Monthly Archives: April 2010

Reflections, Flashbacks, and Lessons Learned

Four months ago, on January 4th, I started a brand new job. People start new jobs all the time, but I like to think I’ve become a bit of an expert in my 24 years.

My first job was as a cashier at Zellers when I was in grade 11. I lasted the month of December, then politely left the second the holidays were over.

My second job came the summer after grade 11, when I was 17. I was hired on as a barista at a Starbucks in a book store because I used words like “youthful” and “bright” to describe the taste of coffee.

My first day there was probably one of the most nerve wracking experiences of my life. But that job pulled me out of my teenage shell. I’d gone from agoraphobic to a Chatty Cathy in a green apron in just one year. The last day on that job was more bitter than sweet. But high school was over and I was on to, erm, “other” things.

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By other things, I mean another Starbucks in a city 90 minutes away.

I stayed at that Starbucks for two years before I quit to focus on school. Those two years were just as good, if not better, than my previous year as a barista. I met my best friends at that store, had a blast, and made some pretty good drinks!

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I ended up returning to that store when I started to miss the money, and social aspect. However, I ended up leaving after another year, when I scored a job as a radio reporter and broadcaster.


I read the weekend news, working a few extra coffee shop jobs on the side. I became a full-time reporter there once I finished university. I was at the radio station for two years all together, and again learned more about myself than I could have ever predicted. I thought I was doing the right thing by forcing myself even more out of my shell everyday as a reporter. But I guess I have my limits. And this was it.

I was not reporter material, but I will always look back on my days in the radio biz with fondness. There is a certain old romance about radio that you just don’t get with any other medium. I’ll hold on to this old mike sock forever.

I’d started back at Starbucks before I even left my radio gig in December. I’d taken up the role of supervisor to get me through the in-between period of getting my personal training certification and figuring out what the hell I wanted to do with my life.

Then I got an e-mail.

A shot in the dark. An old professor of mine e-mailed me on my old student account three days before Christmas. I got a pull to check that neglected account before leaving for home for the holidays. This professor also happens to be the communications director of my alma matter. A job in the department opened up and he thought of me. Days after leaving what should have been the perfect job, a new one fell into my lap.

And I loved it.

The university campus is beautiful, the people are wonderful, the work is fun and challenging in all the right ways. I was filling in for someone due back in May. So the short-term position worked perfectly in my “what the hell am I going to do with my life?” plan.

Today, four months after starting, I said goodbye to my first ever desk.

In four short months, I learned even more at that job. Not that I had to force myself out of my shell, or put on a veil, or be a certain someone. But rather, I learned to just be. I learned to be myself, to be honest, to be open. I learned happiness is possible no matter where or what I’m doing. Happiness can be where I least expect it, so I better not push it away before I have the chance to experience it. I learned it’s possible to look forward to a job everyday, and feel comfortable in your work environment.

I also learned just how very important note taking is. And how impossibly disorganized I really am.

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I walked out today with pieces that I wrote, contributed to and helped design over the months. A lot of hard work on one little piece of paper.

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They will be placed in the shoebox with my mike sock and green apron. Maybe I’ll pull some of them out again one day, but I fully expect to keep adding to that box as the years go on…

For the first time since I was 17, I do not have another job lined up. I don’t have a plan. It is strange beyond explanation. I feel like a stranger in my own life. But I am excited to finally be taking this jump. Because this month, I learned happiness is possible anywhere. Even though everything from here on out is completely unknown, I’m confident I can be happy wherever I end up.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—
And whether pigs have wings.”

- Lewis Carrol, Through the Looking-Glass, “The Walrus and the Carpenter”

The Last Lunch

My mother texted me today to tell me she will be back from Florida on Sunday and that she misses me.

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I sent a message back, saying I missed her too, but she’s not getting her dog back.

Actually, after tomorrow I start the process of getting rid of my belongings and bringing what’s left to my mom’s place about 90 minutes from here. I’d like to spend as much of May there as possible before I move to Toronto June 1st. So she’s lucky. She’ll get her dog back after all ;)

Ce matin, j’ai mangé le petit déjeuner dans une jarre de beurre de cajoux.

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Wait. That doesn’t sound right.

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There we go :)

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Cream of wheat + egg whites + maple syrup + raisins + cinnamon + cashew butter. Getting through the many jars of nut butter in my fridge. I may be eating cream of wheat for a while though!!

Even though tomorrow is my last day at work, we all went out for a celebratory lunch today because my boss is out of town tomorrow.

My boss gave me full reign over the location. He told me this two weeks ago, and it took me two weeks to decide. This was serious business people!! I wanted to choose a spot that was relatively healthy, inexpensive (since he was paying) but had regular food everyone would enjoy.

Then I realized the one thing everyone loves is breakfast. Who doesn’t love breakfast at any time of day? So the group of us went to a local-ish place called Chez Cora that specializes in brunch-like fare.

Recycled photos. There is a time and place to take pictures of your food. This was neither.

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But this is my favourite dish there, so I already have photos on hand! Piece of toast with a perfectly poached egg (someday I will do that!). And cottage cheese dumped on top of the fruit (minus the kiwi today, since I am now off it).

Afterwards, my boss took us to a place called Johnnie Java. A counter and espresso machine tucked in the back of a specialized import store. They roast their own beans there and supposedly have the best coffee in town. I got an espresso macchiato, and it was pretty darn good! Went down smoooooth. They also sell green beans there, so it’s my goal to try roasting my own (using Lori’s popcorn method) before I get rid of my popcorn maker. So, like, this weekend :)

The rest of my afternoon was spent sobbing over leaving my job.

Joking.

Kind of ;)

Lunch was light, and even with my afternoon snack I was still starving for dinner! Threw together what is quickly becoming a staple around here.

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Giant junk salad

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There are many reasons why I keep resorting to these. Besides being super quick and healthy, it’s also HUGE and takes a while to devour eat.

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Highlights included pickled beets, chicken, cottage cheese, feta and olives. Only dressing was fresh lemon juice. Amazing.

And…um…in case you’re wondering, I am still eating protein powder batter every night.

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1 1/2 scoops chocolate protein powder, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, water. With sprinkles and chocolate chips. Tastes like chocolate icing. It makes me happy.

My eats are going to be repetitive, boring and random over the next little bit. Instead of apologizing, I’ll instead reassure you that they will get exciting again soon. I already have a dessert list of things to feed my step-siblings in Moncton, then a list of fun things to make in Toronto. One of my new roomies (hi Megan!) is a fellow foodie, so I suspect we’ll be having tons of fun in the kitchen :)

And with that, I’m going to wrap up this post with a little April Goals wrap-up.

Continue the spirit of the sleep challenge, aiming to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. I got around 7-7.5 every night, which is all I can ask for. My body functions best on 7.5 now. Anything over that is just a distant memory…

Get rid of as many of my belongings as possible. Totally didn’t do this. But this is what I’m dedicating all next week to.

Get my bike on the road. Pffft!! It was SO cold ALL month. Any other Maritimers out there agree that we had sucky weather this month? Cold, cloudy or rainy most of the time :(

Pass my personal training exam. Check!! I passed my written exam :) My practical is next Wednesday. Eep!

Chill the eff out. No stress here. Now that I’m funemployed, I have nothing but time to focus on all my obligations. We will just ignore the fact that I no longer have a steady paycheck coming in….mmmkay?

Hope you all have a great Friday!! Mine will be spent working my last day at the university, hopefully eating lunch with the old man, attempting another evening workout, then coming back here for Flashback Friday! See ya then!!

 

Question of the Day: What is your favourite restaurant and what’s your favourite dish to get there? My favourite restaurant is Calactus, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Moncton, featured here, here, here, and here. But my favourite dish there is the Big Marc Burger, blogged about here. Hands down, the best veggie burger ever!!

Weightlifting and Waffles – What Else is New!

Hey friends!! I am blogging from the WordPress dashboard right now and it is so weird. I’m all out of sorts! Usually I blog from Windows Live Writer, but it’s on the fritz. Actually, my whole computer is acting whacky. Think I’ll finish backing it up tonight and to the big hard-drive “reformat” once I’m done here :)

My night after hitting “publish” yesterday was just as nerdy.

Taxes!! They’re due on April 30th in Canada. Hopefully they make it to Newfoundland by then! Thankfully I’m getting money back. Some of the best advice my dad ever gave me was to do my own taxes the year I was 18. I only worked one job that year and figuring out how to complete the forms was pretty simple. Now as life gets a little more complicated, I can sufficiently make my way through them without getting too confused. Thanks dad!

I was up until 11:30 pm finishing my taxes, which is waaaaay past my bedtime. I had a distant hope of getting up and going to the gym first thing this morning, but it didn’t happen. Especially since I’d gone to a spin class not even 12 hours before – my body likes 24 hours in between!

So! Archie and I slept.

And Archie continued to sleep while I whipped up a batch of waffles. Jerk.

Another week, another Waffle Wednesday!! Waffles are definitely in my Top 10 favourite foods. I look forward to this every week!

With my immersion blender, I mixed up 1/3 cup rolled oats, 1/3 cup egg whites, 1/3 cup cottage cheese, 3/4 tsp baking powder, vanilla extract and cinnamon.

Topped with almond butter, fresh strawberries, yogurt, and a drizzle of sugar-free syrup for good measure. I love this waffle recipe. It always feels like a “treat” but in reality is pretty darn nutritious!

Today was my last Wednesday at work. Wain! Sometimes I feel so silly for leaving a job I actually like, as I know they’re hard to come by. But at the same time I know that I have to get out of this city. At this point, I don’t think any job would keep me here.

I had a few fleeting thoughts of skipping the gym after work, but I somehow stuck with it. Came home quickly to let the pup out and munched on a random piece of homemade chocolate banana peanut butter protein bar that I found in my fridge.

I went to the big co-ed gym, knowing full well it was going to be packed. I’ve never been shy in talking about my diagnosed social anxiety disorder. I get a lot of questions from people asking me how I handle the gym all the time. Well, sometimes it’s not easy! I was definitely nervous going in there today. I planned my workout a little more so I had a plan going in, but knew that I’d just have to go with the flow based on the availability of equipment. Oh, and no headphones. I get more paranoid when I can’t hear what people are saying.

I have no idea how to insert tables in WordPress, sorry if it’s not as readable!

Warm-up: 15 minutes on elliptical, increasing resistance every 2 minutes

Back Superset x3:
Wide-grip lat pulldown
Dumbbell bent-over row

Cardio: 5 minutes on the rowing machine, alternating grips

Chest Superset x3:
Dumbbell bench press
Incline push-up

Cardio: 5 minutes on the stairmaster, increasing speed

Shoulder Superset x3:
Standing dumbbell shoulder press
YTWL

Cardio: 5 minutes on the stairmill, increasing speed

Tricep/Bicep Superset x3:
Barbell curl
Cable pushdown

Ab Superset x3:
Cable horizontal woodchop
Hanging leg raises

Pretty good, considering for the second workout in a row, I’ve gone up in weights :) Also, even though the weight area was packed, the meatheads were really nice and cooperative about sharing equipment between sets. I didn’t have to wait for anything or change what I had planned!

I was also surprised by how much energy I still had. It’s funny, I’ve been working out first thing in the morning for so long so I have the evenings all to myself. But then my evenings are cut short because I have to be in bed so early. No matter how you schedule it, workouts are going to eat up time somewhere. But at least the time is ME time. Sometimes the only time of the day I get to wholly dedicate to myself :)

Oh! And I counted – the majority of people who commented on my last post prefer morning workouts. My rough tally was 19 to 9 for mornings.

Sooo, ummm, why is the gym always so crowded after work? :P

Dinner was popped in the oven while I showered.

Pita pizza! Or, pita tuna melt? One can of tuna with olive oil, lemon juice, tomatoes, green pepper, onion and feta cheese.

Carrots + salsa on the side. Of course ;)

How’s that for a protein-packed meal to follow up my weightlifting? One can = 120 calories and 30g protein. Doesn’t get much better than that!

I also want to mention – remember a while back when I was complaining about my hunger being out of control? Particularly in the afternoons? Well, shortly after, I took an extended rest. Three days of minimal activity, and absolutely no workouts. My hunger leveled out during that time to match my activity level (usually takes a couple days to catch up), and has been back to normal since. I have no clue if there is science behind this, but I bet my body really needed and enjoyed that rest!

Alrighty friends, America’s Next Top Model is on. It’s Go-Sees! See ya tomorrow xoxo

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