Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Happy Story

Yesterday, as part of the "great car shuffle" that happens most days on our driveway, I ended up on the end. This turned out to be a good thing because when I got called in to work by a very desperate co-worker, I could just drive instead of catching the bus. I was only supposed to be at work for two hours. Just covering until someone else finished an exam and came in. It turned out that her exam was done early so I wasn't really needed. I was there for about a half an hour but I'll still get paid for the two hours. Plus I got a free drink because I had been working, and this is the coworker who I closed for a few weeks ago so he's promised me a thank you. Really. It was the easiest shift EVER and a nice break from studying!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Today's Adventure

I renamed this blog "Mine to Discover" in anticipation of discovering my new province. I have done that, but I haven't really posted about it. Today I had a slightly more exciting than normal day so I'm going to try and capture it. I had the day off work and my next exam isn't until Wednesday so I decided to go for a drive. I fly out of the Buffalo Airport next Thursday and since I've never so much as crossed the border here, I decided to go do a "dry run" today. I left around 9am and just followed the "fastest route" according to the GPS in my phone. I crossed in to NY State at Lewiston and promptly ran into a toll booth that only takes cash. Good to know. Next time I'll be prepared!

I found the airport fairly easily. With the border wait it was close to three hours door to door. Again, good to know. It's easier to plan now. After that I just wandered around. I hit Target (which was surprisingly quiet for the last Saturday before Christmas), Walmart (where I didn't buy ANYTHING) and Cracker Barrel for lunch (I had a craving). I also went to Starbucks because the American ones have the chocolate mint brownies and we didn't get them this year :( My discount worked though! That's exciting LOL I also got gas. Really not exciting but finding a station was a bit of an adventure so it's worth noting.

On the way back, because I didn't care about the time, I veered off my path and came back through Niagra Falls. This was my first time visiting the American side of the falls and my first time in the winter. I've only actually been to the falls once and that was over ten years ago so it was nice to go back...even if it was *freezing*. I absolutely love the thunder of all that water pouring down. I forgot how invigorating it is just to be that close to it. It makes my heart thump! Here's a few of the pictures I took, including one by a German tourist who was taking her own self portrait. I offered to take her picture and then had her take mine :)
Coming back across the border the guard asked the standard questions, where I lived, how long I had been gone, the purpose of my trip (I just said shopping because it was easier to explain) and the value of goods being brought back. I didn't buy a lot so he questioned "you drove all the way down there for $45 worth of stuff?" "Yes" "Pop the trunk please ma'am" LOL Obviously he didn't find anything there and I didn't have to explain the convoluted reason for my trip.

Coming back I wanted to get off the 403 aka Queen Elizabeth Freeway aka the ugliest road in Southern Ontario. Seriously. It's horrible. So I asked my GPS for the "shortest route". Of course it's short distance wise but I wound through (what I assume was) Hamilton, and then went cross country towards home. The roads were dry so it was a good day to go exploring. I called my parents while I was on the way and Dad asked where I was. My answer? "I dunno, halfway between where I was and where I'm going?" I love that I can drive around here and not know exactly where I am at all times! That's my adventure for today. Hopefully I can have more soon!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Update & #78

I just finished my last shift at Starbucks until the new year. I realized something kind of crazy. I have two weeks off. The only time I can recall having a full two weeks off in a row was in August when I quit my job!!! Even when I went to Texas in 2007 I was only off for 12 days total. In fact...yes! It's #78 on My List (which desperately needs to be updated :D) Anyways, I'm really looking forward to the break. I just hope I don't forget everything!

Tonight was an awesome shift and I finally feel like things are starting to click. We had a pretty intense rush, with a bunch of cold drinks (my weakest area) and I totally rocked it. Yeah me!

Other good somewhat work related news? One of my coworkers has agreed to buy one of my text books! I could sell it back to the school but this way I get the same amount of money, he saves a bit and I know it's a guaranteed sale. Woohoo!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Meme

I lifted this from somewhere a few days ago and I need a break so I'm going to post it now.

1. Have you started your Christmas shopping? No. My brother's have decided that we're not exchanging gifts. They're bringing me home, I'll have other expenses to get me there, they have girlfriends to buy for and no one needs the headache so we're skipping it. We'll do stockings but no "big gifts". Works for me!!!

2. Tell me about one of your special traditions. Christmas Eve is Dad’s birthday. We try and make it about him but then the tradition is for us kids to be able to open “just one” present. It’s turned into something where someone can chose what you get as your “just one”. Often it’s something they just can’t wait to see you open. In my youngest brother’s case it was usually whatever would keep him occupied the best :P Not sure how that will work this year. Unless someone finds a really cool something for someone.

3. When do you put up your Tree? Me personally, I like Remembrance Day (Nov 11) this year I don’t have one though. Mom and Dad? Dunno. They’d do December 22nd if they had a choice.

4. Are you a Black Friday shopper? I had class this year

5. Do you travel at Christmas or stay home? This year I’m travelling. First time in a long time and first that I’m “going home for Christmas”

6. What is your funniest Christmas memory? Funniest? I know one year Mom sent us on this elaborate treasure hunt and the presents ended up at the end of my bed. That confused me so bad. 1. How did they get there 2. How did I MISS THEM???

7. What is your favorite Christmas movie of all time? I really think it’s “The Holiday”. I bought it a few weeks ago and just watched it again. I didn't really grow up watching all the Christmas specials so they don't mean much to me. I love this movie though.

8. Do you do your own Christmas baking, what’s your favorite treat? I do all my own baking. Not just Christmas. I was in a cookie swap last weekend and I made chocolate mint somethings. They have a name, it’s escaping me right now.

9. Fake or Real Tree? Mom and Dad usually have real. I have/had a fake one.

10. What day (as a mom) does the actual panic set in to get it all done? I’m not a mom. My mom’s pretty low key too. No stress for her. If it doesn’t get done, we move on.

11. Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve? Usually for others. I like wrapping and they know it. I’ve wrapped my own (without peeking!) more times than I can count.

12. What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas? Just being together. Playing games is fun, but just the togetherness.

13. What Christmas craft do you like the best? I guess card making. I don’t really do anything else.

14. Christmas music? (Yes or No) If yes, what is your favorite song? Yes!!! And my dad and youngest brother are my hero's because they took all my Christmas music, ripped it to a memory stick and mailed it to me! My new favourite song is “I Wanna Be Your Christmas” by Andrew Allen though. I heard it on the radio and I love it :)

15. When do you plan to finish all of your shopping? Dunno. Christmas Eve maybe?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Learned a Very Cold Lesson Tonight

Most of the skirts I wear to work are only knee length. I wear them with black tights. As it's gotten colder I've started wearing my winter boots to work and carrying my work shoes. Then I change when I get there. Today I was inside studying all day and didn't have to be at work till 7 pm. With all that time I was still running a bit late. I knew it had been snowing but I didn't really think much of it (it's been snowing off an on for weeks). I was ready about five minutes before the bus was due so I just threw on a hoodie, a scarf and my winter coat and dashed down to the bus stop. Problem #1: I didn't account for the fact that the bus schedule is screwed up by the weather. So, that would have been okay, IF I was dressed for waiting. I wasn't. I was dressed for catching the bus. The next one didn't come for 35 minutes. I don't know if you've had to catch the bus much but waiting is the most annoying thing ever. You don't know if you should stay or go, or if you'll have enough time to catch the next one. I knew I hadn't missed it because I was early but when weather is the variable, you never know WHEN it will come. By the time it did, I was near frozen. Well, my legs were. My upper body was toasty warm.

So, next time I have to work I'm doing two things differently.
1. I'm planning on catching an earlier bus so I'm not late for work
2. I'm dressing warmer. Proper leg covering/long skirt, etc.

In other happier news, I had my first Vanilla Rooibos Tea Latte tonight. Yummy! I'm not much of a tea drinker (aside from Chai) but I've wanted to start trying the Starbucks teas so I can recommend them to customers. I couldn't decide what to have tonight after work and my boss suggested that. I had it "sub-vanilla" because it usually just comes with classic syrup. It's really good. I'll definitely add it to my "drinks I like" list (which is getting longer by the day!)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#30 - Facebook

Okay, as I avoid studying for my next exams, I'm going to bang out my final official "Attitude of Gratitude" post.

This one I'm dedicating to Facebook. I alluded to it in my BlackBerry post but I think it deserves it's own. I love Facebook. I love that my updates come to my phone and that I can check it any time. I love that I am connected to so many people who I otherwise wouldn't have any contact with. I love that I can keep on top of what's going on with people from a distance and that I can update them on what's going on in my life.

So far I haven't really shared my blog with the general world but I'll pretty much make anyone a Facebook friend. Facebook has definitely made moving easier. It makes my world seem much smaller as well. I check it multiple times a day and send messages both on people's walls and through messages. I still have it set to French so occasionally it makes me laugh and sometimes it frustrates me because I have to stop and actually translate what's going on, but mostly I love it.

Facebook is a tool and like any tool it can be abused. I understand that some people don't have any use for it. Personally, I can't imagine my life without it!

Okay, back to studying...after I check Facebook one more time... ;)

Attitude of Gratitude V3#29 - Conditioner

One of the first things I noticed when I moved to Ontario was how different the water is. My whole trip had been an adventure. Lots of places we couldn't drink the water and one place it actually turned stuff orange because there was so much water in it. When I arrived here and tried to wash my hair it was horrible. I could hardly brush it out and for the first time I actually considered cutting it. Of course I didn't. Instead, I did what I've managed to go 29 years without doing. I bought different shampoo.

For someone with such long hair I'm pretty lazy when it comes to caring for it. For the most part I can get away with Pert Plus 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner and that's pretty much all I've used, ever. It's what my mom used for forever and since it worked (in BC water) I felt no need to change. Here, I had to. Interestingly I actually needed shampoo when I arrived. I had a few small travel bottles full that got me through but I didn't have a full bottle. My roommate let me try her stuff (I didn't notice it being all that much better) but I got a sample of Pantene in the mail. I used that and it was like having totally diffent hair! I know it's not a big deal to people who are used to using separate shampoo and conditioner but I am definitely a convert now. I love doing my hair now, especially after it's just been washed. I'm very thankful for conditioner!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#28 - BlackBerry

I am determined to do 30 of these entries. Yes I know November is long over. I don't care though. Thankfulness shouldn't end.

Today I'm going to do an ode to a slightly obvious item. My constant companion. My tool, entertainment, distraction. The first thing I reach for in the morning and often the last thing I see at night. My connection to the world, my communication device, my addiction.

My BlackBerry.

I know it's going to make me sound old but as someone who didn't have a personal computer at home until grade 11, sometimes it astounds me that a device the size of my hand is so powerful. I use it for so much. I have three (of four) email addresses directed there, I can access Facebook and the internet. It's my address book, calendar and GPS, and that's before I even open up the full menu. I keep notes in it, use it for a calculator and play games. Oh, and it even makes phone calls! LOL And I use the BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) and texting. (Really, if you can't get ahold of me, I must be in the bathroom or in class when it's usually off. Give me and hour (if I'm in class) and I'll get right back to you...unless I'm igorning you ;)

I don't have a lot of apps loaded but I do have dictionary.com and I use that one ALL the time. Long time readers of this blog may have noticed an absence of my "Word of the Day" posts. That's because I'm no longer sitting at a computer and I just search from my phone. I use that app a couple of times a day.

Addicted? Yes. But I love it :)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#27 - My Church Family

I've listed out my reasons for moving to Ontario on this blog before. One of the top reasons is that I knew there was a church I could attend and people I wanted to know better. I couldn't have anticipated just how wonderful they have been though. I mean I hoped, but they're really fantastic. I live about 45 minutes from the church which you'd think would be kind of awkward. I knew there would be that distance when I chose my new hometown though. Lots of people drive in so I'm not an anomoly. Because of this distance we have a potluck almost every Sunday. Sometimes it's a pain to get ready for but I wouldn't trade that time of fellowship for anything. Everyone has been so welcoming and I kow they'd help me out with anything if I asked. Having an established community to turn to has made this transition unbelievably smooth. I am very thankful for them :)

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Attitude of Graitude V3#26 - Red River Cereal

As a kid I rarely ate hot cereal. I just couldn't get past the texture. Once in a long while I'd have Cream of Wheat but oatmeal was my least favourite and I never ate Red River Cereal even though my dad had it practically every morning.

When I was doing my initial shopping when I arrived in Ontario I saw this cereal and decided to try it out. I'm not going to lie and say that the fact that I had just been through Manitoba and passed over the Red River didn't have anything to do with that decision. It certainly did. Hey, marketing works. In fact when I posted a picture of the Red River my friend Jenna commented:
"The mud from this river can be mixed with equal parts silage and gravel to make the famous Red River Cereal" :P

The good news is, my taste buds have changed. I actually really enjoy this cereal now. I eat it once or twice a week and it's best with raspberry jam. I'm thankful that I like it now because on cold winter mornings, it's perfect!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#25 - Starbucks

I have an undated list in a note book of "Jobs that May Be of Interest to Me". I estimate that it was written sometime in 2007. I distinctly remember writing that list. It don't exactly remember what the impetus was but I remember that the parameters were "if money wasn't an object". Meaning I opened it up so that I could write down any job no matter what the wage is. It was sort of a dreaming, not conciously goal setting exercise. Here's what I put down:
  • Starbucks Barista
  • Tour Guide - preferably at a Historic Site
  • Tourism Officer
  • At a Railway company (CPR/CN etc)
  • Mapping/Geography
Interesting. Some of them are really, really vague. Some require a lot more explanation. I never added to the list although I've thought about it a lot.

Notice though how "Starbucks Barista" is at the top of the list? I searched my blog and the first time that I can see that I acknowledged wanting to work for Starbucks was in August 2009 when I was considering applying for school. Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows how obsessed I am with the company. Now that I'm working there, I sometimes have to pinch myself to realize that it's actually happened!!!

Today I finished my official certification. We definitely identified "areas of improvement" but overall my boss is really happy with me. He used terms like "friendly, optimistic, efficient and a good communicator". I'm looking forward to strengthening my areas of weakness.

I love my team as well. There isn't a single person who, when I look at the schedule I think "I have to work with them?" And the people that aren't at my VERY top of list, are the ones who keep me really accountable and call me out when I'm not doing something right so they're actually really, really good TO work with.

We were supposed to have our Christmas party on Friday but it got put off to January because we couldn't convince anyone from the other stores to work. I'm sad. I was actually really looking forward to it. Not everyone can say that about their work parties! It shows how much I like working there. It's tiring for sure and sometimes I'm just not in the mood, but invariably when I get there, it's all good. Especially at Christmas time. Starbucks at Christmas is the best and I love being part of the joy!

I am thankful for my job and that I get to fulfill a dream of working at Starbucks!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude V3#24 - Laughing at Myself

The kitchen in this basement suite is tiny and set up really badly. It has a bunch of awkward angles and in the corner where it would make sense to store stuff, is the electrical box around which we have to keep a four foot empty space. Because of that we have a shelf set up just outside the kitchen door which also puts it beside the bathroom door. It works for the most part. We store dry food, our cookware and the toaster oven on there. On the top is also where my roommate stores her tea pot. I'm not sure what is wrong with me but I've knocked that stupid thing off the shelf twice, just while walking by. I guess I'm in a huge hurry to get to the bathroom or something. The first time the handle on the lid broke. Not a big deal and she improvised by using duct tape. Yesterday I knocked the whole thing off again and this time it totally smashed. I showed it to her immediately and offered to pay for the replacement. I'm such a clutz! She got a new tea pot today and has promised that she'll store it somewhere away from my gorilla arms :P

I am thankful that I can laugh at myself and that I don't have a roommate that breaks my stuff!!!