Weekly Photo Challenge: Flowers

Weekly Photo Challenge: Flowers.

Last year I wrote a series of blog posts (starting here)  in which I said that I wanted to get flowers this year… from a man. I had to qualify it since my friend Gwen corrected me and said that she had given me flowers. She did not disappoint.

She told all my guy friends attending my birthday to bring flowers. I received six bunches of them! She gave me a vase big enough to fit them. Here they are:

The six bunches of flowers I got from my guy friends on my birthday last year.
The six bunches of flowers I got from my guy friends on my birthday last year.

I wrote about this event here.

Revisit a topic you wrote about in January

Revisit a topic you wrote about in January.

How funny this is? I wrote about Bridget Jones back in January. The movie came on again a couple of weeks ago and I wrote about it again here. So, challenge done! Read away.

Happy 5th Anniversary To Me

This was a cover that I used for my second level Niei Chi

This was a cover that I used for my second level Niei Chi

Saturday marked a real milestone in my life. It has been five years since I stopped smoking. It also marks 5 years since I graded for my first black belt.

I was never a very heavy smoker. A pack a day was a challenge. I averaged 7 or 8 a day and smoked ultra light menthols. I’d tried quitting before and it usually lasted about 6-8 weeks before I’d go back to it. I even had major surgery to remove my spleen and thought I could beat it. I tried acupuncture but because I could go for 6-8 weeks on my own, they said it wouldn’t do much good.

Taken one day after class on the East Beach in Toronto

Taken one day after class on the East Beach in Toronto

In our organization, all black belts must sign their name stating that they are smoke free. I’d been promising myself each belt level that I was going to quit. But as I went through them, I kept smoking.

Grading for your black belt is a great honour and I regarded it as such, including the oath I took. The day I graded for my black belt is the day I smoked my last cigarette.  A month later when I was awarded my first black belt, I smoke half a cigar in celebration and haven’t smoked since.

Since then, I’ve been to Hong Kong for 5 months, where everyone smokes like chimneys. I could have cheated but something a friend of mine kept me in line. Whenever I thought “Maybe just one; no one will know.” His voice would answer: “But you will.”

I finished university, go the rest of my shodans, went onto my nidans and about to start my sandans in the fall.

Thank you Sensei. Ous.

“I Have The Best Friends In The Whole World” or “Screw You Mark D’Arcy!”

Must tell tell you that I have the best friends in the world.

After wonderful Bridgesque posts, one of nearest and dearest friends did wonderful things for birthday. Had one friend who was in charge of looking after sorry drunk ass and making sure got home in one piece. Other is dear female friend.

In previous post had mentioned (screamed) that this year wanted to receive flowers from someone of the male persuasion. Leave it to someone of the female persuasion to come up with a plan to make this happen.

Birthday bash started great at Retro Road Show (must check it out of have not already done so, gentle readers). Then one of male friends shows up with flowers and favourite vodka. Think there might be a crush here, but still thank profusely. Scheming friend must have told him something. Then yet another male friend appears with more flowers, and another, and another…by the third, have realized a pattern; all men. Scheming friend has told them all to bring flowers to help complete new year’s list.

Once a few had given flowers and had figured out plot, scheming friend gives birthday gift to compliment the yang with the yin: a flower vase, large enough to fit all the flowers given.

So big thanks go to male friends who heeded call of even better scheming friend who made it possible. Special mention of course to drinking buddy who, though couldn’t get flowers because was taking care of my drunk ass all day, also made sure to make it homesafely and sayted that way when tucked in bed.

Thanks also go to those who made sure that my glass was never empty and sometimes made sure that there was more than one glass, sometimes three very small ones back-to-back-to-back at the bar in quick succession. Thanks go to the DJ who continues to play favourite song even though he despises it so. (“Drop the needle!”)

This is why one must state that have best friends in world. Don’t need Mark D’Arcy at birthday party. Friends covered it wonderfully. But if he decides to show up by Valentines, would be nice.

Thank you again to all for a wonderful birthday.

Bridget Jones: New Year Edition

Number of alcohol units over the last two days: Too many to count

Number of delectible finger foods at Pre-NYE birthday party: Too many to count

Number of Gingerbread houses: -1

Number of karaoke songs sung: 1

Number of pre-NY workouts: 1

Number of NY text messages from unknown senders: 2

Had good evening of training a few nights ago. Think I’ve finally figured out that form. Went to pub and ate salad (good). Wasn’t ready to go home, so went to #loserkaraoke at Tequila Sunrise with a few tweeps, @AlexBlom, @Dan_L, and @photojunkie. Missed @jpuopolo unfortunately. Hope he and his wife are going well on the #babypuopolo watch! She was due today, so as soon as there is extended radio silence, am sure that we’ll know. Hadn’t done karaoke in a while, but glad I stuck around. Got home late, but fun times figuring late night route home. Thankful for 24 hour TTC service outside my door.

Next day, got gear together and went to friend’s for pre-NYE birthday party. Lots of finger foods, good wine, Rock Band, polar bears and singletons. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to break more boards at training. Took three tries to break the gingerbread house, so either am a great builder and should consider career in hurricane/tornado prone areas or am complete weakling. Even caused hand to bleed. Either way, am #toughcookie. See it here.

Had amazing time at NYE party with good friends and had interesting voyage home which involved a bus and 2 cabs, only paid for one. Great photos can be seen here.

Still have not heard about dream job, but with holidays, could be delayed. Expect to hear Monday or Tuesday.

Not making too many resolutions this year. Too many disappointments. Chose “hope” instead of “resolve”. Therefore, HOPE to (in no particular order):

  1. Lose weight and lead healthier life
  2. Learn to knit and will have completed at least one project this year
  3. Cook and read more often
  4. Get dream job
  5. Find love, even if only temporary
  6. Procrastinate less.

Not a lot to ask, is it? Wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous new year. Let it be better than the last.

– Shanta

I AM Bridget Jones

I almost forgot how much I love the movie “Bridget Jones’s Diary”. Every year around this time, I think I need to watch it, make it an annual occurence. What’s on TV tonight? Whadyaknow…BRIDGET!

So, I pour a glas of red in true Brig fashion, and take pen to paper to start the year off right. Also, settling in with a salad after the monstrous leftover turkey dinner for lunch. Will follow up with mandarin oranges for dessert.

Right.

Smokes: 0

Weight: <undisclosed>

My life is somewhat like Bridget Jones. Here are some examples:

  1. Both need to lose weight.
  2. Both are “spinsters”.
  3. Both live in our own apartments/flats.
  4. Both love red wine.
  5. Both have good close friends that we can call on for a good pow-wow/drink-up.
  6. Both need new jobs (though I didn’t sleep w/boss at last job).
  7. Though I haven’t done it yet, pondering dinner party for close friends for birthday next month (Take note and be forewarned!) Must look up recipe for blue soup.

Some differences however:

  1. I don’t live in the UK.
  2. I don’t smoke (anymore).
  3. Most of my friends aren’t smug married couples, but are wonderful singletons like me.
  4. Definitely don’t have two men fighting in the street over me.
  5. And unfortunately, don’t have Mark D’Arcy/Colin Firth chasing after me because he “likes me just the way I am”.

Have actually found myself taking pen in hand more frequently as of late, literally. Quite possibly because I’ve had trouble sitting in fron of computer due to back pain lately. Have even found myself turning in at a reasonable hour with a good book under candlelight. When I enter my apartment, I will constantly say: “Hi Honey, I’m home! Oh yeah, I live alone.” It’s a homage to Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, but very fitting here.

Some goals for the new year:

  1. Lose weight. Might be difficult with back injury, but willing to try even if I have to become a rabbit.
  2. Blog at least once a week. Great, have met quota this week.
  3. Will find dream job
  4. Will have emotionally stable relationship with someone who is not an emotional fuckwit. Doesn’t have to be permanent, but just…normal.
  5. Receive flowers at least once this year from a member of the opposite sex (sorry, Gwen).

Sounds like a lot and a little to ask for for the coming year. Given the ups and downs of the past year, I think I deserve a little normalcy.

This is Bridget Jones…I mean…Shanta Nathwani for Sit Up Britain…dammit…Toronto. Now, back to the studio!