Sunday, March 09, 2014

Lent update: first fail

Gah! I knew Sunday's would be a challenge. Most Sundays after church we have a potluck. It's wonderful to try different types of food but wow is it hard to avoid cheese! I accidentally took some Greek salad that had feta on it. I still ate it because it wasn't really that much but I was still annoyed with myself. I didn't even realize it until I was halfway down the buffet line when I almost took a slice of cheese. I caught myself on that and then realized I couldn't eat any of the lasagna, potato casseroles and a lot of other stuff. Still when I got my plate back to my table I looked at it and realized it was FULL of amazing goodness. Lots of veggies, a cabbage roll, and even meat. Avoiding cheese has to be a conscious decision but I sure don't feel like I was missing out on anything.

Afterwards I texted my friend Steph to admit my "transgression" and she asked if I was "still keeping it up" (meaning Lent). I replied that of course I was. A little slip doesn't mean I am going to quit entirely. It just makes me hyper vigilant for next time.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

This is why Facebook is wonderful

I met someone, in a pub in Quebec, almost three years ago now. We had a brief but interesting chat mostly connecting over the fact that we were both from Waterloo. We friended each other on FB and have had superficial contact ever since. Tonight we actually got together for dinner and it was lovely. He's just as interesting as he was back then (probably more since he's been elected as president of the Student Union at his university) and it was great to catch up. Without FB, as with so many other people that were on the program with us, I'd still be wondering where he was at or would have forgotten about him all together. This way I was able to have a nice meal and share what's been going on in our lives. I know you don't necessarily want to stay connected with everyone you meet in life but sometimes, when they're good people, it's nice to not lose touch.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Lent 2014

So I've never participated in Lent. It's not something that my church observes but I find the practice quite fascinating. I have a lot of friends who observe it and I've decided that this year, I would like to as well. I haven't blogged in awhile so I'm going to share some of the things I'm already doing as lifestyle choices and then I'll share what I'm actually doing, just for the season of Lent. 

Since last April or so I have been reading Oswald Chambers' "My Utmost for His Highest" daily devotional. In the beginning I was journalling a bit each day which was a great way to really let the truths in that book sink in. Since getting back to Ontario/school, I find I don't have the time to journal so instead I've taken to keeping the book in the bathroom and reading it while I'm brushing my teeth. Probably not particularly spiritual but you know what? I do it every day and it's part of my routine now.

A common Lenten (and New Years) commitment is to exercising and diet. In the past month I've already been exercising fairly regularly (using the treadmill at the gym and participating in an online 30 day fitness challenge via FB) and I will step up my efforts once the weather warms up. I'm consciously cutting down on sugar and flour just as a basic lifestyle choice because I don't NEED them. Protein and veggies are where it's at. Those are long term changes that I don't intend to just observe for forty days though. 

I'd like to actually give something up though. Something that feels like a sacrifice and that can be a reminder for WHY I am doing this. My choice this year is cheese. I love cheese. In fact cheese (all cheese) is my favourite food. France is one of my favourite countries because they have 360 types of cheese there!!! So, for the season of Lent I will not purchase any cheese. This is also a budget decision because I don't actually have any cheese in the fridge right now (really weird for me) and it's crazy expensive so I'm better off not buying it. I'll also make conscious decisions to not have dishes with cheese on them when I'm out (which means no poutine either...that's a good thing too :P) I'm not going off cheese for forever but it will be a good exercise. And when I get an urge to eat cheese I will seek out more information on learning about WHY we observe Lent.

So that's my plan. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Trucs a Faire

On February 13, 2006 I posted my list of "Things To Do Before I Die". After watching the movie "Up" multiple times this summer I'm renaming my list "Trucs a Faire" which is just French for Things to Do. It seems redundant to say "before I die". Obviously I can't do them once I'm dead :P anyway, The bolded items have been accomplished. The orange ones since the last time I published the complete list which was in January 2011.

96 (and counting) Trucs a Faire

1. Fly first class 
2. Live on my own in my own place 
3. Eat at Sonic 
4. Live in another country...or at least another province 
5. Host dinner party for at least 8 

6. Visit an art gallery 
7. Go to Texas 
8. Ride in a hot air balloon 
9. Fly in a small aircraft 
10. Visit a planetarium 

11. Take a winery tour 
12. Do high tea somewhere 
13. Attend Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 
14. See a drive in movie 
15. Get room service and have breakfast in bed at a nice hotel (I've done room service, but not for breakfast) 

16. Play blackjack at a casino (I’ve played slots but not blackjack yet) 
17. Make homemade ice cream 
18. Try ten new foods (I have definitely accomplished this, multiple times. This is the first time I've crossed it off though)
19. Go sailing 
20. Ride in a limo 

21. Be debt free 
22. Go horse back riding on the wide open plains 
23. Sleep under the stars (without a tent) 
24. Fly in a 747 
25. Collect all 50 US state quarters (only 3 to go!) 

26. Attend my ten year high school reunion 
27. Visit Australia 
28. Visit Great Britain 
29. Get a cat 
30. Take a cruise 

31. Work an election 
32. Watch all moves on AFI top 100 list (I'll try to remember to post an update on this too. I'm making progress)
33. Be in Ottawa for Canada Day 
34. Draft a will 
35. Spend one weekend totally unplugged. No TV, No Computer, No Phone 

36. Visit the Maritimes 
37. Tour the US Eastern seaboard 
38. Pour water from the Atlantic ocean into the Pacific (I find it strange that this is FROM the Atlantic TO the Pacific. You'd think I'd have done this the other way around! - also this is ridiculous. I collected water in Nova Scotia in 2011 and I've carried it to BC with my twice but I haven't been to the ocean there yet!!!
39. Fast for 24 hours 

40. Be in audience of a game show or talk show and/or try out for a game show or reality show 
41. Learn to cook 
42. Cook a turkey 
43. Play with a hand bell choir 
44. Complete 25 different crossword puzzles 
45. Take a Self Defence Class 

46. Fire a gun 
47. Host a fondue 
48. Take real swimming lessons (learn proper back stoke, kick turn) 
49. Leave to drive a stick shift 
50. Try yoga 

51. Take a cake decorating class 
52. Visit Nashville 
53. Go parachuting 
54. Take a refresher First Aid course 
55. Sell something on Ebay 

56. Try snowboarding 
57. Try Golf 
58. Watch the Yankees/Mariners play ball 
59. Drink tequila in Tijuana 
60. Go to Disney Land/World 

61. Get a bikini wax 
62. Buy a new condo (or house) (or town house) 
63. Go white water rafting 
64. Climb Mt. Cheam 
65. Have a baby (or two, or three) 

66. Read through the entire bible 
67. Stay at a bed and breakfast 
68. Go to Las Vegas 
69. Go to Paris in the spring time 
70. Learn enough about classical music to be able to identify popular pieces by ear 

71. Shop at the Mall of America 
72. Visit all five great lakes
73. Stay overnight in NYC 
74. Go to Boston in the fall 
75. Stay overnight at a Casino 

76. Visit the San Diego Zoo 
77. Visit Sea World 
78. Take a full two weeks off at a time 
79. Go on a blind date 
80. See a live horse race and place a bet 

81. Visit the Grand Canyon 
82. Take a trip by train (aka travel somewhere on Amtrak) 
83. Do the Vancouver Sun Run 
84. Go to midnight mass 
85. Attend Sunrise Easter Service 

86. Go skinny dipping 
87. Visit all 10 Provincial Legislature Buildings. (9 down 1 to go) 
88. Buy cowboy boots 
89. Go to the Olympics 
90. Fly in a helicopter 

91. Go to a NASCAR race 
92. Get married 
93. Participate in a team sport for a season 
94. Sing a solo at church 
95. Really try to loose weight/get in better shape 

96. Learn another language
97. Visit Melville's grave in Ortona 

Last time I published this I had 82 Trucs a Faire. As of this update I've accomplished 28 so I have 69 left. One by one they'll get done!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

My List Update

Apparently I haven't posted an update on My List since halfway through 2011. I find that very strange. Anyway, this will be two parts, first I'm going to post about what I've accomplished this past year (or since 2011 I guess) and then I'll repost the whole list updated with what I need to still complete.

1. Fly first class

So this technically happened this year but it's number one on my list so I'm really excited! LOL Flying back to Buffalo from Seattle. My flight, like thousands of others, was affected by a massive snow storm on the east coast. My connection from Philadelphia to Buffalo was cancelled so I rebooked onto a new flight that took me from Seattle to Charlotte and then caught a new connection to Buffalo. For the leg between Seattle and Charlotte, the longest part, I was given a first class seat!!! It's really nice and spacious. I slept pretty much the whole time and the seats didn't recline as much as I would have liked but it was still nice. I could definitely get used to that.

4. Live in a different country...or at least a different province.

I crossed this off the list when I moved to Ontario in 2010 but in 2013 I got to live in two different countries. The United States and France. Now it's fully achieved.

37. Tour the US Eastern seaboard

This is another one that will always be under development but considering I visit St. Augustine, Florida, Boston, Massachusetts and multiple points in between, I'm marking it complete.

46. Fire a gun

It didn't have bullets but I'm sure a "real" gun will come in time. For now, this will have to do.

69. Go to Paris in the spring time

So Paris in the spring is rainy...but so beautiful. It's not too hot and it's great for walking. I fell in love with the city even though I totally didn't expect to.

72. Visit all five great lakes.

After camping at Lake Huron with Grace and Jess this is officially complete.

82. Take a trip by train

When I wrote this list I never really believed that I would ever take a trip in Europe but it turned out that was the first place I took a trip by train. Multiple trips. Between countries. This picture is me travelling from Amsterdam to Paris. My first train trip!!!

87. Visit all 10 Provincial Legislature Building (9 down, 1 to go)

Only Newfoundland is left!!!

97. Visit Melville's gravesite in Ortona

This was never on my published list but I mentally added it shortly after I wrote the list. It's something I always wanted to do and this summer I accomplished it.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

One Word 2014

I love this idea. Ali Edwards defines the One Word challenge as follows:
A single word can be a powerful thing. It can be the ripple in the pond that changes everything. It can be sharp and biting or rich and soft and slow.
My word for 2013 was ADVENTURE and I lived that out to the fullest. Eleven countries, sixteen US states, two provinces, 49 beds. The year was full of adventure.

My word for 2014 is BALANCE. I actually chose it way back in July when I was still in France when adventure was still the operative word. For 2014 I am focusing on finding balance. Between work and fun. Between school and friends. Between church and life. Balance applies to a lot of areas of my life especially as I face more fourth year courses with their increased reading loads. There are two quotes that I have posted on my wall just above my desk that really define what I mean by balance.
Balance is not better time management but better boundary management. 
Problems arise in that one has to find a balance between what people need from you and what you need from yourself.  
 Balancing time for myself with the demands of school, work, and life. It's a good goal.

Happy New Year everyone.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Good and the Bad: Train Travelling to Barcelona

Such a weird day. The good was really good and the bad was just annoying.
Good: got to sleep in and didn't have to sweep for once. Had a relaxing morning finishing packing and cleaning my room before going down to the train station. It was sad to say good bye to the family I've been working for as well so that was good because it means I'll miss them.
Bad: I stopped at the MonoPrix for some snacks for the train. They were out of baguettes (?)
Good: I got a cart because I was hauling my bags with me and it was way easier to deal with them that way.
Good: The cart takes 1 euro, 2 euro and 50 cent pieces. That makes it easier.
Bad: I picked the LONGEST slowest moving line in history. And when it was my turn, the clerk decided she needed to replenish her change so I had to wait more.
Bad: When I went to return the cart the cart in front of mine didn't have a key so I lost my two euros because I didn't have time to find someone to retrieve it for me.. :( I hope it made someone's day.
Bad: A store I wanted to visit really badly was closed.
Good: Got on the right train.
Bad: Sat in the right seat in the wrong car and had to move.
Bad: Train was delayed for a half an hour due to technical difficulties.
Good: I realized I was listening to the French announcements and then getting confused when they repeated them in English "they already said tha...oh..."
Good: Even though the train was delayed I made my next two connections without issue.
Bad turned into Good: I was waiting for the Metro in Barcelona and a guy walked by me and gave me a strange look. I got really nervous but then he came back and explained that my backpack was open and asked if he could re-zip it for me.
Bad: I came out of the metro and I was utterly confused as to where I was in relation to where I needed to go. There was no one around that looked good to approach for directions (and my brain still can't decide which language to speak in so I get really tongue tied)
Good: I randomly picked a street (based off what I could remember about the stores on the same block as my hostel when I looked at Google Maps) and not only did I find a Starbucks (It's been over two months since I've had Starbucks, this is exciting) but my hostel was right across the street!
Good: The hostel is amazing! I'm in a room with twelve beds but they're all curtained so it's like a little fort and we each have a lockable cage on wheels under the bed for storage.
Good: I'm in Spain! And I'll be home in less than a week <3 p="">
That's funny, they actually come out equal. Bottom line is I'm in Barcelona safely. I'd say that's all good.