New Steam Games and Steam Summer Sale

I had purchased Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes ($15) off Steam back in the fall; I had received a recommendation for it by a Grade 5 teacher when looking for games in the classroom. I hadn’t gotten around to testing it until J. and I finally started playing it last weekend, after report cards marks were submitted and I felt a giant weight off my chest.

If you’re looking for a quick game to help with your communication skills, this is perfect for that. You need at least two players. One person looks at the instruction manual, while one person works on the bomb (the laptop screen) as the defuser. The defuser starts off by describing the individuals modules, and the other person then looks through the manual and gives instructions on what to do. Each module is a puzzle that has a specific set of rules and changes with each new bomb. You are allowed 2 strikes (errors) within 5 minutes (or less), before the bomb explodes and you lose the game.

As of Friday, J. and I worked through the first two sections and have a good handle on the basics. We haven’t yelled at each other (yet), but he seems to do better deciphering and giving me instructions, while I describe and work through the puzzles. I hope that one day I’ll get to play this in a classroom!

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And of course, this is the time of the famous Steam summer sale! The prices ae amaaaaazing. Games that might normally go for $15-30 can be purchased for just a few bucks. Of course, while I won’t be gaming much during the summer, I decided to purchase a few items off my wish list.

The one I was most hesitant about was Car Mechanic Simulator 2015, but since I would like to learn more about cars – honestly, I don’t even know where my air filter is – I decided that $3.29 was a steal, even if I don’t make use of the entire game.

Pretty excited about these purchases!

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Moving Out of Waskaganish

It’s official! I am leaving Waskaganish after 4 years of teaching here. Yesterday, the moving truck came and took my boxes. I tipped them $30 USD – I couldn’t find my wallet – and two cold beers. I actually took half a moving day; I will take the second half of the day next week.

It feels much better to have my belongings out of the house, although there’s still a lot of clothing I haven’t packed yet. Likely, I’ll grab the rest of my belongings at the beginning of August, when I have to drop J. off after the end of his vacation.

Pretty excited to be headed out. We are departing on Tuesday, after the last day of work.

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Indian dish of the Day: Rajma

Back in January, I bought the Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen cookbook. I’ve made spiced roasted tofu and vegetables (p. 48)*, Dad’s favorite cauliflower potatoes (p.60) and easy curried green beans (p. 84). Tonight, I tried making rajma for the first time, otherwise known as kidney bean curry (p. 124).

Unfortunately, I was missing amchoor, dried fenugreek leaves and carom seeds. Several websites I found suggested that carom seeds can actually be substituted with thyme instead!

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I used canned kidney beans and canned tomatoes, since I didn’t have time to soak beans and fresh tomatoes in the north are very expensive. The preparation was fairly straight forward and the final product was still tasty; J. was a bit fan and had a hearty serving. This was a success – simple and nutritious. I could easily make a big batch of this for my workweek.

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I’ll have to retry this recipe with all the ingredients, just to see the difference.

*I made this recipe with cow’s milk yogurt as I didn’t have vegan options

 

iOS Apps: Monument Valley 2

Two years ago, I purchased Monument Valley, a beautifully designed puzzle game for the iPad. ustwo Games Ltd finally realized Monument Valley 2 ($5 USD/$7 CAD). I haven’t bought any iOS games in over 6 months – this was intentional – and had to reset my password so I could get it.

Just finished chapter 5 today and I am enjoying it as much as the first one. Here’s the screenshot:

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Highly recommended, if you’re looking for a light puzzle game.

 

Meditations on the Mat

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One of my favourite bedtime books is Meditations on the Mat, by Rolf Gates. It was gifted to me by Sarah last year. This passage really spoke to me recently, as I’ve been struggling to find a consistent yoga practice over the past couple of months. I’m coming back to it already, as the sun comes out more often and the weather is warming up.

Enjoy.

Day 88

Each step forward in her practice is a step inward. To practice yoga is to draw ever closer to the truth. As we learn to relax into our truth, moment by moment, breath by breath, posture by posture, the need for pretense starts to fall away. We find out we are shedding the layers of armor we’ve created to protect the false self we present to the world. But as the armor falls away, we are confronted by the old fears that create the armor in the first place and that has held it in position for so long.

Chances are we will be unaware of the moment when we shed a layer of armor. We may simply wake up one day to find that an old fear has reared its head, or that it seems harder to get to our mat, and harder still to attend to the other aspects of our practice. Suddenly, chocolate chip cookies and Haagen-Dazs are on the menu, gossip fills an hour of the day, and an unhealthy relationship appears more attractive. At such times it’s important to understand that a resurgence of old behavior often accompanies growth, that such regressions are, in fact, signs that we are drawing near to the truth. We see this in the stories of Jesus and the Buddha. Both men were beset by their demons even as they moved unerringly towards their Dharma. And both were able to meet their challenges and move on. Their lives are universal examples of the human potential for growth. We all share this potential, and we awaken it each time we practice. Confronting the fears we encounter along the way is an aspect of the practice itself. As a darkness of our fears is dispelled, we become like the angel in Paulo Coelho’s tale. Our eyes are filled with the light of love, the love that is ever-present beneath all the temporal, earthly loves.

When we do feel lost or uncertain drifting away from our practice, blocked from our own truth, it helps to remember that darkness and confusion, too, are part of the path. The hero’s journey is a journey inward. Yoga is not a work out, it is a work in. In the Tao Te Ching, we read that the only real movement is return. And this is the point of spiritual practice: to make us teachable, to open our hearts and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know, and be who we already are.

Counting Down the Days

I’m lying naked on the bathroom floor, after a hot bath, not feeling I’m quite ready for bed yet.

Been feeling a bit impatient, anxious for upcoming changes and yet still trying to cherish all the things I love about being here, which is mostly just my time. Specifically, my time with J. and my free time outside of work.

J. and I still laugh every day, and lately, it’s as if we’ve been laughing harder than ever. Like any other couple, there are things that drive us nuts about each other, but for the most part, we have fun. We’ve been walking  to work (if it’s not raining), ditching the car (if we aren’t doing a grocery pick up) and enjoying being able to see each other throughout the day (if we aren’t doing real work) since we are in the same building. Yet it will be very different for us in a month’s time. Or just forever. Who the fuck knows.

Of course, being a person who enjoys change and welcomes it, I know it would be absolute torture to be trapped in the same cycle forever. I can’t say that I’ve been very good at staying put in life; the fact that I’ve even been at the same job for 4 year is a record for me. Financing the Honda CRV was a good idea, as it gave me a financial ball-and-chain that would tie me to Canada. I just didn’t think that my relationship would have been an even better incentive.

What happens in the future is unknown. I’m happy in my relationship – although my family hears a disproportionate part of the parts that drives me absolutely batty – and I, ummmm …. well, we would like to make an effort to be together, despite the distance.

In the long range of things, there are lots of factors I can’t predict. The vision is to obviously land in an urban environment together and both be employed and happy, compromising where we need to based on the other’s needs. We’re trying to focus on the same target but yet the vision is blurred and both of us may be seeing it from different angles. We don’t know where we will land, although Ottawa has been discussed. The future is in unknown.

Officially, I will be leaving in 2 weeks. I’m not even packed yet and report cards are due Friday. Mentally, I’m sort of checked out at work, but still going through the motions and wrapping things up. I can’t say I care about too much at this point, as students are writing their exams and I don’t have to teach. If they’ve prepared themselves and studied, then they’ll do okay. If they’ve been apathetic for the past few months, it’s too late in the game to change anything.

So I’ve been distracting myself. I managed to finish season 6 of HBO Girls, generate more layouts for my new Leuchtturm1917, keep reading my British books and WhatsApp with my friends online. I mean, it’s not much more different than what usually happens, but perhaps waaaaay more TV time than I usually have. It’s not particularly exciting but it keeps me occupied.*

I’m hoping that at least, once the report card marks go in, I can breathe a bit.

I’m looking forward to it being Saturday!

*The original plan was to distract myself in the evenings with kayaking, but with a) the cool weather we’d been having and b) the lack of wetsuit, I’m not going into the Rupert River this week. The Hullavator, a.k.a. Metal Antlers, are still in the basement.

Monthly Goals – Merry May

Health and Fitness

  • Go walking (2/5): Did one super long walk to the water intake plant and back (2.5 hours). Also walking occasionally to work, although not consistently. Weather has been on and off, rather cold for May, which has turned me off from going outside.
  • Work on myofascial release (1/5): Bought the Physical Therapy bundle off Cody but it was just way too busy this month being on the road so much.

Teaching

  • Continue with WRDSB paperwork (3/5): My mom and uncle drove out to Waterloo to pick up my paperwork, and after getting sorted out, I finally started my online training. I finished it this afternoon, but only a week into June, and not in May, as I originally intended.
  • Make connections at OAME (2/5): Made one new friend, N. Also reconnected with T., the prof who has been mentoring me, and J., a friend from university. Didn’t end up going to all my sessions though, because of the car troubles and just being tired.

Personal Development

  • Research car insurance (4/5): On one of my sick days, I ended up calling a whole bunch of places. I’ll likely settle on OTIP.
  • Watch 3 Canadian Investors Conference videos (0/5): This fell on the back burner. Not a biggie.
  • Make a communication agreement (3/5): As my relationship is going to become long-distance, we just went over a general communication agreement to follow.

Weekend Update

Books: Re-reading an old James Herriot novel, All Creatures Great and Small. It’s probably been 18 years that I’ve read it. Just going back to some master story tellers. (Also, if you can’t tell, I’ve been obsessed with all things Brit lately.)

Car insurance: Been shopping around, as I am looking for a new insurance company for the start of July, when I move back to Ontario. I was paying far too much for Meloche Monnex, although I didn’t have much of a choice, since they were one of the few companies that would take me as a client (i.e. living in Quebec with Ontario plates). After talking to five companies, I believe my best bet is OTIP. It does pay to call around though; I got a $25 Amazon gift card from OTIP just for speaking with an agent and CAA also gave me $25 for chatting with them!

Roboadvisors:
 Finally transferred about $22,000 of RSPs out of Tangerine Investment Funds and over to another roboadvisor. There’s a nice spread of iShares and Vanguard ETFs. Will need to sit down and look through my asset allocation when I’ve got more time in the summer. Got a $50 bonus when I started the account since mentioning the referral from Jessica Moorhouse.

School Boards: All registered with my new school board, and getting calls for substitution on my cellphone (it took me a week to figure out how to turn it off until September). However, I am disappointed I did not get an interview with Ottawa-Carleton (OCDSB). Out of four other friends, only one person I knew got an interview for the OT list. I suppose I just try again next year … should I apply for Thames Valley? Will work on an application later this week.

Media: Podcasting as usual and enjoying BBC’s The Documentary. Also learned about Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) on the SickBoy podcast*. Taking a pause after finishing seasons 6 of Call the Midwives and switching over to AMC’s Humans. AHHHH!!! Great show to watch after HBO’s WestworldWatch the trailer:


*This is a Canadian podcast and it is tastefully done, not what you’d expect when the three hosts are three white dudes. What’s even cooler is that one of the hosts is my gym buddy’s brother-in-law!

Fixing a Blown Fuse

When I was in Kingston a couple of weeks ago, at the math conference, I picked up a nail in my rear right tire. I didn’t know this had happened yet, and only noticed that my tire was losing air.

Thankfully, I had a portable air compressor with me. J. and I bought this a couple of years ago. While it has been helpful in emergency situation, the problem with the compressor is that it actually blows the fuse on the cigarette lighter charger!!! I didn’t have a pair of pliers on hand – the little things are tricky to pull out – so I finally managed to fix this today*.

Nice way to spend my Victoria Day. Wrapping up some loose ends and chores at home, plus some of season 6 of Call the Midwives.

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*The other barrier was not knowing which fuse it was. The numbers on the interior fuse box vary between different years of Honda CRVs.