Choosing a Perfect Moment

Some days are relaxing and some days are quite full. Today was a full day, and it was a good day.  I did a number of things and I would like to give you a quick rundown.

I had McDonalds coffee. This isn’t a big deal, but lately people at work have been debating the taste of McDonald’s coffee and Tim Horton’s coffee quite a bit and I thought I should see what all the fuss was about.  It didn’t hurt that the coffee was on sale for one dollar.  It tasted okay for the price and helped supplement today’s coffee needs.

My girlfriend’s brother just had a baby boy and she wanted to buy him some clothes–the baby, not the brother. This brought us to a cute kids clothing store in the mall.  Kids today certainly have more stylish clothes than I did.  Maybe stylish clothes existed, but I didn’t get to wear it.  It was a cute little adventure to watch her put together outfits for her new nephew.

I had a chance to drop in at the train store. The price of trains and train related stuff has certainly climbed since I was last there.  Additionally, the amount of N scale stuff had shrunk quite a bit.  I hope this is just representative of this store and its clientele rather than across the entire industry.

I visited the Japanese store to get some caramels and look at some foods. The place was rather crowded and doing booming business.  I wasn’t fearful that business was down, but I was quite surprised at the number of people shopping there.  I don’t remember having to line up behind so many people.  I bought some inarizushi and a rice ball.  Both were delicious.

To cap it all off my girlfriend made me a delicious dinner. She probably called it lunch, but since it was my biggest meal of the day, I referred to it as dinner.  That’s just how life goes.

We did a number of other things, but I think you get the drift of how the day went. The only question is which one is Today’s Perfect Moment.

Upon reflection, it is clear that Today’s Perfect Moment is watching my girlfriend go crazy about her new nephew. She was so excited to pick out an outfit for him.  She was also so excited to see pictures and watch video of the little guy.  It was wonderful to see and experience with her.

Posted in clothes, coffee, comfort food, ethnic food, food blogging, food shopping, grocery shopping, Japan, Japanese, Japanese snacks, perfect moment, shopping, shopping mall | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Valentine’s Day on Another Day

20200215_204511I didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day. There just seems to be too much going on, or too much pressure created by marketing people. Last year, I was in Costa Rica on Valentines Day and I didn’t see anything like the commercial holiday I see here.

Rather than succumb, I wanted to wait for Saturday to have a quiet moment with my Valentine and with some pizza and a movie. Call it simple.  Call it boring.  Call it whatever you want.  For me it was Today’s Perfect Moment.

Too often there is a way everyone expects things to be done. What you should understand is that I am an Aquarian through and through.  That means there is also the way I want things done, and most often there are going to be different.  Today I wanted it done this way.

Happy Valentines Day Sarah.

Honorable Mention

A beautiful Lamborghini passed me while driving to get the pizza.  That exotic breed is unlikely to be seen in these parts during Winter.  It revved its engine, but never had the chance to race off into the distance.

Posted in celebration, perfect moment, pizza, relationships, Valentine's Day | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

That’s a Wrap

 

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Before explaining Today’s Perfect Moment, I want to explain a few of the Honourable Mentions.

Honourable Mentions

A couple of my students gave me going away presents. I often get presents, but since Today was Valentine’s Day, I expected their chocolate/gift budget would be oriented toward their significant others.  Since it wasn’t, I got a lovely bookmark and two boxes of Lindt Chocolate.  Despite the Valentine’s Day theme, I don’t think these were for Valentine’s Day.

Preparation for the trip continues to roll on.

The temperature was into double digit lows plus the wind-chill but I didn’t have to wait for a bus today. When I arrived at the stops, the bus was already there waiting.

My lunch tasted good.

Today’s Perfect Moment

My teaching hours changed this past week. While I didn’t appreciate the shorter work hours and now have to find creative ways to recover them, there is one thing I did enjoy.  I finished work early on a Friday for the first time since….actually I don’t remember when it was.  I suspect it was mid Spring last year.

Normally I have to teach until 6:30 on a Friday. By the time, I get my administrative duties completed and putting stuff back, it is closer to 7 before I can leave the building.  Today was different.  I walked out the door at 3:30.  The sun was still shining!

I should also add that this was my last day of work until my vacation is over. This made it extra-special.  Obviously, it is Today’s Perfect Moment.  It also didn’t feel too bad when everyone wished me a great vacation either.

Posted in chocolate, ESL, Friday, gifts, perfect moment, students, teaching, vacation, Valentine's Day | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Lessons for Travelling

20200214_000247There are two lessons about winter vacations that I have not learned yet. That sounds horrible, but hopefully by writing them down, I will finally learn them.  Both of them involve finding stuff.  There is also a lesson I learned about travelling on a budget airline which I am late to the game to.

Lesson One

Everybody in Canada is trying to escape the winter and they need all the same stuff that I do.  How else can you explain finding your favourite sunscreen sold out in numerous stores?

Okay, this is not true because some of us, myself included, love winter. I would like to take an extended ski vacation in Banff, but it isn’t going to happen this year.  However, it still doesn’t resolve that fact that what I was looking for was nowhere to be seen.  I had to choose a different brand and I hope it works as well.

Oddly enough, every store I visited over the past couple of weeks has lots of small toiletries for sale at inflated prices. I guess nobody else has heard of the dollar store.

Lesson Two

Some stuff you need just isn’t for sale at this time of year. I experienced this phenomenon when I took my trip to Vietnam.  Looking for sandals was a difficult adventure.  Luckily I got them and I have been taking them on vacations ever since.  They will be going on this trip along with my hiking boots.

Lesson Three

Budget airlines don’t feed you for free.  I remember the days of flying to Japan and getting several meals, maybe even a snack, and a number of drinks.  I fondly remember a flight attendant who when she took my request for Canadian Whisky (Rye) slapped down several bottles, some mix, and then asked me to be my own bartender.  I fondly remember getting ice cream on an SAS flight.

On my last trip, the people beside me snickered when I bought the glamorous looking overpriced meal from the onboard menu.  They laughed even harder when it appeared and bore only a passing resemblance to the photo.  They brought their own snacks and they had bought from a Costco–not sure why a mega sized bag of M&Ms would make me so jealous, but they did.

Other Lessons

There are probably other lessons I should learn. There are lots of them about preparation and research.  There are lots of them about getting better deals.  There is probably one about not having enough time to do stuff, or using time more wisely…..

What lessons have travel taught you? Please share them with me because I need to learn–and when a teacher says this, you should listen.

Posted in Canadian, Colombia, G Adventures, hiking, lessons, perfect moment, preparation, sun, travel, travel tips, travel writing, vacation, winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Waiting

subway waiting

I remember my junior high school music teacher relating a story about his wife or his girlfriend who later became his wife–I don’t remember exactly because I was probably wondering how this Priest who taught music in a Catholic school was allowed to be married–now wiser in the ways of the world, I am thinking that if this school didn’t seem to see a contradiction, perhaps the Vatican shouldn’t either….but that is a diatribe for another day. I have digressed too far and I fear I will have to start over again.

I remember my junior high school music teacher relating a story about his wife or his girlfriend who became his wife. He said that he drove four hours to spend about 30 minutes with her every two weeks when he had leave.  He did it multiple times and said it was completely worth it.  Being young, I wondered if it was worth it, but either didn’t keep questioning it, or took the shortest answer (no) and moved on.

Now years later, I got a text from my girlfriend explain that she was waiting for me at a particular subway station. I was at least twenty minutes away from meeting her and I told her she could go home rather than wait.  She graciously offered to wait.

To make a long, though not particularly exciting story short, we met at the station. I offered to buy her a coffee as a consolation prize, but she deferred.  I never did ask her how many times it was customary to refuse an offer in her culture, so I am stuck accepting her first answer.  Additionally our unscheduled bus pulled up so we chose to board.

I relate this story because it was Today’s Perfect Moment. It was so nice to have someone to ride the bus with.  I felt bad for her waiting, but I was glad that she did.  I would like to believe that I would do the same, but I am afraid that I may not live up to that.

Posted in bus, commuting, perfect moment, Viva, waiting, YRT | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Getting Ready

20191208_203545My trip begins in about a week and I spent a part of the day picking up a few things I might need on my trip. I also did some preparation stuff.

Guidebook/Reading Material

I love guidebooks, but I hate spending money on them. On my last trip, I wanted to get it from the library, but somebody beat me to it and I went without it.  That was okay, but I wonder if it would have helped me find some different things to do.  For this trip, I took out the guide book several weeks ago, and was afraid to let it go back to the library and then have to try to get it the day before my trip started.  I talked to the librarian and she was able to give me an extended loan, which would cover from today until a few days after the trip ended.  I won’t get to keep the guidebook at the end, but I will be able to use it throughout my trip for fee–as long as I don’t get it wet or something.  I suppose I could slip it into a Ziploc bag.

I also found a couple of books for the flights I will be taking in the discard bins at the library. I got a John Grisham and a Jonathan Franzen book.  The former will be an easy read, but the latter is a bit of a hefty tome.  I am not sure whether I will take either book, but it is good to have option.

Soap

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The company I am going on the trip with recommended biodegradable soap if I needed to wash anything. I will definitely need to wash some things during my trip, so I actually found some at MEC.  The price was more reasonable than I expected and I think it is going to work out.

Electrolytes

20200209_231557I always have something in my water bottle when riding, so I think the same thing should apply to the bottle I am carrying on the extended hike I will be on. I hope that there will be break stops with food and stuff, but I cannot be sure.  So, I am bringing along some tablets to dissolve in my water.  I chose cherry flavour because I am getting a bit tired of orange.

Personal items

20200211_221242A razor for shaving (not often needed on vacation) can be a bit dangerous rolling around in a shaving kit. This time, I wanted a more compact shaving kit and the danger of reaching in and finding the blades of the razor is a real danger.  I always wondered why razors didn’t have covers–cheap disposable ones do, but not the slightly better ones.  Today, just because I checked the travel section of the store I was in, I found some razor covers.  I am going to call that inexpensive genius.

Action Camera

I don’t have the money for a GoPro, but I found a less expensive version that I am going to try. If it isn’t good, I am going to take it back after the trip.  It will be outside the return window, but they said I could get store credit.  I will consider that a win.

This trip will have some rafting, bike riding, and maybe paragliding.  It would be cool to have some action shots of all that.

Sunblock

The two stores I visited were out of the sunscreen/sunblock I prefer. I have time to track it down, but I wish I could have concluded that today.

Packing

My girlfriend suggested I start packing. While I can’t do that, I have started to make the pile of stuff I am going to take.  Hopefully it will allow me some time to trim down what I am taking.  I am usually guilty of taking too much.

Posted in Colombia, G Adventures, guide book, Lonely Planet, packing, perfect moment, preparation, travel, travel tips, travel writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Tales of the Lost and Found

Instead of Today’s Perfect Moment, I really need to share with you Today’s Weird Moments. There are two of them and, at least in my mind, they are connected.  This seems to be happening a lot more often to me lately.  Either things are getting weirder out there or my perception of these kinds of things has gotten much sharper.

While waiting for my bus at the stop, I took refuge in the bus shelter. I don’t often do this because I don’t usually need a break from the cold and would rather leave it for someone who might actually need it for that purpose.  Today, thanks to the freaky snowstorm we had and the even freakier quick melt, there was slush everywhere and cars, trucks, and busses were not shy about trying to give me another grimier shower.  While standing inside the glass enclosure, I noticed that someone left something on the lone seat in the shelter.  Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be bread and some pastries.  I understand someone forgetting something on the bus (monotony and sleep effects), but it seems odd to forget something at the stop.  Since it was early morning, these couldn’t have been morning purchases.  They had probably been there all night.

Later, when I was walking home from the bus stop I came across a bag of shoes. They were sitting comfortably on top of a snow bank that separated the pedestrians from the roadway.  They had been placed quite gingerly on the bank and quite flat, which means they didn’t fall on their own. From what little I could see, the shoes looked decently intact.

In both cases, neither I nor anyone else sought to disturb these things. In both cases the items were still there after I had gone.  In both cases, I just couldn’t see how this happened,

Obviously the person or persons who were carrying these things put them down. Perhaps they were tying a shoelace, or doing the obligatory poop and scoop.  Maybe they just wanted to confuse me at both ends of my journey.

In your daily life, do you come across things that leave you scratching your head?

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My Second Birthday Celebration

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The birthday fun isn’t over. My girlfriend offered to make me a delicious meal and feed me some cake.  I certainly wasn’t going to refuse.  She made me the dish pictured above which has become one of my favourites.  It is sweet and very very tasty.

To accomplish these things we had the chance to visit a local Iranian grocery store. Much like when I visit any ethnic grocery store, I gravitate towards the treats.  (Where do you think all those green tea kitkats come from?)  Today was no exception.  Of the treats pictured here, I can give you a mini review.  The juice was quite tasty.  I like pineapple and the seeds gave it a nice texture.  I was told that these were the healthy seeds before Chia seeds became the media darling.  This juice is made in Vietnam, so I am not sure why it was at this particular store.  I also wonder why Judy Mountain is a brand name, but some things are just meant to be a mystery.  Now, I am under no illusions that this is actually healthy juice.  It has a lot of sugar and I doubt that that a lot of pineapple went into making this.

The chocolate bar was not as good as a coffee crisp. The taste was good, and the smaller size made for a more reasonable snack.  It only costs 25 cents, so I can’t complain.  Sadly, the aftertaste is a little oily and I cannot recommend it.  The cookies on the other hand were delicious.

One funny thing that happened at the store was when my Sarah asked me what something was called. When I answered in a pretty good approximation of Farsi, she was so completely befuddled that she answered back to me in Farsi.  When she caught herself she was confused.  As you might imagine, the label had both languages on it and she only registered one of them.  It was quite humorous.

After leaving the store with my treats, we headed to the bakery to pick up my cake. Instead of a whole cake, a few pieces were all that was needed.  The cake itself is quite interesting because it is eerily reminiscent of the cake my Oma (grandmother) used to make.  It had chocolate and coffee flavours.  This one featured a nice addition of almond pieces.  I don’t know how this came to be, but I am not complaining.

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The other treat pictured here was very much like a snack I ate in Japan all the time.  I guess this is pretty common all over the world…just not in Canada.

There is no need to pick out a Perfect Moment from all of these.  They were all great.

Posted in birthday, cake, Canada, chocolate, comfort food, dessert, ethnic food, food, food blogging, food shopping, grocery shopping, Japan, Japanese, Japanese snacks, kit kat, perfect moment, shopping, snacks, tea, translation | 5 Comments

Morning Rituals

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I don’t have morning rituals, really. When I go to work, the morning is built around sleeping as much as I can and then rushing out the door to catch the bus–which is always behind schedule when I get to the stop early and rather early when I am running late.  That is how the universe works.

On days when I am not working, breakfast can either be leisurely or hectic depending on so many things. Do I have somewhere to go?  Do I feel like doing anything?  Is it snowing or did it snow and now I have to shovel the driveway?  Have I got anything on the PVR that I want to watch?  Is there news worth reading in the newspaper?  Do I feel like investing the time in the crossword or the sudoku–because the jumble is a breeze?

This Saturday morning I took the time to make some biscuits, coffee, and watch my current favourite TV program A Million Little Things. It was a nice way to spend my morning.  It was slightly indulgent, but it helped start the day off on the right foot.  That can’t be a bad thing.

I am writing this a little earlier than normal–and scheduling it to post tomorrow morning–so if another thing turns out to be Today’s Perfect Moment, I will probably have to have a two post day.

What would be a Perfect Morning for you?

Posted in breakfast, coffee, comfort food, food, food blogging, morning, perfect moment, Saturday morning | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Out of Context*

slice of loaf bread with dog face

Photo by Buenosia Carol on Pexels.com

I remember watching an episode of Seinfeld when Jerry remarks that it’s strange to see George’s father in Manhattan rather than Long Island.  The punch line is “it’s so out of context”.

Today’s Perfect Moment is much like that. I came across something so out of context that I might need to ramble a bit on it just to figure it out.  If I am unsuccessful, I will ask you faithful readers to help me.

I was on the up escalator between the subway platform and the subway entrance. I was walking on the left side while other people were standing on the left.  This is what passes for etiquette on the TTC.  It used to be advertised etiquette, but either fearing or experiencing an expensive lawsuit cured them of that.  Now it is informal good manners rather than truly codified behaviour.

As I passed my fellow lemmings that weren’t walking, I caught sight of something unusual.   A lovely young lady was embracing a kettle carried in the crook of her arm and nonchalantly ignoring the handle.  In the other hand she was carrying a large stainless steel four-slice toaster, which she gripped by sliding her hands down the toast slot.

It might strike you as odd that this is Today’s Perfect Moment, but because it was so out of context, I really felt it deserved it.

In case you were keeping score, that’s one kettle not held by the handle and one toaster gripped in a rather dangerous way. As for me, as cute as it was, it left me with some questions and some hypotheses.  Allow me to share a few with you:

Maybe she was moving house little by little. If she took one or two portable things each day, she could eventually get everything into one apartment or house.

Maybe she broke up with her partner and was moving out of their place. Perhaps her partner cheated on her and she wanted to get revenge by denying that person any breakfast.

I should also be clear that It was too cold and snowy for there to be a garage sale. She also didn’t bother putting either item in a bag or box.

I am really quite stumped.  It was all just so out of context.

**I thought of calling this post “Moving House: Two Appliances at a time.”  Please let me know what you think of either title.

Posted in commuting, perfect moment, seinfeld, subway, TTC | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments