Monday, December 31, 2007

Wonderful Things

My Wonderful Husband. Isn't he handsome?
Our Beautiful Christmas Tree. I love it.

The Very Cool Photo Arrangement that Brian Gifted to Me for Christmas.

My Nifty Milk Bag Stacker. A boxing day buy.

Our Very Beautiful Amaryllis. We bought it to support the Huntington Society of Canada.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Another day has come and gone...

And now, I have a week and a half away from the office! It's been a busy fall, busier than last, so I feel as though this is a well deserved break.

With the snow this past weekend, and the fact that we're having our family Christmas in Hensall this year, I had high hopes that we'd have a white Christmas, finally! Well, they're predicting highs of 5 and 6 degrees this weekend with rain, rain and more rain. I don't think it's going to be so white.

We have a beautiful tree this year (in my opinion). It has barely dropped any needles after three weeks, there are no bare spots and the needles are thick and plentiful. I like it.

It occurs to me, more so every day, that this time of year breeds lust, greed and gluttony. That makes me sad.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Mm food

Tonight, I shall attempt to make Honey-mustard Tofu and Chinese noodles & sauce. I'm pretty proud of myself, I think it's a bit different than the normal dutch meals of meat & potats... And it'll be the third time that I've used tofu as a main dish. I'm still looking for a recipe that will wow me, but I'm quite doubtful that I'll be able to find one. I still don't like the texture of it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Amaryllis Bulbs for sale

Hi to all those who passed over the last blog ad for my Amaryllis bulbs... I still have a few bulbs left over from my October shipment, and will be getting a few extras with my December shipment, so please consider purchasing one or two for yourself or others. They'll bloom in the beginning of January for you, a nice thing to look forward to post-Christmas. If you aren't interested in raising a flower, please consider a $12 donation and I'll pass the kit on to someone who looks like they need a friendly gesture. You can reach me at jennvb[at]

Thanks again,


Movie Update...

Remember a while back when I wrote all about the different movies being filmed in Hamilton? Well, I found a copy of "The DownTowner" that talked a bit about it...

...Filming season began in earnest in late April as a production crew took over the Royal Connaught Hotel to film 'CELINE' a two-part biography of Celine Dion in production for CBC television. Early in the summer we had a film crew in for several days to shoot an episode for the television series 'FINAL 24' which is to be aired on the Discovery Channel. Then production began for 'JUST BUSINESS' which stars Gina Gerson (FaceOff, Showgirls) at the Rough River Restaurant on James St North. Another TV movie 'MURDOCK MYSTERIES' was also filmed on James St North in and around the Sirloin Cellar Restaurant which turned the clock back to the 1890's.
Several weeks ago the Royal Connaught building was redressed into a TD Canada Trust Bank for a commercial which was being shot there. [...] Delta Burke was in town for 'BRIDAL FEVER' a Hallmark Production which also starred Paul Gross [He was less than two blocks away from my house?!] in September.
"Then hot on their heels comes a feature film called 'TRAITOR' who were filming inside and outside the Capri Restaurant on John St North. Traitor is a fast paced, politically charged espionage thriller, about an underground agent, Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda) who infiltrates an international terrorist network.
'THE NOTE', a small production for Hallmark, was filmed outside the LIUNA headquarters on Hughson St.... And of course almost everyone noticed the incredible changes which took place on Main St as 'THE INCREDIBLE HULK' by Marvel spent over a month recreating old New York City. Ed Norton was on hand too as spectacular scenes of the Hulk leaping out of buildings and overtop Downtown Hamilton rooftops.
Then 'THE SUMMIT', 'DANIEL'S DAUGHTER' and 'WHO NAMED THE KNIFE' swept into town for most of October to film in and around Main Stree....

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It won't be long before we'll all be there with snow...

In case anyone missed it, the title of this post comes from a song sung by Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby in White Christmas. Shame on you if you didn't know that.

Well, the ground is not yet completely covered in snow, but we did get enough snow this week that some of the recently fallen leaves are still covered in it. I like that. I love the cooler weather. I love walking in our neighbourhood in the evening with my scarf and toque on. I love having two duvets on our bed (haven't been using any heat upstairs). I love lighting candles in our living room in the evenings and relaxing. I love the fact that by next weekend we'll have a Christmas tree! What a wonderful and beautiful time of year.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

'Tis the Season (to be sneezing?!)

I find it slightly ridiculous that on the 19th of November I'm having problems with allergies - what the heck? The world should be frozen over by this point, and there should be no molds in the air from the leaves anymore... But no, it's supposed to be 10 degrees tomorrow. Oy.

In other news, I did several hours of Christmas baking on Saturday with the beautiful Samantha Martin, and am now prepared for the first part of the season, at least, with layered frozen treats in the freezer. Mmm...

I went to a meeting for our Children & Worship program last night. I went as a "Worship Leader" and came out as a Worship Leader andMaterials and Craft Co-ordinator. Funny that. It's already proving to be a good method of meeting other members, though!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm not Jewish

but I really do love this song by the BNL:
How Lucky are we that we have lights so we can see
Although the day is done
What a miracle that a spark lifts these candles out of the dark
Every evening, one by one
Until the end of hanukkah, of hanukkah.

With the jingle bells and the toys
And the TV shows and noise
It's easy to forget
At the end of the day
Our whole family will say
These words for Hanukkah

Baruch atah Adonai, eloheinu melech ha'olam, asher kid'shanu
B'mitz'votav v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.

Light the candles for Hanukkah, for Hanukkah
We remember how Maccabees
Fought so all of us could be free
And so we celebrate on this festival of the lights
There's a joyful time every night
But we illuminate the candles of Hanukkah, of Hanukkah

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha'olam she'asa niseem
La'avoteinu bayamim haheim baz'man hazeh.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Christmas Time in my Office

Since I'm secluded in my office for the next ten days working on website development stuff, I decided that it is now ok to play Christmas music. It makes me happy!

**Update:** Since I started playing my Christmas music this morning, it has started snowing wonderfully outside - the only sad thing is that in order to see the snow this year, I have to look through the main office and through Richard's office and out his window.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

Amaryllis Campaign for the Huntington Society of Canada

Huntington disease is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder. It progressively destroys both mind and body, eventually taking away the ability to speak, walk, and even eat without help. Huntington disease is also a disease of families. Every child of a person with HD has a 50 % risk of inheriting the disease. One in every 1,000 Canadians are touched by HD, whether they have the disease themselves, look after someone who does, or have a friend or relative with HD. Currently there is no cure for Huntington’s. However, with recent research discoveries we’ve never had more reason for optimism. It’s been a very exciting past 6 months!

You may or may not be aware that my dad was diagnosed with Huntington’s about 15 years ago and is now in the final stages of the disease. This, of course, means that myself and my siblings are all at risk of inheriting the disease. There are also a few other families in the Redeemer community who have had Huntington’s diagnosed in their family, as well.

Every year in the fall, the Huntington Society of Canada sells beautiful “Orange Souvereign” amaryllis bulbs in kits for $12/each that include soil, a pot, and the bulb, to help raise money for research into cures for this disease and others that share similar neurological roots (Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, etc.)

The kits, once purchased, can be stored in a cool, dry place until planted and tend to bloom 6-8 weeks after planting. The flowers are a beautiful bright orange, and they really do make great gifts.

I will be placing two orders: one to arrive at the end of October, and one to arrive at the beginning of December. Please consider supporting the Huntington Society by ordering one or more of the kits as gifts or flowers to liven up your office space! Words cannot express how much each vote of support means to those of us affected. If buying flowers is not your “thing”, we would really appreciate your prayers for those affected as well as for the scientists who are busy researching a cure.

If you would like to take part in this, please send me an email ( jennvb[at]gmail[dot]com ) with the details (how many kits you would like, which order you would like it to be a part of – October or December). I’ll collect the money when I hand out the orders. Please note that I live in Hamilton, so if you live outside of Hamilton and will have someone coming to or from Hamilton to you around the beginning of November or the beginning of December, you can order them, but other wise, please visit the website for details on how to support the cause.


For more information on Huntington’s Disease or the Huntington Society of Canada, please visit

Why the Amaryllis?

The amaryllis is the signature plant of the Huntington Society of Canada. It represents the vitality of our organization, and the hope that we will soon find a cure. With your help, we will win the fight against Huntington disease. The Orange Souvereign is a top quality premium grade 26-28 centimetre bulb. Its tall, green stalks are topped by an exotic burst of orange blooms. These bulbs are specially imported from Holland in limited quantities.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Cool things

Yesterday, Brian and I had the distinct privilege of standing up for Mr and Mrs Dan and Mira Postma. What a beautiful wedding! Unfortunately as I was too busy enjoying myself I don't have any pictures of the happy couple to post, but here is one of the mother-of-the-bride helping her daughter get ready for the big moment. Aren't they beautiful?!
And now, after a long (very long) sleep, and after dropping off presents and picking up dresses and returning rented clothing, we get to veg for a little while... with the projector screen that we took home for Dan from the reception last night. This is what our dining room currently looks like:

Friday, October 05, 2007

Hollywood North/East

It seems that lately, every time I walk out the door and drive down the street, there's another filming happening. I can tell I live in a great neighbourhood - there have been bright orange pylons and large white trailers lining the streets every other week for the past few months. A few weeks ago they were filming in the Presbyterian church just down from First CRC... Last weekend they were filming a made-for-tv movie across the road from Michelle's apartment at the old beautiful United church. Yesterday when I was trying to make my way down to Rainbow Bridal to pick up my dress for Mira's wedding I had to walk three blocks to park because every inch of parking and unused pavement in the district was being used for a film shoot. And today, whilst driving back and forth between our place and Mira's place, getting ready for the upcoming wedding, I drove back and forth through a scene around the corner from our place about 4 times before they actually started filming and I had to take the long way around. I have yet to see anyone famous, though. The sign by the shoot around the corner tonight said, "Final 24 Scene", so I'm really curious as to the meaning of the sign.... is Jack Bauer actually less than a five minute walk from my house? I wish.

In other news, the wonderful people who are Dan and Mira are getting married tomorrow, and I am so excited for them!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Lost Phone

So I kinda lost my cell phone.... if you've called me, and I haven't answered or gotten back to you, that's why. I do intend on finding it again.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Just finished cooking....

Tofu! I made a tofu dish for the first time ever on Saturday. I made "Tofu Parmigiana" with herb tofu. It was pretty tasty. Granted, it was mostly the spiced sauce and cheese that was tasty, the tofu didn't taste like...anything, really....but it wasn't bad! And all who ate said they liked... at least, before I told them it was tofu! :)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Currently Reading...

Davita's Harp by Chaim Potok. Throughout the past three weeks I've been escaping to the back corners of the library for some solitude and quiet during my short lunch breaks. During those three weeks, I read an 1975 easy read Mrs Charles Wallace's 42nd Birthday or something to that effect and am now half way through Davita's Harp. This present book caught my attention because as I was reading this I noticed that Dan mentioned that out of all of the books that he has read, Davita's Harp has had the most impact on him. I thought I should read such a book. So, I am now half way through and look forward with great longing to my lunch breaks when I can go back down to the library and pick up this book again. It is quite a politically charged book and I must say that the communism/fascism arguments don't interest me a whole lot, but the character of Ilena Davita entrances me. I haven't read any Chaim Potok in probably 10 years, so I am quite enjoying getting back into his writing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Prayer Request Regarding Another Car Accident

A young woman who was intending on beginning her first year at Redeemer this coming Monday was in a very serious car accident last night. Please pray for her (Sarah) and her family as the doctors fight to keep her alive. Please also pray that her head trauma is not as severe as the doctors are currently suspecting.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I love Camping.

This past weekend while Kenny and Bun concluded their romantic Costa Rican honeymoon, Brian and I, along with the Speelmans' and the Wilms', went camping up at Bruce Peninsula National Park. It was pretty chilly. We didn't have any rain all weekend, which was awesome, but we did have an air mattress that refused to stay inflated, which was not awesome. We had a very cute camp guest (we can't decide if it was a chipmunk or a squirrel, it looked like neither and yet like both) who got irritated at us when we stopped paying attention - he scampered up onto a log (so that he would look more intimidating), got up onto his teeny-weeny hind legs, stuck his front paws up into the air and literally yelled at us. Yeah, it was amusing. The only picture I have of him is on the disposable camera so I can't post it. Too bad. He tried to come home with Mich and Jrod, as Brian was walking past their car while we were packing up on Sunday morning, he heard a loud "thump" as the rodent tried to dash out of the passenger side (closed) window. The rodent then proceeded to run around the interior of the car in tight, quick circles until he found the open window back and jumped out in to the forest.

Blogger won't let me upload the rest of my pictures right now. Check back here for an update today or tomorrow with more pictures.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

All in a year's work.

This has been a wedding year. Starting Waaay back on September 30th, 2006:

Moving on to December 5th, 2006:

May 12th, 2007:

August 11th, 2007:

And no picture from this, obviously, but I also have the honour of standing up for these wonderful folks on October 6th, 2007:

I should point out that these are only the weddings that I have been in.... they do not include all of the weddings that I have attended in the past year as a guest.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Remembering: Craig VanderVeen

A message from Redeemer's President:

We are saddened by the tragic news of the death of Craig Vanderveen on
Thursday evening, June 28. While visiting his family in Manitoba, he and
his cousin were killed in a car accident while traveling to Winnipeg to
see their grandfather. Further details of the funeral and any contact
information will be provided when it becomes available. In the meantime,
please pray for the Lord's grace and comfort for family and friends,
particularly those in the Redeemer community who knew and worked with

With resurrection hope,
President Cooper

I think that there are very few people at Redeemer who had no chance to interact with Craig. I met Craig on the first day of his first year at Redeemer - I was the roommate of his cousin Hannah's RA. Craig (believe it or not) was a pretty shy guy for the first week of the semester - he certainly came into his own after that, but there was a time when it seemed as though it was painful for him to talk to people he didn't know! Drastically different from the Craig who served as Student Senate President and who was employed in the Administration offices over the summers. Craig was to graduate in December.

May God's peace that passes all understanding be with Craig's family and friends. Craig, you will be missed at Redeemer.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Things you might see in California

Round Farms?
Yep, that's a stretch Hummer.
Um, yeah. That's not something you see every day in Ontario.
Yeah, curious about what, though?
Poetic Handrails.
An old VDub filled with greasy guys.
Yes, that is a giant Jesus two stories high painted on a wall.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wonder Where I've Been?

So I'm out of town right now, and if you want to see what I'm up to right now, check it out here. I'll just say that I've been 50 ft away from Steve Carrel (or however you spell it), last night I was on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and I saw a free mini concert of Jon Mayer, and I've been down Wisteria Lane (for real).

Friday, June 08, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

So it ended up being the case that, although the on-line RUC catalog stated that they did in fact have A Town Like Alice, the book that I was searching for was not to be found in the library. I went for another on the list, Beloved by Toni Morrison. I knew nothing about the book, but perhaps that's a good thing - if I knew what I was in for, I wouldn't have started it. Beloved is the tragic tale of a runaway slave girl, Sethe, and her two girls: Denver, the 14 year old child too afraid to step off of their property and enter society, and Beloved, the ghost of her crawlingalready? baby girl, reincarnated into a shapely 16 year old young woman. Heavy themes of hurt, anger, forgiveness and human vs animal behaviour run through the story amidst a strange spirituality and grotesque images of the netherworld. Apparently there's a movie that has been made from this novel - I'll not be searching it out anytime soon.

I was taking a break from the insanity of Catch-22, but after the heavy strangeness of Beloved I'm not keen on returning to Catch-22 quite yet. I think that Fifth Business by Robertson Davies will be my next conquest. I head off to California tomorrow morning, so it should be a good read for the plane. Sam has convinced me that David Adams Richards will be the next author whom I shall seek out.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Out with the old....

This morning when I came home from the Caledonia-wide garage sale I walked into the kitchen and immediately encountered the smell of juicy strawberries. Thinking that perhaps Brian had gone out and bought fresh strawberries for me I searched the kitchen and the diningroom - to no avail. Oh well. But there was still that smell. Where was it coming from? I saw a tiny red puddle on the ground under the corner of the fridge and thought, uh-oh, this is going to be messy. I opened up the freezer to find mushy rhubarb, strawberries, blueberries, peas, beans and pizza dough. Needless to say with all of that fruit defrosting at the same time there was quite a mess! Brian called the landlady and he convinced her that this was a good idea:

...and in with the new!

A special thanks to Brian, Big Mike and Marty for making the switcheroo. I'm so excited - we have so much more room in our fridge now! And a whole extra shelf!!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Updating the Scrapbook Pages

I would like to set straight an earlier post in which I pointed all "the ladies who are interested in scrapbooking" towards my new blogsite. I was remiss in that statement - so let me announce to all of the ladies and the guys out there like Marty, Dan and Bun who like scrapbooking that I have updated my scrapbook site with some pages that I have done recently. Here's a sample:

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Remembering: Paula Brouwer

A blog dedicated to celebrating the life of Paula Brouwer:

Friday, May 11, 2007

On a Break and Now Currently Reading...

I'm taking a break from Catch-22 for a week to read A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute. I've never heard of him before, but he is also on my 100 best novels (reader's choice, not the board's choice) and the book sounds very interesting. Shute is apparently one of the most formative British Authors from the first half of the 20th century. Wonder why I never heard of him in British Lit or 20th c lit? Huh.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Catch-22 not so Catchy

I'm finding it difficult to delve into my current novel. I've been reading this book on lunch breaks for over a week now, and I'm only on page 86 - those of you who know my reading style know that I should be mostly finished the book by now (for example, it took me less time to read 1984 than it has for me to reach page 86 of this book).

I find myself comparing this novel to Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot. Logic is circular, reason is non-existent and the world found within is a giant paradox. That irritates me. Granted, some things found within are clever: concerning Major Major Major Major, Heller writes, "Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them," calling to mind, of course, the comedic scene in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night in which Malvolio reads aloud a forged letter from Olivia praising his skills and physique (and the yellow stockings!), where the line originally ran "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them!"

However, I find the majority of the novel thus far irritating. One character tells another character a story and mentions "St Gregory" several times. The storyteller winds up his story with a question of why that event transpired. Character two replies, "Maybe it was St Gregory!" Storyteller: "Who the devil is St Gregory?" Grr.

Regarding Major Major Major Major's father: "Major Major's father was a sober God-fearing man whose idea of a good joke was to lie about his age. He was a longlimbed farmer, a God-fearing, freedom-loving, law-abiding rugged individualist who held that federal aid to anyone but farmers was creeping socialism. He advocated thrift and hard work and disapproved of loose women who turned him down. His specialty was alfalfa, and he made a good thing out of not growing any. The government paid him well for every bushel of alfalfa he did not grow. The more alfalfa he did not grow, the more money the government gave him, and he spent every penny he didn't earn on new land to increase the amount of alfalfa he did not produce. Major Major's father worked without rest at not growing alfalfa."

It's just not my style. Reading a book about things that are not happening somehow make me feel as if for every minute that I'm reading it, I'm wasting five minutes of good reading time. However, it seems to be an important book to the literary community, and so I continue. Les Miserables also spent a fair amount of time with soliloquies such as, "If Jean had've noticed a road off to the side to the left of the tree and taken that road, he would have come across this old house where so-and-so had lived three generations previously blah blah blah..." And that was one of the best stories that I have ever encountered, be it in the written, spoken or acted form. So maybe there is yet hope for this book.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Everyone Should Go

"The Essential Players bring William Shakespeare kicking and punching (with perhaps some screaming and biting) into the 21st century with The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged). Starting in May, The Staircase Theatre in downtown Hamilton will be hosting The Essential Players as they attempt to show that true men can wear silly wigs, frilly shirts and revealing tights with pride."

Premiering at Redeemer University College on May 9th at 12pm (noon), the production then moves into the downtown Hamilton Staircase Theatre
for a two week run with performances on May 11 - 12, and 16 – 19 at 8pm. Tickets for all performances are available at

We're going on May 19th. This group of Redeemer Students and Alumni first presented this play last spring. As it was a sell-out crowd every night, I didn't get the chance to go. From all of my co-workers here at Redeemer there was nothing but praise for this show. Oh, and this piece of advice: If you don't want to get in on the action, don't sit in the front!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I love...


I don't know why. There's nothing natural about them. Regardless, I can down a whole bag in minutes. Mmmm fake cheese and much salt!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Finished Reading:

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. I've gotta say, this book would have done a lot more for me if I remembered more of what I learned about the political situation that Orwell wrote about here and in Animal Farm than I do. His style of writing is very easy for me to read, but on my lunch breaks at work my mind isn't really willing to contemplate the gymnastics of metaphysics and questions of existence, power and control. I was disappointed in the ending. I figured that it was going to end the way that it did, but I kept hoping that it would all work out in the end... What can I say? I like fairy tales. Let me clarify that: I like modern fairy tales.

Currently Reading:

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. I've always thought about reading it. It's in the RUC library. I might as well knock another one off of the list!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Currently Reading:

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. Over the past several weeks I've been looking at lists of novels - the Reader's Choice 100 best novels, the NYT 100 best novels, the 100 Most Influential Novels, etc. 1984 appears prominently on all, and as I have not yet read it, I figured it was high time that I do so. Thus far it seems to be a more detailed version of Animal Farm, except with people instead of pigs. I'm hoping to do much reading this summer.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Gambatte, Daisuke Matsuzaka san

This past Tuesday night, Brian, Kenny, Bun, Dan, Mira and I went to see the Toronto Blue Jays take on the Boston Red Sox - or, to put it another way, to see the Jays take on Daisuke Matsuzaka, renowned pitcher. I watched pretty closely but I only saw four different types of pitches - the newspaper said there was 8... I was a little disappointed. He threw many curve balls, fastballs and sliders, but one one or two of the last kind that I can't remember the name of right now. Anyhow, while it was touch and go for the first few innings, he lost his magic touch early on and walked a bunch of the batters - and then gave up a hit when we had the bases loaded. Fortunately for Daisuke he's backed up by some good outfielders who caught the pop seemingly without any effort. We won in the end, 2-1. Low scoring, but a good time. These are for you, Eric. :)

Monday, April 16, 2007