Despite September nearing the corner, the GTA was met with scorching temperatures and intense dry heat. Constant hydration was urged for folks in the field, while sunscreen was applied liberally even for brief errands in the neighbourhood.
Atrocious amounts of residual grit from nearby construction sites have coated my car's exterior comprehensively. The situation prompted more frequent triggers of the windshield washer lever, and consequential depletion of the visibility-enhancing fluid. A trip to Home Depot was scheduled to restock prior to the rapidly approaching fall and winter seasons.
By the conclusion of the excursion, I had identified an appetite for salad - precisely freshii (NOT fresh). The nearest location known to me was embedded within the Erin Mills Town Centre food court, yet entering the franchise name into Google Maps revealed an even closer outpost.
I looped about the median to request an Oaxaca Bowl with Chicken and Steak. Its accompanying sauce revealed itself a sriracha-like potency, which far exceeded my tolerance. Beyond this aspect, I was quite pleased with the $12.99 purchase.
Other munchies of the week included dimsum takeout from BestCo in the form of lotus paste-filled jian dui, soft-boiled eggs, oddly savoury-chewy Phoenix Cookies, an Espresso Frappé (homemade, of course), and Oreo-coated Pepero.
For the past two weekends, I had filled my body with lessons from Studio Bon. Yet, a total of four classes remained at Sum Pilates. With an unavailability of instructors, continuation of my package was delayed. The seventh session resumed on August 28th, preceded by a highly anticipated massage and realized with a new instructor.
I awoke to the familiar chime of my work alarm around 8:15 AM. The first five minutes had gone by unnoticed, but steadily, my senses began to depart from deep slumber. The weekend would start earlier than most, marking my foray onto the 401 before the 9:30 AM mark. Impressively enough, traffic levels had already begun to pick up for the day.
The early appointment led me to Scarborough, just a few blocks from the neighbourhood traversed for the sake of jokbal and juice. It proceeded as planned, with the exception of makeup application taking place in my driver's seat of the vehicle (behold the glitter dust!) rather than within the air-conditioned establishment. Despite full comprehension of the masking rule for indoor spaces, it hadn't occurred to me that makeup application would not be permitted within.
In the immediate vicinity were as many Chinese eateries and bubble tea outposts as one could possibly fathom. I yearned for none. Recalling an unredeemed Dak Lak stamp card, I opted to head northbound to Pacific Mall.
Once inside the parking garage, I quickly learned the status of the shopping centre's repairs. Both escalators and elevators had been reinstated, nixing the need for freight elevator rides and dust bunny-loaded alternate routes.
For the second week in a row, I awoke to a Sunday with the promise of pilates. A follow-up group class slot had been secured for the 11 AM slot, this time in the absence of ochungg.
I woke to my regular work alarm, eased into a breakfast of coffee and freezer inventory items, and slowly began preparing for the drive. Departing approximately seven minutes later than the previous week - yes, I am aware of my underestimation in congestion levels - resulted in a delay of 5 minutes. Rapidly signing my name on the check-in sheet and sprinting to the bathroom, I escaped the temperature check. I had paused briefly at the entrance in wait of a staff member to conduct the screening, though observed a semi-private (2:1) lesson being held in one of the smaller rooms by none other than the owner who had guided me previously.
My own class had commenced on time. I dashed back out from the bathroom to find the instructor (my instructor!) in a sleeveless blouse, flowy black drawstring bottoms, and narrow Gore-Tex footwear. It was an interesting departure from the usual activewear and leggings. She urged me to lie down on one of the Reformers, as I had already missed a few of the warmup exercises.
Beyond myself, there was one other student. She appeared in her mid-thirties, with a half-tied, medium-length bob and lilac top. The instructor had initially conversed with her in Korean, then switched channels with my appearance in the studio.
With the trampoline attachment inserted into the Reformer, we proceeded with several lying "jumps" to awaken the legs and core. I began having regrets in investment in blogilates' 20 Minute Inner Thigh Isolate the day before, for have the feet positioned in second position was a true travesty with tension-affixed rods. It was undeniable that maintaining control on the way added an element of difficulty; to execute each move with grace involved total control of the body, and any deviations would be visible in unsoundly slamming of platforms.
Shifting focus from the previous week's abdominal-intensive series, the day's session placed emphasis on the lower body and back, though the core was to be engaged throughout all exercises regardless.
With the Box attachment placed atop the carriage, we revisited several arm exercises with the tension-affixed arm bands. Again, some involved holding by the cloth-wrapped straps, while others by the metal hooks. A variation of the pull-backs entailed curling down to one's toes, then rolling back up slowly, allowing the spine to lengthen.
One of my favourite mat pilates exercises is the Parachuter (or bent-arm Superman for gym-goers). Lying face-down of the Box and positing its edge "underneath the bra line" (as directed by the instructor) entailed engagement of the entire core. The normal force providing support in mat pilates is removed, demanding stabilization from other muscle groups. It was generally easy to execute ten counts of this exercise. Swimmers did not prove too difficult either, though it's uncertain whether the improved strength and mobility should be owed to consistent practice or a comprehensive physio session.
Out & About #737 | Week #75 Quarantine Update Feat. Strawberry Matcha Mousse + Jin Myungdong Kalguksu
As I sit in contemplation of the meetings, approved and potential change orders, and other trivial calamities of the week past, I can confirm that work duties have permeated into nearly every waking moment of my existence. My familiarization with financial matters is germinating gradually: a broader perspective facilitates the inferno that is invoicing, yet unsuccessful are the attempts in appeasing the mind leading up the submission deadline.
T̶y̶p̶i̶n̶g̶ Toiling into the early evenings render me feeble in the departments of physical and mental capacity. The lack of energy prompted an earlier dinner (before 9 PM, for once), then followed with a sweltering neighbourhood saunter.
Coffee Crisp enters the playing field on several occasions, accompanied by countless jolts of java to fuel withering cognitive capacity.
A proposed "half-day Friday" commences with a grueling journey along the 401; the much-anticipated physio appointment awaits at the other end of the 60 km drive. For the aching back, neck, shoulders, and all other stress-infected muscle groups, the session serves to relieve and re-educate on the limitations of the human body, as well as the need for mobility.
Emails received throughout the visit conclude significance in logging back into the work portal. Around the 3:30 PM mark, I pull up to Platform with hopes of plugging in and engaging in proper conversation with my sidekick. Pulling open the door, I am greeted by the owner, who then proceeds to provide unfortunate news: The café was slated to close at 4 PM. Moreover, all acceptably distanced tables were occupied.
Disappointed - but not yet distraught - I thanked her and navigated towards Main Street Unionville. Corner 20 was spotted out of the corner of my eye; I found parking in the garage, gathered my weighty belongings, and waddled over in my flat foot-friendly footwear. Much to my dismay, the same message was relayed to me. I spun on my heel as soon as I heard the words: "We're closing in twenty minutes."
Eventually, I settled for the general parking area and set my next target as pod coffee. A man with a laptop was spotted outside the shop - "If he can work, then so can I!" were my immediate thoughts. Heaving in the horrendous humidity, I gathered my things once more, but this time only roughly grabbing by the edges of the tote. In a matter of seconds, the laptop plummeted to the ground, striking my unshielded big toe at the depths of its descent. My mouth dropped, agape, yet not a single sound could be uttered. Overcome with shock and excruciating pain, I wallowed in an agonizing thirty seconds before coming to terms with reality. And just as I thought I could carry on, a splotch of maroon began to surface. Blood.
I tended to my toe with exasperation and awe, for what was the probability of two failed attempts to secure an air-conditioned, Wi-Fi-enabled workplace and a treacherous thump on the foot amidst the unruly chaos. Swapping my open-toed sandals for trusty runners, I hobbled across the street. pod coffee offered no bathroom for handwashing, no budget-friendly beverages, and, furthermore, no amicability whatsoever. The third time was most definitely not the charm.
Next door was The Alley, where a delivery driver swooped before me in line - with an air of outright righteousness, might I add - and demanded his drinks. The cashier was kind, albeit a bit difficult to hear behind the plexiglass barrier. I dabbed at my forehead while in wait of Order No. 31, and was then shoved my Dark Knight by the barista who had the same tremendous demeanour as pod coffee's sole operator.
At long last, I would find myself outside and ready to dive back into work endeavours, only to be warmly welcomed by fumes originating from cigarettes and cannabis. Oh, Markham, how I have learned to loathe thee.
A good work week starts with a Monday of minimal emails. Another aspect deserving appreciation is an unrushed opportunity for nutrition replenishing. Anxiety from the previous week's invoicing craze persisted, with its effects only augmented by the neverending list of other project tasks.
I craved heartiness, and I craved caffeine. The desires would lead to the creation of my first wheat loaf in aeons and consumption of Lavazza's renowned Italian espresso in a complimentary Balzac's mug.
1) Whole Wheat Loaf w/ Honey and Olive Oil
Given the arduous prepwork involved in Bake For Happy Kids' wheat bread recipes - and decidedly moist properties achieved thus far - I decided to venture beyond the tried-and-trusted. King Arthur offered a version that could be executed on a whim, using a breadmachine, and deploying olive oil and honey for extra swiftness.
The lack of expansion had me concerned initially, however the results were fabulous. Due to work commitments, the lengthier rising schedule was gladly welcomed. Baking at a higher temperature also eradicated unwanted moisture present in previously attempted wheat loaves.
Having yielded enough to fill two loaf pans, one had been portioned for slicing, while the other into pull-apart rolls. Both boasted impeccable texture when lightly toasted; margarine and honey made for a luscious, high-fibre breakfast, while homemade pecan butter could be smothered on for a boost of natural fats.
2) Green Tea Basque Cheesecake (Attempt)
The first green tea cheesecake ever to emerge from my kitchen and the second basque cheesecake ever to be crafted, I knew that the instigator could be no one else besides Sunday Baking.
With each email, each call, and each meeting, I loathe the cycle a little bit more.
For "work is not life, and life is not work.", as I have countlessly re-iterated. Alas, it all seems endless. The words leave a seething scar in my mind: "You're a professional. You're expected to work more, and do as the project requires."
But what remains is the shell of the human that I have become - soul, emotion, and health depleted and repurposed into productivity for greater project gains.
While there is pride in career accomplishments, I crave the balance of daily tidbits of joy, seemingly robbed by the work-from-home reality that is to persist with the oncoming fourth wave.
In recap of my weekly activities, I realize diversion is minimal. Songs and podcasts cannot be enjoyed in parallel with work in consideration of meeting counts. Kitchen experiments have also diminished drastically, the cause being unpredictability in work. Even during times of solitude, the tables quickly turn, leading to haste decisions amidst the process and, consequentially, subpar results.
Creations of the week(s) included:
1) Roasted Peppers, squeezed into the oven between meetings and mandatory catch-up calls
2) Brown Butter & Vanilla Pound Cake
Who Am I?
Formerly an avid owner of several interest-based portals, Random Thoughts of a Quirky Blogger presents precisely the elements expected. From experiments in the kitchen to miscellaneous musings, from IGOT7 reflections to developments in transportation infrastructure, it's all consolidated here. Welcome to the raw, unfiltered side of Quirky Aesthetics.