Friday, February 22, 2013

What am I eating tonight?

Tonight, I am having a fantastic dish that is brought to you by freezer and pantry foods!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, life has been hectic, so my nutrients haven't been balancing properly. I bought a bag of shrimp to help manage my protein/iron levels.  In this dish is Uncle Ben's parmesan and butter rice (delicious!), frozen corn, frozen brussels sprouts, which I roasted in olive oil and sea salt, some thin slices of cheddar cheese, and thawed and fully cooked shrimp!  Delicious and colorful.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Carnaval de Quebec

Last weekend Alicia and I went to Quebec City to the Carnaval de Quebec with the McGill Graduate Student Society.  It was tres bien!  It was, however, a very cold day, but we braved it!  We rode school buses from Montreal to Quebec, which was a bumpy and chilly 3 hours, but considering we paid $25 for transportation and our ticket into the Carnaval, we were happy with whatever transportation they provided!

We arrived around 1 pm and left at 7:30 pm.  We did some things at the Carnaval like take a shot of liquor out of an ice glass, go down the ice slide, tour the ice castle, and look at ice sculptures, but we had more fun wandering the Old Fort in Quebec.  In the city, we had lunch at a fantastic fondue and crepes restaurant, where we chose to do a dinner combo which included soup, a meal crepe, a dessert crepe (with maple creme!), and tea.  It was quite tasty.  We saw the river, the old buildings, wandered some shops, and I had some maple taffy.  The maple taffy was neat and delicious.  It is warm, highly concentrated maple syrup, which is poured onto snow, and the eater takes a wooden popsicle stick and rolls the sugar up, creating a taffy-like substance.  It was so, so, so sugary, but great!  To be honest, the amount of sugar I ate between Friday night and Saturday took a full five days to get out of my system for my digestive system to work normally.  But how can one go to Quebec and NOT eat any maple syrup?

Here are some photos from the day:
 This is a view of the bottom portion of the city at sunset.
 The Saint-Laurent river from the Old Fort.
 Amarula and Caribou in ice shot glasses.
 The ice castle.
 The Old Fort is part of the Canadian National Parks system.
This is an ice sculpture featured at the festival.  It reminds me of Crazy Horse.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Random Thoughts

I am missing some nutrients:
My nails are peeling funny.

Biking through six inches of snow makes my thighs tired.

How does a church obtain a speaking rhythm?  Why doesn't mine in Montreal have a speaking rhythm?

Almost three months until our honeymoon in Florida.  That is what is getting me through all this awful snow and cold.

I wish I could do a virtual punch in the face on facebook to some people.  Wouldn't that be nice?  Maybe I should just delete these people as friends.

Justin bought me a fantastic gold chain for V-day.  This way, I can wear my engagement ring around my neck whenever I practice/perform.  I feel like Frodo and it is awesome!

Why do I have to shave my legs?  I like my hairy legs.

Mom and Dad are coming Saturday to visit!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Relationship Competition

I like to think that I'm a pretty realistic person in all aspects of my life, including relationships.  Getting married is super serious and scary, so since I started dating in my youth, relationships wouldn't last much more than five months because I would ask myself if I could see getting serious with that person. I also had to take into account that an oboe career is important to me, I want kids, I want my partner to be of the same religious beliefs, and I want to be physically attracted to my partner.  I found him!  Justin!  Yay!

The thing is, it always seemed that marriage was the goal.  I'm from a small and conservative Lutheran church body where people get married young.  When I graduated from undergrad at 23 without a boyfriend, I think people were honestly considering me an old maid.  This starts out early on in life.  Your social status in middle school and high school is determined by if you have a boyfriend and what your boyfriend does.  The feminists may take it too far to say that you don't need a man at all (Hey!  They are excellent companions, which is a great reason for marriage!), but it was important to be attached at the hip with somebody.  In undergrad, there was a push for marriage right after graduation (at my church, not at the UW), unless you want to go to graduate school, which isn't very wife-like it seemed.  That messed with my head.  In reality, you can do whatever you want!  Women can be in school and have a serious relationship or marriage, and same with a career.  Silly people.

Now, there is a new competition.  Are you engaged?  Are you married?  If you are married, do you have kids?  If you have kids, are they getting married?  If your kids are married, do you have grandkids?  It seems that the next step is a competition.  I need to beat you to the next relationship level!

I am honestly content at where I am in life, but I am starting to understand why people get sad and frustrated when they can't quite make it to the next "level," especially when a conservative culture dictates needing to have children, etc.  I would/will be devastated if I found/find out that I can't have children on my own.  Truly, but, Justin and I already discussed this and we are totally in agreement that adoption would be amazing!

Within each step, there is competition.  While planning a wedding, I have been guilty of criticizing wasteful weddings, but then again, you can find "waste" at my wedding, which makes me a hypocrit.  What I value is different than other people.  I've read blog entries about competitions within pregnancy.  How natural can you go in the birthing process?  You see competition with kids on the Facebook with people posting pictures, milestones, videos, etc.  This is great for keeping up, but sometimes, it is just annoying, pushy, and braggy.  And creepy when you think about how the government follows our lives and can kill us with drones without any due process now.

The question is:  are you really happy where you are?  Do you need to get to the next level to be happy or are you content where you are?  The most important thing from marriage is that I will have Justin to weather every storm with me.

I need to always remember to stay true to us, to respect him as the head of the house, to give him opportunities to be loving and compassionate to me (yes, this will be hard because I'm a do-it-yourself type of woman), and to let God handle our lives and determine what and when new events take place :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Brake Pads and Weird But Delicious Recipe

Today I went down to the bike shop near my house in Montreal and bought two sets of brake pads for my bike.  This is much over due.  I keep crashing my bike, sometimes due to a**hole car drivers (like on Sunday), but sometimes due to my brake pads being 30 years old and dead.  From my initial test, my bike seems to be doing MUCH better in the stopage department.  My back brake system is kinda funky, but that screw is a bit rusted to adjust the wire system.  I'll take it to Cody sometime when I'm home.  Here is the picture of a set of new pads and a set of old pads:
I think you can see how my old brakes weren't quite cutting it.

I also was very hungry after a long and early morning at school. Using the food I had, I made a stuffing/egg dish-like concoction.
Here is a list of what's in here:
~Rye bread chunks
~1 egg
~1 cup of vegetable broth
~2 tbsp coconut
~1/2 cup craisins
~1/4 cup sunflower seeds
~1/4 tsp salt
~1/4 tsp pepper
~1 cup broccoli
(bake on 425 F for 25 minutes)
~sprinkle some buckwheat berries on top!

Weird, right?  Very good though.

Have a great day!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Canadian Rockies

After reading the comments on the Althouse blog post about Canada, I have a renewed desire to take a train through the Canadian Rockies.  I feel like this would be one of the most beautiful experiences ever.  This would be fun in the Swiss Alps as well.  Last summer when I was in Pittsburgh for a week, Linda took us to see an IMAX film on building the railroad across the Canadian rockies.  It was such a sad story, but there was amazing train footage.  Ahhhh!  I feel I should take Christine's kids with me.  They do train things all the time.

Moving!

I am moving to a new apartment in Montreal.  There has been a bit of drama at my new place, which has made me uncomfortable, so at the advice of my dear friend Lisa and Dr. Leclair, I found a new apartment.  My lease is month-to-moth so, I'm paying for two places for February, but it gives me some time to move out and move in while doing school.  I'm pretty excited about this new place.  I will have my own room and it is very lovely and updated with new windows that keep heat in!  It is closer to school, downtown, and my friends as well.  I will post pictures as I move in.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A general discussion of graduate school

Grad school is not special anymore.  It has become the place people usually go because school is comfortable.  Why not live off of government loans a few more years and pretend it is your money and then complain that you have so much money to pay back and the government owes you an education?  I have met so many people who don't have any good reason to be doing their graduate degree and often do not know what he/she wants to do with his/her life after grad school.

Willis didn't go to grad school.  He just sleeps.  And barfs.

Anywho.  Graduate school is very much a status.  I know in music, undergrads just think about grad school.  Teachers have to eventually earn enough credits to have a masters degree, even if it is a general masters degree with no specialization, just to sound more legit.  If you want to get a grad degree for whatever, there will be a school that will accept you, because the university system is self-feeding.

Then, why am I in graduate school?  First of all, I wasn't a good enough oboist to make it as a freelancer with just my undergrad degree.  Yes, I did turn down an Army contract to play oboe in one of their bands, but that was a very difficult decision to make.  I did make the correct decision.  Secondly, I was affected by the ominous "graduate school" that people get excited about.  Everything turned out alright though; my professor is amazing and has helped me grow in the most positive ways as a person and an oboist.  I can play oboe without pain now.  Reed making is not scary at all.  I can play in tune on most days ;).  I honed my writing skills and can research skillfully.  I can approach music and learn it in an efficient and honorable fashion.  I possess the skills to uproot my life at a moment's notice.  I have had the opportunity to study in a different country and culture.

Will I apply for the next trendy step of a doctorate?  Maybe someday if I want, after I birth some babies, but not in the near future.  This is because my ideal career does not need a doctorate.  I can learn by buying books on Amazon, which is much cheaper than school.  Also, if I would ever desire a university job, it would be better to have kids before I would apply, so having kids before doing a doctorate (as crazy as that seems) would allow me to start a family young, and not have baby-having interfere with a tenure-track position.  Win-win.  Especially since Justin says he supports that if it would ever happen.  I change my mind so much that he has to be aware of any potential changes to my current way of thinking.

Willis is too lazy to attempt a doctorate.

Dearest readers: Did you go to graduate school?  What were your motives?  Was it worth it?