March 31, 2007

So Much Fun: Part 1.

Thursday night saw me attending my first Vancouver concert. Held at the Commodore Ballroom (which I would highly rate as a concert venue), I joined Joy and her Scottish friends for a little Paolo Nutini and Annie Stela.

Annie Stela was the opening act...never heard of her before, but she was pretty good. Looks a bit like Sarah Paulson, the actress on Studio 60 (I'm still mourning the loss of that show) and has a powerful voice. A couple of her songs sounded more like musical theatre ballads than folk-rock, but overall...I enjoyed her.

We left our table during Annie to move to the front of the venue - about 3 people in from the stage, right by the speakers. Not my favourite place to be, but I wasn't really complaining...One of the Scottish girls mentioned that when her brother saw Paolo in London, he was a wee bit inebriated - performed well, but not so coherent between songs. Well, Paolo and his band finally came on, and with them, an overwhelming wave of marijuana... at first I thought, You're kidding me, right? Then I realized it was actually the man two to my left...at one point, a security guard came and stood right next to him, but no mention of the joint he was hiding.

My camera battery died just before Paolo (bad planning, that's for sure), so I got to be official photographer on Joy's camera (as the tallest girl of our crew). Her pictures are small, but here are a couple of the best:
(that's right. we're upside down again. Joy likes taking these pictures.)
(singin' his heart out...)
(the whole band. notice how Paolo can't seem to stand up straight?)

Final Synopsis of the Concert:

- Paolo's voice is way mature for a 20 year-old. His songs are catchy and good, although I'll make a disclaimer that I may not always endorse his lyrical topics (one of the encore songs was called "Funky Cigarette"...)

- He's perfected the pained look of the my-life-is-so-difficult generation. Next up: learning how to smile. The only moments of real smiling he had were during Loving You, and his eyes were closed - making me wonder what was playing on his eyelids that made him so happy.

- When not playing the guitar, he held onto the mike stand like he was a wee bit stoned or drunk. It seemed to be his crutch. But hey, what are you supposed to do with yourself when you're on a stage singing and 900 people are watching you? Could also be that we were the last stop on his tour. Must be exhausting. Come to think of it, it was a bit like Graydon at karaoke.

- It was surprisingly easy to pick out the UK people. Scarves on men (inside of a building and in March) are a dead giveaway.

- Also surprising: the make-up of the crowd. Everyone from groups of guys my age to middle-aged women (I introduced the girls to the term "cougar."), professional couples and hippies and everything in between.

Currently listening to New Shoes. I might actually buy some shoes today. Watched the "Paolo on Paolo" video off his site. Got me wondering how anyone would adjust to such a huge break into fame at the age of 19...(some of you might have trouble understanding his thick Paisley accent. watch it anyway) I think I like him a bit more now - I pegged him as brilliant but a bit of a snob after the concert.

A great night, though. Made some new Scottish friends. Laughed. Sang. Had a lot of fun.

March 28, 2007

Oh Music...

I can never get enough new fun music. Artists that currently intrigue me:

The Fray
Paolo Nutini
Regina Spektor
Arcade Fire
Arctic Monkeys
dbClifford
Stabilo Boss
Anberlin
k-os

If only I had the ability to get their music easily or cheapily. I could have bought a couple of these albums for under $10US on the weekend...but I didn't. Silly me.

Unexpected Gifts

So here I was, thinking my day of good things was over (sunshine, Subway, praying in a sunbeam, Sun Chips, a science-esque documentary I could understand, crepes...), when a new friend called me up out of the blue to see if she could drop by with a gift for me.

A gift! For me! A most delightful gift, as a matter of fact. A blender. Because I was talking about how I miss making smoothies, and eating lots of fresh fruit in this manner. I was truly surprised and felt really loved. I don't usually like getting gifts - I feel awkward and uncertain. But this time, I was just really floored. We've only hung out a handful of times, and I definitely didn't expect such a perfectly suited gift. I am going to make a smoothie tomorrow.

We ended up hanging out for a few hours (I was actually at the coffee shop across the street, as my roommate had company), and I really do like her. We talked about all manner of life subjects and laughed often. It is good to feel at home with friends. And unexpected blessings make me want to pass them along.

I pretty much just wanted to write this down as a note-to-self. I'd share some of our funny conversations...but I can't. Too bad for you all.

March 27, 2007

You Know Who You Are

We met a ridiculously good-looking man (yes, man - not boy) last night. Let's call him..."Tom." I'm pretty sure he is still as good-looking now as he was last night (or even five minutes ago). Still tall, dark, and handsome, still with a chiseled jaw and five o'clock shadow. Still wearing the ring with the crosses. Do you know that he writes music? I forget if he mentioned this or not, but I heard from a reliable source that this is true...plus, who doesn't love a man in uniform? I know you tried picturing him dressed for work.

Also, I think my pen (the one pictured down a couple posts) fell under your couch tonight. Could you bring it on Wednesday? I only have 2 pens right now...


UNRELATED: I know I say this pretty much every week, but it's worth saying again: I love my small group. They're wonderful people, even if they can't tell bad banana bread when I try feeding it to them. Plus, we always have thought-provoking conversations.

I just remembered that I have money in the back pocket of the jeans I was wearing today. I am glad I remembered now and not after I ruined $15 when I do laundry tomorrow.

March 25, 2007

Shoppin' in the States

Today's trip to Washington with Wendy was fairly uneventful. Other than the looooooooooooong wait at the border (both ways), there's not too much to tell. Ate some food, shopped. Went to Target (a trendy version of Zellers), some outlet stores (picked up some deals which, after conversion and gas tax, may end up being not that amazing after-all), and Kohls, which actually had the best shopping selection.

It rained. Oh, how it rained. When it finally eased up, this is what we saw on our way out of Subway. Not the best pictures (none of my pictures are any good), but I've never seen such an intense rainbow before. The near end was right over the next hill, I think in the same little town that we were. I almost asked if we could go catch the leprauchaun...but I didn't. Because we needed gas and something to do while waiting at the border.



Today's most prominent sentiment was the frustration of clothes shopping. I was hoping to add a few summer shirts to my wardrobe, and I must have tried on at least 20 tops of various sorts. I lack confidence to pull off the ultra-trendy ones, and the body to pull off the ultra-small ones (I am not so large that a large should be too small on me. Honestly.) I refuse to be drawn into body-image hell by marketing and skinny models and the media and society-at-large. But some days it is hard.

March 23, 2007

Chocolate Famine!!!


pen
Originally uploaded by bethaf.
This week is Sustainability Week at my uni, and the SUB concourse was full of wonderful booths today. It felt a bit like Guelph. There were many informative and exciting companies, everything from anti-corporation shoes to recycling to organic grocery delivery. I definitely picked up free organic tea, laundry detergent, cereal, granola bar, dish-washing detergent, and of course, chocolate. Oh, the chocolate!

I asked one of the women giving me free cocoa if the rumour a friend has mentioned was true: because of drought and political unrest in Africa, are we heading into a shortage of chocolate within the next few years?

She said, partly, yes. Actually, she sort of side-stepped my question. There is an increasing demand for more pure-cocoa chocolate, which requires more cocoa (obviously). Most chocolate is made from mixed-plantation cocoa, although she predicted that chocolate is becoming/will become more like wine - chocolate with cocoa from specific and single plantations will become more highly valued, harder to get, and expensive (ok, she didn't say expensive, but I inferred...). This is an interesting concept to me. I would like to be the equivalent of a chocolate sommelier, should this occur. I am hopeful that we do not enter into a worldwide cocoa shortage, although I'll admit that this possibility has caused me to care more deeply about political unrest and drought in Africa. (I apologize to the world at large for my shallowness.)

The final irony: this same woman, who works for a fair-trade, organic, wind-powered company, gave me a pen. I took it happily, and only later, when using it, realized there is no way this pen is fair-trade or sustainable.

Scandal

Three humourous stories, hopefully accurate to how they occurred, on the subject of sex.

Friend #1 was talking with her boyfriend. In their conversation, he admitted to peeking at her underpants. She said something along the lines of, "Ah! That's personal!" To which he replied, "You know what's personal? A toothbrush is personal."

Friend #2 (who is single) was meeting with her psychiatrist, who has "crazy eyes." She randomly assured my friend that if she is currently or should in the future experience sexual problems, that she should come to the psychiatrist, who will help her. As my friend related this story, it was a rather awkward moment (what do you say to that??). But I assured her, "Well, if you are having sex problems, you don't want a crazy-eyed psychiatrist on your bad side..."

Friend #3 and I were in line at Subway while discussing the awkwardness of seeing a recently married couple (specifically of the Christian persuasion, where there is the unmentioned but significant shift in their lives...). It was all in good humour, until one comment pushed us over the edge...

Friend: Ah, ah! I can't think about this! I don't want to think about this! Why am I thinking about this? I need to think about something else!
Me: Um....your toppings! Pick what you want on your sub...
Friend: Ok. Um, I want...pickles. I always like pickles. I get double pickles... And I want tomatoes. Nice, a-sexual tomatoes. And PG cucumbers. And some not-so-sexy lettuce...

March 21, 2007

A Bus Driver

I discovered, through the phenomenon of Facebook, that there's a bit of controversy back home about one of the city bus drivers. I'm not going to get into it, because frankly, I don't know what's going on. But I do know that this guy is hilarious. So I thought I'd share some random stories (some mine, most not) of things Geoff has done or said. Keep in mind that Geoff is a 30 year-old bald Irish-type guy with a goatee. This guy has an insanely fun sense of humour and a huge initiative capacity, to say the least.



The first time I ever had Geoff as a driver, he started talking out loud, and no one was quite sure what to do...I remember he answered his own question of how everyone was doing by saying, "Well I'm great! You know why? Cause it's Wednesday. And that means I'm getting paid. And I'm going out. And I'm Irish!"

He was driving the 52, pulling into the UC and he said, in his big booming voice: "Guelph University! Where you'll get the best education in the world, and learn how to drink enough alcohol to kill a small elephant"

One day I was riding the 55, and we passed the Zellers. He looked over to me and said "if you ever need a pedicure, Oasis (inside Zellers) gives the greatest ones, really! You should go try! " and turns around.

My friend and i got on the 52 (her first Geoff experience) and everyone was clapping and cheering. We were so confused. Turns out Geoff told them to do it. We did it for the people at the next stop too.

Geoff made some guy sing I'm a Little Teapot .. including actions.. to get on the bus ... the funniest part was everyone on the bus could tell the guy was stoned beyond belief.

Also on a cramped 52 morning, "If anyone gets married as a result of this bus ride, I want to be invited to the wedding!"

I'm pretty certain (although not 100%) that the first time I rode with Geoff was on one of the routes going by the Galaxy Theatre. And he did the best impression of Donkey from Shrek ever. It was like Eddie Murphy was driving the bus.

One day in the middle of the winter (maybe it was near Christmas?) Geoff gave everyone who got on the bus a Lindt truffle. For no reason!

Geoff - Goin' Downtown?
Girl - Yeah, but I'm going to a friends house.
Geoff - I have a shirt just like yours, it helps me pick-up.
Me - Ahh, so that's your trick. Does it really work?
Geoff - Yes, because trust me, if you go to the bar dressed as a chick you will get noticed.

He goes to give people getting on the bus props [he does this often!]. When one kid doesn't know what the hell Geoff is doing, he shakes his head, looks at me, and mutters, "White people..."

March 20, 2007

[untitled thoughts]

The other night - either last night or Saturday - I lay in bed, unable to fall asleep. Somehow, in the wanderings of my mind, I started questioning one of my friendships. I was going over our most recent interactions, and our more recent lack of interactions, and I asked myself, Does she really like me?

There are friendships I think I'll always question. Call it insecurity, blame it on my volatile junior high friends, I honestly struggle to know where I stand with some people. I fear pouring energy into a relationship that is mostly on my end, not so much on theirs, fear being 'clingy' when I need to let go.

This frustrates me to no end, and I wish I could be more confident. It is a slow and steady learning curve, knowing how to appropriately connect peoples' actions with their emotions/motives, distinguishing between acquaintance-friends and what one friend has titled "inner-circle" friends, recognizing and accepting the sometimes fluid and dissolving nature of friendships.

-----

In other news, I was writing a note to my grandparents this morning when I had a moment of remembrance: my Grammie has terminal cancer. I don't think about this often and had managed to forget it for a brief period. At first I thought, I am a bad granddaughter. Maybe this is true. But then I thought, No, this is good, because it means she's not suffering, she's not "ill" at this point. And for that, I celebrate. Although I really should call them more often.

-----

One more deep thought from today. It's about options. My generation is obsessed with options, and keeping them open. I think we've got such ridiculously high expectations about what we can get, what we "deserve" to get, that we refuse to make a choice for fear of "settling."

Maybe it's the future - In five years I could be this or do that. Maybe I'll go here... Or relationships - keeping multiple options at arms' length, or having a "top 5" list (I've had discussions, I know they exist) ... Or even Friday night's plans - waiting til the last minute to confirm, for fear of "something better" coming along.

Even then, most decisions can be 'unmade' at the drop of a pin. The only decisions we have to make that have a no-refund policy are marriage and children, and even those are becoming negotiable.

Of course, maybe it's just me and some commitment phobias. I have three Friday night potential plans and don't know what to do...even though I clearly need to stick with the one I first committed to.

March 19, 2007

Rant

I just sat down in what I’ve recently learned is called the “conversation lounge” or something similar. There is a pigeon on the stairs, and a girl sitting there is feeding it. Tearing off pieces of her sandwich and feeding it by hand.

This is a) unsanitary, b) annoying, as it does not encourage the pigeon to leave and c) good, because the pigeon is not bothering me. Except for the fact that I almost put my bag down in pigeon guano, which is disgusting and makes me fear that I have unknowingly sat in some.

Every so often it is flapping its wings and flying a foot or two. This makes me nervous, even though I’m not afraid of birds. I don’t think I am, at least. But I have no desire to have a pigeon fly into my face. Or poop on my laptop as it flies over it.

March 18, 2007

Day In The Life...

I slept in, but not so much that I was panicky. Got showered and made it to church without being late - and my hair dried obediently. Not tamely, but not disastrously. I have a friend to sit with at church and I like her singing voice. I like my pastor's preaching. Today was on Mark 13 - a balanced perspective on "apocalyptic writing," I think. (You can listen here if you're interested.)

Lunch at a great little place (there are hundreds in town) and some great little people. Well, not all little. But all great. We talked science, which is a language I don't quite speak...I want to follow, but sometimes I can't. I learned why mentos and pop are a recipe for disaster.

Then phoned my parents, which is always nice. We even talked taxes. I am slightly worried that I don't know where my sheet with the magic number from the government is, but that's a worry for another day. Then I chatted it up with Suz. I always like "the Suz" and am blessed to have the role that I do in her life. Not that I know exactly what that "role" is.

Today's weather was gorgeous, and I got to go for a walk along the beach with a new friend, who feels more like an old friend. Not that she is old (you aren't!) but like we've been friends a long time. We are incredibly similar, which is usually fun. We talked about boys and it was fun. We're hanging out on Wednesday, and it will be fun.

Ending it off with a quiet night at home - watched some poker on TV, finished a book, ate some supper and then some ice cream (the one dessert I don't have to make from scratch). Oh, and made some more plans for a sweet summer trip with my lovely Meredith.

Today has been a good day.

March 17, 2007

Soundtrack

I think every so often about the soundtrack of my life. If the following categories from Karen and the random button on Windows Media Player (I am in an angry mood with iTunes) dictated how my life would sound, this is the result:

Opening Credits: Three MCs and One DJ (Beastie Boys)

This could be super fun as opening credits. Images flashing...I can see it in my eye, although my life is nowhere near ghetto enough to fit with it. The opening scene would probably be me, pretending to be cool and dancing to this song in my bedroom. Or Edmonton at the still memorable dance party.

Waking Up: Middle Man (Jack Johnson)

"Somehow we always get stuck in the middle...every time he gets rejected, he loses affection..." Waking up to an unpleasant day, apparently. But fitting to how it's been lately. The first ten minutes of my day have been full of surprisingly confusing/less than pleasant thoughts.

First Day At School: Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon and Garfunkel)

I think I remember my first day of school. But maybe that is just because I have seen the picture so many times. I think I was thrilled, although perhaps my mom had tears in her eyes that needed drying... (feel free to correct me, Mom) If this were my junior high song, it would be a perfect fit.

Falling In Love: Heaven (Live)

Hm. I guess a decent fit - about believing/faith. "I'll believe it when I see it for myself...I don't need no one to tell me about heaven. I look at my daughter and I believe. I don't need no proof when it comes to God and truth. I see the sunset and I believe." Sappy enough for a love scene without being ridiculous. And I like that it's not a slow song.

Fight Song: Matches (The Dog Format) (ok, I cheated on this one. hit next a couple of times because worship songs just don't fit...although this song doesn't really work either)

A quiet-ish song, I think it would be playing over top of muted screaming and yelling scenes. It would have to be that or in slo-mo. There's no way you could fight in actual time to this song. There are bells, for pete's sake.

Breaking Up: Too Much (Leeland)

Starts out: "All these places I have been, All these faces I have seen, too much. Too much. And all these bricks and all these stones have all been cast, they've all been thrown. Too hard. Too hard. Find me in the backroom looking down. You never see my face, I'm looking down." Sounds perfect to me.

Prom: The Call to Dance Medley (Leahy)

Ha ha ha. I did dance up a storm at my prom, although definitely not in any sort of Celtic fashion. Oh prom...

Life: When We Were Young (Jared Wohlgemut)

This amazing musician/friend from Guelph plays a mean acoustic. I'm glad he's on my soundtrack. A good looking-back sort of song, more about childhood than my life now.

Mental Breakdown: Mystery of Iniquity (Lauryn Hill)

Great breakdown song. Yup. Lauryn gets a little worked up, and I would be too, in my movie. Although I hope I don't have a breakdown in my life movie.

Driving: Born to Be Wild (Steppenwolf)

"Get your motor runnin', head out on the highway, lookin' for adventure, and whatever comes our way..." Enough said!

Flashback: Money Worries (Bedouin Soundclash)

If my flashback is about money...

Wedding: Supergirl (Krystal)

Actually perfect, in a girl-power angry-love-song sort of way. The chorus goes:
I'm Supergirl and I'm here to save the world
I wanna know, who's gonna save me?

Birth of Child: Who'll Stop the Rain (CCR)

Mmmm....a good song for today. The rain is ridiculous. But I don't know how I could relate this to a child's birth.

Final Battle: Video Killed the Radio Star (Buggles)

I am so sick of this song. What sort of battle can be fought while this annoyingly peppy song is playing? Unless it's about the credit that was taken for my second symphony...

Death Scene: Chicago (Sufjan Stevens)

"I fell in love again. All things go, all things go..." Yeah, I could drift off to this mellow song. I wouldn't mind having a roadtrip right at the end of my life either.

Funeral Song: Sister (Sufjan Stevens)

A good instrumental piece, when all the people will be gathering, walking into the church. There will be close ups of significant people's faces. There are voices singing, like a choir, but not meaningful words, which is kind of cool. Then an acoustic solo with seemingly random lyrics. It would be like having someone read poetry.

End Credits: The Answer (Shane & Shane)

Hopefully a perfect end and summary to the hopes I have for my life. The lyrics:

i've tried more of me
and i've come up dry
trading You for things
things that go away
my happiness is found in less
of me and more of You
my happiness is found in less
of me and more of You

i have found the answer is
to love You and be loved by You alone
You crucify me and the world to me
and i will only boast in You

i'm so satisfied
at the thought of You
growing up in me
covering everything
my happiness is found in less
of me and more of You
my happiness is found in less
of me and more of You

You are, You are (loved by me)
You are, You are (You're loved by me)



(Props to anyone who's actually read this far. Someday I'll write a blog with my actual soundtrack choices.)

March 16, 2007

A Spring Salad of Thoughts


daffodil
Originally uploaded by bethaf.
Spring comes earlier to Vancouver than it does to Ontario. I like that. I was praying for a sunny warm day today, so I could spend it with God walking through the woods and down to the beach. It wasn't balmy, but it didn't rain either. A good quiet day, spent with my journal and Bible and camera and a little bit of music.


I also got my BC License, after a 2 month wait for the Ontario government to fax three lines of information to the ICBC. Ridiculous. The guy serving me was meticulous, asking me at least three times if I had any license suspensions, and asking me to read the same line three times on the vision test. I passed: surprise, surprise.


Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, and I need to find a recipe. I'm going to a potluck that requires a dish either green or containing potatoes. There are limited potato dessert recipes. I've found only two that look appetizing. One of my friends commented, in discussing whether green beer is strictly a North American phenomenon, "I guess they [the UK] probably don't have a problem selling beer on St. Patrick's Day anyway." "Or any day, for that matter."


When I started university, my brother was taking a break, living at home and working as a lifeguard. As of today, he is now a) married b) a police officer c) an imminent father and d) a homeowner. sigh My big brother's all grown-up...

(Sidenote, for a three-bedroom home with a pool, he is paying less than half of what my roommate paid for her 1.5 bedroom condo here in Vancouver.)

March 14, 2007

Salad Dressing

Aquafit makes me feel idiotic. But then after, I'm glad I went. And I'm glad I'm not a guy in a Speedo. It's awkward any way you look at it. Or try not to. Look, that is.

I decided I wanted to go for Japanese with Wendy after, mostly because I like the salad dressing at the little place above McDonald's in the Village. It is an amazing house dressing of some variety.

I blog too often. I think about blogging too often. I think about the fact that I think about blogging too often. 'Nough said.

March 13, 2007

Post #2

I didn't think it would be really fitting to put this as a part of the last post, but here are some other, much tamer thoughts that have been floating around in my head.

The last few months have had two re-occurring themes when it comes to God and my relationship with Him. They are 1. giving that costs and 2. simplicity of love.

To paraphrase my pastor, "God doesn't care about the size of the gift so much as he does the cost to the giver." This has come up over and over recently. God doesn't care about the act so much as the heart. He wants everything. God desires our gifts to be given, not out of our excess, but our poverty. God loves a cheerful giver. Obedience in giving means we give not knowing the outcome of our gifts. Giving of our selves requires sacrifice. David refused to give a gift that cost him nothing (2 Samuel 24).

In our small group tonight, we also talked about giving small things that seem insignificant but may not be (like the widow, whose 2 pennies wouldn't really have made a dent in the temple coffer). We prayed that if God had seemingly insignificant gifts that He was calling us to give this week that we would do so. I've already had the chance to give one, and it was so clearly right.

I have a feeling God is preparing me to ask something big of me. I don't know what it is yet.

As we were talking about giving and the cost associated with it (and by extension, with discipleship and our relationship with Jesus), I commented that I can say "God wants me to give him everything," but struggle to know what that looks like in Vancouver in 2007. The response I got was loving and an innocent rebuke - something God's been revealing to me since the start of the year, something I've said many times to those around me, but so quickly forget.

What does "giving God everything" look like? It looks like loving God. Our first call is to know Him and love Him, and as we do that, everything else falls into place. Often (for me and at least one other person in my small group), asking, "What does it look like?" is really a guise for "What's the formula to achieve this or that standard?" But God doesn't operate on formulas. He operates on love. And what He wants from us is love. And as we love, the other pieces fall into place.

Simplistic? yes. Harder than a formula? Sans doute.

To end: lyrics from Shawn MacDonald. I love the God-moments I sometimes have as I walk home from study.

As I look into the stars
Pondering how far away they are
How You hold them in Your hands
And still You know this man
You know my inner most being, oh
Even better than I know, than I know myself

What a beautiful God
What a beautiful God
And what am I, that I might be called Your child
What am I, what am I
That You might know me, my King
What am I, what am I, what am I

As I look off into the distance
Watching the sun roll on by
Beautiful colors all around me, oh
Painted all over the sky
The same hands that created all of this
They created you and I

What a beautiful God
What a beautiful God
And what am I, that I might be called Your child
What am I, what am I
That You might know me, my King
What am I, what am I
That You might die, that I might live
What am I, what am I, what am I, what am I

Is the Bible Crude?

Last week, in conversation with some fellow Christ-following-peeps, the phrase, "more conservative than God" came up. Basically asking the question, do we as Christians sometimes make subjects/words taboo in a cultural rather than biblical way? Although this could apply to a variety of things, we were directly referencing biblical topics and language that are somewhat hush-hush.

When I was younger (and even a bit now, to be honest), I used to giggle through Song of Solomon. My favourite was the verse that said, "Your stature is like that of the palm and your breasts are like clusters of fruit. I said "I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit."" How very un-baptist! I know that there are proper contexts for comments like that (ie, marriage), but what about the graphic way God portrays Israel's spiritual prostitution in Ezekiel?

I remember a couple of guy friends in high school youth group found this to be quite hilarious. "Yet she [Israel] became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled." Uhhhh, proper context...what?

Last month, in a conversation on the "naughty parts" of the Bible, a Mennonite minister shared this enlightening fact: in the King James Version of the Bible (often associated with the most conservative of churches) the phrase, "one that pisseth against the wall" is used in a handful of places to identify males. Interesting. In today's versions, its been simplified down to "male person."

I'm not drawing any big conclusions here. It's just got me thinking. Are my language choices and tendencies to shy away from certain topics based on God's language and topic choices or a man-made church culture?

{how's that for a provocative post?}

March 12, 2007

One Secret, Two Excerpts

Little known fact #6: I often toy with the possibility of getting dreadlocks. I probably never will, because I am scared to have super-short hair when I decide to lose them. Also, they are a lot of work if you want them to be nice. Also, many people think they are dirty and I care too much what people think. Specifically, what if some boy likes me, but upon discovering I have traded in my crazy curls for even crazier dreadlocks, decides I'm too far gone to be worth his efforts?

I am reading Travelling Mercies by Anne Lamott. She is beautiful and roughly the same age as my mom and writes about dreadlocks:

Dreadlocks make people wonder if you're trying to be rebellious. It's not as garbling and stapled as a tongue stud, say, or as snaky as tattoos. But dreadlocks make you look a little like Medusa, because they writhe and appear to have a life of their own, and that's scary...Most people, if asked, might wonder if perhaps dreadlocks are somewhat unpatriotic - isn't it unpatriotic not to comb your hair? The tangles are so funky, and who knows, they may harbour bugs and disease. Perhaps to some people dreadlocks indicate confusion of thought and character: good children have shiny combed hair, while bad children, poor children, loser kids, have bushy hair.

Her natural curls are tighter than mine (I did a google image search), but the way she describes her curly-haired woes is nearly identical to and slightly (ok, highly) more poetic than my own thoughts. Her dreadlocks are a statement, not of rebelliousness or politics, but of beauty and refusal to be beaten by unruly hair, as shallow as that sounds.

I am enjoying this book, although it is melancholy, which adds to my own melancholy-ness. This passage particularly resonated with me:

I started to feel like a tired, wired little kid at a birthday party who has had way too much sugar, who is in all ways on overload, but still finds herself blindfolded and spun around for a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, and then pushed more or less in the direction of the wall with the donkey on it. But I was so turned around, so lost and overwhelmed and stressed that I couldn't even remember where the wall with the donkey was - or even in what direction it might be found. So I couldn't take the one step forward without there being a chance that I was actually walking farther away from it. And it took me a while to remember that for me, the wall with the donkey on it is Jesus.

March 11, 2007

à la Jesskah: aka [untitled]

I don't remember watching TV since I came back from Scotland. For a brief moment, I felt great pride. Then I realized I've wasted the equivalent time, if not more, on here. Blogs, Facebook, TV shows, email, MSN...

As my mom would say, "It's six one, half dozen the other."
To which I inevitably reply, "Go with the half dozen, cause if it's a baker's dozen, you'll get more."

March 10, 2007

A Charmed Life

I'm standing in front of the New Apple Farm Market, picking up yellow peppers in search of one that is ripe but not bruised, when I have a flickering recollection:

It is high school, and I'm watching Jamie Oliver while babysitting. I have a slight infatuation with him at the time (clean-cut British boy who cooks up a mean storm, what's not to love?). He is somewhere in London, at a series of little grocers, picking fresh and local produce and encouraging his audience to do the same. I think, What a life, living in a city like that, grocery shopping at little independent places, cooking delicious food...

It hits me, as I finally find the yellow pepper that will satisfy my taste buds this week. I'm there. Not in London, but a major international city, living two blocks from a series of little grocers, testing my produce to make sure it is fresh.

I pick out a yam. Yam fries have been springing up lately - at a restaurant, a friend's, Karen's flickr site - and I want in on the deliciousness. Coconut milk, for the next time I make a curry. And refried black beans, because I know I don't get enough protein.

Grocery shopping is a happy moment today. Not so stressful, and my life is a bit surreal when I stop into Terra Breads next door.

"I'll take a demi-baguette of French bread and a hot-cross bun."

I carry groceries home through the rain and make a quick and late lunch. Time to shower and get ready for the Women In Film Festival's "Legacy Awards Presentation." My slightly hippy-vegan-fun friend invited me. Her mom's play was adapted as a film for the festival and may or may not win an award. She has also warned me that this could be a barrel of fun or a complete disaster. I'm hoping for a barrel of fun, although a complete disaster might make a better story.

It's raining on my parade, but at least there's a parade today.

March 9, 2007

5 Little Secrets

Shelly tagged me to reveal five little known facts about myself. Here are five I've deemed semi-private-but-I'm-willing-to-share. The really private are staying that way.

1. I have a strong dislike of being called by my last name. It makes me feel unfeminine. I don't know why, but it irks me. There is only one person with permission to call me by my last name or any fish-related names, but even that was after some extensive working-through, and mostly because I realized that the random names she assigns people are her love language.

2. Back in the day when swimming levels were done by colour, I failed Orange. Yes, it is the lowest level. I never took swimming lessons again and didn't learn to swim with my face in the water until I was 13. I can stay afloat/move around in the water without difficulty, but don't ask me to do the breast stroke. I wish I could swim well but am too embarrassed to take lessons now.

3. I have had great bladder control since the cradle. If I've been informed correctly, my dad started toilet training me at 4 months old, because my diaper was dry in the morning...this led to a potty-trained Beth at age 1. I think I'm still pretty good at holding it in - healthy or not, it comes in handy when there are only dodgy public toilets available.

4. Speaking of the potty, I find the word "shit" quite funny. I do not use it with any regularity, and it is often overused. But independently and sporatically, hearing it from certain friends is known to make me laugh out loud.

5. I may be a "people person" but I actually need significant amounts of alone time to recharge. Any gathering of more than a dozen people stresses me out, and I could happily spend the majority of my time with little clusters of three or four people. (That is how I cope in large gatherings - I break down the large group into little clusters and then move between them).


Theoretically, I am supposed to tag three people to do the same thing on their blogs. I would rather give an open invite for all ya'll readers to share similarly. If you need a specific challenge/invite/dare to do this, let me know and I'll edit this last paragraph to single you out.

March 7, 2007

Wired Monk

I don't often get hit on - possibly because I give off an aloof aura or something (I have been called both the "Queen of Ice" and "Gestapo" by guys before, but those are stories for another time).

Tonight after aquafit, I walk past the little coffee shop on my corner. Music comes through the doors, and I remember that it is open mic night. Now I like some good amateur music, and I don't really want to sit and watch TV for an hour before I go to bed, so I decide to head on in.

It's pretty crowded, but I order my drink and sit at the bar-type counter. I have a decent view of the musicians, and I am enjoying myself. I'm proud of the fact that I've ventured out on my own (I rarely do), and look around at the other people. I like people watching. I think it may be a dangerous thing to do when I'm on my own though.

Anyway, I'm sitting there thinking about life, music, tomorrow's plans, and how much I love vanilla steamed milk when a voice asks, "What's the wristband for?"

I don't realize it's talking to me until I'm asked again. I'm also perplexed because my MedicAlert isn't showing - I'm wearing a sweater and can feel it underneath. Then I realize: I forgot to take off my aquafit entry-band. Hm.

So I tell him. "Aquafit, actually - it's to get in the pool." I figure this has got to be a conversation killer.

It only kills the conversation for a moment. "Aquafit - is that fun?" How awkward can a conversation about aquafit be? Thankfully, after he asks where I go for it (UBC), the topic changes: "So are you a student at UBC?"

"No, I actually work with a Christian organization that works with university students. So I work with students at UBC, but I'm done my undergrad." Conversation killer #2, right? Nope.

"So what do you actually do?"
"Well, I'm sort of like a chaplain..."
"I don't really know what that is..."

Half an hour later, we've established what my beliefs are, that he's a bit of a skeptic but interested in spiritual things, and that I don't think our beliefs affect reality - if I believe that I'm in a giant fish, that doesn't change the fact that I'm not. I've explained to him who Jesus is and that he doesn't leave the option available for us to call him "a good man." Either he is who he claims (God), he's a liar, or he's a crazy man. I don't have much else to say, which is fine with me, because I'm not a huge fan of beer breath (he's on his 3rd and last, which we established when clarifying the difference between not drinking alcohol and not getting drunk) and he touched my shoulder, which is not uncouth but not quite welcome either.

There's a lull in the music while someone searches for equipment, so I decide to make my exit. He puts out his hand and says, "See you at mass?" I clarify that I don't go to mass, but tell him what church I do go to. (This may prove to be a mistake, as I once got a semi-stalker out of a similar move, but I feel a compulsive need to point someone to where they'll find truth.)

As I shake his hand, he says something about liking my military-God-something-or-other. I don't know if he means my jacket or the fact that we talked about God. "No, seriously. I like your necklace."

I smile, say thanks, and ask his name.

"It was good talking to you, Sam." And I mean it.

March 5, 2007

*Happy Sigh*


spoon2
Originally uploaded by bethaf.
On Sunday, I went for a photo walk along the beach. It was my first time back since the end of January, and it was wonderfully refreshing. I love the waterfront.

It was also good to be back at church. My favourite line from the sermon (on the fact that the word "Trinity" is not in the Bible): "The word bathroom isn't in the Bible either, but I strongly encourage you to believe in its existence..." He did go on to actually talk seriously about the Trinity. I really appreciate the mix of humour, solid teaching and practical application I'm getting at my church.

Last night, I had a smoothie, which made me happy also. I don't have a blender, so getting one at a friend's house nearly made my day. It also reminded me of many fun times with my solid '60's blender on Kirkland.

We watched a documentary called 'Jesus Camp' which made me sort of sad. If you've seen it, I'd love to chat about it. But I'm not going to open up that door unless it's already been opened.

Today, I was reminded how much fun I have with Jane. Not only is she cute and innocent, but she tells rambly stories and makes witty comments. She also, I discovered, plays the harmonica. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring AND the Indiana Jones' Theme. We played a small duet. Her on her blues' harp, and me on my Daiso phone charm...

I am cooking a real dinner for myself (although the stirfry is too orange. I really should add some other coloured vegetables) and looking forward to a phone date with Meredith any minute. Then off to my church small group...

For all the frustrations and rumenations I've had recently, I'm fairly content tonight. I think this is the "peace that passes understanding" that God promises us when we give Him our problems. And I like it.

March 4, 2007

Circles

Just when I think I'm figuring out my heart and my life, something new gets thrown at me and I'm back where I started - slightly confused and uncertain and second guessing myself. Sometimes the line between contemplative and over-analyzer is pretty blurry.

March 2, 2007

Innisfree

I hesitate to have a favourite poem or novel or anything, really. But this poem is one I've loved since high school. It is a wonderful poem. I can't think of many things more lovely than living in a "bee-loud glade" where "peace comes dropping slow" and the sound of lake water lapping is heard "in the deep heart's core."

The Lake Isle of Innisfree
by William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, and a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veil of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening's full of linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.