Refuse to be Passive

Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

Back at the gym

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2011 at 9:30 pm

I was reading an article on last week that cited a study that reported the top three times in which people were happiest. Not surprising, sex came in as one, but the other two times were rather interesting. One of them was when they were going to the theater– like to a play or the ballet. After thinking about it for a while, I came to agree that some of my happiest memories have been at the theater. But the last on their list was when people are exercising.

Now, some of you may scoff at that concept. Maybe you see the gym as a modern form of torture that will eventually be looked back upon by future generations in a similar way to how we view gladiators. I wasn’t sure I agreed about that being a time in which I was happiest. After all, how much fun is it to have your abs screaming at you while your fitness instructor is telling you to squeeze out five more reps? However, I think that I now agree with the article I read last week.

After obtaining a two month membership at a local gym for $40, including classes, I’ve started going to the gym again. My first day back was like letting go after holding my breath for too long. It was rejuvenating. The next day I attended a fitness class, and believe me, my abs did scream. But I still loved it. And the next day I attended a Zumba class. While I am less than graceful and often screwed up the moves, it was still a lot of fun. I certainly didn’t expect to discover that I’d missed going to the gym and working out so much.
I have a theory as to why people are happiest at the gym. It’s because they are actively engaging in their goals towards self improvement. Anytime you put a plan into action and begin to see results, it’s a fabulous feeling. And the endorphins that exercise gives you doesn’t hurt either.
Regardless of whether my above theory holds any water, I’m back at it and it feels great. Maybe I’m a slight bit of a masochist, or maybe the article was right, and the gym really is a happy place.


Character Sketch– Quirky and Clever

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2011 at 1:26 pm

He’s shorter than I am. I can’t help it. It’s the first thing I notice in men who are in my relative age range. He’s not much shorter, maybe an inch or two. He’s got olive tone Mediterranean skin, with short cropped, dark brown, nearly black hair. His eyes match his hair– that deep brown. And he, like so many other people from the Mediterranean, needs to shave on a regular basis to keep from looking like a biblical nomad. Thankfully he doesn’t dress in shepherd’s robes.

In some ways he reminds me of a friend back home, not in looks, but personality. He’s got an easy going, laid-back demeanor that pairs well with humour. He’s an excellent story teller. This morning he was over at our place, doing his laundry. While he was waiting for the washer and dryer to do their thing, we hung out and I made a batch of ginger cookies. When one batch burnt, I got rather frustrated with the cookware in the kitchen. Rather than saying something like, “It’s okay” he told me it was completely understandable that I’d be frustrated. I don’t know why, but this wasn’t the response I’d expected. It was refreshing. Beyond that, he knows crazy, quirky facts. He knows greek mythology, quotes from people I’ve never heard of, and often references the psychological implications of certain situations or items. For example, he was telling me about how Disney stories often taught bad morals. For example, what the Little Mermaid teaches is that sometimes it’s okay to make pacts with evil witches, as it will all work out in the end. In Beauty and the Beast, it teaches that it’s okay to be with an abusive significant other. He thinks about life in a way that is significantly different from your average joe. Maybe that’s just because he truly does thing. He contemplates and reflects. It’s refreshing to be around him. You don’t know anyone else quite like him. He’s friendly and personable. Everyone likes him, but his quirks define him. The other night I was holding one of the babies from the community while being in the kitchen prior to dinner. He walked in an said, ” Hey baby…oh, and you too Maria.” Just clever. And then there are the accents. I think he missed his calling as an actor, because he’s got them all. Actually, he’s done a fair bit of drama in the past. With a personality like that, who wouldn’t?

Quick Update

In Uncategorized on November 23, 2011 at 11:37 pm

I’ve been living in Toronto for four months now. Sadly, I must confess that apart from school, I’ve done little to get involved and make the city my own. Sure, when the weather was nice I’d wander home via different avenues from school and admire the architecture, but really, I didn’t do anything to build community. Church happened on Sundays when I didn’t have to work in the morning. Then I was sick for a number of weeks and didn’t even do that. Now that I’m finally nearly over my cold, with only a bit of a cough remaining, I’ve run out of excuses to sit in my room and waste time clicking away on my laptop.

This morning I was looking at myself in the mirror and bemoaned the lack of definition in my shoulders and stomach. It’s become increasingly obvious that I now bike, but do no other form of physical activity. Thankfully, I’ve recently discovered that fitness passes to the city arenas/pools are not so expensive as I’d thought. As such, I’ve been spending much of tonight researching different locations and what they have to offer and at what price. So, tomorrow, after class and a lovely lunch for Chef of the Day, I intend to do a few errands, fill out a few forms, and then head for a bit of swimming! It will undoubtedly be both brilliant and depressing. Brilliant in that it will feel great to get in the water again. Depressing in that I’ll be impressed if I can pull off 500 m in the 45 minutes I’ll have in the pool. Beyond, fitness, I’ll also be attending my first home church– a weekly bible study held at a church members house where we sit and discuss the message from Sunday, as well as spending some time just getting to know one another and catch up. There are numerous home churches throughout the GTA, so if the one tomorrow turns out to be a bit of a drag or doesn’t really fit with me and my lifestyle, I can always try another one next week. I’m dreading my Weight Watchers meeting tomorrow, as I’ve just had a total week of denial and have been eating like crap, but now I’m feeling increasingly optimistic. And fingers crossed, I’ll even sign up for some volleyball come the new year.. Praise God for small mercies and that tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it….yet.

Character Sketch

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2011 at 2:19 pm

She’s got a trache scar at the base of her throat. I’ve never asked her about it, even though I count her as a friend. She’s closer to my mother’s age than to my own, but I’ve always felt myself to be a bit of an old soul. Her dark brown hair is cut blunt and short—a style for utility and easy, rather than fashion and glamour. The wrinkles on her face tell the story of a life lived—of both good decisions and the bad. Her eyes match her hair in colour, but sparkle with life. She’s always ready with a smile. She’s always ready to sit down with a warm cup of tea and discuss whatever topic you desire. She’s a fantastic listener. Her life is simple. After going for chemo for Hep C, she’s still in recovery mode and needs rest time for her recovery. As a result she doesn’t hold a job and finds herself relying on welfare. She’s trying to take this time in life to reflect, relax, and plan for the future.

She may be short in stature, but her kindness is hard to miss. She is a genuinely hospitable person, and is always there in times of trouble and need. Like most helpers, her one flaw is feeling uncomfortable when she herself is being helped. For her, it is truly better to give than to receive.

As for her future, she dreams of opening a tea room and is already looking into programs she could take to help her towards that end. She’s constantly reading, whether its fiction or a new cookbook on vegetarian and vegan cooking, she’s always ready to settle down with a book on a comfy couch. I’m impressed with the pace she lives her life at—slow and deliberate. She takes time to simply sit and be, something that I’ve never been particularly good at. She lives the simple life, having relatively few needs beyond food, clothing, and shelter. In that way, she is available to serve others, whether it be babysitting, cooking, baking, neatening the house, or doing dishes. She’s committed to the concept of living in community and living and unselfish life. There’s much to learn from her—patience, grace, and compassion. She is an example for me in some areas where I struggle. And I like to think that I’m an example for her, as she continues her journey through life.

Stuck in Limbo

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2011 at 8:02 pm

There are few things more frustrating than being in limbo—the uncomfortable state of waiting that a person occasionally finds one self in. You find yourself wondering what the future holds, but the only message you receive is “hold on,” “wait,” “I’ll know for you by Monday.” It’s at those moments that you feel life has stopped. Decisions have to be made, but at the same time, without answers to your questions, decisions can’t be made. It’s a point at which it’s tempting to sit down with a big bowl of popcorn and start working your way through the first season of Castle. As you may have guessed by this point, that uncomfortable waiting game is being lived out by me as we speak. The first term of courses is nearly finished, with finals coming next week. After that is a bit up in the air. I may have a course starting immediately, however, if there are inadequate course registrations, then the course will be postponed until January, leaving me with a seven week gap between the end of my program and the beginning of the next. The question becomes, what to do? Do I look for a way to go home to Alberta for those seven weeks? Do I stick around Toronto and try to land a job? Could I do freelance cooking or baking in Alberta or Toronto? Is there a market for it in either locations? Do I apply for an unpaid internship to try to gain some experience? The questions keep building. I know that making money over this time is fairly important if I plan to have the entire program paid for by the time I finish, but what form that will take is up in the air. I don’t currently have a job, and if freelance falls through, then a more standard work arrangement will need to occur. That in itself is inconvenient, because my class schedule is never consistent for more than three months at a time. I can promise an employer a standard schedule for a semester or a year. Life just doesn’t work like that right now. So until I know if my program is running, I can’t really make any decisions surrounding life beyond next Saturday. Next Saturday isn’t so far off. It’s a little nerve wracking really, to be stuck in this limbo. But what’s a girl to do? Blog I suppose.