April 30, 2011

Saturday Sweetness

Baby Baby Baby
Originally uploaded by bethaf.
Hello there, adorable bundle of smiles and polka dots!

April 29, 2011

18 Hours After, 68 Hours Before

Now that the epic wedding is over, it's time for me to think about voting on Monday.

For the record, I watched the wedding because I was awakened by the sounds of others watching the pre-show-show, and thought, I could lie here annoyed that I'm awake, or I could go watch it with them. I am content with my choice. Partially because it involved DELICIOUS CINNAMON RAISIN SCONES. (That was a shout-out to Nadine. Hence all the caps.) Anyway, it was lovely and nice, but I have to admit, I didn't feel the emotional intensity that some of my friends did. My favourite part was actually the sermon. Don't know who that vicar was, but he was surprisingly easy to listen to and more in line with my own theology than I expected. 

Anyway, I believe in voting. I already thought this, and then I received this email from my dad:
Surprise.  Email from Dad.  A question from Beth prompted me to encourage each of you to exercise your civic responsibility to vote in the upcoming federal election...mostly I want to share one good reason for voting - you have a Grampy that fought and suffered much so that you could have that precious privilege - don't let that sacrifice go to waste.

How can I not visit the polls after that?

Here are two other reasons I believe in voting:

1. When I think about Libya and Egypt and essentially the entire Middle East, and China - I think, How can I note vote!?!? I have ten thousand blessings in my life. One of which is the right to vote. As a woman, many of my peers around the world are denied this right, either by their country or the man in control of their life... As I vote, I feel a bit like I am rebelling on their behalf.

2. If I don't vote, I have no right to complain. Because I had a voice and chose not to use it. But if I vote... then I can voice my frustrations with the system. And frankly, I don't really expect much from our government. Which is probably not great, and perhaps I should be willing to be persuaded on the merits of our politicians' hard work.

Anyway, the point is, I think we all should vote.

Time to check out the St. Paul's candidates. Woo me, websites!

April 28, 2011

Total Gamechanger

I have discovered how to post a blog from email, and this may change my life. And yours!

It is better now that I removed that pesky iPod signature. Yes?

Sa-Sa and Barfy

When I was fifteen, I started calling my sister Sa-Sa. She was twenty at the time, and in return I became Barfy.

Eleven years later, these nicknames still make fairly frequent appearances. I don't know why. It is the sort of strange and inexplicable reality of our sisterhood. It is the same reason I will sit on her unannounced or hug her tightly from behind, or swat her bum in passing. (She "hates" all these things, and tolerates me with the not-quite-endless patience that oldest siblings develop over the decades.)

Years ago, before she was officially dating her now-husband, I remember lying on my back stairs, talking to her on my landline (!) and processing the boy drama. I, of course, knew exactly how things SHOULD look when it comes to romance, and advised her accordingly. She commented at one point that it felt like she was the younger sister and I was the older one.

I have learned two things since then. One is that I am not half the relationship expert I thought I was. The other is that there is something unique and fantastic about the relationship between sisters. It is what it is, and while there is something common to all sister relationships, no two are the same.

I am incredibly grateful for my big sister. And I know that today, she is celebrating her birthday in style, on the beach in Florida, with her husband, our brother, his wife, and the two cutest children on the planet (who may be outshone by the arrival of roly-poly beige babies someday).

I love you, Sa-Sa!

Sent from my iPod

April 25, 2011

Oh, Hello!

I didn't blog for a whole week!? What is happening?

That is a great question. I'm not sure, entirely, but I do know that I prefer not-blogging because of full days offline to not-blogging because I feel stuck in a rut.

I do not feel stuck, although I did earlier this year. I am unsticking a bit more every week.

On the weekend, when I lay in bed listening to my friend softly snore beside me until 3 am (her snoring was not to blame for my insomnia), I wrote several fantastic blog entries...

Problem is, I wrote them in my head and still need to get them out on paper. Well, digital paper.

I will have time for this someday, and I promise at least one big exciting thing in May. And it will not be a boy, so you can cross that one out, Mom. :)

For tonight, I give you: My Top 6 Easter Weekend Moments

6 - Driving a red Camaro. It makes me feel hot, even in sweat pants and rubber boots. I like blasting ironic radio, like oldies or the CBC, in a car like this.

5 - Eating delicious food with friends and family. Happiness. Meals are such a communal delight. I know someone who went a month without eating alone, in order to focus on the way food brings us together.

4 - My uncle grabbing my friend's ankle while crawling under the dining table with my nephew. Not at all creepy. Just how we (he) roll(s). I wish everyone could meet my family. They are simply great. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes wise, sometimes a little strange, always comfortable.

3 - Reading stories about Jesus out loud, late at night. Singing songs slightly off-key. Listening to birds. Watching the sunset. Lying in the sun with a book on my face. THE WHOLE IDEA OF A RETREAT.

2 - Praying for a lovely friend. And another lovely friend. Believing that Jesus hears and knows and cares.

1 - Finding myself moved to tears with sadness and with the desire for hope and healing to come.

Bonus: better than the above - Remembering with my heart and mind that Jesus is a REAL person, not some disembodied benevolent cloud.

April 17, 2011

Another Fast Car

Remember how I love Tracy Chapman's Fast Car?

Well, now this year's "male Susan Doyle" has covered it on Britain's Got Talent.

Check it out HERE. Because embedding is disabled.

Love it.

But what I really want to know is how is he an ENGINEER at 19? Or does "engineer" mean something different in Britain?

And I will appease you for forcing an extra click to an external page by embedding the original music video by Tracy:

April 16, 2011

No? Me Neither...

Do you ever get tired of these fantastic songs by Great Lake Swimmers?

(see post title)

Hail The Conquering Heroines!

Yesterday, I got an email from my cousin that said, "I've been noticing your tweets on your blog and I wanted to buy you a gift, but Ikea is closed when I'll be in Toronto on Friday...I thought it could keep you company when Nadine's not around and your "friend" has been, um, taken care of. :)"

Thank you, Lisa. You know, I kind of think they're adorable and cute and would welcome their company any day! (Can't wait to see you next weekend either!)


Nadine stuck her head in my room this morning to tell me that we had caught a mouse in our trap (HALLELUJAH!) and that she had put it in the garbage (ALL BY HERSELF!) and that she was now taking the garbage out.

We have overcome. 

Ironically, we got a memo from our superintendent yesterday that they're doing a pest control sweep of our building after a few mouse sightings... on Monday.

Well. Hopefully we have killed both the building's varmints (all y'all naysayers better not tell me, "It's never just two mice, Beth...") and the management's efforts will be in vain. I wish this, not because I want them to waste money, but because I want all the mice to be gone.

I told someone recently who suggested we adopt the mouse as a pet, "If I ever have a pet (I doubt I will),  I want to be sure that it is disease-free. And be spayed or neutered so that my pet population doesn't unintentionally increase." Frankly, if I knew our now-dead-mouse was disease free and not reproducing, and if he kept up his habit of pooing outside our apartment, I don't think I'd mind him all that much.

April 14, 2011

Popular Peanut Butter Cookies

If there were a popularity contest in my kitchen, peanut butter cookies would win. They are sooooooooooo easy to make. There is a batch now on my counter. Every time I bring them somewhere, I get rave reviews and requests for the recipe.

Which I will gladly share:
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg

Mix together.
Add whatever you'd like. I suggest chocolate chips. Maybe some nuts. Cranberries.

Spoon out onto a cookie tray.
Bake at 325 for 8-10 minutes - until the centers are dry-looking. (If you like your cookies crumbly, cook them longer. If you like them soft, undercook a little.)
Leave them on the tray for 3 minutes before you transfer them to a cooling rack.

Sorry there are no photos.
I already ATE THEM ALL.
Just kidding.
I'm lazy and going to bed now.

April 13, 2011

P!nk: Perfect

I like P!nk's voice. But I don't often listen to P!nk's music. I find she is a bit too....something. I'm not sure the right word - she pushes boundaries, maybe, and somtimes it's too much?

But I will admit to turning up Perfect when it comes on in the car radio. I much prefer it to today's other "embrace yourself" anthems: Katy Perry's Firework or Lady Gaga's Born This Way.

I went to watch the video online and discovered two things:
1. It's a bit heavier than I expectd.
2. The song is actually called F***** Perfect.

#1 made me respect her more.
#2, slightly less.

Here is the video.
Warning: contains images of self-harm.

April 12, 2011

Now on Repeat

I love the original song by Tracy Chapman, and I love this cover by Kina Grannis & Boyce Avenue.

It's the perfect mix of tragedy and hope.

Currently singing along. Thanks, Jess, for sharing this.

(I'd apologize for all the music videos this week, but there is at least one more still coming...so I'm obviously not that sorry.)

April 11, 2011

Recently Read

One great thing about my life this year is that literature has made a decided comeback.


In the last month, I have read:

Jane Eyre - had to re-read it before the movie, which was great, although can't quite capture the scope of the book. Ah, I love this book.

Wuthering Heights - re-read it when I realized I'd confused it with Jane Eyre. Forgot how dark it is and what a "gothic" novel is. Um, it's great.

Tell It Slant - novel about an unraveling lesbian relationship, with references to Djuna Barnes’ novel Nightwood. I am not at all familiar with this original story. But this was a fascinating book - possibly because I'm generally unfamiliar with gay/lesbian literature.

Eon - a young adult fantasy novel about a girl pretending to be a boy to wield her magical powers. Totally engrossing, fairly predictable. Can't wait for the sequel.

Shining At the Bottom of the Sea - a collection of historical short stories & literary criticism from the fictitious colonized island country of Sanjan. Loved it, particularly for its pseudo-academic bend.

Sweet Dates in Basra - not awful, but the worst-written book of the bunch, I still had to finish it. Set in Iran in the late 1940's - that's reason enough! It's a love story. Classic religious/class divide.

The Color of Fire - a young adult novel set in New York, pre-revolution. There is a "Negro uprising" and one young slave finds herself in the midst of it, loosely based on historical happenings.

The Uncommon Reader - what would happen if the Queen discovered the joy of reading; not just reports and for her active duties, but for pleasure and joy? A novella that got me thinking about the freedoms I have as a "commoner."

April 10, 2011

Parody Central

I am secretly amused by K$sha's We R Who We R. She's catchy, and so over-the-top that I can't help laughing. Then I discovered this parody, and nearly died:

I showed Nadine, and she told me about this Miley Cyrus parody by a group that takes music videos and writes new songs to fit with the singer's lips. They're called "Bad Lip Reading" and this is Black Umbrella.

Then we watched their song Everybody Poops, featuring the Black Eyed Peas.

And, the crowning glory of it all: Asian Baby by The Biebs & Rascall Flatts. This one's for you, Kolten. Happy Birthday.


April 4, 2011

Keep It Unread

Sometimes I keep things marked as "unread" in my Google Reader, because then I will get to be surprised by them again and again and again (until months later I get tired of them and finally decide not to click "Mark as Unread" any longer).

Right now, these are the two that I keep coming back to:

How I feel inside of my head. Visualization of a verbal processor. Something else?
I think it's great, and I love the usually-church-related humour on this site.


Two people
man and woman
walking down the street
looking like birds in the face
crazy birds, beak noses and pointed triangle heads,
loud colored kinks of wire bird hair
with long skinny arms that hang almost to the knees.
They hold hands
And talk low, sharing a secret
that makes the woman smile, little peg teeth.
And so the man smiles too, little peg teeth.
Both bright red cheeks.

And like that, I am happy
these or any two
can ever find each other
in this titanic haystack.

Dallas Clayton has recently become one of my heroes. He wrote a kids' book called An Awesome Book. Discovered via my lovely friend Jackie.

April 3, 2011

My Saturday Overview

Midnight panic, as I inadvertently put a virus on a friend's computer.
Decided to deal with it in the morning, curled up for a glorious late night chat with her roommate.
Sleep? Who needs it!

Pancake breakfast.

Hello, family! Thanks for scaring me, Mom.
Thankful for my dad who has computer skills. Virus solved, preventative software installed.
Four cheese grilled cheese on homemade bread!

Driving a red Camaro.

Good friends with cute kids.
Reading Are You My Mother? Laughing.

Attempt #2 to find a swimsuit. Luckless.

Big brother! Big sister! Spouses and cutest ever kids.
Photos and stories from my brother's trip to Burkina Faso. More photos. Whispered teasing with my sister. More photos.

Jesskah loves my wheels.

Grampie makes me laugh.
Movie I will watch and probably love/hate: Arthur.
Helping parents with tech stuff is fun. Welcome to twitter, Dad.

I like late night drives and the way time flies when you're talking with a friend.

Bed! Can't sleep til I catch up on the interweb.

Notable quotes:

"I'm just amazed that there's something older than your grandfather in the house!"

"This one is named GARGOR (said in a growly voice). He wants to be eaten, but none of the others did. They are trying to climb back up my neck."
"Apparently, my son speaks Klingon."

"The only thing I've successfully fasted from in my life is sex."

"Is Justin Timber-who on it?"
"You mean Justin Timberturd?"

April 1, 2011

Lies Are Not Pranks

I was just venting to Nadine about my dislike of April Fools' Day, and she helped me find the words for my emotions:

"Lies are not pranks. Whoopee cushions and pepper in the salt shaker are pranks."

Thank you.

Lies are not pranks. I hate being lied to. Ugh. Such an awful feeling. And I am a terrible liar, 95% of the time.

But you know what I did find funny today?

This blog post. If the words "Rob Bell" "Love Wins" or "Endless Theological Debates" pique any interest in your mind, this is for you.

(Similarly, I once found this version of The Secret on a bookshelf. I laughed for days.)


This past week, I have told several people that ideas are "percolating" and "brewing" in my mind. I am letting them stew until sometime after Easter, at which point, I hope to involve all y'all in the mix.

I keep thinking of this song, which reminds me of my first year of university, when I listened to this album on repeat. I think the reason it's in my head now is the early line, "I've just been marinatin', seranatin', percolatin' in the lab."

That's what I'm doing. Or rather, dippity doing... Because the game is officially mine. And if there are two kinds of people in this world, I want to be with those that are dippity doing.