Monday, August 23, 2004

The Casino

So I've been watching the reality show The Casino, which is about the Las Vegas casino The Golden Nugget. One of the current storylines in the last couple of episodes is about a couple who wants to get married at the casino but is having some financial difficulties. Case in point, the running total cost for their wedding is at $113, 000 and they had only budgeted for something like $42, 000. Hellooo-oo?!? Perhaps they need to think about scaling back a bit. But no. Instead the groom-to-be decided to try and win some money to finance this wedding el grande. Instead, he lost $25,000. In 2 bets. Then he makes a comment which triggered a memory of a sermon I heard not too long ago. He says, "I don't know how I got here." In other words, I don't know how I ended up on the verge of a massive wedding with no cash to pay for it. To anyone watching the show, it seems pretty obvious how he got there.

The sermon I heard was about the paths we choose in life, and how the destination of a particular path is always the same. In the same way that a physical road will always end up in the same place, the paths we choose in life all have pre-determined outcomes. I always follow the same streets when I go to work, and in 6 years, they have never taken me anywhere but my place of employment. In the same way, if you choose a path of physical fitness, you will end up healthier than the person who chooses to eat bonbons and watch tv all day. Or if you choose the path of compulsive gambling, (some might argue that if people are addicted to something, they're not really choosing it, but that's a whole other blog), then at some point you will lose a lot of money. Probably when you can least afford it. The point of the sermon was to wake us up and make us realize that the path we're on will not lead to any destination other than where it's always led. And hopefully, if we sit back and figure out what paths we're on and make any necessary adjustments, we won't end up saying "I don't know how I got here."

Sunday, August 22, 2004


If anyone knows the whereabouts of this restaurant...

Desk Drawer

In the first chapter of the book, True to Form, by Elizabeth Berg, the main character ( a 13 yr old girl) is describing all the things she has in her desk drawer. One of the last things on her list is a box of crayons.

I have a box of crayons that I intend never to use, I just like to look at them all perfect and read the names of the colors out loud, and I like to smell them deep, like I smell the test papers at school that have just come off the mimeograph machine.

And then she says something that I can totally relate to:

Sometimes I think, what if I died and someone looked in my drawer? I wonder what they would understand about me. Probably not so much - for one thing, they would get the crayons wrong. I think, actually, that none of us understands anyone else very well, because we're all too shy to show what matters the most. If you ask me, it's a major design flaw. We ought to be able to say, Here, look what I am. I think it would be quite a relief.

So true...

Passing Along a Comment

Passing Along a Comment

I received an interesting comment on my "simplicity" entry awhile back, and I thought I'd pass it along.

Interesting to me that people spend so much time trying to make their life so much more simple. Seems to me as though they are making it more difficult by "trying" to make it simple. What ever just happened to a breath of fresh air to feel pure contentment?

It's That Good

It's That Good

I just finished reading a fantastic book by Harlan Coben entitled No Second Chance. The storyline itself is not necessarily original - a guy wakes up in the hospital recovering from life-threatening wounds only to discover that somebody shot and tried to kill him; his wife was murdered, and his 6 month old daughter is missing - your typical murder mystery, right? Not so.
First of all, it's written in the first person, which I love. It seems like the character is actually talking to you, the reader.
Secondly, there are many unexpected twists, and a surprising ending. Now, the book I read previously to this one was a run-of-the-mill murder mystery with no surprises whatsoever. (Capital Crimes, by Stuart Woods.) It tried to leave you dangling at the end, but I just wasn't having it. That may have influenced my intense enjoyment of this book, because it was so much better by comparison.
Finally, it has that certain "je ne sais quoi." That creative cocktail that elevates a book from good to great. That elusive quality that you can't quite capture in words, so that when someone asks you why it was so great, the only possible response is, "read it yourself and you'll know."

Now, having extolled the virtues of this book, I feel the need to add a little disclaimer here. I'm not trying to sell this as the best book ever written, only to say that I quite enjoyed it. Sometimes I get a little carried away with words....


Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Not So Surprising, I Guess

I noticed something tonight while I was at the library, browsing through the biographies section. The books on Madonna, Shania Twain, and various other music and movie stars were rather dog-eared and tattered, and the book on Mother Theresa looked almost pristine. Not so surprising I guess. But rather unfortunate, I think.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

To Eat or Not to Eat

So it's 10:00pm and I realized that I forgot to eat supper. I pull out a package of Mr. Noodles, and the though occurs to me, "is it better to eat this, or not to eat it?" I mean, really, how much nutrition am I going to get from a package of dried noodles? I don't have the answer and I must go now, before my noodles boil over....

I Wanna Do It All

I Wanna Do It All

What a great song by Terri Clark....the bolding is mine....

I'm sitting in traffic
For the 5th year in a row
Wasting my time
Just to get
Where I don't even wanna go
I started jotting things down
On a krispy kreme sack
Everything I'd do
If I could leave this place
And never look back

I wanna do it all
Visit Paris in the fall
Watch the Yankees play ball

I wanna take it all in
Catch a few beads
Down at Mardi Gras
Start a tradition
Lay down the law
I wanna do it all

I want to drink tequila
Down in Tijuana
Say why not
When somebody says
Hey do you wanna
I wanna get my heart broke
Once or twice
Settle down with the love of my life
Rock little babies to sleep at night

I wanna do it all
Visit Paris in the fall
Watch the Yankees play ball
I wanna take it all in
Catch a few beads
Down at Mardi Gras
Start a tradition
Lay down the law
I wanna do it all

I wanna spend a day
Every now and then
Just doin what I want to do
When I wanna do it
Anytime I wanna do it

I wanna do it all
Visit Paris in the fall
Watch the Yankee's play ball
I wanna take it all in
Catch a few beads
Down at Mardi Gras
Start a tradition
Lay down the law

I wanna do it all
See Niagara falls
Fight city hall
Feel good in my skin
Beating the odds
With my back to the wall

Try to rob Peter
Without paying Paul
I wanna do it all
I wanna do it all
I wanna do it all

2lb Smoothie

2lb Smoothie

When I get home from work each day, usually around 4:45, I like to fix myself a snack. Often the snack of choice is chips, which I know, require little "fixing." But on occasion, like today, I prefer to make a smoothie. Now, smoothie-making is an interesting process. For me, anyway. You throw in the frozen fruit (a la Costco), and you use the "pulse" feature to chop it up into little bits. Usually there are no problems at this point. In fact, it may bring back memories of cruising on 8th St, revving your engine at the lights, knowing that you can beat that Chevette off the line at the first hint of green. (Or not. Probably not. Probably that's just me. And it's not even really me, cause I've never dragged on a public street.) Anyways, the pulse feature is fun. Then you throw in a little yogurt, and juice and commence the mixing. There are a few key things to pay attention to when using your blender. When it starts to whine like an engine that's red-lining, it's reasonable to think that something might be stuck. If so, open up the top and giving it all a good stir with the wooden spoon. Additionally, a faint burning electrical smell indicates that the blender needs a rest, so why don't you just pop off that top and do a little manual "blending." Replace top. Wait a few seconds. Commence mixing. Stop when you hear a ringing in your ears, signally another go-around with the spoon. Repeat several times. When it's just about done, add the ice cream. What's a frozen treat that doesn't involve ice cream? Give it an initial stir and finish up your blending. (I sometimes wonder if it wouldn't be easier to just chop up the fruit and then mix the rest by hand.) Voila! Your cold, fruity, treat! Thick and yummy. I like my smoothies thick, which is good, because that seems to be the only way I can make them!

Sunday, August 15, 2004

The Waiting Game

So there I was, sitting by myself at a table for six. Have you ever experienced this? You make plans to meet people for lunch, and you're the first to arrive. So you get the table, and then you wait. The waiter/ess comes by to fill your water glass and leave some menus. Then he/she comes by again to see if you want something to drink. At this point you're thinking that the rest of your party is probably just running late. Time passes and you start to wonder if you've got the right restaurant. You are very aware of the fact that you are sitting by yourself at a table for six. You want to somehow reassure the other patrons that, yes, you will be joined shortly, and no, you did not just get a large table to make it seem like you have a lot of friends. (Or family, as was the case this time.) Now almost 30 min have gone by and you start to wonder if you ever really had plans to meet them at all. Maybe the plans were changed and you just forgot. But surely not. You go over the phone conversation in your head - yes this is the right restaurant and the correct time. By this point you've read the menu, and the kids menu, and your drink is half gone. You anxiously watch the door, thinking that the next person to walk in will be the one you're waiting for. After all, you don't need to the entire party to show up, just one more person. And that will validate your sitting and waiting, because it means that the others will soon materialize. (Have you ever noticed that when you're waiting for someone in a restaurant, you are acutely aware of the door opening and closing?)
At last, you spot that familiar face, and you breathe a sigh of relief. (As does the waiter/ess, cause you know they've started to feel sorry for you, thinking that you may have been stood up.) And one by one, everyone else arrives, unaware of the "waiting game" that's been going on....

Saturday, August 14, 2004


I've been thinking a lot lately about simplicity; wondering if there are ways that I can simplify my life. As I usually do when I'm wondering about something, I googled it. And I discovered a "movement" called Voluntary Simplicity. It's very interesting to me, and I'm in the process of discovering more about it, but I think the following sums it up pretty well:

"Voluntary simplicity calls into question North American society's tendency to equate money and material possessions with the good life. Proponents of simplicity as a way of life reject the notion that our life goal should be to amass as much material wealth and prestigious accomplishments as we possibly can. Their lifestyles tend to involve patterns of working less, wanting less and spending less...Living simply does not require adherence to a rigid set of rules, but rather it challenges the individual to live consciously and deliberately. Simplicity is not a destination. It is a life long journey that is not always easy, but ultimately deeply satisfying. "

Now, this "movement" is relatively new, having been formed within the last 10 years or so (according to what I've read). But it's funny to me how much of this "new" movment could actually be taken from the Bible. The biblical exhortation to not store up treasures on earth but instead to store up treasure in heaven seems to echo the main point of this movement - that life is not about amassing material wealth, but instead, it's about living the abundant life, the life that is filled with great non-material possessions - relationships, experiences, spiritual things.

I have so many more thoughts about this but am too tired to try and organize them tonight. (I've already spent too much time staring at my computer screen trying to figure out if I make sense!) Please feel free to comment on this subject....or any other that interests you!

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Be Your Own Idol

So, Theresa is safe once again....whew! I have to admit I've gotten a bit caught up in this whole Canadian Idol phenomenon. It's kind of hard not to be, when you've got someone from your home town in the top 6. I think it's a shame that Elena has been in the bottom 3 now for 2 weeks...she has such an amazing voice and stage presence. I'm tempted to vote for her next week. Out of the 7 that were left, I'm not too sad to see Kaleb go; the judges loved him but he always sounded a bit out of tune to me.
That being said, I don't think I could stand up on stage and subject myself to criticism week after week in front of millions of people. Kudos to all Canadian Idols, and anyone else who follows their dreams, particularly when they enter a field (like music) that is so subjective. I mean, take Lionel Ritchie - the guy's sold millions of records, and has oodles of fans, but I'm not one of them. He may be good at what he does, but that doesn't mean his music appeals to all people.
On that note, and the following one, goodnight!

"Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better; whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Last Comic Standing

I watched Last Comic Standing tonight....Gary Gulman is definitely my favorite. If you know who that is. I don't actually know anyone else who has watched the show....
Stand up comedy can be so funny if it's done well, and his comedy draws on the everyday stuff that we can all relate to - plus it's clean!
Anyways, I suppose I should go do something productive now that I've maxed out my tv quota for the day!

three times a lady?
The thought process goes like this....Awhile back I bought a cd by FM Static . I quite like it, even if it is a little bit "high-schoolish." It's perfect car music - easy to remember lyrics and a quick beat. So they have this one song The Notion. And in this song are the lyrics, "1,2,3 times a lady" and for some reason that line always stuck in my head.
Flash to Canadian Idol. This week they will be doing songs by Lionel Ritchie, who at one point sang a song called Three Times a Lady with the Commodores.
Lionel Ritchie meets FM Static?? Hmmm....strange.
Ok, so that's my thought. Not quite as interesting now that I've put it down in black and white. But we'll run with it, cause that's all I have for now :-)
Good Night, and Happy Tuesday

Monday, August 09, 2004

Thank You

Thank you, God....
for the rain
for new life
for portable stereos, and listening to worship music in the office while I write
for friends who chat on msn....(thanks for sharing my "happy moment" Kyla!)
for cell phones, to keep in touch with roommates who are on the way back from Regina
for insuite laundry. amen.
for high thread count bedsheets....luxurious
for second chances
for my church
for being a good God, in the truest sense of the word
for music, and art, and every creative expression
for coffee crisp bars and dill pickle chips
for talented people who share their gifts with the world
for blue skies, and puffy white clouds...("Simpsons" clouds)
....thank you for giving me more than I could ever ask or imagine.....

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Fascinating, Really

So then, first things first: I figured out how to get my title to show up! Yay! It's the small victories that count....
The other day, yesterday in fact, I was reading the paper (which is not too strange since I work there), and I came across a very funny picture - it's of an old man (82 to be exact) and he's pole-vaulting. I'll wait a minute for that to sink in. Yes, I did say pole vaulting. At a track and field meet. Who does track and field when they're 82?!? A lot of people, as it turns out. (Well, they're not all 82, but a lot of them are 60-80ish). And they all competed in the United States masters track and field meet in Decatur Ill. recently. Among them was a lady who's known as Granny . What a fascinating person...
Speaking of which, I've had so many great conversations with people lately. At restaurants, at work, over the phone, at home.....and it struck me that everybody has a story (channeling a little Amanda Marshall here). And while most people don't make the paper for doing extraordinary things, that doesn't mean that they are any less interesting. If I should ever be an author, I think I would like to go around talking to people, and then write a book with all of their stories; the stories about the "ordinary" people that you meet every day.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Letting the Song Speak for Itself

I could travel over oceans, cross the deserts, climb the mountains
Just to share Your story, bring You glory, and win souls You.
I could sing like an angel, songs so humble and so thankful
Full of drama and emotion, so the world would know Your truth.
I could give away my money and my clothes and my food
To restore those people who are poor, and lost, and down-and-out.
I could succeed at all these things,
Find favor with peasants and kings,
But if I do not love, I am nothing.

I could live a flawless life,
Never cheat or steal or lie,
And always speak so kindly, smile warmly, and go about doing good.
I could dedicate myself to do what everyone else wants me to-
Listen to them, compliment them, say the things I should.
I could show up every Sunday, lead the choir and bible study
And they all might come to know me as a leader and a friend.
Oh, I could achieve success on Earth, but success cannot define
my worth
And all these actions, all these words, will not matter in
the end -

Songs will fade to silence,
Stories, they will cease.
The dust will settle, covering all my selfless deeds.
So as I strive to serve You,
Won't you make it clear to me,
That if I do not love, I am nothing.

And if I cannot live my life loving my brother,
Then how can I love the One who lived His life for me?

Sent to Earth from Heaven.
Humble Servant, Holy King.
Come to share a story, get no glory, and save my searching soul,
You knew that I'd deny You, crucify You, but nothing could stop You
from living for me, dying for me,
so that I would know -

That songs will fade to silence,
Stories they will cease.
The dust will settle covering all my selfless deeds.
But your life here has made it clear enough for me to see
That if I do not love, I am nothing.

Ginny Owens "I am Nothing"