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Showing posts from March, 2013

Easter is All Around Me

It is Sunday morning, and I am headed to church for the first time in three weeks. I have opened my Bible once in the same timeframe.

This is not how I want things to be, but it is how things are, and I do not feel guilty. There is no condemnation for those in Jesus, and for once, I feel that freedom. But I am not unaware of Easter, and its central importance in my life. It is all around me.

I understand joy as we pass around the downy-headed, chubby-cheeked baby, each of us prouder than the last.

I believe in hope because I see my brother kiss his wife, see the kids climb all over them, hear laughter.

I see faith in the way my parents still choose to turn towards each other, thirty-seven years after making their vows.

I experience grace, over and over,  from the brother who refrains from beating me up each time I call him the baby, from these hearts that know my ugly, selfish ways better than anyone.

This is love. This is life.

This is Easter morning, the kingdom of heaven makin…

Drafted: So Logical, So Funny

from October 2010. I don't miss nannying, but maybe I kind of do... I definitely miss kids. Kids are so funny and weird and irritating and adorable.



C asked me today, "How are people made?"

He also asked (while in the bath) if he could wash my hair. I said no, because my clothes would get wet and water would get out of the tub. He said, "Then can you take off your clothes and get in the bath with me?"

The desire to wash my hair started earlier, when he was sitting on my lap after dinner. He was drinking large mouthfuls of water, and asked if he could wash my hair with it. Distracted by a conversation with his brother, I didn't answer fast enough - and he fountained a mouthful of water down my shirt.

Roadtrip Tips

1. Pick a good travel buddy.

2. Do not forget your directions.

3. Pack your passports.

4. Bring snacks that are homemade and healthy, like hummus and veggies and fresh fruit.

5. An iPod is essential, or CDs if your car is old-school.

6. Car-aoke will happen. People should see you driving and wonder why they are not having as much fun as you are.

7. When in Sarnia, eat at Cosmo's Tavern. 

8. If you can, stop at your Grandma's.

9. Do not be fooled. Even attractive border guards will ask repetitive questions that leave you wondering about their IQ.

10. The border is not a magical bridge to a foreign and exotic world, but the asphalt is bumpier in the States, and the military does like to recruit via billboard.

11. There should be silly conversations, there should be seriousness, and sometimes there should be silence.

12. There are roughly 4 litres to a gallon, and $30 is the cost of half a tank of gas for a Chevy Cruze.

13. The destination should be somewhere with other friends…

Reading in 2013: The Dolphins at Sainte-Marie

I seem to be on a short-story kick! At the library again, and on the Recommended Reads shelf, I spotted an author whose name I recognized, not for her fame, but for her hometown, her place of employment, and her three degrees of separation from my life (maybe only two, actually). Although I never took a course with her, she teaches at my alma mater. Though I've never met her, she is friends with one of my mother's closest friends.

So I picked up The Dolphins at Sainte-Marie by Sandra Sabatini. And I loved it. Such a wide range of stories - some about the same characters, but not all - that touched on life's heartache and injuries and injustices and wrongs, particularly through the eyes of the young. As an added bonus, references to Liverpool St and the Woodlawn Cemetery reminded me that several of the stories took place right in my hometown. All were in the familiar landscape of southern Ontario.

Definitely a recommended read. Poignant, sad, moving stories.

I think Sam and…

Drafted: An Almost Explicable Dream

From sometime in 2010. No edits.



Last week, I got asked out.

In Dreamland, this boy* and I had the sort of relationship where lots of people wonder if we're dating, or when we'll date, etc etc. (I think it's because Nadine told me that I am "the queen of the non-date date." Which reminded me of this conversation and made me laugh.)

As part of his I-like-you speech, he told me that a friend of his said to him, "Get gay, get out, or get balls." Meaning: if he were gay, then our friendship would make sense. If he had no plans to ever date me, he needed to not pseudo-date me. Or he needed to man up and ask me out.

Clearly he picked option #3.

Then he asked if he could borrow my car. Since it wasn't actually my car, but a car I had borrowed from a woman who goes to the church I grew up at (gotta love the random dream connections), I said I'd drive him. So we went to his "apartment," which was also on loan from someone else. It was a cross b…

52 Drafts & 1 Photo Blog

There are precisely fifty-two unfinished blog entries sitting behind the scenes. And that doesn't include the ones I have started in my head, in word docs, on my phone, or a piece of paper somewhere.

If I finish and post one a week, it will take me a year to catch up. Maybe this is a good idea.

There are two entries I have been composing in my head and putting off for weeks yet. One because I'm waiting for a concrete finish to the story, and the other because I haven't given myself the time to let the thoughts settle in a clear way.

Maybe I will get on that soon.

Until then, y'all might like to know that I'm starting to curate some of my favourite photos in one place:

bethannef.tumblr.com

I haven't yet figured out if/how I can embed the images right on this page, but you can click over from the header on my blog homepage, or just straight-up subscribe for a frequent dose of photography.

The Best Kind of Dare

“Look at this!” I turn my arm to show her a bruise from yet another random mishap.
“Woah! You’re getting pipes!”
I’m confused by the genuine excitement in her voice. “What? Really?”
“Yeah! Look at those!”
I turn to the mirror, flex, and laugh. Maybe not pipes but certainly less pipe cleaner than usual.
“Ooh, do you think maybe now I can do a push-up!? I’m going to try.”
I cannot do push-ups. Not even one. Not even a girly push-up. It’s an ongoing joke in my life.
But I kick off my slippers and put my face against the carpet – and lift. I groan, Gnnnnnnnnnn. And I do it. I DO A PUSH-UP. It is measly and it is girly, but it is a push-up. And then I do another. And then, just for good measure, ¾ of one more.
How did this happen? I have not been working my arms on purpose. Ultimate Frisbee? Maybe. Probably. What else?
“Great game, Beth,” he says, and I look up from the stuck zipper on my coat.
“Thanks!”
“You’re definitely getting better. You’re faster and your cuts are sharper. Are you fe…

Reading in 2013: Building Better Blueprints & Losing Everything

A couple weeks ago, I stopped in the library just to pass ten minutes time before an appointment nearby...and I walked out with three books. Of course. I've already told you about Ru (read it - short, concise, lovely) and now on to the two other books.

Blueprints for Building Better Girls - a collection of short stories by Elissa Schappell, I was intrigued by the title.Very intrigued. And the framework - interconnected short stories - is one of my favourites. So I picked it up. And it was good. Realistic, gritty, sometimes awkward stories of a variety of relationships, mostly romantic, over several decades. I wanted more stories about multiple characters, which is a definite positive. Nothing wow-ed me in a profound way, but it was decent literature. Something a bit darker than your average vacation read, but not much work to get through.

Life is About Losing Everything by Lynn Crosbie. Again, the title drew me in. As did the cover design. And the back cover, which described this as…

On March Snow Flurries & Being Canadian

On mornings like this, when there are three flakes in the air as I leave the apartment, and three thousand falling when I reach work, and my hood is up, but I didn’t wear leggings so my thighs are starting to sting – on mornings like this, I think I am done. Good and done. I am not meant for this season.

And I promise myself that someday soon I am moving to a country where there is no winter, where the temperature never goes below freezing. Maybe not even into the single (Celsius) digits. I could be happy there, I tell myself. Happier than I am here.

But I know it won’t happen (yet). October will find me in Toronto, pulling on tights before I step into my jeans and buying a new pair of cotton-wool blend knee highs.

And then I think about how I have walked to work all winter, except for just a couple days (I could count the number on two hands), and I am proud of that. And I drove in the snow several times, with the slipping and sliding and slow inching forward, and I was safe. And I w…

Reading in 2013: Away & Ru

I forgot that I am blogging through this year's reads (unofficially, although I guess this makes it official) and have finished TWO books in the past week.

Away by Jane Urquhart was one of the CBC's Canada Reads finalists. While it didn't win, it is the only one of the 5 books I've read (and am likely to read). I quite enjoyed the way she weaves a generational family story with the history of both Ireland and Canada, and then sprinkles in some poetry and magic. I love the lyricism of Urquhart's writing, and found myself easily drawn into the world she portrays. And this is the most magic realism I've seen from a Canadian author (anyone know of other magic realist Canadian lit?). I have to admit, though, that I was disappointed on two counts.

First, I was bothered by the lack of explanation for why the main character is leaving her lakefront home (it is a distinct possibility that she mentions this and I managed to miss it). But without that piece of information,…