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.
WARNING: Because I am Canadian, raised by a British father, I use the Canadian/British spelling of the word “colour”. Same applies to “neighbour”, “odour”, “honour”, “favour” and other such words. There is NO NEED for alarm!
I have now been (voluntarily) unemployed for one week! So what have I been doing with my time?
I am nearly finished assessing my wardrobe and purging close to 50% of my clothes! I bought the book “Color Me Beautiful” by Carole Jackson, as recommended in the “What is your Color Season” thread on the forum. When I graduated from university and started working (and therefore had more money than ever in my life), I bought new clothes nearly every weekend! The pace of my purchases gradually slowed down, but I continued spending too much money on things I would hardly wear! Learning how to recognize which colours/styles look best on me has allowed me to let go of the beautiful, expensive clothing that just isn’t right for me. I have a smaller wardrobe, but I am much happier with it because I feel like I have MORE to wear and all the pieces look beautiful on me and go well together. I gave some clothes away to friends and the rest are going to charity. It is easier to part with so much when you realize that there are needier people out there who can use and appreciate quality clothing.
I have also been working on a few of my New Year’s resolutions. I made Broccoli my friend and in turn, he is helping me get more veggies into every day! I don’t much like cooked or raw broccoli, but I have discovered that I do like blanched broccoli. Blanching is really great for retaining the flavour and crispness of veggies while removing bitterness. Now that I am not on a regular schedule, I am actually eating less, but veggies are my top priority and are now making up a larger portion of my day’s food intake, so I am pleased.
I have more time to exercise now, so I have revamped my gym routine and I am doing more yoga and walking (now that I no longer have a car). I am still meditating before bed and I had hopes of doing some morning meditation too, but I find that when I wake up I am so eager to start my day by exercising, eating, or getting on the computer that there is no space for meditation. I guess that is typical of a type O person, so I’m just going with it!
I just wanted to check in, say “hi”, and let you all know that I am still here!
I had my last day of work on Tuesday and I have spent the last couple of days taking it easy, trying to get over the cold I picked up last week. I am also in the process of adjusting to not heading to work every morning. I realized recently that I have been working (either part-time or full-time) since I was 15 years old! Needless to say, I am a little weirded out right now and will be for a little while at least, as I am also starting school, moving, and basically changing everything about my lifestyle and career path this month! Oy. I will write more when I have better collected my thoughts. For now, I think some comfort food is in order…
(OK for types O and A)
10-12 chicken breast strips
¾ cup kamut or rice flour
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper (optional)
½ tsp sea salt
¼ cup ghee
1) Break egg into bowl and whisk.
2) Mix raw chicken into egg in bowl.
3) Combine dry ingredients and sprinkle one layer on a plate.
4) Remove chicken from egg (one strip at a time) and coat with flour mixture on plate.
5) Repeat until all strips are coated.
6) Heat large pan to medium.
7) Add half of the ghee to the pan and melt.
8) Place chicken strips in pan and fry for about 2-3 minutes per side, adding more ghee as necessary.
9) Remove chicken strips from pan and place onto a bed of paper towel to absorb any excess ghee.
10) Use your favourite dip – mine is a salsa-like BBQ sauce!
I apologize for the manic nature of my recent blogs – lots of eating, moving, and general disruption in my life right now.
Tuesday was the first of four goodbye lunches with one of my closer friends at work. I ate chicken strips and plain rice. I will really miss this coworker – he has so much energy and is so good-natured; he always makes me smile and laugh at work. He is a classic type O (I’m assuming): loves sports, highly competitive, lots of energy, will push himself beyond physical limitations (continued to play three or four different sports all last year despite major knee injuries, he now needs surgery!). He also has a fantastic family. His wife is also athletic (playing tennis the weekend after their son was born) and his kids are active, loving, well-behaved, and delightful. They discipline their kids consistently and firmly, but with patience and care, such that they are obedient yet still exuberant and creative.
Today I had the second lunch, once again chicken and rice (different restaurant), with my team. I was feeling under the weather, coming down (for the second time this year!) with that same cough that continues to circulate my office. Certainly it is my own darn fault as I spent Monday through Wednesday training my replacement and therefore talking his ear off. Once you get me going, I won’t stop! I talked on Monday until my voice was hoarse, continued on Tuesday, felt worse, then continued Wednesday and I am paying the price. Last night I went to bed at 10pm, but then woke up at 1am and couldn’t get back to sleep again until 4am! I think this has something to do with disrupting all the stuff in my apartment by moving – I’m a believer and user of Feng Shui. All the junky (by BTD standards) food I’ve eaten this week isn’t helping.
This evening I had to load boxes and furniture into a borrowed van to move to my Dad’s house. All my stuff won’t fit into one trip, so at the end of March my dad will move me into residence, then take the rest of my stuff back to his house. My boyfriend helped me, but huffing and puffing up and down between my apartment and the parking garage was not good for my throat. The wings we ate for dinner weren’t either…
Tomorrow is lunch number three, with my first manager at this company. He was the best manager I have ever had, so I am particularly sad to leave him. One day we had a disagreement (sitting in my car in a grocery store parking lot in a rainstorm) and at the end of our discussion he said to me: “I’m really glad we talked about that, because you have helped me learn how to be a better manager. Thanks!” That moment encapsulates the type of man he is and his fantastic attitude. It also illustrates how important a good manager is to satisfaction at work – my current job is more fulfilling, but because he was such a motivating manager, I was happier doing a less stimulating job for him than doing my current job for my current (and good) manager! I think Dr. Phil would agree that he is one of my “pivotal people” (and no, I haven’t read that book yet, but I do own it).
I’d best sign off now – I have to claw my way through tomorrow, drive for a couple of hours, unload the van, celebrate my dad’s birthday, and make it back here alive for my final two days of work and lunch number four on Tuesday!