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!