Friday, January 26, 2007

High on the hill with the lonely goatherd

I like Gwen Stefani. Don't judge.

Yesterday the hubs and I enjoyed a night out for the first time in a long time. Or at least that is how it feels. We went to this delicious restaurant as part of the whole Dine Out Vancouver tourism event. (Be a tourist in your own city, as they say.) We rarely eat at fancy restaurants and really, it is because, as previously mentioned, we are not fancy people. Dine Out is therefore perfect, it allows for a cheapskate like me to enjoy a pretty chichi kind of meal for an affordable price.

We both enjoyed the atmosphere and food last night. It's pretty unpretentious, as fancy restaurants go, and the food wasn't your standard fare. Since I forgot to take pictures, you'll have to settle for my descriptions of the food.

My appetizer was a watercress salad with pecans, endives, and a gorgonzola dressing. (I think.) Hubby had a skewer of spicy grilled shrimp with a watercress and soba noodle "side". (Okay - I'm actually kinda guessing rather than just going back to the menu to see what we really had.) (Also - I'm not sure why watercress appeared in several dishes. Perhaps it is in abundance at this time of year.) We also shared a "poutine a la belge", which appears to modify poutine by replacing the cheese curds with blue cheese and green onions. Quebecers everywhere are having fits. Anyway the appies went over quite well although I'm not always a big fan of blue cheese and its relatives. I am smell-sensitive, after all.

For entrees, I chose the trout and hubby had the beef short rib. Mine was a fillet of trout covered in some kind of almond/herb butter. On the side was a small portion of "sweet black rice" - which tasted like the red bean soup my brother never liked after a Chinese dinner - and one sprig (?) of gai lan with a neat sauce. The trout was awesome. Actually, I haven't had trout in so long that I didn't even realize it isn't white when cooked. The beef short rib was similarly delicious, although I think hubs felt it was a little too tender. It was stacked (I don't know why food is always stacked these days - such a trend) on top of some mashed potatoes, which were good, but then, I am a starch queen.

Finally, for dessert, I had the Belgian waffle with a scoop of ice cream and chocolate sauce drizzled over it. It was petite, and good thing as I was super full by this point... anyway, it was faboo, I love Belgian chocolate. The hubby had a pineapple and lemon sorbet with "citrus scented chips" that resembled deep fried wonton wrappers. I liked both desserts, but preferred mine because of the chocolate. On the other hand, hubs liked his more because it wasn't too rich or chocolatey. We're terribly opposite in nature sometimes.

Even more than the food, I enjoyed the conversation and time alone with my husband. Lately we have both been quite busy and so it was very relaxing just to sit and enjoy dinner together (without him having to cook and me having to clean) and to have actual things to say to one another. One day we'll probably become slave drivers supreme lords parents and likely we'll have even less alone time and I'll look back fondly on last night's dinner and wonder where the days went.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Prayer changes things

Most of my days are spent in my fabulous little office, staring at a pile of papers or at my computer screen. But every once in a while I get to leave the office and meet real people - sometimes clients, sometimes friends or family of clients, you know. I like to think I can be a people person most of the time - I'm kind of mean, but I'm also kind of nice. It's a dichotomy.

Yesterday and today I met some really awesome people. They work (actually, they are full-time volunteers) at a particular missions organization (which I won't name until the case is over... although they will be at Missionsfest... ) I had to do some interviewing and afterward, I shared with them that I too attend church and that in a few days, the hubs and I are headed off to Chile with Samaritan's Purse. On both days everyone was so excited and happy for us, and then spontaneously they all wanted to pray for us. I must say that the prayers were incredibly encouraging. These are folks who have given up careers in order to enter into full-time ministry to the very poor people in a very poor country.... and here I am in my cushy life (or so it feels sometimes) and they wanted to pray for me.... someone they don't even know. They wanted to know about our trip and what we'll be doing, how long we'll be there, all of that. Turns out, their churches have also participated in Operation Christmas Child and like us, they've always wondered exactly how the process of distributing the shoeboxes goes. Pretty neat stuff.

It's always such a warming feeling to know that someone is praying for you. I was moved that people who don't have to care about me really do care, and that God binds us all together in his family. I can only hope to be as much of a blessing to others as these folks clearly are to everyone around them. May God richly bless their ministry.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Recently we had a guest speaker at church and I meant to post about her sermon that day, but I promptly forgot. I have at least 15 thoughts in my head at all times, so that one fell by the wayside, I guess. I still remember some of her sermon, which was on the power of God. The part that stuck out to me was on how we should rely on the Provider and not on the provisions.

It's so easy, almost natural, to forget about God after he has answered our prayers and provided us with what we wanted. It's definitely easy to overlook God when he keeps us safe, gives us food, shelter, etc. Her words reminded me to give thanks to God for being the provider, not just to dwell in the good things he's given me.

Life has a tendency to slip through my fingers without me really noticing. I hope in the days leading up to Chile, I'll be able to take time to reflect on God's infinite love and grace.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

So much to do, so little time

First off, I wanted to announce that we won our trial (which ended in December - we had to wait a month for the verdict - not too long...) and if you want the nitty-gritty details you'll just have to ask me. It was a thrilling victory, in my opinion. Thrilling! It made those long days at the office almost seem worth it!

Anyway. We're off to Chile in less than a week. Crazy. Lots to do in preparation.

We managed to clean the house today. Pretty amazing how a house can turn into one giant mess when there are only two of us living there. Well to be fair, it wasn't really THAT messy - but we just had a bunch of untidy areas that finally got tidied up. Neat freak I am not, but I am at least aware of the need for cleanliness. (Isn't it next to godliness!?) I try not to be a pack rat, although the hubs is a bit of one sometimes. It can be hard to throw things out though.... I still remember when my brother used to collect Saturday morning comics and he REFUSED to throw the piles of old comics out even though he never really read them. Heh. I still haven't really decided what to do with my wedding dress. I considered turning it into pillows or something, but there's really not much use for white throw pillows with our black leather couches. I don't have dreams of saving the dress for my future daughter or anything, but at the same time it's hard to think of giving it away.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Talk radio

I spend a lot of time in the car and often force myself to listen to the radio - it helps keep me alert. The other day, I turned on Praise 106.5 and it was one of the morning talk radio shows - maybe Focus on the Family (kinda sounded like James Dobson.) The topic (although I can't be certain) seemed to be around decisions made by judges in Canada and in the U.S. There was much criticism about a recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal, which* apparently says that a child can have three parents, and acknowledges that parents can be of the same gender.

*I haven't actually read the decision - so I am paraphrasing a paraphrased version.

The hosts of the show and a caller went on and on about how judges get it all wrong, and judges should listen to the electorate, and that judges shouldn't be making the law. Lying beneath their discussion was clearly the position that same-sex marriage is wrong, and that Canada has made a huge mistake by allowing it. They made much about appointments to the US Supreme Court, and how various presidents should have appointed X, a staunch conservative man, rather than Y, a"radical-left" liberal woman. They talked about how certain judges have done nothing but support decisions such as Roe v. Wade since their appointment, and how the judiciary was really out of control in both countries.

I really try not to enter into debates with people over issues like same-sex marriage and I definitely wouldn't criticize a member of the judiciary publicly. I must say that shows like these often make me a little bit sad. I don't consider myself a very right-wing, conservative person, in that I believe all persons were created equally. Where my beliefs do waver is in "grey" areas such as same-sex marriage. I believe that marriage was intended by God to be a covenant type relationship between a man and a woman... but I don't really know what my stance is on same-sex marriage. On one hand I can see how those in a same-sex relationship want the same benefits and rights as those who are not in a same-sex relationship. On the other hand, it doesn't really jive with what I believe.

Therefore, I sometimes take the (middle?) road ... I don't think this is a perfect world and certainly our government is not perfect. I believe in the separation of church and state and so to that degree, I don't really feel right in speaking out against same-sex marriage. I feel like Christians cannot expect this world to revere the word of God - we all await the day when there will be a new heaven and earth, but for now, I think our efforts should be toward being light in the form of loving our neighbours, instead of spreading darkness in the form of intolerance bordering on hate.

At the same time, I see the world around me as growing more and more accepting of the secular views, and less and less accepting of "traditional", Christian values. Political correctness has taken over the world ...

I anxiously await heaven.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Mondays are the pits

Seriously, who likes Mondays? They never turn out as well as say, a Friday. I think I'm still in holiday mode so I'm not used to waking up early on a Monday morning. It isn't fun for someone who isn't a morning person. Morning people are far too chipper.

January is shaping up to be a busy month. It's Dine Out Vancouver time again and the hubs and I are going to at least two restaurants this year. So far on the list are Aqua Riva and The Cannery. We also have a reservation booked for Chambar, which the sister-in-law tells me was awesome last year - but I'm not sure if we're going to keep it or not. On top of that, we are also preparing to leave for Chile on the 27th. I can't believe it's coming so soon. Christmas Shoeboxes, I hope you're ready to be distributed!

In my next post, I'll share about the Canucks game that my godsister and I went to the other day. It was fabulous, and not only because we won..... but also because we got to meet a real celebrity (to us, at least) and only looked slightly foolish in doing so. Okay, we probably looked a bit more than slightly foolish, but we soothe our egos by looking at the picture.... which I have yet to upload. I promise to do it soon.

Life certainly moves quickly when you aren't paying attention. Why just the other day I discovered that apparently I look pregnant! Sadly (not really sadly at all), it isn't true - I'm just pudgy. But having it pointed out to me? CERTAINLY WAS GOOD FOR MY SELF-ESTEEM. I know I shouldn't take it personally, and that people who assume you're pregnant when you're just carrying a little extra weight should be embarrassed, but honestly, you can't help but take it a little personally. My co-workers all assured me, upon hearing this story, that I don't look at all pregnant. But then, one of them really is pregnant, almost full-term, so maybe they were just comparing me to her.

Anyway. Just a minor issue, not really worth complaining about, right!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Just had to share

This picture is only meant to illustrate a typical campfire pit at camping. Observe the grill on top - that is a grill that comes with the pit.

I mention this because today I was visiting a food-related blog that I sometimes read, and the girl was talking about her plans for a vegan week. She had made a video that showed various pics of meat, I suppose from previous meals she'd eaten. It all looked great until she said "No more steak on the fire" and a picture of steak being cooked directly on the campfire pit's grill appeared.

I was immediately disgusted.... we've been camping a zillion times and not once have we put food directly on that grill. Here are some reasons why you should always bring your own grill, and NEVER cook on that grill:

  1. Someone might have thrown their garbage onto the grill to watch it burn.
  2. Someone might have thrown a slug onto that grill to watch it ... melt.
  3. Someone might have thrown a cardboard version of The Rock into the firepit.
  4. Someone might have used the grill as a stool to stand on.
  5. Someone might have peed on the grill.

Of course, I disavow knowledge of any of these things happening, but theoretically it all could, and that is why cooking on the campfire grill is horrible. Ugh! I can never read that food blog again. I've lost all respect!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Spare some change?

As previously posted, I don't make New Year's resolutions, and I am not about to start now. However, I *just* (as in two minutes ago) decided on a goal for the year. I'm going to save all my loonies and toonies (instead of spending them on Starbucks drinks) and MAYBE by the end of the year, or in 10 months or so, I'll have enough for a trip. Or at least, spending money during my (hopefully sometime this year?) trip to Disney World. (I like it there - don't judge.)

I always thought one of the benefits of marriage would be that we'd get to travel together and go on trips and vacations whenever we wanted. Pre-marriage, the only "travel" we did together was camping with friends, or day trips to Seattle/the outlets (hey! we still do that!)... so I had in mind that after we got married, we would travel the four corners of the world, or at least, one corner. Anyway I'm sure you can see where this is going... the harsh realities of working full time and NEEDING to work to sustain ourselves has definitely put a damper on my plans. Call me an optimist or just naive, but I didn't think working for a living would be such a hassle. :)

Alas we have only take one trip together, which was, of course, our honeymoon. Well... I guess that isn't exactly true, since we did go to Mexico. But we didn't even go alone! In about three weeks, we'll be heading to Chile - which isn't really a vacation, but will be the furthest I have ever travelled. Prior to going to Mexico, I had never even left North America. (Shocking, isn't it?) I think the travel alone will be a test of endurance for me. The flight time is somewhere between 16 and 20 hours in total - I can't recall exactly what flights we are on. I thought flying to Mexico was exhausting! (Although.. that might be because at least an hour was spent on a tiny plane with less than 30 seats, and the guy across the tiny aisle from me insisted on having his socked foot SUPER close to me. Disgusting.)

All this to say, growing up is very difficult and definitely not as carefree as it should be! But with some diligent saving, I may yet make it to Disney World, or a cruise, or an all-inclusive, for another fun-filled trip. Poor hubby - he doesn't much care for Disney World... I almost think he'd rather go to China again. (No thanks!)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sniffle sniffle

Winter always brings with it commercials for various cold remedies, and I usually don't pay much attention. Unfortunately this year I actually have a cold ... and the only "remedy" I can remember is the new antiviral Kleenex, which promises to kill 99.9% of cold and flu viruses. I have to admit, as a former microbiology student, I'm a little curious as to what is in the Kleenex that will kill the viruses. Not curious enough to buy the box, or even to go to a store and pick it up for a look ... just a little curious. I hadn't realized such a tissue was necessary. Is the concern that ordinary tissues were spreading the germs? That once you sneezed into a tissue, it immediately became a viral disaster waiting to happen?

It's a little strange to me, because I would have thought that throwing your used tissue away immediately would be sufficient. Where do we stop with all the antiviral, antibacterial stuff anyway? Maybe, if these tissues are so efficient at killing viruses, persons with colds should just stuff tissues up their noses. You know, prevent those viruses from coming out at all. It'd be unattractive, but all in the name of good health eh.

Anyway. Hard to believe it is already January. My goal for this year is to... um... um... I don't even have a goal!? Oh well. I'll come up with one later.