so my latest new little extra-curricular interest is yoga - candy and i signed up at york u for an 11-week course, for the reasonable price of $85. york u isn't too far away from work, so we don't really need to leave work early.
during our first class (we were late signing up, so we missed one class), i found out just how inflexible and out of shape i was. even though the course is for beginners, some of those poses aren't easy! i was astounded when about halfway through the class, i started sweating.
i'm not too ambitious ... if i can touch my toes by the end of this course, i'll be happy.
wow, a double entry today! i think it's the first in the history of my weblog.
today i put my life into another driver's hands ... not just any driver, not even deadly "seatbelt-hater" jennifer, but a newbie stick driver! whatever possessed me to do that?
well, shirley's been wanting to learn how to drive manual transmission, and she finally managed to find a rental car to practice with. back when we were working together at alcatel, i promised her that i would give her free lessons if she managed to get ahold of a practice car, so today was the day.
[sidebar: before i met shirley, i bumped into ranil on the northwest corner of keele and bloor ... haven't seen him in ages, even though he lives just around the corner! have to do some catching up with him.]
so i was waiting for shirley at the northeast corner with the petro canada, and all of a sudden i see this silver protege crawl along slowly, attempt a turn into the gas station, and fail miserably, lamely stalling right in the middle of traffic. omigod, it's shirley and she's crying for help! we quickly do a switcheroo, i jump into the driver's seat and slam my knees into the steering wheel, forgetting that i'm a little taller than she is. anyways, we fortunately managed to get out of that little jam.
shirley was actually a lot better than i thought she'd be! she's had a lot of practice and i definitely didn't need the neck brace or barf bag that i joked i would need. at no point did i fear for my life, which was good. what i will remember most from today's experience is yelling "GAAAAAAAAAAAS!" whenever i felt the car jerking and about to stall. poor shirley ... i didn't mean to scare her. but don't worry shirley, you're doing great and with a few more days of practice, you'll be just fine.
other than the driving lesson, it was great to catch up with shirley as i hadn't seen her since she left alcatel. it was a lot of fun!
after the sadness yesterday, i felt that i needed to do something today to rejuvenate my spirits. so, i decided to go for a jog in the morning along the waterfront trail near the humber river. i really have no idea how fit i am right now, but i managed 4.5km in 25 minutes. the last time i went jogging was about a month ago.
i'd like to make this a regular part of my week, because i really don't much exercise other than this (i stopped going to the alcatel gym, and alcatel badminton conflicts with choir practice), but the weather probably won't co-operate for much longer ... pretty soon the waterfront trail is going to be covered in snow and ice, and the winds from the lake won't be very pleasant.
today i attended the second funeral of my short life, the funeral for mrs. x (name withheld out of respect for the family).
[poor little celestine's funeral back when i was in grade 7 was the first, but we were both only 11 back then and i remember almost nothing. i still try to visit her every december 13th to pay my respects ... i can't believe it's been so long since that fateful day, that day when i could have been the unlucky one. interestingly, her cemetery is located just a few blocks away from mrs. x's funeral home.]
last week, i was approached by the x family and asked if i could be a pall bearer at the funeral. i was humbled and very honoured that they chose to ask me, and of course i accepted. before it started, i thought i was emotionally prepared and that i would be able to keep my composure throughout the ceremony, first at the funeral home and later at the cemetery. well, i was wrong.
i can't remember the last time i cried. i know for sure that i cried while watching schindler's list for the first time back in 1996. i even managed to hold in the tears when my sister got on the plane 3 weeks ago. but ... some moments were just so heartwrenching that i couldn't hold it in. what i'm going to remember from today won't be the pall bearing. rather, what i will remember are those moments where my tears wouldn't stop flowing, when those who were present did their best to share in the family's grief and sorrow. those moments have been burned into my memory and will last with me forever.
i want to end with a tribute to the late mrs. x:
dear mrs. x,
although i've only known you for a brief time, you've never treated me as a stranger or an outsider. rather, you've always treated me as if i were one of your own, and i've always appreciated that.
you taught me to never lose sight of the truly important things in life. when it comes down to it, the only things we have left in the end are the people we love. material possessions, career achievements, fleeting moments of amusement, all these are temporary. it is the bonds that grow between people who love each other; these are the ties that endure forever.
when i think of you, what i remember most is your kindness and your selfless nature, and your constant willingness to put the needs of others above your own. you've inspired me to follow your example and to start using my life as a gift to serve others.
not only were you a great person, you were an excellent mother as well, as evidenced by your four wonderful children. know that your memories and your spirit live on in their hearts.
may you finally find comfort in eternal rest and repose.
having talked about my sister last week, i shouldn't forget about my parents and the impact that last week's events had on them.
every parent, whether he/she admits it or not, dreads the inevitable day when the last child moves out. it's always difficult to let go, and i've wondered how my parents have been feeling since last tuesday. home must be awfully quiet now without yvonne around - only misty (the 14-year-old cat) remains with mom and dad now.
i'm a little surprised myself that it happened so soon - both my sister and i left the nest shortly after our 25th birthdays. maybe it's because both of us are fiercely independent people, but our family is definitely the exception. of all the friends and families i know with children my age, my family was the first to experience this.
when i think about it, and how these cycles occur in life, i get a little sad and philosophical. i think back to 30 years ago ... my parents were living in a small townhouse in scarborough, with no children yet, but a few cats, and planned to start a family. today, they're in a condo, and they still have a cat (albeit a different one), but no children present ... in a very strange way it's like they have come full circle in the past 30 years, except that during this time they've produced and raised two kids and did a wonderful job of it.
however, what is important is that this inevitable stage of parenthood need not be a sad occasion, nor is it the end of parenthood ... after the moving out, parents can still maintain healthy, valuable relationships with their children even though they are no longer living under the same roof. the relationship continues, but at a different level. (my mom's already looking forward to the next level ... she's constantly pestering me about wanting to have grandchildren!)
on another note, i missed the canadian go open this past long weekend. with everything that's been going on in my life recently, my mind hasn't been as focused and concentrated over the past few weeks as i would have liked, and my heart just wasn't into playing 6 difficult games over 2 days. my opponents deserve a worthy challenge, which i can't provide right now. so, the right thing to do was to pass on the tourney instead of going through the motions in front of the goban. i know it might be a while before the open returns to toronto ... that's life, i guess.
went to watch hero (the movie) earlier today. i think i have a new favourite movie of 2004. the film is simply gorgeous and the actors did a marvellous job, both in and outside of the fight scenes. i'm really looking forward to watching this movie again on dvd in the near future.
the movie also gave me a chance to see if i actually learned anything from my mandarin class earlier this year. i'm glad to say that i was able to understand most of the short one- and two-word phrases. i managed to remember each of the main characters' chinese names, with the exception of Sky (which my mom later told me was "chang kong"). but as for understanding longer stretches of dialogue consisting of more than 4 words, it was a total lost cause. not only did they speak too quickly, my vocabulary was simply too small. i'll just have to be persistent and keep practicing my mandarin ...
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