A Coffee Moment

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Photo by Malidate Van on Pexels.com

 

 

You generally won’t find me sitting around in coffee shops. It isn’t that I never patronize them, but rather I am more of a beer with a friend than a coffee with a friend.  I have also watched too many Friends episodes and can’t understand why they always got to sit on the couch–except of course that it made the most sense for TV.  It certainly changed the coffee shop landscape.

I seem to be drifting off topic.

So, while you won’t often find me in a coffee shop, it does happen. Also, perhaps due to the rarity, but most likely due to the company, whenever I do find myself talking an hour away in a coffee shop, it probably qualifies as Today’s Perfect Moment–in this case Yesterday’s Perfect Moment.

Yesterday, I carved out a moment from an afternoon that started out as a pretty humdrum morning of students taking mock exams and those students not taking it seriously enough. Perhaps things will be better today when I make them do mock oral exams and (insert sinister laugh–which I am excellent at doing) mark them severely.

Drifting off topic again.

An hour’s worth of conversation, a decent cup of coffee, and a weird street view that was mostly of construction and angry people walking by.  I hope I have painted an interesting picture for you.

Do you have a favourite coffee shop, or nook you like to drink in?

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Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, coffee, conversation, ESL, students, teaching | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Kick Out Of Bananas

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I have written before about gifts my students have given me. Today is another one of those situations, but with a little twist.  You see, usually the students bring things from their country.  These can be folk crafts, snacks, post cards, key chains, and alcohol–yes, I saved that one for last on purpose.

In today’s case, my student brought me something from their country that they bought here. They had gone shopping to a Korean grocery store and came across Banana Kick.  I mentioned this once when showing them a video of kydeanderic who are two jvloggers.  In the video, Kyde and Eric are visiting Korea town in Tokyo and Kyde heaps a lot of praise on this particular snack.  If you’ve watched these videos, you would take her food advice pretty seriously.  She knows her stuff.

So, if you’re keeping score, that means that

  • My student actually paid attention to something I said.
  • My student remembered something I said.
  • My student thought of me when they were shopping for food–if I am shopping for food, I am most likely thinking about myself and my grumbling stomach.
  • My student wanted to do something nice for me.

All in all, a pretty easy choice for Today’s Perfect Moment.

By the way, I have always found banana to be a hard flavour to replicate without tasting like chemicals. While I cannot say there was no taste of chemicals, at the very least, this did actually taste like bananas.  The students disagreed.  I had to fail them for that.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, banana, comfort food, ethnic food, food, food shopping, grocery shopping, Korea, Korean, shopping, snacks, souvenirs, students, teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cyber Monday Yields A Travel Deal

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Cyber Monday is usually a bust for me. I rarely need anything and I rarely have money to splurge.  It is even rarer for me to actually find an incredible deal.  A ten percent sale is common enough not to get tremendously excited about.

Oddly enough I found a travel deal.  It was one that has been on my radar for the past month or so.  I was really looking for a cycling trip but couldn’t book the one to Chile because it was full.  I toyed with the idea of going to Sri Lanka–I will probably do that eventually.

It isn’t a cycling trip, but at least there is a day of cycling mixed in there somewhere. There will also be some surfing and some rafting and a bunch of other stuff.  I am headed to Costa Rica on a G Adventure and I am excited.

The next step is to figure out how to add a Costa Rica section to the drop down menu under My Travels.  I have done it before, but the process seems to elude me every time.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bargain, cyber Monday, tourism, travel, travel writing, vacation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Modern Technology

two black and brass colored keys with fob

Photo by Brett Jordan on Pexels.com

 

It is, perhaps, too early in the day to decide on Today’s Perfect Moment, but it is certainly the right time to write Today’s Oddest moment. This moment comes to you courtesy of modern technology. I am no Luddite, but sometimes, I don’t always embrace technology the way I should.

When I got a new car, now some years ago, I wasn’t sold on all the high tech inclusions. This was despite my past love of overblown high tech cars.  I remember that several (read that as many) years ago my father had a car with a keyless entry system.  You could punch in a code and the doors would open rather than use you key.  I was totally in love with it.  I loved all the digital things in the car.  It had a digital speedometer that could flip between miles and kilometres. The radio could scan.  The seats move in numerous directions.  The moon roof slid back and forth.  It was the best toy that wasn’t mine.

On my car though, I really prefer simplicity. I favour windows with handle cranks.  I certainly never wanted to have a car that opened by pressing a button.  The fact that the doors lock automatically when I am driving still catches me off guard sometimes.  Maybe too many Microsoft updates have made me gun-shy.

Now that you’ve gotten the background over with, you might sympathise with my oddest moment. Then again you might laugh.

So, I was preparing to go out and I heard a car horn honking. I wondered who the idiot was (perhaps I thought a different word, but I like to keep it PG) and looked out on the street.  The horn was close, but I couldn’t see any cars.  Then it hit me, it was me.  My car horn was honking with the car in the garage.  Somehow, I had inadvertently hit the alarm button on the key.  Being a couple of floors up, I hadn’t even consider that I was the culprit.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, cars, mistakes, stupidity, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Redemption with a Small R

If you’ve ever had a grumpy day, I think this post will help you.

If you don’t know what I mean by a grumpy day, I truly envy you. A grumpy day is when things in the universe conspire to make you angry or frustrated or bothered.  It isn’t a depressing day, just an annoying one.

It didn’t start out as a grumpy day. It started out quite well with my cat sleeping on me as I awoke under my warm covers.  I had a wonderfully hot shower and the kink in my neck seemed to disappear.  I had time to drink multiple cups of coffee and watch a bit of Sumo on the computer.  I got in a decent breakfast, had time to shovel the sidewalk, and even managed to cobble a relatively healthy lunch together to take to work.  Not a bad day at all.

So, where did it all start? Sadly, it was the bus.  I boarded the bus and it was eerily quiet.  I didn’t remark on it, but wondered why the bus wasn’t moving.  Suddenly the bus driver walked back towards where I was sitting and started say that someone (I thought for a moment that it could have been me) had to get off the bus.  What followed was a shouting match with incredible profanity and racism that I haven’t heard since the woman with tourette syndrome stopped riding the bus (I kid you not).  Having seen this person before, I think that there are some mental health issues at play that got him thrown off the bus.  Having watched the bus driver take furtive glances out the back window, I know he had called someone.  I only hope that the man in question would get some help.

Once he left the bus the eerie quietness turned into a talk fest for the loud people at the back of the bus. It got so bad that I couldn’t concentrate on my book, and my headphones were inadequate to the task of drowning them out.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, slow walkers clogged up every lane I took, indoors and out. If I stepped left to get around them, they shaded left and cut me off.  If sped up to overtake, so did they.  When I slowed to a snails pace to let them get ahead, suddenly they forgot how to walk.

When later explaining this to someone, they wondered why I could get so peeved. None of these things were under my control and therefore they shouldn’t bother me they explained. As true as that is, these events still bothered me and I can’t explain them away..  That is what I call a grumpy day.

The early moment of mild redemption for this crummy day happened after I was out of the subway and walking to work. People were still crisscrossing in front of me and stopping abruptly.  I had to walk through a construction area so overtaking people without colliding with concrete barricades and chain link fencing was basically impossible. The sun was shining but I wasn’t enjoying it.

I finally felt like I had cleared the crowd and was starting to loosen up. Suddenly a couple in front of me veered right across my path heading for the public garbage can in spite of the fact that the sidewalk was generously wide at that point.  I nearly crashed right into the person.  Had the ground been a little slippery or I a bit faster, it would have ended in tears.

I don’t know whether I grunted, or sighed, or if she could hear my eyes roll (amazing how loud that can be when peeved) but she stopped and said “Sorry sir.” I am not great at guessing people’s ages, but I suspected that they were older than I and therefore the “sir” took me quite by surprise.

I walked the rest of the way to work in a bit of a fog of relaxing and laughing.

Sadly the full redemption would have to wait for my trip home and a better than average ride on the subway and bus because after stepping onto the elevator, my fellow passengers pressed all the buttons to the floors before mine. Sadly, though, as the door opened on each floor, not a soul got out.  That’s right, they pressed the buttons for no reason I could understand.  We visited every floor for no reason at all.

Arrrrrrgh!

Posted in anger, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bus, commuting, disappointment, subway, Viva, YRT | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Leftover Perfection

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Snow has started to fall again and though I never expect November snow to stick around, it seems as though it might. Before I regale you with pictures of winter and snow, because rest assured I can, I wanted to highlight something that has not been affected by the changing season.

Near my work there is a bike rental spot. I don’t remember them installing it.  One day it was just there.  In fact, I imagine that I an many other Torontonians walked right past it without seeing it for months, despite the scheme getting some decent press upon its debut.  I have never used the system and no nothing about it.  I have also never seen anyone using it, and I have never seen the bikes pass me on the street–and I am pretty sure I would have registered it.  I mean, I can spot a Pinarello Dogma from quite a distance.

I suppose like all things these days, it can be accessed from your phone using credit cards and paypal and a medium amount of suspicion fuelled trust. There might be forms to fill out or awkward questions to answer, but I don’t think you need to sign away a kidney or anything.

I pass by this spot every day on my way to and from work, but I don’t always notice it. However, because I love cycling and want to encourage more people to ride, I do try and pay attention from time to time.  I was surprised that the bikes were still available.  I would have guessed that they would safely neglected in some city government warehouse as opposed to casually neglected on the street.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, autumn, bicycles, cycling, cycling gear, group rides, inspiration, inspiring, seasons, Toronto, winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From the Night Sky

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It was almost unnoticeable. The darkness surrounding the bus terminal as I waited for the bus seemed unusually dark.  The lights from the station itself seemed harsh and uninviting.

“Is it snowing?” the person next to me asked.

No was what I wanted to answer. I didn’t want to even consider that winter was starting when Autumn still had a month to go.  I turned my eyes skyward and didn’t see anything.  I thought it possible to answer no.

Then I saw it, at first only dimly against the night sky. It was incredibly small and an almost silvery white, fluttering and spastically moving from side to side–this was unlike any snowflake I had ever seen, but snowflake it was.  The uncommonly early winter meant to linger.

It is hard to choose a moment like this as Today’s Perfect Moment, but that is what I have done.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bus, commuting, snow, Viva, weather, winter, YRT | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Forgetting Today’s Perfect Moment

I forgot Today’s Perfect Moment.

As writing only that as today’s post would be a little confusing and potentially a bit rude, I think I had better explain. I had Today’s Perfect Moment selected, or more precisely, Today’s Perfect Moment had revealed itself to me.  I knew it immediately and wanted to share it with you.  Shamefully, I forgot it.

One way to organize or categorize Perfect Moments is to separate them by how the are decided upon.  In this equation, there are two kinds of Perfect Moments.

The first is decided upon at the end of the day after a bit of reflection. These most often happen when I have had a bad day and need something to lighten my thought process so I can more easily fall asleep.  Because this is just before I go to sleep, I am probably tired and the likelihood of typos and poor editing increases as the minutes of the clock tick by.

The other type is decided when it happens, whether I realize it or not. I mean, sometimes I have a pretty good idea, but at other times, the idea just kicks around in my subconscious and I find myself mentally writing the post from the time it happens until I get to my computer and start to physically write it.  Sometimes I am too busy to notice that I am writing it, but since I can’t shake it, eventually I realize what has happened.  Sometimes, I am quite sure almost immediately that it is something I want to share, whether I have the words or not.

Today was more like the latter. In class this morning, sometime between 10:00 and 11:30 one of my student’s said or did something I thought would be a good candidate for Today’s Perfect Moment.  I even told the students that I would feature it and they were genuinely interested in the idea.

Sadly, it was as if by saying it that I robbed it of its power and presence because I completely forgot about it. I even ran into the student who did or said it later on the subway and she couldn’t remember either.  It was a weird kind of group amnesia that I wish I could blame on government conspiracy rather than a forgetful brain.

The funny thing is that among my friends, I am considered to have the best memory. I remember minor details of drunken and non drunken weekends with my friends with incredible clarity.  However, sometimes, I just lose ideas.  This seems to happen when I am in the supermarket and have failed to either make a list, or having made the list forgotten it on the kitchen table.

I know I should have written this one down, or at least given it a catchy title. Had I named it, I might now be regaling you with a funny story rather than wracking my brain over something that happened just after I had my second cup of coffee.  I also wouldn’t be writing a post explaining why I don’t have a post.

It will probably come to me just as I put my head on the pillow.

Posted in advice, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, blog, blogging, blogposts, conspiracy, ESL, growing your blog, increasing blog traffic, teaching, writer's block, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Having to Wear Boots

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I wanted to write that it seems pretty early in the season to be wearing boots, but in fact, it seems like the wrong season to be wearing boots. If I am not mistaken, it is still autumn.  Since autumn is my favourite season, I am a little sad that it is being usurped by winter this year.

Normally an early snowfall like this would disappear, but it has managed to linger, perhaps promising better skiing and hopefully the chance to put on ice skates this year. If you find it odd that I am choosing to look on the bright (though there is so precious little daylight these days) side of things, perhaps you have forgotten the title of the blog.

A Note for my friend Quinn.  The tree growing in the tight space beside the bus shelter continues to thrive.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, autumn, footwear, snow, weather, winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Inappropriate Coincidence

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Currently, I have only one Brazilian student, which is rare at my school.  She lamented to me yesterday that she really wanted to wear her flip-flops, which are the typical footwear of Brazilians.  She seemed rather pained to have to wear boots.  The weather has been colder than usual, but even if things were “normal” it would still be too cold to wear flip-flops…..or so I thought.

This belief is at the heart of Today’s Perfect Moment.  As I approached the bus stop this morning, I spotted a figure crossing the street and seemingly headed for the same place I was.  As I got closer, I discerned that it was a woman.  I watched her clutching her parka around her body and felt a bit of sympathy as she trudged toward the gas station rather than the bus stop.  It snowed today, and the temperature was below zero.

Upon second look, I was shocked to discover that she was wearing those very flip-flops that my student wishes she could wear, but because of the weather has declined to do so.  As an adult, I can’t but help to think that this was the dumbest thing I have ever seen.  I mean, this isn’t a case of freezing for fashion.  These weren’t high-end, designer flip-flops.  I would hate for her to lose a digit to frostbite.

As a blogger, could probably look at this another way.  It has provided an interesting thing to write about.  And, thanks to an odd coincidence of topic, definitely deserves to be Today’s Perfect Moment.  However, the blogger in me thinks this is the stupidest thing I have ever seen–well maybe that guy marrying the hologram is the stupidest, but I didn’t actually see that.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, choice, coincidence, fashion, footwear, shoes, stupidity, weather, winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments