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Showing posts from 2011

Defacement

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I got a tattoo!!

This is sort of old news now, as it's been a week and almost everyone has seen it, whether on Facebook or in person. But I wanted to talk about WHY I wanted it and WHAT it means to me.

I think tattoos are cool. Sometimes people get images in places on their bodies and I think "Ew. That was not a good decision." But mostly I think tattoos are a fun way to express yourself. We have these huge blank canvasses (some more huge than others), and it think inking something permanently into your skin is a way to tell people a vital piece of information about yourself before even opening your mouth. I love how tattoos promote questions and discussion. I love learning about why a person valued a quote or a word or a name or an owl or a mushroom enough to display it on their skin.

My tattoo reads: Mere words! Was there anything so real as words? It's the tail end of a quote from Oscar Wilde's one novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray:
Words! Mere words! How terr…

How To Say "I Love You"

When I really think about, and sometimes even when I really don't, I am astounded by the power of words.

Words. This arbitrary combination of symbols to which we have ascribed meaning, and whose meaning is constantly being changed and rearranged and challenged, hold the power to change everything. Spoken, written, sung, texted, tapped out in morse-code; the methods of communicating words are endless. And to think that (fluent) speakers of a language all understand syntax, idiom, and grammar seemingly inherently is quite overwhelming.
Words change lives. How many people have claimed that a book has changed their entire world view? How many speeches and sermons have moved people to their knees? Have you ever watched someone's face when they receive a text? In 140 characters, you can make someone feel loved or break their heart or surprise and shock them. The lyrics of a song can reach into the recesses of the soul and make you feel completely understood. Words connect beyond phy…

Because Jian Told Me To

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It's no secret that I love the CBC Radio show "Q" - for both its content and its host, Jian Ghomeshi. I've found that I am inclined to buy or read or subscribe to or follow any musician, author, columnist, and actor he interviews. This is particularly true of books, and I have read two books in the past week or so that I would have passed by, were it not for Jian. I thought I would review them, since I haven't done a book review in a while.

Super Sad True Love Story - Gary Shteyngart

A few weeks ago, Jian re-aired an interview he did this past summer with author Shteyngart. I was only half listening at first, but then I started hearing some pretty solid jokes, and paid closer attention. Steyngart was witty, clever, and quite interesting to listen to, so I decided to pick up his book as soon as possible.

I had seen Super Sad True Love Story around for a few months, and almost picked it up when I was in Portland last November, based solely on the eye-catching cover an…

Master Chef

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Today was one of those days that are not terrible but definitely not great. I was cold all day, I put too much sweetener in my coffee, I was frustrated with work, and it was almost dark by the time I left to pick up Dad today. Today was one of those days where you just wish you had stayed in bed. 
So, in an effort to feel homey and warm and comfortable, I decided that this evening I was going to cook. I love cooking and my evenings don't really let me do the kind of cooking that takes rows and rows of spices, lots of chopping, and dirtying every pot and pan in the cupboard. I decided that tonight would be one of those nights where I would make something healthy, delicious, and from scratch. I had bought some quinoa, which I have never made before, had some fresh veggies in the fridge, and took some ground beef out of the freezer: it was meatball night.
I also decided that I was going to write a blog today. My original plan was to write about something quite serious, but then I th…

Returning

Since my friend Lilly has been posting on her blog like a fiend lately, I feel like I need to update mine so she cannot harass me as I harass her for updates. I've been less inclined to post lately as well since my computer was under repair for a little mishap involving Pepsi, my keyboard, and the spilling of the former into the latter. Luckily, $400 and three weeks later, my MacBook has returned home no worse for wear and I am able to access the internet all the time again! Yay!

I'm in one of those states of mind where nothing and everything are happening simultaneously; Nothing of ground-breaking importance has shaken me to the core, but my life is so full of people and events. My amazing friend Karen and I lead Bible study on Tuesdays and teach Sunday School on Sundays, both of which take up more time than I originally anticipated. For a couple Thursdays now I've been heading to the home of Zach and Beth Hynes (you should read her blog; she doesn't write often but w…

The Talented Mr. Matt Damon

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I talk a lot about books and I watch a lot of TV, but I don't often talk about movies. This is sort of because I don't really love movies the way I love TV. I love television because the multiple episodes and series gives time for character development and intricate plot lines, not to mention running themes that span over seasons and bring continuity to the whole story.

But I do like movies and I go to the theatre fairly often, and there are a particular type that I must see on the big screen, regardless of genre or plot or price: movies starring Matt Damon.

When I was about 11 years old, my aunt rented Good Will Hunting. I was clearly too young to watch it or understand the plot, but I did anyway. I was initially attracted to it because Robin Williams, of Jack fame, was in it. I remember not really understanding much of the story on a symbolic level, but it sparked my life-long love affair with Matt Damon. At first I thought he was just really attractive, but I've since g…

Skinny

"I like being a fat girl because I can eat whatever I want and it doesn't matter - I'm already fat." - jpmetz

I love TLC. Whenever I'm meandering around the house, folding laundry or washing dishes or getting ready for bed, I turn on channel 41 and see what show promoting extreme behaviour is on now. The other night I tuned in just as I was settling into bed and I caught the opening of a show I haven't seen before: Big Sexy.


If you haven't seen or heard of Big Sexy, it's a show following five plus sized women who are all trying to "make it" in the fashion/make-up/modelling world in New York City. The girls are varying shapes and sizes, but they are all over size 16 and claim to love their bodies.

At first I had high hopes for this show: it seemed like an interesting concept and maybe would even evoke positive change in perceptions of beauty. But the more I watched, the more I realized that the show isn't really about loving yourself and …

"Terse and Tasty": The Summer That Ended Up Not Sucking

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My absence from this blog over the past month is inexcusable, but I will make excuses anyway. Many milestones have occurred in a short period of time, and I've got a lot of blog posts just waiting to make their debut on the internet. However, this particular entry will be dedicated solely to the fact that this summer, which started out pretty bleak, ended up not sucking. On the contrary: it rocked out towards the end.

The weather in St. John's was complete garbage for pretty much all of June and July, which explains partly why I was in this weird depressed funk for a while. I find that when I get sad, suddenly everything that makes me unhappy, both past and present, come rushing to the fore and I get bummed out to the nth degree. So I was pretty grumpy for the first two-thirds of the summer.

Then something magical happened: road trips.

I darted out to Gander several times, which I've already mention in a blog post, and then hit up the west coast, which you can read about h…

"RaZOOlies!"

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I've been meaning to write this post since last Monday, but work, family stuff, general merriment, and TV box sets have prevented me from doing so. But now, I write:

My dear friend Robyn, who lives in Corner Brook, is moving away this fall to teach in New Brunswick. This makes me simultaneously happy and sad, as many things seem to do lately; I'm happy she is pursuing her career, sad that it has to happen so far away from me.

In an attempt to have one last hurrah with Robz before she abandons this province, another dear friend, Wheels, and I road tripped across this great province to visit her. What resulted was one of the best weekends in recent memory, filled with new friends, excellent Tim Hortons sandwiches, alpacas and llamas, and, almost literally, endless laughter.



On Friday we stopped in Gander to see Kayla and Gavin. It turned out that Thomas Amusements was in town, so we, in the spirit of the pre-teens that we were when we last went to the fair, squealed in excite…

Tumbling After

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I roadtripped again this past weekend, back to Gander, with four fabulous friends: Jen, Laura W, Laura S, and Steph. We trekked across the island to visit Kayla. The girls haven't seen her in quite a while, and they wanted to see her new house and her new "hometown".

It was a perfectly lovely weekend, enhanced by the fact that the sun decided to make an extended appearance. We spent Saturday on a sandy beach in Eastport, tanning and numbing our feet in the Atlantic and climbing forbidden sand dunes... well, I climbed forbidden sand dunes. Everyone else looked on, lackadaisically telling me I shouldn't do it and taking incriminating pictures.

We then went to get ice cream at a Ma & Pop shop somewhere in Eastport. We were told that the ice cream was soft, but we ordered flavoured soft serve anyway. Everyone else had their orders and I, with much anticipation, awaited my grape cone. When it arrived, the woman handed it to me and it promptly fell off the cone and roll…

"You'll stay with me?" "Until the very end."

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"Harry Potter. The Boy Who Lived. Come to die."
Last night I saw the 12:01 showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. We waited in line for close to five hours, combated sleepiness and fought for good seats, and at long last and too soon, the final installment of the Harry Potter began.

It's hard for me to express my feelings about the movie and the books and the end of the whole saga. Harry has been a part of my life for 12 years. I was among the generation of readers who started the Harry journey from the beginning, having to wait a year, sometimes two, between books. I loved everything about the Harry world and relished the hours I spent living it through Rowling's words. I dedicated close to a year of my undergraduate degree studying the stories, reading criticism, and loving the story and characters more than I did before.

I've said many times that I don't really like the movies. I feel that they stray away from quintessential elements of th…

Dauntless

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I read Veronica Roth's book Divergent last week and I've been wanting to post about it, mostly because I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. Divergent is the first in a trilogy, of which books 2 & 3 are yet to be released.

Quick plot summary:
Like all good young adult novels, Divergent is set in a dystopian Chicago where the city has been divided into five factions of people: Amity (the kind and peaceful), Candor (the honest), Erudite (the intelligent), Abnegation (the selfless), and Dauntless (the brave). Each child is raised in the faction of their parents, learning the rules and art of being kind or brave or selfless. At the age of 16, each young adult may choose whichever faction suits their inherent personality; if they choose to leave their parents' faction, they are divorced from their family forever.

Beatrice Prior has been raised in Abnegation her whole life, yet she finds the absolute selflessness of the faction impossible and frustrating, so, with di…

The Wandering Jill

I love traveling. I love airports and long car rides and not feeling guilty about eating ice cream at 10am or spending $5 on a pack of gum because - hey! - I'm traveling. I love being somewhere different and the unparalleled energy that comes from just being in a new place.

For a long time I thought that "traveling" meant I had to go somewhere completely foreign, where they don't speak English and the bread of choice is in funny shapes and unfamiliar colours. Over the past year, though, I've come to appreciate even the smallest distance traveled. Just the act of getting there, being with people both familiar and infrequent, is enjoyable. Stepping outside of my daily norm, even for a few days, is enough for a recharge.

Over the Canada Day weekend, I drove to Gander to spend a few days with Kayla and Gavin. Naturally, Kayla decided to host a Canada Day barbeque and there was food, people, and good times aplenty (Mama Gail has trained us well). It's strange, whe…

We Are Not Alone

I think I have always had a special connection with words. I remember when I learned to read in kindergarten, I was immediately taken with books and by the end of the year was devouring novels. I have always liked how the way in which someone arranges words, and which ones they choose to emphasize, can carry an endless number of meanings. I like the process of story. I like it when people can put into words what seems too complex or profound to be anything but felt. I like hearing people's syntax, their phrasing, the nuances hidden behind a sentence or a word. It's one of the greatest gifts God has given humans, I think, the expression of language.

But even though there are roughly three-quarters of a million words in the English language, and even though there are no fewer than 49 synonyms for "home run," sometimes words aren't enough.

Sometimes words just can't contain all the meaning we need them to. When someone says "My grandmother died," we in…

On Friendship

A few posts ago, I wrote a tribute of sorts to my friends. I find it hard sometimes to truly express how much I care about my friends. It's socially acceptable, thanks to the Hollywoodization of romantic relationships, to tell people who you're dating or wish you were dating or about to marry or breaking up with how much you love them or did love them or plan to love them until the end of time. And as important as romantic love is to individuals, couples, and the world at large (and I do not deny its importance), friends generally make up the largest percentage of people in your life, thus they are vital to who you are at your core. And I love my friends. I really, really love them.

I was talking to my friend Valerie the other day, and we started talking about the idea of chemistry between friends, and how there are people with whom you have chemistry and people with whom you don't. The kind of "spark" that exists between romantic couples also happens between fri…

Top 10 Novels Everyone Should Read

People often ask me for book titles and author suggestions. I read a lot, and I think I read a fairly wide variety of genres, and so I've decided to list the top 10 books I think everyone should read. These are not necessarily my favourites, although most of them are. I think a lot of authors can write spectacularly or tell an interesting story, but rarely are they good at both. This list is a set of books and authors that I think write well and tell a great story simultaneously.

10. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson: This book is an autobiography of Winterson's life of being adopted into a strict protestant family, her discovery of her sexuality, and reconciling her life with the God her family says exists and the God she believes loves her. The story is heartbreaking and beautiful, and she writes in pure poetry.

9. The Help by Kathryn Stockett: I received this book as a birthday gift from my friend Stephanie, and she is definitely pro at picking out great …

All Aboard the FailPost

B'yz, time for a blog post, I spose! So much for the updating twice a week, like I said I would...

Luckily, I have been sticking to my fitness regime. I go to the gym at least 4 times a week, and I try to go for a walk if it's nice out, too. But it's almost never nice out, so that hasn't been happening much. I've definitely kicked up my cardio workout, so I do an hour of cardio a day (50 minutes if I'm not in the mood for 10 minutes of the treadmill), and I lift a few weights every now and then, too. I haven't really cut down much on my calorie intake, but it's coming. Soon I will bite the bullet and say goodbye to ice cream and a begrudging hello to carrots.

Other news? Um... nothing? I think if I updated more regularly I might have more to say. The past week and half/two weeks have been pretty much consumed by my online course, which is over on Friday. I had to write two papers a few weeks ago, and this last week I wrote one paper and wrote/edited our…

The Gospel Truth

I'm re-reading Don Miller's Searching for God Knows What, and I am struck again by how profound and beautiful and true his writing is. Every time I read anything he's written - whether it's a book or an interview or a blog post - I feel like he and I are sitting having a conversation over coffee, being open and honest about things that are confusing and real.

I thought I would share some of my favourite passages from Searching for God Knows What. I love that Don encourages Christians to be vulnerable, to feel small and in awe of God, and to start believing in a God that is bigger than our imaginations.

"The very scary thing about religion, to me, is that people actually believe God is who they think he is. By that I mean they have Him all figured out, mapped out, and as my pastor, Rick, says, 'dissected and put into jars on a shelf.' You've got a bunch of Catholics in Rome who think one way about God, and a bunch of Baptists in Texas who think another, …

ReVamped

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BIG THINGS HAPPENING ON MY BLOG.

Firstly, I've finally found a new title and url! About this, I am excited! Both are based from the song "Pure Imagination" from the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I've always loved the lines:

If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it.
Want to change the world? There's nothing to it. It reminds us that the world we're living in is paradise if we let it, and it makes the world seem limitless, empowering us to be creative and think big. What do you think?

Also, I've decided I'm going to try and post more pictures. I'm pretty terrible at taking pictures and uploading them. I promise to try and be better. To try and start this trend, here's a picture of the best stew I have ever eaten. I found it at a cafe in Whistler. It was a cold, foggy day, and what tastes better than a chunky, hot stew on a yucky day? Nothing, is right.

In other news: my friends are g…

And the Card Attached Would Say...

Everyone likes their friends - in theory at least. Everyone thinks that their friends are loyal and fun and smart and interesting. Why else would they spend time with them?

I have the best friends, though. I often wonder how it is that I've managed to meet and befriend some of the smartest, funniest, most kind, thoughtful, interesting, clever, and loyal people on the planet. I marvel at the fact that, somehow, we've managed to find enough to talk about after six months, a year, ten years, a lifetime, and we still like each other; that I still laugh obnoxiously at their jokes; that they sometimes laugh at mine; that we've had fights over boys and clothes and secrets told and jobs stolen and inconsiderate comments, but we've made up and patched up.

So to my friends, pals, confidants, should've-been-sisters/brothers:
Thanks for the hours spent drinking coffee/tea/hot chocolate together. Thanks for words of encouragement. Thanks for the honest criticism. Thanks for lyi…

This Time, I Mean It

Every New Year, summer, and September I go through what I like to call the "Get Skinny" plan. I attach whatever year to the end of it (I think I first began with "Get Skinny 2008!") and then begin my regimen diet, exercise, and bragging about how I'm going to "get skinny" by the end of whatever arbitrary date I set. But, needless to say, it never works.

Get Skinny 2009! was as close as I've ever come to whatever body image I imagine for myself. That was the year I joined Weight Watchers and walked for at least 45 minutes every day. It was a great plan, and I lost weight and gained confidence, and felt really healthy and accomplished and good. I've since fallen off the wagon, gained back most of what I lost, and rarely even make an effort to eat well.

Maybe it's because its summer, or maybe my friends have suddenly become more interested in being active than I remember them ever being before, or maybe I'm just more aware of how uncoordi…

Bragging Rights

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Since I've been home, I've been listening to a lot of CBC Radio One. I listen to it almost exclusively when driving, because a) my clock radio has terrible reception in the basement and I can't listen to it in the apartment, and b) I find the monotone voices and melodramatic conversation that requires a careful ear makes me a much calmer driver. While it may be hard to believe (insert heavy sarcasm), I must admit that I occasionally have a bit of an anger problem, which most frequently rears its head while driving. Thanks to "Crosstalk," I'm much less apt to fume and wish tickets to befall a fellow motorist who cuts me off or nearly kills me by trying to "make" a green arrow when it's been red for several long seconds.
Thanks, CBC Radio One, for making me a better person.
I have to think of a new title for my blog, since I am no longer living in a Big City. I like the "Notes from a ..." preface, but I'm having a hard time thinking of…