October 2006


I love my job. I love getting paid to read. I love the lifestyle the schedule allows me to have. No evenings. No weekends. And because I work on a compressed schedule, I get a long weekend every other week. This past weekend was one such weekend.

Typically I use my Mondays off to run errands, do chores, and catch up with friends. Yesterday, I ended up doing a LOT of catch up, with 4 different people, and a dog (like a real one)! It may sound tiring, but my day was well-paced, and I kept up surprisingly well. After meeting up with Andrea (who works a compressed schedule that coincides with mine), I bussed out to Kerrisdale with meet up with Sandy. She brought along Polo, her adorable golden retriever. It was weird to see Polo active because I have ever only seen him loafing about at Sandy’s house, entreating visitors to pet him.

We took a seat by the front window at Cafe Artigiano so we could keep a watchful eye on Polo tied a bench on the sidewalk. Polo has been kidnapped before, so Sandy is very protective of him. After our coffees, Sandy invited me to come along to a nearby off-leash dog park. This is the infamous park where Sandy has met some very interesting people, so I was curious to see this piece of important geography in Sandy’s life.

We got there late in the afternoon, and it was quite the sight to behold! I counted 18 frisky dogs, big and small, zipping around the field. It was a bit unreal, there was so much energy and excitement vibrating from the dogs. I don’t know all my breeds, but there were a couple yellow labs, a bulldog, a dalmatian, a husky, and a border collie mix out there. I have never seen SO many dogs in one place apart from the Superdog show at the PNE.

The dog owners were a bit unreal too. Noticing that they greeted each new arrival on the scene, I was amazed that everyone knew each other’s names as well the dogs’ names. It was also amusing to see many of the owners milling about, carrying a chuck-it, like it was part of the fashion of being in a dog park. I asked Sandy about this evidently tight connection among the group, and she acknowledged that it does seem a bit cultish.

If you are ever looking for an unusual but social and fun place to be, I highly recommend visiting the dog park near you.

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The worship service at Bethel was incredibly moving today, a real mix of happy and sad.

First of all, it was a baptism service, a joyous occasion. Lilian, Andy, Emily, and Tim got baptised today. These four young adults were incredibly articulate and heartfelt in their testimonies, in their stories of how God has made a difference in their lives. I cried when they spoke, partly because these guys gave me an opportunity to reflect on my own faith journey, but more because they revealed a lack of faith on my part. Lately, I’ve been wondering if I’m a fool to serve God and his church (in fact, I think by the world’s standards, I am a fool); I wonder if what I’m part of has any value or impact. But hearing the stories of these four make all our hard work and commitment worth it. Imperfect and limited in resources as our church is, it’s a miracle that God has used us to draw others nearer to him, to help others see what he sees and love with his love. I hope all the visitors that came today to worship with us and witness the commitment of these young people got a glimpse of God today.

Also, today was R&R and Abbie’s last service with us. I can’t believe that they’ve been with us for half a year! Time passed so quickly. At the end of the service, Raymond encouraged us with some visionary words, and shared a song with us to express how he felt about serving us in the past 6 months and to encourage us with “the whole point of it all.” Quite a number of us were bawling (Raymond’s desired effect, I believe) because we will miss the Seetohs a lot.

As well, there were a lot of new and familiar faces that turned up today. The Chongs joined us in worship for the first time in many weeks and brought baby Emma with them.

There’s so much going on! I feel caught up in a whirlwind.

Having retired from the library system almost 2 years ago, Deborah now comes in only on Fridays as auxiliary staff to help Neil with cataloguing print music and music recordings. I consider Deborah a “kindred spirit,” so I look forward to seeing her every week. We typically go out for coffee to catch up.

Today, we went to Gutenburg’s, where we often go because it’s quiet, friendly, not a chain, and nearby. Got my order first, so I went to get a table. With my cup of English Breakfast and High Energy Oat Bar in hand, I headed for a table by the window, and who should I see two tables away, talking animatedly with his companion? One of my secret celebrity crushes! It’s not that surprising to run into him, since I work a stone’s throw away from the CBC Vancouver headquarters.

I deliberately took the seat that would have my back facing him. Didn’t want to put myself in a position where I would be tempted to be rude to Deborah because I knew that I’d be distracted and that my eyes would wander.

It’s been a good day so far!

So finally, I’ve gotten around to this gratuitously juicy, but important and thought-provoking part of my life. It’s going to require a series of posts because there’s so much to examine and chew on when it comes to relationships. I guess that’s why Carrie Bradshaw gets a regular column for this stuff. Anyways, let me start by giving a personal context for how I came to conduct the online dating experiment.

Sometime early on this year, while I was in the middle of mashing potatoes for dinner, a friend ambushed me with this question, “So when are you going to get married?” For a moment, I was stunned speechless. First of all, my friend is not a particularly close friend, and secondly, his question was not a little bit presumptous, if not downright obnoxious, given that I wasn’t with anyone.

Too astounded to form a quippy comeback, all I could manage was a vague, somewhat feeble, but truthful, “Um, when the right guy asks.”

And then somehow, I managed to find my bearings again. With shoulders pulled back and straightened spine, I assumed a defensive posture (which I tried to masquerade as uber-thoughtfulness), and pressed on to offer a well-rehearsed justification of why I was in no hurry to get married any time soon. But because my response was rather comprehensive and not entirely true (unbeknownst to me at the time), I’ll have to elaborate on it and what ensued in another post. Stay tuned.

If you like black humour, body humour, tongue-in-cheek parody, and musical theatre, you have to go see Urinetown. It’s running from Nov. 2 to Dec. 10 at the Firehall Arts Centre. It’s one of the funniest and cleverest musicals I have ever seen. Urinetown is written to mock the genre of musical theatre. In fact, each of the Urinetown numbers pay tribute to a well-known musical, so if you know your musicals, it’s fun to try matching the songs up. One of my favourites is “Don’t Be the Bunny.”

Here’s a pretty accurate review by Jerry Wasserman (of UBC English Department fame) when it did its first run not even a year ago. Also, it came highly recommended by Valerie, my musical theatre “insider” and middle manager at work. Her track record of recommendations has proven to be dead on to my quirky sense of humour and tastes.

It’s bound to sell-out, so I’m going to look into buying tickets very soon. Get hold of me if you want to come along (if I haven’t already approached you first).

As the by-line says, “You gotta go!”

img_1927.JPGGot to see NEWWORLDSON perform last Friday night. It’s one of the best concerts I have been to in a long, long time. The sound was all soul. Right from the beginning of their set, NSW brought people to their feet, grooving and clapping along. The set included numbers from their recently released album, Roots Revolution, but they threw in a few other songs they’ve performed at the club scene in St. Catharine’s, Ontario, where they have a weekly gig on Tuesday nights.

The lead singer Joel Parisien rocks! I think he’s got a sexy voice (and a pair of sexy lips). For the last couple songs, he did “his thing” and danced like a crazy man whileimg_1925.JPG improvising on the keyboard. He’s so intense, no wonder he’s got such a wiry frame. Josh Toal, on (a green) electric guitar, sang one song, a bluesy tune called This Train is Bound for Glory. And it was the first time I saw an upright electric bass, played by Rich Moore. The drummer, Mark Rogers, who also plays for LMT Connection, another funk-soul band, didn’t skip a beat.

After the concert, I hung around like a groupie, hoping to get some signatures and maybe a photo with Joel. It was really hard to get his attention because he was deep in conversation with a family who drove all the from Prince George. After much waiting around, I managed to meet Josh, Rich, and Joel, thanked them, got their signatures, but decided to forego the picture-taking. It felt a bit … much. But I came away happy.img_1918.JPG

The group says they have plans to come back to the West Coast in early 2007. So I’ll be definitely keeping on top of their touring schedule. When they come, I’ll be sure to pester some of you to come along with me. Believe me, you won’t regret it. When it comes to soul and funk, you really need a group of people to go with to have maximum fun. Heck, I’ll even pay for your ticket!

I am so incredibly lucky to live in a city like Vancouver. I love Vancouver for many reasons, but what I marvel at the most is how well I get to eat here. The affordability of fine dining and variety of cuisines available is absolutely amazing.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to dine at two very good restaurants. Went to Cru (one of my faves) for Dot’s belated birthday and the Salmon House for my dad’s birthday. Both restaurants offered 3 course menus, giving diners the best bang for their buck.

At Cru (where our foursome got a table by the window), I started with the Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio (with caperberries, truffle aioli and shaved parmesan). For the entrée, I had the Beef Strip Loin (with charred tomatillo-avocado salsa, roasted corn and three cheese chalupa). Enjoyed a glass of Pinot Nori Rosé with these dishes. To finish, I shared the Chocolate Espresso Pot-de-crème, mostly with Dot. It was smooth, rich and sweet, and washed down very well with a cup of premium Earl Grey. Portions were excellent! Service was excellent! Ambience, warm and intimate. And of course, with Pauline, Simon and me in the party, Dot couldn’t have asked for better company!

Yesterday was my dad’s birthday. At first, I was surprised that he chose and made reservations for the Salmon House a whole week before because, although an incredibly picky person, he likes to put on a “que sera sera” front and usually plays it by ear. But there was a reason: the West Coast Feast event is on this month. My dad’s really into the WCF. Our family has already gone to each of the other participating restaurants over the years, but I think the Salmon House is my dad’s favourite because of the magnificent view. My mum and dad have been there at least twice now. It was my first time, and I quite enjoyed it. Had the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, followed by a very generous portion of Slow Braised Lamb Shank. For dessert, I savoured an Okanagan Poached Pear, poached in Quails Gate Fortified Foch and served with Birchwood Dairy butterscotch ice cream. Yum!!

Anyways, that’s all. Gotta go and catch the new episode of Heroes!

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