Saturday, December 17, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude V4#21 - New Boots

Last year I got Uggs, well, fake Uggs. Soft Moc ones but I love them. In 2009 I got my red boots. This year I got these gems (apparently new boots is a November tradition :D)

For my birthday my friend Rachel (pictured with me on my birthday below) gave me a gift certificate to the shoe store Spring. I would never have considered that for someone but I think it's brilliant!

I have noticed this style around campus and really liked them. It seemed like everyone I spoke to had gotten their boots at Spring so I made my way over there and found this pair. I love the neutral colour and they are SO soft. They're not snow boots by any stretch of the imagination but they are good for walking to the bus in the rain or on cool dry days when you don't want knee high boots. I usually wear them laced up to the top (like the one on the right) but I have seen lots of  people wearing them open (like on the left). I really like the plaid inside too and I wanted you to see that ;)

Yep, I am thankful for new boots!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude V4#20 - A Sense of Humour

I'm having trouble keeping track of all the people I know who are engaged. This isn't a new problem, I generally have tons of weddings to go to but it seems like recently there's been a bunch more. I can't help but wonder though, if all these people are getting married, why am I still single? Well, let's look at WHO is getting married.

Of the seven weddings I know of that are coming up:
Two of the guys are my brothers
Two of the guys are my cousins
Two of the guys are over ten years younger than me
Two of the guys are gay and marrying each other.

Alrighty then. Let's just forget it :P

Anyway, lately I've really been enjoying Terri Clark's newest single called "The One". It really captures where I am right now.

I hear the whispers as I walk by
They always start with bless her heart
She’s still single and that’s such an empty life
She must not be lookin’ all that hard
They’ve all got their stories of why I’m still alone
But the only truth that matters is my own

I want fireworks to paint the sky
A kiss to burn my lips
I wanna feel the touch that pounds my heart down to my fingertips
And twenty years from now it still won’t be as good as it will ge
It might be a lot to ask for but I won’t take any less
 Just because I won’t settle don’t mean I won’t settle down
I don’t need a love that I can live with I want the one I can’t live without

 Momma’s always getting on me
She says I don’t give anyone a chance
But if I can’t feel the music when somebody holds me
How am I supposed to dance
There might be a few more lonely nights
But I’m not keeping score
It’s worth the wait for what I’m waitin’ for

 Fireworks to paint the sky
A kiss to burn my lips
I wanna feel the touch that pounds my heart down to my fingertips
And twenty years from now it still won’t be as good as it will get
It might be a lot to ask for but I won’t take any less
Just because I won’t settle don’t mean I won’t settle down
I don’t need a love that I can live with I want the one I can’t live without

 And just because I won’t settle don’t mean I won’t settle down
I don’t need a love that I can live with I want the one I can’t live without
No I can’t live without

 So, I'll keep singing, and be grateful that I can laugh about it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude V4#19 - Christmas Music

 I titled this Christmas Music but really I'm grateful for Christmas music, live music, and great friends who are flexible and open to adventure.

First the music, I have four friends who have joined a celtic fiddle club and they participated in a Christmas concert on Friday night. Granted only one of them plays the violin. The others play flute, clarinet and mandolin. The music was a lot of fun. Lots of good toe tapping fiddle tunes with just enough Christmas standards thrown in to make it feel festive.

My friends Kinsey (left) and Heather (left) joined me. Kinsey had invited us over for a Christmas dinner that she was hosting on Thursday night but I had to work so I suggested dinner on Friday and then invited them both to this concert. It was held in a church in Acton which, with traffic, is well over an hour away (although it was a lot less getting home) so we had dinner and then just visited in the car. They both said that they really enjoyed the show, but for different reasons. Kinsey posted on Facebook: "Had a great time tonight at a Celtic Christmas Concert with Heidi and Heather! All those jigs and reels really made me miss PEI!" Heather said she enjoyed it because she used to be in band and was familiar with some of the music. In any case it was a fun relatively inexpensive night out and we all said we'd be game to do something like that again!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude V4#18 - Good Days

Today was just an all around good day. Let's see if I can remember all the wonderful things that happened. I guess the big one is that I finished my last paper of the term. I probably could have still worked on it for awhile but it was due at midnight so around 6pm I just decided it was done and submitted it.

I also talked to my landlord. She has been STRESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSING out over renting the other room in my basement suite. I can't remember if I've posted about this but the current tenant had decided that she wanted to move because she thought it was too expensive. Well she looked around and realized that it's actually pretty middle of the road (especially considering everything is included, heat, hot water, laundry, parking, internet, tv, etc) Plus she didn't want to deal with the hassle of moving so she's decided to stay. She managed to talk our landlord down on the rent though and since we both pay the same amount, it means my rent will now be $35 cheaper for the next few months. Not a huge savings but every little bit counts right now so I am thankful. Plus this chick is pretty easy to live with so that is nice. My landlord had been considering renting to some of the guys that have inquired and the last person that looked at the place was a guy with a girlfriend so there would have been three of us here. I'd prefer to not live with a strange guy so this really is an answer to prayer.

Let's see, oh yeah, I also managed to change a tutorial I have next term to a better time slot. It was at 10:30am on Monday mornings when my next class isn't until 2:30pm. Now I have it on Wednesday with a bunch of other classes which is much better for my attendance potential.

I also realized that with my current grade in French, if I don't write the final exam AT ALL, I'll still pass the course (not by much, but I'd pass). Of course I will write so it's almost like bonus marks!

And then to end it all, I found out that my friends Angela and Matthew got engaged last night. It was their three year anniversary and the engagement isn't a surprise to anyone but it's still exciting. That makes five weddings for friends and family so far next year. We'll see how many I'm actually able to attend!

Attitude of Gratitude V4#17 - Cookies

Because what is Christmas without a cookie exchange? I certainly don't NEED a bunch of cookies but they sure taste good! I made Cinnamon Sugar Crispies which have pecans on top. They were kind of small but tasty. I hope everyone liked them! These are the ladies I exchanged with. Sandy, Bev (in front), Ruth and Brenda. In the first picture Ruth was looking at Bev for some reason. In the second we were all tickling each other hence the huge grins LOL I love these ladies, and not only because they make great cookies!!!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude V4#16 - Twilight

Heidi's Tips for Enjoying Books that are Turned into Movies
1. don't read the book for at least a year before you see the movie so you don't remember every specific detail and don't get annoyed by minor differences in the plot
2. Set your expectations low
3. Decide that you think the lead actor is cute and is perfect for the part

With these three tips, I can say that I really enjoyed seeing Breaking Dawn on Saturday with my friends Sharlaine (back) and Elizabeth. Sharlaine didn't follow rule number three so she had a hard time with the movie as a whole. Elizabeth didn't follow one or two so she was a bit disappointed as well. For me, I really enjoyed it. It was like seeing old friends and I have to admit, I am wholly back on the Team Emmett bandwagon! ;)

Timing is everything too. This movie focuses on Edward and Bella's wedding and I couldn't help but thinking of my own brother's weddings that are coming up. Seeing Edward, Emmett and Jasper (did he make one?) make speeches just made me think of my brothers. Those guys are like brothers to me anyway, even if I do think they're cute ;)

I am looking forward to the second part of Breaking Dawn even though it contains a lot more "vampire" stuff which I don't enjoy. I am interested to see how it all plays out on screen though. I was discussing the movie with my coworker and was reminded of a blog post I wrote two years ago. It's my stance on Twilight, for the record :)

And, to make this an official "Gratitude" post, I am thankful that I have friends who I can go see them movie with! Sharlaine and Elizabeth were technically on a double date, in that their husbands went to see another movie while they saw Breaking Dawn but they allowed me to join them which I appreciate. It's always fun to see films with people who can appreciate them.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude V4#15 - SS Sisters

For the past few years I have participated in an ornament exchange on ScrapShare. I received this year's ornaments on Thursday after a very long day. I left that morning at 9am and didn't get back until almost 11:30pm. It was wonderful to be greeted by a lovely package like this.

When we sign up we fill out a brief questionnaire about how you celebrate Christmas, any colours you like, anything you collect, and any ornament that is special for any reason. I said that they're all special but that I like the ones that represent where my SS sister lives.

This year my name was assigned to Amy in VA, aka "greeneyes". She sent two ornaments and a beautiful card. The ball with the H was hand painted by a friend of hers and interestingly very closely resembles an ornament I was eyeing in the bookshop at school earlier that day!
The second one is the town hall in in her town, Vienna, VA as it looked in the 1950's. I immediately Googled it and was tickled to see that the town hall still looks exactly the same (except the trees are a bit bigger). Take a look! Here's the address: 152 Center Street South, Vienna, VA, United States

The ONLY thing wrong with this ornament? Now I want to take a road trip to Vienna, Virginia!!! Thanks Amy! Don't be surprised if I end up in your town some day ;)

Friday, December 02, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude V4#14 - Farmers Markets

One of the things I loved about living in my apartment in BC was that the local Farmers Market was within walking distance of my apartment. There was nothing better than walking downtown on a sunny Saturday morning and loading up with fresh veggies.

One of the reasons I chose to move to Waterloo, Ontario was that it is close to the little town of St. Jacobs is so close. St. Jacobs has a huge Farmers Market that runs throughout the year on Saturdays and on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the summer. Unfortunately between school and work I can't always get out there so this year I was super excited to get involved in the student run Farmers Market on campus! There is a group of students (mostly in Geography interestingly enough) who work together to source local food (not always "organic" but definitely local) and sell it in the Concourse once a week. Local means seasonal so this time of year it's a lot of root vegetables (beets, turnips, sweet potatoes) which I have been having fun eating. They sell each item piece by piece. For example, 25 cents for a potato or apple, 1.25 for broccoli, etc. and focus on small amounts. One of the issues with the bigger Farmers Markets is that you often get massive amounts of food. Like two pounds of green beans or ten apples. Well that is great if you are feeding a family but for a student, on a budget, buying huge amounts of food doesn't make sense because it goes bad before you can eat it. This way you only really have to buy for the week and you can load up again next week!

I was able to volunteer for an hour and a half between classes for about a month and a half. I got off track when I got sick but I'll be back next year for sure. I stopped by the last market booth on Wednesday and they gave me a little bag of chocolates as a thank you which I immediately devoured :)

I look forward to next year and in the mean time, I'll try and take a trip out to St. Jacobs again. It's only about 15 minutes from my house so it makes a nice little trip.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude V4#13 - Christmas Tree

So apparently my new tradition is to wait until the second year that I'm at a place before I get a tree. That's what happened in my last apartment and that's what has happened here. I can't even really remember why I didn't get a tree last year. No time I think, or ornaments (because I think bulk ones are boring). This year I knew I wanted a small tree so I started shopping in early November. I ended up finding one (for twelve dollars!!!) at Zellars. It's pre-lit with white lights and I added a string of another 200 coloured lights. I still don't have many ornaments because most of them are still packed away in BC but I have collected a few. I have the ones I picked up this summer while travelling and the Starbucks ones from this year and last year. At the top is the one I received in last year's ScrapShare Ornament Swap.
The tree is three feet tall which is just perfect. It sits on a shelf in front of my mirror which makes the lights even brighter. I love having a tree up, especially when it's dark and cold out and I am stuck inside writing papers (or blogging...) and studying.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude V4#12 - Cheeeeeeese

Saturday, November 19th my friends Grace, Esther and I went over to our friend Jess's place for a sleep over and cheeeeeeese party (and yes, that many e's are necessary :D) We didn't really have any parameters. Just "bring cheese" and look how much we had for four people!!! Esther put together the tray with pickles and sausage and Grace made a spinach dip.

Jess set the table with her cloth napkins and napkin rings and we proceeded to just gorge ourselves on cheeeeeeeeese. It was fabulous :D

The favourites were applewood smoked cheddar, boursin (Grace couldn't get enough of it and even ended up having it for breakfast the next day!) and an English toffee cheese that really tasted more like fudge.
I didn't get any pictures of US. I was too focused on the food :)

It was a blast. We conceived the idea about a month ago when the four of us spontaneously went shopping in Mississauga. After the mall closed we had a light dinner at Panera Bread and then walked through one of the only Whole Foods in Canada. While we were in the deli we joked about doing a cheeeeeese party and it was so fun to actually make it happen!!! The only draw back was that I had an hors d'oeuvre planned as well but I forgot half of it. Oh well, tis the season for parties now. I'm pretty sure I can make it some time soon and who knows, maybe we'll have another cheeeeeeeese party soon too!!!

Attitude of Gratitude V4#11 - Remembrance Day

You may remember last year how annoyed I was that I couldn't attend a proper Remembrance Day ceremony because I had class. This year I figured out where the one on campus was held (it helps to be friends with the History Students Association now) and I just skipped my French tutorial in order to attend. It was very nice. Totally student run and quite simple. Barry (top left) the president of the HSA spoke about the student's role in remembering, the president of the Student's Union spoke, a girl who had done a battle fields tour shared a bit about her experience and the Dean of Students not only read "In Flanders Fields" but also gave a bit of the story around when John McCrae wrote it and what it was like for him. Brendan (right) was the MC. He was really nervous but he did a really good job.

We had five of the music students play a couple of selections including "Last Post" (which gave me chills like it normally does) and Amazing Grace. At one point the friend I was sitting beside nuged me and pointed behind us. There were about 100 chairs filled with students and faculty but behind that it was standing room only and it was PACKED. So many people stopping and standing silently was pretty cool.

Afterwards there was a reception on one of the upper levels of the Student Centre. I ended up, somewhat randomly, talking to an older gentleman who turned out to be the past Dean of Students (and now the student centre is named after him). I had heard that he still worked on campus so I was excited to meet him. We chatted for a bit and I learned that he had actually fought for the American's in the Korean War and then went to West Virginia University where he got his degree. He came to Canada in 1968 and has been at the university ever since. I'm pretty sure most of the people in the room didn't realize that he was a veteran so that was cool plus, around campus, he's a living legend so it was extra special.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude V4#10 - drugs

I'm not one to run to drugs at every turn but sometimes they have their place. Last week...nope, that was almost two weeks ago already. Yikes! Anyway, two weeks ago, when my throat was so incredibly sore my friend Tyannah suggested Buckley's Cold and Flu capsules. Woohoo! Those thing are potent! They're also huge. I had a hard time swallowing them but man was it worth it. They work so well! I immediately felt energized after taking them (must have been whatever made them "non-drowsy") and they cleared my throat right up. Of course I'm still coughing but at least my throat doesn't hurt and my energy is back (without drugs). But I recommend those things to anyone!

Attitude of Gratitude V4#9 - Libraries

I am thankful for libraries. These are some of the books I used for the paper I wrote for my Russian History class called "The Expansion of the Russian Empire into the South Under Catherine the Great". For my other papers I have used a lot of online articles and even some online books which are a neat option. I can access them all through my school library, even when I am off campus which is nice.

I have to admit though, as thankful as I was to have these books as sources, I was EXTRA happy to be able to return them when the paper was done!!! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude V4#8 - Heating Pad

So I got knocked completely off track with this whole challenge. I blame it on a nasty bout with a few different health issues that laid me flat, combined with a brutal essay season and, still, too many hours at work. I am committed to finishing at least 30 though. Even if it takes me till Christmas :)

So, looking back, I am thankful for my electric heating pad. I haven't needed it hardly at all this year since I have a stick skinny roommate who is always freezing. Our basement suite has been much more "normal" this year so I don't have to bundle up just to go to bed. That said, sometimes, nothing beats cuddling with a warm flannel covered square. Especially when it's that time of the month. In the absence of a bathtub, the heating pad really does make everything better :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude V4#7 - QWERTY Typing

As I sit here and procrastinate on writing a paper, that I would really like to be finished with, I can't help but be thankful that, when the inspiration strikes, I CAN type, fully, properly. With both hands and without looking at the keyboard. (Although apparently I can't form sentences. That first one is atrocious. Sorry.) I blogged about my Keyboard 11 class memories in 2008 so I won't repeat them. I will say that I am very thankful that I took that class though. When I'm writing a research paper, my method is to retype the relevant sections from my sources. Especially when they are library books that I can't mark up. That would take forever if I was doing the "hunt n' peck" style of typing. I know there are debates going around about teaching kids cursive writing versus keyboarding in school. I think they should get them both. They're both invaluable and I'm grateful that I have both skills.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude V4#6 - A Job I Love

I originally uploaded these pictures at the end of August but somehow never got around to finishing the entry. The drinks on the left are old news now. They are the Salted Caramel Mocha and Pumpkin Spice Latte. I opened one morning and made them as test beverages. They were so cute and little (they're in short cups) that I had to take a picture. It was around that time that I got this MUG award from our assistant manager. He has since transferred to another store but it was nice to be recognized.

It has been just over a year since my original hire date at Starbucks. Because of my two month hiatus to go to Quebec in May/June, I am considered a "re-hire" but I can still tell people that I've been around for a year. There have been changes, in addition to the ASM moving we also had the manager who hired me move to another store and the original ASM was promoted to manager. It's been a good change. Jon is young, as are most of the partners at this store. In fact, I am actually the oldest! It's a weird feeling. I'm used to being the youngest! Jon does a good job of managing though and, most important for me, he listens. We're kind of understaffed right now, so it makes scheduling difficult. From the day he took on scheduling duties he has been fantastic about not scheduling me at all on Sunday's or Wednesday's (both days I have church or classes and church so there's just no time to work). Recently he's been putting me down for four shifts a week amounting to 24 hours a week. I don't mind working over 20 hours but I need it to be only three shifts a week. I know it doesn't sound like much of a difference but mentally, having two days were I don't have to go in to work at all (not to mention Sunday and Wednesday) does a huge amount for my mental well being.

As for the job itself, I really do enjoy it. I can't see myself doing it for years on end, but I do hope to do it for a few more years. It can be stressful and very physically exhausting but it's such a change from school work that I look forward to going in. Plus it's just a fun place to be :) I am grateful to have a job I love at a company I am passionate about!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude V4#5 - Sleep

(And yes, I realize this is following a post about pillows ;))

Between work, school and church I typically put in some long days. This last week was a crazy example, and definitely explains why I'm under the weather now.

Sunday morning I went to church and the out for lunch with my friend Jess. Normally I attend the potluck that the church hosts but I knew I needed to get home and do some school work so Sunday evening was relatively quiet.

Monday I was up and at the school by 9:30 in order to meet with one of my profs about one of my papers. I only have one actual class on Monday's (French) so I went to that from 12:30-1:20 and then hit the library for a bit. From there I headed home, ate a late lunch and then got ready and headed out for the church Harvest Party. It was a blast, I posted a bit about it on my first Attitude of Gratitude post. I was home by 11ish that night.

Tuesday morning I opened at work. That means working from 5am to 9:30am and classes from 10-11:30am and 2:30-4pm. You do the math. That's not a lot of sleep. I did manage to go home and get in an hour long nap between classes and then I was in bed around 11pm again.

Wednesday I have classes at 8:30am but, no surprise, I was late by just over a half an hour. I just couldn't get out of bed. Wednesday night I was again at church and then Jess and I went to Tim Horton's (all the local Starbucks close too early ;)) There was a massive crash on the 401 so I had to re-route on the way home and it was close to 1am by the time I got in bed.

Thursday and Friday I left the house around 9am in the morning and didn't return until after work at 11pm. Long. Looooong days. I won't go into details but suffice to say I was pretty much moving non-stop. By the time I finally fell into bed on Friday night I was EXHAUSTED. Thankfully, Saturday morning I was able to sleep in, and I did, till after 11am. When I finally woke up I had a leisurely couple of hours before heading in to work again. Even though I had an eight hour shift I felt a million times better after actually getting some sleep.

Yesterday was Sunday, the first Sunday in the month so we had a late service. That meant that I got to sleep in again. With the time change it wasn't as late as Saturday but it still felt good. Sleep is awesome, and you really, really appreciated it when you don't get it!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude V4#4 - Pillows

I live in a furnished two bedroom basement suite. The other bedroom is leased to another girl. When I arrived in September 2010, I was first to get here so I got first dibs on rooms. I took the one at the bottom of the stairs mostly because I knew I'd like the location better. The room has a bed, desk, nightstand and two shelving units in in (plus the shelf I bought and a LOT of other stuff). The bed is probably considered an antique. It's just a mattress on a spring base (not a box spring). It's not The Most Comfortable Bed ever but it's not horrible either. The best part though? The pillows. There are four (and two decorative ones) and I love them. Generally I pull the two in shams down along side my body when I'm sleeping and keep my head on one of the other two. It leaves me feeling all cozy and I sleep SO well with them. Even though it's a little thing, today I am grateful for pillows.

Attitude of Gratitude V4#3 - Technology

Technology. You love to hate it but we're so reliant on it! For example, I just had a conversation with my brother Robert on MSN Video Chat (we usually use Skype but he's in Northern BC right now and doesn't have a great connection. MSN seems to use less bandwidth so it's more reliable). During that conversation I was checking my email and using Facebook to chat with Seth's fiance Brittany about Seth and Robert connecting via MSN. And during THAT I got a BlackBerry Message (BBM) from one of my friends following up on a conversation we had started earlier.

Earlier today I had been texing with my mom and tonight, after checking a few friends' blogs, I am doing my own blogging. Not to mention actually talking to my mom on the phone earlier.

Back "in the day" the phone was the only way of connecting, aside from snail mail. I remember my mom calling her mom and it costing something like 30 cents a minutes. Or maybe more. Something like that. A half hour phone call was around $10 each. Crazy.

So even though technology is a bit of a master, it is very useful and I am, for the most part, thankful for it.

Attitude of Gratitude V4#2 - One Life to Live

I've been thinking about this post, or about making it a Facebook status for awhile but it's never seemed like the right time. I'm not even sure if I'll be able to articulate what I am feeling but I'm going to try.

I am thankful that I only have to live my life.

It's not perfect by any means and there are things I would like to change about it, but in the grand scheme of things, I have it pretty darn good. I hear about other people and the challenges they are facing either with their health, their financial or family situations, or a plethora (heh, I love that word) of other trials and I realize just how blessed I am. I'm not talking about anyone or anything specific here. I could list a tons of people who's shoes I would rather not be in. Maybe it's a sign of getting older. Realizing that the grass really isn't greener on the other side of the fence even when it is kind of brown here :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude V4#1 - Friends

Today is November first, again, already. I'd like to try and do the "Attitude of Gratitude" thing again this year (for the fourth time!) I've noticed that people are doing something similar on Facebook but I'm going to keep my posts here because it gives me room to expand on my thoughts if I need/want to.

My first entry is being grateful for friends. I have SO many wonderful people in my life and I am constantly reminded of just how blessed I am. I've been in Ontario for just over a year now and I have developed many amazing friendships but the deepest ones are definitely with Jess and Grace (who dressed as each other for the Harvest Party at church. It was hilarious.)

With them I can totally be myself, be silly, be happy, be sad, be real and they totally support me.

These two are only two of the people I am proud to call friends. Even when we have cookies on our faces :)

By the way, if it's not obvious, I made my costume. I'm the siren/mermaid on the Starbucks logo!

Thursday, October 06, 2011


Writing papers and studying for midterms (already!)

I'll be back soon, I promise.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Making French Personal

I figured out a fabulous new way to study French. Actually, I came up with it a few months back but lately I've actually been putting it into practice. It's even better than watching Disney movies in French, which I still do, frequently. So what is it? Reading the bible in French! When I was in Quebec I bought a little New Testament for two bucks from a church that we passed every day (pictured at right). I am now at a point where I am comfortable enough with the language, and with my existing knowledge of how the verses read in English, to muddle my way through. I'm focusing on individual verses right now, although I have passively read full passages. Passively meaning I haven't focused on identifying each word, just the big ones - aka nouns - so I get the general gist of what it's saying. I'm finding that, not only am I practicing my new language and reinforcing both vocabulary and verb tenses but it's also making the words in the bible come alive because I'm examining them so closely. I think if I had, had the option to do this in Latin I would have enjoyed it more.

Here's a great one for practicing relative time - Hebrews 13:8 J├ęsus Christ est la meme hier, aujourd’hi et pour toujours.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Second "retirement"

As of yesterday I was officially deactivated as a Creative Memories Consultant, for the second time. My friend Shannon says that if you chose to deactivate (meaning it doesn't happen accidently and you don't intend to go back) then it's considered "retirement". This time around it's kind of misleading though because, even though I was technically a consultant for about 14 months, I didn't actually "work the business". I mostly did it to get cheaper products for me and one friend.

I realized last night that I deactivated exactly six years to the day after the first time I was a consultant. It's hard to believe that it's actually been that long since I was a CMC. So much has happened since. I'm still scrapbooking. I did quite a few pages over the summer but I'm still running about three years behind in my chronological books. It's okay though. School takes priority.

Not much will change now that I'm not a CMC. Because I wasn't actually doing anything with it, no one will see any difference. The only thing that will be noticably absent is the billions of emails in my inbox...hopefully at least :P

Saturday, October 01, 2011

It's a good thing I'm not much of a worrier

I haven't bothered posting any of this saga mostly because I don't really have the time these days but also because it was unresolved for so long that dwelling on it would have made me crazy. Thanks to everyone who DID listen to me as I rode the ride.

So I have a new roommate. I'll try to recap this quickly.
April: When my old never-actually-slept-here roommate moved out, my landlord decided to not re-rent the room. They used it for storage over the summer.
Mid-September: Finances are tight upstairs (for my landlord) so she decided to see if she could find someone to take the room. She posted an ad on Craigslist specifiying "female preferred" but only got replies from guys. She asked my opinion and I expressed my reluctance to live with a strange guy. She understood and agreed but was getting really stressed out. She set up meetings with a few of them and in that time actually got some replies from girls so she brought them in first.

One of the girls moved in last night. I honestly have hardly talked to her and I still haven't figured out how to pronounce her name. She's a PhD student from somewhere in the middle east (Iraq or Iran I think). She seems nice and quiet. It's weird to have someone living here again but I feel like it will work well.

It was a bit stressful going through all the "possibilities" and getting updates all the time but I am thankful for the outcome.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

School Update

So we’re officially twelve days into the new school year. I have four classes again this semester.

French 230 – I get flashbacks to Quebec all the time, which makes sense. That’s where I learned a lot. My prof is kind of annoying. She’s new to this school and still finding her way. Her voice is odd too. Kind of grating and quiet. It’s hard to want to emulate her when you want her to go away. The great thing about that class is my friend Tyanah is in it. She was in French 102 with me and we got along so well. We did a lot of group work together and had a blast. She makes it worth it. I’ve only had one tutorial (a fourth hour of class that focuses more on conversation than teaching grammar). I was late for that class so I don’t actually know the TA’s name but she seems really nice. She’s on exchange from France and very gentle and patient.

North American Studies 201: Transborder Regions – Again I have a prof who is new to the school. She’s a PhD candidate from McGill. The first few days she annoyed me but I’m loving the course material even more than I thought I would so she’s growing on me. This is a required course for my major in North American Studies but it’s really, really interesting. Proof that the double major thing is a good idea. In this class I sit with a girl who was roommates in first year with a girl who was in my Latin class. Mercedes and I bonded over the fact that we were both from BC. Unfortunately after one year she decided to go back to BC. When I walked into 201 Lisa was sitting there and greeted me by name (even though it took me a little while to place who she was). She lived in BC till she was 9 and then moved to Ontario so we have a fair bit in common too. Lisa is also with me in…

North American Studies 211: Canadian Identities and Cultures – (she’s doing the double major in History and North American Studies as well). This class is only once a week, on Wednesday mornings. We’ve only met twice so far but it’s already one of my favourites. It’s taught by the head of the NA department and he’s really fun.

History 205: History of Imperial Russia – I don’t actually have any friends in this class, yet but I’m really enjoying it. Even though I’m doing Canadian History there are breadth requirements and this course qualifies as “pre-modern” (or something like that). It’s very different for me because, while I’m not totally ignorant when it comes to Russia, there is a lot to learn. The prof for this course is fantastic. Knowledgeable and funny. We were all scrambling on the first few days to write down everything on the slides and he quipped “the important stuff (on the slides) is posted online, everything else I just make up”. The research essay for this class scares me but I just need to keep narrowing down my field and getting more sources. I’m sure I’ll be fine.
So that’s the start of this year. I’ll check back in, in December to let you know how it all went :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I knew it!

A few weeks ago I came out of an evening church service and saw that I had missed calls from both my brother Seth. Not totally weird but I don't talk to either of them all that often so it did make me wonder what was up. I even had the conscious thought that Seth may be calling to give me some good news and wondered if I should wait to speak with him before calling Dad. In the end I got a hold of Dad first and he was calling out about something totally different. I spoke with Seth the next day and while he didn't have any "news", he did talk an awful lot about his long time girlfriend Brittany. Like more than usual. I was suspicious but it was really unfounded. Just a gut feeling.

Last Monday I got a text from Seth at 7am his time saying "are you up". I replied about an hour after receiving the message saying "yes, but I'm at work. Call me after 1pm my time". I went back out onto the floor and told my coworker (who is also named Brittany) "my brother just called to tell me that he's engaged. Maybe. I think so at least. Maybe not. I hope so though!" Again, I didn't have any real reason to feel that way.

Seth did call when I was done work and caught me on the bus on my way home. We chatted about about our days (Me having finished work and him heading up to Fort McMurry, Alberta) and then he said "well, she said yes". I wasn't going to let him off the hook that easy so I answered "to what question?" and he admitted that he had proposed the night before and Brittany had said yes. My response? (I was off the bus by this time) "I KNEW IT!" LOL

They've been going out for three years now (or maybe four? I forget.) So it wasn't totally unexpected but none of my family has spoken with him specifically about it. I'm so happy for them. I really, really like Brittany and I'm happy to have her for a sister. Now we just have to hope that Seth won't be a groomzilla :P

(Pictures are Brittany and Seth and Brittany and I last Christmas).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Welcome Home

My friend Jerusha was teaching in London for the first half of the year. She got back at the beginning of August so our friend Jess hosted Sunday lunch in her honour as a "welcome home". At the table L-R is me, Jerusha, our friend Sharlaine who is also from BC and Jerusha's sister Keren.
Jess outdid herself with the meal. We had an incredible fresh salad with a mango/almond puree dressing, baked brie with garlic and focaccia bread with two different dipping options for our first course. The second course was new potatoes, salmon with rosemary and other spices and corn on the cob (which was a little slow to cook so we dug into the salmon and potatoes first).

Sunday was also the day before Sharlaine's 25th birthday so the trifle dessert was in her honour.

It was a wonderful time of hanging out, catching up and mostly just being together. A lovely way to spend a Sunday. We had a late service that day so about 5pm we all packed up and headed up to church. It was great.

Jerusha and our amazing hostess, Jess.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fun at work

I closed last Friday and we decided to leave a little "surprise" for our boss who was opening. Brian took every garbage in the store and put them by the espresso machine. Not a big deal and really an easy fix in the morning but it made us giggle.

I asked our manager about it the next day and he just smiled, shrugged and replied "initially I was scared that they were undergoing some weird cleaning procedure so I was happy to find out that they just needed to be moved!"

To "make up" for our minor prank we made sure to make sure the rest of the store was in tip top shape. We even left out aprons for the openers complete with till tags and sharpies.

And lastly, a quick shot of the front of the store as seen from over the pastry case. This was at about 12:30 am just before we locked up.

French Update

Classes don't start again until September 12th, so over a month still. I am so happy about that. I'm looking forward to going back and I'm excited about my classes but I am not ready yet. I'm still enjoying my summer! That said, there are certain things that have started already, like French Club. We had our first "summer meet up" on the evening of Sunday, July 24th. We met at the school and walked downtown for gelato (which we realize isn't French but all the "French" places were too far away). It was nice. It was a good mix of English and really rusty French but at least we tried.

The following Tuesday was the first meeting of the Directorate of French Club, of which I am one "Directrice". Unfortunately there weren't a lot of other people there so we just discussed what NEEDS to be done and didn't really make any decisions. We did nominate two new people (Kerri and Jeff) as co-presidents though. The person who has been our president for the past few years is just finishing her degree so she won't be around for the full year. The other "senior member" (aka person who has been on the directorate for a year or more) is going to France for half the year so these two are the only other logical candidates. They both decided that they'd take in on in a shared position. We sent the nomination out by email after the meeting and it looks like most people agree.

We met again last Friday and there were a few more people there. We also held the meeting in our regular spot in the Language Lounge at the school and the chair of the French Department joined us for a bit and shared an update from the Departmental level which was great. As of that meeting it looks like I'll be sharing the treasurer position with Kerri because I have a bit of a background in that area. Aka - when the budget worksheet was reviewed I was the only one who's eyes didn't glaze over and didn't freak out. I'm pretty comfortable with that kind of thing so I figure I may as well put my work experience to good use.

We're just working on coordinating schedules for the next meeting but it will be soon. I'm looking forward to it. I enjoy this kind of thing :)

One last "French thing". I met with the French advisor. I do get credit, for my time in Quebec but it's a "Junior" credit. Meaning 100 level which means it won't count towards my French minor. I'm okay with that though. She agreed that I need to take 230 (the next class that I would have taken if I hadn't gone to Quebec, and one that IS required for a minor) and said that I'm probably a lot more prepared for 230 now because there is quite a jump between 102 and 230. I'm happy with that. I'm taking French because I want to know it and want to be able to use it. If she had decided that Quebec equaled 230 I would have been hooped. I NEED the practice. The other good thing is, since I only took four classes each semester last year I'm technically a bit short on credits for my first year so this means I'm not as far behind. And I did GET a credit. Honestly, by about week four in Quebec I didn't really care if I got ANYTHING so this is nice.

So there, that's what's going on for the French side of my life :)

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Detroit Tigers

My friend Mike took a baseball tour this summer. They hit eight cities in twelve days and saw eight baseball games in that time as well as touring the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. The second last stop took them to Detroit and since that was the closest to me, and it was an afternoon game, I decided to book Thursday off and join him.

This was my first time going to Detroit. It's super easy in that you just get on the 401 in Ontario and follow it down until it turns into the tunnel border crossing. The tunnel brings you out right in downtown Detroit and from there it's just a few short blocks to Comerica Park.

We met about a half an hour before the game began at the carousel. This is the only photo I got of it though :( I think we were too busy catching up. We grabbed a quick lunch (wraps because it was stinking hot so we wanted something light) and walked around the concourse before finding our seats. Actually, we found my seat which was up about twenty rows and over one section from his. My row was in the shade so we sat there and no one had a problem with it so we stayed there for the whole game.

Mike is a way bigger baseball fan than I am but this was his seventh game in a row so while we did watch the game, neither of us really needed to concentrate that much. He showed me the pictures of the cities he had visited already (Boston, Cooperstown, New York for the Yankees and the Mets, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Pittsburgh.)

During the seventh inning stretch I took this picture of us. I was showing how good my wide angle lens can tell that I'm still not used to it!
After the game we met up with his parents and all went for dinner in "Greektown" (did you know that there's a Greektown in Detroit?) The restaurant we picked was pretty authentic Greek but not what we're used to so it was a bit disappointing (that's what you get for randomly picking a restaurant though). The servers were awesome though. They were RUNNING through the restaurant and flambeing (Is that a word? There's no red line under it.) saganaki, the Greek cheese that is doused with alcohol and then lit on fire. It was HOT and I'm pretty sure I lost some arm hairs. :P It made for a fun "show" though :)
I headed out about 7pm. The line at the border only took about a half an hour but because you're snaking through downtown and because I didn't actually know where the line went, it felt longer. The border guards each way were pretty good. Going down he was a bit suspicious that I drove so far (it's about three hours) just for a ball game so he did check my trunk but on the way back the guy hardly blinked and I was on my way in no time.

I was treated to a soft pretty sunset on the way home and, after getting stuck in a bit of construction, made it home before 11. I used a whole tank of gas going there and back but it was worth the trip.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Pinery Provincial Park

Monday was a Civic Holiday in Ontario. Meaning lots of people get the day off but it's not actually a statutory holiday (it is in some provinces, BC being one). I only had to work from 8am to 1pm so when Jess mentioned that she was planning on heading to Pinery Provincial Park on Lake Huron I convinced her to wait around and take me with her. Actually I had volunteered to just drive out and meet her but it's about 1.5 hours from my place and she realized how dumb it would be to take two cars so she waited.

It was a perfectly lovely day. Chili, Jess's standard poodle was with us, which means we were on the dog beach. It was pretty busy but the waves were loud so even though you could see everyone else, you really couldn't hear them. The beach front in that particular spot is pretty narrow as well and backs onto a grassy bluff so there was no one behind or in front of us.

Jess and Chili played Frisbee in the water some but I mostly just sat and read my book. The sun was warm but there was a strong breeze so it wasn't too bad. I wore a cap and sunglasses for most of the day and Jess wore the big floppy hat that you can see in my picture.

She packed a scrumptious picnic salad of mangoes, avocados, and blueberries over organic lettuce along with tuna salad on rice cakes. I haven't had rice cakes in years but they are a perfect summer beach food.

As the sun started to set the beach cleared off and we ended up staying for the whole show. It was so peaceful. In the last picture the sky was almost a rainbow. Redish-orange along the horizon, yellow and a tinge of green moving up and fading into a purple blue. It was gorgeous.

Jess actually lives on Lake Ontario so we walk along the waterfront all the time when I visit. With this visit to Lake Huron I have officially completed #72 on my list (visit all five great lakes) but I look forward to spending much more time at them.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The big three-zero

Sunday was my birthday. My thirtieth birthday. I'm officially in a new decade. I remember turning ten. I was so excited to be in the double digits. Turning thirty hasn't been all that bad. Not nearly as exciting as ten but nothing to dread. I had a harder time with 23 for sure. Anyway, I think the fact that I had such a wonderful day helped make it easier. My phone was going off constantly all day with Facebook messages, texts and emails. I went to church in the morning and for our weekly potluck afterwards where everyone sang Happy Birthday. In the late afternoon six of my closest friends joined me for a trip into Toronto. We parked at a shopping centre and took the subway into the downtown core. Our destination was the CN Tower which I haven't been to since my visit to Ontario in 2000. I figure once every ten years is good :)

The day was a bit smoggy and slightly overcast so we couldn't see super far but it was decent. They've expanded the glass floor since I was there last. Some people still have a lot of problems with it but I like it :)

This is the group: Jess, Rachel, me, Esther, Grace, Elizabeth and Leasa. Leasa was with me the first time I went to the tower but she didn't actually go up. Rachel and Grace were born and raised in Ontario but this was their first trip to the top!!!

After the tower Leasa and Elizabeth had to head home but the rest of us went out for a light dinner and I got a birthday brownie (with forks so I could share :)) It was close to midnight by the time I got home but it was so worth it. Great friends and great memories make turning thirty a lot better. I look forward to thirty more years of memories :)