Category: Kate's Earlier Blogs
Sorry for the lack of blogs lately, but until June I have very limited access to the internet – I can’t get a signal in my room, and I can only get a weak or intermittent signal in the common room. Of course, when I’m in my room I can think of a million things I want to read about, look up, etc. on the internet, but once I am actually online, I can’t remember anything! So, this is going to be a miscellaneous update on what I’ve been up to…
First of all, I have to comment on how amazing the weather has been lately – usually it snows at least once during April in Canada (according to some weather guy I heard), although most people seem to forget this year to year and thus act SHOCKED when it does. I don’t think it has snowed this April, but there are still 10 days left and anything can happen. Anyway, even if it isn’t snowing, I think the normal temperature for this time of year is 12-15 degrees celsius, but for the last few days it has gone up to 18-22 degrees! And it has been beautiful and sunny! Hello blue sky, I haven’t seen you in awhile! So, I’m enjoying the weather by getting out as much as I can (and totally overloading on my vitamin D after the dark winter) and by writing this blog as I sit and look at the lovely blue sky and the big fat pine trees…
I don’t know if people in other places do this (I think they don’t, because it is crazy, but correct me if I’m wrong), but in Canada, as soon as there is more than the usual amount of sun, people act like it’s the middle of summer! Last week and the week before we had some sunny days, but there was still a WINDCHILL and you still needed a winter jacket (not to mention closed toed shoes) to be comfortable outside. The temperature was not that far above freezing… However, inevitably you see people all decked out like it is JULY! I’m talking about flip flops, tank tops, short skirts, shorts, etc. When it is STILL WINTER! Now, I understand being excited about impending spring, but realistically these people cannot be warm wearing this stuff outside unless they are running a marathon. So, you see these people shivering, looking very uncomfortable, walking by other people who are wearing winter coats, some even wearing scarves and hats! It’s very funny to observe. This goes on throughout April and May and makes for some huge extremes in how the public is dressed on any given day. And yes, I have been guilty of this myself, but I can still enjoy the humour…
Last Wednesday I had a paper due for General Chemistry, for which my topic was the process for making ghee and its health benefits, focusing on as much of the chemistry as I could wrap my head around at this point. Originally, I had chosen a topic from a list the professor provided, but then I had the idea to do it on ghee (including creating a photo documentation of me making ghee and a subsequent sample to hand in!). How cool is it that I get to write papers on such interesting topics?
On Monday I had my General Chemistry exam, which went very well for me. I’m hoping the next class I have (Organic Chemistry) is at least a bit more challenging, but I guess I should be grateful that I am doing so well. I studied way too much, more to try to prepare myself for September (when things get crazy) rather than for this particular exam.
I have had some problems in the last year or two with my knee and feet and lately I have been worried about this a bit more. It started back in 2004 with ITB pain, but then I also developed some instep pain, only when I ran. I had some muscle imbalances which have been improved a lot, but my right arch is also more fallen than my left, which is the cause of the instep and right knee pain. I try to run at least twice per week, but I usually leave a day in between. This week I ran 2 days in a row, as well as walked a lot, and by the end of the second day my foot was swollen and sore. There has been a thread about chiropractic care and other types of body work that I have been reading – I did see a chiropractor late last year who said I didn’t need chiropractic adjustments (according to her, my issue is not “structural”) but did order me some orthotics that have helped a lot. I try to wear them as much as possible, but running is still hard on my feet. I’m wondering if there is more I can be doing to solve this issue, as I don’t want to have permanent damage to my arches for the rest of my life.
I need to go in to see an intern at the clinic here so I can get some massage and see what they think about my feet/knees situation. I only have to pay $8.50 (Canadian) per visit! The Chiropractic College is pretty close to here too, so maybe I can scoot up there for a cheap chiropractic consultation too. I’m also going to look into Rolfing and the Hellerwork, both of which I am willing to pay for if they will help me, but other ideas are welcome!
So, I have successfully moved into residence (for the next 2 months) and I am in my 4th week of my first part-time course. I haven’t written a blog about school yet because there are so many thoughts running around in my head and I haven’t had time to organize them yet. But today, I feel like I have something to say.
It is so amazing how different the people here are from people that I am used to being around. Not that the people I know/used to know aren’t great, but the people here are definitely not ordinary – I will try to explain what I mean by that…
In my first week of school, the BTD came up at lunch with some of my classmates. As it turns out, most people have heard of the BTD and many follow it to some degree or another. A couple of us follow it pretty closely and have done so for several years (I’ve been doing it for 4 years now). One of my classmates who had not previously heard of it was so interested after this discussion that she bought LR4YT on the way home from class and then asked me to type her blood for her that afternoon! Regardless of whether she decides that it is a benefit to her or not, I am so impressed that she was so enthusiastic to try something new!
There is a definite difference in the attitude of people I have met at this school that I am not used to experiencing. My classmates have such diverse backgrounds and knowledge that everyday there is the opportunity to learn about something new. I’m sure that is true whenever you are around new people, but in this situation everyone is also so open to learning and they seem to naturally show respect for differing views. Not that most people are not respectful, but I do think that most people (including me, at least some of the time) tend to be judgemental, particularly when the discussion veers outside of the ordinary. There is NO feeling of judgement here, which is very strange at first!
In fact, from my first contact with this school, I noticed that everyone here (staff, students, faculty, etc) is almost eerily nice! This place is like a little utopia, where everyone is beautiful, thin, healthy, peaceful, secure, and NICE. When I came in to drop off forms or cheques, people knew my name and welcomed me like I was a friend. When I walk through the halls, strangers smile at me and say hello! The staff here will offer to go out of their way to help you, whether it’s with moving, finding something in the library, or helping with a technology issue. The other students on my floor have also gone out of their way to welcome me and get to know me.
So, I am definitely not in my old world anymore, but so far the new one is lovely.
Thanks for all the comments and posts on the forum re: my last blog. It’s hard for me to ask for help and to admit that I don’t have things “buttoned down”, but sometimes I need to hear my own advice from other people and get a new perspective. Thanks!
On Tuesday I saw a few bachelor apartments that were all nice, in great neighbourhoods, with good landlords. However, even though I was able to negotiate a lower rent on my favourite of the three, it just isn’t realistic financially to get my own place when I have the option of living closer to school for less money. This is a viable option, but not the best choice given the benefits below.
Yesterday, I went meet 3 girls (all have the same first name – crazy!) who are looking for a 4th to share their townhouse near school. The house and the girls were really nice, the rent is affordable, and it is 5 minutes walk from campus and the subway. Plus, they all seemed to like me and would like me to move in. How could I say no to this? Yes, I want to have my own place, but this is a much better situation in a lot of ways. I left them a message this morning to accept, I’m just waiting for them to confirm. I can’t move in there until June, so I will stay in residence in the mean time and make it work.
Needless to say, the past few days have been very stressful for me. The best cure for that (for a type O anyway) is EXERCISE! I managed to get a run in on Monday morning, but was not able to get to the gym until today. I already feel much better. I’ve been having trouble sleeping because I’m thinking so much and, like a typical type O person, I like to be active and solve problems NOW (even if it is 3am). Last night I even got a nose bleed (only the 3rd in my whole life!) and that told me that I have to do a better job of managing my stress through all the changes I’m currently experiencing.
There are other things which can help a type O person release stress. Here are the techniques outlined in LR4YT re: anger management for type O, which I think should actually be called stress management for type O:
1) Take a time-out. Take a walk, drink a glass of water, whatever you need to do. Wait for your anger to dissipate before tackling the problem.
2) Express yourself in writing. It is impossible to stay in a physical state of anger while writing.
3) Identify your anger triggers. Do they result from unrealistic expectations, childish attitudes, or mistaken ideas about the motivations of others?
4) Focus on how you feel, not how others are behaving. This will give you more power in a situation.
5) Find an activity equivalent to counting to 10.
6) Learn problem solving techniques. Anger is often the result of feeling a loss of control. Become intent on solving the problem, not on your rage.
7) Talk to someone you trust. Release stress by engaging in a supportive conversation.
The techniques I use most are #2, #5, and #7. I always feel better if I write about my problem and I often use a case writing format to figure things out – background, issue, options, pros/cons, recommendation. This is where my last blog came from – I started writing to get the thoughts out of my brain and it turned into a blog – thanks to the magic of the internet!
My equivalent to counting to 10 is alternate nostril breathing, which I every night before bed. It helps clear my mind and silence the “inner voice”. Most of the time it works great, but sometimes my mind keeps racing.
Finally, talking to people always makes me feel better and helps me sort things out. The number one person who gets called up for this is my dad, whom I’ve called multiple times per day for the past 3 days! Thankfully he is patient and makes himself available to me whenever I need him. I’ve also talked to my boyfriend (who was kind enough to look over my budget with me, make me dinner, and hug me when I cried) and my friend C, who is just great to talk to about anything.
So there you have it, one more thing settled, 5000 more to go!
Sorry for the intermittent blogs of late, but I’m still so busy and have had no time or energy to write. I started school last week and will write soon about all of that.
For now, I need some advice/opinions/help deciding what to do about living. I am set to move into residence at my college at the end of the month, but I am now rethinking that decision due to some of the “cons” of residence. I am looking into moving into a shared townhouse with other students and today I am viewing 3 bachelor apartments in my current neighbourhood. I’ve outlined my options below, so please send me your thoughts – I need other people’s perspective here.
OPTION 1: Live in residence on campus
- Lowest rent option.
- No transportation costs to get to school – I don’t even need to go outside!
- Need only give 1 month’s notice to move out.
- Not enough freezer space in my personal bar fridge for my meat and fruit – would have to shop more often or eat less of these things. This won’t work as of September due to time constraints. I could buy a mini freezer (same size as bar fridge) for $200-$300.
- Share kitchen with 6-8 other students. I love to cook and cook often, so I’m not so keen on having to share this small space. Again, doable now, but harder in September when everyone has a similar schedule and is therefore trying to cook at the same time.
- Potentially no internet - this cuts me deep! There is (potentially inconsistent) wireless access in *some* areas of residence, but to be assured a decent connection, you need to go to the library. I can’t get my own internet hookup in my room.
- Limited freedom, as I only have my own little room.
- Not as fun a neighbourhood as where I currently live (midtown), but still good stuff around and mall one subway stop away.
OPTION 2: Live with other students in a shared townhouse near campus
- Low rent (not much more than residence, but extra costs for phone, internet)
- No transportation costs to get to school – 10 minute walk.
- Live with other students ahead of me in my program – good support system and knowledge base.
- Potentially annoying/crazy/depressing roommates. Living with people is hard, man. Even if you live with friends, this puts more stress on any relationship and can really affect your quality of life if it turns out you don’t get along so well as roommates.
- Potentially messy/thoughtless roommates. Different people are bound to have different views on what “clean”, “tidy”, and “courteous” mean. I am very meticulous about keeping things orderly and doing my fair share (or more) of housework and other responsibilities. I have found that other people tend to only do the minimum expected of them or less, so I often pick up the slack and it really gets to me.
- I am wary of moving in with people I don’t really know, because I have had some bad experiences in that department before. But nobody I know is looking for a roommate, and maybe it is better not to live with friends anyway.
- Not as fun a neighbourhood as where I currently live, but still good stuff around and a mall one subway stop away.
- Would likely have to sign a 1-year lease. Probably couldn’t move immediately.
OPTION 3: Live in my own bachelor apartment 20-30 minutes commute to school
- This is what I want most and I would be doing it if not for the money factor (see below). I have always either lived at home or shared a house/apartment and I really want to live on my own (as in ALONE, as in my own HOME).
- Privacy, time alone, my very own kitchen, my very own space, independence.
- Lovely midtown neighbourhood with lots to do within walking distance.
- At least $300 per month more than residence, $200 per month more than sharing. Oy.
- More about the money: I am already teetering on the edge of not having enough money for all 4 years of school, so this would be the maximum I can spend on rent. I am assuming that I will get the maximum in government loans each year (which I can’t apply for until May). Maybe worrying 4 years ahead is too anal, but I think about it. I could always move in a year, so these costs are not set in stone. Plus, I will have some more credit available to me in my 3rd and 4th years.
- There are some other sources of cash around, like part-time work (only possible in summers), cashing in a life insurance policy (OK idea), or going to my dad for help (hi Dad!). Going to my dad is my last resort – he already paid for one degree and I think that is enough.
- Other miscellaneous one-time costs, like a Swiffer, microwave, toaster oven, TV, VCR. However, my birthday is coming up, so I could probably ask for some of these.
- Would likely have to sign a 1-year lease. Could move immediately, but would give up my $250 residence deposit (one time cost).
In lieu of buying him a birthday gift, I made my boyfriend dinner on Friday night. I wanted to make a fancier meal, so I picked out a few recipes that I’ve collected that are as yet “untested”.
I prefer food to be simple, quick, and easy to prepare, which means I usually don’t use a lot of sauces or dressings. I also don’t usually use the oven for meat, because I LOVE my George Foreman grill for meat! So, this whole meal was an adventure for me…
2 cups grated carrots
1 tsp almond oil
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp finely grated lemon rind
Pinch of sea salt
1) Grate carrots into long, thin strips using a grater or a peeler.
2) Toss grated carrots with other ingredients to taste.
3) Eat raw as a salad, or sautee and eat warm.
This was simple and tasted pretty good. When I made it I chopped the carrots in a food processor, but I recommend using carrot “strips” because the texture would be better. Carrots are my favourite vegetable and I prefer them raw, with no dip, so while this is a great recipe to make them more interesting, I will probably only use it occasionally.
Stuffed Chicken over Rice
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 clove garlic, crushed
1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2) Place spinach in a large glass bowl, and heat in the microwave for 3 minutes, stirring every minute or so, or until wilted.
3) Combine filling ingredients in food processor and chop roughly.
4) Flatten chicken breasts with meat mallet until about ¼ to ½ inch thick.
5) Lay the chicken breasts out on a clean surface, and spoon some of filling mixture into each one.
6) Roll up chicken to enclose the filling, secure with toothpicks, and arrange chicken in a shallow baking dish.
7) Bake uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes until lightly browned.
This is the version I made for my boyfriend (type A), which I’m told was good – it did smell nice! For myself, I made up my own filling of spinach, ground walnuts (had some in the fridge), tomato salsa, and garlic. It tasted OK, but the walnut texture wasn’t great with the chicken, so back to the drawing board on that one. I cooked some long-grain white rice as a side-dish, the FIRST TIME in my life that I have ever made rice! Can you believe that? My family never ate rice while I was growing up. My parents made pasta sometimes, but I have always HATED pasta, therefore I have never made that either. I’ve always been a potato lover, so I always chose that as my side dish before the BTD. Now, I hardly eat grains at all, so the only time I have rice is at restaurants.
Chocolate Hazelnut Torte
1/3 cup water
1 1/3 cup cocoa
¾ cup ghee
¾ cup vegetable glycerine
1 cup hazelnut meal
4 eggs separated
1 Tbsp cocoa powder (optional)
1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2) Grease a deep 19cm square tin and line base and sides with parchment paper.
3) Blend cocoa with hot water in a large bowl until smooth.
4) Stir in ghee, vegetable glycerin, hazelnut meal and egg yolks.
5) Beat egg whites in a small bowl with electric mixer until soft peals form: fold into chocolate mixture in two batches.
6) Pour mixture into prepared pan.
7) Bake for 30-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
8) Stand for 15 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack, top side up, to cool.
9) Dust with sifted cocoa or prepare a sauce to accompany.
1 cup frozen or fresh raspberries
¼ cup pineapple juice
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp vegetable glycerin
1) Blend raspberries and other ingredients together in a food processor until smooth.
2) Drizzle over desserts to taste.
This dessert was incredible, if I do say so myself! I was very pleased with the texture, similar to flourless tortes I’ve had at restaurants. My boyfriend is not a big chocolate person, but he also liked it. While I was baking this, I felt like it should have some sort of sauce with it, and I like raspberry and chocolate together. So, I just made up this raspberry sauce. The measurements are not exact in that recipe, since I just kept adding stuff until I thought it was done! I preferred the torte without the sauce, but my boyfriend liked the combination.