January 30, 2009

CocoaNymph

Today, I went to CocoaNymph. I have been meaning to go back since my friend Andi's photo show there, when Karen & I split a cup of hot chocolate and couldn't finish it. Karen found herself more giddy from the "drinking chocolate" than she did the alcohol we'd had earlier with dinner.

Filled with happiness at a place that is well-decorated with lovely local art, I bought my housemates some chocolates and enjoyed a pot of tea (only $2.50!) whilst reading and writing.

I have eaten one of the chocolates. It was a delicious cinnamon-mousse that lived up to its sales pitch.

CocoaNymph is the sort of place that I would love for my roommates to use. If I could "name it and claim it" I would call dibs on seeing Wendy's artwork on the walls, and musician-roommate Manuela's songs being played on the white baby grand.

If anyone wants to get together with me for coffee or tea, I suggest we meet here.

(how's that for a lot of links! chocolate, art and music go together like...well, like chocolate, art and music.)

An Excerpt on Blizzards

There is a great sense of relief when I read something that sits perfectly with what I have experienced/thought/felt recently. Over the lunch hour, I read this:

Many of us have lost our way...in the whiteout of the blizzard swirling around us. Blizzards begin when we say yes to too many things. Between demands from work and family, our lives fall somewhere between full and overflowing. We multitask, so much so that we are unaware we are doing three things at once. We admire people who are able to accomplish so much in so little time. They are our role models.

At the same time many of us are overscheduled, tense, addicted to hurry, frantic, preoccupied, fatigued, and starved for time. Cramming as much as possible into our Blackberries and Palm Pilots, day planners and to-do lists, we battle life to make the best use of every spare minute we have.

Yet not much changes. Our overproductivity becomes counterproductive. We end our days exhausted from work and raising children. And then our "free time" on weekends becomes filled with more demands in an already-overburdened life...we read about the need to rest and recharge our batteries. Our workplaces offer seminars on increased productivity through replenishing ourselves.

But we can't stop. And if we aren't busy, we feel guilty that we waste time and are not productive.

We go through the motions of doing so many things as if there is no alternative way of spending our days. It is like being addicted - only it is not to drugs or alcohol but to tasks, to work, to doing. Any sense of rhytm in our daily, weekly, and yearly lives has been swallowed up in the blizzard of our lives.

Add to this the storms and trials of life that blow into our lives unexpectedly and catch us off guard, and we wonder why so many of us are disoriented and confused.

(from Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, all added emphases my own)

January 28, 2009

A Happy Ratio

Sometimes, I wonder if I strike an appropriate balance on my blog of fun, light-hearted, personal, thought-provoking, honest, interesting, and...whatever other adjectives will get people reading (just kidding - I was thinking about this the other day and decided that I don't want to aspire to blogging-greatness. Which is probably another entry in itself...)

I just looked back, and of my ten most-recent entries, only one is of a more serious nature. Something in my gut says that this is a good ratio. One in ten. Enough to keep me honest, but keep me from the pity parties. And it keeps me looking at life, laughing about things beyond my own self.

Maybe it's a little low. Maybe you like a more contemplative (or tortured?) Beth. I like thinking. I have enough thoughts in my head to write a "deep" entry every day. But I lack the time. And I get tired of over-thinking. Over-analysis ruins my life. I should give it up (if only it were as easy as quitting coffee).*


Here is my serious thought for today:

I've realized that over the past month or two, I have been having trouble speaking. Some of you may find this amusing. But too frequently, I find myself unable to focus, complete a thought without stumbling or stuttering, or think of simple words. It is both humbling and frightening. I chalk it up to stress. And while in some ways, it is adding to my stress, it is also forcing me to slow down. I can't talk as quickly as I can think. And now, I can't even seem to think very quickly. Or rather, only in short bursts. It is a weird thing, this disconnect between mind and body.



* I have never actually "quit coffee" and don't know that it is easy. So for all of you addicts...I apologize.

January 26, 2009

What Am I?

If you saw this, what would you think it was?












What if I told you that it was made of fleece and is roughly the size of a pair of pants for a baby. Only there is no waist hole.

What if you saw it like this:













Or this:














That's right, folks. Mittens for couples. What WILL they think of next!?

January 24, 2009

Things I Like Today

There is little I enjoy more than being with a friend and feeling pressure-free. No pressure to be funny, no pressure to be serious. No pressure. I like watching movies and staying up way too late at night, talking about random things that you don't even remember in the morning. I like laughing, and reminiscing, and getting new music recommendations. I like shopping. I like driving by myself, and keeping calm in traffic, because even if I knew why we were moving so slowly, I couldn't fix it anyway. I like working out. I like listening to music. I like being asked my opinion. I like solving problems. I like blogging. I like eating healthy food. I like the silence of my house right now. I like reading.

I am going to read.

January 23, 2009

TGIF

No, seriously. Thank God for weekends and rest, and Friday nights of nothing important.*

Last night, thanks to amazing-housemate Andrew, I was introduced to McSweeney's. Specifically Mountain Man Dance Moves, a recently published book of lists. I love lists. I love laughing. AND I love unicorns.

I am so happy. I am going to write some more lists. And I am going to submit some for publication.


*I don't, however, feel this happy about the restaurant chain, TGIF's

January 20, 2009

A Lesson I Could Learn

I think I will enjoy this movie. And possibly learn from it as well...

Weekday Report

Still alive.

Still watching TV.

Still living in a fog.












Still bruised.

January 18, 2009

Living in a Fog

This past week, I have been living in a fog. Literally. My entire neighbourhood has been one giant fog-zone. It has extended across the city...but today there is hope. Today, other neighbourhoods have sunshine. Today, other people are smiling.

I see the sun coming through the fog. Destroy the fog! Destroy!

I can also hear foghorns, roughly every five minutes, out on English Bay.

January 16, 2009

Memories of Victor Davis

This morning I laughed at four year-olds trying to play hockey.

Then I tried to play. It was reminiscent of elementary school, when I made my goal getting through free skate at the Victor Davis arena without falling on the ice.

Didn't happen today. Now I hurt a little bit. Notice the pout, and the bruising on both knees.



This bruise is from a puck, shot by a stranger, that missed the net and hit me instead. *












(* my skin is a weird colour. I apologize.)

Night at the Roxy (& Best Day Yet)

On Wednesday night, I went to see Waking Jude at the Roxy. It was my first-ever time there. Probably my last. But that is irrelevant.

The opening band was good fuel for discussion. Like, "Would you rather be here, or at the dentist? Here or writing a grade twelve physics exam?" I can respect people for persisting in their musical escapades, and it was evident that they were well practiced - but. It also raised the question of "How old is too old to rock-out if you aren't famous?"

I do enjoy a live show though, and Waking Jude was great. When you're a solo act, there's no one else to carry you. It's you, your voice, and your guitar. I quite enjoyed myself. I think I was most impressed because his music is so intensely personal. It is a difficult thing to find a way to bring your own life and experiences to the stage.

After the show, my friend K and I went to the Naam for a snack and conversation. It was, overall, a serious and sobering night, and I am glad for it. She echoed my pastor's recent teaching (without knowing it), that there are things in life that are extremely difficult, but in the end they are good.

I knew that it was a good conversation because it came up in three different situations the very next day. Speaking of - Yesterday was my favourite work-day of 2009. Possibly the entire school year. I was feeling some trepidation, with nine hours of people-time all in a row. But it was incredibly encouraging. I was reminded of how much I love the opportunity to share my life & thoughts with others. And that I quite enjoy discussions that involve more than one point of view.

At the tail end, I went to an event hosted by the Freethinkers Club, where a grad student presented some social psychology research he is doing in the area of anti-atheist prejudice. It was good to think, in my own life, whether I am prejudiced against atheists (anti-atheist prejudice is apparently limited only to arenas of "trust"), how that plays out, and why it is so. I miss philosophical/intellectual discussions that extend outside my inner circle of friends. I need more friends who disagree with me.

January 13, 2009

My Right Index Finger

This is the most important finger of the bunch. Seriously! And I injured it twice today.

First, my nail ripped off. I know, I sound like a girl. (That's what I am, halfwit!) But it ripped below the white part...where my finger is sensitive with every stroke of the keyboard.

Then, I tried putting away some groceries, and the fridge scraped me. Out of the blue, right off the back of my knuckle. It stings, like surface wounds tend to do.

So I am whining.

(Another previous injury to this finger has left me almost incapable of fully straightening it.)

January 12, 2009

Happiness, New Shirts, A Capella

I had a great weekend. I laughed a lot, I ate a lot. I slept a lot. I like to sleep in the winter months. I love my friends here and am so grateful for where I live. If only my weekend high could last through the week...

Today I am wearing a new shirt, which I think I still like. I wore another new shirt on my birthday, and I definitely still like that one. I also have a third new shirt, which I plan on wearing on Wednesday night, when I go to my friend's cousin's gig.

And since Dan isn't blogging these days, allow me to share with you the wonderful, the amazing, the talented, Naturally 7.

January 9, 2009

Pushing Daisies Dies

I am grieved. Deeply saddened. Mourning the loss of the best new TV show.

It won three Emmys last year, but is just too witty for general consumption, apparently. So off it goes, the way of Arrested Development.

Will they not learn!?



Farewell, adorable Ned-the-Piemaker.

So long, not-dead Chuck.

Adios, knitting-addict Emerson Cod.

Bye-bye, adorable Olive.

January 8, 2009

On Turning Twenty-Four

The Scene:
NYE, just after midnight.

The Characters:
Barely Thirty
Nearly Thirty
Twenty-Five
Me

Me: You know, I don't really think New Year's is such a big deal. Except that it's close to my birthday, which is when I see the new year really starting...hurrah for January birthdays, eh? (nudges Nearly Thirty).

Nearly Thirty: sigh.

Barely Thirty: You don't need to stress about turning thirty. It's really not that bad. And I sure as heck wouldn't want to be twenty-four again!

Me: (with fake shock and sadness) Ohhhhhhhhh!

Barely Thirty: Oh no! You're twenty-four!?

Me: I will be in a week....

Barely Thirty: Oh, I didn't mean it! I'm sure it will be a good year...it's just that, for me, twenty-four was an awful year.

Nearly Thirty: Yeah, me too. Twenty-four was terrible.

Twenty-five: nods.

Me: Oh no! Everyone hated twenty-four!

Barely Thirty: I'm sure it will be different for you...we suffered enough at twenty-four that you shouldn't have to. What's that verse? We filled up what was lacking in your affliction....?

Me: Ha, ha. Thanks...



Now it's a week later, and I am twenty-four, and I am hoping that it's not a terrible year. I can't say which way it will go (obviously), but I am content at the number behind my name, at the very least.

Twenty-four is a good number, because it is young, but not too young. It says that I have been on my own long enough (seven years, this fall) to know how to take care of myself. It says that I am old enough to have opinions, theories, thoughts - and young enough to still learn (not that an ability to learn is necessarily tied to age). It is okay for me to be single at twenty-four. It would be okay for me to date at twenty-four; it would even be okay for me to be married at twenty-four. There enough years left ahead of me that I do not need to stress over every missed opportunity. I can take things slowly, knowing that there is no rush to get anywhere.

I like twenty-four. Now I hope the year is as good as the number.

January 7, 2009

Girly Things

Boys, you might not want to read this. Although I have spoken only in the vaguest of details, it may be too much for you to handle.

I finally got fitted for a bra today. After years of guessing and several bra-shopping failures, I went in to a little boutique near my house and spent half an hour trying on bras. It was time (and in the end, money) well spent. Thank you friendly saleslady!

The point is that I was surprised by the results, and once again Perception and Reality have proved combative foes in the Self-Esteem Fight. Every woman should get herself fitted by someone who knows what they are doing and experience the comfort of a well-made bra. I recommend finding a Scandinavian boutique with a big sale on.



In other girly news, there is a current TV commercial that seems to have been poorly researched. On three separate occasions, with three separate people, there has been a What is this?! response, followed by a hesitant statement that the initial mental connection was with Aunt Irma (the Communists, Maintenance, High Tide, first scene in Carrie)*, if you will. The other night, we wondered aloud if there were any women on the production team...a quick internet search revealed that, no, everyone involved (or at least in power) seems to be male.

So thank you; Stephen, Angus, Donald, Gerald, Dale, Christopher, Dex, David and Jens, for taking away any desire I had (which I must say existed) to drink your Red Tea.


*this is a reference to my favourite episode of The IT Crowd

January 5, 2009

Spinning My Wheels

The title is a reference to two very different things.

Thing one is not metaphorical. It is a reference to the 30 minutes (or so) that it took myself, Kurt, and Lynsey to get my car back into its parking space after a failed attempt to get on to the street, drive away and buy groceries.

Not fifteen minutes later, I saw Wendy drive down our street - she has not attempted this in the past few weeks, which is wise. She did today, which was foolish. She got stuck. We tried - this time with Dan in place of Kurt...sans luck. No luck. Nada. She was going nowhere. We called in reinforcements, Wendy grabbed her handy towing-rope (who has one of those!? honestly.) and after a dinner break, with much shoveling and sideways-pushing of her car, she is also parked.

Neither of us is going anywhere in our cars tomorrow, and in the end we had to walk to the grocery store so that we could eat breakfast in the morning.


Thing two is about how much I think. Which, in case you don't know me, is a lot. I have not been sleeping well at night for the past few weeks - maybe a month, actually - and last night, I lay in bed thinking about poetry and the importance of a good title. I realized that it is crucial, and that the title can change the entire perception and interpretation of the exact same piece of work. That's the thing about poetry - it's vague enough that a four word title flips it on its proverbial head. I like this, when I have a good title. When I don't, it drives me bonkers.

I have also been thinking a lot about boys, which should not come as a surprise to anyone who a) is a girl or b) has ever talked to me more than twice. I like boys. Unfortunately, I still freeze up like a sixteen year-old around the attractive ones. I have yet to figure out what it means for me to "just be myself." If I ever figure that out, I think I will be making significant progress. Until then, I imagine I will keep myself up at night wondering, playing out scenarios that in which I am either too shy (smiling demurely as a man makes his approach) or too bold (confidently walking up to a near stranger with nothing to say beyond, "Hi, I'm Beth").

January 4, 2009

I Am Not Feeling Articulate

In 2009, I have watched two movies. Seven Pounds and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

I didn't find much redemptive or really thought-provoking in Benjamin Button (not to mention it is virtually nothing like the original story, save the aging backwards man), although I did enjoy it and was pleasantly surprised by its lack of gratuitous nudity.

Seven Pounds
, however, had me engaged and heartbroken. It disturbed me and made me angry, but it got me thinking about moral dilemmas, sacrifice, redemption and atonement (again), and a whole slew of other things.

So it came as a surprise to discover that BB is getting all sorts of nominations while SP is being panned. It doesn't make sense to me...I'm not a movie critic (clearly), but I wasn't captured by the characters or trials in BB the same way that I was Will Smith & Rosario Dawson. I know that the one is a fable, but it still had too many holes - like where has the daughter been for the past ten years? How was she completely unaware that her mother was caring for a child? And what is the significance of Hurricane Katrina? Or all the other storms, for that matter? And is there no resolution for the daughter at the end?

Conclusion: I would watch Seven Pounds again in a heartbeat, and would discuss it with friends. Benjamin Button was nice enough, and definitely endearing, but meh, it's all the same to me.


As I think about this (and wait for my banana bread to bake), I have decided what matters most to me in a movie.