Sunday, April 26, 2009

I was talking with my sister on the phone when my niece asked her to hang up so they could play hide and seek. My sister didn't want to hang up, so my niece suggested that I play with them.

I was on the cordless phone (which has a speakerphone). She carried me with her, and I played hide and go seek over the phone. I wasn't much good at either hiding and seeking, and I was told that I whispered too loudly, but she seemed to have fun.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood

I got up this morning and went to get some things done. I got dressed (jeans, t-shirt, jacket) and went outside ... to discover that summer arrived overnight. It's sunny and humid today, so I was way overdressed.

(By the way, one of the errands I got done is renewing my car registration, so that is taken care of).

I had intended to update last night to tell you about my boxing class, but apparently I have the memory of ... something that doesn't have much memory, so I forgot.

Anyway, back to boxing.

I've talked about boxing many times before. As I've mentioned, usually a class consist of 12 stations and a couple of punch-outs. There are a few weeks that are different, usually towards the end of the session. Last night was week 8 of 8.

A punch-out consists of 2 or 3 people on a bag, taking turns punching and switching every 10-20 seconds. They are usually for speed (i.e. in & out 20 times in 20 seconds) or power (i.e. in & out 12 times in 20 seconds, but hitting harder).

During the last session, week 8 consisted of 8 punch-outs in a row, then 8 stations in a row. It was very challenging.

Yesterday was a split circuit. In a split circuit week, you usually do a punch-out, 6 stations, 2 punch-outs, the other 6 stations, and then a punch-out, It's a bit different, but not too hard.

Last night, we started with a punch-out. After that, we split into 2 groups. Each group did 6 stations. (One station was shadow boxing using 5 pound dumbells, which is crazy hard.) After 6 stations, we did a punch-out, then we traded sides to do the other 6 stations. At the end, there was another punch-out ... followed by "OK guys, switch sides again, time for another 6 stations".

One of my classmates is in the Monday class as well. Her comment was "I almost cried on Monday".

After our final 6 stations, we did one last punch-out, for a total of 1+6+1+6+1+6+1 = 22 2-minute stations.

We do 24 stations one class each session, but the difference with this one is that we didn't know we would be doing the extra station.

I was lucky, though, because I only had to do the shadow boxing station once. It was hard enough the first time, I don't know if I would have been able to do it twice.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I did some new things on the weekend, but I don't remember what they are

A few years ago (OK, probably 10 years ago), Ontario passed a law requiring all cars more than a certain number of years old (3?) to have an emissions test before the province will renew their registration. They send you the reminder a couple of months in advance - I think I got mine in February - but I believe you have to pass the emissions test within 30 days of your renewal.

Today I took my car in to get the emissions test done (along with a few other things, like the fact that pressing the button for windshield washer fluid was ... pretty much futile).

Anyway, I got moving early this morning. I didn't get up any earlier, I just was more focused on getting out the door. I put my gym bag in the trunk, my laptop and purse on the front seat, and then went to drop off the car. When I got there, I grabbed my laptop and purse, gave them the keys, and got a ride in to work. I got there at 8:15, which meant I was the first one in. I had to unlock both sides of the building.

This afternoon, they called to tell me that they had figured out what needed fixing, but that they needed to get parts - did I need the car tonight?

I originally said that I did need the car, but then I started to think about it. I had nothing going on tonight that I specifically needed the car for (other than going to the gym, home, and then back to work tomorrow). I would need to get a ride to the garage to pick up my car ... and then go through the whole process again in a couple of days when they had the parts.

Instead, I could go to the gym, then take the bus home & back to work in the morning, leaving them the car until they got the parts tomorrow.

It took me a while to realize my gym bag (with my runners, gym clothes, and gym membership card) was still in the trunk of the car.

Oh well, that's a good excuse to skip going to the gym, right?

I called them back to say they could keep the car overnight, and they had managed to get the parts in. My car would be ready to pick up by 5.

Normally, my Monday gym class starts at 5 at the gym beside my office. I wasn't going to be able to make that class. (Plus, you may recall, I had already resigned myself to skipping the gym today anyway.) However, if I felt really, really motivated, the gym I go to on Wednesdays had a class starting at 5:30. Of course, that depended on picking up the car promptly at 5.

One of my co-workers gave me a ride to the garage, and I was out of there by 5:05. I couldn't justify skipping the class, so I headed towards the gym.

When I was halfway there, I remembered that this is new release week. Four times a year my gym releases new music & choreography for their exercise classes. During release week, selected classes preview the new routines (usually with multiple instructors taking turns). You have to sign up for the release classes. The next week, all classes do the new routines. The four release weeks are the only times you have to sign up for classes in advance. They aren't usually too picky about it, but it could depend on how many people show up.

I got to the gym and, yes, the class I was planning to attend was a new release class. However, luckily only 2 people had signed up (because last Monday was a holiday, and thus the class was cancelled).

The point of this story? I went to the gym today.

(Also, if someone could remind me to renew my car registration before the end of next week, I would appreciate it.)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Many, many excuses

Today is an amazing day.

You may remember last year - before October - I used to go to a Body Combat class on Thursdays, then eat, try to fit in a quick new thing, and then go to boxing later in the evening.

This stopped in September when my 6 p.m. class moved to 7 p.m.

Back in January, I stopped boxing on Thursday nights and started boxing on Fridays. I planned to start going to my class again.

However, there was:
- the bus strike
- a job hunting meeting
- a cold
- March break (this was grasping at straws, excuse-wise)
- the flu
- grocery shopping for camp
- whatever weird illness I had last Thursday

As a result, I made it back to class tonight, only 3.5 months later. It was really, really good to be back.

Because I've been sick so much, I haven't hit many combat classes at all this year. I noticed yesterday that there was so much tension in my back/shoulders that it hurt to move. (This is not usually a problem, but I haven't been to boxing in a month.) I went to my weight lifting class yesterday, which took care of some of the tension, but it took this class to really get rid of it.

Here's hoping I stay healthy for a while.

Changing the subject (which I can do, 'cause it's my blog), Sydney was asking how hard it is to make croissants. The answer is that it's quite easy, as long as using yeast doesn't scare you - but that's my opinion, it depends on how familiar you are with baking bread. Also, I made a group of 5 & 6 year olds make their own pizza dough a couple of weeks ago, so it's possible that my love for fresh bread products blinds me to the craziness of making the bread products.

Here's the recipe:
1 tbsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 egg yolks
1 cup lukewarm milk
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/3 cups flour
1 cup butter (do not substitute)

Sprinkle the yeast into the warm water and let stand 10 minutes (until it starts to grow). Separate your eggs, saving the whites in a sealed container for tomorrow. Beat the egg yolks, stir in the warm milk, sugar, salt, yeast mixture, and 2/3 cup flour. Beat until smooth and set aside.

In another bowl, use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the remaining flour. The goal here (and the reason for using a pastry blender) is to get the butter into pieces about pea-sized. Pour in the yeast mixutre and mix slightly with spatula just until the flour is moistened. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or foil (or, you know, put on the lid if you have a bowl with a lid). Chill at least 2 hours or until cold (up to 3 days). I usually make it the day before and let it chill overnight, 'cause I want them for breakfast.

When you are ready to bake them, turn out your mixture onto a floured board and knead lightly. Here your goal is to mix in the flour and make sure the whole thing is basically evenly moist (i.e. you don't want part of the dough really sticky and part a pile of flour). Flour on your hands works wonders here.

Divide the ball of dough into 3 parts. Roll each piece into a circle about 16 inches. (Again, flour the rolling pin). Cut the circle into 12 pie wedges. Starting at the widest part of each wedge, roll it up. Place the rolls point down on baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise at room temperature until double in size. (I'm not this patient. They're lucky if they get to rise much at all.)

Remember the egg white from yesterday? Take it out of the fridge and beat it until it's frothy. Brush the beaten egg white on each croissant.

Bake at 375 F oven for 20 minutes or until brown.

These will likely be much smaller than croissants you would get in a supermarket (especially if, like me, you're impatient waiting around for them to rise). They will, however, be much tastier.

Note that (in case the cup of butter didn't clue you in), these are very rich and are by no means health food.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Guess what?

My Easter sunday started with a long distance phone call at 8:15. It was my niece. ("Guess what the Easter bunny brought me?") Sadly for everyone else in her house, it was 6:15 there. She was a little excited.

After that, I got up to cook the traditional Easter croissants (to go with fruit salad for breakfast). When I lived with my parents, that was what we had on Easter morning, and I continued the tradition after I moved here. A couple of years ago I went back for Easter ('cause I was unemployed and had time to spare), and ... they were surprised about the croissants. They don't do that anymore.

After last year's fiasco, we had gone to the Easter vigil on Saturday night, so there was no church on the Sunday, so it was a lazy day.

In the afternoon, I made a banana cream pie. Sadly, there was so much food that we didn't actually eat it. I should have some now.

Generally, it was a lazy day and a very relaxing weekend.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My day today

I woke up this morning around 7. I don't usually rush to get up on Saturdays, but around 7:15 I remembered it is garbage day today (since yesterday was a holiday). Four seconds later I was out of bed on my way to take out the garbage.

After that, I went out to run a couple of errands. I had some stuff to pick up at Rona, so I made a list and packed my old paint in the car, and I took back paint to Rona for recycling. I've repainted since I moved in, and the old paint was still sitting in my basement. I'm glad there was somewhere I could take it.

After that, I went to the grocery store. I got there around 8:30. Now, the thing about Ottawa on Easter weekend is that, well, everyone is in a panic. You see, the stores are closed Friday and Sunday. When I got there at 8:30, the store was busy. Very busy. It took me an hour to get my groceries and get back to the car.

The other thing about this particular store is that it has those annoying carts - you know, the kind that lock if you take them off the parking lot? I understand they don't want them walking away, but I parked off to the side of the store, which is outside the carts' range. I was a little concerned, because I had bought a lot of (heavy) groceries, and I wasn't sure I'd be able to carry them all. However, I was lucky, because my cart was broken! That sounds like a bad thing, but in this case the only thing that was broken was the demobilizer that would have stopped me from taking the cart to my car. I went to my car, unloaded, and then brought the cart back - partly to be nice, and partly to stop them from realizing that the cart was broken. It might come in handy again some day.

On an unrelated topic, yesterday I really wanted broccoli salad. I knew I had had it before, but I couldn't remember where (or who I should be getting the recipe from). After a couple of hours, it occurred to me that I had the salad at Christmas. It's my mom's recipe! I called her, and she suckered my sister into e-mailing the recipe to me. I made the salad this afternoon.

For those who are interested, here's the recipe. We had it as written at Christmas, but today I substituted plain yogurt cheese for the mayonaise. I should know tomorrow whether it's as addictive this way. (Also, it turns out the this broccoli salad has cauliflower in it as well ... but I didn't remember that at all.)

1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets (about 7.5 cups)
1 medium bunch broccoli, cut into florets (about 4 cups)
2 cups seedless red grapes
6 green onions with tops, sliced
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp vinegar
1/2 to 1 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
leaf lettuce
additional red grapes, optional

In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, broccoli, grapes, onions, and mozzarella cheese. Combine the mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, sugar, and vinegar; pour over vegetable mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Just before serving, stir in bacon. Transfer to a lettuce lined bowl. Garnish with grapes if desired. YIELD: 15-20 servings.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Cooking & cleaning

I'm happy to say that I'm feeling much better today. I had a very productive day cleaning. I also did my first pass at my income tax. I always enter my info once, leave it for a few days, then go back and verify that I have entered everything correctly. Often I find silly mistakes this way. I've got a little over 2 weeks to go back and do my second pass and submit it to CRA.

This evening I finally got around to watching some of the depression cooking videos on YouTube. They are done by a 93-year-old woman who lived through the Great Depression. She shares recipes that they made. I had seen people talking about them a few weeks ago, but hadn't checked them out myself. Today I finally got there.

(Did you notice I figured out how to embed a video?)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

And ... I'm sick again

I'm starting to think I will catch any minor illness from anyone who is sick within 100 miles. Yes, I'm sick again. This one isn't a cold - it's something digestive. (I will spare you the details.)

Anyway, when I woke up I realized that going in to work wasn't a good idea, but I hadn't brought my laptop home last night. Anyway, I got up and went in to work simply to get my laptop. I walked in, got my laptop, chatted with one of my co-workers briefly, and then walked out. The people standing in the lobby remarked on how quickly I was in and out. I told them I am so efficient I can do a day's work in minutes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Not much to say

Well, today I went back to the gym again. I actually wasn't too sore after Monday's class - a twinge here or there, but nothing much. Today I started working my way back up to the weights I was using before I got sick. (You wouldn't thing being sick for 2 weeks would have much impact, but you would be wrong.) One of the frustrating things about the many minor illnesses I've had this year is that I keep missing whole weeks of going to the gym. Hopefully I will feel well for a while.

In other news, the long weekend is fast approaching. One more day of work before having Friday off. I'm very much looking forward to it. Also, chocolate is fast approaching, and that's always good.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I almost forgot to update again today, but I remembered seconds before turning off the laptop. Writing something every day is much easier when I have something (like a new thing) to focus on.

Tuesday means Sparks. Tonight we made face cloth rabbits. It went well, but required me to know how to tie bows. I've never made the chick before. In fact, I didn't know it existed until I was looking for a picture to explain what on earth I was talking about. I might have to try those sometime.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Let's pretend

I'm writing this on Tuesday, but let's pretend it's still Monday, shall we? (I completely forgot to update.)

As I was walking in to work this morning, a few snowflakes drifted down. I expected that to be the last of it, but within an hour the entire world was white. It warmed up later, and by the time I left work it was mostly gone.

After work, I went back to the gym for the first time since I got sick. I normally do 2 classes on Mondays, but I decided I shouldn't push myself, so I only stayed for the first class. It was the weight lifting class, so I will be sore tomorrow. Expect much whining.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Back from camp

Camp went very well. It was tiring (as usual), but fun. The parents were a great help - I made a big mess yesterday (we made our own pizza dough) and I didn't have to clean it up. Wonderful.

It rained much of yesterday, but we still did a treasure hunt in the rain. The girls loved it. One of the clues told them to go on the path until they found a bridge. They saw some (wet, rotted) logs across the ditch, and were going to go across them. I got them to wait and see if there was a real bridge later - and when we got to it, they were afraid to get across. Wet, rotten logs are one thing, but asking them to walk across a solid bridge was too much.:)

We also went outside for our campfire last night. It was actually snowing at the time. It was much more pleasant than it sounds. Everyone was dressed for the weather, and it wasn't that cold out.

This morning we cleaned up. We were finished early - so all of the girls went home before our official end of camp. It was great. Normally we wouldn't be able to do that - but since the mothers were there, we didn't have to wait for them to arrive. It was great. I was home, showered, and unpacked by 1:15.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

It's off to camp we go

Well, today is the day. I'm off to Sparks camp. It's a mother-daughter camp, which is different from anything I've done before. We're going to be pirates. We have a treasure hunt, scavenger hunt, and many games planned. I hope it doesn't rain all weekend.

Have a good weekend everyone - even those of you who are didn't get up at 6:30 this morning. :)

Friday, April 3, 2009

They wake you up at 7, and they sleep in 'til 9

I actually made it in to work today. This has been a busy - but productive -week. After wrok I met some friends for supper, then it was home to pack. I'm off to camp tomorrow. I think I have packed everything I own. Not literally, of course, but I have packed a lot of stuff.

I've been a leader at camp many times, and yet everytime it takes me longer to pack than I expect. I am finally packed now, which is good, because we're leaving at 7:30 tomorrow.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The best laid plans

I think I've mentioned that I had an agreement with my manager that I would work from home Tuesdays and Thursdays until I felt better. I know I mentioned yesterday that the exhaustion is gone, and I'm feeling better. I was intending to go in to work today.

I got ready, put on my jacket, put on my shoes, picked up my laptop bag, reached for my keys, and ... they weren't in my pocket. I looked on the bench inside the front door. They weren't there. I checked the end table. Still no keys. Eventually I reached the conclusion that Wanda (who was the last one to use the car) had taken them to work with her. The end result? I worked from home today.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I worked from work today. It was very frustrating, because I had sporadic, reoccurring network problems. I was always able to reach the development servers, but was not always to reach the internet or our mail server. In order to fix the internet/mail problem, I had to disconnect and reconnect the ethernet cable - which dropped me from the development servers.

The good news is that I'm finally starting to feel better. I'm not completely better - I'm still coughing - but I'm not nearly as exhausted as I was. This is wonderful news. I'm going to continue taking it easy for the rest of the week, since I have to be ready for camp on Saturday. Hopefully next week I'll be back to normal./