When My Memory Surprises Me

When I was a kid, watching afterschool TV with my sisters, we had an unwritten competition surrounding some of those classic TV shows. I am talking about the Brady Bunch or Gilligan’s Island or possibly My Three Sons.  These shows were on every day of my childhood for several years. We must have gone through the entire loop of them a few times.  Since we knew them quite well, we competed with each other by spouting out the central premise of the episode as quickly as possible.  We would say things like “This is the one where Bobby shoots pool.” or “The one where they break the vase.” (the Brady Bunch)  For Gilligan’s Island, we could say “The Russian Astronauts!” or “The attaché case!” These utterances were good enough.

With these shows, we didn’t even need for the characters to speak. For my sister, just seeing what Jan or Marcia was wearing was enough.  I can’t say as I won many of these contests, but I wasn’t far behind.

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With some free time this afternoon, I lazily turned on the TV to see that an episode of Happy Days was starting up. It seems a local TV station is airing a lot of old TV programs including Hogan’s Heroes (a favourite of mine), the original One Day at a Time, Cheers, and Happy Days among others.

With one look at the opening scene, I muttered to myself that “This is the one where Arnold’s burns down.”  And it unfolded just like I remembered it.  Before the fire Chachi finally got a “maybe” from Joanie.  This would lead to the ill-fated Joanie Loves Chachi— I should stop now before my reminiscing gets to be too much.

While I could spend these paragraphs lamenting how much my brain is clogged up with useless trivia knowledge of TV shows and can no longer factor a quadratic equation, instead I am choosing to celebrate it. Yes, I have watched a lot of TV.  Yes, a lot of old sitcoms seem to take up a lot of room in my head.  That doesn’t alter the fact that my memory for this stuff is still good.  So, Today’s Perfect Moment is realizing that I still have that childhood skill.  Now, either I am going to have to audition for Jeopardy or challenge my sisters to a game of Scene it.

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Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, knowledge, memory, nostalgia, siblings, television, trivia, TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

In the Classroom

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Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

There was a light cascade of snow to complicate and complement my early morning walk to the bus stop. Its drops were so fine only the light from the streetlamps illuminated it.  Rather than get bogged down in thoughts of snow, weather, climate change, and global warming, I just put my head down and proceeded to the stop.  It was already a Monday morning, and I just didn’t want it getting any more Monday-ish.

As an ESL teacher, Monday classes are the X-factor. The students might have had an exciting (but tiring) weekend or they might have had a boring weekend.  Neither of these things is guaranteed to lead to easier teaching.  They might have done their homework or they might have “forgotten to do it.”  They might be homesick.  They might be experiencing their own personal “Monday.”  There might be new students who graduated from a lower level in the class, which might totally change the dynamics and the rhythm of the class.  There are many factors.

As a teacher my strengths are my creativity and passion. I don’t follow a list of master lessons that I have made.  Every time I teach something it is different, or at least different in some form, from the last time.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it fails because I forgot to work out the kinks in something or because I failed to consider something or because I overcomplicated the activity and didn’t spend enough time thinking about the directions I was going to have to give.

Currently my most challenging class is my Elementary writing class. It has students who are true elementary and beginner students mixed with some people who have improved their English and have changed levels to intermediate. I started this class in late December and some of the students are still the same.  If I repeat something that we did four months ago–which would benefit the elementary students–the “veterans” groan and say that we have already done it.

Having had a bit of time today to prepare, I went into class armed with a new idea. It would work for both the elementary and the pre-intermediate students–at least that is what I told myself.  I have already explained that I am creative.  What I haven’t explained is that not all of my ideas are usually fully formed.  They usually need to be tested and tweaked a few times before I can feel complete confidence.  A great idea on paper may not always survive the transfer to real life.

The long and short of it is that I had the time to really consider my plan before teaching it. I won’t bore you with the details but it involved me getting the students to write a story as a group by proposing information, forming it into paragraphs, presenting the information and doing a last minute correction of their story.  My execution of the plan was quite good and I am confident that it worked well for the beginners and the intermediates.

You’ve read the paragraphs and you’ve probably concluded with me that Today’s Perfect Moment is the development and execution of my lesson plan. Indeed it is.

Posted in adapting, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, ESL, lessons, Mondays, students, teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Over Easy

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Cooking shows have come a long way since the early days of television. I especially remember Wok with Yan on Canadian TV.  It was a much simpler time and so different from things like Hell’s Kitchen, Top Chef, and the British Baking Show.  With the exception of the original Japanese TV show Iron Chef, I am not sure things are better.

What has this got to do with Today’s Perfect Moment? Everything and nothing is the best answer I can give you.  Hopefully after reading a bit more you will understand.

Today’s Perfect Moment has to do with omelettes. I love making and eating omelettes. On my fantastic bike trips to Vietnam and Cambodia I had them as often as possible.  At home, I have them less often, but I still enjoy them on weekends when I have a chance to have them.  If you follow my instagram page, you have probably already seen photos of them.  You might even have read my post Omelette Revisited.

Today’s Perfect Moment is not about making the perfect omelette. There are lots of perfect ones. My omelette creations are dictated by what I have in the fridge and who I might be making them for.  Usually they are pretty good and sometimes they are even great.  Though I hate to brag, I have to tell you that today’s omelet was great.  Sadly, I didn’t have the forethought to prepare some good sides to go with it.

So if Today’s Perfect Moment is not about the perfect omelette, what is it about? Today’s Perfect Moment was about the perfect omelette flip out of the pan and onto the plate.  Nothing stuck. The omelette was cooked perfectly–the vegetables cooked but not too soft, the cheese melted, but not runny, and the eggs just fluffy enough.  When it came out of the pan it hit the plate in a perfect half-moon without breaking.  I muttered a “Ta Da!” to myself.

Everything comes full circle. This was something I had learned from one of those early cooking shows.

If you want to read more about my cooking adventures, I recommend the following blogs.

The Chicken Sandwich

An Oversight

Turkey, the Day After

Posted in appreciation, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, breakfast, comfort, comfort food, cooking, food blogging, omelette, recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Indulgence in the Afternoon

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Sometimes, Today’s Perfect Moment has to be a little indulgence.***

As I write that, I felt it was such a powerful statement that I had to step back from the keyboard and admire it a little. I had to start a new paragraph for that very same reason.

Because I haven’t really been torturing myself with the new diet, I feel a little guilty succumbing to temptation. Honestly, though, I actually don’t.  As I look behind me and see my cat stretching out in the sunbeam, I feel a little at peace.  If he can enjoy himself, well so can I.

I bought these delicious cookie snacks last weekend when I visited J-Town to have katsu curry and yakisoba. I also had a Monaka, but you’ve probably already read about that.  I had put them away as I knew I would be taking my nutrition a little more seriously this week.  They were on sale and that was all the justification I needed.

When I bought them I relied on sight recognition. I assumed these were the original Koala March snacks by Lotte.  I had seen them a billion times and I didn’t look too carefully at the package.

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When I opened the box, I knew instantly that these were different. The overwhelming and wonderful aroma of bananas made me take a second look at the box.  It turns out that these are banana and chocolate flavour.  Also, these were made in Thailand for the US market.  None of these facts bothers me at all because I am not a Japanese food snob.

These little snacks were absolutely scrumptious. Though the smell and flavour of the bananas were undoubtedly artificial, they didn’t have that chemical odour and flavour I associate with it.  If I had bought more than the one I ate and the one I photographed I would be in real trouble now.  As it was, that one little box was enough to be Today’s Perfect Moment.

*** a quick question; I wavered back and forth between the adjective (indulgent) and the noun (indulgence).  The meaning is similar enough, but how about the nuance?  Which would you have chosen?

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, banana, bargain, chocolate, ethnic food, food shopping, grocery shopping, Japan, Japanese, Japanese snacks, shopping, snacks | 12 Comments

Baby Steps

IMG_20190411_124912_290I wish I could write that I have completely overhauled my diet. I wish I could honestly tell you that I have given up junk food, stopped snacking between meals and that my love affair with pizza (who loves me even more than I love it) was over.  Alas, I cannot.  What I can say is that I have made a concerted effort to eat better in all areas of my life.

I have written several times this early spring that I want to be better on the bike this year. To do that I am going do several things:

  • stretch more consistently and improve my flexibility
  • lower my weight to achieve a better power to weight ratio
  • ride more often to improve my fitness
  • work on my core strength
  • improve my nutritional balance

These are obvious goals but the execution of them is not necessarily easy. By doing all of the things I mentioned, weight loss should be a natural consequence.  If it weren’t for a very powerful love of chocolate, beer, pizza, and samosas, that would probably be true.

I just thought I would share a picture of my lunch with you to show you that I am serious in turning over this new leaf (again).

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, diet, eating, exercise, fitness, food, stretching, weight loss | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

When the Bus Door Opens to Random

I shouldn’t have been going to work, but I was. I had volunteered to substitute teach for one of my colleagues.  I am not sure whether I volunteered out of friendship or the desire to make a few extra dollars, though I am leaning more towards the profit motive as time goes on.

I should also be clear that Today’s Perfect Moment won’t be the flurries that happened shortly after I boarded the bus for work. Yeah, they were beautiful, but I’ve had enough.  I want winter over and done with.  I have already written about the Last Gasp of Winter and I really don’t want to do that again.  I guess I can stick to a technicality.  The Last Gasp was a bona fide snowstorm with actual accumulation.  These were just flurries and don’t really hold a candle to a true winter snowfall.

Today’s Perfect Moment is instead a moment of beautiful randomness. That you can see evidence of a snowfall in the picture may contribute to the randomness of it all, but should not be considered an endorsement of winter.  As I have already hinted, I want to out on my bicycle ASAP.

This is the story. I boarded the bus some time before eleven o’clock.  I haven’t taken the bus at this time in quite a while, but I do remember that at this time of day there is a different breed of public transportation user on the bus.  Though it may seem like it (as I have a well-known sarcastic tone) different is not being used as a euphemism for weird, but merely unusual.  Today was an exception and the bus was mostly filled with average people without a trace of sketchiness about them.  The bus trip itself was rather weird though,because we had two driver changes in the same trip–one near the beginning and one near the end..  It annoys me when there is one; so you can imagine how I felt when they had two.  Seemed like poor planning to me.

I spent the early part of the trip looking over the material I was going to have to teach. While the flurries caught my attention, they didn’t hold it.  I needed to concentrate on the material for some time.  At some point, for reasons that I am not entirely sure about, I looked out the door at one of the stops.  Maybe something caught the corner of my eye, or maybe I just needed a break from the material in the text.  Whatever the reason, I certainly didn’t expect to find a moving do20190411_111426lly occupying my view outside the door.

Sure, there was/is a lot of construction being done on the road to make room for dedicated bus lanes, left turn protocols, and signals to facilitate those protocols. However, none of this heavy construction equipment requires a dolly—a huge construction crane or backhoe maybe, but not a dolly.

I am so happy I was able to take a picture before the bus started moving again.  And, I suppose it isn’t weird, but it certainly struck me as random. Why was a dolly parked there?  Who left it?  Were they coming back for it?  As I look at the picture now, I can clearly see tire marks of a truck.  This brings up other questions that I didn’t ask at the time.  Had they used it to load or unload the truck and then simply driven off without it?

I didn’t have much time to ponder it after taking the picture because a lovely older woman sat down beside me and started a conversation with me. As this happens rarely, I maintained my side of the conversation and turned off the interior monologue.  However, the image of a lonely moving dolly abandoned in a field stayed with me for the rest of the day.

If you liked this post, I recommend you read about some of my other bus encounters.

The Two Fisted Drinker

Scenes from a Rainy Day

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bus, commuting, construction, construction equipment, public transportation, randomness, view, Viva, York Region, YRT | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

So That’s What 900 Feels Like

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It wasn’t until after I finished writing the blog–several hours after–that I realized I had hit a kind of milestone. The last blog was my 900th blog.  I know, I know, 1000 is the milestone and 900 is just the speed bump.  Whatever.  It’s my speed bump.

Am I on Schedule?

No, probably not. I don’t think I have a schedule.  I try to be a consistent blogger, but life just seems to get in the way.  I might be out enjoying one of the Perfect Moments and can’t write.  I might be trying to overcome the consequences of one of those Perfect Moments–also called the less than Perfect Hangover) or I might be so tired from work and explaining relative clauses that I am too tired to string words together for the blog.

Am I where I planned to be?

I didn’t really have a plan. At best, I probably had a hope of where I would be.  I probably hoped I would be hip deep in followers, being courted by companies to review their products, and travelling around the world on someone else’s dime.

Am I happy with what I have accomplished?

Absolutely! Despite what I have written above, the whole experience has been excellent.  I have written a few good sentences and maybe even a few good pieces.  I have laughed, I have smirked, and once or twice I have even snorted.  If I have entertained anyone half as well as I have been entertained, I would consider that pretty amazing.  In addition to that I have interacted with some great people.

Greatest Hits?

With 900 posts there have got to be a few good ones. Here’s a selection of the ones that still make me smile and still have me dreaming of being a writer.  It may be one post, or one paragraph, or one sentence, or even just a word pair, but hopefully you find something to smile about.

Are you going to do this again when you hit 1000?

Yes.  Most likely yes.  You’ve got to celebrate any victory or occasion that you can.  What if I stopped blogging tomorrow?  I would never get to 1000.

The Future

The future is the next blog post.  I will tell you when I get there.

Posted in accomplishment, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, blog, blog posts, blogging, blogposts, celebration, growing your blog, increasing blog traffic, milestones, smile, starting a blog, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Spring Cleaning

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Today’s Perfect Moment is one of those moments that, at first glance, seem rather banal; however, upon reflection, are anything but. Today’s Perfect Moment is celebration of the rites of spring.

Today, in a celebratory mood, and possessing coupon which made it free, I took my car to the carwash. Yes, I did one of the many things I have been carelessly procrastinating for some time.  Yes, I washed away the crud of the recent winter to spring transition.  I washed away the grime that had been weighing on both the car and me.

Obviously I could relate that riding through the carwash tunnel was nostalgic and inner child inducing. I could easily have made that Today’s Perfect Moment and been quite happy with it.  I mean, who didn’t want to go through the carwash when they were children?  Who didn’t want to see those brushes and mops and other robot like stuff move around?  Who didn’t think that was a really cool way to spend a few minutes?

Now as an adult, I kind of like the fact that the car just looked all shiny and new. It didn’t hurt that the sun had come out and my very blue car looked even bluer.  Hopefully I turned some heads as I drove through my small town.

Now, sadly, I’ve got to clean the inside. Does anyone have a shopvac they could lend me?

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, Aurora, beauty, cars, cleaning, procrastination, seasons, Spring, tasks, to do list, winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Putting Away the Jacket

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I didn’t do a great job of putting away my jacket in this photo, but it is away–and yes, my mirrors need cleaning.

Yesterday I went to work without a jacket. Perhaps this wasn’t the first day that I went without a jacket–I am pretty sure that I have left it in the car or not taken it because I was going to be in a warm car—but it definitely was the first day that I went to work (and was on public transport) without a jacket.

And it was GLORIOUS.

My winter jacket, often described as not a proper winter jacket, isn’t particularly heavy or cumbersome. Without something fleecy underneath, it doesn’t even really keep me very warm.  I don’t think of it as weight, but when I didn’t have to wear it yesterday, I realized that it must have weighed a million pounds.

Such freedom is easily Today’s Perfect Moment.

What has been your Perfect Moment of spring so far?

Posted in adapting, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, Canada, changes, clothes, jacket, seasons, Spring, weather, winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

When Shopping At A Japanese Grocery Store

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Once, a long time ago, I watched a Japanese TV program that was waxing nostalgic about Japanese summer treats.  One of the things they mentioned was Monaka.  If I remember correctly, the program was not really talking about the Monaka pictured above, but rather something that was made at a store, or a shop that served it through a tiny window.  I had long since moved away from Japan when I saw it, but the program images and nostalgic tone stuck with me.

Today, I had the chance to buy one at J-Town.

This might be an inferior mass produced item.  However, it had three things going for it.  It was delicious (waffle, chocolate, and thick, cold ice cream–yummy), ticked off the boxes for nostalgia, and I had the chance to share it with someone.  It is easy to see why it is Today’s Perfect Moment.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, chocolate, comfort food, delicious, ethnic food, food, food blogging, food shopping, grocery shopping, ice cream, Japan, Japanese, Japanese snacks, nostalgia, shopping, TV | 3 Comments