Finding a Voice

Sunday, July 24, 2005

i had a mullet

I was at Arlington Beach Camp this weekend for Free Methodist Family Camp. My friend Lana is there. We worked together at camp in the 80's. In a sentimental moment of reminescence I said to her, "How far we've come, Lana."

"Yes," she replied. "We both have better hair."

I had forgotten how true that was until my brother brought out a box full of old pictures, mostly from camp days gone by, to show around to people. And there I was: too old to be a Mini-Pop, but sporting the do of the decade.

Why oh why is the mullet making a come-back? Or why did it never go away.

Picture #1: Kitchen staff fashions at Arlington Beach Camp, circa 1985.

Picture #2: Some Free Methodist youth retreat somewhere in Saskatchewan. Note the striped jumper. It had wide legs and elasticized ankles. I must have looked a bit like a clown, but it was comfy and at the time I thought I was so trendy.

posted by Colleen McCubbin at 10:40 PM 4 comments

China: no more divide by 4

China has a new currency policy. Formerly, the yuan (like the Canadian dollar) was valued according to the U.S. dollar, but now China has set a new standard for it's own valuation. The New York Times calls it "opaque."

To determine the new peg, the central bank will look at how a basket of foreign currencies moved the day before. But the central bank did not reveal which currencies it will track or their relative weightings within the basket. This policy gives enormous discretion to China's leaders to push the yuan up or down as they choose.

The only limit that the central bank put on its moves was a promise yesterday that the center of each day's trading range would not move more than 0.3 percent in either direction from the center of the previous day's range. But with 20 or so trading days in a month, that means China could in theory push its currency up by 6 percent a month - or push it down by the same amount.

Currency conversions used to be so easy in China: divide the price in yuan by 4 for Canadian comparison and by 5 for American comparison. Not so easy anymore. I wonder what will happen to the Taiwan dollar, which has until now matched the yuan in fluctuation.

Of course, people's first thoughts go to effects on prices in stores on this side of the Pacific Ocean:

For American consumers, China's new policy is unlikely to have much effect unless it is followed by much bigger currency moves in the months to come. Chinese exporters making everything from clothing to computers incur much of their costs in dollars, importing essentials like fuel, factory machinery and computer chips.

This will mean that the overall costs of good manufactured by Chinese producers will rise by considerably less than 2 percent, limiting their need to raise prices to American retailers. ... "Prices in our stores are not changing any time soon," Amy Wyatt, a
Wal-Mart spokeswoman, said.

So, the consumer is "safe," but is this really any better for the Chinese? The NY Times writer speculates negatively,

If investors decide that China's secret currency policy will result in a stronger yuan, then they are likely to pour even more money into China - a step that could feed inflation in China and make many Chinese long for the days when China still paid more heed to Mr. Greenspan than Mr. Zhou.

In my mind, this will have broader effects than finances, economics being more complex than mere money. The currency conversion confusion will add to the world's perception of Chinese culture as inscrutable, which goes a long way to put China in a place of stronger power on the globe. By turning away from the dollar to currencies like the Euro, China could also shift its alliances in some way. I wonder where this will lead.

NOTE: if the NYTimes link (above) doesn't work, you probably need an e-subscription (free) to the paper.
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 9:36 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

bat in the basement

I don't think I really knew the meaning of "makes your skin crawl" until about 5 minutes ago during my encounter with a bat in the Whittaker basement. All I wanted to do was relieve myself in the girls' room, but there was this bird -- a sparrow? no -- tail too short.

A BAT!!!!

It was swooping and swinging silently, in and out of corners, coming too near my head. So I did what every self-respecting woman does at such times. I screamed. I ran around to the stairs on the other side of the building and got to the washroom that way. Whew! Fearfully and fastly I shut the hall door to block the bat.

On returning upstairs I met a girl who's here for basketball camp. She looked cool enough as she said, almost matter-of-factly, "There's a bat. I don't want to go out the door to the gym, but I have a game right now." So she and I stood in my office doorway, alternately ducking and yelping. I encouraged her to make a run for it, which she did. I yelled for her to prop open the door, which she couldn't and didn't. So, I did. I ran for the door, held it open, pressed myself against the wall cringing and flinching, watching carefully for the little creature, telling it to come outside, yet dreading the moment when it would ... and screaming.

The bat got out.

I'm such a girl.
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 7:39 PM 11 comments

Monday, July 18, 2005

everybody wants your money

Just chew on that for awhile.

I'm into a couple of home business endeavors on the side.

One business is nutritional products (which have changed my life).
The company is a member of the Direct Sellers Association of Canada.
Sometimes skeptics will ask if it's a pyramid scheme.
Tell me what you think a pyramid scheme is and I'll tell you if this is one.
Other skeptics will say, "They just want my money."
It is typical to exchange money for goods and services.
It is also typical to remunerate the ones who bring you the goods.

Why are we more trusting of somebody who rents a store and puts up a sign outside?
Why are we sometimes suspicious of people who work out of their homes with lower overhead costs than the store owners?

Some helpful questions about any company:
- is getting money really the first thing this company and its associates want?
- do the company and its associates want to help you somehow?
- does the company have worthwhile products and/or services?
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 8:43 PM 0 comments

the house that God built

A couple of years ago God gave me a garden in which to meet with him. In the garden he built me a little cottage. Here are a couple of paintings of it.

- with tree and swing

- with big fat yellow sun

Thanks to Rachel Runnalls for introducing me to Try painting your own picture and send it to me!
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 8:29 PM 1 comments

Thursday, July 14, 2005

ballet dancer

posted by Colleen McCubbin at 9:52 PM 4 comments

the nature of dreams and visions

"Perhaps it is in the nature of dreams and visions to remain magnificently flawless only for as long as they are unfulfilled."
- Amos Oz in "David Ben-Gurion"

Don't you just love a quote out of context?
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 9:40 PM 0 comments

Monday, July 11, 2005

Biblical Marriage & Bill C-38

David Guretzki is a theologian here at Briercrest Seminary, with a growing reputation. Perhaps you've seen his writing in Faith Today or other publications.

A few weeks ago Briercrest Family of Schools published David's essay, "Biblical Marriage" in The Passport. It is available here.

Now, here is David's response to Bill C-38.

I commend David and his prayerful writings to you.
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 1:54 PM 0 comments

Friday, July 08, 2005

Good-bye G-dorm

In May (while I was away on vacation), the Caronport Fire Department carefully razed Gable Heights (aka G-dorm): one of the few remaining WWII buildings, and the last remaining H-hut. It was time to let this building go, but not without poignancy. My brothers lived in this dorm in high school. (photos from Briercrest Family of Schools website)

posted by Colleen McCubbin at 5:11 PM 0 comments

Sealed Orders

Currently reading.
Can hardly put it down.
Excited to learn about healing prayer.
Glad to read another woman's autobiography.
Agnes Sanford has received a lot of bad press.
She's not so off the wall or heretical as she's made out to be.
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 4:51 PM 0 comments

dance dance wherever you may be

Canada Day, July 1st

Saw Great Big Sea in Wascana Park, Regina.

Went with an unusual mix of people: Shiloh (a college girl who went to high school with my cousin), Annie and Daniel (seminary students from Korea, no relation to one another). Met up in Regina with Shiloh's mom, brother, sister, and a sister's friend. Arrived in Regina around 3:00 and waited almost an hour at the Golden Mile Mall for the free city bus. Worked our way through the crowd and found a spot behind the sound stage of the main stage just minutes before Theresa Sokyrka's set started. Unfortunately, we couldn't see a thing until someone rolled up the poster on the chain link fence around the sound stage, giving us a pretty decent direct view of the bands.

Daniel looked a bit confused sometimes and asked questions like, "This is just one day?" and "Is anything else happening today?" and "Saskatchewan is 100 years old? ... That's not very old." Ah, cross-cultural experiences.

Theresa Sokyrka is Canada's sweetheart these days. Maybe a bit too cute, yet endearing and thoroughly engaged with her audiences. It will be interesting to watch her career evolve. She was followed by The Waltons, Kenny Shields & Streetheart, k-os, and Great Big Sea. Earlier in the day I was talking with my friend and said that I couldn't remember Streetheart. That, I realized later, was in true. I just didn't remember that they were the band that did the single "What Kind Of Love Is This?" (1982), among others. So much for listening diligently to the top 40 countdown while writing schmaltzy poetry at the age of 14. Then there's k-os. Truly, I had never heard of k-os, much to Shiloh's shock. They put on a good show. But the real show I was looking for was Great Big Sea. We packed up our things to make for a quick get-away and to make room for dancing. Oh the jigs and reels! Someday I'd like to sing "Sea of No Cares" with a group at a coffeehouse or something--the harmonies are brilliant.

My entourage decided we should beat the crowd for the fireworks and leave early. Shiloh assured me authoritatively, "This is their last song. They always do this song last at their concerts." Sadly believing her, I followed. But it wasn't their last song. They did another rollicking tune, so we stopped to dance a bit more, then continued on our way. Then they did another, and my heart sank. Then another ... I complained bitterly. "This is the band we came to see and we're missing them!" Sigh.

My highlight of the evening: some guy in a brown t-shirt appeared out of the crowd, took my hand and twirled me around for the better part of one song. I laughed and laughed and laughed, and sometimes yelled, "I don't know what to do!" Then he said, "I've got to go up front," and disappeared into the crowd. I got to say thank you, but didn't ask his name.

Maybe it was Jesus. :-)
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 4:12 PM 1 comments