Sunday, 31 August 2014

Catching-up in Canada

As most of you know, I'm back in kanata (Iroquoian for 'village' and the origin of the name 'Canada') and not quite feeling it, but continuing to move forward nonetheless. I've been catching-up with great friends and learning to accept that some relationships have completely ended and will not be renewed (on my part at least). So long. Farewell. Auf wiedersehen. Good-bye! Let them all go. 

In working through this process, I've decided to delete my Facebook account. Hallelujah! I can't even deny my excitement. Social media presents itself as an opportunity to maintain relationships and keep in touch with people, but as a wonderful woman said to me yesterday over breakfast, "I have over 500 friends on Facebook and I can't find one person to go to the beach with me today." The facade is obvious to anyone who has their eyes open: Facebook is a joke. People posting useless, poorly "researched" information, pictures of their cats, kids, cars, vacations and to what end? The negative psychological effects of using Facebook have been proven to be detrimental and don't even get me started on their obscenely intrusive "privacy policies".

Bye-bye, Facebook. Bye-bye LinkedIn (yeah, what is that forum supposed to do exactly???). I haven't gotten any positive responses from that social media platform. I've read articles about how to advertise and market yourself using LinkedIn and the response has been...Well, I haven't gotten any response to my profile, hahaha! Since I own three businesses, I don't need it in my life either: purging never felt sooo good! Now, how to get rid of google+? If anyone would be willing to help me with that, I'd be eternally grateful!

I've done more than just purge since being home-promise! I went on our annual summer vacation to Ottawa and then to my family's cottage on Little Crotch Lake (HAHAHAHA! Never fails to make me laugh!). Before we left for the cottage, we went out to celebrate graduations! My cousins both graduated in June-one from elementary school and the other from high school.

Ottawa:
 Hello, Indian food!!!
 Sooo yummy!!! This isn't even the FULL table of food we ordered, lol!

We certainly gorged ourselves while on vacation! Next up: BBQ TIME!

 My uncle (with his eyes closed-my fault!) making pork loin on the barbie!
My dad acting like he's actually helping...But not really doing anything excepting hanging out with my uncle.
 During an afternoon out to meet an old colleague from UVic (he's living in Ottawa with his gf), I stopped to look at a bakery that had made cookies to celebrate Canada Day! Hilarious! LCBO is Ontario's liquor store (government-run).
It wouldn't be a proper Canada Day weekend without eating something originally Canadian: butter tarts!!! SOOO GOOD! I don't care for sweets, but butter tarts are one of my favourite!

At the cottage:

 Em, tubing; she's pretty good at it!
 Em and my aunt scared of drifting off, so they linked arms to keep their floaty chairs together.
 My dad hanging out in the boat after an afternoon of swimming around the larger parts of the lake. Nice goggles, eh?
We bumped into loons while we were driving back to the cottage. So beautiful and sleek, they barely even acknowledged us.

The fun didn't stop there though! We went from bbq to bbq, from home-cooking to the annual Rib Fest and it was...Well, it was incredible.

 Look at all that meat!!! 
 At Rib Fest downtown in Victoria Park
 Signage boasting menu items and various awards
 It may have been raining, but it didn't stop people from lining up for ribs!
 Mmmm, a little TLC goes a loooong way!
 My mouth was watering! I hadn't had ribs at Rib Fest in over 10 years!!!
 Chicken, ribs, baked beans and mashed potatoes
Classic mac 'n cheese!

It wasn't ALL about barbequing this summer. I've also baked...Not a lot, but I've baked :) 

#1: Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Cheesecake:

 I bought this cookbook from Home Sense when it FIRST opened on Wellington Rd. S many, MANY moons ago. It's the best cheesecake recipe book I've come across!
 The crust (my modification because I don't like graham crackers)
 Crust chilled? Check! Filling made? Check!
 Spreading the top layer on the baked cake
 Chocolate shavings on top!
The finished result!!!

#2: Vanilla Pound Cake (1st attempt)

I've never made pound cake before. This is a Martha Stewart recipe :)

 Not a bad finished product, but I used the wrong flour...

Alright, ladies and gentlemen. That's it for now! I have more to post about, but that's for another day ;)  Hope August was wonderful to you and that you're enjoying Labour Day weekend!!!

Saturday, 9 August 2014

To Speak or Not to Speak

Making a major change in life is rarely an easy feat. So, it probably comes as no surprise that being back in Canada has been extremely challenging. I left my good-paying job teaching English as a second language abroad only to come home and ponder on the fact that, although I may be a good talker, I'm not a good communicator. Bad teacher!

I feel ashamed because part of what I teach is communication, and as a communications instructor I'm supposed to convey the importance of effective communication. Now, I wonder if this (negative) trait has been trailing behind me longer than I thought. I fully admit that I struggled with discussing things-period-with Habibi. Never one to open up to me, he felt the need to not only keep me in the dark, but lie outright and manipulate words so that I was always the one to blame. When I decided that things wouldn't work out with my ex-fiance, I had to state why I was calling off our engagement. Imagine my shock and horror when he told me months later that he had no idea why I'd left him.

At this point, I feel that I am at fault. Now I must rectify the situation. Easier written than done.

In my blog posts I have absolutely rambled on-and-on unnecessarily, gone on tangents and added too much embellishment, but I'm very aware that I've done those things and chalked it up to my stream of consciousness "mode" of writing. At this time, however, I'm faced with the fact that my relationships with friends and family are one-sided and/or stagnant. Is this a result of technology? Busy lives? Distance? I don't know. Frankly, I'm tired of guessing. I mean, isn't this supposed to be an issue when you're 22, not 32??? I was under the impression that with age came the ability to clearly disclose one's emotions, opinions and other general information. I know that communication can come in various forms: body language, sign language, implied meaning, lack of communication, etc., but why is it that people choose either to be dishonest or say nothing at all? Part of me desires to explain to those I care about what kind of communicator I am and that I enquire about what type of communicator the other person is so that I know from the outset what to expect. Is this over complicated?

Alas, I leave this question to all readers out there; feel free to respond in the comment section below :)  I hope to write on a happier note next time!