Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

OH MAN, it's been so long since I posted, but good thing not much happened except for a long vacation.  But this holiday has been nice.  I've been a homebody and feeling anti-social.  Before going home B and I had two nice dinners.  Reason we had two was because he really wanted to try The Parlour because of the praises it got from the radio, while I wanted to go to the Red Ox Inn to enjoy some fine dining with my year-end bonus.  So here are the stuff we tried:

The Parlour
10334 108 Street

Appetizer - Risotto balls; shared

I didn't like it because it tasted somewhat bland, since risotto is rice.  The skin was crispy and that was about it.  I enjoyed eating the 'green embellishments' more.  B liked it though.

B's Entree - lasagna (I had a bite or two)

Now this was a good lasagna.  Instead of ground beef, they used chunks of meat.  And the lasagna had tons of compacted layers.  It was better than what I ordered...

My Entree - squid ink seafood linguini

Guess I didn't learn my squid ink paella lesson from Spain.  'Exotic' squid ink doesn't mean it's better than traditional stuff.  Sigh.  I'm not saying this dish was bad.  Typically I like all linguine pescatore.  However, this steer from the traditional was just no on par.  The lemon helped, but still no traditional linguine pescatore.  Maybe because I had such a good one a few months ago in Mykonos.  OMG.

Dessert - tiramisu; shared

Another non-traditional tiramisu, but good.  I enjoyed the mascarpone and the (chocolate cookie?) crumbs on the bottom.  Whatever was in between was a blur.

Overall, it was ok.  The taste of the food does not match the big prices.  The big question: would I go back?  No.  Would B go back?  No.

The Red Ox Inn
9420 91 Street, Edmonton

B's appetizer - pork belly (I had a bite)

This tasted like Chinese roast pork, but SOOOOO much better.  B savored it as long as he could.  

My appetizer - corn lobster chowder

A good soup, but not as good as that pork belly.  However, they 'embellished' the soup with this gigantic scallop and that scallop was so meaty and yummy.  Doesn't matter, I enjoy almost all soups!

B's entree - duck breast

At first he was skeptical about his duck but after a few bites, he enjoyed it more and more  I love duck. I thought it was good after the first bite.

My entree - was black cod, but became sablefish with mushrooms and scallops on quinoa

I'm a little disappointed that they ran out of black cod.  I love this rare fish.  However, the sablefish was cooked very well.  The top surface was crispy and seasoned well.   The quinoa was better than what I tried to make.  Overall, everything was good with this dish, despite the change in fish.

Dessert - "Chocolate", a chocolate mousse covered chocolate brownie - we both had one

Good thing we didn't want to share our dessert.  This was soooooo good.  B tried to go on a 'no refined sugar' diet (not me... no chocolate, are you kidding me?!), but he had to leave that thought at home when he saw this on the menu.  I kept trying to remind him of it, so that I could also eat his (yes, it was that good that I had to try to eat more than one), but failed.  It made it to B's best dessert ever tasted list.
Great place.  B thought initially thought it would be another pretty place with high prices and bad food.  I thought it would be another pretty place with high prices and decent food.  It turned out to be a cute little place with great food that matches the semi-high prices.  Would we come back again (not casual dinner of course, but for special events, such as bdays, anniversaries, etc.)?  Absolutely.  Hope they will still have that "Chocolate" dessert!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Henday Woes... AGAIN!

Yes, it's that time again where I bitch about driving on the Henday.  Ok, I've moved to the west side of Edmonton for two years now, but this will be my third summer driving on the Henday on a regular basis.

Year 2011: The City decided to 'improve' the ring road to make it a continuous freeway by constructing overpass at major intersections on the highway.  This made sense.  Improvement = construction = traffic delays.  I get it.  I can deal.  However, there was some confusion when the overpasses opened but whatever, should be smooth sailing in the future.

Year 2012: The City decided to repave a one year old road.  I don't know too much about road engineering, but this didn't make sense at all?  I don't know.  Delays again.  Oh well.  Should be good for the next few years...

Year 2013: Can I say WTF?!  Construction again?  The sign says repaving. AGAIN?  What the hell is wrong with this asphalt?  I know it's a high traffic road, but yearly repaving?  Oh geez.   However, they are doing some excavations next to the shoulder lane.  Are they planning to expand the road?  Then why didn't they make it a wider road in the first place?  Ok, let's say they are making it wider, but based on the above, that means next year they will repave!  More delays.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Shanghai Grill

Tonight B and I went to try the Shanghainese restaurant that is closer to our home: Shanghai Grill.  When we first entered the place, my feeling was this is not a typical Chinese restaurant.  It was likely a saloon/bar before.  First of all, what Chinese restaurant has a patio?!  We Chinese people don't eat on patios!  Second of all, the finishes.  Rugged wood floors, thick wood columns, and wood wheel light fixtures?  B later pointed out that the bathroom signs said "Outhouses".  Yeah, my feeling was right.  Decor is decor.  Restaurant is all about food, right?!

When I opened up the menu, to my disappointment, it was more of a Chinese restaurant than a Shanghainese restaurant.  They had mostly typical Chinese dishes and a few Shanghainese dishes.  I ordered the dumplings:

The skin was a bit thick, but the meat was tasty.  Better than Calgary restaurants, there's soup in it, but not enough.  Let's say there's better in Edmonton...

For the rest of dinner, we ordered:
Fat Choy and Siu Choy
Ok, on the menu, it said it has 瑤柱 (dried scallop) in it.  I couldn't find any.  But what I really wanted was the fat choy.  As you can see in the picture, there was less than a pinch of fat choy.  For the price I paid, I could hve bought about six heads of siu choy.  Disappointed, and felt ripped off.

Chilli fish
Another disappointment.  Indeed this dish was 'spicy'.  Mostly because it was so salty that it really stings the tongue which gives you the fake impression that it's spicy.  I think the saltiness of this dish beat my dad's extreme salty wings (it was by accident, since he's not a very good cook...).  Ouch.

Beef brisket and tendon hot pot
This was by far the best dish, but that's because I love beef tendons.  The fattiness.  Mmm mmm mmm. However, compared to other places, it's ok.

Would I come back again?  No.  For the taste, dish sizes, and price paid, so not worth it.  I could think of two other Chinese restaurants in the west for better food and value.  And I would definitely drive further for those Shanghainese dumplings.  

Monday, April 29, 2013

I Miss You, Mom

It's been a while since I posted.  Again.  However, the last two weeks were more than excusable.  First of all, my mom decided to take her 'staycation' here with me in Edmonton.  To me, this meant no cooking and cleaning for two weeks and also reminisce those days when I lived at home and mom took care of my everything.  Good ol' memories.

Unfortunately, the two weeks my mom was here were also my busiest at work: I got sent to Fort McMurray for two days, and I had to overtime like crazy.  Sucks.  The good thing was my boss let me take one Friday off, and I got to hang out with my mom.

It was nice coming home everyday from work, and the house was clean!  Another bonus was all I had to do was sit on the couch and wait for dinner.  After dinner, I just had to sit on the couch and the dishes will be cleaned by mom.  Yeah, sounds like mom's my maid, but I think she was still pretty relaxed - since she found quite a bit of time to watch some TVB.

Last Friday, we drove her home back to Calgary, and today is my first day without her again.  I came home with the house still clean (from Friday), but I had to cook dinner.  B had to do dishes.  Sucks.  I think we'll have to buy her a bus ticket to come up more often.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Family Day Long Weekend - Pt 5: Last Day

Great long weekends always feel short.  They just have to end.  Boo.

I started my "last day" staring at this around 10 am in the morning.

Sleepy boys
Can we say, lookalikes?!   Poor Roshi though.  He probably didn't have that much fun this weekend.  I barely mentioned him in any of the earlier parts because we were mostly out and he was trapped in his crate.  However, I know his tummy enjoyed his weekend in Calgary.  The grandparents kept feeding him treats.

B dropped me off to see Joni and  Hannah later in the morning.  They made pizza for me, and they were good.  Massive too.  Really, I don't know why and how they think I can eat that much?!   Yeah, I get hungry, and I eat.  Normal.  However, I don't think that's how they see me.

After the pizza, we had a tabletop campfire (made by Ms. Handy Hannah) and roasted marshmallows and made smores.  As ridiculous as it looks, it's a pretty cool idea.  Most of all, it works!  I think I will need to make one myself!  Haha.

Tabletop campfire
It was great to catch up.  I miss travelling with these girls.  Such great times.  Gotta do it again sometime (catching up and travelling together).

Family Day Long Weekend - Pt 4: Family Dinner

On Sunday, I spent a good afternoon with my mom shopping at Chinook.  Surprisingly, I wasn't too into it, but I did enjoy walking around with my mom.  I did however found a sparkly sweater at Banana Republic for $6.28 after taxes.  It was originally $95.  If they're still profiting at $6, the mark up is nuts. Hence, DON'T BUY ANYTHING AT REGULAR PRICE.  I really don't think the majority of the population cares if one is wearing something a few years old.  I don't.  Plus, most of the stuff I get are 'classics'.  They never go out of style!

So to make up for the Chinese New Year dinner, we went out to eat.  Tired of the usual south end Asian restaurants, I looked up a new place:  Li Ao Sushi in Bridlewood.  Look at this massiveness!!!!

Look at those salmon and tuna pieces!!!
I ordered one for each of us, and luckily for me, B doesn't like large pieces of sushi like this.  More for me.  They also had some special rolls and they tasted very good as well.

Lobster Shrimp Roll
Salmon Mango Roll
Caterpillar Roll (I think)
We had two other rolls too, but these were the pretty ones.  A big sushi meal for just $90 bucks.  Not bad at all.  Again, the massive fish.  So good.  I will be back for sure!!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Family Day Long Weekend - Pt 3: New Look

The one thing I didn't do when I was back in Calgary before Christmas was get a haircut.  I totally forgot about Xmas parties, and my hair was just a mess.  I only noticed it when I was in a mirror on a column in the mall when I was shopping for my 4" pumps.  I was like, OMG, I need to do something about this before the party tomorrow!  So thinking a well decorated salon inside the mall couldn't be too bad, I went for a try.  BAD idea.  I asked for a bob, and well, she cut it like a bob... for a person with straight hair!  Sigh.  Although it was bad, some of the hair did shed off and so it did get somewhat cleaned up.  Overall, it was a bad and expensive haircut.  Blah.

Because of this, I had to get another haircut again.  It's sad I have to drive 300+km, 3+hours, to get a decent haircut, but I only trust this guy with my hair.  He's slow and the wait is long, but well worth it.  While I was waiting, I was flipping through some magazines and noted some latest fashion trends.  All I have to say is ... what is wrong with this world?

"Lovely".  How can this be lovely?
I'm no fashion expert, but these layers are UGLY.  But apparently the trend is crop sweater on top of a tunic, and skinny pants.  I don't see pretty in this.

After a few more flips, I saw this picture:
Oh fashion, I just don't get you.  Or maybe it's my engineering mind.

Anyways, I got my hair cut.  It's short.  I love it (B doesn't).  I counted, it's been over 10 years since I had really short hair (2010 bob hair doesn't count, since the shortness didn't last too long because of the wedding).  I think I'll keep it short for a while.

After the haircut, I walked into a glasses store in Chinatown.  Ok, I haven't done that for 10 years too.  Most of the glasses in Chinatown are similar to Lenscrafter, Pearle Vision, etc.: boring.  Yeah, they carry the big brands: Gucci, Prada, Burberry, etc., but there is nothing different about them.  My last three pairs of glasses were different:

  1. Red metal frames with the lenses 'floating' within (held by clear wires) - love them and my favorite.  Too bad the paint has chipped off the frames.  Otherwise, I would still wear them... more often.
  2. Interchangeable half frames - the bottom half of the frames could be switched out with different coloured frames.  Great to match clothes in.  Still wear them.
  3. Black metal/plastic hybrid frames - I just fell in love with them when I first saw them.  They're so black too.  Too bad the lenses are so scratched up.  Reason why I was looking for new glasses.  
I first saw wood textured frames in Edmonton too at this 'trendy' glasses store.  Love them, but not the price.  I was surprised I found similar frames in Chinatown. The ones in Chinatown weren't bad in pricing, looked great, and were on sale.  Best of all, my lenses were available, and they could get it done within 24 hrs.  Sold.

So in one day, new hair and new glasses.
2013 Casie's new look

Family Day Long Weekend - Pt 2: Family Lunch

So I've been doing restaurant searches in Calgary too.  I like to try good food, especially holes in the wall.  So one of the popular ones I found was Olive Chicken, a little corner store that sold Korean fried chicken.

Half and Half (2 pieces of hot and sweet chicken,  and 3 pieces of crispy chicken)
Before it was just going to be B and I, but it became a family outing   My parents wanted to hang out with us more, so despite the fact they don't like fried food, they also gave it a try.  By the expression of my dad, I don't think they will come back again:
Dad: Mmm, it's ok. Not.
However, B's expression is always the same - good, bad, ugly, pretty.  However, he said he will definitely eat it again.  Who doesn't like fried chicken?
"I like."
I just had the crispy chicken, but had a bite of B's hot and sweet chicken.  I liked that more.  The crispy one just tasted too dry after the saucy one.  Besides it tasting less fatty and less salty than the 'franchise' fried chicken, it's still fried chicken.  And like my parents, I'm not a big fan of fried foods, so I won't volunteer to come back again.  However, if B wants to, I'll eat it with him, of course.

Family Day Long Weekend - Pt 1: Post Valentine's Day Dinner

Work on Friday was somewhat a drag.  Nothing turned out the way I wanted it to be.  I didn't even eat lunch.  However, it did end earlier than what I'd planned.  In that way, it's good.  No matter what, it wasn't going to ruin what was going to come after work.  A great way to start a long weekend: a dinner date with my hubby!

To celebrate our (late) Valentine's Day dinner, B took me out of the west end and onto Whyte Ave's Packrat Louie.  I dressed up a bit because this is somewhat a big deal since B doesn't like leaving the west end.  Traveling more than 15 minutes away from home is HUGE for him.  Sad, I know.

After parking a few blocks away and me teetering on ice with my 4" pumps, we finally got to the restaurant.  I'm so sure I've been here for an office lunch once, but I don't remember the inside or type of food.  Maybe it was just not a memorable lunch.  Anyways...

I was starving.  We ordered two appetizers, an entree, and a dessert.  First, the appetizers, an expensive pair of meatballs and a 8" pizza.  The meatball was a bit too salty for my liking, but the quality of the meat was good.  Overall, it was ok.

Black Truffle Meatballs
The second appetizer was the Spicy Hawaiian pizza.  I love Hawaiian pizza.  Maybe because I love pineapples!  The pizza was good.  For sure way better than a "franchise" pizza.

8" Spicy Hawaiian pizza
I ordered a beef tenderloin for my entree, while B ordered pork chops.  Oh sweet beef, it was great!  I don't know if it was good steak, or because the last steak I had was in Vancouver and it was bad steak.  However, B had a bite, and he thought it was good steak.  I had a bite of his pork chop and it was well marinated and very juicy.  I give both the meaty entrees - two thumbs up!

Sterling Silver Beef Tenderloin
To finish the meal off, we ordered a chocolate platter that consisted of chocolate mousse, chocolate brownie, and chocolate gelato/ice cream inside a cookie crust cup (sorry, no photo - like the Hardware Grill, I see chocolate I just dig in!).  It was a little disappointing to me, but I did enjoy the ice cream in the little cookie cup.  The mousse was too 'dark chocolate' for me, and I had better brownie (koodos to the caterers at my Vancouver office work conference.  SO good!).

Overall, it was a good dinner date, and for the final question: Will I come back?  No.  It's not a bad place, but I think I rather try something else.  However, if someone asks me for a place to take their date or to try a not-too-expensive fine dining place, I would recommend this place.

And now... off to Calgary!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Our first V-day as hubby and wife.  Celebratory dinner scheduled for tomorrow.

Doesn't the frame look like Roshi?

Trip to Vancouver

Two weekends ago, I was in Vancouver for a conference that was held by the office.  Yes, you read right - WEEKEND.  The conference was two days long and was held on Friday and Saturday.

I arrived around mid afternoon on Thursday.  After settling my stuff at the hotel, my first trip was here:

It was approximately a 15 minute walk from the hotel.  Board games here were sold for approximately 15% cheaper than Alberta, and that's including BC's 12% HST!  Crazy!  I bought two games that I've been eying on: Flashpoint and Ora et Labora.

Weeks before, I emailed a Vancouverian friend to meet up.  Lucky for me, it was dining week.  He set up a dinner date, and I got to see both him and his fiancee again.  We went to Market by Jean-Georges, a restaurant located inside the Shangri La Hotel.

Being in a fancy hotel and all, the food must be good.  I had an ahi tuna fish cake for the appetizer, steelhead for the entree, and chocolate lava cake for dessert.  Sounds good, right?  Unfortunately not so much.  The ahi tuna fish cake was ok, the steelhead was good, and the lava cake was dry.   Maybe my standards just went sky high after eating at the Hardware Grill not too long ago. Therefore, the food at Market was not memorable, and appeared to be a mediocre fusion restaurant in a fine dining environment.  Typical.  The question B always ask "Will you come back?"  My answer is no.

Conference on Friday and Saturday.  8 am to 5 pm.  FML.  And of course, there were the socializing and mingling that followed.  So the days were more like 8 am to 12 am.  FMLx2.  The majority of the time, I just thought, I wish I could be in my room learning to play those new games I just bought.  The saddest part was the catered breakfast, lunch, and snacks were better than the planned dinner outings.  I'm not even going to describe it here.  It was disappointing.  Very disappointing.

Sunday, my day.  I purposely booked a later return flight (5:50 pm) so that I could eat some good Asian food and do some Asian mall shopping in Richmond.  My brunch stop was at:

It had good ratings on Urbanspoon.  Although it was classified as 'fast Japanese food', it beat out whatever I ate in the past three days BY FAR.  First time ever, I ordered a full course lunch meal:

Appetizer: salmon sashimi - delish
Entree: seafood bukkake udon in a hot stone bowl - a yummy surprise
Dessert: red bean pudding - oh sweet heaven 
Everything was so good.  My udon was a surprise.  I think it was a new item, and so the print out was all in Japanese except for "seafood udon in stone bowl".  Although it's soupless, the sauce you add into the noodles was glorious.

Finally, the shopping.  Oh Daiso, how much I love you, but what a disappointment this time.  Last time I saw a lot of cute embellishments for my scrapbooking hobby, but this time not so much.  There were some, but they were not great.  However, I did find this microfiber tower turban.  It says on the package that it will absorb more water than a normal towel, and therefore reduce air/blow drying time.  My engineering mind said "I doubt it" but my woman's mind said "Whatever, it's $2, let's give it a try."

Me with my microfiber turban
Conclusion: it acted like any other towel, but lighter since I don't have a huge towel wrapped on my head.

Oh what a wasted trip.  So much more to do and eat there and barely of those were accomplished.  I will be back.  Shortly!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Burger Joint

I'm a little behind with everything.  Ok, I'm behind with everything!  Oh well, as long as I get it done one day...

So this post is about my burger adventure with B.  We went to the Burger Joint here in Edmonton on some Saturday last month.  Honestly, nothing can beat the taste of my favorite Banzai Burger at Red Robin.  Look at this beauty:

Anyways, back to the Burger Joint.  I tried to create my own version of the Banzai with a twist.  It was no Banzai, but it's pretty good.  However, my creation looked somewhat sad compared to the others shown on Urbanspoon.  Will I go there again?  Yep.  B would too!

7 oz all beef, BBQ sauce, mayo, lettuce, grilled tomato, grilled mushrooms, grilled pineapple, marble cheese

Happy Chinese New Year

It's time to say goodbye to the dragon, and welcome the snake.

Chinese New Year was actually yesterday, but I was too lazy to blog about it.  Typical, but I'm making the effort now.  So it's all good.  This year, B and I decided to spend it together instead with my family.  Mom was probably slightly disappointed, but this upcoming weekend is long weekend, and so it makes more sense for me to stay in Edmonton for Chinese New Year, and go to Calgary on a long weekend.  We'll make it up then.

Since it is somewhat a celebratory day.  I also decided to splurge a bit and had a somewhat celebratory dinner!

The Chou's Chinese New Year dinner: Sushi platter from T&T,
bulgogi sauce on rice sticks,  radish cake, and New Year cake
Ok, it's not your typical Chinese New Year dinner, but it was big.  B and I only finished one-third of it. Lucky me, I had the rest of the sushi for today's lunch.  It's fish, can't have it sit TOO long.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Today's Driving Woes

Today's weather: Above freezing, clear skies,
Road conditions: Wet, but clear

Posted speed limit on major roadways: 80km - 100km
Travelling time: 12-15 minutes

Average driving speed: 17 km/hr
Travelling time: 36 minutes

Kill me.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


This post is a little late.  In fact, it's about one week late.  I should have wrote it up, but then I got lazy (I know... make it count), and I had quite a few laborious work days and pretty much passed out at 8:30 every night.

Anyways, last Sunday I went to my first worship service since I can't remember when, and boy, was it a good message.  The subject was promises, and the purpose was to go along with the theme of new years resolution and such.  Like many resolutions, they are usually not kept.  Promises we make to ourselves and to each other are often broken.  Because of this, life can be sad and at lost.  Therefore, we can't depend on ourselves or others on promises, because we're weak and incompetent.  However, all the promises God made to us will be kept, and they are all a 'yes' through Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20).  The concluding statement was

"When did Jesus become not enough?"
Oh wow!  Worldly promises of love, wealth, security, success, etc. often drive me: need to work on marriage to make it last, need to work harder at work to get that bigger bonus, need to put away more money for retirement.  Need need need.  All of these things I do alone and often lead to failure.  Failure leads to disappointment and worthlessness.  Broken promises.  Worldly promises.  I really enjoyed the message.  It was a slap in the face from the Boss, "Hey, remember Me?  Forget all that stuff, remember Me.  I am Your Promise that will always be.  Remember."

Today I went back for another service.  The message was not as personal, but good nonetheless.  I am looking forward to more of this.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Tonight, B and I went to see Les Miserables at the theaters.  While we were lining up to get the tickets, I saw this:

Movie snack price board
Can we say WTF?  I am aware that movie snacks are way overpriced, and I am guilty of supporting this occasionally when I wanted that bag of popcorn with my movie.  However, between the last time I bought popcorn and now, when did prices become like this?  A combo of two soft drinks, two bags of popcorn, and a bag of candy to share costs almost the same as a relatively cheap dinner for two at a sit down restaurant (e.g. Swiss Chalet, pho, HK style cafe).  ARE YOU FRICKING KIDDING ME?  This is utterly insane.  Despite my frugal efforts of packing two juice boxes to sneak into the theater, B wanted to get a bigger drink anyways.  While lining up for the drink, he then saw the prices and went 'Wow'.  No kidding.

Recently there's been this 'shark ban' vs. 'oppose shark ban' debate.  Yeah, saving the world and saving the sharks are good causes.  However, I just don't have much feelings for such a topic and feel like it's a waste of time (no offence to those out there who's involved with such debate) since 1. I don't have much passion for such topic, 2. I like eating shark fin, but could also live without it, and therefore, doesn't quite hit home for me.  This however does.  How about debating/banning this: robbing us hard working citizens by having us pay for junk food at insane prices so that Cineplex can make insane profit margins and pay the CEO to enjoy his martinis on his private jet and yacht?


Saturday, January 5, 2013


I started my church search.  Not only to 'make it count', but also the whole 'end of the world' thing from last year made me think.  I bought a home to build up my equity.  I put away a few hundred bucks a month to build up an RRSP for retirement. I bought life insurance to provide a financial back up plan if I die early.  I invest all this money (and even worry) for worldly security, what have I been investing in my spiritual future?  I claim to be a Christian, but do I truly feel confident that God will let me into His home after I leave this world?  Honestly, with my track record (or lack of). I worry I might get the boot, and being burned in eternal fire is not my idea of a forever retirement plan.

Anyways, I really want to go to a nearby church with Saturday service (at least one with this option), since I'm just too lazy to wake up early on Sundays (I'm human and have weaknesses and lack of commitment).  Therefore, this criterion really limits my choices.  Other than that, I want a good pastor.  The main purpose of going to Church is, of course, be closer to God, and part of it is the sermon.  If the speaker is bad, my heart is just not there.  Hence, besides looking at the worship times, I also explored the sermons that are posted on the churches' websites.

This one sermon was really good.  At the end, the pastor stated:
"Happy people don't chase after happiness.  They chase after God, and happiness finds them."
I love concluding statements like that because it makes you think (at least for me): Am I a truly happy person?  Do I chase after happiness or after God?  I look back at certain events in my life and I have to say, the times that I'm truly happy were when I had absolute faith in God and let Him lead the way.  The moments when I'm straying, I started searching for happiness on my own and nothing seems to really fill the meter.  How about now?  Am I doing this 'make it count' thing to search for happiness, or to search for God so that I will be happy?

I think it's a combination of both.  Life became a little stagnant and routine, and in a way depressing.  I want to be productive, but for what?  Pleasure? Fun? Success?  Even if I made more friends, earn more money, live in a bigger house, or buy more expensive things, I just don't think it will be enough.

The happiest period in my life was discovering the verse Psalms 16:2, and then moving up to Edmonton and started working at Sintra Engineering.  No friends and hardly any money.  Why?  Because He made me truly happy.  Sometimes I really need to have that as a reminder.

However, I'm not saying the things I have right now are not making me happy: friends, family, job, home, etc.   Just at the end of the day, I need to recognize, although I don't have a lot of these things (few close friends, 2 parents, Roshi, and hubby, job that makes an affordable living, a small little townhouse), it's all provided by God so that I'm really not in the pits, but comfortable and... happy.

P.S.  I will be attending tonight's evening service.

Friday, January 4, 2013

First Friday of 2013

It started out bad this morning.

So I went to work, and since Fridays are shorter day, I got off early.  Just when I was about to start my weekend, my alarm went off.  What?  Why did I set an alarm on a Saturday?  Wait... it's only Friday in reality.  That means I have to go to work... again.  

Although there were 2.5 days of work this week, this work week still seemed like forever.  However, I did accomplish a big "monster" at work - at least, everything I could do about it, and started other minor tasks.  I scheduled a short site review near the end of the day, so that I could just go home right after.

To make the open afternoon count, I

  • picked up Roshi's 1.5 day of poop in the yard
  • read the last chapter of my course material (course officially starts in a week or so)
  • put all my 2012 health claims into envelopes and stamped
  • filed away some paperwork, and 
  • got ready for my bank meeting tomorrow.  
No time wasted in front of the tv.  Then B came home.

He said his hi's, checked out a few things on the Internet, and turns on Counterstrike.  Again.  I spazzed out.  And yes, at this moment as I'm writing this, I'm still mad at him.  We're not talking.

B is a gamer and watches Starcraft tournaments.  I know about this from the start.  I have no problems with him gaming or Starcraft-ing, even if it's a daily thing.  However, I think he took advantage of this.  Not only does he game daily, he games ALL the time.  So here is a general schedule of our week:

Monday - Friday
7:00 - 4:30 - Wakes up, go to work, be at work, etc..
4:30 - 5:30 - B gets home, but I really don't know what he is doing during this hour, and so I won't comment.  However, I have a clue, because...
5:30 - I get home, and he's on his computer gaming.
5:30 - 7:00 - I shower, make dinner, hang with Roshi, etc. alone.
7:00 - 7:30 - Eat dinner.
7:30 - B either do dishes or goes back upstairs to game.
7:30 - 12:00 - I watch tv, play boardgames, read, etc. alone; sometimes, I'll be upstairs on my computer with him in the same room physically.
12:00 - Bedtime.

Please note: he told me this before, he occasionally watches Starcraft tournaments at work.

9:00/10:00 - I wake up.
Morning - Eat breakfast, get things done, hang out with Roshi, waste it by watching tv, etc..
12:00 - 1:00 - Sometimes I'll make lunch, B wakes up.
1:00 - 2:00 - We eat lunch at home or outside.
2:00 - 4:00 - Get groceries, and sometimes shopping.  If it takes too long, or there's a good tournament on, B moans and groans.
4:00 - 4:15 - Put away groceries.
4:15 - 7:00 - B goes upstairs to game or watch tournaments, while I'm downstairs alone making dinner with the tv on.  He will occasionally come down and change my channel to sports and then head back upstairs to his computer.  WTF?
7:00 - 7:30 - Eat dinner.
7:30 - B might do dishes or he'll leave it until tomorrow.  If latter, goes back upstairs to game/Starcraft.
7:30 - Bedtime - I spend it alone with Roshi doing whatever.

Now, how can any wife not be mad when this is the daily routine?  I've nicely voiced my unhappiness about it.  I've complained about it.  Nothing.  It is until I'm fuming and yelling when he gets it.  So around October or so, he said he will game/Starcraft 4 times a week.  Fine.

Just before Christmas, promise broken; this daily routine started all over again.  I've been just whining and complaining saying, "You're going to play again?  You play everyday!"  All I get is 'Yep' and no signs of change.  Therefore, I blew up today, and fumed out of the room and down the stairs.  He left his computer and came down with me.  But what did he do?  Nothing.  He just laid on the couch.  Couldn't he say something like, "I'm sorry, I won't play as much?" or "Ok, I'll try to work on my promise and only play 4 days a week?" or even offer to help me organize the pantry (yes, I refuse to waste time and trying to make every second productive).


He is came into the room and just said "I don't care what you say, I'm playing."

I somewhat want to just take the car and drive to Calgary and stay with my parents for the weekend.  However, I can't.  I have way too many appointments scheduled for tomorrow.  Unfortunately, I have to depend on him to give me a ride.  @#$%.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

First Day Back at Work

After the holidays, it's tough to go back to work for 8+ hours.  Although I lost concentration at certain times, I was still somewhat productive, and got all my minute tasks done and almost finish a bigger task.  Tomorrow is another day.

On a good note, my 'after work' life was pretty good:

  • Made two dinner entrees from scratch: vegetarian stir fry medley and teriyaki chicken drumsticks.  
  • Got everything cleaned up by 8 o'clock.
  • Read and finished three chapters for my course.
  • Took Roshi out for a brisk walk around a few blocks (B came out too since it was dark out).
  • Watched some tv (I managed to fit that in).
  • And now blogging this.

The only thing I failed at is hoping to be in bed by 10:30 to start my relaxation routine and pass out by 11:30.  I guess I will have to shorten my relaxation to 20 minutes instead.

Good night!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome 2013.

Happy New Year!

I missed the coming of the new year last night.  I fell dead asleep on my living room floor before midnight - not because I passed out due to intoxication, but instead of reading about lien legislation and listening to Prometheus on tv.  Ok, I just read what I did last night and I sound like a boring homebody.  Instead of partying or joining in the celebrations, I was studying and sleeping.  Oh well, I'm no party-er anyways.

New Year Resolution: my last new year resolution was to not make anymore new year resolutions. I've been good at it too.  However, this year I will make one.  Maybe I shouldn't call it a resolution (so that I could keep my last resolution), but more like I need to do something to change my lifestyle,
"To make everyday count"
Looking back (not just 2012, but also the past years since I graduated from grad school and started working), what have I done or accomplish?  Yes, there were some life changing events: got laid off, moved out, live in another city alone, bought a home, raised a puppy, got married, new job, new car, etc., but how about the in betweens, the insignificant times?  How were those times spent?  One word can summarize it: wasted.

Everyday is the same old same old.  Go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch tv, bedtime, and repeat the next day.  I think it's the 'watch tv' that gets me.  It is seriously a waste of time.  However, can I not watch tv? Probably not, since I have a few shows that I watch religiously.  Even if I record them on the PVR, I still need the time to plant my butt down and watch them.
On the weekends and holidays, the day doesn't quite begin until 2 pm, but that's partially B's fault since he sleeps in past noon.  I sometimes can sleep until 11, but that depends on when I slept the night before.  Sleeping in is nice, especially I'm no morning person.  However, sleeping in all morning also gets to me.  I wake up miserable because half the day is gone!  

I think this whole 'waste of time' is getting to me as I'm getting older.  Now that I'm no longer in my 20s, I'm starting to feel the downhill side of life.  I'm not saying I need to use my 'tv time' or lazy mornings to go change the world, but how can I use those few hours to do something more productive - even if it's as simple as keeping the house clean! 

So to get this 'make it count' started, here's a list of things I want to get done, try, get better at, etc.:
  • Finish my course; I signed up for a distance learning course for work and it ends in April/May.  This is priority and a good short term goal to accomplish.
  • Facetime and visit parents more; after moving out, it became more apparent to me that they are getting old.  The thought of them being old, and them one day becoming dependent on me scares me, since I still feel like a dependent.  I don't know what I would do or become when they leave me.  Must cherish their presence as much as possible - even if it means driving to Calgary on a 'normal' weekend just to hang out with them. 
  • Find a church and attend regularly; I have left the church for so long (another issue that I won't discuss here) and I miss it..  However, it is difficult for me to wake up before 9 on Sundays.  Perhaps instead of watching tv on Saturday nights, I can find an evening service somewhere.
  • Finish my European scrapbooks; notice the plural? I still have some pages left to do for the first Europe trip.  Seriously, instead of planting my butt on the sofa and watch tv, I should work on that.
  • Update my 'everyday' scrapbook; so many pictures, so little time.  Enough said.
  • Be more neat and tidy (at home and at work); I should really put away my things and dust a bit more regularly.  Do a little bit of cleaning everyday (or once in a while), less to do later!  
  • Exercise more regularly; I am lazy on the weekdays, no doubt, but I should at least go for a short walk with Roshi, unless it's -20C out (I don't think he wants to go out then neither).  And on my early Friday afternoon off, gym.  However, this might need to be put on hold due to the tendonitis in my leg right now.  Sigh.  It's making me quite miserable.  
  • Wall climbing; love the sport.  B even said he will try it, despite the fact he's scared of heights.  Again, this will be on hold due to my tendonitis issue.  Sigh.
  • Blog regularly; don't know who reads this, but it's good to write down some thoughts and document some life events to look back on.  
  • Make a friend or two; been here fore 3.5 years and I can only say I have 1 friend in Edmonton.  How sad is that?!  Really need to go out more and meet new people.  I wish B wants this too, so I don't have to put too much effort into this.  
So this is my list for the time being.  I will continuing adding onto this list as things come up.  This list will be added onto the many lists listed on the side of this blog.