Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Post

Christmas came and went by very quickly. As I've previously mentioned, most of my holiday has been spent working but in between that I had a chance to spend time with friends and family.

During one of my days off work, I visited the Vancouver Christmas Market. Heard lots about it and it seemed like a nice festive event to attend. The Christmas Market is suppose to be a German styled Christmas Market that would include stands selling Christmas trinkets and food. Sadly it was quite disappointing. I originally purchased an online coupon for a discounted entry to the market but we took our time during dinner at Prestons (which was also disappointing, I will save that for another post) and missed the entry times for the online coupon. So we paid another $5 per person to enter the Christmas market. What a rip off that was.

The market was very small and probably took about half an hour to browse through all the stands. I purchased a cup of mulled wine to see what the hype was about, also because it is drank excessively by characters in the Game of Thrones book. Mulled wine is what I believe to be wine that has been boiled with different spices like cinnamon and cloves. It was very potent, I didn't enjoy the taste at all. The entire marketplace had this wonderful scent of cinnamon wafting through it, leaving me wanting a taste of it. I imagined it was from cinnamon buns or something that was sweet. I never found the source of the delicious scent, but I did settle for a waffle. Which would probably be the highlight of the marketplace.

It was made on the spot and fluffly and delicious. Although a bit expensive, like everything else in the marketplace the prices were quite high. I originally had intended on purchasing a new Christmas ornament for my tree but had decided otherwise after seeing the price tags. We spent about an hour or so at the market, probably shorter if we did not line up to look at hand made ornaments. There was also a carasaol and a stage with people singing different Christmas carols. It was a nicely decorated marketplace but I was hoping for more Christmas trees and festive things. I don't think I will be returning again next year.

To celebrate Christmas, my girlfriends and I get together every year to exchange presents and have dinner. Winnie is a wonderful host and has been letting us have this get together at her house every year. She is also an amazing cook and whips up a feast for us. We help out but she does do most of the cooking herself.

This year she made roast beef that was mouth watering. She even bakes her own bread: we had rosemary dinner rolls accompanied by olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. After dinner we exchange presents. We do a secret santa draw before hand. I have to admit this year I was lacking in the creative department when it came to finding a gift for my secret santee. I originally wanted to try to make a scrap-page to accompany my gift since she is a scrap-booker but I just did not have the time. Next year we have agreed that we will lower the budget for gifts and try to have gifts that are more thoughtful rather than just working off of wish lists. After all, it's not the presents that matter.

Its spending time with friends. Which we did and I believe that was the best part of the night. Yes, even better than the food. The company is what makes it all amazing. I'm glad we have this tradition of all getting together. We are constantly getting busier in our lives and its hard to have everyone together in one place, but when we do its great. I love my girlfriends and hope we will continue our Christmas tradition.

Speaking of traditions, another tradition we have is to go to Starbucks on Christmas day. Now this goes back to the days when many of us used to work at Starbucks. Some of the most memorable shifts we had were when we all worked together on the Christmas shift. It was fun because we would all be scheduled to work together (who else would want to work Xmas day?) and the remainder of the friends would come visit. So even after we all quit we still return on the day to the same store. This year was no different.

I spent Christmas morning with my friends at Starbucks. We all talked over our coffees and enjoyed each others company. Even Jon came all the way from Calgary to join us on our Christmas tradition and reminiscence of all the times we had bussed that very lobby. 

Later in the evening I got to enjoy a turkey dinner that my mom whipped up. It was a smaller gathering this year then we usually had, just some family and a couple of friends but I still had a great time. The food was amazing, the wine was flowing and the company was good. After dinner and before dessert we played an intense game of taboo and exchanged presents.

All my presents were very thoughtful. I received an e-reader since I do enjoy reading. I've always said I prefer the feel of a book but I must admit a kobo really is more convenient and much lighter than the books. Its much easier to carry around than my usual books. I also received a piano this year, quite the gift. During the summer I dabbled into trying to learn piano but fell off from it pretty quickly, I guess this is motivation to take it up again. I also received a new bracelet, its a bit sparse right now but I can't wait to start adding more charms and beads onto it.

At the end of my Christmas evening I found myself swaddled in blankets on the couch feeling so very content. It wasn't a super extravagant Christmas that I had but it was perfect. I had a belly full of food and I got to spend Christmas with my friends and family. I could not have asked for more.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winter Holidays

My finals have ended over a week ago however there was no room for celebration as I went straight to beginning my first day of work the next morning. I'm starting to feel like I'm running a marathon because starting a new job always puts on a bit of stress.

I'm pretty happy with my new job, everyone I work with is really nice and the work environment is good. The learning curve is kind of steep, but I'm pretty confident I'll get the hang of everything. I think my biggest concern is knowing how to speak. I've always been a fairly good speaker, however I've discovered that with the addition of specific verbiage I'm required to include in my dialogue, I've become nothing short of sounding like an awkward turtle. There have been a couple of occasions with guests where I got all jumbled up, the interaction we had was cringe worthy. Hopefully I'll get comfortable and speak smoothly again soon. I also hope I don't ever come off as condescending, dressed nicely, working in a finely decorated location and certain things I need to say may just give that impression. The last thing I want is to have it all get to my head and I become some bimbo snob like some I've encountered in other establishments.

So that's pretty much my holiday. Filled with work and training. Thanks to my shifts its given little room for a social life so in between those two things I fill it with Assassin's Creed 3, which I finished last night. Maybe I'll do a review of it haha. I have some days off coming up so I hope to get Christmas shopping done and hopefully spend some time with friends.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

On Chicken Pot Pies

One of my favourite dishes used to be chicken pot pie. Used to be. This is a tale of gluttony.

Back when I was younger, before I had the responsibilities of school and all that stuff, I would go back to Asia every summer to spend time with my family there. While we were there we would take road trips to different destinations. My uncle is a man of refined taste and would only choose to stay at the best hotels.

This happened probably when I was 10 years old or so. I don't even remember where we were, but we were staying at another fancy hotel for the night. My cousin and I shared a room. Being the typical brats we were, once we settled in, we would put on the hotel slippers and start racing down the hallways. The fancier hotels always had the nice slippers that didn't break unlike the cheaper paper ones.

Eventually we go into the lobby of the hotel. There was a cafe there with a glass case and inside were a variety of different treats. We ran back to our rooms and asked for money to buy the treats. We were given a $50 bill (This is chinese currency). We go back to the cafe and my cousin chooses a slice of carrot cake and I chose a miniature chicken pot pie. They were $25 each so we had just enough. I don't know why I remember these details so vividly but I do. I loved chicken pot pie, it was delicious.

We run around the hotel some more and eventually come across a separate bakery. Inside were the exact same chicken pot pies, except only for $15. Ridiculous. So we run back and ask for more money. I think my uncle gave us a $100 bill at that point, probably so we would stop going back to bother him. We go back to the bakery and I bought 5 more. I don't remember if I had shared any or not, I really hope I did. Otherwise, I ate half a dozen chicken pot pies.

So back in our hotel room, we pushed both our beds together and so we had a giant bouncy playground. We did whatever the heck kids do and there was a lot of jumping involved. I just remember slowing down, my stupid child-mind not grasping that eating so many pastry flakes would have consequences as it expanded, and eventually just laying on my side, feeling real bad.

I remember feeling bad for an extended period of time before I finally upchucked all of that chicken pot pie goodness.

Ever since then, I have not been able to stomach chicken pot pie. Yes it is a delicious dish of comfort food that really cannot be made wrong and good in every variation. However the smell of it just brings me back to that fateful night and makes me want to gag. Once a while back I thought I was over it and ordered it at a restaurant. Could not handle it. I've forever ruined myself for chicken pot pies.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December, Be good to me

I'm currently writing this on my new Macbook Air! I remember when the very first one came out I thought it was so cool and envied the small number of people I saw that used it. I never thought I would own one, but I'm quite pleased with it. I guess if I really wanted to, I can be one of those purse-carrying girls now too.

Its December again. I can't help but reflect back to what things were like for me last December. Things had ended a while ago, and I had taken it all so well up until then. I'd like to think I was experiencing the post-traumatic stress of a breakup. I guess the realization of everything didn't hit me until later on. I still remember the shuddering, heart stopping, hollow feeling I would have. I'm going to stop trying to explain it because it feels quite unexplainable. Heartbreak comes in different forms. I tried very hard not to let it get to me, so I became a recluse. Played Skyrim a lot as slaying dragons was a better alternative to facing society. Lost my appetite and lost a lot of weight. Which was actually pretty nice.

Looking back, I do feel slightly silly. Why I would let someone who is so inadequate, someone who is a liar and a cheater, bring me down. My only regret is not ending things sooner than I had.

This year its much different. Much happier. I breathe again. I no longer let another be the determining factor of my happiness. Which is the way things should be. I was suppose to start my new job but training has been pushed back till January. Which is nice because it means I really do get a holiday, but also not so nice because I don't have any major things planned out, and it also means I won't be making any money to pay for the holidays.

Happiness is.. doubling the fluffy.

The downside to happiness (I'm being sarcastic, theres no downside to happiness) however is my abundance in appetite and much higher difficulty in losing weight. I wish I could do a repeat performance of my Skyrim diet, but I don't really think its the best way to go. However I've made a goal to try and remain active in the winter and prepare to look good in a hot number for my birthday. We'll see how that spans out.

I have no big expectations for this month or for Christmas. I just want to do well on my finals, spend time with my friends and family, lose weight, and of course spend many hours on the couch in my pjs gaming. Be good to me December.