November 2006


dscn2170.JPGIt snowed quite hard over the weekend, so hard that it was proclaimed Snow Day for schools all over the Lower Mainland. Fortunately for me, it was my regular day off today, so I got to enjoy being snuggled in my own space and catching up on some sleep.

Because of various ailments, I have been sleeping poorly in the past couple weeks. Have been having bad dreams and waking up in sweats for some reason. Maybe it’s due to the low pressure system? We have been having pretty extreme weather conditions lately.

I was quite happy with how I used my day off today. Slept in until mid-morning. Then I had to do some extensive emailing and calling to delay a potluck party that I was going to host tonight. My coworkers were going to come over after work for a baby shower for May H. (who’s going on mat leave next week), but due to the bad roads, it made much more sense to have it at work tomorrow during lunch instead. Won’t be as cozy, but at least we can celebrate with peace of mind.

dscn2167.JPGBut not having to get ready for the party meant that I had the entire day for myself. So after taking care of the party details, I started thinking about what I wanted for breakfast. There’s a jar of Dan-D-Pak Chocolate Cashew Butter that I have been dying to try for a few weeks now. I haven’t gotten around to buying bread to have with it because I’m not much of bread eater as it takes forever for me to polish off a loaf by myself. However, I didn’t care about that today and hopped over the nearby Bonnie’s Bakery to pick up a fresh loaf of Honey-Crusted Bread. Before my run to the bakery, I also persued my recently purchased Joy of Cooking (75th anniversary ed.) and saw a recipe for pan-broiled steak. That gave me the idea to have steak for brunch. So I picked up a package of sirloin steaks as well.

I had a most satisfying meal at midday, with scrambled eggs, a very large sirloin steak (cooked rare), a couple slices of Honey Crusted bread slathered with that chocolate cashew butter, a mandarin orange, and a cup of Korean tea to finish. What a treat!

Then I esconced myself on the the couch and started on the newest title from the No. 1 Detective Ladies’ Agency series. Naturally, I drifted off into a nap. By the time I woke up, it was time to think about my next meal. Because I had so much goodness to enjoy today, I really wanted to share that with some people so I invited Simon and Dot over for dinner and to watch Heroes together after that.

In addition to poor sleep, my fatigue comes from an event-filled weekend. Looking back, I don’t think I paced myself too well. On Saturday morning, I helped out with the Sandwich Run (which I had to get up at 730am for). Then I checked out the new Costco in downtown with Jen and her friends. Then I had to rush home for a fundraising meeting. Then I met up with Jen again to watch Urinetown back in the Downtown Eastside. Because it was snowing so much and Jen’s Mini was using summer tires, we took transit.

On Sunday, I had to lead for the worship service at Bethel. Every time I lead, there’s a lot of mental and physical preparation involved so I felt pretty beat up afterwards. But I wanted to stay outdoors to enjoy the snow, so I went over to Dot’s parents’ house to help her shovel snow for them. Believe it or not, it was the first time I ever shoveled snow in my life. After that, we went to the school playground at the end of the block to make snow angels. Lots of fun, but I was so pooped afterwards.

I wasn’t thinking very clearly, so I decided to hang out with Dot for the rest of yesterday when I really should have gone home because of the heavy snowfall. I thought, “I can take transit home.” Ended up visiting the Chongs upstairs and playing with baby Emma. She is soooooo cute! I got my progesterone fix yesterday from holding her so much. Had dinner with the Chongs. Got to have some of Lisa’s “mothering” diet, including a green papaya soup (that enables lactating) and Geung Cho, a tasty healing soup rich with minerals and protein.

I left the Chong’s/Dot’s at 930pm, thinking that I’d catch the 943pm bus that would take me home just before 10pm. At first, I quite enjoyed waiting for the bus, with the snow falling and hush in the night air. But my scheduled bus never showed up. After 45 minutes of waiting, it started to get cold and I decided to change my route home. I didn’t get home until 11pm last night, and that was with Simon’s offer to bail me out by giving me a ride home. I soooo owe him.

Anyways, I’m glad things turned out the way they did today. I feel adequately rested and ready to go back to work tomorrow.

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Here’s some footage of snow falling early Sunday morning, as seen through the window of my den overlooking the courtyard. It’s boring, but it gives you an idea of how fast and thick it’s falling:

Also, from the same morning, here’s a video of what looks like a golden lab puppy eating snow. You will see that I lost my footing trying to track the dog:

I have been living on my own for almost a year now. As to be expected and to my relief, some parts of living have become routine, but at the same time, other parts still feel new. I experience things as “the first” of something still. Because of my need for wonder and awe, I am happy to have this outlook, even towards life’s little domesticities.

Realizing that something is simply new helps me to better cope with change. I had much rather be refreshed by possibility, hope, adventure, than to be bogged down by fear or a sense of inconvenience. In a way, it’s a way for me to be kept on my toes, and who knows, maybe the Holy Spirit can get through to me a little easier.

Anyways, some memorable, notable firsts this past year (not necessarily positive):

  • A glorious winter sunrise from my east-facing bedroom window
  • Cooking a meal
    • Making shepherd’s pie
  • Sleeping on my own
  • My family came for dinner
  • Packing over 20 people into my apartment
  • Getting rid of a wasp
  • Changing of the seasons
  • Hosting a sleepover for some teens from Bethel
  • Being accidentally locked out of the building
  • Running the dishwasher
  • Restocking my toilet paper supply
  • Getting sick
  • Taking a bubble bath
  • Receiving my hydro bill (this is my favourite bill because it’s always less than I think it will be!)
  • Playing my favourite CDs (sounds different in a new place, makes it more like home)
  • Being away overnight
  • Watching TV with bunny ears
  • Having [insert name here] over for a visit
  • Putting my books on the shelves
  • Eating popsicles on my balcony during the summer heat wave

Well, the list can go on and on, but you get the idea. There is much more to look forward to. My life depends on it.

I DO worry sometimes that one day I will take my existence for granted and be stuck in a rut with a narrow, crusty view towards life for some overly long period of time. That would be hellish indeed. Should that ever happen, someone shoot me please. Or more benevolently, remember me in your prayers.

Is it me, or is there a bit of Debbie Downer here in this prognosis?!

You Are Most Like Carrie!

You’re quirky, flirty, and every guy’s perfect first date.

But can the guy in question live up to your romantic ideal?
It’s tough for you to find the right match – you’re more than a little picky.

Never fear… You’ve got a great group of friends and a
great closet of clothes, no matter what!
Romantic prediction: You’ll fall for someone this year … Totally different from any guy you’ve dated.

Which Sex and the City Vixen Are You?


Aaaaargh. I am so kicking myself for not going to the Over the Rhine concert last Wednesday. After I saw Jason’s post about the concert, I started poking around the web for more info on this amazing husband-wife duo. Hadn’t played my one and only album of theirs for a while and I have forgotten how good they are. Karin Berquist has an amaaaazing voice.

Over the Rhine has a Christmas album coming out and I want it. With my newfound interest in Sufjan Stevens, I was originally thinking about picking up his recently issued Songs for Christmas. But while it does feature a number of his own creations, most of the tracks are (albeit unique) arrangements of Christmas standards, and I actually don’t like listening to Christmas music (over the years, I have been completely inured by the Christmas musak played in retail environments). I only like singing Christmas songs.

Anyways, Karin and her husband Linford Detweiler have come out with a fully original album called Snow Angels, which you can sample on their myspace site. I quite like “All I Ever Get for Christmas is Blue” and the happy “Darlin’ (Christmas is Coming).”

So move over, Sufjan! You’re now sharing the reign of my heart when it comes to indie labels.

Recently, a wise friend of mine mused whether people liked him for who he truly is or what he did for them.

I started wondering that for myself too. And how does one tell the difference anyway? I think it depends on the motives of the giver and the perceptions of the receiver.

Deep down, we all want to be loved for who we are, for better and worse, for our beauty and beastliness. But oftentimes and all too easily, we deprive ourselves and each other of this experience of true acceptance.

For those of us who need to be liked, we do things at the expense of who we are to secure people’s affections. But then, we do ourselves in by earning likeability. We create a situation where we become uncertain about our true worth because we got in our own way.

Conversely, we can do things for others that have nothing to do with whether we like them or not (e.g. like those of us in care-giving professions). And yet because these recipients FEEL personally cared for and loved, they may misconstrue our actions as expressions of personal affection, and value us for making them feel good. Needless to say, this misperception sets up false expectations (sometimes played out as romantic feelings), is bound to disappoint, and tempts the disappointed to devalue us. So while we can only safeguard ourselves from being misconstrued up to a certain extent, we can definitely work towards being more cognizant of misattributing people’s regard for us based on how we feel. If we are not cognizant, we may end up devaluing people when they make us feel bad or overvaluing them when they make us feel good. And that’s not loving them for who they are.

To resist earning affection and determining the value of people by how they make us feel is tough work though. It requires us to look in the mirror and see things we don’t like about ourselves. It requires self-awareness, courage, discipline, and a whole lot of honesty. This look in the mirror can be scary, especially if we’ve convinced ourselves that there is not much to genuinely like in the first place.

I’ve looked in the mirror before, survived (it feels like death), and I need to do it again, sooner than later. It’s a sucky place to be, but that’s where I’m most receptive to God’s grace and his process of redeeming the life He’s given me.

Depending on how much I have left over after my trip to New York next May, I may take surfing lessons next summer. Naturally, one of my goals to achieve by then, in addition to becoming a stronger swimmer, is to feel good about my body type. So, what I need to work on is putting on more healthy weight. Not only will I feel better about my body, but more importantly, I will be stronger overall. Now that I’m living on my own, I need to do more chores that require upper body strength, but I am wary of being injured (and frustrated) if I attempt to do something I’m not strong enough to do. Also, I’ve been struggling on and off with back problems that I know can be curbed by strengthening core muscles.

In general, I want to keep fit. I need to keep fit. It’s a matter of survival.

So, since spring up until lately, I was running pretty regularly. Over the summer, I got into a calisthenics routine, figuring that I should at least carry my own weight (and inspired by Gwen Stefani). Recently, to build more muscle, I acquired some heavier free weights and resistance bands. And I’ve been eating like a pig.

Unfortunately, my exercise routine has been off track for a few weeks now, disrupted by a cold, a strained neck, and the miserable weather. I’ve lost some momentum on staying disciplined, and have had some trouble getting out of the inertia.

The recent spark of motivation, however, is the thought of snowboarding, which I’m hoping to do at least twice this winter. Being tired after a few hours of riding is SUCH a waste of a lift ticket, and I am determined not to let that happen.

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