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Showing posts from 2009

A Christmas Poem & Prayer

This poem by Luci Shaw is overwhelmingly beautiful. Especially as set to music and performed at the Elektra Christmas Concert.

Star Song

We have been having
epiphanies, like suns,
all this year long.
And now, at its close
when the planets
are shining through frost,
radiance runs
like music in the bones,
and the heart keeps rising
at the sound of any song.

Old magic flowing
the calling of bells,
round high and clear,
flying and falling,
re-sounding the death knell
of our old year,
the new appearing
of Christ, our Morning Star.

Now burst!
all our bell throats.
Toll!
every clapper tongue.
Stun the still night!
Jesus himself gleams through
our high heart notes
(it is no fable).
It is he whose light glistens in each song sung
and in all of us
in the true coming
together again
at the stable: shepherds,
sages, his women and men,
common and faithful,
wealthy and wise,
with carillon hearts
and, suddenly,
stars in our eyes.

My Christmas prayer is that you and I both have stars in our eyes today, that radiance runs like music in the …

List: The Interweb

Things I love about the internet:
it lets me stay in touch with far-away friendsit has the answers to (almost) all my questionsit connects me with the artsit makes me smarter & it entertains meit's helpful when there is time to be wasted
Things I hate about the internet:
it is one more way that I can be insecure in relationships ("she unfriended me!?" "but his status says he's single..." "does she really care how my life is going or is she just nosy about those photos?" "maybe he chats with ten girls like this every day - how would I know?")it liesit is full of pornography and other terrible things
it makes me greedyit distracts me from other, more important things

Wednesday's Word: Inventing a New One

I have been looking for a word recently and realized that it doesn't exist. Or if it does, it's not in the easy-recall cortex of my brain. (Is something like that located in a cortex? Cortex seems like the right word to use when discussing the brain.)

Anyway. I am looking for help. Help in either uncovering the word I want, or creating a word that means what I'm trying to express. Because I think it would be a useful word.

It could describe marriage. Motherhood. Work. A period of your life. Learning a new skill. A relationship. So many things!

Aren't you curious?

The concept I want to express in one word is this:
difficult but good
OR
challenging but rewarding.


Do you know one? (other languages welcome - especially French, Spanish, German, Russian or Arabic)

Can you suggest one? (if you're creating a new word, it has to have a ring of joy to it, but also the depth of the struggle)

Two'sday: Exciting Things Happen After Midnight

Normally, I go to bed earlier than this. But I'm on my holidays, so I'm sitting in bed catching up on the articles quickly backing up my Google reader. Tonight, two very different things happen.


1. I discover this article from Esquire(yes, I subscribe to their site). Last month, I listened to an audio version of True Story by Michael Finkel. The book outlines his "friendship" with Christian Longo, a man eventually convicted of killing his wife and three children, and tells the story of Longo's arrest & trial. It is a fascinating and complex story. My roommate Lynsey and I were so fully absorbed in listening to it while driving across Vancouver Island that we let ourselves drive right into near-blizzard conditions. (Actually a funny story, knowing we survived.) But this was too intense and disturbing for pitch-black driving on a wintry night, so we turned it off and waited until we were safely out of the mountains before finding out the jury's sentence.

Find…

Mondays Mean More: Christmas

There are two types of grammar: prescriptive grammar and descriptive grammar. Prescriptive grammar examines and defines how things should be, while a Descriptive grammar looks at the reality of what is.

An example:

Prescriptive grammar looks at the sentence "Who dat?" and says that the correct and appropriate way to communicate this question is to ask "Who is that?" Descriptive grammar looks at the same sentence and then tells you who is likely to use that phrase, how it evolved and the significance it holds. There is great tension between the two schools of grammar (in my mind, I am picturing near-brawls breaking out at grammar conventions) because of the implications of this very major difference. Prescriptivists look at maintaining language, restoring the purity of language* and stopping the "destruction" of language. Descriptivists are more interested in following how language continues to evolve, because evolution is inevitable, and studying the signif…

Bonus Round: Hello Kelly

I have never been a groupie before, but it is fun. (and I'm talking about the platonic version of groupie-dom, because "easy" has never been a word used to describe me.)

For our annual Christmas adventure (can we make adventure an annual thing, Nadine?), my "life-twin" and I went on a roadtrip to Orangeville for a concert.

This is what I have to say about the concert in general:
I haven't been to a church-concert since John Reuben in 2002, I think. (I now feel an urge to dig that CD up and burn it onto my laptop. He was so fun). Being at a church concert brought back memories of high school, and waves of relief that I am ten years past the height of horribleness.I'm too old for concerts. Or my ears are too sensitive. They are still mildly ringing, and I may be speaking in a slightly raised voice today. I don't like being alone at public events/venues unless I am on a mission and in motion. Standing around between bands, I just didn't know what to …

Sundays are Fun-days: Still True

The start of this Sunday is about to get a separate post. Let's just say the start of Sunday was actually a late wrap-up of Saturday, which is really the best way to start.

Then:
good sermon at church - new Christmas insight, just when you think you've heard it all...turns out Herod actually was a great ruler, and did a lot of good for his people...the small flaw in it all? His ego. He was insanely afraid of losing his power, and had a wife & three sons killed at the threat of usurption.
World's Cutest Nephew was a donkey in the Sunday School nativity. He was best at hiding at the back of the stage and trying to tip over the manger...lunch with my two best church friends, pastor & wife. Second trip to Swiss Chalet since landing. It's essentially the Whitespot of Ontario. Good to be reminded that pastors are just regular people, but still fantastic.watching Home Alone 2 with a few more girls. Laughter and near-sleep.discussion on awkward slips of the tongue includ…

Thoughtful Thursday: I Do Think

I just realized that I haven't written a "Thoughtful Thursday" post since October. It's not because I haven't been thinking, that's for sure.

I think I've weighted this blog too heavily on the serious end. Or maybe it's just too much to blog every day at this point.

I think I'm growing. But then sometimes I think I'm regressing a little.

I think that winter is an unfortunate reality. Will there be winter in heaven? We discussed this briefly in the car tonight. I vote nay.

I think that life is never simple.

I think that families are incredibly lovely.

I think that church is so much more than a Sunday morning thing.

I think that art and music and beautiful words make life better.

I think I'm blessed to have people in my life to trust and love.

I think I probably panic over things I shouldn't.

I think this Christmas has the potential to be a memory-making occasion.

Two'sday: Last Day

The last day before a trip is always full.

My priorities for today are:

Pack - parameters: ten days with the family, five day conference, snow instead of rain, must include pillowWork - parameters: time-sensitive emails first, long list of things to do by the end of the week second
These are the things I'm most looking forward to:
Hanging out with D, L, and my little (bigger) brother. Coffee with D, L comes by sometime, and Jonathan is sleeping over before our flight.
Massage therapy. Mmmmmm. My shoulders are ready to be relaxed.

Sundays are Fundays: All the Right Ingredients

These are the things that make Sundays the best days. Especially today.

Starting Sunday with a late-night party that involves good people, homemade egg nog, and wild games of Mafia.Coming home to a still house and crawling into bed. Looking out the window as I lie in bed and seeing the stars.Waking up 5 minutes before my alarm (I hate waking up to an alarm).Not showering (shh, don't tell).Church. I actually haven't been in a few weeks, and it was good to stand with people and sing with hearts of love.Brunch. Mmm, food. Mmm, friends.Cookies on the counter when I get home. Watching The Office and talking with roommates.A quiet house while I do my weekend cleaning and start my laundry.Time to read.All the necessary ingredients for snickerdoodles are in the house.No guilt over blasting my music while baking.Looking forward to a Christmas party tonight.Snow. It's been gently snowing all day.

Saturday Sing Along: Terrible Holiday Tunes

There are a lot of lovely Christmas songs out there. And then there are the ones that shouldn't have been written. Now, I enjoy some of these as much as the next person. But let's not pretend they're actually any good.

Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer -
I wasn't allowed to listen to this song as a child. We did anyway. (Sorry, Mom.) In the original video, it seems she didn't die afterall. Grandpa seems a bit disappointed...


I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas -
Not only is this a preposterous request, but she has a ridiculously nasal voice. Why do we love this song so much?


The Chipmunk Song -
ALVIN! (need I say more?)


Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas) -
Okay, this is actually a serious song. But heartbreaking. A little out of sync with the majority of Christmas tunes. You can't hate it, because that's like denying the Holocaust. But who wants to listen to it on their regular rotation of Christmas cheer?


It's Christmas Time -
White Christian r…

Friday Vari-e-tay: Things I Liked This Week

Here are my top picks of internet-amazingness for the week. Some of these showed up in Twitter, but deserve a second shout out. Some of these are new.


7. Ryan Seacrest: Taking Over the World & Yet Invisible... I thought this was an interesting article. And I noticed how much older he looks in this photograph.

6. This pointless wrestling music video made me smile.

5. This photo made me love California and photography just a little bit more.

4. Looking at the "Ultra Deep Field" through the Hubble Telescope. Guaranteed to make you feel small.

3. A new band! Club 8 out of Sweden. Don't let their name make you think of S Club 7, because that will scare you away. But they are too good for that. Download one of their songs here.

2. The Unbelievable World of Snowflakes. Looking at these images and facts gives me shivers - not of cold, but of awe.

1. Fuel/Friends Christmas Mix for 2009. As a bonus, you can also get 2008's mix. And 2007's. Don't delay. Download now! Then …

Wednesday's Word: Libraries

Books
Originally uploaded by bethaf. I love the library.

It sucks me in. (like Glee - every Wednesday night I say that to the television. "You suck me in, and I hate it!")

I worked at the public library during my last year of high school. I loved the work because I got so distracted. Books. All around me. Books, passing through my fingers on their way out the door, and then back to the shelves. Kids' books. Fiction. Teeny-bopper books. Non-fiction.

There are too many books out there. I can't read them all. But I did find that I could read a lot of kids' books while "shelving" them.

I have great memories of the library from when I was little, too. The Bookmobile came around to our neighbourhood on a regular basis (I'd like to say twice a week, but I am not sure if that's accurate). A little, mini-library on wheels right at the corner store. Can you get any better than this?

In an alternate life, I would work at the library again. I like being surrounde…

Mondays Mean More: Over-thinking

I am, by nature, a thinker. A details person, through-and-through. Combine the two, and I might go so far as to say that it is in my blood to over-think most things in life. It is a rare occasion when I act too quickly or make a decision without extended time to consider all potential angles.

(The exception is speaking too soon. I do that regularly. Then my over-thinker kicks in and I spend the next six weeks wondering what sort of damage I've done. Usually, the other person hasn't noticed, or lets it go far before I do.)

As you might guess, this often gets me into trouble - I stress out over unnecessary things. Decisions that should be simple and obvious. Group activities that require the consideration of more than six peoples' feelings. The consequences of the off-handed comment I made to a friend two weeks ago. This blog entry, that I've been thinking about for 2 weeks and writing for 2 days.



It is now Tuesday morning, and my life-twin Nadine has just said to me, "…

Sundays are Fundays: Weekends Too

I like weekends. Especially ones that start early. Things I liked about this weekend include:

A solution for my slight piercing infection. I was freaking out on Thursday night that I might need a nose amputation. Fear, be gone!Haircut. Straightened for the day. See image below.
Wrapping up photo editing of the O.'s wedding with Becca. Stay tuned for the release of my favourites.Live jazz at The Cellar with some of the greatest girls in Langley. If I had $500 to spare, or if anyone is thinking of spending that much on me for Christmas/my birthday, I would seriously consider becoming a member. It was also the second time in a week that I'd heard Jodi Proznick play. The first was at the Elektra concert last Saturday.Sleeping in on Saturday morning.Doing nothing for most of Saturday. Laughing with L. and A. on Saturday. Going for a walk in the sunshine on Saturday.Helping a friend devise a plan to make a work party bearable. "Make a list in your head of all the alternative thi…

Friday Vari-e-tay: 3x3 (Gifts that Give)

Three sets of three today:

3 Gifts that Give - how $40 can change a life

1. Child of Mine (my church is sending gifts to the two orphanages in India we support)
2. Impact Nations Water Filters (providing drinkable water in the Philippines)
3. mycharity:water (a friend is raising money to provide fresh water in lieu of Christmas gifts)


3 Songs I'm Singing

1. Passion Play - William Fitzsimmons


2. Ok - MuteMath (no video)


3. You've Got the Love - Florence + the Machine



3 Half-Read Articles

1. An excerpt from the "first great novel of the new century" - a timely work on the economy.

2. Why we're all sucked in to Glee.

3. Vanishing in the Techonological Age - is it possible? One Wired writer tries to find out.

Bonus Round: Dreams

There's something fascinating about dreams, and how the things that we think about during the day come out in strange ways at night, and the tiny details that are inexplicable and yet memorable. I can recall three dreams from the last two nights. It's been awhile since I've really remembered my dreams, and I've been thinking about these ones all day.

Dream #1:

I am in the forest somewhere in the Lower Mainland. Possibly Stanley Park. I have my camera with me, and I notice two major additions to my kit: a unipod and a telephoto lens. As I take photos, it seems that my lens does all the work for me. Looking at my shots on screen, I have an Aha! moment - This is why their photos are so good, I think of some images I've been perusing online, This is the secret! I continue taking photos, giddy at how fantastic they are, and excited to talk photography with my artistic friends.


Dream #2:

I drive up for dinner at the home of some long-distance coworkers (actually a conglomer…

Wednesday's Word: Plurals & Grammars

There are rules for pluralizing words. With every rule, comes exceptions. Two exceptions I've run up against recently had me googling the answers.

I'd rather research than make a mistake. Some people might think that makes me a grammar nazi. I prefer the term Grammar Champion. I am a champion for the cause of good grammar. I am encouraging and positive in my pursuit of better speaking and writing skills, for myself and for my friends. And I uphold the value of both Prescriptive and Descriptive grammars.

I could go on. Even writing these two paragraphs is making me wonder where all my notes are from my History of the English Langauge class. Best course I ever took. (Read about the prof's work on Chaucer here.) Topics ranged from Middle English to the Great Vowel Shift (it's a real thing, folks!) to the Norman Invasion and the Evolution of Taboo Words.

(happy sigh)

Now I have to wrap this up. Somehow. How about a challenge - the same challenge that started my thoughts on gra…

Mondays Mean More: Waiting

Last night I went to an Advent service at a friend's church. Advent hasn't really been a part of my church experience over the years, and I am still figuring it out.

I figured out, for example, that Advent is about waiting. Although I was highly distracted for most of the evening, this prayer grabbed my heart.

It is you.
I am looking for you.
You whose face will let me love
You whose hands will look like home
You whose path will unwind my longing
You whose words will still my fear
You whose arms are my belonging
You whose table is never empty
You whose shelter is never lean
You whose presence is kept as promised.
I am looking for you.
I am looking for you.
Amen.

I've been wanting to write about Waiting for awhile...I tried explaining this (briefly) to my friend Nadine tonight. She asked what I was going to say about Waiting, and I said, "How we spend most of our time waiting, but no one writes about it, talks about it, makes it into a movie, or really values it."

We wait.
We find…

Ever After

I can't help myself. Ever After is my favourite chick flick.

The music.
The wit.
The simplicity.
The costumes.
The eye-rolling unrealism.
The fairy tale ending.

I understand why others cringe - but this scene makes me smile more than I usually admit.


The thing that does make me cringe in this movie is the accent - no one sounds remotely realistic. In fact, as I watch it, I am suddenly and unfortunately reminded of this clip from Friends, when Phoebe and Monica are visited by an old, and rather obnoxious, friend.

Saturday Sing Along: Giving In to Christmas

It started earlier this week, when Trans Siberian Orchestra popped into my iTunes shuffle.

O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night


Last night we discussed The Sound of Music. Particularly this song.



I remembered that it's actually kind of a Christmas movie. And I wanted to watch it. Because of this song:


(covered below by Pomplamoose)




Today, I attended the Elektra Women's Choir Christmas Concert, entitled "Chez Nous." Last year I attended a Christmas chorale show as well - slightly different, but equally lovely. I'm going to make it a annual tradition to kick off the season with some sort of concert.

I could go on at length about today's, but I'll summarize:
children + singing = adorable.
upright bass + guitar = relaxing groove.
choir + handbells = heaven.

I was reminded of how much I love this song:

Huron Carol


And this song.

Sleigh Ride - please ignore the terrible, terrible photo montage.




On the way home we listened to this song, which made me feel both happy and lonely…

Wednesday's Word: Strengthsfinder

A few months back, I did a Strengthsfinder assessment, a test based on Gallup research that identifies your top 5 strengths (out of 34 possibilities) and is tied to several books on leadership and personal development. The basic underlying principle that I gleaned from Now, Discover Your Strengths is that the "most effective people are those who understand their strengths and behaviors. These people are best able to develop strategies to meet and exceed the demands of their daily lives, their careers, and their families."

What doesn't want to be a person that "exceeds the demands of their daily life?" I know I do.

And I'm working with the following strengths:

1. Input

"The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity. If you read a great deal, it is not necessarily to refine your theories but, rather, to add more information to your archives. If you like to travel, it is because each new location offers novel artifacts and fac…

Two'sday: From My Black Book of Poetry

Why I Ended It

I have spent
too much time
thinking about you.

I want to know your mind,
hear your heart.

I am afraid
of what I cannot read
in your eyes.

And when I dream of you,
it is not of quiet moments
or wedding bells,

But loathsome quarrels
and the tension in your shoulders
when we don’t
quite
touch.





Undertow

I fell in love with a tyrant
Master with an icy heart
Temperamental and unrelenting
Demanding everything

You fell in love with a maiden
Woman of beauty and spirit
Beckoning with rhythmic voice
Offering your freedom

Now we sit on the same slick shore
While the waves lick at our toes
And the roar I hear
And the pulse you feel
Come from the same dark sea

Tofino

Tofino 152
Originally uploaded by bethaf. I would like to live by the sea someday.

Mondays Mean More: Risk

Whenever I think of "risk" I think of two things. 1. The board game. and 2. Men playing it. Risk is unavoidably male in my mind. Men playing games that last for days. Strategizing. Plotting. Trying to take over the world.

I've never played. I've never wanted to. I think I've always assumed that I'll be overtaken after a careless calculation or oversight. Or that it will drag on forever, I'll get bored, throw my chips in and be officially laboured Loser: Non-Ruler of the World.

(Interestingly, my dad has an old, old game that is similar to Risk called Diplomacy. But it seems to me that Diplomacy is quite a different game. In this board game, you should be making alliances and bartering for connections between countries. If you wanted to form diplomatic relations with Great Britain, it would cost you more than say, Spain. Bringing Iran into your fold of friends would require a very specific set of goods to trade and careful manoeuvrings with other countries. …

Friday Vari-e-tay: Unfinished Business

Thanks to the beauty of technology, I am blogging this to the FUTURE.

These are all the tabs I have open on Wednesday, articles and things I wanted to read and/or blog about before I went on vacation.

Emerging Women

Great Songs You've Never Heard from 2009

Ogden Wedding Teaser

Why I'm Not a New Calvinist

Jesus with Prostitute

The Crappiest Dad at Mothers' Morning Out

Wednesday's Word: The Shack

A year after the rest of Christendom, I have finally read The Shack.

Two things surprised me.

1. The theology wasn't nearly as wacked out as I'd been influenced to believe. In fact, I don't think the theology is any more misinformed than my own theology is. What I mean is, it's not perfect, but I don't think it's that far off. I would be totally willing to suggest the representation of God in this book as a decent starting point for understanding who He is. And it was a good reminder to me of the centrality of relationship in my worldview and interaction with God.

2. The writing was awful. The story itself has great potential, and there were moments of really powerful dialogue. But I wasn't even halfway through the prologue before I thought, This is going to be painful. This may be in part that it's a very didactic text (that is, a text intended to teach a specific point). But for a book that I believe made it on the NY Times Bestsellers' List, I was s…

Two'sday: Announcements

Ahem.

1. I am going away for the rest of my vacation and leaving the internet behind. No blogging until Sunday at the earliest. Farewell.

2. I got my nose pierced today. I had it pierced once before, six years ago (SIX YEARS AGO!?), but took it out after 4 months because of infection and a pride issue. I hope that this time around, neither pride nor pain force out my lovely ring.

Sundays are Fundays: Or Not

Today has been a good day, don't get me wrong. But my mood these past weeks is a bit like the weather. Somber.

In the last couple of months, I have really been soaking things in. And one of the things I've observed is that life is complicated. Sometimes crappy. Often more difficult than we expect. And there isn't always much that I can do or say to people in difficult places.

Yesterday, this song came on my shuffle, and I thought, This is it. When I don't know what to say to my friends, this is what I really want them to know.


So this is for all my friends whose Sundays aren't Fundays.



Katie Herzig - "I Hurt Too"

When you’re weary
And haunted
And your life is not what you wanted
When you’re trying so hard to find it

When the lies speak the loudest
When your friends are starting to leave
When you’re broken by people like me

I hurt too, I hurt too

When an ocean sits right between us
There is no sign that we’ll ever cr…

Saturday Sing Along: Waking Up

It surprises me, what songs are in my head when I wake up in the morning. Today it was Lady Gaga's Paparazzi, but I hate that song too much to link it here. It's horrible. Awful. And I don't know why it was in my head.

This week, other popular songs have included:

1. Jason Mraz - "I'm Yours"


I think this is because I watched a cover of this song, with lyrics to place an order at MacDonalds:



2. Florence + the Machine - "Kiss with a Fist" and "Between Two Lungs"



3. "Dancing With Myself" - originally by Billy Idol, lately performed on Glee:



Not stuck in my head, but thinking about all these "waking up" songs reminds me of this classic from my pre-teen years. I think it was my theme during all those growth spurts...except for the part where I might get fired. Since I didn't actually work.

"Sleep" - Riley Armstrong

Mondays Mean More: Poetry

Poetry and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship. Sometimes, I read poems that leave me making that strangely perplexed face. Even my own attempts at writing poetry are hit and miss. Am I brilliant or brutal?

I don't know.

But I do know that there are moments when poetry is exceedingly beautiful. Like this excerpt from Matthew Arnold'sThe Hymn of Empedocles:


Is it so small a thing
To have enjoy'd the sun,
To have lived light in the spring,
To have loved, to have thought, to have done;
To have advanced true friends, and beat down baffling foes;

That we must feign a bliss
Of doubtful future date,
And while we dream on this
Lose all our present state,
And relegate to worlds yet distant our repose?

Not much, I know, you prize
What pleasures may be had,
Who look on life with eyes
Estranged, like mine, and sad:
And yet the village churl feels the truth more than you;

Wednesday's Word: In Flanders Fields

In grade school, once a year we had to memorize a poem and recite it for the whole class. Up until grade 5, at which point we had to start writing speeches. I detested public speaking, and have few memories of this part of my education.

I do, however, remember that I chose to memorize In Flanders Fields one year. I can still recall it from memory:

In Flanders Fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses row on row
That mark our graves, but in the sky
The lark, still bravely singing, flies -
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead.
Short days ago, we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow.
Loved and were loved.
But now we lie in Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep
Though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields

(I verified that - and turns out I forget the first line of the last stanza...)

It's one of those once-a-year poems, but that didn't phase me when I was ei…

Two'sday: Liberrary

I love the library. Today, I am returning two books (via my roommate, so I don't actually have to leave the house).

Book #1: Free Range Chickens. A humourous collection of assorted conversations and random untrue experiences from an SNL writer who looks about 12 in his jacket photo. He is actually 25. This is his second book. He is funny and has a prestigious comedy job. I don't envy him though, because I don't know if he is really happy with it all. But I did laugh at his book.

Book #2: Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. One book combining all my favourite topics - WWII, literature, the UK, letter-writing and romance. What can I say? A lighthearted and fully enjoyable read. The classic book-within-a-book mechanism makes so many things possible...

Mondays Mean More: Body Confidence

Today at the gym, I got a little weepy watching How to Look Good Naked.

For those of you who don't know the show, a fabulously tall and warm-hearted Gok takes British women of all shapes and sizes who dislike their appearances, gives them a makeover and helps them learn to love their bodies. A big part of the process during each episode is a nude (but tasteful) photo shoot, and the opportunity to model (and potentially bare all) in front of hundreds of people.

Today's episode (the first of the current season) featured a 62 year-old and her 40 year-old daughter. It talked about the reality of teenage girls in Britain and their dissatisfaction with their bodies. Things we inherit in part from our parents, absorb from the media, and encourage in our peers.

As I'm running on the treadmill, watching these women learn to actually look at their bodies, I realize again how widespread this pandemic is.


This summer, I liked the way my clothes looked on me. I liked everything in my clo…

Sundays are Fundays: Skype Conversations

If there is one thing that I never have to worry about on the weekend, it is this: will I have anyone to hang out with? Anything to do?

The answer is always yes. I have a great group of friends both near and far, and seemingly-unending opportunities for coffee dates, conversations, and other fun times. Like this conversation with a (non-white, male) friend.

(Disclaimer: this may open up some concerns regarding racist tendencies among my friends. If this conversation is bothersome to you, I'm happy to discuss.)

Friend: so Beth, how white would you consider yourself to beand how white are you really

Beth: uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh?what's the scale? how do i measure?

Friend: its an open question, you can choose to answer both questions however you feel like

Beth: okay.
Beth: i would consider myself 90% white. but i'm really only 75% white.

Friend: realllllllyy. wow.

Beth: see, i don't know what your scale is like. so that might mean something different to you than it does to me.

Friend: i a…

Bonus Round: Wedding Photography

watermark 498
Originally uploaded by bethaf. Well, it's Saturday night, and what else do I have to do but edit photos? A few weekends ago, I was assistant photographer for a real live wedding. Not scary at all.

My brilliantly talented friend Becca was the main photographer. And although I think we both have a long list of things to improve for next time (if such a thing should happen), we have managed to produce some truly lovely photos.

We're still playing around with what our watermark/name will be, and I must say our last names fit together perfectly for this sort of artistic endeavour...

Saturday Sing Along: New York

New York is very popular in music. When I start with "New York" in my mind, this is the playlist that evolves. (what can I say - my musical tastes are diverse?)

warning - some videos may be offensive to some viewers.

"White Collar Boy" - Belle and Sebastian (they also sing "Piazza, New York Catcher" but I could only find covers of it on Youtube)


"New York, New York" - Frank Sinatra & Gene Kelly (see also a song with the same title by Ryan Adams)


"New York" - U2


"Empire State of Mind (in New York)" - Jay Z & Alicia Keys


"American Boy" - Estelle feat. Kanye

Friday Vari-e-tay: The Sea

This is my extensive list of "Things I Know About the Sea."
It is large.It is salty.It is too cold to swim in, at least in Canada.Fish live there.Seaweed grows there.Some places have coral. Sometimes coral gets diseases and people study them. I don't know why. Some places it is so deep that we haven't seen the bottom yet.Some places you can fish for crab and lobster. I have done this. I also jigged (jogged?) for cod.
There are dolphins and sharks in the sea.Whales are mammals. Sea cucumbers are animals! I have touched them.There are both freshwater and saltwater otters.
Some birds live off fish. They are called seabirds. Male seahorses carry the babies before they are born. The highest tides in the world are in Canada - at the Bay of Fundy. They can be up to 16.3 metres high. Canada has the longest coastline in the world. Three times as much rubbish, by weight, is dumped in the ocean than fish are caught. A group of jellyfish is called a "smack." Herrings sw…

Wednesday's Word: Courage

Back in August, work gave me a book called Courage: The Backbone of Leadership. It sat on my desk for a couple of months. I read the intro and thought, "meh."

Then I took it with me on a business trip and have been devouring it for the last week and a half. If you work with me, and were given a copy, please read it. I'd love to hear thoughts on the application within our context. If you don't work with me or weren't given a copy, you should also read it.

Some snippets:
He was teaching me to behave according to values and rules instead of in response to fear or need.

No matter who we are and what we do, we are seduced by avoidance.

Most [American HR experts] confirm that the vast majority of male executives don't cheat but are conflict-adverse...about 80 percent...most of them agree that American female executives are more courageous in approaching conflict but often lack the institutional authority to have the impact of their male counterparts.

Results are resource…