treating myself

mid-winter indulgence shopping

i admit it, i’ve been giving into small indulgences. some of the mid-winter sales are a bit hard to resist. above are my recent purchases. aside  from the travel mug, everything else was pretty much a steal.

note – i tend to go on for a very long time between shopping for myself unless they are truly things that i need. for example, last weekend, i finally went shopping for underwear at costco. 6 cotton, undies – $2 each! comfortable but no granny-panties. all pastel colours of pink, peach, yellow, baby blue, etc. why pastel? i am a woman that tends to wear a lot of black, grey and other neutral/earthy colours. i try to add splashes of colours into my wardrobe and while i’m succeeding at it, some colours i can only wear unseen underneath my clothes.

i’m sure you wanted to know that.

as i was saying about my underwear purchase, i had to. i really had to buckle down and get some underwear. i had a bunch from my drawer that i try to wear on weekends as they are too big, but it was getting ridiculous. when one walks, they should not feel their underwear moving in all sorts of directions. when one stands up from bending over or sitting, one should not need to always hitch their underwear back up. when one changes out of pants, the underwear should not come off with the said pair of pants. underwear needs to be comfortable, yes, but it also needs to be functional. and my old pairs of underwear, perhaps 2 sizes too large, were not functional anymore.

that was definitely a tangent to what i meant to post, but there you have it. that is my underwear story.

anyway, the above purchases were:

  1. Aqua Finley Leather Journal
    • my therapist agreed that i should keep a journal. my friend, ada, gave me the idea about making sure i purchase a journal that feels right to me. not only did i love the colour, which reminds me of some of the aqua-blue colours of the ocean during our cruise, but the texture feels good in my hands.
  2. Starbucks Double Wall Faceted Mug
    • go team canada! i couldn’t resist the red and white colours – totally fitting to the olympic spirit during the sochi winter games. i have a larger, more durable travel mug with a handle. but sometimes, if i’m going to the library or needing a cup of hot beverage to take in the car with me, i just want a simple, small tumbler. and the weight of the ceramic feels good to hold.
  3. Women’s Old Navy Active 1/4-Zip Jackets
    • once in awhile, it is a bit cold in the basement or fitness studio during one of my yoga practices. i had talked about getting an active, long sleeve layer with holes in the sleeve for my thumbs. that way, i can wear it as an outer layer to shed once my body warms up. it would also be great as an inner layer for snowboarding. the thing is that even a cheaper brand costs $30. old navy had a sale plus an additional 30% off so in the end, i bought this for $12! TWELVE DOLLARS! i should have bought one in every colour at that price.
  4. Women’s Heart-Icon Hoodies
    • perhaps to continue with the team canada’s olympic spirit but more because i wanted a white hoodie and i wanted something with a heart on it. i don’t tend to have things that are ‘girly’ like that so this is reaching out a bit from my comfort zone. the price made it easier to go ahead with the purchase.
  5. Blue Marble Leather Journal
    • another leather journal ready and in place once the aqua-blue one is filled. same reason as to why i bought the other journal – i loved the look and feel to this one as well. i couldn’t decide between the two but as they were both on the clearance rack, i decided to get both.

finding joy, not order

i simply love this post from dooce:

I was recently having a conversation with a friend about the things in my life that make me joyous in an effort to experience more of that emotion in my life. She was very specific to point out that my anxiety likes to confuse feelings of joy with feelings of safety, and for me to really dig deep and make the distinction. That’s the really shitty thing about anxiety, it can take the kid inside you who used to marvel at rainbows and dance around in public and tell her that there is way too much to worry about to ever feel like that again. continue reading…

she goes on about how she finds joy in daily things such as exercising, diet, organizing… but in the end, all those things she listed were really just relief from the order it gave her life.

i am, as i am discovering, the exact same way. i suppose on some level, i really do enjoy some aspects of my workout… such as yoga. it gives me joy simply because when i am doing yoga, my body feels so alive and, well, loved. i’m giving many moments during my yoga practice to be kind to my body. and therefore, show myself how much i do love the inner me.

and while i think a lot of other things i do in my fitness regime is fun, the bottom line is that i like the order it creates in my daily grind. it’s a way to control something… in this case, it’s having some control over my body.

she also goes on to explain how one true joy is the laughter of her children – and i couldn’t agree more. and so, one way she finds joy in her everyday life is to add some level of silliness with her children.

this brought me back to our last trip to disney world.

to be honest, the exact moment and location escapes me. but basically, doug, chaeli and i were sitting at some restaurant within one of the theme parks, talking about what we planned to do that day. i believe we had plans to head into epcot and how we would make sure to drop by and see crush the talking turtle. (and yes, he talks to the kids in the audience, this animated turtle on a screen that looks like you’re looking into an aquarium, in real time – apparently, it uses digital-puppetry.)

doug and i both started to talk like crush the turtle and this set chaeli into fits of giggles. sure, people were probably walking by, thinking we were nuts. then again, this was disney. people who go to disney and love disney and want to wrap themselves in all-things-disney GET it. no need to explain. “see those people? they get being here. they’re happy. why wouldn’t they be talking like crush the turtle?”

i look back in my ten years and honestly, it’s like i’ve forgotten how to just be in that moment where i find joy. and it’s always over the small stuff. it’s not like a big production is needed. at all.

dooce is right. anxiety really does take the kid out of a person.

and it’s times like these that i realize that the best teacher to teach me about how to have that type of fun again… is my own kid.

dreaming of someplace else

st kitts beach vancouver

st. kitts beach, vancouver

i had my 3rd blood test today within the four months of learning i have diabetes type 2. as usual, i got there around 7:30am – half an hour before the lab opens for business. i learned long ago not to be even five minutes past this time. it’s the only way to ensure that i’m one of the first 3 people, and therefore, the only way to ensure little waiting time. by quarter-to, the line-up was standing people were already down the hall and arround the corner where the elevators were located.

i had folded up my old, long black coat into a cushion to sit on. i had my book, friendship, hateship, courtship, loveship, marriage by alice munro with me to help pass time.

being first in line, i was received into the room almost right away. the tiny room that seemed more like stalls as each person was instructed to go in and wait. with no food in our stomachs and worse, no coffee, most of the patients there were weary-eyed and tired. maybe a little weak, too.

i felt fine, though. fasting for 12 hours is nothing to me. in fact, i was only starting to feel a little hungry before entering the waiting area.

and so the process begins. an elastic band is tied tightly around my lower bicep area. i make a fist as the technician taps around for my vein. you have small veins, is the usual comment. yes, i know. it’s one of the things i worry about as i get older and maybe one day, will require an IV for a lengthy period of time. and the nurses will comment again about how my veins are too small and that there might be a problem.

but she finally finds one to tap into. after a slight prick, i watch as my blood flows down a tube into the three separate vials. my blood is flowing slower today. much slower and i’m not sure what to make of it. a mental note, perhaps, to ask my doctor when i visit him about my results.

afterwards, i find a tim hortons close by. believe me, i would have rather have found a starbucks. but it wasn’t so much as filling my empty stomach as it was to find a place for me to have my breakfast so i can also take my meds. meds must be accompanied by food.

as usual, it’s not always easy for me to order at a fast food place while being mindful of my diabetic lifestyle. thankfully, they have egg white and turkey sausage now. only, i asked the tim hortons’ employee, would it be possible to get the egg white and turkey sausage on the multi-grain flat bread they use for the panini breakfast sandwich.

i have not yet mastered how to ask for this specific order without causing confusion. it’s not confusing, really, but for whatever reason, anytime i go to tim hortons to make a request regarding the bread type for my breakfast sandwich, i end up having to wait for the employee to go to their supervisor/manager. as they are not sure if this request is allowed. or how to enter it on the cash register.

but it’s always allowed.

one time, i had such great difficulties asking for this request that i waited a very long time as the supervisor was busy. the cashier next to me, while i was waiting, put in the exact order for the gentleman beside me.

*sigh* it should be easier than this.

alas, i found myself a stool by the window where i could look out at the cold, winter scenery. the sandwich, even with all the trouble it took to receive it, was good. and while the coffee tasted like the usual water-down coffee tim hortons is famous for, the warmth served its purpose.

as i looked out onto the snow, i was suddenly reminded of our time spent in vancouver a couple of summers ago. i remember how being there for only several days, i felt completely like it was home to me. in an instant i felt a strong nostalgic pull towards all the wonderful memories made on that trip.

i miss the food, the people, the sights and sound. i miss the culture and the lifestyle. i miss being just a walk away from the beach one direction, granville island another direction, and just steps away from the city bus which took us downtown (a mere 10-15 minutes ride compared the 45-60min commute i would need to head to the heart of the city here in toronto).

perhaps i also miss how simple life was just two years ago. i didn’t know it at the time, but compared to so much that’s going on now, those were definitely simpler times.

boxing day 2013 – shy’s loot

[this is part III of my post-christmas posts - first post can be found here and second one here]

christmas always comes too fast – this year, with the cruise kick-starting the month of december, we didn’t have as much time to do things like baking and getting our tree up earlier. which meant less time, also, sitting around the tree. it was, i think doug, chaeli and i all agreed, something we missed.

and i’m sure hobbes didn’t like not being with us for an entire week. he was pretty insecure for about a week after we came back.

we’re trying our best to stretch out the holidays as much as we can. yesterday, was just a day of reading, playing board games and watching movies. but i asked doug if we could just quickly gather some non-perishable food items and make a quick pit-stop at a near-by community centre which red cross was using as a relief station for those who are still without power (now going on day 5).

it was the least we could do. while we have been blessed so far with hydro, just no land-line for our phone (no big deal – we still have our cell phones), there’s a lot of people who not only don’t have power but can’t afford to stay in a hotel or go out to eat everyday. they may also have no family within driving distance where they can at least seek refuge for the tim being.

i am praying this will all be over soon for these people.

here’s a sampling of my christmas 2013 loot:

christmas presents

shy’s 2013 loot

  1. Metric – Synthetica
  2. Orson Scott Card – Ender’s Game series
  3. Yoga straps
  4. Cosby Show Season 5 and 6
  5. Cheese knife set
  6. Wye Oak – Civilian
  7. Jerk marinade
  8. Yoga Journal – 1 year subscription renewed

the art of cruise dining

princess cruise formal night

our first formal night

during our 7-day southern caribbean cruise, the highlight for me, as is with any of the cruises i’ve been on with princess, is the attention to detail the waiters and assistant waiters will surpass to make sure you are not just well fed, but very well served.

i have heard a lot of people who haven’t cruised complain about the dress code in the traditional dining rooms. and i have to say to them, “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!”

yes, it is a pure pain in the ass to pack for a cruise. especially if you have a family like mine… of course, chaeli is still too young to pack for herself but i had to go out and buy my husband a couple of more pairs of smart casual pants without the big pockets down the side (he owns a few pairs of cargo pants and shorts but no other types of pants when jeans are not allowed).

but when you get to the traditional dining rooms, it is all worth the trouble. to add, if you are planning on going in the near future, choose fixed dining. that’s the only way you get the same waiter and assistant waiter (and head waiter) night after night. yes, you do give up your flexibility to choose when you want to dine but in all honesty, it is the traditional way of cruising and it is what you pay for – the service!

open-style dining is what we’ve tried once and i’ll never go back to it. the service can not compare to what you get when you have the same team of professionals get to know you.

by the third night, chaeli’s glass of milk was already waiting for her when she arrived. the assistant waiter didn’t have to ask how i take my coffee. they always knew to put my balsamic dressing on the side. these are the things they look out for – these are the things they are trained to do.

before you think that this sounds all so elitist, let me assure you, these people were never ‘our servants’. i never saw them that way. i saw them as professionals who knew how to serve. there’s a big difference. they show great attitude and complete pride with how they do their job.

it was a form of art.

doug commented, “she even knows how much room you need for cream in your coffee.”

i responded quite quickly, “yes, she does. after only a couple of nights, too. you’ve known me for over ten years and you still leave no room in my coffee!”

and as far as dressing in nicer clothes (as well as the two formal nights where all were dressed to the nines), while it sounds like an ordeal, the experience is something to try out. it may not be for everyone but for those who have not experienced it, try not to scoff at the idea. in the end, you might be surprised how much fun it is.

to add, our stateroom steward was equally, if not more, attentive. i have only the utmost respect for these people. their jobs are not easy but they make it look easy.

at the end of the week, on top of their daily tips, i gave each of the three main people an extra tip as well as a written reccommendation for them to get the employee of the month status (and just positive feedback for the records). if they reach a certain amount of recommendations, they receive extra time off.

and it is time off that they deserve.