Friday, July 27, 2007

Hot and Humid

It's hot and humid here in NB - my father finally got the 20 year old air conditioner installed in his office, so I'm nice and cool as I type on the computer, but trying to sleep might not be so comfortable... unless I sleep on the floor in here! Actually, I can't do that, because the 20 year old air conditioner can't run all night, for fear of breaking or burning down the house or something fun like that.

It's been a nice, lazy week. Wednesday night, Kevin and I went to Sussex to visit our old haunting grounds at Circle Square Ranch, where we worked years ago. My fifth and final summer there was in 1998, just before I moved to British Columbia. It brought back a lot of memories and nostalgia for a very happy and fulfilling time in my life. Sometimes I'm afraid I've lost myself in the midst of the busyness and demands of everyday life. I look back then and I seemed to be more joyful, more hopeful and optimistic, more energetic, more loving, more focused and disciplined, more faithful, more inspired. I don't know, maybe I'm just looking back with rose-coloured glasses, but I would like to bring more of that back into my life....

I've done a little shopping with my mom this week... why is spending money so much fun? Not really spending it, but the stuff you can get with it... am I getting more materialistic in my old age? I hope not, but dollar stores, they call to me. Hee hee.

Last night, I had a sleepover at my brother's house with my best friend. We were taking care of Dan and Melissa's two dogs - Sadie and Lily, and two cats - Alex and Molly. Seriously, I think it was more nerve-wracking than taking care of kids! Sadie has back problems, arthritis, and is going blind, but this little dog has the guts of a German shepherd in its prime. She managed to run up and down the stairs a few times (which she's not supposed to do), and somehow jumped up on the ledge in the laundry room and ate the cat food. That was after Alex threw up all over the kitchen floor. Maybe one or two I could handle at once, but managing four pets was a bit taxing! However, they all survived and so did I.

Alisha and I pigged out on Coke, popcorn and cake, played rummy, and had "girlish chatter." She also introduced me to the joys of "Firefly" - a TV series on DVD. Oh, I was skeptical... I'm generally not into the sci-fi, spaceship stuff (like Star Trek etc.) but this show defies easy categorization. It's sort of a sci-fi western with a comic twist. I am absolutely in love with all the characters, even Jayne, who's generally a jackass. That's okay, I guess, as long as you're a hilarious jackass! I've already watched eight episodes in the last 24 hours and will probably finish the rest over the next couple days. It was great fun being together again. We met in Grade 7, actually became friends in Grade 9, went to college and moved out west together. She's like a sister to me, and we have been through it all together! I'm going to her parents' house on Sunday (they're like a second family to me) to celebrate her dad's birthday. Tomorrow, we're having a happy birthday Dan and Kev/Kevin's going away party. Melissa's parents and my aunt and uncle (who hosted a barbeque at their house Thursday night - yum!) are coming as well.

My mom and I talked, snacked and watched "The Queen" tonight. Helen Mirren was amazing. I have a lot of respect for the Queen, who has always put duty before self. Hers is a life I would never want to lead.

Well, that updates you on the happenings on the East Coast. Must get to bed - love to all the faithful fans who read my blog, haha!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Chuck and Larry

Kevin and I went to see the movie "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" Sunday night. It's an Adam Sandler comedy about two New York City firefighters who pretend to be gay partners so they can get benefits and pension for the one who is widowed with two children. It had its funny moments, though I thought there was a lot of gay stereotypes, and I thought it had a lot of heart. The thing that saddened me was the minister and other Christians in the movie who were portrayed as hateful bigots who called gays "faggots". What saddened me most was this is probably an all-too-true portrayal of many Christians. I was convicted that it is our calling to love everyone like Jesus, and leave the convicting of sin to the Holy Spirit. The other thing that spoke to me is how we judge people based on one aspect of their character... Adam Sandler's character was a womanizing jackass, but he loved his best friend so much, he was willing to fake a homosexual marriage to help him out. That spoke more strongly of love than the well-meaning Christians in the movie (not that I'm advising such actions!) It's funny how even Hollywood fluff can make you think. As we were told at my brother's wedding... "the greatest of these is love."

Wedding Weekend

Saturday was looking if-y first thing in the morning, but thank God, the sun came out in time for the ceremony at 1:30 in the afternoon. It took place in Kingsbrae Gardens in St. Andrews, a beautiful coastal town in New Brunswick. It was small - only seventeen people in attendance, including the bride, groom and justice of the peace. Dan and Melissa wrote their own vows, which were beautiful and touching, and the justice of the peace read 1 Corinthians 13. At fifteen minutes, it was short and sweet! Everyone looked great, even though it was a very humid day, so the guys especially were suffering in their dark suits. After some pictures, everyone changed into more comfortable clothes for lunch at the Kingsbrae Garden Cafe, which was followed by a delicious chocolate cheesecake.

We then went to the wharf to board The Jolly Breeze for a whale-watching tour. It was great fun... they had dress-up clothes and colouring for the kids on board, beverages and snacks, and a fun and informative crew. I got to touch whale baleen, which is what corsets used to be made of... thank God we don't do THAT anymore! We saw seals, porpoises and whales on our four hour cruise. Finback whales (the kind we saw) are usually about 75 feet long (while the boat we were on was 72 feet) and eat 2000 pounds of krill a day. The wonders of God's creation! The only downside was that it was foggy, windy and COLD for most of the ride. Thank God they supplied blankets or we all would have froze!

We then returned to the cabins where we were staying (the newlyweds, Melissa's family and ours), which were as Dad put it, "nicer than our house!" Hardwood floors, satellite TV, a full kitchen, right by the seashore... wow. We had a barbeque that night at Dan and Melissa's cabin, freshly cooked lobsters and mussels, and steak for those of us who don't like seafood. We sat around on the deck in the moonlight, eating, drinking, laughing and telling stories and jokes - a great end to a great day.

The next morning, we went back to Kingsbrae Gardens to enjoy more of the 27 acres, as we didn't have much time to look around the day before. My favourite was this tree that looked like a giant piece of driftwood standing up, covered with cowbells. Unfortunately, the zoom wasn't good enough on anyone's camera to get a picture to really capture it. They also had an Acadian old growth forest; therapy gardens with wide paths for wheelchairs, raised flowerbeds so they can be touched, and special flowers and plants chosen for their scents and textures for the visually impaired - beautiful and well thought out; a Wollemi Pine, the only one in Canada, whose ancestors date back millions of years; a lane of silly, impressive, and strange scarecrows donated by different groups in a contest to help fight hunger; peacocks; Daisy, Dusty and Dolly, the three billygoats not-so-gruff; as well as countless beautiful flowers and plants.

That afternoon before heading home, we stopped in to visit Aunt Joyce, and Dad, Kevin and I walked the overgrown path that leads to the foundation of the house where my mom and her family lived when she was a kid. Words or even photos can't capture the beauty of this place... all the different shades of green in the trees, bushes, ferns and grass, the wildflowers, the old knobby trees, the birches, the birdsong... and the memories of where we used to pick berries when my grandmother was still alive, Dad pointing out where he used to go hunting with my uncle, the two big oak trees towering over the remains of my mom's childhood home. It all reminded me of a Lucy Maud Montgomery novel... she was so good at capturing the beauty of nature in words.

On the way home, we stopped at Comeau's for a late lunch... this is one of the best places to eat in the Maritimes! It is affordable and delicious with huge helpings. When you only eat one thing, you get to know which places do chicken fingers and fries the best... and this is one of them. The rest of the family enjoyed their meals too... if you like seafood, you really have to come to the Maritimes!

It was a wonderful weekend filled with memories for all of us.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Eve of the Big Day!

Yes, tomorrow, Saturday, July 21st, is the day... the last Harry Potter book comes out!!! Oh, I mean it's my brother's wedding day... that's more important. Yeah. It's a good thing I'm too cheap to pay $30 or $40 for it, or you know I'd be reading it at the reception, hee hee. At least Krista understands my obsession :) Well, I've painted my toenails and shaved my legs... my brother and his soon-to-be-wife should be honoured... I'm even putting on some make-up and heels for the occasion... granted, they're not very high heels, as I'm a ridiculously clumsy person, but I'm doing my best!

My younger brother, Kevin, arrived tonight and made us all laugh with his funny stories of his trauma trying to get through security, among other things... Kev is a big guy, kind of scruffy-looking, and they made him take off his belt and shoes to examine them, turned out his pockets, patted him down and asked him if he'd been drinking (he hadn't been, by the way!) He is quite the entertaining fellow.

I visited with my best friend, Alisha, her mom, Sharon, and daughter, Ella, today. We went out for lunch at Jungle Jim's and talked and laughed... it was great. Ella, who is 2 1/2, is quite the talker and entertainer... a delightful kid who is more grown up every time I see her!

Well, we are heading down to St. Andrews (a beautiful little seaside town) tomorrow morning - the wedding is early afternoon, followed by lunch, a boat cruise and a barbeque. My big brother is all grown up and getting married, woo hoo!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Here in New Brunswick

I can't believe I'm actually here... it has felt like life is going too fast and I'm missing it... I've got to stop and enjoy the moments. I can't believe my brother's getting married in less than two days! It has been crazy this past week - getting ready to fly here, getting the house ready for Jolie's mom and step-dad, volunteering at Daily Vacation Bible School, on top of life in general. But now (okay, probably after the wedding!) I get to stop, and breathe and just take a moment. That sounds good! I had a good flight - got through security though they were patting everyone down, checking belts, etc., slight delay in Toronto, but otherwise uneventful. I finished "Coral Moon" by Brandilyn Collins, a Christian suspense writer, and almost finished another book "Why I Jumped" by Tina Zahn, a true story of a woman who was miraculously saved after jumping off a bridge due to severe postpartum depression exacerbated by childhood abuse. Have I mentioned lately that I love books? I look forward to (guilt-free!) reading on my vacation. My best friend, Alisha, and her mom and daughter are picking me up for lunch tomorrow, my younger brother arrives from Calgary tomorrow night, and Saturday afternoon is the wedding! I hope to get some sleep to combat the worst of the jet lag so I can enjoy the big day. It's strange being on the other side of the four hour time difference... it's almost 11:00 here but only 7:00 in Vancouver. I'm going to miss all my friends in Vancouver - from that perspective, a month seems like a long time! - but thinking of a month here in New Brunswick just to relax and visit family and friends, not in the usual crazy rush, sounds wonderful... a little surreal! Well, I really don't have much to report... except that Cavendish Flavour Fries are DELICIOUS!!! and I'll probably go unpack while waiting for my mom to get home from work so we can have our "girlish chatter" - haha!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Blech

That's how I feel tonight. Tired, stressed, PMSing... four more days until I fly home to New Brunswick. Thinking of all the things I have to do before then. A little bit ill at ease about flying - I don't mind it too much, but I find the 4 1/2 hour flight to Toronto long and I worry about getting to the airport on time, making my connection in Toronto. Excited to see everyone in NB, but still going to miss everyone here. Hoping the jet lag doesn't hit me as hard as last year so I can enjoy my brother's wedding a day and a half after I arrive home. Feeling weepy and tired and unfocused. Oh the joys of being a woman. At least I get to see Harry Potter tomorrow with my friend Krista, for her early birthday celebration. God help me to wake up smiling.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Swimming Fun with Lysa

I am so good at keeping this blog updated daily... Hahahahaha!!! Let me blame it on the heat - it makes me lazy. Yeah, that's my excuse! Seriously, enjoying the sunshine, but the heat is a whole other matter.

Lysa and I walked over to the Aquatic Centre and went swimming today. She went with her buddies at school on Tuesday afternoons and they said she enjoyed it, but I had no idea! As soon as we got into the toddler pool, she started laughing and kicking. She got quite the workout as we were there for at least an hour. I find people's reactions so interesting. A little boy, about three, was grinning at her while she laughed and kicked and then asked about her G-tube. I told him that it's cool because she has two "belly buttons" and this one is for her to drink and eat through sometimes. He thought that was great. His little sister, maybe a year old, just wanted to touch it. Another kid, maybe seven, came in and was pretending to bash his head into the wall and get brain damage... boys, they're wierd but sometimes amusing. He asked what her disability is, so I told him she stopped breathing when she was ten weeks old which resulted in brain damage. "Oh," he said, "well, she's still got lots of hair and it's really curly!"

After lunch, I passed out from the heat... I'm not sure if Lysa had a nap too, or if she just listened to her music and kicked, but I couldn't make myself care. Thank goodness she's so laid-back. I wish I could bottle the kids' energy and stamina and either sell it (I would be a multi-billionaire) or even just use it for myself to keep up with them!

I talked to my dad tonight, who just got back to NB from his trip out west (to Alberta, not BC... boo hoo. Next time, he says). He fit a lot into his week away... toured Calgary with my brother and uncle, visited Jasper, the West Edmonton Mall, several golf courses, the Calgary Stampede, and stopped into Toronto to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame on his way home. Just over a week, and I'll be back in NB to see his pictures!

I'm feeling lazy combined with too much stuff to do... keep Lysa entertained, keep the house clean, try to clean my room and pack for NB, finish a project that I started three years ago (discipline is not my strong point), find a wedding present for my brother and soon to be sister-in-law, and get ready for two mornings of story time with the kindergarteners at VBS next week. And I really don't want to do anything at all in this heat. Except maybe read a book or watch "The Office"... well, it's almost midnight, and I should be getting to bed. Love to all my faithful readers, haha!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Chuck E. Cheese and Dry Bones

Happy 140th Birthday, Canada! Layni and I celebrated by going to Chuck E. Cheese with Krista, Hailee and Maegan after church today. The cheese pizza (without sauce, of course) was delicious, Chuck E. was friendly, and my favourite, Skee Ball, was fun. They even played Veggie Tales videos there - I love my lips! Usta!

At supper time, I was in the bathroom downstairs when I heard Jolie yelling. Well, I assumed she was just yelling at Marty as usual so I didn't hurry, but when I came out, Layni informed me that Marty and Jolie had jumped in the car to chase a man on bike who had stolen our bags of cans for recycling. They've been stolen before (we keep them at the side of the house, as we don't have room inside) but not in broad daylight when we're all home and making a racket (Jolie and Marty were playing video games very competitively). Layni was concerned and wanted to call the police, but I held her off. Jolie and Marty said the guy must have stashed the bags somewhere and taken off (he had a headstart, though they had the car). Jolie is pissed and wants to stalk the bottle depot to catch him. She says it's the principle of the thing. It just bugs me that someone would come into our yard in broad daylight... this is not always the nicest area. Jolie and Marty see drug deals going down when they come home from work, and I witnessed a beating while taking the kids blackberry picking. It scares me how much the world has changed since I was a kid... or is it just the West Coast? Haha! Oh well, God is in control, so I try to keep the worrying to a minimum.

While Jolie and Marty were getting ready for work, Layni and I had a turn at the racing video game they were playing. She's six and she can drive better than me. Seriously, anyone watching me play this video game, would never tell me I need to learn to drive again. They would realize it's a lost cause :)

Tonight, Layni wanted me to read her favourite Bible story from Ezekiel 37 - about Ezekiel prophesying to the valley of dry bones that then come to life. She is such a weird kid. It's a really freaky story. What struck me is when God says, "These bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.'...you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it." (v.11,13-14)

God's been reminding me a lot lately that our hope is in Him. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed by the pain and problems loved ones are suffering or the horrors in this world (I just saw on TV that a mother microwaved her three week old baby to death) and I start to despair... but God reminds me not to look around and give up, but to look up to Him and be lifted up out of all this crap. I also read Psalm 33 with Layni tonight, about rejoicing in God, the creator of all, and how He is in control, not men with all their schemes and armies. It ends, "We wait in hope for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in You." That's my prayer for my loved ones tonight, and for all the suffering souls out there.