Out & About #883 | Stomach Flu, Costco Gingerbread Cookies + LA Fitness First Impressions
As Monday loomed into view, the symptoms associated with stomach flu became undeniable. A queasy and pained stomach, bloating, chills, headache, lack of appetite, nausea, and irregular bowel movements all alluded to the condition. The exact cause was uncertain, though I looked towards the previous week's Toro Toro and immediately halted mindless consumption of rock-solid Haribo gummies.
A soft snack was requested to fill my mid-day munching woes. It was met with a box of four black-sesame-filled mochi, sourced from the prepared food section rather than the import aisle on the account of being "preservative-free". At $1.62 apiece before tax though, my expectations were quite high.
The three-bite parcels were as light as feather, dusted ever so gently with a coating of subtly sweet rice flour. They emerged as distinctly Chinese-style creations, comprising of a rice flour-glutinous rice flour blend for both structure and elasticity. In contrast to Japanese mochi, this variation contained more filling (and a barely sweet one at that), were drier to the touch, and did not exhibit intensely chewy qualities.
Meals of the week revolved about a scrumptious Salted Pork Congee (with ginger threads to combat nausea), blanched veggies, homemade Cha Siu, Steamed Pork and Tofu, and Stir Fried Daikon and Lap Cheong - a diverse assortment of feel good fare.
As the final four of SK's delightful ginger molasses cookies were slid from freezer to toaster oven, I began to contemplate the next batch.
The recipe is straightforward, yet yields impressive results, regardless of the whether the ginger is caramelized. Utilizing a single egg yolk is but the only downside.
Out & About #822 | Weekly Roundup: I Love Pho, The Underground + Ube Mochi Creations
A minimum of two in-office days has been mandated by corporate, much to my disgruntled distaste.
Monday was supposedly quieter than most days, thus anticipated to provide a peaceful working environment for my 8-hour-plus day. The setup procedure was tedious in itself: from locating one's assigned seating in the space, discovering variances from the online seating chart versus the in-office edition, and finding your deskmate already seated to relocating to a different numbered table and wiping away seemingly weeks of dust and tackiness, it all seemed utterly unnecessary for the commencement of work.
Beyond an additional thirty to forty minutes of commute time, unassigned seating and workstation preparations accounted for nearly thirty minutes more in delays. Let's also not forego monitor troubleshooting periods, which constituted fifteen minutes of unassisted issue resolution.
To say that I was displeased would be an understatement, for I saw absolutely no value in entering the premises when neither time nor productivity was gained. Moreover, I was haggard, restless from inadequate sleep the night before.
I took to M Cha Bar's recently opened Mississauga outpost afterwards in an attempt to appease the soul. Having been shuttered for Taste of Asia, cravings had been suppressed since the Friday past. At long last, I would seek out the coveted Roasted Oolong Milk Tea with Coffee Jelly, but not without some difficulty.
The stall was located near the entrance of Ocean's, positioned within a section that housed other prepared foods. Operating as a standalone establishment, I was grateful to find their acceptance of credit card. I opted out of making purchases from the supermarket itself, in fear that I would be rejected without debit or cash on hand.
The Roasted Oolong Milk Tea with Coffee Jelly was as delectable as I recalled, on par with the Vaughan original and unlike the sickening creaminess of the Scarborough spot. A Mango Pomelo - taro balls removed - was requested for the sleepy polar bear. Even at 50% sugar, the beverage was underwhelming - bland, even. Strawberry chunks at the base of the cup was a welcome twist, though the distinct lack of mango depth was incredibly disappointing.
I Love Pho was secured for supper en route home.
The spread consisted of:
Prices have surged since our last visit, escalating up to 20% markup in comparison to their online menu.
As I begin to re-learn my "old" ways - ways temporarily forgotten with a sudden swap of surroundings and resources - I'm dismayed to discover new areas of weakness and lower levels of productivity.
Perhaps it is an obvious consequence of time being invested elsewhere, but I had optimistically hoped not for my endurance to wither within such a short period. Returning to regular pilates sessions was not particularly difficult, though chills were frequently felt, as were moments of abnormal warmth. The mind and body were drained despite little engagement with the outside world.
Breakfasts consisted of: coffee, far more accessible than before with all equipment and roasts on hand, and items derived from a seemingly endless freezer stash. Buttermilk Eggos were a recent addition, unknown to me until my return; blue sky bran muffins and banana bread (marbled or unmarbled) welcomed me back in a toasty, cinnamon-laced embrace.
The first few meals back would comprise of congee (for detoxing), kale (for iron), and lean pork (for more iron). At times of weakness, Ensure was consumed for a boost of protein. However, nausea and a persistent headache refused to depart. An inability to obtain quality sleep was another telling exhibit of unwellness.
After unpacking, I began to tackle the next order of business: my medical appointments.
Walk-in clinics were far more accessible back home, making both securing an appointment and completing an x-ray simpler and speedier. The results of the diagnostic tests have yet to be relayed at this point in time, but, in the very least, the rapid antigen test device reads negative.
It was only natural that, given the amount of new material acquisitions, I would spend the following days nonstop unpacking. Luggage was emptied, souvenirs were sorted, purchases were organized, and laundry was completed.
During this procedure, I also unveiled a delightful assemblage of artwork from orderlyblue.
Beyond being a friend of mine since the Before We Begin Vancouver stop, she is a flourishing artist, teacher, and entrepreneur in her own right. To declare my pride in her is an understatement; she is young but intrepid, and contemplative but resolute.
Prior to the Lynn Canyon trip, I had expressed interest in supporting her craft, to which she responded enthusiastically.
Her stunning creations, meticulously sealed in individual sleeves and bubble-wrapped for extra protection, were finally revealed upon reaching home. Delicate, precise linework, harmonious colours, impressive innovation, and astounding attention to detail were witnessed in each and every piece.
Despite being able to appreciate the extensive effort that is contributed to the creative process and its incarnation for consumption, rarely am I to spend hours viewing art. But orderlyblue's work were those I wished to continue gazing upon, those that I found joy within.
Friends and family were quick to express similar thoughts as I. Follow-up purchases are intended to be made.
I was also in awe at the souvenirs that she had obtained for me from her recent trip to Hawaii. The first was an adorable fridge magnet, in which the magnet was embedded inside of the wooden design itself, rather than affixed to the outside with oozing adhesive. The second was a lucky cat pin slurping ramen, and on the bowl showed the islands of Hawaii.
Amongst the largest voids emerging throughout the trip were: a distinct lack of Larry and the convenience of a personal vehicle, for door-to-door trips that could take whenever my heart desired.
I proceeded to satisfy the first of these longings immediately after being relieved of the aircraft grime. Larry, along with both sizes of Sulleys, had undergone deep cleansing rituals in my absence. Radiating from them were fragrant clouds of cleanliness, along with noticeable boosts in fluffiness.
With luggage cases zipped up for storage, I moved onto the next item on my list: packages.
Three copies of GOT7's revolutionary comeback EP - and one unfathomably thick copy of W Korea - had arrived within the first week of my West Coast excursion. One copy was none other than my travel buddy's, the Thai ahgase.
News of the heavenly heptet's return as seven had already been a blessing for us all. For them to expand beyond digital releases and attend group schedules was another degree of elation altogether, whether we be observing the process in person or not.
At long last, my fingers would glide over a physical album, over lyrics that each member had thoughtfully assembled with the sole intention of "repaying" ahgases. Truthfully, our patience needed no compensation, for once an ahgase is always an ahgase.
GOT7 is home, after all.
I was particularly impressed by the lyric translations included for each song: English, (Simplified) Chinese, and Thai - the primary languages spoken by the fandom.
More McD's muffins awaited me for breakfast the next morning. Along with my must-have iced coffee was a lightly charred Fruit & Fibre Muffin topped with oats.
I would also, for the first time since the commencement of the trip (!), undertake a pilates session. Engaging in the act of mobility was truly nurturing for the soul.
Originally purchased as a birthday present, I was urged to sample the ever-pricey Russian Walnut Cookies from La Patisserie. Within its paper container were a total of eight mounds, leading each to assume a unit price of $0.999 plus tax. The cookies had been heavily praised for its crunchy properties, piquing a great deal of interest in me.
A mild sense of aversion arose from my first bite into the powdered sugar-topped scoop: albeit crunchy with fine chunks of walnut, the cookie was dry and reeked heavily of milk powder. Beyond this synthetic addition, there were few flavour notes to be perceived. Buttery it was not, nor particularly fragrant. While I appreciated the uniform golden hue, the costly half-orb was not for me.
I would, instead, be taking back these observations to formulate my own variation when time warrants - ideally a version with less milk powder, more nuttiness, and more butteriness.
The previous day's round of errands had also included pre-ordering of a Mango Cream Cake.
Mango and fresh cream were the main constituents of the cake, as with typical Chinese-style birthday cakes.
The sponge was exceptionally airy and light, likely the result of cake flour, oil, and gentle mixing for the formation of uniform, fine air bubbles); that said, it was sweeter than preferred, which may be, in part, owed to meringue for structure. Sandwiched between these two sponge layers - each measuring roughly one inch in thickness - was a delicate whipped cream and vibrant pieces of mango. Fresh whipped cream, especially when unstabilized, is susceptible to dissolution (read: melty) and lacks dimension. It retains a greasy mouthfeel without much contribution to complexity and depth.
"A concert!!!...AT 3AM?!?!"
Following a brief moment of dismay towards the announcement of a domestic in-person concert came the realization of a livestream opportunity for global fans. Ahgases have waited patiently for the members to regroup again, and the comeback announcement had brought nothing short of delirious excitement.
The term "homecoming" was especially fitting, for it implied a grand return: GOT7's return to a scene where they rightfully belonged. Whether it be performing on stage in front of screaming ahgases or broadcast channels via YouTube content, they would, after this long, grueling period, be seen together - seven as one unit - once more.
For the boys, "HOMECOMING" meant a lot more. Their home was the warm embrace of ahgases, a place where their work was appreciated, efforts were supported, and love was given, unconditionally. Despite being renowned worldwide, they remain the humblest of artists: While BamBam worried over whether the fandom would remain after their group hiatus, Jinyoung claimed himself to be a "nobody" who could only shine as much as ahgases allowed him to. These comments summoned an aching heart - Do they not know how awesome they are?! Of course we'd stay!
True ahgases will remain for certain and, what's more, support the members' individual pursuits to foster a stronger sense of awareness in the global music market.
A self-proclaimed regular observer of Twitter happenings and collector of data, BamBam was quick to ask the crowd of their ahgase seniority status. Majority had participated in their last world tour of 2019 - myself included - with a handful seeing the group in person for the first time. Interestingly, he also noted the possibility of those joining the fandom after JYPE era. He noted that a number of articles had circulated upon news of GOT7 going separate ways from their parent company, and that he wouldn't eliminate the possibility of those articles stirring up interest in the group and their past endeavours.
I had purchased my ticket a few days after the release date, reassuring myself that my Saturday plans would not interfere with the decision. In reality, I was terrified.
Entry into the working world has solidified the importance of events that never truly garnered much interest in my teen and young adult years.
Politics matter, whether you believe true democracy will prevail or not. Familiarizing oneself with the various parties may be a hassle, but these respective platforms, supplemented by general public opinion, are deciding factors in the government's future investment(s) and job availability. Every instance of tax relinquishment reflects our investment back into the system, so thorough contemplation of these matters isn't entirely optional, as much as the act of voting is made out to seem.
Spendings have been striking this quarter, spanning utility bills, vehicle maintenance, small appliance replacement, and special occasion dining ventures. Adding to the financial burden is a pending vacation (at long last!!) and GOT7's comeback. VICTON and ASTRO are also releasing EPs within this month, though their impact is negligible in comparison to OT7.
It is with much dismay to note that my quarterly review is delayed. The corporate class is frustrating, with an insatiable appetite for prosperity and ascent on the social ladder; what is more: these circumstances are consistent across majority of companies, with the same woes being expressed by those simply looking to survive, and maybe strive towards their career goals.
The week commences with Dalgona Lattes, one with espresso and one with a concentrated dose of genmaicha. Sickeningly sweet are the shards when incorporated in generous handfuls. In small doses though, they are quite enjoyable, contributing a caramely robustness to the iced beverages. Granola with vanilla Greek yogurt subs in for blue sky bran muffins on a few breakfasts.
In the absence of a functioning microwave, creativity continues to be employed for the delivery of weekday meals in a timely manner. Sourced from the freezer are frozen vegetables and a mini pizza, which is elevated with additional cheese cubes and a few strips of Arirang takeout bossam.
Steamed Pork & Chive buns, chopped kale, and garlic short ribs were also obtained from the same source, then subject to heat via either steaming or baking in the toaster oven.
Creations of the week included:
1) Marbled Banana Bread Feat. Mini Marbled Loaves
With five browning bananas on hand, it was time for another batch of freezer-ready banana bread to be constructed. SK's marbled prescription used three bananas, masses unknown. To scale the recipe accordingly, each banana was weighed and approximated at 130 g. Removing brown patches would leave the standard banana at about 88 g.
Congestion creeps up when you least expect it. Countless weeks have I traversed the same route on the 401 to Studio Bon without issues, yet the days that are not executed solo entail issues.
With a late departure and notification of all Express lanes closed for who-knows-what, a delay of ten minutes befell upon my drive. Distractions were plenty, but from the passenger seat as opposed to the vehicles surrounding me. Disturbing the driver with non-constructive opinions is ill-advised, yet it happens frequently to those unaware of the implications of their actions.
I arrived to pilates no more than five minutes late, scurried to the bathroom, and re-joined the class after the first 20 Bosu marches had been executed. Exempt I was was not from the Bosu runs, which I have, admittedly, come to like after all these weeks. In contrast to the Cardio-Tramp, which can be quite challenging at high spring levels (red and above), the Bosu summons core strength and introduces mobility to the body without straining sleepy muscles.
Facing perpendicular to the Bosu ball with one foot placed atop, we proceeded with twists of the upper body with arms in genie position ("shoulders down!" was reminded of all of us), side crunches, and, finally, the "speed training" lateral steps guaranteed to raise one's heart rate. Instead of aiming to cover greater distance, I tried to keep the body as still as possible, bouncing from one foot to another without extension of the legs or drastic shifting on the body. A safe landing on the other side of the Bosu was crucial, for any instability in the ankle could lead to injury by rolling. The move was executed slightly different by each class participant: my neighbour placed heavy emphasis on the bounce-off, while the other girl kept her body fairly upright.
Lying on the Reformer, we took several deep breaths to calm the body. The legs were sent to the left and right to release any lower back tension. From that point, we would engage in a core routine with a partially deflated ball placed between the inner thighs. Squeezing against the ball at all times, we completed hundreds, toe dips to the "wood plate", leg extensions, and leg extensions with a crunch.
Continuing with more thigh work, both feet were threaded through the tension straps. Remaining in a lying position on the Carriage, the legs were lowered to the point where a neutral spine could be maintained. With the resistance of two red springs, this was quite the challenging starting position. The partially deflated ball was placed between the calves, slightly above the ankles this time. While squeezing against the ball, we would lower the legs with an imprint spine and lift back up to neutral. Scissors and Double Ds - in both directions! - were also executed while attempting to keep the Carriage as still as possible. Finishing this segment was the stretching of the inner thighs by extending the legs beyond the Reformer in a V-shape and pressing them down towards the Carriage.
Tension cable-bases exercises are particularly interesting in that they expose lack of mobility. Where flexibility is lacking, the range of motion becomes limited. Where strength is lacking, the cable quivers as the body moves. My left side, the infinitely weaker side of my body, struggles to resist the red springs, such that even maintaining the neutral starting position is a challenge.
Flipping over to a high kneeling position on the Carriage, we gripped the loop of the tensions straps for upper back exercises. An additional white spring had been added to our usual blue, increasing the level of difficulty. I was reminded to keep the tailbone tucked on many occasions, for the imprint pelvis was apparently not pronounced enough. Grand efforts were made to keep the chin lifted and shoulders relaxed while isolating the back and triceps.
Rotating 180 degrees to face the footbar, arms were threaded through the hand straps and raised from hip height to slightly above the shoulders. We would then extend the palms outwards while inhaling, and contract the pectoral muscles while bringing the hands back to the raised position before bending the elbows and lowering to hip height once more.
More lower body exercises would be executed while standing. The Reformer Box was obtained from the wall and placed in the Long Box Position on the floor next to the Reformer frame. One foot was placed in the centre of the Box, while the sole of the other was slid against the shoulder rest. The knee of the standing leg would be bent while the other foot pushed out against the Carriage. In the lunge position, the body was hinged forward slightly; the glute of the resting leg was to be squeezed to maintain squareness in the hips. Constant reminders were made towards all class participants, for failure to isolate the correct muscle rendered the exercise significantly less effective.
Wrapping up the class were several stretches, ranging from a tension-affixed child's pose on the Reformer, a standing rolldown, and shoulder rolls - three in each direction.
My path reconvened with the girl whom I had unintentionally matched leggings with several weeks prior. It was learned that our paths would cross again in the future, though regrettably not within the same class slot.
Lunch was slated for 1 PM at Terroni Price, prompting a speedy change of clothes and rushed brushing of compressed strands.
A popular pick for Hallmark holidays, the table had been secured weeks in advance via OpenTable. Across Price Street was the familiar asphalt lot we had encountered during the last visit. The minor road was still uneven with more rutting and utility cut patches to count, while construction was still ongoing just east of the restaurant. Beyond these elements, the neighbourhood was quite serene, as expected of the affluent Rosedale-Summerhill district.
We had requested the patio, and were gestured towards two flights of stairs to the rooftop. There, another hostess table was positioned. One of the members of staff, dressed peculiarly in a Sherpa-lined jacket and runners, greeted us lethargically before impatiently revealing our seating options for the meal. The tables in direct sunlight were dismissed in favour of a round table with high stools by the bar.
View the full album HERE !
Out & About #808 | Weekly Roundup: Spring Snow, Ube Crinkle Revisited + Das Brezel Haus
Mother Nature, the indecisive higher being, has a tendency to be extra undecided towards Ontarians. A jacket-less March and shedding plus storage of my down puffer wasn't indicative of an early spring. T-shirt weather was still a bit away, and snow hadn't escaped us entirely yet either.
The first signs of a new season were audible before they were visible. A delicate croon of chirps from my backyard prompted me to straighten my neck, peering beyond the laptop screen that filled my everyday work-from-home existence. The trees remained barren before a backdrop of brilliant blue.
But animals of creatures of survival. Despite the lack of climate clarity, warmer temperatures had been forecasted. Our humble abode began to swell with invaders, ants specifically, in search of respite.
The week had commenced with expired mint chocolate truffles (a gifted package from forgotten Christmas inventory), braised pork with purple yam (quite the splendid suggestion, if I do say so myself), and the most unexpected timing for a stork sighting.
Out & About #804 | Weekly Roundup Feat. Glazed Banana Pecan Muffins + Woodland Chase Trail
There is an indescribable anxiety that comes with inactivity: a feeling of lost opportunity due to lack of productivity. Thoughts of rest and recovery normally take a back seat until the fatigue can be postponed no longer. To be engaged in work is a day well spent, and clearly I've been engaged enough this past week to automatically forego rest.
Pilates (feat. Teaser Tuesday) was slipped into my self-declared weekday lunch break in order to accommodate a post-work visit to the sleepy polar bear. Forearm planks were executed with much difficulty following a nasty elbow scrape from the overzealous dive at Nerf Challenge from the weekend prior.
A Grapefruit Yakult with Coconut Jelly from CoCo rewarded my exercise-and-cake-finalizing efforts, bringing about invigoration and zing to an otherwise incredibly hectic day.
Meals of the week comprised of 粟米斑塊, a Cantonese classic, and last-minute additions from Taza Xpress for iron needs.
It was regrettable that the Beef Shawarma was not only tough and dry, but also peculiarly sour. The hummus was soupy and similarly tart, as if lightened with lemon juice (likely, to be fair). Black and green olives had been plopped onto the surface, enabling a brief period of infusion. The accompany Pita wrap was as dry and rigid as the shawarma. It should also be noted these observations were made following a ridiculously lengthy delivery period, exceeding the UberEats estimate of 10-20 minutes and extending it to 40 minutes instead.
The remaining Black Sesame Purple Glutinous Rice Dumplings from T&T were served as a mid-afternoon snack with homemade ginger syrup - crafted with yellow rock sugar rather than the typical dark brown to draw emphasis to spiciness instead of nutty, caramel notes.
A sudden penchant for 2020's coveted Dalgona Latte propelled me to recreate the specimen with a 1:1:1 ratio of decaf Nespresso Gold, granulated sugar, and hot water.
Nighttime saw the release of Jinyoung on Youngjae's radio segment, where I relished in the all-too-familiar chuckles and characteristically GOT7 goofiness with a side of Waterloo Craft Lager. Yacha ("Yaksha" on Netflix) was slated to premiere worldwide the morning after.
As temperatures soared to double digits in the latter half of the week, I opted to adopt active transportation for my post-work plans. Navigating about my community on foot is often the best way to identify areas requiring infrastructure improvements, as well as areas deserving commendation.
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.