Monday, October 30, 2006

Celebrations!

Our family has had a busy time celebrating in the last couple of weeks. My friend Ajaib took me out for a great Indian lunch to celebrate Diwalli, the Indian festival of lights. Ajaib is a lovely man with whom I had the great pleasure to work with about 15 years ago. We share a passion for politics as well as a heart for people who cannot make their voices heard over the sound of the back slapping of the politicians. He and I have agreed we will never be politicians. We see things too much in black and white while politicians have a unique way of turning everything to a muddy shade of gray. Ajaib taught me a great deal about his community, but he taught me even more about the goodness of people in all communities.
Ajaib introduced me not only to his world, but also to the Muslim community as well so my daughters and I gratefully accepted an invitation from another friend to share in Eid,the feast after the fast of Ramadan. I always view these occasions as a way to learn about different cultures and different family traditions. I learned that this festival is considered in their community as important as Christmas is in ours and the ladies dress matched the occassion. The women were stunningly beautiful in their colorful Indian suits elaborately beaded and embroidered. The women, I was told, had spent days making the delicious traditional dishes that were spread out on the banquet table. They continually pushed us to eat more and we happily indulged! I always welcome the opportunity to learn and share with other communities and feel grateful that I live in a country where the diversity of our population allows this to happen. All it takes is an open mind and heart.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

An Early Northern Visitor!

We had an early northern visitor this year. He blew in from the north over night and brought us gifts and a lovely dinner! One might think he was Santa Claus, but even better it was Alphonse.
Al, having been in the Yukon for over 50 years, can be considered a Yukon pioneer in my opinion. As a school boy he escaped Poland via France with his family when the Germans invaded and it would take a better historian than I to tell you the year that occurred. He tells me he spent some time in the British Military before coming to the Yukon to work for the mines. He eventually married, started a very successful painting business and settled in Whitehorse where he still lives today.
When I talk with people like Al I can't help but wonder what it must have been like to live in a place where only the hardiest and most determined of people managed to live successfully. Yukon in the 40's and 50's was still a very rough place to live with few amenities and to have been able to start your own business and be successful is a great feat.
Thanks for visiting Alphonse!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Women, Culture & Beauty

I have been reading a book called "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" written by Lisa Lee a Chinese American writer. The story takes place in China in the time when girls were considered a burden and their sole worth was making a good marriage and producing a male heir. To obtain a good marriage it was essential that the girls have very small feet referred to as their 'Golden Lotus'. Feet were considered small if they were three inches or less and had to have a perfect pointed shape. To obtain this mothers bound their young daughter's feet, breaking their toes. The process was very painful and sometimes the girls either died of infection or they were completely crippled for life. Successful foot binding made it ackward and painful for women to walk keeping the women confined to their houses and out of the world of men.
When I first read about the practice I was completely horrified that mothers would do this to their children and I wondered how the women themselves could ever think this was something of beauty. Then I began to think of all the things modern women do today to make themselves beautiful or at least our concept of beautiful. Cosmetic surgery, breast enlargements, liposuction, tattoos, piercings and even hair removal all have some elements of pain involved in them and all of them can be dangerous to some degree yet we do it and accept the pain and the risks. Every woman has heard the saying "It takes pains to be beautiful" and what woman has not envied a stick thin model seen in a magazine even though we know that most of those models have to put their health at risk by starving themselves to succeed in the world of modeling. Why do we do this to ourselves. Does it really accomplish anything important in our lives and what makes us strive for the perfect body or face? Really is there such a thing as perfect when it comes to our bodies or faces? Isn't it like trying to define the term normal when applied to human beings. What is normal or perfect? I think the terms of normal and perfect are dictated by society and men have pretty much ruled society and some of these normal and perfect things that have been dictated to us all our lives have kept us out of the world of men and dependant upon the approval of our peers as much as foot binding kept the young women of China confined to their houses and dependent upon their husbands and families.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Thanksgiving!


Can it really be that another Thanksgiving day is upon us so soon? With the summer and early fall having been such a hectic time in my life, I hardly believe that when last I sat down and had five minutes to myself to think of the world around me and what was happening - it was Spring! Where oh where did all the days go so quickly?
We didn't celebrate in a great way this year. I decided to paint the hallway in the house and so we avoided invitations and the temptation to just go out and enjoy the good weather. Instead we dragged a frozen turkey out of the freezer and after staring at it for a bit decided that instead of stuffing it in the oven and hoping for the best I would BARBEQUE it! Really... I know ... me the undomestic goddess... the one who prepared an entire Christmas eve dinner, for guests from China who wanted to experience a Canadian Christmas, from frozen prepared foods from M&M's! I still blush at the thought of that I will tell you! Anyhow... really I did barbeque it and it turned out lovely. Very nice and browned and juicy and tasting just ever so gently of hickory and cherry chips. We all enjoyed it especially Lucy.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Golden Trees & Falling Leaves


SONNET
That time of year thou may'st in me behold
When Yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold-
Bare ruin'd choirs where late the sweet birds sand.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after Sunset fadeth in the West,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
This though perciev'st, which makes thy love more strong
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
William Shakespeare, 1564-1616