Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Looked in the Mirror and Said, "Hello, Narcissus!"

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It is with some shame and embarrassment that I admit that I've joined the ranks of Twitter.  Initially, the impetus to do so came from watching Hubbs "tweet" with his friends; I wanted to see the exchanges and the jokes and this was the easier alternative to constantly asking him to show me his Twitter page.

However, since joining all of 2 days ago, I've been in constant tweet mode.  For those of you still pure and innocent to the ways of the Twitterdom, it is an online program (something like Facebook) that allows you to follow others (sort of like adding friends) and be followed by others.  "Following" entails reading these individuals' perpetual status updates and 140 characters-or-less statements made to others in their Twitterworld.  It's inane fun, and sometimes a helpful means of posting a "shout-out" to see if anyone in the city/area is interested in grabbing a bite to eat.   

However, it is also the height of narcissism, at least in my case.  To presume that someone, anyone, would care about my thoughts and opinions and mundane life events from minute to minute is incredibly self-centered and indulgent.  

And yet, I continue Twittering, tossing more useless information into the vacuous black hole of the World Wide Web.  

I must be a real narcissist.






Monday, October 27, 2008

My Favourite Things ABC's

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The vitriol coursing through my veins last night was replaced by sunshine and rainbows this morning.  As a result, my disposition shifted significantly, and now I'm ready to post my superficial list of things that give me warm fuzzies inside.  No, I'm not bipolar, but I think my mood is proportional to the number of hours of sleep I get.  I also wanted to post something positive to counter the negativity from yesterday; consider it a ying-yang, balance-out-the-universe sort of thing.

Autumn - the best season of the year...and also the prettiest.
Bookstores - I could seriously kill several hours wandering through these places
Christmas - caroling, presents, decorations galore...I love it all!
Date nights with my Hubbs
Envelopes that have self-sealing, adhesive flaps that I don't have to lick
Fuzzy slippers and flannel pajamas, especially in the winter (not sexy, but oh so comfy!)
Glow-in-the dark stuff (glow-sticks at concerts, stars on bedroom walls, etc.)
Hot chocolate made with real chocolate shavings and skim milk
IPhone - I don't own one, but I know how cool it is because I've been coveting Hubbs' phone
Jacuzzi tubs built for two
Kauai - I'd like to go back and lounge on the beach there
Laughter, which is indeed contagious
Massages that go deep into the tissues and release tension in my back
Nightlife and the buzz of it on busy streets at 10:00 p.m.
Ocean sounds
Pampered Chef goodies, especially my garlic press that works so well
Quick wit
Rieslings that are super sweet and fruity
Smells of fresh-baked goods and coffee in the morning
Travelling to and exploring new and exciting places with my man
Unexpected kindness from and for others that restores hope
Vegas - home of C.S.I. the original, neon lights, flashy shows, nickel slots, and outlet stores
Washed sheets and blankets on a newly-made bed - that first sleep is always the best
X-Men! 
Young-at-heart attitudes people have, regardless of their biological age
Zero balances on credit card bills 




Sunday, October 26, 2008

Black List ABC's

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I'm feeling particularly vitriolic tonight, which means it is a great time to post a black list.  To protect the guilty, this list will exclude any people that rightfully belong there, save for politicians and/or celebrities already in the public eye; instead, I will focus the bulk of my hate on annoyances and peeves of the non-human variety.


Alfalfa sprouts on perfectly delicious sandwiches
Bugs, especially of the bedbug variety
Crowds, especially those of slow-walkers who don't realize that they're in the way
Dogs that bark late at night and wake me up - stupid owners next door!
Episodes on TV that are "To be continued"
Fuzzies left on carpets and the floor from black sports socks
Gum that gets all rubbery or loses flavour in mere minutes
Headlights that shine way too bright and blind me at night
Ignorance in all of its forms
Juice that is warm - it's just not right
Kids that are allowed to run around and make tons of noise by their irresponsible parents
Laundry - it is never-ending
Meat-headed, juiced-up bodybuilders at my gym who grunt (proof of devolution?)
Neckaches that turn into brutal pounding headaches
Odors that are foul or that result from cooking on a Foreman Grill in an apartment
Palin, Sarah
Questions of a personal nature (e.g. baby-making) posed by nosy people
Rodents of all varieties
Sori (those nasty bumps on the back of fern leaves....ewww!)
Trash, particularly cigarette butts, littered in otherwise beautiful and pristine outdoor areas
Ugly feet and hammer toes/thumbs
Vehicles parked in MY spot, especially at work
Wet towels on the bed, on the floor, or on the counter
X-mas : It is spelled CHRISTMAS, and it isn't pronounced "cross-mas." It makes no sense. 
Yellow clothing that makes me even more yellow. 
Zits in unfortunate places 


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tested...and Failed

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Twice since we've arrived in this fine city, I have been tested, and I am ashamed to say that I have failed both times.  One of the most powerful things that Christ taught was that the things we do for the poor and hungry, sick and lame, we do for Him.  In both cases, I failed to do more because I hesitated. 

In the first instance, Hubbs and I were heading to 7-11 to grab a drink before returning home post-workout.  At the door of the 7-11 was a fairly disheveled looking older fellow, standing there with his bicycle resting on a streetlight.  I wasn't sure what his intentions were since he was standing such that he was blocking our way into the store, and I assumed that he was probably begging for change (a common occurrence in most major cities these days).  When we got to the door, this fellow opened it for us, and told us to have a nice evening.  He didn't hold out his hand, and he certainly did not give any indication that he wanted money.  However, I suddenly wanted to give him something, even if it was just $2.  I readied my change while Hubbs paid for our drinks, but by the time we exited the store a mere couple of minutes later, the man and his bicycle were gone.  I had lost my chance to bless him.

Several evenings ago, on our way to the grocery store, we chanced upon a lady who was indeed asking for change.  She was pacing up and down the sidewalk in front of the store, and when we approached, she asked us for some money so that she could buy something to eat.  She spoke coherently and told us she wasn't an addict or a drunk.  Unfortunately, I didn't have much change on me, but I gave her what little I had.  I still felt uneasy after we had left her and entered the store, so I turned to Hubbs and suggested that we buy her a sandwich or something to give to her on our way out.  The entirety of the shopping trip (a quick one) had me distracted with thoughts of what to buy this lady, and how hungry she must have been to ask for money.  Well, after we had paid for our groceries and her salad rolls (I opted for salad rolls since they are my favourite), we headed outside to try to find her.  No luck.  She was gone, and so was my lone opportunity to help her out in a real, tangible way.

How often have we all hesitated, and lost our window of opportunity to help out our fellow man?  I was quite upset after both of these encounters, and have felt much like one who has failed a test over and over.  What would I possibly have lost by being more generous from the outset?  How much more did I lose by being too cautious and too frugal?  It is a lesson that is now near to my heart, and one I hope to learn from the next time I have a chance to be sunshine in the life of a stranger.  I want to be one who gives the hungry something to eat, and the thirsty something to drink.  I want to follow Jesus in a way that is real and tangible in this hurting, broken world.  Do you? 


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hungry and Thirsty

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**Note: This is an evangelical post.  Feel free to skip it if you prefer to avoid all the church talk.**

One of the great adventures of moving, when one is a Christ-follower, is the search for a new community to worship with.  I affectionately call the experience "church-shopping."  It is a weird dynamic between finding a place where one can feel welcome and feel as though he/she belongs, and also one where the individual can share some commonalities, theologically-speaking, with others in the worship community while still leaving room to be challenged.

When Hubbs and I moved, we knew what we were looking for in a church home, and we were cognizant of the fact that it would potentially take us months before we would find the "perfect fit" for us.  He has some preferences when it comes to the singing, I have preferences when it comes to the theology (as evidenced in a church's statement of faith), and we both have strong and particular preferences when it comes to the teaching and preaching.  

So, as the diligent (some say obsessive-compulsive) Googler that I am, I started our church-shop online.  I found a dozen or so churches that seemed to be reasonably close to us in proximity, and began combing through their respective websites to see where they stood on the theological spectrum between uber-liberal and uber-conservative.  When I had narrowed the church choices down to a "Top 3," I picked the one that had the hippest website (superficial, I know...don't judge) and best write-ups, and decided that Hubbs and I would visit that one first.

Well, we've now attended that church twice, and we have no plans to go elsewhere.  We've already (thankfully) found a place of worship in this particular community of believers, and we are overjoyed.  A divine hand obviously led us to this place, since it exceeds all of Hubbs' and my expectations, and is so spiritually satisfying and encouraging that it excites us to return week after week.  This is a refreshing change of pace for me, in particular, since I have not felt such a sense of renewal and revival in many months.  

In attending this ministry (a word they often use to describe themselves), one thing has become wholly evident to me, and that is this: people are spiritually hungry and thirsty and long to be nourished with Truth.  I see this as I look around the packed theatre in which we congregate.  Hundreds of younger people (ages 20-30), Generation Y hipsters and urbanites, come together every week to hear the pastor teach straight from the Bible.  We're not talking about seeker-sensitive topical preaching, either.  This is no "What Would Jesus Say to Britney Spears" sort of series.  There are no blatant references to pop culture, and no gratuitous use of movie clips or music videos.  There are no frills and fireworks, no gimmicks or fluffy feel-good messages designed for those with the most minimal understanding of the Word.  

Instead, there is a Bible, and a pastor with a microphone.  There are exegetical explanations of the context of passages, and verse-by-verse explanations and discussions about the debates surrounding certain phrases and word choices.  There are references to original Greek and Hebrew words, and there are heavy questions and challenges posed by both the text and the teacher.  There is no "dumbing-down" of Scripture, but rather a thoughtful and intellectual approach to its study.  The pastor assumes the intelligence and critical thinking of his audience, rather than presume their ignorance and inability to read the Bible on their own.  

And these young hip urban Christ-followers come back, week after week, to be fed and to be led spiritually by their pastor into an academic and spiritual examination of Scripture as it has been revealed.  The unwavering adherence to the Bible, and the willingness to engage in a detailed exploration of its Truth hold incredible appeal for Hubbs and I.  We are thankful that we have found a worship community that is authentically interested in the Word and in seriously considering its content, both as it applied in its historical context and as it applies to us today.  We are energized by the young people who worship around us, and we are encouraged by the hunger and thirst of a "lost generation" of Gen Y'ers who are less interested in blind faith and church-as-routine than in genuine faith and authentic living reflecting a pursuit of Truth.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Our Little Secret

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When we moved into our new apartment, we upgraded from carpeted floors to laminate ones. Though I'm not particularly familiar with this type of flooring, I had heard it was pretty tough stuff, and not easy to scratch up.

Imagine my dismay, then, to see that our supposedly durable flooring had scratches on it, both prior to our movers coming through, and afterwards.  I panicked, of course, knowing that any damages to the unit would be attributed to us even if we didn't cause them; such is the law of the landlords.  So, in my panicked state, I began Googling for something that might help to reduce/hide/eliminate the scratches.  I was getting pretty desperate when I came across the Trade Secret Scratch Remover (available at Rona).  I ordered it immediately, cost be darned.  I needed to fix these scratches even if they weren't mine!

When we received the scratch remover (which comes in two different shades), I immediately took the oil to the floor with a soft cloth.  It was like watching a magic trick.  As my remover-soaked towel rubbed over the scratches, they darkened and then seemed to disappear into the desigh of the floor.  It was incredible.  Of course, deeper scratches leave a bit of a groove and those are not fillable, but this stuff has covered them up so effectively that unless you are looking closely, you won't see any scratches.  

I am impressed, and this is my new favourite product for the floor.  I thought I'd share, in the event that you happen to have supposedly durable flooring that isn't really that tough after all.  As it is, I am starting to suspect that this is hardwood, and not laminate as we were told.  Whatever our flooring is, this product worked.  Get some so you can save your security deposit! :)




Saturday, October 11, 2008

GPSsential

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.  

Who knew we needed a GPS so badly?  We didn't until we bought one today, and already I can't believe that I didn't invest money in one of these sooner.  We even splurged, and bought ourselves the new, high-end Garmin Nuvi 880 GPS with touch-free voice recognition controls (rather than the normal text-to-speech models).  We tested the device out while I was learning to navigate Van roads at night driving to and from the airport; en route back to our place, I totally missed the turn-off to head to downtown Vancouver, and our smarty-pants GPS was right there to show us an easy alternate route to correct my boo-boo.  Brilliant!  :)  The best part of all was that not once did I need to reach my short little arms over to the window-mounted device in order to program it to go to the airport or go home; I just had to press a button and talk to it!!!  Amazing.

You know I'll be playing with our nifty GPS a lot in the next couple of weeks, as we explore and get used to our new city.  Once we have a chance, we'll even take this handy device on the road when we head down to Seattle for some shopping!

I highly recommend this road essential, in spite of its cost, to anyone in need of a portable navigation system.  It is probably the safest GPS on the market today, since it doesn't require you to have to use touch to interact with it.  The UI (user interface) is very intuitive for the novice user, and the display is large and clear.  Best of all, it can quickly help you correct your course when you miss a turn or find yourself in the wrong lane for that right turn ;)


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Changes Beget More Changes

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Since we've moved, Hubbs has begun making the bed in the mornings...without even being asked! :)  He has also stopped eating in his office.  Vancouver is bringing even more incredible changes to our lives than I would have anticipated ;)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Update in a Minute

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- We are *in.* Safe and sound, new place, new car, new city.
- I have my new driver's license.
- The movers dropped off all of our boxes today.
- So far, no bedbugs.  Hopefully it stays that way forever.
- Also, no TV cable.  I thought I packed it but I am wrong.
- Kitchen is mostly unpacked, bedroom is mostly unpacked, but living room/wardrobe stuff still need to be tackled.
- The weather here is gorgeous.  Only a bit of rain today, and none the previous 2.
- I would really really like a wall-mounted flat screen TV.  Anyone know how to mount the thing?!?

I'll be back to blogging semi-regularly once the unpacking is done and I feel settled in.  We are still needing to shop for some big ticket stuff (a new guest bed, a new desk, dining room set, stools, TV & stand...) but that will probably not happen in the next week.  I am giving myself a month to get it all done.

Happy Friday!!! :)