Sunday, December 27

A Cog in the Consumerist Machine

Oh Christmas. A big struggle of mine is to avoid purchasing goods that I don't need and be satisfied with what I already had. Well, I cracked over the holidays (and I still have to buy textbooks....where is the "queasy" emoticon when you need it?).

It all started with an apple. It is, of course, a glorified email checker. A gloried email checker with time-sucking games and pretty graphics. My favourite 'app' so far is the CBC Radio one....mmmm Vinyl Cafe.

Then, from wonderful Mark, I received one of the most spectacular pieces of technology I have ever owned. It is called a BAMBOO and it is glorious. I can write in my chicken scratch and it translates it into type. It is pressure sensitive: a lighter touch means a thinner line; press harder and get a thicker line. The main reason for the gift is my digital scrapbooking hobby. Unfortunately, my current/old laptop is so clogged that I am unable to open the necessary photo editing software.

Which leads to my true consumerist glitch: a new laptop. I fell for Boxing Day. The beast (aptly named "Zack Morris") just three years old but with a stuck mouse button, a screen that doesn't stay where it is placed, etc., etc. It has been replaced with a shiny new Samsung. I agonized over my choices with both my brother and my manfriend being subjected to hours of "But will it run Photoshop?" and "Which one would you buy?". I feel like a got a decent deal and it runs more than one program without stalling so check one for me. The screen is lovely.

A few other fave gifts I received (in no particular order):
- TWO Mr. Potato Heads! (one regular, one spidey....great for SLPs)
- A custom t-shirt with Bill Nye the Science Guy's mug on it and the line "Science Rules" (the back reads "Inertia is a property of Matter")
- Bananagrams

Some of the favourite gifts I gave:
1. Hamgburger Phone. To: mini-sister
2. Hand-made scarf. To: boyfriend. (it looks rather handsome on him).
3. Ice cube tray that makes teeny glasses (ok "shot" glasses). To: mini-brother
4. Beer. To: dad.

Thursday, December 24

Food Brainstorms (StomachStorms?)

When my dad and I get together we mostly talk about food. He is good at cooking it (I'm slowly picking up a few of his skills) and we're both good at eating it. We have a knowing look when something should have had goat cheese involved but the rest of the family vetoed our choice.

Today I fried up some perogies with onions and little bacon; standard fare. I like to mix cuisines so I dressed it with salsa since the perogies were a little on the bland side. That got my dad and I stomach-storming about how to make our own perogies and how to do it in a bit more exciting way.

We came up with a few ideas*:

The main ingredient in all the recipes would be potatoes with the other ingredients mashed inside.

1. Italian-style: goat cheese, sundried tomato, fresh basil leaves
2. Greek-style: feta cheese & olives
3. Indian-style: cauliflower, curry paste, (goat cheese?). Maybe some mango chutney and yogurt for garnish.

The question is, how motivated am I feeling?

*These have likely already been done but they were original to us.

Monday, December 21


Feeling somewhat helpless. Without my glasses anything more than a foot in front of my eyes is a big blur. This computer screen is about 18 inches away but I can detect movement so I know where the cursor is; good thing I can do the typing-without-looking thing. PS. My glasses broke tonight. The lens popped out and isn't pop-back-inable (the transparent wire that holds it in place snapped). I actually think I'm doing pretty well for typing but excuse any mistakes please.

I flew back home a few days ago and have been mostly in chill mode. We decorated the tree (after some family drama) and finished Christmas shopping. My goals for vacation are 1) to finish reading Oryx & Crake (for bookclub), 2) Order my textbooks, 3) Run every second day. That's about all I gots.

Tuesday, December 15

Procrastination Post

This week is exams. Just three but I'm out of practice (and I haven't done one as intense as anatomy since.....well, I haven't ever!).

All week has been spent at the school. This means consuming too many calories by eating out all the time (trying to now bring more food to conserve funds) and living in the study rooms. Spending hours drawing out all the different motor and sensory pathways. Study breaks for McFlurries and dancing to "Single Ladies" and "All I want for Christmas is you" by Mariah Carey.

Things I still have to do before christmas:
-Send Cards
-Clean my room
-Post an ad for the place I live (planning to move out at the end of Feb....have I taken on too much?),

Looking forward to: making gingerbread houses, snowshoeing, late night coffee dates, hanging with family/friends/Mark, decorating, NOT STUDYING

Thursday, December 10

Worst Present Ever....

We had our gift exchange today for the SLP students (woot!). Since not everyone does Christmas we kept it P.C. and called it ANEGS (Anonymous Nondenominational Exchange of Goods & Services aka. Secret Santa). I got to be the gift giver outer (who happened to wear a santa hat).

What a day. People were so generous, creative and thoughtful (quite a few sweet Mr. Potato Heads!). Not gonna lie though, I think I got one of the WORST/best presents :)

Earlier in the month we had been discussing what to get our 'chosen ones' and I was saying that I would be fairly tough to shop for because I don't like traditional generic gifts: I don't use candles, I don't want body products (I'd rather choose my own, thanks) and I don't drink hot drinks like tea or coffee very often.

I saved mine for last feeling awkward choosing my own gift. Opening it I got: tea, a bar of yummy smelling soap, candles. Yikes. I'm thinking to myself "How did they manage to get all of the things I dislike in one gift??!"
But I opened it in front of everyone and apparently I put on a pretty good show of excitement.

Then I came across the note: If you hate these gifts yell "I hate these gifts" and my nondenominational elves will bring you something better. So I did*. And I got a new gift: the always awesome seashell chocolates and a gift card for BMV books. What more could a girl want? So, apparently you can't trust anything I say if I tell you that I like something.

Included in this gift was a little something extra. The night before I had asked my secret santa on facebook for A's on my exams without having to study. Here is the declaration I received:

"From this day forward, Ms. Katie V. of the SLP class of 2011 will receive a mark no lower than A+ on every exam she takes, regardless of her performance on aforementioned exam. Furthermore, Ms. V's chair must be pre-warmed before each class and she will be provided with a basket of fresh baked pastries and refreshing, tangy beverages. Ms. V has the right to put a halt to any lecture in order to demand a thorough back massage from the lecturer (or from anyone else in the room should Ms. V. deem the professor below her standards). This is assuming she attends the lecture, which for her (of course) is optional."
-Someone very powerful at the U of T.

I can't wait for next semester to instate these rules!

*I ruined it a bit and read the note out loud. I guess I was supposed to just yell that....but I felt terrible!

Tuesday, December 8

Leslie V: November 15, 1928 - December 1, 2009

My grandfather was the type of person who always gave of himself and never mentioned it to anyone. He raised 6 children with my grandmother in what must have been a very busy and very crowded house. They were go-with-the flow-type of people: they let their children bring home stray animals, let turtles live in the bathtub (the only bathtub for 8 people, I still haven't figured that one out), let hitchhikers tent on their lawn and draft-dodgers live at their camp when they needed a place to stay.

He lived his whole life in the North where he became a skilled fisherman and hunter. He and my father once took me fishing and we landed a good-sized pike. When we got to the shore and the fish was still suffering in the bottom of the boat he handed me his wooden club and told me to give it a good whack on the head. At the time I was mortified but I realized that the fish was going to die anyway, he just didn't want it to suffer. Grandpa Les was also a fantastic gardener. Just this summer I started the first garden of my very own and he always had great advice for me. (He told me to tie the leaves of my cauliflower plants around the head so that they would stay white; now you know too!). That was another great thing about him: he didn't hoard his talents or knowledge but shared it with his children and grandchildren. At work he was recognized as an expert at splicing rope and cable in the mines and his hard work kept the other miners safe.

One of the greatest things I will remember about grandpa is the way that he loved his wife and how he cared for her for the 12 years that she was sick. As my grandmother slowly lost the use of her body he worked tirelessly to ensure that she retained a high quality of life. They would do exercises together everyday to keep up her strength. The family got a special chair so that she could go outside where they both loved to be.

This past Saturday I had the honour of helping to carry the casket of this truly good man.

Sunday, December 6

My grandfather died on Tuesday. It was unexpected. He was a very good man and I have something in the works about who he was to be posted later. The funeral was this Wawa. When you don't go there very often you start to forget how hard winter hits. I remember now: 2 feet of snow in less than 2 days.

Thursday: took the Go-train to Georgetown. Sat in the corner on my suitcase and did homework on the way. Did you know that commuter trains have no baggage areas?
Drove with my aunt from Georgetown to Sudbury. (just over 5 hours).

Friday: Sudbury to Wawa. 6 hours in good weather. We hit a snowstorm half way there and chugged at 60km for the rest of the way.

Saturday: Woke up to a foot of fresh powder and closed highways. Some family had to get a police escort into town for the funeral. Funeral post-poned by an hour.
10:20 pm: leave Wawa for the Soo. Hit white out approx 50 km from home. At times we couldn't see the sides of the road to know that we were still on it. Big props to cousin Greg for his mad driving skills.

Sunday: The Soo to Toronto. 8.5 hours. Parry Sound to Sudbury we had 10 feet of visibility, slushy roads and wind.

Total distance logged: 2100km.

I will be using just my feet for transportation for a long while.