Friday, December 29, 2006

Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: The Quiz

Check out the online Eats, Shoots, and Leaves quiz. 100%, suckas! Anyone else a punctuation nazi?

More importantly... Anyone other than me COOL enough to have read the book? :)



Thursday, December 28, 2006


So holidays are fine and all, but can I confess something? They totally stress me out. It's not just the busyness of it all. It's the disruption to my schedule.

I'm a control freak. And I'm becoming increasingly comfortable with that truth. Need evidence? I'm the girl who wants to nail down plans a week or two ahead of time. I like to show up early for dinner so that I can pick my chair at the table so my back won't be facing the door. I volunteer to plan events because the idea of just showing up and seeing what happens scares me a little bit. Heck, I can't leave a microwave blinking with 8 seconds left on the clock - I'll push the button to clear the display, doesn't matter whose kitchen I'm in.

My sister convinced me that I don't need to straighten my hair every day (like I have since junior high), because it makes me look 'not fun.' It's been wavy and free for a day and a half now. And I don't feel fun, I just feel messy and out of control. But I think I should get points for trying.

So here's to the return of my life's regular scheduled programming, just a few short days away... :)

Regular? Regularly?? Sigh. I really must add 'learn to let go and live a little' to my to-do list.



Open Mouth, Insert Foot

"One of the things I've learned on the Google is to pull up maps. It's very interesting to see - I've forgotten the name of the program - but you get the satellite, and you can - like, I kinda like to look at the ranch. It reminds me of where I wanna be sometimes."
- Bush, asked during an interview with CNBC if he ever googled anybody.

Read about all the finalists of Wired magazine's 2006 Foot-in-Mouth Awards.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Christmas

It never fails to amaze me how quickly Christmas flies by. The build-up begins before the snow flies (before Halloween this year, I noted) - and, just like that, it's all over. Driveways are full of garbage bags containing paper and boxes that should have been recycled. The return lines are full of people holding gift receipts and lame presents from distant family members and husbands now sleeping on the couch. And mothers everywhere are making gallons of turkey noodle soup.

Technically, mine's not *quite* over. My mom's family will be heading to Rock Lake on Friday afternoon for three days of fun in the snow and Christmas festivities.

It was a really great long weekend. I spent Friday night curled up on a couch with The Boy watching 'Love Actually' - my favourite Christmas movie - and force-feeding him homemade soup in an attempt to make him healthy before the holidays. Wait. Did I say force-feeding? I meant ENCOURAGING. No one needs to be forced to consume my soup, it's amazing :P

Saturday, I cleaned my house (which was way more exciting to me than it sounds... I'm such a geek) and then Geoff and I met Anja and Kyle for dinner. The morning of the 24th, I was singing in church and then headed over to my parents' place - just a hop, skip, and a jump through the snow-covered countryside. Later, a few of us watched 'A Christmas Story' and then our family had dinner together and opened gifts. Kevin, Cait, and Geoff were all there this year and it was really fun. Lots of laughing at Jessica, our resident drama queen, with a few nice little Hallmark moments thrown in.

On Monday (Christmas Day), my dad's family all came over for lunch and for the afternoon. That gathering is usually hosted by my grandparents, but plans all changed when my oma had a stroke last week. My oma was able to come, which was a total answer to prayer, but she needed lots of help and was using her walker. It was different, but in a 'we're glad that everyone's here with us' way.

Today was seriously lazy. I slept in, spent lots of time with my parents, cleaned my car (talk about a Christmas miracle), made use of my parents' outdoor hot tub, did my nails... Yeah, that's about it. It was glorious. And it's back to The Big City in the morning.

So Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.


PS - My dad is working on some kind of invention... Apparently, ordinary toboggans on giant, icy hills aren't fast enough. He has a plan that involves wheels, plywood, margarine, and helmets. I kid you not. I've seen the sketches for myself - proudly displayed on our fridge and ominously labelled 'The Lindzinator 2007.' For those of you joining us at Rock Lake this winter - either now or for the February retreat - consider yourselves warned. That should be plenty of time to beef up your life insurance.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Give a Little Bit

Two stories that appeared on the same spread of the Winnipeg Free Press today:

"The Pentagon wants the White House to seek another US$99.7 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to information provided to The Associated Press... The military's request, if endorsed by President George W. Bush and approved by Congress, would boost this year's budget for the wars to about $170 billion... Overall, the war in Iraq has so far cost about $350 billion. Combined with the conflict in Afghanistan and operations against terrorism elsewhere, the cost to taxpayers has exceeded $500 billion, according to the Congressional Research Service."

"The genocide in Darfur is 'just waiting to explode' across its international border with neighbouring Chad, so the world should do more to at least contain the crisis, says Liberal Senator Romeo Dallaire... who called on the government to contribute hundreds of millions more dollars in aid... The United Nations approved the 20,000-strong military mission in August to assist the badly outgunned African Union protection force of 7,000 that has so far been ineffective in stemming the rising tide of carnage, something Dallaire called 'genocide in slow motion.' Dallaire called on the Conservative government to lead an international diplomatic push to persuade the Sudanese government to support the deployment of a UN force. Khartoum has refused to allow UN troops on its soil, essentially creating a stalemate in resolving the three-year old crisis that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced millions in an area of western Sudan that is the size of France... Now the violence has spilled across Darfur's western border into Chad, as well as into the neighbouring Central African Republic to the south. The Janjaweed rebels that have terrorized Darfurians for three years on their own soil have attacked refugee camps that have become home to more than 350,000... 'I think we're into a very serious problem with the instability in Chad. There is no doubt that the Janjaweed are going on both sides. That border is just waiting to explode,' Dallaire said... Since November, more than 70 villages have been attacked, burned or emptied, including the looting of $1 million in supplies from its warehouses."


It's really sad for this entire region of Africa that they don't have oil fields.

Anyway. If this news irritates you as much as it irritates me, you can help me with my Christmas mini-project (yay!). Anyone who knew me back in high school will know the drill by now :)

I'm going to put together a couple of Health Kits for MCC's relief efforts around the world. These kits are distributed to refugee camps around the world, wherever people need them. I'm officially making a donation box at my house, and I'll drop off the goods at MCC in the middle of January.

Here's what they need:
- Adult toothbrushes
- Tubes of toothpaste
- Bars of soap
- Fingernail clippers
- Hand towels (dark colour)
- Drawstring bags (instructions on how to make 'em at

Thanks in advance :)



Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Holiday Smile


Pieces of Me

I spent some time on MSN yesterday with a friend I haven't talked to in a long time - way too long. She's a little sister to me, and I love how she trusts me and lets me into her world. She wanted to talk about image - about learning to love yourself and constantly comparing.

It was one of those life experiences I felt grossly unequipped to handle. I feel like I'm the last person in the world who should be giving that kind of advice.

Eventually, we become comfortable in our own skin. Today, I'm happy being Lindsay. That wasn't something that happened overnight, and it didn't happen because other people told me I was great. I had to figure out for myself that I'm great. And that's a slow, delicate process (and a supersize therapy bill :)

My conversation with her got me thinking about my own journey, and it made me think about what our Young Adults group at church has been discussing lately. It often seems like the last place you can share about your real struggles is in the church. I'm not really sure why that is... Fear of judgment, probably. The value placed on a perfect facade. The idea that *real* Christians don't have struggles. All untrue, I know. But I know it in my head, not in my heart.

Wouldn't it be crazy if we all just took off our masks? I wonder how many of us would have been able to avoid what we've gone through if we'd been allowed the opportunity to learn from another. I wasn't the first teenage girl to struggle with an eating disorder. And I won't be the last. But could there be one less name on that list if I shared with my friend what I've overcome?

I'm ashamed to admit that I wasn't brave enough to tell her about it yesterday. I don't know why... I just didn't want to be something less in her eyes.

But maybe I've just been programmed to hide it.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Darkness and Light

What a difference a month makes.

I've probably blogged before about my (frustrating) search for an effective fibromyalgia treatment. I had essentially put my efforts on hold. It was just too painful to keep hearing that no one could help me. It hurt so much to close that door, to realize that this might be my new normal - and that I didn't have a choice in the matter. And then today... LIGHT.

I got an email from a contact at The Arthritis Society with the names of five local doctors who have already been prescribing a drug I've been trying to get into trials for.

It's far from a done deal. I still need to find out how much this drug would cost me, try to see one of these doctors, and then try to get a prescription from them (this drug requires triplicate signatures, with no refills allowed). But it's something: a new idea to pursue, something to fight for.

All afternoon, I've been thinking about this verse from Romans that my Mom has totally ingrained in me: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the holy spirit." I wouldn't say this is overflowing with hope... But it's a glimmer. And I'll take it. I was needing some, especially this week as I 'celebrate' the two year anniversary of my diagnosis.



The Reason

Em and I tackled the last of our Christmas shopping on Saturday. I say tackle because last-minute Christmas shopping (on a snowy, slippery Winnipeg winter day) is not a delicate task.

It ended up being a really great day. We set out with some realistic goals, and decided to stay cool, take our time, and do it all with smiles on our faces. And you know what? It worked like a charm. Our stress levels were near zero. And the salespeople were obviously relieved to have a couple of easy-going customers - they were extraordinarily friendly and funny.

As an added bonus, we found some absolutely amazing deals - so very un-Lindsay-like.

Now the gifts are wrapped and tucked underneath a decorated tree, Christmas baking is in the freezer, and I'm just about ready to sliiiide into holiday mode. As soon as I get those blasted cards written.

The cards were scheduled for demolition on Sunday afternoon, but I spent the day at the hospital instead - and I don't regret that decision for a moment.

It was good to spend some time with both of my grandparents, and with my parents. Watching my dad with his dad, dealing with the biggest health problem this tiny family's ever had to face. Watching my mom taking care of her mother-in-law, with all the love a human being is capable of. The look of absolute happiness on my oma's face when she saw that I'd come to spend some time with her.

In the middle of all the pre-holiday insanity - with everyone rushing around, trying to get everything *perfectly* prepared for Christmas - it was amazing to stop and see so clearly that none of those other details matter at all.



Friday, December 15, 2006

Home for Christmas

My condolences to everyone who bought tickets from me for the Fort Whyte adventure travel raffle. None of you won! But I appreciate your support so much - and I'm sure the geese (or whatever they do at Fort Whyte) do too.



Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Waiting Game

I'm at work, being remarkably productive considering my mind is somewhere else entirely. I got a phone call before work today to let me know that my Oma had a stroke early this morning. My parents didn't have a lot of details, but they were on their way to go see her and find out what's going on. And so I wait.

So that's been on my mind and my heart today. And so has my friend Margaret (aka Mag, Mags, Maggie, Magglepuss). Her dad had a very serious stroke about a month ago, and she's been struggling through - working full time, taking care of her own family, and going to the hospital daily (sometimes multiple times a day) to be with her dad and support her mom. She's living what we're all scared of right now.

This morning, while I was doing some research for a client, I came across these lists that basically form a how-to of supporting someone who's hurting. It made me wonder what kinds of phrases and words I shared with Margaret, and other people in my life who've been dealing with tough stuff.

It made me think, and actually really encouraged me. In hope that someone else might find it useful, I'm posting it here (borrowed from



You Are NOT listening when….
- You say you understand when you haven't had the same experience
- You have an answer for my problem before I've finished telling you what my problem is
- You cut me off before I finish speaking or finish my sentence for me
- You are determined to tell me something
- You tell me about your experience, making mine seem unimportant
- You are communicating to someone else in the room
- You refuse my thanks by saying you really haven't done anything

You ARE listening when…
- You really try to understand me even if I'm not making much sense
- You grasp my point of view even when it goes against your own sincere convictions
- You realize the hour we spent together has left me tired and drained
- You allow me the dignity of making my own decisions
- You do not take my problem away from me, but allow me to deal with it in my own way
- You hold back your desire to give me good advice
- You do not offer me religious solace when you sense I am not ready for it
- You accept my gift of gratitude by telling me how good it makes you feel to know you have been helpful
- You come quietly into my private world and let me be me

When we don't know what to say and do and nothing seems to be needed, we can feel useless to our friends. But, one of the most important things we can do for a grieving friend is listen.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Accidental Superfox

I came THISCLOSE to buying a pair of shoes today because they matched my car. True story.

Spent the evening shopping with my mom. It was really nice to hang out with her. We've both been so busy lately, it's been a little too long (my fault, I'm sure).

We were looking for something for her to wear at Jessie's wedding, and we found something - though I don't think she's entirely sold on it. We also managed to find a few Christmas presents. And I accidentally found a total superfox dress. We walked into a store, I saw in on a manequin, and I was like, 'I have to have that dress.' The one on the manequin was the only one in my size, so I made the salesperson strip it off and let me try it on. And it was perfect. I love when that happens.

Shopping so spontaneously - and making a purchase decision based purely on emotion - made me think about my dad. I can still remember coming home when I was probably 16 or 17 years old and being totally happy with a pair of jeans I'd found on sale. I really liked them and they fit me perfectly. Of course, his only comments were (1) why on earth do you need ANOTHER pair of jeans, and (2) how on earth could a pair of jeans ever cost more than $20.


Merry Poppins

Ready to ruin some childhood memories? :)


Mary Poppins as a horror movie:

A Christmas Story as an angsty art film:


Monday, December 11, 2006

Santa Baby

I am lots of things. But one thing that's missing from my impressive list of credentials is Someone Who Knows About Music for Kids. Which has recently become a problem, because Sophie wants her own CDs for Christmas - and I have the honour of being her Secret Santa this year.

So what kind of CD do you buy for a four-year-old?


Friday, December 08, 2006

No Good Deed

So I'm in Superstore last night, trying to pick up the ingredients I'll be needing for Baking Day this weekend.

I'm passing by the bulk bins when I hear a cry of dismay, followed by the sound of rain. Well, it wasn't rain. It was hundreds of almonds, thundering to their death on a quasi-polished white tile floor - landing here, there, and on the shoes of an eighty-year-old lady who was frantically trying to stuff her hand into the chute to stop the carnage.

And then, The Moment. The Moment when you realize you have a split-second decision to make: step up and help the old lady, or keep walking and finish up your shopping. I did a quick calculation and realized that I hadn't done my December good deed yet. Darn.

In four fast steps, I was at her side and trying to offer some constructive assistance. 'Ma'am, I think we should try turning it COUNTER-clockwise... Here, I'll turn it slowly and I think we can get this figured out.' She was convinced she was right. She was convinced it was broken. But after a few false starts, the chute was closed and all that was left was for those last few dozen almonds - caught between the stopper and the old lady's hand - to join their comrades on the ground.

In the midst of this little misadventure, I managed to cover both my thighs in flour or some kind of dust from the lower bins, and it didn't brush off - so I finished my shopping looking like some kind of bread factory worker. Not really characteristic.

Just as the adventure ended, a Superstore employee came around the corner (think pimply, gangly, and seventeen years old). He looked at me (covered in flour), looked at the old lady, looked at the bystanders who had gathered to giggle around the giant mountain of shoe-flavoured almonds, and asked, 'Um, maybe I should find a broom?'

Yeah. Maybe.

And you know what? No thank you from the old lady. Sheesh. Good thing I don't have to be nice again until next month.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Holiday Diva

I'm planning to be so domestic this evening, even Kari-Ann will be jealous of my skills.

On the agenda:
- Setting up the Christmas tree, and doing other holiday decorating
- Making caramel popcorn
- Making my magically delicious spinach/tomato/mushroom/feta quiche
- Picking up ingredients for Baking Day on Saturday (when I'm in charge of my equally magical Candy Cane Shortbread)
- Not going outside where I'll get frostbite


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Official Review

So I thought it must be almost time to submit some thoughts about the Nokia 6682 smartphone I received a few months ago.

In short: so far, so good. I figured out the regular calling stuff pretty quickly. Same with simple things like changing ringtones and settings, the calendar, and taking pictures. The calendar is my favourite thing so far, other than the fact it doesn't sync to my iCal. Actually, the phone's software isn't compatible with Mac at all - kind of disappointing, but okay because I'm still a PC user at home. But it would be nice to have the option.

I'm still getting the hang of a few of the features, and I feel like I'm discovering a new little toy every day. I know there are lots of ridiculous programs I can download to provide direct voice translation, edit pictures, and manipulate Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. But I'm taking this one little step at a time.

Haven't managed to add any of my music to the phone yet, other than the Thom Yorke album my brother helped me with. I was sad about that for a nanosecond, until I realized that being forced to listen to Thom Yorke and nothing but Thom Yorke really isn't so bad.

I think the best thing about this phone has been its resilience. I have literally dropped it into a rather deep and icy-cold puddle, aired it out a little, turned it on again, and kept talking. And I've dropped it on the ground at least 5 or 6 times, in non-puddle-related incidents.

Ridiculous, I know. I don't mean to be so abusive. It just happens. And, fortunately, my new phone can take what I dish out.

It's been super-fun - and very interesting - to be on this end of a viral marketing campaign. And speaking of such things... Did you know that you can sign up at The Office website to receive a phone call from Dwight Schrute? :)


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Zen and the Art of Staying Sane

Wow. Longest day ever. Longest couple of days ever. The last week has flown by in a flurry of pre-Christmas, bridal shower, flu, conflict, and client headaches. I feel like the life has been sucked right out of me. I seriously need to get to bed early tonight.

A few highlights:
- Got to hang out with Rocky for an evening, and we saw 'Stranger Than Fiction' - a movie that absolutely delighted me.
- Started my Christmas shopping. Despite the rude people and horrific line-ups, I really love buying presents for people so it was totally fun.
- Got to see lots of Geoff this weekend, and totally enjoyed our little culinary excursion to a great little Korean place in the Village.
- The annual Seniors Christmas Faspa hosted by our church's young adults. There's something about a room full of happy old people that just makes your heart smile.
- Managed to sneak in a coffee date with Kari-Ann last night, which is always a good time. Dramatic, but a good time :)

Ooh, now I'll be in trouble.