Sunday, December 12, 2010

Jesus is the Reason

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You know it, I know it, but how does that look in real life and not just as a pretty platitude on a page?

As I contend with buying gifts and "gingerbread" icing making and concerts and marking and packing and the staff social decorating committee and recovering from my cold and wrapping 24 presents for my students, I am challenged to stay focused on the reason for Christmas - Christ.

I keep having to remind myself, because my memory stinks:

He is my joy-giver. He is the reason why I have cause to celebrate. He is the One who inspires hope and generosity and songs of praise. *HE* is. He *IS.*

And though I am utterly unworthy, He has poured Himself out to be my All. I must not forget that there is nothing of greater importance than the reality that God has come. He has come! And for me, a sinner. Emmanuel, God with us. God with *me.* To redeem us. To restore us. To replace us as objects of God's rightful wrath. To reunite us with our Maker. This is Jesus. And this is why I celebrate.

I have to constantly stop and surrender the work, the worries, the thousand-and-two things that have yet to be checked off my to-do list, and look to the cross. This is the only place where I will find the rest that comes from the Prince of Peace.

And in this weary, busy season, I long for rest. Oh Jesus, please come. And please be my peace.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Some People Should Be Sterilized

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Excuse the rant; I am usually a somewhat positive person but what I witnessed today really boiled my blood. Hubbs & I were at the coffee shop inside the big library atrium, and I was ordering a special Christmas drink. Beside me, some lady pushing a stroller was ordering steamed milk for her child.

Sheesh, I thought to myself, why isn't she better prepared as a mom? But then I reminded myself that I shouldn't judge.

Well, as I waited for my coffee, I noticed this lady taking her stroller outside. That was when I spotted her *other* child, a toddler of no more than 3 years, sitting *by herself* at the food court tables outside of the coffee shop. She had a juice in front of her and was sitting there drinking it all by her lonesome.

As I waited for my drink and as Hubbs grabbed us a seat, I noticed the same woman take her wallet and dash out of the library, leaving behind her purse, stroller, and two preschool children. My jaw dropped, and I realized that I hadn't judged too quickly. What was she doing?!?

My teacher instincts kicked in, as did my female instincts and general wariness of strangers. Did she not know that it only takes a minute for children to be kidnapped? Didn't she realize that her children were vulnerable, both because of their age and their inability to use words to express themselves?! Was she not aware that the atrium is often a shelter for vagrants and people of varying walks of life, including the mentally ill?!? My brain went into overdrive in fear for those kids. I debated calling 9-1-1. I looked at the time. I watched those children from the other side of the window like a hawk, knowing that if anyone tried to come near them, I would be at the ready to defend these helpless little people.

Meanwhile, I continued to wait for my coffee. I tried to reason that maybe she went to the bathroom and would be right back. When my coffee was finally ready 10 minutes later, this woman still hadn't returned, and the two kids were still sitting by themselves, the older one rocking the stroller back and forth a little and talking to the younger child.

I decided to call Hubbs to come out to the tables, and I approached the little girl to ask if her mom went to the bathroom. She was too young to string together a complete sentence, but she said no, and answered, "Mom went get sushi!"

A million thoughts ran through my mind, and I decided at that moment that I would wait a bit longer and then I would definitely call Social Services on this idiot. Before long, however, she came running into the atrium, sushi in hand. I promptly confronted her, asking her if she was aware that she had endangered her children, and letting her know that I was thisclose to calling the authorities. She basically told me to butt out, cussing at me and telling me that I didn't know what she was going through. What I let her know in no uncertain terms was that it didn't matter what she was going through; her job was to keep her children safe and she did not do so.

After I realized that this conversation would get nowhere and this woman was not receptive to feedback, we turned on our heels and left. There was no point to arguing any further with a person so caught up with themselves that they completely failed to consider the consequences of their stupid decisions on those around them. Hopefully my loud reprimand of her in the atrium was sufficiently embarrassing for her to never do that again, but somehow I think that this probably wasn't the first time she left her kids like that, and won't be the last. Stupid is as stupid does, and in my books, she is a bonafide stupid person worthy of sterilization. Those little kids deserve a real parent, one who loves them and keeps them safe at all costs. They deserve much better than her.

Anyway, what a brutal reminder of the fallen nature of people. I really dislike people sometimes, and today, this moron ranks #1 on my hate list.




Monday, November 08, 2010

Live Clean! & My Meme

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Recently I've become obsessed with avoiding sulfates in my bath and beauty products. I'm not sure when it started; I just know that I've become somewhat compulsive about my purchasing of shampoos, conditioners, hand soaps, hair products, and body wash. Apparently, sulfates are bad for you. So are parabens, and so are a bunch of other ingredients that make our bath products smell/look good/work well. I have become increasingly committed to avoiding as many toxic ingredients as I can. Of course, it seems that I cannot avoid all bad chemicals entirely, save for washing and bathing with water alone. My vanity prevents me from going quite that far.

Anyway, my quest to detox from sulfates and parabens has led me to discover a line of products that, although not entirely 100% pure and natural and wonderful, comes pretty close to great without compromising on smell and functionality (two must-haves in my world). Live Clean (found at your local Shoppers, or London Drugs, and even Superstore) has a line of vegan, natural, cruelty-free and biodegradable products that smells pretty good and works well.

I've tried the Wave Enhancing "Purple Jewel" shampoo and conditioner, Apple Cider shampoo and "Clean Air" volumizing conditioner, Fresh Water moisturizing hand wash, and Live Clean Baby shampoo/body wash. No complaints yet, and now I'm determined to find the hair sprays for this brand as well.

Anyway, I thought I'd share my new favourite thing with you.

Some other quick facts a la meme:

Average number of hours of sleep each night = 6

Average number of hours at work = 11

My current book = Percy Jackson - The Lightning Thief

My hair = permed (well, a body wave) that was done last month

My hair stylist = quit on Friday when my hair cut was scheduled. Thanks a lot for nothing, lady.

My doctor = fired by me. He sucks. I just signed on with a new one.

TV Obsession = Dragon's Den (it's so much fun to watch these wannabe-entrepreneurs begging for VC and coming up with the strangest business ideas)

iPhone app most often used = Angry Birds Halloween

Favourite recent dine-out place = Chambar

Drug of choice = tie between Advil and PGX (my daily dose of soluble fiber)

Next month that I visit E-town = December

Next holiday = can't come soon enough but I have no idea whether it is going to be Reno/Lake Tahoe, or Disneyworld @ spring break

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

High Heel Foot Envy

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I really really am jealous of those people who can walk on pavement all day long in downtown Van wearing stiletto heels. Don't the balls of their feet hurt? How do they not fall over? How do they walk like a normal person?!? Me, I teeter and look as uncomfortable as possible when the heel of my shoe exceeds 1.5". It's like I've forgotten how to walk or something; I begin tiptoeing around rather than relying on that poor skinny heel to support the bulk of my weight as I transition from step to step. The result? The balls of my feet ache and blister in a matter of minutes (sometimes less).

This is why I need comfortable heels (and shoes in general). To navigate the cement pavement all around the downtown core, my feet need tons of TLC. I need arch support, padding for the balls of my feet, and straps and heels that don't scrape against my skin. I need wide width to accommodate my non-narrow feet, and grippy soles that can support my heft. This is why I usually stick with flats and brand-name sandals (e.g. Merrell, Rockport).

Which is why it is a curious thing that I have held on to my wedding reception shoes; these are monstrously high, gold and rhinestone stilettos that I've only worn once, but that killed my feet thoroughly in the hour and a half that I had them on. Nobody has a picture of my shoes anymore, but they sort of look like a more sparkly and gold version of these shoes:

Maybe it's because they are Nine West, and I can't give away Nine West shoes after having only worn them once (though sentimentality be d*mned, I did give away my filthy white sandals that I also only wore once on the day of the wedding. Those, however, were not brand name).

And in another twist of curious masochism, I invested $40 of Hubbs' hard-earned money on this torture device:
They are Dollhouse shoes (apparently a brand name in NY but I've never heard of them), and they look crazy sexy when worn because they elongate the leg and force your calves to go muscly. However, they are not comfortable after an hour. The first hour is definitely bearable (and I did wear them around the store for a good 10 minutes before purchasing), but after that, the pain begins.

So why do I keep dropping dollars on these crazy shoes when I am obviously not able to wear them? I think it must be the eternal optimist in me that thinks, "This time, it will be different." Or maybe my vanity always wins over my better judgment.

Regardless, I'm glad for my new Rockport/Adidas heels, and I won't be getting rid of either pair of these things either, though I may not wear them again unless I have someone who will carry me from place to place while I have them on (hint hint, Hubbs!).

PS - If you have any tips to offer on how to wear painful 3" shoes without dying of blister pain or falling, I'm game for some advice. ;)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sponsored by Adidas (I Wish)

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Recently I found (and purchased) the most comfortable platform slingback heels (or any heels, for that matter) that have ever graced my feet. They are Rockports, but not *just* Rockports - they are AdiPRENE by Adidas Rockports. What this means is that the comfy padding found in Adidas sneakers has somehow found its way onto a 3" shoe that has found its way onto my foot!

I *love* these shoes, and I am hoping to score some teaching shoes (read: flats) that have an AdiPRENE lining in them as well.

Comfy shoes give me such joy. *sigh*

Friday, July 23, 2010

Baby 101

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Not mine, of course!! Don't get the wrong idea here.

But my sister, Vanilla Con, and her Big Ben hubby are going to get a new little baby friend in a few months. They have been visiting for the past week, along with some other dear friends of ours, and a big chunk of my sisterly-bonding time has been spent looking for things for sis's ever-growing belly and for the still-yet-gender-unknown babe in her womb.

It has definitely been an education. Who knew the number of brands and features out there for everything from strollers and car seats to breast pumps and baby monitors?! I sure didn't. I had no idea what constituted a "good" brand and what features would be handy to have. It makes me think that one day, should we be blessed with progeny, that I will have a *ton* of research to do!!

I also learned that having a kid is an expensive venture, much more so than I had previously imagined. Sure, you've got to start RESP's for college funds and awkward teenage brand-buying, but even *newborns* need a billion things that aren't cheap to purchase, like Bumbo's and play pens and rocking chairs (okay, that's for Mom, but still) and Baby Bjorns and car seats and bathing apparatus. I'm wondering if it's even possible to raise a healthy, well-adjusted kid on the cheap anymore?!

I very much enjoyed browsing the baby aisles and Babies R Us for goodies for my future niece/nephew. Vanilla Con has already promised to loan me half of her stuff one day when it's my turn. We'll see ;)

But until then, I look forward to ever more baby-buying adventures with Vanilla Con, and am enjoying the fact that with each trip, I learn more about my own ignorance towards the baby product industries and the needs/luxuries of baby-raising. It truly is an education indeed.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Memes

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I had forgotten how much fun these are. Here are a few that I've jumbled together into one giant meme:

1.) What first tells you that summer is here?
Waking up to sunshine beaming into our room through our giant windows.


2.) Name five of your favorite distinctively summer habits or customs.
Going for gelato and drinks on patios.

Wearing flip flips and open-toed sandals.

Going for walks in the flower gardens with Hubbs.

Turning on my fans and A/C.

Weekend road trips and adventures (again, with Hubbs)


3.) What is your favorite smell of summer?
The smell of evening/night time on a warm summer day, especially just as the air is cooling off and lights are turning on.


4.) What is your favorite taste of summer?

Gelato on a hot summer day.

D

5.) Favorite summer memory?
Getting married. Going on honeymoon in Hawaii.


6.) Extreme heat or extreme cold? Which would you choose and why?
Neither, though extreme heat is slightly better if there was A/C somewhere so I could get some relief. Extreme cold is what we moved away from, and extreme heat is atypical for where we are, so in theory we have avoided both.


7.) What books do you plan to read for the season?
There are a few theology-themed books I’m hoping to tackle, as well as Money Road (by Garth Turner) and Water for Elephants (the book-to-movie that Robert Pattinson is filming at the moment).


Favorite summer flower: Lilies are my favourite at any time of year.
Flavor of ice cream or tofutti: Praline or else marzipan (almond)
Mode of transportation: Foot, train, or car
Music: Something upbeat; I’m not picky
Food: BBQ steak and wings and burgers, corn on the cob, gelato, frosty drinks
Favorite game to play: Bocce ball
Earliest childhood summer memory: Going for soft serve and drives with the family
Favorite Drink: Water
Favorite Snack: In case I haven’t made this obvious enough: gelato
Place to read: In bed, on the couch, in the shade outside
Most annoying: When the temperatures turn my lovely apt. into a scorching greenhouse and the heat is slow-cooking me
How I handle the heat: Currently we have 3 fans and a portable A/C unit. I also take a lot of cool showers. We also go outside where it is sometimes cooler than it is inside, or sometimes I will go shopping or for a drive in our air-conditioned car.
Pet Peeve: Bugs, insects, and arachnids – ew.
All-time favorite bathing suit: I am not a fan, though I was pretty happy with the bikini I bought on a cruise last year.
Best Time of Day: Evenings after the day has cooled off.
Most romantic: Maxi dresses, sunsets, and Hubbs.
Summer movie: Eclipse!
J Anything good is worth watching at any time of year, actually.



ONE WORD MEME

1. Where is your cell phone? Bedroom
2. Your significant other? Meetings
3. Your hair? Messy
4. Your mother? Working
5. Your father? Coffee
6. Your favorite thing? Hubbs!
7. Your dream last night? Forgotten
8. Your favorite drink? Water
9. Your dream/goal? Holiness
10. The room are you in? Cool!
11. Your hobby? Reading
12. Your fear? Critters
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Vancouver
14. Where were you last night? Yakitori
16. Muffins? Calories
17. Wish list item? Sectional
18. Where you grew up? Prairies
19. Last thing you did? Laundry
20. What are you wearing? Clothes
21. Your TV? Off
22. Your pets? Allergies
23. Friends? Busy
24. Your life? Awesome
25. Your mood? Relaxed
26. Missing someone? No
27. Car? Fixed
28. Something you’re not wearing? Coat
29. Your favorite store? Dollarama
30. Your summer? Busy
31. Like someone? Friends
32. Your favorite color? Blue
33. When is the last time you laughed? Hubbs
34. Last time you cried? TV
35. Place you go to over and over? Bathroom
36. Person who emails you regularly? Spam
37. Favorite place to eat? Varied
38. Why did you participate in this survey? Entertainment
39. What are you doing tonight? Haircut


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Don't be a Greater Fool

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Some of you know that Hubbs & I have some very strong opinions about real estate, and why we've abstained thus far from investing our dollars into a home purchase. We are, by and large, super happy renters. Here are some of the reasons why:
  • Our rent just dropped by $200.
  • We are debt free. Imagine owing $300K or more to the bank, with interest! That's not fun.
  • We don't worry about property taxes.
  • If so inclined (or called by God to even greener pastures), we can move out on a month's notice (though we probably won't be).
  • We're not paying rapt attention to hiking rates and sweating over mortgage payment increases and renewals.
  • We don't have to shovel or mow or worry that our car might get broken into (concierge/security services).
  • We don't worry about our neighbour's house and their property values affecting our own.
  • If something malfunctions, our landlord fixes it on his dime. No continuous repairs or upgrades necessary.
  • Re-assessments? Condo fees? Nope and nope.
  • We never had to compromise our location based on our price points; we are exactly where we want to be, without the pain of commuting.
  • If we ever need to downgrade our home because of finances, we don't risk losing our life savings *and* being on the hook for the "remainder" of our mortgage. Canada doesn't really allow people to walk away from a property even if they declare bankruptcy.
  • We are not alone! Many of my smartest friends in NYC, HK, and Van are also renters. So are millions of people in other parts of the world.
Now, this isn't to say that we will never purchase a property. One day we might, if the conditions are right and we can afford to pay for it outright or else by-pass CMHC altogether by putting 35% down (all the while maintaining our other investments such that our real estate assets amount to no more than 40% of our net worth). But we're not quite there yet, and we aren't in any hurry. Frankly, neither Hubbs nor I enjoy lawn care and we don't like being locked down by debt.

We also recognize that our generation has a propensity to buy only the shiniest and newest stuff, making purchases on (or building) first homes that put their parents' last homes to shame. There seems to be a lack of humility or restraint in real estate these days; so many are buying first homes that are >2,000 sq. ft., and laden with hardwood, stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops. I'd like to think that these are luxuries that one must save up for, and not something that every young couple is entitled to have from the get-go (and frankly, I wouldn't want a 30-40 year amortization, thankyouverymuch). I certainly do not want to chase after such earthly things; I would rather focus my effort and attention on laying up treasures elsewhere by the grace of God.

Such is our position, controversial might it be. We get a lot of wisdom from a blog that I highly respect, called The Greater Fool (http://www.greaterfool.ca/). It's not a site for everyone, and most people aren't open to hearing what the author (Garth Turner) has to say. Then again, few also listened to the prophets of old either. ;)

My wish is that you will not be a greater fool, and that your eyes and your heart will long more for Him than for anything that this impermanent, perishable world might have to offer.

iAddicted

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I have discovered the joy of downloading new apps and games for my iPhone, so much so that I am using up the phone's battery life on a *daily* basis. The first step is admitting you have a problem, so here I am. Guilty as charged.

The games I have been particularly drawn to are Pop Stars, Bejeweled, Tiki Towers, Words with Friends (which I play with Hubbs), and Angry Birds.

However, I've self-imposed some rules that keep some of my addiction under control. First of all, I have an app for the Bible on the phone, and I must do my daily Scripture reading (on the phone) before I can begin playing. Secondly, I must also use my *other* apps (e.g. food diary, weather check) so that I can maximize my phone's functionality rather than use it exclusively as a call-capable game system.

Hubbs tried to impose a third rule - no iPhone playing in bed - but so far, I have not complied.

Hubbs has his PS3 as a weakness, and I fear now that I have mine as well. I keep telling myself that I can quit whenever I want, and that I *will* quit once the summer is over and I'm back in the classroom, but who am I kidding? Once hooked, always hooked.

Long live my iPhone battery! :D




PS - The above cover is almost identical to the soft plastic cover I bought for my iPhone. Mine is only a smidge more purple than this one, but the design is identical. When I hit up the Night Market again on the weekend, I might also pick up a second case. Just because. ;)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Twilight : Eclipse - A Fan Girl Review

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I went to see it with Hubbs today. It was part of our anniversary celebration (well, for *me* anyway - for Hubbs it was comedic relief). Vanilla Con - if you still want to see it I'm still game ;)

Verdict? I liked the book better, but isn't that always the case with books that turn into movies? You always like the one you were exposed to first, better. And of course, when you read the books the scenes seem far less....cheesy.

Don't get me wrong; I am satisfied with David Slade's direction, though I hear he butted heads artistically with some of the actors (namely my favourite, Rob Pattinson). The movie has a slightly darker, more violent edge to it, which makes the viewing experience a bit more appealing to guys like Hubbs. The fighting scenes were definitely more exciting than in New Moon, and the "sleepover" scene sizzled (though I wish they would have stayed more true to the book and made it a bit longer). I thought that the CGI wolves were more convincingly menacing in this film, and some of the cinematography was really artsy even without the blue filter a la Hardwicke. I also appreciated the attempt to bring some humour and levity into the film. Everyone knows that these are not Oscar-worthy flicks, and don't warrant the intensity of a Schindler's List movie; the funny bits help remind the audience not to take it too seriously. Given that David Slade was limited in part by the story itself, and by the screen play, I think that he did a pretty decent job with the weak source material he had to work with.

Hubbs also commented that he thought the actors should be commended for trying their best to stay true to the characters and not overact or make them campy, a temptation I'm sure most actors face when they realize that their characters are somewhat farcical and prone to being the butt of jokes.

But the film had its flaws, too; for one, the "tent" scene was cheesy, way more so than I remember it from the book. It's one thing to read those sappy lines on paper, and another thing entirely to hear them uttered out loud. That was one of my favourite scenes to read, but the tension that was palpable in the novel didn't evidence itself on screen. At all. Though I liked him in the first movie, I also did not find Taylor Lautner convincing as Jacob-the-man-who-changes-into-a-werewolf, and a challenger for Bella's affections. Lautner plays boy-next-door really well, but as a love interest, he falls short (perhaps that is the intention)? I wonder if his role had been re-cast in New Moon, would that have made for a hotter love triangle? Somehow, I could believe Bella's affections being torn if it was between pretty boy RPattz and that 6-pack hottie Michael Copon. Just sayin'....

I also really really missed Rachelle Lefevre as Victoria. She was deliciously evil in the first two flicks, and Bryce Dallas Howard really didn't have the edginess or cajones to fill her shoes. Bad decision, Summit. You shouldn't have dropped Lefevre over a silly scheduling issue that could have been resolved.

The story was also pretty choppy, though I'm not sure if this was because of Rosenberg's screenplay or Slade's direction; regardless, I felt like the plot transitions could have been smoother. There were also parts of the book that didn't show up in the movie. For die-hard fans like me, that was unforgivable (e.g. where was Seth's big shining moment!?? The bonding with Edward part that was key to bridging the wolf-vamp relationship was never even mentioned).

I also found Bella's hair (Kristen Stewart's wig) to be a major distraction; her hairline kept moving forward and backward and sometimes her hair was curly, and other times it was straight. I highly doubt that, when her life was being threatened, that the Bella of the novel would have had time to curl her naturally straight hair. A minor detail, but one that really distracted me. Oh - and Bella uses the word EPIC in this movie, which is beyond wrong in my books. Nobody should ever use that word unless they're describing literature.

The highlights of the movie?
  • Sarah Clarke as Renee - convincing portrayal of Bella's flighty mom
  • Billy Burke as Charlie - the sex talk scene was awesome
  • The other wolves - they didn't have a lot of screen time but I thought their acting was spot on and believable; I could totally buy that they belonged to the tribe
  • Riley (Xavier Samuel) - very handsome and sympathetic villain; I see a bright future for this young actor
  • Rob Pattinson - he still looks stiff as a constipated corpse sometimes (sorry honey!), but in a few scenes you see him really get comfortable as Edward, and those are the moments that I love the most. Plus, he's very very handsome in his chalky white make-up; the man *is* beautiful to look at.
  • The meadow - is that in BC? It's beautiful, so much so that I want to find that place and roll around in it with Hubbs. I wouldn't make him re-enact the scenes though; that would be cruel.
Overall, the movie isn't horrible, and I would see it again (mostly because I'm a fan girl). I used a gift cert from my students to watch it today, so it's not like I had to pay to see it. I would though - but only once, not multiple times like those crazed teenage "Twi-hards" out there. It might be worth $12.50 but it's definitely not worth $25.00.

And out of sheer morbid curiosity, I'll even go to see Breaking Dawn when it eventually comes out in theatres, though I won't be expecting much (unless they complete ditch the novel and come up with an alternate plot line that doesn't involve C-sections or "imprinting" or "cue-to-black" scenes). Mostly, I want to see Edward-Bella "business time" and if the next movie can give me that and make it hot, I might even forgive the whole deal with the name Renesme. Wait, scratch that. Nothing can make me forgive that.

Friday, July 09, 2010

5 Years...

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Hubbs & I, we're a team. And we've been a team long before we exchanged "I do's." However, today marks 5 years since the moment when we officially became "one flesh" in covenant to one another, before God.

And what a great 5 years it has been! Hubbs & I sometimes sit and marvel at how quickly time has passed, while at the same time searching our memories for any recollection of life before each other. Neither of us really can anymore; it's like our existence pre-marriage was like a big dream. What was life like before we had each other? We can barely remember.

Today (and this weekend) we will be off celebrating our 5th honeymoon year. Laugh if you will, but it still feels like a honeymoon to us. We still want to hold hands and sit next to each other. We still giggle together and enjoy stealing kisses when nobody's looking. May that feeling never end!

So how does one celebrate 5 years? According to traditional gift-giving, the fifth anniversary is the year of "wood." I won't even go there; this is a family-friendly site. The modern gift would be silverware, but we have plenty of that already. So maybe we won't do gifts this year, but we will go out for dinner. I'm so excited about heading to Le Crocodile (finally, after 2 long years of waiting) tonight for foie gras and duck breast and French pastries and delicacies. Then, on the weekend, we have plans to spend the day together, and maybe watch Eclipse in the theatre (that's his gift to me!). In return, I might watch him play Street Fighter online with my brother. ;)

The truth is, we celebrate our love all year long, so our anniversary is really no different than any other day of the year. As a result, even our "celebrations" sound suspiciously similar to something we would do on any other weekend.

But 5 years is an accomplishment. Many do not even make it to this point in their marriages. I am blessed. We are blessed. And we have our very gracious and loving Father to thank for that.

~ May your joys be as bright as the morning, your years of happiness as numerous as the stars in the heavens, and your troubles but shadows that fade in the sunlight of love. ~
An old English blessing






Thursday, July 08, 2010

In Heat

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When it's stinkin' hot outside, it is hard to think. It is hard to exercise. It is even hard to eat (unless we're talking ice cream). And today, it is *HOT* outside. When I woke up, I was already sweating; that's not a good sign. I'm pretty certain that the temperatures have been steadily rising since that 7:00 a.m. wake-up time.

In blind optimism, I had secretly hoped that this glorious city would have its coolest summer on record this year. I don't mind overcast skies and rain; umbrellas and jackets do the trick just fine, and I find that loomy gloomy gray weather somewhat romantic. However, when it gets brutally hot and our home transforms into a human greenhouse, there is no way to cool down save for standing in a cold shower the entire day. I can remove clothes, blast fans and A/C units, and pull down the blinds, but when that's not even enough, I have no other means of relief from the searing heat.

The forecast is calling for more days like this one, at least for the next week. I hope the forecast is wrong, or else the world will have one seriously grumpy Mrs Loquacious on their hands for the summer.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I Had a Dream...

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Really, I did. The other night I had a very vivid dream where I had a big argument with Hubbs that culminated in my giving him an ultimatum: get me an iPhone, or else. I don't remember if he actually followed through in my dream, but today, he did so in real life and bought me an iPhone 3GS.
I am welcoming myself into the smartphone club. It has been a long time coming, really; I have been coveting an email-enabled phone for at least a year, but I kept putting off my final decision in the hopes that a)the iPhone's cost would drop, and b)the iPhone would come out with a QWERTY keyboard. Of course, the latter did not happen, and one wonders if the former did either; I really don't know if I saved any money by signing up for another 3 years with the big R. However, the price was lower than previously quoted due to the imminent release of the iPhone 4 so I don't feel so gouged by the mobile monopoly to which I am enslaved.

Anyway, it has been a very educationally-enlightening day for me as I've attempted to acquaint myself with my new toy. First of all, this whole touch-screen business is pretty new to me. Up until this point, my only experience with touch screens have been with the Nintendo DS and with the Sudoku game on Hubbs' iPhone, so I've been slowly getting adjusted to the whole idea of scrolling and dialing in this very new way.

Secondly, I've been app-happy all day, learning about and searching for both free and cheap apps to load onto my phone. So far, I've only spent $4.00 but have downloaded 17 apps already, with more to come as recommendations begin trickling in. This doesn't even include games (except Sudoku), so I have a feeling my apps list will continue to grow in days to come. It has been fascinating to discover the sorts of apps that are available, and challenging to find the "best" ones to purchase and install.

Finally, Hubbs has been teaching me how to do the technical things with my phone, like syncing and installing ringtones, etc. Now that I've fully converted to Apple products, I have to learn how to make all of my toys work together for maximum potential. I think I've got the hang of it when it comes to the basics, but I am pretty sure that there's a ton more to learn about this powerful piece of technology.

My next task will be to hit up the night market and purchase a cheap yet durable, chic little iPhone case. I'm still debating between getting a silicone sleeve or a less durable, yet more attractive looking case to house my little white device.

Anyway, my point is that I'm very very excited about this new phone, and though I hated my dream, I'm so glad that it gave me the push that I needed to finally commit myself to an iPhone. It has only been a day (not even), but so far, I have no regrets about my decision, and I don't expect that to change any time soon.

Monday, May 24, 2010

24

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I will miss you, Jack. Thanks for the bad-ass memories.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Proverbs 5:18

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May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

Jesus, the Bridegroom, is relentless in His pursuit of His bride, the Church. He does not grow weary, He does not give up. He loves His bride as much today as ever, in spite of her faults.

Why then does a man cease to pursue and adore the wife of his youth? Why are some guys not fighting for their marriage? Why do they no longer rejoice in the woman that has walked alongside them, for better and for worse? Why is the covenant no longer sacred, and the promises no longer kept?

You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning
because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor
from your hand. But you say, "Why does he not?"
Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth,
to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion
and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one,
with a portion of the Spirit in their union?
And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring.
So guard yourselves in your spirit,
and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.
Malachi 2:13-15

Men of faith, rise up! Fight the good fight for your wife and your marriage! Do not grow weary, and do not cease to persevere! May your fountain be blessed AS you rejoice in the bride of your youth!




** I praise God that He has brought me into covenant with a man who walks with integrity and who seeks after God's heart. Day after day, Hubbs models the grace and patience and love of Jesus to me, and lavishes me with affection. My cup overflows, and I feel every bit as cherished and adored as when we first made our covenant to each other. I am blessed, but fear I am in the minority. May that not be so.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Make-Up and Ecclesiastic Eclecticism

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In my bid to find the perfect mineral make-up for my face with the least toxicity, I've been trying nearly every brand mentioned to me. I began with Pur Minerals after having been introduced to Bare Escentuals (which I did not try). Next, I followed my beautician's advice and picked up some pricey Smashbox stuff. When that started to run out, I ordered some Mineral Hygienics. Based on new information about nano-particles, I then rushed an order of Everyday Minerals. Finally, when the great debate about titanium and zinc oxide reared its ugly head, I consulted with the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database and sent for some Rejuva Minerals, my latest purchase.

However, none of these brands has completely satisfied me. Each one has had one or two great products that have really stood out, but for me to conclude overwhelmingly that any one brand has got mineral make-up all figured out would be inaccurate. My quest for the right combination has led me to conclude that perhaps I need to take the best products each brand has to offer, and create my own customized make-up routine rather than commit to just one brand's product line.

Through this process, I am reminded of an article I once read about being an ecclesiastical eclectic. Its premise (which I agree with) is that every denomination that holds to the authority of the Bible and proclaims Jesus Christ as Lord offers some universal Truth about God. Does any one particular denomination get it all right and capture all of the essence of our great God? Probably not; each one is fallible because of the limitations of sinful human nature. However, does not each have something to offer us about who God is? Likely. We can see the passion of God in the more charismatic churches, the splendor and holiness of God in the rituals and traditions of Catholicism, and the mercy of God in the more evangelical traditions. Each denomination of the universal Church reveals something about Him, for each has been established by Him and through Him for His glory.

Just as I would not want to commit to just one brand for my mineral make-up, so too would I not want to commit myself to only one denomination and in so doing, miss out on the insights that another denomination would have to offer about my Father in heaven. I have been so privileged to be able to worship alongside my brothers and sisters in the Alliance, Pentecostal, Catholic, Interdenominational, Christian Reform, Baptist, and Mennonite Brethren traditions. As God calls me to worship in different ways and in different places, I keep getting a fuller and more beautiful picture of the One I serve. How wonderful it is to be an eclectic!



PS - My final "best" list of mineral make-up goes something like this:
- Everyday Minerals Intense Fair Medium foundation / Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder*
- Everyday Minerals Sunlight Finishing Dust
- Mineral Hygienics Cool Kiss Mineral bronzer
- Pur Minerals Universal Marble Mineral Powder (pink)
- Mineral Hygienics Sheer Perfection Mineral Finish (translucent)
- Pur Minerals Intensity Eyeliner gel


*By no means is this stuff non-toxic, BTW. It has great coverage though!

** Honourable mention to Rejuva Minerals' Cool Touch Mineral foundation; it doesn't offer super great coverage but it rates the lowest on the toxicity scale and it's still pretty good! :)


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine - Need I Say More?

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Raunchy, crude, totally NSFKids, and absolutely hilarious. It's a movie where you should just check your brains at the door, because it's not a thinking movie; it's a be-entertained and laugh your a$$ off movie. I think I actually cried in some parts, because I was laughing so hard. It was a great way to burn off the calories of the heart-attack-inducing popcorn I ate (only 1/2 of a small without extra butter, so don't judge).

I loved Jon Cusack but I thought Craig Robinson had the best lines. Hubbs thinks the guy that plays Lou had better zingers, but I think that actor tried a bit too hard. I loved the actor who plays Jacob; he was a very convincing 21st century geek.

Anyway, it's a great movie to watch with your funny, more liberal-minded friends. Don't go with your stick-in-the-mud-uber-conservative buddies** though; they will think you're disgusting for picking such a filthy movie! ;)


**No offense to my stick-in-the-mud-uber-conservative friends; I still love you! :)


Theatre Anorexia, or Heart Attack in a Paper Bag

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Did you know how many calories and grams of fat are in a Cineplex Odeon/Famous Players medium popcorn? If not, live in blissful ignorance. As for me and my Hubbs, we can no longer consume those delicious kernels of extra-layered-buttery goodness in good conscience, because we made the mistake of Googling the nutritional information contained in a bag of that stuff.

Let me put it this way: a large popcorn (without the "extra" butter layered on) is equivalent to half of an adult's daily caloric intake, and way more fat grams than any human being should consume in any given day.

And who eats popcorn without the butter? That's like eating hot dogs without ketchup, or french fries without salt. Ick.

So, alas, we must give up our popcorn love or risk having a coronary in the middle of "Hot Tub Time Machine." Maybe sharing a small popcorn is an alternative, but somehow I doubt that this will be much better once they layer on the butter (and you know it's only good with the layers).

Another delicious food completely eliminated from my diet. *sigh*

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A MIllion Bucks Doesn't Go Far Anymore

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Not that I have a million bucks. I'm just sayin'. My lovely mom-in-law and I were discussing the Lotto jackpot, and what we would do if we won a cool mil. We both agreed that winning $1,000,000 would be fantastic (hey, we celebrate when we win $5 on scratch tickets), but it wouldn't go nearly as far as it once did (say, in 1985).

I remember, as a teen, being asked the same question by my mom. I had a big elaborate plan worked out that would allow me to give some of it away to loved ones, some to God (via charitable donations to the church), and the rest to myself for both investments and spending. I'm sure that at the time, my laundry list of "stuff" not only included nice cars and a home (or two), but clothes, shoes, and travel arrangements. At the time, that sum of money probably could purchase all of the things on my list. The plan was solid.

Now? Even with $1 million, I wouldn't be able to afford a single-family house in Point Grey, or a sub-penthouse apartment in the third Harbour Green building. In fact, I'd probably still be priced out of single-family dwellings in the nicer neighborhoods of Vancouver West. A nice car for Hubbs would set me back nearly 20% of the jackpot. As for investments - well, let's just say that the ROI at 2% isn't awesome.

I blame inflation. It would probably require a jackpot of at least $10 million to be able to do all of the things that I had laid out in my initial spending plans. To me, that's pretty sad. It's sad to see that even my jackpot dreams have become unaffordable. What is this world coming to?

Of course, I haven't bought a Lotto ticket in nearly a year, so my chances of winning even $5? Nil.

I Miss My Childhood

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When we were kids, my sibs and I "chased" a lot of Cantonese serials. That is, we watched many mini-series dramas that were produced and shot in Hong Kong. One that we particularly enjoyed was the 1982-1983 version of Legend of the Condor Hero.

I happened to hear the theme song to this show playing in the Chinese supermarket last week, and it has been on my mind ever since. I decided to Google the show and its actors these past two nights, and somehow, in listening to the songs and watching the accompanying Youtube videos, I've become quite nostalgic for the childhood that has long since passed.

I'm not sure what it is about this show in particular that has triggered my emo-stalgia, but discovering the ravages of time on the actors and reading about the premature passing of the main actress (Barbara Yung) has left me sort of veklempt. I miss my childhood, and the simple lazy days when we used to sprawl on our bellies on the carpet and watch shows like this on VHS. I miss believing that I could actually *be* one of the characters, and have super kung fu powers, and fight bad guys off without even breaking a sweat. I guess I miss the innocence of youth that I once possessed; when did I lose it?

This summer, I think I will pick up the DVD to this show and watch all 59 episodes in a marathon. I might even do it sprawled on my belly on a carpet somewhere.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It Has Been a While, Meme...

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What type of day are you having? Somewhat miserable. I had to get cavities filled and my teeth cleaned, and the dentist used a fluoride on my teeth that took 6 hours to wear off. When it did come off, it did so in chunks. My mouth was also frozen for part of the day, hampering my ability to eat. I ended up skipping my workout due to fatigue and hunger, thanks in part to my frozen mouth.

Was there anyone who "made your day"? Hubbs. He always makes my day! Sometimes he makes it great, other days he makes it horrible.. ;)

Are you liking how you look today? I did not like looking half-frozen in the face, but I always like my legs in yoga pants. So mostly yes.

Do you have anyone crushing on you? Hubbs. He has a crush on my butt and my boobs and other parts of me that he thinks are attractive :)

Have you ever eaten a bug? Not on purpose, but since I did go through a salad phase, I'm sure there were a couple of critters that I inadvertently swallowed with my lettuce.

Are you vegetarian? No, I'm a meatatarian.

When was the last time you kissed someone? Hubbs, a few hours ago.

Have you ever had something stuck between your teeth, but no one decided to tell you? Once I interviewed for a position at Earls, and whilst waiting for the interviewer, I ordered an Earls strawberry soda. I managed to get a strawberry seed lodged right between my two front teeth, and completed a full interview that way. I only discovered this when I glanced at my reflection in the rearview mirror as I was driving out of the parking lot after the interview. Needless to say, I wasn't hired.

Are you a mother or a father? Neither.

When was your last paycheck? I don't get paid in cheques anymore. Direct deposit, baby!

How many pets do you have? One Hubbs.

What kind of toothpaste do you use? Currently it's Crest Cinnamon. It's always Crest but the flavour changes depending on availability and mood.

Are you closer to being rich or poor? Anyone who lives in North America is rich by global standards.

Do you sleep with a stuffed animal? There is no room left on our bed for such things.

What was the last gift someone gave you? An early Easter card from the in-laws. So sweet! I also got a free toothbrush and mini-toothpaste from the dentist's office - do those count?

Do you appreciate that person? My in-laws, yes. My dental hygienist - sort of (she causes me pain sometimes).

Did you talk to anyone you didn't like today? Does my soon-to-be-ex-RMT count?

Do you like picnics? Only if there are no bugs and I am guaranteed not to get dirty. I don't go on a lot of picnics…

What book are you currently reading? Just finished Super Freakonomics and am about to start Money Road.

What song did you last listen to? I forgot already. Hubbs could probably tell you, though; he's the audiophile in the family.

What movie is in your DVD player? It's currently empty. We are still waiting to upgrade to a PS3 so that we can watch movies in HD.

How many windows are open in your computer? Two (4 tabs in the browser)

Are you a very stressed out person? Hubbs thinks so. I think I am only stressed out sometimes, but he believes I'm a perpetual stress ball.

Make a list of 5 things you can see without getting up:
1. Kitchen sinks
2. Mayonnaise (oops, I should really put that away)
3. Kitchen appliances (stove, microwave, fridge)
4. The TV
5. Our bed

How do you style your hair? I usually wear it long and flat. Many products are used in this very complex process, though you'd never guess that from looking at me.

What are you wearing now? My contact lenses, among other things.

Coffee or tea? Both, although someone recently told me that caffeine erodes the calcium in my body. So now I'm thinking I should drink more milk to counteract this effect.

What’s your current fandom/obsession/addiction? Make-up. I keep amassing more and more mineral make-up. It's almost time to purge just to make room for the stuff I just ordered today.

If you could get a tattoo of anything right now, what would you get? Maybe a tacky Chinese symbol (faith? hope? joy?). But I'm past my tattoo-lusting phase now, so I'll likely never get inked.

If you had the money for it, what would you purchase right now? A house in Point Grey, complete with crown mouldings, granite, stainless steel, and landscaping.

What websites do you always visit when you go online? Lainey Gossip, D-Listed, Oh No They Didn't, Greater Fool, Gmail, and iGoogle.

What was the last thing you bought? Groceries.

Who would you like to be listening to right now? Mozart, or Vivaldi, or Grieg. Maybe Haydn.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? The ability to shape shift (I'd make myself skinny and bootylicious), or else the ability to do things really really quickly so that I'd have time left over to sleep.

What is your favourite weather, and why? The brisk clean air of autumn, with just a bit of sunshine and mild temperatures. It's a good feeling in my lungs and on my skin.

If you could play any musical instrument, which one would you play? Guitar. I already know how to play the piano and violin.

What would your theme song be? I'm Every Woman (Whitney Houston) or a praise and worship song (e.g. I Believe in Jesus).

What is your dream career? A hotel and food critic who travels the world and reviews glamourous 5-star dining and resort destinations. :)

Tuesday Rant Meme

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I'm not sunshine and roses this morning so skip the post if you don't want to hear me b*tch. Just sayin'.

1) Don't give me attitude if I miss a massage appointment because you failed to call me *after* I had already requested a courtesy call a day in advance of my appointment. I book these things a month in advance; my memory isn't that long. If I have already asked for the call and you don't bother, don't get in a snit when I no-show. I already told you I'd forget. Ball's in your court, sister.

2) Crusted on egg is a pain in the arse to clean. This is why eggs should only be consumed as hard-boiled; any other cooking method requires too much clean-up, and caked on egg ruins wooden spatulas. Did I mention that Hubbs and I have separate wooden spoons? He's no longer allowed to touch mine, period.

3) If an internet provider has a system failure, there should be an automatic credit issued to all account holders who were affected by said failure. We lost connectivity for 15 minutes yesterday. If Hubbs was working, that would be 15 minutes of meeting time he would have to make up for later. Given his per-hour salary, is the internet provider willing to fork over the $$ in over-time work Hubbs would have to make up? Or what about lost income?

4) There should be an automatic escalation process for customer service phone reps. The moment they realize they cannot solve the problem, or the customer asks for a supervisor, they should move the call along to their superiors. It's a waste of my time, and their time, for me to have to explain and re-explain my problem and wait and wait some more while they figure out if they are able to assist me (which I am almost always certain that they cannot).

Hmmph. On an overcast Tuesday, it is good to rant a little bit. I almost feel better now.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Basic Beauty

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Much as I am fond of my Smashbox Halo mineral powder and its uncanny ability to hide all of my facial flaws, I've recently had to trade it in for something a little less....toxic. My dear friend Amy F. made a good point about being more vigilant when it comes to the stuff that one puts on their skin. I mean, maybe these products absorb into my bloodstream (I have no memory of biology). Maybe they'll inhibit my ability to have babies one day. Who really knows?

Anyway, in an effort to be more health conscious, I decided to try mineral make-up that is a little more simple. As in, 4 ingredients simple. Another dear friend, Mrs. S, suggested that I try Everyday Minerals. Though I was initially skeptical about putting down money on something I haven't ever seen or touched before, I decided to give it a go when I looked up the website and discovered that you could actually order a crapload of samples for a very minimal fee. Given how much I paid for the one compact of Smashbox, I figured that this was a steal.

When the little samples arrived, I wasn't sure what to make of them. They were teeny tiny and there were, like, 15 of them (okay, so I over-ordered a little). Most looked to be similar in colour and it took a while for me to figure out which ones I liked, and which brushes to use, and how to actually get these powders from jar to face.

After this initial bout of problem-solving, I developed my own little system and began trying out the products. Several weeks later, I can definitely say that I am sold. Everyday Minerals are inexpensive, less toxic than other mineral make-up, and easy to use. I am currently using their Light Semi-Matte or Fairly Medium Intensive bases, and have yet to make up my mind on my favourite blushes and finishing powders (though I really like the Kaolin Sunlight finishing dust).

So now, my beauty routine has been changed. Truth be told, it hasn't simplified one bit given that I now use an extra finishing powder (read: one more step) as part of my morning routine. However, I feel much better about leaving my face on when I go to bed (a big no-no but I still do it because I get lazy) and I don't worry nearly as much about poisoning my bloodstream or skin with chemicals that have names I can barely pronounce.

Oh, and I haven't blogged in a while, as you may have noticed. Oh how I have missed it!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I am not dead

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However, I have not been free to blog very often these past few months, owing to the fact that I'm a newbie to educating 6 year-olds.

Here's a recap of the past few months, in case you were wondering:

* We became an all-Mac family and retired my old Toshiba PC after I baptized it with water. I love my Macbook but I think my touch pad clicker key is malfunctioning. It makes an odd clicking sound that I'm pretty sure needs to be repaired (when I get the time).

*Hubbs & I went to Hawaii for 2 weeks at Christmas time. It was a decidedly un-Christmasy December on the beach, but I was so thankful for the much-needed R & R.

* We started some wonderful Christmas traditions that we hope to continue for many years to come.

* Our car finally surpassed the 10,000 km mark. With all of my driving to and from work, the mileage has started to add up.

* We hired a bi-monthly housekeeper to help us keep our place from condemnation. As a working woman, I haven't had much time (or energy) to devote to dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning the hardwood. Thankfully, there are people who are paid to do that kind of stuff.

* I stayed awake and sober enough for the 2010 countdown, though we nearly missed it because our restaurant didn't organize it very well.

* I discovered the wonders of accessorizing. I am not too lazy to do it now!

* I've begun to eat vegetables again...though only in moderation ;)

* I watched the Olympic flame be carried through a stretch of road in Richmond near my school. It was a glorious moment, and I am so glad I was there to witness it.

* We are in the process of hiring a financial guru. I am excited to tap into his expertise and maybe even make some cashola!

* After much convincing, Hubbs finally let me buy a new bookshelf. We actually have space for our books now!

Anyway, that's the long and short of it. There really isn't much to tell since both Hubbs' and my life have consisted of work, sleep, exercise (his, anyway), sushi, and church. We look forward to a busy 2010, however, full of fun weddings and local adventures!

Happy very belated 2010, blog world!