Sunday, August 29, 2004

An affair to remember

So. The weekend has come and gone, though I really do wish that it was still here. Dan is right on the ball today and has already posted pictures of Gilmour fun on his blog. The two pics of Tina and I arm wrestling must be explained, though. One rainy and dreary night at the farm in Charlbury, Tina and I decided to see how well matched we were for an arm wrestle, and the result was a five to ten minute battle of stubbornness. In the end, I gave up and gave the win to Tina, though she calls it a tie. So, we rematched on Sat evening, and after a full five minute fight, she overcame me. I put partial blame on the waterskiing that I did earlier in the day, but Tina also put a tooth right through her lip so she wasn't quite herself either.
I'm quite sure that this weekend, as a whole, was concecrated "Pick On Jenn" weekend without my knowledge. While the weekend was one of the most enjoyable that I've had in quite some time, I found myself the victim of antics ranging from being dropped in the water to verbal abuse to poking and tickling. My sincere thanks to RobJ and James, however, for refraining to throw me into the lake on Friday night.
At this point, I'm going to go find a heating pad and one of those heated magic bags to comfort my aching muscles- due to the whole attempt at slalomming yesterday, I can't look sideways without turning my whole upper body, and can't bend over to pick anything up for the life of me.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

A mere 87 days after beginning work at the sweatshop, I have logged my last day. Though I am quite sure that they did their best to kill me before I got out of the door. As I told Nate this afternoon, I feel as if a tap labeled "Energy" on me has been turned on all week and there's naught but a drip coming out now. While I am not sad to be leaving that place of employment, I did think it rather kind of them to buy me a black forest cake and give me a nice little cash bonus.
At our Bible study tonight, we read the end of Hebrews, and accordingly had a number of discussions on faith. The Hall of Faith, chapter 11, begins with the following verse:

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

The whole chapter goes on to list and briefly describe notable characters of faith to be found throughout the Bible, encouraging the readers to live a life of faith like those before had lived, keeping their eyes on the coming world so that God was not ashamed to call them his own.
The discussion that we had on this turned to living lives of faith, and making decisions and waiting on God. My question is this: do we have enough faith when we make decisions? I realize that it is important to wait on God and pray about a decision, but do we too often use the excuse of "God hasn't told me yet what to do" just so that we won't have to make some sort of decision that will affect us in an adverse way? I'm not sure that I'm being clear with my question, though it makes sense in my head. In Isaiah, it says that whether we turn to the right or the left, God will go with us. So do we sometimes just need to jump in with both feet, after wieghing the issue against previous experience and knowledge, and have faith that God will bless us in our decision?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Yams tomorrow, Yams yesterday...

...but never, never yams today. Or is it Jam? ;) I haven't seen Alice In Wonderland in far too long. Anyhow, I discovered yams this week. I think they might be my new favourite veggie. In fact, I have a pan of them in the oven right now, tossed with a little bit of olive oil, garlic, basil and oregano.... mmm.

My roommate has gone home for the evening, Crystal and Di are in the Bahamas, so I find myself sitting here in my house by myself, at a loss for what to do. I have become so accustomed to always being with other people that when I have an evening to myself, I feel lost. No-- more than that -- I feel as if somehow, I'm being left out of any fun that's happening anywhere in Hamilton. Gone is the list of things that I want to do but never have the time when other people are around-- call someone I haven't spoken to in a long time, sit and write random verses and passages, work on my scrapbook from England, play the guitar.... Gone is the memory of this past weekend-- games on Friday night with some awesome people, breakfast on Sat morning at Ikea with more awesome people, wedding reception in Peterborough for Jo and Steve, volleyball Sunday with more awesome people and goodbye party for James sun night... It's not as if I don't have any sort of a social life or amazing friends, so why does an evening at home alone intimidate me?
I think that my perception of it somehow must be quite off-- actually, I know that it is, I'm just not sure why. (Excuse my while I psycho-analyse myself for a moment) I really need to look at an evening alone less as being abbandoned and more and given a chance to breathe - goodness knows sometime in the near future I'm sure I'll be praying for it. While I won't be doing everything the whole semester with the same group of people, as was the case last semester, I'm sure that I'll have company for almost everything that I do regardless. That being said, I look forward to this semester, and I'm thankful that I'm so blessed to have so many good friends to spend all of my time with! I can't get over how many incredible people are in my life, and I just keep meeting more, even in the summer when there's not many folks around to begin with! (Some, who are staying around and I'll get the chance to continue hanging out with them, some that are moving away... :( )
So while I'm sure that there are many wonderful and fun things that are happening tonight, I think I"m good with just sitting down with my bowl of yams, pondering my last day at work, and doing a bit of writing.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Oh the harsh and bitter disappointment of unpacking a purchase and finding that not all the right pieces are in the box! Laura and I bought a shelf at Ikea on Saturday and didn’t get the chance to set it up until tonight. So there we are, all excited to build our little shelf so we can display our pictures and give our books a home. We open the box and begin to follow the instructions: only to find out that they gave us two of the exact same piece, instead of a piece mirroring the other. Sigh. No bookshelf for the next couple weeks, I suppose. But hey, a good excuse to go back to Ikea for the breakfast special again! Anyone wanna join in on the fun?

Singing in the Wardrobe

Early in June, I decided to read the Narnia series for the first time by myself. I’ve actually never read them before- when I was little, my mom read the whole series to me probably three full times, but until I bought the set for myself in England, I had quite forgotten about reading it. Indeed, there are perks to riding the bus every morning and afternoon for an hour each- lots of time for reading.
As I remembered, I loved the Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. But I think that perhaps my
favourite two books of the series might now be The Magician’s Nephew and The Last Battle. I
found myself completely captivated by the imagery in both, and absolutely longing to read sections out to somebody. (Most of the folks on my bus in the morning sleep, though, so I was on my own.)

In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful that he could hardly bear it.
....Then two wonders happened at the same moment. One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices’ more voices than you could possibly count. They were in harmony with it, but far higher up on the scale: cold, tingling, silvery voices. The second wonder was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. They didn’t come out gently one by one, as they do on a summer evening. One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leaped out– single stars, constellations, and planets, brighter and bigger than any in our world. There were no clouds. The new stars and the new voices began at exactly the same time. If you had seen it and heard it, as Digory did, you would have felt quite certain that it was the stars themselves that were singing, and that it was the First Voice, the deep one, which had made them appear and made them sing.
“Glory be!” said the Cabby. “I’d ha’ been a better man all my life if I’d known there were things like this!”
(Magician’s Nephew, Chapter Eight.)

I love it that the world of Narnia is created by song. To me, it conveys the power of music, (or
beautiful noise, what-have-you) that Aslan would have chosen to create by breathing the breath of life through song. But then we all know that I have kind of a weakness or soft spot for music.
There is so much of both of those books that I would love to post here, and maybe I will post it all at some point, but if I were to really copy all that excites me in those books, I’d be typing out
whole chapters. I’m not quite sure how parallel The Last Battle is to anything that happens in
Revelations, but it definitely made things a great deal easier for me to picture and understand, and I do feel better for it. These books don’t take long at all to read, I read the whole series in a week just on the bus to and from work, so if you get a moment to yourself, find a copy of either of these books (or both) and take a gander. I think I might read them again before long.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Do you ever have one of those days when all of the emails and posts that you type end up being deleted before you get a chance to press that critical publish or send button? Well, I'm having one right now.

As I was browsing some new (to me) blogs this afternoon, I came across
this. Joel Haas and his friend have compiled a list of tips, or rather, advice, to guys in or wanting to be in a relationship. Looking at it from the femal perspective, I'd have to say that it's a pretty insightful little post, and the young gentlemen of the world would do well to take a gander at it. I was talking along some similar lines with Robj the other day, and was astounded to learn that what seems blatantly obvious to females, apparently doesn't even strike the average male. The subject of that is this: Women appreciate things that they don't have to ask for at least ten times more than things that they do ask for. For example: A massage spontaneously and freely given is so much sweeter and even more relaxing than one that has been requested. Why? It's all in the mind. Because it was given without request, it shows that there was thought behind the action. If you have thought about that, then you have most likely thought about other things as well- what needs or wants does that person have, and how can I fulfill them in a way that will be appreciated? Easy. Take whatever action is needed and do that without being asked. That's not so hard now, is it?

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

If you listen,
you can hear it.
The wind hums
the tune,
the rain pounds the rhythm.
Leaves on the ground crackle
the lyrics: sometimes softly
but mostly harshly and unintelligibly.
When their voices die
away, the silence
is mingled with a hushed
chorus of ice
and snow
tumbling onto bare
branches.
The words they sing
are unforgiving
and harsh,
mirroring the grey
and empty
sky.
As the sun emerges,
a new voice is heard:
a high, eager
and quivering
voice rings out
amidst the harshness,
making a rollcall
for the rest of the choir.
There is rustling
in the trees and bushes,
as if they were an orchestra
tuning their instruments.
The melody grows
as the warm
wind picks up the tune
and plays it through the grass.
The leaves dance in time
until they join
again in the song
of change.

Monday, August 16, 2004

All the world's a stage,
And all the men are merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts.
William Shakespeare
In a conversation on the side of the volleyball court yesterday, James Brink made a keen observation that there is a definite lack of memorization required in English courses. We came to agree upon this conclusion based on the fact that, while both English majors (or rather, a former and a current English major), the only part of the above quotation that either of us could recall was the first two lines. This I consider quite regrettable, considering that the above verses are known to those who have never even considered studying literature, and who have no interest. I have not been in a class requiring memorization of poetry or passage since Grade 12, and I must say that I miss it sorely. My highschool English teacher, of whom I am quite fond, was, herself, quite fond of memorization. We began grade 9 by memorizing various passages from Merchant of Venice, and wrapped up Grade 12 with performances of Macbeth. Outside of the memorization for class, I participated in drama for four years, and relished receiving a new script every year to delve into.
Once at Redeemer, however, I realized that with the exception of learning 72 different dates and what they signified for History 107, I really have not memorized anything substantial. While I do think that for some, it is useful to know when the Turks fought which war and what year which dynasties ruled the whole of Eastern Europe, I would rather have a store of Robert Frost, Shakespeare and Dr Zeuss from which to draw. (Now, by this I'm not saying that I want to be ignorant of the world, just that when my mind is a-wandering, I find more amusement in recalling verses than dates.)
Who is to blame for this lack in memorization? Certainly not entirely the professors of my English courses, and most definitely the majority of the responsibility can be placed on my own shoulders. I suppose that if I were truly passionate about literature and the power of words, I would put the onus onto myself and spend hours a day memorizing. But I don't. And herein lies the problem: I quite believe that I am truly passionate about literature. It would have been nice to have been required to memorize something in my 20th C Lit course, for right now the only phrase that comes to mind is "Convergence of the twain," which is the title of a poem written by Thomas Hardy. I'm an awful English Major. The poem that I did memorize in Eng 104 is, strangely enough, my least favourite of them all:

So much depends upon the Red wheelbarrow,
Glazed with Rainwater,
Standing beside the white chickens.
There are so very many passages that I would like to memorize. When I quote Shakespeare, I want to be able to say something more significant than "But soft, what light through yonder window shines! It is the East, and Juliet is the sun," or "Good MADam IF by ME you'll BE adVISEd, let's MOCK them STILL as WELL know AS disGUISEd..." However, there are also so many books that I would like to read, and the more I read the more I would like to commit to memory. How do people have time for all of it?

Sunday, August 15, 2004

England pictures (more)

So, I have only just begun to post some pictures of the three weeks that I spent travelling with Sam and Joel. I'm quite sorry for the delay in this, for those of you who might still be reading from when I was still posting about England. If you could follow this link it should take you to some of these pics. Right now, I think that I have the first three days covered, so there's many more to come. These photos are courtesy of Joel Rusthoven, all rights belong to him and him alone. Cheerio, goodnight, I'm knackered!

Saturday, August 14, 2004

So life continues to get interesting and exciting. My roommate of last year currently has three large shiny stones sitting on a certain finger on her left hand, and a dormmate from second year will be half of a married couple by April or May. Wow. All within the last two weeks!
The whole Redeemer thing is refusing to turn out well, so I have two weeks left of working at the wonderful little sweatshop. Only two more Fridays to go. And then- Gilmour!! Oh I'm so excited. It promises to be good times.
I have been contemplating reintroducing music lessons into my life. This is a rather large step for me, because when I quit piano lessons in grade six, I was dreading the lessons each week and the practising even more. Ever since I was a little tyke, I've been absolutely fascinated with the violin, so naturally this was my first thought for lessons. However. Given the facts that a) I have no money, b) I have no violin, c) I won't be able to take lessons for longer than a year at this point, and D) I have no money, the violin is pretty much eliminated from the list. When I was in grade seven and eight, I played the trumpet. But. I don't like the whole "loud" aspect to the brass instruments, at least not for myself. No trumpet. When I see a piano, I am usually prone to sitting on the bench in front of it and playing one of the four songs that I still know, and every time I touch the keys and hear the sound that comes out, I wish that I could play it better than I do, and I wish that I had never quit piano in the first place. However, what I don't like about the piano is that it's fairly immobile. You can't really bring your piano over to a friend's house for the evening. I would also have to basically start over again, completely. I took the Gr 4 RCM examination right before I quit, and passed with honours. It's quite embarassing to say at this point that I have little to no idea what the time signatures stand for anymore, and that's pretty basic stuff. So, my brother gave me the guitar that my mom gave him, and I've been playing --or rather, attempting to play- that lately. Nate and Mikey have both taught me a few little things on it, and I'm beginning to wonder if I should, like everyone else and their brother, learn to play the guitar. I've always loved the quality of music on a guitar, and it is fairly portable. So. this begs the question. Lesson on Piano or Guitar? Both would be incredibly useful.
I'm in dire need of new speakers for my computer. The Amen from Ere Zig God is making them crackle when the volume is only at 1/4. Sigh.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

My life as a soundtrack

I don't believe that I would survive without music. Not just listening to music, but if I was not allowed to sing, if all tunes, lyrics, rhythms and melodies were banned from my head, not only would I have a huge amount of extra room in my head, but I fear I would become rather listless (Lacking energy or disinclined to exert effort; lethargic) about life in general.
If I were to try and recall a day when I did not have a song of some genre in my head, I don't believe that I would be successful. For some reason, this seems like an extremely good thing. Mind you, when a song (such as My front porch lookin in, or Green Eggs and Ham) becomes so firmly lodged in that it maintains its position for more than a week and a half, I become more than a little irritated.
It seems to me that music can express nearly everything that needs to be expressed. Even the classical pieces--sometimes especially the classical pieces-- can convey emotions or expressions the way that no cliche phrase can, the way that no articulation of words could ever hope to. Pieces such as 1812 Overture, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Marriage of Figaro.... Very common, very familiar, and yet such stories inside the music! I'm not a great connoisseur of classical music, most people will agree with me on that. I like the cliche songs as much as the next uneducated music lover -- I am, and will forever be, a fan of Pachabelle's Canon in D. Why? I think that its simplicity is beautiful, and I have extremely fond memories of hearing it as a child. I'm quite sure that to play it is to embrace monotony, but I'm ok with that.
Through spending much time at the Goheen house in early summer, my knowledge of music, in generally, has been expanded greatly. Not that I remember the composers and the difference between an air and a saraband, but to experience music with people who have such a passion for it is truly an amazing experience. I always thought that I was quite a musical person, and that the house in which I grew up was fairly musically literate. I'm not quite sure that I believe that anymore. I was brought up with a significant measure of appreciation and love for it, though, and I feel really blessed by that. However, I have been very humbled in the extent of my passion and knowledge of music.
Despite this realization, music is still one of the most important ingredients of my life. Have you ever noticed the difference between waking up to that infernally beeping or buzzing of the alarm and hearing a song or music of some sort as the alarm goes off? What could be better than starting the day off with a song? Much to my various housemates' dismay, at times, most of the time that I spend sitting in the living room or walking around the house is spent singing or humming or whistling.
I do try to keep it to myself as much as possible because if I had to listen to me sing all the time I would most likely go crazy as well. But if I had to cut music out of my life entirely? Have you ever tried watching a movie that has no soundtrack? (Canadian producers seem to be in favour of this method of making movies...) It removes a whole dimension from the story. It cheapens the quality. I can't imagine what it would do to my life.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Prayer for Home

Grant them peace, most precious gift of all.
Keep the worried world far away and small.
When they return, may quiet fill their souls,
Dearest Lord, keep them safe within its walls.

May the stone be cool beneath their feet,
The canyon breezes circle soft and sweet.
When darkness falls, the stars and opal moon
Find them wrapped in eachother, ever warm.

May it be a refuge for their love,
A harbour for their deepest prayer.
May they come to flourish in the grove,
Grow ever nearer to you there.

Many a burdened friend in their company rises,
A heavy heart is soon released to fly.
May their table be blessed with laughter and with grace,
And by the comfort of kinship be surprised.

May the cold winds blow far from their front door,
May the winter rains never bring them harm.
May their hearth fires burn throughout the night,
Grant them sleep until morning's perfect light.

by: Fernando Ortega
**********************

Tis the season for weddings. Ben, Nate, Britt and I were going to sing this song at Rachel and Jason's stag and doe, but for reasons I can't remember it didn't happen. In preperation to sing this song, I had to listen to it repeatedly. As such, the tune is now engraved into my memory, and I can't say that I mind. The lyrics, to me, are everything that a prayer for a bride and groom should be. So, I was thinking about the upcoming nuptuals of Joleen Bosma and Steve Kater, and Maria Dekker and Steve VanderKlippe (both weddings taking place this coming saturday), and the words to this song kept creeping into my head. There are worse songs to hang onto, to be sure!
Anyhow, I wish God's blessings to those getting married this weekend, and I pray that they may have a meaningful and memorable day filled with the support of family and friends.

Monday, August 02, 2004

I need a vacation to get over my vacation. When my work finished a week ago friday, I headed immediately home, packed a few clothes into some bags, grabbed a tent, cooler, camping stove and sleeping bag, and headed out with Nathan and the gang for a fun filled weekend in Gilmour, where I successfully did something funny to my back and stretched every muscle possible in my arm pits (you'd be surprised at how many there are, trust me). And my face became a red shade that even Bob the Tomatoe would envy. On Monday, my sister, best friend and I headed to Presqu'ille for a fun filled two days and one night of camping -which was a blast, but remember, my poor muscles from the weekend, sleeping on that wonderfully hard earth.... Back at home from Tuesday night till Saturday morning, chatting with the parents and brother, visiting with my wonderful friends Mary and Emily, and generally trying to make up for being home only three times in seven months. I've discovered that I'm allergic to something on that side of Toronto- starting in Gilmour and continuing until I returned back to Hamilton today, I've been sneezing no less than ten times a day, no more than 30, I think the last count was. Anyhow, On saturday, my brother Dave and I made the trek from Belleville to Stratford, and stayed with oldest brother Steve and his wife and two children until today. Upon returning home, I promptly packed my swim suit and headed off for an evening of swimming, food and fellowship at Andrea Henson's place with some fellow Redeemerites.... And here I sit, completely exhausted.

Dan has agreed to talk with his boss tomorrow about the prospect of picking rocks. It would definitely be a way out of my present situation, although I'm a little worried about keeling over half way through the day. Dan assures me that it won't happen, but I wouldn't be too sure. My roommate also seems to think that it's a possible scenario= when I told her of this possibility, she started begging me not to do it.

I addressed some of the Redeemer staff regarding the situation of hiring family of the staff over Redeemer students, and he assured me that he has checked into it and she's only there for a week while some of the girls are on vacation. I don't think he knows that there will be girls on vacation for the rest of the summer, and that it will be busier later in August than it is now. What can a person do.

I began writing again this week while at home, for the first time since my creative writing course last year. (by writing, I don't mean Blogging) In a house containing only my parents and myself, it's actually not hard to do. I've forgotten what it's like to be able to sit down and have no social disctractions, not even any potential social distractions. It has led me to "writing" compositions as I'm falling asleep- which is somewhat annoying. I always manage to convince myself that I'll remember what kind of a poem it was and even that I'll remember the exact wording of an essay. Needless to say, I can't recall a word of what I "wrote" last night- I can't even remember what the subject of the piece was! I do remember that I was defining something, but past that, the memory fails me. One day I'll learn how to write while lying down in the dark. Until then, I'll just call this practice.