Friday’s Two Perfect Moments

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There were Two Perfect Moments on Friday.

The first is that I was given a book by a departing student.  That alone should be considered Today’s Perfect Moment.  However, what was really surprising is that instead of getting someone’s favourite book–which would have been awesome too–I was given a book that they thought was perfect for me.

I guess they were paying attention when I said I was interested in cycling.

As for giving books, I often do that and it is my normal fallback gift when in doubt. I don’t know if everyone appreciates it, but a fallback is a fallback.  The books that I tend to give are as follows (in no particular order)

  • Waterland by Graham Swift
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  • I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison (though often hard to find)
  • Barney’s Version by Mordecai Richler

Apart from just being good books, I am not exactly sure why I often give them to people. I just do.

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The second is that I had a chance to meet one of my best friends for dinner. We went to a brew pub founded in Quebec, but now having made substantial strides in franchising or expansion is now available all over Ontario.  The night had everything I wanted which was good conversation, good beer, and good food.  I opted for the chicken waffles–because I had never had it, and I was pleasantly surprised.

The only down-side to the evening was the periodic wafting of pot smell that burst through the open doors. It was right next to Dundas Square and across from the Eaton Centre.  These are bid draws for people, and it was Friday night,  so I guess that was to be expected.

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Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, beer, books, conversation, food, friends, friendship, gifts, presents, reading, restaurant | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

When is a Delay, not a Delay?

subway

I was on the subway, reading a detective story, when the announcement about “an incident at track level” came over the loud speaker for the first of many times. There was a very audible groan from the people on the subway.

I remained calm and managed to nod off for a little bit while clutching the book firmly in both hands. When I woke, we hadn’t moved, but the grouchy mood of the people had transformed into a sadly resigned one.

When I got to the bus terminal, I figured that I was going to be later home than usual. While this was not great, I didn’t let it bother me.

As you read this, you might wonder if I could possibly salvage a Perfect Moment from this mess. When I boarded the bus, I certainly didn’t think I would.  I expected to be ranting and raving about this.

I searched my mind for something earlier in the day, but apart from nice looks and covert smiles from my girlfriend, I was drawing a blank. My morning commute was later than usual because the bus driver wanted to argue with a chemo patient rather than drive the bus.  Classes went well, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say Perfect.

When I got off the bus and started the trudge home, a brief look at the clock mounted near the stop indicated that I wasn’t late at all. In fact, I was probably ten minutes earlier than normal for a Thursday evening.

My internal voice dropped a huge “Huh? like a boulder falling off a mountain and thudding to the ground.

For a weekday, there seemed to have been less construction, but I couldn’t be sure. Whatever the cause, despite being held up, arriving at home early certainly qualifies as Today’s Perfect Moment.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bus, commuting, public transportation, subway, TTC, Viva, YRT | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Proving that I am Lucky

In trying to think more positively, I have also adopted an “I am lucky” mantra/attitude. It is usually very easy to moan and complain that you are unlucky, or that you never win anything.  I used to be one of those people.  However, I used to hate hearing people say that.  In fact I still do.

Several members of my family are like that and I ask them if they believe that, why do they play the lottery? I also ask them what it costs to think positively.  I am trying to trick them into thinking positively.  I mean, if you think you are lucky, but don’t win anything, then you are just proven wrong.  If you think you are unlucky and don’t win anything, then you are proven right. I think I would rather be proven wrong.  Better yet, I would like to think I am lucky and be proven right.

What does all this mean? Well, I have a little story to tell you.

A few weeks ago, I entered a contest with the Boursin cheese brand and I won. I won a picnic basket, a blanket, a cutting board, plastic wine glasses, gift certificates for more delicious Boursin cheese, some gift cards for food, and some gift cards to buy some wine.  I guess the Boursin people want me to have a devilishly good picnic.  I also got a fantastic Bluetooth speaker.

In all honesty, the contest had some glitches, but it worked out for me in the end. The staff members at the company are to be commended for the way they handled the problem with clarity, precision, and friendliness.

As for me, I feel quite vindicated in my positive thinking. So now, when you hear me say that I am lucky, you’d better believe it.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, contest, luck, lucky, winning a contest | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Shorthand

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I think this explains how I felt most of the day.

I left my house under a cloudy sky that threatened and then delivered rain. It was an inauspicious start to the day and one that would irrevocably influence Today’s Perfect Moments.  It didn’t cancel them, but it profoundly affected them, and I only realized that after I started typing.

Lunch

I ate lunch with my girlfriend, but we barely spoke. I am sure we exchanged words, but as I look back on it, it was more like we were in a silent movie.  Since that doesn’t really fit with the era I am typing in, and probably doesn’t relate to anyone reading, I will find a better analogy.  It was like we were the extras in a dinner scene.  We were the background.  Our words were brief and muted, but no less meaningful.  Perhaps we have entered the stage in our relationship where we share a kind of shorthand.  We can communicate by looks and subtle gestures.

Getting off the bus

My commute is long and exacerbated by construction that will eventually speed up the whole process–so they say. I’ve written about it many times and won’t bore you with another recap of plodding kilometres along the world’s longest street. On this particular afternoon I managed to fall asleep quickly and dream away half my trip.

At my stop, three of us got off the bus, weary and half asleep, reached the intersection and with barely a nod, broke off and headed in the three separate directions that didn’t lead back to where we came from. I call it, commuters’ short-hand.  We would see each other on the bus again.  Maybe it will be a hot day, maybe a cold day, or maybe a rainy day.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, commuting, lunch, sleep, talking, Viva, York Region, YRT | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tomorrow’s Post in Doubt

The title says it all.  I am going to see Queen tonight and I will probably get back too late to post anything–unless I am so completely hyped up that the ride home can’t knock me out.

This will be my second outing.  I expect the show to be the same and I look forward to Brian May’s guitar work the most.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, blog, blog posts, blogging, blogposts, concerts | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Saturday Morning with No Bike Ride

Usually at this time of day on a Saturday, I am enjoying my post ride drink and mentally preparing to regale you with tales of the ride. Sadly this is not the case today.  Sadly too, I cannot put the excuse at the feet of some family event that required my attendance.  Instead, I have to admit that I got sick.  A cough earlier in the week, exacerbated by late night carousing no doubt, seemed to get better, only to blossom into a full blown cold or something–I don’t want to call it the flu for fear that I might be right.

So, this morning, I decided to stay in bed and hopefully heal. This is not something I am particularly good at.  Keeping moving is much easier than staying at rest.  I slept in, but not epically.  I took the medicine, but I am not sure of its effects.

When I couldn’t sleep, I watched some crap I had left on the PVR.  It’s amazing how many shows I gave up on before they finished.  I also managed to watch the final of stage 20 of the Tour de France–so it wasn’t a complete write off.

So, there is no Perfect Moment in all of this. How could there be?  I have relished getting out on my bike at least once a week for most of this summer.  I have been getting stronger despite only getting one good ride in per week.

Hopefully, by the end of day, there will be a Perfect Moment. Until then…..

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bicycles, cycling, flu, group rides, illness, sick | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Goodbyes

I’ve grown a pretty thick skin over the years of watching students say goodbye to me and to one another. It isn’t coldness, but rather a kind of acceptance.  I like my students while they are here, but I know that it isn’t forever.

This week was a little different, though I am not sure why. A large number of students were done this week.  The picture taking and choruses of goodbyes were clearly in full swing whenever there was a break.  I saw multiple Canadian flag, no doubt purchased in Chinatown, being signed by the different students.  There were hugs, kisses, high fives, low fives, fist bumps and double arm handshakes.  It was quite the sight to see.

I had done some good work with these students and I was rewarded with some great stories, a late night of drinking on Wednesday, and some lovely gifts of chocolate, timbits, and coffee today.

Saying goodbye was bittersweet, but also Today’s Perfect Moment.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, beer, chocolate, coffee, ESL, gifts, presents, students, teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Like a Free Bookstore

library

Today’s Perfect Moment is rediscovering the library.

For the past couple of months, I have been on a bit of a reading lull. It isn’t so much that I haven’t been reading, I just haven’t been as aggressive with it as I have been in the past.  I was reading 80 books or more a year for the past 7 or 8 years.  I used to have a drop down menu for the books that I read in a given year.

Despite all this, from the early part of this year, I stopped going to the library. I still read books on my Kobo.  I read the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and I reread the first seven books of the Dresden Files, but I just wasn’t really jumping into it.  I got on the bus and more often than not just stared out the windows.  I am not sure if all the construction was interesting or I was just burnt out on reading, though I suspect the latter rather than the former.

Today, trying to get a handle on my vacation dilemma, I went to library to pick up some travel guides to see if something would pop out at me. Instead, I came away from the library with way too many items.  These included

  • 4 model train magazines
  • Season one of Star Trek Discovery
  • Seasons one and two of Beverly Hills 90210
  • 6 travel guides (Prague (2), Budapest, Chile, Argentina, and Europe)
  • A Spenser novel
  • Hemingway’s The Dangerous Summer
  • and a humorous book and self help or denial or something like that

If that weren’t enough, I asked for an intra-library loan of the book Stamps as witnesses to History. Thanks to our terrible premiere Doug Ford, I may not be able to get this book.  It seems in his quest to ruin the province/cut everyone’s budgets except his friends, this fantastic service has been whittled down remarkably.

Getting this loan was facilitated by one of the librarians. When she heard which book I was asking for, she explained that her previous library posting had an active group of stamp collectors who constantly borrowed the Scott Stamp Catalogues and often bickered and fought over them.  She planned to pass on the book title to the person in charge of buying books for that branch.

Nonetheless, it was a good time at the library and I will probably have another when I take back the TV series next week.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, books, bookstore, comic books, e-book, Exodus Travels, free stuff, guide book, librarian, library, model railroads, trains, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting Positive Email

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Photo by slon_dot_pics on Pexels.com

 

It was kind of a humdrum kind of day. It was so humdrum that I had to use an antiquated word like that to describe the day. I almost had to break out the “ennui”–but I couldn’t go that far.

It wasn’t a bad day. My bus ride was pleasantly uneventful, and work went pretty smoothly for a Monday that is based on woefully inadequate teaching material.  My lunch tasted good and the company was superb.  It all just seemed so humdrum.

Going deep on introspection, I would have to say that Today’s Perfect Moment was receiving a reply to a message I had sent. As I type this, I realize how incredibly vague that sounds.  I had better back up.

I have taken three vacations in the past two years. Two of them have been cycling vacations with Exodus Travels.  The other was an adventure tour with G Adventures.  I enjoyed all of them.  Before the year is out, I want to be off to another trip, and since my cycling is progressing, I am quite sure it is going to be another Exodus Cycling trip.

When I came back from the first trip (Vietnam) I wrote to the company hoping that my blogging might earn me some perks.  I wasn’t expecting a free trip (though I wouldn’t say no to one), but I was trying to be one of those “go getters”.  Besides, if there is one thing I have learned, it never hurts to ask.  My writing got me a cookbook and a better discount than people with only one trip under their belts got.

So, now, as I am trying to decide between a trip to Chile and Argentina just before Christmas or a shorter trip cycling from Prague to Budapest (four countries and three currencies) in August.  I noticed that the trip through Europe was on sale. This sounded great, but I was worried that my discount wouldn’t apply to something that was already on sale.

I wrote to the person in charge of marketing here in Canada asking about that–because, again, if you don’t ask you won’t get.  If you ask, you might get.  I also plugged my blog and its ever growing reach and interaction levels.  Again, I wasn’t thinking free trips, but marketing yourself is all about talking about you and what you’ve built.

I received an email around noon confirming the discount I had been seeking, but more importantly, I received a wonderful compliment on the blog. I call that, Today’s Perfect Moment.

Incidentally, I would love to hear from anyone who has taken either or both Exodus trips. Please spread the word to people you know as I am on a bit of a time crunch on this one.  I am going to eventually go on both trips, but I don’t know which one to take first.

Also, any experience in those countries would be wonderful to hear or read about, so send me your comments or links to what you have written.

Posted in ambition, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, blog, blog posts, blogging, commercialization, cycling, cycling gear, Exodus Travels, growing your blog, increasing blog traffic, marketing, travel, travel tips, travel writing, vacation | 5 Comments

A Spot of Lunch

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Today’s Perfect Moment is all about getting treated to a Sunday lunch.

After some shopping and looking around the mall, we headed to our scheduled destination and a sushi lunch.  Normally, I am a sashimi kind of person, usually ordering twelve or more pieces of that.  In Toronto the metropolitan area, that means delicious but predictable.

I was hesitant about this choice, but I have to admit that this platter had some really good taste combinations that I am not used to.  I am very happy that my girlfriend recommended/chose this.

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, dating, delicious, ethnic food, experiment, food, food blogging, Japanese, lunch, recommendations, restaurant, shopping, sushi | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment