Thursday, December 31, 2009

A 2009 Recap

I thought it necessary to list some of the major things that we did or that happened to us in 2009.


-Family trip to Florida. Bub and I, my sister, nephew Mom and Godmother all flew down to Orlando for a week and did the Disney World (Magic Kingdom and Blizzard Beach), beach, shopping and relaxing thing. We had so much fun and will definitely return to that resort in the future.

- We got our second baby dog Jenny. It was a rough couple of months to start out with but now I’m so over the top in love with my little wiggle-butt that I can’t imagine life without her.


-We hosted the 24th annual Townsend Games at our place. I believe this is the first time that one of my husband’s generation has hosted. Normally it’s hosted by FIL or one of his brothers. We had great weather and it was a success as far as I know

- I received my acceptance letters to York University for both a BA in Business and Society and for a BA in English. I decided to pursue my passion for business, and am happy that I did, but sometimes I wish I could have done English too.


-1 week cottage vacation with Mum. We didn’t have the best weather, but it wasn’t terrible either. I stayed the whole week with Mum and the dogs and it was GREAT. I miss it.

I'm bad... I was too busy reading to take any pictures.


-I started back to classes for the first time in 4 years (the first time ever in University) and was so excited about the whole thing

No "back to school" picture either.  Bubba wanted to, I wouldn't let him.  It was weird.


-We finally got rid of the Grand-Am and bought our “new” car (a 2005 Nissan Sentra)


-Battled my way though my first set of exams. NOT fun and such a relief when they were over

The biggest thing for me this year was going back to school. It was a much harder adjustment than I expected it to be and I’ve caught myself on several occasions questioning why I decided to go back. The class/work/reading load is a lot (too much for me really), but I think I’ve got a good system now that I’ve been through a full semester and know a little bit better what to expect.

I learned a couple things in the process of returning to school (which is good, I suppose, since that’s kinda the point of going back to school):

-I still don’t have a brain for math. It’s just not me. I can write papers and essays and do case studies until the cows come home, but as soon as I saw the graphs and equations for Microeconomics…. I panicked. Luckily, I was still able to pull off an A in that class, but it wasn’t without a lot of frustration, hard work and yes- tears.

-I’m still that student that puts way too much pressure on myself. It’s my nature. Less than an A is unacceptable to me and I’m going to give myself a stroke someday making sure I get them.

-I have the greatest husband in the world. This man not only tolerates that fact that I am ALWAYS busy but he picks up my slack. He makes and cleans up all the meals, he packs my lunches and dinners for school days (since I don’t come home between work and school) and he even helps me study for tests and exams. All the while never once uttering a complaint. I’m seriously so very lucky because I don’t know how I’d handle it if he was making me feel guilty all the time.

-University is not necessarily all it’s cracked up to be. I look around some of my classes and listen to some of the comments and questions from the other students and think “how the hell did you ever get accepted here?”

All in all I am happy to be back at school and in the middle of a 3 week break I’ve caught myself looking forward to classes starting again, so I know that I’ve made the right decision. It will be worth it in 4-6 years when I get to wear the gown and move the tassel across my hat and someone hands me a degree.

So… here’s hoping school in 2010 goes just as well or better than in 2009.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 in books (and a peek ahead to 2010)

Since we have less than 48 hours left of 2009, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on 2009 and also to look forward to 2010. I think this will take a couple of posts, but I think I’ll start with a look back over the books I read in 2009.

2009 Reading Goals:
-Read 25 books this year… I’m about to finish 30 (+ the 7 audio books I listened to and the crap I had to read for school).
-Score 150 points on NBC’s Summer Book Challenge- I scored 155!

To see a full list of my 2009 books, click here.

Favorites of 2009

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Had I picked this book up on my own at a store or in the library I would have cringed or baulked and put it back down. However, thanks to the ladies on an online forum that I frequent, I decided to give it a whirl. I AM SO GLAD THAT I DID. This book had it all. Excitement, intensity, a romantic edge… everything. Collins takes you for a wild ride that you absolutely cannot put down. Collins is the queen of making her readers yell O!M!G! every few pages. Fantastic book.

Gossamer by Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry is simply a genius to me. Her imagination is stunning and her writing style is beautiful. The idea behind Gossamer was unique to anything else I’ve read and I flew through it in one short sitting. The story of these dreamgivers, although imaginative, offers a simple and logical explanation of the randomness of our dreams. My only complaint is that it wasn’t longer.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Okay, I admit that was not a first-read for me. My love affair with all things Cullen began in May of 2008. However, I did re-read this early in 2009 (for the third time) and couldn’t leave it off this list. It’s a favorite of all time and therefore one of my favorite reads of 2009.

Disappointments of 2009

Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty

After enjoying Sloppy Firsts and devouring Second Helping I was expecting to love Thirds. Eh-wrong. This book was so.incredibly.boring. It’s basically just a summary of JD’s life through University. Nothing really happens, and yet everything happens and you miss it. It’s difficult to describe, so all I’ll say is I wish it was better because I wanted to love this series.

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Not a whole lot to say about this one except that it just didn’t do anything for me. There wasn’t enough going on to make it enjoyable. I don’t regret reading it, it wasn’t awful by any stretch, but I haven’t read a Dessen since.

Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog

If I was 13 and getting ready to start high school, I probably would have loved this book. Unfortunately, it is not one of those YA books that adults can enjoy too… at least in my opinion. I think it’s written for a very young audience, so I didn’t really get anything out of it.

Books I’m most looking forward to in 2010.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I’ve heard raves and have been waiting months to read it.

Sizzle by Julie Garwood

Yes- I’ll admit it. She’s one of my favorite authors. I have been disappointed with the last couple (they were good, but not GREAT) but I still can’t help getting a little excited when a new one is released.

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

This story is very special to me and yet somehow I have never picked up the novel. I promise myself to read it this year and I can’t wait.

2010 Reading Goals

With school, commuting and work bogging me down I’m not going to set myself any specific goals for this year other than to read as many books as I possibly can, and also to read a couple of those books that have been on my TBR list forever that I should have read long ago. Such as:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas 2009

So I’m totally gonna do the little kid thing and list all the super awesome stuff I got for Christmas:

-a photo book for us with our wedding photos. It’s beautiful. (Mum)

-My mum recently replaced the front door on the house that we (my sister and I) grew-up up in. She took the beautiful glass from that door, had it framed and added a small engraved plate that says “A Piece of Home”. LOVE

-My Wii!!!!!!!!!!!! Bub came through with a Wii!!!!!! Bugger.   :)


Fallen by Lauren Kate (Bub)

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (Bub)

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (Bub)

Shawdowland (Immortals 3) by Alyson Noel (MIL)

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill (Mum)


A snuggie w/ a reading light (MIL)

A bathtub caddie with book holder (Mum)

Jammie pants (SMIL)

Super Mario Bros for the Wii (FIL)

A Hummer Tour (Uncle)

Harry Potter HBP (MIL)

An IOU for Sunday brunch at the Country Club (MIL)

Lots of random edible crap that is oh-so-good and that is also making me fat again.

… Okay, I’m stopping now because I truly sound like a spoiled brat. But needless to say, it was a great Christmas because, better than the gifts, we got to spend a ton of time with family and share some great food and conversation. That’s what it’s all about right?

However, it’s over. The decorations are down, the gifts have been put away and the Christmas music turned off. Because it’s my favorite time of year, it’s depressing for me when it’s over, and I mean that in the literal sense of the word. So… I try to get back to normal as soon as possible. I only wish I could cut the Christmas commercials on TV. Luckily I don’t watch enough for it to be a real problem.

I think Megan McCafferty said it best on Twitter yesterday:

“12/28/88 When Christmas is over, I want all the decorations to GO AWAY. There's something so sad about tinsel past its prime.”

You hit the nail on the head as always MM!

I hope everyone had as good a Christmas as I did and best wishes for 2010.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Next time I got to the bar, I’m going in sweat pants.

Friday night I joined my BFF and some girls that she goes to school with (she also went back this year) to celebrate the end of term. They’re mostly from out of town so I joined them at their hotel for pre-drinks and then we went downtown.

We hit up Club Ash after our success there last time, and the friggin’ dance floor was closed!! WHAT?!?!?!?! Who does that? So we waited around for about 20 minutes and decided to move on down to The Bank. Needless to say I was loaded by the time we got there so I only bought myself 1 drink and yet somehow still ended up spending $30! How does that happen?

Anyhoo, I ran into some people that I knew, and danced with a lot that I didn’t know. And here’s where the night got weird. I was dancing with this very attractive guy who was actually a really good dancer (not just the bob up and down or grind around kinda dancer) and we’re were having a great time for a couple songs and then the next thing I know, he turns me around, gives me sexy eyes and whispers in my ear “you look like a skank”…. Um, what? I was wearing a black dress to my knees, with 3 quarter length sleeves and leggings. I was one of the most dressed people at the club. I literally said “annnnd we’re done dancing now” and walked away. He looked dumbfounded that I didn’t think his comment was a compliment! How many girls swoon when called a skank? Seriously!?!?

Then I started dancing with an old friend who was clearly completely inebriated and the night got even weirder. I’ll spare everyone the details, but it got very inappropriate, very quickly, especially since this particular friend is also an ex-coworker of my husbands. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a jealous husband in the least. He knows that I go out with the girls and that I love to dance and will dance with almost anyone… and he doesn’t care because he does the same (some people don’t get it, but we trust each other and it’s just dancing), but this was way beyond just dancing with a friend. This was groping and grabbing and yucka. I was getting a little nervous because there was a table of friends just on the other side of the dance floor who all work with or know my husband and I didn’t want them to get the wrong idea but I didn’t want to make the friend feel bad either because I know he was just extremely drunk and wouldn’t even remember it in the morning and I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it and then get all awkward with him. Eventually I got away from him and just kept my distance for the rest of the night.

I think BFF was getting a little ticked because I kept asking her to "help" me or "save" me from guys that I didn't want to dance with, but I'm just not used to it yet and don't know how to deal with it nicely.  She thinks I'm being silly, but I really don't know what to do when I get grabbed and pulled up to dance with someone that I really don't want to dance with (or worse... that doesn't know how to dance and it gets all awkward).  I'll have to remember that next time we go out and just keep my mouth shut.  I felt kinda bad about it the next morning (and I guess it's still bothering me). 
I saw two other friends that I hadn’t seen in quite a while who both had big hugs and very nice things to say to me so that made me feel better!

Anyways... here's a couple shots from the night.

All of us... see what I mean about being fully clothed compartively??

BFF and I gettin' our pre-drink on.  Not the best picture of myself.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Christmas List

I made it really easy for Bub this year. I just printed off a list of books from my GoodReads TBR list and gave it to him… but I was sure to highlight the ones I wanted the most. They were:

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Apparently it’s a paranormal YA Christmas for me! I can’t wait to spend Boxing Day reading. I hope to get a couple books done over the holidays.

What I really wanted Santa to bring me, but I didn’t even ask for was:

a Wii with the new Super Mario Bros game. A girl can dream right? We’re cutting back this Christmas so I didn’t even ask for it because I knew Bub would either buy it or feel bad all day that he didn’t. Besides… I would probably fail out of University because I’d zombie out and play Mario 24/7.

The only other thing I asked for was a skin for my BlackBerry since it’s starting to get a little beat-up.

I do know that I am getting a KATHY BAG (squeeeeeee!!!!) from my Dad and step-mom. She found them in a store there, sent me online to figure out which one I liked and told me that I was getting it. I’ve wanted one since May when I saw it in Florida, didn’t buy it, and have been kicking myself since because it’s way more expensive here.

Look how pretty!!!!

I still have to finish shopping for Bub. I know what I need/want to get, I just have to do it. I’ll finish either tomorrow night or this weekend. Then I have to get wrapping!!!!

I so LOVE Christmas!!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Crazy (Wicked) Christmas

Oh sweet relief… and even sweeter sleep. I wrote my last exam of the term yesterday and I now have 3ish weeks off before classes start again.

The exam didn’t go well. I just can’t wrap my head around microeconomics. I made it through the first two tests and worked my butt of to get really good marks (I went into the exam with an 83) but no matter how much I tried to study the new material for the exam I couldn’t get it. I studied Saturday afternoon, all day (11 hours) on Sunday and 5 hours yesterday morning and I still felt totally unprepared going in to the exam. If I did well… it’s pure luck from good guessing. I hate that feeling. I’m a straight A student so I’m not used to it.

I’m excited to not have to studying anymore of course, but I’m most excited to now get to really kick-off and enjoy my Christmas season. This is my FAVORITE time of year for sure. Tonight I’m going to go home after work, plug the tree and the other lights, put some Christmas music on and make my garlicky and tortellini soup. Then, we’re going to watch some of the Christmas specials I have waiting on the PVR. I can’t decide what to watch first. Here are some of my favorites:

TV Specials:

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Garfield Christmas (which hasn’t been on in years-boo!)

Charlie Brown Christmas


The Polar Express

A Mom for Christmas

The Family Stone

A Christmas Carol (original 50’s version)

I love them all, but those are the must-sees. So tonight I’m taking it easy and then the craziness begins.

Tomorrow night- MIL is coming over for her b-day dinner (I’m doing slow-cooker roast because it’s just so yummy and easy)

Thursday- get my shopping done.

Friday- I’m heading out on the town with a group of girls to celebrate the end of the semester.

Saturday -FIL’s 50th b-day party and drinks for a friend’s b-day if 50th wraps up early enough.

Sunday- hopefully nothing. Christmas related loveliness (music, movies, specials etc)

Monday- wrapping while Bub works late.

Tuesday- BFF’s and the “men” in their lives are coming for a holiday dinner at my place (by men, I mean- 1 is bringing her husband and the other is bringing her son).

Wednesday- finish wrapping/tentative reschedule date in case the weather is bad on the Tuesday.

Christmas Eve (Thursday)- break from work begins… dinner at FIL’s.

Christmas Day- morning with just us (Bub, me and the dogs) Dinner at my Mum’s.

Boxing Day- Bub works at 5am (oh the joys of retail) and then dinner at MIL’s.

And then we may or may not see my Dad and step-mom between the holidays. They were going to come but are not 100% sure now.
Phew! It’s going to be a crazy couple of weeks and I’m excited about every little part of it!!! I <3 Christmas and all the craziness that comes with it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Whiney Pants

Perhaps I’m not cut out for this. Perhaps this was a mistake. And now, because I’ve shot my ever-loving mouth off to everyone I know about how freakin’ excited I am to FINALLY go back to school, I’m stuck. Stuck for the next 4 years minimum (through the summers and all) doing something that I really dislike and resent. Brilliant Ashley, just friggin’ brilliant.

I miss my old life. I didn’t realize how amazing it was to be able to go home every night right after work and be able to live my life. To sit and have a long dinner with my husband , to take a walk, to get my waxing done whenever I felt like it, to READ my own books, to exercise, to be able to leave the stressful responsibility at the office until the next morning and just go be me for the rest of the day. I knew the school was going to be crazy, but I had no idea just how crazy it would be. Seriously… every little thing we need/want to do has to be planned out now. There’s no more spontaneity, and really, very little personal life at all.

I live, eat, breathe and sleep school. Yes- I sleep school…. literally. I wake up almost every morning now from a dream that was related to school or thinking about the information I studied the night before. It’s awful. There is constantly something school related hanging over my head…. some upcoming test or assignment that I should be working on, or a reading that I should be doing. Ugh!

I’ve taken on too much and I realize that now. Three courses per term on-top of the commute and my regular Monday to Friday full-time job is just too much for one person. The classes themselves are fine, but it’s when all the assignments and tests start coming up around the same time that it starts to get really overwhelming. But, now that I’ve started it, I think I have to keep going at this pace. If not, I’ll be in school forever and I just want to get it over with. Even at my current pace (9 credits per fall and winter term and 6 per summer term) I won’t finish until December of 2013 (yes, that’s right. In just 4 short years from today I’ll be preparing to write my final exams to complete my degree).

I’m conflicted because I still need/want my degree more than anything, but I’m just wishing that I had done it sooner.

I have options to get out faster:

1. Settle for the Bachelor of Administrative Studies- drop the “honours” part. This gets me out a year earlier, but I forfeit being able to say I have a BAS- Specialized Honours- Management

2. Hope and pray that Bub finds a new job soon that will allow me drop down to working part-time so I can study with a full course load (5 courses per semester). This is the one I am holding the most hope for, but at this point it doesn’t seem likely since I’m the major breadwinner.

I really can’t believe I’m complaining about this. I remember this time last year, when I had no idea that I’d be returning to school, telling my BFF “I’d give anything to go back to school- I really miss it”. HA! Joke’s on you Ashley. You don’t realize how much you settle into adult life after school and forget how hard it is to be a student and constantly be working on deadlines and marks and stress. Studying for exams sucks, writing papers about crap you don’t care about sucks, saving for books and tuition sucks, spending all your non-working and non-class free time doing some kind of assignment…REALLY SUCKS!

I miss feeling like a grown-up and having a life. I miss my husband, my books, my dogs, exercise... money and I needed to whine about it.

Thank GOD I only have 6 more days until exams are over and I have a little break. I just have to suck it up for the next 6 days (oh… and the next four years too).

Monday, December 7, 2009

9 Years

Today is the 9th anniversary of that day that Brad and I started "officially and exclusively" seeing each other. We had been dating since Halloween, I guess as much as you can "date" in high school, but it was December 7th 2000 that we had "the" conversation.

For our first official date, we went to see The Grinch (Jim Carrey version) at the movie theatre and then we had dinner a Burger King. I was 15 and he was 16 years old. Neither of us drove (he had his G1, but that means you need a G driver in the car with you) so we took the bus. I can tell you that we were extremely happy when he got his G2 later that winter so we could finally drive to our dates and to school etc. He came over to my house every single night after school.... and we've pretty much been inseparable for the nine years since then. We rarely do things separately, even down to the grocery shopping and house work. Because we went to elementary school and high school together, and then worked together for a couple of years, we have mostly mutual friends. The best man in our wedding is someone we both consider to be one of our best friends, separately and together.

We broke-up a couple times in high school, but it only lasted a day or two and we would be back together. We went to semi-formal together, I was his date for his prom and he was my date at mine. I saw him graduate high school (the year before I did) and then he same me graduate too. In grade 12, he was in college, but still often came to the school to take me for lunch, or pick me up and drive me home/to work.
We were together through college (although we were at different schools) and within a month of my college graduation we were engaged... and a year later we were married.

I was with him when his parents separated, when he wasn't speaking to his father or his father fiancé, when his brother was arrested and sent to jail (twice),when his aunt who is basically a second mother to him was diagnosed with breast cancer, and when his (and now our) niece was born. He was with me through the extremely turbulent times with my mom and step-dad as we tried to reform a relationship after a long separation, he was with me through my lay-off 3 months before our wedding, and he was with me through the turbulence that followed with my step-dad once again. We were together when we each got our drivers licenses; we bought our first vehicles together, moved out of our parent's houses for the first time together... and on and on and on.

We've grown up together in every sense of the word. After 9 years with the same person, you know each other better than anyone else in the world and you've been through lots of good times and lots of bad times. And although it's hard to believe that it's already been almost a decade together, it's also difficult to remember a time where we weren't together; where he wasn't the first person I needed to call when something good, bad or hilarious happens. I really cannot imagine what I would do without him. As much as he drives me crazy a lot of the time, he is my support system and keeps me going.

I think after 9 years I've decided that I kinda like him, and I think I'll keep him.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Kick-Off

1 exam down, 2 to go.

It went well. I’m happy with it, but I do know that I shouldn’t be overly confident since there is always the chance that I didn’t interpret the questions properly, or include enough detail or….. blah blah blah. It was 5 short answer questions (identifying the significance of several key terms from the course material) and 1 essay question. I kind of panicked when I saw the key terms, but it’s amazing how, once you get writing, lots and of little details, probably worth some marks, start coming back to you. The essay I wrote was on the spread of religion and culture through Ancient Greece, Classical Rome and Europe of the Middle Ages. I know, BORING!! Whatever… I have an interest in world religions and their origins so it was information that stuck in my mind. 

What's funny is that I literally felt all the inforamion I had studied leave my brain, like a balloon deflating, as I left the exam.  I really think that if I had to go and write it again today, I wouldn't know 1/2 what I did yesterday.  It's just... gone.

I don’t have another exam until next Thursday. I plan to start studying on Sunday, but will cram most of it into the evenings next week. I need as much rest as possible this weekend since my economics exam is next Monday, is going to be a doozie, and will require an entire weekend of non-stop studying.

For better or for worse… as of 5pm on the 14th it will all be over for this term. 1 term down, 4 bazillion to go.

I’m so stoked for this weekend. It’s my official kick-off to Christmas. I have a few errands to run after work, but then I’m heading home and staying there. I plan to get all (and I mean ALL) of my cleaning done tonight and then Bub and I are making Chicken Caesars for dinner and parking it to watch some TV. I’m going to try to take the girls for a walk and read a bit as well. My stack of library books has not decreased.

Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year. Christmas kick-off. It’s the day we blast some Christmas music (YAY), decorate the house (YAY), possibly do some Christmas baking (YAY), try to get some Christmas shopping done (YAY), make a yummy dinner and eat picnic style in front of the fire (YAY) and watch some kind of Christmas movie (YAY)!!! Can you tell that I LOVE Christmas? I may see if Bub wants to take a walk to look at some Christmas lights too.

Now, I’m just hoping that we get some snow so that it really feels like Christmas. I love this time of year.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

And exams begin...

I sat through my last microeconomics lecture last night!!!! But... this of course means the beginning of exams.

Tonight- HUMA exam: Level of preparedness- 60%/ Nerve Level- flips between a 1 and a 10

This is a 2 hour exam with short answer and essay questions for 20% of my mark. I'm trying to cram a little review in (how bad is that at work?) but I’m as prepared as I’m going to get. I simply can’t cram any more information into my brain for this class. I just have to review as much as I can and do my best. I guarantee that all the info will be released from my brain like air from a balloon as soon as I walk out of the exam tonight.

Next Thursday- ADMS exam

This will be a 3 hour exam with case study and essay questions for 55% of my mark. I’m really not worried about this one. It’s only on 5 or 6 chapter’s worth of stuff and I have lots of time to study. I hope that it doesn’t take me by surprise as an extremely difficult exam, but I’ll be as ready for it as I possibly can.

The Following Monday- ECON exam

This will be a 3 hour exam of multiple choice questions worth 50% of my mark. I’m going in to the test an 84%, but only because of an insane amount of studying for the first two tests. To tell the truth, I’m terrified for this exam and the amount of studying I will have to do for it in the 2 days I’ll have been it and the ADMS exam that’s just before it. I’ll be so happy when it’s over.

And that’s it! By 5pm on Monday the 14th, I’ll be done exams and have 3 weeks off from all things school related. I can’t tell you how excited I am for this. I need a break desperately (and that need will be even worse by the 14th) and I want to enjoy the Christmas season… which is my favorite time of year!!!

Okay… enough procrastinating. I have work and reviewing to do. See you on the flip side.

The Joy of Food

I have reignited my love affair with food. This is not a good thing, but I can't help it. I cannot stop eating. I'm hungry basically all the time and I'm never satisfied. Even when I can feel myself getting physically full, I still want more. It's soooo bad. I'm terrified that I'm going to slip back to my old weight when I've worked so hard to get it off... I can't let that happen. What doesn't help is that I have no time or motivation to exercise. I miss running, I miss walking every night with Bub and the dogs.... I miss it. I just don't have time now.
And the holiday season sure doesn't help. We went to a Christmas party on Saturday.... and the food.... OH the food. Breads and dips, meatballs, cheese and cracker platters, mini quiches, sausage rolls, spring rolls, veggies and dip.... and the desserts! Oi Vey! Platters of cookies and squares and cakes etc. including two of my ultimate favorites (and weaknesses) no bake cherry cheesecake and nanimo bars. So, so, so good. Combine all of that with the alcohol and I probably exceeded my calorie limit for the week in the course of a few hours.
Sunday was not great either. Bub and I shared a large (yes... a LARGE) popcorn at the movies and then, after my super healthy dinner of salmon, brown rice, salad and turnip... I topped it off with TWO bowls of PC Candycane and Fudge Crackle ice cream. I couldn't help myself. It's delish and I can only get it this time of year.
I haven't weighed myself, and my clothes are all still too big... so that's a good sign, but it won't last for long. Why is it that its food that causes weight gain? Why can't it be something like smoking or swearing or.... not enough sex? Just something that would be easier to give up or do more of? I love food, I love to eat and I HATE that I feel guilty for every little thing that goes in my mouth.
The scariest part is... we're just getting started with the Christmas season. I'm sure there will be much more overeating to come.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feeeeeeeeel.... sooooo bad."

The stress of money and school has really been getting my down lately. So, I wanted to make a list of my favorite things. Be prepared... it's totally random. There are things that make me feel better, things that I do to unwind, things that I do just for me etc.  So here they are:

-snuggling/playing/walking with my dogs
-getting gift certificates for a bookstore
-long nighttime baths with a good book
-evenings when I have the house to myself to make/order a yummy dinner and dive into a good book
-weekend getaways- to anywhere with a jacuzzi tub so I can read (do you see the theme here?)
-summer weekends at the cottage
-unplanned afternoon naps
-a good hearty soup
-hiking in Algonquin Park in the fall
-the whole Christmas season- especially putting Christmas music on, making gourmet hot chocolate and wrapping presents
-phone calls from my Dad/ visits from my Dad
-dancing- any kind (a class, at the club, in my livingroom)
-singing (the best is in the car)
-buying a new outfit or a new purse
-gadgets: I love my bb, my itouch, my laptop, my DS
-any excuse to get dressed up and feel like a girl
-a singapore sling, a shot of tequila rose or a big pint of Guinness (sometimes multiples of all three)
-stopping for soup and sandwich lunches with Bub on the weekends

What about you? What are some of your favorite things?

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Lost Art of Napping

Naps used to be a regular weekend occurance for me. I rarely napped on purpose, but many Sunday afternoons spent lazily reading a book ultimately led to snoozing. And honestly? Taking a nap is one of my favorite things to do, especially on a rainy grey afternoon.

Since I started school, the ability to nap has become a thing of the past. A distant memory that seems to good to have ever been true. Until this weekend.

I decided that since I had no assignments due this week, only 1 online class left and exams to start ramping up for as of next weekend, that I was taking this entire weekend off of all things related to school. Yes- it means that I have to do my online class tonight or tomorrw night after work, yes- it means that I'll have to do the readings for my other classes on my lunch breaks at work.... but it was totally worth it. I really needed it too because Thursday night I dreamt about my microeconomics test (in which I realized I got an answer wrong) and Saturday night I dreamt about my humanities assignment that I handed in almost 2 weeks ago.

Friday night was New Moon night and I shall spare the details (see post below)... by it was simply A-MAZ-ING. LOVED it! If you haven't read the books, you may not appreciate the movie... but for me it was fantastic

Saturday I had a hair appointment, hung out at my Mum's for the afternoon and then dinner at MIL's. We all went to a play afterwards that was geared towards children (one of Bub's cousins was in it and therefore the only reason we went). We went home and tried to catch-up on weeks worth of PVR'd shows... but 1/2 way through Criminal Minds (at 9:45) I was asleep.

Sunday we slept in, took the girls for a huge walk in the bush and then came home to the best part of my weekend. At about 2:30 I laid down to read some of my book and the next thing I know, I'm waking up in darkness and it's 5:15pm. I had read about 11 pages of my books before passing out for an amost 3 hour nap. It was lovely.

I was so warm in bed with Jenny (Lola and Bub were watching football downstairs)... I didn't want to get up. I probably could have gone back to sleep and stayed that way until this morning. However, I made myself get up and get dinner together for Bub (who had to work overnight last night) and unfortunately I got a second wind that kept me awake until after 2am. Needless to say I was not impressed when my alarm went off a 6:30 this morning.

I don't think I've got that much sleep in a weekend in months and months and months and it made me realize how much I miss the carefree life I had before stupidly deciding to go back to school AND work full-time. I look forward to the next time I can just unwind like that and I recommend that everyone does it from time to time.

I've got a roast and potatoes in the slow cooker so dinner will be ready when I get home. I think I may put off my online class for one more night and spend tonight reading. I'm juggling two books that are due back at the library soon, so I need to get going! I should probably pick up my text book too... but I just don't feel like it. hehe.


New Moon was simply incredible. As much as I loved Twilight, New Moon was so. much. better. They followed the book about as close as they possibly could, the acting, effects, costumes etc were so much better in this one and you got a much better idea of the intensity of B&E’s love in this version (something that just didn’t fully translate to screen in the last one). And as hardcore Team Edward as I am, I was even wavering to Team Jacob during the movie… which seems to be the general consensus of a lot of people that saw it.  But, by the end, my fatih and love was fully restored in my Edward. I LOVE LOVE LOVED it and I can’t wait to own my own copy. I WILL see it again (probably several times) before then.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

If B12 really increases memory retention... hand it over.

Update on our car: it was some valve thingy… it’s being fixed today and it’s not costing us a penny. The downside, I have no car at work today and have to wait for the dealer shuttle after work for the second time in a week. As of tomorrow though, our car should be in tip top shape. Other than the current issue, I really like the car.
Now on to more important things:

School: I have my second microeconomics test tomorrow night. I’m so not ready for it. I studied for 22 hours for the last one (5 chapters) but with this one, I’ve only put in about 10 hours so far and will do another 4ish tonight, but honestly… it’s just not sinking in this time around. It’s only on 4 chapters but I just can’t get my brain to concentrate enough to absorb anything. It’s going to be painful. However, as of tomorrow night at 8pm, it will be over.

I can’t believe the term is almost over already. I have 1 more online class to do, 2 more HUMA classes and 3 more ECON classes + an exam for each and the term is over. I’m nervous for all of my exams, but I’m terrified of my ECON exam. It’s going to be an excruciating experience to study for and do. Ugh!

You have NO IDEA how much I am looking forward to Christmas break. I still have to work my regular hours but I’ll get to come home every night after work and NOT have school work to do, or classes to go to, or text books to read. It will be amazing.

On a not so fun note, I figured out that if I continue school at my current pace (18 credits per academic year and 6 credits each summer excluding next because I have to take that math class), I will graduate in December of…. 2013. BOO! I’m really hoping that next year or the year after we will be in a position for me to start working part time and going to school for a full course load. That way we can speed up the process a bit.

Weekend Plans: I’m counting the hours until Friday afternoon. There are four main reasons:

1. It will be the first weekend in a long time where I have no assignment to work on. Just my regular old online class (with no case study) and that’s it. YAY! I have to enjoy it because as of the next weekend, studying for exams begins and will last for 3 weeks. I plan to read… A LOT, take a nap (I miss naps), have a bath, take the dogs for a walk. Just hang!

2.  One more economics test will be behind me, regardless of the outcome.

3.  I am getting my hair done on Saturday morning… highlights (I miss them already since I went dark) and a trim. Nothing crazy.

4.  NEW MOON COMES OUT ON FRIDAY!!!!! We have tickets to the 9:50 show on Friday night which likely means lining up at 8ish, but I’m okay with it. I’ll take a book and chill. I CANNOT FREAKIN’ WAIT! I miss Forks and the Cullen’s… and especially my Edward. It feels like such a long time since I’ve been in that world…. my happy place. I know I’m going to leave and immediately want to see it again AND reread the books, and I’m not going to deprive myself if that’s the case!

Alright, I really need to get some work done and then start going through my notes again for my test.

Here's what I'll be dreaming about for the rest of the week (in between ecnomic thoughts of course)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

No, not FML... I have it pretty good.

Did I tell you that regardless of the fact that I'm absolutely steaming about the car... I officially have the best husband in the world???

Last night, I got home from class to:

a) a clean kitchen
b) a backyard clear of leaves and trampoline flipped (ready for winter)
c) my lunch and dinner for today made and waiting in the fridge

Also, I had to throw a load of laundry in before I went to bed last night and fell asleep before I could switch it to the dryer. When MH came in to say goodbye to me this morning and put the dogs back in bed with me (5:45am) I asked him if he would mind switching the laundry.....
d) When I came down this morning, not only had he loaded and started the dryer, but he had also properly hung the wet stuff that doesn't go in the dryer.

20 bucks says when I come home tonight, the vaccuming and dusting will be done too. These are his "chores" and he likes to get them done on Thursdays so he can relax on the weekend. Oh... except he does the laundry on weeekends. All of it. I maybe do a load a month, if that. He also does the garbage collection and take-out on Tuesday nights.

He's the best!


Really? Seriously?

24 hours after picking up our “new” car, I’m driving home from school at about 10:30 at night and low and behold, on comes the Service Engine Soon light. Did I mention this was one of the things I hated about the Grand Am? The SES light came on about 2 or 3 days after we bought it and it never went off.

On top of that… the gas mileage SUCKS!!!!!! Let’s break it down shall we?

2000 Grand Am- 3.4L V6 engine (big and powerful engine)- just over a ¼ tank of gas for a return trip to school

2005 Sentra- 1.8L 4 Cylinder engine (MUCH smaller)- just over ½ a tank of gas for a return trip to school.


Now, I understand that ½ a tank in the Sentra is not the same amount of gas as ½ a tank the Grand Am (smaller tank) but seriously? That means a whole tank of gas will be consumed in 2 trips to school. I was only filling the Grand Am once a week. This means I’ll have to fill the Sentra twice. Even if it’s cheaper per fill-up, it’s not going to be THAT much cheaper and will still be more than the Grand Am. How is this possible? Hopefully whatever is making the engine light come on is what is causing such high gas consumption.

So, tomorrow morning, less than 3 days after picking the car up from the lot, it’s going back to have work done. I’m so pissed right now; it’s all I can think about. I just keep thinking… GREAT! What have we gotten ourselves into… AGAIN???? I finally thought we had made a smart decision and gone with a reliable brand/model and affordable in terms of maintenance and gas mileage. WRONG! As usual. Clearly, we’re not off to a very good start.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Can't Imagine....

I can't imagine what it's like to watch a close friend die.

Feeling that it's all your fault, seeing horror in his eyes.

"Take my family and keep them safe", are the last words that he said.

You make a silent promise as you slowly nod your head.

Then you have to leave him, with no time to say goodbye,

As you grab your gun and go, you hear his painful sigh.

But in the war, there's no time to grieve or even shed a tear.

Feeling no emotion, except a terrible fear.

As a soldier in the war, they learn to keep on going,

Run away, watch them die, their pace not even slowing.

Keep what I've said in your heart on Remembrance Day,

Think, what if you met that friend? What would you have to say?

I wrote this poem as an assignment in the 8th grade (for Mrs. GC!) and was recently sent a copy from my Dad who kept it all this time. I thought it was appropriate to post today of all days.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Yay for a new car!

We bought a "new" car! I'm relieved and a little freaked out at the same time, but it was necessary.

We bought a 2005 Nissan Sentra- a sporty little 4 door, silver of course (because all cars in this freakin' town are silver). It's a gutless little 4-banger which means that it going to take some getting used to as it's substantially less powerful than our current car, but will be soooooooooo much better on gas. Neither of us is in love with this new car or anything, but it's exactly what we were looking for... affordable, reliable and practical. We even bought an undercoating treatment that literally puts an almost rubber seal on the underbody to protect from rust because we need this car to last. It's like the high-tech version of oil undercoating but it lasts for the lifetime of the car so we never have to do it again. This is super important in the winter here because there is so much salt on the roads for such a big chunk of the year and it's really hard of the body of the cars.

I'm happy it's all taken care of... but I'm definitely not looking forward to a payment again. I can't worry about that now because we had no choice. We have to have a car, and we went as practical as possible, so it is what it is.

Here's my (opps... I should say "our") new little car. I get to pick her up tomorrow.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Jumbled Mess.....

Are you ready for a whole lot of randomness?

Some of you may remember my posts about having to change my degree/major because my current major (which would give me a BA in Business & Society when I’m done) is not doable for me based on the schedule of some of the core classes. So…. I went in and spoke with an advisor about changing my major and degree to get my BAS (Bachelor of Administrative Studies) which is what I applied for in the beginning but was missing a high school level math prerequisite, so I couldn’t get in. Now that I’m already a student of the University, they are going to allow me to change provided I meet some criteria:

-I must maintain a 5.0 GPA this year (my school is on a strange grading system, but it’s basically the equivalent of a C+) which is no problem for me.

-I have to take a “Mathematics for Admissions” class, which does not affect my GPA nor will it count towards my degree, but is strictly pass or fail.

As long as I pass, along with a 5.0 or higher GPA, I can switch no problem. I’m so relieved because my current degree program was just not a) what I thought b) working with my schedule (at least not in the future). Both programs are similar, but this is the one I wanted to begin with so I’m happy about it.  It’s a relief. It sucks that I have to take and pay for a class that doesn’t count for anything, but it’s what I have to do so I’m okay with it.

I got one of my term-papers back and got the second highest mark in the class! I missed highest by 2%!! That means that I’ve received exactly 80% on all assignments/test so far this term. It’s kind of weird isn’t it? My economics Prof bumped all of our marks by 5% (and may give us 5 or 6% more at the end of the year), but I have actually earned 80% on everything. Strange.

We pretty much have to buy a car this weekend. We’ve been looking online this week and test drove and 05 Civic on Monday night, so I think we’ll find something. Now…. fingers crossed that we get financing!!! We’ve both always had really good credit (I’m so crazy about bills being paid on time), but I think with the savings down to nothing and the fact that we’ve got a 100% mortgage now, coupled with the applications this summer for financial aid for school (which I didn’t get for various reasons), we may not be ideal candidates any longer. We make all of our payments on time, but that’s just a part of it. I don’t know what the hell we are going to do if we don’t get approved, but I’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Right now, I’m just concentrating on finding a good reliable car at a reasonable price, then I’ll think about paying for it.

Not only do I have to buy a car this weekend, but I have to clean my house, get my waxing done (this is imperative so I don’t start to look like a boy), go to the library, complete an annotated bibliography for a paper I have to do, and do my online class. I’m hoping that I can get everything squared away so we can go with a group of friends to Toronto tomorrow night to The Mod Club to see our friend’s band play. It’s free since we’re on the bands list so I’d really like to go and just have a good time.

Happy Friday!!! (Man... I'm in a surprisingly good mood today... odd)

 Here's some of the cars we're thinking about. 

You know... something "family practical".  Fours doors for easy access with car seats and puppies.

Or if we wanted something a little sportier... although we'd have to get rid of it when babies come.

HA! Seriously though.... this is likely closer to what we'll end up with....

I am a genius....

(originally posted on NBC on Oct 25/09)

....okay not really... not even close actually. But I'm super happy about this.

I had a microeconomics test two weeks ago that I was terrified for because I'm really struggling with the class. I studied for 22 hours in the 4 days leading up to the test (3 of those days I also worked 8-430). I did the test and thought it went just ok (somewhere in the low 70's).

In class on Wednesday, Prof tells us the class average was 54%!!!!!!!!! He said that he was going to adjust the marks by 5% for all of us because it was so hard and it made him look bad. I was freaked that I did worse than I thought and I was going to get the test back in the 50's or 60's.

Well, the marks were posted yesterday and I got....... 80%!!!!! Which means that after he adjusts the marks I will have 85%!!!!!! I'm so pumped that all that studying paid off. I seriously thought I was not going to do well at all so I'm super happy with that mark.

Maybe I should change my major to economics???