Dec 31, 2010

A New Year and Shakespeare

Well, it [the title] almost rhymes.

In my cyberspace travels, I came across a nice little questionnaire about the past year. I figured that since I have always, in some form or another, recounted the past year in written form, a questionnaire would be a sufficient manner in which to do this. I mean, it's no heartfelt diary entry (see former self and many old diaries), but it'll do.

So, I present, 2010 in review.

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
This past year has been filled with many blessings, many trials, many good books. The best thing that has happened? Oh goodness, this is a tough one. I think that the single best thing is a part of a greater best thing. The greater best thing is Redeemer University College, and the life I have made there. The single best thing would be my wonderful group of first year girls and the relationships I have been able to build with them, and the things they have taught me about Christ's love and what it means to be a servant and a leader. 

2. What is the single most challenging thing that has happened this past year?
The single most challenging thing that happened this year was, with no exceptions, working at Redeemer over the summer. It was a terrible job, for horrible pay. In reality, the only good thing about the job was that it taught me that I never want to get into the hotel/service industry. Bleh. It took a lot of self-convincing to get myself up every morning to go to a job which I absolutely despised. And I mean despised. It was a decision I resent, but it was an experience. It is, after all, through challenging experiences that we grow and change. I learned that I hated making beds. 

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
Getting to know Jon MacDonald. One of my favourite things about the terrible job were those times when I didn't work, but spent time at Jon's, eating pizza, and watching anything from Galaxy Quest to the Police Academy series. He even taught me how to play Guitar Hero. Now, I sucked, but at least now I know! 

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
Moving four times in four months was a little annoying. But that wasn't really unexpected...

5. Pick 3 words to describe 2010.
Growth. Laughter. God-breathed.

6. What were the best books you read this past year?
I really enjoyed FINALLY reading all of the Hitchhiker's series. But my favourite books were The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel, and A Jest of God by Margaret Laurence. The best, creatively speaking, was The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde. The best, politically and socially speaking, would be Beatrice and Virgil. 

7. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
My roommate, Amanda. Joel, Maria, Emily. And the beautiful girls I have had the opportunity to live with in the past year - including Kait, Keeley, Lauren and Yana. These girls are the best. Also, one of my most valuable relationships this year has been with Jer. He is one of my best friends at Redeemer, and he and I have been through a lot together. We have grown together, and I am incredibly grateful for the support system and brother I have in him.

8. What was the single-biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Uh, Facebook. That's a no brainer. However, I also worked through the entire series of Gilmore Girls this past summer. That was a huge waste of time.

9. What was the best way in which you used your time this past year?
Learning to pray and spending time in prayer. I have always struggled with prayer in my relationship with God. I think I struggle with it because prayer is a conversation, and, in many ways, a recognized dependence. I don't like not being in control [thankfully, that means I am human]. One of the girls I live with, Meredeth (see the side for her blog), started a Wednesday morning prayer group. Getting up at 7am for prayer, mid-week, has been, hands down, one of the best ways I have spent time in the past year. 

10. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?
I learned to read Shakespeare properly, which I must say, is a very exciting accomplishment. I learned time management. I learned how to be a good student, not just a student, after I realized that God called me to be a student (for now), and so He demands my all. That was a pretty cool thing to learn. 

So, what are my goals for 2011?

I would like to be able to finally finish reading Henry James' Portrait of a Lady.
I hope to lead, by the grace of God, a missions team to Juarez, Mexico, in February 2011.
I hope to open myself up to what God is teaching me, and follow Him.

And, to finish this post off, something funny to watch for the New Year. Tonight, Mom, Dad and I were watching The Cosby Show, where Theo and Cockroach had been studying Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. This was their rendition:

Pretty funny, eh?!

I suppose that if Shakespeare was taught like this, students might actually enjoy his work.

Happy 2011!

Word of the Day: celebrate

Quote of the Day: Girl from The Waltons: "You left Floyd and Me." [Baby cries]. Me: "Poor kid, he just realized that his name is Floyd."

Dec 28, 2010

Last Book of 2010

Well, as this year draws to a close, I have decided that I need to finish at least one more book before 2011 rings in.

That book is 'Lost in a Good Book' by Jasper Fforde.

I really enjoy Jasper Fforde, though I'm finding he has a way of including references to more Charles Dickens novels than anything else. This particular novel also has a few references to Alice in Wonderland, Franz Kafka and Thomas Hardy (and that's nice to see).

So far, I give this book my approval. Though, if you are going to read it, I suggest reading 'The Eyre Affair', 'Jane Eyre', and a few Dickens novels (Mystery of Edwin Drood, Great Expectations, etc). Give yourself a good foundation. I don't know how you could understand these books without a solid knowledge of Classical literature.

Side note: What are the 6 most boring novels in Classic literature? Apparently Spencer's 'Faerie Queene' isn't one of them...

Word of the Day: sleep

Quote of the Day: "Can I get in your snowpants?" -Me to Mom

Dec 24, 2010

Celebration. God is with us!

Emmanuel, God has come!

So, celebrate.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come! The earth recieve her King! Let every heart prepare Him room, and heaven and nature sing!

Word of the Day: Rejoice

Quote of the Day: "For unto us a child is born."

Dec 19, 2010

Advent Praise

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons [and daughters] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will -- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One who loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment -- to bring all things on heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in oder that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession -- to the praise of his glory.
- Ephesians 1: 2-14

Word of the Day: honour

Quote of the Day: "Is the internet finite or infinite? (pause) What! It's been a long time since I have had a ridiculous intellectual discussion!" Erica Akers

Dec 18, 2010

Let Hope Rise


Erica comes home from France for Christmas.

Christmas is coming.

Let Hope Rise. Let Darkness Tremble.

Happy Weekend.

Word of the Day: Predictable

Quote of the Day: :You drive on the other side of the road in Alberta?!" Corey Van Huizen

Dec 14, 2010

Snowmagedon (The Sequel)

I wonder if London's snowstorm was the calm...

The full story of the snow storm that has hit SouthWestern Ontario can be found here. And I encourage you to watch some of the footage. The woman speaking on the phone is Wilma Zondag, a wonderful person who has the gift of organization and leadership. East Christian Reformed Church was my home church for 8 years.

What people do not understand about the snowstorm is that the 402 between London and Sarnia is the only major road connecting those cities. Strathroy, my hometown, is the only town between them with 2 Tim Hortons' and more than 3 stop lights (We have about 8, and that officially make us the coolest!). So, when the news says people are stranded between London and Sarnia, in Strathroy, they aren't kidding. The stretch between Strathroy and Sarnia is farm country, completely open for blowing wind and terrible driving conditions. The 402 is a vital highway simply for the transportation of goods that come from the Sarnia/Port Huron border. So, if something like Snowmagedon hits, they aren't kidding when they say it is bad.

You can see the photos too!

Yet, I have a response to all the people who are wondering why they cannot just have the choppers that the army sent out working at a faster rate...

The weather is still bad enough, that it is dangerous for them to fly. Snowplows can't get out because there is too much snow for them to operate. Sometimes it happens that the only way to find people is to put on your snowshoes, get in your snowmobile, and go. Welcome to my neck of the woods.

The following photo was sent to me from my friend, Craig DeBoer. He lives in Wyoming, ON, which is halfway between Strathroy and Sarnia. This is what his farm looked like yesterday:

I love winter. I really do.

But I also love it when people are able to travel safely. My dad, who left for work yesterday morning, is stuck out in the snow, he's staying at someone's house near Wyoming. If it wasn't for kind strangers who were willing to take in those who managed to get out before complete disaster, the Can Forces would have a lot more work on their hands.

Word of the Day: Preposterous

Quote of the Day: "The little girl found Narnia behind a Walmart Photocentre Cashier Desk!" -Me, waiting to get a new passport photo taken

Dec 13, 2010

Ancaster has Snow!

I never thought this day would happen. I think that, in one snowfall, we have more snow here now than we did during last year's winter. Crazy stuff!

Campus last night was excited, to put it mildly.

I sat on the porch with a blanket, watching the snow fall against streetlights. And then I watched 70% of Redeemer students bundle up in their winter stuff and have a campus-wide snowball fight. Amazing.

Word of the Day: Defeat

Quote of the Day: "Oh come Emmanuel."

Dec 11, 2010

Exam Time

This year it doesn't feel like classes should be over. It doesn't feel like it is time for final exams.

I have my first final in about 3 hours. It sounds daunting, but I cannot imagine that it is. Here is the thing with studying.

I don't like studying. I don't actually find it to be at all productive. Sure, for things like Math, Science, and Religion, it is a very good method. But English? Shakespeare? The best it is going to do is remind me of the evil in Richard III, or tragedy of Lear, or Prospero's genius in The Tempest. I actually have a really hard time studying for English classes. The key is reading everything the first time. After that, it is just a matter of running through notes.

Word of the Day: Clandestine

Quote of the Day: "I am the trophy wife of dictators." Meghan

Dec 8, 2010


If you know anything about South-Western Ontario, you know that in the winter it gets snow like no where else in Canada.

If you have been an avid reader of my blog since the beginning, you know that Hamilton/Ancaster hasn't seen a good snow in about a two years. I refer to my neck of the universe as 'the tropics', which really isn't true, because it gets awfully cold, it just doesn't snow.

Well, recently London, ON, has experienced a phenomenon that my friend Megan Cowan has affectionately dubbed as Snowmagedon.

This is what London ON looks like (I may or may not have, with the first being the more likely of the two, stolen this from my best friend, Kelsey Kalverda):

Ancaster looks like this:

As you can see, we are quite lacking on the snow. In fact, for us students, knowing that the University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe College have been shut down for a few days, are actually hoping the opposite. We don't want a Snowmagedon here. We want to write our exams and go home for Christmas. 

Word of the Day: aforementioned (Amanda used it in an essay)

Quote of the Day: "Bloody...DIARRHEA! What? I didn't want to insult the British!" Ben Lootens

Dec 6, 2010

The Canadian University Press

Here is some exciting news!

In the new year I have the priviledge of attending the Canadian University Press conference (affectionately known as NASH) in Montreal, Quebec. I get to go to some fun seminars, stay at the Hyatt Regency hotel, meet a whole bunch of journalists from all across Canada, and have an amazing time... Oh, and did I mention that the CUP (Canadian University Press) is paying for me to come, be there, and go home again?


Word of the Day: virescent

Quote of the Day: "Art lives upon discussion." Henry James, American novelist, 1884.

Dec 2, 2010

The Northrop Story

Last night I was terrified that Northrop was going to die.

He had been rather lethargic the last few days. He wasn't eating, and he didn't get excited when anyone came into the room. In my former years, way back before I 1) kept a blog and 2) was in University, I had a couple goldfish. I got them from a GEMS dinner when I was about 13. Lipstick, a white and gold one with a black mouth died within a few days. Gill, the gold and black spotted one stayed alive for years. He lived in the worst living conditions a fish could imagine. I think I cleaned his bowl once a month, fed him once every couple of weeks, and just neglected him. I was an irresponsible teenager. Ironically, the thing that killed Gill was a water change in the spring of 2006. I was 17 years old. I was laughing so hard, I was crying, and poking the darn thing to try and get it to live. The whole incident, though tragic, was highly entertaining.

So, this summer I decided I wanted to buy a guitar. Instead, Dan Kikkert took me to PetSmart, and I got Northrop (it took a couple hours to come by that name). He was the most energetic of all the fish. He would swim around in a circle with excitement when I got close to the container he was in, he didn't try to eat any of the other fish. He was sweet, and energetic, and happy. So, I bought him.

For about a month, Northrop lived in a vase with some purple beads that didn't stay on the bottom. He liked pushing them around and diving at them, and trying to get them to sink or float. He always greeted me at the glass when it was time to be fed. He was such a happy fish. Then, I moved him into a fishbowl which I had bought from Pet Smart. I had picked up and dried and then boiled and then redried some rocks from a beach, and then purchased some cheap vines. Northrop was tranfered into the bowl somewhere near the end of July. He had culture shock at first. He didn't move around much, he wouldn't eat, he didn't greet me. I think he just didn't know what to make of all the room there was in which to swim.

Northrop then came with me to Redeemer. He lived on the coffee table for a couple days until I cleaned his bowl and moved him upstairs to the shelf. He then has had a happy life, getting irritated at Natalie's orange hair, getting irritated at orange and pink highlighters, greeting me every morning when I feed him, and just being a generally happy fish. And I mean happy. Bettas are, apparently usually very boring and unattentive fish. They usually sleep a lot. Not Northrop. He was always an energetic fish.
(The fish below is not Northrop, but a fish that looks like Northrop)

Until, that is, a few days ago. Over the weekend I noticed that he wasn't eating as much as he usually does, and he was spending a lot of time wedged in between the weeds close to the surface. Tuesday, I noticed that he hadn't eaten anything, and was just laying around lethargically. For Northrop, this was strange. I looked up some information on Bettas last night and discovered that lethargy and lack of appetite in a Betta fish means one of three things:
1) The bowl needs to be cleaned because there are high levels of nitrate and ammonia which are apparently really bad for their respiratory systems,
2) The water is too cold; Betta's need warmer temperatures, in the cold, they move less in order to reserve energy.
3) Northrop is sick. Apparently, not eating is one of the sure signs that one has a sick Betta.

So, I ran down my checklist. The windows had been open in our room that weekend because it was a little warm in the house, and you know, Amanda and I give off a lot of body heat when So that was likely a contributing factor, but that didn't explain why he wasn't eating. Next, cleaning the bowl... it had been over a month since I had last done that. I mean, he is one fish in a 1.5 gallon bowl. He doesn't eat THAT much, and there were a substantial amount of rocks on the bottom of the bowl to keep the water from getting too poluted. I cleaned the bowl anyways.

It was almost instantaneous. I brought him downstairs and did my cleaning ritual. My girls cheered (mostly because they wanted to see Northrop live too). Suddenly, this fish, who had been a living floating device for the last few days came back to life. He was swimming around and exploring his clean bowl (probably because he could see in it again). He was diving down and around, and swimming through the reeds and rocks, and just having a grand ole time. So, I took him back upstairs and sat him back on the shelf. Within half an hour, he was getting lethargic again, and using the reeds near the surface for support. 

Oh, dear, I couldn't help but think. Another fish is going to die because I changed his water. 

So I looked up everything I could about Betta fish. Their eating habits, habitats, appropriate water temperatures, etc. I looked up diseases, cures, and everything in between. But there was poor Northrop, just doing... nothing.

The only thing I could do was leave him for the night and hope that he would be alive in the morning.

When I woke up this morning, I hobbled across the room and peered towards Northrop's bowl. I couldn't seem to figure out where he was. I didn't see him in the spot I left him in last night. He wasn't hiding in his usual spot in the reeds, and he wasn't swimming around. Instantly, I started looking around the bowl. I have heard of other fish who have jumped out of their bowls, so I checked thoroughly. No sign of Northrop. So, I started to make noise. Suddenly, a little purple thing wiggles its way out of the bottom of the fish bowl, where he had been hiding under rocks, and swam right up to the glass and looked at me. Then, he veered head first into the glass about 8 times, before he swam and hid behind the reeds. 

So, I did the next logical thing - I tried to feed him. I took about 5 pellets and dropped them at the top of the bowl. Within seconds, Northrop made a beeline for the pellets. I have never seen anything eat so quickly. 

I still don't know what was wrong with him. Maybe it was just that he needed a water change, and some heat from my lamp. But this morning his colour was back to normal, and he was happy and excited to be alive. Strange fish.

On a completely different note: The weather cannot decide whether or not it wants to snow. There is a flake every couple minutes. I hope it just snows. 

Word of the Day: Water

Quote of the Day: "I'm looking down at you, and all I can see is your face and your boobs, and I'm not sure which to look at! " Nathan Wensink