Snow. Five Things (17)

Miles ran: 17.1 | Miles cycled: 0 | Steps: 258,297

— Thing One —

On Friday night, a light snowfall began. The light of the moon reflected off the tiny flakes causing an ethereal glow. Have you ever considered the beauty in freshly fallen snow?

Of course, 24-hours later, back and shoulders burning from shoveling thrice in the same spot to see the ground, I considered a snowblower. The snow threw me off my running, but today I ventured out again, happy to see at least three other people running in the park with me and no snow/ice on the path.

— Thing Two —

Being stuck indoors can be a drag, but I’ve recently picked up my reading again and managed to finished two books while stuck indoors. The Malediction Trilogy was recommended by a reliable reading source, and it wasn’t until book two in the trilogy that we both realized that book three will not be released until May!

It’s nothing entirely different from the typical YA fantasy lot – curse, creatures with magical powers and a protagonist who isn’t aware of their special abilities – but what did make it stand out from its compatriots was the lack of the dreaded love triangle and insta-love that seems to plague the shelves and turned me off of YA fantasy for a little while.  After finishing the second in the series, I started looking for other reads and have since pre-ordered four books (book three included). One of which downloaded this Thursday and which I have already finished.

— Thing Three —

I have also been catching up on Doctor Who. I have two episodes (excluding the special) that I need to watch, but I’m afraid to finish watching them because I’m so sad about what happened in Face the Raven.

— Thing Four —

In other attempts at being healthy – or eating well – I have joined Blue Apron and received my first package this week. It was a bit of an inconvenience – the address mix up and all – but I finally got the box delivered to my home and made two meals from the three.

If there is one thing that Blue Apron teaches you, it’s that cooking isn’t difficult and making delicious dishes isn’t a hard task.

— Thing Five —

I helped a friend out this week, and it involved taking out my guitar – which I belatedly realized needing its strings changed, badly! That night, I felt a strange buzzing energy pushing through my weariness, it has been a while since I played/lead in this way, and it felt really good. Coming from a period where I have contemplated quitting, I think this was the best thing that could have happened. I have to think on this more, but it’s quite a thing.

~*~

Five Things (16)

Miles ran: 14 | Miles cycled: 0 | Steps: 146,506

I’ve gone and done another crazy thing …

— Thing One —

This week, while complaining about signing up for a half marathon, I decided to sign up for the 5 Boro Bike Tour. I think I’m sabotaging myself. I did it six years ago, on a borrowed bike, having no training, so I don’t believe that it would be a problem. At least, this time, I do cycle some (though no miles logged this year).

I’m riding with a team, a total of seven people. I’m certain it will be great. (She says, as she tries to convince herself that riding forty miles, after a few weeks of running thirteen would be great).

— Thing Two —

The Symphony Chorus is back in rehearsals, and my heart is happy! Last October I joined this group of singers and instrumentalists, all volunteers who sing in churches across New York (and other places). A friend of mine introduced me to the group and the first time I sang in a concert with them, I felt a strong sense of contentment. I’m looking forward to our Spring concert and the other concerts along the way.

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— Thing Three —

I had the pleasure of breakfast with friends. Getting up early and running is one thing, but getting up earlier to run so that I could meet with a friend for the best meal of the day is pleasing. I’m not a morning person, but I can get behind meeting people for pancakes, or omelettes.

I’ve also had the pleasure of sharing a free lunch with colleagues. We ordered from Maple; I got the chicken with roasted carrots and quinoa. It was delicious. I’m certainly going to order from Maple again. If you’re in Manhattan I suggest you check them out!

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— Thing Four —

In an attempt to continue using products that contain ingredients that occur naturally, I found a site, Meow Meow Tweet,  that makes deodorant creams. I can make my own, but seeing as I just finished the batch that I made, I thought I’d try their version. So far, I like it! I think I might try to use shea butter in my own mixture when I decide to make it again.

I found the deodorant cream in (what I can only call) an alternative pharmacy – which is a new favourite place of mine – called Stanley’s Pharmacy. I tried their sore throat tea – it was delicious – I think I’ll try others from them as well.

— Thing Five —

This week in pop culture, I saw the first two episodes of the new Shadowhunter series and the new Tarantino movie, Hateful 8.

I liked the little changes they did (from the book) in the Shadowhunter series; I think it was a good move. A lot of the story (in the books ) focused on the romance than the rich and vibrant world of the Shadowhunters – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, I don’t think it gives a film/show much material to work with, so adding a some new characters and stories fleshes things out a bit more.

Moving on to Hateful 8. It sits at #4 in the list of six Tarantino films I’ve seen, but it still had all the key factors that make a Tarantino film great.  He does an excellent job with the visuals and the directing, as well as in the stories that he created.

~*~

 

Five Things (15)

Miles ran: 4 | Miles cycled: 0 | Steps: 65,497

Time seems to move slowly when you pay it no attention but slips through your fingers when you notice. I turned around, and suddenly it was 2016, and that leads me to …

— Thing One —

A new year, a new page, a new chapter, and in a moment of temporary madness, I signed up for a half marathon. The Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon, to be precise. I hate running, but I hit the submit button anyway. I think I did it because of runners, in particular, runners who speak of running, poetically. You know who you are!

Also, for some reason, thirteen miles didn’t seem so far at the time; however, walking from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Botanical Gardens does. I might regret this decision.

— Thing Two —

Because of the above, and because I don’t want to hurt after this run, I’ve decided to train – which means running, which means, running outside, which means … why did I think this was a good idea in the first place? This past Tuesday was run day. And it was 11 degrees outside. And the cold seeped into my bones. I thought I’d never be warm again. Apparently, I tend to be dramatic when it comes to running.

— Thing Three —

And then my car refused to start. Turns out, I needed a new battery. It’s been six years since I bought my car; I guess it’s the battery’s time. It served me well, and will be missed, but I like putting my key into the ignition without having to worry if I would need a jumpstart.

— Thing Four —

My new binge-worthy Netflix show is Murdoch Mysteries. I started watching Season One a while ago and recently picked it up again. I love the idea of a turn-of-the-20th-century detective using scientific methods to solve crimes. There is a lot of humour sprinkled throughout and I think that any 21st-century person will enjoy the tongue-in-cheek references to modern technology that they imply. 

— Thing Five —

If you’re looking for a funny, fantastical, futuristic, post-apocalyptic, fairytale retelling, YA novel, then have I got the series for you! The Lunar Chronicles was one of my favourite recent reads. Absolutely love the female leads, though I wish the male leads were fleshed out as much as the ladies. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Melissa Meyer has to offer.

 

Goodbye; Hello.

A year that started out expectantly ended in despondency. Yet, it wasn’t all gloomy, 2015; there were several rays of light in the cloudiness that seemed to follow me. And those spots of sunlight are cherished.

I will remember with fondness the meals that I shared with friends who reached out and offered a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. The coffees we drank and the desserts we consumed as we talked for hours about the happy and the sad. The words of encouragement and the whispered prayers that passed their lips. I experienced some genuine friendships this year, and I am forever grateful.

The joy of music that reignited in my heart at the end of the year (while suffering a hard blow to my self-esteem) in the form of The Symphony Chorus. I am so happy that I found this group this year. Their affection and passion for creating music together bring me peace – more than I’ve felt in a very long time. There’s something energizing about singing with them on Monday nights and in concerts.

Although it was tough for a few months, the satisfaction of finishing a huge project was a highlight this year. There’s nothing more gratifying than completing a complex project.

And of course, the fact that 2015 is over and my family is intact is a blessing. The angels were working overtime with this lot, but I’m glad that all my aunts are fine and that we are ending the year with everyone alive and well.

So, here we are, we’ve completed another orbit around the sun, and we find ourselves beginning a turn. I hope this rotation brings life, and once more I find myself excited for what it might hold.

 

The Year in Books

2015 was a terrible reading year for me! I spent a lot of my commute looking out the window as the city zipped by, instead of reading as I usually do. January started off brilliantly, but then February happened, and it was all downhill from there for a few months. I did pick up in November, but by then it was much too late to do any significant damage to my TBR pile.

Of the ones I read, three good reads (across different genres) were, Defying ISIS – a book about the issues that we’re facing globally, and what Christians can do. A lot has happened since this book published, but it’s still a great read.  Food Rules, for anyone who is interested in overall healthy eating, and, The Day the Crayons Came Home, companion to The Day the Crayons Quit – which I will read out loud to you if I corner you in a bookstore.

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*One book missing from this pile is Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking) by Christian Rudder, which was also an insightful read.

~*~

Year in Music: 2015

Just like last year, Spotify has launched their Year in Music site with displays a breakdown of what you listened to, when, and how many times (as well as a few other things).

Imagine Dragons was my top artist this year (out of 463 artists listened to), all due to the Adobe Marketing Summit where they performed, and we got their CD in our welcome bag. (Notable mention goes to Zella Day and Andy Mineo for making the top 5).

Top track this year was “push pull” by Purity Ring. I heard a small preview of the song on the Relevant Podcast and recently started listening to more of their songs – Fineshrine anyone?

Not caught by Spotify, but a few more notable mentions: Alison Wonderland -I Want U, Derek Minor – Who You KnowTravie McCoy – Golden ft. Sia (liked the music video as well) and Chairlift – Ch-Ching.

~*~

When I was 16…

Or, Memories of My 17th Year.

I was in Lower Six studying Biology, Physics, and Maths1 at Queen’s College, Guyana, and for reasons unknown, I found the Krebs Cycle fascinating.

My friends and I hung out in the Bio lab because the teacher was fun. There was a non-poisonous snake that someone found and brought to the lab, I don’t remember if we named it, but I do remember the boys trying to stuff the snake down the girls’ shirts2.

Before classes, my friends and I would help each other with homework, and play games – mostly chess. I also was a part of the Library Club, just in case you doubted I was a geek. I was a Prefect3 assigned to a Form One class, where most of the responsibilities included helping the Form Mistress and making sure the class behaved – with the added benefit of being called “Miss” by the lowerclassmen.

Around this time we finally got hooked up to the internet at home – it was a dial up modem. I wasn’t allowed to go on until after homework, but I figured out how to mute the sound of the dial-up and snuck on a few times4.

ICQ was the thing to use. Even if it wasn’t the thing to use I’d probably have still used it because I liked that they had such a smart acronym5. I used it to chat with my friends at school – and random chats.

One of those randoms was a guy from India who couldn’t believe I was a 16-year-old girl because I didn’t talk about things like “hanging out at the mall” or “teen magazines”.  He sent me an eCard from 123greetings with the Backstreet Boys “Quit Playing Games” midi in the background. I don’t remember the content of the card, but I don’t believe I ever chatted with him again after that6.

I loved the song Lately by Divine and secretly loved Hanson’s MMMBop. I still liked JTT and Devon Sawa, and still watched things like Saved by the Bell, Sister Sister, Growing Pains, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Family Matters.

My love for books started at a young age, I was still a huge Famous Five fan and loved Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys novels – especially the combos. I read my first real romance novel that a friend from school let me borrow. It was more historical than the contemporary type, but I decided that I preferred mysteries. Around this time I read my first YA novel, written in the first person7. Of course, I don’t remember the name of the book; there was no Goodreads back then.

I would often practise playing the keyboard. I believe I also started playing the guitar, mostly because a keyboard wasn’t portable and for some reason I pictured myself needing an instrument that I could take on the road with me.

This was a transition year for me. My family had started the process of migrating to the United States, and I knew that it was my last school year (so I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have) before moving. It was strange, still going to school but knowing that I would never graduate with the friends that I had, some of them since I was 11 years old.

I could go on, surprisingly I remember a lot from this year of my life, but I’ll finish this here. Exit; pursued by a bear.

———-

1 I think I also took English, but I can’t remember my English classes, so I’m going to assume I studied those three subject.

2 Of course, at the time, it wasn’t funny, especially to someone who is afraid of snakes. However, looking back at the memory now, I never felt threatened by the boys, they weren’t malicious, just teasing and being, well, boys.

3 Probationary, as Upper-Sixers were usually the full-fledged prefects.

4 Sorry, dad!

5 “I seek you” – just in case you didn’t get it.

6 What he didn’t realise was, I was into pop culture, but wasn’t interested in chatting with someone across the world about something that “everyone” talks about, I was more interested in what life was like in India.

7 The book was on my shelf for a while, but I couldn’t get into the first-person writing style the first time around, I enjoyed it the second time around.

~*~