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Showing posts from December, 2009

A Christmas Poem & Prayer

This poem by Luci Shaw is overwhelmingly beautiful. Especially as set to music and performed at the Elektra Christmas Concert.

Star Song

We have been having
epiphanies, like suns,
all this year long.
And now, at its close
when the planets
are shining through frost,
radiance runs
like music in the bones,
and the heart keeps rising
at the sound of any song.

Old magic flowing
the calling of bells,
round high and clear,
flying and falling,
re-sounding the death knell
of our old year,
the new appearing
of Christ, our Morning Star.

Now burst!
all our bell throats.
every clapper tongue.
Stun the still night!
Jesus himself gleams through
our high heart notes
(it is no fable).
It is he whose light glistens in each song sung
and in all of us
in the true coming
together again
at the stable: shepherds,
sages, his women and men,
common and faithful,
wealthy and wise,
with carillon hearts
and, suddenly,
stars in our eyes.

My Christmas prayer is that you and I both have stars in our eyes today, that radiance runs like music in the …

List: The Interweb

Things I love about the internet:
it lets me stay in touch with far-away friendsit has the answers to (almost) all my questionsit connects me with the artsit makes me smarter & it entertains meit's helpful when there is time to be wasted
Things I hate about the internet:
it is one more way that I can be insecure in relationships ("she unfriended me!?" "but his status says he's single..." "does she really care how my life is going or is she just nosy about those photos?" "maybe he chats with ten girls like this every day - how would I know?")it liesit is full of pornography and other terrible things
it makes me greedyit distracts me from other, more important things

Wednesday's Word: Inventing a New One

I have been looking for a word recently and realized that it doesn't exist. Or if it does, it's not in the easy-recall cortex of my brain. (Is something like that located in a cortex? Cortex seems like the right word to use when discussing the brain.)

Anyway. I am looking for help. Help in either uncovering the word I want, or creating a word that means what I'm trying to express. Because I think it would be a useful word.

It could describe marriage. Motherhood. Work. A period of your life. Learning a new skill. A relationship. So many things!

Aren't you curious?

The concept I want to express in one word is this:
difficult but good
challenging but rewarding.

Do you know one? (other languages welcome - especially French, Spanish, German, Russian or Arabic)

Can you suggest one? (if you're creating a new word, it has to have a ring of joy to it, but also the depth of the struggle)

Two'sday: Exciting Things Happen After Midnight

Normally, I go to bed earlier than this. But I'm on my holidays, so I'm sitting in bed catching up on the articles quickly backing up my Google reader. Tonight, two very different things happen.

1. I discover this article from Esquire(yes, I subscribe to their site). Last month, I listened to an audio version of True Story by Michael Finkel. The book outlines his "friendship" with Christian Longo, a man eventually convicted of killing his wife and three children, and tells the story of Longo's arrest & trial. It is a fascinating and complex story. My roommate Lynsey and I were so fully absorbed in listening to it while driving across Vancouver Island that we let ourselves drive right into near-blizzard conditions. (Actually a funny story, knowing we survived.) But this was too intense and disturbing for pitch-black driving on a wintry night, so we turned it off and waited until we were safely out of the mountains before finding out the jury's sentence.


Mondays Mean More: Christmas

There are two types of grammar: prescriptive grammar and descriptive grammar. Prescriptive grammar examines and defines how things should be, while a Descriptive grammar looks at the reality of what is.

An example:

Prescriptive grammar looks at the sentence "Who dat?" and says that the correct and appropriate way to communicate this question is to ask "Who is that?" Descriptive grammar looks at the same sentence and then tells you who is likely to use that phrase, how it evolved and the significance it holds. There is great tension between the two schools of grammar (in my mind, I am picturing near-brawls breaking out at grammar conventions) because of the implications of this very major difference. Prescriptivists look at maintaining language, restoring the purity of language* and stopping the "destruction" of language. Descriptivists are more interested in following how language continues to evolve, because evolution is inevitable, and studying the signif…

Bonus Round: Hello Kelly

I have never been a groupie before, but it is fun. (and I'm talking about the platonic version of groupie-dom, because "easy" has never been a word used to describe me.)

For our annual Christmas adventure (can we make adventure an annual thing, Nadine?), my "life-twin" and I went on a roadtrip to Orangeville for a concert.

This is what I have to say about the concert in general:
I haven't been to a church-concert since John Reuben in 2002, I think. (I now feel an urge to dig that CD up and burn it onto my laptop. He was so fun). Being at a church concert brought back memories of high school, and waves of relief that I am ten years past the height of horribleness.I'm too old for concerts. Or my ears are too sensitive. They are still mildly ringing, and I may be speaking in a slightly raised voice today. I don't like being alone at public events/venues unless I am on a mission and in motion. Standing around between bands, I just didn't know what to …

Sundays are Fun-days: Still True

The start of this Sunday is about to get a separate post. Let's just say the start of Sunday was actually a late wrap-up of Saturday, which is really the best way to start.

good sermon at church - new Christmas insight, just when you think you've heard it all...turns out Herod actually was a great ruler, and did a lot of good for his people...the small flaw in it all? His ego. He was insanely afraid of losing his power, and had a wife & three sons killed at the threat of usurption.
World's Cutest Nephew was a donkey in the Sunday School nativity. He was best at hiding at the back of the stage and trying to tip over the manger...lunch with my two best church friends, pastor & wife. Second trip to Swiss Chalet since landing. It's essentially the Whitespot of Ontario. Good to be reminded that pastors are just regular people, but still fantastic.watching Home Alone 2 with a few more girls. Laughter and near-sleep.discussion on awkward slips of the tongue includ…

Thoughtful Thursday: I Do Think

I just realized that I haven't written a "Thoughtful Thursday" post since October. It's not because I haven't been thinking, that's for sure.

I think I've weighted this blog too heavily on the serious end. Or maybe it's just too much to blog every day at this point.

I think I'm growing. But then sometimes I think I'm regressing a little.

I think that winter is an unfortunate reality. Will there be winter in heaven? We discussed this briefly in the car tonight. I vote nay.

I think that life is never simple.

I think that families are incredibly lovely.

I think that church is so much more than a Sunday morning thing.

I think that art and music and beautiful words make life better.

I think I'm blessed to have people in my life to trust and love.

I think I probably panic over things I shouldn't.

I think this Christmas has the potential to be a memory-making occasion.

Two'sday: Last Day

The last day before a trip is always full.

My priorities for today are:

Pack - parameters: ten days with the family, five day conference, snow instead of rain, must include pillowWork - parameters: time-sensitive emails first, long list of things to do by the end of the week second
These are the things I'm most looking forward to:
Hanging out with D, L, and my little (bigger) brother. Coffee with D, L comes by sometime, and Jonathan is sleeping over before our flight.
Massage therapy. Mmmmmm. My shoulders are ready to be relaxed.

Sundays are Fundays: All the Right Ingredients

These are the things that make Sundays the best days. Especially today.

Starting Sunday with a late-night party that involves good people, homemade egg nog, and wild games of Mafia.Coming home to a still house and crawling into bed. Looking out the window as I lie in bed and seeing the stars.Waking up 5 minutes before my alarm (I hate waking up to an alarm).Not showering (shh, don't tell).Church. I actually haven't been in a few weeks, and it was good to stand with people and sing with hearts of love.Brunch. Mmm, food. Mmm, friends.Cookies on the counter when I get home. Watching The Office and talking with roommates.A quiet house while I do my weekend cleaning and start my laundry.Time to read.All the necessary ingredients for snickerdoodles are in the house.No guilt over blasting my music while baking.Looking forward to a Christmas party tonight.Snow. It's been gently snowing all day.

Saturday Sing Along: Terrible Holiday Tunes

There are a lot of lovely Christmas songs out there. And then there are the ones that shouldn't have been written. Now, I enjoy some of these as much as the next person. But let's not pretend they're actually any good.

Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer -
I wasn't allowed to listen to this song as a child. We did anyway. (Sorry, Mom.) In the original video, it seems she didn't die afterall. Grandpa seems a bit disappointed...

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas -
Not only is this a preposterous request, but she has a ridiculously nasal voice. Why do we love this song so much?

The Chipmunk Song -
ALVIN! (need I say more?)

Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas) -
Okay, this is actually a serious song. But heartbreaking. A little out of sync with the majority of Christmas tunes. You can't hate it, because that's like denying the Holocaust. But who wants to listen to it on their regular rotation of Christmas cheer?

It's Christmas Time -
White Christian r…

Friday Vari-e-tay: Things I Liked This Week

Here are my top picks of internet-amazingness for the week. Some of these showed up in Twitter, but deserve a second shout out. Some of these are new.

7. Ryan Seacrest: Taking Over the World & Yet Invisible... I thought this was an interesting article. And I noticed how much older he looks in this photograph.

6. This pointless wrestling music video made me smile.

5. This photo made me love California and photography just a little bit more.

4. Looking at the "Ultra Deep Field" through the Hubble Telescope. Guaranteed to make you feel small.

3. A new band! Club 8 out of Sweden. Don't let their name make you think of S Club 7, because that will scare you away. But they are too good for that. Download one of their songs here.

2. The Unbelievable World of Snowflakes. Looking at these images and facts gives me shivers - not of cold, but of awe.

1. Fuel/Friends Christmas Mix for 2009. As a bonus, you can also get 2008's mix. And 2007's. Don't delay. Download now! Then …

Wednesday's Word: Libraries

Originally uploaded by bethaf. I love the library.

It sucks me in. (like Glee - every Wednesday night I say that to the television. "You suck me in, and I hate it!")

I worked at the public library during my last year of high school. I loved the work because I got so distracted. Books. All around me. Books, passing through my fingers on their way out the door, and then back to the shelves. Kids' books. Fiction. Teeny-bopper books. Non-fiction.

There are too many books out there. I can't read them all. But I did find that I could read a lot of kids' books while "shelving" them.

I have great memories of the library from when I was little, too. The Bookmobile came around to our neighbourhood on a regular basis (I'd like to say twice a week, but I am not sure if that's accurate). A little, mini-library on wheels right at the corner store. Can you get any better than this?

In an alternate life, I would work at the library again. I like being surrounde…

Mondays Mean More: Over-thinking

I am, by nature, a thinker. A details person, through-and-through. Combine the two, and I might go so far as to say that it is in my blood to over-think most things in life. It is a rare occasion when I act too quickly or make a decision without extended time to consider all potential angles.

(The exception is speaking too soon. I do that regularly. Then my over-thinker kicks in and I spend the next six weeks wondering what sort of damage I've done. Usually, the other person hasn't noticed, or lets it go far before I do.)

As you might guess, this often gets me into trouble - I stress out over unnecessary things. Decisions that should be simple and obvious. Group activities that require the consideration of more than six peoples' feelings. The consequences of the off-handed comment I made to a friend two weeks ago. This blog entry, that I've been thinking about for 2 weeks and writing for 2 days.

It is now Tuesday morning, and my life-twin Nadine has just said to me, "…

Sundays are Fundays: Weekends Too

I like weekends. Especially ones that start early. Things I liked about this weekend include:

A solution for my slight piercing infection. I was freaking out on Thursday night that I might need a nose amputation. Fear, be gone!Haircut. Straightened for the day. See image below.
Wrapping up photo editing of the O.'s wedding with Becca. Stay tuned for the release of my favourites.Live jazz at The Cellar with some of the greatest girls in Langley. If I had $500 to spare, or if anyone is thinking of spending that much on me for Christmas/my birthday, I would seriously consider becoming a member. It was also the second time in a week that I'd heard Jodi Proznick play. The first was at the Elektra concert last Saturday.Sleeping in on Saturday morning.Doing nothing for most of Saturday. Laughing with L. and A. on Saturday. Going for a walk in the sunshine on Saturday.Helping a friend devise a plan to make a work party bearable. "Make a list in your head of all the alternative thi…

Friday Vari-e-tay: 3x3 (Gifts that Give)

Three sets of three today:

3 Gifts that Give - how $40 can change a life

1. Child of Mine (my church is sending gifts to the two orphanages in India we support)
2. Impact Nations Water Filters (providing drinkable water in the Philippines)
3. mycharity:water (a friend is raising money to provide fresh water in lieu of Christmas gifts)

3 Songs I'm Singing

1. Passion Play - William Fitzsimmons

2. Ok - MuteMath (no video)

3. You've Got the Love - Florence + the Machine

3 Half-Read Articles

1. An excerpt from the "first great novel of the new century" - a timely work on the economy.

2. Why we're all sucked in to Glee.

3. Vanishing in the Techonological Age - is it possible? One Wired writer tries to find out.

Bonus Round: Dreams

There's something fascinating about dreams, and how the things that we think about during the day come out in strange ways at night, and the tiny details that are inexplicable and yet memorable. I can recall three dreams from the last two nights. It's been awhile since I've really remembered my dreams, and I've been thinking about these ones all day.

Dream #1:

I am in the forest somewhere in the Lower Mainland. Possibly Stanley Park. I have my camera with me, and I notice two major additions to my kit: a unipod and a telephoto lens. As I take photos, it seems that my lens does all the work for me. Looking at my shots on screen, I have an Aha! moment - This is why their photos are so good, I think of some images I've been perusing online, This is the secret! I continue taking photos, giddy at how fantastic they are, and excited to talk photography with my artistic friends.

Dream #2:

I drive up for dinner at the home of some long-distance coworkers (actually a conglomer…

Wednesday's Word: Plurals & Grammars

There are rules for pluralizing words. With every rule, comes exceptions. Two exceptions I've run up against recently had me googling the answers.

I'd rather research than make a mistake. Some people might think that makes me a grammar nazi. I prefer the term Grammar Champion. I am a champion for the cause of good grammar. I am encouraging and positive in my pursuit of better speaking and writing skills, for myself and for my friends. And I uphold the value of both Prescriptive and Descriptive grammars.

I could go on. Even writing these two paragraphs is making me wonder where all my notes are from my History of the English Langauge class. Best course I ever took. (Read about the prof's work on Chaucer here.) Topics ranged from Middle English to the Great Vowel Shift (it's a real thing, folks!) to the Norman Invasion and the Evolution of Taboo Words.

(happy sigh)

Now I have to wrap this up. Somehow. How about a challenge - the same challenge that started my thoughts on gra…