Tuesday, January 27

Unexpected Motivation

Going to the gym isn't my favourite thing. Most of the time I am fairly adept at justifying my decision not to workout but lately I haven't had to. Western just opened its brand new gym and it is massive. Poorly laid-out but well-equipped. So I have been going 2 or 3 times a week (partly on the recommendation that exercise will probably benefit my progression off of the meds).

Monday morning I woke up excited to go to the gym between classes. Excited?! I even tried to talk myself out of it since it wasn't planned but I insisted on carrying my stuff around all day. I then invested $8 for a month of towels to encourage going (it makes a big difference not having to bring my own toalla=towel). So far I have used one (I need to use at least 8 in 30 days to 'break even' on my investment). Tomorrow I will use another between classes. Let's hope this is a wonderful change in lifestyle and not temporary insanity.

Saturday, January 24

Muy Caliente

Before being warned by the director at my volunteer place I hadn't put much thought into Gigi-the-cat hitting puberty. Gigi-the-cat is 5 months old, so we should have had some time before the evening yowling began right? Wrong. She is in raging heat.

Do you know how to tell if your cat is in heat? Well, I had no idea but she has been acting very strange lately. Usually she has no interest in affection but she now lets me pet her for minutes at a time, she meows all the time at nothing (it seems like nothing to the humans). The tip-off that made me go to the trouble to google the symptoms was an odd stance she took on while I scratched her back: she crouched low and seemed to walk on the spot with her back paws. So I checked. According to this site she is all horned-up and ready to go; we have to start guarding the doors so she doesn't go get knocked up. This wouldn't even be teen pregnancy....toddler pregnancy? Creepy. She is just a kitten and she is already set up to reproduce.

I hope Gigi's owner takes some advice from Bob Parker and gets her pet spayed or neutered.

Friday, January 23

Today I pulled the "my-boyfriend-lives-far-away-and-I-never-get-to-see-him card"; and it worked! Whenever the topic of where I live and then where my boyfriends lives comes up in convo there is always a unanimous "wow, that must be so hard" and a "how often do you see him?".

Usually I try to play down the suckiness (or just admit that it really sucks and move on) since, you know, whatcha gonna do? Yesterday I decided to use it to my advantage and actually get to take a midterm a few hours earlier than everyone else because Mark is going to be in TO next week (for that library conference) and I want to get in early enough to actually see him. There really are benefits to smaller class sizes and knowing your professors.

Tuesday, January 20

New Era of Responsibility

It is only a few times in each person's life that they witness something world-altering. The last was over 7 years go in New York city. I saw the towers fall in world religions class. The future remains to reveal if 1/20 will be the new 9/11. As a voyeur I watch a nation that I do not belong to hand over their hope to one long-awaited man.

I am proud to be Canadian. Today was the first time that, although not faltering, my pride felt some envy. Our government and people need a renewal that is happening in the US. Just because we are smaller does not mean we have less of a need for responsible government. I long to see the day when Canada welcomes a person as deserving as Barack Hussein Obama. Time will show his true abilities but big promises have been made on this day.

"Our time of narrow interests and putting off of unpleasant decisions; that time has surely passed."

From the benediction, the best line ever:

"I can't wait for the day when Black won't have to get back
When brown can get around
When yellah can be mellah
When the red man can get ahead, man
When white will do what is right"

A promise to "do our business in the light of day" and not rely on "[their] power alone" to protect them or bully others.

He promised other nations "Your people will judge you on what you can build, not on what you destroy"

Monday, January 19

Admitting that I'm bored always feels like failure; like I'm not involved enough or have enough 'hobbies' to keep myself busy. But you know what, I'm BORED! And lonely. I guess the two go together. Usually when I have free time I would fill it with social activities and just plain-old hanging out. Not here though, I don't really have friends (yep, its true, I'm a bit of a loner). I feel like I'm working hard and doing what I need to do to get where I want to be but I haven't made any effort to build up a social network here. At least I won't be missing too many people when I leave.

It helps to have things to look forward to. Keeping my eye on the prize, if you will.

In two weeks I see Mark in Toronto (he has a library conference. A conference for librarians about libraries and books. How adorably nerdy is that?)
My parents are in Hawaii right now so I look forward to seeing the pictures, hearing the stories and, yes, getting the cool souvenirs. So far I hear that I'm getting a cool purse and a map. Neato!

Friday, January 16

Katie V for SLP

Has a nice ring. Although even a super-catchy campaign slogan will do little to actually get me into grad school, or get me a job after for that matter. Too bad because it keeps popping into my head making me sad that I have nothing to use it for.

Katie V for Diplomacy?
Katie V for University....?
Katie V for Community........?
Katie V for Eulogy....(ies).....I could start a business

Wednesday, January 14

La Tertulia

This basically translates as a discussion group...in Spanish. People sitting around discussing important world events and philosophical ideas....IN SPANISH! Wow, has my level of spoken Spanish taken a hit since I left Peru (now 13 months ago) but this is the perfect opportunity to gain back some ground. Every Wednesday night. I spent 2.5 hours there today talking about the current political situation in Colombia, the economic crisis and when it actually started, George Bush's decision to award a Liberty Medal to the Prime Minister of Colombia, etc.

Today was educational. Too bad I want to stop leaving the house at all unless the temp rises above zero.

Sunday, January 11


Going to Guelph: good (no, great!) for catching up with amazing people I never see
Riding the Greyhound: good for starting the book Three Cups of Tea that I got for Christmas. Bad for taking extra long
Volunteer position: good for a great new group of kids, double good for a bit more responsibility
This weekend: bad for feeling good about grad school applications
Seasons 6&7 of e.r.: good for spotting "before-they-were-stars" moments (adding to the count Paris from Gilmore Girls, Van & the ex-husband from Reba [different episodes])

Friday, January 9

Dues: Paid

After 4 months of being on the waiting list I nabbed an appointment with a counselor on campus. She was the first one to suggest that this is as good a time as any to wean myself from the mood-altering red caplets I have been taken for over 2 years now. Except we're just going to take it exceptionally slowly; like cutting the dose in half within the semester.

The main reason I am continue taking these babies is how amazingly not anxious I feel, but I don't want medication to be the permanent solution. The prob: in order to get off them I need to be able to manage the anxiety but to learn how to manage it I should probably feel some. We're going to go half way and potentially bring back a bit of the anxiety at a time then practice reeling it in without drugs. I don't really look forward to fearing the basement again (it is more convenient to be able to do my laundry whenever I want) but short term pain for long term gain. I drop down in a week or two then wait and see if anything changes.

Thursday, January 8

Off to a Slow Start

Usually the first week of any semester is overwhelming. Usually. But with most of my extracurriculars not starting up right away and no real friends to catch up with the first week is actually proving somewhat boring.

My new classes look interesting (keeping Spanish & Stats, adding Child Development, Physiology and Phonology). I plan to attend a 'tertulia' on Wednesday nights which is just a discussion group in Spanish hosted by a professor here. Anyone can attend with any level of the language and the goal is to practice and improve.

With the slow start in mind I have been watching a fair amount of e.r. My emotions tend to keep themselves tightly packed inside, especially tearful ones but tonight I actually leaked a little. Not much but for me a little can be therapeutic. I was caught off-guard by the episode where Lucy dies. Most stuff on t.v. doesn't get me but Lucy being killed by her schizophrenic patient and bleeding on the floor while the staff celebrates valentine's day with loud music that covers her screams....it just, well, gets me. I wasn't expecting his episode for another half season. For future reference it is Season 6, episode 13.

Note: Lucy's murderer on the show now plays Prof Charlie Epps on Numb3rs. It causes some likeability issues for me.

Monday, January 5

Cookbook (Image) Perfect

I have never been an exceptional cook and that is still the case. But, to add to my lovely bread from a few posts ago I also made wontons for Mark and I the last week I was there. They were the most beautiful wontons I ever saw! So perfect and wrinkly-like-brains, they cooked well without bursting open like the first time I attempted vegetarian wontons in Calgary (with some real Asian cooks overseeing of course).

I think it was partly the bit of raw egg I mixed into the veggies are partly the fact that I did not over fill them. The innards were shredded carrott, broccoli, bean sprouts, green onion, garlic and some black bean sauce all sauteed together. Oh, but they were bland. So taste was a problem. A good idea would probably have been to use a recipe. However I would like to try to use other recipes as inspiration to spice up my boring wontons next time. And put more effort into the broth, which was just dull. But the basics are all there just waiting to taste really amazing!

Friday, January 2

How do you measure a year in a life?

The song 525 600 minutes from the Rent soundtrack asks this question. I don't have an answer but I like the sentiment that a year can be measured and counted as memorable by more than days. I don't plan on doing much self-reflection, actually. Maybe this is a symptom of still not having a 'grown-up' life but I don't really find the crossing to 2009 a significant milestone for me. At all. There is really no significance. Dec 29th: I submitted the last of my grad school applications. THAT felt significant. This coming April, once I have a yay or niegh from all of the schools, THAT will be life-changing (hopefully in a positive way).

Basically I don't feel like reflecting now. A year can be any grouping of 365/6 consecutive days.

If I had two cats maybe I would name them Hepburn and Higgins. A friend's cat who is lovely and lithe and dainty inspired this. I thought Audrey and Higgins would be the perfect combination (Have you figured out the reference yet? "My Fair Lady"). Oh, except my Nana was Audrey so my mom might be a little offended if I used her name for my cat. This same friend chose to name her cats Satine and Christian from Moulin Rouge. If I ever have two they are definitely getting cheesy famous duo names.