Sunday, July 29, 2007

western conference

This will be the view tomorrow morning -- well, this or something like it. I'm heading out on my second business trip ever to attend the Oregon Christian Writer's Conference. They've got a great line-up of coaching classes and workshops (although there's one Wednesday afternoon that might be dodgy, it's mine!).

I don't know if I'll be able to post from the conference itself, but if not I'll do so when I get back.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Booth. Used with permission under Creative Commons.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

it always rains on moving day

It rained and rained and rained and rained today. Not great weather for walking in but it sounded wonderful. I kept the windows open all day. After work I snapped this guy making his the arduous trek across the driveway. I'm sure somewhere the kids are asking "are we there yet?"

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


First of all, if you haven't seen the new Transformers movie, go and see it. This was the most fun I've had at the movies in a long time. Not since Mr. & Mrs. Smith have I so thoroughly enjoyed a flick. It had everything -- a cheesy love story complete with a throwback 80s soundtrack, decent suspense, interesting camera work and he-llo ROBOTS! A good time was had by all [ even if the crowd we saw it with weren't quite smart enough to catch that early "I knew there was more to you, more than meets the eye" reference. Philistines. That's what you get for catching a movie at Metrotown -- the mall crowd. Yikes. ]

Earlier in the day I had indulged in a little transformation of my own by way of a long overdue cut & colour. On the way back from the salon we stopped by the Benefit Cosmetics counter at the Bay to see what was new. While getting made-up I inadvertently managed to shock the Benefit girl. "This is our new eye cream blah blah....Which eye cream are you using now?" she asked.
"Oh, I don't" I replied.
And she stopped, literally brush in midair. "You don't use eye cream?" she asked, using the same tone of voice I'm sure she would use if I just told her I didn't believe in brushing my teeth.
"Why? Don't you know that the skin around your eyes is the second most delicate on your body? Don't you know that it ages at twice the rate of the rest of your face? You really don't use eye cream?"

No I didn't know. (And to be honest at this point I was much more interested in which type of skin edged out the eyes for the win. But this didn't seem to be the time to ask.) I didn't know. She was shocked. And yet, amazingly I have survived 31 years without this knowledge. Earth shattering indeed.

I was a little intrigued and so a few days later I stopped by Wal-Mart and checked out the selection of creams. Did you know that there is an entire aisle in Wal-Mart that is all creams & lotions that do fundamentally the same thing - moisturize? If you believe the hype you need a totally different product for every nook and cranny of the female form, plus another if you don't want to age and two really because your supposed to moisturize day & night and there's a difference. Unbelievable. And we're buying it, literally, by the millions.

It reminded me of that part in Genesis where Adam and Eve are hiding and God asks, "Who told you that you were naked?" I think implied in that is the additional question "who told you that it was shameful?" Who told us that we absolutely cannot age, that wrinkles are the enemy? Who told us that we need to use eye cream and night cream? Who told us to scrutinize ourselves with magnifying mirrors and to try to scrub the memories off of our faces? Why is it a bad thing to resemble your Mom?

There is a line in Romeo and Juliet where Juliet is admonished "God gave you one face and yet you paint for yourself another." And I have to admit that I do think of that as I add a little colour in the morning in one place and try to take a little colour away somewhere else. I don't think that make-up is evil or that trying to look your best is wrong but why so much pressure? Why has the whole thing been so intentionally complicated. And why, why did I walk out of Wal-Mart with just a little tub of eye cream?

Oh. Maybe that's why.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

cupcake anyone?

When did cupcakes become so trendy? Sure I've been to Cupcakes on Denman Street, a delightful little bakery. But I was disappointed to find that the are cakes high on looks, short on taste. Recently I read an article about the LA version, Sprinkles, with their extensive list of flavours and mod decorations. There was even a list of stars who just can't live without them. [Right, cause I believe Katie Holmes has eaten refined sugar in the last five years.]

It all hit a little closer to home on the weekend when I walked into my neighbourhood Safeway and saw this on sale:Designer cupcakes, six varieties. The box with a decidedly Martha feel bore no resemblence to anything else the store sold. When they tied a ribbon on the box before handing it over, for a minute I thought I was shopping in Whole Foods. I have to admit I was delighted, charmed even. I rushed home, put on a decent cup of tea and prepared for a treat. It was not meant to be.

The first problem was a practical one. With an almost equal icing to cupcake ratio this dainty delight was impossible to fit in my mouth. You couldn't take a bite. For a moment I wondered if they were marketing this as the ultimate diet dessert -- the uneatable cupcake. I found a fork and dug in and hit problem number two. It didn't taste very good. The icing had a bit of a chemical taste to it. I'm sure the cake had good intentions of being chocolate, but really it just tasted brown.

Call me crazy, but aren't cupcakes actually supposed to taste good? Great even? Isn't that the whole point? I'm no professional, and I don't own a trendy bakery in LA or Vancouver, but in honor of Canada Day last week, Kendra, Coli and I went freestye on these little beauties:And while they may lack the polished perfection of their more delicately dressed contemporaries our cupcakes tasted FANTASTIC.

If I do say so myself.

So what's the deal with beautiful, but tasteless cupcakes? Must even the humble cupcake lose all substance the moment the cool kids want in?