Thursday, December 03, 2009
I really should not be writing a blog about pumpkin spice cake. In fact, I should not be anywhere near a pumpkin spice cake or any other cake for that matter. But good heavens--is this cake delicious or what? A friend who makes cakes, pies and cookies as a side job made it for me--and for free too. Well, I guess we bartered, I gave her the self-raising corn meal I bought in error when I meant to buy plain corn meal.
This cake is so totally scrumptious, I was afraid I would eat it whole within a day or two so I cut half and froze it, gave my neighbour a huge piece and thankfully my sis loves it too. And until I thaw out the remaining half, that devious cake is gone! I didn't want to have to think of ways to burn off a whole cake--what would that take? Running non-stop for a week? Isn't it funny how calories add up really quickly and exercise does not. I came across some blogs by Coach Nicole titled Burn it Off in which she talks about how much exercise it takes to burn off different food items. For example, to burn off a bagel with cream cheese (480 calories), you'd have to jump on the trampoline for 2 hours!!
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
So my brief sojourn into housekeeping is over. Will I miss working at the hotel? Mostly I will miss my co-workers and learning Spanish. I already could count to 10, say hallo and was starting to recognize some words. As some of you mentioned on my blog yesterday, this was a learning experience. It sure was and a valuable one too. The top 5 things I learned were
· You can get a lot accomplished if you stay focused on the task at hand. To clean as many rooms as we had to, you had to finish each check-out room in less than 30 minutes and an occupied room in less than 10. So staying focused: no getting distracted, no second-guessing yourself, no multitasking, Just total and complete focus, finish one task and move to the next. So right now, I need to close all these gazillion windows I have opened and just focus on one task: finishing this blog and go out for my walk!
· Miracles still happen. A day after I put in my notice at the hotel, I had to pick up my sis from work (she was having a serious vertigo spell). The owner of the business mentioned that she might have a few part time hours if I was interested.
· Being at peace, sleeping well and eating right are just as important as being active. Even though I was active all day—logging in 20,000+ on the days I worked, my eating habits were out of whack and I was not sleeping well. All of which negated my being active. I knew for certain that with this job, I would lose weight but get this—I gained!
· The importance of saying thanks and being considerate. One of the hardest things about this job was how unrewarding it was and how unappreciated one felt. It felt so good to meet someone who was genuinely thankful and considerate. My favorite was a note I found from a group of students in town for a conference “Hope we didn’t leave too much of a mess for you. Thank you” signed Tyler. I saved it.
· Life is a hoot and full of ironies. At this hotel, tips were practically non-existent. But on my last day, I got my highest tip -- $10. I almost jumped with joy. At least someone thought of the person who was to clean his or her room, it felt good. I usually carry a small wallet with my valuables but this time I just stuck the $10 in my pocket. It must have fallen out somewhere and all that was left by the end of the day was the rest of my tips—6 pennies. Unbelievable! I had to laugh. I figure there must have been someone who needed it more than me. I hope one of my fellow housekeepers found it.
So what is next?
For now, doing some work on E-bay. A friend and I have an E-bay store and though it has been quiet most of the year, it is picking up for the holidays. So I’ll be listing auctions, answering questions and hopefully shipping stuff out! And I need to call my sister’s boss and find out about that part time job—my only hesitation has been that I do not want this to affect my sister’s hours in any way. I don’t want her to lose hours because of me.
I also plan to spend some time writing. Its something I have always said I will do but never dedicate time consistently for this. This week, I started on a couple of writing contests due at the end of the month. There are also a couple of other things I have been procrastinating on that I need to complete.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
After a couple of months of what I consider the hardest job that I have ever had, it was with extreme relief that I worked my last day as a hotel maid on Sunday. Well, December 5th is my official last day but I am off the rest of the week so for all intents and purposes, Sunday was my last work day.
Typical of most work days there—I had 17 rooms on my last day and had to work at a relentless pace to finish them. By the end of the day, my feet and back hurt. Luckily I did not have too many double rooms and the rooms were not as trashed as they could have been. But even with these exceptions, cleaning 17 rooms (which are often on different floors) is challenging. And yet this is a typical day for housekeepers at most hotels. You are perpetually exhausted. And when the hotel is busy, you can get up to 30 rooms.
At first, I thought I would wait out the economy’s recovery there while earning a little money. But in the end, it was just not worth it. Perhaps if it paid more or if the pace was slower, I may have. And then there was the selective insomnia—I really would have a tough time sleeping despite being exhausted if I had to work the next day. Anyway long story short, I called it quits. And as I was leaving on Thursday, the manager asked me if I wanted to pick up some more hours this week, it was my pleasure to say “No, Thank You.”
Thursday, November 26, 2009
At the beginning of each year, I start a daily motivational book that I use during the year. Typically, they are inspirational daily readings that I plan to read (don't always do so) every morning as I get my day started.
This year, my motivational book was the Daily Secret Teachings. The first entry on Jan 1st asked that I create a list of 100 things I am grateful for every day. I made this list diligently for a month or 2 although I never got to 100. I think my longest was 50 although I am certain without a doubt that every day there are more than 100 things we can be grateful for. Writing the list itself became tedious--I still keep a list in my journal or on a couple of gratitude threads here on spark, usually a short list of 5-10 items. In the spirit of thanksgiving, I am determined to list 100 things I am grateful for today
1. my health
2. my family's well being
3. I had a good day at work doing guest requests
4. my sister who gets vertigo is feeling okay today
5. my 2 nephews Nicolas and Alex
7. my mom who sacrificed much as single mom of 6
8. chai masala
9. digestive biscuits
10. heat on a cold November evening
11. my awesome housemates
12. recent good news from home--soon to be an Auntie again
13. reaching an important decision about work
15. Jasmine perfume oil
16. warm socks
17. a roof over my head
18. food on the table
19. running water
20. Functioning appliances
21. hot water
22. having my sense of hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell
23. the aroma and taste of pumpkin spice cake
24. the sound of my neighbour's wind chimes
25. the wonderful guests I met today
26. having a computer in the house
27. the prospect of seeing decorated homes
28. Spark and the online friends I have met here
29. the guys of Blue collar comedy
30. KCUR, our local NPR station
31. NPR.org where I can catch up on missed programs
33. Getting reacquainted with an old friend
34. Off days on Friday and Saturday
35. Overcoming selective insomnia and falling asleep this morning
Okay, this is as far as I have gotten so far. I plan to continue after dinner.
36. A hearty thanksgiving meal
37. watching the Plaza lighting ceremony from home
38. business slowly picking up on my E-bay sales
39. The housekeeping job that allowed me not to dip even further into my savings
40. A break from cleaning rooms today
41. Picking up a few Spanish words from co-workers
43. children, they are our future
46. crossword puzzles
50. my brother who stops by to check on mom almost every day
51. My older sis who took care of mom many years after her stroke
52. Getting a free turkey this year
53. Hot chocolate
55. abundant love
56. The holiday season officially beginning with the switch of the lights at 7:30 CT
57. My bed
58. This lovely room
59. comfy PJs
60. My fingers typing this list
61. Hands that aid me throughout the day
62. Opposable thumbs without which we would not be able to hold much of anything, button our clothes easily, tie shoe laces, zippers, fasten necklaces, hold a spoon to eat, a pen to write
63. Eyes that see, Ears that hear
65. My heart, that powerful muscle that beats oxygen throughout my body
66. Legs that carry me wherever I want to go
67. A brain that fires millions of synapses every single minute
68. This truly awesome body
69. a closet full of clothes
70. warm clothing and coats for winter
71. A car
72. This cozy little house I call home
73. My joy of reading
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