really like the store, where I was able to find coconut milk to add to coffee. They sell a lot of healthy/organic/alternative foods. Definitely a good place to go if you have a food allergy or intolerance. I did find their regular groceries more expensive though. But, their fresh bakery bagels are the closest thing in Canada I've had to New York bagels!

Figuring what to eat for supper was hard with the amount of options available. Eventually I settled on a southwest chicken wrap (which had real chicken in it, not processed!), a roasted pepper bowtie salad and a chicken samosa. I'd heard/read/seen something about samosas before. It's kind of like a fried stuffed dumpling. I don't know how else to describe it, but it was good.

April 14: On Tuesday, I tried a new Minestrone Soup recipe. I have a recipe I like, but it doesn't have any tomato in it, like most minestrones. This one was a combination of veggies, including tomatoes, herbs, beans, and pasta in a chicken broth, and I was quite pleased with the outcome. It was kind of a combination between the minestrone I usually make, and a Vegetable, Bean, and Spinach soup I really like.

April 15: As I've been trying to make my health a bigger focus this year, I've been exercising a little more frequently when life and schedule allows, and I'm looking for some new things to try. And I think I have found something that will be a little more manageable and effective. On Wednesday I tried a 12 Minute Leg Devastation workout. I made it through, although I wasn't able to do all the exercises quite properly. I now know what a duck walk is. I'm looking forward to trying more of these kinds of workouts, and seeing some results!

Friday, 10 April 2015

What Did I Do?: Red Shoes!

I had an interesting week, although I kept my New Year's resolution a little more low-key. It will likely be that way for the next while, since I have a lot going on right now and it may be hard to get really adventurous in the midst of the busyness. But I will try to be creative where I can.

April 2: Has anyone else ever wondered what Throwback Thursday is all about, or was I the only one who hadn't exactly figured it out yet? I had a bit of an idea because the pictures I often saw on Facebook, but I now understand this social media trend a little more. I found out that "Throwback Thursday is the name of a weekly social media posting trend and hashtag game that users participate in to share and look back fondly on some of their favorite memories--hence the "throwback" theme. In this case, the "throwback" component of a post can pertain to basically anything that happened in the past." ( I thought about trying this, but that would mean digging out pictures from the 90s or something. Cute, but naw. At least not now anyway.

Thanks to Anne of Green Gables, I learnt that elocution is "the art of clear and expressive speech, esp. of distinct pronunciation and articulation" or "a particular style of speech." And I learned that "kerwollops" is not a word. While first at Queen's, Josie Pye talks about a French professor giving her the "kerwollops of the heart." An online search led me to believe the author made up the word, since I couldn't find it defined in any dictionary, and anything I found referenced to this instance in the book. But I think the context gives me a pretty good idea of what she meant. 

April 3: Good Friday was a good day, but I was a slacker. While having lunch, I look out across neighbouring yards to see turkeys and other fowl come through the neighbourhood. It really was a sight to behold! There were a number of white birds and I was trying to figure out what they were. Ducks, geese, swans? One was bigger than the rest, and my mom suggested it was a turkey as well. "There's such a thing as white turkeys?! I didn't know that!" Clearly, I do not know my birds. Indeed, turkeys do come in white, as well as dark colours. It reminded me of Staten Island days when I would be driving down the road closer to the beach and would have to stop and wait for the turkeys to cross the road. And listening to them gobble is so hilarious! It often takes only little things to make my day!

April 4: This past weekend, we had another hockey tournament at work, and these are usually accompanied by various vendors selling clothing, pictures, hockey memorabilia, knick-knacks and other items. There was one such vendor set up across from the concession, tables arrayed with lots and lots of leggings, in some very bright and bold styles! But there were certainly none like the leggings being sported by the half manikin standing behind him. And I got one of my CRAZY ideas! I mentioned it to my co-workers, who I fill in on some of the things I've been doing. At a quiet moment, I made my way casually to the table, explained my intent, got a pair of said leggings, and made my way for the bathroom. I would not come out of the bathroom wearing them, nor will I make my photo public. All I will say is that they were black, white, purple, fluorescent orange, lime green and bright yellow. Not only that, but these were the colours that made up a collage of various animal print patterns in diagonal stripes from top to bottom. I don't know how else to describe it. They were intense! This was my first time trying on them tight leggings that are so popular now.

However, I did feel like I owed the vendor for my experiment. I decided that I wouldn't mind having a pair for a few purposes, and realized that they could keep my legs nice and warm at the beach the next morning. So I did go back and buy a solid black pair. These were different. I don't intend to wear them on their own as pants, but upon trying them on at home, I understood why many girls do. They are way comfy! And part of the fun in doing stuff like this is having fun writing about it later. :)

April 5: This Easter Sunday, I got myself out of bed way early to attend my first Easter sunrise service on the beach with my church.

April 6: Again, thanks to Anne Shirley, I now know what a chaplet is. Sort of. I think. There are a few definitions for the word "chaplet." It can be "a wreath or garland for the head" or a string of beads, similar to a rosary, used for prayers, among a few other definitions. I think Anne was likely referring to a wreath, especially since she isn't Catholic. 

"But Anne, with her elbows on the window sill, her soft cheek laid against her clasped hands, and her eyes filled with visions, looked out unheedingly across the city roof and spire to that glorious dome of sunset sky and wove her dreams of a possible future from the golden tissue of youth's own optimism. All the Beyond was hers with its possibilities lurking rosily in the oncoming years--each year a rose of promise to be woven into an immortal chaplet." --Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery

April 7: Sometimes you just need a pair of red shoes!

I'm not usually this bold, and although I liked the black ones, my first reaction to the red was "Ugh! No!" But I tried them on and went "Heeeeyy!" and thought of the numerous possibilities. So I bought them. I could have fun experimenting with these. I also tried a plain cappuccino at work. I liked that it wasn't as sweet as flavoured ones, but I do like other ones more I think.

April 8: I will talk about another book now. Aren't you all so relieved? I conveniently forgot to look up the words I was wondering about Tuesday night in The Edge of His Cloak by Kevin Abell. Kevin talks about a young man he met during his first year at university, whom he refers to as "the first person in my life I knew to be a 'Christian.'":

"Knowing what I know now about the faith, I often wonder what he would pray about when he knelt beside his bed at night. He should been praying for the hellions that shared his alcove. However, years later, I found out that he was primarily concerned with removing the log from his own eye." --The Edge of His Cloak by Kevin Abell

When I read the word "hellion", it didn't sound very good. And "alcove"? Well, that reminded me of "cove" and this wasn't talking about any water body or anything. So I figured it out today. A hellion is "a disorderly, troublesome, rowdy, or mischievous person." Hellions are also fictional characters in the Marvel comics. And "alcove" just referred to the space they were living in.

This book has been a blessing to me and continues to be to me. If you're interested, I would definitely recommend it.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

What Did I Do?: The Deep End

Well, it was a good week. Having some extra time off, I took the opportunity to catch up with friends, be social, have fun, etc. However, I was also happy when I had the chance to have a few quieter days to slow down and stay at home more.

March 26: On Thursday night I had dinner with a friend, and we tried The Open Kitchen. Although they had a $12 steak special that was very tempting, I knew there was no way I was going to eat a 14 ounce steak. So I opted for a California Chicken Salad. Yeah, there was no way I was going to eat all of this at once either!

It reminded me of the salads I would get at a restaurant in Staten Island, except there they would have twice as much chicken on them. People may wonder why I would order just a salad when I eat out, but salad veggies and lean protein is usually a tummy friendly option for me. This one had romaine lettuce, spinach, cucumber, strawberries, candied pecans, dried cranberries and goat cheese. This was my first try at goat cheese. It's softer than I like most of my cheeses and has a more sour taste, so it's not a new favourite. Although I want to brave blue cheese yet and try goat milk. I've tried  many milk alternatives (rice, soy, almond, and coconut), but not any other animal sourced alternatives.

From there, we went to a prayer meeting with a small group of believers I hadn't met, and it was a blessing to meet with them. It was here I also heard about antinomianism. I'm not one to delve deeply into theology and although I'm familiar with some ideas, this was new. According to the dictionary, an antinomian is "one who holds that under the gospel dispensation of grace the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation." I would be interested in learning more about this idea, even if I don't agree with it.

March 27: Friday was a see what happens kind of day where I didn't really plan anything. I was reading a local magazine publication and learned a little about DMQ (Difference Making Quotient), but I never did figure out how you measure a person's DMQ. I tried a Salted Caramel timbit, which was tasty. I set out to explore some different educational options I had found out about in the previous 24 hours, ways that I could grow in my administrative and writing skills, or take Bible school type courses, without making a big commitment. I was definitely very interested in The Silo Project and hope that later this year I can work through some of their courses.

I also learned that in Hawaii, after the Pearl Harbour invasion, the state was concerned about another Japanese invasion and what would happen if the Japanese stole cash and used it to fund their war effort. So the state recalled all the bills, with small allowances, and printed new ones, so that if money was stolen, people could see it came from Hawaii. Not knowing what to do with the $200 million recalled, and it being too expensive to ship the bills to the mainland, they burned them.

March 28: Tom Ryan was the culinary scientist who invented the McDonald's McGriddle, stuffed crust pizza for Pizza Hut, and a lot of other fast foods.

March 29: Sunday was a bit of an emotional day for me. It was a day of God bringing together the things I was thinking and praying about in the previous few days and revealed to me a purpose. I don't know yet what it will look like and exactly what He has in store, but it could get exciting.

I also had another friend catch-up day. After bowling, which we discovered goes way too fast with just two people, we pondered what to do while we got hungry enough to have dinner. We set out to find the Jumbo monument, which I hadn't seen since I was a kid, knowing the general part of town. From there I followed signs and winding roads to see what Historic St. Thomas was all about, which reminded me of Staten Island. This exploring came in very useful the next day when I tried to get from one part of town to a place I had never been, with a few directions, an address and a general idea of where to go. After letting our appetites build, we settled on Bella Jack's which I had often wanted to try. The first unique item on the menu that caught my eye was a shrimp and pineapple quesadilla. I like shrimp, and I like Hawaiian pizza, but pineapple in a quesadilla? It was good, although they could have filled it a little more. All in all, a good afternoon catching up on life, which is what really mattered.

March 30: I swam in the deep end! We kept it simple the first time, and I learned that once you cross that black line, it really does drop off far and I was hanging onto the wall to keep my head above water. I just swam across the pool on my back, without strokes, just to get used to it. My instructor stayed beside me, to make sure I didn't drown in case I panicked, but I actually remained quite calm and made it without any problems. Keep your chin back, stay calm, and keep kicking! I also made some significant improvements on my whip kick. The hardest part has been keeping my feet out, since I keep wanting to have ballerina toes or something. Thankfully I'm not a kid or my instructor would make me walk around the deck like a penguin!

In the afternoon, I got a hair cut, and in addition to enjoying my bouncy curls again, I also got my hairdresser to wax my eyebrows for the first time! I have eyebrows that tend to want to take up more of my face than I like, and I was quite pleased with the end result! I didn't get as many tears as I expected. I mostly giggled. I don't know which is worse for the person having to do it!

March 31: You know when you kind of know the meaning of something, or have an idea, but not really? Yep, Anne Shirley felt "unregenerate" around Mrs. Lynde and that set me searching. Also, the word "contrite" came up at Bible study, so I now have a decent understanding of that. How often do we read stuff in our Bibles and miss lots because we just don't understand the meaning of a word?

April 1: And sometimes I like to know where days on our calendars or traditions associated with days came from. You know what else this means??!!!! I'm a quarter way through my year!!! I think there will be a great sense of relief when this year is over, but also a sense of satisfaction to look back and see what I accomplished.

Anyhow, to my point! And this is no joke! It's April 1st. The first association between foolishness and the date is found in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. Other references and dates go back  to the 1500s and 1600s. During the Middle Ages in Europe, people celebrated New Year's Day on March 25, and others over a long-weekend ending on April 1. There is also an April fish tradition (poissons d'avril) that French-speaking people have of trying to attach a paper fish to a person's back unnoticed. Hmm, this gives me ideas!

And, it's now sinking in that a quarter of this year is indeed done and it has gone by fast. But I'm looking forward to what's ahead. :)