Saturday, January 30, 2010

Joy and Simple Gifts

My birthday was earlier this month, and before I left for Calgary, we had a discussion here about what sort of cake I wanted. My friend, Catherine, and I had grown up with our birthdays one day apart, and we always had red velvet cakes (at least as I recalled at the time. Photographic research since has shown Catherine always has the red velvet cake, and occasionally I'm a copycat). But in any case, that's what I was after. Mrs. Gina was busy at the time with various things, so I opted for the box version, and began to hunt for Red Velvet Cake. Sobey's didn't have it. And there ended the hunt, because I don't have a car, so getting to grocery stores is a little complicated.
I ended up having a chocolate cake with cream cheese icing, which is basically a red velvet cake without being red, and I had a lovely birthday. My friend, Jenna escaped residence life and slept over, and we watched an "inspirational Christian sports movie," aka Facing the Giants. I got generous gifts from all the kids (including one of Andrew's picture books. :) talk about generosity) and spent some time that night thinking about the last 19 years. What a gift in itself.
Then, a week later, I went out for supper with Jenna, and she surprised me. She had been to Starbucks earlier that day, and lo and behold, they have Red Velvet Cupcakes!!! So she got me one. Isn't it incredible how the most simple gifts are sometimes the best? The cupcake and I had a photo shoot before it got devoured. Starbucks, I'm willing to sell the rights to the photos. ;)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sunshine's Dark Side

Today I was back in the McCulloch Museum. You may remember my post, just two weeks ago about the joyful yellow tang fish that caught my attention. Well, today he had a friend. It was a little wrasse, fluttering about.
While I was reading next to them, the professor who cares for that tank came in and was talking to another student about them. The three of us watched them flutter about, and the professor was telling us about the alpha characteristics of the yellow tang. He said that last Saturday, they had introduced a blue tang into the tank, and the next time he checked, there was not a trace of it! My eyes must have bulged. Our dear Sunshine! A cannibal!
It made me think though, about pets and how I hardly know that fish and think it's cute, but have no knowledge of the species as a whole. It happens a lot with dogs. People see this cute puppy they want, but have no real sense of the discipline and patience it takes to train a dog.
I've been thinking a bit recently if I want to have a dog when I'm "all grown up." Part of me does. I've always had one, and I appreciate the company and security. It's an excuse to go for walks, which I don't do enough as is. And I can definitely see me sitting by the couch at night, listening to my husband talk or read, petting a happy, sleeping dog.
But part of me knows the work. And the hair. Oh my goodness, the amount of hair my mom vacuums. And dogs are expensive.
One thing is for sure though, I would get a bigger dog. I love my dear Lacey and Ziggy, but they're so easy to spoil because of their cuteness. I don't know. There's a dog show in the middle of February, so I think I'll go and bring my camera and talk to some breeders for future reference.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


A fun quote from my Anatomy reading:
"Cerumen [earwax] in the external auditory canal provides a sticky barrier that prevents the enterance of foreign bodies, such as insects." (p.130)


Sorry, that caught me so off gaurd when I was reading it, I cracked up. Thought I'd share the joy.

Really though, insects???

Excerpt from Principles of Human Anatomy, 11th Ed. Tortora and Nielsen.
Photo by Chris Gin Some rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Learning to Knit

Something that piqued my interest recently is all the handmade goods for sale in Halifax. There's a lovely shop called Love, Me that sells locally crafted clothes, papergoods, and art, among so many other things. I love looking around that store.
From economics, we know that where there's a demand, the smart thing is to produce a supply, so there are also lots of neat craft stores. I first went into The Loop because I was after embroidery patterns. Well, if we're honest I went in because of the color and the interesting looking contraption in the window (later I discovered it's to spin the balls of yarn). Their shop has shelves of wool yarn from all sorts of animals and beautiful examples of different techniques. They also offered classes.
The class I took was called Knitting for Absolute Beginners. It's not entirely accurate, since my mom has taught me how to handle needles, and in the back of my mind, I do actually remember one night that I stayed up till midnight, learning to knit from the internet (successfully- I just never did it after that!) but I wanted to start from scratch. The instructor's name was Cathy, and the class was composed of six girls, around my age and very eager to learn.
Well, in the proceeding three hours, we learned it all! We learned how to cast on, knit, pearl, cast off, and after several jokes about holes and "cat bums," she taught us the proper way to add and subtract stitches to create lace! I really enjoyed it and am busy working on my project: a simple scarf composed completely of knitted stitches (no pearling patterns). But once it's finished, I can move on to all sorts of things- i.e. lace. :) Cathy was a wonderful instructor and maybe next fall, once I'm more comfortable with all the stitches, I'll try another of The Loop's courses on circular knitting (hats, socks, mittens, etc).
[Photo is not my scarf. Just an example of "lace" so you know what I'm talking about.]
Photo by Sally Some rights reserved.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


So I'm back at school. Things have been really dreary around here, weather wise. The first day I was back, I was awfully jet lagged. I was also home alone for about 24-hrs, and had no visual human contact (just phone) so I had a little bout of depression. I was discontent and moody and just fussy at life.
Needless to say, things are a better now. I'm a little concerned about how I'm going to be once I'm out of school, because I don't seem to do well when I'm not busy. However, I suppose I'll be busy enough- just no vacations! :P
I have signed up for six classes (another symptom of my love of school) and one of them is a correspondence class in Anatomy through the school. It's quite simple. Read the textbook, take online quizzes, take open book midterms and finals, yes. I will do well. Especially since it is mostly a review from biology. Plus I'm motivated because the subject area interests me. I don't know how someone could take this class with no interest, just for the A for example, because it's all individual reading of a huge textbook. But alas, I like that sort of thing.
My friend Jenna is taking it with me. We had planned on taking it together this summer, but it fit into her schedule now, so here we are, in the Dal McCulloch Museum surrounded by stuffed birds. She's reading the course outline, and I'm writing on my blog about my new friend.
See, the McCulloch Museum is connected to the science department here at Dal. It's full of stuffed birds, from ducks to bald eagles. There are also conch shells and aquariums. This is where Sunshine lives. He's quite shy, but this is probably the quitest room in the school to study, so I've spent a couple hours now, watching him flutter about. He gives hope that winter will end soon, with his neon yellow glow. What a cheery fish. :)
Picture by Nathan Drupert, Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, Non-derivative Licence.

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Don't worry. I'm doing something better tonight than blogging, probably involving fondu. Happy New Year everyone!

I don't take New Year's resolutions as seriously as some. I think many people feel they can change their life cold turkey. I like to think of myself as more reflective and gradual, though that may be inaccurate. I don't know. In any case, I always have trouble coming up with goals worthy of the title, "resolution." But here it goes- Resolutions for 2010:

1) Be more consistent in my blogging and journaling. It seems that area of my life has gone on a bit of a hiatus the last few months, but I do miss it and appreciate the insight it gives myself and some others into my life. Also, I'm still not taking an English class, so some writing will do me good.
2) Memorize more. I have been working on this a little with the Westminster Shorter Catechism, but I want to work on my memory more. Again, math doesn't lend itself to this area of my development because it is more important to understand than just memorize, but I think it's an important part of learning. Maybe memorize a passage or a poem every now and again.
3) Vary my reading. As I have mentioned before, I feel like I've been reading a lot of theology and math, which is all well and good, but I want to change things up a bit. Maybe throw in some Jane Austen or Tolken, and the book my uncle got me for Christmas that seems to fit in the sci-fi category (he agrees I need to vary my reading).
4) Establish myself as a geocacher. I think I made the impression from my last post that I am wary of this geocaching thing or reluctant about my commitment. Not at all. I'm all in. I really enjoy this sport/activity/thing and would like to do more. Right now, I've found 14 caches, and I think if I put some effort into it, I could get 50 more by next year. It will just take some time, and hopefully the company of people who would like to join me.
5) Finish my double wedding ring quilt. This will be the only resolution that is pass/fail. I would really like to get it done this summer, but it's going to be the most challenging and large (king) quilt I've done. It's got twists and curves, where all I've really done before is straight lines. Eeek! But I should probably get a good start on it soon. I starting the washing and ironing with Grandma last week, and it's going to be pretty once it's finished!