a peek inside the fishbowl

18 Aug, 2017

Birthday wishes

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

I was craving a sweet coffee beverage at Starbucks this afternoon but decided to make something for myself here at home instead. The reason: it hurts to move. You see, yesterday, I decided to finally try a fitness app I downloaded MONTHS ago. It’s called SEVEN and it’s an intense whole body workout that doesn’t require anything other than (a) your body (b) gravity, and (c) a chair.

I’ve been pretty good on the treadmill, and I figured, hey, adding seven minutes to my daily routine shouldn’t be a big deal, amirite?



I could hardly get out of bed this morning, that’s how achy breaky I was. Even my armpits hurt! I hobbleshuffled to the bathroom to down a couple of Advils just so I could make it down the stairs without killing myself.

So instead of tapping this post out at a busy coffee shop with a frothy drink by my side, I am at home, enjoying my own concoction of a double espresso with a teaspoon of coconut oil and a teaspoon of maple syrup and topped with icy cold milk. And you know what, it’s fitting the bill at the moment.

In other news: I am trying to recreate a vegetarian Big Mac here at home but can’t bring myself to buy processed cheese.

In OTHER news: I am turning 45 tomorrow. 45! As per tradition here at Casa Fishbowl, the birthday celebrant gets to dictate the day. The original plan was to go to Kontinuum in the morning (we’re already booked), followed by lunch (location TBD), a kayaking at Dows Lake, then sushi and a stroll around Preston Street. Unfortunately, they’re calling for rain so watersports and other outdoor activities will have to be postponed.

For the past few years I’ve tried to seek growth or challenge myself in some way on my birthday. I should probably challenge myself more often, but the way I see it, there’s no better time to make the effort to prove that I’m alive than on the Anniversary of The Day of My Birth. Last year we biked to the National Gallery to take in an amazing exhibition. That was pretty tame compared to the year we hiked the Lusk Falls Trail in Gatineau. The girls STILL talk about it. (And let’s be clear, it was a victory for everyone but they remember this particular birthday outing as something akin to a torture session.)

I have decided to change things up a bit this year. This year, I am starting a new tradition. What got me thinking about this, weirdly, is a scholarship that was awarded to one of my eldest daughter’s friends. One of the main requirements of this scholarship was to learn a new skill for each year of high school. So, for him, it was four new skills.

Now, I’ve learned a lot of things in my lifetime, and I learn every day, but a lot of the things I’m learning are neither fun nor helping me grow much as a person. For example, learning how to use the Flipp app is great for saving a few bucks at the grocery store, but it is making me a better, more well-rounded individual? Somewhere along the way I’ve forgotten to focus on learning. And isn’t that what life is about? (Ok, you could argue that last point, but you catch my drift, right?)

So here’s my pledge: I’m going to learn something new every year until The End. It’s a big promise to make to myself, not to mention the fact that I’ve just shouted it from the proverbial rooftop, but I think this could only be good for me.

At the moment I have a tab open with all of the courses offered at Algonquin College. The smarter, more rational side of me thinks I should dedicate my year to something that will expand my career options and marketable skills. The fun and less boring side of me… is considering ukulele lessons. Or pastry making, although boxing could be cool too. (I’ve always wanted to be able to punch someone effectively.)

What would YOU like to do or learn more about? A language? An instrument? A sport? Help!

4 Responses to "Birthday wishes"

1 | Karen W

August 19th, 2017 at 7:25 am


Currently I’m learning Urban Sketching by taking a course at Sketchbook Skool online. I’ve never been good at drawing but wonkyness is embraced in urban sketching. Great fun.

2 | mimi

August 19th, 2017 at 8:10 am


Spanish, how to read charted knitting patterns, how to play the concertina, American Sign Language, crochet, bike repair skills, basic building skills, dog training

3 | andrea tomkins

August 20th, 2017 at 10:45 am


Ah! These are great. I am intrigued by Spanish. Urban sketching too! Also, bike repair! Ok. I have some thinking to do…

4 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive A story about me and music, with some sad parts but a happy ending - a peek inside the fishbowl

October 2nd, 2017 at 5:16 pm


[…] of you might remember a post I wrote around my birthday about growing and learning. To summarize: I’ve made a commitment to learn something new every […]

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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