Monday, May 25, 2009

The Grande Tour of Janine

Yesterday was one of the busiest Sundays of my life, and definitely the most high-profile.
It all started out three weeks ago when I reported on my mission to the High Council. One of the members asked me to visit the Bow Valley Ward to speak there with him on May 24th. Ok, I thought, that sounds fun! A few days later, I finally got in touch with the Young Womens leader in Tuscany Ward who had been calling me for a while. 
"We were wondering if you would speak at a fireside for the youth in Tuscany Ward." she asks me.
"Sure, I'd love to" "Does May 24th work for you?"
Well, I thought, I'll be speaking in the Bow Valley Ward that morning, but that's not a big deal. It's not like they're at the same time or anything. So I committed to that as well.
Two weeks ago, I got a call from a member of the bishopric in my own YSA ward. "We've been wanting to ask you to report on your mission in the singles ward." he says. Of course, I'd love to do that as well. Then he mentions which date would work best for the Foothills ward. Care to guess, anyone?
Indeed, May 24th. But if that's the date that'll work best for them, I'm sure I can make it work for me. It's not a big deal. Then, last week, I finally got a calling in the ward. I now co-teach the missionary preparation class in Foothills ward. And I'm so excited about it that I volunteer to help with the lesson right away... as in May 24th. It's right after that when I realize everything that I've committed to on May 24th. Two sacrament meeting talks, one Sunday School lesson, and a fireside. Well, I can make it work.
Then, at institute class, it's announced that there will be an regional fireside this Sunday, May 24th. At 7 pm. It's our institute director's last fireside and I really want to go. A few phone calls later and I've moved up my own fireside to accommodate a quick drive to the Bow Valley Chapel to catch the last part of Brother Zemp's fireside.
Well, everything went well. Except that by the end of the day, I was completely tuckered out. I went to bed at 10 pm, right after I got home, and slept for 11 hours. Who knew that the church speaking circuit was so exhausting?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Trip to the 50s

Tonight I was in the enviable position of serving as chauffeur to my little brother and his friend in picking them up from a late-night party way in the south side of the city. I was already out, so it made sense. As we drove back from Sundance, I searched for some hood music on the radio when suddenly it came to mind... at this time of night, the only station to listen to was QR77 and their "Olde Tyme Radio Shows". 
As we listened to the adventures of Sunny, Jack, Hermy, Doc, and Rich as they crashed their plane in Nicaragua and came across the TEMPLE OF VAMPIRES, I remembered Daddy always tuning into QR77 when he picked us up from the Saturday night dances. Our run to Peter's Drive-In was always spiced up by tales of betrayal, mystery, dark sinister figures, and maidens in distress. And don't forget the theme music- "He threw off his hood to reveal... the face of the murderer!" DAAA-DUUUM!!! Classic. I love those shows. Is there anywhere I can listen to them at a more civilized hour?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Foray to the Movie Theatre

My little sister Elena and I have a little tradition between the two of us- we love to go to movies together and then hit up the Denny's right beside the theater for a quick snack. Yeah, I know, the food's not that great, but it's close, convenient, not overpriced, and I kind of like it. Anyhow, that was not the point. The point is that we haven't had one of our beloved "Denny's Dates" for quite some time. 
Traditionally, movie portion  of the Denny's Date has always been either a chick flick or a cute family movie. Previous viewings have been She's the Man, Ella Enchanted, The Nanny Diaries, and Night at the Museum (we're planning a date already for the sequel!) These dates have sometimes become an excuse to see movies that no one else wants to see- unnamed teeny-bopper movies, for example. Because, you see, my sister Elena has remarkably similar movie tastes to me. We watch movies with Hilary Duff and Amanda Bynes for a guilty pleasure, and every once in a while we also watch "serious movies"- but we usually rent those ones. Movie dates are for frivolous girly movies. I watch my artsy movies with Aurora.
Until last night. When we decided that we wanted to have our first reunion Denny's Date, we started scanning the movie listings. Well, once we ruled out the higher rated ones, we were left with Planet Earth (not exactly my first choice, no matter how many rave reviews it gets), Star Trek (which Dad and Peter were already going to- and this wasn't a date with them), Seventeen Again (Elena's already seen it) and State of Play. Well, after viewing the trailer, we figured that State of Play wouldn't be such a bad choice. Not a chick flick, though. But I figured it would be fun.
FUN?!? To say the least! I had forgotten how much of an experience the movie theatre is. Even though the movie was pretty good, the real fun was in the dark theatre, hearing the shocks and gasps from the rest of the audience as plot twist led to plot twist and being on the edge of my seat as Russell Crowe got chased by a freaky guy with a gun through a parkade. 
You see, everything is better on a big screen. I even watched two hours of Al Gore showing graphs and spouting data about climate change when it was in the theatre. There's something about a movie theatre that is totally different from watching a movie on your couch- although both have their advantages. 
So here's to Big Screen, Big Sound, Big Difference. Although with my income, it might have to be at the dollar theatre.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Adventures in Stupidstore

Today I realized that my little brother never got a birthday cake two weeks ago because he was sick on his birthday. I thought to myself, "Hey, I haven't had a fun baking extravaganza for about... 18 months! Why not?" I pulled out my favourite baking book and dug up Peter's favourite cake recipe for Lemon Curd Cake. Since the baking of this cake requires the use of approximately one million eggs... ok, maybe only 20... a trip to the grocery store was required. I figured I'd run over to the store and grab the eggs, as well as the lemons and sour cream and so forth. Of course, then I remembered that we could use some milk. And I'd been meaning to get rubber gloves for cleaning. And we were all out of flax seeds.
By the time my mum and I got down the list of everything we could think of that we needed from the store, this list was not looking like a little neighbourhood grocery store list anymore. No, my friends, it had become a SUPERSTORE LIST.

Anyone who has shopped for a family's worth of groceries in Canada can appreciate why those words are in block capitals. Superstore is a thing that you can't do halfway. You're either in or you're out. Superstore requires you to commit your time, money, and full concentration if your visit there is to be void of frustration and if you are to find the organic bulk flax seeds. The combination of low prices, an abundance of organic items, aisles full of ethnic ingredients, and its very own clothing line, Superstore has lured many innocent shoppers into its grasp, but only the brave escape and only the truly brave (and foolish) go there again. The trip requires preparation- if you forget your loonie for the cart, your green bins, and fabric shopping bags, your trip will be in vain. One can easily spend 40 minutes wandering the aisles looking for a staple such as all-purpose flour and eventually find that they are all out (of flour?!?).
This trip was no different. I had shopped at the abovesaid Superstore before my mission enough that I have a general idea of where everything is located, but it still took some time to locate all the items on my list. I finally got my giant cart to the till, where I was stuck behind a lady who had printed out the entirety of and wanted to use them all. After packing everything up in my green bins and fabric bags, I suddenly realized that I had never found the eggs. Great. 
Well, anyone up for a quick run to the neighbourhood grocery store?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Grown-up Tastes

I've noticed a few things about myself over the past few years. Somehow, without noticing, I turned into a grown-up.
It all started with the cheese.
At some point in college, I found myself liking fancy cheese. No, not the special flavours of cheesestrings, but the really smelly, yucky kind with mold all over it that looks like it died. Somehow, it's quite delicious. No one can tell me that a blue cheese grilled sandwich is not a finger-lickin' good treat.
Then came the music. The mission may have helped with this somewhat, but I'd much rather listen to CBC radio 2 or bring along my iPod (which is still loaded with mission-appropriate hymns, ballets and opera) than listen to anything on the top 40 list.
But the real indicator was this morning, when I went down to the storage room to find something for mum. I came across a bottle of sparkling mineral water and pretty much thought that it was the most exciting beverage ever. It's been chilling in the fridge and I can't wait!
Sheesh. Being a grown-up is so weird.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Our Princess Party

Yesterday our family had what we like to call a "Princess Party". When we were little girls, this involved dressing up in fancy dress-up clothes or dresses, sometimes wearing tiaras, and eating dinner without the boys. (Well, all two of them. Actually, this was usually before Peter was born, so we just kicked Daddy out.)
Since then, our "Princess Parties have become decidedly more adult. Usually we go out to dinner and then come home and try out various beauty routines while my Daddy, brother, and brethren-in-law watch hockey. But it was great fun. Some highlights included:
- Ivy's chocolate face mask. Her little brother Blake came up, looked at her, and said, "Why is your face brown?" Then turned to his cousin Ben and snickered, "Ivy looks goofy!"
- Ben coming up the stairs and getting his fingernails painted, much to his father's chagrin. Cut him some slack, he's three years old! Although, they were bright red.
- Ben coming up again and telling me, "Your face is all white, you skunk!" (Apparently "skunk" is his new pet name of choice)
- Kylie's princess cake- what a masterpiece!
- Seeing all the old princesses after 18 months- priceless

Monday, May 4, 2009

Back to the Meat Market

So...yes. My first Sunday in the Singles Ward. That was fun.
First of all, I haven't really been nearly as homesick for Finland as I thought I would be. It's almost like things are so different here that I'm not often reminded of Finland (other than the odd moment in the yogurt aisle- American yogurt is yucky). I've had relatively few moments of Finland missing-ness. Until Sunday.
I was really nervous to go to church. I just wanted my nametag and my companion and some investigators to worry about so that I wouldn't be left to my own devices in church. Needless to say, I arrived at church, sat down in Relief Society and a wave of homesickness hit me. Why were the hymnbooks so thick?!? Why are we praying in English?!? Don't look at me weird when I sing "Me Sisaret Yhdessä" instead of "As Sisters in Zion"! Where is Eva-Jo? She should be teaching the presidency message this month! I miss Sisar Mäkilä's comments! To make things worse, I didn't know anyone except for the Bishop's wife. (But she's probably the most fun person to sit with anyway).
Somehow, I made it through church. And I'm glad I did, because after Sacrament meeting, I ran across the best part of the day: THE MISSIONARIES! They were probably really weirded out by how excited I was to see them, but now they've got my name, number, and know that I will go teaching with them anytime. And to make things better, there are Sisters in our stake!
I figure once I get over the English hymns, English prayers, and complete lack of adults, I'll be semi-comfortable in the Singles Ward. For a while, at least. But as the bishop's wife said to Elena, "I want to introduce him to Janine!"
Yup, that pretty much sums up the Singles Ward.