Friday, March 30, 2012

Sorry for the ghetto post..

... I'll post something better up later.

For those who are interested, here are the samples I got from Sephora at Fairview through the V.I.B. sale.

Boscia B. B. Cream (love that it's SPF 27!)
Bumble & Bumble Thickening shampoo and conditioner (which I've been wondering about, but B&B has been hit 'n' miss for me)
GivenchyMist Light (corrective lotion? usually in pen form)
Juicy Couture "Viva La Juicy" eau de parfum
Sephora Full Action Extreme Effect mascara
Sephora Perfecting Ultra-smoothing primer (if it's like Photofinish, it'll make my face an oil slick in no time)

If you're not familiar with V.I.B., it's a membership level (for Very Important Beauties, and *ahem*, that I am) reached after spending $300 in a calendar year - which, for Canadians, ain't too hard with the higher prices.  There is a current 15% discount offer for V.I.B.'s from March 29 through to April 6 so if you are one and didn't see the email, look through your junk mail!  Oh, and on March 29, a Sephora umbrella and bag of samples were given while quantities last and with a purchase.  I actually had a free morning so Derek and I went to go check it out.  I finally got a new Shu curler!  I think my current one is a year old.  =X  Hence my funky lashes.  Anyhoo, the umbrella is still in it's plastic wrap.  If anyone asks I can put up pics of the umbrella and samples.  Not on FB tho cuz I'm not on there during Lent!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stats and analytics

Pretty neat, I'm actually receiving more returning visitors over the last month.  For all I know though I may actually have majority returning visitors but I kinda messed up the Google Analytics for Jan and Feb.

I really do wonder who comes to check my posts.  I used to wonder if I was just hung up on getting readers but I truly want to know who may actually be reading my stuff, wondering about the interaction I may or may not be having.

Turns out a couple people actually spent time on my Sbux and deja-vu posts, and I literally mean a couple.  Higher than the average 30s on my blog, about 4-5x that.  Pretty cool.  Either that or they just left the page open.  =P  Highest visitors is "Don'ts Learned".  Incidentally that post has one of the shortest visit times.  =X

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I was going to title this potpourri but given the bunch of topics, it'd be a bit of a misnomer.

So I had to deal with a UTI yesterday.  Not exactly the greatest of topics but I want to vent about it because a) I lost a beautiful Monday off recovering from it, and b) if you haven't had one before, here's warning to take care of it rather than put it off.  I've had one before but not one this bad.  It was compounded by having had a glass of wine at dinner (alcohol and caffeine dehydrate which isn't what you want!) then crashing into bed after putting Derek to sleep without washing up or anything, meaning I also didn't go to the washroom, meaning I didn't flush out any small bit of irritating bacteria I may have had, meaning I allowed it to build up while I slept.

So, while I did get 10 hours of sleep (and loved it!), I woke up with the awful urgency to pee and went to the washroom every 10 minutes for 2 hours.  There was blood (eeww, I know) and also blood clots (eeww eeeeeeewwwww), which got me pretty concerned but there wasn't much I could do at that point except drink water, try to get through breakfast and keep peeing, even if it was a dribble.  Thankfully everything cleared by the afternoon but I was still only feeling 60%, maybe 70%, and having to deal with Derek drains energy quicker than usual.  I napped for 2 hours - after that long a sleep you'd think I woudn't need one! - and continued to feel tired the rest of the day.  That seriously bites.  It was such a gorgeous day I really wanted to go out with Derek and enjoy the sunshine.  Alas, none of my tasks really got done except for making congee for the week.

So if you every think you may have a UTI (main symptom is feeling the need to pee without much production, burning/stinging/weird intense feeling while peeing, cloudy pee, a bit of blood in the pee) don't underestimate it.  I'm glad I had antibiotics left over from my last bout (my doctor purposefully gave me more than I needed) and am taking that now.  It's important to take it for at least three days to make sure it's cleared otherwise it can come back even more severe, infecting your bladder or even your kidney.  Take care of your urinary tract!!

Letting It Roll
I was dreading today's shift a bit because I had a feeling I would be put on till.  After training on Saturday and feeling like a complete doofus while serving just 10 customers in 1.5 hrs, I didn't look forward to holding up the line due to my lack of practice with our computer system.  Thankfully it turned out okay and I learned to just let things roll, as in both going with the flow and not letting things get to me.  I used to really feel the pressure of people staring me down with their impatient eyes, wanting to please them while being torn because there was only so much I could do.  These last four years have really taught me that essentially, if that's all I can do at that time, so be it.  There's no way everything can be done so just smile and let it roll.  I think that got me through a lot today, not just internally but smoothing things out with the customers as well.  I've found a balance between trying to ease matters with the other party while not letting it affect me.  When I was pregnant, I must admit that I used my condition a bit as a shield to hide behind and not caring how others may have perceived it.  I know a lot of people do that anyway but it doesn't sit well with me to do it myself.  So now I still use a shield but to defend rather than to hide, so to speak, and continue to interact as I do (I was going to say swing my sword but that's more confrontational than I intend to portray.. perhaps not the best of metaphors to have chosen).

You Know You're a Parent When're fairly tired from a physically demanding job yet you love spending time with your kid doing whatever.  That spurt of energy may only last 10-15 mins but it's spent with the kids rather than the couch or bed (entirely).'ll kiss their head even though it's wet and sweaty. learn to cook different things, even eat different things, just so they can enjoy eating too. look at birds and automatically want to point them out.

Okay, maybe those aren't universal but those are some of the changes that have happened with me.  =P

What I'm Reading Now
Finding Your Voice by Brian Hands.  I want to take vocal lessons but can't afford them and this latest sickness (not counting the UTI) had me squeaking in ways I knew was not healthy for my vocal chords.  I looked into voice therapy because for the last 3 years I haven't been able to reach beyond a high C comfortably.  Given that I used to reach an F# with some good warm-ups, this has been troubling me.  Brian Hands is a voice doctor who has helped opera singers.  I'm sure there's something I can glean from his book!

Courage and Calling by Gordon T. Smith.  I'm sure you've all heard me talk about this book at one point or another so I won't go on, but it's really helped me sift through the reflections I've had since I started my Tyndale journey and most intensely this last year as I went through my decision to resign.  You'll find quotes I've found particularly helpful in the Mentoring section of my blog.  If I haven't hyperlinked this here, I will soon.

The Morland Dynasty, #33 by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles.  At least I think it's #33.  It's going through WWI and at times it's boring (there's only so much I can read about planes and trenches!) but when I do have the attention to read those parts, it reminds me to be grateful for the peaceful time we live in now.  Of course, there's always the minor threat of war - the Middle East, North Korea, anyone with nuclear weapons - but we live in a relatively peaceful time.

Alrighty, that's it for now.  Gotta clean my makeup brushes then turn in early for a 5:30am wake-up.  I start at 7am tomorrow!  =X

Friday, March 16, 2012

Some "don'ts" learned today

1. Don't assume you can eat more later when working a physically demanding job. Later may come too late.

2. Don't try new energy options on a work day. If they don't work, you're in trouble!

3. Don't think that Greek yogurt is sufficient as a lunch.

4. Don't assume co-workers will be clear, even if they've given the impression they would be. Always ask to be clear. Better than looking stupid because you were wrong in your assumption.

5. Just because you've learned any of the above before doesn't mean you won't need to learn them again in a new situation!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Back again

There was something I wanted to blog about but I can't remember it now so I figure I'll chat about my time so far at Starbucks.

As I've tweeted (twittered?), it's like living out a dream, not in the "This is fantastic!" way, although it is, but more of when you're actually dreaming and everything's the same but different: you know you're at home but the layout's a bit off or you're at work but your computer is not the same.

At the core, everything's still the same.  We serve coffee quick, we serve bar drinks as tasty as possible, we serve frappa-lappas to keep custies cool during this jump in warm weather.

What we do to achieve these objectives, though, has definitely changed.  Coffee's changed quicker, bar drinks are made completely individually, frappas are now customize-able and I have yet to learn about the smoothies.  There's actually more pressure than there was before to keep things on time because quality standards have been raised.

That just means there's more opportunity to fall.  There are some baristas who treat this no more than a job so quality can easily drop.  With a high-volume store possibilities for lesser-than doubles because there is so much to catch up with.  My mantra for my first hour on the floor was "Don't rush, don't rush" because I had the above working against with me along with just plainly being rusty.  For others, I think they need to add some more urgency but that's just from my newbie perspective.  I haven't finished training yet and perhaps those who seem laid back are prevented by policy and standards not to do more in the role they have been placed in for the day.

My reflective learning so far has been not to assess too quickly and allow people the space to grow on me.  There was one guy who looked at me like I had a third eye but eventually we seemed to be comfortable around each other.  I took a chance to ask him a question as part of my training and we had an opportunity to open up to each other.  Another guy I mistook for someone else I met on my first day and when he corrected me, I thought he was joking.  =X  I'll need to smooth that over with him next time we meet.  It's been a bit awkward working with him.

So my third shift is tomorrow, 9-2.  Don't know if I'll be on the floor but if you're in the store (Park Home at North York Civic Center), gimme a shout!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Just seeing things or possible confirmation?

So with my last (non-)post, I said I'd share about my deja-vu moment.  Here's what happened on Saturday:

I went to go hunting for black pants to wear when I started at Starbucks.  I was hoping my black jeans would be okay but was cautioned by my brother, Cedric, to keep within trouser and khaki territory.  I have one pair of black trousers from GAP that I bought in anticipation of me going back to work at NTCBC (and realistic expectation that I would not be down to pre-pregnancy size, le sigh) but I didn't want to wear those out or wear something so thin for a job that requires more physical labour.  With just two days left before my first day at work, off I went.

Before my hunt began, though, I decided to buy groceries and since the weather was quite cold that day, I figured whatever I bought would stay fine in my trunk (which thankfully they did).  Since I went to No Frills at Centerpoint, I figured I may as well check the cost-effective possibilities at Zellers before traipsing off to Mark's Work Wear House and/or Sears at Fairview Mall.  I wasn't very keen on the idea and I still had to have lunch so I made a deal with myself: If I can find parking fairly close to an entrance, I'll go in.  If not, I'll have lunch.

I find a spot not too far from a set of doors so I honour my deal and park.  After browsing through the Alfred Sung "Pure" line (yes, brand names give me more hope), I wandered to the $20 clearance section and happened across a black button-down collared shirt.  Now, I didn't mention this before but seriously, it's so hard to find a simple solid black button-down/polo collared shirt!  Either they have a mandarin collar or some pattern or are too short (I need to be able to tuck it in).  I can't explain my cautious excitement at finding this shirt - and for $20, no less!  I tried it on and it fit pretty well despite the low-key ruffles along the buttons.  No peek-a-boo holes or weird pulling or unnecessarily showing mommy rolls.  It actually... made me look good.

Before I could be too happy, I had to make sure it was $20 since it had no tag.  I found the lady working in the area and she said she'd find out for me.

All of a sudden it hit me: I've seen this before.  I remember distinctly having a dream about shopping for clothes in preparation for a return to Starbucks and needing to confirm the price.  Why I remember this so particularly is because when I woke up, I actually chuckled to myself and said, "That'd never happen because you're past you Starbucks years now!"  I told the whole dream and comment to Benny (who, of course, doesn't remember) and chalked it off to me just remembering a contented time gone by.

So here I was, standing in the middle of the Zellers' ladies' department, realizing that I had seen this all before.  I did get a bit giddy, wondering if this was some kind of confirmation that I'm on the right path for life or something.  But, despite whatever "Feeling" and "Intuition" sides I have in me, I wouldn't let myself get too far in daydreaming the implications of a dream meeting my reality.  Whether I am "meant" to be at Starbucks is yet to be seen.  I admit I do hope that with this stint I will go farther up the ladder than last time - as in, this time I have ambitions to do so - but I don't know how that would even play out.  I haven't even been certified as a barista yet!  I may have worked 4 years with the Company but I have also been away for 4 years.

Anyhoo, to finish up the Zellers bit of my day, the lady returned and said the shirt was indeed part the $20 clearance and to bring another shirt in for the cashier to ring it in.  I paid and went on to find 2 awesome black pants at Mark's (3 if you count a brown plaid one I bought for fun).  I wore the shirt today and it served me well.

So, if I'm still blogging in 5 years, 10 years time, we'll see what's become of this deja-vu moment.  I do have ambitions, you see, and they do include Starbucks, you see, but whether these ambitions will be realized is yet to be seen.  I must confess, though, that seeing my dream again in my own reality has added a sparkle in my eye.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

So I said I'd blog at least every other day...

... so this is my obligatory post.

Sorry, that's it.  It's past midnight when Daylight Savings Time is factored in and I have worship tomorrow so I'll have to post properly tomorrow.  I'll write about my deja-vu moment.  It was really cool!

G'night y'all.  And change your clocks so you're not late to meet God!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

You know you're addicted when...

...even though you're completely engaged in the conversation, all you can see are the bushes and bears you are gathering in threes in your little town being played over the face of the person you're conversing with.

Move over Tiny Towers, roar in Triple Town.

Funnily enough, I was introduced to this game by my husband, Benny, who doesn't play smartphone games much.  I, on the other hand, have 10+ games running on Words With Friends (I was told at one point I couldn't create another game unless I ended a current one), have 130 tiny floors in my Tiny Tower, am challenging my times on Sudoku, delve into Hospital Story from time to time and let Derek play Jambalaya when I fail to hide the iPhone quick enough.  With Triple Town being free, why wouldn't I try out this game?

The red flags appeared early.  The first bit of info I read about this game is a review:

"I had to force myself to quit order to write this review, which might give you some idea of just how addicting it is."

I don't play the game all the time but I'm glad for the down time I have when putting Derek to sleep.  And maybe a bit after.  Then a bit before going to bed.  That's it though, I promise!

What about visualizing my town over my friend's face, you may ask? Well, it's not the first time I've superimposed virtual over reality.  Super Mario World was the first game this happened to.  Yoshi and Mario were flying everywhere.  I even dreamed about it.  Not about being in the game, just about what I saw on the screen.  And not as if I were watching the TV... I guess you could say like I was in the game watching it from a third person point of view.  Anyway, I don't fantasize, these images just kind of fall over whatever I'm really seeing, like a projected image over my life happenings.

Will Triple Town take over my Lent, you wonder?  No, I don't think so.  It's in my mind more because it's a strategy game and I keep seeing different ways to complete missions, so to speak.  Perfect scenarios that allow for no wasted space and trees to gather on the perimeter. Aaah...

Well, seeing as it's almost time for bed, I guess I'll be hunting for that perfect scenario soon!  Oh, before I sign off, what are the bears saying?  Sounds like "paaandaaaa"in a weird gremlin voice.  No matter, I just want it as a ring tone.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Why I Stopped Blogging

I didn't start blogging because I thought I would amass a ton of followers.  I just did so because I had things to say and I thought that if one of those ramblings did perchance help someone in whatever fashion, it would be worth it.  It was encouraging to see that I got a good bunch of hits with my body image post and then decent hits with subsequent entries... but then I got a tad obsessive.  Well, in checking the stats anyway.

Then December rolled around and what with a wedding, Christmas gatherings, birthday gatherings then Chinese New Year gatherings, I stopped blogging.  If anything, those would be moments worth blogging about but see, I don't have much discipline and once something throws me off rhythm, I'm fairly easily derailed.  Much like my desire to work out regularly.

I have a lot of things I want to do - bake, knit, make cards, decorate the home, take voice lessons - but I just lose the drive to actually execute.  And it sucks!  So many opportunities wasted, so many chances to connect passed by, so many moments to live life to the fullest experienced vicariously, unnecessarily so.

While I don't blame my child hood, I certainly do look back to it as a major reason why I don't have the "up and at 'em!" attitude most people innately seem to have.  And I don't mean the Type-A go-getter attitude, just the regular motivation regular people have to do regular things.  I saw people around me work hard around me but I was never really asked to work hard myself.  Again, I don't blame my childhood - I'm an adult now and I make the choice to procrastinate - but it helps in understanding why I am the way I am.

Then I read these posts and tweets by Kenworth Reeves Jr. and Jon Acuff who keep saying I have a story worth telling.  In my mind, I reply, "But it's not exciting.  I'm just a stay-at-home mom with an incredibly cute kid who randomly finds awesome things and shakes a fist at petty moments and grand injustices.  Who would want to hear from me?  I'm not trailblazing in Children's Ministry as I once was - I'm not even in full-time church ministry anymore.  I don't have child woes or some illness to garner sympathy for.  My theological swords are kiiinda rusty.  I'm so out of touch with the rest of the world!"  And Kenworth and Jon would come back with bits like "God's excited about your small beginnings", "Life is a canvas and you are the artist", "What are you going to finish in 2012?" and "You're ability to create art is not dependent on your ability to create fame." These bits, along with others, kept reminding me that I'm not blogging to gain followers, I'm doing so to maybe give someone a laugh for the day or connect them to a great sale or introduce them to an amazing product. 

Basically, it's not about me.  I know, artists say that all the time but really, I want to do these things - bake, knit, blog, serve coffee - not because they will make me better (although I hope they do!) or more well-known but because the outcomes of these things may help someone else out.  And if it's just a handful of people, so be it.  I may not be one to dazzle as others do but if I can, as Kaarina Hsieh has shared, shine a small light in my little corner of the world, why not shine as best as I can?

So I'll try to blog at least every other day if not every day.  Since I'm giving up all sites except for email and daily news, that should allow me more time to blog.  Yeah, I'm late for Lent but better late than never right?  Oh, and before anyone tries to jump on me for referencing sites in future posts, I'm not being pharasaically strict on my Lent, just ensuring that I'm only going to sites for a purpose (like researching quickly a product we're about to buy) and after I've done I've completed my daily responsibilities, something that I haven't been that great on (I said I wasn't stellar at discipline!).

Okay, so enough explaining and whatever (although I must say, this may not be my most coherent/cohesive post, but you should get the gist of what I'm saying).  Off to bathe my son and make dinner.  Thanks for reading!

The song behind the song

In case you didn't figure out which song I was parodying from the post below, here it is.  This is one song that I haven't tried to figure out or memorize the lyrics to so if any of it offends you, I apologize.  As for the video itself... well, it's like its name.

Let's party like it's 1997!