Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wonderful Weather for a Sleigh Ride Together

I'm back home in Mississauga after a whirlwind voyage home that consisted of:

A delightful dinner at Pizza Delight with Alex and my Grandparents
A night in Sackville watching a Man Versus Food Marathon
A 12 hour solo drive from New Brunswick to Ottawa
A fabulous weekend in Ottawa to visit Geoff, experience TJ's famous Vitamix ice cream and to see him and Lauren and their new place downtown
And then finally the 5 hour drive home.

Being home is lovely after being away so long. Unfortunately, no one else is home yet so I've been a tad bored out of my mind here. Since I got home on Monday night I've finished the 3rd season of True Blood (I had seen the first 4 episodes already), finished my Christmas shopping (and bought way to much!) and put up the Christmas tree and all the household decorations except for those in the elusive missing box. My sister and Geoff get home tomorrow which is super exciting since it means I'll have friends again!

I've also been training with the Mississauga Canoe Club which has been really really fun! I've missed that place! Tonight we did a 6 km run test. I had butterflies all day just thinking about it! I haven't done much running at all. A treadmill run here or there but that's about it since early June before I left for Kenya. And even then, I was running 6 km pretty consistently but without a watch and not trying very hard. Just running to run and enjoy it (at least TRY to enjoy it!) Anyways, I was really nervous for this run, even though it wasn't really even testing for me, no one cares how fast I can run 6km except for myself. All the other girls running happen to be in high school still, and are kids I coached back when I was in high school myself. I decided that it would be embarrassing if any of them beat me even though they actually train twice a day and have been running consistently since the fall. So I ran, and I ran hard, and I really really hurt when I finished. My time wasn't a personal best or even all that close to one, but I finished in 27 minutes and 55 seconds, ahead of all the other girls. It's a little bit pathetic that beating these high school kids concerns me, but in the end I got a run with a good effort out of it so it's all good I suppose.

Way back in the fall, my professor who accompanied us to Kenya found out about a new internationalization initiative that UPEI was working on. The school accepted applications for projects that would enhance the internationalization of the campus, and in turn, the winning applications would receive funding for the completion of these projects. My prof submitted an application to have Christina and I return to Kenya for three weeks in May with herself and the new nutrition students who would be spending the whole summer in Kenya, continuing the work on our research and projects we did last summer. we found on the the weekend that we were selected to receive funding!!!!

So I will be returning to Kenya in May for three whole weeks. I could not be happier! I want to live in Kenya forever, but getting a entirely funded three week trip is better than nothing and I am certainly not complaining. No details have been arranged yet, but our job while we are there is to help with the orientation of the new students, introduce them to our contacts, teach them what we learned last year and to help them adjust to life in Kenya.

I knew I would eventually get back to Kenya, I love it to much to think that I'd never be back, but I never thought I would I get a chance to go back to the exact same place and reconnect with the amazing people we met and worked with there. Not to mention we now get to go back and check up on all the schools to ensure they are working towards the goals we set with them and to talk with the community to see how our recommendations are being implemented.

We're actually going to get a white Christmas this year! It's been pleasantly snowing for the last few days so I'm loving life!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Exam Superstitions

The only problem with starting every day with advent calendar chocolate is that nothing tastes quite as good as the chocolate did for the rest of the day.

I've gotten really good at being distracted, distracting and at procrastinating this week. Here is a list of the best ways NOT to study!

1. Dear Blank Please Blank (Thanks a lot to Alex for showing me this gem)
2. Like a Little. UPEI's new online flirting site.
3. Nutrition Blog Network and the UPEI Twitter site. I've linked to these before, but I am addicted to it.
4. Facebook. No list would be complete without it!
5. E-mail. Obviously this needs to be checked every 3 minutes in case something really important has happened.
6. Youtube.
7.Cake Wrecks.
8. Any one of Perez Hilton's many sites....fitperez, cocoperez, perezhilton etc
9. Eating and cooking....mostly eating
10. Christmas music dance parties

I'm wondering how common it is for students to have superstitions going into exams. Lucky charms, lucky underwear, not shaving..etc. Bingo is a prime example, and not all that far from an exam atmosphere. You have people sitting at orderly tables filling a large room. Everyone is really concentrating on their own papers in front of them, you get yelled at if you're loud, there is always that one person coughing or sniffling the whole time and who is conveniently seated beside you every time, and you always leave feeling like you had just wasted your time and money since you didn't win anything (or do well on the exam). Bingo go-ers always have favorite dabbers, trolls and various ornaments covering their tables for good luck. I wonder what would happen if I walking into my exam, sat down and promptly began arranging a myriad of items out in front of me for good luck.

I don't have any lucky charms, but I do have this irrational thought that if I happen to use the same pen for all my studying, then maybe perhaps if I write my exam with that same pen, it will remember answers for me, or spark some visualization of me writing my notes with that pen and as a result remind me of the answers. I don't actually believe this enough to freak out if I can't use the same pen for my exam as I did for studying, but I do make a conscious decision to use said pen if I have it in my bag. I am currently using a black, blue inked pen that I sniped from a Delta hotel at some point in the last year. Nothing fancy, but for some reason my writing is a lot nicer when I use it.

I should have added blogging to the above list of ways to procrastinate hours before an exam....
wish me luck!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

Last Friday I went to a hot yoga class at Moksha. I can't remember if it was 60 or 75 minutes, but it was no different then any of the other classes at Moksha that I've done. The exception of course, is that I absolutely and completely sucked at this class. I had no balance, I couldn't hold the poses, I could barely even do savasana right. My brain wouldn't stop jabbering away and reminding my muscles how tired they were. Needless to say, I left class grumpy and much less relaxed then when I went in, which is precisely the opposite reason I like yoga.

The next day, taking advantage of the last Saturday of my 15 day pass at Dynamic, I went to an 8am spin class followed by a 10am hot yoga. I got myself all ramped up for class convinced that I would make up for my horrible class the day before by being a yogi extraordinaire. Turns out it was even worse than the day before. I sucked even more. I continued to get more and more rattled with every pose I couldn't do until I was sprinting out of the class at the end of the 60 minutes and stomping up the stairs in anger dragging my yoga mat behind me.

That is when I decided to break up with yoga. If yoga is supposed to make you relaxed and positive and happy, then why am I suffering just for the sake of doing it? At the beginning, by the end of class I felt taller and leaner and optimistic and productive and happy and relaxed and lighter and better than I had going into class. As far as I am concerned, I have enough to stress about already, I don't need to add yoga to that list. So I stashed my mat in my trunk and tried to forget all about our brief love affair.

Well, breaking up is hard. As hard as I tried to forget about it, there was this nagging at the back of my brain all week telling me I should be in class, or at the very least, look at the schedule to pick a class to go to later in the week. After a full 6 days of internal torment for simply giving up after 2 bad classes, I sucked it up, grabbed my mat and headed down to the studio yesterday afternoon. In my mind on the way there, I was telling myself that I would just take it easy this class, I could do the easier versions of each pose and just be happy to be there and relax instead of treating it like any other athletic endeavor and try really hard to be good at it. While I was swiping my card, I was told that the class got switched from a hot class to just a normal class. This made me happy because I was heading straight from yoga to the gym to meet the swim team so not being soaked in sweat before starting my 2 hour work out with the team sounded great. This yoga thing was already looking up!

After 60 minutes and about 20 poses, I remembered why I loved yoga in the first place. I actually rocked it hardcore! I did every pose better than I usually do! I guess maybe instead of a break-up, I just needed a few days off to recover from the 6 straight days of hot yoga I did last week. Either way, I'm looking forward to some solid yoga study breaks in the next week.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cookies and Countdowns

It's officially December!!! The best part of December is waking up every morning to a mystery advent calendar chocolate. Will it be a chocolate snowman, or a chocolate Santa or a chocolate present or a chocolate nutcracker or a chocolate snowflake? The suspense is almost to much!
Every year my parents mail us advent calendars because they are the best parents ever. This years calendar is courtesy of Laura Secord and so far has been delicious!

December also means that it's exam season. I have a love hate relationship with exams. I'm not a stellar exam writer, so they normally bring my marks down which sucks, but it means no classes which is always a bonus. I get to sleep in and lounge around the house all day. In an attempt to be positive and ignore the impending hours and hours of studying followed by writing exams with sweaty palms crammed into a gymnasium with a couple hundred other students who are writing way more than you are which means they must know more than you do which makes you think you are going to flunk out of University for failing all your exams which in turn makes your brain go blank with panic, I am going to share with you a list of the 10 reasons I LOVE exam season. So here I go...

1. It's ok to wear the same outfit everyday....sweats.
2. I can finally justify cooking and baking instead of doing school work and since this is how I procrastinate, I eat VERY well during exams.
3. I get to sleep in past 6:30am on days I don't swim.
4. I can spend my whole day at Starbucks or Timothy's studying with java, and by studying I mean people watching and socializing with every person I know who comes in.
5. I learn all the cool things I should have learned throughout the semester which makes me hate the courses I chose a lot less.
6. I have time to catch up on all of the blogs I follow and celebrity gossip online.
7. Going to the gym or yoga is always a better choice than studying, so I finish exams a little fitter than I started.
8. I save money on my hot water bill because bathing takes a back seat. I can justify baking and cooking and yoga and the gym but somehow taking time to shower would just be too much time away from my text books.
9. I get to spend quality time with Earl since I'm home all day with him and study on the couch beside his tank.
10. I finally get my money's worth on the text books I paid hundreds of dollars for and never opened all semester.

Last year's Biochem cramming combined with too much coffee ended up like this:The plan for this year is to study less and cook more so it doesn't happen!

In other news the 12 days of cookies is officially underway! Here's a recap of the cookies so far:
Day 1: Paula's Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies
Day 2: Aarti's Gingerbread Cookies
Day 3: Barefoot Contessa's Coconut Macaroons
Day 4: Anne's Cherry-Almond Biscotti

I haven't made any of them yet, but I did make a batch of Chocolate Beet Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercreme Icing. I was under the impression that they would taste more chocolate and less beet but it was actually the other way around. I LOVE beets but I know that not everyone does, and since I don't really want to (well I actually would love to, but I would love for my clothes to actually fit more..) eat the entire batch by myself, I'm not sure I would make them again. Mostly I just wanted to use my pretty blue snowflake cupcake papers and I didn't want to study. The buttercreme was a success though! My last attempt at buttercreme was a total failure and after making it yesterday I have no idea how I screwed it up.

And now back to the books...discussing the evolution of hominids from 3 million years ago to Homo erectus. Yahoo!