Tag Archives: Humour

The Cold That Stuck Around (Or Why I Haven’t Lifted Weights in Ages)

Every once in a great while, my body meets a cold virus that decides it likes living in my body and becomes reluctant to leave it. I’m talking about the kind of devotion that some people are never lucky enough to experience once in their entire lifetimes. If it didn’t involve so much coughing, I’d be much more willing to feel sorry for those poor viruses who hang around for as long as they do.

I like to blame this on the fact that I didn’t grow up in Canada as well as the fable that I therefore have yet to mingle with some of the more virulent germs floating around up here. When Canadians emigrate to the U.S., I’m sure they’re occasionally just as surprised by our fierce American germs down there. (I will now wait for my mother, who has worked in the medical field for over 20 years and has no doubt forgotten more about these things than I’ll ever know, to shake her head and laugh at the idea of Canadian vs. American viruses.)

For the past few weeks, I’ve had about as much stamina and energy as the sleeping cat in the picture on the left.

There were a few beautiful naps to be had in the early stages of The Cold That Stuck Around™, and I was grateful for every one of them.

After the sneezing, fatigue, and congestion finally began to fade away, I started thinking about weightlifting again. I miss it every single time I have to take a break from it to heal from an injury or illness.

As usual, I waited a couple of days until after my cough finally faded away before tentatively doing a light bodyweight fitness routine that I normally find pretty easy. I was otherwise  feeling well by this point, and I really wanted to get back into my normal routine before the new year.

Something tells me The Cold That Stuck Around™ was expecting this, because I began coughing at the end of that workout. It wasn’t a hacking cough, but it did bother me off and on for the rest of that day.

The next morning I was still coughing, so I took another couple of days off to rest. Yesterday, I decided to try to reach my daily step count goal without doing any weightlifting. Maybe that fairly small amount of exercise would be acceptable while I healed.

I’ll give you the amount of time it takes to read this sentence to guess how that turned out for me.

Yes, I had another coughing fit this morning. It was milder than the last one, but I clearly haven’t shaken off The Cold That Stuck Around™quite yet.

I otherwise feel perfectly healthy. It’s hard to justify the idea of not getting my normal amount of exercise in, but clearly my body isn’t quite ready for that yet.

So now here I am staring wistfully at my weights as I wonder when I’ll get to use them again. In the scheme of things, it is a very minor problem to have. I honestly shouldn’t even be complaining about it at all, but I’m going be very happy when the-virus-that-shall-not-be-named finally wanders away for good and I’m no longer coughing at all. There are many things in life I can be perfectly patient about,  but this isn’t one of them.

I hope that all of your fitness routines are going much more smoothly!

The Tale of the Coveted Cookies

No, this is not the beginning of a fairy tale. It really happened years ago when I was a teenager, and I thought it would be an amusing story to share with you as the holiday season ramps up.

My mom comes from a fairly large extended family. Both of her parents had many siblings, so both sides of her family tree used to have large potluck dinners every December to give everyone a chance to spend time together over the holidays.

 My maternal grandmother’s side of the family included a White Elephant gift exchange in their gigantic Christmas get-together. Every family unit – which was roughly defined as a couple (or single person) and any children under the age of 20 they may have – was asked to bring one wrapped gift that would appeal to an adult of any age.

One year, mom had no idea what to bring for the gift exchange. What she did have was a little extra time on her hands and an empty decorated tin from a previous Christmas. She whipped up a quick batch of chocolate chip cookies and put as many of them as would fit into the tin. It was such a pretty box that she didn’t bother wrapping it in festive paper.

In a white elephant gift exchange, a member from each family is allowed to choose one wrapped present. Everyone then sat in a semicircle of chairs. One by one, they opened their gift and then decided whether they wanted to keep it or trade it for one of the other opened presents.

This was a decision that could be made only once. After your turn ended, you’d either hold onto your gift for good or have it “stolen” by someone further down the line who preferred it to whatever it was they had unwrapped.

When mom’s gift was opened by a cousin, he grinned. The next person to open their gift quickly “stole” the cookies from the first person.

This happened a few different times throughout the course of the game. I don’t remember who finally ended up with them, but it was funny to see adults become so playfully competitive over a tin of cookies. (Granted, they were delicious cookies!)

While I haven’t participated in a gift exchange in many years, I think of this story every December.

Sometimes the best gifts really are the simplest ones.

If you’d like to make these cookies for yourself, here is the recipe. It’s every bit as delicious as it sounds, and the cookies are quite easy to make as well.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/3 cups Crisco (or margarine)
2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons vanilla
4 1/2 cups flour
1 package chocolate chips (about 340 grams or 12 ounces)

Directions

Mix the Crisco, sugar, brown sugar, and eggs  together until fluffy.
Add the baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Mix well.
Add the flour in one cup at a time. Mix well.
Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the dough onto lightly greased cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 6-7 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Dual Citizens Get Two Thanksgivings

Seven years ago, I became a Canadian citizen. There are many things I love about being a citizen of both Canada and the United States. Having the excuse to celebrate Thanksgiving twice every year is definitely part of that list.

Yes, this is blog post about food.

No, this isn’t about turkey. Don’t tell the rest of the omnivores out there, but I’m actually not a big fan of turkey. It isn’t something my spouse and I eat on Thanksgiving the vast majority of the time. If it disappeared from the traditional menu altogether, I honestly wouldn’t miss it.

While there are many other foods I’d happily eat during this holiday, my ideal Thanksgiving dinner could easily be comprised of nothing but the three dishes below. I am only particular about how one of them is made for reasons that I’ll explain later on this post.

The first mandatory dish for Lydia’s ideal Thanksgiving is mashed potatoes with gravy.

Yes, I will love them if they came from dehydrated potato flakes and powdered gravy.

Yes, I will love them if they came from a frozen bag of mashed potatoes (so long as there aren’t any milk products in them) and if the gravy was an everyday ground beef gravy.

Yes,I will love them if they came from real potatoes that were peeled, boiled, and mashed to perfection and if the gravy was a fancy one made from drippings, broth, spices, and flour moments before it was brought to the table.

In short, there is no wrong way to make mashed potatoes and gravy. As long as eating it won’t make me physically ill, I will enjoy them however they are prepared. Mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food.

The second mandatory dish for Lydia’s ideal Thanksgiving is pie.

We’ve had store-bought blueberry, apple, or lemon meringue pie for the last few Thanksgivings at my house, but any kind of pie will do.

Yes, I will love them if they’re homemade from the finest organic ingredients by someone who thought about nothing but happy thoughts while rolling out the dough.

Yes, I will love them if they’re store-bought, generic, and a little squished from being carried home with lots of other groceries.

Yes, I will love them if they have lemon meringue, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches, pumpkins, squash, or just about any other kind of pie-friendly filling in them.

If you provide some non-dairy ice cream to go along with the pie, I’ll be absolutely thrilled. This is not a requirement, though, and I actually didn’t bother to eat ice cream with the apple pie my spouse and I enjoyed this Thanksgiving.

I am not particular about this dessert. The fact that it exists at all will almost certainly make me perfectly happy. All pie is delicious pie.

The final mandatory dish for Lydia’s ideal Thanksgiving is angel eggs.

You probably know them as devilled eggs instead. When I was a child, my parents renamed a few foods that had the word “devil” in them like devilled eggs (we called them angel eggs) or devil’s food cake (we called it chocolate cake). Why they did that is a long, complicated story, but when I grew up I never made the switch from referring to them as angel eggs to devilled eggs like the rest of the world does.

They were known as angel eggs when I was three, and I will still call them that when I’m a hundred and three. This is where I suddenly become stubborn and picky about my food.

No, I will not call them devilled eggs. You can call them whatever you wish, but my mind was made up on this topic very early in life.

No, I do not want store-bought angel eggs. I’d honestly rather pretend like such a thing was never invented at all.

No, I do not want anyone who doesn’t know our family recipe to attempt to make them no matter how delicious they think their version of it may be. My mother’s angel eggs are the best ones in the world. Not only are they the perfect blend of ingredients, they remind me of some very happy childhood memories.

Happy Thanksgiving

Now that you know exactly where my loyalties lie, Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian readers. I hope this post made you smile.

If you live somewhere else in the world, this Canadian officially gives you permission to borrow our holiday if you’re in the mood for a festive meal today. Feel free to include your favourite foods in them, too, and to ignore the ones you may not like no matter how traditional they may be.

The Endless Summer of 2017: A Review

Title: The Summer That Refused to End: What Really Happened to Ontario in 2017

Author: Gaia Terra

Publisher: Cosmos

Release Date: June 21, 2017

End Date: Unknown

Rating: 3 Earths out of 5

Review:

Just when you thought summer had ended…it came back for more!

The summer of 2017 definitely started out innocently enough. Without digging too much into the backstory here since it isn’t strictly necessary to know in order to enjoy this instalment, every season has been full of surprises for us these last few years. None of them have been particularly normal. After a strangely warm winter and cold, rainy spring, I was looking forward to seeing what the weather would do next. It was so hot and dry during the summer of 2016 that I honestly had no idea what to expect for 2017. It was nice to see this summer begin so gently. I felt like we were able to reclaim some of the mild spring days I would have loved in April or May once they decided to pop up in June instead.

Wow, were there bumps in the road along the way, though. Yes, we had about the same number of the heat waves I was expecting to find. We also had far more rain than was usual, especially in the months of July and August when it is usually much drier here. I certainly didn’t mind the extra precipitation, and I don’t think our crops did either. What did bother me was how it ended. Normally, daytime highs of 30 Celsius (86 Fahrenheit for the American fans out there) have mostly faded away by mid September. When this kept happening over and over again even as we galloped from the end of September to the beginning of October I was beyond perplexed. I’m all for mixing the seasons a little bit during the transitions between them, but shouldn’t summer gracefully give way to autumn at a certain point in the plot?

I did love the rain, though, and am grateful for how often summer fell back onto this device when her other tricks weren’t working out as well as she had hoped. Once she decides to pass the baton onto autumn, I hope her predecessor will continue this tradition for the next few months. There is nothing quite like a rainy autumn afternoon to set the mood when you’re reading a scary book or trying to finish cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Speaking of Thanksgiving, summer, is there any chance you’ll be retiring before then?

By now my readers are probably wondering if I’d recommend the summer of 2017 to them. There certainly were plenty of upbeat moments during it, especially for those of us who love a strong thunderstorm. What it really boils down to is how much time you’re willing to invest in such a thing. This one was a little long for my tastes, although I can see how it would appeal to true connoisseurs of this season.

Previoius posts in this series:

A Review of Today’s Rainy Weather

The Strangest Songs to Get Stuck In Your Head During a Workout

I don’t actually listen to music when I workout, so it’s odd to see how often strange songs get stuck in my head while I’m walking or lifting weights.

Some of the songs I’m about to share with you today have powerful memories behind them that help to explain why my brain likes to dredge them up from the past when I’m least expecting it. If they are connected to such a thing for me, I will tell you all about it.

Other songs aren’t so fortunate. I honestly don’t know why I remember some of them. Maybe one of you will have a theory for me!

All I know is that my brain is pretty good at doing this. From what I’ve read, the same can be said for many people. Today I’d love to know what random songs pop into your mind when you’re working out. After you finished reading this post, come over to Twitter and tell me all about it. Let’s commiserate on the weirdest songs we’ve ever started to think about while exercising.

Jubilate Deo” is a song that my choir director had us practice regularly for the one year I reluctantly sung in my high school choir in order to fulfill the arts and music credit I needed to graduate.

There were a few songs he taught us during that year that I found myself enjoying at the time. This was not one of them, so I have no idea why I still remember the lyrics and melody so well.

Bloodhound Gang’s “The Bad Touch” has a funny story behind it.

My mother didn’t say a lot about the music my siblings and I listened to when we were teenagers. We were given a lot of freedom to decide which artists, bands, and genres of music we liked, especially once I was in my later teens and my parents relaxed their rules about these things even more than they had a few years before then.

With that being said, mom did have a vendetta against this particular song. I remember her giving us a friendly speech about sex being something more than rutting like animals. She was miffed by the idea that anyone would put that kind of a message into such a catchy tune.

I don’t know how she’ll react to this, but still think of her every time I hear this song. Although it is weird to have that memory suddenly pop up when I’m lifting weights or following a dance video on Youtube. A small part of me still expects her to start reading the lyrics once again and explaining why she doesn’t approve of them. Ha!

Justin Bieber’s “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever

There are three things I find strange about this:

  1. No offence to anyone who loves it, but I am not a fan of Justin’s musical style in general.
  2. Justin sang a Christian worship song in a secular concert to fans who had no idea what was happening.
  3. The beat of this song is far too slow for a workout.

I could understand getting this song stuck in my head when I’m mediating, relaxing, or trying to go to sleep. The fact that it generally only happens during workouts is quite the mystery.

Beyonce’s “Resentment.”

I am a fan of Beyonce’s music in general, but once again this isn’t a song that works well for something vigorous like a workout. It’s slow, heartbreaking, and has nothing at all to do with raising your heart rate or becoming more energetic.

If only my brain would decide to fixate on something fun like “Single Ladies” instead. At least that song has an uptempo beat you can dance to!

Fifth Harmony ft. Kid Ink’s  “Worth It.”

I have never liked this song. The few times I’ve heard it have been in circumstances where I couldn’t get away from it.

So why does my brain insist on bringing it up when I hit my stride on a long, brisk walk? There are dozens of other songs with similar beats that I’d be much happier to discover have become stuck in my head.

I sincerely don’t understand how the human mind works sometimes. If it were up to me, nobody would ever get a song stuck in their mind that they disliked, and they’d never think about slow songs when they were exercising or fast songs when they were trying to go to sleep.

If any of these songs are now stuck in your head, my apologies. I hope they wiggle their way free soon.

What Cheesy Ghost Movies Can Teach You About Getting (and Staying) in Shape

One of my favourite things to do during a boring workout routine is to watch the kinds of ghost movies on Netflix that desperately try to be scary but end up being predictable and silly instead. The nice part about these films is that they don’t require your full attention. Paying attention to 80% of the things happening… Read More

How to Survive a Post-Apocalyptic Storyline

Congratulations! You’ve just been selected to be one of the secondary characters in an upcoming post-apocalyptic novel. If you wish to die nobly in order to spur the main character on at a critical moment in the plot, please disregard the rest of this message. There is always a need for volunteers for this position, and so… Read More

7 New Rules for Labour Day

Traditionally, people weren’t supposed to wear white after Labour Day if they wanted to be seen as fashionable. Almost no one follows this rule anymore, so I thought I’d nominate some guidelines for this time of year. Let me know which one you want to vote for as the official replacement in the comments below. No guilt-trips… Read More