Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Parla inglese?

In preparation for my trip to Italy this summer, Hubby bought me an Italian PhraseFinder & Dictionary for Christmas. It's organized primarily by "situation" or theme. I often browse through it when I'm on the bus or waiting in line, quietly whispering the words to myself in a way that I hope does not butcher it too badly...

Here are a few phrases that I'll definitely need:
  • Non parlo italiano. (I don't speak Italian.)
  • Può ripetere, per favore? (Can you repeat that please?)
  • Come si arriva alla stazione ferroviaria? (How do I get to the train station?)
  • A che ora servite la colazione? (When is breakfast served?)
  • Può dirmi per favore il posto migliore per fare compere? (Please tell me the best place for shoping.)
  • Cerco una taglia piccola. (I'm looking for a size small.)
Here are a few phrases that I will definitely NOT need:
  • Dove posso trovare un locale con musica hip-hop? (Where can I find a hip hop club?)
  • Doppio, per favore! (Make it a double, please.)
  • Le va di ballare? (Would you like to dance?)
  • Lei mi sembra la persona più interessante in questo posto. (You look like the most interesting person in the room.)
  • Puoi preparare la colazione anche per me? (Will you make me breakfast too?)
  • Mi aiuti a toglierlo? (Would you help me out of this?)
  • Credo che questo sia stato un errore. (I think this was a mistake.)
Here are a few phrases that I HOPE I will not need:
  • Scusi! Quella era la mia fermata! (Excuse me! That was my stop!)
  • Mi serve qualcosa per la diarrea. (I need something for diarrhea.)
  • Ferma! Al ladro! (Stop! Thief!)
  • Chiama un medico, presto! (Please call a doctor!)
  • Mi aiuti... Ho perso il passaporto. (Help me... I lost my passport.)
  • Devo chiamare la mia ambasciata. (I need to call my embassy.)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sunday Mornings...

Kudos to Hubby who posted another personal best (PB) at Sunday's Hypothermic Half-marathon! This is his 5th consecutive PB since he decided to take his training to a new level last spring. Way to go, Babe!

It was a c-c-cold morning yesterday, and as Hubby sped along the race course, I spent a luxurious time reading in bed - I haven't done that in eons! I woke up... picked up the book from my nightstand... and began to read. When my tummy started distracting me with its loud gurgles, I went downstairs, made breakfast, brought it up to bed and had breakfast in bed (!), reading all-the-while. I didn't stop until I finished the book, approximately three hours later. What a great way to spend the morning!!

By the way, the book was delightful. I laughed... I cried... I totally escaped... what more could I ask for?!

And yes, some may think that I am somewhat of a cad for not going out to support Hubby in his race. But good sense won the day. It's one thing to run in -20C (insane, yes :-)), but at least the body is moving. It's quite another to just stand there for a couple of hours, stomping your feet to check if they're still attached to your ankles. I love my husband. I support him and applaud his achievements, but I'm not crazy!! :-)


Friday, January 26, 2007

Hats off to Mr. Burns...

Yesterday was Robbie Burns Day. I see the signs on local pub storefronts... I see the clip on the news... but admittedly, I don't know a whole heckuva lot about it. That's why I appreciated my buddy Stuart's post at waldencabin.com. It gave me a wee glimpse into one of the traditions associated with this celebration - and it made me shudder!

Things got a little less queasy when I went to the Rabbie Burns tribute site. There, I discovered that most of us honour Master Burns at the birth of the new year by singing - or at least singing parts of - one of his most famous compositions. One can only imagine how badly that poem has been butchered by drunken hoards... Oh well, can't be worse than boiled sheep stomach with ground organs.

Although I find the language difficult to decipher, I discovered that this poem - an ode to the little critter who sometimes wreaks havoc in my kitchen - is the source of the expression "best laid plans of mice & men". I've used that expression before but had no clue where it came from.

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o mice an men
Gang aft agley,
An lea'e us nought but grief an pain,
For promis'd joy!

I wonder what expressions from our era they'll still be using 250 years from now? Frightening thought...


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Divine assistance...

It is said that God looks out for fools & drunks. I'd have to say She has a soft spot for procrastinators as well...

I finally went to the gym today. I was reminded a while back that I have free access to a small, yet well-equipped, exercise room through my workplace. As the temperature continues to linger in the sub-sub-zero zones, the thought of going for a run doesn't hold much appeal for me. Call me a fair-weather runner. So, I figured it was time to look for alternatives.

I knew an indoor treadmill was an option, but I'd been putting off actually going to the gym to try it out. Why? Simple: I've never really used a treadmill before. I don't know how to turn one on. I don't know how to control the speed. I don't know how to stay upright. I have visions of me flying backwards, flailing and failing to keep up with the machine. Finally, I don't know how I can try running on a treadmill without looking (and feeling) like a complete idiot.

Thoughts of the stationary bicycle finally got me to the gym. My strategy? If, at first glance, the treadmill looks completely overwhelming, I'll try spinning for a while. At least I'll be sitting down.

I took a late lunch to avoid the "rush hour". In the change room, who should I bump into but a former co-worker! Coincidence? I think not... She comes to the gym regularly to use the treadmill and other machines. (What luck!!) Would she be willing to show me how it works? Of course, she says. Woohoo! Personal lessons. Not only did I manage 25 minutes on the treadmill (running & walking), but with her guidance, I also tried the elliptical, the stationary bike, the rowing machine...

Now, with my ego back in its proper place, and thanks to a convenient "coincidence", I have options on those bone-chilling days. Like I said, God surely has a soft spot for fools, drunks AND proud procrastinators...


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

More day to drive...

Have you noticed?? It's happening already! Just walk out the door around 5pm and you will see that there is significantly more light than there was just a short time ago. The days are already getting noticeably longer... We're just getting our first taste of real winter weather now, and the end is already near. I s'pose it doesn't really matter though. Our new car is made for all season driving... :-)

Yep, it was an eventful weekend. Talk about a serious case of PPJP! Fun times ahead...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Consumer beware...

I was cleaning out my tea cupboard this past week. It was long overdue. I found a full box of Cranberry Hot Apple Cider mix. Just add water, it states. But add water to what?, I wondered...

Ingredients: Sugar, dextrose, natural flavours, maltodextrin, citric acid, beet powder, malic acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C 313mg/100g - 120% RDI/serving), silicon dioxide, caramel, tricalcium phosphate, salt.

Interestingly, no mention of cranberries or apples. Apparently, the good news is: it's caffeine free and has no artificial flavours or colours!

The box made quite a THUNK as it hit the bottom of the trash can.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Mission Possible...

My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to post something to this blog every day for the next week.

It's easy to get out of the habit of writing regularly, and I've enjoyed sharing my news and views here... so I want to get back into the groove. It seems that once again, I've been waiting for the perfect post to come to me before sitting down at the computer. Of course, the perfect post is an illusion... forever beyond the reach of my fingertips. So, all I need to do now, is jump in!

I may as well start with soap - Moonsnail Soapworks soap, that is. I just put in an order for another 18 bars of soap. I walked into Moonsnail's Charlottetown store last July and picked up two bars of soap. Little did I know that, from that moment on, every other soap bar would pale in comparison! If, like me, you find it difficult to wake up in the morning, treat yourself to Spearmint Swirl or Dad's Licorice soap. Your morning shower will take on a whole new flavour. :-)


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What follows the 12 Days of Christmas?

The Work of Christmas Begins - by Howard Thurman

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
Then the work of Christmas begins…
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.

PAX Friends... and let the work of Christmas begin in all of us,

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Life Lessons...

Six years ago today, my father-in-law passed away. I thought I would remember him in a special way by posting what I sent to friends & family a couple of weeks after his death.

"The last month has been quite intense. I am sad to write that my father-in-law, John Lawless, passed away on January 9, 2001. He died just 50 days after being diagnosed with cancer, long enough for us to say good-bye, but not so long that his pain became a long-term reality. As difficult as this has been for us all, my faith has been given a boost. I have been inspired by the courage, compassion and kindness of those involved in John's care, especially during his last days. The V.O.N., the Red Cross homecare workers, the hospice volunteers, even the doctor who made a housecall on New Year's Day... And the family who chose to care for him at home, allowing him the dignity of dying where he had lived and loved. It was my first close experience with death, and as weird as this may sound, it was a positive one. Painful, but in a healthy way... I honestly feel that it was a privilege to be a part of this myterious and powerful stage of a person's life.

The outpouring at John's funeral was overwhelming. The church was standing-room only with an estimated 600 people gathered to celebrate his life. Hearing others share their "John stories" with me, I realized how simple it is to have an impact on someone's life: a smile, eye contact, a joke, fresh flowers from the garden, a warm welcome, a basket of berries... and a couple of dozen of chocolate chip cookies, or a pie or two! :-)

And so, today's message is mostly about John - his life and his death. I needed to share some of the insights I have gained over the past month or so - it is part of my grieving process, I guess. Most importantly, I've learned that we can never really know how we touch people's lives. I'm sure John never expected people to remember his kindnesses as much as they do... It was never his motivation, it was just his way. It's been a trying time - thanks for letting me share this with you..."

Here we are, six years later, and his life still inspires me... Thanks John - I'm sure God is enjoying your cookies & gardens as much as we did!! Oh, and say Hi to Hobbes for me... :-)


Monday, January 08, 2007

What goes in, goes out...

I was cleaning out my bedside table yesterday and found a calendar from 2004. I had attempted to document my energy levels and other health-related issues/symptoms. It lasted a few months at most. The shocker for me was that on January 1, 2004, I weighed 37 lbs more than I do now. Wow. I've come a long way...

2006 was certainly the year I took my health into my own hands and made it a priority. Turns out that my problems were primarily related to diet. In the last year, I've cut out yeast... sugar... vinegars... mushrooms... most processed foods... and I've greatly reduced my intake of tomatoes & dairy. The result? I lost a ton of weight (not literally!) and feel physically better than I have in years. My symptoms have all but disappeared.

It's simple. What I put IN to my body (ie. input) affects how my body puts it OUT (ie. output). Garbage in, garbage out. And, boy, did I ever test that theory over the holidays. I still did pretty good, but I cheated quite a bit when compared to how I'd been eating in the previous months. I didn't put on any weight, but my energy level and my digestion quickly went back to their old ways. But I'm not freakin' out... I know what I need to do.

Feeling less-than-well is no longer normal... Remembering what it's like to actually feel healthy is a great motivator!


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Starting in darkness...

It's a new dawn. It's a new day. It's a new year.
And I feel empty.

For me this year, Christmas was high on family & comfort... and low on Spirit. Advent came & went with no contribution from me. I am devoid of any excitement or enthusiasm for this traditional time of new beginnings.

I'm in that space where God seems absent. I know He's not, but I just can't seem to connect with Her. I'm in that place of un-knowing, of un-certainty, of un-connectedness... and my spiritual teachers tell me that this is where I need to stay in order to grow closer to God.

In order to know God,
I need to become comfortable with un-knowing God.

Believe it or not, I am grateful to be here - in this space. Experience has taught me that this too shall pass... and all will be well.

"There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year's course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word "happy" would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity. " - Carl Jung