Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

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

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

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

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....

...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.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Social Ineptness, or the Lack of Pragmatic Competence

So, what are the characteristics of a socially inept person? There are many, to be sure, but I dare say that one of them is pragmantic incompetence. I've been reading about this as part of my studies leading up to the ol' mid-term.

In language, pragmatics are the ways in which speakers use language in context; these are the common "rules" of language that are largely understood without explicit instruction. For instance, nobody probably taught you that when a question is directed at you, you should provide some sort of respone, and when someone else is talking, you should not be doing so at the same time. You know these rules, because they are part of the social context in which you live, and through experience you have come to realize that these constitute acceptable behaviours in society.

agmatics also have to do with knowing how to vary one's language according to the social norm of a particular setting; for example, you would speak with your best friends using language and content that you would not employ when speaking with your boss. Competent speakers are able to use a wide range of these registers, according to the diverse situations that they encounter.

I think that one major characteristic of the socially inept is their inability to select and use the proper registers in the correct contexts. These folks are oblivious to social cues, and either use the same registers in a variety of contexts, or use the wrong registers in certain contexts. This makes them appear awkward, overly-blunt, opinionated, or irrelevant. And this contributes to the perception of them as being socially-inept.

My sister and I were joking around a few conversations ago, about our occasionally lacking a "filter" when we speak. That is, we don't temper our language and content according to our audience, and we put our foot in our mouths. However, the truth is that we do know how to speak appropriately using the correct registers; it's just that we sometimes choose not to, because we want to get across a point that we know to be slightly offensive to the receiver, or we want to get a reaction out of our audience. This is a way to "test the waters."

Contrast this with a truly inept speaker, who tries to participate in conversation but either speaks of completely irrelevant things, or gives unsolicited opinions and advice, or blurts out comments while other people are trying to talk. These folks lack the pragmatic awareness to understand that the situations which they are in require them to behave and speak a certain way and follow certain language "rules" for social etiquette. They also have a hard time picking up social cues (like awkward silences or uncomfortable glances) that signal the inappropriateness of their chosen register. They don't understand why others feel uncomfortable around them, and have no conscious idea of how their language is coming across to their listeners.

I have come across several people in my life who were pragmatically incompetent. One person, shortly after meeting me, divulged to me the deep secrets of who she disliked and liked within a particular group. Awkward and inappropriate. Another person used to jump into conversations with paragraphs upon paragraphs of detailed rambling about something that was entirely unrelated to what the rest of us had been speaking about. Again, awkward and a real conversation-killer. A third person I can think of used to speak to me with very formal, very proper (but broken) English; she was a student of mine, but you could tell her speech was mimicked from some sort of old-time "Learn English by CD" program that only taught formal registers. It was entirely disjointed speech, and made it very hard for me to communicate with her on a real, personal level.

Anyway, bottom line is that one measure of social eptness is the ability to have communicative competence, and have at one's disposal a variety of registers for use in different situations with different audiences. Without understanding the pragmatics of language, people end up looking socially inept and incompetent and insecure.

Thanks for letting me study with you! ;)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Tagging Myself - Part Deux

So where was I? Oh yes...half done and half to go....

15.What is your favorite curse word?

Ass. Kick-ass, bad-ass, dumb-ass. I love that word! =D Plus, it's not so offensive as some others.

16.One night you wake up because you heard a noise. You turn on the light to find that you are surrounded by MUMMIES. The mummies aren't really doing anything; they're just standing around your bed. What do you do?

Ask them to please leave. If they don't, I might try nagging them until they leave from sheer annoyance. I am good at nagging (ask Hubbs!).

17.Your house is on fire, holy smokes! You have just enough time to run in there and grab ONE inanimate object. Don't worry, your loved ones and pets have already made it out safely. So what's the item?

My purse. If Hubbs was grabbing one thing too, it would be his green Mac.

18.The Angel of Death has descended upon you. Fortunately, the Angel of Death is pretty cool and in a good mood, and it offers you a half-hour to do whatever you want before you bite it. Whatcha gonna do in that half-hour?

Pray and let God know I'm coming home. And then spend the last 28 minutes after that snuggling with my Hubbs. Oh, and I'd ask the Angel of Death to take him, too! ;)

19.You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and what's even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What's it gonna be?

Magical powers a la Bewitched, except I wouldn't twitch my nose, I'd wrinkle mine. And mostly I'd use my powers to magically make my home very very clean.

20.You can re-live any point of time in your life. The time-span can only be a half-hour, though. What half-hour of your past would you like to experience again?

My grad dress selection moment. I would have chosen that hot little strapless red number that I wanted, rather than the peach puff nightmare of a dress my mom preferred. "Too sexy," my ass! Thanks a lot Mom =(

21.You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

The e
x-boyfriend, or the ugly peach grad dress. Both were equally undesirable moments in my life.

22.You got kicked out of the country for being a time-traveling heathen who sleeps with celebrities and has super-powers. But check out this cool gig.. you can move to anywhere else in the world! Bitchin'! What country are you going to live in now?

Hawaii. That almost counts as a country, non? I don't want to say the U.S. but unfortunately, that is who Hawaii now belongs to.

23.This question still counts, even for those of you who are under age. Check it out. You have been eternally banned from every single bar in the world except for ONE. Which one is it gonna be?

Ban me from all of them. I don't really go anymore, anyway.

24.Hopefully you didn't mention this in the super-powers question.... If you did, then we'll just expand on that. Check it out... Suddenly, you have gained the ability to FLOAT!!! Whose house are you going to float to first, and be like "Dude, check it out...I can FLOAT!"?

Whoever is the closest; floating requires way too much energy! I'm guessing it might be my bro's place, but dude is never home.

25.The constant absorption of magical moonbeams mixed with the radioactive vegetables you consumed earlier has given you the ability to resurrect the dead famous-person of your choice. So which celebrity will you bring back to life?

Mother Teresa. I think Calcutta (and the world) still needs her.

26.The Celestial Gates of Beyond have opened, much to your surprise because you didn't think such a thing existed. Death appears. As it turns out, Death is still a pretty cool entity, and happens to be in a fantastic mood. Death offers to return the friend/family-member/person, etc. of your choice to the living world. Who will you bring back?

My uncle who lived in Minnesota. He was my favourite uncle from my dad's side, and his death came way too abruptly (he died in a bridge accident at work).

27.What's your theme song?

I don't really have one. Someone needs to help me find one, I think. And not one that my Hubbs made up.

So taa-dah! That's my tag list, y'all. Hope you were at least bemused (if not fully amused) at my responses.

Have a happy Tuesday!

Tagging Myself

Hubbs has advised me that it is pretty rude to spam-tag others to force them to answer inane questions, so I have decided to tag myself instead. This way, I don't offend anyone except my readers ;) And thanks Natalie for the post questions, and for your self-tagging as well =D

1. You can press a button that will make any one person explode. Who would you blow up?

There are a few on my list. Can I blow up several at once? ;) Lest I offend, I won't say. However, there are at least three females on the list, and NO, they are not related to me.

2.You can flip a switch that will wipe any band or musical artist out of existence. Which one will it be?

Hrm. I think maybe Kevin Federline. Because he's scummy and he can't rap to save his life.

3.Who would you really like to just punch in the face?

Again, can't say. But I dreamed about punching these individuals, and those were very gratifying dreams =D

4.What is your favorite cheese?

Lately, it has been gouda, but I like my double-cream brie as well. I think anything creamy and not too pungent is pretty much yummy to me.

5.You can only have one kind of sandwich. Every sandwich ingredient known to humankind is at your immediate disposal. What kind will you make?

You probably think I'm boring, but one of my all-time favourite sandwich only has 2 ingredients besides bread: butter, and my dad's BBQ pork. We used to get those sandwiches as "treats" in our lunches (the regular fare being cooked ham sandwiches) and I thought they were fabulous!

I might also make a toasted whole-wheat kaiser sandwich with avocado, prosciutto, gouda, crispy bacon, roast turkey (not the deli kind, but the real deal), full-fat Japanese mayo, pesto spread, butter lettuce and vine-ripened tomato. That would also be very yummy.

6.You have the opportunity to sleep with the movie celebrity of your choice. We are talking no-strings-attached sex and it can only happen once. Who is the lucky celebrity of your choice?

Before I answer, let me first preface this by saying that I love my Hubbs dearly and in truth, could never imagine cheating on him in any way, shape, or form. As such, I would not want to sleep with another celebrity. However, I would be very happy to go on a date with George Clooney and let him buy me dinner and take me dancing. That's not cheating, right? ;)

7.You have the opportunity to sleep with the music-celebrity of your choice. Who do you pick?

Fifteen years ago I would have said Jordan Knight of New Kids on the Block, but now that he's reduced to selling his albums on the QVC channel and signing autographs at Wal-mart, I don't think so anymore. I would be happy for Nick Lachey to take me to dinner so I can grill him about what went down with Jessica!

8. Now that you've slept with two different people in a row, you seem to be having an excellent day because you just came across a hundred-dollar bill on the sidewalk. Holy crap, a hundred bucks! How are you gonna spend it?

Going on a date day with Hubbs. Or else getting a totally-pampering massage at the spa. Either or works for me.

9.You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go?

If I was going solo, Hong Kong. I have places to stay, there.

If I was going with Hubbs and the deal included hotel, I would go to Europe (probably France or Italy). I hear both places are gorgeous and romantic and great to visit.

If I was going with Hubbs and the deal was only on airfare, I would go back to Hawaii or Hong Kong. I need to check out the awesome sites in Maui and so far we've only seen Kauai, the Big Island, and Honolulu.

10.Upon arrival to the aforementioned location, you get off the plane and discover another hundred-dollar bill. Wow! Now that you are in the new location, what are you gonna do?

$100 won't go very far in Europe or Hawaii, I fear. I suppose we could pay for a cab to get to our hotel, and maybe buy ourselves a fruity drink.

In HK, though, that's like $700HKD ($800HKD if you were working with $100USD). I would hit the mall and buy some cheap quality clothes, and Hubbs would probably hit the Golden Shopping Centre in Sham Shui Po to get more video games.

11.An angel appears out of Heaven and offers you a lifetime supply of the alcoholic beverage of your choice. It is...?

Well, at this moment I'd say Voyant Chai Cream Liqueur. But if we're talking mixed drinks, I want a lifetime of Lava Flows (light rum, Malibu coconut rum, strawberry puree, banana, pineapple juice and coconut cream).

12.Rufus appears out of nowhere with a time-traveling phone booth. You can go anytime in the PAST. What time are you traveling to and what are you going to do when you get there?

The Roaring '20's, when the economy was booming; I would go dancing at a jazz club. I'd also go to the 1950's when people lived a seemingly more simple life; again, I would go dancing and eat at those old time diners that served the original All-American hamburgers.

13.You discover a beautiful island upon which you may build your own society. You make the rules. What is the first rule you put into place?

Respect one another. And tell the truth at all times.

14.You have been given the opportunity to create the half-hour TV show of your own design. What is it called and what's the premise?

It would be called High Society with Mrs. L and would consist of my travelling to various parts of the world to stay at, and rate, different resorts and hotels and restaurants across the globe. Of course, everything would be gratis for me, since I am no millionaire. The show would be like Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, except everything would be rated through the eyes of a cheap, middle-class Chinese girl with a big mouth and lots of opinions. =D

Hrm. That's enough of this for today. I'll give ya the rest of my answers tomorrow.

You should blog about this stuff too if you don't have anything else you want to blog about and you want to have a bit of fun. This was fun. =D

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Adventures in Cowtown! =D


I was absent from the blogosphere this weekend; I was with my Hubbs, having a brief last-minute getaway to Cowtown. It was originally a trip he was going to take solo, but since I heard foreboding forecasts, I felt too fearful to follow through on freeing him to face the freezing rains for himself (alliteration, anyone?).

It turned out to be a lovely weekend, complete with shopping extravaganzas, wonderful conversation with friends, fine wine sampling (at the Rocky Mountain Wine Festival), the discovery of Voyant Chai Cream Liqueur (available in Canada as of November) and delicious Mediterranean tapas at Aida's.

That I ended up tagging alone was entirely unplanned, and yet I was so very glad that I did. It made me think about whether things ever happen for "no reason" or whether every event in life, from the planned to the unpredictable, follows the course of a greater divine purpose beyond our understanding.

Hubbs' initial plans in Cowtown didn't quite work out as planned, and so, in the end he says that my being there helped salvage the trip, which would have otherwise proven rather disastrous (or at the very least, wasted); my presence made it possible for Hubbs to navigate the roads problem-free, and also ensured that he didn't starve and waste away from malnourishment on our first night there. In exchange, I got a nice new turtleneck out of the deal, plus I got to see some great friends, and we got to experience their city in a whole new light. It gave us a newfound appreciation for this neighbouring city, and brings up the possibility for us to entertain the idea of one day living there.

Was there a divine hand working behind the scenes to give me the weather-watch anxiety that eventually led to my going on the trip? I think so. And I think it was the same "big picture Thinker" who ended up blessing the trip and making it such a memorable time with people we love.

Anyway, thank God for this mini-vacation. It was a nice escape before I buckled down to study for my 3 midterms, presently scheduled for the same day two weeks from now. =S And I had a wonderful weekend, thankyouverymuch.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Magical Powers of Little People


I officially started volunteering again today, at a Catholic elementary school across town. As it turns out, the teacher I was slotted to start working with was away at an in-service, so I ended up being bounced to other classes that needed some extra help.

I was lucky enough to be bounced into helping one very unhappy international student, who understood more English than he could speak. As such, he found it immensely frustrating trying to communicate with me when he understood my question, because I could tell he was searching his very limited English vocabulary for the right words to express how he felt, but could never quite find it. In the end, I spoke with the school admin and requested that he get at least a dictionary in his own language, so that he could look up the corresponding English words and be able to express himself. We actually considered the idea of getting him a handheld electronic dictionary that would translate his native tongue into English, but unfortunately this device is only available in his home country, many continents away. Luckily, the school located an old laptop that I think they will try to lend him so that he can at least translate from English to his own language (and perhaps the other way around too!).

Anyway, I was glad to have helped him and look forward to "quizzing" him next Thursday when I see him again. He is supposed to read a story and look up all of the unfamiliar words using an online translator at home, and I will be asking him comprehension and reflection questions when I see him next week.

Next, I was assigned into a Grade 1-2 split class. I was given a group of Grade 2s along with an aide, and sent off to guide them as they completed worksheets on bar graphs and pictographs. Of course, since I have been well-instructed in the art of relevance and social constructivist theory, I tried to introduce their tasks using a relevant real-life problem (e.g., How many people are in the classroom? How many boys and how many girls? How can we show this on a bar graph or pictograph? Are there more boys or girls in this room?). Then I had to help them do their dummy-run worksheet. =S

Anyway, I got to spend a good 45 minutes with these little peopl
e, and boy was I in my element! I loved their energy and their crazy answers and their big goofy smiles, and I was energized by working with them and watching them "get" the concepts I was reviewing with them. It was, in a word, fabulous.

More than anything, this morning's volunteer experience reinforced for me my calling to be a teacher. I love these eager little learners and their innocence and their silliness and their funny comments and their overactive imaginations. They inspire me and they make me laugh and they make me love going to school.

I can't wait to get into the classroom again, and even more, I cannot wait to finally have a class (and classroom) to call my own. I am ready to be back in my element and to tap into the magical powers of these little people, once more.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Ruby for RUBY

As Mrs. L Days comes to an end (*sniff*), I'd like to give you the recap on the second half of the festival.

- Couples' group for the first time this academic year, laughing and learning and eating with friends.

- Hubbs buys me flowers; actually, he pays for the flowers that I had picked up ;)

- Dinner with the in-laws at fancy schmancy LUX

- Discovering a lovely new German reisling, called the Lingenfelder Bird Label Reisling

- A superbly cooperative Hubbs during my marathon shopping trip, even though I kept dragging him into stores only to browse for 30 seconds

- Rediscovering our mutual love of Chinese supermarkets at T & T (resulting in us having lunch there)

- My own Ruby: a ruby ring, in fact. It looks something like this, although a little smaller in the gemstone and surrounding rocks (I couldn't find or take a suitable picture that matched my ring exactly):

Nice, eh? It is a beautiful ring and he was incredibly sweet and generous for picking it up for moi.

- Hubbs gets his own treat: the PS2 game Katamari Damacy

- Wine & cheese & games, oh my! Bonding over booze with old pals =D at Vinny & Mrs. Vinny's

- Lunch with Superstar Jo and Space Max at Milestones, which proved awesome for a chain-restaurant (although we can almost excuse this with the fact that it is a VANCOUVER chain, and Van is the best city in the world).

- Watching Monk: Season 1 on DVD and snuggling on the couch with lit candles and everything (romantic!)

- Thanksgiving morning spent sleeping in

- Thanksgiving evening eating turkey and loads of other goodies with the in-laws and special guest Igloo Coder

Which brings me to today, the last day of our merry little festival. What should we do to commemorate it? Hmmm....

Monday, October 09, 2006

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! or Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!


This weekend marks Canadian Thanksgiving, but it also marks the Lunar Festival, or Mid-Autumn Festival, in the Chinese calendar. I know, I forgot about it too (it was on Friday, Oct. 6 this year). For my family, it is a time of coming together to celebrate family, the "harvest" of the year, and to admire the beauty of the full moon with one another. It's also a time to share moon cakes and a meal with each other. My parents are celebrating without their children and their parents this year (we're all not in their city), but hopefully they will find a way to celebrate nonetheless. Anyway, I digress...

In regards to Thanksgiving, it's unfortunate that we only take one day out the year to give thanks, because, if you think about it, there is a lot to be thankful for every single day of our lives.

Here's what I am thankful for today:

-a pair of eyes that can see the beauty of autumn
-a pair of operable arms and legs that can walk through the crunchy leaves and play among them
-a pair of operate ears that can hear laughter
-a special group of people I call "family" who love me and accept me, and who I love and accept
-a husband who is in the same city as me, rather than sever
al continents/15 hours of time zone/13 hours by flight away
-a God who is always here with me, and who gives me the strength and hope to live each day with joy

Of course, there are tons of other items that can go on my list of blessings to be thankful for, including many material possessions (i.e., roof over my head, c
lothes on my back, vehicle, shoes, computer...). However, those things are really just gravy, because if I continue to be blessed with the stuff I have already listed at the top, then I am a truly a blessed person.

What are you thankful for today?

May you find reason to celebrate and give thanks, not only today, but tomorrow and every day after that.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Yout Get What You Pay For - Part 2?

D'arcy from Winnipeg comments, in response to my first post and suggestion that he and the Igloo Coder open up a restaurant:

OMG, could you imagine Donald and I opening up a restaurant?! I've got the perfect concept for it:

We'll call it "Keggers" (referring to how Donald and I both sport a "keg" instead of a six pack) and we'll only hire slightly overweight men and for uniforms they'll have to wear wife-beaters and blue jeans that are 2 sizes too small!

Then for the menu, we'll put together some really fancy salads and stuff, plus some low calorie dishes and such.

And we'll open up right next to a Hooters and put them out of business...its BRILLIANT!

Hmmm. Let's think about that, shall we? Unkempt armpit hair, butt-crack, and man-boobs. Serving you your gourmet diet food.

I like it (if the costs aren't too high), but I think I'll have to eat blindfolded. And possibly drugged.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Other Reason Why I Get a New Car


My husband's custom-painted Macbook Pro. Created especially for him.

He got his toy, now it's time that I got mine! =P~~

You Get What You Pay For - Food Thoughts

I ended up paying my massage therapist a visit yesterday (a Mrs. L Days treat), and during the massage I was conversing with her (it was at 10:00 am, and too early to sleep on the table). We were discussing my recent crappy restaurant visit, and shared our thoughts about fine dining versus eating cheap.

We decided we should boycott cheap chain restaurants.

The conclusion was drawn because we were talking about restaurant quality, food quality, chef skill, and food quantity versus cost. Consider, if you will, the difference between the expensive upscale restaurant in your town and your typical Red Robin's (or any other similar type of grubberie):

At the former, you get quality fresh gourmet food prepared by skilled, trained chefs who have been educated in the art of food design; they make most things from scratch, fresh every day. The kitchen environment is sterile and clean, and so is your food. You get reasonable portions that aren't excessive, but are actually properly portioned according to federal food guides. You enjoy eating the lovely fare in a clean and aesthetically-pleasing environment, and you go home feeling satisfied, without paying for it with your waistline in the morning.

At the latter, you get medium-grade food at best, prepared by line cooks who were hired through the local classified ads or the sign out in the window;
these folks have not attended culinary school, and some may not yet have finished high school. Your food is "prepared" in the kitchen, but really half of the sauce mixes come from a can and most of the food is in bags in the freezer; the process of preparation really amounts to little more than dumping stuff in the deep fryer or on the grill, and adding water and mixing. The kitchen is a place you'd rather not know about, because its cleanliness is questionable and if you complain about the food, there is always the chance that someone will spit in it and high-five their buddies in the back. What you lack in quality you make up for in quantity though - portions are huge, enough to add a few pounds to your frame or at the very least, make you incredibly sick if you eat the whole dang thing. You enjoy your grub in a slightly-tacky, loud environment that is questionable in terms of its cleanliness, and you go home feeling kind of gross for having eaten there.

Of course, you get what you pay for. The former will usually run you over $25 per entree, not including your wine or your appetizers or your dessert, all of which you will have because your portions will be satisfyingly small. The latter will cost you about $15 (including your non-stop pop and all-you-can-eat french fries), but of course you will be too full for "starters" or dessert after devouring that heap of deep-fried/grilled goodness.

So, as my RMT and I were hashing out our ideas, we figured that it makes sense to save up a little longer and go to the fancy upscale dining place (her man works at one of those), rather than eat more frequently at a lesser food place. Your wallet may love you, but not your waistline or your health! Besides, people go out to eat for the convenience and novelty of the experience, so the idea ought to be to go somewhere and eat something that you could not have made on your own. And when you think about it, anything deep fried you could probably do at home and do better than Red Robins anyway, non?

**(We decided, however, that ethnic restaurants do not apply to this theory, because quality ethnic food is oft prepared in less-than-stellar kitchen conditions).

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Simple Pleasure for A Simple Mind

As you probably guessed, I quit colouring with crayons about 2.5 decades ago; I progressed to pencil-crayons, then to felt markers, and I've never looked back. As such, I'm a tad out of touch with modern crayon technology.

Well, during class yesterday we were asked to do a teensy bit of colouring (to model a math activity we could do with future students), and were given crayons for the task.

Imagine my delight when I discovered these:

Erasable, paperwrap-free crayons! In 16 different colours!

I nearly fainted with glee. I was so thrilled to use the crayon (we were only allowed to use one colour) and to check out its erasability (which was complete - the colour disappears altogether if you use the eraser on the end of the crayon) that I deliberately coloured outside the lines a little, just so I could do some erasing and recolouring. =D

Well, I was so impressed with these fancy schmancy new Crayolas that I actually went out and bought myself a pack. I am now the proud owner of a set of fabulous crayons, and may have to take up colouring again just so I can have fun using these things.

A simple pleasure, yes, but this is what happens when I am left to my own devices during the day. ;) And besides, you'd love the crayons too if you tried them. They were only $3 at Staples, BTW. So go out and get yourself some colouring joy already!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A Week of Mrs. L Days May Be Short-Lived

So, you may be wondering what exciting things Hubbs has done for me during this, my week of attention and adoration. Let me tell you!

We started on Sunday with a lengthy trip to Costco (which, believe it or not, is actually a treat for me, since the trip is usually a rushed one and one frought with nagging and complaining on the part of Hubbs). We went for dinner for Ridley's birthday, and then we watched Shrek 2 on DVD.

On Monday, Hubbs accompanied me to a"Study Buddy" orientation, which proved to be exactly the same as it was last year when I attended. Hubbs sat in the chair beside me, ostensibly for the purposes of being my role-play buddy; unfortunately, he then decided during the role play to type all sorts of inappropriate commentary in response to the posed scenarios, on his laptop (which was sitting open with a large font on display). Such phrases as "I need Ritalin" and "I am retarded" graced his screen, and of course since it was so largely displayed, one of the orientation faciliators who happened to walk by, took notice and came over and commented on his commentary. It was a horrifically embarrassing situation for me, much to the amusement of Hubbs, who didn't seem to care that he had probably offended this teacher/rep from the Catholic school board. I opted for us to leave as soon as we broke into groups again.

Since our parking meter had been paid for a full 2 hours and we had an hour left, we decided to stay on campus and grab a snack at the nearby "mall." This was a nice little date for us; we sat and chatted and reminisced about our first years in university.

On Tuesday, Hubbs and I went for a walk after work; we were able to feel the crunch of leaves under our feet as we walked, and we enjoyed the fresh air and the beautiful view that only autumn in the river valley can offer us. Then we went for sushi, which proved affordable and quite yummy (although they gave us that gross egg sushi and also the fake crab sushi, neither of which we enjoyed).

Today, Hubbs and I decided to stay home for the night. He made dinner for me (bison burgers..not a tough "cooking" job) and then, thanks to some Secret Geek guy who left an inspiring comment on his blog, Hubbs felt the urge to go out and buy a microphone for his computer (having misplaced his first one). So, off we went to Future Shop and London Drugs, and when we got home, guess what? Apparently Mrs. L Days came to an abrupt end as Hubbs returned to RUBY, determined to record narrative to accompany his silent .avi from his presentation. When he discovered that he couldn't just add voiceover to the original file and would have to re-record the whole dang thing, guess what again? He began to re-type, this time with sound, his whole entire 50-minute presentation once more.

So is Mrs. L Days over after having barely begun
? Is there hope of redemption for Hubbs, or will he be kicked to the curb along with his cheap $5 whore RUBY? Stay tuned for more exciting moments on these...the Days of My Life.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Vroom Vroom?

I have a secret desire. It's for a new car. Not just any car, either - a nice sporty little import sedan loaded with a good number of features.

I have shared this desire with Hubbs. We're in negotiations right now, and it looks as though I might be able to finagle my ride in the spring if I forfeit my trip to Montreal (with Hubbs) as he attends DevTeach. I keep telling myself it is a worthy trade-off - a brand new vehicle in exchange for 6 days in Montreal with a bunch of smelly geeky programmers all there to show off their laptops and coding prowess. I am told that the conference usually goes all day and the developers hang out and have dinner together in the evenings, which leaves little time for shopping and romance anyway. The date of DevTeach is also a mere week away from my sister's wedding (for which I am a bridesmatron), so I can only imagine how much help she will need with last-minute preparations.

Of course, even though I want my new car very badly, a part of me also wants to go to Montreal. Not for the geeks, and not even for the fancy hotel or shopping or nice dinners. I want to go because I'm the only sibling in my family that has never been to Montreal. I also want to go because I worry about the type of trouble my Hubbs could get himself into if he is partying with a bunch of horny, single male developers in what is arguably
the least-conservative province in the country. Finally, I want to go because I will probably miss my Hubbs like mad if we are separated for so many days!

But I also want the car. I am thinking right now about a Honda Civic LX Sedan with a blue interior dash, in a nice silver or champagne colour. Of course, I am open to other import sedan models as long as they look nice and are rated highly, and don't have an orange dash (like the Mazda3's and 6's). Any suggestions on a good import sedan?

The Toyota Corolla isn't bad either, and also one that I am considering.

So what do you think? Should I go to Montreal or should I get a new car (keeping in mind, of course, that I currently own and drive a '97 Neon)?

All opinions are welcome =D

Monday, October 02, 2006

Muppet Flashbacks

Moi is such a blog idea thief! ;) Natalie was talking about Sesame Street on her recent post, and that got me thinking about my childhood TV viewing, which included the best show in the world, the Muppets, back when Jimmy Henson was the Muppet king and Disney didn't own the entertainment world.

Anyway, moi loved those two opinionated old bozos, Statler and Waldorf. They were funny, dry, and played off each other perfectly. Moi loved the way they heckled Fozzie (but not the way they abused poor Kermie sometimes), and how their skin was so thick and wrinkly that even returning insults didn't faze them.

The best character and star of the Muppets, however, was Miss Piggy. Moi thinks it's because she is just like moi - big-boned, a girly diva, ever-passionate about food and fashion and love, and possessive of her man. She was also tough and could kick some serious ass when the situation called for it ("Hi-yah!"). In all ways, moi can identify ;) Her love for her Kermie was also sincere and faithful, just like mine is for my Kermie =D

It was really neat, then, for moi to discover that my Hubbs actually loved Miss Piggy too! In fact, he owns a Miss Piggy puppet; it's falling apart a little now, since it's pretty old, but moi was still very impressed to learn that he shared a mutual affection for Piggy. =)

All the more reason for him to be my Kermie, non?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Mrs. L Days


In an attempt to make up for the incident with that RUBY tramp, Hubbs has graciously offered to make the next 7 days (including today) "Mrs. L Days." It's sort of like a week-long festival, except that in this case it's a week long attention-lavishing session where he treats me like a princess and buys me nice things and spends many many hours of quality time with me (and NO, that is *not* a moniker for "having sex," you perv!).

Anyway, I think I am going to request a night or two of dining out, a homecooked meal or two, some pretty flowers, and some sort of ruby jewellery (maybe a ring or a bracelet). I've also got us scheduled to go for a walk in the beautiful foliage that only my favourite season can bring, as well as a shopping trip to the biggest mall in town (where I finally get the chance to replace Hubbs' decrepit old gym bag with a fresh-smelling, fancy-schmancy looking new one).

Any other ideas for ways that Hubbs and I can celebrate Mrs. L Days? Keep it clean and keep it creative; I'd love to hear your ideas!