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.

~*~

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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.

 

Now that I have my laptop again, I’ve run out of excuses

These FIVE THINGS (14) are brought to you by the end of the year.

It’s the end of the year! If that wasn’t clear. Did you finish all of your resolutions? I didn’t set any big goals for myself, other than to read widely – which I did – and to write one of these posts at least once a month … which I’m now doing to complete that goal. So without further ado, here are FIVE THINGS from 2013.

— Thing One —

I was in a legit book club.

Usually my book clubs consist of me and a girlfriend or two, having tea and talking about books that we’ve read and what we thought. However, this year I was a part of a book club consisting of a group of women who read theology books together and discussed it chapter by chapter. We did The Good and Beautiful God and are currently reading Theology of the Body.

I am also a part of a small group who is reading through The Ragamuffin Gospel together (I absolutely love this book!!!) . It has been a LOT of fun.

— Thing Two — 

I completed NaNoWriMo!!!

The good thing about telling everyone who asked me “What’s new?” during the month of November about NanoWriMo was that it motivated me to finish.

The bad thing about being verbal about it was getting asked to read what I wrote. I’m gonna be honest, I don’t like it. It’s a rough, rough, rough, rough first draft, with plot holes and dialogue that I do not enjoy. But, it’s a rough, rough, rough, rough first draft and I did it! I finished it! I am extremely happy!

But, I do feel a little bad that no one will really see it, especially after all of my talk about it, soooo, here’s a tiny peek. Please do remember that this is a rough(x4) first draft. Also, I suppose I just revealed it, that’s my writing blog. As you can see, it’s pretty sparse, you can criticize anything that’s already on there (if you’re bored, or something). I’m probably gonna move to Wattpad … I haven’t made my mind up yet.

— Thing Three — 

There were some firsts this year!

I gave blood, became an organ donor, planned a bridal shower – probably one of my biggest accomplishments this year – went to a speakeasy and attended a jazz festival where it felt like I stepped back in time.

I taught someone to drive a golf ball and actually found out that, after not practicing for a VERY LONG TIME, I’m quite good at driving now. I wonder if the same will happen when I get back on the snowboard?

Went to Wyoming, got cowgirl boots.

Planted tomatoes with great success!

There were a few more firsts, but those are the big ones that I can think of at the moment.

— Thing Four — 

There was death, there were births, there were weddings. Illness, wellness … I noticed life a lot this year. I felt it more too. For some reason, I feel that this year, of all years, I’m finally an adult.

— Thing Five —

finally said “yes” to someone.

Oh that cat’s out of the bag! But calm down, there’s nothing to see here (no, seriously, nothing else to see or hear). I just needed to do it, and I did it. I stepped out of my comfort zone, met someone fun and we went on a couple of dates (literally). And that’s all there is to the story folks.

Those who know me on a personal level will understand why this is even worth mentioning, since I’m  always saying no (did I mention that I attract strange folks? That’s part of why I always say no. Especially to that one guy who was my dad’s age that invited me up to his “farm”. Yeaaaaah. No thanks. ). So … I said yes, once. That’s a step, right?

Well, 2013 was quite a year, I’m looking forward to 2014.

~*~

He says the best way out is always through. And I agree to that, or in so far as that I can see no way out but through– (A Servant to Servants by Robert Frost)

Five Things (13)

This is a different sort of five things … these five things are all about NaNoWriMo!


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I don’t remember when I heard about NaNoWriMo, but according to my page I’ve been a member for about 5 years, so I imagine it was 5 NaNoWriMos ago.

Last year I decided that I was going to be a participant for the first time. I started off really well, my idea made me excited which was great, but then around day 13, with almost six thousand words written, I lost steam. This year, when I decided that I would do NaNoWriMo again I wanted to try to learn from my mistake from last time and do better. Now that I have completed my 50,000 words goal, I can say that I’ve learned a lot about what I thought my writing style was and what my style actually is, and I have to say that I’m a little surprised!

So, here are five things that I learnt while doing NaNoWriMo:

  1. I’m not a plotter. I have ideas, and most of them are half baked. I know how I want something to start, and I have a general idea about how I want something to end, but I don’t necessarily have a clue as to what happens in the middle of these things and I realized that it’s OK. Last year I tried to map the story out beforehand, this year I decided to write whatever came to mind and I found more inspiration when I allowed myself to have more freedom.
  2. Last year I tried to make my characters do what I wanted them to do and a lot of times that meant that I didn’t know what they wanted. I know it sounds strange, but this year I let them do whatever they wanted to do and sometimes they surprised me. Now before you check me into a mental institute, I think the idea here is the same as above, letting the story flow as opposed to controlling the story actually works better for me.
  3. The rule of absolutely NO editing was important in helping me move forward. There are people who can go back through their NaNoWriMo manuscript in November and move things around and add and remove things and still finish on time. I am not one of those people. When I do that the perfectionist in me takes over and I want to make the piece I’m editing perfect and that slows me down.
    There were times in this manuscript when I was cringing at my dialogue because I thought it was too cheesy or awkward and I had to stop myself from going back and re-writing large amounts of texts because, in the end, NaNoWriMo is about writing and meeting a goal, I would have 11 months to edit, to update dialogue and fix inconsistencies.
  4. I needed to talk to people about my story and what I’m doing. It was easy for me to keep last year’s project quiet. I don’t usually talk to people about my creative endeavors. I did tell a couple of writers what I was trying to do and they were encouraging but this year I went big. I told almost everyone I could whenever it came up in conversation. “So what have you been up to?” “Well, I’m attempting to write a novel in 30 days.” I found that this actually helped me. The more people I told the more real the task became until I knew that I would disappoint myself if I didn’t complete it.
  5. This year I wanted to finish it because I wanted to finish. I know that sounds strange but I’ve attempted to write down stories many times, but I never finished them. This year I decided that I wanted to finish something so that I can show myself that I can write a first draft – even if it never sees the light of day.

I think the most important thing I learnt throughout this exercise was that writing makes me happy. It was stressful, I spent a lot of time doing it but never once did I regret it, writing always brought me joy.  

~*~

Five Things (12)

This post is brought to you by Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – particularly the part where Hermione accidentally put cat hair in her polyjuice …

Next month is NaNoWriMo and I’m probably not going to do one of these Five Things posts … unless I’m in procrastination mode, then I’ll probably do quite a lot of them! 

Harlequin Teen Rocks!

This was my second Harlequin Teen event and I feel so privileged to be a part of their community! I got the opportunity to attend a wonderfully bookish event at Trump SoHo where we had a spectacular view of lower Manhattan as we heard about some new releases and received news of Julie Kagawa’s new series! I absolutely love Julie Kagawa, so being one of the first to hear the new of her new series was exciting.

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Wedding, the Last

The final wedding of the season! The music was fun, the friends were awesome and the couple was radiant! I’m so glad I got to witness the joining of these two! Woot! 🙂

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Oysters taste … slimy?

I tried raw oysters for the first time! I won’t call it slimy, though that’s the popular opinion, I think silky might be a better word. It was a fun experience and I loved it so much I went again the following week!

My friends and I went to the Mermaid Oyster Bar in SoHo, they have a happy hour menu and their oysters were fresh (and delicious!) I tried both the East and West Coast types… I don’t think I have a specific preference, the west coast was meatier, so perhaps more filling.

Mermaid Oyster Bar also gave us a cute little chocolate pudding dessert and a Fortune Teller Fish when we received our bill. The chocolate pudding was made with dark chocolate and was delicious! A perfect end to the meal.

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Hiking! 

I went hiking twice in October! I love walking so hiking is pretty much one of my favourite things to do. The first hike was pretty easy, we went to Mohonk and took a wrong turn and ended up at Mohonk House – which is beautiful. The second hike was Breakneck Ridge and is more rock scrambling than hiking, that was awesome!

They were two very different hikes, the first one was more relaxed pace and you could chat the entire way. The second, while you could make stops along the way took more concentration as you had to figure out how to get up and then back to the road. Both completely different, but both lovely. 🙂

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Cinderella!

The San Francisco Ballet was touring NYC and performed Cinderella – I got to see it! 🙂 It was fun and sassy! I especially loved the carriage scene – great concept!

Chistopher Wheeldon's Cinderella

image via Daniel Brodie

~*~

Five Things (11)

This post is brought to you by the fading days of summer – and Back to School season.

Summer is over, and I’m completely swamped. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I leave you five thousand words for September.

Broadway Week

20130903_184008In which I saw both Annie and Cinderella. Both were good!

Wedding the Third

20130908_161656A fun, and exhausting, but mostly spectacular wedding weekend.

That time I beat everyone at everything

20130915_113350Spent some cousin time, bowling and laser tag!  (and beating them in both)

San Gennaro Festival 

20130918_133951Ate so much while walking through the festival with friends and workmates.

Five months of cycling

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 6.34.32 AMI feel pretty good about myself right now.

~*~