Responding to the Sunshine Blogger Award My Way.

birds flying over body of water during golden hour

Photo by Johannes Plenio on

I have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Hunida. I have to admit that I have done enough of these awards that I am no longer completely excited by them.  I spent a lot of time thinking up questions, and then nobody answered them.  It was fun, but not completely rewarding.  I know there purpose is to expose your blog to other people and expose your audience to some new blogs.  I think those aims are wonderful and worth doing.  In fact, Hunida has done a wonderful job of promoting my blog (and other people’s blogs) even before this award.  Several of her followers have become my followers and for that I have to say a very heartfelt thank you.

If you have not read Hunida’s blog, you absolutely should. I characterize it as unapologetic, bold and unflinching while at the same time being fun and warm.  If you can’t understand that, you should definitely check her work out.  Please click here.  If I sound like I am overhyping it, that is because I am jealous at how bold and different her blog is.

So, what am I going to do? Basically, out of respect for Hunida’s hard work and her great promotion of my blog, I will answer her questions.  I won’t nominate anyone else, but I will put a few blog recommendations down to help promote some blogs that I read and could use more readers.  I won’t make up any other questions because seeing them going unanswered is as bad as seeing your book on the discount pile at the bookstore or the discard pile at the library.

Hunida’s Questions:

  1. Are you okay with setting your alarm to a time not ending in five or zero?

Sure, but I can’t say that I have ever done it. When my the snooze alarm on my clock was 7 minutes, it happened by itself.  However, these days my snooze button is ten minutes long.

For the past year, until July, I had my clock set 27 minutes fast. I am not sure why I did it, but I never bothered to change it.

  1. What do you regret spending your money on the most?

I could fill the content of several blogs with this. I have a lot of unused things at my fingertips.  Sometimes they were a good deal and sometimes I really wanted them, but haven’t made use of them yet.  I have good intentions, but I don’t have great follow through sometimes.

Things that I haven’t made full use of yet:

  • A model train diorama kit
  • Assorted bike tools
  • Several Xbox and Wii games
  • RC cars
  • A smattering of bargain DVDs
  • an exercise bike (it isn’t nearly as cool as my real bike and is a cheap model)
  • Japanese kanji flashcards
  • doorknobs (they are latch type done in brushed nickel and really need to be installed…after I paint the doors)
  • notepad computer (good for travel, but I should have bought a really small laptop instead–but I couldn’t find one)

I am sure if I think hard, I could find a bunch more stuff.

  1. How many shots of tequila (or your alcohol of choice) does it take to get you super, super drunk?

I guess it depends on what you mean by super, super drunk. If you by that you mean I would ride a shopping cart down a steep hill and not remember it, that would probably be 10.  If you mean, go and sing off key Karaoke songs by Justin Bieber–that would be 20.  Truth be told, I probably drank about ten shots of Don Julio a few weekends ago and it didn’t affect me all that much.  However, time, food, and company probably played a part in that.  Also, truth be told, I am more of a beer drinker.

  1. Do you like reality shows or do you hate them? If you like them, which one is your all-time favourite?

I do like reality shows, but not ones that are strictly personality based. I have never watched the bachelor or any of its variations.  While I thought the idea for Tila Tequila’s Shot at Love was bold, I didn’t watch the show and a friend of mine soured me on her when she related some of their interactions.

The kind of reality shows I like are competitions of skills. I like Project Runway (especially the teen version),  The Great Canadian Baking Show (also the British version) the Great Pottery Throwdown (British).   My all time favourite reality show is from Japan.  It is called TV champion and had different skill competitions each week.  They had people who:

  • built model trains
  • redecorated houses
  • built log houses
  • knew too much about sushi
  • drove cars very well
  • painted busses
  • arranged flowers

and the list went on

It was a great showcase of people with skills and talents.

  1. If any, what superstitions do you believe in?

From my time in Japan, I still do not want to see my name written in red.  Once a salesclerk handed me a red pen to sign a credit card receipt (remember those days) and I refused until they gave me a blue or black one.

  1. On your birthday, what kind of cake do you usually request?

Something chocolate.

  1. Do you still blow out candles on your birthday?

I don’t usually have that kind of celebration, so sadly, no. When my students have their birthdays I get to live vicariously through them.  I also get to learn Happy Birthday in many languages.  It always amuses them when I explain that the song isn’t really fast paced here in Canada.  In most of my students’ countries, the song races along at quite a fast paced accompanied by clapping.

  1. How old did you turn and what did you do for your most favourite birthday celebration?

Based on pictures, I have to think my third birthday party was the best one. I ate cake, I got presents (weeble wobbles), and I seem to be smiling in the picture.

  1. What is your favourite online store to shop on?

I am an Amazon person. The selection in Canada is not nearly as good as it is in the US, but it still offers some incredible deals.  While this is true, these days, I try to shop local.  While getting a good deal is important, supporting local small businesses is more important.

  1. Do you ever eat raw ramen noodles as a snack?

No, but there is snack like this in Japan.  I am not a big fan, but if there’s nothing else to eat.

  1. What is your absolute favourite candle scent?

Candles have scents?

Recommendations: I read quite a lot of blogs.  I try to comment on much of what I read because I want to encourage people and just clicking like is not really enough.  Unfortunately, although I am verbose as I can be with my own blog, I don’t always know what to say when faced with the words of others.  This is probably why my book reviews are as short as they are.

So, below are some blogs which I think could really use a boost in readership. I read and value them.  I have other favourites, but those are doing quite well and don’t need the boost that these ones do.

So, please, if you have a moment, check them out and leave some comments for them.

I have always been attracted to writing that is brutally honest.  This blog is no exception and for that reason alone you should check it out.

I read this gentleman’s blog on stamps but thought this was a good idea also.

I stumbled across this blog recently and you might find it interesting.

I always feel like Quinn needs more fans.  Her writing also has that brutally honest quality I admire, but her writing is also quite beautiful.

Posted in answers, appreciation, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, award, growing your blog, growth, increasing blog traffic, questions, recommendations, thanks | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Difference a Week Makes

9 15 ride

In stark contrast to last week’s chilly ride, by the time I got to the meeting place at 8:20, I and the rest of the Eagles were sweating. None of the potential C riders I knew were there, so I planned to ride with the B group.  Luckily or unluckily, several riders expressed concerns about the heat and wanted to ride the equally tough but somewhat shorter ride of the C group.  So, as a group of four men, we were off.  One of the women in the B group almost came with us, but her triathlon training required her to do a bit more distance.  She is an encouraging rider and a friendly person, so I was a little disappointed by the turn of events.

I have ridden this route several times this year, but this time parts of it were in reverse. We did a clockwise route instead of a counter-clockwise (anti-clockwise) route–at least for part of it.  I have to admit, it is nice to see things from the opposite perspective.

There were some minor hills, but we cleared them in the first half of the ride. The last half was spent racing at a higher than average speed on some lovely flat sections that skirted a canal and wound through farm country.  It is at times like those that I wish I had already bought the Sony action cam that I have been lusting after for the past year….someday.

The ride has left me tired, but not exhausted. The summer of riding is definitely showing health and fitness benefits.  I should be able to summon up enough energy to root for the Fighting Irish this afternoon.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bicycles, cycling, cycling gear, cycling shoes, exercise, fitness, group rides, health, maximum speed, Newmarket Eagles, Saturday morning, speed | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So, I was looking at yarn….

assorted colors of threads

Photo by Tim Savage on

Here’s a line I never thought I would write.

I was looking at yarn in a store, wondering just exactly what sock yarn might be. You see, my sister-in-law is a knitter (perhaps knitter extraordinaire–but since she reads this blog and I don’t know if she would appreciate the appellation–perhaps knitter or possibly Knitter would suffice) and a requested birthday gift for her is sock yarn.  Since she gives the socks away to other people, I am not sure why this should be considered a gift for her.  However, who am I to laugh in the face of a birthday gift suggestion when so many people seem incapable of giving them.

So, as I had written, I was looking at yarn in a store. This wasn’t a yarn store, or craft store, but was in fact an art store.  They recently reorganized and put most of the yarn in a place visible through the front window.  I have been working above this store for years and had no idea they even sold yarn, let alone needles and patterns.

Since it was an art store, when I asked about sock yarn, I received a bunch of confused looks, stunned silences, and excuses like, “I don’t really know anything about yarn.”

Luckily, another clerk came by and said “Sock yarn. Of course we have that.  Here” and pointed at the sock yarn section–well section sounds big, but it really only amounted to ten or so different colours.

None of the colours seemed to rock my world, but I noted the price and silently vowed to do some comparison shopping. There is a local knitting place close to where I live.  Maybe this is one of those times I should make good on the promise to shop local.

As you can imagine, none of this really qualifies as Today’s Perfect Moment–maybe Today’s Most Random Moment…

As for Today’s Perfect Moment, that happened a short moment later. I decided to look around the store to see if there was a project I could get myself into.  I have a mostly overlooked hobby blog that could probably use some content.  I passed the young clerk who knew her yarn and she asked me if she could help me find anything else.  I thanked her for her help with the yarn debacle….fiasco…dilemma (which word is best?) and we started talking about some building project for me (I have already secretly settled on robots, but that’s a story for another day) and I asked her if she did art.  It turns out that she created independent comics.

We had a nice discussion that demonstrated just how out of touch I am with that whole scene–not that I was ever really in touch with it. She mentioned conventions and some kind of digital printing process that was akin to silkscreen printing….I understood enough to know that I don’t really understand.

What struck me the most was how well spoken, confident, and enthusiastic she was. Perhaps, because I work with people whose first language is not English, I don’t interact with people who can articulate what they do so well, or they are so focused on getting the English correct that they cannot also include the emotional element to it.

Posted in art, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, comic books, convention, conversation, enthusiasm, hobby, hobby shop, knitting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

When to Slap the Teacher


If I ever say I am jealous of the gifts some teachers receive, please slap me… hard. Not only is jealousy wrong, but I have nothing to be jealous of.  Lately, people have given me so many compliments and so many gifts that I should learn to shut up once and for all.

Today, I arrived at work to find a bag of Brazilian coffee on my desk. This was a gift from one of my students who is a primary school teacher in Brazil.  She was one of the bright spots in the class and I was quite touched by this.  I think I will wait until the weekend when I have more time to savour my coffee.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, Brazil, coffee, ESL, gifts, presents, students, teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Catching Raindrops


For reasons not worth going into, today was a bit of a bummer.  However, I did managed to find something to smile about.


I never knew that a spider’s web could catch raindrops, let alone suspend them in droplet form.  It kind of gives me hope that impossible is just a word we put on things that we just haven’t done yet.

If you need something else to read, I suggest one of my earlier pieces like this one.  If you want something totally opposite from a post like this, I suggest this one.


Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, Mondays, rain, smile | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why I Go To the Library


One of my coworkers wondered why I kept getting books from the library. When I answered because they were free, she explained that her question was different.  She meant why didn’t I borrow the books electronically?  I could have waxed lyrical about the tactile sensation of reading a book.  I could have explained that I’ve always read paper books and that’s just who I am.  These are arguments that I have used before and heard used by other people.  I could have also explained that falling asleep and dropping a book doesn’t have the same consequences as dropping my Kobo.  I didn’t.

Indeed, I have an eBook reader. I have used it to read more than 50 books.  I have downloaded books from the library and had no trouble using the thing at all.  It was very convenient–especially when the books had to be returned.

So, why do I go to the library? Since my librarian crush no longer works there, I might not have an answer that would be suitable for anyone.

However, yesterday, while gathering books for my next bunch of commutes, I may have come across a reason. Like all libraries, some books get withdrawn or discarded or whatever term your library uses.  Mine calls them withdrawn and puts them out on a cart and asks you to pay what you can for them.  Sometimes the cart is full, and sometimes the cart is anaemically empty.  On this particular Saturday, I came across some travel guides.  Granted two were from countries I visited last year (check out some of my posts from Cambodia and Thailand ), but one was from a country I may visit at the end of this year–I am thinking of doing a cycling trip in the lake district of Chile and Argentina.

 Do I need these guidebooks, since I’ve already been there?  No, of course not, but nothing makes me want to travel more than reading about it.  Also, I consider this a sign that I should definitely take the trip.

Posted in adventure, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, books, guide book, inspiration, inspiring, librarian, library, lucky, reading, unexpected | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

11 Degrees….11!

I have a small computer mounted on my bike. It is by no means the fancy Garmin or Wahoo system I lust after but can’t ever seem to find room in the budget for.  However, it does the job and was very reasonable.  I use it to measure speed, distance travelled, ride time, and the time of day.  The function that I don’t normally use is the thermometer.  I usually just think it’s hot.  Hot and muggy, hot and dry, hot but maybe it will rain are my typical pronouncements.

Today, I happen to glance at the temperature while I was scrolling through the various functions. It said 11 degrees.  Maybe the first ride of the season was below 20, but I doubt it was below 15, and certainly nowhere close to 10.

That being said, I have to admit it was nippy. I had my arm warmers on, but not much else in the way of supplemental kit.  I probably should have put the warmer insoles in my cycling shoes, and maybe taken the full finger gloves.

I rode with the C group again, and while I enjoyed the ride, we were a small group again and it wasn’t nearly as fun. I probably should have gone with the B group.  I am not sure if I could have done more kms in the cold, but who knows.  I felt strong throughout the ride and the other person on the ride was slow and spoke with such a soft voice that it was impossible to have a conversation with them while riding.

The highlights of the ride were the awesome scenery. I really should get a bike camera so some of you could see it.  Despite the early morning temperature, this is still technically summer.  There are no fall colours yet (and I don’t expect them for another month), but the trees and grass and hills look great.  We even passed some people out on a horse ride.

As we were coasting down a long hill, the group leader said “this is something you can’t get from jogging.” He explained that freewheeling at 50kms an hour was pretty awesome.  I certainly had to agree.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bicycles, cycling, cycling gear, cycling shoes, group rides, hills, morning, nature, Newmarket Eagles, Saturday morning, scenery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Healing Power of Ramen

Lately, I had been feeling that my connection to Japan had started to wane.  I hadn’t eaten any Japanese food recently.  I hadn’t watched any Jvloggers–or at least the Jvloggers I had watched were reporting from places other than Japan.  Despite the fact that my house is littered with “things Japanese” (one of the first books I read on Japan) like Sumo Banzuke, kanji workbooks and flashcards, tonkatsu sauce bottles and more, I had been thinking that maybe it was time to pack it all away.

Luckily for me, a new co-worker and I arranged to go out for ramen–we finally have some decent if rather expensive places to eat ramen in Toronto after years of neglect.  She had recently come back from Japan before starting work at my school, so she was still jonesing for Japanese food.  I don’t blame her.  As you can see from this post, or this one, or even this one, I do a fair bit of that in my life.

She ordered the soy based ramen while I had the spicy pork based version.  I ordered some gyoza, expecting to share at least one of them.  She declined my offer twice, so I quickly ate the delicious little buggers up before she could change her mind.

I don’t know whether it was the spicy ramen that I ate, or the loud and genki (look it up) staff, or just the positive nostalgia we were sharing, but after going for ramen, my positive feeling of Japan returned.

That seems reason enough to call it Today’s Perfect Moment.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, comfort food, eating, ethnic food, food, Japanese, nostalgia, ramen, restaurant, Toronto | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A New Picture

A little while ago, I posted a picture my student drew of me. It was a quick sketch, but I think it captured me quite well.  I thought she showed quite a bit of talent and other people reacted quite positively towards it.  You can view that picture here or on my instagram account–which is called todaysperfectmoment.

Today, she presented me with a new picture. She said that this one included me smiling.  I think it is a great picture and I am happy to show it here.  The only think I am a little less than happy about is that she omitted my forehead scar.  While I haven’t always liked it, it has been part of my life since I was three.  I got it when I fell onto the edge of the staircase while chasing my older sister.  It required stitches and left a scar that has grown along with me.  As I said, I haven’t always liked it, butI have come to accept it and felt that it was missing from the picture.  I guess she wanted to show me in the best light possible.  I think I would rather she have given me more hair.

Obviously, this qualifies as Today’s Perfect Moment.  I think I am going to frame it and then a year or so from now hang it on my wall.


Posted in art, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, class, drawing, ESL, pictures, sketch, students, teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Framing Pictures


On a holiday Monday, I could take the easy route and declare the holiday itself as Today’s Perfect Moment. It wouldn’t be hard.  I could just explain the benefits of a long weekend–sleeping in, drinking coffee at a leisurely speed, and relaxing in the knowledge that I wasn’t at work.  Today, that won’t be the case.

Instead, Today’s Perfect Moment is about framing pictures. It wasn’t a tough job.  These frames are quite economical and do not require any special tools to set them up.  I had gotten the pictures printed more than a week ago, but hadn’t done anything with them.  Today, I overcame the monster that is procrastination to get the job done.  Now that the job is done, I can move onto the next step–procrastinating hanging up the pictures on the wall.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bargain, Exodus Travels, memories, photography, pictures, procrastination, souvenirs, tasks, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments