From the Bedroom Window

road landscape nature forest

Photo by veeterzy on Pexels.com

I was on the verge of sleep, having abandoned any thought of writing this blog. Sure, there had been a Perfect Moment to today, but in my sleepy head, I couldn’t find it.  I couldn’t dig deep enough or sift finely enough.  It was lost.

Then nature did me a big favour.

Having brushed my teeth and gotten ready for bed, I opened up the window, hoping for bit of cool fresh air to invade my room and allow me to sleep more easily. I put my head on the pillow.  I felt it before I heard it.  I may have even smelled it.  Rain;  Glorious little taps on the tree branches outside my window.  Harder ratatats on the nearby sidewalks and streets.  Subtle pings on my eaves troughs.

And now to bed to be lulled into dreamland.

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Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, rain, sleep, weather | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Consequences of Eating a Kit Kat the Wrong Way

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My student eating a Kit Kat the wrong way.

 

 

So, in what should have been a nice gesture, my girlfriend packed a Kit Kat for dessert. We had just finished our meal of a delicious chicken sandwich at Chef Burger on Yonge Street, near Bantry-Scott, when she pulled out the mini bar from her purse.  Perhaps, if she had brought two of them, the whole terrible mess could have been avoided.  Alas, she had only brought one.

She offered to share it with me, and then added mischievously, “my way.” She bit the mini bar across the top, severing the two pieces in half without separating them.  Without separating them.  You see, we’ve been having a disagreement about the proper way, or if indeed there is a proper way, to eat a Kit Kat for most of our relationship.  I feel quite strongly that you should break off each piece and eat them separately.  She thinks nothing of biting off the top half of three or four of the sticks at a time like a barbarian.

I tried splitting the two half stumps, but she goaded me into eating them that way. When I finished, she asked if it tasted differently or if the world had fundamentally changed.  She felt pretty smug about the whole thing.

I tried to explain to her that it did indeed taste different. I felt as though the bar had lost half its character and essence.  I deeply regret my actions.  As for the world, I assert that perhaps the world has been shaken to its core.  Don’t be surprised if Sunrise is a minute or two later than it is supposed to be every day this week.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, chocolate, ettiquette, kit kat | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

This Ride Had It All

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I hadn’t done a Sunday ride with the Newmarket Eagles in quite a while–certainly not this year. When I first started with them, I always did the Sunday ride.  Somewhere along the way, I switched to the Saturday ride and didn’t look back.  Actually, that isn’t true.  I have always wanted to complete the double–ride both days–but never seem to manage it.

Yesterday was a no go as I was attending a heritage event for the donnauschwabens. That was quite good, so I don’t mind swapping my riding days.

I arrived at the meeting point and noticed a few things. The parking lot was empty and nothing was going on in the area.  Usually on a Saturday, parking is at a premium and there is usually something going on at the Riverwalk Commons–farmers market, aerobics, car show….something.  Today there was nothing.

We didn’t have enough for two groups, so we all started out together. One new rider asked if there was a slower group as she wasn’t that fast.  She got the typical response you always get.  “Don’t worry.  We won’t drop you.  Nobody is getting dropped on a Sunday ride.”  The person saying this seemed to be speaking honestly.  He even moved his head side to side to emphasize how earnest he was being.  I know, sounds like a load of crap.

June 23 ride

In the summer, there are lots of competing charity rides. Today’s was the Ride for Mental Health.  This is definitely a good ride and a very important cause.  I would have liked to ride that one, but I am terrible at fundraising.  We ran into a massive group of riders on this event as they seemed to be taking a similar route to ours–I think this could have been easily avoided–but since I don’t volunteer on the executive, I really can’t criticize them.  The mass of riders were undisciplined and tricky to get around on busy roads.

As a result of a huge pile of riders all mingled together we managed to drop two riders. I mentioned this to the person who I (wrongly) thought was the ride leader.  He said we would all meet up at the light.  That didn’t happen and three people were left behind at a short traffic light which led to a serious climb.

As we came to the first major change of direction, the club did wait. However, I noticed t hat one of the group seemed to be struggling.  He said that his heart was beating way to fast.  He decided to turn around and go home after resting for a bit.  I told the group leader (wrong guy) and then I told them I and the first of the dropped riders would wait for the last two and take the route at a slower pace.  I figured I would get into my groove, but I wasn’t there yet and I felt bad about the group dropping the two people.

So Lance (I swear to God that was his name) waited for the two riders. They didn’t show up, so we circled back but couldn’t find them.  We decided to carry on and the two of us had a decent ride.  We encountered a train and had to wait for the thing to cross before we continued.  I didn’t mind because I like trains.  We went around the lake, which is always beautiful.  I almost had enough time on Lance to take some pictures, but I didn’t want to slow myself down before the big climb.

When we exited the late area, we saw the two missing riders. They joined up with us for the rest of the ride.  We decided to keep to the route and they told that it would take us to Annie’s bakery.  They said this was a popular stop for the club.  I’ve been with the club for four years and I have never stopped there.

When we got there, I could see they weren’t kidding about the popularity of the place. There were high end bikes everywhere.  I am particularly fond of my picture of the innovative Cervelo parking.  I sent that one to the GCN show.  I am hoping it makes it to air.  The food inside looked quite delicious and I think I will take my girlfriend there one weekend to enjoy some breakfast or at least some cakes.

The ride back was okay. I haven’t checked my Strava segments yet, but I don’t think I set any records.  Generally I feel stronger and I was a good ride.  Riding regularly is definitely important.

Posted in adventure, adversity, advice, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, baking, bicycles, characters, coffee, cycling, cycling gear, cycling shoes, food, group rides, Newmarket Eagles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meeting Sarah Warsi

starbucks

This blog has given me many things–an outlet for my writing, positive thoughts, answers to some pressing questions, help in getting a girlfriend, and place to put all my food pictures. Today it gave me something else.  It gave me the chance to meet a fellow blogger and meet a very fine person.

I can’t remember exactly when I started following Sarah’s blog, but I know that I decided to follow it after reading one post. Today she told me that I was the first person outside of her circle of friends and relatives to respond to the blog.  That’s pretty awesome.  That she remembered this is pretty awesome too.

Her blog is subtitled Happiness, Positivity, and Inspiration. That is undeniably true.  Her blog is a definite source for all of these things.  Please check it out if you haven’t already.

We have read each other’s blogs, followed each other on instagram, and exchanged email for a while. Since we both are in the Toronto area, we had always made plans to meet up for coffee.  Until today, work and life commitments made that impossible.  Until today.

We met at the smallest Starbucks I have ever seen, tucked away at a side entrance to Hillcrest mall. I arrived early enough to have time to peruse the menu.  Despite the infiltration of the coffee chain, I haven’t been there frequently enough to have any confidence with their offerings.  I considered ordering something and sitting down at a table, but I couldn’t remember if we were meeting outside or inside–actually, she sent me a message that meeting just outside the place, but comfortable inside the mall, would be best, but I somehow didn’t get that message.

I have to admit, teaching so many students, and memorizing names that are foreign to many of us with ease, used to make me feel confident about recognizing people. I have come to realize that I am not good at it at all.  So, you can imagine that I was a little apprehensive about trying to spot her.

Luckily, I shuffled back outside to wait. Almost instantly I spotted her coming in the door.  She looked exactly like her pictures and instagram videos.

We fell into chatting right away and time flew by. I even forgot to take a picture of my coffee and spinach and feta wrap.  We talked about our blogs, our fitness interests, life, and even some of our goals.  What I got from it all was that she is truly a positive person.  You can feel it radiating off of her.  She was also funny and smart.  I am so glad that we had a chance to meet and I hope we can do it again.

She told me that the company she works for is involved in this weekend’s ride for mental health in Newmarket.  I found out later that my cycling club (the Newmarket Eagles) are also involved. I kind of wish I hadn’t scheduled something else for this Sunday.

We parted at the outside entrance to the mall.  I thought about asking to take a selfie for the blog–having already determined that it would be Today’s Perfect Moment.  However, it was raining, and having just met, I didn’t want to seem creepy.

The only bummer was that I had to walk through the rain back to the bus stop to go home. I certainly can’t blame that on her.

Posted in accomplishment, achievement, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, blog, blog posts, blogging, blogposts, coffee, commuting, discovery, food blogging, growing your blog, increasing blog traffic, meeting people, rain, starting a blog, Viva, wordpress discover, York Region, YRT | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What Does This Mean?

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I cannot say with absolute certainty that the kitchen (dining area/kitchenette) of an ESL school is any different than the equivalent room in any other office space. There are lots of objects that are common to both.  I am sure that cutlery disappears with equal frequency.  However, I have the gut feeling that it is different.

The ESL eating area is not packed with nicely co-ordinated, store bought, dishes and plates. Even calling it a ragtag collection of dishes, cups, and disappearing utensils doesn’t seem to measure up.  If I were to characterize it, I would call it a dumping ground for non-offensive kitsch from all over the world.  Often students bring us souvenirs, or departing teacher’s leave things behind that they acquired from students, or in their travels.

Today, as I was cleaning up my coffee cup I spotted the cup above in the drain rack and decided to take a look. I was a little confused by the message and I hope you can clear it up for me.

You see, I had two conflicting thoughts about the cup’s message. Does it mean:

  1.  Hey USA! Go out and discover the world around you. Go see that there is beauty beyond your boarders and ideas beyond your thinking.
  2. The world is in the USA.
  3.  Something completely different but unclear to me.

I am a big believer in travel and exploration. There is a great big world of ideas out there that we need to see and experience.  So, I am hoping it is the first idea that it is trying to get across.

I polled all the teachers I could and more than 90% thought it was the second one.

I have no idea, but I need to mull it over. I would be happy to receive your input.

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The other funny thing is that the back of the cup is written in Spanish and conveys a completely different idea–something like, we travel to change not our place but our ideas.

That’s a pretty cool thought.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, coffee, ESL, gifts, souvenirs, students | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Adding a Book to the Collection

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I don’t buy a lot of books for myself. I tend to take advantage of the free library that my town has, as well as the fact that getting loans from other libraries is always possible.  In addition to that, they have e-books that I can download to my e-reader from the convenience of my own home.

However, when I was looking for a book to give my Dad as part of his Father’s day present, I came across a book I have wanted to own for some time. It was a hardcover edition of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.  I have read the book multiple times and even read the fantastic companion book Everybody Behaves Badly by Lesley Blume.  I enjoy the story and even Hemingway’s economy with words.

I purchased the book along with a collection of the works of Rene Magritte.  Just finding them at a reasonable price could be considered Today’s perfect Moment.  Making a quick decision to purchase them (I almost wrote a quick and decisive decision) was also pretty good.  Though in the end, adding them to my collection permanently is what I am settling on.

It was in the discount bin and seems to have been produced specifically for the bookstore. I guess the book is in the public domain and anyone can put out an edition.  This edition features good paper, a decent font, an integral bookmark, but very little else.  There isn’t even any biographical information or author’s photo.  Granted I don’t really need these things, but I would like a bit more.

One of my favourite book editions is the Oxford World Classics edition of the Three Musketeers. The notes and other contextual information are fantastic and enlightening.  I wish this edition were more like that.  If I could have an edition like that in hardcover, that would be awesome.

I am not unhappy with my edition, but it isn’t quite what I was expecting. I may have to search for something else.  A fantastic edition of this book must exist.

Is there a book, or book edition you really want? What’s stopping you from getting it?  Also, if you know of the best edition of this book, please share it with me.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, books, bookstore, collecting, e-book, library, reading, shopping, store | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Champions Day

we the north

Today was the Raptor’s celebration parade. I couldn’t go, but that didn’t stop me from getting a taste of what was happening.

My bus seemed more crowded than usual. I didn’t really put two and two together until I realized, as the bus was emptying out at the terminal, that the majority of the people were wearing some kind of Raptors shirt or cap.  I was subconsciously counting them when it hit me.

In the subway station, there were lots of people milling around, looking like they had never taken a subway before. If it weren’t for the fact that it wasn’t the second week of September and I didn’t already know what was going on, I would have thought that a new school year had begun.

There was a definite upbeat mood on the subway and on the platforms. Canadians, in general, sometimes don’t talk to people not because they don’t want to, bur rather, because they don’t want to disturb someone.  There was a lot of that going on this morning on public transportation.  The only difference was the smiles on people’s faces.

I heard that the public transportation was really crowded and that some stops had to be bypassed.  I heard that some people grumbled, but what is one day of inconvenience for the Champions?  Besides, construction makes things so much worse, but that goes on unabated.

Several of my students missed class to see the parade. I don’t know how close they got because the footage I saw seemed to be a huge mass of humanity and I don’t know how anyone who didn’t camp overnight was going to see anything.

I watched some of it on TV and thought it was amazing. Sadly, I heard that it wasn’t all the perfect dream of peace and celebration.  Apparently someone got shot.  Thankfully no one died, but I would have loved if this celebration could be a positive, non riot model that other ones in the future could be modeled on.

Thank you Raptors. You brought sporting pride to the city, and you did it with quite a bit of class.  Thank you.

Posted in accomplishment, achievement, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, Canadian, championship, inconvenience, parade, police, preparation, public transportation, smile, sports, Toronto, Toronto Raptors, transportation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Father’s Day

It should come as no surprise that Today’s Perfect Moment comes from Father’s day. Most of the clan gathered at my father’s house, hopefully having already done the festivities with their own kids.

My younger sister made chicken paprikash (I am only guessing at the spelling) as this was a dish his mother made for him. She did an admirable job and it was quite tasty.

My brother regaled us with tales of current role as manager of his son’s tee ball team. I had no idea a sport meant to be stress free for the children created a ton of stress for the parents involved.

One of my older sisters was able to give me the lowdown on the trials and tribulations of an LCBO (liquor control board of Ontario) employee.  There seems to be so much that we the public have no idea about.

My young niece and nephews were all in fine form. They seemed happy for the attention and happy to play with each other.  They were both shy and camera hogs depending on the whim of the moment.

It was a warm day that we could spend outside, so we did. We spent the afternoon eating, drinking, and firing topics back and forth.  It was as funny as it was informative.  It was perfect.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, beer, celebration, comfort food, ethnic food, Father's Day, food, food blogging, gifts, presents | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting Stronger and Faster

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I nervously checked the weather report before I went to sleep. I checked it again when I got up to feed the cat.  I checked it half an hour later when I actually got up.  I think I was trying to convince myself that it was okay to sleep in and miss the ride because it was going to rain.

Somehow, I was able to overcome the pull of the bed and actually get myself to the meeting point. I do need rest, but I know all to well that momentum is everything in exercise.  Missing a day can easily result in missing a week.  For my cycling, I haven’t been able to make the Tuesday rides I especially joined a different group to do.  Yeah, I have legitimate excuses, but I think I could try harder.

We had a new meeting point this week because our regular meeting point was being used as the staging area for the Newmarket Pride Parade. As I passed some of the cordoned off roads and police trucks (that seems to be the new thing) I hoped that the rain would not spoil the event.

Our new meeting point was the Newmarket Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind this being the regular meeting point.  It’s about the same distance of travel for me, but the setting is a bit more serene.

Most of the Eagles have taken possession of their new kit. It looks pretty good.  I briefly had a twinge of regret over not purchasing it, but that was hardly my fault.  (Read about it here).  One of the members called me out on it–and that is why I am not in the picture.  He might have been joking, but I had to relate the whole story again and I was less than amused.

june 16 ride

The ride itself was good. We had a tailwind to start off and we set a great pace.  I haven’t looked at the Strava data, but I am pretty sure I have some fast segments.  I felt stronger and obviously the training is paying off. As a group we held formation quite well until we turned back and faced a brutal headwind.  Just like the pros, our group splintered a bit.  However, we did slow down for each other as a Group C ride is not about dropping people.

One interesting thing is that on the way out, we made every light and rarely had to wait. It was incredible.  I attribute this to the luck of a new member named Liza.  I have no way of knowing for sure except that when I left the group to head home, I had to face the headwind by myself and I hit every single stoplight.  As for the headwind, I managed it okay, but I was absolutely spent by the time I got home I don’t even know how I have the energy to type this.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bicycles, cycling, cycling gear, group rides, Newmarket Eagles, Saturday morning, self improvement | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Beer

I was walking toward the subway station when I spotted some young campaign women on the corner handing out something. Owing to ongoing construction and a reduction in public space thanks to additions to the building, this has been a rare sighting.  In the past I have received cookies, pizza, crackers, tennis balls, subway tokens, five dollar gift cards to the book store, a blanket that my cat adopted as his own, gardening gloves, and a very small McSteamy/McDreamy T-shirt.

As I approached them, they asked if I would like a beer. I answered yes, and they gave me one.  That’s right, free beer.  Since drinking outside is illegal (though smoking pot is okay) I wasn’t really prepared for the promotion or maybe because I was really tired and not paying as much attention to my surroundings as I should have been.  I should have said that I needed two as I do not like to drink alone.  Quite a few people did not accept the beer.  I suppose had I been charming and smiled a lot, I could have had four.

Even though the Raptors are on, I cannot give you a full beer review at this time.  I am too tired and I do not want to write something I cannot fully support.

Sometimes I have to dig deep for Today’s Perfect Moment. Sometimes, I need quite a bit of reflection before making my decision.  Today was not one of those days.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, basketball, beer, free stuff, marijuana, review, Toronto, Toronto Raptors, Yonge and Eglinton | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments