Friday, December 29, 2006

Merry Christmas!

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It was definitely a merry one for us, indeed! =)

In short:
-food, glorious food (namely turkey, different types of stuffing, homemade desserts, a lot of chocolate, a lot of nuts, dim sum, and a bit of cheese too!)
-family family family! (Hubbs', mine, extended relatives from both sides, and lots of laughi
ng and chatting)
-Wii (weeeeee!!!!!! so much fun, so little time)
-presents! (Santa was good to me, and I got gifts like wine goblets, bedsheets, Vera Wang perfume, $$$, gift cards, pj's, and a bunch of other wonderful things that I had asked for)
-late bedtimes and late rising

And now we're gearing up for 2007, for resolutions to make and
keep, for more partying and celebrating, and for a year of major decisions. It's going to be great, and I'll keep ya posted! ;)

BTW - Is it just me or did the holidays come and go far too quickly?! I could stand for Christmas to last a few days more, non? The hype and wind-up to the holiday was so immense and intense that the follow-up just seems a bit like a letdown. I wish Christmas could last all month. *sigh*






Friday, December 22, 2006

Looting Up...Gift #1

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I opened my first gift today; it was Hubbs' stocking stuffer to me, and something I specifically requested: an electronic label maker! =)

It's not high-end or anything, but it has a couple of neat font features and is absolutely perfect for my labeling needs (and as an up-and-coming educator, I will have much use for it!).

Thank you to Hubbs, my awesome thoughtful generous man!


Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's Not Even About the Money

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Whoo-Hoo!!!

I got a scholarship! Actually, in total now, I got 3. I received a $500 one a couple of months ago for an essay I wrote on Special Education, and then about a week ago I got another $500 for my GPA, and today I received news of my being the recipient of a $1000 scholarship, based on my academic performance.


This last one is especially significant not because of its monetary value, but because it is a scholarship set up in memory of a student who was killed in a school shooting a few years ago. I am honored to be blessed by the scholarship associated with this young man, who lived a godly life and now celebrates his eternity with his Maker. His family's integrity and grace in the midst of such loss and grief was touching to read about, and makes the scholarship a billion times more special to me.

So thank you to the Lang family for being an exemplary model of Christian love and forgiveness, which is an inspiration to me, and thank you for the scholarship!

In memory of Jason Lang








My Own Week of Feasts & Celebration

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Okay, I'm not Jewish, so the Week of Feasts for me is entirely different than the one that is observed by those who are Jewish.

My Week of Feasts & Celebrations consists of many days of non-stop eating and celebrating and pathetic attempts to stave off weight gain. It begins tomorrow, with Japanese food and a dinner celebration for my friend Vinn
y. Then it's a dinner feast with my parents and in-laws, then it's the Christmas Eve feast, followed by the Christmas Day feast, followed (hopefully) by a day of reprieve from gorging before I embark of phase 2 of the Week of Feasts, which, in my world, lasts more than 7 days.

Phase 2 consists of a dinner at DeLux Burger, some other dinner-type event the day before or after that, followed by an all-out-feast at the Unheardof Restaurant to celebrate New Year's Eve eve, followed by some delicious appetizers at our first-ever New Year's Eve party, followed by the annual New Year's Day Chinese food feast, and then finished off with a luncheon at the fancy schmancy Faculty Club of my alma mater.

I am guessing that weight gain is a near-inevitability, and thus my plan for the Week of Feasts & Celebrations consists of weight maintenance, small portions, and more protein than carb. Oh, and not too much booze (max: 1/day).

Sound good? Bring on the feasts; I am ready.


Monday, December 18, 2006

My Life Is Awesome Again

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I finished my exams!!!! Now, it's time to enjoy Christmas and spend quality time with my family and my Hubbs, and eat until I get fat(-ter), and listen to carols 24-7, and bake, and shop, and lounge lazily in the mornings.

My life is awesome. Don't be jealous; I'm sure yours is too.


But one of the reasons why mine is awesome is because I have incredible in-laws; they're the type I could hang out with for several evenings/days in a row and not grow weary or annoyed with, and they're fun, and they're loving, and they're just fantastic people. In fact, a few weekends ago my mom-in-law and I went on our annual shopping trip to the craft show, and then joined up with my father-in-law and Hubbs for dinner.

I have heard of others who talk about having strained relationships with their spouse's family, of fights nearly breaking out between two sets of parents who can barely stand to be in the same room as one another, and of holidays that are filled with angst and conflict and tension. I feel for those folks, and it makes me all the more glad to have the families that I have.

My folks love my in-laws, and vice versa. In fact, my grandparents love my grandparents-in-law, and vice versa too! Over the brief few days while my parents are in town, they even plan to spend an evening dining with the in-laws. It's glorious to see everyone at peace with one another. Isn't that what Christmas is all about - peace?!?

Anyway, that's only one of many awesome things about my life. I could probably do a series of blog posts on all of them, but then I would be blogging a lot. So maybe I'll just share a few here and there.

Happy holidays and enjoy your awesome life too, k?


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

If I Could Look Like Any Celebrity....

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...I would want to look like Angelina Jolie. Yes, I know that technically, one might argue that she is a homewrecker and also slightly odd (the blood vial necklace, the tattoos, the kiss with her brother, Billy Bob...), but have you looked at her? She is perfectly gorgeous, so in a discussion about who I would want to look like (not BE like), there is no one but her that I would pick.

She is tall, but not towering giraffe-tall.

She is thin, but not sickly-frail looking.

She has fantastic natural (or natural-looking) breasts.


She has a full mane of beautiful, thick hair, that she doesn't even need to style to look good with.

She has great arched, full eyebrows and large round eyes that can either do a "Come hither" look or a doe-eyed innocent expression.


She has a straight nose that isn't too wide or flared at the end or bumpy in the middle.

She has full lips.

She has fantastic bone structure and killer high cheekbones.

She is a full year older than I am and looks agelessly beautiful.

And she is just as gorgeous without make-up, as she is with make-up.



Man, I'm totally envious of Angelina Jolie's beauty. I am *so* Team Jolie all the way!



Monday, December 11, 2006

Meaningless, Meaningless, Everything is Meaningless

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I seem to have developed a small case of apathy, at least where school is concerned. I'm not feeling particularly moved to study, and am at that point where I just want it all to be over with.


My brother-in-law apparently used to tell my in-laws that he didn't care about his grades too much..."D for done!," he'd say. I'm starting to see his point, although I think I'm more partial to, "C for complete!"

In my previous 19 years of school (yes, it really has been that many, if you include kindergarten), I've never been much of an underachiever. I have always studied hard, poured hours over my work, actually read my textbooks (contrary to some who didn't bother creasing the spines, so that they could get better resale value out of their books), taken notes, and reviewed like a madwoman. As a result, I've often done relatively well in school, although for the most part my achievement hasn't ever been sufficient enough to garner me thousands of dollars in scholarship money.

So why do I push myself so much? At the end of the day, I am pretty sure that I will end up with the same parchment as the student who passed their Ed degree with a paltry 2.2 GPA. And that person will probably have just as much of a chance as I do to score a teaching job, plus they will have had extra time to enjoy their student life, since they won't have been studying for days on end. In essence, then, all of this cramming and studying and memorizing and synthesizing is actually quite meaningless. Besides, in my current courses, I've technically already passed.

I wish profs would lay off the exams and just give us a bunch of assignments and authentic assessment tasks instead. At least then I would feel a little more motivated; this studying is sapping the drive right out of me.

Much as my apathy is setting in, however, it's pretty hard to teach this old dog a new perspective and new tricks. I know studying, it's a familiar activity to me, so even though it's a meaningless and dissatisfying venture, I will continue doggedly to do it. So excuse me while I go back to my studying and my notes and my books.

*sigh*




Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Preparing for a Stuffing

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I realize that for most people, the highlight of Christmas food is the turkey, or the ham, or the various baked sweets that accompany the holiday. Not me, though. The highlight of Christmas food for me is in the stuffing.

Yep, the stuffing. My dad's stuffing, my in-law's stuffing, their friend's stuffing. ANY stuffing.

I am gearing up for some good stuffing this holiday season, and as I wait in eager anticipation for it, I am starting a bit early by making myself some Stove Top. Not fancy, I realize, but it's decent, and after this, every other stuffing I consume will be even more kick-ass.

Bring on the stuffing, and bring on Christmas! I am ready! (Well, except for the presents, but that is a whole other story...)




Thursday, November 30, 2006

Am I Balding?

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Every so often the question pops up in my mind. Every so often I worry. The concern usually passes after a few days, but inevitably returns.

And when it does, I wonder if I have cause for concern. You see, I have long thick strands of jet-black hair. And I shed like crazy. As in, when I wake up I have about 10 long strands of hair stuck to me (and I know it's not Hubbs' hair because it's black and long and thick). If I gather my hair together and gently run my hand down the length of my pseudo-ponytail, I end up with a couple more strands.

This happens *every* day. I have to vacuum our carpets because of my dark long hair.

So, do I have alopecia? Am I going to be a bald-y?

The last time I asked a doctor, he thought I was being paranoid. Let's hope that is the case, but I'm not so sure! =S



Friday, November 24, 2006

So How Do I Get Rid of This?

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At this very moment, I have a very intense and unrelenting craving for....wait for it....FRENCH FRIES. Yes, one of the ultimate diet-killers known to humankind.


I long for some delicious deep-fried golden goodness, be it battered stuff (DQ, KFC), regular cut (Wendy's), or shoestring (McDonald's). I feel like oinking out on a super-gargantuan-biggie-sized version of the stuff, until such time that I cannot fit another fry into my bloated, grease-filled body.

So how do I get rid of this malevolent craving? It has bombarded my brain and threatens to thwart my weight-loss progress. Even typing about it is making my mouth water and my stomach rumble.





Advice?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

So Cold! ... And Why Hubbs Is Handy to Have Around Sometimes

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For those of you living on the northern tundra with me, you know how blisteringly cold it was today. Unfortunately for me, in spite of the near-zero visibility and -26 degree Celsius (including windchill) conditions and black ice and 10 centimeters of snow, I was not able to sleep in and hide from the miserable conditions. I am a Study Buddy, and had a commitment to keep!

Anyway, our covered parking was not enough to prevent our vehicle from being completely covered (front and back) with snow. Since Hubbs was not going with me to the school, I had to fish out our snow brush (hidden deep inside my trunk) and brush off the snow myself. During my drive, even with the wipers going intermittently throughout, I wasn't able to get my windshield snow-free. My rear defrost was on high the entire time, but somehow my rear window never managed to clear either.

After my morning Buddy duties, I came out to my car, once again covered in snow. Once more, I was subject to snow-brushing duties, as well as ice-scraping duties on the rear window this time around. The roads were brutal, with thick mounds of unshoveled snow wreaking havoc for drivers everywhere. Many times my poor little car had a hard time accelerating against the black ice hidden beneath the snow, and just as many times those mini-moguls practically directed my car without my needing to steer! Thankfully, most drivers were slow and cautious, although there was always the occasional truck or SUV that decided to be stupid and drive beyond the speed limit on these treacherous roadways.

Experiences like these always make me thankful for the following:
-a remote car starter
-new tires
-covered parking
-Hubbs

Hubbs is good to have around for many reasons, but here's a few winter-related ones:
1) He drives me around in the treacherous icy snowy cold conditions
2) He brushes off the car and scrapes the windows when needed
3) He will go and get the car and drive it up to the entrance sometimes when I'm not properly dressed to brave the freezing temperatures
4) He fills up our humidifier every night (those water jugs are heavy!)
5) He plugs in the car so that I have 30 extra seconds of warmth inside the vehicle before getting out
6) He pumps the gas so I can stay warm and sheltered inside the car
7) He carries the groceries so I can keep my hands warm inside my pockets

He's a great Hubbs. I'm glad he's mine =)




Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I'm Team Kelly on This One

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So, in case you hadn't heard, Clay Aiken was guest hosting on Live with Regis and Kelly. And during an interview, he put his yucky dirty hand over her mouth, presumably as a joke to keep her from talking.

She didn't think it was very funny, and frankly, neither did I! Rosie O'Donnell went all Team Clay on Kelly, though, during a recent episode of the View, prompting poor Kelly to have to call in to the show to put Rosie in her place.

Personally, I think it was totally rude of Clay to cover her mouth, particularly since a) she was the host and it was her show, b) there's this thing called personal space that everyone should respect regardless of how famous they are, and c) this was broadcast live over many states and provinces, so Kelly had to be humiliated in front of a bazillion people! Though I realize he probably didn't mean to offend, the point is that he did, and he should probably apologize to her publically for his actions.

To me, the whole incident is tantamount to having a guest speaker come into my classroom and tell me (in front of my entire class) that my desk arrangement sucks. Or having a guest come into your home and tell you (in front of all of your friends and family) that your decor is ugly. Or inviting someone to sit with you only to have them put their hand on your knee. Entirely inappropriate.

Anyway, I have lost what little respect I had left for Clay Aiken now. And I love Kelly Ripa, so it's Team Kelly all the way!


The Best Char-Siu In the Whole Wide World

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Okay, so I'm biased. And I might have already posted about this before. BUT, it warrants repeating. My dad makes the best Chinese BBQ pork in the whole universe. It's the right ratio of fat vs. lean, it's flavourful, and it tastes great on rice or in a sandwich.

(Okay, so this is not an actual shot of Dad's pork.
This pork is jealous of my Dad's stuff, which I did not
take pics of).

We were lucky enough to be blessed with a few Ziplocs of delicious, pre-marinated, frozen raw char-siu for us to cook at our leisure. Normally, my Dad cooks it for us, but this time my brilliant siblings convinced him to give it to us raw instead. That way, we can have fresh char-siu whenever we want, rather than have it get freezer-burnt after two weeks' time.

God bless my Dad and his most excellent culinary skills. It's little wonder why his kids have battled weight issues ;)


Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Great Thermos Flunkie

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I've always prided myself on being somewhat of an intelligent, innovative individual, with the capacity to complete creative science experiments effortlessly. However, recently my attempts at a homemade thermos (for my Science methods class) have shown me otherwise - apparently, I am just a remedial Grade 20 student (yes, that really is how many years I've been in school).

Our task: create a homemade thermos using non-thermal, non-electric, non-glass materials to hold 300 mL of hot water and keep it equally hot for 40 minutes. The size limit is 8000 cubic centimetres.

My first and second thermos were abysmal failures owing to the fact that I created them using empty 330 mL bottles and expanding foam. When the foam expanded, it crushed the sides of my bottles and shrank their capacities to a mere 200 mL a piece.

Currently on my third attempt, I have used a double-lid plastic bagel bin, expanding foam, a filled 450 mL water bottle, and foil. Unfortunately, initial trials have demonstrated that my net loss is somewhere between 11 -16 degrees Celsius, entirely too many degrees for me to obtain a perfect mark for my thermos (the goal is 4 degrees or less). I've insulated the top lid (foam & plastic), insulated the initial bottle (foil and foam), and even extra-secured my overall container against radiant heat loss (foil and duct tape). Now on my 4th modification of the thing, I've added extra foam to the top of my bottle lid and am awaiting its curing before I do another trial.

When will the madness end, you say? I am near giving up. This stupid thermos has got me beat, and unless one of you has a brilliant idea to help me further insulate my monstrous concoction, I am (for once) going to take a less than perfect mark on this nightmarish project.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGH. Little wonder I hated Science as a kid. =(


Friday, November 17, 2006

We is Spelled with an E, not Two ii's

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I fear that, come Christmas time, Hubbs and I will lose what remains of our quality time together. The "We" days will be replaced by the "Wii" days at that point.

Yes, it's true. He wants another new game system. Not content with his current collection of the DreamCast, Game Cube, PS2, and Xbox (not to mention his GBA and his DS, plus a multitude of old gaming systems stored in boxes in his parents' basement), Hubbs insists on adding a Wii to his stockpile for Christmas. Personally, I don't get it. He hasn't even had time to mod his Xbox yet, so why on earth is he wanting to get another space-consuming game device that he has no time to play?!

He assures me that I will love this system, and that because it is motion-sensitive, it will be appealing to the controller-swinging gaming newbie like me. He also claims that this Wii has superpowers (note: he *may* be insane).

I assure him that I will not be buying this monstrous piece of time-kill for him this year or next, particularly since it costs a small fortune and quite frankly, I would rather save money towards my new car.

He plans to ask his family for it, for Christmas.

I plan to ask for a big entertainment unit with doors, inside which Hubbs can store (read: I can hide) his many wired toys.

Let's see how Santa decides to roll this year.




Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Little Bit of Everything (Mostly Vancouver Related)

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I've been in Van-city, arguably the happiest place on Earth for me, so the absence has been lengthy this time round.

Here are some random things accumulated from experience over the past few days:

My friend Lee forwarded me the most touching tribute (printed in Sports Illustrated) featuring a man named Dick Hoyt, who deserves a Father of the Decade award or something bigger. You can read all about him here, but be warned that the video can inspire all manner of sniffles and tears.

I think Hubbs and I were the only two people in B.C. who did not know that the CFL semi-finals were to take place across the street from our hotel, at B.C. Place, on Sunday during our vacation. We saw the "Lions Block Party" tents and were dense enough to think nothing of this barricade in the middle of downtown, attributing it to little more than a healthy dose of fandom. When we returned from breakfast to find literal hoards of people dressed in either orange or green flocking towards the stadium, we figured there was a game, but were still too ignorant to realize that it was the semi-finals, and therefore, not just any game. In fact, it wasn't until we realized we were barricaded by police traffic controls from entering our hotel parking lot on either end of the street, that it dawned on us that this was more than just a run-of-the-mill football game. As a result of our ignorance, however, hotel staffers mistook us for Americans, which was embarrassing on a whole other level. We had to try and convince them that we actually were Canucks, although I don't think they believed us! ;)

It is still autumn in Vancouver, complete with golden yellow, rustic brown, ruddy red, burnt orange and leafy green maple leaves scattered along the sidewalks and pavements and roads. It was a beautiful sight to behold.

We had no idea that it would take us over an hour to drive from downtown Van to southeast Surrey. We thought the "burbs" were closer than that.


Drivers in Van are far more polite than those truck-driving speed demons in our depraved city. The Van drivers let all signaling vehicles into their lanes without either a) trying to race past them so as to avoid having the car "cut" in front of them, or b) honking or giving the signaling car the not-so-friendly finger. As such, the driving experience for Hubbs was a bazillion times less stressful than driving in our own city!

Richmond Sushi for all you can eat Japanese food. No limits, large cuts, and only $25/person. Of
course, we were in pain by the time we left, but every so often overgorging on sushi seems justifiable, non?

We really loved our stay at the hotel, the Georgian Court. It was relatively chic, centrally-located, and had a very nice whirlpool and steam room that was always unoccupied when Hubbs and I went down to use it. Our room was spacious and the bed (complete with feather pillows) was heavenly to sleep in. The hotel also provided designer Aveda toiletries, and even stocked extras of these in the bathrooms near the whirlpool! You know how it is with me and free stuff.....

Anyway, it's back to project time and trying to make a thermos for my Science methods course. Don't ask - I am on prototype #3 and have yet to determine if it even works. =S I'll be back once I have a handle on all of my upcoming assignments....




Friday, November 10, 2006

A Rambling on Months

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I don't know why November feels yucky, but it does! There are mostly good months in a year, but a few odd ones are yucky. November, I fear, is just plain yucky.

January is yucky. It's like the coldest month of the
year and there are very few actual hours of sunlight, which makes me feel S.A.D. and totally despairing.

February has Valentine's Day, formerly a dark and gloomy day in my world but now one that is filled with flowers and food and lots of loooooove. ;) February also has my birthday, as well as the b-days of several VIPs in my life, so it is a time of much celebration, including delicious cakes and scrumptious dinners.

March is yucky, except for a special Mom-in-Law birthday. Everything is a dirty shade of brown, including my car after just one day post-washing. Unless Easter is early, there isn't an occasion worth celebrating (unless you're Irish, which I am not).

April has Easter, which is o
ne of my favourite holidays and reason unto itself to celebrate; it's also when the weather warms up slightly and the days get a little longer. I also love the goodie baskets the Easter Bunny has begun to leave me ever since I joined my Hubbs' family.

May is beautiful too, and fills my heart with hope for a warm and wonderful summer. The flowers start blooming, and the rains are refreshing.

June, ho
wever, is yucky. It's stressful and long and I just don't enjoy it, except for two other VIP birthdays (including Hubbs' B-day), which are very momentous and happy occasions that warrant celebrations of gargantuan proportions. However, the early part of the month is always blah.

July and August - well, those are the months of summer holidays so I always look forward to that time. Besides, many people host BBQs in the summer months, and for some reason the long days don't tire me out but give me extra energy t
o go on until the wee hours of the night. Oh, and my anniversary is in July, which also makes it special.

September is exciting, because it marks the start of a new school year (whether I'm a student or a teacher). It's got that whole "Back to School" feel and also kicks off my favourite season, AUTUMN. The sales are also pretty amazing for school supplies, and you know I'm a sucker for stationery. =D

October has Halloween AND Thanksgiving, so it's a very good month and one that gives people excuses to get together with family and friends, as well as to dress up in silly costumes and eat obscene amounts of candy and chocolate. As well, there is something cool and crisp and exciting about the air in October. It's thrilling.

November is the official month of blah. Of course, I would feel differently if I was American and had a lovely 4-day long-weekend to commemorate Thanksgiving with loved ones, but as a Canadian this month holds no sentimentality for me.

December is the best month of all. Christmas is in the air everywhere, and I get to hear my beloved Christmas carols playing inside every store I walk into. People are extra-generous, and everyone wants to share food with everyone else and give each other presents just because. I love December.

As such, I am going to close my eyes and pray that November flies by quickly so we can move on to glorious December, at which point I will close my eyes again and pray that the month slows down so that I can savour every sweet, beautiful moment.

What's your favourite month? Probably December, eh? Everyone likes presents.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Departed

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Love, love, love it! Saw it last night with Superstarjo, Hubbs, and Space Max. The movie was not quite the same as the original Infernal Affairs (changed context, setting, ending) but it was an intense thrill-ride for sure. It was a tad gory/bloody but you know, I didn't have to look away all the time, the way that I had to for S.O.A.P., and the violence was definitely more part of the plot-line than it was for gratuitous shock-value purposes.

Of course, the movie was long and in some ways, I felt underdeveloped where character relationships were concerned; to really play up the surrogate father-son theme, the movie needed to deepen the bond of the two main characters and their respective "surrogate dads" a little more thoroughly. That would definitely have added impact to the story.

I thought that most of the actors did a stellar job in the movie (although I hear critics are torn about this); the only actor that I thought could have spiced it up a bit was Martin Sheen - he played his role a little too conservatively and mildly, and while this enhanced Mark Wahlberg's character effectiveness, it really made Sheen seem sort of bland and ineffective by contrast.

Overall, though, a great movie and one that is best seen on a big screen. I highly recommend it for an adrenalin-rush experience that will leave you wanting to grab coffee with your counterparts to discuss and debrief (which we did over apple pie a la mode).


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Winter Blahs

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I fear I have a case of the winter blahs. It's only November, I realize, but since winter decided to start early this year, the accompanying winter blahs also seemed to advance sooner.

There is snow on the ground. Blah.

I can see my breath when I walk outside. Blah.

It's cold even though I am wearing gloves and a winter jacket and a hat. Blah.

The skies get dark way too soon and don't stay lit up with sun nearly long enough. Blah.

I am getting sick of school. Blah.

I am perpetually feeling run-down and sniffly. Blah.

My momentum for the gym is slowing down due to icy walkways and darkened skies. Blah.

All I feel like eating is warm brothy soupy stuff. Blah.

When I leave home, I am so bundled up I can barely bend over. Blah.

I know it is a temporary feeling, and I just need to re-frame my perspective so that I can find something to get psyched about. However, Christmas is still too far away and thus I cannot quite get in the "spirit" of that yet, so for today, I will simply wallow in my winter blahs. =P


Amateur Card-Maker

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Ever since my sis Superstar Jo introduced me to stamping and card-making at her Stamp It Up! party, I have been thinking about making cards.

When the scholarship thing happened, it became a grand opportunity for me to begin my card-making endeavours. Here are my products (the last being an anniversary card):


This last one is my favourite (and will be going to my parents for their anniversary) but I cannot take credit for the faux flowers, which was an adornment that came with a scrapbooking kit I once received.

Anyway, I look forward to getting in my order from Stamp It Up! and to begin growing my collection of "stuff" for card-making. It's actually not a hard process but it seems a bit expensive to start.

It is a ton of fun, though, and comes highly recommended by moi! =D


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

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From the Professor (Gilligan's Island):


and from Little Red Riding Hood (The Big Bad Forest):


Enjoy the day and stay warm, everyone! =D




Saturday, October 28, 2006

Honoured and Humbled

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After moaning and complaining for months about my lack of scholarships in spite of my relatively respectful GPA (3.87), I got some good news the other day.

I have been awarded a scholarship! It's for $500, and I have been honoured with this award for reasons entirely unrelated to my GPA. The award has been given to me for an essay I wrote sometime last year on a topic relating to special education; I am not even sure which essay (I had written several over the course of the year) but am in the process of sniffing out which dear professor submitted my work for nomination, so that I can return my gratitude to her in the form of a thank-you card.

I am very humbled by this particular scholarship, because as an after-degree student I wasn't able to declare a minor such as special education. As such, I was only able to take a handful of Educational Psychology classes pertaining to the area, and though I enjoyed it a lot, I obviously didn't (and still do not) have the same knowledge base or background about the topic as a student who is majoring (or minoring) in Special Education.

Which is why I am feeling honoured and humbled.

And celebrating =D


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hot Potting with Hubbs & Me

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Briefly - over the weekend my lil' sis Toothy (SuperstarJo) and her man Goofy had us over (along with my other sis Vanilla Con, Benster, my little bro, and his current girlfriend) for hot pot.

It was a jolly good time, and I kicked some butt at poker, including Hubbs' butt! I came in second and that was only because I was tired and wanted the game to end (who goes all-in when they have nothing?!).


Anyway, here we are (and Hubbs decided he didn't want his picture taken, which explains the expression):


I have decided that I really like hot-potting (Chinese fondue, if you will). It's relatively healthy and very delicious, and it forces me to eat my veggies. All good things.

(Revised version for Natalie who asked how hot potting is done)

Hot pot requires very few fancy gadgets. All you need is a gas-burning portable stove (available at most Chinese supermarkets for less than $20), a couple of butane gas cartridges from the same supermarket, some stainless steel scoops, several pairs of chopsticks and many dishes and bowls, and you're good to go!

For the food:
- Asian v
eggies (we like baby bok choy, suey choy, choi sum, and those skinny Japanese mushrooms)
- thinly sliced raw meat available at the larger Chinese supermarkets (we like lamb, pork, and beef)
- fish balls (it's an Asian thing and a meat-mixture that contains either beef, pork, fish, chicken, or octopus and other carb "fillers" mixed into a paste and shaped into balls)
- seafood (we like shrimp and scallop but I've seen shucked oysters done too)
- fresh noodles (we prefer egg noodles and rice noodles, but some really enjoy vermicelli or thick Shanghai noodles)
- sauces (Hoisin, soy, chili, garlic, peanut, teriyaki, and any other Asian thick sauce)

Everyone mixes their own combination of sauce in their own little dipping bowls. Then, you heat a big ol' pot (3/4 full) of clear broth or water in the pot over the burner until it boils, and begin putting pieces of raw meat and veggies into the boiling water using appropriate "raw food utensils". As the food is cooked, the little stainless steel scooper is used to scoop the food out of the pot and onto your plate. You dip your food into your sauce, or add some of your sauce to the food on your plate.

The pot is communal so anything that is put in there is fair game for anyone to take, once it is cooked. It's definitely an exercise in sharing. As well, be sure not to use your own chopsticks to grab stuff out of the pot or to handle the raw meat, and save your scoop for the cooked stuff. Finally, make sure not to overfill the pot or else nothing will cook quickly and stuff will begin to spill over.

After some of the veggies and meat have cooked, start cooking the noodles. These cook quite quickly and get soggy from soaking so make sure you don't cook too much at once, and eat quickly after cooking!

This multi-hour food fest continues until everyone has had their fill of food, in which case it's time for dessert! =D After a heavy meal (even though it's healthy, it can still be heavy), I recommend fruit or Jello or something light.

And that, my friend, is hot potting, Mrs. L style!

PS - Some cities also have restaurants that offer hot potting. If you find one of these, it is a blast to go to with a group of 4-8 people, and usually not that expensive, either.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Something Gross and Something Sweet

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Yes, I am still thick in midterm mode so my brain is full and I have little room to spare for deep-thought blogging.

So instead, I will share with you two things I witnessed last week - something gross and something nice.

Last Wed., en route to the train station, I was walking up our "hill" and noticed an aerial projectile launched from my left, to the sidewalk just ahead of me. It was small and I assume it came from the vehicle that was stopped on the road for the red light, just left of the sidewalk. When I passed this projectile (and the occupants of the vehicle), I saw that it was a piece of chewed gum that they had rudely tossed out their slightly-open passenger-side window to the pavement. Luckily it had not landed on me (in which case keys and a scratched car would have been the scene to follow). However, it was nonetheless a disgusting booby-trap for any other hapless passerby who might step on these idiots' gum. Gross, eh? I definitely cast these littering fools a menacing look as I continued walking, although I was sorely tempted to pick up the gum with a tissue, walk up to their vehicle, and say, "Excuse me, I think you dropped this."

Same morning, post-gum incident and post-train ride, I was taking the escalators up the train station (I'm too lazy to walk up all those steps, don't judge me) and noticed a couple standing on the steps in front of me. The guy was a strapping young lad, tall and athletic in build; his girlfriend was slight and short and looked less-than-strong. Anyway, I watched him take her large and presumably heavy school bag from her, and he carried both his textbook-laden bag and hers the rest of the way, one on each shoulder. I was so impressed by his chivalry that I nearly stopped him to tell him so, but figured better after I realized that I was running close to being late for class ;)

Anyway, just a nice reminder that a)the world is still full of scummy gross people, but b)the world is also still full of kind, sweet chivalrous folks too.




Thursday, October 19, 2006

I Wish....

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...I had my own class and classroom again.

...the beautiful red and brown and yellow leaves would stay on the trees for more than 3 weeks of fall.

...university education courses would practice what they preach and eliminate exams altogether in favour of authentic assessments.

...my hair would stay "done" in the rain.

...I could be lying on the beach in Kauai, sipping a Lava Flow, right now.

...massages were free (or at least cheaper!).

...healthy groceries would cost as little as unhealthy groceries.


...weekends were 4 days long.

...I could lose weight just by thinking about it.

...winter jackets and sweaters weren't so bulky.


...protein could be in every food.

...I had a nice new sporty car right now.

...I didn't have to sleep for more than 5 hours a night in order to be fully-functional.

...more people would smile.

...Christmas could happen twice a year.

...you could have snow and winter without the cold temperatures (-5 ' C is fine, thankyouverymuch!)

...alcohol had zero calories and didn't make people fat.

...I had perfect vision and 3 pairs of "accessory" glasses instead of one pair of coke-bottles.

...sushi was more affordable.

...I didn't have to go study now. Booooo.