ten books no. 3 (new years 2014 resolutions)

[on-going documentation of new year’s 2014 resolutions - sub-section under ten books]

The Secret GardenYeesh. I know. It’s June – we’re nearing the halfway mark of the year and I’ve only completed three of my ten books as part of my new year’s  resolutions.

I’m not giving up, though. Even though the chances of reading all ten books might not be the result at the end of 2014. Still, I’ll keep going and try to read as much as I can.

I actually finished The Secret Garden over a month ago and have since been having trouble deciding what to read next. I think I’ve started three or four different books only to change my mind not even halfway through the first chapter.

What can I say – I’m busy these days. And when I’m not busy, I’m restless because I’m so use to being busy.

The Secret Garden is a children’s classic – one which Chaeli’s grade 4 class is reading for the 2nd half of their school year. At first, I thought I would read the same book in case she had any difficulties with whatever concepts were being discussed in her class. It turns out, she doesn’t need my help but we have had a chance to have some discussions surrounding the main themes of this book.

I will say this, this is a delightful piece of literature. And as a parent, it graces so many areas of concern when we raise our children and as to what type of person they develop into.

Topics of what happens to a spoiled child when they are faced with sudden hardships, how adapting to change is key to survival, trust and friendships, respect for others, developing a certain level of “toughness” (while maintaining a compassionate heart)… these are things I’ve talked to Chaeli about thanks to reading The Secret Garden.

Okay – so now that I’ve blogged about book 3, I need to get serious about reading book 4. I’m drawn back to Haruki Murakami as I do at the beginning of every summer.

Randomnous updates and tidbits…

  • I watched X-Men – Days of Future Past last Wednesday and this past Saturday. The first was with Tai and RV, the 2nd time was with my family. I must say, I enjoyed it just as much the 2nd time if not more. And as with all X-Men movies, I was able to catch things I didn’t see the first time around. Some of if, though, you need to be a bit of a comic geek to catch.
  • Pedicures. I know I’ve said this before, but I am such a late bloomer when it comes to pedicures. With only my second time getting it ever, I’m definitely hooked. I’m already trying to decide on my next location to get another appointment in as sandal season is amongst us. What I love most about it other than the pampering? How good my feet look on the yoga mat. I know, vanity while doing yoga is not allowed – even if it’s just about the feet.
  • Work has been taking over much of my free time (which is partly why I blog about 3 times less than I use to). I realized, just the other night, there’s one thing missing that had been helping me escape a bit during all this stress. My TV shows! With the end of the season with all my favourite shows, I don’t have anything to follow-up with. I even finished the Netflix exclusive, From Dusk Till Dawn (not the moviie version). Not bad – great if you are just interested in watching some violent drama and you really don’t care where the story takes you.

newly acquired possessions (i.e. more shopping)

forever 21 skirts and jewellery

images from canada.forever21.com

I hate shopping. In a mall.

But online shopping? The comforts of picking out my clothes and accessories while in my pj’s while sipping coffee BEFORE the malls open is my guilty pleasure. Not having to deal with parking and crowds is a huge bonus.

I recently had discovered Forever 21 the last time I did go shopping at a mall. It was the first time I went into this store and was just in heaven after discovering their line of fashion jewellery – all at a reasonable price especially as they had a sale that day.

I’ve really been attracted to the asymmetrical look as well as delicate flowers to accent one’s outfit. The above is a sample of what is setting the softer look for my spring/summer wardrobe.

Mind you, the hem of the inner layer part of the skirts are a couple of inches lower on me. The models for each article of clothing is described as far as their height and measurements (and what size they are wearing) to give the shopper a better understanding of what they are about to buy. Most models are around the 6′ mark. So while the skirts look short, on an average woman like me, they are quite the right length and fit for office wear.

I suppose that’s why I never gave Forever 21 a chance – all their skirts look really short and most clothes are meant for younger people (hence ’21’ in the name). I’ve discovered though that there are collections one can find even for my age (41 and counting) if worn with some thing else and accessorized appropriately.

Thus far, I’ve worn all the jewellery and the one cream-coloured skirt. All have received positive comments. Looking forward to wearing the red one with my peek-toe, black booties!

Easter weekend 2014 (and checking in)

I feel like I’ve been neglecting my space here. And I miss it. I miss it very much.

Time is difficult to find these days – or I should say, making time is difficult these days. I’m up at 5:15am to workout, off to work long and sometimes very intensely busy days (more days than not), back home for the after work/after school daily grind and then, hoping, to be in bed by 10pm. Though most nights, I could easily fall asleep at 9pm.

But how am I, one might wonder?

I’m doing fine. I wouldn’t say I’m filled with constant happiness. But I do check in with myself once in awhile. I’m actually not use to be going on for this long without suicidal thoughts and sometimes wonder if all those dark days of are of the past.

Are they? Or are they just lying dormant? It’s difficult to say. I suppose, I’m being cautiously optimistic. I’m partly being hopeful that the worst is all behind me. But realistic that I’m not cured, by any sense – just that I’m able to, perhaps, manage all this.

A part of me wishes that I could steer onwards with a heart full of hope and charity. Another part of me realizes this is not completely realistic. Not to say that I am without hope or faith – I do continue to strive for a full heart. But sometimes, a certain level of being guarded is part of survival of this world we live in.

It’s knowing who to trust and who needs more time to be trusted (rather than jumping to the conclusion of who not to trust). The latter usually requires much more space and distance – at least at the beginning of whatever relationship I may or may not have with that person.

Anyway, we had a beautiful but busy long Easter weekend, full of egg colouring, food prepping and dinner hosting, seeing Captain America – The Winter Soldier, an egg hunt, a bike ride and walk under the sun, pub wings and some organizing/cleaning in between everything.

leg of lamb with prosciutto

image courtesy of taste.com.au

Our traditional Easter dinner menu for my family:

  1. Spinach, Egg and Bacon Salad
  2. Smoked Trout
  3. Roasted Lamb with Sage and Prosciutto
  4. Spaghetti Squash Casserole
  5. Roasted Asparagus
  6. Applesauce Cake*
    • Modified ingredients:
      • 1/2 cup coconut flour
        1 teaspoon baking powder
        1/2 teaspoon baking soda
        3 teaspoons cinnamon
        1/2 teaspoon ginger
        1/2 cup reduced-calorie margarine
        2 whole eggs
        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        1/3 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
        1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

* The dessert was modified (and I’m still working on perfecting the modifications) to make it diabetic friendly. The original recipe asked for 1/4 molasses (pure sugar) and 1 cup Splenda. I normally reduce the sugar by 1/2 or 2/3rds anyway. As I’m not big on the artifical sweet taste, I’m working on reducing the Splenda but will also look into natural agave to substitute the sweetness. The unsweetened applesauce already has enough natural sweetness to it, though. And coconut flour, which has a higher absorbancy over regular flour, is much lower on the carb count and glycemic index. It’s nutritional value is higher as well.The above recipe is gluten-free – just make sure the baking powder and soda have no additives that would be problematic for those who have certain food intolerance.