About Min Min

Math teacher originally from Toronto

My Pusheen Box … Finally!

I loooove Pusheen the cat.

I use the Pusheen stickers on social media, bought the book by Claire Benton and last year, ordered a single Pusheen box ($42 USD + shipping*), as a treat for myself. I sent the order to my friend’s house in Albany, New York, hoping to receive it while I was visiting. However, the shipping went out later than originally scheduled and I returned to Toronto without the box.

Eventually, M.’s parents visited Albany and kindly hauled it back to Richmond Hill**. Since I was working in northern Quebec, I wasn’t able to pick it up. At Christmas, I ended up spending most of my time in Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories. At Goose (Hunting) Break***, I was trying to sort out my paperwork for the Waterloo Regional District School Board, research the Yoga Teacher Training Program and take care of my Gramma because of a fiery fridge incident.

Last night, I finally picked up my box! I was sooooo happy to see all my new toys and am really excited that I waited a year for it, since most of the stash was summer gear. In total, I received:

  • Sunglasses
  • Blow-up beach ball
  • Cup with straw
  • Beach towel
  • Iron-on patch
  • Ice cube tray
  • Flip flops
  • Duffle bag

I have to say that I likely won’t use everything. I’ve decided to give a pair of sunglasses to my best friend, B. and possibly post a few items on Bunz to trade. However, you can’t take this uber cute cup away from me!!!

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*The shipping and the US-CAD conversion combined probably meant that I paid about $65 CAD overall.
**A city north of Toronto.
***The equivalent of March Break at the native school board I was teaching at.

Doing What You Know and Working on What You Don’t Know (Yet)

A few years ago, I purchased rockclimbing gear at Mountain Equipment Co-Op. I had a few friends who were climbing regularly at The Rock Oasis and I wanted to join them on a regular basis.

Last night, I tried my shoes on again. They were tighter than usual, partly because I’ve been barefoot walking a lot and my feet have increased in size. I hadn’t touched the equipment more than once every year or two, since I wasn’t living in Toronto and didn’t have access to a climbing wall.

A couple of days ago, I found someone from the Bunz community to go with me. E. and I met up this morning at The Rock Oasis and we had a grand time. I was initially nervous when belaying her, but as I sat into my harness, pull the slack through the grigri, the muscle memory started clicking in again.

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In the evening, I went to Ashbridges’ Bay. I had offered to sub in for a friend’s intermediate 6s. I hadn’t played much volleyball in years, but as I started warming up, I remembered how to volley, how to set, dig and even spike a little!

It’s amazing how much you really know. I mean, it’s in your head, it’s in your heart, it’s in your muscles. You can step away from something and, over time, lose confidence in your personal skills. Yet, often, it’s just like riding a bike. You don’t forget anything really. You might wobble and topple a few times, yet your body and your brain is just trying to remember how it did it so fluidly once.

So what else do we know, so long ago, that we think we’ve forgotten?

What else is buried within us, beneath unnecessary fears, regrets and doubts? How much misery do we bring upon ourselves when we question our own capabilities? Why do we stop ourselves?

This was a wonderful reminder of, not only my vibrant social life in Toronto that was merely put on hold, but the attitude that made me who I am – the fun of physical movement, laughing with others, having fun no matter what season and taking on new challenges. I could not have had such an open heart without the protection and love of my parents. And when I was up north, far away from my family and friends, I continued to challenge myself in new ways – trying out all the things that I hate!

So I am excited to think, after 34 years, what else does my future hold?

Ok Google Commands

I’ve recently started exploring Ok Google commands. Here’s a list of fairly useful commands from CNET. Personally, I started using it while driving and have been using the following while navigating:

  • “Open Google Maps”
  • “Go home” (after you’ve set a specific address as “home” or “work”)
  • “Increase / decrease volume”
  • “Stop navigation”

Other commands that seem to be working, other than doing a Google search:

  • “Define antidisestablishmentarianism.” (our grade 5 teacher forced us to learn this word by heart and spell it as fast as we can)
  • “Continue the podcast.”
  • “What is the weather in Toronto?” (it can also recognize the word Waskaganish!)
  • “Show me my messages.” (also great for driving)
  • “Start a timer for two minutes.” (for steeping my Earl Grey tea)
  • “On Spotify, play Sorry by Justin Bieber.” (the screen tends to get stuff and the song doesn’t get played … argh)
  • “Show me my calendar.” (been using Google Calendar since 2007)
  • “Make a note in Evernote.” (have a paid subscription)

I have to say it’s pretty handy although I find I’m struggling to get it working smoothly with Spotify. I’ll have to keep practicing using it, although it probably eats up a lot of my battery.

Have you used Ok Google commands?

 

Using Work Travel for Rewards

Made my last travel claim with my school board. I will miss getting the money back!

Our school board always gave us the option of having the Finance department make hotel reservations for us, but I liked booking with Hotels.com and Ebates.ca at the same time for the small bonuses and working towards collecting free rewards. I mean, I am a math teacher so I like calculating these things.

Honestly, it’s not much and probably I spend way more time than it’s worth for the amount I get back – I’m not going to be delusional about this – but it’s sort of fun too.

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Also ordered some contact lens off Clearly.ca this morning. With the 8% cashback, I’ll add another $6.77 to this. Yay!

Do you collect points for rewards or use cashback programs?

*My late father would also sit around crunching points for Air Miles. I probably get it from him.

Mindset Around Grocery Shopping

Since living in the north for the past 5.5 years, I stopped paying attention to prices at the supermarket. I never spent a great deal of money, and already having a restrictive diet as a vegetarian, I wanted to make sure I purchased what I wanted and needed.

Running the credit card at the checkout without thinking about the total was pretty normal. Mind you, I did consider prices as I picked up items but I knew that if I wanted to make tacos for dinner, I was going to have to pay for peppers regardless of the price.

Yesterday, I grabbed a bunch of salad items and some veggie burgers for lunch at home. This $26 bill up north would probably be something like $40 or $45 up north. Occasionally, we’d buy online through IGA – it was delivered 7 hours away from Amos, Quebec – but even then, we rarely thought too much about the price.

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As I will be living in the city again this coming school year, I am going to be more aware of food prices and try to shop for better deals. It’s a habit I need to develop again. I downloaded Flipp to explore – an app that shows savings of major retailers – and try to make mental notes of items I purchase frequently*.

*Avocados, tomatoes and apples are staples of mine

Barefoot Walking

Officially one week of walking around in Vibram Five Fingers after 10 months of barefoot walking at work, in the classroom! My feet feel great and I don’t have any soreness at all.

Spent Monday morning reading the free Vibram guide on barefoot walking – which my colleague D. shared with me – as I continue to explore natural movement, or #movenat.

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It’s interesting to analyze my own feet; the past 3 years of yoga has helped my arch, but more than 30 years of shoe wearing has cause my pinkie toe to turn inwards. Your toes are meant to spread out, grip and push off the ground. You can see in the image below that the last toe isn’t in line with the edge of the foot or the pencil. It’s unfortunate that so many modern dayshoes are tapered towards the toes, which creates a change on our anatomy and have a detrimental effect in the long run.

Go check out your feet right now! What do you see?

Summer Hikes

One of my goals this summer is to walk more outside. I’m really bad at being outdoors during the winter months, but with the warm, sunny summer, I’ve no excuses! Over the past week, I visited:

I’ll definitely be adding to the list in the upcoming weeks! Please let me know if you have suggestions for any parks in Toronto, Ottawa or Montreal.

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Road Trip to Waterloo

Earlier this week, J. and I stayed overnight in Kitchener. I drove in to take a class at the yoga studio that I may be potentially doing my Yoga Teacher Training at, just to reconnect with the studio owner, as well as check out the rental unit for September.

I also started walking around in my new Vibram FiveFingers ($115), which I picked up at Mountain Equipment Co-op on Tuesday (more on this in another post). We* tested them out with a short hike at Elora Gorge, just half an hour northeast of Waterloo.

My last month’s rent been sent off and I’m feeling good about my YTT application. It was a pretty product trip, so we rewarded ourselves with a dinner at the local Golden Turtle Restaurant. J. got a big bowl of rare beef phở and my tom yum bún was memorable. We finished it off with pineapple and soursop shakes!

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*J. hates how weird Five Fingers look, but he has a pair of zero-drop minimalist shoes from Merrell.

Bullet Journal Doodles

Back in September, I started using a bullet journal as my daily planner. I picked up a simple black grid journal by Pauper Paper Press ($12) and have used it consistently for the past 9 months. In May, I purchased a Leuchtturm 1917 journal ($20) and just last week, finally switched over to my new planner.

I haven’t blogged about bullet journaling much, although I had initially planned to. Mostly, I’ve posted a few photos here and there on Instagram.

Anyway, since it’s the long weekend and I’ve had lots of time on my hands, I worked on practicing floral doodles and lettering. These are mostly taken from Pinterest, so I can’t say that these are particularly original.

A nice way to spend the afternoon while listening to Spotify:

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