I'm counting down my last few minutes of work...and then I'm not back here till January 7th!
Early tomorrow morning we're off for two weeks in NS - I'm looking forward to it. It's been 2 and a half years since I was home at all, and something like 4 since I was home for Christmas. I still have a lot of packing and laundry to do tonight...and 3:30 AM is going to come awfully early...eeep!
Stay tuned for photos of Christmas in NS - it's been a while since I used my camera, and it's due for a workout.
May you find joy in Jesus, the reason for the season!
It's been a crazy week for commuting. I am getting very sick of spending so much time in my car! I keep meaning to rotate my collection of cds, but I keep forgetting. So yesterday, during my trip home from work, which took more then twice as long as it usually does, I was BORED.
I usually listen to Shine FM, and between 4 and 5 pm they take requests. I don't normally use my cell phone much while I'm driving, but I was moving so slowly I might as well have been parked, so I called in to request a song. It took a couple of tries, and I was about to give up, but then I got through.
They entered me in a draw, and said they'd try to fit my song in before 5:00 (it was already like, 20 to 5) so I didn't think I would hear it.
Just before 5 they called back to say that I won the draw! I won a pizza and passes to a Hitmen game, and my song was the last one they squeezed in. It was very exciting - I never win anything. :) Although now I have to drive all the way down to the Shine office in the south to pick up my passes, which I'm not even going to attempt to do until the roads are better!
Whether or not you agree with Canadian troops being in Afghanistan, I'm sure you must agree that the sacrifices the troops and their families are making to do what they think is right are incredible. There's a photo in the slideshow (linked above) of a man who's meeting his daughter for the first time. I got a little teary just thinking about it!
It was really good. The thing that stuck out the most for me was that at the battle he spoke of, "More than 27,000 Canadians joined the battle in Sicily and 562 Canadians died and 1,664 were wounded."
There were about 9,000 people at the service, which is their highest attendance to date, and I've been going there for about 8 years now. But only 9,000 out of a million people in Calgary. Fewer people then were wounded in this ONE battle during the Second World War.
It makes me sad that people have such a hard time taking a couple of hours, one day a year, to remember the sacrifices that others have made so that we can live in freedom, and not just us in Canada, because it probably would have taken Hitler a bit longer to get control of North America, but overseas as well. To sacrifice your own life for a nation of people you've never met - that deserves to be remembered.
My boss was in Europe this fall, and she went to one of the concentration camps, and told me about some of the stuff she learned, a lot of which I already knew from all my reading on the subject (I went through a few years as a young teenager where I read every book in the library on the topic) - but they were things that I was surprised to find aren't common knowledge for a lot of people. What do they teach in schools these days?
Did you know that Hitler didn't just have it in for Jews, he had it in for everybody who didn't toe his party line - Christians, people without white skin, transient people like Gypsies, homosexuals, handicapped people and elderly (who he had forcibly sterilized and/or imprisoned and/or 'put out of their misery')? The list goes on. There are suggestions that he wanted to set himself up as a god, and may have believe that he was the reincarnation of Woden, the god of war (who was worshiped by human sacrifice).
The man was a nutter, and without a whole generation of people who were willing to fight him, we could be suffering under severe lack of freedom in Canada. It seems like many people have no idea how good we have it, compared to how oppressed people were under Nazi rule. The scary thing is, the more we forget, the more likely it is that the warning signs of another Hitler rising will be ignored, and the more likely it is that history will repeat itself.
So the worst part about condo living (other then condo association meetings, but those are only once per year) is having to share walls with other people.
On one side of us we have a nice family. Their kids are kind of noisy - playing, stomping up and down stairs etc - but that's normal kid noise so I try to not let it bother me too much. But their dogs! They have two Jack Russells, and they are noisy. Most of the time they have on these collars that squirt them with water when they bark, but when they don't have the collars on, they bark themselves into a conniption whenever we go into our yard. They were so agitated the other night, I thought they were going to try to get through the fence. When they do have the collars on, and they want back into the house, they will spend HOURS banging against the door. I don't know how the owners can ignore it, because it reverberates like crazy all through our house. Thump, thump, thump...pause...thump, thump, thump...for hours, literally. Also, they have a cobblestone yard, and they don't clean up after the dogs very often. GROSS!
On the other side, we have a woman and her teenage daughter, who also have a dog. A white, yippy rat of a creature. It's favourite hobby is to sit by the front window and bark at anything that even thinks about moving. So in the summer I go out to water my garden or even check the mail, and it has a conniption. I open the windows in the living room, someone goes by on the street, and the dog has a fit that sounds like it's in our house. And it will bark, bark, bark for hours when it's home alone. Trevor's mom was so annoyed by it when she was watering our garden while we were away that she sprayed it with the hose and barked back, which I'm very entertained by. And it's not just the dog barking...they have an alarm or something by their front door which buzzes every couple of minutes. The front yard faces south, so early this summer (our first summer in this house) I took my chair and book into the yard for a bit of reading. Between the buzzing and the barking, I went raving mad in about five minutes. I thought I'd try the back yard, even though it's not sunny, but when I went back there, the mom and daughter were having a fit in the kitchen with the window open! Oh, and there was the time I was watering the garden, and the daughter was in the living room on the phone freaking out at someone. I was trying to ignore her and water faster so I can leave, and then she comes over and slams the window shut, and glares at ME! Like I wanted to listen to her stupid phone call! And the mom's boyfriend comes to visit sometimes and brings his big yellow Lab with him, and doesn't keep it on a leash, which is a huge pet peeve of mine. Big dogs can be very dangerous.
So this week we got a new sound system because the old one crapped out, and tonight I watched Dead Man's Chest. Now, there are a lot of explosions, but I had the sound pretty low because Trevor has a headache. So it's about 9:15 (no where near noise curfew time) and they start banging on the wall! I'm really cross, because in general we do not make a lot of noise. Because it's a new system, the bass settings might have been a little loud, but no where near as loud as that stupid dog! Or that door they slammed really loud the other day at about 2am, which woke me up nearly having a heart attack from fright. One movie and they're freaking out! Loud people shouldn't bang on walls, because they might find themselves in a whole lot of trouble from people they've pushed to the edge...a YEAR of listening to them make all sorts of noise is just about my limit! One more button pushed and I'm going to be ready to complain to the condo board about them.
I had my biannual eye exam this weekend. It's only actually been a year since my last one, but my eyes have been bothering me, and I have a new health insurance plan, so I have coverage available. I complained about how I keep having to move my computer screen closer, and the optometrist recommended reading glasses. Reading glasses! Oy vey...granted, between working on the computer at work, working on the computer at home, and reading every spare moment in between, I probably spend 90% of my waking hours seriously using my eyes.
But still - I didn't think I was old enough to need reading glasses...and I bet you anything the next step is going to be loosing one of the pairs somewhere, all the time. "Sorry, I can't drive - I think I left my long-distance glasses on my desk at work."
In other news, I was thinking it might be neat to go to university sometime in the next few years. I haven't decided or anything, but there are so many study options, and so much stuff I could learn. I could take an English degree, or even study archaeology! My biggest problem is that the university system doesn't seem very user friendly. What's your university experience?
Even though it's been about a month and a half, I haven't abandoned my blog - it's just been busy. :)
August went so fast - mostly just with little day to day things, but we did take 5 days and get away to Trevor's parents' timeshare in Fairmont for a few days. I've never been out there before, and it's beautiful. Photos here.... http://picasaweb.google.ca/michelleheumann
Last weekend my friend Teresa got married, and they had the reception at Heritage Park, which was super cool. They had the ferris wheel going, and the afternoon light was just beautiful. It was a lot of fun to see some people I haven't seen in a while, as well.
Things are work are going well, and we're gearing up for our grand opening open house. The biggest thing happening in September is that the 7th book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, An Echo in the Bone, is being released. I'm quite excited. :)
I'm starting to do research and plan for our Florida/Disney trip in May. If you've been there before and have some helpful hints to offer, I'd appreciate it!
So for those of you who don't know, for the last couple of years I've been on the planning committee for the (deep breath) Lutheran Church-Canada Alberta British Columbia District tri-annual Youth Gathering. :)
After much planning and many meetings we (the committee) are on-site at the University of BC in Kelowna. Right now my youth group, and youth groups all over the district, are setting out to come here - check in starts at 3 pm.
This year we have just over 170 youth, leaders and other volunteers coming to participate in one of my most favourite things ever, and what is definitely my favourite thing about LCC - the Youth Gathering. Seriously, I think this is what heaven is going to be like, but without the two years of planning and work, and the registration fees! We get together, we visit with old friends, meet new people, play games, make music, listen to great speakers and presenters, don't get enough sleep...it's SO MUCH FUN!
Anyway, I've got about another hour before I really have to get up, so I'm going back to bed! (Which, being a dorm bed, is hard as the floor, and the pillow is so flat that even with a sweatshirt and a beach towel for added padding, my neck is still cricked at an unhappy angle. Urgh...)
There's a team in Israel right now, digging in my square...well, it's still pretty early in the AM there, so they're probably sleeping at this moment...anyway, I've been following this blogs, and this post made me pretty 'homesick'!
I can't believe how fast the time is going. It's been so long, is anyone still checking this thing?!
Last time I updated, we were heading off to BC for a trip to visit some family and friends. The thing that had been in the works for a while, which I couldn't blog about for 'security' reasons, is that the day before we left for our trip, I gave my notice at Foster Richmond, where I've worked for over three years now. Why? To go with my boss and her new business partner to their new firm! It was a big relief to give my notice and hit the road...
Our trip to BC was fabulous - the weather was good, we had a good visit with my aunt and uncle in Revelstoke, and had a blast at Chris and Kelsey's wedding. We saw a ton of people we don't see very often, and got to spend some time exploring Vernon's parks and beaches. And junk stores...we found some good deals!
May was super chaotic - wrapping up our practice at FR, working from home for a couple of weeks while rennos were done on our new office space, and then moving into the new office and hobbling along while furniture, phones and computers slowly got up and running. We also went to a Queen tribute at the CPO, which was a ton of fun, and I saw the new Star Trek movie twice - it's just THAT good! It's definitely on my Christmas wish list. :) I visited my friend Barb in Medicine Hat on the May long weekend, and we had lots of fun just relaxing and watching movies, which was muchly needed after the chaos of leaving FR.
Our new office is beautiful - it's a heritage era brick house in the community of Bridgeland, just on the east side of downtown. We have an awesome kitchen, two porches and a great back yard. It's taking me a bit longer to get to and from work now, but it's totally worth it. I have a huuuuge desk and lots of quiet workspace and co-workers I like - what more could you ask for in a job!?
We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary on Tuesday - can you believe it? 7 years already!
The youth gathering is coming up so fast - less then a month away now. I'm hoping and praying that I haven't forgotten to do anything I was supposed to, although strangely enough I'm not too worried about it, which is very uncharacteristic of me.
And it looks like spring has finally come to Calgary - my little garden is flourishing and I'm really enjoying having a garden to poke around in again. Life is pretty darn good!
April has been a super busy month, but it's finally about to slow down...we're leaving tomorrow morning for a week in BC! We're going to spend a night in Revelstoke with my family, and then six nights in Vernon, and we're going to Chris and Kelsey's wedding. I'm really looking forward to having a break. We've had to cancel our big trip to California, for a bunch of reasons, so this might be the only holiday we get this summer. Hopefully the weather is nicer in Vernon then it is in Calgary! I'm taking a huge bag of books, and I want to spend as much time as I can sitting outdoors and reading, even if I have to do it in a coat with a blanket - as long as it's not snowing!
Black cats in Calgary seem to be particularly unlucky these days.
The Calgary Humane Society has seen a spike in the number of black cats -- as well as black and white felines -- at the shelter and is concerned about their future.
"It's unusual to see so many black cats, but the prevalence of them is quite high at the moment," said Lindsay Jones, a spokeswoman for the Humane Society.
"We're concerned they might not get adopted."
The society has about 26 black cats, which Jones said is the highest number of that colour it has ever had.
"Black cats and black and white cats are the least likely to get adopted," she said.
"We're not sure why exactly because black cats are just as loveable as any other cat."
Dark cats still seem to be a last resort for most Calgarians looking for new pets, with light and multi-coloured ones being much higher in demand. "We'll have a roomful of kittens -- one will be black and he'll be the last to go," said Jones. "It may be due to superstition or just that (black cats) don't look as nice as the calico next door."
A few days ago I was walking home from work, and the sun was shining and the snow was melting and I could hear water running, and it took me right back to spring in NS when I was a kid. Making maple syrup, playing in the creek, hunting for mayflowers, getting cold, wet and muddy and loving it. When spring comes, I always feel like going and splashing in the creek. Sadly, spring comes so fast in Calgary it happens overnight, and there are no creeks in our condo development!
I follow a few blogs about life in the country, and they definitely don't help with the spring fever thing...I'm not a city girl, and reading blogs sure doesn't help. Maybe I should have given up blogs for Lent. :P
I re-read one of my favourite books last month - one that I now realize shaped my childhood opinion of what the season of spring should look like, an opinion that clearly lingers. It's a story of a poor little rich girl from London, and her mother sends her to live with family friends in the English countryside while she goes abroad, and the bulk of the story is set in the spring. It's beautifully described, and I can picture it so vividly it's almost like being there. I'd give just about anything to experience a 'proper' spring for real though! Maybe one of these years...
When I was about 10, I discovered the Famous Five - four cousins and their dog who adventured all over Great Britain, solving mysteries and eating lots. I'm collecting vintage editions of her books written for the 12-ish age group - the Famous Five, Mallory Towers and St. Claire's (British boarding schools) and the Mistletoe Farm series (six cousins in that one!). They're just light, fun, happy stories that make you feel better when you're done reading them. If you're looking to buy books for a child you know, I highly recommend them.
Recently I've seen Defiance, Passchendaele, Inkheart and Brideshead Revisited.
Defiance was really, really good. I actually read the book it was based on after seeing the movie, and was impressed at how well the movie portrayed the facts. There were differences of course, but I feel like the movie was an accurate portrait of the Bielski brothers and what they accomplished.
Passchendaele - well, it was really well done, and it was neat to see the scenes they filmed in Heritage Park. But I was super disappointed with the ending. I like happy endings and Passchendaele definitely did not have one of those! I guess that makes it even more historically accurate, but not as uplifting to watch.
I quite enjoyed Inkheart. I struggled when I read the book because it was so very, very dark, and I wasn't sure how the movie was going to turn out. I think the movie was actually less dark and more hopeful then the book was. There was a great cast and a happy ending and lots of fun little tributes to great works of literature, so I was really happy with it.
Brideshead Revisited was another one with an ending I didn't love. It wasn't an unhappy ending, exactly, but it wasn't the way I would have wanted it to end if I'd been the main character, that's for sure. It was a really troubled, layered, Very British drama with only occasional bits of humour and it made me very glad that I wasn't born into an upper class British family in the early 1900s!
For books (other then reading about the Bielski brothers) I've been working my way through a box of Mercedes Lackey books that I got for $30, "The Cat Who Saw Stars", and "Plum Spooky".
Mercedes Lackey...she's got an amazing imagination, and has written dozens and dozens of books. My favourites are re-workings of fairy tales which involve 'elemental' magic and the Valdemar series.
"Fire Rose" is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, set just outside San Francisco, involving a rail baron who's been injured in a spell-casing gone awry, and a scholarly bluestocking he hires to be his research assistant. Many adventures ensue, and the story builds to the great San Francisco fire.
I've been having issues with her Valdemar series - some of them are really fun and enjoyable, but this one trilogy I read which is chronologically the beginning of the series is SO dark and the main character SO winy and SO tragic the first time I tried to read them I only made it partway through the second book. Since this trilogy was in the box of books I bought, I figured I'd take another stab at them, but by the time I was done I felt like I needed to clean out my brain with a pot scrubber. Icky!
"The Cat Who..." series by Lillian Jackson Braun is this fun bunch of 'cozy' mysteries about a supernaturally smart Siamese cat and his journalist owner and the murder cases in which they get embroiled. It's light, happy reading that makes me want to move to a small town somewhere, and get a Siamese cat. Which I'm sure Dax would not approve of, and Trevor definitely doesn't, so I'll put getting a Siamese on my list of things to do before I die and worry about it later. :)
"Plum Spooky" is a Stephanie Plum 'between the numbers' book. I've been reading anything written by Janet Evanovitch for a while now, because they're laugh-out-loud-on-the-ctrain funny. "Finger Licking Fifteen" is coming out this year sometime, and these books describe the adventures of Stephanie Plum, America's most accident-prone bounty hunter. I can't even begin to tell you how funny they are - often highly inappropriate, but hysterically amusing. "Plum Spooky" involves a monkey named Carl who plays Game Boy, a deadbeat brother recovering from being shot in the buttocks with a staple gun, a James Bond-like plot by a maniac to control the weather, a FTA resisting arrest in a produce wearhouse, and a mysterious guy named Diesel who calls himself an 'unmentionable'. It's good stuff!
I was really excited to go to Break Forth in Edmonton this weekend. I haven't been in a couple of years, and now that TEC has petered out, I really wanted a chance to spend some quality time with God. And boy, did I ever... :) I also got to spend a lot of quality time with Trevor, which was really nice. Usually when we go to retreats we end up doing our own thing and don't see much of each other, but this time we had a few electives together, and were able to meet up for all of our meals as well, so that was really nice, especially considering that he left today to go to another conference all week - this one in Texas. (Where it's warm!)
It took me a while to get into the 'retreat experience'. We got there early for a change, and found good seats close to the front, and since there were only four of us together, that made things a lot easier then in the past when I've been organizing a big group. The first speaker was Erwin McManus, and he was a really good, funny, honest speaker. I'm actually not really sure what his overall theme was, but the part that stuck out for me was about dreams and it was really good. We're going to order the DVD to show the youth group. Brenton Brown led worship, but it was a bunch of songs that were all new to me, so it didn't really do a lot for me. Mercy Me did the late night concert, which I was looking forward to, but Break Forth had a new company doing sound this year, and it absolutely blew chunks. The bass was SO overpowering my jeans were vibrating, which was a really strange sensation. If I hadn't thought to bring ear plugs along, I would have had to leave. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it a whole lot!
Saturday morning started off with worship with Matt Maher, which was cool, and the speaker was John Eldridge. He talked about listening to God, and walked us through an exercise right there, involving asking God a question and then just waiting to hear what He would say. I couldn't relax enough to listen but I did ask "what?" As in what do you want, what next, what should I be doing with this year - just what. I didn't hear anything, but I wasn't too worried - God has this habit of popping up in my life and getting my attention when I least expect it. :)
Then Trevor and I booked it over to McDougal Untied, this gorgeous old church with stained glass and fancy pillars and creaky pews for a worship service with Brian Doerkson, which was good. Brian Doerkson has this thing for the psalms, and he did a lot of meditative-type ones. And it was just him on his guitar with a piano and some handheld percussion. It was really relaxing. Then we had lunch with Jennifer and that was cool - we haven't seen her since before she moved to Kelowna, and since we're not going to be out that way till May, it was really nice to catch up a bit. She was telling us how she was going to give up tv for Lent, and I thought that was pretty brave of her. Tv has become a big part of my life!
Then Trevor walked over to Mother's Music to buy me better earplugs then the cheap foam ones I'd been using (isn't he nice?), and I went to a session where they were supposed to be teaching the new songs that were in this year's update for the Break Forth music binder. Sadly, the leader of the session was pretty chatty, so we didn't get through many of the songs, and most of the ones she picked to go over were ones that I already knew. So at least I know now not to sign up for that elective next year!
After that, Trevor went to a guitar clinic with Doug Doppler (who he loooves, partly because Doug was taught by Joe Satriani, who's Trevor's Guitar Hero. :) For my elective I went back to McDougal United for a worship session with Brenton Brown and Matt Maher, which was totally awesome. It was less crowded then Brian Doerkson's session, so I was able to have some space to myself and write a bit. They were really funny guys, and had a good rapore. They talked about the song writing process a bit, and they were just really genuine and cool. They seemed like the kind of people it would be fun to hang out with. Anyway, I was scribbling down some lines for a new song, and Brenton starts praying that the people in the room would be blessed with songs and creativity and all these things, and I'm going "Thanks...it's not the creativity that's the problem, it's the lack of MUSIC skills that's the problem!" From the last 7 or so years I have about 40 songs in various stages of development, and nothing to do with them when they're 'done'. Sometimes the lack of a creative outlet makes me want to stop writing altogether, but like I heard this one worship leader say at Break Forth a few years ago, "When God speaks, you'd better get a pen". So I HAVE to write, but I sure wish I knew what to do with that!
The evening main session was with Paul Baloche (who wrote "Offering", which is one of my all time favourite songs) and the speaker was this guy from Hawaii named Wayne Cordeiro, who was SO funny. To be honest, I don't really remember what he talked about, I just remember laughing a lot.
After that, we went to another worship session with Brenton Brown. It wasn't very crowded, so we got near the front and Trev got some good photos. It was a really good session, and I finally heard God speak to me, and He said to cancel our cable subscription. This is something that Trevor has mentioned to me every once in a while since we got married, but I have my few shows I like that I haven't wanted to give up. But I had just spent all day pondering to myself about dreams and what I want to be doing and how to spend my time, and how to spend more time with God, and tv is definitely getting in the way of those things. So I turned to Trevor on a break between songs and said "God says to cancel the cable". Being very wise after 7 years of marriage, he didn't say anything like "that's what I've been saying for years!", he just said "are you sure?". Yup, I'm sure. The more I think about it, the better of an idea I think it is. It'll give me the time I've been craving to spend with God and write, and more time with Trevor, and more time to read. The shows I really like I can still get on DVD, a lot of them from the library for next to free (a $12/year library card is a lot less then a $60/month cable subscription!) and anyway, if I can't live without tv in my life, that's just pretty sad, especially considering I grew up without it. And so we've decided to save that extra $60/month and pray about how God wants us to spend it, which is pretty exciting. I can't wait to see what happens next!
Anyway, worshiping is about my favourite thing possible to do, so I could have kept singing all night. Brenton was trying to end the session, and people kept calling for more. Finally he was like "You Canadians...you like your winters cold and your worship sets long!" which made me laugh. He has no idea how long I'd like my worship sets! :) It was a lot of fun, and made me feel grounded in a way I haven't felt since I came back from Israel.
Sunday morning I went to a session on small group leading, and it was a real disappointment. The presenter started off by saying "If you don't have the spiritual gift of teaching, don't even bother trying to lead a group, because you won't be able to do it." I thought that was pretty harsh, and it went downhill from there. She talked alot about the way she does things, and her experience and what she thought was best, and talked about how you have to control things as a group leader and that you have to stomp out any spontaneous conversations about anything else, even if they look like they're going somewhere deep. And she didn't have any scripture to back up anything she said, so I was pretty cheezed and glad when it was over. I was hoping for resources and questions and things to help me be a better leader, not be 'law-d' at like she was doing.
Then I went to a really excellent session about making time for God in your life. The speaker (I wish I could remember her name - it was Connie something) talked about six ways to make more time for God, and guess what the second one was? "Turn off the tv"! :) The third one was to spend less time online, which I'm going to work on. Although this blog post alone has already taken about an hour almost solid, so...
The final session was supposed to be with Frank Peretti and Brian Doerkson, but sadly, Frank Peretti is in some kind of life threatening situation. They didn't elaborate, but it's really upsetting. Frank's books played a major role in my spiritual awakening, and while I know where he's going should he die, it would be nice to read a few more of his books before he goes! Anyway, Phil Callaway spoke instead, and he really is QUITE funny. He also talked about having less tv in one's life...are we seeing a reoccurring theme here?! Brian Doerkson did one of his new songs that's going to be in a musical he's writing about the Prodigal Son, and it was really powerful. It had a really driving drum beat, and it was sung 'by' the older brother character, lamenting the famine in the land and asking "how long Oh Lord" with just this really plaintive cry that actually made me think of the Israelites in captivity in Egypt. I'm really looking forward to hearing the finished product.
Then we had dinner with the friends with whom we stayed, and headed home, listening to the new Brenton Brown cd, which has both mine and Trevor's new favourite songs on it. We didn't get in till 9:30, and I'm SO tired, but it was an awesome, amazing, phenomenal weekend, really. I can't wait for next year! Yay God!
And now I really should get back to work...eep! This took way longer then I meant for it to, but I really wanted to blog about it while everything was fresh in my mind...
1. Yesterday was my 10th anniversary of living in Calgary. I moved here from Victoria in the middle of a snowstorm. When I went out the next day, my damp hair froze to my ears...definitely not something I'd experienced in Victoria!
2. I hate 'maple flavouring'. I often don't order pancakes when we go out for breakfast because I can't stand fake maple syrup. When I was a kid in Nova Scotia, we used to make our own, and I guess I got a little spoiled. :)
3. I love tea. Especially Second Cup's Earl Grey and Tim Horton's steeped tea. When I got to work today and opened my Timmy's cup, I realized they gave me a double double coffee, not tea. Sad day!!!
4. I have three floor-to-ceiling bookcases of books, and I have a big spreadsheet where I keep track of them all, especially the ones that are vintage editions. I love books!
5. In general, I don't find movie adaptations of books as good as the originals, but I think I might possibly like the recent Disney version of Prince Caspian better then the book. Mostly because CS Lewis wrote such wussy girl characters - not his fault, that's The Way Things Were, but I liked seeing Susan kick butt in the movie.
6. In 2003 I spent the summer on a VBS team, travelling around Canada on a Greyhound bus. If you ask me if I've been somewhere, often I can remember the bus depot, but not anything about the town itself.
7. My earliest memory is my first Christmas - I was just a few days away from being a year old, and I got an orange plastic tea set. I can also remember my first portrait sitting, but I'm not sure if it was before or after Christmas...I do remember thinking the photographer was crazy! Mom said he eventually gave up on trying to get me to smile.
8. When I was swimming in the Sea of Galilee last summer, a fish bit my toe and scared me half to death. I've never had that happen to me in any other body of water I've ever swam in.
9. I get excited when I think about going to Pearl Harbour, because one of my favourite Adventures in Oddessy episodes was set there.
10. My current desktop wallpaper is a shot I took of two plastic chairs watching the sun set over the Sea of Galilee.
11. I looooove to play Scrabble. Yay Scrabble! I also like Monopoly, Apples to Apples, Taboo and Balderdash.
12. I used to read the Encyclopedia Britannica for fun (the illustrated children's version, but still...)
13. Fruit is one of my favourite foods. Mandarins, pomegranates, kiwi fruit, grapefruit, watermelon, honeydew melon, plums, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, blueberries, cantaloupe...sooo tasty!
14. My career goal used to be to open a cafe by Parliament Hill where all the MPs would come to eat lunch and gossip about politics.
15. I like to write. I write a lot. Mostly letters with big words for my boss, but also songs and stories. I have several books on the go - they always start out really well, and then I get a new idea and head off on a tangent. Maybe one of these days I'll actually get a book finished!
16. Gravy is my favourite comfort food. Gravy on potatoes, gravy on schnitzel, gravy on spatzle, gravy on bread (with meat!), gravy on meat, gravy on stuffing. Yummy!
17. When I was a teenager, I used to win blue ribbons at the country fair for my baking. My roses and my sunset photography won ribbons too.
18. Also when I was a teenager, I took French classes with a Welshman who learned to speak French in South Africa so he could teach agriculture. There was a lot of "your goat is in my hut"...
19. I parallel parked perfectly on my driving test, and haven't done it so well ever since.
20. I'm on the planning committee for the 2009 Lutheran Church Canada Alberta British Columbia District Youth Gathering. A long title for a job that involves trying to get more people involved so I can delegate stuff to them. :)
21. My favourite spot in all of Canada is Taylor Beach, in Metchosin on Vancouver Island. There are also lots of blackberries there, which also makes me very happy.
22. Trevor and I will have been married 7 years in June. That went really fast!
23. My pink and brown kitchen gives me much joy. When I get home from work, walking in the door makes me smile. I love my house!
24. I suck at Wii. Trevor's Mii does this really annoying happy dance all the time, which doesn't help. I need to play Wii with someone who's worse then me so I can boost my Mii's self esteem.
25. When I moved to Calgary, it was the first time in my whole life I'd lived somewhere landlocked. It still sucks - after 10 years I miss the ocean just as much as I did when I got here. I'm really looking forward to going to California this summer and seeing a bit of the ocean I haven't seen before.
Wow...this was really hard! Hopefully this was interesting enough that you persevered to the bottom. :)
Despite the weather forecast calling for only 'light flurries' today, what's going on outside my window is definitely not what I'd consider 'light'! I really wish I hadn't worn a skirt to work, and I REALLY wish I was at home, bundled up with fleece, a book, a cat and something nice to snack on. It's just one of those days...
Trevor and I are planning our 7th anniversary trip...to California! We're going to go to Legoland, San Francisco, and Napa Valley. Have you been to California? Any 'must see' recommendations?
Back to work now...to dream about sunny California while the snow blows past the window...
I love these things, because they make me think about stuff I might not have otherwise. Here's a look back at what 2008 meant to me...not surprisingly, Israel features quite highly. :)
1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? Bought a house, went to Israel (which included too many firsts to list!), joined the District Youth Gathering Committee, got the car stuck in a snowdrift, played video games (I gave Trev a Wii for Christmas), hosted Christmas dinner for the family...
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don't even remember what they were...probably to eat more healthily and get more exercise, which I did ok with, and hope to keep up this year
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? a couple of friends had babies
4. Did anyone close to you die? no
5. What countries/cities did you visit? Lots of travelling around Alberta and BC, as usual, and ISRAEL! And Jordan...
6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? More time with God
7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? July 1st...Canada Day in Israel! And September 23rd...the day we took possession of the new house.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Going to Israel, working my butt off in the dirt, and loving every minute of it. Buying a house was a pretty big achievement too - we've been working towards it for over 6 years!
9. What was your biggest failure? Getting sick at Christmas :(
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? See #9...
11. What was the best thing you bought? A house!
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration? Trevor painted a pink stripe around my kitchen :) He actually worked really hard at doing all the things I wanted done to the house. It made me very happy!
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? That's a pretty dramatic statement...I don't tend to get THAT bothered about things!
14. Where did most of your money go? Travelling and house-buying
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Israel! New house! Having company in the new house!
16. What song will always remind you of 2008? My "Liberated Wailing Wall" cd I listened to a lot in Israel, and the songs from the Prince Caspian soundtrack
17. Compared to this time last year, are you… i. happier or sadder? Happier ii. thinner or fatter? About the same iii. richer or poorer? Depends...we're more in debt, but we've got more invested!
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Digging in the hot sun
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Not trusting God
20. How will you be spending Christmas? I take it this refers to Christmas 2008...I hosted dinner for the fam, with my mom and bro from NS and the inlaws too
21. How will you be spending New Years? I was still really sick, and sadly I was in bed by 9.
22. Did you fall in love in 2008? With Israel!
23. How many one night stands? lol
24. What was your favourite TV program? McLeod's Daughters
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Nope - hating is highly overrated
26. What was the best book you read? I'm really enjoying the "Cat Who..." series...I don't think I read anything life changing or whatever
27. What was your greatest musical discovery? The Prince Caspian soundtrack
28. What did you want and get? A big trip overseas and a house - two major goals accomplished!
29. What did you want and not get? To work TEC :(
30. What was your favourite film of this year? Prince Caspian
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I had a few friends and some family over and had cake...turned 28
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? I don't know what could have made it more satisfying!
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? "Grubby Archaeologist" :)
34. What kept you sane? God!
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Hummm...not really sure...I'm not super into celebrities.
36. What political issue stirred you the most? ARGH! What a year of absolute CRAP! ARGH! Canadian, Israeli and American politics all annoyed the HECK out of me....grrrr....
37. Who did you miss? my friends who don't live in Calgary!
38. Who was the best new person you met? I met lots of cool people in Israel...I met a few cool people in the Toronto airport on the way to Israel, too. :)
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. Stop fretting and trust God! We'll see how well that sticks with me this year... :)
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. "This home...I've been searching for a place of my own...now I've found it...this is home"
41. Was 2008 a good year for you? One of the best, without a doubt
42. What were your favourite moments of the year? Having Chris and Kelsey over for a really good visit (I love quality time!), swimming the in Sea of Galilee, having Mom and Simon visit, our big housewarming party, house hunting with Trevor, swimming in the Banff hot springs with the youth and again with my family, going to Lauren's wedding with Heather, visiting Barb in Medicine Hat, seeing Petra, touching the Western Wall, moving out of the basement suite in the NE, the first time we walked into what is now our house, eating popsicles on the kibbutz after a day of digging, hiking Grotto Canyon with Trevor....so many of them!
43. What was your least favourite moment of the year? Dealing with the crappy internet connection at the kibbutz while trying to talk to Trevor, dealing with Israeli border security, getting my RRSP statement after the market crash, being sick on Christmas (I missed church on Christmas day for the first time in my LIFE!), Anne Marie telling me she was leaving DPS-ing
44. What was your favourite month of 2008? June to September
45. What was your favourite song from in 2008? "This is Home", I think it's by Switchfoot
46. What was your favourite record from 2008? The Prince Caspian soundtrack
47. How many concerts did you see in 2008? Quite a few...one with Trevor that I didn't love so much, and a bunch at the CPO. The most memorable one at the CPO was Natalie McMaster, although that was also the most recent one. :)
48. Did you have a favourite concert in 2008? My favourite concert is still the Starfield/Third Day/Chris Tomlin one I went to a few years back
49. Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2008? Nope
50. Did you do a lot of drugs in 2008? I sure went through a lot of Advil Cold and Sinus! :)
51. Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year? I don't think so...although if I did, I wouldn't be likely to post it on my blog...
52. What was the worst lie someone told you in 2008? I can't think of anything
53. Did you treat somebody badly in 2008? Possibly...I feel that sometimes I come across as rude when really I'm just quiet, so I might have without realizing
54. Did somebody treat you badly in 2008? Not that I can think of
55. How much money did you spend in 2008? I bought a house and took a major trip overseas...it wasn't a cheap year!
56. What was your proudest moment of 2008? The day I carried two heavy buckets of pottery shards all the way down the hill all by myself, and at a decent pace, too!
57. If you could go back in time to any moment of 2008 and change something, what would it be? I'm not sure that I would change anything. It was a super good year!
58. What are your plans for 2009? Run a youth gathering, go to California with Trevor, maybe go someplace hot for Christmas if it works out, go to Break Forth, read lots of books, write, and cross some more things off the 'house to do' list