Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year, Goals, Aspirations and Non-Resolutions

So I have resolved not to make any resolutions for 2013.  I might set some goals though.  I have been hearing this crazy rumour that it is good to have goals, so I thought I should get me some.  Here are a few of my aspirations:

  1. Not run with scissors.
  2. Get a job.  Or something.
  3. Win the lottery.  Well, a lottery.  I am not fussy about which one.  I will accept a huge lump sum of cash from anywhere, really.
  4. Survive the end of the world.  Oh wait, been there, done that.  Well, good to start with something already completed to give a sense of accomplishment and momentum.
  5. Become a dog whisperer.  Literally.  None of this Cesar Milan talking out loud to dogs nonsense.
  6. Procrastinate.  Later.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas, My Mom and Survival

After a holiday hiatus, I am back!

I went home for the holidays to spend time with my family.  It was good to be home, although it was a tough Christmas as it was the first one without my dad around.  We are still grieving, but managed to prop each other up and get through as best we could by trying to carry on as we would have if he was still here.  There was one less, very hearty laugh in the house but in spite of that, or maybe because of that, we still managed to work on it by teasing each other a lot, laughing a lot and carrying on as we always have because that is the way he taught us to live.

I managed to have lots of fun spending time with my brothers.  Especially at one dinner, when Mom had to take a phone call, left the table and I was undefended against them.  I don't even remember what we talked about but they were making fun of me so much, I couldn't breathe from laughing so hard.  It was exactly how we knew to spend our time together.

Speaking of spending time together, I had a lot of quality time with my mother this Christmas, including a couple of magical, wonderful early mornings with my mother who is clearly insane.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winter Fun, Mirth and Merriment

My cousin recently lamented the suckiness of winter.  (That is not a word, you say?  Guess what!  It is now!)  She had lived south of the border for a lot of years and is now back in the Great White North.  I feel her pain.  While winter was cold where I lived in Japan, it was not cold enough for snow.  Thus, that area certainly did not see the shut-down of public transport due to snow, or closure of schools for snow-days.  I got pretty soft and wimpy with regard to dealing with Canadian winter.  I managed after coming back though, to remember and do some of the things I told my students about that made winter fun and made me miss snowy winters so much!

While I am in Ontario right now, in an area without snow yet, temperatures still above zero and grey dead trees everywhere (yep, wish we had some snow), she is elsewhere with an abundance of snow and pretty unhappy about it.  I gave her some inspiration for winter fun.  I thought I would go ahead and share some of my wisdom with you:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Stuff I Learned While Job Hunting

Thought I would post something a bit unfunny but useful.  At least, I hope it is useful!  To someone.  Somewhere.

There is lots of advice on what to expect, how to act, do's and don'ts when looking for work.  How to write resumes, cover letters, what an interview is usually like, where to look for jobs, etc.; I could go on and on.

But there are other things that nobody told me that have become important for me personally.  Here are three of those lessons I have learned so far about jobs and job hunting:

Sunday, December 16, 2012

2012, Folks. 2012.

Or "The Day R.E.M. Will Probably Clean Up in Mass Royalties."


Hey everybody!!
So...rumour has it we are all going to die on Friday. Good times. It is time to reflect on life and all the memories we have made up until this point.  Better though to party like it's 1999!!  Or like it's the end of the Mayan calendar.  Whichever blows your hair back!
I might rebel by sort of stealing a car.  We don't own a car but rent one from time to time.  We rented this weekend, because I had earned a free weekend!  Woohoo!!  Love you, car rental place who shall remain nameless but is located on the corner of Union and Weber in Waterloo and starts with a "D" and rhymes with miscount (interesting since the slogan for reason I have the car this weekend is "One, two, free!").  I just won't return my rental car after my free weekend ends. It would be pretty sweet to spend my last week on earth driving around in a posh car that I am not paying for; heated seats too.  Which are now, very similar to my last job - redundant; except in their case it isn't "restructuring" but global warming.  But poor global warming is about to become redundant too, because apocalypse, guys!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Heavy Hunks of Gold n Stuff

I cannot believe it.  It has been exactly 19 years since I donned my black grad gown for the first time.  It really drove home the fact I was a senior and this was it.  THE day we had all lived for since the day we stepped on to campus for the first time.  Four years of blood, sweat, tears, books, missing home, missing Mom and Dad, leaving behind a boyfriend or girlfriend then meeting that someone else in this new life, classes, skipping class, all-nighters (both the alcohol-fueled kind and the cramming for exams kind), Jolt cola, Cape Breton weekends, Wheel pizza, the BFR and memories of it, Wong's, the Moonlight, the Dirty O, the Whale Bone, BURMAC, the Inn, the SUB, Chuggles, T-Bones, secrets, emergencies, hospital visits, close friends, ceilidhs, pizza for shut-ins, pizza that sat out all night being just fine for breakfast (the alcohol still in your stomach will take care of that), trashing your friends' rooms, moving your friend's room into the bathroom, toilet papering your friend into her room, discovering your RA went on a date and left her door unlocked, Liquor Lane, spontaneous snow angels in winter, the Big Green, Shinerama, rugby players, Halloween contests judged by nuns, boys in the Mount before Christmas Ball, ditching your date at the ball, cooking in a hotpot, making cakes in a sandwich grill, reading a certain publication aloud for story-time, hours in the library, research, presentations, photocopying, calling Mom to ask for money for "photocopying", finals, quiet hours (and more importantly:  loud hour), that slip of paper that says you are worthy, going to Cameron's and paying for that ring, then finally, receiving that black robe - without the hood - to tell the world you are a senior on the verge of graduating but not just yet, filing into the chapel, waiting and watching for your turn, stepping up to receive that ring, sitting down and putting it on, being amazed at the weight of it.  Then you hear that first tap.  Then another.  Then a few more, and suddenly, the chapel is resonating with the sound of rings being tapped on wooden pews, all of us ecstatic we have finally made it.  The rest of the year still matters, but not at this moment; this is the moment when the rest of the year ceases to exist for us.  This is the moment we have all lived and breathed for and we are so proud we could burst.

That is an X-ring.  It cost a lot of money but the value is beyond measure.  Xaverians wear far more than just a hunk of gold on our fingers.

It not only symbolizes all we have to go through to earn it; it also signifies that we are a part of a family for the rest of our lives.  Wherever we go, it will start conversations, open doors, and bring us together.  When someone notices it, invariably they went to X as well or are related to someone who did.  A no-brainer when living in the Maritimes.  But outside of the Maritimes?  You bet!  I was approached when I was shopping in Cambridge by a woman who noticed my ring.  She, her husband and all of their children went to X.  I have even met people in Japan who noticed my ring, because they went to X too.  BAM!  Instant friends.

I don't need to be Pope or win a Superbowl...being a Xaverian is good enough for me!  Ha ha ha!
(^_~)v

Hail and Health!






Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wrong Names, Job Hunting and Food

So, the last time I posted, there was a firetruck pulling up to our building.  Since I am sending out another blog, you know that we escaped homelessness.  This time.  Turns out, just minutes later, an ambulance showed up...it was a medical emergency.  "Phew" for us and tenants, worry for the person who left in the ambulance.  Who is hopefully fine.  Remember I said I was going to watch the lobby on TV?  Not only were there a fair few hot firefighters and ambulance attendants, but the individual for whom (awesome grammar alert) the ambulance arrived, walked out and climbed into the ambulance herself.  Ah, been there, done that, sister!  Don't know that tenant but hope she is back and doing well.

On the job-search-related front, I have been attending weekly meetings with other folks who were "impacted by restructuring".  (The fancy term for "I got laid-off and now I'm drawin' pogey".)  This group is actually a great platform for sharing ideas, networking, giving each other feedback, and so on.  I love going.  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Drunkenness, A Sense of Purpose, and Surprise Parcels

Had a great week.  My youngest brother, Steve, came to K-W last weekend to visit friends.  It was a blast.  Started with a verrry early Saturday morning, driving in our rental car to Pearson Airport to pick him up.  That day ended epically.  I am not sure that is an actual word but let's just say it is.  Because there was no other word for last Saturday night.  And holy crap, I needed that.  Been way to long since I have had a night like that!  It was a night of drinks, lots and lots of drinks; food; jokes; random comments that left everyone else staring open-mouthed in shock and confusion followed by shaking heads and laughter; staggering happiness; lack of awareness of current geographic location (within a one block radius of where we were the last time); and confidential texts that had readers and senders almost in tears from intense giggling; there may or may not have been some dance moves too (and I use that term loosely).  I would make a statement about changing names to protect the innocent but since the term "innocent" does not apply here, names need to be avoided all together!  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Exercises in Futility (Damn, I'm Fit!)

OR:  She's Tenacious, You Have to Give Her That


I have such admiration for the government.  I really am in awe of how strict the training of their staff must be.  I have never experienced such proficiency at the passing of the buck nor such skill at getting persons seeking assistance and information, to run around like chickens with their heads cut off.  It's breathtaking, really.  

My husband had to turn over his Japanese driver's licence at Service NB when he exchanged it for a New Brunswick licence.  They keep it on file.  We since moved to Ontario and had to turn over our NB licences to get our Ontario ones.  Still with me?  Making sense?  Good.  Hang on, it's about to get bumpy.

Yin and Yang

Was having a great day yesterday!  It was nice, went for a walk, was loving the cool, clean air, life was good!

I strolled around Waterloo with the intention of eventually running some errands.  I found myself near the thrift shop on Bridgeport and wandered in looking for inspiration and hopefully a double boiler where the top is not a steamer insert.  Figured that is my best hope since stores don't seem to carry such a thing anymore.  Of course, I found the top part I was hoping for but no bottoms it would fit in.  (Oh geez, that just sounds all wrong, doesn't it!  I am so leaving that as is!!!!)  So, I continued just looking around, content, in a world of my own.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Unemployment, Cartoons and Livin' Large

It is more than time to come out of semi-retirement.  It was nice the first couple of months but the last several months have been torture.  The silver lining is that Shigeki and I have learned that we can get along even if we have to spend almost every. waking. second, together. We can occasionally get under each other's skin, too, but we work it out.  

I have so many things that I want to do!  I need some direction, man.  I love teaching and training but feel it is time to change tracks.  Maybe.  If a training/teaching job comes up, I sure won't turn it down!  I love helping people.  But I have also thought about having something of my own.  Like a little store where the majority of products are from Japan...mostly food.  Or a bakery/chocolate shop.  I am good at baking and good at making chocolates.  Oh, and I am most proficient at eating baked goods and chocolates.  Too bad that doesn't help with income.  Dammit!

Wind, Sails, Youth and Acrylics

Ok, back to blog-land.  Been away for a while.  This no job, no car kind of life tends to equal a nothing-to-do existence.  Hit a rut and felt like the wind was completely taken out of my sails.  Not feeling down, no.  That wasn't it.  I had no interest in anything, not yoga, not walking, not even job hunting.  Just like I was wind powered but there was no wind.  I was busy trying to figure out how to get going and watched all the other boats with motors just zip on by.  

BUT, that kind of a slump doesn't last too long with me, thank goodness!  The wind is blowing again...or maybe I grew a motor...not sure which.  Bottom line, I have my mojo back and am back on track with job-hunting and feel optimistic again about what I want to do next.  

Despite a slump, I really cannot complain.  Life has been pretty good.  I mentioned the classes I was taking.  My Japanese class is at the university and is going well.  I feel strangely conspicuous on campus though.  Like I really am not supposed to be there.  However, each Wednesday evening, as I walk onto the campus, I try to pretend like the students don't think I am all that much older than them.  Yeah, they probably just think I am a grad student!  I dress the part in my super casual clothes.  I pull out my mobile at intervals to pretend to check for texts.  I don't bring my purse with me, I carry a black cloth book sack slung diagonally across my body.  I line up at Tim's and get a drink to take with me to class, standing in line like me being there ain't no thang.  

This charade was working really well for me.  Until last Friday.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Yoga Journey

or:  How Fisher Price Relates to my Yoga Workout



I have to come on here and publicly admit, I have fallen off the strict eating horse that I had been on.  For those just joining and not having read my previous posts, I don't actually mean I have been horseback riding and my horse is picky about food/feeding times, etc.  It was a metaphorical horse.  Aaanyway....I had been pretty good with my eating but this past week, not so much.  Oops. 

I had chips.  Twice.  I don't normally eat them and when grocery shopping, they don't even appeal to me.  But if they make their way into my home, I can't think about anything else other than eating them! Long story short:  sale, husband wanted, chips now in cupboard.  Awww, maaaan!!!  And wait for it....wait for it...Thanksgiving dinner included...potatoes!!!  Oh the shame!!!  Not only that, there were leftovers and I had to eat them.  Dammit.  There were a whole lotta carbs going on.   Oh yeah, and I happened to see a box of Corn Pops for $1.49.  Couldn't just leave that on the shelf!  I love them and haven't had them in at least decades.  Suffice to say, I didn't just fall off the horse, I fell off and got trampled by it and several other horses.  Metaphorically, of course.  Just in case you lost track of the fact no real horses are actually involved and were worried about my well-being and multiple injuries that I don't have.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Where I Live

 I did mention that I took some pics at the park near where I live.  Going to post some here and probably on FB.  So far, no matter where I have lived in my life, I have been blessed with some gorgeous places to hang my hat!

Freak Magnet Morning

So I blogged all about eating.  But let me tell ya, daily adventures that have nothing to do with food are just as entertaining.  Actually, probably more so!

The other day, I was taking my usual walk in Waterloo Park.  It was a gorgeous day!  Sun was out, birds were singing, deer and squirrels came up to me (ok, squirrels are begging for food and the deer were fenced in at the little zoo in the park), I felt like frikkin Snow White.  Except I am beige.  Beige hair, beige skin, same colour from head to toe...I have to be careful what furniture I sit on so people don't lose me.

Crazy Carbs

So, I have just completed week 2 of cutting back on me carbs.  Week one, I sort of cut them out completely.  THAT was not so great.  Oh, I certainly felt noble!  I was so proud of all the veggies and fruit I was eating and felt no guilt at having a bit of cheese.  But I looked on so longingly when Shigeki had a nice, warm croissant in the mornings, as my mouth watered and a tear escaped my eye.

Having made it through the week, I chose Friday to be my cheat day.  I like to tell folks that it was because everyone needs a cheat day to keep themselves on track and on the road to success.  What I really mean by that was that I just couldn't take it anymore and went mental.  I ordered pizza, pop and lovely, lovely homemade garlic dipping sauce.  By the way, exactly when did dipping sauces for pizza come on the scene?  I left for Japan in 2003, never dreaming of such a thing.  Then I come back in 2010 and it was everywhere; you couldn't have pizza without dip.  Thank goodness someone came up with that since, as we all knew, pizza wasn't fattening enough on its own.  Solution to a world crisis, there, I tell ya!  But I digress...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Day 3 - Wednesday.  Shigeki has been eating a plate of pumpernickel bread, pieces of cheese, cucumbers and tomatoes from our mini tomato plant on the balcony, for a snack now and again.  (The tomatoes are mini, not the plant, it is pretty big, actually.)  Looks like a great idea for lunch.  In my desire for such a scrumptious light meal, I was hoping that I could go ahead and eat this for my lunch.  Damn pumpernickel bread for containing carbohydrates and destroying my dreams!!

So today, I went out for my morning walk and instead of going through Waterloo Park, I decided to explore uptown a little.  When I made it back to King St, I walked by a new cafe that I had noticed last week.  I decided it would feel great to go in, check it out and have some relaxing moments, watching people go by from the table at the windows on the second floor.  The cafe is gorgeous.  Brand new, funky, great European French music playing, made me feel like once I was finished I should be going home on my bicycle with a baguette, cheese and flowers in the basket.

Free from carbs (-ohydrates, not -urators)

Right then.  So, I said I was going to follow the straight and narrow with regard to healthy living.  While I definitely don't overeat, at least in quantity, I decided how and what I eat could use an overhaul.  I decided to cut out carbs.  And sugar.  I think.  Well, refined sugars.  Honey will still be making an appearance now and again.  Not going to Google as to whether or not that is how to do it because I need something sweet in my life, besides Shigeki.  If he was the only sweet thing in my life, I would probably smother him with attention (you're reading this, right, Shigeki??)

I made sure last week, not to buy any carbs at the supermarket so that I could finish off what I had left at home.  By the end of the weekend, I had pretty much eliminated all my English muffins and we are out of potatoes.  So, starches gone.  Except for Japanese rice.  That is where the aforementioned "I think" comes in.  There will just be some meals where I have to eat it because anything else would be stupid. (Anyone else here ever try sushi with a bed of spinach instead of rice??  Yeah, didn't think so!)

Monday and Tuesday went well.  I had some great meals, hell, I even made an omelette!  (That is an exciting statement because I don't eat eggs.  Hate 'em.  Always have.)  Of course the day I made the omelette is the same day a FB friend posted an article about how, for women, eating an egg every day shortens our life span as much as smoking 25,000 cigarettes.  Bloody hell.  I can't win.  I was so damn proud of myself!!  

Tuesday night was a night where neither Shigeki nor I felt like cooking.  Oh God.  Luckily, I had some leftover spaghetti sauce, chock full of vegetables, in the fridge.  That was my supper; I'm classy that way.  And not just any sauce; I haven't had sauce from a bottle in years.  I always make it from scratch with fresh veggies.  Anyhoo, that tamed the hunger beast for a bit.  Meanwhile, Shigeki has found a place to buy some cheap but good croissants, which he warms up in the mornings and unbeknownst to him, makes me want to loot, pillage and plunder just to have one!  Other than that, I have been doing alright with staying away from bread.

I think I can do this!  It has only been two days, but I think I can do it.  

Getting Healthy Post (subtitle: Looong post due to long absence. Sorry!)

So I am trying to follow the straight and narrow with regard to eating healthy.  The word of most importance in that sentence is "trying"! 

When I went to Japan, I melted.  I shrank like Rick Moranis was hiding in dark corners with a ray gun pointed at my waistline.  My main diet consisted of popcorn, chocolate, Coke, water and the more than occasional Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks across the street from our school.  The weekends were what kept me alive and free from scurvy; we would go out, drink our faces off and eat like there was no tomorrow.  This secondary diet was inhaled consumed at izakayas with all-you-can deals (that includes all you can drink alcohol, folks!)  But the thing is, Japanese pub food is vastly different than pub food here!  I think that is where most of my good nutrition came from.  And clubs stay open all night, so I spent a lot of hours high energy drunk dancing working my core.  I looked good!  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012




 

    My pirate name is:
   

 

    Mad Anne Flint    

 
 

    Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky.    Arr!
   

  Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
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