Monday, December 31, 2007

Auld Lang Syne

Ushering in the new year ... do you feel prepared?

Rarely do I make resolutions - why bother setting the standards high when I know I won't keep them - but this year I think I will definitely strive to be a little more patient, and a little less talkative. Pretty challenging not to talk, I always have a lot to say. But today someone told me that someone else told her (follow along, please) that I seemed to turn the conversation onto myself a lot. This caught me off guard, given that I had always thought the "someone else" did the exact same thing when we conversed. In fact I recall the specific conversation, and I recall the "someone else" asking me about my life, so why she would find it weird that I talked about myself, I just don't know.

But then again, the truth usually lies somewhere in between two people's perceptions.

I'm full of flaws, and often I can't stop thinking about those flaws. You might not know that about me. I don't like to show weakness. So of course, I am now mulling (ok, ruminating) over the fact (or perception) that someone thinks I talk about myself far too much.

Sometimes, I sort of hate who I am. So it's a good thing God's love for me is unconditional, and exists even when I'm tired of myself.

I'm tired of myself right now.

*EDIT... to respond to comments:

PJ: I think you've missed my point entirely. I never said that I like to talk about myself. Certainly, this blog is about me, it is my blog after all.

All I meant to say in this blog is that I have never thought I talked a lot about myself to that friend, but if that friend perceives that I did, maybe I will just have to keep a lot more TO myself in the future. That's all.




Sunday, December 23, 2007

Pondering the future

The hubby's extended family appears to be turning into Wii addicts. Tonight we enjoyed yet another family dinner. People have moved on from asking when we are going to have kids to asking when we are going to build our new house. Do not panic - we have no concrete plans to build a house. Do not ask me - we are not even going to consider it for a few more years. I have no idea where everyone decided we were going to build a house forthwith, but all sorts of (unsolicited? unhelpful?) advice came pouring in - such as, build now before you have kids! build it bigger so you have lots of room! build now because it will be expensive later!

I'm quite happy living where we are right now. Those close to me will know that it's a struggle just to keep our house clean - imagine living in a bigger house where the amount of surface area to clean would be staggering. I suppose the hubby's family is just excited or something at the idea that we might be expanding our humble abode, but if we had to keep up with the wealth of extended family, we would have to work several jobs each, and I'd probably have to start embezzling. We went to one family's house recently which felt like one of those dream-home-lottery houses ... I just felt uncomfortable the whole time, like I was dirtying the place just by walking through it. I'd rather live here and be proud of the fact that the hubby saved up for years on his own to be able to buy this place. I'd like to be proud when people come over and aren't horrified by what they see. I'd like to be content with what we have.

My personality isn't overly laid back, but I would like to think that I am learning to be content. This is applicable in many circumstances. The hubby is working toward a new career of sorts, and there is always the chance he won't like it, or maybe will like it but will find it very difficult, and money will be tight. Or maybe he'll want to be a stay-at-home dad if we have kids. (I highly doubt I will want to be a stay-at-home mom but I suppose anything is possible.) I would hope that I could learn to be content in any of those situations. In the past couple of years, I have learned that God is faithful and will always provide, if we put him first in our lives.

Two days until Christmas. The Lord is good - let us come and adore.



Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Timeline

Age 4: I tell my mom I want to quit pre-school because all they teach is the alphabet, and I already know how to read.

Age 5: I watch my kindergarten teacher pull out my friend's loose tooth by tying floss around it, attaching the floss to the closet door, and closing the door.

Age 6: I am one of the tallest girls in grade 1. My teacher puts me in the fast learners reading group. These are unrelated issues.

Age 7: My brother and I convince my parents to get season passes to Expo 86. We proceed to go as often as possible. I remember the giant Swatch.

Age 8: I am taking piano lessons with my very scary teacher. She yells. Many times, I hold back tears until the end of the lesson.

Age 9: I am in a split class with a new teacher. I still spell better than all the kids in the class, including in the grade above me.

Age 10:
I put a poppy, pin side up, on the seat of a boy I hate. He sits on it, but the pin lodges between the "cheeks". I laugh - he doesn't.

Age 11: We move to a new house. My brother gets the room with the big windowsill, so I get to choose what side of the bathroom I want. It is not the same.

Age 12: I practice piano for 3 hours a day to get ready for my grade 10 piano exam. Sometimes, I read a book while practicing my scales, thinking my mom won't notice. She notices.

Age 13: Transition to grade 8 and a school where I know no one. I look around at all the nerds in my enriched classes and fear that I am more of a nerd than any of them.

Age 14: My team wins at Technolympics and is rewarded with the ugliest long-sleeve t-shirts I've ever seen. That's what you get for building the best 10-second timer and the longest, thinnest newspaper bridge.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sleigh bells ring.. .maybe

When we were young, we used to spend most of our Christmases in Seattle with my aunts and their families. I loved Christmas in Seattle - my cousins were so much fun, and being the youngest, I got to take full advantage of the cute factor. Plus, my cousins let me "shop" in their closets, and gave me bags full of barely worn clothes. One of my aunts had a big fish tank in front of their fireplace, and I still remember how my uncle would move the fish tank the night before Christmas while we slept, so that in the morning he could point to it and say, "Look! Santa came and he moved the fish tank!"

I never actually believed in Santa, of course, but it was still amusing. My parents never encouraged a belief in Santa Claus - they taught us that Christmas was about the birth of our Saviour. It's probably safe to say that most "church babies" like me had similar experiences.

So I was a little surprised in the last week to find that Praise 106.5, my number one pre-set station in the car, was playing The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.) It's a lovely song, but a part of it involves kids waiting for Santa and his sleigh full of goodies. I find it strange that a Christian music station would play such a secular song. It seems that Christmas is being watered down even in a Christian radio station. Very.... sad.

Two weeks until Christmas. I'm looking forward to some quality family time. My brother is coming back, yay! Also, we are hoping that the hubby's parents will come with us to Christmas Eve service at church - please pray that God will work in his family. Praise God for his unending love.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Things I would like to have

  1. Strawberry Chapstick. I don't know why, but Shoppers (and other stores) only seem to sell plain and cherry, which, yuck. I have only found strawberry at one particular store at UBC (Subcetera). Not being a student anymore has a downside.
  2. A saxophone. I still want to learn how to play one day. How hard can it be?? :)
  3. New computer.... although the rattling in this one seems to have stopped... yay!
  4. 24 Season 6 set. Gotta keep the collection going.
  5. A 16-20 oz. stainless steel tumbler, no handle. I have a "tall" size one already. What? I like hot drinks.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Exhaustion

It's only been 3 days and I am TIRED. Also, it is terribly warm in robes. I don't like the on-edge feeling I have all the time, and while it's fun and all, it's just so, so hard. It doesn't help that I am still fighting a cold. I delivered my opening statement with about half my normal voice and now I am hacking up a lung. But God is good and I know it's only by his grace that I even had any voice!

Okay. What else can I talk about. How about some real-time blogging of TV:

It's commercial time during America's Next Top Model. Yum, chocolate torte or something like that at Superstore (President's Choice brand.) Andrew, I think you'd really like this. It looks like pretty dense chocolate. And only around $5.99 or something.

And now, Ugly Betty commercials. I've never watched this show.

Oh, we're back to ANTM. Why is that girl's hair just like Tootie from Facts of Life? Nigel is mean. Miss Jay's afro reminds me of that Bishi Bashi stage where you have to match the beat to make the guy's hair grow. Nigel is annoying and can't take a joke. Tyra is getting really weird as the seasons go on.

I'm so sick of the "X of you stand before me... but I only have X-1 photos" and the "The first name that I'm going to call is..." JUST CALL THE NAME. No need for the ridiculous drama. Oh, Tootie made it. They're off to Beijing (currently they are in Shanghai.) Oh, the name Tyra doesn't call must leave the show. No, it's the person whose name she doesn't call. Tyra is horrible.

You shouldn't be late for go-sees. Neither should you wander around Shanghai by yourself. Apparently you also must wipe away your sarcastic attitude in order to make the judges like you. I obviously would never make it on this show... and I'm not just talking looks.

And now the hubby wants to play video games, so it's back to work for me.



Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mexico roundup, part 1 (sans photos)

Good day everyone,

I'm sure you've been wondering where I've been. Well, to give you an idea of my week thus far, I got home around 8 on Monday and it's just been getting later every day. We're gearing up for three super busy weeks, so I don't think I'll be seeing any less of my messy office any time soon.

Anyway, Mexico! It was great. The weather was perfect - hot, but not ridiculously so. It was our first time at an all-inclusive and I think it was a great way to start. Our resort wasn't one of the huge ones we saw driving past Cancun, but the size was great. We were right by the pool and a tiny walk away from the beach. Apparently at some resorts you might walk for 20 minutes to get to dinner. That is just ridiculous. The food was pretty good, although I think cruise food is a notch above. Food was certainly plentiful. I like how on a cruise, you get to eat a "fancy" meal every night - whereas at all-inclusives, much of the time, your dinner is a buffet.

I managed to finish three books while lying around on the beach enjoying mojitos and margaritas. I read "The World According to Garp" (very... interesting), "All Over Creation" (hmm... also very interesting), and "The Good Life" (which I did not realize was a 9/11-related book.) The hubby couldn't really see the fascination in reading all day long, so he played beach volleyball, soccer, tennis, etc. I did get roped into "beach Olympic games" one day and that was a little strange, but fun. Our team lost though. Maybe because our team name was "Gimme More Tequila" (not my suggestion.)

Anyway I will try to post more when the craziness dies down. Look for me sometime before Christmas, in other words :)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Forgive and forget?

How do you forgive the unforgivable?

This is a question posed by a friend, a woman of great strength and faith in God, who spends much of her life serving others and ministering to their needs ... a woman who has recently suffered a terrible tragedy in her family, one I can't even begin to fathom, grief that would shake your faith more than ever before and would leave you wondering why God could ever allow horrible things to happen.

How does one forgive what is seemingly unforgivable? I don't know the answer. The somewhat obvious answer is that nothing is unforgivable to God. This is a truth I have known for most of my life, and yet I don't know if it is really an answer. God's mercy is beyond what anyone on earth can offer ... so it seems obvious that his ability to forgive goes beyond ours.

What does forgiveness mean?

I wish I had the answers.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I'm giving up NaBloPoMo

...because I realized that being away in Mexico with no free internet will really hamper my posting. So anyway I'll try to keep you all entertained until we leave, and then you'll just have to ponder what I will write next.

So, I'll just answer Tree's comments about popular items in the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. I really don't think any item was unpopular, although of course, kids aren't nearly as excited to see socks as they are to see toys. But that doesn't mean socks aren't useful! We found that kids really liked to get toys that had some sort of movement to them - like spinning tops where you pull out a plastic zipper to get them to spin, whirly-bird flyers, yo-yo's, etc. Candy was also a big hit, as you might expect. Older kids seemed to like things that were useful ... sunglasses, hats, small makeup kits for girls (although I am not wild about this...), tools for boys, stickers, hair accessories, notebooks/stationery, pens, etc. I don't think there's much you could put in a box that wouldn't be enjoyed!

Operation Christmas Child/Samaritan's Purse always faces a measure of controversy. I don't pretend to understand it all, but I suppose the short version is that they are often criticized for telling kids about the gospel and about God... many suggest that the shoeboxes come with strings attached because the children are "forced" to hear a religious message in order to get their gift. I see it differently.

OCC works through local partners. Each receiving country has a leadership team, and that leadership team works incredibly hard to mobilize local churches. Often, the pastors of those churches go door-to-door to invite children to come to the church for a rally and for a gift. Children and families are not deceived into attending the event ... they are told that it is a church-organized event. No one is forced to accept Christ. The local pastor and church usually lead worship songs, then someone will tell the Bible story. Kids are asked if they would like to accept Christ as Saviour, and if so, they are invited up for prayer. Then the boxes get handed out. A separate person will have a booklet on Jesus' gift to us available, but kids do not have to take one if they don't want to. They get a box regardless.

Anyway, I think the value of the shoebox goes beyond the gifts inside it. Samaritan's Purse often is able to get into countries with limited access through OCC, and then they are able to do some amazing work. The BioSands water filter is one excellent example. It's a slow sand filtration system which removes harmful bacteria and other water contaminants - one filter can meet an entire family's needs for their lifetime. Pretty amazing stuff. Only $100 supplies a family with the filter and health education, ensuring clean water to cook with, bathe with, etc.

The bottom line, for me, is that SP/OCC seeks to meet the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of people in developing nations. In so doing, they acknowledge that their main goal is to spread the news of Christ.... but their work isn't conditional upon people accepting Christ.

Hope that helps :)



Saturday, November 03, 2007

Shoebox time!

What are you putting in your shoebox this year? Yes that's right, it's Operation Christmas Child time again! If you haven't packed your box yet, it isn't too late! Official collection week is November 5-10, 2007. You can drop off your box at any Safeway, or go here to find a location near you for dropoff.

We just did a little shoebox shopping today. I made my box for a 6-8 year old girl. Here's what I got:
  1. Plastic box (more long-lasting than cardboard)
  2. Plushie seal (cuz in Canada - we have seals. Heh.)
  3. 12 pencil crayons
  4. 6 pencils
  5. 1 pencil sharpener (hand crank kind!) (only $2!)
  6. Skipping rope
  7. Facecloth
  8. Pink pencil case with ruler/stencil
  9. 3 finger puppets (zebra, lion, bear... oh my)
  10. Wooden drum toy thing (you rub it between your hands - it makes noise)
Not bad I think. The box wouldn't hold any more stuff!

Hubby made his box for a 10-14 year old boy. He wanted to include some stuff that might help a boy who needs to work, so his box has:

  1. Plastic box
  2. Screwdriver with various bits
  3. Monkey wrench
  4. Ruler set
  5. 12 pencil crayons
  6. 6 pencils
  7. Pencil sharpener
  8. Magnifying glass (to start a fire? examine a bug?)
  9. Othello game
  10. Facecloth
  11. Tape measure (metal kind)
Maybe that'll give you some ideas for your own shoebox! We're also including a Christmas card with our picture and address, in case somehow the kids are able to write us a letter. That'd be super cool!

We really had so much fun and joy in giving away boxes last year in Chile. God has given us so much... it was awesome to be able to share some of that with children in another part of our world. As we approach the Christmas season, may God work in all of our hearts to look beyond ourselves!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Ridiculous behaviour

Yesterday I spent an unreasonable amount of time on the phone with my former cell phone company, whose name rhymes with Hell. This cell phone saga is just out of control. Although I had cancelled my services with them at the end of September by switching to another company, they decided to bill me all the way until Nov. 21 anyway. Prior to switching, I had phoned to ask if there were any cancellation charges, fees, or penalties I should be aware of, and had been told that no, all you do is get the other company to port your number over and then byebye! After I made the switch, I phoned again to ask if there would be any further charges or problems, and they said no, and byebye.

I did get a bill in which I paid up till Oct 21 (since the billing is always a month in advance), and as it isn't a huge amount, I figured it wasn't worth my time to complain.

But then I got another bill for the following month!

So I phoned and spoke to a rep who really had no idea what I was even saying. She told me that there is a 30 day notice which I must give when I am cancelling. I pointed out that two separate reps hadn't told me about this when I called, and she said, "Sorry, but they were wrong." So I asked to speak to a supervisor, and she took this to mean that she should be the go-between between the supervisor and me. Finally, she told me that the supervisor said because I wasn't on a contract, I didn't have to give the 30 day notice, so good news, I only had to pay up to the end of October. I pointed out that no, that would mean I wouldn't have to pay past September, so in fact, "Hell" owed me money, not the other way around.

She didn't get it.

She finally sent me over to the supervisor, who then backtracked and said in fact, I do have to give 30 days notice. She said I should have referred to my terms of service agreement (given to me in 2003) and when I explained that I don't have this mysterious agreement, which is why I called way back in September, she agreed that the reps back then should have told me about it. I called her on this, saying that if they were both wrong, why should I pay the price for their mistake. She said "Oh, well all of our reps are different and will say different things." (That's reassuring.) She then got kind of nasty and I actually had to say all of the following:

- Stop. Just stop talking.
- Please stop talking.
- Will you let me finish?
- Please stop talking AND LET ME FINISH.
- Excuse me, I was not finished talking.
- So you told the other rep that I didn't have to give 30 days notice, yet you are telling me I do have to.
- STOP TALKING. LET ME FINISH. I AM TALKING. NOT YOU.

She tried to tell me she was being generous in waiving the early contract cancellation fee. Of course, THERE IS NO SUCH FEE since I was not even on a contract. I pointed this out and she said, "Yes, so the fee has been waived." NO. That is incorrect usage of "waived".

She then tried to tell me she was being generous in waiving the Oct 22-Nov 21 bill ... and I said again, there is no 30 day notice, so that bill is really wrong to begin with.

At the end of the day, I possibly called her a dumbass (not the way to approach conflict, I know... but in the interest of full blog disclosure...) Oh, and I'm getting about $5 back from them.

It's the principle.

But I will admit that sometimes, strict adherence to "principle" just isn't worth the time and effort.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

NaBloPoMo strikes again

So I just realized that it's time for the annual NaBloPoMo event again ... the month in which bloggers (some? a few thousand?) attempt to post every single day. Once again, I didn't officially join, but once again, I will attempt to write something every day. I have my doubts about the success of this venture, but we shall see.

Speaking of things that occur every year, I got my hair cut two days ago. I don't have a picture of myself yet... nor do I really want to post one on my blog anyway ... but here is (somewhat) the look I suggested:



The stylist (thank you to Char and Jr for the salon suggestion!) said "Oh ... this style requires hair wax. Do you use hair wax?" and I almost said, "What is hair wax?" Instead, I went with the vague "Oh... not really..." and then I gave her complete control of my hair. I tend to think that's the best idea, since I know nothing about hair. I wouldn't want my clients telling me how to do my job, I suppose.

The best part is that this haircut only cost $25 (although FYI - their prices are going up to $28 starting Dec. 1). I am truly a cheapskate (considering I cut my hair once a year or even less). But not so cheap that I would cut my hair myself... although I thought about it.

It's the day after Halloween. Time to search out some half price candy!



Thursday, October 25, 2007

Step off, please

This morning I was reading a blog where the writer was talking about his sadness over his wife's recent miscarriage, and I read through some of the comments. One started with something like "Honey, don't feel bad that you are sad about this..."

I *hate* when strangers start their sentences with "Honey" or "Sweetie". It's irritating and patronizing. As well, it most often accompanies some sort of self-righteous statement. Eg, "Honey, you don't know grief until you lose a parent like I have." Unless you are an 86-year-old woman, or my husband, kindly refrain from referring to me as honey or sweetie or sweetheart. Someone once called me sweetheart on some sort of forum and then implied that I had no idea what I was talking about. This is of course untrue as I always know what I am talking about. Nonetheless, I was irritated.

Maybe I'm just a little tired because I arrived at work when it was still dark. I am not a fan of mornings.

Ok, next topic. PJ asked for a post about the Canucks. Well, I'll be the first to admit that they've stunk it up on more than one occasion this year. I went back to my old posts and saw that my Canucks rant last year was on November 15, 2006, so apparently we are a little ahead of schedule. If there's one thing to say about the Canucks, it's that they never fail to disappoint me at least once every season. Consistency is key.

Oh well! Last time I ranted about them, they actually won a few games. I still have faith. :D Frankly I think they need to put Trevor in instead of benching him in favour of the lackeys. Come ON!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Song lyrics

I have about five radio stations that I rotate between in the morning. One is news-only, one is traffic-only, and the others have music (and annoying morning show filler.) Driving to work can be mind-numbingly boring if I haven't got something to listen to, and it passes the time when I'm stuck in traffic (which you would think I wouldn't be, since I listen to traffic radio!)

Once in a while I hear a familiar song and realize that I never really listened to the lyrics before.... and hmm... those are the lyrics?? I wonder what they mean!

For example, I love the "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" song by PM Dawn. It feels like the perfect summertime song (except for "Summertime", of course). But here are some lines from the song:

  1. Subterranean by design, I wonder what I would find if I met you, let my eyes caress you, until I meet the thought of Missess Princess Who?
  2. Careless whisper from a careless man, a neutron dance for a neutron fan;
  3. Christina Applegate, you gotta put me on. Guess who's piece of the cake is Jack gone? She broke her wishbone and wished for a sign.I told her whispers in my heart were fine.what did she think she could do?

Um ... neutron dance for a neutron fan? cake is jack gone? missess princess who? Maybe this song is a little like "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" or "Puff the Magic Dragon" ... if you get me.

I'm terrible with lyrics in general though. I would totally lose on The Singing Bee.

More to come when I have more thoughts :)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Wii love to DS

Friends, this blog is coming at you from a MacBook. I sure hope you like it because this computer is expensive. Of course, it isn't MY MacBook, but nonetheless, it's a nice one. If I had the cash to spare, I would consider a MacBook. Then again I would probably only use it for PhotoBooth. Speaking of which, if this is your computer on which I am composing my blog, have you noticed any new pictures on your PhotoBooth lately? Heh...

So it's been a bit of a technology-filled world lately. I got my new cell phone after weeks of waiting, and now I am just waiting for my screwed up bill to come so that I can call and complain. Please, sense my joy. The hubby sold my DS to a friend and due to a sale at our friendly Zellers, I got a brand new white DS Lite. Hubby is the proud owner of a brand new black DS Lite. Ahaha! We are such nerds. We will be Mariokarting all over the place, so look out.

Not much else of note lately. Someone sent us an email about some black Lab puppies that need a new home, and I did think about it - but it wouldn't be fair to the dog since we are going to Mexico soon ... too bad - they were super cute.

I am currently suffering from Nintendo thumb. As well as watery eyes. Perhaps I am just too old to play Nintendo. But probably not.

Pointless post, but I bet you read it all the way through anyway!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

In which I make a poor analogy

Some good news at work today led me to visit Starbucks (in celebration, I guess.) The signs at Starbucks, they are convincingly tempting and beautiful. In the greyness of the afternoon, I couldn't help but to order a pumpkin spice latte. Have you seen the picture of this drink? It is delightfully cozy looking, with its foamy, whipped-creamy top, poured nicely into a fall-coloured mug.

If you haven't had this drink before and aren't sure if you will like it, I encourage you to pick something else. Because it is the opposite of good. Oh sure, at first you don't notice the odd aftertaste or the vibrant orange colour of the drink, since it is covered by foam and whipped cream. But then, those things really start to take over and bug you... and the coffee is less and less enjoyable... and then you wonder why you ordered it at all instead of your standard caramel macchiato or dark chocolate mocha (even though that only exists at Blenz.) And then you start to question your own judgment - after all, what fool pays $4 for a drink she doesn't even like?

When you think about it, isn't that just like when you have a crush on someone - you are attracted by the outward good things, but you overlook the not-so-good things (or maybe - you just never knew about them to begin with.) You like that he is attractive, that he is mysterious, that he makes you laugh. Later on, as your crush develops, you discover that the little things you didn't mind so much are really irking you. That neat little way he honked rather than came to your door? The way he never said exactly what he was thinking? The constant finishing of your sentences? All SO IRRITATING. And then you are shocked that you ever liked the person to begin with.

That is, until you find the person who is your dark chocolate mocha on a cold day, the yang to your yin, the right to your left, and all that, and you realize that beneath the foam and whipped cream lies only good things. Right?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I only like diamonds

Diamonds are my birthstone. Had I been born in May, my birthstone would be emerald.

And that is all I know about stones.

Except, today on the morning radio show, the two hosts had a discussion about how stones can be healing and therapeutic, and how one host's mom had given her a topaz to "de-clutter" her mind. They asked for callers who could help explain the power of stones like rose quartz and boy howdy, did callers ever have things to say.

One caller spoke about a stone called snowflake obsidian, which she says is useful for bringing out the truth. She had been in a horrible relationship when she purchased the stone, and a week after she started carrying it around, the horrible truth came out and the relationship ended. Subsequent callers echoed the power of the obsidian, telling of how it too helps to de-clutter a person's mind, although apparently topaz does not ... and then it got even stranger, with callers talking about the negative energy that one might experience if one purchases a stone that has been previously worn. One caller's friend bought some kind of ring that gave her headaches, and as it turned out, the previous owner had also had headaches! (Maybe the ring was just on too tight!)

So then people said that what you might not realize is that you must cleanse a stone before it will work for you. Not clean, but cleanse. One lady suggested taking the stone out at a full moon and burying it in the sand to get rid of the negative energy. She talked about how stones are like sponges and they absorb whatever energy you put out. Someone else said that you obviously would not want to pick any stone, you must let the stone pick you. Yet another person said that the stone should touch your skin in order to work properly.

I admit, I was surprised by the level at which people believe in the power of an inert, inanimate object. Call me crazy, but the girl who was in the crappy relationship needed a stone to tell her it was crappy? And feeling as though a stone has healing powers, or could help "ground" you or clear your mind? I just can't fathom that at all. Perhaps this is an example of how people realize there is something missing in their lives, but instead of reaching for God, they reach for some kind of false spirituality. And then maybe they receive some sort of comfort for whatever reason, and their belief in that object increases even more. I don't know.

But it does suggest to me that we aren't doing enough to spread the good news about our God's love.

Luke 19:37-40
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
"Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"
"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."


Let us learn not to keep quiet.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Clutter

If you've been to our house before and you're a neat freak, thank you for not commenting on the constant disarray of our living space. I am definitely not a neat freak, but even I find the mess a little overwhelming at times. The difficulty is that there always seems to be something else to do rather than clean. We like to have people over and that definitely doesn't help with the need to clean - more people, more mess.

But it's fall, and I think a good time to get the house into good shape for winter. My goal is to get the hubby to start finding better places for all of his sports gear. Yesterday I said to him that I seem to have hardly anything in the house - everywhere I look it's hockey stuff, or golf stuff, or computer or work-related stuff that isn't mine. Even the storage in our bedroom is uneven - I get 5 drawers, he has 6, I get slightly less than half the closet (it's not clothes that take up his side - it's STUFF.) While I don't claim to be terribly organized, I do think that I tend toward getting rid of stuff rather than being a pack rat (like my brother - hello Andrew!) The only thing I've held onto with no real idea as to its future is my wedding dress. The hubby, however, is more of a collector and so we have some work to do in de-collecting.

In one effort to get myself going re: housework, I bought a laundry basket. You might not know this, but our hamper is actually a drink cooler in the shape of R2D2. It's quirky, but not that practical for laundry. It wasn't my choice for a hamper. Over the years, I've slowly taken over laundry in this house. The hubby is now prohibited from doing any laundry that involves my clothes... I got tired of pulling things out of the dryer that really shouldn't have gone in. I also felt like a nag every time I said that jeans HAD to be turned inside out before washing, and, well, I'll stop now before my laundry-related OCD comes out. So anyway, new laundry basket! It's been a great addition because now I can transport clothing without rolling R2D2 all over the place. R2D2 is probably a little jealous since he doesn't get to move around much any more. What he doesn't know is that there is a whole other R2D2 sitting in another bedroom, waiting to take over as laundry hamper #2. Did I mention how boys are weird?

I had a discussion with some teens once about laundry - in particular, the sock/underwear drawer. Some of them were of the type who throw everything into the drawer without any folding or sock-matching. Ridiculous! Even though I basically own 12 pairs of the exact same sock, I always match them up (and roll them up) before they go in the drawer. And underwear is ALWAYS folded.

So if I tell you I have to organize my sock drawer rather than going out, at least you know I'm not avoiding you - I'm just being domestic!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Dark clouds

I've been in a bit of a funk lately because of all of the stuff that keeps happening. We had to have the hubby's family dog put down and that has really been upsetting, not least because of the impact on the hubby and his family, and the very sad feeling I get when we go over there and May-May isn't there to greet us. She was a great dog. I guess we just have to remember the good times - like when she stayed with us and curled up at my feet to sleep (after frantically searching the house for the hubby, who was out) ... anyway. I miss her.

Work has been a bundle of irritations and office politics. It's hard to focus sometimes and I find that my temper is always right under the surface, waiting to explode. I'm not a terribly gentle person sometimes and I wish I was nicer. I don't know if that can change or if I just need to adjust my attitude somewhat. I think (and hope) that underneath my irritability lies a compassionate person. Of course, I may just be fooling myself.

My cell phone died a painful death two Saturdays ago. It was kind enough to display a little tombstone with "RIP - Re-Initiate Phone" written next to a tiny cell phone. I can't tell you how thrilled I was that the software programmers for my phone were so creative.

Anyway, the hubby ordered me a new cell phone with new, fabulous cell phone plan he negotiated last week. The cell phone folks promised 3-5 business days for said phone to arrive, and yesterday (6th business day) we were informed that it had not been sent out yet. I am not glued to a cell phone like some folks are, but I do like to have one handy in case of emergencies, and to be able to call when I am late, traffic is crappy, or I have made an unexpected detour. As well, I like to be able to call people when I feel like it. So as you can imagine, I am a little ticked that my new phone has not yet arrived and probably will not for several more days. Adding insult to injury, I am still being charged for a cell phone plan I cannot use, since my phone informed me of its death. I could have walked into a store and purchased a phone by now, but did not because of aforementioned new, fabulous cell phone plan. Given that it hasn't even been activated yet, I am in cell phone limbo and it is an unhappy place.

*note: coincidentally, I just answered a call at work from some folks at my soon-to-be cell phone provider offering us some glitzy plan. I considered asking the guy to send me my phone already dang you but decided to just forego it and tell him we weren't interested. He can, and I quote, definitely understand where we're coming from. Can he really? I think not.

Also, I am still in summer mode, but the weather is uncooperative. I hate all forms of winter.

I'm going to go and eat a bowl of noodles. Surely some comfort food will improve my mood.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

How deep the Father's love for us

We went to the funeral service for Josh today. Most of you probably know already, but the reason we went is because the hubby used to work with Josh's dad. This whole event has hit me rather hard. I didn't know the family very well at all, so I think it is just knowing that they are suffering which hurts me the most. What do you say, what do you do to comfort someone who might be beyond despair, beyond hope? How can you reconcile a good and loving God with a tragedy where a little boy is so suddenly gone from this world?

The service was beautifully done. The pastor spoke about how Jesus called the little children to him, and how God called Josh home early to be with him. I believe he is in heaven, but is that enough for a family that has lost their son and brother? It doesn't take away the pain. From what everyone shared about him, he was a little boy who loved to run and play and ride his bike ... he was a caring person who always made sure that the boy in his class who needed help received help ... he was a good big brother to his sisters, and he loved his parents tremendously.

In all of this, I just can't say any more than that I know our Lord hears us when we cry, and that he will comfort those who are suffering. I know so because I've lost loved ones... but I cannot even imagine the pain of losing a child.... and so I can only place my faith in God again and his promise to carry us through to the end of this long, difficult walk of life.

Please keep praying for Josh's family. May our God draw them close.

From a song by Michael Olson:

And so we wait in joyful hope
For You to come and take us home
And so we join beneath the cross
And suffering from whence we go
The greatest act of sovereign grace
In the universe displayed
For everything must die to rise again

On the third day, behold the King
On the third day, death has no sting
On the third day, we're forgiven and reconciled

Thursday, September 06, 2007

What a girl wants

I was going to write a blog about relationships, and what I think girls want out of relationships, and then I wrote it about three times and was dissatisfied, so it has now turned into a totally different post. You see, although I am married, I am most definitely not a relationship guru. I do, however, listen to a morning radio show where frequently one of the hosts talks about the latest (ridiculous) relationship guru book that s/he just read. Maybe one day I'll blog about that.

No, instead, today I'll tell you about the day I recently spent in court. That's right, I said day. For a matter that was to last 20 minutes. You can imagine my delight. I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say that it's worth it to develop a coherent argument that flows rather than to speak completely off the cuff. Just a little tip. What I want to share is my biggest lesson of the day - good shoes are completely worth the money.

I am typically a very cheap person when it comes to clothing and shoes. It's not uncommon for me to reject an item if it costs more than $20. You know it's bad when you get excited about cheap clothing at the grocery store. I once bought shoes for $8 at Payless, and they were great ... to look at. Of course, you get what you pay for most of the time.

So when I was in the States in the summer, I decided I was going to buy myself a comfortable pair of dressy flats for court, and that I was not going to let price stop me from making a good purchase. I went to the fabulous Nordstrom Rack and spent literally hours looking at the shoes. And I ended up with these (in black patent)!
You're probably thinking that these aren't very flat. So true! But aren't they LOVELY?? The best part is that they are leather with leather soles, and despite the 3" heels, I wore them all day and my feet were fine. I spent $50 US, which is kinda tough for me, honestly ... but leather! with leather soles!

I spent much of my day admiring my shoes ... I mean, when you're spending your entire day listening to ridiculous argument, you may as well ogle your own footwear!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Where is God when it hurts?

Pray for Josh Bates' family as they deal with the loss of a young, energetic brother and son. In the midst of darkness, may God use us to be light and comfort.

Lord, I don't know why this happened or even what good could come from this. I think we're all at a loss. I know you are sovereign, I know you are in control. God, please bring hope to Josh's family, to all of us who wonder why.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

America is awesome.

Poor AC Slater - he must have been killing himself not to laugh.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Summer's end

Before I begin, I'd like to praise the highway authorities for putting in a very nice overpass and shaving five minutes off my commute. Now if only they could arrange for me to just beam myself to work.

I'm not sure if I've ever spoken about the show Intervention before (probably I have) ... I catch it sometimes on A&E and it's very powerful. Generally it's about someone who is suffering from a terrible addiction or abuse problem, whether it's some kind of substance, or an eating disorder, etc, and then a group of friends and family get together to stage an intervention. I probably didn't need to explain that, but anyway. It's incredibly sad to see how someone's life can turn from a young kid with tons of potential to an adult who has completely lost control. By the time they get on the show (I believe usually they are told that it is a documentary about addiction; they don't know an intervention is coming), the family and friends have become desperate.

I don't really know what it is that I like about the show. Maybe it's the raw human emotion, the reality of addiction, the fact that it's like a train wreck and I can't turn away. Maybe it's that the show confronts stereotypes - the person who is a drug addict is someone's daughter or father or brother, someone who was at one time a good student, who held a steady job, who grew up with a loving family. Or maybe it's that I just can't understand why someone who needs help so badly would reject the help that is offered to them.

Maybe the desperation that the family feels when their loved one rejects rehab is a little like how God feels when we turn away from him, or when we think we can do it all on our own and leave him out of our lives. It's easy to fall into that trap, and it's difficult to remain on the path God intends.

From Romans 5:16-17:

Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.




Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Once more, with feeling

It's my mom's birthday today (happy birthday Mom!) and so I thought I'd write a little ode to my mom instead of the usual rant that appears on this website.

My mom has been a mother filled with strength and courage since the day I was born. Well really, I should say she's been that since my brother was born, since I was an easy baby and he was not. (hi there big brother!) (I am also the smart one!) Times weren't always easy for our family, but my parents never wavered in their faith in God, nor in their love for us. I remember many good times spent with my mom. When I was little and my brother was in school, my mom would take me to the mall, where I would always get to have a "triangle" (a piece of cake covered in chocolate - it was triangle-shaped). When we were older, she would take us to the library so we could each borrow an armful of books. For at least ten years of my life, she drove me to piano lessons every week, at least 45 minutes each way. Sometimes, my teacher would yell at me, and my mom would later say that I should have practiced more, or stopped fooling around during my practice time - I'm glad she never just blindly told me I was doing fine. Or she would tell me that if I didn't like piano, I should quit - meaning that I always had the choice to go on or not. I remember lots of late night chats and laughter in the house, and watching soap operas and reality TV together. No Chinese TV in our house!

Of course, it can't have been simple to be my mother. I wasn't terribly rebellious, but I wasn't the perfect child either. And after God called my dad home, my mom had even more to do, and even less time to herself. Yet she never turned against God for her lot in life. Instead, she taught me through her life that God gives, and God takes away, and yet he is always faithful. She showed me how to put God first, and how to appreciate the abundant life that God offers us. My mom is a woman after God's own heart, and I hope that one day, someone will say that about me too.

Thanks for being a great mom, Mom! Maybe one day I'll have a daughter as cool as your daughter is. Hahaha! Just kidding.

Remember to be good to your parents!

Friday, August 03, 2007

August

One of my pet peeves is know-it-allness. I can't stand a know-it-all who brags about knowing it all. Here's an example: someone asks me if I'm enjoying married life. I say yes, I am rather enjoying it, thanks for asking, although life has been quite busy. Said person then says, why just wait until you have kids! Then you'll really be feeling busy. You don't even know what busy is yet! ... Seriously - how annoying!

(I try my best not to be one of those "I've done it all, you have no idea" people so if I have been like that toward you, I heartily apologize.)

I had more of a rant written, but perhaps I should move on.

Last week, I was driving from far off lands over a bridge and noticed a number of signs on the bridge saying RAMPS ARE SAFE. PROCEED AT POSTED SPEED LIMIT. I don't know about you, but when there is a huge sign saying the ramps are safe, my first thought is that they are unsafe. Apparently everyone else thought so too, because everyone slowed down to go over the ramp (which was really more like a bump.)

Traffic issues interest me because of my long commute. There is a portion of my commute that I dislike tremendously because it is slow and painful. There is a shortcut, but lots of construction along the shortcut lately. Finally, the city has listened to my unspoken pleas for relief and they have been building an overpass to get over the slow part of my commute. Every day, I drive by to see if the overpass is ready yet. Of course, only today did I think to google it and looks like it won't be ready until October. Ugh. Don't they realize it could shave off 5-10 minutes of my commute every day? In billable hours, that's like what, $50? (PJ, I threw that one in for you!)

It's almost the long weekend and I can't wait. Maybe I'll clean the house! Woohoo!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Snippy much?

Those who know me will know I have a bad temper. I keep it in check as much as possible, particularly at work where being angry is counterproductive. But sometimes (okay - all the time) I find myself asking why someone is being so monumentally stupid, or why someone else just does not get it, or why it feels like the world is out to make me irritated. Of course, the problem is me, not everyone else. I'm just the one trying to force my version of being rational on them.

Anyway let's move on. Today I went to the Kwik-E-Mart to see what Simpsons gear I could snag. I managed to get a couple of donuts with the pink icing and sprinkles, and a box of Krusty-O's. We haven't decided whether we'll eat the Krusty-O's or not. They are apparently frosted. I bet they are just like frosted Cheerios. The Kwik-E-Mart was just okay, like my brother said. Probably not worth a long trek. I wanted to try the blue vanilla squishie, but the lineup was too long.

On another note, if you liked someone, would you make a move of any sort? I'm always surprised by the girls who say No. But then again, I am rather practical, not that emotionally driven (anymore.) I suppose fear of rejection is an issue. Or maybe the guy just isn't that into you. I've really gotta read that book.

Now I am just rambling, a sure sign it's time for bed.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Woo! Democrats rule!

Hello all!

Yes, I am coming from that land, PJ, and no, the hubs isn't with me.... it would be rude of me to complain about travelling alone if he were here!

It's been a long, long day. Conference all day long, then the opening reception where a rock band from the 70s played. It was pretty cool and also incredibly loud, so I left a little early. Before that band came on (I'll let you all guess who it was a little later) there were some speeches and some politicians who wanted to thank the organization for raising funds for the recent Congress elections. This organization is very strongly Democrat-oriented, and rightly so, since it sure ain't the Republicans who are gonna stand up for rights to the justice system.

This weekend has highlighted for me a lot of the differences between Canada and the US. For one thing, in the US, the jury selection process is much more complicated than in Canada. In a voir dire (the southern accent pronounces it "vor die-er") the lawyers get to ask the potential jury members extensive questions, and find out about their backgrounds, etc. Then they get several peremptory challenges (where you don't have to give any reason for deselecting someone) and several challenges without cause. In Canada, you find out the most basic of information (name, occupation) and I don't think you get to ask them anything - and then you get some challenges.

Some things are the same between countries though, like the tort reform movement (better named the tort deform movement.) Corporations push tort reform with catch phrases like "Litigation is too expensive!" and "Get rid of the frivolous lawsuits!" Tort reform movements in our own province include the campaigns for no-fault auto insurance. I can't emphasize enough how unfair no-fault insurance can be. In some provinces, if your injury was determined to be "minor", despite whatever consequences may have befallen you, you would be limited to recover $2000 or less. Without a true tort system like we have, you wouldn't be able to turn to the courts for justice.

Sometimes I wonder why I chose to be a lawyer and why God allows me to continue being a lawyer even when I feel like I know nothing at all. But other days, I realize that what I get to do is help people who, in a different province or country, would have no legal right whatsoever... and, if we are complacent, might not have legal rights in the future. It's worth standing up for.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Really should pay more attention

A week or two ago, I was telling some friends how I frequently get asked vague, legal questions by family, friends, and acquaintances and how it sometimes amuses me that I'm expected to know the answer to every legal question out there. The questions are all on different topics and on the odd occasion, I actually have an answer.... but often I'm left wondering whether I have totally let that person down by my lack of knowledge, or whether I have missed the real point of the question by focusing on one narrow legal issue rather than the big picture.

I recently found something out that made me realize sometimes people ask questions with long, complicated hypothetical scenarios, but the truth is somewhere buried within the abstract... possibly intentionally buried, for me to discover. It made me feel like an idiot not to have figured out the situation earlier on, having been so focused on the legal problem and having missed the person completely. I used to think I was a good listener, but I'm not so sure any more. It's so hard to interpret the feelings behind a statement, the personal problem behind the stated legal problem. Of course, law school trained me to think about the issue, the ratio, the analysis, the conclusion (gah!) - but what about the person ... the family ... the emotions?

I've got a lot to learn in life.



Monday, July 02, 2007

Seven hundred and thirty days

Guess what folks - it's anniversary time again. Another year, another cake to be enjoyed, another day in our life together. This last year has been a busy one for us. Let's see - I became a lawyer, participated in a couple of trials, hubby decided to try out a new career field, he also became an elder, we got to be sponsors together again, we went to California twice, we went to Chile on our first missions trip together ... and of course, we made it through a year without sweating the small stuff. I'd call that successful, but I'd give all the credit to our God, our most faithful Father, who comforts and who motivates us to stick it out.

Here's to another fantastic year!

To paraphrase a little song I may have helped compose... "We're married... open bar!"

Thursday, June 21, 2007

His grace still amazes me

My mom just told me about a passing in our extended, extended family.... it was very sad because it was incredibly sudden and unpredictable. The older I get, the more I realize how life is short and how we can never really know when it is our time to go. Today, I drove a portion of highway where there are always several memorials set up, most recently one for a 17-year-old. The other day, I read about a girl whose wedding was 7 days after my own, but who didn't even make it to her second anniversary because her melanoma finally took her life. I'm also reminded that it has been just about 18 years since God took my dad to heaven, and a few years since He called one of the Whammies home too.

People often ask why God allows these things to happen, why things like illness and suffering exist. Age old questions, I suppose. I don't think I have the answer. I don't think any of us does. Can there be any explanation to satisfy someone who has lost a friend, a family member, the love of their life? I remember when people would sometimes tell me that God had a reason for taking my dad when he did ... and I remember thinking that whatever the reason was, it sure didn't seem like a good one.

I attended a wedding rehearsal today and found it (as always) a little bittersweet to see the bride walking down the aisle with her dad. I wondered for a moment why God hadn't allowed my dad to walk me down the aisle.

These are just all musing thoughts, and again, no real answers. I guess all I can say is that I still have hope and faith in my Savior. I still believe that he is faithful and that in the end, this life I've lived will make some sense. All of the suffering people now have will one day come to an end, to be replaced by joy and praise and eternal life. God's omniscience will always trump my own knowledge. It isn't so much why do we suffer, but where do we turn for strength when we do suffer, where do we go when we are broken, who can heal the pain.

This is the hymn we sang at our wedding - we don't sing it much in worship any more, but I find the lyrics to be a real comfort.

My faithful Father, enduring Friend
Your tender mercy’s like a river with no end
It overwhelms me, covers my sin
Each time I come into Your presence
I stand in wonder once again

CHORUS:
Your grace still amazes me
Your love is still a mystery
Each day I fall on my knees
Your grace still amazes me
‘Cause Your grace still amazes me

Oh, patient Saviour, You make me whole
You are the Author and the Healer of my soul
What can I give You, Lord, what can I say
I know there’s no way to repay You
Only to offer You my praise





Thursday, June 14, 2007

Much better secrets

Have you ever been to Post Secret? Probably almost everyone has heard of this site, but for those who haven't, it's a project where people anonymously mail in postcards, usually handmade, on which they have written whatever secret they wish to share. Every Sunday, new secrets are posted. There are also books, but I'm too cheap to buy a whole book full of other people's secrets.

I do, however, visit the site every once in a while and I must admit that it's become a bit of a favourite for me. Maybe it's voyeuristic of me, but I find the secrets fascinating, and usually, a little upsetting as well. Some of the secrets are variations on events in my own life, or thoughts I have had before. I wonder about the person who has taken the time to send in a secret - does he feel relieved? does she check the site to see if the secret was posted? is he now going to tell a real person his secret? is she languishing out there, alone, with no hope? Do they struggle with these secrets, hoping that someone will figure out that the secret is theirs?

I wish I could share the hope that I have in Christ with some of those secret-holders.
I also wish I had the courage, the creativity, the eagerness to send in a secret.
And most of all I hope that posting a secret really does provide release and a renewed spirit. After all, Jesus came and gave his life not so that we could be alone and sad, but so that we could have life, and have it to the full.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Almost Paradise

It's funny how life has a tendency to run along without you even really noticing that time has gone by. I've had a busy few weeks and yet no matter how busy I am, there are always many more things to do and in my case, many things left undone. I'd love to tell you that I have a super clean house, an organized desk/office at work, and not a scrap of paper in my inbox. I think you'll all agree that these are goals worthy of aspiring to. Alas, my disorganized mind spreads itself into my surroundings, slowly but surely building up piles of undone work. It's not a good thing, people.

I'm currently trying to work on a factum. It's been a while since I've had to work on one of these.... I suppose it's been around 4 years, since first year law. My brain has turned to mush.

Hey, so have you been wondering how our new car is? Because it is fabulous! Oh, the little gas it uses. Every car should be a hybrid. Or better. I don't like to have to think that $1.14/L is cheap for gas. IT IS NOT.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

What a terrible secret

The other day I was listening to the morning radio show that irks me so much, and they had a guest on who speaks at these seminars entitled "The Secret". Apparently it's a part of Tony Robbins' "The Power Within" series. (By the way - I always confuse Tony Robbins with that Tony Little (?) who does the exercise machine commercials.) Again, I am only commenting on the bit I heard, so if I've mischaracterized something, let it go. :)

The guest was talking about how everything in the world, from you, to your steering wheel, to the tree on the street, to the mug on my desk, is made up of the same stuff - energy. I'm not much of a scientist, so I won't comment on the oddness of this "fact". He said that there are laws of attraction such that if you focus on the negative, you will attract negative energies. For example, if on your report card you saw 7 A's and 1 D, and you lamented, "Why oh why hast thou bestowed upon me a D", you would only attract further bad marks on your next report card. Whereas, if you focused on the A's and thought about how you could get more A's, you would then attract more A's. He also said that this applies to people too, you will only attract negative people if you are filled with negative energy.

You probably won't be surprised when I tell you that many of the speakers for the upcoming seminar wrote such books as "Chicken Soup for the ___'s Soul" and have job titles like "Life Coach".

I can't think of a more ridiculous explanation for the bad things that happen in life than this. Negative energy? You must be kidding me. It's an odd world where we reach out to these "spiritual" explanations rather than reaching for the Creator of all things.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Weekend ramblings

Judging by my sitemeter stats, I'm not the only one who heard "under my arm Beretta" in Rihanna's new song. I feel slightly vindicated!

It's the long weekend and I'm kind of bored. Went for dim sum today with my mom and the hubby... yummy. Then we went shopping, but didn't buy anything... which is probably typical. It would be nice to have somewhere to go, but then again, we don't have money to be throwing away on vacations. Every once in a while, an unexpected house expense will turn up that probably has priority over vacation money.

You know, before I moved out, I had a vague idea of house expenses but having to actually pay them certainly made that idea more specific. For example, I didn't really realize that you have to pay the city for your water, your sewers, and your right to leave garbage on your curb. I mean in my mind, I just thought this was all wrapped up in property taxes. But it is not. And property taxes! The city does nothing to help increase the value of our house, yet they continue to charge us more every year. The city does seem happy to decrease the value of our house. Case in point - the builders needed access to some water main or whatever that is under our lawn, so the city dug up our lawn. Instead of laying sod, they just sprinkled grass seed willy-nilly and told us that it will all grow back. We now have an ugly, patchy green-brown lawn despite frequent watering. Plus, our gardener has to mow around it. I'm not sure that the city is permitted to just dig up your property without bringing it back to its pre-digging state. But I am too lazy to look into all of the by-laws and such. Stupid city :(


Monday, May 14, 2007

I'll hug an entire forest if I have to

On the weekend, we took a rather big step in our lives ... we became environmentalists. Nope, that's not accurate. Actually, we took a tiny step toward environmentalism. Hubs sold his beloved Jeep, the one he has had since before meeting me, his first new, not-a-beater car. Alas, the fuel prices these days are beyond ridiculous and it was time for a change. It was truly the end of an era, saying goodbye to the Jeep that has been in both our lives for so long (although - obviously it meant more to him than to me, I can't even drive standard) I mean - how will we get up a snowy hill in the winter? How will I dry my hair in the summer if I can't take the top down? How will we confuse gas station attendants without a key to the gas tank?

Well, as it turns out, another car is just around the corner for us. We're gonna be getting a hybrid! I'm soooooo excited. I'll probably drive it once or twice a week which will definitely reduce my visits to Petro-Canada, far too frequent these days.

This reminds me of a funny story. Recently we were at Petro-Canada at one of the full-serve stations. The gas jockey stuck the nozzle into the gas tank and pressed the ... trigger? He then let go and just as he was about to walk away, the nozzle spat out of the gas tank, and gas sprayed everywhere, including on the gas jockey. Luckily he caught it before it continued to spray and I wondered if we would get charged for that extra gas. (We did.) (It wasn't that much.) The best part is that the guy came up to the window and said to hubby, "Sorry...for... some gas." My gosh - we were killing ourselves laughing. Good response to spraying gas. Sorry for some gas!!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Working for the weekend ... I mean on the weekend

It's disheartening to be working on a day where I would normally be relaxing and yes, possibly even taking a nap. Alas, such is the fate of a lackey like me. I had to buy myself a coffee and some food to keep myself awake and alert... so I headed over to Starbucks for a chocolate croissant, only to find that they didn't have any. I chose a marble coffee cake instead, which advertises itself as Reduced-Fat. I do like the regular coffee cake at Starbucks but I have always found it a smidge on the large side. (By the way - it wasn't until I was out of high school that I realized "coffee cake" doesn't have coffee in it.) Anyway this reduced fat version is good and all, but as I peered at it through the case, I realized that it is half the size of the regular coffee cake. And fat content? You guessed it - about half. Is that what we are calling reduced fat now, just serving a smaller portion (and charging about the same as the full size cake)... Are we so easily deceived nowadays? (Please note - I would have bought the regular cake but they didn't have that either.) (My Starbucks lacks.)

Let's hope I can get out of here soon. So stressed!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Misheard song lyrics

There's a new song out by Jay-Z and Rihanna ... I have to admit that I really enjoy "Pon de Replay", Rihanna's first big hit, but since then I have quickly tired of her music and her fivehead. The new song is called Umbrella but when I first heard it, I thought she was saying:

"You can stand under my arm Beretta, etta, etta, eh, eh, eh" - as opposed to what she is really saying: "You can stand under my umbrella, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh" ...

I think my version is better. I'm not sure what an arm Beretta is, but when I misheard the song, I actually envisioned an underarm Beretta. Dangerous AND sweaty.

Short post, just wanted to thank everyone for caring for me and praying! No relief in sight yet. Must bear down and concentrate.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Me, myself, and I

Ever since getting back from Easter weekend, work has been quite sucky. There is much to be said about work, but a blog is probably not the best place. It doesn't bode well for me that I've had such a terrible temper lately, little things just get to me and I feel like exploding. I haven't yet, although I have expressed a ton of frustration. I'd appreciate some prayer.

I feel like I don't have much to say right now, and I think it's because work seems to suck the life out of me. One day I thought reading might cheer me up, so I borrowed a couple of books from the library. The first book, "Happiness Sold Separately" just depressed me further. It's about a couple who have infertility problems and turn away from each other - the husband has an affair, the wife withdraws into herself. There's much more to the book, but I dunno, it didn't stick with me as a great book and instead, made me feel sad. I have a second book to read, so I suppose I'll post when I've finished that.

Hmm.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I told you so

Yesterday during my daily Wii play, I achieved a gold medal in Bowling: Power Throws. You may think I'm a bit of a nerd for even mentioning my video game prowess, but I don't really care what you think right now because I GOT A GOLD MEDAL. Granted, I was aided by a little tip regarding the last stage of Power Throws, but anyway, yay me!

The Wii has been a great source of joy lately when I have been feeling super stressed ... it's nice to be able to smash punching bags to dust, and bowl over 200, and play a good game of tennis, even if all this is only virtual. I won't go into details, but work has been swamping me lately and I can't help but feel overwhelmed and more than a little stupid as well. I could really use a vacation, except that I just returned from one. Sure would be nice if life were a series of vacations interrupted by brief periods of work, rather than the opposite.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

It's still my party

It's my birthday again and I am approaching the age at which I don't feel like telling people how old I am for fear that they will say "Wow, I thought you were MUCH older", which would be offensive, or "Wow, I thought you were younger than that", which would make me feel unaccomplished.

So far, an excellent birthday. Hubby sent me two dozen of my favourite roses (some things never change) and yesterday we went to the Canucks game, where in a game I thought would never end, we won. (I guess that is a little different from last year.) Ah, nothing beats Canuck playoff atmosphere. There was a tailgate party outside where free hot dogs were being given out as well as samples of some weird energy drink. We had already eaten so I didn't partake in the hot dog affair. I really regretted this in or around the second overtime, when the food stands were all closed and my hunger rushed back. By the third overtime, people near me with obviously superior energy levels and possibly fuller tummies were still chanting "M-V-P" at Luongo... while my chant was "I wanna go! I wanna eat!"

In any event, towels were waved, voices were lost, and we won the game just after it was officially my birthday. Both Trevor and I can celebrate our birthdays properly now.

I don't have much to reflect on or anything this year. It's been three years since we were engaged, so that means we are almost at our two year anniversary. Life is good. I can't complain. The hubby cooks for me and really, can one ask for more than that? I think not. Work is going well except that sometimes I hate my job. But I don't really. It's just that I hate having to think so hard ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY. Heh.

Praise God for the many blessings he has given me!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Booooo...

Well the whirlwind trip to SF is over and my brother seems to be settling in well. Lots of creature comforts at his place... too bad he can't cook at his computer desk, then he'd be set, wouldn't even have to move! Heh.

There were many lineups this weekend and my patience was sorely tested in each one. My mom and I waited at the post office for at least a half hour when it should have taken about 2 minutes. I mean, I know the USPS isn't known for fabulous customer service, but really, let's move things along. There was an angry jerk at the front of the line and another lady who apparently needed to make use of every single service that USPS offers. Very nice.

Today at the airport we had to use this "easy check in" process that United offers forces you to use. Basically you check yourself in and then the counter agent is supposed to give you the luggage tags. We had some trouble using the "easy" process, so we had to ask for help. The agent was of little to no use. I could have sat behind the counter and offered the same level of "assistance". (I'm reminded of the Friends episode where Joey couldn't use air quotes correctly.) (Yes I DID just watch that episode, thanks for asking!) Eventually she stopped yakking on the phone long enough to get up and give us our luggage tags. Hmm. Now that I think about it I don't think she got up. I think I have seen a snail move faster than her. It's kind of upsetting that United actually pays people to sit on their butts all day doing nothing. Oh, and the flight attendant snapped at someone who had to go to the bathroom on the plane. Should he just have peed on the floor then? Please.

In the "security" lineup (quotes again!) we got told off by one employee for not pushing our items through the conveyor before stepping through the metal detector.... meanwhile the other employee kept motioning us to come through the metal detector before we had pushed our stuff through. Grr. I would like to see some stats as to whether all these new security measures have really prevented terrorist activity. It's irritating that we have to go through a zillion lineups, but I would accept it if it was proven to help. I am not reassured though, knowing that airport security staff don't go through much security themselves.

Twice during the weekend, I said to the hubby, "Is that person a man or a woman?" It's unusual that I say that more than once in a short span of time. The second wo/man was the car rental agent. S/he was supremely unhelpful. Is it just an American thing or what? S/he sent us up two levels, where we were told by the second car rental agent that the first one had no idea what s/he was talking about and was totally wrong to send us back upstairs. Kind of funny, but an inefficient way to run the company, having employees talk about each other behind their backs.

When we got our luggage, we kept wondering what that odd smell was in the air. Had someone baked some sourdough bread? Spilled some soy sauce all over the city? It seemed to follow us too... we couldn't get away! Well, when we got home, we found out, that odd smell WAS us! And it was because some idiot must have brought home soy sauce and it spilled all over their luggage, and it got into ours (but luckily not in our clothing.) Who puts a bottle of soy sauce in their luggage anyway - that stuff is cheap, just buy it at home!!

Yay! I'm done ranting :D

It was a great trip. I just like to harp on the little things.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind...

Greetings beloved readers... I'm comin' at ya from waaay down in San Fran! We're here visiting my brother. It's only been one full day but a busy one it has been. We have helped my brother furnish his place, and let us hope he never has to move again! I hate lifting stuff!

The new GPS is faboo. We have been zipping around town like nobody's business alternating between Shrill, I mean Jill, the American voice, and Karen, the Australian voice. We gave Emily, the British voice, a roll, but she was just okay. You can't drive mindlessly though, sometimes it doesn't give you much warning to make a turn, depending on how wide the intersection is. Also, some words are a little garbled.... or mixed up. But overall, a very fun unit. I'm looking forward to not driving aimlessly looking for specific addresses in Maple Ridge, for example.

Today we ate at Ohana, a Hawaiian BBQ place. I believe it is a chain restaurant but really, it's quite good value and pretty good eats too. It's the epitome of fast food. Even when you eat in, you get a styrofoam container. No need to ask for a container to pack up your leftovers, since it comes in its own takeout container... and leftovers there will be since they feed you huge portions. I had BBQ pork - yum.

We also passed by the famous "Mr. Chau's" and the also-famous "Pho to Chau". We didn't stop at either one.... but we did laugh.

I must say, what is with the skanky dressing people seem to enjoy these days. This one girl wore short shorts to the BBQ place and then complained that she was cold. You're kidding! Shorts that don't cover your legs at all and you are cold? Ridiculous! Super tiny t-shirt not producing warmth? How odd!

Church doesn't start at 9 here.... it starts at 9:45. But my brother says everyone is always 15 minutes late. Kinda weird....ly familiar :D

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Fashion Police

I'm watching House Hunters right now. There's a 30-something mom on the show... nice lady... but horrible fashion sense. Capris in an orange, lime green, and black print should be outlawed. I'm no fashionista, but whoever thought capris were a good idea for the general public must have lost his/her mind. Capris are hideous! On skinny people they are tolerable, although they maintain a bit of a "My pants are just a smidge too short" look. On people like me, not so skinny, capri pants are just awful. They're often tapered, and then they leave off at the fattest part of one's calf, as if to say "Look! The leg I do not fully cover is apparently HUGE and I bet you can't take your eyes off it."

Fashion trends just confuse me.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bowling Alley Star

In real life, I am a terrible bowler. Terrible. I don't think I've ever bowled 100 .. usually I only bowl around a 60 or so. It's horribly embarrassing.

But in Wii life, I am an excellent bowler! Yesterday AND today I managed to bowl amazingly in the "bowl around these oddly placed barriers" challenge. Ahh, the Wii has revolutionized my bowling ability. I only wish I could showcase these skills for the real world.

By far my favourite part of the Wii is making Miis! Man, talk about good times. I wish everyone's Mii could be as awesome as Junior's, it looks EXACTLY like her. Kind of scary actually.

Not much other news, except that soon I will be slightly less directionally challenged, with the help of my new GPS! I got a great deal from Amazon and the super fast shipping means it's already waiting for me in California. Next weekend we'll be heading down to visit my brother. I was trying to find out whether one can visit the Googleplex for some kind of tour ... but ironically I cannot seem to find such information using Google. What am I doing wrong!?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

LOL .. attempt #2

One of my teens sent this to me and I swear I laughed for an hour straight. It's awesome! You must watch.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Lost in Translation?

(Hubby says that was one of the worst movies he ever saw! Correction: he doesn't admit to having seen it at all.)

Two songs for y'all ... one is an English translation of a Spanish song, one is a Spanish translation of an English song. We'll be sharing these in Missions Hour this Sunday. Yay! Who wants to guess the name of the song that has been translated into Spanish? I'll be giving out e-props as a prize! (And you can't guess if you are from Chile!)

1. Siempre que me muevo es en Ti

Siempre que me muevo es en Ti
Junto a Ti Cristo
Siempre que respiro es en Ti
Siempre cada paso es en Ti
Tu eres mi camino
Siempre que respiro es en Ti

Oh Tu gracia y Tu bondad
Miro alrededor Tu estas alli
Tu amor me capturo
Oh gran Dios de amor
No entiendo aun

2. The YoYo Song

I don’t want to be a yo-yo
A yo-yo
A yo-yo
I don’t want to be a yo-yo
A yo-yo
A yo-yo

‘Cause it’s sometimes up
It’s sometimes down
It’s on its side
Or spinning around

I want to be like an arrow
Walking down God’s narrow path
I’ll keep my eyes on Jesus
And I will never look back

Yesterday I was watching Friends and I have a few choice phrases to share. If you don't watch Friends, what is the matter with you? It's sooo funny.

I LOVE JACQUES COUSTEAU! I WASN'T SUPPOSED TO PUT BEEF IN THE TRIFLE!
It tastes like feet!
Ross married Rachel in Vegas and got divorced! AGAIN!
What's not to like? Cream? Good. Custard? Good. Meat? Gooooood.
Hurricane Gloria didn't break the porch swing, Monica did!

Ok yes, those are all from the same show. But it was a good one.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Squeah - Place of Refuge

Just got back from our youth group retreat and it was excellent. But before I go into that, I wanted to tell you all that I'm currently watching CBC's Test the Nation (the first nationwide IQ test!) I took the test online already so I am only watching for entertainment. So far I have learned that CBC has some serious technical issues that one would hope they would have fixed.... I mean .. if you're going to show a video and ask questions, you should really make sure that the video doesn't pixellate and stall. Anyway, let's talk about the test later. (Edit: It's not Sunday any more.... so this post is a bit outdated.)

The theme of the retreat was "Got Purpose?" and our theme verse was 1 Corinthians 10:31.... "So whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." This weekend, I was also mulling over Tree's recent post where she referred to the blog about debunking Christianity.... I did go and visit the site, but didn't really study it for long - kind of found it a bit hard to navigate, actually, but that might just be me. I do think it's sad that someone who once preached about God could turn so against God.... and that he would feel that Christianity actually prevents one from living a full life, contrary to how Jesus said that he had come to give us life, that we could have it to the full.

I think this is a question many people, perhaps (to generalize) often teenagers, struggle with. Does Christianity impose limitations on the life we can lead, or does it instead offer a fuller life? The answer seems to depend on your perspective. Consider the worldly perspective - the me first, take care of number one attitude. From this viewpoint, any "lifestyle changes" would seem like limitations. But from the other perspective, where life is lived in community with others and with God, those lifestyle changes that we make are beneficial to ourselves and others. I think Tree touched on this in her post. The bottom line is that God does offer us an abundant life. Maybe sometimes we don't know how to receive it, or how to live it to the fullest. Maybe we fall back into the worldly view sometimes. Maybe we just don't really understand what Jesus meant about having life to the full.

Sometimes I think our problem is shortsightedness... and a little selfishness too. But in my view, God's promises include a joy that reaches deep into our hearts, and peace that lasts even through troubling times ... the "debunkers" seem not to have really experienced this. They talk about judgmental Christians, the "myth" of tithing equals more providence from God, one post I browsed through talked about how the author had come to faith through his own fear in the devil and relief that Christianity offered protection. But have these folks experienced the relational God?

I'm just musing through many thoughts right now, thinking of how to help our teens grow closer to Christ, fearing that some of them will one day turn into debunkers. May God help me to live a life that models after Christ. It's certainly not an easy path, but it is rewarding.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sometimes, isn't a little punishment good for the soul?

Ah, morning radio. It's like the pesky friend you sometimes like, but more often find just slightly too annoying to pay full attention to. This morning, the topic (extended from Friday) was from a book written by a mother of five, regarding how to discipline your children without punishments. Please bear in mind that I haven't read this book, nor do I plan to, since the non-existent children I have are pretty well-behaved... usually. It won't stop me from commenting, though.

I didn't get to hear the whole segment, traffic being light today so that I arrived at work earlier than expected, but I gather the point she was making was that you don't need to punish your kids in order to resolve a problem. For example, if her teenager broke curfew by coming home at 3 AM, she would not do something like take away the cell phone for a week, or ground the kid. (What she WOULD do - I'm not sure - since she just said some vague nonsense about how there should be a positive solution.) (Here's where reading the book would make this post a bit more on point eh.) Someone asked, aren't there negative consequences in the real world when you do something wrong, and aren't you just teaching your kids that there are no negative consequences... her response was that yes, the real world has negative consequences, but as a parent you have a vested interest in how your kids turn out, and you should be the one to work positively with them.

I suppose her argument has some merit... after all, some forms of punishment are probably a bit harsh. I'm sure every parent out there has flown into a rage at some point in time. But try as I might, I could not envision what positive reaction I might be able to have to my kid doing something wrong. Let's say, for example, that I had a toddler who, despite my warnings not to throw that ball in the house, threw a ball into the TV. Clearly the answer isn't necessarily a spanking, but would it be wrong of me to remove the ball? Or to have the child apologize and sit in a time-out? I just can't think what "positive" thing I could do. Apparently one suggestion this author has is to have a "time-in" - you basically spend that few minutes teaching your child how to calm down, rub his or her back, give a hug, let him/her bang out frustrations on a toy drum, etc.

Frankly, I find this absurd. I can subscribe to the Nanny 911 or Supernanny form of time-out (the kid gets a few minutes to sit alone, and then the parent sits down to explain what said child did wrong), but it seems weird to immediately dole out the backrubs and hugs and positivity.... never mind the mixed message involved in banging on a toy drum to let out anger (if a drum is okay, why wouldn't younger sibling's head also suffice?) I understand how one must work on the root of the problem and teach problem-solving as opposed to fits of anger, but when a fit of anger occurs, is that really the time to dig into what the root of the problem is? Or is that the time to say "Go to your room NOW and don't you dare give me that look if you want to get out of your room before you're 30."

I'm clearly going to be a harsh parent one day. Have some pity for my future kids.