Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow day

I am at my in-laws sitting in front of the fire blogging, and am SO happy to be exactly here. I am on the mainland for work...yesterday I took the 7am ferry over and worked all day, then stayed at M.'s last night. We had great sushi and tried to watch a movie but I kept falling asleep! I had a long sleep but woke up with a big headache and feeling a bit ooky and snuffly! It had snowed a lot overnight and was still coming down hard. Being that I am a) directionally challenged, b) a nervous Vancouver driver now (dang that Victoria driving experience!), and c) not a seasoned snow driver I decided it was best to call off the work I had scheduled for this afternoon in Vancouver. I managed to make it out to my in-laws though, so the trek to Van will be easier tomorrow. I used the 4-wheel drive on our pathfinder for the first time though, and it was GREAT! I also got to break in the new skookum (sp?) windshield wipers.

I'm very thankful to be not working today. Only just now is my headache starting to clear...I've had lots of water and tea and vitamin C and echinaccia etc...I really don't want to get sick!

I'm seriously annoyed that Facebook is down though!! I realize now how addicted I am!!!

So here's to a snow day :) And only 2 more days of work left till I have some time off!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On the move....

We're moving back to the mainland. March 1.

Just so you know :)

I'm travelling a lot to have enough work...and that's not working for us. And our family is on the mainland (and many many friends). So, we've made the decision to move back - I will have lots of work there (so much I"ll probably regret this decision later!!) and we'll be close to our family and friends.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Brrrrr!

Seriously - it is SO windy, and SO cold!!! Okay...for Victoria. I know, we're wimps on the west coast. But, I swear this is at least as windy and cold as it was in MA in the winter..if not more so!! Our office is really cold. So I have yoga pants and a sweatshirt on, one blanket over my legs, antoher over my shoulders, fleece slipper-socks on, and a cup of steaming tea. And I'm still cold!! I do kind of like it though b/c it feels Christmasy. And makes me want to bake.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Okay, well at our house, not so much "look" a lot like Christmas. We haven't gotten to putting up decorations yet, and probably won't since I leave for the mainland Friday or Saturday, and Daryl will be heading over on Tuesday and we won't be back till the new year. I've been feeling a little sad about no-decorations and the fact that we haven't done much Christmas preparation due to busy schedules, but today sort of remedied that.

But, it is feeling a little more like Christmas though because:

a) Today was a snow day. Church was cancelled, and there is lots of snow out.
b) It's really really cold!
c) I baked today. Not entirely successfully though. I made these really yummy spicy chocolate shortbread-type cookies. Most of them burned however. Sigh. I also have shortbread dough in the fridge ready to make.
d) We went to a Christmas dinner at D.'s Nana and Papa's place. It was super yummy and very festive.
e) We wrapped all the presents we've bought.

So, now I have 5 days to get everything ready for before I go leave for work. I have quite a bit of out-of-the-house work this week, so it will be a busy week trying to get everything done. On my to-do list this week is:
- Finish my last case study.
- Finish my last set of case notes and internship hours verification.
(Note: Once these tasks are complete, I will officially be done ALL my coursework AND my internship!).
- Pick up some groceries so I can eat lots of veggies this week!!
- Make a hair appointment and go to it :)
- Make (if possible so last minute) an appointment to get new orthotics made and go to it :).
- Finish buying presents
- Wrap the remaining presents (they all have to go with me when I leave).
- Bake the shortbread.
- Make peppermint bark for small presents.
- Deep clean the house (all the deep bathroom cleaning, floor cleaning, etc) as we have guests staying with us after we get back (which we are SO excited about).
- Prepare all the things I need for work this coming weekend.
- Write cards and mail (I'm still debating whether I'll get to this or not).
- Do the paperwork and admin generated by my out-of-the-house work this week.
- Get to the gym. I only went once last week and am feeling a bit sluggish. And soon will be away for over a week and won't know how much I"ll get to work out.

I'm thankful I made a big pot of veggie chili last night and I have butternut squash soup in the fridge, so I'll have those for quick-ish meals this week. I'll just pick up some salad stuff for lunches and should be all set.

Okay, now I'm a bit stressed out by that list. I think I can get at least 5 or 6 things done tomorrow when I get home from work.

But soon it will be Christmas Holidays! This will be the first time in at least a few years that we've been off work, together for this long. It will be more than 10 days I think!!! I'll probably do some work while off and may have a meeting or two while on the mainland but it's mostly a real break!!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Detox never tasted SO good!

I just made these two recipes. They were in the most recent issue of Food and Wine. This was the first time I'd bought this magazine, and it's a great magazine.

Here is the Kale and Avacado Salad recipe. This is super filling. I think I could half the amount of avacado and still feel satisfied :). This was my brunch today. So yummy.

Here is the Lemony Quinoa Salad recipe. This is SO yummy and refreshing. Quinoa is the super grain. The serving size is a bit small on this one. So, it may be best either doubled, or plan to have it with a green salad or something. I doubled the recipe and will eat it as a snack later on.

What I love about both of these recipes is that they are fresh with no processed foods, and they are both vegan/fast friendly so are perfect for this time of year. I'm about to go enter them into sparkpeople to see what the nutritional information for vitamins and minerals is for them...I'm sure it will be great.

Can you tell I have two case studies to finish and a pile of work to do? Why else would I blog twice in one day :)

Butternut Squash Soup

I made this roughly based off of a recipe in Cooking Light. In their recipe you were supposed to roast the squash first with the Garam Masala and oil etc...I just did it all in a pot, and it turned out SOOOOO good. I forgot how good butternut squash soup is!!

Saute about 3/4 of a chopped onion, 2 TBSP olive oil about 3 medium squashes (chopped), about 1-2 TBSP of Garam Masala and a couple of pinches of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper for about 5 minutes.

Add 2 chopped apples and about 2 TBSP maple syrup (you can add the syrup earlier...I can't remember exactly what point I added it in at). Saute for another few minutes.

Add about 5 cups of vegetable broth (or till everything is covered with broth).

Simmer all that until the squash is soft, then blend with a hand blender or blender/food processor in batches (I just use my braun hand blender). Taste and season with more salt/pepper/maple syrup etc if needed.

That's about it. So good!! Sorry, didn't get a picture :(

Friday, November 28, 2008

Comfort in a Cup

This is a soy noel nog latte. I make the espresso in my mokapot and heat the noel nog in a pot on the stove, then foam it up (it makes the best creamiest yummiest foam) and add a little sweetener...and top it off with nutmeg. Mmmmmmm.......love it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The current contents of my desk.

1 laptop
2 phones
1 water bottle
1 half-drunk, cold coffee in a mug
1 empty source yogurt container
1 stapler
sharpie markers in various colors
1 sewing tape measure
3 post it pads
2 other note pads
1 to-do book
3 work folders
1 pencil case
1 flash drive
1 tax return
1 calculator
2 random CDs/DVD's containing video
Several articles to be read for school
1 folder of research on stereotypy
1 hole punch
1 picture of client
1 plant
5 magazine holders full of files and miscellaneous papers
2 baskets full of stuff.
Receipt stub from a recently paid parking ticket.

I need to clean it!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Brilliant Minds.

Found this here. I'm no where near doing my defense, but was looking for some funny grad student humor to lighten the mood for a presentation I'm doing and came accross this. It's hysterical. I've bolded my favorites. This really had me laughing out loud!
Things to Say and Do Guaranteed to Spice up Your Thesis and Dissertation Defenses
  1. Begin the defense by charging a cover and checking for ID.
  2. Charge a two-drink minimum.
  3. Begin with "Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise for the singing of our National Anthem."
  4. Bring coffee and charge 25 cents a cup.
  5. "Charge the mound" when a professor beans you with a high fast question.
  6. Describe parts of your dissertation using interpretive dance.
  7. Lead your committee members in a Wave.
  8. Break the tension at appropriate moments with a sing-a-long.
  9. Answer tough queries with "You call THAT a question? How'd you ever get to be a professor?"
  10. Have bodyguards outside the room to discourage attendance of certain professors.
  11. Present your defense using puppets.
  12. Before you begin your presentation, sell T-shirts to recoup the cost of copying, binding, etc.
  13. In addition, pass a collection basket.
  14. Answer complex issues in mime.
  15. Use the ocassion to hold a Tupperware party.
  16. Have bikini-clad models in charge of changing your overheads.
  17. At approximately the mid-point of your defense bring out maracas and shout "Everybody rumba!!"
  18. Explain nonsignificant findings with "It would have worked if it weren't for those f*%ing kids."
  19. Refuse to answer tough questions "in protest of our government's systematic and brutal opression of minorities."
  20. Offer door prizes and conduct a raffle.
  21. Ask professors to "Please phrase your question in the form of an answer."
  22. Interrupt every 15 minutes with the announcement "And now, a word from our sponsor."
  23. Present critical parts of your defense in iambic pentameter.
  24. In your announcement, inform your committee that it will be a black tie affair.
  25. Hire the Goodyear Blimp to circle the building.
  26. Announce to your committee that "There will be a short quiz after my presentation."
  27. Bring your pet boa.
  28. Bring snacks and start a food fight.
  29. Slap your committee chair with a glove and challenge him to a duel.
  30. Arrange for a halftime show.
  31. Bring a big foam hand that says "I'm #1."
  32. Pass out souvenier matchbooks.
  33. Hang a pinata over the table and hire a strolling mariachi band.
  34. Make each professor remove an item of clothing for each question asked.
  35. Use a Greek Chorus to highlight important points.
  36. When necessary, say "I'm sorry Professor Smith, I didn't say 'SIMON SAYS any questions?'. You're out."
  37. Dress in top hat and tails.
  38. Hold a pre-defense pep rally, complete with cheerleaders, pep band, and a bonfire.
  39. If you sense that things are not going well, threaten to detonate a small nuclear device in the room.
  40. Show slides of your last vacation.
  41. Put your overheads on a film strip. Designate a professor to be in charge of turning the strip when the tape recording beeps.
  42. If members of the committee begin to argue among themselves announce: "OK, everybody - heads down on the desk until you show me you can behave."
  43. When in trouble, begin speaking in tongues.
  44. Answer every question with a question.
  45. Hand out 3-D glasses.
  46. Announce credits at the end. Include a "key grip" and a "best boy."
  47. Make a practice of replying, "Sure, I could answer that, but then I'd have to kill you."
  48. Ask a friend and conspirator to attend and ask the first question. Draw a blank-loaded gun and "shoot" him. Have him make a great scene of dying. Be sure to include fake blood. Turn to your committee and ask "Other questions?"
  49. Wear clown makeup, a clown wig, clown shoes, a clown nose, and nothing else.
  50. Install "APPLAUSE" and "LAUGHTER" signs.
  51. Use a TelePromTer
  52. Alter the clocks in the room and begin your defense 15 minutes before anyone arrives.

Ick

Have to have our truck in to the shop at 7:30 am!! Gross! We are getting the breaks checked (and likely done) and getting a tune up. I am terrified, as I always am that when they do one thing they'll find another thing that needs doing. It will be a stretch to manage breaks and a tune up along with tripple tuition this semester as it is, but we've put both off for a long time, and I am driving to Courtenay regularly and up to Kamloops for Christmas...so it needs to be done.

I'm also a little nervous they won't be able to do it in as little time as they think they can. They're planning to be done by 12:30. I'm taking it to a new place this time as I think the place we had been going to was fleecing us, and the estimate at this place is MUCH lower than at the other place. So, maybe this place is just able to do things faster...Anyways..I have to leave about 5pm to drive to Nanaimo and am co-teaching workshops there all weekend, so I'm REALLY hoping they'll be done on time!

The upside is D. and I will go for breakfast together after dropping the car off, before he goes to work. I think I"ll then just hole up at a nearby cafe and work until it's done. Then scramble afterwards to finish everything else and pack and get ready to go!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Done da done done...

I had my thesis proposal meeting today. I was ridiculously nervous about it and it was much less stressful than I anticipated, and was actually quite enjoyable. But, like I said, I was VERY nervous. So, at about 10:55 I realized I had been sitting, staring at the phone on my desk for at least 5 minutes. Paralyzed. I thouht I'd better distract myself while I waited for my committee to call. So, I thought I would take some pictures and think about posting on my blog about it later on. I took a picture of the phone I had been staring at. It's ready for the call.

And I took a picture of my computer....all ready to go.

And of me....not ready at all. The call came about 2 minutes after I took these, I did the proposal and in under an hour it was done! Then I had to rush of to write a test, had dinner out with my hubby and am now home and exhausted and will likely crash soon. Then to try to catch up on everything I neglected while preparing for this tomorrow....

I forgot to bring my camera to take a picture of me with my giant beer after it was all said and done :( .

I missed my chance...

I think I may have met Gordon Campbell the other day at the grocery store. No, really, stay with me. I was chatting with the clerk at the store, and complaining about the rain. The man behind me said "Well, ladies I started my day in Grand Prairie Alberta and it was -15 there, and a snowstorm." We chatted some more, and I kept thinking to myself this man looks VERY familiar. Definately a business man, very polished...and a certain manner about him....kind of like a politician, or phone salesman. Hmmm...

It wasn't till I got to my car and was half way home that I realized that he looked exactly like Gordon Campbell. Without having seen him in person before I couldn't be sure though. So, I looked on google images for a picture of him, found a few and after vewing those pictures I am almost positive it was him. I mean, I do live in Oak Bay (renting a small suite of course, not owning) which is one of the more affluent areas of Victoria, so it wouldn't be so unlikely.

Dang, I wish I'd looked at what he was buying!

So, I likely missed my chance to bop him in the head. Sigh.

Friday, November 07, 2008

And I thought it was nearly dead!


Flashback

As I was driving back from dropping D. off at the ferry "Flashback lunch" was on the radio. I LOVE flashback lunch. A few gems from the program today:

- Whomp there it is
- House of Pain - Jump Around
- Madonna - True Blue

There were other great ones, but these are the only ones I remember. Spectacular.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

There must be more...

...to my life than an omlette.....right? Just thinking that it's been too long since I updated. By updating now I am just attempting to escape all else.

It's one of those weeks. It's been a horrid work week, with large portions of it absorbed with dealing with one extremely frustrating and stressful situation...and most of that time is of course non-billable. Then add in the fact that most of the rest of the day today (aside from actual meetings with clients) that I was supposed to be getting stuff done at home was shot because I was so upset by this situation that I couldn't focus on anything else.

I have a research proposal (not my thesis, this is a big paper for a class) due Friday that I literally haven't even started, my thesis proposal on Monday and a test 2 hours after that on Monday. And so behind in work. I really can't afford the time that has been dedicated to this crappy situation.

Anyways....

On the upside, we had home-made goat cheese, basil and chorizo pizza tonight. The cafe/bakery up the road from us sells pizza dough....nice :).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Omlette

So, I stayed at M.s on Friday night. In the morning (after a great wine-tasting evening the night before), her husband, J. made me an Omlette. Now, truth be told, I'm not a big omlette person - the brown cooked eggs taste freaks me out. He offered though, and I thought considering the long day ahead of me I should take the sustinance.

This was the. best. omlette. ever. Not just taste, but soooo fluffy - and NO crusty brownness! No icky burnt egg taste!! And amazing, amazing flavours. I tried to replicate it today and was successful in terms of the flavours, but not so much in terms of the fluffiness. So, here's how I did it:

Mix up 2 eggs, 4 egg whites (yes, it's a big omlette), salt, pepper, one clove of crushed garlic, about a 1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro and about a 1/2 cup of chopped fresh basil (Yes, they must be fresh).

Put that into an omlette pan, cover and let it cook for a while on LOW heat.

While that's cooking, saute up 2 mushrooms and a handful of spinach.

When the eggs are mostly cooked, but a bit loose on top still, sprinkle on about a 1/4 cup of part skim mozzarella cheese, cover and let it cook a bit longer. Then, put the mushrooms and spinach onto one half of the omlette, let it cook a minute or so longer (still on low heat).

Then, slide the omlette out and fold over one side.

Then eat. Lovely Thai inspired yummy, filling, healthy (besides the two egg yolks) meal that will hold you over for pretty much the whole day. Or you could split it with someone and have it be a normal size breakfast :-). I think the key is the combination of fresh basil, fresh cilantro and a clove of garlic :-).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Things...

I like about being home:
- Living with my husband (eating, sleeping, cleaning, anything).
- Being able to go to my gym.
- Having my "morning time" to watch the news, check email and have breakfast.
- Planning meals and grocery shopping

I am stressed about:
- My test today
- My case studies I've yet to make much progress on
- Tuition due dates looming
- My thesis proposal meeting on Nov. 10. This is my number 1 stress.
- The truck needing a tune up and brake inspection and likely new brakes and tires.

I am looking forward to:
- Catching up on work and school.
- Dinner with my husband
- Cooking something fun on the weekend
- DECLUTTERING on the weekend!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Goals for this week.

1. Do not let this cold take hold. Fight it with all I have!
2. Get to the gym at least once or twice.
3. Try to make some headway in the school and work stuff I'm behind in before going to the mainland on Thursday.
4. Eat lots of veggies and fruit (to help with #1).

In the next couple of weeks there are lots of bigger projects to be completed:
- Finish the slides for my thesis proposal presentation (Nov. 10)
- Finish at least 1 of my 2 case studies
- Finish creation of my portions of the workshop I am co-teaching in November
- Complete a research proposal paper for the actual course I'm taking (due Nov. 8)

And that's just school and the rest of life-related stuff! Doesn't even include school!

However, I just realized I'm at 560 hours for my internship for school, which means only about 200 hours to go. After that, only a couple hundred more for my Board Certification (as I have a bunch of hours from before my "official" internship). I can't wait to be finished my official internship, as the documentation for it is very time-consuming (and surprisingly significantly more intensive than what is required for board certification...).

Waiting for December...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Goodbye Summer

I made this salad, and the next day the pouring rain started. I think this salad was my goodbye to summer :-).


I made it as I found some beautiful local heirloom tomatoes at a local market, and I had lots of basil growing still to use before the weather got too cold and killed it. Normally, in this type of tomato salad, you use mozarella. But I came across Halloumi cheese at the store, had a vague recollection of having tried it before and loved it, and thought it would be perfect in this salad. It was SO good. I cut up tomatoes and basil, grilled the Haloumi cheese, cut it up and put it into the salad and added a little balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper. The Halloumi cheese looks like this before it's grilled:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

They're Married!


My little brother married a wonderful woman on September 3rd. I've just been waiting to get my hands on a good picture to blog about it! I'm so happy for them, and so happy to have a new sister-in-law who's so much fun :-) He's all grown up!

Studious Cat


Seriously - could she be any cuter? This is what happens when I try to study in the livingroom. She is laying on top of all my study materials...and a minute or so after I took this, while I was typing, she put her head down on my computer and snuggled up to it.
Maybe if I send this to my prof, he'll agree there was simply no way I could study and will erase whatever mark I get on todays test?

Home Comforts

Ginger peach green tea with Matcha.
Curled up on my own couch in my own comfy yoga pants studying.
My cat crawling all over my studying and rubbing her head on my computer.
Unpacking all my toiletries!
Grocery shopping (still to come).
Cleaning.
Cooking.

I'm happy to be home for a solid couple of weeks. Right now I'm trying not to stress out about how behind I am in everything, and focus on studying for the test I have to write later today. The rest of the catching up will have to come later.

But right now, I'm happy to be studying on my couch, drinking tea, in my cat's company, and looking forward to dinner at home with my husband :-)

Incidentally...the title of this blog post is also the title of a great book: Home Comforts.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Just a few...

Just a few minutes to update my blog. I've been totally absent from it. But, I've been absent in general as I've been away from home so much lately for work. This weekend will be the last for a bit- when I get home on Monday, I'll be home for nearly 2 weeks straight, aside from day trips during the week to work on the mainland.

I had great plans to accomplish much today, as I have the day off, and am at a friends' house, who is giving me the use of her BEAUTIFUL office for the day (I worked yesterday on over here on the mainland and have a meeting tomorrow). I needed to go to Ikea to look for something for a client though. M. came with me, and though I didn't find what I needed for the client, I did find a whole new duvet cover/sheet set for our bed! I'm so excited to set it up. The sheets and duvet cover we have now is almost 5 years old, very very faded and sad. I also got the standard napkins and bits and pieces I usually get while at Ikea, a bedside lamp to match the one we already have, and a bin to store my assessment materials in (currently they are in a massive mess in giant Ikea bags in the truck). Of course, M. and I also had the uber cheap Ikea lunch before we shopped, as well as the cinammon bun before leaving :-).

Now I'm very tired, and it's 4pm!! But, I am going to sit down and try to get some of my ridiculous amount of back log taken care of, so that hopefully when I get home Monday night, I can just hang out with my husband...who I miss!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

sad

This is belated news (I found out a week or so ago, but can't let go of it!).

Simi Sara and Dave Gerry have been fired from breakfast television. Simi is gone from city cooks too.

I know this is a bit sad, but they've become a staple in my morning routine. It's all wrong without them.

I've always been a loyal morning news person - it fits well as I am one of those people who needs to have time to have breakfast, check email, watch the news and take my time getting ready for the day. BTV has been my morning news show of choice for the last few years. Sad. they were SO good.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Gems

A few gems from my course readings this week:

"...we have grossly overemphasized the importance of simple possession. Neither happiness nor the survival of the group depends on the satisfaction derived from having things."
- B.F. Skinner from "The ethics of helping people."

"Solidarity is a willingness to make respectful common cause with the vulnerable, but for Farmer [another author], pragmatic solidarity goes beyond this by contributing through the active exercise of one's power and privileged status as scientist, scholar and/or practitioner toward ensuring that the rights of the vulnerable are honored, actively focusing one's work on relief of suffering in ways that are consonant with the vision of the vulnerable themselves."
- Mattaini, M.A. Editorial: Human Rights, Pragmatic Solidarity, and Behavior Science (2006). Behavior and Social Issues, 15, 1-4.

and

"Intellectual recognition is only a necessary first step toward pragmatic solidarity, that is, toward taking a stand by the side of those who suffer most from an increasingly hard 'new world order'"
- Paul Farmer, Quoted in Mattaini, 2006 (cited above).

The course I'm taking this semester is called Social Bases of Behavior and delves much more into the theoretical, philosophical and ethical realms of behavior analysis. Loving it!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The last summer weekend

Well I am home for two days now until we go to the mainlnad for my little brother's wedding on Thursday.

I was working in Courtenay last week, and we had a wedding to go to on Denman island on Sunday. So, D. took the train down from Victoria on Saturday and we spent the weekend in Courtenay/Denman.

It was a very long, exhausting work-week, as I started on the mainland on Monday, travelled to Courtenay Monday night, then worked looong days Tuesday to Friday. Friday night tbough, I went for dinner with my supervisor at a really neat restaurant called Locals.This restaurant serves only local products - everything from the veggies, to the wine, to the meat is grown and produced in the Comox Valley and th island. The food was scrumptious, and it was a wonderful dinner. I then had a wonderful, quiet sleep in morning on Saturday, had time to sort myself out, organize the truck and clean my dear friends house I had been staying in before leaving. I picked D. up at the train at about 1pm.

At Locals I had a glass of Ortega from a winery called Beaufort Winery. It was so wonderful, I googled them when I got home. It turned out the winery was in Courtenay, and this weekend was the last weekend they were open for tasting. So D. and I decieded to stop in there to do a tasting. It's a wonderful little winery. They have a nice picnic area, and provide cheeses and other snacks that pair wel l with their wines. You can then buy a bottle of wine and snacks and have a picnic there. The cheeses are natural pastures cheeses, which is in the comox valley as well. We tasted some other wines and bought a few bottles. In general, in the comox valley there seems to be such a community focus - and a much greater focus on buying local than elsewhere.

Saturday and Sunday night we stayed here. The Old House Village was a beautiful place to stay, and was such a treat. We did a "stay and dine" package the first night and had dinner at Tomato Tomato. The food was great as well.

The wedding on denman island was beautiful on Sunday, and we had one more relaxing night at the hotel before driving home yesterday.

Overall, it was a wonderful way to find a mini-break in the midst of such a crazy month. Despite the fact that it was only 2 nights, it felt like a real break. I HIGHLY recommend the comox valley for holidays, and the Old House as a place to stay!

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Hair!!

I called to make a hair appointment today, and found out that my old stylist, who has given me the absolute BEST cuts I've ever had, who knows my hair and what I want, and who moved to London right before my conference (panic!!) is back in town!! So, I was able to get my hair cut by her today, and I am so glad she's back!! Here's the new do:



Friday, August 15, 2008

So close!

I just registered for my last 12 credits of my Master's degree. August 25 will be the beginning of my last semester!!

Which sounds a bit more exciting than it is, as I'll still need to be finishing off my thesis after that semester, and sit for the board exams. But, it's very close. 

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Ongoing

Last 5 days: Camping! We camped at China Beach which is beautiful, but cold. We set up in the rain and dark at 9:30pm on Thursday night, then promptly went back to Sooke to get another blanket Friday :-). The trip was great - lots of walking, LOTS of good food, and we had some friends come and visit us on our last night there which was great! I'm so happy they made the trek out from Victoria with their little baby girl! I got a) baby time, b) friends and c)camping all in one night :-).

Yesterday: Arriving home, unpacking and airing everything out, then cleaning and putting it all away again. Yummy BBQ'd salmon and roasted potatoes. Our traditional last night of camping meal is salmon and potatoes cooked in the fire in foil packets, but since we came back a night early we hadn't had it yet. So, we put them into their foil packets and onto the BBQ. So good!

Today: Brunch with my BIL and nephew - turns out they were on the island this weekend and came for brunch. It was a lovely lazy morning/afternoon lounging on the patio having coffee and visiting.

Tomorrow: Catch-up on everything day. Thesis proposal, work, research, studying for exams...all of the above.

Then: Onwards to the rest of crazy August. On the mainland for work Friday, wedding on Saturday, then out of town for work for 4-5 days, then back to the mainland, home for a week, then back to the mainland, then out for work for a week again, then a wedding, then another wedding!! Crazy! I am very happy to have found one week of weekdays that is distinctly un-booked thus far. Very thankful for that.

Pictures of the camping extravaganza to come :-)

AND I am getting very excited about my brother's wedding coming up soon!! So good!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Holy Humous

There is a brand of humus made in Victoria called "holy humous." It is hands down the best humus I've ever had, except possibly for the humus at Andrea's restaurant in Langley.

Humous is so easy to make at home that I normally scoff at buying it, but I have never gotten my humous to taste quite this good. Anyhoo. Today I made a wrap for lunch with the humus, spinach, tomatoes, and a bbq'd veggie dog (which I have also become a big fan of). Super yummy lunch.

And I think that's all for today. Except that I am possibly in danger of becoming a nerdy aerobics fanatic. I just love the classes. Maybe I'll get a body suit, head band, and start feathering my hair . What do you think, pink leotard? lol! Anyways...after a couple of weeks now I'm starting to get the moves mostly down, and my body is moving more easily so they are even more enjoyable. I've been to 2 classes this week in addition to 1 hour long work out at the gym itself. So good! I have not lost 1 pound, but am not too concerned about that, as I am feeling much better and can tell my body is getting stronger :-).

Monday, July 21, 2008

I heart summer

I made pasta with fresh basil, oregano and parsley from my patio tonight. Fresh bread from Cobbs and a glass of wine and it was lovely. I love fresh herbs and veggies in the summer.

We have lots of tomatoes, 2 peppers and a couple of squash growing in our little garden! Can't wait for them to be ready to eat. Our summer squash plants have SO many blossoms on them - seems they will be producing a lot!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Organization

Well well. This afternoon, we got quite a bit accomplished. D. and I sorted through piles and piles of bills and documents and filed them all. Every last one. The filing system isn't exactly pretty, but everything has it's place. We re-organized a chunk of the office - I used some baskets to store books in to make my desk more manageable. And, D. set up my old old laptop (seriously, like 7 years old) on my desk so I can use it for word-processing (thesis/work) with my flash drive. This is SO good, as I have been having a very hard time working in D.'s space, on his desk on my thesis, school and work stuff. The old laptop is painfully slow for internet, and if more than one application is running, but for just straight-forward word documents it's okay. This will help me SO much during this "blip" while my laptop is in the shop. I just keep telling myself that when it comes back it will be shiny and new, and have a new battery and other things.

I made an "interesting" dinner tonight. It turned out okay. We had prawns in the freezer, so I made a cliantro/oil/garlic/etc marinade/dipping sauce for them. Marinaded them, then grilled them on the bbq - so good! I also made a red cabbage salad of sorts, loosely based on a couple of recipes I found online. Just the cabbage with a dressing made with garlic, lime juice, coconut milk, salt and pepper and I can't remember what else. It was good though. I then attempted making a wacky curry-coconut rice dish. Had it occurred to me before starting that really what I was making was risotto, I'm sure it would have gone better! I just dumped rice, half water and half coconut milk and a scoop of curry paste into a pot and put it on to cook like normal rice. Of course, it dried out due to the coconut milk (needed more water if I did that) and burned. However, I was able to salvage it by adding lots more water, carefully stirring (so as to not disturb the burnt rice), and adding at the very end some (I know weird) maple syrup. What I came out with was a pretty yummy curry/coconut risotto of sorts. Anyhoo, it was a make-it-up-as-you-go meal, with all the expected side trips. In the end it was pretty good though :-).

Friday, July 18, 2008

My August

I am having anxiety about my August. I just emailed a friend with our schedules for August so she can plan when to visit and there really isn't much time. Here it is :
August 9 - wedding on the mainland.
August 10-14 - I am out of town for work
August 15-16 - we are likely both going to be out of town.
August 23-24 weekend - Probably going to be the bachelorette party weekend for my Brother's wedding.
August 25-29ish - Likely I will be out of town for work again.
August 31 - Another wedding to go to
September 5 - my brother's wedding!

How did it get so booked up? How is there already not one weekend in August we can go camping or something; and not one weekend we'll even be home I think!? Let alone taking a few days off. And there's only 2 weekends left in July and they are the only ones in July we'll have been home!

CRAZY. Maybe we'll have to try for a few days off in September after the wedding. Holy Moly.
I shouldn't whine - we scheduled all this stuff (okay, I scheduled all this stuff) and It's all good stuff, so....I just know the summer will be over, and we will have done no kind of holiday or even weekend activity the whole time. That makes me sad. The last time we had a full week off was our honeymoon I think.

But, everyone goes through these crazy times. There will be an end, I'm sure :-)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Back at it

I just joined up a gym for the first time. It's an all women's gym, which is nice, and it works out cheaper than going to drop in at the rec centre. This membership includes gym stuff of course, but also a full fitness/nutritional assessment, and I can go to any of the 20 different classes, including some yoga, aerobics and step, weight training, and spinning. I'm most excited about the inclusion of the classes, as at the rec centre these always costed extra. And I really like going to classes.

So, yay! Hopefully I can make full use of it :-).

Gardening

This was our garden before...well this is actually after D. weeded it. Unfortunately, we let it sit long enough that the weeds grew back and we had to weed it again! But, now, we have a garden:
We planted tomatoes, red, yellow and green peppers, cucumbers, yellow summer squash and spaghetti squash. We also got a good selection of herbs that are in a pot on the patio. Yay! We had a nice day going around to three different nurseries, and then for lunch at Fish on Fifth. Fish on Fifth is a great casual restaurant! They have a great menu, including.....wait for it....deep fried mars bars, cheesecake, ice cream, pickles, macaroni and cheese and many other things! We only tried the pickles (kind of like zucchini sticks), but I'm thinkin' we'll have to return for the mars bars and cheesecake ;-).
This is not my doing - this is one of my landlord's plants - there are several stalks like this and it practically glows! It's gorgeous!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summertime..

I am SO thankful for the sunny sunny day! I decided, since D. has a meeting tonight that I would work in the evening, to allow me to get other things done during the day while it was nice and sunny.

So, I caught up on my email and such this morning, then after a shower went to put the ingredients for prosphora in the bread machine. I did this, put it on, and it made a bad noise. I stopped it, dug into the doughy goo with my hand fiddled with the paddle thing, tried restarting it, and again, bad noise. Hmmm. Tried this about 3 times, then realized I was not going to be using the bread maker. So, that means making the giant giant batch of prosphora all at once. Considerably more time consuming, but I since I was going to work, I had the time.

So, I put the ingredients together, kneaded the dough for about 20 minutes (it's been a while since I made it - I'd forgotten what a good workout that is!), then put it in a bowl to rise.

While the dough did it's thing, I decided to walk into Oak Bay to go to the bank rather than drive, to get a bit of exercise in. So I had a nice long walk in the sun, and decided also to buy the raspberry flavour syrup from Starbucks. My reasoning is that this will save me money. M. got me addicted to starbucks double-shot on ice with raspberry flavouring. I'm buying them way too often. But..now that I have the flavouring at home, I can make it myself! I made one after all the bread was in the oven and ooohhh so good :-).

So, the bread has all been formed and baked now, and I think I may actually have 5-6 usable loaves. Not spectacular, but usable. This is far better than last time - the last time I made prosphora I made 10 loaves and 3 were usable. Ug!

Now I've cleaned the entire kitchen, wiped all the cupboards down, swept and vacuumed the kitchen. I am going to put on a load of laundry and try to tidy and vacuum the livingroom, then it will probably be time to go to work.

I had big plans to make headway on my thesis today. Ummm...no luck. Ah well. There's always tomorrow. And a big fat weekend at home!! Yay!! No mainland this weekend!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A weekend

Well.

What if that was all I wrote in this blog? It's hard to find words just now so I actually considered it.

My Birthday Weekend:

I worked on Friday and Saturday. Since I had to be on the mainland for work for my birthday, D. came with me :-).

On Friday night, I was surprised with a wonderful dinner out with D., my brother and his fiance, followed by some kitchen-floor swing dancing practice. It was a great night! I am so blessed to have such great family. I love my brother and C. so much and cannot wait for their wedding!

On Saturday, after I returned from work, we got a call from some dear friends. These friends have had such an immense impact on our lives and are people I love very much. They just had a baby (on Thursday!) and she is beautiful and healthy, and the birth was beautiful and as good as births can be from what they told me. They also told me that their new daughter and I share a name. My name is her middle name. I was humbled in a way I never ever have been in my life before. I am still shocked and overjoyed that two people I love and respect so much, and that have guided me spiritually for so long have given me the honour of having this special connection with their daughter. I can't quite explain it.

Whew.

After talking with them, D. and I headed out for my surprise birthday evening (I knew we were doing something but not what or where or with who). It turned out we were headed to my favorite all-you-can-eat sushi and Korean bbq place downtown. AND, D. had arranged for so many of my favorite people to all be in one place!! It was a wonderful night, and it was exactly the perfect birthday evening for me...to spend it with people I love, talking, eating, and drinking really tasty blackberry-mint-cohitos (those were at the Cactus club later on). Then, after drinks and dessert at the Cactus club, D. and I headed to the Yale with M. and J. for some blues, beer, and more conversation (and a little dancing :-). We crawled into bed about 1:30 am after a fabulous night out.

It was funny, on the way back to our car we walked along Granville at about 12:30am. The closed off part - there were hundreds of people everywhere and the street was literally humming with the noise. I felt like such a "hick." I leaned over to Daryl and said "wow, this is crazy! I mean I've seen it on the news, but it's really like this!" NERD. lol.

Then today, before heading out to the ferries, D. took me for breakfast (brunch really) at De Dutch. I haven't had a pannokoek for a very long time, and it was sooooo good. We managed to catch a ferry earlier than we'd thought we'd get which was great, and put us arriving at home in time to watch some Mad about You on DVD (a birthday present) before getting ready for our week (I consider blogging "getting ready for my week").

Unfortunately, I forgot to renew my driver's licence though, so tomorrow will be hectic trying to fit that in with work, writing an exam and getting to the DMV while travelling by bus. S'ok though.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Only in Victoria...

Business men playing bocce ball on the piece of lawn between two sides of the street downtown (under cherry blossom trees of course).

I saw it as I drove by. Oh to have had my camera. Maybe if I drive by at the same time tomorrow they'll be there :-)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Garage sales?

We were on the mainland for the last two nights. Today, before going home we stopped by a garage sale that D.'s parents' Church was putting on. I picked up 1) a work bag for 2.00, 2) A book for 25 cents and c) one of those pump things that you put olive oil into, pump, and then can spray like pam for 25 cents.

I don't know that I have ever been to a garage sale as an adult. I remember when I was young it was a frequent Saturday or Sunday morning adventure, and we got so excited about it - there were always interesting things - other people's pets, other kids, and the promise of possibly finding a new toy we could get. But, as an adult, I've just never thought to go garage saleing (sp?).

I think I may have to start garage saleing more often :-).

Monday, June 09, 2008

Bread and Butter

Fresh baked multigrain bread from the bread maker + organic unsalted butter + glass of red wine = happy.

The good thing about fresh baked bread from the bread maker: You can program it so it's ready to participate in a bizarre mish-mash dinner of marinated cod, bread, and spinach salad when you arrive home at precicely 8:30pm.

The unfortunate thing: You eat half the loaf of bread in one evening. Sigh.

But it was good :-)

And another favorite today: Berry smoothies. Mmmm.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Totally mad day!

So, yesterday was DH's birthday. We have friends who also have a birthday in the family on the same day and decided to have them over to celebrate together. Good. Okay. Unbeknown to D., they were coming for a BBQ, as I got him a BBQ for his birthday. The hitch with this is, after buying the bbq and various other things to fix up the deck I had to put it together and prepare dinner and get everything else ready for guests.

Okay, now I admit, I was cocky. In true M. style I planned out everything on paper, things I could prep the night before, planned the meal, made a shopping list, planned what I would prepare in the morning before work, then what would be left when I returned home. And, as far as the BBQ goes, I was sure that after putting together so much Ikea furniture, I'd be a pro.

Okay, so here's what happened. Woke up 6:30, checked email, had coffee etc. Went out to Safeway to pick up some needed ingredients around 7:30 am. Got back, mixed up batter for cakes, put in pans, then realized the oven wasn't working. Nope. Suddenly, as I'm about to put the cakes in and am pressed for time, not working. Thankfully, my landlord was around, came in and fiddled with it and made it work.

Put cakes in the oven, put bacon on to cook, put eggs on to hard boil (both for spinach salad). While those were cooking, I checked them intermittently and went to re-pot our giant hydrangea plant and get the new jasmine plant set up. I took the hydrangea down stairs to the lawn to re-pot it. After re potting it, I realized this meant carrying it up stairs by myself. K, this pot is ENORMOUS and FULL of gravel and soil. It was brutal. Okay once that was done, changed over the bacon, turned off the eggs, went out to the car to get the bbq. Realize it's very heavy also. Ug. Got it inside.

When it comes to the bbq I was VERY good. I read all directions before starting. I took out all the parts, laid them out on the floor, made sure they were all there. Okay, the first time I phoned the help line was on step 2. Step 2 of 12. Then, 3 hours later, I was almost finished and there was a wire I couldn't find a place for, AND I realized the bottom support panel and wheels were on the wrong side.

At this point, here was the situation: BBQ in livingroom not quite put together, BBQ refuse all over livingroom. Two baked cakes on counter in kitchen, Kitchen covered with cake ingredients. Plate of bacon and dirty bacon cooking pan in kitchen, boiled eggs still sitting in water on stove top, pieces of pots and dirt all over deck, me sweaty, dirt under my fingernails and not showered, and needing to leave for a team meeting in 30 minutes. So, I pulled the bbq outside, put the eggs and bacon in the fridge, covered the cakes with saran wrap, showered and threw my hair up and ran to the car and went to work.

Came home from work, felt a bit hungry, realised I hadn't eaten anything yet that day, put a cover on the bbq, bows on, wrote in card, and started cleaning up kitchen. D. got home, I rushed him upstairs, made him open his card and took him out to present the bbq, and preceded to tell him he had to fix it. Lol.

Then finished cleaning, whipped cream, prepped salad ingredients and was just starting to make the brie burgers as the guests arrived. We had a great visit with friends who are like family, yummy food, and I was so happy the cake turned out. I made a chocolate layer cake with whipping cream and strawberries in the middle, and whipping cream as icing, and covered the top of it with strawberries. It was sooooo good.

So all ended well, but it was a MAD Day.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Pad Thai

I just made the yummiest quick and easy pad thai ever. No, not gourmet, yes, catsup is an ingredient, but wait! So good! So fast to make! And easier than Pad Thai usually is in terms of having the ingredients on hand.

From the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks At Home cookbook:

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 quarts water
3/4 lb mung bean sprouts
6 ounces rice noodles (1/4 inch wide)

SAUCE
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
3 Tbsp catsup
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 fish sauce or soy sauce

-----

3 Tbsp peanut oil or vegetable oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 Tbsp minced fresh chili, or 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups grated carrots
4 large eggs, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt
2/3 cup chopped peanuts
6-8 scallions, chopped (about 1 cup)

Directions:
In a covered pot, bring the water to a rolling boil. Blanch the munch bean sprouts by placing them in a strainer or small colander and dipping it into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Set aside to drain well. When the water returns to a boil, stir in the rice noodles and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender but firm. Drain the cooked noodles, rinse them under cool water, and set them aside to drain well. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients.

Prepare the remaining ingredients and have them near at hand before you begin to stir-fry. Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet. Add the garlic and chile, swirl them in the oil for a moment, and stir in the grated carrots. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Push the carrots to the sides to make a hollow in the center. Pour the beaten eggs into the center and quickly scramble them. When the eggs have just set, our in the sauce mixture and stir everything together. Add the drained rice noodles and mung sprouts, and toss to distribute evenly. Stir peanuts and scallions, and serve at once.

Per 8-0z serving: 296 Calories, 11.3 g protein, 15 g fat, 31 g Carbohydrate, 21.2 mg sodium, 142 mg cholesterol.

And one serving (1/4th of what it makes) is a BIG serving. Definitely feels like a big filling meal. This could easily serve 6, especially if you had something along with it. Lots of left overs for lunch!! Sooooo good. Or, you know, left-overs for 2 hours later. With a beer. lol!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sleepy Sunday

We had a lovely Sunday today. We went to Church, then came home and fell asleep and had a looonngg afternoon nap. We haven't done that in a long time. It was wonderful! Then we meal-planned and went grocery shopping. This part of the day was highly non-preferred for DH (he has a serious aversion to grocery shopping - seriously - he gets tired and sad just talking about it!). But, we're now stocked up with healthy foods for a while, which is nice as for the couple of weeks before I went away, and since I got back we haven't done proper grocery shopping. This results in coming home hungry, with no food in the house, then wandering the grocery store hungry and ending up buying unhealthy, overpriced convenience foods.

Laundry is on, the kitchen is relatively clean, and now to finish blogging and crawl into bed before the busy week begins.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Another Big City

Well, I've been going strong working since I got back from Chicago, so haven't had time to blog. Now it's Saturday though and I have a bit of time :-). These are just a few selections of my pictures from the trip that feel the most "big city" and "Chicago" to me. I have an awful lot of pictures of buildings! This was one of the highlights of the trip - the architecture and sculpture in Chicago was unbelievable. Often there would be an old old building, right next to a crazy fangled new building. So much to see just walking down the street.
This "jelly bean" as we came to call it was another highlight. I have a total of 10 pictures of it I think! It's a giant sculpture inspired by liquid mercury. You can see it's enormous and reflects the whole city. If you walk inside it (underneath it) it's this crazy windy reflective thing.
More buildings above. Below is a picture of the area across Michigan avenue, towards Michigan Lake, near the Art Institute. It turned out to be such a beautiful picture I had to share.
Other highlights of the trip included a brief trip to Old Town. The picture below is one of a neat old building in Old Town. Sadly we didn't spend as much time there as we'd hoped. There were so many neat buildings, shops, and nooks and crannies.
There was so much in such a short time. One thing that will stick with me was going to the Chicago Institute of Art. It's one of the best collections in North America (or so the tour guide book said). I saw Picasso, Degas, Monet, Rembrandt, Dali, so many amazing paintings in person! I've never been to a big gallery before. I also wrote down the names of a bunch of artists I hadn't seen before but really want to learn some more about.

We also went to an amazing blues club. I haven't been so excited by music since I was playing in orchestras years ago. It was fabulous!! It was classic - we arrived at 12:30 am and stayed till 3:30 am. Other highlights were a champagne bar called "pops" (yummy elderberry champagne drinks, oysters and other nibbles), a wine bar (very nice wine and cheese), window shopping on the Magnificent Mile (Tiffany, Sacks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's etc), discovering the store H&M (finally found TWO cardigans!), Rockin' it out in the hotel room with my super roomies, Rockin' it out at the Irish bar in the hotel (nearly loosing my voice trying to talk over the loud music), meeting a number of people I go to school with and my thesis supervisor, and as with every year partying it up at the ABA social, and seeing various random people I've met over the last few years and don't see often.

I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting, but needless to say, this was a good trip. No drama, not even any adventures crossing the boarder in either direction (a first for us). The flights were even relatively painless, including the one home in which I was sandwiched in between two random strangers. Turned out to be okay though. The man on my right was on his way home from the Bahamas and owns a restaurant in Whistler, and the one on the left though a bit overly talkative was nice and was originally from the east coast. Neither were arm rest hogs and both were very respectful of my space :-)

Ohhh one last thing - Chicago is the LOUDEST city ever. Louder than Boston, Louder than New York. Honking, nonstop honking (I'm sure it's actually a secret Chicago language), very loud sirens (I'm sure to compensate for the honking), all hours of the day. Insane!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Getting there

Okay, I leave the day after tomorrow. Here is my to-do list:
- Purchase travel insurance online at blue cross
- Plan my outfits/wardrobe
- Put on laundry for the things I still need.
- Finish presentation revisions and do another one or two run throughs to get myself off the notes.
- Make one last ditch effort at finding the 1-2 pieces I need (i.e. cardigan); probably a VV boutique run or Joe.
- Finalize packing list and start packing everything I can now.
- Ensure everything is copesetic with client work
- Arrange pick-ups and drop-offs for travel.

I think that's it. Oi!

Friday, May 16, 2008

One day done!

Okay, today was okay.

I had a phone meeting with my supervisor this morning, then replayed my ABA presentation over and over to myself, then did my presentation for my prof on the phone, and went to work.

The presentation went okay. Some updates and modifications to make, but overall, not as horrific as it could have been.

Then I decided I wanted a night with my DH. I emailed him at work and convinced him to cancel plans and have a date with me.

I stopped and bought these pre-marinated "boneless Maui ribs" and we had that with veggies from our spud order (okay, I also got some organic unsalted butter to make garlic mashed potatoes with, and to have on bread :-), and wine and we had dinner on the patio (YAY summer weather)!!!

Prior to this, after work, I also went for my haircut with a new stylist. I think it looks almost identical to the one my London-bound stylist gave me. Which is a GOOD thing. I'm happy with it!

The dinner was great, patio talk was great :-). I love summer weather in Victoria!!

Lots of work tomorrow, and presentation revisions. Still haven't figured out the wardrobe.

Okay, I need to discuss - the black cardigan. I had the perfect black cardigan. About 6 years ago. It finally got so stretched out and old that i had to pitch it. I have been looking for a good black cardigan since then. Literally, for 5-6 years. Probably I've been looking with concentration for the last 3. I have never found it. Every where I go, every store I enter I check out their cardigans. Never have I found one.

I see women wearing stylish cardigans all the time. Where do they get them? Where does the elusive black cardigan hide out? Clearly not in any store in Victoria.

DH suggested maybe I should plan to buy the wardrobe pieces I still need when I got to Chicago. Since the dollar is strong, shopping is good there, and likely it may be cheaper. I don't think he realizes the Pandora's box that would open. I am currently in "Buy nothing" mode for my trip. Planning to shop while there puts me in "Buy anything" mode. Lol. Really, I can do it.

I will make a trip to Joe as I have gone everywhere else and had no luck. We'll see where my wardrobe is after that :-).

4 more sleeps then I'm off!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Contingencies

I'm anxious. I woke up this morning and felt like I'd been run over by a truck....so sore and tired and groggy. I couldn't figure out why, as I'd gone to bed early, because I was tired, and had had an unusual amount of sleep. I realized tonight when I went to work for a meeting and felt an insatible urge to yell at everyone for nothing that maybe I was a little tense!

So, I've been setting up contingencies for myself all day, and into the weekend. What I'm stressed about is my ABA presentation, and presenting it by phone to my prof tomorrow, and about what to pack, the cost of the trip, etc etc.

I woke up and D. told me as he was leaving that we were out of coffee...there was none to make. So, that made getting out of bed feeling like I was, a challange.

Contingency # 1:
Get out of bed, get dressed and go buy coffee = then, I can buy a cranberry custard danish from Cobbs, come home and have coffee and danish.

Still groggy and stressed after the coffee...

Contingency #2:
Finish presentation notes and shower = then, I can go look for a black cardigan and buy travel toiletries.

Following a very stressful shopping experience (i know, i know..poor me), and impending long meeting:

Contingency # 3:
Go to meeting, be nice, then come home and have beer and see husband.

Now, need to do a dry-run of my presentation for my DH to prepare for tomorrow

Contingency # 4:
Do presentation practice = then I can dye my hair and do my nails.

Tomorrow is the big stressful day, with a phone meeting in the morning, presenting my presentation to my prof by phone, and a training at one of my teams in the afternoon along with other out of the house work. So, I scheduled it such that:

Contingency # 5:
Get through day, then go get hair cut.

Now it remains to be seen whether the haircut will be a reinforcer or a punisher (see previous post). But, I'm looking at it as a reinforcer for now :-).

Okay. Now to the presentation and then I can dye my hair (don't worry, it's a color I've used before and know will turn out right. Just in case though, i always do it BEFORE going to get my hair done).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Nnooooo!!!

My Hairdresser. The best one I've ever found. Who GETS my hair, who does it perfectly. Is gone. Moved to London since my last cut (okay, it's been a couple of months). Seriously. So, now, I have to brave a new hairdresser at the same Salon 4 days before I leave for the conference. LAME. Okay, I know on a relative scale, this is not a travesty. But. You know.

T-minus 7 days

Okay, it's Tuesday. One week exactly till I leave for Chicago! Holy Moly!

I'm excited about:

M. just informed me we are close to a trader joes, and to a whole foods. TJ's is one of the things I miss most about living in the US. This is good, as it will greatly aid our now well-refined cost-saving, health-helping grocery plan. Here it is: We order a minifridge for our room, (it started with us using ice buckets, then bringing a soft cooler in our suitcases, then realizing we could just ask for a fridge and they'd give it to us), on the first or second day, we go grocery shopping. We buy all we'll need for breakfasts and lunches, yogurt, veggies, fruit, sandwich stuff etc., snacks (last year we OD'd on the luna bars), energy drinks, and wine. We even have a plan for the wine. We buy wine at the store, then "order" wine glasses from room service (again, initially, we ordered glasses of wine from room service to get the glasses...until we realized we could just order the glasses), then we use and wash the glasses throughout the trip, fill up our glasses in our room and take them down to the events downstairs. Its genius.

I get a whole week to hand with M. and C.

I get to meet my theisis supervisor, and fellow classmates I've been in contact with over the last while.

I'm stressed about:

- My wardrobe
- Packing
-Money
- my presentation

I need to make a hair appointment and spend more time on my wardrobe/packing plan. Yes there's a plan. It's a whole Word document. I've been researching packing for Chicago, and thankfully just realized someone I went to highschool with lives there and can give me a heads up (thank-you face book).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Whoo

I am no good at blog titles...clearly.

Well, here are my favorite things about today:

1) I woke up this morning to get ready for Church, actually feeling awake, not exhausted and wishing I was still in bed.
2) Today, someone who I've recently started to get to know, and really enjoy spending time with walked up to me and said "Tyla. I want to be friends! We have to hang out!" Excellent :-)
3) I worked 1:1 today for 4 hours with a client I have known for a long time. I don't do as much 1:1 work now, and usually it is only for an hour or so. I was training someone today, but did much of the work. I really enjoyed spending so much time with this client. I've known them for a long time, and am so proud of how far they've come. It was a very good night.
4) I feel caught up. For the first time in a long time. I feel caught up.
5) I think...though I'm afraid to type it incase it turns out not to be true, that for the first time in years, I may actually be getting better from a cold without it turning into a) a sinus infection, b) bronchitis or c) pneumonia. I'm not totally there yet, but am feeling a lot better today. Still congested a bit and coughing a bit, but much better.

I should really go to bed though :-)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

TA DAAAA

Today was a gooooood day. I did lot of out of the house work last week, and have been sick and so all the other stuff I needed to get done fell by the wayside.

But, today I
  • Slept in
  • Had waffles for breakfast with my DH
  • Finished everything I can for the moment for my ABA presentation
  • Sorted out a mad training schedule for one of my teams for next week
  • Finished off work for one client
  • Organized all my internship supervision documentation
  • FINISHED preparing everything for my taxes. I do have an accountant do them, and no, they're not late, as I'm self-employed and have till June 14. But, getting everything together seems a garganutan task. Just adding up income totals, kms driven for work, etc etc etc. Finding reciepts.
Every year I vow I will get more organized and I think I do, just still not quite there yet. Maybe when we stop moving around it will be easier :-)

Anyhoo, getting the tax stuff, internship stuff and scheduling sorted out is a big big accomplishment. Whew.

But it's now almost 9pm at night and I haven't been out of the house and am going squirrly.

Also need to figure out what to take to a potluck tomorrow after Church as we are on the "main course" list this week. I'm thinking large cold pasta dish.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

More bits and pieces.

"More" because I'm sure I've titled at least two other blog posts with "bits and pieces."

Sick again. Hopefully getting better !?!

M.'s blog just reminded me there are only 14 days till we leave for Chicago for a conference. Holy moly! Where did the time go?!? I guess that's why my prof has been on me about getting the next revision of my presentation to him. Lol. Need to get healthy before Chicago! Do NOT need a re-live of the nasty "airborne" drink concoction (see below).

I bought new shoes. Cheap shoes, but good. Both pairs I can wear my arch supports in. It's not glamorous...but I do have horrible feet and knees etc., and currently have no shoes except my runners (like, work out runners) that I can wear my arch supports with. So, this is a good thing. one pair are a nice-looking (I think) more supportive good walking-(i.e. sightseeing) type shoe, and the other pair are a casual ballet-slipper/Mary Jane type shoe. Both pairs were purchased for slightly over 40.00 dollars. Good deal :-).

My soon-to-be sister in law gave me a sweet jacket and the most comfortable pair of shorts I've ever owned. Long enough not to be self-conscious, and this amazing stretchy material. So good. Love the give-away clothes.

Working. Lots, trying to earn the money to pay for the Chicago trip. And to pay for being away from work for over a week. This is the downside to being self-employed. You don't get vacation pay!

Happy my prof relented and gave me a decent mark on the double-length with no reason exam. All exams had been 2.5 hours up to this last one. I scheduled accordingly. No where in the syllabus or anything did it say the last one was longer. I logged in, and it was a 4 hour exam. Yep. And my testing centre closed two hours after I started writing the exam. I emailed him gently suggesting that for future students it may be useful to know this, and explaining my situation. He never replied, but my score on the exam was much higher than expected. I won't ask any questions.

Looking SO forward to the weekend. I have Saturday off, and am dreaming of sleeping in with DH and maybe even making waffles for breakfast. Need sleep. Cough and work have kept me from sleep. Need snuggle time with DH. Aforementioned cough and work have kept me from this as well :-).

Okay...off to bed, so that I can work and accomplish amazing things tomorrow (that's my plan anyways) so that I can take Saturday off!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Weekend?

Wow...I just read M.'s facebook status saying she is annoyed it's Monday. I second that. 100%!

This weekend whizzed by. I am sick again...not sure what- some sort of chest cold. Started up only 5 days after I finished my antibiotics for the last one! It seems everyone is getting sick repeatedly this year. The viruses are gaining strength!

I headed over to the mainland on the 7am ferry on Saturday and worked all day Sat. I then spent Sat night with my brother and his fiance (she'll love reading that if she sees this!). It was his birthday on Sat, and we had a great night. We had a glass of wine and just relaxed at their place for a while, and then went out for dinner at their favorite restaurant. It was SOOOOO good. We had the most amazing bruschetta I've ever tasted, and i had a yummy Ahi Tuna open face sandwich with salad. We then had a couple of excellent rounds of Mad Gab, which I've never played before, but was hilarious! Overall it was a great night. I'm so happy my brother is marrying C.! I have so much fun with them together!

The next morning, I slept in a bit, then hung out with C. for while before showering and heading out (J. left early for work). I took the 2pm ferry back home, and then worked from 6-10 over here. So...the weekend went really fast.

Last night I was coughing SOOOO bad! Poor DH had to go sleep upstairs on the couch....It took a long time to go to sleep and I woke up dreary and with a tired body.

So, I've now finally showered and I went out to get a Cobb's bakery cranberry custard danish for breakfast (I'm addicted - they are surprisingly low calorie), and I'm thinking today will be a work-from-home catch up day. Hopefully I can recoup a bit and get better!!

Some good news - I have lost a total of 14lbs since starting to track my stuff on Sparkpeople back in ...ah I think it was Feb I started. Slower weight loss than I experienced on Weight watchers when I did that, but I don't feel at all deprived, I don't really feel like I'm trying to loose weight...so I'm okay with the slower loss, as I think in the long run it's more maintainable.

Need to get back to the gym, but am waiting till I'm healthy. For now I'll just keep watching what I eat.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pascha!






These photos are from Paschal Vespers yesterday..we forgot the camera at the actual Paschal service. Pascha was beautiful and wonderful as always this year. I think the service wound up around 3am this year, and we left after feasting and celebrating at about 4:30am I think. Yesterday we slept in late and then headed back to Church for Paschal vespers.

I love the "feel" of Paschal vespers. I love everyone trailing in....most of us running late, but not concerned. Everyone still looking a little drowsy, but contented and happy. I love the look of the Church, still beautifully adorned, but with the addition of flower petals strewn throughout the sanctuary, from the celebration that night before (at our church, the priest throws flower petals at us during the Paschal service :-). The church looks like a huge celebration happened the night before.
We then had a big feast, lots of tasty food, then headed home to wind down for a while. Later in the evening we headed over to some friends' for a game of Settlers of Catan. It was an excellent night. We had port, wine, a bunch of cheeses we hadn't tried before, and my poor DH tried desperately to keep the game moving despite everyone's chatter and even a little dancing to MJ. Excellent. Suitably DH won, and we all agreed he deserved to win, as he's the only thing that kept the game together!
And, I think my sinus infection is finally gone; which is good, as I'm almost done the antibiotics. So, I feel renewed after Pascha, like summer is finally arriving, and mostly healthy (it's been a while!). I'm hoping that this will mean I can get back on top of all my work and school stuff, and get back on the bandwagon for my healthy eating and get back to the gym. Being sick put a crimp in all of that.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

What the?!

So, at about 3am this morning, I woke up. I thought "why am I awake?" (I rarely wake up once I'm asleep). Listened....no, no cat clawing at the door...no, no husband up and moving around. Why am I...AH! I suddenly felt SO ill I can't even explain it. Once before my stomach felt this bad, and it was when I had a horrible flu and a fever of 104. It was so sudden! So, I was up, sick, for the next two hours. I won't share the details (TMI for blogging relationships), but I could NOT believe how suddenly and crazy sick I was! I crawled on to the couch, not wanting to go too far, and after about 2 hours or so I think, I fell back asleep on the couch. Woke up this morning with stomach in tact, but feeling really drowsy and with actually sore stomach muscles!

I didn't have a fever or anything, so it must have been some type of food poisoning...but I can't think from what? I didn't eat much yesterday, and no meat, seafood, or anything else like that that typically causes food poisoning. Weird. So, now, at 1pm I've finally showered and am drowsily trying to get myself sorted out and complete the work I have to do today.

Of course this happens the morning before Pascha! Ug! I will try to nap later today I think. DH looked very tired this morning as well...so I'm wondering if my being up kept him up. He trooped off to Church, but I stayed home. Maybe we will both nap later today after work and Pascha preparations are done. It's kind of sad though...I don't feel much like picking out goodies for our Pascha baskets! Hopefully by later in the day I will :-).

So...today:
- Work on conference presentation
- Finish work for one of my clients
- Try to go into on-site work for a couple of hours
- Buy food for Pascha baskets
- Tidy house so it's nice and clean when we get home
- Decide what to wear for Pascha.

Definately I will start thinking about the wardrobe early. Last night, I decided I wanted to dress up a bit for the Holy Friday service. I preceeded to try on about 10 outfits, all of which looked not right, ended up wearing everyday clothes and feeling gross and frustrated. But then, at Church, a wonderful person told me I looked really great tonight. I didn't look amazing or really any different than normal...but it's like she knew I needed the boost :-). So thanks, A.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Update

Well, I finshed the paper and sent it off, for better or for worse (I'm feeling like it's more likely the latter). Yesterday was one of "those" days. I woke up late, started work on my paper. At about 11:30am I hit print, showered, got all my materials together for work and headed out for a team meeting. Realized on the way there that I hadn't eaten at all, ran the 3.5 hour training session, picked D. up from work, buzzed to post office to mail paper, then went to Church. Church was good. I love presanctified litrugies, and I hate when I don't get to many of them during lent.

I was going to go into work after Church, but just couldn't do it. Feeling too gross. Came home, ate, crashed.

I am supposed to go to the mainland this weekend for a conference, but am debating not going. I've paid for it and am supposed to be driving people over, so not sure if this will work out, but I just am so behind and so tired and not healthy yet and need the weekend to recoup and catch up. Not to mention, the following weekend it Pascha, and then I'm back on the mainland the weekend after that! I think I need to get to the Dr. to get antibiotics, as it feels like this cold has become a sinus infection (I always get them, not a big deal), but I can't see any time to actually go to the Dr. before the weekend either!

We will see.

I'm also feeling a very big draw to clean. My kitchen is a disaster, the rest of the house is messy, as I haven't been home much the last two days, and have been working on my paper whenever I was, so things have deteriorated into quite a state of disaray. Can't see anytime to clean either, if I'm going to the mainland.

But, my husband just brought me a fresh cup of coffee. That is good.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My Hero

Can you tell I'm writing a paper? Procrastination!!! Back to writing! I will master this dance though. Yes I will.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Much ado about nothing.

Much has been happening lately, which is probably why I haven't had time to blog about it. I don't have time right now, but am of course procrastinating. I think it's been too much to catch up on in one blog though.

Most recently I spent the second of three consecutive weekends on the mainland. This weekend was supposed to be two days of work for me, then a wedding on Sunday. I started getting sick on Thursday, by the end of work on Friday was feeling pretty horrible, and by Saturday was dead on my feet. I still went to work, and got back to my in-laws and collapsed. Needless to say we didn't go to the wedding on Sunday. I was so sad not to go, as this was the wedding of a friend who was our only friend when we moved to MA and helped us so much!!

We came home Sunday night, and I worked all day today, and am now cramming to finish a giant lit review and research proposal that is due on Wednesday. Of course I'm cramming, of course I didn't get it done before now. Ug. SO wishing I had, as I'm still feeling pretty under the weather and would love nothing more than to just sleep.

This week is also, of course a full work-week, re-training entire teams, running assessments and more. Liturgy on Wednesday will hopefully be a blessed break. I also foolishly agreed to have a draft of my upcoming conference presentation to the supervising prof by Friday. Then Friday night I head back to the mainland to attend an all day workshop on Saturday!

Then, hard as it is to believe it will be Palm Sunday and Holy Week. How is that possible? Where did Lent go? But, that means that Pascha is coming soon, and one more school semester will be over, and it will only be a month until I go to the conference in Chicago.

So apparently this was just a post to whine about my schedule. Really - writing it all out here somehow soothes me. I don't know why, but it does :-).

I would just like to not be sick. That's all, then the rest will be managable.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Yummy pasta Salad

I had a number of veggies to clear out of my fridge and needed something for a late breakfast/early lunch. I also had a bit of cream cheese and mayonnaise left over from before lent which needed to be used up...So, here is the yummy pasta meal I made :-).

Orzo and Veggie Pasta Salad
Ingredients
4 oz (1 cup) dry orzo pasta
2 Cups Frozen Peas
2.5 Cups chopped red bell pepper
1 Cup chopped cucumber
1 Cup chopped celery
1/2 Cup chopped dry moraccan olives
1/3 Cup Minced red onion 1 1/2 Tbsp. Light mayonnaise
1/2 Tbsp Pesto
1/3 Cup light cream cheese
1 Tbsp (or to taste) balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Water

Directions
Cook the orzo. About half way through cooking, add the frozen peas. Meanwhile, chop up all the other vegetables and the olives. Drain Orzo and peas and rinse with cold water in a colander until cooled. Let drain. Add Orzo and peas to vegetable mixture. Make dressing: Blend mayonnaise, cream cheese, and pesto together. Add enough balsamic vinegar and water to smooth dressing out slightly. Dressing should be the same consistency as a thick ranch or ceasar dressing. Fold dressing into pasta and veggies and enjoy!! Chick peas could or feta cheese could be added for protein.
Serving size = 1 Cup
Number of Servings: 7

Nutritional Info: Amount Per Serving ,Calories: 141.6, Total Fat: 3.6 g, Cholesterol: 2.6 mg, Sodium: 186.4 mg, Total Carbs: 23.2 g, Dietary Fiber: 4.0 g, Protein: 5.6 g

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Plan.

So, to make a long story shorter - I started my degree in January of 2007. Normally, people start the degree in September. Typically, it is structured so that you take 2 courses (6 credits) per semester. So, I was 2 courses behind the cohort who started in September 2006. The school wonderfully allowed me to start a semester late (rather than waiting till the following Sept.), and the plan was for me to catch up to the cohort if I could by taking an extra course during 2 of the semesters.

Of course, thus far, I haven't done this. It didn't sound like it would be a problem. But, I've just discovered that due to the way courses are offered, my option is either to a) catch up to my start group by taking extra courses, and actually be done a semester earlier than I'd planned, or b) essentially take an extra year to finish my degree.

So, after some deliberation, I've decided to go with option A and catch up. This is exciting, as it means I'll be done all course work and internship by the end of this year (Dec 2008), but a bit anxiety-proking as it means taking and paying for 21 credits over the next two semesters. So, the plan is, so far:
Internsip and one course during the summer.
Internship, thesis and another course in the fall semester.

Then, if I manage it I will take the spring semester next year to finish off my thesis in time to do my oral defense in May 2009. Just over 1 year from now. Wow.

So, it will be a lot of work, but I think I can put the push in for two semesters to get myself caught up and finished most everything a semester earlier than planned, and a year earlier than I would be able to if I don't take these two heavy load semesters.

So there it is. I'm excited to be at least planning my last two semesters. That being said, I should probably try to get SOMEwhere with my coursework for this semester before it ends in a few weeks. lol.