Wednesday, February 28, 2007

When I am rich - part 1

I have decided to debut a new section here called "When I am rich". This comes from a recent accumulation of things that keep coming up lately always leading me to say "I'll do this when I am rich". So with that in mind - enjoy my fantasies and don't you dare laugh unless you can equal or better my entries! :-)

So, when I am rich...

... I will hire a professional cook for a month or two and will shadow him/her for that entire time, watching what he does and how. I will understand why things are done in certain ways and I will come out of this brief training with a wealth of knowledge about cooking and food which will enable me to cook dishes that I might actually want to eat!!! :-)

To being rich!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Books, books, books

Oh good grief... I am starting to lose patience with myself!

I went to the library today. The only reason for that was to get some books on PHP so I can continue working on my LONG OVERDUE uni project! So really, I had made requests for PHP books and all I needed to do is go to the desk and ask for those.
But do you think Maky can do that??? Noooooo... she has to go in and start browsing the "New" section. And that's all it takes. Even before I got to the desk to pick up the 4 PHP books, I had managed to pick up a total of 5 other books in a matter of 4 minutes. I counted. That's less than 1 minute decision time per book!

I'm distraught. Let's face it... I have a job (albeit boring to tears), I have choir, I have ice skating, I have friends and family. What I don't have is time. When the hell am I supposed to read all those books that I constantly pick up???
I've just got too many interests. I spend hours and hours and hours reading books, thinking that at some point surely, I will have reached the point where there just won't be any interesting books left for me to read. Far from it.
As a member of two libraries here (it pays to live in one state and work in another!!!) you can find at least between 5 and 10 books on my specifically designated "library shelf" at any time or day.
I think the most problematic about this is the fact that most books I get are non-fiction. Fiction I can read in a day. Fiction I cannot put down until I'm finished. Non-fiction I have to be in the mood for. And whilst I picked the book because I'd really be interested in reading it, it clashes with other interests of mine and I always end up having to make some kind of decision and something always end up losing out. Or someone. Me.
I really think I need to be a multi-millionaire. Just imagine, having the freedom to spend as much time reading as you want! Without having to worry about paying rent or going to work! Bliss, bliss, bliss...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Some voices...

...just get me. In the most unexpected moments I hear a song, a particular voice and it just grabs me.
When I left the UK I took most of my few DVDs with me - one of which was my then newly acquired "Irish Unplugged" DVD. A recording of a live concert with some Irish artists but I only bought it for one particular singer/songwriter. Kieran Goss.
There are many, MANY incredibly wonderful things that happened to me during Expo 2000 in Hanover. Discovering Kieran was one of them.
I remember going to a songwriter's concert on the Expo site sometime in the fall of 2000 and watching this little bald guy open his mouth and melting away at the sound of his voice. The song he had written with others the previous week, "Smile", is and always be my favorite Kieran song because it was the first one I ever heard him sing and because it's a magnificent song (sadly I can't link it for you to hear as he STILL hasn't recorded it!!!).
Ever since I've been to see Kieran in concert 4 times, both in the UK and in Germany and those were some of the best musical moments of my life. And I've had quite a few really!!!!! LOL

For some reason, I took the DVD out tonight and played the first song of his - and there it was again. It just GOT ME. There is something about certain moments, combined with certain music and lyrics and voices that just takes over and I end up with tears running down my face through the entire song. Not sad tears, quite the opposite. In a way, it's a display of the emotional euphoria I feel at that particular moment and the coolest thing about it is that it just happens. I can't forsee what will trigger it, when it will be, who I'll be with, what I'll be doing. But it's so new and special everytime and it makes me happy to know that I am able to appreciate it for what it is.

Anyway... enough babble - here's the link to this particular first song on that DVD.

Kieran Goss - That's what love is for

Enjoy, it is one of my favorites of Kieran's! :-)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Music and Lyrics

I went to see "Music and Lyrics" this morning.
It was the 10.10am showing and I only paid $4 for it so that made it worth it! Don't think I would've gone if I'd had to pay the usual $8, I tend to wait until the library has it and I borrow it for free!
It was really nice to have the entire theatre to myself too, with the exceptions of maybe 4 or 5 other people. Bliss!

The movie was really cute - I adore Hugh Grant anyway, he's just so incredibly gorgeous to look at. He did some of his own singing for his role as songwriter and I'm surprised to say that he doesn't sound half bad! He doesn't have a strong voice but when he sings it sounds warm and sincere and it's different from what you'd expect.
All in all a very funny movie with songs that stick in your mind forever and ever.
I would definitely recommend it even though it has received some lukewarm reviews. For me it was the perfect movie... funny, musical, romantic and with Hugh Grant. There's really not much more I could ask for ;-)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Lucky, lucky, lucky

I can't explain why, but for the past few days I've been thinking about things that I haven't really paid all that much attention to lately.
It's not really supposed to be a mushfest though I'm guessing that it will all end up sounding corny and maybe even insincere eventually. Bit really, it's not.

I've been thinking about how lucky I really am. How I am 30 years old and have never been in hospital or have never had any serious injuries or illnesses. How I have always been so incredibly lucky to live a healthy life and be able to do whatever I wanted to, whenever I wanted to do it.
It's weird... I think the ice skating triggered all of this, now that I think about it. After the fall last Sunday my mind went into overdrive and started picturing what could've happened. I could've broken something, I could've hurt something so badly it would never be alright again. I would've been in a "foreign" country, all alone, trying to deal with something like a major illness, or being in hospital for weeks on end or being at home on my own without being able to do all that much. I know, I'm a freak but you gotta think that way when you're alone. I mean really, really alone. And so I realized that I'm incredibly lucky to have fallen and not hurt myself as badly as I could've and that I just got up and skated on and felt only a little hurt in my pride and bum.
When I talk to people at work, every one of them has someone in their close family that is ill, cancer, MS, other stuff - it's insane. And I look around my family and my friends and everyone of those people that are near and dear to me are healthy and to some extent more or less happy. I don't stop nowhere near often enough in my frantic life to appreciate those things but the last few days I have and I'm kinda glad I did.
It does put everything in perspective. And whilst there's really not a trace of "religion" in me, I do thank my lucky stars or whatever's out there for keeping me safe and all the ones I love too.

See, I said it would sound like mush and it does. Frankly, I doubt there's any other way to make this point but I am open to suggestions.
One way or another, for today, and this moment, I feel unbelievably lucky! (leave it to IBM to change that first thing tomorrow morning ;-)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Skating lessons 1 and 2

I really meant to come and write here right after my first skating lesson but you know how lazy I get, so I didn't.
So now a double whammy.

My first lesson last Thursday was awesome. I got there about 10 minutes early and found my way through the "dressing room" and saw Christina sitting there. I recognized her from her picture on the web so I went and introduced myself. She was just lacing up her skates and I sat down and did the same. It was funny, she saw me get the skates out with my plastic guards on (those dreaded pink ones!) and started to say "Oh, you'll have to make sure when you come off the ice not to..." and I interrupted her and got the terry cloth guards out of my bag and said "yeah, I won't use the plastic ones" and she was like "You knew what I was gonna say, good!" so I warned her I'd come prepared and had done my homework! LOL

We got on the ice and she started skating a little in front of me, just push, glide, push, glide, very basic stuff. She bent her knees properly when pushing which felt almost wrong when I tried to do it. I'm used to just push a little without putting a lot of effort into it but this push is meant to push properly and the glide is meant to be a proper, longer glide. So after push and glides around the rink once we stopped and she showed me how to fall. This felt even harder for me because she asked me to show her how I fall! LOL I was like... I DON'T fall! LOL so she made me crouch down as close to the ice as I could and let myself fall to the side so the brunt of the fall would be caught by my bum, thighs and not my back or head.
After the falling exercise we did forward swizzles (where you go and you make ovals with your feet - heel to heel, then glide forward by bending the knees and making half circles with each leg, then bring the toes together, then toes apart, glide forward, half circles, heels together and so on).
Now this didn't feel all that hard because I had read about these online and had already practiced them. When we tried to go backwards it became a whole different story so we didn't do that. I did some half slides where one leg goes straight and the other does a half circle, then you switch legs.
What else... oh yeah, stopping. I don't seem to be able to stop!!!!!!!! Which is somewhat of a problem because let's face it - how can I skate if I can't stop??? So we tried and tried and tried to stop. And I failed, and failed and failed yet again. Eventually we continued to do other stuff like gliding on one foot. Now that I had tried previously too but hadn't managed to do it for longer than half a second. I showed her what I was doing, which was moving my weight onto one foot and balancing my other out so I would somehow keep my balance. Then she told me what the trick was - move your free boot to touch your standing boot so it's like you're using your free leg to support the one you're stading on. She also told me that when going straight you were skating on the flat of the blade, not on any edges. Which makes a lot more sense.
The other thing we tried (but I failed at too) was the two footed change of direction. Where basically you stand on your two feet with arms stretched to the sides and you are supposed to move your hips with enough force so that your feet both glide over the ice to turn around 90 degrees. Picture sitting in a swivel chair and moving your hips left and right so the chair changes direction. It's basically that only standing on ice skates LOL And that concept for some reason, didn't compute. I kept trying to do it, but ended up spinning instead of just turning. In the end she took my outstretched arms and held them apart and told me to move my hips. Once I felt secure that I wouldn't fall, I managed to do it. So that was a minor success.

And then, just like that, the 25 minutes were over. When I had started with her, there was only one other girl and her coach there but about 10 minutes into the lesson about 4 or 5 other girls and their coaches came in and started practicing too. It was very distracting and I had paid for my one hour ice time which meant that I got to stay on for another half hour after the lesson and practice some more. That felt very uncomfortable, not because I felt like I was a loser compared to these girls who were doing jumps and spins and whatsnots but because they were clearly very secure in their skating and I wasn't. Whilst they could gauge how close they could get to me without crashing into me, I couldn't. So to me they were permanently too close and I ended up spending the half hour skating as closely as possible to the boards. But all in all, it was a successful lesson!
And my skates... my wonderful new skates! How I love them! They fit like a glove and boy do they SKATE! When I stepped on the ice with them for the first time I immediately noticed the difference! Holy crap, I'd been working those rental skates SO HARD! Gliding on these new sharpened skates was bliss. And clearly more dangerous too LOL I had to watch myself a few times since my toe pick kept catching on the ice, it seemed a bit closer to the ice than on the rentals.

Envigored with joy from the lesson I set out to see what the Nashua Conway Arena was like on the following Sunday. They have public skating every Sunday between 2.30 and 4.30 so I got there at 2 to make sure I could get on the ice before all the damn kids got on. Once the hockey skaters were off the ice and the Zamboni went over the surface once, we got the green light. Unfortunately there were enough people there to fill the rink up within 2 minutes so I didn't actually get to enjoy a fairly empty rink. The ice is much better than the on I skate on in Burlington but it was cut up within 15 minutes by all those people on the ice. And of course, let's not forget the kids, teeny tiny tots who can barely walk but have skates on their feet and balance on an empty plastic crate. Which was the worst of it all. There are certain rules in skating which nobody seemed to follow in Nashua. The damn kids were all over the ice, going as they pleased, their parents nowhere to be seen. I rarely get the need to really kick kids' butts but Sunday was one of those days where I could've done it no problem! Bloody brats and worse, bloody parents! Control your children, for heaven's sake.
And so it came that after an hour of skating round and round in circles, I attempted the one foot glide but a little kid crossed my way and my right skate just slid out from under me and I landed with my entire elephant weight on my back and hit my head on the ice. I can't even imagine how bad it must've looked but I could tell it hadn't been an easy fall. I got up and skated on within two seconds and kept waiting to see if I would pass out or if I would feel unwell following the fall but I did neither. My butt hurt more than anything else but I continued skating for another 20 minutes after which I'd had enough.
The repercussions of the fall came in the evening. My neck suddenly started to hurt and my butt too. By the time I got to bed, I could hardly move my head and I realized I had sustained a serious whiplash. Oh well, it wasn't nearly bad enough not to show up for work the next day, though I'm telling you, it wasn't easy driving like that! Try looking to the left or over your shoulder when you can barely move your head...

Anyway... turned out that the Burlington rink was closed on Monday so I ended up not going which was just as well because I was still in some pain. But I went on Tuesday and quickly realized that the fall had made me more scared of falling than I had been before. I still skated and wasn't really firghtened but I could tell that something had shifted inside me and I was being more careful. I guess I'll eventually get over it.

When I had my second lesson on Thursday I told Christina about my fall and told her I felt a bit more scared than before and she said it didn't really show but instead of doing spins, like she had planned, we stuck to trying to stop again a few times, then we did more swizzles, gliding on one foot, and two footed turns. Then we moved on to trying to prepare for a forward crossover which I knew would be the hardest for me to do because I'm just scared to let go and fall. But we started to just try and use my outside edges which I know I'm not really using but this new exercise was attempting to get it right so I shall continue to practice that. We also tried to do some backward gliding, which again, was not quite easy and I need to practice a lot. All in all the second lesson was good too and the rink was empty apart from me and two other skaters which was very cool. Towards the end of the practice time I think I managed to figure out how to stop but only if I break with the left foot, not with the right. Again, practice, practice, practice. I swear when I'm rich I'll have an indoor ice rink installed so I can practice to my heart's desire. I would SO love to hear some nice music booming out but I don't think they can do that at Burlington. I shall ask on Monday.

Anyway... gosh this was a long post, I know but I do want to explain everything I learn in great detail, mainly to remember it later down the road.

The weekend's here, I think I will go to the rink on Sunday again (though not yet sure) and other than that I need to clean up my apartment, get some hoovering done and cook something.
I've been very good with WW this week, I lost 1.8 pounds which was awesome. Let's hope the weekend doesn't mess all that up! TGIF!!!!