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Showing posts from February, 2011

Who Was I!?

During Jeopardy (teen week means easy "US-curriculum-based questions"), I commented to Nadine that I remember reading The Crucible, The Scarlet Letter and Animal Farm - in grade eight.

GRADE EIGHT.*

I was twelve. Turned thirteen halfway through the year. At a conservative Christian school.

I applaud my teacher for allowing (encouraging) this. My love of literature was fostered. Look at me now!

I would like to find my old book reports. I wonder if they're around in a box somewhere.






*the same year, I was asked out for the first time. After spending an entire evening of youth group trying to avoid the request I'd been told was coming my way, I answered the boy, in all seriousness, "I'm not ready for a relationship." I think I had more common sense at twelve than I do at twenty-six.

On A Lighter Note

Yesterday at work:

C: Can we make gingermen sometime?
me: Sure, we can make gingerbread men.
C: At Christmas, we make gingerbread houses. And we can eat them, 'cause they're food.
me: Yes, they are for eating.
C: But if they were chickenbread houses, they would be healthier, right? Because chicken is protein, right? And protein makes you run faster.
me:(laughing) Yes, chicken is protein. And protein helps you grow strong.


And an assortment of texts I don't want to delete:




Get out of my head.
Just saw a sign that says free lunch. First thought: I should go there! Second thought: why is it free? Oh no! It's a strip club! (no such thing as a free lunch these days)
Cool. Date b

If ur not sleeping well maybe u need a husband to keep u warm.
Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are shooting stars?

I can't believe I didney reply to this text from now 24 hours ago. Eesh. Work was so busy I couldn't...and then my brain fell off and...
Serious, bree.

Mmm quite. God is __…

"Eyes, Beth."

Sometimes it is really difficult to package thoughts into a blog entry. Tonight's most pertinent thoughts require two prefaces and will potentially be quite lengthy. I am tempted to watch an episode of The Mentalist instead of sorting it all out.


Preface A:
I don't know how to give myself permission to feel what I feel and want what I want even if it is irrational or "less" than another's feelings/pain/suffering/etc. I find it unbearably hard to say, "This is where I'm at: __________." Without following it up with some sort of plan to move forward or "fix" those things I dislike.

(Today, I feel overly possessive of friendships, jealous of girls dating men I do not want, grieved over the death of someone I haven't seen in five years.*)


Preface B:
I have found myself hesitating to blog about my relationship with Jesus this year. Partly because hesitant is exactly the word I would use to describe our relationship right now. And partly becau…

Tired in Toronto

It's not falling asleep that's the problem; it's staying asleep. It has now been officially a month since I slept soundly through the night. Possibly longer. The last time I remember sleeping through the night was the first week of January, for one night. Before that...well, I started paying attention at the end of December, after my fourth experience of sleep paralysis, this time accompanied by the shadowy figure of a man in my bedroom doorway.

I'd guess I'm still getting 6 hours of sleep a night, so I'm not dying from sleep deprivation. I have not gone to the doctor (I don't even have a doctor!). And I don't like to over-spiritualize this sort of thing... So I'm left waiting it out.

Other suggestions I've received include a glass of wine before bed, melatonin, some type of nasty-tasting tea.

That is all. Just telling the world. A shared sorrow is a half sorrow, right?

Don't Speak Too Soon

I had a little moment today that may have been an epiphany. I am hesitant to call it that until I see how (if) it impacts my heart and life. Publishing this will remind me to take time to let it sink in...it might be just the oh-so-obvious insight that I need to shift my focus in this somewhat angst-y year.

It also would make a half-finished but very-serious post irrelevant, so you'll have to content yourself for a day or two with this adorable baby and this cryptic post of nothingness.

Allow Me a Moment...

Baby in Bath
Originally uploaded by bethaf. ...to be that girl and shout, "I LOVE BABIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


How could you not want to snuggle with this bundle of adorableness!?

I am in noooooooooooooooooo rush to have babies of my own, but dang, I love to borrow others'.

All By Myself

I was rescued from a night that could have looked something quite like this by the voices of a few good friends, the warmth of fresh laundry, and a stern talking-to from my own self.


Scene: The movie theatre, watching the opening scene of Bridget Jones' Diary (sometime during Grade 12):

me:(whispering) Kim. If that is me when I am thirty, I give you permission to shoot me. Please, shoot me.
Kim: Are you kidding!? That is totally going to be me!


I'm not thirty yet, but it is strange to think back to being 16, and how completely impossible it seemed that my reality would ever be anything like Bridget's. Um, it's not so far off, some days. Ten years ago, I would not have predicted any of my current life.



And SPEAKING OF COLIN FIRTH! I really need to see The King's Speech. And I still want to see A Single Man from last year. I am sure both of them are quite good movies and warrant viewing even if I didn't have a soft spot for this dashing Brit.

I will laughingly admit th…

Bought Nothing Month

I did it. Almost.

These are the thing I said "no" to because of my little challenge:

Incendies (I nearly went on a solo movie date, which I have never done. Then I remembered that I couldn't.) Eharmony (They gave me an offer I could hardly refuse! $10 a month! Better chances of meeting a man with that investment than any other option in that price range, I think.) Shirt (Glad I didn't, as I don't even remember what it looked like.) Belt (If it was $10 like I thought at first, j would have bought it. But it was $35.) Thrift store!! (Note to self: go thrifting next time I am in Guelph. Way cheaper than Toronto.) The Fighter (Not a movie I really care about, but I missed out on some quality company.)
Things I forgot I'd pre-planned to pay for:
Massage therapy Trip home (BUT I got a ride with a friend that halved the cost!) Part of my iPod touch. (I had the second portion to pay the friend I bought it off.)
Things I Broke The Rules For:
Taxi (after a particularly…

A Love-Hate Relationship

Every Thursday night, I hang out with the same group of people from my church.

We share stories from our weeks and tease each other and read the Bible and talk about why it matters that King David gave a fig cake to a dehydrated Egyptian.

I hate going, most weeks.

No one there is who I want them to be. I am never who I want to be. Conversations go in directions I don't want them to. People have opinions I do not share. Some of us talk too much *cough* me *cough* and other people hardly speak up at all. It is insanely frustrating to me.

The worst part is that every week, my pride gets slapped in the face.

There is no other way to put it. It takes a big ol' beating and I leave feeling tired and sad and with questions I hadn't had three hours earlier.

At the same time, I have no plans to quit going. I am coming to love our crew of peeps. Not just like, but love. Care about deeply. Be willing to fight for. I see myself differently and know myself in light of this little comm…

If I Hear One More Brit...I'm Getting On a Plane

Today, I feel homesick for the UK. This is strange, since the longest consecutive time I have spent there is a month, so I can't say that I've ever lived there. (Although I did realize an hour ago that in three of the last five Februarys, I have gone to Scotland. So this missing-feeling sort of makes sense.)

Each of these songs caused wee pangs in my heart when I heard them today.


Loch Lomond - I sang this song as I stood on the shore of Loch Lomond last year.


Chasing Pavements - "Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements?" GOOD QUESTION, Adele.


Fancy - This song has nothing to do with the UK, except that the chorus always makes me remember a wee Glaswegian lass saying to me, "Do you fancy him? I think he fancies you." (I thought at first that the chorus said, "You fancy her"...it actually says, "You fancy, huh")

Grief & Play & Growing Up

Last month, I spent three consecutive Saturdays learning about children and death.

No joke. I want to volunteer with the Philip Aziz Centre for Hospice Care, specifically with children who have a life-limiting illness or who have a family member with a life-limiting illness. One of the first steps through the door is a series of Saturday training sessions.

It's been interesting seeing peoples' reactions as I've told them how excited I am at this opportunity - each weekend I left the training tired from sitting all day, but eager to be in someone's home and life during a turbulent time. Is that weird? It isn't that I am glad of trauma and devastation, but I think the services that Philip Aziz offers are a beautiful thing.

Most of the training focused on two topics: grief and play. Because that's what we volunteers are there for. Helping children have some stability and support as they walk through grief, and giving them the freedom and opportunity to play.

Play …

Watching The Grammys With Nadine

Prior to living with Nadine, I don't think I've ever watched an entire awards show. Now, it's tradition. But with commentary like this, who wouldn't want to watch!?!?


(the opening singers come out)
me: Jennifer.Florence. Martina? Yolanda...and - boobs!!
her: Yeah, Christina doesn't get a name.

(a commercial for an upcoming movie)
me: I find Vin Diesel strangely attractive.
her: To me, HELL would be a double date with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. I think they're the most boring people. I can't stand them...If you showed me a picture of your boyfriend and it was Paul Walker, I would say, "That is a very attractive man." But if we had to have a conversation, I would be like, "You're dead inside." He's the male Jessica Alba.


(Lenny Kravitz introduces Muse)
I would rather you date Paul Walker than Lenny Kravitz. He wears more eye liner than any girl should. I'll find you a boyfriend by the end of the night.


(B.O.B, Bruno Mars, Janelle…

Why I Go To Work on Mondays

(waiting for food to cook)
C: How long will that take?
me: Mm, probably six minutes?
C: Six!? Six is a really long time! Way longer than it takes to get to Antarctica!

(bumps his shoulder)
C: Ow, my arm! I don't think I can lift anything until my next vacation!!!

(wearing his penguin costume)
C: Can I tell you how penguins give love on Valentines?
me: Sure. How do penguins give love?
C: They do this. (he wraps himself around my leg) They hug.

Top 40 Thoughts

I listen to a lot more Top 40 than usual these days. The boys I nanny love the radio while we drive to and from school and the club. Although I am trying to introduce them to some more indie/rock style, the current reality is we listen to a lot of 99.9 and 92.5... Here are some of my thoughts on some of what we hear:

1. For someone who is supposed to be an international sensation, I don't think I have ever heard Justin Bieber on the radio. (sorry to mention him, Becca!) I find this fascinating.

2. Rihanna...she can sing. But her lyrics are too much for me. And even if they don't really catch it, I'd argue that they're too much for little kids too. "Sure, C...those are the words..." Katy Perry and Britney Spears also make it into the category of no-video-sharing from me. Bleh.

3. Usher. I heard that he was the most tweeted about person at the Superbowl, which is funny, because it's supposed to be about football. I am going to admit, I really like this song…

The Powers That Be - cont'd (WaOW 6B)

(continuing on from yesterday...)


The right to say no.
Many women I know feel great amounts of guilt each time they say the word, "No." Whether it is "No, I don't want to go on a date with you." Or "No, I can't stay an extra hour tonight." Or "No, I am not interested in another credit card." They feel trapped by questions and favours they cannot seem to refuse.

There are, of course, women who only ever say no. Their life is their life and heaven forbid anyone should ask for a corner of it. Rigid in their structures, they make you feel guilty for asking.

Some might see the ability to say, "No" as a fairly passive power (or perhaps, not even a form of power at all), but it is something I am increasingly awed by. As humans, we have the right to say, "No," without guilt - whether it is to a date, a work request, or a family member. As women, we are (I think) more often on the receiving ends of such requests than men are …

The Powers That Be (6th WaoW)

I'm not sure exactly what the phrase "female empowerment" means, but I am guessing it has to do with women and with power and having opportunities to wield our powers. I have been thinking a lot, in the past year or two, about the unique powers I have as a woman and what it looks like to use them well. Because our powers (like all powers) can be, and often are, used selfishly or inappropriately. And figuring this out as a woman is quite complicated. Sometimes I run from it in fear and sometimes I abuse it, and every so often, I find that delicate middle-ground.


In my mental meanderings, I've identified four specific areas that I would like to someday navigate powerfully and yet selflessly. I'm not sure that these are explicitly "feminine" arenas, but I do think that the way we approach each as women is distinctly different than the way a man would.

So let's jump in.


The power of sexuality.
From my conservative church upbringing, I internalized an …

Handy Manny

These days, I watch a lot more kids' TV and cartoons than I ever did as a child. For weeks now, one of my favourites has been Handy Manny.

Handy Manny is a helpful guy with a box of lively tools and a handful of quirky neighbours. His thing is fixing things. And teaching a few words of Spanish (of course).

I have to admit, I developed a little bit of a cartoon crush. His voice is smooth like butter, he's one of the most helpful guys around, and he can fix anything!

This weekend I was chatting with my sister & sister-in-law and discovered two things. Well, three, actually.

1. They both know the show. My nephew loves it too. We have similar tastes in a lot of things. We also love the same songs on RockBand...

2. My brother-in-law goes by Manny at work, and the joke is that he is Handy Manny... When I admitted my cartoon crush, my sister jumped in, "Sorry, he's taken!" And I've got to say, my brother-in-law is a bit like Handy Manny. Helpful, gentle, quick to…

Emotional Porn (WaoW the Fifth)

The weekend that our new roommate moved in, she sat in the living room while the other three of us sat in the adjoining room discussing our culture's views on pornography, masturbation, and sexuality. I'm not sure how far into the conversation we realized this was strange and uncomfortable for our new arrival, but I do think this probably didn't make the transition easy for her.

However, I am a big believer in frank (but sensitive) conversations.

To start, I am decidedly anti-porn. In all of its varieties and forms. (This is a huge topic, but today we are only going to take a small bite out of it. If there is a demand, though, we can come back to this another time.)

One of the major reasons I am anti-porn is because it is incredibly selfish, treating sex and sexuality as a commodity, fulfilling the 'needs' and desires of the consumer without any sacrifice on their own part, dehumanizing the relationship. It actually hinders real-life relationship building, as it cr…

This Is Just to Say...

...that more thoughts and entries are coming.

But today, I need a nap. And then I need a pedicure. Ok, I don't need one, but I'm getting one because that is what the girls in my family are doing today.

Maybe I'll blog tomorrow. During the Superbowl. Because that's the kind of thing that single girls can do. I like sports, but I like sports in community, which sometimes means I don't care enough about sports to go find a community to enjoy said sports with. I may decide to sit in my living room and blog instead.

We shall see.


Also. January?

Good month.
Not what I expected.
Why does this surprise me? I don't know.
How is it already February? That's just how time goes.

(Happy Belated Birthday, Big Brother of Mine. I'm glad you're in my life.)


And just so you don't feel like this post was a waste, here is a song that I'm currently in love with.

No, Really: Is It Worth It? (WaoW 4b)

"No, really, Beth. Is it worth it?"
Oh yeah. I didn't answer that question. I also didn't answer the question, "Why is it so dang complicated?" which is the one that actually gets into Women and our Ways.

So allow me to tackle those two now.


Is it worth it?

At this point in my life, I would say a resounding, yes! From grade 1 until university, I didn't know how to be friends with boys (In kindergarten I had a boy-best-friend. When we reconnected as adults, dating came up. It didn't happen. He's married now. All is well. But that's a little bit hilarious, isn't it!?). Seriously though, the only two ways I interacted with guys were a) minimally or b) massive crush. Often both simultaneously.

In the last five years or so, I've begun navigating how to interact with men in a healthy way. It is hard and I screw up often, but it has been good for my development as a human being, as a person who loves Jesus, and as someone who would like to b…