February 29, 2012

Grampie. Always Amazing.

Yesterday was Grampie's 93rd birthday. NINETY-THIRD. I called him and we talked about all sorts of things, including (of course), his sweetheart of 63 years, whom he misses terribly.
"It was love at first sight. She winked at me with both eyes and I knew she'd fallen for me. Of course, being a sophisticated city boy, it took me a bit longer to fall for her."
"How much longer?"
"About ten seconds."
Oh, I love this man. He is a treasure.

If I live to be his age, I hope that I have half the independence, humour, and heart that he shows on a daily basis.

(Here he is in June 2008, on his 62nd anniversary.)

February 28, 2012

Naps & Sleep Routines

I could go for a nap right now. My sleep has gotten totally out-of-wack over the past month, and I am in need of some serious sleep therapy. Thankfully, this feels very different than a year ago, when my inability to sleep well became a source of great frustration...

Several suggestions have been given. None of them seem easy or guranteed enough for me to fully commit:

  1. Ear plugs. (lost my pair. should probably just shell out another $8...but it takes me at least 3 tries to get them in properly every single time I wear them.)
  2. Sleep mask. (have one. wear it occasionally, not sure if it makes a difference, hate that I have to lift it to check the clock when I wake up unexpectedly.)
  3. Bedtime routine. (I think I generally do things in the same order? I can't see myself fully keeping track of this.)
  4. Sleep-only in your bed. (but skype! journalling! reading! watching TV! In my next bedroom*, I will have a couch. No really, that's my plan.)
Any other sleep advice? Am I being lazy about sleeping well? Should I try really hard to do these things "right"?

*I am feeling both excited and sad about the fact that I will be moving and changing roommates in two months. We've had a good run here, Nadine and I...

February 27, 2012

The Doctor Is In

On Saturday, my nephew pulled out his doctor kit. After giving my wrist a bandaid, he took my temperature.

"Look, Aunt Beth," as he held the thermometer inches from my face, "You have a fever."
"I DO!? Oh dear! What do I do? How do I get better?"
"You have to stay in bed for ten days."
"Okay. I will."
"Now say Ahhhhhhh."
"Uh oh. You have tongue-throat."
"Tongue-throat? What does that mean?"
"It means your tummy will be sick for ten thousand days."
"Ohhhhhhhhhhh no." 

After sharing this hilarity with a friend, another friend tweeted her under-the-weather-woes this morning...and it was soon resolved that we should ask Dr. Jake for his diagnosis. So I sent him this note:

 Dear Dr. Jake,

I was telling one of my friends that you were an excellent doctor this weekend, and she said that she’s been feeling quite sick today. I thought maybe if I told you what her symptoms are, you could tell us what is wrong with her and how to fix it.

She has a very sore throat. It hurts to swallow. She has a fever, and a runny nose. And her head is tired.

What do you think? What kind of sickness does she have? And what should she do to get better?

Thank you. 

So Terra, here is your diagnosis and prescription:

"I don't know what's wrong. But I think it's fevacore. It's really really bad. She has to jump up and down 10 times to get better.  I love you Aunt Beth"

(If only sickness & doctors were always this fantastic.)

February 22, 2012

Lent is Looming

It is now the Lenten season. I've enjoyed the way Lent has impacted my heart and my life over the past few years, and am looking forward to it again.

Last year, I didn't give anything up in the traditional sense. Instead I added to my daily routine. Every day, I wrote a poem. It was a fantastic exercise in creativity, life-processing, and time management.

This year, I feel like Jesus is telling me to give up a couple of things. And despite the title of this post, I am anticipating this will be a good (albeit difficult) 40 days.

(It is not even nine o'clock, and I have already "failed" 2 of my 3 my Lenten resolutions. Thank Jesus for grace.)

February 20, 2012

Tomorrow Is Pancake Tuesday.

Hooray for long weekends and afternoon naps and friends who are lovely and weddings and holding adorable babies and finding new coffee shops and evenings spent in front of the TV.

Here is an unrelated music video. Try not to smile while watching it.

February 15, 2012

I'll Admit It. I Like Hanson.

Until last year, I thought Hanson had disappeared into the California landscape. Then Nadine told me otherwise, and now, fifteen years after MMMBop, here are 5 reasons I think we all should give Hanson another listen.

1. They have mad musical skills.

Think about it. Unlike many male-pop-groups, they perform their own songs on their own instruments. And have been honing these skills for the last fifteen years. I, for one, cannot alternate between playing the harmonica, the piano, and singing within any given minute (or ten). Also, you can't beat the smooth harmonics of siblings. Related voices blend in a way others just cannot. That's my opinion, at least.

2. They seem surprisingly well-adjusted.

All three are married, and have been for more than five years. They have kids. (Friend to me: "Wait. You're saying HANSON has their life more together than I DO??") None have criminal records. Isn't it about time we reward the celebrities who aren't going off the deep end??

3. Their new songs are catchy and fun.
Case Study #1:

Case Study #2:

4. They know how to work a crowd.

You should have seen the folks on Friday night. Clapping, stopping, singing, screaming. I saw grown men grooving. Children who must have been born post-Middle of Nowhere knew songs that I do not. And Taylor used that energy to get me, a stalwart non-clapper, to join in. I don't know how. Magic, maybe.

5. MMMBop. (I know, I know. Just keep reading.)

The Hanson brothers were mid-puberty when they wrote this hit, but the lyrics are surprisingly profound and astute - at least, the lyrics that are actually words.... When they played the opening chords on Friday night, I found myself inexplicably grinning like I was twelve again. Singing along as a twenty-seven year old was bittersweet, nostalgic, sad but hopeful.

Performed in a lower key, it felt like a great band doing a fun cover: a cover I'd be happy to hear again and again.

February 14, 2012

Two Dreams. No Explanations.

(in case you didn't read the title, these stories are not real.)

I am on the phone at work. A new girl has joined us. It is her first day, and she is also on the phone. Things are a bit crazy as we re-organize ourselves. My boss decides that we need another phone, so she plugs one into the phone jack near my head. It is for an old school phone, with a long curly red cord that bunches up on itself. I lean my head to one side, as the cord passes directly through my neck-space. This irritates me.

I cover the receiver on the phone and state quietly, “It is hard to work with a phone cord going through my neck.”

“Well, then. You can quit your f---ing job,” she replies.

“Or,” I counter, “you can untangle the f---ing phone cord.” She untangles the phone cord, and I return to my call, a British man giving life advice that I accept as profoundly true because of his winsome accent.

It is some sort of school reunion. I am there with the girls from junior high. The popular trio, my best friend, and me. It is like we are twelve again and I need them to like me. After a particularly frustrating whispered exchange, they walk out of the seminar we’re attending. I follow them to the lobby.

“Hey!” I call out. They pause, looking over their shoulders. “I tried SO HARD to be your friend. What a waste of time. You never liked me and I am done trying.” Holding back tears, I turn around.

Back in my seat, I recount my boldness in a whisper to my best friend. She is surprised and a little bit afraid. Afraid, mostly, that they will reject her as well. Suddenly, the trio slides back into our row. The tallest blondest one looks at me with wide eyes.

“Whatever we did to you, Beth, we always considered you our friend.”

“Shh,” I respond, my eyes glued to the presentation, “Don’t be rude. If you want to talk about this, you can wait til we’re done here.” They slide out of their seats and head back to the lobby to wait for me.

February 13, 2012

A Weekend Full of Good Drinks & Better People


Nap to prep for the big concert.

Decide I hate everything in my closet. Borrow clothes from Nadine.

Hanson (will receive its own post in due course).


Coffee #1* – fun. Just good to sit and chat about life.

Coffee #2 – next door to the bridesmaid dress store. Wedding chatting with Nadine, then dress pick-up…except mine, due to an armpit tear. Felt a bit sad, as I was SO excited to try on my adorable ensemble and help start the hunt for accessories.


Drive to Mississauga. Go slowly on the highway because there is finally a bit of winter.

Coffee #3 (planned during Coffee #2) – new friend. Talked about life and relationships and Jesus and music and how she’s rocking a partially-shaved head and that I miss my nose piercing.

Drive to Guelph. Sing loudly en route. Squint through a very dirty windshield.

Coffee #4 – mostly talked about shoes. Strange, with this friend, except that actually we were shoe shopping. I hope she bought some after I left for

Supper – good times. Artsy lovely friend. We decided we would like to take British slang and introduce them to Canadian culture – but with inverted meanings. Example: “I’m totally chuffed about yesterday’s test.” Does it mean “happy and satisfied” or “angry and annoyed”? Depends what country you’re in.

Swing by my parents. Open a small box discovered in a safety deposit box, from my grandma (who passed away 3.5 years ago). For some reason, the smattering of coins inside is deeply touching to me.

Drive to Waterdown. Sing some more. No need to squint in the dark.

Talk for hours with people who’ve known me since I was a wee child.

Sleep in a bright green room.


Small talk with teenagers who vaguely know who I am. They’re lovely and funny. Meet the newest family member, an adorable bundle of energy who was born in Oofoo-oofoo-ba. Or, as grown-ups say, Ethiopia.

Church with the family. See some folks I’ve not seen in a long while/didn’t expect to see. Make plans to catch-up. Lots of thoughts about church and community that I don’t have time to process.

Lunch with the family. And my sister & brother-in-law. That’s right, in that strange sister way, we both made plans to visit a family we’ve not seen in over two years. On the same weekend. Without discussing. Much laughter and delicious food at the table.

Drive to Toronto. Get windshield fluid. Sing loudly.

Aloo Gobi with Karen. And a chocolate chai cupcake. Tummy food and soul food as we talk about real life.

Drive home.

Grammy-watching with Nadine & Matt.


*none of these coffee dates involved actual coffee. Thankfully.

February 12, 2012

Watching the Grammys With Nadine

Two things I have missed lately:

1. Chilling at home.
2. Writing down Nadine's funny quotes.

Tonight has been the perfect remedy. Grammy Awards, me in my pj's, Nadine & Matt on the other couch. Then, me and Nadine and our laptops. Enjoy.

(on Foo Fighters)
"Why am I all nostalgic about Dave Grohl? I feel like he was my kindergarten crush or something."

(unrelated conversation)
me: "I told him I have two dreams in life... to have dreads and to have a nose piercing."

her: "If those are your only dreams in life, you could make ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE TOMORROW. Like, after work!"

(on Adam Levine)
Nadine: "That's a bit of a manipulative outfit. Vest and rolled up sleeves?"
Matt: "So, no one's allowed to wear a vest anymore?"
Nadine: "Well, they CAN, but if they ever ask anything of a woman, she WILL say yes. So if you ever want me to do anything for you, put on a vest and roll up your sleeves."

"John Stamos (Uncle Jesse) went on tour with the Beach Boys. He's in their video for Kokomo. That's why Beach Boys guest starred on Full House so often."

"I feel like the Beach Boys are a precursor to Hanson. (pause) Hanson has more soul..."

Nadine: "Paul McCarntey is the only man my mom and I could share as a crush."
Matt: "Wow."

(on Taylor Swift)
"That's kind of how I wore my hair at the Hanson concert! And it was falling out like that too. I was so trendy."

(on Katy Perry)
"Is this a post-divorce anthem? It sounds like an 'F-you Russell Brand' song...She's trying to be tough. Where's the cuteness?"

(on Jennifer Hudson)
"She has an amazing voice. The fact that she came in fifth [seventh] on American Idol is evidence that people are stupid."

(on Nikki Minaj)

Then, bed.

February 7, 2012

Tuesday Needs a Little Help

I currently have many thoughts on many things. Buuuuuuuut, none of them are ready for the internet.

Instead, I will entertain you with two things:

1. I am going to make some sort of bran muffins tonight. Should they be date-bran or carrot-bran? I know, you don't care. But I have some carrots that are borderline usable, and a bucket of dates that needs using somehow. (if only that bucket were full of the kind of dates I could go on.)

2. Super Bowl. I went to a party, I ate food, I had fun, I even watched a bunch of the game. The halftime show, in my opinion, wasn't too bad, although there are other people I would rather see perform... In case you've not yet seen it, check out this video of auditions for the Super-Bowl Halftime Show: (also, Jimmy Fallon & The Voice)

February 3, 2012

Next Up: Naptime

Last night I drank chai at 7:30pm (I HAD to. I was at an Indian restaurant.)

At 2:30am, as I finally fell asleep, I told myself I cannot pretend this was a good idea. And I cannot keep getting sucked in by the allure of a hot chai in the evening. But honestly, there are few things as delicious as a real steeped chai. The only hot drink that is on par is a foamy vanilla steamed milk, made with pure extract and a teaspoon of brown sugar.

Thankfully, I only work a half-day on Fridays.

(what's your all-time favourite drink?)

February 1, 2012

A 24-Hr Chain of Thoughts

Yesterday, I met someone who has heard my voice from work-related phone calls, but never seen my face. As we shook hands, I introduced myself. "Oh! You look far healthier than I imagined you would!"

Later in the evening, I sat in the movie theatre and consumed a "dinner" of Cadbury Mini Eggs, gummi bears, and Bugles. Feeling gross, I thought to myself, "I think what he really meant is that I'm younger and more attractive than he'd expected. But that would have been a weird and even more awkward thing to say."


Watched Hugo last night, finished reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret this afternoon. Quite enjoyed them both. Probably the first 3D movie I've seen in which I felt the added value of the glasses (note: I did not see Avatar in theatres), instead of wishing it were just a regular film. In the book, I like the angles and perspectives and general use of illustration. Also, I prefer the book's Isabelle to the movie's. All in all, you should check them both out. Don't be scared by the book's thickness; half of it is illustration.

Love the themes of belonging, purpose. Love the clockwork focus as well. I love clocks; it's hereditary.


I woke up this morning singing this song. On the weekend, I told a friend about it as she relayed her story of a nice but far-too-young boy attempting to pick her up.

(I do draw the line at 23, because it is weird to think of dating someone the same age as or younger than my (bigger) baby brother.)

I also tried to tell my friends about this song by The Go Gos. My first attempt at singing the chorus was a miserable failure. Only after I youtubed it did they believe that I wasn't making it all up on the spot. Sigh. Career as a musician officially a no-go.


Happy Birthday to my brother, Stephen. He wasn't impressed when I tried convincing him that "thirty is the new twenty." Enjoy the party at the Mandarin. Wish I could be there.


Today was my first doctor's appointment in roughly three years. Follow-up appointments and referrals now in the works. Peeing into a cup is always tricky. And apparently, telling the nurse, "They usually draw blood from my right arm..." is too indirect. Instead of allowing a second attempt on my left arm, I calmed my voice and hid the tears in my eyes long enough to say, "Please. Use my right arm." It was a relief to realize she was using a butterfly needle for this go-round.


Hanson concert is in nine days. I think it's time Nadine and I start queuing up the albums...


I should eat dinner. Especially after last night's debacle.