Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Geocaching: An Addiction?

In the past I have made the call as to whether I am addicted to something or not by if I can't fall asleep because it is on my mind repeatedly. I am not quite at that point... but I may get there soon with this geocaching thing.
The first one we found was on the way back from a family reunion. It was a challenge. Luckily, there were some fellow geocachers who were also on the hunt and gave us a hand. They were more experienced and we were just digging through a pile of rocks. (If you've ever been to Frank Slide... no further explanation required).
If you don't know what geocaching is, it's a GPS-oriented "game" where other geocachers hide a "cache" (usually a camouflaged tupperware or hide-a-key) and log the coordinates online for others to find. Depending on the size of the cache, there are sometimes little trinkets to trade or geocoins to pass along to the next cache.
Since the first find, I have marked code down. Many a battery has been drained from my iPhone as the GPS and compass features have been utilized. Everywhere I go, they're around! In a way it's exciting, but at the same time overwhelming!
It also doesn't help that I'm not extremely good at it. Especially this last round at them, it was so frustrating. It didn't help that the entire province is under snow, but even some of the ones designated as winter friendly gave us a bit of trouble. Of the nine I have attempted since arriving in Calgary, I have found two. Never the less, they are fun and adventurous. I saw some country that I wouldn't have seen otherwise.
I will share one such adventure with you. On the way back to Calgary from our Christmasing, there was one just off Hwy 1 on the west side of Chestermere. We pulled over (in the dark) and walked along a snow covered road to an inch of wood sticking up. I thought it may be hidden underneath, so we started digging. Then I fell through the snow up to above my knees. We kept digging. Spencer fell through too. Keep in mind, it's dark and we're holding flashlights, digging at the snow along a highway. I'm sure people thought we were burring a body or something (that's the one thing I don't like about this sport when done in public- it makes you look suspicious, like you're making a drug trade or something). Eventually we gave up and got back in the warm car. When I got home, not only did I look up a picture of the location and realize that tree stump is the hight of a small child, but I realized there were two winter friendly caches just meters away. *Sigh* :) It just means I'll have to go back...
People also create ridiculous challenges that are so inspiring I think I may just try one. Like the Texas County Challenge. The goal is to find one cache in each of the 256 Texas counties. It will make for quite a road-trip, but that's what summer vacations are for. And years and years of caching. There are people out there with 3000+ finds though. They must have such good eyes, or an incredible amount of perseverance!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I played Cranium with my mom, Spencer, and Carley last night. It was loads of fun, drawing with your eyes closed and trying to come up with a way to use the word "callipygian"... we can't figure out if it's a noun or adjective. (This post is titled such by Spencer's request).
My flight went really well. I got lots of reading done (started and finished a 100 pg book, and got 93 pgs into a 200 pg one) and watched Julie & Julia and Postgrad (which I wasn't as impressed with). I definitely like Julie & Julia though. I had actually gone to see it in theaters with my dad. He suggested it and was one of the only men there, but it was fun, and I think he enjoyed it. I like the blogging aspect and cooking aspect, as well as the history. Julia Child's character is hilarious. Good movie, all around.
Today I got up pretty early and Mom and I went to Market Mall for some Christmas shopping. I finished everyone up that I had left, and helped mom with some gifts for Courtney and me. So yes, I know what I'm getting. But I don't mind. I found that when people spend money on me and either I really don't like it or it doesn't fit or whatever the issue is, I feel guilty that they spent "so much," even if it was just a little.
However, my mom won't let me have my presents yet! That part is awful! Because one of them is a Christmas piano book, and I want to practice... there's no point in practicing Christmas music after Christmas. Sigh... :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Home" Is Where... the Bills Go

I'm going home to Calgary tomorrow morning!

It's just sort of weird though. I only lived in Calgary for about 18 months, and I have been there about two months total this whole year. It doesn't really feel like home. Except my mom and sister are there of course. And my puppies. I am excited to see them all.

Exams have gone decently. I suppose I'm writing this sort of depressed, because if you had asked me yesterday, I would have said they have gone incredibly, but Calculus sort of did me in today, and I'm still recovering. This break will be good, but it's sort of started on a sour note, compared to if it had begun yesterday. Maybe once I get my grades back it'll look rosier.

I was talking to one of my friends about what she wants to get out of the next two weeks. I think my big goal, aside from seeing family, is doing some reading. I feel like I haven't read for a while, which is totally inaccurate. I finished the Numerati this morning, and have been quite consistent about my Bible reading, which always makes me feel more humble and content, so that's good. I just feel like I've done a lot of math and Scripture, so I'm not sure why two of the books I have picked out are about math and Scripture... maybe I'll pick something else up first. Like Jane Austen. Hmmm. :)

I also want to come up with some sort of detailed itinerary for "THE Road Trip." It was originally concocted in the summer of sixth grade, and I feel that in order to get a little more support, both from parents and potential co-trippers, it needs a little more structure. And maybe my marathon trip that I dream of is a little lengthy and I'm oblivious like everyone is secretly thinking. Some planning will help me realize it. So I got the Discovery Channel's United States on the Road book, as well as 1,000 Places To See Before You Die in the USA and Canada. Maybe that will be my fun flight activity for the long day ahead of me tomorrow.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ice Skating Pictures

Wednesday morning, Mrs. A, Sarah, Lauren, and Andrew took me ice skating. They all did extremely well, especially Lauren who, as we discovered once we came off the ice, was wearing her skates on the wrong feet!
Mrs. A used to ice skate a lot when she was younger, so she was doing all sorts of spins and twirling Andrew around on the chair. It was all lots of fun to watch! I got tons of pictures of
Andrew, because he was moving rather slowly, but the girls were harder to get. The lighting was also awkward to work with because of the light tones and all the ice, but I managed to take a couple good ones.

Sarah and Lauren

Andrew, trying out this skating thing.

The chair is much more fun!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Numerati

I love finals weeks. They are my kind of weeks. I think this is mostly because I don't stress out over exams. I look over the material, sure, but I learned long ago that math isn't something you can "catch up" on at the last minute, so I make sure I learn it as we go through classes. Then, when tests come, life is a whole lot easier.
It means I get to do other things this week. Yesterday I went ice skating with the A's (see next post). Tomorrow we're going to the Nutcracker. And today... aside from looking over geometry... I am reading The Numerati. Call me a nerd (one of my friends did) but I like math books. They motivate me.
The Numerati is about that classified group of employees that makes us into math. I had no idea what sort of industries were out there that blend computer science and mathematical analysis, but they range from political polls, to advertising, to matchmaking sites. The Numerati are the people that take all that data and feed back results to companies so they know what to do with it. For instance, Umbria Communications has computers that read millions of blogs just like this one, and read "customer reviews," along with targeting the demographic of the writer. They then send the information back to the company. So Canon knows I like my Rebel... now. They don't have to wait to check sales projections because blogs are updated constantly. Scary. There's a whole lot of scarier things in this book, but they're a little more complex than that example. I would recommend it to people who are interested in a mix of sociology, computer science, and statistics. There is a disappointedly little amount of math in it, for the title, other to say that math is used. Still, I find it interesting and a quick read. Back to geometry!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Welcome, Clara Cannon!

As many of you know, dear Clover Cannon, my Rebel XTi broke Newton's laws and disappeared last Spring. I am still at a loss as to where she is, but I finally figured it's time to move on and started researching cameras a couple weeks ago.
I finally took the plunge and got a sweet little Rebel XS. She's quite the dear. Basically all the same features as my XTi, plus a little extra quality. Like I can take pictures in black and white (which I may have been able to do before but never figured out). And there's Image Stabilizer.
What this means for me: I get to take good pictures again!
What this means for you: You get to see my pictures again!
Win-win. Or in the world of Michael Scott, win-win-win.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Mr. Matthew Tumnus

It snowed today in the great land of Southern Texas, and the natives did not know what to do. However, it appears that a foreigner, one who is familiar with snow, was around to help. He's not sure how he got there, or how he'll get home to Narnia, but he looks at home.

Have I mentioned that I have the most amazing man in the world? What a sense of humor.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Reflections on the First Semester

As quickly as it came, the first semester is nearly over. Today I had my logic final exam. I remember the first day of university- running blocks because the bus had a construction detour and nearly being late for my class (I walked in as the professor was introducing himself). I remember my first Calculus class, being near tears as the professor did what was supposed to be a quick "review" of what we should know so that he can move on to the new content, and not recognizing any of it. I remember meeting new friends and my first midterm... and today, my first final. I think out of all of it, a couple things have stood out.
First, we're not as smart as we think. Even if you graduated at the top of your class, there is someone, actually a whole lot of people, who are smarter than you. Deep down, we all know this (I hope), but the reality hits when you fail assignments that you spent hours on, while the person sitting in front of you gets A's. Or when you listen to different conversations going on at the school coffee shop. Or when you peruse midterm answers posted on bulletin boards in the math building, and see fourth derivatives. There's a whole lot out there to learn. It's humbling, which is good. Apparently I needed that.
Second, water can grow things. Not water and soil. Just water. In a glass, that sits on your desk for a couple weeks. First it gets hazy near the top. Then it sort of gels up. Next, there's a white fuzz layer. All this to say, if you know me, you know I'm not the cleanest person on the planet. I have greatly improved. Because one day, you have to deal with that glass and the three next to it, and it's just not a fun day. Plus, if your door is kept closed throughout the day, and there's no air circulation, things start to smell funky.
Third, subjects are incredibly interrelated. I remember one day, very early on in my year, when all of my math classes used vector cross products in the same day for three different things. The truth tables for my logic course were used in the if statements of Java programming. And when helping a friend with her Life Science calculus, I discovered the relation between carrying capacity and limits. Neat stuff going on in the world.
All that to say, I'm enjoying university. I'm looking forward to my classes next semester, as I think they will be equally challenging, but I feel a lot more prepared now that I know what to expect and have released the stress of perfection. It's almost less stressful than high school, because in high school, you are always trying to get the marks to get to university. Now that I'm here, it's nice to just sit back and learn.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Andrew MacCatechism

Sorry for my absence. Hopefully, business as usual from here on out...

There's a little man who has stolen my heart and his name is Andy Mac. He's the smartest three year old I know. He stands across the room and says, "You can't get me!" and when I run across and start tickling him, he says, "That's enough, Chelsea! Hehehe! That's enough!" He likes he equator and all sorts of random ideas. He knows how to say "regeneration" and "chasten" and knows the meaning of both. And apparently, we're getting married.

I love the family that I'm staying with. The A's have been so welcoming to me and very accomidating. Sure, my treck to campus is lengthy, but I can't imagine not having Bible Times at night or Sunday night pancakes. I haven't been around young children much at all to see how they're raised, so it's very new, watching them grow up. It's fun watching the girls learn how to cook and play the piano. I've tried teaching them ballet, and I've learned that physical grace is not equally distributed to everyone. :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bookstore Review

Back on Thursday I decided to take a detour on the way to school and stop off at John W Doull Booksellers, a second hand bookstore on the corner of Barrington Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I stepped in and smelled books. I'm not entirely sure if that's a bad or good thing, but it was there. Posted around the store are floor plans of the store in the fashion of London Underground maps, and they are definitely necessary! JWD is two stories of bookshelves stacked floor to ceiling, dusty boxes backed with books, and piles teetering haphazardly. I sold the book I had brought for some pocket change, and began my search.
I spent an hour literally digging through their collection. The most amazing thing I found was a "window" that was cut into a shelf! I can't post the picture because of copyright, but really, check it out! They seem to have glued large books in place to hold the shelves, as well as the sliced books. I stood an marveled for a good five minutes!
Unfortunately, they didn't have the two books I was looking for. One was Euclid's Elements, or some version of it. I was in the math section, on my way back downstairs, when I passed a room labeled "Travel". The shelves inside looked interesting, so I took a step forward. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, a mouse scurried across the floor and dived into a pile of books.
I have to say that did it for me. It's true that Doull has an amazing selection, and I know they are trying to go for the disaster-yet-organized look, but cleanliness has its values. I may go back if the need comes, but I will be sure to stomp very loudly before I peek into a room!
Picture of JWD Booksellers by Miss A, http://www.flickr.com/photos/miss_a/9994353/

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Baby Ruths (said with a sing-song voice)

The prodigal blog writer has returned with stories of camp!

From July 4th to August 8th, I participated in the Baby Ruths program at Pine Cove. Basically, I was assigned to a camp (the Timbers) with five other girls. We were placed under the authority of a "Mama Ruth," Sheryl. During the five weeks we worked to keep the camp as spic-and-span as possible, mostly with the aid of the cleaning chemical Spic-and-Span. We also helped with dishes and kitchen responsibilities and ran the tills at the camp store.

We participated in an intense Bible Study called the Gauntlet, ran by Jeff and Jason, where we studied women of the Bible, character traits, and memorized scripture. There were also mentorship opportunities with the director's wives, and practical skills learned along the way.

If this post seems dull and undetailed, it's because it has to be. A large component of the program is not knowing where you're going till you get there, or what you're doing till you're doing it. Half the time our mama would wake us up, so we didn't even know how much sleep we would get when we laid our heads down at night. It was a great experience, learning to let go of control and trusting in the program. To be honest, the first week I slept horribly because I was so anxious about what the next day would bring, but then I realized, they wouldn't make us do anything dangerous. They wouldn't make us do anything we couldn't physically do, or something they wouldn't make their own daughters do. If we were hungry, we would be fed on schedule, and if we were hot and nasty sweaty, we would be inside by the end of the day.

I was thinking on the way home about the opportunities I had this summer. I was invited to participate in a student leadership conference in Prague. I also had the opportunity to go to Greece with my family. I would enjoy visiting those places one day, but I'm glad I didn't miss out on this opportunity. I learned more about community and myself, and more about who I want to become than any other experience I could have chosen. Yes, it was exhausting and frustrating at different points, but what I gained by serving was worth it.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Pine Cove

Hey all. This blog will be down for the next five weeks. I will be serving at Pine Cove Timbers from July 4- August 8 with six other lovely girls as Baby Ruths.

If you'd like to mail, the address will be
Chelsea [Last Name] - Baby Ruth
Pine Cove Timbers
PO Box 9055
Tyler, Texas 75711-9055

I will write back if you send an address. :)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Halifax: What I'm Looking Forward To

On September 2, 2009, I will be packing up my things and shipping out to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where I will be spending my next three years. It just struck me the other day that I have a high school diploma. This is where some people stop- as far as they go. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to continue learning and recieve recognition for it, because quite frankly, I don't feel prepared at this point to survive off of all the knowledge I've accumulated thus far.

When I get to Halifax, I will be staying with the "A" family. They have three children, and the wife was a math major from Dalhousie. I'm looking forward to getting to know their family and that sense of community. I've really weighed the decision of residence life vs. boarding, and I think I would miss a home too much. I want to be able to cook and sit in a living room to read. Granted, I will be spending a lot of time on campus anyways, but I like the idea of returning home, rather than living at school. Plus, it will get me off campus more. I'll be forced to master the bus system, so I will not put off exploring the city.

Next, I'm looking forward to my classes. Right now, it looks like I'll be taking waaay too many math classes this year, so I'm glad I enjoy it! Hopefully I won't become overwhelmed, and thanfully they're all in different areas (calculus, statistics, computer science, etc). However, once I get these basic classes done, I will be ready for the more advanced and interesting options next year (game theory, number theory, cosmology, etc). I'll also be taking a class on Arthurian legends in the winter.

I'm looking forward to having access to the Dalplex, the gym on campus. They have a large indoor pool that I anticipate using a great deal. I've been looking for a regular fitness program, and I think this year may be the start of it. There's a nice gap in my schedule Monday afternoon, and available spaces on Tuesday and Thursday.

Likewise, I plan on joining the Dalhousie Swing Dance Society. They give lessons at different levels each semester, and host dance events. This will be another great way to exercize, and meet new people.

I'm also looking into the campus's chapter of Habitat for Humanity. They do trips each year on reading week, and HH is always something that I've been interested in getting involved with, but felt too young to participate in. Now, I can!

So that's what I'll probably be doing starting September!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Jon and Kate Debacle

Well, since every tabloid is getting nosy, I'm going to take advantage of this somewhat unsurprising event to give my opinion on "Jon and Kate Plus 8." I have watched the show twice. I know one of my readers is (or was, not sure what her opinion is now) a die hard fan.

Let me preface by saying that when I was babysitting several months ago, a young girl wanted to watch "Jon and Kate" and her parents always let her, etc etc. I said no. You can watch it with your parents when they get back, but I didn't feel it was appropriate for her to be watching at her age. First off, from the, maybe forty minutes I have seen of the show, I was very disappointed. The family is advertised as being a Christian family (If you'd like to argue that, then why is their biography in Christian bookstores and the Christian aisles of secular bookstores?), but I do not have a sense of peace when watching them. Sure, they have eight kids. Sure, that causes stress and tension. My family is a perfect example of faulty relationships. However, if you know your family needs to work on its character traits of patience and peace, then why invite a camera crew in to broadcast every dramatic scene? It appeared to me, quite frankly, to be a family that wanted to be in the spotlight and was willing to foster drama to get there.

Now, on the topic of their separation, I think the reasons given are beautiful goals, but the execution is wrong. They both stated in video interviews that they were getting separated because they wanted to give their children a peaceful environment. Separation does not create a peaceful environment. It creates a void in the children's life. Sure, they still have a mom and dad, but they do not have parents. They don't get to witness the interaction between two grown adults on a day-to-day basis. Furthermore, bitter feelings eventually create resentment. Just because the two parents aren't there to bicker in front of their children does not mean there will not be bickering. Bitterness seeks out common areas to take a stance, and for them, this will be their children. Even if they say they won't, they will try to gain the preference of their children at the cost of the other. My parents said they wouldn't (and I can tell they tried not to for a long time) but after being separated for five years, the jabs just get worse.

Next, the arrangements that they have made for their children seem to shine the spotlight on their weakness of placing their children before their marriage. They have decided to keep the children at one house, and each live their on their separate days. They referred to it as the "children's house". Whoa. Does anyone see the world these children are being raised in? They are being taught that they are the center of their world.

This show (both before and after the announced separation) has turned me completely against reality TV (not that I was a fan before this show appeared). I find it absolutely revolting what people will do for fame and money. Apparently, Jon mentioned that he was annoyed with paparazzi following the family's every move, but both have agreed that the show will go on... through the divorce. Hopefully people will watch it long enough to see what a messy and depressing solution divorce is to their problems.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Michael and Evie Get Hitched

Last weekend, I was in Portland, Oregon attending the wedding of my best friend's cousin. It was the second wedding I've been to (that I can remember) and I learned lots about the chaos of wedding activities.

The rehersal luncheon was Friday on Mt. Hood. There was still snow around, which was exciting. Everything tasted lovely and there were some really great toasts. There was family from Alaska, California, Texas, and Alabama present.

There was a little bit of an issue with the flower orders and florist arrangements, so Saturday afternoon, seven other girls and myself learned how to make boutonnieres, corsages, wreaths, bouquets, and table decorations. I must say, they looked awesome. The flowers were daisies (yay!), roses, and lavender.

I got to meet the famous Anna B who I had heard so much about (don't worry, you lived up to your reputation). I roomed with her and the lovely Katie M for the weekend, and we had some great times, involving "legal U-turns," target shopping carts, and late night shopping expititions.

Finally, the day arrived and we rushed off to the church. After a couple detours around downtown, the whole party was there, the men looking handsome in their suits and ladies in their silver dresses. The ceremony was beautiful, and the message was well prepared. Then we went on to the reception and had a great time. I met Alex and Brett Harris, and Alex gave Alex P and Anna B a nice Viennese waltz lesson with his sister (those boys are amazing dancers). There was also a little "Cha-cha Slide" and "Sweet Home Alabama" thrown into the mix.

Overall, the weekend was a success. The happy couple was married, and the families got to spend a lot of time blending and meeting new people. Us girls had a fun time touring and helping with the flowers, and the boys had a fun time getting into trouble. ;) Weddings are fun.

My favorite "Brian" in the world
Daniel getting in touch with his feminine side

Michael and Evie rehearsing

Alex and Anna at the rehearsal luncheon
All Pictures by Daniel Campbell's Camera (so... Daniel and Katie)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Who Would of Thunk?

Well, you learn something new every day...

I'm reading The Know-It-All, the memoir of a A.J. Jacobs who read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica. It's such a lofty goal... though I must say it sounds more entertaining than the complete Oxford English Dictionary, which was read by Ammon Shea, though it is just over 10,000 pages longer (EB: 33,000 pgs, OED: 21,730 pgs).

Anyways, today he's talking about Mr. Daniel Fahrenheit, creator of the Fahrenheit system of measurment. Students always wonder what Daniel Fahrenheit was thinking when he set his temperature up. According to The Know-It-All, here's what happened:

First he set the freesing point of a 1 NaCl: 1 H2O solution at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. This would then make the freezing point of H2O 30 and the body temperature 90. Only he botched it, leaving us with funky numbers (32 and 98.6 respectively). Crazier things have happened...

I'm contemplating taking on this challenge myself. The first problem is I don't have an encyclopedia, nor the space to keep one if I did get one now. I think the first two things I'm going to buy/ask for when I move into my "own" house is a Encyclopaedia Britannica set and a Britannica Great Books set. I would get them now, but I'd have to pack them all around the continent before I settled back in Texas.

Warning for those who are considering reading this book: It's got language sprinkled throughout it.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Oh Dear

It seems my blog has suffered an untimely death, just at the start of summer. Poor blog. Nevertheless, it the words of the miracle worker in Princess Bride, "It's only mostly dead." There is still room for rejuvenation. Keep an eye out, and I do apologize for those of you who check back here. I recommend an RSS feed.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

More Beautiful You

This post is written mostly for girls from a girl's perspective, though there is a bit at the end for guys to read.

Something I've realized in the last couple months is something concerning body image. Our culture surrounds us with magazines and movies that we can never live up to. It even seems at school or work all the other girls have it together. However if everyone else around you is so beautiful, chances are you are too. Sure you've seen days when your hair has been better, but that doesn't make or break your overall appearance.

First and formost, you were made by God, and he doesn't make mistakes. Second, and this is a big one, self-confidence is much more attractive anyways. Think about the girls you know who are "beautiful." Isn't there a confidence about them? Imagine them shy and withdrawn. Doesn't some of that beauty disappear?

When you relate to guys, your beauty should not be his motivation for the relationship, so if a relationship breaks off, it's not because you're not beautiful. If a guy is interested in you, it's tempting to try to help him along by showing off your body a little more. However, is that the kind of guy you want? Really? A good guy will be interested in you for your personality and lifestyle- not a short skirt. This is a surefire way to attract the wrong guys. If some of our male readers want to leave comments about their opinion on this matter, please do.

I've never had severe body issues, but I don't think many women see themselves as truly beautiful. I actually have a good friend who has been dealing with an eating disorder for the last couple years. I think the first thing is to let go of culture's expectations and realize that there can be beauty in both straight and culy hair, skinny and not so skinny, tanned and glowing white skin. Beauty isn't something that can be ranked like sports, though tabloids and beauty pagents give us that idea.

Guys, you can help too. Your words make a bigger impression than you know. Don't make pointed remarks about a girl's looks, even if you are joking and she would know it. We all really have self-image issues to some degree or another (and if we don't, your comments will create one). If you have a sister, when she dresses up tell her she looks nice. Compliment us when we earn one (ie. not an empty compliment). Furthermore, when you're married, you should believe your wife is the most gorgeous person on the planet. To help you believe it, don't compare her to culture's standards. Don't spend time looking at picutres of other "beautiful" computer enhanced "women" (you know what I mean.) That just kills a woman who loves you, because she feels that she isn't beautiful enough for your time. Start those habits now, while you're unmarried, or it's going to be very, very hard to stop.

To end, here's a clip of Jonny Diaz singing "More Beautiful You." It's a very uplifting and inspiring song. And if you like this one, let me know because I can email you my playlist of "beautiful" songs. :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

[Anti]Bailout Commercial

My friend Matthew has entered a video competition, and the more views he gets, the better chance he has of winning (the top 20 viewed entries are judged). Here is the link. Here are some shots taken by his sister and mom from our filming a couple weeks ago.

That's Matthew behind the camera, me behind the record/stop button, and Scott in the suit.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

April Showers

I love Texas rain... I really do. It's one of my favorite things. It just pours, and the sky is as dark at noon as it is at 8:30 pm. It makes for sleepy days, for sure.

However, after 36 hours of Texas rain, I start to feel a little like Noah. I can't imagine what he did with his time... played lots of chess with Mrs. Noah, I'm sure. Not only did it rain for forty days, but then the boat rocked around for another hundred and fifty as the waters receded and the Grand Canyon was carved.

Hm... we're in a break of the weather. It's still cloudy, but the rain has paused for a moment. I wonder if the rain ever paused in the flood, and they wondered if it was over...

Our pool is green and has overflowed, the drains are clogged up with mulch so the gutters are backed up onto the patio, and the street is nearly covered over.

In one week this is going to be one green city.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Last night and today, I was dealing with this question:

What aspects of commitment are expected, what are appreciated, and what are overbearing? Basically, if I'm in a relationship, what's the minimum amount of involvement expected, and what is considered "clingy." I know it varies person to perosn, but what is your opinion?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

"Miss Chelsea, May I?"

This last weekend I was in Austin, Texas babysitting for family of my friends. There were three children, whom we shall call B, A, and J: B is an eight year old girl, A is a four year old boy, and J is a two year old boy. Lets just say, Emily (who helped me out incredibly) and I learned a lot.

First, no matter how much we say we won't, we will sound like our parents. I'm not even a mother yet, and I found myself quoting my mother's favorite mantra, "This is not a restaurant."

Also, kids need to be constantly reminded. Every time we'd go outside to ride bikes, we'd have to remind them to put on their helmets. We'd have to remind them to brush teeth before bed. We'd have to remind little J (who was potty training) to think about if he needed to use the washroom. We'd have to remind them to not hit/bite/kick/call names. We'd have to remind them to say please and thank you. Part of that is growing up. Part of it is rebelious human nature and seeing how far they can go before they get in trouble. I had to constantly remind myself I do the same thing with God every day... He has to remind me to listen to Him. He has to correct my behavior and remind me of seemingly obvious truths. It's a perfect illustration of how adults react to God.

I learned that kids are so so so much work, but also so much fun. They're amazngly impressionable, and form strong attatchments. Emily and I were woken up more than once a night with cries for mommy. Then today I got a message from their mother, saying that they had missed us. It's very heartwarming knowing I can make an impression on three lives like that.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More Marriage Thoughts

I finished reading The Mystery of Marriage last night (erm... early early this morning) and I really do enjoy it. Here are a couple highlights:

"A marriage is not the joining of two worlds, but an abandoning of two worlds in order that a new one might be formed." p. 103

"In marriage, a wife's imperfections are not something a husband can afford to hold against her, but neither can he afford simply to overlook them. Rather he must bear them with her as part of his cross, just as she bears with him. To live with her in love is to experience at close quarters the way she herself struggles with her own humanness." p. 175

"It is not that we are fooled into thinking that our partner is a perfect person... Rather, it is simply that we become willing to see this person as a perfect wife or husband, even as the perfect wife or husband: that is, the perfect one for us, the very one we need." p. 178

My favorite chapter was on Vows.

My only critique of this book is the chapter on submissiveness. While he does a good job of exhausting the topic of mutual submission out of selflessness, he did not expand on the Biblical submissiveness of wives to husbands as outlined in Eph. 5, except to say that it is secondary to the command to submit to one another. While I get what he's saying (sort of) I'm not sure I'm that far over on the spectrum.

Besides that, awesome book. Five stars.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Thought of the Day: Fidelity

One of the oh-so-many books I'm reading right now is called The Myserty of Marriage by Mike Mason. It was written in the mid-80's by a man who had only been married for a couple years, and was mainly composed of his journal as he was in a period of engagement. I'm almost halfway done, and so far it reads a lot like The Four Loves. Rather than being a how-to, or step-by-step guide, it's simply observations and meditations. A lot of the points he makes he connects back to the parallel of our marriage to Christ, and I think the constant switch from husband-wife marriage to Jesus-church marriage exposes details in both relationships that are worth grasping.

Anyways, a quote that I read, reread, underlined, then read again is as follows:
"Certainly, if we cannot be faithful to a living person we can see and touch, how will we ever be faithful to an invisible God?" (p. 92)

Wonderful question, Mike. The fear of infidelity in marriage is becoming more and more real in many relationships today. Does this correspond at all with the straying of people from God? Likely. Being unfaithful to your spouse, even before you marry them, is like giving up hope, and seeking after other gods.

More on this later... of to Alabama tomorrow!

Friday, March 13, 2009

My Sincerest Apologies

This blog has been all but abandoned. I really have no excuse, for over the last ten days I'm sure there is something I could have thought of to be of interest to you all. For instance, right now, I'm reading Persuasion by Jane Austen, baking peanut butter cookies, and preparing to attend a Bible study tonight. Furthermore, I haven't written about my trip to Panama, or the other fifty books I'm reading. I haven't mentioned the sermon series on Esther my pastor is teaching on Sunday nights. I haven't publicly meditated on my parents, which I have been doing a lot recently (though I probably won't, since it's private). I haven't expressed my excitement/anxiety/frustration as I prepare for university in September, or even Pine Cove in July. I haven't mentioned my trip to Alabama on Sunday and my aversion to being a passenger on long car rides (it involves nausea and an all around yuckiness).

All in all, I've been a blogging failure. I think I just burned my cookies too.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to get them out of the oven, and my next post will hopefully be timely, interesting, and significantly less reminiscent of a pity party.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

An Ode to Laundry

I know I have posted about air drying and ironing before, but laundry in itself is another step- at least for the sake of this blog. ;)

Some of you may notice the time of this post (midnight) and wonder, "Chelsea, what are you doing up at this hour?!?" Well... I'm out of clean clothes. It's really a process, this whole growing up thing. At Mom's, we sort of rotated doing laundry, but when one person did blacks, you did blacks for everyone, saving on water and such. At Dad's it's every man for himself. I, still determined to save water, like to have as big of a load as possible, and since I still like color sorting to keep my clothes the right shade, it means I have to go through my whole closet until I get piles big enough to wash.

Well, it's either that or wear only back for a week, then only red, and wash as I finish a color. But that's just sad.

In any case, tonight, once I had gotten in my pj's (allowing me to wash today's clothes) I realized I have nothing to wear tomorrow except basketball shorts and a button-up shirt. That just wouldn't do.

I really like doing laundry though. I love sorting- both the process and the finished outcome of color-coordinated piles. I usually have a blacks/dark blue, gray/light blue, red/khaki, and white. I like folding the warm clothes when they come out of the dryer, and knowing that I am preparing someone's next couple weeks for them, even if for now the only loads I'm doing are my own. I look forward to the day when I can help my husband by ensuring he has fresh clothes in his closet- though hopefully it will not be at midnight.

In any case, my blacks are ready to be transferred to the dryer, so I ought to go. Good night, all! :)
Picture by Rachel K: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kimonomania/3078224754/ Creative Commons license: Attribution, Noncommercial, Share-Alike License.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

I love how Google trades in their trademark logo on random occations for artistic, purposeful ones. Today, there are Dr. Seuss characters spelling out the page title. It reminds me of an art project I did in grade five- a Prismacolor portrait of Theodor Geisel, aka. Dr. Seuss.

When I was younger, we had the One Fish Two Fish VCR tape, which entertained us for hours. We had The Cat in the Hat, The Foot Book, There's a Wocket in my Pocket, and Green Eggs and Ham. At my grandmother's house, there was another great collection. Even today, at the graduation point of my life, speakers read "Oh, the Places You'll Go" to the audience, as mothers wipe tears. He was a unique author, and has been a great literary inspiration to many children over the years.

Sorry my posts are becoming less frequent. Hopefully they'll pick up soon.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Letters to a Young Mathematician

"... [Paul] Erdős reckoned that in Heaven, God has a book that contained all the
best proofs... In his view, a mathematicians job was to sneak a look over God's
shoulder and pass on the beauty of his creation to the rest of His creatures." (p. 93)

Ian Stewart's book, Letters to a Young Mathematician, is a series of mentoring letters to a girl named Meg as she journeys through her mathematical career- undergraduate school, then graduate, then as she becomes a professor herself. I picked it up because I wanted to be sure of the path I'm headed before I start university.

After reading the book, I'm more sure than ever. As he explains, secondary school math is more accurately named arithmetic in comparison to the real mathematics that explore nature. It's necessary, but unfortunately not as awe-inspiring as the golden ratio. A lot of people have asked me why I'm interested in studying mathematics, and I have a hard time explaining to them which parts interest me, because I have not yet been exposed to too much. However, what I have... I like. In it he spends a great deal of time focusing on mathematical appearances in everyday life, proofs (in particular, Wiles's proof for Fermat's Last Theorem),

So, to all my friends, if you'd like to understand me, read this book. In my copy, I've circled the chapters that would explain my reasons to non-mathematicians (but if you're not really interested in mathematics, the others would likely put you to sleep). It even has a neat chapter about Houston's bayous (upon which I went on a glorious walk the other day). I think it's a pretty well written book, and it helped me feel more secure in my decision, so mission accomplished.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Unique Valentine's Situations

I have had an extremely stressful week full of tears and misunderstandings, but it seems to be getting a lot better. I am so thankful that today, on Valentine's Day, I will have an undoubtably delicious dinner with a young gentleman that will distract me from that for a couple hours.

In any case, here are a couple links I have found in the last couple days that deal with the issues of love and this day that many people do not know what to do with. It's unfortunate when married people play this day out through obligation, or single people reject it because they do not see a connection to their lives. Hopefully these links will help avoid that.

  • From Mars Hill's Resurgence, an article on the history of Valentine's Day.
  • My own review of The Four Loves on YLCF and on this blog.
  • From Young Ladies Christian Fellowship, two articles on how to be a good wife, and one on being a good husband.
  • From Bounless Webzine, an article for men on romance.
  • From Ben Stuart, a sermon on the dynamics of marriage. (Takes time to download)
  • From Mars Hill, the homepage for the Peasant Princess sermons on marriage, with links to the ten sermons along the bottom- highly reccomend.
  • From one of my friends, a personal opinion, full of wisdom, on her singleness.
  • From Young Ladies Christian Fellowship, an article on contentment in waiting.
  • Again from Young Ladies Christian Fellowship, my favorite poem that explains purpose in waiting.
  • Also from Young Ladies Christian Fellowship, a collection of articles meant to serve as encouragement through singleness. One, Two, Three, Four.
  • From The Scriptorum Essays, a quote on singleness:
""Thus the bachelor is on the defensive. Not only does he seem to be surrounded by couples, but he feels that he must show his couple-potential by being seen with a woman, even if he’d rather stay home and read a book.” Those words by Sheldon Vanauken come from his book Under the Mercy (pp. 152-62). He laments the decline of the nobility of bachelors, “men who are so wrapped up in some mighty ambition that they don’t have time or freedom for marriage. A monk or a priest in the service of God. A scientist or poet reaching for the stars. A naval officer for whom the Fleet comes first. An explorer or adventurer… there are, in fact, a great many reasons for bachelorhood, and perhaps fewer reasons for marriage than there used to be… There is a great deal to be said for calling oneself boldly a bachelor. It is a strong, independent-sounding word and suggests a deliberate choice. A way of life. ‘Unmarried’ is a bit like ‘unemployed’ or ‘unfed’—negative and crippled. ‘Single’ (‘one-legged’) isn’t much better. But bachelor makes a statement, and it conjures up a tradition…”"
(For citation purposes, here is the link, but I do not want to promote all points in this article.)

My point is, work on it from where you are. If you're single, take advantage of that time and do not be ashamed of your opportunity. Take Valentine's Day to show your love for someone else. If you're in a relationship (dating/courtship or marriage) then use this day to bless your significant other. Make them feel special and loved, however that looks for them. Everyone can always better their relationship with attention. Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Little Chelsea Lamb

I saw this picture this morning, and so many thoughts rushed to my head that I had to write about it. First off, it's at face value a powerful image to being lost and the metaphor of the Good Shepherd:
"I myself will tend my sheep and have them lay down, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak..." (Ezekiel 34:15-16a)

In the photograph we can see the youth of the lamb. Perhaps he's still enjoying his adventure away from the others, but we can begin to see fear creep into its face. He feels lost and alone. He doesn't understand what's going on. He's looking around and doesn't see his mom. We know the Shepherd has a more aerial view, and can see the rest of the flock in the distance. He can bring the little lamb back.

Once I read the verse in Ezekiel, I thought about the common association the Christian community has with lamb and lost. It's probably because most verses deal with salvation (Psalm 119:176, Isaiah 53:6-7, Matthew 25:32). We have all heard that God "searches for the lost and brings back the strays," that He rejoices in the one found sheep (Matthew 18:12-13). The metaphor is usually used with evangelical undertones. However, the verse continues to say he "will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak." I myself don't think of him as a Shepherd often when I'm still in the flock.
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures,he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." (Psalm 23:1-4)

There's no mention of being lost. Read it again, closely, especially if you've heard it before. The Shepherd is actually "with me". I feel with God right now- maybe not 48 hours ago, but yes, now. I had run ahead of the shepherd, and I'll be back in that green valley one day, but next time with His presence and blessing.

What I'm dealing with now is missing the valley. It is a good valley- why not go now? Why do the other sheep insist on sticking around here for so long? That is my valley. However, I hold onto the faith that my Shepherd knows what he's doing- and has the power to guide those sheep too, if he feels it's best. No matter how amazing that valley is (for it really is), it's not worth being there without my Shepherd.

Photograph by Matt Blakemore, http://www.flickr.com/photos/simpologist/142876597/in/set-1587781/ . Creative Commons licence: Attribution and Non-commercial.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

A JPG Submissions

There's a photography magazine called JPG that relies on reader submissions for its content- photojournalism articles, portraits, anything. They have a couple topics open for each issue, and one of the current open themes is "House." Here's a picture that I have submitted, as well as the link to vote, if you'd like.

Click here.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Isn't That a Candy Bar?

Great news! I applied for a position at Pine Cove a couple months ago in the Baby Ruth program. It's a staff position for girls during the summer between high school and university (the boys' program is called Young Guns). While we're not in charge of a cabin, we're responsible for the support work around camp (cleaning, cooking, decorating for theme nights, etc). It's also a time for the Ruths to grow together and prepare for life on our own.
Anyway, I got in! I don't know which camp I'm at yet (there are several), but I know from July 4- August 16 I'll be at one of them. I also know one of my friends that I went to camp with, Kelsey, was accepted for the same weeks. I know that whatever happens, I'll be taken out of my comfort zone for six weeks and will undoubtably grow through that experience.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Another Patience Tester

One of my jobs around here is tutoring my little step-sister in math. I just sat down for my first hour with her, and I don't know what to make of it. She's scatter-brained. She verbally says one thing and writes down something completely different. She tries to apply identical principles to completely unrelated problems. She writes down an answer, I explain which part of it is wrong, so she erases it... and writes down the same thing again... twice.
The saddest part (or possibly the most hopeful for her) is that it reminds me of me. I hated math in grade 5. When we had "Fast Fact" quizzes every week (addition/subtraction/multiplication/division memory tests) I would get 40%, even when I came in at lunch to do them to reduce test anxiety. In grade 7, I got a C in math. It all sort of changed with Algebra I in grade 8, but till then, I was a math mess. Now, I love it. I love the order. I love how Ian Stewart puts it: "Your entire life bobs like a small boat on a vast ocean of mathematics." So lovely and peaceful and ordered.
I hope it turns out that way for my sister.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Compare and Contrast

I spent the day with a twelve year-old girl today. She watched as her brother and I played chess, and cheered me on as I was the foosball victor. :P As I read Calculus, I listened to her mother teach her the Biblical account of creation and later peeked in and watched her work on her lapbook. I listened to her practice the harp and reherse her finger-plucking, ready for her sister's lesson. All day she was smiley and jumpy and full of hugs.

I came home to another twelve year old girl. She has a boyfriend named John, but she's not sure if she likes him so she doesn't want to make a big deal about it in case they break up tomorrow. However, she asked her mother if she could borrow a "cute" shirt to wear to school in the morning. For her birthday, she wants an iPhone because her best friend has one, and a girl at school called her a [not-good-word-I'm-not-going-to-repeat].

I bet you the first twelve year-old has never even heard that word.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Yesterday, I Saw a Gun

The running joke is, everyone in Texas has a gun. While it's basically true, I'd never seen one, except the occational BB-Gun, Airsoft, and Paintball. I'm a little skittish around guns. I've seen enough of CSI and Law and Order to know what guns do [or rather, what people do with guns]. However, I was over at my friends' house yesterday, and one of them was proud of his new purchase and showed me a semi-automatic, black gun (those are the only technical terms I got, though I know he also told me the brand and whatnot). So, yup, I have seen a real gun. Now I just have to get over whatever it is that is holding me back from learning how to use one.

In the meantime, here is an awesome video clip (which I also was shown yesterday) that summerizes my opinion of guns, and the true purpose of the second ammendment. Enjoy.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Goals for the Next Four Months

I made it to Texas safely. If you haven't noticed, I'm a rather list-oriented person. I decided on the plane that there are a couple basic things I need to do to make this time the most productive. Here they are:

1) Develop patience, living with my dad. This is probably the least quantitative, but something I need to put a conscious effort into, or else it will not happen.

2) Study for my four AP exams in May: Literature, US History, World History, and BC Calculus. If I pass them, those four plus my AP Biology (from last year) will complete my first year of university. This means a lot of reading and independently driven study.

3) Get to know the Campbell family better, which means spending a lot of time with them at church, home, and their home.

4) Save up at least $2,500 by diligently catering/hostessing/expoing at the best Italian restraurant on this side of the Atlantic. Or at least Mississippi River. :P

5) Read five of the Jane Austen novels (I've already read Pride and Prejudice). This goes hand-in-hand with #2, but it's a lofty goal for me, so we'll see how it goes with all the other reading.

*Edit: for #4, make that waitressing... : /
*Edit: for Edit on #4, make that catering :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A New Method of Packing-Procrastination

A photo tag from over at The Gilgours.

Tag rules:
1. Go to where you store your digital photo folders. Open the fourth folder.
2. Go to the fourth picture and post it.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag 4 people.


This picture was taken very shortly after I got my camera. I collect spoons (like, the tourist-y ones) and decided to catalogue them. This one's from Washington D.C. and was given to me by my dear friend, Bianca Z.

My four blog friends: Allison S, Rae L, Kevin L, and Ken C.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Upcoming Blog Changes

I have really enjoyed the outlet that this blog has given me to share what I am learning and experiencing with those who wouldn't otherwise find out. It's great to have the opportunity in this sort of technology to (cautiously ;) ) meet fellow bloggers and learn from each other's lives. I plan on continuing this blog for a long time, though I don't know what sort of directions it will take in the future. It will always be found under this address as long as Google and Blogspot provide the service.

However, I realize there needs to be a change in name occationally. Though millions of Canadians will continue to have adventures in the GWN, I will not be one of them. In four days (gulp) I will be moving to the Lone Star State. Ergo, "Adventures in the Lone Star State" seems like a more appropriate title.

It's possible that there will be further changes in June, but that is yet to be seen...

Adventures in the Great White North will return in September with the start of the school year in Halifax.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The HUB @ Camp Caroline

Our church's college/young married ministry (which I am included in- long story) had a weekend retreat to Camp Caroline, a peaceful multi-acre facility just south of Caroline, Alberta. I went to take a break from the city and rest. I had my Math 31 final Friday morning, and wanted to get away. Once there, I found several friends that I just don't see enough of and we picked out a room (the cozy one above the boiler room) :) . The speaker for the weekend was Steve McCready from Northern Ireland, and he did an amazing job going through the book of Jonah and discussing some of the heart issues that Jonah went through in his transformation. The rest of the time we had to play games, swim, tube down a snowy hill, and go on walks. I wouldn't call it restful (last night, a group of about 18 of us played water polo from about 11:30 PM -1:30 AM and have the bruises to prove it), but it was very relaxing to get outside and be responsible for nothing but myself. I met lots of new friends and got lots of practice with my camera. Here are some pictures from the tubing hill and from a walk around camp. Thank you everyone for a great weekend! :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Old Blue Jeans

I'm not sure if it's the same for guys, but for girls, I believe it's next to impossible to find a pair of blue jeans that fit just right. I find blue jean shopping days make me never want to shop again because they're so discouraging. Either they're too long or too tight or falling off or a weird color or itchy or... something. Thus the four pairs of jeans I have now, I have owned for over a year, and one for three years. Unfortunately, jeans do wear out- especially if they're a daily part of your wardrobe like mine are. It was coming up to jean shopping time for me...

So you can imagine my interest when mom brought home a bag of clothes from her friend that contained jeans that looked like they might just fit. Well, let me tell you, one pair is a little low riding for me, but the other two are the best fitting jeans I've ever owned. They're the perfect length and fit (usually jeans are too long and tight for me). Aaah! So exciting! No jeans shopping for another year! And they're free! :)

It's been a good day, and this afternoon I have three friends coming over for some board games and supper. And cake. Great fun!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Growing Up

Sorry I've been absent. I had a major project due today that I had procrastinated too long for, and ended up completing it within 48 hours. I'm still suffering a little sleep deprivation, but it is finished. Moving on...

With my 18th birthday on its way, I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be an adult. It's weird thinking I'll go to sleep a girl and wake up as a woman (in a legal sense). I'll be able to vote. I'll be able to sign documents. I'll be able to leave the country without a letter from my parents. Though I won't often take advantage of the privilege, I'll be able to buy alcohol. This weekend, when my family goes out to supper I could buy a drink. That just blows my mind. I'll be able to get a credit card. I'll be able to buy a house (if I had the money and current desire). It's just weird thinking that with one sleep, I'll be able to gain all these privileges.

I'm almost having Peter Pan Syndrome. For the first time in my memory, I don't want to grow up. I mean, I do. I want to go to college and get married and have a family, but it happened so quickly. It's sad to realize that my childhood is gone, especially without my reaizing it. My mom was talking to someone the other day, and she said, "She hasn't been a 'kid' for a long time." It makes me wonder if I missed out. It's a weird feeling.