Grateful for Needle Movement

English: An arrow pointing down in the red cir...

One of my goals for 2017 is to lose some of the weight I have gained over the last few years. I want to take charge of my health and fitness again and return to a time when it was easy for my body to move. I am slowly changing the way I eat; and I try my best to attend my bi-weekly Zumba classes.

The needle on my scale had not moved since the beginning of the year. However, even though it remained static, I did notice a change in my body. My clothing fits looser and I am beginning to see a waist again! Last week when I weighed myself, I felt a moment of joy.

The needle on the scale had moved! Downwards.

I now weigh 1kg less. It may not sound a lot, but to me it is quite an achievement. The loss encourages me and prevents me from giving up. Now I can work towards losing the next kilogram.

This week I am grateful for my weight loss and the encouragement this loss gives me.

What have you been grateful for this week?

Processed with RookieLast week:

Laura was grateful for a flannel shirt

Lavender Ladi was grateful for fluffy snow

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Man, not Woman

Often my husband will say, “Man is so evil!” when we are discussing certain events at the dinner table. Topics can range from war, to the slave trade and human trafficking, to corrupt presidents in Africa, to violent and cruel murders. When we talk about the oppression of women and the domination of one race over the other, my husband often shakes his head at some point in the conversation and laments the baser side of human nature.

“Yes, men,” I tell him. “Not women.”

Women, I believe, have a more nurturing nature than men. The men are the ones who fight, who cause war and riots, who want to dominate and show their power. Women are the ones who heal, who clean up afterwards, who find the food to feed their children. Women are the ones who show love and who work towards creating that sense of community.

Unfortunately the modern woman feels that she has to be like a man in order to be equal. Thus many women today try harder than men to be a man: they seem unbending and unyielding with all the nurture squeezed out of them. They dress like men in severe suits and create a wall around themselves to hide their true nature. Will they eventually become like men and start wars, leaving the ‘lesser’ women to nurture?Would I then have to agree with my husband that Man (as in humanity) is not good?

I hope that it never comes to that and that the modern woman will realise that equity, not equality, is what is important. I hope that she will come to realise that nurture is a good thing; and that being the alpha male does not always lead to something positive for the community.

Do you agree with my husband’s statement?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is linked to Stream of Consciousness SaturdayThe prompt is: man)

Weekend Coffee Share: March Break

Weekend Coffee Share | Nerd in the Brain (4)Ahh, good afternoon. The day has been busy so far – I have been exercising, shopping, and doing the laundry. The snow has been falling wetly outside and it is a lot chillier than I thought it would be. Now is the perfect time for a cup of coffee or tea. Which would you prefer? I think I will reach for the Cinnamon Rooibos this afternoon. I am in the mood for a little spice.

This week the school’s have been closed for March Break. There are a few people who call this week off a Spring break but, alas, it is not the correct term for it. The week began with ‘feels like’ temperatures of -17c; temperatures that encourage a person to wish that the warmer season was just around the corner!

On those cold days I spent time curled up on the sofa reading the books I had checked out of our local library; or relaxing with my feet up watching Bones on Netflix and crocheting. Even though it was cold, I did not give my Zumba class a miss – and even went to the noon one offered on a Tuesday. I am really enjoying the dance fitness exercise classes. I am getting fitter and no longer look at the clock on the wall 10 minutes into the session.

The highlight of the week was when my friend came to visit me. She lives quite a distance from where I am and therefore I do not see her very often. Seeing her was wonderful – our friendship picked up from where we had left off the last time we saw one another. It was sad to say goodbye and see her go home. We will see one another again in the Summer – three and a half months is a long time to wait!

Thursday and Friday the weather was beautiful. It was a lot warmer than it had been and the sun was shining. I took the time to go spend a few hours in my classroom. I have been wanting to sort though my cupboards and clear out the things I don’t use. I did not do everything that I wished to, but I made a head start. This morning I bought some more plastic sleeves so that as I go through the boxes of papers I have, I can file what I want to keep. It was peaceful working in my classroom and making some headway with no interruptions.

I am ready for the week to start on Monday. I will spend the rest of the weekend completing my household chores and stocking up the fridge for the week.

Hope you have a good one.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is linked to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Nerd in the Brain)

The Songs of ABBA

When I was growing up, our extended family used to get together often. Aunts and uncles, and many cousins. We experienced Sunday picnics in the parks, lunchtime braais (barbecues) at someone’s house, and Saturday night parties. For my family, parties always included dancing. Everyone would dance – the young and the old. I remember laughter, movement, … and ABBA.

Dancing Queen was a must on the playlist, causing everyone to get up and dance. This track was often followed by Waterloo.

When I listen to ABBA now, I remember those moments with my family before the children grew up and the family seemed to disband. I think of my cousin who was such an ABBA fan that he had all of their albums. I think of my uncle who led the dancing to the popular Swedish group. I think of the joy and security we had as children when all of the cousins got together. I think of carefree moments. For me, the sounds of ABBA bring many positive memories to mind.

Do you have any memories linked to ABBA’s music. Which one was your favourite?

(This post is linked to Hugh’s 51 weeks: 51 favourite songs from the past. Join us with a song of your own.)

Grateful for Time to Rest

This week schools are closed for what is called March break. It is definitely not a Spring break as temperatures have plummeted to a ‘feels like’ -17c. The weather is forcing us to meet up with friends indoors; and long, lazy walks are certainly not an option. The break, however, is giving me a chance to rest, to get up late, read, and do a little crochet.

Every school break I have always begins with a trip to the library. I browse the shelves filled with the newer additions, often picking up authors I have not read before. Sometimes I find an unread title by one of my favourite authors.

Library Stash. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

This break I decided to begin a new crochet project: one that I have been thinking of creating for a while now. I have downloaded the pattern from Ravelry, and purchased the yarn from Michaels.

Beginning a new project. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

While crocheting, I put my feet up and watch Netflix. Currently I am watching the TV series Bones.

Bones (TV series)
Bones (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I enjoy Kathy Reich’s novels and I am enjoying this series that has been inspired by her. I am now on season 10 and will be sad when the show ends. It is interesting to see how the characters and personalities have developed over the seasons.

This week I am grateful that the March Break is giving me the chance to rest and to pursue some of the things that I enjoy doing.

What have you been grateful for this week?

Processed with RookieLast week:

Laura was grateful for dog paws

Lavender Ladi was grateful for music

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Between Sisters by Cathy Kelly

Front CoverDuring my visit to the library this week, I picked up a novel by an author (Cathy Kelly) I had not read before. The cover attracted my attention, as did the title Between Sisters. The byline encouraged me to check out the book: Without a mother, there was only one way to grow. Together.

The story centres around a group of women: the sisters Cassie and Coco, their grandmother Pearl, and Elsa (a daytime TV therapist). The sisters were abandoned by their mother when young and raised by their grandmother. Their abandonment affects them in their adulthood in ways they have yet to acknowledge.

The teaser is an extract in the voice of the grandmother, Pearl, when she is reflecting on the past:

“And if she told them the truth, she’d have to tell them the whole truth. And they might look at her with loathing if she did that. Cassie was always saying Peal was an amazing woman. If the truth came out, about what she hadn’t done for their poor mother, Cassie certainly wouldn’t believe that anymore.”  (p47, Orion Books, 2015)

Even though I am only about a quarter way through this novel, I am enjoying the story. My curiosity has been aroused as the writer shares little tidbits of information as I read along.

What are you reading this week? Feel free to share a few sentences from the book in the comments. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)


Filming Macbeth

My daughter groans when she is expected to do another Shakespearean scene. Acting is not one of her favourite things to do.

Remember those days in high school when every year we were exposed to another of the Bard’s works? This year my eldest daughter (who is in grade 11) is working on Macbeth. One of their assignments was to enact and film a scene from the play. Preferring to work on her own, she roped in her sister to help and had to get a little creative with her presentation. After plenty of procrastination my daughter laid out a blanket on the floor, brought out the stuffed animals that my girls still have, and raided the cupboard for dishes to ‘set the table’. The sight on the floor reminded me of when we used to have indoor Teddy Bear picnics during the long Winter months.

Filming Macbeth. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017
Filming Macbeth. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

I could not help but smile at my girls as they worked on the piece. Who would have thought that Pickachu would speak words written by Shakespeare? Or that a teddy bear would effectively enact the role of Banquo?  I did not see the film’s premier in my daughter’s English class, but she tells me that many people chuckled. I can’t say I blame them – I would have as well.

My daughter is definitely creative and I love how she turned a dull project into an imaginative one.

What has made you smile this week?

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)


Grateful for Long Weekend

Last weekend was longer than usual. I had time to read a couple of novels (both written by Jude Devereaux), go out for dinner, zumba at a couple of classes, and have a few dinners at home with my family. The days blended together as I chuckled with my girls and went for a couple of walks outside. The weather this past weekend was Spring-like – definitely not the weather one expects to experience mid-February. Even though it was not too long ago that we had our Winter break, this long weekend was welcomed with open arms. My girls needed a rest from the project-and-test frenzy they have experienced in the last few weeks; and I needed a couple of days off as a result of completing report card deadlines.

This week I am grateful for long weekends. Monday was a day off for most people (many stores were closed as were offices). The Family Day gave us a chance not only to spend time with our families, but to also give ourselves a much-needed rest.

What have you been grateful for this week?

Processed with RookieLast week:

Laura was grateful for memory aids

Lavender Ladi was grateful for unexpected weather

Sandra was grateful for life

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

To Count Or Not To Count?

To Count or not to count? That is the question.

Image result for lose itRemember I told you at the beginning of the year that I was going to count calories using the Lose it! app? I has been a month now that I have been logging every morsel that I eat into my daily record. I have been diligent about the tracking – noting down every drink, every meal, and every snack.

I am sure you are wondering whether tracking my caloric input has affected my weight. I can tell you that it hasn’t. The needle on the scale hasn’t budged and I still weigh the same as I did 5 weeks ago when I began recording the number of calories that I consume.

The tracking has made me think about my food and whether I am ‘allowed’ to eat it or not. Personally I feel that I have become even more focused on my eating – and not always in a good way. I found myself measuring my cereal, the milk I use, and even the butter I spread on my toast. It does take out the joy of preparing a meal. I could get used to measuring my meals – but doing so is not working for me.

Tracking my caloric intake has also been difficult at times. Many of my meals are cooked from scratch and how do I figure out what the calories are of a serving of fried rice? Or homemade vegetable soup? I found this to be a little frustrating.

Tracking calories, however, has reinforced that natural, whole foods do have less calories than the prepackaged foods that are made by bulk in factories. Thus it is better to focus on eating whole fruit and vegetables as opposed to the snacks and foods that are laden with sugar and so easy to enjoy.

To count or not to count? My decision is not to count. After the discipline of tracking for a month (remember that my word of the year is discipline?), I have decided that I need to find another way of changing my eating habits.

On what do you base your eating habits?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

A School Valentine

For me, Valentine’s Day is another normal day – except the sale of chocolate, flowers, cards, and all things red increases for a day. I do not make too much fuss on this day (for me, Christmas is my favourite celebration). The children at school, however, love it. This year, I was pleasantly surprised when two members of staff offered us some homebaked treats at lunch.

Valentine Homebaked Treats. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

The celebration in my class is very low-key: at the end of the day the children exchange cards and we share a snack (treats provided by the parents). I do ask the parents that if their child is going to exchange cards, that they write one for every person in the class (I send home a list so that no one is forgotten). Many children remember me while preparing their cards.

Valentine Cards. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017
Valentine Cards. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

The cards make me smile – especially the homemade ones created with love and care.

How was your Valentine’s Day?

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)