Thursday, November 27, 2008

Decoding Coffee-talk

How can you argue with a drink order that includes a heart? Practically speaking, in translation the cup reads "half-sweet; Christmas special #4[gingerbread latte]; no whipping cream on top; for a customer in the coffee-shop part of the store" (I think). We can't help but grin when we think of our favourite coffee-shop people, the owners and senior staff of Coffee and S'cream. We are so thankful for the small-town feel they bring to our lives, and for their friendship and interest in our lives. And because they make such tasty lattes. That was the best gingerbread latte I've ever had. (And Brent really enjoyed his "naughty Mrs. Claus" rum & eggnog latte too!).

Sugar and Spice Cont'd

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008


Sir Patrick Spens Anonymous The king sits in Dumferlin town Drinking the blood-red wine: Oh where will I get a good sailor To sail this ship of mine? Up and spake an eldern knight Sat at the king's right knee: Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor That sails up the sea. The king has written a broad letter And signed it with his hand, And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens Was walking on the strand. To Noroway, to Noroway, To Noroway o'er the foam, The king's daughter to Noroway, 'Tis thou maun bring her home. The first line that Sir Patrick read A loud laugh laughed he; The next line that Sir Patrick read A tear blinded his eye. Oh who is this has done this deed, This ill deed done to me, To send me out this time of year To sail upon the sea? Make haste, make haste, my merry men all; Our good ship sails the morn. Oh say not so, my master dear, For I fear a deadly storm. Late, late yestreen I saw the new moon With the old moon in her arm, And I fear, I fear, my master dear, That we will come to harm. They hadna sailed a league, a league, A league but barely three, When the air grew dark and the wind blew lou,d And growly grew the sea. Oh our Scotch nobles were right loth To wet their cork-heeled shoon, But long ere all the play were played Their hats they swam aboon. Oh long, long may their ladies sit With their fans into their hand Ere ever they see Sir Patrick Spens Come sailing to the land. Oh long, long may the ladies stand With their gold combs in their hair Waiting for their own dear lords, For they'll see them no more. Half o'er, half o'er to Aberdour It's fifty fathoms deep, And there lies good Sir Patrick Spens With the Scotch lords at his feet.

Friday, November 21, 2008

For the sake of Goodness

As I posted before recently, even when money is slightly more scarce (not scarce at all compared to other countries!), and the whole financial world is in turmoil, we need to have an eternal perspective. But as I was also reminded of by one of my all-time favourite bloggers, there is much goodness in this world to appreciate too. 1) Coffee. My brothers and I were all raised by my mum to appreciate a good cup of coffee. Only since our trip to DK did I realize just how much of that is from her Danish heritage. They drink STRONG coffee in Denmark, and they're so tough that it's common to drink coffee right before bed! And none of that decaf stuff, either. I like my coffee freshly ground, STRONG and topped up with an ample amount of hot milk. I'm such a coffee snoot that my favourite coffee own. Well, my mum's and Cat's are equally acceptable, but not even Starbucks can beat mine. Pretentious about my coffee, yup that's me. More specifically, we found a new kind of coffee on our last trip to Co-op: We've tried Kicking Horse, and it's pretty good but at times a bit bitter, and we've also tried Salt Spring Island coffee (sister-in-law B's favourite), which is very tasty but expensive, and now here is a Calgary coffee, and it's great and cheaper than either of the other two! So #1 is coffee. Not because it's the most important, but because it comes earliest in the day! #2 is for CBC Radio 2, of course. And the goodness of music generally. Because we've gotten sick and tired of CKUA as of late--especially the morning announcer--and have discovered the quirky morning fun of Tom Allen on Radio 2. We're a little over his love for Sarah Harmer and Great Big Sea, but we appreciate his musical trivia and segways and all the fun singer-songwriter tunes. #3 Is for lovely zip-up sweatshirts with thumbholes, in the colour blue, which is my favourite. This one is on my Christmas list from MEC. Hurray for the goodness of being zipped-up warm when it's chilly and windy and snowy out! #4 Sarah Susanka's The Not-So-Big House. Jan showed Brent this book while we were in Denmark. It's exactly what Brent's interested in designing and has lots of neat ideas for the kind of house we'd like to own someday. The kind of house where everything has its place; space is not wasted; and quality takes precedence over quantity. Good is practicality, interesting housing design and inspiration for Brent! #5 Again a reference to the goodness of music. This is on my dream wish list for the distant MP3 player that will store songs but also play the radio (so I can listen to CBC Radio 2!). Not so important when I'm home thesis-writing, but good for research trips and commuting next year, because I'm addicted to music and can't live without a goodly daily dose of it. ;) #6 Creativity and colour and lovely material. This Matryoshka doll is handmade by Little Red Caboose. It looks so friendly and soft and inspires me to start sewing. And it is just one example of the numerous beautiful hand-made things Ella makes. #7 Again the goodness of colour and creativity. This is a painting I love...done by Lovelife! I love the soft blue tones in this specific painting and in much of Kal Barteski's work, and how she often combines words and art to make poem-pictures. Beautiful. #8 I love knitting for its rhythm and consistency and, well, because it is another creative outlet. In my old age (ha) I'm realizing how much I appreciate structure and regularity (as long as it is ME who is enforcing it!). #9 is for Because my dear male 1/2 is incredibly talented at photography and, out of the goodness of his heart, took the time to help me start figuring out Photoshop! #10 is for Garrison Keillor, for words and for poetry, which you may have noticed, is a subject near and dear to my heart lately. The beauty of poetry lies in its ability to express an idea or emotion or scene concisely but descriptive enough for readers to understand. (Concise unlike my long-winded blathering!) And the little mischievious Christmas nissers? Not only are they friendly little fellows, but they remind me of the coming Christmas season, which is a time of "Good tidings and great joy, which shall be for all people!"

Change of Plans

This morning did not go as planned. Instead of getting up, doing an hour of yoga, then the dishes and then straight to work by eight as Kirstin-the-scheduler had outlined, the morning was co-opted for PD time (perhaps to honour Shannon's PD daying?). Yoga was done, can check that off the list, but the dishes, laundry, cookie-making and school work (work? what's that?) are temporarily delayed. Brent made the coffee this morning while I was in the shower, so I could pour coffee and milk and sit down and start learning this Photoshop. For a while now, I've wanted to learn Photoshop, but I'm not the most patient of persons and learn best by doing. So with the most patient of husbands aiding me along the way, I have spent the morning attempting a photoshop project. I was inspired by Lovelife to describe good things in my life. And so photoshop attempt number one is a portrayal of this. (Thank you, dear husband, for helping me out!)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I like food

Want to make yourself hungry in short order?

In the face of it all...

In the face of all the economic worries, the apostle Paul says "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." And "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." 1 Timothy 6:6-8 and 17-19.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


A friend of mine often reminds me to look for the "sparkles of joy" in my day. And I think that can be extended beyond individual days...without hope and joy, we would despair--and it would not be difficult to despair in the world today. But "sometimes things don't go, after all, from bad to worse." May it happen to you. Sometimes by Sheenagh Pugh Sometimes things don't go, after all, from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel* faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail, sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well. A people sometimes will step back from war; elect an honest man; decode they care enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor. Some men become what they were born for. Sometimes our best efforts do not go amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to. The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow that seemed hard frozen: may it happen to you. *Muscadel: wine from muscat grapes

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mandarin Orange Season

Today's poem is in honour of the goodness of sweet mandarin oranges available everywhere these days. And in honour of all things good, like walking in the fog (which we did yesterday) and beautiful new babies, and the simple joy life can contain. The Orange Wendy Cope At lunchtime I bought a huge orange-- The size of it made us all laugh I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave-- They got quarters and I had half. And that orange, it made me so happy, As ordinary things often do Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park. This is peace and contentment. It's new. The rest of the day was quite easy. I did all the jobs on my list And enjoyed them and had some time over. I love you. I'm glad I exist.


Could we do this in Calgary, if we got some heavy-duty snow tires?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Koop: Come to Me

Today's song: light, fluffy and all about the jitterbug (is that what that dance is called?) We were introduced to Koop by b-i-l Eric. Thanks E, they're virtually on our daily playlist. :)

Alden Nowlan

A friend of mine sent me a message recently and told me about a Canadian poet who I'd never heard of and probably should have. I spent a couple of hours reading his work yesterday...he describes a Canadian experience so accurately. I had a hard time choosing which poem to share, as there are quite a number from the little reading I did that are sharable. But you'll just have to take this one, which I concur with my friend is quite lovely, and if you like it, borrow an Alden Nowlan collection from the library. Something I like about poetry is the writers' ability to describe a situation or personality so succinctly. Like this one: Canadian Love Song by Alden Nowlan Your body's a small word with many meanings. Love. If. Yes. But. Death. Surely I will love you a little while, perhaps as long as I have breath. December is thirteen months long, July's one afternoon; therefore, lovers must outwit wool, learn how to puncture fur. To my love's bed, to keep her warm, I'll carry wrapped and heated stones. That which is comfort to the flesh is sometimes torture to the bones.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

This is Just to Say

Today's poem(s) is one that made me giggle the first time I read it in my poetry anthology when I was in the second year of my English degree. Who puts their plums in the icebox anyway?
This is Just to Say by William Carlos Williams I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox and which you were probably saving for breakfast Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold
But today in my perusal of this new edited collection of poetry, I came across a gem: a response to William C. Williams. Poor Williams...he never knew what the chilled-plum lady would do in retribution. Maybe he'll think first next time.
This is Just to Say by Erica-Lynn Gambino (for William Carlos Williams) I have just asked you to get out of my apartment even though you never thought I would Forgive me you were driving me insane

Friday, November 14, 2008

Feeling Sluggish

This morning I broke with my early morning routine because I felt gross and sleepy at six...and six thirty...and seven..and... But when I did eventually get up, I was grumpy and mad at myself because I had plans for this early morning. Like doing the dishes. And putting away laundry. And devotions. It just goes to show that one should never listen to one's six-in-the-morning inner voice. That inner voice will always want to sleep in; it's never reasonable and cheery like inner voice of nine in the morning.

Lending Out Books

Today's poem just struck me as funny. Lending Out Books by Hal Sirowitz You're always giving, my therapist said. You have to learn how to take. Whenever you meet a woman, the first thing you do is lend her your books. You think she'll have to see you again in order to return them. But what happens is, she doesn't have the time to read them, & she's afraid if she sees you again you'll expect her to talk about them, & will want to lend her even more. So she cancels the date. You end up losing a lot of books. You should borrow hers.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How shall we pray?

As I was doing my devotions this morning, I was struggling with the fact that I don't really feel like I can pray. I don't know how to approach God and I often feel like I merely come to Him with my list of requests (lists of all sorts are one of my little-known talents) and hand them over and then leave. It's not real quality listening for God's direction time, or confessing my sins. I feel like I'm always on the go too much to just sit and listen. But I came across this poem this morning, and it expresses a lot of what I can't. Address to the Lord by John Berryman Master of beauty, craftsman of the snowflake, inimitable contriver, endower of Earth so gorgeous & different from the boring Moon, thank you for such as it is my gift. I have made up a morning prayer to you containing with precision everything that most matters. 'According to Thy will' the thing begins. It took me off & on two days. It does not aim at eloquence. You have come to my rescue again & again in my impassable, sometimes despairing years. You have allowed my brilliant friends to destroy themselves and I am still here, severely damaged, but functioning. Unknowable, as I am unknown to my guinea pigs: How can I 'love' you? I only as far as gratitude & awe confidently & absolutely go. I have no idea whether we live again. It doesn't seem likely from either the scientific or the philosophical point of view but certainly all things are possible to you, and I believe as fixedly in the Resurrection-appearances to Peter and to Paul as I believe I sit in this blue chair. Only that may have been a special case to establish their initiatory faith. Whatever your end may be, accept my amazement. May I stand until death forever at attention for any your least instruction or enlightenment. I even feel sure you will assist me again, Master of insight & beauty.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Under construction

In case you've been wondering what's going on with all the changes, we're playing around with the blog layout...things'll be fixed soon, I promise!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Poems and things

Yesterday I at last borrowed from my parents two books of collected poems, edited by Garrison Keillor. I have been wanting to read these poems since Mum and Dad first read from them to me last year. But one does not have time to read poetry whilst enrolled in the first year of grad school. But year one has come and gone (and I'm still alive!) and now I can delight in the deliciousness of these poems. And I can't wait. I fully intend on sharing my favourites with you, dear readers, and here is your first. Brent and I have been getting up early the past couple of weeks in an effort to use our days more efficiently and enjoy the middle-of-the-day sunshine when we can. (And interestingly enough, my friend Shannon made a similar decision right at the same time as us!) So this poem seemed apropos. At least by Raymond Carver I want to get up early one more morning, before sunrise. Before the birds, even. I want to throw cold water on my face and be at my work table when the sky lightens and smoke begins to rise from the chimneys of the other houses. I want to see the waves break on this rocky beach, not just hear them break as I did all night in my sleep. I want to see again the ships that pass through the Strait from every seafaring country in the world-- old, dirty freighters just barely moving along, and the swift new cargo vessels painted every color under the sun that cut the water as they pass. I want to keep an eye out for them. And for the little boat that plies the water between the ships and the pilot station near the lighthouse. I want to see them take a man off the ship and put another up on board. I want to spend the day watching this happen and reach my own conclusions. I hate to seem greedy--I have so much to be thankful for already. But I want to get up early one more morning, at least. And go to my place with some coffee and wait. Just wait, to see what's going to happen.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


We got our first snow yesterday! Well--it's quickly melting in today's sunshine, so we won't be uploading any pictures, but nevertheless, B and I have been anticipating this event. We had waffles for supper last night to celebrate the first snow of the winter. So, just thought I'd share some snowy cheer. :)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

This Fragile World

Brent was playing Martyn Joseph today and I figured I should share some. We saw him live at Calgary Folk Fest this summer, and he's coming to the city again in January. I'm still tracking down the lyrics of this song and will add them to the post when I find them. In the meantime, enjoy "This Fragile World" by Martyn Joseph

Monday, November 03, 2008


I'm really torn about all the American election hype that's going on right now. It is monumental, possibly course-of-history-changing, but is it really THAT important? As Canadians, shouldn't we care more about our own government than the American one? Yet, as this CBC article explains, a record low number of Canadians voted in the federal election on October 14th (for the record, we both voted--and we were out of the country on election day, for goodness' sake). If so few people care about who is running our country, why don't we go back to an absolutist monarchy or dictator who can make decisions on our behalf. Apparently, that's what Canadians want. And yet of course we all care about who the Americans vote for. The States are our big and powerful next-door neighbour and important trading partner and we ought to be interested in how our relationship is going to change for the next eight years. But to prioritize it OVER our own government?? That seems counter-intuitive, ignorant, and thoroughly detrimental to the Canadian political climate. It almost seems like we watch the American election the same way we pay attention to celebrity gossip or slow down to look at a car crash. Because the media has made it THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE IN THE NEWS we cannot but senselessly stare at it. So, in a moment of rantful frustration, I say if you, reader, are paying more attention to the American election than you did to our own, shame on you. [/rant]

Today's song

I don't care how messed up their personal lives are at present, they make lovely music. For You lyrics I have set aside everything I love I have saved everything else for you I cannot decide what this doubt's made of Though I thought over it through and through In a book in a box high upon a shelf In a locked and guarded vault Are the things I keep only for myself It's your fate but it's not your fault [CHORUS:] And for every useless reason I know There's a reason not to care If I hide myself wherever I go Am I ever really there? There is nowhere else I would rather be, but I can't just be right here An enigma wrapped in a mystery, or a fool consumed by fear [CHORUS] I will give you all I could ever give Though it's less than you will need Could you just forget, if you can't forgive All the things I cannot concede [CHORUS]